Vaccines! and Nails!

Looking up the coroner’s inquest data for Vermilion County Illinois in the historic data – last name McArdle, I was able to find 3 records.   One was my 2nd great grandfather Uriah who was run over by an oxen team saving his granddaughter. One was Charles:


The third was Roy McArdle


I don’t have records of Roy and this Charles in my tree, so I may have to do some digging to figure out exactly where they fit.  From the dates, I would assume that Roy is an Uncle and Charles is a cousin.  The inquest records are available at ISU and may list the parents, so I may venture over later and find the records.

What made me curious about these records was that Roy passed away from Tetanus from a nail injury.  I now personally have racked up 3 nails and one lightening rod that I have accidently stepped on.  My very first was out in the barn yard before I was 5 years old.  I remember it only as far as telling my dad and as he was busy he told me to go tell my mom, so I had to limp to the house and tell her – who also busy was going to send me back to the barnyard until she noticed the blood.  Of course this was now almost 50 years ago, so I’m remembering this from my child point of view.  I’m sure at that point I had just had what vaccines were required for someone my age…

I actually know I accidently got all my Kindergarten shots twice, due to a mix up with my best friend of the time, Iva Sue.  Iva and I would swap identities all the time and mess with the teacher.  (Not to be confused with the time I took in a handwritten by me – in Kindergarten – note and gave it to the teacher saying that my name had been changed to Maria.  My mother had signed it thinking it was another one of the endless papers that come home.   My teacher turned the note in and my name was changed on all the records.  The ‘mistake’ wasn’t caught until a couple weeks later during the parent teacher conference.  BUT, the shots swap was when after doing our swap, the school happened to have vaccination day.  I’d had my shots at the dr. (Dr. Elghammer) but Iva still needed hers.  After I found out what was going on, I tried to explain the mixup, but no one believed us.  You would think that having a cousin for principal, another cousin as janitor, and a cousin as the assistant to the first grade teacher, I would have been able to find backup, but nope.  I got Iva’s shots.  She still had to get her shots later, but I’m pretty sure that was the last time we pulled that swap.

In my teens I went on to step on a nail while builders were adding a garage to our house.  I think the builders had left nails all over, and I just happened to find one.  Years later I managed to find a lightening rod with my foot.  My husband had cut it off at the ground and I made the mistake of trying to open the telephone box above it.  I happened to put my foot on the spot where the rod was as I pushed up on the box cover.  This did prove some law of physics, but it also proved how ridiculous it is to go out at 5 am to try to test the phone line in just a nightgown and robe with no shoes (or Pants).  I made it into the house and to the bottom of the stairs – screaming up at my husband, before passing out.  Being a puncture wound (AGAIN)  they don’t do stitches.

My final nail was while cleaning a shed at my mothers.  My mom has collections of everything!  You name it you can probably find it there.  Included is a shed that happened to have everything from some items from when we moved to KY and couldn’t fit things in the truck -to items that my mother has stored.  There is even a hornet’s nest!  The shed was falling apart, and as I opened the door another time, it turned out trim fell off onto the ground.  As I walked in, I stepped on it, running it into my foot.   I then had to limp to the house, while calling my dr to check on my last tetanus shot.  I  decided the best thing was to go to a walk in clinic.  After trying to explain I was just there for a tetanus shot and yes I knew the drill, I was questioned, including to have to show the hole in my shoe…  Finally I got my tetanus shot.

The thought seeing the inquest record showing that a McArdle passed away from Tetanus from a nail though, makes me very glad that I stayed up to date on my tetanus vaccine.  – And that the tetanus vaccine exists.  There are some vaccines that protect against childhood illnesses that kids can get and hardly be affected (in most cases), but even the most benign virus can cause serious side effects in the right circumstance.  Infants can easily die of whooping cough, adults can become deathly ill from chicken pox, and so much more.  My great grandfather on my maternal grandmother’s side was lost to flu in 1918.  Flu is something that seems to come back every year, so far with not as high a fatality rate, but still having an effect.  This year alone the flu was devastating to children.

I see posts on facebook talking about being more afraid of vaccines than the illnesses.  The posts don’t put it that way, they use scare tactics – not mentioning all the deaths that are prevented by vaccines.  Vaccines do save lives, sometimes it’s your own, sometimes it’s the life of the elderly or immunocompromised that you are exposed to.  I shudder to think of what would happen if I had gotten tetanus from one of the nails that I have stepped on, and given my past history I can’t even say for sure that I won’t again. Tetanus can also be acquired through an open wound in infected soil – infected with the bacteria. Usually a hot wet climate.

