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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Other Ways To Spend Time

My quilting muse seems to have taken a Spring Break! The only quilting effort I've made recently is to download the block patterns for my Quilting the Names of God group, preparing the tracing paper piecing templates, and choosing the fabrics. The sewing machine is setting on the table with it's dust cover, waiting....

What little energy I can drag out is spent doing routine homemaking absolute necessities and gardening. I somehow seem to be able to find the energy to garden, probably because it develops more energy.

Cousin Don with Joe at the reunion.

Another thing I've been doing the last two months is genealogy. My Metzner family will have a reunion in Bakersfield, California at the end of June; and the Pinzenscham branch of Joe's family (his Dad's sister Blanche married Leonard Pinzenscham) had a reunion in Bennett, Colorado in May. I printed out charts and large copies of old family photos to display, as well as taking many of the books that have helped our research. It was wonderful to see the large turnout and visit with known family members as well as meeting the younger generations and in laws. It is amazing how many persons accumulate from the marriage of two people in 80+ years.

The original Van Schaick, Cornelis Aertsen, arrived in New Amsterdam in 1636 when Manhattan Island looked like this. At that time the Dutch used patronyms rather than family surnames, and Aertsen translates as Adrian's son. The family did not begin calling themselves Van Schaick after the English took over New Amsterdam and renamed it New York. As we researched the family's moves from New Amsterdam to Long Island, to Gettysberg, Pennsylvania, to Washington County Pennsylvania, thru Indiana, to Iowa, to western Nebraska, and then to Eastern Colorado early in the 20th Century (they were always on the western advance into the wilderness), we also traced the changes in the name from Van Schaick, Van Scoyock, Van Syoc, and finally Vansyoc. There are still family members on Long Island with the spelling of Van Scoy. There are over 100 versions in use across the U. S. today, my favorite being Van Sky Hawk, which sounds like the joining of Dutch and American Indian.

When we first traced the family back to New Amsterdam in the Seventeenth Century we purchased a number of books about the history of Manhattan Island, and New York, and were thrilled to find a copy of a 17th Century map showing Cornelis Aertsen's home to the east of what is now Broadway, and just north of the Wall, which is now Wall Street. Another map in the book showed the farms that Cornelis leased and farmed, which stretched from the Hudsen to the East River. ["The Historical Atlas of New York City", Homberger & Hudson.] We were thrilled to discover that he farmed the land where the World Trade Center was built so many years later.

Joe is the 10th generation of his family in the U. S., which makes our grandsons, Ben and Evan, the 12th generation. In contrast, I am a 2nd generation American Metzner, as my father's father, Frank Ignatius Metzner came from Walla, (now Wallern) Austria in 1904 on the steamship Ultonia through Ellis Island. My mother's family came to Colonial America from England, after our ancestor John Shinn, a Quaker, in 1663 was imprisoned in the Hartford gaol
for absence from his parish church services.

The reason the Metzner family reunion is being held in Bakersfield, is that when I was a baby (1939), most of Dad's family moved to California to the agricultural area in Kern County, so there are more of the family there now than still in Colorado. I call them late Okies who didn't have enough sense to go clear to the ocean but stopped in definitely unsexy Bakersfield.

I so love finding out about the history of our families and will bore anyone to death talking about it, if I get the chance. The greatest thing is finding other family members who are just a compulsive about researching so we can compare notes and assist each other.

I've always been a history nut and genealogy has given me the story of how my family branches have fit into history as a whole. It has given me a better appreciation of my forebears and helped me accept who I am and how I fit into the cycle of life.

When we attended the Pinzenscham reunion there were only 2 of the 6 children still with us. Cousin Marge who passed away at the New Year was the oldest of the P. children. Brother Don and sister Joyce were at the reunion with their families. This weekend we got a call from Joyce that Don had passed away, so we will be attending his memorial service next Monday in Aurora.

Now Joyce is the last of her generation and Joe is the last of his, both were youngest in their families, and close to the same age. They grew up together and have always been close.

This is the fourth death of a close family member since Dad passed away at Thanksgiving. I think this large dose of grief has something to do with my lack of energy these days. Thank God for gardens, and even wild grass and elm seedlings that continuously need to be grubbed out, and flowers that bring peace and joy into my sore heart.

This is the pile of grass, weeds, and elm seedlings that I pulled from this border by the driveway.


Anonymous said...

Well done for this wonderful blog.

Deborah M. said...

Genealogy is an on again, off again passion of mine, too. I give it a rest from time to time but then delve back in. I learned I was living just around the corner from where my g-g-g-grandfather had settled in the 1830's, for instance. I empathize with the pain of losing family members. About 6 years ago, we lost two aunts and an uncle within 30 days. That was tough. Gardening was a good diversion for me too, something about being outdoors and planting and watching things grow and flower. Take care!

Rian said...

Interesting story of your ancestry. I'm a history nut too, and genealogy is fascinating to me.

allie aller said...

Your posts are so full of the deep love of family...your experiences and history enrich my own life! This was an awesome post....thanks so much for sharing with us.

Rose said...

I just found your blog again--don't know when I lost it but apparently i have a lot to catch up on...I scrolled down and seen the kitties for one thing! Glad to have found your blog again!

jenclair said...

I love genealogy, but don't have the needed commitment. Family history is so important, especially in personal anecdotes and stories. Most of us don't take it seriously enough until we begin losing our elders and their memories. I'm finding myself so frustrated these days when I want to ask about something and my mother isn't here to remember for me. I relied on her and didn't realize that I would have so many little questions when she was gone.

Deb Hardman said...

I've always wished that someone else in my family would get into genealogy, because I'm interested & curious, but just don't want to take the time.

I used to spend summers camping with a Metzner family in Michigan. I wonder if they are related to you.

Were you ever able to fix your Ring links on you side bar? I'm thinking I'm going to have to delete all of mine & rejoin them one at a time since I can't fine the papers with the IDs.

Kay said...

I grew up hearing family history, but unlike you I've never been interested in doing any documentation, although others have. Still, it's good to have a sense of the past and the earlier generations. I'm glad this new past time is bringing you such pleasure.