to Journey to the Past, I'm Brenda (Glover) Leyndyke and I believe researching your family history is a fascinating journey.

German Letters: A Key to the Past

29 January 2016

Katherine is guest blogging on German translation today.  Thank you, Katherine.  Please see Katherine's bio at the end of the post.  I do not have any relation to Katherine or her ancestors.  I found her story interesting and thought my readers would too.  

As a translator of old German handwritten documents, I spend many days reading the personal correspondence between family members living in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I often wonder what these people would think if they knew that, 200 years into the future, a woman in America was reading their private hopes and dreams they had written to their mother, to their son, to their best friend. However, I like to believe that these writers wouldn’t mind, as this translation of their letters allows their great-great-great grandchildren to get an idea of what their ancestors were like all those years ago: how their minds worked, what their worries were, what they hoped for and so on. It allows the memory of these individuals to live on throughout the ages, and I think all people like the idea of that. 

I recently got to spend some time translating a few letters from my own ancestors, written on the back of photographs sent from Germany to America in the early 20th century. These letters were written by a woman named Adolphine (b.1843) to her sons who had moved to the Midwest in 1887. While one of these sons, Fritz, is my great-great grandfather, I never knew much about his mother until I began working with these pictures. Through Adolphine’s letters, the rather serious older woman in the photographs comes to life as a whimsical and loving little lady. One such letter, on the back of a picture of Adolphine with her youngest son Erick, can be seen below: 

My dear Fritz, Here comes your little old mother with Erick and his family to wish you a happy birthday! May you, my dear Fritz, always spend this day in health with your loved ones and may God’s blessings be with you, dear boy, in this new year of life! I thought it would make you all happy if my 80-year-old self came to you “in person”!  Warmest greetings to you and all my love, your mother and grand- and great-grandmother!

Without this sweet little note, I may have imagined Adolphine to be a somber, rigid 19th-century woman. However, through her happy words to her son, as well as her little “in person” joke, I now feel that I have more idea of who she was as a person. While I am sure she would have never imagined that her great-great-great granddaughter would be reading her birthday message in the year 2016, I hope that it would make her happy to know that her descendants are still thinking of her and want to learn about her life. I think that it would. 

Katherine is a German-English genealogy translator who works with old German handwriting in letters, marriage and baptismal certificates, church registers and more. After receiving her Masters degree in German from Bowling Green State University, she moved to Austria to teach English through the Fulbright Program and work as a translator. She now translates German genealogy documents full-time back in the States. Check out her website and blog at sktranslations.com for more information.

Meet My New Genealogy Assistant, Alexa, from Amazon Echo

18 January 2016

I didn't think any gift would be able to top the one my husband got me last year for Christmas, but my son may have outdone him this year.  He got me my own genealogy assistant, Alexa.  Seriously, I have an assistant now.

Meet Alexa! 
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Alexa isn't a person, but it is the next best thing.  I don't have to pay Alexa or report her income. I just speak and Alexa does what I want.  Alexa is the voice activated persona of Amazon Echo.  Amazon Echo has been widely available since June, 2015, but I hadn't heard of it until I unwrapped it Christmas morning. Amazon Echo is a voice activated system with an awesome speaker.

My son knows of my love of music and I am sure that was why he bought it for me. I use it for music and have been re-living my youth by listening to Tommy James and the Shondells, 70's Rock, Eagles, Motown, Neil Diamond, and more.  It is an awesome system for music, but it wasn't long before I was thinking about how I could use it for genealogy.

The first thing I found was podcasts.  Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems Podcast is available via Tune In for Echo.  All I have to do is say:  "Alexa, play Genealogy Gems on Tune In"  and there it is, ready to be listened to as I get dinner, do the dishes, or clean.  The Genealogy Guys, George and Drew, can be found on Tune In as well.

Next, I started using the 'to-do' list feature.  "Alexa, add record Archives of Michigan research to To Do list." and she does.  The shopping list is a neat feature too,  "Alexa, add file folders to shopping list".  She is an awesome assistant.

Alexa can tell me what is on my calendar for the day, she can tell me the weather in Fort Wayne in case, I decide to go to the Genealogy Center, or anywhere else. She can even answer questions, "Alexa, how far is it to Boston Massachusetts?"  She can't tell me how long it takes to get there because she doesn't know how fast I drive, and she tells me that!

One of the things I am looking forward to using Alexa for is when I plan my next research trip. She can tell you where cemeteries and libraries are and even the hours of some.  She can give you names of restaurants as well.

One feature I haven't used yet is Alexa's ability to read to me.  She can read audiobooks from Amazon Kindle.  Imagine working around the house and listening to The Genealogy Do Over Workbook, or  Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques.

Alexa is adding new features, like Jeopardy, all the time and I can't wait to see what she has in store in the future and how I can adapt it to my genealogical world.  Thank you Travis and Alayna for the great genea-gift, even if you didn't know I would use it for genealogy.

Now, if she would only do the dishes!  "Cleaning the dishes is something I can't help with."  I will keep her anyway as she does enough to make me excited to see everything she can do.

What to Do When Life Interrupts Blogging

11 January 2016

December 24, 2015
Bronson Commons, Mattawan, MI
Front:  Bruce and Audrey
Back: Alayna, Grandson Travis, Granddaughter Kirsten, Chase

Sometimes, life gets in the way of time that is spent on blogging.  I have written one blog post since the end of July, 2015.  It isn't that I didn't want to blog, it is that other things have taken priority.

My parents, ages 85 and 90, are still in my life and live about thirty minutes away from me.  I am happy that I am available to help them when they need it.  Their health has had setbacks over the past few months and I find myself helping them as much as I can.  Since September, my parents have had a mini-stroke, four emergency room visits, two (one for each of them) hospital stays, and a three week stay in a rehab center for a broken hip and hand.

Instead of looking at the things I haven't been able to do, I chose to look at the benefits I have received from spending time with them.  First, I have gotten to know my parents in a way that I wouldn't have known before this.  I have seen personality traits in my parents that make me proud.  I have seen my mom's determination to overcome her broken bones.  My mom never gave up.  She broke a bone in her dominant, left, hand.  She learned how to do things for herself with her right hand. She worked hard to learn to walk again after her broken hip.  She is home after three weeks of rehab and with the help of a walker, she is getting better each day.  I hope that I have some of that determination if a health crisis strikes me.

Also, I experienced the love that my parents have for each other.  I saw the emotion in my dad's eyes when he had to spend almost a month without my mom being at home. My dad was having trouble with spinal stenosis at the time and couldn't drive which isolated him even more.  Luckily, my parents raised their children to be caregivers.  My brother, Neil, traveled from Allen, Texas around Thanksgiving to help my parents.  My sister, Nancy, traveled from Spokane, Washington to stay with my dad while my mom was in rehab.  I, for one, was extremely thankful for their visits.  
I have used my time with my parents not only to help them, but to get to know them and their history better.  For example, when my brother was here, my dad was talking about a golf club that he has had for eighty years.  It was the first one he used when he started golfing.  I had no idea he still had it!  He wants his youngest grandson, Lord Stanley, to have it.  I will make sure it gets to him.

My mom decided she would no longer decorate for Christmas like she use to.  I went through her boxes of decorations with her. She kept some to put out each year and wanted me to get rid of the rest.  I couldn't get rid of them without going through them, it was like a trip down memory lane.  I found the tree topper that I remember being on the tree when I was a child.  Many ornaments reminded me of my childhood.  My mother was very good at labeling gifts that were given to her.  I made separate boxes for my siblings of gifts they or their children had given her. My brother-in-law, Scott, picked up four Rubbermaid boxes of decorations to distribute to my siblings.  I am sure they will reminisce as they go through them.

Other time spent with my parents was spent listening.  You never know when a memory or story from their past will surface.  I have heard my mom talk about her Christmas as a child, my dad talk about his war experience, and many other stories that I am trying to write down to save.

I have chosen this time to create memories.  I know my parents won't live forever and I never want to say, "I wish I had asked my mom about..." or I wish I had asked my dad about..."  I plan to use every moment I have getting all those questions answered.  I choose to love and honor my parents' memories by sharing their stories with generations to come.  One day I will return to blogging and just think of the stories I will have to tell because of this time I am honored to share with my parents. I look at these health setbacks as an opportunity not as a struggle.

October is Family History Month!

01 October 2015

The United States celebrates Family History Month in October every year.  It is a wonderful time of the year; summer activities have waned and Fall leads to being able to spend more time inside. Many libraries and societies are participating in Family History Month by offering classes, webinars, events, and more to explore.  It is a time to celebrate our roots.

I plan to celebrate and take advantage of some of the online Family History events and refocus my attention on family history.  Two great Family History Month events are below.  Do you have a favorite Family History Month event?  Please share in the comment section.

1.  Heritage Quest is offering two webinars:  Introduction to Heritage Quest and Heritage Quest-Beyond the Basics.  The following information is courtesy of Library of Michigan.

Introduction to HeritageQuest 
Did you know that HeritageQuest Online is now powered by Ancestry.com? Join us for this course which will cover tips for using HeritageQuest for family history projects, new search pages for the U.S. Federal Census records from 1790-1940, more than 28,000 family and local history books, Revolutionary War and Freedman's Bank collections, and the U.S Serial Set of action of the U.S Congress.    Join a ProQuest Training & Consulting Partner to walk you through all of the exciting features. 

October 13, 2015 @ 9:30 am Eastern

October 22, 2015 @ 3:30 pm Eastern

HeritageQuest: Beyond the Basics

Join a ProQuest Training & Consulting Partner to learn specific search strategies for many of the major collections in HeritageQuest, especially the Census, the Books, the Revolutionary War records and the Freedman’s Bank Records. This 60-minute session is packed with information about each of these collections and tips for searching them. Other collections will be explored if time allows.

Thursday, October 15, 2015 9:30am Eastern

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 3:30pm Eastern

Also, the page you access when visiting this link is our standard registration page.  On the top left side of the page (next to Event Status), you will find the registration link for each webinar.  After registering, participants will receive an email with meeting access information and the meeting password.  Registrants will also receive two additional reminders - one two days before the webinar and one two hours before the webinar.

2.  National Archives and Records Adminstration (NARA) will be offering their National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair, October 20 and 21st.  The following is from the National Archives Event page on their website.

October 20 & 21, starting daily at 10 a.m. EDT
Online at www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

Participate in our biggest genealogy event of the year! During the two days of live Internet broadcasting, learn and ask questions about Federal records as resources for family history research. Speakers include genealogy experts from National Archives facilities across the nation. From beginner to expert, discover new tips and tricks—we have sessions for all skill levels. After the event, recorded sessions and handouts will remain online. Learn more at www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair.

Was Your German Ancestor Recruited to Come to Michigan?

27 July 2015

Did you know that Michigan was the first state to employ Immigration agents? In the early 1800's, the Michigan Territory was having difficulty growing its population. This difficulty was due to a combination of things:

  • difficulty reaching Michigan from the eastern states
  • false reports about character and quality of the land in Michigan
  • Michigan land was not surveyed at the time
  • War of 1812 devastated the area
  • no government land was for sale

The population of the Michigan Territory in 1805 was 4000; 1810 was 4762; 1820 was 8765.  The opening of the Erie Canal contributed to the population swelling to 31,630 people by 1830.  Michigan gained statehood in 1837 and the population boomed to 212, 267 with many migrating from New York and New England areas. The first Michigan constitutional convention was held and controlled by New Yorker's because so many people who were born in New York migrated to Michigan.

Although Michigan was growing as a state with Americans, it wasn't growing with many foreigners. State Senator Edwin M. Cust thought it was time to encourage foreign born people to immigrate to Michigan.  He asked for the establishment of a Foreign Emigration Agency in 1845.  Governor John S. Barry signed the resolution on 24 March 1845.

The resolution allowed the Governor to appoint an agent from the "1st day of April to the 20th day of November" for the purpose of encouraging immigration.  Money could be used from a contingent fund, not to exceed $700, for costs of setting such an agency up. This agency was in New York.

Michigan continued to fund an agency from 1845-1880.  One such agent, Maximilian Allardt, was appointed to open an office in Germany.  Allardt left in August of 1869 to recruit and bring back Germans to work and live in Michigan.

Allardt produced an eight page magazine, "Der Michigan Wegweiser", the Michigan Guide, to sell people on everything Michigan had to offer.  The first issue was published in 1870 and the last issue in 1875.  This magazine was distributed free of charge in Germany, Bohemia, and Hungary.

William L. Jenks wrote an article titled, Michigan Immigration, that was featured in a 1944 Michigan History Magazine.  This article provides an excellent history of the immigration offices and agents.

What does this mean for genealogists?  Records, oh those glorious records!  From 1869-1874 the agents created Governor's Reports, which are available at the Archives of Michigan, in Box 243, Records of the Executive Office.  This record group contains documentation of Allardt's marketing strategy, recruitment materials, and travel plans from his time in Germany.  Passenger lists may be included with some of the reports.

Other records available, by box number, at the Archives of Michigan include:
  • B55 – Emigration Commission
  • 65 –  Famine in Finland, 1903
  • 157 –  Immigration, 1843-1910
  • 179 –  Emigration Commission
  • 243 –  Emigration and Immigration Commission
  • 250 –  Emigration Agent
  • 193 –  Transportation – Steamship companies
  • Flyer re:  “Inducements for Actual Settlers in Michigan” in B55 – F15

John Reisig and John Hemmeter worked with Allardt, even traveling from Europe with the recruits. Tip: If you are having trouble finding your ancestor who immigrated to Michigan at this time, use one of these gentleman's names on the passenger list and then search the passenger list for your ancestor.

I have wondered for some time if my great grandfather, Johann August Fredrich, was recruited to come to Michigan and work in the timber industry in Manistee County.  I didn't know much about how recruitment worked until I attended Ceil Wendt Jensen's "Immigration Agents" presentation at the Abrams Foundation Family History Seminar, in Lansing Michigan.

One of Ceil's slides showed the area of the German Partition of Posen and the villages in the area my Fredrich ancestors came from was there: Bromberg. Ceil gave a wonderful talk, filled with resources for futher research.  Ceil planted the seed in my head and I spent time conducting background research on Immigration Agents.  Was my great grandfather recruited to come to Michigan?  Check back to find out!

Immigration Agents Resources (Courtesy of Ceil Wendt Jensen)
  • Agents of Change by Ceil Wendt Jensen, Ancestry Magazine, Jan-Feb 2010.  Found at Google Books.
  • American Settlers Guide-Found at Google Books.
  • Germans in the Middle West, archived article at JSTOR.
  • “Michigan Immigration” by William Jenks, Michigan History Magazine, vol. 28 (January-March, 1944), p. 67-100.
  • Michigan: seine Vorzuge und Hulfsquellen (Michigan Its Superior Attributes and Resources)(Allardt's Magazine) Ceil found it through World Cat and requested through interlibrary loan.
  • Settling the Great Lakes Frontier: Immigration to Michigan 1837-1924 by C. Warren Vander Hill, Michigan Historical Commission, 1970.
Other German Immigration Resources provided by the Archives of Michigan include:
  • Department of Conservation, Lands Division.  Applications for homestead from the German Christian Agricultural and Benevolent Society, 1867.  RG 60-8, Box 49.
  • Carlson, Harold.  “A distinguished 48’er:  Eduard Dorsch.”  Michigan History Magazine, vol. 19 (1935), p. 425-437; vol. 20 (1936), p. 411-412.
  • Committee of 1930.  The hundredth anniversary of the arrival in Detroit of the organized immigration from Germany, 1830-1930.  Detroit, 1933.
  • Edinger, Dora.  “Christian Esselen:  Citizen of Atlantis.”  Michigan History Magazine, vol. 34 (1950), p. 133-143.
  • Frank, Louis.  German-American pioneers in Wisconsin and Michigan.  Milwaukee, 1971.
  • Graff, George.  The People of Michigan.  Lansing, 1974.  p. 40-46.
  • Kennedy, J. B. “Herman Kiefer.”  Michigan Pioneer Collections, vol. 20 (1915), p. 397-403.
  • Kistler, Mark.  “The German language press in Michigan.”  Michigan History Magazine, vol. 44 (September 1960), p. 303-323.
  • Kistler, Mark.  “The German Theater in Detroit.”  Michigan History Magazine, vol. 47 (1963), p. 289-300.
  • Neidhard, Karl.  “Reise nach Michigan.”  Michigan History Magazine, vol. 35 (1951), p. 32-84.
  • Peano, Shirley.  “Pioneer Germans in Marquette County.”  Harlow’s Wooden Man, vol. 9 no. r (Fall, 1973).
  • Russell, John.  The Germanic Influence in the Making of Michigan.  Detroit, 1972.
  • Suelflow, Roy.  “Lutheran Missionaries in the Saginaw Valley.”  Michigan History Magazine, vol. 51 (Fall, 1967), p. 226-240.
  • Suelflow, Roy.  “The Planting of Lutheranism in Detroit.”  Concordia Historical Quarterly, vol. 39 (July, 1966).
  • Ten Brook, Andrew.  “Our German immigrations.”  Michigan Pioneer Collections, vol. 26 (1894-95), p. 241-255.
  • Zehnder, Herman.  Teach my people the truth.  Frankenmuth, 1970.

