Steerage Song

Today’s guest post is by Beth-Ann.

Early this month, Dan Chouinard and Peter Rothstein premiered a musical docu-drama (Peter’s word) telling the story of immigrants who traveled through Ellis Island. Steerage Song is a powerful homage to what is lost and gained by immigrants.
Beautiful voices sang the words from Emma Lazarus’ poem inscribed at the Statue of Liberty

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

And like John McCormack in this video the talented cast sang about the Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.

I was moved by this production for many reasons, but one of the big ones is that I am from an immigrant family. All of my great grandparents, my grandmother, and my son are immigrants. They came from Ireland, Russia, Germany, Austria , and Korea to this foreign land where they learned a new language, new jobs, and how to add their potatoes, kreplach, and kimchi to the melting pot that is America.

I am also a migrant. I was born in Japan on American soil and didn’t come “home” until I was 9 months old. Since that time I have lived in Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. I think this Land of 10,000 Lakes in My Isle of Somewhere.

We are all immigrants and some of us are migrants too.

What has been your family journey lit by the lamp at the golden door?

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108 thoughts on “Steerage Song”

  1. I am up early today, as the dog decided to go on a noisy cat hunt and i had to intervene.Nice story, Beth-Ann. My maternal grandparents both came through Ellis Island and we have looked up their names and information on the Ellis island website. There even was a photo of the ship my grandmother arrived on. My dad’s family came to the US in 1850, and i don[t even think that there was an Ellis Island facility at that time. My husband’s family history has become somewhat murky of late. We know that his father’s family came from Germany, and his maternal grandfather was Scottish. His mom said that some of her family came from Belgium. but we didn’t know much else about that side of the family I should add that his “German” relatives don’t look at all German, and his mother’s relations have dark, curly hair and olive skin. This winter he decided to have some DNA testing to see just what he could find out. Much to our surprise, we discovered that he did indeed have some Scottish roots, but his closest genetic matches.were for populations in Belarus, the Aegean, and a community of Slovak gypsies. So, while the family lived in Germany, they sure didn’t start out there, and somebody in his mom’s family has a lot of explaining to do. The story of how they got tot the US would be fascinating, but it remains a mystery.

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    1. Renee, what’s the cost involved in the DNA testing? And how did you go about it?

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      1. i cost about $200. It was his birthday present. We did it through a company called DNA Tribes that we thought looked reputable and seemed to have a method that made sense to us statistically.

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    2. “somebody in his mom’s family has a lot of explaining to do”… Renee, I can hear Ricky Ricardo saying, Lucy!! You got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do!

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  2. Good morning to all,

    Well done, Beth-Ann. Both of my father’s parents came from Holland to this country with their parents. My mother is of English heritage. I have done some migrating myself, having lived in Wisconsin, Michgan, Indiana, and now in Minnesota.

    I think my Dutch Grandfather was 14 when he came to this country. His father returned to Holland when my Grandfather was a young man. My Grandfather did not want to return to Holland and decided to stop speaking his native Dutch language and speak only English to show that he no longer thought of himself as being a Dutchman. .

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  3. Nice story, Beth-Ann.

    My mother’s father’s side of the family came over from Germany at the end of the 19th century. Their family name in Germany was “Rumpf”. It wasn’t all that uncommon of a name. But when they arrived here, they must have thought they should get a new start. So they dropped the “f” and added a “Von” (wanting to sound a little more aristocratic, I suppose). The unfortunate result of this name tampering was “Von Rump”. Not exactly the best name to carry with you into childhood here in America. My mother always said (w/ tongue firmly planted in cheek) that the main reason she married my father was because he had a common English name that had nothing to do with body parts!

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    1. Similar to our Norwegians who were GruBhoel (said Grubel). They changed it to Hoel. And then there was dad’s aunt who became Mary Cutter Hoel…….

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      1. My parents went to high school with twin sisters with the last name Bugg. Their names were Ima June and Ura June. They swear this is true.

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      2. I recently went to the Titanic Traveling Museum and when you come in the door they give you a name of someone who was on the Titanic. I happened to get the name Major Butts. We had to read about our person as we went along and he was quite the hero. He saved many people and went down with the ship. My granddaughter has teased me ever since my name is Major Butt!!

