Thursday, August 29, 2013


A lot of people make "bucket lists" of the places they would like to visit before they die.  Yeah, I have one of those but I also want to make a "genealogical travel bucket list" -- places that I want to visit where my ancestors either lived or visited.  It is not about the research here but rather to walk in their shoes or rather experience just a bit of what they saw.

So, I am starting my list and they are in no particular order.  #1 is Letter, Mayo, Ireland.  Letter is a townland in the parish of Islandeady in County Mayo.  Last year, I visited Ireland and even got the opportunity to see the old cemetery and ruins of the old church in Islandeady.  I was beyond thrilled!  So, yeah, I am possibly being a little selfish here but I want a return trip.  I have now located on a map the exact area where my great grandmother Bridget Chambers grew up in the townland of Letter.

I want to see the land where she lived (the above photo is of their land taken by my cousin Betsy on one of her trips there).  I want to see St. Patrick's church (could there be a more perfect name for an Irish church?) where she attended Mass.  As I stand on their land, I will look towards the west to view Croagh Patrick (photo below) where supposedly Saint Patrick preached and chased the snakes out of Ireland.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


When I was a child (perhaps around age 10), I remember going with my family to say "Bon Voyage" to my grandparents (Charlie and Theresa), who were leaving on a cruise from Los Angeles/Long Beach harbor. We were able to board the cruise ship and see their cabin for a short time before we had to disembark.  I remember champagne bottle corks popping, streamers and everyone waving as their ship left the harbor. I thought this was very exciting and such a glamorous way to travel.  Being one of six children, our family vacations typically consisted of visiting some beach state parks in California with our trailer. I promised myself when I got older, I was going to take a trip on a cruise ship.

I think they traveled to Hawaii on that cruise which made even more glamorous to me!  Hawaii was a tropical paradise!  Since that time, I have been to Hawaii five times and have taken cruises three times, never though, a cruise ship to or around Hawaii. But what I haven't experienced is someone seeing me off on a cruise ship -- someone visiting me and then getting off the ship before it departs and wishing they were traveling too.

I do wish I would have talked to my grandparents about their travels.  Of course, not at age 10, but when I got older -- perhaps when I was college age.  I would love to know what was their favorite place, how did my grandpa feel when he visited the house where his dad grew up (his father died when he was a baby) and was there some place left on their bucket list that they never got to visit?

Monday, August 26, 2013


After my father died, I inherited the collection of my Grandpa Charlie's photos from his movie days. Charlie Sherlock was a character actor in over 300 movies from 1932 to the early 1960's.  In some movies, if you blinked your eyes, you might miss his role while in others he had more of a substantial role.  Of course, these photos did not come with a lot of information, so I have been playing detective, trying to figure out what the title of the movie was.  I do have the list of Grandpa Charlie's movies from (although I do find one that is not listed from time to time).

My goal is to watch as many of these old Grandpa Charlie movies as possible. It is not as easy to get one's hands on these movies as you would think.  I am thoroughly enjoying watching these movies, even if Grandpa is only in one or two scenes.   Plus, I have found that some of these photos are not actual "stills" from the movies but rather either "outtakes" or PR shots.

The above photo shows Abbott and Costello with Grandpa Charlie.  What was the movie?  I am not exactly sure.  Abbott and Costello made 4 movies in 1942 -- "Ride 'Em Cowboy", "Rio Rita", "Pardon My Sarong" and "Who Done It?".  It is most likely from "Who Done It?"  I guess I will need to watch the movie to find out for sure.

My ultimate goal is to create a book with photos and information after I have completed all my "movie" research.  But that means a lot of watching old movies before then.   Please pass the popcorn ...

Saturday, August 24, 2013


My great grandmother Anna Maria Simon was born in Mehring, Altotting, Bavaria, Germany.  I have heard many wonderful things about Bavaria and would love to visit there one day even without any genealogical connections.  So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that there was a small Bavarian town in the state of Washington.  Now, I realize it is not the same thing as visiting Germany, but it is much closer and easier to travel to.

So, my daughter and I, who were already planning a trip up to Seattle, decided that a few days visit to Leavenworth, in addition to Seattle, would be a great idea. Ten days ago, we visited this darling town of Leavenworth.  First stop for us, of course, was the bakeries.  Yes, there are 3 in town.  We made it to 2 of them.  It's very hard to choose between a creme brullen (pastry filled with Bavarian cream and then topped with rich chocolate), a cinnamon krisp or a very large Bavarian pretzel.  Oh, just give us one of each!  After eating, it is time for shopping.  Our first store will be "Kris Kringl".  I always need more Christmas ornaments especially since I decorate 3 trees!  After purchasing ornaments for my silver/white tree and my "Around the World and Space Galaxy" (yeah, don't ask!) tree, we headed over to the Nussknacker Haus.  For those of you needing a translation, it is a shop filled with nutcrackers.  I purchased a "Yoda" nussknacker for my son.  Maybe now you are understanding part of that "Space Galaxy" thing.

We visited Leavenworth too early in the year for the Oktoberfest or the annual Christmas Lighting Festival but that just gives me 2 more reasons for a return visit.  I don't think I got much genealogy done on the trip, but the town was delightful and the people were very friendly and welcoming.

Hmmm .... now for that trip to Germany ...

Thursday, August 1, 2013


This photo was taken in 1944 at Niagara Falls in New York.  Grandpa Charlie and my Dad are in the photo. I am not sure what they were doing in New York.  I'm guessing it was just a vacation.  Their home was in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles at that time. I don't know why but I love looking at vacation photos -- mine and everyone else's too!