Sunday, September 2, 2018

Week 35 - Back to School

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart! Teaching is a family occupation with us. I spent 6 years teaching adult school, my brother taught high school for 15 years and currently still works in the school environment, my cousin retired from teaching, my mother was a substitute teacher for years and my father taught and coached for 21 years! There was/is a lot of respect for the good teachers, the ones who motivate their students, who care about them in a broad sense and who teach in such a manner that the students retain and understand the information.

Aunt Carmoleta and my oldest in 1990
My family in the above paragraph were all teachers in a time we would all recognize. Books, chalkboards, central heat and air, and teaching one subject. My story this week is about the first teacher I know of in my family – my great aunt Carmoleta (Quint) Minear. Aunt Carmoleta was my maternal grandmothers sister, 3 years older. She was born in 1909. My memories of Aunt Carmoleta are many. She and my grandma were very close and we always went to see her when we went to see grandma. She loved kids and kids loved her. I don't remember not knowing that she was a teacher, and I don't remember when I first got a hint that there was a story behind that fact. I always loved the family stories so I may have been young. It wasn't until fairly recently that I got the details of her story, and I think it is an interesting one.

Born Wardie Carmoleta Quint, she was named after her Aunt Wardie Meals and according to her, the
Carmoleta and sister Nellie (my grandma)
name Carmoleta came from a circus that went through the area and her dad liked the name. It always sounded exotic to me so I understand grandad liking it. Having a fascinating name doesn't automatically make you interesting but she certainly was. My mother describes her mom and Aunt Carmoleta as similar but different. My grandma Nellie could look at things and figure out how they worked. She was a seamstress, musician, crafter, canner, farmer, painter, crocheter and was better at fixing machinery than grandad. Aunt Carmoleta was a teacher, writer, poet, philosopher and farmer. They were both remarkable women and they both could do just about anything they set their minds to.

Aunt Carmoleta (left), sister Nellie, brother Glenn
Aunt Carmoleta's family lived near Greencastle MO during her first 8 years of school, and she was able to go to the local 1st - 8th grade school and she was able to do a year of high school, but then the family had a run of bad financial luck and lost the house and had to move 12 miles away. In the new place there was not a high school nearby. Remember there were no school buses yet, everyone had to walk or ride a horse. I'm sure it was different in towns but my family never did live in towns!
Aunt Carmoleta wanted to teach. Back in the late 20's and early 30's you could teach at a rural school (think one room) if you had a high school diploma. High School was not the norm for male children in rural areas let alone a girl child. Lucky kids got to stay in school until 8th grade.


Edna Edith Quint Singley
Well I did tell you already she was a teacher so you know a solution was found. Her aunt and uncle Walter and Edna Edith (Quint) Singley offered to let her stay with them in Green City, MO, which did have a high school, and she was able to graduate from Green City High School. (She named her oldest girl Edna)

She immediately started teaching in rural schools, and she loved it. She started taking college classes (normal school) in the summers and everything was going just fine for about five years. Along came the man of her dreams, Gail Minear. You've probably seen those “rules for teachers” from the old
Marriage License upper right corner
days, and you might remember that they were not supposed to get married! Aunt Carmoleta and the man who was to become Uncle Gail, were set on marrying. They went to Linneus Missouri which was about 50 miles from their hometown and got married in secret. Small towns have not changed much and sooner or later everyone knows everything, and this was no different. I have never heard who found out and started talking, I'm not sure they ever knew! Someone did though and soon the school board knew as well. I think it says good things about Aunt Carmoleta that they let her teach to the end of the year.

She and Uncle Gail raised three children and lived on the farm. When her children were grown she went back to teaching and taking classes. She got her BA degree when she was in her 60's and continued teaching for a few more years. Everyone we've ever met that had her for a teacher said she was their favorite teacher. She taught the lower grades and made the eventual transition from 1st thru 8th in one room to teaching one class in a grade school.

I think she was pretty remarkable! 



Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Family Legends - "Uncle Jack Meals"

Walter (Grandpa), Charlotte and oldest sons
I had heard the story all my life. Grandpa went to Alaska during the gold rush...



My maternal grandmothers father (my great grandfather) went to Alaska in 1900, at the urging of his uncle (his mother's brother), who had gone in 1898. He came home with, according to family legend, a gold nugget he had made into a ring. He did not become rich, unfortunately for the rest of us. 
 
 
 

Andrew J and Hannah Meals and Children

 
 
 
 
 
 

His uncle though, became the stuff of family legends. 'Uncle Jack Meals' was that legend. He had moved from Missouri to Nebraska, he went to Alaska. He was the quintessential gold rush guy in my mind, and I even had a mental picture of him that included a pick and shovel and all the trimmings. Here was the best part...he stayed in Valdez, Alaska! Alaska...home of Grizzly bears and Caribou and Igloos, home of the tallest mountains in North America, home of Louis L'Amour novels and stories. Alaska loomed large in my mind back then, the romance of the 'last frontier' in the mind of a 'western girl'.




List of gold rushers showing Grandpa Walter Quint
Fast forward to 1997. My Grandmother was a month and a half away from 85 and she too had always wanted to go to Alaska, to see the place her father went. So she did, and she took her 3 daughters and their husbands with her. They stayed in B & B's, they went fishing for salmon and halibut, they saw a lot of country, and they went to Valdez, where they were hoping to find a trace of Uncle Jack. They stayed in a B & B in Valdez that just happened to be run by a lady who was a veritable historian of Valdez. She knew the Meals family...

List of gold rushers showing AJ Meals



Andrew Jackson Meals went to Alaska in February of 1898 with another man from Nebraska, George Cheever Hazelet. Mr Hazelet was a former Superintendent of Schools and was well educated. He kept a journal, painstakingly handwritten at the time. The history lady at the B & B had a copy and let mom and her sisters copy it. There was a home built by A.J. Meals' son Owen that they got to tour, there were streets named 'Meals' and 'Hazelet', they got to meet Marie who was a cousin, just a couple of years younger than grandma! Turned out Uncle Jack and family were kind of famous! The only problem was they were near the end of their trip and would have liked to spend a little more time.

My mom spent a lot of time carefully copying and typing and, eventually we all had a typed copy of what we called Hazelet's Journal. It read like a novel, Hazelet was a good writer and he told the story well. Mom and her sister kind of wanted to go back, and I had wanted to go to Alaska forever it seemed. We had done some more research and found some more family history. Now we wanted to go there and see it, knowing where they were, we wanted to trace their footsteps as it were. When mom started making noises like she wanted to go soon, I shamelessly encouraged her. We decided on the summer of 2018 in the summer of 2017.

A.J. and Hannah Meals
I decided I needed to reread Hazelet's Journal since it had been quite awhile. I had forgotten it ended sadly – the last phrase he wrote was “sign yourself a failure and quit”. I knew though, that he had become successful, and I sort of needed a happier ending. I went on the internet and googled him thinking I might get lucky....and did I ever! The first thing to pop up was a book titled “Hazelet's Journal”, I couldn't believe it and I raced to Amazon to check on this book, I was so excited when I read the synopses...it was the same journal, published by his great grandson John Clark! This journal though had the family pictures and some extra information and included pictures of A.J. Meals that we had never seen. I immediately ordered two, one for me and one for mom. Of course both her sisters had to have one as well, and now we were well and truly 'up for the trip'.




The vast expanses of Denali NP




So we went to Alaska, my Mom, her sister Aunt E, my brother and his wife and myself and my husband. We decided to do the big circle leaving Anchorage...we went to Denali national Park, we went to Fairbanks, we went to Tok. All of this was beautiful, fun and educational, but now we were coming to the goal...





Mom and Aunt E on the Copper River
The road from Tok to Valdez. We didn't have any information that indicated that the Meals and Hazelet party got all the way to Tok, but we knew that they had been quite far north in their search for gold and eventually copper. We knew they got to Mentasta Lake and Mentasta Pass on the early trips. We stopped at every pullout with a sign in it and took lots of pictures. It was an interesting feeling being where they were, standing in some of the same places they stood and comparing our present day views to the pictures in the books. We ate in the community of Copper Center where all of the 'gold-rushers' stopped in to rest and pick up mail etc..
Thompson Pass from the top




We went over Thompson Pass on the roadway that my great grandfather helped to build. (much improved, to our delight!) 









 We stopped at the Gakona Roadhouse Mentioned in the Journal...


 And Gakona still had one of the original buildings.  We knew this was a place they had been!












We got to Valdez, home of AJ Meals...

