Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Yay! She's Back!

Not much genealogical work has gotten done in the last few days, but today older daughter returned from Down Under/the other side of the international date line/below the equator! I can't tell you how glad I was to see her again.

My regular genealogical blog will be back on Wednesday with Wedding Wednesday.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Yesterday, Today or Tomorrow?

Older daughter has been on a 20 trip to Australia - Perth - Victoria - Melbourne & Sydney. However she left yesterday for her trip home. Or today. She left on April 30th at 10 am (Sydney time) and gets into LAX on April 30th at 6:45 am-ish Pacific time. Then she flies to Atlanta and gets in there at 3:53 pm EDT and leaves there at 5:25 PM EDT and gets in at Nashville at 5:35 pm CDT.

Don't tell me time travel isn't possible. DH and younger daughter and I have spent the last 20 days calculating what time it is wherever she is. Thanks to the world clock App on my iPod, I think I have it figured out! I think she will be one weary world traveler when she gets in tomorrow. We are meeting her at Nashville to bring her home. I'm surprised anything is getting done around here.

I think I better get back to working on those marriage records! Hoping to be done by the end of the week!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sympathy Saturday - St. Paul's Cemetery, New Bremen, Auglaize County, Ohio

The following is a summary of an article that appeared in The Towpath, the quarterly publication of the New Bremen Historical Association. I've known about the fate of this cemetery thanks to my cousin Evelene Bell Meyer.  This article is dedicated to the 122 people who were buried there in a mass grave during the 1849 Cholera epidemic.

History of Cemeteries in New Bremen - St. Paul's Timeline.

The plat of Bremen (New Bremen) was officially recorded June 11, 1833. Public space reserved for church school and burial ground. The burial ground was part of St. Paul Church (Lutheran) but was referred to often as the Village Cemetery.

First burial was Phillip Jacob Maurer who died just one month after he and his family settled there.

1849 Cholera Epidemic. Because of sanitation and welfare concerns the Village council began exploring the need for a cemetery out side the town. Before any action could be taken the Cholera Epidemic (possibly fueled by the canal and unsanitary conditions) hit. A reported 150 of the 700 population died. In a three week period between July 27 and August 18, 1849, church records show that St. Paul lost 122 members and a mass grave was dug for the burial of these victims in St. Paul Cemetery. Even though two other churches existed, most burials took place in St. Paul. An estimated 2500 to 3000 people are thought to have been buried there.

by 1843, the church council purchased land on State route 274 west of New Bremen. First known as Memorial Park Cemetery, later called Plank Road Cemetery open to burials until 1938.

St. Peter's church, formed in 1845, also had a burial ground opposite their church. An estimated 500 people may have been buried there, but there are no records to confirm this.

These two cemeteries (St. Paul & St. Peter) were closed in 1865. Out of town burial was established by a village ordinance. In 1865 German Protestant Cemetery's constitution (written in German) was titled Constitution of the German Universal Protestant God's Acre.

1866 - Willow Grove Cemetery (aka Lock Three Cemetery) was opened. Willow Grove remains open.

1903 - The board of trustees decided to erect a new fence around the old grave yard between Herman Street & the L.E. & W. railroad ...

1916 (From the New Bremen Sun, August 25, 1916): As the old St. Paul's cemetery, on North Herman Street is to be plowed and leveled off within a short time now, those who have relatives or friends buried there and wish the remains to be transferred to some other burying place, are requested to make their wishes known without delay to the St. Paul Trustees.

1983 St. Paul's Church Sesquicentennial Book, p 19:  Plans for a ball field and playground area west of the church on Herman Street were outlined in September, 1948. This involved a great deal of work and money, as this was the site of the original church cemetery. Because there was a real need in the community for a ball field and park area and since the church cemetery could no longer beused for burial because of a village ordinance in the 1860's prohibiting burials within the corporation, it was felt this would be an excellent use of this church-owned property. A notice was released for families having loved ones buried there to have the right to relcoate those graves. A few were relocated; hence several stones in German Protestant cemetery having dates of death prior to its establishment in December 1865. However, the majority of the remaining headstones were buried on top of each respective grave and leveling of the area took place over a period of several years.

In October 2011, a geophysical survey of the historical Church graveyard, was completed. They scanned the subsurface with ground penetrating radar to determine if buried remains still exist at this site. The report of this survey is on file in the church office and may be viewed during office hours.

I was disappointed to see that the articles did not reveal whether any graves remained. I'm sure they saw the shadows of the headstones they buried.

[Summary of the article in The Towpath, April 2012, the quarterly of the New Bremen Historical Association, reprinted with permission.]

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 27, 2012

Freaked out Friday -- Where Did Those Census Records Come From?

The marriage records  I have been working on are coming along quite well. Unfortunately, my census count is going up. We're not even talking 1940 here either, but census dating back to an 1861 Canadian census. So far the census count is 24.

It will give me something to do besides marriage records and indexing.

Tomorrow, for Sympathy Saturday I received permission to reprint an article from a historical society. That's all I'm saying.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Too-Too Thursday - Too Many Freds, Too Many Louis'

Yes, still working on marriage records.  And I only have 187 left in the queue. But now I am working in Ohio, which means there will be some Percivals, some Kirtleys, a couple Chinns but mostly my maternal German ancestors, Kettlers, Knosts and Meyers!

Well, let me tell you that every other Kettler is named Fred. It's either Ludwig Friedrich or Louis Frederick and on the flip side its Friedrich Ludwig or Frederick Louis. In order to sort through them, you have to look at the age where available, the location and the census. Sometimes they even had similar names for their children. I know the Knosts will confuse me with the Christians, Freds and Gerhards. The Meyers will get me on Heinrich, Anton, and Johann/John.

Sometimes the only way to sort out the family is by searching by the wife's maiden name in my database.

I had the same problem in Massachusetts with the Percivals. Way too many James' and Johns.

I can't believe how much fun I'm having!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Leach & Richards

On April 25, 1923 in Detroit Michigan, Charles Edgar Leach born about 1900 in Canada and Lilian Jeannette Richards, born in Ohio, were married.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I just love surprises. Like finding marriage records you didn't expect or a first husband for someone that you didn't know about. That's what I've been dealing with while working on my marriage record project.

One of the sources for this project is Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1789-1994.  I keep hoping to find some more records, but apparently not up to 1946 yet.

Some of the information given on the marriage records is age at their last birthday - for instance, one person was 28 years on the 9th day of January1906. The marriage date was June 27, 1906. Parents names were given on these records also. If you haven't done Ohio research, you might not know that vital records are kept by the county Probate courts. So I am filling in information that I didn't have and didn't really expect to find in some instances. Unfortunately though, those appear to be 20th century records, most of the 19th century records still only give the information that the groom is 21 years and the bride 18 years. Not that they are exactly that age, but have attained that age.

One interesting record had handwritten in "do not publish ages." Really? Did they lie about their ages to get a marriage license?

Nice surprises all in all!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 23, 2012

Counting Up and Counting Down!

I seem to be doing a lot of counting. It's how I track my progress on various projects. For instance, I've made 5 Thanksgiving cards. Yeah, I know its a ways off! I've indexed over 200 names on the 1940 census. I've entered over 300 marriages into my genealogy database! I've added 15 census to my census queue! And yes, that is how it gets so big. Hugely big and the big census project I worked on earlier this year proves. The counting down is a good thing, it shows progress. The counting up? It keeps me busy and mostly out of  trouble. 

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sympathy Saturday - Janie Goetsell Bowman

Janie Goetsell was born December 13, 1866 in Texas. She married Andrew Jackson Bowman (son of Isaac Gatewood Bowman and Mary Catherine Armstrong) about 1888. She died April 20, 1942 in Mansfield, Texas and was buried in Mansfield Cemetery. You can visit her Find-a-Grave memorial here.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 20, 2012

Keep Those Records Coming ... Coming ... Coming!

