Day of Rest-Sorta


Day of Rest-Sorta

I’m writing a quick blog about my usual “Day of Rest”, Sunday.

Sunday is the day I catch up on my Emails that was flaged during the week for review later. It is a day of checking in on my Facebook and Google + Groups, I joined. It is a day of scheduled scanning, sometime on my own and sometimes as part of the Facebook Group Sunday ScanDay .

Breakfast at my local eatery, Charlie’s Homestyle Diner, is time to enjoy the news of my community and the special of the day. In this case, Apple Stuffed French Toast, made from scratch.

Apple Stuffed French Toast
Apple Stuffed French Toast

Last Sunday I spent the day with family and Friends, playing Bingo. Janice won about $200, my sister Vickie sadly called bingo too late, my niece won $30 and I didn’t win but enjoyed the company of my loved ones.


Today’s goal are to stay home, relax, and catch up on Emails and social groups. Breakfast of Shredded Wheat, made like my Dad always had it; Run under hot water, drained and a pad of butter. Simple enough to bring back a fond memory of breakfast with my Dad, Nelson. Scan my husband’s photo album and cuddle up with Ninja Buddy.

The weather forecast for this last day of January 2016 is for temperatures in the mid-forties. Here in Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire at 11:20 am the temperature read 45 degrees on the overcast Sunday morning.

I end this post stating goals met, including 4 loads of laundry. It has been a productive morning since I awakened at 5:30 am. [A late start for me.] I will sit down with a lunch of homemade apple salsa, baked cranberry corn chips and a cup of hot spiced apple cider. Ninja Buddy is anxiously waiting for our cuddle time.

Enjoy whatever you decide to do today. Just remember to take time for family and self.



Finally Getting Organized with Dear Myrtle’s – Update


Finally Getting Organized with Dear Myrtle’s – Update

I'm Doing It!
I’m Doing It!

January has been a very busy month both Genealogy-wise and home commitments. Some weeks getting organized was harder to stay on task than others.  Here is a summary of my first month progress with some personal feedback. I will post the links to Dear Myrtle’s weekly Checklist and my blog post links.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 3rd-9th 2016 Checklist and Myrt’s confession

I was ahead of the game in week one. I completed most of the requirements in December; just ordering a few last minutes supplies. You can read about my progress on my blog Damegussie Genealogy Rants- Organized, Me? It might happen in 2016.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 10th-16th Checklist

I like Dear Myrtle have both paper and digital copies of my work. I do have a strategy for backing up my data; reducing my paper files to keeping only original documents and decluttering my e-mails, too.  I use a surname/maiden file backed up on my desk top, on-line tree and a copy sent monthly off site to my sister. That way there is always a back no older than one month if all other backups are lost. One can never predict the future, so like Girls Scouts and Boy Scout you should always be prepared.

Dear Myrtle speaks about the importance of cloud storage I’m using Google drive and Dropbox for my backups. I did win a Backblaze door prize, a year ago, at my local genealogical Society meeting. My husband chose not to put it onto my computer. He did feel comfortable using Google drive and Dropbox. I do have iCloud that that is used more for our smart phone photos. I already met my maximum allowed on the free program.

I use Legacy, FTM 2014, currently learning how to use Roots Magic 8 four my genealogy management programs I will continue using family tree maker 2014 is my primary program. I have been using Family Tree Maker since 2002 and more consistently since 2014.

I have my first five generations of direct ancestors completed as per challenge of dear Myrtle a year ago. I am now working on feeling in the lateral family lines for the first three generations. I have done so in regards to basic information so that I now have the siblings, their spouses, their children, and date of birth, marriage dates, and death dates if appropriate. This will be continued as more information is found for each new family member. It is a never-ending process and building your family tree.

I have both three ring binders and digital file folders for all generations that include: family group sheet, any documents, and images of censuses. Photographs of importance. My confession is I had already done this in the past year with Thomas MacEntee’s genealogy Do Over/Go Over. Thomas now has a printed version available. Just click on his name for the link.

