The years of slavery were awful for the African people who were sold into slavery by their own families or their countrymen. They were often stolen in the middle of the night, never to be in their homes again. Some of these slaves were young…some were even children. The terror must have been horrific. Nevertheless, it was what it was. Their life as they knew it was over. The journey to their new “home” was a hard one, and many people didn’t make it. That didn’t matter either, except in the revenue lost…they cared about that.
When the slaves arrived in the colonies, they didn’t have last names, or if they did, no one could really understand the last names. That didn’t matter to the slave sellers or the new master, because once sold, the slaves were given the last name of their masters, if they were given one at all. They were non-people. One must also understand that not all slaves were African. Many slaves came from Ireland too, but
I suppose it was easier to get away from their masters, because they were white too…not that they escaped, because where would they go. They were far away from their home too.
In those days, in Colonial America, slaves could win their freedom through lawsuits. I’m not sure what made them think they had a chance of winning their freedom. First of all, they had no money to get an attorney, and no attorney would have taken the case anyway. They had no way of proving their case, and what would their case have been? There was no code of conduct when it came to slaves. They could be beaten, raped, and even killed by their master. They could be overworked, under fed, and punished at will. There really was no case that could be made…as far as I can see anyway. As I said, there was a slim chance that a slave could bring a case, and even less chance that case. Nevertheless, even with that low chance of succeeding, winning in court meant that the slave was now a citizen. They were free, and no one could dispute that again…legally anyway. The problem now was that these slaves had no last name, and they needed a last name to be a citizen. I seriously doubt they wanted to keep their master’s name. So, to solve the problem, the slaves were given the surname…Freeman. In my genealogist’s mind, there is no greater was to lose the true line of a family than such a name change.
Where my Aunt Evelyn Hushman was the beginning of my grandma and grandpa, Hattie and George Byer’s large family, Aunt Sandy Pattan was the end. Between them were 17 years and 7 siblings. When Aunt Sandy arrived, my grandparents had a disagreement as to what her name would be. My grandfather wanted to name her Sonya (or maybe Sonja, we will never know, since the name lost), but my grandmother wanted to name her Sandra. They simply could not agree, so the decision was made for Grandpa to go home and tell the rest o the children about the birth, and let a majority rule vote of the children settle the dispute. So, Grandpa went home and told the children about their little sister. Then he told them about the name dispute. They were to decide. Trying as hard as he could to make Sandra sound as plain as he could and, Sonya sound like the most beautiful name in the world, Grandpa waited for the decision. He didn’t have to wait long. Almost the split second he said Sonya, the children all said, “Eeeeewwww!! Sonya!! No way!! We choose Sandra!!”
Poor Grandpa. The decision saddened him. He liked the name Sonya. Nevertheless, Grandpa was an honorable man. The name Sandra had been chosen, and Sonya was out. He would accept that. I’m sure Grandma was happy, and my Aunt Sandy has told me that she is thankful, because she doesn’t think she would have liked the name Sonya. Maybe not, but once a name is given, most people can’t imagine themselves as anyone else. People tend to fit the name given, whether it is unusual or common. I can’t imagine having an Aunt Sonya, but then that is because I have always had an Aunt Sandy. That’s who she is, and it’s as simple as that.
Aunt Sandy must have some of the name/heritage gene in her blood, because she is as curious as I am about things like family history, and name history. We like to know if a name came from way back in the family, was made up, or picked out of a book. It doesn’t really matter which one it is, it’s really about the search. Aunt Sandy is a great teller of family stories. She remembers them in great detail. I could sit and listen to her all day. Many people don’t understand the importance of the family history, and people like Aunt Sandy and me, are important, because without someone to keep the stories alive, the family history could die, and that would be truly tragic. I’m grateful to have Aunt Sandy, who is still able to tell me the stories, so that when some of the kids in the family discover their interest, the story will still be there. Today is Aunt Sandy’s 74th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
The term “coward” doesn’t normally bring with it thoughts of bravery in the face of danger, but perhaps it should…sometimes anyway. Charles Joseph Coward was born in Britain on January 30, 1905. I can’t say what his young life was like, and perhaps it was his parents who taught him to prove his name wrong, but I’m quite sure they were proud of just how well he proved that he was anything, but a coward. Coward joined the British Army in 1937 and served with the 8th Reserve Regimental Royal Artillery. By the time WWII started in 1939, he was a Quartermaster Battery Sergeant Major. They already saw something in him that disproved his name.
