Jul 262009

On Saturday 25 July, Don and I headed out from Grand Rapids to Owosso to see 8 working steam locomotives at “Train Festival 2009“. The star of the show was Southern Pacific #4449 – a monster steam engine (weighs about 433 tons with tender attached) from 1941 that had travelled from Oregon to be at this event. This locomotive was completely refurbished from 1974-1976 so that it could be “America’s Freedom Train” during the Bi-Centennial celebrations of 1976. SP4449 has its own website here, including a great video made during its cross country trip in July 2009 to get to Owosso.

Southern Pacific #4449

Southern Pacific #4449

Continue reading »

Jul 242009

A few hours after I wrote the below…

FamilySearch Indexing support replied to my eMail(s) to them with this link


which covers both Mac OS X 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5.


I noted with some excitement last evening that FamilySearch Indexing had a project underway with a New Zealand flavour to it – “New Zealand—Passenger Lists, 1871–1915”, so I thought this was the incentive I needed to get back to indexing – something I hadn’t done in quite a few months. But alas I couldn’t get the FamilySearchIdexing application to start up – no matter what I tried it generated an error “Unable to start the Application”.

Some Googling led me to this page https://help.familysearch.org/publishing/301/103757_f.SAL_Public.html which provided the hint as to where to look, but unfortunately those directions aren’t directly applicable to Mac OS X 10.5.7 which I’m running.

So this page lists what I did to fix this problem. NOTE – these instructions apply to Mac OS X 10.5.x

Go to your Macintosh HD ——> Applications ——> Utilities folder and find the icon “Java Preferences”. Double click that to open it, and then click on the Network tab

Picture 1

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:07 am
Jul 072009

Noticed this today while watering the garden around the ponds – the first frog seen in the pond this year. He was sitting up on a lily pad – watching all the little bugs running around on top of the water, eying them up for lunch perhaps?

The Frog and the Lily Pad

The Frog and the Lily Pad

 Posted by at 10:01 pm
Jul 052009

We went to downtown Grand Rapids after Dinner Club at Don and Mindy’s place – a nice 2 mile stroll with Don and Mindy, Rob and Geneann, Bob and Bobbi, Roger and Lisa. 2 cars with chairs, and a drinks cooler had been pre-positioned there earllier so we were all set. We sat in the Sixth Street Park and watched the fireworks which were  to the south of us along the Grand River.

Don had got us these really cool “Fireworks Glasses” – they look like the olde style 3-D glasses, but have clear lenses which somehow refract the light from a point of light giving a nice effect.

Jul 022009

It’s that time of year again it seems – young critturs are everywhere around the place. For a week or more we’ve been having the Downy Woodpeckers bringing their young to the suet feeder on the porch outside our lounge window to feed them suet and show them how this upside down thing works.

Downy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpeckers

Tonight as I went out the front door to fill the bird feeders I caught a glimpse of some brown on the grass to the south of the house, and wondered what tree limb had fallen down, but quite quickly realised I was looking at two fawns sitting down on the grass.



I managed to walk out onto the lawn to get a better view before they really realised I was there. Continue reading »

Jun 202009

Tonight Lisa looks outside about 9 PM and notices a cute little deer baby out on the lawn. As I walk over to look I see another one – both very young, and “oh so cute” with their spots.

Two Bambis

Two Bambis

About a week ago I’d seen a single Bambi and Mum out in the wildflower “prairie” we have planted over the septic hill but it wasn’t the same as these ones which are even smaller. Continue reading »

Jun 182009

Yesterday in my partial stupor of fever and other side effects induced by an insect bite, that looks likely it was a deer tick bite with the ensuing Lyme Disease I watched “Gods and Generals” – the first of the 3 epic parts of the book series by Jeffrey Shaara and his father Michael Shaara that covers the Civil War. Some years ago I had seen Gettysburg which was from the book by his father. Gods and Generals was written as a prequel to this.

The last major battle portrayed in Gods and Generals is The Battle of Chancellorsville which Lisa’s great great grandfather Frederick Heinrich Tönsing took part in as a Private in Company B of the 107th Ohio Volunteer Infantry – an all German outfit, with initially at least all German Officers that was raised in Cleveland during the Summer of 1862. Later in the War the German (speaking) Officers were replaced with English (speaking) Officers.

