Saturday, June 28, 2008

Blogger Summit Happening Now!

I'm sitting in the Gen-Blogger Summit at the SCGS Jamboree listening to some of the most popular and well-known names in genealogy blogging. Very exciting!

More later - I don't want to miss anything while I'm live-blogging!

Check out my Twitter updates to follow the action at Jamboree ( button in the upper left).

Friday, June 27, 2008

One of Those Weeks?

Ever have one of those weeks? The ones where everything happens, everything is due, everyone calls or visits?

I've had two of those weeks in a row, and I'm working on my third. My daughter finally figured out how to climb out of her play yard; the crib will be next - very soon - and then it will be all over for me.

But on the bright side, I'm on my way to the SCGS Jamboree right now! I hope to see some of my genea-blogger favs there, and will try to keep you all posted on the action!

For now, we're stuck in LA traffic on the 101 freeway. Sigh. Hopefully not another one of those days.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Creatures Great and Small (Mostly Small)

If a love of animals is passed on through the DNA, then it would explain why I've always had some sort of pet. Cats, dogs, goldfish, guinea pigs, hamsters, turtles... you name it, I've probably had one. Or more.

The following are photos of a few of our family pets:

Lucky was my father's beloved boyhood companion for a number of years. He now has a Welsh Corgi, a Cocker Spaniel, and about 7 cats. At least, that was the last count.

For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of this cat. I do remember that she was a Siamese, and had blue eyes that I think were crossed. My grandmother always had one or more cats; even the neighborhood cats hung out at her house because she put out food for them... just in case they were hungry. Unfortunately, I discovered that I was allergic to cats when my eyes swelled up and itched like crazy every time we went to visit my grandparents.

I've had about 5 dogs in my lifetime, but Pepper was my first. He was a bit odd, but loyal and loveable, nonetheless. He is pictured here getting a bath in a tub that's just a few sizes too small. And yes, my shirt really does say, "Shake Your Booty." It was the '70s.

Reilly lives with us now. I adopted him in 1999 from the animal shelter when he was about three months old. He was my "baby" until my daughter came along. He doesn't much like his new position in "the pack," unfortunately.


"Dad and Lucky," (ca. 1952). Photograph. Privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal.

"Reba Dunn Swanay and Cat," (ca. 1973, Rialto, Riverside Co, California). Digital Image. Privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal.

"Pepper and Me," (July 1977, El Toro, Orange Co., California). Photograph. Privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal.

"Reilly," (September 11, 2007, Lompoc, Santa Barbara Co, California). Digital Image. Privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Celebrating Father's Day

This morning, we got up early so my daughter could share some time with her Daddy before he went to work. She carried his gift to him, but didn't want to give up the bag (what is it with toddlers and giving things to people?). They opened Daddy's cards and read them together (pictured above), and then Daddy had to leave for work. Thankfully, he decided to come home and work instead so he was able to spend much of the day playing with his little girl.

This afternoon, we called Grandpa (my father) on the computer and had a video chat for a while so he could see how much his granddaughter has grown. My daughter waved and said "hi," meowed at the cats, "arf'd" at the dog, and made faces at her "Auntie" (my stepsister), until she decided to run off and play. Dad and I chatted for a while afterwards, looking at old family photos and trying to figure out who was in the pictures.

It was a quiet Father's Day, but it was good to spend time - real and virtual - with the two fathers who matter most to me.


"My Daughter and Her Daddy," (Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal, June 15, 2008). Digital Image. Privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal.

"My Father and Me," (November 1963, Location Unknown). Photograph. Privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, June 13, 2008

Scoundrels, Saints, & Spice at the Santa Barbara Co. Genealogical Society!

Bonnie Raskin will be the featured speaker at the Saturday, June 21, 2008 meeting of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.

Her talk, entitled "A Tale of Three Orphans," will spotlight the amazing research and discovery journey that began when three children appeared out of nowhere on a 1930 Sheridan, Wyoming, Census.

Additionally, Mel Sahyun will provide an illustrated tale of "Dick Dowell, Santa Barbara's Frontier Lawman."

The meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m., at the First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Avenue at State Street. Please park in the upper lot off of Constance. There is plenty of free parking, and the facility is handicapped-accessible.

