Book Writing or Procrastination?

Wedding Day  3 July 1953

Wedding Day 3 July 1953 

Nelson William Stearns and Shirley Beatrice Pease on their wedding day.

I in a quandary.  My days are spent researching and writing about my immigrant ancestor Isaac Stearns. I thought I was done and ready to send it to my beta readers. I did send it to one reader that provided some great feedback.

While waiting for that feedback I decided to review my records and correct my citations in Elizabeth Shown Mills format. I found some web links from my early research that is no longer working. I needed to find new documentation for that information.

Now it seems I have more and more things to add to the book. I thought that was a good thing. The past week I started thinking, “Am I looking for things, so that I delay the book?”

I just might be doing that. I’m nervous to put the book and my writing out there. I set a goal to get it to my beta readers that is soon approaching. I not sure I will make that goal. Will Columbus Day come and go without my completion of the book?

I hope not. That is why I am writing this blog, to push myself to meet that deadline.

Still the question remains; Does the book need to have all the items I found in Isaac’s life or just the overview to give my readers a sense of the time he lived it? The decisions he made and the possible why he made those decisions is important. His story will be told. I will tell it to the best of my ability.

Maybe not overdo the facts that the youth of today do not really care about. Yes, the youth of today is who I decided to be my focus group for this book. I want my children’s children, nieces and nephews to know where they came from. Not just my family, any of Isaac Stearns descendants, will know where they came from.

That decision made makes it easier for me to complete the book.

STOP Procrastinating, June. FINISH the book.




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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

#30memoriesin30days Day 28

Michael D. Butka

Michael D. Butka

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The past twenty-eight days I have been sharing all my positive memories. Life is not about only the happy times. Life provides challenges to help us grow as individuals and families. Today memory’s is about the good, the bad and the ugly side of cancer.

The GOOD is the support of family and friends. A husband, Michael D. Butka, who is at your side daily, taking a step down in his job so he could be at your side. A daughter, Tyna Butka, who helps you see the beauty in yourself when you hair is all gone. A son, Michael J. Butka, who is serving his county in the Air Force still calls you to let you know you are loved from a distance but there beside you in spirit.

Tyna Butka

Tyna Butka

Friends, Devine Derry Dames Red Hat Society, who take you out to breakfast on the day you decided to remove what hair hasn’t fallen out on your pillow each day. A decision is made they will have the honor of shaving my head.  A friend, Lynn Anderson, even decides to shave her own head in support of you. Even though you tried to convince her not to, because the holiday season was approaching.

Linda Bowman, Lorraine Wolfham and Lynn Anderson

Linda Bowman, Lorraine Wolfham and Lynn Anderson

A Medical team that is caring and supportive each step of the way. Some of that team were the same ones who cared for my mother in 2000. They remember her and shared those memories with me providing a comfort I’m not sure they fully understood they provided me.

The BAD is the many days of illness from the chemotherapy side effects. You have not energy to even lift your head off the pillow, to smile, to even visit with your loved ones.




Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy

The UGLY, is seeing your hair in large clumps on your pillow when you awaken in the morning. Having to deal with the cancer in your body, feeling like you have no control over what is going to happen to you.

YOU DO HAVE CONTROL of your mental attitude. I grab that control and held onto a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE during one of the rest times in my life. I helped me stay the course, to endure the discomforts and remember that life is full of surprises, good and bad, that make you stronger for it.

Treatment Complete

Treatment Complete Ringing the Bell of Success!


I AM more than A Survivor. I am a stronger woman, mother, wife, sister, and friend who will remain positive no matter what life offers.

I remember the loving support more than anything else from my cancer adventure. That is the way I will always want to remember that time in my life.

June and Tyna Butka choosing a wig

June and Tyna Butka choosing a wig

Here are a few poems I wrote during my 2005-2006 Cancer Adventure



Cancer Fear

May the fear, sadness and anger

Be subdued by the comforter

A Positive Mental Attitude


Mind Wandering after Diagnosis



Time-saver efforts

Energy conservation

How many doctors

What diagnosis

What options



Waiting forever


Bio Feedback


Chiropractic adjustment

Doctor appointments galore

Inner strength

Self confidence

Husband’s acceptance

My acceptance

Body image

Surprise breakfast calls

Head shaved

Friend support

Wig choice fun





Cancer List


Mutilation                                           Surgery

Poisoning                                            Chemotherapy

Burning                                                Radiation

Fatigue                                                 Sleep

Nausea                                                 Hydration

Vomiting                                              Medications

Diarrhea                                               Diet

Anger                                                    Acceptance

Sadness                                                               Short lived

Hair loss                                               Wigs

Low blood count                              Isolation

ONCO Study                                       Care-giving

Positive mental attitude                               Healing




Rise early, take meds, shower and check e-mails

One hour later eat, take more meds and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Forty-minute drive to chemotherapy

Check in, labs, results, doctor appointment

All before a four-hour treatment

Medication one hour before eating

Trying to keep food down

To prevent nausea, vomiting

Maybe a week without symptoms

It starts all over again

Unexpected surprises occur

Cards, people visit, daughter calls

A stuffed animal from a friend or two

A smile from across the room

Can you remember their names

Marge, Janet and Monica are a few


Radiation End Nears           


Six more boosts to go

The end is just so

The time just flew

Enjoying morning hue

Travel thirty minutes to and fro

Five times a week

The radiation did seek

Excitement of journey’s end

Fear did suspend

Happy days here again

Self-time around the bend



Waiting for Treatment End


Here I sit glancing at faces

Reading, thinking, glaring spaces

Radiation treatment number fifteen

Nineteen more waiting in between

Sad eyes, smiling eyes, quiet eyes

All waiting to say goodbye

The ringing bell

The end does tell



Cycle of Life Season of Death


The season of life overlaps

The season of death

Death is a release, a flight home

Sufferings end, pain free

You can walk again

Trapped in a body is a

Death in itself

To be free is the life of hope

Comfort measures are for the family

Our comfort is to be free

We suffer for loved ones at least

Through one cycle of treatment

But when is enough, enough

Quality verses quantity of life

Can only be decided by thee



Regaining Self


She found solace in her photography. It was her way to deal with her cancer. The treatments had ended. She was waiting to find out if she was in remission. The wait is the worse part of cancer or any illness. The not knowing takes a toll on even those with a positive mental attitude. She was of the belief in a positive attitude, focusing on what you can control, not what you can’t is the best way to recovery.


She and her dog would take daily walks around her new surroundings. They had moved across the river to another southern New Hampshire town after the completion of her treatment. Her husband’s and adult children’s relief when the house sold can best be described in her daughter’s statement; “Now there won’t be a third death in this house. You are going to survive.” Her mother and nephew had both died in that house. She was the caregiver of her mother when she was dying of cancer. Eighteen months later, on Halloween night, her nephew went into cardiac arrest. CPR was immediate and non stop even when the ambulance arrived within a matter of minutes. The hospital doctors told the family that unless he was at a hospital where cardiac surgery was performed, her nephew couldn’t have survived. He was in between two cardiac surgeries. The doctor had said he was doing well two days before.


She had felt the presence of her mother and nephew. She had smelt their scent when their spirits were near. This provided her with comfort. She had been aware of spirits surrounding her since childhood. The eldest female of her mother’s line all had the gift. The gift was being able to sense the spirits, of being aware of another dimension of support from past family members. It was how she knew when things would be fine or when a rough patch was ahead. She would hear a voice or smell their scent when they were near. She had felt alone during her cancer treatment because the voices and smells had left her. The support of her family couldn’t give her the same reassurances that the support from past family members could.


She knew this happened to her mother during treatment as well. The chemicals in the body prevented the gift from getting though. She felt the gift would return as it had with her mother. The voices and smells were there supporting them both and guiding her mother home. Her photography played an important part in her healing and getting to know her new surroundings. The comfort of focusing on something concrete helped her stay positive. She had remembered coming to the town of her new home as a child to visit relatives but could never remember the specifics of where or who, only that the visits stopped when she was six years old. She decided that if she became familiar with her surroundings, maybe the fifty-two year old memories would return.


She spent the evenings with her husband, watching their Monday shows. After eating they would watch the recorded shows. At nine o’clock they would watch their nightly shows together. This routine varied slightly during the week. After watching the recorded shows she would watch her shows on Lifetime Movie channel or Food Network channel. Her husband would watch the recorded late night’s shows from the night before.


She was having what she calls a “down period.” She would have very little energy and slept almost around the clock except to take out her dog. She had been doing this through most of her treatment. She would spend a day walking and photographing then having to sleep a few days away. She kept hoping that it would resolve once treatment had finished. She was trying to stay positive. She was hoping the gift would return. She was hoping to feel the past family support again. She is still waiting. Five years later. Why isn’t what we have enough?


