Treasure Chest Thursday: Becker Bier Artifacts

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

My aunt very generously shared many items with me over the holiday weekend and I’m thrilled to have acquired a few items related to Bierbrauerei Becker in St. Ingbert. I am somehow related to this brewery and am getting closer to figuring out the connection thanks to some photos we scanned this weekend.

German Wild cousins of mine married into the Becker family. When my grandfather was stationed in Germany, he took his wife and kids to the brewery and there they collected several souvenirs, including postcards and the ashtray below.

An ashtray bearing the Becker Bier insignia.

Bierbrauerei Becker postcard

The same view, in a color image, on the cover of a booklet about the brewery.

My understanding is that the brewery no longer makes beer. I had hoped to try it someday, but instead settle for asking anyone I know who’s been to Germany if they tried it and what did they think.

My First Jamboree — Part 3 (The Finale)

I was so torn as to which session to attend first thing Sunday morning. Megan Smolenyak? Stephen Morse? I opted for an update on RootsMagic 5 — I have RootsMagic, but admittedly don’t have a lot of time to devote to it. I selected it for maintaining a fully sourced family tree, so working with it is no quick exercise. I hoped the session would renew my¬† interest in the process. There were a lot of newbies in the crowd, so the discussion stayed pretty basic, but I was impressed nonetheless and was glad to hear that a reader is under development for the iPad, which should be released later this summer.

Next, I attended Thomas MacEntee’s session on Illinois ancestry. I didn’t get to go to FGS in Springfield, Ill., last year although I really wanted to because my Corley line called Illinois home for many years. His session was chock full of Illinois history and resources for seeking various kinds of records. I can’t wait to dig into all of the information he revealed to us.

The next session was by Curt Witcher and he was in full snark mode, which was really funny to watch. He gave us the perspective of the librarian/archivist on the receiving end of so many genealogists’ queries and their rambling stories. I’m not sure how many in the crowd were swayed to edit themselves next time they go to a repository seeking information, but his examples of research query letters (one 6 pages long!) were priceless.

The final session I attended was “The Frugal Curator” by Denise Levenick — I learned so much! Her how-tos for creating boxes and bags for preserving various family heirlooms will be so useful. I can’t wait for the release of her book later this summer.

Sadly, it was then time to finish packing and check out of my room. I made quick work of it, ordered room service for an early dinner and then turned in my room keys. I had about 2 hours before the shuttle would pick me up to return me to LAX. Luckily several genealogy bloggers remained in the lounge and so I had a great time hanging out with them until it was time to depart. Laughing with and learning from some great friends — what better way to end a conference?

Tick Tock

The grandfather clock I mentioned in an earlier post was repaired today and is ticking and chiming away merrily in my dining room! It sounds just like I remember it. We’ll see if I make it through the night without switching off the chime though. I’m afraid it’s going to wake me up every 15 minutes with it’s Big Ben chime.

The clock displays the month, day of the week and the date...

... and the phase of the moon.

The clock has a nameplate with my dad's name on it and the date it was purchased.

I love the fact the face of the clock shows it was made in "Western Germany."

For those who don’t have the pleasure of owning a grandfather clock, did you know you can experience the pleasure through Twitter?

And on a separate note, did you know there are splogs related just to grandfather clocks? And they delete your comments when you complain to them about stealing your content?

Grandfather of a Different Kind

Today saw the return of a family heirloom (well, part of it, anyhow) to this Corley household. After 17 years, I’ve been reunited with my family’s grandfather clock, which friends have stored for me in the interim. The face and movement are with a clock repair shop that will clean, fix and test them, hopefully reassembling everything early next week. In the meantime, the rest of the clock is now in my dining room!

My dad bought this clock in 1978 and it merrily chimed away for my fam until my mom and sister moved out of state in 1994. Me and the clock? We stayed in Maryland. I was soon off to college and moved in temporarily with neighbors. The clock moved with me.

When I went off to college, the clock had to stay at my friends’ house though — dorm rooms don’t have much space to accommodate such a piece (and its Big Ben chiming probably would have infuriated my roommate).

And so the clock stayed at my friends’ house while I was at school. And there it remained as I bounced from apartment to apartment to apartment in the ensuing years after graduation.

Moving a grandfather clock is not a trivial matter. The movement must be (carefully) removed and packed, the head separated from the body. It costs hundreds of dollars each time.

And so I waited to be reunited with my clock until I was a) in a place with tall enough ceilings; and b) relatively certain that I’d be there a while. It took 17 years.

Oh, I visited the clock (and the friends storing it) often. I know they’re going to miss it. The kids in the household grew up with the clock, much like I did. It eventually stopped ticking though and probably hasn’t chimed in more than 15 years.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the clock restored and the pendulum swinging again. I’m not sure I’ll have the chime turned on — my house is pretty small and I’m afraid it would keep me up at night. I’m sure I’ll ask the clock repairman to play the chime at least once though, for old time’s sake (no pun intended; well, not really).

Stay tuned for a future post when the clock is restored and in working order!