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Katie Heitert Wilkinson's Blog (16)


By pure conincidence, my dad's birthday and Mother's day are nearly back to back .... and sometimes, depending on the year, they fall on the same day.  Robert Daniel Heitert was born on May 9, 1922, in St. Louis, Missouri ...the youngest child of R. G. Heitert and Helen Wethmar Heitert.

"Big Pop" died in 2001after a lengthy struggle with congestive heart failure...just four days after his birthday.  He was a bit of a hell raiser as a young man least that's what I've been told. …


Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on May 13, 2011 at 4:35pm — No Comments


Do you have days when you wish your interest in documenting your family's history had sprouted and put down roots when you were ....oh, about 10 or 11 years old?  I certainly do.  Why didn't I notice that we never seemed to talk about my dad's side of the family in our home?  Why didn't we ask his parents all those great questions like "how did you meet?" or "what were your brothers and sisters like?"  Perhaps because my maternal grandmother lived with us and the fact that she was actually…


Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on April 7, 2011 at 3:44pm — No Comments

She Walked This Earth

I've learned from my research over the last two years that my paternal great great grandmother Catherine Josephine Connelly Jones was a survivor of the first degree.  Born in County Leitrim, Ireland, about 1829, she endured the Great Hunger.  A letter found in her Civil War Widow's Pension file came all the way from Mohill, County Leitrim, from the priest who married Catherine and her husband James R. Jones in 1849.  Nearly 15 years later, her remebered them both well.  The information that…


Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on March 30, 2011 at 4:22pm — No Comments

The Scoundrel in My Wood Pile

James R. Jones there's a name I'd never heard until becoming addicted to family research.

Jamie, me bucko, you're my 3rd great grand pop on my dad's side of the clan. It's been great to meet you .... even if only through paper documents. A terrible shame it is that not one of the Heiterts of the last generation knew your story. Then again .... perhaps they did but decided to take the better part of caution. Trust me, Jamie; I never…


Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on July 15, 2010 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

Welcome to the Heart of the Family

Doors are more than just doors.....Perhaps this cryptic statment would benefit from some clarification. Any one of us could look at a door and say, "that's an aluminum frame with screen to keep bugs out and let the breezes in. Or..."what a grand slab of carved wood with leaded glass inserts and gleaming hardware.

I, on the other hand, look at the doors in my family's two different homes and see something entirely different. The ones which I keep in memory lack any level of… Continue

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on October 20, 2009 at 10:30pm — No Comments

The Bank of Ireland

One of the most precious things my grandmother Mary Browne Kearney left behind was a special box, one she kept her entire adult life. I remember seeing it from time to time when Kearney lived with us. Typically she would have the box open on her bed, either adding items or reviewing its existing contents.

It was a sad looking thing - an old, dented safety deposit box of military khaki green. A collection of dings and dents accumulated over the years had taken on a rusty hue, and the… Continue

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on September 8, 2009 at 9:53am — 2 Comments

Bird Crumbs ---- of a Kind

I wanted to reflect today on just how far I've come in researching my maternal family history. For years, when I was a child, I plied my grandmother with questions about her family and about Ireland. Being Irish, really Irish, was a great source of pride among my siblings and I. For some reason, none of us ever called her Gram or Grandma. Rather we referred to her as Kearney, her married name. Doing so didn't seem disrespectful at all. In fact, Kearney referred to herself in the same… Continue

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on September 6, 2009 at 12:33pm — 2 Comments

Walking on Air - at Least for Today

In the last two days I've acquired some significant new information related to one of my family lines. If the resultant bouyancy I'm experiencing were ice cream, I'd eat the entire half gallon. There are such long dry periods. The dicouragement creeps up on me. I become frustrated, petulant --- sometimes to the point of saying, "What IS the point of all this?" I've even wanted simply to walk away from my work and shirk off the feeling of responsiblity that this project carries for me. Then,… Continue

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on August 31, 2009 at 7:02pm — 1 Comment

Dare I?

Last night I found addresses and phone numbers for individuals in Reading, PA, who might be distant cousins. I need to make some cold calls, but I'm balking. Both people are up in years. Am I invading their privacy and their quiet? But they could possibly provide me valuabe family information. I'm not usually indecisive or hesitant about doing new things. For some reason, though, I feel a knot in my stomach when I contemplate reaching out through these calls.

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on August 30, 2009 at 1:15pm — 8 Comments

I'm Jealous

My cousin Amy - she's a first/once removed - told me (1) that she and her mother are attending a genealogical session tomorrow entitled House History 101 and that (2) as soon as her dad retires, he's going to enroll in a genealogy course at the closest community college. Though I'm delighted for her, I'm wickedly jealous. No one in my immediate family has gotten the bug.

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on August 28, 2009 at 5:10pm — 2 Comments


The first time I began to consider truly the weighty significance of the notion of ancestry and the personal history of all who've come before us occurred when I analyzed the William Cullen Bryant poem "Thanatopsis" to prepare to teach it. Now not a day goes by that I don't wonder when I walk the streets of Austin whose feet trod exactly the same path centuries ago. I love Bryant's image of all of those who have lived forming a hand-in-hand chain than transcends time and place. When I leave… Continue

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on August 26, 2009 at 3:30pm — No Comments

I Believe in Miracles

Will wonders never cease? Today I stepped officially into the 21st century social / technological world. I joined Facebook. That I do so had been recommended by Sarah - a GenWise member. But it was an unexpected phone call from a 70+ year-old cousin who is a great grandfather that pushed me over the edge. "Why aren't you on Facebook," he asked at some point in our conversation. I could put up no convincing reason - so I joined. Will I become socially powerful? Will I attract a multitude of… Continue

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on August 25, 2009 at 4:03pm — No Comments

Searching for Joseph

For some reason this morning my thoughts run toward my maternal grandfather Joseph. I've always wondered what I would have grown up calling him. He was killed when he was just 33 years old and my mother 10. It wasn't until I was about 10 myself that I began asking questions about him. My grandmother, who lived with us, had an old pastel-tinted portrait that hung in the living room for as long as I can remember. I'd stare for hours at that portrait - as if the young man featured there could read… Continue

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on August 24, 2009 at 8:28am — 1 Comment

Pay It Forward

Today - for the first time since I've been reading and posting messages on various sites - I was able to offer someone some clarifying information. Doing so was just a tiny repayment to all those who've helped me. Actually, I find myself being intimidated by the level of knowledge some researchers possess. "Do they have a household full of LDS" tapes or reference books?" I ask myself. Or have they simply become vast repositories of what they've intellectually digested over the years? Actually,… Continue

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on August 23, 2009 at 4:17pm — 9 Comments

Calling Mom

I really need to call my mother in St. Louis. No more putting that off. It's just that I'd love to be able to give her some exciting news about progress in tracing our ancestors. Like the time I worked on my hunch that Grandpa Kearney was an orphan train rider and was able to prove that he was. It's as if my feet are stuck in a sort of historical morass: no progress on the Irish end (who knew that in one small townland there would be so many people with the same name and eerily close birth… Continue

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on August 22, 2009 at 9:26am — No Comments

Becoming a "Social"

Truthfully, I've usually chuckled at my nieces, nephews, and friends who've created pages on MySpace and Facebook; and I'll admit to being mystified at the attraction of such websites. Last Christmas a twenty-something niece regaled us with her account of refusing the "friendship" of another MySpace member. "Why should I accept her as a friend," she emoted, "when she was horrible to me in high school?" I howled, wondering how anyone could take such stuff seriously.

So here I am - I… Continue

Added by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on August 21, 2009 at 7:09pm — 2 Comments


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