Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010

Hope Everyone has a Really HAPPY NEW YEAR in 2010!

Remember to gather and share - Tell your Ancestors Stories throughout the year!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Treasure Chest Thursday - Treasure Box

This is a nice walnut box with some history in our family. My wife fixed it up with the photo of his great-grandmother with his mother (and her sister). We gave it to our five-year old grandson for Christmas. He seemed to understand the significance to us.

This is the photo:

Here is the message in the box:

This box belonged to Great-Grandmother Mary Eileen Smith.
She was your Grandpa Smith's mother.
It had been a Christmas Gift from Grandpa Bill and Grandma Nancy Smith to her many years ago.
It is a special box to keep your treasures.
Take good care of it and you can give it to your child (or grandchild) someday.
Love, Grandpa and Grandma Smith, Christmas 2009

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - 3 of 4 generations

This is a photo of three of our four generations in Jul 1978 - the 4th (missing) generation is taking the photo, my wife, Nancy. Great-grandma Dorothy (SORENSEN) KINNICK is seated in the chair, center. On the left is my mother, Eileen (KINNICK) SMITH. The younger generation girls are our two younger daughters, Allison SMITH, center, and Arrion SMITH, in the dance costume. She danced a routine for her grandmother and great-grandmother.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Alonzo and Jeannette KINNICK

This 2000 photo is from the Coon Rapids, Iowa, cemetery. The tombstones are of my maternal great-grandparents, Alonzo P. and Jeannette (WILLIAMS) KINNICK, shown as Mother and Father - though a bit hard to read. Her dates are 1869-1936; his are 1870-1923.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Preparation Sunday - Step 2 of 7

The upcoming holidays are especially good times to gather ANCESTOR STORIES. Over the spam of seven Sundays, I will share with you my approach to preparing your ancestor stories to share with others. Before you can share, of course, you must have them and have them in a form to be useful to share and tell.

If you are on Facebook, the 7 Steps of Preparation to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES are already available by joining the Cause: TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES. I encourage you to join.

The 7 Steps are, very briefly: Ask, Listen, Record, Organize, Research, Write, Share.

You will want to use Ask, Listen and Record all together over the holidays as family members get together at different times for different celebrations and events.

Our focus today is on Listen, the second of the 7 Steps. But, as I said last week Ask, Listen and Record do go together.

Listen is especially important if you do not have a digital recording devise with you - which you often will not have. Take special note of relationships mentioned. Without interrupting the flow of the conversation, you may want to ask for clarification of relationships if you do not have them clear in your mind. Was this a great-uncle or a great grandfather being discussed, for instance. You will also want to take particular note of the place - town and state - and the date - at least the year, or an approximation. These are the facts you would like to be able to go back and write down for further research. Listen carefully, and use your best memory tricks to retain not only the story content but the basic vital facts, as best you can.

Next Sunday, we will discuss the Record issue in more detail.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Surname Saturday - SODERSTROM

My great-Grandparents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, SODERSTROM, PRESTON, MILLER, KINNICK, WILLIAMS, SORENSEN, and NIELSEN.

Today, we will look at the SODERSTROM surname.

These great-grandparents: Michael (Schmidt) Schmitt) SMITH (b. 17 May 1829, District of Colmer, France (or Germany, from time to time); d. 16 Apr 1902, Nebraska Soldier's Home, Grand Island, NE) married Nellie Margaret (Maggie) SODERSTROM (b. 1846, Bjuraker Parish, Sweden; d. 18 Sep 1901, Nebraska Soldier's Home, Grand Island, NE) 30 Dec 1869 in Hampton, Rock Island Co, Illinois.

Michael had three children by his first wife, Madaline (Lena) HARBRECHT (b. 1838, Bavaria, Germany; d. Sep 1864, Hampton, Rock Island Co, IL), all born in Hampton, Rock Island Co, IL: 1) Julia, b. 1857; 2) Mary, b. 1858; and 3) Michael, b. 1862. Michael enlisted in Company E, 2nd Iowa Cavalry, as a farrier, on 5 Sept 1861 at Davenport, Iowa. He served his term of 3 years and one month and was discharged by reason of expiration of term on 3 Oct 1964. His first wife had died the month before he was discharged. Although not specifically confirmed, it is believed that Miss Maggie SODERSTROM was helping with the young children in the home, and continued to do so until she and Michael were married in 1869.

Michael and Maggie had nine children between 1869 and 1884. The first was William Emanuel SMITH, my grandfather. This is the family at the heart of my next family history book, in progress.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Follower Friday - Miriam

Today I want to recognize Miriam at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors

She has already received many awards, so my recommendation is nothing new... she is just somewhat new to me, and I want to share my enthusiasm for all the good tips and stories she shares.

Check it out, I think you will agree.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - Grandma's Violin

Grandma Dorothy (Sorensen) Kinnick always played the violin in my early years. My mother, her daughter, often played the piano and sometimes sang, as well. This is a photo of her violin I recently came across. Although old, likely brought from Denmark, I don't know that it has particular financial value, but it has great family value.

Here is a photo from the 1960s with Grandma playing the violin, Mom and my younger brother at the piano:

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Thomas Butler Gunshop

Thomas Butler, who made and sold guns to General George Washington for use in the Revolutionary War, was the brother of my 4th Great-Grandfather (uncle of my 3rd great-grandfather, John Butler). This is in Carlisle, PA.

The second photo is the gunshop that still stands. These photos were taken in May 2000.

Family is Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - William Aster SCHWYHART

SCHWYHART is my "favorite" ancestor names - I posted on it earlier... this is the first of several I will post in this Tombstone Tuesday series.

William Aster SCHWYHART was born 2 Oct 1899 in Baxter, Stone Co, Missouri, the son (5th of 7 children) of George Mitchell and Margaret Elizabeth (YOCUM) SCHWYHART. He married Josie Bell YOKUM 9 Jul 1927 in Berryville, Carroll Co, Arkansas. They had one son, Kendall Ray SCHWYHART (b. 15 Mar 1943; d. 21 Mar 1987).

A side note: I took this photo more than 10 years ago, when I lived 300 miles away... I now live about 10 miles away, in the neighboring county. Small world, again!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Preparation Sunday - Step 1 of 7

Step 1 - Ask

The upcoming holidays are especially good times to gather ANCESTOR STORIES. Over the next seven Sundays, I will share with you my approach to preparing your ancestor stories to share with others. Before you can share, of course, you must have them and have them in a form to be useful to share and tell.

If you are on Facebook, the 7 Steps of Preparation to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES are already available by joining the Cause: TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES. I encourage you to join.The 7 Steps are, very briefly: Ask, Listen, Record, Organize, Research, Write, Share.

You will want to use Ask, Listen and Record all together over the holidays as family members get together at different times for different celebrations and events. You need to think about those circumstances as you plan to gather useful story information. After a holiday meal is a good time to Ask about "the olden times," when older family members were young. How did they celebrate - like we do, or different? Do you remember a special holiday? a special tradition? Who participated? How and Why?

Then it is important to Listen. Listen carefully. Generally, don't interrupt. Let them talk... let their memories come to the forefront and be shared, just as they remember them.

Record. Have a note pad and pen or pencil. Have a digital recorder that can just run, unobtrusively... they will forget it was even there. If all else fails, REMEMBER, and go write it down, or enter it into your computer, later, as best you can.

I think you get the idea... OK? Just do it!

While Listen may be the most important, you must also Ask, in most cases, either to get the conversation going something like you would like, or, to ask a follow up question when there is a break.

You may be thinking of after Christmas dinner with the family, but these "information gathering" situations may carry over into when watching football bowl games, for instance, or the women are talking recipes. When Grandpa Joe, the Packer fan, and Uncle Sid, the Bears fan, start going at each other... it is a good time to ask them why, when and where they each became such rabid fans of their respective teams, for example. When Aunt Minnie talks about her fruitcake, be sure to ask for the recipe, ask where she got it, when she first made it, what was the occasion, does she have special memories of a particular holiday it was served, etc.

Have your own set of questions to ask, if the conversation drifts, such as:
1. What was your most prized possession as a child? At what age? Where did you live then?
2. Tell about the best gift (birthday, Christmas, other) you ever received. What? Why? Where? When?
3. Did you ever find something your Mom or Dad had hidden? Did they every find something you had hidden?
4. Share a memory about a church social activity when you were a child.
5. When you were child, how did you keep your house warm? Did you have running water? electricity? television? Internet? ... you get the idea! ;-)
6. Tell about a time you dressed up in a costume? were in a play? Didn't have the proper clothes to wear for some occasion?

You can come up with your own, and much better, questions... but do have them available ahead of time. Tuck them in the back of your notepad, perhaps.

Next Sunday, we will talk more about Listen.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Surname Saturday - NIELSEN

My parents surnames were SMITH and KINNICK.
Their parents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, PRESTON, KINNICK, and SORENSEN.
Their parents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, SODERSTROM, PRESTON, MILLER, KINNICK, WILLIAMS, SORENSEN, and NIELSEN.

Today we will focus on the NIELSEN surname in my familiy. This is my "shortest line." Jensene NIELSEN was born in Denmark and died only a few years after arriving in the USA. I do not know who her parents were - I have not researched any overseas records. This will remain on my To Do list for quite a while - probably forever.

Below, I've adapted the information from the SORENSEN page, just to put her in perspective.

Lauritz Christien SORENSEN (b. 9 Apr 1847, Aalborg, Denmark) married, about 1878, in Denmark, Jensene Marie NIELSEN (b. abt 1853, Denmark)

Children of Lauritz and Jensene Sorensen:

1. Theodore SORENSEN (b. abt 1879, Denmark; d. abt 1899, Denmark, of TB)
2. Maurice SORENSEN (b. 14 Feb 1880, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 8 Nov 1903 Ida LUND)
3. Dorothy Christine SORENSEN (b. 26 Jun 1888, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 12 Aug 1914 Paul Harold KINNICK)
4. Christian Otto SORENSEN (b. abt 1890, Denmark; m. Mary THOMPSON)
5. Dagmar Rebecca (Delma) SORENSEN (b. 7 May 1891, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 19 Oct 1914 Clarence Clyde (Clyde) LUSE)
6. Louise Mildred SORENSEN (b. 28 Aug 1894, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 4 Jun 1919 Rasmus NIELSEN)

SORENSEN is my mother's maternal line. Here is a bit of that story line. Dorothy Chistine is my mother's mother, my grandmother. She is the tall one, center back row, below, flanked by Christian and Dagmar (Delma). Louise is between the parents. Maurice was already in the USA.

The Lauritz and Jensene Sorensen Family
Prior to leaving Denmark c.1903-4

Family is Forever! ;-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Follow Friday - Elizabeth

Today I am recommending Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life (and The Graveyard Rabbit of California Central Coast). I am very comfortable with her style and her graphics are excellent. I'm not great with graphics/color, myself, but I sure do know when I like one.

Elizabeth has been blogging 1 to 3 times a week since Oct 2007 on Little Bytes of Life, alone. Her posts have been winners from the start. She has been a Graveyard Rabbit since Oct 2008, a fine contributor to an important group of bloggers.

I urge you to check out and join both of Elizabeth's sites.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Eileen's 91st Birthday Anniversary

My mother, Mary Eileen Kinnick Smith Olson, would have been 91 years old today, 18 Dec 2009. She was always mildly frustrated that her birthday was so close to Christmas. Her Mom and Dad never gave the kids many presents anyway, so she felt she always came up even shorter than her two brothers with birthdays at other times of the year.

This is a photo of her the year she graduated from high school, from her photo album. I can easily imagine she always felt she looked and felt about like this... this age.

She kept a daily diary from about age 12 until she died. As a tribute to her, a couple of years ago, I transcribed her 1936 diary, day by day, week by week, and posted it, along with photos and other relevant links to her movie, book, and other interests. This was the year she not only graduated from high school, but 'lost' her first boy friend, got her first job, and began dating the man she would first marry, my Dad. Take a peek. I'd love to hear your comments... on content, form, style, whatever:

She died, quite unexpectedly of a brain tumor, in 1999, in her 80th year. Her mother lived well into her 90s - we all really expected her to do the same. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - occupation-farmer

As I have mentioned a couple of times, I am now disappointed that I do not have more photos of ancestors at work. One I do have is my Dad on the combine in the field in Iowa, mid-1950s, I must assume.

I'm always on the lookout for photos of folks at their work, their workplaces, their occupations. Suggestions would be appreciated.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

13 Ways - The Book is now available

"13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" is now available - in print or as a pdf download:

Just click on the Cover to go to my Storefront.

I really look forward to your comments when you see and read the book.

Thanks for your support!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Four Generations

One of my few four generation photos - Sept 1962 - our daughter, Annette, born Aug 1960; my parents in back with Nancy and I; Mom's parents in front, Paul and Dorothy (SORENSEN) KINNICK. [See Grandpa Paul as a young man.] Setting is my parent's farm near Coon Rapids, in Greene County, Iowa... this house has been gone for over ten years now...

I am enjoying Wordless (nearly) Wednesday, more and more each week!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - David C. WILSON

We don't often get to Alabama to do research and cemetery visits, but a wedding in Pensacola, Florida, on Saturday provided to perfect excuse. My wife has been attempting to determine the date and place of death of a great-uncle for several years. He had retired in 1880 and seemed to move between Farmington, IL, northern MO, and Citronelle, Alabama over the following 25 years or so. Recently, she has gathered much information on Citronelle during that period, so we were ready to do some searching on our arrival last Friday.

We arrived in the area about 11 in the morning; the library didn't open until 1. She had the location of what appeared to be a main cemetery, so we drove around a bit, to find the road, that led out to the correct edge of town, where it was supposed to be. Upon arrival, we saw that it was our favorite kind, where we could do a first pass in the car - it was quite cold, even for a December day.

We drove down the first aisle, turned right, up the hill, driving slowly, I looked at the surnames on the left, she was watching the right. Suddenly, she said: "WILSON!" There, about a hundred feet out, was a tall WILSON marker. I got out to check [note the "I" not her ;-)]. A few seconds later, when I gave her a "thumbs up" - she was out of the car immediately with pad and camera in hand... ;-)

Not only were David C., and his wife, Martha C., WILSON buried there, with dates, their only two daughters were there, as well. As you can see, my wife, Nancy, was very happy with our "find."

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Surname Saturday - WILLIAMS

My parents surnames were SMITH and KINNICK.
Their parents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, PRESTON, KINNICK, and SORENSEN.
Their parents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, SODERSTROM, PRESTON, MILLER, KINNICK, WILLIAMS, SORENSEN, and NEILSEN.

Today we will focus on the WILLIAMS surname in my familiy.

I introduced the WILLIAMS surname in each of my last two Wordless (nearly) Wednesday posts - Iceman and Annual Picnic. This is my mother's paternal grandmother's surname. Nettie WILLIAM's father, Elias WILLIAMS, was born in either Gyffylliog, Denhigh, England or Ruthin, Wales (Depending on the relative you listen to; I do not have confirmation either way, yet) on 29 Jan 1838.

Elias married Ann Eliza DUNCAN in Illinois in either 1842 or 1843 (confirmation of date and place is needed here).

His death was reported in my hometown newspaper, The Coon Rapids Enterprise (Iowa), 10 Dec 1920: "Elias Williams, genial, hearty, whole-souled passed away after about a year's failing health due to cancer of the stomach. He was one of the oldest of Coon Rapids' citizens and a native of Wales. He followed the trade of brick mason and plaster for 40 years."

Three children lived to adulthood: Lemuel Benson (b. 1866); Margaret Jeanette (Nettie) (b. 1869); Josephine (b. 1872).

Family is Forever! ;-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - Bill's Family

Photos are generally my favorite treasures, with only a few exceptions. Therefore, today, I'm sharing two photos of my family's early life that are especially interesting to me. Hope you find them of interest, as well.

One of the earliest photos of my "family" - that is, Pete, Eileen and Billie - I'm the oldest; since it is so important to me, I sometimes forget to mention it. Photo taken in the summer of 1939. Mom and Dad were good old dirt farmers, renting their ground, and working very, very hard, their first couple of years. Dad used to say his greatest accomplishment was being worth more, every year (at the annual meeting with the bank), for his first 40 some years of farming...

This photo says a lot, to me, of course; the clothes, the setting, etc. Mom was raised as a town girl, "daughter of a banker," she liked to say. Actually, grandpa was a bank clerk. Great guy, served the community in many ways, but he certainly did not own the bank - my definition of a "banker." Mom was a great farmer's wife, but it didn't really come naturally to her.

Below, the photo is about 8 or 9 years later, perhaps April 1948. Dad owned his farm, and was becoming very active in the community in his own right. Hard work did pay off.

Along with Billie there was Jimmie, and most recent Tommie. Mom dropped the "ie"s in a few years, but that is who we were when these photos were taken.

These are some of my true treasures - the memories as much as the photos.

Family's are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Annual Kinnick-Williams Picnic

During my high school days, in the early-mid 1950s, "family reunion" became part of my life in the form of the annual ritual of the "Kinnick-Williams Picnic." My mother's fathers' parents were Alonzo and "Nettie" (WILLIAMS) KINNICK. The invitees to this annual gathering, in western and central Iowa, were the siblings and descendants of this family. My grandfather was the eldest son of Lon and Nettie.

In the photo, my grandfather is the bald gentleman, center back row, with his living siblings and first cousins. This is the generation that were the "old folks" as I was growing up. They are all gone, now, of course, and members of my generation are the "old folks." And life goes on...

Family is Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Thomas Butler

Thomas Butler, the brother of John Butler (introduced earlier), was born 2 Jan 1740 in Cookeny Parish, County Wicklow, Ireland. He married Ann Dalrymple on 12 Nov 1744 and they had thirteen children.

Thomas Butler served in the American Revolutionary War, as a Private, in the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment, with his brothers, John and William (as well as his five first cousins, the sons of this uncle, also Thomas Butler). Evidence to date suggests that the all eight served with General Washington at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78.

After the war, Thomas settled in western Pennsylvania where he was in the steel industry. Thomas died in 1832, and is buried in Pennsylvania with his wife, Ann.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Carnival of Genealogy - 85th

A Big Thank You to Greta Koehl for using my Tombstone Tuesday - John S. KINNICK post as her lead comment and referral in the 85th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. Please check it out. Some really interesting stories!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Iceman

Caption reads: Williams the Iceman and his help, Coon Rapids, Iowa

A couple of years ago, my uncle, now in his early 90s, said he worked on this crew, but he is not in this photo. The cut ice from the river in the winter, stored it in straw, and delivered during the summer. This is probably in the very early 1920s. [The Williams was my mother's uncle.]

Family is Forever! ;-)