Special Interest Groups start at 9:30 a.m., and are a great way to start your morning. Come early and plan to participate in a group and enjoy refreshments and coffee.

Contact Programs Chair, Mary E. Hall at, for more information and to arrange to present your saint or scoundrel or spice at the June program.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

John Andrew Pado: Loving Life and Family

John Andrew Pado, my husband’s great-grandfather, was born on March 25, 1887 in Czechoslovakia to parents Michael Pado and Mary Gades. He was the 3rd son to be named “John” – his two older brothers were each named John before him, but both died in infancy. His other siblings were: Michael (born March 3, 1883; died September 12, 1951), George (born October 3, 1895; died May 1969), Andrew, Anna, Mary, and Susie.

John’s formal education lasted only a few days. As a result, he never learned to read or write, either in Czech or in English. His early years were spent working in the stables of a local Count.

In May 1910, John married Anna Susan Bires in Czechoslovakia. Their first child, Mary, was born November 26, 1911, also in Czechoslovakia.

To make a better life for his family, John left his wife and baby daughter to find work in America. He was first employed at a glass factory in Kane, Pennsylvania. His brother told him of the great job opportunities in Endicott, New York, so John relocated there shortly afterwards. He soon found employment at the tannery of the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company, where he was to work for the next 40 years.

Much of John’s earnings were sent back home to Czechoslovakia so his family could join him, but he was later to find out that his father was taking the money and spending it on himself instead! Because of this, it took John 3 years to save up enough money to bring his family to America. In 1914, they were finally reunited; Anna and Mary were on the last ship to America before the start of WWI.

Four more children were born to John and Anna:

  • Anna Marie, born April 10, 1916 in Endicott, New York; died February 2, 2007 in Melbourne, Florida.
  • John, born May 3, 1918 in New York; died May 1978 in Johnson City, New York.
  • Beverly, born November 26, 1928; died March 9, 2003 in New Jersey.
  • Two other daughters are still living.
John was a loving father and called his girls his “dollies.” He always carried candy in his pockets for his children, and later his grandchildren.

Although unable to read or write, John went to night school to learn about America and become a United States citizen. The 1930 U.S. Census shows his status as PA, or “papers filed.” He was so proud to become an American. (Note: Anna is listed as AL or “alien” in the 1930 Census.)

The Great Depression was financially difficult for the family, as it was for most families. John never trusted banks afterwards, and kept the family’s savings in the brass bedpost in his bedroom.

John was a happy and fun-loving man who loved his family and loved the Lord. His favorite thing to do was DANCE. He frequently took his wife and family to the Saturday night dances at church where they would dance and visit with friends.

He also enjoyed watching “cowboy shows,” such as The Lone Ranger, on television. However, he was always surprised when one of the characters died in one episode and came back to life in the next! “How could that happen?” he was known to ask.

John loved to work in his garden, and his vegetables were his pride and joy. One afternoon while John was away, his young grandson Bobby was playing in the garden while his aunt hung the laundry. When she finished, she found that Bobby had pulled up all of John’s prized pepper plants! Bobby’s aunt panicked, and quickly ran out to buy some replacement plants. When John came home, he was seen walking through his garden scratching his head, wondering how his plants became SMALLER while he was away!

Family members often described John as a “frustrated chemist.” He suffered from arthritis in his legs and desperately wanted to find something to ease his pain. He was often found mixing stinky concoctions, hoping to invent something would work. Unfortunately, he was not successful in his quest for a cure, and his wife was known to say that the smell emanating from the basement was awful!

He was also known to keep a jar of leeches, which he used on his neck and leg. Although the thought of this practice – known as “bloodletting” – scares our 21st century sensibilities, it was still used to some extent during John’s time. My husband still remembers seeing the jar of leeches when he was a young boy.

John died in February 1967 - shortly before his 80th birthday - in Endicott, New York, where he is also buried. He is missed and lovingly remembered by his family.

Many thanks to Pat, Joyce, Betty, and Ben for contributing their memories of John Pado to this article.



1930 U.S. Federal Census, Union Twp., Broome Co., New York, Roll T626_1408, ED 4-77, Sheet 13B.


John Andrew Pado, Photgraph, ca. 1940. Digital Image. Privately held by B. O'Neal, California, 2007.

Pado Family, Photograph, November 1936. Digital Image. Privately held by B. O'Neal, California, 2007.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Pass the Clorox, Please

NOTE: In light of yesterday's tragic midwest tornadoes, I decided to change the title of this post so as not to alarm anyone.

My daughter has been sick with a sinus infection for three days.

Like most moms, whenever one of us is sick, I tend to obsess about germs and turn myself into Monk until the worst is over.

So I found this little quiz tonight and I'm seriously disturbed to learn that:

2,516,640How Many Germs Live On Your Keyboard?
Do you suppose my keyboard would survive a good spraying with Clorox Cleanup?

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Giraffe Gets a Snack

"Giraffe Gets a Snack" (Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Co, California). Digital Image. Photographed by H. Aiwohi, June 2, 2008.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

DAR Flag Disposal Ceremony to be Held on Flag Day

The Captain Henry Sweetser Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) will be meeting on Saturday, June 14, 2008, at 10:30 a.m., in Santa Maria, for their annual Flag Day - Flag Disposal Ceremony and Pot Luck Luncheon. Members of the Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.) and Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) will also be attending.

Flags, like any other items made of fabric, are subject to wear and tear, but cannot simply be thrown out when they become tattered and unusable. The U.S. Federal Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 176(k) reads,

"The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."
Many patriotic organizations hold Flag Disposal ceremonies on Flag Day, and this ceremony has long been a tradition of the Captain Henry Sweetser Chapter Daughters.

For information about this meeting or the Daughters of the American Revolution, please visit the web site of the Captain Henry Sweetser Chapter DAR.

"Researching Probate Records and Analyzing Wills" at the San Fernando Valley Genealogical Society

"Genealogical Tips on Researching Probate Records and Analyzing Wills " will be the topic of speaker Randall J. Bunn at the Friday, June 20, 2008, meeting of the San Fernando Valley Genealogical Society, at 7:30 p.m., at the Balboa Mission Town Hall in Granada Hills.

Randall J. Bunn is an attorney currently working for the Department of Defense. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2005, where he spent his career as a judge advocate military attorney.

Mr. Bunn is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in History and Economics, and Wright State University with a Masters in Public History. He received his Juris Doctorate from Brigham Young University Law School and his Master of Laws in Government Procurement Law from George Washington University Law School. He is a member of the California and Utah State Bars, and was admitted to practice before the Eastern District of California, United States Court of Federal Claims, and the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Bunn has long had an interest in genealogy and family history research. He is the administrator of two family history sites on and is the chairman of one of his family organizations that has been having family reunions back to the early 1050s. He has family history interests in Oregon, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and North Carolina.

More information here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Young Love, Old Love

Being in love is easy when you're young and infatuated. It's not so easy when you've spent a lifetime together raising children, learning about each other, and living through life's ups and downs.

Married on October 2, 1917, in Greene County, Tennessee, my grandparents, Isaac Lee and Reba Dunn Swanay spent almost 70 years together. Almost. My grandfather passed away in 1986 and grandmother in 1987, so they didn't quite make it to 70. But they came closer than most us ever will.

The first photo was taken at an unknown family gathering in November 1917, so they were still newlyweds. The second photo was taken at their 60th wedding anniversary party in October 1977.

They were dealt some hard knocks, but they stuck it out. You don't see that kind of commitment very often these days.

Will I make it to my 70th anniversary? Not likely, unless I live to be 110. But I'll give it my best shot.


Isaac Lee Swanay and Reba Dunn Swanay, Nov. 1917, Greene Co, TN. Copy of original photograph privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal, CA.

Isaac Lee Swanay and Reba Dunn Swanay, Oct. 1977, Rialto, Riverside Co, CA. Original image privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal, CA.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

On "Being Irish"

What does "being Irish" mean to you?

This was the question posed in the 6th Edition, Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture, hosted at Small-Leaved Shamrock. Lisa has done a tremendous job of showcasing the many wonderful entries.

My entry about my Irish grandmother is here: To Be 100% Irish.

The 7th Edition, Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture involves a summer reading challenge, complete with homework. Tune in to Small-Leaved Shamrock for details!

Friday, June 6, 2008

To Be 100% Irish

Growing up, “Irish,” to me, meant leprechauns, shamrocks, pots of gold… basically things that were “magically delicious.” Ireland was just some far-away place, full of strange, mystical things.

My maternal grandmother was fond of telling me – often, and with great gusto – that she was “100% Irish.” I wasn’t sure what that meant. Was she was related to leprechauns? Did we have a pot of gold somewhere? Was I 100% Irish, too?

What was so special about being 100% Irish?

There was definitely something special about this to my grandmother. Although her parents did not come from Ireland, she was certain that her grandparents – maternal and paternal – did.

She kept a pot of shamrocks in her yard and frequently told the story of how they came from a real, Irish, shamrock plant in Ireland. Someone (I’m sure she told me who, but for the life of me, I can’t remember) hand-carried this shamrock cutting to America and gave pieces of it to various members of her family. She was so proud that her 100% Irish shamrocks were thriving under her care.

My grandmother was never able to tell me why it was so important to her to have this connection with her Irish heritage. For some reason, being 100% Irish was of great consequence to her, despite the fact that she knew so little about her ancestors. I was not able to understand this connection until I became interested in genealogy.

Doing the math (which I know is much more complicated than this), I can estimate that I’m about 26% Irish, give or take. My maternal grandmother – as you know – was 100% Irish, and my maternal grandfather was French-Canadian, making my mother approximately 50% Irish. My father’s family had been in America since before the Mayflower, in some cases, and although his mother’s Dunns may have hailed from Ireland, we have no proof, and it was a looooong time ago. So I gave myself an extra 1%, just in case.

But 26% (give or take) is still a pretty substantial amount. To say that I’m “one-quarter Irish” may not be as meaningful as my grandmother’s statement that she was 100% Irish, but it still matters, right?

Yes, it does. And I’ll tell you why it matters to me.

Many times on this blog, I’ve bemoaned the fact that I have very little information about my mother’s ancestors. Fathers abandoned their families, and no one spoke of them ever again. Personal papers were destroyed. Family photos were found in boxes and (non-archival) albums, decaying and unlabeled. Personal history books were left empty or incomplete.

Most of my maternal ancestors are strangers to me.

But this much I know: They were Irish.

And knowing this, it’s almost like I can reach back in time and touch them through their “Irishness,” like a golden thread connecting generations. We may be strangers, but we share a common connection to Erin… the Emerald Isle. Someday I hope to visit Ireland – to take my daughter to stand on the soil where her ancestors – her father’s and mine – once lived.

I may never know who they were, but at least I know where they came from.

And in some instances, I know why they came to America:

There were those who came over during the Great Potato Famine of the mid 1800’s. Others came in the 1890’s and found work on the railroads. Still others migrated to the Midwest and became successful farmers and land owners.

These are some of the classic stories that we learned in high school American History… stories that meant nothing to me when I was in high school, as I doodled in my notebook and daydreamed of boys.

But now I know. I know that my own, Irish, ancestors were part of some important moments in history.

I can imagine them coming to America on big steamships, probably cramped into steerage, joyous at beginning a new life, but at the same time sad to be leaving Ireland… their homeland.

I can imagine them trying to learn strange, new American customs, yet trying to preserve some of their own culture and heritage.

I can imagine the souvenirs and heirlooms they brought with them from their homeland, which have since been lost to time and carelessness.

And when I look at my grandmother’s pot of shamrocks – which now lives in my own backyard following her death – I can almost feel what it’s like to be 100% Irish.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Second Edition of "Forgotten Patriots" Released by NSDAR

New DAR Publication Highlights the Many Contributions of African Americans and American Indians in the Revolutionary War

WASHINGTON, DC – An unprecedented new publication highlighting the contributions of African Americans and American Indians in America’s War for Independence is now available from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

The second edition of Forgotten Patriots – African American and American Indian Patriots of the Revolutionary War: A Guide to Service, Sources, and Studies, published in May 2008 by the DAR, identifies over 6,600 names of African Americans and American Indians who contributed to American Independence and is a nearly five-fold expansion in pages over the 2001 edition. The 9" x 12" hardbound book with 872 pages contains details of the documented service of the listed Patriots, historical commentary on happenings of the time, an assortment of illustrations, and an extensive bibliography of research sources related to the topic.