In World War II, Coward was fighting against the Nazis when the Germans assaulted the port of Calais on May 21, 1940, marking the start of the Siege of Calais. The German army drove the Allies back, and the British Expeditionary Force fled from France through the port of Dunkirk. Fortunately, most made it out in time…to fight the Germans another day. Unfortunately for Coward, he was not one of them, and he became a POW. He did have an advantage, however, in that he spoke German. He used his language skills to make seven escape attempts by passing himself off as a German soldier. One of the escape attempts worked. He was free, but he was injured, and was sent to a German Army field hospital. Coward kept up his German soldier act. After the German doctors had treated his wounds, he was awarded an Iron Cross for his bravery and suffering. Unfortunately, they realized their mistake pretty quickly. Coward was sent back to the POW camp where he earned a reputation for sabotage while on work details. Finally, he was sent to Poland…Auschwitz, to be precise…not to the death camp part of Auschwitz, but rather to the work camp part of it. Coward arrived at Auschwitz III (Monowitz), which was the working camp, in December 1943. The camp was located approximately five miles from Auschwitz II (Birkenau), which was the death camp. There he became a modern day “Hogan’s Hero,” although there was nothing funny about his situation, like there was in the television show. Coward spied on his captors and risked his life to save those he could. All that under the name of Coward.
IG Farben was a German chemical and pharmaceutical industry conglomerate. Its name was taken from Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie. IG Farben had acquired the patent to Zyklon B. It was originally used as an insecticide and by US immigration officials to delouse Mexican laborers. The Nazis had a different use for it…the extermination of Jews and other undesirables. Coward and between 1,200 and 1,400 other British POWs were kept at sub-camp E715. Their job was to run the liquid fuel plant which produced synthetic rubber. Coward, due to his German language skills worked as a Red Cross liaison officer, because Germany was still keeping up the pretense of honoring the Geneva Convention articles. He was allowed some measure of free movement within the camp, and even permitted to go to the nearby towns. In town, Coward saw trainloads of Jews arriving at the the extermination camp. Auschwitz III housed 10,000 Jews who were “allowed” to work. They were worked to the point of exhaustion and sickness. Given the brutality and deliberate starvation they did not last long. Coward simply couldn’t stand by and do nothing. The British POWs had access to Red Cross items, so Coward and the other prisoners set aside food and medicine to be smuggled to the Jewish section of their camp, to help as many as possible. Coward was allowed to send letters out, so he began writing to his friend…Mr. William Orange, a fictitious person. It was actually the code for the British War Office. In those letters, he explained what was happening in the camps, as well as the treatment and mass slaughter of Jews. One day, a letter was smuggled to him, asking for help. It came from Karel Sperber, a British ship’s doctor, but there was a problem…Sperber was being held in the Jewish section of Monowitz. So Coward exchanged clothes with an inmate and smuggled himself into the Jewish sector to try to find the doctor. Sadly, he failed, but he did see how Jews in the work camp were being treated. After the war, he was among those who testified at the IG Farben Trial in Nuremberg. He helped to have some of the company’s directors imprisoned, although only for a few years.
He wanted to help the Jews, but to pull it off, he needed two things…chocolate and corpses. It was a daring plan, but it worked. Coward gave the chocolate to the guards in exchange for the bodies of non-Jewish dead prisoners. Then, once their clothes and papers had been removed they were cremated. Jewish escapees put on the clothes and assumed the new, non-Jewish identities. With help from members of the Polish resistance, they were then smuggled out of the camp. As the number of those missing tallied with the number of those who were reported dead, neither Coward nor the bribed guards fell under any suspicion. It is estimated around 400 Jews were saved using Coward’s method. In January 1945 Soviet forces advanced deeper into Poland. As they made their way toward Auschwitz, Coward and the other POWs were forced to march to Bavaria in Germany. The prisoners were liberated by Allied forces en route, finally putting an end to the brutal nightmare. In 1963 Yad Vashem recognized Coward as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. He became known as the “Count of Auschwitz.” and a film was made of his exploits called “The Password is Courage.” I think he was a pretty brave man…for a Coward.
