Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Celebrating Young and Old, Nov 28, 2012

Youth cannot know 
how age thinks and feels.
But old folks are guilty
if they forget what it was like
to be young.
~J.K. Rowling

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you wherever you may be on this last week of November. 

Kim and Damian. Happy Birthday tomorrow, November 29, to Kim Boyd Clark and her grandson Damian Ortiz, both of whom live in Blue Springs, Missouri. Kim is the daughter of Terry and Thelma Shepard Boyd. Damian is the son of Jeremy and Desiree Ortiz.

The first picture, taken earlier this year, shows birthday boy Damian Ortiz and his grandmother Kim, who is holding one of the Ortiz twins born this past spring. Thanks to grandma for this picture. Best wishes to Damian and his grandmother Kim as they celebrate their birthdays tomorrow!

A lot has happened this year in the Boyd/Ortiz/Clark family of Blue Springs, Missouri: Terry and Thelma Shepard Boyd moved from New Mexico to Missouri; their grandson Jeremy and his wife Desiree gave birth to twin boys Isaac and Dominic; and Kim had successful cancer surgery that she is still recovering from. Recently I received word from Kim about more health concerns in their family.

Kim: We just found out my dad has stage 2 or 3 lung cancer. He will have a pet scan to see if there is any more cancer and also what stage it is. Prayers for my dad, please.

6 Generations of Women. Tomorrow we also remember the birthday of Kim's Ggrandmother -- and Damian's GGGgrandmother -- Caroline Spear Davis, who was born at the end of the American Civil War in 1865. 

The second picture shows 6 generations of mothers and daughters. There are few instances when I can find the photos of this many consecutive generations of women in our family. Starting from the top left are: Margaret Williams Spear (1845-1904), Caroline Spear Davis (1865-1951), Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986), Thelma Shepard Boyd (b. 1936), Kim Boyd Clark (b. 1961), Amanda Nicole Ortiz (b. 1983).

From left to right, the top row of photos were taken in 1880, 1896, 1915; the bottom row in 1951, 1979, and 2010. The top row are women born in the 19th century; the bottom row are women born in the 20th century. Callie (top row, center) and Kim (bottom row, center) are two of the birthdays we celebrate tomorrow, November 29.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Family For Whom I Am Grateful, November 21, 2012

The Pilgrims made seven times 
more graves than huts. 
No Americans have been more impoverished 
than these who, nevertheless, 
set aside a day of thanksgiving.
~H.U. Westermayer

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this day before Thanksgiving.

My Cousin Kim Clark. I am thankful for many things today. For one, I am thankful that my cousin Kim Clark is doing better after her cancer surgery last month. She lives in Blue Springs, Missouri with her husband Jeff and family. The first picture shows Kim and Jeff in a picture that was taken earlier this year.

Kim wrote to me recently: I am healing well. Still sleep a lot but down to ibuprofen for pain med.  I'm still restricted to no lifting or house work :( lol.  Such a relief to be cancer free. That was scary there for a while.

Best wishes to Kim for good health and a continued speedy recovery.

The Nitpickers Among Us. I am also grateful for people who read this blog, in particular those who read it with a keen eye.

My son Nathan pointed out to me an error in my last post. I got the date wrong on one of the wives of our ancestor Arent Isaacsen van Hoeck (1623-1697) who I wrote about in my last blog entry. Arent was a 17th century Dutch immigrant to New York who had, over the course of his lifetime, 6 different wives. He married his third wife in New York in 1660. I wrote that he married her in 1860, which was an obwious misteak. The marvel is that Nate would even find it! (And my aunt Thelma thought she was the only nitpicker among us!)

Those Who Have Given So Much. I am also thankful for ancestors I have never met, like my 9x Ggrandparents Arent Isaaczsen van Hoeck and his wife Styntie Laurens. Despite great hardship, they and others like them, boldly immigrated to this country from places like The Netherlands and began families that we are now part of, all these generations later. 

The quote at the top regarding pilgrims who built 7 times more graves than huts, puts the efforts of our earliest ancestors in perspective. Arent and Styntie weren't pilgrims, but they lived at about the same time. Their willingness to help settle this new world required more from them than they ever could have imagined. Thank God for them! 

I am also grateful for more recent family members who lived through the dust bowl days of the 1930s in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Colorado. I mention this because this past week the new Ken Burns' TV documentary on the dust bowl appeared on PBS stations around the country. Did you see it? If not, look for it to be shown again some time. The dust bowl was devastating for many of our kinfolk and was one of the reasons some of our family, including my grandparents, moved to the West Coast in the 1930s and 40s.

The second picture, which was handed down to me from my father, shows an approaching dust storm. On the back of the picture is written, "April, 1935, Two Buttes, Colorado." Select this link to read a previous blog entry about the dust bowl and the personal memories of some family members.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Call Upon God to Give a Sign", Tuesday, November 14, 2012

He who has no fools, knaves, 
or beggars in his family 
was begot by a flash of lightning.
~Old English proverb

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from San Diego where Cindy and I have recently returned after a few weeks away. One of the places we visited was Egypt. The first picture shows Cindy and I in front of the famous Sphinx and the Pyramid of Giza, near Cairo, Egypt. Select this link to see other pictures of our trip.

John Pouty Williams. This Friday is the 206th anniversary of the birthday of John Pouty Williams (1806- 1898), a most interesting person in our family tree. He is the  great grandfather of my grand mother Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986). The lives of John Williams and my grandmother Bura overlapped by a mere 2 years, just long enough for him to bounce her on his knee near the end of his life, a life which spanned almost the entire 19th century. 

He was a transition person in our family tree. Born in Spencer County, Kentucky in 1806, his father died in 1813. His widowed mother soon thereafter took John and her other children and moved westward and settled near the town of Spencer in Owen County, Indiana. Here is a blog entry where you can read more about John Pouty Williams and his family. The second picture shows John Pouty's grave in Pleasant Grove Cemetery near Spencer, Indiana.

I have encountered quite a number of people who are descendants of his during my online family research. One such person who I have recently begun corresponding with is Cherie Harris of North Carolina, a GGgrandchild of Matilda Jane Williams, the sister of John Pouty. She has also done research into our Williams kinfolk and has traced our ancestry through John Pouty's maternal grandmother Elizabeth van Hook Warford. 

Arent Isaacszen Van Hoeck. According to Cherie, the van Hook family line in America goes back to Arent Isaacszen Van Hoeck (1623-1697), who migrated with his wife Geertje Everts to New Amsterdam (New York), from Amsterdam, Netherlands in the spring of 1655 or 1656.

Genealogical records in New York document Arent's penchant for having wives who died. His first wife Sara died in The Netherlands in 1652. His second wife Geertje who had migrated with him to New Amsterdam, died in an Indian raid (or so it was rumored). He married a third time around 1660, but this wife also died (her name and fate remain unknown). 

Call Upon God to Give a Sign. Records indicate that in 1665 in New York, New York, at the Old Dutch Reformed Church, Arent married Styntie Laurens (my 9x Ggrandmother). In 1682, Styntie (wife #4) after having given Arent 5 children, died very suddenly. As a result the local constable, two magistrates and two doctors went to their home to examine her body. There was nothing obvious to indicate foul play by Arent or anybody else. Arent was, however, ordered to place his hand on her chest and call upon God Almighty to give a sign if he were guilty of his wife's death. When nothing happened, Arent was declared innocent. (Dutch Court Records of Kingston cited in New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 70 (1939): 365). 

9x Grandpa Arent's marrying days were still not finished. In 1685 he married Elizabeth Stevens in New York, New York. Her fate remains unknown. Finally he married Maria Van Hobocken in 1695 or 1696, also in New York, New York. About 1697, Arent Isaacszen van Hoeck died, in his mid 70's, having had 6 different wives, most of whom met untimely deaths while married to him.

It is hard to know what to make of Grandpa Arent and his many wives. After 315 years it is impossible to know anything more than what the record states. Nonetheless, thanks to cousin Cherie Harris for this information about our common ancestor Arent Isaacszen van Hoeck, a colorful character to be sure, and one more immigrant in our family tree.

The following is the lineage of my youngest grandchild William Quincy Shepard through John Pouty Williams, to Dutch immigrant Arent and his wife Styntie Laurens van Hoeck: 
  • Arent Isaacszen van Hoeck (1623-1697), who married Styntie Laurens, the parents of
  • Laurens van Hook (1670-1724), who married Johanna Smith, parents of
  • Hendrick van Hook (1700-1750), who married Deborah Parent, parents of
  • Benjamin van Hook (1726-?), who married Lydia ?, parents of
  • Elizabeth van Hook (1746-1805), who married Henry Warford, the parents of
  • Lydia Warford (1782-1829), who married John Williams, the parents of
  • John Pouty Williams (1806-1898), who married Sara Richardson, the parents of
  • Margaret Frances Williams (1845-1904), who married William Spear, the parents of
  • Caroline Matilda Spear (1861-1951), who married James Brooks Davis, the parents of
  • Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986), who married William Shepard, the parents of
  • Eugene William Shepard (1921-2003), who married Maida Imogene Gower, the parents of
  • Steven Dale Shepard (b. 1948), who married Cindy Harris, the parents of
  • Nathan William Shepard (b. 1977), who married Chenda Sou, the parents of
  • William Quincy Shepard (b. 2012)
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A Memorable Mediterranean Cruise, November 14, 2012

The following are pictures from a Mediterranean Cruise that Cindy and I enjoyed earlier this month. 

We started from Rome, Italy. This first picture, taken in front of the famous Pantheon of Rome, shows Cindy and me with our traveling companions Linda, Gail and Alan.

Another place we visited in Rome was the beautiful Trevi Fountain.

This picture shows Saint Peter's Cathedral and the River Tiber at night.

Our first cruise stop was Egypt, where we visited the incredible Pyramids near Cairo.

Here we are in front of our cruise ship in the port of Alexandria, Egypt.

Here are some windmills on the Greek Island of Myconos, one of our favorite stops.

Another stop was Istanbul, Turkey where we visited one of the most famous places of worship in all the world, the Blue Mosque.

We spent one day roaming the ancient ruins of the city of Ephesus (near modern day Kusadaci, Turkey) where the Apostle Paul lived for a time.

Our last stop was Venice, Italy, a remarkable city of innumerable canals and bridges.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Hawaii's Happy Havilah, November 6, 2012

We are the children of many sires,
and every drop of blood in us in its turn
betrays its ancestor.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on Election Day 2012! This comes to you again from the Cruise ship The Crown Princess as Cindy and I and our traveling companions continue to sail around the Eastern Mediterranean. We are at sea all day today before arriving in Venice, Italy tomorrow where our wonderful adventure will come to an end in a few days.

Happy Birthday Havilah. Today, Nov 6, is the 30th birthday of Havilah Colgain Wardle. Havilah is the daughter of Joan Shepard of Dixon, California and Art Colgain of Kaysville, Utah. She is the first grandchild of Elmer and Beryl Shepard, and the 9th of the 21 Ggrandchildren of Will and Bura Davis Shepard.

Havilah and husband Kevin moved this past summer from West Valley City, Utah to Oahu, Hawaii, where they are enjoying life very much (who wouldn't!).

Havilah: "I look forward to turning 30! I've been enjoying every moment of this year, and am so excited to celebrate my birthday! I've received so many gifts this year, like living in Hawaii. It's been an amazing and breathtaking adventure. Thanks to Kevin, I became a PADI open water certified scuba diver in August. Diving is one of the most incredible experiences, especially getting to dive with Kevin. We've seen 3 sharks, octopi, eels, nudibranchs, coral of every kind, sea turtles, live conch, star fish... and I've made friends with a very special fish I call Chunk, as he is missing a chunk from his dorsal fin. He swims with me every time I'm in his cove. Here's to life, and celebrating each step of the way!"

The first picture, taken just a couple of weeks ago, shows Kevin and Havilah in full Scuba Diving regalia in the waters near Honolulu. Havilah's comments about this particular diving trip:

"From the great blue expanse a green sea turtle appears. Hauling turtle ass. Is it heading for the reef? I think it's heading for...'s heading straight at...Dad! This is going to be AWESOME. Turtle body check in... three... two... one... BAM! Get out the way, human! After bitch slapping my dad as it went past, the turtle disappeared under the reef to cuddle with a beautiful little reef shark. Today's lesson: Love is powerful, and so is that green sea turtle."

Our best to both of them for much happiness in Hawaii, and best wishes to Havilah for a great 30th birthday!

Remembering Bura Davis Shepard. This Thursday, Nov 8, marks the 116th anniversary of the birthday of my grandmother Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986). The second picture shows Bura and her husband of 61 years, William Shepard. This picture, with fall leaves all around, shows them in their Sunday finest, and was taken in 1971 near San Diego where they lived at the time.

Bura's life spanned the better part of the 20th century. She was born in Spencer, Indiana, but as a teen migrated with her family to Beaver County, Oklahoma where she met and married William Shepard. Their family then lived for 12 years in tiny Two Buttes, Colorado before they moved to San Diego in 1940 where they lived most of the rest of their lives. Bura died in 1986 while living with her son Eugene and family in Anacortes, Washington.

Though she has been gone for 26 years, her memory remains. I think I can speak for all her grandchildren in saying that her influence lives on in the lives of all of us who were touched by her steady faith, her solid perseverance, her even temper, and her no nonsense approach to life. What an extraordinary grandmother -- what an extraordinary person -- she was.

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