Saturday, December 23, 2017

Wishing You a Merry Christmas!

Yesterday, I got my final assignment graded for my BU certificate. BU was a wonderful learning experience, but I'm glad to be done!

Merry Christmas!
This year was a year of growth for me. Not only did I complete BU, but I attended IGHR for the first time, watched webinars, took other online classes, and read genealogy books, articles, and blogs. I also did a lot of research. (Oh, and I started a new hobby: art!) I have so much to share, and I can't wait to really start blogging again!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 4, 2017

My "Ancestral Rebellious Streak"

The Church of England is the official church of England. Protestant churches which do not conform to the Church of England doctrines are called nonconformist churches.

Register of Baptisms Kept at Providence Chapel, Spring Head, Saddleworth, County of York, [England], page 83, baptized 12 May 1835, Humphrey Eastwood; The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England; database, "England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Register, 1567-1970," ( : accessed 4 December 2017).

With his first wife, my third great grandfather had two children who were baptized in a nonconformist church. On Ancestry, these two baptisms are in a database titled "England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970." I found the first sentence of the description of the database to be thought-provoking:

Trace your ancestral rebellious streak through non-conformist and non-parochial birth, marriage, and death registers.

As someone from the States, I don't think I truly understand religion in England. What did it mean to be a nonconformist in England at this time? Did my ancestors really have a rebellious streak? And, since  James' children by his second wife, my third great grandmother, were baptized in the Church of England, did James' beliefs change? Did he just follow his wives' beliefs? Or did something happen in England that I need to learn more about?

I am enjoying learning about my "rebellious" English ancestors!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Success: Finding a Death Certificate With a Misspelled Surname

My last post was about how I found my grandfather's younger brother's birth announcement by searching a newspaper using their address - not their surname. Before finding this article, I didn't know his date of birth. And, I still hadn't learned the baby's name as each of the birth announcements just named the father. In this case, Frank.

Michigan death records for 1897 to 1947 are online at Seeking Michigan. I had not been able to find the baby's birth by using his surname, Kaechle, so I decided to search using other information. Searching the Michigan death records for 1897-1920, I used the advanced search feature and entered the following:

  • Father's Given Name: Frank
  • Birth Year: 1909
  • County: Wayne
Baby Kaechle was the fifth record on the list! The surname had been written poorly and was transcribed as "Koehle." The baby's given name was Frank, like his father. Strangely, he had an older brother named Frank who lived to be over 50! 

Michigan Department of Community Health, death certificate, file no. 1464 (1909), Frank Kaechle; Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan; digital image, "Death Records, 1897-1920," SeekingMichigan ( : accessed 8 November 2017).

Frank Kaechle was born on 18 June 1909, and died the next day of "gastrointestinal hemorrhage." My grandfather was only 2 1/2 at the time of his brother's birth, and never mentioned this brother to my mom. I don't know if he remembered him or not.

I'm thankful to now be able to remember the short life of my grandfather's baby brother, and to grieve with the family over the death of this little boy.

[I'm still quite busy with BU, which is going great! I plan on blogging more faithfully when it's over.]

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tip: Search Newspaper Sites Using an Address

Searching newspaper sites for an address, instead of a name, can sometimes uncover articles which would not have been found otherwise.

1910 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, Detroit Ward 9, population schedule, page 12B [written], dwelling 181, family 247, 651 Chene St, Frank Kaechle, image, ( : accessed 16 October 2017), citing 
National Archives microfilm T624, roll 684.
In 1910 the census record for my great grandmother, Anna (Adam) Kaechle, stated she was the mother of seven children with six still living. Since I knew of only six children, I assumed she must have had a seventh child who died in childhood.

In that census, the Kaechle family lived at 651 Chene Street in Detroit, Michigan. Searching for "651 Chene" in Detroit resulted in 60 matches. The majority of these hits were help wanted ads placed in 1898/99. And others were dated after 1930 when the family was living in a different house.

Births, Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan, 3 July 1909, page 12, column 7, 
digital image,, ( : accessed 16 October 2017). 

One article, however, was dated 1909 and was about my family. The section was "births" and included the following: "Frank Kaechle, 651 Chene, boy." Frank Kaechle was the father, and I noticed that both the girls and boys were just listed under the father's names.

Although this short article had the surname, Kaechle, spelled correctly, OCR must have read it wrong. Most likely the only way I to find this incredibly short announcement was by searching for the address!

I am thankful to know the approximate date of Frank and Anna's baby boy, but hope to also learn his name and exact date of birth and death.

(I think the key to blogging while going through BU this fall is to keep the posts short! I will blog when I can.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

"Enthusiastic" Again!

I haven't blogged much in the past five or six months. I went through a significant genealogy "slump" where I wasn't sure I wanted to pursue genealogy any longer. Happily, that phase has passed and I am back!

IGHR - July 2017
This summer, I attended IGHR in Georgia in July. Even while I prepared for my trip, my passion was reignited.

I am currently taking the Boston University (or "BU") course. We just finished the first module, and I've already learned a lot.

I am also reinstating my goal to become a certified genealogist by 2020!

I am, quite happily, "the enthusiastic genealogist" once again!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Lack of Premarital Records

The last of his siblings to die, my husband's grandfather either didn't know or didn't remember the names of his paternal grandparents. His father, William Emmitt Hunter, was born 9 July 1874 most likely in Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, married in December of 1910 to Winnie Huddleston, and died in that same county on 4 April 1953. However, William hasn't been found in any census record prior to 1920. Where he was living before his 1910 marriage and the identity of his parents has been a mystery.

Oklahoma Department of Health, certificate of death 005619 (1953), William Emmitt Hunter.
[Obtained years ago from unknown source.]