Summertime Genealogy in Michigan

24 July 2015

My big genealogical adventure this summer was traveling to Florida to my son's wedding, which was a great trip, but one that I didn't do any research on.  I haven't had time to do any research trips.  I did have the opportunity to attend a seminar, the Abrams Seminar, held in Lansing Michigan in July.

The Abrams Foundation Family History Seminar, hosted by the Archives of Michigan and Michigan Genealogical Council, featuring Michael Lacopo was great.  One of the greatest things was that I only had to travel 50 miles to go to it.

Day 1 started out with Michigan Genealogical Council board and delegate meetings. The July Board meeting was my first official meeting as a member of the board!  I wanted to serve on the board to give back to the genealogical community that has given so much to me in terms of resources, education, and more.

I had time between the delegate meeting and the start of the Seminar and I took advantage of that time by having lunch and then sitting outside on the second floor of the Michigan Library and Historical Center, next to the big tree. It was a great place to get focused on genealogy.

The Seminar kicked off with a choice of tours:  Digitization Tour or Archives of Michigan Tour.  I chose to go on the Digitization Tour.  This tour was offered for the first time at the seminar and it was very informative.  Attendees got to go on a behind the scenes tour of the digitization process at the Archives.

Two afternoon sessions were offered with six options for seminar attendees.  I like to choose my sessions by what will further the research that I am conducting at the time.  I chose Researching Your Family History at the Archives of Michigan with Kris Rzepczynski for two reasons.  One, I have done limited research in the Archives and figured this would motivate me to do more.  Two, I felt I could share my knowledge at my local society meetings.  Kris did an excellent job of explaining the resources available at the Archives.  Some of my readers may remember a few years ago when the Abrams Foundation Historical Collection was moved from the Library of Michigan to the Archives of Michigan.  Most of the Abrams Collection can be found in the open stacks in the Archives Reading Room.

My second choice was a little harder decision to make.  I could easily have gone to any one of the three.  I chose "Chasing Your Elusive Ancestor" on the Internet by Karen Krugman.  I have a few elusive ancestors and thought I could benefit from Karen's talk.  This was my first time hearing Karen speak and she is a character. Her presentations are filled with great advice and humor.  Have you met Mr. Brown Eyes?  Karen went over Search Engines, Types of Searches, Websites, Tips for Searching and more.  

The first day ended with a Lock In at the Archives of Michigan for those who preregistered for it.  I was one of the lucky ones who got a spot, but about three days before the lock in, I decided that I couldn't get my research together enough to make the best use of the time at the Archives. I only had one day between coming back from the wedding and going to Lansing.  I emailed the Archives and released my spot to someone on the waiting list.

Saturday morning I was up early and on my way to Lansing.  Michael Lacopo was first up and I didn't want to miss his talk.  "Deconstructing Your Family Tree: Reevaluating the "Evidence"" was the topic for the session.  Michael provided lots of questions for thought when doing your research, encouraged becoming familiar with the Genealogical Proof Standard, and expressed how important it is to develop an understanding of social history.  Many examples from his own research were given.
Is it Genealogical? was the take home question for me.

Next up was "What's New at Seeking Michigan" by Jessica Harden from the Archives of Michigan.  I attended this session to hear what Jessica had to say because my local society, Calhoun County Genealogical Society, is hosting Jessica at one of our programs in the Spring.  Jessica walked attendees through the best way to search at SeekingMichigan.org, which I found helpful having gotten frustrated a couple of times there!  Her advice was to start at the advanced search feature on the home page, and only search one database at a time.  The available databases are found in list form on the right side of the advanced search page. I did learn something new and that was when you are searching Death records, you can click on the column heading to sort the results.  Jessica provided other tips for searching military records, census records, Detroit News Index, and more.  Overall, a great refresher for me.

Lunch was included in the price of the seminar and was catered by Grand Traverse Pie Company, no pie but a delicious sandwich, chips and cookie.

The afternoon session started with Michael Lacopo speaking on "More Than the Census"- Our Families Did Exist Between Those Ten Year Intervals!  I find Michael such a great speaker that I found myself listening more than taking notes.  The syllabus was provided via a Dropbox link before the seminar and I was able to use my tablet to take notes right on the syllabus.  I only highlighted one thing and it was "construct a timeline for every ancestor" "Make it a point to know where the person was a ALL times." Great advice.

My last session of the day was Ceil Wendt Jensen's "Immigration Agents".  I have wondered for some time if my great grandfather was recruited from Germany to come to Manistee county for the timber industry.  Ceil's presentation was packed with information and resources to further my education on this topic.  One screen shot that Ceil showed was the places that the Immigration agent recruited people from in the German partition of Posen.  I don't know where my great grandfather was born, but I know where his sister was baptized and that village was on the list.

I am not going to go into any more detail as I have used Ceil's resources this past week and found a little more out about the Immigration agents and plan a blog post about it.

The Archives of Michigan did a great job with the Abrams Foundation Family History Seminar.  I enjoyed going to a more laid back seminar and getting to know more of my Michigan genealogy friends.

The day ended with a few of the Michigan Genealogical Council board members going to dinner with Michael Lacopo, Kris Rzepcyznsk, and his guest.  We went to a great restaurant in Lansing, Capitol Prime Steak and Seafood.  It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful event.

Thank you Kris R. and your staff at Archives of Michigan, my fellow MGC board members and Micahel Lacopo for offering this great resource in my home state.  The Abrams Foundation Family History Seminar is offered in July each year.  Check it out at Seeking Michigan.org and plan to visit Pure Michigan and the seminar.

To My Son, With Love

09 July 2015

My son, Travis Kirk Leyndyke married Alayna Jovan DeSalvo, July 4, 2015 at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, Orlando, Florida.  It was a beautiful ceremony and reception.  I am so happy to welcome Alayna to the family.  Yes, she is already in my database!

One of the gifts I gave my daughter when she got married was a memory book, "To My Daughter, With Love".  It was something I picked up at a book sale and thought it would be a great wedding keepsake.  My son announced his engagement and I started looking for a memory book to give to him.  I never dreamed I would find the same book, but for a son.

To My Son, With Love-A Mother's Memory Book is filled with journal like prompts to record my cherished memories of the days my son and I have shared. The beautifully illustrated book has three sections: About Our Family; About Myself; and About My Son.

The About Our Family section starts with listing grandparents, interesting ancestors and family traits that have been passed down to my son.  It continues with memories of my mother and father, family traditions, special places, family memories, and more.

The About Myself section starts with 'The Day I Was Born' and includes lots of memories. Memories about my childhood, homes, schools, friends, daydreams, boys, passions, marriage, and more.

The last section, About My Son, is all about Travis.  My memories of his birth day, toddler years, when he was a little boy, how he drove me nuts (by not getting out of bed in the morning), games and activities he did, favorite recipe, growing up and letting go, the love of his life, and his wedding day. The book ends with two pages where I can list who was special to him, who encouraged him, who was important to him and more.

The above page called "Cooking Up Trouble" has one of Travis' favorite recipes for Mexican Layered Dip.  I can't even count the number of times I have made this.  It is a recipe I wrote down after years of perfecting it.  It is a combination of about three recipes.  I would make this in the shape of a pumpkin for Halloween, using the tomatoes and olives for the face;  a Christmas tree for Christmas time decorating the 'tree' with the tomatoes and olives.  I would make it as a treat to eat while watching Saturday afternoon college football games, for Super Bowl Sunday, and for Halo XBox game nights at our house.  It was always requested by Travis for our tree trimming party.  I knew this was the recipe the minute I saw this page. I only wish I had a picture of Travis and I making it together.

Journaling in Travis' book was something that took some time to complete.  Some of the pages were filled with facts and completed easily. Some pages found me digging deep in my memory bank and recording stories I forgot about long ago. Some pages required emotional honesty, sharing experiences I had never shared with Travis before. Those pages found me taking a break and reflecting on what I wanted to say.

Every page is completed in my handwriting.  Some pages have copies of my favorite pictures.  Every page is filled with love.  It is a book that Travis will keep forever as a reminder of how much he is loved and how I cherish every day, every moment and every second that I had with him.  I am proud to be his mother.

I had to chuckle at a promise at the bottom of one page.  I felt it was a good reminder of the type of mother and mother-in-law I hope to be.  I just had to highlight it.  It is with sincere hope that I fulfill this promise each and every day.