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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Veterans & Archives, My Letter to Governor Deal

10 October 2012

Governor Nathan Deal
Suite 203, State Capitol
206 Washington Street
Atlanta GA 30334

Dear  Governor Deal,

I have the deepest respect for anyone who puts on a uniform and is prepared to defend the rights and freedoms of the citizens of this great nation of ours. Your Georgian roots run deep, and you have a long history of service to your state and your country, via the military, the judicial system, and your long political career. You’ve been one of the lucky ones to live the American dream. An education, a beautiful family, and a fulfilling career have all found their way on to the timeline of your life.

Unfortunately, many of the men and women who place an American uniform on their backs do not end up living the American dream, their lives turn into the American nightmare. Veterans make up 11% of the adult population in our country and 25% of the homeless population. Many homeless veterans die alone and forgotten, and don’t receive the honor and military burial that they deserve. All too often their families never know what happened to them.

Across America the forgotten cremated remains of our veterans are sitting on the storage shelves of funeral homes. Some of them have been there for decades. Veterans organizations such as the Missing In America Project are researching the unclaimed cremains of funeral homes, identifying which ones are veterans and arranging military burials for them. Forensic genealogists at organizations such as Families For Forgotten Heroes go to work and identify the living next of kin of these veterans to notify them of the death and burial of their hero. The story of a veteran's life is not complete until they have received their military burial and their families have been found.

Deceased homeless veterans also end up in the morgues of Coroners and Medical Examiners. The issue of the unclaimed dead (civilian and veteran) is experiencing increasing numbers. This has caused a huge burden on tax payer dollars, as counties must take over the responsibility of the expense of burial when families can’t be found. A group of volunteer forensic genealogists at Unclaimed Persons assist coroners and medical examiners with finding the next of kin of unclaimed deceased people, so that families can be notified and make arrangements for the burial of their loved one.

Forensic Genealogists also assist JPAC - Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, with their mission of accounting for Americans lost during past U.S. conflicts. When the remains of our missing American heroes are found, the remains are sent to the JPAC lab in Hawaii. Forensic Genealogists assist JPAC by identifying living next of kin of these heroes, so that DNA samples may be taken to match families with the remains. It’s a very emotional experience, to see a widow or a child of our military from past conflicts finally receive the closure they have longed for!

Forensic Genealogists can not do the work they do without access to records and documents. I have been following the story of the closing of the Georgia State Archives with great interest. The closing of those archives will inhibit the ability to find the families of the above mentioned veterans, when they or their families have ties to Georgia.

On behalf of those veterans, I implore you to find the means to keep the Georgia State Archives open to the public for the rest of this year, and in January work with the leaders of your state to find additional funding to return the archives to being open at least 5 days per week.

Look into the eyes of yourself, the soldier from a few years ago. One nasty twist of fate, could have turned your life from the American Dream to the American Nightmare. You could have ended up as one of those unclaimed, unhonored, forgotten heroes. PLEASE help us keep access to the treasures in your state archives, so that forensic genealogists can continue their work to return each and every soldier of our country to their families!

Sincerely Yours,

Kim “Skip” Murray
Genealogy Team Leader (Retired), Research Volunteer - Families For Forgotten Heroes
Co-Director (Retired), Research Volunteer - Unclaimed Persons
8807 Gwynn Lane
Brainerd, MN 56401


To those of you who are checking out my blog, if you wish to help in the efforts to save public access to the Georgia Archives, here are some resources you might find helpful:

Friends of Georgia Archives & History

Georgians Against Closing State Archives

Petition to save the archives

Occupy Genealogy

Need ideas on how to write a letter? Check out these examples!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What I'd Love for my Birthday!

My Birthday wish list………..

A hug from my Granddaughter, hubby, and son.


My genealogy friends to send a letter to or call the governor of Georgia (cc the Secretary of State) and tell them why the state archives should remain open.

RPAC, FGS, AGP, NGS, GAGP, ICAPgen, BCG, NIGS, CAFG, etc. to submit letters to the governor of Georgia (cc the Secretary of State) and tell them why the state archives should remain open. List of letter writers would include any genealogy / lineage societies, associations, or organizations. Hopefully, a portion of this wish is already done and I just don’t know about the letters. 

 A job. Would be nice to find full time with benefits at a place where I can put a smile on peoples’ faces, help others, make the world a better place. A job where I can be helpful and useful. Any job will do, but a rewarding job would be awesome!!!!

One last wish….and that’s for anyone reading this to do a Random Act of Kindness on Oct. 3. Be nice to someone, make their day better. It is as easy as sharing a smile, a hug, or opening the door for someone. Pay for someone’s coffee, donate to the food shelf, help a family with a sick child, the options are endless when it comes to being kind to others.

