In the midst of the Great Depression the city of San Francisco transformed a shallow, useless sandbar two miles out in the bay into a man-made island and then built a beautiful glittering fairyland on top of it. But the story of the 1939 World’s Fair actually begins seventy years before the exhibition opened.Continue reading
In October 1966 I turned eight years old and was attending Mrs. Naber’s third grade class at Healdsburg Elementary School. That December I came down with yet another case of what my mother affectionately referred to as “the flu bug.” I seemed to catch every virus that passed through town and would typically miss one or two weeks of school a couple of times each year. My mother had developed a procedure to ensure that I did not lag behind in my school work. She would visit my classroom every few days to pick up my assignments, bring them home for me to complete, and then return them to my teacher to be graded. Since I was going to have to do the work anyway, there would be no benefit in malingering to extend my time away from school, so I was usually back up and around in a week or ten days. But this time my flu bug wasn’t clearing up.Continue reading
THE OLD COUNTY
The tiny Italian village of Boveglio sits nestled high in the hills of Tuscany just about 15 miles to the Northeast of the beautiful walled city of Lucca. In the nineteenth century most of the residents there made their living growing olives and chestnuts. The chestnuts would be ground into a fine flour which was then used to make the bread and pasta that sustained them. It was in this pastoral medieval town that Giacinto Giorgi and Daria Ferrari would raise a family.
My mother was born in California, but her roots quickly reach back into the Lucca region of Tuscany in Northern Italy. Her pedigree chart shown below illustrates this pretty clearly.
The Vanderwalker/Vanderwarker/Vanderwarken family tree goes back to Colonial times in the early 1600s. They were a prominent family in upstate New York near Saratoga and included at least two patriots who fought in the American Revolution. My ancestors, of course, were in the branch of the family that left town to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
This is my biological line through my great grandmother, Agnes Call.
My great great grandparents, John E. Congleton and Almira Almy had a large family. But like most families in the 19th century, not all of their eleven children would make it to adulthood. Learning where each of them had been born allowed me to trace the meandering migration path they took across America which finally lead them to settle in California.
My father’s family has been in the United States for several generations and in some cases since before there was a United States. Both sides of his family arrived in Sonoma County, California fairly early on in the local history. His mother’s side of his line arrived in the 1850s, while his father’s side arrived in the 1870s.
My stepchildren were fortunate to spend a great deal of their childhoods in Arizona with their maternal grandparents, Cliff Hanlen and June Holland. This wonderful couple also recognized how much I cared about their grandchildren and they have always made me, their daughter’s ex-husband’s new wife, feel very much a part of their extended family. No DNA match required.