Notes from the past…

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All in the family

Or should I say all of the family…

A couple of years ago, I created a genealogy-themed Christmas gift for my aunts and grandmother. I downloaded a freeware program that creates collages, then I went through all of my files and found the images for as many family members, past and present, that I could. Then I entered them into the collage program, printed out the final result and framed it. The perfect gift!

Stanley Family Collage

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A bit sad

I have been going through some of my Mom’s photo albums for pix to add to my RootsMagic database. These are wonderful resources! One in particular is an old red album that she apparently started when she and my Dad first got married. There are a bunch of images of both my parents as young adults and as children, plus oodles of pictures of my grandparents & great-grandparents, aunts & uncles, family friends, school friends, people that my grandmother doesn’t recognize ( and she remembers everyone from her own childhood up ’till today!)…all these people who were important to my Mom.

But as this is a hunt for Mom pix, that’s what I’m concentrating on. It looks like just about every period in her life was photographed! Which is really wonderful from a genealogy standpoint, but kinda hard to look at…

My Mom died at age 63 from pancreatic cancer. A few months prior to her death, she was healthy, active and full of life! Mom was a Registered Nurse and the Medical Officer of the Colorado Dept of Corrections Special Operations Response Team (SORT), their version of the SWAT team. In that capacity she was responsible for the safety and well-being of the other SORT members (who were all half her age!). As a member of the SORT, she was required to be certified just like the other team members in weapons, special tactics, hostage negotiations, all that. The works. Let me tell you, you didn’t argue with my Mom!

Every summer she participated in the extended training held at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. She would come home back & blue, but gloriously happy! She loved her work! At first it bothered my Dad, as he was concerned for her safety. But after talking with other SORT members and seeing how happy she was, he was happy, too.

When my Mom was suddenly diagnosed with cancer on Christmas Eve, 1998, it was a bombshell, as you can imagine. She was in the process of retiring from the Colorado Dept of Correctons, and she and my Dad had plans all in place to travel around the country in their motorhome. As she was in pretty severe pain, the doctor prescribed a narcotic patch to be worn aound the clock. It controlled her pain really well, thank goodness, but the drug also made her a bit goofy. So in the last days and weeks of her life, conversation wasn’t easy. Some of the things you might want to talk about in a situation like that couldn’t be discussed.

Mom died on Feb 18, 1999, just about 7 weeks after she was diagnosed. She was alert up until about 3 days before she died, enough time to see all her family down here in Texas. About 10 days before she died, I went to Colorado and helped my Dad bring her down here in their motorhome so she could see everyone.

It was very hard for my Dad. 47 years of marriage is a long time! To this day, he can’t talk about her without crying, as I am doing now…

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say here is obviously to safeguard those precious family photos, but also never take your loved ones for granted.


It’s Happy Dance time!

May I introduce my second great-grandparents, Dr Nathan Blunt Kennedy and Susan William Lee Martin Kennedy!

A few weeks ago, my cousin Susan gave me some old photos scanned onto a disc, that she was using for a family project. Several of the images I already had, but there were also several that I had never seen before. This was one of the new ones. I have been studying this ever since and have been hoping against hope that it might be Dr Kennedy! I had sent a message to Susan and she was trying to find out from her mom (my Aunt Kathy) if she knew who these folks were, as Kathy has the original images.

Well, when I got home from work this evening, there was an email from Susan, and…


This photo is Nathan Kennedy and his wife (my namesake), Susan William Lee Kennedy.  Are you doing a happy dance yet???  LOL!”

I AM SO EXCITED!!! I am going to print this image out full-size and find a very special frame for it! It is such an amazing shot! Even the veins in the good doctor’s hand are visible! Dr Kennedy was born in 1837, and he looks to be no more than 40 years old in this image, probably younger. Dr Kennedy and his family moved to Hillsboro, Texas in about the spring of 1871, so this image must have been taken very near to that time period, soon after arriving in Texas.