Sunday, October 28, 2012

Little Lillie and the Tapeworm

While doing some research on a cousin I came across an incredible story about her in 1909.  I can remember hearing something about this while growing up, and it terrified me that something like that could really happen. I never knew until now just which cousin of my grandfather's that it happened to. 

Kind of gruesome! Just think though that some people used this as a medical cure during those times. The drug store mentioned still exists today! I can't image them displaying a tapeworm for all to see in these times.

Lille went on to live a happy healthy life. She married and had several children.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

History in the Cemetery

Each October several local cemeteries host cemetery tours. Some are even planned on Halloween night. Local folks and members of historical societies get together and dress in period costume as some of the cemeteries occupants from the past. As visitors stroll about the cemetery in the evening dusk they are able to meet and learn more about specific individuals. The donations taken help maintain and repair the graves in the cemeteries.

Even the local schools get into the act with students having a day of history in the cemetery. They dress as local historical figures and portray the story of their lives. A few even portray their own ancestors.

What a great way to honor our dead, by bringing them to life once more in retelling their stories and keeping their memories alive for all generations.

 Be sure to check out the Cedar Rest Cemetery Tour!
The Hancock County Historical Society will hold it’s 19th Annual Halloween Cemetery Tour on Halloween night, Wednesday October 31st  2012 at Cedar Rest Cemetery.
The cemetery is located at 200 S. Second Street in downtown Bay St. Louis. Guided tours will be conducted between the hours of 5:30 and 8:00 p.m.  Admission is free.  Donations are accepted.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sentimental Sunday- Halloween

 The cool crisp evenings near the end October always make me think of Halloween. I still get the little excited feeling inside. I think back to those days of brainstorming for the perfect costume. Only to have my mother cut holes in an old sheet and throw it over my head.

I always wanted one of those store bought costumes with the plastic mask and the elastic string.

Now that I look back and remember the pile of red yarn my mother cut for endless hours to turn me into Raggedy Ann, I have admit that those homemade costumes were better than the ugly hot plastic costumes to be bought at the store.

Yet at the time you could not convince me of that. Not when all my friends were wearing the store bought ones. So finally my mother gave in and bought me a Brunhilda costume from TG&Y. I was miserable the whole night!

I carried on the tradition of making costumes at home for my own children. They too complained. Though just the other day as I pulled down the box of Halloween decorations, my now 20 year old daughter ooohed and ahhhed over all the old costumes from her childhood. The silver sequined harem costume was one of her favorites. She remembered that I had even made silver shoes with turned up toes to match.

Now you hardly ever see a child in a homemade costume. They have magazines that come in the mail with pages full of costumes. The children sadly don't even know to say, "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, Give Me Something Good to Eat. If you don't then beware." (After which my brother and I would often add "We'll pull down your underwear" and snicker and giggle.)

This year I think I will just cut some holes in an old sheet and throw it over my head just for old times sake!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Surname Saturday- Wiese

A German family in New Orleans

My grandmother was one of three children, all girls, born to James Allen Wiese and Edna Cecelia Delherbe. Unfortunately James A. Wiese was the only son in his family with two living daughters. His name died with him. Or so we always thought.

My mother had always told me that there were no other Wiese families in New Orleans. Her grandfather was the only one. Other than family in Germany the name here in the US had died out. My mother would stress that the family spelled their name Wiese not Weise. Ours was pronounced WHEEZ while the other was WISE. They were two different families and we were the only ones. However, when I began the search for the father of James A. Wiese I began to discover there were many others with the Wiese surname living in Louisiana. 

Since my grandmother never knew her grandfather there was not much to go on. He had passed away long before she was born. We knew his name was Joachim, or Joseph. He was from Germany, came over to the US before 1860 and lived and died in Plaquemines Parish, La. He also fought in the Civil War.

I had to sit and go through each page of the 1860 census in Plaquemines Parish before I finally found him. He was born about 1835 in Holstein, Prussia. He also had listed with him a son named John. 

My mother was shocked when I told her this news. She declared that this could not be true. They were never told. They would have know if there was an Uncle John. I then showed her the many other Wiese families also living in and around New Orleans. There was a Wiese Soap Factory in New Orleans itself that burned down in the early 1900's.

By 1870 Joachim Wiese had married the widow Margaret Conrad Booth who had two children from her first marriage. In the 1870 census he was listed with his family and his son John Wiese was living several houses down. Joachim is also listed in the 1880 census with his wife, two daughters, and his son James. He apparently died sometime between the 1880 census and the one in 1900 as Margaret is listed as a widow in 1900.

