Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Facebook Group Helps Discover Church Where Ancestors Worshipped

Last week, I posted on the "Pike County, Ohio Genealogy" Facebook group asking what church my German immigrant ancestors, the Peters family, might have attended. I knew that, in 1860, they had been enumerated in the township of Pee Pee in that county. And, from other church records I knew they were Evangelical Lutherans. By the next morning, I had information as to which church they probably attended and the name of a published booklet which contained the church records. I was also given the name of a library which had a copy of that booklet.

I emailed the library and asked if they would look for any Peters family members in the church booklet. I was hoping to find baptismal records for either Theodore (aka "Teddy") or Sarah which I've written about here and here.

Glenda G. Zonner and Lawrence A. Zonner, Parish Register of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church Community of Prussia, Pike County, Ohio, 1842-1903
 (Self
published: 1998), 63.

Two days later, I got an email from the library. They told me the only Peters record they had found was the confirmation of Carl Peters on Easter of 1861.

Although it was disappointing not to find any mention of Theodore or Sarah, the discovery of Carl's confirmation was exciting for three main reasons:
  1. Carl, who would have been 13 years old that Easter Sunday, was my great, great grandfather. 
  2. Including Carl, I now have confirmations for the three oldest children of Joachim and Henriette (Bünger) Peters; the two older children's records, who were both 14 years old at their confirmation, were found in Germany.
  3. Because the fourth sibling, William, was born less than 2 1/2 years after Carl, the absence of his confirmation record is negative evidence that the family was still living in the area by Easter 1864 when he would have been 14 years old. Since the family was living in Pickaway County, Ohio by 1870, we can hypothesize that they moved there between 1861 and 1864. 
I have emailed a church in Circleville, Pickaway County, Ohio, hoping they have church records from this time period. It does not appear they have microfilmed their records if they exist. Using church records is a great way to follow a family who moved around a lot like my Peters' family did!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Labeling People in a Group Photo

To label the people in this group photo of my husband's family, I used PhotoShop Elements to create a faded version of the photo and then number each person. I then posted both photos on Facebook and asked for help filling in the names of individuals my in-laws had not identified.

because of this process, we now have 25 of the 30 people in this photograph identified. Also, a relative had photos from this same day in a scrapbook and provided us with a month and year for the gathering.

Payton Family "Reunion" Photo, April 1942, Muskogee, Oklahoma


List of those pictured:

 1 - ?
 2 - Rosebud (Palmer) Payton (wife of Frank Payton)
 3 - William T Palmer (Rosebud's father)
 4 - Benny Payton
 5 - ?
 6 - Mary Palmer (Rosebud's mother)
 7 - ?
 8 - Viola (Points) Payton
 9 - Chester Points
10 - Ruth Payton
11 - Audrey Payton
12 - Johnnie Leeds (in uniform)
13 - Mable Phillips (became Ben Payton's 2nd wife)
14 - Lillian (Jacobs) Leeds
15 - Mary Payton
16 - ?
17 - Willa Mae (Payton) Leeds
18 - Bea Payton
19 - Jimmie Leeds
20 - "Grandma Points" Mary Lee (Griffin) Points (mother of Viola)
21 - Jamie Payton
22 - ?
23 - "Papa Payton" Benjamin Harrison Payton
24 - Ollie Payne (Mallie Payton's husband)
25 - Lloyd Payton (son of Frank & Rosebud)
26 - Shirley Payton (daughter of Frank & Rosebud)
27 - Ronnie Payne (son of Mallie (Payton) & Ollie Payne)
28 - Joy Payne (daughter of Mallie (Payton) & Ollie Payne)
29 - Mallie (Payton) Payne
30 - Lorraine (last name unknown)

If you are related to this family, or have any additions or corrections,  please leave a comment or email me at drleeds@sbcglobal.net

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Strange Way to Write 0s and 6s

As I mentioned yesterday post, "When was Uncle Teddy Born?," Theodore Peters was listed as 6 years old in the 1860 census. 


However, it might not be clear to everyone that he was listed as 6. As you can see from the image above, the number next to Theodore looks like a long line followed by a short line. Why do I think this is a 6?


After looking at many pages written by this enumerator, his "6" often looks the same: a long line followed by a short line. In the family above, it makes sense that Henry is 6 and is listed between sibling with ages of 8 and 4.


In this family, Sarah is probably the mother-in-law of Vincent Lake. Again, from studying this enumerator's writing, his zero is often written as two long lines side-by side. So, Sarah is 60 years old. You can also see another example of a zero next to Vincent Lake's name in his family number: 1096.

Strangely, the enumerator didn't always write his zeroes and sixes in this strange manner. As you can see next to Vincent Lake, the number 1096 has a pretty normal 6. But, the numbers are written in this unusual way often enough to be certain that Theodore Peters is listed as 6 years old in this census.

Has anyone else seen samples of writing 0s and 6s like this? I'm wondering if it is from a certain culture or time period, though I haven't seen it before and haven't been able to find out any information about the enumerator as I can't make out his name.

Monday, January 23, 2017

When Was "Uncle Teddy" Born?

Four sources have been found which give evidence for when Theodore "Teddy" Peters was born:

When was Theodore Peters born?
SourceListed AgeEstimated Birth Year
1860 U.S. Federal Census1
61853 or 1854
1870 U.S. Federal Census2
101859 or 1860
1875 Kansas State Census3
161858 or 1859
Headstone4
-1859 (stated)

Although records created closest to an event are often the most accurate, in this case I do not believe that to be true. The first census which records Theodore Peters was in 1860. However, this census seems unreliable due to other known errors. [See my previous post.]The other three records indicate Theodore was born in 1859 or 1860, with his tombstone stating he was born on July 6th, 1859.


All three census records agree Theodore was born in Ohio. But, his family arrived in New York City from Germany on July 2nd, 1859. Could the family, especially his pregnant mother, have traveled to Ohio in only four days time after crossing the Atlantic Ocean? It doesn't seem likely.

1860 Census showing Theodore as 6 years. I will write a post about the odd way this enumerator wrote the number 6.
There's another issue with Theodore being born in 1859. The 1860 census, the "highly unreliable" census of this family, has another child listed: Sarah, age 1. So, it would seem she was born in 1858 or 1859. But, in that census, Theodore is listed above her and listed as 6 years old. Strange!

So far, no other records have been found regarding Sarah. Did she even exist? If so, was she Theodore's younger sister? Or her twin?

My Great Aunt Beulah wrote this in her genealogy file for Theodore:
The only child of Joachim Peters/Henriette Bingher that was born in the United States.
Mother always talked about Uncle Teddy, but I know nothing about him.
[Note: Teddy would have been Beulah's mother's great uncle.]

My next goal is to find possible birth or baptismal records for Theodore and Sarah. The family was living in Pee Pee, Pike County, Ohio in 1860, about a year after Theodore's (and Sarah's?) supposed birth. I am working on a lead to those church records now.

Sources
11860 U.S. Federal Census, Pike County, Ohio, Pee Pee Twp, population schedule, page 394 [printed], page 158 [written], dwelling #1112, family #1083, Joab [sic] Peters household; image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 January 2016), citing National Archives microfilm M653, roll 1024.

21870 U.S. Federal Census, Pickaway County, Ohio, Pickaway Twp, population schedule, page 462 [printed], dwelling #44, family #44, Jochim [sic] Peters household; image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 January 2016), citing National Archives microfilm M593, roll 1256.

31875 Kansas State Census, Sumner County, Geulph Twp, population schedule, page 4 [written], dwelling #36, family #36, J Peters household; image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 January 2016), citing Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925, roll ks1875_19. 

4Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, database (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 23 January 2017); Record Theodore Peters (1859-1876), Memorial No. 172832317, Records of Peters Family Cemetery, Sumner County, Kansas, photo posted by JRS.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

I've Discovered All of My 3rd Great Grandparents! (And how to post tables on your blog)

I first did an "ancestral score" spreadsheet in January of 2015. This is where you create a chart showing how many of your grandparents, great grandparents, etc., you have identified.

"Ancestral Score" January 2015

I didn't post a similar chart in January of 2016. However, I now realize that in 2015, I discovered my missing 3x great grandparents, the Holthoefer's and the Adam's, through the book I was a contributing author to regarding Holthoefer ancestors. So, I now know all of my 3x great grandparents!


GenerationRelationship Possible NumberIdentified in My TreeIncrease from 2016
1You 110
2Parents 220
3Grandparents 440
4Great Grandparents 880
52x Great Grandparents 16160
63x Great Grandparents 32320
74x Great Grandparents 64434
85x Great Grandparents 128392
96x Great Grandparents 256360
TOTAL 511181                                6

This is my ancestral score as of January 2017. I am obviously counting differently as, although I discovered 4 additional direct descendants in 2015 and 6 in 2016, I am still at 181 identified. I think this has to do with my uncertainty as to whether or not to count a female when her first name is known but her last name is not known. So, it's not a perfect system, but I am discovering new direct ancestors!

Although both of these tables were created on Word, the second one was posted on my blog by using "Tableizer!" I think it is easy to use and I like the results. For a step-by-step guide, see the post titled "Adding a table to a post without coding" on BloggerSentral.

Friday, January 20, 2017

1907 Photo of My 2x Great Grandfather and Other County Ofificals

My great, great grandfather, A. L. Merrill, was county commissioner of Clinton County, Pennsylvania, in the early 1900s. This summer, I found the first photo I've seen of him. But, it was in a 1958 newspaper clipping, so it was under copyright laws. I recently emailed the publisher of the newspaper, The Express, who quickly responded with permission to use the photo.

Used with Permission: The Express/www.lockhaven.com
A. L. Merrill is on the far left of the front row
Pictures from the Past, The Express, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, 22 December 1958, page 10,
columns 5-8, digital image, newspapers.com, (http://newspapers.com), accessed 7 July 2016. 

This photo was under a section titled "Pictures from the Past" and was described as follows: This group of Court House office holders 51 years ago, was augmented by the mail carrier, who happened to be passing as the photographer went to work. He is William Kinley, top row, left. The others in the top row are Alex Flanigan, county commissioner; George T. Michaels, deputy register and recorder; William A. Snyder, register and recorder; T. B. Bridgens, county treasurer; William B. Hanna, commissioner; Isaac Rumberger, deputy prothonotary, and J. Harris Mussina, sheriff. Front row, A. L. Merrill, commissioner; James A. Wensel, commissioners' clerk; W. H. Kleper, deputy sheriff; and James R. Kinley, prothonotary.

Business Card of A. L. Merrill found at Ross Library, Clinton County, Pennsylvania
Though the 1907 photo lists him as commissioner, I know he was county commissioner at some point. I'm assuming that is a "step up," though I don't know for sure. This summer I also found one of his business cards at a library in Clinton County, which I blogged about earlier. I hope to see if the court house or an archive has more photos of early county officials in which more photos of A. L. Merrill might be found.

My Line:
  • Augustus Lippencott "A. L." Merrill (1848-1920) married Sarah Jane Eastwood (1848-1923)
  • Bessie Waldron Merrill (1879-1959) married Andrew "Andy" McClintock Stewart (1882-1954)
  • James Edward Stewart (1910-1972) married Hazel Lucille Peters (1910-1975), my grandparents
Please leave a comment or email me at drleeds@sbcglobal.net with any comments or questions.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Who's That Girl?


Several months ago, my dad sent me this photo which was labeled "Margaret Catherine Coppenbarger." But, there's a problem: we don't have anyone on our family tree named Margaret Catherine Coppenbarger. So, who was this young lady?



Thankfully, my dad recently realized he had another copy of the same photo! And, this one was labeled slightly different. It is labeled "Matilda Katherine Coppenbarger Bro. to Josiah." Of course, it should say she's Josiah's sister, not brother, but we do know the identities of both Josiah and Matilda.

Josiah Randolph Coppenbarger (1844-1934) was my great, great grandfather. He was the son of Peter Coppenbarger (1817-1847) and Mary "Polly" Randolph (1818-1885). Since Peter died at the young age of 30, he and Polly only had 3 children: Josiah, Matilda Katherine who also went by Kate (who is the girl photographed), and William Frank who also went by Cottie. Polly was married two more times - once before Peter and once after Peter - so Josiah also had step-siblings.

Matilda Katherine Coppenbarger (1848-1899) married Robert F Barnett (1843-1912) in DeWitt County, Illinois in 1868. She and her husband had three children and were living in Sumner County, Kansas by 1875. She is buried in Grant County, Oklahoma, where she was likely living at the end of her life.


My dad put the photos side-by-side for comparison. Isn't it interesting how two copies of the photo aged differently?

Are we related? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at drleeds@sbcglobal.net

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Resolving Discrepancies: A Census Example

Building a Solid Case

I am currently reading  Christine Rose's booklet, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th Edition Revised. Chapter 2 discusses that, whether or not conflicting information is found, a conclusion must be written. But, we must weigh all of the evidence we've gathered. Two important questions to ask are "who created the record?" and "why was the record created?" Answering those questions can help us determine the reliability of each piece of evidence.

My Research Question

Who were the parents of Carl Peters?

My Case Study: Resolving Conflicting Information

1860 U.S. Census, Pike County, Ohio, Pee Pee Twp, population schedule, page 394 [printed], page 158 [written], dwelling #1112, family #1083, Joab Peters household; image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 January 2016), citing National Archives microfilm M653, roll 1024.
In the past couple of months, I have written a lot about my Peters family who immigrated from Germany in the summer of 1859. Many records, including his baptismal record, identify Carl's parents as Joachim and Henriette (Bünger) Peters. However, though the 1860 US Federal Census does not state relationships, this record seems to imply that Carl's father was Joab, not Joachim. His mother was not listed at all, but a 43-year-old man named Morrice Peters was listed as living in the household. According to the GPS, these conflicts must be resolved in a written proof.

Peters Household        
1859 Hamburg Passenger List  1860 CENSUS  1870 CENSUS
Joach44  Joab47  Jochim58
Henrietta40  Morrice (male)43  Henrietta56
Louisa14  Louisa17  Louisa (living with husband)26
Eckard13  Echart15  Ackhard (living with Louisa)24
Carl10  Carl12  Charles22
Wilhelm7  William10  William20
Heinr6  (missing)-  Henry 18
Friedchen4  Frilde8  Freeda16
  Theodore6  Theodore10
  Sarah1

Though I have other records regarding Carl and his parents, for this post I'm concentrating on resolving the issues surrounding conflicting evidence found in the 1860 census. [Note: In this proof, I'm ignoring ages since they are not consistent among the documents. However, I have baptismal records for the parents and the six oldest children who immigrated with their parents in 1859.]

Problems with the 1860 Census
  • The "father" is listed as Joab, not Joachim
  • The "mother" is missing, or she's listed as a male named Morrice
  • Henrich/Henry is missing
  • Wilhelm/William and Friedchen/Frilde are listed as born in Ohio instead of Prussia
No other records for Morrice Peters have been located. And, the fact that Henriette and Henry are missing is problematic. Neither had died, as they both show up in later records. And, with a one-year-old in the household, it seems unlikely the mother would be living elsewhere. Henriette and Henry have not been found enumerated elsewhere.

With this many errors, I think we can safely assume that this record is not reliable. Although the informant is unknown, either they gave a lot of erroneous information or the census taker did a poor job of recording the information. Perhaps the fact that the Peters family had only been in the United States for a year led to some language issues. Though there were other Prussians or Germans in this small community, it is unknown whether or not the enumerator could speak German. Attempts were made to locate the enumerator on a census to determine his place of birth, but he was not found. 

Conclusion

Despite what is found on the 1860 census, which has been determined to be unreliable, Carl Peters' parents were Joachim and Henriette (Bünger) Peters. 

Sources, Information, and Evidence: Marriage License Application Example

What is the Genealogical Proof Standard?

I'm currently reading Christine Rose's 56 page booklet titled Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th Edition Revised. Chapter 1 was about the Genealogical Proof Standard and, more specifically, step number three in which we analyze and correlate all sources, information, and evidence. Although I feel pretty comfortable with these concepts, I am realizing my challenge lies in understanding how certain documents were created. The example I'll be using in this post is a marriage license application for my grandparents.

But, before we can analyze and correlate, we must start with a research question.

My Research Question

Who was the mother of Evelyn (Dickson) Kaechle (1915-2004)?

Document: Marriage License Application and Certificate


"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 14 January 2017), entry for Sherman J Kaechle and Evelyn Dickson, 5 July 1941, Lucas County, page 152, application number 133454; citing "Marriage Records, Ohio Marriages."

Source: Original, Derivative, or Authored?

To determine what type of source this is, we must understand how the document was created. When the couple came in to get a marriage license, was the information written directly into this book which would make it an original? Or, did they fill out some other paper and the clerk transcribed into this book which would make it a derivative?

"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 14 January 2017), 1941, Lucas County, pages 152-153; citing "Marriage Records, Ohio Marriages."

First, let's look at the book. Each two-page spread covers six couples. The top portion of each entry is the license application, and the second part is the marriage certificate.

"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 14 January 2017), entry for Leo A Studivant and Marian Hancock, 5 July 1941, Lucas County, page 153, application number 133457; citing "Marriage Records, Ohio Marriages."

Another couple from this page is a better example showing the difference in handwriting. It appears the clerk filled out the information for this couple, including the marriage certificate, but the couple actually signed the document about 2/3rds the way down. The way the clerk wrote the groom's name, it appears as Leo C Sturdivant. But, the signature clearly shows Leo A Studivant. And, Marian Hancock's signature appears as a third example of handwriting on the page.

If you return to the top image, you'll notice differences between the rest of the document and the signatures of my grandparents, Sherman J Kaechle and Evelyn Dickson. So, it appears this document was the document that was created when my grandparents applied for a marriage license, so this is an original source.

[Interestingly, it appears the clerk filled out all of the information for the marriage certificate. Since he was probably copying from the actual marriage certificate, this would be a derivative source.]

Information: Primary, Secondary, or Indeterminable?

Regarding information, we must look at the specific piece of information in the source. In this case, the research question was "Who was the mother of Evelyn (Dickson) Kaechle?" So, the piece of information we are interested in is where the marriage application lists the name of Evelyn's mother as Nora Ward. Since Evelyn signed this document, I believe we can reasonably assume she provided the information. However, Evelyn's mother died when Evelyn was a baby. She would have no first-hand recollection that her mother was Nora Ward. So, this information is secondary.

Evidence: Direct, Indirect, or Negative?

In regards to evidence, we must also look at the specific item within the source that is in question. Again, we are asking, "Who was the mother of Evelyn (Dickson) Kaechle?" So, the piece of information we are interested in is where the marriage application lists the name of Evelyn's mother as Nora Ward. Since this piece of information directly answers the research question, this is direct evidence.

Background

My grandmother, Evelyn (Dickson) Kaechle, was raised by her maternal grandmother, Sallie (Dickson) Ward (1860-1960). Her biological mother, Nora, died when Evelyn was a baby.

When I started doing genealogy 19 years ago, finding Nora (Ward) Dickson was a difficult task. I knew Nora died about the same time my grandmother was born, so around 1915, but I didn't know when Nora was born. I also knew that Nora was the daughter of Sallie Ward, who raised my grandmother, and her husband Reuben Ward.

The 1900 census was the only surviving census where Nora should have been living with her parents, and yet no one named Nora was listed in the household. A 1910 census appears to have Nora's correct husband, James B Dickson, and three oldest children, but the mother's name is listed as Martha, not Nora. Going back to the 1900 census of Nora's parents, we see a Martha L who is the same age as Martha Dickson, James B Dickson's wife.

A huge revelation for me was when I realized "Nora" was short for Lenora! And, in fact, Martha Lenora Ward, the daughter of Reuben and Sallie Ward, was also Martha "Nora" Dickson, my grandmother's mother. Records found later supported this conclusion.

As a new genealogist, finding Nora was my first "big" discovery.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review of a Genealogy Memoir: "The Secrets of the Notebook" by Eve Haas

Eve Haas has written a wonderful book that I believe many genealogists would enjoy. Titled The Secrets of the Notebook: A Woman's Quest to Uncover Her Royal Family Secret , the description on Amazon starts with these words:

Eve Haas is the daughter of a German Jewish family that took refuge in London after Hitler came to power. Following a terrifying air raid in the blitz, her father revealed the family secret, that her great-great grandmother Emilie was married to a Prussian prince. He then showed her the treasured leather-bound notebook inscribed to Emilie by the prince. Her parents were reluctant to learn more, but later in life, when Eve was married and inherited the diary, she became obsessed with proving this birthright.


As an adult, Eve and her husband seek to unlock the mysteries of the notebook. All the experts tell Eve that no information has survived about her Prussian prince. However, if anything still does exist, it is behind the Iron Curtain - the same area from which both she and her husband fled many years before.

Eve and her husband, along with a grown son, do the unimaginable; they travel to East Germany from which, if they are arrested, no one will be able to help them. For some reason, the records are opened to them, and the Eve is excited by the discoveries. But, did the Communist Germans have an alternative reason for opening the files for Eve? And, will Eve be able to uncover the true story of her royal ancestor and his beloved Emilie?

Eve's story was fascinating as both a memoir and as a series of exciting genealogical discoveries. Throughout the book, Eve expresses her excitement and enthusiasm about documents she is allowed to view - documents which had been hidden for 150 years. Within these documents, the stories of "her" Prince and Emilie emerge.

In an earlier post, I reviewed four other books I think most genealogists would enjoy. Do you know of other, non-method books that genealogists would enjoy? I'd love to hear about them! Please leave a comment or email me at drleeds@sbcglobal.net.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My Top 10 Genealogy Finds in 2016

As I did in 2014, I'd like to share my "top 10 genealogy find" for 2016...

Number 10: Finding myself in several newspaper articles as a young child was lots of fun! One article was about a city-wide contest where I won 3rd place in jumping rope. Another article was about a trip I took as a Campfire Girl where I fell off a statue and got a nasty bump on my forehead. (I think this picture is pretty pathetic, but it's the only one I could find with this injury!)

St. Joseph (German) Catholic Church,
Detroit, Michigan (Wikipedia image)
Number 9: Years ago, I received a copy of a torn 1895 wedding photo of my great grandparents, Frank & Anna (Adam) Kaechle. With some help from a Facebook group, I was able to locate the church where they were married. I also hired someone to look up their church marriage record!

Marriage record for Frank & Francisca (Holthoefer) Adam (Ancestry)
Number 8: Just a few weeks ago, I discovered the 1858 church marriage record for Anna (Adam) Kaechle's parents. Anna's parents, Frank & Francisca (Holthoefer) Adam, were married at St. Mary's Church in Detroit.
Henry W Wingert & others on a bandwagon
Number 7: Although the person in the photo isn't a direct ancestor, I absolutely loved receiving a copy of this photo of Henry W. Wingert who was a band leader on a bandwagon! What an incredible photo!

Me in Clinton County with a business card of A. L. Merrill (June 2016)
Number 6: On a trip to Pennsylvania this past summer, I was thrilled to find an actual business card for my great, great grandfather, A. L. Merrill, who was a candidate for County Commissioner! And, yes, he did actually serve as county commissioner. I also found a photo of him as commissioner, but I still need to get permission to post it.

Papers received from the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society
in regards to the Michael Kline family
Number 5: I "discovered" I had Mennonite ancestors, only to find out they weren't Mennonites after all! But, the information I received from Pennsylvania's Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society provided me with a lot of information about Michael Kline and his 14 children.

Number 4: Through work I did in Melinde Lutz Byrne's "Practicum in Genealogical Research," I determined that John M Boyers was likely the father of Eliza Ann (Boyers) Dickson. More research is still needed, but I made a lot of progress!

Me and two cousins at the tombstone of Robert & Frances (Quigley) Stewart
Clinton County, Pennsylvania (June 2016)
Number 3: One of the "genealogy" highlights of my year was meeting quite a few of my dad's Pennsylvania cousins that I had never met. Three of them went with me to Clinton County, Pennsylvania, where we spent a day visiting several cemeteries and the library. This is a photo of me with two of them standing next to the headstone of Robert and Frances (Quigley) Stewart's massive headstone. Robert and Frances are my 4th great grandparents and represent the furthest we've been able to trace our Stewart line.

Birth certificate showing my Werther family came from Berka
Number 2: Although I didn't know it, I actually had digital copies of the paperwork which showed where my Werther family had emigrated from in Germany! My Great Aunt Beulah, who got me interested in genealogy in 1998, had these papers in her files and I had copied them a couple of years ago while visiting an aunt and uncle.

Map made by JRS showing the immigration voyage of my Peters' family
Number 1: And, the top find for 2016 was locating the origins of my Peters family who emigrated from Germany in 1859. Though I wrote quite a few posts as I shared the steps to this discovery almost in real time on my blog, a summary can be found on my post titled "How I Traced My Immigrant Family to Germany."

Photo of Joachim Peters that belongs to my family, alongside a painting
of the photo that got handed down in a cousin's family.
BONUS: I can't believe I left this out of my "top 10" list! This year, I discovered my dad has hundreds of photos that I had never seen before! He has been emailing them to me, and we are working together to fill in the details. I have also received photos from other cousins. It's always exciting to find photos of the people we are researching! So, this is definitely one of my "top 10 genealogy finds" of 2016!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January Goals

I believe that setting goals helps us to focus and achieve more. So, for 2017, I decided to set monthly goals. For January, my goals are in four categories: blogging, education, email, and volunteering.

Blogging: Write & post at least 8 blog posts.


Education: Watch at least 4 webinars and finish reading "Trace Your German Roots Online: A Complete Guide to German Genealogy Websites" by James M. Beidler.

Volunteering: Index at least 100 records on FamilySearch, which is something I haven't done in several years.

Email: Catch up with email, a lot of which is genealogy related.

Do you set genealogy goals? If so, are they weekly, monthly, or yearly? And, do you have categories you use? I'd love to read about them as I start this new process for 2017.

Monday, January 9, 2017

What's Your Genealogy Timeline?

Happy New Year!

I'm just back from a New Year's cruise I took with my daughter, mom, and niece. We sailed on Royal Caribbean's "Oasis of the Seas" from Port Canaveral, Florida to St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Haiti, and Puerto Rico and had a wonderful time. But, now it's time to get back to every day life and the "work" we call genealogy!

2016/2017 Cruise - Oasis of the Seas

As we start another new year, it's also a great time to look back. What's your genealogy timeline?


If you share your genealogy timeline, please let me know! I'd love to see it!

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 grandp...