Saturday, August 22, 2009

Roots--16 Great-Great Grands!

A few weeks ago, Randy Seaver threw out a Saturday night genealogy challenge:

Do you have a pedigree chart that shows you as #1 and goes back five generations? If not, you should make one! Fire up your software program and create a report and save it (you'll see why in a minute!).

Here is your SNGF assignment for the evening (if you choose to accept it - this is not stump the genealogist or even Mission Impossible):
  1. List your 16 great-great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.
  2. Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.
  3. Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 - 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).
  4. If you don't know all 16 of your great-great-grandparents, then do it for the last full generation you have.
  5. Write your own blog post, or make a comment on Facebook or in this post.
Here's mine:
  1. François Joseph Kempf, was born on 10 Nov 1822 in Niederentzen, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France, died on 15 Apr 1891 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried on 15 Apr 1891 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  2. Marie Anna Weber, was born on 8 Jan 1835 in Mitzach, Haut Rhin , Alsace, France and died on 24 Aug 1921 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  3. Andreas Keller II, was born on 13 May 1824 in Oberentzen, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France, died on 8 Sep 1889 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried on 9 Sep 1889 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  4. Catherina Dreyer, was born on 19 Feb 1822 in Haut Rhin, Alasce, France, died on 5 Aug 1893 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried in 1893 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  5. Jacques Bietiger, was born on 6 May 1835 in Falkwiller, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France,12 died on 12 Dec 1876 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  6. Anna Maria Haldy, was born on 12 Aug 1843 in Oderen, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France, died on 27 Jul 1906 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried on 28 Jul 1906 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  7. August Holzhaus was born on 17 Jul 1836 in Vechta, Niedersachsen, Germany, died on 7 Jun 1925 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried on 9 Jun 1925 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. GERMAN.
  8. Catherine Mehr, was born on 29 Nov 1842 in Oberentzen, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France and died on 1 Jan 1933 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  9. Henry William Keller, Sr., was born on 23 Jan 1848 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, died on 5 Jan 1927 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas,11 and was buried in 1927 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  10. Mary Rose Bohl, was born on 9 Feb 1857 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, died on 12 May 1911 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried in 1911 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  11. Emil Zinsmeyer, was born on 25 Jul 1865 in Bandera, Bandera County, Texas and died on 3 Jul 1932 in Lacoste, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  12. Mary Magdelena Echtle, was born on 7 May 1867 in Hinterohlsbach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany and died on 27 Sep 1939 in Lacoste, Medina County, Texas. GERMAN.
  13. Sebastian Tschirhart, was born on 10 Apr 1849 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas and died on 12 May 1931 in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  14. Theresa Johanna Biry, was born on 17 May 1857 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas and died in 1889 in Bandera, Bandera County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  15. Joseph Haegelin II, was born on 5 Nov 1845 in Castroville, Texas and died on 5 Mar 1940 in Rio Medina, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  16. Catherine Sophia Haby, was born on 15 May 1859 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas and died on 12 Sep 1930 in Rio Medina, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
My "nationalities" are 8 AMERICAN, 6 ALSATIAN and 2 GERMAN - so 50% AMERICAN, 37.5% ALSATIAN, 12.5% German. Another generation back would be almost exclusively immigrants and add the lines of POLISH and SWISS (1 each). [NOTE: Some of you are going to argue that Alsace is not a country/nationality, but I am going to use that as a designation because it is so unique. Growing up, I would have never identified with the French, no offense, but the customs and traditions of my family are more aligned with German than French. Alsace has been a German-speaking region of France and my grandparents spoke Alsatian fluently in the home. Alsace exchanged hands several times between Germany and France in the 19th century.]

This was real easy to do once I created a report in Legacy Family Tree 7.0. I went to the Report menu and chose "Books and Other" and then selected "Ancestry". On the right side, there is a printer menu and I selected RTF file, clicked the "Create" button, opened the file in Word Pad (Windows Accessories) and copied/pasted the 5th generation into the post above. Easy!

As Randy says on his blog, "One of the great things about writing a blog post like this is that now other searchers can find you on the Internet in a search engine." Thanks Randy for the great tips and a quick blog post for this week!

By the way....I found Randy's blog post in a circuitous manner....I saw Henk Van Kampen's tweet on Twitter and he pointed me toward Randy's post!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dad's Memories of the Corn Harvest on the Andrew Kempf Farm circa 1940's

Hello genealogy friends!

It has been awhile! I am still alive and well in Maryland, just extremely busy! I just began a huge undertaking and it is taking up all (and I mean ALL) of my free time! I just began a graduate certificate program for my "day" job! The certificate is in Administration & Supervision and will open some more doors for me in the future if I decide to spread my wings!

Nevertheless, a new blog post landed in my lap today when I opened up an email from my Mother. She is a wonderful writer and does a fabulous job as the family oral historian. I have both of my grandfathers on tape (gotta get them on some digital device!) and now she is working on my father. So far, I think they are in written form, but I do believe my niece made a podcast of him singing anAlsatian anthem in the Alsatian Dialect (Note to self--get ahold of that tape!).

Here is the story that my mother transcribed and emailed to me and my three brothers:

[Note: I added the photos to illustrate his story!]

Question Prompt: Mark, what do you remember about the corn harvest when you were growing up on the Andrew Kempf farm?