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  4. I’m eligible to join the Daughters of the American Revolution on both sides of my family, so we don’t have any immigration stories. I have some family records but I would really like to dig into our genealgy when I retire (in 4-1/2 years, but whose counting). So far, it looks like we’re pretty much of British Isles stock. The one kind of unusual thing is that I don’t know of a single farmer in my ancestory; city dwellers all since time immemorial.

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      1. I think it was my great grandparents’ generation that began the trek west. And I think they came directly here from Massachusetts but I don’t know the motivation.

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    1. What are the eligibility requirements to join the DAR? Not that I’m thinking of applying, just curious.

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      1. Something about being able to trace your lineage in America back to the American Revolution. I had a great on my dad’s side who belonged to the organization and have assurances from my mom and her sister that I qualify on their side as well.

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  5. My last name is British, a derivative of Blankensopp. However on my mom’s side we’re largely Irish. Names like Allen and Harris. A couple of O’s and apostrophes lopped off at the island when my ancestors first arrived. So since I’m a mixture of English and Irish, I sometimes have too much to drink and start fights with myself over years of oppression.

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    1. Blankensopp is a real name huh? I came across it (spelt “Blenkensopp”) in an Agatha Christie Tommy & Tuppence book, thought it was adorable.

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  6. Mornin’ everyone. Thanks to Sherrilee for yesterday’s romp through childhood memories. What fun! And thanks, Beth-Ann, for this morning’s story. As you know by now, I’m an immigrant. I arrived on these shores on November 23, 1965 after having met an married an American GI in Greenland.

    I come from a long line of wanderers. My mother was born and raised in Drogheda, Ireland. She moved to Newcastle on Tyne in England during WWII to find work. There she met my dad, a Danish sailor whose ship had been torpedoed off the coast of Scottland. The rescued crew was brought to Newcastle, and the rest, as they say, is history. I was born in Newcastle. My sister, who arrived a little over two years after me, was born in Drogheda. (An aside here. Because I can pinpoint certain memories to a certain place, I know that my first childhood memories are from when I was two years old.)

    Our little family moved to Stubbekøbing, Denmark, my dad’s hometown in the fall of 1946. One of my earliest memories of that time was of breaking a leg that winter in a sledding accident. I lived in Denmark until I turned 18, when I started looking for work in other countries. I wanted to learn more languages, and experience other cultures. Marrying my ex in Greenland put a stop to the roaming.

    In the US I have lived in New York, Wyoming, Illinois and Minnesota, and have visited 35 states. Unlike Jim’s grandfather, I have never stopped considering myself Danish, although my Danish is getting to be more and more Danglish, and Minnesota is what I now think of as Home. I recognize that there are aspects of life in Denmark that I miss, but I’m also aware that going back would leave an even larger whole in my soul.

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    1. I have meet a few people who immigrated to this country when they were adults. From talking to these people I found out that they usually do very much miss their native country. Some especially miss relatives that they left behind. Some of the immigrants I have meet came here to give their children a better life and would have stayed in their native country if they didn’t have children.

      Of course, there are people, like Vas who I wrote about on this blog, who leave their countries due to political oppression and other problems. Vas does not want to go back to his country even thought it is now out from behind the Iron Curtain. His mother might be more likely to want to go back, but she has been here many years and one of her other sons is here and has a family so I guess she might prefer living here.

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      1. It’s funny, but when I first came here, I didn’t think of myself as an immigrant. I didn’t realize at the time, that this was where I’d be staying the rest of my life. Had I realized that, perhaps leaving would have been more difficult. As it was, I was just off on one more adventure.

        My mother missed Ireland terribly after moving to Denmark. After my sister and I both were married, mom and dad bought a pub in Drogheda and moved back to Ireland so mom could be close to her family. But by the time, my sister had two kids, mom was once again torn, and after five years in Ireland, my parents returned to Denmark.

        That’s not an uncommon scenario, immigrants returning to their native lands after years away, only to discover that the old country has changed, and so have they. I know of a couple Danish families that returned to Denmark after twenty years in the States, only to discover that they no longer felt at home in Denmark. Tragic cases of “The grass is always greener….” I suppose.

