25 February 2013

Ancestors Looking For Their Families - An Ohio Marriage Certificate

I found this Ohio marriage certificate at the Glendale College Swap Meet in Glendale, CA.  I'd like to return it to a family member, if possible.  It is the marriage certificate of Rev William H. Oehlschaeger and Alice A. Anthony. The were united in marriage in Columbus, Franklin Co, OH on 8 May 1899. I've done a little additional research on them and have added the details below. As you know, old family photos, etc. pull at my heartstrings.  If you have any connection to these families, please have them contact me so I can place it back in their hands.  Thanks, everybody!
It's awfully torn around the edges and a bit dirty and dusty but really beautiful.

The design is gorgeous!
The groom: Rev. William H. Oehlschlaeger from Clarion, Clarion Co, PA
 b. Oct 1873
The Bride: Miss Alice A Anthony of Columbus, Franklin Co, OH
b. Oct 1872
The Witnesses: Prof. R Pflueger and Mrs. Cunigunde Seeberger Anthony, the bride's mother.  The bride's father was Nicholas Anthony.


21 February 2013

Identifying Gramps But Proof Isn't So Easy To Come By

The true identity of one of my 6th great grandfathers has been a puzzle to me and other researchers for many years.  When I first researched this member of a prominent Connecticut founding family, he was pronounced the son of another member of this same family but there were never any sources to prove this.  Now, I’m a stickler for citations.  If I don’t have a minimum of 3 sources, I never can swallow that fact whole.  About 6 months ago, I decided I would only focus my genealogy research on this guy until I cracked his identity. I’m such a glutton for punishment….
It took about 2 days to be 99.9% sure that I had successfully figured out exactly who Gramps was.  That’s it!  2 days!  Well, this is gonna be a piece of cake, I thought to myself.  Get the sources and share it with my far flung cousins who have been racking their brains for all these years.  A huge piece of my genealogical frustration had been put to bed.

Ha!  6 months later, I sit here twitching and twittling my thumbs. After going through close to a 1,000 out of print books, documents and stories with a fine tooth comb, I am officially losing my mind. Besides backing up his birth date, I can’t come up with any other source to cite.  See, I truly believe Gramps just didn’t use his given name and why would he?  There were, besides his father, about 5 other members of this family using the same name at the same time as well. Records for Gramps are only in his given name or the name he used, never both.

His birth date fits, birthplace fits, his move to another state and county fits, the naming of his children fits, EVERYTHING SEEMS TO FIT!  But those elusive citations never come.  Until they do, I’ll continue searching and believing and losing my genealogical mind.

Kids Genealogy Class at Casa Italia

Casa Italia Italian Cultural Center in Chicago is holding a Branching Out For Kids beginning genealogy class.  The class will take place Saturday, March 9, 2012 from 10 am to noon, for kids grades 4-12.  If you're of Italian heritage, this would be a wonderful way to get your children interested in their italian roots.  For more information, please visit the Casa Italia website here: Casa Italia Kids Genealogy Info

18 February 2013

Homes of My Ancestors: Touring the Ludington Farm with Uncle Bob

When I was just beginning my genealogy addiction, I looked to my great uncle, Bob Watts, to point me in the right direction for Porter County, IN family information.  Who would be better to show me the way than Uncle Bob?  He was the longtime mortician at Bartholomew’s Funeral home in Valparaiso, IN and knew everyone who passed in and out, (literally), of the county.  But more importantly, Uncle Bob was the funniest man I have ever met.  Maybe it’s something to do with the profession – laugh, joke and enjoy life – to deal with the sadness of death he had to see every day. He told me on my next trip back to Northwest Indiana, he’d take me on a little tour.  I couldn’t wait! 
I’d been on “little tours” with Uncle Bob plenty of times when I was a child.  He’d take me for a chocolate covered frozen banana at the local drive in restaurant.  At the funeral home, he’d let me “sneak” into the room that held all the caskets and when I acted like I was the ONLY child in the universe who had been able to see a room like that, he absolutely agreed that I was the most special. On a trip to see his son Mark play football at Augustana College, our family made an unexpected stop at a home. “Are we picking someone up”, I asked?  “No, we’re dropping someone off”, he said as he picked up the brown cardboard box I had been sitting next to in the back seat for the last few hours.
When the day arrived for our genealogy tour with Uncle Bob, my mom, grandma and I were in for a special treat.  We got a fantastic guided tour to places all over Porter and Noble counties in Indiana that included homes, resting places and hangouts of our ancestors with plenty of funny stories to boot.  One of these places was the Ludington farm near Porter Crossroads, IN.
Uncle Bob Watts talking with the owner of the Ludington Farm in 1992
When we arrived at the farm, we saw that the beautiful red barn probably looked very much like it did when my 4th great grandfather, David Ludington, built it in the mid-1800’s.  The white farm house he had also built at the same time, unfortunately, had lost its charm.  Don’t get me wrong, the house was in excellent condition.  But, as with many old farm homes, the new owners changed portions of it to make it more modern or bigger over the years. Listening to my grandma, Marjorie May Watts and her brother Bob speak, they described how it used to look and the fun they used to have there as kids.  We moved on to the next stop of our tour and I felt a little disappointed. I wished I could have seen the house in her old glory.
Then one day this happened:
Art Watts, Bob Watts, Bill Link, Esther Link and Marge Watts in the 1930's at the Ludington home.
I came across an old 1930’s family photo of some of the Ludington’s grandchildren, including my grandmother and Uncle Bob.  My eyes froze as I saw that white home behind the kids.  It was the old Ludington home, probably as it had been built!  It had two grand porches with lovely columns! It was surrounded by lovely shade trees.  And, it appears that there was a second story above the side porch.
Sometimes, wishes do come true.

12 February 2013

FamilySearch Indexing App No Longer Available

Being laid up after knee surgery, sitting with my laptop has really been restricted. Although it can't do all I need it to, my iPad's become pretty darn handy. I was thrilled to see a FamilySearch.org Indexing app in the Apple Store. A quick download and I was transcribing away at those faded ship manifests within minutes.

So, last night, when my knee decided to swell up like a grapefruit, I propped myself up in bed for a bit of indexing. After transcribing a few names, all that came up were blank pages on the app. I signed out, tried to log back in and no luck.

In my quest to see why I was denied, I found my answer on The Ancestry Insider. Seems the app's been discontinued for at least the time being. Hopefully, FamilySearch.org will realize its potential in this mobile world and bring it back soon. If you'd like to read the article at The Ancestry Insider, please click here: The Ancestry Insider

11 February 2013

Favorite Quotations by The Ladies Aid Society of the Cromwell, IN M.E. Church 1909

One of my prized possessions is a book which belonged to my 2nd great grandmother, Malinda Hitler Thomas.  Malinda was a member of The Ladies Aid Society of The Cromwell, IN M.E. Church.  In 1909, the ladies put together and published a book called “Favorite Quotations”.  I love that so many of the quotations can still ring true today.  But what is most amazing are the branches of so many family trees that run through it and how far away those branches reached.

Many of the ladies who belonged to The Ladies Aid Society started their lives on the east coast or Ohio.  In “Favorite Quotations”, you can see they reached out to relatives back east or had moved west from Indiana for quotes. Each quotation lists who submitted it and where they lived. For example, my grandmother probably asked her brother-in-law living in Wisconsin, Marion Berberich, or her nephew’s wife, M.S. Maggart, for a quote. Those quotes are included in the book.

“Favorite Quotations” is frayed and torn. It is also a touching tribute to the people who contributed to it.  I’d like to share it with you.  Every so often, I’ll post a quotation in hopes that it inspires or makes you smile, too.

08 February 2013

Photos: Ancestors Looking for Their Families

This is a photo I found of Bobby Judy, 2 years and 7 months old of Trinidad, CO. It was found in Glendale, CA. I would like to return this photo to the Judy family.  If you know the Judy family, please feel free to have them contact me so this sweet-faced little boy can be returned where he belongs.  Thanks!

Lucille Unith Thomas & Glenn David Watts

I remember my great grandmother, Lucile Unith Thomas, as a loving, speak-her-mind woman.  I have the best memories of visiting her in Laporte, IN during baseball season.  If we were smart, my family should’ve had earplugs in tow on those outings.  Why?  Was she hard of hearing?  Nope.  Sunday afternoons in her home was the battle of the baseball teams.  She, like me, was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan.  Her second husband, Orville, on the other hand, was a lifelong Chicago White Sox fan.  Cubs fans and White Sox fans are like oil and water.  One would be watching their team on the television in one room.  The other would be listening to their team on the radio in another.  As the games progressed, the volumes on both the radio and television would continually be turned up to the point where it was deafening.  Each of them trying to drown out the sound of each other’s beloved team’s game.  The sound was bouncing off the wall. When one of the games was over, you’d be exhausted from just having to sit through it all.

After grandma passed away, I began to hear stories of her childhood.  She was a girl of privilege, the daughter of wealthy farmer who was raised as a little princess.  I saw pictures of her in the most lavish baby carriage, in the most stylish clothing....it was wonderful to see these things because grandma didn’t always have the easiest adulthood. She and my great grandfather, Glenn David Watts, divorced before their children were grown.

During my genealogy research, I was so warmed to see her constantly mentioned in the society pages of the local newspapers.  Lucile Thomas entertained the members of her Sunday school class at a party at her home on Monday evening. Lucile Thomas was the guest at so and so’s parties.

And then, I read it.  The item that must have curled her parents’, Jacob Garver Thomas and Malinda Hitler’s toes.  From The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel. Marriages. Cromwell, Indiana. June 6, 1918 (typed as written):

“Miss Lucile Thomas, accomplished daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob G. Thomas, and Mr. Glenn Watts of Gary, IN were united in marriage at Rolling Prairie, IN. Miss Thomas left home Thursday morning for Rolling Prairie, where she expected to meet Mr. Watts and spend the day with his people, expecting to return home that evening, so her mother says, then a telegram arrived her telling of the marriage.  Mr. Watts is in the draft and will enlist in the service in a few days”.
Oh!  My sly great grandparents eloped! Those devils!  As I did some further research, I found out that they had actually married on May 31, 1918 in St. Joseph, MI! 
 Learning of all this, I smiled to myself a bit thinking how scandalous this must have been and that my grandma didn’t care her family thought he was the boy from the wrong side of the tracks.  She loved him and she wanted to marry her soldier before he went off to war.

04 February 2013

Tis Wonderful to Give Back When You Receive

Gone are the days in which the only choice in doing yourgenealogical research was to head on over to the local library or genealogysociety.  You’d pack up your notebooksand pens, spend hours looking at a few books and be pretty pleased if you foundanything new. Now, with just a few clicks, many of those documents, records andout of print books we desperately needed to get our hands on can be seen with afew clicks of the mouse. 

Ahhhhhhhhhhh…I like this form of genealogical couch potato-ness,(although I also still love my library trips)! BUT, those records don’t just upload themselves to the internet all ontheir own.  There is an army ofvolunteers, transcribing them for free all over the world, every, single day.  They’re fighting valiantly to save out ofprint books and documents which could disappear forever.  They’re the ones that let you sit on your duffin your living room and hand you that long needed source or an ancestor’s willthat makes your tree complete. I’m a part of this transcription army and amdarn proud of it.

Please won’t you join the transcription army?  It’s so easy to do, right at home and you candictate who you transcribe for, what you want to transcribe and if you willspend 5 minutes or 50 hours a month doing it. It’s like being a freelance historian – preserving our past one page ata time.

Here are just a few transcribing opportunities to get youstarted.  And, make sure to check withyour local genealogy or history society and public library to see if there isany way you can lend a hand with their transcription projects. If you have any suggestions for volunteering opportunities, please feel free to add them in the comments section.  I'd love to see all of your ideas!  Thanks!

03 February 2013

Photos: Ancestors Looking For Their Families

As I do my genealogical research, I always look for any hints for what my ancestors looked like. Were they short or tall? What color were their eyes? How the heck did I get red hair when everyone in my family has sandy brown hair? We're lucky enough to have one family photo album from the 1800's and a few old photos here and there but I always ask myself? Where did all of our family’s photos go?


In order to answer that question, I've become slightly addicted to perusing every old photo at every antique store and show, scouring the back of EVERY photo to see if there is a name on it. The vendors must wonder what the crazy lady is doing sitting on the floor with a pile of photos. I also search EBay to find I.D.’d photos and albums. It makes me insane when I see families selling their own family albums but I'm a good girl and don't follow through on my thought of sending them a nasty email to tell them how lucky they are and telling them they're horrible people for selling their family history like that.


Occasionally,  I find someone else’s family photo that has a name and location on it and I buy it in hopes that somebody is left in that person's family that would love to know what they looked.  So, I will sometimes post these photo finds here and maybe a descendent will find them, contact me and the photos will be returned to their loved ones. Who knows? Maybe one day, someone will find my ancestors’ photos and I'll figure out where this red hair originated.

Alise, Minnie, Orville and Raymond Young of Matoon, IL. Children of Edwin and Rose Young.  Photo found in Glendale, CA.

World War I soldier, Raymond Young of Matoon, IL. Son of Edwin and Rose Young. Photo found in Glendale, CA.