I have slowly made progress on my family tree book in the last few months. I’ll admit, it’s harder to work on hobbies when you have a little person to take care of, but I make time here and there when Emmett is sleeping. I know one day he will appreciate having this history about his family. My biggest breakthrough as of late was acquiring photocopies, with help from my cousin, of the Frederick homestead.
This was the original, eighty-acre farm that Great Great Grandpa Johann Frädrich settled on when he and the family arrived in Sugar Island, Wisconsin. This farm was passed down to my Great Grandpa Arthur Frederick, then my Grand Uncle Melvin Frederick, and finally to my first cousin once removed Virgil Frederick. Unfortunately, Virgil was never able to maintain the farm like those before him. The barn has since collapsed, and the house is not far behind. If only my grandpa (Kenneth) would have inherited the place…maybe it would still be standing.
I am still trying to find out what brought the Fredericks to this farm. They arrived in America in 1869, and by 1870 they were recorded at this property. It was either another family member or word of mouth that led them to settle where they did. I have collected some of the stories and memories of the old family farm. My Grandpa Ken and Grand Aunt Lorraine both talked about growing up there. They shared some painful memories of the loss of their youngest brother, Harold, and the death of their mother, Ella, when they were kids. My aunts both talked about how the farm was well-kept, and that when they went to visit kids sat out on the steps. A cousin that I recently connected with talked about a memory of running the tractor and baler while her dad, Melvin, stacked bales one summer. All of a sudden a severe storm hit and they were taking cover from a tornado.
A house is just a building, but the stories we remember or collect make it a home. Do you have a home that has been in your family for a long time? Can you trace it back to the first family member to live there? What are your memories of your family home?