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2002: Create a Diversion
2003: Slow and Steady
2004: Self Esteem Saturday
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2006: With Me at the Oscars
2007: I Missed the Reunion
2008: Good Grief, Charlie Brown
2009: Kindling a Flame
In God's Country
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7 March 2010
OK. How many people watched the new TV show "Who Do I Think I Am?" last night? The program followed Sara Jessica Parker as she traced her family roots. And who has spent a significant deal of time today mucking around on Ancestry.com?
Peach has done a phenomenal job of researching my mother's family all the way back to a companion of Robert the Bruce, in Scotland. Not exactly a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule, but since Old Robert was roaming the hills of Scotland in the 13th century, I'd say that's quite a trace-back.
However, nobody has done diddily for my father's side of the family, which seems logical since he was an only child and I'm the only child of his who survived into the age where such things begin to sound interesting.
So today I took to the internet and began rustling around in my family tree.
The hard part of creating a family tree is putting in all the beginning stuff. At least it is when your family is large, like mine is. Especially when you know that someone else has already done it elsewhere!
My friend Char has no interest in genealogy, though her husband has a passion for it. She sees no point in finding out what her distant relatives did. She is much more rooted in what her current relatives are doing! I can go either way,but I have to admit that I find it fascinating that if you check the work Peach has done on my mother's side of the tree you find writers everywhere. Everybody kept journals and letters...and their value to the family is evident in the fact that those writings were kept. So in a way, scrapbooking of some sort is also important to my maternal relatives. I come by it naturally.
I felt like a cliche commercial when I began putting names into my tree and discovered that someone named Jessie West, who is related to my father's father, is also reserching the same family. She had information I had never seen before.
Leaves began popping up on my tree, showing links to official documents. I have to admit that I was actually excited when I found my great grandfather on the census record of 1900.
The document shows that my family lived at 980 Harrison Street in San Francisco.
It also gives the birth dates of the children, which my grandmother would hate, since she changed her birthdate in the family bible and nobody knew exactly how old she was. Since she was born in 1892, she would have been almost 14 in the 1906 earthquake. No wonder she was so terrified of earthquakes her entire life.
If you follow this document over farther to the right you discover that Joseph Legler was a baker ... another family trait.
The 1930 census shows that my grandparents were living at 1675 Clay Street, where they lived until my grandfather moved into a convalescent hospital shortly before he died in 1970. It also shows my grandfather as the manager of a garage, a position he held his entire life, after he left vaudeville. The owner of the garage, Larry Barrett, wanted to make my grandfather a partner early in their long career together, but my grandmother refused to let him invest the money. They lived their entire married life in that 2-room apartment on Clay Street while Larry Barrett and his wife lived on an estate with an orchard attached on the peninsula south of San Francisco, and also had a luxury apartment in San Francisco. My grandmother wanted her whole life to be rich, but she thwarted herself at every turn, and never was.
To say I have scratched the surface doesn't even BEGIN to express how little I have found, but it's still kind of fun digging through all this stuff to see what I can uncover about my father's family. Maybe I'll even find out more if I communicate with Jessie West. She appears to be very young and I'd be curious to find out what got her started on this project.
This would have been taken during their vaudeville years