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Showing posts from January, 2021

On the Road--Again?

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Maybe it's cabin fever, maybe its Covid isolation reaction, whatever, I've felt an urge to look at travel and tourism guides! Read any good local histories lately? Maybe you’ve found a glowing biography of your ancestor’s brother in a 19th century mug book. You know the type—”George came to Smithtown with his parents and five brothers and sisters when he was three years old.” Precocious, wasn’t he? If the book had named the parents and siblings, you might have some proof of family connection, albeit secondary. But some editor determined that non-resident parents and siblings were not essential to the story. Local histories provide invaluable tidbits of information. Imagine reading that your ancestor was the first white child born in Houston County, Minnesota, or that the elderly chief of the nearby tribe always found a warm welcome at your family’s home on a snowy night.   A recent search for US tourist travel books at books.google.com revealed some astonishing and invalu

How I found my Norwegian Relatives

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Hafslo, Norway By G.Lanting - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org February 2018 we were all watching the Winter Olympics. Norway was collecting lots of gold medals. My husband and I had recently moved back to Washington state and I was homebound and feeling sad that I had no Norwegian relatives.  Logo from Clipartmax ESPN Screenshot I had relatives, but who? My grandma, Anna Otto Johnson, (1884-1972) and her family had moved from Norway when she was a young child. They settled in Minnesota near aunts and uncles who had arrived earlier in America. I knew that one aunt, Berte Ottesdatter Kjerringness, had married in Norway and stayed back in the old country. That contact had been lost years ago. Norway had a tradition of name changes when people moved to a new farm so how would I ever find a living person?  Otto Family, 1895 Bird Island, Minnesota  Photo courtesy Carol Larson Anna Otto is in front row We had an old family tree that showed Aunt Berte’s married name and

2020 was a year! And yet, a good year for our Society

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Image by  Miroslava Chrienova  from  Pixabay   Covid stopped us cold in March 2020, and yet only two meetings were cancelled. As we learned how to host virtual meetings, our online group communication became busier and more of a comfort to all of us. The time just to chat after meetings became so precious that we created " Genealogy Books Q&A " April 27 and it was a huge success.  We've not traded lookups much since, but our monthly chats have continued, now the fourth Monday afternoon each month. We have made friendships, deeper and stronger than one would ever expect with joy in having found each other.  We even had a New Year's Eve party! Virtual is safe, fun and EASY Since April, our monthly third Saturday general meetings have continued with presentations by society members and nationally known speakers, all accessed safely by virtual media.  And we aren't through yet!  We have speakers planned through May 2021 and a virtual seminar with Judy G. Russell,