Thursday, November 27, 2008

13th Edition, Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy

Welcome to the 13th Edition, Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy! I'm delighted that Jessica allowed me to be a guest host for this edition.

In honor of Thanksgiving, the topic for this edition is: "What resources are you thankful for in your Central/Eastern European genealogical research?" A resource could be a web site, book, family member... anything or anyone that has helped you with your research.

So after you have your Thanksgiving dinner, I hope you will gather around our virtual table and enjoy this “feast” of genealogical resources!


For our first course, Jessica Oswalt, shares A Couple Of Resources I'm Thankful For, posted at Jessica's Genejournal. Jessica is thankful for a family tree she found of her German Cotta ancestors, which leads to her maternal great-grandmother. She is also thankful for a kindly German woman who has been helping her with another German line. But most of all, Jessica is thankful for her living family members who can still offer insight into her German ancestors from Russia.

Next up, Stephen Danko presents Genealogical Resources for Which I Am Thankful, posted at Steve's Genealogy Blog. Steve has made great strides in researching his immigrant ancestors over the past decade, largely due to the resources of the Polish Genealogical Society of America, the Family History Library, and some special publications. Steve will be flying to Salt Lake City tonight after Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m sure we all wish him a safe and productive trip.

Al Wierz presents More Genealogy Books, posted at Al's Polish-American Genealogy Research. Al reviews four new-to-him books: “One is a translation guide, another is a Polish-English-Polish dictionary, and two of them deal with Kashubian-North American history and research.” Be sure to check out the comments section of Al's post, where a reader shares another valuable resource.

Miriam Robbins Midkiff presents I'm Thankful for These Genealogy Resources, posted at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors. Miriam highlights “four assets that have enriched my research life and brought me unexpected resources and treasures.” I loved Miriam’s description of the people at her local genealogical society. These folks are often taken for granted, and should definitely not be overlooked.

Sheri Fenley shares The Genealogical Source That I Am Most Grateful For, posted at The Educated Genealogist. Sheri is thankful for the “groovy” community of genea-bloggers who have helped her move ahead with her career plan and life. Sheri, let me be the first to say that your blog articles are never “crappy or boring,” and we’re so glad that you decided to join the little band of genea-bloggers this year!

Randy Seaver presents I'm thankful for my ancestors, and repositories, and the internet, and..., posted at Genea-Musings. In a clever carnival/meme two-fer, Randy shares his “seven cents” worth of resources for which he is thankful. Randy, I sure wish my packrat ancestors had left me some of genealogical treasures like yours did!

Susan Kitchens shares a fascinating book review, Towers of Gold: History of the man indistinguishable from history of the State of California, posted at Family Oral History Using Digital Tools [News]. In Susan’s words, this post is a “book review of a biography about a central-european Jewish immigrant to Los Angeles. It’s something that Jewish genealogists and California history enthusiasts should be thankful for. Um. I mean, be thankful about the BOOK, not the review. The book's author is the man's great great granddaughter. For this Californian shiksa, I found the book fascinating.” I found Susan’s review fascinating, and you will too!

David presents Carnival: What Resources am I thankful for, posted at Family History Tracing. David reminds us of the value of good, old-fashioned courthouse research: his parents recently hit a genealogical jackpot at the Scranton, PA, courthouse, helping David to finally knock down a few brick walls in his research.

Charles Hansen shares Resources I am Thankful for, posted at the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society Blog. Charles is thankful for the Washington State Digital Archives, which have updated and preserved some “old DOS databases” indexed by the EWGS. Members of the EWGS are asked to share what they are thankful for in the comments section of Charles’ post.

For our final course, Elizabeth O’Neal (me!), shares Thankful for the Memories, posted right here at Little Bytes of Life. I know very little about research in Slovakia, but I’m thankful that my mother-in-law is willing to share what she remembers.

And that concludes this Thanksgiving edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy. I can’t wait to try out some of the tasty morsels recommended by the terrific bloggers who contributed to this edition. Thank you to all of you for your participation!


Now it’s time for the Call for Submissions!

The 14th Edition, Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy will be hosted by Jessica at Jessica's Genejournal. The topic will be Christmas Traditions of Central and Eastern Europe. Participants do not have to have Central or Eastern European ancestry to participate. Submissions are due on December 21st, and the Carnival will be posted on December 23rd.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eight Things About Me-Me Meme

Msteri at Heritage Happens tagged me for the new-old meme, "Eight Things About Me." Thank you for thinking of me, Msteri!

Here are the rules:

*Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
*Write a blog post about these eight things and post these rules.
*At the end of the blog post, list eight people to get tagged.
*Leave a comment on their blogs telling them they have been tagged.

Ok, here goes...

1. I'm an only child.
2. I have a dog and 3 guinea pigs.
3. I've lived in California my whole life.
4. I was a music major in college (violin performance), but my degree is in Social Science.
5. I met my husband online.
6. I had my first (and only) child at age 42.
7. I'm a compulsive volunteer.
8. I don't like tomatoes, but I like tomato products (like salsa or spagetti sauce).

Now, on to share the fun with eight others who have hopefully not been tagged yet:

Cindy at In My Life
Sasha at Memory Lane
Elyse at Elyse's Genealogy Blog
Becky at Grace and Glory
Amy at Amy's Genealogy Blog
Debbie at Genealogy, Middle Age & Life
Amy at We Tree

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Monday, November 24, 2008

Confidential to Reader Pat in AR

Pat - I hope you're reading this!

You left a comment on my post Oh Baby: My Mom, but you didn't give me any way to contact you. Please leave your email address in a comment, or send a message to me directly.

I'd really love to connect and compare notes with you!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thankful for the Memories

I'll be honest: when it comes to researching my husband's Slovak ancestry, I have to admit that I'm short on resources.

So when I thought up the topic for this month's Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy, it was for mostly selfish reasons. I'm really hoping to pick up some tips from you experts out there!

You see, my husband's maternal gradmother was the first generation born in the United States, which means that researching generations beyond her means having to find resources in Czechoslovakia. And none of the remaining family speaks Slovak.

Also, my husband remembers hearing very few, if any, stories about his family's history while he was growing up. Apparently they were like my mother's family, and just didn't talk about things.

But here's what I am thankful for:

Our main source for researching this family has been my mother-in-law. She has a remarkably good memory for family stories and details, and when she doesn't remember something, she knows just who to call to find out. We're thankful for her good memory and hope to get as many of her stories recorded as possible!

I'm also thankful for the few tidbits we've found on We were able to pick up some hints in the U.S. census, and were able to find out a bit about my husband's grandparents and great-grandparents once they came to America. But beyond that... zilch.

I do plan to investigate some new (to me) resources next year. For one, I hope to sign my husband up for the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI). Their web site looks promising, and it appears that they have volunteers who can help with your research.

I also plan/hope to make better use of other online resources, as well as records at the LDS Family History Centers.

Finally, it would be wonderful to interview my husband's remaining maternal family members. It would be such a shame to let their stories go with them to the grave, so I do hope we have a chance to talk with these family members and record their stories. Hopefully some valuable information will be revealed to assist in our research!


Written for the 13th Edition, Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy: Research Resources I'm Thankful For.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Nights Just Aren't What They Used to Be

Randy at Genea-Musings seems to think that I have nothing better to do on a Saturday night than play a genealogy game he's started.

Sadly... he's right.

Here's the rules:

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note to your blog (or a comment to this blog).

Here's mine:

Another case contained a lock of Jeff Davis's hair and splinters of wood from the tree under which he was arrested by Union troops in 1865.
Horwitz, Tony, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War, Vintage Departures, New York, 1999, p. 56.

This book has been on my nightstand for months, and my progress is slow. I hope to finish it someday.

Now... it's your turn. Unless you're actually out having a life on a Saturday night.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

For the Love of Crosses and Claddaghs

There are two icons of Irish culture that I dearly love.

The first is the Claddagh, the famous symbol of love, loyalty, and friendship:

The Irish Claddagh Symbol is named for the Irish coastal town of Claddag (pronounced "clah-dah"), where the ring design is attributed to an ancient local legend. The now famous tale, about a townsman kidnapped into slavery who returns to present a ring to his true love, is one of the most popular romantic tales of Ireland.
The way in which one wears the ring tells others of the wearer's "availability." If the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart is facing outward, the wearer is not in a serious relationship. If the heart is facing the wearer, then she/he is "taken." If worn on the ring finger of the left hand, the wearer is most likely either engaged or married, depending on whether the heart if facing inward or outward.

Dating would be a lot simpler if everyone wore Claddagh rings!

My husband gave me a Claddagh ring for our first Christmas together. Unfortunately, it's a few sizes too small, so I have to wear it on the pinky of my right hand. But I do wear the heart facing inward, since my heart is taken. We gave our daughter a silver Claddagh bracelet for Christmas last year.

The Claddagh featured in the photo above was given to me by a dear friend, and hangs over my front door. It is not of Irish origin, but was hand-crafted by the monks at Saint Andrew's Abbey in Valyermo, California.

My other favorite Irish symbol is the Celtic cross. I can't explain it, but when I see a Celtic cross, it's like it touches something deep inside of me... like it's making an ancient connection. Sounds crazy, I know.

Perhaps there is some truth to those DNA memory theories?

Different from "regular" crosses, the Celtic cross adds a wheel or ring around the intersecting lines of a cross. The cross "arms" always extend outside the ring.

It is believed that the Celtic cross was introduced by Saint Patrick in an attempt to help convert pagan followers to Christianity, thus linking the importance of the cross with the popular pagan symbol of the sun.

Pictured here from my collection is an example of the Celtic Cross of Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is featured in the center, holding his staff, and surrounded by shamrocks and Celtic knots.

My plan is to have a wall of Celtic crosses in my house someday. But I'll need a few more years of collecting before I reach that goal!


Written for the 10th Edition, Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture: For the Love of Ireland.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandpa

Today, November 19th, would have been my paternal grandfather's 114th birthday.

ISAAC LEE SWANAY was born in Jearoldstown, Greene County, Tennessee, and was the son of William Franklin Swanay and Deluna Frances Brown.

"Lee," as he preferred to be called, was the 3rd of William and Deluna's 11 children. His siblings were:

  • WILLIAM MURRELL SWANAY, b. 04 Jan 1892, Tennessee; d. 09 Jul 1973, Greene County, Tennessee.
  • WINNIE I. SWANAY, b. Mar 1893, Greene, Tennessee; d. Aug 1980, Tennessee.
  • GEORGE ALBERT SWANAY, b. 25 Mar 1897, Tennessee; d. 31 Dec 1968.
  • BEULAH DELL SWANAY, b. 28 Jan 1901, Greene, Tennessee; d. 11 Nov 1901.
  • FLEETE PAULINE SWANAY, b. 02 Jun 1905, Greene, Tennessee; d. 1995, Maryland.
  • BESSIE E. SWANAY, b. 30 Mar 1907, Tennessee; d. 16 Jun 2001, Tennessee.
  • JOHN FRANKLIN SWANAY, b. 24 Feb 1914, Jeraldstown, Greene, Tennessee; d. 06 Jan 2004, Kingsport, Sullivan Co., Tennessee.
  • RUTH IRENE SWANAY, b. 04 Jun 1918, Jeraldstown, Greene, Tennessee.
On October 2, 1917, Lee married REBA C. DUNN in Greene County, Tennessee. Lee and Reba had three children, two of whom are still living.

Lee held a variety of jobs during his lifetime. He was a shipyard worker during World War I. He also was a teacher, a streetcar conductor, and a postal carrier. He was a hard-working man who did his best to take care of his family. His ambition was to get his children through college, and he did indeed succeed in getting all three of his children a college education.

One of my fondest memories of my grandfather is when he would take me out to his rose garden and tell me about the many varieties of roses growing there. He was very proud of his rose garden.

I also remember the way he would sneak pieces of candy to me when we would visit, knowing full well that my mother didn't want me to have any. When my mother wasn't looking, he would pass his special candy dish to me - orange carnival glass with a lion on top - filled with Brach's carmels, butterscotch disks, circus peanuts, and other treats. This candy dish now sits prominently atop the curio cabinet in my living room.

On April 26, 1986, Lee died in Rialto, San Bernardino County, California. He is buried in Olivewood Cemetery in Riverside, California.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Being Thankful: Carnival of Central & Eastern European Genealogy

Speaking of blog carnivals... for the first time EVER, I am hosting a carnival (she said, shaking in her boots... "Oh what have I done???).

That's right, I'm going to be the "guest host" of the 13th Edition ~ Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy!

In honor of Thanksgiving, the topic for this edition is: "What resources are you thankful for in your Central/Eastern European genealogical research?" A resource could be a web site, book, family member... anything or anyone that has helped you with your research.

Even if you don't have Central or Eastern European ancestors, please feel free to share a resource, tip, or process that you think might be helpful for people doing research in those areas.

I hope to see a veritable cornucopia - or a buffet, if you will - of ideas that we can share with each other during this holiday season. Let's pass our ideas around the virtual Thanksgiving table!

Submissions are due on November 23rd, and the edition will be published on Thanksgiving, November 27th (a little light reading while your turkey is digesting).

You can submit your articles here, or you can send me an email.

I can't wait to read your articles - I could sure use some research help myself!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Oh Baby: Oh My!

The 7th Edition, Smile for the Camera ~ A Carnival of Images: Oh Baby! has been posted at Shades of the Departed.

42 participants shared photos of beautiful, bouncing babies in varying states of dress, undress, and bear skin rugs.

My submission is here: Oh Baby: My Mom, featuring one of the few photos I have of my mother as a baby.

Please drop by Shades to check out more sweet baby photos. You'll also want to read up on the requirements for submissions for the 8th Edition: "Stocking Stuffer." Start looking for that special photo that someone would like to find in his/her stocking on Christmas morning!


"Oh! Baby" graphic courtesy of footnoteMaven.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Stars and Stripes

"Stars and Stripes," (Santa Maria, Santa Barbara Co., California). Digital Image. Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal, November 11, 2008.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

I'd like to wish a very happy anniversary to my in-laws, Ben and Pat, who were married on this date 47 years ago.

Here's wishing you both a wonderful day and many more years of happiness together!


Photo of Ben & Pat taken at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, Los Angeles Co., California, on July 4, 2008.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Honoring a Veteran in My Family Tree: William H. Swatzell

William H. Swatzell, my great-great-grandfather, was born in 1815 in Greeneville, Greene County, Tennessee. Unfortunately, I do not know the names of William's parents.

On August 15, 1845, he married Eliza Jane Thompson in Greeneville, Greene County, Tennessee. Eliza was born on December 26, 1825, in Greeneville, and was the eldest of 14 children of Absolum Bartley Thompson and Sarah Dodd.

William and Eliza Jane had 11 children, including my great-grandmother, Sarah Jane Swatzell Dunn.

William served as a Private in the 8th Regiment, Tenneseee Cavalry, Company B (Union). He was "captured by the enemy" at "Zalley Caffer" (difficult to read) on October 19, 1863.

On September 24, 1864, William died of scorbitus (scurvy) in Andersonville Prison. He is interred at Andersonville National Cemetery, grave #9719.

Many thanks to Russ Ottens, Find A Grave volunteer, for the photo of William's grave!


Grave of William H. Swatzell (Andersonville, Sumter Co., Georgia). Digital Image. Photographed by Find A Grave volunteer Russ Ottens, February 4, 2008.

For more information about this family, please contact me.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Monday, November 10, 2008

DAR's American Spirit Magazine Opens Up About Wallpaper

Over the weekend, I received the November/December 2008 issue of American Spirit, the magazine of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

American Spirit is a beautiful, well-written publication, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including APEX, Awards for Publishing Excellence, SNAP, Society of National Association Publications, and ASPC, American Society for Professional Communicators.

As always, this issue is loaded with interesting articles and stunning photos. But one article of particular note is "Repeating Patterns," by Mareen Taylor, The Photo Detective:

The history of wallpaper in America dates to 1700. By the mid-18th century, wallpaper was considered quite fashionable in America, England and France. Explore the history of wallpaper and learn where you can still see early American examples and obtain reproductions.
To think that we spent several months removing wallpaper from our house (it really was ugly)!

You can see more of what's inside this issue of American Spirit here. You don't have to be a DAR member to subscribe.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Oh Baby: My Mom

Obviously, my favorite baby photo(s) is/are of MY baby. My very favorite photo of my baby (so far) was shared earlier, here. Sometimes it's hard to believe she was ever really that small.

But since my little one's photos are already plastered all over the pages of this blog, I've chosen to share one of the few photos I have of my mother as a baby.

This photo is a hand-tinted black and white, signed by "J. S. Martins," who I assume was the photographer. At the moment, I am unable to find the original (shame on me!), but if I remember correctly, there was nothing written on the back. I'm guessing that she was less than one year of age when this photo was taken.

It amazes me that technology nowadays makes it so easy for us to have literally thousands of photos of our sweet babies, but photos of our ancestors are/were rare and precious. I'm thankful to be able to capture so many memories of my little one before she's all grown up.


Dagle, Judith Ann. Photograph. ca. 1941. Digital image. Privately held by Elizabeth O’Neal, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Santa Barbara Co., California. 2008.

Article composed for the 7th Edition, Smile for the Camera: Oh Baby!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, November 7, 2008

Central Coast Lineage Groups Calendar: November 2008

Saturday, November 8
Captain Henry Sweetser Chapter DAR
Santa Maria
10:00 AM - Noon
Native American Heritage Month

Friday, November 14
Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Laura Belle Stoddard Tent 22
Santa Barbara

Thursday, November 20
El Paso de Robles Chapter DAR
Paso Robles

Saturday, November 15
Rancho Purisima Chapter DAR
10:00 AM

Saturday, November 15
Central Coast Chapter SAR
San Luis Obispo
12:00 Noon

Saturday, November 15
Mission Canyon Chapter DAR
Santa Barbara
12:00 Noon
Don Stillman - "U.S. Air Force in Europe During WWII"

Saturday, November 22
Santa Barbara Chapter SAR
Santa Barbara
12:00 - 1:30 PM

Saturday, November 22
Stephen Eastin Society C.A.R.
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Wednesday, November 26
La Cuesta Chapter DAR
San Luis Obispo

NO Meeting in November:
Mitz-Kahn-a-Khan Chapter DAR

C.A.R. = Children of the American Revolution
DAR = Daughters of the American Revolution
SAR = Sons of the American Revolution

If you would like to have your group's information included in this calendar, please contact me. Thanks!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Central Coast Genealogy Calendar: November 2008

Saturday, November 1
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
12:30 - 1:00 PM
Martha Graham - "GENWEB Resources, Local and National"
1:00 PM - Business Meeting
1:45 - 3:00 PM
Julia George - "Why Do I Need More Than One Source?"

Tuesday, November 4
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Computer Interest Group Meeting

Thursday, November 6
Monterey County Genealogical Society
6:30 PM
Steve Morse - "One-Step Webpages: A Potpourri of Genealogical Search Tools"

Friday, November 14
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
10:30 AM - Noon
"Finding Your Ancestors on the Internet"

Saturday, November 15
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
10:30 AM
Joel Weintraub - "Searching the US Census By Geographical Means When Name Indexes Fail" & "Census Utilities on the Morse 1-Step Website"

Saturday, November 15
Ventura County Genealogical Society
1:00 - 4:00 PM
Glenna Dunning -"Genealogy Tools"

Tuesday, November 18
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
5:30 - 6:30 PM - Genealogy Tools
6:45 - 8:45 PM - General Meeting
June Anderson - "The Effects of Geography and Climate on the Culture of the Border Rievers of Scotland/England"

Friday, November 21
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
1:00 - 2:30 PM
"Getting the Most out of Family Search"

Please send me an email if you would like to have your event included in this monthly calendar.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal