Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas traditions

I enjoy traditions.  They are something that I can look forward to.  Christmas is probably the one holiday that we had quite a few traditions. They all revolved around family.  When it was time to put up the tree we dragged an old ragged box out that my parents got when they were first married and we fluffed and sorted the branches of the tree that I grew to dislike as I grew older!  I never understood why we had to have a fake tree.  As an adult I completely understand why we had a fake tree growing up.  Way easier, you can put it up when you want, you don't have to trek through the snow to find one.  You don't have to fight with your sibling over which tree is the very best one.  There are so many reasons that I just couldn't understand when I was little.
We all had to be in attendance when the tree went up.  We turned up the music and all shared in the moments that it took to get the darn thing looking perfect.  I never remember feeling like it was a chore that we had to do, even as we got older.  It was just a tradition that I never grew tired of.
Christmas eve was spent with my dad's side of the family without fail.  We didn't share gifts just a meal and great fellowship with family that we don't get to spend enough time with.  We have tried to keep that tradition as we have grown older but that gets harder and harder with each passing year.  One of the traditions that I mIss very much.  
Our church had an 11pm candlelight service that we always went to.  It was so nice to have our church family be the first that we shared the birth of Christ with.  I am pretty sure our parents did this so that we wouldn't wake up at the crack of dawn to see what santa brought for us.
Christmas day for more years than I can count has been spent at my grandmother's house.  She doesn't travel well any more so it is easier for us to go to her.  We have a very small family so it is easy to just relax, eat and enjoy the company of family.  The kids pull out the 1000 year old wooden toboggan, okay it is more like 50 years old but it feels like 1000!  Our goal as kids was trying to get it to the ice.
My most favorite tradition has been Santa presents.  These are gifts that were on your list.  However, they do not look like what you ordered from Santa!  If you want a car, you get a shiny match box car.  If you want mechanical pencils, you get a yellow pencil that has nuts and bolts attached to it.  If you want a vacation to some place exotic, you are blessed to get a hand drawn brochure of said exotic place.  I lived in Texas for many years and Santa and the elves brought me a package with a snowman inside a jar.  He unfortunately melted by the time he arrived, but it made being far away from my family and my home a little bit easier to handle.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Military records can be very interesting to explore.  I do have the history on my Great Grandfather and I know that he only had to fill out the draft card and never went into the military.  He was a husband, father, and farmer in Coon Rapids, MN

In the United States, there were three rounds of draft registration in 1917 and 1918. The first two rounds included men from 21 to 31 years of age; the third round expanded the registration to men from 18 to 45 years of age. Draft registration was mandatory for men living in the United States, regardless of citizenship status.

A total of 24.3 million American men registered for the draft (about a quarter of the population), of which about 2.8 million were drafted. Another 2 million men volunteered or otherwise enlisted (those who had already volunteered did not have to fill out draft registration cards). In all, about 4.3 million men were actually mobilized, and about 350,000 were casualties, of which about 126,000 were killed. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Was_there_a_military_draft_in_World_War_1

 The best way to find out if you have a veteran in your family is of course to talk to your family.  That isn't always available to most of us.  Search engines are great at finding the missing pieces.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

times slips away

Life has been crazy!  I know we can all say that at various times in our lives.  The holidays seem to make things even crazier.  We travel for Thanksgiving every year and spend a week away.  I get nothing done for that time period.  Here is what I should do:
1.  Keep journals of our family time together
2.  Sort through the tower of photos that I have
3.  Name the people in the tower of photos that I have
4.  Write down as much family history from the people I am with as I possibly can
5.  Read my genealogy magazines
6.  Generate to do lists from those magazines
7.  Make to do lists for my search of family history
8.  Make up a list of questions that need to clarified regarding the family history
9.  Take photos of everyone
10.  Enjoy being with family and being thankful for the many blessings that I have!
How many of those things did I do on vacation?  I'd say 2 of them.  Someday I will have it all together and be able to actually formulate the ideas into some sort of order!
I have the desire.  Just not the motivation!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Language barriers!

I came across this card with pictures in it the other day at my grandmother's house.  I do not speak Norwegian so I have no idea what it says.  One of my projects for the week will be to try and decipher the words on the back of this photo.  The time frame is around the time my grandparents made the trip to Norway to visit with relatives.  I so wish that I had had the opportunity to go with them on that trip!  I had a love for travel even then and I would have loved to meet the cousins that I have in Norway.  My grandfather has passed as has the cousin that he corresponded with for so many years.  You would think that it would be easy to find relatives in this day and age of the Internet but it really isn't.  My goal is to someday make the same trip that my grandparents made to the homestead and to meet the cousins that I long to know.  I have been told that even though we have different language, different cultures and live on different sides of the world, our family has similar mannerisms, personalities and look similar!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I truly lived in the wrong day and age!  My mom's family grew up together, they had Sunday dinner together more than twice a month.  They knew things about each other, they shared life with each other.  When they all grew up they continued to stay in contact with each other.  My mom has 23 cousins on one side of her family and for the most part can tell you where they are and what they are doing now.  I have 6 first cousins.  I love them all.  I have a computer generated relationship with most of them and that is about the extent of it!  It is so sad to me.  I am not a phone person.  I much prefer the internet with Facebook, email and all of the search engines where I can Google all of the friends and family that I don't get to see on a daily, weekly or even yearly basis.
How did we become a society that is in such a hurry?  Why is it so hard to plan a Sunday dinner with family?
I wonder what family will look like when my kids grow up.  Will they be able to say that they have a personal relationship with their 13 cousins?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

official records and not so official records!

"The translation of the German Baptismal Certificate certified that Caroline Bertha, the daughter by marriage of the shepherd Heinrich Moldenhauer and wife Johanna.  (the former Johanna Siewert)"
"September 1, 1875 be born at the town of Klein Schumeck Valdi near the city of Osterode Province, East Prussia.  Caroline Bertha Moldenhauer has been baptized at the local church of Schumeck Valde near the city of Osterode, East Prussia Germany.  At the date of 26th of September 1875."
Schumeck Valde 15th of August 1887
City of Osterode, East Prussia Germany
Rev. Dalkowski
Pastor at the church of Schumeck Valde."
We print the above information for the official record only.  Actually, Bertha Moldenhauer never used the name (Caroline) so from hereafter she will be referred to only as "Bertha". Also, Bertha used the date of September 18th as date of birth so this will be also considered officially correct.
Bertha (Moldenhauer) Barney was born September 18, 1875 in Klein Schumack Valde, Province of Pommer, Germany.  This town is located between the District of Stolp and the city of Lauenburg, Germany.
In October 1881, her parents, Henry and Johanna Moldenhauer, came to America bringing with them their children; Julius 8; Bertha 6; and Leo 1 1/2 years of age.  Their destination was Chaska, Minnesota.  There were nine more children born in this family.

I am very fortunate that I have a record that states my great, great Grandmother was baptized with one name and went by another name.  When you are searching for family members do you use more than one name option?  Did you know that you can abbreviate names, shorten names and even use one or two letters when you are searching for your family?  Don't discount the information that you find just because the name on the record you find may be different than what you have in the family bible!
You have to keep in mind that digital records are all transcribed by a human that may or may not be able to read the original writing.  I did a little transcription a few years ago from the war of 1812.  There were many entries that I had to literally guess the letters or even just put a question mark in place of a letter.
Searching for family can be very difficult.  If you enjoy puzzles, it can be a whole lot of fun when you come across a golden nugget that gives you the full picture of the family!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Do you have a picture in your collection like this?  I have many.  It says on the back:  too many Coon Rapids kids, can't see the school bus!  Really?  How does this help me identify any of the kids in the photo?  Am I related to any of them?  Should I pass the picture around to the elders of my family and see who might recognize the people in it?
I have some clues:  Coon Rapids and School district 2. 
I will try to identify some of these kids by searching the internet for school district 2 in Coon Rapids and see what I can find out. I should be able to figure out a close date because I know that Coon Rapids District 2 turned into the L. O. Jacob Elementary School.  I know that this picture took place before that change happened.  One of my ancestors graduated from High School in 1927 also went to Coon Rapids District 2 so I have some starting blocks with which to figure out this photo.
I have to be honest.  I was never one to enjoy history.  I hated it in school.  I always thought:  Why do I need to know about these people, they are all dead and I have no interest in these things.  Somewhere along the way I have become interested in the time frames of the past.  Mostly, I want to know about what was happening when my family was alive.  How did they survive the depression?  Did it have any effect on them.  Who had to be drafted?  Who actually fought in any of the wars of their time.  There are so many questions that I probably won't find the answers to.  My quest will continue.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Norwegian confusion!

For many centuries Norwegians had only one name -- their Christian, or first name, given the child when it was christened. The second name was the patronymic form -- that is, if a man's first name was Hans, his daughter was (firstname) Hansdatter and his son was (firstname) Hansson. In the 1870's legislation was passed which stated that women should use the masculine form for their patronymic. Therefore, Guri Johnsdatter became Guri Johnson.
Those who lived in rural areas also used a third name to indicate where they lived -- the farm name. When people moved from one farm to another, their last name became the name of the new farm. It wasn't until after 1900 that legislation mandated that people must take permanent family names. Some took the name of the farm while others took the patronymic.  www.rootsweb.ancestry.com

This explains so much!  I have been attempting to unscramble my family history for years now and have always been confused about what I thought were the weird names that I keep coming across.  Now I have a place to start and can track down some of this information.  I guess I now have a project for the week!  I will now be able to link back to the fathers of these women that I am related to.
Johanna Andersdatter
Stina Cleasdatter
Britta Jonasdatter
Maria Nilsdatter
Karen Jonsdatter
Annica Svensdatter


Friday, September 28, 2012

This is currently the oldest picture I own!

I have been quite obsessed in my search for my family history.  My Grandfather unknowingly lit a spark inside of me for this quest of mine.  There are no other family members that share my quest and I am running out of time to get all of the information that I possibley can from the remaining members of his family.  There is so much information and I don't have any idea where to begin to organize it all!
I love old photos.  I am not even sure that I care who the people are in the photos.  However, I have become quite frustrated in my quest to identify people in all the old photos that I have been able to find.  There wasn't a whole lot of writing on the back of any of the photos that I have been able to obtain.  I am guilty of it too.  I just don't always have the time to write it all down. 
My children will be grateful to find that the majority of my collection of photos are now digital with tags on all that I can identify!  I can only hope to pass on a slight glimmer of genealogy obsession to my wonderful kids.  If not them I can hold out hope that my future grandchildren will find some love for the past!