Quest to Learn My Ancestors

My quest to discover and learn about my ancestors began 40 years ago in 1977 with the original “Roots Miniseries” based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family”. My first wife and I like many Americans were entranced by the story, and the search for ancestors, and were equally motivated to research our families with the 1979 sequel, “Roots: The Next Generation”, which encouraged us to talk to our remaining grandparents to learn more about our family history.

Our families had both lived in the Illinois/Missouri areas since our ancestors immigrated to the United States of America in the 1840-1882 time-frame from Germany, France and Switzerland. We started our genealogy researching before there was a public internet to do research, which meant that we had to travel from Connecticut where we lived to the St. Louis, Missouri area to do any research. So with our daughter, we spent leftover two week vacation time in early 1979 visiting family, cemeteries, local library and the Belleville, Illinois court records. And more importantly, we spent quality time with our three living grandparents who loved to become acquainted with their great-grand daughter.  During this visit we developed the start of our genealogy research notebook

(insert image from work done August 2017 in WP)

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While the research into our ancestors, gave my first wife and I a focus to work together on a project, it was unfortunately not enough to keep the marriage intact. After my assignment in Connecticut ended, and I started working again in White Plains and New Jersey, she refused to move. So for eleven years I commuted 70 miles to White Plains and back. When my company’s engineering department consolidation in Atlanta, I had to decide to either move, or find another job, but there was nothing comparable for me in Connecticut. But she was not interested in moving anywhere with me. So, in late 1990 I filed for divorce as I prepared for the company move to Atlanta. She ended up returning to the St. Louis area in 1991 with our two children to live close to her mother and siblings.

Joseph and Mary (Kever) Roettgen Family Photo

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The Joseph and Mary (Kever) Roettgen Family pictured in the above image from ca 1912, are my maternal great-grandparents who lived in Frankenstein, Missouri. Joseph was born in 1862 in Luystown, Missouri of parents who emigrated in 1956 from Geseke (Soest)< Nordrhein-Westfalen. Joseph met and married Maria Adelgunda Kever at St. George Church, Osage, Missouri in 1888. She had emigrated to the USA with her parents Johann Joseph and Anna Helena “Gertrude” (Wilms) Kever in 1882 from Brüggen, Nordrhein-Westfalen. More about this family can be found at this link on my Genealogy Website. They lived just outside of Frankenstein, Missouri.

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The Photographer’s Shadow

This photo comes to mind when I think about writing about my father and his influence on me growing up. I’ve always wondered if it was staged or an accidental picture.  But knowing my father, and that the slide survived, I am sure that it was composed to show the Photographer’s Shadow. A shadow of him composing a picture with attached flash (remember those old flashbulbs?) to fill the shadows behind “Trixie’s” head. 

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Seei Family Reunion

Update!   The Seei Reunion was a success according to my sister.  The separate website for has been deleted, and integrated back into my overall TNG database. And the The Seei pictures can now be found at:

Note, the old login credentials will not work, but if Seei Family members contact me I will set them up with access permissions to both areas.  

In March/April timeframe I was talking with my sister Kathy who lives in the Dallas area. She mentioned an upcoming family reunion for her husband’s Seei family, so I asked about the data that I had once included in my online genealogy website. She had some interested in restarting it. So I created a subdirectory to host her family history data. 

As it happens, I am currently on a mission to reorganize my 35,000+ digital images managed by Apple Aperture as it is no longer being developed, and I have already bought Adobe Lightroom, but have not spent the time to make the transition.  So where I once had only a handful of large databases pointed to referenced files, I am creating many smaller databases, and relocating the referenced files to make the transition easier to Lightroom.  This has taken longer than I anticipated, but I am almost complete in removing duplicates and labeling her family photo images so that I can re-add them to her site.

Gambsheim Church

Gambsheim-Parish-Church_NoteBook-PlacesMy post today is about this old baroque Parish Church dating from 1763 that was destroyed in World War II in Gambsheim, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France. The cemetery at this church is where my 6th Great-Grandmother Anna (Kipper) Zinck (1693-1760) was buried. Her husband Jacob Zinck, and other Zinck family members are probably also buried there. The above picture and history found at: THIS LINK“.

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