Monday, May 11, 2015

52 Ancestors #19: 1949 Road Trip

Ancestor Names: Gustav LANGE (1888-1963), Wilhelmina (SCHALIN) Lange (1894-1960), Dorothy Ailein (LANGE) Jennings (1930-2014)

My mother was the eighth of nine children born to Gustav and Wilhelmina (Schalin) Lange. Grandpa immigrated to Canada in 1911 at age of 23, and Grandma was the first child born to her parents after they immigrated to Canada in 1893. Gustav and Wilhelmina married in Winnipeg in 1915, moved to Michigan in 1916, and purchased a farm in southern Maryland in 1919. Their last six children were born on that farm.

In 1949 my Mom and her parents drove from Maryland to Alberta, Canada to visit family my grandparents hadn't seen in over 30 years. Mom's sister, Millie, may have accompanied them, but I do not know for sure. Mom would mention the trip from time to time; and as we were clearing out her house prior to selling it, she reminisced as we went through old photograph albums.

Somewhere in the United States on the way to Montana, 1949; Mom is on
the left. From my personal collection

Oh, how I wish I would have been in family historian mode and asked questions about the people in the photographs and the places they saw along the way. But I didn't. I was project manager mode. I was working to a schedule, checking things off the task list, and trying to keep Mom excited about her decision to move into an assisted living facility.

These photos were taken in Montana. To the left Grandpa Lange is
is in the light shirt holding a cup. It looks they were watching a
living history demonstration of some sort. On the right (left to right)
are Grandpa Lange, Grandma Lange, her sister Hilda Wendell and
John Wendell. From my personal collection

A small digression so you may appreciate why I focused on the route my Lange/Schalin ancestors took on that Summer of '49 road trip...

My husband says my family can't be together for 5 minutes before a map is out; and we are tracing routes for possible vacations, reliving old vacations, or answering a geographical question that has come up in conversation. He is simply amazed by the phenomena and we never let him down. It's genetic we abashedly tell ourselves as one of us is going to get a map.

So how did Mom and my grandparents drive to Canada? I know they drove because they took Mom's new car and that she and Grandpa did the driving. From the photograph albums I know the relatives they visited.  Grandma's sisters Aunt Hilda in Livingston Park, Montana, Aunt Julia in Red Deer, Alberta, and Aunt Lena and Grandpa's brother Richard Lange in Winnipeg. They also saw Grandma's sister, Aunt Martha, but I believe she and her husband drove west or took the train from Ontario for the visit. They also stopped in North Dakota to visit the Tridtke or Fridtke family, but I do not know who they are.

Shell Oil map of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Part of the route my Mom
and Grandparents drove in 1949 on an extended family visit.

I have acquired a 1945 map published by the the Canadian Government Travel Bureau of the main automobile routes between the United States and Canada (Eastern Sheet), and Shell Oil maps of British Columbia and Alberta and Saskatchewan and Manitoba published about the same time period. Based on the order of the photographs in Mom's album, I believe the route of their trip was Montana, Alberta, Manitoba, and North Dakota and back to Maryland. Using modern roads the trip is just over 5,500 miles. They were on the road for just over two months.

This photograph was taken in Red Deer, Alberta, likely at the home of
Julia (Schalin) Kirkham. Grandpa Lange is at the far left, then Felix George
Allen, my Mom, her Aunt Martha (Schalin) Allen, and Grandma
Lange; From my personal collection

Mom and I are different in another way as well. I used to come back from vacation and none of my photographs would include a person. It's only since I've become interested in genealogy that I may remember to photograph people. Mom's photographs rarely included the sights they saw along they way; they are all of people. Family were always in her heart. When her minister gave the eulogy at her memorial service, he told such moving stories of Mom's childhood; it was almost as if he was her brother and grew up along side her. Those were the stories she'd told him about her family over the nearly 30 years they knew each other.

And so one last photograph from Mom's album of their 1949 road trip.

According to Mom's album this photograph was taken in Winnipeg,
the home of Pauline "Lena" (Schalin) Parsons. I assume these men
are Parsons/Schalin family but I have no idea who they are. From my
personal collection

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge optional theme There's a Way.


  1. Schalene, please delete my first post. I used a wrong word.

    You truly have an eye for maps and the ability to use them to weave throughout your family's history. This is an admirable trait for a genealogist. I know there's much to be learned from them. The second-to-last photo brought a chuckle because it seems Grandpa Lange and Mr. Allen don't realize they're in the shot. Cute picture.

  2. I enjoyed reading about your mom and grandparents' road trip. The pictures are treasures, and I'm glad that you were able to gather information about the trip and the people in the photos. They will live on for your children, grands and beyond.

    1. I hope the stories will live on. I know one of my nephews reads this blog and he frequently asks me questions. Hopefully, the future is well in hand.