Thursday, July 30, 2015’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds: July – Pictures!

For a number of reasons  I haven’t really done as much with my family history/genealogy as I would have liked this month. But I do have an for this month’s entry into the Fantastic Family Find challenge

This month’s Fantastic Family Find is due to my parents’ current downsizing and impending move. One day last week I received a letter from my father containing an envelope addressed to his father  postmarked "August [?] 1957" from his from his sister, Irma Henn Sutton, in California, and it was chock full of old family photographs! I thought I would share a few for this entry, and so scanned them with my new portable scanner (FlipPal).

Climbing My Family Tree: Owen Carl Henn and Anna Mae (Bennett) Henn, my paternal grandparents
Owen Carl Henn and Anna Mae (Bennett) Henn, my paternal grandparents
Don't they look happy?
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Climbing My Family Tree: My paternal grandfather’s sisters and his mother, left to right: Hazel, his mother Myrtle (Wilcox), Lucille, and Irma, taken June 20, 1940.
My paternal grandfather’s sisters and his mother, taken June 20, 1940:
 (left to right) Hazel (Henn) McArthur, Myrtle (Wilcox) Henn, Lucille (Henn) Robson,
and Irma (Henn) Sutton.
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Climbing My Family Tree: My great-grandfather, Owen James Henn, Christmas 1955
My great-grandfather, Owen James Henn, Christmas 1955
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Climbing My Family Tree: My 2nd Great Grandmother: Mary Jane (Currier) Wilcox, age 92
My 2nd Great Grandmother: Mary Jane (Currier) Wilcox, age 92
Photo Taken April 21, 1935

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Memories of My Brother, Carl R. Henn (1962-2010)

Climbing My Family Tree: Carl Henn
Carl Raman Henn
Picture courtesy of his wife and daughters
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This is the post I didn’t put up last week after Aunt Barbara died.

My brother Carl’s birthday was July 6, 1962. He died July 27, 2010.  While this might still be too soon, I don’t want to put it up near the end of the month because I want this to be about his life, not his death. 

On his birthday, I was going through my memory box and came across several pages I had written five years ago titled “Memories of Carl.” I can’t remember why I wrote them down. I wonder if I was afraid of forgetting him. I should’ve known that was not possible. I have been considering writing a blog post on my memories of Carl this month for awhile, and had, last month, asked his wife and daughters of that would bother them (in which case I would not do it). They said to go ahead and since then I have been thinking about what to write. Upon finding these pages, I’ve decided to share the memories I wrote down that day, with minimal editing (mostly for clarity).

As always, per my agreement with my family upon starting this blog, I’ve not named living persons without specific permission unless they are or were then public figures. (Although, as his death and, therefore, life, was covered in the Washington Post, I’m not sure how much more public my little blog could be.)

Most of the following are my memories. Some of them may be my memories of other people’s told-stories.  They are likely not in chronological order.

Climbing My Family Tree: Carl and that goofy hat
Carl and that goofy hat; he wore it everywhere outdoors.
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Carl was my middle younger brother, or I am his older, and only, sister. He was a very special person, and I love him very much.

I can see him being held up in my dad’s arms to color pictures on the wallpaper, as they allowed us to do before they took it down in order to re-wallpaper the living room.

I can see him as a young boy at our camp covered in dirt, doggedly looking for arrowheads. Or as an even younger boy, covered with even more dirt, pulling kittens in a little wagon. I see him, in our garage, in Union City, Ohio, daring friends to eat dog food (he ate it!). I see him practicing guitar, or trombone in the sunlight streaming into the living room. I see him lying long across the couch, reading, book propped on his chest – odds are, rest of us, my other brothers and I were on other chairs or couches, or the floor, also reading.

Climbing My Family Tree: Carl and kittens
Carl and kittens
family photo
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Climbing My Family Tree: Carl as a baby
Carl as a baby
family photo
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He was a round baby. In pictures of us as young children, his older brother was lanky and angled, and Carl was round. Which is odd, because he grew up to be tall, skinny, lanky and angled.

