Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book of Me, Written by Me—Prompt 4: Favorite Season

I am continuing the Book of Me, and this week’s prompt no. 4 is ‘Favorite Season’. You can learn more about the prompt & the 15 month challenge at Julie Goucher’s page.
It would be easier to choose a least favorite season: I’m not a big fan of summer. I like wearing shorts but I do not like being hot. I loved being out of school—well for a few weeks until I was bored—and couldn’t wait to get back to school. I even played school teacher with my brothers and sisters. In summer we were forced to play outdoors all day and we never went on vacations, so it was the same thing day after day.
P4062560So spring could be my favorite. My birthday falls just a few days after the first day of spring. The baseball season begins in spring and I can begin to root for my favorite Giants. The budding trees and new wild flowers begin to bloom. My favorite spring tree is the red bud with its dark red blossoms and favorite flower is the California poppy. Hikes in the neighboring hills and parks always reveal beautiful wildflowers all through spring.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Fall could be my favorite. It’s the time to start wearing sweaters and sweatshirts. The days become shorter as the trees turn to yellow, gold and orange. The liquid ambers in my yard and the Japanese maple in our neighbor’s yard compete to see which will have the most colorful foliage. It was also the time for school to begin again and each year was always an exciting new beginning. Fall is also the start of the fall migration of birds flying south for the winter and a chance to see visitors to the feeders.

Winter might come in as a second favorite begin spring and fall. The Christmas season was always an enjoyable time—Christmas music playing on the stereo, cookies and gingerbread being baked in the oven, the tree being decorated with traditional balls and tinsel as well as the handmade ornaments made at school, and the intense anticipation as the packages grew under the tree as Christmas approached (this was only after Santa Claus no longer came to our house). Winter meant rain and more stews and soups cooking on the stove. These are savory favorites of mine and today continue to be comfort food.
So if I had to pick? Spring: my birthday, spring wildflowers, Giant’s baseball.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book of Me, Written by Me–Prompt 3: “My Physical Self”

The prompt for week 3 is:
Describe your physical self
  • Your size – clothes size
  • Scars
  • Eye color
  • Draw your hands
I am 5’2” at least that is what my driver’s license states. However, I know I have been shrinking. Age will do that as the bones in our spine settle together. But I also have scoliosis and that also has an effect on my height. I used to be quite thin, weighing only 100 pounds when I got married, but also with age, the weight has inched up instead of down. I’m not nearly as active as I was when in my 20’s. I always wished I was taller. It would be best to add a few inches just to the legs to make up for my long body and keep me from having to roll up my pants. Still, I wear mostly size 8 or 10 clothes.
I have very dark brown hair that is cut short with a part on the side. I have a huge cowlick in the front but I make use of it by flipping up my bangs. This is the same cowlick that is passed down from the Johnston Family. There is a bit of gray throughout, too, and I don’t even care. After watching my mother bleach her hair/roots, I decided it is too much work to color hair.
I have dark brown eyes and brown skin that easily tans. When I was young I thought I looked like my dark-haired father, but as I age I can see I’m looking more like my mother and grandmother with the high cheek bones.
I have a scar on my right eyebrow where I fell on the corner of the coffee table when about 2 and had a bunch of stitches. People used to ask about the scar when I was younger but I haven’t been asked in years. I think a scar on the face is a rite of childhood. So many people have them.
I have all my parts except for 4 wisdom teeth and 4 molars that were removed when I had braces. I’ve never broken a bone, nor been in the hospital except to have 2 babies.
I wear size 7 shoes and hate heels. I have bunions so prefer shoes that are wide and comfortable. I always wear shoes and rarely walk barefoot. Give me Birkenstocks, Keens, or Eccos! 
My hands are small with very short fingers. It made it hard to play the piano and I cannot make a bar chord on my guitar. I try to keep the nails short and never paint them. I wear only my wedding band and a watch on my left wrist. Occasionally I’ll wear a bracelet on my right wrist.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by Me–Prompt 2

I am participating in the weekly project that lasts 15 months created by Julie Goucher from Anglers Rest. It is a great way to document my own life.

Prompt 2: Your Birth

  • Do you have any baby photos?
  • Where were you born?
  • Who was present at your birth?
  • Dimensions?
  • What day was it? Time?
  • Did you have hair? Eye colors
  • Are you a twin?
1954 Lisa in hospital with MomI am the first born of six children. So there are lots of photos of me and I have my baby book to reference from.
I was born in Concord, California at the Concord Community Hospital, located at 2540 East Street.[1] This hospital later became Mt. Diablo Hospital and is now part of the John Muir Medical Center, the Concord campus.[2] According to my birth certificate, I was born at 6:40 p.m. My parents at the time were living at 35 Harbor Drive in West Pittsburg (which is now called Bay Point). My father was 23 years old and a service station attendant at Mel’s Associates.

1954 Birth Announcement - Lisa Suzanne Hork
I weighed seven pounds, ten ounces and had a height of 19.5 inches.[3] My hair was dark and long and I had hazel eyes (wonder what happened to them?). My complexion was dark and smooth and I had a nice, full shape of head. My mother wrote in the baby book, “Beautiful baby!” and the doctor’s comments, “Told a friend of his that Lisa was the most beautiful baby he had delivered.” The doctor was Dr. L. (Lee) H. Lorenzen, M.D.
There were announcements in the local newspapers. I have copies of the clippings but no knowledge yet which newspaper they were in.
1954-05-09_Lisa_baptism_with_parentsI was baptized May 9, 1954 at Queen of All Saints Church in Concord, California.[4] I was named for St. Elizabeth and St. Suzanne. Father Daniel O’Brien conferred the sacrament and my godparents were Uncle Eugene Soares and Aunt June Soares (my father’s sister).
I was an only child until 22 Aug 1956 when my brother, Steven Thomas, was born.

[1] California, Department of Health Services, Department of Public Health, Vital Statistics, Certificate of Birth, Contra Costa Co, 1954, Lisa Suzanne Hork.
[2] Marvin A. Epstein, M.D., In Sickness and Health: The Progress of Medical Care in Contra Costa County, 1951-2000, Contra Costa County Historical Society, Martinez, CA, 2000, p 24-26.
[3] Baby Book of Lisa Suzanne Hork, called “Life’s Milestones,” filled out primarily by her mother, Lela Nell Hork, beginning in March 1954 through about 1961, and by Lisa Hork in later years.
[4] “Christening Held for Lisa Suzanne Hork,” newspaper clipping, date days after 9 May 1954, clipping part of the Gorrell Family Collection; privately held by Lisa Suzanne Hork Gorrell, [address for private use].

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by Me—Prompt 1 “Who am I?”

question_mark_blueThis is a new project to help genealogist write about themselves for future family.  This was developed by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest and you can find out more about it here.  There will be a new prompt each week and I have started already 4 weeks late.  I am going to play catch-up now.
Prompt 1. The prompt for week 1 is a recognized psychology test.  Ask yourself 20 times “Who are you?”
Here is my response:
I am:
· 59 years old
· retired but busier now than when I worked
· a sister to three sisters and two brothers, a niece to two aunts, a granddaughter, and cousin to 8 cousins
· introverted but love to be involved in the background
· a mother to two daughters who graduated from college
· a college graduate with a BS degree in Biology though I never worked in the field
· a player of the piano, guitar, and recorder
· a photographer, birdwatcher, genealogy researcher, and writer
· a wife to Norman
· a lover of travel but I hate to fly
· a railfan
· a gardener of native plants and geraniums in pots
· a lover of weather cool enough for sweaters
· a dieter who can’t eat wheat or dairy
· an owner of a 14 year-old car that I still enjoy driving
· a lover of cats though we have a dog
· a listener of good music
· a practitioner of Yoga
· an avid lover of learning new things
· a baseball fan

image courtesy of

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

United States Veterans Administration–Pension Payment Cards for the Gorrell Bros, Amos & Joseph W.

Michael John Neill posted on his blog, Roots Dig, about the updated database “United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933” on
I knew that the two Gorrell brothers, Amos and Joseph W. served in the Civil War and may have received a pension. I decided to search for them.  These payment cards in the database were issued between 1907 and 1933 so I checked to make sure both Amos and Joseph W were alive in that time period.  Their wives, Catherine and Eliza A. were also alive, so perhaps there were cards for them as well.
I found Amos Gorrell’s card first. It had the correct regiment, so I’m on the right track. I downloaded the card and then selected the next page to work my way toward the Catherine or Eliza A Gorrell. What did I find on the next page, but the back of the card for Amos! Two for the price of one.  It is always a good idea to move forward a few pages and backward a few pages if you arrived at the page via an index.
There are actually two cards on the image, but Amos’ card is the top one.[1]
1907-1920 US Veterans Adm Payment Cards 1907-1933 -FS- Amos Gorrell 11104441907-1920 US Veterans Adm Payment Cards 1907-1933 -FS- Amos Gorrell 1110444-back
There was another set of cards with dates of 1920 through 1928 which were found just before the cards above.
1926-1928 US Veterans Adm Payment Cards 1907-1933 -FS- Amos Gorrell 1110444 -1926-1928 US Veterans Adm Payment Cards 1907-1933 -FS- Amos Gorrell 1110444 - back
This card shows Amos died 31 Mar 1928. Because his wife, Catherine pre-deceased him, there is no card for her. Amos’ brother, Joseph W. Gorrell also has a card [2].
1907-1913 US Veterans Adm Payment Cards 1907-1933 -fs- Joseph W Gorrell1907-1913 US Veterans Adm Payment Cards 1907-1933 -fs- Joseph W Gorrell-back
And after Joseph W. died in 1914, his wife Eliza A. received pension payments until her death in 1915 [3]:
1914-1914 US Veterans Adm Payment Cards 1907-1933 -fs- Eliza A Gorrell1914-1914 US Veterans Adm Payment Cards 1907-1933 -fs- Eliza A Gorrell-back
The cards are very interesting and give another source for the death. The soldier received different amounts thoughout the years and that would be interesting to find out how the payment amount was determined. Was it based on age, or type of disability, or did everyone receive the same amount? Time to research the pension law.
[1] "United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933" index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Sep 2013), Amos Gorrell, certificate no 1110444, citing NARA microfilm publication M850, RG 15 Records of the Veterans Administration, GS Film number: 001634901.
[2] "United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933" index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Sep 2013), Joseph W. Gorrell, certificate no 815724, citing NARA microfilm publication M850, RG 15 Records of the Veterans Administration, GS Film number: 001634901.
[3] "United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933" index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Sep 2013), Eliza A. Gorrell, certificate no 815724, citing NARA microfilm publication M850, RG 15 Records of the Veterans Administration, GS Film number: 001634901.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun–Some Semi-Random Search

It’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun time. Randy Seaver from Genea-Musings has set out challenge for the week:

1)  We're to take the first two letters of our first name and find in our family tree database the first person in our alpha list that begins with those first two letters.
2)  Next, write about what you know about that person (even do some research to find more). Describe h
ow you are related to this person, and why is s/he in your family tree?
3)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.
I have the first name of Lisa, so my first two letters to begin this challenge is LI. I use RootsMagic and the first person beginning with LI is the surname Liese.

Mariam Franciscam Liese was married to Johann Heinrich Sommer, my 3rd great granduncle, so I am not related to her. I have very little information about her. I know the date of their marriage on 29 Oct 1791 in Kirchhundem, Kreis Olpe, Westfalen. This information comes from FamilySearch database, “Germany Marriages, 1558-1929.” The marriage place was Sankt Peter und Paul (Sts Peter & Paul).

This is a derivative database and the record gives Mariam’s parents’ names: Friderici Josephi Liese and Angelae Reginae Zoppenfeld. But no ages were given. I also have a film number to check: 1257833. This film, based on the library catalog, has the Kirchenbuch[Churchbook], 1637-1874 of Katholische Kirche [Catholic Church]Sankt Peter und Paul Kirchhundem (Kr. Olpe). It has the Parish register of baptisms, marriages, deaths, confirmations and indexes. It is also in Latin and German. You can see that in the way the names were spelled above. Those are Latinized German names. Now it’s the challenge to figure out what their real German names were!

So next time I go to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I need to check out this film to find the original record and perhaps I can find out more about Mariam. I did check the Historical Record Collections at but these church records from Westfalen were not there.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

SNGF - Where were my ancestors in 1863?

Okay, have a new mission from Randy Seaver of Genea-musing.  Your mission, should you decide to accept it:

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 1 September 1863 - 150 years ago.

2) List your ancestors, their family members, their birth and death years, and their residence location (as close as possible). Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

3) Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

Here is my post:

My father’s side:
Maria Catharine Trösster (1813-1874) was my 2nd great grandmother. My great grandfather, Johan Anton Hork (1843-1906) was probably living with her in Oberhundem, Westfalen. He came to the US in 1870 alone.

Vincent Sievert (1823-1890) and Susanna Raduntz (1832-1911) are my 2nd great grandparents, who were living in Joliet, Will Co, Illinois. I do not know where they were living.

Jeremiah Sullivan (1811-1888) and Mary Sheehan (1832-1892) are my 2nd great grandparents, who could still be living in County Cork, Ireland, or in Houghton County, Michigan. Their son, my great grandfather, John H Sullivan (1854-1932) was probably with them. This is a brick wall for me. I haven’t found any ship list for them.

John Gleeson (1835-1915) and Margaret Tierney (1835-1920), my 2nd great grandparents were living in Gloulbourne, Carleton Co, Ontario, Canada. Their daughter, my great grandmother, Anna Marie Gleeson (1860-1912) was living with them.

My 3rd great grandparents, John Tierney (1804-1891) and Ann Murray (1813-1899) were living in Nepean, Carleton Co, Ontario, Canada.

My mother’s side:
My 3rd great grandparents, Sam Johnston (1816-??) and Elizabeth McCormack (1814-1891), were probably living somewhere between Oakland, Yalobusha Co, Mississippi (in 1860) and Mount Pleasant, Titus Co, Texas (1870) where only Elizabeth is found. Sam died sometime between the two places. Their son, my 2nd great grandfather, Rueben Mack Johnston (1841-1924) was probably living with them, as it appeared he didn’t marry until close to 1870 (haven’t found marriage record yet).

My 3rd great grandparents, Benjamin W. Jones (1822-??) and Amanda A. Haley (1827-1904) are a mystery. Benjamin died in the Civil War, but not sure where and when. Not sure where Amanda and her daughter, my 2nd great grandmother, Olivia Jane Jones (1859-1914) were living in Mississippi, Tennessee, or Texas.

My 3rd great grandparents, Robert Hutson (1821-??) and Amanda Davis (1826-??) are living in Salacoa, Cherokee Co, Georgia in 1860 but I haven’t found where they went next or when they died. Their son, my 2nd great grandparents, Peter Hayden Hutson (1853-1930) was living with them.

My 3rd great grandparents, Greenlee Bean Selman (1820-1888) and Amanda Deborah Oldham (1822 -1880) were living in Cherokee Co, Texas in 1960. Their daughter, my 2nd great grandmother, Sarah Helena Selman (1858-1916) was living with them.

My 4th great grandparents, Benjamin F. Selman (1795-1873) and Sarah Bean (1798-1868) were living in Cherokee County, Texas.

My 4th great grandparents, Ellis Wilson Lancaster (1808-1870) and Elizabeth S. Neel (1811-1881) were living in Kaufman County, Texas. My 3rd great grandfather, George W. Lancaster (1839-1919) was living with them.

My 4th great grandparents, Nathan H.O. Polly (1820-1902) and Lydia Margaret ?? (1828-1912) were living in Montague Co, Texas in 1860 and Kaufman Co, Texas in 1870. Their daughter, my 3rd great grandmother, Martha Jane Polly (1855-1932) was living with them.

My 4th great grandmother, Ann Kethley Coor (1792-1872) was living in Copiah Co, Mississippi. My 3rd great grandparents, James Madison Coor (1833-1890) and Melissa Ann Welch (1840-1876) were not living with her and I haven’t found them. By 1863, he could be serving in the Confederate Army.

My 4th great grandparent, Dempsey Welch (1798-1864) was living in Copiah Co, Mississippi.  

My 3rd great grandparents, Jesse Loveless (1806-1874) and Elizabeth Nixon (1810-1870) were living in either Cass Co, Georgia (1860) or in Chattooga Co, Georgia (1870). My 2nd great grandfather, Ebenezer Loveless (1851-1929) was living with them.

My 2nd great grandmother, Eliza A Rogers (1854-1907) was living with her parents somewhere in South Carolina where she was born or in Georgia where she married her husband, Ebenezer Loveless. Big brick wall here on Eliza A Rogers’ parents.

So, I think that I have 39 ancestors living on 1 September 1863, 150 years ago, including:
*   3 Great-grandparents
* 13 2nd great-grandparents
* 15 3rd great-grandparents
*   8 4th great-grandparents

Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past