FAMILY TIES

Rock musician’s ancestors made instruments in Germany

Posted Oct. 13, 2012, at 11:08 a.m.
Roxanne Moore Saucier
Roxanne Moore Saucier

NBC did not renew “Who Do You Think You Are?” But if you receive CBC on cable or satellite, you may run across the Canadian version of the program.

Some months ago I saw an episode about National Hockey League star Don Cherry on a Saturday, and I saw another one Oct. 8 on rock musician Randy Bachman of Bachman Turner Overdrive and the Guess Who.

Bachman was the creator of possibly BTO’s best-known song, “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” which he wrote as kind of a joke. Of course it went on to be a No. 1 hit in the United States.

He first visited Winnipeg to learn more about his Ukrainian ancestors, the Stecko family, who came to Canada in 1907. Their experiences as immigrants of the times were impressed on him as he read newspaper accounts of Ukrainians seen as “dangerous elements” in the city.

He later went to Germany, taking children and grandchildren with him, wondering if his search might reveal a connection to composer Johann Sebastian Bach. It did not, but he did find some interesting ancestors.

Bachman’s great-grandparents were Friedrich Bachmann of Biere and Wilhelmina (Paul) of Thale, Germany, who were married in 1887. Friederich was a traveling carpenter, while his wife’s father was a fish merchant.

Friederich was the son of Wilhelm Bachmann, who was the son of Marta Christina Bachmann, who was not married. Her parents were Friederich Bachmann and Sabine (Stefan), the Stefans being instrument makers — of great interest to Randy Bachman.

Bachman was very pleased with his journey, saying, “I think everyone should do this. You find out who you are and you find out where you came from.”

Learning about the occupations of our ancestors can add so much to our family history. My great-great-great-great-grandparents, Stephen and Eliza (Porter) Hart, lived at 119 Conigree St. in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England.

Stephen was listed in the 1851 Census of England as a wool dyer, and Eliza a cloth binder. Daughter Sarah also was a cloth binder, and son Frederick a cloth worker. Son Henry later became a cloth dresser.

Son Alfred Hart, my great-great-great-grandfather, was a baker in 1851, but after coming to the United States worked in the textile mill in Dexter. His grandson, Stanley W. Roberts, also worked in mills and became an overseer.

Stanley’s daughter, my grandmother Edith (Roberts) Steeves, at one time worked in the textile mill in Sangerville. My grandfather, Stanley Steeves, worked for many years in the sample room at “the woolen mill” in Guilford. Both my parents and my brother worked for the mill at various times, and my sister is a longtime employee in the office of what is now True Textiles. That is six out of seven generations to work for textile mills in one capacity or another.

Members and guests of the Penobscot County Genealogical Society will be thinking about the occupations of their ancestors when historian and research associate Charles A. Scontras talks about the history of labor in Maine at the PCGS meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, in the Lecture Hall on the third floor of Bangor Public Library at 145 Harlow St.

Scontras taught modern society for many years at the University of Maine, and he was certainly one of the most memorable professors I ever met. His enthusiasm was compelling.

His areas of expertise include labor in the 1880-1900 period, and really all of the 19th and 20th centuries. He has written pamphlets and books in several areas, including child labor laws.

Those attending Wednesday’s program will leave with an understanding of how labor has affected Mainers has far back as 1636, whether they ever worked in a mill or not. I am looking forward to this program very much. All are welcome, and there is an elevator at the library inside the children’s department entrance on the right.

The John Libby Family Association held its 108th reunion the last weekend of September in Scarborough.

Attending both the reunion and the Maine Daughters of the American Revolution meeting in Saco was JLFA board member Marcia Libby Greiner, who is DAR state regent in Rhode Island.

Both Maine State Regent Virginia Spiller and her husband, Dexter, are Libby descendants. I guess that makes their daughter, DAR member Joy Spiller Norkin, a “Libby Libby.” Joy, who is DAR state chairman for conservation, has been known to portray Registered Maine Guide Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby on occasion, and she is certainly entitled. Joy is herself an RMG.

For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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