Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Kreativ Blogger Award

It's been a big week for me!  I got my first blogging award, started communicating with Angeline Harris ("the" WAIT researcher), and started a new job!  Whew!  My apologies to Regina and Missy for taking so long to get this post up. My cup runneth over.

Thank you, Regina De Leon aka: Kinfolk News for awarding me with my very first blogging award!  What a great surprise!

By the time I got around to finishing this entry, I received a second award from Missy Corley at Bayside Research in Maryland.  She was already on my list of favorites, so right back at'cha!

Apparently, I need to write 7 things that you don't know about me and then nominate 7 blogs of my own.

So here it goes!

Seven Things About Me:

  1. I am purpose-driven and devoted to improving my quality of life by focusing on things that actually matter. My new job is at Target and it allows me the flexibility to work on my projects without selling my soul.  After suffering from extreme burnout and an eye-opening back injury in 2007, I left my corporate travel job of 11 years to pursue a career in Life Coaching. It turned out that I was better suited to "receive" than to "give" in that field, so I'm no longer coaching but I do stay in close contact with my friend and coach Brenda Rosaaen from Montana. She's been through a lot with me in the past couple of years and I highly recommend her if you're looking for a Life Coach.

  2. When I run across a quote that I identify with, I like to write it on a colored index card and hang it where I can see it a lot. One of my latest favorites, "Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become." -- Gandhi

  3. I like things the way I like them. That's why my blog has changed at least three times since I started it. If it doesn't have the right feel, I can't get past it. I'm a little obsessive like that. So I taught myself how to install WordPress and customize it to my liking. It took me away from blogging for a couple of weeks, but I just couldn't get past it! I'm now helping Brenda design her new site (slow and steady wins the race, right, Brenda?).

  4. I'm deliberately nurturing my inner artist and going through The Artist's Way program (more about that later).  A few weeks ago, I looked out the window and really fell in love with the way my neighborhood looked with the changing of the season. So I ran outside in my PJs and slippers and took a few pictures of my neighbors trees.  One of those photos is in my header on this site. It's my neighbor's tree and I love the way it turned out. Here's hoping that Santa brings me a new camera for Christmas! And just in case Santa's reading this now, here's my Wishlist!  Ho! Ho! Ho!

  5. I'm really affected by color. My office is lavender, the living room is a light green, the bathroom is blue and white, the kitchen is in the midst of a paint job right now and will be the same color as the living room!  We're planning on knocking out the top half of the wall separating the kitchen and living room, so we're planning ahead!

  6. I have a dent in my head. (that explains a lot, right?)

  7. Here are some of my current favorites:  Books:  Right now, I have bookmarks in The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, and Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I also read Johanna Lindsey books on occasion and various personal development authors!  Movies: Office Space, The Princess Bride, and Yes Man!

Seven Blogs I Enjoy Reading:

Amber Dawn Abroad - My friend and former roommate Amber just moved to London!

Davis/Williams Family Tree - A fellow WAIT researcher and awesome new blogger.

Brenda Rosaaen, Life Coach - She hasn't updated it for a while, but it was one of my favorite reads and I can't wait for her to start blogging again! I'll update her link when we get her new blog platform off the ground, but for now you can read through her musings. =)

A Multitude of -sens

Bayside Blog


Valentino's Wife

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Family Tree DNA Test Kits on SALE

Good news!  Family Tree DNA has just put their DNA test kits on sale!  Yessss!!!

Sue Waite-Langley over at Waite Genealogy is still administering the Waite DNA Project that I wrote about in August, and we're still looking for participants!

The 37-marker test is normally $149 for our test group (and $169 if you're flying solo), but for a limited time it's only $119!  This kit will get us in the door, so to speak.

The 67-marker test is normally $239 for our test group (and $298 if you're flying solo), but it's now only $209!  This kit is ideal for our test group, because it will show who the TOP ancestor is on the tree.

Don't have the Y-chromosome?  Can't afford to foot the entire bill?  Does cheek-swabbing creep you out?

Then Chip In!

Under my photo at the top left part of my site, you'll see a tally of our donations thus far.  When you contribute to this cause, your donation will be sent to me via PayPal and will be earmarked for this project alone. I will update the meter as we progress to our goal.

FTDNA's sale is going on through the end of the year.  Let's raise $209 by New Year's Eve and get the ball rolling! If 21 people donate $10 each, then we're in!  That's pretty painless.

Want to be part of the study?  Not afraid of swabs?  Contact Me and I'll put you on the list of volunteers for this project.

If more than one person volunteers, we'll pick the first participant at random.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My All-American Heritage

I have this overwhelming fascination with finding out what my nationality really is (besides American).  There's a part of me that feels like I'm missing out on something. It's the part that surfaces when I go to my friend George Kazas's Greek restaurant The Parthenon, when I watch French Kiss,  and when I listen to the stories that my boyfriend Scott tells about his Polish grandmother making pierogies (which are delicious!).

Back in September, I was reminded of this again when my cousin Amber (1st cousin, 2x removed) contacted me about a school project she was doing.  She needed to write a generation paper to find out where we came from and how we immigrated here. Her aunt Lisa (of custom screen printing and Fleming photo book fame) suggested that she contact me so she could see the family tree.

Oh, if only it were that cut and dried!

I remember doing something similar when I was in school. I asked my Mom and Dad and somehow ended up with the notion that I was German and Czech from Mom's side and Irish and English from Dad's side.

Once I started working on my family tree, things got a bit more complicated.

The KUNZ connection to Germany was almost immediately apparent. My Mom's paternal great grandfather John Michael Kunz emigrated here with his wife Christinea Winegar from Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, in 1857.  Definitely German. Their son Hiram Frederick Kunz married another German gal named Amalia Lee. Which makes my grandfather Earl Daniel Kunz German. 100% German. (as far as I know)

I thought that my HARTSOCK (Hertzog) ancestors were from Czechoslovakia, but now I'm almost positive that isn't true. I don't know where I got that idea, and Mom doesn't remember telling me that.  But I guess that's what happens when you're in grade school.  Limited attention span.  Now what was I saying?  Oh yes.  So far I've traced the Hartsock line back to 1789 Pennsylvania, and that's it. There's more info on the web, but it isn't sourced so I haven't dug too deeply into it yet.  I checked Public Profiler for this one and it says that Strasbourg, Alsace, France has the highest population of people with the surname Hertzog.  France?  Really? Then I checked... yep!  It's just West of the German border. I found anothergenealogy site with a great map of the area, you should check it out!

The FLEMING side is supposed to be from Ireland. It sure sounds Irish! I've only made it as far back as my Dad's 3rd great grandfather who was supposedly born in Massachusetts ca 1790. His wife Matilda is listed on Census forms as coming from either Ireland or Massachusetts or Maryland depending on which one you're looking at.  Upon researching the Fleming name, it's translated from French "le Fleming", or "from Flanders" and the first Flemings were 12th century merchants from Flanders.  Surname origin: Norman.  Okay! There's also an impressive one-name study on the Fleming name and origins at

That leaves me with WAIT, or in past generations, WAITS. Since the connection to Richard Waite and Sarah Blake has been disproved, the furthest I can follow them back is John Waites who was born about 1730 and married Ann Deloss in Pennsylvania in 1750.  According to the Public Profilerwebsite, the place with the highest concentration of WAITES is in Middlesbrough, North England, United Kingdom, right under Scotland. WAITS comes back with a top city of Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. That sure makes things interesting!

So where does that leave me?

I would say that I'm a Hybrid of 25% German and 75% American.  My other three lines have been in the U.S. for over 200 years. So long, that every other part of ethnicity seems to have been blended into something else. I have my Mother's brown eyes and my Father's blonde hair. I was raised in a meat-and-potatoes household with the occasional homemade Runza treat. Heck, I didn't even eat at a Mexican restaurant until I was in high school! We always ate around the dinner table and if we actually did go out to eat, it was for pizza or diner food.

