Friday, October 24, 2008

Things I Learned While Driving My Dad to the Doctor

In July my Dad, Ernie Margheim, fell as he was going to a doctor appointment and broke his left leg in two places. Since that accident, I've been helping Dad quite a lot, since his mobility is limited and strenuous. Although my days are physically tiring with the extra hours of work and activity, they've also provided me with precious opportunities to visit with my Dad one-on-one. I've sat with him as he's eaten his meals, I've introduced him to Facebook, and I've driven him to countless doctor appointments. Earlier this week, as we arrived in Pueblo, Colorado at a medical clinic, Dad commented "Isn't it amazing that we never run out of things to talk about!" When you're a genealogist and have time alone with your Dad, who's very willing to share stories from his 87 year lifetime, there's never a shortage of conversation!

This morning I was mentally listing the little tidbits of information he's shared with me just this week. Things like:

1. My great-grandfather, George Koleber was a very nice and gentle man, and would always stop to straighten a picture that was hanging crooked on the wall.

2. My grandfather, John Margheim, was always called "Lute", a nickname for his middle name Ludwig, as he was growing up. It wasn't until he was married that he became known as John. I never knew that!

3. I was showing Dad some acreage my son has purchased that will be his home site in the future. It's at the very edge of a rural housing development. Dad said "Your mom would call that "Plum and Nearly". I queried "Plum and Nearly?" "Ruby would say that was "Plum out of town and nearly in the country". Was that just HER expression, or was that a common expression in the 1940s?

4. My great, great, grandfather George Daniel Dietz had a small lake on his home property and Dad said he had the opportunity as a small child of 6 or 7 to sit on the bank and watch Daniel fish---with a homemade 3-pronged spear that he made. How lucky am I to listen to my own father tell about fishing with his great-grandfather, a man who was born in 1852!

5. In an effort to keep my Dad's vehicle in good running condition, and since Dad hasn't driven since his accident on July 29th, my husband started his car this week and drove it around town. As he approached the car in Dad's garage, a small brown leather case caught his eye. Naturally drawn to such "treasures, my husband opened it and found that it protected a grade-school reader with the name "Alfred Margheim" written inside. My Dad's brother Alfred died in 1933 at age 9. I gently laid the book in a bookcase with other books my dad has saved that belonged to his beloved little brother. Dad explained that he had a friend make that case during World War II and Dad sewed it together with the leather binding. It was used to carry his Bible during the war. Now it protects Alfred's reader. What a treasure!

6. Dad told me of the "emergency" baptism of my uncle Leonard Margheim and his twin sister Laverna Margheim due to a critical illness Leonard was suffering. He obviously recovered, having celebrated his 79th birthday last Saturday.

Thanks to the technology now readily available to us, I was also able to teach Dad something in return for all the "treasured tidbits" he's taught me this week. His mother, Amalia Koleber, her two older brothers Daniel and George, and their parents, George and Katie Koleber, immigrated to America from Russia in July, 1904. I introduced Dad to the Ellis Island web site and showed him the ship's manifest listing their names, as well as a photo of the ship they traveled on.

Dad and I have used our time together wisely these last three months and are enriching each other's life in countless ways. I'm grateful for these hours and days we have together. I'm grateful that, at age 87, Dad has a brilliant and very clear mind, an excellent memory and a great desire to leave these treasures with me!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Uncle Albert Flanders, Oct. 24, 1918-April 16, 2002

With his beloved wife Bonnie

With his youngest daughter about 1974



With Me (Mary Rebecca Margheim Jamison), about 1949


With his sister, my mother, Ruby Nadine Flanders and his brother William Mervin Flanders


High School Graduation

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us



Happy Anniversary to my Wonderful Husband, Larry Jamison
whom I married October 22, 1994

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Congratulations to my son and daughter-in-law!


Matt and Lucja Klein, married Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Congratulations to my Sweethearts!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Twins Have a Birthday



In a short paragraph last Wednesday called "A Family Of Twins" I wished my Uncle Leonard Margheim happy birthday and posted a photo of him and his twin sister Laverna as infants, along with a photo of me and my twin brother as infants. Since today is officially my uncle's birthday, I wanted to post just a few more photos of him and Aunt Laverna as they were growing up. My Aunt Laverna and Uncle Leonard have always had a special place in my heart. When my twin brother and I were only two years old, our parents divorced and my dad and brother and I took up residence with my dad's parents until my dad remarried. During the time that we lived with our Grandparents, my aunt and uncle were newly out of high school and living at home. So they became a big brother and big sister to me and my brother Dennis. I remember riding on the shoulders of my Uncle Leonard and getting my hair washed and nails polished by my Aunt Laverna. It was my Aunt who taught my brother and I to play the piano on her grand piano when we were 4 years old. Even tho she passed away in 1973, I remember her fondly many times during the year and still miss her. My uncle is still living so I'm able to stay in touch with him, tho not as often as I should! So here's just one more Happy Birthday wish to two people who hold a very special place in my heart.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Here I Come, Ready or Not

Janet and Msteri have tagged me as "It", so here I come ready or not. I'm most definitely NOT ready. I've only been a blogger for 3 weeks and am really a "Newbie", but I'm ready to have some fun with my network of genea-bloggers.

10 Years Ago I:
  • was only 50 years old
  • went to my stepfather's funeral
  • helped my husband recover from shoulder surgery
  • went to my son's wedding
  • helped my husband move my Dad to Colorado from our hometown in Kansas
  • (an extra point) hadn't even started on my family history research
5 Things on today's to do list:

  • Drag myself to work and write a newsletter
  • Fix lunch and dinner for my Dad, who's recovering, at age 87, from a badly broken leg and lives alone
  • Mail a birthday card to my sister-in-law
  • Post a new story on my blog to wish my uncle Happy Birthday and write about the twins in my family
  • Copy and mail genealogy info to someone from a Parish Register of the late 1800s.

5 Snacks I enjoy

  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Cheddar Cheese by the chunk
  • Hershey bars
  • Ice Cream with lots of Hershey Syrup & walnuts
  • Did I say Chocolate Chip Cookies?

5 Places I've Lived

  • Great Bend, Kansas
  • Salina, Kansas
  • Blue Springs, Missouri
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Canon City, Colorado

5 Jobs I've Had

  • Laundry worker (my Grandpa owned it and my Mom managed it---no choice!)
  • Retail sales
  • Second Grade Teacher
  • Bookkeeper
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Parish Administrator

5 Bloggers I tag to play

A Family of Twins

Happy Birthday to My Aunt and Uncle

October 18th marks the 79th birthday of my Uncle, Leonard Marvin Margheim and his twin sister Laverna Margola. However, Laverna passed away in 1973. Must be a lonely time to celebrate a birthday with a twin sister who's no longer here. Leonard and Laverna had one brother who lived to adulthood and he's my Dad! He and his first wife also gave birth to fraternal twins: me, Mary Rebecca Margheim, and my twin brother Marion Dennis Margheim (in photo below). Do you see any resemblances in the two sets of twins?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wedding Day


Honoring my son who is being married today:

Matt Klein and Lucja Thomas Klein.

Congratulations, Love and Best Wishes!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Making My Dietz Connections Personal

As I mentioned in my last post (Oct. 12), an email last week from a wonderful gentleman in the state of Washington spurred me to do more investigating into my paternal grandmother's maternal family, the family of George Daniel and Maria Elizabeth Meier Dietz, pictured seated at right. Follow that? My dad's mother's mother's family. My husband asks "Why don't you just say your great-great grandparents?" I think many of us who work on these genealogies know the answer to that. We have hundreds of great, great-grandparents. I like to track the connection or relationship through a particular parent and grandparent because it makes them more real to me. To refer to a man (in this case George Daniel Dietz) as my Grandma's Grandpa helps me consider what my Grandma might have felt for her Grandpa Dietz, just as I cherish the feelings and relationship I had with my Grandpa. If I just think of this man as my Great, Great, Grandfather George Daniel Dietz, it takes the human connection away and he just becomes another Ancestor.

At left is a photo of me and my son Matt and at right is a photo of my father Ernest. Here are generations four, five and six of the descendants of George Daniel and Maria Elizabeth Dietz.



This is my Dad's mother, my Grandma Amalia "Mollie" Koleber Margheim. And at right is a photo of her as a very small girl, with her two brothers and parents, John George and Katherine Elisabeth "Katie" Dietz Koleber.


In the photo at the stop of this story is Katie Dietz Koleber (top left) with her brother Johann Ludwig Dietz (top right) and their parents George Daniel Dietz and Katharine Elisabeth Meier Dietz.



And here's a photo of my Grandmother with her brothers and parents. Katherine Elisabeth "Katie" Dietz Koleber is seated front row right with seven of her children. Her son Daniel passed away at age 17, just 3 days before his eighteenth birthday. In the picture above with my Grandma Mollie as a very young girl, Daniel is standing right above my Grandmother. A handsome young man!
Our six-generation Dietz line: George Daniel, to his daughter Katharine Elisabeth (Katie) Dietz Koleber, to her daughter Amalia "Mollie" Koleber Margheim, to her son Ernest Ludwig Margheim, to me, Mary Rebecca "Becky" Margheim Jamison to my son Matt C. Klein.

