6,334 Genealogy Entries – My Amish Relatives!

Love for my Amish relatives became more and more intense when I started to see the bondage they were in. I wondered how I could enter into the lives of my Amish relatives since my father had passed away.  I would visit my Uncle John Henry off and on, but nothing regular. I would go to Amish auctions once in awhile hoping I would see one of my relatives. I also planned once a year to have a group of friends go to my cousin’s for an Amish meal, which she would prepare in her home. I just wanted to keep somewhat connected, if that was possible, but I had no way of really associating with them.

 

Amazingly God had plans far better than I could ever come up with. My sister Betty called one day and told me a distant relative wanted someone to do a genealogy. She said, “I told them I was not going to do it, but I know who can, my little sister!” What a nice sister I have. Volunteering me for a job, but having no idea how huge it would become.

 

Betty planned a time for the meeting at her home and had delicious refreshments. That is Betty’s gift, being an excellent cook like my mother. I have a joke about our cooking. When we gather for family meals my brother Fred will say, “Oh this is delicious, Betty must have made it!”  We continue with our meal and Fred will say, “Who made this, Naomi?”  Without saying anthing more, you would know it was something that he really didn’t care for. I just love my brother.

 

The people I met that day were Carl and Sarah Mason and their son Jeff.  Sarah wanted to research her great-grandfather Daniel J. Miller’s genealogy and was trying to find a person from each of his seventeen children to help her. My grandmother, Maryanna, was one of his daughters. Sarah’s father Albert was my grandmother’s brother.  Sarah would be my second cousin. Somehow she had located Betty from my grandmother’s line and was hoping to find someone willing to take on this task.

Well, it certainly would get me back into my Amish relatives’ lives and I would have a good reason to knock on their doors.  It would be a huge undertaking, with sixteen families to hunt down. Looking back, I had no idea how big of a job it would be. That was back in 2006 and I just recently received my cousin Elmina’s information this December 30, 2011. She was the last one that I needed information from.  Now, I begin the task of getting the book ready for the printers, which alone is a huge undertaking.

 

Knocking on doors and gathering information will have to be another blog, because it covers five years of interesting happenings and stories.

 

Doyle, my husband found a free program on the internet to enter a genealogy. When I received information from families I started to enter it. Well, it was a few months before more came in and when I went to the program my entries were gone. All the information I had entered was gone. Ugh!!! So I called Sarah up and she told me they used Family Tree Maker. We purchased the program and it has been a great success.  I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent entering data. I have made 6,334 entries. Yes, 6,334 entries!

 

When I picked up information and or received the information in the mail, I didn’t know how I was going to keep it all in order.  Sometimes letters came in the mail and I had no idea whose family it was to be entered into. I always needed my aunt’s or uncle’s names and then I could figure it out, but many times they would leave that off.  How in the world did they think I could figure that out?  A couple of times I didn’t have the list of children from my aunts or uncles so I had to go back to Middlefield and ask for the list. There were only two aunts that were still alive, so I had to find one of my first cousins of the remaining sixteen.  I used an expandable plastic file from Creative Memories and labeled each file with my aunts’ and uncles’ names; there were only fourteen file slots so I had to combine to make it work. The file is huge and I can’t believe I’m done entering it all.

 

The other problem I had was trying to read the handwriting; it was miserable at times. That was a challenge in itself, but most of the time their hand writing was legible. Some was beautiful and perfect. I also couldn’t believe how many different ways their last names are spelled. A few weeks ago Doyle was helping me go through to correct mistakes that I made and sometimes we found the same last name spelled two or three different ways. I would go back to their original to check and sure enough, I had entered it the way they spelled it. 

 

It was a huge undertaking and sometimes I thought I would never get done with that day’s stack of letters.  Today I feel so happy that I endured. Now I am anticipating the day that I can announce the completion and distribute a beautiful book to my dear Amish relatives. 

 

It has taken me over five years of knocking on doors, writing letters, making calls, collecting information, entering data and working on publication for this genealogy book and it still has a ways to go before it is printed. All the while I found it a privilege because I know the task came from my amazing God to put me back in the lives of my Amish relatives.  The hard part for me is, I had planned to have the genealogy book done and in my Amish relative hands before my book, “A Basketful of Broken Dishes” was published. But that was not God’s plan. My book came out September 2011 and my cousin Elmina didn’t send me her information until December 30, 2011. I could not get Elmina to send her information. A relative gave me Elmina’s sister’s phone number but it was no longer in service. I finally got an address and it came back undeliverable. I would have an Amish cousin call another cousin to see if we could get information from them and I would never get a call back. Somehow, someone got through to her, but not soon enough for my plans.

 

The dilemma I now face is when the genealogy book is done and I deliver these books, to my dear Amish relatives, how will they react to me after reading my book?  At first some weren’t real sure of me and would just talk to me at their door. They did finally receive me when I visited them again, asked me to come in and showed great love.  They are so appreciative of me doing this for them.

 

Now, I have heard many different opinions from my Amish relatives, ranging from positive to accusing me of slander.  If only Elmina would have responded sooner, I then wouldn’t have to come face to face with them. The genealogy book would have been delivered before my book was published and I wouldn’t have to face them if I didn’t want to.

 

Oh, how our amazing God works. This will probably be the hardest task I will ever have to encounter. I feel like Jonah not wanting to go to Nineveh; however I also feel like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego going into the fiery furnace. They were confident that their God would help and save them.  Like Jonah I would rather not have to do this hard task, yet for some reason God wanted this order and for me to go into the fire like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego with confidence. God also placed a deep love in my heart for my Amish relatives and I pray someday they will become family.

 

I am in great anticipation, wondering what God has planned. 

 

Keep reading my blogs to find out what will be happening this year as the Schmucker Genealogy book gets published and distributed.

 

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