Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Otto and Minnie Dork

Otto Carl Dork 1869-1949
Wilhelmina (Kopkau) Doerk 1871-1915

Some people may chuckle when walking or driving by this monument and think, "Gosh, that's an unfortunate name." I wander by and think, "Hello, great-great-grandparents."

Otto was born in the village of Charlottenwerder, in West Prussia. Wilhelmina, or "Minnie", was born in the neighboring village of Peterkau. They both died in Lansing, Ingham, Michigan and are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Lansing.
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Naperville Cemetery

Last week during my dowsing adventure in Naperville (Illinois) Cemetery, I stopped to photograph some of the interesting gravestones located there.

Naper family, some of the original settlers

William Brown, Blackhawk War veteran

an interesting cenotaph

a beautiful and simple tablet

the end!

© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wanna Go Dowsing?

(Author's note: reposted for editing)

Last Wednesday evening was perfect for a genealogy field trip. The Fountaindale (Bolingbrook, Illinois) Public Library Genealogy Club met at historic Naperville Cemetery for a little history, a little headstone bingo, and a little grave dowsing.

Dowsing, you say?

Dowsing (witching? divining?) is an old custom meant to locate objects in the earth using metal or wooden rods. Supposedly, anomalies in the surface layers can be detected by the actions the rods take over the earth. But whether you're finding water, oil, or a long-lost burial location - or anything - is open to interpretation.

We met in the oldest part of the cemetery where there are suspected burials because of the unmarked spaces. I made rods out of straightened hangers, and pen caps were added at the handles to let the rods "float".  I gave my rods a try, and boy, if they didn't start spinning over the graves! Am I a believer? Maybe or maybe not, but it sure was fun.

That's me - what a pro!

© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dad, Jack. 
He gave me my work ethic, my stoicism, and my great sense of navigation. 
Enjoy your retirement years!
circa 1940

Happy Father's Day to my husband, Jim. 
He gave me two great kids!
circa two weeks ago
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Stone Carvings at the Sag

Here are some of the more interesting (I think!) gravestone photos from my recent excursion to the St. James at Sag Bridge cemetery, in Lemont, Cook, Illinois.

This is one of my favorites because of how the crack looks like a tree - appropriate!
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Surname Saturday - I Am A Dork (Really!)

One of my maternal lines is Dork - really. My great grandmother Lucy who, as a kid, I always thought was Lucille but is really Louise, was born Louise Wilhelmina Dork in Lansing, Ingham, Michigan in 1895. She is of full German descent, and more specifically, from a tiny village in Kreis Rosenberg in the eastern edge of West Prussia. It took me a long, long time to pinpoint her family, but it became a wonderful case study in my personal genealogy lessons.

Lucy's father, Otto Carl Dork, came to Michigan as a child in 1882 with his mother, grandmother, and siblings on the ship Braunschweig (see, really German!). They settled immediately in central Lansing, among many other Prussian families.

The surname itself has many iterations, which I suspect vary due to spelling and pronunciation differences from the German language. I've seen:
  • Dork
  • Doerk
  • Dorke
  • Derk
  • Durk
I tend to stick with "Doerk" in my database, only because that seems to be the most encompassing spelling. My intuition is that it was spelled D-o-e-r-k and pronounced "Derk" but in America with the "o" first, just became "Dork".

Of course "Dork" has an unlikable connotation in today's society. My own children are at least vaguely familiar with their backgrounds and know that there is a Dork lineage. I tell them that if anyone ever calls you a dork, you can reply, "Yes I am"!
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - The Tree and The Rosary

This dramatic gravestone photograph was from my recent outing to St. James at Sag Bridge cemetery. The stone is an intricately carved tree trunk that is amazingly lifelike. A recent visitor hung a green beaded rosary on one of the branches. When I walked around the stone, the cross was glinting in the bright sun. It was a photo opportunity not to pass up.

Mary A.
wife of
Joseph Brown
Born Apr 20, 1832
Died Dec 9, 1872
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Friday, June 1, 2012

St. James at Sag Bridge

Oh, did I go traipsing around a cemetery I have long wanted to visit!

St. James at Sag Bridge in Lemont, Cook County, Illinois, is one of the oldest religious congregations in Illinois. This file is a wonderful history of the parish, founded in 1833, if you want to read more information. And with any old cemetery come the stories of hauntings, if you are so inclined.

Anyway, back to the adventure. I took over 100 photos, because the property was so engaging. Today's post is general photos of the church, cemetery, and grounds.

More to come...
© 2012 Sally Knudsen