Thursday, October 04, 2012


I'm pretty sure I have mentioned at least one or two times on my blog that I am into Family Tree Research stuff, haven't I?  Well if you missed those posts or skipped them or whatever, I do enjoy family tree research very much. I'm not a true fanatic with it, but I like to learn things about my own roots whenever I can and also, I do enjoy helping others find information about their roots as well.

A few years back now, a very nice young man -well a good bit younger than me, he is anyway -"found" me and introduced himself to me as being the great-nephew of my older aunt's husband! This through the miracle of the internet and!

Now that particular uncle of his (and mine) and my aunt lived all their married life in Jamestown, New York and for a time, back in the early 50s, I lived with them while my Mom lived up in Niagara Falls, NY with my younger aunt and her husband. From October of 1951 until the spring of 1952, my grandparents also lived with my aunt and uncle -and me. But by May of 1952, my Grandpa was antsy as all get out to return home -to his house -the one I live in today -here in Pennsylvania. He wanted to be here near to his older brother and to the soil he loved and to getting his garden dug up, harrowed and planted! And when my Grandpa made up his mind about something like his vegetable garden, people better follow through and get him back home when he said he needed to be here!

The whole deal about Grandma, Grandpa and I going to Jamestown came about because my Mom wanted to try to rebuild her life, to make a life for herself and for me, independent, on her own but her siblings didn't approve of that idea, nor did my Grandparents. So the summer of 1951, when she actually went to the Falls to begin working there, living with her younger sister and her husband, my Grandparents felt that wasn't a good idea to take me there too and insisted I stay behind with them. But as fall rolled around, my aunts and uncles didn't feel my Grandparents were strong enough to handle being in charge of their old house -and me -what with the rigors of a coal-fired furnace, taking out ashes and general maintenance at their ages then so it was agreed that we would go to Jamestown to stay with their oldest child and her husband over the winter months, at least.

And so,for the next year then I ended up living with my aunt and uncle. And in the process of living with them, I also got to know almost all of my Uncle Butch's family -his brothers, sisters and many nieces and nephews of his too, many of whom had migrated up to Jamestown to make their homes there.

I mention this to explain how it came about that I knew a good deal then pertaining to Uncle Butch's family tree and the thing is, I still remember much of what I learned about his family then to this day.

And so when Uncle Butch's nephew Eric initiated contact with me, I was able to explain help him a good bit as he was working on researching his great-grandfather and a whole lot of other ancestors on that tree with him. Since we first met via, it seems more like I've known Eric virtually forever although I think it's perhaps only been 6 or 7 years or so but he lives in Phoenix -I'm here in Pennsylvania -and he has been here to find his roots and such on several occasions now during which visits we have gotten together to try to track people down from his family trees.

So for me, when he had contacted me about 2-3 weeks ago to tell me he and his parents were coming to PA for a short visit, and when he said he wanted me to go exploring with him in search of a sister of his great-grandmother, I knew exactly where he meant we would be heading with that search.

Of course -to the local cemetery affiliated mainly with the church I belong to -Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran of Lanse, PA!

And yes, I was quite right about my assumption there too!

Now there are a lot of other relatives of Eric and my Uncle Butch's too who still live in these parts but they are all people who Eric has never met before too. And it just so happens I know a lady who is related to Eric and who I had connected them up via e-mail and Facebook but they had never had the opportunity to meet. And, because I also know this woman is like Eric, very interested in family tree research, I contacted her and asked her if she would be interested in meeting him.

You'd almost have thought I had just given her a small fortune when I asked her that questions. Sure, she most certainly would love to meet him and so we made arrangements then and there that she would join Eric and I in our search at our cemetery to see if we could then "find" his Aunt Justina.

And so, that's how Eric, his cousin Jean and I spent this past Monday afternoon -walking through the cemetery in search of a marker somewhere there for his great-grandmother's sister, Justina Swanson!

For quite a while, Eric was getting a bit worried that this was going to be a futile trip and search as we weren't have any luck in locating a marker for this woman at all. Then I asked Eric if he knew what year her husband had died and he told me "1900" so I said then, if he died that long ago, I thought we'd be better off walking/searching in the lower quadrant of the cemetery -referred to as the "old" section of the graves. And so, we three grave searchers started in that specific area, checking markers, old headstones of all types and all of a sudden, we found the marker indicating it was for this woman's husband!  But, there was nothing on that marker for her! Oh rats was pretty much our initial reaction until someone spied a smaller and flatter -newer type of stone and there it was, with her name on it and the date of her passing -1949!

Here then is a not so good a picture of Eric between the markers for his great-great uncle to his left and his great-great aunt to his right! I do think though you can see by the big smile on his face how happy he was to have found these markers can't you?

After our success with finding those markers, we continued walking around the graves as I pointed out many stones to him who also were markers for other people from the past who I knew had various connections as well to his family tree.

Then, as it was getting late and I needed to leave to get home to be there with the kids when they returned home from school, we stopped an took ta couple of pictures then too of the marker for Eric's great-great-grandmother too. I'm not very knowledgeable in the Swedish language however I can read enough of the words to understand that it says, basically, Anna Gustafson -born in Frandefors Sweden, and her birthdate is shown there and that she died here in May of 1910 The wording across the bottom though is way beyond my level of understanding however, a lady I have met and who works in a museum in Mellerud, Sweden as a geneology researcher is going to be visiting here, probably on October 16th so I am going to try to be sure to show this stone to her and get her to translate the bottom lines on it then too for me -and for my cousin, Eric, for his family tree research!

After Eric and Jean left I then tried to figure out where, in this little village, his great-great-aunt had lived but for some reason, he had it that she had lived in Lanse and any of the people I know from that little town who might be old enough to possibly remember her had not recollection whatsoever of a woman by that name living in their little town.

So I went to good old and began trying to find some other type of records for the aunt and finally Tuesday afternoon I managed to come across the obituary for her published in 1949 in our local newspaper. Lo and behold, she hadn't lived in Lanse at all but rather had resided in the upper section of Grassflat, where I live. Through that obituary I was able then to learn she had a son, who in 1949 was living in Corning, New York and with whom she had been living apparently for quite some time.

So between the searching at the cemetery, then in the old news papers records and finding her obituary, Eric can now work on finding her son and if he had any family -children, etc., perhaps build onto his family tree line and who knows but what he may then be able to locate more relatives, some who may even be living  today!

Now isn't that fun to learn who the people were who lived at the time of your ancestors coming to this country and also, to learn that there is a possibility of even maybe some day finding a current descendant from those people in their family tree?

Well it sure makes for a very enjoyable day for me anyway!

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