Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Genealogy Bias

Okay, so maybe I am using this post to have an excuse to share another cute photo, especially of kids on sleighs, but ah well.

To get back on topic, the title of this post is to explain a little of the rhyme and reason behind most of my posts.

It may at times seem that I tend to post with a bias. What I mean by bias is that I will tend to post about certain particular family members or sides of family. Generally there are a few reasons behind this:

1) Access - I may post more about certain people because I have more access to their artifacts, especially concrete information, which at times can come in droves and at other times, can be a complete dry spell for many months or years. For example, I have ample access to my grandmother's family history due to her countless photo collection (and I mean countless!!), letters, family heirlooms, and hearing stories directly from her in person. She's my last oldest living family member on her side of the family.

2) Records - Due to knowing certain members information due to having initial access to them, allows me to find better and more accurate info about them online. The less I know is when I tend to hit roadblocks in my research and sometimes have to look up other family members to even get names or birth dates - sort of going through the back door to get info. So, access is really related to getting good records. Without the two, it can become very difficult.

3) Interest - Part of bias can also be blamed on a level of interest you have on certain family members. I think part of this is based on the two above factors - Having a personal connection really helps this. I will write more proficiently about those who I feel more of a connection with than those I still know little to nothing about. I can make assumptions at best with my findings, but generally, that's all they'll ever be. It's an ongoing frustration of any genealogist who cannot get to know their ancestors a little better. But, records, even the very factoid filled census records, can offer us some kind of idea of who they were.

So, if it seems I am a little biased about what I blog about, it's really about all of the factors above. However, I do aim to blog more about some journeys/roadblocks I have, too, in case someone runs across this blog and can possibly help me solve my problems.

A Baby on the Way in 1979

My mother (in center, with her sister on left, and mother, on right) was expecting my brother in 1979. They had a baby shower for her sometime in July of 1979 at her mother's house. At the time, my parents did not know if they were having a boy or girl, but then on August 18, 1979, my brother was born. 

Excuse the bad quality of the color of the photos. So many photos from the 1970's and early 1980's all have this bad discoloration due to cheap inks used when printing. It's too bad. 

Travel Tuesday

In what appears to be December 1918, my Great Grandmother, Lydia, received this post card from her aunt, Katie Herr, who lived in Los Angeles, CA.

The transcription reads:

Dear Niece Lydia, 

Was glad to hear from you, also glad to know that Geo [Lydia's husband] recovered from the flu. It was too bad that Stoney [Geo's brother] had to go so soon where I read it in the news I thought I was dreaming such a straight person he was. But it seems it took the fat people - always the first - Am feeling fine and wish you are very same with [unknown word] all am so ever. 

Your Aunt Katie

It appears Stoney, Geo's brother, passed on from the flu epidemic of 1918. I have a record that he had registered for the World War I draft. I am unsure if he died while on duty, as he registered in Septemeber of 1918 and he appears to have died sometime in November. Very sad, as I wondered what came of him and now I am just realizing what his fate was by re-reading this postcard.

It's amazing that a tiny artifact such as a postcard can give us so much information. This nice little postcard also tells us George also had the flu, but he survived it. Just imagine the pain the family must have felt, knowing his brother had died from it and that they could very well lose the breadwinner and patriarch of the family, too. Thank goodness George survived.

If George had not survived, my Grandma would have never been born, nor would have her brothers George, Alwin and James.

Sometimes it's easy to overlook these minor details in little things such as postcards, telegrams, or other small pieces of information. Like any skilled researcher knows, there's fantastic information in even the smallest of details. Just imagine how archaeologists have been able to unearth amazing artifacts due to their amazing efforts of perseverance.

*Also, I have no idea what Katie Herr meant about "fat people", but that was not very nice of her to say! Maybe she meant it in a different way. At least I hope so! Don't shoot me, I am just the messenger - haha!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Birthdays - Happy Birthday, George John Roehm (October 16th)

George John Roehm (10/16/1893 - 10/18/1948)
My Maternal Great Grandfather
He would be 121 years old

George was born in Green Lake, Wisconsin, shortly before his father moved the family to North Dakota. He was the sixth child out of ten children of Karl (often referred to as Charles or Carl) Roehm and Rebecca Stegemann Roehm. He was a middle child of sorts but appeared to be the most handsome of the sons. Unfortunately, the two eldest siblings passed away during an influenza epidemic in the late 1890s, which left him to be the 4th eldest of the Roehm children. He was friends with the Herr family, and eventually took a liking to the Herr's eldest daughter, Lydia. They married on December 25th, 1914. Most of the pictures below are from around that time of their marriage. 

Over the course of his life, he had many friends who were also hunting buddies. Many of these friends were local doctors, politicians, business owners and farmers. George seemed to attract intellectuals, even though he likely did not go past the 8th grade in education. He seemed to be a charming man and sure to have wit. He was once urged by these fellow men to become mayor of Wishek, but I think George liked his privacy, and did not go for it. During the Great Depression, he worked under the WPA as a superintendent, and built the Civic Auditorium in Wishek, N.D.

When the Great Depression got the best of the family, and with George still having children to take care of in the early 1940's, he and the family took the bold move to California, gathering all they could in their car and traveling out west. Many of his children had already headed west, and that's where it seemed jobs were more plentiful. He decided to work for the Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond, CA. This allowed the family to move into a new home in Richmond and rebuild their life. Lydia was likely never without want, as she came from a wealthier family and was sure to have gathered some kind of inheritance to possibly help the family get through the worst of the Depression. Her father was part owner of the Herr Mercantile Store, which stayed in business throughout the Great Depression.

George worked hard throughout the war years on the war ships that his sons likely were using to go and fight in. Shortly after the war, in 1948, George suffered a heart attack which killed him. He seemed to live a short life compared to most people, but he fit a lot in that life and built a family and took care of them. Happy Birthday, Great Grandpa George!


 A nice candid shot of George, circa 1914-1915. He stood quite tall, somewhere around 6'1'' or 6'2''.

 George with his first born daughter, Doris Roehm, born September 1915.She had an eye patch on due to a vision problem she had during birth. She had to go to the doctor in Bismarck, N.D. to have it monitored and mostly wore glasses her whole life.
 I think there are several Roehm brothers in this photo, but they have not been clearly identified. I believe the one laying down in the middle, smiling, looks to be George Roehm. The one left to him, I believe is either Charles or Wilhelm (Will) Roehm. The man to the far right, also looks like a Roehm son, but I am unsure of which, since most of the other sons would be very young around the time this picture was taken, which I am gathering it was taken around 1915-1916.
 George Roehm, on the right, with possibly a brother of his, working inside a home, which could have been the home he was building for he and Lydia. I think Lydia took this photo, as she did most of the photography in the family.
 I believe George Roehm is the one in the middle, with the hat on in the boat. These could be his hunting buddies and possibly some of his brothers, circa late 1910's.

George Roehm with his rifle, circa 1915.

George Roehm on his wedding day to Lydia Herr, December 1914.

George Roehm (far right) with his hunted ducks and buddies, 1922.

 More of George Roehm with his brother Fred on the far left, two friends in the middle, and George on the far right, September 1929.

 George Roehm, in Wishek, still handsome, but showing some age, circa early 1930s.

George Roehm, on the far right, kneeling, in Los Angeles, CA, circa 1944-1945. His youngest daugther, Annette is in the middle with the arrow towards her. She said he was very protective of her. He treated her differently than the others because she was the only daughter that took after him. When she was born, he was hoping for a little girl with dark hair like his own, and he got exactly that. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Travel Tuesday - Summertime Family Fun - California - Style

It's that time of year - going on road trips, having fun at amusement parks, or just venturing out to a nearby outdoor attraction.

A lot of my family goes back a few generations as native Californians. My mom's fathers side were native San Franciscan's (byway of coming from Boston and prior to that, Ireland and England) and my mom's father grew up in and around the Berkeley area.

My mom's mother, however, was not a native Californian, but she took to the California lifestyle pretty well (even though my Grandma still has a strong Minnesota-nice accent).

On my Father's side, my Dad is also a first generation native Californian, as his father was born in Oklahoma and his mother was born in Texas, but she moved to California at a very young age. My Grandpa came to Los Angeles and grew up on the Southern California coast in the 1930's and 1940's.

So, here are a few past (and more recent photos) of my family spending their Summer-time:

Disneyland, June 1971 - My mom with one of the Disney characters

My Grandma and mom on the now defunct Skyway ride ad Disneyland.

My mom, her brother and Grandpa at the front entrance at Disneyland.

 My Uncle, my mom and Grandma at the front entrance at Disneyland.

Eating somewhere near the Matterhorn (rails for the Monorail can be seen in the background, as well)

My cousins Tiffany, Paul and Sam at what appears to be Disneyland, sometime in 1988/1989.

My Dad caught a fish at Lake Shasta (my cousins Michael and Matthew are behind him). This was on a houseboat we rented and were on it for at least two weeks. It felt like forever and I couldn't wait to get off of it by the time we left. This was around 1988.

My brother and I on a big telephone at Universal Studios - Hollywood, around 1989.

My Grandma took some out of town family members to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco - however, this photo actually shows all family who lived in California at the time. My Grandma's sister-in-law Lenora, Izetta (back right) and their mother, Lydia (front right). This was the day after my mom and dad's wedding, September 19th 1978.

More Disneyland photos from 1971 - my mom's cousin Cynthia and my mom next to Pooh Bear.

Lydia, Annette (my grandma) and Izetta getting a hug from Tigger. This is near the main entrance of the park, just as you've entered in onto Main Street.

Great Uncle Ross and my Grandpa Vibert with Pluto.

Aunt Penny, Lydia, Izetta, Carole (my mom), Eeyore - the donkey, Cynthia, Terry and Annette

Carole and Annette, styling on what looks like a Southwest Airlines jet. They took a short flight to L.A. to go to my aunt Diane's wedding, circa June 1971.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Going Back to 1994

Twenty years ago - where does the time go? The picture above is of my Grandparents in 1994. My Grandpa was 72 and my Grandma was 65. Back then, they just seemed, well, old to my 12 year old self. But, they were still doing very well, health wise. My Grandpa, who never used a cane his entire life, helped us move in December. That's when I realized my Grandpa was still pretty darn cool. My Grandma also helped us out during the move. Looking back, I can't believe that they were in their 70's and late 60's and helping us move.

Most especially, looking back, I realize now just how much time has changed them. Now my Grandma can no longer drive, she's had two mild heart attacks and is on several pills. One of the heart attacks caused her to have a bit of a limp, but it's barely noticeable and she's too proud to use a walker or a cane, so she hangs on to us sometimes when going up steps. Yet, when I look at my Grandma, she still has that spunky attitude about her that she's always had her whole life. She crinkles her nose when she's unhappy or talking about something unpleasant. She'll still use her hands to gesture with when telling a story. Her eyes will get expressive when she's talking about something exciting. And, there I see it, the Grandma I've always known. She's slowed down, but she keeps on going.

One of my fondest memories from 1994 with my grandparents was hiking the hills behind their ranch and then coming down and playing baseball. It was Easter and it was that rare time of year in Northern California where the hills stay green for only about 8 to 10 weeks. If we have a dry winter, it's cut even shorter. My Grandpa's dog, Bozo, was still alive and so was my cousin's dog, Rainbow. We hiked the hills and I remember spending time with Grandpa, who helped me up several times when I got scared. We then finally made it to the top. All of us cousins were so proud of our achievement. This was something we'd been doing on this land since the 1950's. We were the 2nd generation. It was really windy out, I remember, and luckily many of us brought some flannel shirts to warm us up. We then ran down the hills, got our gear to play ball and we all played until dusk. One of my favorite Easters was in 1994.

I am feeling sentimental and this post nearly brought tears to my eyes, as I am still grieving my Grandpa's passing and thinking of our time together during 1994 brings back some good memories. I am thankful to have them to remember him by.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Growing Up Photos

When I was growing up, I lived on a street where there were many kids around my age. It was a great time to be growing up. I feel so blessed we had such great neighbors and fun times to remember.

Even though the 1980's were roughly 30 years ago, I feel like they are starting to gain a "classic" status and in a sense, I am starting to a feel a little old when I see photos from back then. I have to take a step back and realize, "Wow, where did the time go?"

Here are a few photos of me growing up:

There are just SO many here! Here I am eating green frosting that my Aunt made, but it was the wrong color, so instead of throwing it away, I said, "I'll eat it!!" What kid would let a perfectly good tasting frosting go to waste?

I was maybe a few months old in this picture. 

This was my 1st Birthday in 1983.

I loved my Graham Crackers! This was around 1984. My brother was holding a bottle of 7-Up.

 My brother and I having fun in the kiddie pool, around 1986-87 (basing the year by my brother's swim shorts, lol)

Wearing one of my favorite roller skating outfits - this one was real popular back then. Not sure why!!

My aunt Judy and her daughter, Melissa and me. Melissa and I were only 9 months apart, so we were constantly seen together - palling around! I looked a little hyped up on sugar here!

My cousins Jesse (age 13), Tiffany (age 12) and Noelle (age 14)- we were all so close growing up - we may be further apart now - but we will never forget the time we spent together - this was in 1992.

Me at Mother's Day brunch, around 1990. I was nearly 8 years old (my birthday is May 21st)

My cousin Melissa and I at my Grandma's ranch, around 1986. 

More of my cousin Melissa and I. I clearly look like I ate a Popsicle! 

My Grandma and I at Mother's Day brunch, 1990.

My Grandma and I at Mother's Day brunch, 1990.

My Cousin Melissa at Mother's Day brunch, 1990. Melissa was 7 here.

Me and Melissa at Easter brunch, circa 1992. I was ten, going through a chubby stage and Melissa was 9.

My oldest cousin, Sam (age 19), and his brother, David (age 17), at Easter Brunch, 1992.

Noelle and her sister, Melissa on the ranch, around 1986. Noelle was 9 here and Melissa was 3.

My cousin Sam and our Uncle Terry (father of Noelle, Jesse and Melissa), at my Aunt Diane's house (mother of Sam and David), circa 1989/90.

My Dad with my brother and I at my Aunt Diane's house, circa 1989/90.

My brother, Scott (bottom middle); cousin, Tiffany (bottom right) and myself (standing right alligator) were all in competitive roller skating. Skating the Gold Skate was a big deal! It was like the Olympics for Roller Skating and a huge 3-4 day event. This was in Bakersfield, CA.

This is me on a swing. This  Smurf themed swing set really was well loved, as you can tell. We finally had it removed, in which we had our yard completely re-landscaped the same year this photo was taken, 1991.

Me swimming with a little help from my arm floaters. I was 8 years old in 1990. I remember my Dad taking this photo. I was in the deep end of our pool. I used to think sharks were over here and would scurry away thinking they were after me. I LOVED to swim. I still do.

And, finally, a pre-teen version of me - where awkwardness was beginning to set in. This was my 12th birthday in May of 1994. This was my last birthday in my childhood home. We'd move to a bigger home on December 1st.