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                                                                                                               Christmas 2015

  Christmas 2014 - Sharing and Learning                     


    There is a chill in the air this time of year. Of course, it isnít that chilly; we are in Arizona after all. However, as the holidays descend on us, I am reminded of all of the memories I have from growing up. As time has gone on, it becomes a bit of a mish-mash, as some Christmastimes blur into others. However, there are certain moments and events that I can pinpoint about things that happened with family that I remember pretty clearly. What are your Christmas Memories? Here is one of mine.


                                            Christmas Memories:  Motorized Mess

                                                        By Trevor Stasik


     In 1985, the cartoon Transformers was a hit and kids like myself could not get enough of it. Every afternoon it blazed across the television screens at 4pm with the heroic Autobots firing their laser blasters at the evil Decepticons. At age 7 and a half, every day I would brace myself on the yellow school bus hoping that I would make it home in time. Well, with every popular cartoon of the 1980s came a toy line, and Transformers was no exception. I had a small handful of the toys but with Christmas coming right around the corner, I knew that my hoard would have the opportunity to grow.

      Earlier that year, the Autobot Omega Supreme was released by Hasbro. Omega Supreme was a massive walking, mechanized transforming robot that changed into a space station and motorized tank. When he first came out, the price tag was something astounding like $50. Adjusted for inflation, that robot would be a whopping $110 in 2014 prices. My wish list for Santa Claus included a lot of Transformers that year, but I donít remember ever putting Omega on my list because he was just too big to believe I could get it.

      Imagine my disbelief on Christmas morning when the enormous box under the Christmas tree turned out to be Cybertronís last line of defense, Omega Supreme. I was absolutely thrilled to get it. I remember screaming and yelling. I remember being in absolute awe at how the tank rode around the tracks of the space base. My parents seemed so happy. My Dad had a smile on his face. The steps that the Omega Supreme robot took around the living room that Christmas morning were spell-binding.

Those were the last steps that Omega would take. My Fatherís smile would not last. I could be mistaken, but that may have been the day when I found out that Santa Claus was not real.

      Following the time around the tree, I took my new toy up to my room to play. Omega Supreme would rule all of the other puny Transformers. Then I got curious; then I wanted to know what made Omega Supreme work. I thought that if I could figure out what made Omega walk that I might be able to get my other Transformers to walk to. Just imagine it; a whole army of walking robots! So I scurried down to the garage and found my Dadís tool set. I fished out a few Phillips head screwdrivers and ran back up to my room.

      For the next hour, I purposely amputated, decapitated, and dismantled poor Omega piece by piece. Every screw I could find was removed. Then I reached the heart of the matter. There was a little spool of bright copper wire that sat deep within the chest of the robot. It was a little thing, about the size of a large thumb. Being only 7 and a half, I assumed that the wire was wrapped around the thing that made Omega Supreme able to walk. If I could only get under the copper to see the inside of the spool, I would finally have the secret. Those screwdrivers were handy for digging into the wires, helping me pull them out.

      Funny thing is that I eventually became an Electrician in the Navy in many years that passed since. During my electrical training, I came to learn that electricity that flows through a copper coil creates a magnetic flux. When a rotating magnetic field is applied outside of that copper coil, it will begin to spin and exert mechanical energy. This is known as a motor. So, back in 1985, little did I know it but I had just ruined the motor for Omega Supreme. I destroyed the very thing that I was trying to figure out. I was dismayed to learn that there was nothing inside that spool of wire. I tired of this game and decided to try to put the robot back together again. My ingenuity and dexterity failed me as I could not figure out how to re-coil the wire on the spool; let alone figure out how to put the rest of the parts back together.

      This is when I went to my Father for help. Maybe my Dad could convince Santa to bring me a new robot that wasnít broken. My Dad went through many emotions. Apparently Santa was not directly responsible for putting toys under the tree, my Dad was. He had worked many overtime shifts to be able to afford a nice Christmas for his family. Once the initial shock wore off, my Dad went into action. He spanked my bottom; I donít think I was able to sit down properly for days. Additionally, I had to keep that broken Transformer until he finally got thrown away sometime in high school.

      My Dad managed to teach me the value of hard work that Christmas of 1985; while I also learned that you shouldnít take apart a robot without first having a plan of how to put it back together again. This is a Christmas memory that I will keep with me. In closing, I hope that all of you are able to spend time with the ones you love, and can create new memories with your family this year.


             Here is a picture of Omega Supreme:





The process is much the same for this as any other Genealogy work. The difference comes from the application of the 21 Century technology of GPS or Global Positioning System. With GPS the fieldwork gets a whole lot easer. The volume of work is not much smaller but is easier.

Over the last 25 or so years we have been working on our family history and documenting our roots. Much of the research has been done at genealogical libraries while more comes from family legacy data. More yet was gained from the Internet and three trips to Salt Lake City, Utah.

All of that did not fill in the full picture and much more was needed. After pulling together the sum of the data into Genealogy software, we documented the "dead ends".

From the database and the presentation by the software we were able to define the probable locations of the ancestors gravesites. In addition, we know of at least 40 communities in the state of Arizona that no longer exist, such as Octave and Fairbanks. We have found the same in other states. Three of the towns of my ancestry are prime candidates for extinction. If your Uncle Whiskers was buried in one of these towns you may not be able to find the town let alone the graveyard.

We have an answer to the problem. We are using software and hardware to develop a solution. Taking data from the legacy files, letters, photos, and the family oral histories we were able to find the area of interest. We loaded up the DeLorme 3-D TopoQuad software/database. After locating the area and putting the curser over the location, (indicated by a dished line forming a rectangle with a cross in the middle), we recorded the Lat/Lon with the name, if one existed.

Once in the field, we loaded the next graveyard Lat/Lon into the GPS unit and punched the "Go To" button and the GPS display shows "6.5 miles that way".  As we start off in that direction, we follow the arrow that is pointing directions.

Several of the areas of interest were areas that neither of us had ever seen before. As we moved along the road, the GPS continued to show the way and we now need a right turn. At the next traffic light, we turned to the right and the GPS now indicated a left turn was needed. At the next intersection we turned left and looked 1-Ĺ blocks ahead of us and there was the cemetery we were looking for right in the middle of a residential area.

This happened several times during the 3-week trip across the mid-west US. The savings in time and costs have been significant. The process was refined during the 6,000 mile, 9 week trip in 2002.

Once we found the area we were looking for, we started the search for the gravesites. My wife would take one of our personal communication devices and the data sheet and would walk the grave area looking for the stone. Once found I park the vehicle as close to her as I could, then grab the digital camera with some disks for it, hand held GPS, and a note book. I then walked to the spot she had found. We get a photo of the stone, the GPS value, and a transcription of the text of the stone. In some cases we note special features such as photos, inscriptions, nearby notable items, and etc.

Memoriam to the Wright Brothers in Dayton, Ohio Cemetery

Our work is closely watched to insure we do it right. Each stone is inspected and analyzed.

Some of the non-relative items that catch the eye and warrant noting can pull on the heart strings with surprising power. Pause at the next photo from the Dayton, Ohio Cemetery.

This tells it's own story that we shall not forget.

IN SUMMER OF 2002 (N39į 37' 54.2"  W97į 50'  16.2")

The home church built by my G4Grandfather in Cloud County, Kansas. This location is west-north-west of the city of Concordia. He was the first pastor and founder of the congregation.

The Nelson's home place is east about 3 or 4 miles from the church. The local people have made the original home place into a fishing camp due to it being on the Republican River. To the west some 20 steps is the foundation to the Sorghum molasses mill they operated. Both places are subject to vanishing, the mill more than the home place due to usage.

Nelson home place
N39¬į 37' 45.4"  W097į 46' 43.4"

Rev. Nels Nelson                     Anna (Pedersen) Nelson

Discovery---Louis & Catherine Leitner are Carole's people

I set the GPS unit on or next to the gravestone and took photos of the stones and noted the GPS value. We completed a set of questions for each stone. Back in the motel room or our travel trailer, we completed the documentation.

Note the GPS unit at the edge of the stone.

Ask Carole about the Famous Simon Kenton. This is actually the grandson buried in Maysville, KY. The Indian fighter is buried in OH. We plan on going back to OH to get Simon Kenton the first.

As an end product, we came home with over 2400 digital images, pages of notes, and the satisfaction of a job well done. As a result, we have released the first of 8 books of our genealogy with a copy to the LDS Family History Genealogy Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Our next step is to locate each site on a GIS map and show the movement of that person from birth to the final resting place. Sometimes we can show how, and more importantly why, the movement occurred. It may have been as simple as the brother moved there first or as complex as to defy understanding.

Someday, when someone else is looking for the family members, we hope that the use of GPS will help resolve issues. It is clear that the information would have helped us a lot.

Thank you.
Beggs & Carole Nelson,


Christmas 2015 gathering