I was so fortunate to have had relatives that also wanted to see the family history and genealogy information preserved! In 1980 a booklet was produced by a distant cousin on my Ufkes family and simultaneously another booklet was prepared by my Great Aunt Rosetta (pictured here) of my Habben ancestors. I mentioned this in my earlier post also. The treasure trove of information that these two works included was fantastic. I'm still amazed that they were able to gather so much information in a time when you actually had to go to the court house, libraries and other record keeping facilities to obtain the information. Now in the age of Internet many of these records are available online.
Having this information proved to be invaluable especially when I was trying to track down the females in the family. Without the married names of these woman sometimes the trail just hits a brick wall. I'm not sure that I would have found my cousin Brenda without it. Oh, eventually possibly, but it sure sped up the process. On my first encounter with Brenda we not only found that we had the same g-g-g-grandparents but we discovered that we had many things in common. Number one was a passion for family history. I believe that we lit a fire in each other to find out more about these remarkable ancestors. Brenda began quizzing her family and searching through old photographs that her parents had and I continued my search for more relatives.
My father's family has a reunion every year in Nebraska and we planned to attend the July 2008 celebration. While there we took time to visit with our Habben cousins in the Wilcox/Hildreth area. We had a wonderful afternoon visiting with them and sharing a meal at the local diner. After our lunch we were invited to our cousins home for a little desert and more visiting. Cousin Mary had pulled out her copy of the 1980 Ufkes genealogy book. Expecting to just see a copy of what I already had you can imagine my excitement when I opened the book and discovered they had actual photographs and not photo copies. Knowing how badly I wanted copies of the photo's, Mary suggested that we take the book to Jennifer at the insurance office and have her copy them. Jennifer graciously copied all of them - I was so excited I was almost giddy. What I didn't know was that Jennifer was also my cousin and I would not realize that for a few weeks.
Something very special was discovered in my cousins copy of the 1980 Ufkes book. There was an 8x10 photograph, very damaged as it was I still wanted a copy. My cousins did not seem to have any idea who the people were in the photograph. When we returned home I thought I would forward the photo to another distant cousin, Michael Neill, who is a professional genealogist. I had a notion that Michael may be able to identify these people. I asked if he would put it on his website and see if any other family members might know. I know many family members that visit his site regularly so I thought there would be a good chance someone out there would know. I had a strong feeling that it was the Rolf Habben family. Michael answered me that he was sure he had seen the photo before and promised to get back with me. It took him a little while to find his copy of the photo, but when he did my suspicions were confirmed. It was the Rolf and Christina (Ufkes) Habben family. I estimate the photo was done around 1874. Now this was incredible - now those names and dates have a face. Names and dates are great to have but when you can put faces to that information these people suddenly become real.
While Brenda searched for photographs she ran across one of a family on some unidentified farm and all that was marked on the back was - "Henry Habben". I could figure out which one was a Habben right away but who were the rest of these people? So while I was away Brenda searched for the answer. After we returned from our family reunion trip I had received an email from her with an attachment. It was a copy of an email identifying all the people in the photograph - when I read the name of the person who had identified this "Henry Habben" photo I knew "The Ties That Bind" were on a roll..........
(please do not use restored photographs without permission)