James A. Wiese was born in 1877. He went on to own several stores, both liqueur and grocery stores throughout Plaqumines and New Orleans. He was an elected board member of the grocer's union. He ran a lotto as did many grocers. He was as my mother remembers a jolly sweet man who liked a good joke.

I continue to work on the little pieces of this German family of mine. I want to know more about Joachim and his son John. I want to know where in Germany he was born, who his parents were. I hope to find out more about John, and what happened to him. Did he have a family as well? Are the other Wiese family in Louisiana somehow connected to mine? 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Just Call Me by My Name....

One thing we genealogist know is that our lives are never boring while we are researching. Our ancestors like to keep us busy and often times scratching our heads over how and why they chose the names they did for their children.

As a young mother to be I sat for many hours pouring over names in the baby name book to find the perfect name. One that flowed, sounded nice with the surname. One that had a special meaning. One that other children could not rhyme with something hurtful or mean. My husband liked Dillion. (not that there is anything wrong with the name Dillion) I was worried that kids would call him dill pickle. So I nixed that. Jesse was good. Like Jesse James. Yeah! Strong and tough. I mean I put a lot of time and effort into this name and it makes me wonder just how much time and thought went into the naming process of our ancestors?

Back in the day many children were named for their Godparents and being Catholic most of my ancestors gave their children the obligatory Saints name. However it seems that they never fully intended to use this name when they had to give it in records or other information. Instead they often went by the middle names. Then you have those that named three or more children the same first and middle names, and no none of them had died. So, in order to keep these children straight the parents and siblings called them by nicknames making things even more complicated. I know this happens to other researchers as well and it is a very time consuming and frustrating job to keep everyone straight.

 For example, Jean Baptiste Ladner and his spouse Marie Louis Fisseau who had the following children:

Marie Louise Ladner born 13 Sep 1750
Louise Baptiste Ladner born 1751
Constance Christian Ladner born 1752
Marie Anna Ladner born 1753
Angelique Christian Ladner born 22 Dec 1754
Marie Louise Ladner born 10 Jan 1765
Jean Baptiste Ladner born 16 Apr 1767
Marie Louise Ladner born 18 Jun 1770

They really liked the names Marie and Louise! 

I spent a whole day searching for an ancestor's obit using the first name given on his baptismal certificate. After finally giving up on finding his obit. I then tried one of his sons names. Low and behold when I searched his son's name it came up with his father's obit. Except instead of Pierre Joseph Ladner he was listed as Joseph Pierre Ladner. Lesson learned! Always switch names around. You never know.

 My mother always said that her father as the oldest son was given the special privilege in his household of naming his siblings after they were born. He was just a kid himself. Mom always laughs and says I think he actually did a good job. He named, Hilda, Nora, Lorene, Hattie, Henrietta, Edward, Marie, Doris, and Harold.

The nicknames!! Oh my. We have Beb for the baby Josephine, San San for Mary,  Ledi for Ida, Lul for Lillie, Jenny for Genevieve, Man for Etienne, Mish for Artimese, Sis for Irma, and DeDe for Edith. Just to name a few in my family.

Then there are those that like to name all the children with names that sound the same and start with the same letter or sound. Such as:

Ceville, Cevellia, Cevillan, Seville, Sylvan, and Sylvania

Yes, true story! Those are actual family names in my family tree of siblings. The bad thing is the boys Ceville and Seville went by their initials of C.V. Ladner and S.V. Ladner. Making things all the harder!

I suppose our ancestor's may have not liked the names they were tagged with. Just like many of us who have bemoaned to our parents, But Why Did You Have to Name Me That?? I Hate My Name!

 I suppose Shakespeare's Juliet said it best,
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

But then again Elvis Ladner who was born many years before THE Elvis Presley just doesn't have the same ring to it! Does it?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Finding History on Amazon

I thought I would share my personal joy! I just hit the jackpot on Amazon. Through a random search for local books I came across a fantastic find (and at a great price). I can not wait to see what historical notes of worth may be mentioned in this book. The book was printed in 1958 for the Centennial Celebration of the Incorporation of the town of Bay St. Louis, Ms.
Bay St. Louis Mississippi 100 Years (1858 Celebrating 100 Years of Incorporation 1958)

 I often check Amazon as well as several other used book sites for old and sometimes rare books on local history and family genealogy. Through the years I have come across many wonderful books  that I have been able to add to my library.

A few of my favorite online used book sellers: