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                 May, 2009

      Charles Hansen, Editor

      Newsletter Archives   |  E-mail                    

  — by Charles Hansen

        Most of our ancestors were farmers so spring was a time they looked forward to. Spring planting was one of the big chores of the spring and then the spent the rest of the spring and summer tending the crops to make sure they had a good harvest in the fall. Spring meant plowing and planting. Plowing for our ancestors was a lot of hard back breaking work, not the way it is today with huge tractors that can plow a hundred acres before lunch. Then they planted the crops, and prayed for good weather till they were harvested. This was the life our ancestors lived and some prospered, but many moved on after the land was worn out.

        As more land was opened up out west our ancestors migrated across the country. I assume most everyone has seen the various migration trails and our ancestors followed these trails. I went to a conference years ago and the session on migration trails was different in that the speaker was saying that a lot of our ancestors migrated to an area with similar weather and growing conditions. The speaker then brought out a modern planting zones map and had an overlay with the major migration routes our ancestors used and the migration routes followed the planting zones. Our ancestors stayed close to the zone they were used to, as they knew how to plant and grow crops in that zone.

        My ancestors were mainly from Denmark, Holland and Great Britain and most all of them stayed in the northern part of the United States as they migrated across the country. Today with our satellite weather reports I have the weather report for the town near where my grandfather was born in Denmark, and I have been surprised how close the weather here in Spokane is to the weather in the Humble parish of Denmark.

        When the railroad came to Washington in the 1880s they had land to sell, the railroad received a square mile of land for each mile of track they laid. The railroad sent people to Europe looking for people that lived in an area with similar climate that were interested in owning their own land. At the same time the Russians were trying to get rid of the Germans they had encouraged to settle in Russia and so a lot of Germans from Russia settled in the dry land in central Washington, and even today there are a lot of Germans in that area and they raise all kinds of crops on the land irrigated with water from the Columbia River.

        Did your ancestors migrate across the country? Did they follow a planting zone? Is the weather where your ancestor was born similar to where they settled in? Do they grow crops similar to where they were born? Did they move for land?

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