He and his older brother (I'm oldest - they're all younger to me which makes for awkward phrasing) were inseparable in childhood, sharing a room, playing together in the fields and woods, playing the same instrument in school, working at the same high school job (CIC club), blaring Beatles music from the stereo (other bands too, of course, but I mostly remember the later Beatles albums for some reason).

Carl was the youngest child in the family for three years, and he did not give up that spot gracefully when the time came. Fortunately, he outgrew that and he and our youngest brother became the closest of friends in adulthood, and especially after they were both dads and they were both very good dads. I remember both of them working together on Christmas Eve to put together toys for the kids late into the night.

We were all bookworms too. On any given day, particularly in the winter, you could walk into our house and see all four of us, well, six - my parents, too - curled in comfy chairs about the fireplace with a book. All together in our own worlds.

Carl was a high school football player – the skinniest defensive end known to history. He was on the football team at Mississinawa Valley junior high in Union City (Ohio side)  and at Port Clinton high school up on Lake Erie (we moved). I’m not sure that there was a single Friday that he actually came up to the weight he was listed at in the game programs on game day. Most of the time he wasn’t first string, but he loved the game and he tried hard. In his senior year he was also on the tennis team, along with his buddies – I don’t think he was too serious about that, they laughed about it a lot. He also played trombone in the orchestra. He inspired the only Orchestra Lift-a-thon fundraiser that I have ever heard of – perhaps he suggested it because that’s how the football team often raised money. The orchestra members were uniformly smaller and far skinnier than the football team, but the Lift-a-thon attracted attention and it made money!

Climbing My Family Tree: Carl in our Port Clinton, OH back yard
Carl in our Port Clinton, OH backyard
family photo
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I remember being asked by Carl and his buddy, John, to go with them to a drive-in movie. They really wanted to see the movie, but they didn’t want to be seen as two guys in a car together at the drive-in (Ohio, 1970's). They must’ve really wanted to see the movie, and Carl must have really been persuasive, as it was a scary movie, and I didn’t, and don’t, like scary movies, but I went.

Carl was in an awful high school rock band (“Dead-End Road”) with his friends. He and his friends wrote original songs for it, with the strangest names (“Armadillo Armageddon,” “Bubonic Dancers,” etc.) He was so intent about it. And so upset when they played in a contest in a local factory bar and were booed off the stage. [Edit: my memory as an older teenage sister is that the band was awful; but, in retrospect, while the music he wrote was odd, it wasn’t 'awful'. And the band may not have been awful in actuality.]

Climbing My Family Tree: The Dead End Road (Carl with guitar) - 1970's
The Dead End Road (Carl Henn with guitar) - 1970s.
This picture was their dreamed of "album cover" shot.
Photo courtesy of John Marek (in white shirt, by the sign)
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Carl wasn’t necessarily the person to have around in an emergency if there was blood. He was extremely trustworthy and resourceful, but he fainted at the sight of blood -- repeatedly. He bravely stayed “with it” (his term) once to take care of our youngest brother when he came home with his face covered in blood after falling off his bike. And he stayed “with it” – largely – for the birth of his babies, even though, or maybe because, the doctor dedicated a nurse just for him after hearing of that tendency! Despite his problems with seeing blood, he prided himself on giving blood every chance he could and saved all the little reward stickers and pins he received for giving gallons. He just refused to look at it as it was coming out.

He wrote songs all his life and played the acoustic guitar. Sung to his wife and daughters. He had a good tenor voice. He made a CD of his songs for mom and for his wife. His wife made me a copy, after. I used to tease him, asking him why he never made a happy song. He explained to me that his voice really wasn’t suited for happy songs and that he sang the best singing sad songs, so he wrote sad songs. So I tell myself that’s why I listen to the CD with tears rolling down my face.

Climbing My Family Tree: Carl playing circa 2002
Carl playing circa 2002
family photo
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I remember, he used to pick out the best books for me for Christmas. Before he was married, he used to give me the most unique gifts. Cricket cages one year. But mostly, his gifts to me had a running theme – “keep Jo warm,” lol. He gave me pocket warmers, mittens, flannel sheets, battery-powered heated socks, microwavable slippers, etc.

After college he moved to the Washington DC area for grad school, and initially worked for the Department of Navy. I can’t remember whether he met his wife while he was still working for the Navy, or if it was after he worked with the National Institutes of Health. I remember him talking about having met someone he quite liked. And he called to talk about menu choices before the first meal he cooked for her. I can’t remember what he settled on – I think I know, but I’m not sure.

She was the love of his life. They married within a year of meeting. I remember the wedding. He was so very happy! He loved her throughout his life. They had one of the happiest marriages I’ve ever known. She accepted all his quirks – and he had them – and loved and supported him through all. She is a wonderful woman. I’ve always been so glad they found each other.

I remember going with him after dark as he walked the dogs for miles throughout his neighborhood, later after we were both adults with our own lives; and we talked about life, his girls, his passions (fighting roads, peak oil, community gardens, and consumer waste), my passions then (civil rights, prisoners’ rights, books), and politics. He would stop and look at what others had thrown out to see if he wanted to bring it home. It was disconcerting, but it was Carl. Sometimes he’d have such an air of happy triumph at his finds.

He was funny. I can picture him wearing gift bags on his head, and re-gifting that rubber chicken every year, and that Roy Orbison album, and his annual Christmas letter was anticipated by all! (I wish I’d saved them.) As an adult, he had a kind, dry sense of humor that helped him in speaking his truths to other people.

Climbing My Family Tree: Goofy Carl
Carl being goofy
photo courtesy of his wife and daughters
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I also see him standing with a glass of red wine in his kitchen. We would each have a glass and talk for hours after the rest of his family had gone to bed, nearly every time I visited.

I can remember Carl playing with his girls, reading to them, encouraging them – fruitlessly – not to watch so much TV. He loved his girls so much. He was so very happy to be a Dad of daughters. He was so proud of them, happy with them. And they are just wonderful young women!

He was so proud of his ability to start fires with one match. I remember he stockpiled like crazy for Y2K wanting to be prepared to take care of his wife and girls if life as we knew it ended. (They ate that stock-piled rice for years after.) Carl took care of his family, loved them intensely, and cared about them deeply. And he showed it. The family he grew up in was also important to him. And he brought his family home for Christmas every other year and talked to Mom and Dad weekly. He and I spoke on the phone about twice a month, for hours at a time.

He lived what he believed always, hanging the laundry in the back yard to dry because dryers use too much energy, and using a real plate and cloth napkin (no waste) even when his wife and kids used paper towels instead of napkins for the convenience. He biked to work nearly every day for 20 years in the Rockville MD traffic to the National Institutes of Health, where he worked in procurements – I was always afraid that he  would be hit by a car. He didn’t like driving a car – the world’s oil reserves being limited (peak oil) – and airplanes were an anathema, although he did fly when necessary to travel overseas … after buying carbon offsets. (He only came to see me at my home once, even though I tried to tell him that the same train he took to take his daughters to a Broadway show in New York City came here too!  I later found out that his daughters were allergic to cats, and I always had cats. (I would drive to see him at least yearly, and saw him at Christmas on the years their family came, until I came to a serious relationship of my own that required its own travel, which cut into my trips to see my brothers – we are all several states apart from one another).

Carl was big into recycling, every letter I ever received from him was on the back of something else. He and his wife got solar panels for the roof of their house, as a wedding anniversary gift to each other, well before this was popular. He saved food scraps and composted them, using them on his garden. Carl had a great smile. I can see him in his garden – the small overgrown garden he was so proud of – wearing that silly hat of his and smiling and laughing as he pointed out his tomatoes or something. He shared the produce in his garden with the whole neighborhood.

