Family Charts – Taeuffers in Alsace

The Taeuffer line goes back several generations in the Region of Alsace, Department of Bas-Rhin in France. Or sometimes in Germany. It all depended upon which country happened to have possession of the region at the time. The patriarch from each generation of the family going back at least 250 years has served as Mayor of the small town of Frohmuhl. Or sometimes they were Burgermeister, if Germany happened to be in charge.

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Prune Harvest Memories: Cast of Characters

Prune season was a major event in the annual cycle of our lives. It was the culmination of our economic year and always a communal experience. These are my memories of harvest on the Taeuffer Ranch, 788 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg, circa 1955 – 1970. –- Joanne Taeuffer

The Scotts, our harvest crew as far back as I can remember, were an African American family who lived in Corcoran in California’s Central Valley. I was told they picked cotton in Corcoran and then they would come up to Healdsburg. They would arrive weeks or even a month before prune season and live in the picker’s cabin, an old house just over the levee from our house. They would work in the beans and maybe picking other stone fruit or pears. They would go up to Lake County and fish. They would pick our prunes and stay around to cut grapes. Then they went home for the winter. Continue reading

Prune Harvest Memories: Getting In the Harvest

Prune season was a major event in the annual cycle of our lives. It was the culmination of our economic year and always a communal experience. These are my memories of harvest on the Taeuffer Ranch, 788 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg, circa 1955 – 1970. –- Joanne Taeuffer

Back in the day, prunes were shaken off the trees and then picked up off the clod-strewn ground, put into buckets and then boxes. The fruit was dipped in lye water and spread on trays to be dried, originally lying on the ground in the sunshine and after the 1950s in concrete block dehydrators that circulated dry, 180 degree air through trays (about 6 feet by 4 feet) stacked on rolling bases. The prunes were then dumped into bins that held about a ton, which were eventually picked up by the packing house. Continue reading

Prune Harvest Memories: My Mother the Morale Officer and More

Prune season was a major event in the annual cycle of our lives. It was the culmination of our economic year and always a communal experience. These are my memories of harvest on the Taeuffer Ranch, 788 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg, circa 1955 – 1970. –- Joanne Taeuffer

A couple of times every harvest season, my mother would help boost everybody’s energy with a shot of sugar. Continue reading

Prune Harvest Memories: The Food, The Food!

Prune season was a major event in the annual cycle of our lives. It was the culmination of our economic year and always a communal experience. These are my memories of harvest on the Taeuffer Ranch, 788 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg, circa 1955 – 1970. –- Joanne Taeuffer

Mother had yet another job during prune season. She was the chef de cuisine. As a good Italian girl, she was a firm believer in the importance of eating to keep your strength up. She would always say she had to be sure Daddy ate enough or he would wear himself out. Of course, the rest of us were maybe not working so hard, but we enjoyed the mealtime abundance nevertheless. Continue reading

Painting The Past

When I started painting, my mentor suggested using old family photos as reference material. These images would be deeply familiar and meaningful to a new painter, keeping me working when the paint didn’t cooperate. Over the years, I’ve developed a whole body of work illustrating my early life and my family history. I hope you enjoy these images. — Joanne Taeuffer

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Jean’s Favorite California Repositories

Conducting research online can be productive and certainly is convenient. But there is nothing more satisfying than visiting an out-of-town repository and discovering something new about your ancestors. Traveling to the places that were important to our family can provide context and add texture to our understanding of their lives. Immersing yourself in the area where they lived and walking on the streets where they walked can really bring your ancestors to life. Of course it is always a bonus when they were thoughtful enough to choose a scenic place to live!
Here are just a few of my favorite places to visit to search for my California ancestors.

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