Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Wonderful Family History Christmas Gift

NOTE: This is a repost from January 2014.

On December 25, 2013, I received a very special Christmas gift. This wonderful gift was given to me by my daughter and son-in-law.

The Webster Family...There And Back Again

Inside this frame is a map showing the route one of my Webster ancestors took when he left the United States sometime in the early 1900s, and the route that branch of the Webster family took as they returned to the United States in 1952.

My regular readers may already know which of my Webster ancestors left the United States in the early 1900s and which Webster ancestors returned in 1952. But, for those who may be unfamiliar with this story, I'll give you a quick recap.

My great-grandfather, Watson Emory (Frederick) Webster, who I affectionately refer to as "The Traveling Dentist" in my blog, was born in Coolville, Athens, Ohio on February 14, 1864. He became a dentist and was awarded a Doctor of Dental Surgery Diploma on April 2, 1896. I have that amazing document and shared it in my blog. If you'd like to see it, click HERE. At some point during his life, Watson changed his name to Frederick. So, when you see the diploma, that's why the name "Fred E. Webster" is on his diploma.

Apparently, my great-grandfather, Frederick, liked to travel. And during those travels, he practiced dentistry. He even practiced dentistry from his Dental Boat at Natchez, Mississippi, and at Lake Charles, Louisiana. Later, Frederick traveled to Mexico and married a beautiful girl named Esther Matus Villatoro. She was my great-grandmother. They moved to Brazil, and that's where four of their five children were born. Their first child was born in Mexico. Esther and Frederick passed away in Brazil.

The Webster Family...There And Back Again

My grandfather, Debs Warren Webster, was one of their children who was born in Brazil. He later married a beautiful Portuguese woman named Sarah Vasques Madeira. They were the parents of my mom, who was also born in Brazil. Tragically, Sarah passed away suddenly when my mom was only four years old. My grandfather, Debs, remarried a lovely woman named Willis Quillin. They had a son together and then adopted another boy.

In 1950 and 1951, the family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then, in 1952, the family emigrated from Brazil to the United States. So, there we have it! This branch of the Webster family came back to the United States.

I've written several blog posts about my "Traveling Dentist" great-grandfather, Watson Emory (Frederick) Webster. There's a landing page called "The Traveling Dentist" at the top of my blog dedicated to him. If you'd like to check it out, click HERE.

I've also written about the immigration story of my grandfather, Debs Warren Webster, and his family. They arrived in the United States in the summer of 1952. The ship docked in New York, the family bought a car and some camping equipment, and they set off on a cross-country adventure. The family bought postcards and took pictures along their way toward California, which was their final destination. I also have a landing page dedicated to their story at the top of my blog. It's called "The Debs Webster Family Immigration Story." If you'd like to check it out, click HERE.

The Webster Family...There And Back Again

The photo below is a close-up of this map. My daughter hand-stitched the route onto the map. Isn't it awesome?! I love it!

The Webster Family...There And Back Again

This hand-stitched map is such a thoughtful gift. And it is truly a family history treasure. Thank you my dear, sweet daughter and son-in-law for this amazing Christmas gift.

UPDATE: This wonderful gift hangs on a wall in our home and has proven to be a great family history discussion starter. I love it!

Thanks for reading!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Advent Calendar – December 15, 2014 ~ Christmas Tree Decorations

NOTE: This is a repost from December 2012

This is part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers. If you'd like to join in the fun, just click HERE.
Christmas Tree Decorations
Advent Calendar Prompt from 2014 Do you have unique decorations that you use each Christmas? How did you get them or were they passed down to you from family members? Do you have certain traditions surrounding Christmas decorations such as purchasing one from every state or country you visit? Describe your favorite decorations!
Tell us about your Christmas decorations and your memories of Christmases past.
Advent Calendar Prompt from 2012 - Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?

The special Christmas ornaments I remember most from my childhood were the painted glass birds that clipped onto the Christmas tree branches.  You may be able to see them on our tree in the photo above.  (Yes, that’s me in my nurse’s hat with my two brothers in the background.)  The birds were very pretty and had stiff flat plastic bristle-like tails that were decorated with glitter and other pretty things.  My dad liked the look of silver tinsel, which you can see was used to decorate our tree as well.  And, although it is not a tree ornament, I do remember the paper angel sitting on the mantel.  As I recall, it was made of paper and painted gold.

I don’t know if my Grandma Ingrid Gilberg used tinsel or glass bird ornaments to decorate her Christmas trees when she was a girl.  But, I’ve been able to read about some other decorations she and her family used to decorate their Christmas trees.  In her vocal history, recorded by my father, Grandma Ingrid reminisced about the traditions she and her Swedish immigrant parents shared at Christmas.  Among these were how they decorated their tree.

She recalled,
"It was a tradition that we make garlands for our tree.  We would decorate the ceilings with paper from corner to corner.  We would polish apples and hang them on the tree.  We did not have popcorn at this time, but we would string cranberries and hang them around the tree.  Then when Christmas Eve came, we would light our candles because there were no electric tree lights at this time.  At Christmas Eve, we would all gather around the room and we would dance around the tree and there was a little step we would dance to and we would sing a Christmas song."
"Now it is Christmas again,
Now it is Christmas again,
And after Christmas comes the New Year,
Yes it is so,
Yes it is so,
After Christmas comes the New Year."
So that you can get an idea of how these ceiling decorations may have looked, here’s a photo from Grandma Ingrid and Grandpa Arthur’s wedding reception.  I’m assuming this looked similar to how the ceiling was decorated with paper garlands at Christmas.

At this special time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I'd like to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas!

Thanks for reading!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 15, 2014

52 Ancestors: #50 ~ Rev. Wesley Webster – Following In His Brother's Footsteps

This is part of the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" Challenge begun by Amy Johnson Crow, author of the blog No Story Too Small.

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to Reverend Ebenezer Tyler Webster. He was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to one of Ebenezer's brothers, Reverend Wesley Webster. Like his brother Ebenezer, Wesley also became a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. As far as I can tell, Ebenezer and Wesley were the only ministers among the thirteen children born to my 4th great-grandparents, Augustine Webster and Mary Tyler.

Wesley was nineteen years younger than his brother, Ebenezer. By the time Wesley began his ministry, Ebenezer had finished his. Ebenezer was licensed to preach in 1820 and preached principally in Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio until 1841.1

Wesley began preaching in 1842. I found the following about him in the History and Genealogy of the Governor John Webster Family of Connecticut. Vol. 1 2

"…a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church was educated at the Athens University, Athens, O., but did not graduate. Entered the ministry in 1842, as a member of the Ohio Conference, and on the division of that conference, became a member of the Cincinnati Conference. He preached for 28 years and among the places where he preached were, Marysville, Union Co.; West Jefferson Madison Co.; South Charleston, Clarke Co.; Jamestown, Green Co.; Hebron, Licking Co.; Rushville, Fairfield Co.; New Vienna, Clinton Co.; and Miami City, O. He is (1883) on the Superannuated list."
Wesley Webster married Sarah Jane Davisson on 17 June 1845 in Clark, Ohio. She was the daughter of Isaac and Sarah Davisson.

Wesley and Sarah had two children. Tragically, both of them did not survive to adulthood.

  1. Daughter Webster (20 June 1846 - 20 June 1846)
  2. Francis Asbury Webster (18 August 1847 – 12 October 1848)
Wesley passed away on 25 September 1895 in South Charleston, Clark, Ohio. His wife Sarah passed away on 5 January 1900.

Wesley and his wife Sarah were both buried at Greenlawn Cemetery located in South Charleston, Clark County, Ohio and share a tombstone. Inscribed on the tombstone are the words, "An Abolitionist and a Prohibitionist. Praise the Lord!"

To see Wesley's Find a Grave memorial page, click

Thanks for reading!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

1 Webster, William Holcomb, and Melville Reuben Webster, D.D. "XXVI."History and Genealogy of the Governor John Webster Family of Connecticut. Vol. 1. Rochester: E. R. Andrews Printing, NY. 616. Print.
2 Webster, William Holcomb, and Melville Reuben Webster, D.D. "XXVI."History and Genealogy of the Governor John Webster Family of Connecticut. Vol. 1. Rochester: E. R. Andrews Printing, NY. 618. Print.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Follow Friday ~ Fab Finds for December 12, 2014

My Fab Finds for this week are (in no particular order)
  1. My Mother Died Twice! by Valerie Hughes, author of Genealogy With Valerie
  2. Who will marry us? by Debi Austen, author of Who Knew?
  3. TUESDAY’S TIP–Genealogy Trails History Group–Dedicated To FREE Genealogy by Diane Gould Hall, author of MICHIGAN FAMILY TRAILS
  4. PBS Announces Season 2 Schedule for Genealogy Roadshow by Caroline Pointer for FGS Voice Blog
  5. My Genealogy Christmas Tree by Lorine McGinnis Schulze, author of The Olive Tree Genealogy
  6. So This is Christmas - and what have you done? My Christmas GeneaMeme AND THE LIST SO FAR....So This is Christmas Geneameme Bloggers by Sharn White, author of FamilyHistory4u
  7. Learning online AND Yes. No. And maybe. by Judy G. Russell, author of The Legal Genealogist
  8. New FamilySearch Indexing Program Delayed by Ancestry Insider, author of The Ancestry Insider
  9. 5 Habits for Successful Genealogy Research by Joanne Cowden, author of Researching Relatives
  10. Christmas Decorating: Mom’s Influence – The Advent Calendar by Kathy Smith Morales, author of Abbie and Eveline
  11. Connecting with a Handler Cousin ~ Blog as Cousin Bait by Elizabeth Handler, author of A Jewish Genealogy Journey
  12. Passenger Ship Manifests by ArkivDigital
  13. I bet she feels a little cheated. … by generationsgoneby, author of Generations Gone By's Weblog
  14. What Will Move You? by Kassie Ritman, author of Maybe someone should write that down…
  15. What was Christmas Like for Your Grandparents? by Claire V Brisson-Banks, author of Budding Genealogists
  16. DAR - On the Road to Membership by Wendy Mathias, author of Jollett Etc.
  17. Creating a search list from tags in Legacy by Shannon Thomas, author of Our Life Picture By Picture
  18. Laura Bush and Daughter Jenna to Keynote – RootsTech 2015 by Thomas MacEntee, author of GeneaBloggers
  19. Postcards to Pollo by Leslie G. Robertson, author of The People of Pancho

The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge by Amy Johnson Crow, author of No Story Too Small -

This week's "May I Introduce To You" Interview

New Blog Discovery

In Case You Missed Them….My Contributions to the Blogosphere This Week

Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog
Grandpa's Postcards

Thanks for reading!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Advent Calendar – December 10, 2014 ~ Christmas Traditions

This is part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers. If you'd like to join in the fun, just click HERE.

December 10 – Christmas Traditions

So many of us have family traditions related to Christmas that we learned as children and we still keep to this day. Do you know how your traditions started – is there a “backstory” to each one? What about starting new traditions – how do you start and then keep the tradition going? Are there any traditions which you disliked and that you refuse to keep?
Tell us about your family’s Christmas traditions and your memories of Christmases past.

In this post, I'm not going to share Christmas traditions from when I was a child, but from my own family as a parent. My husband and I have five adult children. When they were young, we would gather together in the family room and read about Christ's birth from the scriptures. Our daughter would dress up as Mary and our four boys would dress up as Joseph, the wise men, and the shepherds. When they got older, they wouldn't dress up, but we'd still read the Christmas Story from the scriptures together. It was a special way to remind our children, and ourselves, of the real meaning of Christmas.

Several years ago, we began another tradition. We started having German Pancakes for breakfast on Christmas morning. These pancakes are baked in the oven and grow puffy as they bake. It's fun to watch them crawl up the sides of the baking dishes as they puff up.

German Pancakes

They come out of the oven big and puffy, but fall pretty quickly as they are brought to the table. We serve them sprinkled with powdered sugar and covered in maple syrup. They are delicious! And our family looks forward to eating these each year.

Another Christmas tradition we have is making Christmas fudge. I've been making this fudge for years and years. I couldn't even tell you how many pounds of fudge I've made since I started making and sharing this fudge with our family and friends at Christmas.

The recipe was given to my mom when I was a child. It's called See's Fudge. I don't know if it's really a recipe from See's or not. It has a smooth creamy texture and is delicious and quite popular with my family and friends. I'll share the recipe here on my blog in a future post.

See's Fudge

What about you?  What are your Christmas traditions?

Thanks for reading!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved



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