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Archive for the ‘Family Genealogy’ Category

As I was driving the 2+ miles to visit my mother in the memory unit where she resides, I happened across several items placed along the curb with a big “FREE” sign. Included were four 4-drawer HON steel filing cabinets! I immediately called my husband and he lost no time jumping in his pickup and retrieving the filing cabinets. Thus, I got sidetracked: the rest of my day has centered around reorganizing my storeroom, moving those filing cabinets into it and thinking about what to put in them.

For the record… we now have three 2-drawer filing cabinets and eleven 4-drawer cabinets primarily devoted to genealogy/family history. Most likely, they will all be full by next spring! I’d like to be done with the majority of my sorting/tossing/organizing by then. I cannot overemphasize the enormity of this project!

Today, my husband claimed one of the cabinets for his genealogy!

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Continuing my sorting of Mom’s collection, I have found nearly a paper box full of high school and college yearbooks. What to do with these?

I am going through each one looking for relatives. When found, I photocopy the page(s) as well as any related pages and title page, and place in the person’s hanging file. This has been very interesting, especially reading some of the one-line comments with the photographs of the seniors.

One of my favorites was for my mother’s brother, “Because a man doesn’t talk is no sign he hasn’t something to say.” (1) This apparently describes a personality trait for an uncle I never knew (he was a pilot and killed in China in an plane crash near the end of WW II). My brother is also very quiet; a family trait?

My mother’s aunt was the joke editor for her senior yearbook. Mae’s joke:

Howard Miller and Mae B. were sitting on the porch. Howard: “If I had money, I’d travel.” Mae reached out her hand and fondly put it in his, then ran into the house. Howard amazingly looked into his hand. There was a nickel. (2)

I’m going to donate these yearbooks to the Iowa Genealogical Society, as they are just starting a collection of yearbooks.

Yearbooks may provide unexpected color for an ancestor’s biography.
——————–
(1) Howard Butler, Indianola (Iowa) High School Pow-Wow, 1935, p. 9.

(2) The Pow-Wow of Indianola (Iowa) High School, Volume Nine, 1923, unnumbered pages, joke pages were near the back of the book.

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I’m on a roll with sorting and organizing! And the roll has gained such momentum that I want to work on it during nearly every spare moment! This is a good thing. I’ve tried to explain previously the enormity of the project I am facing; only my husband really knows. Let me assure you; it is huge!

My mother was typical of many (perhaps most) genealogists. She loved to do research and she did a considerable amount. Problems: 1) Mom only documented some of her sources and 2) she had difficulty organizing the information she found. For the most part she used the notebook method, but I’ve found multiple notebooks on the same surname, with much of the same information. To complicate the situation, she created a new family group sheet every time she worked on the family. I find photocopies of the same obituaries in multiple places. And, it isn’t unusual to find information for a completely different family surname stuck in the wrong binder. On top of that, I’m finding Mom was notorious for making notes for multiple surnames on the same piece of paper. Oh, my!

It isn’t just my mother’s collection I’m dealing with. My grandmother collected and saved, and my mother inherited a collection from her aunt and uncle. So, when I brought home the boxes, scrapbooks, photo albums, and binders from my mother, the contents was the conglomerate from all of these people. As I’ve worked on the materials, I’ve realized that my mother was overwhelmed!

Filing has never been my favorite activity, but I’ve been spending hours doing just that, and sort of enjoying it. I’m filing everything from Mom’s binders and boxes of loose papers into hanging folders in my file drawers. Some people would wonder “Why!” Why shouldn’t I just enter everything directly into a computer program? I’ve asked myself that question, also. However, I concluded that it is easier to get all of the information sorted using a filing system, first. That way when I enter someone into computer software, I’ll have everything that I know about that person in hand and won’t have to keep flipping from one person to another.

Mom should have owned stock in sheet protector manufacturing companies. Recently I told my husband that I can foresee the end of using large quantities of sheet protectors. I can see using archival sheet protectors for original documents; not for every family group sheet! I also told him that I foresee the eventual end of using hanging folders.

I hope I’ll live long enough to get these files scanned and the data entered into computer software. My goal to eventually write several books. Every step takes me closer to leaving something meaningful for future generations.

For now I need to get back to sorting and filing!

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OK… I’ve spent a couple days doing more sorting and organizing projects.

Project One: Moved some information in binders to file folders. Starting with the several binders of information my mother had for the Pehrson surname, I labeled hanging folders for my great-grandparents (the immigrants) and for each of their twelve children. Under my grandfather, I created additional hanging folders for his children and for my generation. I will add folders for descendants of the other eleven children, if/when necessary. I emptied the binders and placed my mother’s family group sheets in these folders, along with other appropriate information. Keep in mind: my mother created several family group sheets for each person… as she found information, instead of adding the information to a master sheet, she created a new sheet, which might or might not have the same information as previous sheets… someday I will compare the sheets and analyze the information… that waits for another day… at this time, I’m simply trying to sort and assemble the information in one place. I emptied four 3-ring binders and have awesome-looking files! I wonder which family surname I should tackle next…

Project Two: Sorted some old Christmas letters. I found some of the Christmas letters that my parents/mother received over the years. I saved the ones from family members and the closest friends, sorted them by person/family who sent them, and placed them in manila file folders. I then placed the file folders in the appropriate hanging folders in my filing cabinets for those families. I placed the folders for close family friends in the hanging folder for my parents. As I find more letters, I now have a place to put them.

Project Three: Combined two sets of family photographs. I combined my mother’s 3-ring binder of Pehrson photographs with my binder of family photographs. In this case, no duplicates, no snapshots, and neither set is very complete. I will eventually find more photos; it’s just a matter of finding the right box.

More baby steps completed in a giant project.

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We’ve watched the bride-to-be grow up; we are good friends with her parents. Now I have met the mother of the groom and my genealogy reputation had preceded me.

Beth lives in Michigan where a few people are board certified genealogists and many people are members of APG (Association of Professional Genealogists). I’d love to live close to so many active, professional-level genealogists! I could learn so much from them.

I invited her to see my genealogy room; I don’t do that often. I learned a couple significant things during her visit.

1) It is obvious that we can not write a book about each one of our ancestors. Beth told me that she attended a presentation where the speaker explained how to handle this dilemma… pick one of the people in a family group to write about, then pull the others in as you tell the story.

2) She asked if I had made an inventory of my family keepsakes. She said that somewhere she heard that we should all do that. For me the problem is two fold: I have so much and it is strewn all over the house. I understand what she is saying: how will our children know what is a genuine family heirloom. I need to work on this!

Beth saw my rows of overflowing bookshelves and the stacks of books and papers on my countertops. She did not see inside the cupboards. I showed Beth the storeroom next to my genealogy room, the room with 7 four-drawer filing cabinets and bunches of tubs and boxes. However, she did not see my other storeroom, which also has numerous file storage boxes.

Beth explained that she has scanned or saved electronically much of her research. Most of mine is paper. Much of mine was collected either before or early in the electronic era. I’ve inherited so much from so many people; much is duplicated, but needs to be sorted and organized. If I scan everything, will my family look at it? I suspect the only thing they will keep are finished books. IF that is the case, I shouldn’t waste a lot of time scanning everything; I need to focus on writing those books.

In our conversation we agreed on the importance of determining what will happen to our research, so we don’t leave our precious work to the whim of our children. My situation is overwhelming for me; what would it be like for our children?

Beth, I look forward to corresponding with you and seeing you again! What else will I learn from you?

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I’m back! Sorry about my lengthy absence!

When I first dropped out of sight, I was working nearly 24×7 on a big writing project that had a March deadline. Then on March 2, as things happen, only four hours after I emailed the project to a proofreader, I tripped, fell, and broke my right arm at the base of the ball into the shoulder joint. A couple days later I had surgery to repair the break with a plate and ten screws! I wore an immobilizer (sling w/ soft cast) for 6 weeks, now I’m in week 3 of 16 weeks of physical therapy. Since I am right-handed, this has put a serious crimp in my lifestyle.

The proofreader was very prompt and got the project back to me while I was still in the hospital. Once home, I ordered a split keyboard which helped with typing, but my endurance was nil and I have struggled with focusing on most anything. I got the project forwarded on to the editors before the end of March, but I’m not back to full speed with researching and writing.

I cannot fully explain how glad I am that both Dave and I are retired. I can’t imagine going through this ordeal with either one of us still employed. Family and friends have helped with prayers, kind words and food, but Dave’s assistance and support have been invaluable.

My grandmother would feel so bad that my accident happened as I fell into the round oak dining table that she and Grandpa started housekeeping with in 1917. She always thought that table was one of the best pre-nuptial housekeeping selections she made. Grandma, I still love you!

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What a surprise! Not all immigrants from Sweden were Lutheran!

Recently I found a book at the Iowa Genealogical Society Library that broadened my horizons.

Ahlstrom, L. J. Eighty Years of Swedish Baptist Work in Iowa, 1853-1933. Des Moines, Iowa: The Swedish Baptist Conference of Iowa, June 1933.

This book is amazing. It contains hundreds of names: the organizers, the pastors, and many of the members of the churches. For many of the churches it gives the date of initial baptisms for early members. It contains dozens of photographs of members, churches, and parsonages. It also tells about the faith struggles of the believers in Sweden and the physical struggles of the immigrants after arriving in America.

The first several chapters provide detailed histories of several churches:

Chapter II: The First Swedish Baptist Church, Rock Island, Illinois. Organized August 13, 1852. Last official meeting March 30, 1930. pp. 36-68.

Chapter III: Village Creek Swedish Baptist Church. Organized August 10, 1853. This is in northeast Iowa, Allamakee County. pp. 69-100.

Chapter IV: Burlington and New Sweden Churches. Burlington Swedish Baptist Church. Organized March 26, 1854. pp. 101-124.

Chapter V: Stratford Swedish Baptist Church. (Swede Bend.) Organized August 28, 1856. pp 125-137.

Chapter VI: Swedish Baptist Church, Kiron, Crawford County. Organized August 16, 1868. pp. 138-168.

Chapter VII: First Swedish Baptist Church, Forest City. Organized in the Summer of 1869. pp 169-183.

Chapter VIII: Central Baptist Church, Sioux City, Woodbury County. (First Swedish Baptist Church.) Organized January 17, 1875. pp. 184-206.

Chapter IX: Woodlawn Baptist Church, Burlington. (First Swedish Baptist Church.) Organized June 13, 1881. pp. 207-216.

Chapter X: Penn Avenue Baptist Church, Des Moines. (First Swedish Baptist Church.) Organized October 18, 1881. pp. 217-236.

Chapter XI: The Swedish Baptist Church of Arthur. Organized October 25, 1885. pp. 237-251.

Chapter XII: The Grand Avenue Baptist Church, Davenport. Organized March 10, 1889. pp. 252-265.

Chapter XIII: Disbanded Churches. pp. 266-283.

Meriden Swedish Baptist Church. Organized September 27, 1869. pp. 266-267.
Denison Swedish Baptist Church. Organized February 12, 1871. About 1885 most of the members moved away; no property or treasury to be divided. p. 268
The Swedish Baptist Church at Lucas. Organized on August 6, 1876. The chapel was struck by lightning and burned down, 1900, and was never rebuilt. pp. 268-270.
The Swea Swedish Baptist Church, Kossuth County. Organized January 21, 1878. In 1924 the church disbanded and the property sold. pp. 270-273.
Gowrie Swedish Baptist Church. Organized March 17, 1884. On September 30, 1931, the church disbanded and the property was turned over to the Conference. pp. 274-277.
The Swedish Baptist Church at Creston. Organized August 26, 1885. February 27, 1925, the church disbanded and the members joined the American Baptist church at Creston. pp. 277-279.
First Swedish Baptist Church at Clinton. Organized February 16, 1886. pp. 279-281.
Swedish Baptist Church of Council Bluffs. Organized May 21, 1893. On March 5, 1919, the organized disbanded and turned the property over to the State Conference. pp. 281-183.
Churches at Moingona, Boone, Centerville, Slater, Foster and Marshalltown are also disbanded. p. 283.

The next five chapters give biographies of the people who were significant in founding the churches in Iowa:

Chapter XV: Gustav Palmquist. A Biography, b. May 26, 1812; d. September 18, 1867. In American from 1851 to 1857. pp. 295-321.

Chapter XVI: Anders Wiberg. A Biography, b. July 17, 1816; d. November 5, 1887. pp. 322-339.

Chapter XVII: Fredrik Olaus Nilsson. A Biography; b. July 28, 1809; d. October 21, 1881. pp. 340-385.

Chapter XVIII: Robert E. Jeanson, A Biography, b. July 3, 1832; d. May 30, 1920. [The founder of Swea City in Kossuth County.] pp. 386-402.

Chapter XIX: Frank Peterson. A Biography, b. November 19, 1847; d. July 30, 1930. pp. 403-414.

This book was especially interesting because my father’s hometown was Swea City, in Kossuth County. His father was 100% Swedish and Lutheran. Based on my Swedish Lutheran background, I thought all Swedes were Lutheran. This book was enlightening.

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