Hello! my name is Annie and I am a kin keeper. I strengthen my family by preserving stories and traditions. This takes the form of sharing genealogical research, cooking my great-grandmother’s recipes, and posting family photo on Instagram.
My family history journey started all the way back in high school. I was awkward and incredibly shy. I often spent my lunch by myself in the empty fifth floor hallway of my high school. One weekend, I was having dinner at my grandparents house and my grandma offered to let me borrow her grandmother’s handwritten life history. I love history and beautiful cursive, so I accepted her offer. Little did I know that my life was about to completely change paths!
That weekend, I found a new hero and wonderful friend in my great-great-grandma, Thea Waagen. I was captivated by her story. First I learned that she loved picking wild strawberries in the fields of Minnesota (strawberries are my favorite!) and then I learned she had curly locks of blonde hair that mother threatened to chop off if she resisted brushing her hair (same with me!). It quickly became apparent that I was a lot like this incredible women who I had never even met.
The more I came to know Thea, the more I came to love her. Grandma Thea was the daughter of Norwegian immigrants and sadly, her father died just a few months before her birth. Thea’s life was filled with great trials, but she always kept moving forward. She inspired my shy teenage self to work through through awkwardness and become the passionate genealogist today. I can’t wait to share some of her inspiring story with you in coming posts.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since that fateful weekend eight years ago, it’s that doing the little things to preserve my heritage makes the biggest difference. I hope you’ll join me on this kin keeping journey!