Thankful

“When you are grateful – when you can see what you have – you unlock blessings to flow in your life.” —Suze Orman

Advertisements

We’ve all just finished digesting our way through Thanksgiving, our refrigerators staggering from the overload of leftovers. So naturally it’s time for the “what I’m thankful for” post. It would be easiest to list my

  • Parents
  • Grandaunts and granduncles
  • Husband, children, and grandchildren
  • Yadda, yadda, yadda

and be done with it. I could then move on to my Christmas cards and shopping. It’s not that I’m not thankful to them all—if not for some of them, I wouldn’t be here! They have each been (at different times)

  • Helpful
  • Supportive
  • Tolerant
  • Patient
  • Smart enough to know when to not say anything!

So, yes, I am truly grateful to all of them! There are many other people or things, though, helping me over the last 45 years, most of them never realizing it. I am very thankful for:

All the cousins (firsts, seconds, removed one or more times, whatever!) who have shared photocopies, pictures, stories, and family updates with me. More importantly, their thank yous and appreciation for my efforts to gather information and build the family tree kept me going when I didn’t have time, couldn’t find the needed records, or ran into brick walls. As we’ve aged and they have more time, some have come over to the “dark side” and have become collaborators and working partners. It’s wonderful having company!

Al Gore (or whoever!), for inventing the internet. For good or bad (most likely both), the internet has changed genealogy forever, in so many ways. Among other things, it’s made keeping in touch with people much simpler and quicker.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (keeping both my Apple and Windows offspring happy!) for bringing computers into our homes. Not having to line up genealogy forms on my typewriter has given back years of my life! Only needing to type information into my genealogy software once? Amazing!

Rootsweb.com, for hosting message boards and mailing lists for decades! I’ve learned so much from the other members, even finding distant cousins on occasion.

Local historical societies maintaining web pages—particularly the Manitowoc, Wisconsin one. Back when Ancestry was still just a magazine and Find-A-Grave and the newspapers websites didn’t exist, those pages provided us with cemetery readings, Civil War rosters, and local obituaries that would have been cumbersome to find without a road trip. I am eternally grateful to the volunteers who gathered the information and made it available.

All the Latter Day Saints missionaries who traveled the world for decades, microfilming records (and still digitizing new ones). Some of those records might have been lost by now, if not for them. Those microfilms are the foundation for the indexed images at FamilySearch.com.

Ken Burns (yes, the PBS documentary guy!), for reminding us that history is about the “little guy,” not just the Washingtons, Grants, and Lincolns. He reminded us, too, about the diaries, manuscripts, letters, and photos left by our ancestors. Though harder to locate, those documents let us hear their own voices, and paint a much better picture of history than text books ever could. Even if we never find anything penned by our ancestors, reading an account from others in similar circumstances gives us a much better understanding of what our ancestors’ lives were like.

The many genealogy authors, lecturers, and bloggers who have pushed prodded encouraged me to be a better genealogist. At the top of the list are:

  • Elizabeth Shown Mills, helping me to better document my research, enticing me to read over 1600 pages of her books (2nd and 3rd editions of Evidence Explained), teaching me to better evaluate the documents I find.
  • Judy Russell, who’s shown me the law can be fun and useful, and must be understood in the context of the era.
  • Blaine Bettinger and Diahann Southard who have unraveled some of the mysteries of DNA for me. I’m still just getting my DNA feet wet, but the knowledge is slowly seeping in . . .

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, and none of those experts realize they are mentoring me.  But every time I read their book or blog or watch a webinar, I’m reminded that this is important, and worth doing well—as well as I can, anyway.

Of course, I can’t leave out Amy Johnson Crow, the instigator of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. This year has pushed me to think about my research and my ancestors. It’s been a little scary—putting myself in the public eye with my writing—and challenging to make sure I have content ready each Sunday.  But I’ve learned to become creative in deciding how to interpret the prompts, and to trust my gut when deciding what to write about. I’m glad I decided to take the plunge.

And of course, I’m thankful to everyone who shows up to read each week’s blog. Thanks for stopping by!

#52Ancestors

Random Fact

Life isn’t always as random as we think . . .

26 May 1881. Seems like a somewhat random date, right? It’s actually very important—the day one set of great grandparents, Christian Meintzer Colorful and Sophia Gaertner My Favorite Photo, arrived in New York. It was before either Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty were in place.

I still don’t have arrival dates for:

  • Carl Moeller and Elfrieda Jonas
  • Nicholas and Elisabetha Jost
  • Christian Bruder and Catharine Cugel
  • John Haase and Elisabetha Nachtwey
  • Peter Harré and Elisabetha Boullie
  • Ignatz Schweiger
  • John Joseph Carmody and Elizabeth Alloway
  • Frank Kukler and Anna Plansky
  • Joseph Schmitt and Margaret Hildesheim
  • Patrick Nolan, and his parents John Nolan and Elizabeth Alpin (Halpin)
  • James Needham and Mary Elizabeth Renehan
  • Augusta Maud Varco and her parents, Robert & Jane
  • John Flynn (Augusta’s husband)

Just looking at the list makes me sad, and I would give almost anything to know those dates and arrival ports! I didn’t choose this 1881 date from all the random dates in my file simply because it’s when Christian and Sophia brought their large family to the USA from Le Havre on the French steamer, Labrador. I chose it because of another random event, 137 years later.

People who know me know that we cruise quite a bit. This past April, Carnival launched a new ship with a very short European season. The Carnival Horizon had just 5 cruises in the Mediterranean, with a transatlantic cruise (our first!) leaving May 9th from Barcelona. We booked that cruise shortly after it became available.

We spent 5 days circling the Iberian peninsula before heading west to Halifax—with 6 sea days in between! We’ve had 5 consecutive sea days before, so weren’t concerned when we left Vigo, Spain.

2018 05 20 atlantic crossing
Crossing the Atlantic, 20 May 2018. This may have been taken through a widow, adding the blur. Not all our sea days were this dreary . . .

I love sea days—looking at the horizon, watching the changes in the sea—regardless of whether it’s smooth or rough. At some point I usually think about my ancestors, wondering what their trips had been like, and how they felt, looking at the sea.

IMG_20181117_063948
Some were like this: sunrise, 17 November 2018–different cruise, but still the Atlantic, farther south, parallel with the Carolinas

This particular cruise wasn’t really different, until about 3 days into the crossing. It suddenly dawned on me that I was sailing across the Atlantic at the same time of year as Christian and Sophia! I couldn’t believe in all the months of planning, I never connected those two random events.

While they, and we, all ended up in NYC (we docked 3 days before they did), our ocean voyages were vastly different:

  • 3 weeks (I think they left on 5 May, but I’m not finding that document right now) vs. 6 days
  • Steamship vs. diesel/marine fuel
  • Steerage vs. Ocean view stateroom (their passenger list didn’t distinguish between 3rd and 4th class–anything not 1st or 2nd class was “steerage”)
  • 1388 (160 1st class, 125 2nd, 653 3rd, 450 4th)¹ vs. 4000² passengers (they were listed as passengers 494-502 on the passenger list, so maybe 3rd class?)
  • 3200¹ vs. 133,500² gross tonnage
  • 7 children ages 19 to <1 vs. traveling without kids
  • Limited food choices vs. abundant eating options
  • we won’t even talk about the IMAX, water slides, or ropes course . . .

I still marvel that we unintentionally mimicked their trip. If we had wanted to do that, undoubtedly we would have run into problem trying to find a ship going where we wanted, when we needed it. Yet this one simply dropped into our laps.

Will I find those other emigration dates? Maybe. Maybe not. Will I ever be able to understand what all of them went through? Surely not. Nevertheless, I do feel different somehow as a result of that one trip.

So, coincidence? Random? I’m not so sure . . .

#52Ancestors


¹Norway-Heritage, Hands Across the Sea. http://www.norwayheritage.com/p_ship.asp?sh=labr1 click here; accessed 18 November 2018 (scroll down for images of the ship!).

²Carnival.com. https://www.carnival.com/cruise-ships/compare-cruise-ships click here (then select “Horizon” and “compare” to see its stats); accessed 18 November 2018.

Bearded

To shave, or not to shave . . .

I was not terribly excited about this prompt, because I had zero ideas about what to write about. We don’t have any Amish in our trees, and offhand I couldn’t think of anyone with a beard. Mike’s 18-day beard when we went camping in the Pacific Northwest in 1998 (he decided to take a vacation from shaving) wasn’t particularly noteworthy. I don’t think we have a photo record of it, either.

His beard was kind of nice, and had grown out past the awkward and uncomfortable stage—itchy for him and rough/scratchy for me. But he shaved it off when we got home. As soon as we got home. That afternoon—not the next morning. No warning to me. No chance to say goodbye to it. I was in the yard picking up the mail from the neighbor and talking about the trip, when he walks out with a naked face! There aren’t even words.

So yeah, no story there. A couple weeks of working on other posts intervened. It finally occurred to me that Christian Meintzer did have a beard, but he’s already had quite a bit of press in the blog (My Favorite Photo and Colorful), and I don’t have any particular story about him and his beard. Cousins, feel free to help out!

So I’m going to cheat and back off to just a mustache. A number of them hang around our trees;

John Carmody portrait 1906
Photo ca. 1906 probably provided by him to The Port Huron Daily Herald for an article written about him 2 March 1906

some you’ve seen before. The first is John Joseph Carmody, Mike’s paternal grandfather. You meet him in Unusual Source. As I mentioned then, I don’t know that much about him, and certainly don’t know any stories about his mustache. But his photo from the paper is just to awesome to pass up!

Another mustache, attached to my great-grandfather, Carl Moeller, was from the same turn-of-the-century era. My mom remembers this grandfather’s handlebar mustache when she was growing up, and she said he had a mug with a bar across the bottom edge to keep his mustache dry when he was drinking coffee. When I see one of those in an antique stop, my mind immediately goes to him! He’s the 2nd from the left of the men in the foreground, below.

Carl Moeller Northbrook photo_0001

From the photos I have seen, my grandfather, Christoph Meintzer, never sported a mustache, but his older brother, Jacob, seemed to. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to put my hands on one of Uncle Jake’s photos.

I don’t recall my dad or any of my uncles having mustaches, but I vividly remember a time when all three of my brothers were mustachioed. It was the 1970s, so that explains a lot! Several cousins had them, also—some never giving them up.

1975 dad and sons
1974-1976? Warren, Bob, Dad and Bill in front of the house we kids grew up in. Three mustaches and one not. This is a fairly rare image of Warren with a mustache.

I must be getting old, because it seems one memory begets another. As I wrote this, I suddenly remembered my oldest brother, Bob, coming home for our oldest sister, Carole, getting married in May, 1969. I was at school when Mom picked him up at O’Hare . . . with hair down to his shoulders, and a full beard. She was not at all pleased. I don’t know what discussion went on, but by the time I got home from school, his hair was shorter and the beard trimmed up. Mom was visibly happier!

1969 May 31 Mom &amp; Bob
31 May 1969 Mom and Bob, at Carole’s wedding.

Beards and mustaches aren’t particularly important in the grand scheme of things. We sometimes get so caught up in the stories of our people, that we ignore the littler stories behind the stories. Often those are as interesting—or more mysterious—than bigger issues in their lives. Were they

  • Following the fashion of the time?
  • Rebelling?
  • Taking on a dare?
  • Trying to be taken more seriously in their profession?

Most of the time we will never know, but it’s interesting to look for possible patterns. And we need to save those photos for blackmail, later!

#52Ancestors

Frightening

Being frightened can be fun, but sometimes . . .

Last week I told you about Elisabetha Weidmann’s death, but I held back a bit of the story, knowing this prompt came right after. I left out the part about her oldest son, Christian (1860-1865), dying shortly after her. You see him on the tree snippet in last week’s post.

Christian Meintzer, Jr.’s death record immediately follows (No. 19) his mother’s on the register page. He was 5 years, 2 months old, and died eight days after his mother (13 December). As with her record, no cause is provided. It would seem likely he would have died from the same thing as his mother.

The family story is far more interesting, though, and we hear it from both sides of the Atlantic. Sophie Meintzer Kranz mentions it in her narrative, as does her daughter, Anna Kranz Schultz, retelling her mother’s stories. We also hear it from the relatives still living in Dehlingen—descendants of Christian Sr.’s brother, Heinrich.

Supposedly, after Elisabetha died, five-year-old Christian was hanging around the cemetery, watching while townsmen dug his mother’s grave.

Now, before you get outraged at that thought, those if you who are baby boomer and older (and children of early baby boomers) need to remember how we grew up: we were scooted out the door after breakfast, expected to be seen for lunch and dinner, and that was it. Hanging around the house, you ran the risk of getting saddled with extra chores—housework, yard work, or both!

I’m sure Dehlingen in 1865 was not much different. At age five, Christian probably knew almost everyone in town. Even if he didn’t, everybody undoubtedly knew him and who he belonged to. I don’t have my Dehlingen map handy, but there’s only a couple streets, and the cemetery is close by, so yeah, I can see him out there, watching.

Supposedly the guys digging the grave had the brilliant idea to give him a scare. They picked him up and put him in the grave (not the coffin, just the empty hole), with some comment along the lines of “trying it out” or “seeing what it was like.”

Nice guys, huh? Those of you who read regularly know I make a point not to pass a lot of judgement on ancestors mostly because I don’t know the whole story. I’m breaking that rule this time. Those guys were jerks.

I raised four 5-year-olds and have known many more. I know how they can pepper you with endless questions until you are ready to scream. I certainly don’t know if Christian was doing that, but even if he was, that’s no excuse. The kid’s mother had just died—cut him some slack! It was neither the time not the place to play a joke.

Anyway according to the family story, he died, days later, of fright from that incident. Did he really? Who knows? While people can die of fright, we usually associate it with heart failure caused by the sudden shock. That seems unlikely with a 5-year-old—in my mind, at least.

On the other hand, the mind is very powerful; it can heal us, or make us ill. A 5-year-old can have a very vivid imagination, so who’s to say that event didn’t put a worry into his head that shouldn’t have been there? Since this story can’t be debunked as easily as Napoleon (Colorful), we’ll keep it documented.

And I’ll throw out the caution: “Don’t try this with your kids or grandkids, please!”

#52Ancestors

Cause of Death

Sometimes the death we mourn is part of a bigger picture.

Elisabetha Weidmann is my great grandfather’s first wife. She’s not really related to me, not genetically, at least. But she is the mother of my grandfather’s half siblings—my half aunts—so I keep track of her. A snippet of her tree is above.

Thinking about it, if she hadn’t died when she did, Christian Meintzer probably wouldn’t have married Sophie Gaertner, so I wouldn’t be here. I guess she’s more important than I thought!

Anyway, this prompt made me think of her. My brain couldn’t quite recall if she died of typhus or typhoid, so I figured I needed to nail that down.

Before getting to that, I looked up what they both were. I was operating under the assumption they were different names used for the same thing—like consumption and tuberculosis. Wrong!

While the two share some similar symptoms, they are actually quite different and spread in different ways. This website: What’s the Difference Between Typhoid and Typhus? (republished with permission of Passport Health) can explain it better than I.

So I looked in my database and discovered I don’t actually have a cause of death listed for her. Hmm. So I checked my two Doris Wesner books, Alsatian Connections and Dehlingen im Krummen Elsass, finding nothing there, either.

Back to the Archives du Bas-Rhin website for Elisabetha Meintzer’s death record on 5 December 1865. You’ve wandered through those records before with me. Lo and behold, cause of death isn’t found there, either! At least, not that was easily discernable.

Maybe it is hidden in the record, but I did not have the time to do a full-blown transcription and translation of it right then. I’ve looked at enough of these records, though, to be familiar with the pattern and to know where to look. I could have missed it, so if someone sees it, please let me know!

I even checked nearby records, none of which seemed to have a cause of death. That’s when it hit me: a lot of people died that November and December! Dehlingen is a small town. Even at its peak, it probably didn’t crack 1000 residents. The earlier months that year seldom had more than one death—if that!

Then November and December show up with 5 and 6 deaths, respectively (plus one in late October) . . . something was ripping through the town, that’s for sure! There were 22 deaths that year, total, so the other 10 were spread out over 9 months.

So where did I get the mistaken typhus/typhoid dilemma from? Possibly from a handwritten narrative from my grandaunt, Sophie Meintzer Kranz. She wrote that her older sister, Christina (b. 1867, d. 1876), died of typhoid fever. Christina Meintzer’s death record doesn’t list a cause of death, either, but Sophie was 8 at the time—old enough to remember. Even if she didn’t know the specific illness right then, there was ample time for her to ask her parents later what her older sister died of.

As I go through my documents, organizing them so my children don’t curse me after I’m gone, I may find something else confirming Elisabetha’s cause of death. Until then, I’ll assume she caught whatever ran rampant through the town in late 1865. My guess is typhoid fever, again, since it seems to me to be more easily transmitted.

But whatever the cause, the last two months of 1865 were tough for a lot of families in Dehlingen.

#52Ancestors

Conflict

Internal conflict isn’t always as easy to see—or deal with—as external conflict.

As genealogists, we are accustomed to hearing about the Loyalist (rather than Patriot) in someone’s Revolutionary War ancestry. There are countless examples of brother-versus-brother during the Civil War. Many researchers have discovered great grandfathers from different lines actually fought on opposite sides of various battles. None of those scenarios applies to me, as my ancestors were all way too recent. My conflict hit a little closer to home.

Growing up, I knew my dad and his brothers (and brothers-in-law) had fought in WWII. I was well aware of my predominantly German heritage, so even at a relatively young age I realized my dad and uncles had fought against the country their grandfathers had come from. Way back in my brain was the possibility that there could have been family still living in Germany. What did they do during the war?

When I started genealogy in earnest (Start), my parents arranged a visit to Uncle Syl and Aunt Stacia. He was my grandmother’s (Victoria) younger brother. It turned out he had dabbled a little with the family tree and had a treasure trove of information, mostly coming from Fr. Sylvester Hartman[n], an extended relation. The letter below accompanied several pages of Schweiger tree, reaching back to the 1630.

father hartmann letter_0001
Letter dated 4 April 1936 from Fr. Sylvester Hartmann to Stacia [and Sylvester] Schweiger. Copy obtained from them ca. 1975.
The letter was an eye opener!

It describes Uncle Syl’s 1st cousin, Anna (a 1st cousin twice removed to me), widowed, with two sons (first 3 lines of the letter). Then the kicker: “She obtained employment as a typist and stenographer in the German Labor Front, the official union of all the workmen of Germany, under Hitler.”

Oookayyy. Deep breaths. What was once only a possibility has quickly moved to a reality. Of course, Anna was merely office help—certainly not making decisions, formulating policy, or carrying out the resulting actions. She was simply a single mom, doing the best she could to put food on the table and a roof over the head of her family in a still-depressed German economy.

Still . . . she probably had brothers, and definitely a son who would soon be military age. Surely none of them escaped military service.

According to the Family History Center’s Wiki article on German compiled genealogies (Ancestor Certificates sub-heading), Ancestor Certificates didn’t seem to be a requirement until 1937. I’m not sure why Anna started doing genealogy before then. Maybe she was just interested, or maybe working within a pseudo-governmental position (even as office staff) she was asked to fill it out before the general population needed to? I don’t know. Our certificate was kept, however, and is still in the family.

The Schweigers were only one ancestral line. My maternal grandfather’s line (Meintzers) were in Alsace. They spent the war being German-occupied, probably trying to stay under the radar. That leaves two other lines—Harré (Harry) and Haase (Haws)—located in different parts of Germany. Were there still family members in those areas? How did they act during the war?

The questions spin around in my head endlessly:

  • Did they participate?
  • To what extent?
  • Were they willing or reluctant?
  • Did they leave or stay?
  • Were they victims, themselves? Or potentially so, causing them to try to be as unnoticeable as possible?
  • Did they realize what was happening in the work camps and concentration camps? Did that do anything to counteract? Or did they feel frustrated and helpless?

All of the questions leave me conflicted. It’s an uneasiness I can’t shrug off. It’s been years, and I still get a creepy feeling thinking about it.

They are questions I will never get answers to. The people involved are long since gone. Their reasons and rationals were buried with them.

Nor would I ask their descendants, if I located some. To what end? To make them feel bad about something they had no hand in, and may already feel bad about? To criticize and accuse the people they loved of doing something bad—or not doing enough to stop it? It hardly seems fair, or productive.

It’s very easy to look with the 20/20 vision of hindsight and say, “They should have done . . .” Or even better—to get on my self-righteous high horse, saying what I would have done in that situation.

You know what? I have no clue what I would have done. I’d like to think I’d have been that brave soul, smuggling Jews or downed Allied pilots to safety, or thwarting Nazi plans. Or maybe I would have simply tried to survive.

So I will live with this internal conflict. If one day I discover some distant relative was part of the atrocities—I’ll cope with that, then. In the meantime, I will hope for the best.

#52Ancestors

Sports

“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” -Vince Lombardi

scan0013
Fr. Dan with two of his younger 1st cousins, likely in Manitowoc, shortly after his ordination—so mid-1940s? I think I know who the girls are, but am not positive, so I won’t speculate.  Photo acquired from family members.

Mary Elizabeth Haws (Aunt May) is my grandfather’s (Edward Mathias Haws) next younger sister. Like him, she was born in Kossuth, Manitowoc, Wisconsin. In 1915, at age 25, she married John J. Carroll in Chicago, Illinois. John Carroll was born in Brooklyn, so I’m not quite sure how the two of them met and fell in love.

By 1910, Aunt May was no longer in her parents’ household. Many Wisconsin girls found employment in the homes of Chicago’s North Shore residents, (as my great-grandmother, Dorothea Harry did) so it’s possible she was working there and they met that way. Their oldest child, Gerard Paul (my 1st cousin, once removed), was born in 1916 in Chicago¹, but the young family soon moved to New York—specifically Brooklyn. That was where Gerard’s only sister, Virginia, was born in 1918.

Gerard Paul attended Catholic schools and seminaries in Brooklyn, eventually making his First Profession of Vows in 1940 with the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians), and being ordained in 1944. For his ordination he chose the name “Daniel.” That was the good old days when priests and nuns had to choose an entirely different name for their religious life. He spent the rest of his life as Father Dan(iel).

Where do sports fit in? It’s coming.

Vince Lombardi is of course, a famous Brooklynite. He was three years older than Fr. Dan, but they both attended Cathedral Prep and St. Francis. They knew each other from their high school years, becoming close friends. Fr. Dan became a staunch Green Bay Packers fan, and apparently Coach Lombardi would leave a sideline access pass for him, if the Packers were playing nearby.