From the year of the birth of my son's daughter in 2000 to the year of George Daniel's birth in 1852: 148 years. Seven generations in 148 years. I wish my great, great grandparents could know their sweet little 3rd great, granddaughter. I'll share these pictures with her one of these days so her 6th great grandparents will become more personal to her too.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grandmas were once little girls too

I was contacted by email last week by someone asking for more information about one of my paternal ancestors--my great, great grandparents. As I've hunted for what I could share on this family and in talking to my Dad about his great grandparents (pictured at right), I've come upon a discovery that is quite exciting to me. Just this morning I came across a photo of my grandmother as a very young girl. I don't remember ever seeing this picture before. My Grandma is special to me because she took care of me and my brother when my parents's marriage ended and our care was the responsibility of my Dad. For a few years Grandma became my "Mom". She seemed old at that time, even though she was just 47. Our lives and styles have changed so much that 47 is not as old now as it used to be. But I treasure this picture, for it's my first glimpse of my Grandma as a very young girl. It doesn't seem right to look at her in this photo and call her "Grandma".

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Jamie

I just have to start out the day saying "Happy Birthday" to my precious husband! He has to work today so we'll spend the day together TOMORROW! And after he's gone to work and I've gotten some of my Saturday work done, I'll post more today. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Our Family's "Alias Smith and Jones" Story















In my last post, I mentioned our family's "Alias Smith and Jones" story. I hope I can tell it briefly. My step-mother ("Mom") was Phyllis Jones (front row 3rd from left in photo) and her father was Henry James "Jim" Jones (back row, 2nd from left). Mom would accompany my dad to family reunions or conventions for his family (Germans from Russia), but she stated more than once that she wasn't going to talk about her family's history. It was her belief that "what we made of our lives was more important than where or who we came from". As I grew up I knew that Mom had an older half-sister---from a previous marriage by her dad, but I didn't know who her dad had been married to. Her dad died in 1976, my Mom died in 1997 and her older half-sister Katherine died in 2000.

I began my genealogical quest in 1999, but it wasn't until nearly 5 years later that I had gathered enough information on my maternal and paternal lines that I was finally ready to do some searching on my step-mother's family. I was still curious about the identity of Katherine's mom. In the back of my mind, I also wondered why that marriage was never talked about in our family, and why my step-mom was so adamant about not researching her family history.

I've been very blessed to have found the resources of other cousins in this quest and one of my "cousins" put me in touch with another "cousin" who finally shed light on this story. It's from this same cousin that I've received the photos that are included with this story.

I learned that my Grandpa Jim Jones was actually born James Robert Smith. "Grandpa Smith"? Or "Grandpa Jones"? I can't tell you what a surprise that was. My Grandpa Jones was a very gentle, kind, loving, gracious and generous man. This photo is typical of him surrounded by his great-grandchildren. It seems Jim Jones was originally married to a woman who was not a fit mother to their daughter ('xxx Smith' who later changed her name to Katherine Jones). Jim Smith took his daughter and left that wife and left the state in which they resided. He changed his name, his daughter changed her name, his brother-who accompanied them and eventually settled in Kansas with them-also changed his name from Smith to Jones. That brother is pictured in the photo at the top in the back row 3rd from right, along with his family.

This story was never told in the family while Jim or his daughter Katherine were alive. I don't konw if my mother knew the circumstances of her dad becoming Jim Jones instead of Jim Smith. I think she must have and that's why she didn't want to discuss her family's history. But those of us who now know the story find it quite fascinating. It shows us the integrity Grandpa Jones displayed in moving his daughter out of a destructive home. Grandpa eventually married a second time to a very loving wife and had three children, the oldest of whom was my step-mother. That wife was very loving to Katherine and gave her the "mother" she needed and the love and respect she deserved. In the photo at right is Jim Smith with his daughter and his mother.

In our family, we call this the "Alias Smith and Jones Story". I've omitted many details for the sake of brevity in this posting, but I think you'll get the idea. I certainly learned that you can't research a family's history when you don't have the correct information! I spent years looking for the ancestry of Henry James Jones. Thanks to my cousin in Oklahoma, I know the ancestry of James Robert Smith---my Grandpa!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Resemblance in Mother and Wife


When I have more time I plan to post a story about my step-mother's father who was raised a Smith and changed his name to Jones. In our family it's known as the "Alias Smith and Jones Story". But time is short for me right now, so I'm going to post a couple of photos and make a quick point, then come back to this later.

The photo at left is of (l to r) Harriett Thackerson, her son Malone Smith and his wife Mary.

In the photo at right is the son of Malone and Mary Smith, whose name is Jim Jones, with his wife Helen. I find a striking resemblance between Mary Smith at left and Helen Jones at right. Looks to me like my Grandpa Jones married a woman who very strongly resembled his mother. What do you think?

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Great Grandmother Just Came for a Visit


I'm thankful to live at a time when technology is so available to help us connect with our ancestors. My mom and dad were divorced when my twin brother and I were still in diapers and we grew up living with our dad and step-mother. We visited our mom according to orders from the Court, but the visits were so few that we barely got to know our mother, much less ever learning much about her family or ancestors! We did spend time with her immediate family and heard some family names along the way, but I was young those times I spent in the home of her parents and it never occurred to me to ask who was pictured in the portraits hanging on the bedroom wall.

It wasn't until the mid-1990s that I even became slightly interested in learning more about my ancestors, much to the credit of my husband. I eventually made contact (by the grace of God) with cousins of my mother who live in California and who have spent much of their lifetime tracing the family genealogy! How lucky is that? My beloved new cousins have generously shared photos, documents, books, and stories with me, so that today I feel much better acquainted with my mother's side of the family.

I learned that my mother's grandmother [and my grandmother's mother :-) ] was Emma Cornelia Strait. I had never heard her name until 10 years ago and I fell in love with her. Emma Cornelia. What a pretty name. I've received a few photos of her from the cousins in California, but today, through the miracle of technology and the resources available on Ancestry.com, I woke up to a new photo I hadn't seen. Another cousin in Michigan and I trade photos through our family trees on Ancestry and yesterday she posted new photos. What a miracle. I opened my email, saw what had been posted and I felt like my great grandmother had come to my house for a visit this morning. A gentle warmth went through my body when I clicked on the link that opened the picture that you see at the top of this story. It was very comforting.

Thank you, Grandma Emma for coming to see me today. It's been a wonderful way to start my day!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Brothers meet after 52 years

Last night my husband and I visited by phone with his half-brother in South Carolina. A 54-year-old brother he's only known for 2 years. We were recalling the wonderful miracle that occurred in Feb. 2006 when they both spoke to each other for the first time in their lives. I decided this would be a good blog post since I wasn't blogging at the time it happened. And it's a wonderful story---too good not to share.

My husband's parents married in 1939, had their first son Richard in 1940 and their second son Larry (my husband "Jamie") in 1946. Jamie's dad pursued a career as an Air Force pilot (retiring as a Lt. Col.) and in 1953 was stationed in Greenville, SC., far away from his home state of Pennsylvania where his wife and sons remained in closer proximity to her family. Over the years the marriage had become strained, a separation took place and my father-in-law entered into a relationship with a beautiful young woman in Greenville, SC. Three years into this relationship, this young woman gave birth to a son, whom she also named Richard "Dale" xxx. Due to family circumstances it was not possible for my father-in-law to divorce his wife at that time and he eventually reconciled with his family, finally settling in Colorado Springs, CO upon his Air Force retirement. His life ended in 1997 on the 58th wedding anniversary of his marriage to my mother-in-law and mother of his two sons.

The son that was born to my father-in-law that winter morning in 1953 has remained in Greenville, SC all his life. His mother never told him who his father was. It was only upon her death in 1993 that he learned the identity of his dad. Photos of her son's father, with his name written on the back, abounded in her cedar chest and were discovered after her death by Dale.

In the ensuing 10 years Dale attended reunions of the Air Force groups in South Carolina, searching for information about his father from anyone in attendance who might have known his dad personally. He searched nationwide through any resources he could think of. In 2003 he posted a query on the internet pleading for any information he could get about his dad. It wasn't until late January, 2006, on the opposite side of the country---Oregon---that my daughter-in-law randomly entered her father-in-law's name into a search at msn.com. ONE LINK popped up as a result of that name search. You guessed it...it was Dale's query. My daughter-in-law wrote to Dale offering information about his father if he'd reply to her.

The search was over! Dale got the letter in the mail and now it was time to get acquainted! With nerves shaking, voice quivering and sons eagerly standing by in anticipation of discovery, upon receiving that letter, Dale called her and had a long visit with her husband, my step-son, and Dale's new-found nephew. My step-son called us late that night with the news of this discovery, and my husband picked up the phone at 11 pm that wonderful February night. Upon hearing the southern greeting, he said "Is this Dale xxx? This is Larry Jamison, your brother!"

What a miracle. After 52 years of wondering if he had brothers or sisters, and wondering what his father was like, Dale had finally connected with his next-older brother. We passed the news on to the oldest brother, who also made contact with Dale shortly thereafter. Since I do genealogy research, I prepared a very large book on Dale's ancestors and sent it to him, in addition to the many mementos we shared with Dale from his father's life. In September, 2006 we all flew to South Carolina and met our new family member in person. I've included a photo of that first meeting.

Dale hasn't had time to come to Colorado yet to visit us in our home, but 2 months ago he and his 2 sons joined us in Utah to visit his oldest brother and meet all the members of that extended family.

I call my blog "Grace and Glory" because God's grace abounds in our lives, as evidenced in stories like this. Glory be to God for extending his help to all of us in uniting this family after all these 52 years! It's by the Grace of God that we enjoy such special blessings. Dale, indeed, feels blessed and we couldn't ask for a better brother and more terrific nephews than we found far away in South Carolina!