Thursday, December 29, 2016

Estimating Birth Years for 14 Siblings

My last post was about Michael Kline of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, my 6th great grandfather, and a 1781 indenture which listed his 14 children. Finding estimated birth dates/years would be difficult since they were born in the mid-1700's and census records would not be of much help. So, how did I estimate the birth years for Michael's 14 children?

How I estimated the birth years for the 14 children of Michael and Dorothea Kline:
  • used the birth dates of the two children I knew: Frenia, who was born in 1748, and Michael, who was born in 1764
  • assumed Dorothea gave birth approximately every two years
  • assumed the children were listed in order on the 1781 indenture listed on an earlier post which appears to match the births of Frenia and Michael and the fact that last four children were listed as minors
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book X, page 413, "Dorothea Kline & Al to Nicholas Kline."

List of the fourteen children and their estimated birth years:
  • 1744 - George Kline
  • 1746 - Leonard Kline
  • 1748 - Frenia/Frances Kline m. Michael Quigley/Quiggle
  • 1750 - Catharina Kline m. George Wilt
  • 1752 - Magdalena Kline m. Adam Reist (or Treish?)
  • 1754 - Margaret Kline m. George Bowman
  • 1756 - Dorothea Kline m. John Bowman
  • 1758 - Barbara Kline m. George Giger
  • 1760 - Susanna Kline m. John Brown
  • 1761 -Nicholas Kline
  • 1763 - Daniel Kline
  • 1764 - Michael Kline
  • 1766 - Jacob Kline
  • 1768 - Gertraut (or Gertrude) Kline m. Herman Morrett
(I had to slightly adjust these dates to have Michael born in 1764, and not 1766 as the method would suggest.)


One of Ancestry's "shaky leaves" led me to a FindAGrave record for Gertraut "Gertrude" (Kline) who married Hartman Morrett according to other documents I received from the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. The memorial is by a 4th great granddaughter of Gertraut and Hartman. She explains that, although the tombstones in this cemetery have all been removed, someone made a list of all who were buried there sometime in the past.

I had Gertraut's birth year calculated as 1768. Her birth year according to this FindAGrave record: 1768. In fact, it says Gertraut was born on March 10th, 1768 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and that she died on July 17th, 1836, in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.

Although it is highly unlikely I have the correct birth year for each of these 14 children, I believe the example of Gertraut shows that my method worked pretty well. As I continue to research this family, these estimates will be useful.

Are we related? I'd love to talk to you! Please leave a comment or email me at

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What Information Did the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society Find?

When I got home from Christmas yesterday, a package from the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society was waiting for me! Earlier this month, I posted about finding my Michael Kline family on an database called "Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mennonite Vital Records, 1750-2014." Surprised to learn that I had Mennonite ancestors, I sent the society $70 for two hours of research.

After opening the large envelope, I eagerly read the cover letter to see what records they found. The end of the letter, however, surprised me. It said: "We have many genealogical cards of persons who were not Mennonite. The book by Ruth Kline Lee would indicate that Michael Kline was Lutheran since their children were baptized by Lutheran pastors."

My Kline family were NOT Mennonite after all!

But, the historical society's letterhead includes the following at the bottom of the page: "Preserving and popularizing Mennonite and Pennsylvania German heritage, history and faith for 50 years." Thankfully, the society has records about families with German ancestors, too. And, that is why they had quite a few documents about my Kline family.

Although I still have a lot to read, I was thrilled to see several documents that list Michael Kline's fourteen children: six sons and eight daughters. A 1781 indenture is found in the Lancaster County Deed Book X on pages 413 through 47. The first two paragraphs read:

This indenture made the sixteenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty one. Between Dorothea Kline the widow relict & administratrix of all & singular the estate of Michael Kline late of Warwick township in the country of Lancaster & State of Pennsylvania deceased George Kline one of the sons of the said Michael Kline deceased & Christiana his wife) Leonard Kline another of the sons of the said Michael Kline deceased & Barbara his wife, Michael Quiggell & Frenia his wife (Late Frenia Kline of the daughters of the said Michael Kline deceased) George Wilt and Catharina his wife (Late Catharina  Kline, another of the daughters of the said Michael Kline deceased) Adam Reist & Magdalena his wife (Late Magdalena Kline, another of the daughters of the said Michael Kline deceased) George Bowman & Margaret his wife (late Margaret Kline, another of the daughters of the said Michael Kline deceased) John Bowman & Dorothea his wife (late Dorothea Kline, another of the daughters of the said Michael Kline deceased) George Giger & Barbara his wife (Late Barbara Kline, another of the daughters of the said Michael Kline deceased) John Brown & Susana his wife (late Susanna Kline, another of the daughters of the said Michael Kline deceased) of the one part, and Nicholas Kline (one of the sons of the said Michael Kline deceased) of the other part.

Whereas the said Michael Kline in his life-time & at the time of his death was seized of and in, inter alia [Latin for "among other things], several tracts of land situate in Warwick township county & State aforesaid and ordered his last will & testament to be wrote before he executed died intestate, leaving issues six sons and eight daughters including the parties, above mentioned, and Daniel Kline, Michael Kline & Jacob Kline sons & Gertraut [sic, but seen as Gertrude on other documents] another of the daughters of minor children of the deceased.

While I'd seen these 14 children listed before, it is wonderful to have actual evidence stating these are his children! As an added bonus, the spouses of all but one of the daughters are given, too!

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

Monday, December 26, 2016

We Wrote a Book (And It's Now Online!)

Last year, right before Thanksgiving, I held a copy of "our book" in my hands for the first time. Although other authors/cousins had been working on the book since the previous year, I became a contributing author of The Holthoefer Family History in June of 2016.

Between June and October, we spent countless hours researching, writing, rewriting, proofreading, and fact checking the pages of our book. Since we are spread across the country, we emailed sections of the book back and forth while we worked on them.

Robert J. Yagley, H. Holt, M. Aragon, P. Holthoefer, D. Leeds, Holthoefer
Family History: A Historic Guide to Discovering Your Past: From
Serkenrode, Westphalia, Germany to the Early Years in Detroit, Wayne
County, Michigan,

Led by Robert "Bob" Yagley, five cousins compiled this book about our Holthoefer ancestors. All five of us are descended from Johann Franz Holthoefer (1804-1870) and Maria Catharina Schulte (1807-1850 ) who lived in Serkenrode, Westphalia, Germany. Johann Franz and Maria Catharina had eight children, six of whom survived to adulthood and immigrated to America where they settled in Detroit.

Although the book also shares some details about their life in Serkenrode, it primarily follows the lives of the six children:

  • Franz Joseph Holthoefer (1830-1888) who married Katharina Mullenbach (1835-1906)
  • Maria Francisca "Frances" Holthoefer (1833-1907) who married Franz "Frank" Adam (1826-1902), my great, great grandparents
  • Casper Joseph Holthoefer (1835-1918) who married Amelia Keusch (1843-1932) and Magdalena Luche (1863-1923)
  • Marianna (Maria Anna) Holthoefer (1838-1911) who married Frank Xavier Petri (1827-1900)
  • Maria Elisabeth Holthoefer (1842-1905) who married Peter Keine (1840-1925)
  • Anna Maria Holthoefer (1846-1919) who married Anthony "Anton" Rolf (1838-1903)
Bob Yagley, with help from Ursula Buchholz, discovered our family came from Serkenrode. As a wonderful bonus, he also traced Frances Holthoefer's husband, my 2x great grandfather Frank Adam, back to nearby Olpe! 

Bob submitted our book to FamilySearch and it is now available online. Just click here to see our book, or go to FamilySearch "books" and search for Holthoefer.

Are you related to our family? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How I Discovered the Origins of 6 of My German Immigrant Families

With a lot of help, I now know the German villages of six of my ancestral families. I "discovered" their origins in a variety of ways.

Map showing the origins of six of my "German" families created by Jon R Stewart, Sr.

In Order of Discovery:

March 2014
Kaechle/Köchle family, maternal side, immigrated from Grißheim, Baden, July 1851

Germany, Select Marriages, 1558-1929 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Germany, Marriages, 1558-1929. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013. 

This breakthrough came with Ancestry's "Germany, Select Marriages" index which showed that Thaddae Koechle married Katharina Kern on August 22nd, 1836, in a catholic church in Grissheim, Freiburg, Baden. I ordered FHL film #873353, and discovered many other records for both sides of the family going back to a baptism in 1616. An online site, Ortsfamilienbuch-Datenbank Grissheim, which had transcribed the church records proved invaluable as these old German records were very difficult to read.

May 2014
Karbach/Körbach family, maternal side, immigrated from Ediger, Rhineland-Palatinate, circa 1853

Anton Koerbach and Mary Reuter Marriage Certificate, attached to Anton Koerbach (1818-1886) on Hiltz Web Site on MyHeritage Family Trees, Charles Willke site manager, (accessed 20 December 2016).

Finding a marriage record for "Antonius Kehrbach" and Maria Anna Reuter on a distant cousin's My Heritage tree led to discovering the family had once lived in Ediger. It appears the church records for Ediger have only been micofilmed through the late 1700's, so I need to contact this church in writing and ask if they have additional records.

Nov 2015
Franceska Holthoefer, maternal side, immigrated from Serkenrode, Westphalia, September 1856

Five Holthoefer Siblings, circa 1900, Detroit, Michigan
(back row left to right) Franceska (Holthoefer) Adam, Caspar J. Holthoefer, Marianna (Holthoefer) Petri 
(front row left to right) Elisabeth (Holthoefer) Keine, Anna (Holthoefer) Rolf
(Photo courtesy of Mildred Hunt Collection, by Robert Yagley)

In March of 2015, a distant cousin, Robert "Bob" Yagley, contacted me with a correction to my Ancestry tree. In July of that year, he asked me to join him and three other cousins who were writing a book about our Holthoefer family. The cousins were descendants of Franceska's siblings who had also immigrated to America. Bob had traced our Holthoefer's back to Germany and kept their origin a secret until the book was published last November. It was exciting to see not only the information about where the family had come from, but to also see this photo of Franceska and four of her five siblings who had immigrated to America.

Nov 2015
Frank Adam, maternal side, immigrated from Olpe, Westphalia, circa 1845

Michigan, County Marriages, 1822-1940 (Lehi: Operations, Inc., 2016), online database, marriage record of Frank Adam and Francisca Holdhofer [Holthoefer], 4 November 1858, St. Mary's Church, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, page 636 (accessed 20 December 2016).
Bob Yagley had also discovered the village of origin for Franceska Holthoefer's future husband, Frank Adam, my direct line. Located only about 30 km from Serkenrode, Frank's baptismal record was found in Olpe, Westphalia. [pg 343]

Oct 2016
Peters family, paternal side, immigrated from Bellin, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, July 1859

Evangelisch Kirche [Evangelical Church] Bellin, Kirchenbuch [Church Book], 1650-1873, page 154, item 10, taufen [baptism] of Friedchen Elise Johanna Peters; FamilySearch mircofilm #68993. Cropped. [See original post for the other page of this baptismal record.]

I only recently realized the Peters' family's Hamburg passenger list indicated they came from Bellin. Using Meyers Gazetteer to locate Bellin, I then ordered an FHL microfilm and found the baptismal record of the family's youngest child. Although the family moved around quite a bit, it appears they immigrated to America from Bellin.

Nov 2016
Werther family, paternal side, immigrated from Berka, Thuringia (or Schwarzburg-Sondershausen), May 1869

Although the Hamburg passenger list appeared to say Bergau or Bergan, I couldn't find an appropriate location in Meyers Gazetteer. But, then I realized my great aunt had actually written the church in Berka in the 1990's and had baptismal records from Berka!


There are many ways to trace your immigrant ancestors back to their country of origin. I believe I have now traced all of my ancestors who came over in the mid-1800's - these six from Germany plus the Eastwood family from England. While writing this post, I realized there is still a lot I need to do on several of these lines. I am currently awaiting several FHL microfilms, and I need to write to two churches!

Do we share common ancestors? Do you have any additional information on any of these families? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Finding ANOTHER Family's German Roots

I decided to see if I could trace another branch of my family back to Germany: the Werthers. They arrived in July of 1869 on the Carolina. Through, I have both their New York and Hamburg passenger lists. As I found out while researching my Peters immigrant family, the Hamburg passenger list gives information about the previous residence. In this case, it appears the family came from Bergan or Bergau in Sondershausen. [See middle columns.] Unfortunately, when I go to Meyers Gazeteer, there is not a place called Bergan or Bergau in Sondershausen.

"Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934," database, ( : accessed 10 December 2016), entry for Joh C Werther and family, line 60, aboard Caroline, Hamburg to New York, departed Hamburg 26 May 1869; citing microfilm K_1714.

I looked at the tree my great aunt gave me when I started genealogy, and she said the family was from Berka in Sondershausen. I do not know where she got that, but perhaps the information had been passed down in the family. I looked on Meyers Gazeteer for a Berka in Sondershausen, and it DOES exist. Berka is actually a village outside of Sondershausen.

