Sunday, December 22, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 20 Christmas Parties Curing Laryngitis

Holiday parties, a neighborhood open house, buffets – all these take place in abundance during Christmastime. Do you throw a party each year or did your family throw parties around Christmas? Any special theme like Ugly Christmas Sweater or perhaps a gift wrapping or cookie decorating party?
The year we got married, Dave and I hosted an open house in our tiny apartment.  We lived on the second floor of an old farmhouse in a fairly rural area.  We invited everyone we knew.  Rather than an open bar, we elected to serve punch and hors d'oeuvres.  

After consulting his Mr Boston book, Dave selected a recipe to use and went off to the liquor store for the ingredients. These included red wine, brandy, rum, and champagne.  Oranges and lemon juice added some extra flavor along with simple syrup and soda water.  The punch made 42 servings.

 We combined all the ingredients in a punch bowl and added an ice ring to chill the punch.  The kitchen table (the only table we had) held the punch bowl along with the hors d'oeuvres.  In those years the hors d'oeuvres consisted of little square slices of rye bread called party rye with liver sausage of smoked sausage on top, cheese logs and crackers, chips and dips, and possibly mini-meatballs in cocktail sauce.

Dave's mother had a history of getting laryngitis every winter and it lasted for months.  She was one of the guests at the party and enjoyed the punch along with the rest of us.  
As the day grew longer, we realized that Wanda's voice was getting stronger,  Slowly but surely her laryngitis was leaving!  By the end of the evening the laryngitis had totally disappeared.  In following years when the laryngitis threatened, we would suggest recreating the punch.  The threat alone did the job of curing the laryngitis.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Book of Me, Written By You - Prompt 15 SNOW

"The Book of Me, Written By You" is a GeneaBloggers project created by Julie Goucher of the Anglers Rest blog. The concept: a series of blogging and writing prompts that help family historians capture their own memories and write about themselves.

This week’s prompt is Snow
    •    Do you live in area where you routinely have snow?
    •    How old were you when you first saw snow? 
    •    Do you remember it? 
    ◦    Did you make snowmen? 
    ◦    Throw Snowballs?
    ◦    Sledge Rides?
    •    What is the image that first came to mind when you read snow?
    •    What does snow
    ◦    feel like,
    ◦    smell like
    •    How do you see snow? 

Before moving to Texas, I have only ever lived in one place that did not routinely have snow.  The first fifty years of my life were spent in Northern Illinois.  Snow is always part of the picture there.  My first winter was spent in Adrian, Michigan where I am told I took naps on the front porch in the buggy.  That is when I probably saw snow for the first time, although I don't remember it.

We lived a block from a park which featured a wonderful hill for sledding!  Many winter days were spent pulling the sled up the hill only to race back down again!
At the top of the hill was a warming house with restrooms and concessions that were open on weekends and evenings.  Since we lived so close, we rarely used the concession stand.  If one went straight through the warming house and out the other side, there was a skating rink.  As a "tween", before tweens existed, I used to go skating there until 9pm most evenings.  It was the winter hang out place for most of the junior high kids.

The front yard of our house usually had a snowman or three in various stages of construction or deconstruction as well as a wall we huddled behind for protection during snowball wars.

After mom moved to Florida,  there was not as much winter fun except for the time my youngest brother brought his Florida born fiancee up North for Christmas.  Dave and I lived in Kaneville at the time and it was our turn to host the family Christmas party.  Dinner was served in out basement since the number of guests required the use of three banquet tables.  After dinner and assorted amusements, the guests began to leave.  As they ventured to their cars we found it was snowing big, fat, wet, heavy snowflakes.  Now it was time for snowball fights, and making snow angels! Imagine the spectacle of five couples in their 30s and 40s along with their assorted children scampering in the snow.  The neighbors loved it and of course we told my brother's fiancee it was arranged just for her!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 9 Crafts for Christmas

9 December – Christmas Crafts

There’s a movement towards making items for Christmas gifts or even for Christmas decorating. Have you ever made something by hand related to Christmas? What was the item, how was it made and what did you do with the finished product? What about other family members – was or is there anyone who excels at hand-crafted items and giving them as gifts during Christmas?
I think we have always had some kind of craft involved in our Christmases.  Two of the earliest ones I remember were made by two of my aunts.  Aunt Paul made a taper candle into a tree by layering a series of stars in graduated sizes on the candle.  The stars were made by using a pinking shears (creates a zig-zag edge) on a very stiff gauze type of material.  The tips of the stars were then decorated with various colored foil stars.  It was lovingly packed away every year and happily re-assembled the following year.


Aunt Ruth's treasured craft barely survived the season.  It was a wreath made of wrapped candies attached to a wire wreath form made from a hanger.  At the top of the wreath was a bow which also held a scissors suspended on a ribbon.  Friends were invited to use the scissors to detach a piece of candy.

Over the years several of our Christmas grab-bags have included the requirement that it be a handcrafted gift.  Some of the gifts over the years have included a standing fish wine bottle holder, etched beer steins with the family monogram,

 a fish shaped clock, (living in Florida there were several fisherman) a Seminole pattern quilted pillow in red and white( to match the recipient's decor) There was also a wire tree shape with wooden leaves to be labeled with family names and attached to the tree.

Sometimes the gift wrap itself could hold crafty treasures.  We still have the crocheted bells my mother-in-law used to wrap packages over 40 years ago.  There were also various hand crafted ornaments attached to packages.

Table decor could be crafty as there could be sleigh nut cups made from egg cartons with pipe cleaner runners or felt mittens with names written in glitter.  Some of the centerpieces over the years have included gum drop trees and gingerbread houses.  One year I made a tree by slicing spearment leaves vertically and attaching them to a styrofoam cone with toothpicks.  The base was a one and one half styrofoam disk covered with peppermint stick candies.  The tree also had ornaments made from gumdrops.  Actually I made two of them and gave one to a neighbor with a five year old.  My grands started making gingerbread houses about ten years ago in Germany.  The very first ones used graham crackers anchored to a one pound butter box with frosting.  Eventually they advanced to the full size Wilton kits and have now downsized to the cottages.  One year my father-in-law made individual star candles for everyone with their names on them as dinner place-cards.  Those were treasured for years.
google images
google images

Monday, December 9, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 8 Christmas Shopping

Today’s blog prompt is:Christmas Shopping: For many of us, the focus of the Christmas season isn’t on “things” but on family and friends. Still, we like to give presents – large and small – to those we love. Do you shop during Christmastime or do you shop much earlier in the year to get it out of the way? Have you seen a change in your shopping habits as you’ve gotten older? Do you shop online? Do you participate in Black Friday or Cyber Monday activities? What was Christmas shopping like for your family and ancestors? Tell us about how you do Christmas shopping and your memories of Christmases past.
google images

I tend to concentrate my shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  When I was younger, the stores were only open until 9pm on Monday and Thursday evenings and rarely, if ever, open on Sunday.  Shopping was usually done on a Saturday or right after work.

My shopping habits have changed over time.  My husband and I used to take the kids to the mall and out for lunch on the day after Thanksgiving. (Before Black Friday!)  The mall we went to had a special place for children to shop independently.  We would get almost all of out shopping done on that day.  My family drew names for Christmas so that somewhat limited the number of gifts to buy.

Several years ago my daughter and I did brave the cold and the crowds to do the midnight  Black Friday sales.  We only did it once!  In addition to encouraging over-spending, it just didn't seem worth the effort.  Now I tend to try to avoid shopping on weekends and shop during the week.  Each year I seem to do more shopping on the internet as it saves time and travel costs.  I especially like the free shipping.

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

From Dad to Tom

This is a belated birthday gift for my brother Tom,  
but I am publishing it as a gift to othe family members who would like to know more about Donald G Hansen, the author.  The man I call Dad!

December 6, 1943
It was on the afternoon of December sixth,
That the arrival of Thomas Michael had been fixed.
But too far ahead of the story I am getting you see,
For I had meant to tell it just as it happened to be.

It was a cold morning, one of dark skies and light rain,
The only thing we thought important was Connery departure by train.
Momsie and Pops were going to Florida to see Ellie you know,
They also had in mind the sun so hot and the lack of cold snow.

I arrived home from work about a quarter to ten,
The reason being , it was raining again.
Betty was in the basement doing her wash in her machine so fine,
I went down to give her a hand, especially with the things that were mine.
All of a sudden she said, “Don, I don’t feel so well.”
I said “darling, come upstairs and sit down for a spell”.
We went upstairs and decided after all
To give Doc Carey the long awaited call.

I said Betty to 4140 I must go to say good by,
Because we have many things to do and time will fly.
After telling Ma and Pa good by, and to have a nice trip,
Down Washington Blvd. I met Doc Carey and his black grip.
I said, “Doc, old boy, from your office don’t stay away,
As my loving wife will be your patient today.”
I then called Pauline, who was sweet to say,
That she would stay with Donna til later that day.
Betty and I then in my car started West,
To complete the doings for the things we were blessed.
After arriving at the Hospital, and starting Betty on the way,
Up and down the hall I wandered with my large chest on display.

After waiting for about an hour out there in the cold hall,
Over the loud speaker system my name they did call.
Into the delivery room I then dashed like a kid,
For I was anxious to see just how good a job we did.

Betty was happy to hear it was a boy,
But there was no holding me, overloaded with joy.
Betty looked fine, although tired and weak,
It was at this time I decided things no longer looked bleak.
I then ran to the phone and started my calls of pride.
It seems you just want all to know your son’s at your side.

The first I did call was my mother, who was on the job in our home,
But it seems that there was no answer, now why should mother roam.
Dorothy then heard from me that it was a boy,
Congratulations to both of you, we shall share your joy.

Then I called Pauline, I was still bursting with pride.
I asked her to tell the others before their long ride.
Back in the room with Betty, things were peacefull and quiet.
We both just relaxed, there was no longer a riot.
After sitting there talking, we decided the name should then be,
Thomas Michael Hansen sounded plenty good to Betty and me.
It is no growing late so the door I must close,

Leaving Betty and Tommy in a sleepy repose.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Day 6 Saint Nicholas

Today is the Feast of Saint Nicholas and the origin of Santa Claus. What are your memories of Santa Claus and waiting for him to come at Christmas? What does Santa mean to you today and how do you pass along that meaning to family and to others?

photo credit:
St Nicholas Day was a very big deal when I was growing up.  It was also my brother's birthday.  Since we were of German heritage, we followed the custom of putting our shoes by the front door on the evening of December 5 in the hope that they would be filled the next morning.  As I remember it, if we (children) remembered to put the shoes by the door, they were filled in the morning.  The shoes had some nuts, an orange or tangerine and some hard candies.  This provided an exciting prelude to the big event of Christmas which was still to come.  

In the weeks between St Nicholas Day and Christmas we were encouraged to have good behavior.  Mom and Dad would spy Santa's elves peeking in a window or from behind a door.  This definitely encouraged good behavior since no one wanted the lump of coal representing bad behavior!  I've lately wondered if this was the foreshadowing of the "Elf on the Shelf" tradition. 

Paddy O'Cinnamon
image courtesy of the website 

 There was also the tradition of listening to the "Adventures of Paddy O'Cinnamon"  aka the Cinnamon Bear at 5:30 weekday evenings on the kitchen radio.  I think we each had our own visual of Jimmy, Judy, and Paddy.  It is still available on mp3s.

On Christmas Eve we were allowed to open one gift befor going to bed,  This was usually new pajamas from our Aunt Pauline and Uncle Bill.  Since there were always wee ones around Christmas Morning came very early in the day.  When we came downstairs the living room was a feast for the eyes with gifts spread out all around the room.  Santa left each child's gifts in a separate spot.  With nine children in the house you can imagine what the living room looked like. There were always dolls and cars, trains, or blocks.

As my children were growing up, we also celebrated St Nicholas Day although my kids thought snowmobile boots were a suitable substitute for their shoes!

I used to save the toys from cereal boxes to add to the "Loot".  Some times there were some gold foil wrapped coins too!

My daughter and her husband added wrapped Santa presents to the other traditions.  They began celebrating St Nicholas Day with their kids when they lived in Germany although it is a different celebration there.  In Germany, St Nicholas Day is when the gifts are given and Christmas is a day reserved as a celebration of the birth of Christ.

Currently the day is still a celebration of the birth of Christ and the gifts are opened after attending Mass.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun! - Proof of Lineage and Honoring a Patriot

It's time for another of Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenges!  

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1) What genealogy fun have you had this week?  What is your genealogy highlight of the week?  It could be finding a new ancestor, reading a new genealogy book, hearing a speaker at a seminar or society program, watching a webinar or Hangout On Air, or anything else that you have enjoyed.

2)  Tell us about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a Google Plus or Facebook post.

This week I met with a friend who recently joined the Daughters of the American Revolution to see what proofs of lineage she used for her membership application.  She showed me the book she had used and explained the types of proofs preferred.  It seems that wills, marriage records, and even census forms are commonly used.

Returning home, I began a list of what I would need to assemble.  Most of what I need would come from two places.  The records are in Boone County, Indiana and Jasper County, Illinois.  Then I remembered that on a trip to Illinois ten years ago, my husband and I stopped in Jasper County for a couple of days so we could visit the cemetery his ancestors were buried in and visit the courthouse.  It was my first courthouse trip and I was able to copy some records.  Today I checked my files and some of what I copied ten years ago were the two wills I need for the DAR application!  How do you top that for fun!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You - Prompt 9: Halloween

Julie's prompt for last week: 
The prompt for week 9 : Halloween
Have you ever participated in a Halloween event?
When was it?
Where was it?
What did you dress as?
Trick or treat?

When I was growing up Halloween was not the celebration it is now.  There were carved pumpkins and trick or treating of course but not the kind of decorations in use today.  I remember a cardboard skeleton hanging in the window.  Someone was always moving his arms and legs.

Everyone went trick or treating and used flashlights to find their way in the dark.  Costumes were homemade using our creativity.  Scarecrows and bums were quick and easy to put together with things found around the house.  We all wore masks to disguise ourselves.  Think Lone Ranger mask.

Pillowcases were used to haul our loot.  In those days, before there was the danger something harmful being in a treat, we got popcorn balls, caramel apples, cookies and other home baked goodies.  

The Book of Me, Written by You - Prompt 7, Grandparents Part 1 Adolph and Henrietta

The Book of Me, Written By You a project created by Julie Goucher of the Anglers Rest blog. The concept: a series of blogging and writing prompts that help family historians capture their own memories and write about themselvesClick here for more information.]

Prompt 7: Grandparents

What were their names?
Where were they from?
Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
Where were they born, another Country or state/area
What did they do?
Did you know them?
What was your relationship with them?
If you didn’t know them have you researched about them?

Adolph and Henrietta (Burbach) Hansen were my dad's parents.  Adolph Halfdan was born in Norway and was the third of six children born to Adolf and Dorette (Christiansdatter) Hansen.  His father was a musician and composer in the Norwegian army.  When Dorette died in 1887, after the birth of her sixth child, Agot, her husband remarried.  The fact that the second wife, Nathalie, was only five years older than Adolph's sister Dagny helped spur the decision of Dagny, Arthur, and Adolph to come to the United States.  Shortly after arriving in Chicago, Adolph began working for his uncle Oscar's construction company.   Adolph worked his way up in the company to become secretary and vice-president.  Due to his job,  Adolph traveled all over the United States but remained based in the Chicago area.  In time Oscar Daniels died and Adolph took over the company.  As the economy changed and there were fewer construction projects Adolph and Henrietta even risked their home in an effort to save the company.  Unfortunately, both the company and the home were lost.  When at last I could check the 1940 census, I was amazed to learn the Adolph had achieved so much success with only a seventh grade education.  In my mind I picture him as relatively tall and slender with silver hair and sparkling blue eyes.  Adolph died when I was 4 years old, so my memories of him are scant. One memory (not sure if it is really a memory or something I was told) is going to Kiddie-Land with him on Sunday afternoons.
circa 1909

Henrietta Eva Burbach was born 23 Aug 1888 to Hermann and Eva (Schmidt) Burbach in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Her father had immigrated from Germany with his family when he was 4 years old.  Hermann and his brother John had their own butcher shop on Walnut St in Milwaukee.  During her lifetime Henrietta saw more than her share of tragedy.  Her brother John drowned in the Milwaukee river when Henrietta was just four years old.  This left a lasting mark as Henrietta never overcame her fear of water.  When Henrietta was 8 her father died suddenly followed by her only sister the next year.  That may be why she left school after the third grade.   When she was 20 years old, Adolph and Henrietta were married at Gesu Church in Milwaukee and then moved to Chicago.  The young couple saw quite a bit of the United States as Adolph traveled for work.  Their daughter Dorothy was born in Chicago while son Donald was born in Tooele, Utah.  I remember my grandmother always wearing a "housedress" and apron with white ankle socks and sandals. 
google images

She had very thin hair which she curled with silver metal curlers.
google images

I know a lot about Adolph and Henrietta ( aka Bockie and Baba) but I don't feel I really know them.  I wish I could have known them in  a deeper sense,  What were their feelings and core values?  From the facts I have discovered during my research I know they were honest and hardworking.  They valued education and loved books and music.  They were optimistic and loving.  They loved their families.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You - Prompt 5 My Childhood Home

Julie Gaucher's series of blog prompts continues with Prompt 5 My Childhood Home.

When did you leave home?
Where was it?
Where did you move to?
Was it rented or owned? – with parents/Grandparents
Was it inherited
What was it like – describe it – each room.
Were there a favourite room?
Is there anything you particularly remember from the house?
The road & area

In the Fall of 1948 my dad was looking for a house for his growing family of six.  As a realtor himself, Dad wanted to move his family from the city of Chicago to the quieter western suburbs.

119 Virginia St.  Elmhurst
photo held by Paul J Hansen, private, brother of the author.

This photo of the house dad found is dated 9/22/48 in his own hand.  I suspect it was taken as a preview shot to get mom's approval.  She must have approved as we moved into the house in December of 1948.  It was a large white two story house with a large front porch.  When I first saw the house there was a large double wide door opening between the living and dining room and the same opening into the living room from the hall. These openings were framed by dark red velvet drapes that were very dusty.  It soon became a game to run in circles from the hall to living room to dining room to hall.  Soon one of the archways was blocked off and turned into a bookshelf in the living room and a closet in the hall when the original first floor office became my parents bedroom.

Upstairs there were 4 bedrooms and a bathroom.  Two of the bedrooms were very large and at times they both held 3 occupants.  The smallest bedroom at the top of the stairs housed a succession of live-in helpers for my mother.  By the time of dad's death in 1959, there were eleven people in the house.  

Mom and her sister painted the ceiling in the downstairs powder room a deep blue and glued silver stars to the ceiling in the shape of the constellations.  It was an effort to teach us some astronomy.  I don't know if it worked but I can still picture that tiny room with it's blue ceiling and large and small silver stars scattered there.  The upstairs bathroom had no shower until my parents added one.  The water pipes to the shower head were concealed by a shelf unit that was also used for storage.  Can you imagine nine children growing up today in a house with a single shower and only one telephone?  Today our house has three showers and everyone has their own phone in addition to the house phone (or land line) and that is for six people.

You can see the front yard in the picture but the backyard was even larger.  There were two fruit trees for climbing and eating from.  The cherry tree yielded wonderful pies but pitting them was no fun.  In addition we could freely eat the pears off the pear tree.  The cherry tree was spreading and a good place to hide and read a book.  The pear tree was as high as the telephone wires and a special challenge to climb.  The previous owners of the house must have been gardeners since the backyard also had lillys of the valley, peony bushes, tiger lillys, lilac bushes as well as a bed of rhubarb.  In addition to making rhubarb sauce every year some times we would break off a stalk and, after rinsing it off with the hose, eat it like a stalk of celery.  I don't remember having a swing set in the backyard but I do remember the slide.  It was magnificent!  It was at least six of seven feet tall.  At one point all of us were arranged on and around the slide for a local newspaper story about how the mother of 8 does it all.  In this picture the slide appears to be close to 10 ft high.  Later we also had a playhouse in the back yard.  The playhouse was built by my Uncle Tom for his daughter Pat and given to us after Pat out grew it.  It was a real source of delight with real windows and doors!

circa 1955 Elmhurst Press Publications original clipping held by author

As in Real Estate, location is everything in a family home.  This house was in an ideal location for our family.  It was one city block from grade school, high school, church, park, library, train station, (mom didn't drive until the 1960's) drug store, grocery and butcher store, and laundry.  For big shopping trips, mom would walk to the A&P or Kroger store and dad would pick her up on the way home from work.

After dad's death in 1959 mom and the younger children remained in the house until 1971 when mom moved to Florida for her health.  The house is gone now, demolished in favor of condos close to the commuter train station, but I will always remember it fondly as I hope my siblings do.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Book of Me Written by You - Prompt 3 Your Physical Self

Thomas MacEntee has posted prompt 3 of Julie Goucher's meme "The Book of Me Written by You".
[Editor's Note: GeneaBloggers is participating in The Book of Me, Written By You project created by Julie Goucher of the Anglers Rest blog. The concept: a series of blogging and writing prompts that help family historians capture their own memories and write about themselvesClick here for more information.]

Prompt 3: Your Physical Self

  • Your size – clothes size
  • Scars
  • Eye colour
  • Draw your hands
  • Finger Prints
Although of average size when I was born, by 8th grade I had reached my full height of 5 ft 9 inches.  Clearly one of the tallest girls in the class.  I have recently become a concentrated version of myself at 5 ft 8 inches.

Most of my adult life I have been a size 14 of 16 although shortly after my husband's death I dropped in to the size 8 to 10 range.  This was probably due to a combination of grief and the cancer of which I was unaware.  I am vain enough to have reveled in the ability to wear a size 8 or 10 in spite of my grief.  I had completely skipped those sizes when I was growing up.  At one point in our mid-thirties Dave and I looked at ourselves and didn't like what we saw, so together we worked to change it and lost the equivalent of an entire person between us.

1996 One of the Florida Years

I was born with blue eyes and strawberry blond hair.  My eyes remained blue while my hair has been every shade of blond through light brown and auburn.  Since my chemo it is a silvery white which I like so I am leaving it that way.  If I change my mind, I will change the color..

My hands are average sized with what my mom referred to as "piano fingers".  I think it referred to the fact that they are long and slender.  I wear a size 5 ring on my ring and little fingers and a loose size 7 on my middle finger.  I have never changed ring sizes since 17 which is the first time I had a real ring.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Book of Me Written by You - Prompt 2 My Birth

Posted on Saturday by Julie Goucher in The Book of Me Written by You
The Prompt for week 2 is Your birth
Do you have any baby photos?
Where were you born?
Who was present at your birth?
What day was it? Time?
Did you have hair? Eye colour
Are you a twin?

I was born at 12:10 pm on Tuesday October 6, 1942.  I was the first child born to Betty Connery and Donald Hansen in what would eventually become a family of nine children.  West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Illinois is where I made my debut.

At birth I had strawberry blond hair and blue eyes.  I had a deep cleft in my chin and a "ski-jump" (slightly upturned) nose both courtesy of my father.  As far as I know only my mother, the attending physician, and a nurse were present.  My weight was 6 pounds 13-3/4 ounces.  While I don't have a record of my length it was probably about the average at the time of 18 inches.

I was baptised on November 1, 1942 at St Mel's Church in Chicago.  My godparents were my dad's sister and my mother's brother-in-law.

One month after my birth my cousin Patricia was born and she would become my earliest playmate.

Patsy and I learned to share at a very young age!  I am the one on your left.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Book of Donna Written by Me

[Editor's Note: this week and for the next 15-months, GeneaBloggers is participating inThe Book of Me, Written By You project created by Julie Goucher of the Anglers Restblog. The concept: a series of blogging and writing prompts that help family historians capture their own memories and write about themselvesClick here for more information.]

The Book of Me Written by You

 1 I am a mother
 2 I am the oldest of nine children
 3 I am a sister
 4 I am a grandmother
 5 I am a widow
 6 I am a researcher
 7 I am a reader
 8 I am a family historian
 9 I am a Girl Scout leader
10 I am a traveler
11 I am a regular church attendee
12 I am a volunteer
13 I am a sharer
14 I am a facilitator
15 I am a lover of music
16 I am a seamstress
17 I am creative
18 I am a survivor
19 I am a procrastinator
20 I am a blogger
21 I am a Texan by way of Chicago, Florida, and Kentucky.

I am sure I could add to this list and I will as this meme continues.  Perhaps I will elaborate on some of these in future blogs.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blogging for Cousins

On July 17, 2013 I was on the way to Colorado with my daughter and two granddaughters when I idly checked my e-mail.  Just because I could.  (Love my smart phone!)  In awe I saw an e-mail from Anders in Norway.  While I am not sure, I believe that Anders is the grandson of Edit Hansen de Lange the daughter of my Great-grandfather Adolf Hansen and his second wife Nathalie Bull-Egeberg.  Eventually I hope to get it all figured out but for now it is enough to say that my Great-grandfather married twice and had two sets of children.  Four of the children from his first marriage (including my grandfather Adolph) immigrated to the United States in the 1890s/1900s.  His other children remained in Norway.  It has long been my wish to make contact with those still in Norway.  Now through the internet and blogging it is beginning to happen.

When Anders contacted me, he included some notices that Adolf had placed in a Norwegian newspaper in 1887 regarding the deaths of his wife Dorette and infant Aagot Dorette in June and July of that year.  I never knew about Aagot!  I knew that Dorette died in 1887 but did not know about the birth of the daughter Aagot.  While I have not found an exact translation for Aagot I am guessing it may be the equivalent of Agatha.  It doesn't really matter though, what is important is that I have a new Great-Aunt and I know where she and her mother are buried.
The goodies that Anders included with his e-mail included the history of Christ Cemetery in Oslo where Dorette and Aagot are buried.  I have found the burial records for Dorette and Aagot at the Norwegian Digital Archives and will attempt to determine Dorette's cause of death from there.  It is interesting that it appears that Aagot was not christened but there is a burial record for her.  Maybe she was so ill from birth that she was not predicted to survive.

Anders found my blog while searching for information on his Great-grandfather and has provided me with some important information about Adolf Hansen the Norwegian Composer.  The neat thing about blogging is that it is available where you are.  Without the internet I would not have been able to go as far as I have in my research.  Long live technology!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ancestor Roulette - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!  Here are Randy’s instructions:
Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Spin the Ancestor Roulette Wheel!

1) What year was one of your great-grandmothers born?  Divide this number by 125 (use a calculator!) and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel" - your software will create this - use the "Ahnentafel List" option, or similar). Who is that person, and what are his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three to five facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on this blog post.

I chose to use the birth year of my Norwegian great-grandmother Dorette Christiansdatter.  Dorette was born in 1857.  1857 divided by 125 is 14.856 so I rounded up to 15.  Using Family Tree Maker 2012 I created an ahnentafel report.  Person number 15 in that report happened to be a Great-aunt from Ireland.
Mary Ann Fleming was born 28 Sept 1846 in Ballylanders, Co Limerick, Ireland.  She was the oldest of 12 children born to Thomas Fleming and Mary Hennessy.
Five facts about Mary Ann Fleming are:
·         She married Thomas James Walsh in Ireland and they immigrated to Michigan in 1865.
·         In 1880 Mary’s brother Michael and sister Hannah were living with her family in Port Huron.
·         In 1893 Mary’s house was the scene of the marriage of my mother’s parents M J Connery and Alice Fleming.
·         By 1900 Mary was a 51 year old widow who had born 12 children of whom 9 were still living.  She lived in a rented home.
·         Mary Ann Fleming Walsh died on 1 June 1930 in Port Huron, St Clair, Michigan at the age of 84.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Geneabloggers Church Record Sunday - Another Way to Look

Church records can be used for more than verifying the details for births, marriages and deaths.  They can alert you to the religious customs of the times.  The age at which a ceremony was performed may vary, the type of ceremony and whether it was done as an individual or a class could change.  For instance in the Archdiocese of Chicago during the early 1900s the Sacrament of Confirmation was received as part of a class with one sponsor for all of the girls and one sponsor for all of the boys.   Records kept would depend on the specific religion.

While searching for an individual in the Norwegian records and trying to determine which of several Martin Hansens born at about the same time was the correct Martin Hansen someone (I wish I remembered who so I could give them credit!) suggested that I check the confirmation records to see which of the candidates had survived childhood.  Confirmation was required of all Norwegians between the ages of 14 and 18.  Checking the Confirmation records did reveal the correct Martin Hansen along with his parents.  Working back from there I was able to find the Christening record and also the records of his siblings.  This method could be used with other religions that have other requirements for older children (communions usually at age 7 or 8, and confirmations usually at 13 to 15)

Swedish church records include a "Husförhör" which is a household examination listing everyone, including children, in a residence.  Included in this listing are names, birth dates, relationships and details about when people left a residence and where they went.  This can be extremely useful in tracking immigration.

On occasion, those same helpful church records can prompt more questions than the solve.  My dad's parents (he a Luthuran and she a Catholic) were married in a Nuptial Mass at a Catholic church in Milwaukee at a time when "mixed" marriages were not allowed to have a Mass.  A year later they were godparents to her nephew at a time when both godparents were required to be Catholic.  He was buried in a Catholic cemetery when again the Catholic Church rules did not allow such a burial.  I've given up trying to find an explaination and just accept the facts.  No he never did convert.