Sunday, June 17, 2012

God Bless My Dad

I have always been a "Daddy's girl. I don't mean a daddy's girl in the sense of being a little princess in frilly dresses and well kept curls, but a girl that was always tagging around with my daddy. He wasn't like the TV dads and he never called me kitten or princess, as a matter of fact he called me mutt! Maybe that was because I always wanted to be under his feet, but he said it was because I had a "pug" nose.

My dad, taught me so many things by example throughout my life;  how to be honest and fair, the importance of family, and taking care of one another, and how to respect my elders. The most important thing he gave me was the confidence to believe there was nothing I couldn't do, be or fix, if I set my mind to it.  From the time I was small, he let me help with the garden, the carpentry work and working on cars, even if it was only learning how to find the right tools and hand them to him.  We dug fish worms, caught night crawlers and patched fishing waders. When I was too little to fish, I rode on his shoulders on top of his WWII army pack while he fly fished the Colorado streams. When I was old enough he taught me to fish and clean trout. He always talked to me like I was an equal and not a kid and we had a great time "visiting". 

Our Dad, was not a perfect person but I can see so much of the love he gave us in the individuals my brother's and I became.His showed his love for our mom everyday and even more so as they grew old together. I am proud to be his daughter and I love seeing him in my nephews and in my children and grandchildren.

We love and miss you dad and grandpa.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Beginning of My Journey - Finding My Mother's Ancestors in Indiana

The Families of Andrew Jackson Loy and Clara Jones, Bartholomew County Indiana

Thirty some years ago, my first genealogy research trip was to the Mesa Arizona Family History library to find out about my mother's family of eight.  I was a new convert to the LDS church and had been drawn to the family history program.  I was not a stranger to historical research but had never done  genealogy so I had no idea what my journey would be like and I can tell you it has been amazing.

My mother, Louise Loy, the second to youngest child of Andrew Jackson Loy and Clara Jones of Indiana, had always joked that her and her siblings were "hatched" since she had no information about her parent's lives before they moved to the plains of Colorado. Of course I thought researching  would be a perfect opportunity for me to search them out and tell their stories!
Flora Rosa Louise Loy
I gathered what little information she had, and set off to the library for my big adventure. I knew that her parents came from Columbus, Batholomew County, Indiana to homestead in Colorado. I started with the 1900 census forms and searched for her father's family, the Loy's, line by line. Not a Loy to be found, but it seemed very odd that they had so many Asian families named Soy in that region. ( I know the researchers reading this are really laughing right now.)  Since my grandmother's surname was Jones, I thought I might have better luck searching the 1880 census index and I was very excited to find her along with her parents and brothers and sisters right away.  At the end of that day, I at least felt like I had accomplished something significant to report to my mom when I called her that night.

At the time, I had just signed up for correspondence classes in genealogy and one of my first classes was on Palaeography, the study of old handwriting. As I went through the lessons, imagine my surprise to find out that the letter "L" back in the day looked like an "S".  When I realized that all the "Soy" families were "Loy" families I could hardly contain myself! 

Being a stickler for research notes, I already knew which rolls I had looked at on my previous trip so on my next trip to the library, the results were much better.  It's hard to describe what I felt when I saw my mother's parents listed in their first home together on the census and expecting their first child. I tried to absorb every detail, and through bouts of tears I studied the street and house numbers, their neighbors and all the information on the form. Later, in the rolls, I was also able to find what would turn out to be my grandfather's family, names she had never heard.  Later that evening, when I called her in Colorado with the news, she was amazed that the information was out there to be found. After her famous "I'll be darned" she joked, I guess we weren't hatched after all! 

I have been truly blessed by genealogy. Those first few months of research on mom's family led to decades of research and a career of helping others search for their families and write their stories. I still never cease to be amazed that around the most unexpected corner, information I have searched for over the years suddenly becomes available, and I'm always thankful for all the extra help and inspiration my past and present family gives that guides me along my path.

Mary Ellen