Monday, December 4, 2017

My "Ancestral Rebellious Streak"

The Church of England is the official church of England. Protestant churches which do not conform to the Church of England doctrines are called nonconformist churches.

Register of Baptisms Kept at Providence Chapel, Spring Head, Saddleworth, County of York, [England], page 83, baptized 12 May 1835, Humphrey Eastwood; The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England; database, "England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Register, 1567-1970," ( : accessed 4 December 2017).

With his first wife, my third great grandfather had two children who were baptized in a nonconformist church. On Ancestry, these two baptisms are in a database titled "England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970." I found the first sentence of the description of the database to be thought-provoking:

Trace your ancestral rebellious streak through non-conformist and non-parochial birth, marriage, and death registers.

As someone from the States, I don't think I truly understand religion in England. What did it mean to be a nonconformist in England at this time? Did my ancestors really have a rebellious streak? And, since  James' children by his second wife, my third great grandmother, were baptized in the Church of England, did James' beliefs change? Did he just follow his wives' beliefs? Or did something happen in England that I need to learn more about?

I am enjoying learning about my "rebellious" English ancestors!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Success: Finding a Death Certificate With a Misspelled Surname

My last post was about how I found my grandfather's younger brother's birth announcement by searching a newspaper using their address - not their surname. Before finding this article, I didn't know his date of birth. And, I still hadn't learned the baby's name as each of the birth announcements just named the father. In this case, Frank.

Michigan death records for 1897 to 1947 are online at Seeking Michigan. I had not been able to find the baby's birth by using his surname, Kaechle, so I decided to search using other information. Searching the Michigan death records for 1897-1920, I used the advanced search feature and entered the following:

  • Father's Given Name: Frank
  • Birth Year: 1909
  • County: Wayne
Baby Kaechle was the fifth record on the list! The surname had been written poorly and was transcribed as "Koehle." The baby's given name was Frank, like his father. Strangely, he had an older brother named Frank who lived to be over 50! 

Michigan Department of Community Health, death certificate, file no. 1464 (1909), Frank Kaechle; Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan; digital image, "Death Records, 1897-1920," SeekingMichigan ( : accessed 8 November 2017).

Frank Kaechle was born on 18 June 1909, and died the next day of "gastrointestinal hemorrhage." My grandfather was only 2 1/2 at the time of his brother's birth, and never mentioned this brother to my mom. I don't know if he remembered him or not.

I'm thankful to now be able to remember the short life of my grandfather's baby brother, and to grieve with the family over the death of this little boy.

[I'm still quite busy with BU, which is going great! I plan on blogging more faithfully when it's over.]

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tip: Search Newspaper Sites Using an Address

Searching newspaper sites for an address, instead of a name, can sometimes uncover articles which would not have been found otherwise.

1910 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, Detroit Ward 9, population schedule, page 12B [written], dwelling 181, family 247, 651 Chene St, Frank Kaechle, image, ( : accessed 16 October 2017), citing 
National Archives microfilm T624, roll 684.
In 1910 the census record for my great grandmother, Anna (Adam) Kaechle, stated she was the mother of seven children with six still living. Since I knew of only six children, I assumed she must have had a seventh child who died in childhood.

In that census, the Kaechle family lived at 651 Chene Street in Detroit, Michigan. Searching for "651 Chene" in Detroit resulted in 60 matches. The majority of these hits were help wanted ads placed in 1898/99. And others were dated after 1930 when the family was living in a different house.

Births, Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan, 3 July 1909, page 12, column 7, 
digital image,, ( : accessed 16 October 2017). 

One article, however, was dated 1909 and was about my family. The section was "births" and included the following: "Frank Kaechle, 651 Chene, boy." Frank Kaechle was the father, and I noticed that both the girls and boys were just listed under the father's names.

Although this short article had the surname, Kaechle, spelled correctly, OCR must have read it wrong. Most likely the only way I to find this incredibly short announcement was by searching for the address!

I am thankful to know the approximate date of Frank and Anna's baby boy, but hope to also learn his name and exact date of birth and death.

(I think the key to blogging while going through BU this fall is to keep the posts short! I will blog when I can.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

"Enthusiastic" Again!

I haven't blogged much in the past five or six months. I went through a significant genealogy "slump" where I wasn't sure I wanted to pursue genealogy any longer. Happily, that phase has passed and I am back!

IGHR - July 2017
This summer, I attended IGHR in Georgia in July. Even while I prepared for my trip, my passion was reignited.

I am currently taking the Boston University (or "BU") course. We just finished the first module, and I've already learned a lot.

I am also reinstating my goal to become a certified genealogist by 2020!

I am, quite happily, "the enthusiastic genealogist" once again!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Lack of Premarital Records

The last of his siblings to die, my husband's grandfather either didn't know or didn't remember the names of his paternal grandparents. His father, William Emmitt Hunter, was born 9 July 1874 most likely in Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, married in December of 1910 to Winnie Huddleston, and died in that same county on 4 April 1953. However, William hasn't been found in any census record prior to 1920. Where he was living before his 1910 marriage and the identity of his parents has been a mystery.

Oklahoma Department of Health, certificate of death 005619 (1953), William Emmitt Hunter.
[Obtained years ago from unknown source.]

For many years, William's 1953 death certificate was the only obtained document which contained information regarding his parents. The informant, my husband's grandfather, stated that William's father was Thomas Hunter and his mother's name was unknown.

William Emmitt Hunter, SS no. 526-30-2088, 3 Dec 1943, Application for Account Number (Form SS-5), Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland.

Recently, an Ancestry "shaky leaf" hint for William led to the Social Security application index. According to this index, which states it was filled out in December of 1943, William was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Thomas Hunter and Wimnie [sic] Pierce. An actual copy of the application confirmed the information found on the index.

Efforts to locate William in the 1880 census, with or without his parents, have not been successful. Likewise, attempts to locate either Thomas Hunter or Winnie Pierce (or Hunter) in either the 1860 or 1870 federal censuses with reasonable birth years to have a child in 1874 have not been conclusive.

If you are related to the Hunter family, or have any more information about William Emmitt Hunter and his family, I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Monday, April 10, 2017

TIPS: Working with German Newspaper Articles

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently found an article about one of my relatives from a 1916 German newspaper. I found the article on Chronicling America by searching for the surname: Kaechle. But, since I don't read German, I struggled with both transcribing and translating this article. In the process, I came across some tips I'd love to share:

Tip #1: Determine the Font

The initial "P" and "kk" in this word are difficult to read.

While many of the letters in this German newspaper article were easy to recognize, some were more challenging. For example, the above word looks like "Barffonzerte." The initial letter "P" and the "kk" do not look like are English P and kk. This word, "Parkkonzerte," translates to park concerts.

This font is calles Mars Fraktur Normal

After struggling trying to read the article, I finally found a font that helped me transcribed some difficult letters: Mars Fraktur. Again, the "s" at the end of Mars and the "k" in Fraktur do not look like our English letters. However, after printing out a copy of this font, I was able to transcribe the article letter by letter.

The Mars Fraktur font I printed off, though I cannot find the site now

Tip #2: Look on the Page for Related Articles

After finding the article that you are interested, look at the rest of the page. In fact, this tip doesn't just apply to German articles, as I have had success with this tip using English newspapers, too.

In this case, before I found the Mars Fraktur font, I was working on the article that mentioned Jerome Kaechle but I was having trouble decoding some of the letters. I decided to try to read some of the other headlines and create a letter by letter key. The article right above the article mentioning Jerome and the fire had this headline: "Driven from their beds by fire." At that point, I realized the article I had been translating, which even had its own heading, was just a part of a longer article! Reading the entire article gave me more details of this fire that my relative experienced.

Tip #3: Look for a Related Story in English Newspapers

50 Persons Flee for Safety in Big Fire, Lansing State Journal,
Lansing, Michigan, 4 August 1916, page 5, column 5,
digital image,, (
accessed 7 April 2017. 

