I think that I make a lot of my own stress. I'm stressed about the classes I'm teaching. I'm stressed about the bookkeeping I do (which by the way, there really isn't that much to stress over), I'm stressed about the move I'm going to make (ok, there is a LOT to be stressed about), and my family, and my dog (why, why are you trying to lick hotspots on your arms!!!). The list is pretty much endless. Some things give me more stress than others. If I had a little stress reader I'd say that my jobs and my family rank pretty high on why I'm stressed out.
All that being said, when I look at this picture I see a face that has weathered a tough week. The stress (see above) is still bearable. I see a face that smiled even though the hiccups in getting ready to teach were a little overwhelming. I see the face of a strong, proud granddaughter (even if she doesn't feel that way all the time) who will try to bend the universe to make things work for her grandfather and family.
This picture was taken on a milestone day in my grandfather's care. My grandfather will no longer drive his vehicle. When I think about how happy I was to drive, and how long I waited to drive, I'm so sad for him. But, I also know that this is the best thing for everyone. This picture was taken on an important day in my family's history.
I am a stress-filled, average sized person. I live my life as one knotted up little ball of stress- and I know it's bad for me. I heard that garlic will reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease and so I try to eat some when I cam remember it. I'm so stress-filled that when I was working on my two M.A.'s I have my DOG stomach ulcers. Not that his life was hard, just that I was stressed out all the time.
Great news! An Unexpected Discovery is in the process of expanding the online exhibits! Be sure to visit the newest page of the Ezra A. Frantz Online Exhibit. The Ezra A. Frantz: Residences and Travel features an interactive map of Ezra's travels around the country and a listing of the properties once owned by the Frantz family in Texas and Florida. Be sure to click here to visit the newest exhibit page.
We're also pleased to announce that a new Online Exhibit will be coming to An Unexpected Discovery. Be sure to look for it in the coming days!
Have you ever opened a box to find it full of old documents and family photos? Usually, when I find a box like this I'm drawn to the photos first. I want to see the faces of the people I came from looking back at me. I take great delight in viewing these pictures. However, the old papers in this box are just as important as the pictures. Documents can include anything from letters to ledgers to calling cards. They are wonderful primary sources for researchers as they provide insight into a moment in time.
Maybe you've noticed a specific phrase used in your great-grandfather's letters that is associated with the North East? Language analysis is a great way to gain insight into your ancestor's life and clues about regional speech patterns!
3. Occupational information can be revealed.
When I think about some of the papers that I have, I see insight into my life. I see items that I purchased or job applications. Old documents can tell you if your ancestor was buying supplies for their farm. Maybe they were working on another project! Did they purchase construction material? Sometimes ledgers can provide important insight about projects that your relative was working on.
If you pay attention, the possibilities of the material you uncover are endless.
5. As primary sources, many documents provide first hand accounts of events.
I found a postcard of the dustbowl once with a first hand account of an ancestor watching a dust storm roll in to town. They reported that the dust was so thick and made the sky so dark, they couldn't see their hand in front of their face. Paperwork can provide information about the social and political happenings of a specific year in history.
6. Documents can also be a great source of economic information.
Have you ever found a document with financial data listed on it? Who would have thought that gas was $.20 for your ancestor, but their ledger has given you insight into what their financial day-to-day life was like. Financial reports provide information on inflation, market trends, and the value of items at a time in the past.
7. You can learn about your ancestor's educational background through their old documents.
A friend's grandfather never completed high school, but that information was unknown until they read it in a letter. We take for granted that our ancestors completed high school, but it is more likely than not that your grandparents completed school with a minimum level of education. Diplomas verify that your forefather graduated from high school or college. Have you found old report cards? You can learn what subjects were being taught in school. In the early 1900s, some schools even handed out mementos with pictures of the teacher and a list of the students in the class. Now you know who your great-grandmother had classes with!
There's a popular saying that it's not the dates on the headstone that matter, it's the dash in between. That dash seems to be what researchers struggle with the most. Although they may not be as visually interesting as photographs at first, documents can provide more insight into the daily life of your ancestors. So, sit down and take the time to read and scan those old letters and postcards. You never know what you might find!
This week was a busy week. I got the dress for my cousin's wedding in the mail, met with more contractors and worked on renovations, and worked on several blog posts.
Are you interested in family history? Personal history? Research? Tell your story by submitting a guest blog post. Read the submission requirements here.
The house renovation continues! I met with some more contractors about installing central heat and air in the old house, had some deadbolts installed, and met with an electrician about a washer and dryer hookup. I received a wedding invitation for a cousin at the end of the month (yay! But now I've got to find a dress!) this week, so that will be new addition to the family tree. My "niece" found her feet this week and has really started cooing a lot. She's so cute!
This has probably been the hottest week this summer. I've gotten one heat advisory warning after another, so I was trying to find a good place to hang out with my boys.
Another busy week! Home renovations are the pits. I met with two different contractors this week, so that was an accomplishment. The meetings were very productive. This coming week I'm meeting with three more, so the projects continue.
When he saw us swinging he told me "that's smart." Yeah, that's how it is. Trying to constantly appease this precious, bossy little person who is totally worth it. I hope that years from now when I look at this picture I will always remember this moment in Lowe's: cuddling this sweet baby, swinging alone in a pretty deserted section of the store (except for the old couple), and listening to the Backstreet Boy's over the store speaker system. It was a perfect moment on a Friday.
I love family history and the various ways that it can be approached by researchers! I hope that this blog is interesting and inspiring!