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If you enjoy reading this blog, you may also like to read the articles I write each week as the Springfield Genealogy Examiner and as the Ozarks Cultural Heritage Examiner. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a one. You may also enjoy reading about the family stories in my novels at The Homeplace Series blog. You can sign up for e-mail reminders.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Eileen KINNICK - 75 yrs ago - Week 4 - Jan 24-31, 1937


Eileen KINNICK
75 yrs ago
Week 4 - Jan 24-31, 1937

My mother, Eileen KINNICK (maiden name), kept a diary from 1932 until her death in 1999. In Feb 2005, I created a website of her 1936 diary, the year she graduated from high school. During the latter half of 2011, commented weekly on these entries.
For 1937, I am transcribing the daily entries, currently, at The KINNICK Project surname blog.

In this weekly blog post, I will make summary comments and observations, and perhaps add a photo, from time to time.

Setting: The family lived in a farmhouse a couple of miles out of town (Coon Rapids, Iowa). Older brother, Leo, lived at home; his girl friend, later wife, Ida, visited regularly. Younger brother, Buzzy (she often wrote Bussy) was 9 years old. Pete Smith is her 'boy friend' - starting Oct 1, 1936 (they do marry, in Mar 1938).


Week 4 (Jan 25-31):

We had some good movies and photo images this week - how did you like that car from Ivory contest?

But, today, I want to focus on a comment from the January 31 post (today!) that I did not comment on over there: "Churned & got ready for Lil's & Del. Men butchered. Had lunch before they left." A bit like the mule stories from last week, here we get a little more insight into the 'lifestyle' they actually lived. Churned. Butchered. Not something done everyday, but very important activities. I go to the grocery and buy a tub of Parkay when I want a bread spread. They took the cream from the separator from the milk from the cow(s) and CHURNED it. Which type of churn to you think she used?


Butchering a pig was still pretty common on our farm into my early teen years in the 1950s. Note that it was a multiple man operation. Sometime in the 1950s my Dad started taking animals (pig or steer) to the 'plant' in town and they did it there. Through college, my Mom and Dad always had both beef and pork in the freezer (on the farm and at the locker in town). Coming home from college, they encouraged us to take the steaks, because the hamburger was much more useful for them at home!

What are your memories? Comments welcomed! 


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sharing Memories - Lois Tiffany - ISU Professor


Sharing Memories -  Lois Tiffany - ISU Professor

What a pleasant surprise! Among my genealogy blogs I read regularly is a somewhat unusual one: Special Collections Department Blog, Iowa State University Library. The current post is:
"Iowa's Own Mushroom Expert: Lois Tiffany" She was my Botany Professor; Spring 1958, I believe - looked just like the first photo!  ;-)

As is so often the case, I do remember her because she made the subject, which I had not previously paid much attention to, really interesting - and, I learned a lot. So nice to see her, again!

Friday, January 27, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 4


52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 4


52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy 2012 prompts suggested by Amy Coffin; thanks, Amy!

    •    Week 4 – Free Offline Genealogy Tools: For which free offline genealogy tool are you most grateful? How did you find this tool and how has it benefitted your genealogy? Describe to others how to access this tool and spread the genealogy love.

This week’s prompt runs from Sunday, January 22 through Saturday, January 28, 2012.

File cases, file drawers, book binders and bookcases - in public libraries, in local and regional societies (genealogical and historical) and family history centers around the country. These are the tools, the repositories, where (literally) millions of volunteers, over many years, have collected the distinctive endangered records that still hold the vast majority of the details we as story-tellers and story-preservers need to carry on our work into the next generations.

These are local records of local families, generated contemporaneously with the acts of our ancestors, that we need to continue to assist to preserve. Many of them can eventually be brought online; most of them cannot. We must each do everything we can, in our local communities and states, to support maintenance of these "informal" repositories, so that we and our child and grand-children (and theirs!) can continue to receive their benefits.


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Kinnick Family Gathering in 1928


Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Kinnick Family Gathering in 1928





A Kinnick family gathering, it appears, in Stuart, IA, where Uncle Robert lived at the time, in honor of a visit by a Kinnick cousin, from Illinois, the gentleman on the right, in the photo.


[Click on photo to see bigger image]

Robert was younger brother to my Grandpa, Paul Kinnick. In the photo, Paul is the taller one in the middle, back. To his right in the photo is Everett Brideson, husband of Paul's sister, Gertrude (she is far left lady). From the left, the ladies are: Gertrude, Dorothy (my Grandma, Paul's wife), Nettie (Paul's mother), then Edna, Robert's wife. Robert is the other flat hat, second from the right! ;-)

Kids are, from left: Eileen Kinnick (my mother, Paul's daughter, not quite 10), and four of the five children of Robert and Edna (likely the oldest, Lyle (11), is taking the photo); Ila Jean (also not quite 10), Burdette (3-4), Gretchen (8), Betty (6).