I need to start including cause of death in my family history files, since it’s so interesting!  Not just the tetanus, but everything from being run over by an oxen team while rescuing his granddaughter (Uriah McArdle), burnt in a fire (Elmer McArdle), and even bone cancer (Mildred Eldridge).  Finding health trends and genetic traits is also interesting!  But now I need to research where Roy and this Charles McArdle fit into the family tree…..

Family Culture

My son is currently doing a project on family culture….  I think the class is cultural anthropology.  The real question is what is our families cultural history.  I also was struck recently seeing online a quiz a teacher gave for extra credit on race.  The real question comes from if your family immigrated to the US (aka great American Melting Pot) at the start of the country, what is your cultural background?

My grandmother Wakeland’s family immigrated to the US in the early 1900s after 3 of her sisters (my aunts) were already born.  I can link superstitions and our Catholic upbringing to them… but beyond that it becomes more of a question.  My husband’s family came to the US in the 1920’s, but didn’t really bring a lot of cultural heritage that we know of.  The family was also Catholic, but didn’t seem to have all the superstitions that my Italian family did.

For my family the McArdle on my mom’s side and all of my father’s side, were more the been here for ever, what would you consider culture.. but maybe that is a culture?

Culture is:

Family tradition, also called Family culture, is defined as aggregate of attitudes, ideas and ideals, and environment, which a person inherits from his/her parents and ancestors.

Both sides of the family have lots of family history to fall back on.  There were strong attitudes too, most were incorporated into the family for generations…  My ancestor Rev. John Corbley’s museum still has a family reunion every year at the church near his former farm.  Rev Corbley was originally part of the House of Delegates for the state of Virginia, but was voted out due to separation of Church and State in 1777.  Corbley was not an ordained minister but was thought to be enough of a minister to be ousted from the government.

Corbley later was part of the resistance during the Whiskey Rebellion when the settlers objected to the first tax imposed by the new country.  The government made a new federal tax on whiskey distilled in the area of Pennsylvania.  President Washington later released everyone and sent them back home.  Stories from Corbley’s life tell of him being allowed to go out during the day and return to the jailers at night until finally being told he could return home to his family.

Other stories from the family include tales of family that were some of the first Postmasters (McArdle), platted towns (Edward Corbley), Farmers (Richters), and even some of the first school board members of their area (Abraham Lincoln Richter)….  These ancestors all helped shape the country that we currently live in.  Many faced adversity and though some have faded into obscurity, they helped make the nation that exists today.

The question really is though how does this fit with our current family’s culture…  When I think of it, I see my mother who is now active in the Daughters of the American Revolution…  many of my cousins and aunts that have been active in politics.  I also see my cousins and my children doing what they can to help others and standing up for those in need.  We’ve tried to instill in our children to help people when they see injustice or need.  Though we sometimes slip, we try to focus on the positive.

Every one I know is a mix of something.  It may be race or religion….  or it could even be brain wiring.    Not everyone’s difference’s are visible, but they all matter.  To me it seems whatever your own difference, that’s the one that is the widest divide……

Corbly Family Bible

Corbly Family Bible

CoverI’m currently working on repairing a family Bible. The Bible itself is pretty amazing. I’ve fixed the spine already and am now working on the pages. The center of the Bible contains the family information and is readable.

Throughout the Bible are pages with beautiful pictures that appear to have had tissue paper pages on the opposing sides. All the images other than one appear to be in good shape. The image needing the most repair includes Moses with the 10 commandments.

The pages have all taken on a yellow tinge from the acid in the paper.  Supposedly paper kept out of the light and air will stay white, but this bible was stored in an attic, then a basement and over time moved to be stored in a bedroom until finally coming to stay with me.  I have the Bible now in an acid free box with small containers to absorb any moisture.  Included in the box is now acid free tissue paper.

Bible PageI’ve been taking the Bible out as needed to work on the pages. I chose a kit from Gaylord Archival that is museum quality. Gaylord has several Book Repair kits, including some new tool kits.  The kit I have includes book binding materials, binding glue, tape for the pages, and several other materials.  – I’ve finished the binding and am now working on the pages.

Filmy tape allows the page to be placed together and the tape to be placed over the tear.  The tape is almost invisible after being put over the repair.    I’ve fixed a few pages, and the tape is working perfectly when the page is whole – but has a rip in the page.   I’m at more of a loss when it comes to the repair of the pages that are missing pieces. Missing pieces along the binding edge are the most complex.  I’m still working on finding the best method to deal with those pages, but first have been working my way though the pages that are least damaged.


Later I will need to look through the pages and find the best way to deal with the yellowing.  The yellow pages are throughout the Bible and if there would be a method of reducing the discoloration it might take some time and effort.  The Bible is definitely worth the effort though and the majority of the sections have minimal damage.

Bible Page

MosesBible PageThe Finding of MosesPageRoaz and Ruth



Inside Page

A trip down memory lane – Champaign, Muncie, and Home

A trip down memory lane – Champaign, Muncie, and Home

Driving from Champaign to home past Muncie I decided to click some pictures. The road before Muncie is flat with fields – apparently a new hog farm (huge) is being discussed for the area North of Muncie.  Parks Livestock and another group are planning some hog farms. At the turn of the century Muncie was a mining town.  The mining dirt piles are all covered now, but the area is on the east side of town.    

The second picture shows a couple places I thought the train station may have sat, and then the main road in Muncie. Population 200 by the sign but 155 at the 2000 census…. According to the 2010 census, Muncie has a total area of 0.18 square miles.  Interestingly enough I remember the High School on the east side of Muncie has the address of Fithian Illinois – so is Muncie surrounded by Fithian?

Oakwood High School looks different from when I was a student but a lot more similar to when I was there than when my dad was there. During the years my father was a student the high school burnt and only the gym was left. (According to my aunt the high school exploded?) The high school I went to was built around the gym my father attended.  The drive that came in to the front door and went off in each direction is no longer there.  The drive now goes across the front and includes a parking lot, but the drive from the road is gone.  Seeing the new drive did make me question my memory a little. Even the name has changed a little.  The school was Oakwood Township High School, but has now dropped the Township. 

As I moved toward home and turned onto our road I passed the location my father went to grade school – one room school house at the time, and the house he grew up in. Finally I passed the location of my great grandparents house! Where the orange flowers grow.  Those flowers caused my allergies to act up every year!

The one room school house was turned into a residence many years ago and burnt one night.  It was named Lakeshore school for the area that the school was built in. A new house stands on it’s spot.  My grandfather’s house still stands in the same spot with a new family living in the house. 


Racism didn’t exist?

I originally wasn’t going to write anything about this, only because to me it seemed like a part of our family history that maybe should just be forgotten.  I just recently read the article about the Ohio campaign person saying that racism didn’t exist in America until Obama was president.  To me that was a lot like rewriting textbooks the way you want them, and also blaming the victims.

Much as I try very hard myself to not be racist – and raise my children that way…  and yes I do find myself profiling people, but not on the things you would think…. Personally I have to mentally tell myself to ignore it when someone smells like smoke (I have a really hard time breathing around heavy smells – same thing with heavy perfume too), really obese (no clue, probably projection and the fact that I’m scared to death that I’ll become more heavy), and of all the weird things – people that have really bad grammar and spelling)…  I try really hard to not let any of those factors make any difference on how I see someone and have had some great friends in all those categories!

What I’m really getting at though is that I had found out a few months ago that my grandmother, one of the grandmother’s that was gone before I was even alive.  Gone before my parent’s were even adults….  was what I would consider very racist.  The story I’ve heard is that she would walk into a restaurant and is she saw someone that was black, she would walk right back out refusing to eat there.  (Especially if they worked there)….  To me that’s crazy!  What difference does it make…. of course this was in the 1920s to 1940s, so before segregation really occurred.  The story left me embarrassed and floored to think that a family member of mine would do this.

I did know growing up that we were in a town that was very homogeneous.  The demographics of the town would pretty much make a solid pie chart on every descriptor, and anyone trying to change that would be run out on a rail.  I was a very oblivious kid and had no clue (other than the 5 Catholics and I caught that because my mother was one).  Leaving for college was really my first experience with anyone different in any way.  My first road trip with a friend we dropped by my parents – 4 whites, 1 black in the car and my dad explained to me that I was not to bring them home again.  He used a lot of not so nice words.  I am amazed I wasn’t disowned after the major fight we had at the time.  That was the only discussion I had ever had with my father about race…. and I think I never had another again after that.

I took a job with the university and never lived at home again, so the topic never came up, though I did bring a friend from the Philippines home a couple years later.  My friend stayed at my grandmother Wakeland and the topic never came up….

The thought though that racism didn’t exist before Obama just has me amazed.  I consider myself fairly young – just under 50, and also grew up very sheltered… and I remember hearing about the KKK burning crosses in yards nearby as I grew up. Stories about people trying to move to near by towns and things horrible things with derogatory words and XXXX ‘go home’ painted on big buildings in town.  These were towns with less than 2000 people and this was the 70s (long before Obama was president)!

I’m sure I’m rambling, and I’m sure that there were more relatives in my family that were openly racist.  There were probably even ancestors that interacted with slaves in one way or another, though I know there was one ancestor that came to the US as an Irish slave also.  He was kidnapped from the docks in Ireland and put on a ship, forced to work way to the US on the ship and then work to pay off his transport when he reached the New World.  The thing is, he was able to work off the passage and get freedom. He did fear for his life on the ship, but he wasn’t shackled under the decks.  He was grabbed on the docks and not able to let his family know what happened, but then he had the rights to send a message back to Ireland later on a returning ship.  That ancestor went on to own a plantation and in 1776 was a respected member of the Virginia community.

Notice in the above I have a hard time even saying that an ancestor may have owned slaves, yet we all know any ancestor in the south before slavery was abolished that was a landowner had the possibility.  I also can’t bring myself to type the derogatory words that were written on buildings during my childhood.  I recently saw someone post calling Obama HNIC and had no clue what that was.  When replying that I didn’t know why they were saying it was my HNIC someone else finally filled me in to the acronym.  I hated that I had used the acronym even!   President Obama is just that, the President.  Freedom of Speech in the US does give you the right to say free speech, but that free speech should not include bullying and insulting other people!

I would like to ignore the parts of my history that include racism, bigotry, and even slave ownership while I’m researching my family history…. but it is a part of my history. I have to take the good with the bad and I can’t just decide that it didn’t exist.  What I can do personally is try to make sure that I never let race, sexual orientation, religion, or even appearance affect how I treat anyone.  AND that I try to speak up for people when I have a chance to help right an injustice.

It’s the little things too, like Pay it Forward and Random Acts of Kindness that make a difference.


600 A.D.? Really? (You traced your line back that far)

I was just at my parents and ran into someone that traced their line WAY back…. And to admit it I have a tree that has that too.  I know what I need to do to my tree and what’s wrong with it….. It needs SOURCES! and in reality to go back that far the odds of finding sources are pretty near impossible.  Though how far really is that back, how many generations?  If you think that each generation probably got married younger as you go farther back – up to a point – my grandmother Richter got married at 14 I think…. But I would say an average of 20 to 25 years old.  So taking the year 2000 minus the year 600 and an average mother’s age of 25…. You get 56 generations back!  Looking at the chart below I suppose by the time you get that far back you pretty much have most of a country (or all of a country) in your family tree…..  My tree does go back and I know I need to work on my sources.  I have a few places that I need to shore up my documentation definitely.

What do you use for documentation once you get back a certain number of generations?  The census and other government records are great here in the US to document back to 1850, but going beyond that you run into what to use?  For one side of my family we have a family bible.  Family bibles can be a great source of information!  There are also newspapers that have some information, church records, and military records.  I’ve found probate records for wills that have also helped.

Going back beyond the 1800s though becomes tougher.  For some members of my family that are well known there are books that I can find where others have taken the time to trace the tree.  I’ve collected all I can find as these books get harder to find as time passes.  For regular family lines it gets almost impossible though.  Add to that the records being oversees and frequently not in English and the search gets tougher.  I’ve slowly been working through my records to add sources, but wondered about everyone else’s trees.  I’m also ordering the DNA kit. I thought I may as well give it a try.

I think the biggest mess in family trees on ancestry comes from the family tree merge…. I know when I first started out and saw it…. I made that rookie mistake and am still trying to clean it up.  Ancestry allows you to merge other peoples trees to your tree.  I also started tracking my family tree when I was about 14… Commodore 64 and paper time, and was just questioning relatives.  I didn’t document anything and relied on my memory for some.  I do have the paper copies of what I wrote, but my wonderful relatives from the time are all gone.  Between family member sources that aren’t documented and merged trees with unreliable sources, I am now using my tree as a source of hints that need researched.  I don’t have my tree set to public knowing there is information out there  that shouldn’t be relied on.  I do have a lot of great information and I have documented almost all of my direct line as well as a lot of other great pictures and documentation, but ughhh!  cleaning up a tree with thousands of people is a mess.  I never merge family trees now. I will turn on that feature and look when I want new hints, but I won’t link the information…..

What do you use for hints?  Sources?  How far back does your tree go?