Friday, February 25, 2011

Family Recipe Friday - Noodles and Ground Round

My dad was a major meat and potatoes guy. He was also a child during the depression and loved making this odd meal. He was the only one in the house that liked this, but when he had a chance to make it, he would.

He would boil and drain large egg noodles. While the noodles were cooking, he would brown and drain ground round. Mix these together and add one can of cream of mushroom soup; one can of corn, drained; and salt and pepper to taste. He may have added water with the soup but I just don't really remember. Sometimes, he would put this concoction on french bread.

I wonder if this recipe contributed to my becoming a vegetarian!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Mystery of Zetta Fern Beck

Several months ago I became aware of some old newspaper articles that indicated my great grandmother, Effie Furst Beck, as a young woman, gave birth to a child. Not only did she have a child, she accused one Charles Cox of being the father. Apparently, as reports had it, he betrayed her and did not marry her. I began to research this, but all I could find was the mention of a ten-year old girl named Zetta living with Effie’s parents, Wells and Emma Beck, as their daughter (per the 1900 Census). After that, Zetta seemed to have vanished. That is until Sunday.

Somehow while searching the internet for my great great grandmother, Emma, I came upon a link to the old site. As I began looking around, I noticed that Emma’s children were listed in the International Genealogical Index for North America. This was quite cool, as it actually gave the middle names that I didn’t have as well as some birth dates that I hadn’t found. I decided to try a search of Zetta Beck and only included her mother’s name and there it was! I nearly fell out of my chair.

Zetta Fern Beck was born in Shelby, Illinois on 23 Sept 1889, and as I suspected, Effie was her mother. No father was listed, but I am pretty certain from the old articles that Charles Cox was the father. As soon as I added Zetta’s correct date of birth to my tree, I got a hint (one of my favorite Ancestry features). I followed that hint and found Zetta on someone’s tree, along with her husband and two children! As I added them to my tree, I began to find them on the 1910 and 1930 census and a few other records which were helpful, and even found Zetta, her husband and their daughter on

Oddly enough, I could not find their family at all in 1920. Hmm. I have had that experience more than once, but I have reached out to the person with Zetta on his or her tree and will now begin to search for a surviving grandson of Zetta's. I do find this detective work both fascinating and frustrating. If you're like me and want instant gratification, you can probably understand where I'm coming from.

Incidentally, I did try to find Lola the same way I found Zetta. I also looked for Lola's other siblings - Bessie, Monroe, George and William (born Wells). I couldn't find any of them. I think that maybe they were not born in Shelby County, IL, as it does seem that those records are transcribed. I'm not sure if only certain years have been transcribed and the years my grandmother and her siblings were born haven't been yet, or if (as I now speculate) they were born in a different county. I do know that William (aka Bill) was born in Joliet (Will County), IL and that the family did live there in 1900. I am going to contact the Illinois State Genealogical Society to find out (or the Family Research Center). I am also going to volunteer to transcribe records. I really want to give back because I have received so much from this community.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Friday!

Oh, and it's a three-day weekend for me! Love that. I shall spend the time creating art (I have a few paintings to finish), burning some screens for dish towels and T-shirts, making some pendants, and taking decent pictures of the handmade goods. I have several bracelets that I have not yet listed only because the pictures aren't coming out so good. Ugh.

I shall also spend time lost in the past (my family history, that is). I have some blog posts to work on that will fit with some Geneablogger prompts. I have also considered a trip to the Family Research Center and will need to find their hours. Plus, I have never been and hear it is pretty spectacular.

I'm sharing a few images of my precious Louie. The first picture is of him as a young little guy. The second image is computer generated. I first traced the actual photo and transferred that to my carving material. I then carved carved his portrait and printed it. Once printed, I scanned that image and, in PhotoShop, added the text and background color.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - My Great Uncle William Marcus Meents (born Wells Marcus Cloos)

I never knew Bill and only learned of him last year when searching for my grandmother, Lola Cloos. This is a picture of Bill and his third wife (and widow) Ann. On the back of the picture Ann wrote, "Christmas 1963 - Look at my Bill; ignore me!"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Search for Lola, Geneabloggers, and a Little Change in Direction

I have been following a site called Geneabloggers and have been inspired by them. They are a group of bloggers that blog about their genealogy and family history research. They also provide daily and weekly prompts to keep people blogging, and are made up of genealogists, bloggers, blog readers, and are truly a source of valuable information.

I have decided to start participating in a few Geneabloggers prompts and am going to change direction a bit with the posts about the family research and my search for Lola. Basically, I will begin to use surnames for the deceased. I have kept away from that in the past, but feel that if I use surnames and tell stories as I uncover them, it can preserve their memory (thank you Thomas from Geneabloggers). Also, my hope is that by using first names and surnames, someone may be doing a google search, land here, and have information to share. I have reached out so many living people connected to my family but haven't yet had that same experience. I think it would be so very exciting to have someone contact me because of a connection they can prove.