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eileen KINNICK - 75 yrs ago - Week 3 - Jan 18-24, 1937

Eileen KINNICK
75 yrs ago
Week 3 - Jan 18-24, 1937

My mother, Eileen KINNICK (maiden name), kept a diary from 1932 until her death in 1999. In Feb 2005, I created a website of her 1936 diary, the year she graduated from high school. During the latter half of 2011, commented weekly on these entries.
For 1937, I am transcribing the daily entries, currently, at The KINNICK Project surname blog.
http://thekinnickproject.blogspot.com/
In this weekly blog post, I will make summary comments and observations, and perhaps add a photo, from time to time.
Setting: The family lived in a farmhouse a couple of miles out of town (Coon Rapids, Iowa). Older brother, Leo, lived at home; his girl friend, later wife, Ida, visited regularly. Younger brother, Buzzy (she often wrote Bussy) was 9 years old. Pete Smith is her 'boy friend' - fourth month starting Jan 1 (they do marry, in Mar 1938).

Week 3 (Jan 18-24):

When was the last time you received two hand written letters in the same week?
I got one from Uncle Buzzy, that I reported last week. Today (Monday), I got one from 94 year old Uncle Leo. They were both young men in the home 75 years ago, during Eileen's diary entries. Leo and Ida married in Oct 1937, and continued to live on the farm with the family for a short period of time, he mentions in the letter.

I had asked about the dead red mule, named Eileen, from the diaries. He said: "I did have a team of mules, but I don't remember an Eileen. However, I did have one drop dead as I was driving them west up the road to get a piece of machinery I had just bought on a farm sale. That was quite an event for me. I had to get the live one unhitched from the dead one & went back home & got a horse & hitched it up with the mule & got the piece of machinery home. I farmed the next year with a horse & a mule." I have read that mules did that. Work so hard, for so long; then, one day, just drop dead. Appears that happened a couple of different time, over two or three year period, in this case.

I also asked about the two cars: the Ford V8 and the Chevy they had then. His reply: "When Dad bought that Ford V8 I thought it was wonderful. It had more power & ran so quiet compared to that 29 chevy [first I had picked up it was a 29!] we had been driving. The only trouble we had with it was if you hit a bump in the road too hard the rear shock (cannot read the word) would open too far & would stay that way. Then I had to jack it up & push it back where it belongs. Those were our 2 cars for a long time & Dad gave me the 29 Chev when I got married. Changing a tire on it was a real job. The spare was just the rubber tire & a rim you had to take apart, slip the tire on & put the two together & then pump it up with a hand pump. I had to do that several times."

What fun! From Buzzy I learned the V8 was a Ford; from Leo I learned the Chevy was a 1929. Do you suppose the 1929 Chevy looked anything like this one, below?



Comments welcomed! 


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sharing Memories - Cuban Missile Crisis - October 1962

Sharing Memories - Cuban Missile Crisis - October 1962

Last Sunday, I shared a few memories of the "Bay of Pigs" event of 50 years ago during my first year on active duty in the U. S. Air Force. On Thursday, I shared a photo of my working environment and a little about the mission of our SAC Detachment on the mesa west of Winslow, Arizona.

Today, I want to move forward to October 1962 when we were on the brink of a real potential national and military turning point: "The Cuban Missile Crisis." You can read the story at the link, but today I want to share a few of the specific memories I still carry with me from those couple of weeks:

1) Probably the most common story I tell (have told) about this time period was that for several days (a week or more) there was never a moment, day or night, when there were not military aircraft in the air, moving east and west, flying over our mesa and house in Winslow, Arizona, in preparation for eventualities 'if' the Cuban missile crisis was not settled peacefully.





2) As the third ranking of the three officers in our Detachment, when we went on 24-hour alert, I got the 'graveyard' shift. I also was responsible to carry (wear) 'the sidearm.' Guns and I have never had a positive relationship. I did fine in handgun training in my summer camp experience, but I  was still scared I'd 'shoot my toe off,' wearing that sidearm each night. Fortunately, President Kennedy had learned a lot, by that time, and 'solved' the crisis with a cool head and calm diplomacy that limited the crisis period to a couple of weeks.

3) How did we 'really feel' out there on the mesa? Were Cubans really going to attack us from Mexico or otherwise? Probably not, but, we really didn't know. The uncertainty is actually the tough part, of course.

It wasn't until 1984 when the movie, "Red Dawn," came out that all those feeling REALLY came back. That was exactly our fear. It was very well portrayed. I still rewatch that movie with trepidation - although, knowing it is only fiction, I do like the movie.





Families are Forever!  ;-)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Surname Saturday - King Hiram C. Preston


Surname Saturday - King Hiram C. Preston


I was pleased this week to have received a note from my Preston researching cousin/partner about the latest on this gentleman with the interesting name. For many years, he was an enigma to me. Not a close relative, but one who kept showing up in the research I was doing, many years ago. Over the years, my cousin/partner did more research on that family line than I did, but we kept in touch. She identified most of his family, but had left a note on an ancestry board to contact her, if anyone had more information.

Well, this week, she got a note back. A non-related researchers was 'loading' information from the Oakwood cemetery in Syracuse, New York, and much of it was for this family! Not only are there now about four generations of the family on Find-A-Grave, but most entries have at least one obituary, each full of family information. How neat, for a volunteer to do all that. Very nice.

So, this is just a note of thanks and recognition to all those folks out there doing useful genealogical Acts of Kindness for the general good. It is a big reason I am so pleased to be a part of this community!


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Friday, January 20, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 3


52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 3


52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy 2012 prompts suggested by Amy Coffin; thanks, Amy!

    •    Week 3 – Free Online Genealogy Tools: Free online genealogy tools are like gifts from above. Which ones are you most thankful for? How has it helped your family history experience?

This week’s prompt runs from Sunday, January 15 through Saturday, January 21, 2012.

I am going to talk, a bit, about RootsWeb as a free, online genealogy tool. RootsWeb was an early, entirely free genealogy website with Message Boards, Mailing Lists, Free Web Sites, many Volunteer Projects and, perhaps my favorite, WorldConnect. WorldConnect was where you could load your family tree and share with interested others. I was a new phenomena at the time it started. Eventually, RootsWeb was became a part of Ancestry.com; with good and not-so-good results. I'm still generally happy with the site and fully support it; I continue to participate extensively, partially because it continues to be free. I do not appreciate my family tree being incorporated into Ancestry.com; however, as long it is still available to the general public, free, in the current format, I continue to support it. I've used it from the beginning in the early mid-1990s/

Based on a reminder from Marian, at Marian's Roots and Rambles blog, I will 'second' her recommendation of two non-online free resources: Your Public Library and your local Family History Center.


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Those Places Thursday - My Air Force Desk - Aug 1962


Those Places Thursday - My Air Force Desk - Aug 1962


Here I am, 2nd Lieutenant William L. Smith, United State Air Force, sitting at my military issue desk in a semi-trailer van, part of the Radar Bomb Scoring Squadron Detachment (SAC), on a mesa, west of Winslow, Arizona, in August 1962. How about that two-toned green color scheme? 


This would have been at the beginning of my second year (of three) on active duty. The first half of the first year was spend in Biloxi, MS, at Ground Electronics School; the second half was spent here at the Detachment. I was the third ranking Officer (of three Officers in the Detachment). The Major and the Captain were both pilots, who took tours of duty flying the B-47 and B-52 bombers flying over that our Detachment was 'scoring' as they made their simulated bomb runs.


[The B-52s started flying in 1952, and these same planes, the very same planes, were used to bomb Baghdad, Iraq, just a few years ago (85 in active service, 9 in reserve).]


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Kinnick Family Gathering 1939


Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Kinnick Family Gathering 1939


I am posting this photo today, because it is only about two and a half years after the events being posted in Eileen KINNICK daily diary entries on The KINNICK Project blog.


Leo would be taking the photo… likely his white hat on the ground!
From left: My Dad, Pete Smith and his wife, Eileen, holding me, just a few months old (perhaps an early fall 1939 day). Next are Ida Marie holding Karen and Everett Brideson, with John and Jeanette in front of him, I assume. Delbert appears to be behind him, holding Dennis, perhaps (less than a year old). Then comes Gertrude, with Buzzy in front of her. Behind is my Grandpa, Paul, then Robert's wife, Edna, then Lillian, and finally, on the right, is my Grandma, Dorothy (Sorenson) Kinnick. The little girl in front would be Roberta Ford.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eileen KINNICK - 75 yrs ago - Week 2 - Jan 11-17, 1937

Eileen KINNICK
75 yrs ago
Week 2 - Jan 11-17, 1937



My mother, Eileen KINNICK (maiden name), kept a diary from 1932 until her death in 1999. In Feb 2005, I created a website of her 1936 diary, the year she graduated from high school. During the latter half of 2011, commented weekly on these entries.

