Sunday, October 30, 2011

Von Limburg is not Dutch

I came across a family tree on that included General Lewis Cass. I was very much interested in this tree as Lewis Cass' daughter, Matilda was married to a very distant cousin of mine, Henry Ledyard. When I say very distant, he is my 6th cousin 4 times removed.

General Cass was the governor of the Michigan Territory, which at that time included the current states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and parts of North and South Dakota. While researching my family, I found family in Cass County, in most of these states. My grandparents are buried in Cass County, Minnesota. I hadn't connected why so many of these states had a Cass County until I learned about Lewis Cass.

I generally don't spend much time on the ancestors of people who marry into my family. Typically, I try to find out birth, death and marriage dates for the parents of a person who married a relative. When I searched for Lewis Cass, I was surprised how much was written about him. I was also surprised at some of the things written about him or his family that were not correct.

Then I came across another tree that sent a red flag up the pole when I saw it. Lewis Cass had another daughter, Isabella. This tree claimed that she married Baron Theodorus Marinus Roest Von Linburg who was the Dutch Foreign Minister to the United States. The words baron and von were the triggers.

The word Von is German, not Dutch. It translate to the English word of just as the Dutch word van would translate. However, the German word "Von" signifies a person of the nobility of that place whereas the Dutch word "van" simply means of or from. Baron is a title used in the regions that today comprise Germany. It is not a Dutch title.

I came across an inventory of letters and documents relating to the family Roest van Limburg from 1604 to 1978 at the Archives of the Netherlands. Theodorus Marinus Roest van Limburg is addressed in letters as Mr. not as Baron. So where did the author of the tree get this idea that Theodorus was a baron?

So I decided to search further. I found a book that was printed in 1922, "The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922 Volume II." There it was, big as life! But that same search found another book. Only this book is recent (1996). It is entitled "Lewis Cass and Politics of Moderation" by Willard Carl Klunder at Kent State University. To me it looks like Mr. Klunder lifted the text from the 1922 book.

Since it was published by Kent State University, I can hardly blame someone researching Lewis Cass and his descendants for incorporating this junk into their tree.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Update to August 4, 2011 Post

I wrote about the spinning wheel that Aunt Eleanor mentioned in her journal. I also mentioned that my mother told me that the spinning wheel was given to a museum and not to one of the greeat-great granddaughters.

My cousin Terry read my post and wrote to tell me that her grandmother had not donated the spinning wheel to a museum. If that were the case, I then imagined that it was given to Aunt Eleanor's eldest granddaughter, Terry's sister, or to her beloved Patti. But Terry said that my mother's sister told Aunt Eleanor to give the spinning wheel to her (Terry). I have to say that I was quite surprised.

It was my mother's belief that her sister was hoping that the spinning wheel would go to my cousin Joy, my aunt's only daughter. I saw my aunt frequently. She rarely mentioned Terry or her siblings so I have not a clue as to why Joyce would name Terry as the recipient over her own daughter.

Terry also wrote to tell me that she thought that the spinning wheel should go to Patti and that Patti would probably send me a picture of it if I asked. Terry was so gracious in suggesting to her grandmother that Patti should have the spinning wheel. However, I am a bit saddened that the story my mother told about the spinning wheel being donated to a museum wasn't actually true.

My great-great grandmother, Guri, had 35 great-great granddaughters, most of whom I expect would have liked to have her spinning wheel. If it were in a museum, the daughters of all of her descendants would have an opportunity to be connected to it.

I remember how excited I was to see the portraits of my great (6) grandparents hanging in the Museum of the City of New York. These portraits were painted in mid 1700s. For years, they hung in the living room of a descendant, Caroline Wells. Fortunately for the thousands of Jacobus and Margrietje's descendants, she never married, was an only child and on her death in 1939 she willed the portraits and some other items belonging to Margrietje to the Museum of the City of New York.

My mother started a business in the late 1960s and acquired three cordboards. By the late 1990s, these cordboards were obsolete. Finding parts and people who could repair them was increasingly more difficult. In 2008, I donated one cordboard to the museum in Tustin, California.

It is hard to imagine that items that are a part of one's life will become obsolete and an object of history. That cordboard was over 60 years old and built when my parents were young adults. My mother ran her business til she died. To me that cordboard represents my mother and an important part of her life. I am glad that it will be preserved as a part of the history of Orange County. I hope her future descendants that visit the museum will derive as much pleasure at seeing the cordboard as I did when I viewed portraits.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When Things of One's Youth Are in Museums

As I grew older I would not be surprised when items that were common place when I was a child would be a part of a museum exhibit. This was OK afterall I was a child and these items were artifacts of my parents' generation.

As the years passed, I am finding items that were new when I was a young adult are more and more often being added to museum collections and exhibitions.

When I created this blog, I expected that I would be only writing about events and circumstances that impacted my ancestors and stories that they told. But more recent events in my life made me realize that events in the lives of me and my husband were now a part of history.

My husband is now part of the oral history collection at the Silicon Valley Computer History Museum. Then I see other friends from the early years of our courtship and marriage also part of the collection.

The Computer History Museum is local. OK, I can handle the fact that my husband and friends are part of the collection. I had no idea that something of my intimate past would be included at the Smithsonian. I learned that a punch card designed by the UCLA Computer Club was now a part of the Smithsonian collection.

UCLA Computer Club was where I met my husband. I was one of three females that were members at that time when the rest of the membership consisted of about 200 males. Besides me, the other two were Diane and Mary.

As a math major at Cal, I took some programming classes that were part of the mathematics department courses. When I was at UCLA, I discovered the Computer Club, a place that I could get free time on the computer to hone my skills.

To support myself, I worked part time for a professor of Anthropology writing a program to analyze the data he had collected in India. I used the Campus Computing Facility to analyze Dr. Leaf's data. His project was charged based on an MUS. We pronounced this new charging unit moose. The acronym stood for machine unit second.

Computer Club was given so many free MUS to give to the members. One member created a drawing of a moose that was printed on the punch cards sold to the members. This is the image of the Moose punch card held at the Smithsonian:

Apparently the cards were printed on pink cardstock at some time. I remember them looking more like the color of a manilla file folder. Click on the image above to visit the Smithsonian website.