Fr. Dan died 2 September 2002. In the 2-page memorial paper I received, it said, ” . . . there’s even a picture of him [Fr. Dan] sitting on the bench next to Lombardi on a cover of Sports Illustrated.” WOW! I didn’t pursue checking that out until a couple years later, when my cousin, Maria (his grand-niece), asked me about it. Her son was writing a report for school and she wanted to verify the story. I decided to help.

Lombardi would certainly find his way onto the Sports Illustrated cover—the question is, how many, and was Fr. Dan in the photo, too? It turns out Lombardi had three covers. I even located a web page with images of every cover! Unfortunately, none of them showed Lombardi on the bench, and zooming in or using a magnifying glass didn’t reveal any priest nearby.

Of course, we know from the “Napoleon” legend (Colorful) that stories sometimes get garbled along the way. Maybe the photo wasn’t on the cover, but inside the magazine? It was worth checking out. Of the nearby libraries, the only one to have a complete collection of Sports Illustrated magazines was the main (downtown) Indianapolis branch. So I dropped my son at school one day, borrowed a digital camera from a friend, and drove the 10 miles to downtown Indy.

The magazine back issues were stored in the closed stacks. The librarian did a double-take when I handed her the slip requesting all the issues from 1959-1968! I explained what I was trying to find. A short time later she rolled a cart up to the table I’d commandeered and left me to my task.

How does one eat an elephant? Small bites! Since I had no clue as to when the photo was taken, I decided to start at the beginning and proceed chronologically. I briefly thought of skipping the non-football season issues, but remembered that sports get written about off-season, too. Skipping some, then maybe having to go back and check them anyway, seemed a bad plan. I also considered using the table of contents to decide what pages to check, but realized that was a bad plan, too. I opened the first issue and started flipping through, page by page.

It was like reliving my childhood. Sports names I hadn’t thought of in years jumped off the pages at me. The fashions of the 1960s came flooding back as the ads flew by. I remembered styles that would have been better forgotten. Since I was looking for a photo, rather than an article, I made reasonably good progress through the issues. They were old magazines, though, so I also needed to be reasonably careful with the pages.

Suddenly, there it was, on page 20 of the 19 December 1960 issue: a 4.75″ x 5.75″ black and white photo of Fr. Dan and . . .  Paul Hornung.

NOT Lombardi!

Of course, not exactly chopped liver, either. It was the December 10th playoff game usually referred to as the “Mud Bowl.” It’s not the only game to earn that title, but being a playoff game increased its importance.

In the photo, Hornung is sitting on the bench warming up after having made what would be the only touchdown in the 13-0 shutout against the San Francisco 49ers. His number “5” is barely visible against his previously white jersey. Fr. Dan looks on from the side, in his overcoat and fedora, hand on his hip. That was an era when you went to the game far more dressed up than today’s fans do! Of course, Fr. Dan is not identified in the photo caption, or in the article, but from the few photos I have of him, there’s no mistake.

How did he end up at that game? Throughout his career as priest, Fr. Dan was assigned many places: Colombia, Wisconsin, Mexico, Arizona, Alabama, and California, to name a few. Some were longer assignments (5-10 years) others were shorter (1-2 years). In 1960, he was in Galt, California, about 90 miles from Kezar Stadium. I’d certainly make that drive to see the Packers!

I was THRILLED with my find, photocopied the article and used the digital camera for a better shot of the photo. Unfortunately, the licensing fee for me to include it here is beyond my budget, but you can find the back issue at your local library with the details from above, or visit Getty Images and search for “Hornung bench.” You will easily recognize it from my description.

If you are wondering, yes, I DID search through the remaining issues in the unlikely event that there had been TWO photos—maybe one with Lombard! No such luck. I’ll settle for the one victory, and the satisfaction of knowing Fr. Dan was friends with some of the best football players and coaches in history.

#52Ancestors


¹”Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N7S8-XLQ : 18 May 2016), Gerard Paul Carroll, 21 Mar 1916; Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, reference/certificate 10641, Cook County Clerk, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,308,595.