Patj's Stories & Genealogy

Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

33 Years Ago Today -- A Wedding -- A New Life

It was thirty three years ago I married John E Johnson in Loveland, Colorado. The picture shows how we felt that evening so long ago.  It was the third marriage for each of us and we both carried a great deal of baggage as we undertook this new life together. It was a gamble for both of us. 

But at this moment that was all set aside as we vowed our love for each other and determinedly ventured forth on a sometimes rocky path. 

Twelve years later we were still best friends and still in love. This picture was taken the day before we began one of our genealogy trips in 1995.  Cloverleaf Community, where we lived, had set up a photographer to come and take pictures of the residents and John had made arrangements for us to do that.  Quite a handsome couple wouldn't you agree?
How I would love to take off on a trip again, like that one was. We had the best time investigating Kentucky and other places where our ancestors lived. We could ride for hours without talking much, just content to be together. 

We were married 26 years in all. John died two days before our 26th anniversary on September 25, 2009.  And as expected, as we grew older we depended on each other much more, and our love ripened into a wonderful relationship.

All I can say is that I wouldn't have missed this adventure for anything, all of it.  I miss John and wish I could talk to him one more time. But of course, if that could happen I would ask for even more time and that can never be in this world.

Over and out, Patj

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Update On My Accident On August 16, 2016 --- All Is Well

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It is a miracle -- Pedersen Toyota was able to repair my car successfully. I picked it up Saturday September 3. I immediately took it for a long ride to charge the electric engine battery up and it drove just like always. It was so nice to have it back.  As you know it has almost reached my favorite car status called "As Good As Orange Bird".  I am not sure any car can live up to that standard, but this one is close. So with a new front fender, front wheel, side door glass and mirror and some under carriage repair it is good to go for  awhile longer. Welcome home to "Almost As Good As".


Sunday, September 11, 2016

I Remember 9/11/2001 --- Oh So Well

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It was a beautiful September morning and John and I decided to go out for breakfast.  We went to Carl's Jr for biscuits and gravy. Our friend Diane was working that morning and as we were waiting to get our food she came by and said, "Something terrible has happened in New York City. Something about the Twin Towers, but I haven't heard the details yet."

We hurried and ate and rushed home to see what it was on TV. As we pulled into our carport our neighbor, Mary, was walking into her house and was crying. She couldn't even talk, just kept saying, "Terrible, terrible."

We rushed into the house and turned the TV on we saw the last plane fly into the second Twin Tower. It was like a scene from a horror movie, but we knew it was a real thing. A very real horrible thing. We both sat there mesmerized by what we were seeing on TV. Then heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon and one crashing in a field in Pennsylvania, just about twenty minutes shy of hitting the White House.  It was madness, and we were practically eye witnesses to the whole thing. The news people were rushing around trying to get the latest news to broadcast to the nation.  We just sat there sort of in a trance. Not talking, just staring at the TV screen in disbelief.

It was about 11:30 when I said, "I can't watch anymore, it is just too much to comprehend."  I got up and went out into our back yard and sat at the picnic table.  Our backyard was pretty well private because we had a hedge of Rose bushes in the back, and a hedge in the front of Lilac bushes.  I sat there for several minutes when John came out and we sat together in the silence. We didn't talk.  The sky was silent because all air traffic was stopped.  There was no traffic sound, no other everyday noises,  It was as if the world had stopped making noise. It was so quiet it was eerie.

We finally had to say something and we both agreed that our world would never be the same after what happened today.  My daughter Laurie called me and all she said was, "Mom, I love you."

It reminded me of the morning of the Oklahoma City bombing.  I heard about that on talk radio on my way to work early that morning.  I remember the announcer saying, "We all need to tell our loved ones we love them."  At the time I thought this was the worst thing that could happen in our country, but 9/11/2001 proved that wrong.

And now fifteen years later, it has been proven that on that day our country changed forever.  We can never go back to the seemingly carefree world I remember as a young girl and even as a young woman.  I feel sad that my grandchildren and great grandchildren will never know that "other" world.

Today, I have much to be grateful for, but I have to remember the horror of that day that changed my world so much.  Our nation has been blessed by God, but I fear what will happen if he stops, and pray that never happens.

Until later, Patj


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Happy Birthday #84 To John "Jack" Johnson

Oh so many years ago. Oh so many things have happened since. But what a beautiful memory that day is. We always said that we were a "gang of two". We were on our way for a few days out on our bikes. It didn't take much to think of somewhere to go.  This short trip was to Ogallala, Nebraska. This picture is at one of our regular stops on Highway 34 east of Greeley.

I often wondered what it would be like when our biking days were over, but it was no problem, we continued many more years as a"gang of two" through those days as well.

I don't mean it was a sweet, smooth journey but it was a loving journey (most of the time).  How I miss seeing you and hearing your stories of people in your life and experiences from your past. Some happy and some not so happy. I know you are somewhere waiting.  I know you are free of the pain of living in this world. I know you are celebrating your birthday today, August 21.

You were a unique and special man, I loved you then, I love you now. I remember the last thing you said to me, "I love you, and I always have. I'll see you in the morning."  I would give anything to have one more big bear hug and smile.

Happy Birthday to you and rest in peace.  RILYA Patj

Friday, August 19, 2016

Oh No -- Not Again -- August 16, 2016

Image result for 2005 Toyota Prius
Look at my beautiful 2005 Toyota Prius. It was in perfect working order, the nicest car I have ever owned, almost up to my "Orange Bird" standard.  I figured it was the car that would last for the duration of my driving days.  That was until it met a huge Peterbilt truck pulling a very long horse trailer. A truck trying to make it through a very busy entry to a fast food mall along Interstate 25. Something like threading it through the eye of a needle. Something like fitting a size 12 foot into a size 6 boot.  It didn't fit and my Prius was the one that suffered for it.

It is terrifying to see something that big headed your way and hearing it collide with the drivers side front of the car and the trailer skimming down the side of my car ripping off the side view mirror before the driver got stopped. My mirror was entangled in the window of her horse trailer. 

When I finally got untangled, we looked it over and it didn't appear too badly damaged from the exterior. The mirror was hanging by a cord but the Prius didn't look too bad. My first thought was that if it was just a mirror it could be fixed easily. 

I made a u turn to go over to where she had parked her truck so we could get out of the driveway. My car did not want to move, something was holding it back. Then a huge red triangle showed up on my dash screen. I told her I would have to be towed home as there was something seriously wrong with my car. We exchanged insurance and contact information. She basically said. "While you are getting a tow truck I am going into Qdoba to eat."  A mere slight delay in her busy day. 

The end of the story is that I know after reconstructing the scene if I had been in a lesser car I would have been seriously hurt. That Toyota Prius was so well built and it withstood that terrible impact and didn't cave in on me -- the driver strapped in a trap. I am grateful to that car and to Heavenly Father for protecting me.  Am I angry? Yes, I was simply in her way and she was going thru no matter what and I am the one to pay.  But I have to let it go, and remember how lucky I was to survive it.

Stay tuned for the next development in the Pat's Cars Story. PS - Drive carefully and watch out for bullies on the road.  Patj

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

40 Years Later In Estes Park Colorado

Tomorrow, Thursday August 11, 2016 I will travel up the Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park to present a program to the genealogical society there.  I have always enjoyed the times I have spoken there. The ride up into the Rocky Mountains is gorgeous and the people are so nice.  This year I hesitated because Highway 34 is under construction once again, but I have been checking CDOT and all looks well for tomorrow.  Maybe a few one lane areas to go thru but I will allow plenty of time.

The subject is Connecting Ancestors and History.  The picture above has nothing to do with the story of my ancestors in Bloody Kansas, 1854-1859.  It is the opening slide because it shows 103 historical people -- and all of our ancestors were somewhere in the world of history when they lived.  I like to look at the picture and see how many I can name.  It is sort of a mind relaxer.

The story is of my Meech ancestors that lived in Kansas before it became a state in 1861 and were in the state in the pre-civil war era that was Bloody Kansas.  It is so interesting to discover what was going on at the time any of my ancestors lived in any particular place. My great grandmother Faithy Ellen Meech Craig was the daughter of Dennis and Margaret Meech. Dennis and Margaret raised my grandfather, Claude Craig, after his mother died in 1888.  Dennis and Margaret were in Kansas before June 1860.

Now I can understand the events going on around them and appreciate their survival skills so that many descendants can be here today.

And we cannot forget that in 1976 the Big Thompson canyon was flooded with what was called a 100 year flood.  I will not forget it as it was catastrophic and many lives were lost --- and Highway 34 was under construction to make it flood proof.  But the flood of 2013 proved that it was not successful so another construction project is under way.  Adding to the story that there is never anything new under the sun.