For many years, William's 1953 death certificate was the only obtained document which contained information regarding his parents. The informant, my husband's grandfather, stated that William's father was Thomas Hunter and his mother's name was unknown.

William Emmitt Hunter, SS no. 526-30-2088, 3 Dec 1943, Application for Account Number (Form SS-5), Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland.

Recently, an Ancestry "shaky leaf" hint for William led to the Social Security application index. According to this index, which states it was filled out in December of 1943, William was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Thomas Hunter and Wimnie [sic] Pierce. An actual copy of the application confirmed the information found on the index.

Efforts to locate William in the 1880 census, with or without his parents, have not been successful. Likewise, attempts to locate either Thomas Hunter or Winnie Pierce (or Hunter) in either the 1860 or 1870 federal censuses with reasonable birth years to have a child in 1874 have not been conclusive.

If you are related to the Hunter family, or have any more information about William Emmitt Hunter and his family, I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Monday, April 10, 2017

TIPS: Working with German Newspaper Articles

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently found an article about one of my relatives from a 1916 German newspaper. I found the article on Chronicling America by searching for the surname: Kaechle. But, since I don't read German, I struggled with both transcribing and translating this article. In the process, I came across some tips I'd love to share:

Tip #1: Determine the Font

The initial "P" and "kk" in this word are difficult to read.

While many of the letters in this German newspaper article were easy to recognize, some were more challenging. For example, the above word looks like "Barffonzerte." The initial letter "P" and the "kk" do not look like are English P and kk. This word, "Parkkonzerte," translates to park concerts.

This font is calles Mars Fraktur Normal

After struggling trying to read the article, I finally found a font that helped me transcribed some difficult letters: Mars Fraktur. Again, the "s" at the end of Mars and the "k" in Fraktur do not look like our English letters. However, after printing out a copy of this font, I was able to transcribe the article letter by letter.

The Mars Fraktur font I printed off, though I cannot find the site now

Tip #2: Look on the Page for Related Articles

After finding the article that you are interested, look at the rest of the page. In fact, this tip doesn't just apply to German articles, as I have had success with this tip using English newspapers, too.

In this case, before I found the Mars Fraktur font, I was working on the article that mentioned Jerome Kaechle but I was having trouble decoding some of the letters. I decided to try to read some of the other headlines and create a letter by letter key. The article right above the article mentioning Jerome and the fire had this headline: "Driven from their beds by fire." At that point, I realized the article I had been translating, which even had its own heading, was just a part of a longer article! Reading the entire article gave me more details of this fire that my relative experienced.

Tip #3: Look for a Related Story in English Newspapers

50 Persons Flee for Safety in Big Fire, Lansing State Journal,
Lansing, Michigan, 4 August 1916, page 5, column 5,
digital image,, (
accessed 7 April 2017. 

With such a large fire, I assumed there would have been an article in English newspapers. Using, I did not find an article by searching for Kaechle. However, I did find an article by narrowing the year to 1916 and searching for one of the addresses mentioned in the article: 512 Ashland. Although this article had less information, it did include facts that were not in the German article. For instance, this article stated that "None waited to don their clothes, but began fleeing into the street in scant attire." And, "Many jumped from windows when they saw the stairway in flames."

Tip #4: Use the PDF Option and Paste Into Google Translate

This tip comes from my dad. When using Chronicling America, use the "pdf" option. After clicking on "pdf," copy and paste into Google Translate. You will need to make some corrections, but this is a wonderful start to getting an article translated. And, it will save a lot of time!

Tip #5: Ask for Help on Facebook's "Genealogy Translations" Group

Facebook's "Genealogy Translations" group has wonderful members who are always ready to help. And, they're fast! If you choose to post to the group, make sure you read the "rules for posting" first.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Incredible Fire Story Found in German Newspaper

I cannot read German. But, thanks to technology, I can still search German newspapers to find stories of my German relatives.

I recently found my first German newspaper story about Jerome Kaechle who was my great grandfather's younger brother. The article, which I found on Chronicling America, was in the Detroiter Abend-Post on August 4th, 1916.

After seeing his name, I painstakingly worked with Google Translate to translate the article. I also sent the article to my dad and shared it on the Genealogy Translations group on Facebook. Combining all of our work, I was able to come up with this composite translation:

Durch Feuer aus Betten getrieben [Driven by Fire from beds],
Detroiter Abend-Post, Detroit, Michigan, 4 August 1916,
page 8, column, 3, digital image, Chronicling America,
(, accessed 1 April 2017. 

Driven from their beds by fire
3 houses and 4 sheds burned down this morning
Several people forced to jump out of windows

The three two-storied houses 512 to 520 Ashland Avenue and four sheds were destroyed by fire at 1 a. m. today, the cause of the fire is not yet known for certain. It caused damage of approximately $8,000 to $10,000. The residents of the houses, some 40 people, had to hurry out onto the street in their night clothes, as the fire spread really quickly, several had to jump out of windows, and two were carried out by neighbors having been overcome by smoke.

The fire was discovered simultaneously by several neighbors, and Mrs Ausher, of 551 Ashland Ave raised the alarm, but the fire was burning fiercely when the fire brigade arrived. The families of Arthur Kretschmer, Frank Donahue and Frank Hart lived at no 512 and were woken by the neighbors' warning. The house was already in flames, and without having time to dress, they had to rush out to the street.

Durch Feuer aus Betten getrieben [Driven by Fire from beds],
Detroiter Abend-PostDetroit, Michigan, 4 August 1916,
page 8, column, 3, digital image, Chronicling America,
(, accessed 1 April 2017.

