For Momma - Memorial Slide Show (Turn Playlist Music off before watching)

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Next Chapter - Page 2010

I decided to start another blog to document my journey into the next chapter of my life.  A way for me to my express my feelings as I face life as a widow. My personal journey as I struggle to deal with this profound sadness and wonder what God has planned for me.
My new blog is called - "The Next Chapter - Page 2010".  Although this will not be a genealogy blog I invite you to walk with me as I discover what my new chapter will bring. 
My first post, "The Day of Loss", describes the events of the day I lost my husband.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Once Again - Christmas Eve

Once again Christmas Eve has arrived. When I woke this morning the grass was blanketed with snow, the sun was just rising and its' rays were making the snow sparkle. All my trees had a layer of fresh snow on their branches and to me, it looked as I imagine a fairy tale land would be. My mind drifted back in time to the days when Christmas was magical. Trying to be especially good so that Santa would come. Years ago, we lived in Massachusetts and every Christmas we would go to (what seemed to be huge to me) a shopping center called Peabodys. Oh my, the window displays were really something to see with all the glitter and moving figures, to a child of 5 it was amazing.

Christmas Eve we would go to Church where us children would participate in a little pageant, sharing the story of Jesus' birth. When we came home my brothers and I would lay under the tree and just gaze up at all the colored lights and ornaments. Funny how these are the things I remember and not the gifts. Oh yes, it was exciting to open the packages and see what surprises were inside, somehow forgetting what was on the list, and being happy for what was inside. Now, I realize it was not the gifts that made Christmas so special it was the time we shared and the reason we celebrate this day.

This Christmas will be different than those in the past as a touch of sadness seems to fill my heart. But, I do laugh at remembering how my husband would wrap his gift to me in butchers paper. And how he would draw a stick figure man with long arms stretched out to show how much he loved me, and of course it always had a stick-on bow. Funny, I don't remember the gifts that were inside, I only recall how they were all wrapped in love and always made me laugh.
So, this Christmas I will seek out the joy of watching our grandchildren experience the magic, and savor the day with all my loved ones, who are so important to

For we never know what life will hold, we must treasure each moment as if it were our last. Keep your heart open and fill it with love. Shed a few tears, but, remember to laugh.
Hold on tight to those you love. And remember the hope that Jesus brought on this night, and the promise he made, that those who believe in Him will have everlasting life.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thank You Vickie

My friend, Vickie Everhart of Be Not Forgotten, made this beautiful collage for me for Christmas. It's just wonderful and holds special meaning for me. If you haven't visited Vickie's blog - I recommend that you do. Vickie makes gorgeous Victorian collages incorporating photographs and layouts that are outstanding. I always look forward to reading her blog post and can't wait to see her next layout designs. Thank you Vickie - this was so thoughtful of you!

Please visit Vickie's blog and read the poem that she included with the collage at


Saturday, December 19, 2009

To My Geneablogger Family - Thank You

One year ago, on December 19, 2008, I placed my first blog post on Blogger. I started it on a whim, a way to share information about my genealogy research with family. It seemed to be a great medium to track my research and express my thoughts. One day when I logged onto my blog, I noticed someone had left a comment about my first post and had become a “Follower”. That person was Becky Jamison of Grace and Glory. Of course I was pleased to think someone would be interested in what I might write. I decided to visit Becky's blog and also other blogger's sites that she was following. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine there were so many Geneabloggers. I became intrigued with all these people who shared my love and passion for family history. I began a regular routine of reading about their triumphs, and sometimes frustration, in their own research. I devoured the information provided on sites like, Randy Seavers' – Genea-Musings, Thomas MacEntee's – GeneaBloggers and so many others. Research tips and advise that led me to many conquests in my own search.

The one thing I did not expect when I first began my blog was the wonderful people I would encounter along the way. Geneabloggers who encouraged me as I wrote my family history book, “Searching”, and applauded when I completed it. Geneabloggers who cheered when I finally found my great grandfather who disappeared 108 years ago. But, most of all Geneabloggers who have given me such beautiful and thoughtful words as I grieve for my husband. Geneabloggers who understand the pain my heart is going through and are praying for me. Never, did I imagine when I started this that I would become a part of a “special family” of people across the country and the world. So, to my Geneablogger Family, thank you for all that you have given me through your comments. What a blessing you are to me - my “special family". My heartfelt thank you to you all!
Love Ya
Your Sister in Genealogy

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's All a Memory Now....

I've written a few times about being a genea-holic and all that it entails. The constant desire to search for the elusive ancestor and being driven almost to distraction in the search. And when that document, photo or history is found doing the happy dance of joy at being successful in solving the mystery. I've also written about how the information can prove to be bitter sweet when you learn the person you are searching for is not the man you held in high esteem.

I've been fascinated by family history for what now seems most of my life. I've been amazed at their accomplishments and felt their disappointment when life became a struggle. I think of my own grandparents and the things they did to survive and the changes they witnessed in their lives. To realize that in their lifetime they went from depending on horses and kerosene lamps to driving a Buick and learning to use a microwave, it makes me realize how special and incredible their generation was.

Over the last few weeks I've pondered over how those of us living today will be perceived by future generations. Will future genea-holics do the happy dance of joy when they track us down? You may wonder why my thoughts have gone in this direction. I've always been excited to receive copies of documents that in some case have taken years to find, but a few days ago I received a document I hoped to never see. It had all the usual information that through the years I've come to expect, but, this time the information was all to familiar and reality set in. Through my tears I read the name of the deceased, as I continued reading and found my own name as the surviving spouse I fell to my knees. All these years of collecting family death certificates, and being thrilled to obtain them, suddenly I realized the pain and heartache that each represented for their loved ones so long ago. Today I look at my collection in new light and say a little prayer for those who have gone before, because now I realize what these papers truly meant. So from now on with my dance of joy, I will take time to remember what the little piece of paper meant in the lives of my ancestors.

So in tribute to my husband who now rests in the arms of God, I want to tell you of a man who was my companion, my love, my partner but most of all my best friend. He listened to my stories of family long gone for hours and never yawned. When he couldn't sleep he would ask for what we called “mu-mu stories”, and I would tell him about how our ancestors crossed the sea and soon I would hear him snore. Now I wonder who will listen to my stories and share the joy with me as I solve the mystery of the past.

He was not a wealthy man in material things, but rather gathered his riches by sharing his love and friendship with everyone he met. In his world there were no strangers just people he hadn't met, being shy was not a word he knew or understood. He could be a jokester and got a kick out of pulling my leg, you would think after 24 years I would be wise to his ways, but somehow I'd always fall for his gags, I only wish this was one of them and I could have him back.

He grew up in the grocery business and worked as a meat cutter until he retired. He received so many customer service awards I could paper a wall with them. His customers loved him and he them. I heard a story from his boss of how he could make his customers laugh and smile by turning his hat to the side, remove his teeth and with a big toothless grin say, “Can I help you ma'am?”. He said they would laugh til they cried. His antics were many, but I loved how they would make me smile, I'd tell him he was weird and he would just grin a toothless smile.

His life was not without pain and struggle and many things could torture his mind, but somehow together we could make life work, forever lifting each other up. Like all of us he had his faults too, but his beautiful and gentle heart made those faults seem unimportant and irrelevant. He never faltered in his devotion to his family and always lent a hand. His love and willingness to help my parents was more than I could ask. I'd always thank him for the things he did for them and he would just say - “I love helping Mom and Dad!” His love for his daughters and grandchildren was endless and completely unconditional. I knew every day of our married life that his love for me grew stronger as mine did for him. Those 24 years seem so short now and I wonder how they could have gone by so fast. But, as I reflect on all the things we did and shared, I realize how rich and full of love every moment was. Even when we disagreed or argued over what seems so unimportant now, it always ended with, “You're wrong, but I love you any how.”

For now, his beat up old cowboy hat, that he wore everywhere, hangs on a dining room chair reminding me that his love remains, forever in my heart and in this place.

So now I begin a new chapter in my life and wonder what it will be like – being just “me” and not a part of “us”. I know that God has a plan and in that I put my trust.

Our 24 year journey through the good times and the bad came to an end on November 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm, Darrell was swept up into the arms of God our Father in Heaven, his journey on earth ended, but his eternal life was born. In my mind's eye I can see his twinkling blue eyes sparkling and shining as he entered through the gates of heaven into the arms of Jesus our Savior. I know that he must be in awe at the wonders he is being shown. I also know that a special place was prepared for him - because Jesus told us he would. I know that God has wiped all the tears from his eyes and wrapped him in His arms and surrounded him with love. Just as we are celebrating his life with us. I know that Darrell is with those who have been waiting for him and that they are celebrating with the angels as he has returned to our Father in Heaven.

For you sweetheart.

Monday, October 19, 2009

...Inspiration - Letter from 1814 Conclusion

Oltman Behrend Onnen, remains an unsolved mystery in my quest for family history. I do know that he was born about 1738 near Uttel, Germany, that he married Hille Catherine Badberg and that they had a least one child, Gralf Onnen who was born in 1819. At this point only his letter remains. The letter must have been a very special memento of my great grandmothers. My Father tells me that she kept the letter hidden in a small hole near the kitchen stove pipe. When she died, my grandfather retrieved the letter and it was later given to my Uncle, for safe keeping and now his sons are left to safeguard the only remaining record of this young man, who once fought against Napoleon.

And now the conclusion of the letter:

Early July 2, 1814

“The Frenchmen had blown up the bridges so we had to find some other way. The artillery fire lasted until late that night and on the 4rd the capitulated and all fighting stopped. The 4th, 5th and the 6th we stayed in our camp and on the 7th we had church services to thank the Lord that he so tenderly protected us. The theme of the sermon was: What would it prosper the people if they conquer the world and lost their soul. We sang the hymn: Praise and Thanks to God.

“We camped on the outskirts of Paris until the 10th, then we marched through Paris and beyond it, we ran into a little fort. We surrounded it from the 11th to the 15th when they flew the white flag and surrendered.

“That evening we remained in a little village between Paris and the fort. All the people had left their homes and we took quarters in them. We got plenty to eat and we lived as well as at home in Ostfriesland. Some say we are going to march toward the border of Holland or even to Ostfriesland, may God grant this to be so.

“Well, this is all I know to report now, and you dear parents, brothers and sisters and all friends and acquaintances, stay well.

“May the Lord protect you. I remain with high esteem, Your obedient son until death.
Oltman Behrend Onnen”

For most of us geneaholics it only takes that one look into the past to spark an interest in genealogy and the history of our families. This letter certainly provided that spark for me and continues to fuel the flame.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

...Inspiration Continued – 1814 Letter Continued

General William Frederich Bülow
(This image is in the Public Domain
Because its copyright has expired)

“We bombarded Napoleon's Coach”

Oltman Behrend Onnen's letter to his family in Ostfriesland, Germany appears to have been written over the course of two months, beginning June 15th and ending around July 10, 1814. This is the second part of Oltman's letter and begins on June 19, 1814, somewhere near Beaumont, Belgium.

June 19, 1814
“On the 19th we again pursued the Frenchmen, at one point we bombarded Napoleon's coach which he deserted shortly before. We found a number of treasures in it. We marched the entire day until 11 o'clock and slept again under the sky being pretty hungry. The Frenchmen had everything pretty well consumed. On we went the next day the 20th all day and on through the night. The name of the town where we finally camped was, I think, Beaumont.

“On the 21st we surround the fortified city of Vienne, there was a strong resistance, but a lucky shot from our artillery hit the French powder magazine so that the fortification blew up and we had the fort in our hands.

“On the 22nd we marched on again until late at night. The 23rd was a day of rest, but there was not much rest since it rained all day, so that we were wet to the skin. At 10 in the morning of the 24th we went on and the next days to the 26th, we hardly encountered any enemies. The 27th we got to Compiegne here is where Bonaparte had his castle. When we got to this town the Frenchmen tried hard to throw us back, but they were unsuccessful. On the 28th we got to a town, where the enemy had hidden like snipers, but we pushed them on and our cavalry chased on and captured many of them, also two cannons which were drawn by mules.

“On the 29th we were only three hours away from Paris. On the 30th we rested until 10 o'clock that night, but then followed a 36 hour march to and around Paris. It was so hot we could hardly stand it.

“Early, July 2nd and again we were called to the weapons, and our general told us, “Boys, you had a bad day yesterday, but today we have to be especially brave. We have to take Paris or we are lost.”

Compiegne Castle

Join me tomorrow for the conclusion of Oltman Behrend Onnen's letter of 1814.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Where does your inspiration come from? Continued

“During the night we
slept among the dead”

Like a window suddenly blown open during a storm, these words written by my great great great grandfather 195 years ago, drew me in to the world of genealogy. My Uncle had discovered the letter in some papers that my Grandparents had. Of course, not being able to read German made the letter with a date of 1814 intriguing to say the least. A cousin was able to transcribe the letter. Behrend Oltman Onnen's letter revealed the horrors and sadness of the war with Napoleon's French Army. Behrend was 21 years old when he wrote this letter to his family in Ostfriesland, Germany.

“Dear Parents, Brothers and Sisters,

"Now I want to tell you about our march from Wangrenie to Paris. On the morning of June 15th at seven o'clock we marched against the Frenchmen and there was artillery fire all around us and we could notice the Frenchmen coming closer to us and toward evening we were very close together, we had our quarters under the stars that night. This was the first day.”

“On the 16th of June in the morning at 5 o'clock we marched beyond the village where the battle took place, in the afternoon at 2 o'clock we marched to the village and got into fighting immediately and came so close to each other that we fought them by hand and took them prisoners.

“Bullets flew like hail from heaven and a person should think it impossible that anybody would survive, but the hands of the Almighty can protect and save you. Toward evening we were really in a mess, we were of the opinion reinforcements would move up, but instead they were Frenchmen. It was impossible to retreat, but fortunately we got out of the squeeze. We dispersed in groups of six and seven men. On the 17th we got together again and there were not too many missing.

“On the 18th the shooting began again and in the afternoon at three o'clock we got orders to march on, There was heavy artillery fire and it was toward evening when we reached the real battlefield.

“Here General Bülow got behind Bonaparte's army and soon all shooting stopped. We marched over battlefields which were a terrible sight, left and right there were wounded screaming and shouting, and dead ones not by the tens or twenties but by the hundreds and thousands.

“During the night we slept among the dead ones and I wondered whose heart was not touched, hearing and seeing such lamenting and sorrow. I have witnessed it and seen it with my own eyes.” (Letter to be continued in my next post.)

I wonder how many years it took him to forget the horrible things he witnessed or if he ever did.
Join me again when the letter continues on to the events of June 19, 1814.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Where does your inspiration come from?

I've often wondered what in the world would possess someone to want to dangle off the side of a rock cliff, relying solely on the strength of a skinny rope attached to hooks that have been pounded into solid rock to keep them safe. Just looking at photographs taken from those climbs makes my stomach do flip flops. What's their inspiration? Some say it's the adrenaline rush they get during the climb. For some it's conquering the mountain, as if they were slaying a dragon. For some it's just proving that they can do it.

I'm not “into” all that danger, maybe it's because I can remember how bad it hurt just falling off my bike as a kid, but I can relate to the adrenaline rush. Back in the '70's, when I was still young and dumb, I climbed one of the Flatiron Mountains behind our house in Boulder. The only reason I did it was to prove to my brothers, who had climbed it many times, that their little sister could do it too! These days I get woozy just climbing my step-stool!
We are all inspired by different people and things throughout our life time. My neighbor and I have been carrying on what we like to call "our midnight chats". Lately those conversations have been about the people that have inspired us to be so passionate about family history.

Was there one person or some artifact that inspired you to become passionate about genealogy?
There was for me. Come back and visit me when I share my first inspiration into the world of my ancestors.............

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Ties That Bind - Nominated in Family Tree Magazine for Top 40 Genealogy Blogs

Family Tree Magazine is running a contest for the top 40 Best Genealogy Blogs in 10 different categories. There are over 130 bloggers competing in the competition and they are all outstanding and well worth reading. Footnote Maven has done a wonderful job outlining all

the blogs and categories in the competition on her blog, so if you aren't familiar with all the nominated blogs, you'll find a very helpful list of all the nominees and links to them at footnoteMaven's blog.

I am honored to be one of the nominees in the "Personal/Family" category 10. To be nominated with so many fabulous writers is more than I could have ever hoped for when I began my blog last December! Thank you to all my readers for this honor - I'm on cloud nine!

You can vote as often as you like here and you'll notice that you can vote for more than one choice in eight out of the ten categories.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Night Fun with Randy - Favorite Music

"It's Saturday Night - time for some Genealogy, and Family History, Fun!Here is your assignment for the evening - if you wish to participate in the Fun (cue the Mission Impossible music):1. What is your all-time favorite song? Yep, number 1. It's hard to choose sometimes. If you made your favorite all-time Top 40 music selections, what would be #1?2. Tell us about it. Why is it a favorite? Do you have special memories attached to this song? 3. Write your own blog post about it, or make a comment on this post or on the Facebook entry." Here's mine:

Well Randy has come up with another idea to tax our brains! It's very difficult to pick my number one song of all time. There are so many categories that my favorites fall into - but this evening I choose one that brings back happy times from my childhood. Johnny Horton's - The Battle of New Orleans. I had a small turntable that was in a box much like a suitcase. I don't know what ever happened to it. I'm actually surprised that I don't still have it! ha ha - I was a silly little 7 year old when the song first came out in 1959. My girlfriends and I would sit on the stoop and play our 45 records all afternoon. Maybe some of you don't remember 45's? We must have played that recording a gazillion times. We thought it was so so funny when Johnny would sing - "we grabbed and alligator and powdered his behind" - of course at 7 we thought that meant they spanked the gator. I still have that old 45 - those were the days my friend - those were the days.

You can listen to the song by clicking on this link to YouTube:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Searching - The Habben/Ufkes Families"

The publisher has made all 320 pages of my family history book titled "Searching - The Habben/Ufkes Families" available for viewing. I hope you'll take a moment to glance at all the beautiful photographs of my ancestors from the 1800 and early 1900's. Just click on the "Searching" preview badge to the right on this page.

If you are wanting someone to put your family history and photo's into a quality bound book keep me in mind.

You Can't Get Rid of That - Continued

I also brought home a small box filled with goodies. Most of the things in the box were just little mementos of vacations that my folks had taken. A couple itineraries and hotel confirmations from the 1980s and'90's, and some post cards they picked up on their travels. But, there were also several old old pairs of glasses. Mom had always planned to make a shadow box to display the glasses. But, like all of us, there always are so many projects that we want to do that we just can't get them all done. (Maybe I'll have to do that now.) I thought of Footnote Maven when I was looking at the glasses as I know how much she loves the “ladies in glasses”.

One of the pairs was in a little wooden shipping box. The wires for the ear piece is so thin it's amazing that they lasted. The glasses were packed in tissue paper in the box and as I removed the paper here was an envelope marked Riggs Optical Company, Manufacturer's Jobbers Importers. Apparently the glasses had originally been shipped to a Dr. N. T. Johnston in Upland, Nebraska for my Great Grandmother. I tried to do a little research on both Dr. Johnston and the Riggs Optical Company but haven't found anything so far. Another pair is in, what I thought was a stiff cardboard or plastic type tube case. But, when my Hubby was examining it he seemed to think the case was made from dried leather. The third pair of glasses has round lenses and the frames appear to be made of sirocco.

There was my great grandpa's money purse – and yes I checked it to see if maybe my Great Grandpa had left any money in it – and there was! Don't get excited, it was just a penny – but the date on it was 1919. I'm not sure but it looks like this penny might fetch as much as 14 cents. It only took 90 years for it to be worth 14 times what it was when it was minted.
There was a small little envelope and in it was something only a Mother would keep. A note from me to her written when I was about 7 years old.

Oh dear, what drama!

And lastly a box filled with my Dad's Air Force uniform ribbons and pins. My Dad retired from the Air Force in 1962 with 21 years of service. I can still visualize his dress uniform with all the ribbons on it and the “U.S.” pins on the lapels. A little blue box held his World War 2 Victory Medal which I had never seen before. Oh dear, where did all those years go?

I brought home a lot of things that I probably didn't need and a few things that are part of my heritage. Someday, when my stepdaughters are cleaning out all the things I no longer need, I'm sure they will wonder, why in the world I've kept so many things. But, I'll bet they will haul them all home to their houses the same as me – and they will say – You can't get rid of that! – I'll take it home with me.............

Monday, September 21, 2009

You Can't Get Rid of That! I'll just take it home with me.

Last year my folks decided it was time to downsize. So the process began – and I do mean process! During the course of sixty-seven years of marriage you are bound to have quiet a collection of things. And believe me when I tell you my folks had a lot. The storage room shelves were filled with gadgets – some given by us kids at Christmas time as the latest and greatest new thing. Great if you can figure out how to use it! Ha ha! There was an array of cookware used only during the holiday – after all how often does one use a casserole bowl big enough for a 20 pound turkey or a salad bowl big enough to hold 6 heads of lettuce? But, when you need it, that stuff comes in real handy. Then there was the shelves filled with beautiful Christmas decorations and craft supplies. Oh my – what to keep? What to surrender?

Then there was my Dad's office where every drawer was filled with supplies. I'm telling you – enough to open his own office supply store. Boxes and boxes of pencils of all types, index cards and paper clips – oh my. I won't even try to tell you about his supply of tools – but does anyone need an electrical current detector manufactured somewhere around 1940?

Upstairs there were blankets and linens galore. Towels that I remember using when I lived at home 40 years ago – but, really still in good condition. Did I mention that my Mom is meticulous? I think it comes from being raised during the depression when what you had was so hard to come by – so it was treated very carefully. If something had a small tear it was repaired before it was ruined completely. Because you may not be able to get another.

Well Mom spent literally months sorting things. The things she wanted to keep were packed and the things that she intended to get rid of were sorted into various piles. Craft supplies to the Church, and some for friends that could use them in one pile. Blankets, towels and cookware to be donated to charity in another pile.

As the move to their new town home grew closer I started going over to help her pack. And that's when it happened. One look at the “get rid of piles” and my attitude of - “You can't get rid of that – I'll just take it home” kicked in. It all went kind of like this:

“Mom – you can't get rid of that pan! After all it's the pan you've made our traditional Christmas cookies in for the last 50 some years”. Oh I can just taste them now – a delectable maraschino cherry cookie bar with coconut – I'm telling you – just to die for. I remember my brother would find the jar of maraschino cherries in the fridge and scarf them all down, so she would have to hide them. The cookies are one of those things that unless you have them at Christmas time – well, it's just not Christmas! She kept the pan.

Then there were the blankets. “Mom – some of these blankets are brand new – and aren't those over there ones that are hand made?” And she would answer - “Yes, Terri, but I don't need them and I have no use for them.” To which I would respond - “Well we can't get rid of those – I'll just take them home with me. After all some of the hand made quilts have pieces of our pajamas in them – you know the ones – flannel with cowboys or ballerina's on them. Not only that but they were made by my Grandma – that makes it a heirloom. Towels? - Oh don't get rid
of all of those old towels – we can always use those when we wash the car. I'll just take those home with me. That big pile of throw rugs – well I could use some rugs – I'll just take those home with me. The boxes of mechanical pencils and other office supplies – Yep you guessed it – I took those home too!

Do you see the pattern that is emerging here? Every time I would bring another load of things home, my understanding hubby, would just shake his head and ask - “Now where are you going to put that? I really hadn't thought that far. My own store room is already bursting at the seams with stuff. There are boxes in there that I don't even remember having – but there's always the possibility that I will want to use again. Right? Come on, agree with me! Right? In 20 years or so the grand-kids will probably need it for their first place. Well – maybe?!

I also brought home a box full of special............

To be continued...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Night Fun with Randy - Trading Cards

It's Saturday Night - time for some Genealogy Fun! Each week, a number of devoted Genea-Musings readers accept a Mission Possible - if they choose to. We have had over 60 entries some weeks!For this weeks challenge, please go read Sheri Fenley's blog (The Educated Genealogist) post Trading Cards, Get Your Trading Cards and then:1) Make your own Trading Card(s) on . It's easy to do, but you need a head shot photo of your subject.2) Post your Trading Card on your web site, your blog, or on your Facebook account (or some other account where you can upload a JPG file). 3) Can you think of other uses for these trading cards?

This was great fun!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Willow Valley

Traveling on a gravel road always gives me a sense of home. I think the feeling comes from my youth when the sound of the gravel hitting the underside of the car meant we were close to Grandma's house. On a recent visit to Minnesota my husband and I traveled down a similar road to visit the graves of his grandparents, Victor and Lizzie Paavola. Just a short distance from the intersection of Township Highway and the old Chisholm Road in Willow Valley is where you will find The Willow Valley Cemetery. Nestled in the woods it's a quiet and peaceful place. There are no large statues or marble monuments, just the simple headstones of those that rest there.

As we walked towards Victor and Lizzie's graves I noticed some very unusual mushrooms. Living in a dry climate we only see your basic brown or beige colored variety. These mushrooms reminded me of something you would see in a fairy tale. In fact, when we got home and I downloaded my photo's something totally unexpected appeared. There under a mushroom, that reminded me of an umbrella, was an angel praying.

(OK – I know you don't believe me – and yes I did manipulate the photo.)

Victor, who was born in 1877, emigrated to the US from Finland with his wife, Lizzie. They raised 11 children in a two room house in the back woods of Willow Valley. They never had electricity running water or indoor plumbing. What a challenge it must have been to clear out the timber that was so thick you could barely swing and ax without hitting another tree. Not to mention dealing with bugs so thick you couldn't help but breath them in. And winters of 40º below 0 with only the wood you chopped to keep your babies warm. It certainly makes you wonder what on earth would make them want to live in such wilderness. But, they owned their land and like most immigrants that was everything to them. During the depression Victor went to work for the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) digging ditches along the roads . Sleeping in the ditches at night in the damp and cold ended up crippling him to where he had to use two canes to get around. Neither of them ever learned English, but, living in a Finish community they never really had to. Victor and Lizzie had 40 grandchildren and they called them “gimpy-fadde” (crippled old man) and MuMu (old lady). Of their 11 children 5 were boys. All of their sons enlisted in the service and fought in the European theater during WWII. All five sons returned home safe and unharmed.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Returning Mid-August

The Ties That Bind blog will be returning mid-August. I miss all my geneablogger friends and hope that you will again join me as I share my adventures. I will have some surprising and exciting up-dates to share with you when I return.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July!


"We hold these truths to be self- evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Can you imagine the excitement in the air on July 8, 1776, when our newly formed country celebrated the signing of the "Declaration of Independence", on July 4, 1776?! It really must have been something to witness! The church bells all over town were ringing, canons and guns were being fired into the air, people were singing and hugging in the streets. But, it wouldn't be until 1783 that Great Britain would recognized the United States as an independent nation. The Revolutionary War lasted 8 long years (1775-1783). The American military death toll was around 25,000 men, with an additional estimated 25,000 men that had been wounded or seriously injured.

So please, when your eating your hot dog and shooting off your fireworks - take a moment to remember those who fought for your Independence and the freedom that we enjoy today. And all those who have fought since.

Celebrate Freedom!

Early 1900's - July 4th Celebration - Hildreth, Nebraska.

The car pictured here belonged to my great grandfather, Rolf Habben, and was decorated for the fourth of July parade. I'm sure his daughters played a big part in all the decorations - I don't think they missed a spot to decorate! It must have been a great day, with everyone gathering in town. If you look in the background of the photograph you can see the big tent and picnic tables. I'm sure all the wives were busy cooking that day.

(photograph is privately held - do not copy without permission)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Old School Aint What It Used To Be

“School days, school days,
Dear old golden rule days.
O'read'n and o'rit'n and o'rithmatic
taught to the tune of a
hickory stick.
You were my queen in calico
I was your barefoot bashful beau.
And you wrote on my slate
I love you so, o'love you so
When we were a couple of kids.”
This old familiar school song was written by Will D. Cobb
with music by Guss Williams in 1907.
Last year, I had an opportunity to visit and take some photographs of Forest Valley School, a one room school house, where my mom and her siblings learned their 3-R's, read'n, rit'n and 'rithmatic, back in the '30's and '40's. Forest Valley School, District 51, is located in Lincoln Township just southeast of Wilcox, Nebraska. This rural school house was built in 1880 and continued to operate until 1946.

The old school house ain't what it used to be! Forest Valley School stands in a grove of trees that once covered about 3 acres of land before it was cleared for farming. Today, Mother Nature is trying to reclaim the property. The weathered boards that once kept the cold out are slowly decaying. Most of the roof that covered the school entry, where the children kept their coats and lunch pails, is all but gone now. The school furnishings, that cost all of $13.25 back in 1908, are all gone. Vines and weeds are growing from the rooftop and putting their roots into the cracks. Three foot high grass surrounds it. And the trees are beginning to hide the building completely. The mosquito's were so thick in the grass, that I feared for my life, so I did not venture too close to the building.

The school has been closed since 1946. But, if you close your eyes and listen carefully, you can still hear the giggles of children hiding in the trees.
(photograph of Forest Valley School is privately held,
do not use without permission).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blogger Problems Need Help

Help! I'm wondering if any one else is having difficulty getting into their blog. I have searched and searched for answers on why I'm experiencing so many difficulties accessing my blog. Here is my problem: Every time I open my blog I get a message "Internet Explorer cannot open" - then when I check the error message it tells me there is a DNS error (domain name). I also experience this problem when opening a few other blog sites (but not all). Does any one have a suggestion or know how to correct my problem. My Internet provider has no idea, nor does Hewlett Packard - surely someone knows how to fix this..........??????????? Once in a blue moon I can get into my site -

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Smile For the Camera - 14th Edition - Wedding Belles

The word prompt for the 14th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Wedding Belles. Historically, couples married in the month of June to honor Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. Others did it to time conception so births wouldn't interfere with harvest work. And brides in the 15th century chose to marry in June because it coincided with their "annual bath" - that's right - ensuring a relatively sweet-smelling honeymoon. Show us a photograph of a wedding, a wedding party, a bride, a groom, the reception, or even the honeymoon. Bring them to the carnival and share. Admission is free with every photograph!

One of my favorite photo restorations was of a distant cousin of mine that I did for my family history book - "Searching - The Habben/Ufkes Families".

Julius Mietzner & Lena Habben -August 10, 1909

(do not use restored photo's without permission)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Returning Soon

I hope to be returning soon to my blog as you may have noticed I have not written anything new for a while now.

Through the grace of God who answered those who so vigilantly prayed for my husbands recovery during the last 45 days - I thank you! He continues to improve daily and was able to return home last week. It is wonderful just to have him home and as he continues healing I will again have time to continue my research and share it with you.

I want to thank those who have given me the wonderful awards during my absence. I will acknowledge them over the next few days.

Terri at The Ties That Bind

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Photo Restoration

Recently I had asked Janine at Janinealogy for some expert tips on some old family photographs that I am having difficulty restoring so that I can then colorize them. The problem, as Janine refers to it, is called lighting "blow out". I can restore the photo so that the photograph looks ok if left in the sepia tones, but not as good as I would like, nor does it colorize well. I hope those of you interested in great tips and tricks on photo restoration will take a look at Janine's blog - "Janinealogy" - as she explains things very well and is an excellent teacher. See her instructions to me for the restoration of the photo of my Grandparents, shown below. Unfortunately due to family illness I won't be able to work on this photo for a while - but please check back to see what I'm able to do with her instructions.

Visit Janinealogy at

(photograph privately held please do not use without permission)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thank You Thank You!!

Thank you to Linda at Flipside for bestowing the "Friendly Blogger Award" to me. I'm so honored!!

Also - Thank you to Harriet at Genealogy Fun for bestowing the " One Lovely Blog Award" to me. WOW two in one day.

I'm so sorry I have not responded sooner, but, family illness has prevented me from spending much time on my blog updates. When I'm able to return I will share these wonderful awards with other deserving blogs that I also enjoy!

Thank you Linda and Harriet you don't know how much you lifted my spirits!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thank You Mr. Sabin - Sabin Sunday - April 24, 1960

Recently my cousin sent me a copy of an obituary of one of my great grandparents from the Blue Hill Leader Newspaper of 1949. On the same page, an article regarding a Polio Meeting in Red Cloud, Nebraska caught my eye.

The article brought back a lot of memories of growing up in the 1950's. Being an Air Force Brat - anytime there was a new vaccine the Air Force medical team would set up an area in the school or in the base gymnasium to administer the shots. Picture this - several hundred children - standing in line with their mothers - knowing they were going to get a shot. Oh boy - not much fun for anyone. And of course the closer you got to the head of the line - the more you could hear the ones in front of you screaming and crying, which of course made it much worse.

I also remember the little milk cartons that were distributed by the March of Dimes. We carried them with us on Halloween to collect pennies in - and then turned them in at school. The pennies were used to research a cure for polio and the help the thousands of polio victims. It was a horrible disease that crippled many children.

I remember Sabin Sunday in 1960, when we lined up for the vaccine that would protect us from polio. Scared of yet another shot for a disease a child could not understand. What a pleasant surprise it was when we found out there were no needles - just a cube of sugar! As the old Mary Poppins song goes - "Just a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down!" Wouldn't it be wonderful if all of life's woes could be cured with a simple lump of sugar.

Thank you Mr. Sabin for that Sunday - 49 years ago!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quest of a Genea-Holic - P.H. Gustave Bebensee

I wanted to share the only photograph of my great grandfather, P. H. Gustave Bebensee that we have - I have restored, colorized and altered the photograph to include my grandfather, Gustav Bebensee, at the age of 8.
(this photograph is privately held - do not use restored and altered photographs without permission - thank you)

Quest of a Genea-Holic - Part 4

A true genea-holic will not settle for just bits and pieces of information. Each document that is found is read and reread to find more clues. In the death certificate I learned that great grandpa Bebensee died from acute miliary tuberculosis. So of course I had to look up exactly what that was. Then I proceeded on to find out that in 1914 tuberculosis was in epidemic proportions in the Seattle area. A hospital was opened in Seattle, called Firwood, to help accommodate those with the disease. There are also lists of names of people who were admitted at Firwood. According to the death certificate, my great grandfather, died at home so I did not expect to find him on the patient list, however, I thought possibly his wife, Jennette, may have also contracted the disease, since it was so contagious, and that maybe she may have been at Firwood. But, I did not find any information about her there.
I next contacted the Seattle Library through ask-a-librarian, to see if they could find an obituary. Their response was surprisingly quick, although they did not find an obituary right away, they did locate Gustave and Jennette Bebensee in the R. L. Polk Seattle City Directory, for the years 1912 and 1914. So now I knew that sometime between 1910 and 1912 they had moved from Los Angeles to Seattle.
The 1912 directory lists them living at 1229 Third Avenue North. And Gustave's occupation is listed as interior decorator. In the 1914 directory, they still live at the same address, but, the occupation is listed as electrician. It appears that after 1914, Jennette, either moved away or possibly remarried.
The librarian, Mary, informed me it would take them about a week to find and obituary. Mary, not only found his death notice, but, also the obituary in the Seattle Intelligencer, on May 8th and May 10th respectively. I had hoped that there would be a full obituary, one that would outline his life history. Within in the obituary I did learn another tidbit though. Great Grandpa had been a Mason, and belonged to the Alki Lodge #152, F and A.M., and the Masons had sponsored his funeral. The Lodge was established in 1906 and is still in existence today. I have contacted them and am waiting to hear what they might find, if anything.

Seattle Intelligencer - December 8, 1914

"BEBENSEE - At the family residence, 1229 Third avenue north, December 7, 1914,
Gustave Bebensee, aged 57 years. Member F. and A.M. Announcement of funeral hereafter.
Remains at the parlors of Bonney Watson Company, Broadway at Olive Street, opposite
Broadway High School.
Seattle Intelligencer - December 10, 1914

"BEBENSEE - At the family residence, 1229 Third avenue north, December 7, 1914. Gustave Bebensee, aged 57 years. Member F. and A.M.
Funeral service will be held at the parlors of Bonney-Watson Company at Olive street, opposite Broadway High School, Sunday at 1 PM under auspices of Alki Lodge Number 152. F and A.M.
Brother Masons and friends are invited to attend. Internment at Lake View Cemetery."

The death certificate also revealed that he had been cremated and the undertakers name. They too are still in existence. I contacted Bonney-Watson Company in Seattle and spoke with a very nice woman by the name of Denise. She told me that unfortunately the records from those years are in very bad condition. But, she promised to see what could be found. Denise, advised me that he probably was buried at the Lake View Cemetery, and that I should try to contact them also.
Denise's guess was right! Upon contacting Lake View Cemetery, I found another kind woman, who looked through all of the records for me. When she did not find Bebensee, she did not give up, she continued checking by using the death date and variations in the spelling of Bebensee. Lo and behold, she found him, a misspelling of Bebensee to Bedensee was found. She gave me the location of his grave as, section 15, plot 11, D20B. I also learned from her that since my great grandfather had been a Mason, that was probably why he was buried at Lake View. The Lake View Cemetery was originally started by the Masons in 1872. At that time it was called The Seattle Masonic Cemetery. In 1890 the cemetery name was changed to Lake View Cemetery and is located in the Capital Hill area of Seattle. But, was there a tombstone?

A quick search through Find-A-Grave did not produce any results, however, I did locate a volunteer who maintains information on the Lake View Cemetery. His name is Nils Solsvik. I quickly shot off an email to Mr. Solsvik, and he kindly agreed to go to the cemetery and photograph the tombstone, if one was there. I was amazed when the very next day I received an email from him stating he had been to the cemetery. He had originally indicated to give him a week or so to accomplish it. Mr. Solsvik also searched through the cemetery records, to see if Jennette might also be buried there. Jennette, was not buried at Lake View Cemetery, at least not with the last name of Bebensee. From Mr. Solsvik, I learned that my great grandpa was not interned right away either. He was not buried for almost 5 months – on May 20, 1915. Why the delay? It's a puzzle – I'm guessing – lack of funds?

There was no tombstone, but, Mr. Solsvik took about 25 photographs of the area where he is buried and the surrounding area. I am very appreciative of Mr. Solsvik for going out of his way to take these photographs and for allowing me to share them with you. Seattle and Denver are many miles apart, and who knows if I would ever be able to go there to do this myself. A special Thank You to Mr. Solsvik – and the people who volunteer to lend a hand to others in this way!

I have contacted the Alki Lodge in Seattle and am anxiously awaiting news of anything they many be able to tell me. I'm told not to get my hopes up for any more information then that he was a member - but it's hard not to hope for more.
I want to take a moment to thank the many people who have helped in the search – Washington State Board of Health – Denise at Bonney Watson – Mary at Seattle Library, Ask A Librarian – Mary at Lake View Cemetery – Nils Solsvik a Find-A-Grave volunteer – and to James Tanner at Genealogy Star who prompted me to take a second look at the Family Search Pilot Program! Also, to Randy Seaver, who so kindly included me in his “Best of the Best” posts for mentioning my story.

I continue my search for Jennette in hopes that I can make some connection with her family. Always hoping that someone may know more of the secret life of Gustave Bebensee.

I hope that I will be able to share more with you all in the near future.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quest of a Genea-Holic - Part 3

I am a genea-holic! Are you? Those that are will fully understand the concept of the “happy dance of joy”. Those of us who search for our ancestors know the joy of at last locating the missing link – that one piece of information that ties our entire family history together. Sometimes we find that we share DNA with extraordinary people who have accomplished great deeds – but for most of us we find people who worked hard, loved their families and just made the best of life that they could. It's exciting when we find out our great great great grandpa was the mayor or that our great great grandma was a suffragette. But, sometimes the joy can be bitter-sweet.

As I filled out the search boxes on the Family Search website I honestly did not expect anything to come up. Years of filling in the same information –“ Gustav Bebensee – born 1863 – Germany – Died ? - emigrated 1898” with no results made me skeptical that there would be anything new. For I had fully convinced myself that aliens had abducted him. My computer was running a tad slow that day so while it loaded the information I ran downstairs to get a cup of coffee. When I came back the information had loaded and as I sat down, coffee cup in hand, I saw what my eyes could not believe. I started shaking so that the coffee in my cup nearly drowned my keyboard. Oh my gosh can it be?! I thought about taking some Valium, my heart was pounding, and I could feel the adrenalin rush through my veins. OK, I thought calm down – figure this out – don't get ahead of yourself. (ya right!)

So slowly I read through the information:

Gustave Bebensee
Washington Death Certificates – 1907-1960
Death Date: 07 Dec 1914
Seattle, King, Washington
51 years 3 months 14 days
Birth year: 1863
Married – Jennette Bebensee

I was sure this was at least the same Gustave that appeared on the 1910 California Census. It took me a little bit to figure out if the birthday matched – geeeze - how many days in November, October and September are there? Ok, I'll admit it – I had to look it up. Oh my – that worked out to August 23, 1863 – my great grandpa was born on that date. I thought maybe I was just making it worked so I called my brother in Ohio and asked him to calculate it – he came up with the same. After looking up the Washington State Board of Health and finding out that they charge $32.00 for a death certificate, which I thought was extreme, I was a little hesitant about the cost. At long last to be so close and yet needing that document to let $32 stand in the way seemed kind of dumb – but what if I get it and it's not him - $32 is a lot to pay for some other Gustave. It only took a little nudge from my Mom though and I ordered it. Within 4 days I had the document in hand. I'm 99.9% positive that this is my great grandfather. There are a few elements that are missing that would really cinch it – his parents names are not on the document, apparently his wife, Jennette, either did not know or it was omitted.

You would think after so many years and generations of search that I would be doing the happy dance of joy in hip-hop style – to be the one that finally tracked this man down should be reason to shout it from the roof top – but for me it was bitter-sweet. An overwhelming feeling of grief came over me and I felt an unexplained pain settle into my heart. The news meant that he didn't die some tragic death in an earthquake. It did mean that he chose to start a new life – one that did not include his children. My thoughts went to my grandfather, his son, whose dancing blue eyes filled with tears as a boy, longing with all his heart to be reunited with his father who he loved so. I'm glad he didn't know – so glad he didn't know the truth................

But wait - there's more - join me as my quest for information continues..........

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Quest of a Genea-Holic - Part 2

My grandpa Bebensee had sparkling blue eyes that seemed to dance when he smiled, but, if he was riled they could pierce through you like a knife. You towed the line with Grandpa – no messing around – now that's not to say you couldn't have fun, but, you better not cause trouble or there would be a price to pay. Grandpa loved to sing, I can still see him standing there singing “Oh, I wish I were single again – for my pockets would jingle....” and he would reach in his front pocket and shake it so the change would jingle. So long ago now and yet it could be just yesterday because the memory is so clear in my mind. Grandpa grew up near Hamburg, Germany – he was a city boy. I imagine when he emigrated in 1906 to the flat open state of Nebraska it was quiet the cultural shock.

My grandfather was just 7 years old when his father and older brother emigrated to the US in 1898. In a letter written in 1899 by my grandfather and his mother to his brother it tells of the how painful it was not to have his father there with them (see my post of December – to read the letter The only memory of his father passed on were stories of how his father would take him to the docks in Hamburg to see the big ships that came in and out of the harbor. So in 1994 when I traveled with my parents to Germany it was a must see for my Mom who wanted to see what he so vividly remembered and told her about as a young girl. The docks and locks in Hamburg are an impressive site and I imagine in the early 1890's that it was just as impressive, especially to a little boy.

I think most of us have a grandiose idea of who our ancestors were, that they were honorable and noble people. With the disappearance of my great grandfather in 1906 it was assumed, since the last known residence was in San Francisco, that he must have died in the great earthquake disaster. Something just ate at me about this assumption and I began a quest for some record – anything that would prove that he was there. Searching through every website I could find on this disaster led me nowhere. One site claims only 500 people died in the earthquake. Other's say it's in the 1000's that died, not only from the earthquake itself but from the after effects such as fires, disease and shock. I've also read that the city tried to cover up how bad it really was because they were afraid people would not come there any more. I've searched through all the available hospital records and hotel registers that are available online. Nothing on Gustave Bebensee. Now I realize there were probably a lot of people that died that had no identification and that the conditions were such that possibly there were inconsistencies in the records. But, I just felt he had to have friends or people that he worked with that would report him missing or that would send a letter to the family of his demise – there was nothing.

As I mentioned before I never neglect to look for three particular individuals when I search any genealogy site – my great grandparents the Bebensee's and my grandfathers sister Greta. To my surprise one day up pops the 1910 census with a Gustav Bebensee living in Los Angeles, California. Could it be I thought? I was kind of shaking as I read the information. The age was about right -he was German and emigrated in 1898 – oh my gosh that matches too. But it could still just be a coincidence. I'm sure there could be other Gustave Bebensee's out there – however, when I read the occupation “decorator” - which was what my great grandfather had trained for in Germany and that was his occupation as an adult – I really felt this could be him. Right down to my bones I suspected it was him.

Now if the census had said his occupation was something more common, like farmer, I might have dismissed it, but, decorator – come on – really could there be so many coincidences?
The surprise on the census was that there was a wife listed – Jennette Bebensee – and it stated they had been married for 5 years. That would put their marriage around 1905 -hmmmmm??
As I shared the information with other family members I got a variety of responses. From “hmmmm” to an absolute “No it can't be him – he would not have deserted his children!”. I on the other hand was not so sure. Of course I'd like to believe that he would not have deserted his children, but really what did we know about him? Only a little boy's memory of how much he loved his father who would take him to the docks to see the big ships. My great grandfather was a relatively young man when he came to the US – just 35 and an entire world away from Germany. It stands to reason that he could be attracted to someone else and choose to start a new life. In my heart I wasn't so sure that I wanted it to be him either, because that would change my whole way of thinking about him.
Until a couple weeks ago this was the only record I had found that indicated it could be him. Then as I was doing my usual blog reading of up-dated posts I read on James Tanner's, Genealogy Star, that the Family Search had updated records for California. As I clicked on the link I hoped that possibly there would now be new information on Gustave. I had hoped I would again find him on the 1920 California census report, but, he was not on the census. What I did find though, after all these years, left me stunned and unsure of whether I really wanted to know what I now knew.............

Join me again when I will share what I found that has brought me to tears and yet.........

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Lena Johanna (Buss) Evers
Confirmation Picture - 1906
April 12, 1892 - January 13, 1971
We Love and Miss you Grandma!
Original photograph -
(all photographs are privately held - do not use without permission (restoration 3/2009) - Thank you!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Quest of a Genea-holic - Part 1

I'm a genea-holic! Are you?

You can determine if you are a genea-holic very simply - these are the known symptoms:

If there's a burning in the pit of your stomach, an ache in your heart and if the mystery of that elusive ancestor engulfs your every thought – then you are a genea-holic! We genea-holics search every available genealogy record we can find. A census report provides a map of clues into the life of our intended quest. We dig through court records, newspapers, periodicals, county history books and oh yes we even travel into the graveyards where ghost's and goblins hide. We read and reread old letters to search out any morsel of information we can find or have missed. Like a book you can't put down – we swear just one more chapter and we'll go to bed. But then we run across a tidbit that looks promising so we dig, dig, dig until that little glimmer of hope burns out and the trail again runs cold. So we slump off to bed – tired, exhausted and disappointed. We try to sleep but our mind keeps circling – round and round – trying to capture that keyword that we are overlooking. I am a genea-holic and I search for my ancestors that refuse to be found. But know this - I am persistent! – I will find you – if not today – then tomorrow.

I have been fortunate to have multiple success stories in my search for my ancestors. Many I credit to the kindness of strangers who offer help through message boards. Some finds have just been luck, the right keyword and unexpected finds. I've been fortunate to find entire family links that I wasn't even looking for. But, through all my successes and the thrill of finding those elusive ancestors, I still walk away disappointed because in my quest I have been unable to locate the three people that have initiated most of my finds. Don't get me wrong - I'm ecstatic to have found my great great great grandparents and cousins I didn't know existed – but................ There is something different about these three people for me – I have such a longing to know what became of them and their families. It tugs at my heart strings and puts my mind on overload trying to find the right path to go down. Sometimes I think the world must have just swallowed them up or possibly an alien ship came down and whisked them away. Surely somewhere there is a record that indicates they existed?

Gustave Bebensee was born in Wandsbek, Germany, a suburb of Hamburg, on August 23, 1863, he married my great grandmother, Maria C. A. Sievers in 1888 in Wandsbek and they had 4 children together. In 1898 my great grandfather and his eldest son, Hans, emigrated to the US. They then traveled to Elk Creek, Nebraska where his sister, Emma, lived. Gustave left his 10 year old son with her and traveled west to find work – to my knowledge he never returned and I do not know if he communicated with his son after that.

Over the last 108 years various members of my family, some long gone now, have searched for my great grandfather. His last known residence was San Francisco in 1906. To the best of my knowledge the last word from him was when he sent money to my grandfather in Germany to help pay his passage to emigrate. The plan, as I understand it, was to meet my grandfather in Chicago where they would then travel by train to Elk Creek, Nebraska. My great grandfather never arrived – was he killed in the disaster of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake? For years my great aunt Emma tried to find him and there has been someone in every generation since that has looked for him.

I joined the search years ago when I wrote to the California Vital Records Department to search for a death certificate - I had them search a 20 year range (1906-1926)– to no avail. I contacted the San Francisco Historical Society – nothing. I've searched through numerous 1906 earthquake websites – nothing. Then about 2-3 years ago I stumbled across the 1910 California census report for Los Angeles, California.

Join me again as I tell of my remarkable find. A find that not only made me do the happy dance of joy but also brought sadness.............

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Noble Live - Smile For The Camera - 12th Edition

The word prompt for the 12th Edition of Smile For The Camera is A Noble Life. Show us a photograph of an ancestor, relative, or friend that is the embodiment of A Noble Life. A life that is worthy of those who came before and those who follow after. A Life filled with small but courageous acts; filled with love and honor. A simple life, an ordinary life, A Noble Life. Bring them to the carnival and share with us how you've honored them. Admission is free with every photograph!

F/O Willis F. Evers


My submission for the 12th Edition of Smile For the Camera - A Noble Life is of my Uncle Willis Evers - I hope you will take time to read my submission for "The Carnival of Genealogy - Uncle-Uncle" - under my title of "Going Home - The Unexpected - Parts 1-10" - that tells his story.


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