Foto's: A Most Unusual Day

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A Most Unusual Day

I will start this story with an incident that happened about 2 or 3 years ago. One day I had an e-mail from a man I had never heard of who had gotten my e-mail address from a genealogy website. He was looking for information on the family of one of my father’s uncles. I had the information but before I sent it to him I asked him who he was and why he wanted this information.

He was Jerry Keeney, married to Sandy Keep Keeney. He replied that his wife’s grandfather (John Fransen) was a brother to dad’s uncle’s wife (Teunis “Thomas” and Geessiena “Christina” Fransen TerHark. Much to my surprise, as we e-mailed each other, we discovered that this man lived at Freeport, Illinois … 15 miles from our home in Shannon. Even more surprising was the fact that my husband, Ron, graduated from Freeport High School in 1957, this man graduated from there in 1958, and I graduated from there in 1959. However, we had never met. Then we found out that my grandmother, Janna Nieman, was a sister to Sandy’s grandmother, Trientje “Catherine” Nieman Fransen.

Jerry and I continued to e-mail each other and work on genealogy for about a year, then I didn’t hear from him for a number of weeks.

One day about two years ago, I was sitting in the volunteer room at the Freeport Hospital when a man walked past the door, looked in, stepped away, came back, stood in the doorway and looked at me smiling and motioned to me.

He had difficulty speaking. It turned out that it was Jerry Keeney … this was the first time we’d met in person. He was recovering from a stroke. He knew I volunteered at the hospital and he looked me up as he was on his way from therapy. I walked with him to his car where Sandy was waiting for him. This was the first time I’d ever met her - my second cousin. I asked Jerry how he recognized me. The week before Ron and I had been on an outing and I e-mailed a picture of us to Jerry and Sandy. That’s how he recognized me.

I only heard from Jerry occasionally after that.

This morning I was volunteering again. As I walked towards the front of the hospital a man approached me near the elevator. I thought he was looking for directions. He had difficulty speaking. He opened a folder and pulled out a paper. I had no idea what he wanted. As he handed me the paper I realized he was Jerry Keeney (The lettering on his shirt should have been a clue … KEENEY! Some days I’m slower than others.)

He had recently come across the article pictured here. The man in the article is my great-grandfather (who was no relation to either Jerry or Sandy). We never knew where he is buried, but dad always thought it was at North Grove Cemetery, rural Forreston. This says Besemeier cemetery. I think that it might be Biesemeier Cemetery, but find no listing under either name … not in Stephenson County cemeteries or in Ogle County Cemeteries. I did find a Biesemeier website listing some names that were familiar to my dad. I’m wondering if this was a family cemetery on someone’s farm. I will continue trying to find this cemetery.

Eigenaar/BronNancy Wagand
Datum27 mei 2009
PlaatsShannon, IL
Latitude (Breedte)42.126083
Longitude (Lengte)-89.579047
Dimensies500 x 1330
Verbonden metFriderik ter Harkel of Arkel

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