Family Books:

 

My name is Lawrence Reinhold. My parents are Josephine and Carl Reinhold. There are twelve children in my family of which I am the oldest of the six youngest. There are eight girls and four boys. I am the youngest boy and have five younger sisters. The age range from the youngest to the oldest is sixteen years almost to the day. For a point of reference, the following are the twelve children from oldest to youngest: Judy, Richard, Barbara, Cary, David, Lois, Lawrence, Marlene, Carol, Carolyn, Kathleen & Valerie. We all had nicknames as children, and in some cases numerous nicknames. Some of those nicknames were not too flattering, but hey, we had fun. We grew up on a 320-acre dairy farm in Taylor County, Wisconsin, just outside the City of Medford. As kids, we worked on the farm until we graduated from high school. Then we left home. My parents sold our farm about one year after I graduated from high school. They moved to Blue Grass, Iowa. My five younger sisters moved with them.

Summary:

 

The Books would not have been possible without the burst of computer technology and the arrival of the Internet that occurred during that fifteen-year period. The Internet and email allowed me to access people and data that were otherwise unavailable to me, for example, all the Swedish and Norwegian researchers, and the federal homestead database. The advances in computer technology allowed me to do work I would have had to pay professionals to do. Originally, I planned to print all the Books in hard copy using a professional printer and graphics person. I planned to write the text, but I expected the graphics person to process all the pictures and handle the layout. I also expected the graphics person to work with the printer in printing the final Books. I obtained several bids over a 5-10 year period. The quotes were always high, actually too high to make printing a small number of the books realistic. By the time I was finally ready to print the Books, technology had progressed to the point where I could prepare the Books (text, graphics, & layout) in an electronic format myself. Printing them in an electronic format was realistic and perhaps preferred. Certainly, it was substantially less expensive. In the end, I prepared the Books in an electronic format compatible for commercial printing, printing using a home computer, or reading electronically. I burned the electronic files to DVDs and sent them to family members, and made them available through download from my website. None of this was possible when I started working on the Books.

 

I cannot say that I regret the inquiry into my family history, or the work required to create the Books. I worked over fifteen years on the material and spent at least $20,000, not to mention travel costs, or the number of software programs and the amount of computer hardware which I bought and had to learn, or the number of times the hardware and software changed over that fifteen-year period. Tanya Tan (Tanya is my wife. She is Chinese and immigrated from Malaysia) and I travelled to parts of the United States looking for family graves to collect information on those identified by their markers. We took photos of gravestones. We met with and collected photos from family members. I learned a lot about my family history from those folks. I spent hundreds of hours talking with extended family members and researchers by phone. I conversed by email and regular mail with them. I worked with many different people to collect and compile the information in the Books. Just managing a project of that size was an experience in itself.

 

 Learning my family history was interesting particularly when read in conjunction with early European and early American history. Researching my ancestors’ lives (including their wealth, religiosity, and children) brought insight, particularly in the context of world events. It was easy to see how world events devastated individual and family lives, especially economic events. I could see a young man’s aspirations wiped out by events so beyond his control that he and his family appeared to be nothing more than leaves blown away by a hurricane.

 

 The historic information definitely changed how I view an individual’s life. Still, though it was interesting, exciting, challenging and informative, I would never do it again, not ever! I believe my Aunt La Verne captured the essence of family research best when she said, “After all these years, I think the person who gains the most from the research is the person who did the research.”

 

 I spoke with other people about family research. One person was the fellow who help me make copy negatives and prints of the old family photos. He had just finished compiling and printing old family photos for his family. He said in reference to family research, “No good deed goes unpunished” and then he proceeded to tell me of his ordeal.

 

My own thought is, never do work for free. Then, why did I do it, and for free? Well, it caught my interest, especially the old photos. I wondered about the people in those photos, and the trials and tribulations which they endured. At the time, I was representing foreign nationals immigrating to the United States. I could see the burdens they endured. I listened to their reasons for immigrating. I wanted to understand, or at least, to try to understand my ancestors’ reasons, and to learn something about them. I spent a year or two reading numerous books on old European history, and considerable early American history for the areas where my ancestors lived. Learning the history helped me understand the time during which they lived, and why and how they moved to the United States from Europe, and why they moved across the United States. I also did the work for those who will come after me. I have no children, but there will be others like me who will wonder as I did.

 

Audio Files:

 

On June 9, 1975, two or three days after graduating from high school, I joined the United States Marine Corp. While I was in the military, I went through boot camp in San Diego, California and then I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California where I drove trucks for the infantry. Later, I went through Marine Security Guard training at Henderson Hall, Arlington, Virginia and served as a Marine Security Guard at the American Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, the Law of The Sea Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, and at the American Embassy in Bonn, Germany. My finally duty station before leaving the Marines was at Quantico, Virginia.

 

My family sent me audio tapes while I was overseas just has they had done for my brothers. My parents sent audio tapes to my brother, Rick, while he was serving in Vietnam and to my brother, David, while he was serving in Southeast Asia. Both were in the United States Air Force. I recall making those tapes and receiving them while I was still at home. I was pretty young at the time, but I looked forward to hearing from Rick and David. I know my parents and my sisters liked those tapes, too. I enjoyed hearing all about their exotic adventures in those faraway lands. Rick and David used to tell about their activities in the military, and with the local ladies. Rick told us about the fighting in Vietnam. His stories were scary stuff.

 

My parents continued the tradition of sending audio tapes when I left for overseas. I only wish more of those tapes had survived. The recording you are about to hear came from one of many tape recorded messages I received. Many of the tapes have not survived because of time and because, when a tape was received, it was listened to and then a new recording was made on the same tape, and the tape was sent back. As a result only four of these audio tapes have survived. One tape I made and sent to my parents, and my sisters who were still at home. One tape I made and sent to my sister, Marlene. There are two tapes which my mother and my sisters recorded.

 

The audio you are about to hear was made by my mother and two of my sisters. Carolyn talks about leaving home and finding and apartment and Valerie says hello and tells me about her grades. Of my five sisters, Marlene is just a little younger than me. Then comes the twins, Carol and Carolyn. Next is Kathy and Valerie is the baby of the family.

 

The following links are to Audio files from an audio tape made on November 21, 1977. I hope you enjoy listening to this tape. It was quite enjoyable receiving tapes like this one while I was overseas. This cassette tape was sent to me while I was in Bonn, Germany working at the American Embassy. The girl, Melody, that my mother refers to was a German girl I liked. Melody Ross was her name and she was my first love. I would have married her if things had turned out differently. In the end, her parents did not want her coming to the United States with me. They liked me a great deal and I do not think they had a problem with me marrying Melody, it was just that I was going to be leaving the military and was not sure what I would be doing after I left. Naturally, they did not want their only daughter moving away, and then, all the way across the ocean to another country. Maybe Melody and I would have been married if I had stayed in the Marines, or had I stayed in Germany. But as life had it, I was sent back to the United States and she stayed in Germany. I was heart sick.