Yep.  I'm an all-American girl! Yet I still have hope that I will discover what makes up the other 75% of me. That's the piece that I feel like I'm missing, and probably the reason that I'm so drawn to Genealogy. But I feel confident that through additional research and scientific advancements like DNA Testing, I'll get it all figured out.  Maybe then, I'll feel complete.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Obituary - William Henry WAITS (1845-1927)


William Henry Waits was born in Clermont County Ohio, September 29, 1845. He departed this life at his home in Ruby, Nebraska, January 30, 1927. Age 81 years, 4 months, and one day.

He was united in marriag with Mrs. Elvie Pitt, January 24, 1875. To this union seven children were born, four sons and three daughters. He came to Nebraska in 1873 and Homesteaded in Hamilton County. He later moved to Seward County, and has made Seward County his place of residence until his death.

In 1861 at the opening of the civil war he was in the struggles at Harper's Ferry; he enlisted in Company H, 53rd regiment Ohio Volunteers and also served in Co. "F" 195th Ohio Regiment.

Mr Waits was a stonemason by trade laying the foundations of the Tishue Block, the Windsor Hotel, and was instrumental in building the Congregational church in Seward, Nebraska.

In 1893 he was converted, acknowledging Jesus Christ as his Saviour, and united with the Methodist Episcopal church at Ruby, Nebraska. He remained a faithful member of that great branch of the Christian faith until his departure.

He leaves to remember him as a faithful husband and father, with the hope if Christ of a meeting beyond this life the following: his faithful wife and helpmeet; four sons; Frederick of Seward, Simeon, Thomas and Edwin, all of Seward County, Nebraska. Three daughters, Mrs Lovina Lunney of Valley county, Mrs Rhoda Davis of Ruby, Nebraska; Mrs Lizzie Davis of Seward County. There are twenty-nine grandchildren, one great grandchild, two brothers, James and Thomas of Western Nebraska, with large company of friends and acquaintances.

The funeral services were held from his home in Ruby, Nebr., on February 1st, conducted by Rev. D. A. McCullough, pastor of the Seward Methodist church. Burial was in Ruby cemetery.

Review - OBITS OF NEBRASKA Website

I found a new website yesterday called Obits of Nebraska that specializes in pre-1930s obituaries for people who died in Nebraska.  Having deep Nebraska roots, I thought I would give it a shot and see if they have any from Seward County.  Since it's such a rural county, there usually aren't any clippings from their newspapers, but it was free to search!

So I typed in WAITS, and sure enough there was my 2nd GGF William!  The listing showed his Name, Birth year, Death year, County, and the date of the publication.  So I was absolutely certain that it was MY William!  They have a handy "buy now" button right there that linked to their PayPal account, so I clicked away!

Obits of Nebraska charges $4.99 with 50 cents of each purchase donated to the Nebraska State Historical Society.  Considering what it would cost me to find this image myself, not to mention the time, I was happy to fork over $5 for it (and even happier that they donate 10% to NSHS)!

There was an error on the landing screen after my purchase, so I forwarded a copy of it to the email address they provided.

According to my PayPal receipt, my order went through at 2:25p on 11/8/09 (Sunday).  At 4:30pm the same day, I had an email from Barbara Starks along with a .pdf of William's obituary!  Two hours and 5 minutes on a Sunday afternoon.  Not too shabby!
Good afternoon, Kathy

Thank you for your support. Your selection for #20535, William Henry Waits is attached. If you have any questions or problems, please feel free to contact us
Our email office hours are from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.  In addition, I have forwarded the error message you received on to technical support.

Thanks again,

Barbara Starks
O'Bits of Nebraska

I was happy to see that the image was labeled with the newspaper name, county, and date.  Very useful to include the Source!

Since the file was in .pdf format, I zoomed way out on the image until I could see the whole thing on my screen at once (without scrolling). Then I just clicked on the upper left corner of the image and dragged a box down to the lower right corner.  The right-clicked and selected "copy image". From there, I opened up Paint (which comes standard on almost everyone's computers these days), clicked "Edit" and then "Paste".  Then "Save As", named the file WAITS_William_Henry_1845_1927.jpg, then saved it.  Taa-Daaaaa!!  It's now a photo.  Now I just need to upload the photo onto my tree and I'm done!

I'm not sure why the file isn't sent as a .jpg file, but in reality it only added a few more steps to my process.

Obits of Nebraska has nine more WAITs on their website, some I recognized immediately and a few from Fillmore County which I don't think are related.  One of those is William's wife Elve and although I have a copy of her obituary, I may order it anyway.  This version of William's obituary was completely different than the transcript that I got from a cousin.  And much longer!

I played around with the Search button and decided to see if I could find ALL of the Seward County obituaries.  So I typed in "Seward" and it found 83 obituaries with Seward in them.  Eight of which I believe are related as well, so I'll probably be back to get those too!  A few just had Seward somewhere in their name, but the rest were all from Seward County.  As I mentioned, Seward County is pretty rural and considering that these are all pre-1930, I think that's an amazing number!

All in all, I'm very pleased with the quality, service, and helpfulness of Obits of Nebraska and will definitely be back for more!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Visit to the Prairie

Yesterday, I went to Nine Mile Prairie for my first Artist's Date (more on that later).  Nine Mile Prairie is basically a piece of land (230 acres) that has never been plowed.  It's covered with natural prairie grasses and native trees and is one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest. It strikes me as funny that I've lived in this area for most of my life and I'd never been there!  Maybe if Laura Ingalls Wilder were hanging out there, I would have made a point to visit her sometime within the past 35 years that I've lived here.

After dutifully writing out my morning pages, I put on my hiking shoes (and am sure glad I did!), grabbed my trusty camera, and out the door I went. I didn't even take the dog or my cell phone! While I was there, I walked along the path and waded into the tallgrass to see what it was like.  I also took a few photos (114) and tried to imagine what it would have been like to be a Pioneer, bouncing along in your covered wagon, and having this be the only thing you see for miles and miles.

Even the way the cut the grass for paths reminded me of ruts made from wagon wheels, though more uniform and less muddy.  I covered about 1/3 of the land, following the path they had cut. There's a big "lake"... well... what used to be a lake according to the map and the watermarks on the trees. Right now, it's just a big divot with thick dried up mud in the center.

Here are some hoof prints from the local deer.

A bit further on, I discovered a ravine to explore. Of course there were footholds carved out (barely) and some loose rope tied to steel poles along the side to use a handrail, so someone must have discovered it before I did.  I didn't really trust the setup, but used it anyway.  I climbed down into it, and it was maybe five feet wide at its base.  I took a few photos, looked around, listened for animals that I swear were staring at me, and then fought my way back to the top the way I came.  THEN I realized that it was a dead end. So I went back to the edge of it and looked across and sure enough, there was another "stairway" on the other side and the path continued on.  So back down I went and up the other embankment.

After stopping to study some Milkweed going to seed, the path wound around the Airport Authority's fence line and I ended up back where I started.

I was out there for about an hour and a half and boy can I feel it in my legs today!  It was about 70 degrees yesterday, so once the clouds cleared a bit, it was really nice out there.  It's sunny now and if I had the car here, I would be really tempted to go back and try my hand at more photos!  It's funny what you see in them once you see them enlarged on your screen.

This little field trip is part of the program called The Artist's Way that I just started.  It's to help me get in touch with my creative side a bit more.  My work on my family tree does feel creative, but it's also giving me new ideas on how to pursue it further.  I want to incorporate more storytelling into it, but find myself blogging in more of a fact-after-fact way.  I want to add more photos, too, to show what it was like to live back then.  Things looked vastly different and even day to day living was all-encompassing.  Already, I'm starting to feel my brain loosen up and the words are flowing better.  Hopefully this trend will continue and you'll have easier reading from here on out.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - F. S. Wood, Blacksmith

Photo: F. S. Wood, date unknown. Digital image. Privately held by Kathy Wait Myers, (ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE), Nebraska, 2009. All rights reserved."