The long awaited birth of the third child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has finally arrived. It’s a prince. I am so excited to have a new royal cousin…my 16th cousin twice removed to be exact. Of course, we don’t know the baby boy’s name yet but he weighed in at 8 pounds 7 ounces, so he was a good sized boy. He is just perfect. It is always so exciting with one of my royal cousins has a new baby. There has been much speculation as to what the couple might name the little prince, with names like James, Phillip, and Arthur. The bookies have started the betting process, so everyone can be involved, Personally I like the names Michael, Phillip and Spencer. In fact I would like a some version of the three together. Time will tell, and until William and Kate inform the Queen of the name, no one else will get to know what it is, but from what I’ve read, the Queen will have no say in the baby’s name. As a grandmother, and soon-to-be great grandmother myself, while I have my own ideas about good baby names, I do not think it is my place to try to force my opinion, and in fact, when I have thought a name would not be the best on for the babies in my family, I have found out that each of their names seem to fit them perfectly. That said, no matter what the name is, it should be totally the decision of William and Kate. We just wish they would hurry up and tell us already!!
With the birth of this baby boy, history will be made again. This new baby will be 5th in line to the throne of England, following his grandpa, Prince Charles; his dad, Prince William; his brother, Prince George; and his sister, Princess Charlotte. In times past, Charlotte would have fallen after this new baby, but the law changed before her birth, and she now holds her line in the succession to the throne. Many people are not sure how they feel about that, but since her great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth has successfully ruled England for many years, it would be hard to dispute Princess Charlotte’s ability should that position ever arise. This baby also moves Prince Harry, William’s brother, to 6th place in the line of succession, which pretty much guarantees that he will never be the King of England, unless something huge happens, which I pray it never does…obviously.
So, as an eventful first day of life comes to an end for the little prince, who was born of Saint George’s Day, a big holiday in England, we go to sleep still wondering what this little man will be named. Not that he really cares either way right now. After all, he has had a busy day, and all he really wants is dinner and a soft bed. Happy birthday sweet little HRH Prince of Cambridge, which is his official title. We look forward to knowing your name very soon. Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We are so happy for you!!
Every surname has an origin. That is because surnames were not always used. In the very earliest of times, people were known by their given name and the place they were from…meaning that I would have been Caryn of Superior. I’m not sure when the changes took place, but it often started by giving the people who lived in a town the town name as their last name, so since my husband’s family came from a town called Schulenberg, Germany, their last name became Schulenberg, and so it has continued to this day.
The Knox family name, however, has changed extensively over the years. The name is Gaelic, and it means a little hill. Figuratively is could also mean a stout man. The name was originally spelled Cnoc, and has since taken on many spellings, such as, Knox, Nox, Nock, Nocks, Nockes, Knock, Knocks, Knockes, Noke, Nokes, Noake, Noakes, and possibly more. What that says to me is that we may be related to many more people than we know, and how will we ever find out…seriously, how? This kind of a thing is truly a genealogical nightmare. Then, to complicate matters further, these people move from one country to another, and sometimes the records are not well kept, or worse yet, the names are changed to make them fit the country they are now living in.
The forebear of the Knox family was said to be Adamus, of Saxon origin, who received the barony of Cnoc or Knox in Renfrewshire as part of a dowry. The first recorded spelling of the name was that of John de Cnoc, his son, in 1260 in the charter lists for Renfrewshire. Over the centuries the family has included royalty, presidents, and others from aristocracy. Some of those notables are names I recognized before I was even a part of the family, such as James K Polk, who was our 11th President. I still have to wonder how many others out there who might have been notable and related to us.
