After Popo passed away, I was able to locate and gather his decades worth of photographs and research of the early pioneer families of Winedale. I inventoried, digitized, and archived hundreds of documents and made some fantastic discoveries along the way. The Clayton Public Library and Washington County Genealogical Society helped in expanding upon Popo’s research, and web resources like Ancestry and FamilySearch allowed me to network and share information with other amateur genealogists. Joyce Schkade, Grace Boehnemann, and my mom Jeanette Zemanek, were quite possibly the most valuable resources in data collection and I interviewed them quite frequently.
Eventually I stepped back and asked myself, “What can I actually do with this?” This is why I decided to participate in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge this past year.
The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge is a series of weekly prompts to get people to think about their ancestors and share something about them. People from all over the country participate every year and share their blog posts, videos, and pictures on her Generations Cafe Facebook page. I assigned a prompt to each person, couple, or family group buried in the Jaeger Witte Cemetery, which left quite a few prompts left over. Because they are flexible and open to interpretation, I was able to write about topics relevant to our family such as dogs, the farm, and Popo and Granny’s house.
Of course, work and life prohibited me from writing each week, and I was able to commit to writing once or twice a month. But I didn’t let this get me down, because the whole point of the challenge is to do something with the research. And I’m so glad I was able to present my findings and Popo’s writing in a way that everyone can enjoy.
I am participating in the challenge again this year and will continue to blog on the cemetery association’s website and share information on our Facebook page. My New Year’s Resolution is to finish writing about the individuals buried in the Witte section and move on to the Jaegers. Finally, if you have any specific topic of interest related to the Jaeger family that you’d like me to research, just let me know.