Recalling pleasant things and taking the time to dwell on them.
Our Boller Story: From the Heartland of Europe to the Heartland of America.
Congratulations, my dear Boller grandchildren! You’ve become the first seven children to be born into the eighth generation of Bollers here in America! In these writings, I want to give you an overview of the family you have been born into. Hopefully, someday in your future, you will be able to add your own stories to this one and pass Our Boller Story into the hands of your children and grandchildren, just as we are doing right now for you.
Genealogy. That’s a big word. What’s it mean?
The study of your family heritage. Some people think of it as tracing your family tree – going back generation by generation, following all the names (surnames or last names) of those people who are a part of your family. For example, both your mom and dad have two parents each, which gives you four grandparents. Now, it starts to get complicated. Your four grandparents each had two parents, so you actually have eight great-grandparents, sixteen great, great (gg) grandparents, thirty-two great, great, great (ggg) grandparents, and so on. And that doesn’t even begin to cover all these people’s brothers and sisters! See how the family tree gets bigger and bigger by just going back a few generations?
That’s why, today, there are two ways to track a family heritage: #1) the paper trail of individual family members – this is the source by which Our Boller Story was written. And #2) your DNA – which traces family lineage by comparing your DNA sample with others – helping track, not individuals, but broader family bloodlines. Click here to see our personal DNA results.
After my parents – George & Dixie Boller – passed away in the early 1990’s, I decided to gather up all the papers and books they had kept over the years, sit down with it all, and try to chart out a Boller family tree. Those who are experts in genealogy say the first thing to do is to write down every fact that you can remember about everyone in your immediate family. That in itself is a pretty tough job, but I was fortunate that my parents had kept a lot of data that helped me in the writing down of most of those facts – birth dates and locations, dates of marriages, and dates and locations of deaths.
As my tree of information got bigger, I finally had to decide which family line I would focus on. Between my parents – George Boller & Dixie Boyer – and Grandma Sandy’s parents – Jack Unrue & LaVonne Holm – I had way more info on the Boller side than any other, and since my last name is Boller, I decided to concentrate my efforts there. Since then, with the help of Ancestry.com, we’ve now discovered even more information, some that takes my Boyer side, for example, all the way back to the 1500’s!
My father, George Boller, had done a really good job in writing down a lot of family dates, so I was fortunate to have that pile of papers to begin my research. Yet, when it came to going beyond my gg grandfather, Jacob Boller’s time, my dad’s notes left a lot to be desired. All I had about the earliest of Our Boller Story was one line of information that my father had written down…
“(Jacob’s) parents wereGeorge and _____ (Zook) Boller, but this is not verified.”
Fortunately, in the late 1990’s, with the advent of computers and the internet, more family records were now available to me on-line. Eventually, I not only found helpful on-line sources that confirmed a lot of what my dad had written down, but I also uncovered some wonderful new and exciting facts – particularly about Jacob Boller’s parents – that just blew me away. It was so exciting to discover long-lost family resources which gave me many of the bits and pieces of information you’ll find within Our Boller Story.
One of the most exciting finds was linked to Goshen, Indiana – Grandma Sandy’s home – where a wonderful historian, Wanda Kauffman Hoffman, knew about my ggg grandfather, George F. Boller’s burial site, and helped me locate a copy of his last will and testament! Click here for more on that story. In my home, I have several storage containers for all the papers, pictures and documents that have gone into writing Our Boller Story. It’s from these countless resources that I share with you, now, this six-chapter historical account of the first six generations of Bollers living in America…