Sunday, May 1, 2016

Career Certificates for Jerry Eneau Modrell

You hear over and over how you should start your genealogy research by looking through documents and photos in your own home.  I didn’t believe I had any documents, however, while looking through some plastic totes that were packed many years ago, I came across documents I didn’t know I had.  Imagine that, all those “seasoned genealogists” knew what they were talking about.  Who knew?

Jerry Eneau Modrell worked for the United States Post Office from the mid 1950’s until he retired in 1986.  In 1973, he transferred from downtown Kansas City to Topeka, Kansas.  We didn’t like living in Topeka, however, dad finished his career and retired from Topeka.

Dad spoke very highly of his secretary and always said he could not do his job without her.  Her name was Linda (if I remember correctly).  Linda is the reason I wanted to become a secretary.  I always wanted to be as important to my boss as she was to hers.

Dad worked at the postal facility located across from Forbes Field in Topeka at the Postal Supply Warehouse.  He bought and sold mail truck parts across the country.  He would come home from work in the winter and say, “I spoke to so and so in Florida today and it was sunny and 75 degrees”, while we were knee deep in snow and below freezing temperatures.  In the middle of summer he would come home and say, “I spoke to so and so in Florida today and it was sunny and 80 degrees”, while we were suffering from upper 90 degree temperatures with 100% humidity.  I always thought he would move to Florida upon retirement, but chose southern Texas instead.

Dad had to be “on call” sometimes (several of the managers rotated that duty) and I can remember him getting up in the middle of the night to make phone calls.  We only had one phone and it was located in the living room which was next to my bedroom.  He had this square device that he would hold up to the talking end of the phone and push buttons (it had a telephone key pad on it).  Magically, he was connected to the phone at his work where he could then call anywhere in the country and the long distance charges would not be charged to our home phone (yes – people actually paid money to talk long distance).  He would discuss parts needed immediately to repair mail trucks that were not running.  He would leave for the office, get those parts ready to ship and take them to the mail sorting facility in north Topeka where they would be mailed overnight.  Then he would come home and still manage to get up in time to be at work at 7:30am and make it through the day.  Thankfully, that didn’t happen very often.  As I get older, I don’t know how he managed to do it.

I have attached the Certificates he received for classes he attended while working at the Post Office.

© 2016, copyright by Janice Penry.  All rights reserved.

Labor-Management Development
March 22, 1966
Rapid Reading
January 18, 1968

Leadership Development
April 4, 1967
Human Relations, Supervision
January 15, 1970

Pre-Supervisory Development
June 3, 1965

Monday, March 14, 2016


The Topeka Genealogical Society hosts a Genealogy Conference each year that I attend.  Each year they have a different speaker – sometimes it is someone I have heard of, other times it is a new person.  They have all been people that specialize in some area of genealogy and they have all provided information that has provided me with new areas of research.

This year they are hosting one of my favorite genealogy ladies.  Her name is Lisa Louise Cooke and she hosts a website called “Genealogy Gems” – she is just fantastic and a true Genealogy Gem!  She has a blog that I subscribe to and she gives out some great information on such topics as Evernote, Google Earth, Phone Apps for Genealogy research and so much more.  She also has both free and subscription based Genealogy Podcasts and provides research strategies and tips that are 100% useful to anyone.  She has videos (both free and subscription based) that show how to use Evernote, Google Earth and many more topics.  She has also written several books which are wonderful additions to anyone’s personal genealogy library.

She is a very “tech savvy” and “Internet knowledgeable” person when it comes to Genealogy trends and research.  She has moved my research to areas I never would have gone had it not been for her guidance.  She speaks at some of the biggest genealogy conferences (most recently, Roots Tech – a genealogy conference in Salt Lake City that lasts several days) and it was quite a surprise to find out she would be speaking for our local conference which is just a one day event.

I have never been to any conferences where she speaks (they are usually the bigger ones that are out of reach of my pocketbook and are never in this area) so this will be a very special day to finally meet the person that I so admire and have learned so much from!

