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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Henry and Anna Borchers - Family Potrait

I say this all of the time, "I love photos!"  They are so interesting to look at.  When they are of your own ancestors, they are like magic.  A picture is like a window.  Old photos are like looking through a window into the past.

Last year, I mentioned to my aunt that I had wished that I had a photo of each of the Borchers children, my great grandfather's siblings.  She said she did have a photo of the entire family together in a portrait.  It amazes me how a comment like that can slip my mind and take me another year to request a copy of the picture.  In my Borchers Family, ask and you shall receive.

The following photo is just that, my Borchers ancestors.  Let me put some context around the photo before scrolling down.  It definitely helps to know the "Who? What? When? Where? and Why?".  Well, let's just say that the "why?" is simple.  Every family should have a portrait taken together.  While this is commonplace nowadays, it might not have been as such in the late 1800s.  When I do find surviving family portraits of my ancestors and family that are over 100 years old, I just about burst from the excitement.

So, who is in this photo?  Where and when was it taken?  What other context can I put around it?

The photo is of Henry and Anna Borchers and Family.  It was taken circa 1900 in Owatonna, Minnesota, at Mueller's, Ground Floor Studio.

Top Row: Henry, William, Martha;  Middle: Tillie, Henry, Albert, Anna;  Front Row Standing: Herbert, Clara

There is a note on the back of the photo indicating who everyone is by their first name.  Below, I have listed their full names and married surnames to the best of my ability.

Top Row
Henry Ludwig Christian Borchers
William Heinrich Borchers
Martha Sophie Dorthea Borchers Joersz

Mathilda (Tillie) Maria Margaretha Magdalena Borchers Weber (later married name was Adams)
"Henry" Hans Heinrich Conrad Borchers
Albert A. Borchers
Anna Maria Jackel Borchers (biological parents' name - Kern/Kearne/Kerns)

Front Row Standing
Herbert Herman Leonhardt Borchers (Sr.)
Clara Pauline Christine Borchers Gruenhagen

It is interesting that I don't seem to have Albert Borchers full name.  I wonder what the "A" stood for and if that is even correct.  Another point to make that was shared with me recently was that Anna Maria/Marie Jackel Borchers was adopted.  Yes, all of her children knew this.  This maybe why it was okay for Anna's half sister, Augusta Jackel, to marry her son, William Borchers.  Anna and Augusta were actually not biologically related at all.

So, who is missing from this photo?  Emilie Regina Barbara Borchers was the first child born to Henry and Anna in 1878 and she died when she was only 2 months old.  The second child born would have already been grown, married and out of the house by this time since she is not present in this portrait.  In fact, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Amillia Borchers Strehlow married Charles F. Strehlow at the beginning of 1900.  I wish that I had a photo of her.  I might.  I do have some unidentified photos that my aunt thinks are Strehlow's.

The best way for me to know when this photo was taken is to look at my great grandfather, Herbert Borchers, since he is the youngest in the photo.  He looks to be about two to three years old.  He was born on 3 Aug 1897.  I would assume that this photo was taken in 1900 or thereabouts.

It is funny to me so see the name Mueller on the photo matting because I have relatives by marriage who have that last name.  These Mueller's were apparently photographers in Owatonna, Minnesota, around the turn of the century.  Mind you, the name Mueller (pronounced Miller by many) is common in Wisconsin and Minnesota, at least it was as a German immigrant surname in those parts.

Again, I love photos.  If a Borchers descendant or family friend finds this photo, please comment.  I often wonder if anyone is looking for our Borchers Family roots besides my uncle, myself, and a few others on

Friday, January 27, 2012

U.S. Season 3 - Who Do You Think You Are?

A new season of "Who Do You Think You Are?" starts on Friday, February, 3rd.  Can't wait!

This season includes Martin Sheen, Helen Hunt, Rob Lowe, Reba McIntyre, Blair Underwood, Rita Wilson, and an NFL Football player.  I'm not much into football but my hubby is so he'll watch that one for sure.

Mark your calendar for 8pm on the 3rd.  I'm setting my DVR to record.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hickey Family - Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City Circa 1940

On Wednesday, I posted a photo of my Hickey relatives.  There is so much to absorb from a photo that I've never seen before.  While I can say that I can spot my own Grandmother (Josephine Hickey McGuire) in the photo, I can't say that I have ever seen a photo of my great grandparents, Patrick and Johanna Hickey.  Now, I probably could pick them out of a line up if I had to.  I just can't get over how much my grandmother looked like her own mother.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say she was the spitting image of her mother.  It is almost uncanny.

Back Row:  Eleanor Hickey Fitzpatrick, Josephine Hickey McGuire, Martin "Marty" Hickey, Margaret "Marge" Hickey Ford, Fred Ford, Kathleen Hickey Daly, a Living Hickey; Front Row:  Anna Hickey Kennedy, Patrick Hickey (of Derrycon, Clare, Ireland), Johanna Coughlin Hickey (of Ballyvannan, Clare, Ireland), and William "Billy" Hickey - Photo is circa 1940, New York City or the surrounding area.
So, with only one of the above family member's still living, I have chosen to post this photo and not identify who the living Hickey is out of privacy.  While it may be somewhat of a compromised privacy since her photo is here, her name is not revealed.  I am considering myself still respecting her privacy here.

I am most taken by the likeness of Josephine and Johanna.  I have a few other photos of them including Josephine as she aged.  They are almost twins.  I am betting, however, that Josephine was considerably shorter than her mother at just about 5ft 1in.   Josephine was my Grandmother and I knew her.

What strikes me is that I've always been told that I looked like a Hickey.  As I glance over the faces of those in this photo, I at first disagree somewhat.  However, when I look at Patrick Hickey's face, I totally see it.  I do look like a Hickey while several of the family here favor their mother's side (Coughlin).

Now, if I could get my hands on more photos of Patrick I'd been in a great spot.  I love photos and thank my aunt for sending this "gift".  Here are a few more.............

Johanna "Mama"

Patrick "Popeye"

Johanna 1936

Patrick and Johanna July 1936
In the final photo above, I think that I spotted either the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building.  It looks like the rooftop was a place to hang out and take some photos.  Love it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Good Day for Genealogy

Today, could actually be the coldest day of the year for the Sacramento Valley in California.  I woke up to 20 degree weather.  While the sun is shining, the grass is coated with white.   As my children would say, Jack Frost visited us last night as he has every night since around the end of December.  Even at 9am, it's only 23F (-5C) degrees.  Brrrrrrr!

How does this relate to genealogy?  Well, not much except to shed some light on why my ancestors came Northern California and to give me a great reason to stay inside today and work on my research.

My ancestors certainly knew a good thing.  Northern California has upwards of 10 months of growing season with 2 months off.  If you are in Southern California, there is no time off because of the much warmer weather.  That time off also gives the soil and plants their dormancy required for some great crops in the Spring.  Now, if we'd just get some of our typical winter rain.  It's pretty dry out there right now.

So, on these cold days, gardening is out and genealogy is in.  I am not setting much in the way of goals for today but I do have a bit of information to look over relating to my Vienop line.

Happy researching to all!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Napa Vienop's

Can I just say that I love photos?  I do.  The following photo is awesome.  Thanks to my uncle for sending it.

There were ten original Vienop's who arrived in Napa, California at the beginning of 1901 with six of them in this photo. This family includes my direct family line.  Mary was my great grandmother.  Anna and John (Henry) were my great great grandparents.

For any Vienop's researching our line, feel free to contact me.  Our line only has a few people that we know of researching the Vienop's/Vinup's in the U.S.  Napa, CA and Daykin, Nebraska appear to be key places to find all of our related Vienop's outside of Germany.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

When There Were Trees In Ireland

When there were trees in Ireland animals could run through the forest fleeing from a predator or chasing prey.

When there trees in Ireland children could climb to their hearts content and chase butterflies off branches as they flew scattering away.

When there were trees in Ireland

I started writing this (and have not yet finished as that will be for another day) when I recently read something about a tree planting program in Ireland.  There really aren't a lot of trees there as there probably were in ancient times.  Most of the trees were cut down and used for various things like fuel, buildings, farm implements, furniture, and you name it.

Not unlike the United States, especially in the "West", Ireland is replanting trees hundreds of years after they were taken down and used.  Here in California, we are working to replant trees only 50-100 years after they were taken down and used.   We continue to take them down but there are tree planting programs and "tree-huggers" all over this fine state to encourage replacement of the trees and preservation of the forest.

I just had to make note of this for future reference in my online diary here at