Sunday, May 25, 2008

Clues in the Patterns

Watching family traits perpetuate is a very interesting process. I became aware of these patterns as I researched my own family histories, and began to count recurring patterns of faith, depression, alcholism, divorces, reactions to unstable or stable employment, and how family members perceived leadership. These characteristics can assume physical, spiritual, and behavioral aspects. According to the geneticists, we all inherit our mitochondria from our mothers. Since the mitochondria is the powerhouse of nearly every cell in our bodies, we receive much more than our mother's good looks. We are given their capacities for energy and stamina. So if your mother was able to habitually run marathons, you're probably going to be able to work long hours and not get ill, if you live a fairly healthy lifestyle. If she was easily fatigued, you may have inherited those limitations, too. Of course, the father's 23 chromosomes cannot be discounted, and will affect how much stamina and energy the children will have. And overdoing things will wear out anyone.
Emotional and psychological issues are also passed down. On my mother's side of the family, her ancestors suffered some form of abandonment due to one parent leaving, or divorce, a pattern running to some of my siblings' families. And then there are the parallels of the lives of cousins...ever notice how sometimes the first, second, or last born children in extended families live similar lifestyles, and have similar results?
The depression that my Norwegian forbears often experienced was probably due to the fact they settled in the U.S. Midwest, where they could not longer obtain enough iodine from their diet, causing thyroid weakness. My mother took prescribed doses of thyroid, and, after investigating my own lack of energy, I learned to request it, too. Being alert to unique habits, health conditions, and beliefs can be used to strengthen your current family.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Thrill of the Hunt - How Thrilling is it?

I like looking for lost information. This does not, however, extend itself to lost keys, lost children, or lost vehicles in extensive parking lots. There is an emotional attachment when I'm looking for the above people and objects that makes the situation too difficult. I suppose looking for keys, vehicles and children is so obligatory, and such a have-to situation, that I don't take pleasure in it. Fortunately, every one of these have been found, when missing, and I continue to have the joy of associating with my children.

On the other hand, looking for deceased ancestors, missing persons, herbs and rocks, and coins is a lot of fun for me. I am sufficiently detached enough to find the inevitible discouragement stimulating, and so want to look some more, and the thread of my thoughts continues to reach for the missing information, long after I have temporarily given up looking.

One instance was the family of a purported Isabelle Lundene. I was fortunate to purchase and receive her death certificate from a large U.S. state, and then find her in the 1880 U.S. Census in Rudd, Floyd, Iowa, with her husband, under her married name. Curiously enough, her first name is not listed as Isabelle, but the more distinctly Scandinavian Ingbor. How did I know it was Isabelle? Her husband Ole's surname was the clue, since it was rare and distinctive, more rare than his Norwegian patronymic, Knutson.

Next door is the Lundene Family, by name and age. So this is where Isabelle/Ingbor is why couldn't I find them in 1870 and before? Ingbor, born in Wisconsin, has had 3 children already, and is only 28 years old. What is the next step? Look in another state or federal census.

When I look for Ingbor in 1870, I find her under a different spelling of her first name,Ingebor, age 19, and under the surname Lund. A better clue was her mother's christian name of Olea. Her surname is Lund, similar to Lundene. Why did they change the surname? I don't think Olea spoke very good English at the time. And, Lundene means "The Lunds" in Norewegian. I can visualize some Census enumerator asking questions, and getting the answer "Vi er Lundene" (We are the Lunds). Olea probably had little time to learn English, since she had her hands full with the support of 7 children, and no husband.

On Isabelle's/Ingebor's death certificate, I find her father's name listed as Andrew. Nobody in Norway had that first name, so I surmise it must of been Anders or perhaps the more German Andreas. So who was Olea's husband? Going back to the U.S. 1860 Census, I find nothing under the surname Lund or Lundene. So I pick up the track under Olea's unusual first name, age, marriage to someone with the first name of Andrew, or something like it, and a first born son with the first name of Christoffel. There they are in Wisconsin, with some small discrepancies about the children's names and ages, Ingebor showing up as being 10 years old. And, most surprising, is the Danish-sounding surname of Knudson.

Where do I look next? This one search took me 20 years to accomplish. I need to look for Andrew/Anders and Olea in U.S. or Canadian immigration records, and for Andrew in Norwegian parish records, as possibly the son of Knud or Knut.