Archive for January, 2022


Digging up Family History

As I have gotten older, family history has become important to me.

My free time lately has been filled with searching for family names and finding birth and death dates. I put in names in google and see where it leads me.

Next up will have to be ordering death certificates my mother already does not have in her collection. I would like to see if I can find pictures.

I am trying to avoid having to sign up for a paid site. But they seem to have more information that I can use. I can find some family members but a Thomas Proctor, a great-great-great uncle, born in 1850 while the family was still in England has been difficult. His widow and sons are on the 1920 census living with my great-great grandfather.

Next up, I plan do one of those DNA tests. A cousin did hers on Ancestry and said it was easy. After that I would like to set up my own family tree so that my kids can have the information – should they ever want it.

In the meantime, I am using the information I do have. The other day I spent a part of my day in a cemetery looking for gravestones. I had called the cemetery staff looking for a possible location. While they told me the lot number, I never found lot number markers.

So I did what I could, knowing that my great-great grandparents died in the late part of the 1800s. I found myself in the part of the cemetery that held the founders of the town. It took me awhile but I hit pay dirt. As I walked around with a car snow brush in hand, I uncovered a number of grave markers that looked as if they could be from the right time period.

It helps to know a little history on cemetery markers. Such as granite would not start being used till the mid-1900s. And families, especially those of some wealth would have obelisks as a family marker. The taller the obelisk, the wealthier the family.

No, I didn’t find my great-great grandparents. I found my great-great-great grandparents, the ones who came from England and helped settle the town of Arlington Heights in the Midwest. It appears I come from pioneer stock.

All of these commercials about finding your history are meant to make one curious, meant to make you wonder just where did you come from. Was your ancestor a good person or a not-so-good person. It makes you wonder where certain health issues start, such as my rosacea.

I remember when the genealogy for Barack Obama came out and there was a scoundrel somewhere in the family tree. It was also found that his mother’s family came from the second boat to arrive at Plymouth. When you go back far enough, you find the good, the bad, the incredibly ridiculous and incredibly boring.

Well, I am looking forward to finding out more of my family tree. After that, I can go farther to those British and Polish records. Eventually.

Sarah Proctor 1833-1900
Thomas Proctor 1827 -1897

Open Letter to All Senators

What did you do on January 17 to fulfill it as a day of service?

I crafted a letter that I sent not only to my senators but several other senators, including a few I really dislike, regarding the two voting rights bills that are on the senate floor.

In sending it to my own senators, I am preaching towards the choir. They are voting for Voters’ Rights. But there are others who need to stop acting as if voter fraud happened when no one , not even the former guy, has proven that it happened. I hoped by voicing my opinion, politely, maybe they would listen.

So I am putting that letter here. Perhaps it will get more attention, perhaps not. But I want senators to now that not every one who contacts them wishes them ill.

Dear Senator,

I am asking you to vote for the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Amendment.

I feel that these bills will protect the rights of voters everywhere in our country. I believe strongly that all Americans should have the same experience I do when I go to vote. Many times, I am in and out of the voting booth within 15 minutes. And that includes waiting for the election judges to find me on the rolls and give me a ballot.

No one should have to wait hours to vote, especially if they have time limits because of their work hours.

No one should have to bring along a day’s worth of food and drink along with fold-up chairs in order to vote. Or be denied the opportunity to be given food and drink while waiting in line to vote an inordinate amount of time.

No one should be denied the opportunity to use absentee ballots, especially our military serving overseas or people worried about contracting Covid-19 in all of its variants.

Early balloting should be made easily available to all. I know I used it when I served as an election judge in November 2020 and was glad I did. I ended up being assigned to a voting site not in my area. People who have to work on voting day need the opportunity to vote as easily as possible.

Voting polls should be abundant, especially in states where the counties are the same size of our smallest states.

I ask you to vote for these bills to help all Americans, not just a few. Justice denied to some means justice denied to all.

I ask you to work with the party across the aisle to make these bills passing into law a reality. These bills are for all of us, not some of us. When it comes to voting rights, we should stand together as a nation and show the world how it is done.

I may not live in your state but your vote doesn’t affect just your state. It affects everyone in our nation. Please work to make these bills become reality to help all Americans have the right to free and fair and accessible elections.

Sincerely,

Karyn Bowman

The Rowling Paradox

It is no secret that I have been a Harry Potter/J K Rowling fan for a long time. to be honest it was when my oldest son brought home the first book.

I loved the series about a boy who is destined for the ultimate battle with the ultimate bad guy.

Harry was an inspiration. J K Rowling was an inspiration. She became the writer I wanted to be. Her world building was incredible with names coming from flowers and the stars and long ago forgotten British history.

I found the books to be allegories of WWII with camps and people disappearing and might is right type slogans from the Grindelwald era. I saw bureaucrats taking advantage of Voldemort’s shadow government doing their best to write laws against anything that went against their beliefs of what was the right and proper order of the world. Except that order meant pure magical humans and none of those pesky half blood magic peoples.

These stories always seemed to me to be about tolerance, about finding the good in people, accepting others for their differences. That people are who they are not because of their magical lineage but because of the choices they make in life. Dumbledore repeatedly said that to Harry.

So to hear that J K was making anti-trans statements was jaw-dropping. People in my life who were Potter fans are giving it up in order to not give more money to JK.

And I get their feelings. The tweets I saw in a Glamor article (https://www.glamour.com/story/a-complete-breakdown-of-the-jk-rowling-transgender-comments-controversy) did not put JK in a good light.

So she does not think trans medications or surgeries are a good thing? Act as if trans people are not real or their emotions are invalid? I hope she realizes who this makes her look like.

The problem is that these statements appear to be the exact antitheses to everything we ever learned in Harry Potter. That we need to judge a person by their character, by their actions and not the characteristics they cannot control. Rowling has made some choices that show her character and it’s not what you expected.

Suddenly, she is this hateful, prejudiced person against a small group who have made a choice of their sex, not sexual orientation. This is not something anyone does lightly, it does not happen willy-nilly.

With each new revelation, I have to re-work my feelings about JK. And it’s hard because I want to believe in the world she tried to create. A world that could live in harmony if people tried, if people saw the hypocrisy and hatred that lies beneath their souls and worked to change their hearts.

The truth is we will never be freed of Voldermorts, Bertha LeStranges, and Delores Umbridges. There will always be people who think they are better than others and try to make laws to subjugate those people they consider their lessers. There will always be people who are destructive for destruction sake. There will always be people who seek a purity of race that they themselves do not possess.

What I don’t think JK has considered is that she is becoming the worst of her creations , Delores Umbridge. She appears to want to bring clarification about what she feels is a dangerous medical course of action. But her words become a mess of misogamy without a shred of medical evidence.

What is a fan to do?

Well, this fan is keeping her books. And enjoying the memories associated with the Wizarding World. But no longer am I a fan of Rowling. Sorry Jo, but you get no more of my money. I will learn to deal with the cognitive dissonance that I feel towards Jo and what she created which was the best part of her.

And with any luck, Jo, you could come back to your senses and live the example your books have given all of us.