Happy Holidays
Caledonia, MI, USA
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Another year has passed us by – this one with some highlights and some lowlights.

The Clan Moffat Society’s 2004 AGM was held in Orange, a city in southern Los Angeles over the last weekend in May. We flew out to Los Angeles and spent 4 days/nights there, catching up with Lisa’s aunt and cousin there as well as a lot of Moffats. Next year the meeting is again in Moffat, Scotland and plans to attend that in August are underway.

This year the biennial Christensen family get together was at Lake Tahoe up in the Sierra mountains between California and Nevada. So since we were going to be “near” Salt Lake City and the huge genealogy library there (the library for the Church of Latter Day Saints – the Mormons), we decided to go to the LDS Library for a couple of days before heading on to Lake Tahoe. So we flew out to Salt Lake City and had 2 1/2 days in the Library researching our genealogies. We were on separate floors of the building, so saw each other in the morning on the walk to the library, at lunch time, and then on the walk back to the motel. We each found a few things of interest, but mainly Roger was able to get copies of the original records from the Old Parish Registers of Scotland for the births and marriages that he knew about. Lisa didn’t make any startling new discoveries either, but was able to confirm previously known information, and learn some new details on a few people. On Saturday we got a rental car and drove 520 miles (830 km) across the salt flats of Utah and desert of Nevada to Reno, Nevada. Sunday morning we met up with Lisa’s parents who flew to Reno and then drove on to Camp Richardson, Lake Tahoe where we had cabins booked for a week.