It spread quickly

Even before the alarm had been raised, the flames had taken hold of the house of Karl Duppernell, 518, and that of Jerome Kaechle, 520 Ashland Ave, and when the fire brigade arrived it was not possible to save either of the houses, and the teams could only stop the further spread of the fire. Frank Donahue lived on the top floor of one of the houses; his wife is ill in hospital, and when Kretschmer ran into the house to warn him, Donahue was lying on a bed, overcome by smoke, and had suffered slight burns. Kretscmer carried the unconscious man onto the street, where he soon recovered. Kaechle was also almost overcome by smoke, when he was found and rescued.

The Hart family had only moved in two days earlier, and had furnished their home completely new: everything was destroyed by the fire. Hart works nights at Chalmers car factory, and wasn't home at the time of the blaze. Arthur Bartell, who lived in a room in one of the houses, ran back in to save $150, and was almost overcome by smoke. Everyone who had been made homeless by the fire found accommodation with neighbors.

[Special thanks to my father and volunteer Anne Callanan for their help with this translation!]

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Meeting a "New" Cousin and Solving a Family Photo Mystery

One of the best parts of doing genealogy is meeting "new" cousins! I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with my new-found cousin, Terry. who is my 3rd cousin once removed. My 3rd great grandparents, Joachim and Henriette (Bünger) Peters, who I recently traced back to Germany, are our common ancestors.

My cousin, Terry, and I at Clayton Library
Houston - March 2017
We met at Clayton Library in Houston and she brought a pile of photos and documents to share. We had a wonderful time discussing our family and getting to know each other. And, now I have a lot of new information to go through!

One of the photos Terry shared was this "mystery" photo. Terry's father, who is still living, wrote the following note on the back: 

Some Peters went to Oklahoma. One had a cotton gin. Grandpa Peters (Eckard) [who is Joachim's son] had 3 brothers:
  • Bill - Ashton [Sumner County, Kansas]
  • Henry [Oklahoma]
  • Charles [Oklahoma]
This photo is of one of them [either Henry or Charles]

The 4 sons of Charles Peters. Photo in the Stewart family collection
Probably from Beulah (Peters) Brewer's collection.

Charles Peters (1847-1910) is my great, great grandfather. I would LOVE for this mystery photo to be of him and his family! But, the above photo shows his four sons, and I don't believe they look like the two young men in the other photo. [Besides these four sons, Charles also had two daughters who lived to adulthood.]

When I started researching this morning, I believed that Henry Peters and his wife, Hattie, had 2 sons and 3 daughters. But, after several hours of research, I have determined that they had 3 sons and 5 daughters. However, only 2 sons and 4 daughters survived to adulthood. So, I believe this is a photo of Henry, Hattie, and their 6 grown children.

A photo my dad, JRS, posted on FindAGrave shows three of Henry's children, along with one of their spouses, as older adults. From this photo, I believe we can determine that the taller young man in the "mystery" photo is Albert Roy Peters and the shorter man is Edwin Eugene "Ted" Peters. 

Estimated date of early 1910s based on youngest childrens' ages, Cora's 1910 marriage date, and clothing
Here is the "mystery" photo again. I am fairly certain this is the family of Henry J Peters, son of Joachim Peters. The family consists of:
  • Henry J Peters (1852-1931)
  • "Hattie" (Clifton) Peters (1857-1929) 
  • Hugo Peters (1877-1878) died as infant
  • Cora May (Peters) Pickett (1880-1957) married Robert Pickett (1877-1953) [likely seated next to her mother wearing a wedding ring in the photo]
  • Jennie Lynn Peters (1884-1886) died as toddler
  • Albert Roy Peters (1887-1968) never married [taller young man in photo]
  • Pearl Elsie (Peters) King (1893-1955) married Glen H King (1888-1976)
  • Myrtle Lillian Peters (1893-1973) never married
  • Edwin Eugene "Ted" Peters (1895-1966) married Clara Elizabeth King (1898-1984) [shorter young man in photo]
  • Hattie Isabell (Peters) Porter (1897-1978) married Earl Brown Porter (1897-1945)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Tip: Working Around Wrongly Transcribed Families in Census Records on

I hadn't been able to locate my husband's grandfather, Fred Hunter, and his family in the 1940 census. Searching for his parents and siblings individually didn't help me locate the family. So, I turned to a census "trick" to find this missing family.


I chose one of the more unusual names in the family: Mabel. I chose the 1940 U.S. federal census and searched for the following:

  • First name "Mabel" set to "exact"
  • Born in "1912" set to "+/- 2 years"
  • Born in "Oklahoma" set to "exact"
  • Lived in "Garvin County" set to "exact"

With this search I got 2 results, though neither were the correct family. So, I changed the "lived in" Garvin County from "exact" to "county and adjacent counties" and got 36 results. Near the bottom of the list was an entry for Mable Gunter with the correct parents listed. I had found the family!

1940 U.S. Census, McClain County, Oklahoma, Turnbull, population schedule, page 10A [written], household #163,
William E Hunter Household, image, ( : accessed 19 March 2017), citing
National Archives microfilm T627, roll 3308.
You can see it is a fairly poor copy, so it is understandable that it was transcribed incorrectly.


There are several other ways I could have found this family:

  • Searched for some of the family's 1930 "neighbors." Since the Hunters were still in the same, small community, it is likely I would have located them.
  • Searched page by page through the 40 pages of this Turnbull enumeration. 
  • Searched using either FamilySearch or MyHeritage, both of which have the family transcribed correctly as Hunter, not Gunter.
  • Searched with the wildcard "?" to start the family surname by searching for "?unter." When there is a transcription error in surnames, it is often with the initial letter.
Do you have other tricks for finding missing families in census records? I'd love to hear! 
Please leave a comment or email me at

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Who Was "Lawless Mary"?

While doing some research today, I came across an intriguing name in a 1940 census: Lawless Mary. She was an 82 year old widow living in Texas, and I had to learn more about her. What fascinating life did she live to earn her nickname?

After finding her in a 1900 census, it turns out "Lawless Mary" was not a nickname; her name was Mary Lawless. 

1940 U.S. Census, Falls County, Texas, Lott Ward, population schedule, page 7B [written], household #165, North 6 St, John Priest Household, image, ( : accessed 15 January 2016), citing National Archives microfilm T627, roll 4030.

The 1940 census enumerator had just added a line indicating her surname was the same as the name abover her: Cone. But, her name was, in fact, Mary Lawless and there is not an amazing story.

So, if you were researching Mary Lawless, how would you have found her? I think the most likely way would have been to search for her daughter, Susie, in the census.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"Found Lifeless" in a Brook

Bethuel Vincent was only 29 years old when he was found lifeless in a brook. His obituary reads:

Died – In Turbut township, on the 11th inst., Bethuel Vincent, junior, aged about 30 years. The deceased had gone to the fields to collect raspberries and while crossing a small brook was taken with convulsive fits, to which he was daily subject, fell into the water, where he was, shortly after, found lifeless. ["The States Advocate, Thursday, 17 July 1828. Posted on Bethuel Vincent's Find A Grave memorial page in Warrior Run Church Cemetery, Delaware Run, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania]

Find A Grave memorial page in Warrior Run Church Cemetery, Delaware Run,
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, photo by Earl Munday

Daniel Vincent's will, who was Bethuel's father and my 5th great grandfather, told more of Bethuel's story. [The "junior" designation in the obituary was because of Bethuel's uncle, also named Bethuel.] 

The will was written two years before Bethuel's death. It regards to my youngest and afflicted son Bethuel it is my will that my Executors provide him with all the comforts of life, to live in the family of my son Isaac or John as he may choose - whilst being with Isaac his wife Rebecca is to receive at the rate of Thirty dollars per year and when living with John his wife Maria is to receive the same - to be paid out of the estate not previously devised - and should Bethuel by accident or affliction become more helpless than at present the sum to be drawn from the estate shall be increased in proportion to his frailty and the expense necessary to keep him. Bethuel have one of the best beds and bedding in the house.

I still don't know what type of "affliction" Bethuel had, but I love that his father was taking care of him even on his death bed. And, I love that, even though his mother had died several years before, Bethuel would continue to live with his family in the house of one of his brothers.

My Line of Descent
  • Daniel Vincent (1760-1827) m Angelchy Huff/Hough/Heuff (1760-1821)
  • Bethuel Vincent (1798-1828) is a brother to my direct ancestor Elizabeth "Betsy" Vincent (1789-1846) m George Watson (1783-1856)
  • Sarah Jane Watson (1826-1853) m John Quiggle Stewart (1825-1922)
  • Alexander Stewart (1852-1922) m Catharine Jane McClintock (1852-1929)
  • Andrew "Andy" McClinock Stewart (1882-1954) m. Bessie Waldron Merrill (1879-1959)
  • James Edward Stewart (1910-1972) m. Hazel Lucille Peters (1910-1975) (my paternal grandparents)

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My First Jump Across the Pond

In November of 2013 I found my first record of an ancestor in Europe. It was my first "jump across the pond." It was a huge day for me and I was thrilled! In fact, that's the day a volunteer told me she loved my 'enthusiasm' for genealogy and I came up with my blog name. So, how did this 'pond jump' happen?

1860 Census - Lock Haven, Clinton Co, PA from

At the time, I knew the following...

  • my great, great grandmother, Sarah, was born in 1848 in England (she was 12 in the above census)
  • according to her obituary, she was from Leeds, England
  • her parents were James & Sarah Ann
  • she had an older brother, Adam, who was also born in England
  • there was another male, Humphrey, who was probably James' brother as he is listed as only 16 years younger than the James in the 1860 census

1841 Census - Prestwich Cum Oldham, Lancashire, England from

The next clue was finding an 1841 England Census that listed parents named James & Sarah who were about the right age. It listed two children who were transcribed as follows: Thomppey (age 6) and Sylwanos (age 1). I was at the Dallas library and I took this record to one of the librarians to see if he could help. I thought that Thomppey looked like "Humphrey," but I wanted to make sure that wasn't just wishful thinking. He agreed that the name was Humphrey and helped me translate the second name as Sylvaneous (which he told me refers to trees). In this record, the ages of the parents were a little different and it now looked like Humphrey could actually be their son.

As you can see, between the 1841 England Census and 1860 U.S. census, Humphrey aged appropriately 19 years (from age 6 to 25). Sarah's age, though, went from 25 to 47 (so, an increase of 22 years) and James went from 30 to 41 (an increase of only 11 years). But, if this was my family, what happened to Sylvaneous?

If this was really my family, I know knew where to find them: Lancashire, England. I did another search on Ancestry and found a marriage record! The record was for James Eastwood & Sarah Hall (I already knew her maiden name, so this confirmed it) in 1839 in Prestwich in Lancashire—the same location as the 1841 census!

1839 Marriage Record - Parish of Prestwich, Lancaster County, England from
There were many interesting things on this record, but one of them was the fact that James was a widower! James and Sarah got married on September 2, 1839. So Humphrey, born about 1835, was James' son from a first marriage. But Sylvaneous, who was probably born in 1841, was a son of both James Eastwood and Sarah Hall.

This marriage record and census were the first European records I'd found for my family. And, they remain the only family I've traced to a country besides Germany.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What's the Most Unusual Name on Your Family Tree?

