Monthly Archives: July 2015

Bertha & Elsa School DaysIMG_3567There is a popular song by Miranda Lambert called “The House That Built Me.” It is a rather bittersweet song about visiting the house where she grew up, in and effort to find herself again. I suppose that it is very common to lose sight of self as the years go by, and life gets busier and busier. Sometimes we just find ourselves needing to regroup, to a degree. Of course, in the song, she really just wanted to get back in touch with her beginnings. I can understand that, since my sister, Cheryl Masterson, my mom Collene Spencer, and I took a trip back to Superior, Wisconsin, to reconnect with family members, the town, and the house where the first years of my life were spent. Of course, unlike Miranda Lambert, we didn’t ask to go into the house, although it might have been fun to do so, and unlike Miranda, I didn’t grow up in the house, but rather the first couple of years of my life. Nevertheless, standing there in front of the house, I found myself thinking about the home movies I had seen of our time there. They were good memories, and it felt good to be there to see that house that represented my beginning.

My great aunt, Bertha Schumacher Hallgren and her sister, Elsa Schumacher Lawrence had the opportunity as teenagers to travel from their home in Fargo, North Dakota, to Minnesota. While there, they were not only able to see the house where they were born, but the actual room they were born in. Things are much different these days. Most people are born in a hospital, rather than at home, so we don’t necessarily think of the room we were born in, because there is almost no way to know exactly which one it was years later. Bertha and Elsa had such an amazing opportunity…one I suppose many of us might envy, if we thought about it very long. The time they lived in, combined with the kindness of the new owners, allowed them to take a small glimpse into their past. It was an event that affected Bertha so much, that she wrote about is years later. She too, had been a young girl when the family moved away, but unlike me, she was able to step back into the world, and feel what it was like in those early years.

No, I suppose you can’t really go home again, unless like my younger sisters, your parents stayed is the house where you grew up. In that case, while you have grown up, married, or moved out on your own, you still have grandpa spencer014IMG_3519those close ties to the home of your youth, and with it, the memories and values you grew up with. Yes, my older sister, Cheryl and I do have those memories too, we have still found ourselves wondering what our lives would have been like, and who we would have been if our parents had stayed in Wisconsin. I know things would have been different for sure, but in reality, all the changes that have gone on in our lives have turned out to be the best life for us anyway. So maybe, going back to a lost childhood home really makes little difference in the grand scheme of things afterall.

37318_1282517634721_2551061_n[1]66008_1427715420448_3098557_nThat my niece, Chelsea Hadlock is a fashionista is a fact that no one will dispute. She has a style that is all her own, and it’s a style that a lot of girls wish they could pull off too. Yet, Chelsea does it with ease. She doesn’t mind a look that makes her stand out in a crowd. In fact, she thrives in just such a setting. When I was thinking about today’s story, I decided to enlist the help of a little birdy who knew Chelsea well…her friend, Sydney Hanson. Sydney told me about the Theme Party Queen. You see, our Chelsea loves to dress up, and I’m not just talking about in the latest style. Chelsea has a great imagination, and probably would have fit in quite well at the Masquerade Balls of yesteryear. Sydney tells me that she and Chelsea met after they graduated from high school, and in their before kids days, Chelsea was the one who went all…and I do mean all out for the theme parties they both attended. I have always known that Halloween is Chelsea’s favorite holiday, but I wasn’t aware that it is all about the costumes. I have to wonder if Chelsea just loves escaping to that imaginary, fantasy world the runs 10676195_10202953479705529_3463465173877702689_n[1]around in her mind and imagination.

I’ve noticed that imagination in different areas of Chelsea’s life as well. Her Christmas tree always has a theme. She owns several sets of ornaments. I suppose people might think that strange, but Chelsea always has a beautiful Christmas tree…so think what you want to, but I think it’s cool. As to birthday parties…well, Chelsea really shines here. Her children, Ethan and Aurora will be the envy of all their friends…if they aren’t already. Chelsea is a great mom, but when she was pregnant with Ethan, she was convinced that he was a girl. Thankfully she found out before he was born or he would have come home to a pink princess themed room, for sure. Chelsea and her mom, Debbie Moss were about half scared at the thought of her having a son. It was like…what are we going to do with a boy. Now, I can relate to that, because having two daughters of my own, the three grandsons I have were a real culture shock too. Nevertheless, like me, Chelsea stepped into that role of the mother of a son, with ease and style. I would have expected nothing less. She still got her girl, and Aurora is a girly girl if there ever was one. So they are two of a kind, and both are fashionistas. I love the outfits Chelsea comes up with for them…often matching or almost matching…there’s that theme party queen again.

There is, however, one thing that I have never seen, and Sydney says Chelsea never does. That is to wear sweatpants out in public. I suppose they are not stylish enough, and we all know that Chelsea is all about style. Hadlocks 20141798869_10201526072461240_972577765_naNow, I know that lots of people have worn sweat out in public…me included, but you have to admit that it isn’t a fashion statement. In fact, you are probably feeling the least good about yourself when you wear them. I know that’s what it was for me. Or maybe you are just a person who likes sweats for the comfort. Either way, they are not fashionista wear, nor are they the kind of thing you would ever see on a Theme Party Queen. Today is Chelsea’s birthday. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Always stay the beautiful girl, inside and out, that you are today. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Somerset HousebyAnyone who has ever tried to trace their family history knows just how difficult it can be to find the records sometimes. Early families kept their records mostly in the family Bible, or some other type of record keeping book, and if the records weren’t kept where they were safe, or where the next generation knew to look for them, they were often lost. It seems that some nations were more ahead of the pack when it came to registering the people…where it was for a good purpose or not. Later it was only churches that kept records of these things.

The Bible tells us in Luke 2:1-5, “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.” In many way, I suppose it was from this point on that the Romans and Jews began to keep such clear records, although, according to the Bible and the lineage of Jesus told there, the Jews had kept very clear records before that. It was clear record keeping of this type that made it possible for families to know their heritage.

As I have searched for my own ancestors, I have found that in more modern times, such as the 1000 to 1700s, the record keeping was not so good. I don’t know if people were just more lax about it, or if there seemed to be no good place to store these things. I could also be that in cases where good records were kept, fire, flood, or some other natural disaster destroyed them later on. I find that to be such a sad state of affairs, because it can put up a wall between the genealogical researcher and the valuable information they are searching for.
Civil Registration Records
I guess I’m not the only person to ever feel that way, because on this day, July 1, 1837, England and Wales established the Civil Registration system to record births, marriages, and deaths. It is that same system that is used in Ancestry.com to provide valuable records used by genealogical researchers to this day. Of course, in the early days, the records were stored in volume after volume in some dusty corner of a courthouse or something. It was very hard to research family through that avenue, but with the invention of the internet, and the transfer of those records to it, the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths has opened up many new doors in genealogical research.