Over and out from your humble correspondent, Patj

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Amazing What Many Eyes And Many Hands Can Do

Another amazing feat for the genealogical community. Think of the millions of additional names now available for searching, AND finding, after the July indexing project at FamilySearch was finished. Three days of concentrated effort all over the World did an outstanding job. A huge thank you to all 116,475 indexers that participated. Take a look at the stats showing age groups involved and regions involved. Your humble correspondent was one of the 24,104 in the most senior group. 


Friday, July 8, 2016

There Is Nothing Like Planning A Genealogy Trip!

For a brief time this summer I thought I could not go on my annual genealogy trip.  I was so depressed about it that I decided to throw caution to the wind and figure a way to go.  Even if it means a "Raman Noodle" diet for two months, I have to find a way to go.  So now I am not depressed anymore and I am excited about the future.  I have the Atlas out and figuring my route, etc.

Where an I going? Southeastern Kansas!  Yes, I know it doesn't sound all that glamorous and exciting -- but to a genealogist on a quest it sounds perfect.  What is my quest? Trying to find the ending story of Mary Ann Gray Meech.  I first met her as a young girl in 1850 living with her grandparents, Richard and Dorcas Champion.  I was finding my connection to the Champion family and didn't pay much attention to the little  girl named Mary Ann. It was many years later that I made the connection to another line of ancestors the Meech boys, Dennis B and William Wallace Meech. They married cousins, Margaret Pryor and Mary Ann Gray.  The girls were daughters of Champion daughters.  The two Meech couples migrated to southeastern Kansas and remained there the rest of their lives.  Mary Ann Gray Meech was the wife of William Wallace Meech.  I am descended from Margaret Pryor and Dennis B Meech, but I have been sort of haunted by Mary Ann the last few years.  Her husband died in 1905 in Cedar County Missouri and he left all of his property to his beloved wife Mary Ann. But that is the end of what I can find about her and it bothers me that I can't find her ending story. If she is buried next to her husband in Prescott, Kansas she does not have a tombstone.  I find no evidence of her anywhere after 1905, She is not in the 1910 or 1920 US Censuses.

So what is the solution? Go there and snoop around. Mary Ann is typical of women in the 1800's and early 1900's.  Many times they just fade into the distance with  no one caring or trying to find the end of their story. Wish me luck in my latest detective adventure.

Of course, if you have read my blog for very long you know I really like travelling the little back roads. So this trip will be no different. I will report back after the trip is done.

Stay tuned, Patj

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Final Farewell -- Again -- Richard W. Meier

This week saw the end of a bit of my history.  In August 1952, I married Richard W. Meier in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. On June 7, 2016, he passed away in Longmont,Colorado.  That could be all that I really need to say, but I can't just forget the years of our life together.  It is not so much a romantic story as a historical story for my descendants.  Why? Because many of them do not ever remember the two of us being together, but if we weren't together, those folks would not be here so I owe them a bit of history.

Our experience together began in 1951. What a time that was to be a teenager. The world was changing into the technical word we live in now -- but it was just a small bleep on the horizon.  A friend (a boy) and I were in the group of kids that were riding in Richard's car on a Sunday afternoon. I was sitting directly behind the driver, and could see him in the rear view mirror, and vice versa. Since I was with another boy, I tried not to be too obvious in the way our eyes were meeting in the mirror.  Eventually, the day was over and everyone headed home, but that little seed of attraction had been planted.  It took root and soon we were dating on a regular basis, the other boy was then a distant memory.  We were two innocent (sort of) teenagers and we were soon to embark on a life that was to be absolutey perfect.  What a wonderful time of life that was.

A year later we were married and off on a honeymoon to the big metropolis, Denver. We were given $100 by my step dad, Laurel Evelyn, to spend for a week in Denver.  Two country bumpkin kids that were off on an adventure. The week in Denver ended and we actually had money left over from our week of adventure. [Remember?  I told you it was a different world in 1952.]

Our life was blessed by two daughters and many other experiences, but like all of life, nothing stays the same.  It eventually ended after twenty one years.  It was sometimes a painful parting, but we both moved on to other people and other experiences, and now at this stage of my life, I have to think very hard to recapture that part of my history.

