Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Workday Wednesday - Grandma Annette with her Work Buddies, San Lorenzo, CA - Circa 1956

Here is a photo of my Grandma (on the far left), Annette Roehm Connors, posing with her co-workers at the Kaiser Plant in San Lorenzo, CA. Not only a hard worker, but a mother of 4 children at this time, she still managed to help contribute to bring money in and take care of her 4 small children.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Finding a way out


I mean, really, Hello! It's been awhile and I am ashamed of myself.

Not long after I wrote my last blog post in January, my grandmother (my last living grandparent who I had just gotten a DNA test on), went through a series of bad health problems, which ultimately caused her death on March 17th, at 8:44 am.

It was and has been one of the hardest deaths I've gone through. Coping through it has had it's moments of gratefulness, sadness, regrets, what if's, and many sleepless nights.

However, through it all, I have maintained that I will keep my Grandma's spirit alive by continuing to document her life (and her ancestors) through my blogging, research and archiving of her family documents.

Doing this has been one of the only ways I have been able to get through this.

I have been going to my Grandma's house, cleaning through many items of hers to search for missing photos, negatives or just important papers. It can be somewhat addicting to just keep going through things because she had SO much to go through (we've barely scratched the surface!). In the meantime, I have been working on a slideshow movie to celebrate not only her life, but also my grandfather's life (who died in 2014).

My grandma was like a second mother to me. I saw her frequently iver the last 5-6 years. I recorded many of her stories on my phone and with my camera. I loved these moments with her because for one of the first times in her life, she was just herself, relaxed and enjoying our time together.

Right now and for always, those are the times I miss the most. Instead of "Tuesdays with Morrie" - mine was "Saturdays with Annette." The loss is very painful, but in hindsight, it was also inevitable.

I will post her DNA results in the coming weeks, as they did come in and it was fairly interesting to see what came up, but there is one thing that's for certain - I am definitely her granddaughter :)

So, I promise, I will return, but my posts just may be farther in between.

Thanks for still reading, if anyone really is!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Happy 87th Birthday, Grandma Annette - Fashion & Style Edition!

My grandma turned 87 on January 3rd. I wanted to do a post about her life, but then I thought of something a little more fun! I thought of how she has always kept herself in tip top shape - pretty much her whole life.

This thought gave way to the idea of posting photos of her in (some of) her best fashion outfits throughout the years. She has always had a great sense of style and always has looked put together, as they call it. And, I must say, she had some great gams!

Annette holding her baby niece, Doris Jean, circa 1937-38, age 8-9, Wishek, ND, sporting a frilly dress and white shoes.
Annette was the 2nd youngest in her family, and all her siblings closest in age to her were brothers. She soon started to take on the role as the little Tom Boy in the family, and after this time, she became known as "Tommi." Tommi was also the name of the jeans she often war, such as above.
Annette in her either Junior High or Freshman year in High School, circa 1942-43, Richmond, CA, sporting a nice, warm jacket.
Annette posing for her brother, Alwin, sporting a cute floral dress and sweater, Richmond, CA.

Doris Roehm and Annette Roehm, sisters, but 14 years apart in age! Annette was outgrowing her Tom Boy clothes and growing up, sporting a stylish bathing suit, circa 1944-45.

Annette, at left, in the snow, sporting a cuffed sweatshirt and loose pants, circa 1946-47

Annette (center), wearing the fashionable shoes that were all the craze back in the 1940's, Richmond, CA.

Annette (at right) with her close friend, Opal, in front of their school, Richmond Union High.

Annette's High School Graduation photo, circa 1947.

Annette in Bear Lake, near Los Angeles, CA, in bathing suit, circa 1946-47. 

Annette with her 2nd born child, circa 1949.

 Annette showing off her legs for the camera, wearing a style fashionable for the early 1950's. 

Annette with her 1st husband, Frank, whom she had her four children with, circa 1956-57

 Vibert and Annette, her 2nd husband, on their wedding day, May 31st, 1959. She was wearing a fashionable short pleated dress, with small head piece.

 Annette, center, posting in front of the camera, wearing a common outfit, the shirt dress, circa 1959, in Valley City, North Dakota, visiting relatives. My mom is behind her, I believe.

Vibert and Annette, dressing the part of a classic Hollywood star, circa 1959.

 Annette, with her oldest daughter, Diane, and Vibert's mother, Beth, in Fremont, CA, circa 1966-67.
Heading into her 40's, and still dressing stylishly, in a cute double breasted blue coat, circa 1968-69

Wearing a cute pink striped shirt with a sailor tie and pink skirt, circa 1969.

Wearing a tan wool jacket, circa 1969, Fremont, CA.

 Wearing a white suited top and skirt, with Sash around it (cannot see in photo), circa 1969-70.
Vibert and Annette were going out on the town, Annette wearing a brocade like fabric short sleeved dress and matching jacket , circa 1968-69.

Annette posing again in a tan jacket and tweed skirt, circa 1969

Carole, Penny and Annette posing in May 1970, with my mom, Carole goofing off for the camera, Annette is wearing black shirt and brown pants.

Annette (far left), with daughter Carole, below her, with family, circa 1974, Annette wearing a laced sleeveless dress. 

Annette and Penny, circa 1974, Linden, CA. Annette wearing more casual bell bottoms and floral sleeveless top and belt that was made of coins.

Annette at a Las Vegas casino, circa 1974-75. She was being followed by a photographer for the casino,. . they thought she was a movie star and wanted to get pictures of one in their casino, according to the story relayed to me.

 Annette, Carole and Penny, dining out for the evening, circa 1976-77, Annette wearing a white wool coat lined with fur, with a red velvet dress and tapered white satin sides.

Annette dressing more casual, circa 1977-78

Annette, possibly attempting a Scarlett O'Hara effect, posing at the ranch, circa 1978-79

 Judy, Annette's daughter-in-law, and Annette's mother, Lydia, circa 1977, visiting in Washington, D.C., Annette is wearing a striped casual shirt with jeans.

Vibert and Annette, far left, posing with Carole and Dennis, with Dennis' parents, on their wedding day, September 1978. Annette is wearing a red, silky pantsuit.I also want to give a nod to my paternal grandmother for her pretty mint flowing dress.

Annette wearing a flowing light blue dress at the ranch, circa 1978-79.

Lydia, Carole and Annette, three generations, circa 1977-78, Annette wearing a red velvet dress with brocade top and straps.

Annette posing in front of her home at the ranch, circa 1980, wearing tan pants, red blouse and knitted vest.

 Annette, wearing a similar outfit as above, circa 1981

Me and my grandma Annette, circa 1990, Grandma wearing a light pink blazer with matching skirt and white blouse. Me, well, I was wearing a lace trimmed black dress and a bow in my hair.

Annette with her son's mother in law, Mary, Christmas 1995, wearing a black pantsuit and white top, and a fashion belt.

And, one of my favorite photos of my grandparents, Vibert and Annette, at Mother's Day brunch, circa 1992, with Annette wearing a gold blazer and white top. 

It's fun to take a step back and look at the fashion trends and see how everyone including my Grandma evolved their looks. It's cool to see how my Grandma decided to embrace each era's style that changed as she grew older. She chose what suited her body best and kept herself up to date, always looking her best. It took me a long time to notice just how fashionable she was until I started looking over many family photos. She wore classic cuts, and added some sparkles of trendy items, but kept it minimal. Thank you, Grandma, for being a chip off the fashion plate over the last 60+ years.

Friday, December 25, 2015

New Year, New Changes!

So, a new year is upon us - 2016 will hopefully bring much promise for more fun discoveries on the ancestor front!

Also, I plan to give my blog a bit of a make-over. I feel I need to create a more fun, light and airy look to my blog. I think the current theme has served its purpose, but it's time to give it something a little more youthful. Please keep a look out for some new design changes! Again, I design all of my backgrounds and banners with Photoshop, so this will take some time!

Some new and exciting things for the upcoming new year in my life:

Europe - Did I just say Europe??!! - Yes, I am embarking on a nearly 20 day trip to Europe next May 2016. I have my passport, 100 Euros in my pocket, train tickets booked, flight booked. Sadly, it will not be primarily for ancestry searching, but I will nevertheless be stomping similar grounds that my ancestors walked many years ago, especially in London, which will be our first stop.

Joining Online Societies aimed at Younger Genealogists - I view myself not quite the cookie cutter genealogist. I like to tell a story on my blog rather than give the very minute (and mundane) details that some genealogy bloggers tend to get lost in. I want to find like-minded "younger" genealogists who can tell a great story about their ancestry findings and blog about it without making me yawn through the first paragraph.

Do Some Clean Up & Download Important Documents - I hope to spend this year to do some continued clean up work on my family tree that got a little out of hand over the last few years. I also intend to download some important documents from so I can keep copies of them offline as well as online. I have read it is very important since many important documents can easily be removed by whoever uploaded them. However, most documents that are uploaded directly by will likely never be removed, but those are still important to download, as well.

A Travel Blog!! - I have designed a new blog, one for travel. I am looking forward to keeping this blog up and seeing where it takes me. It will mostly focus on California travel and, of course, any travels that lead me out of California. I will post the link on here once I get the blog on its way!

What are your New Year Resolutions regarding your genealogy? - DNA Testing - The Importance of Testing your Oldest Relatives

Grandma Annette's baby bootie hand-stitched by her mother, circa 1928

About a week ago, I sent out my grandmother's saliva (or spit, gosh, no matter how you write it, it still doesn't sound good) to I realize that with the onslaught of Thanksgiving and Christmas DNA purchases, hers will be one of 100's, if not 1000's, of tests that will have to weed through. However, I am very excited what this one particular test will show us!

There may be nothing new that the DNA test will reveal or there may be only more questions than answers - either way, testing my oldest living grandparent was something I wanted to accomplish before she may leave this world (She had many close calls this last year, so I know it's only a matter of time). 

My grandma Annette will be 87 this upcoming January 3rd, and she is not going without a fight. If anything, she's even stronger now that she was a year ago. It's amazing to watch her pick up things off the floor easier than I can. She can still give a strong hug, walk without very little assistance, and if you ask her opinion, you may just wish you hadn't - but she's an old-school dame and still has a lot of spunk! 

Back to topic, I am excited to share her results with her when they come in and hope to bring to light some interesting twists regarding her DNA, which will go back 4-5 generations, which means, her results can go back 2 more generations than my own! 

I cannot stress the emphasis on getting your oldest relatives tested. Test them even before testing yourself. You can always get another for yourself, but your grandparent or great grandparent may only have so long to offer you a deeper glimpse into their past; your past. Especially if this relative is a male - males may provide more information on the surname that he carries. 

I am also getting my father's DNA tested. There are some parts of my Dad's side of the family that are still a bit of mystery for me (such as his link to Native American lineage that did not show up on my DNA test - I actually had more African lineage show up on me than Native American - hmmmm....) 

So, again, please get your older relatives tested. In the grand scheme of things, it will be way worth it!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Throwback Thursday - When I was a Wee Tot

Well, I don't have too many photos that I show of myself on here, but thought I'd share a few of me from the 1980s, when I was a tiny little girl (yes, I have been pretty much tiny my whole life, all 5 feet of me!).

As I grow older, I am finding so much of my childhood slipping away and it can be a scary thought. Driving through my old town I grew up in, I see buildings that are no longer there. I see stores and restaurants that are no longer there. Yet, I do see many places that seem untouched from certain times in my life and it can feel a little eerie to see them and feel as if I am stepping back in time.

These pictures capture that time where many things that were around me seemed like they'd always stay that way, but slowly, they started to disappear.

My cousin Melissa and I at the ranch, circa 1987 (me, age 5 and Melissa, age 4)

Krissy and Scott, playing games after swimming, circa 1986 - The brown shag carpet, the bunk bed, the bedding, the games and the small TV! All this evokes an era that is mostly lost to any kid born after 1995 or so. The carpet used to feel so plush between your toes. I think my brother and I were playing Chutes and Ladders, along with having an Etch-a-Sketch. I remember my brother used to like playing Battleship, and I always got confused with it, but always had fun moving the little pegs and seeing things light up on it.

Easter 1990 - At Golden Hills Church (before it became a church, worship was held at a storage unit on Sunset Dr in Antioch) - I am in the front, with a light pink dress, next to my cousin Tiffany to the right and Melissa on the left.

Krissy touching the birthday Pinata, Scott's 10th Birthday, August 1989 - I was 7 years old and wow, I had some killer abs back then! My brother's party was Batman themed, which was the hit movie that Summer (yes, the Michael Keaton Batman!) One of the items that we had until not too long ago was the big screen TV in the background. We gave it up around 2006. It lasted a long time, nearly 22 years! I used to love how my mom did the streamers for our parties. She really knew how to prepare for a good party! We always had so much fun decorating the night before, and then preparing for everyone to come over the next day, tip toeing around the house, making sure to not mess up the freshly vacuumed carpet or soil the kitchen - the calm before the storm :)