Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Colossians 3:1-2

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bossier Parish Library Historical Library site updated

I have been finding some wonderful things on the Bossier Parish Library Historical Library site! They have really updated the site.

I found pictures of ancestors and relatives on the site as well of a lot of other information that I did not previously know.

The site allows you to search their Collections database by putting in a keyword. This can include a surname, a place, subject or whatever else you might be looking for. It also allows you to do a random search of their photographs or other documents. It is a wonderful site.

You can assess it by clicking on the link in the lower left hand corner of this my site.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Malachi 4:2

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.” Malachi 4:2

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fabulous Discovery in Texas-Another long lost relative reunited with his Ancestral Tree!

Today, I had another amazing discovery. I finally found the death certificate for my Great, Great, Great Uncle Major Smith in Texas, a place that I would have never thought to look.

Click to view image

The reason I would have never thought to look in Texas is because his family was from the Plain Dealing, Louisiana area and because he is buried in the family cemetery with them. I have pictures of his grave. However, I was never able to find a death certificate or any other records of him for that matter. Much of the information that I have on him came via oral history from family members including his sister and my GGG-Aunt, Sally who lived to be about 106. She kept his memory alive. I actually have an original large oval framed photograph of him pictured with his brother, my gg-grandfather, Richard Clyde "Dickie" Lee. It is a beautiful photograph of two very handsome men which graces the wall of my dining room.

Even though I had a great deal of proof of his existence, I just never had any genealogy records on him before now. It was as if he left no paper trail of his life at all until now in Texas.

Again, I am so elated. The death certificate confirms some information that I already knew including the fact that he died young, at age 30. It lists his parents as Anthony Smith and Betty Banks which I also knew. However, it dispelled a lot of the rumors that previously existed regarding the circumstances of his death. The information that I always heard was that he was killed in a tragic car accident. However, according to his death certificate, he died of pulmonary tuberculosis while working in El Paso, Texas doing rail road work on January 21, 1923. It says he had only been in the area for 4 months. Apparently, he went there to earn money since although the Great Depression did not hit until 1928, times were still hard especially for african americans in the South so they often went where they could find work. He was listed as single which is also in contrast to some of the stories that he was married. It is still unknown if he had any children. His death still seems tragic to me and must have to his family with him dying at the age of 30.

I'm sure Uncle Major is smiling today because of the knowledge that his final story is finally known made possible by the release of vital records, today's technology and the Awesome Power and Will of God Almighty! I'm smiling too!

Major Smith January 1, 1893 to January 21, 1923

(Major Smith's grave in Galilee Baptist Chruch Family cemetery in Plain Dealing, Louisiana. Most likely placed much later after burial since Birth and Death information is incorrect on stone as if it was estimated by memory)

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I'm found
Was blind but now I see!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mystery of Long-Lost Relative Solved

Yesterday, I created a post regarding having discovered a "missing link," i.e. great uncle by the name of Edward L. Hines who lived and died in Texas.

After speaking to an Aunt who is somewhat of an authority on our family history, we figured out that my Uncle Edward L. Hines is actually the same person as my Uncle Erascus Hines. However, Aunt Jane never knew him as Edward L.

We came to this conclusion based on the particulars surrounding his death. Please recall, his death certificate indicated that his occupation was a Radio Tech. My Aunt Jane remembered that her Uncle Erascus owned a TV/Radio repair shop in Houston, Texas, the same place where this Edward L. resided. Also, his age, parents and the circumstances and date of his death matched exactly.

Aunt Jane reminded me that I had actually viewed Edward L. (Erascus) tombstone when we were in the family cemetery in the Frierson/Gloster, LA area some years ago. However, his tombstone gives his name as Erascus Hines. Maybe, the Edward L. Hines was his formal given name but the family called him Erascus which by the way was the name of one of his uncles or he did not like Erascus and decided to change it to Edward L. I'm not sure but I am pretty sure that we are dealing with the same person.

I am glad though that I was able to locate his death certificate because up until now, I had very little information on him.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Found: Long Lost Relative!

Today, I made an amazing discovery on FamilySearch Labs. I located a long-lost relative, actually a great-uncle who had been missing from my family tree due to his early demise.

The subject in question is one, Edward L. Hines, who was the son of Isam and Cornelia Jefferson Hines, my great-grand-parents. Today, I found him hiding in the pages of death certificates in Houston, Texas. You see, he was born and raised in Friersen, Louisiana and up until now there was no prior information given to me putting him in Texas.

The way that I found him was I did a broad search under Texas Death certificates for individuals born in Frierson, LA who died in Texas. The search engine generated several names of other relatives mostly from my Brayboy line that also proved valuable. Although, I am grateful for those finds too, but at least I already knew that many of them had relocated to Houston. However, I did not know that Edward L. Hines, who was cousin to the Brayboys on his mother's maternal side, had followed them there. He was the stunner for the day!

His death certificate lists him as being born on August 20, 1903 in Frierson, LA and died on April 15, 1944 in Houston in route to Jefferson Davis Hospital of a ruptured esohageal vein with internal hemmorage and cirrosis of the liver. It says that he worked as a Radio Tech. At the time of his death, he had lived there for 8 years. The certificate indicates that he was the son of Isam Hines and Cornelia Jefferson of Louisiana. His sister Nelvin Hines signed the death certificate. His place of burial is listed as Shreveport.

I think he really wanted me to find him because up until now, I was beginning to doubt his existence. Now, I have proof the he lived through his death!

I am so elated! Now, I am going to be on a quest to find other records on him. I will let you know what I find!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Witherspoon/Pressley Acquaintance

A couple of months ago, I made an acquaintance with a Witherspoon descendent who had run across my website. His name is John Renning Phillips, a very nice gentlemen who I exchanged several emails with.

He has written a book called, "The Good Intent: The Story and Heritage of a Fresno Family.” His book has information about his father’s family, which includes the Witherspoon and the Pressley families of Williamsburg County, South Carolina so he thought I would be interested in reading it.

I am very interested and have started but not yet finished reading it. However, John brought it to my attention that the Pressley and Witherspoons have several connections including the marriage of Ann Pressley to marry James Witherspoon, the great-grandfather of Boykin Witherspoon.

John has documented the family’s journey in 1734 on the ship called “The Good Intent” from Ireland to South Carolina. The family was originally from Scotland.

John also confirmed with me information about the prestigious family line that the Witherspoons in particular descended from including John Knox (The Divine), Robert the Bruce, kinship to Mary Queen of Scots and modern day actress, Reese Witherspoon.

I am very grateful to John Renning Phillips for the information he has shared with me and look forward to finishing his book. In fact, another friend of mine says she had heard good things about it and planned to read it as well.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy, you can do so by clicking on to the link below.

Ladies of Freedom

Lucretia Mott

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Susan B. Anthony

As you know, there were many heroes who were instrumental in the struggle for freedom in America.

Among them were Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. All were at least at some point of the Quaker faith and were abolistionists. They were all anti-slavery activists as well as instrumental in the struggle for women's rights.

These women should be remembered for their invaluable contributions in the fight against slavery. They all stood up and spoke out against slavery even though at the time it was unpopular to do so especially by women who were in that time considered unequal to men.

Yet, they risked their lives and own freedom since some of them were at times jailed for their speeches and work against slavery and women's rights.

As I mentioned, there were many heroes in the struggle for freedom but God also used these very brave women to rally for the cause. As African Americans, we can should remember the thank these women for their contributions.

I will write a more detailed account of their contributions at a later date but wanted to give you some information on these women.

The Magna Carta in New York

I forgot to tell you that when I was in New York a couple of weeks ago, there was a "Big Stir" about the news that the Magna Carta, Britain's foremost national treasure is coming to New York.

The Magna Carta which we all studied about in school but have probably forgotten is the document that set the global standard for religious freedom, trial by jury and other liberties that became the basis of human rights laws in Britain and eventually in the U.S.

In 1215, English barons forced King John to sign the Magna Carta - Latin for "Great Charter" - to limit the monarch's power after a series of abuses.

The 793 year old charter is set to arrive in New York at the Fraunces Tavern Museum in Lower Manhattan returning to the City for the first time since the 1939 World's Fair in Queens.

It is set to be on display for 90 days.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy "Would Be" 100th Birthday, Grandpa Johnie

Memory page of Johnnie Willie Greene (Coins and keys surrounding his picture were some of his actual belongings) Click to enlarge

I would like to wish a Happy "Would Be" 100th Birthday to my Grandpa Johnie. He was born Johnie Willie Green(e) on July 11, 1908 in Bradley, Arkansas. He actually added the "e" on the end early on to distinguish himself from what he considered the "ordinary." It fit, because he was anything but ordinary.

