Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Writing my Gramma's Eulogy

Her sister and my gram
How To Write A Eulogy---some times you become part of the family history in the making

Sunday January 20, 2013 at 10:51pm my Gramma Witt, (Bessie Marie Kersten Witt) passed away. 

About a year ago my mom asked me to write gram's eulogy.

I remember Stephen R. Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People saying that each person should sit down and close their eyes and image their funeral and who would be there and than write their own eulogy---boy do I wish gram had done this and had given it to me, than this task would be a great easier.

I've been thinking for a long time about how to write grams eulogy, not quite knowing what to do or say. So in 2012 I created a blog full of memories that I had of her--to celebrate her life. This is the blog Gramma Witt Blog. Still not quite sure what to write, I turned to old Aunt Netty (what my husband calls the internet) to ask her what she knew about eulogies

I found a great website that systematically listed the steps of writing one
1. Collect information from others
2. Gather your memories
3. Organize your information
4. Write the eulogy
5. Rehearse your speech
6. Deliver your eulogy 

Seems nice and easy, doesn't it? Well for me I wouldn't need to do step 5 nor 6 because I live in Southern Alberta with my husband and as of right now, I am still considered a visitor and as such I am not guaranteed admittance back into the country if I leave. So to play it safe, I haven't left Canada since we've moved here.  Truth be told, besides not being able to leave with an guarantee of getting back in to live with my sweetheart, we don't really have the money. 

So someone else will be delivering the eulogy for me.

So I liked what I read about the nice easy steps, but I needed a little more suggestions about specifically writing one for gram and the web site just so happened had that too---more like an outline
1. Introduction--welcoming and thanking family, friends and visitors for coming to the event and tell them who you are
2. Share personal memories
3. What were some of grams favorite things
4. How she influenced my life--lessons I learned from her
5. Expressing how much you, her family and friends will miss her---include a favorite poem, hymn...etc
6. Talk about how she will continue to live in every ones memories

After my gram passed on I volunteered to call some of the close friends and family to tell them the viewing, funeral, and burial schedule. I just wanted to feel like I was a part of some thing, so I didn't feel as helpless as I was. The interesting part of doing this task was that it was healing to speak to her friends. 

When I called each one of them, they shared with me some kind of memory of my gram that endeared her to them. Some of the memories were funny and some others were just informative and interesting.


Steps to Preserving Your Family History with a Digital Family Scrapbook

Solve your photo problem! 
Taking photos has never been easier. But what do we do with all of our digital images? And who gets to see them? At Heritage Makers, we help people preserve, share and celebrate their photos with easy-to-use online software called "Studio." With Studio, you can rescue the photos on your computer and create amazing projects that your friends and family will love and that you will be proud to share. Whether you choose to publish a professionally bound book, a personalized greeting card or a gorgeous, wrapped canvas print; you will love creating photo keepsakes with Heritage Makers.

1. Find all your family pictures--other family members may have some too

If you have some one in your family that will only allow you to look at their family pictures but wouldn't them leave their home, bring your Flip Pal ("Portable Affordable Scanner") to their home and scan the pictures/documents

2. Choose the best pictures that tell the story of your family---not just pictures of scenery or half head shoots

3. Put your pictures in order

4. Scan your photos/documents to your computer--this is where owning a Flip Pal really comes in handy

5. Go to Heritage Makers create a free account and choose from their easy to use templates or create your own on their site

Search the amazing collection of ready-to-use templates by keyword, project type, or general category. Or, start from scratch and create a masterpiece of your own! 

6. Upload your photos/documents to Heritage Makers, free account, place your photos on the templates

Add your photos and text. 

Enjoy unlimited customization! Place your photos wherever you like, personalize the text and add your choice of embellishments from our extensive digital library.

Press 'Publish.' When you've got your project just the way you want it, press the publish button and sit back and wait for happiness to be delivered to your door

7. Smile when your finished product comes directly to your door and when your family members open the Digital Family Scrapbook and say "did you really make that yourself"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Two-step solutions

We found this great tip about family history on this link, written by Paul Graham, professional genealogist, titled “Goal: Trace an African-American family line back to the 19th century”

“Step 1: Gather family information. Start by asking family who your 20th-century ancestors were. Talking about family photos is a good way to jog relatives’ memories. Remember that more distant relatives may have knowledge that your immediate family has lost, so get in touch with aunts, uncles, and older cousins. Collect family documents that might provide additional information, like marriage certificates and funeral programs. If your family moved out of the South to the North or West, look through all records for clues pointing to the town or county they came from.

Step 2: Locate the family in census records. Use the information you gather about older relatives to locate them in census records. Start in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census and use new details you discover in that document to trace the family back through each census to 1870, noting new details each time to help you with your next search. Censuses indicate relationships to a head of household, providing names and details about each person living at a particular residence. Be aware of two potential problems: first, the 1890 census for almost all of the United States was destroyed, creating a 20-year gap between 1880 and 1900 that creates challenges for many researchers (but we have a solution for that, so read on); and second, the 1870 census is often the earliest census record that lists formerly enslaved African Americans by name. Prior to 1870, only free African Americans were listed by name on the census.”


Monday, February 4, 2013

The Letter H -- Family History Through The Alphabet

The Letter H

H can be for Haka, Happy, Home, Honorable, Humble, Healing, Hungry…

I was blessed to be raised in a Happy Home we were taught to Humbly live a life Hungry to be Honorable – – an environment that was soothing and Healing as one faced the dangers and heartache of growing up.

Today I would like to dedicate letter H to Henry Hixon Hamon, my grandfather. Grandpa Hamon was born – – 1900, in – – New Zealand. Henry Hixon was the great-grandson of Tunewha (toon-ee-fa) one of the great Maori chiefs during the Maori Wars with the British over misappropriated lands.

He was a man of great faith and I have to believe that the spiritual giant my father is has a lot to do with his father and their forefathers and mothers.

Henry Hixon and Edithe Violet had 12 children survive. A cousin in Australia told me that my grandparents had a way of nurturing their children such, that every one of them were convinced that they were their parents favorite.

I was about 12 years old and we were living in Calgary Alberta, Canada. All my life I'd heard about my grandpa Henry Hixon Hamon– and what a great man he was.

I had met him in New Zealand when I was about two years old and had no recollection of him or grandma who passed away in 1970 when I was 10.

Again, around the time I was 12 I got an insatiable hunger to meet my grandfather --but it looked like I might never have that opportunity in this life. I couldn't shake the feeling and took to praying about it--every night for three years I prayed that I would get to meet him.

Then when I was 15 years old we got the news that the family in New Zealand was sending grandpa over to spend a month with us. To this day reflecting on that experience warms me all over.

I had a nice transistor radio I really enjoyed and I gave it to grandpa to remember me by. About six years later my sister got to spend a year in New Zealand. She would tell me how grandpa loved that little radio and listened to it all the time. Grandpa Hamon died in 1987 in New Zealand– – but he walks with me still.

Family members in the photo--thank you Sarah Chapman for providing this beuatiful picture
Michelle Chapman, Kirsty Chapman, Bruce Chapman, Josh Chapman-Bradshaw, Brylee Chapman-Ramsay, Grace, and Sarah Chapman