Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Louise Carousel

In the most recent Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode we talked about the history of the carousel. It was an appropriate subject because William Schneider of Davenport, Iowa is credited for inventing the carousel in America this same week back in 1871. So I had carousels on the brain when the Carnival of Genealogy announced that the theme for the 53rd edition would be the Carousel. I knew immediately what I wanted to do!

There are two themes that run through my family history very prominently. In fact these themes seem to gracefully flow through my maternal female line much like the carousel horse makes it's way round and round to the organ music. And I would say in each case, there's no end in sight. (Read to the bottom to see the video: The Louise Carousel)

The first is the use of the name Louise. It wasn't until I started talking to my grandmother about our family history when I was a little girl that it dawned on me why my middle name was Louise. It was actually a family name that had been passed down the generations of my maternal line: my middle name, my mother's middle name, my Grandma's middle name, and my Great Grandma's first name. I thought that was pretty neat, and declared that my daughter's middle name would be Louise, which of course it is.

Years later, after my grandma's passing, I was cranking the microfilm wheel when across the page rolled yet another Louise: Luise (aka Lowyse) Lekczyk, my Great Great Grandmother. I was speechless (imagine that!) Luise was born Nov. 21, 1842 in the village of Beutnerdorf, in East Prussia. The possibility that there may have been even more Louise's tucked in those family tree branches became intriguing.

Further climbing revealed the next Louise: Lowyse Malkus, born 1811 in the village of Lehmanen, East Prussia. Might another Louise or two lurk further in the foliage? I plan to find out!

But in the meantime the ladies of our family are on the verge of celebrating the bicentennial of this name in our family. A surname ladder doesn't exist for women to securely place their feet on and climb their female lines. But knowing the women in my family as I do, it comes as no surprise to me that they found a way around it and established their own rungs to climb!

The second theme that stands out with these women is their creativity. From theater to fine art, from hand sewing to digital media, we have all found creative ways to express ourselves. So it was only fitting to use an artistic medium to tell my Louise story. So hang on to your cotton candy and jump on for a video ride on the Louise Carousel.


Anonymous said...

what a wonderful example of your creativity in action! I am learning new things about our family all the time... thanks to your hard work. I notice that each generation gets 'younger' looking!

Terry Thornton said...

The Louise Carousel is such a wonderful tribute to your "Louises" --- and the carousel ride presentation is beautifully done. It is a carousel ride I'll remember. Thanks.