2013-02-07 / Columns

From the Heartland

By Allan Burke

Highs this week should range from 23 to 38 degrees with lows in the 8- to 21-degree category. Snow showers are mentioned, and wind is expected to be from 8 to 14 miles per hour. After the recent wind-driven sub-zero weather, these temperatures will feel pretty good. We’re still waiting for significant snowfall, and none is in the 10-day forecast as of Sunday.

Name dropping

We are able to claim the two Super Bowl coaches, brothers John and Jim Harbaugh, as relatives, albeit very distant. My great-grandmother,Anna Burke, was a Herbaugh from Nebraska. The Harbaugh/ Herbaugh family originated in what is now Switzerland and Germany, and they came to America prior to 1700.

The ancestor the coaches and the Burkes have in common is Johann Yost Harbaugh from around 1700. I believe he was the son of Yost Harbaugh. The name “Yost” was used either as first or middle names for several generations. We have a picture of Yost Harbaugh’s barn, but I’m not sure yet of his generation.

Being a 200th (or so) cousin, I fully expected to receive free Super Bowl tickets in the mail prior to the big game. We were prepared to sit in the family box with the rest of the Harbaughs, but no tickets came in the mail. I’m sure that must have been an oversight.

Finding the clan

The nice thing about the Herbaugh/Harbaughs is that we are all related, although not always closely. A name like Burke is so common that it is difficult to trace through the generations. The Herbaugh/Harbaughs are so much easier to track, and there have been multiple family history books prepared over the years.

When I went to the Internet to stake my claim to the NFL big shots, I found in about three clicks of the mouse that someone had already posted information on the coaches’ ancestry. That made it much easier for me to take it back a couple more generations to find our common ancestor.

As recently as four or five years ago, there would not have been enough information on the Internet to do the research, and I would not have had easy access to the family history books, most of which are now available online.

Usually when I delve into genealogy, I dig up horse thieves and ne’er-do-wells, but this time pay dirt was hit. I’ve decided to cash in on my relatives. This week, I’ll be signing footballs for $100 each, plus the cost of the ink.

On the road

My first outing occurred on Sunday when my bride and I drove to Bismarck to do some shopping at the post-Christmas sales. Leah bought a winter coat, and I came home with the first dress overcoat I’ve owned since I worked for a bank in Denver in the 1980s. To my delight, I paid 15 cents on the dollar for it.

I tired easily and was coughing by the end of the afternoon, but it felt so good to get out of the house and to walk around. I’m still plagued with temperature spikes which have caused me to continue working from home. However, I hope to get to the office this week.

My co-workers will tell you that I have been much more efficient working at home than when I’m in the office distracted with visitors, phone calls and digital disasters with the computers and software.

Going east

As of this writing Sunday night, I was to hobnob in Jamestown Tuesday with Roger Bailey, Executive Director of the North Dakota Newspaper Association. After sitting in on the Rotary Club meeting, we were to meet on campus with Jamestown College President Robert S. Badal to discuss building ties between the North Dakota Newspaper Association Education Foundation and the college.

Steve Listopad, a college faculty member and the vice president of our board, is playing a key role in fostering the relationship. As president of the NDNAEF, one of my goals is to build the relationship for the benefit of the association and students with an interest in journalism.

Our hope is that the college can educate more journalists who will take an interest in the Dakotas and in our small daily and weekly newspapers. The increasing role of technology in the media makes good journalists all the more important. Our country will not survive as a republic if we do not have factual information delivered by trained reporters and editors.

We are also hoping to see the college faculty involved in seminars, webinars and other programs to promote better writing, editing and design in our industry.

Return to top