Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Thank You Michelle and Thomas

I just wanted to take a moment to thank Michelle Taggart and Thomas MacEntee for featuring me on May I Introduce To You... on Geneabloggers this week!

It was such a lovely compliment to be asked and the experience was pleasant and very easy, I hope the interview was interesting to read!

If you are visiting for the first time, although I haven't been able to do much research lately, I hope you can find something of interest to you here.

And coming this Sunday: Donald and I are planning a trip to Castle Clinton on Saturday, weather permitting. One of the things I discovered digging through Dad's secret stash, is that my great-grandfather Anderson entered the US through Castle Garden, the New York State immigrant processing facility at the time, in 1888. Although we need the rain here in the NY metro area, I am keeping my fingers crossed for enough dry weather on Saturday to make the trip.  If we make it there, I will be sure to share my photos and experiences with you on Sunday.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Do-Over

Life has felt a little bit like a ride on the Scrambler lately!
It has now been about two months since I have done any research. It has been wonderful to spend these last few weeks immersed in the finds from my father's "secret collection" but I couldn't tell you the last time I looked at my research plan, and I'm starting to feel it.

That isn't to say I haven't come across any information among the photos and books, etc. I now know the name of the church my grandparents and father attended when they lived in Chicago, that my Swedish great-grandfather did a short stint in the military before his immigration to the US and as I posted last Saturday, I know now that my grandfather's brother was his best man and that he and a sister appear in photos and home movies that I have from that day.

Even so, I've been spending so much time purging and rearranging and organizing that I feel a little removed from all the good work that I put in earlier in the year, and I've decided that the best way for me to get back in the swing is to start another Do-Over cycle. This will allow me to reinforce those improved research habits, like always sitting down with a plan, and to finish some things I started, like the toolbox.

I can't wait to get back into it again. Especially with the new information from Dad's collection. Cycle 4 starts Friday, but I hope to be back with another post before then.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Family Recipe Friday - Garden Special

For anyone who doesn't know already, I was finally allowed in my step-mother's basement this month, ten years after my father's death, to go through and take family photos, documents, furniture,  keepsakes, books, etc.

Among my finds was a copy of "The Joy of Cooking" given to him by his Aunt Isabel and Uncle Elmer Anderson in 1961. Taped in the back of the book was a recipe from another aunt, Anna Anderson, one of the Anna's for whom I am named.

It is a fairly simple and straightforward recipe for meatloaf. Actually, I have to admit that it is so simple I'm not so sure it is one I would try. But the reason I found it interesting enough for a blog post was the last ingredient; Garden Special. My first thought was that this was some kind of discontinued seasoning, but a pint of it? That would be too much.

That is where my mother came in. When I found the recipe she was sitting next to me on the couch, going through things with me and she was able to tell me what this mystery ingredient is.

According to my mother, Garden Special is whatever veggies are left in the garden at the end of the summer. No need to make sure you have specific ingredients on-hand, just chop up whatever you've got, as long as it makes the amount you need.

So, what do you think? Would you ever try my Aunt Anna's Meatloaf recipe, or do you make something similar? Or are you more comfortable with breadcrumbs and ketchup and some nice bacon on top?

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Undeniable Truth

When I reposted this photo as my Facebook profile picture today, I realized that I had found many, if not all, of the photos seen on the mantle, this weekend in my step-mother's basement.

I am so grateful to have found them and more, but there is one undeniable truth; I'd rather have the people back than the things.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Two THOUSAND Negatives

So, I don't think that Military Monday post I keep writing about is going to happen...

Two THOUSAND negatives found in my step-mother's basement. 1,185 of them are from my grandparents' trip to the Near East in 1938. There are more photos, too.

We also brought home two dozen books, more decorative housewares we'll call them and about a dozen Bibles, some belonging to great-grandparents, some to grandparents, and even one to a great-grand aunt. Two are in Swedish, one is in Greek and another very small one has olive-wood covers and was purchased by my Grandmother Matthews in Jerusalem in 1938.

Donald has been so helpful even as our apartment turns into a shrine to my family. I really do owe it to him to get as much done as possible today. But I will be back with something in the next few days, I just can't get over to my mother's to get Grandpa Smith's medals to photograph for that post.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

84 Years Ago Today

My paternal grandparents, Howard Bierly Matthews and Dagmar Alice Viola Anderson, were married 84 years ago today in Manchester, Connecticut. I shared these home movies here in August which start with their wedding reception.

Watching those movies I realized that I had no idea who my grandmother's maid of honor might have been (although I thought she looked familiar) or my grandfather's best man (although he certainly looked like a brother) and there was no one to ask since my father was an only child and he died ten years ago.

Unbelievably, only one month later, I have many of my answers.

Only a couple of weeks after I received the MP4 file, my step-mother called to say that she was having a friend move in with her and she needed me to go through things in the house asap. Although it was an unexpected wrinkle in my plans to relax over the Labor Day weekend, I'd have gone right that second if she wanted me to since I'd been dying to go through the house for a very long time. As we packed china and explored boxes and closets an application for my grandparents' wedding certificate and check for $20 sat in my purse. I never had to mail it.

Wedding Service of
Howard B Matthews & Dagmar Alice Viola Anderson
September 19, 1931

When I first pulled this from one of the manilla envelopes I was hopeful that it would be from my grandparents' wedding. I turned the pages almost frantically hoping to find something that would identify the bride and groom and finally, there it was!

This is indeed the service from my grandparents' wedding. And there at the bottom of the Marriage Certificate are the names of their witnesses.  My grandfather's best man was a brother, his brother Charles Arthur Matthews, and although I did not recognize the name of my grandmother's maid of honor, she could possibly be the sister of my Great Aunt Anna whom she decidedly resembles, I'm still working on that.

And just as good as the marriage certificate - if not better since I cannot get this at Manchester Town Hall - was this page, the Guest List. My head almost came off! I'm still amazed at my luck. It means that I can pretty well narrow down some of the people in the photos and movies.

These photos I already had.

The happy couple with their officiant,
Dean Chanter of Wesleyan University
These photos were found at my step-mother's two weeks ago.

L-R: Dagmar Anderson, Howard Matthews,
Dagmar Peterson, Charles Matthews,
Little Girl-Unknown
L-R: Bess Matthews Ahlers, William Ahlers, Howard Matthews,
Dagmar Anderson Matthews, Nellie Jones Matthews, Charles Matthews

This is very exciting, especially because I had never seen identified pictures of my grandfather's siblings before and someone had most helpfully written names on the back of this last photo, confirming my guesses. I mean, who knew there was a Matthews nose, and these three all had it!

There are still other photos and documents and even a few pieces of china that I hope to find somewhere in my step-mother's house, but even if this is all there is, I will be very satisfied.

There will be much more to post as I organize and scan all of the photos I brought home two weeks ago and I'm still working on that Military Monday post so I can brag on my other grandfather. In the meantime, I will be heading back out to my step-mother's today to go through my dad's books and see what else I can find.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Coming Up For Air

I have wonderful memories of playing
at this desk with my grandfather Matthews.
 In the last ten days I have added my grandfather's desk, a lovely mahogany coffee table, two sets of china, a set of silverware, over 150 photos and more to my home. This is a challenge in a 2-bedroom apartment to which we had just added a daybed so Donald can snore the roof off without keeping me awake. For the past week and a half our living room has resembled a unit at Public Storage!

Saturday is the wedding anniversary of these same grandparents who's china, furniture and photos I have finally inherited so I am working toward getting things photographed and scanned for a post.

My parents had a few sets of nice china
when they divorced. Dad had this one.
I love seeing it again & can't wait to use it.

Until then I am drowning immersed in my history instead of researching it, but I am making progress and I'll be back Saturday!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

BAD Blogger

I've been a bad blogger lately.

I cannot keep up with reading blogs the past few weeks, much less posting myself.

Anna Katerina Mansdotter Svensson
Donald and I spent this Sunday at my step-mothers house. Ten years after my father's death I was finally able to find two boxes filled with family documents, keepsakes and about 100 loose photos. They are sitting in sealed boxes filled with rice at the moment to try and remove some of the dampness from decades of sitting in envelopes in their basement. Next we'll move on to getting rid of the musty smell and then scanning and storage.

If I don't come across in this blog post as appropriately excited, believe me, I AM!!  I found things and photos that I didn't even know existed. I was able to bring things home (china, silver, furniture) that I had not seen in years. I am emotionally and physically spent by the excitement of my discoveries, by spending hours in the car Saturday and Sunday and the hauling of all these things up to our 2nd-floor apartment on Sunday night.

The photo above is just one of my finds. It is a picture of my 2nd great-grandmother Anna Katerina Mansdotter Svensson, wife of Anders Svensson, mother of my paternal grandmother's father, Carl Johan Anderson. I never imagined that I would see a photo of her. My great-grandfather must have brought the photo to America with him when he immigrated in the 1880s.

This will be another busy week but I hope to find the time to plan a few posts and get back in the swing by the end of the week.


Anders Svensson m. Anna Katerina Mansdotter

their son

Carl Johan Anderson m. Mathilda Alfina Johnson

their daughter

Dagmar Alice Viola Anderson m. Howard Bierly Matthews

their son

Stephen David Matthews was my father.