The Flying Dutchmen

The Flying Dutchmen

Frederick Heinrich Tönsing was born in Germany in 1841 and emigrated to the United States in 1857 arriving at Baltimore, and then moving to Cleveland. He enlisted for the Civil War in August of 1862. He was injured by a sabre cut to his hand at the Battle of Chancellorsville in early May 1863. He moved with his unit to Gettysburg and took part in the Battle of Gettysburg on the first day – July 1st 1863 – and was shot in the upper thigh by a minnie ball which required amputation of his right leg very near the top of the leg.

The overall impression from his Civil War Pension file was that he spent the rest of his life until 1918 arguing with the Veterans Adminstration that his pension was insufficient, and that the artificial legs they provided were of no use because the stump was too short for him to be able to wear the legs.

Frederick Heinrich Tönsing’s page on Lisa’s genealogy can be found here.

In 2006, while on a trip to Richmond, Virginia for the Clan Moffat Society AGM we visited the site of the Battle of Chancellorsville for a morning on our way back home, touring the area, and visiting the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Visitor Center at Chancellorsville.

Lisa reading a Descriptive Sign

Lisa reading a Descriptive Sign

Apart from an eery sense (but likely VERY far from the reality) of what must have happened there 143 years earlier, we came home with 2 acorns picked up under a giant oak tree which we’ve “hatched” and now have 2 small oak trees here on our place in Caledonia.

The Mighty Oak at Chancellorsville

The Mighty Oak at Chancellorsville

Perhaps Frederick had seen this same oak tree when he was there.

 Posted by at 9:43 am
Jun 172009

During February 2008 I spent a couple of weeks furiously researching the genealogy of a friend of my wife’s from her work. Pat is a descendant of slaves that lived in Mississippi, and the occasion was “Granny’s” 91st birthday (Granny is Pat’s mother), with a big celebration planned for her at her home in Copiah County, Mississippi in March of 2008.

Granny’s Gathering Place

Pat knew enough about her ancestry to point me in the right directions – helped immensely by the fact that I could find her mother listed in both the 1920 and 1930 Censuses.

Once I’d pushed the various families back as far as I could with the US Census Population Schedules, one of the other things I did was pore over the slave schedules and search results from Ancestry.com for both the 1850 and 1860 Slave Censuses of Copiah County trying to see if I could find these families as slave groups with any of the slave owners in Copiah County.

In order to help with that I came up with these 4 pages – 2 each for 1850 and 1860 that show the slave owner names, and the ages of their slaves as enumerated. One list is in slaveowner alphabetic order, the other is in enumeration order, which might be helpful in determining neighbours.

1850 Copiah Co., Mississippi – Slave Owners Alphabetical
1850 Copiah Co., Mississippi – Slave Owners Enumeration Order
1860 Copiah Co., Mississippi – Slave Owners Alphabetical
1860 Copiah Co., Mississippi – Slave Owners Enumeration Order

One of Pat’s ancestors that I’m fairly confident I found the slave owner for (the assumption made is that the slave took her owner’s surname upon Emancipation) is Harriet Harrel (one of Pat’s great grandmothers) – born in North Carolina about 1848. The 1860 Slave Schedule lists a Martha Harroll as the Owner of a 13 year old female slave, and there is an 1866 Marriage Record for Harriett Harrel to George Lynch, and in the 1870 Census George Lynch and Harriett have 3 children.

Martha Harroll herself on the 1860 Population Schedule lists the birthplace of her and her children, including a 1 year old as North Carolina, which means that by 1860 this family had only recently moved from North Carolina to Copiah Co., Mississippi, bringing with them only the 1 female slave. Investigations continue to try and find this family in North Carolina in 1850.

I hope you find the lists useful 🙂

Jun 142009

So it seems I’m behind on things – I have several posts running around inside my head, but committing them to electrons seems to be more difficult, although 2 posts managed to escape my cerebrum this afternoon…

I hope over the next week or so to post more pictures and commentary from our trip to Bar Harbor and Mount Washington, and I’ve got the pictures from Thursday’s arthroscopic surgery on my knee scanned, but that’s as far as that got…

And I have plenty of back posts to attempt to make on genealogy and travel matters and yard and garden…

Having published 2 posts today I have to say I’m even more in awe of those who publish mulitple posts every day than I was before!!!!!

 Posted by at 9:34 pm  Tagged with: