Saturday, December 25, 2010

SNGF - My Best Genealogy Gift

I received 2 genealogy help gifts this year for Christmas.  The first was a cashmere sweater which will keep me warm when I do my volunteer work at my local Family History Center.  It is so cold that there is a space heater in the room.  Most of us just keep our coats on.  This is in south Texas!

The second gift I received was a Nook book reader.  This will let me search for and download reference materials.  My library also has e-books available to borrow via download.  It's a whole new environment to explore.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 51

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 51

Week 51: Think about the goals you want to accomplish next year and write them down. What research steps do you want to take? What records would you like to find? Think about the brick walls you’d like knocked down. What things haven’t you done yet and why not? This task doesn’t have to be a resolution list unless you want it to be. Authors of genealogy blogs may share their lists with their readers if they choose.

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts that are a bit more challenging and are geared towards those new to the field of genealogy and family history as well as those who want to brush up on some skills which might be a bit rusty. Please include an attribution link if you participate.

My genealogy goals for 2011 are ambitious.  I will work on one family line per month and make sure that all information is entered and sources cited.

I will move cassette recordings to CD and share them with family.  This to ensure lots of copies and avoid total loss of resources.  Just need to borrow my grandson's boom box.

I will continue to scan family photos and organize folders by family.

I will attend the SOCAL genealogy conference in June.

I will continue to index for both and

I will continue to blog.

I will probably do some other things as well, but stating these goals will help me to stay on track.  Next year I will review my goals and see what I have accomplished.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Christmas and Deceased Relatives

Did your family visit the cemetery at Christmas? How did your family honor deceased family members at Christmas?

Our family did not visit the cemetery at Christmas.  We used to visit the cemetery on Decoration or Memorial Day.

My father died on Dec 28, 1959.  With all nine of us under 18 at the time, Mom had a very difficult time carrying on the family Christmas traditions.  Keep them she did however.  The Christmas after he died we still had a gathering of relatives which included a meal I am sure.

After my husband died suddenly, in Oct of 2005, it was very difficult to plan for the holidays.  Because I was living with my daughter and grandchildren, I drew on my mother's strength and made it through Christmas.  So that the grandchildren would know where to always find grandpady I bought a star and named it for him.  The certificate of that star hangs in a place of honor in their home. 

We don't wait for the holidays to remember our deceased relatives.  It's an ongoing experience.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Christmas Stockings

December 18 – Christmas Stockings
Did you have one? Where did you hang it? What did you get in it? Do you have any Christmas stockings used by your ancestors?

Growing up, we always has a Christmas Stocking to hang on Christmas Eve.  Since there were nine of us and we had no fireplace, we got creative and hung them from any hook, handle, or doorknob we could find in the living room.  I do remember one year or two we had a cardboard fireplace to hang out stockings on.  Our stockings were the typical red plush with a white cuff.  I don't remember their having names on them but there must have been some way to keep track of whose was whose.  

Our stockings usually had an orange or tangerine, un-shelled nuts, candy cane, and some ribbon or other hard candy that usually got stuck in the bottom.

My children's stockings were more elaborate since I made them and they had a special pocket on the outside for a special tiny treasure.  Their stockings were filled in a similar manner but there were some additional small gifts.  Socks, nylons, perfume, small silly toys etc.

My grandchildren's stockings are like their mother's with the addition of embroidered names.  In our house everyone gets a stocking: parents, kids, dogs, and cats!  Grandma too.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Grab Bag A Tradition begins

Grab Bag

Author’s choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!
I didn't post a blog about Christmas gifts because, although it was a very special Christmas gift, it also began a tradition in our family.

My husband and I were expecting our first child in April.  That year Aunt Kathy gave us a Christening gown for Christmas.  It was a 4 piece set of embroidered white nylon consisting of a matching coat, dress, and bonnet with a plain slip.  In our family infants are usually baptized within the first month of birth. Both of my children were baptized in that outfit. And a tradition was begun.

As time passed, each of my 17 nieces and nephews were baptized  in the dress.  As each child wore the dress, their name and date were embroidered on the slip.  Pink for girls and blue for boys of course.  When the next generation began the colors were changed to apricot/peach and mint green.  My grandchildren didn't wear the dress since they had a dress made from their grandmother's and mother's wedding dresses.  They did wear the slip so their names and dates have been added.  I'm not sure which of my nieces or nephews has the dress right now but I'll send them a copy of this and see where it turns up.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Fruitcake - Friend or Foe?

Fruitcake--Friend or Foe

Did you like fruitcake? Did your family receive fruitcakes? Have you ever re-gifted fruitcake? Have you ever devised creative uses for fruitcake?
 Image courtesy of Wikipedia used under the creative commons license.

I have always enjoyed Fruitcake, probably because it was always served with cream cheese and a cup of hot tea by my Irish relatives.  It only appears during the holidays and in my house anyway was considered a treat.  One year my brother-in-law was employed by the Rainbow Baking Co. in Colorado, so my mother ordered about 8 fruitcakes for gifting family members.

When I was newly married and not working, I made gifts for family.  A few times I made fruitcake for family members.  We always liked it but you had to start in about October.  Later I switched to Cinnamon Swirl Raisin bread.  

My children were not fans of fruitcake and had one fruitcake that they sent back and forth for about 10 years.  It finally died in Florida.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories -December 12 – Charitable/Volunteer Work

When I was a child, I didn't even know that soup kitchens existed and I was not aware of any large meals held for the poor.  It just didn't happen that way.  I believe that the priests and pastors knew of the needs of their parishioners and quietly supplied the things needed.  My mother spent many evenings hand beading sweaters which were donated to a local organization that served the poor.

In the 1970s our church began having a "Mitten Tree" to provide hats, mittens, and scarves for children in need.  This was in the Chicago area and the weather was cold and icy.  At some point in time the "Mitten Tree" evolved into an "Angel Tree".  Each year my children chose an angel to help provide Christmas to another child.  My children understood that they were giving up one of their gifts so another child could get a gift.  We tried to pick the same age and sex as our children were  so it became more personal to the kids.  The tradition continues as last week we delivered gifts for three angels to the church. My grandchildren understand volunteering and service to others.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

footnoteMaven's Tradition of Blog Caroling

There is a genealogy Christmas Caroling party sponsored by footnoteMaven going on.  Since this is my first year blogging, I can't say it is a tradition.  Yet!  But I am joining in anyhow.  It is with more enthusiasm than talent that I submit a favorite carol and its history.

O Little Town of Bethlehem !  
Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1903) of Philadelphia, wrote the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem in 1868, following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was inspired by the view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine especially at night time hence the lyrics of O Little Town of Bethlehem. His church organist Lewis Redner (1831-1908) wrote the melody to O Little Town of Bethlehem for the Sunday school children's choir. 

 O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel  

Friday, December 10, 2010

How exciting to wake up and find that Dee and Debbie had given my blog the Ancestor Approved award.  This is really an honor!


The Award Rules: The recipient of the Ancestor Approved award lists ten things learned about their ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened. The recipient then passes the award to ten other bloggers that are doing their Ancestors proud.

1.  We had soldiers serving in several wars in the family.  I didn't know that.  My husband's Scots ancestors
   fought in the Revolutionary War as well as the Civil War, in addition to more modern wars.
2.  Sweden invaded Germany in the late 1500's.  I learned this while researching my husband's German roots.
3.  I love Google maps.
4.  That I can find my around the Norwegian Digitalarkivet.
5.  That is my friend.
6.  It is worth googeling a name or phrase in Google Books.  That's how I verified the cause of death for my
     Grandmother's brother.
7.  I am humbled that my ancestors left their homes and came to this country for a better life.They were
      amazingly successful.
8.  My husband's ancestors, on his mother's side, have been living in Southern Illinois since the 1860s.
9.  When some one asks about our Coat of Arms, I can reply there isn't one!  We were farmers and shop
10.  Religion meant a lot to my ancestors.

Although this part of the award was the most difficult, I have chosen  the following bloggers to receive the Ancestor Approved Award:

 Becky of
Robin of
Lori E of
Carolyn Murphy of
Sheri at
Carol at
Hummer at
James Tanner at
Cindy at

 Now I will visit their blogs to let them know of their award!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Christmas Cookies

I don't remember Christmas cookies as part of my childhood, unless you count the Maurice Lenell assortment in the 5lb tin.  They really were a treat.

As a young mother I attended "Cookie Parties" and learned to make lots of cookies.  Rum Balls is a favorite in my family and my mother-in-law expected a supply every year.  Other cookies I made for the holidays were spritz, candy cane, and the obligatory sugar cookies cut in holiday shapes and frosted. 

The real cookie treat came in the mail.  It was a package mailed by my father-in-law's mother and contained her homemade kolachkys with prune and apricot filling.  These were cookie squares with filling in the center and opposite corners brought to the center.  After baking they were dusted with powdered sugar.  She also made another cookie with either poppy seed or nutmeat filling.  I don't know anyone else who can make these cookies.  I think they are Hungarian in origin.

And we also had the Marurice Lenell Cookies in Currier and Ives Tins sold by the Telephone Pioneers every year!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Santa Claus

 As children, when Christmas approached, we began trying to see if we could see Santa's elves peeking in the windows.  We never caught them no matter how hard we tried.  As the oldest of nine children, I "believed" in Santa for a long, long time.

When I got older (about 12 or 13), I was promoted to Santa's helper.  We didn't get new dolls every year, but the dolls we already had were given makeovers.  Doll hair was styled with sugar water and curlers, and all dolls received new clothes.  This process consumed several evenings after the littles went to bed.

My husband's family also believed in Santa, so the tradition continued in our family.  When our son was about 6 he began to question the reality of Santa.  He was allowed to call and ask Grandma, who cheerfully said "Yes, there is a Santa".  With the help of our neighbors, we arranged for Christmas to happen while we were at Midnight Mass.  As we walked home from church, we kept watching for Santa's sleigh.  Imagine, if you can, the looks on our childrens faces when they saw Christmas had happened!  Hot Wheel track assembled and running from the tree to the dining room, doll bunk beds with pillows and blankets, filled stockings and all.

Today, my grandchildren still believe in Santa and I'm glad.  Somehow some of the magic disappears when Santa does too.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Christmas Cards

Sometime after Thanksgiving every year, Mom would begin addressing the cards to be sent from our family.  I'm not sure when they were actually mailed.  They were always signed and adressed by hand.  This was before the era of the "Christmas Letter".

During the Christmas Season we often got 2 mail deliveries a day!  As children we would eagerly race to collect the mail and bring it in to be sorted.  We knew that if it was addressed to our parents, they would open it.  If the envelope had the additional words "and Family" it was ok for the kids to open.

After being duly opened and admired, the cards were put into a special tray to be admired over and over.  I don't remember seeing that tray at any other time of year.  It was a burgundy fan shaped tray with a gold fruit motif across the top.  I think it was made of aluminium.  After the holidays the cards were used for art and craft projects.

After I married, my husband and I continued the card tradition and displayed our cards on ribbon attached to a wall or door.  I think we did do a Christmas letter after we moved to Florida so we could let family and friends know what was happening in our lives and the lives of our children.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 1, 2010 The Christmas Tree

Hansens circa 1958

The Christmas Tree!  O Tannenbaum! 

 Growing up in the mid-west in the 1950's we had a live tree.  Dad always put the lights and ornaments on , after carefully checking each bulb.  In those days if one bulb went out, the whole string went out.  We, the kids, got to put on the tinsel.  It was the individual strands of tinsel that were to be hung separately.  I will admit that throwing the tinsel by the handful was much quicker.  Yes, we had a star on top of the tree!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Carnival of Genealogy - Every Family has One!

Every family has one.  A beloved eccentric. Our family's was beloved, generous, kind, loving, determined, and at times exasperating.  Our family had Aunt Kathy.  She was a single lady of Irish roots whose gentlemen friends finally accepted her refusal to marry when she was in her 60's.  Aunt Kathy did not drink alcohol but entered a contest on a cruise ship wearing a tiara fashioned of wine glasses.  She won the prize!

Aunt Kathy stored the family silver in a hall closet and labeled the box "trains".  She collected full sets on china on her trips to Europe and as her nieces prepared to marry they were offered their pick from her collection.  My personal china affords service for 12.

Kathleen once drove down a runway at,  the then under construction,  O' Hare Airport in an effort to deliver travel documents to a departing client.  Did I mention that she was a travel agent?

Aunt Kathy was always late for everything.  Maybe she just tried to do too much, I don't know.  She was late so often that my mother always told her that dinner would be 2 hours earlier than planned is hopes that she would be there when it was hot.  The entire family always teased that she would be late for her own funeral.

After her death in Florida, a memorial service was held for Aunt Kathy at a convent in the Chicago area.  As we sat in pews facing the center aisle, my uncle walked up to the altar about halfway through the service.  He was carrying a small container.  My cousin and I locked eyes across the aisle surpressing a serious attack of the giggles.  Aunt Kathy WAS late to her own funeral!

Genabloggers - Tombstone Tuesday - The Fergusons

Mound Cemetary, Jasper County, Illinois

John and Stella (Dolly) Ferguson were among the maternal great-grandparents
of my husband David Lee Peterson

Monday, November 29, 2010

Genabloggers Military Monday - Who served?

When I began doing genealogy, I knew from my ancestral background that there were probably no American military men in the background.  My immigrants were too recent.  But once I began researching my husband's family, I began to wonder about the soldiers I would find among his ancestors.

Dave's Ferguson line appears in York Co, Virginia as early as 1670.  Time and place alone would suggest that there would be some Revolutionary soldiers in the family.  Yesterday at the library, I picked up volume 2 of Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files.abstracted by Virgil D White.  On page 1234  the surname Ferguson appears.  Of the many Fergusons listed is John Ferguson, born 15 Jan 1755 in York, VA.  The abstract details the family's moves from Virginia to North Carolina, Ohio, and finally Boone Co, Indiana where John died in 1842.

There is more to learn as I begin to navigate the NARA files, but it will provide lots of details about John.s life as a Revolutionary soldier. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Adolf's Music

Posted by Picasa 
In my mail box today, I found this cover page of a piece of sheet music. It was a gift from my brother. The composer, Adolf Hansen was my Great-grandfather.  He lived in Norway from 1852 to 1911 and wrote the Norwegian Honor March.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Pullman Inc.

The Pullman Company was a major empoyer in Chicago, Illinois. They had their own stores and housing as well.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 46 Volunteering

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 46

Week 46: Assess your volunteer potential. The last two weeks’ challenges focused on volunteerism and local genealogy societies (which are also dependent on volunteers). Take a look at your skill set and determine what types of opportunities best suit you. Do you speak two languages? Maybe you can offer translation services. Do you only have free time after the kids are in bed? Perhaps an indexing project is best for you. Knowing your strengths can help shape your research process. If you take this challenge a step further and actually volunteer, give yourself a pat on the back. Bloggers are encouraged to assess and share their own skill sets, as well as any volunteer experiences they have.
This challenge runs from Saturday, November 13, 2010 through Friday, November 19, 2010.

I am not a driver so my volunteering possibilities are somewhat limited.  I do index on a regular basis for both and, I also volunteer one day (4 hrs) at a local Family History Center, and have begun to volunteer for 4 hrs in the genealogy room at the library.  I can teach indexing, help with several family tree software programs, and even help someone begin to blog.  I also watch several message boards in areas I am fairly comfortable with and try to offer help or look-ups for others.  I have also taught the Boy Scout Merit Badge and will probably do so again.  I have received lots of help and advice in the past and believe in paying it forward.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Genabloggers - Wordless Wednesday - Sister Act

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Sisters who became Sisters.
Mary Elizabeth and Alice Josephine Connery aka
Sister Michael Joseph and Sister Marie Camilla, O.P.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Geneaboggers Techno Tuesday - Organizing Research

Yesterday I was reading Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter Plus Edition article "What is the Purpose of a Genealogy Program".  Dick discussed the issue of using the various software programs to evaluate evidence.  This was a very thought provoking article and prompted many comments.   

M. Hougland commented "Ben Sayer has developed a program, Lineascope, that makes analysis easier. All it takes is a free Google account. See  It is an evidence driven, web-based genealogy application."

I had to go to the website and check out the program.  All I can say is I wish I had this program when I first started my research.  The fact that the data resided on the web is a bonus since it will be available wherever I log on to a computer..  Whether I am at a Family History Center or a library my information is available.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Genabloggers - Church Record Sunday - Scandanavian Records

Copy of a Swedish Household Inventory from Quidinge, Varmland circa 1855.

I have both Norwegians and Swedes in my sights as I work on my genealogy.  As such I have found the Church records of both Norway and Sweden to be extremely valuable in my research.

Christening records indicate  the names, ages, and residences of the parents.  Godparents (usually relatives) are also listed.  Both birth date and Christening date are indicated.  Careful observation may yield even more information.  For instance I had noticed that in my Great-grandfather's Christening record his mother's name was written before his father's name.  On further checking it was determined that this indicated that his birth was illegitimate.  That is why I could never find a marriage record for his parents.

Marriage records show birth date, place of birth,  residence at time of marriage, parents names, witnesses, occupation, and when vaccinated. 

Other church records might include a household inventory, which like a census shows every member of the family.  It also includes year of birth, and where someone moved to if they left the family.

I have also found German and Hungarian records to be valuable and meticulous.  If only the Irish records hadn't all been held in thatch roofed cottages that burned!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Genabloggers Sports Saturday

Chicago YMCA Basketball (circa 1927)
My dad, Don Hansen (center) played on this team that went to the state level of competition.  While we always had a hoop, I'd have to say that none of his nine children played at this level.  I do have one brother that still plays recreational ball on a regular basis.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Same birthday as yours?

1)  Is there a person in your genealogy database that has the same birth date that you do?  If so, tell us about him or her - what do you know, and how is s/he related to you?

2)  For bonus points, how did you determine this?  What feature or process did you use in your software to work this problem out?  I think the Calendar feature probably does it, but perhaps you have a trick to make this work outside of the calendar function.

Above is Randy Seaver’s challenge for this week.  I have accepted that  challenge and it exposed me to new ways to use my genealogy software.  I did the work using both Family Tree Maker and Roots Magic using the calendar option.  I also used the index of individuals in Legacy and moved the date of birth field to the first column and just scanned through the list.
Using the calendar option in both programs I found five individuals  in my data base that share my  October 6th birthday.  Only one of those individuals is a blood relative.  She is Katherine Josephine Spiller and a 4th cousin once removed.  Katherine is a descendant, as I am, of the Burbach family of Oberselters, Hesse-Nassau, Germany.  She was both born and died in Austin, Travis, Texas.    Both on our immigrant ancestors came th the United States in the 1850s.  Her ancestors went to Texas and mine to Wisconsin.  The others sharing my birthday are ancestors of my husband. 
The challenge was probably faster using the calendar report, but it was a totally new report for me and I use the index of individuals on a regular basis to go to who I am working on.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Military Monday - Allen G W Coan

Military Monday – We all have ancestors who have served in the military. Military Monday is a place to post their images, stories and records of their service in various branches of the military. Military Monday is an ongoing series by Cindy at Everything’s Relative – Researching Your Family History.


Allen G W Coan enlisted in the United States Army on 15 April 1896 at Indianapolis, Indiana.  At age 21 he enlisted for three years and was assigned to the 4th Calvary regiment Company B.  Discharged 14 April 1899 as a Corporal, he re-enlisted at the Presidio in California.   He stayed with the 4th Cavalry and the 1900 census shows him to be in Luzon, the Philippines.  He was discharged,  at Fort Riley, Kansas, 14 April 1902 with the rank of Sargent.  After his discharge, he returned to Indiana where he worked for the railroad.

It is of note that his great-grandson served in the Army at the Presidio just before it closed almost 100 years later.

What follows is taken from a history of the 4th Calvary Regiment:

The History of the 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment

John G. Keliher
After the seizure of Manila during the War with Spain by Admiral Dewey the call was made for American ground forces to defend the Philippines. The first regiment to be sent was the 4th Cavalry. Six troops were initially sent in August 1898 to Manila were they were immediately deployed to defend Manila from dissident elements of the Philippine army that resented the American takeover of their islands. Fighting broke out when Filipino forces fired on U.S. Forces. The Americans drove the Filipinos from the city and began a campaign to capture the insurgent capitol of Malolos. Because of a mix-up the 4th Cavalry's horses had been unloaded in Hawaii. Troops E, I and K were mounted on Filipino ponies and participated in the Malolos campaign. The dismounted squadron consisting of Troops C, G and L participated in the capture of Santa Cruz led by Major General Lawton. (He had served in the 4th Cavalry as a 1st Lieutenant and Captain from 1871 to 1888 and had commanded Troop B during the capture of Geronimo.)
By August 1899 the rest of the Regiment had arrived in the Philippines. In the fall of 1899 the 4th Cavalry moved north under General Lawton to capture the insurgent President Aguinaldo. Severe fighting took place and in the small town of San Mateo and General Lawton was killed in action.
In January 1901 the Regiment was assigned pacification duties in the southern part of Luzon. On 31 September 1901 the tour of duty in the Philippines ended for the Regiment. The 4th Cavalry had participated in 119 skirmishes and battles. The Regiment's three squadrons were reassigned to Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley Kansas and Jefferson Barracks Missouri, the birthplace of the regiment. In 1905 the 4th returned once again to the Philippines and participated in the Jolo campaign on the island of Mindanao.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 38

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 38

"Week 38: Investigate Second Life: a 3D virtual world community. Check out the presentation What is Second Life? This learning tool has all the appearances of a video game, but there actually are vibrant genealogy social communities and discussions within the network. Genealogy Wise maintains a group of Second Life genealogists and a calendar of upcoming discussions. You do not have to join Second Life for this challenge. The goal is just to give genealogists exposure to this type of genealogy learning tool."  52 Weeks To Better Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts that are a bit more challenging and are geared towards those new to the field of genealogy and family history as well as those who want to brush up on some skills which might be a bit rusty. Please include an attribution link if you participate.

Since it was the second time that day that Second Life had been mentioned to me, I decided to accept this challenge and explore Second Life.   I went to Second Life and watched the tutorials.  It looked pretty easy and seemed like it might be fun to participate.  I did join and looked around some more.  I created an avatar, and played with it, changing physical characteristics and clothes.  I learned how to make it walk and gesture,
teleport and fly.  Kind of neat but very time consuming.   I went back a second time and looked for the grenealogy groups said to be on Second Life.  I think I found 16 groups after lots of searching.  They were difficult to find and some of them are closed to membership.  I never did find the forums or message boards.

I think I will be giving Second Life a miss.  I am fairly experienced both in genealogy and computer usage, and I found it to have a high learning curve.  It might be fun as a source of pure entertainment and I do like the ability to travel and learn in a virtual world, but as a genealogy tool , I think not.  Thanks for the challenge Amy and Thomas.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Surname Saturday - Those Sly Scandinavians

It has been a time honored caveat that Scandinavians used a patronymic naming system.  Yes and No.  I have both Norwegian and Swedish surnames in my family file.

My Swedish Peterson/Neilson line appears to have followed the standard naming convention.  When I found the marriage record of Leopold Peterson and Caroline Neilson the parents names were listed as Peter and Anne for Leopold and Nils and Karna for Caroline.  Peter who?  Last names would have been helpful, but at least I know the naming pattern that was used. 

My Norwegian Hansen/Danielsen ancestors however,  freely changed from the patronymic to using the last name of the father.  My grandfather, Adolph Hansen, was christened under the name Adolph Johannesen.  His father was variously recorded as Johannes Hansen and Adolph Hansen.  My great-grandmother, Dorette Christiansdatter, was also named as Dorette Danielsdatter and her brother became Oskar Daniels.  Their father was Daniel Christians. 

Since this is Surname Saturday, I won't begin to talk about the first name changes.  At least they kept their ages consistent.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11 - Genabloggers

I was at work and my husband had just returned home when he heard it on the car radio.  As soon as he walked in the door and turned on the television, the second plane hit the towers.  He called me at work and gave me the news.  As we talked, he kept updating me with the latest news.  At the time I worked at a moving company whose trucks had only a dispatch radio.  I remember calling the trucks to give them the news and making the comment " We're at war."  At home after work, we watched the towers crumple time after time in disbelief that this could happen in our country.

Our grandchild was due to be born in Germany, and we had reservations to fly to Germany on Sept 12.  All flights were canceled  and the earliest we could fly to Germany was September 16.  We flew on a German airline and the crew had been grounded in the United States for a week.  They were very anxious to get home.

People asked if we were afraid to fly, but with the security so tight, it was probably was the safest flight I ever took.  One man set off the security alarm and it was determined that it was the foil wrapper on a stick of gum in his packet!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Semtimental Sunday - Labor Day

Long ago Labor Day was a time of parades and picnics celebrating the workers.  Workers built floats that proudly displayed their trades.  Like other parades, there was candy and music.  After the parade there was usually a picnic or cook-out in a local park.  There are still some traditional Labor Day activities, but we hear much more about the sales and the end of Summer..

Labor Day does mean the end of Summer and traditionally it is time for back to school.  It was the last weekend at the lake for many and school began on the next day.  Now many schools begin in mid-August or earlier and Labor Day is the first 3 day weekend of the school year, not the last weekend of Summer.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #36

Week 36: Check out the Family History Library catalog (

I have been using the Family History Library catalog for some time and it has proven invaluable in documenting my family records.  I have ordered films of church records from Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden.  I don't speak these languages, but have found that names are fairly legible in any language and the records are written in both Latin and the language of the country.

Usually I use the place search but lately have also used the keyword search.  Case in point:  the place search for St Mel Church shows 2 films of church records available, but using the keyword search for St Mel Church gave me another film which held the Baptismal records for 5 of my mother's brothers and sisters.

I have ordered the church records  from Oberselters Germany and been able to trace my ancestors back to 1732.  Lucky for me they didn't seem to move often.  In the 1850s they began migrating to the United States.  They settled in Milwaukee, WI, St Louis, MO, and Austin, TX.

I use the film/fiche search when I have taken less than substantial source notes.  I may have a film number, item number, and page number but not the actual title of the film.  Film search is a quick fix.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Baptismal Records

I had been looking for the Baptismal records of my Connery grandparent's children but could only find the records for the oldest three.  I knew what churches they attended and checked the Family History Library for films of the records.  I perused all of the films of the records of St Mel Catholic Church in Chicago and found only Communion and Confirmation records.  Where were the Baptismal records?

Then I remembered a blog I had read about using the key word search.  There it was!  A LDS film with the Baptisms listed.  I had forgotten that at one time the parish was known as St Mel Holy Ghost Parish.  The film I needed was titled Catholic Church. Holy Ghost (Chicago, Illinois).

Once I ordered and received the correct film, I had no trouble finding the Baptismal records of 5 of my mother's siblings.  The records gave name, birth date, baptismal date, parents, Godparents, and address of the child.  The Godparents were usually related to the child and thus could help to determine other family members.

It was truly a treasure that I remembered Holy Ghost Parish!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Journey of Cabinet 1940 - 2005

I first knew this cabinet when it lived in the kitchen of my parents first apartment in Chicago. At the time it was built in to a wall of cabinets and was covered with many coats of white enamel paint.  We eventually moved to other apartments and then to a house in the suburbs.  

Fortunately, my Uncle Tom owned the apartment building and when it was sold in the mid-1960's we were offered the chance to take what we wanted from the building.  We took the cabinet and moved it to our little 4 room apartment where my husband,  Dave, worked very hard to remove the white enamel.  He thought there were at least 32 coats of paint!  Finally it was revealed that the cabinet was solid oak.  After it was stained, it took a place of honor in every residence we occupied.  I moved with us from house to house in Illinois and finally to Florida.  With every move we prayed that nothing would happen to the stained glass door.  

After about 15 years in Florida,  Dave decided it was time to pass in on to our son David.  He did some major repair work on the top, and one side and then re-stained it.  Once again it was moved.  This time it was back to Illinois where it is under the care of David. 

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Madness Monday - Hiding Henrietta

I knew she existed.  She was my grandmother!  I knew when and where she was born.  Her parents were Hermann and Eva (Schmitz) Burbach.  Henrietta was born in 1888, the sixth child.  The family lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Given all these known facts, it should have been easy to document Henrietta and her family.  Let me list the ways it drove me to madness.

Henrietta was born August 23, 1888 but her birth record does not appear in the Wisconsin births on  Since the 1890 census is basically unusable, I decided to concentrate on documenting Henrietta in the 1900 census.  That's the only one where she would appear as Henrietta Burbach, since she was married in 1907.

Hermann Burbach died in 1896 and Eva married Charlie Mueller in 1898.   Given these facts I began searching the 1900 census   There was no entry for Henrietta, so I began looking for Charlie (Charly, Charles, Chas, C) Mueller (Meuller, Muller, Miller) or any other variations I could think of trying.  I tried using the age range of 45 - 55 years old since Eva was born in 1858.  No luck and I couldn't find Eva either.

Finally, I went to Heritage Quest using my library's subscription and used their search because I could search on first name and age only.  She was listed as Hennietta Mueller stepdaughter of Charley Mueller with the birth year of 1886.  Going back and re-checking the Wisconsin Births 1820-1907, still does not yield a record for Henrietta.  I accept the 1900 census listing of Henrietta Mueller as being the correct person because her mother and brothers appear in the same household.  I'm not concerned about the birth year variations since these changes are common for a multitude of reasons.  I'm just glad that Henrietta is no longer hidden.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Stacy's Tavern, My First Apartment

Posted by PicasaStacy's Tavern, Glen Ellen, Du Page, IL.

This was my first apartment!  Imagine my surprise to discover that it is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  The other day I was following a genealogy lead that led me to the web pages for Lombard, Du Page, Illinois.  While there, I saw a reference to Stacy's Tavern and followed the thread.  A firend and I shared the first floor apartment in the early 1960s.  My room was on the left side of the building.  When we lived there I knew it had been a stage coach stop but not that Abraham Lincoln slept there.  I only lived there for about a year but I still have fond memories of the place.  For more information on Stacy's Tavern just check out google or wikipedia.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Findings - Discovering the Details

I am changing Follow Friday to Friday Findings so I can share some of my search processes in the hope that it will help someone else in their efforts. Leopold is a very unusual name Swedish name so I thought tracking my husbands great-grandfather and his wife would be an easy task.  Not so much.

Leopold Peterson and Caroline Neilson appear in the 1880 census as a married couple living in Chicago with their 3 children, Annie, John, and Frank.  According to the census, Leopold and Caroline had both been born in  Sweden and immigrated 1870 and 1871 respectively.  Daughter Annie was born in Massachusetts in 1875.  In 1892, on the Chicago voters registration, Leopold indicated that his naturalization papers were filed in Boston.

As I searched for more information,  it became apparent that the answers were in Massachusetts, probably Boston.  I looked for Leopold and/or Caroline in the 1870 census without much hope since they had said their arrival was in 1870 and 1871.  Next I ordered the Massachusetts Marriage records for 1872 and 1873 from the Family History Center.  I selected those years based on both the immigration dates and the birth of Annie in Massachusetts.  I found the marriage record of Leopold and Caroline in the LDS film # 1433032.  They were married 11 Aug 1873 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts.  According to the record, Leopold was a 22 year old cabinet maker and Caroline was 26.  Leopold's parents were Peter and Anna, Caroline,s parents were Neils and Kare, Rev. George S Noyer officiated.  After searching the Boston City directories for 1872/73, I found that Rev Noyes was associated with the the Bethel Church at North Square in Boston.  It was a Methodist Episcopal Church organized in 1828.

I have found Caroline's birth record and her parents but I am still looking for Leopold's birth and parents.  Finding the parents first names at least tells me that they followed the standard Scandinavian naming practices.  Now how do I find Peter and Anna the parents of Leopold?  Any suggestions out there?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Ferguson Family

The tombstone of my husband's maternal great-grandparents John and Stella "Dolly" Ferguson in Mound Cemetary, Jasper County, Illinois.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Findings - Documenting a Family Story

When I was a child, our family went to Aunt Kathy's cottage in Indiana every summer.  The cottage was on the shore of Lake Michigan and was the high point of the summer.  For the kids it meant swimming and sand every day, all day.  For mom and dad it meant work of a different kind.  Usually my dad's mother, my grandmother "Bockie", went to the lake with us.  At some point, I noticed that Bockie never, ever went down to the beach, much less into the water.  When I asked why Bockie never went near the water, I was told that when she was a little girl her brother had drowned and since then she had been terrified of the water.

Later as I began doing genealogy, the story of Bockie's brother came back to me.  How to find out if it was true?  In documenting the family of Hermann and Eva Burbach, Bockie's parents, I found the birth of John Burback in January 1881 and his death in 1892.  He was eleven when he died and Bockie was four when her brother died.  Using HeritageQuest Online, I was able to find a diary entry by William Sizer dated May 8, 1892.  The entry said only "...Burbach's boy drowned this PM...".  In my mind this proves the story. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Thinking about this blog, I wondered about the words of wisdom I grew up with and other than the usual platitudes "do unto others", and "cleanliness is next to Godliness", and "take time to smell the roses", I couldn't remember any that stood out especially other than "actions speak louder than words".

It was not the spoken words as much as it was the actions that embodied the words.  We learned respect and love by seeing the love and respect with which our parents treated each of us as well as their parents and siblings.

Citizenship, service to others, and love of education were all taught, not by words, but by example.  Actions DO speak louder than words.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Sounds of My Childhood

Growing up as one of nine children, there were always many sounds in our house!

"Come home when the street lights go on."  This was used in a time before children commonly wore watches much less carried cell phones. The shouts of children in the neighborhood playing Mother May I, Red Rover, and Hide and Seek in the yards.  (Before the street lights came on!)  The fire whistle that sounded at noon and six o'clock along with the ringing of church bells.  Then you knew it was time for lunch or dinner.  No watches needed!  An exasperated mother reeling off several of our names before finally saying "You know who I mean!".  We called it the litany of the saints.  The sound of music always.  Classical, Show Tunes, "Your Hit Parade"  and everything in between.  Other sounds included basketballs againdt the backboard, tennis balls against the side of the house, the crunch of leaves on the sidewalk in the fall and the scraping of frost to draw on the inside of the windows in the windows with our fingernails.

Sounds we never heard:  parents argueing, "Wait till your father gets home" and cussing or swearing.  Am I dating my self?.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Madness Monday - Leo the Liar

It all began with a birth certificate.  My husband's father, Harold Arthur Peterson,  was born Oct 3, 1916 to Edwin Peterson and Mable Gibney, in Chicago, Illinois.  I began trying to trace the family through the census, just like any other genealogist. Going backwards was fine.  I found Mable's family back as far as 1860 and Edwin's Peterson line back to the 1880 census in Illinois, although his name varied from Edwin to Edward. 
He was born Oct 23, 1883 in Chicago, Illinois to Caroline Neilson and Leopold Peterson.  Edwin (according to Chicago birth records) was the fourth of four children.  The 1900 census shows Edward Peterson living at home with his parents, Leopold and Caroline, in the Hyde Park area of Chicago.  I know Edward/Edwin married Mable Gibney about 1906/07 and they had a son Raymond, born in Chicago in 1908.  After the 1916 birth record of Harold Arthur, I could find no trace of Edward/Edwin and Mable and their family.  I tried everything I would think of.  What happened to them and where did they go?  Harold had married in Chicago in 1938,and the grandparents, Leopold and Caroline, were still in Chicago in the 1920 census, so I didn't think they had left the area.  After years of searching, on and off, I finally found the family in the 1920 census as Leo Peterson and wife Mabel!  Further research reveals that the name change occurred between Oct 3, 1916 ( the birth of Harold Arthur) and Sept 12, 1917 ( Leo Edwin Peterson registers for the draft).  Leo died in 1927 and his widow Mabel remarried which is why the family does not appear in the 1930 census.
Why did Edwin change his name to Leo?  Was it his middle name?  Was it an attempt to identify with his father Leopold?  These are questions that will probably remain unanswered.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Agnes and Jacob Pabst

Cemetery of St Anthony Church, Oberselters, Nassau, Hesse, Germany. Some of their ancestors migrated to the United States. Most likely it was St Louis or Texas.
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Surname Saturday - Where They Came From

I thought I would revisit the surnames I am researching, this time listing them by country of origin.  It will be interesting to see where the majority my research is taking me. Because I have chosen to orient my family tree from my grandchildren's viewpoint, this list includes the surnames in both Dave's and my backgrounds as well as the surnames of my son-in-law's adoptive parents.

In no particular order, the list is:
Germany:  Burbach, Caspari, Siglar/Ziglar, Sempstrott, Coan/Coon, Haas
Ireland:  Connery, Fleming, Hennessy, Leahy, Mc Carthy, Ryan
Norway: Hansen
Sweden:  Peterson, Hanson (2 different lines)
Hungary:  Gulyban, Palinkas, Fendrik, Biro
Bohemia:  Krbec
Scotland:  Ferguson

As I suspected the preponderance of my research will be using German resources.  Thank heavens they are abundant.    One German line I have traced back to 1732 and another to 1604.  The Ferguson line goes back to 1641 in Virginia.  Haven't begun to check Scottish resources yet.  I suspect this is a never ending project.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Genabloggers

Today is the actual holiday and I started thinking about the 4ths of July we had celebrated in the past.  In my family it was a holiday but without a regular custom or plan.  We went to the parade and probably had hot dogs but that was about it.  In my husband's family it was a HOLIDAY with a specific timetable and ritual.

On the fourth we got to my in-laws by 10 AM or so to be able to park in the driveway.  The chairs were already spread out along the curb since the parade went past the front of the house.  There was also a step ladder so grandpa could get ariel shots of the passing floats.   There were several rows of chairs and often a playpen or a stroller parked under a shade tree.  The menu was a constant:  Sloppy Joes, Potato Salad, Rice Salad, Chips, Baked Beans.  Soda and beer was icy cold and in abundance thanks to Grandpa's basement refrigerator.  Since the parade usually lasted about 2 hrs, food was an ongoing buffet.  After the parade there were hot dogs and burgers on the grill. 

About 7 PM everyone would begin the 3 block trek to the park for the fireworks.  Armed with blankets, radios, coolers and kids we would set up on the park lawn at the edge of the lake and await the oohs and ahhs.  When the fireworks ended the masses would leave the park moving down the streets carrying sleeping children.  Back at the house the children went to sleep while the adults played cards until about midnight. 

This holiday was observed in the same way every year until the mid 1980s when my in-laws sold their house and moved to Florida.  

Friday, June 18, 2010

Follow Friday - Elyse's Genealogy Blog

For Follow Friday, I am selecting Elyse Doerflinger's blog at  Elyse writes with knowledge and enthusiasm.  At Elyse's blog you will find research and organization tips, as well as ways to use technology in new ways.

I watched Elyse participate in the Blogger 1 seminar at Jamboree and was very impressed with her knowledge and willingness to share information.  (But then I guess that's true of all genealogists isn't it?)

Elyse's blog has received several coveted genealogy blog awards.  I will keep reading Elyse's blog to better educate myself and watch her grow.  Won't you join me?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Genea-Musings: Some SCGS Jamboree 2010 photos

Here is a link to Randy Seaver's photos from Jamboree 2010.  Read his posts regarding the 3 days of Jamboree to get a feel for the event and you will be packing your bags to go next year.  That is what happened to me!  Last year's participants made it sound like so much fun I decided it was something I needed to do.  Did I have a good time?  I'm already planning for next year!

  Genea-Musings: Some SCGS Jamboree 2010 photos

Treasure Chest Thursday - Renewing Friendships

Treasure Chest items are not always physical, sometimes they are the memories we hold in our minds and hearts. What a treasure! Meeting a cousin I had not not seen for over 50 yrs. Mary Alice Hardie Sjogren and her husband Bill took me to dinner on Sunday evening followed by a car tour of Hollywood. It was great to visit as if the past 50 years had not happened. For me it is pure treasure to seamlessly connect with family after many years. 
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