It has been so much fun for me to research my family. Different than most people, I didn't know who they were. I was adopted at birth and did not have any idea where to start to find my birth/blood ancestry. So, my search has been in 'stages'; first, finding my birth connections; second, finding where they came from and how I ended up 'here' and; third, establishing the proof for my connection to these people. I have accomplished all three goals and I cannot begin to tell you the incredible sense of peace it has given me. I only wish I had this information as a young woman, I believe my life would have been so much different. Maybe I would not have lived it any different but the gnawing ache of 'not-knowing' would not have been there.
I hope you enjoy my 'findings' and we can make a 'connection'.
- Ben Silknitter (6 KB)
Ben's high school graduation picture.
- The home/farm where I grew up....... (17 KB)
I had the perfect life as a 'ranch girl'. This is where I spent the days of my youth, cradled in the beauty of Mt. Hood, the Columbia River, the city of Portland and the Willamette Valley. It was some of the richest farm soil found anywhere on this planet...and now it sits but a few years away from being covered over with blacktop.
- Minister Bartch leaves home (Germany) (78 KB)
He leaves family and friends and all that's familiar to him, headed for America.
- Henry Silknitter's grave (9 KB)
Salem Union church, near Dover, Lancaster co., PA
- Baby Doneva Shepard, circa 1936 (32 KB)
This is how it all started...or how it ended...well, anyway...from here on, my family will know who they are.
- Catherine Silknitter's grave (9 KB)
- Young Doneva (129 KB)
Photo of me taken by the famous photographer of women, Al Monner of Portland, OR
- Solomon Silknitter's signature (28 KB)
Solomon's consent for Ben F. to join up during the Civil war.
- Doneva 1998 (54 KB)
This is me now.....marching in downtown Portland for Adoptive rights; for the rights of all adult adoptees to know who their birth families are. Seems pretty 'basic' doesn't it. Yet, the Gov't says we don't have the right to know who our birth parents are...they're protecting a FEW mothers from knowing who their children are. Doesn't that seem unnatural to you? It does to me. So, I am excercising my 'right' to 'peaceful protest'.
- My birth-mother in her cafe (39 KB)
My birth mother, Helene Jeanne HASTINGS with her 2nd husband, Bill Younker, in their "Sourdough Cafe" in downtown Portland, circa 1950's. Look at the price of a meatloaf dinner, much different than today.
- The house Ben Silknitter grew up in (46 KB)
Originally owned by Ben's grandmother's 2nd husband, Isaac "Frenchy" Gratton, Ben's grandmother inherited it when he died. It is a fine example of the "old Portland" style home. It was located on Milwaukie avenue in Portland, OR
- Harriet Emma Bartlett (21 KB)
March 17, 1852, Palermo, NY
- Isaac "Frenchy" Gratton (30 KB)
He was a gambler, bar owner and owned a mill that manufactured boxes in Portland, OR. He was my great grandmother's 2nd husband and owner of the house on Milwaukie street until he died in 1927 leaving it to my great-grandmother.
- Will Bartlett (19 KB)
bro. to the above Harriet Emma Bartlett, b. 24 September 1855, S. Richland, Oswego, NY
- Doneva and horse, Billie Jean (75 KB)
Billie Jean was a 'wild horse' on the Eastern Oregon desert. I have pictures of her running free before she was captured and broke to ride. She was a blue roan pinto and I thought she was beautiful.
- Doneva in Molalla Buckeroo Queen outfit. (70 KB)
I designed this 'rodeo queen' outfit and the H bar C western clothes mfg.co. made it up for me. This picture was taken by a famous photographer of women, Mr. Al Monner of Portland, OR. Check those eyebrows. haha