Sunday, August 22, 2010


Today I was doing some indexing for FamilySearch. I've been doing Ontario Death Records. My great grandfather, Henry Austin Baker, is from Cornwall, Ontario. The Bakers were Loyalists and went to Upper Canada after the Revolutionary War and Henry Austin Baker returned to the United States by way of North Dakota.

Well back to my indexing and my thoughts for today. I indexed a record (or transcribed part of the record so people can locate it on the web) for a man that was his own informant. That's right! I doubled checked the information and it had the decease's name listed as the informant and then where it asked for the relationship it said himself, not a son or father or wife, but himself! That goes to show how you need to be careful of the information even on official documents. I always assumed the informant information would be correct, but now I'm not sure.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July

As I watch the "Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular" I remember my father's feelings about this country. He always thought it was a disgrace to wear the flag on your clothing, unless it was part of an official uniform. I carry some of those same thoughts today. I bothers me some times as I see people wear the flag as shorts or shirts or bathing suits. To me it is disrespectful the way some people decorate their bodies with the flag, it makes the flag to common. As I've done my genealogy I've learned some of the sacrifices of my forefathers. I've come to appreciate their services and commitment to this great country. My maternal grandfather and his cousins served proudly during WW II and even 1 cousin died in that great war. That may not sound to amazing, but my grandfather was first generation American and and since both his parents were from Italy there were some problems. His aunt and uncle almost went to a relocation camp because of their heritage, but they lived across the road from the cut off point and were allowed to stay in their home.

Many people of Japanese, Italian and German heritage were sent to relocation camps because of their heritage and yet these same families proudly sent their sons and brothers off to war. While they and the rest of their families were sent to camps in some ways worse than the conditions they grandparents or them left the old country. Yet these same people taught their children to be proud to be an America and to be proud to live where freedoms ring.

There is something to studying history and learning about our forefathers. It is learning what it is we truly have. It is seeing how blessed we are.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Today is Father's Day, So I will spotlight my Dad.

James Edward Baker Jr.

Nickname Eddie

Born 5 September 1925 in Esmond, Benson, North Dakota
Died 28 February 1975 at home, San Jose, Santa Clara, California

I'm not sure if this is an actual picture of my father or just a generic picture.

Here is a picture of my father at 7 months.

My father's navy picture, mid 1940's.

My father and mother in the 1950's.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Suranme Saturday

The Surname I'm going to mention today is one of my Italian names, Bionaz
My mom Elizabeth Joan Bionaz Baker - born in San Francisco California - 1931
My grandfather John Camil Bionaz - born in Southfork, Cambria County, Pennsylvania - 1904
My great-grandfather John Elere Bionaz - born in Gignod, Aosta, Italy - 1867
My 2great-grandfather (possibly) Peter Bionaz - somewhere in Aosta, Italy - about 1840
I'm not sure about the information on Peter.

Now there is a second Bionaz line that ties into my line, but as far as we know they are not connected.

John Elere Bionaz married Orpheline Boche and Orpheline's sister, Amelia, married a John F. Bionaz. However the two Johns have different mother's names and were not aware of being related.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Corporal Wilson L Starkey
15th Illinois Regiment Volunteers
Born about 1835
in New York
Died 27 July 1862
(according to the official death certificate,
however some reports put his on 26 July 1862)
Died on the U.S.N. Hospital ship Red Rover
on the Mississippi River.
Buried at Spanish Moss Bend, on the Mississippi River
This is my 3great-grandfather's younger brother.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This is a picture of me, Betty-Lu Baker Burton, at about 14 months old.

My grandmother Baker, Lucy Mary Huyck Baker, always had a parakeet for as long as I can remember.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Every Family Historian has a to do list and at the bottom of the list there are things that would be nice to know, but not really worth taking the time to search for. Well this week I stumbled upon the answer to one of those things.

