Fearless Females: Happy Birthday, Grandma!!

This is my entry for Day 26:  Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

March 26 — What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

My grandmother Myrtle Hazel Dempsey, née Roop, would have turned 108 today. She was born 26 March 1906.

youngMyrtle
1919 Myrtle Hazel Roop

She had eight years of formal education according to the 1940 census. Her education did not end when she walked out of the schoolroom for the last time.

1959 023
1959 Myrtle with granddaughter Cathy

She continued learning by living and became a strong influence in the lives of her family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances.

Grandma's passport picture for her trip to Europe in 1971
1971 Myrtle Hazel Roop

She was one smart lady! The things she knew and could do weren’t taught in school. She learned skills and passed them on to her children and grandchildren.

Golden Wedding Anniversary - 20 January 1973
1973 Myrtle and husband Fred R. Dempsey

She was a wonderful cook and caregiver. She played the piano. She could sew, crochet, knit, and quilt. She taught Bible class.

Cathy with her Grandma
1977 Myrtle with granddaughter Cathy

Her education lasted 91 years 4 months and 18 days. She died 13 August 1997.

Grandma
Myrtle Hazel Roop Dempsey Boles 1906-1997

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Fearless Females: Bomi’s Resistance Amulette

This is my entry for Day 6:  Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

My grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE married Nicolas WILDINGER, a German whose family had been living in Luxembourg since the first World War, on the 26th of July 1935. A month later she made a declaration to preserve her Luxembourgish nationality. In May 1936 her only child was born. When her daughter was five years old Marcelle’s husband died of tuberculosis. She had at least one offer of marriage but remained a widow from 1941 until her death in 2005 at the age of 95 years, 7 months, 10 days.

1942 ca. Mom+Bomi 1
Mom and Bomi in the 1940’s

Bomi, as her grandchildren called her, was a fearless female during World War II (1939-1945). On May 10th, 1940, the German Wehrmacht invaded Luxembourg. On the eve of this invasion the Prime Minister of Luxembourg and his government decided to go into exile. From abroad, they lead the resistance against the Nazi regime in Luxembourg. Grand Duchess Charlotte followed the government and eventually moved to London, the headquarters of the allies. Thanks to her, the resistance movement in Luxembourg developed strongly.

Amulette from WWII 1 front
Bomi’s Spéngelskrich or
“War of the Pins” amulette
(front view)
Amulette from WWII 2 back
Bomi’s Spéngelskrich or
“War of the Pins” amulette
(back view)

The people of Luxembourg had their own ways to resist the German occupation of their country during World War II. They used passive resistance. They refused to speak German and participated in the Spéngelskrich [see page 14] or “War of the Pins.” The people wore badges, pinned to their coats or jackets, which bore patriotic emblems such as the Red Lion or the head of Grand Duchess Charlotte, cut from a coin. My Bomi, Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE, wore this amulette, a profile of the Grand Duchesse with the initial C for Charlotte, on a chain around her neck until her death in 2005.

Bomi told us several stories about her life during this time. Once on the evening of January 23rd all of the neighbors met in her house to celebrate the birthday of Grand Duchess Charlotte. The windows were covered so that no light could be seen from the street but the German patrol could hear the celebrating. They knocked on the door and asked what was going on. Bomi told them that they were celebrating her birthday. It’s a good thing they didn’t check her identification as her birthday was June 17th. She asked the Germans to join them in a glass of wine. She would laugh when she told us how the Germans raised their glasses to the birthday girl, not knowing that they were toasting the Grand Duchess.

Bomi was a seamstress and during the war the German officers’ wives would come to her to have their clothes made or altered. Once shellfire had caused damage to the roof of her house and she needed roofing material to have it fixed. She went to the Germans to apply for aid. The officer in charge wasn’t very forthcoming. My fearless Bomi “threatened” him saying that the next time his wife needed a new dress she wouldn’t be able to help her unless he helped her now. The officer’s wife must have also been a fearless female because he handed over the papers Bomi needed to pick up the supplies.

© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Fearless Females: 27 Female Ancestors Share My First Name!

This is my entry for Day 3:  Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

My first name is Catherine and I share it with the following 27 ancestors (mostly maternal, only 5 are paternal and marked with an *):

mother, Catherine Josette WILDINGER
great-grandmother, Catherine PÖPPELREITER
great-grandmother, Catherine FRANTZ
3rd great-grandmothers, Maria Katharina GROELINGER
3rd great-grandmothers, Catherine SCHRAMEN
3rd great-grandmothers, Marie Catherine PHILIPPART
4th great-grandmother, Maria Catharina SCHUMACHER
4th great-grandmother, Catharina HAMES
4th great-grandmother, Catharina CORNELY
4th great-grandmother, Anne Catherine HENNES
4th great-grandmother, Catherine MEUNIER
5th great-grandmother, Katharina KLEIN
5th great-grandmother, Maria Katharina HUSS
5th great-grandmother, Catherine Barbara NOLL *
5th great-grandmother, Catherine SINGER
5th great-grandmother, Catherine ARENT
5th great-grandmother, Marie-Cathérine HASTERT
6th great-grandmother, Catharina RONES
6th great-grandmother, Catherine PLICKENSTALVER *
7th great-grandmother, Marie Catherine [–?–] HUSS (descended from her twice)
7th great-grandmother, Catherine SETON
7th great-grandmother, Anne-Catherine ECKART
8th great-grandmother, Catharina KUENZ *
8th great-grandmother, Katharina B. [–?–] BLICKENSDOERFER *
8th great-grandmother, Catherine LEPINE
9th great-grandmother, Catherine RATZEN
12th great-grandmother, Katherine (Honeywood) FLEETE *

© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.