History Genealogy 5
Reunion genealogy board
Connecting the various branches of your family reunion can be easy according to Paula Sheagley, from Holy Cross Abbey in Canon City, Colorado. She sent pictures of a large family tree chart displayed at the Brueggeman Family Reunion held at The Abbey.
Two large photos of Frank and Catherine Brueggeman are at the top of the chart with pictures of their eight children and spouses below. Underneath the pictures is a list of the couple's and their children's names. Each branch uses a different color to list names. The same color is then used for name tags making it easy to see who relatives descend from.
Looking at ancestors
Mary Thiele Fobian is planning a reunion for her Napps/Knapp family branch. Fobian asks how other families have displayed, printed, published their family trees and histories. Her concern is about having a HUGE family tree of eight to nine generations and hundreds of people. The location of her reunion will add to the challenge of mounting an exhibit because it will be outside in a park.
One solution to Fobian's query came from Phil Bousley, Vincennes, Indiana. Bousley wrote, "At our last Bousley (Beausoleil) reunion in Dunbar, Wisconsin, the hosts put two 4' x 8' plywood sheets on a wall and each family from great grandfather down was listed in a descendancy chart. I added over 150 names from the chart to my genealogy program. Unfortunately, not all of the last names were given so I still have a lot of investigative work to do. At the next reunion I am going to take a notebook and have everyone list their address, phone number, e-mail address and how they are related to the oldest ancestor. I also plan to ask relatives to add some story about one or more of their ancestors. The reunion is a great source of interesting information especially if the old relatives are there. Gee, I am one of the old relatives. Sometimes the older relatives have information that is not available in any book or record."
Claire LeBeaux of genealogy.com advises that if you have a GEDCOM or FTW file (or are willing to create one), you can use Family Tree Maker to create a tree, then print it to file, save it to disk, then take the disk to a quick copy shop like Kinkos and print it on their plotter.
Alex Haley planted the seed of interest in millions of people including his own son, William, for whom finding every root and branch is a journey he'll never finish. Speaking to a group, Haley preached his version of his father's gospel.
Your ancestors did what they had to do to survive. Make sure they're not forgotten. Don't worry if you're searching for relatives from the days of slavery who had no surnames in 1865 but have faith you'll find what you need. "You learn life lessons from your family stories. And remember they only took the strongest. You are descended from the strongest."
Katie Brown Bennett freed her slave ancestors from the papers of North Carolina family history collections, where they lay buried in bills of sale, personal correspondence and wills. The gift, she says, was to learn how they persevered. Bennett's genealogical chronicle, Soaking the Yule Log, takes its title from the practice her 18th-century kin devised to lengthen the Christmas holiday. Having been granted "a vacation" by owners for as long as the great yule log burned, slaves learned that a good soaking in creek water added hours of time off.
submitted by Ken August Brunner from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
One family tree
Janice Scruggs, Milledgeville, Georgia, shares her McLeod family tree displayed proudly at reunions. Eight family branches are each represented by different shaped leaves, in different colors to represent each generation. They use identical leaves for nametags to denote each branch of the family.
The International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry
ISDSA members are proud of their enslaved ancestors; they want to remember the past not erase it; they want to celebrate their heritage not mourn it; they want to document and promote slave genealogy. Their archives are housed with the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection at the Carter G. Woodson Library in Chicago. Membership is open to anyone who can prove slave ancestry. Contact ISDSA, PO Box 436937, Chicago IL 60643-6937.
Looking for letters
Danell Spillman, Editor of Louisiana African Americans, explains that letters are not only prized family heirlooms but often the only link to information about ancestors. Letters are the raw material pieces of the puzzle of the African American past. Spillman is collecting copies of letters to publish; include biographical and/or genealogical information about people mentioned in the letter. Send to Louisiana African Americans, University Station, PO Box 16726, Baton Rouge LA 70892.
What do estates and reunions have in common?
by Peggy Rockwell Gleich
I received a call from an estate researcher, telling me he was tracking my ancestors because there was a valuable estate which probably belongs to the family. He located me through my information at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
He wanted all our family information now over the phone! I told him to call back in a few days. Then, I asked others if they'd heard of him. To make a long story short, I concluded he was legitimate.
I contacted the relatives involved but no one wanted to give him any current information, including Social Security numbers for tax purposes, which are not necessary until the sale is final. When I contacted him, I gave him only names. He wrote letters to each relative and mailed them to me for distribution.
With the help of two third cousins, we located sixteen living heirs, all second cousins of a Rockwell descendant who died in California and left no family. Most of us knew nothing about this 87-year old man and apparently he didn't know much about any of us. What a terrible shame and one I wish could be rectified.
The estate included a corner lot near Berkeley, California, on which sat a dilapidated, fallen-down, mouse-infested, broken-into house. The house had to be torn down but the land holds some value. Sadly, no heirlooms, paperwork or other items were salvageable. This cousin had been in a nursing home for a long time. The sale was pending a California court hearing.
When the estate researcher contacted me, neighbors were trying to have the court name them administrator. They were trying to have the house condemned and torn down. An administrator was named to represent all the cousins. The estate researcher, attorneys and administrator all share in a third of the estate.
Maybe this was the reason I was meant to be working on my family history. Keep following your genealogical dreams. Don't give up, and above all, never say never!
About the author
Peggy Rockwell Gleich, Janesville, Wisconsin, is President of the Walworth County (WI) Genealogical Society; Editor of Cemetery Q's & A's (Queries & Anecdotes) and the Wilkinson Connection. She has been doing genealogy for fifteen years is a member in many genealogy societies and a speaker in beginning basic genealogy instructor.