Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

This fall I had the opportunity to visit Mackinac Island. My husband and I explored the island on bikes. We came upon St. Ann’s Cemetery in the center of the island. Wandering through the cemetery, I discovered this precious tombstone. There is a lucky penny sitting on this little lamb headstone!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Home Is Where Your Story Begins

Everything begins at home. While 1625 Lincoln Avenue was neither my first home nor my last, it was my childhood home. It is here that I lived during my formative years and where my childhood memories reside. 1625 Lincoln Avenue gives me warm, fuzzy feelings. If stories begin at home, I can think of no better title for this blog of mine for this is where my story began.

My family home was built in 1953. My parents purchased it on 20 November 1957 from A. Edward and Alice Leclair. Mom and Dad lived at 1625 Lincoln Avenue for fifty two years! Failing health necessitated the move to a condominium on St. Patrick’s Day, 2005. 

Our last family photograph at 1625 Lincoln Avenue!
We grew up happily in our three bedroom, one bath home! Creative problem solving skills were perfected with four children (two of them teenagers) and one bathroom. My father got first “dibs” on the bathroom every morning, which meant he needed to rise early for his chance at the bathroom! Sorry Dad!

My Dad was a pretty smart man. I think he might have been an engineer had he had the opportunity to attend college. Necessity was the object of my father’s inventions. Tired of living without air conditioning, Dad decided to air condition our home. He designed and built the ductwork from scratch and installed the compressors by himself! He also designed, built and installed our garage door opener. He would get a little frustrated when asked, “Are you sure this is going to work?”

Genealogists search court records for deeds and property transfers. Acquiring deeds from Cook County is on my “2012 To Do List.” Lucky me, I have my parent's original Warranty Deed from the purchase of their home at 1625 Lincoln Avenue. That warranty deed informs me that in 1957 my parents made a down payment of $10.00 to Mr. and Mrs. Leclair! Times have changed!


On the fun side . . . Please check out the website, http://www.dearphotograph.com.  Dear Photograph offers the opportunity to travel in time in a most fun and modern way! Here is the photograph I am going to submit. I wonder if they will publish it?

Dear Photograph, My childhood home revisited Thanksgiving 2011.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Shout Out To Thomas MacEntee and Geneabloggers

Thomas MacEntee is the creator of Geneabloggers. This is the place where genealogists and family historians gather to share ideas. Geneabloggers is over 2,000 genealogy blogs strong and can be located at http://www.geneabloggers.com. Tune in to his blog talk radio on Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. CST!  A variety of topics are discussed and always prove interesting to the genealogist in me.

I became a Thomas MacEntee fan this September at the 2011 FGS conference in Springfield, Illinois. This man with a giant personality WOWED me! He is smart, passionate, creative and willing to share his knowledge.

Thomas MacEntee is a mover and a shaker in the genealogy world.  Thomas manages numerous blogs and Facebook pages including http://hidefgen.com and http://destinationaustinfamily.blogspot.com. I am a fan and a follower!

Geneabloggers introduces new blogs weekly. 1625 Lincoln Avenue was introduced November 12, 2011. Thank you, Thomas, for giving my blog a jump-start!

With Gratitude,


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sarah Josepha Hale

Thinking about my Thanksgiving Day blog inspired a Google search of Thanksgiving facts. What to write about? Gratitude, Pilgrims, trivia and family stories topped my list. I found my way to the History Channel website where I learned about Sarah Josepha Hale. Educated in the Pilgrim story, I was unaware of her contribution to our modern day Thanksgiving. A visit to http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving-facts/videos#thanksgiving-becomes-a-holiday will introduce you to Sarah Josepha Hale.

Sarah Josepha Buell was born in 1788. At age, 25, Sarah married David Hale. Her husband passed away in 1822 leaving her to care for their five children. Fortunately Sarah was self-educated through a brotherly connection to Dartmouth.

Needing to provide for her children, Sarah Josepha Hale turned to literature. This author and editor became a champion for the improvement of women’s lives. Sarah Josepha Hale authored many books and poems, but her most recognized poem is “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”

As editor of Godey’s Ladies Book she began a letter writing campaign to President Abraham Lincoln promoting a national day of thanks.  Her efforts resulted in our national holiday known as Thanksgiving. Thank you Sarah Josepha Hale for your persistence belief in a national day of thanksgiving.


