Archive for the ‘roots’ Category

Nostalgia comes from the root word “Nostros” which means “homecoming.”

For some time I’ve been wondering why I kept thinking about my hometown in Wisconsin ever since my trip back there last summer.  I know I don’t want to live back there, but I just kept thinking about it, searching for web sites, and thinking it would be nice to have a summer cabin there.

I also had sent someone some photographs of her grandmother, who did a lot of traveling with my grandmother until they had a falling out (no one knows what it was about).  She thanked me but I never heard another word from her after I sent them.  We also never heard from the relatives that held the reunion, and I had sent them some photographs, too.

I thought part of it was because nature and the outdoors is so much in peoples’ lives, and I envy that.  There’s a more pronounced four seasons than in Arizona.   But I don’t have any close relatives up there any more, and there are other reasons I choose not to live there which I would rather not reveal here.

The other day I had an “Aha moment” as Oprah says.  Some of the people have lived there their entire lives.  I knew I was mainly glad I had lived the life of an Army brat, and we never lived in one place more than three years (until Arizona).  But there was also a small part of me that wondered what it would be like to walk down Main Street and see a childhood friend.  So I think it is that part of me that keeps thinking about it and tried to make friends with the granddaughter and our relatives.  I still consider it my home town, and in fact that is where I will be buried, next to my parents.  The cold won’t bother me then.

But lately I’ve had thoughts about having some of my ashes scattered at sea, too….I liked the life of a sojourner.

“The Sea is our mother rocking, rocking.  See how she fills her blue arms with gifts ~ with slippery bits, weed, white shells, fish as bright as wisps of moon.  Hear how her voice lifts, falls, lifts while she sings our life.” – Tony Johnston


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Roots Bound

As in spellbound–hopefully it will make sense if you read on.

Last week my sister e-mailed me that the immigration and travel records would be free on ancestry.com for the week.  I plan to do a lot of family research when I retire and have more time, because a subscription isn’t cheap.

So I started my search.  Actually, I wasn’t able to find much in those records, so I went to my other sources of family history to get more information, mainly https://www.familysearch.org/.  The more I found, the more I was intrigued.  As a friend said, it’s like a puzzle, and it’s exhilerating when you find something (and can become addictive, I’m sure).

I was trying to find immigration records for my great-great-great-grandfather, who immigrated from Norway.  The spellings depend on the interpretation of the transcribers, and a lot of ship passenger lists were very splotched, undoubtably by the sea air.  Part of the difficulty was the naming conventions in Norway, which were unlike those in this country (the surname became the father’s first name and -son or -datter), and they changed again when they immigrated here.  But along the way I came across a person who had done a lot of research on my great-great-great-grandfather.  I tried e-mailing her but got an error.

This obsession took up half of my Labor Day weekend.  I gave up.  But today I did a search on the history of the town where he lived, and while I didn’t get any information on that, it did bring up more information from the mysterious researcher, as well as a new e-mail address for her.

So I sent her an e-mail, and I received an enthusiastic response of 14 pages of information, including every encounter in his Civil War unit’s journey to the sea with Sherman.  I had not learned about his marching with Sherman until many years later than I lived in Augusta and Fort Benning, Georgia, which is fortunate since we never got past the Civil War in school (I know nothing about World War I and II).

I just wish I had found all of this out many years earlier and could have shared it with my dad.  He loved history so much.

(The picture is of my great-great-grandmother Christine (right), a librarian, pianist, wife, mother, and painter, who  tragically died because of the great flu of 1918, and her sister Anna (on my father’s side of the family)).

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