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Saturday, May 5, 2018



If you're a Mattice family member, click on the tab with that surname and you'll find a newly posted list of available photos I can send you.  I will be doing this with my other families as I put the lists together.  It's very time consuming.  I will revise the lists as I add newly digitized and organized photos.

In General

I feel very strongly about sharing family history and family photos.  These are not just my families; everyone in the family has a right to copies of these photos and information about the families. 

I appreciate it when family members share in return.  I find, over time, that I begin to notice who does not reciprocate and that I tend to not feel so generous toward those individuals.  I have had several unpleasant experiences with relatives of relatives who demand a great deal and give nothing in return or argue with me about information that I have when they have done little or no research whatsoever.  If you are a blood relative, I owe you the respect to share family information with you, otherwise, not so much.

Please note:  family information is almost always a work in progress.  I'm well aware that, unless I have several items of documentation, any information I have about ancestors, may be questionable.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


FTDNA (FamilyTreeDNA) is the lab I used to test my and my father's DNA.  The last tests we had done allow me to identify others with common ancestors and FTDNA gives you an indication of how you might be related.

I took me quite a while to figure out a few things about their services, much more to learn.  So now, when I look at my and my father's Family Finder matches, I sort them in 2 different ways to get a glimpse of what's what.

I sort them by relationship which puts all the closest related at the top.

I can also sort them by date putting the most recent matches at the top.  That way I see all the matches I haven't looked at yet at the top.  I usually only look at my matches about once a month.

This morning. I sorted by date and paged back to the beginning of March to see what new matches there might be.  A lot.

I guess people have their DNA tested for different reasons.  I had a couple of different reasons for testing my father and myself.  One thing I hoped to find was living relatives who might know something about my families that I don't.  So far that hasn't really happened.  It's still fun to find cousins.

You can fill in a family tree there.  I have not been doing family trees online much anymore because it's caused problems in the past, mostly with the companies that provide these services.  They are profiting from all this information and not compensating any of us providing the data.  Not everyone at FTDNA puts a family tree there.  I have a brief one going back to my great grandparents, both sides.

The relationship indicator gives a range of possible relationship.  I mostly look for the 2nd to 4th cousin range.  I also look at 3rd to 5th cousin range for people who have a family tree posted and look at their trees to see if I see any common surnames.

This morning I sent 26 emails to various people with accounts at FTDNA, mostly those who are indicated as 2nd to 4th cousins but a few who are indicated as 3rd to 5th cousins.

Usually we can't find the connection, which seems odd at the 2nd to 4th cousin range but that's mostly what happens.  Remember this is DNA, blood relationship; we're related somehow.

It's still fun even when we can't find the connection.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Headstones and other memorials

Today I learned an important lesson about headstones that I want to pass on to everyone, with a couple of recommendations.

Years ago when both my parents were still alive, they bought a beautiful granite headstone, paid for their burial plot in my hometown cemetery and had it installed there. It has an unusual outer shape, an elaborate polished and carved scene of hills and a pair of deer, their names and birth and death dates. I'm not going to put the picture here because my father is still living and there's an error on the stone which is where the lesson comes in.

They were both living when they bought the stone and had it installed. Their names and probably their birth dates were on the stone when it was installed. When my mother died in 2001, her death date had to be added to the stone. I don't know how that's done; if the stone has to be picked up and taken back to the company who does the work - I assume. The error was that they put her death date under my father's name. I wasn't around at the time. I don't know if they put the date under both names or just my father's and had to put it, again, under my mother's name or if they put it under both names at the same time. In any case, my father is still alive and the death date under his name is, obviously, incorrect.

My father is currently in the hospital. He's "Ok" but he's 92 and in has an illness that will progressively get worse until he dies. Nobody can say how long that process will take so we have to be prepared. We all die; it's inevitable. It's prudent and intelligent to be practical and unsentimental about it, in advance.

So, how to fix the error. I've been told by the memorial company that the funeral home tells me they would contact to "complete" the date on the stone, that usually, in such cases, the error is filled in with epoxy and the new date cut over the error. Does that sound like it would work? It doesn't to me.

Quite frankly, at the time the error was made - it was made - it didn't magically happen, the business responsible should have swallowed the loss, ordered a completely new stone and done it correctly, right then. However, it's possible that wasn't a completely satisfactory option because the stone had been designed quite some time before my mother died and, perhaps, that style, design, etc. was no longer available. Also, it's possible that the company where the original stone was purchased was not the company adding the dates. Still, the company doing the dates, that made the error, should have accepted responsibility for making it right to the extent of replacing the stone - in my opinion.

That, clearly, didn't happen.

So, what to do. I don't want to accept the mess that will undoubtedly occur in trying to cover up the mistake and cut a new date over what's already there. It's set in stone; literally.

So here are suggestions for others that have been rushing around in my head after having a phone conversation with the memorial "craftsman" who is going to look at the stone and who would be called to "complete" the date:

- Whenever you might order a headstone, do it in advance of any need.

- Thank about and talk about what you want: shape, design, material, color, whatever you want "written" on the stone. It will be there for good.

- I suggest a surname stone, the largest stone, with the design and smaller, flat, stones or metal plates with names and dates.

- Be sure that the contract includes what occurs if errors are made, including forfeiture of payment, replacement of the stone.