Sarah Josepha Hale, “Letter to Abraham Lincoln,” American Treasures of the Library of Congress, (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm125.html : accessed 23 November 2011).

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

First Turkeys and Rutabaga

I think every one remembers the first Thanksgiving turkey that they prepared. In my case, I was unaware that turkey giblets were to be found in a small bag located in the turkey’s neck area. Go figure! Isn’t that just where one might look to find a turkey’s heart and liver? Had my mother not clued me in on the location of the giblets, they would have been roasted bag and all! Fortunately for all, she did and my roast turkey was a success.

Today I wished my mother’s cousin, Joyce Tudyman, a Happy Thanksgiving. She will spend the holiday with relatives who are of Italian descent. They will be serving pasta along with their turkey. She mentioned that she was happy to be invited, but will miss the traditional English Thanksgiving dinner complete with rutabaga.

So that is how the rutabaga tradition came to my family! I always had a hunch that this rutabaga tradition hailed from my only English ancestors, John and Emma Dollen. My mother would simply peel and cube the rutabaga and simmer until soft. She would then mash it. I have updated her tried and true recipe by adding some butter, half and half, and a pinch of nutmeg! You either like this root veggie or you don’t!

So, all you Thanksgiving chefs, what was your first turkey experience like? What happened to you? I look forward to hearing your stories!

Monday, November 21, 2011

As We Head Into Thanksgiving Week

This weekend my daughter gave us a scare. She had a medical situation that required emergency surgery. Naturally, my husband and my anxiety levels rose as we wondered and waited to hear the results of her surgery. Fortunately, all went well and she is comfortably resting at our home. I get to spoil her and take care of her for the entire week!

As we approach Thanksgiving, I pause and reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving. This year I will once again prepare our turkey to the New York Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Our home will be scented with aroma of roast turkey.  But most importantly, we will be giving thanks for our daughter’s good health.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Six Degrees of Separation

My mother’s cousin’s husband’s grandmother lived in Austria prior to 
World War II. The grandmother hired a painter to decorate her dining room. That painter was Adolph Hitler! Grandmother said she would never have allowed that young man in her house had she known what he would later do!

This tale has been orally passed down from the Austrian Grandmother to John Tudyman to his wife to my mother and finally to me!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Farmers and Faith

I tell people that I come from a long line of farmers and people with faith. My heartbeat quickened when I saw my Great, Great Grandfather John Dollen’s Bible! His Bible was not used to record family history. I sense that in the Dollen home his Bible was a book to be respected.

Elaine holding the John Dollen Bible.

The John Dollen Bible is large. The pages are of a heavy linen type of paper.  The cover has come loose from its binding.  The words “J. Dollen 1814” are stamped on the inside of the cover. “John Dollen his book” is handwritten at the beginning of the New Testament. These words provide evidence that this Bible is indeed John Dollen’s Bible.

This is where genealogical research gets interesting! I do believe that this Bible belonged to my Great, Great Grandfather. An unknown family member recorded my Great, Great Grandfather’s birth date as 3 July 1830. Census records report his birth date within the range of 1827 and 1831.  However, this Bible gives evidence that J. Dollen owned this book in 1814!

The Bible, the name and the date suggest that it also belonged to my Great, Great, Great Grandfather whose name was also John Dollen. John Dollen of Curry Mallett, England was a wheelwright. He married Ann House and together they had four children: John, Silas, Emma and Adolphus. Census records report that the elder John Dollen was born between 1789 and 1791 which suggests that this Bible could be his. Of those four children, my Great, Great Grandfather John was the only child to leave England and immigrate to the United States.

I hope you enjoy the photographs of The Bible that I believe belonged to a father and son who shared the same name of John Dollen!

Posted with love,



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Worldless Wednesday

Beware of Mother-in-Laws With Guns!!!

Posted with love,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Treasures From The Dollen Past

We call ourselves the Dollen Girls. We are seven strong and growing. Only two have had the good fortune of actually growing up with the last name of Dollen. I am a Meyer. We have Lemkes in this little group too. My cousin, Sharon, is a Small!

Whatever our maiden names, we all descend from a long line of Dollen farmers. Sharon is in the unique position as she descends from a long line of family historians as well. Her Grandmother Eva and Aunt Evalyn both had a keen sense of family history. Not only did they save family treasures, they took notes about each item! Eva and Evalyn seemed to know that those yet to come would be interested in their lives.

Upon entering Sharon’s home, she directed me to hang my coat on the coat rack. As I hung up my coat, she gently informed me that this rack was our Great, Great Grandmother Emma Dollen’s coat rack. Amazed, I ran my hand over the wood. I wonder if Sharon delighted in watching each of our facial expressions when she spoke those words. Was this a coat rack used for company? Did their children or grandchildren actually hang their coats on this rack? It does not look large enough for so many coats.

Great, Great Grandmother Emma Dollen's Coat Rack. Coats were removed to see her coat rack!

We lunched in Sharon’s kitchen. Sitting around the table she pointed out different family treasures. Her Grandmother Eva’s coffee grinder hung on the wall with coffee beans inside ready for use. This was a special place.

During lunch I learned of her life on the farm. Their cozy home is heated by a wood burning furnace. Her husband, Gil, chops and splits the wood himself. Their apple trees provide fresh apple cider that is made using their apple press. As I drank my warm cider, small birds perched by her kitchen window then flit away!
Dishes piled in the sink and we offered to help. But there would be no dishwashing for us and there would be no dishwasher for Sharon! This “city mouse” knew she was learning about a different way of life. It is simpler way of life that the Dollens once knew. 

My cousin, Elaine, possesses those Dollen genes too. Living in a small town, she dreams of a farm. Elaine has a green thumb and grows the most spectacular vegetables. In fact, she even shares farm fresh eggs with this “city mouse.” 

After lunch, we move to the dining room and get down to business . . . Dollen business! As we sit down, Sharon let’s us in on another little secret: the table we sit around is Emma Dollen’s dining table complete with 14 leaves! It is a table built to fit her large family of eleven children. Family gatherings must have been an event! My imagination wanders. My Great grandfather, William most likely sat at this table. I wonder if my grandfather sat there as well. Was Emma a good cook? What did she serve? I cannot believe that I am at my Great, Great Grandmother’s dining table!

This is what I love about genealogy. It has taken me places and shown me things I never could have imagined!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Dollen Girls Hit The Road Again

Last Friday, the Dollen girls hit the road. Armed with GPS and Map quest directions we converged at our cousin’s home. It was a long journey but well worth the trip.

Each time we gather, we get to know each other just a little bit better. Much of our time was spent around the kitchen table talking. Sharon and her husband, Gil, were gracious hosts. Their delicious lunch nourished us as we talked life past and present.

Sharon and Gil live on a 40-acre farm.  You enter their property via a long dirt road that leads you to their 100+ year old home. Their home is filled with antiques handed down from our shared ancestors! This “city mouse” got to visit her “country mouse” cousin.

We Dollen girls descend from a long line of farmers. It seems that Sharon may have inherited that love of land!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

My family recently lost a World War II veteran. We listened to taps being played and watched as a soldier presented the American Flag to my cousins. This was a very somber moment. It is something special to hear a soldier express gratitude on behalf of the United States of America. It is something special to have a veteran in your family.

I heard many, many World War II stories from my father and his three brothers. I think of my poor Grandmother worrying about her four sons in battle.

Who to honor on this day? That is a big question because our family has so many fine veterans! I have decided to honor the newest veteran in the Dooley family. His name is Devan Andrew Hatfield. He had always dreamed of becoming a Marine.

On September 11, 2001, Devan Andrew Hatfield was just seventeen years old. The events of the day made a profound impact on him. His country needed him and he was going to serve. On July 30, 2002, Devan enlisted in the Marine Corps. During the period of the second Iraq War, Devan served in Bagdad, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and Chile. Devan was a member of the Fast Team. Thank you, Devan, for your dedication and service to our country!

The photograph is courtesy of Devan’s proud grandfather, Stephen Dooley of Colorado. Yes, Devan’s mother did worry just like my grandmother!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christian and Millizena Duntemann

On Thursday, November 10, 2011, Johann Carl Christian Duntemann and Millizena Duntemann nee Erdmann and an unknown angel were re-interred. Burial took place at the Town of Maine Cemetery, Park Ridge, Illinois. Representatives of the City of Chicago were present. Pastor Virginia Ericson of Christ Church, Des Plaines, Illinois led the family in prayer.

While my first choice would have been to keep the cemetery in place, I must admit that everything was done respectfully.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Will You Spell That Please?

I am a puzzler. I love putting puzzle pieces together. In the end, I am rewarded with a beautiful picture. Genealogists are puzzlers at heart. They love finding and evaluating evidence.  In the end, genealogists are rewarded with a beautiful life story.

Finding those puzzle pieces can be difficult. The Duntemann research has been challenging primarily due to spelling variations of their surname. Here are a few examples of the spelling variations of the Duntemann surname.

The Family of Christian and Millzena Duntemann was indexed as
Christian and Wilsana Dontaman.

The family of Frederick Duntemann was indexed as Fred and Mary C. Dunterman, Fred and Mary Denteucaw and Dunteman Fandrich.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fresh Eyes

In my last post, Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana reminded me of what I have to be grateful for. Yes, the final resting places of many are being disturbed. Yet she reminds me that the process is being conducted in a thoughtful and responsible manner.

One of my favorite sayings is “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.”  Bill Dickerson of the Las Vegas Institute introduced me to this thought. I don’t know if it is an original Bill Dickerson statement, but I credit him nonetheless. He is a very smart man who knows how to challenge the intellect. So what have I learned?

I have learned that the City of Chicago hired The Louis Berger Group to oversee the movement of the cemetery. A visit to their website, http://www.louisberger.com, leaves me speechless. The Louis Berger Group is on the forefront of world happenings. Should you view their featured projects, you will see St. Johannes Cemetery of Du Page County, Illinois along with all their worldwide projects! Okay, Chicago. I thank you.

The Chicago Department of Aviation created a website, http://www.stjohnsfamilyassistance.com. It has everything you need. The website gives information about the cemetery, the latest news, testimonials, FAQs and the location of all monuments and markers. Could one ask for more?

I learned that the Martha Ibbetson Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution meets the first Friday of the month and that Joan Cosgrove is their Regent. This information may suggest kinship between Joan Cosgrove and Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana. Most importantly, I am grateful to these dedicated women who indexed St. Johannes Cemetery. Their efforts will help preserve the history and memory of what once was. Thank you to Laura for the translation of the German headstones.

This evening I received a phone call from one of my newfound Duntemann relatives. She told me that remains of a third person were found in the grave. They believe the remains are those of Christian and Millizena Duntemann’s daughter, Laura. They found earrings with her remains. She will be interred with her parents.

Can anyone ask for more? I am truly humbled by the care given my residents of St. Johannes Cemetery. I suspect every resident was treated with equal care and respect.

Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana gave me the gift of Fresh Eyes. This the ability to look at issues thoroughly and from all perspectives.

With Gratitude,


Monday, November 7, 2011

You Can't Stop Progress

St. Johannes Cemetery has been front and center in the battle over the 
O’Hare International Airport Expansion Project. This 160 year-old cemetery is home to 1,200 graves. [1]

German immigrants settled the lands of Du Page County just northwest of the City of Chicago. They were farmers. My great, great, great grandparents were part of this immigrant group.  As this small community grew so did the need for a place of worship. St. Johannes Church was built.  Soon the need for a cemetery presented itself and St. Johannes Cemetery was created.

You can’t stop progress! A small airport, Orchard Place, was in need of expansion. The church sold land to the City of Chicago for the airport expansion. In 1952 St. Johannes Church was picked up and moved to the community of Bensenville. Orchard Place Airport received a new name. O’Hare Airport had arrived! The cross in the cemetery marks the location of the original church.[2]

This is a very long and complicated story involving many court battles. The airport continued growing and eventually surrounded this tiny cemetery. Today O’Hare International Airport is in the final stages of its expansion project. On October 28, 2011 Chicago’s ABC News reported the exhumation of the 900 graves. [3]

Johann Carl Christian Duntemann passed away on 13 June 1863. His wife, Millizena Duntemann nee Erdmann,  passed away on 30 December 1896. It is likely their remains are not intact. Christian and Millizena Duntemann will be reinterred November 10, 2011. I wonder where my great, great, great grandparents graves are right now.

