2008 in Review

This morning while everyone sleeps, I thought I would give a quick year in review.  Wow, what a year.  Probably the best year of my life.  I hope I can continue to say that every year!

One year ago, it was the first day of being laid off in my life.  Good ole Bank of America laid off the entire Wholesale Division.  My life as a underwriter came to an end as the mortgage industry was obviously in signs of trouble.  I decided to leave the entire industry.  Boy, am I glad I did!  1 January 2008 brought a month of trying, scrambling to find out what to do.  I had severance for a year and my job working professionally as a genealogist.  That carried us through.  I have been doing genealogy for the same family over the Christmas Break to supplement our income.  That is certainly a great blessing.  I know it is a blessing to their family and those who have gone on before as well.  I have probably added more than 2 or 3 generations on each of their family lines.

The first week or two of January I received an offer for employment in Pasco, Washington covering the states of Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming for Inlande Environmental Resources.  I would be making more than 10K more, have my own vehicle, card, and a whole lot more.  The only downside is I would be in Idaho most of the time while Amanda would remain in Virginia to finish her education.  We decided it was a great offer, much better than our options in Virginia, and could help open doors for the future.  The end of January, Brad Hales flew out, and we made a cross country trek in my pickup.  Brad has always been a very generous, kind friend.  Who would have thought a mission to England would have such long lasting repercussions?

February through June found me working for IER working with existing customers and making new sales.  The only big contract I found was with J.B. Swift in Hyrum, Utah.  It was 2 or 3 truckloads a month at present.  They were having so many problems with Thatcher Chemical that it was a fairly easy sell.  Honestly, I was just at the right place at the right time.  I really don’t think I personally did anything that really made the sale but it made me a favorite with the bosses.  We opened quite a few doors.  The big thing I enjoyed was the travel.  Salem, Portland, The Dalles, Weston, Pendleton, Gresham, and more in Oregon.  Toppenish, Yakima, Zillah, Sunnyside, Grandview, Pasco, Kennewick, Wenatchee, and Colfax Washington.  Wenatchee was another example of just being in the right place at the right time.  We were solving a foaming problem with apple concentrate waste.  We just had the right chemical but became known as the defoaming expert!  I also traveled all over Utah, Vernal being the most exotic visit.  I sure enjoyed Inlande Environmental.  They were really good to me and I enjoyed working for them.

May rolled around and I decided to accept an opening at Oklahoma City University for Law School.  I announced it to my bosses and they were more than accepting.  They knew when they interviewed me for the job I was seriously considering law school.  They were so good to me!  In fact, they let me keep my salary through to August while Amanda and I took our trip to Europe and here to Oklahoma City.  Amanda also graduated in May.  Amanda’s parents and I flew out for the big occasion.  We sure had quite a bit of fun!  During the time there we packed everything to move all our stuff to Oklahoma City.  We did a little sight-seeing as well.  Monticello was probably my favorite place to visit and I was fortunate everyone else wanted to go as well.  In the end, I flew back to work in Idaho and Amanda with the in-laws drove to Oklahoma City in a moving truck, and from there to Kaysville in the car.

A big first for the year.  We purchased our first home!  A quaint little 30’s home near 23rd Street NW in Oklahoma City.  A wonderful little home with plenty of things to keep me busy but still liveable.

June rolled around and then Amanda and I went on our very expensive weight loss program.  I can boast losing about 20 pounds running around Europe.  We spent six weeks in Europe.  Many, many firsts for both of us.  We visited friends in Belgium and they were very kind to treat us.  Primarily, it was perfect for getting over jet lag!  We then went crazy in traveling for the next 6 weeks.  About 4 days in Belgium.  We attended a Stake Conference in Antwerp and attended dedicatory prayers in Dutch.  That prepared us for Brugge, and where we spent our next few days in Amsterdam.  We saw the sights and even made a trip to Den Haag.  Off we shot across The Netherlands, across Germany to Berlin, and down to an ancestral home in Dresden.  I still think Dresden was probably my favorite place.  Even better than Vianden or the rest of Luxembourg.  Dresden is also near to Meissen which was another ancestral home.  I would love to spend a week in Dresden.  We shot across Germany through Leipzig down to Augsburg.  There we were based to hit Munchen, Dachau, and Fussen for Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein.  Then we headed off to visit Stuttgart with Neuffen and Holzgerlingen (ancestral towns) before heading to Salzburg.  Salzburg was definitely another favorite.  Gorgeous town.  Then off to sweltering Venice via Innsbruck.  There we spent time in a very different culture and climate in a city on the water with no water to drink!  After Venice, up through Padua to Zurich and down to Bern.  Bern was definitely another favorite.  I really wish we could have spent some good quality time there.  Then off through Lausanne and Geneva for a few wonderful, long, unorganized days in Paris.  If there was ever a point Amanda and I were getting tired it was in Paris.  More with each other than with the city.  But we really enjoyed Paris nevertheless.  If we had been stuck in Amsterdam during this time, we may have been in marital breakdown, but Paris made it bearable.  After Paris, we headed back to Belgium for a day or two before flying off to Prestwick, Scotland.

We then were in a car for the next 3 weeks!  That day we made our way through Glasgow before ending in Edinburgh for some wonderful times there.  We really liked that city.  I could certainly feel we were back in the United Kingdom.  There is a flavor in the air that reeks of Britain.  From there we worked our way down through Manchester, Liverpool, Northern Wales, Birmingham, Bath, Dorset, and finally to London.  In the UK we spent two weeks of it in the old stomping grounds of the England Manchester Mission.  We visited loads of people I knew and tried to balance that with seeing the sites for Amanda.  I think we did a good job.  We also caught up with some long time friends, the Gores and the Byroms.  We also met up with my old missionary companion Elder Gheorghe Simion and his wife who now live in Liverpool.  After the mission we visited ancestral homes near Birmingham, even stumbling on a cemetery in Halesowen with plenty of ‘my’ Coley line.  It was fun.  Bath was quite a bit of fun crashing that night with a cousin in Milton Abbas, a gorgous little Dorset town.  They treated us very, very well.  Then off to London crashing with the Jeppesen’s in Weybridge.  We spent our remaining time with them in their posh house until we flew out.  All in all, we loved our entire trip.  Paris could have used a bit more planning, but the trip as a whole was utterly marvelous.  We feel very, very blessed to have been able to take the trip.

We landed in Utah and the gears started grinding in different ways.  I tried to make sure everything was a successful transition for IER and we headed out for Oklahoma City.  We arrived here the very last week of July.  Before August had arrived we had moved all our possessions into the home and started setting up for the next few years.  I went to work on the yard, Amanda went to work on the inside.  We came to know our ward, get lined up for school, Amanda a dental hygiene license, and job.  Everything fell into place within a month.  I was rolling with law school and Amanda had a job blocks from home.

The rest of the year was fairly uneventful.  I sat trying to recoup some of my weight lost in Europe (I have been unsuccessful, not that I really want it back) in the law school library.  I picked up squash here again.  Amanda works her days away.  I am slowly remodeling a bathroom with all that extra time.  Amanda took up sewing our Halloween costumes and organizing Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Then the year was over!

All in all, what a year!  I feel highly blessed of heaven.  Who could ask for anything more?  We have started paying off student loans for Amanda.  We are also paying for some work done on the house and what little remains of our trip to Europe.  We paid off the washer and dryer, now the refrigerator next.  Then we can start socking it away for retirement (since our retirement took quite a hit in October and since!).  Plus there will be plenty more to do to the house if we should really want to invest.  But all in all, God has been very good to us.  May he continue to light our paths and may we continue to do what is needed to bring down the extra blessings!  I am looking forward to 2009, although I think it will be much less eventful than 2008.  But hey, who knows?

Washington Duncan’s

Finally, a brick wall fell down.  As some of you may remember, earlier this year I got a lead through the papers of Howard Ross regarding Beulah Ross.  He had a letter from Donna Beachell Perry in 1972 or so with an address for Beulah.  She said she wrote to her.  That finally gave me a location to pinpoint Beulah.  I then called every Duncan in the phone book within 20 miles of Zillah.  I don’t remember who I did finally get that gave me the phone number for Carol Stone in Sunnyside.  I phone her, got her e-mail, wrote to her and got one forward that had nothing to do with anything.  I have tried e-mailing several more times with no success of a response.
So I took matters into my own hands.  I wrote the Washington Secretary of State.  I actually went through his office with the Ask a Librarian program and sent off a request for any information in the archives for William Duncan or Beulah Duncan’s information.  Well, a month later, I received a pdf file with the obituaries and death notice for William and Beulah.  Her obituary gives some great leads into where to search next for some more possible clues about her family.
I already had her marriage to William in 1922.  But could never find more evidence of them in the Burley, Idaho area.  Now I think my next hunt will be to find their lives in Bend.  I looked up the records for Zillah City Cemetery and much of it is online.  However, they don’t give much more than dates for birth and death.
Anyhow, here are the records for William and Beulah.  Now I can hope I can be so fortunate to find something else on any of her siblings.

Beulah E Duncan Marshall
Valley Hills Funeral Home
Toppenish – Beulah E Marshall, 93, of Toppenish passed away on Tuesday, March 5, 2002.
She was born March 6, 1908 in Grundy, West Virginia to Robert and Minnie (Hambrick) Ross. She spent her early years in Utah and Idaho. From 1923-1931 she lived in Bend, Oregon and 1931-1942 she lived in Ellensburg. Beulah has lived in the Yakima Valley, Buena area, since 1942.
Beulah worked at Cal Pak seed pea operation from 1943 to 1955. She also worked as a fruit sorter and for 11 years at the Mother Goose Cafe in Zillah. She liked to work in her yard and keep it looking neat. She loved music and dancing and encouraged her sons to play music like their Dad.
Beulah is survived by a son, Jack Duncan of Mabton; 24 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands, William J Duncan and Kenneth Marshall; three sons, Robert L Duncan, Harold E Duncan, and Ernest J Duncan, one brother and three sisters.
Funeral services will be held at Zillah Chapel of Valley Hills Funeral Home on Friday, March 8, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. Concluding services will follow at the Zillah City Cemetery.
Valley Hills Funeral Home in Zillah is in charge of arrangements.

William J Duncan
Colonial Funeral Home
Zillah – William J Duncan, 75, of 1109 Maple Way, died Monday in Sunnyside General Hospital, Sunnyside.
Born at Clinton, Ark., he had lived in the Zillah area since 1942.
Survivors include his wife, Beulah; three sons, Ernest and Robert, both of Sunnyside, and Jackie of Toppenish; three brothers, Tolly Duncan of Toppenish, Felix Duncan of Buena and Donald Duncan of Penndale, Penn.; one sister, Myrtle Marshall of Lexington, Ore.; 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Another son, Harold, died in 1973.
Duncan – Funeral services for William J Duncan, 75, or 1109 Maple Way, who passed away Monday, July 11 in Sunnyside General Hospital, will be held on Wednesday, Jul 13, at 2 p.m. in the COLONIAL FUNERAL HOME CHAPEL., Toppenish. The Rev. Stanley White will officiate. Burial will be at the Zillah Cemetery. Mr. Duncan was born in Clinton, Arkansas on September 26, 1901. He had lived in the Zillah area since 1942, moving there from Ellensburg. He and his wife, Beulah, were married on Sept. 20, 1922 in Burley, Idaho. Besides his wife, he is survived by three sons, Ernest J Duncan and Robert L Duncan, both of Sunnyside and Jackie A Duncan of Toppenish. He was predeceased by one son, Harold in 1973; three brothers, Tolly Duncan of Toppenish, Felix Cantrel Duncan of Buena and Donald Duncan of Penndale, Penn, one sister, Myrtle Marshall of Lexington, Ore: 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Ross in Washington State

Ross in Washington State 

A few updates and ponderings.

