Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Nani's and Nana's

The prompt for Week 31 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Grandparents’ House.

Describe your grandparents’ house. Was it big or small? How long did they live there?

When I was a child in the 1960s, my maternal grandmother ("Nani") and step-grandfather, Wallace and Sara Wolfe Guokas Archibald, lived at 1118 Bay Oaks in Houston, Texas. This wasn't too far from my family's home in the early 60's at 7913 Cedel in Spring Branch. I don't remember a whole lot about the inside of the house. The outside was more memorable. My grandmother had a green thumb and the house was surrounded by trees and bushes and all kinds of plants. There was a small swingset in the the backyard (that shows up in a lot of home movies my step-grandfather took). The photo above of me in the tree (then) in front of their house was taken in 1966.
My paternal grandparents, Paul and Elizabeth Massmann Pape ("Nana"), lived at 2547 Hastings in Evanston, Illinois, which was at the corner of Central and across from Bent Park.  They were in the end-unit of a three-plex.  I only visited them there a couple of times, the last being around July 4, 1970.  Besides being a great location to watch the parade down Central, having a wonderful playground across the street wasn't bad either.  Once again I don't remember much about the inside of the house, other than it had a full basement, a novelty for one like me who grew up in Texas.  The photo above was taken in January 2000.

Both Wallace and Paul died in 1970, and my grandmothers moved not too long after.  Nana moved in with her daughter Rosemary, my Aunt "Moe" and Uncle "Das" (Ronald) Dietz, in nearby Glenview, Illinois, and eventually she moved with them to Largo, Florida, where she passed away in January 2000.  Nani's younger sister Edith also lost her husband Robert Brown in 1970, and for a while they shared a house on Beechnut (between Fondren and the Southwest Freeway), not far from our home at 8015 Sharpview, until Aunt Edith remarried in 1981.  At that point Nani moved to a condo at 6161 Reims (again not far from our home), where she lived until she passed away in November 1997.

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Grandfather was an Enumerator

My grandfather, Charles Guokas Jr., 1930s
Lately I've been working with my mother, trying to compile all the information we have about her Guokas grandparents and determine what we're missing. I was double-checking my great-grandfather on the 1930 census in Houston, Texas. My great-grandmother had passed away in 1929, but my grandparents and their two children (my mother and her older brother) were sharing his home, along with my great uncle Roy Guokas, then aged 12.

On this census, I noticed that my grandfather, Charles Guokas Jr., then age 26, had listed his occupation as "enumerator" and his industry as "United States Government"! However, I had no idea which district(s) he enumerated. It wasn't the one he lived in.

So, I decided to check the first and last pages of the census for every enumeration district in Houston. If the last page had a different enumerator from the first, I'd scroll back a couple pages. Many last pages were done by I. Marshall Pittman, who I guess was a census supervisor. If the district was especially large, I would check middle pages as well.

In 1930, there were 160 enumeration districts, so this took a while! I finally found my grandfather as the enumerator for District 77:

This area is just south of downtown Houston, and its boundaries were as follows:

View Borders of Houston ED 77, 1930 in a larger map

The district filled 73 pages of census sheets. He worked on it from April 2 through April 15. I have to wonder how much money he made. I. Marshall Pittman also made corrections or additions on another page for this district as well.

I wondered how my grandfather got this job. I found a page on the National Archives website that explained the process.  All applicants had to take a test, which is pictured on the Census Bureau website, as well as below (click on it to enlarge it and read the details).  The census supervisors made their appointments from a list of those who passed the test in their areas.

My mother tells me that this census district was not too far from their home in 1930, and that her father would have easily been able to take a streetcar to the location to work.  This may have been his first foray into government and politics (for I imagine there was SOME politics involved in who got the enumerator jobs).  I was surprised to learn from my mother that my grandfather was a delegate from Texas to the 1932 Democratic party convention in Chicago that nominated Franklin Delano Roosevelt for president and Speaker of the House John Nance Garner of Texas for vice-president

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Water

The prompt for Week 29 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Water.

Do you have any memories of the sea or another body of water? Did you live there or just visit? What did you do there?
Flagship Hotel, Galveston, Texas, c. 1965-1972.  Photo by Carl Schuh for a Galveston News Co. postcard
Annette Taylor & me, Audie's beach party, August 1973
Growing up in Houston, Galveston was an easy day trip away. I can remember going there around 1965 with my parents and siblings, and seeing the newly-built Flagship Hotel, but I didn't get to stay at the hotel until March 1972 with my Girl Scout troop. The Flagship has an interesting history. Built on the site of Galveston's WWII era Pleasure Pier amusement park that was destroyed in Hurricane Carla in 1961, it too was destroyed by a hurricane (Ike in 2008) and was demolished earlier this year to make way for a new amusement park on the pier.

The family of my high school friend Audrey had a beach house at Jamaica Beach on the west end of Galveston Island. The highlight of the summer was her annual beach party.
Brian, Mary, and Mark in the Medina River, August 1972
Besides the Frio and Comal, other Texas Hill Country spring-fed rivers were a part of my life growing up.  My parents bought five acres on the Medina River, just outside of the town of the same name, but only owned it long enough for me to enjoy a camping trip with Dad and my siblings in August 1972.  I worked in San Antonio in the summer of 1979, and spent a lot of time at the River Walk - still one of my favorite places.  Other rivers, such as the Guadalupe near Hunt and Ingram, the Pedernales, and the Sabinal have been a part of my life for many years.
Below left: San Antonio River Walk.  Below right: Me on a Guadalupe River crossing near Camp Rio Vista, January 9, 1980

I was fortunate enough to live in Corpus Christi, Texas, for five years in my early life (before I turned 30!). My workplace was just blocks off the waterfront, but I lived further inland. It will always be a beautiful place to me, simply because that is where I met Mark. But there are also lovely memories of sunrises over Malaquite Beach on Padre Island (below left), and sunsets and other fun times on Mark's sailboat (below right).

©Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Marriage of Charles Peter Guokas Jr. & Sara Melzina Wolfe

On this day, July 10, 85 years ago in 1926, my maternal grandparents, Charles Peter Guokas, Jr., and Sara Melzina Wolfe, were married in Houston, Texas.  The photograph is from their honeymoon in Galveston, Texas.

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: My "Heritage Pie" Chart

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge for today is to list all 16 great-great grandparents, their dates and places of birth, death and marriage, then make a pie chart of the birthplaces.  I like this one because it also gives me a chance to see if that part of my Ahnetafel on this blog needs updating:

As I keep telling everyone, I'm more German than anything else, because ancestors of my USA great-great-grandparents also came from Germany.  Here's what I know about my great-great grandparents - I made a couple assumptions about birthplaces:

    16. Jacob (Jakob?) Pape  was born before 1830 in Germany. He married Elisabeth Gierse on 18 Aug 1846 in Boedefeld, Westphalia, Germany.

    17. Elisabeth Gierse  was born before 1830 in Germany.

    18. Joseph Cramer  was born in Germany. He married Catharina Becker.

    19. Catharina Becker was probably born in Germany.

    20. Carl Massmann  was born on 22 May 1847 in Hanover, Germany. He died on 7 Feb 1929 in Evanston, Cook County, Illinois, USA. He was buried in February 1929 in Skokie, Cook County, Illinois, USA. He married Minna Freicke on 4 January 1870 in Hanover, Germany.

    21. Minna Freicke  was born on 10 February 1847 in Germany. She died on 14 March 1917 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA.

    22. Frederick Dienes  was born in August 1828 in Germany. He died on 25 March 1896 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA. He married Regina Matheis on 11 September 1861 in Sangamon County, Illinois, USA.

    23. Regina Matheis  was born on 17 August 1837 in Bavaria, Germany. She died on 4 May 1916 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA.

    24. J. Guokas  was born before 1852, probably in Lithuania. He married Marie Sukytes.

    25. Marie Sukytes  was born before 1852, probably in Lithuania.

    26. ? Bonewitz/Boenewitch/Bovits/Banavich, probably born in Lithuania.
    27. unknown, probably born in Lithuania.

    28. Joseph William Wolfe  was born on 14 January 1845 in East Pike Run Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, USA. He died on 30 October 1918 in Monongahela, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA. He married Margaret Melzen? Melzina? (Maggie) Carroll on 31 October 1868.

    29. Margaret Melzen? Melzina? (Maggie) Carroll  was born on 12 November 1846 in Pennsylvania, USA. She died on 3 December 1911 in Monongahela, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA.

    30. Levi Marion Shelton  was born on 28 January 1863 in Winn Parish, Louisiana, USA. He died on 27 May 1941 in Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, USA.  He married Sara(h) Ann [Sarianne?] Spikes on 30 December 1884.

    31. Sara(h) Ann [Sarianne?] Spikes  was born on 28 September 1871 in Sardis, Winn Parish, Louisiana, USA. She died on 10 April 1935 in Montgomery, Grant Parish, Louisiana, USA. 

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Summer: Comal River

The prompt for Week 28 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Summer.

What was summer like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.

I grew up in Houston, Texas - hot and humid in the summer.  I'd say the biggest influence of the season was on keeping cool.  One of the ways we did that was vacationing someplace with great swimming, like the Frio River, or the Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas.

