Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sometimes you just have to scratch your head

Just about the time I start putting pieces of the puzzle together, something new appears that just makes me scratch my head and say HUH?

Today’s mystery is the Official Program of the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.  Why did someone have this?  And, more importantly, why did they keep it?  Sure I know that both of my grandparents, as well as my parents, were packrats but what was the significance of this?

Front Cover

The cover is beautiful and I chuckled to see that you could buy it for only 10 cents.  Looks like I have the program for the opening day, July 30, 1932.  So much history is inside the cover!

Here’s the President and Vice President of the United States in 1932.

Herbert Hoover Charles Curtis

And the Founder and Life Honorary President of the Olympic Games, Baron Pierre De Coubertin.

Baron Pierre De Coubertin

In 1932, the President of the International Olympic Committee was Count De Baillet-Latour.

Count De Baillet-Latour

Hoping that maybe, just maybe, I’d come across a name that I recognized, I scoured the names of those on the International Olympic and Honorary Committees.  No such luck.

International Olympic Committee

Honorary Committee

The Riviera Country Club was located near Santa Monica and was “ideally situated for most of the colorful equestrian events of the Games”. 

Riviera Country Club

The closing events were held in the Olympic Stadium.


Today it is known as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Photo by Ron Reiring

It is interesting to see the planned Opening Ceremony Events.  But what is even more mind boggling is that it was only about 90 minutes from beginning to end – these days it’s more like 4-5 hours with a production meant for television.

Opening Ceremony Events

And there were just 39 participating nations in 1932 – the 2016 Olympics in Brazil expects 207 countries to join in the fun!

Parade of Nations

Weightlifting, boxing, and wrestling events were held in the Olympic Auditorium.


And the Fine Arts Museum was filled with rare exhibits of ancient and modern culture.

Fine Arts Museum

I’ve always been amazed at the Olympic Athletes’ Village – I can’t imagine how large that would have had to be in 1932 and it’s impossible to wrap my head around how large it will be in Brazil this summer.

Home of the Athletes

Close by the Stadium was the swimming venue.

Swimming Stadium

Swimming is one of my favorite summer events – it would be fun to find the winning times for each event and compare them to this years’ winning times.

There is nothing like reading about the ticket prices 84 years ago.  You could see events for just $1.00! 

Program and Ticket Info

The first night of the Olympics brought Weightlifting. 


While the United States had two participants in the Lightweight class, the medals went to Rene Duverger (gold), Hans Haas (silver), and Gastone Pierini (bronze).  The light-heavyweight class proved to be a bit more productive for the United States with the medals going to Louis Hostin (gold), Svend Olsen (silver), and Hendry Ludwig Duey (bronze).  Oh wait – there were only four participants so no question the United States would take at least one medal.

The next day Track & Field began.  My grandfather was always a track & field fan and shared that love with my dad.  I like to think Grandpa Sig was there so he could partake in those events.  Who knows – maybe one day I’ll run across that program.  Until then, I can only imagine.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun by Randy Seaver has been circulating on facebook for a few days.  The challenge is to create a five or six generation ancestor chart that shows our ancestor's birthplaces.

Although it took me a few days to complete the task, I finally did it yesterday.  So here's my chart - guess you could say I really am a California girl.

Thanks for the fun, Randy!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Five years and counting

Photo by Marcus Quigmire

Time just continues to march on, no matter how hard we try to slow it down.  Which makes me reflect on the upcoming milestone in my life – the birth of this blog five years ago next week.  So many discoveries and new information added to my tree in five years which I want to sit back and reflect on.

First and foremost, I want to thank the Academy Kerry Scott for giving me that little push to start this endeavor.  Although we’ve never met in person, I’ve ‘known’ Kerry for close to 20 years in both my professional life as a Human Resources Manager and my ‘wannabe’ life as a genealogist.  If you want a good laugh click on her name and read some of her blog entries – trust me, you won’t be sorry.

Who knew I’d find so many ancestors and, thus, their descendants, who just happen to be my cousins?  On my mom’s side, there are several of us who have met virtually and have a ‘Waller Cousins’ facebook page so that we can share information.  Unfortunately, life gets in the way and our research time has been pushed aside for other activities but I know they are always there if I need to pick their brains.

My dad would have loved this journey I’m on.  He used to talk about his Gunzendorfer ancestors but try as he might, he just couldn’t get my attention.  I’m guessing I now know more about this side of the family than he ever did and, for that, I know he’d be happy.  Boy would he have been thrilled to know that I’ve not only re-connected with Gunzendorfer cousins but actually found a new one. 

My beautiful picture
Front row (in blue) Irene Gunzendorfer Sherwin
My grandmother’s first cousin
That’s me holding the dog – c. 1965

And on the Levy side, I have connected with cousins whom I’ve never met because our grandfathers (Sig and Herb) didn’t speak to each other later in their lives.  I like to think they’d be happy to know the feud has been lifted.

Levy Brothers Ben_Sig_Herb_Leon
Levy Brothers
Top row:  Ben and Sig
Bottom row:  Herb and Leon

In the last five years, a new leaf has been added to my tree – the birth of our fourth grandchild, who shares a middle name with my grandmother, Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy.  And five years has brought many changes to the older grandchildren – one a teenager, one closing in on the end of his elementary school career, and one about to finish kindergarten. 

Sadly, my mother has left us in the last five years.  I’m not sure she would have ever admitted it but I think she got a kick out of the information I’d pass along to her.  She either never knew much about her family or wanted to forget the details but each new tidbit seemed to pique her interest.  She especially seemed to like hearing about one of my favorite subjects, Emery Waller. I’m glad we were able to get his grave marked while my mother was still alive.  And finally, THANKFULLY, my mother remembered that she actually had a couple of photos of her father – had she not remembered that, I would have never been able to see the face of my grandfather.

Earle_Gerry 1937
Gerry and Earle Martin
c. 1939

Who knew how many people I’d meet because of my blog?  I love receiving comments and while I know I’ve been delinquent recently, I love to read others’ blogs and comment on what they’ve learned.  And facebook groups?  WOW!  Who knew there were so many of those?  I’ve learned about Fresno, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Monterey.  And every once in awhile, I’m able to contribute something that helps someone with their research.

Too much has happened in the world over the course of five years to wrap my head around it all.  Terrorism, royal weddings (and new leaves on their tree), massive storms, a new Pope, and, of course, deaths.  It really does remind me that we need to document what we can before it’s too late.

So with that I’ll start on the next five years of blogging.  One word and discovery at a time.  Thanks for following along with me!

Page 18 - Debi blowing out candles
My ‘real’ 5th birthday