Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Time


Thanksgiving has always held a special place in my heart.  The reasons vary.  Football Games, I love turkey, family get-togethers, I really do love turkey, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving every now and then, and because in the late 1980’s, I found out something very special….

Although college games are on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, the NFL has had Thanksgiving games since the 1920’s.  In “modern” times of the NFL, Dallas, Detroit and then random teams each host a game on Thanksgiving, but back in the ‘20’s teams regularly played on Thanksgiving.  Most the of time that I lived in Arkansas the big game was always LSU -vs- Arkansas with every-other year being played in Little Rock.  Although I never attended one of these games, my kids each have, and they loved it.
And although I love turkey, having lots of family together, which happened many times when I was young through even this week, is always great.  And just how much do I like turkey?  When I was young, if we went out to a restaurant, if turkey was on the menu, it was a safe bet that is what I would order.  Go to a Chinese restaurant, and yes, if there was turkey, I would order it.  If we went to Sam’s Hof Brau, which for a time was a landmark in downtown Sacramento since it opened in 1959 and expanded from there, then contracted to just one restaurant left, other family members would have a large slice of their roast beef, while I would have turkey.  Before I turned 20, I cooked my first turkey dinner.  When my kids were young, I had a major part of cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  That’s how much I love turkey, although I rarely will order it in a restaurant because I know too much now about the dangers of turkey and lake of standards in some restaurants.  But that is all another story…

Since Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of each November, from time to time it lands on the 23rd.  When this happened when I was young this meant that many people would attend my Birthday dinner.  That was cool.  The last time my birthday was on Thanksgiving was 2006, the next will be in 2017.

In the late ‘80’s while taking a Christmas break from college we traveled from Utah to Sacramento to be with family.  I was a student worker in the Library at the time, in the genealogy area of the Library.  Working there led me to my career in the Public Library world.  Anyway,  I had made much progress on dad’s linage by this time.  I knew that my paternal great grandfather was born in Alameda County, California, and that his mother and father (2nd Great Grandparents), both were early settlers of California.  I knew they were buried in Irvington, Alameda County, California, now Freemont.  So one day during this Christmas break, I drove the 120 miles to the cemetery were they are buried at.  Though I knew his parentage, I knew nothing about hers.  Got to the cemetery and asked where they were buried.  Person looked it up, said there were no headstones, but showed me where they were.  I did know that her maiden name was Healey, spelled various ways, so I asked if there were any Healey’s.  “Oh yes,” they said, “a few large monument type headstones in this section and that section nearby where you will be.

I find my 2nd great-grandparents, and three large Healey headstones for which I wrote down the information I found.  What now?  Well to a local library, of course.  When I find the local branch library, I at first feel letdown….it is in a temporary building, like a large double-wide mobile home.  I decide to go in and look at their computer card catalog.  While I do, the Reference Librarian asks what I am looking for.  I respond with, “I doubt you have anything here due to your size, but ….”, and I tell her of my find.  She reaches back to a small bookcase at her desk and pulls out a couple of books.  “Why don’t you look at these?”  And in one of the books it confirmed that I had just seen the headstone of my 3rd great-grandparents, Ebenezer Haley and his wife Mary (Lee Scott). and two of their sons and their wives.  WOW!
So on my drive back to Sacramento I wonder what the likelihood is of getting one more genealogy day while visiting family….I really wanted to go to the California State Library where I could look up some obituaries for these newly found names, and see what else they have.  A day or two later I do this, find many more obituaries including my 3rd great grandfather who had a major 1/4 page write up in the Oakland Tribune.  And in looking up books about him, I find the big prize….it is a book titled, “The Haley and Healy family ancestry of Ebenezer Haley, California pioneer of 1850,: With an account of his descendants to the present day”  Amazingly, the State Library had this book, but it couldn’t be checked out, but I was able to look at it….and in it I see that the Haley line descends from the Mayflower, and it’s verified by the Mayflower Society.  And since I work in a library, I KNEW that I would be able to get a copy through Interlibrary Loan from which I could make a copy before it needs to be sent back.  WOW, all of my Thanksgivings from this point on would be filled with much more meaning.
I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. May God bless you all, wherever you are, and may your travels be safe.

Note:  Confirmed Mayflower ancestors are William Brewster and his wife Mary, Stephen Hopkins and his wife Elizabeth,  John Howland. Edward Tilley and his wife Ann.  Many of the other passengers are distance relatives in that descendants married brothers/sisters of my ancestors.  When it comes down to it…we are related one way or another.


  1. How neat to have real Mayflower ancestors!

    Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your celebration with family.

  2. What a great family history. I subscribe to ancestry.com but haven't really gotten into it yet; so, I'm in the dark about a lot of my genealogy. And, you have confirmed antecedents on the Mayflower. That's amazing. My family is much more recently American. Again, Dave, I love the addition of appropriate clip art.
    I'm thinking of posts for my family to read tomorrow .... Hmmmm, wonder what will come up?


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