Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ancestor Appreciation Day: My Immigrant Ancestors

kaiserwilhelmdergrosseToday is Ancestor Appreciation Day and I knew right away which ancestors I wanted to show my appreciation for, I only wish I could do it in person. I would most like to show my appreciation for the immigrant ancestors in my family for without them, me and my family would not be enjoying the American dream.

When I started this family history journey many years ago I had no idea where I came from, just like most of you probably. I was an American and assumed my ancestors were also. Boy, was I every mistaken.

The biggest surprise, so far, in this quest is finding out that my family did not exist in the United States before 1900. All of my immigrant ancestors emigrated from their homes between 1904 and 1926. Even more surprising to me was that these ancestors aren’t even that distant; they are my grandparents and great-grandparents and one set of 2nd-great-grandparents.

Let me introduce to you those ancestors that I most appreciate; my immigrant ancestors.


  • George Edward ShawEdward Barker Shaw and Hannah Shirt – My 2nd great grandparents. Edward emigrated to Canada about 1882 from Lynby, Nottingham, England. Hannah joined him about a year later with their children, one of which was my great-grandfather, George Edward Shaw. George’s son, my grandfather, is another immigrant ancestor.


  • George Howard ShawGeorge Howard Shaw – My Grandfather. George emigrated from Toronto Canada to Detroit in 1926. This is where he met and married my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Jane Canter (Cantelo) in 1930.



Canters (Cantelo)

  • William Cantelo and Selina Ann John – My great-grandparents. William and Selina emigrated from Caerphilly, Wales in 1910 and my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Jane Canter (Cantelo) was with them; she was only 3 years old at the time.

William CanteloSelina Ann John

Lucas (Luksys)

  • Roman Luksys and Catherine Paskruba – My great-grandparents. Roman and Catherine emigrated from Poland about 1904 and settled in Massachusetts, where my grandfather Joseph Lucas was born. They then moved on to Michigan about 1912 and somewhere along the way they also changed their name from Luksys to Lucas. (I do not have a picture of them but hope to someday link up with some family on this side who may have a photo to share with me.)

Pakledinaz (Pakledinac)

  • John Michael Pakledinaz – My great-grandfather. John was born in Tompojevci, Croatia-Slavonia, Austria-Hungary on 16 Mar 1885. He emigrated from there to Youngstown, OhioJohn and Anna Pakledinaz in 1905 where he joined his cousin, Jakob Pakledinac. This is where he met and married my great-grandmother, Anna Hinterhauser.


  • Anna Maria Hinterhauser – my great-grandmother. She is probably the ancestor I look up to the most as she made the immigration journey alone when she was only 19 years old. Anna was born in the small village of Milititsch, Austria-Hungary in 1890. She packed up everything and left for the United States in 1909. She ended up in Youngstown, Ohio and married John (above) less than a year later. They moved to the Detroit area sometime in 1912/13.

I will never know the true reasons why each of them decided to make the long voyage across the ocean in such horrid conditions. However, I would guess it was to give themselves and their families a better life, living the American Dream.

I wish each of them were here today so I could thank them for their sacrifices so many years ago. For if it were not for their spirit and determination then I would not be living the American Dream with my family. Nothing I can say or write can truly express the gratitude and admiration I have for each of them. So, Grandma and Grandpa Shaw, Canter,  Lucas, and Pakledinaz – Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for giving this to me.


What ancestors are you most appreciative of? Leave your thoughts in the comments or make a post of your own.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ up that family.


Thank you to Thomas MacEntee and his Genealogy Blog Editorial Calendar for making me aware of this day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What to Keep and What to Toss…


The following is a post written by my wife, Michele.

When our oldest started Kindergarten (2 years ago) and started coming home with all different kinds of art projects, self made Mother's Day cards, writing journals and tons of newsletters from the teacher, I decided to keep it all and sort it at the end of the school year. Bad idea! The end of the school year came and I had a 1 foot stack to sort.

1st grade came and I decided I would sort out right from the get go. But what do you keep? Only the art projects? All the perfect spelling tests?

Now we have twins that just started Kindergarten and the process continues x 3. Again the question is what to keep and what to toss?

I have nothing left from my school days except for my report cards. I think I would have liked to see an art project I made or maybe a writing sample from Kindergarten or 1st grade...my yellow blankie that mysterious got lost in a move when I was 6 years old. Those are things that I would like to share with my kids now to show that mom was really their age once and did the same things.

But will my kids want to see those things, too? Will they want to share them with their kids? Will they appreciate it or will they just roll their eyes when I hand them their box of stuff once they're grown up? Will they care that I kept the baby outfit they wore when they came home from the hospital?

I guess for now, until I can figure out what to keep and what to toss, I'll just stick with the beaming smiles I get and the proud look in their eyes when I hang every little scrap of paper they made that says "for mom" on the walls around my desk.

Leave your thoughts on ‘what to keep and what to toss’ in the comments.  


I want to thank my wife for jumping into this posting idea and sharing her thoughts and what is on her mind.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.

Chris and Michele

Sentimental Sunday - September 11, 2001 - Where Were You?

flags_at_capitalToday is Patriot Day and also marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. I will take a moment today to remember all those lost in the tragic events of that day which changed our nation and the world forever. I also want to take this opportunity to write down, for future generations, where I was, what I was doing, and what I was thinking.
September 11, 2001 started out as a great and exciting day for me. I was stationed at Ramstein Air Base near Kaiserslautern, Germany and I was picking up my mom and sister (Kathy) from Frankfurt airport. This was there first visit to Germany and Europe and we had a busy two-week schedule ahead of us. The highpoint of the trip was taking my mom to visit her Dad’s (Joseph Lucas) gravesite at the Netherlands American Cemetery. He was killed just after WWII ended and my mom had never seen or even known where he was buried until I got an assignment to Germany and found the information.
After I picked them up from the airport we decided to head to a castle that wasn’t too far from my apartment. We wanted to keep a little busy during the day to help with the jet lag that 9-hour flight would leave. We visited the Burg Nanstein castle in Landstuhl, Germany and then headed for my apartment so they could unpack.
While they were unpacking, I was in my computer room checking some emails or something. I had the Today Show on the TV. I remember them breaking into the broadcast to show video of an unknown flight that crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York. I remember them talking about not knowing what happened and what a tragic accident. I don’t think I even had the first thought in my mind that it was a terrorist attack yet; just a tragic, almost unbelievable accident. I continued with whatever I was doing on the computer. Then, as they were showing the scene of the first crash, the second plane crashed into the other tower.
My chin and heart dropped right then. I remember thinking that this isn’t an accident anymore. I think that is when I went into the living room to make sure my mom and Kathy were watching the same thing that I was. Yes they were. The rest of the afternoon, we couldn’t take our eyes off the news coverage and I really had a hard time believing all that was true.
Mom at markerMy vacation was cut short and I had to report back to work and the distance I could travel from base was limited but we still made the most of the rest of their time in Germany. We were not going to let the terrorists totally disrupt every facet of our lives and ruin this time together. We traveled where we could. They made it to Trier, Heidelberg, Rudesheim, Kaiserslautern, and to my grandpa’s grave. The Netherlands was outside my 50-mile limit but I was not going to let my mom leave Europe without visiting her father’s grave and putting a little bit of closure to his death which happened 56 years earlier.
That day will always be a day of remembrance for America so we do not forget those that were killed and why we continue our war on terror. I understand and don’t think the memory of that day and what I was doing will ever fade but I wanted it written so when I do pass, my decedents will know what I was doing.
Have you written down what you were doing on that day?
Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ up that family.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Microsoft OneNote–syncing to iPhone

iphonesyncI love using Microsoft OneNote and I piggybacked off of a post by Elyse Doerflinger to give my two cents on the program. My feelings have not changed but one thing that I wish it would do is sync with my iPhone so I can view my notes anywhere.

Yes, there is a OneNote app for the iPhone and technically you are supposed to be able to share your notebooks on Microsoft SkyDrive and then have them on the iPhone. Well, it doesn’t work that great. I got a couple notebooks to sync and could view them on the iPhone, so at first, I was pretty excited (I know, it doesn’t take much). However, another notebook will not sync at all. And, when doing the sync process it really slows down my computer and internet. It is to the point that I cannot do anything else on the internet when OneNote is syncing – everything comes up with a big error saying the website is not responding.

Enough of my ranting because this one glitch is not going to make me convert to Evernote or some other note taking software. I can still sync my notebooks between computers using Dropbox. I just don’t have it on my iPhone, which is with me everywhere.

Maybe I should write a post sometime about all the reasons I like OneNote and why I won’t switch, like Elyse did.

Until I write that, is anyone using a note-taker that they truly love and would like to try and convert me? If so, leave some comments.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ up that family.


Photo by: Speedye

Monday, September 5, 2011

September Objectives

the AlpsHappy Labor Day all! It is already 5 September so about time to publish the objectives we want to meet this month in pursuit of the yearly goals I posted in my Goals and Objectives post. Here are September’s objectives.

  1. Get a copy of the church register that shows the baptism of William Van Capen.
  2. Write to the Massachusetts churches to see if they have a record of birth for Joseph Lucas.
  3. Do some initial research into what military records may be available for WWI aviators (William Van Capen).
  4. Lay out an initial vacation/genealogy trip centered on Danzig.
  5. Store the records in my Lucas files correctly. (I have some old letters and documents laying in files and need to preserved these as best as possible).
  6. Solidify a solid backup plan for my genealogy data and all my photos. (I back up now but I’m not happy with my process).

It seems like a lot (to me) but actually is pretty doable as long as I can stick to my plans and nothing major comes up this month.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ up that family.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

August Objective Recap

smileyfaceSo, here it is September 3rd already, August really went by fast. But, even with a busy schedule which included the start of fall sports, our 2nd grader starting school, and a short vacation, we were able to accomplish most of the objectives we laid out back on August 1st. I gave an update to these in the middle of the month and you can read that here. Here is what we laid out and the results:

  1. We will find and write to the local churches to see about a birth record for William Capen. Yeah! We can mark this complete because my wife completed this. We did not find a birth record (boo!) but we did find a record of his baptism in the church register. We will have to add getting a copy of this to our to-do objectives.
  2. Relook at the past searches I did for Joseph Lucas’ birth record – see where I need to look next. I looked through my Lucas files and found some interesting things that I don’t remember seeing before. The big thing is that I think I’ve narrowed down his place of birth to Northbridge, Ma. I’ve also came up with a couple other leads to go on. I will save this whole story for a separate research story post. But, I can count this as complete. Yeah!
  3. Plan the visit to William Capen’s grave and the WWI battlefields which are nearby (this satisfies my military history needs also). Ran into a little snafu here. We live in Germany and the grave and battlefields are in France. Doing a little investigating I discovered that France is sometimes a little ‘anal’ about passports. The whole family has our ‘official’ passports that got them over here but they all don’t have the tourist passport which France wants to see if asked for. So, we will get that process started next week and continue this objective. I’m glad we figured out the passport thing before we were ready to hit the road.
  4. Danzig – do some initial probes as to what records are available for this area and the time period we need to look at. I pulled a complete brainfart on this one. I started to look at sources for Polish genealogy and I realized that many years ago when I started this family history endeavor I found out that my maternal great-grandmother spoke Polish (She is Joseph Lucas’ mother). Years ago I got two books to help my research along. They are ‘In Search of your European Roots’ by Angus Baxter and ‘Polish Roots’ by Rosemary A. Chorzempa. We looked through these and what a wealth of information I had sitting on my bookshelf, right under my nose. So, this is a complete also.

The RheinSo, all-in-all, it wasn’t such a bad month for getting some research done and we got a long weekend on the Rhein River in to boot. I’m happy with it and we are now ready to move on to September objectives, which I will write up this weekend and post.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ up that family.


Photo by: Troy B. Thompson