Sunday, March 31, 2013

Writing An Obituary

My wife's grandfather Lawrence Wisner recently passed away and we knew it was coming. He had been in decline for the last few years, which I guess made it easier to handle the news of his passing. I can't say for sure with how it affected others in my family who were closer to him, but for me it didn't really affect me that much because I didn't have a lifetime of memories with him. He was only my grandpa-in-law.

There was, however, another side of me that kicked into genealogy overdrive. I quickly updated my database with his death information, added his memorial to, and started scanning in pictures to make a video to show at his funeral. I also started asking questions like "who is writing his obituary?" and "which newspapers will it be running in?" since he lived in multiple places.

So I took on the task of writing an obituary for him thinking that, hey, I've read a ton of obituaries, I should be able to write one and include everything that is pertinent to the story of his life and genealogy. I wrote the highlights of his life, where he lived, his military story, and also listed out his surviving relatives. I get done, feeling that it was a pretty balanced obit and not too long, only to start the battle of editing based on how much it would cost to run in 1 or more newspapers. Since I wasn't the one paying for it to be published, I felt pressed to justify every line, since it would affect the price.

In the end there were 2 obituaries, one in the Sacramento Bee, which was short and pointed to the mortuary website where the full obit could be read for 30 days (he had lived in the Sacramento area for almost the last 50 years). The other was published in the Mt Shasta Herald, and was the longer version (he had lived in the Mt Shasta area for around 20 years of his life and many of his relatives still live there). The Sac Bee was more expensive, and was a part of the system. The Mt Shasta Herald was cheaper, but less readers and not in the system. I wanted to make sure that his information was published somewhere so that future genealogists who would want to find his obituary could find it, and I think I accomplished that.

I guess as the future comes, more and more sources will be available online and newspapers won't be like they were a hundred years ago. They already aren't. But it just felt like if no one had taken the time to write even a brief synopsis of his life in an obituary, future generations might only know his birth, death and marriage dates, just like I have only found for many of my ancestors.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Long Lost Eddlemons

Today I got to meet some (sort of) long lost relatives. It all started maybe a month or 2 ago when I was doing some research on the Eddlemon family. I don't remember who contacted who first, but someone living in Kansas had a lot of the same information that I had so it looked like they were researching the same Eddlemons as me. We emailed back and fourth and I found out that a lot of the information that this person had found was given to her by her aunt that was living in California. So I'm like, "hey I live in California, where does your aunt live?" She replied and then I was like "hey, that town is like 25 minutes from my house! Can I meet her?" So today was that day.
Ella (Eddlemon) Short & Melinda (Short) Widner)

Ella (Eddlemon) Short is my first cousin, twice removed - in law, cause she is actually related to my wife. I spent a few hours at her house with her and her daughter Melinda listening to stories, taking down names and dates, and scanning some pictures. One of the best parts was finding this gem:

Charles Henry Eddlemon & Mary Jordan ca 1895

This is a picture/drawing of my wife's great great grandparents, Charles Henry Eddlemon and Mary Jordan from around 1895. They both died relatively young, she was about 27 he was about 34, so not many pictures of them exist, and this is probably the nicest.

Ella is my wife's grandma's cousin. My wife's grandma (Jennie Allene (Orrell) Wisner) lives around 75 miles from where Ella lives, and neither of them knew that the other lived so close - for over 60 years! They both were born in Arkansas and had moved to California, Allene sometime in the late 30s and Ella came over in the early 50s. But now we know where they live and hope to keep in touch with this lost branch of cousins, especially to exchange some more family knowledge.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lawrence Wisner Slideshow

Today was the funeral for my wife's grandfather Lawrence Wisner. I put together a little slideshow that we played at the service.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Great Grandparents are 8th Cousins!

Maybe I'm a little weird, I think it's kinda cool that my wife's great grandparents are 8th cousins. Maybe "interesting" would be a better choice of words than cool...but in any case, the whole process has been really fun. Years of research led to finding a connection that forms a circle that spans 10 generations and around 300 years. Raymond Clifford Wisner married Beatrice Marie Hawver in 1921, approximately 300 years after their 7th great grandparents were born. I tried making a graphic for it in Excel. Check it out:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Four Generation Friday - RIP Grandpa Wisner

Yesterday I received the sad news that my wife's grandpa (Lawrence Wisner) passed away. He was 88 years old. We were able to visit with him recently and even though he wasn't able to speak, he still seemed to enjoy the fact that we were there. While we were there we were able to take some four generation pictures with him and our kids. This is one with our youngest son Owen.

Lawrence Wisner (1924-2013)
Raymond Wisner (b. 1948)
Sandee (Wisner) Broersma (b. 1975)
Owen Broersma (b. 2008)