Christensen Clan in Nevada
We had a great time there with all of Lisa’s relatives to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Uncle Dick and Aunt Jean, including surprise attendance of Kyle who is serving in the US Army in Iraq and was able to arrange (or nag his way into) a surprise leave to come back to the US for a week to attend, and his sister Cheyenne
Picnic on a Rock
who is in training in the US Air Force in Florida and had told everyone she wouldn’t be able to come either. With the rental car we were able to travel around some, and one day took a long day trip from Lake Tahoe down to Mono Lake, on to Mammoth Mountain and the Devil’s Postpile, and then in to the top of the east side of Yosemite National Park and Tuolumne Meadows.
In early July, before leaving for the trip “out west”, we had learned that Roger’s Dad had suffered a small heart attack and was in the hospital for a few days. At the same time Roger’s Mum was scheduled to be in the same hospital for a surgery to allow her to be able to do her own kidney dialysis at home – something that was needed as her kidneys were failing. After a few days it seemed apparent that the outlook was good for both of them, so in conjunction with Alistair (Roger’s brother who lives in Australia), it was arranged for Roger and Alistair to go to New Zealand to see Mum and Dad later in August when Alistair had a window of free time. Dad was discharged from hospital after a few days, but Mum remained in hospital after the surgery for recovery. Unfortunately while we were at Lake Tahoe, (and Alistair was in London, England at a computer conference), we learned that Mum’s situation had taken a terrible turn for the worse, and she was expected to live only two more weeks. So there followed hours on the only telephone available for public use at the Camp we were staying at with airlines and family in New Zealand to try and arrange to change the ticket I had for the end of August to one where I could either leave directly from Lake Tahoe or from Michigan immediately after getting back home from Lake Tahoe. QANTAS (Australian airline with whom I’d booked the ticket for later in August) were adamant that I could not under any circumstances change the ticket that I currently had, so I had to purchase another one to travel immediately to New Zealand. So after leaving Lake Tahoe we drove the 700 miles back across Nevada and Utah to Salt Lake City on Saturday 31 July and flew back to Grand Rapids on Sunday. Sunday afternoon and Monday morning were a blur of unpacking luggage, clothes washing and packing luggage, and I was off to New Zealand on Monday afternoon – 22 hours after getting back from “out West”.
Lineham Cousins
Mum passed away on 13 August, and the funeral was held on Monday 16 August – after a weekend that brought several inches of snow to Christchurch, and caused some travel problems for people planning to come to Mum’s funeral. A cousin from Australia arrived on one of the last planes to land (on their second attempt to see the runway) in Christchurch before the airport closed, while others’ flights into Christchurch were cancelled.
Moffat Cousins
Others couldn’t arrive due to road conditions in the mountains. But in the end it was a very nice funeral, much of it arranged by Mum during her last days, and a good gathering of friends and family. Mum had recorded a 78 record of her singing in 1949. I transferred the recording from the 78 record to the computer and then to a CD which was played during the funeral service.
Moffat Siblings
I returned to the US on Friday 20th August, and was scheduled to return to New Zealand again on the ticket that QANTAS wouldn’t change on 25th August, but bad weather in Chicago delayed that trip by a day. While I was home I’d come down with a terrible ‘flu’ which I’d picked up in New Zealand and was just starting to show itself as I left New Zealand the previous week, so wasn’t feeling at all bright on the subsequent travels. I got to New Zealand on Saturday morning, was met by Alistair who was back in New Zealand on the first ticket he’d purchased to go to New Zealand.
Moon over the
Southern Alps
Then it was off to Dad’s home to help him rearrange furniture in the house as he moved to a different bedroom. Next the family went to the cemetery to bury Mum’s ashes in the plot. After lunch Alistair and I headed off to Karamea (6-7 hours) to fulfill an idea we’d had to get a rock from the Karamea River to be Mum’s headstone. We got that accomplished and were back to Christchurch Sunday night.
Stoney Creek, Karamea
On Monday Alistair returned to Melbourne, and I headed off to places south to meet up with relatives who have been doing some family research. I met with Stan and Marg Dunn in Dunedin, and then with Ewan Caldwell in Balclutha. Ewan has many of the original olde photos of various family members, so we scanned some, photographed some and gathered up some that he had more than one copy of. As time permits these photos will appear on my genealogy web site, along with the records that we found during the time in Salt Lake City.
I got back to the US after this trip 1 month before the local genealogy conference, so I had a very busy month getting that caught up as well as trying to tame the lawn and yard after 6 weeks of neglect. Lisa was very busy during my absence with her work and just trying to keep even with things at home. Fortunately I’d installed drip irrigation in the most important gardens, so most of the plants could be watered by simply turning a few timers on. In 7 weeks I had 3 trips totaling 20 flights and some 40,000 miles. Picture pages of these two trips are still under preparation.
This year’s trip to see the Friends in Delaware took place in September. We drove out to Delaware and stayed two nights with Mary Lee and Minor, with other Friends from Rhode Island and Baltimore also coming. Like last year we had to deal with the aftermath of a hurricane – this time there was quite a bit of flooding on the roads on the way home, but at least the power stayed on at Mary Lee’s house.
Hatfield Inn
Bar Harbor, Maine
We’ve continued to be involved with “Dinner Club”. But early in the year we were “surprised” to learn that one of the couples that had been involved in this group since its inception more than 10 years ago were leaving us. They were moving to Bar Harbor, Maine to run a Bed and Breakfast they had purchased there. The remaining 3 couples were invited to have Dinner Club in Maine in October at the end of “the Season” when bookings were slowing down.
So Roger drove out to Connecticut and met Lisa two mornings later when she flew into Hartford, then we drove up to Bar Harbor.

We had a great time there, and got to spend several days being tourists in Acadia National Park, before driving home together. On 30 October we were among the first 20 or so people to see the sun rise on the US – from the top of Mount Cadillac in Acadia National Park.

Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain
Balance Rock in Acadia National Park
Great Head Trail in Acadia National Park
The trip was also a chance for us to catch up with Roger’s cousin Martin Lineham and his family in Rochester, using Rochester as a stop over in each direction of the travel to and from Maine.

Roger's Photo Album of Maine

Lisa's Photo Album of Maine

October 2004 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Western Michigan Genealogical Society which Lisa and I are both involved with. The Society planned a one-day Seminar and banquet to celebrate this occasion – Western Michigan Genealogical Society is the second oldest genealogy society in Michigan. This took up some amount of our time during the year, but as October 2 approached it took more and more time. Lisa was in charge of all the matters relating to food on the day – lunches and the dinners at the banquet. Roger set up an online registration and payment system, and dealt with all the registrations and payments coming in through both the online system and the mail. While he was away for the last 10 days of July and almost all of August this piled up and took quite a bit of catching up after he returned from New Zealand the second time. We ended up with not quite 150 people attending – less than we’d hoped, but enough to make it a successful day from all perspectives.

Thanks for being Reader  of our Newsletter 2004.
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