Sunday, August 31, 2008

Berlin Trip - Host Gift

The plans for my October trip to Berlin are coming together. Items are being checked off my list and one by one I am 'getting there'. One item kept spinning in my mind, though, and that was "what do I take to Germany for a host gift"?

When my cousin, Gerhard, came to visit us in Michigan in 2000, along with his two 20'something grandsons, they brought hostess gifts. There are so many wonderful items in Germany that Americans would appreciate and in reverse it is hard to decide just what to take to Gerhard from the US that would be of interest to him.

After much debating in my mind, I hit upon an idea. I bounced it off my cousin, TK, of Before My Time, and she concurred that it would be a wonderful gift to take. And my idea for the gift is......

An Ancestry family history book!

I am a member of the Ancestry web site and while I find their membership fees very pricey, there is so much information contained in Ancestry that it is worth the expense. Those of you who also use the Ancestry site will recognize that Ancestry has added a feature that allows a user to create a family history book. I read the instructions and decided to tackle such a project. This decision was made 5 months ago.

Here we are today and what have I discovered about the Ancestry system of creating a family history book?

First, it takes an enormous amount of time depending on how large your family base is and how much you want to include. I was interested in doing just my Kolberg side, of course, since this book is tailored for my Kolberg cousins in Berlin. I first had to enter all my Kolberg data into the Ancestry family tree module. I am a Family Tree Maker user though I am thinking of switching to Legacy and TK and I are testing that program. Ancestry states that data from FTM can be transferred into the Ancestry family tree module but I found that would not work. I had way too many people in my FTM and the Ancestry module could not handle it.

Therefore, I had to downsize my original project, though in the end that was a good idea because the cost to do a complete Kolberg book would have been prohibitive. I decided to start with my earliest generations and continue down 3 generations until I reached my great-great grandparents and their 7 surviving sons. This was the generation that eventually immigrated to America so I stopped with that generation. That gave me 5 generations of Colberg/Kolberg ancestors to comprise my book.

Once the data was entered in the Ancestry module, I was ready to create my book. Decisions, decisions, decisions needed to be made on (1) which photos to include, (2) what background designs to use, (3) to use frames or not to use frames, (4) what Ancestry records to include and the list goes on. It started out as a challenge and continued as a challenge because there were so many formats to decide on.

When I finally had the book the way I wanted, I added a Dedication and an Introduction, arranged the pages so they would flow correctly and printed the entire book (60 pages) to see how I liked it. Of course, I ended up tweaking this and tweaking that and printing this and printing that until my eyes were crossed.

Today I finally decided I had a finished product and I told myself "enough already". I placed the order and am pleased with the final "look". Ancestry promises delivery in 2 weeks which I hope they are accurate on.

I do feel this is a very good host gift in this circumstance and I hope that Gerhard enjoys the book. I had previously published a 400+ page book myself in the late 1970's and many, many Kolberg cousins had purchased copies. That book was totally hand made, printed and collated by myself. Many cousins have over the years requested that I do an updated book and this Ancestry book would serve that purpose, too.

While my original book was a complete history down to the current generation, I did find some relatives (not many, but a few) who objected to my having current data in the book at that time that showcased information on relatives still living or information on spouses included after a divorce, etc. All this information was accurate and brought up the topic of just how much do we include in our research. That is a subject for another post but in this case, with this Ancestry book, I kept this book devoted to the earlier generations and did not include the present generations in it. To do so would have made my 60 page Ancestry book probably 500 pages!!

I wish it would be possible to give my readers a link here to view my finished book but that isn't possible with Ancestry. What I can do is this - anyone who would like to see the book, please place a comment on this post and I will e-mail you a link that you can access to see the finished product. Ancestry gives a great presentation where you can see the actual book with the pages turning so that you can get an idea of just how the finished product will come out.

Thinking of doing your own history book? It was fun and a challenge and a lot of hard work and I have reviewed it and proofed it so many times that I am dreaming about Kolberg ancestry. But I think it met my goal which was to find a host gift for my German cousins.

Now, shh, don't tell Gerhard about this book! I don't have to worry about him reading this blog post because I haven't told him my new URL and the saga of my blog that disappeared. Please make sure to note my new URL for my recreated blog so that you don't miss any of my posts on my trip to Berlin.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Show & Tell - The "Grandma" Lamp

In reading the details on the 55th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, I saw that the topic was "show and tell" with further suggestions to feature "an heirloom, a special photo, a valuable document or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history". I didn't have to think very long or hard about what I could use as my "show & tell" piece and my choice would encompass three of those suggestions - an heirloom, a special photo and a significant person in my family history.

My great-grandparents, Rudolph Schulte & Juliane Feucht were married on October 7, 1891 in Detroit. Their only surviving child, my grandfather Elmer Schulte, was born 3 years later in 1894. While I never personally knew these great-grandparents, I heard many stories about them when I was growing up. I can't even remember when I first learned that my great-grandmother, Juliane (Feucht) Schulte, had died at a very young age - 36 - from cancer which amazingly was documented as such even as far back as 1907 when she died. My grandfather talked often about his mother and had many memories even though he was only 12 when she passed away. But, unfortunately, not too many photographs ever existed of Juliane Schulte. I had two but one showed her as a teen-ager and the other showed her in approximately 1895 holding my grandfather in her arms. For some reason that I can't explain I always had an affinity for her. Her life was short but even to this day her only great-granddaughter thinks about her often and I have her two photos displayed in my home.

Photos from private collection of Cheryl J. Schulte

Growing up I often saw a beautiful cut glass lamp displayed in my grandparent's home. It was lovely and we were never allowed to touch it. My grandfather told me that the lamp had belonged to his parents and had been displayed in their home at 521 St. Aubin in Detroit when he was growing up. He said that his mother had loved this lamp and he believed it had been a wedding present to them at the time of their wedding in 1891.

This lamp was from the Hubbell Lamp Company and was 100% cut glass with a total of 40 prisms hanging from around the center of the lamp. The prisms were staggered with 1 being long, the next shorter, the next long and so forth around the entire circumference of the lamp. The shade was also cut glass with an engraved pattern on it. The base was cut glass with the same engraved pattern. Two bulbs were in the lamp with pull cords to tun the lamp on and off.

Above photos of Lamp - Copyright © 2008 by Cheryl J. Schulte

Over the years, this lamp was passed down in the family. After the death of Juliane in January, 1907 and the remarriage of Rudolph to Juliane's sister, Elizabeth (of all things), the lamp was taken to their home. After the death of Rudolph in 1940, the lamp went to the home of my grandparents, Elmer & Ella Schulte. Following the death of Elmer in 1968 and the move to a small apartment by my grandmother, Ella, the lamp went to their daughter, my Aunt Marilyn. Following the death of Marilyn in 1992, I acquired the lamp.

I continue to display this lamp in my home and it holds a special significance to me as I can imagine my great-grandmother, Juliane, lovingly caring for this very extravagant lamp for the times.

Copyright © 2008 by Cheryl J. Schulte

A few years ago, representatives from "The Antique Roadshow" came through my town and I took the lamp to them for appraisal. I was pleased to learn that this lamp continues to be a very collectible and valuable item, some 100+ years after my great-grandparents had it in their home.

But, that is not the end of the story. So far I have featured an heirloom and a significant person that is a very special part of my family history. This story would not be complete if I didn't also feature the very special photo that is my most prized photographic possession.

Over the 30+ years that I have been involved in genealogy, I have traced all 8 lines of my great-grandparents, some with more success than others. I have connected with cousins from all these branches and we have shared information back and forth. During this period of time I was able to obtain many photos and documents on various ancestors of mine. All are special to me and could not be replaced. Having these photos and documents makes my ancestors seem more real to me and gives me a connection to the past.

As mentioned earlier, I would have to say that of my 8 great-grandparents, my great-grandmother, Juliane Feucht Schulte, would be my most special ancestor. I treasure the stories I heard of her from my grandfather, I often visited her grave in Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Detroit where her headstone was destroyed and is now gone, I felt a twinge of disappointment that her husband (who was to have loved her unconditionally) only waited 8 days after her death to marry her sister!!! and I loved the two photos of her that I did have. I was always of the opinion that due to her early death there probably were no other photos in existence of her.

WRONG. When I reconnected with my genie cousin, TK, of Before My Time, we quickly ran e-mails back and forth between ourselves and brought each other up to date on what we had achieved genealogically in the 20+ years that we had been out of contact. Imagine my surprise and total excitement when TK e-mailed me a photo that she had in her possession (her great-grandmother was a sister to my great-grandfather, Rudolph Schulte). She told me the photo was labeled "The Rudolph Schulte Family". When I saw this photo, my excitement could not be contained. Not only did this photo show my grandfather, Elmer, at 11 years old and his father, Rudolph, who I immediately recognized but also my great-grandmother, Juliane, probably just months before her death.

I have to say without any hesitation that no photograph ever pleased me more and I have this one framed and on my desk. I think that my great-grandmother would be pleased to know that she is still remembered to this day - 101 years after her death. Thank you, TK, for sharing this photo with me!

The Rudolph Schulte Family

Elmer, Juliane and Rudolph

Digitized photo from the private collection of Cheryl J. Schulte
Original in the private collection of TK

--------------------- And, speaking of TK and some of my other genea-blogger friends, Jasia and Thomas, many thanks for your posts recently on the demise of my 16 month old blog which up and disappeared off the face of the Internet. Hopefully, my readership will find my new/old blog which now is at this site with the same title, Two Sides of the Ocean. And thank goodness for back-up copies of the old blog!

Friday, August 29, 2008

From Sixteen Weeks to Six Weeks

Where have the weeks gone? Ten weeks ago I posted my first announcement about my upcoming trip to Berlin in October. At that time, there were 16 weeks to go and I felt that I had all kinds of time to plan for this trip. But the weeks have flown by and what have I accomplished towards the trip? Let's see:

The tickets are ordered and paid for. I am flying out of Chicago to Düsseldorf and then to Berlin. I have been to Berlin before, in 1993, but at that time I had not connected with my Berlin Kolberg cousins and my trip was mainly a sightseeing event. This time it will be much different and the opportunities to really tour the city and connect with family will be great.

I have an apartment already reserved and paid for by my cousin, Gerhard. He told me that his new apartment building has a "guest apartment" that is kept available for guests of the tenants so he ordered the apartment for me. He describes it as a 2 bedroom apartment with living room, kitchen, water closet, bath, balcony and TV all for 60 Euro a day. That is a pretty reasonable price when compared with the pricing for neighboring hotels or a Gasthaus in the area. Of course the Dollar to Euro is at a terrible exchange for our money but one can't worry about that. A trip can't be planned around the monetary exchange rate. Here is a photo that Gerhard sent me of his new apartment complex. Certainly looks like a relaxing atmosphere and what I need is definitely relaxation.

I applied for and received my passport. My former passport had expired and it was necessary to obtain a new one. It was rather humorous to have my passport photo taken at a neighborhood Walgreen's as they have the customer stand out in the middle of the store against a backdrop while they take the passport photo. Felt like a criminal lined up for a mugshot but the photo actually came out decent and that is saying something about myself!!

A biggie accomplishment - I found a fellow medical transcriptionist in the area to cover my work. This is major as finding people willing to take on more clients is difficult. I really need to find a second person because my 4 clients are heavy dictators and I doubt my friend will want to take on all 4.

Another big challenge - finding a way to get from St. Joseph to Chicago - 90 miles away. When I was living in Detroit, it was never a problem to get from the suburbs to Metro Airport. There were services throughout the Detroit Metro area, from various hotels, that would transport passengers to Metro for reasonable rates. Here in tiny St. Joseph that does not exist and it is very difficult to find someone willing to "drive into Chicago". That is like asking a person to drive across the country, in a torrential downpour at 2 in the morning. Nobody wants to make the trip to Chicago. I did find out, though, that in Michigan City, IN (just about 30 miles from here) is a similar shuttle service to what I am familiar with from Detroit. My neighbor is going to drive me to the shuttle in Michigan City so that I can get to O'Hare for my flight. Thank goodness for good neighbors.

This same neighbor also loaned me her brand new luggage. My luggage is old and not too handy any more. But my neighbor insisted on letting me use her brand new luggage which includes a case for my laptop so I am pleased about that.

So all seems to be set with the majority of the plans. What remains is trying to decide how much money to exchange here for Euro's, getting my work caught up and getting everything I want on the laptop transferred from my desktop computer. I have lists, lists, lists but that is the compulsive person in me. The same compulsion that made me back up my blog which saved me during my latest fiasco with the disappearance of my former blog.

Now what remains is what to take Gerhard for a host gift. When he and his grandsons came to Michigan in 2000, they brought me lovely hostess gifts. It is tough to try to decide just what to take to an older male as well as for his daughter and her family. But I have come up with what I think is a winner and that is the topic for the next post.

Stay tuned for my (I feel) very appropriate host gift for my fellow genealogist cousin!

Above photo of Berlin apartment building - Copyright © 2008 by Gerhard Kolberg

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Vacation To Beat All Vacations

First published on Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I haven't had a vacation in more years than I can remember. When I was employed, I had vacation time from my jobs and I always took my allotted vacation time. Most times, I spent it at home perhaps doing genealogy work in earnest but still at home. Since I have moved back to St. Joe 11 years ago, I returned to the
Detroit area one time - 8 years ago and that was a combination of a medical society meeting that I was attending in Ann Arbor. Since I was so close to Detroit, I tacked on an extra week and went back to Macomb County. But 8 years is a long time to go without any vacation!

And I mean ANY vacation. The last 8 years I have been totally self-employed. Doing medical transcription is a lifestyle in and of itself. Transcription must be turned around quickly, it is usually necessary to work 6 or even 7 days a week to keep current with the work. And, of course, if one were to take time off that would mean no income coming in AND the necessity to find coverage for the work. Since my work comes to me from my clients electronically through individual phone lines in my home and into a digital machine in my office, it is pretty difficult to find a fellow home transcriptionist to come into my home and do my work when she has work for her own clients.

That is a long way around the fact that I have not had any type of vacation in 8 years. Now that all my readers are appropriately feeling sorry for me.................I have made a decision and here it is.

I am turning 60 this fall (I know, I know I don't look 60) but the fact is I have a big birthday coming up. I have long wanted to take a specific trip and the opportunity has arisen. And I am here to tell all of my faithful followers of this blog that............


My fellow genealogy cousin, Gerhard Kolberg, has long been inviting me to visit him and his family in Berlin. He came here in 2000 to visit us and that is when we first met. In the ensuing 8 years, both my niece and nephew have visited Gerhard and family in Berlin and I have long wanted to go. But work constraints and financial constraints keep stopping me from acting on my desires.

Not this year. In honor of my upcoming birthday I decided to take Gerhard up on his latest offer. He is organizing a mini Colberg/Kolberg reunion in Berlin for October and I have decided that I am going. Sixteen weeks from today is the departure date and I have made my plane reservations with thanks to a certain Stimulus Check that I received. Gerhard tells me that his new apartment building has a guest apartment and he has reserved this guest apartment for my stay. His daughter and her husband also live in the same apartment building as well.

Come along with me for the trip. I will keep this blog updated on the progress with the plans. A big part of the fun of a trip is the planning for it and planning I am doing. My mind is reeling right now with things to do but the compulsive side of me is already making lists.

Berlin, Germany, here I come........

Above photo-Berliner Dom - Copyright © 2006 by Jeffrey Jay Schulte, Jr.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Immer Etwas

A German phrase meaning "it is always something" which I learned a few years ago from a favorite cousin. We loved to use this phrase between ourselves, bantering it back and forth whenever the situation called for it. An appliance would break and she would tell me "immer etwas". An item purchased from the store was faulty and needed to be returned and I would tell her "immer etwas". We enjoyed this phrase and it was our personal connection.

Well, dear readers, let me tell you that in the past 10 days I have been saying Immer Etwas to myself on numerous occasions (along with some other phrases that could not be published). And, why, you might ask? Because my 18 month old Blog "Two Sides of the Ocean" just up and disappeared off the face of the Internet.

WHAT? I can hear you all rallying behind me in support after this disastrous occasion. Yes, my blog is gone and I am told by Blogger that it was deleted on my end and cannot be retrieved. Now how this would happen is beyond me - my 83 year old mother lives with me and there is no way she even touches my computer. The only other person in this home is my 10 year old poodle, Zoya,

and while she is very smart, she does stay away from my office mostly because it is in the lower level of the home and she hates to be down here. So that leaves me to have deleted the blog and unless I sleepwalk, I don't know how it could have happened.

After several back and forths with my blogger cousin, TK, of Before My Time, we have concurred that the blog is gone and I will just have to recreate it. This could not have happened at a more inopportune time as I am 6 1/2 weeks away from my long awaited trip to Berlin and had intended to take my laptop and post to my blog from there.

Now for all those followers of my blog, fellow bloggers or not, here is a lesson for all of us - BACK UP. I am here to tell you that I am glad that I am a compulsive gal. Why, because cousin, TK, had told me from day one of my blog that I should copy and paste each post to a Word file for safekeeping and I faithfully did that. And I am relieved to say that all my 18 months' worth of posts are safely sitting in a Word file along with copies of the images that I used. Now, I will add that TK herself told me that it was such a great idea she couldn't understand why she herself didn't do the same!

So I have wrung my hands for the last week over this issue and now took the plunge tonight and created a new blog with a new URL but the same title. And here is the recreated blog "Two Sides of the Ocean" in new form and style. My German cousin, Gerhard, has already told me that he will help me create a new header for my blog when I am in Berlin and since he is a retired graphic designer I can only imagine how creative he will be. He is one talented person.

So please continue to visit my blog and watch the changes that will occur to its format over the next months.

Above photo of Zoya -
Copyright © 2006 by Cheryl J. Schulte