Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Unexpected Backyard Guest

(Photo: Backyard Butterfly, 17 Septermber 2009, San Pedro, Los Angeles Co., California. 
Digital image. Privately held by Regina De León, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2009.  All rights reserved.)

Copyright © 2009 Regina De León. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - My grandfather, Virgil Crew


Virgil Cancil Crew
Born: 11 May 1909 in Gormon, Eastland Co., Texas
Died: 21 October 1979 in Porterville, Tulare Co., California
Buried: Vandalia Cemetery, Porterville, Tulare Co., California
Plot: A-17-3

My grandmother, Gladys is not buried with Virgil.

This is a photo of Virgil with an unknown Lelia (possibly his sister) taken about 1929.  They are obviously on a farm but I'm not sure if this was a home farm or where Virgil worked.  I'm also not sure if this photo was taken in Texas or California.  He married my grandmother in late 1930 in California.  

I've always loved this photo of my grandfather.  There are only two photos I know of that show him smiling.  Apparently, he was a very serious man.  I'm not sure when this photo was taken but it was taken at the Tulare fair.   He clearly is very happy about something!

Virgil died when I was 10 years old. His funeral was the first I ever attended.  The only memory I have of him while he was alive is of he and my father playing dominos when we visited my grandparents house.

My grandfather could have told me so many things about his life had I only been older or if he had been well.  Miss you, grandpa!

Copyright © 2009 Regina De León. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - Child's Rocking Chair

This child's rocking chair originally belonged to my brother. Later when I was born, I also played with this chair. 

I could not find a photo of my brother actually in the chair but this is a photo of my brother trying to kiss our cousin taken about 1959.  You can clearly see the chair in this photo.  Apparently, he took the chair with him everywhere if possible.  I believe this photo was taken at my cousin's house.

After I grew out of the chair, my parents tied the chair to the rafters in their garage.  It stayed there for over twenty years.  When my son was born, I begged my brother and parents for the chair.  (It was, after all, still my brother's chair.)  Thankfully, he consented and  I was given the chair.

These two photos are of my son and "his chair" taken late 1995 or early 1996.

Here's my son and his chair taken Christmas 1997. 

My son has long grown out of the chair but we still have it and I'm hoping to pass it on to my son's children.

Copyright © 2009 Regina De León. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Playing Dress Up

Photo: Dress Up, date unknown - Crew Children. L to R: Betty Crew, Robert Crew, Dorothy Crew. Terra Bella, Tulare Co., California. Digital image. Privately held by Regina De León, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2009.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Mina (Minnie) Schmidt Montgomery De Laney

My great grandmother, Mina "Minnie" Schmidt.
Born:  27 January 1894 in Kendalia, Kendall Co., Texas
Died: 12 August 1960 in Porterville, Tulare Co., California
Wife of Oda Theodore Montgomery and  Edwin DeLaney.
Mother of Gladys, Frank, Alvina and Mildred.

Minnie about 1930 in Tulare Co., California.

Monday, September 21, 2009

SNGF (on Monday morning)- Ahnentafel Roulette

On Saturday, Randy over at Genea-Musings posted his latest Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.  I was not feeling well this weekend so I did not participate at that time.  I'm going to do my "make-up" now.

Here are the instructions:

1) How old is your father now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ahnentafel. Who is that person?

3) Tell us three facts about that person with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick your mother, or yourself, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!

  1.  My dad would have been 78 this year.  Dividing that by 4 gives me 19.5.   Rounding up to a whole number gives me my roulette number of 20.
  2. Number 20 in my ahnentafel is Benjamin Franklin Perdue, my great great grandfather.
  3. Ben was born in Tennessee about 1841.  He was a farmer or farm laborer in census records 1850 - 1880.  He had five children with his wife, Mary N. Hill.
Thanks for letting me play along!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Most memorable trip to a cemetery

I'm taking the course US: Cemetery and Mortuary Records from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

The first assignment was :
Describe your most memorable trip to a cemetery (this can be in any country). Where was this cemetery? Set the scene - age of the cemetery, condition or upkeep of both the cemetery and the markers, monuments or gravestones, weather condition outside the day of your visit, whom you were with. What was your original purpose in going to this cemetery? What did you find? Why was this trip so memorable?

This is what I posted:

My father, mother and I were driving from California to Texas on one of our summer vacations.  It's a very long drive and my mother insisted on stopping every few hours to stretch her legs.  On one of these stops, we happened to find an old cemetery just off the road.  The cemetery was nestled in some pine trees and was not fenced.  It was not overgrown so someone obviously was taking care of it.   There was no grass like we see in modern cemeteries, just dirt and the occasional weeds or underbrush that had not been cleared away yet.  Most of the markers were upright stones and not very ornate.  What was supposed to be a five minute driving break turned into a hour walk though the cemetery.  My mother and I looked at each stone, row by row, talking about unusual names we found or the many infants buried there.  While we did not set out to visit this cemetery and we could not find any relations.  I always remembered my visit there.  It was an wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon.

So how about you?  What was you're most memorable trip to a cemetery?  I'd like to hear your stories.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: GG grandmother - Sarah Jane Hicks Montgomery

 Digital image. Privately held by Regina De Leon, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] California, 2009.
This photo was given to me many years ago by my grandmother.   It is a photo of my great great grandmother, Sarah Jane Hicks who married Theodore Jonas Montgomery.  The young man on the Harley is unknown but I suspect it may be one of Sarah's boys, possibly Oda or Harry.  

Based solely on the Harley, I would say the photo was taken between 1904 and 1920. 
Sarah was born 28 September 1858 in Missouri and died 23 June 1936 in Bexar Co., Texas. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Freedom Essay and Arlington Wreath Laying

Back in June, my son went on his schools annual 8th grade class East Coast trip.  What made this trip particularly exciting for my son was that he was one of four students chosen to represent their school by laying a wreath at The Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.  Each 8th grade student wrote an essay on the topic "What Freedom Means to Me."  The teachers and principal chose the four best essays and those students got the honor of laying the wreath.

Part of his essay is below.  You can click each part to enlarge and read his essay.

Below are four photos that were taken during the wreath laying ceremony.  (Unfortunately, I did not get to go but a few of the parents who did graciously gave me these photos.)  My son is the one in the blue shirt.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New style for my blog

Just a few words on the new style of my blog.  I decided that the old style was too dark and difficult to read so I set out to find something of a compromise.   I wanted a dark/black template because that's what I love but I also needed the text area to be a light color which hopefully would make my posts easier to read.  I think the new template I chose will do just that.

I'm still working on the details so if you'd like to leave any suggestions for improvement, I'd appreciate it.

Update: J D Bynum

I wrote about my uncle J D here.  I ordered his military records at the end of August.   Unfortunately, the National Personnel Records Center was not able to find his records with the scanty information I was able to provide or quite possibly they were lost in the July 1973 fire.  They sent back a  "Questionnaire About Military Service" that asks for specific information about my uncle's military service in order to locate records from other sources.  I already sent them all the information I had so I'm at a loss for what to do.  

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Texas v. California - Who really is the "Biggest"?

This morning when I opened my Twitter account, I noticed that two of my Texas friends were bantering and the conversation ended with " Well, everything IS bigger in Texas."

This reminded me of along standing family rivalry (and one of my mother's pet peeves).  See, 90% of my extended family (from both sides) was either born in Texas, currently live in Texas or both.  Now my mother is a proud California native.  When I was a child, we spent several of our two week summer vacations traipsing around Texas visiting relatives.  Sometime during each of these trips, someone would mention how BIG things are in Texas.  This of course, would send my mother off on how things were actually BIGGER in California.  (This eventually moved into which state was better, or had more, etc.)  I don't remember exactly how these "sparing matches" ended but I'm sure that there was no clear winner.  (Although, my mother would defiantly claim she was the victor!)