As the title of the DAR publication suggests, the many contributions of African Americans and American Indians in the Revolutionary War have frequently been overlooked and have rarely been adequately recognized. Accordingly, Forgotten Patriots is a unique publication that offers an enormous amount of research and original sources, covers all regions during the years roughly from 1775 to 1783 and is distinctive in the fact that this variety of information is all compiled into one resource book. No other similar guide exists for the history of the participation of African Americans and American Indians in the Revolutionary War, which also includes an extensive bibliography referencing thousands of citations that can provide a roadmap for scholars, researchers and students seeking to discover even more information on the topic.

The book organizes its findings into chapters that include historical commentary, sources cited, names of identified Patriots and a bibliography directly related to each state and region of the country. Seven appendices are included to elaborate on topics not often addressed in other publications such as the challenges of documenting the color of participants in the American Revolution, using individual’s names as clues to finding Forgotten Patriots, the often discussed but never authoritatively verified number of minority participants in the Revolution, and information on how to contact the DAR with questions or to offer additional information and findings related to the topic.

While the majority of the content is reporting of fact as opposed to narrative, a number of interesting personal stories emerge as well. These stories provide insight into the individual aspirations, struggles and achievements of many other African American and American Indian Patriots for whom such documentation has been lost to time. DAR Library Director, Eric G. Grundset, Editor and Project Manager of Forgotten Patriots, describes in the book’s introduction the "rewarding, informative, and captivating" work on the project and intended goals for the publication."

Since its founding in 1890, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution has collected and published information about the American Revolution. Included in this tradition have been articles, grave markings, or placement of historical plaques that note the involvement of African Americans and American Indians in the struggle." He goes on to explain that the hope is that this book will have the additional benefit of also encouraging the female descendents of these patriots to join the important volunteer and educational work of the DAR.

The introduction also emphasizes that the expanded second edition of Forgotten Patriots is "an exciting step forward in helping to document a segment of the effort that resulted in the creation of the United States of America," but the work does not end with this publication. "Undoubtedly, there are many other minority patriots who remain undiscovered or for whom documentation does not yet exist." It is hoped that the information contained in the Forgotten Patriots book will stimulate further research by many people. A special collection at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., has been started that encompasses much of the documentation related to the subject of minority service in the American Revolution and is available to the public for research. "The DAR [also] welcomes additional information concerning any of the individuals identified in this publication or on others that have not been included," Grundset writes.

"The subject of this book is essential to the work of the DAR to document the history of the role of all individuals in the Revolutionary War and to preserve it for future generations," explains Grundset. "While the research to identify and document forgotten patriots will continue as part of the daily activities of the DAR, it is hoped that this work will spur others to undertake an examination of their ancestry and the rich heritage that has come to make up our great nation."

Forgotten Patriots – African American and American Indian Patriots of the Revolutionary War: A Guide to Service, Sources, and Studies is available for $35 (plus $8 S&H) from the DAR Store at or by calling 1-888-673-2732.

For more information about Forgotten Patriots and to read excerpts from the book, visit

Wordless Wednesday: Great-Grandpa Dagle with Flowers

"Great-Grandpa Dagle with Flowers" (Digital Image. Original in possession of Elizabeth O'Neal. Date and location of photo unknown.)

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

See the Bathing Beauties at the COG!

If you haven't already done so, you'll want to dive into the Carnival of Genealogy, 49th Edition: Suimsuit Edition!

You won't see ME, of course, but you will see a wide variety of lovely, memorable family photos and stories.

It's not Sports Illustrated, but I'm certain that you will enjoy it, nonetheless!

My entry in the COG is here: Back to the Beach: 1940's Suimsuit Edition, featuring my mother and her sister in the most stylish of 1940's era swimwear for children (shoes and socks included).

If you're feeling inspired, here is the skinny on the next Carnival of Genealogy:

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: family pets! Bring out those old photos of Snoopy, Garfield, Rex and Bob! Tell us the funny, charming, and cute stories about the pets you remember or remember hearing about. Introduce us to the furry, feathered, and scaly members who have a place on your family tree! The deadline for the next edition is June 15, 2008, and it will be hosted by none other than the flutaphone master himself, Bill West!
See you there!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Little Sweetheart!

My beautiful, little girl: I can hardly believe that today you are TWO!

You've brought such joy to your Daddy and me. Everyday, I'm amazed by the things you can do.

You're my little Smartypants, who can already operate the TV and DVD player, and loves to walk around in Mommy's shoes.

I love you, Sweetie, and I can't wait to see what the next year will bring.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal