Patj's Stories & Genealogy

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

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Catharine Edinger Collins 1825-1901

For years I have thought Catharine Edinger was the mother of my 2nd great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Edinger. What is the problem you may ask?  The problem is that there is no proof of that "assumption".  Yes, everywhere Catharine and her husband, Daniel Collins, moved to, Benjamin was not far away or very long in following them.  Compelling yes, but not actual proof.  Of course, Catharine could be an older sister, but I don't find that a likely scenario.

I have thought, "someone knows some little hint that can give me some confidence in my assumption".  This is why I am a firm believer in folks writing the things they have heard from their relatives.  Well, I finally found just a little glimmer of a hint.  Someone posted a picture of Catharine on  I don't usually pay much attention to these as often the person is guessing as to who is in the picteue --but this was different.  The posting also said what the back of the photo had written on it.

"Walter Edinger's step grandmother Collins in Nebraska".

Walter Edinger was Benjamin's youngest child and would be a grandson of Catharine if my "assumption" is correct.  Granted, the writer said "step grandmother".  I figure it was a spouse, or a child, writing what they knew or had heard. And they knew there was something unusual in the relationship of Benjamin and Catharine, but what that was seemed to have been never told.  Unusual because I believe Benjamin was born out of wedlock.

This does not detract from the love I have for my 2nd great grandfather at all.  Benjamin did not have an easy life.  Losing his first wife, Sarah Cornwell, shortly after Walter was born, being already the father of four little daughters at that time.  Not able to care for them, so farming them out to various families in Edgar County, Illinois.

Why do I admire and love him?  Because when he decided to pack up and go to Kansas, where Catharine and her husband had gone, he gathered his family and took them along.  He kept his little family together in all kinds of situations.  Many men would have deserted this family and disappeared.  He married two more times and neither was an especially happy marriage.  Perhaps due in part to his personality, but none the less they did not add much happiness to his life.  He went on to father two more sons with his third wife, Isabel Britt.  He died at the Montgomery County, Kansas Poor Farm in 1915.

So the citation on the back of that photo was an exciting find for me.

At last, someone was stating what I had thought for years.  I guess you know it doesn't take much to get a genealogist excited.  I am more convinced than ever that Benjamin Edinger is the son of Miss Catharine Edinger.

Stay tuned for even more developments in Benjamin's story.   Patj

Friday, May 29, 2015

Josephus McLaughlin (1820-????) -- Just When I Thought I Knew It All -- Hancock County, Illinois

The Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois Courthouse
Oh my, the twists and turns of genealogical research can surely be a surprise. Yesterday, as I was doing my shift at the Family History Center in Fort Collins, it was pretty quiet so I used some of the premium websites that I don't personally subscribe to.  That is one of the nice tools provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They are free to patrons that visit the Family History Centers.

But to get back to my story --- as some of you know, I am writing about my fourth great grandfather, Berriman McLaughlin and his eleven children that reached adulthood.  I am almost finished and have one more to go, but the one I just finished is his youngest child, Josephus McLaughlin, born about 1820.  I have studied him pretty thoroughly because so little is known of his life, and when he died is a complete mystery.  I know about his wife, Vilotta Peak and some about their five children.  I figured I had learned all I possibly could about this illusive man.  Until yesterday!!

I was in World Vital Records and just had a whim that said, "Put in Josephus McLaughlin."  I didn't find anything new until I scrolled down all the way to the bottom of the results and saw his name with the location Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.  Thinking like a person that "knows it all" I thought "no way" is that my Josephus McLaughlin.  But then upon reading the transcription of these land records in Hancock County, Illinois, there was the proof, one transaction was a land sale and his wife was Vilotta McLaughlin.

Now a brand new scenario appeared for Josephus McLaughlin. The first land transaction was dated June 1846.  It adds a whole new chapter to the story of Josephus and Vilotta McLaughlin.  The interesting thing too, is that he bought these land parcels from Mormons at the time they were leaving Nauvoo for The Great Salt Lake.  The grantors were Claudius V and Hiram Spencer; John and Perces Stiles.  One grantor was James Todd, and I can't determine that he was a Mormon.  At the time of the first two land transactions in June and July 1846, Josephus and Vilotta were residents of Jersey County, Illinois.  By the end of the land transaction in May 1850 the McLaughlins were residents of Hancock County, Illinois.  Apparently, Josephus McLaughlin had not kept his agreement in the original land transaction and in May 1850 it looks like a foreclosure caused a commissioner's deed to be executed by the two Spencer men.  All of these land transactions are found in Hancock County, Illinois Deed Books Q, T and Y.

 In August 1850 the couple and their five children were living back in Scott County, Illinois with Vilotta's parents.  In 1855 on the Illinois State Census, Josephus and Vilotta  are on that census with all five of their children. This is the last record of Josephus McLaughlin that I have found.  From that date forward all of the records are of Vilotta.  She never remarried, and she had her children with her in her many moves until they began their own families.  Family lore indicates that Josephus went to California during the Gold Rush and never was heard of again.  All I can verify is that he was never heard of again.

But stranger things have happened, and someday I may find the answer to this mysterious man's death.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Helped Make History!

What fun. To be part of a huge and worthwhile project like this one.  A whole week of the dedicated work of 8,658 arbitrators at  I have been indexing and arbitrating since 2004 when the LDS Church first began this work.  It is fun to do and so worth the effort to make records available to family historians.  It is hard not to get caught up in what the records are saying and in the people in the records.  I sort of adopt them as I am doing the work.

Onced in awhile FamilySearch announces an EVENT like this one. When a big backlog of records are waiting to be arbitrated something like this is announced.  A week of total dedication to the task at hand to bring the backlog down and get those records out to the people that are waiting to find them.

The announcement was just received from FamilySearch telling those that joined in what the results were. 1,042,454 images were arbitrated and thus released to the data available at It is always amazing to me what a concentrated effort can accomplish.

The usual procedure is to have two indexers index the same batch of records.  If they both see the same thing the batch passes on to being published at  If they DON'T see the same thing, it goes to an arbitrator who looks at the batch and decided which is correct or if neither is correct they fix it. Three sets of eyes have read these batches and hopefully increase the accuracy of the information.  But of course, being humans, we can't always get it exactly correct, but it is so much better than nothing that I will take it any day.

Even though I am a small fish in this huge pond, it makes me feel good to have participated.
Stay tuned, Patj

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Mother's Day 2015 -- It Is Fantastic

Aren't they pretty?  Roses from my great grandchildren, Oliver 4 1/2 and Stella 1 3/4. They fill my apartment with the scent that only roses can give.  In the small vase are what is left of the glads that Laurel brought to me on Sunday when she arrived for a week's visit.  And what a delightful week it has been.  We have been busy doing all sorts of things.

We went to the Civil War Roundtable on Monday and we both enjoyed the meeting very much. We had an out of town speaker from the Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable and the program was very well done and well received by about sixty local Civil War buffs.  After the meeting we went to our favorite restaurant, Lupita's.  We were both stuffed after overdosing on Mexican food.  It is soooooo good.

On Tuesday we went to the movie, "Monkey Kingdom" and it was another treat for sure.  It was an amazing nature/animal movie about the monkeys in Sri Lanka.  So very well done, interesting, and entertaining as well.  Lunch at Noodles, good again.

Wednesday was filled with various errands and finally walking to Old Town and eating at Stuft Burgers.  It was the best hamburger I have eaten in years.  About the time we got to the restaurant it started pouring rain and we didn't have the smarts to have taken any umbrellas or even a coat.  Laurel ran back to DMA and got her car and came around the front and picked me up.  I just can't walk very fast anymore so we would have been soaked if I had walked back.

Today, Thursday, we went to Loveland and toured the Scuplture Park.  It is magnificent to say the least. I have not visited there for years and the city has enlarged it and improved the whole project and the bronze statues/sculptures are out of this world.  So beautiful and imaginative.  I can't even pick a favorite.  It was cloudy and overcast and it made the park even more beautiful as we walked around the paths that lead from one great scupture to the next.  Then we topped it off with Bingo tonight at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

So tomorrow, we will meet up at Lupitas Mexican Restaurant for breakfast and Laurel will be leaving for Longmont to visit her dad for a few days.  We will probably get together on Sunday for Mother's Day --- if we don't have a big snow storm.  That is the forecast, but as you know in Colorado -- one day can be snow and the next 90 degrees, and not ever very predictable.

It has been a wonderful week for me.  I can't thank Laurel enough for coming and spending some time with me.  I love her so very much.  So I will close a busy but contented week tomorrow.  Stay tuned, Patj

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25, 2015 - A Wonderful Day In Loveland - Family Discovery Day

Today was a wonderful experience.  How often can you spend an entire day with a great number of genealogists?  For the second year I was invited to participate in this wonderful event.  I consider it an honor to be included.  I gave two presentations, On The Day You Were Born and Tear Down That Wall - Winning the Brick Wall Game.  It was such a good experience, I can't even describe it.  Talking about genealogy or genealogy related topics is my favorite thing to do.  Plus, I really enjoy preparing Power Point presentations.  So for me it is definitely a win- win situation.  To see old friends and make new friends is such fun.  Was I tired after the day was over?  You bet, because sleep doesn't come easy the night before a day like this.  You bet, because there is a lot of hard thinking about how you are doing. You bet, because it is a mental and physical exercise in setting up the technical equipment.  Would I have missed it?  Not on your life.  Was it worth the effort?

As you can guess, I wouldn't have missed for the world. Here is to 2016 in Loveland.  Stay tuned. Patj

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Special Birthday # 102 - Happy Birthday Laurel Lyndon Evelyn

Meet Laurel Lyndon Evelyn, born April 24, 1913 in Minatare, Nebraska. This picture of him was when he was age 47.  It was taken in December 1950 when he married my mother, Dorothy Cary Craig.  I was age 15 and my brother was age 11.  Laurel came into our lives at a time that we needed a father, or perhaps even more, needed a friend.  

My mother, brother and I had been alone for about three or four years since our parents divorced.  At times things were pretty tough for us. Mom had a hard time supporting us, but she always managed somehow. When she met Laurel it was a wonderful change in our lives.  Mainly because our mother was happy, and that makes kids feel good as well.  I had never had the feeling that I was worth much prior to meeting Laurel. He loved me and David and kids bloom when they are in that type of environment. 

Shortly after their marriage, Laurel moved us to a two bedroom basement apartment on Avenue A in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  It was a nice home and I had my own bedroom for the first time in my life.  I couldn't believe it when Laurel told my mom to take me to DeMaranville Furniture and let me pick out the furniture for my bedroom.  We went to the store and I picked out my bed and dresser and various other pieces of furniture.  It was like a dream come true to have someone care that much about me.  To say Laurel was generous is the understatement of the year!  

He also insisted that David and I get our eyes and teeth checked.  Another new experience.  There never was money before for that kind of care.  Going to the doctor was a rare occasion, and usually only when the school insisted on a physical examination for entering school.  David and I both always knew we had to stay well.  There was no other option, maybe in the long run that was a good thing, psychologically.  

I remember the day Laurel handed me a twenty dollar bill. Twenty dollars in 1950/1951 was a lot of money.  Especially to a teenager.  He said I should go to town and buy an outfit.  What ever I wanted to spend it on was up to me.  Oh my goodness, I thought about that for quite awhile and I bought a Seventeen magazine to study all of the latest fashions.  I wanted to make the most of this chance of a lifetime.  Finally, I walked downtown and went in to Cheatum's. Cheatum's was the premiere dress shop in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  I finally settled on a dark green skirt and a pastel green angora sweater.  Angora sweaters were the new rage in teen clothes.  They were furry, cozy looking, and felt so good when worn.  I haven't seen an angora sweater for years!

The gift Laurel Evelyn gave to me and my family was love and caring.  I will be forever grateful for this, and the fact that he came into our lives.  Maybe the greatest gift to David and me, was that he loved our mother.  I believe this is the greatest gift to childen, then and now.  Children then are free of worry about their mother, and can grow. 

Laurel died on May 7, 1967 in Rapid City, South Dakota. During the seventeen years he was in my life, many things happened.  I met Richard Meier and we married.  Laurel gave us $100 for our expenses on our honeymoon.  Which, by the way, covered everything for a week in Denver and we had some left over.  I had my two daughters, and named my youngest one Laurel.  Jobs were found and jobs were lost, houses were bought and houses were sold.  David graduated from College and married, then moved to California. Ordinary family events and we were a family through it all.  

I can still remember when he wouldn't believe me when I said, "Oh I can't dance, I'll never learn to dance."  He said, "Come on, you are going to learn to dance."  We were at the Saddle Club having a family celebration dinner and he led me to the dance floor and told me, "Relax and close your eyes. Just follow me."  What a good feeling that was to have a strong person in charge and gliding so easily across the dance floor. It was like a miracle, and I will never forget that feeling of, "I can do it."

Laurel was always the one person I could count on, Right or wrong I knew he would back me in what ever I decided to do.  It is rare to have a person in our lives like that.  So today I say "Happy Birthday Laurel Evelyn. Thank you for coming into my life at exactly the right time. I wouldn't have missed it for anything."  Patj April 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Sentimental Journey To Loveland, Colorado April 21, 2015

Image result for mckee medical center loveland co
My first stop was McKee Medical Center.  I had to make a sad visit there to the Hospice Center to visit a long time friend, Iva Z.  She is close to ending her long journey of life and I wanted to hold her hand and whisper in her ear that I love her.  There is nothing else I can do.  I visited with her daughter and told her of my first experiences knowing her mother so many years ago.  There were family pictures on the shelf in Iva's room and what a joy to see her life as it progressed.  She was so beautiful, and one picture looked a lot like the actress, Lauren Bacall.  When I commented on that thought, her daughter said so many people have said that very same thing.  It was a nice thing to see her family and her life in pictures.  I said, "I'll bet they are sending positive vibes to Iva."  I didn't stay long as Iva was not conscience and her daughter had other things to do than visit with me.  She was very glad that I had come to see her mother.  I can only pray that Iva can endure peacefully until she is called home to be with her family that is waiting for her.  A farewell to an old friend is sad for us that have to do it.  Have a blessed trip Iva.

My next stop was the Loveland Public Library.  Image result for loveland public library
I decided to donate four of  my books to the Genealogy Room in this marvelous library.  I had the donation form filled out and an addendum that describes the books.  I gave them Katherine's Children the Meech and Huffman Families of Franklin County, Ohio; The Kentucky Ancestors of Patricia Craig Johnson, An American Story; Soft Whispers and Gentle Voices, Meet My Foremothers; Echoes of Distant Voices.

Not feeling like going home, I drove to the place in Loveland where I worked for sixteen years, the  Image result for hewlett packard loveland coHewlett Packard site.
This picture shows the parking lot full of cars -- not so today. As I drove around the four buildings I rarely saw more than three or four cars parked at each building.  As I looked at the windows of the vacant buildings I could see in my memory the 2,000 plus people that worked there when I did.  It was an amazing place to work.  I was so blessed to have been one of those 2,000 employees.  The four buildings that have tan roofs are the four HP buildings.  To the upper left is the newest building,  It is the only one that had cars in the parking lot, I was glad to see it was Keysight Technologies and it was busy. Why was I glad?  Because I am considered a Keysight retiree and my pension check is from this company now. I sure do wish it continued success! It is a spin off of Hewlett Packard/Agilent.  When I retired I was an HP employee.  I was soon an Agilent retiree and now I am a Keysight retiree.  

Finally it was well past time to go home and get ready for my two presentations coming up Saturday. But for a few hours I was happy to visit old memories and visit old places. Although it is sad to say farewell to a good friend I am glad I went to Loveland today. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Live Chat -- Genealogically Speaking Of Course

My Genealogical Briefcase - Well Traveled

Image result for iLearn Lab Loveland

I am so blessed to have so many outlets for my passion of speaking about genealogy. Since my last report on March 13, I have been very busy.  I want to catch my readers up on the latest adventures.

Pictured is the wonderful iLearn Lab in the Loveland Public Library. This was the location of the Family Search Workshop I had the pleasure of conducting on March 28, 2015. 15 eager students registered for the workshop and the room was a buzz of activity.  I presented an hour Power Point to show them the way and then they were on their own to play with the wonderful website.  I had three volunteer helpers to help the students if they had questions about the wedbsite.  Thanks to Sharon, Kathy and Debbie.  George, former Larimer County Genealogical Society Education Chair, was there to help as well, although he was partaking as a student today. It was a very successful workshop.  The evaluation sheets were very positive for feedback. The Larimer County Genealogical Society may decide to repeat this workshop soon. Of course, I was exhausted both physically and mentally by the end of the three hours.  But I am pleased to report that it is an experience I thoroughly enjoyed.

One week later, on April 4, 2015 I facilitated the first of two Intermediate Genealogy classes for LCGS. This one was held at the Council Tree Library Community Room in Fort Collins. Thirty people attended this class. It was an excellent group and there was a lot of interaction among all of us. This picture is not of my class, but it is of the Community Room in the library. Another three hour class that was most enjoyable.  The Council Tree Library shares the corner with Panera Bread, and of course, I couldn't resist the temptation of having lunch there before heading home. Delicious 1/2 cheese panini and green salad.  This was a beautiful April Saturday and the day before Easter.  I was pleased that thirty people chose to share it with me in this class. Stay tuned for further adventures, Patj

Image result for council tree library

Friday, March 13, 2015

March 11, 2015 Speaking At Longmont, Colorado

What a beautiful day this was. I drove the back way to Longmont so I could enjoy the scenery.  I like County Line Road as it cuts through the beautiful farm land and I can look at the "not so busy" areas.  The day was warm and sunny and perfect as I traveled to Longmont for my presentation there at 1:30.  The Longmont Genealogical Society is one of my favorite places to speak.
The folks are always so friendly and kind. It was good to see Margaret K, the Society President, and meet Kay who is Vice President and in charge of programs.  Of course, the presentation is a piece of cake compared to the anxiety in setting up the electronic equipment. That is the best show of all. Every set up is a different animal.  I have become pretty good at figuring most systems out, but there is always that unexpected glitch that I have to figure out.  But like every other time the set up was good and the program was ready to roll.

My friend Harry R gave me the newspaper article that was in the Longmont Times-Call for the day. That was nice to see my name "in lights".  From that you can see what my subject was.  All in all, it was a very pleasant day and I enjoyed it immensely.

This is the Church where the LGS has the pleasure of meeting.  It is a nice big hall with plenty of room. The turnout today was enough to fill the hall comfortably.

After I was finished at the Genealogical Society I drove out to see Cindy and Don. I haven't been there for about a month due to the bad weather we have been having in February and March.  It was good to see them and they had fixed tacos and we all had a good supper and a few laughs as well. Cindy is recovering so well, I am amazed. I finally left about 7pm and headed back to Fort Collins. As always, it was good to get home.  It would be better if I still had my special little friend, Kitty Girl waiting for me.  But that is life, full of changes and sometimes not so peasant changes.

It was a wondeful day, seeing old friends, having a well received presentation, a beautiful drive, and seeing family as well.  Have I mentioned lately that I have the best life imaginable?  I am so blessed and so grateful.  Until later, Patj

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Berriman McLaughlin & Company

Yesterday I brought Berriman McLaughlin & Company back into the computer office.  He has been waiting in a box for about six weeks, because I couldn't stand to look at the stack of papers and be reminded that I had to put him aside for awhile.  My 2014 goal was to have my book about him done by year end ---- but many things got in the way, so he was exiled to the box until further notice.

