Friday, March 28, 2014

March ancestor: Anke "Anna" Margaretha Wessels/Wessenhoff Michels

This month's ancestor is from my mom's side. Anke Margaretha Wessels (or Wessenhoff) was born April 27, 1845 in Germany. I have she was born in Spekendorf, Germany, looking at a map that looks to be in northern Germany:

I have that she married Johann (John) Michels in Middels, Germany on August 27, 1864. It looks like now this is called Middels-Westerloog and is a ways south of Spekendorf.

John and Anna Michels had 8 children: Martin (1864), Charlotta (1867), Gerd (1870), John Harm (1875), Mary A. (1877), George Fredrich (1880), Anna (1883) and Minnie (1887). Minnie was the only one born in Nebraska; all the others were born in Germany. So the Michels family immigrated from Germany to the United States in 1886 (according to the 1920 and 1930 census for some of the children). They must have settled in Nebraska fairly quickly as Minnie Michels was born in Nebraska (probably Jefferson county) in March 1887. They lived in Jefferson County, Nebraska on a farm near Fairbury until about 1895. Then they moved with Martin and their younger children George, Anna and Minnie to Orleans, Harlan county, Nebraska. In the 1910 census John and Anna Michels were living in Harlan county, Nebraska with their oldest son Martin for whom I've never found a record of marriage. In 1910 John was listed as a retired farmer and Martin a farmer. Anna Michels passes away at her home from a complication due to the flu in Orleans, Harlan county, Nebraska on Saturday January 27, 1917. She was buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery northwest of Fairbury, Jefferson county, Nebraska.

Now you may wonder how I "know" or think I know all this. I have found Anna Michels in the 1910 census (as mentioned above); I also have her death certificate and a gravestone photo (above). I also have scans of pages documented by a distant relative that lists the children, and they are found in later censuses. I thought I had her obituary but I need to double check. I have record of a death notice from the Fairbury Journal in 1917 so that may be the only obituary I have found. I would like to find their immigration records, what ship did they come on and what port did they enter. Most immigration information has been digitized so hopefully it won't be hard to find. I also would like to find this family in the 1900 census as some of them seem to be missing; most of them should be in Harlan county then.

I do have more information on their children. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in more information.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Happy Birthday Girl Scouts

Okay, I know. I'm one day late. Yesterday was busy so I didn't get this blog post written then. Happy Birthday to the Girl Scouts. March is also Women's History month, so that's another good reason to blog about the Girl Scouts. Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low assembled 12 girls as the first girl scout meeting on March 12, 1912. (credit to the Girl Scout site for this info) Now 102 years later we are still enjoying their cookies and girl scouts number over 3 million in this country.

Were you a girl scout (or boy scout)? I was. In fact I have a (bad) photo of me when I was in Girl Scouts, at a Girl Scout camp, eating.

UGG...Isn't that the worst? Awkward preteen years, eating and at camp.

So what I remember from Girl Scouts: It was a great time to meet friends and learn new skills. There were badges for different skills: camping, babysitting, cooking, etc. And yes, I sold cookies. But apparently not how they sell them now. I went door-to-door all over town, with my pamphlet with the pictures of the cookies in the cold (about February). People wrote down how many they wanted of each kind, their name and address. About a month later, the cookies arrived to the local cookie chairperson (one year this was my mom, so a truckload of cookies arrived at our house for the whole town). Each Girl Scout picked up her cookies from the cookie chairperson and delivered them and collected money to the people that ordered them. I remember them costing around $2 per box. My favorite were the sugar cookies, when they actually had SUGAR on them. They went to shortbread cookies with less sugar. My second favorite were the mint, thankfully they haven't changed that one. Did you know there is more than one cookie bakery for the Girl Scouts? There looks like two now, Little Brownie Bakers and another one.

I remember several Girl Scout camps; most of them my mom was also along for one reason or another. She helped with Girl Scouts for years when I was involved. We slept in a tent in our sleeping bags, used toilets that didn't flush, and had fun. It was a bit of "roughing it" for the early 1980's. Some Girl Scout retreats were held inside a big auditorium or gym on a weekend, and we'd sleep in sleeping bags on the floor. The adults would have cots instead of just the floor, which is good as if I am a Girl Scout sponsor when my daughter is old enough I will want the cot. There were less rules then; squeeze 5 girls on a bench seat in the back of the car, and no one mentioned it not being safe. If everyone fit, we went.

I truly believe Girl Scouts helped girls to learn important things like managing money, being responsible, as well as cooking, changing a diaper, sewing, crafts, etc. I hope they are continuing to teach these things that girls should learn.

Feel free to comment about your Girl Scout experience below. Perhaps there is something I forgot to mention.