Climbing My Family Tree: Screenshot of one of Carl's Letters to the Editor on Peak Oil, The Atlantic Monthly October 2006
Screenshot of one of Carl's Letters to the Editor on Peak Oil,
The Atlantic Monthly, October 2006
(If I knew how to edit I'd've gotten the ad out of there.)
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He researched and wrote letters to the editor on and spoke on “peak oil” – the concept that we’ve used half or more than half, the oil that exists in the earth and we must learn to conserve and switch to other energy sources to protect the earth and maintain a decent lifestyle for ourselves and our children. I remember when he committed to getting a letter to the editor published somewhere each week of one year. And he did it! His letters to the editor were published in the Washington Post, Time Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Atlantic Monthly, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Times, Baltimore Sun, the National Institutes of Health Record, and the Rockville Gazette, among others. He also wrote an article titled How to Write a Letter to the Editor, originally for a green activist website [which was re-posted on an economic development blog by his old high school friend, John Marek, a few months before Carl died. You can see it HERE].

Carl related to every political and life issue through “peak oil” (believe me, EVERY issue) and was very active as a green activist in his community. He cared deeply for his community, served as his neighborhood civic association president, spoke frequently in front of the City Council, promoting community gardens (he was the instigating force in starting three of them) and improved bike/pedestrian paths, and advocating for solutions to city problems that encouraged recycling, and would have lowered the cities dependence on oil and gas. He even ran for City Council (I’m afraid that he spoke a little too much about “peak oil” and his proposed non-car related solutions in a suburban/urban city not ready to hear about that at the time to win).  [Edit: I wonder what he’d think if he knew that by being active in his community he was following in his maternal grandfather’s and his paternal great and great-great grandfathers’ footsteps?]

Climbing My Family Tree: Carl R Henn
Photo courtesy of his wife and daughters
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Carl took care of his neighborhood too, shoveling out older and infirm neighbors for up to several blocks away from his house, every time it snowed. He had a very expansive view of the term “neighbors”.

Going along with his green ideals, Carl thought Americans wasted too much. He was always bringing back stuff from other people’s trash – sometimes whether he needed it or not – both as a kid and as an adult (his wife, realizing that he wasn’t likely to stop, tried to restrain him to just the things he needed – not always successfully). For him, it was almost a sacrilege that people would throw out things that still worked for could be made to work with just a little effort.

He cut his own hair, wore suits he got at garage sales or as gifts. He was very into recycling – everything possible. He was frugal, but he wasn’t cheap; if his girls wanted something, he and his wife usually found a way to make it happen.

He used to email me regularly about his projects, especially if someone objected on some sort of proposed legal ground, and we'd discuss possible responses and solutions. Everything he did was in an effort to make the world a better place for people, with a long-term view.

Carl was very popular in his neighborhood, and his town, and at work, because I think people knew that he cared about them. But he never seemed to realize how many people cared about him; he often saw himself as a loner. I wish he could have seen his memorial service where over 500 people showed up. At that memorial service the then mayor of Rockville, Phyllis Marcuccio, described Carl as “one of the kindest, gentlest, warmest individuals…” (See her remembrance of him HERE (YouTube video).) Every person who spoke mentioned how kind, caring, and warm he was – along with his intense focus on “peak oil”, which brought fond laughter every time it was mentioned. What a wonderful way to be remembered!

The city of Rockville, MD, insured that he would be remembered for generations to come, by renaming the bike/walking trail on which he had spent so many hours working to make sure that it was continuous and safe and well-marked, the Carl Henn Millennium Trail, and posting signs with that name all along the trail. The City also named its outstanding individual environmental achievement award for him, and the National Institutes of Health named an environmental award for him as well. He will be remembered.

My brother was just a good, good guy. And I truly hate saying “was.”

Climbing My Family Tree: Carl Henn Millenium Trail, Rockville MD
Carl Henn Millennium Trail, Rockville MD
photo courtesy of  his wife and daughters
(or it's possibly mine - we have a lot of pics of this sign by various people)
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Climbing My Family Tree: Map of Carl Henn Millenium Trail
Map of Carl Henn Millennium Trail in Rockville MD
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If you stumble across this page, and you knew Carl, I would count it a precious gift if you would share one of your memories of him in the comments below.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Aunt Barbara

I was working on a different post for this week, but I don’t think it would be appropriate now. I’ll put it up later in the month.