But finally, I had a breather and decided to get started once again on this book.  Berriman McLaughlin had eleven children that grew to adulthood.  I plan to write about each of them, their family and their life.  I am currently writing about child number five! She is daughter Elizabeth who married Elisha Petty first and second to Lyman B Darrow. Elizabeth died in her forties.  Would you say I have a way to go with six more children?  My goal now is to be done by year end 2015, but no guarantee.  

That is the reason for the title Berriman McLaughlin & Company. As I study these folks I find such interesting personalitites and unknown events that I linger way too long on each child. They are the major stockholders and partners in the "Company". 

When I started this project I felt it would be a fairly short and easy job.  These people looked, at first glance, like typical frontier people that led fairly ordinary lives.  What a delightful surprise to find not one of them is anywhere near typical at all.  But then, I shouldn't be surprised since every person has a story worth telling.

It is definitely a labor of love and respect to write about Berriman McLaughlin & Company.  Of course, I have a hidden agenda. I am hoping to find a slight, if even tiny, clue as to Catherine French's parents.  But even if that does not happen it is fun to study her family.  Patj


Saturday, February 28, 2015

2015 - Coming In LikeThe Roar Of A Lion

Image result for roar of a lion

2015 promises to be a busy and fun year!  I have given five talks so far, in just the first two months.  My speaking schedule is filling up nicely and is a comfortable level now. I have to be careful to not over book and make it UNcomfortable.  It all has to do with that little two letter word "No".  Here is my schedule as it stands today.

Now you can see why I am looking forward to a wonderful year.  It is what I like to do.  I know, you may say, "Hmmm you didn't work this hard for money. Right?"  That is so correct, but this gives me rewards so much more valuable than money.  I like designing and organizing my material and I really enjoy interacting with others at the presentation. 

My wish for you is that you will also have a joyous 2015. Stay tuned, Patj

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Finally -- Back In Business -- A Few Of My Favorite Things

It has been more than a month since I last wrote in my blog. So much has happened to me and my family, and I will not try to recap it all.  I just want to express my gratefulness to Heavenly Father that things seem to be getting back to the normal. 

The picture is to record my favorite things, my little treasures given to me by little people.  As I am in a downsizing mode right now, I decided to take a picture of these precious gifts.  I am organizing, and storing, and tossing items that are taking up space.  These things are getting quite old, and soon will be too old to keep. I have a necklace made of Cherrios and a beautiful decorated clothes pin, made by a special little girl, my granddaughter, Logan.  I have an ape standing by a tree given to me by my oldest grandson, Chad. I have a special leather key fob called Echo, made by my next grandson, Ryan. I have a Christmas Tree and a floral wall hanging made by my daughter, Laurel. I have a Christmas ornament made this year by the veterinary clinic for my best friend, Kitty Girl. And last added to my treasures, a little mechanical musical from my great grandson, Oliver.  Of course, these treasures are not anything I could turn into money or that I could even hock.  Treasure does not mean monetary value only, for me these are more precious than money, their value is in love.

And finally, I have been able to work on my book about Berriman McLaughlin. As I study each of his twelve children and add them to the story, I am discovering so many new people and new stories.  These McLaughlins seemed to be ordinary people at the outset.  But, oh my, I have discovered wives no one knew about, grandchildren that had been lost to history, and one grandchild mis-identified who is now in the correct family with the correct parents.

Now that I have teased you, I will share a bit of these discoveries now.

John McLaughlin, son of the original Berriman, had four children and genealogists and family historians have assumed he had one wife who was their mother. But upon studying this family I discovered he had to have had a first wife who was the mother of the two oldest children. Her name may be forever lost to history, but I know she existed, and she will be mentioned in my book.

Berryman McLaughlin, grandson of the original Berriman, had been described as having no children. However, I discovered he had a daughter, Sarah, and a son, John.  They are now recognized as his children and that is in my book.

Elizabeth McLaughlin, daughter of the original Berriman, died young, around age forty five. With her first husband she had seven children. With her second husband she had one baby boy. She died shortly after that baby was born. In her father's intestate probate case that baby is identified as John Doir, heir of Elizabeth, deceased.  I discoverd this son is Asa Allen Darrow, not named John as in the probate case.  I am sure that Asa knew who his mother was, but others that have followed assumed the probate record HAD to be right, and his name was John. Asa is in my book, in the right family at last.

So I am busy and having fun again. Is there anything more fun than family history?  Oh yes, also, my daughters are both doing fine.  Stay tuned, Patj

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Angels Around Us -- December 2014

If you do not believe in angels, read no further.  However, I am here to tell you, they are real and they are around us, everyone of us.  Our believing is the same as opening the door to their help and miracles.  I would be very afraid to say I don't believe in angels. 

Today is Sunday, December 28, 2014.  It is 10:45 am.  Two weeks ago on Sunday, December 14, 2014 at this very same time, Cindy, my oldest daughter, was entering the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  The surgeons at University Hospital, in Aurora, Colorado were starting her second surgery in three days.  For three hours I waited, not leaving the phone for a minute. Finally at 1:30 I got the call that Cindy had survived a surgery not many would have survived.

