Sunday, December 31, 2017

Looking back on 2017

Photo by Patrick Jones. Shepard Fairey's Damaged exhibition in LA, 6 Dec 2017.
This is my annual blog recap on the year. Like last year's post, and previous years, I write this to reflect back on things that stick out and places I traveled. Now that I have done this for five years, looking at prior posts brings back memories for me and hopefully for my kids at some point. 2017 has been a mixed year, one of many adventures and new places, great professional and personal growth. It has also been a stressful, difficult year for many, and I can only hope 2018 brings some positive change and a shift back to a more respectful, positive time.

In January I started the year in LA, followed by Istanbul. In February I returned to Istanbul and spoke at an event in Dubai. In March I went to Copenhagen, Denmark and had a wonderful birthday weekend in Amsterdam. I have posted photos from these trips (I am currently typing this on my phone, so linking will need to wait).

April was Spring Break for the kids, and we stayed at home, catching early baseball and starting off the Spring season for our little guy. May took us to Madrid and Ribera del Duero. We have great memories from that trip, driving through wine country and sampling Spanish culinary delights. June took me to Johannesburg, South Africa. On my way back I stopped in Dubai and Milan, where I was able to catch the closing of eL Seed’s art exhibition.

In July, I went to Tanzania to speak at an African Internet event. After I spent 24 hours on Mafia Island, a small, sparsely populated place a short flight from Dar es Salaam. This is one of my favorite experiences of the year, along with my birthday in Amsterdam and my November trip to the Pacific. Tanzania is a cool place, one that I hope to see again in the future.

August took me to New York, and meetings at the United Nations. I was able to go to the Met Museum and Guggenheim, and also see amazing street art in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, walking by land previously owned by my ancestor Philippe du Trieux. September took me on a one day stopover in Iceland and then to Brussels. In Iceland I drove along the southern coast to Vík, saw sheep and the Icewear wool factory, and picked up Christmas presents.

November took me to Fiji and Tonga in the South Pacific vis Los Angeles. This was my first visit to the Pacific Islands. It was a relaxing couple of days before supporting a training event in Tonga. It was an eye opening trip, reinforcing the value of travel. We also closed a chapter in our personal history, selling our condo in Santa Monica at the end of November.

2017 took me to new places, some old favorites and reunions with great friends and colleagues around the world. I have some new places lined up for early 2018 and look forward to new experiences next year. We look forward to saying goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Shepard Fairey's Damaged exhibition in LA.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Shepard Fairey's Damaged exhibition in LA.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Shepard Fairey's Damaged exhibition.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Denarau Island, Fiji

Photo by Patrick Jones. Fiji, 29 Nov 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Denarau Island Marina, 29 Nov 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Fiji, 30 Nov 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Fiji, 30 Nov 2017.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Paintings at the Temple

Photo by Patrick Jones. Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, Nadi, Fiji. 30 Nov 2017.
While in Fiji, I was able to visit the colorful Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple in Nadi. The exterior of the temple is currently under renovation in preparation for next year's festivities. Photos are not allowed inside the temple, so all of my photos were taken from the outside looking in at the wonderful ceiling paintings.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Outside the temple looking in.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, Nadi.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Hindu paintings.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 30 Nov 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Close up on the paintings at the temple.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Scenes from Tonga

Photo by Patrick Jones. Tonga, 5 Dec 2017.
Earlier in the month I was in the Kingdom of Tonga for technical conference and discussions with community participants. The photos on this post were from that trip. Above is a sand and rock pier that juts out into the ocean in front of the hotel where we were staying. Families and children used this as a swimming point at high tide, even though nearby signs said "danger, no swimming."
Photo by Patrick Jones. On the International Dateline. 4 Dec 2017.

Photo by Patrick Jones. Map of Tonga. 3 Dec 2017.
Tonga sits to the east of Fiji, in the South Pacific, straddling the International Dateline. The main island in the group, Tongatapu, is fairly flat and has about 100,000 people. Our conference was in the capital, Nuku'alofa.

Photo by Patrick Jones. Ha'amonga 'a Maui monument.
The stones above were constructed in 1200 CE by the 11th King of Tonga. The stones weigh about 30-40 tons each. Surveyors have determined that the stones match up with the rising sun on the longest and shortest days of the year.
Photo by Patrick Jones. A rare 3-headed palm tree.

Monday, December 11, 2017

In action

Photo by Patrick Jones. Georgetown Basketball, 9 Dec 2017.
On Saturday we had great seats at the Georgetown v North Carolina A&T college basketball game, sitting a few rows up from the baseline behind the basket. I was able to get a cool action shot of star player Jesse Govan shooting a free throw (with ball in mid-air, and he made the shot). The photo also captures new Coach Patrick Ewing on the sideline.

Georgetown is now 8-0 to start the season. They also have not yet faced a challenging foe, but next week's game against rival Syracuse will provide that test. This was our 3rd game of the season to see live, and we'll probably catch another over winter break. The games are fun, and tickets are cheap compared to other sporting events in DC. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Not a movie, very real and dangerous

Original via Twitter, 405 on 6 Dec 2017.
Continuing from my earlier post on LA, the photo above captures the horrific drive along the 405 from Wednesday, showing the Skirball Fire as it spread. The LA Times has a current view of the fires in Southern California. My thoughts go out to all those impacted in the area, and I hope for a quick end to these fires. The United Way of Southern California has a Southern California Wildfire Fund, and Ready Ventura County has set up a process to collect donations for people impacted by the Thomas Fire.
Source: LA Times on Twitter. 8 Dec 2017.

Turning a chapter

Photo by Patrick Jones. Sunset at Santa Monica, 6 December 2017.
On Wednesday I arrived back in Los Angeles after flying across the International Dateline from Tonga and Fiji. I landed to the scenes of multiple brushfires in the hills surrounding LA, with some of the worst air quality I can remember in the city. It was a sad sight. Photos of the fires in the Sepulveda Pass near the Getty Museum & along the 405 looked to be straight out of a movie. Earlier in the week I had planned on visiting the Getty after my arrival, but those plans were changed and the museum was closed, along with other mandatory evacuations in the area. The smoke and haze can be seen in my photo below from Wednesday.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Smoke & haze from the Thomas Fire.
Prior to my trip to the Pacific, we had closed on the sale of our condo in Santa Monica. This meant the end of a chapter in our life as property owners in California. We had needed to sell the place for years, but with good tenants living there we held onto the condo. While this development is mostly a very good thing, it is still a little sad to see our immediate ties to the state end. California has become an adopted home, my West Coast home. The sale of the condo does not end these feelings, and I will continue to travel back to LA for work on a regular basis.

In many ways, this change is not much different from others in my family history who have lived in California temporarily, from my 5th-great-grandfather Francisco Suastegui in 1835 to my parents in the late 1960s. California will always feel like home.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Above LA, 7 Dec 2017.
Now that I am back, I will catch up on blog posts missed during travels in November.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

In the South Pacific

I am currently in the Kingdom of Tonga, speaking at a technical conference starting on Monday. The country effectively shuts down on Sunday so we arrived Saturday afternoon from Fiji. Below is a photo taken from the schooner Whales Tale on Thursday, sailing to a small island in the Mamanucas off Fiji's western coast.
Photo by Patrick L. Jones. Sailing to a small island off Fiji. 30 Nov 2017.
Blogging has been really slow in November and so far in December. Between work and the sale of our place in LA, this outlet has taken a backseat lately. Things move much slower here in the islands but it has been an excellent experience so far. The people in Fiji are wonderful and I can't recommend the country enough. I'll be enjoying Tongan culture today.

I plan to catch up on the blogging and family history research once I'm back in the US. It looks like winter will be greeting my return, so I will enjoy the Pacific while I am here.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Photo - Above the Beach

Drone footage above Santa Monica Beach, Price+Hou Associates.

The snapshot above comes from the YouTube video our real estate agent made for the sale of our condo in Santa Monica. I thought it was a cool shot, worth sharing as our weather is turning colder here in Northern Virginia.

Letter to Elizabeth

Below is a letter sent by my 2nd-great-grandfather Uriah Lamon to Margaret Elizabeth Pursley Austin, the daughter of his niece, Daisy Lamon. The letter was written 15 May 1940. On the first page, he is writing about his son George, who had moved to Huntingburg, Indiana.

On the reverse, he notes how he is writing this letter while drinking a scotch and saving paper by using both sides. He continues describing the vegetables going in the garden - lettuce, onions, peas, beans and others. Anyway, it is interesting to see a letter in his own hand, writing about daily life as part of an extended conversation through the mail with family.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunset Colors

Photo by Patrick Jones. Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi. 26 Oct 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi.

Friday, November 10, 2017

1966 Letter from Blanche

Last month, distant cousin Gladys sent me a trove of photos, postcards and letters from the Lamon side of the family. Below is a letter written in July 1966 by my great-grandmother, Blanche Lamon O'Brien, to her cousin, James P. (Mike) Lamon. It is a touching letter, referencing my Gumpy, my grandmother, Blanche O'Brien, and my parents before they were married. At the beginning of the letter she writes about receiving notice of the death of a distant cousin of theirs in Idaho, Joseph Harvey Eugene Lamon. He was a son of Lewis Putnam Lamon, Blanche's uncle. Lewis was a son of David D. Lamon, my 3rd-great-grandfather. This information helps connect up distant branches on the Lamon tree.

At the bottom of page 1, she shifts into writing about the weather and mentioning her visit to Florida the previous winter. At the top of page 2 she continues describing the Indiana summer heat. She also mentions Hurricane Alma, which hit the US in June 1966. She then returns back to giving an update on her family. She mentions son Harry O'Brien Jr and her granddaughter, who was married in June 1965. She also mentions Harry's son Mike, racing speed boats, and her youngest son Lowell, who had bought her old house in Broad Rippe on the White River. Then she mentions my Gumpy and 2nd wife Jeanne (my Nana), and how they were vacationing in Canada. At the end of page two, she turns to writing about my Dad.

Blanche writes about how my Dad handled the early death of his mom, Blanche's daughter, and how he was then dating my Mom. This was two years before they got married. It is a heartfelt letter and we're lucky this survived to be shared 51 years later. Thank you for sending this to me Gladys.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Building Boats

Below is a June 2013 article that appeared in the Greenwood Southsider on my Dad's boatbuilding workshops. The article references his boatbuilding class at the Indiana State Museum, which I described in my blog back in 2012.
Greenwood Southsider, 5 June 2013.

My Mom is in the process of going through old photos and articles, and sent these along to me for preservation.

Saturday, November 4, 2017


For the past two weeks I've been in the Middle East, attending meetings in the United Arab Emirates. I'm now back, and have quite a bit to catch up on. Blogging has been slow in October and so far in the new month. This is partly due to distraction from the prep for our annual general meeting, which rotates by region around the world. I've also been focused on getting our condo back in Santa Monica on the market for sale.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Map showing home of attendees early in the week.
Research wise I have a copy of a case file from the Indiana State Archives involving my 4th-great-grandfather Manuel Lamon. I will report on that case in the next few days.

I also have some great travel photos from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and I have some cool drone photos above our Santa Monica place.

As usual, more to follow, even if my blogging pace has slowed somewhat.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Unknown Church

Source: G. Wade. Unknown Church, undated photo.

The past two months I have been exchanging messages with a distant cousin on the Lamon side of the tree. She has sent along a trove of photos, scans of old postcards, calling cards, letters and other documents connected to the family of my 3rd-great-grandfather David D. Lamon. This is our common ancestor. Yesterday she forwarded the photo above, of an unknown church. There is a tall pine tree on right side of the church, and the ivy-covered tower has a large bell. The Lamon family was in Harrison County, Indiana, and it is possible this church was too. Currently the location is unknown, but we'd welcome suggestions on where this may be located.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Photo - Over Arizona

Photo by Patrick Jones. Above Canyon de Chelly National Monument, 28 Sep 2017.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Brooklyn Bridge

Photo by Patrick Jones. Brooklyn Bridge, 16 August 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Brooklyn Bridge, 16 August 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Brooklyn Bridge, 16 August 2017.
The land next to where the Brooklyn Bridge meets Manhattan, in the photo above, was once owned by my 10th-great-grandfather, Philippe Du Trieux. I was able to walk through this area after finishing meetings at the United Nations on 16 August 2017. I walked from Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. While I had written about Philippe's life in the Netherlands, I have spent little time recounting his life after departing Amsterdam in 1624. I will have a post on his life as the court messenger in New Amsterdam in the near future.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Land deed from Allen to Elizabeth Matthews

Last month I wrote about my 4th-great-grandparents, Allen Matthews and Sarah Davis Matthews. At the time, I referenced a land deed from Allen to his sister-in-law Elizabeth Matthews in Smith County, Tennessee on 17 February 1847. Thanks to information provided by distant cousin and fellow Matthews researcher Linda, below is a copy of that land deed.
Land deed from Allen to Elizabeth Matthews. 17 Feb 1847.
Allen sold the land to Elizabeth for $150.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Black Sheep

Last week I was looking at State of Tennessee v Pleasant M. Riggs, a case from the Supreme Court of Tennessee and Grainger County Circuit Court. This week brings another case referencing members of the Jones and Thornhill family, the State vs Samuel and Thomas Larimore (1879). The Riggs case contained testimony by Roland Larimore, a neighbor of Richard Thornhill who may have been married to Richard's sister, Amanda Elizabeth Thornhill. The case of State vs Samuel and Thomas Larimore is a curious one, containing 50 pages and conflicting testimony by witnesses who were related or connected by marriage.
Source: TSLA, State v Samuel and Thomas Larimore, 1879.

The action was brought by William A. Bowers in Hamblen County against two sons of Roland Larimore, Samuel and Thomas, for grand larceny, stealing 50 bushels of wheat from Bowers' property. Bowers was married to Margaret E. Thornhill, daughter of Richard Thornhill and Margaret Cline. Thomas W. Thornhill was a witness for Bowers. A grand jury found Samuel and Thomas Larimore guilty, fixing their punishment at 3 years and nine months confinement each in the State Penitentiary. The Larimores argued for a new trial and appealed to the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

William Bowers asserted that 50 bushels of wheat was taken from his barn. On 4 September 1878, he found nine sacks of wheat hidden in his cornfield behind his barn. He got some of his neighbors to help watch to see who might come back to take the sacks of wheat. On the night of 5 September, Thomas Thornhill, Joseph Jones (my 3rd-great-grandfather), Tom Jones (Joseph's son, my 2nd-great-grandfather), George Bowers, George Lewis and George Newman were stationed with Bowers on various points to lookout for the wheat thieves. In Bowers' testimony, he noted how the moon was very bright that evening, proving enough light to be able to watch the sacks of wheat.

A wagon arrived at about 9pm from the direction of Roland Larimore's property. Bowers recognized Roland's sons Samuel and Thomas. Thomas Larimore started to lift up a sack of wheat, and Bowers yelled at him to surrender. Thomas dropped the sack and ran off, and Bowers fired a shot at him. Samuel took off with the wagon.

Thomas Thornhill also testified that he saw Thomas Larimore pick up the sack of wheat and that he heard Samuel Larimore driving the wagon.

Another witness named Mason Moore testified that Samuel and Thomas Larimore approached him on four occasions to help them steal the wheat from Bowers', in exchange for a portion of the proceeds. Moore was to be the Larimore's lookout to see if anyone came out of Bowers' house while they were stealing the wheat. Moore had been helping the Larimores steal wheat from other area farmers.

Roland Larimore offered his testimony that the boys Samuel and Thomas lived with him, that they had gone to bed before dark and that his daughter Adeline had fastened the back door to his home with a pin on the inside and the front door with a chain. Roland testified that he did hear a wagon pass by his house about 9pm. He said he did not hear any noise from where the boys were sleeping and that he did not think they could get out without him hearing.

Roland's other children Adeline, John and Richard provided testimony in support of their brothers.

The court ruled against the Larimore brothers, sentencing them to jail.

The witness list included Madison Line, who sold land to Joseph Jones in 1878.

I thought this might be the end of the case, but the Tennessee Wills and Probate records on Ancestry had a large file on Roland Larimore, much of it on bonds and summons issued in the case against Samuel and Thomas Larimore.

The probate file also contained another case involving Roland Larimore, the State v Roland Larimore and Martha Mansfield, for lewdness in December 1872.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Visit to the birthplace of the Internet

This is a series of photos from a tour of 3420 Boelter Hall at UCLA. It is a recreation of the lab where the first ARPANET message was sent from UCLA to Stanford in October 1969, ushering in the Internet Age. For better photos and more background, see this 2014 article from Gizmodo.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 3420 Boelter Hall, 25 Sep 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Entrance to 3420 Boelter Hall at UCLA.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Diagram of the early ARPANET.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Early computing.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 3420 Boelter Hall, 25 Sep 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Looking inside the Interface Message Processor.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Dr. Leonard Kleinrock recalls the history of the ARPANET.