Thank-you for being a part of my day!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Do We Have A Voice?

I am spending a busy day searching for blog posts about the Georgia Archives, the SSDI, and other records access issues that are of interest to the genealogy community. I came across this post Some good news for Georgia State Archives, but bad news (that’s not really news) in a larger sense and a comment by Steve Ammidown hit me in the gut with a large boulder. He said...

"Let me start by saying that I’m a first semester student in archives, and a newbie to SAA, so I’m sure these conversations have been had before.
Coming from an activist and non-profit background, I was surprised to learn that SAA does not include a 501(c)(4) component, and that there wasn’t generally a lot of organized advocacy around archives on a national level. Changing this seems like it should be a top priority for the community. But how do we sell it? How do we push a normally reticent profession out of the shadows?
There’s one clear answer- it’s about our jobs. Nobody is going to stand up for archivists, be they professionals or students, if we don’t stand up for ourselves. The recent discussion on the SNAP listserv about hiring data for new archivists got me thinking about this. While data is great and useful and essential, it is no substitute for raising our voices. Waiting for the people of Georgia or any other state to recognize the power and necessity of archives is only going to lead to more layoffs, or more jobs going unfilled when others retire.
Since all this Georgia stuff has started, I’ve found lots of great archivists rabblerousing for the profession through Twitter and Tumblr and other sources, and that fills me with hope. But without organization, and lobby days, and talking points, these will continue to be voices in the wilderness, and we will end up reacting to a crisis like Georgia instead of heading it off.
As I said, forgive me if I’m sounding a bit naive here. But I’ve really come to love the archives profession, and I see a place for it in the future, no matter how digital the world becomes. I just want to make sure that we can see that through."
Hmmmmmmmm, I wonder if anyone else is hearing bells? If you replace all the references above from archive / archivists to genealogy / genealogists, do you feel that maybe our community is also  "a normally reticent profession"? We have some cells out in our community that do an excellent job of making their members aware of legislative issues and giving people suggestions on how to take action. The MGC Sentinel is a fantastic example, and there are others. But have we as a community formed ourselves into a well oiled advocacy machine that functions efficiently on a national / international level? Is there anything in our community that fills the "fearless leader" shoes? Are we a team? Do we need to be? Do we want to be?
Judy G. Russell, our beloved Legal Genealogist wrote a post a while back about the SSDI where she encouraged us to get off our duffs. I'm thinking it was very good advice, and maybe all of us as a community should take it.

Our Tree Became A Forest: Am I In The Dark Or Are Genealogy Societies MIA?

Our Tree Became A Forest: Am I In The Dark Or Are Genealogy Societies MIA?

Am I In The Dark Or Are Genealogy Societies MIA? ~ Georgia Archives

I have to be honest with you.... every time I hear of the genealogy community losing access to records, my undies get in a huge bunch. I get riled! I believe in freedom of information. It seems in politics, one of 2 things happen - bills get passed when politicians make deals with each other to vote for each others bills, or the people of this country get fed up, turn into squeaky wheels, and demand their voices be heard. I think each time we are at risk of losing a resource, we need to make a deal to speak up for our whole community, even if that particular resource is one you think you'd never use. Only by putting together large enough numbers and making enough noise, will we succeed in keeping access to records.

By now thousands of us in genealogy land have heard the sad news that the Georgia State Archives will no longer have hours where they are open to the public. In a press release issued September 13th, the reason for the closing was given as a need to abide by a budget cut ordered by the governor of Georgia. There are many reasons why the closing of the archives is wrong, and it's not just because it affects our ability as genealogists to do our work. Those archives are used by citizens to monitor their government, it is used by attorneys, historians, teachers, students, journalists, writers, and movie producers. It boosts the economy of the area it is in.

It has been 11 days since the announcement of the archives closing. I am very impressed by the outpouring of support, and the indignant outcry by people from several vocations. Individuals (not just genealogists) have spread the word, signed the petition, and written letters. It is my hope that RPAC, the group that represents the genealogy community will soon have an action plan post and will submit a letter to the Governor and Secretary of State of Georgia. While genealogists wait for RPAC to have time to do so, the Friends of Georgia Archives and History are doing a great job with updates.

Honestly, it is my hope that HUNDREDS of genealogy societies and lineage organizations will submit letters to the powers that be of Georgia. There are several other organizations who have moved quickly and already have their letters submitted. They are very professional letters from some very impressive organizations. A few that I am aware of are: Society of American Archivists, American Historical Association, National Coalition for History (representing American Association for State & Local History, American Historical Association, Association for Documentary Editing,
Association of Centers for the Study of Congress, Council of State Archivists, History Associates, Inc., National Council on Public History, Organization of American Historians, Southern Historical Association, Society for Military History, Society of American Archivists), American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, and GAIT, GLA, and GLMA. It concerns me that NO genealogy societies are part of this list, and I hope it's because I'm just not aware of them!!!

People from around the world have signed the PETITION to save the archives. If you haven't done so yet, I hope you will add your name to the over 15,000 supporters who have signed it so far. And then, I hope you help spread the word by using e-mail and all your favorite social media sites. If you're a blogger, we'd all love to see what you have to say. The most important thing you can do is send a good old fashioned letter to the Governor and Secretary of State of Georgia. If you need examples of letters to give you ideas on how to write one, Occupy Genealogy has compiled a list of sample letters.

If you'd like to help fight to save the archives click here for a list of actions you can take. Everyone's voice is important, you don't have to be from Georgia!

Please show your support by liking the facebook page Georgians Against Closing the State Archives.

Whether your genealogy is a hobby, a profession, or a tool you use to give back to mankind, please speak up and let your voice be heard. If Georgia succeeds in taking the archives away from the public as an easy fix to a budget problem (even though they have money for a new stadium and to spend oodles of money on a well for a private resort owned by a contributor to the Governor), we can expect that other states will follow suit!!!!!

If you'd like to read more blogs with this theme, check out Tell 'em Tuesday where a list is being compiled of known blogs about this subject. I'm sure you could also use your favorite search engine to locate blogs that didn't get added to the list. This event is hosted by Genealogy Calendar of Events


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thriller Thursday - Clara Ober - Murder or Suicide? Part 2

Aug 8, 1895
Blue Earth Post
Faribault Co., MN, USA

Brother and Wife Visit Freund

On Sunday forenoon, a brother of Mr. Jacob FREUND, who is confined in the jail at this place on the charge of being implicated in the murder of Clara OBER, was visited by a brother whom he had not seen for ten years and also by his wife.

At first the deputy sheriff did not know whether to admit them, but Attorney CRAY being present they were admitted to talk to the prisoner.

When the brothers first met and greeted each other by shaking hands through the bars, Mr. FREUND said, "I suppose you did not expect ever to see me in such a place?" He replied that he did not and both were visibly affected
-- Mankato Review


Aug. 8 1895
Blue Earth Post
Faribault Co., MN, USA

In an interview with the Mankato Review Jacob FREUND lays the charge of his arrest to the feeling between the saloon and anti-saloon element in Blue Earth City. The saloon question was not thought of in connection with the affair. Both the license and anti-license people were united in suspicioning his complicity with the death of Clara OBER, by reason of the long-continued circumstances that culminated on that fatal night, while not a few of both sides were in doubt as to which horn of the dilemma to choose - suicide or murder. The question of license or no-license for the present year was settled at the polls in April. What interests the entire community now is, was Clara OBER murdered, and if so, by whom? The people are asking, who but one could have any motive for the cruel deed, and did he do it? It is very shrewd in Jacob FREUND to attempt to gain the sympathy and partisanship of the local saloon or license party in his favor. That element would hang him just as quick as the other if there can be found evidence enough to convict him. If he is not guilty the no-license people would not hang him. But guilty or not guilty it is the united sentiment of the citizens of Blue Earth City, to speak ironically, that his usefulness here is ended.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - The Tom Boy Becomes A Mrs.

I've been a tomboy most of my life. As a child, most of my friends were boys. Girls did boring stuff like play with Barbies. Boys did fun stuff like climb trees and play with cars. I spent my teenage years as "one of the guys". I could fix cars and ride motorcycles. Many girls hated me during those years, because I was with the guys more than them. Little did they know, that while they were going on dates, I very rarely was on a real date, because the guys never thought of me that way. They just had me hang out with them like any of the other guys.

When I finally got around to dating in my late teen's and early 20's, I turned into a loser magnet. If there was a bad guy out there to date, I found them. I don't know how my mother managed to survive those years! During those years, I found out I can't have children. Then I got in a really bad relationship that proved to be dangerous to my survival. To get in the last word, I took my boyfriends motorcycle and parked in the motorcycle parking lot at a police station, put pictures of my bruised body in an envelope with a letter saying this bike belonged to a woman beater. I packed my bags and disappeared. I moved to Pillager, MN and for a while lived with my grandparents at their lake place. I transferred from my waitress job at Perkins to the Brainerd Perkins and I started my life over. I ended up working 3 jobs at one time, and drinking way too much. And my pattern of choosing bad boys continued.

I made some really good friends amongst my customers and co-workers at Perkins. One of them was Cynthia. For the first time in my life, I really felt bonded to a female friend. She was so cool. I idolized her. She was beautiful with the most amazing eyes. She had her own style of dressing and she was such a free spirit. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind or tell anyone the truth. At that time in my life, the truth was what I needed to hear. She helped me come out of my shell and find myself. She made me feel like I was a good person.

One nice thing about my relationship with Cynthia is that we had total opposite taste in men, so there was never any competition between us over guys. We were never attracted to the same ones. I remember telling her about this dream that I had been having over and over. It was about this guy, and he made me very happy. He made me feel safe. He made me feel loved. In my dream, I ended up spending my life with him. Cynthia used to call him my "Fantasy Man" and she'd laugh and tell me I should look for a real man.

One night, Cynthia and I were having coffee at Perkins. We'd been out socializing and it was very late - more like early in the morning! I looked across the restaurant and almost had a heart attack! I became very excited and I told Cynthia that my Fantasy Man was there! There was a guy sitting a few booths down that looked just like the man in my dreams. She turned around and looked, and was appalled! She said "Oh yuck, that is Mark! I dated him once and went to a Charley Daniels concert. He kisses like a fish and all he can talk about is cars." I knew right then and there that if Cynthia didn't like him, he might be a match for me!

I told my friend, Brian, about Mark. Brian ended up getting a job where Mark works. On March 14, 1984 Brian and Mark came into Perkins for coffee when they got off work. When I was done working, Brian invited me to join them. We all talked for a while and then Brian went home. Mark and I sat there drinking coffee and talking until 6 a.m. We have been together ever since. I knew, he was the one for me.

Mark liked all the things I liked, motorcycles, hotrods, and racing. He had a dark side, a sadness you could see in his eyes. A distrust for anything that smacked of love. I learned he was married for the first time as a teenager. They had a beautiful little girl that died from SIDS. They divorced and Mark married again. This time to a lady who had 2 children. Mark and her had a daughter. He came home from work one day and his wife and kids were gone. He wife left him for another man. He made it very clear to me that he never wanted kids again and he would never marry again. People change the day you get married and he was never going through it again.

I was "safe" because I couldn't have kids. I told him I didn't care what the doctors said I told Mark I firmly believed that if I ever got my life together and ended up with the right man, God would give me 1 child. It would be a boy and he'd have blond hair, blue eyes, and freckles. In 1985, God blessed Mark and I with that boy. And yes, he had blond hair and blue eyes - the freckles didn't come until later. Our son is our only child. And I'm grateful for him everyday.

Mark held on to his idea of never marrying again. We lived together, we were happy together, and most people assumed we were married. After a few years, it started to make me very sad that we weren't married. One day, we were watching TV and they showed these people going through the drive-thru chapel on motorcycles getting married in Las Vegas. I bust out laughing! I told Mark if we ever get married, that is what we should do, it was so "us". He thought it was funny too.

Fast forward to 2004. Mark and I had now been together for 20 years. In October, Mark got us a very nice suite at a hotel with a big jacuzzi in the room. It was my birthday gift. It was so relaxing! We were sitting on the couch watching TV and I looked at him and noticed a tear rolling down his cheek. He was staring at me. All of a sudden, he took my hand and told me he needed to ask me something. He then asked me the oddest question........ He asked me if I'd go through the drive-thru with him. I was confused and my mind raced. Drive-thru? He doesn't like McDonald's, we don't use the drive-thru cleaners and we didn't have any prescriptions that could be picked up at the drive-thru pharmacy. Drive-thru? He just sat there and stared at me. OMG! A light went off in my head and I began to cry. "That Drive-thru?" I said. "YES, that Drive-thru!" he said. He was asking me to marry him!!!!! He told me to pick the date and we'd go to Vegas and get married.

Well, after waiting 20 years to be his wife, I wasn't going to wait around and give him time to change his mind! I knew there was an NHRA National Event drag race at the end of them month in Vegas, so I picked going there then. That way, we could go to the races on our honeymoon. We were married Oct. 26, 2004. It's kind of cool, because I celebrate 2 anniversaries every year. March 14, the anniversary of our 1st day together and Oct., 26, our wedding anniversary. At 21 years together, it was 1 year anniversary. Makes it very easy to keep track of the years. I have to let you in on a little secret, Mark remembers our wedding anniversary every year... well sort of. He has it in his head we married on the 27th. So he always wishes me Happy Anniversary on the 27th. I just let him remember it that way, at least he remembers! It's kinda funny, and I'm hoping all of you keep my secret!

In many ways, the way we got married was sad for family and friends. They couldn't be with us to share our special day. Mark hates being the center of attention, so I asked everyone not to through us a reception or party when we came home. I didn't want to start out with him going through something he didn't like. I know everyone was with us in spirit and I know everyone was happy for us.

Mark was right about people changing the day they get married. He has changed. He treats me even more like a queen than he did before we got married. He still kisses me everyday. He still has a glow in his eyes when he looks at me. He just seems like his love grows and changes everyday. I am happy. I feel loved.

If I ever lecture you and tell you that anything worth having is worth waiting for, I speak the truth. I waited 20 long years and ended up with the man of my dreams!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Get Involved!

It does not matter if today is the first day of your genealogy adventure, or if you've been researching for 50 years. There is always new tricks and skills to be learned. The best way to learn is to get involved with others in the genealogy community. Facebook is a great place to "meet" other genealogists. There are many interesting groups on facebook. They are full of people who will share your passion for what you do. You will make new friends, you'll find people with similar research interests, and you will find people you can help and others who can help you. You will learn of educational opportunities like conferences, webinars, and new books. I'm amazed at the wonderful friends I've made via our facebook relationships and have been blessed with fun and knowledgeable mentors that I never would have met if I hadn't have started to take advantage of Social Networking.

Being on facebook has led me to groups where I can learn to improve my research skills while helping mankind. My 2 favorites are Families For Forgotten Heroes and Unclaimed Persons. I've joined a group called Occupy Genealogy where I can learn of issues that might hinder my ability to do my genealogy research and what I can do about it. Facebook has given me the opportunity to learn about blogging and it was fun to join other bloggers who share the genealogy passion at Geneabloggers. You will find facebook pages for Genealogical Societies, Ethnic Group research, research in a geographic area, genealogy based on religions, the sky is the limit on facebook. Just use the search engine and a whole new world will open up to you!

I hope to see YOU on facebook! You can find me at my facebook page.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Ferdinand E. Eberlein - Feb. 18, 1863 - Civil War

Camp near Germantown
February 18, 1863
Dear Parents,

Today I received your esteemed letter dated the 4th of this month in good health, thank God. I received a very disturbing letter from brother Eduard on the 10th of this month saying that he volunteered to join the soldiers (this must be a mistake), that he left everything with strangers, which I don't like at all, people I don't know, but your letter made me feel better and gave me new courage. Your letters mean so much to me.

I sent Eduard 85 dollars for construction and to buy young farm animals; he does not say what he did with it and I wrote several letters to him with enclosures, but he does not answer. Could you please check on what is happening? Soon I will have that much money again, which I will send to you as soon as I have a chance.

I'm taking care of the three highest ranking officers in the company and receive something extra per month, I eat good food while we are in camp, and I don't have too many occasions to spend money here. I am glad that you gave me my brother Georg's address. I will write him a letter as soon as possible.

We are now in this camp the second week and I don't know when we will be leaving here. We will definitively go to Vicksburg where I might go see my brother. The first of this month I saw Martin Kiefer in German Town and Memphis. He is doing well. So far I have not been in a battle.

In December 1862 and January we went marching, over Christmas and New Year's. We had a hard time and came within one mile to the rebels, but they escaped from our path. We marched over battlefields were I saw the graves and blood on the earth, trees destroyed by bullets, dead horses on mass. And now while I am writing this letter I can hear the canons not far from here. I could write so much more but time does not allow it.

So I have to close this letter, wishing you all the best and hoping that this war will soon come to an end and that I will see you all again.

Your eternally devoted son,
Ferdinand E. Eberlein
Company C 5th Regt Minn, Vols
Memphis, Tennessee

I am awaiting an answer soon and good news. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday's Post is CANCELLED!

I promised myself that I would make an honest effort to post something everyday. Well, today's post is that today's post is cancelled. There is much work to be done and protecting the SSDI is way more important than improving my writing skills. Because if the government puts a nail in the genealogy coffin, it becomes pointless to work to become certified in this field.

Please, join us over at Occupy Genealogy and start educating yourself about these issues! And then, let the letter writing begin! This is one of those projects that needs your attention NOW. If you wait a few weeks to deal with it, you just might not have the SSDI to help you in your research.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Society Saturday - Save the SSDI

Please spread the word amongst the Genealogy Societies that you participate in that action is needed NOW for people to write to their Senators and Representatives that we need to protect our right to access the SSDI. Some misguided negative publicity has made certain Senators believe that they can end identity theft if we can no longer access the SSDI. This is WRONG WRONG WRONG.

We need everyone who has an interest in Genealogy - be it personal or professional, so take action! Don't leave this for somebody else. YOUR VOICE COUNTS! Send a letter, fax or e-mail to your Representatives and Senators. Put it on the facebook page or twitter page or google+ page of your Representatives and Senators.

This website will give you info about the Feb. 2, 2012 meeting with the Ways and Means Committee. Chairman Johnson Announces a Hearing on Social Security's Death Records . There is info towards the bottom of that press release on how to submit your letter to this committee.

The top right of this page will give you a search for your Senators and this one will give you a search for your Representatives .

I first learned of this when I read the article written by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak Are We Going To Lose The SSDI?  Inside and outside of genealogy, the SSDI / MDF is a valuable tool that helps us do good things all over the world!

If you need ideas on what you could put in your letter, please check out Talking Points on Why Genealogists need the SSDI You might have to scroll down the page a ways to find it. Stay abreast of the latest developments by keeping an eye on RPAC's website and with the facebook group Occupy Genealogy and on the Occupy Genealogy Website .

To those of you who are members of Unclaimed Persons and Families For Forgotten Heroes  loosing the SSDI would be a major blow to the work we do.

Please, share this info via e-mail, facebook, twitter, google+, I don't care, even smoke signals. Just spread the word! You can copy anything from this blog post you want.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Family Recipe Friday - Sloppy Joes

I come from a long line of this and that kind of cooks. Many recipes don't have any measurements. Such is the case for these sloppy joes.

I've made these Sloppy Joes for picnics, pot lucks, showers and funerals. People usually really like them. When my son was young, he used to have a lot of fun waiting for someone to say they like them and then he'd tell them they had Diet Coke in them. He liked to watch the surprised look on people's faces!

Brown some hamburger. You can brown a veggie with it if you want (onions, peppers, celery). When the burger is good and brown, drain the fat and season the meat with something. (salt, pepper, maybe some BBQ spice or a little garlic powder). Add equal amounts of ketchup and some kind of diet pop (Coke, Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper, or even root beer - just make sure it's diet). Add one drop of mustard if you only cooked a pound of burger, more mustard if you cooked more. Open the bag of brown sugar and grab about a golf ball size of a clump and mix it in with everything else. Simmer until it's thick. Serve on buns.

Thriller Thursday - Clara Ober - Murder or Suicide?

 Clara Ober was the niece of my Gr. Great Grandma Anna Dorethea Lottine EBERLEIN

Blue Earth Post
1 AUG 1895

Was It Suicide?

Miss Clara Ober's Body Found Floating in Blue Earth River Just Below the Old Dam - Great Excitement in Blue Earth City - Arrest of Jacob Fruend.

Blue Earth City is passing through the throes of one of the most exciting periods in its history. Tuesday morning it was found that Clara OBER had left her bed at the residence of her uncle, Henry EBERLEIN, on Fourth street, some time during the night or early morning and by a note found it was feared she had left with suicidal intent. The marshal and her relatives instituted a search which was kept up all forenoon but unavailing. After dinner the fire bell was sounded and, upon the assembling of our people, searching parties were formed and sent out in every direction. The first party to find her was to send word to the city engineer who was to sound three long fire whistles. In less than an hour the whistle was sounded. Her body had been found floating in the Blue Earth river just below the dam north of town. In the absence of a coroner, the body was taken in charge by CONINGS Brothers who conveyed it to their undertaking rooms. Coroner HUMES was sent for and it was found that he was absent in the East on a visit. His address was obtained and, in answer to a telegram, he appointed Dr. FRANKLIN deputy late Tuesday evening. Great Excitement prevailed upon our streets during the afternoon and evening. At about 10 o'clock Henry EBERLEIN swore out a warrant for the arrest of Jacob FREUND and he was locked up and the next morning taken to Mankato. During the evening an exciting crowd gathered in town and many threats were made, but cool judgment prevailed and nothing was done further than a few cases of lawlessness in breaking in the windows to Freund's saloon and restaurant. We advance no theories and refrain from comment because the coroner's jury is in session as we go to press, farther than to say that from the position in which the body is said to have been found in the water, the theory is advanced that death occurred before drowning, and the fact that a quilt which is missing from her bedroom and is supposed to have been taken by her as a wrapping instead of her apparel, none of which she took with her, cannot be found, is commented upon as pointing to outside parties, and perhaps foul play. Let us keep cool and allow the law take its course, and to that end we refrain, for the present, from publishing any of the circumstances that led up to the sad death.

The funeral will probably occur Thursday, but no details have yet been arranged.

The unfortunate mother of the dead girl has the deep sympathy of the entire community and bears up under this terrible affliction much better than was feared.

The following are the jurors summoned for the inquest: A. G. MAAS, David FREER, M. B. PARKER, Alex ANDERSON, Henry COLE, J. A. VAN SLYKE.

(Capitalization of last names was done by me)
~ Skip

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday - Pay It Forward

Even those of us in the Genealogy Community who are amateurs have developed skills as researchers. Most of us enjoy what we do and are passionate about our "hobby". Regardless if you are a pro or an amateur, I encourage you to take the skills you've learned and use them to pay it forward. Do look-ups for people, or volunteer to do indexing, or help out at your local historical or genealogy society. Help newbies learn the tricks of the trade so they can share the joy you've known at discovering long lost cousins. Help make the world a better place by using your skills to bring peace and closure to others. Volunteer with groups such as Unclaimed Persons who help coroners find the next of kin of people who have passed away with no family by their side or with Families For Forgotten Heroes who find the next of kin of Unclaimed Veterans. The gift of volunteering your time will improve your research skills, will allow you to make new friends in the genealogy community, and you will be making the world a better place by allowing a family to finally know what has happened to their missing loved ones. Help protect our right to access vital records by becoming a member of Occupy Genealogy. There are many ways in life to pay forward the skills we have honed. I promise, you will never regret your efforts to go out there and be an ambassador of good will while you represent the Genealogy Community!
~ Skip

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Travel Tuesday - My Trip To Germany

I had a distant cousin named David Anacker. He was the nicest man! He loved his family so much and had one of the biggest hearts on the planet earth!!! Twice, he honored me with a trip to Seattle, WA to attend the Anacker family reunion. The second reunion was not only for the Anacker family, but for anyone who’s family roots traced back to Breitungen, Germany. (Formerly the 3 towns of Herrenbreitungen, Altenbreitungen and Frauenbreitungen). He was my co-conspirator to have distant cousins who did not know each other, meet for the first time at that reunion. The Anacker family knows how to throw a reunion and we all had a blast!!!!

We announced at that reunion that the next time we held a reunion for the Decedents of Breitungen families, it would be held in Breitungen at the 1075th anniversary celebration of that community. Yes, 1075! We here in America do not have the sense of roots that our German cousins have, who have lived in their communities for countless generations. I was excited about the reunion in Germany, but knew I would not be attending, because I could never afford such a trip. David promised my cousin, Jeanne Eberlein-Burmeister and I that we would be going to the reunion in Germany, he was going to make sure that we got there.

A few years later David was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Many of us were saddened at the thought of losing David. He was so looking forward to all of us going to Germany the next year, and now, it appeared he would not be going. It is so hard to live many states away from someone when you know it is time to say good-bye to them, and you have no way of seeing them again.

While all of this was going on, I bought a raffle ticket to for a fund-raiser at a local private school in our area. My boss’s kids go to that school and every year, I would buy a ticket. Money was a bit tight that year, so instead of using my “mad” money, I wrote a check for it out of my husband’s and mine household account.

A month after we learned of David’s diagnosis of cancer, he passed away. You could tell how much he was loved, because there were many of us who were deeply saddened to hear of his passing. He touched so many lives. My heart ached for his kids, who adored their father.

The day after David passed away, the school I bought the raffle ticket from held their fundraiser. To my delight, I won a $2500 travel voucher from Bursch Travel here in Brainerd. I now had to tell my hubby I spent $100 on a ticket, because I won. He was thrilled I won. I told him being as I spent his money, I thought we should use it and go on a dream trip, like the Daytona 500 or the Indy 500. I’m married to the sweetest man on earth, and with tears flowing down his cheeks, he looked at me and said our dream trip could wait, because I have a bigger dream. He said David promised me I would go to the reunion in Germany, and my hubby felt that David just made sure it would happen!!

Going to Germany is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was a very happy time to be there. I took David’s picture with me everywhere I went, so in a way, he could be on the trip with us. We went to church on Sunday, and I fought back the tears the whole time we were in church. To sit in the pews that my ancestors have sat in for over 400 years was a very emotional experience. I don’t speak German, and didn’t understand a word of the sermon, but it didn’t matter. I felt like I belonged there. I felt an empty place in my heart suddenly fill up with joy. I felt I belonged, and that I had finally come home.

R.I.P David. I miss you very much! I will never forget you and I’ll never forget our trip to Germany. Thank-you for sending me there.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - George Eberlein - Vicksburg June 18, 1863

One of our family treasures is a set of letters written in German. We had a few of them translated. This one is from George Eberlein. Georg Eberlein was the brother of my gr. gr. grandmother, Anna Dorothea Lottine Eberlein Katzung. I have shared some of these letters here: The Olive Tree Genealogy - Past Voices
~ Skip
P.S. Most of the members of the family spell Anaker as Anacker

June 18, 1863

Dear Parents,

As I am still alive and with a little time on my hands, I take a pen to write you some news. Yesterday we had a little bit of fun with the rebels as our people dug themselves into their bigger forts and filled them with powder. Yesterday we opened fire at 4 p.m. and waited until all the rebels came into their fort and then we tried to blow up the fort, one after the other. Twice we were repelled but the 3rd time we succeeded and planted our canons there right a way.

Dear parents, many lives were lost, even though it did not look too terrible when we blew up the fort. One could see the rebels flying in the air and what was not shattered was burned. And in the coming days more shall be blown-up. I don't know yet how many death and injured we have. I am satisfied that with God's help I got out of it unharmed. The rebels should give up soon or they will all be blown to hell. They left Fort Heindson with 1300 prisoners but they will have to give them up soon as well.

A person gets 1 pound of cornmeal for 3 days and a handful of beans, nothing else. That's why they will have to give up, they won't be able to make it long. We get as much as we can eat, ham and meat, beans, rice, sugar, and cheese, more than we can eat and enough crackers and flour. Only beer and brandy is not available. I have not heard from my brother Ferdinand yet and so far I have not gotten anything from you.

Please answer me soon and send me some news. All the best to all of you. Greetings to Georg Anaker and please tell him to write me a letter, and say hello to all our friends from me.

My address Georg Eberlein
Co. K.
29th Regt Wis Vols
1. Br.
Gen. Hovigs Division
13th Army Corps

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Purple Irises

Many years ago, when my Great Grandma, Mamie Helen Hubbard Carrier, passed away the family had a gravesite service in Princeton, MN. She had lived in a Nursing Home by St. Cloud for a long time, and had outlived most of her friends. Just about everyone there was related to her or her deceased husband.

There was an elderly lady there and none of the family knew her. When the service was over, the lady asked us to walk her to her car. In her car, she had several purple iris plants. She told us that when she was a young bride, her and her husband moved into the house next door to Mamie and Elmer Carrier in North Minneapolis. My Great Grandma dug up purple irises from her garden and gave them to this lady as a house warming gift. They lady still lived in that house and had grown those pretty purple flowers all these years! When she heard Mamie passed away, she dug up several of those flowers to give to family members as a memorial. What a sweet way to share a part of Mamie with all of us!

The story could have ended there and it would have been a really cool story. Fast forward to several years later, and I'm now into genealogy. Every year, I took my father in law to several cemeteries so we could put flowers and flags on the graves of his wife's family and the graves of his friends. One year, I decided to take a trip of my own and took a trip to Princeton to see if I could find the cemetery and the graves of Elmer and Mamie, and the grave of my Grandpa's sister, Phyllis, and her husband. The cemetery was easy to find, it's right off of Highway 169. I drove right to it! It is a nice cemetery and it's very well maintained. They have tarred all the little roads between the rows of graves and named each little road. They put up regular street signs at the ends of each road.

It was a real goose bump moment when to my delight, I discovered my Great Grandma is buried on Iris Lane!! All the roads in the cemetery have been named after flowers. No-one who is in charge of the cemetery knew the story of the lady who brought the purple irises to Mamie's funeral. Just seems to me that Mamie made sure to put the thought into someone's head to name her road after the comforting thought of a friendship that endured over many years and many miles. Each time I return to that cemetery, the "Iris Lane" sign brings a smile to my face and a warm glow to my heart. RIP Mamie, we've never forgotten you!

~ Skip

The Learning Curve Has Begun!

Thank goodness this choice as a venue for blogging has lots of templates to choose from! No need to know HTML and things technical. It's been a click and explore experience, not real frustrating, and my new blog has been born!

The first thing I noticed is that depending on what templates a person chooses, with various layouts and color schemes, some choices are too busy and distracting, and other choices, due to the color, will rip your eyes right out of your head or the pages are hard to read. Guess I never made the observation before of what I like about certain webpages and blogs, but now that I've thought about it and played with it, how pleasing it is to the eyes is very important! I think the K.I.S.S. method will be very important in this venture!

~ Skip

Testing 1, 2, 3, 4 Testing!

Well, here it is... my very first blog post. Times are changing and it's time for this Grandma to catch up. I haven't a clue as to what I'm doing, I'm learning as I click around.

As soon as I get it all figured out, it will be time to actually compose something. Thanks for stopping by!

~ Skip