My first memories of New Braunfels are kinda vague.  I think we went there in the summer of 1966, the year before I got my own camera, so I don't have any photos.  I do know that we stayed at a place called Stockade Cedar Lodges. [ETA:  It was 1965 - my sister had some photos.]

In the summer of 1969, we went with our family friends the Tiltons to Heidelberg Lodges.  It had cabins you could rent by the week, and was at the headwaters of the Comal River, where most of the Comal Springs were.  There was a neat little ferry to cross the river, and some interesting stairs on the other side, a pool, and paddleboats to rent.  My research shows that this site was originally called Ulbricht's Summer Resort, and it dates back to the 1930s.
Right: My siblings in front of
our Heidelberg Lodges cottage, 1969

Above left: Julie Tilton & Karen Pape slide into the pool.
Above right: The Marys (Tilton & Pape) on the ferry.
Left: Mark and Mary Pape on the hillside.
Below right: Papes and Tiltons on a paddleboat.
Below left: Papes in Founders' Oak, Landa Park.

When we went to New Braunfels, we'd always go to Landa Park. It had a huge spring-fed swimming pool and was icy cold on even the hottest days, not to mention being quite a scenic park with the river and springs and numerous huge oak trees.


We also went to Camp Warnecke for the day, to shoot the rapids on inner tubes.  The old German Naegelin Bakery in town, the oldest in Texas (since 1868), was another popular stop, with its apple strudel, bear claws, and Pfefernuesse.

Naegelin's and Heidelberg Lodges are still there (although the latter is not the same, having been wiped out at one point by the numerous flash floods in the area and rebuilt differently).  However, the Stockade Cedar Lodges (around 1979) and Camp Warnecke (in 1991), along with many other old resorts along the river, were absorbed into the fabulous Schlitterbahn Water Park, which I visited in 1999.  You could "stay where you play" in some of the original cottages and motel rooms of these old resorts.

Ads are from a 1968 map of New Braunfels.  Black-and-white photos of Landa Park are from 1975-76; color photos of Landa Park are from 1999 (gazebo) and 2004.

Here's a link to wonderful website with beautiful old postcards of Comal Springs, Landa Park, and the old resorts.

And here's another blogger with New Braunfels memories.

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, July 8, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Vacations - Cold Springs

The prompt for Week 27 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Vacations.

Where did your family go on vacation? Did you have a favorite place? Is it still there? If not, how has the area changed?

I wish this last week had not been so hectic, because I could probably write a week's worth of posts on this topic alone.  I LOVED family vacations!  Some of the places we went to included:  the Chicago area (once by train) and Rochester, New York (camping on the way there and back), both to visit relatives; New Braunfels, Texas; New Orleans; and San Antonio.

My favorite place, though, and the one I visited the most (eight times) was the Frio River in the Texas Hill Country.  I stayed at Neal's Lodges in Concan in 1978, 1982, and 1983, and visited for a day in 1995.  But the spot dearest to my heart was Cold Springs Ranch Courts near the tiny town (post office) of Rio Frio.

We first stayed there in 1967, when I was ten, and went back the following summer, using it as a base to go to San Antonio (mostly to see HemisFair '68) and Piedras Negras, Mexico, on the border.  I went on my own in early August 1980 (just before Hurricane Allen hit Corpus Christi), and once again with my son Eric in late August 2001 (just before 9/11).

From what I can find on the web, it's still there (now just called Cold Springs), but it's definitely different.  It changed a lot between 1968 and 1980.  In my childhood, it was a collection of vacation cabins one could rent for a week or more, within walking distance of the river.  The photo below left shows my siblings Mary, Mark, and Karen in front of our cabin in 1968, and the photo below right shows me and my siblings (Mary, Brian, Mark, and Karen) inside the cabin.  It had two screened-in sleeping porches that were not air-conditioned, but quite comfortable even in August thanks to the nearby Frio River.
When I went back to Cold Springs in 1980, most if not all of those cabins had been sold off, but there was still a fairly nice motel-like building with kitchens.  That building still existed in 2001, as Eric and I stayed in such a unit with a separate bedroom, but it was quite run down.  It had an RV park in 2001 (and may have in 1980 too; I don't remember), but nowadays it is listed as a campground with full RV hookups.

What hasn't changed is the beautiful Frio River, as seen in the photos of me in 1980 and 1968:
Below is a set of photos comparing the same areas in 1980 (left) and 2001 (right):
and a set comparing similar areas in 1980 (left) and 1968 (right, with Mary and Karen):
And finally, a few more pictures of our family enjoying our Cold Springs Ranch Courts vacations in August 1967 and 1968:

©copyright Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.