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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in winsor (8)


    Amanuensis Monday | Martin Winsor Arrives Too Late, Finds His Mother Buried; Grasshoppers Jumping in January


    My imagination was stirred by the journalist who penned this poignant notice in the Muscotah (Kansas) Record, 26 January 1887:

    Martin Winsor, a former resident of this city but now of New Mexico, arrived here last Tuesday. He came to be with his mother in her last illness, but on his arrival found her buried. Mr. Winsor says the weather was warm and the grasshoppers were jumping around lively when he left home.

    Winsor martin visits muscotah 1887

    Source: “Martin Winsor,” notice, Muscotah Record, Vol 3, No 17, Jan 26, 1887, pg. 3, col. 3.

    Martin Winsor, eldest son of Fanny and Henry M. Winsor, was a widower ranching in the Pecos Mountains of New Mexico. This newspaper clipping gives several valuable clues, but it's what isn't stated that's so curious. 

    We learn:

    1. As of 26 Jan 1887 Martin Winsor is a resident of New Mexico.
    2. Martin's mother, [Fanny Winsor,] was buried on or before 18 January 1887. [This date is calculated as "last Tuesday" from the newspaper publication on Wednesday, 26 Jan]
    3. Fanny had been ill and there was time to send for son Martin to come home.
    4. In New Mexico, the weather is warm and the grasshoppers are lively. 

    It's Door #4 that is curious to me. Is the weather typically so warm in New Mexico that grasshoppers will be jumping in January? Or, actually, what kind of weather makes grasshoppers jump? Inquiring minds want to know. 

    Yes, there is such a thing as  "Grasshopper Weather," and if you remember the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, you may recall a long summer On the Banks of Plum Creek. Grasshoppers don't thrive in cool, wet weather, but a warm winter can initiate an early hatch. By the 1930's, grasshoppers were a major problem to New Mexico farmers, and state funds were designated for grasshopper control.

    Was the weather unusually warm in 1887?

    A brief Google search turns up several interesting weather-related articles, in particular a Wikipedia comment that

    The 1887 Atlantic hurricane season was the third most active Atlantic hurricane season on record, tying with the 1995, 2010, 2011, and the 2012 seasons for third most number of storms.

    The 1887 Atlantic Hurricane Season Map illustrates the extreme weather beginning May 15 and running through December 7, 1887. From Martin's Civil War pension file, I learned that Martin lived in Glorieta, New Mexico (red X on the map below), near enough to feel some reaction to at least of few of the 19 hurricanes that lashed the Atlantic seaboard that year.

    1887 Atlantic hurricane season map

    It gets more interesting. . . On 3 May 1887, Southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico were hit by a 7.2 to 7.5 earthquake that was felt from Phoenix, Arizona to Mexico City.

    Looking back at New Mexico, according to historical weather data (first available 1939), the average January temperatures in Glorieta seems to run from 23 to 38 degrees F, with 0 to 1.5 inches of rain, and 0 to 27 inches of snow. January is the coldest month.

    Do you wonder? Was the weather in New Mexico unusually warm that winter of 1887? Were there any other odd weather events in addition to the extreme hurricane season and the Arizona earthquake? Was Martin at all affected by those events? Were the grasshoppers really were jumping in January?

    or was the news editor was just trying to write clever copy?


    Grasshopper Photo: Giant grasshopper hoax postcard created by Frank Conard, Garden City, Kansas. Rubin, C.E. & Williams, M. (1990). Larger Than Life: The American Tall-Tale Postcard, 1905-1915. Abbeville Press.



    Ancestor Hunting in Vermont

    I am off to the backroads of one my favorite New England haunts for a bit of leaf peeping and ancestor hunting. I expect to find corn mazes, punkins, and maybe a grandson hiding in the leaves.

    Last spring Mr. Curator and I tromped around Winsdor County cemeteries looking for my elusive maternal gggf and were thwarted by snow and ice. This time, it may be Hurricane Irene who intervenes, but we are ready to give it our best effort.

    I have my cemetery kit, thanks to Midge Frazel Granite in My Blood, and am ready to stalk the elusive David Child once again.


    Congrats Cousin Will, Best Wishes Kate

    When our ancestor Joshua Windsor dropped a letter from his noble name, he surely didn't mean to D-vorce himself from his noble origins, did he? We like being Winsors, especially when it comes to celebrating a Royal Wedding.

    Great Aunt Mercy liked to flaunt "our" Royal connections, and painted this gilt and colored version of the Royal crest as the cover page of a book for her niece's high school graduation in 1926. Of course, another Royal event was being celebrated that month, the birth on April 21st of Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, known today as Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


    Memorial Fund Will Assist Student Genealogists

    The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund has been established to honor Suzanne’s Freeman’s lifetime of service to young people and to assist young genealogists seeking to advance their genealogical education.

    Suzanne Freeman was a life-long volunteer who worked with many youth organizations in the capacity of leader, organizer, and administrator. She also developed a strong interest in family history, and was delighted by the growing number of young student genealogists.

    The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund honors her love of service and family history. The purpose of the fund is to assist young genealogists by offering grants to advance their genealogical education, including funds to attend genealogy conferences and workshops.

