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Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


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



david k petersen

History Column 281 Dave Petersen I bought a new family tree program and finally got around to installing it and merging my files into it. I don't jump into genealogy right away because I tend to be more than a bit obsessive compulsive about it once I get started. Its easier to not begin again than it is to quit. I go in fits and jerks, once I hit a number of brick walls I pack it all up and put it away and don't intentionally dig it out again, sometimes for a couple years at a time. I still accumulate data here and there but I just pack it away until the next time. I am on a mission lately to scan and disperse photos and information to the cousins who want it, I installed the program and I'm adding all of the new information. The program came with a free month of access to all of the databases and being Dutch I'm squeezing every minute out of it. One of the greatest things about internet genealogy is that there is a TON of information out there, and one of the worst things about internet genealogy is that there is a TON of information out there. These semi automated programs can be wonderful but they can also be a bane as you can make bigger mistakes that can be harder to fix. There is a lot of erroneous information, don't people know that their ancestor could not have been born in Massachusetts in 1575? Didn't they notice that their 7th great grandfather is only two years older then their child? What has gotten better is the access to primary sources such as census pages that are scanned online. There are other documents too. I was able to print out the death certificate for my second great grandfather, his father has long eluded me and his county of birth is listed but thanks to a sloppy clerk it cannot be deciphered. His father did however get a land grant in 1837 that I was able to print out along with the actual copies of the census. Someday those pieces will come together. I have thought for some time that our family lines might connect with Mayflower passengers and if I have done my research correctly we are descended through Peregrine White, the child born on board the Mayflower while it was anchored in the harbor December 1620. It wasn't in the line that I thought it would be, it came as a total surprise. He would be my 9th Great Grandfather. It might surprise you to learn that one tidbit I found says that 30 million people are descended from the original Mayflower passengers, 10% of the population. In Mason County that means that about 3,000 people can lay claim to that heritage and the chances just became greater that you are married to your cousin. I may have paid more attention to history in school if I had known that my 5th Great Grand Uncle had been marched to Philadelphia in chains and tried for treason during the Whiskey Rebellion, or tried to cut out a better hand print turkey if I knew the baby at the Pilgrims table was family. Why do we do it? It's an addictive hobby, it's a mystery to be solved, a puzzle to be assembled and I like solving puzzles. Lately I've been also sorting and scanning family pictures and I have a few here to share. If you have photographs to share with our readers please contact me at 757-3240, e-mail to davep@blackcreekpress.com, or mail in care of the Ludington Daily News, P.O. Box 340, Ludington, MI, 49431 Pic 1 My grandfather Earl Shaw and sisters Enola and Mary, I guess he wanted to be in the paper. Many will remember him volunteering up at the hospital. He always had something planned ahead for the next day and he always kept busy volunteering, fishing, or playing pool down at the Senior Center. Pic 2 H.H. Purdy my Great Grandfather about 1920 in front of a gas station, look at those globes on the pumps. Wouldn't 1920 gas prices be nice if only for a day. Pic 3 Both of my parents rode bikes back in the 1950's. My mother took her drivers license test on a motorcycle and the officer refused to ride on the bike with her and chose to follow behind in the squad car. She passed of course. Pic 4 My dad's side of the family came from Denmark and surrounding areas, they were the late comers emigrating after 1872 I am of course glad they came. This is the Rasmussen family farm on the island of Fyn. Second Great Grandfather is out front with his third wife Anine and step children Carl and Mary Nielsen.

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