Norway & Germany 2017

Tony and I spent two weeks in Norway in August 2017. We were coming back after a 10 year absence and had plans to visit with Tony’s cousins in Rakkestad and Nesna.

We also visited four towns in Germany from which Tony’s maternal ancestors emigrated: Arnstein, Essleben, Wernshausen, and Niederschmalkalden.

We left Dallas on the heals of the Dallas Genealogical Society’s 2017 Summer Seminar. Lisa Louise Cooke had presented a session on video creation. I was struck by the statistics that in 2016 60% of Internet traffic was video and that this was expected to rise to 80% by 2018.

I figured I needed to get with program or risk being left behind!

On Lisa’s recommendation, I downloaded the Adobe Spark Video app, which I used to create the following short videos of our visit. Amateur productions for sure but a lot more fun to create than writing a travel journal!


Video 1: A Day in Oslo (0:48)

Video 2: Oslo to Rakkestad (1:40)

Video 3: Østfold County (2:24)

Video 4: Herset & Nordland County (1:59)

Video 5: Fishing (3:01)

Video 6: Nesna Cousins (1:33)


Video 1: Wernshausen & Niederschmalkden (2:59)

Video 2: Arnstein (Without the Churches) (2:16)

Video 3: St. Georg in Essleben (1:05)

Video 4: City of Arnstein: St. Nikolaus & Maria Sondheim (3:04)

Video 5: Near Arnstein: St. Margareta and St. Laurentius (2:59)

Potosi, MO: A Texas Connection

We just returned from our first meeting as new members of the Dallas Genealogical Society. I had a wonderful time! Lloyd Bockstruck presented an enjoyable, fact-filled lecture entitled The Call of the West: MO, AR, and TX.

It was nice to hear mention of Potosi, MO, the town to which my great-grandfather, Hugh Murray, emigrated in 1857. Potosi was built on land donated by Moses Austin in 1813.

By the time Hugh settled in Potosi, Moses Austin was dead and his descendants had moved to Texas. Moses Austin’s son, Stephen F. Austin, is called the “Father of Texas”. The plaque marking the Austin homestead site, Durham Hall, in Potosi refers to it as the “Cradle of Texas”. Unless he was out of town, I’m certain Hugh Murray would have experienced the great fire in 1871 that destroyed Durham Hall and much of downtown Potosi.

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An SS-5 Form Points the Way

I’ve been doing some family history research for a friend and sent off for her grandmother’s 1937 Social Security application, her SS-5 Form. My friend did not know much about her grandmother’s family so I was hoping for some leads from the SS application. I wasn’t disappointed; the form listed the applicant’s parents’ names.

Armed with this information, I was able to discover a good deal about her family, who have farmed in Gibson County, Tennessee for many generations. I was struck by the fact that one ancestor, Samuel Hughes, was born in 1805 in North Carolina. I wonder when his parents arrived in America? Differently from my own ancestors, my friend’s ancestors have deep, even pre-revolutionary war, roots in America.

One interesting discovery was that David (Davy) Crockett, himself a descendent of pre-revolutionary war ancestors, was an early settler of Gibson County, Tennessee. At first, when I saw “David Crocketts” on 19th century US census records in the same civil district as my friend’s ancestors, I smiled, not yet knowing that these Crocketts were actually relatives of the famous man himself! Nice.

Beginning the Journey

After thinking about my own blog for the last few years, this evening I finally took the plunge into what appears to be the shallow end of blogspace. I was recently encouraged to do this by Tony’s willingness to collaborate in the effort. We both thought it might be fun to have a place to share discoveries, travels, and adventures regarding our family history research. So, today we’re up and off!

Fargo, North Dakota was a significant stop on the first family-history vacation we took. Tony had hooked up with the Red River Valley Genealogical Society in Fargo and we went there to see if they could help solve the question of where his great grandparents from Norway were buried. This was our first experience of sitting in a room with a bunch of records and books, splitting up the names we were interested in, and combing for facts.

We now fall easily into this divide-search-conquer method of research in any library or archive or repository we visit. But Fargo was our first significant effort.

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