Saturday, December 19, 2009

The William and Margaret Loder Family of Waverly, Nebraska

The family of William Loder and Margaret Maston Loder
Standing: Martha Loder Sheffer, William Alexander Loder, Rachel Ann Loder Kirker, Samuel Humes Loder, Mary Ellen Loder Laughlin, Edith Seville Loder, Nancy Jane Loder Coleman, John P. Loder; Seated: Lewis James Loder, William Loder, Margaret Maston Loder, Aaron Coffee Loder

I continue to be amazed by the many, many shirt-tail kin in my family. I recently came across this photograph of the Loder Family of Waverly, Nebraska.

My connection to the family is through Henrietta Loder Beale, daughter of William Alexander Loder in the photograph above. To me, to my mother and my mother's siblings, she was always "Aunt Etty." Technically, she was a cousin of my grandmother's (Sina Harriet Bellinger Kelly - her mother was a Landon) via the Landon line. Since Sina had no sisters, Etty told Sina's children, "I'll be your Aunt Etty." And so she was.

Throughout her life, I absolutely adored Aunt Etty. It seemed to me that she had traveled everywhere and seemed so worldly and exotic. I still treasure the beautiful (now antique) turquoise and silver bracelet and matching earrings that she brought back from Mexico so many years ago. She passed them on to my mother who passed them on to me. As a youngster, I loved visiting her and her husband, "Uncle Hub" - Ralph M. Beale. Uncle Hub had these amazing scrapbooks on world events, newspaper clippings, that he started when he was a child himself. There must have been 10 to 15 volumes by the time I discovered this treasure in the early 1960s. Gotta say, I was pretty impressed that his scrapbook included some newspaper clippings about The Beatles. Aunt Etty would tell my mom (Patricia Kelly in the photo below) that Hub loved it when I came to visit because I was the only one of the kids who was interested in his scrapbooks and his stories of the olden days. Hub ALWAYS had to tell a story about when he was in Honduras.

If only..... if only I could visit with them about their memories today....

Henrietta Loder Beale (Aunt Etty), Patricia Kelly Petersen (My Mom), Sina Harriet Bellinger Kelly (My Grandmother), about 1946, Nebraska

Obituaries Wanted for Russell O Pecht and Zona Pecht

I've come across some more long lost relatives who I would like to find some more information about.

Russell Pecht was born October 3, 1893 in Nebraska, the son of Sherman Ellsworth Pecht and Vianna Liversa Ward.

If I have made the correct connections, he was an airplane mechanic who at one time worked with Wiley Post and was killed when the plane he was in crashed into two homes in Lima, Peru on Christmas Eve, 1935. He and the pilot were taking the plane on a test run when it crashed.

His widow was named Zona who was born in Nebraska on July 11, 1890. She continued to reside in California after Russell's death and she died November 7, 1974 in Long Beach.

I would like to locate obituaries on both family members, find out if they had any children and the names of Zona's parents.

Are you a long lost relative of these Pecht family members? Let me know by commenting below.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Susan and St Nick

Even as a toddler I was a bit wary of this stranger who everyone said would break into our home, eat our cookies and leave some toys for me. I still haven't gotten over the year when he didn't bring me a Tiny Tears doll! Oh well!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Petersen men share a brew or two

Home on leave during World War II, my father, Ken Petersen, shares a beer with his uncle Jess Petersen and his father, Otto Petersen.

Bottoms Up!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hangin' out with the dead relatives...

On Monday morning, one of my coworkers is likely to say, "So, how was your weekend?" And very often my response is something like, "Pretty good. I hung out with some more of the dead relatives."

Truth be known, I probably am much more interested in the ancestors who lived 100 or more years ago than I ever was with any relatives who I actually knew. As I was a youngster growing up, it seemed like there was always stress in the air around members of one side of the family. To me, it seemed like they were always fighting or complaining about something one of the other family members had done. It seemed like there was always someone taking sides against someone else. And since my paternal grandparents had divorced, I grew up hating Sunday afternoons for fear that one set of grandparents would show up for a visit while the other grandparents were visiting at the same time. Perhaps that is why, to this day, I don't like it when someone stops by to visit without calling ahead . . .

The other side of the family had all moved away and we only saw them about every seven to ten years or so. We always had so much fun when we got together that we weren't around one another enough to pick fights.

All I know is that by about the time I was 20 years old or so, I really didn't have much contact to speak of with any of the relatives. And being an only child, I didn't have any siblings to like or dislike.

From the time I was very young, I did enjoy looking at those sepia toned photographs from the olden days. I had no idea who these people were or how I was connected to them, but they looked so regal in the floor length dresses, the huge hats, and the men with the bushy beards and moustaches. One of the photos of my grandfather that was taken circa 1903 always made me laugh - he and his brother posing on these ornate chairs with bigger than life bow-ties that looked like something worn by Soupy Sales. I don't think any child can quite connect the dots between those type of photographs and the aging, wrinkled person who is their grandparent.

Paul Kelly and his brother William Kelly (my grandfather)

When I first started to dabble in genealogy it was in response to a letter from a distant cousin who had tracked down the family and had written a letter to my grandmother looking for information on my great grandfather. My grandmother had been dead about twenty years, but the postmaster in the small town was still there and knew where to forward the letter to my mother. The day the letter was in our hands was the day I became a genealogist.

It was an easy match. I had minored in history in college along with my degree in journalism so I liked the investigative side of the hunt. It was no surprise that the first place I started my search was with the microfilms of the old newspapers from the family's home town - looking for tidbits of information about the family. A birth announcement here, an obituary there, and slowly, over time, more of the puzzle pieces started to come in to view.

It was quite a task in those days before the internet. That's probably why it took me a while to be able to track down a lot of information. Now, with the internet, I managed to add about 300 people to my family tree in a recent two day period.

I suppose that a researcher can do as much or as little as they want. When I find tidbits of information about someone that leads me to another family, I go off in that direction for a while. Being able to find a wealth of information is rather satisfying if I've hit a brick wall on another line of the family. And having information available to share online with others who might be looking for a date or a fact is quite rewarding.

Everyone seems to know a little bit of information about their family - some know more than others. But nearly everyone has some family lore they are ready to relate - or tell you what famous person they are related to. Sometimes it seems like you're in a playground tiff of "my ancestor's better than your ancestor." But I got past that a long time ago. The truth is, anyone you visit with probably isn't at all interested in hearing the story of your long lost relative or how you are related to an ex-President as a seventh cousin twice removed. But it's definitely fun once you connect with that long lost seventh cousin who knows a little bit of information about a long forgotten relative. More of the puzzle begins to fit together.

More than anything, I believe the joy of doing family history research is the passion that burns inside to find just one more fact, just one more person - and then to be able to share with others who are researching the same family. You probably get the reputation as being the family member who is always asking questions, asking someone to fill out a chart or asking to borrow photographs. That's okay - because the quest is the passion. There's something rather reassurring about learning about the every day lives of the people whose blood runs through you. And for someone who really hasn't had a lot of contact with a great deal of family over the last few decades, there's also a bit of connection to these people who came before. After all, without them, none of us would be here.

And so, it's time to once again set aside some time to hang out with the dead relatives.

Nellie Kelly Rector - Mrs. Ode E Rector of Lincoln, Nebraska

Below is the only photograph I have of my great-grandfather's sister, Nellie Kelly Rector. Also in the photo is my great grandfather, Daniel Kelly.

Nellie Kelly was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa in April 1871, daughter of William D. Kelly and Mary Casey Kelly. She was the youngest child in the family. She was married to Odin Ellis Rector, known mainly as Ode E. Rector. He was a Lincoln druggist for many years. As far as I can determine from my research, the couple had no children.

For many years, the Rectors lived at 415 South 15th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. At different times, the home was occupied by Nellie's sister, Mary Kelly Fitzgerald, widow of John Fitzgerald. Later on, it would be the home of Mary and John's granddaughter, Ruth Fitzgerald and her husband, L. R. "Lum" Doyle. The home was demolished at least 30 years ago to make way for one of the parking garages for the Nebraska State Office Building. The sychronicity of the fact that I park in that garage every work day is not lost on me!

Nebraska State Genealogical Society meeting set for Norfolk

The next state conference for the Nebraska State Genealogical Society is scheduled for Norfolk, Nebraska April 23-24, 2010. For more information visit the Society's website.

I am especially looking forward to speaker Paula Stuart-Warren's presentation on Organizing your genealogy records!!!!

Lincoln Lancaster County Society meeting rescheduled to December 15

Last Tuesday's snow storm resulted in the December meeting of the Lincoln Lancaster County (Nebraska) Genealogical Society meeting to be rescheduled to this coming Tuesday, December 15, 2009.

Lower Level Theater
Dick Admin. Bldg.
Union College Campus
3800 So. 48th St. Lincoln, Nebraska

This month's program has a topic near and dear to those of us with Danish ancestors!

December 15 – John and Dawn Nielsen
Voices from the New Land: Danish Immigration to Nebraska

Explore Danish immigration to Nebraska through dramatic readings from immigrant letters, journals and diaries, as well as slides of old photographs, drawings and scenes of present day Denmark and Nebraska. The program will be sponsored in part by The Nebraska Humanities Council. Dawn is a teacher and John is Professor of English at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska.

Visit the Society's web site at: Lincoln Lancaster Genealogy Society.

Speaking of which, the Society has an AMAZING online searchable database of older Lancaster County cemetery and marriage records. I've already discovered dozens of valuable pieces of information here. Check it out here!

Kelly monument at Calvary Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska


I vividly recall the first time I visited the Kelly family plot at Calvary Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska. Here I found my great-great grandmother, Mary Casey, wife of William D. Kelly. I felt so connected to them after this first visit. Many of the other family members are buried here - although the graves are unmarked or else the stones have long since sunk into the ground. My other family members in this area of Calvary include my great grandparents, Daniel Kelly and Mary "Minnie" Welch Kelly, who lived near Greenwood, Nebraska and in the Mill Precinct of Lancaster County, Nebraska; Dan's brother Michael C. Kelly and his wife, Mary "Mollie" Kelleher, who were killed in a car-train accident near Greenwood, Nebraska. Mollie had been married to Dan and Michael's brother, William, until his death.

Nearby is Dan's sister, Mary Kelly Fitzgerald, wife of John Fitzgerald. He's another of the "in-laws" who has always fascinated me. He was one of the first, if not the first, millionaire in Nebraska. He was a railroad contractor and banker in both Cass County (Plattsmouth and Greenwood) and Lincoln. There is no visible stone for John Fitzgerald.

For a short biography of John Fitzgerald, visit the interactive site, Gilded Age Plains City. Once you begin to look around other parts of that web site, I challenge you to be able to spend no less than an hour reading the stories, looking at the photos and exploring the interactive maps of the Lincoln of that age. This is, by far, one of the most entertaining and educational histories of the capitol city that I've encountered.

Every time I visit the Kelly-Fitzgerald plot at Calvary, I feel as though I am transported back in time - to a period ranging from the 1880s through the deaths of Dan and Minnie in the early 1940s, well before I was born. This cemetery is on my route to and from work each day, so not a day goes by that I don't think about my family who settled in Nebraska 150 years ago.

The Mayflower Society

I'm always amused at the reaction I get when I mention that I am descended from passengers on the Mayflower. Chances are pretty good that the person I'm speaking with is a Mayflower descendant as well! Recent estimates indicate that about ten percent of the population of the United States is descended from a Mayflower passenger. I am descended from both Francis Cooke and Stephen Hopkins.

More information on the Pilgrims may be found at
The Mayflower Society and Caleb Johnson's Mayflower

Leroy Pecht and Clara Laymon Pecht family

This is the Pecht family of Hardy, Nuckolls County, Nebraska. Front row: Leroy Pearl Pecht, Mildren Ellen Pecht, Clara Rosella Laymon Pecht. Back row: Cecile Ann Pecht, Clyde Lester Pecht and Ruby Luella Pecht (my grandmother).

Mary Ruth Fitzgerald Doyle

Here's another image from my family history archives. This is Mary Ruth Fitzgerald Doyle, around the time of her engagement to Lewis R. "Lum" Doyle. Known as Ruth, she was the granddaughter of John Fitzgerald and Mary Kelly Fitzgerald and the mother of three children, including the late actor, David Doyle of "Charlie's Angels" fame.

Bill Kelly of Greenwood, Nebraska

I've been sorting through some old photographs this weekend and rather enjoyed this one of my grandfather, William L. "Bill" Kelly of Greenwood, Nebraska.

Sentimental Sunday - My search for long lost relatives

One might wonder why I would want to have yet another blog and domain Long Lost when I already have information posted on and its affiliated sites as well as the relatively new social networking site Genealogy Well, when you're obsessed with seeking information on hundreds of long lost relatives, you never know how you might get in touch again. The Internet is a vast and amazing repository of information and each day millions and millions of searches are conducted. My hope is that some of those searches will point some long lost family members in my direction and we will be able to share information on our families, and perhaps some photographs and other documents.

Some of the primary family surnames I am researching are: Beal, Beale, Bell, Bellinger, Cagney, Casey, Clapsaddle, Conneally, Doyle, Fitzgerald, Kelleher, Kelly, Landon, Langdon, Laymon, Loder, Manahan, Pecht, Petersen, Stover, and Welch.

In addition to these names, I have hundreds of other surnames who have married relatives - or relatives of the relatives. When I come across documents or articles about someone who ends up in my family tree, I save it (on so that, hopefully, I am able to save some other researchers some time and effort. I know that the work of others has definitely aided my work over the years.

United States locations where my primary research focuses are Nebraska (Lancaster, Cass, Gage, Nuckolls, Douglas, Sarpy, Saunders); Minnesota - St. Paul; Missouri; Kansas - Republic County. But I have discovered that while the families were in these locations for many years, they eventually spread out to nearly every state and I have found some family members in the west coast in Washington, Oregon and California.

I definitely look forward to hearing from other Long Lost Relatives and hope that we can, together, put together this ever growing patchwork of family history.

Obituary for Evelyn Gibbons of Atlantic Iowa

The Social Security Death Index has an entry for Evelyn H Gibbons who died March 26, 1995 in Atlantic, Cass County, Iowa. I am seeking a copy of an obituary to confirm if this is the same person as Evelyn Bellinger Gibbons. The family of the person I am seeking includes husband, Clifton M. Gibbons; children: Beverly Lu Turner, John Harry Gibbons and Bernie Lee Gibbons. I would appreciate any assistance in verifying this information. Thank you.

Evelyn Bellinger Gibbons