Sunday, January 31, 2010

Still Finding Nuggets in my Cousins Mining Operation

This is my great-grandmother Emma Cornelia Strait Becker. She was born in 1867 and passed away at age 53, in 1920. I obviously never knew her and until I started researching my family's history 10 years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about her. I still don't know a lot about her, except that I've grown to love her. As I've studied her family and more facts about her life, I've come to really love her. I love to say her name: Emma Cornelia. 

In my last post on this blog, I wrote about my good fortune in connecting on Facebook with more than 30 cousins in the past week, all descendants of Emma and her husband Joe Becker. As I was getting acquainted yesterday through messages on Facebook, one of my cousins named Robyn mentioned that her sister was given, by another cousin, "those 2 big old portraits that used to hang on my Grandma Flanders's bedroom wall". She said the cousin who forwarded them on to her sister said she "didn't want those old people staring at her anymore!" 

I had the opportunity to visit at my Grandma and Grandpa Flanders's house relatively few times in my early childhood, but I have a very strong memory of seeing two large oval portraits adorn the bedroom wall. The kind of portraits that had the oval glass covering the pictures. At the time I had no idea, nor any interest in, who they were. I was young and felt very distanced from the family. As I got into my genealogy work, another dear, generous cousin shared a lot of documents with me, among which I found the above copied photograph of Great-Grandma Emma Becker. I won't ever own the portraits of which I write, but I think it's possible that I may get a photograph of them if I pursue my request with the cousin who holds them.

Also in my Facebook visit with Robyn yesterday, I learned that Robyn has a very large, framed, document hanging on her wall that is the marriage certificate of my grandparents, Milo and Nannie Becker Flanders, whose wedding portrait is shown below in my previous post. I've requested a photograph of that precious document too from my cousin Robyn.

I've had very good 'fortune' in my latest "mining" adventure of finding cousins on Facebook. I'll let you know what other "nuggets" I uncover.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mining My Cousins on Facebook

This is the wedding portrait of my maternal grandparents, Milo and Nannie Becker Flanders who were married April 18, 1906 in my hometown, Great Bend, Kansas. At the time of their marriage Nannie was 18 and Milo was 22 years old. This is a list of their children:
  1. Ethel was born in 1908 and married in 1925
  2. Cleo was born in 1912 and married in 1933
  3. An infant son was born in 1914 and died a week later
  4. Pearl was born in 1916
  5. Albert was born in 1918
  6. Mervin was born in 1921
  7. my mother, Ruby, was born in 1925. 
Pictured above back row left to right: Cleo, Mervin and Albert. In front left to right are Ethel, Ruby and Pearl.

