Category Archives: Research Trip

My First Family History Road Trip – Rolling with the Roleke’s

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Hey there!  Yep, it’s me.  Still here.  I just had to take a break for a bit.  I had too much on my plate and other things had to come first.

Like 6th grade homework….  Uggghh!

Uggghh, is about all I can say about that on here, but the amount of homework sent home daily is redonk! Poor Knucklehead has no life outside of school.  So much for being a kid.

Anyway, between the chores, chickens, and homework, you can see priorities had to change a bit.  But, I think I have a good system down now and can spend some quality time with my Ancestors for a few hours each week while Knucklehead is at school.

Knock on wood, because I have said that before.

I have spent the last week or so, entering in information from a road trip I took back in October of 2008.  Yes, I realize that was five years ago.  I was such a newbie then that I didn’t even put information in a family tree.  I just collected it.  Now, I’m adding things to my tree and since I spent the last week or so going over the Roleke information, I thought I would share here with you all, my first genealogy road trip.  I have had several since then, but this was a really special trip because I got to share it with my Momma before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  She, myself and my sister-in-law Addie loaded up in the car and drove to Bethany, Missouri.  What a treat this was.

Also, it was special because we just enjoyed the moment.  We took our time and whatever information I got was glorious and it didn’t matter if I didn’t find the one thing I was looking for because I wasn’t looking for anything specific.  We just wanted to see where our Ancestor’s live, and my Momma hoped to learn about her grandmother.

I thank God every time I think about this trip because if I had taken any other trip at that time, I would not be as hooked into my family history as I am now.  We found out so much stuff on that trip that it almost addicted me.  I just wanted to see what else I could find out, and when and how could I?

Ok, I know you are saying almost addicted?  Ok, I admit, I am addicted to it.  My children and grandchildren will thank me one day.

The reason we picked Bethany was because of one little news article clipped into my Momma’s baby book.  Here it is:

Roleke Trip to Arkansas

I guess Mother hadn’t spent much time looking in her baby book (I have told you before, but her baby book was in the pile of stuff my grandmother was going to throw away and I saved) because when I asked her about her great-grandfather William Roleke, being a Mayor, she had no clue. Her grandfather J.T. Parks, never talked about her grandmother’s family, the Roleke’s. It was too painful for him I guess, and he had remarried and put his life back together. You see my mother’s grandmother, Helen Roleke Parks died after giving birth to her father, Bill (William John) Parks. It was a very sad time for her Granddad Parks. In fact, he never once mentioned it to my mother, but his wife Missie, who my mother called Nanny, and loved so much was the one who finally told her.  My Momma was stunned.  She had always thought Nanny was her grandmother.  It didn’t change a thing for her and Nanny though.  Nanny was always so good to her.

After reading that clipping in my mother’s baby book, I started digging a little more through my grandmother’s things and I found a newspaper from Bethany with Helen Parks’ obit on the front page. You can read about that here, on my Sympathy Saturday – Helen Roleke Parks post.

A search of Google before we left let me know there was a road in Bethany, named Roleke. There was a park in Bethany named Roleke, and I could see on Google maps, in street view that the house William lived in, was still there.  I also knew that the Harrison County Genealogical Society was there in Bethany, and we planned our trip around when they would be open.

Loaded with where I needed to go and what I wanted to see, we took off.  After a 7 hour road trip, we made it to Bethany.

Mt. Vernon to Bethany

We checked into our hotel room and headed straight to the cemetery.  We were more than amazed at what we found at the Miriam Cemetery.

William Roleke Family Cemetery Plot

The family plot headstone was massive, and finally, here they were, my great-grandmother Helen Roleke Parks, and my 2nd great-grandfather, William Roleke and my 2nd great-grandmother, Anna Schultze Roleke.  I would later find out that Edith Morgan Roleke, also in the plot, was William’s 2nd wife.

This was pretty emotional for Momma.  Here she stood at the grave of her grandmother, her namesake, a woman she’d never met.  And she wept.  And then I wept.  I think Addie did too, but she can usually hold it together pretty good.  To show you the size of the headstone, here is me and Momma standing next to it.

Mom and Susie at William Roleke Plot Marker

This photo of Momma and Addie was from the next day, we had to go back and take one because I guess I was so emotional while there, I never thought of photos, Addie saved the day on that and I wanted a picture of Addie there too.

Mom and Addie William Roleke Plot Marker

We placed flowers, and spent quite a bit of time there.

Mom putting flowers Roleke Plot

If you will notice on the right side of the next photo, down the hill we found another plot of Roleke’s.  We put flowers beside the plot marker there as well.

William Roleke Plot

Come to find out, that plot belonged to the family of Herman Roleke.  Cousin to my William Roleke.  He came from Germany before William did, and William settled here in Bethany and started working with Herman at his Tailor Shop.

Here is the Herman Roleke Plot. There are 16 people buried in his plot, with 13 headstones.  At the time, I didn’t know who they were or how they connected, but I have since put the pieces together.

Herman Roleke Plot

After this, since it was pretty emotional, we decided to just see some sites around town and get a lay of the land.  We found Roleke road.  I thought at the time, that since William was Mayor of Bethany for 36 years, that Roleke road was named after him.  I’m not so sure as Herman was also a major pillar of the community and it could just as easily have been named for him.   Either way, I don’t care.  I’m happy and proud to say I’m related to either one of them and regardless of which one it was, the road is still named after my family.

Mom and Susie Roleke Drive

Thank you Addie, for taking these priceless pictures.  I actually have this photo in a frame. It marked such a special moment for me with my Mom, and Addie.  This trip was where my love for digging up family history really began.

Next we found Roleke Park.  I did not take good pictures.  This was my first time, what can I say.  Maybe I will get to go back one day and take more.  I think at the time, I thought they were good.  Ha Ha

Herman Roleke originally owned this land and built the park.  This is the spot where most of the scenes I have found on old postcards and in books is located.

Roleke Park

 

Here is the Pavilion where a plaque had been placed in honor of Herman Roleke.  Did I take a picture of the whole Pavilion?  No, no I did not.  Dumb.

Herman Roleke ParkI took a picture of a pretty little bridge though.

Roleke Park

Then we drove to where William’s house was.  I couldn’t believe the house was still there.

William Roleke House

I shyly knocked on the door, and even though this car was parked out front no one came to the door.  This being my first trip, not really sure of what I should or shouldn’t do.  We left, and didn’t go back by.

Now a days, knowing more about research and learning all that I have learned about that house – I would keep going back until someone came to the door.

William Roleke House

Then we went to the Harrison County Historical Society.  If I filled this page with nothing but nice things about the Society, it wouldn’t be enough.  They have really done the work there.  I made a copy of anything that had the name Roleke in it.

One of the best things I found was this obituary there that actually had a picture of Anna Roleke, my 2nd great-grandmother.  I had never seen her before, and still to this day have not found another picture of her, so this was worth the whole drive alone, and it was just one of many treasures we found that day.

Anna Schultze Roleke Obituary

 

Here is just one of the many things I found about Herman Roleke.

Herman Roleke house razed

 

Then the kind ladies at the Historical Society directed me to the Bethany Clipper office, the local newspaper where I found some information in books about William Roleke.  One thing about it, when you are Mayor of a town for 36 years, there is a lot of information out there about you.

I found out the Tailor shop used to be on the town square next to the Bethany Clipper.

roleke tailor shop

 

I wish I had taken this picture from the same angle, but I did not.  There again, I was a Newbie.

Bethany Missouri

 

Right across from this is of course the courthouse.  Did I go in the courthouse?  NO!  Like an idiot!!!   I thought I had found so much at the Historical Society what else could I possibly need, right?  Uggghh!  I wish I could go back and kick my former self.   We did find a lot though and the trip was worth it, and for a Newbie, I did pretty dang good.  So good it just took me a week to add all the stuff I got on this trip to my family tree.

If you have any Roleke relatives from the Bethany area, contact me.  I have put all the information on my ancestry.com and I will be glad to share it with you.

Also, I need to stress to you that if you are a newbie, like I was during this trip, always check the local historical society, I can’t even begin to tell you all the wonderful things I found there.  Plan your trip around this, trust me.

Next, check the courthouse.  Everyone is always talking about their AHA moments, I call that my DUH moment.  CHECK THE COURTHOUSE!!!

Check the local paper.  Would I have ever known William’s business was next door had I not??

Of course, check the cemeteries, all of them in the town if you have time.

Check the phone book, and call some local’s while you are there.  I tried this, but they all thought I was crazy.  Which is true.

Search out cousins!!  Some of the articles mentioned that my grandfather had a cousin Bill Jones.  I found him!!  Alive and well and living in Portland, Oregon!  And if you think alive and well isn’t a big deal, you haven’t been doing genealogy for very long.  Everyone you find is dead and gone!  Anyway, Bill and I talk often and he sent me some killer photos and get this, he sent me the actual certificates my great-grandmother received when she graduated from Osteopathy school.  Most importantly, he’s a link to my family and my history and I enjoy so much talking with him.  I hope to meet him one day.

And last, but not least, knock on doors, and wait for them to answer!  You never know what history they might know!

Day Six of My DC Trip

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Well, if you held your horses waiting on this post, I hope you gave them plenty of water.  I couldn’t stand it any longer, and I just had to take a break from posting and start digging through all the papers I brought home.

It was like taking a kid to a candy store and telling them not to touch or try anything.  I would look over at this huge stack of papers sitting on my desk and just be beside myself wanting to dig in.

So, I did.  I’m sorry.  The one thing I did discover is, it’s going to take me MONTHS to sort through all the information I brought home.  It’s unbelievable.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy, happy, happy about it!

Now, on to day six so I can get these trip recaps over and start sharing some of my finds with you all.

This recap is actually from Wednesday, Aug 7th.  I know right, a whole month ago.  Uggh!

I got up early again, and Leslie dropped me off at the Café du Parc on her way to work. From here, I got my pre-ordered bus ticket (thank you Leslie!) and I got on one of those Big Bus Tours.  If you are ever in a city, and you have time, you should do this.  My ticket included a two-day bus pass, a boat ride, and a free ticket to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.  What’s really cool about this is, they hit all the monument’s, museum’s and any thing you can think of.  You can get off anywhere you want, and then get back on the bus anytime you want.  The bus usually comes about every 20 minutes.

This is a map they gave me, and you can see they have four different loops; the red, green, blue, and yellow.  The numbers are stops and you can see what the stop is at the bottom of the map, which makes it really easy to decide which ones you want to get off the bus and look at.

Big Bus Map Washington DC

The map was great, but then I figured out they had an app, and after I downloaded it, it was much easier to use than the map. Using GPS, I could pinpoint my location and then figure out which bus I wanted to take to the next location. I rode along on the bus until I had driven by every single thing and then I picked a few things to go back and see.

The first place I got off the bus was at the Lincoln Memorial.

Lincoln Memorial

One cool thing about the bus ride is also the tour guides. They tell you all kinds of interesting facts like some scenes from Forrest Gump were filmed here. I already knew that because I love the movie, and I am a huge fan of Gary Sinise. I mean I like Tom Hanks and all don’t get me wrong, but Gary Sinise does so much for our Veterans and I have huge respect for him.

This is the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.  I must be standing close to where Tom Hanks stood right?  I don’t see Jenny running for me though!

DSC_0150

I took this picture of the other side of the memorial because this side has Arkansas on it.

DSC_0122

One thing that was a bummer was all the scaffolding around Lincoln. Some crazy freak of a lady threw green paint all over him a couple of days before my visit, which you can read about here, so they were cleaning it all off. They did an excellent job getting all the green off. I hope that lady has to pay for all that because apparently she hit more places with the green paint than just the Lincoln Memorial.

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Then just a short walk away is the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and the Korean War Veteran’s Memorial. I first walked to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and this is what I could see when walking towards it.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Then I saw The Three Servicemen’s statue.

The Three Servicemen Statue

Then as you walk up and you look at the wall and you realize that each name on this wall is the name of a soldier who gave the ultimate sacrifice, it’s very humbling.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

I don’t know if you remember a while back when I made this post about cousin Danny Michael Gray, who was one of these very soldiers listed on this wall. If you have time, watch the video that cousin Harry Short made about him, it is very good. I wanted to find his name on the wall, so I went up to a volunteer who carries around a book. You tell him the name, and he looks him up. This shows his name, rank, date of death, and his location on the wall. The 40W is the panel, and the 57 is the line number where his name appears on the panel.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Danny Gray

Here is the panel.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

And here is his name.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Danny M Gray

I decided to do a rubbing of his name and so I went back to the volunteer and got two pieces of paper and a pencil and as I started, this very nice lady came up to me and asked if I would like her to take a picture of me doing the rubbing. I said yes, so this is it. She asked me about Danny, and as I told her about him, all of which I knew from Harry’s very good video, I started to cry. And she cried, and then us two strangers stood there and hugged and paid our respects to a man we had never met. It was an experience I didn’t expect when I walked up to the memorial, and it was one I will never forget. And why did I not get that ladies name?

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Danny Gray

And yes, as mentioned in previous posts, there is that bad hair day on full display.

I mailed one of the copies to Harry. I know he probably had a rubbing already, but I wanted to send it anyway. It was my way of showing him I cared about Danny and was very thankful that he took the time to make the video about him. Danny will never be forgotten!

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Danny Gray

Next, I decided to take a little walk and gather myself together and while…

Squirrel!

Squirrel

Oh sorry. I got distracted. This little fellow came right up to my feet and I regretted not having anything to feed him as I know that’s what he wanted.  And as you can see, he was tame enough to sit there long enough for me to get the camera and take a couple of snap shots of him.

Anywho, while walking for a bit, I came up to the Women’s Memorial.

The Women's Memorial

Then, I decided I would mosey on over to the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial

It was such an eerie feeling walking down the wall and looking at all the faces looking back at me. There are more than 2,500 images on the wall.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Next, I decided my poor feet had enough for the moment so I decided to make my way back to the bus stop. And yes, I got there just as the bus was pulling out and leaving me behind. So I waited, for nearly 45 minutes. So much for a bus runs every 20 minutes. I finally got on the next bus and rode that sucker until I had enough wind in my hair, and my feet quit screaming. Then I decided to get off the bus near Ford’s Theater and eat a bite. I took this picture while I was waiting to get off the bus. It’s not very good, but after I ate and came back to Ford’s Theater, I forgot to get a better one, so this is it.

Ford's Theatre

This is the balcony at Ford’s Theater that President Lincoln was in when he was shot on April 14, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth.

Ford's Theatre

He was then taken across the street from Ford’s Theater to the Petersen House, where he died the following morning, April 15, 1865 at 7:22 a.m. The pink building is the Petersen House.

The Petersen House

Then, I used my free ticket to Madame Tussaud’s and I really enjoyed this. It was so neat to see all the different wax figures. I’m going to share a few of my favorites.

Here, I got to sit in the Balcony with Pres. Lincoln. It was really eerie to sit here next to this wax figure because he looks so real.

Madame Tussaud's

Madame Tussaud's

Back in the day, I had these books called the Value Tales. I loved these books, and I loved to read even from an early age. If you don’t know what Value Tales are, I feel really sorry for you. You can see about them here and here.  They are books written about historical figures illustrating the value of a positive characteristic.  I had one about Abraham Lincoln and his Value Tale was about Respect.  As a result of having these books, I knew about many, many historical figures from a very young age.

I also had a Value Tale book on Harriet Tubman, and her Value Tale was about Helping. So, what’s my point?  I don’t know.  But seeing these statues of people I have known about for a very long time, was really cool to me.  For instance here is Harriet Tubman in the wax museum.

Madame Tussaud'sMadame Tussaud's

I did not have a Value Tale book on Rosa Parks and I wish I would have. I might have taught my children better about Rosa’s bravery in not moving her seat on the bus instead of me jumping in the front seat of the car when someone yells, “Shotgun!” and standing (or sitting really) my ground by yelling back at them “Rosa Parks!!” and not moving. Hey! This worked when I was a kid. Now my kids know who she is and what she did. Anywho, here is Rosa at the wax museum.

Madame Tussaud's

Here’s Martin Luther King. I can’t believe he didn’t have a Value Tale book either.

Madame Tussaud's

Here’s ole’ George Washington. He’s standing in a boat, which you could stand in also and have your picture made with him. I didn’t really want to get in the boat because there were two boys fighting over the coat you could put on. They evidently don’t have Value Tales or they would know to share, right?

Madame Tussaud's

Here’s Theodore Roosevelt.

Madame Tussaud's

And the Kennedy’s. I swear this one of JFK, made me feel like he was looking right at me.

Madame Tussaud's

Madame Tussaud's

They had all of the presidents, but this is the last one I will share here. Ole’ Ronald Reagan. One of my favorites.

Madame Tussaud's

Speaking of favorites, Johnny Depp. If he had a Value Tale, could it be on sexiness? Ok, I guess not. But he would definitely be the winner of that category hands down! Hubba Hubba!

Madame Tussaud's

What up Oprah! If she had a Value Tale, it would be on Giving. I wish I could have been on one of her shows when she was doing all those give-aways to people and they drove off in new cars.

Madame Tussaud's

Oh, Whoopie! How I wish you knew just how funny you were in the movie “Jumping Jack Flash”. The scene where you catch your dress in the paper shredder is one of my favorites!

Madame Tussaud's

This is one they had for a September 11th memorial.

Madame Tussaud's

And here is Madame Tussaud herself.

Madame Tussaud's

And here is the creepy of all creepiness. These wax figures of the heads of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were actually made by Madame Tussaud herself. She was actually commanded to make a death mask from their guillotined heads. She then made the wax figures from the death masks.

Madame Tussaud's

Then I rode that bus back to a couple of blocks away from where Leslie works, walked to her office and enjoyed a nice cold beverage soaking up the AC in her break room until she got off work. Can you believe I did all that in one day? Me either. Neither could my feet. They hated me.

Oh, and remember my way back cousin by marriage Ross Perot? Well, this poster is actually hanging in Leslie’s office. I had her take a picture of me with it and I sent it to him. I thought that was cool, unlike my windblown hair.

Me with Ross Perot Poster

When we got back to Leslie’s apartment, I laid on the pull out bed and planned my route for the next day, while Leslie cooked dinner. That was a nice treat!

Leslie Cooking

 

Stay tuned, I swear I’m going to get these posts over with!

Day Five of My DC Trip

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Up early again, on this, the 5th day of my trip, Tuesday, Aug 6th.  Leslie dropped me back off at the DAR headquarters on her way to work.

Same scenario, I milled around outside until they opened.

I got my pass for the day.

DAR Pass

The dot means, I’m a member, and the green means it’s Tuesday.  There were still a few things on my ancestors I wanted to print, and I had promised my friends David and Diane that I would look in their Ancestor files, and print the documentation for them as well.

So I headed back to the computer room and printed, printed, printed.  Then I took a brief lunch break to eat, and then came back and printed, printed, printed.  When I got done, this is what I had printed.  This does not include the prints from the day before.

Copies from DAR

Wowza, right!?!

That combined with what I printed yesterday, was 35.5 lbs, and $215 worth of copies.

Want to know how I know?

I weighed those suckers, and 25 cents a copy add’s up, y’all!

I’m also glad to report that a lot of that cost was David and Diane’s.  I’m not so sure they were glad though.  OK, they were. They were thrilled when I gave them the copies. You guys know, it’s always exciting to get stuff on your ancestors.

Oh, and I could only check two bags on the way home, each had to weigh less than 50 lbs, and after carrying all this paper around for the rest of the day, let’s just say I was concerned about getting all this home.  I had to borrow a suitcase from Leslie to do it.  Both suitcases combined, weighed 90 lbs when they weighed them at the airport.

Whew!

OK, back to the recap.

Then I bought a few things in the DAR gift shop and waited on Leslie.  She got off work early and picked me up and we drove out to Arlington Cemetery.

This was amazing!

We paid for the shuttle, and just let me tell you, “Thank Goodness!”  I would have never made those hills.  It just goes on and on and on.  Plus, it rained on us.  I had an umbrella though, so that was all good.

Arlington Cemetery

If you have visited here and this doesn’t move you, and make you understand or at least see the magnitude of the sacrifice that our soldiers and their families make for us every single day, then I’d be really worried about you.

Seriously.

Arlington Cemetery

Some of these have multiple family members in them.  Buried one on top of the other.

Arlington Cemetery

Then we headed to the Kennedy Memorial.  I’ve seen this on TV, but it’s a whole other ball game to stand here and see first hand the final resting place of John F. Kennedy, and think about the sacrifice he made on behalf of our country.

Arlington Cemetery

The final resting place of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline B. Kennedy Onassis., with two of their infant children.

Arlington Cemetery

Then we saw Robert Kennedy’s final resting place.

Arlington Cemetery

Just up at the top of the hill, above Edward Kennedy’s final resting place, is Robert E. Lee’s house.  There was one point when Leslie and I were driving through D.C. and I could see Robert E. Lee’s house way up on top of the hill, all the way across the city.  It looked as if it was looking down on everything.

Arlington Cemetery

And boy, was I right.  Here is the view from Robert E. Lee’s front yard.

Arlington Cemetery

Amazing!

This is a map of what Arlington Estate looked like back in 1860.

Arlington Cemetery

This is what it looks like now.  This is walking up the path toward the front of the house. You can see the garden, which is on the back side of the house.

Arlington Estate

This is the side of the house.

Arlington Estate

This is the front of the house.

Arlington House

This is a garden out to the side of the house.

Arlington Estate

And another one.  I’m not really even sure what this was used for.

Arlington Estate

This monument is near the Arlington Estate, and it is the Civil War Unknowns Monument. It was placed here in 1866, and is the first monument at Arlington dedicated to unknown solider’s.  This was the move by Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs that prevented Robert E. Lee and his family from inhabiting the house again.  He knew when he ordered the graves to be moved here, that would be the outcome.

Arlington Cemetery

The inscription reads:

BENEATH THIS STONE
REPOSE THE BONES OF TWO THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN UNKNOWN SOLDIERS
GATHERED AFTER THE WAR
FROM THE FIELDS OF BULL RUN, AND THE ROUTE TO THE RAPPAHANOCK,
THEIR REMAINS COULD NOT BE IDENTIFIED. BUT THEIR NAMES AND DEATHS ARE
RECORDED IN THE ARCHIVES OF THEIR COUNTRY, AND ITS GRATEFUL CITIZENS
HONOR THEM AS OF THEIR NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS. MAY THEY REST IN PEACE.
SEPTEMBER. A. D. 1866

Then we decided to go see the changing of the guards and on our way to do so, we saw the grave of Audie L. Murphy.  Movie star, and most decorated WWII Soldier.  He received 28 medals during the war.

Arlington Cemetery Audie Murphy

Audie’s final resting place is across from the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater.

Arlington Memorial Amphitheater

This is where we saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Changing of the Guards.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

Then after we watched this, we went over to where the Memorials were for the Challenger Space Shuttle, the Space Shuttle Columbia, and the Iran Rescue Mission Monument.

Arlington Cemetery

The Challenger Space Shuttle Memorial.

Arlington Cemetery

The Iran Rescue Mission Monument.

Arlington Cemetery

The Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial.

Arlington Cemetery

Then we took our obligatory selfie.

Arlington Cemetery

Then, we went back to Leslie’s apartment, had a little supper and then we went to see the movie “White House Down”.

Totally appropriate for me to be in D.C. and watch this movie.  The best part of it was the movie theater that we went to, has recliners.

Yep, recliners baybeeeee!

I’m so surprised I stayed awake throughout the whole movie, because let me tell you, recliners in a movie theater is the way to go!  I was comfy!

Anyway, the movie was good, and we went back to the apartment and crashed.

End of this day.

Day Four of My DC Trip

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This was a day I have dreamed of for a long time.

OK, just for about four long years, but Hey!  That’s a long time.

On this day, August 5th, the fourth day of my trip, I went to the Daughter’s of the American Revolution headquarters.

DC -DAR

I became a member this past year.  It took me four years to prove my line of descendancy from my 5th great-grandfather, Thomas Bullard down to me.  Since the first moment I found out that I had an Ancestor that was part of the American Revolution, I have wanted to find out more about him and his role during the American Revolution and I wanted to actively participate in keeping his memory alive for the sacrifice he made in order to secure our freedom, so I decided to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Little did I know then, I had four other ancestors that also played parts during the American Revolution, but I didn’t find them until just this year when I started working on my mother’s side of the family.

If you don’t know this, when you apply to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, you have to prove who your parents are, who their parents are, and so on and so on, all the way up to the Ancestor that participated in some way in the American Revolution.  To do this, you have to submit birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, etc., anything that proves your tie to your Ancestor.  This is NOT easy when you get back to the years before states started keeping public records.

What a trip to the DAR headquarters means for either a non-member, or a member of the DAR is that you can search for your Ancestor and if you find them, you can look in their file.  Anyone, who has become a member under your Ancestor, has submitted all the documentation listed above, and then some, to prove their relationship to the Ancestor, and if it’s in the file you can make a copy of it!

So, what did I do? I made as many copies as I could, but you’ll learn about that in a minute.

First, Leslie dropped me off on her way to work, and since I was a little early, they had not opened  yet.

DAR Headquarters

I decided I would walk around a bit and see what all was outside the building.

Here, in the photo below this, I am trying to get a selfie with the building behind me, but it is so huge, just like my head, that I couldn’t get the whole building in the picture.  Probably, I should have gotten more building and less head, but then it wouldn’t be a selfie right?  And don’t even ask what’s up with that hairdo of mine, cause I thought it looked great when I left Leslie’s but this selfie proves I was sadly mistaken!  I’m pretty sure I walked around all day like this too!  I guess that’s what I get for not getting up early enough to do more to my hair.  You will actually see that throughout the whole rest of the trip.  It seems I could never get going enough in the mornings to do much with this mop I call hair.

Me at DAR

Righto!

Next, I walked around to where Memorial Continental Hall was.  I never actually went into Memorial Continental Hall, because Hey! I was here to look up Ancestors and I just wanted to spend as much time on that as possible.

DAR Headquarters

Then on around the building there was this lovely statue.

DAR Statue

Then I looked at my watch, 8:30 am!  Whooo Hoooooo!  Who cares what’s on the other side of the building!

So, I got a move on to the inside of the building.

On my to the research entrance, this was on the ground, so I did pause briefly to get this. Briefly though, I was on a mission!

DAR

Next, I secured my pass for the day.  The dot means I’m a member, and the red means I visited on a Monday.

Visitor DAR

I headed straight to the room where you can get on the computer and look at your ancestor files.  When you find a page you want a copy of, you hit the print button, and 25 cents later, that copy is in your hand!  I was able to find bible records, the burial locations of some of my ancestors, read obituaries and see some pictures of relatives, all these things that I would have probably never been able to find anywhere else because some of these were personal records submitted by a cousin, that are not public records.

Boosh!!

So, on my first day, this is how much I was able to print off from my Ancestor files.  I got information from the files of John Smith, John Roberts, Abraham Neighbours, William Hooks, and Thomas Bullard.

DAR Papers

Boosh Boosh!!!  Whoop Whoop!!

Oh, did I mention save your money??

Yeah, that’s 25 cents a copy there folks.

Do I regret it?  NO WAY!

Would I spend that much on copies again?  OH YEAH!  ABSOLUTELY!

I printed every single thing I could.  But guess what?  I wasn’t even done!  I had to stop because I wanted time to go in the library.  Plus, I was hungry.  I thought I heard a dinner bell, but my imagination was running wild, it was actually the phone of the girl sitting at the computer next to me.  When I realized it wasn’t, my stomach didn’t care it was growling and I realized it was already after noon!  I texted Leslie, and she brought BBQ (she only works a couple of blocks from the DAR), and we sat in the break area they have and had lunch together.

Then I went into the Library after Leslie went back to work, and Oh my!  I wish I had taken a picture, but I’m pretty sure since they have a strict, and I mean strict, rule about cell phones in the library, I shouldn’t push my luck.  It was amazing though.  Two stories, and I mean an upper and lower level in the library, of information just waiting to be looked at!

I found several things in the library in books that actually cleared up a few things in my genealogy!  Yay!!  First, I found a book called Dennard Heritage by Norris Dennard.  There was quite a bit of information in there about my 3rd great-grandfather John F. Ball and his wife Hellen Dennard Ball.  I also discovered that Hellen’s father Kenady Dennard was in the war of 1812, and his father Jacob Dennard served in the American Revolution.

Wait, what?

Another Patriot!

And guess what, I forgot to look in Jacob Dennard’s file while I was there!  Can you believe that??  I’m still kicking myself in the rear right now.  It’s totally bruised.

Anyway, I copied a few pages of that book, and then I looked through some books about Texas.  Then I looked in some Methodist Books hoping to find something on my 3rd great-grandfather, Rev. John J. Triggs but I just didn’t have enough time.

I soon realized it was almost 4 p.m. and I knew this was when they closed, so I wrapped it up and headed over to their museum to mosey on through it for a minute.  They had an exhibit on the timeline of women’s clothing and had many, many beautiful dresses on display.

Sometimes, I wish ladies still dressed like this.  Then I think about feeding my chickens in a dress and not NO, but you know what NO!

Clothes DAR

I found the Red Cross uniforms to be really interesting.

Red Cross Uniforms at DAR

Did you know the founder of the Red Cross, Clara Barton was a Daughter of the American Revolution?

Did you know the Red Cross is located right next to the DAR?  They have a beautiful campus!

Another interesting piece I saw in the museum was this Life Mask of Gen. George Washington, the first President of The United States.  This was made by Signor Auguste Lenci of Philadelphia and he made it from a mold that was taken by French Sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon at Mt. Vernon in 1785.   Emmanuel Leutze used it as a model for his historical paintings of Gen. Washington.  He’s the one that painted Gen. Washington crossing the Delaware.  Did you know that?

Life Mask of George Washington DAR

Amazing, right?

It’s almost like looking right at him.  How in the world did he sit still for that?

Then, I got kicked out.

Well, not really, but they politely informed me it was closing time so I went outside and hung out for a while until Leslie got off work and picked me up.  We went back to her apartment and she cooked steaks for dinner and we watched Netflix.

It was a great day, and have I mentioned how much fun I had just hanging out with Leslie? It’s the best!

Day Three of My Trip to DC

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This is a recap from day 3 of my trip, which was actually on Sunday, August 4th.

We got up pretty early, and headed to Mt. Vernon, the estate of General George Washington, the first President of the United States.

And no, I didn’t come home.  Yes, I live in Mt. Vernon, but not this Mt. Vernon.

Mt. Vernon

His plantation is huge, and we walked most of it.  You can see on this map above how it is laid out.

Mt. Vernon

It was after this day, doing all this walking and toting around a purse and a camera, that I decided to borrow Leslie’s backpack, and boy did that help a lot.

Look who I found in the lobby!  It’s George and Martha with their grandchildren.  Was George really this tall or am I just short?

DSC_0464

This was on a column outside the lobby.

Mt. Vernon

This is the road we took to get to the slave quarters.  Everything here was just beautiful.

Mt. Vernon

Well, not the slave quarters so much, and I’m sure they didn’t think they were so great either when they had to live in them.  This is the slave quarters which housed, men and women in separate quarters, the Shoemaker’s shop and the Stove room.

Slave Quarters

This is the women’s slave quarters.  They lived and worked out of here.  Some of them would work out of the house.  They have a lot of artifacts enclosed in glass that they have found beneath the slave quarters.

Women's Slave Quarters

The older women who couldn’t work in the house or keep up, would work in the slave quarters, spinning to make thread for the clothes.

Spinning

The men’s quarters stayed mostly empty throughout the day as they worked sun up to sun down. They slept two to a bunk.

Men's Slave Quarters

Men's Slave Quarters

Men's Slave Quarters

The stove room, which was in this building, had to be manned at all times throughout the winter to provide heat for the greenhouse to keep special plants and trees alive.

Stove Room

The gardens were very beautiful.

Mt. Vernon Garden

Then we went around to the Blacksmith Shop and learned a lot about how they make all the things on the plantation as complete replicas of what was here during George Washington’s time.  Nails, candlestick holders, hooks, horseshoes, etc.

Blacksmith Mt. Vernon

DSC_0593

Next, we went on a tour of George Washington’s house, but you are not allowed to take pictures inside.  However, this is the view from his backyard.

View from George's backyard

Amazing right!  Can you just imagine George and Martha taking a stroll out here?

Then I would imagine he would take his lady for a drive in this bad boy!

George's Ride

By the way, Martha’s maiden name is Ball, and my grandmother was a Ball, I’m pretty sure I’m not related to Martha, but wouldn’t that be totally cool??

Ok, back on track.

Here’s a view of the stables.

George's Stables

They still use and work this land, so just let me say, there are years and years of a funky smell coming from this stable.

They also have sheep and cattle.  I couldn’t get a good shot of the cattle they were too far away, but here’s a cutie chasing some birds out of the food.

George's sheep

Then we followed the loop around to the location of the original tomb of the Washington’s. Originally there were twenty or so people buried in this tomb, and when George died, he specified in his will for a new tomb to be built and they all be moved to it.

Washington Tomb

So, here is the new tomb.

Washington Tomb

Washington Tomb

And here is Martha on the left, and George on the right.  Through the door behind the wreath are the other family members from the original tomb.

Washington Tomb

Then we followed the road on around and came back to the center opposite of their home. We tried to take a selfie, but it was a fail.  Here it is anyway.  You can kinda see the house in the middle of our heads, and the rainbow.  Lol.

Selfie on Washington Plantation

A bystander seeing our effort failing, offered to take a photo for us.  Which was really quite funny considering Leslie had just offered to take a picture of a nearby family, and the man barked “NO!” at her as the wife tried to smile it away.  I’m praying for your girl if you happen to read this.  He must be something else to live with.

Washington Plantation

Then, lo and behold we ran into the plantation overseer.

Washington Plantation

He was kind enough to let me take a photo.  But, if I were you, I wouldn’t mention to him that it’s the year 2013 and he is NOT really a plantation overseer.  He gets really offended. I’m thinking he should hook up with that ladies husband and they can bark at each other. Right, Leslie?

Anyway, that concluded our tour of the Washington Plantation, and it was really enjoyable. I highly recommend you go there and experience this for yourself.  I will someday take Knucklehead here as I know he would have loved this.

We left there and headed to the Hamilton Hotel where we went to a Gospel Brunch.  If you have never done this, it’s a must do thing.  It was really neat.

We stood in this long line to get in.  Once inside, the lines were just as long for the buffet, but man oh man, the food was excellent.

Hamilton Gospel Brunch

Hamilton Gospel Brunch

Hamilton Gospel Brunch

This is the Gospel Persuaders, and they were really good.  They sung songs that they have written and usually perform, and they were good.

The Gospel Persuaders

And after this we went back to the apartment and Leslie had a volleyball game.  She plays in a local league and I was going to go with her, but hey, I’m old and she’s young and I figured she would need a break from me at this point and I figured she would really like to hang with her friends afterwards like she always does, so I bowed out.  Really, I know that all sounds good but the truth was my feet hurt pretty bad and I knew I couldn’t muster the energy to do one more thing on this day.

So, this is what I did.  I laid on this bed and watched her Netflix all night.

Win Win for both of us.

Rest at Last

Don’t forget I have a huge give-away coming up in just two days!

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