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Posts Tagged ‘Johnson’

Oreo

Not really – but then again I guess it all started with her – my Nana, Vesta Christina Wilt Johnson (my mom’s mother). I could also blame my grandfather – yes, I’m sure he had a hand in it too. Most of their great-grandchildren (my niece, nephews, and children of my Johnson 1st cousins) would probably concur. We are all addicted to the food memories that Nana and Grandad are connected to. Candy jars with M & M’s, ribbon candy at Christmas, hard tack candy – all the time! Sometimes peanut brittle. And the bottom drawer in the kitchen – COOKIES! Not just any cookies but large sugar cookies, soft Oatmeal cookies, and the sweetest of all – Oreos! We didn’t have Oreos in my house because my mom didn’t like the way they tasted. No, our house had something just as deviant – chocolate sandwich cookies that are very hard to find anymore. But I digress. Oreos – if there ever was a reason to turn into an addict – those delicious creme filled sandwich cookies are the reason. And I fell into that addiction – hard – all the way to the bottom. Oh, it didn’t happen overnight and not right then as a child, young teen or young adult. I had a taste of those cookies, and that was all it took. As the years passed and my grandparents passed on, every time I had an Oreo, sweet, delicious memories were revisited. Memories of the warmth and tenderness shown to me by my Nana. Her gentle touch and beautiful smile. If a scent can trigger a memory, I believe food can do the same thing. Soon, I had four young kids and a very busy household. Of course I purchased Oreos for the family. Oh, no, soon I was hiding the Oreos. The addiction had me in its tight grip. I could eat half a bag in one sitting and feel absolutely dreadful afterwards. Finally, though it took awhile, I had to face the fact. I stook in front of my mirror and said, “Hello, I’m an Oreo addict.” My reflection just stared back. Yep, I knew that I could not – absolutely not – ever purchase anymore packages of Oreos. My kids thought it was funny. We’d be at church and during refreshment time, they would taunt me. “Look, Mom, an Oreo. You know you want some.” But I always remained resolute. That’s been so long ago, I don’t even know the number of years it’s been. The only Oreos I’ve eaten are those crushed and used for dirt cake. There have been a few packages in my pantry – but I haven’t eaten any of those. However, it doesn’t take the taste of Oreos anymore to bring me back to my childhood and the visits to my grandparens’. Just today, I was eating Club Crackers – their “go-to” cracker. I grew up on Zesta crackers and as an adult, have always kept Premium Saltines. But my Nana and Grandad – it was Club that we used at their home for the homemade vegetable soup. Soup that had tomatoes in it and my mom ate but it wasn’t her favorite. In honor of my grandmother, I add one fresh tomato to my vegetable soup. When my niece and nephew and I talk about them, we inevitably discuss the foodstuffs they had. Wonderful memories!

(Image of Oreos downloaded from Wikimedia Commons: Fritz Saalfeld is the creator of the image)

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Jim Sanders, author of Hidden Genealogy Nuggets, started a weekly blogging theme – Genealogy by the States. This week’s theme is “New Jersey.”

The first item that came to mind at this prompt concerns my 3rd great-grandfather, Jacob Johnson. He was born in New Jersey on Dec. 11, 1787. By 1816 he was living in Ohio and had married Ann Shields. I do not have any information as to where he was born in New Jersey or the names of his parents.

Secondly, my 7th great-grandfather, Benjamin Maple, who was born in England 1663 and arrived in Colonial America (what would have been New Jersey) in 1684.  He married Elizabeth Lee in Burlington on June 4, 1695 at the Revell House. Benjamin died on May 13, 1727 in Middlesex county.

Consequently, the next several generations of the Maple family (& my ancestors) were also born in New Jersey: Benjamin Maple Jr., Jacob Maple, and William B. Maple.

A few years ago I provided some research assistance for some friends who were born in and had ancestors in New Jersey. It was the first time I had done “outside” research. It was enjoyable to watch them look at the material I had put together for them.

(New Jersey State Seal Image above courtesy of Clker.com)

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WELCOME TO BREMERHAVEN

My grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, was transferred to Wiesbaden, Germany in 1950 (before the Army Air Corps became the Air Force). Upon arriving at the Port of Bremerhaven aboard the Gen. Patch on July 20, 1950, the U.S. Band greeted him and my grandmother, Vesta. Wikipedia says that Bremerhaven means “Bremen’s Harbor” in Bremen (which was in the free Federal Republic of Germany).

The ship – USNS General Alexander M. Patch (T-AP-122) (picture of it as it is berthed at Bremerhaven in 1950 can be found here – exciting to think that this might just be at the same time my grandparents had arrived!) was named after the General who took “command of the Allied Forces in New Caledonia” in 1942 (from NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive; 2012; NavSource Naval History)

Luckily, while they were in Germany, they were able to take side trips to other places on the weekends. The picture above was taken on August 5, 1950, when they went with another lady, Mrs. Mulligan, along with a Bavarian guide to see the Nymphenburg Castle, Home of the Bavarian Kings.

Besides all of the photos, I also have several years’ worth of letters my grandparents wrote my parents. Those letters detail all the little trips around Europe they took as well as their day to day life in Wiesbaden.

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John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer

My maternal great-grandparents (on my grandfather’s side), John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer, were married on July 4, 1883, in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  He was a few months over 22 years old and she was close to 19. Since both were “of age” according to the laws of the time, neither needed a parental signature.

The couple was just shy of celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary when Katie died on May 20, 1930 (trivia: my wedding anniversary is on the anniversary of her death – May 20!).

Below is a picture of the couple in older age.

(Source 1: Anderson, Madison, Indiana, 1880-1920, Book 1, Page 393; County Clerk’s Office, 16 East 9th, 2nd House, Box 19, Anderson, Indiana, 46016. FamilySearch – Indiana Marriages Database

Source 2: Glen R. Johnson, Sr., personal genealogy notes, in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use)

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I never got to meet my mom’s older sister. She passed away three and a half years before I was born. Genevieve Vesta Johnson was born on June 9, 1920 in Anderson, Indiana. She married John F. Steffen in May 1942. My aunt was a nurse – a profession that her granddaughter and great-granddaughter also chose – women she never got to meet. Aunt Genevieve died on Friday, May 2, 1958 in Dayton, Ohio. Her funeral was held at St. Anthony’s in Dayton. She was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Kettering, Ohio. She was survived by her two young daughters and son as well as her husband, her parents, a brother (my Uncle Glen) and her sister (my mom) along with two nieces and two nephews. She was always remembered and spoken of very often.

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The photo above was taken by a friend of my grandparents pre-1920 in Anderson, Madison, Indiana. Glen R. Johnson (my maternal grandfather) is standing in between the two headstones and my grandmother, Vesta C. Wilt, is leaning on George Hefler’s headstone. The gal on the right, leaning on Sarah Boltin’s headstone, is a friend of the couple.

When I checked Find a Grave, I noticed that the current picture of George’s stone is very difficult to read. Time and weather has deteriorated the readability – at least via a photo. At the time of the above photo, Sarah Boltin (George’s second wife), was still living. Currently on Find a Grave, it shows that her tombstone has broken off at the base and is laying on the ground. I have cropped a picture of each stone in the above photo and added them to Find a Grave.

I do not believe that George Hefler nor Sarah Boltin are related in any way to my grandparents – the names have not come up in my research. The cemetery –  Grove Lawn in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana – is also the final resting place for many of my grandfather’s relatives – Johnson’s, Goul’s, and Blazer’s.

 

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In April of this year, one of my distant relatives (by blood – close by choice!), sent me an email to let me know that she had ordered a 67-marker DNA test from Family Tree so that her first cousin (again, a distant cousin to me) could take it in order to get some information on the ancestors of our ancestor – Jacob Johnson born December 11, 1787 in New Jersey.  Johnson, according to Wikipedia, is the 2nd most common surname in the United States.  Good Grief! At least it’s not Smith!  My cousin told me that the Johnson project had 1000 members!

At the end of May, I received another communication from my cousin. She reported that the common 12 marker test showed that we belonged in Hapologroup R1b1a2 – common to Europe, the United Kingdom. That didn’t surprise me. The variation showed R1b1a2a1a1a – the country is “unidentified.” Good Grief!

Fast forward another month and a half to July, and more information came back – including the names of some other men who “matched” my distant cousin.  Several emails have been traded back and forth and family information has been shared. However, there aren’t any known relationship between their ancestors and our Jacob Johnson. We did see that there are a lot of the same given names: Jacob, John, James, and William. But then again, those names are almost as commonplace as Johnson!  Good Grief!

I have tons of information to try to sort out – I think I have finally straightened out all the emails so I have a way to read all of them without resorting to different folders in my email. Now, I just need to decide on a good way to sort out all of this information.

I do feel that I’m not “pulling my weight” as far as research right now.  The gal who started the ball rolling on this DNA project and one of our other cousins, have been digging into tax lists, land records, and other types of documents to glean as much as they can out of them while I have been reading and feeling pretty overwhelmed!  Perhaps once I am able to sort names, places, and dates, I’ll have a better handle on what still needs to be done!

Source: Family Tree DNA image from www.familytreedna.com, 2001-2012 Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd. 28 July 2012.

Source: Emails from Virginia Nuta: April 10, 2012; May 24, 2012; July 2, 2012. 

Source: Johnson surname rank – Wikipedia.

Blog post copyright 2012 Wendy J Littrell.
No part of this blog post may be used or reproduced without explicit permission from the author and must be linked back to this blog.

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