Thursday, August 27, 2015

Something About Mary

LESSON LEARNED: Changing the spelling makes a difference!

For the past few weeks, I've been working on the family of Thaddeus Koechle who immigrated from Germany to America in the summer of 1851 with his wife and 5 children. But, there was something odd about the oldest child, Maria or Mary. She appeared to have been born about 2 years before Thaddeus and his wife, Katharina Kern, were married.

Thada Koechle, passenger #281, 05 July 1851, Ship Monmouth, New York, Passenger Lists,
 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010
(Maria, age 17, is 3rd on this list)
On the passenger list, their 'oldest child' was listed as Maria. But, in the 1860 census, the only other document I'd found which listed her, she was called Mary. That's pretty common as several of the children have their German name on the passenger list and a more Americanized version of their name after arriving in America. I chose to use the more Americanized versions of their names and had this daughter listed as Mary.

Last week, another Koechle descendant asked me why I had the family listed as Kaechle instead of Koechle. Basically, "Kaechle" is the spelling that was passed down in my family, though Koechle was the German spelling and the spelling used by the original immigrant family. But, since Kaechle is what I'd know all my life, I was using Kaechle.

After my distant cousin asked this question, though, I realized my mistake. So, I went into my Ancestry tree and changed the surnames of this family to Koechle / Kaechle. And, I added the original German spelling of the first names, including changing Mary to Maria / Mary.

As soon as I did this, I got a "shaky leaf" hint from Ancestry. What had they found? A birth/baptismal record for Maria Koechle!

I excitedly clicked on the link and this is what I found:

Name: Maria Koechle
Date of birth: September 6, 1834 (2 years before the marriage of Thaddeus & Katharina Kern)
Date of baptism: September 7, 1834
Father's name: Thaddeus Koechle (as expected)
Mother's name: Magdalena Riesterer (NOT Katharina Kern!)

So, it appeared that Thaddeus had a previous marriage!

After adding this information to my tree, the next hint that appeared was for the marriage record of Thaddeus Koechle and Magdalena Riesterer on October 21st, 1833, less than a year before the birth of their daughter, Maria.

Though I have not been able to locate a death record for Magdalena (Riesterer) Koechle, it is likely that she died while Maria was quite young. Thaddeus married his second wife, Katharina Kern, less than two years after the birth of Maria.

What are my next steps for Maria?

  1. Look at the original, microfilmed copy of the birth/baptismal record as Ancestry only had the indexed version. (I have ordered the FHL microfilm.) 
  2. Continue to search for hints as to what happened to Maria Koechle in America. The last record I've found for her is the 1860 census in which she is 26 years old and living with her father, step mother, and step siblings. It is unclear at this time as to whether she got married, died relatively young, or even moved away from her family.
My Line of Descent
  • Judas Thaddeus Koechle (1807-1880) m Katharina Kern (1811-1894)
  • Reinhard/Rheinhardt Koechle / Kaechle (1844-1900) m Mary Magdelena "Lena" Karbach (1848-1938)
  • Francis "Frank" R Kaechle (1868-1911) m Anna "Annie" Regina Adam (1867-1936)
  • Sherman Joseph Kaechle (1907-1987) m Ethel Evelyn Dickson (1915-2004)
Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or contact me at

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Staying on Campus at GRIP

Summer is basically over as school is back in session this week. I had a wonderful summer with lots of travel, but it's nice to be home now and getting back to a more regular schedule.

Unfortunately, with all of the craziness of summer, I haven't been blogging much! So, I hope to rectify that and blog regularly.

One of my trips this summer was to Pennsylvania where I spent a week at GRIP: the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. In this post, I'll share about my dorm room experience. In later posts, I'll share about other aspects of my week at GRIP.

Bold Hall at La Roche College
This is the main door to Bold Hall: the dorm room where many GRIP students and teachers make their home for the week. Since I'd been to GRIP before, I didn't have to wonder about where to go. The first stop is through these doors where we started the check in process and got our room assignments. (The rooms are reasonable with private rooms costing $330 and double/shared rooms costing $275. This includes your meals for the week!)

Room showing one of two beds, one of two dressers, refrigerator,
microwave, and one of two 'closets'
Although last year I stayed in a room by myself, this year I roomed with one of my friends I'd made last year: Jill. Jill actually picked me and another lady up at the airport and drove us to La Roche College. At check in, we got our room keys, class notebooks, name tags and more. Then, Jill and I got our luggage and headed up to the 3rd floor.

When we opened the door to our room... it was HOT! Now, Pittsburgh was having their hottest day of the summer at that point. I think it was around 90 degrees. But, our room's air conditioning was definitely not working. Our room was a lot hotter than the hallway. It was unbearable.

Bathroom area - plenty of space to store toiletries for two
We went back to the sign in desk to 'complain' and were told that a lot of the rooms on the 3rd floor were having a/c issues and someone was on their way to fix it. At that point, we decided to wait until after dinner to try to move in.

After dinner, we met one of the custodians in the hallway and he'd 'bled' our line and said it was better. It did feel a little cooler. By bedtime, it was bearable, though still slightly uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, as we were getting ready for class the next morning, our room started getting warmer. By lunch time, we knew our a/c was definitely not working. Before dinner that evening, we got new rooms on the first floor. It wasn't fun packing everything up to move down 2 floors and to the other end of the building. But, we were thankful for the a/c!

Frustratingly, the staff was never able to get our internet connection working properly in our new room. While taking classes with homework, that is definitely an issue! We ended up doing our homework either in the main building or on Bold Hall's first floor's common area.

Adding to the frustration of this year's a/c and internet issues, last year I had a similar problem with the a/c in my room. Like this year, they couldn't get my a/c fixed and I had to pack up all my belongings and move to a different room on the second day.

Oh, and the beds? Not comfortable! My first bed I felt like I was sleeping on chain mail. My second? More like a trampoline. I didn't get a good night's sleep until the 3rd night when I finally was tired enough that I had to sleep.

Will I stay in the dorms again?

The answer: probably. Although I've been frustrated with both the a/c and internet issues, having a room so close to the classes, dining room, and even other friends is a definite plus. But, I wish they could get these issues fixed!

5 Dorm Room TIPS

  1. Bring your own pillow. One is provided, but it is very flat and not very comfortable.
  2. Bring your own sheets. Then, use the sheets provided as a mattress pad.
  3. Bring your own blanket. One is provided, but it is kind of stiff and not fluffy. Also, if you 'happen' to get one of the cold rooms, you might appreciate having two blankets!
  4. Bring an extra bath towel, hand towel, and washcloths. You are only provided one of each for the entire week.
  5. Bring your own toiletries. It's a dorm room, so nothing is provided but the toilet paper. You might even bring your own toilet paper!

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...