Sep 062017
 
The C in DACA stands for children

My Grandma Lydia was just 4 years old when her parents brought her to the U.S., an immigrant from what was then the Russian empire. She was pretty lucky compared to today’s Dreamers. Laws about entry were a lot vaguer, no passports required. Germans from Russia were often sneered at as “Rooshians,” but she lived […Read more]

Apr 242016
 
The History of the Schott Name

There are several theories for the origin of the name Schott. The one described by Johann Schott von Schottenborn in 1587 is that Schott ancestors originated in the town of Schotten in Hessen, Germany. He describes how his branch of the family left Schotten and settled first near Eisemroth, Hessen. They were smelters and forgers […Read more]

Feb 072016
 
First-Timer Impressions of RootsTech

After 20 years of doing genealogy, I thought it was about time I got myself to RootsTech, an enormous annual genealogy convention in Salt Lake City. A few first-timer impressions: The positive Tech stuff – the wifi connection was awesome and there were charging stations everywhere for my hungry electronic devices. The charging station counter […Read more]

Jul 062015
 
The Things You Don't Ask

I was always intrigued by the Salmon La Sac exit off Interstate 90. Partly because it’s such a quirky name. But partly because, every time we drove by it on a family road trip, my mom used to say with nostalgia, “Oh, we used to go camping there.” Why did this comment never intrigue me […Read more]

Apr 132015
 
Happy Birthday, Mom

I love how family stories just pop up sometimes. Like last night. I’d called my aunt to talk about a death in the family. Suddenly we veered off into reminiscing about how she’d first come to Seattle. She and my mom were both doing clerical work at an industrial laundry company. As two young women […Read more]

Apr 012015
 
A Letter to the Governor

Some family stories can be proven. Some can’t. But sometimes those stories leave a trail of clues. My dad was the first of his siblings to go to high school, although he was the sixth born of 10 children. In a farming family during the Depression, high school was unnecessary and a poor substitute for […Read more]

Oct 202013
 
Fading Family Roots

I went to a funeral last week and met my childhood. The funeral celebrated the 94 years of life of my friend Sharon’s father. It was held in the church where I grew up, in the neighborhood where I grew up. I recently moved close to my old Ballard neighborhood. Current-day Ballard is a trendy […Read more]

Aug 022013
 
Ancestral Village Homecoming

I’ve found a new reason to love Greece. Of course I love it because I lived there years ago. When you experience daily life somewhere—grocery shopping with a phrasebook in hand so you don’t create a dinner disaster or enduring a monthly bill paying ritual with your landlady because you don’t have time to stand […Read more]

Jan 172011
 
No Way Out

If you’re stuck in a blizzard, there are worse places to be than a cozy house overlooking a snow-covered lake, with internet access, satellite TV, and a well-stocked freezer and pantry. My ancestors who settled on these prairies had a much tougher time when they encountered blizzard conditions—crammed together in a sod house, the sheet […Read more]

Apr 272010
 
Off the Tourist Track

Castles, cathedrals, Oktoberfest, cruising the Rhine River—these are the things most people go to Germany to experience. But my itinerary was one you wouldn’t find in a tour book: the local museum in a small town, the village church and cemetery, and the small Kunst im Kuhstall (Art in the Cowstall) art gallery. I was visiting Ober-Gleen, […Read more]