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Posts Tagged ‘genealogy’

Flashback Friday

I’ve spent quite a bit of time sharing history from my dad’s side of the family, so today I thought I’d share one of my favorite pictures from my mom’s side.

This is Simon, somewhere in the photo with his old Calvary Outfit in Europe.

Simon, also known as Sam, was born in 1880 in Transylvania or Hungary (later specified as Austria-Hungary on his WWI draft card). He immigrated to the US at the age of 26, and unmarried. He was one of the many who sailed into Ellis Island, New York. He sailed aboard the Chemnitz.

He married Emma, who immigrated at 15 with her family. Emma and Simon had 9 children, several of which she buried as infants. There are sad stories there that we don’t have details of, and hints of related unfortunate events. Emma passed away in 1926.

Simon passed away in 1945 at the age of 65.

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Flashback Friday

This is one of my favorite old photos of my great grandma, Marbel, from my grandfather’s side of the family. Marbel is sitting on the running board of the car.

She was one of eight children, born in 1896 in Missouri. Marbel and her husband John moved to Ohio from Pennsylvania around 1920 and only had two children (notable because so many of my other ancestors had a lot of kids). They had a 50th wedding anniversary together, which I think is just amazing.

I don’t have a lot of details on Marbel, her likes and dislikes. I love this photo because it seems to contain a lot of personality.

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This is my last post in honor of my grandma, who passed away last year. I am thinking about continuing the old photos though, because I love it. Old photos are so fascinating.

So, bonus! There is more than one photo in this post. It was too hard to write with just one photo, knowing that this is the final in this series and there is still a couple things I wanted to talk about.


This is my grandma, grandpa (who passed away 10 years prior to my grandma), and their first born son, Kenny.

Kenny passed away when he was 12 years old, a freak accident. He was at a pool party, apparently dove into the shallow end of the pool, and hit his head, knocking him unconscious.

It was hard for me to understand the grief I’m sure she felt, before I had kids. Frankly, it’s still hard for me to understand even after having one of my own. On occasion, I think about that morbid scenario, or another where I lose Brian, but I don’t get very far before I stop. It is unthinkable.

A lot of time with my grandma when I got older is wrapped up in family history. More talking, less playing, you know.

Thinking back now, all my family history questions and investigation when I got older was probably hard for her. A lot of photos of Kenny were away in boxes, which I dug out. I looked at his obituary, I took pictures of it. I am sure she had a deep, abiding pain. What would his grandkids have been like, who would he have married, what would he have been.

Then I try and remember this moment above, where we visited her cousin who she hadn’t seen in a long time. They looked at old photos and mementos together, and had fun. I hope that the questions I might have raised in her mind were balanced by remembering the “good old days” as well.

Her funeral was difficult, but I am so thankful to have had one last thing I could do for her, in honor of her. It was soothing, to create the memory boards, just as it has been soothing to write these posts.

I only existed in the last part of her life. But I tried to encompass all her life, and everything I knew about her in these memory boards. Photos on colorful flower paper. Photos of cousins, siblings, baby photos, teenage photos, marriage and vacations, her own children, graduations, and all her grandchildren.

It’s a little mind blowing, when you think about it.

Here I am, with a child of my own, and I can’t help but think about how time moves forward. I only wish that I also live a long fulfilling life (hopefully with less tragedy), with grandchildren I can hope that I touch as much as my grandma touched me.

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In Honor Of

Today I’m taking a step forward and picturing my grandma as I knew her. I’m going to go back next week and show a photograph of her younger, but since we are approaching the last day that I saw her, I thought this would be appropriate. My rules anyway ;)

And, the photo is doubly special since we are sitting in my favorite Red Chair. I actually took this with me a couple years after starting college to my apartment. (Thanks mom, I totally stole this photo from your facebook page)

This is my grandma “grammie” with myself and my brother who was pretty brand new in 1988.

This is how she was and looked like for most of my life. My mom said that we always had a special bond (and apparently my first “on purpose” smile was for her rather than my mom… oops! sorry mom ;)). I used to go stay with her and my grandpa for a week in the summers by myself and often didn’t even look back.

She had the coolest attic and basement with all kinds of hidden treasures. The piano that was supposed to play itself, but I don’t know that it ever worked properly. It was always out of tune but we loved playing on it anyway. They had special grandma and grandpa toys that we only played with when we were there, like Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs. Grandpa had old school games on his old school computer like Trophy Bass, arcade games, Tunnels, and some dinosaur photography game.

She had a lovely flower garden off her porch which I never really appreciated until it wasn’t kept up anymore because it brought bees around. I have an off shoot of her hibiscus plant that she gave me the summer before she passed away which I love.

I loved her wrinkles and saggy skin (and told her so). I loved her pies, and her house, and all the special “breakables” she had. She had little crystal animals and bigger crystal serving pieces. She had cross stitch up all over her house that she had made. I used to draw two flowers which hung up over the couch all the time. But when I made (awful) cross stitch for her and when we gave her little grandma trinkets, she would never hesitate to put them up right next to her expensive decor.

Later, I loved the photos and the history. And things got harder for her (and likewise for us). But that’s a story for writing a little later. This is of happy times: strawberry picking, jam-making (I never really did remember how though), Klondike bars, sprinklers, and the circle swing. She lived a couple streets over from a school which playground we used to go to often with swinging horses.

She did the work of two grandmas, since my mother’s mom passed away when I was very young.

I had the best grandma in the whole world.

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In Honor Of

A pretty terrible thing happened yesterday. A really terrible thing, on a real scale, rather than the exaggerated funny terrible of yesterday’s post. Today I am at my parents, and time is moving forward, but I’m stuck in a little time warp of my own mind. Next week, I may be scattered with posting, with life things.

Here is this week’s old photo, in honor of my grandma.

This is a school picture, appropriate for the time of year, I think. It’s of my grandma’s mother, Ida. I am not sure exactly where she is in the photo, although my grandma pointed her out to me before.

Ida was born to Godfrey and Louise in 1896. She married Carl, who owned a refrigeration company, and they had six children, one son and five girls! The eldest girl was my grandmother.

The first house Ida and Carl owned had just four rooms and no bathroom or running water. They got electricity when my grandma was about 6 years old, and lived in it for 12 more years. I am trying to imagine six children in four rooms and no indoor plumbing, (because yes, all were born here before they moved out of this house according to my grandma), but I can’t. It was a different time.

Ida was a member of the Methodist church and part of the Ladies Quilting Circle. She enjoyed sewing and gardening; My grandma remembered her beautiful rose gardens.

I hope that all these kids grew up, had families, had fulfilling lives, like Ida and my grandmother did.

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In Honor Of

This month, I wanted to honor my grandma, who died last year on September 30 before having the opportunity to meet her first great grandchild.

Along with a couple reflective posts, I thought it would be nice to feature a couple old photos, from her family, once a week. Call it Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday or some other alliterative cheesy-ness, I hope to take a moment each week to feature a photo.

You may or may not know this about me, but I was always very interested in family history (genealogy) and have over 100 pages written about my family history on both sides. Since finishing the book, I’ve taken a break (I wouldn’t say permanent, but you never know). Research is hard work, and I don’t have the time right now. But I hope I will again in the future, perhaps to write about my husband’s side of the family.

Without further ado,

My grandma is third from the left, Gen, sitting next to two of her cousins, Evelyn and Kenneth. The far left is her sister, Ethel. The far right? I don’t know. Plus, there is a cute puppy.

There’s quite a bit of history on my grandma’s mother’s family. My grandma’s mother was named Ida, and her mother and father were born in Switzerland, but emigrated separately. Ida’s father Gottfried (Godfrey) came to America because he had a choice of serving in the Swiss Army at 18 or leaving. He also had cousins in America already, and he came and joined them in that area. Ida’s mother Louisa (Louise) either emigrated with her parents, or by herself at 18 (records are unclear).

Godfrey and Louise married in 1895 and in 1900, Godfrey purchased over 80 acres of land which he farmed, parcels of which are still in the family, including the house. He was also a mechanic, and completed an apprenticeship to the blacksmith trade in America which he had begun in Switzerland. In addition, he worked several steel mills and was known for being one of the best general workmen.

Their children included Martha, Ida (my grandmother’s mother), Erma, and Frederick.  All of these children lived a considerably long time. Martha went on to marry and have children which were my grandmother’s cousins, pictured above.

My grandma often talked about walking through fields around their house and finding “oodles” of arrowheads around. I am not sure where the photo above was taken, but I like to think it was on that farm.

The old house is still standing and in the family for over 100 years (Martha’s daughter Evelyn, pictured above, lives in it). Remarkable, and wonderful.

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A short post on the other stuff I’ve been doing…

In early April, I went to the Ohio Genealogical Society conference and I had a blast! I was so impressed with myself, I normally don’t like doing a lot of things by myself that involve a lot of people, but this was great. I was certainly the youngest person there but no one said it haha. Someday I’m going to get certified… I bought so many books!!

Other than that, we’ve been doing a lot of house stuff. Brian had new basement windows put in just yesterday and he’s been transplanting all our hostas and some other plants out to the back or side of the house since the ones that were in the front will be totally bulldozed when we got the front yard done. Not sure what the timeline is on that.

We painted the kitchen the other day, that was a pain. We still have to paint back behind the fridge and stove and touch up a few spots, but for the most part one coat did it. We still have our old table, I think we’ll be getting rid of that in a few weeks. Brian and his friend JP are putting in new countertop laminate today. Between that and finishing the paint, the kitchen will be pretty much done! OH! And we also got a half size dishwasher last week, Brian found a good deal on craigslist. I’m so excited about it!

This past week I’ve been doing crazy amounts of laundry that I had neglected, and did a pass around the rooms with my new vacuum mom got me. It sucks so good! lol. I’m hoping the new carpet will go in next week, but it depends on Tony (Brian’s sister’s boyfriend) and what time he has available. We’re going to start hanging things on the wall again soon, we haven’t hung any since the living room was painted.

So what’s left? The front yard, a thorough cleaning of the basement, painting the “accent” color of the outside of the house to get rid of the bright green, painting the peeling paint outside the house, fixing the flowerbeds out front after the yard is done, re-cementing the outside porch area, and just maintaining an adequate level of cleanliness to make it easier on us next spring… I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting. Oh, a new garage door Brian wants to do, and maybe new front or back doors. Combining our offices into one in Sir Chewy’s, though that won’t be for a while because will strictly be when we put the house up so we can turn the one room back into a bedroom…

It’ll all be worth it :) The house is becoming more and more pleasant to live in. That’s all for now, because I need to do some cleaning… ciao!

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