This blog is a reprint of my internet journal from 2001 to 2002 in which I documented my "vagabond" solo journey in a Chevy Conversion Van tracing my roots. I not only traced their paths and found their homes and final resting places, but I did extensive genealogical research in court houses, libraries, historical societies, genealogical societies, cemeteries, and talked to the local people. I traveled with a laptop to upload my notes and photos, and use e-mail. It was a fantastic journey which lasted two years. I had no other home except my van to sleep in...just a bed and video player. My household goods were put into storage for two years. My mail was delivered to me at general delivery when I phoned "MailBox, etc." and told them where to send it. At night I stayed in campgrounds, motels, friends' backyards, friends' homes, and those of the few living relations I've tracked down. As I traveled I collected so much genealogy information, that I had to get rid of items that I had originally thought essential to my travels (like a microwave oven). Between ancestral sites, I visited any tourist sites I could find and got to know alot about the USA. This was a trip of a lifetime and I'm still sorting through all the wonderful memories, photos and invaluable genealogical data I found. I will post to this blog as I can - one or a few days at a time of that journey from 2001 to 2002

Sunday, September 12, 2010

17 May 2001 -- Thursday Washington DC

---Continuing on my vagabond genealogy trip of 2001:

Another day in Washington DC. I took the Metro into Union Station. When I emerged from the beautiful building I saw the US Postal Museum across the street. I couldn't resist so went on a tour of what was once the Main Post Office in Washington DC. Built about 1900.
US Postal Museum - Wash DC
Mail Bag hook
US Postage Stamps on display

Train's Mail Car at the US Postal Museum - Wash DC
I was especially interested in the exhibit of a train's mail car where they sorted mail and used a hook to get mail sacks at small town train stations. My (step)grandfather, Roy Senker, and I used to wait for the train at Los Molinos, California. The men on the train's postal car would thrown off a mail bag, and would snag the one from the station via a big hook snaring the mailbag that hung on a special post. We’d pick up the mailbag they threw off the train and take it into the post office in the pickup truck, and deliver bags to other nearby towns.  I learned to drive on that Chevy Pickup truck - including gearshift on the floor ---"Where's reverse?"

Supreme Court Building
Supreme Court Building stairway
The Supreme Court was on down the street so I connected with a tour that was beginning. It is another impressive building. The cost of a lunch there was impressive also.
Library of Congress Reading Room
Inside beautiful Library of Congress
Since I had to leave the Library of Congress yesterday before I'd seen the reading room, I went back there and joined a tour in progress. One runs out of words to describe the grandeur of these buildings. The Library of Thomas Jefferson is also on display.

And finally I went back to the National Archives to do more genealogical research. The most stringent security I've encountered is entering or exiting the Research Room in the Archives. I managed to get more copies of the military pension requests and service records of Joseph Hague and Amos Thornburgh in the Civil War.
Volunteer Enlistment and signature of Amos Thornburgh

Marriage Certificate of Joseph Hague and Mary Speer at the National Archives - Civil War Pension File of Joseph Hague
Time flies when you're having fun, so it was dark before I got to the Metro and to my car - still safely parked at a shopping center near the Glenmont station.

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