Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Furney Family Circa 1900

The question is "What is your maiden name"  The answer of course is Furney.   I guess if I were getting married all over again,  I would seriously consider hyphenating my last name.  Back in the day, I wanted to take my husbands name and gladly did so thinking it helped solemnize  the bonds of marriage and maybe it did, but now I am of the mind that we can find a better way to do that, one that does not come at the price of the bride's birthright, her family name.  Why should she have to sacrifice that part of herself on the altar of Holy Matrimony?  No, I am all in favor of the hyphenated name, or at the very least lets revive the tradition of giving our children their mothers maiden name for a middle name so that it is not lost to the ages.  Since I had not thought of that when Zach was born, its a little late for me, but at least here I can document that I was and am a Furney.

The picture above is of three generations of Furneys.  I presume it was taken in Kansas in the early 1900's.    From left to right they are my great Aunt Cora Lee Furney, My Great Great Grandmother Sarah Darner Furney, my Grandfather Solomon Ray Furney, my great great grandfather Solomon Ritz Furney, on his lap perhaps Floy Hazel, behind him standing are my great grandparents Rosa Lee Hook and James William Furney.  James William is  resting his hands on who I believe is La Rena, and their eldest son Glenn stands on the far right.  I am not sure about the girls but that is a pretty good guess I think.

For years I knew nothing about my Furney family roots, not knowing where the name originated, how we came to be in America, none of that.  But with the advent of the internet I have been able to unearth some fascinating things tracing the Furney family back to 1690 in Fahrni Switzerland, the village we are all named for.  Apparently Christian Farney emigrated to Wachenheim Germany.  His son Johan Adam then moved from Germany to America sometime during the 1700's.  He died in Fredrick County Maryland.  His son Philip had a son named Fredrick Philip who moved to Ohio where he had a son named Daniel.   Daniel was the father of Solomon Ritz who moved to Kansas.  Interestingly enough, my Dad's brother Bob told me that the Furney family belonged to a protestant religious sect in Ohio, but that Solomon Ritz had a falling out with his Christian brethren and pulled up stakes and moved to Kansas, where he opened a saloon and made enough money to buy an entire section of land.  I do not state that as fact but as family lore.  It does have a lot going for it though, they did move to Kansas, and that is a fact, but as for all the other...I cannot say, but I like to think thats how it happend.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

As good a time as any

South Carolina State Capital
The question for today is what is the name of your spouse.  I figured it was as good a time as any to explore the intricacies of Steve' name and lineage, it gets a little confusing...His name is Steven Edward Wachter.  He takes his middle name from his Dad, who was James Edward Wachter.  But before James Edward was a Wachter he was a Richardson.  His father was named James Edward Richardson, a man from New York City who was of Swedish descent so the family lore says.  He married Anna Bach and then in time little James Edward was born.  Sadly James Sr died  of pneumonia just a few months after his son was born.  Eventually Anna married Fred Wachter who promptly adopted his bride's son and gave him the name he carried the rest of his life and passed on to his children and many of their children.  So now the world has a whole branch of  Wachters who are true Wachters in all ways save genetic.  I think they are proud be be called the grand children of Fred Wachter, a man  they all loved well.  It does sadden me though that the Richardson line is all but lost.  For all we know James Richardson might have been a wonderful father and husband and would have been proud of his grandchildren, had he lived to know them.  So not meaning to diminish the gift of Fred Wachters life and name, I want to be sure to include James Edward Richardson in the discussion about the name of my spouse.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mom and Daddy

The question is "What are your parents names?  My Mom is named LaWanda Bartley Furney.  She has no official middle name, though it has been suggested for years that her first name is La and her middle name is Wanda.  Back in the day she went by Wanda, most of my childhood I remember her friends calling her that.  But as we all grew up she transitioned back to LaWanda, and I think that is what she goes by with everyone today  that does not call her Mom or Oma, or Omar...a variant of Oma forced on us by spell check and auto correct features of the texing/tweeting age we live in.  We have always wondered why she was given no middle name.  All of her siblings have middle names, but not Mom, another indication that Granny un-apologetically did things her own way.

Daddy was named after his Grandparents. Or so I suspect.  His name was James Lee Furney and his dad's parents were named James William Furney and Rosa Lee Hook.  So it does not take a rocket scientist to do the math on that one.  Or does it?  Jamie is named Jamie Lee Furney, and I would have bet money that she was named after Daddy, but Mom says no, not really.  Hmmm ....something does not add up there.  She looks just like him, she was his first child, He was called James Lee, and she is called Jamie Lee... I think she was named after him if even on a subconscious level.  I am glad, its a good family name and it should go on.  That is why we named Zachary James the way we did.  It helped that both his grandfathers were named James.  So the tradition continues of naming people in our family in mercurially significant ways.  Lets see what the next few generations do with it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nevada, Rural Clark County, Nellis AFB

And the Question is...What state where you born in, What City? What Hospital?  I know the answers do not quite match up with the questions, and the picture does not match up at all but all will become clear.  I was not born in a city per se, but on an Air Force Base.  Nellis AFB hospital to be specific.  Nellis is near Las Vegas, but not in it, so whenever I have to fill out a form asking for my place of birth I must write "Rural Clark County, Nevada.  I like it.  It has an air of mystery to it.   And the  mystery deepens because if you were to search for records showing my father being stationed at Nellis you would come up empty handed for he was never stationed there, but rather at Creech AFB in Indian Springs, Nevada.  We left there when I was very young but I do still have some memories of the place.    I remember going to a restaurant out on the highway.  Why it sticks in my mind has something to do with my earliest encounters with pizza but even more to do with the empty pool that was on the property.  There is something forlorn about an empty pool, an empty pool in the desert even more so.  I remember it  even to this day.  I remember going with Jamie to our friend Sylvia's house to watch the forbidden Soap Opera Dark Shadows, and I remember "watering" the giant yuccas in the front yard from the top down, and feeling like a fool some years later when I learned that plants drink from their roots, not their leaves...I remember picnics at Mt Charleston. I remember riding in  the back of a neighbors station wagon on one such trip and coming face to face with the horror of the olive loaf...that was the first realization that there is no accounting for taste.  It was also at Indian Springs that I think I was exposed to nuclear radiation from all the testing that was done in the region.  It really should not have come as a surprise when less than 20 years later I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, and 20 years after that, thyroid cancer.  What is surprising is that Mom and Jamie have managed to stay cancer free!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Battle Maiden by any other name...

Several Years ago I invested in a book titled To Our Children's Children- Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come, by Bob Greene and DG Fulford.  I saw them being interviewed on Oprah and liked the concept so much that I forked over more than $20 to buy the book.  Now I realize that may not seem like a lot, but back then it pretty well used up my free money for the two week pay period.  I remember sitting down at the computer, inserting my floppy disc- yes it was that long ago...and typing away at some answers.  I believe I got to question number 27 before giving up on the project.  Well I am back at this time armed with a blog and Mac and more importantly nothing significant to blog about.    For Christmas this year Steve had my previous blog posts printed and bound and that's when it hit me that I should revisit the family history project again.  I plan on spending the year answering selected questions from the book in my blog and then having them all printed and bound.  Voila!  A family history to give to Zach and his children.  So with no further ado...

Chapter One


1. What is your name?

My Name is Kellie Ann Furney Wachter, well legally its Kellie Ann Wachter, but I started adding the Furney back in recent years.  I have no beef with taking my husband's name, but I do think for posterity's sake we women should at least be sure to document our maiden names if for no other reason than to help some poor soul several generations from now who is trying to figure out just who we were and  to whom we belonged.  ( Is that the correct usage for whom?  I don't know, feels right, but that doesn't mean much in the big scheme of things, come to think of it, neither does the correct usage of who and whom...) Every genealogical brick wall I have hit is a female ancestor who's premarital state is a mystery.  I hope to leave more breadcrumbs to mark my trail than they did.

I have always liked my name.  It's common enough not to be thought unusual, pretentious or absurd  yet you don't find Kellies hanging around on every street corner either.  I think I was just about the only Kellie in my age group at school.  I like that it's Irish, I know I have some Irish ancestry, so it is appropriate and it goes with my freckles too.  I looked up what it means in Gaelic and the definition I got was that it means Battle Maiden...Now on first flush that seems a little inappropriate considering that I live in fear most of the time.  Granted it's fear of the stupid and trivial, the real scary stuff throws you straight into shock so fear never has a chance to get much of a toe hold there.   Fears born of anxiety are the monsters I face.  My default setting is "worst case scenario" so I am usually working up a good panic over most anything that has the remote possibility of spinning out of my control.  I have gotten better over the years at keeping things in perspective and have embraced for the most part that things can go wonderfully right just as easily as horribly wrong...so I am less fearful now than I have been.  But the fear that makes me think my name is not suited to me is precisely why it is.  I have rushed headlong into the battles of my life with more courage than anyone who has not dealt with anxiety will ever know.  Of course you could also say that my name might mean I like to fight, which I do, a little, but only if I think I can win.