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Saturday, February 4, 2012

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Army Pictures: Ingram, Mueller and Whitten

See my original post for details about the photos from my dad's Army scrapbook and please let me know if you recognize anyone in these pictures.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Resolutions Revisited

Thank you Stephanie for encouraging New-Year-Resolution-setting-bloggers to post goal updates once a month. Great idea! Could be just the push I need to stay on track; although my geneabuddy does a pretty good job of that too!

I only set six resolutions this year. In January I gathered files and folders from (too many) file cabinets, paper stacks and file boxes. I established one place for the documents associated with those all-important 12 surnames. I worked my way through the mess collection of paper in the Clarin and Clarke folders. That helped with this goal:

2.) Focus my research on 12 direct-line surnames...Start by organizing the surname-related computer files, manila folders, family group sheets, and pages on my web site.

My new-and-improved filing system includes folders labeled "Requires Further Action" for each surname. I found the coolest colored folders with graph paper-fronts and backs. Once the contents of the folder are prioritized, I can use the graph paper to create an index/to-do list so next-steps are easy to determine.

I worked on my web site, adding a page for Bidenharn and updating pages for Clarin, Clarke and William Penrod Clarke, Landstrom and Johan Peter Landstrom, Mangels and Gustave Robert Mangels, Peterson, Thompson and Peter Thompson, and Walton. That addressed goal #2 above and this goal:

4.) Keep other living descendants up to date on our family history research progress through emails, letters, Twitter, this blog and my web site. Search for as-yet-unknown cousins in the same way.

In January I devoted quite a bit of time to this goal:

5.) Honor the relationship between genealogy and scrapbooking: Scan and digitize old photos. Preserve hard copies of pictures. Archive online photos off-site. Organize, label and safely store slides and negatives. Share pictures with relatives. Assemble heirloom photo albums.

I've fallen in love with Picasa. It's free and easy to use. I have a million photos to scan and Picasa makes the save, edit, categorize and file steps fast and easy. I averaged 150 scans a week in January and stored the originals chronologically in archival-safe containers. There are still a million minus 600 photos left to scan, but I'm making progress!

Thanks again Stephanie for encouraging me to revisit my goals, check my progress and set my sights on February!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Serendipity in Genealogy

My ancestors are not generally among the movers and shakers in history. They were average people living average lives. That doesn't make them any less interesting to me; it just means that if they appear in a newspaper at all, it won't be on the front page.

So when I visited the Depot Museum in Batavia Illlinois several years ago, it was to get a glimpse of the work done at the U.S. Wind Engine and Pump Company. My second great-grandfather was a blacksmith there for many years.

The museum was very interesting. The displays were wonderful - I took many pictures of the USWE&P display and was grateful to the volunteer who answered my many questions about 19th century life in Batavia. At the end of my visit, Marilyn Robinson encouraged me to sign the guest book and add the surname I was researching. She said other guests sometimes look through the book and connections are made. I signed the book and wrote the name "Tolf".

A few days later Marilyn mentioned my from-out-of-state visit to another volunteer. The volunteer asked what surname I was researching. Together they looked at the guest book. The volunteer (also named Marilyn) said Tolf looked familiar. When she returned home, (the second) Marilyn looked in the scrapbook created by her husband's great-grandfather Charles Wenberg. He had been a professional photographer in Batavia during the time my family lived there. Inside the scrapbook she found these pictures:

l-r Charles Wenberg, Peter Tolf and Claus Pederson
These three men were instrumental in founding the church below 

First Swedish Mission Church in Batavia Illinois

Peter Tolf (center wearing tie) blacksmith foreman
at US Wind Engine and Pump Company

Peter Tolf and his wife Augusta Landström with their children
(l-r) Ranghild Henrietta Katarina, Harry Wilhelm, and Raymond Johan Carl

Helena Åman Tolf with daughters Christina Tolf and Amanda (Tolf) Peterson
I know I thanked both women at least a hundred times. Marilyn Robinson has since passed away, but her extensive work in the Batavia Historical Society surely guaranteed her a place in genealogy heaven. I will be forever grateful to the second Marilyn who gave me something I would never have seen without her generosity. I'm also grateful to Charles Wenberg who wrote captions at the bottom of his photographs without which his great-grandson's wife couldn't have made our connection.

And to my Tolf, Åman, and Landström ancestors: For putting the two Marilyns and me in all the right places at all the right times - there are not enough words in my vocabulary to express the depth and breadth of my feelings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Army Pictures: M C Smith

See my original post for details about the photos from my dad's Army scrapbook and please let me know if you recognize anyone in these pictures.