Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday's Child: Pink or Blue?

Pictured above is little George Seibert when he was about three months old. Below that is one of his birth announcements and the envelope it came in addressed to a family member. George Marcellous Seibert was born 12 February 1916 to Herbert Seibert and his wife Mary Rowlee. Mary was the daughter of George Rowlee and Mary Carr. The family lived in various places including Ellicottville, NY, Washington, PA, Bridgeport, IL and Ft. Worth, TX.

Notice the pink ribbon? Believe it or not, pink was the color for boys back in the day! Yep, start here for information on when girls started wearing pink in an article by Smithsonian. There's also a nice photo gallery at this website. Wikipedia's article on the color pink mentions that pink was "first established as a female gender identifier in the 1940s" and points to a publication from June 1918 stating "The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys and blue for the girls." Both articles make reference to author Jo B. Paoletti who wrote a book entitled  Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America.

She also has a website about the subject with this interesting post on baby cards from 1915-1957.

Tragically, little George Seibert died of a snake bite at about the age of 5 and why I did this post for him as a "Wednesday's Child."

Another photo of George Seibert

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Church Record Sunday: The Ebenezer Society

אֶבֶן  הָעֶזֶר
(The word Ebenezer in Hebrew characters)

A while back, I was exchanging information with a fellow researcher on the Neamon family. This researcher related that John Henry Neamon immigrated to the United States from Germany in the year 1870 and settled in Ebenezer, New York. It was also said that he had a brother there. John Henry later moved to the town of Yorkshire in Cattaraugus County.

I did an internet search for “Ebenezer, New York” to see what I could find out where it was. To my surprise, I found that it was in Erie County near the town of West Seneca. The word Ebenezer, by the way, is Hebrew for “stone of help.”

According to over eight hundred Germans, known as the Community of True Inspiration (or Ebenezers), immigrated to America between April 1843 and October 1845. They purchased 5,000 acres of the Buffalo Creek Reservation (vacated by Indians) at $10.50 an acre. These immigrants established four hamlets - Middle Ebenezer, Upper Ebenezer, Lower Ebenezer and New Ebenezer. They formed their own governing body and had essentially a communal society where jobs, goods, food and services were given to the community for use by all.

Was John Henry Neamon and/or his brother a part of the Ebenezers? I wondered. As luck would have it, I was at the my local library not two days later searching for a book I had heard was a bestseller in recent years. I was surprised to learn that this particular book was located in the historical section. I had assumed that it was a work of fiction, but apparently it was a true account of events that happened in a town in Georgia. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it on the shelf. What I did find was almost uncanny in timing (I have mentioned other coincidences on this blog before). On the shelf was a book entitled The Ebenezer Society written by Frank J. Lankes in 1963.

I was unable to find anything in the book on anyone named Neamon, but it was interesting little book about the history of the society and how it worked. Back in Germany in 1826, Christian Metz prophesied of a place being prepared for them in “the wilderness.” Some of the names mentioned in the book were: Gottlieb Ackermann, John Beyer, John Fritz, Louis Froelich, George Heinemann, Fritz Jeck, Charles L. Meyer, Frederick Morshel, Joseph Prestele, Clemens Schnitzler, John Schoepflin, Jacob Sommer, Carl Trautmann, Martin Trautman, Peter Trautman, George A. Weber and Jacob Wittmer. The Community eventually relocated to Iowa and the new place was called Amana.

Home of Christian Metz, Ebenezer, NY

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Oh, The Places You Go!

Back in September of last year, I had the opportunity to tour a cemetery. I even had to buy tickets for this. I was very excited, but realize that not everyone would jump at such a chance. I bought two tickets but wound up selling one to someone else the day of the tour because I couldn’t find any family or friends as eager as I was to take this trip. (I do know there are other genealogists and history buffs out there that would have been as enthusiastic about it as I was.)

Forest Lawn Cemetery is a fascinating historical place. The cemetery occupies over 250 acres (I walked about three miles total on the tour but didn’t see everything) and contains the remains of some historical and noteworthy individuals such as President Millard Fillmore, Dorothy Goetz the first wife of Irving Berlin, Rick James, and Barbara Franklin the mother of singer Aretha Franklin.

I took a lot of photographs of various stones, monuments and mausoleums. I even got the chance to see some living residents (the cemetery association does impersonations of some of the “residents” there.) There’s a deer that lives on the grounds that became famous for being a surrogate goose father. Cemetery personnel dubbed him “John Deer” and he even made local news. When the tour was over I drove my car around to some of the places I didn’t get to see on the tour. While driving along, I saw another sign of life in the cemetery. I drove down one lane covered by trees and noted a car parked on the side. A young woman was sitting on the hood of the car while her beau stood on the side serenading her with his guitar. How romantic!

Writer Mary Lou Brannon put it so eloquently when she said, “A cemetery is a history of people – a perpetual record of yesterday. A cemetery exists because every life is worth living and remembering – always.”