For 1937, I am transcribing the daily entries, currently, at The KINNICK Project surname blog.

In this weekly blog post, I will make summary comments and observations, and perhaps add a photo, from time to time.

Setting: The family lived in a farmhouse a couple of miles out of town (Coon Rapids, Iowa). Older brother, Leo, lived at home; his girl friend, later wife, Ida, visited regularly. Younger brother, Buzzy (she often wrote Bussy) was 9 years old. Pete Smith is her 'boy friend' - fourth month starting Jan 1 (they do marry, in Mar 1938).

Week 2 (Jan 11-17):

On January 13, there was a note "Eileen, the red mule, died." I sent Buzzy, now 83, a note asking about it. He called on Monday (16th) saying he was too young, at the time. Had no memory of a red mule named Eileen. I also asked about the V-8 and Chevy, their two cars. He did recall that the V-8 Eileen mentions regularly was a Ford. The Chevy was a straight 6-cylinder. Guys remember cars. [See a 1937 Chevy photo on Jan 16 post]

On January 12, Eileen mentioned "3 games" when they had gone to Bayard to see the high school Basketball games. Buzzy said he would assume one was a "Junior Varsity" type of game… the '2nd stringers" for both school, most likely the guys.

As we talked, I mentioned I had seen on his grandkids' Facebook pages that they had had quite a house full for their Christmas celebration. He said, yes they had, and it reminded him of a saying his Dad (my Grandpa, Paul) used to say when all family were together: "My God, what did I create?!"

Finally, since it was milder week than some, they were back to going to the movies. I came across this quote, recently: "During the 1930s, eighty million Americans - 65 percent of the entire population - attended movies weekly." This came from Al Smith section of the book:  "Almost President" by Scott Farris. The Kinnick family did more than their share of movie watching.


Comments welcomed! 

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Hometown on Monday - Sesquicentennial Book Story Preparation


My Hometown on Monday
Sesquicentennial Book Story Preparation


Coon Rapids, Iowa, my hometown, will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding, the Sesquicentennial, in July of 2013. Recently, in an insert in the local newspaper, The Coon Rapids Enterprise, there was a call for submissions of stories for a Sesquicentennial Book. It calls for stories up to 300 words with a photo for a variety of categories. See the actual brochure for details and examples.

Here are the categories:

  • All households, both old and new families, both previous and present residents.
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • All social, civic and fraternal organizations
  • Cemeteries
  • Businesses
  • Agriculture
  • Military
  • Celebrations

We have started working on our family stories; I've done a draft on my Mom and Dad's family, and each of their parents families, Smiths and Kinnicks. We've been asked to work on Bolger and Thomas stories, for my wife's side, since we have the information. All entries are due by 1 Feb 2012, in Coon Rapids, at the Library or the City Clerk's office. Seems like a short deadline, but we'll work hard this week to meet it.

I posted a scan of all three pages of the brochure on Facebook. Here is the front page only. Let me know if you need the other pages. [email: billsmith2003 at gmail.com]


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sharing Memories - Bay of Pigs - April 1961


Sharing Memories - Bay of Pigs - April 1961


This is Part 1 of memories from Air Force service in Winslow, Arizona, where we arrived in January, 1961. I had hardly gotten settled into my new duties in the Radar Bomb Scoring Squadron unit on the mesa west of Winslow when a national crisis arose. Known as the Bay of Pigs, President Kennedy authorized an attempt by Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. It only lasted three days, with the defeat of the invading forces. But we were on high alert, and wondering if the results would lead to Cuba invading the U.S. or some such activity.

Part of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), our mission was to "score" simulated bombing runs in the area by B-47 and B-52 aircraft SAC aircraft. Our unit consisted of semi-trailer vans, perhaps a dozen of them, connected together with radar units on top that tracked the SAC aircraft. We received a radio signal from the plane as they approached their targets (simulating 'enemy' locations) - the signal stopped when the bombs 'would have been released.' The job of our unit was to track the 'bomb' using speed and trajectory, to determine how close it would have come to the target… and transmit that information back to the crew of the SAC aircraft and their command structure. There were a dozen or so (we didn't know, for sure) other units like this, around the country.

We operated with three officers (I was the junior of the three) and a couple dozen enlisted men and airmen. We lived on the civilian economy; our nearest military installation was a small army supply facility west of Flagstaff. The next closest was an Air Force Base in the Phoenix valley.

Good relations with the local community were important. One of the activities I became involved with was the formation of a newly forming Toastmaster Club. I was a charter member. It was a good experience for a young officer as well as for the business folks in the organization.


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Social Saturday - Open Thread Thursday - What's in a Name?


Social Saturday - Open Thread Thursday - What's in a Name?

Perhaps I should head this post Social Media Saturday because it feels right for me to respond to the Open Thread Thursday on Saturday… that is just the way I am, I guess. Anyway, What's in a Name?


I already posted an Examiner.com article that states I subscribe to Bart Brenner's Manifesto. Today, however, I want to take the theme of "What's in a Name?" one step further. As many of you know, over the past twenty-some years or so I have not only gotten into the family history and genealogy 'game' but I earned my Ph.D in Management at the University of Arizona (UA), had a successful fifteen years as a college professor and administrator, and, caught the 'writing bug'* as well as the 'genealogy bug,' so to speak. In our GeneaBlogging world, that is really not so unusual… many of us have and have had two or three careers going as we work our family history and genealogy passion. But it does tend to complicate the "What's in a Name?" question.

You may have noticed I've adopted an approach picked up in my Marketing studies (that was my minor at UA) - branding. At Emporia State University, where I taught for 15 years, we had at one time three "Dr. Smith's" in our Department. To distinguish us, the students began to call me "Dr. Bill" along with Dr. Faye and others. I kind of liked it, Googled it and found it was actually distinctive, if not unique, and have adopted it in my 'after-life' writing process.

I do write novels, short stories, book reviews, non-fiction, and trade journal publications articles as well as family history and genealogical stories. The "Dr. Bill" branding has been very useful, to date, and I plan to continue it. I've even considered writing a memoir of the experience with a "Becoming Dr. Bill" working title.

More than you probably wanted to hear - but this is my reply to "What's in a Name?" A lot, it seems to me.  ;-) I look forward to reading your replies to the question as well.


Families are Forever!  ;-)

[*The Author's Resource Center (TARC) in Tuscon, Arizona, in 1987.]

Friday, January 13, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Follow Friday - Week 2


52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy
Follow Friday
Week 2


52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy 2012 prompts suggested by Amy Coffin; thanks, Amy!

    •    Week 2 – Paid Genealogy Tools: Which paid genealogy tool do you appreciate the most? What special features put it at the top of your list? How can it help others with their genealogy research?
This week’s prompt runs from Sunday, January 8 through Saturday, January 14, 2012.


My wife and I use four subscriptions. Ancestry.com is the most used - We generally start our searches there - census data is very useful, including state as well as U.S. Occasionally there will be other records that are useful. We are still frustrated by the excess search results that have nothing to do with what we requested. We do use the Family Trees, but recognize them as only clues, not expecting them to be well researched or complete - though it is nice when they are!

Footnotes/Fold3 is especially good for military records searches.

Newspaper Archives.com is useful for much narrower searches, of course. Especially if you are looking for information for the first half or so of the 20th Century, if you find anything, it can be really neat details to add to your family history, such as: obituaries; anniversary, birth, death, graduation, workplace change announcements; social news; community news, etc. This information is rarely available from any other source.

I won't comment on the other one… or the others we have had, and no longer have. Hope these thoughts and comments are useful to someone. It was interesting to have a current discussion with my wife about current usage preparing to write this. That was useful.  ;-)


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Winslow, Arizona


Those Places Thursday - Winslow, Arizona




After leaving Coon Rapids and the snow we drove to Winslow to complete our three year active duty Air Force commitment. When we arrived in Winslow, we were greeted by several days of heavy fog. A memorable experience. Here is a photo of the nice little cement brick two-bedroom we rented (and our dirty car!). It was "in the backyard" of the landlord (to the left, above), a nice young couple with a couple of young kids. We have many pleasant memories of this home, including a number of family groups who visited us there.


Families are Forever!  ;-)



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Smith men (Spr 57)


Wordless (nearly) Wednesday
Smith men (Spr 57)


Jim, Tom, Pete, Bill

A fun photo - Spring 1957 (I would have been graduating high school) - I don't recall the specific occasion,  but a bit unusually to all be so dressed up. How about those Bow Ties! And the white jacket!


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Eileen KINNICK 75 yrs ago Week 1 - Jan 4-10, 1937

Eileen KINNICK
75 yrs ago
Week 1 - Jan 4-10, 1937


My mother, Eileen KINNICK (maiden name), kept a diary from 1932 until her death in 1999. In Feb 2005, I created a website of her 1936 diary, the year she graduated from high school. During the latter half of 2011, commented weekly on these entries.

For 1937, I am transcribing the daily entries, currently, at The KINNICK Project surname blog.

In this weekly blog post, I will make summary comments and observations, and perhaps add a photo, from time to time.

Setting: The family lived in a farmhouse a couple of miles out of town (Coon Rapids, Iowa). Older brother, Leo, lived at home; his girl friend, later wife, Ida, visited regularly. Younger brother, Buzzy (she often wrote Bussy) was 9 years old. Pete Smith is her 'boy friend' - fourth month starting Jan 1 (they do marry, in Mar 1938).

Week 1 (Jan 4-10):

There was no entry I could find for Jan 2 & 3. This week, 4-10, was very cold and snowy. It is interesting to see how her reactions to this situation are reflected in her diary comments.

Their daily activities, of course, were somewhat restricted this week due to the weather.

In the back of the diary for the year, she appears to be entering her 'expenditures' for personal items. Here is a scan of the three entries for January and February:

Black Silk Shirt - 1.00
Print Silk Dress (made) - 2.80
Black Sandals - 2.45



Comments welcomed! 

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sharing Memories - Ground Electronics School, Keesler AFB


Sharing Memories
Ground Electronics School, Keesler AFB
Biloxi, MS

I have recently written about our first few months of active duty in the Air Force in 1961, at Ground Electronics School at Keesler AFB, in Biloxi, MS.

This followed our six weeks in Southern California where I was working at Space Technology Labs as a computer Programmer. The set of 1961 photos I posted, toward the end, are in Biloxi and returning back through Iowa.


Observations and memories:

1) I mostly remember the challenge of learning to read electronic drawings. It was totally new to me, but, as a new college graduate I was certain I could learn anything they thru at me. And, I believe I did quite well.

2) We had some 'military' duties related to a barracks of enlisted men, on base, but they were minimal. Very few vivid memories, at all.

3) Gary Hoover was also attending Communications Officer training on base at the same time I was there. We were in high school together, roomed together at Iowa State our first year, and were in ROTC together. We didn't spend a lot of time together, but, it was nice to know a good friend was nearby, if needed. Another high school classmate was actually an enlisted man on the base, Larry Patrick. Small world, huh?

4) I mostly remember 'having my hands full' with wife, daughter, school, military stuff, and correspondence courses. I was anxious to get to my full-time duty station. This was a necessary part of getting to there.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Social Saturday - Smith gathering, September 1955


Social Saturday
Smith gathering
September 1955



I've recently posted photos of the early years of my Dad's Smith family. Here are two photos from Sep 1955 of the family - older folks and younger folks. Not the greatest photos, but, better to have these than nothing. I do not recall the event for the gathering... someone visiting, most likely.


Standing, in back, from left: Orrin and Max Hilgenberg, Jim Smith, ??, ??, ?Rita Ballard?, Warren Pierce, John Thomas (in front), Verle and LVene Thomas, Bill Smith, Eileen Smith, Pete Smith (holding Barry)
Sitting in chairs: Gary Hilgenberg and Betty Pierce; Tom Smith (looking down)
On floor: Dan Smith, Margaret Smith, ??, Dave Thomas


Young men in back: Dave Thomas, Bill Smith (holding brother Barry), Gary Hilgenberg (holding ? Becki?); Tom Smith in front of Barry
Young lady on left - cousin from Nebraska???
On floor: John Thomas, Dan Smith, Margaret Smith, Jim Smith

Perhaps Becki, Judi, or someone else will help my old eyes and mind to identify my own family!  ;-)


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Friday, January 6, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Follow Friday - Week 1


52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy
Follow Friday
Week 1


If I understand what Amy Coffin is suggesting in her 2012 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, I believe I can follow these prompts and use them much as I have been posting of Fridays, the past years. Let's give it a try.

After much consideration, I cannot do one blog in response to the prompt, but I can do two. I read probably more than a dozen blogs, but beyond these two, which I read everyday, but the others are not consistently posted every day, so they vary from day to day, week to week.