With such a large fire, I assumed there would have been an article in English newspapers. Using, I did not find an article by searching for Kaechle. However, I did find an article by narrowing the year to 1916 and searching for one of the addresses mentioned in the article: 512 Ashland. Although this article had less information, it did include facts that were not in the German article. For instance, this article stated that "None waited to don their clothes, but began fleeing into the street in scant attire." And, "Many jumped from windows when they saw the stairway in flames."

Tip #4: Use the PDF Option and Paste Into Google Translate

This tip comes from my dad. When using Chronicling America, use the "pdf" option. After clicking on "pdf," copy and paste into Google Translate. You will need to make some corrections, but this is a wonderful start to getting an article translated. And, it will save a lot of time!

Tip #5: Ask for Help on Facebook's "Genealogy Translations" Group

Facebook's "Genealogy Translations" group has wonderful members who are always ready to help. And, they're fast! If you choose to post to the group, make sure you read the "rules for posting" first.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Incredible Fire Story Found in German Newspaper

I cannot read German. But, thanks to technology, I can still search German newspapers to find stories of my German relatives.

I recently found my first German newspaper story about Jerome Kaechle who was my great grandfather's younger brother. The article, which I found on Chronicling America, was in the Detroiter Abend-Post on August 4th, 1916.

After seeing his name, I painstakingly worked with Google Translate to translate the article. I also sent the article to my dad and shared it on the Genealogy Translations group on Facebook. Combining all of our work, I was able to come up with this composite translation:

Durch Feuer aus Betten getrieben [Driven by Fire from beds],
Detroiter Abend-Post, Detroit, Michigan, 4 August 1916,
page 8, column, 3, digital image, Chronicling America,
(, accessed 1 April 2017. 

Driven from their beds by fire
3 houses and 4 sheds burned down this morning
Several people forced to jump out of windows

The three two-storied houses 512 to 520 Ashland Avenue and four sheds were destroyed by fire at 1 a. m. today, the cause of the fire is not yet known for certain. It caused damage of approximately $8,000 to $10,000. The residents of the houses, some 40 people, had to hurry out onto the street in their night clothes, as the fire spread really quickly, several had to jump out of windows, and two were carried out by neighbors having been overcome by smoke.

The fire was discovered simultaneously by several neighbors, and Mrs Ausher, of 551 Ashland Ave raised the alarm, but the fire was burning fiercely when the fire brigade arrived. The families of Arthur Kretschmer, Frank Donahue and Frank Hart lived at no 512 and were woken by the neighbors' warning. The house was already in flames, and without having time to dress, they had to rush out to the street.

Durch Feuer aus Betten getrieben [Driven by Fire from beds],
Detroiter Abend-PostDetroit, Michigan, 4 August 1916,
page 8, column, 3, digital image, Chronicling America,
(, accessed 1 April 2017.

It spread quickly

Even before the alarm had been raised, the flames had taken hold of the house of Karl Duppernell, 518, and that of Jerome Kaechle, 520 Ashland Ave, and when the fire brigade arrived it was not possible to save either of the houses, and the teams could only stop the further spread of the fire. Frank Donahue lived on the top floor of one of the houses; his wife is ill in hospital, and when Kretschmer ran into the house to warn him, Donahue was lying on a bed, overcome by smoke, and had suffered slight burns. Kretscmer carried the unconscious man onto the street, where he soon recovered. Kaechle was also almost overcome by smoke, when he was found and rescued.

The Hart family had only moved in two days earlier, and had furnished their home completely new: everything was destroyed by the fire. Hart works nights at Chalmers car factory, and wasn't home at the time of the blaze. Arthur Bartell, who lived in a room in one of the houses, ran back in to save $150, and was almost overcome by smoke. Everyone who had been made homeless by the fire found accommodation with neighbors.

[Special thanks to my father and volunteer Anne Callanan for their help with this translation!]

My "Ancestral Rebellious Streak"

The Church of England is the official church of England. Protestant churches which do not conform to the Church of England doctrines are cal...