I Wear Tight Genes

Wherein I attempt to relate the trials and tribulations of tracking down information on people who are dead, but bear some resemblance to me...when they were alive.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Good Stories

You know what I like best about doing this sort of research? It's the family lore that wanders down through the generations. For example:

1) Annie Anderson had 6 children with Knud Hagen and then died, presumably from exhaustion. Knud, realizing that he couldn't do this by himself, sent a letter back to family in Norway, asking them to send him a new wife. They dutifully looked around and found a 16 year old girl by the name of Klara to fill the role, and then packed her off on a ship to America. When she got to Minnesota, Knud bundled the family up and homesteaded to South Dakota, where he and Klara proceeded to have another 6 children.

2) George Valley decided to make something of himself, but couldn't afford the train ticket from Ogdensburg, New York to New York City. So, he rode his bicycle across the state to get there. While there, he studied with Nikola Tesla before opening up an electrical shop of his own.

3) Robert Fitzgerald boarded a ship in Ireland to come to America with his wife. Once they entered the Boston port, apparently the port officials looked at the family, told them there were already "too many Irish" in Boston, and sent them on their way to Canada. While in Canada, he and his wife had 2 boys, who eventually immigrated from Canada to the greater Chicago area, where apparently they had a few more openings for the Irish.

4) Thomas Valley, Sr. had a disease in his early teens that put him in a coma for nearly two years. After waking from the coma, his mind was, in the words of my uncle "completely wiped". He had to be totally re-educated. Even after this tragedy, he grew up to be a very successful businessman, heading a national distribution business at the time of his death.

5) Alfred Valley lived in Montreal, but idolized the New York Yankees. Once, when visiting his son who was living with relatives in New York, he tried out for the team, having played some minor league ball himself. The problem was that he was in his 40s at the time. The managers humored him, and let him hit a few balls and run the bases. He wasn't accepted on the team, of course, and this angered him greatly, causing him to vow never to return to the United States. Ironically, the first ball game I ever took my boys to see was the Yankees vs. the Blue Jays. The Yankees won, of course.

6) Torrence Carlson and Ruth Aanestad met for the first time 2 weeks before they were to be married. Almost immediately after the marriage, Torry shipped off for the war. They corresponded throughout the war, and Ruth came to visit him while he was on base in Texas. Torry luckily never saw any real action, having the Japanese surrender just as his ship was approaching its first real fight off the Philippines. Ruth, coincidentally, is said to have fallen in love with Torry while accompanying him in a production of South Pacific.


I've certainly got more stories, and I keep hearing more and more from the other family branches as I continue with this research. If you've got some interesting stories to tell, drop a line in the comment area of this post.

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