Barbara Sue Snyder Rainey (1934-2015)

Climbing My Family Tree: Barbara Sue Snyder Rainey (1934-2015)
Barbara Sue Snyder Rainey (1934-2015)
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My Aunt Barbara, my mother’s sister, died last Sunday, and was buried yesterday. She was very ill and this is what she wanted. Her family, her children, and her sisters miss her terribly, as do her students. I feel, well, odd. I do miss her, but after I grew up and got out on my own I didn’t have a lot of contact with her. Then she, and I, joined Facebook, and friended one another, and, while we still didn’t interact whole lot, I saw what was happening in her life, and she in mine, and we “liked” each other’s pictures, and occasionally commented, and there is an “Aunt Barbara”-shaped hole in my life now. But what I’m seeing, in the outpouring of grief at her passing, is that I missed a whole lot in not knowing her better.

When I started my family research, I reached out to my aunts and uncles on both sides of the family with a series of questions about their families (the one they grew up in and the one they created), and their own lives, but this is where it does the family or at least individual members of the family, a disservice to have the one doing the family history be an overworked, insomniac introvert. Some family members responded with a lot of information, some responded with a little information, and some didn’t respond at all, and when they responded a little or not at all, I didn’t push it. I did still do online research on them (census, directories, newspapers – I thought I had more time), but perhaps I should’ve thought of different ways to contact them or tried to ask different questions for their perspective. I haven’t. And, in at least one case, now it is too late. Siblings and children and friends never have the same interpretation or understanding of your life that you do. [In my career I have found that no two or more people will have the same recollection or interpretation of any given event, or person, as we all see life through the lenses of our own personal history and emotions; and if the witnesses testifying before me do all have the same exact recollection of an event, it didn’t happen that way (collusion after the fact).] 

I can’t do a bio piece on Aunt Barbara the same way I have done with my ancestors, as much of her life is wrapped up with people who are still alive, and I won’t name people who are still alive in my blog, other than as a title. But in seeing the outpouring of love and respect in the past week, I did want to try to capture a bit of the Barbara I knew and wish I knew better.

Climbing My Family Tree: Mabel LeRe Erwin Snyder and her girls (Barbara is to the right of the girl in yellow)
Mabel LeRe Erwin Snyder and her girls
(Barbara is to the right of the girl in yellow)
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By way of a bit of background, Barbara Sue Snyder Rainey was born in Findlay, Ohio, on July 21, 1934, to Mabel LeRe Erwin and Clarence Weldon Snyder, both age 24. Her father was a teacher. Both of her parents’ families were largely from Findlay, Ohio, and/or Hancock County, Ohio, but Barbara was born at the height of the Great Depression when it was very difficult to find work to support one’s family, and if work was available you moved where it was. By 1935, the family had moved to Jewett, Ohio, in Harrison County, where her father taught science in the high school. Within the next five years, Barbara acquired three younger sisters, and later another sister and a brother. As the country was ramping up to join to World War II, the family moved to Huron, Ohio where her father worked in one of the nearby defense industries; Barbara was eight. After the war, her father became a traveling toy salesman. The family remained in Huron until Clarence retired. Barbara attended most of her school years in the Huron schools and graduated from Huron High School.

Climbing My Family Tree: Barbara Sue (Snyder) Rainey on her wedding day
Barbara Sue (Snyder) Rainey on her wedding day
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After graduating from high school she attended Heidelberg College (now University) in Tiffin Ohio, where she majored in music, was a member of the famed Heidelberg choir, the Hesperian Literary Society, Triad Club, and the Ohio Music Educators Association. She also participated as a soprano soloist in frequent radio and TV engagements. 

While at Heidelberg, she met and fell in love with the man who was to become her husband, who also performed with the Heidelberg choir. They married on August 28, 1954, in a beautiful ceremony (the newspaper described lovely gowns for Barbara, her maid of honor, bridesmaids, and flower girls, all of which, according to my mom, were made by her mother who was a skilled seamstress) and after a honeymoon to Michigan and Canada, the bridegroom moved to St. Louis, Missouri to attend Eden Seminary, and Barbara remained in Huron, living with her parents, while she taught sixth grade in the Vermillion OH schools. Two children were born by 1958, when the couple moved in 1958 to in Elgin Illinois, where her husband had his first pastorate. By 1962, they had moved to Toledo, Ohio, where a third child was born and her husband had obtained a new pastorate where Barbara became active in the music program, and taught in the Toledo schools. According to her obituary, during her career she taught at Shoreland Elementary, Whitmer High School, Regina Coeli and St. Stevens, in Toledo, Ohio.  She was the choir director at Point Place United Church of Christ, Lambertville United Methodist, Hampton Park Christian Church and New Hope United Methodist Church. Additionally, she directed plays at the Westgate Dinner Theater and the Toledo Music Theatre and sang with the Toledo Symphony Chorale.

Climbing My Family Tree: Barbara performed as a soloist in 'The Messiah' in 1970 (her picture is on the left)
Barbara performed as a soloist in 'The Messiah' in 1970 (her picture is on the left)
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Climbing My Family Tree: Rehearsing for an Ecumenical Program in 1971, Barbara is in the middle
Rehearsing for an Ecumenical Program in 1971, Barbara is in the middle
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Climbing My Family Tree: Barbara's production of Jesus Christ Superstar was booked to play the Toledo Masonic Auditorium - a first!
Barbara's production of Jesus Christ Superstar was booked to play the Toledo Masonic Auditorium in 1974,
marking the first time a professional producer booked a production by an amateur company
into the Masonic Auditorium, a 2,424 seat concert hall in Toledo, Ohio.
"Shaw felt the quality of the show and the favorable public response were such that it merited wider exposure."
(I saw it there when I was 14. The hall was packed! And the show was amazing.)
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In the 1980s, she lost her father and her marriage ended in divorce. In the 1990s, she lost her mother and her brother. She continued to be well-known as a musical director in her community and her church, and interviewed as a respected source by the Toledo Blade Religion Editor to contribute to an article on Cantatas and music as a Christmas spiritual tradition. 

Climbing My Family Tree: Barbara quoted in Toledo Blade article on Cantatas in 1997
Barbara quoted extensively in last third of article, in 1997
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In 2007, she officially retired at the urging of her children but stayed active in music and as a grandmother. After a series of health problems, she died July 5, 2015, at the age of 80.

Those are the cold foundational facts, but my Aunt Barbara wasn’t your usual person, as I have seen from the outpouring of love and honor from her students in the past week, posting tributes on her Facebook page and the message section on the online obituaries. So very, very many students, from multiple decades remember her as the person who gave them the guidance and the support to find their confidence and be themselves. They described her chorus class as the one class they looked forward to all day or remembered her guidance in theater productions. Others remembered her as their piano teacher after school or on the weekend. She had a significant positive impact on the lives of many, many people. How many people can say that?

The Washington Local Schools upon learning of her death posted this on their Facebook page:
“Long-time Washington Local teacher, Barb Rainey, has passed away. Barb taught at WLS from 1969 to 1994 and was the choir and show choir teacher at Whitmer for several years. She received many accolades for her accomplishments and for the awards that the students won. Barb spent many spring breaks traveling with her students to Canada, Florida and other places to perform—the groups often won 1st and 2nd place for their performances. She loved her students, was a second mother to them and kept in touch with many of them after graduation and into adulthood. Barb was a very special person who loved kids and helped so many in their life journey. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.” Following the post there are many lovely comments describing her as a great or awesome teacher.

Her obituary, written by one of her children, published in the Toledo Blade, was wonderful! Per my blog policy, I don’t name living people so I have edited the obituary to delete references to the living, which means we lose most of the first paragraph:

Not your ordinary obituary. Most obituaries start in pretty much the same way, this one will be no different. Barbara S. Rainey passed away peacefully at St. Luke's Hospital on July 5th, 2015 surrounded by family. She was preceded in death by Parents Clarence W. and Mabel L. Snyder, Brother John & Johanna Snyder (Sister-in-law) and Michael Miller (grandson). She is survived by [4 children] ... [11 grandchildren] ...[great-grandchildren, and her 4 sisters] . Barbara spent most of her school years in Huron, Ohio, graduating from Huron High School. She was also a proud graduate of Heidelberg University and The University of Toledo. After graduation, she went on to marry, have children and teach at Shoreland Elementary, Whitmer High School, Regina Coeli and St. Stevens. Barb, was the choir director at Point Place United Church of Christ, Lambertville United Methodist, Hampton Park Christian Church and New Hope United Methodist Church. All before her children imposed a mandatory retirement 2007.