Another seemingly endless project are the marriage records that I have collected recently.  Well, at least over the last year. They really got out of control recently and I am now studiously and painstakingly editing the images - I really hate that black border - and then entering the information, sourcing it, an linking the images.

So I started with 600 marriage records - about 150 of those I think I found during the great census project. I've found probably another 10 since starting the marriage record project. And a few more census too! Oy! I am down to 377 images left.  Probably about 1/3 of them need editing still.

Maybe by the time I finish this project and the birth record project the 1940 will be indexed and I can start all over again!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Too-Too Thursday - Too Many Thayers

Sometimes there are just too many similarities in family names. And it can drive you crazy!

Today's subjects are William A. Thayer and Emma Mary Thayer. William was the son of William "Allen" Thayer and Calista Percival. Emma was the daughter of Willard H. Thayer and Abigail Rood.
William and Calista Percival Thayer had a daughter, Mary Emma, who was sometimes referred to as Emma. Emma Mary was a twin and her twin was named Emily. Way too confusing for me!

At any rate, William Thayer and Emma Thayer were married in Williamsburg, Massachusetts on January 23, 1872!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Todd & Husbands

On April 18, 1866 in Sangamon county, Illinois Lockwood Todd, son of Dr. John Briggs Todd and Elizabeth Blair Smith married Emily Husbands. He was 39 and she was 26.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy Birthday - Sara!

Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday (or maybe it was yesterday because you crossed the International Date Line!)
Dear Sara!
Happy Birthday to you (or maybe it is tomorrow because of daylight savings time!)

Oh what the heck! We celebrated it before you left!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 16, 2012

Indexing the 1940

When I have more than a few minutes to spare, I load up the Family Search indexing program and download a batch of 1940 census to index. So far, I have indexed New York, Minnesota, Missouri and Michigan. The Minnesota was actually an accident as I meant to index Michigan, but what the heck! None has been especially challenging. A batch is only one page so it isn't taxing. I've been an indexer for the state of Missouri's death records for about three years now and it is very rewarding.

Got time? Try it.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sympathy Saturday - The Titanic

This evening will be the 100th anniversary of the Titanic striking an iceberg and sinking early the next morning. Tragically 1500 lives were lost. One hundred and twenty-one recovered bodies were buried in Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

You can find Titanic stories

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 13, 2012

Transcript Update

Ever since I read about this program in cousin Carol's blog over at Reflections From the Fence, I have been gaga over it.

If you are like me and save all the images you find of birth, deaths, marriage and news reports, wills, letters, etc., then you will love this little program that enables you to transcribe from the image right on your computer screen.

Jacob Boerema, the author of the program, has just released an update for it.  Here is the link to the page in English!

This snip just gives you a quick view of the image I uploaded into it, you can adjust the size of the image, set the image to advance as you reach the end of your typewritten line, when you paragraph up, etc. I just copy and paste the text into my genealogy program and link the image. Voila!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Too-Too Thursday - Dear Ancestry!

I can appreciate that Ancestry is trying to get new subscribers, but as a long-term subscriber to, I resent the fact that these "free" weeks are coming at my expense. I can't tell you how many times I can't access the site or it gets terminally slow because of "free access" promos.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Klesert & Roderick

On April 11, 1912, in Sturgis, Michigan, Wilhelmina "Minnie" Klesert married Ransom W. Roderick.

Minnie was the daughter of Charles Klevsaat and Emma Strause.  Charles Klevsaat/Klesert was a first cousin once removed to my great-great grandfather Christian Ludwig Heinrich Kleesaat/Cleasott.

It sort of explains the difficulties in tracing this line!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

1940 Census Sleuth

I have to admit, I am very pleasantly surprised with the NARA site for the 1940 census. It has been relatively simple to locate the Enumeration District numbers using the various tools on their site. And to be able to download the entire ED? Not an issue with my high-speed internet. I chose only those I had either an address for or knew they lived in a small town.

I found a couple surprises.

The biggest one - my great grandmother, Helen Maitland Percival was NOT living at 820 E 41st Street in Kansas City, Missouri. Her sister and niece were though! Found at that address was Mary Maitland Shackelford and her daughter Mary K. She WAS living around the corner at 4104 Harrison street. AND in 1935 she lived in Denver, Colorado! I didn't know that.

The next surprise was that in 1940, the Rankins had recovered enough to pay a live-in nurse. Apparently the nurse was the only one with any income in 1939. The nurse was for their son, James Jr, who dove into the water in Laguna beach in 1934 and broke his neck, paralyzing him for life.

In 1940, my husband's Kruszka grandparents were living next door to Joseph Fryczynski, Leon Kruszka's half-brother. Since the street they lived on in 1930 and 1940 is now part of General Motor's Poletown plant, looking for the address on a current map is useless.

So I used various tools, including converting a 1930 ED to a 1940 ED.  Enough of that. Going to have to start indexing soon!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 9, 2012

The 1940

Do I really need to add census to that title? Probably not! 

Yeah, I know I said I wasn't going to go looking until the 1940 was indexed, but since I did have one address - my dad's in 1938 - I thought I would go looking. According to the census enumeration district maps, dad was probably living in ED 1608 on block 96 (15766 Ferguson Street in Detroit). Doesn't that sound easy? And it might have been, except when I got to block 96, they weren't there. Neither was the address.

For those of you who haven't used the 1940 census at the National Archives site, you put in the state, county, city, and street and that gives you a chance to put in the closest cross street. I did that, inputting Pilgrim street and it give me ED 1608A and I clicked on the link and browsed through the pages.

When my initial search did not yield my Percival family, I just kept scrolling through the pages until finally I found one of the pages where they went back looking for people whom they'd missed on the first or second go-round.

I was really surprised to see this enumeration:

Line 72 - Percival, John (head)   M W 47 etc
                      John Mary Wife  Son FM  W 19 etc
                             Frank  son     M W 14 etc

I can imagine the census taker and John Percival conversation going like this:

Census taker:  Your name, age, etc.
John:                John Percival, age 47 born in Missouri
Census taker: Your wife? (and census taker scribbling down Grandpa's response)
John:              Mary, but she is deceased.

Hence, the crossed out information.  By this time my grandmother had been deceased for not quite two years, and I am sure the pain was still raw with my grandfather as I have written evidence that she was probably the love of his life.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sympathy Saturday - Lizzie Hayes Bradley

 On April 7th, 1943, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Hayes Bradley died in Lexington, Kentucky. She was born the 11th day of September  1846 to Robert Hayes and Mary Ann Bowman. She married Oliver Lee Bradley about 1866.  She was a granddaughter of Isaac Bowman and Mary Ann Chinn.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 6, 2012

Finding Your Roots

Am I alone in thinking that the Dr. Henry Lewis Gates show "Finding Your Roots" far outshines, "Who Do You Think You Are?"

 Sunday's episode with Barbara Walters and Geoff Canada were supreme examples of name changes. FYR's researcher at the NEHGS actually told how she was looking for a name change by searching with just a first name and using the Soundex.

The same principal was used in searching in the Lodz (sorry for the missing diacritic) Archives in Poland. How did they know what to look for? The tombstone in the Jewish cemetery in New Jersey where Ms. Walter's grandparents were buried included the first names of her great grandfather.  In Lodz, the archivist searched for Zvi Geltzer father of Abraham Itzak (Isaac) and finally found them. Both, incidentally were first names. It was tedious work, and isn't that what most of us seasoned genealogists have done - gone page by page and line by line to find that elusive record?

Well done,  Dr. Gates.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Too-Too Thursday - 21 Million LIVING People on the 1940 Census?

You can view this article here (I hope!)

It states that there are 21 million people enumerated on the 1940 census that still live. Now, you will remember that they are released 72 years after the fact.  I am surprised that the American Civil Liberties Union opposes unrestricted access to the census. If I read that right.

I don't care. I hope to see myself on the 1960 census when it is released in 20 years! And yes, I do know where I lived in 1960. And it would be nice to see my two youngest sisters, who didn't make their appearance until after 1960, on the 1970 census, should I live that long!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wedding Wednesday -- Percival & Kirtley

On this day 190 years ago, my great-great-great grandparents, Dr. John Stearns Percival and Sarah Ann Kirtley were married in Burlington, Kentucky. He was 29, and it was his second marriage. She was 13 and it was her first. 

 "    Know all men by these presents that we John S Percival & E F. Vawter are held and firmly Bound unto the commonwealth of Kentucky in the penal sum of fifty pounds  current money to the payment aforesaid will and truly to be made we Bind ourselves our Heirs etc Jointly severally and firmly By these presents sealed & dated this 4 day of April 1822.

    The Condition of this obligation is such that whereas the above Bound Jno S Percival hath this day made application to the clerk of Boone county court for a license to marry Sarah Ann Kirtley which license will be issued immediately after the execution of this Bond. Now if it shall always hereafter appear that there is no lawful cause to obstruct said marriage then this obligation to be void Else to be & remain in full force & virtue.

                John S Percival
                Edmond F Vawter "

Marriage Bond
 "Kentucky Boone County etc. These are to License and permit any legally authorized minister of the gospel to celebrate the rites of matrimony between John S. Percival and Sarah Ann Kirtley agreeably to the ceremony of the society to which you belong, and for so doing this shall be your authority, the said Percival having entered into bond and in other respects complied with the law. Given under my hand as Clerk of the County Court of said County of Boone this 4th of April 1822. Willis Graves Clerk"
Marriage License

  Marriage Record
"I do certify that John S Percival and Sarah Ann Kirtley was joined in the Bonds of Marriage on the 4th of April 1822 by me Christopher Wilson."

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Oops! My Bad! - Or Don't Overlook Your Own Records!

When you think back on where you lived as a child, do you remember everywhere you ever lived? I have vague recollections of my parent's house at 8600 Braille in Detroit in 1954-ish. I'm thinking those memories are probably close to the time they moved from there to 9567 Nathaline in Redford Township in October of 1954. That house I remember, as it is where I grew up from the age of two to twenty, when I rented an apartment of my own.

Therefore, I think I can be forgiven for whining about where my parents lived. My dad's parents lived in several homes in Detroit in the 1920s and 1930s. When grandma died in 1938, however, I do know where they lived and I forgot that I knew that. I knew my dad lived on Montrose, but that was earlier than 1938. In August 1938, they were living at 15766 Ferguson in Detroit area of Southfield and Grand River.  I vaguely remember my dad mentioning Ferguson, but suddenly I remembered the letters I transcribed written to my grandmother from my grandfather and the few she wrote to him when he took the job with the Detroit Water Board in the 1920s. And then there was the correspondence with the funeral home addressed to 15766 Ferguson. Were they living there in 1940? I don't know, but it is a place to start.

Mom's location is still up in the air!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 2, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are? - Rita Wilson

What a change from the previous week's episode with Helen Hunt. I found Rita Wilson's episode heart-breaking.

When I interviewed my parents, my dad told me most of everything he knew. Rita Wilson's father really only told them that he had escaped from a labor camp in Bulgaria.

The shocks she suffered in her discoveries were mind-numbing. Finding out your father had been imprisoned for stealing water bottles? Discovering that your father had been married before and had a son by his first wife. Then learning that both wife and child died and seeing Rita's emotional roller coaster was heart-rending.

I love the episodes when you see the "star" reunited with family members. In her case it was cousins in Greece and her uncle in Bulgaria.

And what a treat for her to see her father's "secret record." I wish all the episodes were that good!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes