Friday, June 1, 2018

The 1828 Will of Peter Close's Relict: Catharine Elizabeth Close

Yesterday, I shared the 1810 will of my 5th great grandfather, Peter Close of Armagh, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Peter's wife, Catharine Elizabeth Close, wrote her will in 1828. Who were the people listed in her will?

Armagh, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, Will of Catharine Elizabeth
Close dated 1828. Probate packet retrieved by a friend in
Sep 2015 from Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg. 

Entire Probate Packet is attached to FamilySearch Family Tree.
Search for "Peter 
Close Sr" who died 1810 in Mifflin County,
Pennsylvania, then look at "memories"
for his wife, Catharine Elizabteh Close.

  • Peter Close - Peter & Catharine's son
  • Henry Close - Peter & Catharine's son
  • Adam Close - Peter & Catharine's son
  • Elizabeth Longwill - Peter & Catharine's daughter, believed to be married to her second husband, William Longwill
  • Susannah Riley - "my daughter" - note that she was NOT listed in Catherine's husband's will; Susannah is believed to be a daughter of Thomas Mifflin and, by this time, was married to Matthew Riley/Reighley, who Peter listed as a "good friend" in his 1810 will 
  • Mary Bridge - "granddaughter" - this is her daughter, Elizabeth's, daughter with her first husband, George Bridge (Mary had at least 3 brothers and no known sisters)
  • Eliza Close - "Peter's daughter" - (Eliza had at least 5 brothers and no known sisters)
  • Catharine Elizabeth Close - "granddaughter"/"Adam's daughter" - Adam had at least one other daughter at this time; perhaps she was bequeathing teaspoons to her because she was her namesake
  • John Gilliland - witness; unknown relationship
  • Alex [?] McGott[?] - witness; unknown relationship

WILL TRANSCRIPTION by Dana Leeds [names are in bold]

The last Will and Testament of Catharine Elizabeth Close
of Armagh Township Mifflin County and State of Pa[?]
I, Catharine Elizabeth Close, considering the uncertainty
of this mortal life, and being in sound mind and
memory, (blessed be Almighty God for the same) do
make this my last will and testament in the
following manner viz.. and in the 1st [?] I will
that all my just debts and funeral expenses be
paid by my three sons, Peter, Henry, and Adam Close.
each a share and share alike. 2nd I give and bequeath
to my daughter Elizabeth Longwill the bed and bedding
I now lie on. 3rd I give to my daughter Susannah Riley
one bed and bedding, and my sons Peter and Adam to
pay her in the year eight-teen hundred and thirty one
eighty dollars each. 4th I give and bequeath to my grand
daughter Mary Bridge a calico quilt, looking glass, stew
kettle, coffee mill, spinning wheel, Reel, Copper tea kettle[?]
half of the linen shirting, [?] of the ?? ??
sheep[?], and one hive of bees, a small pewter dish and
half of the pewter spoons 5th I give and bequeath to my Grand
daughter Eliza Close (Peter’s daughter) three silver tea spoons,
also to my Grand daughter (Adam’s daughter) Catherine Elizabeth
Close, three silver tea spoons. 6th I give and bequeath
The remainder of house hold and kitchen furniture, Two
Cows and five[?] sheep, equally to my three sons, Peter
Henry & Adam. I also bequeath at my decease two bonds[?]
I hold against Peter and Adam to be given up to them.
Of the above house hold furniture, I give and bequeath
to my son Peter, a Coverlet ([?] ball pattern) ---
Thereby appoint my son’s Peter Henry and Adam to be my
Executors of my last will and testament, revoking all
former wills by me made. In witness whereof I set
my hand and seal this Eleventh day of May
in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hund[?]
and twenty eight
     Witness Present        Catharine Elizabeth [her X mark] Close [seal]
     John Gilliland
     Alex [?] McGott[?]

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Who are the People in Peter Close's 1810 Will?

My 5th great grandfather, Peter Close, wrote his will on 27 June 1810 in Armagh, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. When the 1810 census was taken, reportedly on 6 August 1810, Peter's widow, Catherine, is enumerated as head of household. The first document in Peter's probate file was filed on 14 August 1810. So, Peter Close apparently died between 17 June and early August 1810.

I have transcribed Peter Close's will, though I would appreciate any assistance with a few words I'm having difficulty with! [See the transcription at the end of this post and look for the question marks.] Ten people were mentioned in his will. Who were these people? And how were they related to Peter Close? [I have made all of the names bold in the transcription.]

Armagh, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, Will of Peter Close dated 1810. Probate
packet retrieved by a friend in Sep 2015. Trying to get more information for citation.
Entire Probate Packet is attached to FamilySearch Family Tree. Search for "Peter
Close Sr" who died 1810 in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, then look at "memories."
  • Peter Close - the deceased
  • Catharine Close - his "loving wife"
  • Matthew Reighley [also Riley] - "land adjoining...on the south side"; "my good friend"; possibly later married Catharine's possible daughter with Thomas Mifflin, Susannah
  • Peter Close [Jr] - oldest son (~24 years old)
  • Henry Close - son (~15 years old)
  • Adam Close - son (~12 years old)
  • Elizabeth - "daughter" (~30 years old, married to George Bridge)
  • John Smith - "my good friend"
  • William[?] [illegible?] - witness
  • Matthew Longwill [also Longwell] - witness; about 13 years later (~1823), Peter's son, Adam, married Matthew's daughter, Catharine - my 4th great grandparents!


In the name of God Amen I Peter Close considering the weak
State of my body and knowing the uncertainty of life but
perfectly sound in mind to make and ordain this my last
Will and testament Viz that my body be Decently and in
Christian like manner buryed and I do dispose of my Real
and personal estate that God has been pleasd to bless me
with in the following manner. Viz To my loving wife
Catharine Close I do give the full pai[?] and management
of the place that is on the north side of the Creek and the
cleard land adjoining Matthew Reighley on the south side
as lond [long] as she lives and I do give her all the fruit that
may grow on the place each year as long as she lives to Dis
pose of for her own use and in the manner she sees proper[?]
further I do give her two cows six sheep two beds and
beding and my kitchen and house furniture and all my
Stock and farming utencils shall be kept on the place
for the use of the farm and family until my youngest
Son comes to age and then if the see proper[?] after the
old woman shall have taken her shear the Remainder
of the stock shall be equally Divided betwixt my two
Sons Henry and Adam Close. And if there is any thing
made on the place than is necessary for the support
of the family, it is to be put to use for my son Henry
Close and my son Adam Close shall have one years
Schooling and a half And to my oldes son Peter Close
I do give that part of the place and the two fields that
is Cleard on it to make what improvements he sees
proper where he now lives until his mother’s Death
at which time my three sons shall make an equal
Divide of all the land that is at their mother’s Death
the Divide is to be made if the can so agree and if the
cannot agree to Divid the land then it shall be put
to public sale and Divide the money shear and shear
alike equal and each one of them after so Dividing sha
ll pay to my Daughter Elizabeth thirty three Dollars
and thirty three cents so that she Receive on hundred
Dollars to be paid at three several[?] times my son peter
Close shall pay his qota [quota?] of thirty three Dollars and thir
ty three cents on month after the old woman[?] Death
and in ten months after that Henry Close shall pay
his qota [quota?] of thirty three Dollars and thirty three cents
[page 2]
and one year after that Adam Close shall pay his qota [quota?]
of thirty three Dollars and thirty three cents and if
either of the boys should Die under age with a [?]
[?] heir his part of the estate both Real and person
al shall be equally Divided betwixt the two surviv
eing boys and I Do appoint my loving wife Catharine
Close and my good friends Matthew Reighley and John
Smith my executors to see this my last will and
Testament Duly executed agreeable to the Real interest
and meaning and I Do make void and of none effect
all former wills in witness where of I have set my
hand and in presence of these undersigned witnesses
Do declare this to be my last will and testament
made and signed this twentyseventh day of June
in the year of our Lord Anna Dom 1810
            Peter [his x mark] Close
and in presents of
and by the reques of
the testator Do sign
our names as witnesses
to the above being            Wm [?] [signature]
the last wills and              Matthew Longwill [signature]
testament of peter
Close of Armagh
township Mifflin
county and state
of pennsylvania

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.

The 1828 Will of Peter Close's Relict: Catharine Elizabeth Close

Yesterday, I shared the 1810 will of my 5th great grandfather , Peter Close of Armagh, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Peter's wife, Catha...