The Andrew Kempf Homestead, unknown date

Andrew and Lucille Kempf on their wedding day, December 29, 1931

Mark Kempf's Reply: [As told to Roselyn Keller Kempf, his wife]
This was about in 1943 and I was not old enough to pick the corn – I was about 7 years old – and my job was to “drive” the wooden wagon, which was pulled by 2 mules. The mules were owned by my dad, Andrew. I had to hold the reins and say “giddy yap and whoa” I would tap the rear ends of the mules with the reins and say something and they would go – and they would stop when I said “whoa” – most of the time. Daddy (Andrew) picked 4 to 6 rows of corn on the side and Gerald (my older brother) picked the two rows that the wagon drove over that were on the ground – they would throw the ears of dried corn on the wagon. The wooden wagon (we still have the wagon in the barn) had a high board on one side opposite they would throw the corn so it could fall into the wagon on the low side. They went up and down the rows till the wagon was full. Then came the hard part. We took the wagon back to the house and we had to shovel the ears of corn into the barn, using a big corn shovel ( I still use that same shovel in the garden now). The ears were still in their shucks.
Back into the field and picked more corn until it was picked. Gerald got 10 cents a row and I got 10 cents a load. The corn was not planted as close together as it is now. But you could buy a lot of candy for 10 cents at that time. There were about 60 acres in corn and it made about 50 or 60 bushels to the acre. It was also a different kind of corn in those days – it was white corn and not hybrid, meaning some could be saved to replant the next year – which Daddy did. It may have taken a month or more to get all the corn in from the fields and it was around May or June. That was our summer job. The corn did not have to be completely dry as it is now with the combine method, because the corn went into a barn to finish drying before it was shelled. Now with the combine shelling the corn as it is harvested, it goes straight to some grain company, like Keller Grain Inc., so they wait until it is dry in the fields. The first improvement we had on the Kempf Farm, was that we got rid of the mules, and used a tractor to pull the wagon. But we still hand picked the corn. This was when I was about 10 – can’t remember for sure how old I was. Uncle Ulrich Kempf bought a corn picker (not a combine) a 2-row picker that was mounted on a tractor. It pulled the corn off the stalk and augered it into the wagon – all at one time. We thought wonder what – we did not have to pick corn any more. When that wagon got full, we pulled it to the barn and we had a lift that was run off a belt from the tractor that got the corn into a trough and the tractor would run the elevator up and push the corn into a hole into the roof of the barn. Before the elevator system, we shoveled the corn into the barn by hand. The problem with the mechanized corn-picking system was a lot
of the ears would fall onto the ground when the tractor turned the corner to go to the next row. So - guess what – we had to go and pick the end of the rows of corn by hand before the corn-picker got there – so no corn would be wasted. And sometimes we just went down the rows to make sure that no corn had fallen to the ground and would be left behind. No waste. After the corn was in the barn, we had to wait for someone to bring the corn Sheller to by – there about 3 or 4 people in the county that had a corn Sheller – it was a big investment and few could afford one. They would bring the corn Sheller by and go up to the barn and a few boys and men would get inside the barn on top of the pile of corn (it was dirty and dusty in there) and shovel or push it into a trough at the barn door on the ground and it would elevate it up on the metal trough to the Sheller where it would separate the shucks and cobs from the kernels of corn – the machine would auger the kernels into a wagon – from there we would take the wagon of corn kernels to Mangold Grain Company at La Coste. Nowadays the combine does the picking, shelling and putting into the truck in one operation and it takes maybe one full day to complete what took us a month or more, not counting the shelling. When the corn was shelled, we let the cobs lay on the ground on a pile – but the shucks were baled into big bales to feed to the cows in winter. We put a little molasses on them sometimes to make them more palatable for the cows. (What great fiber ! – r.k.) The same guys who came to shell the corn brought a baler along for the purpose of baling the shucks. I think the Zinsmeyers had a Sheller. Everybody helped everybody when there was a shelling. The farmers would follow the Sheller and go from place to place. I remember Uncle Bernard Biediger, Uncle Ulrich Kempf, Ernie Rhin, and some Echtles, all helping and going to each other’s farms. There was a crew of guys with the Sheller, but the relatives and friends also were there. We had to feed them a break in the morning – probably homemade bread and homemade butter and homemade molasses (most every year we took our sugar cane to the Echtles at LaCoste – Aunt Oliva’s family to have molasses made) Also a dinner - mostly fried chicken (we raised the chickens), homemade beans and noodles (If it was Friday it was only beans and noodles). Another break around 3 in the afternoon – more homemade bread and butter and homemade preserves like fig (we lots of fig trees) – lots of water, tea and lemonade. Mama (Lucille) and whoever was around – the wives of the farmers – would cook in our kitchen, which had no air conditioning. We came into the house or on the porch to eat – there were no disposable plates, so the women washed dishes and got ready for the next meal while we men went back to corn shelling. At the end of the day, there were a few cold beers – but we young kids never drank beer.
It was bottled
beer as there was no canned beer in those days. It would take a day or two to shell all the corn. One of the barns still stands that Daddy built to store the corn. The elevator and lift still is at Gibby’s place. I helped with the corn picking and shelling through the draught of the 1950’s and then it became more mechanized – the combines came into being – and when I was in High School, I went to work at Leon’s
(now Sammy’s) and also went on a milk delivery tru
ck, which went to Uvalde, delivering glass bottles of milk to stores. I had to get up a 4 in the morning to get on the truck – I did that only one summer – did not want to get up at 4 in the morning. I got about 50 cents or less an hour for that job.

[Note on photographs in the above story. They are not necessarily meant to depict the people at the time period my father was talking about. They are to give the reader a better idea of the people in the story. The top photo of the little boy with long hair (sitting in a chair) is my father, Mark Kempf! Later, there is a photo of him with his older brother, Gerald. There is also another one of my father by himself as a young boy. The photo of the horse & tractor team is not identified. The photo of the men working on the tractor (Biry tractor) shows Ulrich Kempf (my father's uncle) in a dark black hat on the far left. The other men are not identified. The two young men standing next to the old car are my father's uncles, Bernard (left) and David (right) Biediger).]

More photographs:

This is an early photo of Andrew Kempf, Julius Mechler & Joe Naegelin playing around!

