Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Dad, My Hero

My dad, Jerry Eneau Modrell, was born April 27, 1928 in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri.  He is the son of Harry House Modrell and Maxine W. Eneau.

My dad’s middle name (Eneau) was the maiden name of his mother.  My Grandpa Modrell’s middle name (House) was the maiden name of his mother.  I have not been able to discover if this pattern continues back in time or not.

He graduated from Raytown High School, Raytown, Jackson County, Missouri in 1946.

I was told he ran away from home when he was around 16 years old but I do not have confirmation of that story and I do not have any documentation showing my grandparents living in Raytown, Missouri, which is where my dad graduated high school.  He had always said things were not good while he was growing up, but would never elaborate.  He just said he wanted to forget, therefore, I have no information about my Grandpa and Grandma Modrell (Harry House Modrell and Maxine W. Eneau) other than the few memories I have of them.

My dad was an only child and both his father and mother were only children as well.  That is another reason that makes researching this family difficult.  I will need to go back several generations, then work forward to find any living relatives that may be able to provide answers.

My dad raised me since my mother passed away when I was five (5) years old and he didn’t remarry until I was 24 years old (more about my mother in a future post).  I was an extremely bad child and put him through the worst agonizing time of his life, but somewhere I grew up (early 20’s) and spent the rest of his life making it up to him.  I once asked him what kept him from literally killing me and my brother, and he just simply said, “because you are my children”.  I relied on him so much over the years until he passed that I was totally incapable of making a decision in life without his input.  Since he passed, every decision I have made was the wrong decision.  To this day, I miss him so much it hurts.

He passed away December 25, 1999.

Jerry Eneau Modrell Senior Picture 1928-1999

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I Thought This Would Be So Easy....

I am an avid reader and have read so many books and magazines about genealogy research and genealogy websites and how-to's, so I thought I had a pretty good handle on things.  Genealogy research did sound easy.  You just type a name in a search engine and all sorts of information just pops up!!  Well, maybe it does for everyone else, but not for me.

I remember the first real meaningful document I found on the internet.  I typed my Grandma Modrell's name, Maxine W. Eneau, into Google (yet again!) and RootsWeb appeared in the search results this time.  There were several pages that had just been posted from "The Oak", a School Yearbook from Lafayette High School in St. Joseph, Missouri.  When I clicked on it, I found the page containing her senior photo and (are you ready for this?) she had signed her photo!!!  What a fabulous piece of history to find!  Unfortunately, it only included those pages that contained Class Photos and not any of the other pages.  She was a member of the Orchestra and the Glee Club and, unfortunately, the pages with those photos were not included.  I have yet to find a copy of that yearbook so I can see the other pages, but I still get excited every time I look at this page and remember the feelings I had that day.

I can honestly say this – keep trying.  When I found this wonderful piece of history, it was at least five (5) years after beginning my research and I had typed her name in search engines many times over the course of those years.  Everything you read and hear about the need to be persistent, it really is true.  New information gets added to the internet on a daily basis.

I know I will be continuing to “Search for Ancestors”, and I hope you continue to be persistent.  We will all reap the rewards sooner or later.

"The Oak" 1926 School Yearbook for Lafayette High School, St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Don't Let This Happen To You!

I have read several blogs about people who started getting interested in family history in school when they were required to provide information for a class project.  Unfortunately, my school never did that in any of the classes I attended.  So many of you have had the chance to hear the stories from your family that will help in your search for your ancestors and add that "extra special" content to your genealogy research.

Most of my family passed away when I was young and my father passed away in 1999, which is before the genealogy bug bit me.  My father was an only child and his father was an only child, therefore, I don't have anyone to provide me with those fun and interesting "family stories" on my father's side of the family (Modrell).

Please talk to your ancestors while you can, while they are still alive and able to give you all the fun and interesting information which will add some much needed "meat" to the "bones" of your family history.  I think we can all agree that "just the facts ma'am" is boring - necessary, but still very boring.

There are a lot of great websites which provide questions to ask your family members to get their minds flowing with information.  Just be sure to write the information as they provide it, or record that information and transcribe it as soon as you can thereafter.  That way, your memory is fresh in cases where it is hard to hear what was said, which will prevent you from having to revisit that same question/answer in the future.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

As Always, A Day Late And A Dollar Short

I have been gathering basic information about genealogy for several years.  I have copies of several forms (which I need to fill out) and I have several pages of questions to ask relatives (which I combined from several different websites).  I often wondered how I would get to ask those questions since I only have a few uncles on my mother’s side of the family still living and they all live out of state.

I thought about asking a few questions in each phone call or writing several letters with a question/answer format, but decided I wanted to ask these questions in person to see the smiles on their faces while recalling a specific memory.  I had been trying to get some vacation time for several months, but then the unthinkable happened.

My Uncle Bill suddenly passed away.

Again, I have more questions than answers.  (Do you see a theme here?  I even have two other relatives that I missed the opportunity of asking questions due to a death-besides my father and uncle).  I am always a day late and a dollar short as the saying goes.

The only difference this time is that I have a few other family members on my mother's side that can help provide me with some answers and memories about her side of the family.

Now, it is time to get to know some of my family.  Please join me in quest as I go “Searching For Ancestors”.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Humble Beginnings....

I began “thinking” about genealogy when my father was diagnosed with an incurable cancer in 1998, but when I would ask him about certain things (family, military service, etc.) he didn’t want to discuss it, so I just quit asking.

Then one evening, I received THE phone call from my stepmother that my dad was giving up and I needed to come down (950 miles away) and spend time with him now.  I packed a suitcase, included several old photos that I wanted to have identified, and was armed with lots of questions I was finally hoping to get answers for.  The night I got there, I spent several hours just watching him and listening to him.  I was asking random questions (about how he was feeling, not the questions I needed to ask).  When I left, I told him I had lots of things I wanted to talk about tomorrow (it was late and I was tired having spent 2 days on the road and thought we would both feel better after a good night’s rest).  Tomorrow never came, he passed away about 2:30 a.m. (3 hours after I left).

So, I have more questions than answers when it comes to the Modrell part of my family.  I have unidentified family photographs, antiques with no story, and heirlooms with no meaning.

This blog will be a place to share my successes, failures, brick walls, photos and anything else I can find that relates to my family as I begin my quest of "Searching For Ancestors".

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Welcome To My Blog!

Welcome to my blog!  Please sit back, relax and enjoy the ride with me as I learn about my ancestors.

I will be providing information about my research on specific ancestors, as well as general information to help you in your research efforts (please refer to the tag "general information" for posts of this nature).

I have been doing genealogy research since my father passed away on Christmas morning in 1999.  I wish I had asked him questions about our "past", but since I didn't, I have very little to go on for the Modrell family.  I have an old bible that has pictures in it, and I have no idea who these people are.

Modrell is my father's direct line and Scott is my mother's direct line.  Heneault (Eneau) is my grandmother's direct line on my father's side and Main is my grandmother's direct line on my mother's side.  They are both from Missouri, my father's family is from the St. Joseph area and my mother's family is from the Hume area.

If you have any information that can help me in my research, please do not hesitate to contact me.