Since I have been more and more interested in Heraldry, I also checked into the heraldry of the Cnoc name. The oldest known coat of arms is in colors of gold and red. The gold signified generosity. The red signified warrior, martyr, and military strength. The helmet signifies wise defense. The dove signifies love and peace. In Ireland, the Dove was regarded as the bird of God. The shield Bordure – represents honor. It is a beautiful coat of arms, and is an item of proud heritage belonging to the Knox or Cnoc family. Nevertheless, while there is much known information, there is still much that is unknown, and that makes it a genealogical nightmare.
For every girl named Amy, there comes a time when their name is butchered in one of the sweetest ways possible. It happens when a small child tries to say their name. I don’t quite understand why such a simple name is so hard for little ones to learn to say correctly. Nevertheless, the name Amy always seems to change to Mamie when said by a little one who is learning to talk. This has been something that my daughter, Amy Royce has had the pleasure of enjoying all her life. I suppose some people wouldn’t think it cute to have their name messed up in such a way, but we have always thought it to be really cute, and quite precious for our Amy to be called Mamie. It was always said by a child who dearly loved Amy, and that made the name quite endearing. And it was always fun to laugh about it, causing it to be a nickname that even the adults used with her sometimes.
Because of how much we loved the nickname, Mamie for our daughter, I found myself smiling when I heard what my cousin Raylynn Williams had named her daughter. The name was actually handed down from her husband’s grandmother, but nevertheless, there was now a Mayme whose name was not being mispronounced by the little children around her. As names go, it is a bit unusual, but then a lot of people prefer the unusual when it comes to naming their children, myself and my daughter Amy included.
I found myself taken back in time just over four years ago, when I heard what my cousin had named her precious little girl. The name would be one that would take me back every time I heard it…or even saw Mayme. How odd it seems, to have two children with names that, in reality, are not the same, but we can feel a sameness nevertheless. It isn’t always sameness that connects us, you see. Sometimes, it can be our differences that make us the same. While Amy and Mayme are totally different names, to hear a small child say them, would sound exactly the same. Who would expect that a shorter name that is totally different, would be pronounced the same when it comes to little kids. Mayme is a sweet little girl, with a beautiful smile, who is a little bit shy around people she doesn’t know well, But once she knows you are ok, based on being cleared by her parents, of course. Her face will light up with her smile. She is the answer to her parents prayers for a daughter, and the apple of their eyes. Her brothers are very protective of their little sister, as brothers tend to be…especially when the sister is the youngest, like Mayme is.
I can’t say that Amy and Mayme are alike in very many ways, in all reality, because Amy is a grown woman, and Mayme is a little girl. So much can change as each moves on in their life. Amy has always been a little shy, and I think Mayme is too, but that could change as she grows up…or it could stay the same. We will see. They may end up becoming completely different people, but one thing they will always have in common is their name…in a way anyway. Mayme will always be Mayme, even when her name is said by a little child, and Amy will always be Amy. But, Amy will also always be Mamie too, because there will always be little kids who will love Amy and will learn her name early, even if they do mispronounce it.
When a name is passed down from generation to generation dating back to the 1400s or even further back, it is often not easy to say just how that name got started, but once in a great while, we are able to find out for sure, because prior to a certain point, that name did not appear. Such is the case with my dad’s name in his family line. I have searched the family history pretty extensively, and while I could be mistaken, I don’t think that I am…for this part of the line anyway. My dad’s name is Allen Spencer, as was his dad’s and great grandfather’s. The name, Allen was first introduced with my dad’s great grandfather…as near as I can tell. It did not come from his parents, but rather from his grandparents. I’m sure that at this point, your are confused, so let me clarify this.
My fourth great grandfather, William Spencer, who was born on July 22, 1745, married a woman named Mercy Allen sometime before 1790. The exact date is unknown, but the only child anyone seems to know about, Christopher was born in 1790. Christopher Spencer was my third great grandfather, and the father of the first recorded Allen Spencer…who was, of course named after his grandmother…Mercy Allen. From that point on there would be an Allen from each generation, with only one exception that I am aware of…my sister, Allyn who would have been Allen, had she been a boy. Since she was not, my parents did the closest name they could…Allyn. Having all daughters, I’m sure you would expect that the Allen Spencer line would end with my parents, but it did not, because my sister, Caryl, upon the birth of her son, named him Allen Spencer Beach…thereby continuing the tradition. With the great care that was taken to continue the Allen Spencer name throughout the generations, I have to say that they succeeded…albeit with a little bit of creativity. While I don’t always think of my sister as being an Allen, she did go to school with a boy named Allyn, who was in fact called Allen. It is all in where you place the accent. We always pronounced hers like Lynn, with an A in front. It really had to be continued…it’s tradition. And it is my hope that my nephew, Allen will continue the tradition, or that someone else in the family will do so, because it seems a shame to let it end now.
The rather funny thing about the name, Allen being a last name is that my dad always joked with us when we or anyone else named their kids a name that could have been a last name. Names like Ryan, Garrett, and Kellie, while maybe not spelled exactly like the last name they came from, were nevertheless, originally last names. It’s funny that Dad teased about those names, saying they were last names, but didn’t make the same connection with his own name. I’m sure that was because he knew that it had been his dad’s and great grandfather’s name too. Still, like it or not, Dad’s name was originally the last name of his third great grandmother. Sorry to say it, Dad…but, that was once a last name!!
Born the day after her mom’s birthday, my grand niece, Reagan Parmely looks much like her dad. Nevertheless, I think this little girl might take after her grandma, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely in some ways. For years now, Jennifer has loved hiking in the mountains, and when you get little Reagan up there, she is the same way. She loves to see what is around the next curve in the trail. Reagan’s family lives out in the country, and she has a big yard, so she is used to being able to run free to a big degree. I think it’s very possible that her love of the mountains and the trails comes from her days of exploring in her own back yard.
Of course, there are a number of family members who love to hike, but it is Reagan’s grandma, Jennifer who had the initial desire to get Reagan out on the trail, and it is obvious to me that Reagan very much enjoys the trails, whether she is with her mom, grandma, or Uncle JD. Like many of us, Reagan loves to see where the trail will take her, and in this case, she was delighted to reach Garden Creek Falls. She had a great time playing in the water, and didn’t care one bit that it was a little cold. She loved the beauty, the noise, and the feel of the cold water on her hands.
Reagan has two great playmates, in her dogs, Ayva and Dixie, and she is not afraid of animals at all, mostly because of the influence of the dogs when she was just a baby. Both of them decided immediately that this was their baby, and it was their job to protect and entertain her. I love to see the way they interact. She is such a natural with animals, letting them know with her gentle touch, just how much she loves them. And they want to be with Reagan as much as possible. In fact, it suspect that her nap time is just a bit long and boring for the dogs. Nevertheless, they wait patiently for her to wake up so the fun can begin again. I’m sure that Reagan’s little sister Hattie will find the dogs to be the very same way with her too.
This past month has brought big changes in Reagan’s life, with the addition of her little sister. She now has a human playmate…well, soon anyway. For now, she busies herself with helping her mom to take care of her little sister, and of course, learning how to say her name, which is really cute, but unable to be reproduced here. Of course, while she is learning all of the things a big sister needs to know, she is also spending quality time with her mom. Reagan love to be with her mom, and wants to do anything Ashley is doing. They do yoga together, and Reagan is learning all the right moves, and does them very well, I might add. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Reagan ends up doing a little dancing as well. She has the grace and the desire for it, so I believe she will be a natural there too.
Only time will tell which things Reagan likes to do the most, but then again, she is only two years old, and so has a lot of time to decide what her interests will be. In the meantime, she is content to spend time with her family, because she loves them the very best, after all. Today is Reagan’s 2nd birthday. Happy birthday big girl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
After reconnecting with so many of my Schumacher cousins on Facebook, Ancestry, and now in person, I have begun to wonder more about the Schumacher ancestry even further back. For a number of years, I have been stuck in the 1800’s on the Schumacher side of the family, just hoping for a break, and I think I may now know why. In researching the name Schumacher, I find that Schumacher or Schuhmacher is an occupational surname. It is, of course, the German word for shoemaker. Both spellings can be used as surnames, with Schumacher being the more common one, however, only the variant with an “h” can also be used as a job description in modern German spelling. That fact is of vital importance to my family’s actual history, and it could be the reason I have hit a wall in my search.
