Another first – a national holiday – 150 years ago today


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Photo Credit: LGBChris stock.xchng

President Abraham Lincoln was a busy man in 1863. His executive orders that year have shaped our way of life in the 21st century.



The Emancipation Proclamation was issued and took effect January 1, 1863. Lincoln also gave a short speech at Gettysburg that has not only endured through the ages but is arguably the best oration this country has ever heard.



Then there is the president’s proclamation of October 3, 1863. Abraham Lincoln had been aware of writer Sara Josepha Hale’s campaign to institute Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. Up to this point the day was celebrated randomly by individual states without a set date and not at all in most southern states. Hale spent 30 + years writing letters to political office holders and editorials to any and all magazines and newspapers in the hopes they would promote her plan. Yet it was in 1863, in the midst of a bloody civil conflict, President Abraham Lincoln took Hale’s request to heart.


Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!
Photo Credit: alex27 stock.xchng


Lincoln wanted all Americans to “observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” It was his request to citizens to “commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”



Early on celebrations of the holiday varied from region to region yet Thanksgiving has been an annual national holiday ever since 1863 evolving into the day we now know filled with family, food and thankfulness for our many blessings.



I think President Lincoln would be pleased at that.

I have another vintage family photo story for you. This one just a little bit embarrassing on my part.

Silas Williams

Silas Williams

I have another vintage family photo story for you. This one just a little bit embarrassing on my part.



So I’m going through my craft stuff. If you read my post last Saturday you’ll know why I’m combing through my craft supplies.



Anyway I have a small box of family pics I use just for crafts. They’re images I’ve printed on my computer or duplicates I’ve made at Walgreen’s just for the purpose of cutting up and using in projects. They’re in with the rest of my supplies so they don’t get mixed up with my genealogy family photos.



Low and behold at the very bottom of my craft photo box are these two 5×7 black and white pics. My jaw dropped. These people are my 3x great grandparents! I know I have one and only one copy of their photo and it’s here in my craft box not scanned and placed in a digital file or at the very least in their binder.



Holy Moly!! I have no idea how they crept in here among my crafts but thank heavens I caught them before they became part of next week’s Crafting Genealogy. Me who rejoiced less than a week ago over some new found family pics am storing my great great great grandparents among my craft stuff in the basement!!


Before I go on I do want to take a minute and tell you who they are.

Silas Williams was born 20 Aug 1796 in Bucks County, PA. His father Abel was a veteran of the American Revolutionary War.

He married Sarah (Sally) Lappin on 15 July 1819 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. She was born 20 May 1799 in Fayette County, PA. They had eleven children.



Sarah Lappin Williams

Sarah Lappin Williams

Silas and Sarah donated some of their land in Tuscarawas County for a church to be built and to this day their photos hang in the back of the church. That’s how me and my genea-sisters were able to get these photos. Silas died 1 Oct 1848 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio and Sarah passed 11 Sept 1839 also in Tuscarawas County, Ohio.



Just a thought if these folks sound the least bit familiar to you contact me at With eleven children I must have a ton of distant cousins out there!



So let this be a lesson to one and all. Don’t let your 3x great grandparents out of your sight. Who knows where they’ll end up!

Now I’m off to scan these old people and make more copies.



Have you misplaced your ancestors? I hope you’ve found them! If so tell me about it in the comments. I’d love to know I’m not the only one about to lose my genealogy card over this! :)

Crafting Genealogy with Family Pics

Crafting Genealogy

Our supplies

We’re Crafting Genealogy with a project anyone can do. It’s simple, it’s fun and brings genealogy into our everyday lives.


I’ll bet you’ve seen these Family Picture Magnets on the internet and thought that’s cool. Well let’s make them today!


You’ll need:


• Copies of family pics. Choose whether you’re going all out vintage or more recent history. (I chose vintage. The more vintage the better in my book!)


• Larger size clear gems or flat sided marbles.


• Glue – just make sure it dries clear. I used Mod Podge because that’s what I have but there’s all sorts of brands that dry clear.


• Small round magnets


After selecting your pics you can use your gem to trace a circle around the face or whatever you are highlighting and then cut it out slightly smaller than your gem.


Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect circle. The gem will hide any unevenness.


I happen to have a 1 inch circle punch so that made this part even easier.


Once you have your pics cut out put a small drop of glue on the flat side of your marble and swish it around to cover. Use your finger, you don’t need a brush, Q-tip or anything like that.


Now put your gem on the front of the pic. Be sure to center your pic and let dry. Using less glue will allow your magnet to dry quicker and clearer.

Family Picture Magnets

Family Picture Magnets – I’ll improve on my picture taking skills


Once dry just add a magnet with a dab of glue to the back.



*Additional tips. I get all my copies of family photos from Walgreen. I wait until they have a 10 cent a print special and then do a bunch. I’m sure nearly every retailer that prints photos has similar specials.


* I chose my parents and both sets of grandparents for my magnets but you might also choose the old home place, childhood pet or even decorative paper.


* You can get the gems at any craft store. I’ve seen small packages of them at the Dollar Store.


* I also made a slightly different version of these magnets with bottle caps. I bought the caps at Hobby Lobby (with a 40% off coupon).


Crafting Genealogy

Bulletin Board Push Pins

* Add a thumb tack instead of a magnet to the back of the bottle caps. They’ll look neat on a bulletin board too.


I’ve found when Crafting Genealogy, my children both teen and adult, who have no interest in family history will ask who are in the pics. This gives me a chance to share a bit of our family history and I hope plant some genealogy seeds in them for the future.


