Showing posts with label Dutch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dutch. Show all posts

03 January 2013

Thankful Thursday - Accentuate the Positive

The beauty of my newly clean email in-box (down to less than 10 from 4931) is I can now take a few minutes to read the blog posts I get via my email. There are SO many great blogs out there, one of which is Kinexxions, written by Becky Wiseman. Her post was awesome; a geneameme created by Jill Ball of Geniaus fame. Since my new year kind of started off on a sad note, this seemed like the perfect post for Thankful Thursday. So, with no further ado, here goes: 

1. An elusive ancestor I found: Nicolaas Jean Francois Wersel. 'Found' is a bit of a misnomer; with the help of Taco Goulooze I confirmed that he took his entire family, wife Maria Hendrina Brinkman and three sons, Francis John (Frank B. Sr.), Gerard (George) and Nicolas (Nicholas) to Brazil in 1848 and that they came to the United States in 1851 aboard the ship Cecrops. 

2. A precious family photo I found: This lovely photo of Laura Louisa Greene (1837 - 1896), my 2nd great grandmother and the woman who I was named after; provided to me by Stephen Burrows Baer (1st cousin, 1x removed). Precious indeed...
Photo of Laura Louisa Greene (1837 - 1896)
courtesy of Stephen B. Baer 2012
3. An ancestor's grave I found: In Kalamazoo, Michigan at the Riverside Cemetery, the plot of my 2nd great grandparents, Phillip Powelson and Jane Garrett Powelson, their daughter Fannie Powelson Jeffrey and her husband George Jeffrey, their daughters Isabel (who died when she was six), Bessie Jeffrey (never married), Adelaide Jeffrey Thurston Koop and her second husband Adolph Koop, and my grandfather Victor Wersel. Poor granddad, there among his inlaws, far away from his beloved Cincinnati. My grandmother, Frances Jeffrey Wersel is the only family member not buried there; her ashes were interred in Illinois (don't ask, it's one of those 'family' things).

4. An important vital record I found: the 1815 deed for the purchase of a piece of Symmes purchase in southwestern Ohio by my 4th great grandfather, Stephen Burrows.

5. A newly found family member who shared: my 3rd cousin, Nancy Wersel Rybolt, who provided me with access to a significant number of our Wersel and Wagner documents dating between 1820 - 1880 and the Strubbe family Bill (William), Mary, Chuck and Laura, my 2nd cousins, who generously invited me to visit them in Cincinnati so I could do on-site research and we could share our history.

6. A geneasurprise I received was: the incredibly detailed research of Taco Goulooze who took my Dutch Wersel family under his wing and located records in the Netherlands for evidence of my family. He admits to being a bit 'Columbo', but I still love the fact that he's taken such an interest in digging into that line. 

7. My 2012 blog post I was particularly proud of was: my end of April 'Why Would You Want to be A Genealogist' post. I'd seriously contemplated giving up on the idea of creating an archival and genealogical services business. After writing the post, rather than giving up, I re-doubled my efforts.

8. My 2012 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was: my birthday post in August, 'A Half Century's Worth'. Odd that a post, not necessarily directly about genealogy, would be one of my most read. Guess there's more of us out there than I thought...heh.

9. A new piece of software I mastered was: Shhh...I can't say yet...that's a post you'll be reading soon.

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was:  all of them! Seriously, social media and genealogy just go hand in hand.

11. A genealogy conference from which I learned something new was:  the National Genealogical Society annual meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. There was so much I learned, and was able to apply, to my genealogical research. It was also my first genealogical conference, so that was awesome.

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at: the DuPage Genealogical Society in November. I presented "Who Will Look at Your Genealogical Collection", a lecture about how to protect and preserve all that hard, genealogical, work and ensure that it's stewardship is assured in the future.

13. An article I had published was: on, as part of their Expert Series, 'What do I do with all of this Stuff: the Process of Processing', archival processing for family history/genealogical material.

14. I taught a friend how to: inexpensively protect and preserve her family history material. 

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was: Evidence Explained, by Elizabeth Shown Mills. <--- note, I'm not citing this correctly LOL

16. A great repository I visited was: The Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Go. There.

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was: Megan Smolenyak's 'Hey, America, Your Roots are Showing'.

18. It was exciting to finally meet: my genea-Tweeps! I love meeting the people I interact with on Social Media, but especially my Twitter 'friends'.

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was: my trip to Michigan this summer and fall. I got to see the country where my great grandparents were born and raised their family and research some of my roots there.

20. Another positive I'd like to share is: Never. Give. Up. :-)

15 July 2012

Sentimental Sunday - The Simple Act of Kindness

Well, it's been a long hiatus for this Last Leaf. I wish I could say I was off on a vacation, too busy celebrating summer with family and friends or even working myself to death, but that's not the case. I'll preface this by saying that we (the hubs and I) were able to find out that our worst fear, that I might have Lupus, was put to rest. Our health, as challenging as it may be some days, is still relatively good. We just seem to have far more than our share of challenges and they just keep coming. Our counselor commented this week that he truly finds it remarkable that we've managed to keep going through the myriad oddities, or drama as I believe some might characterize it, that happen around and to us, when most people would've thrown up their hands, laid down and given up. It is a lot to take in, and I recognize that it's challenging being around someone who's life is so full of chaos. For those who've hung in there, you have my deepest gratitude. For those that had to walk away, I understand your choice.

One of those people that have hung on asked me the other day how I can be so kind when there's so much negativity around me. While it was a rhetorical question, I felt it really deserved an answer. It's pretty simple really: I live by the Golden Rule. Mind you, I'm an incredibly flawed human, but I have never wavered in sharing kindness. As much as I believe in the Golden Rule, I believe that what you put out to the Universe comes back to you three-fold. This I learned from my paternal grandmother. She may have been a lot of things, but she was very aware that her actions would one day turn on her. So it is that we may seemingly sit back while people in our lives try to tear us down; we do so knowing that their own actions will come back to them. We are not passive; we realize there is a time to take action, however the Universe seems to be teaching us the art of knowing when that time to act is, and how to act that is appropriate to each situation. So, the world around seems to epitomize the tarot's Tower: a tearing down and rebuilding of the most extreme sort.

What I have taken for granted is the fact that being kind is natural for me. It's my instinct. But not everyone has that instinct. I find it really manifests itself in my work as an Archivist. When I receive requests from people for genealogical information, I understand where that person is coming from. I know what it feels like to request information and then have to wait months not knowing whether or not you're going to get anything of value. And, what's more, knowing that the person on the other end might not understand what that 'value' is.

So it was in the beginning of June when I received a request from someone regarding information from the little rural Archives where I used to work. Technically, I'm off the payroll, but as a professional courtesy I told them I would handle reference and research requests as they received them (I'm compensated).  The request was an open one: do you have information on Mr. X? I searched the database and found a single folder that have some form of correspondence in it. I drove up to the Archives and pulled the folder: in it was a letter detailing the family business, discussing family members, etc. I grabbed the eight or so names and located other material as well as a half dozen photos from the 1880s of the family members. It's a small collection, and all told it probably took me 15 minutes to pull the material, another 15 to scan it all. I put together a quick email and sent it off. It wasn't 10 minutes before I received the gleeful response: a million thanks for photos of never-before-seen-or-known relatives!! How did I know to look for the others?!! I was the greatest thing since sliced bread!! LOL. I get it. To me it was a simple thing; to the person on the other end, it was a whole new world.

The Universe is a beautifully balanced place. As I've said, I'm very flawed. I've made mistakes small and Everest sized. So I'm aware that these things will return to me. But so will the kindnesses I extend to others. Here's my proof: on June 11, shortly after my Archives researcher received her information, I received a brief email from a woman in the Netherlands. She'd been researching a surname that is similar to one on my tree: WICART. She'd noticed I was mentioned in a blog on Dutch surnames, made the connection and emailed me information and a link to a website: this page has an image that names my ancestor Andres Wersel. We emailed back and forth several more times that day, with my final email asking what repositories I might be able to search to find out more. Then I heard nothing.

Until June 28th. I won't include all the details here; I'll save that for a genealogy specific post. What I will say is that rather than sending me the requested repository names, she included research she did on MY Wersel line at several Archives in the Netherlands. For no reason. It was a simple act of kindness.  She included digital images of documents taking me back several generations into the early 18th century. And, as I'm to understand it, she found living descendants of my 4th great grandmother Louisa Jacoba Wicart (Wiekart) in the Netherlands.

At a time when I'm struggling to understand human nature and how some people can be so incredibly nefarious and hateful, this person was the Universe's answer. There is balance. And kindness. I pray that your Scale doesn't tip as far to the extreme as mine does, but if does, remember there is Balance.


17 May 2012

Thankful Thursday - I Passed the Test! DNA Results...

Just when I thought my string of amazing discoveries during NGS 2012 week would be coming to an end, I received confirmation that my 23andme DNA test results were in! After following the link in the email they sent, I did find out that my ancestor results will not be available for approximately another week. Boo. 

