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Mason County Memories


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History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



david k petersen

Genealogy part 2 History Column 209 Dave Petersen I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and maybe you had a chance to talk a little bit about your family history and traditions. I'm reminded of a story about a young woman preparing her Christmas ham, she promptly cut it in two pieces and put it in the roaster. Her husband asked why? That's the way my Mother always did it was the response, lets ask my mother why, and into the living room they went. Her Mother of course gave the same answer. Lets ask your grandmother says the Mother. Grandma; says the young woman, why did you always cut the ham in half before you cooked it? Well, I only had one small roaster she says, I had to cook half of it at a time. What are your family traditions? Where did they originate? What are the things you do that make the holidays special? What traditions are you passing on to your children? Is there a history to the food you prepare? In our family different holidays mean different dishes, and we are trying to put together our own family cookbook so the kids will always have the recipes they love. I have my grandmother's chili sauce recipe and everytime I can a batch the aroma takes me back to her kitchen and I can see her standing at the stove stirring that pot. I still regret that I didn't write down her cole slaw recipe, nothing to this day compares. As you are working on your family genealogy don't forget to include those things that make or made each person special. With Christmas coming up it's a good time to sit down and record some family stories, traditions, and maybe make up some new ones. When our kids were younger we started to go to the movies on Thanksgiving night, tonight we'll see Madagascar II just for fun. So you have your genealogy program now, you've gone on the internet and posted your questions about family on the County websites, you're talking to the family that you know, gone to the library and looked up obituaries that are on the microfilmed newspapers, double checked the marriages, deaths and other information at the County Clerk's office. Now what? I will google with the surname of one of my families along with combinations of a spouses maiden name and the county the family lived in. "Mostoller Shaw Somerset" Tonight that search brought up a page of obituaries that have been put online. My Shaw line deadends about 1800 and my suspicion has been that there is a connection to the Shaws in Somerset Pennsylvania. My great grandfather Frank Shaw met and married Minerva Mostoller from Somerset County in 1896. That page of obituaries has some Shaws connecting to other family surnames such as Lowrey and some of them have naming traditions very similar to our Michigan families. Is there a connection? Maybe; sometimes researching other people's family lines will provide clues or a connection to your own. Take a look at the census, where did these people live in relation to your family that you have identified? When they migrated to other states did they land in proximity to your family them as well? If so you may be looking at cousins, and sometimes following their family line might be easier then following your own. Some of our ancestors traveled around a lot, and that makes our job that much harder to track down the family history. On my mother's side I have found that 3 of the 4 GG Grandfathers were soldiers in the Union Army. Our Government still had their pension applications on microfilm and I was able to (pay the price) and get copies of their applications. They were a treasure and provided some great information. George Inman stated in his application that he moved around a lot (which we knew) but the information he provided in the application gave us clues and some insight into the families movements. http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/index.html Another unlikely source of your family history can also be found on eBay. I eBay search some of my family surnames and the towns where they lived and every so often something comes up. At the very least you will find some of the County History books, and pictures or postcards of the towns they lived in. How about school pictures, they show up on eBay all the time, if you know which schools they attended a school photo or yearbook can be found there. My best family find on eBay was a peddlers permit, handwritten and signed by the County Clerk in Somerset in 1835. The County Clerk that year was my 4th Great Uncle and he only served as clerk for one year. If you have any stories or photographs you would like to share with our reader please feel free to contact me at 757-3240, davep@blackcreekpress.com or in Care of the Ludington Daily News PO Box 340 Ludington Michigan 49431

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