Back in June of 2010, I attended the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. That was fabulous and I attended lectures, met professionals in the field and just left craving more. While at the jamboree, I met Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective. I spoke with her and gave her details about Lola and my search and she blogged about it on her blog on Family Tree Magazine (dot com), but I didn't share it because of the surnames. Now, with my new direction, I am providing the link here to that article. The information I gave Maureen was based on what I knew at the time and I have always tried to present the information I got from my dad as just that, until I could confirm it. Hearsay is just that after all. I'm not saying my dad wasn't truthful, but I believe he shared (what little he did) what he believed or heard. How I wish he was still here to clarify things!

In closing this post, I am sharing again a photo of my dad, Robert Robinson, with two mystery women. My sisters and I have always wondered if one of these women could be our grandmother, Lola L. Cloos Robinson. The above link to the Photo Dective's blog provides her thoughts. Stay tuned. More to come.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day...Already?

Wasn't it just Christmas? Where does the time go? It seems I barely got the tree and decorations put away and now heart shaped boxes filled with chocolate are everywhere.

I thought I should attempt to do some pieces with a holiday flavor, so I made Love Cat kind of with a Valentine feel (sort of) but thought I should do another one. I got a great little book called "Art at The Speed of Life". It is very inspiring. When I first got the book, it just sort of fell open to the page with a technique called Paint-Over, by artist, Lisa Bebi. I really liked the look. Basically, you take a photograph, enlarge it and make a photocopy and play.

I used both fluid acrylics (dry and watered down) and full bodied acrylics. I wasn’t too happy with the way the full bodied acrylics were more opaque than I wanted, but I thought the colors worked well.

I then decided to do the same picture again, and this time I used only fluid acrylics. Well, I like the transparency of the second project much better, yet prefer the overall color of the first one.

I want to experiment more with the technique as I have had a “series” in my head for a few months now and I think this is the technique for that series of prints. Better yet, I think I should take one of Lisa's paint over workshops! She teaches in Southern California. The series in my head lends itself well to my genealogy journey and the search for Lola. I have all the old family photos that are just begging for a new life.

If you're in the mood to make some fabulous holiday gifts for loved ones, check out The Crafty Chica's blog for great ideas and tutorials!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Adventures at the DMV

Late this afternoon I made a trip to Auto Club to renew my vehicle registration. I love how they offer DMV services to their members. So, in reality I was at Auto Club, but there for DMV stuff. I got there about 30 minutes before they closed and checked in with the receptionist. I was told to take a seat. I sat on one of the little couch-type things that can accommodate three people. Across from where I sat was a similar "couch" and between us, a coffee table full of maps of Europe for sale.

Across from me, sat two women. One was there alone and the other with her two small children. The mother had a toddler and an infant with her. Suddenly, without any type of cover, the mother started breast-feeding the infant, and the woman on the other side of the toddler did look over and seemed a bit uncomfortable with that. It really did feel like we were in a more "free" European type society, rather than our pro-baby (just don't breast feed it in public) society. While feeding the infant, the mother was talking to toddler about the guidebook of Japan that he was flipping through. The toddler was completely unfazed by the situation.

Many people were there and in line to sign in with the receptionist and he moved them through quickly. Suddenly there was a break and another woman came in. She was older. Had pretty crazy-messy hair and was walking with a walker. She had a bright blue purse hanging from the walker and was wearing scrubs and a jacket. Suddenly the lone woman across from me, and I, noticed the walker woman was not only wearing latex gloves on her hands, but also ziploc baggies on her feet. They were sticking out of her tennis shoes. At that point I began to look for the hidden camera, thinking this must be a "Candid Camera" moment. I couldn't detect one and no one approached me.

Shortly after "walker woman" conducted her business of getting guidebooks for British Columbia, Canada and San Gabriel, California, I was called to handle my business. It was truly interesting. As a people watcher, I wondered why I hadn't spent more time just hanging out there. Interesting indeed.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Love Cat

It took me a few weeks to finish this piece. It is called "Love Cat". It's an 8.5 x 11 print (image size is 8 x 10). I listed it tonight in my Etsy shop. I did get a bit distracted while trying to finish this with family research.

Not much on the Lola front, but I did learn, thanks to the help of a very awesome genealogist, that my great grandmother Hattie's family, many generations back, did come to the US on the Mayflower! I had no idea. We are descendants of the same man as Theodore Roosevelt's wife, George Herbert and George Walker Bush. Who knew?