Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 9

My head is full. I spent the day with Ann and Michael Harrison (Ann is my father's younger sister) and she downloaded a wealth of information faster than I could write or photograph. We found photos in an old album including the house in Millburn, IL that belonged to William Bradford Dodge (1783-1869). He retired as an educator in New York having established and run a school for blacks in the 1820s and became a lay minister in IL. (William was James Bradford Tukey's grandfather). We then found a wonderful letter from JBT talking about his growing up in New Jersey and Illinois before settling in Berwyn. Included in the aforementioned album are photos of the family home in Ridgefield Park, NJ plus photos of the Mehrhof home. A wealth of finds remains to be quantified and digitized.

Then it was on to the Schweigert and Meyers families - grandma Ruth's kin. We found lots of photos of GG George S (grandpa sweet pickle to Brad), GG Amanda S., Meyers parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, etc., etc. All from the Detroit area. Although the last name Schweigert appears to be German, the family came from Jutland - Denmark with many Scandanavian customs. Much more to research but we have a beginning. Below are photos of William and Augusta Meyers, grandma Ruth's grandparents. Also Amanda Louisa Ida Meyers Schweigert - grandma's mother.

A final treat was Michael's fascinating story of his life and family. What an amazing tale of immigrants coming with no English language, 34 cents to their name, several children, and a church sponsor to help them establish a farm. Guts and ingenuity helped them found a successful gravel business instead. Michael's grandfather on the other side was a Rabbi, his father a successful lawyer in Chicago. All of these traits came together in the wonderful Harvard educated physicist we know as Uncle Michael. Of course behind all this data collection and story telling is Aunt Ann - a most cheerful, brilliant lady of whom I still need to ask more questions about her academic accomplishments. There just isn't enough time!

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