May in our family's history
6 May 1842: Sophia Drake Gillingham, born (Gillingham and Drake families)
14 May 1882: Walter "Walt" Brown, born (Brown family)
14 May 1869: James Allison, died (Brown family)
17 May 1904: John Brown, died (Brown family)
22 May 1855: Agnes Anne Pippin Allison, born (Brown and Pippin families)
28 May 1800: Elizabeth "Betsy" Stewart, born (Allison and Brown families)
29 May 1905: Eleanor Hart Doudna, born (Doudna family)
What is new in this posting
veterans ARE NOT EASY TO TRACE
I had hopes of putting a lot of information together for the veterans in our family, but seemed to run into one issue after another. I will be better prepared next time, but for now I will concentrate on one of our military heroes, Uncle Walter Brown.
It seems that for all the military sources on all the genealogy sites, it is difficult to find specific information as to service histories. Enlistment info is not hard to unearth, but for the rest we are tangling with, what I suspect, are privacy issues.
Uncle Walter died in WWII in the Pacific. My first attempts only came up with his name on a killed in action list and enlistment dates. But as always, the Marines came through.
I was fortunate to find a site managed for and by Marines. I have more information about them and a link on the blog on the next tab, but I do want to give them a shout out for their wonderful site. The site honors the Marines and gives wonderful information on them. They also allow families to contact and support the site. I was able to submit a studio photo of Uncle Walter to replace the rather grainy newspaper clipping, that was on the site. The campaigns Walter served in were listed, as well as medals received.
I also want to support the official US Marine website, as well. While not heavy in information specific to individual Marines, it pointed me to a lot of background information.
I am hoping there are similar sites for servicemen in the other branches, as well, but need to do some digging. In the meantime, you past and present servicemen and women out there should be telling your history and stories to your family. I know this is an old song that I keep singing, but we tend to discount our own histories and stories and it is these that our kids and future generations will want to know. Save your great grandchildren a lot of time and pass it on now!
Check out and download our family photos at www.billiesgirl.shutterfly.com
I have posted most of my Brown and Allison photos on the above website. Shutterfly.com has offers for slide shows and books available with the posted photos for a price.
Please know that these are not created by me and I am not trying to sell anything. I am all about the FREE.
Shutterfly.com simply takes the submitted photos, randomly throws them together and then sells the result at a profit--their profit.
You are welcome to buy them if you like, but you might prefer to make your own album with the photos you choose (it's really not hard), or just look at the photos and download the ones you want for free.
This is new for me, so if you have problems with the site, please let me know.
Also, please let me know if you have a family photo website or other online site you want to share and I will be happy to post the information for those places on Billie into the next Billies Girl update. The more the merrier.
I never knew my grandfather
One of the few things I regret in my life is the fact that I really never had a chance to get to know either of my grandfathers. Grandpa Doudna died long before I was born, Grandpa Brown passed when I was three.
I do think I know a good deal about my Grandpa Brown because of all the stories mother and the aunties told me while I was growing up, but the Doudnas are a quiet clan. They tend to play both their victories and sorrows close to the vest. Even so, I do have four stories about Leon.
The first came from my mother. I had been going over genealogies and had found an item criticizing a relative for not attending church regularly. Mother was not very concerned and took the opportunity to tell me that people would say that neither of my grandfathers was much of a churchgoer, but the people who knew them said "if there was anyone in the neighborhood who was ill or couldn't work, you would always find either Walt Brown or Leon Doudna around taking care of their stock, doing chores and/or sitting up with the sick."
The second remembrance came from my Aunt Mary, Leon's youngest child. She told me that she had always felt bad because on hearing of Leon's death, the first thing she thought of was "'who will help me do my math problems?' What a selfish thing to think." Given the fact that she was a little girl when all this happened, I think we can forgive the self-inflicted, tiny character flaw.
The third was a statement my Dad made when my Grandma Doudna passed. She had a small bed, but she always kept two pillows on it, one for her and one for him even though he had died years before.
The bare facts are that Leon's brother, Tommy died at the age of four, leaving Leon as the only child.
He worked as a cheese maker for a time. His leg was badly hurt on the job when a heavy piece of equipment broke loose and smashed his leg.
He married the girl next door, Evangeline "Vangie" Gillingham on July 23, 1904. He had worked as a salesman and the couple settled in Woodstock for a while where my Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Cal were born. The family later moved to Bloom City where Leon became a shopkeeper and where George, my dad, was born.
At some point, Leon, Vangie and the kids moved back to the home place, Harts Hollow where he became a farmer for the rest of his life. He also played a part of many farm organizations and served as clerk of the Town of Marshall for many years. He died in April of 1933.
The story of his death was the fourth story told to me. This story was important by virtue of the fact that I not only heard it from my mother (the source of most of our family stories), but also my dad, my aunts, and my grandmother. All were still angry about it years after the fact.
It seemed Leon came into the house feeling terrible. Grandma Doudna promptly put him to bed and sent for the doctor. After some time had passed, the doctor came out from Richland Center and examined him.
After the checking him out, the doctor told my grandmother that it was just some kind of bug and no concern for worry. He then got into his car and started down the lane and back to town. Before he reached the end of the lane, however, Leon had a massive heart attack and died. My grandmother had never been fond of doctors before, but after this incident she had no faith at all. Odd then that one son ,Cal, would become a doctor, that he and his brother George would marry nurses, and a third son, IJ, would have a career involving medicine. You gotta love irony.
In my mind, I put all these bits and pieces together and see Leon as one of those people that Edna Ferber would refer to as "wheat". While her "emeralds" were poets and artists, who bring beauty to the world, the wheat people make a place where
Marine cpl walter paul brown
Growing up the above photo of Walter was always in my mother's bookcase or on her dresser. While all of her brothers served in WWII, he was the only one who didn't come back. When she spoke of him, she talked about a sweet kid, goodhearted and kind. Writing about him, I was frustrated with the lack of details available. Then I discovered the Together We Serve website (www.togetherweserved.com). Thanks to the Marines, I was able to research not just Walter, but the places and battles he served in. The results are on my blog page on the next tab. The loss of Walter at so young an age, was one of my mother never forgot. We as the nieces and nephews are also the poorer for his loss. We would have loved him! Although, through our parents, we pretty much already did!
So, the blog is my Memorial Day gift.
PHOTOS! pHOTOS! pHOTOS!
Something must be in the air. It seems that several members of the family are sharing photos with the same goal in mind. Making the past available to the whole family. I am adding photos to a site called Shutterfly.com which is easily accessible and photos are downloadable by visitors. I am getting photos from other websites, Facebook, and from genealogy websites.
Everyone is different. Some people have a lot of experience dealing with computerized photos, others just want to download, save and share photos (best done in J-Peg format). Still others want to have the photo in the original state, so they can do their own repair work (best done in Tiff format). I have posted my photos in a J-Peg format, since it seems that is the easiest for everyone. If you would like a photo(s) in Tiff format, just let me know, I have them in both formats--use the "Contact Me:" page on this website, leave your email address and I will get them to you if I have them. Some are the photos in other family members' collections, and for those I will pass on the request..
And as always, and I do mean always: If you have old photos you would like to share, please feel free to let me know. I will be happy to get them online for you.
Does anyone have a copy of Aunt Dessa's wedding photo? I am told it was her favorite, but I can't find a anything that even looks close anywhere.
August Birthday Boy:
I believe this was a collage of various photos of the Doudna grandchildren. Far left top row is Leon. In front of him is Edgar Doudna, a well renowned educator. It appears that Edgar was holding a small child. In fact that is a photo of Tommy, Leon's little brother. The cut out of the gentleman on the far left, was labeled as William Doudna (?). There is a tall boy in the middle of the top row. On his right is another tall boy with a necktie. He is labeled as Fred Doudna. To the right of Fred is Oscar.