Monday, January 24, 2011

Football Memories and Me

The endless talk last weekend about the Green Bay Packers playing the Chicago Bears made me think. Was my dad a Green Bay or a Bears fan?

I am sure my sister knows. Mary loves sports. She played softball for years and has faithfully followed the Cubs and Bears. I enjoy watching baseball, but football never interested me.

I do remember on one of our family trips to Upper Michigan, before Mary was born, we were going through Green Bay and dad drove around Lambeau Field. I remember the lights were on and it seems to me we drove a little slower as mom and dad talked. I remember asking what was so special and being told 'this is where the Green Bay Packers play'. I was duly unimpressed and remember laying down and going to sleep.

I was happy when Green Bay defeated the Bears, but for a reason all my own. I cannot imagine anything as exciting as the 1985 Chicago Bears, Jim McMahon, Walter Payton and 'The Superbowl Shuffle'. I remember Mary and Dad talking about each of the games and how excited Clayton and I were when the Dolphins handed the Bears their only loss.

One of these days Chicago will produce another team that will eclipse the 1985 Bears, but for me Jim, Walter and the Shuffle are number one. You can click on the title of the blog and relive the experience!


Da Bears!: How the 1985 Monsters of the Midway Became the Greatest Team in NFL History

NFL Films - Chicago Bears - The Complete History

Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton

Everyday Genealogy Desk Calendar

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Rethmeiers of Illinois and Nebraska - My Most Elusive Ancestors

A little bit about my genealogy research (for a change).

My great-great-grandparents were Fred and Dorothy Rethmeier. They immigrated to the United States shortly after their marriage in 1854 and settled in Barrington, Illinois. Of their seven children only three lived to adulthood.

My grandmother Emma Rethmeier, the youngest of the family, married Fred Schwemm. Her brother John, a carpenter, never married and lived on the family farm until both of his parents passed away. After the family farm was sold, John made his home with Emma and Fred in Barrington. Then there is Henry. Henry moved to Nebraska and was quite prosperous. I found quite a lengthy article about him and thought I had hit pay dirt. This family would be easy to trace…wrong.

History, Reminiscence and Biography of Western Nebraska, 1909

Henry Rethmeyer, a resident of Minden, Kearney County, is well and favorably known as a worthy citizen and good businessman. He is a contractor and builder, and has followed this trade constantly since coming to Minden twenty-four years ago.

Mr. Rethmeyer was born in Cook County, Illinois, February 13, 1858. He is a son of Fred and Dorothy (Dullmeyer) Rethmeyer, who came to Illinois from Schaumburg, Lippe, in 1854, settling in Cook County, where he followed farming for many years. He is now eighty-six years of age, and his wife seventy-nine, both hale and hearty. Since locating in Kearney County Mr. Rethmeyer has built a good many dwelling houses and barns all over the county and also in the adjoining counties.

He has done work in Adams and Clay counties, and erected the German parsonage at Grand Island. This is a beautiful residence, and he has put up many of the finest houses in his hometown, of which his own home is a good example. He employs four or five assistants and carries on a large business, giving the best of satisfaction with whatever he undertakes. He owns two houses here, and has met with pronounced success in his line, and has made all he is worth through industry and strict attention to his business, supplemented by honesty and good judgment. On the grounds surrounding his residence he has in full bearing a fine orchard of cherries, apples, plums, apricots, etc., showing that all of these fruits can be successfully grown in Nebraska if properly planted and cared for.

Mr. Rethmeyer was married in 1883 to Miss Mary Heimerdinger, who came from Stuttgart, Germany, in 1882. They are the parents of two children, namely: Mary, wife of John Stader, a farmer living in this county, and Julia, wife of J. Blackburn, who is engaged in the fruit business in Banning, California. Mr. Rethmeyer has four grandchildren--Edward, Onita and Hilda, in Kearney County, and Olpha May, in California.

In the summer of 1907, Mr. Rethmeyer went into the cement block business and does considerable contracting in the line of cement work. He does cement floor work, porch columns, baluster work, steps, etc.

Researching the Rethmeiers

The first problem is that Nebraska has no statewide indexes for death, birth, or marriage records and county indexes are scarce. Another problem is that from the records I have found, their children Julia and Mary were both born in Germany. So did Henry go to Germany or were they Mary’s children from a previous relationship? And then there is Mary husband’s last name. I was busy looking for a Stader family, but recently found out it was Stadler.

And did you notice that Rethmeier is now Rethmeyer?

According to Dorothy Rethmeier’s obituary, Henry moved to Florida sometime after this article was written. I cannot find a record of his or Mary’s death anywhere.

I have written to ten descendents of Julia Rethmeyer Blackburn, but to date I have had only one reply that advised me to write to someone else, who did not return my inquiry. I have found some VERY helpful folks on Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness that have found obituaries and photographed graves. But, I still have not found when or where Henry and Mary Rethmeier died. I just need a clue, a snippit, a break... I love a challenge!

Everyday Genealogy Desk Calendar

Mary and Henry Rethmeier

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blogging - Here, There and Everywhere

Blogging... I never gave it a lot of thought. A friend of mine, Sue, once said she was going to become a professional blogger. I will admit I chuckled to myself. First, I could not imagine how there was any money to be made, and second how could someone write that much! Plus, it did not sound like it would be much 'work'.

Flash forward four years and I am now writing and publishing two of my own blogs. I am also working my friend, Pam, on publishing her two blogs. Each blog, while related to genealogy research, is unique and draws a different readership. Each blog requires an equal amount of work.

I found that 'just' writing a blog is not enough. Once you have written each blog posting it needs to be published. To do this the blog had to be set up so it will 'publish' to the newsfeeds when it posted. This involves deciding what type of 'feed' will be used, how / if it will be 'tweeted' making sure that it is readable on Smartphones, etc..

Last fall I learned a lot about websites, SEO and sitemaps while promoting and selling "Everyday Genealogy - 2011 Desk Calendar", so this has been a natural extension. I started the Everyday Genealogy Calendar blog to help promote calendar sales and now I have learned how to promote the calendar blog.

Now, the next part is making some money from all this blogging. It is time to start reading up on the good, the bad and ugly of running ads on the blogs, learning more about Google AdSense and I am sure many other things.

I wonder if there is an eBook that I can download from Barnes and Noble on the subject or a used book on Amazon I can buy? Oh yeah, that eReader, we will talk more on that later.

Here is the list of blogs written by myself and Pam Treme:

Everyday Genealogy:
A blog supporting the Everyday Genealogy Desk Calendar offering hints, tips and advice on genealogy research. Everyday Genealogy Desk Calendar

Technology Tamers:
Pam and I speak at genealogy societies in Florida and we use this blog to promote our lectures. Our goal is to make genealogists aware of how technology can assist in their research and encourage them to publish their results.

My McKee Family Tree:
This blog was created by Pam to share her in depth research of the McKee family. Her goal is to document all the McKee's that migrated to Southern Illinois.

Pack Peddler's Place:
My grandmother nicknamed me Pack Peddler when I was a child and this blog reflects my collection of ideas, family stories and genealogy journeys. And my love/hate relationship with my eReader!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

eBooks, Used Books and Me...

eBook or paperback. Amazon or Barnes and Noble. To be or not to be. The great philosophical thoughts of the ages.

Now that I have started using my eReader reader (Pandigital + Barnes and Noble) I am faced with the reality of my addiction to used books on Amazon. I received gift cards for both Amazon and Barnes and Noble over the holidays and found myself torn between the two retailers.

There is nothing more fun than seeing how many used books I can buy with a set amount of money. Browsing my Wish List on Amazon and then looking at Amazon's suggestions based on my browsing and buying habits is like letting me loose in a candy shop. For my $35 gift card I bought 5 books and one new movie!

I decided to apply my Barnes and Noble gift card to my 'e' account on their website. I do not quite understand why I had to designate it for 'eBooks', but I did not read all the disclaimers that closely. I knew I would find something I wanted. This is where the fun is limited - NO USED BOOKS! Mmmm an entire industry gone! I decided to search for Christmas and genealogy related books. While there were many Christmas books, there were not a lot of bargains and to my dismay there was only one genealogy eBook. The experience was not a lot of fun.

I do have two 'new' books to read on my eBook but I also have those 5 'new' books arriving from Amazon. I tend to pick up the paperbacks quicker than the eBook, so I may never finish George W's book "Decision Points" or start Elizabeth Edward's "Resilience". But I have started reading my newly arrived paperback "The Roosevelt Woman" from Amazon.

I do need to start working on my genealogy again, so reading may become a luxury. And there still are a few Everyday Genealogy Calendars left to sell!

I recommend "The Roosevelt Women". It has a great family tree to help the reader understand the relationships and it written in a very easy to read style.