Saturday, December 3, 2016

My Hometown - When Daughters Ask - Part 3 of 3


My Hometown
When Daughters Ask
Part 3 of 3

Silver Dollar City, Thanksgiving 2016
Allison King, Annette Lamb, Arrion Rathsack


As my wife, Nancy, our daughter, Annette, and I discussed the ‘eighth-grade yearbook’ that featured Nancy’s mother, Ruth, as a seventh-grader, and my father, Pete, as an eighth grader (the only one, actually), our discussion also involved the younger brothers and sisters of each as we looked at the photos and pages about the other classes in the one-room country school. This brought up another important aspect of talking about your family history with your grown children.

Each child will have different memories about relationships with older members of the extended family as well as different cousins, perhaps. Annette pointed out, for example, that she had memories of interacting with aunts and uncles in our hometown that her younger sisters didn’t. We only visited the hometown a few times a year, perhaps monthly, in her early years, of course, but by the time the two younger sisters were old enough to remember, we had moved out of state and hometown visits were no more than once or twice a year, if at all in any given year. Conversely, on those later years trips, Annette was out on her own, not with us, so the younger sisters knew many cousins that Annette never really got to know well.

So, my point here is to remember that each child will have different interests, and disinterests, based on their own experiences with various portions of the extended family - in addition to there natural interests in one aspect or another of family history study… at the point in there life when they become interested at all… if they even do. As for our girls, I’ve already mentioned Annette’s interests. The youngest, Arrion, and her husband, travel to Europe regularly, so she has become interested in the ‘way back’ parts of our family history. In contrast, Allison, the middle one, is really the most connected to the living relatives, keeps in touch with many of them, and likes to visit them, when possible. Different strokes for different folks, so to speak.

I would enjoy hearing your comments about how your next generation has reacted to and become involved with your family history studies and research.


Families are Forever! ;-)

Friday, December 2, 2016

My Hometown - When Daughters Ask - Part 2 of 3


My Hometown
When Daughters Ask
 Part 2 of 3

Silver Dollar City, Thanksgiving 2016
Allison King, Annette Lamb, Arrion Rathsack


In Part 1, my wife Nancy was showing the first of two family history research projects on which she had been working to our oldest daughter, Annette. We looked at her reaction.

Then, Nancy handed her a folder with the second project, barely begun.

The key artifact in that folder was a multi-page ‘eighth-grade yearbook’ hand made at a one-room country school, using mimeographed sheets, and containing many little black and white photo images taped onto various pages. Each photo was of one or more of the students. This book was created in 1928!

Having been a Media Specialist in a local School, as well as a Professor of Instructional Technology and Library Science for many years, such a historical document ‘caught her fancy” immediately.

However, it was the content of the booklet that really caught her attention. She quickly realized she was looking at content written about both her maternal grandmother, in seventh grade, and her paternal grandfather, in eighth grade, chronicled in the yearbook!! At the same one-room country Star School, Union No. 1, where her own mother had attended in later years (the 1940s)!! Annette said something to the effect: “This is part of my family history, both sides of the family, in one document!”

This led to extensive discussion, of course, from both of our perspectives. Many memories invoked, shared, and discussed.

For this post, one particular aspect piqued her interest. Grandmother Ruth, the seventh grader, had written the ‘future’ stories of other students, and in particular, regarding Grandfather Pete, the eighth grader. It went something like this: At some future date, I (Ruth) was returning from an ocean liner cruise from Europe, and read a sports news article that featured Pete Smith. He was a star baseball player with the Des Moines Giants team and had hit 50 homers that year…. and went on like that.

Another page in the yearbook had noted that Pete was the leader of the local baseball team and it was his favorite sport - in addition to wanting to be a great farmer.

Annette immediately wanted to know if the “Des Moines Giants” had been a real baseball team of the era, and began an extensive computer search on the subject - she is very skilled at this. Jumping ahead just a bit, she got into the archives of our hometown newspaper, a weekly which is now available on line from 1882. She came across news articles, from the 1920s, of a local farm baseball team named the Willow Creek Giants, that features the Hilgenberg brothers. Willow Creek runs right past our home Smith farm… which Pete had purchased in 1941 from William Hilgenberg. Needless to say, this led to much more research and discussion. And, many, many maps trying to locate exactly where all this occurred, exactly, where and when and by whom. I did a full census-based family tree of the Hilgenberg family to add to the discussion. I knew many of them, growing up. One was an uncle, married Pete’s sister, and others were neighbors and friends. What fun!

