A few months ago, I jumped on board when asked if I would help out organizing a reunion for the Fredrickson family. I love my family history, and there is so much I do know about it. My dad was the one that asked me to help out, and of course I couldn’t say no because I can’t ever say no to anything. But that is another story.
Anyway, I was given the task of putting together family trees for each of the 14 children that had families of their own. There were four other boys; one that died in infancy, one that died as a child, one who had twin daughters that died in infancy, and one who never married or had children.
I was so excited to dig intot this project. Fortunately, a third cousin of mine has done extensive research on the genealogy of the Fredrickson family and he was kind enough to let me use his material. I had him send it to me as a hard copy, because, well, I am some what of an old school kind of gal. When it came in the mail, our lovely mail lady had shoved the package so that it was wedged into my mailbox. I wasn’t pleased. Not only that, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many pages were in this family tree.
I am not joking when I say that it was at a minimum, 500 or more pages. The thickness of the pile of paper, after I wrangled the package out of my mailbox, was more then a ream of paper. Insane!
My third cousin, Jerry Trippe, is a retired lawyer who lives in Denver, CO. I am ever grateful at the work he has done.
At first, I leafed through the family genealogy, I was amazed to see familiar names. There were several names that I did not know were relations to me. People I had gone to high school with. Craziness.
My Great Great Grandparent, Nels and Emelia Fredrickson, had a total of 18 children. Sixteen of these children lived into adulthood. Actually a majority of them lived well past their 80th birthdays. Of the 18 children, only FOUR were girls. Nuts, right? My mom grew up with four sisters. I’m sure that was enough to drive my grandpa crazy, but to have 14 brothers? Whew.
Anyhoo, the brothers were all hard working Scandinavian boys who worked hard on the farm that was in Eidswold, MN, just outside of Lakeville, MN. This is now about a thirty minute drive down the freeway from Minneapolis.
In the early 1900s, the brothers formed their very own baseball team, the Fredrickson Brother baseball team. You can read more about them in the Jully 11, 1994 Sport’s Illustrated article titled “Oh, Brother, What A Team”http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1005374/index.htm . A picture of the brothers baseball team is also seen in numerous descendents of the Fredrickson brothers, including mine. Their picture is also on a wall outside of the Town Ball Tavern at Target Field. Pretty amazing stuff. What is really amazing, is that every time I have gone up to the picture, there is someone there who is either related to the Fredricksons or is shocked by the fact that their is an entire baseball team made up of brothers. One thing that really stands out is the size of their forearms. Check it out, it’s ridiculous. And they didn’t even have P90X at the time (kidding).
Enough about those brothers, let’s get back to me. I am laughing at myself here at the computer. I started working on the genealogy towards the end of February. It was pretty overwhelming to say the least. There was a lot of information, and the more I read, the more I wanted to know.
Last night, I started really working on the first born, Hattie. I think I put in about seven to eight hours on the computer searching, compling data, and updating files. And all I could think was “One down, thirteen more to go”.
Fortunately, there are several other individuals who are doing the legwork for me. My job is to primarily update the files that Jerry has sent me.
I really can’t wait to see all of the family trees when they are completed. I also can’t wait to meet all of these people in person, especially Jerry and his wife!
At the last family reunion in 1988, there were over 500 family members in attendence. It has been 24 years, and I can’t even tell you how much updating has been done in terms of adding people to our extensive tree. There have been guesses that as many as 800 people could be there this August.
I pray that the weather will be wonderful that day so that we can celebrate the people who braved a cross-Atlantic journey to create a better life for themselve in Minnesota. I pray that people will make the journey in August to meet relatives, share old stories, make new memories, and maintain connections.
When I first started this post, I wanted to complain about how overwhelming this was. How terribly frustrated I was at my inablity to make significant progress. Instead, I find myself at the end of a 15 minute journey feeling much more refreshed, knowing that everything will work out in the end.