Description of the climb over the Glacier
Valdez! The first night was a meal on the wharf – wonderful seafood. And we drove around just looking at the town. It's not that big – a little less than 4000 people. Getting a feel for where things were. The next day we did two museums, and there - all over - were Uncle Jack Meals and his son Owen Meals, Owen was an aviation pioneer in Alaska among other things. We were just tickled at how much information we were finding on the family that we didn't have before. Around noon-ish we were eating and it turned out Mom and Aunt E and I were the only ones who wanted to go out to the old townsite (pre-1964 earthquake) and the cemetery.
pre 1964 location
Having watched the videos and the scenes from old Valdez and the aftermath of the 1964 earthquake (still the 3rd biggest in the world), and read stories about the people who were killed in the earthquake the old site was kind of eerie. They moved the homes that could be moved and burned those that were left as a safety hazard. The Meals and Hazelet families donated land for the new townsight of Valdez (where it is now). Going to the museums in the morning and watching the videos of the earthquake and the interviews of survivors made the old site much more meaningful.




We continued on to the cemetery to take pictures of the headstones of the Meals relatives...
Andrew Jackson Meals -  "Uncle Jack"
 Alaska is famous for it's mosquitoes, there is a joke about the state bird being the mosquito. The cemetery was full of them and we were walking up and down the rows looking for Uncle Jack's headstone and swatting bugs, when this nice woman came up to Aunt E and asked her who she was looking for... she might be able to help. When Aunt E told her who we were searching for, she asked if we were related and we said yes, turns out she was a descendant as well and a cousin of ours! She was there visiting her mother's grave as it would have been her mother's birthday and she had passed not long ago.
Our Alaska cousins!
She called her cousin who lived in town and she met us at the coffee shop with an envelope full of pictures of Jack Meals – some of which are in the book 'Hazelets Journal'! We sat and visited until the coffee shop closed, took pictures, traded emails and swore we would stay in touch. It was such a treat to talk to them and it really was like we had known each other forever, they were both so comfortable.

By the time we got back to the hotel my brother and his wife had decided they wanted to go for a helicopter ride over the glacier. Mom and I and Hubby decided not to (I was sure my vertigo and a helicopter would not be a good combo!) but Aunt E thought that sounded cool and she would go along as well. They made reservations and Mom and I agreed to drive them to the airport. The road to the airport wound up toward the Valdez glacier where the helicopter would take them and we decided we had time to drive up it a little ways. We ended up going all the way to the lake at the foot of the glacier and it was kind of amazing how cold the breeze was just blowing over the lake. We were standing at the foot of the mountain looking up, knowing that the glacier covered the top of that huge summit, trying to imagine pulling supplies for a year over the top of that.
Mike at the airport
 We went back to the airport and met the guy who worked there, a pilot, who asked the innocent question “what brings you to Valdez?” and got the Meals connection story! He then told us that Owen Meals was his hero and he used to visit him at his home and feed bluebirds, that Owen was the reason he learned to fly and that his dad and Owen were friends and he told us some stories about them. The helicopter ride was enjoyed by our intrepid 3 but we all agreed that meeting new friends and relatives was the high point of the day! Our new acquaintances had managed to lift Uncle Jack and his son off the pages of newspaper articles and out of the museum displays and make them real people.  What a treat that was!






Valdez Glacier 2018

Grandpa helped build the road from Valdez that eventually connected them to Fairbanks. He then came home and lived his life apparently content in Northeast Missouri. Uncle Jack stayed out there on the frontier and became an important and influential pioneer, helping to settle the Valdez area, and contributing to the development of the transportation systems. His son Owen was one of Alaska's Aviation pioneers, he was a pilot and served as the manager of the Valdez Airport until 1964, started the Valdez Electric Light and Water Company, and he ran his own Ford dealership.

In the picture above is the Glacier trail.  The glacier covered up to the two peaks in the middle and the trail led up and over, amazing when you really think of it!  There were two more days in our trip through Alaska and we had a wonderful time. Our family “legend” had not only turned out to be true, but was a bigger story than we ever guessed. We may have to investigate some other legends now...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Travel....week 28

In my living room sits an old 'steamer trunk', I use it for storing linens and guest towels, tablecloths
and cloth napkins. When I was a child, it was upstairs at grandma's house, in a cubbyhole, out of the way.  I and my cousins spent hours on the floor in front of it with our paternal grandmother, Lottie Kiehn, listening to her tell the stories that went with the items she would pull out of it. There was a scrapbook for each of our dads that she had kept since they were small, with every newspaper article from the small town paper, the fair ribbons for showing sheep, school papers and pictures. There were items that had been sent from my father when he was in the Air Force during the Korean War, and the pictures, the lace doilies, the christening dresses....it was a treasure trove to a little girl who already loved the family history and stories.

