Welte Family History Research

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For over 40 years, I have been researching my family history. Now that I'm retired, I can devote more time and effort into more research, compilation, and organization of that work! Over the past 12 years, I have been very fortunate in teaching genealogy classes, along with my computer experience, at Blackhawk Technical College. I've also created a business - "Field of Genes" - a "Ride-N-Seek" experience to help other families find their own ancestors.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

52 Ancestors: #4 Teckla Carolyn Esterberg

I don’t remember much about my grandmother, my mom's mother, as she died when I was a young girl. Her name was Teckla Carolyn Esterberg, and she was born in 1886, in Huron, Dakota Territory, the daughter of Swedish parents who had immigrated to America in the late 1800s.

According to my mom, my grandmother was very regimented and stern. She was 38 years old in 1925 when she had my mom, but as she was the fourth girl, they had hoped for a boy. She always felt out of place as she felt she wasn't really wanted. Two years later, however, her parents were very happy when they finally got their boy, Wendell, in 1927.

My mom and Wendell were inseparable and went through a lot growing up in South Dakota and Minnesota. They were times that my mom would grow angry about and shake her head and say how such a bad time it was. Her dad would try to drown his problems with drink to help get him through the rough times, and my mom said that there were many of those! She was afraid of her dad when he had too much to drink and would sit on his lap and say how much she loved him. She did not want to get on the bad side of him because he would go off the deep end and talk about how angry and unlucky he was, and then he would take out his frustrations on her mom and her brother, Wendell.

In the spring of 1954, Teckla became very sick because of a series of strokes that affected her brain. My mother felt sad when she visited her mother in the hospital, because her mother didn't know who she was when she saw her.

I remember when my grandmother died in March of 1955, we went to Minneapolis for the funeral. I was, however, too young to actually attend the funeral so I stayed with other relatives. I remember many of those who came for the funeral were talking softly among themselves, reminiscing about fond memories, and then they would often use a tissue to wipe away tears. I was standing behind a wingback chair and I didn't know exactly why everyone was doing that, but I knew it was a very sad time and I was very happy not to be a part of it.

When we went past the cemetery on our way home, mom started to tear up and put a tissue up to her nose. I know she was having a rough time, knowing that her mom had just died. I believe that we were in our 1951 Mercury at the time and I remember my dad turning to her and telling her to calm down a little, not be so emotional, and that everything would be alright.

Teckla with Wendell, Johnny (her grandson), and Beryl (my mother)


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