Sunday, June 26, 2011

Searching for Sina: Sina's Little Book of Pictures - Part 6

From the day that I first decided to post the photos from my grandmother Sina Bellinger Kelly's little book of pictures, I could hardly wait for this page to be shared.

Henrietta Loder Beale and Sina Bellinger Kelly
This page features photographs of Henrietta Loder Beale and my grandmother, Sina Bellinger Kelly. As a young girl, Henrietta was called Etta, and then Etty later in life.

This page represents the only two people in this little picture book who I actually knew. Henrietta and Sina were first cousins. They shared the same grandparents, Daniel C. Landon and Anne Jane McVoy. Henrietta's parents were William Alexander Loder and Margaret Ann Landon. Sina's parents were John William Bellinger and Emma Harriet Landon. Margaret Landon and Emma Landon were sisters.

The cousins were close in age - something I specifically learned while doing my genealogy research. Why? Because the women had a reputation during their lifetimes of lying about their age! Whether it was to shave off a few years or to add a few, I'm not sure. Henrietta was born August 14, 1888 and Sina was born eight months later on April 3, 1889. The cousins grew up in close proximity to one another; Sina in Greenwood, Nebraska and Henrietta in Waverly, Nebraska.

Etty Beale, Patricia Kelly Petersen (Mom), Sina Bellinger Kelly
circa late 1940s.
The cousins were as close as sisters and were lifelong friends. My Mom told the story that since she and her siblings had no aunts on either side of the family, Henrietta said to them, "I'll be your Aunt Etty." And so she was. And she was Aunt Etty to my generation of cousins as well.

Aunt Etty married Ralph Beale of Waverly, Nebraska on August 1, 1907 in Lancaster county, Nebraska. The couple lived in Waverly during the early years of their marriage, then moved to Lincoln, Nebraska. Etty bought and sold real estate, as evidenced by dozens of real estate transactions I've discovered in online newspapers. Ralph was known as "Uncle Hub" - and I still don't know how he got that nickname. To me, they were always Hub and Etty. Hub was in the banking and insurance business. Etty and Hub had no children.

My memories of Aunt Etty

I remember going to visit Hub and Etty in their office in one of the tall business offices in Lincoln (tall by Nebraska standards, that is). I remember that Mom and I stopped by to see them on the day that I got my Hula Hoop, so that tells you about how long ago that was!

I always loved going to visit Aunt Etty and Uncle Hub at their home at 1822 F Street in Lincoln. The house has since been razed and replaced by an apartment building. It was in the heart of the capitol district in Lincoln, just a few blocks from the state capitol building.

Uncle Hub's Scrapbooks

From the time that he was a very young boy, Uncle Hub kept detailed scrapbooks of newspaper clippings of local, national and world events. Every time I would go visit, Hub would get out another of his oversized scrapbooks and we would look through them together, as he would relate stories of his memories. Oh! To have been able to have captured those many colorful stories on tape or video!. Mom told me that Aunt Etty once told her that Hub loved it when I came to visit because I was the only one of the younger generation who took any interest in his scrapbooks and his stories.

After Hub's death, Etty offered the scrapbooks (about 15 in all, as I recall) to the Nebraska State Historical Society, which turned down the donation. Why they didn't want them is beyond me. I thought they were a wonderful glimpse of history. I have no idea what ever became of them.

Holiday dinners

Etty and Hub frequently came to our home for Thanksgiving dinner. My grandfather, Bill Kelly (Sina's husband) was there, too, and I'm sure they talked a lot about the good old days. That was a time when everyone dressed up for such an occasion, the ladies in dresses, stockings and high heels.

Helen "Jerry" Dulin (Mom's sister), Aunt Etty, Mom, Me
on the sidewalk in front of 1822 F St., Lincoln
June 1968

Aunt Etty died on Saturday, December 28, 1968 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The funeral was held on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1968 and my father was to have been a pallbearer. His name is incorrectly shown as Kent Peterson instead of Ken Petersen in the obituary notice, above.

Mom, Dad and I were preparing to leave for the funeral when we received a call from a friend in Greenwood, Nebraska. My grandfather, Bill Kelly, had died that morning. We immediately drove to Greenwood and Mom began making arrangements for his funeral. Our absence from Aunt Etty's funeral was noted by many since we had such a close relationship to her. In a period of just four days, Mom lost the last two members of that generation of her family. We all lost the presence of Aunt Etty and Grandpa Kelly in our daily lives, but not the memories of the people who played important roles in our lives.

Open Discussion Weekend: Blogging - What's in it For You?

As I'm making the final tweaks on a presentation on genealogy blogging, I've been wondering about what motivates genealogists to blog.

Why do you blog? Here are some possible reasons:

  • To document your research journey and discoveries?
  • To share information with other family members?
  • Hope that distant cousins will discover the blog and contact you?
  • To provide a forum for family members?
  • To promote your genealogy-related business?
  • To connect with other genealogists?
  • To plan and promote a family reunion?
  • To earn extra income through affiliate links?
  • To write scholarly articles about genealogy or history?
I'm sure the answers are different for every one of us. In the comments section below, please share the primary reason why you blog.

Also feel free to share why you read and follow genealogy blogs.

Be as brief or as long winded as you like - I'm just very curious about all of the different reasons that bring us to the genealogy blogging community.

Thank you for your input - I look forward to reading what everyone has to say!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Free books to aid your genealogy business

I've made no secret of the fact that I love my Kindle e-book reader and the many uses it provides for genealogy, as well as pleasure reading  (and games).

One of the aspects of being a Kindle owner that I really love is the ability to get dozens - even hundreds - of free books from And you don't even have to own a Kindle to be able to read these books. Amazon offers applications that allow you to read these free books on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows Phone.

Something I've noticed over the last six months is that the genealogy content available for Kindle has skyrocketed with many ebook self publishers making their guides and manuals available for the Kindle for fairly low prices. Some of these are certainly better than others. From about a dozen titles, a search for "family history" now results in more than 3,000 titles.

Free ebooks for business

One of my favorite pages to follow is Free Ebook Deal. Visit them on Facebook and Twitter. What I'd like to share today are some of the free ebooks that may aid you with your genealogy business or hobby with ideas for social networking, marketing, promotion, organizing your business and public speaking. Try these out for a test drive - what have you got to lose? They're free!

How To Publish An Ebook On A Budget

Goal Setting: Discover What You Want in Life and Achieve It Faster than You Think Possible

PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences

UnSelling: Sell Less ... To Win More'

Making your eBook

Be Your Own Editor

The Truth About the New Rules of Business Writing

Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing

These are just a few of the hundreds of free ebooks available that may help with your business and marketing strategies. At this time, I've not had time to actually read all of them, so you will need to decide if any of the titles are of value to you.

At this writing, all of these ebooks were available free from Any price is subject to change at a later date. Even while composing this post, I discovered that many of the titles I had obtained for free now have a charge associated with them. One thing I've learned - if you see a free title listed on Facebook that you might be interested in, grab it as soon as you can - many of these books are available free only for a few hours or a few days.

If you have other free ebooks to recommend, please leave a suggestion in the comments section below.

Enjoy reading!

Disclaimer: these product links are via my affiliate agreement with

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Searching for Sina - Sina's Little Book of Pictures - Part 5

Here are the next two pages from Sina Bellinger Kelly's Little Book of Pictures.

Unknown Child, Vivian Cline
At this writing, I have not found any historical documents about Vivian Cline.

Edith Findley (Finlay)
Sina has identified this lady as Edith Findley. However, I had to use alternate spellings of her surname to locate some census records for Sina's friend.

The World War I draft registration card for Edith's husband, Austin Don Finlay, is dated June 5, 1917. Mr. Finlay indicates he has a wife who is a "prospective mother." Since this document has his signature, I will assume the correct spelling is Finlay. Mr. Finlay died February 1, 1964.

The 1920 census shows Edith and her husband, Austin, living in Waverly, Lancaster county Nebraska with their two year old son, Howard. Austin is a farmer.

In 1930, Edith was 40 years old and living with her husband, Austin, a farmer in Mill Precinct, Lancaster county, Nebraska. Mill Precinct is located adjacent to Cass county, Nebraska, where Sina and her husband lived. The couple has a 12 year old son, Howard.

A 1937 newspaper obituary states that Edith sang at a funeral service at the Methodist church in Greenwood, Nebraska.

The social security death index indicates that Edith died in May 1978, her last residence being in Louisville, Cass county, Nebraska.

I've yet to find a reference to Edith's maiden name.

More photos from Sina's Little Book of Pictures will be posted soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Searching for Sina - Sina's Little Book of Pictures - Part 4

These are the next two pages of photographs in the little book of pictures that belonged to my maternal grandmother, Sina Harriet Bellinger Kelly.

Who Are They?
Of all the photos in this picture book, this magnificent looking couple is not identified. Enter my inner photo detective. Sina's Little Book of Pictures is primarily of her friends, circa 1910-1911. This couple appears to be a generation older than everyone else in the picture book. They aren't identified. Might they be people so close to Sina that they needed no identification for her? Might these be her parents, Emma Harriet Landon and John William Bellinger?

Below are photographs of Sina's parents from an earlier period in their marriage. I enlarged the photos and compared them side by side with the unknown couple in Sina's book. The facial features, as well as their hairlines, look very similar to me. The moustache worn by the men is certainly quite similar. If the photos in Sina's book, above, are her parents, Emma would have been about 48 years old and John would have been about 56 years old. 

Emma and John Bellinger
Is the unidentified photo in Sina's book her parents?
What do you think? Is the couple in Sina's book her parents, Emma and John Bellinger? 

Sina's friend, Garnet Lee Meese

Sina and her friend, Garnet Lee Meese
There are several photos in the book of Sina and her friend, Garnet Lee Meese. The 1910 Federal U.S. Census for the Salt Creek Precinct in Cass county, Nebraska shows Garnet Lee is age 20, living with her parents, Ira and Margaret. Her father was a carpenter (as was Sina's father, John Bellinger). Garnet was a school teacher.

By 1920, Garnet had married David Meese and they were living in the Greene precinct in adjoining Saunders county, Nebraska. David was a farmer and Garnet's occupation was listed as "none." Garnet's brother, Lawrence Lee, was living with the couple.

In 1930, Garnet and David Meese still resided in Greene precinct in Saunders county. They had a six year old son named Lee. The census indicates the age of both at first marriage was 25, indicating they married circa 1913 - 1915. This would indicate that some of the photographs in Sina's book could be dated to 1915 since Garnet is identified by her married name in Sina's book. Unless, of course, Sina added the married name to the book at a later time.

Garnet and David's son, Lee, became a medical doctor and died in 1952 at the age of 29. Source: FindAGrave memorial.

I discovered via the Social Security Death Index that Garnet Meese died in Shickley, Nebraska in May 1986, having outlived her friend, Sina, by 31 years. FindAGrave has a memorial for Garnet - she is buried at Sunrise Cemetery in Wahoo, Saunders county, Nebraska. I added the photos of Garnet from Sina's book to her FindAGrave memorial.

Each page of Sina's little book of pictures is taking me through a journey of learning more about her by learning more about her friends. Each page brings more people and more personal stories to discover.

Land Records and Genealogy Symposium - Beatrice, Nebraska - join me there!

The following is a news release from Southeast Community College:

Land Records and Genealogy Symposium set for mid-July in Beatrice

Genealogy research has gained popularity in the last decade or so, largely from the emergence of technology and TV shows such as NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Southeast Community College and the Homestead National Monument of America once again are sponsoring the Land Records & Genealogy Symposium July 15 and 16 at SCC’s Beatrice Campus, 4771 W. Scott Road.

Attendees have the option of attending both days or one day. Cost is $99 per person for two days and $69 per person for one day. Lunch is included in the cost for both options. A dinner event will take place July 15, and there is a separate cost of $19 per person to attend. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. at the Homestead National Monument of America. The evening will include dinner, entertainment and an opportunity to visit with symposium presenters.

Registration deadline is July 2 or when enrollment limit has been met. Persons interested are asked to contact or SCC’s Continuing Education Facebook page at

Doors open at 7:45 a.m. each day. Speakers will begin the program at 8:30 a.m. Following is a brief overview of each session.

Genealogy: You Can Do This! – This fun, upbeat presentation by Sylvia Murrayis designed to give researchers the right inspiration and motivation. Murray is an accredited genealogist who has taught genealogy classes at the college level for more than 25 years.

Introduction to Land Platting – Understanding the legal land system that our ancestors operated on can be a challenge to a genealogist when doing land record research. Carla Anders, the sole proprietor of Collecting Missing Ancestors, takes on this complex issue in an easy-to-understand presentation. She has more than 30 years of experience as a genealogist in the Midwest.

Breaking Through Using Land Records 1 – This introductory course will provide important information to genealogists looking for their ancestors in land records. Land records can often times seem overwhelming, but this course will equip you with the necessary skills that you will need to navigate these important records.Gail Blankenau is an experienced genealogist and photo historian who shares her research and advice in such well-known periodicals as the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Everton’s Genealogical Helper, and Family Chronicle magazine. She also will present an advanced course on how to interact with land records.

Social Networking: New Horizons for Genealogists – Thousands of genealogists and family historians have discovered new ways to expand and improve their genealogy endeavors using social networking, also called social media networking. Learn the basics of blogging, Twitter, Facebook, wikis and more in an easy-to-follow session that cuts through all the hype and the lingo.Thomas MacEntee is a genealogist specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community.

Finding Women Homesteaders – Homesteaders, in general, are a group of ancestors who are difficult to find, but women homesteaders offer unique challenges to researchers. Learn how to navigate these records and discover techniques that can be employed to enhance and streamline your research.Murray is the presenter.

Dating & Identifying Your 19th-Century Photographs – If you have a drawer or box full of old family photos, this session will bring your ancestral images into focus. Learn how to use power combinations of image type, fashions, photographers, and your family tree to reveal the “who,” “when” and sometimes even the “where” in those intriguing faces. Blankenau is the presenter.

Google for Genealogists – Most genealogists are only using 10 percent or less of the resources behind Google when it comes to genealogy research. MacEntee will discuss the other 90 percent and how these Google components can be leveraged for better search results. Google is more than just a search engine. It is a wealth of information, much of which goes unnoticed by the average genealogist.

Blogging: Share What You Know  Susan Petersen’s 30 years of research left her wanting to share this information with other people who might be looking for the same family members. She turned to the Internet to connect with those who would benefit from her research. Now she wants to show you how. This fun, straightforward introduction to blogging will show you how easy it is to share your research. Petersen is a genealogist, writer and journalist who manages several Web sites and blogs. Her blog began as a tool to connect with others researching the same family members.

For more information, contact:
Stu OsterthunAdministrative Director of Public Information and

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Searching for Sina - Sina's Little Book of Pictures - Part 3

These are the next two pages in Sina Bellinger Kelly's little book of pictures, circa 1910. Sina's notation on this page identifies the photos as Sina Kelly/Edith Finley. Both of the photographs look like Sina to me. I compared the photo on the right to a photo of Sina and her friends having a pillow fight, and I was quite certain, this is Sina on the right. The photograph was loose in the book, and sure enough, on the back side is written, "Sina H. Bellinger."

So - if the lady on the left is Edith Finley, she and Sina looked enough alike to be sisters. I've never come across a photograph of Sina smiling from this era, so I have nothing to compare it to. The noses look very similar to me. Another clue is that she wrote her name so that it spanned both photos. What do you think?

Sina Bellinger Kelly on right
Sina or Edith on left?

The next photos of Sina's friends are identified as Blanche Leaver Carr and Blanche and Iona Carr. I discovered a 19 year old Blanche in the 1910 census for Greenwood, Nebraska. She was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Leaver. Her occupation is listed as Servant.

Blanche Leaver Carr and her sister-in-law, Iona Carr
I also found a newspaper clipping from May 31, 1910 saying that Miss Iona Carr was entertaining for Miss Blanche Leaver. The social column from June 5, 1910 states that Miss Iona Carr hosted a wedding shower for Blanche, who married Ross Carr the following day. Seventeen young ladies were in attendance. Might Sina have been one of them?

I then found Blanche and Ross Carr living in Lincoln, Nebraska in the 1920 and 1930 census.

The 1910 census confirmed my speculation that Iona Carr was the sister of Ross Carr.

More pages from Sina's Little Book of Pictures will be posted soon.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Searching for Sina: Sina's Little Book of Pictures - Part 2

Yesterday, I began posting images from Sina Bellinger Kelly's little book of pictures of her and her friends. I am posting the images in the order they appear in her little book.

Flo Ferris
Here is a photograph of Flo Ferris. The age and condition of the little book is obvious and there are a couple photographs that are missing - with no indication of who they may have been.

Jay Parsell
The next page in Sina's book is a photograph of Jay Parsell. I've found some records on that appear to be the same person. I've contacted Ancestry members who have Jay Parsell in their family tree to see if they are interested in having a scan of the photograph.

I believe that doing a little bit of research about the people who are in Sina's picture book may give me some additional insight about her - through her friends.

UPDATE: 23 June 2011: I've just united the photograph of Jay Parsell with one of his living relatives via a family tree on This never could have happened before the internet!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Searching for Sina - Sina's Little Book of Pictures

One of the recent discoveries in my forgotten family archives is a little book of pictures that belonged to my maternal grandmother, Sina Bellinger Kelly.

The book is roughly the dimensions of standard business card with paper printed with blue-lined grids. The little notebook appears to have been a giveaway from Speier & Simon, Men's and Boys' Outfitters that were located on the corner of Tenth and O Streets in Lincoln, Nebraska. The cover indicates this was given out at the Nebraska State Fair in 1909. Sina would have been about 20 years old at the time.

The little picture book is sprinkled with tiny photographs of Sina's friends. Fortunately for me, she has identified the majority of the people in the book. I'll be sharing the photographs in the coming days. I'm trying to match up the photos to long lost relatives who might be looking for them. So I'm searching out matches on and FindAGrave and contacting other family historians to see if they are interested in a photo of their long lost relative.

This is a photograph of Garnet Lee Meese with Sina Bellinger Kelly. I love those hats!

Garnet appears several times in Sina's little book of pictures, so it would seem they were close friends. I found Garnet's memorial page on FindAGrave and added some of the photos from the book. I've also contacted some members who have Garnet in their family tree. I'll be interested to see if I hear back from anyone.

More photos from Sina's Little Book of Pictures will be posted in the coming days.

Open Discussion Weekend: Letting Go of Family Artifacts

In recent weeks, I've been faced with a challenge that many of us face at some point. Growing Older. Downsizing. Moving On.

It's time for me to sell my house and move on. So over the past few weeks, I have been going through several decades accumulation of my own Stuff, as well as various items of Stuff that belonged to my ancestors. Stuff is spelled with a capital S because at some point Stuff takes on a life of its own.

Okay, so what genealogist isn't a pack rat when it comes to their family history Stuff? We've all got those photos, letters, documents, artifacts - whatever it may be - all tucked away and treasured as if it were the Holy Grail.

I have boxes and boxes of family archive paper ephemera. What has amazed me in going through the remaining boxes of my own Stuff has been the additional family archive Stuff that I probably knew I had at one time, yet had forgotten about. At least two additional boxes of goodies have emerged. Sorting through all of this will probably be my project for next winter.

But my primary goal is to downsize, lighten my load, give myself some Freedom from the shackles of Stuff. I've been telling myself that the eventual goal is to downsize to what would fit in a two-bedroom apartment. It's kind of like starting over from scratch. By the time this weekend is over, I will have emptied my house of at least half of my Stuff. I already feel lighter.

During this process enters the moment of truth. Does some of the Stuff I've been hanging on to, moving, packing and storing for decades still have any purpose in my genealogical journey? In some cases, the answer was No. Hard as may be to believe, I have let go of several items that had belonged to my ancestors. Truth be told, they were junk. For thirty years, I had thought about restoration, but it never happened. And I knew that it wasn't going to happen. I let them go. And it was a much easier decision than I thought it would be. The items really served no function in my research. No other family members have interest in the items. The items had become a burden. They're gone.

It's not like I don't have boxes and boxes of photographs, letters, autograph books, Bibles that I will continue to curate for my own pleasure. I do. And I have no regrets over what I let go. Besides, I still have a LOT.

Open for Discussion:

  • Have you let go of family artifacts? If so, did you have a clear conscience or live to regret it?
  • Could you never dream of letting go of anything once owned by an ancestor?
  • Do you believe that you can separate your research from physical items?
  • Are you weighed down by Stuff you don't want to part with?
  • Are those items really a treasure or just a bunch of junk?
  • Have I committed the worst sin that could ever be committed by a family historian?

Please add your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Genealogy Article in Lincoln 55+

The first in a series of articles that I am writing for Lincoln 55+ Seniors Paper has been published in the Summer 2011 issue.

Titled "Discovering Your Family History," the article is a teaser to encourage people to look into their roots. Upcoming articles will be on interviewing relatives, finding family clues in an obituary, and getting connected with internet resources.

The paper is distributed free at more than 300 locations in the Lincoln, Nebraska area.

You can read my article by clicking here (page 14).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Remembering Betty Jane Stradley Sullivan - Mom's best friend

Pat Kelly (Petersen) and Betty Stradley (Sullivan)
Greenwood, Nebraska High School
Today I learned of the death of Betty Jane (Stradley) Sullivan - my Mom's friend since the time they were about seven or eight years old. Betty died on Wednesday, June 1, 2011. Betty would have been about 84 or 85.

Of course, I only knew Betty as a grown-up when I was a child. She had five children, the oldest, Susan, about a year younger than me. I wonder where Betty came up with that name?

Betty was funny, quick to laugh and enjoyed life. She was a hard worker. She waited tables for years. She worked at the American Legion Club in Lincoln, Nebraska and no matter who I went there with, we always asked to be seated in Betty's section. I know she was still working as recently as three to four years ago, as my Dad and I met up with her at another local restaurant.

Born Betty Jane Stradley, her family was also among the early families of Greenwood, Nebraska. She was the youngest daughter of Earl and Minnie Stradley and had an older brother, Telford, and a sister, Wilma. After World War II, Betty, Wilma and Mom - and their soon-to-be-husbands all hung out together.

Mom always said how Betty was basically the class clown. She told the story about their history lesson about the Flag and one of the questions asked by the teacher was "What flies over the school house?" and Betty said, "Pigeons!" That was so Betty.

Mom and her siblings had a pony named Ted and she said that Ted was usually the mode of transportation, with all three of them - Wilma, Betty and Mom - on Ted's back - getting around in Greenwood.

Mass of Christian Burial: 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. Butherus, Maser and Love Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Betty - you were one of a kind - and one of my last links to my Mom. I hope the two of you are having a beer and some laughs together tonight.

Betty Jane (Stradley) Sullivan, passed away June 1, 2011 at the Journey House/Tabitha, Lincoln. She was born to Earl and Minnie Stradley in Greenwood. Retired hostess/waitress in food service. Member of St. Joseph's Parrish. Long time Denton resident, last 18 years resided in Lincoln.
Survivors: daughters, Susan B. Medley, Flower Mound, Texas; Nancy M. Pool, Lincoln, Jane R. Sullivan, Irvine, Calif.; son, Robert B. Sullivan, Loveland, Colo.; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; special friend, Rich Cannon, Winona, Minn. Preceded in death by husband, Jerry E. (Butch) Sullivan and son, Brent M. Sullivan.
Rosary, 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, 2011, Butherus, Maser & Love Funeral Home, 4040 A St, Lincoln. Mass of Christian Burial: 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 8, 2011, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 7900 Trendwood Dr., Lincoln. Visitation: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at Butherus, Maser and Love Funeral Home. Memorials to: American Cancer Society, MADD, Journey House at Tabitha, and St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Condolences may be left at