"Now, remember we said at the start that this was no ordinary obituary. You see, Barb, Mrs. Rainey, Mrs. R or Mom, as she was known, had an undeniable love and passion for her students. If she wasn't helping them excel both on and off stage, she was shuttling a van load of them to a "must see" show. Whether you needed help with upcoming contests, auditions, Spanish homework or just her world famous "life advice"? There was Mrs. R. She might not approve; but she'd deal with that later. "Barbs kids", believed they could do the impossible and with her guidance, they usually did. She took an odd little show called the "Whitmer Circus" and turned it into must see "Extravaganza", "Varsity Swing Chorale" became "FanFare". She directed the 1st off Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar and The Fantastics right here in Toledo. Barb was a fixture in the early days of the Westgate Dinner Theater, Sang with the Symphony Chorale, created the Toledo Music Theatre; she even did a stint with the New Bedford singers. She used her unimaginable talents to produce and direct mesmerizing High School musicals and community productions, laying the groundwork for many more years of "remember when(s)" to come. All the while molding performers and non-performers alike.

"So, now you see why this couldn't be any ordinary obituary; she was certainly no ordinary lady. As her family, we got to share this extraordinary woman with the world and we couldn't be more honored. To us, there will always be a little bit of her in everyone she touched along the way. There will never be another.

"Friends are invited to visit after 10:00am Saturday July 11th 2015 at Ansberg-West Funeral Home, 3000 W Sylvania Ave, Toledo, OH 43613 where services will commence at 1:00pm. With mom's love of the arts, the family is asking that in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to a fine arts organization of your choice. A few suggestions: The Stranahan Theater & Great Hall, Toledo School for the Arts, The Toledo Jazz Society or any other organization in your area. You may also want to consider a lighthouse preservation project in your area.”

Rest in peace, Aunt Barbara.

Climbing my Family Tree: I love this picture of my Aunt Barbara!
I love this picture of her! 

(For more complete citations contact me)
Ohio Birth Index; 1940 U.S. Census, Sandusky Register Star News, 23 July 1954, p. 8 (found at; Sandusky Register Star News, 4 September 1954, page 5 (found at; The Toledo Blade, 24 August 1962, p4 (found in Google newspaper archives); Toledo Blade, May 6, 1970, p 23 (found in Google newspaper archives); Sandusky Register, 12 December 1970, p. 2 (found in Google newspaper archives); The Toledo Blade, Saturday, April 3, 1971, p 13; caption to picture in upper right corner (found in Google newspaper archives); The Toledo Blade, 5 September 1974, P-2 (found in Google newspaper archives); Findlay Republican Courier, 30 September 1974, p. 22 (found in Google newspaper archives); Toledo Blade, 16 May 1979, p 17 (found in Google newspaper archives); The Toledo Blade, 26 March 1981, p7 (found in Google newspaper archives); The Toledo Blade, 13 December 1997, p 20 (found in Google newspaper archives); Elgin Illinois City Directories for 1958 and 1959, Washington Local Schools, Toledo Ohio, Facebook Post, July 6, 2015; Obituary, Published in the Toledo Blade on July 10, 2015, (found at

Saturday, July 4, 2015

NoteWorthy Reads #20

Climbing My Family Tree: NoteWorthy Reads #20
Image from

For me, Noteworthy Reads are articles, websites, or blog posts I found this week which are fascinating, interesting and/or helpful, and occasionally “wacky” or “wonderful” will likely sneak in as well. It’s not going to be a “best of” post because I don’t have the knowledge to make that determination. I don’t even promise that the articles & blog posts will be written that week – just that I found them that week. When I have the time I’ll review the posts to determine which entries should be put in my Resource pages; the rest will still be available through the blog's search function.

Note: Just because I list an article does not mean I endorse its contents. It just means I want to be able to find it easily in the future when I may want to consider the issue in more depth.

This entry is a little longer than my usual because I have decided to put my Noteworthy Reads series on hiatus for six weeks while I deal with some non-genealogical things, so I included everything I had pending in this post rather than holding some for a future post as I sometimes do (so as not to overwhelm). While I have decided to give myself a partial blogging vacation, I am only suspending the Noteworthy Reads posts. I do anticipate putting up 3 or 4 regular blog posts on my family history in this timeframe (and, hopefully, I will find a fantastic find for Crestleaf’s blogging challenge this month). So please check in occasionally to see what is new. Noteworthy Reads will be back in mid-August.


It’s Not Just Loyalists! (A Misleading Title on Ancestry) from the Olive Tree Genealogy blog – an invaluable database of Canadian citizens who filed claims for losses in Upper Canada after the war of 1812 mislabled! 


Copyright Infringement or Common Occurrence?  from the My Ancestors and Me blog – read the comments as well.


Virtual Volunteering, Retirement Project 2.0  – my kind of fun, at any rate. I would love to do this after I retire!

I Would've Put a Bird on it but I Couldn't Find the Right Address from the It’s a Beautiful Tree blog - She's such an entertaining writer! Her adventures in finding the homes of her great-grandmother and great-great grandmother. She had the addresses, but sometimes that isn't enough. ;)

“Where Do I Come from?”  from the DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy blog -- Great story of DNA testing and genealogical research coming together to find an adoptee’s birth family

Grandma Foster and Her Apprentice by A Southern Sleuth – what happened to a daughter whose mother died young?

W75: Harold Wareham – Missionary from the Branches of My Tree blog - his ancestor was a missionary to Africa in the early 20th century, and this account is fascinating (I particularly appreciated his argument to the missionary society as to the reasons he thought it would be good to have a woman around the house in Africa -- the missionary society wished him to leave his wife at home. He won.)


Patrick and Sarah Henry: Mental Illness In 18th-Century America from O Say Can You See? the blog of the national Museum of American history. 

The American Civil War, Then and Now from – interactive photographs of Civil War sites.

WWI Centennial: Women at War from – fascinating article

Michigan and Ohio Almost Waged War Over… Toledo? from – I’ve lived in Michigan and Ohio, how did I not know this?


Sorry I Don’t Get It from the Legacy Family Tree blog – how searches that don’t help still help enough.

Think Outside the Search Engine from the It’s a Beautiful Tree blog – great story about how she blew through her brick wall.


The Green Redcoats: the Story of the Kilmainham Pensioners from - covers 10,000 men from the late 18th century through the early 20th century; could be quite helpful


The Letters of Dr. William Cullen (1710-1790)  from the Historical Medical Miscellany blog – discusses a new resource for those interested in people’s health in the mid-1700s. Dr. Cullen was a fellow at the Royal College of physicians of Edinburg who received thousands of letters from places all around the world from people querying about their health; his letters have been transcribed and digitized, and are searchable.



Learning from the Inventory from the blog of The Shy Genealogist – you can learn a lot about an ancestor from the inventory of his estate.


In Need of a Hard to Get Record? This Smart New Site Will Help You Find It  from Family History Daily/ - free site brings together the digital holdings of multiple libraries, public and academic, including, but not limited to: digital books, magazines, scanned items, sound recordings, maps, and other ephemera. It is fully searchable, and can be read online, or viewed in thumbnails and downloaded in PDF, image format, or plaintext. I’ve got to explore this place! – This website has an amazing collection of information on hundreds of original historical documents in genealogical sources, curated lists of links, a library of images and text that they share for free, on the Amish-Mennonite, Quakers, French-Canadians, Prussia (Germany), Jewish, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Wales, the United States. It also has developed and freely shares on this site, mega-search engine portals for the Amish-Mennonite, Jewish (Shoah), Prussian-German, Quebec (French Canada), and the Top 100 Genealogical Sites, a library of over 500 genealogy related links and a plethora of genealogical tips, videos, music, and maps. Go explore!