Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mystery Photo Sunday.... Freeborn County, MN.... ?

Mystery Photo Sunday
I have such a large photo archive... of both relative & nonrelative photos... that I've decided to do a weekly spotlight of one the 'mystery photos' in my possession.

This photo was included in an album from the Twin Lakes, Freeborn County, Minnesota area....
Most were members of the Nelson - Grinolds family..... I'd love to know who this is and how they might connect to the family!
Thanks for looking... and stop back next week if you'd like another Mystery Photo... mystery...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Maintaining Family Relationships... Or To Do Better...

Years ago, I did better at maintaining familial relationships – whether via snail mail letters, phone calls, email, or actual person to person visits – it seems then I was much closer to ‘family’ than in recent years. I can’t pinpoint exactly what happened that caused my drift… Business of life, I guess.
When plotting my “New Year’s Resolutions” a few months back – family members [living, breathing] were one of my priorities – great in theory, but apparently harder in reality.
I was reminded of the importance of maintaining relationships with extended family, just a couple of weeks ago, at the funeral of a “cousin” – this relative was a lovely lady – 80 years young – who I’d been in contact with many years ago – in my early research days – and we’d cross paths fairly often at family events [funerals usually] & have a chat.  We only lived 20 miles apart and when we first met, she was about 60 years old… and I guess I thought she’d be around forever…. So it was with some sadness that I attended her funeral… and listened to wonderful stories of her and her life… and felt a sense of disappointment that I didn’t better nurture a relationship with her and her family.
As a ‘younger genealogist’ there are many more members in my ‘older generation’ than in the families of many other genealogists. In fact, there are still ‘relatives’ around from the generation of my Great-Grandparents— though these numbers are quickly waning.
With today’s technology and the age of the “internet weekend warrior genealogists” – I think it’s easy to let these relationships languish or never truly develop them in the first place – as so much research is now done without the older family members it once required — and in today’s busy world it is even more of a challenge!
Visit last month with my favorite Great-Aunt, age 89 years!
Now that Summer is into full swing and the year is already half over, I have created a list of family members to visit! It is easy to put off these visits [some I’ve put off for years!]… and it’s not like it is really a chore… these are people I care about and enjoy… it is just a matter of coordinating schedules and a little planning!
It is important to me… and I’m looking forward to it! I don’t want to be sitting at another funeral feeling regret over a relationship I let languish. 

What about you? Do you have relatives you have been meaning to visit? I encourage you to do that… in fact I challenge you to prioritize some of the family visits as well!

Don’t put it off… you’ll be happy you didn’t!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cemeteries... Some of my Favorite Places...

From the time I was a young child, I had a fascination with cemeteries. I would ride my bike just outside of town to a nearby cemetery, just to wander about the headstones… reading names and dates…. and pondering what their lives were like. I never found them scary or my interest peculiar in any way.

It was on one of my little cemetery jaunts that I stumbled across a small headstone for a baby girl with my Mother’s maiden name. At this point I was 12 years old… and intrigued as to who this baby was… I didn’t recognize her parents as any relatives I’d ever heard of…. Later I would visit the local museum, which I knew had newspaper archives, and asked a volunteer to help me find out who this baby was!

A quick search of an old newspaper located a small burial announcement for this stillborn baby… who ended up being the daughter of my Grandfather’s cousin…. That was
my first taste of genealogy! And I’ve been hooked on it ever since!

Even today, I have a love of cemeteries… and frequently visit them. As a huge supporter of the wonderful site, I ‘ve entered in 1,000’s of burials and taken just as many photographs. I’ve photographed five entire cemeteries and large portions of three others.

It is a wonderful way for burial records and headstone photographs to be forever maintained! Unfortunately, we have all seen the news stories about vandals destroying old grave markers and other tragic events that threaten our old burial grounds.

If you are not a person who utilizes Findagrave, you must visit the site! You may find long lost ancestors (I’ve found countless there!) or living breathing cousins (I’ve found those too!)… And when you come to appreciate this great site, you might even become a member…. And enter in your own family and volunteer to photograph graves in your local area.

It is important that we protect and honor the final resting places of our fore bearers! I encourage everyone to get involved and protect these pieces of history! Besides continuing my work with Findagrave, I hope to find a local organization that is involved with cemetery preservation or restoration!  Do any of you know of any such organization?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mystery Photo- Mankato or New Richland, MN

Mystery Photo
I have such a large photo archive... of both relative & nonrelative photos... that I've decided to do a weekly spotlight of one of the 'mystery photos' in my possession.

This unidentified wedding couple was photographed in
Mankato, Minnesota

While their identities are unknown, it is likely that they are related to the Hoelz or Luff families who lived near New Richland

Saturday, July 6, 2013

McLeod County, MN Research Resources

As a genealogist from Minnesota, I take great pride in the many resources our state has in place to aide researchers! Many, like the death index, are very well known, but many many others are not.

So I've decided to spotlight a few of the lesser known greats here, in hopes that I can connect someone with a tool they can use! Since Saturdays are good days to do genealogy (at least for us working folks), I decided to post these links then.

McLeod County, Minnesota

There aren't as many online resources for McLeod County, as I'd hoped there might be....
It does appear that the Historical Society has a large archive that is open to the public...
Check out their website--
McLeod County Historical Society
Information on their holdings & research can be found here

And there are a few archived records here at the old UsGenWeb page, that I'm sure hasn't been updated in some time... but there are a few obits and other records here, worth a quick looksee if you have a connection

Unfortunately, McLeod County doesn't have as many online resources as other counties do... but these two sites might offer something... And if you know of any other helpful resource for this area, please post it below!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Philia (or Sophia) Beach... Who Were You?

Philia (or Sophia) Beach was born circa 1806, possibly in Connecticut. She was married on 27 July 1825, to James I. Pierce, in Middletown, CT. James is the son of John Pierce & Abigail Stow, who were old New England stock of well researched family lines.
Philia Beach Pierce
Moodus Cemetery
In their early married years, it appears they lived in the Hebron (Tolland Co).... as that is where some of their children are said to have been born... I can't find them in any census records until 1850, when they are living in Colchester (New London Co) with their family.
By 1870 they were living in Moodus (Middlesex Co), and James died in 1877. Philia continue to live on until she died in 1885. 

So far, I haven't been able to find anything on her past the 1870 census, and then her buial in the Moodus Cemetery.
According to an obituary for Philia's daughter, there were 6 daughters & 2 sons in the family.... The childen I know of include: Ellen Barber, Phila Pierce, Lucy Lathrop, Eliza Maine, Mary Bullock, Timothy C., and two other children... possibly Charles & Marion... but I am not sure.
Who was Philia/Sophia Beach?
Like many female ancestors in my pedigree, I have little to no information on her. After researching a number of New England Beach Families, I've been unable to find her anywhere. Some ancestry trees show her the daughter of Thaddeus Beach, but it appears that Philia died as a young girl.... So she can't be the Philia Beach who married James I. Pierce, and therefore my Philia Beach can not be the daughter of Thaddus, like some incorrect trees proclaim.  It is also tricky, because sometimes she is listed as Sophia and other times as Philia or Philia S.  I'm not sure if the Philia is a nickname of sorts for Sophia?  One more piece to the puzzle.
I'd love to find some descendants of Philia and anyone with knowledge of the Beach family... I'd love to get this new branch growing!