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  7. beautifully poetic, your words Beth-Ann. thanks.
    for some reason (maybe because we have no children) neither of us is interested in our heritage. Steve only knows his Dad’s family came from “Bohemia” (maybe) and the Adams family name was severely shortened upon arrival to the US.
    my Dad’s grandparents came from Germany in late 1850s – and because they were lutheran, probably from the north. my maternal great-grandparents were German on one side(very crabby and “horsetraders” in my Mom’s words) and Norwegian on the other.
    in the early 70s airfare to Europe was cheap, so my cousin (on the German side) and i flew over for three months. we only knew that my maternal granpa’s mother came from a farm near Mo i Rana and that the family name was Grotnes. we got to Mo early one morning, on the train. we looked in the phone book. there were about a million Grotnes names in the (like Johnson in Mpls). we were walking around, because it was too early to call anyone and we happened on a furniture store with the name Grotnes, so we stopped in. behind the desk was a man who could have been my grandpa – same shape, same set of his teeth as he peered over his glasses in the same way Grandpa did. turned out he was the big historian of the family, and he had records of everyone there and in the US. there were three sisters way back when – two went to the US and one stayed in Norway. he was the son of the sister that remained, and my Grandpa was the son of Maren – one of the sisters that moved to northern MN, around Perham, that’s all i’ll ever know.
    going to a goat show in Mora today (not taking my goats, just looking and learning)
    will be a fun day – hope yours is also.

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    1. biB, tell us more about your three months in Europe. Did you stay in Youth Hostels? Where all did you go, and how did you get around?

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  8. My mother’s people came over in the mid-19th century, mostly German and Austrian extraction, but like Renee’s husband, we have a little gypsy blood, I’m told.

    My father came from Germany as a child with his parents and two siblings in 1908. I’ve found their Ellis Island record online. Apparently you can see a scanned copy of the actual ship’s manifest, but I looked a few pages and couldn’t figure out how to get to the relevant one, and the handwriting was pretty hard to decipher. A lot of the records have names misspelled.

    The family settled in St. Paul, on Brainerd St. My father had an aunt and uncle and cousins living on the same street. He lost his German pretty quickly. The town in western Germany that the family came from was heavily damaged in the wars and no longer exists.

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  9. Most of my ancestry goes back to Norway (no surprises there, I’m sure). My mother’s family is all Norwegian – Dad’s is about half Norwegian. I have been to one of the old family farms (my mother’s father’s family farm – where by great grandfather was born), and been in the stave church where another great-grandmother was baptized (and all of her family before her).

    The other parts are English and Scots-Irish (though I suspect this might be plain Irish, given the clan name, and claiming Scots-Irish was pure snootiness to distance the family, who had immigrated in the 18th century, from the poor, mostly Catholic Irish that came over in the next century). I, too, could join the DAR – but I doubt I will, unless I did it just to be a rabble rouser and shake those ladies up a bit. I’m much prouder claiming the founding aunt who successfully defended herself during the witch trials in Massachusetts (the neighbors pigs were dying – she was able to essentially argue that it wasn’t her, the neighbor was just a bad farmer).

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    1. I love the large photograph of some DAR ladies at the Black Forest in Minneapolis? I’m sure you’d be a nice addition.

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      1. The Minnesota DAR never (as far as I know) denied an African-American singer the right to perform for them, as happened with another DAR group and Marian Anderson. Our DAR bunch performed a splendid favor for the state by researching and then publishing stories from the original pioneers in Minnesota. The book is fascinating reading and is called Old Rail Fence Corners.

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      2. Steve, you mentioned that book once before and I started reading it online and realized my mother would love it. I got it from the library for her and we renewed it until we couldn’t renew it any more; then my sister ordered a copy for her from Amazon and she’s happy as a clam. It is indeed a wonderful contribution to our state’s history. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    2. I had a great aunt (the sister of the DAR member) who was one of the principles in the first female owned corporation in Minnesota. They have a pretty remarkable story, including owning a garnet mine in Alaska. I wish I had known her, she died when I was pretty young. I’ve learned most of what I know about her from a woman who is doing extensive research on the ladies and found me and asked for any information I could dig up. Unfortunately all storage brains of family history have died so we have not much more than she could find in public records.

