In June 2021 I talked to the UMRA Family History Interest Group about how I documented the story of my great grandfather, George Swift, who joined the 3rd Minnesota Regiment at the start of the Civil War in 1861and returned to Minnesota four years later after serving as the drummer boy of the Ohio 69th Regiment.
It was a complicated story as George was never officially listed on the register of the 3rd Minnesota and was listed as George Stringer in the records of the Ohio 69th.
I have expanded that presentation in two subsequent publications
- In Fall 2021 Hennepin History magazine ran a brief story about My great-grandfather: A 13-year old in the Civil War.
- Now UMRA JOIE has published a longer version of that story with expanded details* and methodology. See Tracing the History of a Civil War Ancestor.
One new detail
George Swift married Carrie Axtell, one of 11 kids in the graduating class of Minneapolis High School in 1877. Thomas S. Roberts was the class valedictorian and went on to write The Birds of Minnesota and found the Bell Museum. Minneapolis named its Bird Sanctuary after him. Here is Carrie Axtell’s high school graduation Class Picture.
For 2023 grant year, the UMRA PDGR Committee reviewed 10 applications for Professional Development Grants for Retirees. The applications covered a diverse set of topics and goals. The PDGR Committee recommended that nine be funded in April 2023. The recipients represented the Morris and Twin Cities Campus. The awardees and grant abstracts are listed on the 2023 PDGR Abstracts page.
In mid-July, a hacker on the “dark web” claimed they had gained access to University records with more than seven million Social Security numbers. Here’s what you can do if you are concerned about the security of your records and online identity.
Meet UMRA member Paul Ranelli, a man of many talents. His LinkedIn profile identifies him as professor emeritus, Santa Claus, photographer, voice talent, and public address announcer. Funny AND educated!
With this year’s World Series coming up soon, UMRA member Ron Matross is savoring memories of sharing America’s pastime with his son at the old Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis in the 1980s. Those were glory days for the Minnesota Twins.
UMRA members have logged nearly 200 hours of volunteer service to the University and broader community through the Silver Gopher Service Corps since its launch six months ago.
How I learned, this summer, that my great aunt, one of my paternal grandfather’s sister, was included in a fresco at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. As far as I know she is the only relative of mine who is part of a fresco anywhere in the world.
Meet UMRA member Joni Mitchell, no relation to the “other” Joni Mitchell but there is an interesting connection.
Applications for UMRA’s 2024 Professional Development Grants for Retirees competition will be accepted beginning October 1. Funding of up to $5,000 per grant is available.
Sneak Preview Days have been happening at the University for many years. This year, adding 18 UMRA Silver Gopher Service Corps volunteers put a new twist on the welcome. Who better to provide a friendly greeting and lend a helping hand than those of us who have spent our careers at the University?
One of the great benefits that come with UMRA membership is the discounted rate for parking in University parking facilities. Forgotten whether you’ve already renewed your UMRA membership for 2023–24? It’s easy to check online.
Eric Hockert and Ron Matross represented UMRA at the 2023 Big Ten Retirees Association Conference held at UW–Madison in late July. They enjoyed sharing ideas and practices with the other conference attendees, and came away with several ideas worth pursuing.
The UMRA Board has selected Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville as the location for five of our in-person luncheon forums in the coming year, in part because of the high marks those who attended last year’s forums gave the location for its food, service, and easy and free parking.
As retirees, we are all learning to adapt to a world that seems to change on a daily basis. So, the editorial committee of the Journal of Opinions, Ideas & Essays (JOIE) is inviting UMRA members to share their thoughts on resilience via a short essay.