Saturday, November 27, 2010
When I woke that morning I had a clear picture of who I was as a woman, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a step-mom and a grandma. By that evening, my clarity would change dramatically and my world would change forever. For you see my role as wife changed to widow. Who is this “widow” person? I didn't know her and I definitely didn't want to be “her”. I couldn't breath. – I can't accept this! – It can't be happening! – Why now?– Why! Why! Why? I just wanted to run away.
The unrelenting sorrow and pain that followed the death of my husband, my best friend, seemed more than I could ever bear at times. The perpetual gray skies of that winter dragged on
and I felt a sense of hopelessness that I have never felt before. Tears flowed in an endless stream of grief and despair. Every night I begged God to please wake me from this dreadful dream.
With each step I took in the mornings there would be hope that he would be there; playing
solitaire as he always did and asking me for a cup of coffee. But, he wasn't there. Despair
would settle over my body like blowing snow – cold and blinding. I was lost and alone, shrouded in a heavy black veil where there was only darkness.
In the darkness I prayed for help. The prayer barely passing my lips when I could feel the strong comforting arms of God wrapped around me. He rocked me in His arms and let me cry myself to sleep. Night after night I called to Him for strength and always He would come. I could hear Him: Shh, shh, shh, I'm here, it's going to be alright.
In a few days a year will have passed since that night. The gray dark days of that winter gave way to spring and the blossoming of summer. Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and soon Christmas will be here. I'm still working through my sorrow, but, I have lifted the veil so that I can see the beauty of the life before me. I'm finding my way through the thorns and rediscovering my dreams and hopes for the future. Every day I reach up for God's hand and he guides me. – Some days He has to do a lot of pushing and pulling, but He is always there. At night God still wraps his arms around me and rocks me to sleep and I hear him: Shh, shh, shh, I'm here, it's going to be alright.......
(this post original from: The Next Chapter - Page 2010 )
Saturday, September 4, 2010
There seems to be something mystical in holding an heirloom. Just knowing that 50 or more years ago an ancestor held and used that item seems to give us a physical connection to that person. I have a few handmade quilts made by my grandmother, when I wrap them around me somehow I can feel her. After all she spent hour after hour with the quilt in her lap as she sewed each square, so surely some part of her remains. The real treasure was Grandma herself, but I think we all cling to the things we can still see and touch every day,
It's wonderful when you are on the receiving end, but, can you let go of your treasure? Take a long hard look at the treasures you have surrounded yourself with in your own home. Can you picture them gone? If your spouse were to die would you be able to part with his or her family heirlooms?
Join me tomorrow as I share the pain and joy of parting with my husbands family treasures.....
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
When we moved to our new home on Hanscom Air Force Base, there was a playground with swings! Oh those glorious swings how I loved them. We would sing and swing, higher, higher and higher, until we were high enough to go over the top, sometimes more than once. (Don't tell Mom!) One time, some of us kids got the idea it would be fun to put on a show, just like they did in Spanky and Our Gang. We each came up with our own little parts, thinking back I'm sure it was just silliness, but, oh we had so much fun. We would dress up in clothes and high heels, borrowed from our Mom's closet. I don't remember if we asked first, maybe better keep that quiet. We would pool our nickels and pennies and go to the PX and buy “Fizzies” and candy for our audience. I don't recall if we charged for them, but really what's a play without snacks?
Do you remember “Fizzies”?
If I could pick just one year from my youth it would be the year I was 5. By the time you're five you're really too big for naps any more. You also know that a tuna fish sandwich tastes much better when the crust is cut off and the bread is cut in triangles. You know that milk is more fun to drink through a straw, especially if you know how to blow bubbles with it, and Mom doesn't catch you. You're not to big to be carried to bed on Dad's shoulders. And best of all – next year you get to go to school, just like your big brothers! Yep, I'd sure love to spend the day in 1957.
Thanks for indulging my little trip back to the olden days........
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Mr. Witcher asks the question: “Who is writing letters anymore? When was the last time you received a written letter?” I must admit I haven’t written any letters since I got on the internet, nor have I received any in the mail. Oh, yes occasionally someone will send a card with a small note in it and I do the same. Even when I have mailed a letter I find it faster to type it rather than hand writing it. Even most emails I receive are jokes or emails that have been forwarded over and over, so how are we communicating these days? How are we sharing our lives in this world of the quick and easy?
Mr. Witcher also seems to be stressing the importance that we all need to take the responsibility to record our living history and suggests we all, “Write as you’ve never written before.” And to share the information with our families so that it is not lost to the future. I think that’s why I feel such an urgency to learn my own family history and to share it with the next generation. I want to make sure that the children born in my family in the next 10 generations know about their ancestors.
“We have an awesome responsibility ahead of us," Witcher said. "In so many ways, we have history in our hands. What are we going to do with it? If we wait, if we relegate for someone else to take care of, we are endangering that history — that history may be lost." (copied from Mr. De Grotte’s article.)
You can read Michael De Grotte’s full article here:
"The Coming Genealogical Dark Ages", by Michael De Grotte
Friday, July 9, 2010
I had a chance to find and visit the locations where some of my Habben family had homesteads in the late 1800's, near Gurley, Nebraska, in June. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of their presence as I walked the gravel road by what once had been their home. I had similar feelings while I worked on a family history book in 2008/2009.
I hope you enjoy my submission and have a sense of the joy I felt that day!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
It may be a romantic view of things or wishful thinking but, I was glad to once again feel their presence with me as I stood on the land they once called home.
As I wrapped up my visit to the court house Bonnie asked if there were any marriages that may have taken place in the county. I knew that Fred and Tena Nelk had been married in Franklin County so I did not expect that any other family would appear in the marriage records. To my surprise the Marriage License of Fred’s brother Charles Nelk and Emma Shelley had taken place in Cheyenne County.
The biggest surprise came when I pulled out the papers I had brought on the Rolf Habben homestead and asked if she could help me locate where his land had been. I was shocked to discover that the Nelk and Habben homesteads were adjacent to each other at the crossroads of Rd 127 and Rd 46, which is
7 miles east of Gurley, Nebraska.
Rolf Habben’s old homestead is now owned by the Poppen family according to the plat map. Now this really sparked my interest because according to the delayed birth certificate for Tena’s daughter, Tessie, it states that a Mrs. Poppen witnessed her birth. I headed over to the Sidney Library and there I found a local history book that included biographies. I found the Harm and Hannah Poppen family, who had moved to Cheyenne County in 1889. The Poppen’s had emigrated from Sandhorst, Germany which is about 5 miles from where the Habben's lived in Wiesens, Germany. The Poppens had also been living in Wilcox, Nebraska and so were the Habben's and Nelk's. I think it is very likely that Hannah Poppen could be the person called out on the delayed birth certificate. After visiting with Hannah’s grandson I learned that the Poppen homestead was close to the Habben homestead so that also reinforced my theory. We probably will never know for sure but I’m pretty confident in my reasoning.
With the droughts and various plagues in the 1890’s many families gave up their homesteads. Fred and Tena Nelk left Nebraska about 1899 and settled in Wheaton, Traverse County, Minnesota.
Next my trip to the homestead……..
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
For me the mystery to be solved was whether Fred and Tena took over her father’s (Rolf Habben) homestead or if they established their own. So began the search. When nothing showed up through the BLM General Land Office Records (http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/) I knew if I was going to find anything I would need to travel to Sidney, Nebraska where the Cheyenne County records are filed. Not wanting to go to the wrong place for the records I had emailed ahead to the County Clerk. I received the following email:
“Terri: The County Clerk/Register of Deeds is the correct office to check for homesteads and land patent records. If you enter our courthouse on the north side (Jackson Street) we are the first office on your left. Sounds like you need to look in our Grantor/Grantee index which is alphabetical. This process usually doesn't take much time. We'll be happy to get you started with your search. You can also obtain copies of any of the records that you find. Our land records are not on computer so you're searching will be done from books.
Have a safe trip and see you soon. Bonnie-Cheyenne County Clerk's Office”
Monday morning I headed to the Cheyenne County Court house. I was filled with excitement as I headed down 10th Street but, I also was preparing myself for disappointment if no records were to be found. I kept telling myself if I didn’t find anything here I would try North Platte sometime in the future. My reasoning here was because North Platte was where Tena’s father had filed his homestead papers and I knew his homestead was in this area also. Each step I took into the Court house was filled with trepidation. As I stepped up to the counter I was greeted by none other but Bonnie, who asked if she could help me. When I told her my name and began stating what I was wanted she beamed with a big smile and invited me back into the records room. She had already done all the look-ups for me and had the book pulled and the Land Patent marked for Frederick Nelk. Oh my gosh – now you know why I say Nebraskan’s are the kindest people in the country! What a thrill it was to see the huge document dated November 16, 1897!
I’m sure it’s been years since any family has visited the grave of my g-g-g Uncle Rolf Habben, so it was a good feeling to be able to show my respect. Rolf and his family emigrated to the US in 1868 from Wiesens, Ostriesland, Germany. They settled in Hancock County, Illinois and lived there until 1886. Rolf’s wife Christena (Ufkes) and his son Habbe both died in Illinois in March of 1880. The family decided to head to Nebraska to homestead in Cheyenne County. As I wandered through the Weyerts Immanual Cemetery there were many familiar names like Jurgens, Fecht, Frecks, Harms and Garralts. All names I see in the cemetery where my Grandparents are buried as well as in the cemeteries in Wiesens. I wonder if they knew each other in the “old country”.
Rolf’s tombstone marker sits to the left, by the gate as you enter the cemetery. The grave remained unmarked until about 1974 when his family placed it.
Rest in Peace Uncle Rolf - You are not forgotten!
Monday, June 28, 2010
So what was the draw for Frederick Nelk to bring his young wife to this den of lawlessness?
Guess you’ll have to come back for more.......
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Loveland, Colorado is about 45 miles north of Denver. Ah, the sweetheart town – thousands of people every year send their Valentines to Loveland to be re-mailed by the Loveland Post Office just so they can have the special Valentine sweetheart postmark. Also known as the “Gateway to the Rockies”, just 30 miles west on highway 34 is Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. If you have an extra day it's well worth the drive into our incredible mountains. You will be overwhelmed by our “mountains majesty”in this park. What a great choice the Colorado Family History Expo!
“Let your light shine”, is the theme of the Expo this year and the title of Beau Sharbrough's key note address. (Friday, 8:00 am). I hope I see you there!!
June 25th - 26th
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
13. 12. 11. 10 More days left in my countdown to the Colorado Family History Expo! It seemed like it would never get here and now the time is zooming by me. I took Becky Jamison's (from Grace and Glory) advice and purchased a laptop case/mobile office with wheels and I've been loading it up. I can even fit my camera in it which eliminates one thing to have to carry. I'm still having a difficult time deciding on which classes I'm taking. Out of the 78 classes being offered I know three I'm taking that I'm sure will impact my research. Of course you will have to check my blog to find out which classes those were and how they have added to my “larn'n”.
I probably won't sleep a wink Thursday night because I don't want to miss Beau Sharbrough's, Keynote Address at 8:00a.m., titled “Let Your Light Shine!” I love that title and can't wait to hear what Beau has to say. There's also going to be a “Meet-Up” in the bloggers lounge of fellow Geneabloggers on June 25th at 9:00am. Can't wait to finally meet some of the people who write such wonderful stories about their families. You'll be able to spot me pretty easily, I'll be the one grinning from ear to ear and looking like a kid in a candy store. Of course the Exhibit Hall Grand Opening is at the same time so I may have to pop in there to quickly peruse the goodies.
After the conference is over, I'm heading east to Sidney, Nebraska to do some research at the court house. My great-great-great uncle, Rolf Habben homesteaded in the area in the late 1800's. His daughter and her husband, Fred and Tena (Habben) Nelk also had a homestead somewhere near Sidney. We have the homestead papers for Rolf but not for Fred and Tena. My hope is that if I can locate where their farm was that I can determine which Church they may have belonged to. Since Nebraska didn't keep records on births and deaths until 1904, I must find the Church in order to get the birth records of three of their children. Uh-oh, I may have given a clue as to two of the classes I'll be attending.
If you haven't signed up for the Colorado Family History Expo yet there's still plenty of time and of course you can always sign up at the door. Hope to see you there!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
May 7, 1920 – November 2, 1943
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved
in stone monuments but what is woven into the lives of others”.
I have often wished I had known my Uncle Willis. Stories told to me by my father tell of a young man who was full of life and adventure. A daredevil who loved trick riding on his motorcycle and flying airplanes.
Joining the Army Calvary in 1940 this small town farm boy would be taken worlds away from the life he knew. Willis was sent to Ft. Meade, South Dakota for basic training. His skills riding motorcycles would send him on to Arkansas for combat training. There he learned to maneuver his motorcycle through the rough and rugged terrain. Although Willis loved riding motorcycles his true desire was to become a pilot, so when opportunity presented itself he transferred to the Army Air Corp.
His numerous letters home tell of his love of flying and his excitement at learning to fly the P38-F Lightning. The P38-F was built by Lockheed, it was designed for speed and fire power, dubbed by the Luftwaffe as “The Forked Tail Devil”.
After completing his Pilot training Willis was promoted to Flight Officer and in September, 1943 was sent to join the 8th Fighter Group, 80th Squadron at Port Moresby, on the island of New Guinea. He joined well known Aces such as Norb Ruff, Edward “Porkey” Cragg, Louis Schriber and Alan Hill along with many others. He writes home that his plan is “old, but it flies good”.
Willis was in New Guinea just two months before he was killed on November 2, 1943 while fighting over Rabaul. Although we will never know what his life would have been like had he survived the war; we do know that he lived life with passion, that he was committed to excellence, that he was willing to take risks to obtain his goals, and that he lived with integrity. He willing fought for freedom and ultimately sacrificed his life for you and me.
(If you would like to read more about Willis see my post in March 2009 entitled, “Going Home – The Unexpected” http://terri-thetiesthatbind.blogspot.com/2009/03/going-home-unexpected-part-one.html )
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Of all the words I'd like to write today the ones I'd most like to be writing are:
One of my favorites was his 50th, which he insisted that he was going to help plan. Little did he know that behind the scenes a surprise would be in the works. After weeks of secret phone calls to his daughters and to his family in Minnesota, a plan was devised to have some special guests at his party. I was so excited, I really don't know how I kept the secret from him. No, it was not a celebrity, but, rather people who much more important to him. His Mother, Sister and Brother and their spouses would fly in from Minnesota for this monumental birthday the day before the party. But, how would I feed all of them without him wondering what I was up to. Darrell made great spaghetti, so his oldest daughter and I came up with a plan. She would ask him if he would teach her how to make his special sauce and of course he wouldn't turn her down. So that afternoon the two of them made a huge batch of spaghetti, some of which he thought we would freeze. Now the next hurdle was how to get him out of the house so we could sneak his family in. So a neighbor and I came up with a plan for her to call and ask him to come over because she thought she smelled gas. As soon as I heard that they were within a few blocks I called her with a prearranged signal. Off he went and in they came – I had them sit around our dining room table, which is not visible from the front door, and we waited for his return. The excitement of this surprise was building as we watched him come from down the street. But, as usual he stopped to shoot the breeze with another neighbor. When he finally came through the door I yelled for him to come help me in the dining room. I'll never forget the look on his face. I think he thought he was having a hallucination. He fell back against the counter in shock and we all thought he was going to pass out. I don't think if he had won the lottery it would have been any better of a surprise. For his party his youngest daughter rented him a snazzy tuxedo – gosh he was so handsome and so very happy. I don't remember much about the actual party, but, I will never forget how thrilled he was to celebrate this very special birthday with his Mom.
When we visited Minnesota last summer Darrell said that he wanted to see the house he was born in again and the farm where his grandparents had lived. Sometimes I wonder in all the years we went there on vacation why this was the first time he ever mentioned going there. I'm so glad that I was able to share that with him and the memories he shared with me as we drove through the country. He talked about his grandparents, who only spoke Finnish, and how he wished he could have been able to talk to them. He spoke of summers spent at their farm and how he and his siblings would wake up and start hollering: “Grandma, pancakes.” A special day and a sweet memory now.
It's funny how easily at times it is to forget that he is not here and how I still expect to find him “putzy'ng” in his shop. Yesterday, as I folded towels, it came to me that I still needed to get him something for his birthday, but as quickly as that flash came into my mind I realized that this year it would not be needed.
“You Were Loved”
Sung by Wynonna Judd
We all want our voices to be heard.
Is when you reach and find you've found someone.
Without love do you really have a thing.
You were loved by someone,
So remember to tell that one,
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I received a surprise in my Easter basket from two of my favorite bloggers: Carol at Reflections Over the Fence and Linda at Flipside. Thank you ladies your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated as is your constant encouragement!
As a recipient of this award, I am to list 10 things I have learned about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me and then pass the award on to 10 other genealogy bloggers who I feel are doing their ancestors proud.
Where do I begin? My genealogy adventure has been so full of surprises that have both enlightened and humbled me.
Finding the ship manifest from the Barque Siberia that brought my Watermann family to the United States was a big surprise. For so many years the only clue to where this family actually lived was on census reports. The census reports were very vague and did not list the actual town in Germany. Not only were the census reports vague but seemed to be inaccurate. My difficulty with the manifest was that I could not make out the actual town because of the penmanship. I forwarded the manifest to a cousin in Germany and he was able to decipher the record. I learned from him that the town was Langenholtzhausen. You can read this post at http://terri-thetiesthatbind.blogspot.com/2008/12/every-time-my-husband-and-i-take-road.html
My Second surprise was when I Google Langenholtzhausen and I located a website (http://www.lippe-auswanderer.de/index.htm) that is maintained by a group of dedicated genealogists in Germany. There on their site was my entire Watermann family. You can imagine the happy dance of joy I was doing. Not only was my Watermann family names but who each members Godparents were and the address of the home they lived in.
I was humbled to learn how they were all starving to death and that tearing the bark from trees was being used to make a sort of soup to sustain life.
I was surprised when while reading the OGSA message boards I noticed a note from a gal who was looking for her father-in-law's birth family and that the mother was from my grandmother's home town of Blue Hill, Nebraska. Blue Hill was and still is a small farming community. I was sure with the assistance of a cousin who still lives in the area that we could help her.
I continued to be surprised at the amount of information I was able to find. We ultimately found his birth family members. And the ultimate surprise when her father-in-law was able to meet his half brother who had been longing to meet him also. What a joyous time it was for the two brothers, who are both in their 70's to finally meet for the first time. You can read my story of discovery in my posts entitled “Pay it forward” http://terri-thetiesthatbind.blogspot.com/2009/01/pay-it-forward-part-ii.html
It was a humbling experience for me to realize how lucky I am to know my own family history and who my ancestors were. I will never again take for granted the joy of knowing who my family is.
I was surprised when a simple photograph book project to share ancestor photo's with my family turned into a year long project. My original intention was to put photographs that my mother had into a book so that they could be easily shared with other family members. As I began working on the project it took on a life of its own. As I researched I was somehow lead to other members of the same family group. The project grew and grew and finally ended with 320 pages filled with family stories and photographs of our ancestors. You can read about my journey to learn the stories of my family here http://terri-thetiesthatbind.blogspot.com/2009/01/searching.html
Writing this book took me on an unexpected journey. A journey that would enlighten me in the world of my family who first emigrated to the United States.
Their struggles to survive in an untamed wilderness with nothing but their own determination was very humbling in a day when the computer puts everything at my fingertips.
Discovering what happened to my great grandfather, Gustave Bebensee, who the family had been searching for over 100 years was not only enlightening but was a mixture of emotions. Emotions that ranged from joy to sadness flooded in when I finally found him after my own 10 year search.
I was thrilled to be the one who finally tracked down this man, but sad to know that he deserted his family to start a new life of his own. The reason I will never know but continue to search for. You can read of my quest on my posts titled: “The Quest of a Geneaholic” -
I think the most enlightening, surprising and humbling experience I have had has been writing this blog and discovering a community of “Geneabloggers” who have enriched my research more than I can express. Genuine people who have extended their hearts at time of joy and sadness. I'm glad to have joined this wonderful community and proud to know so many fellow family historians.
I want to bestow this award to the following Geneabloggers who I enjoy reading and hope you too will take a look at their great blogs.
Brenda at Journey to the Past http://journeytothepastblog.blogspot.com/
Nancy at My Ancestors and Me - http://nancysfamilyhistoryblog.blogspot.com/
Forgotten Old Photo's at http://forgottenoldphotos.blogspot.com/
Diane at Our Attic Treasures http://ourattictreasures.blogspot.com/
Jennifer at Jennifers Genealogy Blog http://jennifergenealogy.blogspot.com/
Trish at St. Vincent Memories http://56755.blogspot.com/
Bob & Marilyn at Lord & Lady http://lordorlady.blogspot.com/
Aline at Acadianroots http://acadianroots.blogspot.com/
Leah at Random Notes http://leah333.blogspot.com/
Deborah at Irish Family Research http://irishfamilyresearch.blogspot.com/
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Tomorrow we celebrate Easter – the day Christ was resurrected from the dead. For Christians it's the most important moment in history that we celebrate.
He who believes in Me,
though he may die, he shall live.
And whoever lives and believes in Me
shall never die."-- John 11:25-2.
As a child who grew up in the '50s it was very important to have a new dress, white shoes and gloves for Easter Sunday church services. My dresses were usually handmade by my Mom and almost always included a big tied bow around the waist at the back. They were always quite prissy and flowered for spring. It was an absolute must to wear a hat and carry a little purse. We usually got up early that morning so that there was time to hunt for the eggs that the Easter bunny left. Mom would normally set a chocolate bunny or egg by our plates. I think it felt more tragic to learn that there was no Easter bunny than to learn of Santa. For several years I insisted that Mom still hide the eggs because it was so much fun finding them.
"In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade."
-- Irving Berlin
Easter church service was always such a wonderful celebration. Beautiful white Easter lilies on the alter and the Pastor with his white robes, it was all very impressive to a little girl. After church Mom always prepared a feast and we would be allowed to eat a few pieces of our candy. It would be nice to be able to have just one more of those innocent days to relive.
The first Easter that Darrell and I shared began his ritual question to me: “If Easter Sunday falls on Monday will we get the day off?” I remember when he posed the question to me I actually thought about it for a second. Then I rolled my eyes at him and gave him a little sarcastic smile and responded: “Gosh I don't know, maybe.” We shared many wonderful Easter's and were able to share the Lords communion together.
This year Darrell will celebrate his first Easter with his Savior. I imagine it will be a magnificent celebration in heaven!
So to all my family and friends I wish you a blessed Easter and that you celebrate the gift of eternal life that has been granted to you by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Take a look at the picture below. The top left picture is the snow at my next door neighbor's house. The lower right is the snow from my driveway. What's up with that? I always seem to get more snow than any of my neighbors! Thank goodness for a great neighbor with a snow blower who looks out for me! Thank you Dick!