Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Wordless Wednesday

I've decided to change the picture up on my blog - but wanted to give this picture a place in history. This is a picture of David and Mary (WHITE) COFFMAN and their family, taken in Fayette County, PA. We know the picture was taken before 1891, since that is the death date of James WHITE, Mary's father, who is sitting in the center of the picture along with his wife, Susanna MILLER. My direct relative is James Wadsworth COFFMAN, a son of David and Mary, who is standing to the far right, with his wife, Mary Elizabeth SHEETS in front of him.
Based on other children in the picture, we believe that the picture was taken in 1865 or 1866. The original is in my possession.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Remembered

I've been traveling the past two weeks, and thus away from the computer, and my blog. I realized while I was away, that I was not getting a chance to reminisce about Thanksgiving and our family traditions and so I apologize for my late posting and thoughts.

Thanksgiving, as a child, was a day spent at the family farm in Ohio, my grandfather Coffman's farm. The picture is of my grandfather Maurice Coffman, and my uncle, James Coffman at the farm in Ohio. The family - extended - uncles, aunts, cousins (close and those "removed"), grandparents and friends got together and feasted for the day. I seem to only remember the pies - typically the count was one for each of us - although I don't recall being allowed to eat a whole one! My dad, and his father were the 'turkey men" and there was also ham along with all of the traditional fixings. After my grandparents passed, the Thanksgiving day was one of family = just those that could make it to either my parents home or my house. Every so often, we would all travel to Texas and spend time with our cousins and their extended families.

As my boys aged, Thanksgiving continued at my home - but dad would always do the turkey. It wasn't until his late 80's, that he allowed me to take over the turkey duty - but always under his watchful eye. This year with his passing, it just seemed right to take the year off - and spend it differently - but remembering throughout the day the special day of Thanksgiving and its meaning to me.

And so I leave you with my memories - but most importantly the indelible sense that Thanksgiving is about family. Communicating with those you love - and when possible being with those that know you the best. Giving thanks to all you have and to your health. Being thankful for your life, and remembering that we were all put here on earth to doing something more, than just take up space. Maybe Thanksgiving should be the start of new goals, and new promises to live life to its fullest, and rejoice in the art of living! My Thanksgiving wishes to you all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day and honoring their memories

Today, 11/11/11, is Veteran's Day. This is a picture of my father, Maurice Fred Coffman and my mother, Dorothy Yoder Coffman shortly after their marriage on December 5, 1941. Yes, they were married two days before Pearl Harbor, and were on their honeymoon in DC, where dad was stationed.

Dad, was proud of his Naval heritage and service. In addition, we must also honor, his father, Maurice Coffman (see the Coffman page); my father's brother, James Coffman; my mother's father, Earl Yoder (see the Yoder page) and many more relatives who have served this United States.

In my grandfather Coffman's U.S.N. scrap book, in my possession there are pages of quotes and poems that were meaningful to my grandfather. There is no question that this one struck a special note for me:

"Somebody Waiting for Me"
"Somebody's waiting for me;
Some one who loves me, I know,
Somebody's wondering where I can be,
And what can be keeping me so!
Somebody's heart is sad
Waiting so anxiously'
There's a light shining bright
From a window-to-night,
For there's somebody waiting for me."

"You have a sweetheart, somewhere,"
One among them softly said.
"Is she handsome, Jack? pray introduce us, do!"
"If you'll come with me," he answered,
"I will show her to you, boys.
It's the only sweetheart that I ever knew."
Then he led them to a cottage,
Pointed through a window-pane,
Where a gray-haired woman sat with her head down,
"She's my mother, she's my sweetheart
She's the one I meant to-night,
So you see I told the truth boys, when I said:

Somebody's waiting for me;
Some one who loves me, I know,
Somebody's wondering where I can be,
And what can be keeping me so!
Somebody's heart is sad
Waiting so anxiously'
There's a light shining bright
From a window-to-night,
For there's somebody waiting for me."

Bless all those who have served, and know that there is someone waiting for you!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Attendance at Pennsylvania Family History Day

Yesterday, I got to attend the Pennsylvania Family History Day, sponsored by the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania and What a great event. Vendors and Speakers offered an amazing amount of information, all in one area at the Wyndham in Exton, PA.

Curt Witcher, from Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne Indiana, was worth the price of admission. His focus was on the changing face of genealogy and talked about the thing important to me - telling the stories. He even went so far to say that the activity we are all involved in now is going to end up being called family history since it opens the doors more for everyone's involvement. I left the keynote, realizing that I have much work to do to ensure that our family history is preserved properly for the generations to come.

At lunch, DearMRYTLE, shared her story "Let Them Eat Jam." Her impassioned sharing of her family story based on memories, was inspiring to many, and made us all realize that each one of us, and our family handles family memories differently: photography, cooking, talking, writing; to name a few. All of these work - what becomes important are the memories and the traditions.

I received additional clues on research from Lou Szucs from and John T. Humphrey on Pennsylvania Land Records. What was exciting is that Kim McGowan who teaches a class in genealogy with me at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Widener University was present, as were a table full of our students! Learning was a happening activity yesterday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Using Government Land Records

The Bureau of Land Management has done a wonderful job indexing the land records, and providing over 5 million images from 1820 to present day. The site is located at

The site states the following about the land patent records.
"Federal Land Patents offer researchers a source of information on the initial transfer of land titles from the Federal government to individuals. In addition to verifying title transfer, this information will allow the researcher to associate an individual (Patentee, Assignee, Warrantee, Widow, or Heir) with a specific location (Legal Land Description) and time (Issue Date). We have a variety of Land Patents on our site, including Cash Entry, Homestead and Military Warrant patents."

Just recently I used this site to look up information on the FOX family and their movement to Ohio in the early 1800's; work that had been done by my mother through letters and trips to the county court house. Here, I was able to look up the land patent in 1820 of a cash sale to Henry FOX; Philip AIRHART; Andrew MILBOURN; Samuel CRAIG; James CRAIG; and Joseph RHODES; and George JAMES. What is amazing is that of the seven individuals listed - five are direct relatives of the FOX family. However, it does open up the question about who was Philip AIRHART AND George JAMES. Which is why genealogy research never ends.