Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Works For Me Wednesday- more Ancestry.com

I've blogged about Ancestry.com before. I don't visit the site every day but sometimes I have periods when I get lost on the site for hours. I recently had two breakthroughs that I would like to share.

Around St. Patrick's Day, Ancestry.com was opening up their site to Irish records, so I decided to try to learn more about Mr. Pete's family as a surprise for him.  And boy was he surprised.

Mr. Pete's mom, Virginia,  had had a turbulent childhood.  Her young mother died after the childbirth of her second child.  The two siblings then lost their father a few years later. That's really all that Mr. Pete knew about it.  I think because he was the 8th of 9 kids, he just wasn't as exposed to the family history as the older kids.

With Ancestry.com I was able to find the 1930 census, and discovered that Virginia at age 11 was living with her 60-year-old grandmother and her 9-year-old brother.

I knew that my knew that my dear in-laws, Virginia and Isadore LaVictoire, had been very friendly with another couple, Gertie and Emmett Pichey. In fact, they were Mr. Pete's godparents.  I remember visiting with Aunt Gertie a few times and she was always so sweet to us - just a gentle and loving woman.  Mr. Pete thought that Aunt Gertie was somehow related to his mom through her late mother, but with Ancestry.com I discovered that Gertie was the youngest sibling of Virginia's father who had died so young and so many years ago.  That was a revelation to Mr. Pete!

I was also able to find the death certificate of Mr. Pete's maternal grandmother who had died from complications of childbirth.  We discovered that she had lived for a time and died of sepsis.  I hope she was able to enjoy her new baby for a little while before she passed.  We also discovered that both of his grandparents are buried in Michigan, not far from where we travel every year, so we will make a point of looking for their graves next year as we travel.
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The next breakthrough was on my side of the family tree. I think sometimes parts of the family tree are researched by real genealogists or very good amateurs, and I get lucky enough to be able to use their research.  This spring I hit a gold mine of research and discovered that some of my ancestors were Swiss Jews!

Here's the lineage:
Nathan Halevi Wyss (1455 - 1535)
is your 16th great grandfather
Jakob Wyss (1475 - 1535)
son of Nathan Halevi Wyss
Zachariah WYSS (1500 - 1592)
son of Jakob Wyss
Ursula Wysy (1524 - 1556)
daughter of Zachariah WYSS
Jorg Frey (1554 - 1635)
son of Ursula Wysy
Jacob Frey (1580 - 1635)
son of Jorg Frey
Anna Schmid (1590 - 1641)
daughter of Jacob Frey
Elsbeth Hersperger (1620 - )
daughter of Anna Schmid
Eva Oberer (1702 - )
daughter of Elsbeth Hersperger
EVA WUERTZ (1715 - 1787)
daughter of Eva Oberer
Anna Barbara Vogt Foucht (1741 - 1806)
daughter of EVA WUERTZ
John Peter Overmeyer (1761 - 1843)
son of Anna Barbara Vogt Foucht
David Overmyer (1801 - 1874)
son of John Peter Overmeyer
Emeline Emily Overmyer (1825 - 1895)
daughter of David Overmyer
Mary Ann Klingler (1852 - 1930)
daughter of Emeline Emily Overmyer
Daniel  (1877 - 1938)
son of Mary Ann Klingler
Calvin  (1902 - 1986)
son of Daniel
Maryrose  (1928 - 2009)
daughter of Calvin 


Ancestry also had information on where my ancestor was buried in Switzerland!

Bor Wyss
Hebrew Name:Boruch
Death Place:Baden, Switzerland
Burial Plot:Row: 13 Grave: 88
Burial Place:Endingen Lengnau, Switzerland
Father Name:Nathan Halevi
Comments:Triple grave
Cemetery:Endingen-Lengnau Jewish Cemetery
Cemetery Address:On hill ╜ mile from Lengnau.
Cemetery Burials:2699
Cemetery Comments:Located on a hill, surrounded by a stone fence about + mile from Lengnau. Key is in the Home for the Aged of Lengnau. Endingen and Lengnau were the only two places in Switzerland where Jews were permitted to reside from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

Fascinating stuff!  That information came from

JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 

As far back as we knew - it was all Protestant Christian, Church of the Brethren from Germany!  So this was definitely new information and I'm grateful for the folks who were able to dig back that far!

Works for Me!