Category Archives: Genealogy

Dirt’s Secrets

*This post is not possible without the assistance of Justin Stanley and Stephen Jenkins.

Ancient Planters Map 1624

The study of past events in American History have always intrigued me as it relates to genealogy of my Jenkins family.  There is nothing more amazing and perhaps imaginative than pondering the Wild West or in this case the east coast in the 17th century of Virginia.  I had the opportunity a month ago to be included in a research project  by Real Estate Appraiser Justin Stanley of Hampton, VA.   Justin contacted me via my Descendants page on Facebook inquiring about land formerly owned by Jenkins owners in VA.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Veteran

fullsizeoutput_341f

During a trip visiting my mother and her husband , I had the pleasure of going to the Air Force  Enlisted Heritage Institute.  It is a state attraction.  Civilians are educated at this museum on the history of the air power of the Air Force.  We had hardly walked in the door when my step-dad Roy was greeted like a rock star.  He is a retired WWII  veteran and Stalag 17 POW.  His plane was shot down and he was captured by enemy forces for almost two years in 1942.

Continue reading

Boo—Back By Popular Demand!

IMG_1701

Hey Friends,

Back by popular demand-the scariest post I have ever written.  I noticed my blog is blowing up with views.  It always does at this time of the year due to this particular fun post I wrote four years ago while working on genealogy projects!  It was a fun day.  BOO!

https://alesiablogs.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/the-haunting/

 

 

 

Go On Now

DSC_6326

There is old time history in those Kentucky hills.  If one is lucky enough, you might hear of it told in a story or two by your kinfolk.

“Go on now, help me get my shoes off,”  in distress papaw asked the girls.

Jeanette unlaced her grandfather’s left boot and June the right.  They tugged until the boots fell to the wood floor.

Mama knew her daddy was short of breath.  Her girls were too young to understand, but they knew something was not right.  Jack was even younger at 9 years.

Mama secretly told Willie her husband to go on now to a neighbor’s home to call the doctor. He returned shortly never making that phone call.  Willie had heard the dinner bell rung by mama.  It was the S.O.S. that her daddy was gone.

My Dad's first cousin pointed out to me where papaw's farmhouse used to set.

My Dad’s first cousin pointed out to me where papaw’s farmhouse used to set.

Night before last, the family had went down to papaw’s house to visit.  Papaw said he was not feeling well. For the first time ever, he decided to spend the night at his daughter’s home.  Little Jack strolled alone with grandpa back to his parent’s farm after the rest of the family had left to go back early.  Jack loved Papaw.  He knew Papaw always had a good story to tell.  That day, he did not know that it would be his last he was to hear.

Stories and long tales are family favorites of mine.  Some of them are sad, but more often there is a good laugh to be had by all.  Jack was my dad.  The girls were my aunts.

Recently on a trip back to Kentucky, I had the opportunity to attend my family reunion and my Aunt Jeanette’s 90th birthday party which just so happened to fall on the same day.

I was able to shock my Aunt coming in from Seattle. I kept it a secret.

I was able to shock my Aunt coming in from Seattle. I kept it a secret.

I was able to visit the family farms and see the old cemetery that dates back to my four times great grandfather.  He is buried way back in the tall trees far from anyone.

This map is from public records showcasing the farm highlighted in blue with the number 62-37 77-9. You can see open fields, but in those woods is where the cemetery actually has our ancestors.

This map is from public records showcasing the farm highlighted in blue with the number 62-37 77-9. You can see open fields, but in those woods is where the cemetery actually has our ancestors.

Three years prior to this visit, the cemetery was cleaned up.  This time I saw the place after very little work had been done to it.   I thought I would share in pictures a bit of what I saw along with a story that makes us all wonder about what it must have been like growing up on a farm. You see 911 was just not available and as a matter of fact many of these farms still have no 911 addresses attached to them.  It is as if time stands still when you think about it.  But we all know that is not true.

In the next few days I will be writing about the adventures involved in finding the exact location of the cemetery.  Public records do not include the cemetery notated when I made reference to it with the folks who hold this information in the courthouse.

In the woods leading to the cemetery, we found critters and many dangerous plants such as these. Do you know what they are?

In the woods leading to the cemetery, we found critters and many dangerous plants such as these. Do you know what these plants are?

This story is dedicated to all fathers.  Happy Father’s Day Jack ( in Heaven otherwise known as Randall by some, Bill by others, and daddy by me).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genealogy With A Twist

This is a special blog entry written by my son for a genealogy project and I thought you all would enjoy it:

The year was 2077. A special presentation was about to begin by an elderly gentleman who walked into an old-fashioned diner on a beautiful evening overlooking Lake Washington near Seattle. Inside the diner, the tables were full with school-age children getting ready to listen to this special old man. They knew he was a great story teller and the children were eager to listen. With great anticipation, the man excitedly stated, “Welcome to the unique stories a friend of mine shared with me about his life. This friend is Elijah. Elijah’s stories were told to me by himself so I galloped all the way here to tell them to you today.” The children clapped loudly for the action to begin.

Elijah’s stories began with a European ancestor on his father’s side. This man was Baron VanDorstan who was ruled by a German King almost 250 years ago. It has been told that the king became very furious with the baron because the baron felt the poor people were being taxed to heavily and he refused to collect the money for the king. The King therefore ordered Baron VanDorstan’s execution. The execution never happened because the baron escaped on a boat disguised as a homeless man. He eventually emigrated to America! WHEW! That was a close one.

As the elderly man shifted to the next ancestor in Elijah’s life, the children listened intently. The next story was about Elijah’s great-grandfather who was a semi-pro boxer in Chicago, Illinois.  His name was Alex.  Alex  had the opportunity to meet Babe Ruth, a pro baseball player, and he played catch with him.  Another interesting point about Elijah’s great grandfather was that he washed laundry for a living.  One of his customers was the infamous criminal, Al Capone!

As the time was passing, the elderly gentleman knew the children would want to know his identity, but he explained he wanted to stay a mystery until the end of his story telling.  The children grew with excitement, but agreed to wait.  It was at this point the man began sharing about another ancestor who was Elijah’s great grandmother on his mother’s side.  When Elijah’s grandmother was born in Berlin, Germany in 1939, Elijah’s great grandmother with her grandmother were forced to flee because of World War II and all the bombing going on during the war.  They walked all the way to the southern part of Germany to find  safety.  When they travelled they worried they would be caught by the Russians, but thankfully they were not captured and they did make it to their destination several months later.  Elijah would not be here today if they had been killed.

Another ancestor on Elijah’s mother’s side was great, great, great uncle Senator Kenneth Douglas McKellar.  Senator McKellar was born in Dallas County, Alabama in 1869.  He later moved to Tennessee where he became one of the most powerful politicians during the 1920’s-1940’s.  He assisted President Franklin D. Roosevelt in getting the money to build the atomic bomb!

As the evening was coming to a close, the elderly story teller paused to capture the moment in his mind of all the children looking at him admiringly.  The time had come to tell the children the truth about his identity.  He softly stated he was indeed Elijah and all the stories were about his own family.  The kids clapped loudly with this news, although they were flabbergasted.  It was a great night for all.

PLEASE note extra information/photos in regards to Elijah’s genealogy story above:

Babe Ruth  This photo was given to your blogger of Babe Ruth about 30 years ago.  I have treasured it.  This story my son wrote refers to the Babe whom his great grandpa met.

 

This photo depicts your blogger's Oma and Mother. This story speaks of my mother and grandmother's escape from WWII bombing.

This photo depicts your blogger’s Oma and Mother. This story speaks of my mother and grandmother’s escape from WWII bombing.

The Bear Keeper

  • 004 (1)This was the 4th blog post I ever wrote.  I am taking a break from writing for the summer, but thought many of my followers would enjoy this post honoring Memorial Day:

Today’s 4th installment is made possible by the research and interviews obtained from Rebel Kreklow and Elaine Wagner while researching my family tree for genealogy purposes.

The best stories to me are about the ordinary.  It is refreshing to see and take note of my typical family members living in the context of extraordinary times. Painting a truthful picture without the jargon is ultimately the writer’s goal. Yet at times its easy to be taken away in your imagination wondering and indulging a bit about what it must have been like living during a certain time frame.

Rebel’s dad  was Edwin Kreklow from German ancestry. In the picture provided , Edwin’s dad was the second man standing on the right. This man was Albert Kreklow. Our family line is Louis Kreklow, Albert’s older brother, who is the second man standing on the left. They were all farmers like the elder Wilhelm Kreklow seated to the left. Consequently, Edwin grew up on a Wisconsin farm and was especially fond of taking care of the animals.

