It’s Been Awhile!

It’s been awhile since I posted, so I thought I’d give everyone a quick update on what I’ve been up to.


In April I attended the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America‘s regional conference in Philadelphia. (The job description for my volunteer job as Registrar of the Minnesota Dames society strongly suggests that I attend national and regional conferences.) There were business sessions, there were national-level updates, there was a Registrars Workshop conducted by our national registrar, and there were helpful workshop sessions on membership, Young Dames, communications, and marketing. Our hosts, the Pennsylvania Society also arranged tours of the Philadelphia area.

My husband and I visited two historic properties in Germantown, Cliveden and Stenton. Cliveden, the home of the Chew family, is operated by the National Trust, and Stenton, the home of the Logan family, is operated by The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Both properties were impressive. I particularly enjoyed learning about the enslaved people of Cliveden, and seeing the re-creation and restoration of the Yellow Lodging Room at Stenton. Stenton also provides youth education through its History Hunters programs aimed at elementary school students.


After the Dames conference, my husband and I were able to spend some time at my family’s house on Lake Wallenpaupack.

The first highlight of our time there was visiting a cousin of my father’s whom I had never met. My great-grandfather William Abromaitis, who immigrated from Lithuania with his wife Eva Kruchkas in 1898, had two sisters who came later, Eva in 1906, and Anele (known as Nellie) in 1921. This cousin, who is my age, was Nellie’s grandson. He shared wonderful stories and pictures about his grandmother. He and his mother, also called Nellie, visited the ancestral village in Lithuania several times and had great pictures from their trips.

The second highlight was visiting the Lynn Heidelberg Historical Society in the area of Lehigh County where my Weaver ancestors were from. The society maintains a small museum and research room in the little town of New Tripoli, and cares for an original eighteenth-century log cabin, a replica of one of the defensive forts used in the eighteenth century, and a bank barn. Although our trip didn’t coincide with any of the opening dates, the society generously arranged for their curator to open the museum, the reference room, the fort, and the log cabin for us. We found some great connected land plots and really enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere of the historic buildings.

While we were in Pennsylvania, I had some time to work on what I called research reports but were really generational histories about my grandfather Neifert and grandmother Weaver’s families. Organized in generational chapters, illustrated with photos, and documented with endnotes, they are a new way for me to write about my ancestral families. I hope the focus on photos and stories will make them attractive to family members.

I also took custody of a wooden box of what might loosely be called miscellaneous memorabilia belonging to my parents that my sister found in the basement of the house she and her husband bought from my mother’s estate. Unfortunately, the box’s contents had been exposed to water, and the bottom two thirds of the contents were not salvageable because of mold and water damage. We triaged the top third and brought a large plastic bin of materials home with us. It’s now awaiting further examination and sorting.

We returned home in time for the annual meetings of my Lake Minnetonka DAR chapter and the Minnesota Colonial Dames to round off the month.


June saw me give my last talk before the summer hiatus at Hudson Area Library in Hudson, Wisconsin. Appropriately enough, it focused on planning for research trips.

Since arriving home I’ve continued to work on the Weaver and Neifert generational histories, helped with a DAR workshop for prospective members and members working on supplemental applications (Supplemental applications document additional lineages belonging to women who are already DAR members.), completed my own supplemental application using the service of Jacob Neifert, and created an outline for an intermediate/advanced genealogy workshop using the probate of one of the Neifert ancestors.

Work on updating the Colonial Dames website, inventorying lineage papers for digitization, and setting up a Dropbox for the board’s working papers picked up this month and looks as though it will continue into the remainder of the summer.

I also “helped” my husband replace his second hip, and we delivered 23andMe and Ancestry DNA tests to an Iowa cousin who has the right lineage to help identify the ancestors of Jere’s illegitimate great-grandfather and his adopted wife. (We already have the results of the 23andMe test!)