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  10. Most of what I know about my family heritage has been word of mouth. I’m mildly interested, but clearly not enough to do any research on my own. However, when I was a very young adult, my father paid some geneology company to chart out the history on his side of the family. He sent me the papers…. just a long laundry list of names and dates, with no documentaion or notes. (I think I probably have these papers in the attic somewhere; I’ll have to look.) It traces our family all the way back to, get this, Eleanor of Acquitaine! I hope my dad didn’t pay much for this service — although I adore the idea that I am descended from the fabulous Eleanor, I find it hard to believe.

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    1. Eleanor of Acquitaine, hmm. I’m fascinated that you find it only mildly interesting what twists of fate have led from such wealth, power and privilege to where you are today. I’m pretty sure there’s no royalty in my background, no matter how far back you go. But there is one very well known Danish writer, Steen Steensen Blicher.

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      1. Well, if I truly believed that I was descended from Eleanor of Acquitaine, I might be more interested in digging into it!

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  11. I’ve worked hard to learn relatively little. I’m quite a mutt on both sides, with all kinds of racial or cultural groups cheerfully swapping genes until there is no identifiable group influence. Mostly I am English on both sides, and that’s boring because it means my ancestors blended in right from the start and didn’t leave a lot of dramatic stories.

    One story I loved was about the Nellis family line in my father’s family. A farm boy in 17th century New York State drove a wagon to the harbor one morning to collect some goods that were arriving. He heard a squabble. Some older man was fighting with a young woman who had just come in on a boat. He said he had paid for her ticket, so she was now his property and could become his wife. She had a different view of the matter. The farm boy jumped down and delivered a haymaker blow that knocked out the would-be groom. The farm boy and indentured bride looked at each other, and at that moment the orchestra changed to a love theme as Cupid flitted about filling the young couple with love darts. The young woman jumped in his wagon to go home with him and begin making the babies that would form my ancestral tree. And I suppose that means if the older guy had cold-cocked the farm kid, I wouldn’t be here. Or maybe I’d be here but I’d be an insurance salesman with heavily oiled hair who golfs a lot in chartreuse pants and adores the music of Abba.

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    1. Chartreuse is a colour I always have to look up… I have stuck in my head that it’s a salmon-peachy colour, when it’s actually lime-green.

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      1. I have the same issue with puce-which sounds like a yucky sort of green to me, instead of a reddish, purplish brown, or, as Wikipedia would have it “specifically, it is the color of the belly of a flea”-oh thank you, Wikipedia.

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  12. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    My morning is all out of kilter today–company in the house.

    I am a Heinz 57 mix if ever there was one–truly the daughter of the earliest pilgrims and pioneers. As far as we know only our Norwegians might have done the Ellis Island thing, and we are unsure of even that. Our family started with the Puritans of Salem, the early Quakers of Philadephia, Native Americans, the Irish of the storied potato famine, German refugees of the Kaiser including a Jewish line. They were farmers, preachers and Circuit Riding Evangalists, wagon-makers, and wanderers. I feel so grateful for their collective desires to find better lives.

    For me the Twin Cities has been my Isle of Somewhere, for here I have found all that I want in life and I understand that I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me.

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  13. Jacque and Steve I learned a more elegant way to express mixed ethnic heritage from one of my patients. He said he was Cannardly–so many different ethnicities that you can hardly tell.

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    1. That term is used in the jewelry business too, to describe diamonds that are so small you can ‘ardly see them.

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  14. Irish Indian polka keith welsh name on one side and scotch Irish on the other. Great stories on the Indian side of the family great pictures and letters on the Irish side. Achievement from the Indian and scotch Irish the pollock was expelled royalty on the run who lived a hard life in the new country after being claimed by a life threatening whacko who was in need of a wife for a well rounded dysfunction. I went to Ireland with no interest in family tree and found such enthusiastic help I spent the trip learning my heritage. Family is what you get. Life is what you choose. It is interesting realizing how and why you got here and how to make that work for you.

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  15. Very nice, Beth-Ann!

    I know my family history from my dad’s side better than from my mom’s. No one knew much about my paternal grandmother. She and her sister grew up in an orphanage and I never knew more than that. Her maiden name was Steinkamper (umlaut over the “a”, please). My dad’s paternal grandparents emigrated from Prussia, Germany (Wirsitz im Posen) – now part of Poland. (The area’s history is complex and has been both German and Polish). I once had an ancient cloth-bound book written in German script that described their journey in detail. My cousin has that book now. I was able to read the German script after high school but I’m sure I’ve lost that skill by now. I remember reading that their journey brought them to Ellis Island and they entered the country with thousands of others who left Europe in the 1800s.

    They traveled to Wisconsin and stayed there for awhile. I can’t remember if they tried to farm there or not. There was mention of sickness and of births. From there they traveled to Morristown, MN, and owned a farm where my dad was born. The Wilkowske farm is still there but it was sold out of our family about 20 years ago. It’s less than ten miles from where I’m sitting right now.

    My maternal grandmother was a Schaumkessel and I could swear she and her family sprang right out of this southern Minnesota soil. I think the Schaumkessels must have come from Germany but the only origin I know for them is Waseca County. My maternal grandfather was a Gleason and I have to describe him the same way – likely German, but Catholic, not Protestant. His family still farms in Waseca County. He was playful and mischievous when I was a child and Mom said he had a bit of Irish in him. He made small toys out of wood and showed me how to shell garden peas. He had a large cyst in the crook of his right arm and he told me it was where he kept his worms for fishing. I loved my Bumpa.

    Great topic, Beth-Ann. Have a great weekend, Baboons!

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  16. My dad got a phone call once from some guy who claimed that his company had been doing research that had led it to discover the “Grooms family crest.” For a certain payment, he would send that crest to my dad. Dad said, “Oh, I think there has been a misunderstanding. I’m sure the Grooms family has no crest. We were the ones holding the reins so that the guys with family crests could clamber up on their horses!”

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  17. Great topic Beth-Ann!
    My mom and I were able to do some research into her maternal line a few years before she passed away. We had great fun traveling to farm lands in PA, Eastern Mennonite University in VA, and her local town in Iowa, her home state, to collect documents and stories. A few fires in key town record halls left us without complete documentation for the DAR, but it was nice for her to know she comes from a long line of German Mennonites (1756) that were hard working and musical.
    My father’s more colorful history of sly Sicilian immigrants (1911) , with “connections” that still remain somewhat mysterious, rounds out the “oil and well water” mix of my heritage.
    Great stories everyone!

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  18. Catching up on the week here…

    Jim or MIG, about piling dirt around the potatoes, when do I start and stop doing this? Went to look today and Mr. MiS isn’t sure but I’m pretty convinced the green-with-dark-vein things popping out of the potato row are not weeds. (I didn’t mark each individual planting.)

    tim – like most non-academic pathologists, research isn’t part of my job description. We’re sometimes referred to as “the doctor’s doctor” in that we oversee all hospital lab testing, on every imaginable body fluid to tissue in the areas of microbiology, blood banking, clinical chemistry, coagulation, surgical pathology (of which cancer diagnosis is a huge part), cytopathology (e.g. Pap tests) and genetics. Some pathologists do autopsies, most don’t (or do very few). Minnesota would’ve been a great place to live, but I was in the States on a time-limited visa before I met Mr. MiS, plus the job market for non-academic pathologists in the U.S. is remarkably crappy right now.

    Ben – thanks for the email address, I started writing that day you posted it and then got called away. I can guess at two or three of those ex-Mayo pathologists. Two of my current colleagues did their training at the Mayo, and if I were to do things over I probably would have – apart from missing out on meeting my husband when he came through Minneapolis :)

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    1. MNiS, you don’t want to start piling dirt up around the plant ’till it’s well established. You don’t want to bury it. It should probably be 6 to 8 inches tall, I’d say, and have some healthy green leaves high enough on the plant that you don’t cover them. It’s really not an exact science. I’m sure you’ll do just fine. Good luck.

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    2. MN, it seems that you do have some potato shoots coming up. You can start piling dirt around them any time as long as you don’t completely cover the shoots. You don’t need to be in a hurry. The main thing is pile up enough dirt so that the tubers are covered. 3 or 4 inches of soil piled up around the plants might be enough and it wouldn’t hurt to pile up a little more than that. Tubers that aren’t covered will turn green and green tubers are not good to eat.

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    3. I concur with the above advice. I’ve got about 3-4 inches of bare stem showing (got them in really late), so am filling in a bit, because if I don’t do these things when I see them, it could be weeks before I get back to it (sadly, I am “that” kind of gardener).

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  19. In Malaysia the colloquialism would be “rojak” (roh-jark) which is a mix or a salad, one of the most popular forms being tropical cut fruit chunks in a sweet-spicy fermented prawn paste… :) It haunts my dreams ;)

    In addition to ethnic heritage, “rojak” would also be used to describe language e.g. using several languages/dialects in a single sentence, which is a rather common occurrence.

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    1. Using two different languages in the same sentence is very common in our household, only we call it Danglish. Glad to know we have lots of good company.

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      1. I like the word “ectopic” in this context. I think I will just sit and admire it for awhile.

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      2. Me too.

        OT: Did anyone hear President Clinton on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me today? That man is so smart and has a wonderful sense of humor.

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      3. I listened to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Last Night (while waiting for emergency vet to finish surgery so we could take dog in). Was I the only one who thought the questions were kinda easy? Hope I’m not alone, otherwise we have to worry about why our ex-pres knows so much about My Little Pony!

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      4. I don’t know anything about My Little Pony, and I guessed only the first question right. Maybe you have to have watched children’s TV, which I have not, to have any clue what the correct answers might be. And worry about Bill Clinton? Are you kidding me? Not for this or any other reason.

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  20. Greetings! I have a funny story from the Roots era when the whole family geneology thing came into vogue. My maiden name is Ahl — an unusual name even for Germans. So my Dad received tons of mail back then about learning what your family crest looked like, etc. It was a purely ego-centered ploy, so my Dad finally ordered one for free or cheap to see what the Ahl Family Crest looked like. It was a very grand, noble looking crest with griffins, eagles, arrows, etc. One of my parents best friends had also ordered their crest which was a rabbit, so my father took great delight in mocking their rabbit family symbol.

    My father received a mailing from a different company offering a complete set of beautiful bar glasses, etched with your name and family crest. He figured he needed a nice set of bar glasses, so he ordered it assuming it would be the same family crest. Well, this company found an entirely different limb of the Ahl Family Tree. The crest was a “squirrel on a mound, eating a nut complete” or something like that, on a large, beautifully etched set of bar glasses. Of course we had to keep them. It was hysterical. My dad never lived that down, and the rabbit-crested friends took delight in making sure he never forgot it — all in good fun.

    The family reunions after that always had squirrel themes, my parents received gifts of goofy squirrels — the favorite being the metal squirrel nut cracker whose tail moved to crack the nut in its mouth. Funny stuff ….

    Tim – thanks for the suggestion of homeopathy. I don’t know that much about it, but I know it works so I bought some today. Just trying to figure out the dosages and how often to take. Even though it’s very effective and used widely in Europe, it just isn’t top of mind for me — don’t know why.

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    1. do the arnica 200 for 3 doses 4 hours apart then twice a day for two days. then switch to bryonia 200 c a does every 6 hours for two days. if you have 30c instead of 200 c do it every 2 hours for the first day then 4 times a day for the next two days .after that same for both arnica and bryonia . thats what i would do if it were me but a certified homeopath is certainly the only way to get legal advice.

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  21. Nice steerage, Beth-Ann, and great stories, everyone. I have two grandmothers who came over on the boat in the early 20th Century, one from Norway and one from Sweden, and both came because of family hardship. My dad’s mom, Helga Kvalem, came over from Bergen, Norway at age 12 to live with her Aunt Henrietta. After living as a maid in New York City for a time, Henrietta had married her much older employer, Civil War veteran Jonas Duea, and they came west to the Norwegian “colony” of Roland, IA. Helga returned to Norway once in her late teens, but had already met my grandpa Britson, so returned and raised her family in Roland. My dad’s father was also fully Norwegian, but came to Roland via Texas somehow. I wish I knew some stories about Jonas Duea, the Civil War Veteran.

    My mom’s mom was 15 and an orphan who came to live with her sister, already temporarily in NYC. Don’t know how they made their way west, but they landed near Sioux City Iowa, where Ruth Thyra August Blom met Robert Sterling while ice skating. They raised 7 kids in Sioux City. The Sterling family was Welsh-English; there is a geneology that goes back to the 1700s, and we even have a crest.

    I’ve had out of town guests the last few days, and will have to go back and see what I missed Thursday.

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    1. p.s. My dad’s dad’s family name would have been Ingebritson but was shortened, probably at Ellis Island.

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    1. My very Minnesota Lutheran mother (a retired choir director, no less) in a leopard print bathing suit is one of my favorites (also the one with her big skirt blowing in the wind).

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  22. Evening—

    Great topic Beth-Ann. I really enjoy this kind of history. My Great Grandfather came to this farm in 1896. He came from Germany and rumor has it our last name lost an ‘E’ and gained an ‘A’ somewhere down the line so we were always warned not to buy into any of the family crest type things.
    My wife had an Uncle who’s Mother’s last name was ‘Fuller’ and she belonged to the DAR I think. She traced her family back to the Mayflower.

    Son’s grad party today. The weather man said sunny and nice. Bah! Rained all day… but a nice party. Have way WAY to much food left over. We rented a tent, popcorn machine, hot dog rotisserie and a sno cone machine and had a root beer keg. We were a hit with the 10 yr old crowd anyway.
    But we’ll be eating hot dogs and chips for months.

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    1. I have a bunch of extra watermelon from Daughter’s birthday party yesterday if you want to round out the chips and hot dogs…(we got rain, too – but it tapered off in time for the kids to play outside).

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      1. We served a lot of sno cones, but boy, a little ice goes a long way I guess. The ice was free so that’s not a big deal.
        And I think I misunderstood how much popcorn one bag makes so we can return the two extra cases of popcorn.
        I’m filling gallon milk jugs with rootbeer; reminds me of going to A & W as a kid and getting gallon jugs of rootbeer. This is ‘Point’ brand rootbeer and it’s very good; similar to A&W.
        I had never tapped a keg before. My brother couldn’t believe that; he says we must not be related…. but clearly we hung out with different friends! Haa–

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      2. you think it will kee the fizz for two weeks? if so bring it to jacques for jasper fford day. ill bring the hamburgers and veggie burgers. we are long on chips and dogs too but we will eat the chips in two shakes of a lambs tail. we saw a slushie machine that turned into a margeritta machine after the kids cleared out.. graduation parties of 2011 will be remembered by if you got rain and 50 degrees or coudy and 51. sorry to hear you got disappointed too.

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  23. Lovely post Beth-Ann and great stories everyone. By coincidence, I am spending this weekend and the next week diving into family history-a subject/hobby/obsession, call it what you will. I know that every single one of my ancestors was “German”, although in some cases, the places they came from are no longer in Germany, and they self-identified as being from Prussia or Saxe-Weimar, since there was no such country as “Germany” when they emmigrated, but for certain, they all spoke German and came to Scott and Carver counties fairly quickly.

    We have enough information written down to dismiss any ideas of a crest-if we had one, it would most likely be the shovel crossed with the broom-they were workers, my people. Both sides of the family were what is called “close”, so the ancestors on this side of the Atlantic are mostly known quantities (being relatively recent immigrants means I knew people with direct knowledge of these folks).

    Part of the fun of sifting through all the documents available on-line for me is running down the correct line. In Blakely Tnshp. at the beginning of the last century, I think every 4th guy must have been named “Fred Miller” or some variant (with several variants being used for the same guy, depending on who was taking the census that decade). They weren’t related, but some got related by marriage a generation later. It gets worse on the other side of the family, where one family has it’s name spelled at least 6 different ways, and yes, I know they are the same people.

    Then there are the gaps in the record and the inaccuracies. The birth year on my grandmother’s tombstone is incorrect-on the other side, my grandfather’s birth was never recorded, as the doctor did not think the baby would live, and told the parents to just “dispose of him” (he later built the barn I wrote about and had 17 grandchildren-we credit the family iron constitution to him). My new gravatar is a picture of his mother, Tillie. I love this picture because she is the farthest back ancestor I actually knew-she died when I was in kindergarten. According to those who knew her better, she was quite a gal-I’ll save her story for another time (yeah, I should write a post).

    As I tell the s&h, what this proves is that you shouldn’t take any of this too seriously, but my it is a fun game! I’ll be busy delving this week as the s&h heads to Iowa to build his own ancestral memories with grandparents and cousins, so I can hit the library at the MHS instead of getting supper on the table ;)

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    1. Great story MIG. Enjoy the research!

      I tried once to write about an Uncle marrying his Aunt but I couldn’t figure it out… at the next family get-together we drew out the family tree about that. And then just a few weeks ago heard of another ‘not quite distant enough’ marriage branch. Hmmm…. my wife just shakes her head at my family tree.
      It doesn’t help that several of the people involved have the same name so you have to say ‘Carl Sr.’ vs. ‘Carl Jr’ plus ‘Morrie Sr’ and Morrie Jr’ and the daughter Maurine.

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      1. I am such a genetics geek that I actually played the recording over several times so I could accurately draw the tree and prove that he’s not really his own grandpa. I think this “merits” a genetic Cliffie

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      2. Ben-one branch of the family specializes in Carls (who might also be Charles, depending on the census taker that day) and alternated Carl and Karl to keep them straight. We also have a plethora of Freds and Franks, with Annas and Wilhelminas and Mathildas for the ladies.

        Spent the afternoon “visiting the ancestors”. In 2 cemeteries only 25 miles apart, I can see all the grand and great-grandparents and one set of great-great grands.

        I’ll have to see what I can do with Tillie (Jacque, I was bound to get the cheekbones, her husband had them too-he is the one we all look like-it is a little scary). I’ve set myself the task of getting all the information I can find neat and tidy for my dad (we are Prussians, we like forms and documents), but I also want to set myself the writing challenge of getting the narrative down as I know it (thank you or curse you Steve Grooms and your literary ways!)

        I started down this path with a social studies assignment in 7th grade, that my grandparents got in on (not literary people-very little formal education). Teachers-be advised-you never know for sure what path you are setting someone’s feet on!

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    1. When I went to the clinic on Friday my wonderful doc told me I needed to spend more time walking in the sunshine. Don’t you think he should have prescribed better weather so I could follow his instructions?

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  24. I’m rising, but not shining this morning. Nothing like carting a dog up to the emergency vet in the middle of the night. He woke me up with his repeated head shaking and stuff was literally oozing from his ear. No waiting for our regular vet on Monday for that. Severe ear infection – antibiotics and steroid cream. Left the Irish Setter and home and she freaked out, so spent 1/2 hour calming her down when I got home. And don’t get me started about why traffic lights turn red on major streets at 3 a.m.!

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    1. Last week the pet stories were making me wish I had a dog. Today, not so much. Hope you get a nap, VS!

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      1. if you can’t handle dog ear puss you have no business owning a dog. my kids like uppies the are not crazy about old smelly dogs. worries me a bit about my retirement years.

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      2. This is Thorin’s first ear infection. I’m used to them with the Irish Setter, just not the Samoyed!

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    2. Bummer VS – yours may have been one of the cars I heard while I was attempting to sleep in a tent in my backyard. The three 7-year-olds with me slept through everything. I think I woke up with almost every car that passed after 2 am…bah. Still, it’s no fun to have to rush off with a sick pooch to the emergency vet at o-dark-thirty. Poor dog and poor you. :(

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  25. Thanks to all on the trail for warm feedback and shared stories. We’ve got quite a crazy quilt of ancestors between all of us denizens. Dale intentionally put this post on a Saturday so we would have plenty of time for storytelling. What a treat!

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