Sunday, December 31, 2017

Year in Review: Slow, But Steady Progress

This year was a year of slow but steady progress researching and writing about my family history. This blog and my research took a back seat to getting our Virginia house ready to sell. Thankfully, it sold in two days so the discomfort of keeping my home a pristine showplace was short lived!

11719 Flemish Mill Court, Oakton, Virginia.

Foyer of our Oakton home; courtesy of TTR Sotheby's International, The
Yerks Team

We are now temporary residents of upstate New York and I am learning to cope with below zero temperatures! We plan to be New Yorkers until my husband retires in late 2019. He had been commuting to work in Albany since 2012; so the move north of the Mason-Dixon Line (something I said I would never do) made sense even to me.

Before our move we held our second bi-annual Lange Cousins Reunion in Lake Park, Georgia. We are the grandchildren of Gustav and Wilhelmina (Schalin) Lange and there are 16 of us. So far most of us have managed to attend our reunions.

Assemblage of Lange first cousins; personal collection

I had promised to produce a pamphlet about the history of the Lange family. We knew a lot about the Schalin family from a book written by a distant cousin, Lucille (Effa) Fillenberg, but the Lange family was a mystery. I was able to navigate the Polish archives and learn a few things. The best gift, however, meeting by telephone the son of Grandpa Lange's youngest brother. He was able to provide so much more information and context. My brother John helped me sort through the ever-changing country borders before and after World War II and provide the context of life for civilians living in war-torn land.

Procrastinator that I am, the pamphlet was late, but it eventually got done a few weeks after the reunion.

Ludwig-Lange Family History

The Slave Name Roll Project turned two in February and was discovered when it was mentioned in an education video produced by

As a result, the project became more than one person can handle and I'm hoping to share some exciting news about the project in a few weeks. It's been very rewarding to watch this worthwhile endeavor grow.

Slave Name Roll Project

I was also interviewed for an article which appeared in the New Haven Independent, "She's Preserving Vets' Names for the Digital Age," which describes Heather Wilkinson Rojo's Honor Roll Project. Pete and I love to contribute to this volunteer effort as it gets us out exploring the countryside -- no matter the weather! I encourage everyone with a smart phone and transportation to think about contributing as well.

Honor Roll Project

Perhaps the most exciting thing that happened this year was a "gift" received just after Christmas. A comment on my recent post, DNA Discoveries: Jewell Progress, referred me to a comment on Find A Grave and to a Virginia Chancery Court case, which was a goldmine of helpful information. There will be a post about the details in a few days, but the net result was I learned the maiden name of Catherine B. Jewell's mother, her mother's siblings, and maternal grandparents. Catherine B. Jewell was my great great grandmother. So I was able to learn the name of a three times great grandmother and a four times great grandfather. I had no expectation of being able to push my Jennings pedigree chart back in time as it is a line that has been researched for decades by a very able group of genealogists.

The DNA Discoveries: Jewell Progress post will be republished on 16 January in the RootsFinder blog for the "How I Solved It" series.


  1. Congratulations on the things you got done in 2017 and all the best for 2018.