As I finished going through the entire stack of papers that were the culmination of work for Howard Ross, I sensed a bit of frustration that I may have missed something.  Some note, hidden on the back of some page I forgot to turn over and examine.  Moreover, there are always the little nuances that a symbol or a phrase can bring back a memory for Howard, but does nothing for me.  It is part of deciphering the past and someone else’s research.  Looking at that, I realized what a great thing it is that I am putting these notes up on a blog.  Someday, there will probably be some form of this blog available and it is much easier to search a blog than going through a stack of papers.  Another good part is that I may die, my house may burn, and all I have may be lost, but this will give an extension to another dimension.  I am sure somebody is printing or copying the things I am putting up that is relevant to them.  So this is a mass sharing that is effective for saving.

Anyhow, having given my deep thoughts for the day, here is the latest news.

One of those papers in Howard Ross’ massive stack was an address for a Beulah Duncan in Zillah, Washington (The sheet it was on was dated 1972).  I knew I had a Beulah Ross who was the daughter of Robert Leonard Ross.  The rascal that disappeared and I have yet to catch up with him.  I knew she had married a Duncan but that was it.  Could she have really made it to Washington State?  I thought I might as well venture to find out.

I looked up Zillah, Washington on Google and found it is between Yakima and Sunnyside.  I searched Duncan in the phone book for Zillah and found a couple in Sunnyside and a couple in Toppenish both of which were nearby.  After about a half dozen phone calls, I found nobody home.  So I left it for a day or two.  I knew that she was probably not still alive, but a good chance a family member who knew of her would be able to lead me in the right direction.

I rang the numbers again last night to find some woman with what I believe was a Irish accent in Toppenish.  First strike.  The second call was a lady I had a devil of a time understanding.  But she assured me she was the daughter-in-law of Mrs. Beulah Duncan.  I thought she told me her name was Debra Lee.  We visited and she gave me the phone number of her daughter Terel Stan Stone.  I know, that is what I thought, a girl with a guys name!  I hung up and called Mrs. Stone and she thought I was crazy when I told her I had visited with her mother Debra Lee.  Come to find out, her mother’s name is Beverly and the lady I was talking to was Carol Ann Stone.  Wow, it is amazing how hearing can alter things.

We visited for a few minutes; she told me what she knew of her grandmother, Beulah.  Their story goes something like this.  Robert was an alcoholic and his wife Minnie had some sort of Drug addiction.  All the children were farmed out to others.  Beulah was taken in by her grandparents, my great great grandparents James Thomas Meredith Ross and Damey Catherine Graham.  She was taken and raised near Rupert, Idaho.  But her strict Mormon grandparents was a bit much for her so she was anxious to get out.  That came when she met a Jack or Mack Duncan.  She was 14 and married him.  They moved to Zillah, Washington and lived out the remainder of their days.  He died in the late 70’s and she died in 2002 at about 96 years of age.  They had four children, two of which are deceased.

Anyhow, I am excited to finally flesh out one of Robert Leonard Ross’ lines.  However, it will not be easy to get the rest of the siblings.  Carol did not know what happened for sure to her siblings and we will have to see what we can scrounge up.  It sounds like even Beulah herself did not know where some of her siblings ended up.

At least for now, we are one step closer to filling in some holes on the Robert Leonard Ross line.  I look forward to any information Carol has which may give clues to more.

See, one little note on a piece of paper has opened a door to an entire family line.  Carol was not aware of us and we were not aware of them.  Now we are.  Let’s see where family can take us.