He was a very rare and special person. He was the son of Edward Green and Recie Clayton Green Jackson. Although, he was born in Arkansas, the family relocated back to the Plain Dealing, LA area where both of his parents were from. His parents parted ways during his youth and his care was assumed by his Aunt Lucy Green Faye and her husband Ransom Faye who he described as a tough taskmaster. Grandpa Johnie was required to work the family farm instead of attending school so he taught himself to read and write and later enrolled in adult school upon reaching maturity.

Johnie met and married Johnnie Pearl Lee, the daughter of Robert Edward Lee and Annie Bell Johnson Lee Green. The couple became parents to my mother, Lottie Viola Green and Shirley Bell Green. Johnie also was father to William Green and Lucille Green. He was a wonderful father to all of his children.

Grandpa Johnnie relocated to California in the 1940's. Initially, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area cities of Oakland and Richmond where he worked in the shipyards and worked for a period for the Ford Motor Company. He also worked for a time in the agricultural industry picking tomatoes and other crops. He was a hard worker with an excellent work ethic.

He moved to Sacramento, California where he resided for many years and became a homeowner. Like him, his home was also distinctive! The inside of his house was filled with things that reflected his unique style. It was essentially a kid's paradise. He had a large collection of dolls, trains, cars, action figures and other toys that every kid longed to play with. However, for the most part, his toys were for looking at and not for playing with. In addition, he had a fascination with unusual gadgets like clocks that uttered animals sounds at the stroke of each hour, cans of peanuts that when opened, snakes jumped out and toilet seats that talked to you when you sat on them. His house was distinctive, indeed!

Christmas was a very fun time at Granpa Johnnie's. He decorated every inch of the exterior of his house with neon lights, life size Santas and all the trimmings that said Christmas.

During the rest of the year, the exterior of his home was also special. Grandpa Johnie because of his early rearing was an excellent Gardener. He had one of the most wonderful and bountiful gardens that I have ever seen. He grew large stalks of corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, greens, peas and many other delicious vegetables. In addition, he had apple and peach trees. He also had the most refreshing well water that you ever tasted. You could sit all day under his shade trees and drink his delicious water.

My Grandpa was also an excellent hunter. He knew how to live off the land. He could hunt pheasants, quails, rabbit or anything else that had the misfortune to cross his path. He was actually a very healthy eater which I know contributed to his longevity.

My Grandpa was one of my favorite people in the world. He was very special to me. I loved going to his house as a kid and he made me feel very special. As a kid, he referred to me and the "Lawyer" because he said I would argue with a "sign board." He referred to my younger quiet sister, Carla as the "Rabbit." Ironically, she was one that became the Lawyer.

My Grandpa loved coconut cakes so on his birthday when I was growing up, I would make him a coconut cake and walk it over to his house on July 11th, one of the hottest days of the year. I would get as much joy out of making it as he would eating it. It would last him all week!

Grandpa Johnnie retired from Bercut Richards cannery in Sacramento and soon after relocated to Fordyce, Arkansas in 1984. He lived there for many years. While there, he became a Jehovah's Witness and later an elder. He was very active in the Church and traveled to many Kingdom Halls in Arkansas to speak which was remarkable at his age.

He relocated back to Sacramento in January 2001 at the age of 92 and remained in excellent physical and mental state. He rode a recumbent bike daily, out walked most young people and his mind was as sharp as can be.

No one would have guessed that he had terminal cancer that had metastasized all over his body but in July 2001, it became apparent. He fought a good fight but inevitably, he lost his mortal battle with cancer on August 13, 2001 at the age of 93but remained spiritually victorious since his soul reunited with Christ.

Grandpa Johnie Willie Greene was quite a man. He was a gentle soul that would give you the shirt off his back. Everyone loved him both young and old. He was truly good person and it eminated from his very soul. Little children especially could see it as they were naturally attracted to pleasant manner.

He lived to see 4 generations of his seed. From his daughter, Lottie, her daughter, Sharon, her daughter, Shawndra and her son Pablo who he established a very special bond with. In addition, his daughter Shirley, her daughter, Cassandra, her daughter, Josylyn and her daughter, Alexis. That makes 5 generations living at the same time and before his mother passed, 6!

He was a very intelligent man of distinction. He prided himself in his dress. He was a very daper older gentleman who was always dressed color-coordinated. He also wore gold and diamond rings on every finger but his thumbs. He was quite a handsome fellow and it did not go unnoticed by the ladies even in his elder days.

I miss my Grandpa Johnie. Again, he was so special to me. He thought he would live to get 100 years old and so did I since his mother lived to be 111. He would have but God had other plans for my Grandpa.

Anyway, I am wishing him a Happy "Would Be" 100th Birthday. May the angels in Heaven throw you one of the biggest Birthday celebrations ever with trumpets and angelic voices loud enough to shake the foundations of the world!

By the way, in rememberance of your "Would Be" 100th Birthday, your daughter Lottie made you a cake!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

African American Civil War Memorial

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about the US Colored Troops. In it, I mentioned that has a site you can search for your ancestors or other relatives who may have served.

I also want to tell you about the African American Civil War Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The Museum which has a memorial sculpture that is surrounded by a memorial wall in remembrance of the contributions that these soldiers made.

The museum curators utilize photographs, documents and state of the art audio visual equipment to convey the heroic's of the soldiers in their struggle for freedom.

The Museum is located at 1200 U Street N.W., Washington, DC 20009 and is open Monday to Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Saturdays, 10 AM to 2 PM.

I was in D.C. about 3 years ago and as you probably know, there is a lot to see there so I did not get the chance to visit this museum but I plan to. If you are in the D.C. area, please make a point to see this museum. The contributions of these men are invaluable not only to African Americans but they influenced our current way of life in America.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is located in Harlem at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801, 212-491-2200. It is a division of the New York Public Library and is a national research library devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the history and experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world.

I did not get the chance to visit the center this visit but felt compelled to tell you about it. It is a wonderful resource not only for researching family history but the black experience in general.

The center houses records and exihibitions of all types including books, art collections, historical documents, original photographs, film, videotape, audiotape and sound recordings of events, personalities and social/cultural movements.

You can literally spend not only the whole day but weeks and months, perusing the center's collection.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Scripture regarding all the Generations of Earth

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10

Sundays in Harlem

For the past 8 years, whenever I visit New York, I spend my Sundays in Harlem. I start out by attending church service at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Rev. Calvin O. Butts, III, presiding. This Sunday was very uplifting. It was a celebration of freedom in honor of the 4th and 5th of July (African freedom in NY) and commemorated the 200 year church anniversary. The sermon was excellent and the choir angelic.

After church, I also go to Sylvia's Queen of Soul restaurant on Lenox Avenue where I partake in some of the most delectable southern cuisine around. This sunday, I had the catfish and grits with a side of collard greens as I decided to combine breakfast and lunch. It was soooooooo good. I made acquaintance with the famed but very down to earth proprietor, Mrs. Sylvia Woods who very graciously agreed to take a photo with me.

We also discussed the fact that we shared a common family surname, Pressley/Presley from South Carolina. I told her about how my great-great-great grandfather, Stephen Pressley who had been brought from South Carolina to Louisiana by the Witherspoon family. We both agreed that we probably were related somehow since we both come from a family of really good cooks.

Again, the food there is excellent so if you ever get a chance, please visit Sylvia Soul Food in Harlem.

I ended my day in Harlem by just walking around perusing the various shops and historical landmarks. The weather was beautiful and I did not want the day to end but unforturnately it had to.

Anyway, if you are visiting the New York area, Harlem is a must see.

African Burial Ground in New York City

For those of you who do not know, an African Burial Ground was discovered in New York in 1991 during excavation work for a new Federal office building and workers discovered the skeletal remains of the first of more than 400 men, women and children.

These turned out to be the remains of formerly enslaved Africans who were buried in a 6.6 acre burial ground in lower Manhattan outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, which would later become New York.

Over the decades, the unmarked cemetery was covered over by development and landfill.

Since being uncovered, the site has now been declared a National Monument and has a distinctive memorial that commemorates the former slaves.

The artwork above is entitled, " UNEARTHED" and was done by artist, Frank Bender in 2002 in finished bronze with patina and is located at the Ted Weiss Federal Building, 290 Broadway, New York City. Frank Bender is a world renowned sculptor from Philadelphia, known for his work on forensic facial identifications, fugitive age progressions and fine art. His studio is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The subjects deplicted are recreations of the actual skeletal remains found in the Burial Grounds. Bender indicated that he held the eldest woman's scull in my hands and felt that she had endured the most. The younger woman with the bandana had been shot in the back. The young man in the background, the youngest and tallest of the three, is rising for the hope-filled future.

The sculpture is truly remarkable and a priceless memorial not only to these individuals but to the countless other former slaves long buried and forgotten whose voices now cry out to modern generations to remember their pain.

If you ever get a chance, please go visit this African Burial Ground in New York.

New Yorkers celebrated end of slavery on July 5th

While visiting in New York over the 4th of July weekend, I learned that many African Americans there were celebrating the 181th anniversary of the abolition of slavery on July 5th, the day after the American Independence from Great Britain. In fact, New York was 2nd in the country besides South Carolina for holding the largest number of slaves which played a role in the building of New York.

Slavery officially ended in the state of New York on July 4, 1827 which was about 35 years before President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment in 1865, abolishing slavery in the entire U.S.

On July 5, 1827, over 4,000 blacks in New York City marched along Broadway, preceded by an honor guard on horseback and a grand marshal carrying a drawn sword. The parade wound through the downtown streets to the African Zion Church, where the abolitionist leader William Hamilton declared, "This day we stand redeemed from a bitter thralldom."

African Americans in New York chose to celebrate the 5th of July versus the 4th of July for fear of violent threats from whites and because African americans were not actually freed in 1776.

While I was in New York this past weekend, The Lefferts Historic House, the former home to a family that owned 10 slaves was where one of the main events commemorating the freedom of countless slaves was held. The event attracted people of all background and featured music including the bang of drums and the rattle of gourds, and re-enactments.

Again, I learned something new this past weekend because while New Yorkers still celebrate Juneteenth like many other African Americans around the country in rememberance of Emanicipation from slavery, they also commemorate July 5th, since slavery came for New Yorkers on July 4, 1827.

Back from New York

I have just flown back from New York. It was a wonderful retreat. I plan to tell you all about my trip and the things I did and learned pertaining to Genealogy.

I have made many trips to New York and this by far was one of the best! So much to do and I just feel revived, relieved and inspired!

I plan to go back soon and indulge more in the history of New York residents and in genealogy possibly presenting some genealogy seminars since what I have found in talking to people is that a lot of New Yorkers do not know their family history or about the contributions of their own ancestors to their area and the country as a whole.

Anyway, I will tell you more later.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Before I go to bed, I had to tell you about an acquaintance that I made today both at the productions of "Thurgood and Strange." It was 2 of the members of the Grammy Award-winning group, “Sweet Honey in the Rock. They are an African-American female a cappella ensemble that tours the country with gospel inspired music.

I met the group's co-founders, Carol Maillard, the lady in the top hat, kinte cloth neck wrap with boots and Bernice Johnson Reagon, the lady on the far right in the fuscia colored dress.

I had not had the pleasure of seeing them in concert yet but have heard astounding reviews of their performances and I promised the ladies that would see them as soon as they are in a city near me again.

They told me that they are in New York for 2 weeks rehearsing for a concert they are slated to do in December with the Alvin Ailey dancers. I might try to catch that.

Anyway, they were very nice and we seemed to be on the same schedule since I encountered them at both theatre performances. I took a picture with them but I will have to upload it when I get home.

If you get a chance to see them, please do so. Okay, for real, I'm off to bed now!

Passing Strange

Well, I just got out of the Tony Award winning musical, "Passing Strange" and while I would not give it the applause I gave "Thurgood," it was entertaining yet a little strange.

It featured an all african american group of actors that performed to the beat of rock and roll music played by a predominantly white band with the exception of the lead guitarist/singer/narrator.

The gist of the story was the maturing of a young african american male musician at the coming of age who rebelled against his mother, God and society to find himself. He ended up first in Amsterdam and then Berlin where he experienced drugs, free sex, freedom of expression and self acceptance.

Despite his mother's attempts to reunite him with his family and religion in the US, he never returned except for her funeral which had a profound effect on him.

Again, it was entertaining. The actors were very talented as reflected by each of their portrayals of diverse characters.

After the show, I indulged in some Sorbet from a French restaurant called "Un, Deux, Trois", translated it means, "one, two, three". After that I took a slow stroll back to my hotel.

The streets are littered with theatre goers all dressed up for their shows as well as other tourists headed for shopping, dining, comedy shows and more. There is no place like New York. It truly is the City that never sleeps! Except, for me because I am off to bed so farewell for now.

2 thumbs and a pinky finger up for Thurgood!-An excellent Broadway Play

I just witnessed one of the most powerful plays ever! The Broadway play that I am referring to is "Thurgood." It is a one-man play performed by the very talented Laurence Fishburne. It is playing at the Booth Theatre in New's York's Theatre District.

Lawrence did an excellent job of portraying the late former Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. So good, that at times you forgot it was Fishburne instead of Marshall.

The play chronicles that late Marshall's rise from poverty in Baltimore to his prestigous legal achievements. It starts out talking about Marshall's genealogy. In particular, the origin of his name which he inherited from his great-great grandfather "Thorny Good" who was a slave brought over from Africa to the South but was freed before slavery ended at which time he relocated to Baltimore. Thurgood was himself originally named Thoroughgood but later shortened it.

The play also explains the influence on his life by his father and his decision to become a lawyer as well as his early brushes with racism. Fishburne recounts in the first person how Marshall worked as a waiter, pullman and later decided to go to law school.

The highlight of the play is when Marshall as a then lawyer prepares for, argues and await the decision of the famed Brown vs. Board of Education in which the Supreme Court did overturn the previous, "Law of the Land," "Plessy vs. Board of Education" which allowed for "separate but equal" policies for whites and minorities in the US in terms of education. The Supreme Court ruled in 1954, that the law was unconstitutional and allowed for integration in America.

Of course, this changed the lives of many African Americans including my mother, Lottie Green Burney who was a victim of the previous law. She recounted recently how growing up in the South, the colored schools in terms of school structures, books, supplies, lack of heating and transportation were far inferior to the white schools. In fact, she recalled that she never remembered having new books, pencils, or even chalk. She says that they always got the marked up books, broken pencils and chalks that the white school children had used years before.

Anyway, Fishburne should win an award for his amazing portral of Thurgood Marshall. The play reminds the audience of what an impact this great God-sent had on the lives of African Americans and other minorities in this county. I know the late Marshall is pleased with Fishburne's portrayal of him.

So, if you get a chance, I strongly recommend that you see it. Okay, I got to go now, I'm headed off to another play this evening, a musical called, "Passing Strange." I will let you know how it goes!

Happy 4th of July!!!

Happy 4th of July!!! A day late but the sentiments remain the same. This year I am celebrating the 4th with a "Big Bang" live from New York City! Yesterday, I went to the famed Coney Island where they held an Annual Hot Dog eating contest. The winner, Joey Chestnut (ironically, the same surname affialiated with one of my ancestral lines) ate an amazing 64 hotdogs beating out the reigning champion in a first-ever tie-breaking round.! I did not eat quite so many but after sampling the also famed Nathan's "Dogs," I can identify with the contestants a little better.

The best part of my Coney Island experience was the beach area. I sat there for hours taking in the view of the waves, passing ships, the sea of umbrellas and people frolicking on the beach and in the water. The weather was perfect. I could have layed there for the week sipping on lemonade and the occasional Italian Ice.

I did not get on any rides this time but did stop and watch other people who did. Unfornately, that part of my day had to end so it was time to board the subway and head towards Battery Park near the Statute of Liberty to watch the annual Macy's Fireworks show.

It was spectacular and I had birds-eye view having arrived there early. This was one of the best fireworks show that I had ever witnessed! It featured a wide-range of pyro-technics that exploded into amazing fountains, UFO'S, happy faces and more. It was the perfect ending to an amazing day.

Then it was back off to Times Square to the hotel where I am staying.

Anyway, its Saturday and I'm off to explore the City today. Farewell for now.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Magnifying the Text on your Computer Screen

Like a lot of my fellow Genealogists and other readers, as my years increase, my eyesight decreases. This is a realization that I am relunctantly admitting to. However, it has become more painfully apparent. I can no longer view the now seemingly tiny little print on certain sites and even in my blogs, I may proofread them several times and still overlook errors because of my declining vision but to the reader not aware of that, the reason for my errors may not be apparent.

You're probably thinking, time for glasses! And, you would be right but there is another alternative that I would like to share with you as a quick fix alternative.

If you hold down the "control key" and the " +" symbol located on the far right of your keyboard by the number pad simultaneously, you can magnify the text on your screen to make it more readable. Conversely, if you simultaneously hold down the
"control key" and the " -"symbol, you can decrease the size of the text.

Just a little tool I thought I would share with fellow genealogy buffs gracefully becoming visually impaired!