This wasn’t perhaps the outcome that Nancy had expected in sharing her second project, but we all created new memories, learned new information about our family, and learned more about the neighborhood in the process of just a few hours. This occurred because we listed to “what our daughter asked” and followed her interests, not just our own.

In Part 3, tomorrow, we’ll look at some of the relationships we discussed related to the above and more…


Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Hometown - When Daughters Ask - Part 1 of 3


My Hometown
When Daughters Ask
Part 1 of 3
My wife, Nancy, and I are very fortunate that each of our three grown daughters have developed a serious interest in their family history. Nancy and I are more than pleased, and proud, to encourage that interest and share our extensive research, datebases, and writings, of course, to kick-start their own research… which they are doing, each in their own ways.
Silver Dollar City, Thanksgiving 2016
Allison King, Annette Lamb, Arrion Rathsack

Holiday interchanges are always critical since two of the three live in different states, so we are only face to face a few times each year. This post was kicked off, a few days after the Thanksgiving Day holiday, a few days before our oldest daughter, Annette, was ready to leave. Her interests include timelines and places (maps, places to visit, etc.) she says. Annette and Nancy have already published two family history books together, so it is always interesting to see where these discussions lead.

Shameless promotional plugs:



Nancy brought out two projects she had worked on lately, to share with Annette, to see if either caught her eye. For the first one, Nancy had built folders of information on the decades of her paternal grandfather, who was sort of a ‘black sheep’ in the family. It has taken years to build a decent history of him, since her family didn’t want to talk about him. There are still a few holes to fill in, but there is a story to be told one day. Annette showed interest, of course, but no new sparks seemed to fly… until she came across a photo from about 1914 of her three-year-old grandfather standing beside a pond/lake with “Longfellow Gardens, Minneapolis” written on the back. The ‘place name’ caught her attention. She immediately wondered if this “place” still existed and got to work on her computer.

She soon located “Longfellow Gardens” as a current part of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board [https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks__destinations/gardens__bird_sanctuaries/longfellow_gardens/] and started to muse about a possible visit next summer as part of a previously planned trip in the vicinity. Wouldn't it be neat to have a similar photo, now, with her standing where her three-year-old grandfather had stood, over a hundred of years ago.

She also mentioned she knew someone who had worked with the parks there at one time. Was he still there? The pondering and planning continued, along with further discussion of Nancy's project research.

My point in posting this is how important it is to let the next generation pick and choose their own topics/subjects of interest in our family history studies. When they pick something that excites them, then perhaps the work we have done will become real to them, not just boring vital records and cute stories. They will move ahead with their own research that will add depth, detail, and context to what we have begun… that we would likely never have done, ourselves.

Part 2, tomorrow, will continue with another example… that second project...




Families are Forever! ;-)





Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sharing Memories - Eaton Plant in Spencer, Iowa, closes


Sharing Memories - Eaton Plant in Spencer, Iowa, closes




Easton Plant in Spencer, Iowa

In 1974, I was working as one of five personal assistants to the Governor of Iowa at the time, Governor Robert D. Ray. One of my areas of responsibilities was employment.

When the above plant opened, I was privileged to accompany Governor Ray, in the state plane, on a visit to this plant opening (because of other assignments, I believe this was the only plant opening I attended). Because of that, I've always noted the name Eaton. Here is a news story of the recent plant closing announcement:


We always hate to see plants close, of course, but this one seemed to have a very good, long run. Hard to believe how long it has been since we visited in 1974.

 

Monday, October 24, 2016

October is Family History Month


October is Family History Month

Have you identified each of your eight great-grandparents, with photos. It is a great place to start on your Family History Adventure... best wishes, and, have fun!!


I just scanned through many of the hundreds of family photos posted on this site. Oh, my, what an experience... down memory lane. Hope you've had the chance to do that, as well.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday Obituary - Leo Millard Kinnick


Sunday Obituary
Leo Millard Kinnick





I was very pleased to be able to attend the Celebration of Life of my Uncle Leo, my Mom's older brother, last weekend, in Pella, Iowa. He had a very full life. He and Ida were married for 77 years. Today is our 57th Anniversary... just 20 years to go to match their outstanding experience!

Leo Kinnick


Leo Millard Kinnick, age 99, passed away peacefully from natural causes on Monday, July 25, 2016, at Jefferson Place in Pella, Iowa. He was born in Coon Rapids, Iowa, to parents Paul and Dorothy (Sorensen) Kinnick on March 21, 1917, as the oldest of their 3 children: Leo, Eileen, and August Edward (Buzz).
As a high school student in Coon Rapids, he was an avid football player and sang in many vocal ensembles, activities that he continued to enjoy throughout his life. During these high school years, he would just happen to leave his house after lunch, at the same time Ida Marie Bell was walking back from her lunch with friends, conveniently offering to carry her books.  And thus a lifelong love story began which lasted 77 years. Even with these distractions, he still managed to graduate as salutatorian of his class.
After high school, Leo attended and graduated from Capital City Commercial College in Des Moines. When first married, Leo worked on the 80 acre family farm in Coon Rapids (no electricity, no running water, a hand crank phone, and field work done with horses and mules), but shortly thereafter he and Ida Marie moved to Rolfe, Iowa, where they helped Ida Marie’s father run his dairy farm of 45-50 milk cows. Their first daughter Karen was born on the Rolfe farm. A year and a half later they moved back to Coon Rapids where they opened a small café and lived on the floor above it. They sold hamburgers for 5 cents, and Karen entertained customers with song and dance, standing on the counter top. A short time later, Leo’s dad Paul, a banker in Coon Rapids, told Leo about a bank job opening in Lohrville, Iowa, and encouraged Leo to apply.  In 1940, Leo moved his young family to Lohrville, to be paid $80.00 a month in the new job. He became active in the community, and was the cashier of the bank for roughly 30 years. Daughter Kathleen, son Kelton, and daughter Karla were all born in nearby Lake City. When all the children were on their own, Leo took a job in a Fort Dodge bank for a short time, and then moved to Lenox, Iowa, serving in their bank until he retired in 1983. After “snow-birding” in Tucson, Arizona, a couple years, they moved to Tucson where they cherished the warm weather for about 20 years, and could watch their two youngest granddaughters grow up. In 2007 they moved back to Pella, Iowa, to be closer to more members on both sides of the family.
Music, sports and dance were always Leo’s biggest interests, and he saw that his children took part in those as much as they could. Gifted with a fine natural tenor voice himself, he sang in church choirs for many years, soloed for many special occasions, but he also sang in the Calhoun County Chorus, the Fort Dodge Glee Club, the Creston Glee Club, the Tucson Barbershop Chorus, and numerous barbershop quartets along the way. He loved Guy Lombardo, Lawrence Welk, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as well as many university choral groups, and even opera as sung by his youngest granddaughter. Leo attended dozens, if not hundreds, of dance recitals through the years, and one of his most recent TV favorites was “Dancing with the Stars”. He enjoyed seeing his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren experiencing the same joy in music, sports and dance that he did.
It was Leo’s love of football that made him the “neighborhood dad” throughout the 1950s. There were many summer and fall evenings when the neighborhood kids would gather to have Leo tell them to “go long” and he would hit them with nice soft passes. And the faces would be so attentive when he explained “how he did it when he played for the Chicago Bears”. It took many years before both family and friends realized that the Chicago Bears were just a passion, and that he really hadn’t played for them. But nevertheless, the story has flourished and been passed through several generations.
Leo served as a school board member of the Lohrville Community School, was a Boy Scouts leader, treasurer of the city of Lohrville for 25 years, a member of the Iowa Bankers Association and treasurer of the Salvation Army.
Besides his parents, Leo was preceded in death by the love of his life, Ida Marie (Bell) Kinnick, his sister Eileen Smith (Olson), and son-in-law Richard Henak. He is survived by his children Karen Henak, Kathleen (Kathi) Lucas, Kelton, and Karla, son-in-law Ken Lucas, brother Buzz, sister-in-law June Patrick, six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. 


Saturday, July 16, 2016

100 Years Ago - Great-Grandparents 25th Anniversary


100 Years Ago
Great-Grandparents 25th Anniversary

Photo courtesy of cousin Ellen DeVilbis

100 Years Ago, Coon Rapids Enterprise, July 14, 2016 -
From July 14, 1916:

Mr. and Mrs. A.P. Kinnick celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary Wednesday, July 6. They
issued invitations to many friends to enjoy the occasion with them and it was an enjoyable occasion.
Mr. and Mrs. Kinnick are very sociable people. They enjoy their friends and their friends enjoy
them. The party was comprised of about 50 guests, many being relatives, and the good eats served
fairly made the tables groan. The happy couple now as then were married at Coon Rapids, and their
first home was in a small dwelling which occupied the lot now occupied by the home of The Enterprise family. They have prospered well and are to be congratulated upon their long and happy wedded life and excellent family of children.