My father, James Edward Baker Jr., was married twice, with my mother, Elizabeth Joan Bionaz, being his second marriage. The only reason why we even know anything about his first marriage is we have his final divorce papers. Back in the early 1950's you had to wait a year from the time the divorce was filed until the divorce was final. Well, during this time my father met my mother and started dating. He would not ask my mother to marry him until his divorce was final. The story goes, when the time came, both my dad and his first wife had moved on with their lives and neither were interested in picking up the final papers. In order for the divorce to be final, someone had to pick-up the papers, so my dad went down and ended up picking up both copies of his divorce papers, his copy and that of his former wife. That's the only way we really knew anything about his first marriage. Since they had no children and the marriage did not last very long I was satisfied with only knowing her first name, Grace.(the papers listed her name as Grace Baker)

This week, on, I stumbled on The various San Mateo newspapers covering the time period my family lived in San Mateo. You guessed it I stumbled upon the wedding announcement for my dad and his first wife. Now I know his first wife,s name was Grace Eldona Bigelow, daughter of Lawrence Bigelow. They were married 28 August 1948 in San Mateo, California. I was more excited about finding this then I thought I would be, but it was exciting. Since he married my mother in Sept 1951, He must of only lived with his first wife not much more than a year.

I'm kind of wondering if his schooling played a role in his divorce. The wedding announcement stated he would be finishing his studies at San Francisco State College. I know he never finished those studies and my mother tried to get him to go back. My mother always said my dad had to stop his studies because of his military service and felt to old to go back, but now I'm wondering if his first marriage may of had something to do with it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

Today is mother's day, so I thought to spotlight my mother.
Elizabeth "Joan" Bionaz Baker was born August 4, 1931 in San Francisco, CA
She died August 21, 2001 at her son's, Tony, home in Hement, CA

Joan is about 4 years old in this picture.

Here she is with 3 of her 4 children in the spring of 1959.

James is the oldest about 5, then Tony about 4, and then me the baby

Chuck was not born yet.

Here is a picture of her with her dog Bear.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Memories- Water and Electricity

During the 1960's, my family lived in the country just outside Woodland, California. We had our own well that used an electrical pump. It also had a tank (similar to a water heater) above ground. Whenever the electricity went out we had no water. Some one would go out and check the tank to see how much water we had. If we had any warning that the electricity was going out, then we would fill buckets of water so we would have water. After we moved from Woodland to San Jose we received notice that the electricity was going to be off for awhile and I wanted to prepare by filling buckets with water. My father had to explain to me that we would still have water. I thought about this Saturday night when our electricity went out because of a storm. Now I know that unless the electricity goes out at the water plant we still have running water!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

1938, Possibly San Mateo, California
This is a picture I found with a bunch of pictures I was given. I think my father is in the second row from the bottom and second from the left.
Notice the year and make-up of the class. I live in Arkansas now and the students here cannot believe that segregated schools were not every where.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Quaker dates

This week I decided to go back and changes some of the dates in my database. It use to be you had to convert Quaker dates, but now the program I have, RootsMagic, I can enter the Quaker dates. That means I can enter the dates as they are recorded in the records and there would not be any possibility of converting the dates wrong. (For those who don't know, before the year 1752, the year use to start on 1 April instead of 1 January and the Quaker dates are written using a month number and not a name. ie 5mo 3d 1800 is May 3, 1800). I have many dates that were converted wrong and so records don't match. They look like the person was born on two different days months apart. However, the different dates are just one person converted the date wrong and one person converted it correctly. That is why I'm excited about being able to put the actual Quaker dates in and not having to convert them. I can convert them in my notes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dad's Desk

I have a desk and hutch that I had when I got married. I know that through the years my husband has thought about getting rid of it. He doesn't know the history behind the desk and hutch. I guess I should tell him. The desk and hutch belonged to my father, James Edward "Eddie" Baker Jr when he was younger. After he died and my mom was getting ready to move into a smaller home I asked her to keep it, for some reason I just want it around. Maybe because it belonged to my father or maybe just it seems comforting to have it. I don't know, but it is in need of being redone, the paint has come off in places, but my father was the last one to refinish it and it helps me to remember him. Silly, the things we hold onto for sentimental reasons.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Monday Memories - Artichokes

My great grandma Orpheline Boche Bionaz's, sister and brother-in-law started a farm in California raising artichokes. My mother remembered every year getting a box of Artichokes from them and enjoying eating them. My mother also talked about summers as a little girl sitting in the artichoke fields and eating raw artichokes fresh off the plant. Her lips would turn black from the iron in the artichokes.

Unfortunately, I never did cook artichokes for my family. We always lived to far away for the artichokes to be affordable. I do miss them, but not raw.

Elizabeth Grace Hawk Bionaz Birth

We've been unsure about my grandmother Betty's birth day. Most people would say just ask her, but that is where the confusion comes in. She always thought she was born in Dec 1910, but when she went to apply for Social Security, she had to have a copy of her birth certificate. When she wrote for her birth certificate, it came back with the birth date of 8 Nov 1911, an eleven month difference in age. Okay, but to add a little more question the birth certificate had the name Margaret Hawk. It had the correct parents, but not the birth date she always thought was her birth date and it had another name also!

We were hoping the 1920 census would help clear up the birth date, but if we figure her age, she would have been possibly born in 1912. Well, Lisa had a chance to get to Harper County, Kansas and maybe helped clear this mess up (or possible added to the confusion). I heard somewhere that Grandma's brother was adopted and Margaret's birth certificate said that Mabel Martin Hawk (grandma Betty's mother) that Margaret was the 6th child. Now I know of Lucille, Ruth, and Crystal, because they were alive when I was born. I had found a Eleanor in the Ohio birth records that also belong to this family, but she apparently died before the 1910 Census and none of the girls remembered an Eleanor. That makes 4 children and now we have proof that there was a boy born in Harper County, Kansas in February 1910. Lisa found a newspaper announcement for a boy born to Mr & Mrs H.C Hawk on 21 February 1910. Now we know of 5 children and Margaret would make 6. Now all the children are accounted for and Margaret could be grandma Betty. Before, if William was adopted then there was 4 girls by 1910, William adopted and that would have made Margaret the 5th child, which would mean that maybe Elizabeth was born before Margaret. However, now with a boy being born in 1910 there is not another baby born before Margaret.

Now the question is "Is William adopted or is he the boy born 21 Feb 1910?" William's birth date is listed as 22 February 1910 in the Social Security Death Index as well as that's the date everyone else in the family had for him. So, is this just an error in when he was born or is he adopted and the boy born 21 February died shortly after birth. That's the next Question to figure out with this family.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Memories

Today I was planting a hanging basket of tomatoes and of strawberries and it made me think of my grandpa Baker (James Edward Baker Sr.). When we moved to Woodland California, Grandma and Grandpa Baker moved their trailer behind our house. We had about 3/4 of an acre and since grandpa was retired, he decided to go back to farming. He planted a fairly large garden and my mom would say if you didn't watch grandpa he would plant another row of sweet corn. He loved his sweet corn. I remember a metal bucket of corn kernels in the wash room for planting for the longest time. Even after my grandfather died we still had a small garden, but just not as big.

I would go out in the garden and pick tomatoes and eat them fresh off the vine. I still enjoy a good tomato!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday is a day many genealogy bloggers post pictures, some with captions and some without captions.

James Edward Baker Jr and his wife Elizabeth "Joan" Bionaz Baker

San Jose, California December 1974

This is the last picture taken of my parents before my dad died. He died 28th of February 1975. My mom died 21st of August 2001. She never remarried after my dad died.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mail Package

Lisa, my sister-in-law, and my brother, Tony, went traveling last fall and their traveling always include genealogy stops along the way. Now Lisa is an avid genealogist and Tony supports her. Last fall their travels took them to Salt Lake City and the Family History Library and this week I received a package of things they found. It was fairly thick and I was excited about getting it. It contained several naturlization papers and also a lot of things that she found in books. I almost didn't go swimming that day. I swim for exercise and the class I am in was the same day the package came, but I did make it swimming and that afternoon I sat down and looked through it. It will take awhile to go through everything and enter it into my database.

One of the things that came in the packet was a copy of the information Lisa was able to get on my grandfather John Bionaz. We were hoping to get his enlistment papers. Since both of his parents were born in Italy, we were hoping his enlistment papers would give us a little more information on his father. However, he served during WW II and Korea and so only his spouse and children can get all the records, since his wife and daughters are dead we will have to wait for 62 years after he died to get those records. We don't understand what could be in those records that erquire the wait. Lisa did the request under Tony's name hoping that since he was the grandson of the sailor they would release the records. But they insisted even with all the close family dead and the their death dates provided, they still would not release the records. How frustrating!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Memories

My children grew up near their father's family and so they never really heard the stories about my family. I've decided than what I would do is do a Monday Memories post. So now when I blog on Monday's it will be about my memories growing up.

Tonight I'm going to talk some about my background. I'm the only girl of 4 children. I have 3 brothers, two older and one younger. People use to say I must have been spoiled being the only girl, unfortunately that was not the case. You see, my mom's only sister had the first girl on my mom's side of the family in July and my dad's only brother had the first girl on his side of the family in August (Linda shares the same birthday as grandma Baker even) and then my youngest brother is just 11 months younger then me. Then on top of that, both my mother and grandma Baker were good seamstresses. I remember at about the age of 10 being excited to get my first store bought dress that was actually bought for me! Now let me explain, girls had to wear dresses to school everyday and could not wear pants. We did wear shorts under our dresses to school so we could play on the monkey bars and not have to worry about our panties showing. Most of my life either I wore hand me downs or home made clothes. I even learned to make my own clothes and made my prom dress and my wedding dress. So the home made clothes were nice ones, but it was more of the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. (or store bought dresses were better)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Name

I was named after both of my grandmothers. Betty for grandma Betty (Elizabeth Grace Hawke Bionaz) and Lu for grandma Baker (Lucy Mary Huyck Baker). My mother did not have a good relationship with her mother at the time, something about a hard preganacy on my mom's part and bad health on my grandmother's part. Apprently when my mom was pregant with one of my older brother, my grandma Betty had her breast removed because of breast cancer. Some one got their feelings hurt, because the other one could not visit because of their health. I found this out later from my grandmother Betty shortly before she died. Then to make matters worse, when my mother was pregant with me, her sister was pregant also and my mother had problems and her sister did not. it's interesting how people can get their feelings hurt, because they do not understand the other person situtation.

So my mother put a hyphen in my name, because she could not figure out any other way to put Lucy in my first name. Then to make my name harder, she did not give me a middle name. I spent a lot of my youth explaining how to spell my name and what a hyphen is (a hyphen is the line in my name, Betty-Lu), and no I did not have a middle name. At least I was not asked if my name was short for anything. That happened to my brother Tony. Every one insisted that Tony was short for something else. At least he had a middle name.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's been awhile since I last blogged, but I have had some Health problems and then kept putting off writing on my blog, because of the time that had has past. It just is hard to go back to something after you've been away awhile.

Well, I did get Reuben Miner's land records and have since transcribed them. There wasn't anything about his parents, but I did find out that he was able to finish khis homestead paper work in about 2 and one half years. i think that might of been because he had a disability discharge from the military. He had lost his leg while serving in South Dakota during the Civil War. He was out hunting for food the his unit and the gun went off while lhe was taking it out of it's holster and shot his leg. It was bad enough for him to lose his leg.