Tag Archives: Genealogy


30 Jun


Judy Wills

Have you ever thought about your family name? Where did it come from?  Has it been changed or “revised” through the ages?

My family name has done just that.  One of my father’s siblings did a genealogy research some years ago, and found the name of our original immigrant from Germany in the 1700’s.  The original name was Leitzinger.  I have so much regret that I wasn’t that interested in genealogy while we spent those six years in Germany to do any searching on my own.  Time wasted.

In any case, Leitzinger was changed to Leitsey, and eventually down to Lites, which is my maiden name…as well as my brother’s name.  I kind of like it – it is unusual, and there are many, many relatives throughout the United States.

But that brings me back to my topic – Cooper. Did you know that, back in the Middle Ages (and probably before), people were named for their occupation?

The blacksmith in the village was called “Smith.” 

Credit to Pixabay and Image by jacqueline macou

The baker was called “Baker.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by jacqueline macou

The one who fashioned crockery was the “Potter.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by cstibi

The one who worked with stone was the “Mason.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Henryk Niestrój

The one who made your clothing was the “Tailor.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Erik Lyngsøe

The one who made rugs and tapestry was the “Weaver.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Sabine van Erp

 And so on. However, the one I want to talk about today is the Cooper.  

Credit to Pixabay and Image by kaufcom

According to Google search and ThoughtCo. – The surname Cooper is an English occupational name for one who made and sold casks, buckets and tubs. The name derives from the Middle English couper, cowper, adapted from Middle Dutch kuper, a derivative of kup, meaning “tub” or “container.” Cooper may also be an Anglicized version of a similar sounding surname such as the Dutch Kuiper, or the Jewish Kupfer or Kupper.

What brought this to mind, was that I learned about “cooper” while we visited Colonial Williamsburg many years ago.  Since then, I have seen several restaurants named “Cooper” or Cooper’s” – and the symbol on the restaurant sign is a barrel.  I mentioned that to my mother once, while I was visiting her in Albuquerque. We saw a sign for “The Cooperage ” and it had the barrel on it.  She had no idea. 

Credit Google Search and the cooperage website

 Even Cracker Barrel uses the barrel in their sign:

And so, even today, when I see the name “Cooper” I visualize a barrel.   I just found that to be interesting.  Perhaps not to you, but it is to me.

Credit to Pixabay and  Image by Herm

The large cask in the Heidelberg Castle – large enough to have a dance floor on top. Fred says he has walked on top, and his parents danced on it.

Credit to Pixabay andImage by K. H. J. / MCI.

Old postcard drawing.  It holds 221,726 liters of wine.

The large cask in the Heidelberg Castle – large enough to have a dance floor on top.

Think about your surname – see if you can find where it came from – and where your ancestors are from.  Interesting stuff.

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

My Parents in a Nutshell

14 Oct

My Take

DiVoran Lites

When they were six years old Ivan and Dora became playmates in their Canon City, Colorado neighborhood. When they were fourteen and their Author, Poet and Artistparents took them to the Fireman’s Ball a spark was struck that would warm them for the rest of their lives.

Three years after graduating from high school they were married in April of 1937 and set up housekeeping in Lovelock, Nevada. Ivan was a meat-cutter at Safeway and Dora worked in the commercial laundry downtown. DiVoran was born in October, 1938.

In April 1939 Dora’s dad died and they moved back to Canon City. There Ivan worked at the gas plant. David was born in June of 1941.

The next move was to Crowley, Colorado. Ivan kept the machinery running at the tomato factory while Dora fed the crew their noon meal for five dollars a week each. They raised chickens and goats to help with milk and eggs.

In 1944 World War II became personal. Ivan joined the infantry that slogged, in mud up to their knees, all over Europe while Dora and the children lived upstairs over Ivan’s parents in their apartment house in Canon City. Dora picked apples and did odd jobs as they came up.

When the war was over and Ivan came home, they bought Min’s Café and moved to Westcliffe, Colorado. After a few years, they purchased the old train station and renovated it. The family moved there and they rented out rooms downstairs. Ivan learned to fly and bought a Piper Cub which crashed on Pike’s Peak one cold winter day. Ivan and friend, Sweak Jeske walked away from the crash, even though Ivan’s heel was broken.

Toward the end of 1951 Ivan and Dora sold the café. For a while Ivan was a molybdenum  miner in Leadville and Dora clerked at Tomsick’s Hardware in Westcliffe.

A break came when Ivan got hired on as a security guard for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in Los Alamos, New Mexico. At first, Dora worked in a jewelry store, but she soon got on as a bomb sample counter with the AEC.

By 1955 Ivan was promoted to courier, which required a move to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dora’s job with Sandia Corporation had her shredding secret documents by hand.

By 1960 Ivan’s job took them to Livermore, California. There, Dora got a job with Lawrence Laboratories sorting microfilm.

Both retired from government jobs in 1975. Ivan bought a commercial salmon trawler and they moved to Fort Bragg. Dora kept house, gardened, and raised chickens. She had time to do a bit of beach combing while Ivan was fishing.

When fishing was no longer good, they bought a vacuum cleaner store in Vista, California. But Ivan wanted to try commercial fishing one more time, sold the store and became a lobsterman. When they finally retired they fished every summer at a remote location. For years it was in Washington state, then it was Salton Sea in Colorado, and their last place was Sapinero at Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado. They lived long full lives, died peacefully in Vista, and went to Heaven to be with our Lord, where we will most certainly see them again someday.

Investigating Family Ties~Part 3

7 Oct

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Mother’s other grandmother was Florenda Jane Bingham Bedell Britton. Anyhow, Florenda Jane was born April 6, 1847. When Dora was six years old Author, Poet and Artistand her grandmother came for a visit, she came to Dora’s room every night and they kneeled by the bed and prayed together. That TLC, Mother said, was what helped her want to become a Christian later in life. Florenda Jane belonged to the Church of God Holiness. I assume from the name they were what we now call charismatic. Florenda Jane died December 28, 1936 at eighty-nine years of age. I was born two years after she died. I wish I had known her. We’ll all sit down and have a fine chat in Heaven some day. Please join us when the time is right.

One of my mother’s grandfathers was Ezra Marshall Bedell. He was born in Syracuse New York in 1844. During the Civil War he was taken prisoner for eight years.

This brings us to Mother’s parents, Mabel and Roger Bedell. They lived on an apple ranch just outside town and settled in to raise apples, vegetables, chickens, a few cows, a son, and two daughters. Roger was manager of the Gas Company from 1917 until the town got electricity. They made water gas. The formula came down through the family, but I’m glad I don’t have to make it in order to have lights and cooking fuel. If the light over the dining room table began to dim, it was time for Roger to get the machines going again.

During the Great Depression, relatives who needed a place to stay came and went. My family has a history of feeding other people. I imagine if you investigate, your family does too. In those days, if you had food, you shared it. Now you can share knowledge with your children about their ancestors. It will make them stronger and more self-confident, especially if they hear stories about how their relatives loved and served Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Investigating Family Ties~Part 2

23 Sep

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Even though I haven’t studied it in depth, I do know that genealogy can be exciting and interesting, especially if you have a passion for history. If it is your own history, you can enjoy it even more.

My Mother’s grandparents lived with Mother’s family in their old age. Mother was named for her grandmother, Dora Bell. One day when we were in that hometown, we went past a small house on the main road where Dora Bell once had her own shop. She sold gifts and items she had designed and crocheted herself. She was very creative and she taught my mother to crochet too. Neither of them ever used a pattern.

For fun, they made tiny dresses, teddies, shawls, coats and hats for Mother’s, “Little Dolls.” She had homemade furniture and other clothes as well. When I was a child, I got to play with the “Little Dolls.” I remember the non-crocheted hats best. They had deep crowns and wide brims and must have been the fashion in the 1900s. I like seeing that type of hat in pictures. I think it’s still my favorite style.

My playing with Mother’s dolls, and the fact that she and her grandmother made the clothes made a wonderful continuity in my life. So did Mother’s story telling. I feel as if I know my great-grandmother, Dora-Bell as well as any other member of the family, though I was only four years old when she died. It gives me a warm feeling of belonging, and I understand characterization mostly because of my mother’s stories.

Dora Bell loved her family deeply. When she grew old and frail she wanted them around her as much as possible. Mother said when she was a teen-ager Dora Bell would get ill whenever Mother went away for a short time. Once when Mother went shopping in the next town, Dora Bell had a heart attack and Mother was convinced it was because she left her. They both survived. Maybe it wasn’t even a heart attack, perhaps it was a panic attack.

In a way, I can understand that and relate to her, but in another way, I can’t. Her first husband left her with two daughters to rear, and that was enough to traumatize anyone. I’ve been to the cemetery where Dora Bell is buried next to her second husband whom everyone dearly loved. Her daughter, my grandmother is there along with my grandfather and my other two grandparents plus some other relatives. My parents are there too. I don’t know, it all just gives me a feeling of belonging that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

So there’s another plus for knowing where you came from and where your ancestors came from too. What do you know about your family history? Does it give you a feeling of belonging too?

%d bloggers like this: