10 December 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Local Histories/ Vanity Biographies

Local histories can  take many forms and many of them can be excellent resources for genealogists.  But this blog is about is a special category of local history. Published primarily from the later 1870s through the first decade or so of the 1900s, these  books often called themselves histories. But any history that they might deliver tended to arrive in the form of short vanity biographies submitted by local citizens. You can find them in virtually every state under a wide variety of titles such as Men of Mark, or Commemorative Biographical Record, etc. The truth is that these books were first and foremost a clever way for publishers to create and sell books. They were almost always sold by subscription, and, with the exception of a few very prominent locals who often lent their name to the title page, it tended to be only those local citizens who subscribed that were allowed to submit the brief brief biographies to be included in the books.

Reading through these biographies can quickly bring to mind the introduction of  one of Garrison Keillor's   introductions to one of his tales of the fictional town of Lake Wobegon - "where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all of the children are above average." In these books, you will find no scoundrels.  All of the citizens in these biographies are prominent, hard-working, highly regarded citizens who have contributed to the well-being of their communities. This, along with the fact that the bios were nearly always taken directly from the information submitted by the subject of the biography or by his family, means that they cannot always be taken as strict truth.  Truth stretches easily here.  Still, if we recognize this potential,  these can be lovely little packages of information. Consider, for example, what we learn in this biography of Robert R. Pinkerton, found in the Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin Counties, J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, 1895:

It will be necessary to verify much of the info below, but a wonderful starting point has been found. Some of the possible follow-up research suggested by these finds is in blue text.
  • Robert R. Pinkerton is the son of Samuel Pinkerton. Check the census and local records for entries on Samuel Peacock
  • Robert was born 17 January 1842 in Ireland. 
  • He immigrated to America at age 5 - about 1847. This told me to check Records for Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine, documenting the period 1/12/1846 - 12/31/1851 online at NARA.

  • Five years passed between Robert's immigration to America and his moving to Wisconsin - This alerts me to search the 1850 U.S. census. Follow-up can be made in the local records when the family is found.

  • Robert had a brother named John who lived with or near him in Waupaca, Wisconsin.

  • Robert married Zelia Jewett in 1872. Look for marriage record.

  • Zelia Jewett's parents lived in southern Wisconsin. Find Zelia's family on the U.S. or Wisconsin State census reports.

  • Zelia died in 1874, after having one son, Walter Pinkerton. Look for cemetery record and probate records, if any.

  • In 1895, Walter was in college in Monmouth, Illinois. This record led to the discovery of his going on to medical school after college and his becoming an M.D.

  • Robert married 2nd to Maggie Cochran. Look for marriage record.

  • Maggie was born in New York and her family traveled to Wisconsin with the Pinkertons. We know have a pretty good idea of where Robert spent his first five years in America.  Find both families on the census in New York and in Waupaca County. 

  • We have the names of Maggie's parents and siblings. Can be used to find the family on the 1850 and later census and to find them in newspapers, marriage and other local records.

  • We have the names of the three children born to Robert and Maggie, Rosa, Jennie, and Arthur, along with the fact that daughter Rosa died at age 7.  Search census records, cemetery records, marriage records.

  • Maggie Cochran Pinkerton died in 1889. Cemetery and possibly probate records

  • Robert R. Pinkerton was a farmer who also speculated a bit in real estate and occasionally loaned money at interest.  Land Records, Court Records

  • Politically, he was a Republican
    Good hunting!

05 December 2012

Thankful Thursday - Serendiptiy, Ya Gotta Love It

Finding Nathan Porter

Serendipity: The happy accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it. 

I am something of a stickler for documentation in my genealogical research - even if I have personal knowledge of a fact or an event, where possible, I prefer to have supporting evidence. And my Porter family research had been going very well - documentation was turning up left and right - right up to the point that I ran into Nathan Porter.

In accordance with every beginning genealogy class I ever saw, I started with myself and worked backward:

My most recent Porter ancestor was my grandmother, Annie Porter, who died prior to my birth, so I have no personal knowledge of her.  In my search for her history, I had started with details provided by my father years earlier and had gained additional stories from older cousins who knew her. What I started with from family records was that Annie Porter was born Nancy Ann Porter in Jackson County, Florida, on 10 August 1887, married John F. Butler on 3 January 1903 in the same county, and died on 18 March 1943, in Orange County, Florida.

I quickly added documentary evidence of my connection to Annie from Dad's birth and death certificates and found additional details from the record of my grandmother's marriage to John Butler. Her own death certificate found the names of her parents, and their marriage record gave me her mother's maiden name.  A thorough study of census records and Jackson County marriage books, and court, land, tax, probate records and voter rolls proved that Annie's father, William Turner Porter, was the son of Jacob Turner Porter.  And there I was stuck for a while.

During my Jackson County research, I had found what I considered a likely father for Jacob T. Porter. Federal land records showed a Nathan Porter buying land in 1827 in the same area where Jacob T. Porter began appearing several years later. And Jackson County voting records for three Territory Council elections in the early 1830s showed Nathan Porter and Jacob T. Porter voting in the same Jackson County precinct. However, no record indicated a connection between the men.

But I did find clues. Jacob had served in the 2nd Seminole War and late in his life, he had applied for a federal pension based on that service. In his application for the pension, he stated that he had been born in Johnston County, North Carolina. His reported age in that application, and in various census reports indicated that he had been born about 1809 or 1810. A census search of Johnston County for families named Porter on the 1810 U.S. census of Johnston County found only one household - and it was headed by Nathan Porter and had an infant of the right age to be Jacob T. Porter.

My feeling that Nathan "may be Jacob's father,"had started shifting to "probably Jacob's father"...but did I mention that I am a stickler for documentation? Digging deeper into Nathan Porter of Johnston County, North Carolina turned up a property deed that referred to Nathan as being "of Southampton County, Virginia".  Other land records named Nathan Porter's wife as Elizabeth, and one of his sons as Ridley B. Porter. Jacob Turner Porter had named one of his sons James Ridley Porter. Ridley not being a common name like John or Bob, I now knew that I was almost certainly onto a connection. So, on to Southampton County, Virginia!

In the Southampton County records I quickly found Nathan Porter's marriage to Elizabeth Turner, and was more or less convinced that I had found Jacob's parents. After all:

  •  Jacob Turner Porter shows up in early Florida records in close proximity to Nathan Porter. 
  • Jacob T. was born about 1809 in Johnston County, North Carolina, and the only Porter household in Johnston County in 1810 was headed by Nathan Porter.
  • Jacob's middle name was Turner, and Nathan's wife was Elizabeth Turner.
I was personally convinced, but despite extensive research, I still had not found any record that actually confirmed it. I accepted that I might never find it, and I laid the Porter research aside and went on to other family lines.

About a year later, I turned back to the Southampton County, Virginia records to dig a little deeper into the Turner family of Jacob T. Porter's mother. During my initial research in Southampton County, Virginia, I had identified her parents, Jacob Turner and Ann Blunt and her grandparents, James Turner and Ann Jarrell. But I wanted a rounder picture of the family.

While reviewing the indexes to Southampton County's land and court records for what I hoped was my Turner family, I came across the name Jarrell Turner referenced to was an 1845 lawsuit.  Knowing that Jacob T. Porter's maternal great grandparents were James Turner and Ann Jarrell, I decided to check it out. I had little hope of it leading to anything useful - by 1845, the Porters had been in Florida for at least 17 years. As it turned out, I was wrong.

Jarrell Turner was the much younger half-brother of Elizabeth Turner who married Nathan Porter. Jarrell had managed to acquire a significant estate, but died without ever having married or had any children. His heirs were his brothers and sisters, including Elizabeth Turner Porter. The lawsuit was the result of some of the heirs trying to force the rest of the heirs to sell off the property and divide the estate. Preliminary to hearing the suit, the Judge required that all heirs be notified of the date and time at which the case would be heard.  By the time of the lawsuit, Elizabeth Turner Porter had died, so her children became heirs to her share of her brother's estate - and that lovely little court record named each and every one of Elizabeth's children, including my great-great grandfather, Jacob Turner Porter.

And there it is- while looking for something  totally different, I had stumbled upon the long sought for record that proved conclusively that Nathan Porter of Florida was also the Nathan Porter of Johnston County, North Carolina and of Southampton County, Virginia, and he was my g-g-g grandfather. Serendipity, you just have to love it.

12 November 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Jacob T. Porter, Indian Fighter

 Records From the Indian Wars 1832-1842

As a two tour Viet Nam combat veteran, I am not personally inclined to celebrate war. Nor am I inclined to glorify my European ancestors' subjugation of the American Indians.  But as a genealogist, I confess that I often feel like celebrating the records, and particularly the pension records, left by our ancestor's participation in those early wars.

In July of 1892,  the U.S. Congress passed a new law on federal pensions:
 "An Act Granting Pensions To The Survivors of The Indian Wars of Eighteen Hundred and Thirty-Two to Eighteen Hundred and Forty-Two, Inclusive, Known as the Blackhawk War, the Creek War, the Cherokee Disturbances, and the Seminole War."   Like the pension applications of the much better known Revolutionary War or War of 1812, these Indian Wars applications can be gold mines for genealogists.

Like many of my ancestors, my great-great grandfather, Jacob T. Porter, came to Florida in the early 1820s. By the time that the time that the many increasingly hostile encounters between the natives and the American settlers finally became the "Second Seminole War" (1835-1842),  Jacob T. had established his on farm and his own family. And when the call for the militia went out, he stepped up, serving two brief enlistments in 1837 and 1838 before being injured while serving.

Fifty years after the end of that war, having buried two wives and finding himself as an old man with minor children from his 2nd wife, Jacob T. Porter applied for federal pension based on that long-ago federal service. Then about one hundred and ten years after his application, I contacted the National Archives and Records Administration and acquired copies of Jacob's application. What I got was 109 pages of incredible information.

What I found in Jacob Turner Porter's Pension Application File:

  • His place and year of birth.

  • His exact date of death.

  • A physical description of Jacob.

  • In a supporting deposition by his brother-in-law, John Mayo, I found the year and place of death for his first wife, Martha mayo, as well as the names of both of her parents, Brittain and Frances Mayo, and the years and places of death of both of her parents.

  • The date of his marriage to his 2nd wife, Martha Alice Adkins Foxworth, and the date and place of her death.

  • The pension file also included - apparently by accident - the two bounty land applications that Jacob had filed for the land that was available to soldiers serving in the Seminole War.  These gave me the legal descriptions for 320 acres of bounty land that he received, leading eventually to the discovery that the cemetery in which he is buried is on land that was originally part of his bounty grant.

  • One total surprise in the file was the revelation of three children that Jacob had out of wedlock with his housekeeper after his wife had died. She and the children lived in a separate house on his property, and the children appeared on the census under her surname.  After the birth of the third child, Jacob married the housekeeper as his 2nd wife, but she died ahead of Jacob, within two years of the marriage, leaving him as an 80 year old with three minor children.  Indeed, much of Jacob's effort to gain a  pension seems to have been based on him feeling his own pending mortality and wanting to arrange some income for the children before he died.  The pension application contained depositions from several of Jacob Porter's grown children testifying that Jacob had freely acknowledged all three of the children were his and that he had made it known in the community that he was their father.  These three children never appeared in a census with the name Porter prior to 1900, by which time they had left the county.  Without the pension file, I would probably have never connected them to Jacob.

  • As pointed out just above, several of Jacob's children gave depositions in support his pension application, and still others witnessed documents - providing direct evidence of their connection to Jacob.

  • One of the best finds of all was a war story of how Jacob received a back injury that troubled him for the rest of his life and which made it impossible for him work when he got old. The story was related by Jacob and sworn to in signed and witnessed depositions by three of the men who served with him during the Seminole War. Here is the story in Jacob T. Porter's on words as written in his pension application:
"Colonel Pittman ordered several men to go out on a scout and I was sent in that number. Before reaching the place where we expected to find the Indians, I was suddenly thrown from my horse across a large root on the side of the road that we were traveling. It killed me dead for 20 minutes or more, Colonel Pittman told me.  And I was told by Dr. Terrell that he had taken about a pint of blood from me before I came back to life. I remember from my own knowledge passing from me from time to time after arriving back at camp about a half a gallon of blood from said injury of my back and from my urinary organ. And I recollect too that I started passing blood in my urine again about 20 years ago. I was treated at the company, but I was never treated in any other hospital." 

After reading that, I was reminded of a tv commercial that I saw some time ago - I no longer remember what was being sold or the exact words, but the spirit of the slogan stuck with me and seems fitting for how I feel about this pension application. " Finding all of those glorious facts about my family is really cool, but finding our that I descend from a man who was resurrected? Priceless. 

FYI, Jacob Turner Porter was awarded a pension for his service in the Seminole War. Unfortunately, he died four days before the first payment arrived in the post office in nearby Marianna, Florida. The postman was required by law to return the money to Washington, D. C.  George Porter, Jacob's son kept up the fight to get the kids Jacob's pension for another two years - but they never got a dime.

29 October 2012

Tech Tuesday - A First Foray Into DNA

Perhaps it was serendipity; on the same day that the email from Ancestry.com offering me (and no doubt millions of others) the opportunity to participate in the Beta stage of their new DNA test program, I also had a little windfall that left me with a little unbudgeted cash. Or maybe it was that I have been more than a little fascinated with the DNA revelations on Henry Louis Gates recent Finding Your Roots series on PBS. Either way, when I thought "Why not?" and a few mouse clicks later my windfall was down by $99.00 and my first foray into the world of personal DNA testing was underway.

A week or so after sigining up, my DNA Test kit arrived in the mail - a fancy looking box containing a test-tube type receptacle, and a preadressed mailing envelope. Following the accompanying directions, I deposited the requisite amount of saliva in the tube and mailed it to the lab in the provided envelope.

About two more weeks went by before I got an email from Ancestry.com telling me that my DNA results were available. A link on the email took me to my new DNA account at Ancestry.com. As shown in this image, this was not the "Y" chromosome test that links a male to his male ancestors, but was more of a test of the geographic origins of one's ancestors.
Described more realistically, it would be a "most people with this DNA lived in this region" test. As can be seen on the above image, 49% of my DNA was most commonly found among natives of the British Isles - including Ireland. The next larget chunk of my DNA was from Central Europe (which for this test includes the modern countries of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, and  Liechtenstein. A much smaller percentage of my DNA, 7%, is found in modern-day Finland and western Russia. And another 7% cannot currently be defined - the report says that it may suggest a specific population, but the probability is insufficient to make that determination.

The British Isles and "Central" Europe bits were no suprise - my own research had shown solid ancestry in both regions. The Finn/Russian on the other hand, was a suprise and I wonder if I will ever find its origins. As for the Uncertain bit of my DNA, until it is proven otherwise, I intend to start a family rumor that it is our Neanderthal DNA.

In addition to the geographic origins, I also received links to several hundred other DNA test participants who match some significant part of my DNA.  Unless the matched participant has entered a family tree, all I see from the potential relative is his/her DNA percentages in a comparison to my own. If the matched participant has entered a family tree, I will see the surnames, if any, that their tree has in common with my own. If we have common ancestors in our trees, that is displayed, along with our estimated relationship (3rd cousin, 4th cousin 1x removed, etc.). So far I have found 5 new 3rd cousins.

On the whole, I have found this foray very interesting and worth the money. It has, in fact, convinced me to undertake additional DNA testing.

22 October 2012

Travel Tuesday - Hippolyte was a Traveling Man

Researching the Hiegel family was not going well. There were the usual surname spelling variations (Heigle, Hagle, Hagel, Hegle, etc.), of course. And the family came from Alsace-Lorraine, where jurisdiction seem to go back and forth between France and Germany on a regular basis. As a result although several siblings were all born in the same village, some would give Germany as their place of birth while others would say France.

And then I got lucky and found a record that named one of my guy's brothers as Hippolyte Hiegel. With a name like Hipolyte, even searches with no surname included often have a chance.

To keep it short, within a few minutes of online searching, I had found Hippolyte and, in the finding, discovered that Hippolyte was a traveling man - I located three records associated with his travel. And that turned out to be very a very good thing. I also found him in the census records, but it is the travel records I want to highlight here.

The first record was the passenger list of the ship on which he came to America:
It told me that Hypolyte Hiegel immigrated from Europe, sailing from Le Havre, France, on the ship, La France, arriving on 9 November 1881. It reported that he had no occupation and that the was 17 years old.

Twenty three years later, in 1904, Hippolyte Hiegel decided to go back and visit the old home country. Preparatory to his trip, he applied to the U.S. Department of State for a U.S. passport that would allow him to travel to Alsace Lorraine. Passport applications can be compact little treasure chests of information. Because the information required on the application changed over the years, some applications will be more informative than others, many will even contain photographs of the applicant. The truth, though, is that even the worst application I ever found was pretty good.

Look at the mass of information this single application contains:
  •  Hippolyte's county of residence, which allows me to confirm that the man applying for the passport is the same man I found on the census.
  • His date and place of birth - not just the region, but also the village.
  • The port he sailed from when he immigrated to America, and the ship on which he sailed - allowing me to confirm that the man on the above immigration record is the same man applying for the passport.
  • The date he sailed to America - note that this date is a little different from the one on the ship's manifes about. Hippolyte gave the date that he saidled from France, and the ship's manifest gives the date they arrived in New York.
  • The fact that Hippolyte became a naturalized citizen, as well as the date and the court where he was naturalized - allowing me to locate the natualization record. Note that the county where he was naturalized (Shelby County, Ohio) is different from the county he resided in (Arcanum, Darke County, Ohio) when he applied for the passport - a new possible source of records.
  • We also learn that during his 23 years in America, Hippolyte has become a merchant.
  • There is no photo, but there is a physical description - age 40, 5'6" tall, blue eyes, light hair, acquiline nose, big mouth, light complexion, with a full beard and mustache.
  • He states that he intends to return to the U.S. within two years.
  • His signature is on the form.
All of that from one relatively small document.

From the next document - not a true travel document, but one that was issued as a result of his travels - we learn that Hippolyte did return to his home village, but he never returned to the United States. He died during his stay in the old home place. Below is a report issued by the State Department of an American's death abroad. It tells us that Hippolyte died in his old village, at Lutzelbourg, Lorraine, on 1 May 1905, just over 7 months after applying for his passport. The report also tells Hippolyte's legal representative that more information can be obtained from the Department of State.
Three documents, all created by two trips, that provide a snapshot view of Hippolyte Hiegel's life.

12 October 2012

Surname Saturday - My Pippen/Pippin Line

The Pippen surname turned out to be a bundle of firsts when I first set out to find my family history:
  • It was the first totally new ancestral surname that I encountered - I had never heard of the name before I found it on an 1865 marriage record.

  • It was the first time that I met a cousin - 3rd cousin as it turned out - that I did not grow up knowing.

  • It led me to the first family reunion where I knew only one person - my newly found Pippen third cousin.
I arrived early on the morning of the Pippen reunion and was immediately glad that I did. The reunion was being held outdoors at the big picnic pavilion in the Pine Log State Forest, which lies astride of the northwestern border of Bay County and the southwestern border of Washington County in Northwest Florida. When I stepped out of my car, it was already one of those North Florida fall mornings where the sky is so blue, clear, and tall as to make you think that clouds were a figment of the imagination. And there was just the right pinch of coolness in the air - enough to make the world feel fresh, but light enough to foretell the gloriously fine day that was to come.

The picnic area was in a setting that could only be labeled as picturesque -surrounded by 100 foot pines and overlooking a beautiful lily pad pond that had grassy banks on one end and a large stand of venerable old cypress trees on the other. The pavilion itself was a roofed structure with a sunken area full of picnic tables and a fireplace at one end that was large enough for me to easily stand up in it. The roof itself extended to cover a wide concrete apron surrounding the pavilion that could be used for additional seating should the crowd overflow the sunken area. Today, though, one side of the apron would be taken up with my home-made easels and the extensive family history data that they would display. I was the after-lunch entertainment.

Call it dumb luck or an overabundance of enthusiasm combined with a bit of beginner's ignorance, but I had used a wide-ranging research style - my wife called it octopus research in which I just sent arms out in every direction and dragged in virtually every mention of Pippen in the records from areas where my known Pippen/Pippins had lived. I had then built huge spreadsheets with each event recorded with names, dates and locations, etc. When carefully sorted, this mass of records pointed up patterns in family growth and movement, in family growth, and interactions and connections between various Pippen families. Looking back, it was clearly an inefficient way to approach the research - but I was green in my genealogy in those days and didn't know any better. And while it undoubtedly wasted time, it also proved to be immensely successful. And  when I shared my success with several new found Pippen relatives, they took it upon themselves to invite me to the Pippen Family Reunion and to  ask me to give a little talk about some of what I had found about our shared ancestors

So, I set up my boards as my new cousins began to arrive, and then helped them unload their additions to the feast that every family reunion eventually becomes. Around a hundred folks showed up, and we had a lovely morning socializing and getting to know one another  - followed by an excellent southern lunch.

