TLBoehm on Family Tree Circles
Journals and Posts
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.
Mahala Bowman Keeley
Quite by accident I stumbled across this amazing geneology buff named Jeannie who responded to a query I had posted the Hughes message board at rootsweb.com. Over the past two days the inundation of information has made my head spin. Now it is more than a possibility that the woman in the picture is my great great great grandmother. I'm still waiting for subsequent information although the census data is strongly supportive of the connection. My paternal Great Grandpa Tracy Hughes married Florence Keeley, daughter of John Keeley. Johns parents were quite possibly Francis and Mahala (my grandfather was William Francis - and my son is Eric Francis so Francis may be more of a Family name than I thought)
Apparently Mahala Bowman Keeley was part of the Sandusky OH Senecas. I never would have imagined that I possibly had Native American bloodlines - I guess it makes me 1/32nd Seneca. (smirk) Pretty crazy, huh. I'm not totally for sure for sure yet, but it is a possibility. I am hoping to connect with a party on ancestry who has more extensive information on Francis Keeley and Mahala Bowman. We'll see what happens.
footnote 08/13/12 - Mahala is in fact my 3rd great grandmother.
I've been working on my family's geneology for a couple of months now, searching amongst the bandwidth for snippets of random verification of my lineage. My spawn calls it "cataloguing the dead'. The TPB's (testosterone producing bipeds) in my home have little to no interest in the 1700+ names I've thus far accumulated. For me, I find it fascinating - this commonality in individuality I see - how connected we really are, how resilient we were just a few generations back, and every once in awhile theres a quantum quirk in the matrix - a moment of clarity pierces the veil and I see something amazing in the mundane. Or perhaps I just get a bit silly staring at the PC for hours. Who knows?
It happened yesterday after a dear soul with an Ancestry.com account flooded my aol inbox with five different censuses plotting out the Hughes branch of my family tree. There it was: a couple of sequential names ("Lorenzo") and an affiliation to the freemasons. BOOYAH. And she's off.....Perhaps my affinity to our former pet iguana goes beyond mere stewardship of God's creatures. You see, I may be a Lizard. It would explain so much in my family to accept the fact that we are connected to those Martian reptilian immigrants who are responsible for the murder of JFK and who killed Princess Diana as a sacrifice. And it would also go far in explaining the wattled neck I've sprouted in the past few years. Now if I could just manifest a whip like tail and serrated teeth.
And that's how my brain processes information!
A few years ago I read portions of a book by David Icke detailing how we are in fact controlled by shapeshifting lizards from Mars. The house of Windsor, most high ranking government officials including several former presidents, and the freemasons: all reptilian. The sheer volume of data this man has amassed is compelling - its absurdity notwithstanding - he's done significant research on mythologies and the mindsets of us plebeans. Truthfully though, I can't be a lizard. I'm not in any position of influencing or controlling others -so while my family has tantalizing connections - I'm just a food source like the rest of you.
Seriously, I did find the fact that "Lorenzo" was a shared name, and that both bearers also were freemasons - but my wattle is simply evidence of my aging human skin and nothing more. I do suggest - if you're fascinated by conspiracy theories (or if you just want to shake your head in disbelief) check out David Icke. He has a website www.davidicke.com
As for my family - our greatest claim to fame thus far - besides my husband's marital connection to Frank Tussy Russell (the manager of the first female to survive going over Niagra Falls in a barrel) has been in the form of land purchases and homesteading information. One of the Lorenzo's is a Lorenzo Secord. Easily googled, btw.
So my daydreams of jewel toned scaly skin and formidable claws must concede to the ordinary dirt and sweat that eventually produced me (and the bulk of humanity) for the moment I'm content. I'm going to rest on the comment of a friend who told me to take the mundane and turn it to gold...and that is what I will attempt to do. ( wish I could find that original comment so I could thank the commentor appropriately...the comment meant so much and I don't remember who said it....sigh)
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....
Halfway through another coma inducing week and I realized, I haven't blogged recently. Which partially explains the sludge pooling behind my retinas - nothing like a backed up brain to make a chick ornery.
And so here I am considering the complexities of life as I know it - wondering why higher consciousness is tauted as the next best thing to opposing digits? Wouldn't it be simpler if all my desires were to be scratched behind one furry ear and slid a bowl of kibble once daily - rather than this madness to BE something more than the sum parts of my ample parts prone to decay?
You see, I've had this pet project curdling in my cranium now for several years, but haven't expressed the whey from the solids due to inumerable issues like the concept of only 24 hours in a day and technology that leaves me seizing on the floor and retching into my shoes if it requires more than the simple "plug and play." On a whim I recently plugged in my scanner and viola...it surged to life without so much as one tiny error message...and the thoughts commenced to bubblin.
So I started down the rodent hole on a day trip called "Family Geneology" I thought it would be entertaining to fill out a family tree and amalgamate the multiple "family histories" I have in various stages of completion in drawers, and desks - and build something beautiful, perhaps for my spawn - all on line of course. So I joined a few "search" sites - mostly free ones but also Archives (which is very reasonable) and I set out on my epic discovery. (Besides, I need a diversion from my own wretched egofeeding TLBoehm fiasco) I dug out the Strand History circa 1970 something - the Hughes notes from a dear Auntie - and the dog earred collection of family data for the Pearce descendents - and proceded to set up a free site. Quite by accident I also found a beautifully written account of part of the Boehm Family. (I read parts of it and actually cried. it was impressive and eloquently penned) So I put up the parental units and started working backwards. And then I hit it - the proverbial wall constructed to deter grave robbers like me. Her name is Barb...she's my mom. It was a simple request, really. "Hey Mom, hows it goin' can ya tell me why Grandpa Lindquist s parent's aren't listed anywhere and who is the Southwell family and why is there a McNiel mother - with the Southwells, but Grandpa is an L and there's no parents for McNiel? OOPS....Apparently, Nellie Southwell, Grandpa's dear mother - maiden name McNiel and a brother produced Grandpa...and that's why mom was born with birth defects. and who am I to do harm to my mom by bringing this up? OK. The entire family is deceased - Grandpa, Grandma - mom's sister - all gone except for two adult cousins, Mom and me. WHO IS GOING TO CARE?
And so I called my mom again today - encouraging her that she has a story to tell about who she is, how she's overcome her "disabilities" to live this rich life....and no one else will tell her story if she doesn't. There's no one left. She tells me she will send dates and names of family. My mom is a creative type. She at times embellishes in areas where I beleive the simple truth is much more relevent. That being said, I know I will want to confirm the validity of her information.
Which brings me to this. I did find the Southwells on the 1930 census - so I know they existed. But here's the real rub - good, bad, whoremonger, or indifferent - I ache at the thought that a life has been reduced to a line of handwriting on a yellowed paper....what a waste. I want to know this woman who loved to lock her granddaughter in the outhouse, who shacked up with an amish blacksmith, who managed to garner a surname for a first son....there's a story there too....and I am a writer...right?
That's just one side of the family. I have pictures and anecdotal material to start on...once I get it fleshed out - I'll go to the families and see if they will share....and then open the thing up...Its actually fun...I'm addictive enough that I MUST reveal Nellie - she is my obsession of the moment.
Peace. If you're interested in geneology, I've stumbled upon some great sites. I may blog about it at some point....right now - its a break from traditional writing...
Why? Because it HURTS! Seriously, though even I of the land of spreadsheets and reconciliations cannot be serious all the time. Even I must find respite, recreation and time to allow my brain to cool lest it overheat and become extra crispy.
And so Ive been dipping the brain pain in that cryogenic brew known as my genealogy diversion or as my family dubs it cataloguing the deceased. Some people play Sudoku. I plot family groups. At least Im not out spending my hard earned dollars on Jimmy Choos. I digress.
For those of you who know me and admit it - you also are aware that my aforementioned hobby is just that. A hobby. I have no vendettas, no motives and I am usually motivated to ferret out the dusty leavins of a family simply because of the rich history lesson I acquire when I google that deceased persons name, country or timeline of existence. I have learned that the hours spent carefully sifting through the familial bones will turn up familial treasure of the type I savor.
Case in point. For the past few days Ive been flipping between the Hudspeth/Watson families in the 1600 to 1300, and the Daviss and the Hughes lines which are now back to the 800 and earlier. Ive been on the trail of some ancient Viking types when suddenly my little brain was blown away. There it was on multiple sites, multiple reputable sources historical evidence that dovetails with my Ancestry DNA test and my theory about berserker blood. Yup. Odin is my grandpa. Thor is my uncle. Really Really.
Now before you assume that Ive taken a hard hit to my noggin whilst plummeting from said genealogical tree, I shall pummel you with theory and evidence. Whilst my Nordic, pillagin peeps would barrel roll in their earthen burial mounds to consider it, it appears that Odin was actually a real person. Many of the ancient texts, mythologies etc speak of Odins people coming from what is now Turkey (the place, not the poultry I know what youre thinking.) and that Odin in fact died. It is a common cultural practice to deify a cultures earliest rulers and this is apparently what happened with Odin. So as I attempted to prove or disprove the theory I found both the mythological ancestry of Odin going back to the elemental Alfadur the substance of life, and the theoretical ancestry based on oral history and genetic evidence that indicates Odin was possibly wait for it a Hun. (one moment please. My mind just got blown again)Central Asia Roots of Scandinavia - skim down to around page five if youre a skimmer. This is just one of the articles I found.
I find this information fascinating for multiple reasons. Ive always been enthralled by mythologies and specifically Norse mythology since I was a child. Not because I believed it as a religion but because I and my ancestors are story tellers. We love fiction. We love to spin a tale. And I have learned over the past decade or so that the best stories are based on a truth. So when studying mythology as it relates to the actual history of a family or a civilization I start looking for that center point of truth. And the truth is what makes the story fascinating.
For those of you who do not know I mentioned an Ancestry DNA test which plotted my genetic ethnicity as 69% British Isle, 17% Scandinavian, 7% Finnish/Volga/Ural and 7%, Persian, Turkish, Caucasus. To stumble upon both mythology and history that matches scientific data oh. There goes my mind again.
I caveat all this of course with the admonition that genealogical study the farther back you travel in time will become speculative. While I can look at my berserker tendencies, and my pale skin as the culmination of thousands of years of genetic programming I still have that thing called a frontal lobe. I still have free will. Its not about the acquisition of knowledge that one can then use as an excuse for poor behavior that drives me. Oh. I cant help losing my temper and throttling my offspring. Its in my DNA to do so. Nope. This kid is no victim. Its all about what you DO with the knowledge. Knowledge is a slave master. Wisdom frees a soul.
So at the end of the day when I come home to brawling kinsmen and all the bjorr is gone, I have a choice. I can summon the residual sludge of my possible Hunnic tribesman and go berserker on my family or I can exercise my free will given me by a benevolent Creator and thank God that I am not a victim but a victor. Of course, hulking out with a hammer swinging over my head while shouting Im Thor! might go a long way in encouraging said brawling kinsmen to cease and go procure me more bjorr. Tam Odinsdatter of the Huns. Has a certain ring to it. Perhaps as a pen name?
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.
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 1920s 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 Harolds 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 Strands 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 Veblens 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.
Yup. I'll take Diana Spencer for the win. I mapped out the connection a few weeks ago. Some peeps chit chat over a Mcsomething. I scrounge familial entrails for digestable leavin's.
So Princess Diana is a cousin. My tenth cousin once removed via my paternal Hughes/Secord line. Yes, its a distant tie but still an interesting rabbit hole. Unfortunately, rather than do a happy dance on my desk I feel a bit sad about it all. There are those odd moments whilst sifting through dry archival data that I am suddenly reminded of the life that churned up the dust through which I shuffle. In Diana Spencer's specific case, it brought memories of High School spilling from my cortex like so much floodwater breaching the levy. For a moment I was 16 again, fixated by the fairy tale fluff of a royal wedding. The next moment I was 32, baby on my lap, mourning with the world at the passing of a princess. So often in the harsh moments we are reminded that we are adult and mortal. It makes me ache a bit.
Perhaps its the hardwiring of my specific feminine gender that causes me to make the jump from lamenting over the sad cessation of a famous distant cousin to the lesser celebrated but equally relevant relatives closer to the trunk of my sprawling tree. Perhaps I am not alone in my occassional starstruck moments because in these moments we garner at least a perfunctory nod from those family and friends who usually relegate our genealogical diversions to the same pile as bright blue eye shadow and bellbottom jeans. (she's cataloguing the deceased now, but it will pass. Eventually she'll run out of bodies) Yet amongst the rulers and ruffians there are real stories of real people who lived and breathed and dreamed in anonymity. I find these souls just as satisfying to "rediscover" as I do a more recognisable name. And if I am afforded a glimpse into his or her life - the ache is just as palpable as I felt that day in 1997 when I watched Princess Di's funeral on TV. We all have a story.....
So I posted this blog about granpa Rollo recently and I decided to copy it to a free site I know of called Family Tree Circles. (free is always good) and wonder of wonders - I get a response from a gentleman who tells me that his wife is studying Rollo, but she doesn't have an account. (excuse me, does this smell like chloroform to you?) So I respond politely and I get an email from this wonderful lady living in Cheshire, England who has traced her family to ROLLO AND BEYOND. What I did not know and am now geeking out about is that Rollo was not only my grandpa - but he was a grandfather to William the Conquerer. (that's a genealogical checkmate right there) She was very sweet in her manner of telling me that my family descends from a "legitimate" relationships while hers branches down from an extramarital liaison. Imagine - my dad's ruffians "legitimate" - har har.
Anyway - I'm thinking that loads of peeps - if your peeps hollaback to the UK or Northern France are probably related to Wm simply because - if you can find recordkeeping going back that far - it means the family had the means to keep records.
Not to slur my ethncity or anything but sometimes I wonder about the average white folk and their dismissal of "culture and history" I think I would have paid better attention in history class if there had been a personal investment in it instead of the doggerel they forcefeed our young 'uns. Seems like a lot of my paler toned peeps are cultural transients who keep little to no knowledge of who they were in preference for who they wish to become. Not sure why that is. For me, knowing who I was makes who I is more valid.
I also don't get the whole search and destroy mindset. It is a perpetual sore spot that one half of my research on my husband's clan is thwarted by the simple fact that the powers that be decided to toast the churches and destroy records...so any researchers hitting that barrier in Prussia/Poland/Germany - thanks so much, Adolph. You were a peach. (watch it. Ten years from now I'll discover that I'm related to Adolph...)
Anyway, gotta love the interwebs. Connectivity is power and the next Adolph - won't be able to find ALL the ones and ohs...if we aren't crisped by a CME or popped off the planet by a rogue asteroid - somebody somewhere will retain the information....
A special thank you to Family Tree Circles for the William the Conqueror connection. What an awesome find!