There is no doubt in my mind that she will help me discover new ideas that will take my research to great heights as I continue Searching For Ancestors!

© 2016, copyright by Janice Penry.  All rights reserved.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year 2016

I hope this first post of 2016 finds you well and happy.  I apologize for the long absence of posts, but with any luck at all, I will find myself back on track.

It seems the thing that most people do at the beginning of each New Year is make New Year’s Resolutions.  What is a resolution?  Well, from my own perspective it is a promise that we all make to ourselves and then break at some point during the year, just to make the same resolution at the beginning of the next year.  You know I am right on target!

With that in mind, I am not making any resolutions for 2016, I am just going to keep plugging along in life.  I will continue to go to work each day, I will continue “Searching for Ancestors”, I will continue to post items to my blog (even if I miss some weeks, or even months), I will plan a vacation (if I don’t get to go since for the last three (3) years, work has got in the way), and I will continue the everyday mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping.  I will also continue to transcribe documents for the Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society so they can get more indexes out on their website (this is my way of volunteering a little bit of time to help others).  Doesn’t that sound more like the truth than making a resolution that won’t be kept?

Some things I have planned for this New Year including adding a page to my blog with all the surnames I am researching.  I also want to retake pictures of all tombstones associated with my family, and that will include going new places to get new pictures.  I will also try to locate new documents in new places instead of relying on the Internet, since we all know that all documents are not on the Internet, yet.

I wish you luck in the New Year and hope you stick to your resolutions.  As for me, I will continue “Searching for Ancestors”.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Podcast? What In The World Is That?

I have been asked, "Where do you learn how to do genealogy"?  Well, I read a lot, I ask questions of others (those in the know), I attend conferences and I listen to podcasts.

Podcasts are nothing more than a person who has taped themselves and/or others and provide information to the listening audience.  There are podcasts on all types of subjects, including genealogy.  The one I listen to the most is Lisa Louise Cooke and she is the producer and host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast.  She is also an author of some of the best genealogy books I have the pleasure of reading and she is a conference speaker whom I have personally seen.  She has a terrific website and offers both free and premium (subscription) podcasts.  The premium version also includes how-to videos and handouts.  She has a few free videos available also.

Her website can be found here.  The following infographic was put together by Lisa and explains more about what podcasts are.  I hope you check out her website and catch a few podcasts.  They are so informative and you will learn a lot from her.  She is one of the top people in the field of genealogy and she is an expert on how Google Earth can help with your genealogy as well as tons of other genealogy related subjects.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

10 Shots Fired in Holdup Fray

The following newspaper article is about Ben E. Mann.  Ben was married to Willa Isadore Main, who is the daughter of Jason Archie Main and Willa Ruth McCarthy.  Jason is a brother to Cora Viola Main, otherwise known as Grandma Scott (to me) – my mother’s mother.  That relationship makes Isadore (the name I knew her by) Grandma Scott’s niece.

The Kansas City Times (Morning Kansas City Star)
Friday, November 3, 1961, Page 1, Column 1

Crowded Store at Truman Corners Is Scene of Robbery Attempt
Ben E. Mann, 51, Wrestles One Man, Shoots at the Other

            An off-duty Jackson County deputy sheriff wrestled with one holdup man while he fought a gun battle with another in a crowded Katz drugstore in the Truman Corners center last night.
            Ten shots were exchanged, four by the officers and six by the robber, at a distance of 10 to 15 feet.
            The deputy, Ben E. Mann, 51, said he thought he hit the robber twice.  Mann was not hit.

Saw the Man Fire.

            “I don’t know how he missed me”, Mann said, “I saw him kneel down behind the counter and fire from between the shelves”.
            The shoppers in the store started screaming and running when the shooting broke out.  None was hit.
            The deputy, not in uniform, but carrying a snub-nosed pistol beneath his jacket, had gone to the store to buy some dog food.  A member of the sheriff’s patrol nine years, he works in the store as a store detective during the holiday seasons.

Warned by Official.

            Mann was standing by the prescription counter when George Stanley, Belton, assistant manager of the sundries department, walked past with another man behind him.  As he passed, Stanley, who is tall, leaned over to the shorter deputy and whispered:
            “Mr. Mann, this man has a gun on me to rob the store”.
            The deputy drew his pistol and ordered the robber to take his hands out of his pocket.  As he did this he was struck on the head with the butt of a gun by the second robber.
            A pharmacist, John W. Broyles, 11111 Bristol avenue, described what happened:
            “The man pulled the gun out as if he were going to shoot and changed his mind, flipped it over in his hand, and hit Mann a light blow with the butt.”
            The blow jarred me for a minute”, Mann said, “and it gave this man [in front of him] enough time to get his gun out of his pocket.  I grabbed his gun and held it down away from me”.
            Mann, holding one man’s gun hand down with his left hand, turned on the other gunman, who dashed behind a display case and started shooting.

Hits Glass Display.

            Mann’s first shot shattered a display of glass behind the robber.
            Then the robber moved to his right and fired two or three more times, the deputy said.  Mann said he was sure his second shot struck he robber in the abdomen.  A small spot of blood was found near the front door after the men dashed out.
            The robber and the deputy exchanged shots again.  Mann said he believed he had struck him a second time.
            All this time the man he was scuffling with kept repeating:
            “Don’t be a fool.  There’s three of us.  There’s somebody coming up behind you”.
            Finally the robber who had been firing at Mann dropped to one knee and took careful aim over the counter top.  He missed again and the officer fired back.
            Someone shouted at Mann, “Look out behind you”.
            When I heard that I figured it was the time to let go”, the deputy said.  The two robbers dashed out the front door to a 1956 blue-and-white Ford in the parking lot.
            Stanley ran behind the prescription counter when the shooting started.
            “I came out to help Mr. Mann, who was scuffling with the man”, he said, “and the other man drew a gun on me so I ducked under the counter”.

Started at 8:45.

            Stanley said the two robbers accosted him about 8:45 o’clock.
            One man, the one who fired, wore a suede jacket, a billed cap, and had a flesh-colored bandage on his nose.  The other had on light gray trousers, a jacket and carried a rolled up paper shopping bag which dropped on the floor in the excitement.
            “This man stopped me in the store and asked me if I was the manager”, Stanley said.  “I said no, but he showed me his gun and ordered me to the back of the store.  On the way, he told we were going to open the safe”.

Picture included with Newspaper Article

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Genealogy Do Over

What is a “Genealogy Do Over”?  Well, it is a learning program that I have been following.  A very well-known gentleman in the genealogy community has provided information on how to “do” genealogy correctly, such as citing your sources (which is the biggest failure that we have all done) to research strategies, organization, providing forms to help with your research, etc.  His name is Thomas McEntee and he has a group on Facebook specific to the Genealogy Do Over and can be found here:  You can also check out the following page on his blog where he further explains what this is about and why he started this group:

On the Facebook page if you look under the "Files" tab, there are the weekly things to "do over" with your genealogy all listed in PDF format per week.  This is a 13 week plan that is now in its 4th Cycle for the year.  It is currently on Cycle 4, Week 1 so this is a great time to check out the information.  There are also free forms to download (submitted by both Thomas McEntee and the people that are following his “Do Over” plan).  The Group provides you a chance to ask questions about, as well as learn information about, the different aspects you are presented with for each week.

This is what Thomas McEntee put on his blog which kind of explains what the Genealogy Do Over is all about:

“Back on 15 December 2014, I made a big announcement: I was getting rid of 20+ years of past genealogy research and starting over. Some people said I was crazy. Some people said the idea was just “stupid” and wasteful.
But almost 10,000 genealogists and family historians have either been actively participating in this crazy project or have followed it over at the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group. Many have said that they finally have a methodology and format for research that they can live with AND that can bring them results.
Still more have taken the collaborative effort to heart and have shared their own work, their own templates as well as tips and tricks. The Genealogy Do-Over has been as close to a “genealogy hack-athon” and an exercise in group problem solving as I could want.

With all of the organization I have been doing as a result of this project, I can now find things instead of spending hours trying to locate information in different areas of my home.  I only have one (1) more family line to fill out Family Groups Sheets on in an effort to see what types of information I don’t have so I can more easily find that information  The family I have left  is the Scott side of my family (my mother’s ancestors).  I have located information on the Internet going back several generations, however, we all know not to take the Internet for granted.  I will need to prove the existence of each of those family members and try to locate their birth, marriage, and death information to try and prove that connection.

Please head on over to Thomas McEntee’s Blog or Facebook page and I highly suggest joining his group on Facebook if you want to learn how to do genealogy correctly the first time so you don’t end up like me.  I had information spread all over the place that contained no source citations and couldn’t find any documents I needed when I needed them (and of course couldn’t find the place where I got that information since the source citation wasn’t listed).  Source citations are used in an effort to allow others to find your information for themselves should they look at or copy your documentation.  Documents with source citations are considered “facts”.  Documents without source citations are considered “possible facts” which need to be explored further by a genealogist to find “facts” (and make sure you provide source citations to those documents when you find them).

Some documents and sources are considered “Primary” and others are considered “Secondary”.  Primary sources are those documents that were created by someone who was at the event when it happened (Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, diary pages, etc.) and Secondary sources are those documents where someone different supplied the information (such as Birth Date and Place of Birth on a Death Certificate).  Most likely, the person supplying that information was not there at their birth and only provided information they were “told”.  That documentation needs to be supported by other documentation (preferred Primary source) to be considered “fact”.

I digress, and I apologize.  I have learned so much from the genealogy community and I enjoy sharing my knowledge.  I wish you the best of luck in your search for ancestors!  I will continue “Searching for Ancestors” myself when the opportunity arises, and will post information as I locate it.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Growing Up in Hume, Missouri

Guy Calvin Scott and Cora Viola Main (my maternal grandparents) lived in Hume, Missouri both prior to and after they were married.  I am unsure when they moved away from Hume, however, I do know they lived in North Platte, Nebraska in 1958.  I had some general questions about growing up in Hume.  About a year ago, I had a chance to ask one of my living uncles some of those questions.

Me:  Do you remember how many acres of land you had?
Uncle:  We had 80 acres.

Me:  Did you remember what kind of livestock you had?
Uncle:  We had hogs, cows and chickens.

This discussion brought back other memories that my uncle shared with me so very few questions were asked after that.  The stories just started flowing, and I started writing.  When I refer to “my uncle” in the following stories, it is my living uncle who provided them.

My uncle said he rode a horse to school in the 1st grade because they lived about 5 miles from the school.

My youngest uncle once traded a sick chicken for a bag of flour for his mom (Cora Viola Main).

My uncle would shoot rabbits because he could sell them for .25cents and a box of shells was .35cents, so if he shot two (2) rabbits, the extra money was “gravy”.

My uncle would trade a chicken for a bologna roll.

There was no running water in Hume.  They had a well that they would pump water from.  Their well would go dry every year, but would seep enough water at night to water the animals the next day.

Guy’s father (Thomas Green Scott, my great grandfather) would sit on the porch while the rest of the family tended to the farm.  My uncle said he had heard stories from him about how good he was at farming and how fast he could get things done, but never saw him help out any.  He was disappointed that when help was needed, Thomas would not pitch in and provide any.

One day, Thomas and my uncle were talking outside when a bird flying overhead decided to poop.  The poop fell straight into Thomas’ shirt pocket where he kept his chew.  Thomas calmly went inside the house, got a rifle, came outside and started shooting birds out the sky.  This story caused great laughter from both of us!

These are the type of family stories I enjoy listening to.  I can only hope that I am able to get more stories like this in the future.  I have no older family members on my paternal side still living, however, I am happy I am able to learn things like this from my maternal side of the family.