Family history. Stories. Tall tales. All connected through the memories of those of us who are still living. Trying, in some small way, to preserve them for our future generations.

This project is a sort of Family Time Capsule.

In an attempt to save a family history that will soon be lost if we don’t write it down, a few of us in the family have decided to start documenting the memories of our recent past, along with the stories we can find of our ancestors. As we have been searching for our ancestors and filling in our family tree, we have realized that a lot of these people are just names. We would love to know what they were really like, what drove them, what they were passionate about … but until we find diaries or letters or notations in genealogy books, we may never know.

This is a one year project. (yeah, right …)

A project like this could go on and on and then dwindle off and get lost. The goal of this blog is to create a database of family stories and photographs and out of that, create a book for future generations.

We may not be the most interesting generation in our family, but we hope to be the most well documented.

This day in history.

As family members send in their stories, recipes, historical documents, and photographs, they will be posted on the appropriate day that relates to the information. Biographies will be posted on birthdays, unless we don’t know the birthday, then the death date. Fish Friday recipes will be posted on Fridays. Christmas stories and recipes through December. Sunday picnic stories on Sundays in the summer. You get the idea.

Who we are documenting.

Our immediate family surnames are: Kradel, Keck, and Oesterling.

Our ancestor family names through the Kecks and Oesterlings include, but aren’t limited to: Bachman, Umstead, Dunbar, Lawrence, Priest, Crooks, Ripper, Dingeldein, Koegler, Roegnik, Tyson, Op den Graff, Godschalk, Pennebacker, Nash, and quite a few more.

Our ancestor family names through the Kradel line include, but aren’t limited to: McClung, Ralston, Nicholas, Sharp, Frederick, Robinson, Beatty, Elder, and that list goes on too.

About the first header image.


The image above is sometimes in the header and is of the old family house where Harry and Florence Kradel lived their entire adult lives in Winfield Township in western Pennsylvania. They raised five children and tended to ten grandchildren in that house and got to know some great-grandchildren too. This house was the center of the family, the hub. All family news was relayed through, and radiated out from here. It was the place where everyone spent their Sunday afternoons and many holidays. It was the refuge that everyone came to when they needed a break or a place to stay. Florence never turned anyone away – family, friends, and friends of family were welcome here.

Gatherers of information.

Grandma Kradel (standing) and her sister Sarah Bachman (sitting) had a love for family history and genealogy. We’re only now realizing how much they knew. It’s from them that we take all of their information and add to it.

grandmaandsaraSarah Keck Bachman and Florence Keck Kradel in 1994.

Why Chasing Our DNA?

I went off to Prague one year to chase down my roots on my mother’s side of the family. After coming back, I wrote two stories, both titled Chasing My DNA (I & II). The idea of genealogy, looking for family history, is a bit like chasing, or maybe more like playing hide and seek, catching up to the information that lays hidden, lying in wait, for one of us to find it – or not.