Monday, September 3, 2012

Ohio Research trip ~~ Mansfield portion

(~~) symbol means that I’ve left out the Last name for privacy.

               The trip to Ohio began about a year or more ago.  I figured I’d make a trip to Ohio in the Spring of 2012 to deliver the book The Booz In Our Blood to the Muskingum County Public Library or the McIntire Library as it is known.  Rose Ellen (~~) works at the library occasionally and she has been a HUGE help in finding documents relating to the family in Muskingum County.

               With the death of Greg’s mother in November of 2011, Christmas and all the other things that led up to trying to finish the book for Christmas, I fell behind in the editing of the book and the deadline loomed closer and closer.  Finally Greg said I should probably NOT try to finish the book for Christmas 2011, but put it off for closer to Spring.  When I did that, Matt Bogner and Amy Bogner (my 1st cousins) posted on Facebook that there would be a family reunion at Loudonville at Matt’s campsite the first weekend in August.  Oh, I wanted to go, but couldn’t afford to do the Spring trip and another in August.  Just then the thought came if I put the trip off till August, I could have more time to complete the book and go to Ohio in August instead of the Spring!  And everything began to feel very comfortable!!

               In April of 2011 a “new cousin” contacted me via (see June 12, 2012 entry for details).  A few weeks later I asked Sharon if she’d like to join me in Ohio for a few days and attend a family reunion and that I’d try to get her to be able to visit as many Bogner’s as I could.  When she agreed, I posted on Facebook that I’d attend and Sharon was invited to come.

               On August 3rd, 2012 I left Springville to return home to Ohio.  This was to be a 10 day trip with 3 family reunions. 

               I arrived at the airport in Akron/Canton about 3:30… Sharon had flown in from Florida and arrived sometime before noon, poor thing had to wait for me!  I found her, we hugged and felt like we’d known each other for YEARS!!  We got the car from the rental company and began heading south to Mansfield, Ohio.  Boy Ohio sure has changed, I bet Sharon didn’t think I had ever lived there as I could hardly navigate my way through all the new streets and new overpasses!

               The Bogner Family Reunion in Loudonville was hosted by Robin and Matt Bogner on August 4th.   Matt is my 1st cousin. Sharon (~~) was also there to visit with her cousin Rex (my uncle), this was their first meeting in Sharon's 72 years!  We first went to eat at the Der Dutchman, an Amish run restaurant in the heart of Amish country in Berlin, Ohio.  Oh my gosh, I forgot how beautiful the rolling hills of Ohio are!  From lunch we went to a craft store and Sharon and I fell in love with some Amish artwork by Billy Jacobs.  I purchased “Grandma’s House”
and Sharon purchased one as well by Billy, but I can’t remember which one.  We then needed to be on our way to the reunion so we headed towards Uncle Rex’s van, only to realize that he’d locked his keys in the ignition!!  Well I guess we WOULD have time to go to the antique mall next door after all.  While Uncle Rex waited for AAA, Sharon and I walked each row of the antique store.  I found a wonderful oval bowl, but couldn’t bring myself to buy it.  I worried about it breaking on the trip home and also didn’t want to spend too much money in one spot since I was only in my 2nd day of a 10 day trip.  I was really hoping to find some kind of treasure when I got to Zanesville.

               AAA got there and off we were to Loudonville to visit with all the Bogners, mostly descendants of my grandparents George Bogner Jr. and Jane Elizabeth Wooley-Bogner.  There were friends of cousins there as well and of course Sharon, daughter of Frank Christ Bogner (Brother of George Bogner Jr.).

               After this long day Uncle Rex drove us back to our Bed & Breakfast.
               Up again early on Sunday the 5th to attend church in my old LDS home Ward… the building my Grandfather George Bogner Jr. built.  Introduced Sharon all around and attended the Fast & Testimony meeting the first hour. 
 We then took more photos of the building outside and a few more inside.  We left and headed up to the Apostolic Christian Church. 
This building was built by my Great Grandfather George Bogner Sr.  He is Sharon’s grandfather.  We got to the building and though there were 2 cars in the parking lot, we could not find anyone inside the building to ask questions of.  The building was unlocked and we went in with the hopes of asking someone if we could take photos.  When no one was found, we did take photos.  Including this one of Sharon and Uncle Rex on the balcony from which their grandfather George Bogner Sr. fell and was killed during the construction of the building.  Aunt Evelyn is on the main floor.

Supposedly he was showing some folks the balcony which was not yet finished and did not have the railing up yet.  When he took a step backwards, and fell over the edge.    This building is just about ½ mile from the LDS building his son George Jr. would build only a few years after his father passed away from the fall.

               We were treated to dinner by Uncle Rex and Aunt Evelyn and then tried to see if we could meet up with more Bogners… it just didn’t work out.  So we took Sharon around a bit and then it was time to visit Aunt Lydia.
               We headed up to the Care Facility that Aunt Lydia now lives in.  Please understand that this meeting with Aunt Lydia (she was my great aunt, but that's what we called her growing up) was wonderful… more wonderful than can be expressed here with words.  Lydia is the SISTER of Sharon's FATHER... the father she never knew! Aunt Lydia is now the only living child left of my Great Grandparents George Bogner Jr. and Theresia Grauer-Bogner.  Our purpose in visiting with Aunt Lydia was to get some answers for Sharon about her father. We were not even sure if Aunt Lydia knew of Sharon's existence since Sharon was a family secret. Even my mother and grandmother knew only that there was a baby born!!   Because this meeting turned into something very sacred and special and due to the fact that Aunt Lydia was a very proper lady and always well kept, photos will not be shared here or on Facebook.  I only wish you all could have been there to witness how special this really was.

               Sharon is 72 (I know she doesn't look it), and Lydia is 92. This was their first meeting in over 72 years!!  Sharon enjoyed her visit as well as Uncle Rex, Aunt Evelyn and myself.  Many of Sharon’s questions were answered… but that only raised more questions.  Some of them might never be answered.  Another of Aunt Lydia’s friend’s showed up to visit with her.  I explained who we were and the importance of this meeting in the hallway with her.  She was so gracious to let us continue our visit with Aunt Lydia.  She promised to send  (and already has), the story of how Aunt Lydia was the first Civilian Patient to receive Pennicillin in the U.S. (Story for another blog).

               From there we rambled around a bit again and then Sharon and I decided that we were extremely tired!  So we thanked Uncle Rex and Aunt Evelyn for their gracious hospitality and told them we just needed to get some rest.  Both of us wanted to get our heads back on and figure out how we wanted to spend the last few hours together and the next day (Monday) since we weren’t going to be together the whole day, but would split up… me to go to Zanesville for the night and she to head to Ada to see a cousin of hers with other genealogy goals to accomplish.

               We got back to the Old Stone House and sat in the family room going over our genealogy when the owners of the home asked if we’d like some homemade ice cream… well certainly!  We gobbled that up and Sharon went for some water out of the fridge.  I decided to open my email and see what I’d missed the last few days.  It was about 8:30 Ohio time and when I opened the inbox, there was an email stating in the subject line:  FRANK CHRIST BOGNER.  I thought that was weird as I was WITH Sharon and didn’t recognize the name of the sender.  I opened it and began reading while Sharon was talking with the B&B owners.  Sourette (~~) says that she is the biological daughter of Sharon’s mother and that she was put up for adoption!  I literally had to read it twice and still felt like crapping my pants!!  Here I am with Sharon on our last night together introducing her to her family, Aunt Lydia and taking her to all kinds of Bogner places …. And now a NEW half-sister is contacting me about wanting to get in touch with Sharon.  HOW did she find me?  Well through my blog, but I was so afraid to say anything to Sharon… but quickly overcame that and practically squealed at her as I caught her by the arm in the kitchen and told her to come and see…. She might just have a heart attack!

               As we spent the next few hours emailing back and forth with Sourette, Sharon came to the absolute knowledge that this was true, that she now had found a half-Sister.  Arrangements were made for us to call Sourette the next morning.  Sleep was hard that night for me, but more especially for Sharon.  We both kept thinking we were in some kind of genealogical vortex!  It was all just so surreal.

The next morning at the arranged time Sharon called Sourette and spent about 45 minutes with her and they agreed to at some future time, meet one another.

               From there we headed out the door after packing up to leave the Old Stone House.  We headed back to Great Grandpa George’s house to see the proximity of where her father lived and the proximity of this Naomi Buell-Karchner, the 2nd wife of Sharon’s father.  As we passed the house, a lady was sitting on the front steps, (at right in photo) so we rounded the corner and thought about not taking photos while she was there.  Then Sharon said she’d like to talk to the lady.  We parked the car, walked up the driveway and introduced ourselves as “Bogners”!  The lady about jumped out of her skin!  She asked if we knew Lydia Bogner?  Goodness YES!  We’d just seen her yesterday… she’s still living.  The lady said she owned the home and was renovating it.  (Hired contractor is at the corner of the home working on a project)  I asked if we might take Sharon inside as this is where her father and grandfather lived,  and I had been in the home many times visiting my great grandparents and getting Hungarian treats (kipfuls) out of Grandma Theresia’s freezer!  She loved showing us the home.  Got a bunch of photos and she told us that Lydia had a box in the attic (thrown away by the previous owner)… had some tiles in it.  Another box was on the countertop in the kitchen… it was from Sharon’s Uncle Jack (Jacob) and Aunt Aileen Shaffer-Bogner … they lived in Colorado at the time near her father.  The box was on the countertop with a mailing label still on it … probably some 40 years later!  How fortuitous was this?  Certainly NOT an accident.
Fridge at left is where Great Grandma kept her "Kipfuls" a German/Hungarian treat.  If you look closely on the countertop just behind the rolled up blueprint papers is a cardboard box... the one with the label from Colorado from Jack & Aileen.

               I didn't get any photos of Sharon and myself together... honestly, I forgot to do a lot of things, but I don’t view our time together a waste… totally the opposite, I only wish I had taken more!  From there we picked up Sharon’s rental vehicle and we went our separate ways.  More sure than ever that this would not be the last time we’d see one another.  I SO LOVE that girl and her bravery to contact me through and her bravery to come to Ohio, spend time with family she didn’t even know, ask hard questions of an Aunt she’d never met AND spend the night in a B & B with a virtual stranger!  No wonder she was able to face this new twist in her life of finding a new half-sister with such courage.  Words cannot express how much I love her.  How proud I am to call her “cousin” and friend.  I am so grateful to have been part of this process and part of the unveiling of everything good that happened during my time with her.  Love you Sharon!

 More about the Zanesville phase of the trip in the next blog.