Cheryl Jean Smith was born on May 22, 1951, in Kankakee, Illinois, the eldest child of Harold Smith and Janet Leinen. She married Michael Joseph McGowan, Sr. on March 30, 1968 in Momence, IL. They had two children, Michael Joseph McGowan, Jr., who died from a heart attack on May 17, 2015 and Nikki McGowan They divorced in May, 1971. She married Michael Richard Hess on May 22, 1987, in Kankakee, Illinois, and they renewed their vows at the First Baptist Church of Momence on May 21, 2017. She has one brother Kevin Eugene Smith and one sister Diane Rae Smith who died in a car accident on November 3, 1991.
College: Fresno State Married a hometown boy Career: Worked as a Compliance Officer, Branch Manager, and Safety Manager at a Bank with five locations Lived in: Hightstown, NJ, Wichita Falls, TX, Tucson, AZ, Fresno, Ca., and Momence, IL. Husband: Worked for the Veterans Center at Manteno, IL. USA Children: Son and Daughter (Son died three years ago) Grandchildren: 5 (2) Granddaughters, (3) Grandsons Great-Grandchildren: 2 G-Granddaughters I am married to the love of my life, and I thank God that my mother (85) is still going strong and is healthy.
When I asked my grandmother, Minnie where our family came from, she replied: Germany - period. I thought that was the end of it, until one Sunday after church. She asked if I wanted to go for a ride with her. She took me out to the cemetery where her family was buried. It was the first time I had ever seen a cemetery on Church property. It was a small little cemetery. The rows were crooked, and I couldn't read the names on the headstones. She showed me her mother's headstone. Everything was written in German. I saw her sister's, a brother's and we kept walking, until we stopped in front of a very old headstone. It was hard to even see the writing. Grandma told me it was her grandma's. I got choked up thinking about it. I thought to myself, here are four generations of women all in the same area, and until today, I didn't even know two of them existed. I began my genealogy journey..
Thirty-one years ago, I married my fabulous husband. His family's history was rich. They were early settlers of Momence, IL. USA, so pictures of them were very easy to find.
I started a site on Facebook dedicated to the History of our home town which has 3200 citizens. I soon had over 2000 members. It seemed that everyone was interested in history. As soon as I would post old pictures, the timeline would fill with questions, and the more research I would do.
I found some of my husband's relatives on the east and west coast, and some up north. I joined them and began writing a history book on the Hess family. I covered the mid-section of the country. We have traded pictures back and forth as we discover new family portraits.
I am the historian for our church - The First Baptist Church of Momence. I just finished writing it's history. First Baptist was the first church in this area having been founded in 1852. Most of my time is spent researching either history or genealogy. I love what I do, and wouldn't want to do anything else.
It has been quite a journey, these last thirty years. I have discovered that most of the time it is not the Hess family interested in the research, it is the Hess women (those of us who have married into the family).
|52 Ancestors - 2018|
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On 27 Nov 2018 at 17:44 GMT Debi (McGee) Hoag wrote:
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On 24 Nov 2018 at 07:08 GMT Jessica Key wrote:
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On 30 Oct 2018 at 13:46 GMT Abby (Brown) Glann wrote:
It looks like you already have the German Roots badge so you're set there. Otherwise, there isn't much we ask right now but to use reliable sources when improving or adding profiles. Thanks for joining us!
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