The education field has attracted an extraordinary number of people in our family all across the nation. Over many generations, they and their work have touched thousands of lives and conveyed a sense of wonder. They have opened young minds to the vast universe of words, numbers, athletics and arts.
Hundreds of extended Minerd-Miner-Minor cousins and their spouses have served in the field since the mid-1800s. They have worked as administrators, teachers, coaches, aides, secretaries, bus drivers and custodians, at places ranging from one-room country schoolhouses to prestigious large universities. Hundreds more exist but have not yet been identified. We have only scratched the surface.
Our booklet, A Sense of Wonder, was published for the 1997 Minerd-Miner-Minor Reunion -- a first step to measure this enormous contribution by identifying as many educators as could be found.
All are direct descendants (or their spouses) of German immigrants Friedrich and Eva Maria (Weber) Meinert Sr. of Berks County, PA and of their son and daughter in law, Jacob and Maria (Nein) Minerd Sr., pioneer settlers of Fayette/Somerset Counties, PA in 1791.
The booklet is intended to be the beginning rather than the end of a discovery process, because there is so much more to be found. Hopefully it has created awareness, stimulated interest and encouraged the magic of discovery.
The facts in the report were gathered primarily through publicly available sources such as newspapers, county teacher institute annual reports, courthouse records, university archives and Internet websites. Many other cousins added significantly to our body of knowledge through their letters and emails. In some instances we relied on cousins' information and did not cross-check their data elsewhere for accuracy.
Interesting statistics emerged from the original 1997 study of the 223 cousin-educators:
Several hundred more cousin-educators have been identified since publication in 1997, and are in the process of being added to this report.
This list will expand even further as additional research is completed and newfound cousins share their own stories.
A Sense of Wonder is divided into three sections: School Board Directors, Administrators and Teachers; and Support Services. Each entry contains each educator's name, higher education, career information and lineage.
The booklet is part of an ongoing effort to publish meaningful results of the national research about our family underway since the 1980s.
Thank you to all who shared a little of themselves through their stories, career information and precious photographs documenting this important aspect of Americana.