52 Ancestors: Same Name

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When I was in high school, my grandma recruited me to go on a day-long genealogy road trip. She wanted to visit a small town named Crow, Oregon, where she believed her family came from, as Crowe was her maiden name. (Same name, see what I did there?)

 

Veva Eby Obituary
My paternal grandma, Veva Loene (Crowe) Eby.

 

Our first stop was a small diner outside of town (which does not seem to exist anymore, according to a quick internet search). My grandma was always really friendly, and began talking to the waitress about our trip. And it turns out this waitress knew a lot about our family, including that they were not from Crow, but from the small town of Lorane, located less than 15 miles south.

So we headed to Lorane, where it turns out two generations of my family had been born, and three had died there. We made another stop (my recollection is a little fuzzy about where), and my grandma was told about a cousin who lived in Arizona and who was the family historian. They corresponded for many years, and from him our family gained an extensive family tree.

My great-grandfather (my grandma’s dad) Chester was born in Lorane in 1895. His father Benjamin was born there in 1867. It appears Benjamin was the one to add the “e” to Crow.

Benjamin Crow
Benjamin Grant Crowe.

Benjamin’s father Richard Crow was born in Missouri in 1833, and his father John was born in Kentucky in 1796. John arrived in 1853 and Richard the following year, when it was still the Oregon Territory. Both Richard and John are listed in the Early Oregonian Index as farmers.

John Crow and Mary (Polly) Kent
John and Mary Crow.

So the moral of this post is you never know where you can find genealogy information! By opening up to someone at a diner, my grandma was able to uncover a great deal of information and pass it down.

You can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

And you can follow along on Instagram as well: @familyhistoryfood.

Until next time,

Meredith

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52 Ancestors: Father’s Day

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In 1972, my dad traveled Europe with his friend for nearly three months. We had his photo albums sitting on our bookcase growing up, and we would hear some stories about his visits. However, my favorite story was uncovered through letters given to me about my grandma died.

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My dad wrote countless letters home during his visits, and in one he told a particularly colorful story of how he acquired a mug from the Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Germany.

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He wrote to his parents how his friend and fellow traveler Randall and another guy they had met distracted the security guard so my dad was able to swipe a mug. This story was never retold. In fact, after my dad died and my mom sold our childhood home, the mug was donated to Goodwill. We had no idea the mug was acquired in such a way!

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Most of the letters are filled with details of his travels, like being able to see the Grateful Dead in concert or how much his luggage weighed (which is so my dad). My grandma saved every letter, every postcard, and ticket stubs and other items. One letter even includes a sample of European toilet paper (or as my dad wrote, we know it as wax paper).

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I am glad you wrote all these letters, so we had these stories to read after you passed.

You can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

And you can follow along on Instagram as well: @familyhistoryfood.

Until next time,

Meredith

 

 

52 Ancestors: Going to the Chapel

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For Oregonians wanting to run off and get married, Washington is a short jaunt across the river, where you can get married with no waiting period. Three generations of my family went to Vancouver and were wed.

The first instance I remember clearly, the marriage of my paternal aunt Susan. We had a family gathering at our house, and my aunt wanted to show a video, which turns out was  of her wedding.

 

I had never seen my grandma so mad. I was six at the time, and didn’t really know what the big deal was, but now I know that because of that wedding my aunt lost the ability to claim her dad’s social security benefits.

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They remained married for 26 years, until Roger’s death in 2014.

The second marriage was of my paternal grandma and her first husband.

Veva with first husband, Edmond _Chad_ Comstock
I assumed my grandma destroyed all photos of her with her first husband, but after she died my aunt found this hidden behind another picture in a frame.

My grandma was only 17 at the time, and her new husband Chad had just turned 23. She would later tell me she was too young, but would also only refer to him as “the bastard,” even when I was a kid. I am not sure about their marriage, but their divorce had a lot of hostility.

They had one son, David, born on their third wedding anniversary. Chad and Veva divorced in 1946, and she married my grandpa Gerald Eby the following year. Chad remarried in 1948.

Veva Crowe and Chad Comstock marriage

The final marriage is that of my great-grandparents.

Myrtle Sanford and Chester Crowe

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Obviously as a genealogist I love their marriage certificate the most, because it lists addresses, parents names, and even occupation. Their witnesses were Myrtle’s sister Eva Sanford Lebengood and her husband, Carl.

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Chester and Myrtle remained married for 54 years, until Chester’s death in 1972.

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

And you can follow along on Instagram as well: @familyhistoryfood.

Until next time,

Meredith

52 Ancestors: So Far Away

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I have written before about my mysterious great-grandfather, and my efforts to learn more about him. John August Gall has been a tough person to research. I know he was in the Prussian Army and had a photo taken in Danzig (now Gdansk).

John Gall in Prussian Army uniform
John August Gall.

However, we actually have a couple items that he brought with him to the United States, one being a steamer trunk. This trunk came from Germany to the U.S., ending up in San Diego, where it remained for many years. My mom had the trunk shipped to Oregon in 1990, where it now lives with us.

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It is beat up, has a broken handle, and a quite lovely musty smell, but all those things have stories behind them.

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But the most interesting part is the inside, where my great-grandfather glued photos, cartoons, advertisements, and even cigar bands throughout. If nudity offends you, scroll down past the first image.

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My mom always wanted to display the trunk, but was afraid the parents of our friends would not approve.

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We have no idea who the woman in the photos are. John Gall was divorced when he married my great-grandmother, so it may be her.

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Some of the items have dates (and his name!), so we know that he was here for a while before he married by great-grandma in 1912.

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My goal is to photograph and research each item, as one of them may hold a clue to who John Gall was.

This is just a sample of what is in the trunk! If you see anything that stands out to you, please let me know!

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

Until next time,

Meredith

 

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