Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a SPAM Christmas

Not a lot of snow here on Guam unless you put your hand in the freezer. So what's the next best thing to snow and pine trees? Spam of course. At least that's what this major Grocery store uses to make their Christmas Tree display.  

Yes, Spam is a popular food in Micronesia. I've talked to several young missionaries on the outer islands with intermittent or no power, and so they cannot keep their fridge or freezer stocked with anything perishable. I asked Elder Hunter his thoughts on this. He said while he was on Chuuk they would sometimes buy some frozen chicken and other cold items. Unfortunately, it would often only last a couple of days. After that, Spam and rice is the staple, and it comes in multiple flavors. 

Luckily, Sister Martin and I haven't had much of it. Perhaps at a church pot-luck dinner, etc.  

Instead of snow on trees, flowers are beginning to bloom on them. Our Gardenia plant outside our front door bloomed last week, and now our little Plumeria tree has a lot of flowers. Enjoying God's beautiful and incredible creations right on our own front porch.

What do you do when you're stuck inside your apartment for days?

(Sister Martin caught the cold most everyone and myself caught, and so we're staying inside after work each night and over the weekend.)

Well, you could do Family History work. That's what I did and was able to find some new families. I was talking to Elder and Sister Hurst, the Family History couple here, and Sister Hurst suggested I try looking on I had never looked there before and was amazed to find a variety of clues to help continue my research. They have pictures of head stones and other information that people share with each other.

The following is just a bit from my little indoor adventure over the past week or so:

I found this head stone and also her death certificate which gave me clues about Mary's Father who I was looking for. It said his name was Henry and was born in France. Prior research from US Census said he was born in Germany.

As I was searching for Henry I found that he was an older brother to Mary, not her father.

One bit of a challenge to this detective work was finding all of the names her father and mother went by. I found on an immigration record that Mary's father's name was Francoise Choulet, on the ship from France to the US. The US Census was a big challenge because the "sounds like" or "broad" search function in Ancestry didn't work that great. I had to keep typing different spellings, first names only, and sometimes typing in children names and leaving out the parents names, etc.

Example of last or surnames: Choulet, Chouley, Choult, Shouley, Schoulet, Chonley, etc.

Examples of her Fathers first names: Francoise, Francis, France, Frank, etc.

Examples of her mother's name: Lucine, Lucinda, Lucina, etc.

Since all computer searches rely on indexers, we all hope they will get it as close as possible. For example, the indexers on this census had typed in the last name as Chonley. It could be Chouley if you examine the "u" and the "n", the way the scribe wrote Alexander and Lucina

The end result was adding 9 of Mary's siblings with a few of their spouses, and her father and mother. It's exciting how Family History is so doable by the average person now, due to the vast amount of information that is online. Count our many blessings.

I still searching for Lucinda's maiden name as well as other areas.

Sister Martin is starting to feel a little better so she went to the Relief society event tonight. When she makes wedding cakes, often there is a hand carved watermelon on the table with "Congratulations", the couple's name, or similar with roses. The man who does this did a demonstration.


  1. How can I follow your posts? My son is serving on Chuuk right now and I'd love to keep up with your mission.

  2. Brother Oscar Delfin is truly an artist with his watermelon carving! He claims to have learned it watching You Tube. He loves to teach others how to do it.