In every generation there is one who listens to the “old timers” and keeps their memories alive for the next generation. I was that person in my generation, and am now one of those “old timers.” My life’s passion has been the chronicling of the lives and times of my children’s ancestors. Luckily I began to record family information at the tender age of eighteen. Yes, even before the television show “Roots” made family history a popular hobby.
However, my interest in history, especially as my ancestors lived it, began as a girl with the stories my paternal grandmother, Catherine Kaiser Trausch, told me about her parents who pioneered on the plains of Nebraska. It is to her that I dedicate this blog.
I want my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to know their ancestors stories and to remember their names long after I have gone to meet them. My grandparents and great grandparents were simple farm folks. They spoke Luxembourgish, German and French. They were not wealthy, nor were they well educated, but they were the honest, hardworking, religious people who built a great nation. Our ancestors endured and overcame hardships we can only imagine. Some lived in dug-outs (a cave dug into the side of a hill), and sod houses on the plains of Nebraska and Kansas, suffered near starvation, survived devastating blizzards, droughts and epidemics, and struggled through financial panics (now called depressions). Our families have served in this country’s wars dating back to King Phillips War in 1675.
Most of our ancestors were farmers, but there were others–roofers, chefs and bakers, shop keepers, salesmen, carpenters, blacksmiths, cobblers, capitalists, priests and preachers, teachers, nuns and prostitutes. They all participated either obscurely or prominently in the events of their times and helped to make our nation what it is today.
I hope to tell you many of these stories as time goes by; my goal being one story a week. Because I have been asked about it, I will begin with the story of the Showboat.