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           October, 2005

      Carol Sanderson,
      Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor

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 The UK Post Bus Service
- by Earl Ross*

        My wife has family from Wales that settled in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. They were from Caernarvonshire and Montgomeryshire, Wales.

        On one of our trips to Wales and Scotland, we felt very fortunate to get a timeshare exchange to a very nice large unit in Penegoes, Montgomeryshire, Wales. One advantage to a timeshare exchange in the U.K. is that lodging is paid for and there is no VAT tax, however, you do pay for the electricity that you use.

        Penegoes is right outside the somewhat larger town of Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire. It was in such a location where we could drive to the places where her family lived in Llanfair Caereinion, Montgomeryshire. In addition, it was close enough to the Vital Records Library in Caernarvon, Caernarvonshire, and to where her family was from at Llandwrog, Caernarvonshire. In addition, it was close enough to drive to the Wales National Library in Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire.

        While this trip was to further our genealogy research in Wales, perhaps the most memorable experience was a trip we took going out of Machynlleth on the Post Bus. We had arranged to go on the 4:30 PM pickup of the rural red-post boxes around the countryside.

        Our driver was very pleased to be working for the Postal Service and proud that he was a fifth generation postal employee. He worked a split schedule with work hours in the morning and the afternoon, however, he did not seem to mind that a bit. It gave him the opportunity of being home for lunch and for him to continue refinishing some furniture.

        Our anticipated ride on the Post Bus turned out to be much more than we expected. The Post Bus was an economy-sized station wagon. We had another passenger who just came along for the ride as we were and we had a college student who was using the Post Bus as a taxi service to get home from Machynlleth. The mail driver was busy loading some things in the back of the wagon that we thought must be mail but it was just groceries and some bags of peat.

        The post boxes we stopped at had been all freshly painted bright red and the trim was all brass that was brightly polished. I'm not sure who did that. With each box that we stopped at, we learned the history of that box. Some of them had been there since the 1700s. That was unexpected and interesting.

        He next stopped at a croft to drop of the groceries and at another croft to drop off the bag of peat. The most interesting stop was with an elderly lady whose daughter had been traveling that day and was not at home. He stopped in the morning and afternoon to see how she was doing, if she néeded anything, and to add some peat to the fireplace.

        Therefore, our Post Bus driver turned out to be a guide, historian, taxi driver, delivery service, and care giver -- all in the interest of picking up the mail. If you are in any of the small towns in the U.K. for a visit, look up the availability of this service. It was most interesting, and the driver was very proud in doing it which was most important,.

Earl Ross, a regular contributor to this site, and his wife have been working at their genealogy since the 1960's. His is from Ontario, Canada; Scotland, Norway and Prussia areas and hers is from Wales, Bavaria, Baden, Hessen, Rheinland-Pfalz. Many of their vacations have been to the churches and cemeteries in the above areas. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

 Family History Month
- by Charles Hansen

        Family History Month takes place every October and is a time to bring your family together to remember and honor your ancestors. Two groups worked on making Family History Month, a nationally recognized project:

The California State Genealogical Alliance (by Jo Russell), and the Family History Society of Arizona (by Jeannie Rogers and Rusty Perry). Dick Eastman connected the groups and US Senator Orrin Hatch introduced and helped pass the legislation.

        I typed Family History Month in an internet search engine and it came up with several sites people had posted, one with the history of Family History Month. One also listed ten ways to celebrate Family History Month. I will list them with my observations of each.

  1. Get Started Tracing Your Family Tree. I think most people reading this article have already started, but there are lots of ways to trace your tree today, and many articles on how to start and how to record your information. Our local genealogical society is having volunteers in the library every day in October to help new genealogists.

  2. Create a Family Cookbook. Sounds like a great idea, but I helped collect recipes for a cookbook a few years ago. It was a lot of work, but it did turn out well. Collecting recipes from family can help to keep heirloom family recipes.

  3. Record Family Stories. One of my cousins tried recording my father and I guess it may be stage fright, but it was hard to get many memories that way. We went to a family reunion this last July, and we stopped by a place called Bonanzaville. It had a lot of old farm machinery, railroad engines and cars, old houses, schools, old cars, airplanes and even an old courthouse. My dad and uncle had a great time remembering the old machinery, and reminiscing about old times, wished I could have recorded that.

  4. Uncover your Family Health History. I have done very little on this, but most of my male ancestors died of heart problems in their late 80s or early 90s. My dad just had his 99th birthday, and his brother will celebrate his 92nd in November.

  5. Scrapbook Your Family History. I actually started doing this years ago on my computer. I have an old DOS program that allowed me to put as many pictures as I wanted in the text of the biographies I had written on each person in my computer program. I could size, crop, and place the pictures wherever I wanted with just a few simple commands. The program worked well, but it printed very slowly. As I added more and more people to my file it got so slow that I have not even kept it current with the new data I have collected in the last several years.

  6. Take a Trip Back in Time. I have visited where my parents lived and grew up, and even where my grandparents lived. It is hard to describe the feeling when you see places like these, but it is really worth doing.

  7. Play Detective. Almost every family historian has had to be a detective sometime. Why did my grandfather move from Minnesota to Montana? My uncle said because it was warmer, but Montana is nearly as cold as Minnesota, so I did not think that was the reason. After a lot of research, I found that one of my grandmother's sisters was living in Montana already, and that is why I think they moved. Children like playing detective, so maybe you can get them interested in Family History this way.

  8. Craft a Heritage Gift. Our second family reunion we had t-shirts made for everyone, but you can do many craft items for the family, quilts, Christmas ornaments, wreaths and any other homemade items will be cherished by your family.

  9. A Year of Family Pictures. Family photo calendars make great gifts. Some genealogy software or other programs do a great job or your local copy shop can help also. I have tried a calendar program a few years ago and they do work well.

  10. Start a Family Web Site. I have never done this so I do not have any tips on this one. However, my data has appeared on several web sites and several even have the codes for the pictures I used in my DOS program, but none of the pictures. The pictures are still on my hard drive.

        These are just some of the things one might do to help celebrate Family History Month. Some of you may want to try some of them.

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