If you make these Family Picture Magnets or a variation of them send me a pic or two. I’ll share them in a future post for ideas and inspiration.


In the mean time have fun Crafting Genealogy!










. . . . and my voice rang out “Alleluia!”

Camillus, Flora, Adolph and John Frueh

Camillus, Flora, Adolph and John Frueh

We all have an ongoing saga we can tell of our search for certain pieces of missing family history. It may be a female ancestor’s maiden name, documentation on an immigrant ancestor’s arrival in this country or family photos. Our list is probably long and with each tiny bit of new found information we just add more to our brick wall to-do list.

That’s certainly true in my own family history research. My father’s family has gaping holes in it. His father was an immigrant and when he left the old country he left the family history there as well. My father’s maternal side is much better researched. I have names and dates but not a lot of personal information. I’ve chalked that up to my dad being the second of nine children and not paying much attention to family stories and lore. In fact that was also the case with his siblings too. Discussing their family lore was not a favorite topic of my aunts and uncles.

So my father’s maternal side is a bit scant genealogy-wise. I have one picture of my dad as a baby. Then his next photo skips his entire childhood and is his high school graduation picture. In fact his baby picture is actually a family picture taken with both his parents and older brother.

This same family photo is the only image I have of his mother, my grandmother. Sadly I never knew her. She died when my dad was seventeen. Her death brought a lot of upheaval in the family and my grandfather remarried several times after her death. Whenever me or my genealogy-buddy sisters inquired about a family bible and photos we were always answered with a shrug and “Who knows?”

Flora Alice Nantz

Flora Alice Nantz

Yet through the years we’ve asked about family photos and now when only first cousins remain we’ve always gotten the same “Who knows?” reply. That is until this past Monday. My sisters met a couple of my cousins for coffee and they brought pictures. Not just any pictures. Treasures. Family heirlooms. Pieces of our past.

There were a couple pictures of our grandmother, the woman my dad revered above all others and also her parents! I think she’s just beautiful in the one picture of her by herself. If that wasn’t enough there’s a pic of my great grandparents! My sisters and I had never laid eyes on them before! Oh my goodness! What a find! I couldn’t believe it!

. . . . and my voice rang out “Alleluia!” I still haven’t descended from cloud nine!!!

Just in case we might be related my grandmother is Flora Alice Nantz Frueh. She was born 23 May 1888 in Convoy, Van Wert County, Ohio She died 18 Oct 1932 in Lima, Allen County, Ohio.

William Nantz, Irene Waller Nantz, Flora and brother Ira Nantz

William Nantz, Irene Waller Nantz, Flora and brother Ira Nantz

Her parents were William Albert Nantz and Irene Louisa Waller. William was born 4 Apr 1868 in Jackson County, Ohio. He died 14 Feb 1953 in Mercer County, Ohio.

Irene Louisa Waller was born 31 July 1871 in Convey, Van Wert County, Ohio and died 13 May 1927 in Lima, Allen County, Ohio.
If branches of our family tree cross email me I’d love to talk with you!

I’ve made digital copies of these pics and the originals have been returned to my cousin with the promise she’ll look for additional pics. The possibility there are more photos of this family line almost leaves me sleepless! I can’t wait until the next coffee meet up. I’ll be there!

So the moral of the story? Don’t give up! Perseverance pays off. It may take years but some pieces of our past will come back to us. We just need to continue our search and try to wait (patiently).

Do you have a story of family history suddenly showing up? I’d love to hear it! Let me know in the comments.

Four Score and Seven Years Ago . . . . . 150 Years Later

Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Photo Credit: Cindy Freed

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. We all know this concise but poignant speech was given by President Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg.

It was only four months after the fierce and bloody fighting there. With a casualty rate topping 50,000 and more than 10,000 of that number dead, the work of burying those slain, fell to the people of the area. The citizens soon realized a proper cemetery for the fallen Union soldiers was needed and they petitioned the governor for help.

The result was the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and it’s dedication ceremony was slated for November 19, 1863.

Famous Massachusetts politician and speaker Edward Everett was asked to give a speech and President Lincoln was asked to give “a few appropriate remarks.” The story is often told that Everett gave a long-winded two hour speech regarding the war and the events that led up to it before the president spoke. Lincoln in only 272 words and in just under two minutes honored the sacrifice of those soldiers who perished and pressed forward the Union cause.

Ohio's Unknown Soldiers at Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg

Ohio’s Unknown Soldiers at Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Photo Credit: Cindy Freed

Newspaper reviews on the president’s remarks were mixed. The Springfield Republican (MA) paper hailed the president remarks “deep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma”. Yet a regional Pennsylvania paper the Patriot & Union called his speech “silly”. Coincidentally last week the paper now known as The Patriot News retracted their statement on the President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address saying they “regret the error”.

There are five copies of the Gettysburg Address in existence. Each one has a slight variation in verbiage. Each is handwritten by Lincoln and named for the person the copy was given to.

• The president gave a copy believed to be the speech’s first draft to John G. Nicolay, his personal secretary
• John Hay, a White House assistant, received the second draft of the speech.
• The talkative Edward Everett, the other speaker on that November day asked for a copy to benefit Union soldiers and Lincoln obliged.
• Lincoln wrote another copy for George Bancroft to use for another charitable opportunity raising money for soldiers. Unfortunately the president wrote on both sides of the paper and this edition of the speech couldn’t be used.
• Alexander Bliss was Bancroft’s stepson and asked President Lincoln for another copy of the speech which Lincoln produced. This is the only signed and dated copy of the address and the one reprinted most often through history. Continue reading