Friday, March 20, 2015

Is Spring in the Air?

Spring in Wisconsin always arrives several months late.  About June 1st is about the time we can plant annuals in our gardens with safety from frost.

Today it's 50 degrees and sunny, so it's time to start crossing stuff off my gardening and bird care list.  I found the ladder, took down the 2 bird houses that I have, emptied them out, and scrubbed them with soap and water.  Each one had several families hatched last year and wow, they were stuffed with sticks and feathers!

My daffodils are showing their little green tips, so it'll be a month until their flowers open up. This is such an exciting time of year.
Tea and Daffodils, quilt by Ann Fahl  22 x 22 inches
The above is my all time favorite April quilt.  I can hardly wait until the daffodils begin to bloom. I have probably a thousand in my yard and last fall we added more bulbs to the main entrance of the Mount Pleasant Village Hall. I hope they look gorgeous and are welcoming to the citizens of our village.

Whenever your spring arrives, I hope you have a lovely one.

Ann Fahl

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Trip to Fort Wayne--I Found It!

It was supposed to be a weekend trip to the family cottage at Winona Lake.  The temperatures were below zero, and snow was in the forecast, so I drove to Fort Wayne to visit my aunt and uncle instead.  They gave me a tour of the city, it is much larger than when I visited as a kid. The most important part of the tour was showing me where the Allen County Public Library was located.

Grace Shaw Harvey, my grandmother
Who cares? Well this library holds one of the largest collections of books for genealogy research in the nation. The genealogy center is on the second floor and there are always librarians and volunteers to help answer questions.

In fact, my grandmother Grace Harvey, did most of her research there.  The building is beautiful, fresh new with lots of windows and books. If Grace was alive today she would love doing research on the computer which gives us access to so much more information.

I spent two afternoons there. The first afternoon didn't accomplish much, but I kind of figured out stuff like where to park, how to use the copiers, where the restroom was, carts for picking the books for study etc. But I did find 5 of the family history books that were on my wish list. The next day I had a specific mission: to find Dr. William Ralston M.D.

There had been a biography about him in a small Indiana publication that included a portrait. I've been trying to locate it for the last several years. I found where the publication was located, but there is one volume for every year, there were at least 100 years.  UGH.  So I asked one of the genealogists for help.  This man looked everywhere and it didn't seem like it could be found.

Dr. William Ralston of Southern Indiana 

Feeling very disappointed, I went back to my work table to clean up my stuff and get ready for the drive home.  All of a sudden this guy came into the study area, waving a book, saying "I found it." William was born in Scotland 1786.  He became a doctor in 1815.  Within several years he and his wife Agnes with 2 daughters sailed to America.  He arrived in southern Indiana via the long route taking waterways and rivers all the way from Newfoundland to Madison IN.

He had a fascinating history with a large territory for his medical practice and pharmacy,  his wife going with him to act as a nurse.  They had a total of 8 children.  One daughter named Ann born on Christmas day in 1836 and died on Christmas of 1920; became my great great grandmother. It is so wonderful to find your ancestors, especially if they have made a contribution to their community. But I have one question: How did Agnes have time to raise 8 children and be William's nurse?

Not quilting, but having fun,
Ann Fahl