Childhood Memories and More: Paternal Grandma’s Chair

Memories and stories are important part of family history. Early memories, under 6 years old, tend to be sketchy at best. However there are some thoughts of childhood that do resonant through artifacts or belongings that bring up feelings and jar memories of ancestors. One of those recent belongings that was part of my childhood memory is a chair that my paternal grandmother had in her house. This chair was situated on the front porch of the home and was used by my Grandmother in the last years of her life. My grandmother died when I was 6, so my memories of her are limited but with pictures and this particular chair I remember being 4 and 5 years old visiting her and being on the porch sitting with her in this chair (pictured below). I still remember her hands resting around my waist holding me as she rocked the chair slowly while my parents and uncle were in deep conversation about the recent news items in the town or world of the late 1960s. My father was the youngest of 12 children and by the time I was born my grandmother was a widow and just turned 77 yrs. old. So my recollections of her is a person who loved children, moved slowly and had a kind smile when she felt healthy.

A picture containing ground, red, outdoor, seat

Description automatically generated
Vintage Kroehler Rocking Chair My Grandma owned

After my grandmother died, the chair stayed on the front porch in about the same place for the next 40 plus years. I sat in the chair many more times throughout the years my uncle lived in the house and my family visited there. Eventually the house it was in was sold to a new family in about 2014. Before this family moved in I removed my Grandma’s chair from the porch and brought back to my own house and put it in storage. The chair was not in the best condition even then and was by my estimate over 70 yrs. old. The condition of the chair deteriorated and eventually became a home for mice while in storage. Originally I kept this chair intending to get it reupholstered to use again. Well after holding on to it too long and deciding that the value of reuse was less important than the memory of my Grandma and my time with her, I decided to simply take a picture and let the chair go to the dump. The memories of being with her in the chair are more important. It was her chair not mine.

However before letting the chair go, I did some research to learn the possible age and also who might have made this chair my grandmother enjoyed relaxing in.

As I started to take pictures and looking closer at the chair, I saw a tag with words, in caps DO NOT REMOVE THIS TAG under Penalty of Law. Also the tag says the chair was made of “all new material” (at the time of course); consisting of “Body: Cotton Linter Felt, Rubberized Sisal Pad and Wood Fibre Pad”. “This article is made in compliance with an Act of District of Columbia approved July 3, 1926; Kansas, approved March 1923: Minnesota, approved April 23, 1929:  New Jersey, revised statues 26 :10-6 to 18.”

I did some research and found some interesting comments about what this Act of District of Columbia was in the 1926.

In the Library of Congress on-line search I came across:

Chapter 768 An Act To regulate the manufacture, renovation, and sale of mattresses in the District of Columbia. July 3, 1926

A PDF file of this chapter can be opened and on pages 838-840 you see that the major concern of Public Law 489 of the 69th Congress, otherwise known as the mattress law, was the spread of contagious venereal disease: “. . . no person in the District of Columbia who is a renovator of mattresses shall use in whole or in part, in the renovation of any mattress, material which has formed part of any mattress theretofore used in and about any sanitarium or hospital, or used by any individual having an infectious or contagious disease.” According to the act, secondhand material could not be used in mattress like furniture unless it had been sterilized and disinfected.

I learned a little social and medical history about the U.S. from this chair of nearly 100 years old. However I was also interested in the manufacturer of the chair, Kroehler MFG. Co. So I looked up the maker of this chair and discovered a link to the Encyclopedia of Chicago (  It states, “In 1902, Peter E. Kroehler bought the Naperville Lounge Co., a maker of wooden lounge chairs and upholstered furniture. Kroehler built a new factory in Naperville in 1913 after the original facility was destroyed by a tornado. Soon thereafter, he renamed the company Kroehler Manufacturing Co.” Also I did a search of Peter Kroehler and found more at the Naperville Museum. More on the Mr. Kroehler can be found at

In your genealogy research do not forget that you may have artifacts that not only provide memories and develop stories, but you also can learn something about the social history of the past, that also informs us who live today.

Happy research and Family History Month.

Childhood Memories and More: Paternal Grandma’s Chair

Will there be a fee hike for Naturalization Records?

As I write this, I am not sure how much of this proposed hike in United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) genealogy type records, the agency that oversees the country’s immigration and naturalization system, will actually happen or is true. This agency maintains a number of applications and documents, including historical records of deceased immigrants.

Many of these items should be free or nominal in cost for Genealogical Research purpose.

Look at the link for more information.

Will there be a fee hike for Naturalization Records?

In Memory of My Grandfather August H. C. Rettammel

On this day, 60 years ago, my paternal Grandfather August Herman Christian Rettammel died on the evening of 23 December 1959 from a heart attack while shoveling snow at home in preparation for walking to the Children’s Christmas Service with his wife (my Grandmother Ernestina or Tina) at the Lutheran Church in Lyndon Station, Wisc.

As I have stated in genealogy lectures and other formats, my interest in genealogy began because I have many photos of my grandfather but he passed away shortly before I was born. Though a remembrance of a death can be sad, I am writing this as a way of keeping the spirit of my paternal grandfather alive through story and recognition of the day and time that he left his family and my own father who was named after him, August Jr.

The following remembrance of my Grandfather was written in the church bulletin shortly after his death in 1959.

1876 August H.C. Rettammel 1959

“Only a little while before the Children’s Christmas Service on Wednesday evening, December 23, which he had already prepared to attend with his wife, August Rettammel, faithful member of St. Luke Congregation of Lyndon, was interrupted by the Lord God with a heart attack and taken to heaven to spend Christmas there with Christ and the angels. He had spent 83 years, 6 months and 19 days here.

August Rettammel was born in Chicago June 4th, 1876. There he was baptized, attended a Christian Day School, was confirmed, and married in 1900. His first wife passed away leaving him two small children. In 1909 he married Ernestina nee Wendland with whom he celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary August 17th of this year. Ten children were born of this union, two of whom went before their father into eternity.”

My Grandfather approximately in 1895 to 1900

In Memory of My Grandfather August H. C. Rettammel

Certification Discussion Group Series 2019.3 Completed: First Step

Today I completed the Certification Discussion Group 2019.3 (fall) series managed by Jill Morelli, CG. My group lead my Cari Taplin, CG for 7 weeks. It was a good group and will help as I prepare in 2020 to start my portfolio/application for the Board for Certification of Genealogists, so I too can be a CG. Plan to start in mid 2020.

More on progress over time.

Certification Discussion Group Series 2019.3 Completed: First Step