About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - 3 December 2009

The passport for my great-great-grandparents, Ignatz & Maria Theresa (Knoetgen) Trapschuh for their 1849 trip to America on the whaling brig, William and Joseph. This lists the birth place of Ignatz - Hochpetsch, Bohemia.

They sailed on 13 February 1849 and the trip took until the end of March. The food ran out & they had to eat potato peelings. Great-grandmother told of seeing people who had died being thrown overboard, but in this family, everyone survived the trip.

All the children and birth years were listed on the back (my great-grandmother was Caroline). The youngest listed here, Gustav, always said he was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but this proves he was born in Austria (Bilin).

I am very grateful that my family threw nothing away. This is a prized possession!


  1. Jean, this is AMAZING! It shows the power of a keepsake. The stories stay alive in the family because there is a tangible treasure that keeps them real. This was not long after my Irish DOYLE ancestors made two voyages across the ocean to NY and back again to England where they stayed a couple more generations before coming to Pennsylvania. All of the story was lost to our family memory. You are blessed indeed!

  2. I agree. These tangible items are so valuable to the family. You are indeed lucky.

    Keep those ancestor stories coming!

    Bill ;-)



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