Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Dec 7 - Holiday Parties

Did your family throw a holiday party each year? Do you remember attending any holiday parties?

No parties here ~ but please come back tomorrow because we always had a party decorating those Christmas cookies!!

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Please stop over to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Dec 6 - Santa Claus

Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

I'm not sure I understand the last part of the prompt, "Do you still believe in Santa Claus?"  I mean it's not a question of belief - it's an obvious fact!!

I did receive a call from Santa once.  I think I was about 4 or 5 and all I really remember about it is that Santa Claus sounded quite a lot like my Grandpa Ritchie, but again, Santa is just magical like that - he can do anything he wants!

As for letters, I don't ever remember writing one - I'll have to ask my Mom about that.  It  seems sort of redundant to me ~ Santa Claus knows if you've been good or bad so of COURSE he knows what you want.  And besides, I sat on his lap at the mall and told him.  Somehow he didn't seem as happy about it as when I was younger....

Somewhere I have a picture of my dad dressed up as Santa and kissing my Mom - we all LOVED the song, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"  I should have been more prepared for some of these posts - I'll need to dig that picture out. 

I can't believe I almost forgot the BEST Santa story ever - my youngest sister was 7 years old and we were still playing Santa up big time...leaving out cookies etc.  (she was MUCH younger as she likes to say - I was 15 and my other sister was 13 at the time)  After Christmas I was coloring with her (in her new Strawberry Shortcake coloring book!) and she said to me in this very confidential tone, "I know that Santa Claus isn't real, but don't tell Mommy and Daddy I know - it would spoil it for them"  I has SUCH a hard time keeping a straight face!!!  I just made some non-committal noises and kept on coloring. 

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Please stop over to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Dec 4 – Christmas Cards

Did your family send cards? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards? Do you have any cards from your ancestors?

I almost skipped this day, because my family was never much for sending out Christmas cards.  My mother has always been a school teacher and there just wasn't enough time for composing those Christmas letters and addressing cards.  Also, as my Mom herself is first to admit, she was never much into letter writing!

But as I was sorting through a scrapbook I happened upon a publication sent in December, 1961 by People's Federal Bank in Wooster, Ohio.  It was full of various things (apparently my grandmother or grandfather saved it for a house plan it contained) and there was a whole spread detailing the history of Christmas cards so I thought I'd share that for today.  Also, the cover was very cute!

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Please stop over to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Dec 3 - Christmas Tree Ornaments

Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?

 I don't remember any real heirloom ornaments.  There was nothing that had been passed down from previous generations that we put on the tree.  I do remember that we had some favorites though, and my sister and I would try to grab our favorites to hang on the tree.  Yes - competition even at Christmas time!

One year, when we were all grown up and my younger sister was either first married or engaged we came up with the great idea that we were all going to MAKE Christmas tree ornaments.  Each person (I think this was my parents, sister and husband and I) was to make 5 ornaments of whatever kind they chose and then keep one and give one to each of the other people so we would each end up with all 5 different kinds of ornaments.  I have no idea WHY we thought we each would need our own separate stash of ornaments - we usually only had 2 trees...one at Mom and Dad's and one at my sister's house.  Anyway, we thought this was a great idea for some reason.

As it turned out I only remember that my brother-in-law and I completed the task. He hand painted hollow eggshells and somehow managed to attach something to the top to hang them.  I crocheted snowflakes and put silver glitter on them.  I totally forget what the others started (or planned.)  Needless to say, that "tradition" didn't make it past the first year!!  We do still have the eggs and snowflakes.  I'm going to try and get a picture of them from my sister to add here.

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Please stop over to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Dec 2 - Holiday Foods

Did your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?

There is one special things that we always had at Christmas which I've never known anyone else to have.  As a matter of fact when I tell people one of the ingredients they usually look at me like I'm making it up!   It sounds simple enough - it's just a fruit cup with grapefruit, oranges, grapes and sugar.  It's the grapes that make it something rather unique.  For some reason, the grapes that were traditionally used were the kind that had seeds.  Before they could go into the fruit cup the grapes had to be PEELED and then cut in half and the seeds had to be removed.  It's the PEELED part that always causes the stares of disbelief!

Many years when I was a child I helped with that particular task.  I'd have to stopped multiple times and wash my hands and arms as I seemed to get sticky from about the fingertips to the elbows on both hands.  It would take forever to peel the required number of grapes!

This delicacy was particular to my Mom's side of the family.  It was always consumed right before Christmas dinner and was always, at least for the adults, served in an ornate crystal goblet.  For those of us kids who liked this concoction, we usually were served in plastic glasses!

In later years, as everyone started going to less labor intensive holidays, sometimes the person in charge of fixing this would use seedless grapes and NOT PEEL THEM!  We all agreed that peeling grapes was probably rather silly, but it just never tasted the same - or as good - unless the grapes were peeled.

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Please stop over to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ The Christmas Tree

When I was growing up we always had a "real" Christmas tree and felt only pity for those poor souls who thought that an artificial tree was good enough.  As might be evident from the picture here, a real tree was certainly not always a perfect tree!!

One thing I remember about our Christmas trees is that we always put them up on two orange crates covered with a white sheet.  I guess that was to make room for the presents under the tree.  My sister still has a couple of those old orange crates even though they are no longer used for the Christmas tree.

There were a number of my relatives that were total heathens in respect to the "real" Christmas tree idea.  My mother's parents for some years had a tree that I believe was a very early forerunner of today's fiber optic tree.  The catch was that this tree had to have a revolving color wheel to supply the ever-changing colors.  I'm sure that anyone my age remembers these!

I don't remember how many years my grandparents had this type of tree, but I do remember being told by my parents not to get to close - they were always afraid we were going to knock it over.

In later years I remember my grandparents having a little (artificial) tree that they just set up on a table - which still seemed so WRONG to me as a child.  As an adult I have a little more sympathy for the ease of the artificial tree. I will even admit to having a fiber optic tree in my house - but it's only the secondary tree down in the lower level.  The upstairs still gets a BIG tree!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Every Family Has One ~

…a favorite place that is. Or maybe I should say a place that is deeply a part of the family.

Colorado is, without a doubt, our family’s favorite place to be.  It's also the state that defines my mother's side of the family.

William Eickelberg Family
 My family’s history with Colorado goes back many, many years.  This picture of William and Nellie (Auflick) Eickelberg and family would have been taken in roughly 1887/1888 because the baby in the picture, William Jr was born Feb, 1887.  The family moved out to Denver sometime between William, Jr's birth and the birth of his older sister (my great-grandmother) Nelle who was born in 1885 in Indiana. Eventually Nellie Auflick [the mother in this picture] would see her own parents and both her younger brother's and older sister's families move out to the Denver area.  I've posted a picture of Thomas and Margaret Auflick's gravestone in a previous post.

Although I don’t have any pictures, I do know that the Nissen side of the family (my mother's mother's side) was also in Colorado around that time as they were enumerated in Colorado’s 1885 state census.  They lived near Denver, in what is now Broomfield.  On our recent trip to Colorado I was able to stop at Riverside cemetery and photograph this gravestone.  Anna is my great-great-grandmother.  Her husband, August Henry Nissen is also buried in this plot although his name was not on the stone.  He died 06 April 1914. 

Jack H Quick

My grandfather Jack H Quick – the son of the cute little girl in the picture above – was born in Colorado in 1911.   He lived there for the first 30 some years of his life.  I don't know where the picture to the left was taken, but it was someplace in Colorado where he is taking his first steps.

Jack & Belle Quick far right
I know that he and a buddy climbed Long's Peak many times.  They liked to camp up there.   The mountains were always a big part of his life and he spent vacations in a cabin above Denver that his mother owned.  I have numerous pictures of outings that he took with his wife and other couples up to that cabin. 
Not only did he spend time there, but all of Nelle's children and grandchildren spent time at the cabin. My mom is the cutie-pie right in the front with the floppy hat.  They are sitting out on the porch of the cabin.

Jacqulin Ann Quick,
My mother was also born in Colorado.  For the first 8 years of her life, her grandmother would take her to Dewey Studios in Denver to have her picture taken on her birthday.  I have a beautiful group of pictures of her taken there including this one on her 4th birthday.  So, for my mom, both of her parents were born in Colorado and several of her grandparents were as well.  The Colorado mountains are definitely a part of her ancestry!

While I was born in elsewhere, I've been told that I took my first steps in Colorado. My mother and her parents had taken me out to Colorado to visit some relatives that still lived here. I liked the state so much even then that I decided to start walking.

Much later we took an extended summer trip again going out to Colorado to visit my Mom's Aunt Pearl.  My mom took this picture of us that, surprisingly, did NOT cut off any of our heads!  We had a wonderful time and I remember so vividly being up in the mountains standing on top of a snow drift in June - I thought that was amazing! 

We also stayed in that very same cabin of my great-grandmother's.  She was still alive and we visited her and she came up to the cabin with us.  The thing I remember about that cabin - there was no indoor plumbing but the outhouse has a fancy green toilet seat!  Oh, and did I mention the player piano??  Yes, the cabin had a player piano!

We didn’t get to come out as much after that, but when my youngest sister - the cute baby in the sunbonnet - had her first child the family started going to Estes Park for vacation.  The first year is was just my parents and sister's family.  But that started a new tradition and we began going out almost every year.  My nieces and nephew have wonderful memories of hiking in the mountains.  Here they are taking a break and getting their feet wet in a cold mountain stream.

Codi, Colton, Kyli
We also like to drive up what one of my nieces called "the scary road" which is the old Fall River road up to the top or Trail Ridge.  It's a dirt road which now can only be traveled one way - up.  Along the way there are places to pull off and things to see or short trails to follow.  It is usually fairly cold and here one of the girls has "borrowed" her daddy's shirt!

As recently as last week my parents and sister (NOT the baby in the sun bonnet) were out spending Thanksgiving in Estes Park.  We hiked several mornings and one day even got to snowshoe.  My Mom took this picture of my sister and I up at Bear Lake.  Oh my goodness was it cold - and this was the warmest day of the week!

So here's to Colorado, sometimes our home, sometimes our home away from home, but always that place where family memories are made!

Thanks for the poster fM!

This post was written for the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy: "There's One in Every Family" to be hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene. Jasia is looking for 100 posts for this edition - So let's all help achieve that...I'm sure we all have something to share!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ Family Stories

Using the holiday week (and vacation) to catch up on my reading, I was browsing through the hundreds of genealogy blogs I like to follow. I came across a post comparing family stories to gossip and not only that but pointing out that, “gossip is one of the worst traits of humanity.” Wow – so that is pretty much my whole blog. Fortunately, I don’t find the need to believe something just because I’ve read it.

For me family stories are a treasure. They are what put the flesh on the bones of dates and events. I hope that someday I can be that person that Randy Seaver wrote about in a recent blog post.  Being the “spinster aunt” I have a good start – now I would like to work a little bit more on the “wealthy” part!

So, why do I think family stories are important? Well, someday it’s possible that one of my nieces’ or nephew’s children might also be interested in genealogy. They will be able (hopefully!) to find when my mother, their great-grandmother was born, and married and (by then) died. I want them also to know what she was like. After all, she was their mother’s or father’s grandmother – and someone that had a big influence on that parent’s life. She was the “Nannie” that made them quilts and took them hiking out in Colorado almost every summer of their childhood. Maybe they are now vacationing in Colorado as well – a tradition passed down from the time of my own grandfather. There are so many stories I can leave for them so that they will have a better picture of my mother.

A story that I still treasure was told to my by my grandfather – Jack H Quick. He told about being somewhere with his mother and his mother's grandmother, Louisa Eickelberg. He called her "little grandma" and she would have been in her eighties at this time. As they had a number of things to do, and grandma wasn't as spry as she once was, they sat her down in the park and went about their other errands. When they came back grandma was not there. They finally found her in an area where someone was giving airplane rides! As they took grandma out of line (!!) she told them that she had ridden in a ship, a covered wagon, a train, a car and now she wanted to try out this airplane.

Is this literally true? I have no idea because clearly the conversation was not recorded.  She lived to be 92, dying in 1928 when my grandfather would have been 17 so he certainly knew her well enough to have formed an opinion.  Of course he only knew her at the end of her life, but I still treasure this small glimpse of someone I could never know other than through just a few cold facts.

So, that’s my opinion and I’ll keep collecting and recording the stories with the hopes that someday someone in the family might be as interested in them as I have always been.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It Looks So Obvious Now ~

I've admitted it before - I'm the family historian. I'd like to be the family genealogist, but don't always have the time to research as much or as thoroughly as I'd like.  So, as I can, I'm going through my database and looking at ancestors where I think I know everything (all the bmd dates/places) and checking on how and why I think I know.  I've started ordering copies of certificates if I don't have them and I if find they are available.  

I found that the Massachusetts Archives had a searchable index for vital records covering the years 1841 - 1910 so I thought I'd see what they had for the marriage of my great-grandparents, Mary BENZIE and Thomas RITCHIE.  Of course I already KNEW when they were married.  I have this great wedding booklet signed by both of them as well as the minister.  I have always recorded their wedding at 17-Oct-1900.  Their first child, William, was born on 24-Apr-1902.  Very respectable!

It took me a few tries, but finally I found a listing in 1901.  I thought, "Well obviously a well-meaning indexer just has a slip of the finger there!" Anyway, off went my check and request.  On Friday in the mail I received a copy of that marriage record.  Not only did I receive a nicely typed out "official" copy, but for my $3.00 (!!) I also received a photocopy of the page in the register showing the original information.  Big as life it is 1901.

So, let's take another look inside the wedding booklet with the date of 1900:

It now appears that the last zero in the date might have started life as a one!  It gives a somewhat different spin on the wedding in October.  There was Mary, already 3 months pregnant, with her male cousin as witness at her wedding.  Was the couple already planning their move to Ohio?  Certainly by the time their son is born, six months later, they lived in Cleveland, Ohio.  In Cleveland who's to know which year they actually DID get married!

I've looked as several other documents I have - Thomas's petition for citizenship where he give the 17-Oct-1900 date, the 1930 census that asks for age at first marriage.  Both Tom and Mary give ages that would be consistent with a marriage in 1900.  So, I guess I thought I had every reason to use that date - every reason but the best one...consulting a primary source!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Family Events ~ Oct 25 - Oct 31

October 25 ~ On this day in 1937 my grandfather, Jack H QUICK and Olive Isabelle BRADDOCK (nee DUNCAN) are married in Castle Rock, Colorado. This is the second marriage for both.  These pictures from my grandpa's photo album, dated 11-1-1937 were taken during their honeymoon at the Grand Canyon although the background is so faded it is hard to tell.  Fortunately for me, he labeled all his pictures.

October 27 ~ This day is marked by the death in Hempstead, Arkansas in1889 of Margaret Amanda MOUSER, the 4x great-grandaunt of my nieces and nephew.

This day is also marked by the death in Colorado in 1912 of my great-grandfather, John H QUICK.  My grandfather was a 15 months old at the time of his father's death.  This is one of only two pictures I have of John.

October 29 ~ This day is marked by the death in Oyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1929 of Helen BENZIE my 2x great-grandaunt.

October 31 ~ This is a busy day in family history!

First, on this day in 1802 in Oyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland my 2x great-granduncle, Alexander Benzie is born.

This day is also marked by the death in 1892 of the 5x great-grandfather of my nieces and nephew, John Daniel Mouser.  There is a wonderful memorial for him on Find-A-Grave with a picture of his gravestone and some great additional information regarding his will and the names of all his children.

Also on this day in 1896, my great-granduncle, Raymond Rudolph GRABER is born in East Union Twp, Wayne County, Ohio.  [picture to the left is Raymond]

And last, but certainly not least - on this day, an unspecified number of years ago, my brother-in-law, Christian Mathis MOUSER was born.

Happy Birthday Chris!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Magdalena Saurer

This gravestone is a currently unconnected SAURER from Tracy Cemetery in Apple Creek, Ohio.  I believe the official name of the cemetery - if you try to locate it on Find-A-Grave or a map - is Red Run Cemetery, but if you want a local to direct you there - ask for Tracy Cemetery.

Sep 20, 1789
June 8, 1866
76 yrs. 9 mos. 19 ds.
June 8, 1855
[This is my best guess at what it says - although I realize the calculation is off by a month if you use death date & age or birth date and age]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday ~ More from the ACPL

While in Fort Wayne, at the wonderful Allen County Public Library, one of the people on our "guided tour" was busily scouring books for various bits of information. As I mentioned in my fishing analogy the other day, some people like the guide to do everything including baiting the hook, while others just need to be rowed to the right spot and left alone to fish.

Rosalie (Rosie) Day was one of the latter and she has an amazing ability to find seemingly random, un-indexed tidbits of great information.  While any of us could Google "Kosciusko County cemeteries" [well, OK, only those of you who are really, REALLY good spellers could Google anything that starts off with "Kosciusko"!!], Rosie was able to find the exact location, including the row number, of the grave of Simon Wyland.  She has been hoping to be able to visit the cemetery after leaving the library and now she knew just what she needed.

In the Kosciusko County, Indiana Cemetery Records, Vol II by Lester H. Binnie there on pg 44 was this entry:

There was also a nice picture of the layout of the cemetery along with some history.

Rosie is the great-grandniece of the wife of Simon Wyland. Rosie knew where Mary (Long) Wyland was buried in Garnett, Kansas, and wanted to complete the family history by locating Simon's final resting place.

So, after some "fishing" in the library, Rosie and her daughter-in-law Wanda (who took all the pictures you are seeing) were able to go directly to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery and take pictures of the stone Rosie had been looking for. 

Rosalie Day standing next to the stone of her Civil War ancestor, Simon Wyland

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More From the ACPL ~ How We Found Cölpin

[Sorry I didn't update this yesterday as I'm sure you've all been on the edges of your respective seats.  The group went out to dinner after spending the last day in the library and between the somewhat late hour and the wine and the need to get up early today, I opted for sleep rather than blogging.]

So, I left off Friday with the question of where to find Cölpin, or more specifically, in what parish would the church records be found?  I came to the library on Friday morning all ready to tackle what I thought would be an easy "find."  I knew that the ACPL had The Map Guides to German Parish Records books so all I would need to do was grab the appropriate one - Mecklenburg-Strelitz - and find my answer.

First thing on Friday, I grabbed the book out of the stacks and went back to the table to dive in.  Checked the index and NO CÖLPIN!  Now I'm a genealogist after all so I don't let a little thing like spelling deter me.  I immediately look for Kölpin and find not one but two.  The books don't have actual maps - more like general sketches of the area.  They are mostly meant to help you figure out in which parish an already-located town would be.  So I'm trying to figure out generally where these 2 Kölpin's would be but in reading more carefully I see that they are both in Mecklenburg-Schwerin and neither are in Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

 The spelling doesn't concern me, but the location does.  As I mentioned yesterday, William Eickelberg's passport application is very specific in saying he was born in Mecklenburg-Strelitz.  Also, the 1870 census entry that I had recently found shows the birth place of all the members of the family as "Strellitz Mecklenberg."  I have to accept that they knew where they lived and it seemed that neither of the Kölpins in the book could be right.  After dithering around with google maps (and finding in present day Germany both a Cölpin and a Kölpin) and looking at the book for awhile I decided to seek some council from our "guide."

So, Michael looks at the google map locations and we look at a big map in the library but are not further enlightened.  Finally he says that he wants to look at a map resource online that he thinks might help us.  I have to admit that as I am watching him type in "Wisconsin maps German Empire" I'm thinking, "Has he not been listening? - my ancestors were NEVER in Wisconsin, they went to Ohio."  He must have caught that look I have because he sort of chuckled and said that the maps are housed at the University of Wisconsin Madison so that's best way to find them.  OH!

In pretty short order he found an entry for Kölpin as follows:

Please note that the first entry clearly states it's in "Mecklenb-Strel" - YEAH that's what we want!!  So a little more searching and here it is:

What's more in looking very closely at the map I see close by another small town - Spanholz.  In reviewing the passenger list, the people listed right before the Eickelberg family are from Spanholz.  So now, lesson number 27 (or something like that, I've lost count) is re-enforced - look at who else is traveling with your relatives.  Well, maybe not "with" - I don't know that they are together.  But this is definitely another match that tells me this is the correct town.  Wow - I was just so happy at this point.  I've wanted to be able to research my ancestors in Germany and this is the first step in doing that!!

That's not the end of the story however.  With the help of this wonderful map I begin to narrow down, based on the towns around, exactly which parish is correct.  I look up Stargard and some of the others and begin to pinpoint the area.  Then, I decide it's so close to the edge of what I'm looking at, that I need to look at the parish bordering to the south.  I pick a city and find where that is in the book and what do I find?  There, on the page, big as life is listed "Cölpin" the city I was looking for all along!!  I recheck the index a few more times, but it's just not there!

Recounting this story at lunch I came to the realization that I was actually GLAD that it hadn't been there.  If it had I would have simply noted the parish and the numbers of the films that I could look up and been done.  Instead I was introduced to this wonderful map resource.  It's beautiful and I'd encourage anyone with German ancestors to check it out.  If you remember nothing else, just remember to google "Wisconsin map German Empire" and it will be right at the top!

All smiles as we find Kölpin

A big thanks to Wanda Hunter Day, one of the great people I meet on this trip, for capturing the pictures of that fun moment when we spotted Kölpin!