Monday, August 21, 2017

Cousins, cousins and more cousins

One of the things I enjoy about family history research is connecting with various cousins from all across the county (and beyond), from different branches of my family tree, connecting through a number of different places.

I’ve “met” family from California, Texas, New York, even emails from Afghanistan. I’ve made connections with people through Ancestry family trees, Ancestry DNA matches, Find A Grave photo requests, comments on my blog, other blogs, message board posts, obituaries and more.

Most communications are by email with a few letters, but I’ve had a chance to meet some people in the flesh too. When I was in college, my mom and I traveled to Pennsylvania and met up with a cousin who showed us different family sights. In more recent years I’ve had coffee a few times with a 4th cousin, twice removed (or half 3rd cousin, twice removed, depending on how you want to look at things). We first met and emailed through Ancestry a number of years ago and then reconnected when I moved to “her” town.

My first look at Elizabeth (McPherson) Phares.
Thanks Cousin Gail!
One of my recent DNA matches has a fun coincidence in that we are twice related - he’s a 3rd cousin to my dad and a 3rd cousin to my mom!

And of course the shared information is fantastic! One cousin helped solve a family name mystery, another shared information on family letter from the 1600s she had discovered, and just this month I was sent some photos and I saw my 3rd great-grandmother for the first time.

And the story continues – this week, I’ve having lunch with a couple more cousins I’ve recently connected with. Here’s to meeting more family and sharing more stories!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Verdette Walters - Minister and ... cheer leader?

I made a fun discovery in yearbooks on Ancestry today. 
In looking for Walters family in Iowa, I found several entries for Verdette Walters, the younger brother of my great-grandpa Cecil Lloyd Walters. Both brothers would become minsters, although I don't believe my Grandpa Walters had any formal training. Verdette, however, attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. The college was and still is affiliated with the Methodist Church.

Verdette was involved in several organizations while at school, including being president and vice-president of several groups.
From the yearbook, Verdette's Junior year, 1929:
To see "Shorty" coming down the street you would think he was going to a fire somewhere, but owing to the fact that he is so tremendously short he feels that he must hurry to catch up with himself. He finds time to be a student-pastor at a small church in Luton, Iowa, balance a tray at the Dorm, and display his pugilistic tendencies on the mat in the gym to a profitable advantage.
(Verdette had a twin sister who also went by the nickname "Shorty." I remember meeting her when I was young.)

Verdette added one more activity to his resume in his Senior year when he became a member of the Yell-leading Squad.
Before a really successful "Pep" Chapel can be held, it is necessary to have an organized team of yell-leaders to stir up the pep that is latent within us students. Accordingly, competitive tryouts for a cheering squad were held in the chapel a week before the first football game last fall. The judges, consisting of representatives from the faculty and three veterans...viewed the efforts of the ten or fifteen who had signified their desire to become contortionists for the glory of old Morningside. The hopeful aspirants, seated on the chapel platform, nervously awaited their turn. Each man led two yells, and when he had finished took his seat amid a storm of applause - whether any good or no. After considerable of [sic] solemn deliberation the judges decided upon Ervin Hutchison, a Freshman, and Verdette Walters, a Senior, to complete the roaring five. Our new yell squad, resplendent in uniforms of maroon and white, were first seen in action at the Augustana football game, where their earnest pleadings brought forth most satisfactory results, and gave promise of a successful cheer season.
Verdette Walters (far left) and he fellow yell-leaders

Following college, Verdette married Vera Schuetz, also a student at Morningside. The couple made their way to California and Verdette served in various churches and as a chaplain in the US Army. He was in World War II and the Korean War. A sermon given in 1943 quoted Verdette on his feelings of serving the troops. “Not many of us relish the idea of ‘this war’ --- but under the circumstances, this opportunity to really serve one’s country through serving the young men in the army --- is proving to be an experience I would not have missed.” Verdette enlisted from 1943-1946 and again from 1947-1954.

Sources: Morningside College Yearbooks, 1928-1930, 1933,; Find A Grave; Department of Military Death Files,; sermon by Robert Wells Kingdon.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ruth Lindberg (1885-1918)

Daughter of August and Alma Lindberg, my great-great aunt.

I sometimes find myself feeling a bit melancholy when I come across someone in my tree who died early in life. In a few generations, I wonder, will anyone be interested in the great aunts and uncles who died without leaving spouses or children? Will they be remembered?

Ruth, Esther, Agnes, Carl, Beda, Lillie, Jessie
Jeanette, August, Alma, Eldon
One such person is Ruth Lindberg. She was the daughter of August and Alma Lindberg, and sister to my great grandma, Agnes (Lindberg) Lundeen. Ruth died at the age of 23 as a result of the Spanish Influenza, a pandemic which (according to Wikipedia) killed 3-5 percent of the world population.

I recently visited the Wright County Historical Society to research some family. One of the things I was hoping to find was an obituary or some mention of Ruth in the local papers.  I wasn’t sure what I would find, mainly because much of the Lindberg family had only been living in Cokato, MN for about a year.

I was glad to find the following article in the Cokato Enterprise.
Friday morning, when the sudden and startling news was broken, that Miss Ruth Lindberg was dead, her friends could hardly believe it.
Ruth was a healthy and robust young woman and was admired by all her many friends, for her sweet and smiling face that beamed with joy and gladness. She had the charm of life which made for her friends who learned to love and admire her.
Miss Lindberg was ever thoughtful of others and found that delight in whole-hearted Christian character helping others. Her unselfish and [sic] won her many friends. Miss Lindberg had been in poor health while helping her sister’s family, that was ill, and it was thought best that she be taken to the hospital, and though she seemed to gain, pneumonia developed and her death followed at 5 o’clock, Friday, Oct 25, 1918.
She was born at Alta, Iowa, Feb. 2, 1895, and gave her heart to Jesus Christ at an early age. She was a member of the Mission church and the Young People’s society and an earnest Sunday school worker. She leaves to mourn her, a father and mother, six sisters, two brothers and a host of friends. Peace to her memory. Ruth is gone, but to us her life speaks sweetly. Soon the promised great reunion will be here when Jesus Christ will bring them with Him, who have died in faith, when their bodies rise in resurrection glory and we shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Him in the air. What a gathering that will be. It is a blessed privilege to live in constant expectation of this morning. Then shall we know the mystery of our sorrows, and the tears wept down here will then sparkle like jewels, for we shall then find out that all these things worked out for good for them who loved the Lord. 

Ruth is buried alongside her parents in the Cokato Cemetery.