My Ancestory Video Submission

Most everyone here know that Genealogy is one of my hobbies and passions of finding lost relatives. Ancestry was having a contest and the winner would be selected from a vast pool of submissions. I thought here is my chance for my 15 minutes of fame and glory -so I thought.

I was excited and nervous at the same time. I was like Ralphie from A Christmas Story fantasizing of that Red Ryder BB rifle. I gathered material I would need, wrote a rough draft, made sure equipment worked and proceeded to shoot my video submission that I thought would lead to certain destiny calling me. I took three videos and edited the best one that I was sure to bring me the Oscar or at least nominations. I carefully selected still images for branding, employing key animations thinking to myself this would be the icing on the cake.  Once I was sure with my delusions, I enter their site, I found the link to add my video that would lead to stardom waiting. All big eyed dreaming, salivating and fantasizing of glory to come, I caressed the mouse with deep breaths and clicked the button to upload a masterpiece -so I thought.

I waited patiently for any type of communication, one if by email, two if by phone, three if by Facebook, but no words, no communication came, and that was that. The dream crushed and grinded like refined chopped nuts, spirits shattered and shared to the delusions of grandeur in the moment.

Reconnecting with Family – Under A Sad Event Part 2

Tuesday July 14, 2015 around 3 PM

I left off with meeting my first cousin Karin and Aunt Patricia. If you wish to review that post then please read: Reconnecting with Family – Under A Sad Event Part 1.

Around 3pm  or a bit after, my cousin Bob picked up his grand nephew and me. While Nicholas ( grand nephew) was swimming, I got to enjoy a one on one conversation with Bob.  We caught up with our current lives and reminisced of old days-it was a blast. Here is one kicker, for the past twenty-three years he has been employed as a Computer System Administrator, and me having a fondness for computers obtained an A.A.S  Degree in Network Systems Administration.

Five O’clock and on.

Williams CaliforniaThe most part of the time I spent in California was setting around, small light conversing and meeting new cousins I have never met. I am the one with the camera around my neck.

I will say the heat in California since I have been away for some time, was HOT! Eight in the morning and sweat would be pouring off you. Hell my balls were yelling no more! The nights while sleeping even with a wall ac running reminded me of -the nights of past of waking up with the pillow soaked from your sweat.  My body temperature I do believe has acclimated to South Dakota.

Wednesday July 15, 2015 the day of the service.

Me lighting the candle of life and remembrance.

This was the rough day. When my mother past in 2002, I had thought all tears were gone from that point on…. I was wrong. First was the lighting of the candles by family members then friends. I was strong, I was doing good I had thought-no tears and throat not choking.  But, when I placed the candle on the table next to the other lit ones, that is when it hit me. She is gone! My throat was closing up as I fought back Niagra Falls.


Reconnecting with Family – Under A Sad Event Part 1

Those who read my blog, will know that I recently left Sioux Falls, SD to attend a funeral in California. As I mentioned before, Sheila was my paternal first cousin and my Dad’s favorite niece. Those of us who were raised or around her were blessed in everyway for knowing her.  I created a virtual memorial at Find A Grave so that she will never be forgotten and so that other relatives who were not able to attend may find the virtual memorial. For those who do not know what Find A Grave is – here is the definition: [Find A Grave is a commercial website that allows the public to access and add to an online database of cemetery records.]

Colusa. Ca, Williams, Ca

Sheila, whom I addressed as Aunt, was a strong willed individual. At birth, I remember my Dad telling me she was born premature and very tiny. I was reminded while in California that her nickname was Inky for she was in an incubator for a month or two before coming home. They used a dresser drawer to place Sheila in and that became her bed for awhile. She survived and became a person whom we cherished. Later on in the early 90’s Sheila suffered a major heart attack and she was not expected to live long after that, yet she did. Hit with another ailment, she was not expected to survive more than three months, yet she did. Sheila was a fighter to the end. May we grow our own strength of survival from her.

Tuesday July 14, 2015 1:30PM

Karin, Aunt Patricia and me.
Karin, Aunt Patricia and me.

During my stay in California with my cousins, the day before the services I was fortunate to have finally met my first cousin Karin and her Mother my Aunt Patricia whom I have never met before. This side of the family comes from my Mother. Patricia is my Mother’s sister. The visit lasted for about an hour and it was a very good visit despite the nerves of visiting with a part of your family that you thought would never happen. We caught up on the regular stuff that most would and talked about what my Mother told me about growing up in the Bradford house and compared notes per say.

I must admit I was taken by surprise when I saw them face to face, for cousin Karin has the same hair color as my Mother. When I heard Aunt Patricia speak, the tone and the manner was the same as my Mothers.   Stay tuned for part 2 of this posting

Interesting conversation

AuntCrisI decided to give my Aunt Cris a call since I was having some issues with writers block, we talked for eighty-one minutes today. Ancestry one of the tools that I use tells me that she is my and I’ll quote from the software “Your 1st cousin 1x removed”, now growing up we were told to call our elder relations aunts or uncles and that is why I call her Aunt Cris to this day. Aunt Cris used to babysit us as children and I do have fund memories of those days of what I can remember that is. During our conversation, I encountered some gems being contact information to a first cousin that lives in Stockton, Ca I believe I will call her Aunt as well.  I plan on calling Aunt Margaret tomorrow. The second surprise I got was that I was researching a Manuel F Reza born July 26, 1914 in Texas who my Aunt Cris calls Uncle Manny. I asked her if this person ever lived in the Stockton area. I asked this question because as a child I remember Dad taking us to see this couple that we called Uncle Manuel and his wife Jean. I began to describe certain events that I remembered to Aunt Cris and I was shocked to know that this was the same person that I was researching.  Now, Uncle Manuel like to fiddle with car parts and he had a male bad habit of laying the parts on the kitchen table. His wife would be furious with Uncle Manuel for not cleaning up the mess. Jean as I remember my mother telling me that she was a very meticulous immaculate housekeeper. I remember one time after Uncle Manuel stepped on a rusty nail and gangrene set in which led to the removal of his leg and confined him to a wheelchair, during that time frame that is when Jean lost her touch for house keeping because the last time I remember visiting them their place was not well kept. Catching up on old times did my soul good today which also prompted this post. So, I am into genealogy as some of my family and close friends know, I have been working on Aunt Cris side for some time now. What started the quest was that Aunt Cris spent a lot of time trying to find her Mothers’ death record. I took the challenge and I will admit I was getting frustrated beyond believe. I was pulling my hair literally, throwing my hands up much like a gamer would when someone kiss his avatar -virtual entity.  The fifth or sixth day into the search, I was about to give up but I still plugged away, playing with birth years, demographics leaving the birthplace off. I then spent some time on as well. But, on that sixth day on Familysearch and I still don’t remember what I did but I finally found Aunt Cris’s mothers’ death record.

Death CertificateThe third gem that I was not expecting is that she has a photo of her Mother and Uncle Manuel’s son Robert. I was excited like someone saying let’s go to Disney World my treat. All this time I would think that I would be able to place a photo on the tree that I am working on and the resource was there all the time. I never thought to ask or when I would call I would get wrapped in to what was being discussed at that moment that I would simply forget.  I love this person I call Aunt Cris very much-she is an angle that blesses her loved ones everyday……

Sherlock Unlocking the past

First post,

How I found my brother from my Dad’s prior marriage. This person was born in 1949 and after my Dad passed in 1993 I have been searching for his other sons who are my brothers by blood. I wanted to know them make that connection because I am about family. While taking an engineering class back in the early 90’s from a retired Civil Engineer, he made a comment one day that family is the most important people in your lives. He continued and said that family is first to prioritise the job, the school third. I once read an article about teachers not teaching as a whole and here I am in this class being taught as a whole. I was impressed and his name is Michael Woods.

I will do my best to scribe the account on how I found my living relative. The tools that I used in the past still hold true to this electronic age that we live in; what’s that, snail mail. That’s right certain times you will have to use snail mail but first let me show you the process I used in detail.

Tools that I used:

1. Pen, paper and envelope

2. took some doing. I only had his mothers first name, I experimented for days, then weeks which turned into a few months. I would use the last name of Rios, then leave the last name blank. I played with the birth years but to no avail no leads. I then focused on my brother. I played with the location of where he was born since I already had his birth date. After two days I found a record providing the fathers surname and mothers surname and I grew up in that location; was like hitting a home run when I found that record. So I have the birth record, now I can add the surname to the mother.

While I was searching records  a few kept showing up for a person that had the same name living in a part of Kansas. Since this is a living person I will only reveal the state. I for some reason kept on thinking that he had to be in California somewhere. Lesson learned. Do not have a closed mind. Think differently.To jump track here a bit, I would send out letters to people I found with the name I was looking for and nothing I lost count as to how many letters I sent out but I did get one back saying “Sorry I am not that person”. I was grateful I got a reply back from this person but discouraged as well

Do not get discouraged, that is a pitfall and one that can lead you not finding the person or record for that matter.

Back on the train -Whoo whoo. So, I saved one of those records to my shoebox in and then extracted the information to Notepad on my desktop. I used White pages found a reference of this person but I still was not convinced that this was my brother. A few days later, I thought to myself, what about Facebook? I wonder. I ran a search in Facebook for this person and saw the State that was showing up in the records I found. I then got a glimpse of the man looking back at me. My heart started to pound as if I just won the lottery.  Deep breath Michael, Deep breath. Once I was calm, I then went to this person wifes’ profile page and found a better photo of this person. I then compared to the photo of a child my Dad had in his Navy Photo album. Same dimples, same facial expression, same nose I could not believe my eyes.  I had to get reassurance. I showed my better half and she was amazed but had reservations. I then emailed one of my close friends and she told me that she would be surprised if the person said they were not that person. Do I take the chance of another let down.

So, I did what any person would do, I send a message to them within Facebook. Days went by then a month went by and still no reply, not even a kiss my butt-barking up the wrong tree.. After a few days, I decided to write a letter (hand written letter-it is more personal) to this person living in Kansas. I also enclosed a photo of a ten year old child, about two weeks later I got this letter from this person from Kansas. I was trying to prepare myself but emotions triggered. Calm yourself I said to myself. I opened the envelope and began to read. It was my brother confirming that he indeed was the person I was looking for. My body was shaking a bit, head spinning that I finally found him. We chatted on Facebook for about thirty minutes, but he and his daughter are still getting used to the idea of me. I don’t blame for they don’t know me or anything about me……Case closed!

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Michael Rios

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