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.