    At the time of her death in Tucson, Arizona August 28, 2010, Suzanne was still searching for elusive Winsor cousins, and was delighted to meet her cousin Christopher Childs from the New England Historic and Genealogical Society at the  2010 SCGS Jamboree. She embraced the possibilities of DNA and had recently submitted a sample for testing.

    Mother-Daughter Team -- Denise Levenick (The Family Curator) and Suzanne Freeman
    with GeneaBlogger Welcome Bags at the  2009 SCGS Jamboree. 

    Genealogy bloggers came to know Suzanne the past two years at the SCGS Jamboree where she enthusiastically joined the GeneaBlogger Welcome Bag project, assisting in the assembly and distribution of gifts to attending genealogy bloggers. She was a fan of new technology such as podcasts by Lisa Louise Cooke and The Genealogy Guys, but also looked forward to analyzing old photographs with Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective.

    Suzanne enjoyed researching family history online and frequently posted queries that resulted in new family connections. She supplied numerous stories and anecdotes for where her tales always received enthusiastic reader comments. Suzanne was also honored to appear as a guest blogger at

    Donations to the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund may be made at any Wells Fargo Bank c/o Wells Fargo Bank, Green Valley, Arizona 520/625-1222. For more information, contact Denise Levenick via Contact the Curator.

    Further Reading --
    Obituary at and Green Valley News


    Suzanne Mercy Winsor Freeman 1933-2010


    Suzanne Mercy Winsor Freeman

    Suzanne Mercy Winsor Freeman, 77, life-long community volunteer, died Saturday, August 28, 2010 of respiratory failure in Tucson, Arizona. Suzy made her home in Green Valley, Arizona since 1997 where she was an active organizer of church and civic events, and known for her broad smile and engaging enthusiasm.

    Suzanne was born January 5, 1933 in Olathe, Kansas to Arline (Kinsel) and Frank Ammi Brown, and grew up in Orange and Santa Ana after her family moved to California in 1937. She purchased property in Green Valley, Arizona in 1982 to be near her half-sister Lucile Smith, becoming a full-time Arizona resident in 1997.

    As a mother and homemaker, Suzanne found great satisfaction as a Girl Scout Leader and church volunteer in La Habra, California, and later used her community experience as Executive Director of the North Orange County Volunteer Bureau. In Green Valley, Suzanne served as President of the Villas West Homeowners’ Association where she organized many social events and the annual craft show. She was an active member of the Green Valley Evangelical Free Church Christian Women’s Association and a frequent Bible study leader. Suzanne was a member of the Green Valley Genealogical Society always searching for new Winsor cousins. She enjoyed travel, crafts, and cooking.

    During her final illness, it was her great joy to know that her namesake Charlotte Mercy had been born to her eldest granddaughter Heather Craig and her husband David Ricketts.

    Suzanne is survived by daughter Denise and her husband Dan Levenick of Pasadena, California; daughter Deanna and her husband Kip Craig of Silverado Canyon, California; grandchildren Zack Levenick, Heather Craig Ricketts, Christian Levenick, Chelsea Craig, Chloe Craig, and Kayli Craig; great-grandchildren Anabelle May Ricketts, Charles Levenick, and Charlotte Mercy Ricketts; sister Frances and her husband Harold Jones of Santa Ana, California.

    She was preceded in death by her parents and half-sisters Lucile Paulen Smith, of Green Valley, and Bearnadean Duvall Avery.

    A Memorial Service celebrating Suzanne’s life will be held Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. at Green Valley Evangelical Free Church, 1393 West Mission Twin Buttes, Green Valley.


    How does the family curator share the sad news of a parent’s death? Carefully, lest any vital date or place be omitted. Sadly, because it’s just so hard to do.

    Fellow genealogists may know my mom Suzanne Freeman after meeting her at the SCGS Jamboree or some other genealogy event. You probably know that she was a spunky senior citizen with the juvenile sense of humor.

    She became suddenly ill in early July and never fully recovered. Mom wanted to live independently as long as possible in her home in Green Valley, Arizona and her wishes came true.

    In her last weeks, her breathing was assisted by a ventilator and communication limited to lip reading and writing, however, she still had much to say! She wanted to know about all the people around her, was happy to hear about Thomas MacEntee’s growing career as an e-book author and speaker, and footnoteMaven’s latest edition of Shades of the Departed. She was interested in Amy Coffin’s research and Joan Miller’s travels; both geneabloggers she met while working on the SCGS Jamboree Geneablogger Welcome Bags. She wanted to know everything about everyone.

    Mom was a enthusiastic supporter of new ideas and new projects. She loved hearing about A.C. Ivory and Elyse Doerflinger, young genealogists with energy and zeal for the great ancestor hunt. She hoped that one of her own grandchildren would be bitten by the “genie bug” and continue the search for her Winsor ancestors. She loved meeting so many geneabloggers at Jamboree.

    It is hard to fathom that I will now be searching alone for those rascally Schiffbauer boys, or for the final Chamblin connection. Instead of picking up the telephone to say “Hey Mom, guess what I found out?” I will be typing notes to myself, and wishing she were there.

    My greatest regret is that I did not finish a family genealogy or history that would have helped her make sense of those convoluted cousin relationships she tried to unscramble. I thought we had lots of time; but we didn’t. I do hope, however, that, as our friend Sheri Fenley noted, Mom is now meeting the Windsor family she knew she had, and perhaps even making the acquaintance of a few cousins new to her as well.

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