Saturday, May 30, 2015

2015 Family Events

(Jan) Last week we were able to spend three days in Chicagoland and then back to Iowa for three days; both were joyous family occasions.  In Crystal Lake we were treated to our granddaughter Jessica’s Band and Chorus Concerts plus a wonderful family dinner with Eric, Cheri and family plus Cheri’s parents. It was so fun to get to join the family to see these talented young people perform.

Our trip to Iowa focused on grandson Stephen’s High School Graduation in Gilbert.  The family celebration after was fun, colorful and filled with family and friends.We were so happy to be at Stephen’s Graduation and join the family in celebrating him at home. Best wishes at Iowa State, Stephen!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Forever Friends

016(Jan) This past week-end we visited with Bruce and Rita Lowe, our forever friends, who we met in Germany in 1972. We became good friends and they became our family. We did many things together as young couples.

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Such as picnics by the river in Lauffen, near Heilbronn……..




…………and going to the races and camping on the infield at LeMans, France.

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Rita was a second mom to our son Brent.





Bruce and Rita came for a visit to Iowa in 1979 and we’ve been able to visit them in Ohio a couple of times since then. This time we enjoyed a full week-end of story telling and laughter, visits across the border to Metamora and Brookville, Indiana where we had a tasty lunch, down into Cincinnati to the Sign Museum and to the Fernald Production Center where Rita’s dad had worked.

We loved having this precious time with these 2 Forever Friends!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Genealogy Again !!!

IMG_20150513_105204252(Chuck) I have been involved with genealogy since the mid 1960’s. My grandmother had a habit of writing down family names and birthdates. She recorded stories and assembled family relationships, many times on the inside of JELLO boxes that she had opened up to write on. She instilled the bug in me and I have carried it for over 50 years. My data is assembled on a computer program instead of the inside of a JELLO box. I print reports for all of my “paper only” relatives. Paper is just easier to view the generations of families. Electronic data is just easier to assemble and add. Both serve us well. Jan and I have been in old court houses, relative’s basements, attics, and even knocked on doors on occasion. It was the addition of computer organization and the World Wide Web that radically changed our abilities to find and organize our family information.

In the early days of the WWW there was a great movement of sharing and providing free resource materials. This seems to have changed with the powerful introduction of I resisted this for quite a while because I felt the old way was better. Now I am sure I was wrong. Ancestry may be a lot of things which concern me, but it does provide a great deal of primary records. I have only begun to scratch the surface with the census and I am sure there are many more surprises to find. To have the actual image of the census book is a wonderful resource.

Our exposure to Ancestry began several years ago as a Christmas gift from our son and his wife, Eric and Cheri. It was a good introduction, but I had not explored all of the opportunities. Recently I became re-involved with a problematic 1840-1870 family relationship that I had been dealing for many years. I had written a short examination of this family and shared it with our friends Jerry and Nancy Hurley who are accomplished genealogists. She replied the same day and indicated that I was missing the 1860 census for this family, and to my great surprise, she attached the image of the census takers page upon which they were recorded. !!! I now better understand the benefits. We all know that Ancestry has user submitted family trees that will lead you astray. That is a whole new adventure which I will not touch upon at this time.

We have just stopped in Indiana to visit with Jerry and Nancy and of course we discussed genealogy. Nancy left the next day for the National Genealogical Society conference in St. Charles, Missouri. I started to think about a day trip we might make in the near future. I have a 5thgreat grandfather buried within 60 miles of our friends Bruce and Rita in Ohio. It seemed like a good place to visit and photograph.

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It turned out to be a great experience. My 5th great grandfather is John Vandeman. He was born in Staunton, Virginia about 1755. He served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. John was a private in Capt. Andrew Waggoner's Company, Colonel Nevill's Virginia Regt. In September, 1777, he was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine River. He wintered at Valley Forge 1777-1778 in General Washington's army, and witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown on October 19, 1781. John’s grave is in Lattaville, Ohio. We journeyed to Lattaville and after some difficulty we found the Concord Presbyterian Church and the cemetery beside it. I found his grave site and photographed the stones. John’s stone was broken, but legible; the stone next to him which I expected to be his wife, Mary Magdelane Hester was not legible. It seemed to have no markings at all. It was a moving experience to walk the cemetery.

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048039Later in the afternoon we were sitting in the motorhome and I was looking through some research notes. In 1970 Wilma VanDeman had published a booklet and she recorded that Mary’s stone indicated her birthdate. When I read this, I thought that it seemed unlikely that the stone had deteriorated to the extent that nothing could be read on it. A light bulb came on and I said to Jan “I bet her stone is turned over on its face”. Jan immediately said “Let’s get gloves and find out.” We went back to the gravesite and I carefully worked my fingers under the side of the stone and we turned it over. What a sight it was to see the wonderfully preserved stone. There was a small area at the bottom where ants seemed to be causing a track in the marble, but other than that it was very good. We photographed the stone and returned it to the position that we found it. It was exciting and I am very happy that we recorded the stone with a high quality photograph.

The next day we visited the South Salem Cemetery, Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio and the Hixson Cemetery in the same township. We came away with more photographs and a better understanding of our pioneer ancestors.

Chuck’s ancestral names of interest are: Moore, Grundmeier, Vandeman, Jensen, Dales, Holmes, Koepke, Jebsen, Richards, Gauley, Dearinger, Wright, Oberegge, Dohrn, Christiansen, Klindt, Harvey, and others.

Jan’s ancestral names of interest are: Riesselman, Ocken, Muhlbauer, Anstoeter, Eischeid, Schillinger, Schmieding, Schlicte, Zumbahlen, Walterscheid, Stoiber, Fuser, Sprenger, Husling, Tauke, and others.

Please feel free to contact us by leaving a comment on our Blog for any questions or additions concerning these families.

Freinds in Indy, Trips to Cincy & Lexington

016(Jan) Monday found Chuck & I in Indianapolis visiting RV friends. Thanks to Jerry and Nancy for a wonderful visit. We met this fun couple in 2008 and soon discovered that we shared an interest in Geneology. We have traveled together in our Rvs and also met at interesting places along the road. Since then they have moved into a beautiful home in Indianapolis where we arrived for our visit. We feasted on a gourmet meal prepared by Nancy’s daughter Chrissy, enjoyed lots of laughter and several glasses of wine.

We drove over to Lattaville, Ohio from Indy, which Chuck has written about in his Genealogy Blog. From there we wanted to see a bit of Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. Generations ago both of our families traveled through this area on the Ohio River when it was a frontier. It’s really a thrill to visit here now.IMG_20150513_150817252 It’s also our first visit to the state of Kentucky.

When I looked on the internet for lists of things to do in Cincinnati, two things on the lists seemed consistent; The Roebling Suspension Bridge and Spring Grove Cemetery. Interesting!  We arrived in the area on Wednesday afternoon and found a good place to stay at the Newport Elks in Cold Springs, Kentucky.  That afternoon after setting up the motorhome we found our way to the Kentucky side of the Roebling bridge in Covington, KY. The bridge, designed and build by John Roebling, was the largest suspension bridge in the world when it was finished in 1866 after 10 years of sporadic construction due to weather, funding and the Civil War. It is rated as one of the most historically important bridges in the U.S.

IMG_20150513_155837991 IMG_20150513_155837991The Cincinatti shoreline at right showcasing the Bengals Footfall stadium and the Covington shoreline featuring the Roebling murals. IMG_20150513_161331576

IMG_20150513_174827642Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum is one of the largest cemetery in the U.S. Covering 733 acres, it has 15 lakes, 1200 species of trees and shrubs, amazing monuments, statues & mausoleums, 44 miles of roadways and large Woodland Preserve. The cemetery was established in 1844. In 1855 Adolph Strauch, a Prussian born landscape gardener became the superintendent. His influence is still practiced today. We did not allow ourselves nearly enough time to view this peaceful, interesting place.  Next time we will take hours to explore.IMG_20150514_093003525

On Thursday we were off to Lexington, Kentucky to visit Keeneland Race Track, home of the 2015 Breeders Cup. Lexington is famous for thoroughbred horses. Each morning there is free viewing of the exercise sessions at Keeneland.  Being at the rail and watching these amazing animals is a thrill. The clubhouse, grandstand and stables can all be seen on a walking tour of the grounds. We watched the morning exercises and then walked to the Track Kitchen for a hearty breakfast. The food was not gourmet but the price was good and we ate among the owners, trainers and people working with the horses.

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IMG_20150514_103750671IMG_20150514_113714255We drove north from Keeneland through the lush, green country side that is a slice of Kentucky horse breeders heaven. The manicured, fenced pastures and grounds were dotted with grazing horses, beautiful trees and magnificent stables and homes. Most of the fences were wooden and painted black but there were some white fences and also some remaining historic rock fences.  The limestone, cleared from the fields, was used building border walls for pastures. These dry stacked walls were built by Irish immigrants. It is thought that only 5-10% of the 19th Century walls remain todayIMG_20150514_101705479.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spring in Western Iowa

IMG_20150506_10340347410995367_10204185350650065_7986536341053927802_n(Jan) It’s Springtime! The trees, bushes and flowers are all blooming & bringing forth bright green leaves. The lilacs smell glorious. The crab apple trees are coloring the spring time pallet everywhere. Chuck and I spent a nice week-end in Ames visiting at Brent and Donna’s house and then dinner with Eric & Cheri & family followed by an awesome concert at CY Stephens at ISU. Our grandson Ryan was part of the 500 student choir and orchestra that performed Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem; 1 1/4 hours all in German. It was an incredible performance. Bravo!

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IMG_20150502_184222215IMG_20150506_103438479We returned to Swan Lake near Carroll where friends Ron & Edna had dinner waiting for us, followed by 3 fun games of Pegs & Jokers. Through the week we continued to walk around the lake, share meals occasionally and play more P&J. Edna took the photo above at left on one of the walks around Swan Lake’s trail.IMG952015050395093928168

My brother and I are finalizing my mothers paperwork so met several times IMG_20150424_122122102to attend to details. We also gathered at his house for a lovely family dinner which included daughter Susie’s family. Really good to see the new baby and spend time with them. There were also trips down to the farm and over to Halbur, where our family had installed a bench at the Cemetery remembering mom and dad. Jan also took time to enjoy a delicious lunch at the Marketplace with friends Nancy, Karen, Betty and Edna. An afternoon of sharing and visiting at IMG_20150510_131402445_HDRKaren’s house followed.IMG_20150510_131308055

On Tuesday Chuck and I were back on the road to Ames. Brent & Donna and Chuck & I had a lunch at Hickory Park and we also had dinner with their busy family at their house. On Thursday we drove east to Chuck’s cousin Kathy’s house to do a little more genealogy work.  We’ve traded lots of photos and shared family info and dates. While we were there we stayed at Marr County Park near Ainsworth, Iowa. The following day we drove to the Chicago area. While we’re here, we stay at Paul Wolff/Burnidge, a Kane County Preserve.  We spent a delightful Mother’s Day week-end visiting at Eric and Cheri’s house.  We shared some delicious meals and fun games of The Whole Enchilada. It has been so nice to be with Family this week.

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From here we will head southeast to Indianapolis to visit RV friends and into Ohio to visit Army friends. Life is good.

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