So in honor of my Texas v. California family rivalry, below are some facts about each terrific state courtesy of, and .  I leave it up to the reader to decide the final score!


Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world's largest rose garden with over 38,000 bushes with 500 varieties on 22 acres.

Texas has more land farmed than in any other state.

Texas has nation's largest herd of whitetail deer.

More species of bats live in Texas than in any other part of the United States.

Laredo is the world's largest inland port.

Amarillo has the world's largest helium well.

Texas has more counties (254) than any other state

The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. that is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (by 7 feet).

The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston.

Austin is considered the live music capital of the world.

Texas possesses three of the top ten most populous cities in the United States. These towns are Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

The Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport is larger than New York City's Manhattan Island! But Denver International Airport is the largest in the USA and second largest in the world in terms of size over 53 square miles… Also has the longest commercial runway at 16,000 feet!)

Texas is the first state to have 5 straight Miss USA winners 1985, 86. 87, 88 ,89.  Texas also has the most Miss USA winners (8)

Texas has more miles of paved streets than the former Soviet Union!

The land area of Texas is larger than all of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois combined, extending 801 miles from north to south and 773 miles from east to west.

The World's first rodeo was held in Pecos, Texas on 4 July 1883

Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America.

The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900 caused by a hurricane in which over 8000 lives were lost on Galveston Island.

Texas is the only state to have the flags of 6 different nations fly over it. They are: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and the United States.

More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state in the United States.


California also has the highest and lowest point in the contiguous United States -- Mt Whitney and Death Valley, respectively. (This would be the lowest point on dry land.)

The highest waterfall in the USA is in California's Yosemite National Park. It is 2,425 feet high (739 meters).

Located in Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum is the largest of it's kind in North America.

The Hollywood Bowl is the world's largest amphitheater

The hottest and driest place is Death Valley, summer temperatures reach around 115 on average.

San Francisco Bay is considered the world’s largest landlocked harbor.

Fresno, California is the raisin capital of the world.

Castroville California is the artichoke capital of the world.

Los Angeles County, California is the most populated county in the country.

San Bernardino County in California at 20,105 square miles, has the largest land area of any county in the country.  (Four boroughs of Alaska are each larger, but, of course, they are not "counties". )

California is home to the largest tree (the Giant Sequoia), the tallest tree (the Coastal redwood which is even taller than the Statue of Liberty), the oldest tree (the Bristlecone Pine) and the only indigenous palm in North America (the California Palm).

The City of Los Angeles, California is known simply as Los Angeles at the present time, but in the past, it had a much longer name. We're including it here for information's sake as a city with 12 words and 55 words!
El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola)

The highest bridge towers in the world are still the art-deco towers of the Golden Gate Bridge at 750 feet, completed in 1937. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge across San Francisco Bay and completed in 1936 still holds three world records: 1) the largest diameter bore tunnel which is the double-decker vehicle tunnel through Yerba Buena Island in the Bay connecting the two halves of the bridge; 2) the world's largest toll booth - 18 lanes; and 3) still the world's longest and highest bridge over ocean-navigable waters - the San Francisco Bay.

San Francisco is the most popular city in the world for tourists, and has held that record for the last 25 years. Paris is second.

The largest wine producing region in the world, in both quantity and revenue, is now Sonoma County around the city of Santa Rosa, in the Northern California Wine County north of San Francisco. Sonoma County has recently surpassed its neighbor, the famous Napa Valley in adjacent Napa County, California.

The largest three-day rodeo in the United States is held on the Tehama County Fairgrounds in Red Bluff.

Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge contains the largest winter population of bald eagles in the continental United States.

Sequoia National Park contains the largest living tree. Its trunk is 102 feet in circumference.

California is the first state to ever reach a trillion dollar economy in gross state product.

California has the largest economy in the states of the union.

Los Angeles is ranked the fourth largest economy in the United States compared to other states.

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