However, as I was perusing my health results, a number of things leapt off the page at me, and so I thought I'd share them here. I'm still trying to do deeper research on what this is all about, so if I say something materially incorrect, please don't hesitate to correct me in Comments. 

Unless noted otherwise, all information is from the 23andme website. First: I am part of the J2a1a haplogroup. This group originated in the Arabian peninsula (Iraq, Iran, Syria) with a migration going into Europe about 7,000 years ago. My ancestry results are as follows: Dutch, German, Spanish and Italian. This group may have entered Britain with invading Anglo-Saxons. 

Of course, when I first saw the "Dutch" part of this I had a bit of an 'a ha!' moment. But being quickly followed by "German" means I still have a LOT of research to do. I believe that the Dutch part of this simply confirms one aspect of my dual pronged approach: I'd had a theory that my (now) Dutch ancestor was actually Germanic/French and that he'd gone to the Netherlands for safety reasons. I now have resolved that theory with the DNA proof of my Dutch heritage: he was in fact from Utrecht as his documents state. So, I now will focus my search there, rather than attempting to locate a line in the Alsace-Lorraine area for him. I will continue my research in Alsace-Lorraine for the other lines that are proved in that area. 

Beyond this general knowledge, I will have to wait for my 'Ancestry' results. That wasn't the really interesting part of my results. The health factors section was what really caught my attention. The DNA results got my height, general weight, hair, eye color and blood type right. That alone made me feel like I'd passed the test. Then I started looking at other health factors and risks and I was surprised by two things.

Number one: My DNA suggests that my concern over the autoimmune diseases Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) were well founded. I'd had an RA factor test done 10 years ago that showed I was 'borderline' for the disease, though I didn't show any symptoms. However, I began having a variety of challenging physical symptoms that taken separately seemed more annoying at the least, but downright debilitating at the worst. Stress elevated my symptoms. Two years ago things got so bad that I called my Hematologist/Oncologist and asked if he'd look at my case (I had no medical insurance at the time). I told him I had a relative, a cousin on my mother's side, who'd suffered from Lupus. While he wouldn't/couldn't confirm anything without seeing me or doing appropriate medical tests, he did indicate that my symptoms were indicative of this disorder. 

What did my DNA test results say? That I have a decreased risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis! When I saw that, I thought, "wow, did they get THAT wrong." Until I saw my 'Elevated' risk factors. Yep. Lupus. Which is extremely complex and difficult to diagnose because it is often mistaken for rheumatoid arthritis. This would explain my significantly increased pain levels starting several months ago, which coincided with increased stress in my life. Lupus is highly affected by stress, and keeping stress levels low can mitigate some of the symptoms. I hadn't realized how much the pain was affecting me until I found a combination of medicines that reduced it significantly. A DNA test is NOT a medical diagnosis. However, it certainly will assist in my future planning for my medical needs.

Number Two: Where are the blood clotting disorders? I think this was the main reason that I was awarded the test for free through OpenSNP. They'd received grant money to provide free 23andme DNA tests to individuals who would share their results with OpenSNP. I sent in an application and was notified that I was one of the recipients of a free test. My application stated that I was a 'last leaf'; I have no children and neither does my brother. However, I have a congenital blood clotting disorder, Protein-S deficiency, that there is very little medical research available for and I felt as a carrier of this disorder that I might be helping others by capturing my DNA. While 23andme has Factor XI (hemophilia) covered, there are really no other blood disorders that are adequately described. Hmmm. I can post in the Community, and will, to find out if there are others out there. But this just confirms what I already knew: that congenital blood disorders are sorely lacking in adequate medical research resources.

So, there you have it. It ain't sexy or fun, but 'it is what it is'. Am I glad I took the test? You bet. I can't WAIT to get my ancestry results so I can start poking around there. In the meantime, my specialist is getting a copy of my results so they'll be in my medical record. Here's to long and healthy life!

12 December 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Wersel Military Recommendation 1825

Tweede Fusiliers KOMPAGNIE.

De Kommandant der 1 Fusiliers Kompanie, van het 1 Bataillon der Dienstdoende Schutterij van UTRECHT.

Stelt bij deze aan, onder goedkeumg van den Kommanderenden Officier van het Regiment, (overeenkomsitg Art. 42. Der Wet op de Schutterijen,) tot Korporaal bij gemelie Kompanie den Fusilier

Nicolaas Jan François Wersel.

Lastende en bevelende alle en een ieelijk, die het aangaat, den voornoemden Persoon, in voorschrevene kwaliteit te rkennen, en te respecteeren.

UTRECHT den 31 JanĂșary 1825
(Signature) Kapt
De Kommanderende Officier
Van het Regiment