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The Book – Update

It’s getting closer – for real. What’s next?

  • In about a week I will print the “final” draft. Once that’s reviewed and updated
  • I will break into sections, format, and insert the photographs.
  • The photographs: I have a lot and some of them are in poor condition. I will fix as many as I can, as best as I can.

My sister Liz and I have set up an email address just for the book: ColbertWhelanBook  AT gmail.com. Just change the AT to @ – I want to avoid spam. If you want to get email updates send an email or fill out the form at The Book

What’s in the book?

Here’s part of the Table of Contents.

Table of Contents

Plus

Table of Contents 3

But wait, there’s more:

Uncle Vincent Whelan wrote two letters in the 1980s describing his experience in the Army. I combined the letters. Here’s an excerpt:

You can’t image what a death wish our instructors had. Here we were guys from New York, all we knew about horses was that they were good for pulling coal, milk and vegetable wagons. The instructors knew that during daily drills half the troop was yelling, “Whoa boy, please whoa,” as the horses galloped through the state of Kansas. The other half were unseated just as they got on their horses. We could have shot our officers and our horses because we did not know how to shoot, let alone ride a horse.

Vincent Whelan Fort Riley

 

Uncle Joe Colbert joined the Navy before the war started along with two of his cousins, Bill Rogers and Gerard Rutan. He kept a log until March 1942  when, “A notice went up on the bulletin board to discontinue using a diary of any sort for the duration of the war while on this ship – so I’ll have to knock off. So long until after the war, 21 March 1942.”

At sea Sun – 9 Feb 1942 – We arrived in Jamaica Friday morning and left Friday night for a rendezvous at sea north of Cuba. There we will relieve a convoy of troop transports from two destroyers. Our duty will be to escort them to South America. Enroute we thought we had picked up a submarine but it was only a school of fish. I sure hope we do run into one tho. Boy wouldn’t I like to catch one of them on my fantail. FINIS

Joe Colbert white uniform

Back to work.

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I’m not researching!

There comes a time when writing a family history book that you have to stop researching. I am in the final phases of the Colbert-Whelan Family History book and I am putting aside interesting leads for future research. I am do a little “filling in the blanks” as I review the book.

My grandfather, James Whelan, had a first cousin named Thomas Phelan, born in 1891. The names may seem different, but in Ireland in the 19th century everyone used the Whelan and Phelan interchangeably.

With all the new Irish records available I easily located marriage and death records for most of his brothers and sisters, but couldn’t find Thomas. A quick check of Ancestry found that he had emigrated to the United States in 1916.

Thomas Whelan PAR 1916 1

Thomas Phelan, occupation: Ecclesiastical Studies

Thomas Whelan PAR 1916 2

Going to; Uncle, Father Wm. Ryan, St. Leo’s, Denver, Col.

Maybe Thomas had planned to be a priest, but he married in 1928 and had two children. He remained in Denver.

Who is Father William Ryan????

He wasn’t Thomas’ uncle – his mother’s name was Murnane, but his paternal grandmother’s name was Ryan, so maybe he was a cousin. This is on the list for further research.

Googling Father William Ryan (actually O’Ryan)  and St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church resulted in a lot of hits.

Father O’Ryan was well known in his day. He was born in Cashel, County Tipperary in 1861 and became a priest in 1885. He left for Colorado not long after where he became the pastor of St. Leo’s.

He was known for his writing, his oratorical skills, and his charity work. Among the organizations he was instrumental in forming were the Hospital Association for the care of the sick poor and the Colorado State Tuberculosis Society. He was a member of the Colorado State Board of Charities and Correction.

In 1887 he helped found the Charity Organizations Associations. This was the start of the United Way.

FAther Oryan united way

He died in 1940 and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery.

photo of father oryan

THE BOOK

So what is happening with the book? It’s close to finished. I’m reviewing each chapter and finding weird typos (and fixing them). I’ve been in touch with some cousins and will be in touch with more to double check the information I have about their grandparents and great grandparents. And I’ve been trying to fixing photographs as best I can. 

MIchael before and after

Michael Colbert, U.S. Army, World War II. I cleaned it up a bit and cropped it.

James Colbert before and after

James Colbert (1895-1943), my grandfather’s brother

 

Another project – taking pictures of some items we have that belonged to my grandparents.

WS Annie Shanley teapot 2

Teapot owned by Annie Shanley Whelan

Stay tuned for more information on the book.

Today would have been my mother’s 100th birthday and she would have enjoyed a big celebration. Here’s a video I made for her 90th Birthday party in 2008.

“THE BOOK”

I had planned to have the family history book completed by today, but I missed that deadline. It WILL be completed in her birthday year – 2018. Target date now is September to have ready for the printer.

What have I been doing? reviewing and editing, with the help of my sisters. Updating the genealogical summary with the help of my many cousins. Some are “new” cousins I’ve met since I started writing the book.

Fixing the photographs for the book. I’m also getting some more photographs from cousins. To paraphrase the old Girl Scout song: “Find new cousins, and keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.”

I have created a list of objects to photograph – some large, most small – they include: an Al Smith campaign button my Aunt Bessie (Shanley O’Hara) had; my grandmother Colbert’s locket; my grandmother Whelan’s Irish accordion; and much more.

Happy Birthday Babsie

A few pictures of her through the years.

Babs 001

Babs 001Babs and Larry099

Babs dental office

Babsie – dental hygienist

babslarry.jpg

Babs 006

Larry Colbert in the Navy

Christmas 2007 043

Babs with her grandchildren and great-grandchilren.  Christmas 2007.

The Countdown

I haven’t posted in a long time, but I have been busy. The book won’t be printed by my mother’s 100th birthday, but it will be well on it’s way to completion. I am now in “production” mode.

The draft is done and my sisters are reviewing it. I’m busy formatting the book. I finally figured out how to set up styles and templates in MS Word and have prepared a template. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, but I will have to be careful when I start transferring the draft into the template. It’s the kind of computer project where one change in one section can mess up other sections, and then you have to figure out where  you messed up. The good news is, I think I know where most of the mess ups can occur.

 

I have to avoid the temptation to research, but who could resist the newly uploaded indexes to Archdiocese of New York’s baptisms and marriages? And what did I find, after 40 years of looking? my grandmother’s baptism, with her birth date. I should have had this information years ago. I called St. Augustine’s and they told me they couldn’t find anything for her.

CR Josephine Ryan098

Johanna (Josephine) Ryan Colbert, born January 4, 1888, baptized January 11, 1888, at St. Augustine’s Church, Bronx

For now I will prepare the photographs for input into each section. I’ve scanned most of the old photographs, but I have to photograph objects – like my Aunt Nan’s christening gown, and my grandmother’s accordion. For that I need my tripod and that requires a search of my house. It’s in a safe place, but I know not where.
I can do basic fixes on Photoshop Elements. I can’t fix everything, and I can’t make the pictures look new, but I will try to improve them.

Working on Aunt Joan

Here’s one I’m working on. This is my Aunt Joan, I think it’s her high school graduation picture. Most pictures in the book will be black and white, so that means converting photos that have any color.

James Whelan compare

James Whelan, 1907. This one could use more work, but it’s complicated. At least you can see him better.

 

John Colbert compare

John Colbert (1858-1899) A third cousin fixed this one for me.

For more damaged photographs I may use a wonderful Facebook page where volunteers help to restore old photos.

BLT 2017

The BLT walkers – 2016

The team will run/walk again this year.

To donate go to The BLT

The Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk Series was created to retrace the final steps of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter (FDNY) who lost his life on September 11, 2001 after strapping on his gear and running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers.
The run and walk event pays homage to all first responders who made, and continue to make, extraordinary sacrifices in the line of duty.

Proceeds from the event support the Foundation’s programs, including those benefitting first responders, and catastrophically injured service members.

Tunnel to Towers

Larry fire

Lieutenant Lawrence P. Colbert FDNY 1947 – 1965 Engine 240, Ladder 108, Engine 218

The Tunnel to Towers run is an annual event in New York and for several years my cousin Jen has participated. Last year she and my sister Liz created the BLT  – the Babs and Larry Team in honor of my father, a New York City firefighter. He would have been 100 years old on April 6, 2016.

FDNY 343

T2T.png

2016 T2T

Countdown to the Book – 8

“The Book” is progressing and on schedule. I finished the citations and now I am scanning, and locating photographs, illustrations, maps, and charts.

Task List - Book

Going through the photographs is enlightening. The Whelans, probably Aunt Nan or Uncle Jimmy, had a camera in the 1920s. There are a lot of snapshots and they are in pretty good shape.

WS Vincent Peggy and Thomas

Vincent, Peggy, and Thomas

WS the kids

“The Kids” – Billy, Thomas, Vincent, and Babsie

My grandmother took the children for studio portraits to send back to her mother in Ireland.

WS Angela Communion

Angela – First Communion

The Colberts didn’t take studio portraits. There is only one – of my father’s First Communion. It’s possible they took pictures of the other kids, but they didn’t survive.

They didn’t have a camera, but someone took pictures and gave them copies. There are a few snapshots, but they are in bad shape.

Colbert 053

Joe and Larry, around 1918.

Micky, Joan, Jackie and friends

Micky, Joan, Jackie and friends, around 1930.

In 1939 my Uncle Joe bought a camera and loved taking candid shots, writing detailed information on the back of each picture.

Colbert_0125

Joe – around 1939

Colbert_0126

Joe went to the fair with his brother Larry, and their cousins Bill and Jim Rogers.

Nan Whelan went on to become a photographer and in the 1940s she took a lot of family pictures and printed them out herself, usually on 8 x 10 paper.

In December of 1942 Uncle Vincent, who enlisted in the Army right after Pearl Harbor, came home on leave. He’d gone through almost a year of training and was going overseas.

Nan took pictures of him, in uniform, with as many family members as she could.

 

WS Bill Annie Vincent and Jimmie

Billy, Vincent, and Jimmy with their mother, December 1942

 

WS Vincent and Peggy Anne 164

Vincent and Peggy Anne

It never hit me until scanning them that she, and the rest of the family were worried that  he might not come back. He did, but he never saw his father or brother Jimmy again. He returned in April on compassionate leave because of the death of his father, only to learn after he arrived home that his brother had died a few weeks earlier.

 

 

The review of the citations in the book had been going well – until today.

I took a short vacation to attend my niece’s wedding in Indiana.

IMG_6746
Of course when in Indiana I had to take a side trip to the genealogical library in Fort Wayne. Didn’t have time to do any research, but my sister and I did check out family history books to see what we liked.

IMG_6863

Allen County Genealogical Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Back home and back to work.

Colbert section – done

Whelan section – done

Section III – almost done – one more day should do it.

Opened up the document and:

>Ms Word has stopped working

I spent all day trying to find a solution. The only change I had made since last using Ms Word was to download the software that came with my new Epson scanner.

Uninstalled it – no change.

I let Windows upload all those updates I had been avoiding – no change and made some things worse – where did all my pictures and documents go?

Computer problem

I know if I keep googling I will find a solution.

Finally came up with the reason for the error message:  ABBYY FineReader 9.0 Sprint.

It came with the Epson software and this is a common problem. There is a solution:  http://knowledgebase.abbyy.com/article/1950, It will have to wait until I finish citations and have some time to experiment.

I lost a day to a software glitch but hope to catch up tomorrow. Then on to scanning photographs.