Saturday, October 29, 2011

All Saints Weekend

It seems somehow appropriate to visit a cemetery the weekend before All Saints Day (and therefore Halloween). I didn't see any ghosts, but I was saddened by the number of field stones in the Parker Memorial Cemetery. Saddened because those graves, although marked, will never be known by name. I find field stones interesting because they give us a glimpse of the materials that were available to our ancestors. But they are also beyond frustrating... because each one marks a grave that is unidentifiable. You can tell that many of them once bore inscriptions, but now they are worn away to nothing. Sad. At least one of them was still in good condition and readable. I imagine it was placed much later than the others.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Kuisls

I just finished reading The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch (Lee Chadeayne, translator).

The book in itself was interesting, but what I found to be particularly of note was the postscript. Apparently the inspiration for this book was the author's own ancestry of executioners - the Kuisl family. I have not yet found such a shocking occupation in my own family's past. We were doctors, teachers, preachers, farmers. But who knows what we would find if we delved back into the medieval past!

The author notes: "In the past few years, genealogical research has become increasingly popular. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that we are trying, in a world of increasing complexity, to create a simpler and more understandable place for ourselves. No longer do we grow up in large families. We feel increasingly estranged, replaceable, and ephemeral. Genealogy gives us a feeling of immortality. The individual dies; the family lives on."

Maybe this is why I find genealogy to be so engrossing. I am fairly certain - at this point in my life - that I will have no heirs. My life will end, and with it all the things that are "me." But the family lives on... through my cousins and their children. This is where the Masons (of my line) end, but there are others who live on and carry with them the history of our family. Hopefully there will continue to be people who are interested enough to pass on the story of us.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In Search of Dishes

I purchased this set of dishes last year (I think) from Garden Ridge. I have loved them and wished I had purchased another set so that I would have 8 placesettings. The burgundy dishes I got from Pier One back in 1996 have not aged well... cracking and getting extremely hot in the microwave. So I've relegated them to the sideboard (perhaps to the donation pile soon). That left me with only 4 placesettings of these (Casa Cristina Oro) and some clear burgundy "Visions" that I was given as a gift sometime around the college/post-college years. I've looked all over to try to find more of the Visions, with no luck. So... I finally found these at Replacements, but for a pretty steep price (compared to the $20 I paid for my first 4 placesettings).

Enter Craig's List. I found 8 placesettings for sale in Oklahoma City. So the wheels start turning in my head and I think... if Martha (Stone) could go get these for me, then give them to Amy's parents, then Amy's parents could bring them to Lubbock, then I could get them at Thanksgiving.... it would all be perfect! So, I imposed upon the generosity of my friends and voilà! I'm now the proud owner of 12 placesettings! Or I will be by end of day tomorrow.

I'm so happy this all worked out! It's the little things...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Wondering how to go about finding people in Belgium. It's a long story really. But suffice it to say that an acquaintance is wondering about his extended family, who lives in Belgium. The surname is Doornewerd, but I haven't been able to find many people with that surname. And doesn't appear to have any online records for Belgium. Or maybe I just haven't looked hard enough. Or maybe they're restricted to the international subscription, which we let drop because everything was in another language. At any rate, it doesn't appear that Doornewerd is a common surname. It also doesn't appear that there are many online records for births/deaths/marriages/census/etc. for Belgium. We'll see. Another quest!