Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Saving History

This is near the entrance to the Phoenix Pioneer and Military Cemeteries at 15th Avenue and Jefferson in central Phoenix. Numerous volunteers have worked for years to preserve and extend the records on this group of early cemeteries. They cover eleven acres and it is thought there are about 3,700 buried here but only about 600 have markers and those are deteriorating.

When they put out a call for people to train in assessing the remaining stones I volunteered Doug and I. I thought it would be interesting and fit in with our love of Arizona history and cemeteries. On Saturday we joined a large number of people at a local library to learn about gravestones. What they are made of. How they are made or perhaps have been repaired in the past. What the emblems and different styles mean. How to assess if they need immediate care, can wait a year or so, or are should be reassessed down the road.

What the planners and volunteers didn't expect was that we would be hitting record temperatures for this time of year. After lunch we all trooped to the cemeteries. Each team had a photographer, recorder, and two others to help assess and measure each marker.

This was the second Phoenix city cemetery. A part of it was bought up by Mr. Loosley but they aren't sure which parts were his so it now carries both names. As you can see, shade is minimal. This was the headquarters where they kept us well supplied with water and even gave us bandannas to wet down to wrap around our necks.

I snuck off for a minute to take this photo of our team. 

We are both very proud of having been a part of this project and have our names down for future work.

I know people have worked hard to save the cemeteries where some of my ancestors are buried. I have records and photos from Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Arkansas and other states because of those people. This is my way of giving back to them and to the state I have grown to love.

Have you visited your local cemeteries or those where your ancestors are buried? What are some interesting stones you have found? Do you have photos to share?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lovely Lady and Synchronicity

This lovely lady is my husband's maternal great grandmother: Lucille Martin Overdeer.
She was born in Washington State near where our daughter now lives. 
We had no idea when she met and married that she was moving to the very town where some of her father's family was from.

Such is family history. Full of synchronicity and surprise.

Lucille came to Arizona with her parents. They lived the Globe/Miami area where she met her future husband, William E. Overdeer. They had two children; a son and a daughter.

She passed away in the Miami Inspiration Hospital in 1920 leaving a father, two sisters, a brother, a husband and two children. My husband was born there 31 years later. 

As we followed through on the genealogy and traced the family to Washington my daughter and I have been able to visit the cemeteries and learn even more. Jessica lives in a tiny farm community and there in that tiny cemetery lie Lucille's brother, sister and brother-in-law.

It never ceases to amaze me the smallness of this world and the connections we all have.

Those other ladies are sisters and friends. Looks like they were having fun doesn't it?

Have you done your family history? Do you have synchronicity in your family? Other interesting stories to share?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Memories of John Denver

My husband tuned into a show on PBS about John Denver. I was in the next room reading, or trying to read, as I was mostly listening to the music and what the people had to say about this amazing musician.

This photo is from a concert we went to at the Sundome in Sun City, Arizona. This was a benefit concert and he did the entire show by himself. It is probably one of the first major concerts our daughter attended. It was a magical night.

It feels like I grew up with John. He was popular all through most of my high school and college years. I remember visiting a friend in her apartment and "Country Roads" was playing. I remember walking along University Blvd. in Tempe and hearing his music floating from a passing car.

I remember when our daughter was in Junior Girl Scouts and my husband and I were the troop leaders. We decided as a group to be focused on the environment so I wrote a letter to John and he sent back a very nice letter and signed photo. As a troop, we did many projects to clean up the area, planting trees and helping at one of the local parks.

John touched many lives and will always be a part of mine. When I remember the things he did, hear his music and think about the things he stood for I get a warm feeling.

Is there an entertainer that touched your life in some way? Did you grow up with John Denver as we did? What memories do you have of his music?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Happiness is:

I've been working on an art journal from the Prompt 60 challenge by Daisy Yellow. I'm way behind,  but I'm still enjoying it. I'm not posting my work to the group because, well, I'm way behind.

I did Prompt 17 today which is a "list/Happiness is::
I had so much fun doing I wanted to share with my friends here.

This was especially fun because I've had a quiet morning catching up on stuff and petting my dog. I was sitting in a ray of sunshine when I started the page.

The materials I used are:

acrylic paints spread out with an old credit card
washi tape
stamps and various stamp pads

This project is going into a journal I made a year or more ago. This is the back, spine and front opened out on the scanner. I took the book apart and then made a new spine with some duck cloth. I made signatures with watercolor paper and folded them in half and then sewed them in with waxed linen thread. 
It is a long process, but I like how it turned out. 

When I make journals that take a lot of work I tend to be afraid to work in them. Not any more. I'm using all those journals and enjoying every minute of it.

Make sure to go check out Daisy Yellow's blog and the FB page. She is wonderful at sharing and uring people to use prompts. Thank you, Tammy.

What would be on your happiness list?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lost People

When I started tracing my family history almost 40 years ago I collected everything I could. I had a set of lenses for my 35mm camera which allowed me to copy old photos and I did just that everywhere I went. Visiting distant cousins and even museums. I took photos of photos, heirlooms, Bibles and diaries. 

I tried to identify all of them but there are still a few I can't put names to. 

Like this pretty young lady.

Or this couple.

Ot this lady with her stylish dress. 

Or these children.

I do know that F. M. Steele was a prolific photographer of ranchers and farmers in Western Kansas in the late 1800s. You can learn more about him here and here.

As the years pass I am reminded over and over that I need to get the hundreds of photos identified and sorted by family name. Write what I can about these unknowns. Time periods and locations, perhaps even the families they may belong to or that they may just be friends of my ancestors. 

Recently my reminder came when we were visiting an antique store in Cottonwood, Arizona. There was a large box of family photos, most of them identified. If I were rich I would buy up all these photos and try to return them to members of their families. 

As it is the best I can do is get back to work on identifying and filing my own collections. My descendants deserve to know.