Thursday, May 21, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Cycle 2 - Week 4

I have fallen much further behind in the do-over than I thought I would.  It started when I was planning for a research trip to Manchester, CT a few weeks ago and then snowballed as these things do. I actually started writing this post over a week ago and then pushed it off for this week because I am home on staycation!!!!

Here are a few photos from our trip.

Emanuel Lutheran Church - Manchester, CT

Bennett Apartments - formerly South Manchester High School, Manchester, CT
Gravestone of my great-grandparents and great-aunts and uncles at East Cemetery, Manchster, CT.

Lillian Johnson Gustafson of Manchester, CT (Rt)
If I hadn't prepared well for the trip, including uploading the last photo above to Dropbox I might not have discovered that a genealogist we were meeting with was also Lillian's cousin!

But back to the do-over.  Thomas says the Week 4 topics are not essential but for me they may well be if I am going to stay on track and remember where I was when I went off track. They are 1 - Managing Projects and Tasks and 2 - Tracking Searches.

Managing my tasks is something I think I'm going to do with the Research Log for now, using the To Do tab.  When things get more complex, as they do, I'll probably use One Note.  I started using One Note at the office a few weeks ago and I really like it in almost a "where have you been all my life" kind of way!  I can definitely see myself using it for genealogy and even home organization as well.

Tracking Searches is something I think I must really do for myself. I love to use google for free research and ideas but doing the same search over and over is just a time waster and who wants that?  So, I plan to use Thomas's sheet for now.

Unbelievably my staycation is almost over already!  What time I have devoted to genalogy has been spent scanning Dad's old slides, reorganizing my cloud storage and organizing a bunch of loose photos that I inherited from my grandparents.

I'll be working on Thomas' Week 5 topics tonight and tomorrow and will probably post again tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Funny - Ancestor Hunting in Canada

When you take a trip to Canada in November, you have to know that you are taking your chances with the weather.  But when else was I going to have a four-day weekend??

And no, it didn't melt before we left.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past

I found this last week while going through some of my paternal grandparent's loose photographs.

I cannot for the life of me figure out who this could be. I'm 99% certain that if these women are family, the would have to be from my grandfather Matthews side as I know anyone from these generations of the Anderson family.

I have started a Mystery Photo file on my desktop and in Dropbox for this photo and others like it unless and until I can find out who these people are.

So, if you or anyone you know are descended from Arthur William Matthews or Ada Merritt Hobbs of Pittston, PA, please do email me!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Amenuenisis Monday - Howard Matthews' Story Part 22 - Reflection

This is the final installment of my grandfather's story; part family history and part autobiography.  At the end, he looks back.

Howard & Dagmar Matthews - 50th Anniversary Party September 1981
Matthews-Anderson 50th Anniversary Weekend

This, then, is near the end of a story which has encompassed a period of great change, a period that started with simpler things like street cars and steam engines and biggies pulled by horses, and hand-wound phonographs, since superseded by taxicabs, buses, private cars, huge trucks, superhighways, jet airplanes, television, computers, space flights and satellites.

It has been a period of great opportunity for me; a period in which I had the privilege of changing course, getting away from the coal mines, going back to school after a five year gap, going on to college and graduate school, attaining a CPA degree, experiencing living and working in two of the largest cities in our country, seven years with a prestigious international auditing firm in its New York office, fifteen years in the business management of the prestigious University of Chicago, which included travel in the Near East and England and, finally, nineteen years participation in the management and growth of my alma mater, Wesleyan University.

This was not a result of pulling on my own bootstraps. I had much help and support from many others. Nor was it an over-ambitious or deliberate exercise in ladder-climbing. Rather, it was my good fortune to have been prepared by education and experience to accept opportunities as they appeared.

What remains is an assessment. Was it worthwhile? It was, certainly, to have returned to school, for that made me aware of an entirely new world and gave me access to it and its benefits, many of which I might not have enjoyed otherwise. Yes, for me personally, professionally and socially, all that I put into it has been worthwhile. I can only hope that along the way I have made significant contributions to others, but that is for others to judge. That hope is better expressed in these verses of our Eclectic hymn, composed by Stephen Henry Olin of the class of 1866:


Across the loom, in level lines of light
Are stretched the woof-threads, even, strong and bright.
Their precepts spun from honor, truth and right.
Shine fadeless there.

So may we live that when our lives shall end,
Some memory of us with that web may blend,
And still some strength or beauty to it lend.
So may we die.

As I said a few installments ago, my next transcription project will by my grandmother's letters home during the Near East trip my grandparent's made for The Oriental Institute, but I need to organize things and get more of those photographs scanned so it will be a few weeks at least before I start that.

In the meantime I'll be posting about the Genealogy Do-Over and some other recent finds, including my trip this weekend to Manchester, Connecticut which included meeting a cousin!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Cyle 2 - Week 3

So the goals for Week Three were:

1. Tracking Research and 2. Conducting Research........yay!


I have reviewed and decided to use Thomas MacEntee's research log as-is for now.  I know it will take me some time in actually using the log to decide if/how I may modify it for my use.

Like Thomas, I am taking a wait-and-see approach also to decide if I will use one master log or multiple logs for different lines, I imagine I will use different sheets for each line.

I have filled in my research goals for my parents, starting with my father's birth certificate and baptismal records.


Genealogical birth certificates, defined as those for people born 70 or more years ago, in Cook County are supposedly searchable for online ordering.  If the online search yields no results you can complete a form and mail it to them for payment, this was what happened for me.  I find it hard to believe that no babies with the last name Matthews were born in all of Cook County, IL in 1936 since this county contains Chicago, my dad's birthplace, so I am hoping they will find his birth certificate offline.  If they don't find it, they are nice enough to refund your money, but I hope that won't be necessary.  I'll have to ask my mother if she remembers if he every had issues getting one when needed. I could ask my step-mother but that is a can of worms I have no intention of opening!

As for this baptismal record, I'll have to find the church first! I realized a couple of weeks ago that I have no idea where my father was baptized, even the denomination. My grandfather was Methodist, my grandmother was Lutheran and later in life my father became an Episcopal Priest.  It turns out that I found a clue while reorganizing my grandfather's correspondence.  He told a cousin that while they lived in Chicago they attended a community church with a Baptist history.  When I asked my mother about this, she said, "Oh, yeah!" (Gee, thanks!)

So, I have some internet hunting to do and some phone calls to make to get started, I'll keep you posted but probably won't post again this week since I'll be getting ready for my trip to Manchester, CT on Saturday!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Amanuensis Monday - Howard Matthews' Story #21 - "Retirement"

After my post last week I realized it would be better for there to be two more posts of my grandfather' story so this will be the second to last installment and next week will be the last.  In this installment we learn a bit more about his time with Wesleyan and then his 'retirement'.

It was necessary to purchase many neighborhood properties to provide land for this construction, to protect the neighborhood and to provide faculty housing. This involved the purchase of 204 properties in the immediate vicinity of the campus at a cost of $6.4 million.

Negotiations with the City of Middletown made possible the closing of Mount Vernon Street between Church Street and Wyllys Avenue and the widening of Vine Street and construction of the retaining wall along its east side, both of which streets were important to the later development of Foss Hill; and the closing of Wesleyan Place to make way for the first stage of the Science Center.

Along came the probability that coeducation would be resumed at Wesleyan and the question of how and where the ladies would be located,-on the existing campus, on a new campus adjacent to the men's campus, or at a distance? It seemed wise therefore to acquire land as a "hedge against the future". This was accomplished, 1960 to 1967, by the purchase of four large farm properties south of the city near the Durham line for a total cost of $1.14 million. When, later, it appeared that coeducation could be accomplished on the existing campus, the farm properties were named Wesleyan Hills and the Hill Development Corporation was formed to develop it has a housing project.

All of these things, plus frequent travel to Columbus, Ohio, in connection with the Press, added to the 'normal' day-to-day operations of the University and budgeting and spending and reporting to the President and the Board and its Committees, made up a very busy and interesting life for me. I always regarded it as 'more fun than working'. Nevertheless, somehow I found time to participate in outside activities, such as:
  • A corporator of the Liberty Bank for Savings for 27 years.
  • A corporator of the Middlesex Memorial Hospital.
  • Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Middlesex Area of the Connecticut Bank & Trust Company.
  • President of the Rockfall Corporation.
  • President of the Russell Library.
  • Member of the Board of Finance, the Retirement Board, and the Mayor's Advisory Committee of the City of Middletown.
  • Member Republican Town Committee.
  • Chairman Woodrow Wilson High School Building Committee.
  • Member Town Hall Building Committee.
  • Member State Republican Planning Committee.
  • Director Middletown Chamber of Commerce.
  • Member Commission on Aid to Higher Education, State of Conn.
  • A Commissioner of the Jones Fund for Charity.
  • A member of the original Advisory Committee on Middletown Redevelopment.
Victor L. Butterfield, who had been in poor health, resigned the Presidency of Wesleyan in 1967 at age 63. He was succeeded by Edward D. Etherington who resigned shortly thereafter to run for public office who was succeeded by Colin G. Campbell. Mr. Etherington urged me to stay on after I reached the regular retirement age of 68, but I declined and retired as of October 31, 1969 after having served Wesleyan for 19 1/3 years as its Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer.

I have found plenty to do to keep me active both mentally and physically. I continued as President of our town library until 1975 when we completed, after many months of study, a revision of its By-laws which did away with the self-perpetuating Board and, under the revised rules, gave citizens nominated by the City membership on the Board. This made possible city financial support of an addition to and renovation of the building, completed in 1984.

I remained until 1977 on the Commission for Aid to Higher Education (Federal grants) to which I had been appointed by Governor Dempsey in 1967.  I continued as Commissioner of the Jones Fund until 1975. I took on a few new ones: served for two years on the Finance Committee of the American Council of Learned Societies, and am currently on the Investment Committees of the Church of the Holy Trinity and the Saint Lukes' Home.

The care of our yard at 147 Old Mill Road has very happily consumed most of my fair-weather time. Our interest in the growing of roses began with four bushes we planted 20 or more years ago at 135 Mount Vernon street, and we brought them with us in 1970 when we moved here. Here, although the yard was well-equipped with shrubbery and grass areas, it had no flower beds or vegetable gardens, so we first developed annual and perennial beds and, later, other areas for raspberries, strawberries, vegetables and, finally, seven beds for roses and mums. Over the years we have planted a total of 72 rose bushes of which 48 survive. The survivors are a mixture of Hybrid Teas, Grandiflores, Floribundas, Flora-Teas, Climbers, Shrubs and the 'unknowns' from Mt. Vernon St.

In the next installment of my grandfather's story, he looks back on a life in a time of great change.

Friday, April 24, 2015

When I Was Young - Part 2

Here are my answers to Part 2 of Alona Tester's When I Was Young:

13. What childhood injuries do you remember?
Other than scrapes and bruises I was lucky to only have one sprain, but it was memorable to me.  I was about eight and we were waiting to see a show at the Vanderbilt Planetarium.  We were bored waiting on line and started playing tag in the lobby where I twisted my ankle trying to duck a tag.  I heard the ligament tear and it hurt so badly that I knew right away this was more than a simple twisted ankle.  I remember my father had to carry me into the ER that evening because I couldn't walk more than a few steps at a time and it was very swollen.  Even at that young age, I could tell you when it was about to rain for years after.
14. What was your first pet?
Oh, Benjamin, my sweet little shelter kitten.  Unfortunately, he lived only a few years. He was an outdoor cat, enough said.

15. Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of “when I was young ..?”
Not really. Thankfully my paternal grandfather wrote about his life before he died. This included a lot of information about his childhood. I have been sharing his story in my Amanuensis Monday posts. Also, my father was absolutely fascinated with my mother's father's war stories.  He taped hours of them and it is such a treasure to have now.

16. What was entertainment when you were young?
We didn't go out a whole lot when I was little, but we did see the occasional movie, a Broadway musical was a real treat, and we watched some TV(mostly PBS for me). We went to see Barnum & Bailey a few times at Madison Square Garden and the Nutcracker every Christmas as I have mentioned.  Also, vacationing on Prince Edward Island, we would see Anne of Green Gables - The Musical every year.

Once we had a cassette deck, my dad discovered old radio shows on tape and I was then raised on Mel Brooks (2000 year old Man) and Jack Benny, I loved them, still do.

17. Do you remember what it was it like when your family got a new fangled invention? (ie. telephone, TV, VCR, microwave, computer?) 
We got a VCR when my dad bought a recorder and taped everything in sight. 

Earlier than that, I remember when he bought a new car with a cassette deck and huge earphones that stretched to the back seat. This way I could be entertained on long car trips without annoying them when I wanted to listed to the same thing over and over.

18. Did your family have a TV? Was it b&w or colour? And how many channels did you get?
We had a color TV.  We probably got 6 channels? CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS (Thirteen), PIX and WOR.

19. Did your family move house when you were young? Do you remember it?
Yes, we moved a few blocks to a bigger house when I was about ten.  I couldn't wait.  I had a huge bedroom and the house was on a little river and right across the street from my elementary school

20. Was your family involved in any natural disasters happening during your childhood (, flood, cyclone, earthquake etc)?
No, we were not, thankfully.  We're not prone to a lot of that on Long Island.  I do remember that one summer as we were on vacation on Prince Edward Island where the only phone was in the property manager's office, we somehow heard reports of a tornado touching down in the town next to ours here on Long Island.  My parents called the neighbors to check on the house, but everything was fine here.

21. Is there any particular music that when you hear it, sparks a childhood memory?
Vacationing on PEI, they had only one radio station, or one music station and it seems they must have had a very small budget because we heard the same songs over and over and over every summer.  There are a handful of songs like, "Devil Went Down to Georgia", "Hot Stuff", "My Sherona", "Call Me" and "Let 'Em In" that I hear to this day and immediately associate with PEI.

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