But, I will never forget that wonderful age of optimisim and hope and grand plans for the future. Good, and sometimes not so good, experiences made us into a crazy quilt of life. Now however, as an old friend of someone that knew me when I was just a young kid, I have to say I am sorry he had to suffer in his last years.  I wish him God Speed to the next adventure and I am grateful to have known him and had his children.  Even though time changes us and memories dim, there are some things that can not be forgotten.  Farewell, Richard Meier, I wish you well wherever you are.  Patj

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Remembering A True Friend -- Kitty Girl

There she is in her favorite kitty bed.  She had many to choose from and this one was in the bedroom at 300 Remington Street in Fort Collins, Colorado.  She could watch what was going on outside and stay inside where it was nice and safe.  We had just moved to our bachelorette apartment after John died in 2009.  This was to be her last home, as in 2014 she had to pass on to another world.  Can you tell I miss her tonight? She was the gentlest, kindest, most loyal and loving person ever. Saying goodbye to her was not an easy thing to do.  It seems that I never get good at saying goodbye -- ever. I have had to do it so many times in my life, but that is not why I am writing tonight. The one picture John wanted to have at the rest home was of Kitty Girl. He loved her so much.

But, I am thinking this evening of when I first saw her.  It was near the end of June 2002.  I had gone to Gering, Nebraska to see my mom and Lee, I was there for my birthday on the 29th.  After we visited a while my mom said, "Oh, we have a cat now."

I wanted to see it and we went out to the attic over their garage building that had steps up to the storage area.  We all looked up the stairs to see if she would make an appearance.  Finally after much calling she peered down at us.  She was bedraggled, very thin, and scared.  She had been thru a rough time obviously.  Lee said, "Ok she can stay BUT she is not coming in the house!"  I said, "Hello Kitty Girl."  We didn't even know yet if it was a male or female but the name Kitty Girl seemed to fit her.

Mom set some food out for her and we went back in the house.  All I knew was that we had looked at each other, eye to eye, and connected.

A week later, when I called my mom she said, "Guess who is in the house now?"  Yes, Kitty Girl had moved in and in that short time had established her place in their home. They both loved that gentle Kitty Girl. That was her name for the rest of their lives and the rest of her life as well. She was a good and loving friend to them.

My mom died in March 2003 and Kitty Girl became Lee's best friend as he fought the loneliness after mom died.  Finally he moved to the Veteran's Home in Scottsbluff so Kitty Girl needed a home as no one that he knew wanted her.  John and I talked about it and told Lee we would take her.  It was a big decision as we already had a big old tom cat named Buster.

It was heartbreaking when we went over to get her.  Lee was so sad.  And we had to grab her real quick before she saw what was going on and we got her in her carrier.  All 160 miles home she cried and cried. We tried to drown it out by playing the radio and she just wouldn't stop. She cried all the way.  We were almost crazy by the time we got home.  Then there was the challenge of introducing another cat into our house when Buster had been king of the roost for so many years. There is another story about that on this blog called "The Mulberry Street Peace Accord".

But in the end, Kitty Girl won over everyone - including Buster. It was her gentle spirit and kind nature that did it. After Buster had to be put down she filled in that gap.  John loved her so much. She and I were sole companions after John died and I depended on her so much. She was loyal and loving.  I hope to meet her again in another world, as she is a special spirit.  The time she and John and I were a happy trio are happy memories. I miss Kitty Girl tonight and also all of the people that we knew and loved together.

I am grateful to have these memories. Good night to Kitty Girl & Company.  Patj

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The World's Library --- WorldCat --- I Am On It

Find in a library with WorldCat

In preparing my latest lesson for the 2016 Genealogy Series at the Loveland Library, I was writing about WorldCat and what a wonderful resource it is.  I decided to test it with my own name as I have donated many writings to Allen County Library and the Family History Library. Here is the result of that search.

Results 1-10 of about 13 (.06 seconds)View the first page of resultsFirst   View the previous page of resultsPrev   1   2   NextView the next page of results

Select All   Clear All      

There is much more, however, this gives you some of the first page of results.  It is good insurance that my genealogical work will endure. At least as long as libraries continue to exist.  If the world is ever without libraries it won't make any difference about my genealogical work.  WorldCat is an amazing resource for fidning books. Maybe Google Books will catch it someday but not for awhile.
Check it out at

Later, Patj

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I Am Back --- May 24, 2016

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I have not written in my blog since the end of January.  It is a lot like going to church -- once you start backsliding, it is easy to slide further and further away.  No big dramatic excuses, just slid away for a month or two. 

There were many classes, speaking engagements, a new job as Vice President of the Larimer County Genealogical Society, finally going to the Denver Temple and various other events that just got in the way. 

One thing I learned through it all though was that I miss writing.  So now, I am back into it again and will be writing on a regular basis.  

I hope to uncover some genealogical gems this summer as my schedule slows down. I am thinking so much lately about Mary Ann Gray Meech.  She is a first cousin to my 2nd great grandmother, Margaret Pryor Meech. Their mothers were sisters.  Mary Ann survived her husband, William Wallace Meech in 1904 and I have not found anything about her after that. There is no tombstone for her in Prescott Cemetery where he is buried.  She is not in the1910 census so I presume she has deceased by then.  But when? and where?  It bothers me that she had no children and that there is no end to her story.  She is my next case as time allows me to work on it.

So stay tuned, as more is bound to happen.  It is so good to be back, Patj

Friday, January 29, 2016

Dorothy Cary Craig Evelyn Johnston -- Would Be Age 98 On January 29

Isn't she beautiful?  She is my Mom!  This picture was at a good time her life.  She was in her early fifties at this time. She was becoming quite involved in much of the community and becoming a very professional speaker and leader in many organizations.  I was so proud of her, but in hindsight I know I never expressed it to her.  It was a time when I was young and expected my parents would always be there. There was plenty of time to say those nice things.

It is just human nature to take our parents for granted, but I wish I hadn't.  But I know she knew me well enough to know how I felt without my saying it.  We were never an outwardly demonstrative type of family, but we knew we loved each other anyway.

She was my hero and of all of the wonderful people I have ever known she was the best.  I miss her so much, but as always time marches on indiscriminately.  I try to remember what it was like to know I could pick up the phone and call her anytime.  Of course, I have a great faith that she is nearby now, but I still would love to see her.

I can only say, "Thank you Mom, for giving me and David life."  Her beautiful attributes live on in all of her descendants.  That is the beauty of God's plan. I am the only living person that heard her heart beat from the inside. Without her, I wouldn't be here, and neither would so many other people. Busy as we are -- stop today for a moment and say "Thank you" to her.

So "Happy Birthday Mom. I love you."  Patty Ann

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Middle of January 2016 --- Already?

January 2016 started off with a bang on January 4.  For some reason I have inherited the starting program for each new year at the Fort Collins Civil War Roundtable.  At least the last four years have been that way. This year I presented a program entitled Lady Spies of the Civil War.                                                                                                  

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My main concern with this arrangement is the weather.  The first Monday in January can be very cold and may be deep with snow.  Not only do I dislike getting out in it, but so would the audience, but this year I lucked out and it was a bright, sunny day, with just a slight reminder of our White Christmas on the ground. The room was packed with about 60 people.  The program was well received and I enjoyed presenting it very much.  It was a good start to the new year.

Next up was January 11 in Loveland at a repeat presentation of Falling In Love WithYour Ancestors. This was at Mirasol Senior Community where I gave the program on December 12 to the group called the Mirasol Dudes. They liked it so much they asked if I would give it to the rest of the community. Of course, I never say "no" to an opportunity to talk about genealogy.                                                                      Image result for Falling In Love with your ancestors                     
It was a very small turnout, but I enjoyed it none the less.

The rest of January has been figuring out my new job as Vice President of the Larimer County Genelaogical Society.  I have also been finishing up two new Power Point presentations.  My new interest is the pre Civil War era in Kansas.  What an emotional, violent, radical time that was, best known as Bleeding Kansas.                                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                             Image result for bleeding kansas images 
It interests me because  I have ancestors living in Kansas before it became the 34th State in 1861. My paternal great grandmother's parents, Dennis and Margaret Pryor Meech were in Kansas on the 1860 Kansas Territorial Census.  They were witness to this chaotic and violent mayhem.

It looks like 2016 will be another fun and fast moving year.  I am ready for whatever it brings. Stayed tuned for further developements.    Patj

Friday, January 8, 2016

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ending 2015 -- Busy - Fun - Appreciated


2015 -- A very good year indeed.  It started off with worry and concern for both of my daughters. 2015 -- Ends up with me feeling good about them and the rest of the family as well.  I don't especially feel good about the rest of the world though.  We have recently been witness to two mass killings. One in Colorado and one in California.  Yes, we are witnesses as wonderful technology puts us right in the middle of these heart breaking events.
     So how are we to cope with these things?  Keep moving and don't let the natural fear we feel take over our lives.  We are not able to fix the things that cause them and we must go forward.  That is enough on my "state of the world address."
     For me, I have had a good November and December.  On November 19, I presented the program at the Larimer County Genealogical Society.  My topic was "Researching at".  It was a packed room and was well received.  Ken Goldsberry announced that I had accepted the nomination for the position of Vice President for the coming term.  The election will be January 21, 2016.
     On December 7th I attended the Civil War Roundtable.  Our speaker was Geoff Ryder and the topic was "Prison of War Camps".  It was very interesting.  Geoff asked me if I would help him set up my projector and computer to use for his program. Somehow I have become the technical expert for this group.  I am not sure how that happened, but I will do it -- at least until the bulb burns out on my projector.  Down deep I know that I enjoy people thinking I am good at something.  some deep seated leftover of childhood I suppose.  Too late to analyze it at this stage of life, just go with it and try not to dig too deep.  Another gentleman asked me today if I would help him at the April meeting. Of course, I said "Yes."
     On December 12th I will be presenting my last program for 2015.  This will be at Loveland at the Mirasol Senior Community.  It is a group of gentlemen that meet monthly and invited me to speak about genealogy.  I expect it will be a fun morning.  It will be a different technology as they use a TV screen rather than a projector. Hopefully, it will work with my program.
Image result for mirasol loveland co                    

     A few years ago I applied to move into Mirasol. That never happened. But I am happy in Oakbrook I. Not nearly this luxuorious, but safe and cozy and nice. I would have to buy all new clothes to live in a place like Mirasol (g).
     One more event for 2015 is the December Social at Friday's Council Tree Chapter, DAR. That will be December 15 and should be a fun evening.
     With that, 2015 will come to a close for me.  I do not do much celebrating on Christmas.  I have had a lot of practice at being alone on holidays and have come to accept that quite nicely.  It is nice to have a quiet Christmas and think about how blessed I have been for 81 years.  I know, you may know I am actually 80 1/2 years old, but I believe we are a person from the moment of conception, so I count those 9 months as well. Heavenly Father has blessed me all of this time (only a blink of an eye in the whole scheme of things) and I am so grateful.
     I wish you and yours the very best new year ever, and the same for me. Stay tuned,Patj


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Of Plimith Plantation" and My Ancestors Elizabeth Tilley and John Howland

     On November 24, 2015 I watched in total fascination the PBS program "The Pilgrims". This program is destined to be yet another of the captivating programs by Ken Burns. I first watched a program by Mr. Burns titled "The Civil War", and it captured my curiosty. I have not quit learning about the Civil War yet, so many years later.
     When I saw that "The Pilgrims" was scheduled, I jumped to the conclusion it would be the usual first Thanksgiving story with a lot of the familiar images we have seen all of our lives. What a wonderful surprise it was.  The story started in England, just as the Pilgrims did, then forced to flee England to Holland and eventually to The New World.  The distant and unknown New World.
     Thanks to this program I can see the story of my four Mayflower ancestors. John Tilley and his wife, Joan Hurst were among the 102 passengers of the Mayflower.  With them was their thirteen year old daughter, Elizabeth Tilley.  Elizabeth is my 11th Great Grandmother, making the elder Tilley's my 12th Great Grandparents.  Also on the Mayflower was a young man in  the household of John Carver named, John Howland. It is not known if he was related to the Carvers or simply an employee of Mr Carver. John Carver was the very first Governor of Plymouth Plantation.  Yes, William Bradford is the best known Governor of Plymouth Plantation, but he was the second Governor.
     The elder Tilleys died in that first horrible winter in New England. The program illustrated how terrible that first winter was that left only half of the 102 passengers alive, barely alive, but alive none the less.  Among those survivors are my ancestors, John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley.  I can now imagine more clearly the terrible experience these young people endured.  I can only imagine the heartache and fear Elizabeth felt as her parents died and left her alone in a strange and dangerous land.
     John and Elizabeth married about 1623/24. They both lived a long and full life full of further experiences that would do most of us in.  They had ten children, and they ALL lived to adulthood and had big families.  To have all ten children survive in that day is an amazing feat.  It is estimated that John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley have somewhere around 1,000,000 descendants.
     Elizabeth Tilley Howland was one of the last of the 102 Mayflower passengers to live.  She had seventy two grandchildren when she died.  She was a strong lady.  I am so proud to be her descendant, even if I am only one in a 1,000,000.
     The program on PBS, last evening captivated me and thanks to Ken Burns for showing the true story, or at least as close to the true story as possible.
     The main character in the program was William Bradford.  I learned the interesting story of his writing, "Of Plimith Plantation".  How it was lost to history for over 100 years and finally discovered in Europe in the 1850's. After much negotiating it was returned to its native soil around 1890, and is now housed in honor in the Capitol of Massachusetts.
     In closing, I want to say, I needed to hear a great survival story at this time in my life, and I certainly received it in this program.  This is the lure and the goal of genealogy.  Learning what stuff we are made of.  Little wonder we love it so much.  Patj

