Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How I Got Into This

Sometime back in 2008, something sparked my interest in family history; I wish I could remember what that spark was, but it’s lost to me at this point. I do remember what my first acquisition was though. While visiting my dad’s brother, Mark, in Quincy, he gave me three family group sheets that had been sent to him in about 1987 from Marjorie Martin. The families shown were Reinold Schell, Peter Florian Schell, and Peter Schell (my great grandfather, second great uncle, and second great grandfather, respectively). She had sent these sheets in hopes he might have other family information. Uncle Mark had no idea who Marjorie was and neither did I. But, oh, how that would change! This eventually led to one of the happiest moments that I have experienced on this genealogical journey. Marjorie had done these family group sheets in 1976 and had her address included. Now we are talking about 2008 when I obtained these from Uncle Mark. I had no idea if Marjorie would have been at the same address or, indeed, if she was even still with us! Part of genealogy is taking these shots in the dark! I was also in possession of a record from the LDS church that had Marjorie’s name and the same address. There was also another name Terry Sparks with a different address but from the same general area as Marjorie. Who were these people? Would they still be at the same address? There’s only one way to find out- write a couple of letters. I did and I really did not expect to get anything back. You can imagine the surprise when I received a letter from Terry. They were living in the same residence; Marjorie was Terry’s mom! This had to seem like a bolt out of the blue to them; we exchanged emails and got to know each other a little better. To make a long story short, Marjorie and Terry descended from Peter Florian Schell and I had descended from Reinold Schell. We were truly cousins! These are the kind of discoveries that keep me going.

Terry and Marjorie
But the story does not end there. It gets better! In the summer of 2010, I was planning a trip out to see friends in California. I had planned to get off the train in Salt Lake City for a couple of days and use the Family History Library maintained by the Mormons. I would then continue on out to the Bay Area and visit the friends. Cindy, my sister, who is working on her husband’s genealogy in addition to helping me once in a while, found out about my plans. She decided it would be fun to go, too. She talked our sister, Staci, into going along. So, the three of us, that is, me and Lucy and Ethel, were on our way by car to Salt Lake City. I couldn’t, at times, help  but think of the Ricardos and Mertzes trip to Hollywood! After finishing up at the library, Cindy said, “You know, Terry and Marjorie live near San Bernardino--- that’s only a day’s trip from here!” Pass up a chance to meet some cousins we had never heard of? Not a chance! So, now we were off to actually meet them in person. I can’t even begin to describe the joy we all had in spending that day together. Unfortunately, Marjorie, who was in her 90s was beginning to suffer from dementia, but we could easily see that she was enjoying every minute of our visit. We are so happy that we took the time to do that because we lost Marjorie in 2012.

After our wonderful day-long visit with Terry and Marjorie, I took the train north to the Bay Area while Lucy and Ethel (AKA Cindy and Staci) took a rather circuitous route back to Iowa! They could start a blog just about that trip!

‘Nuff said for now!

Below are the descendents of Peter Schell

Carl Joseph Schell is who I am descended from and Cornelia Laura is who Terry and Marjorie are descended from.

1 comment:

  1. That really was a great trip and it was so much fun to see the joy on Marjorie's face the entire day that we spent with her. She didn't even catnap at all that day (unlike Steve). I enjoyed listening to her talk about when they visited the Quincy folks and how nice they all were. I'm so glad that we made the trip. A family bond was formed with our newly discovered cousins! It truly felt like we had known each other all of our lives. It is something that I will never forget!