Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Dec. 10th – Smile For The Camera #19- The Gift “What Do I Do With This???”

Heritage Village 296

That was the question my husband asked after opening his Christmas gift from me a couple of years ago. I couldn’t think of anything to get my husband for Christmas, I was trying to figure out something unique to give him that he could look at for years to come. What was it? It was an old tart tin that I had bought at a thrift store a few years earlier for $2. It wasn’t just any tart tray, it was a blue and white swirl enamelware tart tin, highly collectible and moderately valuable. Well, that seemed like a very unique gift, he said, but he didn’t think he’s get much use out of it. I explained that it was an antique and he could put it on eBay and use the profits from the sale to get a tattoo.

Heritage Village 297

He said, “well, I don’t think I’ll get enough to pay for a tattoo, but I’ll list it anyway”. He was pleasantly surprised when it sold for almost $200. Now he has a tattoo to remind him everyday of the very unusual gift.

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Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Smile For The Camera, Special Events, , ,

Dec. 7, 2009 – Holiday Parties

For a quarter of a century we have been having family get-togethers at Christmas time. For the first decade or so we held our gatherings on Christmas Eve. We took turns hosting our gatherings, but in the past few years they were held at my sister’s house, because the family grew so much, her house was the only one that was large enough to hold them. As the family grew, we started having the party on the Sunday before Christmas, it was more convenient that way.

There is always tons of food, everyone brings something. Since my nephew has a lot of food allergies, the one rule about the meal was no peanuts. My sister bakes banana bread just for him every year. I usually bake and decorate tons of different kinds of cookies, I’m going to start this week baking for the party. We all have our specialties, fresh baked breads, pies, penne, aux gratin potatoes, and all kinds of side dishes, jellos, salads, cheese and vegetable platters, etc. The host supplies the meat, usually a ham and some other kinds of meats.

My sister sets up a table for the kids to make crafts,


and brings out the big box of Legos she has from when her kids were young,


The older boys are usually downstairs watching movies and playing games or out in the garage playing pinball.
I’m usually running around trying to get pictures of everybody. There is usually at least one new family member that I have to get pictures of. There are three new additions this year, two births and one marriage. If our family gets much bigger, we’ll have to rent a hall for our Christmas party.

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events, ,

Dec. 6 – Santa Claus

Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

I don’t remember ever sending a letter to Santa, letting him know whether I was bad or good in the past year and deserving of gifts, he already knew. And, if he already knew, then he must already know what I wanted or deserved for Christmas. I left letters for him in my stocking, not to ask for anything in particular, just a general letter saying that he could decide what to leave me so it would be a surprise.

After I was grown and had kids of my own, I was was surprised that I married into the Santa Claus family, my father-in-law was Santa Claus. Every year the kids would go to the Moose Lodge Christmas party and sit on Santa’s knee and were very surprised that Santa Claus knew their names, and knew what they were up to, he must be the real Santa Claus! They had no idea that they were sitting on their grandfather’s knee. He was Santa Claus there for years, maybe it was because he didn’t need a pillow, he was all real. Now, he isn’t doing very well, and my Christmas wish is for him to live long enough to see another Christmas, I don’t want my family to look back and remember Christmas of 2009 as the year that Santa died.


I have always equated Santa Claus with the Christmas spirit, of love and giving and sharing and family, so, yes, I do still believe in Santa Claus.

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events, , ,

Dec. 5 – Outdoor Decorations

When I was growing up, the only Christmas displays were the Nativity Scenes in front of the churches in town. I can remember a few houses had some lights on the windows and roof lines, but nothing spectacular. We didn’t do any decorating outdoors.

I think that the commercialism of Christmas has a lot to do with it, the more commercialism there is, the more elaborate the outdoor decorating is. Nativity scenes are being replaced with Santas and reindeers and the true meaning of Christmas is getting lost.

Christmas is a Christian holiday and it used to be that only Christians celebrated it. Now almost everyone around the world is celebrating Christmas, no matter what the religion. Nativity scenes are being outlawed because they may offend non-Christians. Why are they offensive, they just portray the First Christmas. After all, if Jesus wasn’t born, there wouldn’t even be a Christmas and that would really be offensive. Put Christ back into Christmas,

is the reason for the season!

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events, ,

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Dear Genea-Santa…

From Randy at Genea-musings Hey, fellow geneaholics, it’s Saturday Night, and time for lots of Genealogy Fun! Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission: Impossible music), is to write a nice letter to Genea-Santa Here are the directions:
1) Write a letter to Genea-Santa and ask for only ONE thing. It could be hardware, software, a missing family Bible, a record that you desperately want, etc.
2) Tell Genea-Santa what a good genea-girl or genea-boy you’ve been this past year and give examples.
3) Exhibit your posts on your own blog, in a Facebook post commenting on this note, or in a Comment to this blog post.
So – go forth and write your letter!

Dear Genea-Santa,

How are you doing, are you eating lots of Mrs. Claus’ cookies and getting fattened up for Christmas Eve? Are your elves keeping busy? How old are you and when is your birthday? When and where did you and Mrs. Claus get married? What is Mrs. Claus’ maiden name? Do you have any children?

I have been really good at keeping up my geneablog, and reading all of the other geneablogs too. I entered several Genealogy Carnivals as well. My blog was even nominated for Family Tree Magazine Top 40 genealogy blogs and I didn’t even nominate or vote for my own blog. I am trying my best to write daily posts for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and I submitted three recipes to the Geneabloggers Winter Cookbook.

I have been sharing my blog with my family and friends on Facebook and I created a blog just for my kids and grandkids about their ancestry, To My Descendants. I made some “I Remember” pages for my mom and dad on Facebook too.

