Observing whatever tickles my fancy

Genealogy Lost and Found

These old trolls aren’t laughing anymore.  They first appeared in my post about my elusive Norwegian a few years back.   They had hidden her in the hills of Wisconsin and I was unable to find any new information about her.  After years of attacking their troll brick walls I beat them down.  They lost the battle.


Norske Trolls. Drawn by Laura Seielstad. 2013

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on my site. I came on to see what was up. While reading some of my old posts I noticed the ones about the Norske ancestors.

First – Lost in Østen – I originally wrote that I thought my great-great grandfather may have been in one of the Oklahoma land grabs but wasn’t sure. He was not a part of that history.  He was, however, an employee for the railroad that was laying track in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.  It was there he died, while trying to claim his Civil War pension.  He never got it.  They denied it twice.  He was supposed to meet with them for a third time but he died a few days before that meeting.

Second – The Wayward Norwegian – that was about my great-grandmother who the trolls had hidden.  There wasn’t a scrap of new information to help find her but I fought on.  In the end the troll battlement gave way.  It took two years of hard-core research and tackling the challenge from a different angle.  In the end, she didn’t come to America at a young age with her parents as her obituary stated.  She came without them at the age of 19.  Before, I didn’t know if she had siblings, let alone what their names were.  But now I know their names, some of their spouses and children.  And thanks to a “what the heck, I’m going to take that ancestry.com dna test” moment (which was to disprove a myth on a different branch of the family) there was a confirmation.

Before this contact I was 60-80% certain that the family I found in Rogaland was my great-grandmother’s. I had 10 pieces of circumstantial evidence but even with that I wouldn’t have said that I was positive that it was her and her family. Two months ago, more than a year after spitting into the plastic tube and sending it to ancestry.com, I had a message from someone who wanted to make contact.  We shared names.  Our dna is so close that ancestry has us as “extremely confident” of the relationship.  The person who contacted me is the great-granddaughter of one of the sisters of my great-grandmother’s name match. That was the confirmation. And let me rephrase part of that sentence “…sisters of my great-grandmother”.  It’s no longer a “name match”.  It is my great-grandmother and I have never been so pleased.

In January Ancestry.com uploaded baptismal, marriage, and burial records from Württemberg, Germany.  I discovered this in February.  Since then I have been in a mad dash to find anything about my Württemberg great-great grandmother and her kin. I found her and started digging my way to find her parents, grandparents, etc.  Now I’m stuck on one of those branches, unable to find my way through the twisting vines.

Below is a record of interest.  It was found in the baptismal section of the records but was written differently than the rest.  My problem: I don’t read or speak modern-day German, let alone attempting to read Gothic German script.

jacob leonhard steinle birth record 1749 not like others (3)

I’ve Googled my way to translation sites, found sites with sample script, and still can’t make out many of the squiggly letters.  I can make out the names…obviously….and I discovered that Jacob was a wine gardener (farmer).  (Still trying to figure out how you “grow” wine.)  I really want to know what this says.  I think the word “fever” is in there and for some reason I’m thinking the last word on the second line translates to “Bubonic”.  With that word in mind my brain goes into wild imaginings of family dying from the plague (“Bring out your dead”) and somehow a kid was born in the middle of it all.

Jacob, my ancestor, you are a frustration.

Genealogical Scavenger Hunt

I’m in the midst of hunting for dead people. During the winter months I seek the paper trails that my ancestors may have left. Sometimes, when the genealogy websites don’t have the answers you have to find other ways to find them.

This past week I conGenerationstacted an Ohio church that I thought my ancestors attended in the mid-19th Century. One of the members was generous with his time and went out of his way to find information for me.  In the end, the question I initially contacted the church for was not answered but little nuggets of gold were gleaned.

My great-great grandfather’s first wife did come to America with him and lived in Ohio until 1854, when she died.  Their first two children were born in France but they had two others in America, one who died young.  Four months after his first wife died, he married my great-great grandmother. The two of them added 5 more children to the family.  One of their children also died young. I never knew these two children had existed. They have now been added to the family tree.

This information now has me fleshing out this particular family.  I’ve been fairly successful.  I’ve found marriage records of many of the great-grand aunts and uncles. (Is that the correct term?)  I’ve found a few of their death records.

But the first question remains…..is my great-great grandmother’s father’s name Charles or Christoph?  Our family has always assumed that it was Charles because of the “CH” written on a baptismal record. In January Ancestry.com uploaded baptismal, marriage, and burial records from Wurttemburg, Germany.  That’s where my great-great grandmother was born. There is a baptismal record that is a close match for her.  The birth date is one day off (I’m okay with that) but the father’s name was “Christoph”, not Charles. Sibling, parent, and grandparent names are similar to the names of her children. There’s a notation that she emigrated to North America in 1854. I think it’s a match but I want to confirm the father.  There must be a document in America that proves it. Until then, I’ll pencil Christoph in with a notation of uncertainty.

Wait ’til Winter


This is not something you want to come upon while you’re pruning a tree. Luckily I was smart enough to walk around the tree after every branch I cut. This branch needs to be cut but I think I’ll wait until December or January. Hopefully the stingers within will be dormant in the dead of winter.

Yesterday I posted a photo of a current painting on my Facebook page and requested friends to provide some constructive criticism. Outside of one suggestion, which I had sort of fed them on the post, they provided nothing. Below is the painting.  I hated it when I started but it grew on me as I continued to work on it. If you are willing, please provide me with some constructive criticism. At Joshua Tree

Thoughts on aging


During my walk this morning I observed two things. The first were two siblings. One was helping the other slowly down the steps of their home and into a waiting car. Both are much older than I and had I been closer I’d have leant a helping hand. But between the two of them they managed. The second was a friend hustling toward her house bound parents’ home to unlock the door so the mobile meals deliverer could drop off the daily meal. Both situations made me realize that when I am older and in need of these types of assists that I won’t have them. There is no spouse or child on whom I will be able to depend. It’s a sad reality that I will have to prepare for one day.

Owning Your Fairy Tales

Insightful words for me at a difficult time.

Sacred Journey


We stay. We put up. We whine and complain but we remain in a familiar environment because it is all we know. Several years ago, in the midst of leaving an eighteen year old relationship I had to decide if I wanted to continue being Rapunzel on a gorgeous tower were I was a prisoner or come out into the world leaving those wealthy possessions behind. Even Rapunzel had a hard time leaving what she knew. It’s never easy to walk on faith. It’s pretty daunting moving through the unknown. After witnessing the embezzling of my business and how I was being financially cheated (both professionally and personally) I took the road less traveled. I dispersed my grown children…making sure they had their own places and I took the youngest ones. My family and friends were shocked to see how I dismantled a comfortable and wealthy life in no time…

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