My grandmother got the trunk from her mother, who was the original owner. Grandma told the story that her mother had brought the trunk with her from the Volga region of Russia and the German Colony of Frank, Russia. My great grandmother Anna Elizabeth Crystal had packed all her clothing and a few pretty linens in the trunk and she and her husband George Frick were going to America. When they got to Hamburg Germany (which was a very long trip by wagon) Anna was ill and they wouldn't let her on board the ship. Grandpa was willing to go on ahead and send for her but she was having none of that and insisted that they go together. They finally arrived at the port of Galveston Texas in 1905, just 5 years after the devastating hurricane had leveled the seaport. They then took the train to Loveland Colorado where grandpas uncle was already living. There was a large community of Germans from Russia there, my grandma was born there and when she was old enough to start looking she found a young man whose family was from the same village in Russia but had taken a different path to America, at almost the same time.,,,

 




I have not found my grandad Kiehn's family on the passenger lists, but great grandpa's naturalization paperwork shows that they came in to New York.  From there took a train to American Falls Idaho and then covered wagon to Washington to a little town called Ritzville, which was one of many German-Russian towns in the area. When grandad was about 10 they moved to Loveland, Colorado so he could meet my grandmother.







Most, but not all, of the two families managed to leave Russia before the Revolution. One of my favorite stories of the immigration process was told by my great uncle Henry Meinzer. He would say “If anyone tells you they found my name in the records they are lying!” Uncle Henry's story is that he was sick when they got to New York and they were afraid they wouldn't be allowed in, he always swore he came into the country hanging onto his mothers leg under her voluminous wool skirts! Another story that I have never been able to document was the story that Uncle Adam Bernhardt helped the family get out of Russia, as they couldn't afford the tax required to leave. The family story was that he helped them across the border...somehow. He was the last of the family to make it to America.

The trunk is a reminder to me of the hardships, the travel, the sacrifice that went into my family becoming Americans.  The most memorable item in grandma's trunk was a beautiful doll.  She was 'Little Red Riding Hood' and she was fairly new, she was grandma's doll and we might - if we were good and very careful - get to hold her and touch her red velvet cloak.  Grandma never said it out loud, but we all knew that this was the doll she never had as a child. As immigrants making a new home, working in the fields, hiring out to other's when still a young girl, there was no money for pretty dolls.  This doll was her dream, and it was special. It helped those of  us who were benefiting from the sacrifices to appreciate them a little more.

They certainly came a long way...


Friday, June 22, 2018

Same Names.....over and over and over...

At some point in my genealogy journey I came to a realization, and then developed a theory to go along with said realization.

           .....there were only about 10 names in use at any one time, 5 for men and 5 for women.  I am convinced there was a board of names somewhere and they chose the names for that current generation.  This went on until the mid 20th Century when lots of people bought radios and TV's and started wanting to be unique....

I first started noticing this when I was working on my Dads side of the family who were Germans from Russia aka Volga Germans.  I searched for a 'village list' at the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR) I got the list and started looking for my relatives.  There were hundreds of people listed but aside from a few outliers, these were what I found-
The men were;
Johann
Georg
Conrad
Frederich
Heinrich

And for the ladies;
Anna
Maria
Margaretha
Katarina/Catherine
Elizabeth

Within a 200 year period there were only 5 men and women who were not sharing these names!  I think I can be forgiven for thinking it was a conspiracy, ages in the making!

I would look at a family and see combinations of these names, sometimes more than once in the same family.  Corresponding with other Volga German family trackers I found that it was common to use the name of a child that had died on the next child born of the appropriate gender.  That can get real confusing, I have seen a name used for 3 different children in the same family with only the youngest living beyond childhood.  There were families with all of the children of each gender having the same first names with different middle names, reminding me of George Foreman!

