Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Amsy in the Field

This gravestone is in memory of Amsy, about who little is known. The small obelisk stands about three feet tall. The name is still legible but the dates and other information has nearly weathered away. It is located on the very edge of the oldest portion of Seward Mound Cemetery. Only a simple barbed-wire-and-post fence separates it from the neighboring farm.

Seward Mound is a small (less then 1,000 burials) township cemetery. It is a rectangle property marked by pine trees at the corners and lying within farmland. It is in rural Kendall County, Illinois.

Photographically, I find this picture interestingly composed. The gravestone is pictured correctly up and down, but it is actually tilting. The background of the farm field has the illusion of sloping down to the left. It almost makes me dizzy looking at it!
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Family Milestone

Happy 50th Anniversary

to my lovely parents, Jack and Jo Ann!

Their actual anniversary and celebration was yesterday, August 25th. My sister-in-law coordinated a lovely open house for family, friends and neighbors. We chatted a lot, ate a lot, and took lots of pictures! 
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - On A Ledge(r)

These traditional ledger stones or slabs cover the graves of a branch of the Gooding family of Lockport  and Homer Township, Will County, Illinois. The progenitor, William Gooding, came to Homer about 1834 and was famous for being the Chief Engineer of the I & M Canal.

One of William's sons was William Augustus Gooding. These ledger stones mark the graves of William Augustus Gooding, his first wife, Delia Louisa Rumsey, and their young son, William Rumsey Gooding. They lie side by side in Lockport City Cemetery.

© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Saturday, August 18, 2012

How Many Ancestors?

I read with interest the current genealogy meme on various blogs: learning, for better or worse, how many actual documented ancestors a person has located. It is a sobering way to either celebrate who you have found, or wallow in pity about who you haven't!

So here is my ancestor analysis:

I have been searching, both pre-internet and with internet, for about 20 years. My total for 10 generations is just about 16%. That's pretty good by my calculations!

For a little fun, I tossed in a column showing how many photos of ancestors I have. Three percent is not bad, especially considering photography only reaches back to the early-to-mid 1800's.

Like most Americans, I have a very blended ancestry. My biggest portions are German (Prussian, Polish, and German) and Irish (some who migrated to Scotland and England), and there's a nice string of French-Canadian. The biggest problems are those New Englanders - finding pre-Revolution sources has caused me much grief.

By analyzing the raw numbers, I am amazed by the amount of data I have for my European roots. At the 9th generation point, also known as great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents, I have documentation for 29 of my possible 256 ancestors. These are primarily people born the early 1700's.

  • 12 ancestors are French-Canadian
  • 3 ancestors are from a Massachusetts family
  • 2 ancestors are from a New York family
  • 6 ancestors are German
  • 6 ancestors are West Prussian / Polish

Clearly, the wealth of records kept by churches and communities in Europe have given me a great insight into my overall ancestral picture. The best part is I know there is more data out there, but I have just not had the time to look...yet.

And you New Englanders, watch out because some day I WILL find you!
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Friday, August 17, 2012

Gardening DNA

I keep a small vegetable garden in my exurban backyard. I have had some sort of garden almost every year of my adult life. I'm not sure why I started. Some years, it's harder to get started than others. Weather is always an issue. The past two summers have been extremely hot, so I found some vegetables loved the heat and others wilted. If a plant grows, great! If not, I'll try something else.

I appreciate being able to run out to the garden, pick a few tomatoes, peppers, or cucumbers and eat them with dinner. I've also learned to pickle my banana peppers, make refrigerator dill pickles, and whip up a pretty mean salsa! But we are by no means dependent upon the garden.

Last weekend after a big harvest, I spent time pickling and salsa-ing. And I thought, this is enjoyable but I sure couldn't do this all the time.

So I'd like to take a moment to send a big "thank you" to all my ancestors that DID have to work the land and gardens and fruit trees to feed their families. The farm wives had to pick and plant and harvest and churn and salt and store and do all the other tasks necessary to keep their family fed.

Thank you for the work you did then. And thank you for sending a little gardening DNA along to me.
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Woodmen of the World

I had heard about "Woodmen of the World" gravestone symbols, but had never seen one in person...until this summer. This simple marker bears the Woodmen engraving.

Frank Shaw worked as a carpenter, according to the 1900 census of Channahon Township, Will County, Illinois. He was only 44 when he died at a Chicago hospital. He is buried in Willard Grove Cemetery near Channahon.
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Will County Poor Farm

newly-dedicated mosaic depicting the Will County Poor Farm
Joliet, Will County, Illinois

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Worthy in Wood

This tombstone is full of mystery. I photographed it one sunny day while wandering through Willard Grove Cemetery in western Will County, Illinois. My initial reaction was, "it's brown". On closer inspection, I believe it is also wood. And painted many times. And over 100 years old. Is that possible?

It has a nice rolling scroll carved on each side. It is set on a stone base. But no other marker around it looks the same.

born July 6, 1875
died July 16, 1876

It certainly seems like wood to me. What do you think? 
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Kopkau Sisters

Wilhelmina Kopkau Dork (left)
Elizabeth Louise Kopkau Erbe (center)
Helena Kopkau Evert (right)

Lansing, Ingham, Michigan circa 1905