As Christmas Nears 

As we move through this crazy process called life Christmas always seems to happen upon us more quickly than we expect. As the end of the year nears we are often driven to contemplate where we have been and where we are headed in the coming annum. 2016 has been a year of consolidation and focus for me and 2017 will mark the beginning of a new journey. I spent my professional life thus far focused on working with and for the federal government. While I thought I was ready for a change at the beginning of this year opportunities arose that kept me in that sphere. The work was not fulfilling. I find I am most challenged by life when I do not feel I am making an adequate contribution…to something. For years that something has been national security but for a very long time I have not felt my talents were being utilized to the maximum extent. All this is a nice way of saying I haven’t felt productive or effective in a very long time. 

Thus, it is time for a change. I plan to focus on genealogy and historical research full time. Thus this blog will get the attention it deserves. I am ready to tell my story. For those of you who have read my posts in the past, thank you. It’s time for a new beginning, one that delves into the past and moves forward. Stay tuned for a year marked by stories filled with with love and connection. 

Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for a blessed 2017.  

Mary, Mary, Mary

There are several Marys in my life.  My mother’s sister for one.  Then there are those who have left this earth in recent years namely my husband’s grandmother, Mary Agnes (Baker) Buchan.  There are at least two in my family tree who have had a great influence on my life even though we’ve only met through pictures and in the memories of others.

There is Maria Magdalina (Raiffeisen) Mothersbaugh, known to my grandfather as Aunt Mary.  Both the Raiffeisen and Mothersbaugh families played monumental roles in my genealogical journey.  Mary married Louis Authur “Bud” Mothersbaugh, a Missouri farm boy who joined the U.S. Marine Corps just in time to play a role in the Spanish American war, U.S. presence in the Philippines and the Boxer Rebellion in China.

Just as significant was Mary Virginia (DeHaven) Siegel, my grandfather’s first wife and mother of Eugene, Pete and Carl Siegel.  Mary succumbed to influenza in the spring of 1919 when the second wave of the global epidemic hit the United States.

I have several Marys in my Tree but Mary Agnes, Maria Magdalina and Mary Virginia are the ones that have helped shape my story and lend their name to this blog.

 

A Woman Named Grace (cont.)

I apologize for the months of delay.  I thought summer would be a good time to begin blogging, but alas life jumped in the way! Anyway, I am back and ready to begin again.

Grace Valentine Kembel was born on Valentine’s Day in 1914.  She married Ellis Ray Spencer on Valentine’s Day in 1933.  She was was the fourth of nine children; two boys and seven girls in all. She was always a bit of a conundrum to me.  A little gruff and distant.  Her husband, Ellis was such a trickster that he would often have us all laughing about the crazy stunts he and his family would pull.  Grace was more subtle; she had a dry wit that was biting…something I learned in later years.

As their 50th wedding anniversary approached the family planned a large fete to honor the couple.  We wrote to family and friends and asked them for pictures, stories, remembrances that we were going to place in an album.  We began searching through old photos and came upon the one above.  We debated about whether to add it to the album because we weren’t sure that the woman next to grandpa was Grace!  We compared other photos and asked relatives.  The issue was Grace didn’t like to smile for the camera, nor could anyone believe she would strike the rather sultry pose of the woman in the photo.  Was it her???? In the end we included it and much to our relief discovered that it was indeed Grace.  It would not be the last time she would surprise me.  Many of those stories are yet to come!