I also joined the Bicentennial Branch of the UELAC this summer. I went to my first meeting but I didn’t go to the last one because I had been exposed to the H1N1 virus and wasn’t feeling good and didn’t want to make anyone sick there.

I was assistant organizer of my family reunion even though I had to have surgery a few weeks before, I helped out as much as possible.

I haven’t been doing such a good job at keeping my genealogy database up to date, but I will try harder next year.

I won’t ask for much this year, I don’t really need much, but I really would like to get my UEL certification, if it isn’t too much to ask. I have been researching my ancestors and I think I have everything I need, I just have to order some documents. I really really want to honour my Loyalist ancestors and make it easy for more of Nathaniel Haines’ descendants to get their certification if they want to. So please could you just bring me this one thing and I won’t ask for anything next year (unless I think of something during the year).

Yours truly, Earline

Filed under: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, ,

December 4 – Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards -Did your family send cards? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards? Do you have any cards from your ancestors?
Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories


I wasn’t going to post to this day’s topic, I didn’t know what to write, my family hasn’t mailed Christmas cards for decades, usually we just hand deliver them or we bring our Christmas cards to our family gatherings and hand them out then.

We decided to mail Christmas cards this year for a change, so I found some that I liked and I am getting a mailing list together. I still have my mailing list for my wedding, I’ll start with that, but I have to edit it for people that have moved, passed away and new families. I’ll add to it my mailing list from the family reunion, there are a few new cousins to include. I will be mailing them all across the country, from British Columbia to Newfoundland and even a few international ones. If I have a mailing address, they’ll be getting a card.

For those who I don’t have a mailing address, I will be sending cards by email, but I prefer mailing them out, it seems more personal. I may include a family newsletter as well, I haven’t decided yet.

My grandchildren make cards to hand out at the family gatherings, but they have pompoms, popsicle sticks and tons of glitter on them, so I can’t scan them to share with you. I always hang the homemade cards on my tree.



My grandson made this picture of baby Jesus for me yesterday, he even put the star in it. He just learned how to print his name and he was so proud, and so am I!

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events,

Follow Friday – FTM – Funny Tombstone Photos

Family Tree Magazine is having a contest, just post your funny tombstone photos to enter.
from Genealogy Insider :

Maybe the deceased or his family wanted to make a final, lasting statement, like this man, who campaigned until the bitter end (reader Ruth Anne Nelson sent us the picture for a 2006 All in the Family challenge). Or maybe the humor is coincidental. Either way, naturally, you photograph the stone.

Post that photo to our Funny Tombstone Photos Flickr group, and we might publish it in an upcoming book about funny tombstones and/or in Family Tree Magazine. You also could win an Amazon.com gift card!

And even if you don’t have a photo, show us your sense of humor by writing knee-slapping captions for others’ pictures—we’ll put the funniest ones in the book, too.

The submission deadline is March 31, but submit earlier for more chances to win a gift card.

You’ll find the submission instructions—for submitting via Flickr or e-mail—with the gift card drawing details, and, of course, funny photos, on our Funny Tombstone Photos Flickr page. (You may need to scroll down a little to the About section.)

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Follow Friday, , ,

What’s Up With Blogger Widgets?

I don’t know if it’s just my blog, but I have been having trouble this week with my widgets, and deleted the ones that weren’t working. I got a scare when I deleted one widget and my blog disappeared. I refreshed the page and it was back. Needless to say, I promptly backed up my blog to my hard drive.

I checked the Blogger Known Issues and was surprised to see that there are outstanding issues with the widgets, one widget was actually mal-ware and all of the blogs with the widget were disabled. I am afraid to put any new widgets on my blog now.

Does Blogger check out the safety of the widgets on the site, or can anyone make a widget and upload it for everyone to use? I think they should check out any new widget before they allow users to put it on their site, there are a lot of crazies out there. Who knows, backing up your blog to your hard drive might even be dangerous. I think I’ll start backing it up online to my notebook from now on.

Filed under: Blogging, ,

Treasure Chest Thursday-Dec. 3, 2009 – Christmas Ornaments


When I was living in Windsor with the boys 20 years ago, my mother and I started to crochet Victorian Christmas ornaments. We made dozens of dozens of them to fill orders. My boys wanted some so I made some for them, my sisters wanted some, my brother wanted some, and I gave some Christmas villages as gifts. I even made a tree-top angel without a pattern. I haven’t crocheted much lately, not since I made 12 dozen Victorian hearts for my wedding favours and filled them with Hershey’s Kisses. I have one of them hanging on my tree also, but I didn’t put any Hershey’s Kisses in this one.


Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Special Events, Treasure Chest Thursday, ,

Geneabloggers Winter Cookbook- Chocolate Reindeer Cookies

These cookies are really easy to make and are very festive-looking.

Chocolate Reindeer Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine. softened

1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

72 small unsalted pretzels

72 candy-coated milk chocolate pieces

36 small red gumdrops

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer or medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.

Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Divide into 6 equal portions. Wrap and chill for 3 hours or until dough is easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a circle 6″ in diameter. Using a knife, cut each circle into 6 wedges and place 2″ apart on cookie sheet.

To make antlers, on each triangle lightly press a pretzel into upper corners. Cut off about 1″ of bottom point, and cut into two small triangles. Place small triangles, tip side up, over antlers and press the bottom part into dough to make ears.

Press red gumball into bottom edge for nose, and chocolate pieces for eyes.

Bake in 375F oven for 7 -9 minutes or until edges are firm. do not over-bake. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 36 cookies.

The original recipe didn’t have the one step of cutting the bottom tip and making two ears and the pretzels fell off. With this modification, the pretzel antlers stay put and the reindeer looks more like a reindeer. I used melted white chocolate and mini-chips to make the eyes after the cookies were cooled when I made them.

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Special Events, , , ,

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