Thursday, November 26, 2015

Hanni letters

As we have been going through my grandma's house the last couple of months we have happened upon many interesting things as is the case when cleaning out grandparents houses. It is interesting to see what things people choose to keep and as a result leave behind.

World War II love letters
First off to everyone who loved the World War II love letters from Grandpa Ken. What a treasure — who knew grandpa was such a romantic. The letters have all been scanned and are available to view or download on on Grandpa Ken's page. I felt that was the best place to put them. Mostly because they are multiple page pdfs and there were a lot of them. Second Grandpa Ken wrote quite a long history about himself. We also found a history for Grandma Margaret. We hope to get those put into a book before too long. We will let interested parties know when we get that completed.

Third we found a box of letters that belonged to Walter and Martha Hanni. They are all around 100 years old and written for the most part in German script. (I still need to put Walter's history on this site. It is rather long.) Most were written by Walter to Martha and some are letters to Martha written by other people. Some were from before the move from Switzerland and some from after. I was also able to borrow these for a day and scan them as well. I did find a friend of ours who can read German script (a lost art I hear) and she has agreed to translate them for us. I have no idea what is in these letters and for the enjoyment of the family I will post them on this blog when we get the translations back — hopefully in chronological order. The first one was actually written in French and written to Martha by a friend. I sent it to a friend who speaks French and this is what she sent back.

The first letter. It was written to Martha and addressed to her at a hospital in Biel, Switzerland.

February 2, 1910

Dear Martha,

I arrived well at the house. My [landlords/hosts] received me very well and I wanted to start working Saturday evening, and I was too tired I went to bed.
See you later.You accused me of not having written, but I hope that you do the same pleasure of you having written a little word.
 And when I started to work the next day everything seemed funny [or odd] to me but it made me very bad [hurt or sick] and now it quits a little [isn’t as bad]. I am always thinking that you are doing well I hope for that and that it
[pg 2] Will be soon the moment of you lifting/rising yourself and especially if you can walk. And also as much as I hope that it goes well I can’t write his name I remind myself more. Me when I arrived at the house they all had a good laugh; with my package under the arm.
And now I end my letter by telling you that for me it all to me you weaken [this part doesn’t really make any sense, but the last word on that line is hard to make out…I think it is t’afais which doesn’t mean anything, but if it’s spelled incorrectly it might have supposed to have been t’affrais, which would mean you weaken] impossible to come Sunday it will be for the next Sunday because I do not want to be at the house.

[pg 3]I had a lot of boredom at the hospital it cost me nothing to come and to go out no more.
Finally in waiting until the other Sunday.
Good greetings to all and also to Sister Lina,
One who thinks of you all
Goodbye dear Martha
A thousand kisses/Thousands of kisses a friend who thinks of you
Mathilde Brandt

Interesting letter. Hopefully it will make more sense when more letter translations come back as there were several letters from this time period all addressed to Martha at this hospital. I have not heard any stories about her and why she might have been hospitalized. Anyone know what this is about?

Until next time

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Let's join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants

We have known about the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD) for some time now and we have seen evidence that I am likely related to multiple pilgrims. We decided to go ahead and try to join the GSMD officially. One of the many things that led to this decisions was that our family line on FamilySearch has been edited in some way to break many of the connections that we thought we had. People have been merging or pruning the tree and we think that some errors may have been made. The process to join the GSMD requires you to provide very authoritative evidence of your direct lineage all the way back to the Mayflower passengers. A lot of the work has already been done for the generations following those pilgrims so our main focus is my immediate 3-5+ generations until we can tie into a line with existing approval of lineage. This will provide two things for us personally: 1) more confident evidence of my pilgrim heritage and 2) knowing that by going through this process we will make it easier for our ancestors or cousins or distant family to prove their lineage and join due to the fact that they may have less generations they need to cover as a result of our work.

We plan to document the process so that others who are considering joining can see what its like. We have heard that it can be rigorous or, depending on what has already been done, it may be relatively simple. We suspect that we have 4 or 5 lines back to the pilgrims and over time we would like to validate all of them.

So here is the first post.

Last night I located The Utah Society, a local member "chapter" of the GSMD. The Utah Society shows on their webpage that you start the process by submitting a "application review" worksheet showing your lineage. This is a real quick and dirty "this is how I think I am related" with no attached documentation at the moment. The idea is that the local historian will poke around their resources to determine what has already been approved by other members to see how much work we will have to do. We have potentially 5 lines so I sent an email to the historian expressing interest in joining and asked if the historian would like to see 1 "application review" at a time or all 5. While we waited for a reply we got to work reviewing our lines to be ready to send the review worksheets.

Here are the 5 lines we are interested in pursuing identified by signers of the Mayflower Compact:
  1. John Tilley and John Howland. (Both signed the compact and John Howland later married John Tilley's daughter Elizabeth.)
  2. Thomas Rogers
  3. Francis Cooke
  4. Peter Brown
  5. Stephen Hopkins
I jumped on my whiteboard desk while we consulted FamilySearch, AncestorFinder, and family trees. These tools and many others can be used to look through your tree and determine paths. We are using a new, private tree to catalog the direct line and will put only direct ancestors and their spouses to have a clean representation of our work. 

See John Lathrop on there? He was not on the Mayflower but is a significant historical religious ancestor and we wanted to see where he fit in.

The only line that we couldn't currently easily walk is the Peter Brown line. We found lots of conflicting evidence and no actual path to Peter Brown. The documentation we had that suggested a line was generated from RelativeFinder possibly when, for some reason, our tree in FamilySearch was in a poorly merged state. 

By the end of the night the historian from the Utah Society had replied stating we could send all 5 application reviews at the same time (now only 4 thanks to Peter Brown). The email also included more information about the application process. This sounds like its going to be a fun adventure.