Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Remembering Philippa Ruth Weiser

Philippa Ruth Weiser was my mother's first cousin. Her mother, Frances Ruth Smith, was the sister of my grandfather, George Washington Smith, who's WWII photos I shared Saturday. Philippa passed away last Sunday the 20th, at the age of 82.

Philippa and her husband, William Graham Lynn, had four boys, one of whom is about my age. Consequently, I spent a lot of time at Philippa's house when we visited my grandparents in Thetford Mines, Quebec, when I was a little girl. I was at the Lynn house having dinner with my cousin when my grandfather collapsed at the dinner table at his own house on Easter Monday 1979. It turned into an impromptu sleepover while my mother and grandmother rushed to the hospital with him. In the morning, it became the place I learned of my grandfather's death, the first major death in my ten-year-old life.

George W Smith, Marjorie E Dean Smith and me taking a photo of my own.

Philippa was always deeply interested in the lives of those around her. For years and years she would phone my mother on her birthday and my grandfather's birthday; when she forgot we knew her mind was beginning to fail her.

Mum and I saw Philippa for what would be the last time when we were in Canada almost exactly two years ago, venturing two hours each way from another cousin's farm on rural, snow- and ice-covered roads just to visit her and my mother's childhood best friend. At the time it seemed a bit risky but I'm so glad that we did.

We weren't able to travel to Quebec for her viewing, funeral or burial over the weekend, but another cousin called Mum and told her all about it; who was there and that Philippa would have loved it; everyone was dressed to the nines and Philippa wasn't late.

Philippa Ruth Weiser was laid to rest on Saturday, November 26th at Elmwood Cemetery in Sherbrooke, Quebec, a beautiful, sprawling, tree-filled cemetery with lots of family. I hope that we will be able to visit her there next summer.

Below are the photos that Mum and I posted on the funeral home website memorial.

Philippa in the back with her cousins George and Janet (my mother).

Philippa, George, Frances Ruth Smith (Philippa's mother),
Janet and Herb Austin Smith (Philippa's maternal uncle)

Frances Ruth Smith, Marika Bey (a cousin by marriage) and Philippa

Marjorie E Dean (my grandmother), Philippa and June Smith (a cousin) at a celebration for the Canadian centennial.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Weekend Genealogy

Thanksgiving weekend! It means more than just Thanksgiving to many here in the U.S.; a long weekend to many, a family weekend, shopping to some, and extra genealogy time to others. I had a to-do list going for a couple of weeks leading up to the weekend.

I didn't, of course, get to everything on my list, but I had a good time trying.  Thursday my mother brought me a folder with copies of a couple of wedding notices, an article about a great-grandfather's funeral and my letters home from camp at the age of ten or eleven, they provided a bit of entertainment for us and Donald's family after dinner.

Friday I scanned the photos that my mother brought to me the previous week. She'll bring me an envelope- or folder-full of things at a time lately, and I'm trying to scan them as she brings them now. I'm absolutely in love with this photo of my grandmother.

Marjorie Elizabeth Dean, my maternal grandmother.

Saturday I got my photo files reorganized,

and reorganized digital genealogy records, too.

And while I was doing those tedious but necessary tasks, I listened to a couple of webinars over at Legacy Family Tree.

Yes, that's right, a beginning genealogy webinar. I thought beginner topics would be great for multi-tasking, something to listen to without worrying about catching every word. Peggy Lauritzen is a great speaker and I did pick up some great ideas.

Sunday I started a very big project. Relabeling all of my images with a proper metadata program, Photo Mechanic, recommended to me by JL Beeken of Life after JGEN. She was so right, not that I doubted her. The only thing standing in my way has been cost and budget.

Right now I'm using the software with a free trial for 30 days. That will take me to Christmas weekend, and then we'll see how the budget is. It may not happen at that time, but with many more photos, negatives and artifacts to be scanned and photographed, this is something I could really use, I have no doubt I'll be buying it sooner than later. Its too bad there isn't a subscription option, I don't think I'd ever unsubscribe and it would be so much more budget-friendly.

Finally, I spent some time getting to know Evidentia, but that will be for another post soon.

So, was this at all a genealogy weekend for you?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sepia Saturday - George W Smith and WWII

Oh, how holidays, birthdays and surprises wreak havoc with blogging plans. I had hoped to get some additional scanning and research done for this post, which was meant to go up last Saturday for Week 3 of the War and Peace theme at Sepia Saturday, but that was not to be with one thing and another, and then for Week 4 I was then planning to share some peacetime photos of my grandfather in his local militia.

Instead, I offer a mostly pictorial post of photos that I scanned recently after rescuing them from a magnetic album. There are more, with captions, in one or two magnetic albums that my mum still has, but they'll have to wait until after the holidays, I think.

My maternal grandfather, George Washington Smith, served in both world wars. These photos are from World War II when he was Lt. Col. George W. Smith, commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Engineers, serving in Europe. The first picture is his portrait, for reference.

Please be sure to visit everyone else blogging about War & Peace.


Published under a Creative Commons License.

Anna Catherine Matthews, "Sepia Saturday - George W Smith and WWII", Tripping Over My Roots, posted November 26, 2016, ( http://trippingovermyroots.blogspot.com/2016/11/sepia-saturday-george-w-smith-and-wwii.html : accessed [access date]).

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of those celebrating today, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Funny - Dad's Humor

Spending time with my dad was always fun and thought-provoking and whether we were grabbing a quick lunch or sitting down to a big holiday dinner, there was always laughter. Here is a bit of his unique humor.

This is an article from a local paper announcing his appointment as rector of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Nothing earth shattering, but you have to read it to get the most out of his rewrite.

Rev. Stephen Matthews Is Appointed New Vicar
      The Rev. Stephen D. Matthews, curate at St. Mark's Episcopal church for the past two years, has been appointed vicar of St. Nicolas' Church, Elk Grove Village, it was announced last week by The Rt. Rev. Gerald F. Burrill, Bishop of Chicago.
      Father Matthews, who will assume his new duties Feb. 1, is a native of Chicago and attended the University of Chicago Laboratory School, Loomis School, and Wesleyan University. After graduation from the General Theological Seminary, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1962. Before coming to Glen Ellyn he served parishes in Torrington, Conn. and Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
      The newly appointed vicar currently holds a grant from the John Jay and Eliza Jane Watson Foundation of New York for a descriptive biography of the English author and theologian, Charles Williams. In connection with this project, Father Matthews spent a month in London last summer engaged in research. He plans a return visit in 1967 to complete the work.

There must have been something about this article that set his dry wit in motion; he soon rewrote it:



             A suspicious character calling himself Stephen D. Matthews who claims to be a parson at the meeting house of the Episcopalian sect in Glen Ellyn has been hired to manage a minor basilica operated by Santa Clause, it was announced by someone last week.
             Rev. Matthews, a native of Chicago (Illinois), attended several private kindergartens and International Correspondence School where he received top honors through an error due to the difficulty encountered by the faculty in deciphering his handwriting. According to police, he was ordained somewhere after graduating from an obscure seminary recently under investigation by authorities who claim it is a diploma mill.
             Glen Ellyn is the third community in which the itinerant preacher has resided since 1962, having formerly been employed in Connecticut and New York, both of which he left under mysterious circumstances.
             The reverend spent part of last summer in London, England, visiting his childhood friends, John Jay and Eliza Jane Watson, formerly of Foundation, N.Y. His trip was sponsored by the W.T. Grant Co.
             The sky pilot is married to Mrs. Rev. Matthews who will probably accompany him when he takes up his new duties under the direction of Mr. Christopher Kringle.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sepia Saturday - War and Peace - Week 2 - Peacetime Service In Sweden

I've posted this photo of my great-grandfather, Carl Johan Anderson, before, but these things are always worth sharing again.

Carl Johan Anderson, back row, center, 1887.

Carl Johan, my paternal grandmother's father, was born in Sweden in 1867 to Anders Svensson and Anna Katerina Mansdotter. According to his own account, he served compulsory military service at Fristad Hed for 21 days in 1887. He was due to serve again the following year but left for America instead.

I was surprised to find this photo of Carl Johan in the basement stash last September, but very grateful to also have his account of his service to explain it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

She Voted

My grandmother's first cousin, Lillian Hildur Ingeborg Johnson, was one of the first women to vote in the State of Connecticut. I shared her headstone recently on Tombstone Tuesday.

I don't know anything about her politics, but I'm sure she would have exercised her right to vote today.

She passed away in 2004 at the age of 107.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sepia Saturday - War and Peace - Week 1 - Smiths in WWI

My great grandmother, Isabella Frances Parker Smith, saw two of her five sons go overseas from Canada to fight for King and Country during WWI. These must have felt like very long years.

This is my Great Uncle, Herbert Austin Smith. All I know about his service is that he was captured by the Germans and held prisoner for some time.

Before Uncle Herb shipped out, he visited his sister, Frances Ruth Smith, at prep-school, King's Hall Compton, in Lenoxville, Quebec. There Herb met her Principal, Miss Joll, who so approved of him that she declared a school holiday when word came that he had been freed from the POW camp.

Miss Joll

My grandfather, George Washington Smith, also served in WWI.

He enlisted on August 18, 1917 at the age of 19 and was discharged on July 11, 1919 at 21.

My mother was always under the impression that he worked in the "motor-pool" during World War I and saw no combat. He was still overseas after Armistice Day and spent his 21st birthday, February 22, 1919, delivering a truck back to its unit and waiting for a train back to his own unit. An entry in his WWII service file, however, indicates that he was a machine-gunner.

It will be a while before I can find out more. While his WWII file was available through the mail after a wait of about five months, both his and Uncle Herb's WWI files are being digitized as part of a huge undertaking by Library & Archives Canada. They are working through the "M"s now, according to their last update. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will see their files by the end of 2017.