Book review by Edna Boardman, Bismarck, North Dakota
Aberla, George P. Pioneers and Their Sons: One Hundred Sixty-Five Family Histories, Vol. 1. Pioneers and Their Sons: One Hundred Family Histories, Vol. 2. 1963.
These two books contain essays that record the histories of individual families. They are a treasure trove for genealogists whose families settled in western North Dakota in the St. Joseph parish at Dickinson. Msgr Aberle is a conscientious workman. Beginning with individual men, he notes occupation, place of origin in Russia, a bit about their lives there, and their family's coming to America. He continues, in each entry, with lots of family names, each man's parents, spouse(s), and children, and the name of the officiating clergyman and witnesses at each wedding. He notes the men's business and achievements and identifies some individual quality about each of them. He endeavors to set each family into its historical context. Finally, in each sketch, he records their politics, religion, and the size of their families.
Volume II is undated, to the user's considerable frustration, but is intended as a next-generation follow-up to Volume I. It begins with bio sketches of the priests who served St. Joseph parish, and the most recent date of their service is 1965. 1968 is mentioned in some entries. One is bemused by some of the entries--again written before politically correctness. Female children's husbands' names are given, but not the names of the wives of male children. He recalls events in his book of history as he tells their individual stories, and feels free to make subjective judgments. "To their children they gave a good parochial elementary and public high school education and fine Christian training." He clearly respects and admires the persons of which he writes. A strength of these bio sketches, as of his book of history and the first volume of biographies, is that Msgr. Aberle carefully puts his families into their historical context. There is a name index in each volume.