and not a day goes by that I do not think about him. He was so important in my life.
Dad’s life lives all around me. Things that were Dad are in my home. Things he possessed, things he created, things he collected; I have a lot of them and I see them daily. I see Him daily, too.
I see him when I look in the mirror. As I age I wish I had his full head of wavy hair. I have a semi-full head of hair, it’s not as thick as his and it is definitely not wavy! I have his features. I look like his mother. I am her therefore I am him. I see him in the mirror.
I see him when I look at my son. Blaine is a mirror image of my father. The older he gets, the more he looks like him. He has the same disposition my father had, seriousness but a sense of humor, too. They are one. I see Blaine and I think of my Dad.
I see him when I look at the wedding picture of him and Mother. They were so young and had 50+ years ahead of them. Did they ever think of where those 50 years would take them? Did they ever dream of the continents they would see? or the expanded family they would have? Mother was Michael’s age, after all, and Dad in his 20′s. 1939 seems like a century ago!
I see him when I walk down the hall into my bedroom. I had a pencil drawing of a barn he had done tucked away for years until I had it framed. This is hanging on the wall outside of my bedroom. I see it and I think of him.
Dad's California Barn
I see him when I sit at my desk. I have his Shaving mirror and an old passport photo of him is on one side of the mirror. When I’m home, it sits on my desk. When I travel, it slips in my laptop case. I have always carried it.
I see him in my sitting room. I have his picture in his Army Uniform on the top of my bookcase in my “Serviceman Row.” Pictures of my family that have served in the military have a special place of honor there. All the uniformed servicemen are there, Civil War soldiers, peace time soldiers, they are all the same. They served our country. Dad, Jim, Blaine, Scott, Tim, Michael, each has a place on my bookcase. I’m proud of them all.
Dad in Uniform; Dad in Shaving Mirror
I see him when I look at things he collected. I have a few pieces from his vast collections and I see him. I display some and then”rotate my stock” so to speak! Right now I have a few ivory pieces displayed (he got these many years ago, when it was legal to import it) a painting on petrified wood, some Santos and a DeGrazia pottery piece. It’s an eclectic collection. But it’s so Dad!
Painting on Petrified Wood ~ So Heavy!!
Signed DeGrazia piece cast over old miner's pan
I have his blue terry cloth bathrobe. I curl up in it in the wintertime and feel warm, secure and know that he once kept warm in it. I think of him then.
Happy Birthday, Dad. I was thinking about you all day.
I told you Happy Birthday several times on September 4th. Did you hear me?
I was tempted to say that I could do without a library. After all, I volunteer at the local Historical Society and have access to every book I could possibly want! and with all those databases and books online, why do I even need all those books I have?
. . .and then sanity overtook me! I’m a tactile person and I must touch, turn pages and be able to grab a book in the middle of the night! I need to put stickies on pages and even highlight an entry or two. I love my books!
You’re going to see a pattern in my selection of books. I’ve listed not only my essential books for doing Lancaster County research, but my most frequently used books. My Lancaster County books are the most well worn books in my collection.
Lancaster County Books necessary in my research
- The most important book in my collection was one of the oldest books in my collection. A friend in Florida said I absolutely could not do Pennsylvania research without this book. I’ve had this book for about 15 years and it is well used. “Pennsylvania Line” was published by SW Pennsylvania Genealogical Society and invaluable in my research. It contains maps of when counties were incorporated and from what county, rivers, streams, names of old, non-existant towns, post offices, and literally everything Pennsylvania!
Pennsylvania Line - Where would I be without this book???
- My German to English , English to German Dictionary is right up there at the top. Although I can pick out the basic German in Church records (births, deaths, marriages, etc.) those other words pop up now and then. This book has aided me in helping to decipher meanings and tense. I found it at a garage sale about 7 years ago and it was 50 cents well spent! Hardback, large and in good condition! Wow, what a bargain!
- “Churches and Cemeteries of Lancaster County“, by A. Hunter Rineer. I carry this book in my car! When I need it, I have to go out to the car to find it! Not only does it list the Churches and Cemeteries of today, it lists ones that used to be. It tells the history of each congregation and where their records are kept. Every cemetery, past and present, is also noted with their history and a map to show exactly where it is. Another book that has been invaluable in my research since I am, after all, a Cemetery Person!
- The next book is a rather large book (dimension wise) and has been invaluable in placing my ancestors in various townships and locations. The “1864 Atlas of Lancaster County “has township maps with names marked on it, where they lived, who lived next to them, etc. It has towns, streams, people and roads. I was able to take a deed of one of my ancestors and with the help of this book actually find the curve in the road that his house remains on today.
- One of the heaviest and fattest books in my library is “The History of Lancaster County “by Ellis and Evans. This is a huge book, and as it size attests, has a lot of information. When I use it, I have to clear off a big chunk of my desk, because it is not a lap book by any means! There are biographies, histories of each township, tax lists, histories of various organizations, and the list goes on and on. Any body who had roots in our area is probably in this book.
The Biggest Book in My Collection. . .and this doesn't include the index!
- My next selection is actually four volumes. Does it count for four books or one? “Trinity Lutheran Church Records, ” has helped immensely in my research. The years 1767 through 1810 were translated and transcribed by Debra D. Smith and Frederick S. Weiser, It was an enormous undertaking, but one many people have appreciated! My ancestors who settled in Lancaster County were either of the Lutheran or Reformed faith (Duh! they were Germans!) and I have so many stickies, highlighted entries and dog-earred pages in this set, that it would probably not be of interest to anybody else!
- The last very necessary book in my Lancaster County research is actually a series of five books. “Lancaster County Church Records of the 18th Century,” the 5 volume set was compiled by F. Edward Wright. Since 18th century ancestors abound in my family, this is another place that my stickies and highlight marker has found it way to! Having the stickies has helped me flip right to the page in question, since I’ve marked surnames on each one.
I’ve counted the last two entries as five, since the books total nine! I could list an actual ten books or I could list an actual ten titles. Since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I compromised. I’ve been blessed to have these Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors settle in a region where records are so abundant!
I love my books; the feel of them, the look of them and most of the content in them!
My research is dependent on these books.