In 1936, Edwin left Fort Atkinson, WI  for a life in the Navy. Sea life was probably a good fit for Edwin as he was shy and being a way from port was just that much easier as he was not much of a talker. Edwin kept to himself and did his job to the best of his ability.

Edwin was stationed on the U. S. S. Tennessee. The Tennessee was one of the ships in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. Edwin experienced first hand the attack. It would forever change him according to his son.  Edwin saw so much devastation. The U.S.S. Virginia right next to him sunk. It was the smoke from the Arizona blowing up that probably saved the Tennessee from much damage. Below is part of an account that Edwin made of his experience:

“When I came up on the topside, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Our ship, which was always real clean..was a mess! Water standing all over in our living quarters, fire hoses all over the place, which had leaked or blown out under pressure…..After the fires went out on the Arizona, I was on a working party that went aboard the Arizona to remove the remains of the dead on the topside. Just a terrible sight! No way to tell who was who, because we had no “dog tags” at that time. However, we all got them in a few days. We could not go below decks on the Arizona, because everything was filled with water……”

Its unimaginable in my mind what Edwin went through. A young man who was a farmer to being in what will go down in infamy as one of the pivotal war stories of our country-the day Pearl Harbor got attacked.

What made me share with you about Edwin? Edwin just came alive to me. He left the military and eventually moved to Seattle, WA which is my home town also. He like me came from another area of the country and settled down in Seattle. I especially had my interest sparked when I heard Edwin was the bear keeper in our zoo called The Woodland Park Zoo! Edwin explains that he was especially qualified since he grew up with the animals on the farm. He passed a zookeeper exam with flying colors! He was especially fond of a Himalayan Sun Bear that he named Jughead. Edwin was in this job during the late 1940s. I could not help to think of all the children of Seattle enjoying those animals and Edwin taking care of the animals in the background quietly away from the fray of the public..The children of Seattle were the benefactors of a Pearl Harbor vet and an ordinary farmer from Wisconsin.

Recently I was sharing with a friend about my ancestry work and having lunch at Third Place Bookstore ( www.thirdplacebooks.com ) which is one of my favorite places in Seattle to hang out when I have a spare moment. On this particular day, I noticed a sweet elderly Japanese couple walking into the bookstore with the aid of a cane and holding on to each other. Immediately behind them was a woman I recognized. It was my son’s nurse from his doctor’s office. I decided to say hello and inquire if the couple was her parents. They were. We talked for a few moments and within that time period I was able to find out from her that her parents were once in an internment camp during World War II. They were Japanese-Americans that were forced to Idaho after Pearl Harbor was attacked.

As I observed her parents, I wondered of their lives when they were allowed back to Seattle. Ironically, I had just completed a novel about that time period entitled Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. It is a fictional account of relationships and repentance during the Japanese internment and the aftermath of the consequences of Pearl Harbor. I could not believe I would have the extraordinary luck to see a couple that lived in one of those internment camps.

It was not unusual to enjoy a day at the zoo and this Japanese couple with their daughter was like any other family in Seattle that would go to one of the best zoos in America. I can imagine a beautiful summer day in the late 1940′s that I could see this couple with their daughter walking toward a cute Himalayan Sun Bear named Jughead. Oh how small our world really is…… It is also easy to imagine Edwin, the bear keeper, in the background quietly tending to the animals…..

It Took 78 Years, But Siblings Meet For First Time!

Awhile ago I shared a heartwarming story about my WWII VET step-dad Roy and his celebration of his 90th birthday ( http://wp.me/p2rYD1-o8 ). Roy grew up very poor and his parents divorced while he was a boy. Roy never knew when his real dad had passed away. One day he asked me if I could find this information out because of the release of the 1940 census. I was able to give Roy his father’s death date and burial location, but the biggest surprise was that we found out he had a half-brother, and a half-sister he did not know about. When you think you have heard it all life throws you a few new curve balls! We were fortunate to contact them both and plans were made for a reunion.
This reunion finally took place. Roy greeted his new found family today at his home with my mom. It was a joyous occasion . Seven family members came to meet Roy. Since this reunion occurred in Alabama , I was unable to attend, but I did receive a phone call from them thanking me for making their reunion possible. Below is a photo of Roy in the middle who is 90, George- 78, and June – 72. The second photo is Roy working with Governor George Wallace. The third photo is Roy during WW II and the fourth photo is Roy with my mother, sister, and her husband. Life never ceases to amaze me!

20130422-193244.jpg

20130422-193410.jpg

20130422-193431.jpg

20130422-193521.jpg