Saturday, July 28, 2012


As I get older - maybe, wiser - I've been reconnecting with my geographically-near cousins, and connecting for the first time with other cousins further away.  Many of them.  First cousins who are a whole generation or so older, in my father's GILLESPIE line, and their children, our first-cousins-once-removed.  As well as second cousins-once-removed, from all lines, BUNN.  Third cousins - or is it fourth -  in my mother's father's TERWILLIGER line.

   And a wonderful first cousin far away in Ontario - who had been lost to the family since a post-war divorce - found me from my post on the KUHN message board online, "looking for relatives"!  We were both flabbergasted to find each other, and thrilled to find we both love genealogy.  What a wonderful experience - we've become friends as well as relatives.  Cuz Dave - you're the BEST!  Pooling our information and researching skills, we managed to prove much in our KUHN line in particular.  

   All those other cousins shared photographs, memories, stories, copies of various documents, many notes, and great conversations.  And along the way, I've discovered much to enjoy.  These are lovely people.  Why on earth didn't we know each other better, before now -?

   Several of these cousins have big family reunions or picnics or huge Christmas dinners in a hall, on a regular basis.  I envy them their opportunities to keep in touch, to know what is happening with various couples, their children, the whole extended family.  Wouldn't it be nice if we did this, too?  But somehow we're scattered in my family of origin.  Usually 'someone' keeps in irregular touch and passes on information.  Of course, a divorce or two does make it challenging.  Sigh.  These days, funerals are our major method of meeting!

Souvenir Album (1800s)
   My furthest-distance cousin connection was with Joanne, a third cousin who lives down in St. Louis, MO.  I managed to spend some time with her when I was down there at a conference (I was working still).  Not only did I find much to appreciate in her kindness in picking me up in a nasty snow storm, and treating me to a wonderful meal, I also loved the photo of my greatgrandfather's sister, and more information on that side of the TERWILLIGER family. I was able to share what I'd found already on that line, plus some personal details gathered from my greatgrandfather's Souvenir Album, which my grandmother had kept (in very bad shape, unfortunately) in an old trunk.   I'm enclosing a photo - and every archivist out there will cringe at the terrible condition it's in (apologies).  

   Cousins.  They have a different take on the family stories, remember events differently, but they're definitely family.  And for genealogy details, nothing can beat a cousin.

Love to all my far-flung cousins - Celia

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Grandma & Grampa Gillespie, with their youngest grandchildren (from their youngest son who married late!).    I'm sitting in Grandma's lap, my sister Leita in the middle, and brother Jake on Grampa's lap.  Jake's birthday is only 2 days after Grampa's, and he's named for him as well.

We're sitting on the porch of their retirement cottage in Deep Cove (North Vancouver BC), named Kil-Kare... which means exactly that!  I used to think it was an Irish place or words, but it's in the category of  'gone-fishin'.  

This photo is in the photo albums that Mom made for us kids years ago, with her typed details on each photo.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

CURFEWS... Do you remember those -?

Curfews.   My sister was a year older, and she got to stay out later - and she certainly did!!  She loved to party, was very social, always had a boyfriend plus a group of busy friends.  Curfew?  She tried her best to ignore it since there were seemed few consequences to her!  How did she manage that?  I never figured that out.

On the other hand, I was very introverted/shy, rarely went out, hardly dated in high school at all (5 times), and generally tried to keep a low profile.  Then I hit University - big, busy, lively, and I was a stranger to almost everyone.  Few fellow students from my high school attended university so I knew almost no one.  What a benefit - no one knew I was a brain, no one thought I was too tall, both girls and guys were friendly and warm, and it seemed as if the guys thought I was really attractive.  Wow.  An explosion of social life ensued.  Parties.  Dates.  Long walks.   Long drives.   I was a bit too nervous of losing control, so did very little drinking or smokin' any funny stuff at that time.  Curfew.  My mother got very worried, I know...

You see, her discussion with the two of us girls when we were early teens went along the lines of  "...anything you could do after midnight, is easily done before... so what's the point of insisting on a particular hour for a curfew?  So... Just be careful girls, and make sure you don't drink too much!"

I suspect those points came from her own life... she was married pregnant to my dad in 1940, at the age of almost 18 years old.  Well, it was the war, and she was the youngest in the family and a leeeetle bit spoiled, I think.  Life at the beginning of the war was certainly interesting, and dad looked pretty good in a uniform, I must say!

I finally moved out of home after one year of university.  I found it took too long travelling on the bus to and from home (over an hour each way), and meant I was coming home quite late, crossing a dark park as well.  Worrisome.  I made up a budget, moved into a small bed-sitting space with shared kitchen and bathroom, and survived.  For extra money I managed to work part-time over the next few years as I continued to pursue my nursing degree (BScN) at university.  Curfew?  It depended on my own good sense.  Luckily I seemed to have enough to keep safe, sound, and happy, through those challenging years.

When it came to my own kids, the "careful" message was easily passed on... and after that, I had the rule that no matter what time you come in, you had to wake me up to let me know you were home.  Whew.  What a difficult time that was.  But we all survived.

And now my eldest has a 13 year old girl...  Curfews.   Do they do any good or not?  Or do they matter?  Or is it the relationship between parent and child/teen that matters the most?

Friday, July 20, 2012

BASEBALL at Nat Bailey Stadium...

Baseball.  Maybe the rain will let up and I'll get to the nooner baseball game at Nat Bailey Stadium after all.  I sense a very slight clearing to the southwest - which is where the weather comes from in Vancouver BC.  

    Did you ever go to baseball games when you were young?  Do you go now that you're older?  Got a favourite team or two? Growing up in the city during the 50's and 60s, baseball was a big part of our life.

    I have lots of baseball memories.   My parents watched baseball on TV from the time we got a TV (1955), as well as going to the local stadium to watch, my dad was a Little League coach & manager with a friend of his for a number of years, my younger brother Jake played in Little League as well.  And mom taught my sister and I to do the official scoring for the Little League games when we were just young teens.  Sitting up high, behind the umpire, keeping track of all the hits, errors, runs, where the ball went, and so on - it was great fun!   I got tremendous satisfaction in keeping a clean tidy correct score-pad for the game, and it was also an activity our whole family enjoyed together.

    When the World Series was on TV, and if my mom was working, I'd keep score on a score-pad so she could "see" what had happened in the game... who hit the hits or struck out, who had errors, and so on.  It's a great game for friends and family - lots of time to talk and enjoy being with people, admire the pitcher (or not), be thrilled by the great catches, and more...  Hope it stops raining!  

Google "Nat Bailey Stadium"  to see where it is, and look at the images.  It's in a fabulous setting on a bit of a hill next to a big park (Queen Elizabeth Park - although when we used to go necking on the top, we knew it as Little Mountain Park).   If you're on the 3rd base line side one can look over and see the Lions [mountains] and the other mountains as well, just across the harbour.  Gorgeous.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Who Will Pick Up After Me -?

As I look at my latest granddaughter (I have 5, plus one grandson), I wonder.   As I pick up toys and books after playing with her older sisters, I wonder.  As I dig into genealogical records, histories, and maps, I wonder.  

Who will pick up after me?  I fully intend to live to at least 100 years of age, as did several of my women ancestors.  But at some point, I'll be gone, and there will be family history & records on my children's genealogy, sitting on my computer, on Ancestry as well as others, and documents in boxes.  Several people in the genealogy community have commented on this issue recently.  I haven't yet found one person who is clearly excited about our/their genealogy.

One cousin on my ex-husband's side seems interested and somewhat excited about a few of the results of my research on that side of the family.  Good.  I'll remember that.  Maybe I can add a few unusual or unique bits of research data, or historical context which would grab her in particular.  

Perhaps one of my adult kids might be interested if I also help them do the family tree(s) of their spouses' families.   I've written a brief booklet of my dad's Gillespie-Bunn family tree.  It's brief because I'm stuck with several dead ends:  *Ulster ancestors in about 1800, which can be quite challenging research from a distance; and *Worcester area ancestors with common surnames and repetitive given names, again in about 1800.   I would need many more clues and occasional documents in order to go further with a measure of accuracy.  But I'm pleased my (first) Gillespie-Bunn booklet is written with interesting family photos, occupation sites, as well as old maps - it's a start. 

I think for now, I'll focus on another family line, and see if I can write something interesting on say, my mother's mother and her Terwilliger relatives.  Drama was her style, her younger brother was a successful play/movie director, and her grandfather was active in politics.  Hmmm, that might be interesting to others in the family. 

In the meantime, I'm slowly adding corrected detailed citations to my direct ancestors' lines.  As so many people have done in the past, I found it was so much more exciting to simply add names/dates/places etc. to a new ancestor, than to write out a detailed citation.  Sigh.  Catch-up time.

And I'm listing where all the paper and computer documents are, all the photos (being scanned), where trees are online and on my computer, passwords for access to subscription sites, and so on.  I'm also beginning to talk about this issue - who might be interested in taking care of this history.  Not that I expect to find a very excited thrilled relative - I'd be happy to find someone who is simply WILLING to look after it for awhile.  Surely someone will be interested in the mystery, the history, the photos and documents... Surely.

It's an important question:  Who WILL pick up after me?
 - Celia/Mom/Winky  

P.S. Winky is my 'grandma' name


Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis