Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday Trivia

Okay, according to the sidebar it's TUESDAY TRIVIA so since I was digging through some pictures I decided to pull a few pictures that I think you would enjoy.



Since it's TRIVIA TUESDAY I can't tell you who is in the picture, the occassion, year, but you can guess.  Let's see who figures it out!  Answers will appear on Friday!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Love of History Makes Me Travel the Genealogical Path

I love history, maybe that's why I love Genealogy.  I especially love searching for ancestors then studying what was happening in history while they were alive and often guessing what role they played in that history.  It's said that we need to study history so we can learn to not repeat the mistakes of the past.  I don't know if we do that very well, being human and all.  Seems sometimes we need to be hit on the head with a brick before we get it.

I've been told that I 'live in the past'.  I've thought about that a lot.  Wondering............just what does that mean?  All I know is that when I work in genealogy I work in peace because the folks I'm getting to know are normally all gone and they never yell at me or give me grief.

The end of 2014 is nearly upon us, what have we accomplished in it?  Our footsteps have been set for someone in the future to ponder.  My life is nothing special, you say?  I say not so.  Let your footsteps offer encouragement to trudge on through adversity, enjoy the taste of victory or the peace found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Your life will and does speak to someone.

In 2014 we've had the blessing of breaking down some brick walls:

Delmar Slocum 1857-1911
the son of Delivan the
 Brother of Ira Slocum 
father of Alonzo Slocum
Through the wonder of Genealogical DNA we have broken through what genealogists call "the brick wall', when the trail runs cold, and discovered more about IRA SLOCUM, Mike's 4th Great-Grandfather.  He does exhist! Thanks to DAVE BUMP for getting his DNA done so we could find the match to Mike SLOCUM.  Dave's father was adopted and Dave knew that his father was a SLOCUM and wanted to find out more.  We hope to get to Indiana this next summer to visit him!  This break-through was wonderful and opened more doors and will continue to do so. Delmar, pictured here is the 1st cousin of our Alonzo H. Slocum.  Check out that red hair, proving my husband is Scotch/Irish through and through.

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This picture is believed
to be August GESCH, Sr

This encouraged me to pound on the door of my GESCH family.  Whatever happened to August GESCH, Sr who arrived in the United States in 1893 and his wife Augusta?  Where are they buried?  Does anyone know anything about them?  Are there any pictures?  I'm still pounding on that wall but it's beginning to crack.  I ended up contacting the local Genealogical Society and hiring someone to do some searching for me since I have the toddler (we adopted a granddaughter in May 2014) and this lady has found some encouraging information and we hope to find burial locations and be able to pull death certificates that may name the parents of these folks and open even more doors.  The biggest information on the GESCH family was the Y DNA that showed them to have ASHKENAZI JEWISH (from the tribe of LEVI) background which explains GESCH on the holocaust lists.  From what I have found all of the five children who came with August and Augusta from Berlin, Germany practice the LUTHERAN faith.  We'll keep chiseling on this wall in the new year.

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Joining the  American Germans From Russia Society in 2015 is an expensive venture and will send me on a year long search for more information on my grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Marie) REBENSDORF and her ancestors.  My new year for Genealogy has been mapped out for me with this, working on my new filing system and the beginnings of writing the books on each family tree line.


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Saturday, November 22, 2014

W.F. Gesch, Pender, Nebraska Member of Farmer's Holiday Association


The Farmers' Holiday Association was a movement of Midwestern United States farmers who, during the Great Depression, endorsed the withholding of farm products from the market, in essence creating a farmers' holiday from work. The Farmers' Holiday Association was organized in May 1932 by Milo Reno. The group urged farmers to declare a "holiday" from farming, with a slogan of "Stay at Home-Buy Nothing-Sell Nothing" and "Lets call a Farmer's Holiday, a Holiday let's hold. We'll eat our wheat and ham and eggs, And let them eat their gold."

Farmers went to extreme measures to ensure that their wants were carried through. One person was killed when the farmers began to blockade roads, and other farmers rallied to destroy their crops, reducing supply, and raising prices. The highways into Sioux City and Council Bluffs, Iowa, were blocked by pickets who dumped farm produce on the side of the road.  At Le Mars, Iowa some farmers dragged a judge out of his courtroom, placed a noose around his neck, and threatened to hang him unless he stopped approving farm foreclosures. The striking farmers were countered by sheriffs, militia, and vigilante groups.

Farmers' Holiday Association activity subsided by 1934 and was relatively unsuccessful. As a leader of the group from the Sioux City, Iowa area William Frederick Gesch, who was born on 9 October 1887 in Brandenburg, Germany and immigrated with his parents and siblings (one being Jean's Great-Grandfather August, Jr) in 1893 to the Pender, Nebraska area, was labeled a 'Reactionary' by the United States Government.  Indeed, the group was contacted by some of the leaders of the 'Communist Party' at the time, but the Farm Holiday Association rejected the groups overtures.  It was common, in this time period, for the US Government to jump at labeling people Communists.  

Hero or Reactionary, you be the judge.  Similar groups organized during the 1970's Farm Crisis, but because of input by famous people like, Willie Nelson, the group was a bit more successful.




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Are You a GESCH?


In 1894 Jean's great-grandfather August GESCH brought his wife and 6 children to Pilger, Nebraska. I have yet to find his grave site or the site of the grave of his wife Augusta (or possibly Louise Augusta).  Once I find that information we will, hopefully, know a lot more about this couple and even their lives in Germany.


August Fredrick Gesch,
center, with his 5 older boys
I DID FIND, a August Frederick GESCH who was baptised on 5 Nov 1943 in Schmargendorf, Herzsprung, Angermunde, Brandenburg, Germany.  I know that my grandfather aka August Frederick GESCH hated Hitler and said he was born in Berlin.  This was confusing because previously we had heard Gruenburg, etc but it didn't fit and family members who visited there were told that no one with the GESCH name ever lived there.

Now, the immigration papers do mention Brandenburg AND I learned that this area (state), which was once part of Poland, was later annexed to Berlin.  So let's learn a bit more about this area......

Anermunde is a town in the districe of Uckermark in the state of Brandenburg, Germany loncated on the Mundesee, 43 miles northeast of Berlin on the Berlin-Szczecin railway.  The population is about 10,000 people but the population has been dwendling rapidly.  It is Located in the gave filled forests of the Uckermark, and has has many lakes in the area.


Court House Schmargendorfer
Schmargendorfer is a south-western locality (Ortsteil) of Berlin in the district(Bezirk) of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. Until 2001 it was part of the former district of Wilmersdorf.  The village in the Margraviate of Brandenburg was first mentioned as des or’s Margreven Dorp (literally English: the Margrave's Village) in 1354, contracted to Low German Smargendorp and later adapted to High German standard as Schmargendorf.[1] It was probably established about 1220 by German settlers in the course of the Ostsiedlung under the co-ruling Ascanian Margraves John I and Otto III of Brandenburg, after the former Slavic territories had been conquered by their great-grandfather Albert the Bear.
During the growth of the City of Berlin after the 1871 unification of Germany, many peasants profited by the real estate speculation, when Schmargendorf on the eastern rim of the Grunewald forest became a popular residential area. In 1899 the former village was separated from neighbouring Wilmersdorf and received municipal rights within the Brandenburgian Landkreis Teltow, whereafter the residents had the lavish Neo-Gothic town hall erected in 1902. On 1 October 1920 Schmargendorf was incorporated into Berlin by the "Greater Berlin Act". (from Wikipedia)
Now curiously the people from this area all spoke LOW GERMAN.  This language is pretty much extinct except for the Germans from this area and those who migrated to Russia and then to other areas in the world and expecially included German Mennonites.

Wikipedia:
Low German or Low Saxon(Plattdüütsch, Nedderdüütsch;Standard German: Plattdeutsch orNiederdeutsch; Dutch: Nedersaksischin the wider sense, see Nomenclaturebelow) is an Ingvaeonic[8] West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands. It is descended from Old Saxon in its earliest form.
The historical Sprachraum of Low German also included contemporary northern Poland, the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia, and a part of southern Lithuania. German speakers in this area were forcibly expelled after the post-World War II border changes. The former German communities in the Baltic states also spoke Low German. Moreover, Middle Low German was thelingua franca of the Hanseatic League, and it had a significant influence on theScandinavian languages.
Dialects of Low German are widely spoken in the northeastern area of the Netherlands (Dutch Low Saxon) and are written there with an orthography based on Standard Dutch orthography.
Variants of Low German were widely (and are still to a far lesser extent) spoken in most parts ofNorthern Germany, for instance in the states ofLower SaxonyNorth Rhine-WestphaliaHamburg,BremenSchleswig-HolsteinMecklenburg-VorpommernSaxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg. Small portions of northern Hesse and northernThuringia are traditionally Low Saxon-speaking too. Historically, Low German was also spoken in formerly German parts of Poland as well as in East Prussia and the Baltic States of Estoniaand Latvia. The language was also formerly spoken in the outer areas of what is now the city-state of Berlin, but in the course of urbanisation and national centralisation in that city, the language has vanished. (The Berlin dialect itself is a northern outpost of High Germanand typologically a Missingsch variety,[citation needed] although rarely recognized as the latter.[citation needed]) Under the name Low Saxon, there are speakers in the Dutch north-eastern provinces of GroningenDrentheStellingwerven (part of Friesland), Overijssel andGelderland, in several dialect groups per province.
Today, there are still speakers outside of Germany and the Netherlands to be found in the coastal areas of present Poland (minority of ethnic German Pommersch speakers who were not expelled from Pomerania, as well as the regions around Braniewo).[citation needed] In the Southern Jutland region of Denmark there may still be some Low German speakers in some German minority communities, but the Low German and North Frisian dialects ofDenmark can be considered moribund at this time.[citation needed]

Low German outside Europe and the Mennonites[edit]

Main article: Plautdietsch

There are also immigrant communities where Low German is spoken in the western hemisphere, including Canada, the United 
StatesMexico,BelizeVenezuelaBoliviaArgentinaBrazil,Paraguay and Uruguay. In some of these countries, the language is part of the Mennonite religion and culture.[10] There are Mennonite communities inOntarioSaskatchewanAlbertaBritish Columbia,Manitoba, and Minnesota which use Low German in their religious services and communities. These Mennonites are descended from primarily Dutch settlers that had initially settled in the Vistula Deltaregion of Prussia in the 16th and 17th centuries before moving to newly acquired Russian territories in Ukraine in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and then to the Americas in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The type of Low German spoken in these communities and in the Midwest region of the United Stateshas diverged since emigration. The survival of the language is tenuous in many places and has died out in many places where assimilation has occurred. Members and friends of the Historical Society of North German Settlements in Western New York (Bergholz, NY), a community of Lutherans who trace their immigration from Pommerania in the 1840s, hold quarterly "Plattdeutsch lunch" events, where remnant speakers of the language gather to share and preserve the dialect. Mennonite colonies in ParaguayBelize, and Chihuahua,Mexico have made Low German a "co-official language" of the community.
Pommersch is also spoken in parts of Southern and Southeastern Brazil, in the latter especially in the state of Espírito Santo, being official in five municipalities, and spoken among its ethnically European migrants elsewhere, primarily in the states of Rio de Janeiroand Rondônia. Pommersch-speaking regions of Southern Brazil are often assimilated into the general German Brazilian population and culture, for example celebrating theOktoberfest, and there can even be a language shift from it to Riograndenser Hunsrückisch in some areas. In Espírito Santo, nevertheless, Pomeranian Brazilians are more often proud of their language, and particular religious traditions and culture,[11] and not rarely inheriting the nationalism of their ancestors, being more likely to accept marriages of its members with Brazilians of origins other than a Germanic Central European one than to assimilate with Brazilians of SwissAustrianCzech, and non-Pommersch-speaking German and Prussian heritage – that were much more numerous immigrants to both Brazilian regions (and whose language almost faded out in the latter, due to assimilation and internal migration), by themselves less numerous than the Italianones (with only Venetian communities in areas of highly Venetian presence conserving Talian, and other Italian languages and dialects fading out elsewhere).
I believe this picture if of August and August Gesch and their 6 children.
I don't know who the one man is holding the child, another mystery to solve.
Alternately this could be a picture of Gustav (August F Jr's brother) and the elder
man could be the senior August F. GESCH

IT DOES APPEAR that this August Frederich GESCH who was baptized in this area is indeed the same August Frederich GESCH who is the father of my Grandfather August Frederich GESCH.  His father appears to be Joachim Friedrich GESCH and his mother is
 Wilhelmine Bohn.  We will hold this information in reserve until we can get a Death Certificate for the elder August F GESCH and can make confirmations.  If this is indeed him we also can get information on his brothers and sisters from these Parish records also.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Forensic Genealogy Conference Reveals Jewish Ancestry



Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhDFriday and Saturday I went to the Fall Genealogy Conference (October 2014) given by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society. in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The topic was Forensic Genealogy with an emphasis on DNA as a Genealogy tool. The presenter was a funny little lady Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD, Forensic Genealogist, from California.  Definitely a very brilliant lady who has a nack for digging out the truth in ways you may have not considered in typical genealogical searches.  She's the author of three 'award winning' books, which I bought and have no idea when I'll have time to read.  Why I do that? I don't know, but maybe I need to make Gabby's nap time reading time.


I had two questions about my DNA results and discovered that one of the questions I already had figured out so, thus, confirmed by Ms Fitzpatrick. The reason my Native American Ancestry doesn't show up on my DNA results from Ancestry.com is simply because it wasn't in the slice of DNA tested.


A couple of years ago my half cousin in Washington (GESCH) did a Y Chromosomal DNA test that would show only the male line, thus catching the GESCH DNA. This test was done to see if there was a connection to the Ashkenazi Jewish lines in Germany. My Great-Grandfather brought his family from the Northern Berlin to America in 1857, meaning because of the geographical location, there was a possible Jewish connection.  My Cousins mother, of Jewish descent, had suspicions because she had found GESCH in the lists of Holocaust victims.  The results of that test was absolutely positive.  Not only were the GESCH family of Jewish descent but they seemed to be able to pinpoint of the Tribe of Levi.  I don't know how they do that but the presenter of the conference and a DNA expert indicated if the study was tight enough it was possible.  Further study of the Ashkenazi Jews revealed that it is generally true that this group are indeed Levites.

August Frederick GESCH







So classyThe second and newest question was interesting. Why am I showing a DNA match to someone who is one of the children of my Great-Aunts through marriage to my Grandmother, MARY (MARIE) ELIZABETH REBENSDORF DEBUS GESCH's brother GEORGE REBENSDORF? This amazingly strong and loving woman of German Descent,  AMELIA ROTH (VOLZ (FOLTZ)) REBENSDORF, came to America with several children in tow (one an infant) after her husband (Mr Volz (Foltz), also of German descent died in Russia.  Not long after arriving she married my grandmother's brother, GEORGE REBENSDORF.  They blended their two families and had several children together. Clearly, saving a non-parental event that is unlikely, I should not show a DNA match to this person named FOLTZ.

Mary (Marie) REBENSDORF (Debus) GESCH

I posed the question to the presenter and the first question she asked was, "is there Jewish Ancestry"? I said that I had recently found Jewish Ancestry in not only my Paternal Grandfather (as indicated above) BUT ALSO through Paternal Grandmother when it showed up in an actual REBENSDORF close DNA match. The Jewish Ancestry in my Paternal Grandfather is not new news, but finding out that my Paternal Grandmother also was of Jewish descent is new news.  

The Ashkenazi Jewish lines is where we get the Yiddish pronunciation of Hebrew.  This is a group of people who migrated to Eastern Europe (i.e. Germany and from there to Poland and the Ukraine). They are an interesting group that are often plagued with DNA health issues in children and are often known to be brilliant thinkers.  Albert Einstein was an Ashkenazi Jew.  Colleen Fitzpatrick, the Conference presenter,  indicated to me that this group of Jewish people tended to inter-marry, because of their faith, so that it is possible I would have distant matches to just about everyone from the area or this entire Ethnic Group.

 My next task is to get a Y DNA from my Uncle for the Shavlik line and see what happens. Since I already know that Shavlik is a Hebrew name I am anticipating the results will have European Jewish Ancestry in it. My Grandfather, STEPHEN SHAVLIK's father, was from Bohemia near the Turkish Border and his mother was from Moravia. If positive this brings me to three of my four major lines with European Jewish Ancestry. I am also going add my Ancestry.com DNA results to Family Tree DNA.


                          August GESCH
                Harvey GESCH
                          Marie REBENSDORF
Jean GESCH Slocum
                          Stephen SHAVLIK
                E'Lonna SHAVLIK
                          Jennie Phoebe GUNTER

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I AM THANKFUL that all my ancestors of Jewish Descent had, at one point in time, converted to Christianity, or in-other-words, accepted JESUS CHRIST as the SAVIOR they were looking for.
Messianic Star - Jewish-Christian Families-Star of David with Cross

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Are You A Slocum?




There are Slocum's and then there are Slocum's.  The Slocum family who settled in the Arcadia/Litchfield area in Nebraska was a real brick wall for several of the cousins who worked on the family history.  I think there is now a crack in that wall and I have been moving full steam ahead and getting lots and lots of information on the ancestors.  Still plenty of questions but real break threws have occurred.  I've even gotten tips of one of Ira's sisters who moved to the Hebron area.

There still seems to be some skeletons here and there.  Appears Alonzo's father, Ira, was a moonshiner and he and either one of his son's or a nephew built a large still in a barn for which they were taken to the Superior Court in Indiana to pay for.  The two felt they should be able to take the full cost of the still off their rent to the owner (Ira's son) and the owner didn't think so.  SIGH family issues.

I inherited a box full of pictures from Mike's mother when she passed.  We are starting to go through the box.  The above picture stood out to me for the first picture for the Slocum's.  I know who it is and the writing on the picture does give it away.  As I get other pictures I will post them.  If there are family members who want the picture I post they can just get in touch with me, pay the postage and they are yours.

The above picture is of Cecil Slocum, Son of George Washington Slocum (picture at top of page).  George Washington Slocum's father was Alonzo Slocum who was the son of Ira Slocum of Indiana.   This picture of Cecil was taken in 1946 and I'm guessing it's his High School graduation picture.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Are You A Cunningham?


I am starting to go through some pictures left to us by Mike's Mother, Dorothy Cunningham Slocum.  Some of the pictures belonged to her mother Onieta M. Hall Cunningham.

We are unsure of the people in this picture but think it might be of Harold Cunningham and his family.  Unknown Year, Unknown town.  If you know the folks in this picture please contact us with details.  We are giving some of these pictures back to respective families.

Harold Cunningham was the son of Chester and Onieta Cunningham.  Chester Cunningham was the son of Virgil Cunningham and Mary Ettie Farrell Cunningham.  Virgil was the son of John Perry Cunningham (b1841-Penn d 1913 Tilden, NE) and Sarah Jones Cunningham.

We are trying to connect with all the cousins of this family.  Please contact us

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Trivia

While Genealogy is the study of your immediate family, ultimately it is the historical study of the migration of people and people groups. 



Who are the Welsh and Scotch people?  Where did this group of people originate?

Do you know?  Tell us your thoughts, then watch for an article on Sunday.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Recipe Mania - Traditional Irish Stew

With Irish blood teaming through the veins of the Slocum, Cunningham and even the Gunter clan I would be remiss in not adding a Traditional Irish Stew to our Recipe Book here on FOOTSTEPS BEHIND ME.  There's a catch!  I found out that there are a multitude of  'traditional' Irish Stew recipes. It seems that every area and just about every family had their own 'tradition' when making the every popular Irish Stew.  So, I'm combining some versions I found on line and have created my own 'traditional' version. Being the 'Herb Lady' I will also be adding some herbs to season it up a bit.  I will be serving it with my attempt of making some Gluten-Free** Welsh Miner Cakes.



Irish Stew

serves 2-3

2 teaspoons Coconut or Olive oil or just use butter
1/2 pound lamb shoulder steak cut into bite size pieces
1/2 pound diced potatoes
1/2 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup leeks, finely sliced (my little store did not have leeks so I got scallions (green onions) and used them instead)
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 teaspoon each, thyme, marjoram, rosemary
1 small bay leaf

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a frying pan heat half the oil to hot but not smoking. Add half the lamb pieces and brown all over. Remove the lamb and place in a casserole, cover with a half of the potatoes, onions, leeks and carrots.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan, heat again then add the remaining lamb and brown all over. Add to the casserole and cover with the remaining vegetables
  3. Add the stock, cover with a tight fitting lid, cook in the oven for 1 hour. Add the cabbage  replace the lid and cook for another hour. Check from time to time to make sure the stock isn't reducing too much, if it is add a little boiling water. The meat and vegetables should always be covered by liquid. If the sauce is too runny at the end, cook a little longer with the lid removed. Season with salt and pepper
 This recipe would be great cooked in a slow cooker.

**HINT:  According to my Gastrointerologist if you are of Irish Descent you have much more likely to have Celiac Disease or at least be Gluten-Intolerant.  Consider it! For great Gluten-Free recipes and menu ideas see our sister blog:  www.grandmafarmer.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Conducting The Interview


Make a family tree
Great!  You've scheduled an interview with some of your living relatives.  Before you go there's a few hints you need to know.
  • Keep the interview short....1-2 hours max
  • Take pictures with you or anything else that might help jog memories.
  • Take extra paper and pencils/pens with you and be prepared to write fast!
  • Take a video camera and/or tape recorder with you.  Be sure you ask first before you record anyone.  If they are uncomfortable, let it go.  You won't get a lot of info from someone who is uncomfortable with the situation.
  • Type out your list of questions and take them with you.  Allow room to 'fill in' the information.

Here's a list of questions you can use to do an oral interview that I found at http://genealogy.about.com/cs/oralhistory/a/interview.htm
  1. What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have a nickname?
  2. When and where were you born?
  3. How did your family come to live there?
  4. Were there other family members in the area? Who?
  5. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
  6. Were there any special items in the house that you remember?
  7. What is your earliest childhood memory?
  8. Describe the personalities of your family members.
  9. What kind of games did you play growing up?
  10. What was your favorite toy and why?
  11. What was your favorite thing to do for fun (movies, beach, etc.)?
  12. Did you have family chores? What were they? Which was your least favorite?
  13. Did you receive an allowance? How much? Did you save your money or spend it?
  14. What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend grade school? High school? College?
  15. What school activities and sports did you participate in?
  16. Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothes?
  17. Who were your childhood heroes?
  18. What were your favorite songs and music?
  19. Did you have any pets? If so, what kind and what were their names?
  20. What was your religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?
  21. Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
  22. Who were your friends when you were growing up?
  23. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
  24. Describe a typical family dinner. Did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking? What were your favorite foods?
  25. How were holidays (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) celebrated in your family? Did your family have special traditions?
  26. How is the world today different from what it was like when you were a child?
  27. Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
  28. What do you know about your family surname?
  29. Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?
  30. What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
  31. Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?
  32. Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
  33. Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
  34. Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
  35. What was the full name of your spouse? Siblings? Parents?
  36. When and how did you meet your spouse? What did you do on dates?
  37. What was it like when you proposed (or were proposed to)? Where and when did it happen? How did you feel?
  38. Where and when did you get married?
  39. What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?
  40. How would you describe your spouse? What do (did) you admire most about them?
  41. What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
  42. How did you find out your were going to be a parent for the first time?
  43. Why did you choose your children's names?
  44. What was your proudest moment as a parent?
  45. What did your family enjoy doing together?
  46. What was your profession and how did you choose it?
  47. If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn't it your first choice?
  48. Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?
  49. What accomplishments were you the most proud of?
  50. What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tombstone Thursday


Virgil Cunningham

Virgil and Mary Cunningham married in 1882 in Ohio and had a large family of eleven children.  They first showed up in Nebraska in the 1900 Census, living in Madison County, Nebraska.

Virgil was born in Adams County, Ohio.  His father James Perry CUNNINGHAM was born in Pennsylvania but by the time he was 9 years old was living in Ohio.  James father William 'Nur' CUNNINGHAM was born in Ireland.

Things we still need to know:  What year did Virgil and Mary come to Nebraska?  Virgil's father James Perry was actually also living in Nebraska in the 1950 census but he was living in Antelope County in the town of Neligh.  I'm wondering why they were living so far apart?  A trip to the State Historical Society is in order.  Some things can be done on-line but you can't do everything, when searching for information on your family, on-line. Sometimes you just need physical searching.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Trivia

John Perry Cunningham gravestone

We've been working on the CUNNINGHAM Line for several weeks now and are going to continue to do so for the next six weeks as we learn more and more about this great big family.

(I was hoping to put the picture I have of the John Perry Cunningham family here, but I can't find it.  I will be looking for it this week.)

Today's trivia questions...........................

The Cunningham Family came to Nebraska from what state?  What year? To what Nebraska County?

The Cunningham Family immigrated to the United States from what country?  What year?

Give your answers in the 'Comment' section below or on our Facebook page (Footsteps Behind Me)


Watch for answers on Friday this week!  Let's see who is correct!




Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Recipe Mania - BASKA "Sweet Easter Bread"

With Irish blood teaming through the veins of the Slocum, Cunningham and even the Gunter clan I would be remiss in not adding a Traditional Irish Stew to our Recipe Book here on FOOTSTEPS BEHIND ME.  There's a catch!  I found out that there are a multitude of  'traditional' Irish Stew recipes. It seems that every area and just about every family had their own 'tradition' when making the every popular Irish Stew.  So, I'm combining some versions I found on line and have created my own 'traditional' version. Being the 'Herb Lady' I will also be adding some herbs to season it up a bit.  I will be serving it with my attempt of making some Gluten-Free** Welsh Miner Cakes.



Irish Stew

serves 2-3

2 teaspoons Coconut or Olive oil or just use butter
1/2 pound lamb shoulder steak cut into bite size pieces
1/2 pound diced potatoes
1/2 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup leeks, finely sliced (my little store did not have leeks so I got scallions (green onions) and used them instead)
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 teaspoon each, thyme, marjoram, rosemary
1 small bay leaf

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a frying pan heat half the oil to hot but not smoking. Add half the lamb pieces and brown all over. Remove the lamb and place in a casserole, cover with a half of the potatoes, onions, leeks and carrots.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan, heat again then add the remaining lamb and brown all over. Add to the casserole and cover with the remaining vegetables
  3. Add the stock, cover with a tight fitting lid, cook in the oven for 1 hour. Add the cabbage  replace the lid and cook for another hour. Check from time to time to make sure the stock isn't reducing too much, if it is add a little boiling water. The meat and vegetables should always be covered by liquid. If the sauce is too runny at the end, cook a little longer with the lid removed. Season with salt and pepper
 This recipe would be great cooked in a slow cooker.

**HINT:  According to my Gastrointerologist if you are of Irish Descent you have much more likely to have Celiac Disease or at least be Gluten-Intolerant.  Consider it! For great Gluten-Free recipes and menu ideas see our sister blog:  www.grandmafarmer.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 13, 2014

HURRY! Run, Don't Walk! Contact Living Family Members

Living relatives can be an important resource for finding more information about your ancestors.  Perhaps you will find a family Bible.  You certainly will find some information that you never had


The most important reason you should contact as many living family members as possible is that these folks have information, first hand.  This is an opportunity you will NEVER HAVE AGAIN.  Once these folks are gone you will be left to only piece impersonal information together. You won't be able to hear the stories about the firey, red headed great-grandfather ever again.  These folks will be able to give you details no one else can give you.

Begin with the oldest living family members you can.  Do you have great-grandparents still living?  Aunts, Uncles, cousins?  Start with the oldest and go down to those even in your generation.  From experience my cousins had a totally different experience knowing my grandmother than I did. 
I know that my own intimacy with my grandmother, Marie Elizabeth REBENSTORF/DEBUS/GESCH has yielded more personal stories about her growing up years than any of my numerous other cousins.

How to Find Living Relatives
  • Probably the number one tool today for finding living relatives is the Internet.  The Internet has opened so many doors and made the world infinitely smaller
  • Message Boards are a collaboration of people in a 'room' type setting discussing and asking for help with family history searches.  Use them! (GenForm, Ancestry.com Boards, About.com Genealogy Message Boards, Genealogy Today Message Boards)
  • Facebook and Google+.  These resources allow you to create groups for just family members, can send and receive videos, audio files, and that all important photo.  You can chat in real time on facebook also.
  • Genealogy websites is most likely the most used tool for finding dead ancestors and the least used for finding living family, however with the popularity of DNA and the consequent matching by many of these sites living family members can be found.

The Approach

Approaching living family members can be key in just how much, if any, information you get.  The wrong approach can actually yield someone literally hanging up on you or slamming the door in your face. We live in a day when there are thousands of folks out there trying to scam folks and everyone knows it.  You don't want to give the appearance of being one of those scammers, especially if you have never met these folks before.

First and foremost, introduce yourself:  Give a brief history of your life such as where you live, who your parents and grandparents are/were.  Tell them how you think you might be related to them.  DON'T be pushy, you could loose this contact source forever.

Using the snail mail and/or email approach just might be the ideal way to make contact with a new family member if you have never met them before. The letter/message should contain information about you (see above), some of your family surnames, how you feel that you are related to them, and how they may contact you.  Basically you are putting the ball into their court and gives them some sense of control.

One thing you should be aware of.  Some people's history is painful and they might not want to talk about it. Please honor this and so not press them.  Simply go on to the next contact.  Keep in contact this them through friendly, how are you, notes or emails and maybe someday........

The ideal situation is to set us a face to face interview where the person can feel relaxed and can just talk memories.  The only other alternative is through mail/email questions or if they are now comfortable that you are who you say you are even phone interviews.

See our next post CONDUCTING THE INTERVIEW.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Picture Friday

Can you guess who the folks are in these pictures????


This picture was taken at Lancaster Manor, Lincoln, NE
Who's in this picture and what's the event?




When going through pictures I couldn't resist this one and the following.  Guesses?


Oh my goodness!


My favorite men!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tombstone Thursday - Chester & Oneita Cunningham


Who knows this pair or one or the other of them?

Let's learn more from one another!

Post your pictures of them together and individually tomorrow on the family Facebook Page:  
https://www.facebook.com/FootstepsBehindMe

Post stories to that page about them too!  Let's see what we know!

They rest at the cemetery near Roca, Nebraska, row 10