Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

This is the first time I’ve been able to participate in SNGF – and it IS fun!  Thanks to Randy Seaver (and Sheri Fenley) for the terrific prompt. 
Randy’s instructions:
1) Go to the website and explore their FREE offerings. Click on the "Create" button, or choose to make a slideshow or posters from their main page
2) Make one or more posters or other creation - perhaps they relate to genealogy or your own family history. Save them to your computer
3) Show your creations to us...

So here’s mine!  Hopefully this will be a reality some day, and Peter Christensen’s ancestors will be found!

Friday, August 27, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy – the DAR Database

The last time I visited the DAR database was years ago.  Tonight, as part of the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy challenge, I took another look at it, and I’m really glad I did.
I thought I had no direct line ancestor with any military service during the Revolutionary War.  I knew some of my Lair ancestors had brothers who served, but when I discovered that my immigrant ancestor, Matthias Lehrer/Lair, played a part during the war, I was thrilled.   At this time, I don’t know how significant his role was, only that he was paid for the loss of a gun. 
Also, more significantly, I discovered that another direct-line ancestor, Issacher Nicke(r)son, apparently had some service, under Capt. David Waterbury.  I will need to find more information on this, and joining the DAR based on this ancestor’s service will be difficult.  His son, Aaron, is said to be the father of my ancestor Joseph Nickeson, and even working with the Nickerson Family Association, I have not been able to find proof of that relationship.  But there’s hope!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

She Might Have Been a Blogger

Slowly, but steadily, I’ve been transcribing my great-grandmother Virta Knutz’s journals – over 500 sheets of notebook paper spanning nine years.  Next will be a file folder with another hundred pages or so, titled “Our Trips.”  After that, another pile of pages called “Memories.” 
Transcribing her journals has given me an idea of what her life was like on the farm.  Her children lived nearby, so her days will often filled with grandchildren, as well as the household chores, made lengthier and a bit more mundane by the lack of modern appliances.  At the end of her day, she would write.  I suspect it was probably the only thing she did just for herself.  What was her motivation?  Was she lonely out on the farm?  Wanting to share her day with someone, after everyone else was in bed?  Or did she just feel an inexplicable need to put the pen to the paper?   I think many bloggers would know something of how she felt.
If Virta were alive today, I suspect she would be one of us…

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday – Tweed Cemetery

In the quiet landscape of southeastern Ross county, Ohio, sits Tweed cemetery.  Just outside of Vigo, it is nestled inside a grove of trees at the top of a hill, hard to find, I'm told, unless you know what you're looking for. 
I've never been to the cemetery, despite the significant number of my family that lay there.  The miles are too great for now.  But my “granny”, Elizabeth Freeman Graves, left such a large part of herself behind in the soil of the shady green hill.
The year 1832 began with the burial of her nearly 6 year old boy, Tavenor, in January.  Before the year was out, they would gather again in the cold December frost to bid goodbye to her mother, Sarah Toone Freeman.  Her 4 year old daughter, Martha, would be next, in May of 1841, and just 3 months later, seventeen year old son John Jr. would be laid to rest there.
Did Elizabeth and her husband John pay one more sad visit to the cemetery together before packing their trunks and loading their wagon for a new beginning in Illinois?  
How sad for Elizabeth to have to stand one very last time in the cemetery, this time at the fresh grave of her husband, who took ill once the packing and loading was done.  And how excruciating it must have been for her to turn and leave, and pursue this new life without him.
Some day, I'd like to go to Tweed cemetery, stand where she stood, see what she saw, and touch the part of her soul that she left behind there. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Costume Dances

Subtitled: “Excuse me, Miss, could you put down your pipe and dance with me?”

For as long as I knew her, my mother-in-law, Louise, loved to dance.   Her father, Casper Kluthe, taught her to kick up her heels at his barn dances in the 1930s, when he wasn’t busy on stage playing his accordion.  The smell of the hay, the noise of the crowd as they whooped and hollered, the thundering stomp of feet and the clapping of hands got her hooked for life.  She grew up to be one of the founders of the Tri-County Dance Club in her small town, and as seen in the photo at left (that’s her in the dress), she never missed the opportunity to show someone a new dance step.

Some of her best stories came, in between bouts of laughter, the day after a costume dance.  You never knew who would turn up as your dance partner…

A witch, a hairy old guy, a strange pipe-smoking lady, a dirty bum, a ghoul, or perhaps… is that Michael Jackson on the right end??

Even Abe Lincoln might show up…

While his wife was on the dance floor, donning long-johns and a rubber chicken-head mask, her husband Herb was listening to the sad tales of this poor depressed snowman…or is that a snow-woman?  Who knows!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Destruction at Stephan Mission

Below are photos from the devastation caused by a tornado in 1938.  The twister tore through Stephan Mission, in Hyde county, South Dakota, on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.

barnWhat’s left of the barn
Another photo of the barn

milk shed 
The milk shed, with pieces from the barn on top of it