Andrew Kempf's brother, Ulrich. Andrew & Ulrich's property was adjoining and part of the larger, original Alsatian homestead (from Benjamin Kempf)

Ulrich's son, Gilbert (Gibby) Kempf--Dad's first cousin and the same age. They grew up together and then Gibby's children and my brothers' and I played together. Gilbert still lives on part of the Ulrich Kempf homestead with his wife.

Note from Roselyn Keller Kempf:
I asked Mark about his early memories of corn harvest and as we are at the computer, we can look out and see the field of now harvested corn that borders our yard - the same field Mark worked in as a young boy. The farmer who is renting the Kempf Farm land, Morris Salzman and his son, Travis, have about finished combining. They started yesterday afternoon late and came today to finish. They got into their pickup and left for lunch – no homemade beans and noodles or fresh homemade bread and butter unless they went to Sammy’s, who I think still makes homemade noodles and beans on Fridays. Their combine and tractor are air-conditioned with a closed cab so they do not have to sit in the dust and heat and they told Mark they have a GPS system so they can set the first round when they are plowing or planting and then the tractor automatically follows that pattern – they do not have to steer so can plant or plow a straight line – but still hand turn the corners at the end of the rows. I do not think the combine has the GPS only the tractor.

Times have definitely improved the lot of the farmer –
but he still is at the mercy of the weather – they have not figured how to order rain at the right time! The Salzman’s rent a lot of land from various people, some of which is irrigated and some of which is not – as the Kempf Farm. I am sure they will make much profit on the irrigated corn this year – because here the corn got maybe 6 inches of rain. And a lot of heat! It is 103 on the patio now – and I can see the sunflower field at Gibby’s is blooming bright yellow out the window. They planted that for Dove Hunting season.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Web 2.0 and Genealogy Research--My Favorites!

Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt

Week #14: Talk about the different types of technology you use in your genealogy research. Whether it’s a new search engine, a special application, or anything else “2.0,” let readers know what you’re working with, and how it’s working for you.

Flickr--yes, this is a photo sharing site, but I couldn't live without it! I have family and friends in two continents, six states and this the main way I share photos with them. I upload photos here more than facebook. I especially like the "leave a comment" feature that I use to "tag" and identify individuals in group photograhs. My relatives can comment on the photographs and assist in the identification process or just add their two-cents worth! Here is one photo that my father chimed in on. I have quite a few faces to identify as you can see!

Facebook (fb)

  • "Friend" fellow genealogists and keep up with their status updates
  • Follow multiple blogs on the fb application, Networked Blogs
  • Become of "fan" of genealogy related sites or "join" a group to stay up-date-with your favorite applications/groups/software. Here are just a few groups/pages on fb that I follow:
    • Geneabloggers--Thanks Thomas MacEntee and gang! They are a wonderful support for both veteran and newbie bloggers. I love the weekly blog post ideas for inspiration!

    • Legacy Family Tree--My genealogy software
    • Clooz--Organizational software that I use. It is an electric filing cabinet that assists you with search and retrieval of important facts that you have found during the ancestor hunt. Clooz shows you the relationship between documents, whereas, genealogical software (i.e., Legacy, Family Tree, etc.) shows the relationship between people.
    • Facebook Friends of the National Archives

    • National Genealogical Society


  • Post a status message when your blog gets updated. Your followers will be alerted and follow the link to read it. The reverse is also possible as long as the people that you are following do likewise. I was creating the post manually, until I discovered....

Tweet Later

  • I use this service to automate a Twitter post from my blog when it gets updated. This is easy and there is a tutorial! I don't have to remember to log into Twitter to "advertise" that I updated my blog.

  • I also use this service to set up a keyword search. Periodically, Tweet Later will search ALL of the tweets for the specific Key Word(s) that you request. The results will be sent to you in your email inbox (it can get to be a long list depending on what you search on). You can search on "genealogy," specific genealogical organizations or particular people's names. This is a huge time saver because you don't have to constantly stay on Twitter to monitor status posts for something you are interested in. Also, you will learn about posts of people that you may not be currently be following (but you may decide to follow them after you discover that they are posting information on a topic that interests you!). Tutorial is here.


  • I use this application to organize the Twitter people that I am following. Not everyone that I follow has posts on genealogy, so I set up groups in Tweet Deck. One group is titled, "genealogy." I have another group of "close friends" another on "librarians." This way, my twitter posts are organized according to subject (more or less). This is a much more efficient way to read Twitter than by logging into the Internet version of Twitter.

  • TweetDeck has now integrated with FaceBook and one of your groups is automatically your Facebook friends. It is so nice to be able to scan that column for the latest status posts from your fb friends. You don't have to login to fb either! have been a full subscriber for many years and I couldn't live without it! new site and I love the social networking aspect! A big bonus...they are uploading Texas birth and death certificates and I am saving them just as fast as they appear online! You can create your own pages and link your own uploaded information with Footnote content. See this page on my great-great grandfather.

iGoogle (How I organize my RSS feeds)

  • The only thing I will say about this fabulous application is to read an earlier post that I created on this application!

Well, I could go on a bit more, but since this is my first blog post in about 6-weeks, I'll call it a night and publish this entry!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: William Christman Children

The children of William and Margaret [Kelliher] Christman (my husband's great grandparents). We have only identified the oldest girl. We are unsure if the child to the far left is a boy or girl? The baby could possibly be my husband's grandfather. Circa 1912 in Brooklyn, New York.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Harry and Mary A[deline] [McDonald] Anderson

Anderson Headstone
Originally uploaded by Andrea Christman
St. Charles Cemetery (Farmingdale, Nassau, New York). My husband's paternal great grandparents. They are end-of-line for this branch. I have not put much energy into this couple and their common last names don't give me much hope! Adeline's maiden name was McDonald! One day I will have to get busy....The gravestone doesn't even have dates! They were both born in 1882 (exact date not known) in Brooklyn (I'm assuming) and Harry died around 1970.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Alphabet Soup...Oh Brother!

11th Edition of Smile for the Camera!
Prompt: The word prompt for the 11th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Brothers & Sisters. Were they battling brothers, shy little sisters, or was it brother & sister against the world? Our ancestors often had only their siblings for company. Were they best friends or not? Show us that picture that you found with your family photographs or in your collection that shows your rendition of brothers & sisters. Bring them to the carnival and share.  Admission is free with every photograph!

The next Carnival submission for March is on brothers and sisters and I immediately thought of this photo of my brothers and me. If you look closely, you will see wooden blocks spread across the floor and my two younger brothers are bare-foot. That was their usual mode of dress and boy were the bottom of their feet like shoe leather from running wild in the "country" where this house is located (and where my parents still live). The four of us were born within 5 1/2 years, consequently, we grew up together with similiar memories and experiences. I can't say that every moment was filled with loving, tender moments; but now that we are all grown with families of our own, we really enjoy being around each other and have truly grown to be friends! Derek and Craig still live in Texas (San Antonio), Ben lives outside of Denver, Colorado and I live outside of Washington, DC.  Whole family gatherings are not as often as we would like, but we do manage to squeeze visits with each other into our hectic schedules. At least the distance keeps Mom and Dad young by hustling them all over the US to "keep things even" and visit with each family. Thanks Mom & Dad--you have given us a great Legacy!
Our names are alphabetized from A-D; A being the oldest (that's me!)
Left to Right: Derek (3yr 5mo), Craig (4yr 4 mo), Benjamin (6yr), Andrea [me] (8yr)

My Brothers, My Friends
I love my brothers, my brothers love me. 
My friends, my heros, they always will be.
In sundry ways our uniqueness is clear.
I have gone gone far, but my heart is near.
They like playing sports and being outside.
I prefer play music and playing inside.
Sometimes we fight and scream at each other,
but always my friend for they are my brother.

Adapted from poem submitted by: Michele' Cobb
(Submitted by: scrapfauxfun)