You just can’t stop progress!

[1] Johnson, Geoffrey, “Dead Reckoning,” Chicago, October 2009, 58-65.
[2] Ibid.
[3] “Report: 900 Graves exhumed for O’Hare Runway,” WLS-TV/DT, 28 October 2011; e-news
(http://www.abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8409281 : accessed 6 November 2011.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Simple Beginnings

My desire to learn about my family took root in the year 2008. Having pondered for many years, I finally took the plunge and signed on to Ancestry.com. With high hopes, I registered for a World Membership.  Linda Dooley was going to search the world for those unknown ancestors for just about one dollar a day!

Four weeks into my project, my mother was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Her cells were fast growing. She chose to undergo chemotherapy, which was not an easy path for my octogenarian mother. My genealogical finds entertained Mom throughout her battle with cancer.

Realizing that the window of opportunity was rapidly closing, we began hearty discussions about our family. My mother and I poured over old photographs. These walks down memory lane comforted us both as I watched mother decline.

As I discovered bits of the past, I brought them to her sick bed. Here is her Auntie Lou’s wedding announcement that gave Mom a case of the giggles. I just love the creative writing.

“A Surprise Shower For A June Bride

April showers began in advance for June brides,
When last Friday night, Miss Lucille Dollen thought
she had said, “Number Please” for the last time,
that night, when suddenly a group of her associates
in the telephone office burst in upon her like rain out
of a summer cloud. Yes it is a pre-nuptial show,
a regular pour down, sure to bring the orange blossoms
in June, when Miss Dollen is to be a bride.

From the office the merry party went to the home of
Mr. And Mrs. W. G. Meyer on State Road. There a
bountiful supper was served. A delicious mountain of cake
made by Mrs. Meyer, salads and all the choice dainties
young ladies enjoy. After answering a multitude of calls.

The color scheme in decorations was prettily carried
out in pink and green.

Of course the cloud was like a great white sheet
and it poured down snowy linens. A generous supply
such as any bride would be happy to receive.

The game played was “Progressive Fifty”.
Miss Lorraine Ayer won first prize, the second
Prize was won by Miss Eleanor Cronin.
Consolation, Miss Lucille Dollen.
These prizes which were kitchen utensils the winners
gave to the guest of honor, Miss Dollen.

Miss Dollen is leaving her position soon for her home
at Des Plaines and plans to be married in June.
After that all calls over the line will receive a busy signal.”[1]

Throughout our discussions, Mom had one recurring question. She wanted to know what happened to her cousin, Leroy Dollen. “Had I found him?” she would ask. Yes, I thought I did but cared not to share that he had passed on. Well, she kept on asking and I kept replying, “Not yet, Mom.”

My mother passed away on September 6, 2008. One week later, I discovered that someone downloaded my entire tree on Ancestry. Who could possibly be interested in my tree? To my surprise, they were the daughters of Leroy Dollen! My mother missed meeting them by just one week.

Three years have passed and I have become fast friends with my second cousins. We share genetics, family stories, research trips and are committed to gathering Dollen relatives wherever they may be.

In Mother’s Memory
Doris Jean Meyer nee Dollen
12 July 1927 – 8 September 2008

[1] “A Surprise Shower For A June Bride,” Cook County Herald, 1 Apr 1930, p. 2, col. 3; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 Sep 2011).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Dedicate My First Post to My Grandmother

Olga Bertha Louise Meyer nee Schumann is my paternal grandmother and mentor. She meticulously, though not always accurately, recorded family milestones in her Bible. She believed in those four words: Who, What, When and Where!

She included information about her children, her husband and in-laws, parents, grandparents, siblings and their spouses. Let’s not forget her nieces, nephews, grandchildren, their spouses and of course her great grandchildren. Photographs, cards/notes and a poppy from Flanders Field are just few of the treasures that reside in her Bible. She gave me a gift. Her Bible is my reference book and I treasure it.

Bibles are great resources. Thank you to those who felt the need to record the details of family life and to those who feel the need today. Next week I am off to meet with my second cousins on my Mother’s side. I am really looking forward to this gathering. My cousin, Sharon, is bringing our Great-great Grandfather’s Bible! I can’t wait!