I included the marriage year for Ethel and Cleo because in my life it was significant. Ethel was married when my mother was 2 months old and Cleo was married when my mother was 8 years old. Their children were closer in age to my mom than the kids of her other siblings. My Uncle Cleo moved to other parts of the state as his children were growing up and I didn't have much opportunity to meet them or be around them.
When I was a toddler my mother and father divorced and my mother moved to another town in Kansas, remarried and had another family. Since we lived with our dad, my twin brother and I visited Mom frequently as children, but more infrequently as teens and young adults. For that reason, we had many cousins with whom we never became acquainted. Uncle Cleo's oldest 2 daughters fall into that category. I'd heard of Marlene and "Ginger" but don't recall ever meeting them. Over the last 10 years as I've developed such a consuming interest in our family history, I've tried to find and contact my cousin Virginia (whom I knew as "Ginger"). I got a listing of her children and husband's name from my Uncle Mervin, but had limited ways to contact them, other than just a cold phone call. I'm not much of a telephone caller so I hadn't done that yet. Earlier this week I printed a descendant list from my genealogy database on RootsMagic and sat down to Facebook and started searching for names of cousins. I found Virginia's surname and entered her children's first names. When the first one came up, I searched that individual's friend list and found other names that were on my descendant list. I knew then that I had the right cousin. I sent a request to be my Facebook friend, explaining that I was a cousin and how we were related. Within 2 days I was connected to probably 10 of my cousins in that family. The bonus is that I've received emails now from some and some have shared their photos on Facebook. I've even viewed a picture of my cousin Virginia with her great-grandchildren. The connection has only begun. Over time, I'll contact Virginia and get better acquainted with her children and grandchildren. All of this has been possible with just a click of the mouse, a few minutes of my time and absolutely no expense!
In addition to finding descendants of my Uncle Cleo, I re-connected with cousins who are descendants of my Aunt Ethel and have been able to become friends of their children, her great-grandchildren. Seeing the photos is such a benefit of connecting on Facebook, as well as chatting and just saying a quick "hi".
In the photo above are my grandmother and most of her siblings. From left to right are Mabel Becker Lillich, Esta Becker Batchman, Lew Becker, Edna Becker Smith, Bert Becker and my grandma, Nannie Becker Flanders. These brothers and sisters were very close and felt much love for each other. They visited one another as often as possible and spoke lovingly of each other. Notice that they're holdings hands and have arms wrapped around each other.
Over the past 10 years I've been very blessed to connect with descendants of Esta and Edna and have been well supplied with genealogy information on their families. Only during my "Mining for Cousins" on Facebook this week was I able to connect finally with descendants of (Grand) Uncle Lew. He has a LOT of descendants too! I've found and become Facebook friends with more than 15 of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the last few days.  
I was delighted yesterday to share messages with another cousin who is the granddaughter of my Uncle Albert. This is a screen shot of her Facebook wall after meeting me:
She added that she thinks I'm a "genealogy fanatic", which she finds "awesome"! I'm so flattered by that! Thank you, Riki! Her comment reveals how grateful she is, too, that we've discovered each other and can fill in gaps in our families stories and share photos that are so treasured.

Now today I'm able to be in contact with 30 more cousins than I was a week ago, thanks to this wonderful new social media available to us all for free. My "mining" has only begun. I look forward to getting better acquainted with many of them and am hopeful that I can gather more family photos, personal stories, and make my genealogy database more complete and current now that I am connected. Perhaps some of us can actually become FRIENDS and not just Facebook "friends".
My Grandma Flanders and my mother, Ruby Craine would be very happy for me! I'm happy for me!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Revisiting an Ancestor's Monument

On Saturdays I eagerly await Thomas MacEntee's posting at of any new genealogy blogs that have recently been launched. Today he introduced us to a blog by Jules Maas called "Aspire, Persevere and Indulge Not".
I like the blog! The posting of January 6, shown in the screen shot above, offers a 7 minute video advertising the PBS Special "Faces of America" by Henry Louis Gates, Jr, to be shown Wednesdays, Feb 10 – Mar 3, 2010 from 8-9pm ET. I recommend that you check out this blog, watch the video, and make a note to watch the upcoming PBS special!

As I scrolled down the page to see older posts by Jules, I saw these photos:

Jules found these photos at the "Sons and Daughters of the First Settlers of Newbury, Massachusetts" site.  Included in this list of first settlers of Newbury, MA is the name Richard Bartlet, left column, 6th name down. Richard Bartlet is my 8th great grandfather. My descendancy from Richard Bartlet is as follows:

Richard Bartlett (1648-1724) + Hannah Emery (1654-1705
Daniel Bartlett (1682-1756) + Abigail Moulton (1606- )
Daniel Bartlett (1705-1786) + Alice Sargent
Stephen Bartlett (1750-1823) + Elizabeth Barnard (1754-1818)
Joseph Bartlett (1779-1868) + Abiah Cheney (1786-1851)
Elizabeth Bartlett ((1811- Bef. 1850) + Arva Phelps (1797- Aft 1870)
Elizabeth Ann Phelps (1828-1913) + Jesse Gordon Flanders (1813-1871)
Lewis C. Flanders (1849-1918) + Sarah Jane McMillan
Milo Flanders (1883-1965) + Nannie Becker (1887-1962)
Ruby Nadine Flanders (1925-1990) + Ernest Ludwig Margheim (1921 -   )
Mary Rebecca Margheim (ME)

I'm so thankful that Thomas MacEntee brings these new blogs to our attention so we can read, follow and support them. And if we get lucky, we also find some of our own family information on them as well!

Happy 101 Award from Karen at Ancestor Soup

Karen, at Ancestor Soup, surprised me this morning as she left a comment on my previous post about my Grandma Margheim's chocolate cake recipe. In her comment, she revealed that she was awarding me the "Happy 101" award.

It's my turn to say "Thank you, Karen!" and to carry out the responsibilities that come with this award, namely (1) list 10 things that make me happy and (2) list 10 blogs to whom I want to pass on this award.

This is the easy part: 10 Things That Make Me Happy
1. Time spent with my son Matt and his family, wife Lucja and daughters Kindall, Taylor and Alyssa
2. Quiet evenings at home with my dear husband, Jamie
3. Good conversations with my dad, Ernie Margheim
4. Free time from work when I can spend doing my family history research
5. Quiet hours early in a day when I can read a good book or magazine article, while my brain and eyes are fresh
6. Emails from friends and family members that really say something and are not just "forwards"
7. Snail mail that brings me genealogy information, like vital records or connections with relatives
8. Glorious Sundays in Church when I really feel the presence of the Holy Spirit
9. Warm blankets at bedtime in the winter
10. Noodles like my Grandma used to make.

While it's hard to limit this to only 10, I want to present this award to the following bloggers because I enjoy their blogs, follow them regularly, and they take the time to share their comments on my blogs:
Heritage Happens
Blanton Family Roots and Branches
Claudia's Thoughts
A Year of Happy
Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay
Genealogy and Me
Beyond the Diapers and Spills
Stories of My Ancestors

I encourage everyone to visit, read, follow, and support these wonderful bloggers. Leave your comments if you have any thoughts after reading a story. Your comments are what let us know you've stopped by and that our stories have touched you in some way.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Grandma's Handwritten Chocolate Cake Recipe

Last month my dad gave me my mother's recipe box that was crammed full of recipe cards and newspaper clippings of 'Favorite Recipes' from "The Hutchinson News" (Hutchinson, Kansas). Only a few of her recipes were the original handwritten pages she collected over the years.

Of all the recipes I reviewed in this little tin, dark olive-drab box, the one I treasure most is the one shown above. It's in the handwriting of her mother-in-law, my paternal grandmother, Mollie Koleber Margheim. When my twin brother and I were 2 and 3 years old, we lived with Grandma Mollie. My Grandma baked a lot and of course everything was made from scratch. Her recipes weren't written, they were handed down the generations. Her measurements were approximate, in most cases. I remember one time she was explaining the ingredients she used to make her homemade German-style noodles and I recorded how many "cups" of flour she used. But in watching her mix the dough, I realized her "cups" were large coffee mugs!

You'll see in the recipe above, for Chocolate Cake, the quantities of the ingredients are exact, but the mixing directions are quite "vague". "Cream butter, add sugar, yolks of eggs beaten lightly, sour milk, hot water (how much?), flour, soda and chocolate and whites of eggs beaten until stiff. BAKE IN SLOW OVEN".

Don't ya love it? No baking time, temperature, testing for doneness, cooling instructions, or directions for greasing/flouring a pan, size of you see in the recipes today. Until I try out this recipe, I won't know if the "cups" are standard 8 oz. cups or large coffee mug-size cups.

On this first day of a new year, I wanted to post this recipe and story about my Grandma because, even though she passed away in 1986, she's with me every day, in my thoughts, memories and in my heart. Happy New Year, Grandma!