Advent Calendar - Update on the Hilarious Christmas Tree

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nancy, Sandy, Mary and Susan '71

Hey all, my sister found a picture of us girls in Singapore in front of the hilarioius Christmas Tree from my previous post. I just had to share this with you all.

Have a glorious Christmas with many blessings, love, family and the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus came to this world to save us all!

Advent Calendar - Christmas Stockings

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Stockings
Growing up us girls did not have Christmas Stockings. The only time I can think of that we had them was when we spent Christmas with my Dad's parents. (previous post)
When he was young and growing up my Dad remembers his Mother opening up her stocking on Christmas morning and pulling out hand held mixers and spatula's holding them high up in the air in excitement. Plus she had about 5 oranges she would pull out. They were good fillers. She would pull out other items Dad remember seeing in the kitchen. His Dad would pull tools out of his stocking. Funny.....
My boys however have grown up with stockings. Their first Christmas their Aunt cross stitched and embroidered beautiful stockings for them. They are still in use today and are now 26 and 23 years old. They hang every year and are packed away with the Christmas stuff.
Don't you love the photo above? It was taken from They have some great clipart. Check them out!

Advent Calendar - December 17- No Christmas Tree?

Today I have the pleasure of a guest blogger. This is a story I remember my father telling me so I asked him if he would write it down for me and he did! I just love this true story and I hope you will too. It reminds us of Christmas's past. Thanks Dad. You're the best.

No Christmas Tree?

It was a December afternoon in 1936. Snow was on the ground in Atlanta, Georgia where I lived with my Dad, Mom, and my older brother, Ron. Christmas was but a few days off, and we did not yet have a Christmas tree.
Although I was but 4 years old at the time, and had little reason to consider it, I’m sure that the term “discretionary income” was an unknown figure of speech within our struggling-just-to-get-by depression era family. There was even some talk of our doing without a Christmas tree this year, the mere mention of which was totally unacceptable to my big brother of 12. Donning a jacket, he whispered to me, “Put your coat on! Let’s go. We’re gonna have a Christmas tree!” He looked wise and determined. I idolized my big bro, so without hesitation, I did as he said, and off we went.

“What’s under your jacket?” I asked as we headed down the alley away from the house. He unbuttoned it a little and revealed Dad’s hatchet tucked inside. “We are equipped!” he said. We made our way purposefully to scrubby woodland located about a quarter of a mile from the street we lived on. My brother had passed that way often when walking to and from his 6th grade classes.

“OK come this way,” Ron said, and I veered with him to the left off the main pathway. Shortly he looked in both directions before spreading the wires on a barbed wire fence to let me crawl through, I had a tinge of apprehension. But hey, this is my big brother, so what’s to fear? It’s gotta be OK, right?

We shuffled along through scrub pines and various bushes until my brother said, “Look, ain’t she a beauty?” And a beautiful fir tree it was—straight, erect, and symmetrically filled out. “It’s real pretty,” I said, but it’s too tall for our living room, isn’t it?” “Naw, it’s just right!” he assured me. Within a few minutes he had felled the tree, and he said, you take the small end and I’ll take the trunk end. He grunted and so did I. We quickly learned that a damp snow-covered Christmas tree weighs much more that we had imagined. “OK, so we’ll drag it,” my brother said. We both grabbed a hold and started dragging. By the time we got it off the property through a place where the fence was down, we were winded 3 times. By the time we got it home, we were totally spent.

“Where did this tree come from,” Dad asked. “Oh, over there someplace,” Ron replied with a vague gesture. I could see Dad seemed rather worried, but we soon proceeded to erect the tree, and after nailing some leveling slats to it, my brother said, “OK, now we’ve only got to cut those three feet off of the top where the ceiling bends it over.” That’s about when we heard a sharp knock on the front door.

Dad answered the door. We heard a man speaking loudly in an agitated manner. “I’m here to talk to you about a tree stolen from my property!” he said.

Dad invited him in. The upshot was that indeed the tree had come from private property, and our drag marks in the snow had led the owner right straight to our house. The fact that the property was not currently being used for any useful purpose was quite beside the point. He explained this terms not uncertain. Even my brother was beginning to get the point.

After venting his anger about the matter, however, he began to cool down a bit. Seeing the petrified looks on our scared faces probably helped. He then noticed that the tree was way oversized for the room and that its peak was bent over and pointing due north. He suddenly began to laugh, and finally he wished us all a merry Christmas. But upon departing, he raised an index finger with greatly assumed authority to us boys, saying, “Remember boys, you’d better check who owns the property before you cut any more trees!”
Actually, we boys stood well reminded of an excellent business lesson that Christmas. We also had the biggest tree on the block!

Melvin R. Lyon

Advent Calendar - Christmas at School

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I wrote this article for my sister who was needing some articles for a project and thought it appropriate for today's theme. Christmas at School.

Christmas in Indonesia

By Mary Lyon Hellman

Just after celebrating my eighth birthday in December, 1963 I and my three sisters found it was Christmas time in Bandung, Indonesia. Wait a minute. THIS is not Christmas!! It was boiling hot and humid. We were clothed in ordinary shirts and shorts. No snow, no Christmas lights all around town or on our neighbors houses for that matter and not one Santa Claus in sight.

I remember our school having a Christmas program for all the missionary parents of the kids that attended which consisted of about 10 to 15 kids in grades 1-8. As we stood up front my eight year old voice projected just a tiny squeak. You see, I was thinking of the parents! Spending Christmas in a foreign land away from their parents or siblings, the old farm in Iowa or in South Dakota where snow and the sights and sounds of the season were in no shortage. Here we stood belting out Christmas songs in the heat of the humid evening as our parents looked on with admiration. My voice cracked because I was near tears for them! They must have been proud of us kids trying our best to make them feel at home.

The highlight of that Christmas was receiving boxes from our Grandparents from back home. How delighted we were at receiving brand new coloring books and crayons, and books like Black Beauty to read. How thoughtful of them to think of us so far away. The excitement of getting boxes of Jello and cake mixes was amazing. They were put aside for very special occasions.

My family made it thru that first year and continued through another year in Indonesia, two years in Japan where we had a white Christmas and six years in Singapore where we swam in the local pool every Christmas day. Our tree there was made out of white plastic with just a tiny tint of blue. We thought that was really cool.

These are my memories of Christmas’s in the mission field. I will remember these all the rest of my life.

December and the Miracle of Birth

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I just cannot help but tell you about our new Grandson! He was born yesterday, December 13th in Berrien Springs, Michigan, to our Son Nathan and his beautiful wife Emily.

What a miracle birth is. Judah Samuel weighed 9 lb and 11 oz! What a big boy, my goodness.

Of course - here is a picture of Judah. We are celebrating life and all joy that comes with it. It is exciting I will be traveling there next month to give him Grandma hugs and kisses. What a special Christmas gift this year.

Super Sister Sunday - Christmas in Japan

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Eve? Huh?

Before heading overseas my family always opened Christmas gifts on Christmas morning. Yes the memories come back to me as we tried to spy at what Grandma and Mom were doing in the bedroom on Christmas Eve. I especially remember one year when we just would not settle down and go to sleep. After we managed to actually see what Grandma and Mom were doing. They were making up our Christmas stockings! I was quite shocked actually and a little disappointed at that. Anyway we would try to look and then run back to bed as soon as we heard someone coming towards the door.

One time that same night, I managed to get back into bed before Nancy. Dad saw her and came over to her bed and this part really sticks out in my mind even today. She was silouetted with the light being behind her and Dad. Dad lifted up her legs to give her a swat on the bum and it was hilarious! She did not bend her legs! She looked like an ironing board, super stiff and super straight with her legs going way up into the air. One swat and no more ironing board. She promised Dad she would settle down. She finally did.

Back to the Christmas morning thing. When we moved to Japan, Nancy remembered the first Christmas we were there. On Christmas eve we went to neighboring American homes to visit them. We were shocked to see they were all opening their gifts! On Christmas eve! We quickly went home and did not visit any more of our friends.

So, the next Christmas we opened our gifts on Christmas eve and did that ever since.

The Lyon Sisters, 1964 Mary, Susan, Sandy and Nancy

Here we are in Japan with a very spindaly tree. It is awful! Of course did not notice at the time.

Advent Calendar - Other Traditions - Eggs!

My mother was proud of her Swedish Heritage. Her grandparents came to Iowa from Sweden in 1890.

At Christmas time and for special occasions Mom remembered her mother making coffee at Christmas, brewed in Swedish tradition with eggshells to achieve a silky appearance. The eggshells were put directly into the coffee grounds.

I do not recall any other traditions in the family.

Happy Holidays

Advent Calendar - Christmas Gifts for the Sisters

Friday, December 10, 2010

Living in Singapore during our teenage years, my sisters and I went to a dressmaker who sewed our dresses. You would pick out a dress you liked from a magazine, buy the material and take it to her. She would wonderously make up the dress for a very small charge. Usually in just two or three days. This lady made all of our formals for the banquets we attended. It was awesome. year I decided to have dresses made for my sisters! Three of them to be exact. I poured over some magazines to find the perfect dress for each of them. Then off to "People's Park" I went, the place where you buy material. There were vendors on two huge floors with ton's of fabrics to choose from. I bought material and embelishments for each of my sisters and took them to the dressmaker with the pictures, telling her what dress is for what sister. Since she had the exact measurements for each sister it made a perfect surprise! Wah-la! Dresses for the sisters.

The best part was when they opened their gifts and saw their new dresses. What fun!!!! They were shocked. What made it even better is the fact they liked the dresses and wore them regularly!

Advent Calendar - Grab Bag - The genealogist dream gift to give

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This is a true story that happened only last Christmas. Christmas of 2009. This was the most rewarding thing I have ever done with genealogy and to top it all off it was a gift given!

An Unusual Christmas Story

On the Friday before Christmas, 2009, Nanette Ringering and I planned a gift wrapping party at my house. She, along with Heather and Rachel and me wrapped and wrapped. Lots of ribbons and bows, wrapping papers scotch tape and bags. We had Christmas music playing during this festive time of the year and of course the Christmas tree lights were twinkling on the tree. It was fun to watch Rachel looking and ooohing over the packages. (10 months old)

The mail arrived and in it was a package from my sister Nancy Kyte that included some old photographs of our ancestors. After exclaiming over them and sharing them with Nanette, she teared up and said “I’m so happy for you Mary, but I’ll never have that.” Nanette had been adopted by our familyi at the age of two weeks.

Six months earlier Nanette – from now on I’ll call her Sis – asked me to look for information on her birth family. She had given me the name of her birth mother, Dana Stygar, and where she was born. At that time there was not much to look up. I found some items of interest but had a hard time confirming them. It looked like the maiden name was Young and her mothers maiden name was Judd from old census reports. I put the information aside.

The Sunday before Christmas my Dad, Mel Lyon invited my family, Mike & myself, Kirk, Heather and Rachel, and even Sis and Steve Ringering to meet with him and his wife Phyllis at the Hometown Buffet for a good meal. Good it was indeed. We had a great time.

While I was getting some food at the buffet Steve Ringering came up to me and stated "the best gift you could ever give Sis would be to find out about her family." I told Steve I would find my information from six months ago and see what I could do. Sis had told Steve about the pictures recieved from Nancy.

The next day, three days before Christmas eve, I worked on it. You will be amazed at what I found on such short notice! Upon checking out of which I am a member, I found a family tree that mentioned a photograph from 1939 of Dana Stygar. The birth and death dates totally matched! Since the tree was set to private I could not look any farther. So I sent out a message to the creator of that tree mentioning that I had a sister in law had who been adopted, and gave the name of Dana Stygar and her statistics. Sometimes on these things people take awhile to look at their messages on a board like that.

On this same day, I googled Dana Stygar. The name popped up on Facebook and I thought, no way, Dana Stygar is dead, but checked it out anyway. The profile picture of Dana Stygar gave me a shudder. It was a profile picture, and the eyes, cheekbones and nose looked very familiar to me! No way! I sent this Dana a message as well and hoped to hear form both her and Barbara Stygar – the creator of the Ancestry tree soon.

The next morning I woke up early. 4:00 a.m. and could not go back to sleep. So I got up and headed for the coffee and settled down at the computer. Oh my……..BOTH ladies replied to me! Barbara Stygar it turned out would be Sis’s sister in law. Barbara said this was interesting because she tried to find out about the girls, but was told she needed to get a court order from Sacramento to open up the records. What? Girls? I imediately went back to Ancestry and sure enough there was a Elizabeth born the same day as Sis with the same mothers maiden name. Oh my – this was exciting. Barbara sent me some photo’s of the mother and siblings of Sis that confirmed she was Sis’s mother. We have been in contact every day since! I sent Barbara a photo of Sis as well and she was shocked at the resemblance of her mother-in-law.

From Dana, I found out she was named after her Grandmother! Only two years ago she took back her maiden name (Stygar). She is the daughter of Sis’s Eldest sibling so she is 41. I never would have found her if she had not changed her name. Then – I found out Dana lives in Gresham! After conversing with her via e-mail now, I sent her the photo of Sis in which she replied “She looks just like my Grandma!” Dana and I met at Coffee’s On and spent one and a half hours together on Christmas Eve morning! She was a tall lady, big, but had those familiar features of Sis’s. It was amazing!

The day before I had taken the photo’s of Sis’s bioligical Mom and brothers, gotten 5x7 prints for them and frames for Sis. I also made copies for Dana that she loved. Plus, a total list of all the siblings. Sis’s birth mom had a total of 12 children and I was able to put them all in order of birth thanks to Barbara Stygar down in Modesto, California.

Here is what happened Christmas Eve. The Hellman’s all arrived at my house between 5 and 5:30pm for our Christmas celebration. Food was everywhere. We were all digging in. Then the doorbell rang and Dana, her friend Troy, their 5 month old son Patrick and Dana’s 17 year old first son arrived. They came in giving me a box of chocolates. The Hellman’s all thought is must be someone from the church and did not pay any attention really. Then I slipped Dana “the gift” and I asked everyone to cram into the family room. I asked Sis to sit down which she did reluctantly. Dana went to her and said “Nanette, Christmas time is a time full of surprises and family, and on behalf of my family I would like to present you with this gift.” Sis was understandably nervous. She opened the box and the first thing she saw was a listing of “The Children of Dana (Young) Stygar” with Dana’s birth and death date. Sis was the last, and a twin. The tears started falling, then she saw a picture of her Mom holding her first born with a huge smile. Sis’s dimples, eyebrows and nose for sure. I asked Sis if she knew who that was and she said through tears “no……my mom”. Then I told her Dana was her niece and they both cried and hugged and cried and hugged, and we pretty much all were a mess.

Dana and her family stayed for about 45 minutes. Dana is excited to have an Aunt that lives nearby because she has never lived close to any family. Dana and Barbara are in contact with each other again through this, and she has spoken with her Dad Joshua who remembers being in the military and hearing his Mom adopted out a girl. Her twin is a mystery.

As for myself, I must say this has been the most unbelievable and rewarding gift I have ever done for someone. To think that all of this information came down just a few days before Christmas is unreal. We now plan to try and get those court records open.
by Mary Hellman, 2009
Nanette Ringering, Dana Stygar, Christmas Eve 2009
Postnote: Sis and Dana have been in constant contact through this year. Dana's father Joshua passed away this year unexpectantly.

PLEASE HELP! If you or someone you know was born on April 11, 1961 in Los Angeles, California and had been adopted out please contact me! The adoption would have been a private one and not through an agency. The birth name would have been Elizabeth Stygar. It would be awesome to find Sis's twin!

Advent Calendar - Christmas Cookies

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Who does not like Christmas Cookies? My sisters and me would make a tipical sugar cookie recipie but the most fun was decorating them with frosting and sprinkles. As teenagers, we made cookies with these cookie cutters. The snowman and the tree were the most fun to decorate. We always had a lot of fun and giggles as we saw how each other decorated the cookies. More great memories of "sister time."

As young children and living overseas I do not recall making Christmas Cookies. I'm sure we must have made them but it does not stick out in my mind.

What does stick in my mind are the Sour Cream Drop Cookies my Grandma Lyon used to make and send to us. I remember these cookies when we were very young before going overseas. When we came back to the US she would mail some to us.

In the 80's I specifically asked her if she would send me her recipe
and and few days later I received this in the mail from her in her own handwriting. I think it is a treasure now. She has been gone for many years now. (Eleanor Fahl Lyon)

Ancestor Approved Award

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wow! What a surprise when I received an e-mail from Cheri Daniels of Journeys Past who awarded me the Ancestor Approved Award. I am excited, shocked, surprised and amazed since I consider myself new at blogging. Thank you Cheri! I will consider this a birthday present. (I'm a December child)

This award comes with the requirement that you pay it forward the following two ways.

1. List 10 things that you have learned about your ancestors that surprised, humbled or enlightened you.

2. Pass the award to 10 other genealogy bloggers.

So here are the 10 things I have learned about my ancestors.

1. Even though my great grandpa (Andrew Davis) is a brick wall I have been able to figure out where he was born from his Civil War Military papers, that he was wounded in the war, and that he was a flag holder in the Grand Army Parade. His parents are still a complete mystery.

2. My great grandparents who came from Sweden had a child that died before she was two years old. It was a thrill to visit all of their gravestones in Crown Hill Cemetery, Ruthven, Iowa.

3. I was amazed to learn from the obituary of my great great great grandmother (Anna Quivey) that sixty teams (of horses) followed the procession to her burial in Hazelwood Cemetery, Grinnell, Iowa. This is a cemetery I visited and was able to actually stand beside her gravestone. It is an amazing feeling to stand where so many ancestors stood mourning their loved ones.

4. It was thrilling to actually see a photo of my great great great grandfather Linus Quivey. This came from a fourth cousin I found. He was on a horse!

5. The new cousins are fantastic! I just love finding the cousins and comparing information. Three new ones cropped up this year.

6. It was a mystery how my great grandfather David H Quivey died at the age of 30 years old, leaving five children and a wife who never remarried. He died of typhoid fever. This coming from a dear fellow genealogy lady in Iowa who did some research for me.

7. Another great great great grandfather John Merritt, came to Iowa and staked his claim on a parcel of land by tearing off a big chunk of bark from a tree and writing his name on it. He then went back to New York to bring his family to the newly discovered land. It is awesome the bark and claim was still there, waiting his return. This information came from a new cousin who had really done some fantastic research. I will post about this later because it is such a cool story.

8. It is fun finding relatives even my father has never met from different sides of his family and am able to tell him about them.

9. I enjoy sharing the finds with my sisters, who are thrilled they are not the ones doing the research, but love hearing the stories.

10. I love finding out where my ancestors are buried and especially if I can get a picture of their gravestones. Future generations will not have that option since so many people are cremated these days and their ashes scattered.


Here are the blogs that I chose to pass the award to.

Advent Calendar - The most unusual ornament!

Friday, December 3, 2010

When Mike and I got married - way back in '75 - we hardly had any money and lived in a little shack on his parents 10 acre property. The shack came with the property when they bought it and the in-laws had not yet moved out there as they were waiting to put a mobile home on it to live in.

Anyhow - the first Christmas season - Mike took off one day with an axe. It was cold so he chopped down the first doable tree he found. It was a scrawny little thing, but it did fine for our first Christmas. We did not have ornaments so we put lights and a whole bunch of tinsle on the tree. It was missing one thing. A topper. What were we going to put on the top of the tree?

Mike had a great idea. He took some cardboard and cut out a perfect star that was about 5 inches in diameter. Then he covered it with tin foil. It looked great, but how was he going to get it on the top of the tree? Then the most hilarious idea popped into his mind. He took the round cardboard part from a tampax tampon and pasted that on the back and wa-la - it slipped perfectly on the top spike of the tree! He even put a hole in the very center of the star so we could put a little light in it.

The weirest thing of all? This year will be the 35th christmas we have used this star! Wow!

Advent Calendar - Holiday Foods with Cranberrys

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas tradition food.

At Christmas time we always remember and serve Grandma's Cranberry Salad. It is supposedly a Swedish recipe perhaps from Grandma's mother who came from Sweden. We really enjoy it and most of us girls make it every year for our families. Here it is.

Grandma's Cranberry Salad
1 lb ground cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 can crushed pineapple
1/2 lb marshmallows
1/2 pint whipped cream

Mix - Set - Done!

Advent Calendar - December 1, The Hilarious Christmas Tree

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I tell you, when we lived in Singapore my family had the most hilarious Christmas tree ever! It was made entirely of plastic. It was white, however, had a hint of blue to it. The branches were hilarious too. They were covered in snowflakes for the leaves. It was supposed to look like a tree with snow on it. It looked the very best at night with all the house lights off and the christmas tree lights on and of course with all the presents underneath it. It worked for us all of the six years we lived there.
I wish I had a picture of it to show you.

Talented Tuesday - My Grandpa the Ventriliquist

This is my Grandpa, Willis Harold Lyon in September of 1955, three months before I was born. Just recently this picture was uncovered from a box in the attic and I was so happy. Up until then there were no pictures of Oscar the dummy that I had seen or of Bud, Grandpa's second dummy.

So here is Oscar. My Grandpa went around to schools all over the country and gave temperance lectures to high school students about the effects of alcohol and ciggaretts speaking through Oscar and Bud. Oscar was the dummy that was not addicted to these, but Bud was an addict, a rambling drunk and he smokeed cigarettes. I wish I had a picture of Bud so show you. He was a bigger guy that wore a hat and an old overcoat and beat up shoes.

When us girls would spend the night at our Grandparents home a couple of us slept in the basement. Sometimes when I came up the stairs during the night I was scared out of my mind because Bud was standing there!

My Grandpa did a good job at his craft and really enjoyed the students. Unfortunately, Oscar was made of wood so did not survive the years. He had been eaten by termites . He was kept in a suitcase. I remember the suitcase. But what happened to Bud? I'll need to ask my Dad.

Yes these are fond memories.........

Super Sister Sunday - Indonesia

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This picture is one of my favorites that consists of myself (on the left) and my eldest sister Nancy although we did not realize at the time it was taken it would someday be a favorite.

Here is the story. We lived in Bandung, Indonesia at the time. We were 8 and 9 years of age. Our mom would send us away in a "betcha" or rickshaw to take piano lessons from a nice Indonesian woman. Nancy remembers that day was really rainy and dreadful, but we went on the ride and took the lessons anyway.

The piano teacher had a son called "Sinchepu", a teenager, who was enthralled with us. While we waited for the other one to complete lessons he would show us weird things. Like, the

Indonesians would take a rubber band and rub it back and forth on their arms to remove the hair. It really hurt! Bad!

Sinchepu had a camera so on this day he decided he wanted to pose Nancy and I so he could take our picture. We were not in the mood, and ordinarily would not have posed like that but we let him anyway, therefore the non-smiling picture. He was very proud to give us the picture the next time we went for our lessons. Somehow it made it back to the U.S. with us and it has become a favorite of mine.

Sentimental Sunday - Continued

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I've got the proof!
Last week I wrote about finding the two pictures that used to be in my Grandma Lyon's home. Today I even have the proof in a photo taken years ago.

Here it is! It's " Blossom Time" in the background on the wall.

In this picture. Back Row. Edna Fahl (my Great Aunt), Eleanor (Fahl) Lyon (my Grandmother)

Front Row. Melvin Lyon (my father), Minnie (Hanson) Fahl (my Great Grandmother) and Willis Lyon (my Grandfather)

A couple of thoughts. 1. Where is the other picture, "Old Fashioned Garden?" 2. What if this is actually my Great Grandmother's home and my Grandmother inherited the pictures from her? That is a question I will ask of my Dad straight away!
Look at that lampshade. That is hilarious!

"Hi Dad?.............."
Update: Believe it or not my Dad called me last night and was actually in town! So....he came over and I showed him the picture. He sat in front of the computer and really thought and thought and it finally came to him. This WAS my Gr Grandmother Minnie (Hanson) Fahl's home! He remembered the couch being in the corner like that and the living room was really crowded. He remembered it was right after he graduated from Oak Park Academy.
So....I am really excited to find out the picture (or pictures) came from my Great Grandmother! My dad also remembers seeing them on the wall of his mom's house in Nevada, Iowa.

Super Sister Sunday - More Hanson Sisters!

Back of the picture says:
Hanson Sisters
Claire, Edith, Emmie
Previously I had written about my great grandmother and two of her sisters. You can see that article here. In the box I found last Sunday, there were a few pictures. This one is of some more of the Hanson sisters! These girls are my Gr Grandmother's younger sisters. I really liked how they are posed and I wish I had more information on them.

Here is what I do have about them.

Edith Hanson
B August 12, 1888 On the farm near Marion, Iowa
M ?? Gordon
D March 10, 1980, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Buried - Oak Shade Cemetery, Marion, Iowa

Emma Hanson
B August 30, 1891, Marion, Linn County, Iowa

Clara Hanson
B October 19, 1893, Marion, Linn County, Iowa

Famous Last Words

Monday, October 25, 2010

These are funny! Enjoy.

These are from

Famous Last Words

Last Words & Epitaphs by © 2009

Sentimental Sunday - Grandma's Wall Pictures

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It was a fluke that I found these pictures today. We are in the process of moving. Things were taken out of the loft, had a garage sale a couple of months ago and today there are only a few boxes left on the garage floor.

Mike, my husband said " is this important?" YES! In the 80's my mother asked us girls to come over and pick out some things that were my Grandma and her sister Edna's stuff. Otherwise she would throw it away. At the time - I was not into genealogy and so I picked out a few things. These pictures found in the box today, I remember were hung in my Grandma's guest room. I saw them everytime I went to her house as a young girl. I'm sure my sisters will remember as well. They are interesting.

Here is what it says on the back of them.

"Old Fashioned Garden"

Paired with "Blossom Time"

These truly beautiful creations are done in an exclusive hand process (right on the glass) exactly duplicating the world famous "Butterfly Wing" pictures. The delicate colors transferred directly to the glass prsent a pearly quality which makes them spring to life, and the glass itself seems to radiate an elusive ligbht.

Nothing has ever been offered before in America with such fineness of line, detail and rich coloring, and the "Butterfly Wing" effect process creates a brilliance not to be matched by any other type of decoratoin. In these very modern frames they will do credit to any room, and the particularly attractive when hung in pairs

Another "Reliance" Product

NEW YORK R. P. F. Co. Chicago

The picture on the left is "Old Fashioned Garden" and the one on the right is "Blossom Time".

I wish I knew if these were a gift or if my Grandma picked them out herself. Her name was Eleanor (Fahl) Lyon.


Look What I Found!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First off, I must apologize. To my 29 followers. You see, my husband and I moved after 25 years of living in the same home. What an ordeal to go through everything and get rid of a ton of your stuff that just sat around not being used or looked at in years. Some even decades!

Anyway. I found all wrapped in a rubber band a bunch of my Grandma Lyon's recipe cards! They were all browned from the years that have gone by, and the rubber band snapped the minute I touched it. Some of the recipes were her mother's (Minnie Hanson Fahl) and her Aunt Lottie, Minnie's sister. How cool is that! In a few days check back with me and I will post some of the recipes. At the end of a Chocolate Cake recipe it said "beat it good". How funny.

Above, are the card instructions. These are old fashioned - at least I think so.

Happy Hunting!


Bible Genealogy?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I came across this website today that is really interesting. It is search and look up of Bible genealogy! You may enjoy it as well. Follow this link

Super Sister Sunday - The Hanson Gals

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Here is a neat picture of my Great Grandma (middle) and a couple of her sisters. These sisters were all born in Sweden and imigrated with their parents to the US, landing in Michigan for a few years, then moving to Iowa. They were three of 11 siblings! The records say that Alva (on the right) was born at sea!

There were 8 sisters and three brothers all born to Nicholas and Alma (Holstenson) Hanson. It would be so neat if someday I could trace down a picture of all the siblings and especially a picture of the 8 sisters! Looks like my gr grandmother was the oldest. I can spot a lot of facial features that my grandmother has from her.

Charlotte (Lottie), Flamina (Minnie) and Alva Hanson

The sibblings are as follows in order of birth.

Flamina (Minnie) Alma Hanson
B August 22, 1876 in Stockholm, Sweden
M Albert Frederick William Fahl, April 7, 1897 Marion,
D November 12, 1950, CedarRapids,
Buried in Oak Shade Cemetery, Marion, Linn County, Iowa

Charlotte (Lottie) Hanson
B December 21, 1877, Oscarsom, Sweden
M Charles Benedict

Alva Hanson
B September 9, 1879 at sea
M ? Putnam
D 1979

John Hanson
B 1880, Isapeming, Michigan
D 1882

Arthur W Hanson
B December 9, 1882 Isapeming, Michigan
D October 1963, Arizona

Maggie Hanson
B1884, Marion, Linn County, Iowa
M Clyde Carson

Halgie L Hanson
BAugust 8, 1886

Edith Hanson
B August 12, 1888 On the farm near Marion, Iowa
M ?? Gordon
D March 10, 1980, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Buried - Oak Shade Cemetery, Marion, Iowa

Emma Hanson
B August 30, 1891, Marion, Linn County, Iowa

Clara Hanson
B October 19, 1893, Marion, Linn County, Iowa

Hazel Hanson
B January 25, 1895, Marion, Linn County, Iowa

Treasure Chest Thursday - Connection

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

One of the greatest treasures to me is when you find a new cousin. I did just that yesterday! In fact it is so new, we connected enough information from both of us to realize we share the same great great grandparents! We are third cousins and the relation is on my fathers side of the family.

Our great grandparents are siblings. A brother and a sister. In fact I have pictures of her gr grandfather. She mentioned she does not have any information on Nicholas Hanson(gr gr grandfather). It will be my priviledge to share with her an obituary, grave stone picture, and a couple of pictures of Nicholas himself. Nicholas was born in Sweden.

So for today, my Treasure Chest Thursday is my new founded third cousin.

Happy continued hunting.

We're getting married August 31st!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wedding Bells - August 31

How many times were the words "We're getting married on August 31!" happen in the family? This is pretty cool if you think about it. There are several weddings in the family all on August 31st! Being that today is August 31st - I thought this the perfect time to share this. We had always known about my sister, parents and grandparents, but what a shock to find even another August 31st wedding in the family! Enjoy!

Happy 35th Wedding Anniversary to my sister, Nancy (Lyon) & Bob Kyte

August 31st, 1975 - Gresham, Oregon

Anniversary of my Parents, Melvin & Marjorie (Davis) Lyon

August 31st, 1952 - Ruthven, Iowa

Anniversary of my Grandparents, Willis & Eleanor (Fahl) Lyon

August 31, 1921 - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Anniversary of my Great Great Great Grandparents Robert & Damarias (Rivers) Lyon
August 31, 1830 - Fountain County, Illinois

Super Sister Sunday - The Lyon Sisters

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nancy, Mary, Susan and Sandy

Today I write about my sisters and me. This picture was taken right before we headed overseas to live in Indonesia for two years. It was taken in Des Moines, Iowa in 1962.

We did not know what to expect going overseas. The only thing I could think of was men with beige shorts and shirts and a helmet! I must have seen pictures of guys like this. Happily that was not the case. Of course on our mind also were snakes and weird bugs. I can remember our passport photo was taken with our mother, Marjorie (Davis) Lyon so for the five of us we only had one passport.

Sometimes us kids would have matching outfits, but most of the time not.

I can remember the touchdown in Djakarta, Indonesia was a terrible landing. The plane totally bounced, which released all the oxygen masks. It probably did at least three big bounces before all wheels were on the ground. Since then, I have had a phobia about flying. We could not believe all the kids and people behind the fences looking at us as we walked by to go to customs. This was the first of many looks and stares during our time in Indonesia.

What an experience!

My sisters are super!

Super Sister Sunday - The Fahl Sister's

Sunday, August 8, 2010

This is my second post for Super Sister Sunday. This time, these sister's are from my paternal side of the family which includes my Grandmother Eleanor (Fahl) Lyon on the far right.

These sister's absolutely LOVED to pose for pictures throughout the years. This one you cannot really tell, but I have some more to share with you. They pose in flower bushes with flowers next to their faces, on their tummy's with their feet up and all sorts of poses. It was fun to see what they came up with next. They were characters for sure.

Of these ladies I never had the priviledge of meeting my Great Aunt Evelyn. She was the stylish sister of the three.

From left to right:

Evelyn Fahl
B March 16, 1908
D August 25, 1971 in Marshalltown, Iowa

Edna Fahl
B September 1, 1901
Died June 17, 1997 in Newbury Park, California

Eleanor Fahl Lyon
B March 4, 1900 in Marion, Linn County, Iowa
M Willis Harold Lyon on Aug 31, 1921
Died June 6, 1989 in Lake Alfred, Florida

You will be hearing more of these lovely ladies in the future.

Surname Saturday - My Husbands Side of the Family

This week for Surname Saturday I will list the names I am researching on my husbands side of the family. These are surnames that have more than 10 each in my family tree.






Super Sister Sunday - The Swedish Sisters

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This is the first Super Sister Sunday I have blogged about. It is something I have wanted to do for awhile. Being one of four sisters - I just love stories and pictures of sisters. I hope you will join me from time to time with your stories and pictures of sisters.

The Swedish Sisters
Here is a great photo taken in 1922 of my Grandma on my mothers side (the one on the right) and her sisters. Their parents came to America in 1890 with their Eldest child Mary (the one on the left) when she was about 18 months old or so. They came to the little town of Ruthven, Iowa where the rest of the children were born. My Grandmother was the youngest of her siblings. They also had two brothers. It was also taken the year before my grandparents married.

On a trip to Iowa in 2008 my sisters and I visited my mothers cousin Bob. I asked him to tell me about his parents. Both his parents died during the same year for different reasons which was a very difficult year for Bob and his siblings. This is the lady in the middle.
She was only 53 years of age when she died.

Back to the Swedish Sisters. Bob told me that the sisters used to drive he and all the cousins crazy because these ladies would either be on the telephone with each other or at family gatherings speaking in Swedish! This was a surprise to me because I never knew my grandmother even spoke swedish. Obviously their parents taught it to them. Plus in those days - if you don't ask, you won't ever find out. I never asked and barely found out! From a cousin of my mom's! Even she did not tell us kids about this.

Here are the sisters. They are actually standing Oldest to Youngest from left to right.

Mary B Nelson
B August 31, 1888, Genarp, Malmohus, Sweden
D December 17, 1971, Spencer, Iowa

Elizabeth Nelson
B June 23, 1896, Ruthven, Iowa
D February 14, 1949, Spencer, Iowa

Laura Marjorie Nelson
B November 20, 1903, Ruthven, Iowa
D October 1, 1979, Spencer, Iowa

All sisters are buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Ruthven, Iowa.

Wordless Wednesday - Say No More

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Quivey

Today I chose this tombstone. It is of my great great great grandparents. They are at rest, in the Hazelwood Cemetery in Grinnell, Iowa.

I am happy to say this picture was taken by me in 2008 on a visit there with my sisters and niece. It is a lovely cemetery.

Interesting - before my trip from Oregon I contacted the cemetery. They confirmed for me Linus and Anna were buried there, along with some other relatives as well. I let them know the exact date we would be there for a visit. They said they would put some flag stakes by the graves so we could find them easily. When we drove into the cemetery there were some workers. I asked my sister to stop, which she did. Before I could get any words out of my mouth the guy said "looking for Quivey"? I could not believe it. He said to follow him, which we did and he showed us exactly where the Quivey's were buried - in two locations. How cool is that?

93 Year Old Sharp Memory

Friday, July 23, 2010

This week I had the priviledge of visiting with one of my father in law's cousins, Helina. She is 93 years old and as sharp as a whip although she says her memory is failing. She also has an incredible sense of humor to go along with it. What a delight. I can't wait to get back over there and visit her again.

I will be reporting some of the stories she told me that are fascinating. Also I left with her a questionare to "jog" her memory. She called me a day or two later and thanked me for asking her those questions! Within the next week or so I will retrieve her interview questions and share them with you.

So look for "A Four Poster Bed On A Sod Floor" and "Twin Brothers - Do Not Marry Our Sister!"

I can't wait to share them with you. They are just so cool.

Friends from Olin, Iowa

Sunday, July 18, 2010

If any of you stopping by have relatives from the town of Olin, Iowa, you just might want to read this. This is a poem written by my Great Grandfather, John Wesley Lyon. He lived out most of his life there. He considered himself a poet and there are several I will share with you later. Other items he was written are "Life in Olin", "Letter to my Children" and his own "Obituary". He was an intersting character to say the least.

See if there is anyone you may recognize in the following poem.

Olin Friends
By John Wesley Lyon

We lost the Olin Recorder,
Mr. Hansen found it;
And when we got it back again,
He put it’s name around it.

But Mr. Hansen could not make it,
He could not its’ pages fill;
It was only printed on one side,
Something like a sale bill.

So Mr. Hospers took it over,
And business is his creed;
So business men send in your add,
For that is one thing he will need.

And if you want to write an article,
And your time is not all invested;
Mr. Hospers will try and write it,
And others will be interested.

Westfahl buys your produce,
And he buys it on the square;
And he pays you more for eggs and cream
Than you can get anywhere.

Westfahl buys your chickens,
And he also sells you feed;
He also has the oyster shells,
Or anything else you need.

Dayton sells the jewelry,
And glasses on the side;
And he has the best silverware,
Ever you have tried.

Guy Thompson fixes the telephones,
And he surely knows his stuff;
And when he works all day,
That ought to be enough.

The operators are now planning
And working out a scheme;
So that the monthly payday
Will not be so far between.

Fred said he would like to pay
The operators at least one a week;
But when he came to look,
The bank had sprung a leak.

Stingley repairs your shoes,
And they look so nice and neat;
It looks almost a shame
To put them on your feet.

Dave Curtright, he’s a workman,
And don’t you think he aint;
You ought to see him hang the paper
And how he slings the paint.

Macomber runs the drugstore,
And Jerry was his clerk;
He had been the business so long
He understood the work.

Macomber sells all kinds of drugs,
Everything down to salts;
And if taken according to directions,
You sure will have to waltz.

Frank Fall says “I have not much to worry me,
And my troubles would be few;
If it wasn’t for that ornery
And ever good for nothing J. W.

Earl Hart says you need not worry,
Although it seems so awful funny;
The depression will soon be past,
And we will all have lots of money.

His wife she listened, then she said,
“Earl I know your always right;
But I have worked here two months,
And theres not a payday yet in sight.

Houstman works for Uncle Sam,
And his ability is unsurpassed;
And you had ought to see his clerks,
If anyone should ask.

Save up for old age,
I thought it meant for me;
But when the boom was busted,
I began to see.

Hart sells hardware and groceries,
He sells them on the square;
And the milk and meat,
You will always find them there.

If you call for Dr. White,
And he tells you what you need;
Take his medicine according to directions,
And he will have you on full feed.

Now Reva White, his wife,
We could not do without her;
She looks after those in need,
All around about her.

Vernon moved his auto shop,
He moved it on the street;
And when you get your work done,
It looks so nice and neat.

Vernon went to Chicago,
To learn the auto trade;
And by his skill and practice,
Can fix any car that’s made.

Frank and Payson run a shop
On the east side of the street;
And when you buy your groceries,
You can also buy your meat.

Frank he works so hard
And he has his books to keep;
And when he goes to bed,
He can hardly go to sleep.

Miles, he keeps his books,
Although he never trusted;
And if the bank had been the same,
It never would have busted.

Yet the bank went busted,
But it did not all leak out;
And when the receivers turned the key;
They will get the rest no doubt.

If Mayor Carter sees anyone
Comitt a minor crime
He calls them in to court
And imposes on them a fine.

And Marshall Freeman watches
And if they can not give the bail
He takes them by the collar
And throws them in the jail.

He fed them bread and water
Until they were almost dead
But times got so hard
He had to cut out the bread.

But if the bank has busted
And had not left a cent
The receivers would of turned the key
And away they would of went.

Mason does the plumbing
Everything up to date
And Fluton runs the hardware
And you never find him late.

Taylor sells the Buick,
Just the car you need;
He also sells the Chevy,
That has got it skinned for speed.

He also carries a line of repairs,
And he always has enough;
He also has a gang of workman,
That surely know their stuff.

William Peck runs a restaurant,
On the west side of the street;
And when you go there,
You can get something good to eat.

We have three stations,
That sell oil and gasoline;
But the competition on all three
Is so very, very keen.

Mr. Cole is our lawyer,
And he does our legal work;
And if he has a case in court,
Will never duty shirk.

We have three good barbers on the street,
And they want their cash right down;
And we also have a lady barber,
In the northeast part of town.

John Gordon has farming tools,
And would sell them if he could;
But the farmers have no money
And their paper is no good.

We finally got our school house,
By a long continued fight;
And sometimes it was hard to tell,
Who was in the right.

Lawsons sell dry goods by the yard,
And sells the groceries by the pound;
And he gets the news on the radio,
Almost the world around.

Swartzell handles groceries,
And dry goods on the side;
He also has a line of shoes,
The best you ever tried.

And if you trade with Nellie,
And she tells you what’s the price;
You had better not try to Jew her,
For she will charge you twice.

If there is a nice young lady
Coming at the door;
And Nellie waits on her,
Then Robert he is sore.

Mr. Swartzell says it’s easy
To figure the gain and the loss;
But it’s sometimes hard to tell
Who is the boss.

Richell Miller says
Everything’s on the bum;
But according to the laws of nature,
Good times are sure to come.

Jurgenson has the highest job,
He elevates the grain;
And when he gets a supply on hand,
He loads it on the train.

And now in writing this poem
I hope I have not lost a friend
And wishing you many kind wishes
I bring it to an end.

John Wesley Lyon
Born September 23, 1860
Died December 20, 1883 in Jones County, Olin, Iowa

I Write Like.........

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

This was kind of fun. I chose one of my blogs - Grandpa's Lantern to do the test with.

Sentimental Sunday - Grandpa's Junk Yard

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Grandpa was cool. He owned and ran a pretty popular junk yard. It was full of old cars that did not run, old and I mean really old farm machinery, sheep that meandered in the rows and many other items. He would sell parts to machinery and parts to cars. People would stop by quite often. After all it was right off of a main highway.

I can remember my Grandma standing by the kitchen sink pealing potatoes, snapping beans or shucking corn from the fields. There was a window above the sink to look out of. Sometimes a truck would pull in with a trailer full of metal. She would shake her head and say "oh my, he went and bought more junk". That used to make me laugh.

This place of course was in Ruthven, Iowa. When the cousins would stop by, us kids would go out to the rows of cars and hop from one car to the other on the roofs of the cars. Sometimes there were twenty in a row! Funny thing - I never remember any of us getting hurt. The cars as I remember were pretty close together so we could do this easily. It was thrilling! My Grandpa would never complain when we did this. We could have really done some damage to the cars, but he did not care!

What a neat Grandpa.
Stuart Donald Davis
Born April 18, 1902, Grinnell, Iowa
Death March 18, 1993, Ruthven, Iowa
Buried Crown Hill Cemetery

Surname Saturday - 23

This is my first Surname Saturday post.

I thought is would be a good thing to list all the surnames I am researching. When I started making the list there were one after the other and on and on and on. Then, I decided the list would be too long so instead, I'm listing 23. These are all surnames where there are at least 10 people in my tree with that surname. If some of you are also researching any of these names perhaps we are cousins! Feel free to contact me.


A Reader Survey - Favorite Genealogy Websites

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings put out a new survey.

This week the question is:

Genealogists today use websites all the time for their research. Rank the following websites in the order of their importance to you in your research: Here are mine.

Ancestry - very very useful to me.
Google Reader - I use this all the time.
USGenweb - The county areas are very useful and I have found good information there.
MyHeritage - this is my main genealogy database. I like the smart matches and maps.
Family Search - Very helpful.
Findagrave - I love Find a Grave. It is fantastic. The members on there are great too.
Rootsweb - Helpful for forums and such
Although I have a paid subscriptin, I do not use this as often as I could. Have been able to dig up some newspaper articles of relatives otherwise unable to find.

Others I enjoy:

Genealogywise and the help and support you get there.
Footnote - Although I am signed up, I do not have a paid subscription. Have taken advantage of the Civil War and Revolutionary War Free blocks of time they gave recently. That was really neat.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Grandma's Clock

This clock is special. It was my Grandma Lyon's clock. When we used to stay at Grandma and Grandpa Lyon's house for a few days, I fell alseep at night looking at this clock. This is when my Grandparents lived in Mitchell, South Dakota. They later moved to Florida.

After my Grandparents had both passed away, my mom asked if there was anything of Grandma's that I would like to have and imediately I requested the clock. When we received it, it did not work. My handy husband got it working so now it sits in the foyer of our home.

A true treasure to me.

Wordless Wednesday - The Crusaders

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This flyer is two fold of importance to me. It is of My Dad, Melvin Lyon, when he was 12 years old and Willis Lyon, my Grandpa. This is neat!

Tombstone Tuesday - Hell + man = Hellman

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I know - when you go to a cemetery you should bring a tool, right? Well I was so excited and shocked that my husband actually wanted to go with me (first time) to the cemetery to find his Gr Grandparents gravestones. It was a beautiful sunny day here in Portland, Oregon and the weather was nice. Not too hot.

After stopping at the cemetery office where the nice young man showed me the exact row and how many gravestones in to find the gravestones for Karl Ludvig Hellman and his wife Fanny we actually had a terrible time finding the gravestone. We quickly realized some are buried together so you need to count two stones. In other words graves. Then Mike, my husband said "there it is"! All you could see was the word "Hell". How weird. It was amazing he actually saw it. It was an unusual gravestone. Oh dear I did not have a tool. So craftily I thought of the ice scraper in my car. The hard shovel part of it might work to get away the dirt and grass covering the man. Mike worked diligently and excitedly to uncover the "man", thus the name Hellman appeared. It looked like maybe a family member got some cement and carved Hellman in it. It was really narrow and about 2 feet wide.

Mike was really excited. I thought - it does not even say his first name! That did not matter to Mike. He thought the stone was really primitive and cool. There was no separate headstone for Karl's wife Fanny. But there was room right next to him where hers should be. I went back to the office to verify the headstone was Karl's (it was) and if they would have any record of Fanny's headstone. They said no.

So here you go!

Karl Ludvig Hellman - Born January 23, 1875 in St. Karins, Finland, Died February 5, 1927 in Portland, Oregon.
Fanny Amanda (Saren) Hellman - Born September 18, 1875 in Finland, Died March 13, 1919 in Portland, Oregon. Both buried in the Rose City Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.

It was really neat that Mike went with me. Now he will probably go with me to see his other Gr Grandparents gravestones, in Vancouver, Washington. I also requested from the office any other records they had to be mailed to me. They said I should receive it within a week. They needed to open the vault. Cool!