Monday, March 22, 2010

Fealess Females Blog Post: March 22-This is "her" life

Thanks to Lisa at the Accidental Genealogist for suggesting a month long list of blog posts honoring our "Fearless Females!"

Arlene Guinee
ca. 1945-1947

March 22 — If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

If they ever made a movie about one of my female ancestors I hope it would be about my beloved mother- Arlene Guinee! Of course it would have to be a comedy for my mom did have a sense of humor. Katherine Hepburn or Audrey Hepburn would have been perfect to play mom. They both were absolutely beautiful. Katherine Hepburn would have easily captured my mother's determination and independence with a sense of humor to top none. Audrey Hepburn was so pretty and petite, just like my mother! That would be one Oscar worthy movie too!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fearless Female Blog Post...A Little Late (Surprising Fact!)

Julia K. Sommer & Maria Elisabetha Rusch Sommer
ca. 1880
photo owned by M. Devers
Within the last year and a half, I have discovered a number of my German ancestors and have written about them in several posts. Through a distant cousin I have even acquired a few photographs as well. One fearless woman I have continued to research is my Great Great Great Grandmother Maria Elisabetha Rusch Sommer. According to her daughter Catharina's death certificate (my GG grandmother) Catharina was born in Neckargemund, Germany. Wow, with that little tid bit of information, I started my "Mission Possible". Here is what I have discovered through church and village records about Maria Elisabeth Rusch Sommer.
Maria used the name Elisabetha throughout her life, she dropped the Maria. She married Johann Gottlieb Sommer March 30, 1841. They had at least ten children...
1) Johann Daniel Sommer, 1841
2) Friedericka Jacobina Johanna Sommer, 1843
3) Martin Sommer, ca. 1844
4) Jacob, 1844
5) Fredericka, 1846
6) Catharina Julia, 1849 (my GG grandmother)
7) Julia Catharina, 1851
8) Georg, 1852
9) Johann Gottlieb, ca. 1858
10) Johann Michael, ca. 1859
Unfortunately, quite a number of these children died in infancy or before the age of five. I believe Gottlieb died in 1863, I recently discovered his death record and need to send it in for translation. That left a widowed Elisabeth with at least several children to care for. I have a major blank in the history at this point in time, until she immigrated to the United States in September of 1881. She arrived with her daughter Julia, her cousin Phillipina and her granddaughter Julia K. Sommer (Daniel's daughter). At this time I do not know why her grand daughter was permitted to come with her. She lived out her last fourteen years here in Chicago, Illinois. She is buried in Oakwoods Cemetery with the simple inscription on the headstone that reads "Grandmother".
I had believed that Elisabeth was born in 1816. That is the age that corresponds to her death certificate, however, I recently had her birth and baptismal records translated and they indicate she was actually born on July 30th, 1814 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE....ding, ding, ding....wasn't that date the SAME date that Gottlieb was born???
Yes it was! According to church records, Gottlieb was born on July 30th, 1814 at 8 o'clock in the morning. What are the chances of these two people born on the same date, in the same town of Neckargemund, marrying each other? Hmmmm, was this an arranged marriage? I have no idea at this point in time. I can't wait to continue my research on this wonderful and fearless woman!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Smile for the Camera, Give Their Face a Place

Lucille Mae Hanaway Guinee
ca. 1927-1929
My grandmother
Original photo owned by D. Witkus
Lucille Hanaway, my beloved grandmother was the sixth of eight children. Born in DeMotte, Indiana to Marion Albert "Burt" and Eva Hanaway, Lucille had four brothers and three sisters. Her family farmed their land and by all accounts they were dirt poor but a very happy and close family. My grandmother married in 1930 to Bert Guinee and that union produced four children. My grandparents raised their children in Chicago, IL. She remained close to her siblings after her parents died in 1955 and 1956. Sometimes after mass on Sundays, my mother, sisters, and I would join Lucy for a little "drive" out to Indiana where we visited several of her sisters and/or brothers. My grandmother was very much loved and cherished by her children and her twenty four grandchildren. In the 70's, her children grown with families of their own, she decided to relocate to Arkansas where she lived in a retirement community. Being a very social woman, she had many friends and was very involved in her community and church, especially the choir! There were lots of visits from family and friends too!
There was no one who could grow a garden and flower bed like Lucy! I credit my own love of flowers and gardening to her. My favorite flower is a violet and no one could grow them like Lucy. Violets...I think all she needed to do was simply pinch a petal off, stick it in dirt and wallah....within a short period of time she has a beautiful plant. (I have written before about my many attempts to keep a violet plant alive, let alone grow one from a leaf!). The basement in her house in Chicago had two shelves full of violet plants in small clay pots! I wouldn't want to admit to how many died in my care. Her yard and garden were full of blooming flowers, especially roses. And trust me, when Lucy went on a vacation, she always took photographs of the many flowers she saw! She had lots and lots of photographs with flowers in them, many with no people, just flowers!
Lucy died shortly before her 87th birthday and is buried in Wheatfield Cemetery in Wheatfield, Indiana. Her parents and grandfather are buried in the same cemetery. DeMotte, Indiana, her birthplace is not far away. She will forever be remembered for her laugh, her giving nature, love of dogs (no wonder my family has always had at least one poochie!), her "green thumb" and most of all her love of her family and church. She was a really terrific woman, daughter, mother and grandmother.

The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown


SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!