in 52 Weeks
Preserving the Past
Genealogy is all about preserving the past. Documenting ancestors’ lives, recording family stories and collecting family memorabilia, is the mission of a family genealogist. I do each of these tasks for my own enjoyment. This blog site is one way I preserve family stories, it will live in “the cloud” long after I am gone. So will the large family tree I have created on Ancestry.com.  However, memorabilia and keepsakes are in the real world and subject to personal attachment. In anticipation of my keepsakes ending up in a second-hand store, dumpster, or elsewhere, I will document them here so their images and stories will survive.
Keepsake: 80 Year Old Flag
I have a couple of keepsakes I associate with my great grandfather, David Louis Osborne 1847-1942.  One are his eyeglasses, the other is the U.S. flag presented to the family upon his death in 1942. The flag was given in recognition of his service in the 83rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. This flag is a typical veterans burial flag, it is made of heavy cotton fabric and measures 5′ by 9.5′. The stars are the same fabric, sewn on the blue field, on both sides of the flag, and are quilted with a pentagon pattern. The stripes are all individual strips pieced together with a double rolled, double stitched seam. What makes it somewhat unique is it has 48 stars and it has spent most of the past 80 years rolled up in tissue paper. But, a few years ago, I decided I wanted to enjoy this beautiful flag and now have it displayed in a flag case on top of my china cabinet where I see it everyday.
I have this photo of my great aunt, Grace Osborne Flucawa 1887-1954, with the flag hanging on her front porch.  I colorized the flag to let it stand out. I have placed a photo copy of my great grandfather’s discharge paper, this photo, and a brief profile of him inside the flag case.
Keepsakes: Aunts and Uncle
I have a few mementos to remind me of my aunts and uncle who have passed away. I keep them in my china cabinet so I can see them regularly. The charming little cup and saucer belonged to my Aunt Lois LaFara Richardson 1917-2003. The pretty teapot belonged to my Aunt Pat LaFara Holt 1923-1995. The wooden box with inlaid lid was my Uncle Frank Flucawa’s 1883-1974, it has a hidden compartment in the base. [7,8] The china is the Indian Tree pattern by Coalport and it came to me from my Aunt Grace Osborne Flucawa.  The china includes about 50 pieces, I have never used them but they are pretty to look at.
Not Quite Keepsakes
I also keep old family items that are more curiosities than true keepsakes. One is a tooled leather wallet I found among my grandmother’s photos. My grandmother, Pearl Osborne LaFara 1893-1972, probably made this wallet herself and I do not recall ever seeing it until I found it. But what makes it a little odd is the fact I found a very old two dollar bill tucked inside.
Another bit of ephemera I have is an old birthday card that was regularly exchanged between my father, Bob LaFara 1925-2004, and his sister Lois. I think my father sent it to Lois first in 1961. He thought it funny, probably because my Aunt Lois was a neat and tidy person. But, my Aunt Lois enjoyed a good joke so she returned it to my father the following year. And that was how a running joke and tradition began and lasted until Lois passed away in 2003. She died before my father had sent the card that year and so it was among his things when he died a year later. It’s fragile and has no meaning to anyone outside of those who were in on the joke.
I have many more keepsakes and mementos, and will no doubt share some in a blog post in the future. While I have preserved these items, I do not expect anyone else to value them as I have. Preserving the past is something I take pleasure doing and am satisfied that I do it for myself alone. Although, the idea that my research, blog posts and photographs may find a permanent home in the digital or virtual world does bring a certain satisfaction.
- Webpage, ‘Osborn‘ family tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/13493206/family
- Profile for David L. Osborne, ‘Osborne’ family tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/-60124040/facts
- Blog post, Family Finds: The Marriage of David and Jennie Osborne; https://barblafara.com/the-marriage-of-david-and-jennie-osborne/
- Blog post, Family Finds: David L. Osborne: His Indianapolis Homes; “https://barblafara.com/indianapolis-addresses-for-david-l-osborne/
- Blog post, Family Finds: David L. Osborne, Civil War Soldier; “https://barblafara.com/david-l-osborne-civil-war-soldier/
- Profile for Martha Grace Osborne, ‘Osborn‘ family tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/-60123978/facts
Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.
While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.
Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.
A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 3: Unusual Name
The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 6: Surprise!
Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.
For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one, in particular, I found very informative.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.
My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.
I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.
I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.