Wednesday, 31 August 2016

BlackProGen LIVE: New Segments Coming in 2017!

Follow your Dreams!

This is Sophie Regula Gubelmann. She was my great-great-grandmother. I know so very little about her. She was born in Switzerland and was married young to my great-great-grandfather Carl Stange who was 16 years her major. I was told she had reddish hair. I think I inherited the form of her hands. That’s pretty much all I know.

I once dreamed of her. I met her in the store in Stralsund that she ran after her husband’s early death. She wore a black dress as widows did, with a lot of underskirts. She walked up to me and told me to continue my search and not to give up. I awoke and wondered what this was all about. But it had felt very real.

The following week, I went to Stralsund to find out more. I went through the church records of St. Nicolai at the parish office, looked at the death records and found my great-great-grandfather’s cause of death and his place of burial in 1899. The next step was to find his youngest daughter Antonie’s confirmation record from around 1890. These records were kept at the church itself and the clerk was kind enough to go there with me and let me have a look. I stood in the sacristy, opened the book of confirmations on page 172 in the year 1893 and immediately saw a surname that sounded familiar. The record stated that this child named Sophie Charlotte Stange was the daughter of Carl Stange, born in 1879. But I had never heard of this girl before. I went back to the other records again and found her death at the age of 20 of consumption. And in fact she had been Carl and Sophie Stange’s daughter and my great-grandfather’s youngest sister. Only that no one had ever talked about her. I asked my mother, aunts and uncles, no one had ever heard of her. I called my grandfather’s cousin who had done research in this part of the family and could even remember her grandmother and her great-aunt Antonie. But she had never heard about this child either. 

She sent me a picture of two girls whom she had considered to be the oldest daughter Maria and the youngest Antonie. But as Maria had been 9 years older than Antonie and handicapped after a fall, it simply was more likely that these two girls actually were Antonie and Charlotte.

I still am puzzled by the fact that this child never was mentioned. I am sure that this was rather normal in those days, even though the child was certainly was loved and missed. But one person did not forget her and made sure that we started to talk about her again. And that was her mother Sophie Regula Stange, née Gubelmann, born in Switzerland, married young, with reddish hair.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Being The Bridge.

I have considered this before back in 2014, but due to circumstances of age, losing loved ones, and time, it has come to the forefront of my mind again.  My mom and her twin sister who are the last of their core family of 13 children are nearing 90 and in ill health.

My mother on the left. 
My mother had been the bridge for years in her family reaching out to her nieces and nephews as well as siblings. Now she can't communicate because of health; this caused me to look around and realize that a fractionated family would soon to lose all connection if intervention didn't happen. My first cousins, I was not so much worried about, but the future generations, yes, that concerned me.
Part of the awareness was, I had been pulling my father's family back together reaching back to descendants of my great great great grandfather because they had all lost contact up to the present generation. I started with one cousin and built upon that.
One of the ways I have taken action,was to begin by making private family groups on Facebook and adding the cousins to the family group as I found and collected them.  By sharing pictures and stories, I have been able to reach down to 3rd and 4th cousins that have felt the call to learn of their origins. Below is examples of my journey. I have shared before, but I am sharing it again in the hopes to see others find inspiration to reach out and be the bridge to hold their families together.
When I first began my genealogy blog Branching Out Through The Years, my purpose was to preserve the memories of my husband known on the blog as "The Hero"for our grandchildren.  He really wanted to know them and wanted them to know him.  His choice was taken from him by cancer.
The Hero and I with oldest daughter's first son.

After that, I decided to write the stories of my associations with my relatives, aunts, uncles, grandparents for my children and grandchildren because for the most part they never met or really knew any of them.  This grew to posts about ancestors I wanted to know about and sharing findings with those who were also interested.
Old letters scrapbooked are loved by future generation seeking to know about an individual
When I started on my mother-in-law's family, it was very exciting for her.  She shared her personal stories.  Many times I sat on the floor at her feet and wrote down as she told me.  My sister-in-law also had her write down her personal history so now we have it in her writing.  There is something special about seeing their story in their handwriting as opposed to a transcription or memory by someone else.

Every time I find a book, story, document about an ancestor, I will connect it to the FamilySearch Family Tree , which is a collaborative effort, as a source for others and myself to go back and read to learn more about that ancestor. Their stories make them real, not just a name.
I have used my blog and memes to writing some of my stories. I know, if you don't tell the stories, they are lost and if you find a story you need to share. I can't tell you how many times I look at at family name and wish I knew something of their story.  I have envy that I have to fuss at myself about, when others talk about their family journals.  My dad's family was closed mouth, and now I am recreating their stories.
A great grandfather and one of his sons belonged to the Anti Horse Thief Association. At least they weren't horse thieves. 
There has been research and studies done that shows how sharing your family history and stories shores up your family members when they have challenges, or even national trauma. It is called The Stories That Bind Us.
 I ask you to join in saving the stories for future generations, Be the catalyst in your extended families for sharing, caring, and reaching out to pull cousins together.

as a footnote: I apologize for missing a couple of months. I have an excuse, we had our first core family reunion, first time some of the family had met new members, and first time some had seen each other in 8 years. It was an awesome happening... The other excuse was my mother was sick. Hope that things are back on an even keel again and I will see you next month. Blessings wished for all ya'all from Texas, United States of America.