By Rita Maisel
Year after year birthdays roll around, and if your family makes a big deal of it- you do enjoy opening cards and gifts and eating birthday cake. Like a lot of people my age there was a war on when I would have enjoyed birthday parties, so sugar was rationed so my mother decorated a white box with birthday type trims and candles, and we sang Happy Birthday. If a group was present she took pictures, which were pasted into an album and labeled “Rita’s birthday party”. When I got to college, friends looking at that album wanted to know why I was not on any of the pictures. The truth was my mother’s little box camera only held film for eight pictures, and all eight (if they turned out) were of my younger cousins and neighbor children who happened to be present and brought presents. This got to be quite a big joke among friends and family. Over the years, I was often working away from home on my birthday, so the years rolled by without major celebrations.
Fast forward to more recent history. Sometimes, if a person’s birthday is on Sunday or around that date, the congregation at church sings “Happy Birthday” and asks how old you are (a year older than yesterday). There are times when friends will hand you a card or wish you a ‘Happy Birthday’ in person. That happened to me this year. A couple of days later a cousin called and mentioned that I must have had quite a celebration this year as she had seen something about it on Facebook. I do not do Facebook, and she was not sure what website she had seen it on but tried my brother’s former Facebook site. It had “greetings to Rodney in heaven” sent by someone who must have had Rodney (during his lifetime) as a Facebook friend. The next thought was to try ‘Growing up in Langdon’, a site Rodney initially loved until younger readers offended him by pointing out his pictures of Langdon High School had to be fake. He was proud of his photography, and younger people were not aware that the windows they remembered had been installed after Rodney graduated. No mention of Rita there either, and not being a Facebook user I have never gotten into the younger alumni site.
To make a long story short we realized that birthdays are listed in church bulletins and newsletters, and our church has a website for Facebook users. My cousin found that site and read the names of people near and far sending me birthday greetings. Facebook messages can be shared but only with other Facebook users so do not transmit to my email. However, it is the thought that counts, and I want to thank all those who sent me a birthday greeting.
Updates on Research:
Kinna, Lindsay, Sandberg history:
There is a memory of meeting with visitors from Weyburn, Sask. who hurried to Langdon one Sunday after attending a wedding in Winnipeg, squeezed in a visit at the Dairy Queen and vanished down the road heading to Dresden. I also remember writing about their visit and their search for “the house their family lived in before moving to Saskatchewan in 1900”………famous last words so to speak. They had received a picture of a tombstone in Lebanon Cemetery (they thought it had come from City Hall), and when I saw them, they had already found the cemetery and put flowers on the grave.
This week I received a print-out they received from another source which they feel is proof they actually lived here. Personally, I never doubted that, but people homesteading did usually live on their land rather than in town and many old farmsteads are no longer standing. It is also possible that a house standing in the town of Langdon in 1900 might also be history. Whether that is true or not, they want to come back and see the house, and the implied message with this document is for me to make some inquiries.
The original family name was Kinna, a family who had been born in Scotland. William Kinna (one of the several children in the family of Robert and Elizabeth who are also buried here) married Sarah Lindsay, daughter of John Lindsay, also an early homesteader, whose birth place was Ireland. Members of both the Kinna and Lindsay family are buried in Lebanon Cemetery. Because they were stopping by on a Sunday I had given them some notes on the family members and mentioned the Kinna family had more members buried in the same cemetery – in my memory possibly in the same area which they had just visited. Knowing they would be here on a day the library would not be open, the notes included copies of family obituaries with wedding dates and some descendants. I did not know of any current family members still living here who might remember the exact house – a major reason they wanted to come back again.
The proof of residency sent is from the 1900 census which does list William and Sarah (Lindsay) Kinna without any indication if they lived in town or on homestead land. What is listed besides the parents are their four oldest children: John E., Viola Elizabeth (died before they left Langdon), William E. and Robert E. newly born with his age given as 0/12. Also listed with them was a hired girl, 16-year-old Annie Buller, born in Nebraska to German parents. The next listing, which might have been the next farm or the next house if in town, is for John H. Sandberg and his wife, Jennie (Kinna) Sandberg, along with their two sons, Edwin and George. The Sandbergs were relatives who did not move to Canada, and along with several children are buried at Lebanon Cemetery. Sandberg land in Elgin Township was still listed in their names in later years. Someone from Elgin Township might remember where they lived in 1900.
But just before the listing of these families is another familiar name: Dougal McDougall (not the spelling on his tombstone), a former resident who in 1900 was single, 20 years old and a boarder at the home of Bert and Anna Carpenter. Dougal’s parents were also from Scotland and very possibly grandchildren still in our area might know where he lived in his early years in Cavalier County. It is worth a try. The questioner is Judy Siwy from Weyburn, and I do have her mailing address but not an email for her.
Everett, Kennedy, Piekarski:
Another series of requests have come from Jackie Piekarski who lives in International Falls, Minn. (no street address listed) and is sure I had some correspondence with her Auntie Judy at some time in the past about Kennedy ancestry. Her aunt has now died and left all her family history notes to Jackie who wants help sorting them out. If I understand it correctly, her grandmother was a Kennedy who married an Anderson, and her mother’s maiden name was Garson. Her father was also from this area, and his last name was Everett. There are a few clippings in the file under Kennedy, but the first names do not match the information she has given me so far, and my memory is not good enough to recall questions from total strangers I might have corresponded with years ago. I found no clippings at all for other names she had listed as relatives. She has mentioned, more than once, a house fire where a mother and three girls died. If any readers have Kennedy as a surname in their extended lines and might have a connection to International Falls or to that story, you might be able to help her more than I can. Another puzzle with too many pieces missing at the present time. I believe this family might have left the area in the 1920s or 1930s as at least one member of the Kennedy family served with Company E during World War I. The lady requesting help did not give me any information as to where in Cavalier County the family might have lived.