Thinking this was just some German aberration, I moved on to my mothers side of the family.  there had been some work done on this side before by a cousin, so I was trying to add to what she had, working on the early Americans.  John, James, William, Henry, Samuel...I'm not kidding!  The ladies  were the same - Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, Catherine.  This became something of a joke when I shared with my family.

Then I noticed other naming trends.  Desperate souls trying to break out of the mold.  In the time of the "Great Awakening" (1730 - 1777) everyone had a biblical name, Sarah Hannah, Matthew, Jonathon, Solomon, Abraham and Moses.  Some were even more obscure - Abiathar; yes it's in the Bible.  In the deep south, in my husbands family there was a well educated family with money, a whole generation of cousins named Flavius, Octavius and Maximus!  The Fathers/brothers were all doctors and obviously studied Greek and Latin. (I always wondered what their wives thought!)

The oddball naming conventions taught me some lessons:
- Check the birth dates  - we have all seen the family tree online that has the mother born after the child.
- If there are Biblical names I look for a local church to see if there are records.
- As with the roman names, something unusual warrants closer examination.
- When I find a trend, I check to see if it is a cultural thing or a family thing.

Of course we have gotten past these sorts of names and trends - My brother and I for instance are Kathryn (Catherine) and Shawn (John).......ahem!



Monday, June 11, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, trying this.

I have joined Amy Johnson Crow's '52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge' nearly in the middle, but I am determined to try and keep up now. This weeks' prompt is 'Going to the Chapel'.

The song that lent it's title to this weeks prompt is a happy one - not one of those 'lost love' songs. It made me think of how fortunate I was to be surrounded by happy marriages in my childhood, which made me think about all the people I knew who made it to a 50 year anniversary. Voila – my story!

Starting with the most recent generation, my husband and I both have parents who made it to 50 and a little beyond before death parted them.

My in-laws - Mel and Charline (Herring) Gates met at his parents market in Los Angeles. She was hired on when the boys went to war, and when Mel got home a friendship developed. He was going to school after serving in the Army in WWII. They started dating in 1946, got engaged and got married in 1949, they were engaged for a little over 2 years, during which time they renovated/built a home in Chatsworth Canyon together. They had two children, a boy and a girl and were happily maried until Charlines death in 2002. Just over 53 years
(l-r) Niel and Irma, Me and Hubby, Charline and Mel

My parents - Niel and Irma (Medlin) Kiehn on the other hand had their first date on Valentines Day 1955, got engaged over spring break, and married on July 30th 1955. Just in case your mind goes there, the first child (me) didn't come along until 15 months later. They lived in married student housing until Niel graduated from Westmar College (now the home of Blue Bunny ice cream) Irma granduated from High School at 16 and was a senior when they met. Although Niel was two years older he had spent 4 years in the Air Force during the Korean conflict and had a couple of years to go. They also had a boy and a girl and they were happily married until Niel's death in 2008. Just over 53 years.

My paternal grandparents - Fred and Lottie (Frick) Kiehn were both first generation Americans of Volga German stock. They met and married in Loveland Colorado. They arranged the ceremony so that they were married and said “I Do” at 12:01 am on January 1, 1929. They raised 2 boys on a farm outside of Berthoud Colorado and were happily married until 1992 When Fred passed away. They were married 63 ½ years.

 
 
My maternal grandparents - George and Nellie
(Quint) Medlin married April 8, 1931, they had 3 girls and farmed over 600 acres outside of Unionville MO. George was a self taught geologist and wildcat oil driller as well and they managed to travel quite a lot. Nellie lived the longest of all of these as a widow living until shortly after her 102 nd birthday. She mowed her own lawn until she was 98 when her health began to fail. She and George were married for a little over 53 years.





 





Maternal Grandmother's parents – Walter and Charlotte (Hamilton) Quint were both born and raised in the northeast corner of Missouri, near the town of Unionville. They farmed and raised cattle and children – 9 in all, one was a stillborn twin, one died at 47 in an accident, the rest all lived to be at least 70, and most older. Married in February of 1896 Walter and Charlotte were married until Charlottes death in 1947. Just over 51 years.

 








Paternal Grandmothers parents – George and Anna (Crystal) Frick were both born in Russia, to Volga-German parents. They married in 1905 and immigrated to America in 1906, they raised 10 children and were married until Anna's death in 1960. A total of 55 years. (Somewhere there are photos of them but I have not found the relative that might have them yet.)

There were more, farther back, I was surprised at how many. These, though, are the family members I knew well or at least met even if I was small. I had never paid attention to the number of years each had been married and did not realize that only one couple made it past 55 years, 3 couples got to 53 years, and being born in the old country didn't shorten the lifespan of my couple born in Russia. They did all have in common working hard!

This was fun!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Stories

I think the thing that worries me the most at this stage of my life and genealogical research is the stories that we lose with each passing of a family member.  I realized the other day while doing some much needed dusting that I am letting the stories of my own 'treasures' go untold.  I have not even documented my trove for my kids - how will they know that "this is so-and-so's tea pot" if I never write it down?  And the really scary thought is that I may not remember all the stories myself.  I have decided to remedy the situation with my own version of an estate sale/antique auction booklet!

I plan to take pictures of each item, write a description of the item including any monetary value/antique status/other than sentimental information, and then add the information on where I got it, who it belonged to and where they are in the family tree.  While this could certainly eat up a lot of my so called 'spare' time, I think it will be a worthwhile project.  Some things I have collected specifically for each of my children and it would be kind of sad if they never knew why!

Here is my idea for the type of page I will make and how much (or little) information it can include and still be valuable for posterity, most pages will include several items.


This set of china has dinner plates, cups, saucers, creamer and sugar bowl and a serving bowl.  My husbands maternal grandmother (Irma Belle Guyton Herring Olson) owned these dishes and they were passed to me by his mother early in our marriage, this was my first set of 'good' dishes.

They are fine china from Japan with a stylized M and the words 'Arbor' and # '5566'.  The retail value is between $400 and $500 as replacements.I believe them to be from the 1950's as that was a common time for china to come from Japan.



This set of dishes has a little more history.
My paternal grandmother (Charlotte Frick Kiehn) owned these dishes.  Not long after my parents married, my mother commented on how pretty they were, grandma replied that she was thinking of getting rid of them as she never used them, my mom said she didn't think her mother had ever owned any pretty china plates. Grandma sold her the plates, which she in turn gave to my maternal grandmother (Nellie Corinne Quint Medlin) who had them until her death in 2014 at the age of 102.  I never remember her using them but they were there with her 'pretty things' for all the years that I remember.  When my mother asked me if I would like them I just laughed!  They were owned by both of my grandmothers and they have purple flowers - of course I do!!

They were manufactured by Homer Laughlin china and Distributed by Cunningham and Pickett, Inc. warranted 22kt gold hand decorated Alliance, Ohio. and the pattern is Spring Violets.  They were produced between 1953 and 1968.  The value of the set is around $300 - $400 as a set (retail)

I think this may be a lot of fun if I don't try to finish it all in one day (I have tendencies) and it may also get the whole collection of junk...er...treasures dusted!

Let me know if you have hints for preserving the info on your collectibles.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Project finished!

I had written before about doing the genealogy for our friend Jim, and now it is done!  I have it in a binder, photos copied and labeled, family trees done and headstones for all I could find.  I have also compiled some of the stories that I have found, with the verified and unverified marked accordingly. 

dividers in place!

photos labeled and referenced to their page in the tree!
This was a lot of fun for me as I have really only worked on my own family.  Starting from scratch and not having any "lore" to use in the research was a new experience. 










I also found out some of the tricks that my photo programs will do that I was unaware of (thank you to the oldest son - also known as the family computer guru) so that in the future I will be able to add captions and size the images much easier than before.  I found that both Picasa and Gimp are fun to use, fairly easy to figure out and did a lot more than I thought I was capable of.






It also turned out to be fun to find the 'nuggets' in another persons tree, and I did find a few,  I am very grateful to the New England Genealogical Society for doing the ancestry charts on all the presidential candidates in the past as I was able to show that my friend is related (distantly) to Presidents Bush 41 & 43, President Obama and Governor Sarah Palin!  Who knew those 4 were related?!  I found that his ancestors lived close to Johnny Appleseed, and some of them were captured by indians and escaped.  Half of his family were here on the 5th ship to the Plymouth colony and the other half came after the Civil War.  His story turned out to be like so many - the story of America.

So Jim now knows that some of his ancestors helped build this country and some escaped to America fairly recently, I hope he enjoys knowing about their contributions and that it gives him a real sense of belonging to the bigger picture!

For my part  I learned new things and had fun and really what more could I have asked for?!