Friday, July 08, 2011

Seed and Harvest Gene Update: Let there be seeds


As I mentioned to you in my March and April updates, spring resurrected my "Seed and Harvest" gene. This gene, which so long had lain dormant, was bequeathed to me by my ancestors. While it dominated my springtime, the gene experienced a bit of a drought during the summer in Arizona.

My landscape and garden classes are in hiatus. So, the last few months I considered which outdoor projects I should tackle first. After my classes, I realized I wasn't ready for a full fledged garden. I filled pages of "to do" lists for inside and outside my home. Where should I begin? The choices were vast and beyond my skills.

What I need is a "Master Plan" to follow for the next couple of years to transition my yard into my gardening paradise. A plan which uses my skills and invites the talents of others when I need support. Let me assure you, I am not as organized as a Master Plan would lead you to believe. I know I need a Master Plan, and there are lots of images floating in my head, but nothing has been committed to paper yet.

But, I wasn't going to let lack of a plan stop me.

In May, I bought a few plants. I dedicated my early evenings to check their growth, to water when needed and to make sure Harrison, my eight month old puppy, had not devoured my treasures. I was on "weed patrol" each night and the daily walks through the yard have improved its appearance. However, it has not been all fun and games.

My strawberry plants flowered and then withered in the Arizona sun not a berry to be seen nor eaten. Harrison ate my peppermint plant, its remains strewn across the stones of my backyard. The elephant food is the sole survivor and I have yet to plant my loofah seeds. I am a far cry from my ancestral roots of living off the land.

So, my latest plan is to let monsoon season and triple digit temperatures pass. In autumn, I will test my hand and plant fall and winter vegetables. The elephant food will be transplanted from pot to earth and I envision an ocotillo in the north east corner of my yard. And, yes, that gate I want to build to save the vegetables from Harrison, well, that is further down on the list.

In the meantime, I have discovered how to get that "home grown" harvest satisfaction without the soil and toil. There is an organization called www.bountifulbaskets.org which brings locally produced fresh fruit and vegetables to its participants. The program is run by volunteers who coordinate all of the orders, meet at pre-assigned locations and distribute the food.

I signed up for the co-op and picked up my first basket last Saturday. I was delighted with the kale, tomatoes, broccoli, pears, peaches, grapes, strawberries and watermelon. Yes, watermelon.

When I brought my basket of goods into my kitchen both times, I pretended I picked these items from my own backyard. If my own "Seed and Harvest" gene did not grow these delights, I could enjoy it like it had. I washed and dried the items, saving the watermelon for last. I used my serrated knife and sliced it down the middle.

Inside, there was an oval shaped ring of black seeds. If you read my blog of Sunday, June 12 , you understand how watermelon played a role in my family history and triggers memories of each generation. How odd that I find my bountiful basket watermelon is filled with seeds. Now I only have one more comment.

Yes, Ashley, watermelons have seeds.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

July 4, 2011 - Independence and Intrigue


My grandfather, Fred Herzog, was born on July 4, 1882 in Reinwald, Russia. He gained his independence on April 9, 1907 when he arrived in Philadelphia aboard the Haverford. He traveled alone and his destination was Wisconsin. Like many immigrants, he came to live with other German Russian families on Erie Ave. in Sheboygan.

He lived with the Reimer's who were also from Reinwald. In 1913, he married their youngest daughter, Sophie, who was widowed in 1912 and left with two small children. He accepted the children as his own which tells us much about his character. He and Sophie are in the picture above, one of the three photographs I have of him.

Fred was always a mystery to me. His death certificate shows his birthplace was in Reinwald, Russia and lists his parents as Casper Herzog and Marvin Kauger as does his obituary in The Sheboygan Press. Yet, I could never connect him directly to the 1857, 1850 or original settler's Censuses for Reinwald. There are plenty of Herzog's listed, I simply never got close enough to 1882 to build the complete line.

The ship’s manifest lists Fred’s birthplace as Haviza, Russia. I assumed this was a mistake, but one can never be certain with these records. I searched for Haviza and found nothing that matched. Could it have been a temporary place he stayed in Russia while he earned enough money to travel to America? Or, could it have an illegibly written version of Starista, the Russian name for Reinwald?

Fred died in 1941 when my mother was only fourteen. She was so young she never asked for details about his life in Russia. I do know she was his “little angel” as he called her that the last time he saw her when she was in her beautiful white confirmation dress.

On Saturday when I chatted on facebook.com with my friend Ale Müller of Argentina, he mentioned the village of Rosenfeld. Ale and I share family ties to Reinwald. We have known each other online since my trip to Argentina. Ale told me some of his family moved from Reinwald to the daughter colony Rosenfeld as families grew and needed to expand to new land. He shared a copy of the 1862 Rosenfeld census* with me. Could this census be my link back to the Herzog's in the 1857 census? I skimmed through the pages and saw Herzog's and Reimer's among the recognizable Sheboygan family names.

On page 7, there are three Herzog families listed as follows:


Household # 20
Name.............Relationship to Head of Household.....Age
Peter Herzog.......Head..........................30
Margaretha Wagner......Spouse............29
Magadelena ...........Daughter..................5
Anna Katherina......Daughter.................3
Christina..................Daughter................½
Georg Andreas.........Brother...................23
Margetha Enders.....Sister-in-law..........21
Kaspar......................Nephew.....................1

Household # 21
Name...................Relationship to Head of Household.....Age
Friedrich Herzog........Head....................43
Magdelena Gauger.....Spouse.................40
Karl..............................Son.......................21
Maria Elisabeth Gauger....Daughter-in-law......19
Jakob...........................Son........................18
Katharina....................Daughter...............13
Maria Katharina.........Daughter................7

Household # 22
Name...................Relationship to Head of Household.....Age
Kaspar Herzog............Head.............39
Christina Knaus..........Spouse..........37
Friedrich......................Son................19
Jakob...........................Son.................15
Katharina....................Daughter.......13
Gottlieb........................Son.................11
Martin..........................Son..................9
Maria Elisabeth..........Daughter.........7
Margaretha.................Daughter.........4
Kaspar.........................Son...................3

I focused on the two younger Kaspar boys, ages 1 and 3, who would perhaps be the one to have fathered a child born in 1882 since they would have been 21 and 23 years old respectively. Kasper Herzog, age 39, would be 59 years of age in 1882, which certainly makes him a possibility but not the most likely candidate.

I also noticed there is a pattern of Herzogs marrying Gauger women. By the way, Gauger, when written in Russian, begins with a K. Am I on to something here?

Well, it is back to the Reinwald Censuses for a comparison of the Rosenfeld household numbers to the Herzog household numbers. The intrigue continues and my research begins anew. Today in honor of my grandfather’s birthday, I will celebrate the friendship of people like Ale who keep the momentum of family research flowing. I will celebrate Independence and thank my grandfather for coming to America. And, I wish my grandfather a blessed anniversary of his birth wherever it actually took place.



*1862 Census of Rosenfeld am Nachoi in the District of Samara, Russia, Dated January 10, 1862. Translated by Brent Mai, Concordia University, Portland, Oregon.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Family Secrets-Are you sure you want to know?


I recently listened to the book, "A Secret Kept" by Tatiana de Rosenay. When I picked out the book, I knew little about the story or author except what I read on the back of the audio cover. It sold me and I checked it out of my local library.

After I inserted the discs into my CD player, I was hooked before I finished the first paragraph. The characters of Antoine Rey and his sister Melanie piqued my interest. Their weekend getaway to a seaside hotel resurrected long-forgotten memories of a woman they barely knew, their mother. The memories spur them to investigate and interview family members to uncover the life and loves of Clarisse Rey.

There is much more to the story than genealogical and family history research. How the characters communicate and respond to each other tells more than some psychological thrillers. Yet, one of the most poignant moments for me is when Melanie tells Antoine she doesn't want to learn anything more about their mother. Melanie focuses on the remaining time with their father while Antoine carries on the investigation. As Melanie tells him, whatever he finds out, she simply doesn't care to know.

Many of us have experienced moments like these. You uncover a child born out of wedlock, a marriage filled with abuse, or a wayfarer who never returns home. Heartaches can put an end to a researcher's enthusiasm.
I understand the dilemma.

In "A Secret Kept" Melanie chooses to spend her time with people alive now and Antoine decides to continue to search about his mother's life. It is a balancing act family historians face every day. This book offers insight for family historians and challenges us to question how well we know the people of our present and our past. Read it this summer and you won't regret it.