Happy Birthday, Boppa!

Our dad loved his birthday and today just happens to be July 30 – practically a national holiday in the Ruffner household. A fuss was made, particularly after his three daughters geographically scattered and grandchildren arrived. “Boppa’s Birthda…

Our dad loved his birthday and today just happens to be July 30 – practically a national holiday in the Ruffner household.  A fuss was made, particularly after his three daughters geographically scattered and grandchildren arrived.  “Boppa’s Birthday”  was the focal point of the summer.  

His mother started it.  He was an only child, born twelve years into the marriage of his parents – enough said.   Here’s an invitation to the first “formal” party held to honor the occasion – his 4th birthday in 1920.  32 invited friends – and he wasn’t even in school yet!   Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Boppa!”

Christmas in July

The focus of research and reconnaissance on the Odell-Berlage side of the tree culminated last week with the arrival of a thoroughly wrapped package of pictures and documents from Aunt Yvonne in Michigan. It really is a treasure trove. There are d…

The focus of research and reconnaissance on the Odell-Berlage side of the tree culminated last week with the arrival of a thoroughly wrapped package of pictures and documents from Aunt Yvonne in Michigan.  It really is a treasure trove. There are dozens of items representing hundreds of stories.  Everthing had notes attached with names, except for two mystery portraits done in Amsterdam; it’s a relief to know that even Aunt Yvonne has pictures tagged, “I don’t know who this is.”

Here are just a few images to give you the idea of the range of riches –  concentrating on Alice Berlage Odell, John’s grandmother, whose romance and wedding was detailed a few weeks ago. Continue reading “Christmas in July”

Forging new connections

So far, Family Epic has mostly been about my family — writer’s prerogative — and function of the old adage “write what you know.” Our Ruffner-Offutt side has been centered in Pennsylvania and in Maryland, and has barely budged. Then there’s the …

So far, Family Epic has mostly been about my family — writer’s prerogative — and function of the old adage “write what you know.” Our Ruffner-Offutt side has been centered in Pennsylvania and in Maryland, and has barely budged.  Then there’s the more mobile Williams-Walling southern contingent – New Jersey-South Carolina-Alabama-Georgia-Arkansas-Texas. Nice geographical contrast between the two sides — not a single overlapping state.

The other half of my children’s heritage presents different challenges and different locales. Continue reading “Forging new connections”

Summer Camp, Now and Then

I’m off to genealogy camp – as my family calls it – again this week! I’ll be in Washington, DC, for five days, learning about records held by the National Archives, and taking field trips to the DAR Library and the Library of Congress. I’ve been e…

I’m off to genealogy camp – as my family calls it – again this week!  I’ll be in Washington, DC,  for five days, learning about records held by the National Archives, and taking field trips to the DAR Library and the Library of Congress.  I’ve been exploring those repositories on my own since last summer, but I welcome the instruction and camaraderie offered by the National Institute of Genealogical Research (NIGR).

Coincidentally, I ran across some momentoes yesterday of childhood camp experiences.  It seems I didn’t love every minute…

Continue reading “Summer Camp, Now and Then”

A 1916 Shipboard Romance

[Back to the other half of my daughters’ heritage……] Alice Henriette Pauline, born in Amsterdam in 1898 to Jacobus Berlage and Alice Anslyn Berlage, was only seven years old when her father died in 1905. (1) She was the oldest of three; brothe…

[Back to the other half of my daughters’ heritage……]

Alice Henriette Pauline, born in Amsterdam in 1898 to Jacobus Berlage and Alice Anslyn Berlage, was only seven years old when her father died in 1905. (1)   She was the oldest of three;  brother Thomas was six and sister Cecile was five.  Within a year, their mother married a second time – to Robert J. Fellner, a Boston-born member of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.  Alice Berlage Fellner gave birth to their son, James, in 1907. Continue reading “A 1916 Shipboard Romance”