Thursday, November 19, 2015

John Collins (Married To Sarah Chapman) 1789-1841

I am ready to close out the year 2015. I do this early so I can get my Blog Book printed when "Blog 2 Print" has their sale prices, which expire later today! Of course, I keep writing but that will appear in next year's book.

I just want to share a couple of late developments.

First, I have been asked to take the office of Vice President of the Larimer County Genealogical Society for the year 2016.  It is a big job, primarily finding speakers for the general meetings of the society.  I can at least give it a shot.

The second thing is that I found an article that mentions something about John Collins (1789-1841). I have found no other mention of him other than that he married Sarah Chapman in 1809 in Portage County Ohio.  Sarah is my ancestor that leads me to the Mayflower ancestors I was so excited to find nine years ago. John Collins died in 1841 and his will states that my 3rd great grandmother, Sylvia Collins, is his daughter.  Little else is known about John Collins as he was fairly young when he died in 1841.

What the article states about John Collins is that he was born in, or about, Marietta, Ohio.  That is a far cry from where I was thinking he may have been born.  I figured since Portage County Ohio was part of the Connecticut Reserve he would be from Connecticut.  Marietta is the first settlement in Ohio and was very important in the land sales that were made by the Federal Government when Ohio was opened up for settlement.  It was the first Land Office established in Ohio. I have a picture of that Land Office and it is quite small condidering the importance of what transpired there.
       Ohio Land Company Office Marietta, Ohio
I can imagine the hundreds of back woodsmen and the wealthy land speculatiors stepping into that small building to get in on the possibilities of a new opportunity. Muddy boots, smoking cigars, backwoods jokes, and a definite air of enthusiasm and hope for the future.  If this building could talk our ears would probably be burning with the robust and rowdy nature of the men that went in to do land business.

And on that note I will end 2015.  I have new adventures ahead and clues to follow for John Collins. Only time will tell if I find a true answer to his beginings, but it is an exciting thing to look forward to.  It is definitely a "win win" situation because I will learn so many new things along the way.

Stay tuned for further developments.  Patj

Friday, November 13, 2015

Veteran's Day November 11, 2015

This year I was honored to be invited to present programs at The Worthington in Fort Collins and The Wexford in Loveland.

The programs were part of the Veteran's Day activities at these two Senior Communities. Both places were abuzz with activities for the residents for this special day. Of course, both places have many veterans living in their facility. My program is titled "America's Last Soldiers and Their Wars". It was well received at both places and I enjoyed sharing it. I especially enjoyed the conversation and sharing at the end of the programs from the attendees. The Worthington is the home of a special lady that is a WWII veteran and we all gave her a big round of applause. She was the only WWII veteran in attendance. Most were Korean War veterans.

The pictures below are the entrances to both facilities. Yes, they look amazingly alike. Both are part of the Columbine Health System. However, once inside the atmosphere and lobbies are distinctly different. Both are very nice and luxurious. But it is a funny thing, when I leave them I breath a big sigh of relief, and happily head for my humble little apartment at OakBrook I. I believe I told you that I have moved to a new apartment this past August.

Yes, life is good and I am so grateful to the people that sacrificed to maintain our freedom and keep our country the best in the World. Patj

The Wexford

The Worthington

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Done 27 October 2015 --- Berriman McLaughlin --- 1776-1850

Finally I have finished this book.  Started in 2013 and intended to be finished in 2014 it is almost one year overdue.  Due to many interruptions and events of the last two years it was shoved to the back burner many times.  The last and most time consuming challenge was entering the end notes and there are plenty of them. 

I can write like a wide open faucet, but entering the endnotes slows me down to a tiny drip of the faucet.  This book in particular had many sources as it covers what I know about Berriman, his wife Catharine, and their twelve children.  It was an experience in finding new information about people that lived so long ago.  For a genealogist it was the best of all fun.  We basically are private detectives at heart.  

I have proof read it so many times I know it all by heart.  Of course, this leads to streamlining and clarifying the text.  This evening I finally declared it finished.

The next step is to take it to InkWorks and get an estimate of the printing cost.  Then it will be shared with libraries in the various places that Berriman McLaughlin lived.  And of course, my two favorite places to donate, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana will get a copy.  My theory is to have a copy in many places in case my material gets destroyed in the future.  I figure libraries are bound to be around for a long time.

So this book will be shared from West Virginia to Ohio and to Illiniois.  It has been a companion for so long there is a bit of sadness to finishing it.  It is like saying good bye to a friend.   But I know it is good to be done and get it out there where maybe other descendants may find it and learn a few new things about these wonderful ancestors.

I can breathe a big sigh of relief and a feeling of a job well done.  Stay tuned for any further results of this book.  Maybe I will even learn some answers that I still have about the McLaughlins.  That is always our quest in this business. 



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My Year Of Learning --- 2015

Image result for teachers
Yes, it is only October and I am starting to wind down this incredible year.  As fast as it is going it will be over in the blink of an eye.  I updated my 2015 speaking schedule this evening to include the last part of 2015 and plug in last minute engagements.  I last did this in the middle of the year and it looked busy enough at that time.  

I have decided that the real reason I receive so many speaking requests is that I almost never say "no".  Hmmmm, there may be a message here.

Actually, I wouldn't have it any other way.  It is a way to learn new ways to speak and teach. Some I tried this year have taught me to not go there again (g).  At my class on October 3, in Loveland, someone asked me if I had been a teacher as a profession.  I said, "No."  I added that I developed this fun filled skill after the age of 75.  Yes, I know, Grandma Moses didn't start painting until age 80, but 75 is nothing to sneeze at in the "elderly world."  It goes with what I tell folks in the genealogy classes "Stay Curious".  I believe it is the secret to enjoying life.

With that little introduction -- here is my 2015 year in a nutshell:
Note that I set aside August and September for the fun task of moving.  That was accomplished, slowly, and I am pretty well settled in my new bachelorette apartment.  My wish for you is to have had a wonderful 2015 as well.  Of course, there will be more posts in this blog before December 31, so stay tuned. Patj

Friday, September 25, 2015

Six Years Later -- I Am Still Here

September 25, 2009.  At just after midnight John Edwin Johnson passed away at this place.  This is a picture from his room at the Blue Grouse Nursing Home (aka RNRC).  It was slightly raining as I drove to the home after getting the call at about 12:30 am.  A cool, crisp night, and quiet as it could ever be in Fort Collins, Colorado.  So many unknown things ahead, but for the moment it was clear what I had to do.  Go to say goodbye to my best friend.  The little nightlight I had taken to his room was the only light in the room and it looked as if he was peacefully sleeping.  It was hard to believe he was not there anymore, he looked so natural.

When I left about 8pm the night before we planned our activity for the next day.  We were going to figure out how to get him out of that place and decide where to go next.  So when I left he felt optimistic.  I told him I loved him and his last words to me were, "I love you too, and I always have." As I walked away, the words stayed on my mind.  They implied something very special.  To me it said that even before we met 26 years earlier he had loved me.  That is how I remember it and I am sticking to my story and the meaning of it.  Cohorts to the end.  Ready to tackle another tough case.

Many things have changed for me in these 6 years.  I have passed a big milestone in age.  I have moved two times.  I have been in a serious accident.  I have learned many new skills.  But always, in the back of my mind my favorite "cohort in crime" is beside me all the way.  I feel blessed to have that to count on.

I can't answer for what John has been doing in the last 6 years.  But knowing him as well as I do, I am sure it has been an adventure supreme.  Seeing family and friends --- and watching out for me as well.  So farewell once again to my best friend.  RILYA Patj