Saturday, April 9, 2022

Miss you, Sissy

I really thought I could do it, this year.  I thought I could write about you and say how special you were to me.  Instead, I am crying and I can't seem to stop.  Coward that I am, I cannot look into my mother's and my father's faces and witness their pain.  Children are not supposed to die before their parents.  

No, three years is not enough time.  

I am so glad the last words we spoke to one another were, "I love you, Sissy."  and you said, "I love you, too."  I can still hear your words, your inflection, echoing in my head, echoing in my heart. 

This is the fourth birthday of yours that I cannot wish you a year of Happiness.  I miss our shared history. I miss knowing you are in this world.  I miss you, Sissy. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022



There is a tradition in Mexico that speaks of the three deaths.


The first death is when you take your last breath.

The second death is when you are returned to the earth.

The third death, that final consignment to oblivion, occurs the last time your name is spoken.


On September 13, 1904, Emma Gleffe Schröder, my great grandmother, gave birth to her second child, a son, in Groß Gansen in the Pommern region of what was then Germany but is now part of Poland. Paul Albert Carl was baptized on September 22 as a member of the church of Budow. This was the same church that his mother Emma, his father Leo, and his older brother Willi, were all baptized. There are records indicating that little Paul’s ancestors had been baptized at the church in Budow from at least, the early part of the 18th century. (Paul’s ancestors were probably both Kashubian and German, as the liturgical services were spoken in both German and Kashubian until 1795.)

Paul’s baptism on that day in September of 1904 listed his sponsors as Albert Bacher, Frau Karoline Gleffe, and Franz Gleffe all residing in Groß Gansen. Paul’s baptism occurred on a Thursday, not the usual Sunday, indicating that the child must have been ill. On October 3, 1904, Paul Schröder died.

In 1906, when Leo and Emma along with their sons Willi and Max arrived in the United States, I can imagine their excitement, and their sadness. Leaving your mother, your father, your siblings, your cousins, and your friends had to be difficult. But I cannot discount, the sadness Emma must have felt leaving behind her son’s grave. As a mother of a deceased child, I know the small comfort of standing at my child’s final resting place. The bittersweet joy of placing flowers to honor that piece of my lost heart. The rough feel of the cold marble as I trace the letters of her name. I feel a kinship with Emma, not just of blood, but of a shared sorrow.

Paul’s parents are both long gone from this earth. His eight siblings, too, have found their final resting place. There are no children or grandchildren to remember, Paul. Today as I type his name - Paul. Albert. Carl. Schröder – I say his name aloud, for Paul, for Emma. One more day Paul’s memory lives. One more day oblivion cannot claim him.

Say his name.



A Thank you.

I have been blessed in my research of my German ancestors, with the kindness and generosity of many. Today, I single out one of them. My German friend, Siegfried Krause. Siegfried reached out to me over a decade ago after he read my blog. He not only helped me with research, but he also sent me pictures and videos of my ancestral towns. Thankfully, he spoke and wrote English very well, as I do not read or write German. (A complication my German friend, Jörg, could attest to.) Siegfried is the one who explained the German custom of having three baptismal sponsors. The Evangelische church allowed for three sponsors, any more than that, and you had to pay an additional fee. It is rare to see any 19th century or early 20th century German church registers listing more than three, but they do exist

I learned several years ago that my friend Siegfried had passed away. I think of him often. I say his name aloud, Siegfried. Krause. I promise you, Siegfried, while my brain still functions and I have a breath, your name will be on my lips. I miss your wisdom and kindness, my friend.



1. Siegfried Krause, numerous email correspondence

2 Evangelische Kirche Budow Taufen, 1904/88

3. Manifest for the Ship, Amerika, first found on Website for Ellis Island in 2003 – now listed as

4. Kashubia, Home of the Baltic Slavs – written originally in Polish by Jaroslaw Ellwart, translated to German by Peter Oliver Loew, and abridged and supplemented English translation by John M. Hingst and Liesel Herchenroether Hingst, 2000. PDF version found online, 20 July 2020.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

For Heather - Another Year Without You

A Matter So Small 

I never saw her, my daughter, my Heather
I felt her prenatal kicks; I patted my belly
Named her Little Harry Eagleclaw
She liked my rocking chair, I think 
Kicking when I would pause to stop
She died, bones crushed by the weight of her own body fluids
A mystery, they said, so sad, they said, you'll have another, they said.
I nodded, the always acquiescent essence of a good girl
Not willing to bother anyone, for a matter so small.

Until one morning, when the sun came up a little slanted
Illuminating the white hot fierceness of loss 
I moaned and wailed and beat my fists upon the walls 
Demanding retribution, demanding an accounting
Demanding God to show himself, to strike me dead 
And when I was done, God being silent 
I lay spent, alive, yet not, pieces of my soul released and gone forever 
Buried with my perfect monster child, my daughter, my baby, my Heather.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

In Honor of the First US Woman Becoming a Presidential Nominee of a Major party

Love her- hate her, tonight we make history with Hillary Clinton  becoming the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party for President of the United States.

In honor of this, I republish a post I first made on March 4, 2008.

Her Inalienable Right to the Elective Franchise

In precinct A of Roscoe, Ohio, Catherine Christofel, accompanied by her daughter, went to the polls at noon on November 2, 1920, and did the one thing that the 93-year-old woman had never been allowed to do before, she voted. When asked by a reporter of the Coshocton Tribune who would get her vote in this, her first presidential election, Catherine smiled and said, “I'm not telling my politics, and besides the ballot is secret.”

In Athens, Ohio, the 90-year-old mother of a congressman arrived at 5:30 AM to wait in line for the polls to open so she too could cast her very first ballot. In Indiana, the Indianapolis Star reported five sisters, aged 73 to 94, would also be voting in their first presidential election.

And so it went, across the country, women made their way to polling places and exercised the same rights as their fathers, brothers and husbands — the right to vote. The 19th Amendment that conferred this right had been proposed on June 4, 1919, and on August 18, 1920, the amendment received the necessary two-thirds majority of state ratification when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment. It was signed into law by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby on August 26. The amendment read:

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

In Georgia and Mississippi, where the state legislatures had previously rejected the 19th Amendment, women were told they could not vote. These states claimed a requirement of registration six months prior to an election in order for an individual to vote. Either women who showed up at polling places were turned away or their ballots destroyed.

The road to women's suffrage had been a long one. Catherine Christofel would have been 21 when the first Woman's Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York Elizabeth Cady Stanton, with the help of Lucretia Mott, created a written document called “Declaration of Sentiments” which proposed, among other things, extending voting rights to all citizens of the United States.

After the Civil War, this idea of universal suffrage was embraced by those supporting both black and woman Suffrage. Frederick Douglass, a former slave turned statesman and reformer, was an outspoken supporter of both black and woman suffrage. However, with the proposal and impending ratification of the 14th and 15th amendments, some women in the movement were angry at Douglass's push for the two amendments’ passage pointing out that women were once again left out of the voting franchise.

Notice the difference in wording of the 15th Amendment and the 19th Amendment. The 15th Amendment states:

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”

Douglas defended his support of the 15th amendment at the Equal Rights Association in May 1869, stating:

“When women, because they are women, are dragged from their homes and hung upon lampposts; when their children are torn from their arms and their brains dashed to the pavement; when they are objects of insults and outrage at every turn; when they are in danger of having their homes burnt down over their heads; when their children are not allowed to enter schools; then they will have an urgency to obtain the ballot.”

Some of the leaders of the women's movement refused to support the ratification of the 15th Amendment without the inclusion of women in the voting franchise. Others worked hard for its passage, feeling that this would be the first step to ensuring their own voting rights.

On February 3, 1870, the 15th Amendment was ratified, giving all male citizens the right to vote. With a few notable exceptions (Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho and for a time, Utah) women would wait another 50 years before their time would come.

For Catherine Christofel and the other women who voted that cold rainy day in November of 1920, the time had been long enough.

Until Next Time …

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How about it, AncestryDNA, wanna be my hero?

Catherine Good Lynch, pictured above, is a potential X DNA donor of mine.  In fact, thanks to AncestryDNA,, and the testing of another individual at 23 and Me, whose raw data like mine and my mother’s was added to Gedmatch, I know that my mother inherited approximately 34 cM of her XDNA from Catherine.  (My brother and I inherited a smidge less at 33.9 cM from Catherine through my mom.)

With a half million individuals who have taken the test at AncestryDNA this could easily have been a win for Ancestry’s DNA program.  But alas, it is not.  The DNA test could have been taken with another company (say FamilyTree DNA or 23 and Me), so Ancestry’s part in this is limited to providing accurate test results, and, after much pressure of the genetic genealogical community, providing me with the opportunity to download the raw data from the tests.

Instead, the victory lap belongs to Gedmatch creators John Olson and Curtis Rogers, the administrator of the matching individual’s test, and me.

Below is what the match looks like using Gedmatch’s X DNA “One to One” Comparison Tool.  


For those of you a little foggy on how XDNA is inherited, a little basic science.  Women inherit two segments of XDNA, one segment from their mother and one segment from their father.  When they pass the 1/2 of their XDNA onto their offspring, they pass a recombined version.  One child, for example, could get 10% from the mother’s father and 90% from the mother’s mother, while another child could get 50% from the mother’s father and 50% from mother’s mother, or any combination thereof. 

Father’s on the other hand, only have one XDNA segment to give (because instead of two X Chromosomes, they have that pesky Y chromosome.) When a father’s DNA is passed onto his child, he can give either an X chromosome OR a Y chromosome.  If he gives the X chromosome, he finds himself the proud parent of a little girl. If, on the other hand, he gives the Y chromosome, he welcomes a bouncing baby boy into the family. 
This means two things:
1.        A father cannot be an X DNA donor to his sons.

2.       The X chromosome that he inherited from his mother is passed on virtually intact (unless of course there is a mutation of some sort) to his daughters.   For daughters, this means even if they don’t have access to their father’s DNA, they do have an exact copy of his XDNA, a copy that hasn’t been recombined.


Below is the path this particular segment took in my branch of the family.

1.       Catherine Good Lynch would have gotten the segment from one or both of her parents, Magdalena Click Good and Joseph Good.
Catherine Good Lynch
2.       Catherine in turn passed this segment to her son, John Perry Lynch.

3.       John Perry Lynch passed the segment on to his daughter, Katheryne, my grandmother.

John Perry Lynch

4.       Katheryne passed the segment onto my mother.
My grandmother, Katheryne


5.       My mother passed almost the entire segment (33.9 of the 34 cM) to at least two of her children, my brother and me.

In my mother’s case, we can document that the segment came from her great grandmother.  In the case of mother’s match, the journey was longer.  The match received the segment from a sister of Catherine’s, who happened to be the match’s Great great great grandmother.

What is both exciting and frustrating is that this scientific tidbit has the potential to give proof of the identity of either Magdalena Click’s mother (purported to be Elizabeth Bauserman) or Joseph Good’s mother (purported to be Susannah Kaufmann).  I haven’t been able, thus far, to find documentation proving anything but that researchers have the women’s first names listed correctly.  The idea that somewhere within AncestryDNA’s half a million DNA testers may be the one person whose DNA could corroborate the identity of either of these women (and potentially their parents!) is so brightly dazzling that it makes my head spin.

So how about it AncestryDNA. Wanna be my hero?  Help me break through those brick walls by giving me the tools to find my needle in a haystack.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Windows 7 and Saving Images from Ancestry on Your New Computer – Aargh!

I’ve been limping along for quite some time now, using the same laptop for work and play. And boy, do I play – a lot. Seriously.

It’s easy to separate your work life from your play life, but not so easy to justify a second laptop, especially when it is dedicated solely to personal use. Since my work laptop was run on XP windows, and I’d heard all the horror stories from users of Vista, I’d decided that limping along using the one machine for both functions might not be such a bad idea. So I headed to my own mental bomb shelter and patiently waited out the scourge that was Vista before revisiting the idea of a second computer.

And then the sun came out. Microsoft put out its new Windows 7. I started seeing all those happy people in the commercials. You know the ones, those people all over the world who invented Windows 7 thereby making the world a better place, Kumbaya. Yeah, okay, I’ll admit it. Madison Avenue got me. Suck-ah!

The first piece of bad news - My Family Treemaker version 16 was not compatible. Then my Arc software that I’ve used forever, the software that I love, the software that came with my old Sony camera, and I’ve become an expert at using – also not compatible. Grrrrrrr!!!!

Today, however, Windows 7 dealt its harshest blow of all. It would not let me save images from Ancestry. Wait. Was that a collective gasp I heard coming from the genealogy gallery? (Chuckles from the folks still using Windows XP?)

Now you would think that in my umpteen years of having an Ancestry subscription, I’ve probably saved every darn census I would ever need, and you’d be right. The size of my census folder is a whopping big 2.74 GB, with 817 folders and 5,275 files. (Some of those files are duplicates – remember those old .SID image files? I still have them. I can still read them with a Brava Reader and they are really beautiful to behold compared to the jpeg files.)

Well, today, owing to the fact that I could not use my wonderful free Arc software to crop an image of the 1840 census, I looked online to see if there was something I could use on Windows 7 to do a simple job like crop a photo. There is – it’s called Paint. You know that application that’s been on every Windows based computer since the beginning of time, that application.

So, I followed the instructions, did a credible job of cropping, and then saved the image. But wait, I shouldn’t have clicked “Save.” By clicking “Save” instead of “Save As,” I overwrote the original file. Rats!

No problem, I said to myself, I’ll just log into Ancestry, find the very same census image and save it to my computer. When I went to “Save” the image, I was told the Administrator did not grant permission to save the file to my folder entitled “Census.” Wait a minute, aren’t I the administrator? I most certainly did grant permission, but Windows apparently couldn’t take verbal permission. Fine.

It did however have another recommendation. Windows 7 recommended that I save it to “My Pictures” folder. Inconvenient, but what the heck, I clicked “yes.”

Problem was I couldn’t find the image when I went looking for it. I tried saving it again, going through the same process, except this time I was told the file already existed. I could see the file in my little save box but when I went into the “My Pictures” folder, the file wasn’t there.

Then I did a search for the folder. It found the file, but when I clicked on the link, it told me the file wasn’t there, and to make sure I had typed the file and path correctly. Of course, I didn’t type the file and path. Windows did. But hey, who am I to argue with a snippety computer system.

Okay, now I’m ticked. I start googling for answers, finally, coming across a Microsoft forum where, hello, someone else had the very same problem. “Kaye” said to go to the home page of Ancestry, click on the help button, type in the term “Can’t save Images.” Number five in the search reads, “Why can’t I print or save record images from any more on Windows Vista or Windows 7.”

There on the page are the step-by-step instructions. I couldn’t print them out, as my printer hasn’t been hooked up yet to my new laptop, and I don’t think my heart could take the news that my printer isn’t compatible. So I read the instructions carefully first, copied the “*” phrase I would need to add, tiled the Internet Options box with the help page for Ancestry and proceeded to fix my problem.

Voila! It worked. See screen shot below with blue arrow pointing to the naughty little file, sitting as bold as can be in my 1840 Ohio Census folder.

Thanks Kaye. Thanks Ancestry expert. No thanks, Windows 7, you heartless cad.