Simple Family History
- The Simple Life
By Sheryl Simons
The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
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"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own
nature into his pictures." --Henry Ward Beecher
This past week was a lot of travel, and a lot of fun for me.
On Friday I traveled to Port Huron, the town I graduated from for a
class reunion. Since I have a lot of interest in family history, I
also spent the afternoon trying to track down family information in
If you want to start finding out information you need a big
pad of paper, a pen, and just start with what you know. I wrote down
my own name on a genealogy chart and went back from there. I went to
my parents, great-grand parents, and kept going as far as I could.
One person suggested a binder for each branch of the family. I found
dates, grave records, and I am still going, looking for information
about the area they lived (Fremont Twp.), where they homesteaded.
From there the information goes to Canada, New York, and back to
Germany before that. Your family can share a subscription to
Ancestry.com, and share the password and other genealogy sites. When
the dates match, often other branches of your family have put
information in you didn't know, and then you don't have to
backtrack. It's like finding more pieces to the puzzle!
When discussing this with my cousin Kathy at a family reunion
on Sunday, I found out she's been to Herkimer County New York where
our family had their own fort in the 1700's and fought several
battles with the Indians, who were paid by the French to kill and
destroy American-English settlements.
Often there are books about the area your relatives settled.
Museums, genealogists, historians and librarians can often be a good
source of information. The internet has really speeded up the way we
do research. Reading a book about family research will give you lots
of ideas where to look. Old family papers are often the best source
of great information, but not always available.
I have been to yard sales and auctions where papers and
photos were in free boxes because no one knew how they related to
their family. How sad! If you have some of these, take the time to
read and organize these. It can be a legacy your grandchildren will
thank you for one day!
Older relatives are the most valuable resource, of course.
What they can remember is the greatest wealth available. My mother
remembers a lot, and we plan to spend an afternoon with my great
aunt, so see what we can find from her.
I drove past my great grandparents home in Sandusky. The man
who now lives there invited me in, and I took a few photos. It was
like going back in time to enter that home when I hadn't been there
since I was four years old! They were only the third owners of the
home my great-grandfather built.
My cousin and I plan to spend a few days next week to go
through all our information, and see where we are. Later when we
have found all we can, we dream of a trip to Germany to go even
farther in our family history! Of course, this is only one of many
family branches. You may find cousins living nearby that you didn't
know you had. You can have everyone bring what they have to a family
reunion. You can make copies of papers and photos for everyone at
one place. What a fun hobby!
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1 gal. quartered apples 1 gal. quartered green tomatoes
1 bunch celery 2 green sweet peppers, seeded
1 qt. quartered onions 2 red sweet peppers, seeded
2 cups. sugar 1 tsp each; allspice/ cinnamon/ cloves
1 qt. cider vinegar salt to taste
Grind the vegetables and apples. Combine the ground
ingredients in kettle, then stir in the sugar and spices, mixing
well. Add the vinegar, then bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring
occasionally, until tender. seasoning with salt. Pour into hot
sterilized jars and seal.
Please contact me with recipes, questions, comments and simple living
ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
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