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Floyd, the youngest Kaiser brother

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Floyd Kaiser, about 1917. This may be his high school photo. (Image Source: Kaiser Family Photos)

My great-great-grandparents, Andrew Kaiser and Jennie Holbrook, had a large, blended family. Between the two of them, they had 18 children. This is the story of my great-great uncle Floyd, who was their youngest child, who also died when he was very young.

Andrew Kaiser and Jennie Holbrook were married on 22 July 1885. Both of them had been married previously, and had had children with their previous spouses. Andrew had eleven children with his previous wife, Elizabeth Wentsel. Four of these children died young, before Elizabeth’s death in 1884. Jennie had previously married Thomas Burke, and they had three children. She was granted a divorce from him in June of 1885. Although it’s not clear how Jennie and Andrew met, they lived in the same small town of Prophetstown in Whiteside County, Illinois. Thomas Burke was a druggist in town, and Andrew Kaiser was a tinner. Both businessmen may have known each other, and may have been in the same social circles. After losing their first spouses, both Andrew and Jennie found themselves as single parents, with at least several small children at home. Joining their households was likely a beneficial situation for them both. Continue reading “Floyd, the youngest Kaiser brother”

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The long life of Metta (Hagenah) Tietjen

My 3rd-great grandmother, Metta Hagenah, was one of my longest-living direct ancestors. She lived to be 95 years old, living the first third of her life in Germany, and the last two-thirds in Benton County, Missouri. This is a quick look at her life. Continue reading “The long life of Metta (Hagenah) Tietjen”

Sharing the Stories of your Ancestors (Part I)

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A few weeks ago, I gave a presentation at a local public library about “Sharing the Stories of your Ancestors.” I collected and sampled some great ways to uncover and share your family stories, so I’d like to share a summary of my presentation with you!

Perhaps you have already done some genealogy research. Perhaps you have some great family photos and heirlooms sitting in the back of your closet. Perhaps you have some cherished childhood memories, or stories passed down from your parents or grandparents. And perhaps you are passionate about genealogy, but your family is not as interested in hearing the old stories.

You likely have some family stories or photos that you are eager to share with others, but with so many options available, you may not know where to begin. This post series will be a basic introduction to help you get started sharing these stories. I’ll share tips for sharing the stories that you already have, uncovering hidden stories in your research, describe some basic storytelling elements to help you share the stories effectively, and talk about some of the various platforms for sharing your family stories. The options are endless, and include writing and oral histories, using photo and video, using social media, and more.

Continue reading “Sharing the Stories of your Ancestors (Part I)”

Mapping DeKalb County in 1905

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A snapshot of the map I created with historic maps and GIS. Click here to see the whole interactive map!

About one year ago, I shared a map that I had put together using a 1929 plat map. This summer, I’ve done it again! (Click here to see the whole interactive map!) This is a map from DeKalb County, Illinois in 1905. Like the previous map, I overlaid scanned, historical maps from a 1905 plat atlas onto a modern map. It’s amazing what you can discover if you look closely at these maps! Continue reading “Mapping DeKalb County in 1905”

A New Minister at Kingston Methodist Church, 1906

Kingston_1906_MethodistChurch_front A postcard of the Kingston Methodist Church, mailed in 1906.

I recently came across this postcard on eBay from 1906, showing the Kingston Methodist Church. It is a wonderful piece of local history! The Real Photo Postcard (RPPC) shows the parsonage on the right, and the church on the left. The Methodist Church is in its present-day location on First Street in Kingston. The building was originally built in 1861 near Pleasant Hill Farm, along Baseline Road on the southern edge of Kingston Township. It was moved to this location in 1875. The parsonage was built in 1878. Notice the dirt road, hitching posts, and narrow sidewalk! Today, the church has a basement and a new entrance, and the trees and hitching post has been replaced by paved street parking! The parsonage has also lost part of its covered porch, but otherwise looks very similar!

Continue reading “A New Minister at Kingston Methodist Church, 1906”