Saturday, February 26, 2011

Learning the Culture

Just read an interesting story that Dad sent to me. He found it on CNN:

I find it interesting that black families seem to be so much more interested in their past and wanting their descendants to remember, than those in my family. When I tried to ask questions of family members, or have tried to contact distant family members, I have most often been shunned or told that they can’t remember anything. My mother was this way; and Carol, my cousin,  told me the same thing about her mother (my mom’s sister). They could remember very little. Once in a while I could get my mom to talk but it was rare. And when I showed her her name and her family listed in the 1930 census, she wanted to know why she should care about it.

It wasn’t until I saw Rosie O’Donnell on Who Do You Think You Are? that I got a clue about my family history. Although only one line of my family history is Irish, it seems that the celtic philosophy permeated my family’s way of thinking. Rosie mentioned that in her Irish household, the past was forgotten, never spoken of. For some reason, the Irish do not like speaking about their past.

Like many cultures, the Irish have had a hard history. But what makes their history any more difficult than that of the Blacks in America whose ancestors were enslaved, treated like animals and had very difficult lives? What about the American Indians who were forced to leave their homes because of the white man and yet still revere their ancestors. I know little about the Chinese and their hardships, but their ancestors, too, are revered.

Some interesting thoughts. Guess I will have to study this further.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Actually Using High Tech

So, with all that I learned at RootsTech and have been reading about, I realized I needed to put it all to use.

This is, again, off track of my family researching, but just wanted to assure my family that the time, effort and $$$ put forth for family history is paying off little by little.

Friday, after RootsTech was finished for the day, I was determined to get over to the Family History Library before all the festivities began so I could get a little research in.

As I dumped all my stuff in the hotel room, I was trying to figure out what to take and not overload myself with stuff. (I usually have to cart everything along in case I “forgot” something.) This time though, I was determined to take the minimum and get a few things accomplished in the small amount of time I had.

I did not want to lug my netbook along and a whole bunch of paper notes. So, using my newfound knowledge, I grabbed my thumb drive which had RootsMagic-to-Go on it, a pen and a spiral notebook with paper to write notes and my NGS neck ID holder for my pen and Library cards.

Off I went to the Library which was just next door and since the sun was shining and weather seemed relatively mild (and cuz I kept forgetting my sweater the last time I was there), I walked out without any coat and just my thumb drive, pen and spiral notebook.

Got to the Library, plugged my thumb drive into a computer, looked at my database, clicked on the Library catalog to see what films I needed to view, jotted down a few notes and the film#s, unplugged my thumb drive and I was off to find the films and see what I could learn.

What fun! Had everything I needed at my fingertips, did not lose my sweater, didn’t have to worry about a computer and I actually found a lot of information on one of my families of interest.

Yea for technology and good weather!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

from High Tech to Low Tech

Wow! did not realize it had been so long since I posted. I want to get back to my ancestors’ history but I need to share with my friends and family all the cool things I did in Salt Lake City.

I was soooo lucky that Michelle and Ellie (14mos) wanted to come with me so that made the trek so much more fun.

We arrived on a Wednesday; Carolyn picked us up at the airport but not before she locked her keys in the house. Michelle and I were content to sit and wait (what choice did we have?) which also gave Ellie a chance to nap.

While sitting there, we saw the Sleights. Alane was on her way to Alicia’s for the baby blessing and Don was going to follow on Friday. So funny in this huge world actually running into people we know.

Carolyn is amazing. She managed to get Michelle’s two huge suitcases and my med-large suitcase in the trunk and 2 carseats, a stroller, two babies and 3 adults in the car. Great job, Carolyn. (Should’a taken a picture of that!)

After running errands, etc, Michelle drove me to the Plaza Hotel where I was going to stay for the 3-day RootsTech Conference. The conference was great! As usual, I learned a lot. Saw lots of people that I knew from previous conferences and met a lot of knew people. Innovations at the conference were the play ‘n relax areas; the central “camping” spot for the bloggers, the hands-on workshops, the fact that the conference was for both techies and non-techie types. There was also a wider age range in the attendees than I have seen in the past.

My favorite quote of the conference was by Curt Witcher: “If you do what you have always done, you’ll get what you have always gotten.” Interestingly enough, I can apply that to many facets of my life. Just the week before, my dog agility trainer told me the same thing when I could not get Skye to jump over a different jump; I kept giving him the same signal so he kept jumping over the same jump, duh!

