Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Certification Question

Over the past few years, I've considered becoming a certified genealogist more often. About six months ago, I decided to go "on the clock" and start the actual process this summer.

free image from

In pursuit of this goal, I took the BU (Boston University) genealogy course this past fall. I also took other classes, watched webinars, read articles, and listened to podcasts. Although I would have participated in many of these learning experiences anyway, I took part in some of these specifically with the goal of certification in mind.

Since I've started this journey, genealogy has become more of a job and less of a passion for me. Although I often enjoy it, it's become a part of my day I feel I "have to" do instead of something I want to do.

I recently realized how much stress this is causing me and joy it is stealing from me. So, I have decided not to pursue certification at this time.

A few things I've learned in the process:

  • I prefer helping others informally with their research then doing it formally and writing a research report
  • I enjoy blogging and want to do it more consistently 
  • I LOVE teaching through presentations and want to pursue more of these opportunities
I still hope to become certified in the future. But, for now, I am happy to concentrate on the parts of genealogy I love: researching, blogging, and teaching! 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Children of Anton & Mary (Reuter) Karbach / Koerbach

Anton & Mary (Reuter) Karbach (or Koerbach), my third great grandparents, immigrated from Germany to Ohio in about 1853. Although a passenger list has not been located, they probably arrived with their three oldest daughters: Mary Magdalena "Lena," Margaret, and Katherina. In Ohio, Mary gave birth to at least four more children: Theresa, Christina, Karl/Charles, and Mary. According to the 1900 U.S. census, Mary Karbach had a total of 10 children, so 3 of them probably died as infants or young children and their names and dates/places of birth are not known.

Photo of Anton & Mary (Reuter) KOERBACH/KARBACH with their granddaughter,
Mary Ann (March) LORETZ who was born in 1871. Photo circa 1876 when Mary
March,  Margaret's daughter, was about 5, Anton was 53, and Mary was 46.
Photo from Charles Wilke; used with permission.

Of the seven known children, Charles (1863-1871) died as an 8-year-old boy and Katherina (1852-1879), who died at the age of 27, appears to not have married or had any children. Five daughters married and had children. But, as daughters, their children did not carry the Karbach/Koerbach.

The five daughters who married and had offspring were:

  • Mary Magdalena "Lena" (1848-1938) who married (1) Reinhard KAECHLE and (2) John Henry SPRINGER. Lena & Reinhard are my second great grandparents.
  • Margaret (1849-1939) who married Madardus "John" MARCH.
  • Theresa (1854-1925) who married Charlie KOLLMORGAN.
  • Christina (1859-1942) who married Joseph Byron GAHAGAN.
  • Mary (1865-1939) who married Benjamin Bernard WIDMAN and possibly a second husband with the surname of Fredrickson. 
Photo labeled "Christina, Margaret, Theresa, & Mary" and are probably
positioned in that order.  Photo shared by Charles Wilke & used with permission.

Four years ago, I was thrilled to find a tree by a cousin, Charles Wilke, who had shared photos and documents on MyHeritage regarding our Koerbach family. I had never seen any photos of these family members! At the beginning of this post, you can see the only photo I've seen of my third great grandparents: Anton and Mary Koerbach. Charles also had this photo of 4 of the 5 sisters who had children; unfortunately, the sister missing is "my" Lena (Koerbach) Kaechle. 

Are you related to the Koerbach family? I'd love to talk! Please leave a message or email me at 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Meeting Lisa Louise Cooke... Again

Four years ago, I met Lisa Louise Cooke when she presented at Houston Genealogical Forum (HGF). At the time, I was a little awe struck; I'd been listening to Lisa's podcasts and she was  a genealogy "superstar" to me.

Since then, I've continued to listen to her podcasts, watch her videos, read her books, and implement the techniques she's taught me. 

Lisa Louise Cooke and Me, April 2018, Houston Genealogical Forum
Last weekend she presented another all day seminar at HGF. This time, I felt like I was meeting a friend, though it seemed a little strange that the hours and hours of conversations we'd had were one-sided and she didn't know me like I knew her. At lunch, she sat at our table and I enjoyed spending time talking with her, instead of just listening to her. She is as friendly, gracious, and knowledgeable in person as she is online.

My favorite presentation last weekend was "Google Books: The Tool You Should Use Every Day!" She shared wonderful examples of articles, and even photos, she'd discovered in her own research. In my next post, I'll share a couple of my discoveries.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Who Was Franky's Father? Part 2: Another Will

In my last post, I shared how a Princess Anne County, Virginia, 1791 marriage record provided evidence that Willoughby Randolph's wife, Franky, was likely the daughter of William Thornton. Another document I've discovered is the 1794 will of William Thornton of the same county. It lists his "daughter Franke Randolph" along with other children. This will provides additional evidence that William Thornton was Franky's father.

Lee County, Virginia, "Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983," "Will Book, Vol. 2,
1795-1807," will of William Thornton,  signed 18 December 1794, page 3 [page numbering inconsistant];
database,  image 307, ( : accessed 19 March 2018).

Family members listed in William Thornton's will:

  • daughter Franke Randolph
  • daughter Betty
  • daughter Polley Spier
  • son William
  • son Freddrick
  • wife Salley Thornton
  • daughter Cloye [Chloe?]
Sadly, four slaves were also mentioned:
  • negro woman called Fan
  • negro woman Dinea
  • negro girl called Hanner [Hannah?]
  • negro boy Charles
Lee County, Virginia, "Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983," "Will Book, Vol. 2,
1795-1807," will of William Thornton,  signed 18 December 1794, page 3 [page numbering inconsistant];
database,  image 308, ( : accessed 19 March 2018).

Land mentioned:
  • "to my son William Fifty acors Land that I bought of Berry"
  • "to my son Freddrick Fifty achors of land that I bought of Kinner Collens"
Interestingly, two of the three witness were females:
  • Tho[ma]s Holstead
  • Betty Coath [her mark]
  • Keziah Chappel [her mark]
All of these people and pieces of land need to be further researched. And, I'm making progress on my Virginia research!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Who Was Franky's Father? Part 1: A Marriage Record

Virginian Willoughby Randolph (1765-1822) mentions his wife, Franky, twice in his will. On many Ancestry trees, Franky's maiden name is listed as Thornton and her father's name as William Thornton. But, I have not found anyone who documents these relationships.

Willoughby and Franky's first child, William Randolph (my 4th great grandfather), was born on 4 November 1792 in Virginia. Willoughby and Franky were likely married around 1792. > Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 > Princess
Anne County > Index to Wills and Marriages, 1754-1799 > image 2192,
1791 marriage of Willoughby Randolph and Frankey Cummings.

I found this card stating that Willoughby Randolph and Frankey Cummings had married on 28 December 1791 in Princess Anne, Virginia. Based on date and place, this appears to be the correct couple. But, Frankey's surname says Cummings, not Thornton. If the other trees are correct, was Frankey previously married?

Wingo, Elizabeth B., Marriages of Princess Anne County, Virginia : [1749-1821]
(Norfolk, Virginia: E. B. Wingo publisher, 1961, 84; digital image, Internet
( : accessed 16 Marcy 2018).

Last night I came across another record. This is a marriage index, so I will try to get the original. But, it quite clearly states that Frankey Cummings was the daughter of William Thornton "who consents for her." Apparently this was Frankey's second marriage. Martin Cummings, listed as a surety for the marriage, was likely a relative of Frankey's previous husband.

There is only one Willoughby Randolph listed in the 1800 U.S. census. This "Willobough" Randoph was enumerated in Surry County, North Carolina, which is very close to Lee County, Virginia where Willoughby is living a few years later. Therefore, I conclude that Willoughby Randolph's wife, Frankey, was the daughter of William Thornton.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Patch On His Lapel

I have written a lot about one of my immigrant ancestors, Joachim Peters. He and his wife, Henriette, left "Germany" in 1859 with their six children and emigrated to America. My dad recently noticed that Joachim, shown in the photo below, had a patch on his lapel. As he studied the photo of his great, great grandfather, Joachim became a "real person" in his eyes. Look into his eyes. Do you see the man who left behind everyone but his wife and children to find a better life in America? 

Photo of Joachim Peters (1815-1894) 

Here's what my dad wrote:

Did you every happen to notice that Joachim has a patch on his lapel? Makes you think how much he gave up. How much effort and expense did it really take him to get to America? 

I wonder how much the trip aged him; aged all of them. His eyes are almost hollow sockets, but his eyes have a piercing stare and his jaw is set with determination. Did he always look this way?

It takes hardy stock to make pioneers. He did not just take the risk on his own, but put his whole family in jeopardy betting years of hardships so that one day they would all have a good future. Not only Joachim and his wife and children, but also for us, his descendants. 

I guess we all owe a debt of gratitude to him and all our other fathers' fathers and their fathers as well. So here is to patches on your lapel, dear Pa Pa. Sleep tight and watch over all of us, your children.

I'm glad I noticed the patch. And now, probably for the first time, I see Joachim as a real person, this earthly father of ours. Someone who would get down on his knees in the middle of the ocean and give thanks to our Heavenly Father for his love and, with the hope that He would see him and his family safely home to America. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

An 1822 Will Opens New Doors (Part 2)

A few days ago I shared the cover and first page of the 1822 will of Willoughby Randolph of Lee County, Virginia. Here are the second and third pages, along with a transcription, which include additional names and places for me to research.

[Note: In my transcription, I have put the names of people and relationships in bold print.]

Lee County, Virginia, "Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983," "Will Book, Vol. 3,
1800-1832," will of Willoughby Randolph, signed 16 February 1822, unpaged, second page;
database,  image 74, ( : accessed 8 March 2018). 
Lee County, Virginia, "Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983," "Will Book, Vol. 3,
1800-1832," will of Willoughby Randolph, signed 16 February 1822, unpaged, third page;
database,  image 74, ( : accessed 8 March 2018).

[page 2]
I leave all the Remainder of My lands from Joseph
Brooks line south of Walling Ridge to my line and
Henry Friets in the hickery Valley by the name of the long
Field to be Equely divided a mong my three sons the
Tilable land with the untilable Equally and in full
Proportion so as for my Son Willoughby Randolph to
have the East end of the tract of land whare on I now
live with the springs of water to him and his heirs forever
also two Clay banks Coalts & one saddle and bridle and
Rifle gun to him and his heirs for ever --------------------------
Itom I give and bequeath unto my son James Randolph
one spring of water at the head of the long bottom whare
James Southern Now lives with his Equeal proportion of the
above mentioned lands to him and his heirs forever-----------
also one bay filley to him and his heirs forever ------------------
Itom I give and bequeath unto my son Brooks Randolph
the [?]owing spring of water and the spring of water at
the head of the low gap of walling Ridg by the Road side
leading to Mulberry gap with his full Proportion of the above
mentioned land tillable and untillable to him and his heirs
forever ----- also the Chance of one Coalt that the blase Mare
is Now with fold with I also give and bequeath unto
my wife Franky Randolph the above mentioned blase Mare
to her and her heirs forever ----------------------------
and my will and desire is that if Either of the three boys
should depart this life before they come to lawfull age
or has a lawfull heir for thair part of the land to be
Equeally divided between the other two boys and their
Heirs forever --------------------------------------------

[page 3]
Itom I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Salley Fitts
two hundred dollars out of the price of the tract of land
whare on she now lives to her and her heirs forever ---------
I lieve all the Remainer of my Estate to be sold and all
my jest debts to be paid and all that is owen to me
carefully collected in and the money Equeally divided
Between my two daughters Lovey Muncey and Polley
Fletcher and if their should be any over two hundered
dollars a piece the balance to be Equally divided among
my three Daughters Lovey Muncey Polley Fletcher and
Salley Fitts and their heirs forever -----------------------
Constitute nominate and appoint William
Randolph and William Weaver to be my whole and sole
Executors of this my last will and testament utterly
Disanuling and Revokeing all other Wills and testaments
By one made Ratifying and Confirming this to be my last
Will and testament by me made and to the truth I
have hereunto set my hand and fixed my seal
this 16 Day of February in the year of our lord
1822                                                                       Willoughby Randolph
signed sealed and Pronounced                  [signature and seal]
to be my last Will and testament             
in the presents of ---
James Gilbert [signature?]
James Southern [signature?]
Thornton (his mark) Randolph

The Certification Question

Over the past few years, I've considered becoming a certified genealogist more often. About six months ago, I decided to go "on the...