Honoring the Soldiers of our Family!


On this 4th of July, we’re celebrating the ancestors and family who helped to give us this holiday. The image is Detroit from our recent fireworks celebration and, while my ancestors are primarily not military, they helped to form this continent. But more about that in another post!

Here in what became the United States, my husband’s family has a long history of service to the country. In the Revolutionary War, Johann Miesse, his brothers and brothers-in-law (the Ebling family) and John Klein and his family, all in Pennsylvania, served with Washington and primarily in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland. The Civil War found Ludwig Muhn, immigrant from Langenbrombach, Hesse, Germany, serving with the Michigan 15th Infantry on the east coast. He however never made it home – he died of a fever in Detroit, never making it back to the family farm in Alma. He’s buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit.

There are relatives who served in World War II (I’m not yet aware of any serving in World War I, although I’m still researching!). My father, Wilbur William Nimer, served from 1948 to 1952 in Korea ….

There is cousin Gary in Vietnam with Uncle Jerry, who served there too. Denny’s brother, Van Muhn, served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era but luckily didn’t have to go to Vietnam. And then Denny, who served from 1976 to 1998. How proud I am of him!

When we think about the blessings, freedom and lives that we have, I personally think about these men, their women and families, who sacrificed for us. With just celebrating Canada Day and 4th of July, our families on both sides of an international border have much to be grateful for. Thank you!!!

Honoring Passover and Easter

How is this night different from all other nights?  One of the four questions of the Passover Seder …. While I’m not Jewish, I am reflecting on this weekend beginning with Passover tonight and its story, and what I have learned about the Seder from dear friends who have shared some of the traditions and foods of this important event.  As a genealogist, I’m recognizing that in the long history of my ancestors over thousands of years, I have Jewish ancestors.  My AncestryDNA results also indicate that I have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage – a low percentage (<5%) indicating a distant connection – but nonetheless, it doesn’t surprise me as early Christians were Jewish.  And, because of my Eastern European DNA, it is likely that it comes from there.

So I’m celebrating the beginning of an ancient commemoration.

Earlier this month, we celebrated the spring Equinox, honoring our relationship to the Earth, the changing of seasons and our Native heritage, family and friends.  AND I will be celebrating Easter in my faith community and with mom on Sunday.  

Whatever your beliefs, faith tradition or thoughts about all things spiritual or religious, wishing you the beauty and freshness of the spring growth, earth awakening and return of green grass, baseball and flowers.  May you have love, peace and beauty in your life!

A new year, new opportunities and au revoir!

2018 …. The new year began with so many hopes, joys, heartbreak and opportunities.    Change is inevitable, right?  Yes, and always happening but some changes are just a lot to take and others are just noted without much emotion, and then there are the ones that you can recognize as “watershed moments” – those times when you have an earthquake hitting you and you know that you will never be the same again.

That’s the way December morphed into January – a new year, new opportunities and au revoir.  A new year – filled with excitement about some new roles for me personally, Lineage Journeys as a company, and new opportunities – for both!

It’s not without some trepidation that I am wildly excited to be presenting at RootsTech 2018 AND the National Genealogical Society’s 2018 Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan …. AND (very new information!) at the 2018 Northwest Genealogy Conference in Seattle, Washington.  AND …. ::::::::drum role:::::::::: one of my presentations (You CAN Take It With You:  Mobile Genealogy Tools) will be taped!!!!   OMG!!  Yes, I’m excited.  Lots of new opportunities and a remodeled website, with subscriptions coming in (thank you to everyone who is interested!).

And then an “au revoir” – on Christmas morning, my cousin and godfather, Harold “Hal” Nimer, Jr.  died suddenly as he was recovering from some back problems.  He was recovering but then was suddenly gone.  The genealogist-of-me could add another date to the family tree – Death Date.  Sigh …. he was a sweet, caring, loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, cousin and, in the family’s Lutheran tradition, he was my Godfather.  Memories rushed through my head of times spent mostly with his younger siblings as he was much older than me but his kind smile and loving ways, our recent breakfast together with his wife Judith and our cousin Lynda will now be the last memory of his long, successful life.  Au revoir – until we meet again.  He was buried on my birthday, December 29th.  That’s a week I won’t forget.  As a genealogist, it was a partly happy day as I got to spend time with Hal’s family, and all of Hal’s siblings (my cousins) were there and it was great to see them and talk about our happy memories as a family.  Seeing Hal’s kids and their kids, I enjoyed meeting them as I only heard about them from the proud sharing of Hal and Judy.  It was really good in that way and fostered lots of family history discussions and promises that we would all stay in touch.  And we will – a gathering is planned for July this year.

And another “au revoir” – a spiritual teacher, adopted Sister (“Hunka Sister” in the Lakota tradition), Mary Elizabeth Thunder died on December 28th and her funeral wake, ceremony and burial were over four days in January in Texas.  THAT was the “watershed moment”.   In so many ways,  it was a joyful reunion with friends from decades ago and the telling of funny, heart-felt, loving stories of challenges, fears, ceremonies, journeys and discoveries.  We cried, sang, mourned, hugged each other and held the family in our prayers and hearts, and did what we all knew we had to do – create a beautiful, meaningful, carefully thought-out, ceremony releasing her to the ancestors.  In the course of those days and since, the “watershed” was my recognition that there were things in my life that HAD to go, that were not providing growth, joy, love, or blessing but were contentious, nerve-wracking, negative and gut-wrenching.  I could hear Thunder’s voice – “Make it beautiful.  Live in beauty”.  And so I made the choices that I needed to make and I’m continuing to make.

Lineage Journeys are those we make with our genetic family and our adopted or chosen family.  We love them all and they enrich our lives.