Thursday, August 25, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Dinner Bell

Everyone has heard the phrase "ring the dinner bell" but do you actually have one? The photo above is the dinner bell now being used by a third generation. It may have been used earlier, but I am not sure of it's past history. It is a brass bell 4 inches from top to bottom and 2 1/2 inches across. As you can see it is stamped "India". It may have been brought back as a souvenir by my aunt and uncle who traveled there.

My mother used it in the 1940s and 1950s to call everyone home from play for meals. With 9 kids in the family she would have had laryngitis if she had called for each one of us separately. Or called out, as she put it, the "Litany of the Saints". Besides Mom thought it rude to yell and disturb others.

As my children were growing up, their neighborhood was wide and far ranging. Somehow they always heard the bell when they could ingore other calls and sounds. The ring of the bell is melodious and distinctive. The fct that it usually meant food also helped. On rare occasions, the bell was used other than at mealtimes. It was always successful at calling kids home!

Today the dinner bell is used by my daughter's family to summon people to meals. It even penetrated closed bedroom doors on the second floor. When used on the front porch to call those out playing in the neighborhood, it is much less intrusive that yelling out names and messages. Even though everyone has a cell phone, ringing the bell is much easier than calling 4 or 5 phones and no one says "I didn't hear you!".

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tech Tuesday - Oops It Happened Again!

Yesterday it happened again. I received an e-mail from someone who may be a distant relative. Yesterday I also received a snail mail from another distant cousin. Both of these connections are probably connected through the my great grandmother Mary Hennessy Fleming.

It has happened before! Both e-mail and message boards have very rewarding experiences for me. Through message boards (both surname and locality), I have made contacts in Germany, Norway, Ireland, and various areas of the United States with previously unknown people in my various lines. When I help people who want to begin their genealogy research, I always suggest that they use message boards in addition to the familiar search engines of and

Another way that technology has helped expand my research is the use of online trees at both and Both vehicles have yielded positive contacts that I might never have made in any other way.

I think it is awesome that people can use the computers at their local library for free to create and research their family history. The tree can be created at, or It is created online and stays there. It will be private unless the owner chooses otherwise and will be available on any computer with an internet connection.

Wow! What a time to be exploring your ancestry. What does the future hold in unlocking the secrets of the past?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week 32: Dinner Time

Week 32: Dinner Time. On a typical childhood evening, who was around the dinner table? Was the meal served by one person, or was it a free-for-all? What is dinner time like in your family today?

This challenge runs from Saturday, August 6, 2011 through Friday, August 12, 2011.

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog (​/) has yet another successful series on her hands: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

When I was growing up, we almost always had a family dinner. The exception was on Thursday nights when Dad worked until 9 pm. We sat at large table in the dining room and usually had a high chair next to Mom's place. We always said Grace before dinner and the food was served family style and passed around the table. We were allowed to serve ourselves and had to at least try everything. There might have been music in the background but never television.

When my children were growing up, we also had family dinners whenever possible. I also served family style and there was no television. We did enjoy candles on the table and soft music in the background. We talked about everyone's day and other topics of interest.

Today, I live with my daughter and her family. I am glad to note that they follow the same meal time practices. Dinner is a family event as often as practical and there is no TV, phones, or reading allowed at the table. Music and candles are part of the ritual as is the saying of Grace at every dinner. I feel proud that they are emulating the same practices they grew up with.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tech Tuesday - Google Docs Revisited

Recently I wrote about using Google Docs and its ability to follow me to any computer. I love that capability and also like the fact that I can allow others to edit any document I choose.

Another use for Google Docs is to create an interactive survey. I have created two different surveys recently for our genealogy group. You can chose to use multiple choice,text, and check boxes among others. Once you create your survey, you can allow others to edit or change the survey. The survey can be mass e-mailed to all members.

All the members need to do is click on their choices and click on submit at the end. Your respondent will receive a "Thank you for your submission" notice and their response will be entered into a spreadsheet that is created by the form. The spreadsheet format is time-stamped and easy to read. The first survey I sent out generated an almost 50% response rate. That's pretty awesome!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Military Monday - He was discharged!

Some time ago my father-in-law told me a story about his father enlisting in the Army in 1917. I seeking to document the story, I found the following information in "Ohio Military Men 1917-1918".

On October 3, 1917 Gus enlisted in the Army at Martin's Ferry, Belmont, Ohio. He went off to serve his adpoted country and had a formal photograph taken in his uniform. On December 14, 1917,Gus was discharged as an enemy alien. Gus immigrated from Hungary and the United States was at war with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Later Gus did become a citizen and register for the draft in WWII. Both of his sons served with the US Navy. His youngest son, John, made a career for himself in the Navy.

Name: Gustav. Gulhban
Serial Number: No Serial Number
Race: W
Residence: Martins Ferry, O.
Enlistment Division: National Army
Enlistment Location: Martins Ferry, O.
Enlistment Date: 3 Oct 1917
Birth Place: Hungary
Birth Date / Age: 27 4/12 Years
Assigns Comment: 21 Co 158 Depot Brigade to Discharge Private Discharge 14 Dec 1917. Alien enemy.
Volume #: 7