I grew up hearing my grandmother say, "I am Adelaide Copeland Harvey Richardson -- Copeland of the Copeland Ryder Shoes." So years later, when I got to wondering about "Copeland & Ryder Shoes," I googled it. I discovered there really was a Copeland & Ryder Shoe Company in Jefferson WI for many years and it had been sold to Dr Scholls Shoes in 1946. In 1868, George COPELAND and Lewis RYDER arrived in Jefferson WI, from Bridgewater MA, with plans to establish a shoe company. Their business was originally opened as the Jefferson Boot and Shoe Factory. I was looking for information on the Copeland's of the shoe company and discovered that, yes, they were her relatives. My grandmother, who was born in 1893 in Lake Mills WI, was a first cousin twice removed from George COPELAND.
In 2002, I checked to see if there was any local historical society that I might find in Jefferson and Lake Mills.
In my search for a local historical society, I got a letter from a local resident which started, "Hi Cousin!" Marie Copeland had been told by someone at the historical society "to get all the information together and send it to" me since she was also researching the COPELAND family. Starting in 2002, we sent information back and forth, comparing our own records on the Copeland family. Our relationship has continued over the years.
I arrived and she welcomed me as a long-lost relative who has finally come home. She had prepared for my visit. When I arrived she gave me a copy of a book on the history of Lake Mills WI, People Their Places & Things by Roland R Liebenow, M.D. Since there was no index, she had already gone through the whole book with a highlighter and picked out every mention of anyone named Harvey, Brun and Wegemann (other family connections) so we would be prepared for our first day of exploring.
The next morning she put me and her husband into the car and we headed for Lake Mills. She had called the cemetery ahead of time, and had made an appointment to meet someone there to show us where all the HARVEYs were buried. As we arrived, I commented: "We didn't stop at a bakery to take something to the nice caretaker who met us" -- no problem, she had planned ahead and took a bottle of wine out of the car trunk to give him. The next stop was the house my grandmother lived in as a young child (she not only highlighted the book but she checked out the address ahead of time -- this was before those handy GPS machines and Google Maps!). Here one of the mystery photos I had brought with me was identified!
|210 East Madison St, Lake Mills Wisconsin. My grandmother's first childhood home.|
We also visited the local library and the town Clerk's office to see the vital records.
The next field trip for the three of us was to explore Jefferson. She headed to the cemetery where the COPELANDs are buried and then we did a tour of the various houses in town that the large extended COPELAND family had lived in -- including all those aunts that my grandmother talked of so fondly. We headed to the vital records office and the town library and then we needed to go home because she had invited her whole family to dinner (her children, their spouses and children). A wonderful large family dinner -- much larger than any dinner in my experience, I never had any cousins or relatives in the same state in my childhood. Everyone graciously welcomed me.
The next morning, I got up ready to drive to Oconomowoc to try to find the cemetery where my WORTHINGTON family was buried. Much to my surprise, Marie, her husband and I made the trip. It was good she was driving. First of all she knew where Oconomowoc was located and knew the back roads to get there. Finding the cemetery wasn't easy; and sure enough, she had checked out where to find it.
My Genealogical Hostess from Heaven was definitely a blessing. I might have stumbled on all the information I gathered on my research trip to Wisconsin without Marie Copeland. But, I probably wouldn't have done it as efficiently or in three days. I was a real genealogical newbie at that point and didn't know all the questions to ask or to compile before taking the adventure. Best of all, I found a wonderful friend/distant family member and we have stayed good friends all these years.