According to my grandparent’s, Carl and Albertine (Henriette) Hensel Schumacher, marriage certificate, Carl’s last name was actually spelled Schuhmacher…the actual job description, as well as an occupational surname. I had long known of the difference in the spelling, because my Uncle Bill Spencer had sent me a copy of the marriage certificate years ago, but I didn’t know the distinction that one letter held. I didn’t know that it changed the name from just a name to an occupation. If, as I suspect, Carl was encouraged to Americanize the spelling when he came to America, then anyone searching for information on Carl Schuhmacher, would most likely hit a wall…just as I have done. Americanizing surnames was a very common practice in early American immigration history, and sometimes the name the person ended up with was nothing like their real name. It is a serious frustration for the family history researcher.
This now causes me to wonder if our family might be related to such notable people as Eugen Schuhmacher (1906–1973), German zoologist and pioneer of animal documentaries, Irma Heijting-Schuhmacher (born 1925), Dutch freestyle swimmer, or John Schuhmacher (born 1955), American football player. Perhaps our search for our roots should be heading in a completely different direction, because unfortunately, no one told the people in the nation these people immigrated from that they should change their name too, so the lineage would be preserved. Perhaps this spelling of the name will open the doors that have for so long been locked. Only time will tell on this matter, as I delve into the research to see where it will lead me. I hope that it will lead me to the next level…the one after Carl’s dad, my 2nd great grandfather, Johann Schuhmacher, and beyond.
It is so hard for me to hit a brick wall in the family history line, because I want so badly to be able to take each line way back. It has become an obsession I suppose, just like it was for Uncle Bill. Once you get started you don’t want to stop until you reach your goal. Ancestral lines can be hard enough to follow, as the records kept were not as good, or have been lost over the years, but when you add the fact that the names were most likely changed, you find yourself hitting the brick wall that I have hit. Just like the grade school child who spells a totally different word for the teacher, you find yourself realizing the importance of one letter.
Every year or so, my dad’s 1st cousin once removed, Arlouine (Bunny) Probasco and her husband, Marvin come to Casper for a visit as they travel from their home in Buhl, Idaho back to visit family in the Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota areas. It is always a pleasant visit, giving us a chance to talk about the family history and, in general, what is going on in each other’s lives. Arlouine is the granddaughter of my dad’s Aunt Etha Pearl Spencer Fellon Hedstrom. Etha’s first marriage to Arloine’s grandfather did not work out so well, but through that marriage came Arlouine’s mother…also named Arlouine and her Uncle Harold. I found this picture of Arlouine’s grandmother, her mother, her uncle, and I hope it is something she does not have, because it will be great to give her something she has never seen before. I also found several others I think she might like.
Arlouine is a crafty person, and she makes butterfly fridge magnets and towels to hang on the stove that are very pretty. Every time she comes she brings us something, which is so sweet of her. She is also interested in the family history, so that gives us a lot to talk about. Here again, it took me a little while to place her accurately in the family history, so for a time, I just didn’t realize what a treasure her knowledge would be. This year, unfortunately, I missed her visit, because Bob and I were out of town. That frustrates me a little, because I wanted to see her reaction to the pictures and talk to her about any stories her mother and grandmother might have told her about.
Arlouine is an unusual name, and I have often wondered where it came from. I know her name was passed to her from her mother, but where did Great Aunt Etha get that name. It was not passed down from her Spencer side that I am aware of, so I have to assume it was from the Fellon side. Names that are passed down from generation to generation are really a cool thing, even if the name is something unusual or old fashioned. It is just the fact that you were named after a beloved ancestor that makes it cool. I’m sure that for Arlouine it is that fact that the name was her mother’s, even if she uses a nickname, that makes it special…at least it would to me.