This post is 10 year since my last treatment for cancer. I want people to remember to look for the positive in life and in death. Yes, even death can be a positive, when one in trapped in a body that causes pain daily and doesn’t allow you to walk. It set you free to walk without pain. Death doesn’t mean you want it to come before its time but the understnading that when it is time you will greet it as a old friend and release yourself to freedom it offers with grace and dignity. Life is a cycle we all go through, we are born, we live, we die. What we make of that time is what we choose to be remembered by. I want to be remembered as a person who met life head on with a positive mental attitude, strength, love and caring for all who touched my life. Even those who touched it briefly in a time of crisis.


Day Lilly

Day Lilly

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2015 New England Geneablogger Bash

Manchester By The Sea


This beautiful cove greeted my niece Abby Junkins and myself as we near or day’s destination. The 2015 Geneablogger Bash hosted by Elizabeth Pyle Handler and Steven Handier.

Heather Rojo Wilkinson’ Blog Nutfield Genealogy 12 Sept 2015, provides a group photo of those in attendance:

Russ Worthington- Family Tree Maker User, Erica Voolich- Erica’s Adventure in Genealogy, Barbara Matthews- The Demanding Genealogist, Elizabeth Pyle Handler- From Kentucky to Maine, Pam Carter- My Maine Ancestry, Diane MacLean Boumenot- One Rhode Island Family, Pam Seavey Schaffner- Digging Down East, June Stearns Butka- New England Roots

Also in attendance was Elizabeth’s husband, Steven Handler and my niece Abby Junkin’s (my ride and photographer of the day.) We missed those who were unable to attend.

We participated in a pot luck meal of New Jersey Cooler Corn,Rhode Island Pastries, , Maine Red Snapper Hot Dogs, Homemade Boston Baked Beans, just to mention a few dishes of the day.


Boston Baked Beans


Conversations about blogging, books, possible cousin connections and plans for future endeavors were happily creating memories for future blogs, while watching the active harbor of kayaks, sail boats, motor boats and listening for the train that stops a short distance away in West Manchester.

Thank you all for the great past and present memories shared.

A stately greeting

A stately greeting








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Preparing for Research Trips-My way

1st Five Generation Ancestry Tree

1st Five Generation Ancestry Tree

I have posted on Facebook that I have been reviewing my family tree so that I will have an idea of where I need to expand my research. Bright Shinny Objects and who belongs to who has side tracked me more than once. I decided I needed to figure out a way to note someone as a direct relative at a glance. The screen shot above is my first five generations.  This should help when I go to a repository during my research trips.

You can see who my direct lines are by the darker photo on each generation. That photo will stay as the profile photo from now on. I may add other photos to people in the future, but will not change my direct line photo. The direct line photo has multiple purpose for me. Here is the photo I created.

Tree Under Review Contact me for Sources

Tree Under Review
Contact me for Sources



  1. It tells me at a glance it is my direct line
  2. It tells me when I have more than one direct line under the same surname (see photo below)
  3. It tells people who look at my tree that it is under review
  4. It tells people to contact me for sources if the need it
  5. If people contact me for sources, I can determine if they will be a cousin line that I might need information on
Emery multiple direct line in each generaton

Emery multiple direct line in each generaton

This photo shows where several I have several direct lines in one generation.

The other thing I did, besides enter information into my excel research log and family tree, was to create index cards for each direct line surname. I then photographed them to keep on my IPhone for my research trips. If they are in the photo section of my phone I do not require access to a computer to capture the information I may need. If they have internet I can access my Ancestry tree for more details. In either case I have enough information at my fingertips research my direct line.

Abbee Line (1)

Abbee Line (1)

The index card includes birth/death date, place of birth/death, and spouse of my direct line, sometimes noted for 2 spouses if both spouses have a direct line child, and if they died in the service of their country, I note that instead of place of death. The reason is I will probably not find any other family members in that place. I most likely have already recorded their service record in my file. If I haven’t it is a red flag to search for military records.

This index card answers several of my research questions at a glance.

  1. When they were born
  2. Where they were born
  3. Who the parents are
  4. Who they married
  5. Where they died
  6. When they died
  7. Who is the direct line child

It tells me where I may have blanks that need research. Isaac Abbee is missing a place of death. Susan Swetland is missing date of death and place, this indicates a possible remarriage with a different surname. If you notice on the index card that I did not indicate place of birth and death for the spouse. That information is on their direct line surname index card.

So I need to fill in the blanks. Try to answer the Why, Where in (sources), What and How questions. In other words fluff out the story of my ancestors.

I am now ready to begin my research trips. I just need to grab my research bag with portable scanner, more blank index cards, research log,  oh, wait a minute, all of that is now in my IPhone. What a great invention. It allows me to scan (photograph), take notes, and look up my research notes at a glance when internet service is or not available. My large backpack of a research bag has now been downsized to the size of a wallet. Did I mention the GPS mapping capability of the IPhone? I should have for two reason: I can find where I’m going and I can enter the coordinates for my cemeteries or ancestor’s home when I take the photograph.

I am one happy person ready to begin my research.



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Happy Father’s Day, Nelson William Stearns: My Paternal lineage


Nelson William Stearns

Nelson William Stearns

Nelson William Stearns: My father

Birth 08 Apr 1930 in New London, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Death 12 Aug 1988 in Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine, USA

Nathan Augustus Stearns

Nathan Augustus Stearns

Nathan Augustus Stearns: My grandfather

Birth 01 Aug 1887 in Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Death 20 Sep 1951 in Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Mason Stearns: My great grandfather

Birth 1 Mar 1854 in Goffstown, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Death 9 July 1935 in Newbury, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Augustus Stearns: My 2nd great grandfather

Birth 26 Jul 1832 in Colebrook, Coos, New Hampshire, USA

Death 14 Feb 1881

Nathan (2) Stearns: My 3rd great grandfather

Birth 02 May 1801 in New Hampshire, USA

Death 15 Apr 1877 in Goffstown, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Nathan Stearns: My 4th great grandfather

Birth 22 July 1761 in Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Death Abt. 11 May 1813 in service of War 1812 in barracks of “fever,” Captain Mills Co.

John Stearns: My 5th great grandfather

Birth 17 Feb 1728 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Death 02 Oct 1810 in Amherst, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Zachariah Stearns: My 6th great grandfather

Birth 06 Feb 1702 in Bedford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Death 1795 in Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

John Stearns: My 7th great grandfather

Birth 1675 in Massachusetts

Death 14 Jun 1734 in Lexington, Massachusetts, USA

Isaac (2) Stearns: My 8th great grandfather

Birth 06 Jun 1631 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Death 29 Aug 1676 in Lexington, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Isaac Stearns: My 9th great grandfather

Birth 31 Oct 1595 in Nayland, Suffolk, England

Death 19 June 1671 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA


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Dysentery and the Civil War

Claudius B Abbe

Claudius B Abbe

Photo given me by Brenda Robertson in 2011

My 3rd great grandfather, Claudius Buchanan Abbe, died from the number one killer of the Civil War, Dysentery. That is correct, the #1 killer in the Civil War was not due to enemy fire, but to a disease caused by unsanitary conditions our soldiers lived in.

The numbers listed below are staggering for both the North and the South.

Dysentery and Dirrhea

Dysentery and Diarrhea: Civil War #1 Killer

If our soldiers hadn’t died from dysentery, the side effects from the treatment may have been just as bad. Just read the last paragraph from the chart above. I think you would agree with my opinion.

FYI: other disease our Civil War ancestors died from included; Typhoid Fever, Ague “Swamp Fever”, Yellow Fever, Malaria, Scurvy, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Smallpox, ant others to a lesser degree including Chicken Pox, Scarlet Fever, Measles, Mumps and Whooping Cough.

What caused the diseases? Poor hygiene, garbage in camp, filth from camp sinks, overcrowding, exposure to all types of weather, improper and inadequate diet, spoiled food, bugs, lack of surgeons and impure water.  Many of our rural soldiers were like the Indians when colonist first started to arrive, they had no immunity to the diseases. It was the first time to be exposed to large groups of people.

I give honor to those ancestors who suffered not only the emotional separation from family, sometimes fought against family, seeing a brethren die at their side, and the horrid living conditions they lived in to stand strong in their beliefs.

All wars have the same emotional stress and to some degree difficult living conditions. They may not be the same type of illness in more modern wars as those from the Civil War, yet they still take the lives of those Standing Strong in their beliefs. Giving the “Ultimate Sacrifice” as Abraham Lincoln stated, to protect our freedoms.


This Memorial Day, celebrated on 25 May 2015, I stand in honor and salute all who “Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice.”

Honour to All!

Honour to All!


Claudius B Abbe Family Tree

Claudius B Abbe Family Tree

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