There was some frustration with class offerings and logistics at RootsTech but that is to be expected when something so huge (3000 people) and so quickly brought together (7 months) has its debut. The keynote speakers were very good and not necessarily genealogists. Curt Witcher, however, is still one of my favorites and I had the privilege of hearing his keynote address AND attending the luncheon where he again spoke, this time specifically about societies. I came back with tons of ideas and have been overwhelming our TCGS president with them.

The rest of the week was spent with family. It was fun. We all enjoyed watching the 3 kids play together: Dallin, 8; Gracie, 4, and Ellie, 14mos. In spite of the cramped quarters, only one bathroom, and car jockying, it was a pretty smoothe and fun week. Michelle had fun cooking for Kris and Carolyn, Kris made us the MOST scrumptious pizza I have ever eaten (and probably filled with a gazillion calories—but so yummy). We saw Dallin and Gracie do their gymnastics (with 3 kids, 3 hours right at dinner time, the logistics getting there and back were interesting.)

We went to the ballet, the Carl Bloch Art Exhibit at BYU with Midge, Cheryl and Kaia, the temple, the Family History Library, the Lion House Pantry; shopping, walking, eating Graeter’s Ice Cream, crazy week…

We had warm days, sunshine, wind blowing so hard it nearly blew Gracie over; snow (so glad I wasn’t driving) and cold.

After 9 days away, though, we were ready to come home. Kris got us to the airport in plenty of time to relax. We let Ellie play in the kiddie play area for 30 min before we headed to our gate. On arrival, Bernie and Marshall were waiting for us with flowers (thanks to Marshall) and the ride home (2.5 hrs) was quiet and relaxing (Bernie does all the driving; I am so lucky).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Now: Going to Salt Lake City

The new RootsTech Conference takes place this week in Salt Lake City. I decided to go but when I told Michelle, she wanted to go too. Not to the conference of course, but to visit her brother, Kris, and his family.

So Wednesday morning, we are flying from Spokane to Salt Lake City, Michelle, Ellie and me, Gramma.

I am excited about RootsTech and the opportunity to learn about 21st century technology and genealogy. Plus, some of my favorite presenters/genealogists will be there: Thomas MacEntee, Curt Witcher – as well as several friends. I also was lucky enough to find someone who needed a roommate for the conference, so will be staying with Terri during the conference. Old friends, new friends, family, this should be a great week.

When Michelle found that the Sleeping Beauty Ballet was being performed, she bought tickets for Carolyn, me and her to go. We hope to go to the Salt Lake Temple on Monday morning, then visit the Family History Library to gain some insight into Swedish Research. This will be a busy Monday.

Tuesday we will have lunch with Midge Patrick then attend the Carl Bloch art exhibit at BYU’s Art Museum.

Michelle also found out that Smith’s sells Graeter’s Ice Cream and plans to buy a half gallon every day we are in Salt Lake—guess she likes ice cream!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

William G. Mossey, My Maternal Grandfather

1942--William G. MOSSEY-B&W, touched upGrampa Mossey was known as William G. by my mom and others who knew him but I find it interesting that he was actually baptized as George William (Georgius Gillelumus) in St. Peter’s Catholic Church on 31 January 1878. I often wonder why someone would give their child one name, but call them by another. I understand nicknames and childhood names, but giving him two names then reversing them makes me curious. His godfather was named George LaFossé, hence the given name George as this is often the practice in the Catholic Church. The child receives the given name of the sponsor. So maybe it was out of respect and love for the godfather who was named George. At any rate, he was known as William G. as far as my mom ever knew. I do not know what he was called by his friends and family (aside from Dad and Grampa), but in the 1880 US Census in Plattsburgh, he is enumerated as Willie, a 2-year-old.

Although my grandfather was born in the 19th century, most of his adult life was spent in the 20th century. And, although I did meet him, I, sadly, know little about him.

I do know that my mother adored him. I think I asked her once what made him so special, but her comments were pretty non-descript—he was nice, she loved him, he was her father…  Pretty much what many of us would say about our dads.

Grampa’s heritage was French Canadian even though he and his father were both born in Plattsburgh, New York. Mom told me that he spoke fluent French and would greet people in French as they walked down the streets of Springfield [Massachusetts] together.

Several things I know about him, thanks to my mom, I have been unable to prove as yet. First, she told me he worked as a cook on a boat [presumably on the St. Lawrence River as Plattsburgh is located on that river]. Secondly, he worked for the WPA during the Depression. Both of these facts are verifiable, just have to find the records to do it.

Mom said they would walk to mass on Sunday and when they returned home, Grampa would have a delicious breakfast waiting for them including Boston Baked Beans. I have the recipe here:


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Discovery Isn’t Always Joyful

Continuing with my French-Canadian research has not only led to fun discoveries such as being able to apply for a lineage society and to know that our ancestors can be traced to the 7th century, but also has allowed discovery of some seemingly serious health issues.

I know that Kris is interested in this because of some health concerns he has and, up to now, this has not been as interesting to me.  But, the other night a real revelation occurred.

I am not sure what I googled, but I noticed an article linking French Canadian descendants with high cholesterol. Since both my mom and I have high cholesterol but not the lifestyle that is often associated with high cholesterol (active, not overweight, non-smoke and drink), my doctor and I have often wondered why I have high cholesterol. Now I have some clues.

My interest was piqued a while ago while looking at the syllabus for the NEGHS Regional Conference taking place in Springfield, MA (my birthplace) in April. I noticed a presentation by Muriel Normand on “From Quebec to New England: They Brought Along Their Genes.” Naturally, I was curious so did some Googling. I didn’t find much the first night I tried except to learn that French Canadians and their descendants have a form of Tay Sachs disease which is also found in Askenazi Jews.

Then, the other night I found the article on high cholesterol. The first one I read was so filled with technical jargon, I understood nothing other than this is a phenomena found in the descendants. Heart attacks in early life are also common. I did understand that the gene that causes this high cholesterol has been identified.

Obviously, this subject needs more study. Oh, how I would love to attend the conference in Springfield…

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Reaching Back into History

Now that I know we can trace our lines back to the Filles du Roi and Carignan Soldiers, I continued my research this time realizing an even bigger surprise.

My next discovery was that one of our Fille du Roi actually can be traced to Charlemagne, King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. Tracing a family back that far can only be accomplished if your family lines tie into royalty because the commoners were barely able to keep up with their day-to-day lives let alone keep track of who their ancestors were.

In fact, just the other day, Dick Eastman in his blog, talked about our ancestors of the 1600s and how rudimentary their lives were living day to day, barely surviving the daily chore of existing understanding very little about hygiene and health, possessing little to no knowledge, and other features of life that make ours so interesting and easy.

Catherine de Baillon was a Fille du Roi sent by the king of France to marry and populate in New France. We are linked to Catherine through our Forget line:

1-Catherine DE BAILLON-3363 (about 1645-27 January 1688)
. . 2-Jean MIVILLE-3345 (5 September 1672-30 December 1711
. . . 3-Guillaume Gabriel MAINVILLE/MIVILLE-3243 (7 March 1704-10 February 1799)
. . . . 4-Catherine Miville MAINVILLE-1336 (28 October 1747-)
. . . . . 5-Marie HUPE-LAGROIX-912 (9 June 1775-2 August 1855)
. . . . . . 6-Pierre LATOUR DIT FORGET-683 (13 July 1794-27 August 1878)
. . . . . . . 7-Gilbert LATOUR DIT FORGET-674 (15 May 1825-12 July 1854)
. . . . . . . . 8-Desiré "Jerry/Jeremiah" LATOUR DIT FORGET-383 (9 Nov 1844-28 Dec 1916)
. . . . . . . . . 9-Gilbert M. FORGEA-305 (about January 1865-6 July 1925)
. . . . . . . . . . 10-Katherine Winifred "Nin" FORGEA-303 (9 March 1898-3 October 1962)
. . . . . . . . . . . 11-Irene Emma MOSSEY (22 November 1922-12 September 2007)
. . . . . . . . . . . . 12-Marjorie Anne
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-Kristofer Earl
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-Michelle Alicia
. . . . . . . . . . .  11-Anna Winifred MOSSEY (18 December 1918-1 November 2002)
. . . . . . . . . . . .  12-Carol

According to Raymond Deschenes, Miville Genealogy/Deschenes Genealogy (

Catherine de Baillon, wife of Jacques Miville dit Descheses…came with a 1000 livres dowry and was considered to be born from an upper class family. Her ancestry can now be traced back to Charlemagne and the 7th century.

True to form, in an effort to become more knowledgeable of this period and these young women, I have inter-library-loaned two books to read on the subject. I am hoping to find out more specifically about the women in my family a well as the women and men, in general, who accepted this seemingly daunting path to follow. Was it forced on them? Did they consider it an adventure? Did they realize how difficult life would be when they arrived in the new world? Will we ever know?…