14 May 2010

Family Tree Friday Five

Playing the Friday Five this week from RevGalBlogPals.

1. Do you have any interest in geneaology?
I do and I don't. I like getting the stories and knowing more about where I come from, but I'm not at all interested in the hours of searching records to do it. Thankfully, on my Dad's side my uncle Warren has done that for us. No one has stepped up on Mom's side as of yet, but maybe, in spite of my reluctance, that'll be me someday?

2. Which countries did your ancestors come from?
Mom's side comes from Germany and Dad's side comes from Sweden. My great-grandfather Spangler emigrated to the U.S. in 1906, so part of my family has been here just over a century.

3. Who is the farthest back ancestor whose name you know?
Off the top of my head it's just my great-grandparents, but I remember from reading through the work my uncle has done that there were several people with the name Johannes in the mix in further generations back.

4. Any favorite saints or sinners in the group?
We don't have a lot of stories about our skeletons - midwestern Lutherans of all ethnic stripes tend to keep the darker secrets close to the vest. I know some of the struggles my grandparents faced getting through the Depression; my grandfather told my dad they were reduced to grinding and boiling their own field corn for food one fall. But I have many, many fond memories of the family I knew:
  • The last thing my Grandpa Janke said to me before he died was how proud he was of me for winning our local spelling bee in 6th grade.
  • My Grandpa Johnson loved candy orange slices, had a laugh that has passed to my uncle Warren and now to me at times, and he could sing like no one's business.
  • My Grandma Johnson loved nothing better than having the family together as often as possible. Sometimes I think she held on to her house as steadfastly as she did because she knew how hard it would be to do holidays together once she moved to the nursing home.
  • My Grandma Janke loves to tell stories about her family and her faith, and is ridiculously proud of her two pastor grandsons (well, almost pastor in the case of my cousin Ryan - he's in college and planning to go to an LCMS seminary after graduation).

5. What would you want your descendants to remember about you?
If I could be remembered like my grandparents I'd be very, very happy: kind, loyal, faithful, generous, firm in character, hard-working and humble. I know it's a parody of midwestern Scandinavian Lutherans to love this about my roots, but I won't apologize for the better aspects of what Garrison Keillor so richly satirizes.

Bonus: a song, prayer, or poem that speaks of family--blood or chosen--to you.
I know it's Rich, again, but I've thought of my family from the first time I heard "First Family." No, we didn't grow up in Indiana, and there were three of us kids, not five, but the feel of this song is EXACTLY what I remember from my youth, and I love it very much.

More Rich Mullins music on iLike

Grace & peace,

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