After lunch, I moved up to the apron surrounding the picnic pavilion and began my talk. I spoke of our common ancestor, Solomon Pippen, who came to Florida early in its Territorial days, and of how we had tracked him back to South Carolina and to birth place in Edgecombe County, North Carolina before that. I had begun to talk about his father Solomon and his grandfather Solomon when a tiny and very senior lady in my audience raised her hand.

"Yes, ma'am?" I asked.

"I am sorry to interrupt, but we have always been told that we descend from kings and queens, and from Charlemagne. Can you tell us anything about that?"

If I had studied the expectant faces of the crowd that I was looking down on, I might have thought of a different approach to my answer. Instead,  before I could even stop to think about it, I heard myself saying:

"Well, no ma'am, my evidence has only led me back to the early 1700s, and that is about a thousand years after Charlemagne lived. But I can tell you for a fact that we all descend from a 17 year old English convict who, in 1719, was sentenced to 7 years of hard labor in the American Colonies."

The silence that followed was profound, and it stretched out so long that I could hear the hammering of large woodpecker in the nearby forest as he hunted for his breakfast. I looked out over my audience. The little old lady looked shocked and others sitting around her were frowning - maybe grimacing.

Okay old boy, I thought, your mouth got you into this, and it needs to get you out. So I began talking about that 17 yea old involuntary immigrant; about how he had been ripped away from his home, his family, and everything else that he had ever known and forcibly shipped to America. I asked them to imagine what it must have been like to land on foreign shores in this new Maryland, knowing not only that he would never seen his loved ones again, but that he was facing seven years of indentured servitude.

I suggested that they consider how over the years this boy had worked his way from virtual slavery into being a successful and mildly prosperous farmer and family man.  Of how his sons and grandsons had moved south into the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida and west into Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. Consider, I suggested, the strength of spirit required to rise from such harsh beginnings to found a family that had literally expanded across the breadth of a nation.

Hurt feelings assuaged, most of us piled into cars and went off to visit two family cemeteries in the area. During this time, one of the older men came up to me, clapped me on the shoulder and said quietyly into my ear "Boy, you should have been a preacher!"

Later, we sat around listening to the older folks tell stories about earlier generations they had known, and about the old days when the mills the family owned were still operating. I threw in a couple of stories of my own of the family into which my great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Pippen, married.

But of the story about the 1830s murder that sent our particular branch of the Pippen clan fleeing to Florida from their North Carolina home, I never whispered a single word. Some stories are for another day.

17 September 2012


I didn’t die and I didn’t lose my mind…just part of my memory.

I did not start this blog with the idea of making a few posts and then dropping off the face of the world. But life jumps sideways at you sometimes. In my case, it did so in the form of a very bad reaction to a long-term, time-release type of medication that impacted my short-term memory in disastrous ways.
To fully understand that impact, you would have had to have known me before. I had one of those disgustingly good memories that rarely lost anything. As a student, it made some parts of school too easy. As a genealogist, it gave me the ability to jump back and forth between family lines and to cite chapter and verse on what I knew about nearly any ancestor in my research database.

And it had always been so – the memory was simply a huge part of who I was. I never needed to take elaborate notes because I could pull up the whole lecture almost word for word. Looking back from my current perspective, I am quite sure that at least some of the people who worked for me when I was a young manager thought I was a jerk. I simply did not understand the excuse “I forgot.”  I don’t just mean that I didn’t sympathize; I mean that I literally did not understand it.
Suddenly finding myself  forgetting phone calls or emails that needed follow-up, or meetings and appointments that were important, or, in this case, making posts to my new blog, was not only baffling, it scared the hell out of me. Because I had never needed them, I had never learned the little tricks that most people use - the notebooks and calendars, the day planners, etc. So until things began to get better, it interfered in my life in many unexpected and often unpleasant ways.

But time has passed, the meds are out of my system and things have gotten better.  The memory has greatly improved, but has not fully returned to its old ways.  It probably never will. My wife jokes that my memory is still perfect; it is my indexing system that now occasionally fails. And she is right – I don’t forget too much these days but even if I do lose something, once reminded I can usually pull it up in chapter and verse.  

I have read that inconsistency in a blog posts is the kiss of death. Probably so, but time will tell.  I feel good about the reboot, and during the last year I have added some wonderful crutches – like the popup calendar - to my tool chest.  So now we begin again; let’s see where this road leads.