Baptism transcription for Auguste Wilhelmine Friederike Werther born on 8 May 1861 in
Berka to Johann Günther Werther and Marie Dorothea Reinhardt. Paper in collection of
Beulah (Peters) Brewer now in possession of Jim Stewart of Kansas. 

Next, I decided to look through the documents and photos I had photographed at my uncle's house two years ago. Though I've looked through the documents many times, I haven't studied all of them. As I looked through them, I found 6 documents: a faded 3-page typed letter, a darker 2-page transcription of the letter with some words translated, and a document titled "Auszug aus dem Taufregister" which translates to "from the baptismal register." This last document was a transcription of the baptism of Auguste Wilhelmine Friederike Werther, the youngest daughter of our immigrant couple. And, the place of the baptism was the St. Viti Evangelical Lutheran Church in "Berka/Wipper!"

Image of St. Viti Evangelical Lutheran Church in Berka, Sondershausen, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

So, now I know my Werther family came from Berka, a village outside of Sondershausen, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen in the present day state of Thuringia! The letter also included transcriptions of the baptismal records for two of the other children who were born in 1848 and 1855. With 7 known children born between 1847 and 1861, it is unclear why the other baptismal records were not found.

Unfortunately, it appears that the records microfilmed for St. Viti of Berka only went through 1846, though none of the children in this family were born until 1847! However, the years the parents were born are included. My next steps are to order those two microfilms, and to write the church to see if I can get actual copies of the baptism records for the Werther children. Hopefully, they'll find the records for the four children that were not found when my great aunt evidently wrote for these records! It's exciting to know where another branch of my German family once lived!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

My Mennonite Ancestors and the Revolutionary War

UPDATE: Records received from the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society show that my Kline family were NOT Mennonite after all. See "What Information..." post for more.

Mennonites are pacifists opposed to war and violence. So, I was surprised to find my Kline ancestors in a Mennonite database on On the card for the Michael and Dorothea Kline family, their third child is listed as Frenia [seen as Frances on other records]. She and her husband, Michael Quiggell [seen in other records as Quigley or Quiggle], are my fifth great grandparents. He fought in the American Revolution. I wonder what his pacifist in-laws thought of his service! And, I wonder if he was a Mennonite, too. If not, what did Frances' family think of their daughter marrying outside of their faith?

It is possible Frances' father, Michael Kline, also served in the Revolutionary War. Although DAR is now requiring future applicants to prove his service, there are 20 DAR members who have claimed him as a patriot through three of his children: Frenia/Frances, Nicholas, and Gertrude [seen on these cards as Gertraut].

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mennonite Vital Records, 1750-2014, card for Michael Kline family, card 1, front, (Provo, UT, Operations, Inc. : 2015), online database (accessed : 7 December 2016). 

Several years ago, I joined DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution, as a descendant of Michael Quigley. Previous DAR applications gave me the names of Frances' father: Michael Kline. These newly found cards also give the names of her mother and sibling and indicate the family was living in Warwick Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and were Mennonites.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mennonite Vital Records, 1750-2014, card for Michael Kline family, card 1, back, (Provo, UT, Operations, Inc. : 2015), online database (accessed : 7 December 2016). 

The cards appear to list 14 children for Michael and Dorothea Kline. Many of the children also have their spouses listed. But, where did this information come from? Is it reliable? And what else can I find out about this family?

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mennonite Vital Records, 1750-2014, card for Michael Kline family, card 2, front,  (Provo, UT, Operations, Inc. : 2015), online database (accessed : 7 December 2016).

Thankfully, the last card lists several sources including some references to land records. And, the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society offers a genealogy "research by mail" service. Today I am sending in my request for two hours of research, and I'm hoping they have some great records that will reveal more about my Kline family!

Do we share common ancestors? Do you know more about the Kline or Quigley families? Or do you know more about Mennonite research and/or their role in the Revolutionary War? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Monday, December 5, 2016

Uncle Ed & Uncle Charlie Coppenbarger in the News

My last post was about "Uncle Ed & Uncle Charlie Coppenbarger" and their vehicles: a Model T & a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Newspaper stories tell us a little more about these two uncles. 

Uncle Charlie in the News

Photo of "Uncle Charlie," his wife, Agnes (Seanor) Coppenbarger, and two of their children:
"Little Clay" and Orville. Photo used with permission from Teri Head.

In November of 1912, just a couple of years before this photo was taken, Charlie's youngest son died at the young age of 2. His name was Clay, but his headstone remembers him as "Little Clay." The newspaper said his "cause of death was a complication of diseases." [1] Charlie and his wife, Aggie, had also lost their first child as an infant. Their only child to survive into adulthood was the middle son, Orville Camdon Coppenbarger, who lived to be 94 years old. 

Uncle Ed in the News

A 1900 newspaper article tells about an accident involving 14-year-old Ed. At such a young age, this was his third runaway accident! The article reads as follows:

Edward Coppenburger [sic], a son of J. R. Coppenbarger, was seriously injured in a runaway accident last Monday eening [sic]. He was driving in a buggy at the time and ran into town, striking a hitching post near Berkey's store, throwing the young man out. During the mix up the young man's face struck a wheel and a number of his teeth were knocked out and his face badly bruised. This is the third runaway accident that the young man has been in recently and at each time he was driing [sic] the same horse. At one of the former times the young man's arm was broken besides other injuries. The accident of Monday was a evry [sic] unfortunate one, as it may result in the face of Mr. Coppenbarger being disfigured. [2]

This photo shows my great grandmother, Myrtle (Coppenbarger) Peters, and her brothers, "Uncle Charles" and "Uncle Ed." I didn't have Al or Jennings on my tree, but I've figured it out with some help from my Great Aunt Beulah's notes. Charles was married to a second wife, Nola, who had two sons from a previous marriage: Al and Jennings. Beulah's notes also said that they lived in Sweetwater, Texas, which is where I found them in the 1930 census.

People in Photograph
  • Al Carter - Nola's son from a previous marriage
  • Jennings Carter - Nola's son from a previous marriage
  • Nola (Hanes) (Carter) Coppenbarger- Charles' second wife
  • Charles Coppenbarger - "Uncle Charles" or Myrtle's brother
  • Myrtle (Coppenbarger) Peters - my great grandmother
  • Winnie (Stout) Coppenbarger - Ed's wife
  • Edna Coppenbarger - Ed & Winnie's daughter
  • Ed Coppenbarger - "Uncle Ed" or Myrtle's brother
Edna, the youngest in the photo, was born about 1924. She appears to be about 3 years old, so the photo was taken in approximately 1927.


[1] Died, Arkansas City Daily Traveler, Arkansas City, Kansas, 15 November 1912, page 1, column 5, digital image, (, accessed 1 December 2016.

[2] Edward Coppenburger, The Wichita Daily Eagle, Wichita, Kansas, 21 August 1900, page 6, column 6, digital image, (, accessed 5 April 2016. 

Whether you are related to the people in this article, have additional information, or have a question, I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Friday, December 2, 2016

Circa 1914 Harley Davidson Motorcycle

My dad recently sent me this photo of my grandmother's "Uncle Charlie & Uncle Ed Coppenbarger circa 1914." I love seeing the old photos of these two uncles, but I am particularly happy to see them posing with this old Model T and Harley Davidson, both of which are about 100 years old! I also love Uncle Charlie's riding outfit, and the way Uncle Ed is posed.

"Uncle Charles & Uncle Ed Coppenbarger circa 1914" from the Stewart Family Photo Collection
My dad did some research on these early Harley Davidsons. The 1914 to 1916 models looked very similar. He believes this bike had a gas headlight, which was an option. The Harley-Davidson museum site shares the following information:

Early bikes offered gas lamp headlights as optional accessories. These had an annoying tendency to catch fire or explode. (Talk about “burning up the road”!) Later models offered battery-powered lights that dimmed as the battery drained. 

In 1915, Harley-Davidson’s Model 11-J introduced an electrical system, uniting headlight, taillight, ignition, and horn. Its generator kept the lights bright all night. Touted as “the most powerful motorcycle lighting system” around, it vastly improved safety, letting riders see and be seen.

Charlie and Ed were brothers of my great grandmother, Myrtle Mae (Coppenbarger) Peters (1880-1970) who married Emil Wilhelm Peters (1877-1955). Charles "Charlie" Edgar Coppenbarger was born on August 9th, 1875, in Sumner County, Kansas making him about 40 years old in this photo. He died on March 30th, 1936, in nearby Cowley County, Kansas at the age of 60. Edward "Ed" Bennett Coppenbarger was born on April 19th, 1886 in Sumner County, Kansas making him about 30 years old in this photo. He died at the age of 53 on March 14th, 1940, and is buried in Cowley County, Kansas.

Are we related? I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment or email me at

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...