Saturday, April 30, 2016

SNGF: Lifespans of My 2nd Great Grandparents (My Average: 68 Years)

Randy Seaver, at Genea-Musings, posted this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge. This week, we are looking at our great, great grandparents and their lifespans.

You can visit Genea-Musings for more specific guidelines, but basically we are looking at the birth, death, and lifespans of our great, great grandparents. I'll start with the statistics...

My 2nd great grandparents statistics:
  • Average birth year: 1846 (with 12 of them being born between 1840-1852)
  • Range of birth years: 1826 to 1860
  • Average death year: 1914
  • Range of death years: 1882 to 1938
  • Average lifespan: 68
  • Range of lifespans: 40 to 99
  • Male average lifespan: 67
  • Female average lifespan: 70
My 16 great, great grandparents:
  • Alexander Stewart (1852-1922), 70 years 
  • Catharine J (McClintock) Stewart (1850-1929), 78 years
  • Augustus L Merrill (1848-1920), 72 years
  • Sarah Jane (Eastwood) Merrill (1848-1923), 75 years
  • Carl/Charles Peters (1847-1910), 63 years
  • Fredericka (Werther) Peters (1847-1888), 40 years
  • Josiah Randolph Coppenbarger (1844-1934), 89 years
  • Elizabeth (Bennett) Coppenbarger (1849-1914), 65 year
  • Reinhard Kaechle (1844-1900), 55 years
  • Lena (Karbach/Koerbach) Kaechle (1848-1938), 90 years
  • Franz/Frank Adam (1826-1902), 75 years
  • Frances (Holthoefer) Adam (1838-1907), 74 years
  • James B Dickson (1840-1902), 62 years
  • Eliza (Boyers) Dickson (1842-1882), 40 years
  • Reuben Houston Ward (1859-1906), 47 years
  • Sallie (Dickson) Ward (1860-1960), 99 year

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Help Needed: Printing Newspaper Articles that Look Like Newspaper Articles

I'd like to make a "scrapbook" of newspaper clippings I've found that relate to my family. I'd like the clippings to LOOK like I clipped them out of the paper, but they always print out huge. Any suggestions?

50 Years Ago, The Express, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, 20 Jul 1967,
page 1, column 4
, digital image, (, accessed 12 Feb 2015

Thank you for your help!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Were You in the Newspaper and You Didn't Even Know It?

Have you ever looked for yourself in the newspaper?

I always thought I was "never" in the newspaper - except the one time when, under my photo, the name was listed as actor "Dana Andrews" instead of "Dana Stewart!"

So, I never looked for myself... until this weekend. carries the newspaper from the small town where I grew up. While digging around, I was pleasantly surprised to find four clippings where I was mentioned!


free from

When I was 5 I appear under the "dismissed from the hospital" column. My mom says it had to have been one of two events: the mild concussion I got while either jumping on the bed or jumping on the toilet set to see myself in the mirror - my mom wasn't home and heard both stories. Or, the time I had chicken pox and measles at the same time and got dehydrated. Thankfully, I don't remember either of these incidents!

    A horrible photo of me, but it shows the nasty scratch on my head from my fall
When I was 6, our Campfire Girls troop went on an out-of-town trip. We were taking a group picture on the tall steps of a statue, and I fell and got a nasty scratch and bump on my forehead. I got teary eyed when I read, "We visited the museum and had our picture taken by the Pioneer Woman Statue. Dana Stewart fell and hurt herself, we all hope she's fine now." Oh, how I wish I had a copy of that group photo! (And, a nicer looking photo of me with this injury to share!)


Santa from Wikipedia

A "Dear Santa" letter written by 6-year-old me was another clipping I found. I'm guessing my teacher helped me write the following: Dear Santa, Would you get me some dolls and doll clothes. I would also like a Tugboat Suzie. A package of Shrinky Dinks would be nice and a doll house. I'm six years old and I live on B street. My name is Dana and I have tried my hardest to be a good girl. I would like to see you this year and all your reindeer especially Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. Please come this year to my house. - Dana Stewart (By the way, I lived on C, not B, Street, but this was a very small town and I feel certain this is my letter; I LOVED dolls!)

UPDATE 1/10/2017: I now believe this "Dear Santa" letter might have been another girl named Dana Stewart who lived in our small town. 


Free image from MyCuteGraphics

I spent many hours jumping rope in elementary school. During my first grade year, there was a city-wide marbles, jacks, and jump rope contest. To be eligible for the contest, I had to first win at the school level. I won!

The rules of the city-wide contest were simple: two adults turned the rope and the student would run in, do a certain number of jumps, and run out without hitting the rope. During the first round, each student jumped once before running out. During the second round we jumped twice, etc.

As the article stated, Rope jumpers near the sand pile sometimes got confused and lost count as the contest wore on. Twice competitors jumped out before they were supposed to.

One of those jumpers was me! I didn't "lose" the contest because I hit the rope; I "lost" because I forgot how many jumps I was supposed to do on a certain round! It was quite disappointing, but I was thrilled to find this newspaper clipping showing I'd won 3rd place.


Have you ever looked for yourself in an online newspaper? If you haven't, give it a try and let me know what you find! The first step is finding which site carries your hometown paper.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bandwagon: An Incredible Photo

I was pleasantly surprised to get the following message from another member: I have a photo from my mother's collection that has the name Mr & Mrs H W Wingert - 911 Collins Street, Toledo, Ohio on the back. The photo is of a Circus Band Wagon - and I suspect that Henry is one of the fellows riding on top.

1930 Census of Toledo, Lucas Co, Ohio, showing Henry Wingert (son)
living at 911 Collins St (image from
Henry W Wingert was a nephew of my great, great grandfather, Reinhard Kaechle/Koechle. He lived in Toledo, Ohio during the enumeration of both the 1920 and 1930 censuses. His occupation was listed in both years as a musician; one of those specifying a band musician. In 1930, he was living at 911 Collins Street: the address listed on the photo.

I was thrilled when I saw the photo:
Photo from the Cora Billings family collection of Toledo, Ohio. Used with permission.

Besides the names and address of "Mr & Mrs H Wingert," the back of the photo contained another name: Bob with a last name that might be Ellinert. The word "Sutherland" was also on the photo, which might refer to the Sutherland Sisters Circus Act. The researcher who shared the photo said she had written on the back of the photo, probably in 1953, while taking notes from her mother.

The researcher isn't sure why the photo was in her great grandmother's possession. Likely, there is a connection with one of her sons: Roy or Bert Billings. Both of them were amateur musicians, and possibly one or both of them is sitting atop the bandwagon with Henry Wingert. Both Bert and one of his sisters, the researcher's own grandmother, were dancers on the vaudeville circuit around the Toledo and Detroit areas. Henry Wingert's own wife, Rena, was also in entertainment as an actress. Possibly the Wingert and Billings families worked together at various times.

In the few weeks since I first saw this photo, I've enjoyed learning more about circus bandwagons. The researcher had already explained that this bandwagon was a Tableau Wagon, which means it has carvings on it that tell a story. When I enlarge the photo, I can see ornate carvings of two women, two angels with their wings spread playing instruments, a lyre (top center) and other musical instruments, and other items. In the very center is a circle with the image of a face which appears to be sticking out its tongue.

Bandwagons carried bands in parades as the circus arrived in town and advertised for their show. I found a great description in the book, "The Great Circus Street Parade in Pictures" by Charles Philip Fox and Francis Beverly Kelley found on Google Books (page 20). This paragraph not only explains the purpose of bandwagons, but also describes what life might have been like while Henry W. Wingert rode in the parade and worked for the circus:

Every circus had at least one bandwagon. The bigger the show, the more bandwagons. If a show had more than one bandwagon, the most beautiful, impressive and largest always led the parade to overwhelm the populace right off the bat with the size of the show. Some circuses had magnificent bandwagons that were built for the sole purpose of carrying the band in parade. Others were baggage wagons with seats on top between the skyboards. The circus band slated for the main performance would be the No. 1 bandwagon. Following at intervals in the parade would be a ticket sellers' band, sideshow band, or ushers' band. Invariably there was a clown band. Thus, some of the ushers, ticket sellers and clowns were also musicians; they were often hired because they could "double in brass" - a familiar circus expression. On some undermanned shows they had to double in brass and overalls, pitching in with manual labor. The lead bandwagon was pulled by the largest team the circus had, most likely to 10, 12, 24 or even 40 horses, to create a smash expression at once. The larger bandwagons could hold 15 to 18 musicians. It was difficult playing on the wagons because they had very still springs, or none at all. When a wagon lurched over a hole or cobblestone street, an instrument could suddenly jolt, cutting a musician's lip or knocking out a tooth. No two bandwagons were alike; each was unique. Even if the same builder produced many wagons, each was executed with a distinctive design. 

My Connection:
  • Judas Thaddeus "Thaddae" Kaechle/Koechle (1807-1880) & Katharina Kern (1811-1894) were the parents of both Gertrude Kaeche/Koechle (1848-1940) who married Henry Wingert (1839-1910) & were the parents of Henry W Wingert (1869-1963) & the parents of Reinhard/Rheinhardt Kaechle/Koechle (1844-1900) who married Mary Magdelena "Lena" Karbach/Koerbach (1848-1938) who are my great, great grandparents
  • Reinhard & Lena were the parents of Francis "Frank" Kaechle (1868-1911), my great grandfather, who married Anna Regina Adam (1867-1936)

Are we related or do you know more about this photo? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment with a way I can contact you, or email me at

Monday, April 18, 2016

Success! Finding Incorrectly Transcribed Names on Census Records

The transcription of names on sites like Ancestry has greatly reduced the time it takes to locate individuals and families on census records. However, incorrectly transcribed names continue to make some people difficult to locate. 

1930 U.S. census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit Ward 21, p. 258 (stamped), enumeration district 82-792, sheet 1-A, dwelling 13, Charles Kaechle; NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1063.

In 1930, Charles Kaechle lived with his wife, Amanda, and mother, Mary M. Sprenger, on Gladwin Avenue in Detroit. Although I believed Charles Kaechle was still living in Detroit in 1940, I could not find him.

I decided to try a "trick" that has sometimes worked in the past: search for a neighbor. In choosing a neighbor, it helps to look for the following:
  • choose an unusual surname or first name
  • choose someone who owns a house rather than rents 
  • choose a younger man with a family
To locate Charles Kaechle, I chose to search for his neighbor Joseph Neigebauer.

1940 U.S. census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit Ward 21, p. 18786 (stamped), enumeration district 84-1417, sheet 1-A, household 14, A. Charles Kaechle; NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 1882.

I quickly found Joseph Neigebauer's living on Gladwin Avenue in Detroit in 1940. Scrolling down a few houses, I saw my Charles Kaechle! It even looked spelled correctly to me. But, when I looked at the index to see how the name had been transcribed on Ancestry, it listed him as Charles Jaeckle. The initial "K" had been transcribed as a "J," and the "h" was misread as a "k." So, the name was transcribed as Jaeckle instead of Kaechle.

This method will only work if your family didn't move between the two census enumerations. Also, if you don't find your family the first time, try a few more neighbor's names.

If you've not tried this method, give it a try! Let me know if you find a family you hadn't been able to find using the "usual" research methods.

BONUS TIP: Try a different website! If you usually search on Ancestry, like I do, try FamilySearch. In this case, I searched for "Charles Kaechle" and set the residence to "Detroit" from "1940" to "1940." The 1940 census record for Charles Kaechle was the top hit - and it was transcribed correctly!

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Genealogy Course Review: "AGS: The Basics"

This week I enrolled in, and completed, the course offered by NGS titled "AGS: The Basics." This course must be passed before being allowed to take more advanced courses. The second course, "Guide to Documentation and Source Citation," is also a prerequisite to other courses.

While being given six months to complete this online course, I easily completed it in about three hours. Each of the four modules is set up with the same format: you read about a topic, then answer a series of questions. For each of the seven quizzes, you must score a minimum number of correct answers before being allowed to proceed.

Free Clipart from Clipart Panda
There are four modules in this course:
  • Getting Started - which includes family group sheets, pedigree charts, sources, citations, and computers 
  • Creating a Research Plan - which explains what a research plan is and how to use it
  • Home Sources - which deals with sources you might find at home including Bibles, military papers, and photographs
  • Family Traditions and Connecting with Others - which covers how to deal with family stories, family relationships (for example, what is a second cousin once removed?), conducting interviews, and contacting others through social media and other means
My biggest complaint was the price. For members, the course costs $45 and for non-members it jumps to $65. This is a lot of money for such a short course! 

I was also totally surprised that I was able to finish the entire course in about three hours. When given six months to complete it, I expected it to be a lot more involved! 

Lastly, more than ten years ago I started the Home Course through NGS, which I never finished. That course was heavily about actual research and you handed in assignments for grading and review before proceeding. I was expecting "hands on" work, and not just quizzes about what I'd read. 

I do plan on signing up for the next course, "Guide to Documentation and Source Citation," which I expect will be a lot like "The Basics." But, I'm hopeful that the courses past these prerequisite courses are hands on and include assignments which are actually graded. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Birthplace Pedigree Chart

I'm late to join in the fun, but I've been traveling! Thanks to J. Paul Hawthorne for starting this project; it's such a great visual!

What a wonderful image showing how almost half my ancestors are from Germany! The half are almost equally split between Pennsylvania and Tennessee with just four exceptions: England, Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi.

I might have to do this again and add another generation. And, try my husband's side of the family!

(One place to find a link to a chart to use and instructions on how to post it is at Ancestories here)

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...