I scanned photos on a weekly basis for all generations that I come in contact with. Reviewing my old files weekly. Sometimes just 15 minutes in the morning scanning any new photos digitally to each surname/maiden name. This will be an ongoing process. I have received new photos from relatives that I never knew before existed. I’ve even blogged about finding a photo of me as a child with my parents that I had never seen before.

I have also created memory books yearly for the family, some are specific events, some are an overview of the year, and others are about my progress from the past year. The past year projects are social books from my Facebook and blog to print in regards to my Damegussie blogs. My family is not so much into the digital family history or family tree program; they just want the story.

My genealogy will has been completed. My daughter will be taking over my work. Her statement was I will do like you did I will keep it safe until I have the time in retirement continue on your work. Knowing my daughter, Tyna Butka, she will be adding little books of around along the way. My photos and other documents have been an archival safe containers since I first heard about them in the late 1980s early 1900s. It’s nice having a librarian as a friend.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 17th-23rd 2016

Transcribing everything is the Key! I continue transcribing any documents that I find in my possession, stories I remember, even as this blog talks about the artifacts need to be transcribed, so that future generations know the importance of a ring, a dining needle, or even a little skeleton key. Yes six skeleton key or even a railroad tie may have a story behind it I have written about both in my Damegussie blog over the years. I transcribed any documents into my family tree maker 2014 program, my Microsoft Word program for the person, and save a digital image of what I am transcribing. I follow basically the same set up that dear Myrtle describes in her January 17-23, 2016 blog post.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! 24th-31st Jan 2016 (sorta)

Finally getting organized week 24 to 31st of January 2016 was another easy week for me. I have been a beta indexer for about a year now. I browse any records more often than using an index. That’s how I learned there were no indexes when I first started using the Internet. An index does help find your ancestors more easily. Not all records have been index to date, volunteers are working daily to increase the numbers which is why it is important to be a volunteer indexer. I continue to update my records on my siblings their families as added or loss, both in digital and family datasheet binders.


What did I learn? I learned a great deal about my sister’s husband side of the family, my husband’s cousins, and even was surprised to find more information on myself on the Internet than I thought was out there. Yes myself. When you are researching it’s just as important to research oneself, as well as, the rest of your family. You never know what you will find.

A good example all something I found out about my dad, which I blogged about, was the name of the young man that accidentally my dad while hunting in the woods. His name was Luis M. Putney. I found that through in a newspaper article about a Waltham young man with charges being brought against him for abandonment. Don’t just look in the town where your family or ancestors lived. Look elsewhere as well. Elizabeth Shown Mills said it best, the F.A.N principle; friends, associates and neighbors. You never know how they are related or intersect your life.

I’ve given you links to not only dear Myrtle’s finally getting organized checklist so that you may follow along and do your own getting organized. I’ve also given you the links to what I blogged about. It is another source, another way of backing up the information of your family and ancestors in your family tree. I find my families reading more of my stories, then they did of my genealogy blogs.

Check out your family stats. It is fun to see what months they were born, their zodiac sign or what year (century) they were born in.

Birth and Zodiac Signs
Birth and Zodiac Signs

They want to hear about the child that died and you still remember; the day your father/grandfather was shot; the first wedding ring of your mom/aunt/grandmother; or maybe even about a ceramic lower and white cat sitting on the shelf of your aunt carries home when you were a little kid that you weren’t allowed to touch. Why couldn’t you touch the May ask, it was a urinal. Yes a urinal for my uncle Wilson. Now I’ve made you smile. Go find your stories and transcribed them for future generations and make them smile.


New England Roots

Organized, Me? It might happen in 2016

De-cluttering = Disencumbering Your E-mails, too!

The K.I.S.S Method of genealogy-My Way!

Snapshot of my Family Stats

Shooting in the Woods: He made it out alone!

Teenagers and Haunted Places


Teenagers and Haunted Places


Phelps Mansion
Phelps Mansion

Phelps Mansion, Stratford, Connecticut demolished in 1972

Pre-teens and Teenagers always seem to migrate to scary places. Sometimes it is intentional to scare their friends. Sometimes some “strange” things happens to them.

My inbox greeted me with the article from my husband, Michael D. Butka, who lived in the area of Stratford, Connecticut. I will allow him to tell his story when he is ready.

It reminded me of my youth in Saugus, Massachusetts. Our family was temporally staying with my Aunt Eleanor [Stearns Duncan] and cousins, Lillian May Duncan and Jean Reid Duncan, after our house burned. Cousin being cousin we always shared ghost stories with each to see who could gave the best story. Sometime ones imagination can seem like reality. I was upstairs in the back bedroom I shared with my sisters, Vickie, Marjorie, Eleanor and baby Susan Stearns., look for my shoes under the bed.

I remember seeing a dungaree overall with a red plaid shirt rolled up into a ball. Thinking it was one of my sisters play clothes I reach to grab it. It moved, I felt a cold hand push me away. I pushed back thinking it was one of my sister’s or cousin playing with me. A cold chilly voice said leave him alone, we will leave you alone. I stood up walked downstairs; I confronted my sisters and cousins. I wanted to know who is playing games upstairs with me. I suddenly realized they were all downstairs. So who was upstairs?

I retold the story to my aunt and mother, Shirley Stearns Pease, who suddenly both became very pale. Strange reaction, I thought. My aunt then told me the tale of the house.

It was originally belonged to a mariner and his wife. She was a fouled mouth mean old women, it is told, and that finally had enough of her husband’s antics. She took the kitchen butcher knife and sliced off his ear. He died shortly after. Rumor be told that the house was haunted by the mariner and his wife.

I was not convinced of the truth of this story. I did return to our upstairs back bedroom that night. I was awakened in the middle of the night feeling cold hands around my neck. It was my sister sleep walking. She was trying to strangle me for blaming her for something I did that day. At least that is what my mother told me.

That was the last time I slept in the upstairs bedroom. I slept on the couch in the living room until we moved to our own home. This was in 1969. My aunt and cousin continued to live there. My cousin Lillian still does. The back bedroom is used only as a storage room.

Teenagers, imagination and ghost stories can create for an interesting story. Don’t you agree?

Maybe I should do a Historical house genealogy on that home in Saugus, Massachusetts.

From A Distance: The Challenger Remembered 30 Years Later

From A Distance They Soared High: The Challenger Remembered 28 Jan 1986 – 28 Jan 2016. It has been thirty  years since the Challenger Tragedy. The History Channel Challenger Disaster Video 

They saw the earth from above. They were the voice of Hope.  The view of Education. They lives touch us all in that one moment in history.

My heart still aches for all who lost a loved one on the day. This was not the first time that a historical event touched our hearts and soul. Yet, I feel it touched more of our core to a greater extant than just watching famous people. These were our friends our, neighbors, our teacher, someone we knew in our day to day lives. In my case, Christa McAuliffe, once was a favorite teacher to my sister, Susan Ruth Stearns. I remember Sue’s voice, a voice of tears, sadness, almost a whisper from unbelievable shock.

Christa McAuliffe continues her teaching through the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.

Wikipedia provides a better history than I can give. My emotions are still blocking my expressing my feelings.

The Challenger Disaster
The Challenger Disaster Movie Poster

Snapshot of my Family Stats


I decided that I wanted to review My Heritage online Family Tree. The new Roots Magic program I’m learning does web searches for Family Search and My Heritage. When I looked at my status for My Heritage I thought I was in good shape.

Snapshot of my Family Stats
Family Stats My Heritage Family Tree

That is until I looked closer.

Oldest Person
Oldest Person is who?

I didn’t recognize the name of the oldest person list in my family tree. Never mind that the person is 115 years old. Two RED Flags that something is wrong and needs more research.

If that wasn’t enough of a RED flag look at the image below

How many years difference in age?
How many years difference in age? 

273 year age difference? I don’t think so.

In 2015 I did my first five direct line generations. My goal was to those same generations collateral lines.

Here is my dilemma; continue with my original goal or follow the bright shinny object to correct the obvious problems in my tree? How did they get there to begin with?


1. Continue with my original goal. It is best to have five solid first generations, including the collateral lines.

2. Review one Red Flag each day entering it into a Research To Do List for future research. If it is a quick fix , I will update it correctly. Good chance I put the wrong year in the program back when I first started using My Heritage.



Shooting in the Woods: He made it out alone!


Shooting in the Woods: He made it out alone! Part 1

My father always told us the story of how he returned from serving his county without being shot once and his first time out hunting he is shot in the hand. He returns home, decides to go hunting for food. He lived in the rural area of New Hampshire called Sutton Mills, a suburb of Concord, Merrimack, New Hampshire. In the 1950’s they didn’t think twice about going hunting alone on their own property or the woods surrounding them. Dad, Nelson William Stearns, did just that, went hunting along. [Big mistake on his part.]

Dad told us that while he was scoping out a deer, he was shot by a young lad first time out hunting. The lad ran off leaving my dad bleeding from his [right] hand. Dad found his way out of the woods. If he told us how, I don’t remember. He made it to the hospital. He had surgery on his hand. [More about that surgery in another blog] He was told he would never use that hand again. They didn’t know my father. He learned how to use it. He became a mechanic and what he called himself a “Jack of All Trades.” He continued hunting, teaching others how to hunt safely [bright colors a must in the woods,] doing what ever needed to be done.

I found one of the articles I was searching for in regards to shooting listed on Genelaogy Bank. I used the search “Nelson Stearns” exact in their data base. It show 715 archives results. I narrowed the search by adding the years 1930-1988 showing 22 newspaper articles and 7 probate result. The 15th article was about a young boy of 19 years being faced with charges of abandoning a man he shot in a hunting accident.

I now know the name of the man my father always said he felt sorry for, Louis M. Putney from Willow St., Waltham, Massachusetts. Dad mentioned that the young man must be badly traumatized for accidentally shooting a person while hunting. He hoped the young man learn the importance of hunting safely; would return to hunting. It would be a sad thing if he didn’t. My father was a forgiving man. He never held any ill feeling towards that young man.

My father returned home from the army unharmed in the spring of 1955 to his young wife, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns and 18 month old daughter, June Lee Stearns. When dad was shot, my mother was 6 months pregnant with twins. You will have to wait for the rest of the story in Part II. [It might be a little while before it is posted. I need to find the other news article about the surgery.]

Shot in the Woods
Shot in the Woods

Monday, December 5, 1955   Our Town, Boston Traveler (Boston, Massachusetts)   Page: 43, Para 4

Waltham- A Waltham youth faces charges of abandoning a man who was shot in a hunting accident. Lois M. Putney, 19, of Willow St., will be given a hearing Wednesday in New London District Court, New London, N.H. [New Hampshire]

A conservation officer said Putney left the scene of the accident yesterday in woods on Sutton, N.H. [New Hampshire,] without aiding Nelson Stearns, 26, of Sutton Mills.

Stearns is reported to have suffered a hand wound when Putney mistook him for a deer. The wounded man made his way alone out of the woods and to a hospital. Putney is free in $500 bail.

This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source:



“Our Town, Monday, December 5, 1955,” Boston Traveler (Boston, Massachusetts), electronic newspaper, archived, ( accessed 27 Jan 2016), p. 43, col. 1, para. 4.

Nelson and Shirley Stearns
Nelson and Shirley Stearns

Nelson and Shirley’s wedding photo in a hand carved, interlocked frame made by Nelson William Stearns, the man who could ever use his hand again. [No nails or glue used in the making of the frame.]