Sunday, February 28, 2010

2009-10 Winter Tana Tour, A Gulf Shores Must, LuLu's

One of the "MUST DO'S" in the area is LuLu's.  It is right on the Intracoastal Waterway, so, if you are close enough to that side of the restaurant you can see boats, ships, and barges go by.  I have heard say that on a lucky day you might even spot a porpoise or two.

Today was our visit.  Here is our scorecard.
  • Atmosphere - - colorful, fun.
  • Live music - - great, but, really, must you deafen us?  As in, geshhhh, it was way too loud, made the first part of our meal on the miserable side.  Man was rolling up paper towels/napkins into little ear plugs, yea, he did, and yea, he used em.  SIGH
  • Beer - - cold and stays that way thanks to those nifty pitchers with the frozen plastic ice thingy.  Very, errr, dare I say it, COOL. 
  • Burgers - - at least 8 outta 10.  Maybe 9.  That comes from a burger snob (yep, Moi is a burger snob).
  • Fries - - 7 outta 10.
  • Onion Rings - - 100 outta 10.  By far, these are the best onion rings we have ever had, anywhere, anytime, any price, ohhh, and these are not cheap.  About $3.00 more than an order of fries.  Worth it, YEP, gotta say they are.  OHHH, and the cocktail sauce, get a 20 outta 10 for that, best I have had.  Onion rings and cocktail sauce, can we spell TOTALLY SINFUL ! ? !
I might go sit through more irritating loud music just for the beer, onion rings and cocktail sauce.  Nahhhh, I'll just check the web site and avoid the music. 

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Happy Birthday, Deb

Happy Birthday to a very special lady, the mother of my nephew, and a dear friend!

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy, 27th Edition

The topic for the 27th Edition Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy is "The Village of my Ancestor." Each article should deal with any known history of any location that one ancestor may have lived. It could be history of a town or area in the U.S. or an European Village," Thank you to Al of Polish-American Genealogy Research for hosting this carnival.

Man's grandparents, the Gehrkes, were Germans.  They had an unusual movement pattern from Germany to their final place of residence, Michigan.  See, they went via Hawaii and California.  This is the story of their village of their origins. But, first, I had to find the village, so the back story first.

In 1997, after a number of years of research, and 7 months of full time compiling, writing and oganizing, I published their family history, "The Gehrke's ; Descendants of Karl and Charlotte Gehrke, Emigrants from Germany 1888". 

Man's great grandparents, Karl and Charlotte Gehrke lived in Germany.  In 1888 they had 2 children, Man's grandfather, Fritz (Fred), and daughter Hedwig.  In that year, the family boarded a ship and landed in Kauai Hawaii.  Karl was to work on the sugar plantations.  There were a number of other Germans living at that time in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii. 

Early in the research, we knew the name of the town of Fred's birth, the family had it recorded as Hammerstein. I was disappointed to discover there was more than one village in Germany named Hammerstein.

1994-97 (the years that I was actively researching the Gehrke clan) was before you could find just about ANYTHING on the internet. So, my research consisted of letters, lots of letters to Germany.  Help with these letters came from my soon to be daughter-in-law, a bright young lady from Germany.

The Lihue Lutheran Church records were a gold mine in the research of this family.  Baptisms, confirmations, deaths, marriages, all duly recorded, in German, but recorded.  It was in the confirmation records of Fritz (Fred) and Hedwig and Hedwig's marriage record that verified the village of their birth.

Above, the marriage record of August Braun and Hedwig Gehrke,
Lihue Lutheran Church records, the second column from the
right shows Hedwig's birth date and birthplace,
Hammerstein, West Prussia

Between the letters to Germany and the church records from the Lihue Lutheran Church, we eventually located the correct Hammerstein, now Czarne Poland.

Next I relied on the help of my co-workers at the Westland Michigan Family History Center, many of whom specialize in Polish research. These kind souls helped me write letters and translate the answers for me back into English.   We eventually learned that civil and church records were non-existant, destroyed in World Wars.  Since it seemed this was the end of the search, I turned my energies elsewhere.  I did publish some maps in my work, but, never searched for any history of the town.  I now realize, that was a stone left unturned.

I cannot explain my reaction to the huge surprise that was waiting for me when I did a Google search for Czarne.  First I looked at the Wikipedia page, where I found a lot of history back to around 1300.  Kingdom of Poland, Royal Prussia, West Prussia, etc.  But here are the sentences that took my breath away and almost made my heart stop:

"In 1885 the Prussian Army built a large training ground (√úbungsplatz) there.  In World War I the German Army used it for a large Prisoner-of-war camp for Russian prisoners. In World War II it was the site of the notorious Stalag II-B in which tens of thousands, mainly Soviet prisoners, died from disease, mistreatment and malnutrition."

At I found the following information:
  • A Stalag was the term used during the First and Second World War for prisoner-of-war camps in Germany.
  • Stalag II-B just outside Hammerstein in Pomerania (now Czarne, Pomorskie, Poland), where treatment of prisoners was considered worse than at any other camp in Germany established for American POW
Above photo made available at Wikipedi by
Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive)
Photo taken 9 August 1941
(see full disclosure data here)

I am still processing this discovery of the known history of the birthplace of Man's grandfather, I probably would never have revisited the Gehrke research this way if it were not for this carnival.  Each carnival I have participated in has had me reviewing what I thought I knew, searching out, verifying and learning something new.  Sometimes these new searches end up providing a bit of a surprise, like this time.

Hammerstein Gemany, now Czarne Poland, surely had a known history, only it was not known to me.  I would bet that Fred knew this history, he did not die until 1964.  Now I wonder, how he felt about it. 


* Yes, I know the limitations of Wikipedia.  Further research and reading are always advised.

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2009-10 Winter Tana Tour, Road Kill Cafe & Spring Flowers, Elberta Alabama

Man and I have been hearing, you have to have lunch (buffet Man's FAV!!) out at the Road Kill Cafe.

We knew right where it was, because it was next door to my dentist down here, the one who fixed up that ole broken tooth I had back in November (2009).

So, today was the day, you have to be there by ohhhhh, 11ish, and they say the food is gone by noonish.  They cook "X" amount of food, and when it is gone, they close up and go home!  The eats were pretty good.  Chicken was outstanding! 

Their tshirts say something like, You kill it, we grill it!

After lunch we had a return visit to the Baldwin County Heritage Museum.  What a nice collection they have, and so well organized.  This time we went out the back door to see the school and church.  I was snapping photos and enjoying the sun and my day and the old stuff, and oh, oh, batteries on the camera, DOA.  Oh, well, Man, just looked at me and said, "guess we have to come back".  Yea!  Works for me.

But, before the battery crashed, I found some flowers:

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Flipside, Flower Challenge, And a Small Congrats!

Linda, over at Flipside, posts some great photos on Wordless Wednesdays.  Well, she posts some great ones ALL the time, but, some of her WW ones have been outstanding, and frequently I take a look, and realize, I have one that is similar and have posted mine as a response.  I find myself looking forward to Wednesdays, wondering what she will offer.  I am never disappointed!

In response to her photo today of Melrose Scotland I had to dig into my memory banks. These, from our visit last summer to Mackinaw Island, Michigan, are the closest I can come.  Enjoy Linda!

By the way, congrats to Linda, she flew by 20,000 on her site reads recently.  Quite the accomplishment there Linda!

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday, Montgomery Hill Cemetery, Baldwin County, Alabama

Many of the family burial plots in this historic cemetery are enclosed with fences.  Fences and gates, which I find so interesting, and artistic.

Two fascinating stones in this cemetery, speak for themselves:

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Relatively Speaking, Wednesday Sobs And Rants by Anne

Nope, it is NOT Monday, but, it is Relatively Speaking by Anne.

Remember my post on Sunday, My Genie-Heart is Heavy and Sad ?

Well Anne has a bit more to say about the Library of Michigan on Gene Notes this AM.

UPDATE of sorts, as I was posting, so was Relatively Speaking member Karen, over at Genealogy Frame of Mind, yep, about the Library.

Please go read both these posts, Anne and Karen say it so well. 

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.


Monday, February 22, 2010

2009-10 Winter Tana Tour, Red Eagle (William Weatherford) and Fort Mims

Baldwin County Alabama is full of history, lots of history.  Man and I are working on visiting most, maybe even all, the historical sites here.

Baldwin County is also quite large, I think I read somewhere that it is the largest county in Alabama.  I'll fess up, that when Man and I got in Big Butt, I really did not have a handle on just  how far we were going one way.  (Shhhh, don't tell Man, I just checked and it is like 75 miles one way, GULP!)

My goal for the day was to get to William Weatherford's burial spot, in very northern Baldwin County.  Why???  Cause it was there and I wanted to see. Why???  Cause  - - -

William Weatherford, aka Red Eagle's burial place. 
His mother, Sehoy Tate Weatherford,
a Creek Nation Princess of the Wind Clan is also buried here.

You can learn more about Red Eagle here or try a good ole Google search.

After we left here, we started the trek back towards Tana and Gulf Shores, stopping at several other historical places, including Fort Mims, the site of a horrific massacre, in which over 500 people died.  You can learn more about Fort Mims here.

Above, a re-creation of the East Gate where the attack began.

As sad as this site is, Man and I enjoyed our visit, and since we knew nothing of this history, we also learned something.

After leaving Fort Mims, we wandered over to the Montgomery Hill Cemetery.  Check back tomorrow for a photo tour of the cemetery.

*Something kinda strange about Fort Mims, as soon as I walked through that East Gate and was standing on the inside, there was a peculiar odor.  Man thinks it was some preservative used on the poles of the walls.  I could not tell, but felt it was a bit bizarre and eerie.  I could not smell it close to the poles, but, could smell it when I was about 6 foot or more from the walls. 

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Splogger-Splatterer, Round Four

The other evening when I should have been trying to do something productive, quite by chance, errrr, accident, I found myself looking at 9 pages of results from Google Search on the total url of Reflections From the Fence.  Actually, I am not quite sure how it happened, I clicked on something and BAM, there I was in Google Search.  OKKKK, since I was there, I had a lookie see.

Yep, I found a bunch more sploggers.  So, without wasting another moment, let's splatter them, remember, no links, you go there, you pad their wallet$. (I found this one last week, I have no idea why they have Reflections there, and I may be wrong, but I think they are sploggers too)

Curiosity got me, and I decided to have a look at a few other blog names and see what popped up.  Greta over at Greta's Genealogy Bog has told me she knows she has been a victim of sploggers for some time,  She is right, it did not take me long to find that had her.

Then I went to cousin Karen's name, Genealogy Frame of Mind.  Did not take long at all to find that the 123people and jokester-store people and another gang currently going by the name of have Karen listed.

Not willing to spend any more time on the searches, I sure came away with the feeling that, if you blog, you ARE being splogged.

One thing I discovered was that I picked up different names of sploggers dependent upon how I searched.  I have searched with my full URL, and I have searched thusly: reflectionsfromthefence. One time I searched with the quotes like this:  "Reflections From the Fence" and a few other ways as well.  I stumbled into this realization during my study of the creeps on the Google Search page, but again, sorta by accident. 

Down at the very bottom of the search page I found a link titled, "See all my SearchWiki notes".  You know my curious mind had to know, so, yes, I clicked on it, and it took me to this cool page which showed all the comments I have been leaving trying to SHAME these idiots.  (OKKK, we all know that they are not going to be shamed, but, if  I keep them from getting ONE click to their sites I'll be happy.)  Anyway, this page is called "My SearchWiki notes" and I was able to save it as a favorite.  This page showed all the different ways I had been searching as well as the comments I left each time.

At the end of the evening, I am not sure I understand all of what I found here.  It has become more and more evident as I tread along, that there are a lot of people trying to make $$$$  off us bloggers.  

I spent an evening when I first was learning about sploggers in an online discussion with some live support dude at one of the companies that host one of the sploggers that was splogging me.  Oh, yea, they were polite, and encouraging during the live chat.  Then, I got the email with directions on how to proceed with my complaint.  They set it up in such a way that no reasonable complaintant would continue with said complaint.  BLAH.  Now, in hind sight, after finding out how many sploggers are out there, I have to wonder, did that real nice live support dude sit on his end of the conversation laughing so hard it was hard to stay in his seat?? Probably.


Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Relatively Speaking, Anne's Got Inspirations

Cousin and friend Anne, over at Gene Notes is ramping up for her submission to the Monday series, Relatively Speaking - Cousins that Blog.  She let out a little hint today, something about inspirations.  I'll be there first thing tomorrow AM Anne!

*Graphic courtesy of

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

My Genie-Heart is Heavy and Sad

Please read the notice dated February 21, 2010, from the Michigan Genealogical Council web site.

Via a friend I hear that the morale at the Library is rather low.  I say no more, too sad for words.

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - My Southern Drawl Ah-ha Moment

1) Think of any number of genealogy events or moments that make you have a genealogy happy dance, an ah-ha moment, or a genea-gasm (tsk tsk Randy, getting a tad bit risque there!  LOL).

2) Tell us about them in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.

Lets chat about an ah-ha moment I had in my first year of research, newbie, green and eager to learn.

I was doing lots of census work, but, of course. I was working diligently on my Bowen ancestry, had worked back to my first and second great-grandfathers, both named Hezekiah Bowen. So, I am looking for 2 Hezekiah Bowens. Actually, I am looking for three Hezekiahs, because there was a grandson named Hezekiah too. OK, we are all confused, lets just say, I was knee deep in Hezekiah Bowens.  Thing was, at the time of the search, I had no idea I was gonna end up with three Hezekiahs, and of course, that is important to understand my Ah-Ha moment.

I found my 2nd great grandfather, as Hesachiah Bowen (as indexed at on the 1880 U.S. Census, living in Lockhart, Bulloch County, Georgia.

I found my great-grandfather, as Hezikiah Bowen on the 1880 U.S. Census, living in District 50, Emanuel County, Georgia

And, I found the third Hezekiah indexed and written as Hesachier Bowen on the 1880 U.S. Census living in Club House, Bulloch, Georgia.  This is the Hezekiah I did not know I was gonna find.

So, what is my ah- moment? Well, it took me 6 months to figure out that Hesachier was Hezekiah (I told you I was GREEN!!!). Gotta say, it bugged the beejeebees outta me!  Just what kind of name is Hesachier anyway??

When did I finally GET it?? In the middle of the night, came to me in a dream I guess, as I sat up in bed and said to Carol, “Carol, say that name Hesachier with a southern drawl”.  This entire family was from Georgia, and there is little doubt they would have had a decent southern drawl.  So, I did just that, out loud and lo and behold, I was able to fake a southern drawl and was able to go from Hesachier to Hezekiah.


Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Friday, February 19, 2010

2009-10 Winter Tana Tour, Spring Sprung in Fairhope Alabama

Forced bulbs, hundreds and hundreds of them found in Fairhope Alabama yesterday.  So what if they were forced, they were just what the doctor ordered for the winter blahs. These in the first photo smelled like heaven!

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter 2010 Games, GeneaBlogger Style, My One and Only Entry in the Competition

Over at GeneaBloggers they are playing the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, geni-style. What fun. I am not actively participating as many of the challenges would have to be done at the stick built. So, I thought, hmmmm, Carol, a review of the tasks always are good for your research.  This is a great list, providing in depth review, good stuff, it is a great place to measure how you are doing in your research and recording of results.  I decided to do a one time chat about the Olympics, no formal participation, no medals awarded. I found I aready do a number of the challenges listed as a matter of standard operating procedure.  I did 4 or 5 challenges in preparing this post.  There are quite a few challenges on the long list for the Winter Olymics that need more of my attention, back at the stick built. My review of the challenges:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! Many moons ago I reviewed all 4000 plus individuals in my data base and verified or provided a source for each and every event/fact. Since then, I have a hard and fast rule, do NOT enter a birth date, death date, any event, without a source, and if I have more than one source, that is even better. I now have over 16,000 individuals in my data base, and I gotta say, I am glad I don’t have to start doing that NOW.

2. Back Up Your Data!
Digital files are backed up to an external hard drive, about once a month. I also have a recent copy of my data base and photos on my iPod touch (photos updated when I synch the touch). Data base backup is also stored online at a hotmail email account (note it is FREE). I have my data base and supporting files on 2 other computers.  Digitizing photos and documents has resulted in over 7000 images attached to my data base, but I do not feel this project is anywhere near the finish line.

3. Organize Your Research!
Reviewing and tweaking my digital files is a constant battle. A massive re-organization effort made about 18 months ago when a new laptop was purchased has worked out quite well. My main goal was to reduce the mega number of subdirectories to a mini number and to name them such that they all arranged themselves ABOVE “Program Files” on Windows Explore. I had to come up with some ?creative? names, such as “Lousy mail list” and “I Got Work to Do” and “All in the Family”. I actually had fun thinking out of the box for file names and surprisingly, they have all stood the test of 18 months time.

4. Expand Your Knowledge
I have temporarily imbedded a "live" Google Map of where Man and I are staying for the winter at the bottom of my blog. (Live versa a screen shot OF the map which I can then post as an image.)  I love it, HOWEVER, I am not pleased that it seems to take the reader to the bottom of the blog page when loading the page. The map in this format may will be going bye bye, so take a look, quick. I did a Wordle and added it to the right column of the blog and I did a Heritage flag over at we are multicolored, likewise added. Those two are likely to remain here on Reflections From the Fence for a while.

5. Write, Write, Write!

(Insert a little black humor here -- Somehow, THIS is not a problem for ole Carol -- I cannot seem to stop writing since I started Reflections.)

I have used the new Pages app for my blog, I am still tweaking this. It is near the bottom top (edited and moved February 22) of the right column. Unfortunately due to the background color (black) of this template, the Pages tags cannot go under the banner.  I have looked and do not see a way to change the color of the print on the tags.

I built a welcome area to my blog a while back (almost at the top of right column). I briefly explain what I write about and what other information can be found on my other web pages/blogs. One link (see the graphic of a pedigree chart) at the top of the right column will lead you to 8 pedigree charts covering my 4 grandparents and Man’s 4 grandparents. I may eventually add additional charts to this page, so come back and check sometime.

I enjoy carnivals, and participate in some of them. I frequently write biographies, usually as part of a series I have called “Birthday Observances”.  I include a photo of the ancestor if I have one, and share some of their vital statistics. If I am lucky enough to have additional stories or information I will share some of that as well on those Birthday blog posts.

6. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!
I enjoy reading blogs and commenting on all the great ones I find, I follow quite a few of you good folks - - so many to follow, so little time - - and I keep finding new ones each week. 

I LOVE Find A Grave and try to spend some time over there each and every week, building memorials for the families I research, linking and adding a photo here and there. My Tombstone Tuesday post on the Holsinger cemetery was the stimuli to add photos on the Find A Grave site for the cemetery and for all the stones that were found during my visit there a few years ago. I was humbled when the original submitter transferred all the memorials to me for my care.

Volunteer work, a cause dear to my heart. I urge all to “pay it forward” and, ohhhh, be kind to your volunteers.

The Olympics challenge is chuck full of great ideas, great challenges, a very comprehensive list of skills and chores you should strive to do all the time, as standard procedures during your research and input process. I had a lot of fun building my Wordle, Heritage Flag and the Google map of our current location.

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.


52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - - Maps, Google, Bing & Google Earth

I adore maps.  I use maps to find cemeteries, houses, and even campsites.  I spent most of one summer gathering maps for all the cemeteries on my data base.  If I ever get the chance to visit them I want to know just where they are.  And, I want to be prepared. 

I find the maps on Google Maps, Bing Maps, Google Earth or perhaps even on Find A Grave.  I screen capture the image, sometimes I capture more than one image, showing different maps/magnification.  I process the image and link it to the cemetery in my data base.  I will also add addresses and contact information. If I can find a photo of the gate or entrance to the cemetery on Find A Grave, I will also link that photo (giving credit, of course to Find A Grave and the specific submitter of said photo) to the data base.  If I ever come across maps OF a cemetery - the larger ones usually have site maps - I will scan that and add it to the file.

Here is North Cemetery, Lawler, Chickasaw County, Iowa where some of Man's ancestors are buried.  Google Maps.

I actually discovered that the map I had for the cemetery was in error, and, I will replace it with this.  Just for comparison, here is the same map from Google Maps that does not have the Satellite information.

I also LOVE Google Earth, I am constantly amazed at what I can find.  This is Little Lashbrook, Devon, England.  We suspect that Man's ggg grandfather, Richard Lashbrook may have lived in this little collection of homes. 

When Man I traveled to England we visited this spot and had our first official English tea there. Yepper, a highlight of the trip.

This house is called Little Lashbrook

And, here is our tea, Man is taking the photo.

Richard Lashbrook came to America around 1830, eventually settling in McHenry County Illinois. It is possible that this next image is the home he built there.  This is a split screen with street view from Google Maps.

Same house, ariel view, I do not remember which map site I was using.

My last image today is a Google Earth map of the home away from home that Man, I, the yorks, Big Butt and Tana are staying at this winter, Gulf Breeze RV Resort, Gulf Shores, Alabama.  We are parked left of the word "POND" (in red).

I discovered today that Google Earth has a "copy image" facility, making it very easy and fast to paste into my photo editing program.

The use of maps can add color to your data base, they show where your family lived, worked or even where they are buried.  They enhance your research, your family story.

Most researchers value their old maps.  I also value the new ones that are now available via the internet and satellite technology. You can never have enough maps!

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence