Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cemetery Clean Up

Happy New Year!

This past September my dad and I cleaned up a cemetery. Just the two of us. It was wonderful. We have plenty left to do of course, but seeing as the cemetery is far from where I live... 1200 miles give or take...  I won't be able to get there for a little while.

If anyone gets the opportunity to do so, clean up a cemetery. The dead will thank you.

Here are some before and after pics. There are some on findagrave that predate even my photos. Go take a look.

July 2013

Sept 2013

yes that's the same stone


After. Look at all of that back there!!

There's actually a stone barely sticking out to the right of this one

We found about six stones we didn't see on our first trip.

See anything? There's a tombstone in there.

Next time I would like to uncover the stones. Get rid of more branches and debris. Heck if I could dig up bodies to do an anthropological analysis on them I would. ... ... ... That wouldn't be illegal would it?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Vanderslice Cemetery

When I saw my dad's mom again (aka "new" grandma)  she mentioned a bunch of cemeteries that people in our family was buried in. The next day we hit a bunch of them. And I mean a bunch. The first we went to was Vanderslice Cemetery in Columbia County.

I didn't know who was buried there. I didn't know where it was. My dad didn't' know either... and he was driving. We eventually found it. Another hidden one like the Presbyterian Chapel Cemetery from a few years ago. At least this one had a big sign.

Now if you look at the picture on it looks a lot nicer in the 2004 photo. Sad really. I'd like to go back and clean it up.

We didn't find too many people in there actually... and none with surnames I was familiar with... but of course I looked up the cemetery online later.

There are quite a few Melick's in this cemetery surprisingly. We only saw maybe 10 graves. I don't know if it's just that overgrown or what.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


After the Lower Skippack Mennonite Cemetery we headed to the house that supposedly belonged to Anthony Hallman.

Between and Google maps I had a pretty good idea where it was located. Some of the roads listed on the map couldn't be traveled on or were private but we found it anyway.

Records on Ancestry basically gave this info:

-Skippack, adjacent to Mennonite Church
- Estate passed to daughter Dorothea Hallman Heizer... may not be correct...
-Owned a farm of 150 acres
- One part stated son Henry was left land in Skippack " I also give and Devise unto my said Son Henry Hallman all my Land Plantation with the Appurtenances and--Improvements thereunto belonging or otherwise Appertaining thereto, Situate Lying and being in the township of Skepack and Perquiomy aforesaid containing as by Estimation about one Hundred and fifty Acres, be it more or less"
-It's at the crossroads of Kratz and Evansburg

It turns out the farm attached to the house is a stable that offers riding lessons. It's called Three Diamond Stables. We tried to ask about the owner's, but there were only two men there that spoke little English. We were able to understand that the owners were away on vacation. We tried again on our way back to the Philly airport. No luck. But there's a website for the Three Diamond Stables. And there's a greenhouse next to the house called Marie's Garden, and that also has a website. So before my next visit to Pa, I'm going to try and contact them. 

Also on the way back from the airport, we found the Old Trappe Lutheran Church. The one that Anthony helped build.

Lower Skippack Mennonite Cemetery

After flying into Philly, my mom and I hung out with my dad and his sister. It was my first time meeting her. She's pretty cool. Together they're hilarious. When we left his sister's house, we took a slight detour from our journey and stopped at a cemetery. What is a vacation with no cemeteries?

So my great great great........ ok 9th great grandfather and his wife were buried in this cemetery. I googled and ancestried and findagraved the crap out of it. Not only was he buried in that cemetery, but a few miles away this guy's house and barn were still standing. Crazy right?? So needless to say we went to visit him. Unfortunately, there was no one home at the house, but there were plenty in the cemetery.

So my line goes like this...

there's me, my dad, and his mom.
Ellis H.Turner--Harry V. Turner--Hiram Turner-- George W. Turner-- Susanna Cressman-- John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmit Cressman-- Anthony Cressman-- Anna C Hallman-- Anthony Hallman/Heilman

So it was Mr. Anthony Hallman and his wife Marie Salome that I came looking for first. He lived between 1671 and 1759, she between 1673 and 1745.

As before, I took a million pictures of the cemetery and the stones there. But to save time I won't put that many up.

Anthony's is on the left side in the back. It was pretty easy to find since it's a newer stone.

There is a piece of his wife's stone in the back of his stone.

Has a lot of fun that day. Hotter than hell, but had fun. We passed the same area on Monday before we flew home again. Saw the church he helped build. It's still standing today. pretty amazing.

Well folks, more pictures to come lately!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Snyders

My dad's surname is Snyder. I'll talk a little bit about his father's side.

Donald Snyder (my grandpa that I never met) was in the Korean War, worked in a Penitentiary, and died of cancer.

His parent's were Harvey Snyder (1902-1956) and Mary Reed (1906-1984).

Harvey's parents: Harry M. Snyder (1889-1959) and Sadie Welker (1879-1957).

Harry's parents: Tyrus Snyder (1839?) and Sarah Speck (1840?).

That's the part that get's kind of iffy on Ancestry. I'm not too confident on the hints I have for Tyrus and Sarah. I know they're in my tree though because my aunt and grandma worked on the family tree chart.

Sadie Welker's parents: Henry J Welker(1856) and Lucetta Bordner (1858).

Henry Welker's parents: Henry Welker (1830) and Mary Snodgrass (1825).

Mary Reed's parents: Charles F. Reed (1875) and Leah Catherine Hain (1883)

Charles Reed's father: John L Reed. His parents were Levi Reed annd Mary Auchmuty. I'd love to learn more about her. She's from Glasgow.

Leah's parents were John Samuel Hain and Leah Catherine Snyder.

From what I've been told there are some Hain/Haines that were in the civil war. I haven't found which ones though.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Long Time No Blog

Wow I really fail at this lately... hah!

Some updates... I've been to about a bagillion cemeteries and just returned from vacation on Monday. Met my aunt, hung out with my dad and new grandma, and met some kind of cousin... that part was fun. He and his wife were looking at me like ummm why did we not know about you before. But they didn't say anything.

I don't think I've mentioned surnames from my dad's side of the family yet. Maybe I did. I don't know. Those are the cemeteries I visited.

Also... 23andme. Awesome. I took a test, my dad took a test, and my mom's results should be in any day now.

I'm going to try and be motivated to write more... try being the key word.

Oh and WDYTYA is back on! and I'm still the drinking game MC on the twitter!

not that anyone told me I was but hey.

What else what else... That's all I can think of for now. Next up... surnames and cemeteries!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Recap

We took down our Christmas decorations today. It looks pretty depressing around here. I thought I'd write about the happier things from the past week.

So my dad was here for a week and it was beyond awesome. It was awkward at first but that didn't last long. We went to parks and restaurants.Or just stayed home and relaxed. In the evenings we just sat on the couch. No tv or anything. It was lovely.

One evening we went to the beach to watch the sunset. He and I walked one way, my mom walked another. Our alone time I guess. I mostly listened to what he had to say. I know it was hard for him. I didn't really have questions for him. He basically said that he doesn't have a good reason for not being there. I accept that. I know he wasn't ready for my awesomeness back then. I'm ok with that now. I have my moments of course but I do understand. I'm just glad that he's involved now. Can't live in the past. I found a shell while we were walking. I decided to give it to him the night before he left.

We were like a normal family for a week. Like my mom would be cooking, he washed dishes, and I dried. It was... normal. Hung out on the couch. Parents held hands. Normal. It was so normal that it was weird. Because it shouldn't be normal.

Christmas was lovely of course. We didn't get started until 7:30... later than I would've liked but thats ok. All of the gifts were wonderful. I'll break it down to the most... meaningful ones.
So my mom and I decided a while ago to make a photo album for my dad. Pictures of me from when I was a baby until now. It went over very well I must say. He looked through it at least four times that day. And I know he's shared it with his mom and sister.

Later he and I were talking and I mentioned that his album didn't include the rejects. The blurry, unfocused, and down right bad pictures. He said he still wanted to see them. So he and I sat up in the guest room looking through photo albums. I might have to end up making more copies of photos to send to him.

Now for my mom, she was just completely gone when she opened her gift. Here's the back story. She used to collect music boxes about 24 years ago. When they were together he got her a music box with a carousel horse in a snow globe. Since then most of her music boxes smashed, but that one might be packed away at my Busia's house. Flash forward. She didn't even get the box completely open and she lost it. It was a music box. Carousel horse inside a snow globe. He remembered. It was the sweetest thing ever!

My turn! Ok so everything else was opened and he gave me another Christmas card. A sappy one this time. I sat on the couch conveniently next to a stocking. I finish reading the card and he says "oh I think you forgot something in your stocking". I'm thinking oh boy here we go. So I reach in and its a small box. Once again I'm thinking oh boy here we go again, its another small box. So I mentally prepare myself. He bought me earrings. I found out there's a story to this as well. The first Christmas my parent's spent together he gave my mom a pair of earrings. First Christmas I spend with him? I get earrings. Just makes it even more special I guess.

His last day was Wednesday. He and I spent the day together. That evening was the most emotional of all. The three of us were all just snuggled on the couch for a few hours. He called me his baby girl. Then he called my mom his Baby Mamma. (It's been a joke for a little while) It was bittersweet.

He says he will be back as soon as he can. I don't doubt that. I can't wait to see him again.