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

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wordless Wendsday - Lodgepole, Nebraska

During my little Nebraska adventure I visited the town of Lodgepole which is 16 miles east of Sidney.  There I met a woman working hard to restore the old railroad building.  Wish there were more of these old buildings being preserved for future generations.

"You Want to Move Where?" - The Document

Today Sidney is a town of about 6,000 friendly people. I counted 25 churches of various denominations so the atmosphere has change considerable in last 100 and some years. So what brought the Habben and Nelk families to Cheyenne County? It was the land of course! One hundred and sixty acres of good rich farm land.

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 ( 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!

“To all to Whom these Presents shall come, Greeting:

Wheras, There has been deposited in the General Land Office of the United States a Certificate of the Register of the Land Office at Sidney, Nebraska whereby it appears that pursuant to the Act of Congress approved 20th of May, 1862, “To secure Homsteads to actual settlers on the putlic domain,” and the acts supplemental thereto, the clain of Frederich Nelk has been established and duly consummated in conformity to law for the Northwest quarter of Section twenty-eight in Township Sixteen, North of Range Forty-eight west of the South Principal Meridain in Nebraska; containing one hundred and sixty acres. According to the official plat of the survey of said land returned to the General Land office of the Surveyor General.

I have done the “happy dance of joy” before when I’ve found records online, but I can say that the thrill of seeing, touching and reading the actual document is beyond words!

Join me as the adventure continues with more good news....

Tombstone Tuesday - Rolf Habben and the Weyerts Road

Traveling down Weyerts Road, which is about 16 miles east of Sidney, was an experience. Most people think of Nebraska as flat, but here in the northwest area of Nebraska it’s fairly hilly. Weyerts Road was like playing one of those video games where you’re dodging all kinds of obstacles. The road is gravel in parts, which I love because it reminds me of going to Grandma’s when I was a kid, and parts of it are paved. Well I’m not sure if you could actually call it a paved road, it’s more like a little black top and a lot of monster pot holes and it was up and down, up and down hills.

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

You Want to Move Where?!

As Sophia from the old TV hit “Golden Girls” would say: Picture it, Sidney, Nebraska, early 1890’s. The town is filled with saloons, brothels and mayhem of every type. Notorious bank robbers like Jesse James and the Sundance Kid are regulars to the town. Just imagine this: From 1875 to 1881 there are more than 56 murders and over 1,000 criminal cases filed in the Cheyenne County Court House. It takes 3 separate newspapers to cover all the news. The largest gold robbery in history occurred here and is still unsolved today. The value of the gold stolen in today’s market is over five million dollars. (Hmmm wonder where that was buried?) Legends like Buffalo Bill Cody, Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickock were often seen in Sidney. Newspapers across the country referred to it as “Sinful Sidney”.

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.......

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Colorado Family History Expo - Wrap-Up

It seemed the day would never come as I waited for the Colorado Family History Expo conference, and now it’s come and gone. I arrived in Loveland Thursday afternoon and had a chance to spend the evening with my cousins, Mel and Mary Jo Haack. I have been IM’ing with Mary Jo for about 2 years now and this is the first chance we have had to meet in person. I was treated to a wonderful home cooked meal and a chance to share some family history. Of course I got lost on the way to their house, but believe me that is pretty normal for me. As I returned to the hotel the sun was setting over the mountains to the west and a full moon was rising over the Plaines.
 Friday morning I ran into Becky and Jamie Jamison at the elevator. I recognized her immediately from her pictures on her blog Grace and Glory. I had a chance to visit with Jamie a little in between times and really enjoyed our visits.

The conference was kicked off with a Key Note speech presented by Beau Sharbourgh titled “Let Your Light Shine.” He had us all laughing in acknowledgement that sometimes we are the only one who cares about our families genealogy..

It was a difficult decision deciding which classes I wanted to attend there were so many to choose from. I attended Thomas MacEntee’s class “Facebook for Genealogists”. Thomas went over the basics of setting up an account and using the search feature to locate possible family connections. I’m anxious to try that when I get home. Thomas emphasized that it is our responsibility to take ownership of making sure our privacy settings are in place to protect our identities. I also attended Thomas’ class titled “Social Networking: New Horizons for Genealogy”. Amazing how many different sites are available to promote your business.

Since my ancestors all emigrated from Germany I was especially interested in Baerbel K. Johnson presentation on “What’s new in German Research”. I was amazed at the wealth of websites that are continually being added to the internet and I’m very excited to have new sources for my own research. I also took Ms. Johnson’s class titled “Find Your German Ancestor Now!”

I attended Arlene H. Eakle’s class on “American Church Records”. One of the points I thought was interesting that you can tell a person’s religious background by the spelling of their name.

The last class I attended was Tom Underhill’s presentation titled “Making a Personal History Video is Easy”. Beside all the great chocolate Tom passed out he explained the ins and outs of setting the scene before shooting any film. He also gave great examples of how to interview the subject in order to avoid
those indefinite answers like – “yes”, “no”, and “fine”. Tom brought up the small things that many of us would never think of.

I want to thank Holly Hansen and her Expo crew members as well as all the volunteers who made everything run smoothly and on time! Holly has a very special gift in presenting a well organized and well thought out conference – one that I personally am happy she is willing to share.

I look forward to next year’s conference and hope if you are able to attend a Family History Expo somewhere near you that you do!

When I was a kid my Dad always asked if I had learned anything new in school that day – Well Dad I learned many things over the last two days!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WOHOO! Colorado Family History Expo - One More Day

Well my departure day has finally arrived! I woke up at 4:00 this morning raring to go, I tried to go back to sleep but my mind was flashing through all the things I need to do before I take off.  (Might have to take a nap before I go. ha ha)
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!!
Colorado Family History Expo
June 25th - 26th
Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center
Loveland, Colorado
Class Registration begins at 7:00 am
Beau Sharbrough's Key Note address – 8:00 am
Grand Opening of the Exhibit hall at 9:00 am.......

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Fred & Tena (Habben) Nelk

Fred & Tena Nelk
(Trientje Rose Habben)
In the late 1800's Fred and Tena homesteaded near Gurley, Nebraska.  I am about to embark on a journey to locate this homestead.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday -Kallio Memorial Service - Slide Show Snippet

I recently completed a slide show of Darrell's Memorial Service and wanted to share a small snippet of it here with my Geneablogger friends. (This is a portion of a 25 minute slide show.) I was so fortunate to have my friend and neighbor take so many photographs that day. Thank you Jan!
Of all the treasures I have - this man was truly my greatest gift.......
Before you view the slide show snippet please click on the double bars on the "Playlist" to turn off the programed music. (Unless you like going crazy - LOL!)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Family History Expo - Countdown

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

Colorado Family History Expo - 19 Days and Counting

I'm so excited about this years Family History Expo. I'm counting down the days now and making my usual lists of things I need to do before I take off for Loveland. I need to get the oil changed in my car and I wonder if maybe I should signed up for AAA Insurance. Ok, it's not like Loveland is really that far from home, 50 miles at the most but, there is always those “what if's” that run through my head. Let's see now don't want to forget the charger for my cell phone. Oh, and I don't want to forget to download a few programs onto my laptop so I can share some photo's. Oh and that reminds me need to make sure I have plenty of AA batteries. And then I need to...........
I'm finding it difficult to choose which classes I will attend, especially since I'd like to take them all. It would be awesome if they were all video taped for study later. Hmm maybe that would be a good thing for a “suggestion box.” I may just have to get out my quarters and do some coin tossing on this decision. Ha ha! Take a look at the classes available just in the first hour of June 25th and you will see why I'm having a difficult time.

Class – June 25th – 10:00 A.M.-11:00 A.M.

Help! Where Do I Start? -
Christine Sharbrough, CG

Naming Patterns of
American Families – Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D

Genealogical Resource
of the National Archives at Denver –
Rick Martinez

Facebook for Genealogists –
Thomas MacEntee

Everything You Wanted to Know
about –
Gordon Atkinson

Family Tree Maker 2010 Basics –
Robert A. Larson
Powerful Tips and Tricks for
Family Search Record Search –
Blair Keddington

Ask-the-Pros Series –
Looking after the poor:
Finding your Ancestors in
New England Poverty Records –
Marian Pierre-Louis

Can you see my dilemma? Every single class sounds fabulous! This is worse than choosing between apple pie or a chocolate eclair. Oh my! Nineteen days and counting. Learn which classes I chose as I report on the days events starting June 25th.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - A Sunday Coffee I Won't Forget

The Evers home sits empty now, its siding is weathered and only bits of paint remain. The windows are boarded and old farm equipment sits unused and rusted. Prairie grass and vines have taken over and one day I'm sure the old place will either be torn down or nature will bring it down. In spite of what you see, if you listen closely you will hear the distant cries of babies being born and the giggles of children laughing while at play. Enticing you to come home is the smell of chicken frying and bread baking. If you look towards the fields you can see the shadows of men working as the sun begins to set.

About six miles up the road is the “Old Boldt” place. All that remains are a few black and white snapshots of the place the Bebensee family called home. Before the dust storms of the 1930's it was a beautiful farm. There were lots of fruit trees, lilacs and evergreens and a big apple tree that had a swing tied to a branch for the kids to play. They had lots of chickens, geese, ducks, pigs and cows. A collie dog named Jack was the protector of the place. These were the homes of my parents, places that remain in the heart.

It is a kind of ritual every Sunday after church that my folks stop by for coffee and an up-date on the weeks events. I will never forget one particular Sunday a number of years ago when they stopped by. I had old photographs strewn all over the kitchen table in preparation for writing some family history. Mom and I looked through them and of course I had my usual array of questions: “Who's this and how are they connected to us?” In the mix of the photo's were a few wedding photo's taken of my folks. Mom picked up the picture of my Dad, young and hansom in his uniform. She had a funny little smile, one that I hadn't seen before. There was twinkle in her eye, you know that kind of twinkle that has a little emotional tear with it. She gazed at the picture for quiet a while before she spoke and then she said something that touched my heart. She said, “You know I could fall in love with this guy all over again.” My Dad didn't say a word, just a giggle and I saw the same twinkle in his eye that I saw in Mom's. I do believe that in that moment those feelings of first falling in loved swept over him too.

I've always known that my folks loved each other, but, at that moment I felt the passion and excitement of young love and how they must have felt all those years ago. It was a wonderful thing for me to share and to know that young love can remain after 68 years and a lifetime of memories.

That's one Sunday coffee I don't think I'll ever forget.


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