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Friday, July 14, 2017

Blogger Recognition Award



Janice Sellers nominated my blog for the Blogger Recognition Award. Thank you very much!

This award also has some rules to follow:

FOLLOWING THE RULES
Apparently there are a few “rules” for those who accept the award:
  • Thank the blogger who nominated me.
  • Write a post to show the award.
  • Write a brief story on how my blog started.
  • Share two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  • Nominate seven other bloggers for this award.
  • Comment on each of their blogs to let them know they have been nominated for this award and provide a link to this post.
I have thanked Janice here and will do so again personally.

How I Got Started
On January 15, 2011, I attended a class at the California Genealogical Society led by Craig Siulinski to learn all the ropes to start a blog. I had spoken with him previously about it and was rattling around an idea in my head before coming to the class. So I had an idea and a title, and with Craig's help in setting up a blog in Blogger, it got started. I am forever tied to Janice Sellers because our blogiversary is on the same day (and the same day as long-time blogger, Dick Eastman. I decided to write about my grandmother's ancestors and so called it "Mam-ma's Southern Family." Mam-ma was what us grandkids called her.

Advice For New Bloggers
Before you start the blog, come up with a few ideas. If you have a nice list of possible topics, you'll keep it going. Will you write about genealogy in general? Will you write about one particular family line? Will you share photos from old albums?

Your posts don't have to be long. It's okay to either write long posts once a week, or write short ones more often. Get a calendar and plan out some of your posts. That will help keep you to a schedule.

Here are Seven Blogs I Enjoy Reading:

Jacqi Stevens                            A Family Trapestry
Michelle Ganus Taggart           A Southern Sleuth
True Lewis                               Notes To Myself
Gena Philibert-Ortega              Gena's Genealogy
Diane MacLean Boumenot      One Rhode Island Family
Pat O'Donnell Kuhn                 Touching Family History
Mary Kircher Roddy                Searching For Stories

Hope you enjoy them, too!

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

On this Day – Death of Tom J Johnston, Jr., July 11, 1973

My maternal grandfather, Tom J. Johnston, Jr. passed away on  11 July 1973.  He was only sixty years old. He died of cor pulmonale due to advanced pulmonary emphysema.[1] He had been a life-long smoker.

He was survived by his wife, Pansy L. Johnston, his daughter, Lela Nell Hork, his sisters, Beryl Russell and Mildred Bay, and six grandchildren.[2]

Tom had been a member of the Carpenter’s Union and worked at Diablo Valley Community College.

His funeral was held at Oak Park Hills Chapel in Walnut Creek and he was buried at Oakmont Memorial Cemetery in Lafayette.[3]

His was the first funeral I attended. I was 19. At the funeral home, the casket was open when we got there and I was surprised by how peaceful he looked. I had been a bit afraid of him because he always sounded so gruff when he spoke. Though, when he spoke to his dogs, he was very sweet.

Today, I thought I’d share a few photos of Tom and his dogs.






[1] State of California, Dept of Health Services, Certificate of Death, Contra Costa County, #73-087531, Tom J Johnston Jr, 1973.
[2] “Tom Johnston,” obituary, Contra Costa Times, Friday July 13, 1973, p 26.
[3] Memorial Card of Tom Johnston, Oak Park Hills Chapel, 13 July 1973, Gorrell Family Archives.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- What Ancestor Had the Most Children?


Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing has our weekly challenge lined up:

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you to:

1)  The Family History Hound listed 20 Questions about your Ancestor, and I'm going to use some of them in the next few months. 

2)  Please answer the question - "What ancestor had the most children?  How many?"

3)  Write your own blog post, make a comment on this post, or post  your answer on Facebook or Google+.  Please leave a link to your answer in comments on this post.

My story

On my father’s side of the family, I have two ancestors who had ten children: Johann Anton Hork & Julia Ann Sievert (my great-grandparents) and John Gleeson & Margaret Tierney (my 2x great-grandparents).

On my mother’s side of the family,  I have several families with ten or more children: James Loveless & Linna Hughes had twelve children in South Carolina. Their son, Jesse Loveless & wife, Elizabeth Nixon had ten children. Jesse’s son, Ebenezer Loveless and wife, Eliza A. Rodgers had eleven children. James Madison Coor & Melissa Ann Welch had ten children in Mississippi.

But the most were Reuben M. Johnston & Olivia Jane Jones, who had thirteen children, all born in Comanche Co, Texas:
  • Rufus Arthur, b. 9 Oct 1880
  • Malissie Pearl Dode, b. 1 Jul 1882
  • Robert Lee, b. 26 Feb 1884
  • Thomas Newton, b. 25 Jul 1885
  • Florence Ellen, b. 17 Mar 1887
  • Ruby Hardy, b. 22 Aug 1888
  • Edna Mae, b. 26 Oct 1891
  • Woodie Andrew, b. Oct 1892
  • Lillie Estelle Nina, 12 Dec 1894
  • Fannie Bertha, b. 24 Jul 1896
  • Oral Dotterage “Pig”, b. 16 Dec 1898
  • Loyce Smith, b. 21 Sep 1902
  • Lloyd Strickland “Nig”, b. 7 Feb 1904

Reuben also had four additional children with first wife, Catharine Skull:
  • Samuel M, b. Feb 1870
  • Martha Mattie “Sis”, b. 1872
  • Lola D, b. 28 Mar 1874
  • Ocia Catherine, b. 27 Nov 1877
I do have another couple with sixteen children: Dempsey Welch & Elizabeth Rebecca Young. However, I didn’t do the research. and I don’t feel confident enough to include them. I only have birth dates for seven of the children.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Three Stories for Father's Day


Randy Seaver from Genea-Musing has again asked us to write about our father or grandfather for Father’s Day:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  Sunday, 18 June, is Father's Day.  Let's celebrate by writing a blog post about our father, or another significant male ancestor (e.g., a grandfather).

2)  What are three things about your father (or significant male ancestor) that you vividly remember about him?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

Last year I wrote about my father, William J. Hork here. This year I’ve decided to write about my maternal grandfather, Tom J. Johnston.

Cars
My grandfather liked his automobiles and both my grandfather and grandmother liked having their photos taken with their cars. We have lots of photos taken with them posing in front of an automobile.



Pets
There were always dogs in my grandparent’s home. My grandfather enjoyed having small dogs that would jump up into his lap. With one dog, Pierre, he taught to do tricks like dance on his hind legs and “sing” where it sounded like he was saying “I love Mama.” Their dogs were very spoiled and would get to lick the ice cream dishes each evening.

With Goober
My grandparents with Thunder

Carpentry

My grandfather was a carpenter and loved making furniture. My grandparent’s home was full of items he had made in his woodshop. Picture frames, tables, cabinets, and lamps were among some of the furniture he made. My mother had a magazine rack and a bench which housed an ironing board. 

Here is the magazine rack

He made the lamp, side table and coffee table

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Tribute to Your Mother

Randy Seaver of Genea-musing has a new challenge for us this week. For this week's mission we were challenged to:
1)  This is Mother's Day weekend, and I have been thinking about my mother - the family times, the hard times, the wonderful times.
2)  For SNGF this week, write a tribute to your mother.  It can be any length.  What do you remember about her, and what did you learn from her?
3)  Share your tribute or memories in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook or other social media.  Please leave a comment on this post if you post something elsewhere.
My mother was an only child but dreamed of having a big family. She did. I am the oldest of six children born in the 50s and 60s. She was fun-loving and doted on her children. But I think a big family was a bit overwhelming to her as well. It was a lot to handle, even though she was a stay-at-home homemaker.

Childhood
Lela Nell Johnston was born 21 August 1934 in Stephenville, Texas to Pansy Louise Lancaster and Tom J. Johnston, Jr. Perhaps her mother doted on her. Photos of Lela, as a child, showed her in pretty dresses and fancy hair-does. There are shots of them in matching dresses.

Teenage Love
My mother was popular in her first two years of high school at Acalanes High School. She held the office of Social Secretary as a Freshman . She also had lots of dates and kept track of them with a chart.


She met my father, William J. Hork, at the Walnut Festival where she was attending with other friends. They double-dated with one of Bill’s friends and went steady afterwards. They had a very traditional wedding at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church which was written up in the newspaper.


Thrifty
Growing up, I remember Mom as a great cook, who was able to stretch the food dollars. She read all the women’s magazines such as McCall’s, Women’s Day, Family Circle, and Cosmopolitan.  She got lots of recipes from them, as well as the newspaper. She made shopping lists from looking at the LoRay’s grocery store ads. When I was older, we shopped together, each with a shopping cart and list.

She also saved money by sewing clothes for me and  my three sisters. She even made matching clothes for us, including shirts for my brothers. The best outfit she made for me was a matching skirt and jacket which was the rage when I was in 8th grade.
The suit made by my mother
Artistic
I remember when I was young that my mother would paint using oils. At our house in Pittsburg, there was a smaller house in the backyard where she had a little studio. But by the sixth child was born, I guess she didn’t have time for painting. She was artistic in other ways. She made many items out of used things such as bowls from 78 rpm records she baked over coffee cans and then spray painted  gold, or taking old metal platters and decopaging pictures cut from old calendars or magazines. One of her favorite activities was going “junking” at second-hand stores. Finding treasures she could re-use was a highlight. All of her children seemed to inherit the love of “junking” and having a bit of the creativity bug.

Games
Although we didn’t go out much as a family, we did play games. We played card games, dice games, and board games. She taught us a game much like the game Scattergories. We just made our own grids and used a magazine to get letters for the game. We played gin rummy, double solitaire, liars dice, and Scrabble.

Advice Giving
When I married, I called often for advice. I valued her wisdom about how to deal with household chores because I hadn’t paid as much attention to those things before. But she died young and couldn’t be a resource on how to raise my children, nor did my children get a chance to know their grandmother.

Hork Family 1978
It’s been sad having my mother gone, but the artistic trait lives on in my daughters: one is a fine artist and the other a fine actor.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday – WWII Draft Card for “Tom Junior Johnston”

Not all records can be found online and this draft card for my grandfather, Tom J Johnston, is no exception. Tom was born in 1912 and was part of the group of men born between 1897 and 1927 who registered for the draft.[1] There were men born before 1897 who also registered for the draft and their cards can be found online at Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. These cards are often referred to as the “Old Man’s Draft.”

So how did I get this card? I ordered the records from the National Archives in St. Louis. Information about how to order is here. There is a special form you fill out for the registrant you’re seeking and when the archives personnel find the record, you’ll receive a letter with an invoice to order the copies. The Registration Card is $7.00 and the Classification Record (including the Registration Card) is $27.[2]

Draft Card[3]
The date of the registration was October 16, 1940 at Stephenville, Texas. Most of the information on the card was typed except for Tom’s signature on the front and the registrar’s check marks and signature on the back. The information on the card was what I expected, except the Jr. that is usually at the end of his name was written out as “Junior” for his middle name. Tom’s father’s name was Thomas Newton Johnston. My grandfather has always written his name as Tom J Johnston, Jr.

At the time of the registration, he was living in Stephenville, Erath County, Texas and his address was Box 627. A telephone number was listed as 192. He was 28 years old and stated his birthdate as Oct. 7, 1912. This was the date we always celebrated his birthday. He said he was born in Gustine, Texas (which is in Comanche County). The person who would know his address was his wife, Mrs. Pansy Louise Johnston, who lived at the same address. At this time, he was working for himself, doing woodworking. He signed the card “Tom Johnston Jr.”

The description on the back of the card had check marks for white, brown eyes, blonde hair, and light complexion. He was 5 ft. 10 inches tall and weighed 182 pounds.

Registration Certificate from Tom Johnston's Wallet
Registration Certificate[4]
I have the contents of my grandfather’s wallet from when he died. One of the documents was a very worn card entitled “Registration Certificate.” This card was to certify that he had registered with the Selective Service and was to carry the card with him at all times. The information is the same as the card above and was likely filled out at the same time.


Classification Record[5]
This classification record came to me in several sections. This gives a history of the draft registration process for Tom. His serial number was 1738. The following dates were recorded:
  • date of volunteering for induction: 3-8-44,
  • date questionnaire mailed: 5-26-41,
  • date questionnaire returned: 5-28-41
  • classification III: A
  • date appeared for physical:
  • date classified: 5-24-41, 1-6-44, 1-23-44
  • date of order for induction: 3-9-44
  • time fixed for transp to induction sta: 3-24-44, 1:30 pm
  • final disposition at induction sta & date: acc, 3-25-44
  • remarks: medical survey: 7-11-44


The inserted page was the listings of classification with dates in the following columns:
  • Classification: IIIA, 1-A, 1-C, 1-C
  • col 32: 7-7-42
  • col 33: 7-11-42


U.S. Navy

Tom was inducted in the United States Navy and did leave for duty on 25 March 1944. He served the entire three and half months in Farragut, Idaho, where he received a medical discharge.[6] This discharge card was also in his wallet.

Discharge Card from Tom's wallet


[1] “Selective Service Records,” National Archives at St. Louis, https://www.archives.gov/st-louis/archival-programs/other-records/selective-service.html#wwii : accessed 16 April 2017)
[2] ibid
[3] World War II Draft Registration Records, Selective Service Records, National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri, Ser. No. 1738, order no. 1870, Tom Junior Johnston, Erath Co, Texas.
[4] Selective Service Registration Card, 16 October 1940, privately held by Lisa Gorrell, [address for private use], Martinez, CA 94553. Draft Card. Passed on to me by Pansy Johnston, wife of Tom J Johnston
[5] World War II Draft Registration Records, Selective Service Records, National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri, Classification Record, Erath Co TX, p. 59, order no. 1870, Tom Junior Johnston.
[6] "Certificate of Discharge,'" Tom Johnston Jr., U.S. Navy, National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, Missouri.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Lunch With a Fearless Female



Randy Seaver of Genea-musing has an assignment for us this week:

1) This is March, the month for Fearless Females posts, started by Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog - see her Fearless Females blogging prompts for 2017 at http://www.theaccidentalgenealogist.com/2017/02/fearless-females-blogging-prompts.html.

2) Answer this question for March 16 (I've changed it a bit): If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead), or any famous female, who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you talk about?

3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a comment on Facebook or Google+.


I participated in this blogging meme back in 2012 and wrote specifically about my great-great grandmother, Martha J. Coor.  Click here to see the post. I still wish I could ask her the question.


Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family