The first of the two is Geneabloggers.com. I don't read every post every day, but I do look to see what every post is, every day - and certain ones that particularly interest me, I never miss. One of these is the New Blogs each week. I look forward to the opportunity to welcome new bloggers, and, I leave a comment on every one that allows comments. I always look to see what the 52 Weeks prompt is and I always look to see what the Open Thread Thursday is. I may not participate, but I do want to know the subject for the week. It makes be feel 'part of our community!'  ;-)

The second blog where I check every post, every day is Genea-Musings by Randy Seaver. I really enjoy Randy's writing style, and, I really appreciate what he chooses to share with us. It is simply my favorite read, week in and week out. I would really miss it if I could not read it. I also really like his "Best of…" post each week. By checking it, and the other "Best of…" links he provides, I cover a huge amount of weekly genealogy information. That means a lot, to me.  ;-)

Because of the way I introduced these two, I need to mention a third that I do check everyday, and that is Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter feed - Dick is very regular and full of information. For me, though, I probably read less than one of three because a lot of what he writes is simply not what I am interested it… but you may be, so… I highly recommend it, as well. ;-)

And (added yesterday!), to bookend, I'm adding The Legal Genealogist, a blog that just began on January 1st (thanks Marian - on Google+, just moments ago, as I write this!)...instant updates!  ;-)

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Maytag Store in Coon


Those Places Thursday
Maytag Store in Coon Rapids, Iowa
Sometime in the 1940s



Photo in the 19 Mar 2009 Coon Rapids Enterprise, page 4

We are taking a break in our Those Places series of our homes, to share this photo with you that shows the Maytag Store in Coon Rapids, where my Mom, Eileen, worked in 1936-1937. She mentioned the snow and cold in her diary entries (see Fri, Dec 18, as one example). This represents it very well. Who remembers this street!  ;-)


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless (Nearly) Wednesday - Spring 1961 Smith family


Wordless (Nearly) Wednesday
Spring 1961 Smith family


Spring 1961 - Annette's Baptism

Back row: Bill, Eileen, Pete, Jim
Middle row: Nancy, Annette, Barry, Tom
Paul in front

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Eileen KINNICK - 75 yrs ago - Week 52/53 - Dec 21-Jan 1, 1937

Eileen KINNICK
75 yrs ago
Week 52/53 - Dec 21-Jan 1, 1937

My mother, Eileen KINNICK (maiden name), kept a diary from 1932 until her death in 1999. In Feb 2005, I created a website of her 1936 diary, the year she graduated from high school, and started dating my dad later in the year. The transcription, week by week, with commentary, notable items, and my comments are sitting there to view, unchanged (a few bad links and all!). . You are welcome to click on the Weekly Index, and go back to read the first half of the year, at your leisure.
Key:
My comments - in red
Commentary at the time - in green
Notable items - in blue
Setting: The family lived in a farmhouse a couple of miles out of town (Coon Rapids, Iowa). Older brother, Leo, lived at home; his girl friend, later wife, Ida, visited regularly. Younger brother, Buzzy (she often wrote Bussy) was 8 years old; see photo.


Week 52 (Dec 21-27). Embroidering yellow scarf - couldn't listen to radio because the battery was down. Notice, no electricity. Aladdin lamb was a clue, last week, as well!

Got off from work early, and shopped, on Christmas eve. Goose dinner on Christmas. Turned into an adventurous afternoon and evening with friends.

To church on Sunday. Out-of-town family and friends there. Couple of interesting things to note, here. "Evline and Merle" reference is actually Pete's sister, Pauline, and her husband, Merl… they had already been married a year or so, lived out of town. Eileen didn't really know them yet - confused with Pete's older sister, LVene (name). Interesting; feels right for a young lady in a new family situation.

"Francis and Roger" reference is important. They were at the Kinnick house in the afternoon, and stayed for supper, along with two young sons, John and Robert. Francis would have been Paul's first cousin on his mother's side (Williams). (Frances had taught Eileen to play the piano when she was younger.) Even in 1936, they were already 'rich relatives.' Roger become a prosperous Des Moines (IA) business man, along with son, John (and Bill, yet to be born). John was an NFL Umpire (1972-1996) for many years, including a Super Bowl (1996). Robert became a minister and writer.



Here are Eileen (left) and Pete (right) in 1957, at Keck's house in Des Moines, with Roger (far end) and Francis (near), with her mother. I was there, as I was working for Roger that summer after I graduated from high school at Keck Motor Services.

Week 53 (Dec 28-Jan 1). She was studying her penmanship. Her Dad had an excellent, distinctive hand. She developed it, as well.

Pete appears to have caught her cold… see Thursday. Thursday night she writes "Our third Anniversary,' but January 1 is circled in red. They started 'going together' or 'going steady' - whatever they called it then, on October 1. November and December were marked as 'anniversaries' as well.

This ends the 1936 diary entries on the website. For 1937, I have copies of the diary pages and will be posting them, daily, on The KINNICK Project blog, beginning tomorrow, January 4. Weekly summaries will continue, here, starting next Tuesday, January 10.

Comments welcomed! 

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!


Reading and Writing Plans for 2012


I just finished The Year in Review - 2011, and promised to write this for January 2, so I guess I'll give it a try, while I'm in the mood. I hope it is not all redundant between the two pieces. I'll try to keep it simple.

1. I put 'reading and writing' in the title this year because, to me, I must continue to read in order to be able to write… at least the way I want to. I'm getting more books as Christmas gifts, both print and Kindle, so that will keep me going; plus, online reading never ends.

2. I will continue to write, currently five, articles each week for Examiner.com on my two topic areas: Springfield Genealogy Examiner and Ozarks Cultural Heritage Examiner.

3. It seems I need to have each of my five blogs to have the necessary outlets for what I want to write. Each has its own content and focus, and I've noticed the priority among them shifts a bit, month by month. That is fine, must keep from getting bored.
Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories
Dr. Bill on Retirement
Dr. Bill's Book Bazaar
The Homeplace Series Blog
The KINNICK Project

4. One addition this year, as a daily priority is transcribing my mother's 1937 diary entries onto The KINNICK Project blog - 75 Years Ago. Eileen KINNICK had just turned 18 years old in December 1936, is three months into her relationship with Pete Smith, and is a devoted 'Coon Rapids' girl - giving us some insight into this small Iowa town, as well. They will get married in the Spring of 1938; I'll come along on 1 Jul 1939. So, it should make some interesting reading. The transcriptions begin on 4 Jan 2012; my weekly commentaries on Tuesday will continue on the Ancestor Stories blog starting on 10 Jan 2012.

5. During the year I hope to finish the research and writing of the non-fiction family history on our Revolutionary War ancestor, Sergeant Major William KINNICK. He is my 5th great-grandfather as well as the 3rd great-grandfather of 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile KINNICK, for whom KINNICK Stadium at the University of Iowa is named. There is surely some promotion value there to exploit. Wish me well!  ;-)

6. I will continue to research and write on issues related to a non-fiction family history book on my great-grandfather Michael Smith. I am still developing alternative approaches to making this project most effective.

7. Finally, I will continue to pursue "The Homeplace" series fiction work. A lot of additional ground work was done during the last half of 2011, and I do not yet know just where that will take us. Come along for the journey, and see where we are at the end of another year!  ;-)

8. From Arrion: For 2012, assist your youngest daughter Arrion with her research on the Smith family in Europe (Colmar, France area.) Also, interested in the Stauffer line on Mom's side - Ibershiem, Germany area. This is for my October 2012 European Road Trip. That is, if you have the time! P.S. We will find time.  ;-)

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Note: This will be posted to both the Ancestor Stores blog and the Book Bazaar blog.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sharing Memories Sunday - Work at Space Technology Laboratories


Sharing Memories Sunday
Work at Space Technology Laboratories


In my Those Places Thursday post this week, we had moved to Redondo Beach, California, in late May 1961; which lasted about six weeks before we went off to three years in the Air Force.

In case you missed it, I also posted some 1961 photo highlights on Saturday.

Here are my thoughts about that Southern California work experience:

Space Technology Laboratories, at One Space Park, in Manhattan Beach, eventually a part of TRW, Thompson Ramo Wooldridge, was my employer. I was one of about 200 'computer programmers' in this huge, new facility. My job was to work with parameters, on paper and on the big 'main frame' computer, for one of the Atlas Missiles they were building/developing (whether that was actually the project or not, I have no idea - reading, now, it may have been another project). I was one little cog in a very big operation - I had no idea what the were really doing, just did what they told me, and loved it.

As I recall it, it was an iterative process. I would choose (or was given) a 'payload' figure, for the top of the rocket. This was punched into 'punch cards' and verified - you remember punched card, right - 80 columns of data - one digit at a time. I would turn these in one day, the following day, I got back the green-lined paper report. Did the rocket, with that payload, go into orbit, or plunge back to earth. I would read the results from the prior day, and enter a new payload amount - and run it again. I don't remember what I did the rest of the day… that is what I remember doing.

Perhaps, I was thinking about going to Disneyland with Nancy and Annette on the weekend, or, to the beach, or down to San Diego to the zoo. But, most important, I was an ISU college graduate, working in southern California, that paid a nice paycheck.

I think it is probably also safe to say I wasn't too impressed with the prospect of being a 'computer programmer' for the rest of my career… just saying…  ;-)

Families are Forever!  ;-)