Feature Story – Shirley Kaasa

An Abundance of Twins

As far as she knew, a cousin had boy-girl twins one year. The following year, Shirley had boy-girl twins.  A year later, another cousin had boy-girl twins – all on her mother’s side of the family. The tale doesn’t end there – Shirley’s daughter gave birth to twin boys, and Shirley’s granddaughter went on to . . . you guessed it, have twin boys.  Intrigued, her father in law suggested Shirley look into his side of the family to determine if there were any occurrences of twins.  Thus began Shirley Kaasa’s interest in family history research.

In resolving her father in law’s request, Shirley learned infant twins migrated with her husband’s great grandparents from Norway, but tragically one of the twins succumbed to illness while on board the ship.

Shirley inherited family Bibles as well as a family history book started in 1870 by her great grandmother, Ora Berthelda Cornelia Comstock.  The book was passed down to Shirley’s grandmother, who recorded family dates and events in the book until the 1950’s, when it was passed on to an aunt, who continued with the family record keeping.  Shirley was given the book and other family items in about 1970. Click below to hear Shirley describe her great grandmother’s book.

Letter Edged in Black

Historically, black edged envelopes, also known as ‘mourning letters’ were often used in the 19th and 20th centuries to communicate a notice of death.  They were also used to express sympathy or acknowledge condolences received.

Among the many family items passed on to Shirley is a letter given to her by her mother in law.  The letter edged in black is a handwritten notice of death of her mother in law’s grandfather.  The letter was sent from Norway to Minnesota in 1909.

Shirley became a member of The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR) in Portland and found that group to be a valuable resource for researching her father’s family.  She joined the Siuslaw Genealogy Society in 2010 and advises the correct attitude to have for all genealogists is ‘persistence, . . . just go for it’.

About siuslawgenealogy

The Siuslaw Genealogical Society of Florence, Oregon is a member supported, non profit organization. Researching genealogy and family history is our passion.
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One Response to Feature Story – Shirley Kaasa

  1. Jacquie Beveridge says:

    What an interesting article! Thanks to Shirley for sharing how her interest was initiated!

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