Linenberger: Learning more about our genealogy
In the process of writing this week’s story about ancestry and interviewing people passionate about genealogy research, my interest in the subject understandably was piqued.
My father’s side of the family has gathered for a family reunion annually for more than 50 years. When your grandfather is one of 13 children, that’s one heck of a reunion.
At the gathering area were trivia cards with tidbits about those 13 siblings. It makes for great conversation and the telling of stories about numerous Linenbergers. Relatives have done genealogy research as well. It’s been determined that some of our descendants were Volga Germans living in Russia.
Out of curiosity, I searched my grandfather’s name online.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until I took a gander at information about my grandmother’s mother — an ancestry site showed that my great-grandmother was born in Brazil.
That seems a slight detour from the Russia-to-Kansas journey many of my ancestors took years ago, specifically to the Hays area. Check out a Hays phone book — Linenberger is as common a name as Smith in those parts.
As local genealogy researchers have noted, the Internet provides great resources in learning more about one’s ancestry. It’s also the Internet, and not all things on the web are accurate, they warn.
However, I sent a note to one of my cousins who happens to be researching the family history. He confirmed that when my ancestors made the move from a Russian village to Kansas, one family journeyed to Brazil before eventually moving to Kansas. While there, one of my great-grandmothers was born.
From Hays, many in my branch of the family eventually moved to north-central Kansas where I was raised. That brings me to another family history nugget that I’ve been wanting to research.
There’s a family story that goes something like this: the Kansas City Monarchs of baseball’s Negro Leagues played exhibition games throughout the state and were traveling through my hometown planning for a lunch stop. At the time of segregation, though, restaurants weren’t serving food to blacks. The family story goes that the Monarchs did have lunch that day — at my great-grandparents’ farm. While there, the Monarchs had a pickup game of baseball, or so the story has gone.
Unfortunately, many family members who might have been there that day now are deceased. It’s a family tale that I hope to investigate further. A local genealogy researcher suggested that I head to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., to see whether the museum might have record of any Monarch games that might have been played during that time.
When stories are passed down from generation to generation, information can become skewed. It’s hoped that I can find out more information about whether the Monarchs did visit my great-grandparents’ farm years ago.
Regardless, the story is a reminder that we should do all that we can to keep our family histories intact for generations to come.
Interview grandparents. Keep a log of what your family members have accomplished and sprinkle in accounts of those quirky one-liners your 5-year-old comes up with. Your children, grandchildren and family members generations beyond likely will be appreciative.
My father died in 2004 and it’s interesting to hear stories you’d never heard in all the years he was alive.
For instance, he once had a milk route in my hometown and also was a youth baseball coach.
A relative told me that my father ordered shirts for the baseball team that were supposed to read “Linenberger Dairy.”
Instead, the print shop made an error and the shirts read “Linenberger Diary.”
My relative said my father had a good chuckle about the miscue and the Linenberger Diary baseball team marched on that summer.
Great accounts of our past are out there.
We just have to find them.