Friday Photo is a writing prompt to get me thinking about writing.  Well, it happens to be Sunday now, and I am just getting around to posting this.  Does it count that I started it on Friday?  I think so.


I love looking at the old photos in my collection. They are such a peep-hole into the past. What is even more amazing is my mother can look at the photos and remember what color the dress was or where she was going. She has that kind of memory. Me on the other hand, I cannot even remember who my college roommates names are. So, when I get together with my mom I usually will have questions for her about a photo.


Family Vacation  Pipestem, West Virginia

Family Vacation
Pipestem, West Virginia

This week I posted this photo on Facebook for Throw Back Thursday, a prompt started on Facebook to show people old pictures of ourselves. My mom, true to form was able to tell me where the photo was taken and also that she had made the pants that she wore in this picture.

Never did I know that our family took a vacation to Pipestem, West Virginia. Since it is 2014, I promptly typed that name into my internet browser and found the state park my mother was talking about. My mother reminisced about how my older brother David was stung by a bee and “screamed like the devil.” My younger brother, Joe, approximately 3 years old at the time, went horseback riding.

What are some of your favorite vacation memories?

Our ancestors are our roots!

“Our ancestors are our roots, without roots there is no life” (Perings, 1990, p3).

Agnes Perings was my second cousin twice removed on my paternal side. Without her research, I would know little about the Kersten side of my family. Her booklet as she calls it, sheds light on the family and heritage of Mathias Kersten and Anne Maria Reiter.

Agnes in her booklet, describes the way property was divided historically. The “Realteilung” or Real Division meant that each child inhereits part of the families property and could marry. However, this meant that the property got divided and subdivided into smaller and smaller parts. “This explains why already from 1840 people began to move from the Eifel to the Ruhrregion (to the mines of northwest Germany) or to emigrate to America hoping to find work and bread there” (Perings, 1990, 7).

The essence of the tale is one of poverty. Due to the structure of the homesteads and the time period (19th Century), there was not enough “work, money and bread” so Peter the eldest living son emigrated to America. His brother Hubert also emigrated (Perings, 1990, 9). Peter Kersten was my great-grandfather. We have discussed him previously in this blog.

The name Kersten was at its origin derived from the baptismal name Christian. Historically the name was written in a variety of ways: Kirst, Krist, Kirsten, and eventually, Kersten.


Eifel Region

Eifel Region

Civic and Fraternal Organizations

In my family tree, I have family members that have belonged to several national fraternal organizations. However, I ran across an organization in studying genealogy that I had never heard of before (Knights of Pythias).

It seems to me that these are dwindling as the years progress. Since I studied Sociology I could theorize that the reason some of these organizations have dwindled is due to the diversification of our communities. The family is much more busy in times past. I cursorily searched on the internet and it seems that all of the organizations have suffered the same attrition.

According to the Free Masons webpage, “It is no secret that participation in the Masonic fraternity has been dropping for at least 50 years. Evidence of our decline is the fact that our membership totals are at their lowest levels in more than 80 years (”

I was talking with a friend the other day and we both were discussing how hard it is for us as couples to find like minded people these days to socialize. So many people work 40-60 hours a week, have a commute to work that is over 30 minutes, by the time people get home, all we can do is make dinner (I know, probably not), kiss the children and do some more work (from home). This environment is not what my parents experienced, nor their parents.

I wanted to take the time to cite the organizations and family members that I know were members and see if my readers knew any other family members. I know there are plenty more.  So, if you recall one please let me know.


Free Masons

-George Wiley Whitehead (paternal second great-grandfather) ~Please see my post on George Wiley Whitehead to see how he was a civil war prisoner at one time.

International Order of Odd Fellows

-John Thomas Sublett (maternal great-grandfather)

Knights of Pythias

-Asa Chandler Stevens (paternal great grand-uncle)


-Lawrence Walter Whitehead (father)