TLBoehm on Family Tree Circles
Journals and Posts
The earliest information collected by William Dryden Boehm is of the parents of Max Friedrich. Friedrich Wilhelm Bohm and Wilhelmina Wollenberg. Friedrich Wilhelm was a brick mason by trade who probably moved to Gross Ottlau to work at the brick foundry sometime before 1850. Although no recorded date has been discovered, Friedrich Wilhelm was killed when a brick wall he was constructing fell over and crushed him.
F Wilhelm's son Max was born in 1851 and twin daughters Melwine and Hermine followed in 1854. Max met his future wife Elenora Nowark, daughter of Karl Nowark and Eva Janke, in Reisenberg. Max often spoke of beautiful lake Sorgen See (now lake Dzierzgon) to his children and grandchildren. Elenore spoke of visiting Marienwerder (now Kwydzyn Poland) as a young girl. She lived as an exchange student on a farm for several weeks. In 1873 at age 21 Max and Eleanore left Marienwerder Prussia and emigrated to the United States to escape the military draft. Along with Elenore's sister Louise, Max and his fiance left Germany from Bremen on the sailing vessel, Marco Polo. While en route to Baltimore the ship was forced off course to the Canary Islands by a major storm. The ship was resupplied and attempted the Atlantic crossing again. The entire voyage took a total of three months. They arrived in Baltimore, MD March 3, 1873 and were married the following April.
Max and Eleanor settled in Bay City Michigan where Max found work as a laborer in the lumber mills, eventually becoming a foreman at S McLean and Co. They attended Immanuel Lutheran church and had eight children. Eleanora died of pleurisy in 1897 at the age of 46. Three years after her death, Max married Wilhelmina Natzke who became an integral part of the Boehm childrens' lives, raising them as her own. Max died from spinal menengitis at age sixty. Only a year later, Minnie passed away.
I hate to quote a Lady Gaga song but, Baby I was born this way.....
YUP. The craggy visage set in stone uplaoded with this blog just may be my 31st great grandfather. Meet Rollo the Viking. Like me, Rollo didn't start off a happy little daisy chuckin' grampa. See Below:
born c. 860 — died c. 932) Scandinavian rover who founded the duchy of Normandy. After raiding Scotland, England, Flanders, and France on pirating expeditions, he took lands along the Seine River as his base (c. 911). He battled Charles II of France, who gave him, in return for Rollo's promise to stop pillaging, the part of Neustria that came to be called Normandy.
His kiddies in succession were Richard(s) I, II and III - Dukes of Normandy. Admittedly, the connection is a bit suspect - Supposedly Helena le Bon is the daughter of Richard II or Richard III but its conjecture - there is no historical written proof that I see. Helena married the oldest Hughes I can trace on my tree: Hubert Huse (1025-1066)
It would go far in explaining certain aspects of my personality - my adoration for anything Viking (starting in my early teens) my pagan overtones, that thing about dragons I have - and even my own boss calling me a Viking - and saying that I have a penchant for "hunt it down, kill it, clean up the mess and make something out of the hide" It would justify my salivation for "Beowulf" and my soft spot for Grendel. And it cracks me up to tell my family who are SURE they're of Welsh descent - that they're in fact pillagin' piratin' Viking stock. UFF DA! It would also validate the appearance in every generation I see of massive, fair to auburn haired, furry cretan males. My first born for example is about 6' 3" - 240 lbs - dark blonde with a read beard - blue eyed and can plough through anything in his path.
I can't help it. I find it humorous. It makes a chick chuckle. And finding a Rollo on my family tree is one of the things that keeps me going when the going gets full of dry census information and pictures of headstones.
Its monday already and I've been going at the speed of light since about 5:00. A second night with no sleep thanks to intermittent "rovalerts" (I'ma kill that dog) and an aging bipedal male making man noises all night...sigh.
I've been fighting with my limited schedule, trying to carve out time to get my 3500 dead people catalogued without going down the "you may be related to" rabbit trails that keep popping up with wild abandon on One Great Family.com So far the Hughes line shows: Abe Lincoln (unconfirmed) Daniel Boone (confirmed) Chaucer (under investigation) Louis the VIII or IX (yea right) King Herod the Great (whoops!) and Salome...and a bunch of others. Of course this is only applicable if my Hughes dad is my dad...and everyone seems to think he is except for my mom, my step dad and the spare mind in my mind....doubt is a snarling cat on the back porch
For those of you who've done any Bible studies - you may remember that Salome was the girl who danced for King Herod the Great and Herod was so enamoured - he granted her the head of John the Baptist on a charger plate - for her mom. Not the kind of relations a Christian wants....sigh. But there had to be a Vlad the impaler in the mix somewhere, right.
Funny, how genealogy software works....I'm back fourteen generations on my moms maternal clan, and my dad's maternal clan and there's nothing. But take those crazy Hughes's back 8 generations - and wow. A genealogical Mardi Gras....My uneducated theory is this. If you can tie back to a pilgrim or a political figure - you'll hit pay dirt, otherwise, not so much.
I did find a Knight - A Denne I believe, on my mom's side from the 1400's. Supposedly the family has its origins from the court of William the Conqueror. I'd like to actually see that mapped out. (I'm anal like that)
And finally, the clock is ticking. nanowrimo is only a few weeks away and I have that percolating novel....I'm planning to break from the dead zone and write my arse off for a spell.
PS. As of August of 2012 - Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Boone are both confirmed relatives of the Hughes family. I am not able to prove the connection to Chaucer and believe this to be "wishful thinking" which happens with sprawling on line family trees.
Here we go on a random brain purge. You know, I was rambling about the bandwidth recently when I engaged in a an exhange with a friend that got me thinking about my own personal condition. (Oh Good Lord, here it comes...yes. Its inevitable) For the purpose of this post, I am going to blur the lines between "culture" and "ethnicity" for ease of communication. In my specific line of thought - they are conjoined twins. I've lived in New Mexico since February of 1979, and while I've assimilated to the rich Hispanic culture (I can make posole from scratch, I cuss in Spanglish, I WILL bump a track at intersections...) but at the end of the day, when I look in the mirror - I don't see a doe eyed, sunkissed chica. I'm white to the bone. And unfortunately, sometimes that makes me the village idiot instead of the adopted daughter. This is not my original "home" and many can smell the white on me like I can smell the prechewed food on a cattle hauler.
Truth is, I'm a cultural transient, a parasite I suppose. While doing research on my family I've found most of them were sturdy Cornish and Scandinavian types who immigrated to Michigan and the Dakotas to work the copper mines or till the red soil. They left little of themselves for me to pass down, just scant notes on backs of family tree sheets and a few pages of "memoirs" I've scrounged from throwaway collections of curling, moldy, photos. My grandparents didn't share stories of "their" parents and my own parents were so consumed with other things - even the cordial week vacation visit to the grandparents ceased when we moved to the high desert. You see, my mom was born with congenital birth defects right after her dad came back from WWII, and he refused to accept her as his blood child. From that point on, my grandparents slept in seperate rooms, and my mom, shortly before her 18th birthday, took the first opportunity to leave her parents. She never looked back. My dad, his parents divorced, when he was young, did the same thing.
While I was growing up, they never shared with me that secret recipe for melt in your mouth rosette cookies (after my great grandma's death I learned they were her favorite cookie, she said they were the most beautiful cookie she'd ever seen) or the ingredients to a Cornish pasty that will stay with you the entire day...no music, no words (they learned English and forbade their 1st generation offspring to speak Norwegian) nothing but the physical indicators of my heritage. This pale, freckled skin and reddish hair, the clown shaped pale eyes - so foreign out here in the land where families have settled and stayed for a dozen generations.
Perhaps my ancestors were simply a "practical people" not given over to emotions, and traditions and legacies. They survived with little and left behind even less. Those of us with recessive right brain tendencies were consigned to the dark side if we remained uncompliant. Stuffing our dreams by beating our children, or self medicating with liquor, or morphine..."Uff da. We don't talk about dos types, donchano?" But all that genetic sludge puts me at ethnic ground zero with no personal identity and no method to simply melt into the blur of my current adopted culture.
I know that some Norskies kept their culture. I've found evidence of two ancestors' membership in something called a "bygdelag" - (they still exist) I know that the church where many of my ancestors were baptized not only stands but is one an active church in Norway. In their determination to become "American" they abandoned all of who they were. (The ancestor is TK Axness)
So when I stroll Old Town plaza at Christmas and I see the little girls dancing flamenco, and I hear the mariachi's, and I smell the biscochito's, and chile, and I hear the church bells, and I hear the lilt of a language that is not my own, I ache a little. What I would give to have that fullness of identity. To know where I've come from, where I'm going, and what progress I've made along the way. To know that I'm part of that beauty I see around me...wow. I want family. I want heritage. I want to belong...
And so this year at Christmas, along with the tamales at my table, I'm going to find some cookie irons and try my luck at rosettes. I'll probably end up with scorched concrete in my deep fryer, but its worth the risk. Anything to cover that bovine perfume that makes me forever uncomfortable in my own skin
The picture is of Mary Secord and George Hughes (my great great grandparents on my Dad's side) Mary was full Irish and George was Welsh.
Today I am 45 years old. I woke up at five to my husband sopping up fresh cat urine from our bed. After an hour and a half of tossing and turning between the comforter and the scratchy mattress liner, I hauled out for a shower. Unfortunately, the husband had just started the washer...We talked about his plans for the day while I waited for the spin cycle to cease and I showered while he prepared the usual corned beef and omelette breakfast that generates two sinks full of dirty dishes. After breakfast he discovered that he had purchased the wrong brake shoes for his "other woman" - and went into town with Bigspawn. It's 6:00pm now...The steaks are still in the fridge. Spawn is thumping around in his room and El Hefe and Bigspawn are peering under the "other woman's" white hood. Hmpfh. I'm washing towels, pouring through internet sites and old papers and working on my second Hefeweisen. I had a bowl of cottage cheese for dinner.....lovely. And they wonder why there is a sadness that lingers in my soul...the residual haze of my ordinary DNA....
I've got 168 names up on Archives.com now. I've traced my Norwegian paternal roots all the way back to Norde Aurdal, Oppland, and Slidre - Valdres Norway. circa 1665. As for my mother's side - we go back supposedly to the House of Osborne - which migrated to Kent England with William the Conqueror in 1066. The actual names stop though in the late 1700's in Cornwall. It is unfathomable the number of John Goodwins residing in England in the 1800's who are parents to a daughter named Mary....Its so much easier to trace an Ingebret Odegaard than a Mary Goodwin...or worse - on my hub's side there will be the inevitable Smiths and Blacks...sigh.
Its a pleasant diversion - this foray into geneology. I'm not expecting to find anyone famous - in fact, the simple truth at times is amazing enough...The family of Christine Axness - twelve children - three of whom died almost immediately....so many young men between 1941 and 1945 serving overseas...I am the amalgamation of copper washers, miners, farmers and homesteaders....quiet lives lived simply...lived close to the bone.
I won't be sad. I am an adult, and beyond that I am formidable. But sometimes....a bit of sparkle - an adrenalin rush of joy - would be so nice.....so nice....
Being the singularly focused creature that I am, I'm still tackling the collected dead. I'm up to the T's now which means I'm on the home stretch. (pause for happy dance) and once the various names are migrated, I can jaunt down those rabbit holes for which I salivate. Whilst nosing about the bones yesterday - I made a whoppin' accidental discovery: my dad and my step grandpa have a common ancestor. For me, that means the clan that disowned me and all the other odd Hughes's after my dear Grandma Carol died (the dirt is that Carol's first husband, grandpa Hughes was a monster and she divorced him and married Grandpa Bliss and lived happily everafter....therefore, once gone, the Hughes's got a royal family flush.) are actually blood relations! (nya ha!) Wait till I tell 'em THAT!
The second way cool thing is a "toy" on my research site (onegreatfamily.com) called a relationship calculator. Its basically a list of famous relations and if you hit a happy little button, the squirrels plot your tree for you. Just for grins I've found the following family ties:
Using my firstborn for ease of calculation - but all these come from my side of the family and not the Boehm side:
Fred and Princess Diana Spencer: 10th cousins twice removed. I've actually plotted this one out
Fred and Ralph Waldo Emerson: 13th cousins twice removed. Haven't proven this
Fred and Stephen King: 13th cousins (that explains a lot)Have not proven this.
Fred and Walt Disney: 16th cousins (this also explains a lot, unfortunately Fred HATES Disney go figure. Have not proven this
and last but not least and definitely not expected
Fred and Muhammed Ali: 16th cousins (no kidding?) Have not proven this
Supposedly we share DNA with Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, Attila the Hun (Have traced this back, possibly true) several statesmen and presidents, Charlemagne (also possibly true for more than one family line) and a bunch of other weirdos. The problem with the squirrels is that they go forward from a common ancestor quite nicely but they don't run backwards. I spent hours last night trying to find Shakespeare in the lineage and I don't even LIKE Shakespeare. I do have the lineage for Chaucer printed out but haven't proven it yet)
Supposedly we are related to Jessie James - which also means there's a connection somewhere to Ozzy Osborne (snort) but I'm not even going to look for that. I do however have an Osborne bloodline going back to the 1400's in Cornwall England. (did that one all by myself, thank you very much) My brick walls happen with my Prussian ancestors though. It seems that there is a black hole around the mid 1800's and anyone coming to the US from Prussia - must have spontaneously spawned with no parental information. That effectively shuts down the Boehms and Pfundts for my hubby's lineage, and one side on my mom's lineage. But still. In only 8 months - I have all this junk...in my family trunk.
Then there's that whole theory by David Icke that the House of Windsor and several of the presidential families are Martian Lizards.....I'm telling you....dragon DNA baby.
All joking aside, what humbles me are the connections to writers. Since I, my aunt, my grandpa and one of my children are all storytellers and poets...well. It gives me a warm fuzzy....Doesn't mean any thing to the outside world....but in my sappy heart, it makes me feel part of something bigger than my desk job. And it will be fun to put this on the website for my relatives. Thats the main thing.
So this little thought has been rolling around my brain pan for about a week now and what better way to expel it than post a rabid blog about it?
Before I spill it - I'm going to remind you of who I am behind the happy virtual canvas. As far as I know I am of white mostly northern European descent (Cornwall, Normandy, Scandinavia) with evidence of ties to the houses of Burgundy,Capet and Plantagenet both via paternal and maternal DNA. It is possible that my great great grandmother was Seneca Native American - but for the rest of the pack of braying donkeys - they're all a bunch of pale devils.
Since both my parents share common ancestry - I've been studying that ancestry where it intersects and have found what cosmetically would puff up a chick to be uniquely disturbing once the "Titles" are dismissed and the behaviors are revealed. I certainly don't want to detract from the hard work of any family genealogist/historian who's amassed a thousand years of "identity" but I am not one to romanticize constant land disputes, murders, kidnapping, selling and marrying off women for property exchanges and the unbridled use of "the church" for personal gain. And that behavior is exactly what the early feudal Barons that sparkle in my happy tree did. It is fascinating study - but these aren't people to be elevated and admired. Many were absolute monsters displaying evidence of severe depression, rage issues, violence etc. And yet, these are the people who perpetuate our "cultural norms" today. For me - if I know who we were, I understand why we are who we are now and what steps I may need to take to become who I need to be.
I'd probably stop my tangent right there if I weren't in the middle of attempting to develop a Humanities curriculum for a sophomore. It just went off in me while looking at "Historical Time lines" and what is normally presented as "World History" at the High School Level that the focus is incredibly skewed - feeding up into this Greco/Roman then European and finally American advance of civilization. And here is where it gets incendiary: What kind of message is this sending? Doesn't this only serve to promote the bias of "white or European entitlement?" Seriously? If I'm white and I see this do we even need to wonder why some kids bristle when presented with the same information? Hear my heart. I'm not ashamed of the color of my skin - but skin comes in LOTS of colors and western civilization is not the only example of how humanity has grown over time. Yup - you should study the history of the area in which you live as in I took American History because I am an American. But if I am going to teach my child about the whole human world - its not going to be a white-centric lesson. That would do him a disservice.
Its fine to study Greco/Roman and European History but it isn't the only example of culture and perhaps it shouldn't be the hub on the wheel. I know I only got a part of the story when I was in public school. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure my own spawn is more rounded than I was.
There is a phrase someone told me that keeps it in perspective. A friend of mine is Fijian. He told us once when discussing missionary efforts in Fiji - "my people used to eat your people" Such a fine line between being served and being "served" - capiche?
Peace. I'm still looking for Ghengis Khan in my tree. I am. At this point it would make me feel better. I encourage those of you who are hundreds of years back in your studies to refrain from just collecting names and dates and really dig into the reality of who your ancestors were, what they did and what life was like for them on a daily level. The information can be amazing, humbling and at times a little brutal.
During my building of the “Strand” branch of the family tree, I noticed that several of my relatives resided in specific areas: North Aurdal, Slidre, and Valdres Norway. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a comprehensive book self published in the 1920’s by A Veblen that detailed not only Valdres Norway but an entire movement that at least two of my ancestors were active participants. Valdris is equivalent to a county in Southern Norway, occupying approximately 2100 square miles or about 3 percent of the country and is geographically south of the Trondhjem Fjord. Valdris is flanked on the northeast by Gudbrandsdal and South east by Aurdal, also listed as areas occupied by my ancestors. Within this area lies the Strand Fjord (after which I assume certain members of my family took their surname) The region is punctuated by fjords, lakes and the cataracts of the Begna river. The small dairy farming communities nestled amongst the granite faced mountains and alpine valleys are organized around church congregations.
The earliest recorded history of the Valdres region is intertwined with the saga of Harold the Fair haired. As a minor chieftain he became enamored with Gyda, daughter of king Erik of Hordaland who was betrothed to a bonde (farmer) of Valdres. Her refusal of his courtship prompted Harold to conquer most of the petty chieftains of Norway and thus win Gyda several years later. At the time of Harold’s unification of Norway, the population was primarily pagan, conversion to Christianity not occurring intil the rule of Olaf the Great in 1023.
It is my assumption that most of my ancestors were converted to Protestantism during the reformation, and may have worshipped in the ancient “stavkirkers” or stave churches which themselves are unique to Norway. These structures are comprised of upright pillars and girders with hewn plank walls or “staves” The churches have sharply pitched roofs often decorated with dragons heads. The doors were framed with intricate scrollwork inclusive of the dragon motif.
While it was not mentioned in Oline Strand’s family history, I found evidence that two of my ancestors were part of the Bygdelag Movement – or a societal organization formed by immigrants dedicated to the preservation of ancestral memories and publishing historical and biographical information about regional immigrants. The word Bygdelag itself translates to mean settlement, or neighborhood and society or a society of people from the same “neighborhood” in Norway. Our ancestors, JK Axness, and TK Axness are recorded in Veblen’s The Valdris Book as members of the Valdris Samband 143. For any person of Norwegian descent, I recommend this publication as the list of members included is quite comprehensive. The book in its entirety can be found via google search on line.
The Valdres Samband is the oldest bygdelag in America and is still in operation today.
Anyway. Its become painfully obvious to me that if I am ever going to write anything of note, I'm just going to have to sit down and write. I know. Weeahhh. Enter Captain Obvious. But its really not that simple. You see, The brain only supports one addiction at a time. I am a bit of a savant at my core. I can become INCREDIBLY AWESOME at one thing - at the detriment of just about everything else. Lately its been genealogy. Probably since May of 2010. And I've learned some really cool things. Did you know that if you are of English descent - 25% of you will be able to trace your lineage back to William the Conqueror? Pretty cool huh. NO? Yeah. That's the kind of response I get from MY ENTIRE REAL LIFE. Thanks.
Right now I am rooting around in the 1100 to 800 time span in the Capetian Dynasty (self absorbed brutish inbred vermin) WHY. WHY. WHY am I connected to them. WHY. Actually - its "otherdaddys" fam but that means that a few weeks ago when I said I lost my dual Rollo connection - I can now say - its back.
So again. Two men, one of whom is my biological father from a dot on the map both descend from one ornery Viking. I think its cool. I'm geeking out about it.
The daddy who raised me and who I believe is my biodad hails from dissident Quaker stock with such sparklies as Boone, Lincoln and I just found out yesterday Washington (G's my cuzin, homes!) The other guy my mom keeps tossing up at me like so much confetti on New Year's Eve is descended from Mayflower stock (the Brewster family) and his lineage is peppered with Knights Templar, feuding warrior Barons and the Capet tribe - most of whom should have been boiled in oil - seriously - marrying princesses for land and money and then trying to get the PTB's to annul because a sister is too FAT? Bedding your wife who is TWELVE? NICE.
You see Mom's paramour, George is the 20th great grand son of John Lackland Plantagenet. (or as Disney so lovingly depicted him as Prince John, a cowardly thumbsucking lion. - way to go)
Yes, Tam spends too much time on the thin branches of the family tree...swinging by her digits.
Anyway. I'm going to spend some time tomorrow determining my course of action that will bring me back into writing. I think taking the family back a thousand years is probably far enough and I weary of turning up toads like John and most of the Capets. (You like the French Louises....you can have them. Sigh.) Peace.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was very cool. Its her kids that were such mutants. Peace.
So my latest diversion is keeping me from pummeling several key people in my life. An obssession is a powerful thing....sigh. Unfortunately, those little obssessive monsters we think we can control sometimes rear up in the most vicious fashion and sink their fangs into our unsuspecting, soft underparts.
I decided to "check out" Ancestry.com on solid reference (and the mere fact that evey search engine on the planet stops there...) and at first it was wonderful. Multiple family lines right there in a single mouse click (FEEL THE POWER!) and that's when it happened. My other neurotic tendencies started vieing for attention. I understand that the LDS organisation has exhaustive genealogical evidence - and while my protestant Christian POV does not always dovetail with the reasoning behind the research - (and I'm simply not going "there" today) one cannot ignore the MASSIVE amount of data the LDS church has accumulated and made available to the common peep like me. And so, I became suspicious of the crawler mechanism that was enabling me to add so many names to my tree....how does it know? How can it be true? How can I validate it? After spending three months accumulating 1800 names the hard way - here I am with 800 names in a week...hmm.
Smith wasn't far off....Humans....they're like a virus...spreading geometrically...and I feel the strong urge to unplug from the Matrix.
The issue is, I'm anal. I want to prove the data. I want to control it. And its popping up on my pristine tree like spring leaves. I suppose I am suffering from information overload.
If you can get census data, land purchase data and birth,marriage,death records all stating the same name at the same time - I have a level of comfort. Individual family trees are a bit more suspect in my humble eyes - although surname to surname - one would think the hobbyist researcher would pay closer attention to his own bloodlines. As for me, "Stepfamilies" are common and often more known than the blood family, so I'm following a few of them too. (all the way back to the 1600's?)
And so, in the midst of things like an office move, a truck with an antifreeze leak, schools that won't call back (and registration is next week, same days as the office move) a brand new chair that won't assemble (the screw holes are not aligned on the back of the chair. Nice.) and "family" in town - obsessing about ancient deceased relatives is the preferred diversion. Its just easier to curse the little green "leaves" (if you put a name on your family tree - and Ancestry has any other information on that name - a green leaf icon pops up beside the persons name. its very cute.) on my ancestry page than it is to deal with the reality of all the "opportunities" in my day.