The only Hedwig my American ears have ever heard of was Harry Potter's owl. I thought the owl was a male. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my 4th great grandmother's name was Hedwig!

Snowy Owl photo by Michael Gäbler, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://
I did research the name online and discovered it is a feminine name. And, Harry Potter's owl was a female, though she was played by a male in the show. Evidently, Snowy Owl males are smaller and whiter and they decided they liked the look better.

My American ears have trouble with Hedwig's surname, too: Borgward. And, when I put her name together—Hedwig Borgward—it has to be the most unusual name on my tree. Although, again, I'm sure it is because my American upbringing!

On November 14th, 1814 in Behren u Lübchin, Mecklenburg in present day Germany, Hedwig Borgward, who was 29 years old, married Jacob Eckhard Peters, who was 28. They had at least three children including Joachim Carl Otto Peters, my 3rd great grandfather, who was born on June 27th, 1815.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

An Interview with Rick and Pam Sayre (Speaking in Houston on March 18th with HGF)

As the publicity chairman for Houston Genealogical Forum (HGF) I get the privilege of interviewing our speakers. In about two weeks, Pamela Boyer Sayre and Rick Sayre are giving an "all day" presentation in Houston. Their two topics are "Capital Treasure" and "Ohio and Pennsylvania Research." If you are in the Houston area, we invite you to come and join us! More information can be found on our website


What got you interested in genealogy?

Pam: Mrs. Kirkpatrick, my eighth-grade language arts teacher, gave us an assignment to research where our surname came from. I learned that Boyer was an occupational name similar to Bowman or Bow-yer—an archer, if you will. But I also checked out the two how-to books on genealogy at our town’s library and began a quest for my family history right then—in 1968. My fascination and addiction has only grown over these many years.

Rick: My mother discovered in researching her family that she had five half-siblings she had never met. I took her to Pittsburgh to meet them – I was hooked after that!

What skills from your life “before genealogy” have proven useful to you as a genealogist?

Pam: All those subjects we saw no need for in junior high and high school have practical application to genealogy. Of course history is important, but also sociology and geography—why our family groups moved where they did, why they chose the religion they did (or why they show up in criminal records instead). And geometry has helped me understand deed platting, and biology and chemistry certainly help in learning about DNA and heredity. My past life as a police investigator taught me investigative skills and how to write a concise evidence-based report, both very important for genealogical research. And a career in software training gave me skills as a genealogy instructor and speaker. All genealogists bring many past skills to the table, and they are all valuable.

Rick: As a career military officer I learned a lot about planning and organization. One of the things I learned was the need to pay meticulous attention to details—a great skill for a genealogist.

As you create joint presentations like “Capital Treasures,” how do you divide the work load? For example, is one of you better at technology and one better at writing? Or do you work together on each aspect of the talk?

Pam: We generally divide the work topically. We brainstorm the overall presentation and then set to work individually, eventually bringing our work back together into one Power-Point presentation and one syllabus. I think our joint presentations are stronger because we hit two target audiences. Rick is a “brainiac” with a lot of in-depth knowledge on any given topic. I am a more casual speaker who can decompose a topic and make it understandable to perhaps a beginner.

Rick: Pam pretty well summed it up.

As you travel for genealogy research, lectures, conferences, etc, what is your favorite and least favorite part about traveling?

Pam: I love traveling to small towns and big cities alike and feeling the flavor of a region through local dialects and accents, foods, and history. It’s fun to meet people with all different kinds of ancestors. My least favorite part of traveling is leaving behind our hairy “son,” Andy, a twelve-year-old yellow labrador retriever who adopted us a couple years ago.

Rick: Meeting new people, seeing new places, and the opportunity to meet new relatives. I, too, wish we could take Andy.

If an experienced researcher wanted to become a genealogical lecturer, what steps would you recommend to help them get started?

Pam: Volunteer. Prepare one very good lecture on a topic you know well, and then volunteer to give it free of charge at a local genealogical society, DAR meeting, or any venue (Rotary Club, Kiwanis, any organization that has speakers). Work on a few more lectures. As you begin to lecture and do a good job, you’ll develop a good reputation that will help you rise to the regional and eventually the national level.

Rick: Go to a national conference and listen to a variety of lectures. Take notes on what impressed you. Learn your topics in detail.

As a certified genealogist with many responsibilities, how much time do you get to spend on researching your own family?

Pam: Not enough. I try to use examples from my family in lectures or classes that I do without boring people to death. This means that I get to do a little personal research, but never enough.

Rick: Most of the time when I research my family, it is to build an example for a presentation.

How do you continue your own genealogy education?

Pam: I attend lectures at national conferences when I have any free time. I try to listen to new speakers or sit in on a topic in which I may have no personal research needs, but still learn something of value. When I’m not coordinating a course at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy or Genealogical Research Institute of Genealogy, I register as a student. As the beginning course coordinator at Institute of Genealogical Research, formerly at Samford University in Birmingham, now at University of Georgia, for the past eleven years, I have been unable to take a course there. We also avail ourselves of online webinars on a variety of topics, and continue to read genealogical journals such as NGSQ, the NYG&B Record, and NEHGS Register.

Rick: Pick a new topic and prepare a lecture. No better way to learn something new.

Who is one of your favorite ancestors, or what has been one of your favorite genealogical discoveries?

Pam: Jesse Westmoreland, my third-great-grandfather, a farm boy from southside Virginia who served in the 2nd Virginia Regiment of the American Revolution. I have followed his footsteps to Valley Forge and Monmouth, New Jersey during the war, back home to Virginia. I have tracked him just over the state line into North Carolina and on west to the very hilly Fentress County, Tennessee, where he died in his late 80s in the same area as the most decorated soldier of WWI, Sgt. Alvin York. Jesse never appeared in a single U.S. census during his entire lifetime, and he owned very little land or personal property.

One of my favorite genealogical discoveries was visiting the Lutheran Church in Oberbexbach, Germany, where another Revolutionary War-era ancestor, Jacob Daniel Shearer, had been baptized in 1726, and his grave in Guilford County, North Carolina, by the church he helped found—sort of the entire cycle of life for this old German.

Rick: My favorite person is Mary Fassbinder. She immigrated in 1856, married twice, gave birth to four children, and raised them in the tough urban environment of Allegheny City (today Pittsburgh North side). She was a rooming house manager, liquor dealer, cigar salesperson, and much more.

My favorite discovery is William Crozier and his wife Elizabeth McMullen Crozier. They came to Allegheny City in 1866. Finding and walking their land in County Armagh, Ireland, was a very moving experience.

Dana: Thank you to Pam and Rick for taking the time to answer my questions and allowing me to share their thoughtful responses! I hope some of you can join HGF in welcoming the Sayres to Houston on Saturday, March 18th.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

When Was George Washington Born? A Lesson on Double Dating

Last week we remembered George Washington's birthday on February 22nd (which also happens to be my birthday). But was George Washington born on February 22nd? Extreme Genes, one of my favorite genealogy podcasts, discussed the uncertainty of Washington's birthday in this week's show.

Portrait of George Washington
Painted by Gilbert Stuart

After listening to the conversation, I decided to dig a little deeper and found his family Bible where he is listed as being born on the "11th Day of February 1731/2." [See "Washington Family Bible Page" at the Digital Collections site from The Washington Library.] If he was born on February 11th, why do we celebrate his birthday on February 22nd? And why is his birth recorded as 1731/2?

Actually, both the strange way of waiting Washington's birth year and his two birth days, February 11th and 22nd, have to do with the switch from the old Gregorian calendar to the new Julian calendar. Though this switch happened at different times around the world, in the colonies the switch happened in 1752 when Washington was a young man. Since different parts of the world made the switch at different times, in the colonies during the approximately 100 years before 1752, dates between January 1st and March 24th were given "double dates" like Washington's birth year of 1731/2. This is because the old calendar didn't start a new year until March 25th, while the new calendar started the new year on January 1st. So the two dates were indicating the years using both the old calendar, 1731, and new calendar, 1732.

As far as the day of his birth, Washington's family Bible shows he was born on the 11th of February. However, when we officially switched to the new calendar in 1752, our calendar "skipped" from September 2nd to September 14th. On February 11th, 1753, which should have been Washington's 21st birthday, he was actually 11 days short of being 21 years old. So, his birthday celebration was generally switched to February 22nd, though some celebrations still occurred on the 11th.

Land Warrant Application, David Beiler & Michael Cline, record number 463, 15 February 1748/9; digital images, "Pennsylvania, Land Warrants & Applications, 1733-1952," ( : accessed 13 February 2017).

I recently came across an example of double dating in my own research on a Land Warrant application of my ancestor, Michael Kline/Cline, and his neighbor, David Beiler. The document was dated February 15th of 1748/9. When I first saw the date, I didn't understand what it meant, which led me to researching double dating. Along with the research I did for Washington's birth date, I now feel I understand double dating fairly well.

The following is my transcription of this document:

By the Proprietaries
Pennsylvania SS
Whereas by consent and direction of then Commissioners of Property, a Survey was mad  in the year 1729, on a certain Tract of two hundred and thirty seven Acres of Land, Situate in
Warwick Township in the County of Lancaster, which is now in the Possession of David Beiler
[symbol] and Michael Cline of the said County who have requested that we would grant them
the said Land, and agreed to pay to our use for the said Tract the full Sum of Thirty six –
Pounds fourteen Shillings & seven pence Money of Pennsylvania with lawful Interest for the
Same, and the yearly Quit Rent of one half penny Sterling for every Acre thereof, both to
commence from the 1st day of March 1732; These are therefore to authorize & require you to
accept and receive into your Office the Survey of the said Tract, and make Return thereof into our
Secretary’s Office for the use and behoof of the said David Beiler and Michael Cline in
order for further Confirmation, and in so doing this shall be your sufficient Warrant, which Survey
in case the said David Beiler and Michael Cline fulfil the above agreement within
One Month after the Date hereof shall be valid, otherwise the same is to be void. Given
under my Hand and the Seal of the Land Office by virtue of certain Powers from the
said Proprietaries at Philadelphia this Fifteenth day of February 1748/9-

To Nicholas Scull Surveyor General
James Hamilton [signature]

poor original [Stamped]

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It's My Birthday!

It's my birthday, and I thought I'd share this photo from my 3rd birthday party. It was taken in front of my childhood home in Kansas. The older woman in the photo is my grandmother, Hazel, who died when I was 5. I only have a few photo with her. 

I'm in the red dress on the far right, and my older sister is standing next to me. The other three children are a cousin and two friends.

Monday, February 20, 2017

What Does "Interlined" Mean?

In the 1781 indenture of "Dorothea Kline & Al to Nicholas Kline," Nicholas Kline, a son of Michael Kline (my 6th great grandfather), bought land from the other heirs of his father for 400 pounds. This document was typed into a Lancaster County, Pennsylvania deed book.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book X, page 414 (close up), "Dorothea Kline & Al to Nicholas Kline.
[Note the underlined word "perches" on the 4th line.]

In this typed version, there are two words which are underlined: "perches" on page 414 (see image above) and "share" on page 415.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book X, page 4147(close up), "Dorothea Kline & Al to Nicholas Kline.
[Note the first few lines which describe the interlined words.]

Following the body of the document is the following comment: Sealed & delivered: written on two several sheets of Paper in the Presence of us: the Word Perches interlined between the eighteenth & nineteenth line & the word share between the twenty third & fourth line.

Random will showing an example of interlined words between lines 24 and 25.

What is "interlined?"

Merriam-Webster defines interlined as "to insert between lines already written or printed." The document above has an example of interlined words between lines 24 and 25.  [Note: The document has been numbered on the far right side of the document.] They are the words that have been squeezed in between the two lines. If you were transcribing this document, you should add a note at the end of this document noting the interlined words. These notes would be in square brackets. For example, you might write: [The words "the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto in" was interlined between lines 24 and 25.]

Returning to my original document, the clerk's note means that, in the original document, the word "perches" had been interlined or inserted between the 18th and 19th lines, and the word "share" between the 23rd and 24th lines.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Platting Land in Pennsylvania, A State Land State

Since Pennsylvania is a state land state, the land was surveyed using metes and bounds rather than townships and ranges. This type of survey starts at a starting point which is a "bound" or some type of physical feature. Then, the survey gives a direction (such as north, south, east, or west) and the number of degrees (between 0 and 90) and then a distance. This is the "metes" part of the survey which includes a direction and a distance. At the end of that direction and distance, another "bound" is given.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book X, page 414 (close up), "Dorothea Kline & Al to Nicholas Kline.

For instance, let's take the 1781 Lancaster County indenture example I used earlier this week. The description of the land begins as follows: "Beginning at a white oak corner of David Beilor's land by the same south seven degrees and a half west ninety seven perches and a half of a perch to a stone..." In this example, the "white oak" where this land touches David Beilor's land is the first bound and it is also the starting point. From there, the surveyor turned 97.5 degrees south west and traveled 7.5 perches. This is the first "mete" and you would draw this line if you were platting the land. At the end of this distance, you would come across a stone.

Here's another example from the same document: " a stone, thence by the same north seventy degrees west one hundred & fifteen perches to a post thence by George Kline's land..." So, continuing from the stone, you would turn northwest 70 degrees and travel 115 perches to a post and you would be bordering George Kline's land.

But, what's a perch? A perch is just one type of measurement that the surveyors used. Here are several and their equivalents in feet and/or inches from the FamilySearch "Metes and Bounds" Wiki:

  • link: 7.92 inches
  • perch or pole: 16.5 feet (or 1/4 of a chain or 25 links)
  • rod: 16.5 feet
  • chain: 66 feet 4 rods (or 100 links)
  • furlong: 664 feet
After learning about how the survey was measured and written, I decided to try platting a survey for the first time. I was going to use the 1781 indenture I've been referencing, but one of the degree is missing! Perhaps I could eventually figure it out, but I decided to start with something easier.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) has surveys available online. From the home page (, click on "land records" in the first column. From there, I scrolled down to "Images of all surveys." I chose several random surveys to plat, but I had my first success with "volume A-17" then "page A-17-105." This survey is for 100 acres of land granted to James Miller in Tyrone Township, Adams County, in 1745. The survey was done in 1809.

Deed Platter screenshot of data entered on genealogy tools
Using genealogy tools, I looked at the image (or you could use a description), chose a starting place, and entered the information. For the Miller survey, I started in the upper left corner and went around the image clockwise. So, my first "metes" was "S 33.5 E" and "79.5." I didn't know what units they used, but the shape comes out the same as long as you are consistent. I chose perches. 

Survey as drawn from data entered on genealogy tools

Although it's at a different angle, you can see that my plat is the same shape as the survey! From this site, you can also add title information along with marker such as the stone and white oak in my example from my 1781 indenture. You can also add the neighbors, such as John Stewart in this example. I believe there are other free, online platting tools, but this is the first one I found and tried successfully.

Using this example to plat a survey helped me to understand these descriptions which at first did not make a lot of sense to me.

Have you platted the land of your ancestors or their neighbors? What are some of the benefits? I'd love to hear! If you've written a post about it, please leave a link. Or you can leave a comment or email me at

Thursday, February 16, 2017

(Tip: Look at the front pages of FHL microfilms!) Finding My 3x Great Grandfather's German Baptismal Record

Evidence suggested that my great, great, great grandfather, Gunther Werther, was born in 1819 in Berka in present-day Germany. However, locating his baptism on an FHL film proved quite difficult. The film covered dozens of villages and included baptisms, marriages, and death records.

Yesterday, I returned to search the film for the second time. This time, I decided to start at the beginning. I saw a typed listing of what appeared to be villages. And, on the next few pages, I saw handwritten, numbered lists of what also appeared to be village names. Did one of these lists show the order the church registers appeared on the film?

The librarian suggested the handwritten list probably indicated the order the villages were shown on the film. We were fairly certain that the 11th entry on the second grouping appeared to be Berka. As I scrolled through the pages, each village church's records had a title page, but I was rarely able to read the name of the village. In fact, the first one I recognized was #7 on this list. And then, two churches later, I recognized #9. It looked like this list did, in fact, show the order of the churches on the film!

Kirchenbuchduplikat [church book duplicate], 1813-1846, Berka, page 1, item 2, Geboren und Getauft [born and baptized], record for August Gunther Werther; FamilySearch microfilm #1194309. [left side]
When I got to Berka, the first section was the baptisms. And, there on the first page, listed as the second baptism, was my ancestor: August Günther Werther! 

From past research, I was pretty sure the next column was the father's name, but the only word I could read was the second word of the second line: Werther. [If you haven't done German research before, you can probably see how difficult it is to read this old German script!]

A very exciting discovery was the next column which says something about the 8th of February, 1815. Could this possibly be his parent's wedding date? If so, could I find their marriage record!

Kirchenbuchduplikat [church book duplicate], 1813-1846, Berka, page 1, item 2, Geboren und Getauft m Jahre 1819 [born and baptized in the year 1819], record for August Gunther Werther; FamilySearch microfilm #1194309. [right side]

When I got home from the library, I posted the two images to the Genealogy Translations Facebook group. They are incredible! When I woke up this morning, I was thrilled to see two women had transcribed and translated this record. And, not only was the 1815 date his parent's wedding date, but the record also said he was their 3rd child. So, I also will be able to look for at least two siblings for Günther.

Here's the translation with a special thanks to Facebook volunteers Brigitte Eggerstedt and Monica Wuestefeld: 
  • Day and hour of birth: 17th May 1819 at 5 a.m.
  • Day and place of baptism: May 20, at home
  • Name of the baptized: August Gunther Werther
  • The father, whose status and residence: Johann Friedrich August Werther, resident here, [probably] farmer of a full-sized farm or horse groom of an estate
  • Marriage and number of children: 8th February 1815, 3rd child, first marriage
  • Mother, her origin and number of her children: Johanna Wilhelmine Friedericka born Hahn, 3rd child, first marriage
  • Witnesses of baptism: "Anspanner" August Gunther Bohnhardt
Are we related? Do you have any questions, comments, or corrections? I'd love to talk. Please leave a comment or email me at

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Researching the Neighbors Leads to the Discovery of a 1749 Land Warrant Application

After the death of Michael Kline in 1781, his son Nicholas paid 400 pounds to the other heirs—Nicholas' mother, Dorothea, along with his siblings and their spouses—for two tracts of his father's land. Although I've blogged about this 1781 indenture before, today I am looking at the adjoining neighbors who were listed in the description of the first piece of land: David Beilor, George Kline (possibly a brother of Michael's), Thomas Falkner, and John and Jacob Snavely.

[Note: The relevant part of this 1781 indenture is transcribed at the bottom of this post. Also, though I believe the document is about two pieces of land, only only one is described in the document.]

On Ancestry, I searched for David Beilor in Warwick, Pennsylvania. I did not state a county because Warwick Township was in Lancaster County in the 1700s, but is now in Chester County. The only document result was from the database "Pennsylvania, Land Warrants and Applications, 1733-1952" which looked promising.

Land Warrant Application, David Beiler & Michael Cline, record number 463, 15 February 1748/9; digital images, "Pennsylvania, Land Warrants & Applications, 1733-1952," ( : accessed 13 February 2017).

I was surprised to see the document, dated 1749, was for both "David Beiler & Michael Cline."   Now, I am now eager to find out more about David Beiler. Were Michael Kline and David Beiler related? Were they friends who moved their families to Warwick Township from someplace else? [Note: I will share more about the other side of this land warrant application soon.]

Similar searches for Thomas Falkner and John and Jacob Snavely did not give any promising results. George Kline, however, had a lot of results in Warwick and I will need to research him further.

Below is both the image and transcription of the relevant sections of this 1781 indenture with words written in bold for emphasis by me.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book X, page 414, "Dorothea Kline & Al to Nicholas Kline."
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book X, page 414, "Dorothea Kline & Al to Nicholas Kline."

...bargain sell alien remiss release confirm relinguish [sic] and forever quit claim unto
all that & those, two several tracts of land situate & being in the township of 
Warwick county of Lancaster & State aforesaid, the first whereof bounded & described 
as follows,  to wit, Beginning at a white oak corner of David Belior's land by the 
same south seven degrees and a half west ninety seven perches and a half of a perch 
to a stone, thence by the same north seventy degrees west one hundred & fifteen 
perches to a post thence by George Kline's land, south nineteen degrees west thir-
teen perches & three quarters of a perch to a post, thence by the same south west 
twenty three perches to a post thence by the same north fifty degrees west twenty 
two perches to a post, thence by the same north twenty two degrees east twenty 
perches & half a perch, thence by the same north seven perches to a post 
thence by the aforesaid David Bailor's land north eighty nine degrees west thirty 
nine perches to a post, thence by Thomas Falkner's land, south seven degrees & 
a half west seventy seven perches to a post, thence by John & Jacob Sneavly's [sic] land 
south eighty two degrees east one hundred & eighty eight perches to a small hickory, 
thence by land that was formerly vacant north seven degrees & a half east two hundred 
and thirty perches & a half of a perch to a white oak, thence north eighty 
two degrees west sixty five perches to a post, thence by George Kline's land south 
seven degrees and a half west seventy two perches & a half of a perch to a post, 
thence by said David Beilors land south seventy degrees and a half east sixty one 
perches to the Place of Beginning containing one hundred & six acres of land & 
the usual allowance of six acres P Ct for roads & highways,
       It being a part of a larger tract of one hundred & thirty seven acres 
& allowance of six P Ct granted to the above named Michael Kline deceased by a 
proprietary patent, bearing date the twenty sixth day of January in the year of 
our Lord one thousand seven hundred & forty nine as in & by the above recited pat-
ent recorded in the rolls office for the city & county of Philadelphia in patent 
Book A vol 17 page 386 bearing date the 14th day of November Anno Dom: 1753 
reference to the same being had may more fully & at large appear as also an 
undivided share of and in another tract of land held by warrant situate in Warwick 
Township aforesaid, adjoining the lands of John Simmon, be his share more or less 
than thirty five acres hereafter to be divided exclusive of any share of the meadow 
ground in thesaid [sic] tract.

Are you related to any of the people mentioned in this document? Do you have any questions or comments? 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...