06 December 2020

How German Ingenuity Inspired America

Image used by permission, Lynne Breen

You may remember when I wrote about, I'll See You Again, Lady Liberty by Ernst Floeter and Lynne Breen.  Lynne Breen has written another book that many of my readers may be interested in, How German Ingenuity Inspired America: More Fun, More Beauty, More Freedom. 

Lynne recently emailed me to announce her new book. Here is what she has to say about it.

"Ernst inspired me to write another book—this one about the many contributions Germans and German-Americans have made to our country. The book has just been published by the German-American Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., which expects the books to arrive from the printer by the end of December. The title is How German Ingenuity Inspired America: More Fun, More Beauty, More Freedom.

The neat thing about the book is that it provides interesting reading not just for those who have a German heritage, but for anyone who is curious about the roots of many of our traditions, including food, drink, transportation, toys, education, scientific and medical advances, art and architecture, and just about everything else that makes our culture unique. Michigan is cited often in the book— from the railroad station in Niles and the Fisher Building and Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, to the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth and Henry Ford’s Model-T Ford and Tri-Motor airplane, among other topics.

The book also contains "fun facts." Some examples are: two German -American brothers developed Cracker Jack; Barbie doll was patterned after a doll in Germany; and Orville and Wilbur Wright were inspired by a German hang glider.

The Foundation ordered only 2,000 copies of the book in this first printing. Once it raises funds from the sale of these copies, it will be able to order many more and also have the book listed on Amazon. I would like to emphasize that this is not a money-making venture; a mission of the nonprofit Foundation is to help educate the public about contributions Germans have made, and the book helps to fulfill that goal. Further, any royalties I receive will be quite minimal per the agreement between the Foundation and me. 

While the book is too new to have garnered any reviews, four endorsements appear on the back cover: They are from the grandson of former President Harry Truman; a university professor in Germany; and two German-American organizations here in the U.S."

The book is coffee table size, contains some 300 color and b/w photos, is hard cover, and comprises 240 pages. The cost is $39.99 plus $7.00 s/h. 

If you would like to order a copy of Lynne's book, call the Foundation at 202/467-5000 to reserve a copy. The office is open Tuesdays through Fridays, although it will be closed during the last two weeks in December.

I will be calling Tuesday morning and plan to write more after I receive it. It would make a great Christmas gift. 

16 November 2020

Stay Home, Stay Safe and Me: 2020

Things don't seem to be getting any better in Michigan. More and more cases of Coronavirus are being diagnosed daily and with that come more deaths. It is a scary time we live in. Hospital staff are working around the clock to treat patients. Patients are recovering which brings some hope this horrible virus will be conquered. Michigan'a Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is trying her hardest to keep people safe. It is hard when some people don't believe the virus is real.

April 1: There isn't much of a mood for April Fool Day jokes this year. Usually, social media is full of them. I didn't see too many. I saw one where the dad sent his children to the bus stop and told them school was back in session. The kids figured it out. Schools are still closed and look like they will be for awhile, maybe even for the rest of the year. Kirk had to go to the pharmacy, again, because of a slip up on the pharmacies part. He said there was a lot of traffic and people out and about. I don't understand why Battle Creek isn't seeing a decrease in activity. Stay home, people!

April Notes: I have tried for the last few days to send a home delivery grocery order in to Meijer. All of the delivery times are taken. I am able to schedule a delivery up to 24 hours, no luck yet. I decided to try Sam's Club online ordering, curbside pick up. I was able to put items in my cart, but when I went to check out I got an error message and my cart went to zero items. It is frustrating. I am beginning to understand why people are stocking up on multiple items. Regularly, I buy what I need for 2-3 weeks. I don't have a stockpile of groceries in my house. I ordered home delivery in March and felt guilty for getting two gallons of milk. Our supplies are getting low again. Kirk and I are in the high risk group for getting the virus and I really don't want either one of us to have to go grocery shopping. I will keep trying to get online for delivery.

Overall, Kirk and I are staying home. I still see a lot of neighborhood people coming and going all day. I see more people out walking than usual and I hear the park near our house has a lot of people at it. I haven't been out to confirm this.

The governor of Michigan announced today that school would be closed for the rest of the year. I feel for the students. I know there are more important things to worry about right now but I hope when this is all over the schools are able to provide a prom and/or graduation for the Senior Class. One last event before they scatter to college, work, or armed services. These are unusual times we are living in.

I keep busy with genealogy. I write blogs, organize previous research, research a little, read, and listen to webinars. It is a good hobby to have for being quarantined. I have never cooked so much in my life.

I was lazy last night and we had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, a throwback to our youth. Tonight I am making spaghetti with marinara sauce, and garlic bread. Somedays I feel like I am on an episode of Food Network's Chopped. I have to come up with creative ideas to use what I have in the house.

Kirk and I have it better than some, we have retirement income coming in and we are able to pay our bills. It is not like that for all. Unemployment is at a high, and people who live paycheck to paycheck are struggling.

May Notes:  Things are still tough for many people. Unemployment is high. My children and their spouses are doing well.  Kirsten is the only one who's job hasn't changed much. She is busier that usual but she has worked from home and still is. Her husband is furloughed with the Chicago Blackhawks. He is a photographer and without any games, no pictures are needed to be taken. Travis is working from home. He works for Rice University athletics. He wonders if he will be furloughed. No games, no ticket sales. His wife, Alayna, is hoping her company can stay in business. I think this is what is on a lot of people's minds.

June Notes: The pandemic is not letting up. In fact, in Michigan cases continue to climb. I am not going to get into the politics of it, but it will be interesting to see what history has to say about the Federal response to COVID-19. The stay at home order expired. The governor is working on a plan to get schools ready for in school learning. Students have been going to school virtually for months. Kirk and I are busy staying home. Our gardens have never looked so good. We don't go out much. I still have groceries delivered to the house. The stores are slowly restocking but occassionally there will be empty shelves of cleaning supplies toilet paper.

July Notes: We can breathe a little better now. The number of virus cases is stable. For the first time since March, Michigan reported no new deaths. I hope we can stay at this level. I imagine it has to do with being able to be outdoors and not inside all the time. During the middle of the month, the governor ordered bars to close for inside service. Masks are required to be worn inside places, except at home. I fear we are going in the wrong direction. It could be a long year.  July is the month of the Archive of Michigan's Barbara J. Brown Family History Event held at the Michigan Library and Historical Center. The center which houses the Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan has been closed since early March. The event will be held via Zoom this year. My mom had a dentist appointment and it was the first time I have seen her since March. Her residence is doing an excellent job of keeping her and the residents at Story Point, Portage safe but no visitors are allowed. I picked her up in front and we both had masks on the entire time. I dropped her off and that was the only visit we had.

I have always wanted to participate in a genealogy institute and haven't because of other committments. This year I didn't sign up because we are going to Germany, maybe! The Genealogical Research Intitute in Pittsburgh (GRIP) went virtual. Once I heard that I signed up! I spent the week of June 19-24th in a virtual seminar and I loved it. I took the  Digging Deeper class and boy did we dig! It was held via the Zoom format and I was concerned it would be all lecture, but no they mixed it up. We broke up into rooms and worked on a project together. Other break outs were to work on team assignments. It was a wonderful experience. I would like to participate in person when we can do that.

August Notes: Things are pretty much the same. The governor is doing a great job, with opposition from many, to keep Michiganders safe. Work is in process to get schools open and high school and college athletics able to play. More and more executive orders are being written by the Governor. For the most part, Kirk and I are being safe, wearing our masks, and disinfecting things like door knobs, steering wheel, and some groceries when needed. I think we are getting a little complacent about things. So far, thankfully, we don't know of anyone who has contracted the virus. I hope it stays that way. We still aren't able to visit our parents. There are some warnings that things could get worse in the Fall and Winter when everyone is pushed back inside. I think gatherings are limited to 10 people right now. Imagine if you had a wedding planned, or a loved one dies. Celebrations are very limited during this time. I have read a number of obituaries that state no service will be held at this time because of coronavirus. Kirk and I are thinking our December Germany trip won't happen. Mexico is the only country that will let the U.S. citizen into the country. I will be disappointed if it doesn't happen but totally understand. Other countries have been containing the virus, but the United States hasn't. We can't even go to Canada and that is just across the border her in Michigan.

September Notes: Well school has started, sort of. Some of the schools are letting Kindergarten through 5th grade go to school in person, with the rest virtual. Others are still doing all virtual. I commend the teachers who are learning a new way of instructing the students and pray everyone stays well. It must be a stressful time for students, parents, and staff. Things are slowly opening up in Michigan. Gyms, bowling alleys, pools, and related businesses can open at reduced capacity. It feels like we are doing a lot better here in Michigan. I am thankful our Governor has taken the virus seriously. She had saved thousands of life. I understand some people don't like the restrictions, but it is better than the alternative. Our Germany trip was cancelled, but they are rescheduling it for December, 2021. This virus better be over by then. 

October Notes: Crikey! the wheels are falling off the wagon. Early in October the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the Governor lacked the authority to issue Executive orders after April 30th, when the Republican led legislature refused to reissue emergency orders. It is hard not to get political now because it is political. Democratic governors are taking this seriously and Republican governors are opening everything back up. I foresee a disaster coming. Some people believe it is a hoax. The President is going on rally's demanding everything open back up. He has been critical of Governor Whitmer. What a circus. Kirk and I are staying home as much as possible. We do go out and get groceries occassionally. We have been in a restaurant since early March. We have had pizza delivered a few times and we have done a few takeouts at locally owned restaurants. Zoom is wonderful! Many genealogical societies are holding Zoom meetings. I am the Michigan Genealogical Council President and I am trying to virtually attend society meetings via Zoom. It is a great way to see what is going on in other societies. I would love to visit all 70 some societies, but that is a hefty goal. Some societies have decided to wait until the pandemic is over because their members are not as tech savvy as they feel they need to be to have Zoom meetings. Also, rural areas do not have reliable internet service and would not be able to view a meeting with Zoom.  MGC is having their November event virtually. I am busy preparing for that. It will be an interesting experience, one I haven't done before. Whew! It took a couple of weeks but the Department of Health and Human Services stepped up and issued new orders that will protect Michigan from the virus. Numbers of people infected is going up and it is only going to get worse once the cold weather hits. Kirk and I didn't feel comfortable handing out Halloween candy this year. We usually get 150-175 little ones. We didn't turn our light on and we went downstairs. Kirsten's husband, Chase, rigged up a system where he could pass candy out by sending it from the porch down to the trick or treaters via a shoot. Clever! 

November Notes: Well, here we are in November and the numbers are increasing again. It is a Presidential election year and the virus is a major point in the news. At times I think we will never get out of this pandemic. Today, Nov.16th, there are two drug companies that say they have developed effective vaccines. I hope so, we need them. Over 150 million people voted for the President with Joe Biden being elected. Trump is fighting it in court but so far the cases have been thrown out for lack of evidence. Trump has not conceded and is not cooperating with the Biden camp to make a smooth transition of power. I voted for Biden because we need someone who believes in the science of the pandemic and will work to get the U.S. out of this. This is all I will say, history will show what kind of a President Trump was. Starting Wednesday, Nov 18th, Michigan will be going back to stricter guidelines. It seems so simple, wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance. I don't have a problem with that especially if it keeps people from dying. Others do have a problem. I think I have seen my mom three times since March. We did a couple of mail exchanges so I could get her mail and take care of it for her. She doesn't leave her building, food is brought to her room, and she is being cautious about staying safe. She can go down to the dining room if she wants, but she said she is fine eating in her room. I talk to her and she seems fine. I worry about her being lonely and getting depressed. So far, I haven't heard it in her voice. I order groceries for her through Shipt, and they are delivered to her. She doesn't need much, so I order about every two weeks. Kirk and I are planning to spend the winter home. Thanksgiving is next week. Originally, Kirsten and Chase were going to come home for it, but the Chicago area isn't doing well containing the virus and stay at home orders are being issued there. It will be Kirk and I alone for Thanksgiving. It will be a different holiday. I will gladly give up being with others next week if it saves lives and lets us see loved ones in the future. These are different times we are living in.

Stay safe, stay well, readers.

31 March 2020

Stay Home, Stay Safe and Me

Normally, I would be posting a "Last Day Local" blog post, but nothing is normal right now. Michigan's Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, issued a "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order which went into effect at 12:01 am, March 24th.  This order was in response to the coronavirus pandemic. What this means to the citizens of Michigan is that all businesses except those deemed "essential" remain closed until at least April 13. Businesses that can remain open include health care, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and banks to name a few.  Workers in essential occupations can go to work. 

These are historical times we are living in. This pandemic is affecting all the United States at this time. Many states are issuing the same orders and I imagine more shelter in place orders will be forthcoming.  

It is scary times when one stops to think of the impact this will have on families, the economy, businesses, and our local communities.  The news coverage is insane. There is 24-hour coverage of the pandemic on many news cable channels. Much like we do with our genealogy research we have to analyze the source. There is a lot of misinformation on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and even partisan news channels. I have relied on NPR (National Public Radio) and information from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) for my information. 

I haven't used this blog for my own personal thoughts or for political purposes, but due to the historical impact of the pandemic I thought I would share my thoughts on the times which we are living.

March 10th: Today was my mom's 90th birthday. I woke up with a sore throat and knew I couldn't go celebrate with her and risk making her sick. The coronavirus is worldwide. The United States hit 1000 cases with 31 deaths. It is scary times and the federal government response has been unfocused. The virus hit Michigan today with two confirmed cases. Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, issued a state of emergency. She ordered school closures until April 5th, 2020.

March 14th: My sore throat is gone, but I am having sinus pressure. I don't think it is related to the virus; it is just seasonal stuff I go through every year. It does make one think what it could be though. 

March 15th: My aunt, Alyce (Sleeman) Fredricks died today. It was first announced that the funeral would be by invitation only because of the limit of no more than 50 people gathering. Next, it was decided that there would be no church funeral. A graveside service would be held for immediate family only. It will be live streamed on Facebook by the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Caledonia, Michigan. I have been thinking about my aunt's family because I know how comforting it was to have extended family at my dad's funeral. Aunt Alyce's family won't have that. It is sad times we are living in right now.

March 16th: I am feeling fine now. but things in Michigan are not getting better. All restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and other businesses are to close for two weeks, March 17-April 5. No groups larger than 50 may congregate. People can order food for takeout or delivery. I am concerned about take-out food at this point. Many restaurant workers do not receive any sick pay or time off. I can't be sure that workers are staying home and not going to work if they are sick. The CDC are saying that people over 65 are at risk for complications for this disease. I am 62, Kirk is 68. Those with other problems such as heart disease, diabetes, lung conditions, asthma, obesity, and immunocompromised individuals are at a greater risk. I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions today. It was the first day I was out since March 6th. I went to the drive through. I used antibacterial hand sanitizer in the car. When I got home, I washed my hands and used a Lysol wipe to wipe off my medicine bottles. This virus is making one think about what they are touching and what others have touched. I was scheduled for a uterine lining biopsy on Thursday, the 19th. The doctor's office called and said they had to cancel my appointment. I wasn't given a rescheduled date. This is a cause for concern for me. I don't like waiting to know what is wrong, I feel better when I know what is going on and I can make a plan for action. 

March 18th: Michigan reported its first death due to coronavirus today, two more occurred later in the day. I think this is just the beginning. The individual counties are reporting when they get there first case. Currently, 116 cases have been announced in Michigan. Tests for the virus are scarce and hard to get, so people feel there are many more cases that have not been able to be diagnosed. I find myself worrying about others more than myself. My mother lives in Story Point Living facility in Portage Michigan. Story Point is restricting visitors to essential people only. No visitors are allowed. Luckily, my mother can get all three meals where she lives. My in-laws live in Aurora Ponds, in the Grand Rapids area. They are still allowed visitors at this time. All three are 90 years old and older and I worry if they were to contract the virus they wouldn't survive. I worry about my children as well. Travis and his wife, Alayna, live in Houston, Texas and Kirsten and her husband, Chase, live in Forest Park, IL, a suburb of Chicago. They are both in big cities with international airports. The news creates anxiety in me. I try to limit how much news I watch a day. The federal government wasn't on top of things and tried to downplay the effect it would have on the United States and for the first time in my life I don't trust the news coming out of Washington, DC. I didn't vote for Donald Trump and I won't vote for him in November of this year. I feel his leadership of this pandemic could have been so much better. I am sure history will have a lot to say about this period of time.

March 19th: I had groceries delivered from Meijer today through Shipt. I placed the order online with what I wanted and then a Shipt shopper shopped it and delivered it. The shopper left it on the back porch, Kirk and I put gloves on, wiped the bag handles down, and brought the groceries into the house and set them on the floor. We took each item out and wiped them down with a disinfectant wipe before putting them away. The virus can live on metal, cardboard, and paper. Jeesh! there is so much to think about. I couldn’t get everything on my list because some of the grocery store shelves are empty. The virus has brought out the hoarders. For some reason, toilet paper is being bought out. I guess people figure if they are going to be home for a couple of weeks, they don't want to run out of it. Other items that are scarce are milk, eggs, snack foods, flour, yeast, meat, frozen vegetables, ready to eat canned and frozen food, paper towels, soap, and disinfectant type supplies. I think people are panicking and worried we will run out of food. I only bought what I needed to get through two-three weeks of staying home. 

March 21st: Today is Kirk and my 39th wedding anniversary. We had a couple of plans to celebrate that had to be changed because of the pandemic. First, we were going to go to Bardstown, KY for a long weekend and explore the bourbon trail. When the virus first started increasing in numbers, we decided we better stay closer to home. I looked for a nice restaurant to go to that would have a good steak and seafood. There isn't much like that here in Battle Creek. Next, we decided we would go to the Shipshewana area of Indiana and get a good Amish meal. After Michigan closed restaurants, except for takeout, we decided to stay home.  I decided to make a Chinese meal for us. The week Kirk and I met, the teachers at the school he was teaching at went for a Chinese dinner in Sarnia, Ontario. It was about an hour from Deckerville, Michigan, where we met. Kirk went and it was that night that he asked me on what would become our first of many dates. I figured a Chinese dinner would bring back good memories.  I made Lemon Chicken, Beef with Cashews, Rice, Egg Rolls, and Crab Rangoon. The only thing missing was the fortune cookie. I still remember the fortune from that Sarnia dinner. It was, "he is someone to be taken seriously."

March 23rd: I am feeling anxious today. I have felt anxious in the past and I could usually attribute it to thyroid problems, but my thyroid levels are normal. I know it is the constant barrage on social media and the television of how severe this virus can be. There is still a lot of misinformation out there and trying to find reputable sources for information is more important than ever. Seven deaths have been reported in Michigan. Nationally, over four hundred have died. Kirk and I spend our days reading, watching television, streaming shows or movies on Amazon Prime or Netflix. I am catching up on Call the Midwife and started watching The West Wing. Kirk watches science fiction shows. We watched the movie, Outbreak, which we had seen years ago. It was a timely re-watching of it. Of course, there is a lot of time for genealogy and I have been organizing my files and sourcing previous research in my Roots Magic genealogy software.  States are starting shelter in place orders. Illinois is under one. Kirsten works from home so no change for her. The Chicago Blackhawks games were cancelled and now Chase, the director of photography for the Blackhawks, is working from home. Chase's parents, Dwight and Leslie, live in Spain. They have been visiting Kirsten and Chase since the first part March. Now that Illinois has issued a shelter in place order, they will be staying with Kirsten and Chase until that is lifted. Plus, Spain has closed their borders and I don't think they would be able to travel home at this time. Leslie's father, Les Agnello, died. His memorial service was scheduled for late March, in California. The service was cancelled due to the virus.

March 24th: Michigan has issued a Stay Home, Stay Safe order. What that means is we are expected to stay home unless we work at an essential business or have essential business to conduct. Many places have closed. Grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, banking, and getting gas are still allowed. Most bank lobbies have been closed and if you need to conduct business it is by appointment only. The drive throughs are open in order to make deposits or get cash. Kirk and I are not planning to go out unless it is an emergency, or we need prescriptions filled. I haven't been out of the house for eight days. Kirk went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up a couple of items we needed to get us through the next couple of weeks, or longer.  Each day that goes on and the more cases that are diagnosed causes Kirk and I concern. We are concerned for each other and for our parents, who we are not able to help at this time. The last thing I would want to do is to carry the virus to our parents and have them get sick. The constant need to wash hands and sanitize everything we encounter is overwhelming. Many people don't take the stay home order seriously. I see neighbors coming and going all day long. We are such a mobile society; it is hard for people to stay home. I don't have a problem at all. I have enough projects, reading, and researching to keep me busy for months. I wouldn't mind going out to dinner, but that is a very small thing to give up in the scheme of things right now.

March 27th: The United States has over 100,000 cases of the virus and over 1500 deaths. This is a serious virus. Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed with cases. The need for hospital beds, respirators, gloves, masks, and gowns is severe. The federal government isn't stepping up to lead. The individual states are expected to obtain their own resources and every state is bidding against each other for the needed supplies. New York, Washington, California, and Michigan seem to be the worse states in number of cases right now. More states will be affected in the coming weeks. The stay at home orders are increasing and the reason for this is to "slow the curve" as they put it. If we can keep the cases from sky rocketing it will give hospitals time to treat individuals. If we slow the curve our hospitals won't be overwhelmed. It is too late. The hospitals in these four states are overwhelmed. I fear it is going to get much worse. My feelings range from anger to disbelief. I am angry at the current state in Washington, DC. and our President. I can't believe that a nation such as the United States didn't take this seriously when intelligence started briefing the President about the pandemic and its effect on the United States. What kind of person would subject his citizens to this? 

March 29th: The numbers are getting worse. The Michigan Governor is doing all that she can to get the hospitals the supplies that are needed to fight and treat this virus. She had supplies under contract and the federal government told the supplier not to sell to Michigan. This is politics at its worse. The President did grant Michigan a state of emergency status. Kirk and I are still staying at home. We have done a couple of projects around the house. Kirk painted the bathroom. We had the supplies before the crisis started. Buying these types of supplies would not be essential. I have Spring cleaned the kitchen, dining room, and living room. I had deep cleaned my office when I bought two new bookcases, in February. I have our bedroom left to do. In the middle of all this stressful living our water heater decided to stop working. It took a few days to find out if we could get it fixed because of the stay home order. There is some confusion about what businesses can stay open and what ones have to close. It was decided we could get a new one installed. I am thankful for that because I wasn't looking forward to cold showers and boiling water for washing dishes. 

March 30th: We woke up to a flooded basement this morning. Kidder Heating and Air Conditioning, Marshall, MI did the work on our water heater. One of the shut off valves broke and no one told us. Kidder said they didn't use that valve, but Kirk and I haven't been able to move that valve for years. The valve was in the bypass position, not where we had it. Kidder said they would come out and look at it, but it wasn't their fault so we would have to pay a $130 service call.  No way were we going to pay them for something that was their mistake in the first place. This shut off valve is attached to our water softener too. Kirk called Besco Water Treatment Company in Battle Creek, they were here within 15 minutes, replaced the valve and tuned up the water conditioner, for FREE. They are a great company and we appreciate them so much more now. That is the way to treat your customers during a crisis. Pooh on Kidder!

A lot of genealogy meetings, seminars, and conferences are being cancelled. Many organizations are choosing to hold virtual meetings. I am President of the Michigan Genealogical Council and we are scheduled to hold our monthly meeting April 9th. Our February meeting was cancelled because of weather, March meeting was cancelled because of the pandemic and I didn't have a plan in place for a virtual meeting, in March. Our April meeting will be held virtually using Zoom platform. One of my council colleagues, Tom Koselka, offered to let me have a practice meeting and he walked me through the options on Zoom. I feel a lot less nervous about hosting the board meeting now.  

Michigan has 6498 confirmed cases with 184 deaths. Each day more and more people are getting sick. I worry about the people who have to work on the front line of this crisis. All hospital employees, janitors, and grocery store workers are at increased exposure of getting this. The state health department says Michigan hasn't reached its peak yet. The Detroit area has the most cases. My county, Calhoun, has 17 cases. No age bracket is immuned to this disease. I talk with my mother about three times a week and she is doing well under the situation. She seems a little lonely and I am thankful she lives in a place where if she needs help it is there for her. I need to see about having her prescriptions transferred to a place that will deliver. There is so much to think about these days.

This is what the first three weeks of dealing with the pandemic, coronavirus, has been for me. I will continue to keep track of my thoughts and activities so that those in the future can see what a 21st century pandemic does to a society.

Stay home, stay safe, please.

16 March 2020

Andover, Massachusetts Connection to the Salem Witch Trials

In the Shadow of Salem: The Andover Witch Hunt of 1692 by Richard Hite was a Christmas gift given to me by my daughter. I started reading it and decided I needed to either get a highlighter or take notes! I decided to take notes because there were references I wanted to put on my list to look up the next time I went to the Archives of Michigan.

I knew I had a Salem Witch Trial connection through Mary Clements Osgood, but I was surprised to see other family surnames mentioned. Those included Poor, Farnum, Ingalls, and related families in the Andover, Massachusetts area.  Twelve petition signers, those asking for release of prisoners, could be considered Osgood family members. (Hite, page 225)

The Hite book was insightful to what was going on at the time and how it reached Andover which was about 30 miles from Salem. The Osgood family was drawn into the witch hunt when on 6 January 1693 Mary Clements Osgood participated in the 'touch test'.  Mary and Deliverance (Haseltine) Dane, Sarah (Lord) Wilson, Mary (Lovett) Tyler, Abigail (Wheeler) Barker, and Hannah Tyler were blindfolded and the afflicted were there. The afflicted fell into fits as soon as the women were brought in. The women's hands were laid upon the afflicted and the fits stopped. This was the evidence that led to the women's arrests. They were immediately taken to jail. (Source: Hite page 119 from Records of the Salem Witch Hunt (2009) by Bernard Rosenthal pages 737-738)

Mary Osgood confessed to

  • submitting to a baptism by the devil in Five Mile Pond in Boxford
  • afflicting three victims
  • attending a meeting at Moses Tyler's home for the purpose of afflicting
  • carrying the shape of Minister Francis Dane, along with Deliverance Dane, to make people believe he was afflicted.
Next, Osgood was asked, "What hindered you from accomplishing what you intended?" (Hite, page 122) Osgood replied, "The Lord would not suffer it to be that the devil should afflict in an innocent person's shape." (Hite, page 122)  Mary Osgood may have saved Danes life according to Hite.

Why was Osgood targeted as a witch? Mary and her husband, John Osgood had a long history in Andover.  John and Mary Osgood were prominent, and powerful, in the community. John served numerous times as a selectman of Andover. Mary would have been one of the most prominent citizen arrested.

John Osgood became a leader in the effort to free the accused. He paid multiple bonds, with others, to free some of the accused. His name was on an October 12, 1692 petition, along with other family members of the accused, to free the prisoners. The petition did not work to release them. 

Minister Increase Mather's work, Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating, Men, Witchcrafts, infallible Proofs of Guilt in such as are accused with that Crime, is believed to be the beginning of the end of the witch trials. Mather refuted Mary Osgood's testimony.  Next, 26 Andover residents submitted a petition to the Governor, the council, and colony reps. John Osgood, his sons Timothy and Samuel, and his nephew, Hooker Osgood signed the petition. (Hite page 156)

Mather quoted recantations by Mary Osgood first. Osgood declared her statement of guilt as "wholly false". She says she was urged and pressed to confess. She states she never did the things she confessed to. John Osgood and John Fyre bonded themselves for 400 pounds to enable their wives, Mary Osgood and Eunice Potter Fyre, to be released on condition they would return for trial.

Spectral evidence was not allowed and Mary Osgood was acquitted on 12 Jan 1693.  John Osgood continued to help others and posted bonds, with others, for Mary Barker, Sarah Wilson and her daughter, Sarah after his wife's acquital.

John Osgood was elected selectman at Andover's Annual Town meeting held in March of 1693. Other selectman were elected who defended the suspects, or didn't take a stand, for the next several years. John Osgood died in August, 1693.  Mary Osgood died October, 1710.

10 March 2020

My Mom is 90!

Today marks my mother's 90th birthday. Imagine all the changes she has seen over that time. She was born in 1930, during the depression, on the family farm. My mom felt they survived the depression better than others because they could raise their own food. She doesn't remember being hungry as a child. That doesn't mean it was easy by any means. My mother was one of 12 children. She deserve a special day and I hope she has one.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of my mother as a young girl. Happy Birthday, Mom.

 Grade School
 Grade School
 on the Family Farm

 As a young girl (front) with her sister, Marie
 My mom (back) and her niece, Kathryn Marie  If you look closely you will see a young man near the tree, it might be her brother, Ray.
Taken, circa 1940, at the home of Leo Sandberg, who married Daisy Marie Fredrick.
Left-Right: Jean, Kathryn Marie, Norman, Audrey holding Rose Marie

Jean, Norman, and Audrey were siblings. Jean and Norman were twins. Kathryn Marie and Rose Marie are the nieces of Jean, Norman, and Audrey 
My mother holding unknown baby. The picture was taken at the home of her sister, Kathryn, in Brethren Michigan.

03 March 2020

Leona Fredricks Graf Wagoner and Robert Wagoner Gravesite

1926-1996       1922-1996

Leona Inez Fredricks Graf Wagoner and her second husband, Robert Dale Wagoner, are interred in Onekama Village Cemetery, Erdman Road, Onekama, Manistee, Michigan. (GPS (lat/lon): 44.37305,-86.20222)

Leona is the daughter of Daisy Ellen Graf and Otto August Fredricks. She is one of 12 children, my mother being one of them. Leona married Raymond Paul Graf in 1947. They had one son, Ronald. She married Robert after Raymond's death. Leona and Raymond lived for years in the Bear Lake area of Michigan. 

Aunt Leona was a wonderful, kind person. She had a vibrant personality and distinctive voice. She was a gifted cake decorator and cook. She would bring her ice cream maker to the family reunion and make the best ice cream. I have many happy memories of visiting Aunt Leona. She gave me beautiful crystal goblets for my wedding and I loved them so much I added to the set over the years.  

Bob worked on the Great Lakes and he would dock at the power plant in Harbor Beach, MI. Sometimes Aunt Leona would come to Harbor Beach, where we lived at the time, and visit us while he was in town. 

My memories of Aunt Leona keep her in my heart. 

Leona and Bob Wagoner, Fredricks Family Reunion, Brethren, MI

01 March 2020

10 Years of Blogging!


Today is the tenth anniversary of my blog. Other than the past couple of years I was pretty consistent with blogging. I enjoy blogging. It makes me a better researcher because I make sure what I write can be proven. It allows me to see gaps in my research and I can look for more information before posting.

One of the best things about blogging, besides the research aspect of it, is the people I have "met." I have communicated with others who enjoy genealogy and blogging. I have connected with cousins. Those connections have led me to receiving a family Bible, photographs, documents, and research.

Looking back on the past ten years has brought me joy. I am proud of the work I have done, not only on my family members but on my local interest and research help stories as well. Here are the top 10 blog posts, by traffic, as of last night (29 Feb 2020).

1. Daniel C Fenn-Ancestor Biography

2. Historic Adventist Village, Battle Creek, Michigan

3. Pure Michigan Genealogy: Records 

4. Ancestor Biography: Otto August Fredrick

5. Michigan's Role in the War of 1812

6. Tech Tuesday: Social Media for Genealogy Analysis

7. Pure Michigan Genealogy-Migration and Immigration 

8. The Kellogg House in Battle Creek, Michigan

9.  Was Your German Ancestory Recruited to Come to Michigan?

10. Lt. Col. Merle M. Glover-Tombstone Tuesday

Happy Blogiversary to Me! I better go see what gift the hubby got me because I am sure he wouldn't forget my 10th blogiversary.

Note: My Pure Michigan Genealogy is being updated and will back online soon. (January 2022)

29 February 2020

Last Day Local: Harmonia Cemetery

Previously, I wrote about the spiritual utopia, Harmonia, that was once on the land where Fort Custer Training center is now. Harmonia Cemetery sits in a remote area of Fort Custer Industrial Park near Fort Custer. 

The cemetery was laid out in 1862. Find a Grave holds 71 memorials and 69% of the cemetery is photographed. Harmonia is not an easy cemetery to access. An 8 foot tall barbed wire fence surrounds it. It is closed to the public and permission from Bedford Township Offices is required to visit it.

Many of the surnames in the cemetery trace to the earliest settlers of Harmonia: Sampson, Beecher, Terry, Cox, Clevenger, Mead, and Schuyler. Other surnames are Adrian, Baugh, Baumfree, Bevier, Bradley, Brown, Cox, Forshey, Garman, Gray, Burnflo, Lipsitz, Ledeman, McCreary, Merrill, O'Malley, Roy, Sawtell, Sayton, Smith, White, Wilde, Wingate, Wright, and Zollinger.

Sojournor Truth's daughter Sophia Truth Schulyer is buried here. When Sojournor Truth left slavery she took her daughter Sophia with her. Sophia Truth married Thomas Schulyer. A 1900 Detroit News editorial talks about Sophia Truth Schuyler going to the Calhoun County poor house. Sophia's death certificate can be found at Michiganology. It is listed as Sophia Schyler. Sophia died, in 1901, at the "poor house" in Marengo Township, Calhoun county, near Marshall, MI. She was buried in an unmarked grave at Harmonia Cemetery. Thomas McLeichey, of Battle Creek, purchased a marker for Sophia.  It says "Sophia Schuyler 1821-1901 Daughter of Sojourner Truth." Sophia Truth Schulyer was Thomas' great grandmother. (Source:  "Sojourner Truth's daughter was buried in an unmarked grave until a descendant took action" 1 Feb 2019 Battle Creek Enquirer, Battle Creek, MI accessed 29 Feb 2020.)

Harmonia being a community of Spiritualists believes that one can communicate with the spirits. It makes me wonder how many Spiritualists are talking to those buried at Harmonia Cemetery today.

Last Day Local is a blog prompt I use to celebrate the history of Battle Creek, Michigan, my hometown for the past 32 years.  I try to post one article on the last day of the month about the heritage and history of Battle Creek, The Cereal City!

17 February 2020

In Memoriam: Bruce Glover

Today, February 17, 2020 would have been my dad's 95th birthday. What a milestone that would have been! He lived in ten decades before his death in 2018. He was born in 1925. Imagine the changes he saw in his 93 years of living.

I have stories of some of those changes, and events, that molded his life because my dad left his family a great gift-his autobiography. In honor of his life I will share my favorite stories he wrote.

He entered Kindergarten in the fall of 1930 and only remembered that when the rest of the Kindergarteners were playing tag, or in the sandbox, he went to watch the older kids play softball. He would chase their foul balls and hoped they would ask him to play, which they never did. My dad had a love of sports which started at the age of five!

Another grade school memory was he collected baseball cards. He always lamented that his mother threw them out when he went to college. He would regularly read the sports page of the newspaper and knew every starting player's name in the National and American baseball leagues. There were eight teams per league at the time. My dad would attend the men's softball games in Hazel Park, Michigan and they got to know my dad. One of the players would say, "see that little kid over there? I bet you can't stump him on a starting player for any major league team." My dad wrote, "he might want to know who was the starting centerfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies and without blinking an eyelash I would spit out Richie Ashburn." My dad was in third and fourth grade at the time.

Another story I remember my dad telling me when I was a kid was about a car ride he took with his dad, " I remember going to the store, one Saturday morning, with my Dad in his old Reo back in the days when cars had running boards to help you climb up into them.  As my Dad and I were puttering down John R Street on the way home one Saturday morning from shopping, I leaned against the door and next thing I remember I was laying on the pavement by the side of the road.  How I’ll never know, but hardly suffered a scratch.  Worst for wear, however, was Dad who I think went a block before he realized he was missing a passenger, namely me. When he came back he was understandably shaken, but thankful I was ok."  I can just see it in my mind, now I can chuckle but I imagine it scared him at the time. I never met my grandfather, but wouldn't that be a great story to hear from his side of things.

His junior high summers were pretty carefree, my dad talks about hanging out with friends and biking to Palmer Park which was about 6-7 miles from home. They would have their mom's pack a lunch and they would head to the tennis courts at the park, sign up for a court, play for an hour or so, go to the concession stand and buy a pop and eat lunch. After lunch, they would sign up for a court and play another hour or so.  If he wasn't playing tennis, he and a buddy would go to a vacant lot two lots north of their house on Reynolds Ave, in Hazel Park and golf. My dad had a seven iron and a couple of golf balls. He and his friend would dig a couple of holes, about 20-25 yards apart, and play for hours. He would always try to better his score.

My dad served during World War II in the European Theater at the Battle of the Bulge. When the war ended in Europe he was sent back to the United States. He often said the most beautiful sight he ever witnessed in his life was when the ship entered New York harbor and he saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time.

He ended up at Fort McClellan, Alabama as a physical training and bayonet instructor. During the evening he coached and played on a company basketball team. A regimental tournament was organized and my dad was asked by Colonel Reeder to coach the 7th Regiment team. There were seven regiments in the tournament. His team hit the jackpot when a bus from New York arrived with five boys asking if they could join his team. My dad said once they took one trip up and down the court he knew he had his starting five. My dad always wondered what happened to the boys from that team.  He only remembered two: Jack Gilcrest and  ? Pommerano. The 7th Regiment won the tournament with a win over the 3rd regiment and my dad believed this was the catalyst for what would become a fifty year coaching career.

My dad shared many wonderful stories in his autobiography, but these were the ones I enjoyed reading. My dad loved sports, all kind of sports. Well, maybe not fishing, but all the others. It didn't matter what sport was on television, my dad would watch it. My mom would joke that he would watch a flea match if it was on television!

I think back over the years that my dad grew up in and all the events that molded him into the man and father he was. I miss my dad but I have his autobiography to keep his memories close. I hope my dad is enjoying his birthday in heaven and that there are golf courses, and flea matches, there.

11 February 2020

Where in the World is Alexander Glover?

Where in the World is a series of blog posts I write to show where my ancestors were at a certain time. It helps show gaps, much like a timeline, in my research.  Alexander Glover is my fourth great grandfather, who married Sarah Salisbury, in 1780.

20 Mar 1756
Lebanon, New London, Connecticut, British America

1 Feb 1780
Sarah Salisbury-Conway, Hampshire, Massachusetts, United States

Conway, Hampshire, New York, United States
Conway, Hampshire, New York, United States
Phelps, Ontario, New York, United States
Phelps, Ontario, New York, United States
27 Jan 1826
Phelps, Ontario, New York, United States

08 February 2020

Tinder Collection Showcases Michigan Photographs

Would you like to see a picture of Mr. and Mrs Santa Claus in 1885? What about the 1931 Highland Park School of Nursing? or the Grand Trunk Accounting Division, circa 1930? Are you a fan of the television show, Pimple Popper? There is a picture of a growth that makes that show look tame. 

All of these and more are a part of the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography housed at the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I first heard of David Tinder because I was researching family pictures. The Tinder Directory of Photographers is an online directory of early Michigan photographers. It lists the photographer by city or township, years in business, and name of business. Supplemental information includes an alphabetical list of photographers with biographical information, business addresses, comments about business practices, and specializations when known. It is a wonderful resource for Michigan photography research.

Another wonderful resource is the Tinder Collection at the U of M. Tinder, a U of M alumnus, started collecting Michigan stereoviews in the 1970's. This start led to over 100,000 images being donated to the University of Michigan. This collection includes all forms of photographic images. It is a wonderful collection to explore.

Tinder's collection of images cover a vast array of Michigan History. Lumbering, mining, paper making, and cereal making to name a view. It includes african-americans, native americans, ethnic dress, schools, occupations, organizations and more. There are finding aids available online.

One group of finding aid is categorized by counties. For example, the Calhoun County finding aid shows that there are 90 photographs, 1 document, and 1 booklet. The year range is 1870-1930. This part of the collection has store fronts, street views, residences, a train wreck, flooding destruction, Fort Custer, sports teams, police brigade, and more. The document is a fraternity certificate from Albion College. The booklet is from Albion College. Each county is different in its collection and the finding aids will help you to know what is available. Wayne County has 1,937 photographs, 16 real photo stamps, 6 booklets, 101 pages, clippings and ephemera.  Benzie county, the smallest county in Michigan, has 51 photographs in the Tinder Collection.

Unfortunately, not all of the collection is open to researchers. The finding aid will tell you that when you click on the category. Some of the ones not open to researchers include steriographs, over-sized file, photographers file, real photo postcards, photographers albums, framed photographs, glass slides and negatives.

Don't despair that still leaves an awful lot of images to capture your imagination and almost 700 of them are available online. The Clements Library Image Bank houses the online images. I spent some time looking at the image bank and it was a diverse slice of life in Michigan.

Remember photographs are copyrighted and you will need permission to use any of the images in the Tinder Collection. If you are going to be in the M Go Blue (University of Michigan) area, plan a visit (there are a few rules to follow before visiting) to the Clements library and the Tinder Collection.