A-Z Challenge: I is for Informant and Individual

I is for Iris
I is for Iris


I is for Informant and Individual.

I will be posting about the prompts that Angler’s Rest Julie Goucher listed for April 2015 A-Z April Challenge on Damegussie.wordpress.com Blog.


Informants are an important part of our genealogy work. They are usually a participant or observer at the time of an event. The closet to actual time of our ancestors. That doesn’t mean the information they provide is correct.

I consider informant information as clues that need to be supported or disproved by other records available, before I consider them facts.


There are questions I need to ask myself about an informant that gives me a level of validity to their statements.

  1. How are they connected to the person/people/place of the event?
  2. How do they benefit from the information provided?
  3. How would the event affect them emotionally?
  4. How would they know the information being provided?


If they are related to the people, it would make their information a little stronger. Keeping in mind that if they can benefit from what they provide could weaken the strength of the same information (wills, parentage, financially.) Maybe they don’t want their true age revealed or they are a child out of wedlock or maybe they don’t want to be related to a criminal. Are they protecting someone? Is there a divorce, children, step children, or other relatives that could affect the statement of information?

Emotions play a part in how clearly we think. If we are grieving our thoughts get cloudy. How many times have you seen a death notice or record with the wrong name? I have even called a person by the wrong name just in talking with them, even though I know them. Errors happen. It is a fact of life.

How would they know the information? Family lore? Records? Personal? All provide different validity values.

Bottom line is gather the information, know the informant reasons for providing the information, whenever possible. Seek alternate ways to confirm or disprove the information.

I am an individual
I am an Individual

I is for individual.


I am an individual, a unique person in my own right.

You may see me differently from what I see myself. That is okay.

I am who I am. I accept who I am.

If you accept as I am that is even better.

Don’t worry about everyone else. They are feeling the same insecurities you are. We are more alike than not.

Be yourself!

Get to know yourself!

Accept Yourself!

Love yourself!


A to Z Challenge: G is for Goals and Gifts

#AtoZChallenge G is for Goals and Gifts

The In Deep with the Book of Me prompts by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest

Day Lilly
Day Lilly: My Gift of Beauty for you

My goals for 2015 were:

A Positive Mental Attitude: Check

Listen to my body: Pace myself in all I do; Most of the time

Exercise in moderation: check

Make intelligent choices in my diet: 90% of the time

Make informed decisions: check

Improve my genealogy skills: check, ongoing

Accept what I cannot change with grace: most of the time

Spend more time with family: Virtually at least with Skype, visit planned for warmer weather, check

Encourage and support my family and friends in their choices: check, I may not always agree, but I will be there for them

Most of all Enjoy every moment life has to offer: CHECK, CHECK & CHECK

It looks like I made approachable New Year Goals. In staying with my goals, I have been given the GIFTS of LOVE and KNOWLEDGE.

Love of family and friends

Love of Genealogy

Love of History

Love of Self

Knowledge of new family members past and present

Knowledge of improved genealogy skills

Knowledge of history giving a sense of my ancestors lives

Let me introduce you to the “G’s” in my family tree. Say Hello to:

James Georg(e) 1637-1706, my 8th great grandfather through my father’s mothers paternal line

Samuel George 1665-____, James’ son

Hannah George 1694- ____, Samuel’s daughter

Robert Goodale 1604- 1682, my 10th great grandfather through my mother’s mothers maternal line

Isaac Goodale 1633-1679, Robert’s son

Isaac Goodale Jr 1670-1739, Isaac’s son

Abigail Goodale 1708-1770, daughter of Isaac Jr

Elizabeth Goodwin, my 8th great grandmother though my mother’s mothers maternal line

Ann Grant 1637-1718, my 7th great grandmother through my father’s fathers paternal side

Deborah Grant 1637-1666, my 8th great grandmother through my father’s fathers maternal line

Alice Gratham 1599-1646, my 10th great grandmother through my father’s mother’s maternal line


Sources supplied upon request.

The surnames are from my Ancestry.com Family Tree, “The Stearns Family Tree #59399431”


New Goal: How to you find your Public Ancestry Tree without logging in, so others can view it?

A-Z Challenge: B is for Bonding and Birthday Books

B is for Bonding
B is for Bonding and Birthday Books

The A-Z Challenge ( #AtoZchallenge ) I will be participating in was created by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest. She has provided daily prompts for the month of April giving us Sundays off, totaling 26 days, the same number in the alphabet.

B is for Bonding and for Birthday Books.

Bonding in the genealogical world isn’t just for joining one family to another that is related. It is a special bond that family researchers and genealogists share. The challenge of the chase to find that long lost ancestor, the excitement when you find the proof they are yours and the Happy Dance when the connections are made.

We share it through our blogging, Hang outs on Air and in the Genealogy Conference we attend. While most people are watching what they call reality TV-Survivor, Big Brother or Amazing Race, we are watching Real TV about celebrities connecting with their ancestors- Finding Your Roots, Who Do You Think Your Are or Genealogy Roadshow. We can even bond with them, like I did when Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were linked as cousins from a common ancestor that is mine as well. They may never know I am a cousin, but that doesn’t matter. It is real people with real ancestors that matter.

Bonding through sharing your knowledge, supporting new comers to genealogy and learning improved methodology from the experts that is the ties that bind.

Wedding Day 1946
Eleanor & Scotty’s Wedding Day 1946


B is for Birthday Books.

My Aunt Eleanor started a birthday book when she first married in 1946. She shared it with me, allowing me to copy it. I was able to connect names with birthdays and photographs creating a perpetual Birthday Calendar, instead of a book, to give as a Christmas gift. I have been adding each new member through marriage or birth, noting the divorce of a marriage that didn’t survive today’s stresses and the deaths of beloved family members, as they made the final journey to their Heavenly Home.  I call the calendar my Special Day Journal. It includes birthdays, engagements, anniversaries and death dates.

Our lineage and genealogical documentation continues daily with the adding and subtracting of family members.


1. Butka, June (Stearns), Merrimack, New Hampshire. Interview by June Stearns Butka, 3 April 2015, transcript, Privately held by June Stearns Butka, Address for private use, Merrimack, New Hampshire.

2. Stearns-Butka Family Collection, Privately held by June Stearns Butka, Address for Private use, Merrimack, New Hampshire, United States, 2015

Photo rights reserved. Request permission from June Stearns Butka

Special Day Calendar
Special Day Calendar

A to Z Genealogical Challenge: Analysis Is Key

Analysis is Key
Analysis is Key


The A-Z Challenge ( #AtoZchallenge ) I will be participating in was created by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest. She has provided daily prompts for the month of April giving us Sundays off, totaling 26 days, the same number in the alphabet.

Analysis is key in everything we do from making decision in our personal life to our genealogy research.

It doesn’t matter if it is who you are adding to your address book, place to eat, where to live, or decide to have children or not; following you ancestors trail, analysis is involved. You create a list that may include different titles: pros and cons, correct or incorrect, agree or disagree, found not found; it is still a form of analysis.

Julie’s Challenge has two parts, a Genealogical A-Z list and a Book of Me Medley. We can chose to do one or both.

I’m choosing both because I feel they overlap. In genealogy we start with ourselves. The Book of Me is about me, so that is my genealogy and history in the making. I shall record it. However not all of what I record will be posted in my blogging. It will be available for private viewing for my family and future generations to see. I will maintain the privacy of those living.

The graphic above includes my Genealogy Analysis process in the boxes. I also have discussed my approach to decisios and analysis in my Genealogy Do Over.

See post links:

Welcome 2015 with Open Arms

Genealogy Do-Over Day 4: Update

And several others on my blog.

Today’s post will focus on the “Medley” part of Julie’s challenge.

The Book of Me Medley “A” is for Address Book

Address books of times past provide who is in your F.A.N. Club (Family, Associates and Neighbors.) I must admit upon recently reviewing my address books for Thomas MacEntee, of Geneabloggers fame,  #GenealogyDoOver, I forgot many of the names listed from my  New Jersey (20 & 30’s) address book.

I recently reviewed my address books, yes, I said books. I found my:

Red Hat Address Book (I remembered all in this book and found photos of most of them)

Teenage Address Book (I could easily remember them with the assistance of my school yearbooks)

My Address book when I lived in New Jersey (This was a challenge for me to remember everyone listed, more about why below)

My e-mail address book on 3 of my computers (I remembered the majority of co-workers and all my family and friends.)

The BIG question is why at the peak of my adult life (20-30 years of age) did I not remember my neighbors and associates? We all remember our family, they are hard to forget for many reasons.

I remembered all my co-workers and most of my neighbors listed in my address book until until was 26 years old. My husband remembered our college classmates better than I did, but the memories did return once jog.

So, what happened when I was twenty six? I gave birth to our second child in that year. The excitement of our first child, Tyna, was over shadowed by a difficult pregnancy resulting in bed rest for four months. Thankfully I had the assistance of my new friends helping me with care of our daughter. I say new friends because, in a two year time frame we moved away from my family in New Hampshire to New Jersey for my new husband, Michael’s new job at Bell Labs, I worked at my local obstetricians office 2 days a week and started a new job at the local hospital shortly before our first child was born, until I went on bed rest with the complicated pregnancy of our second child, Michael.

Here is the boring stuff and tidbit for future generations to ponder. Why was the pregnancy so difficult? It turns out that I have what is called a Bi-cuspid uterus. It is a uterus with two sides. How did we find this out? It was when I couldn’t naturally deliver my first child, Tyna, requiring a C-section (Cesarean section) to give birth. Tyna was a small baby at 5 pounds 1 ounce. She was born from the larger side of my uterus allowing her to be a full term delivery. It was on bed rest for the last month of my pregnancy with her.

Michael, it turns out was on the smaller side of my uterus. That meant once the uterus was filled it wanted to give birth. Michael was not developmentally ready to be delivered. We had many trips to the hospital for alcohol IV’s, Inter-venous therapy, to prevent his birth. The last month before birth they told me to just drink a bottle of Sangria in a half hour, it would help bring up my Blood count and give the same effect as the alcohol IV’s would in stopping the contractions. In the meantime my kidney (I only had one functioning kidney since the age of 13 years of age) decided it was not going to work. My blood pressure was off the charts, I was gaining weight, puffing up like a balloon, went into gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) and finally it stopped working all together, resulting in my going into the hospital to deliver Michael 5 weeks early. All the risks were given to us the major decisions were my life, the baby’s life and hopefully both our lives would be saved. My husband and I both agreed that the baby’s life should be the one to save.  Michael was born at 2 pounds 1 ounce, baptized in the hospital and Helicoptered out within two hours of birth to the local NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) in Newark, New Jersey.  I will not go in depth what he had to go through during his hospital stay and for years to come, other than to say, he was one of the LUCKY ONES, he survived and was discharged within one month of birth. Okay, we BOTH SURVIVED. We both were the Lucky ones. We had many things in our favor; one was to become, the caregiver of my neighbors two boys after school. She was one of the NCIC nurses, checking on us daily when she picked up her sons; Two, I was a nurse; three my son was taking the mother’s milk every two hours with much difficulty; four my boss was a doctor and five my family came down to help us move into a larger apartment. Thanks to my sister, Ellie, my Aunt Eleanor and my cousin Lilly the transition to the new apartment before bringing home our son was made easier.

Why couldn’t I remember my neighbors and associates? The next two years were spent between doctors’ offices, hospital stays, and constant evaluation of Michael’s development. We moved again to a duplex from an apartment that was in walking distance to Tyna’s Bi-lingual Kindergarten, closer to my work at the local hospital and a large yard for the children to play in.

That meant in Three years’ time we moved three times, had two children, the stress of a high risk child and another new job for me. My new job hours (11 pm to 7 am,) allowed either my husband or myself to be home with the children. Two years later, my husband was transferred the Bells Labs facility in Andover, Massachusetts. He left immediately to start his new job. We found a duplex in Derry, New Hampshire, a town I visited frequently in my youth; I felt like I was going home to family again. My parents and siblings lived in surrounding towns. I went back to New Jersey with our two children to close our apartment. We had two weeks before school started. I wanted Tyna not to miss any time at her new school. The last challenge was not being able to live in our new home until after Labor Day weekend, when the furniture would be delivered. The children thought living in a hotel for four days with a pool was fun.

In five years’ time I moved away from my family, shortly after marrying my husband Michael, to an unknown area, no family, no friends, had two high risk pregnancies, two jobs and moved four times. Is it any wonder I can’t remember many of those who connected with me during that time? I have flashbacks of faces, not always names, and places I have been, but until I settled down in Derry, New Hampshire, near family with the feeling of finding home again, did I start to have a better recollection of who my F.A.N. Club included.

FYI: That high risk NCIU infant just retired from the Air Force. Thank you Michael Joseph Butka for serving our country. You did us proud.

A is for Address Book
A is for Address Book: Savoring Life in my  Mid-Twenties



1. Butka, June (Stearns), Merrimack, New Hampshire. Interview by June Stearns Butka, 3 April 2015, transcript, Privately held by June Stearns Butka, Address for private use, Merrimack, New Hampshire.

2. Stearns-Butka Family Collection, Privately held by June Stearns Butka, Address for Private use, Merrimack, New Hampshire, United States, 2015

Photo rights reserved. Request permission from June Stearns Butka