There is no reason to go into detail of the surgery itself.  It was necessary to keep her alive.  The surgery meant she had a very tough road ahead of her, but at least she had a chance to survive.  Cindy had gone to the hospital on Monday, December 8 and is still there today December 28. 

This brings me to the subject of "Angels".  Do I believe in angels?  Absolutely.  Can I see angels?  No, but I can sense and feel their presence.  Would I want to live in a world without angels?  Never.  Did I ever see them?  No, I don't need to see to believe.  Do I need to know who they are?  No.  Do I trust angels to do Heavenly Father's bidding?  Yes.  I think you get the picture, I am an angel fan club of the first order, and I am thanking them in public.

If you have read this, hopefully you will agree with me that life without angels would be very dangerous.  Hopefully, you are now a member of my angel fan club.   Patj

Friday, December 5, 2014

Berriman McLaughlin & Farewell To 2014

The book about my 4th great grandfather, Berriman McLaughlin, is not going to be done by the end of 2014.  My goal when I started this project was to have it done for my "2014 book".  I try to add one book a year to my collection of books.  2014 ended up being a very busy year for me, so I had to keep setting it aside.  Now, in December, I am back at it, but I won't get it completed soon.  But I wanted to give it recognition at least, and I will be talking about it more when it is finished.

The project became very interesting due to my plan to study each of Berriman's twelve children, and write about them as well.  It seemed a fairly simple idea, until I started studying these folks and found all sorts of mysteries.  An unknown wife for a son, a different maiden name for another son's wife, unknown children for a grandson.  They are a very interesting group of people.  So stay tuned for a full report when the book is done.

As far as a farewell to 2014, I can only say it has been a very nice and busy year.  I have facilitated quite a few genealogy classes. I did a Land Records Workshop with a dear friend and fellow genealogist of mine.  I have designed and taught a nine week Family History Class for my Church Ward.  The calling of Family History Consultant has kept me busy since the class because several people sort of caught the "genealogy bug".  I spoke at the Loveland Stake Family History Fair in April. This was a neat experience as it was in connection with Roots Tech the largest Genealogy Conference ever with about 10,000 people attending in Salt Lake City.  After that conference Church Stakes can use some of the recorded programs and combine it with some local speakers to give other geographical areas the advantage of the programs/classes shown at Salt lake City.  300 people attended the Loveland Stake Family History Fair.  It was quite successful and very well organized.  I thoroughly enjoyed the day.

I said farewell to some very special people this year.  My dear friend, Mary Zebley, passed away in April.  My step brother, Ron Evelyn, passed away in October.  And closer to home, my forever friend, Kitty Girl, died on September 11.  Nothing can ever replace the spot she holds in my heart. What a sweet and gentle four legged friend she was.

I did make one new friend however, this is the first full year of driving my Toyota Prius.  I had so much to learn about this vehicle.  It is not like any car I have ever owned.  But I have to say that so far it has been a pleasure.  It has to go a bit to beat out "Orange Bird" as the best car ever, but it is certainly in the running.

2014 has been a very good year.  Two visits with Laurie, and two visits with Cindy make it a good year.   New friends, Mimi, Peg, Rebecca, Ruth Ann, and DeNae from Church add to the feeling of gratefulness.

2015 is already looking busy as well --- so expect a full report this tme next year.  Until then, I wish you the very best.  Patj

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

That's A Good Reason ---- Genealogy Will Be Worthwhile Forever

That's a Good Reason        By Darcy      
Ancestral Quest October 2014 Newsletter

When life is shaking its fist at us and staring us right in the eye, it matters where you have come from, that you are an apple hanging on a family tree and that you have a tree that you belong to.  You matter, those whom you love matter.  You and they need to know they matter.  Identity hits at the very root of all of our souls. 

We once communicated with a young man who had ended up in a state prison at the point of the mountain in Utah.  While visiting another prisoner, this man shared his experience  in prison of finding himself by finding who he is by tracking down his family tree. 

After he told us his story on how he ended up in prison, he told us, “Had I known who I was, I would not have ended up here.” Lessons from classics like “Oliver Twist” and “Anastasia” would never have made such an emotional impact on the man, both Oliver and Anastasia were beaten up physically and emotionally by cruelties in life, but were lifted out of their circumstances and grief by extended family. 

To not have a strong connection to family, no matter the reason, interferes with our being able to socially or academically function at our potential. Loved ones who are able to relate to family members who have lived before, find strength knowing they are attached to a strong tree of their own.  Men and women they can relate to those who have also gone through fear, anxiousness, abandonment, the unfamiliar and pain much like what they are facing and may face in life and they made it through. 

Just knowing you are an apple that came from branches full of other apples, just like you, that is attached to a very strong-large tree that has roots and arms that reach down and are solidly deep, can make a mighty difference in never feeling alone.  Knowing where they come from, that they have purpose, there is a plan is aided by them getting to know those who have left this life ahead of them. It can help them through some mighty tough spots. 

How do we help our disinterested youth know who they are and to feel the powerful arms and envelopment of those who have come before of their very own tree?  We help by sharing bits and pieces of a time of the other apples on their tree.  This creates a safety net and a peaceful place they can go when the wars in the mind can become overwhelming.  They can see how conflicts were resolved and that being overwhelmed and upset have resolutions.  They will see positive behaviors and emotions that will build their confidence and ease their anxieties.  With such a vast strong awareness of a mighty tree and being surrounded by apples of their own increases a sense of stability, warmth and caring that will nurture our children’s independence.   

Now “That’s a good reason.” Working on your family tree will be important to a member of your family, the effort will be worthwhile.  (accessed 29 Oct 2014)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Remembering Ronald Evelyn 1932-2014

Today I learned of the passing of my step brother, Ronald Evelyn.  I am very sad to hear that news. My mother married his dad in December 1950.  Ron lived with his grandparents, Mr and Mrs Dixon, but visited us often and then he joined the US Air Force after graduating from high school.  After returning from the service he lived with my mom and step dad until he married in 1954.  He and my brother David, shared a bedroom in the house at 1815 P Street.  To all it seemed that we were real siblings.

It was Ron and David that tied tin cans and other paraphanalia to our car when I married Richard Meier in August 1952.  It was Ron that comforted my mom when his dad died in 1967.  It was Ron that came to my brother's funeral in California in 1980.  Ron and Lorna always included my mom in their family events and celebrations.

Our lives went different directions over the years, but in the clinches, we were family.  There are all kinds of families, not aways blood relations.

All I can think of to say is, "Farewell, dear friend, rest in peace."   Patj

Monday, October 20, 2014

Taking A Short Break From Loneliness

A person gets so used to being alone, that a short break from that feeling is a joyful thing.  In the five years since John passed away, I have had to get used to being very much alone.  It is self inflicted, of course.  There is such a risk in reaching out to others and taking a chance on getting hurt and disappointed.  It is funny how you can get used to being alone in that way.

My daughter was here visiting me for five and one half days and it was so easy to slip back into the feeling of "family" again.  It is also so sad to be back to being alone again.  I never would have thought I would be so alone in my old age.

This evening I was listening to one of my favorite songs, "The Cat In The Cradle" by Harry Chapin. As I listened to the words I had the thought that my children had grown up "just like me".  It is a never ending circle of events.  Generation after generation.

And yet I feel blessed that I can be content all alone.  I know people, but I don't have to depend on them to feel good about myself.  I am also blessed to have had that short break from loneliness, and the memory of the feeling of belonging again to a family.

I hope my dear readers forgive my emotional sojourn this evening.  Tomorrow will be a brighter day for sure --- for me and for you.  Patj

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Dead Do Tell Tales – Sarah McLaughlin Age 8 - John McLaughlin Age 6 - Scott County Illinois

As you know, if you are a regular reader of my blog, I love genealogy!  I am always amazed when I find little known information that finds new connections for people lost to history so long ago.  I will try to recap my latest case and the way I feel about it.

I am writing a book about my 4th great grandfather, Berriman McLaughlin.  I fell in love with his name when I first connected to him so many years ago.  2014 seemed to be the year for me to concentrate on him and his family and write about them all.  I started the book, but many interruptions slowed me down.  But when a few minutes were available I wrote, and of course, doing that meant I would see little details that I needed to investigate further.  That is really the fun of this type of project.

My plan was to also write about each of Berriman’s twelve children and their families.  I started with the oldest child, Daniel McLaughlin and his wife Elizabeth Utt.  It was short story as this couple was pretty much a normal family. 

Next was the second child, John McLaughlin and his wife Verlinda Wilcoxen.  I didn’t really know much about John as he died in 1849 at a young age of fifty.  His wife, Verlinda, died in 1835, while the couple still lived in Ohio.  Most family researchers assumed John also died in Ohio, but now I am sure he went to western Illinois after Verlinda died, and took his four young children with him.  That is where his parents and siblings had gone.  It would make sense to go where there would be family support.  Plus some of Verlinda’s brothers went there as well.

It was finding an old newspaper article published in 1841 Morgan County, Illinois that started my newest interaction with the dead.  It was a notice of John McLaughlin filing a petition concerning the estate of his father-in-law, John Wilcoxen.  It mentioned his children, Elizabeth and Hercules, both infant heirs of Verlinda McLaughlin.  This convinced me that John died in Illinois not Ohio.  It also sent me on a search to find out more about Elizabeth and Hercules.  The two older children, Sarah and Barryman, were obviously old enough to not be considered infants.

In trying to pin down the births of John and Verlinda's four children, I checked all censuses for them to try to draw a conclusion about their order in the family.

It was when I was investigating the oldest child, Sarah, that I discovered the two children mentioned in the title of this story.  Sarah, daughter of John and Verlinda, married Squire Barnes.  When I found her and Squire in the 1870 Scott County, Illinois census, there were two McLaughlins living with them. Sarah age eight and John age six. My question immediately was, who are these two children?  It would seem logical that they were the children of a brother, but who?  I had investigated Hercules and had his children figured out, that only left Barryman.   The book by Steven K McLaughlin, The McLaughlins, didn’t know that Barryman had any children, it only said Barryman was killed in a fight in 1867 and his widow (unnamed) married Andy Lawson.  With that bit of information I found Barryman married Nancy E. Swearingen in 1857 in Greene County, Illinois.  It now seemed perfectly logical that the two children would be Barryman’s.  Many new mysteries now came into the picture.  

Yes, Mrs. Emeline McLaughlin married Andrew Lawson in 1869 in Morgan County, Illinois.  In 1870 Emeline Lawson was in the household of Andrew Lawson, but not her children, they were in the household of Sarah McLaughlin Barnes.  In the 1880 Scott County census, Sarah (the 8 year old in 1870) had married Andrew Moore and her sixteen year old brother, John (the 6 year old in 1870), was living with that couple as Andrew’s brother–in-law.  

I still didn’t know for sure that they were Barryman’s children.  But when I found Sarah McLaughlin Moore’s (the 8 year old in 1870) memorial on Find A Grave it said she died in 1939. I went to and searched Illinois Deaths 1916-1947.  There she was, and her death certificate said her father was Berryman Mcglacin and her mother Emma Swangaim.  Yes, terribly misspelled, but I know it is Barryman McLaughlin and Emeline Swearingen.  These are indexed records and the handwriting was probably poor for the indexer’s input, but I know what the names are.  Thank goodness the informant knew enough about Sarah McLaughlin Moore's parents to get it close.  This lady lived a long and fruitful life, from about 1860 to 1939, at least eighty years.  

Things I will probably never know?  Did Emeline leave her children with her sister-in-law because her second husband didn’t want them in the house?  Andrew Lawson was twenty years older than Emeline, so maybe that was a problem. Or maybe they were just visiting their Aunt Sarah Barnes the day the census taker called. They counted everyone in the house on that day.  Indication is that the children were on their own.  In 1880, sixteen year old John was living with his newly married sister and her husband, Andrew Moore.  I don’t know what happened to John McLaughlin (the 6 year old in 1870) .  Did he marry?  Did he die early?

What happened to Nancy Emeline Swearingen McLaughlin Lawson after Andrew Lawson died is another mystery.  I am happy to have connected Barryman McLaughlin (1825-1867) to his two children after these many years.  Now, dear reader, you know why this is such a fascinating thing to do.  Many times I put the book about the family of Berriman McLaughlin (1776-1850) on the back burner.  But there was always a small voice urging me to keep plugging along.  I believe now that these children needed to be identified and connected to their parents.

Happy hunting to you – and to me as well.  Patj

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Farewell To A Beautiful Show Kitty AKA Kitty Girl 9/11/2014

Isn't she beautiful?  I always told her she could have been a show kitty, or on TV advertising cat food, or in a movie.  Of course the main ingredient was her sweet disposition and her care taker mentality that made her beautiful.  She came into my life in June 2002 when I was in Gering, Nebraska visiting my parents.  Mom said, "Oh yes we have a cat now that lives up over the garage."  We went out to see her and she peeked around corner of the rickety old stairs and looked down at us.  She was not in a very pretty state as she had been on her own for some time and hungry, skinny, and scared.  I immediately said, "Hello Kitty Girl."  We fell in love at first sight.   We didn't even know at that point if she was even a girl at all.  My stepdad, said, "Well she can stay but she is NOT coming in the house."   A week later, when I called my Mom, she said, "Guess who is living in the house now?" And this began our life with Kitty Girl at the helm, and she definitely knew  how to become the boss.

For a year she took care of Mom and Lee and then Mom died and Lee moved to the Veteran's Home and John and I went over to Gering and picked her up.  She became a Colorado kitty then.  Elsewhere in this blog you can read about her introduction to Colorado, us, and BusterB.  Just enter Peace Accord in the search window next to the "B" at the top of THIS home page and the story will show up.  And just like us humans, she had BusterB under control in no time.

I figure she was between 18-20 years old and she was failing fast in the last few months.  It is the worst thing to have to do, but she was suffering so I had to do it and she wasn't well either.  So I have lost my last best friend.  No longer anyone waiting at home for my return from different activities. No more evening petting rituals before bedtime.  No more beauty treatments that she loved so much as I combed her and made a fuss over her.  No more extra warm foot warmer on cold winter nights.  Just like losing a human friend, it is sad.

The vet said she definitely was ready to go as it only took about 10 seconds and she was gone.  I was with her until the end, petting her and talking to her so she went peacefully and knowing she was loved.  I sat in the car for quite awhile before driving off as I was pretty emotional and figured it best not to drive in that condition.

All I can say now is that I am glad I was with her until the end. She relaxed so fast and she was out of pain and worry.  It was hard to do, but I did it because I loved her and didn't want her to suffer anymore.  I will miss her terribly, she was a good friend.  Goodbye, Kitty Girl.