Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My Top 10 Genealogy Finds in 2016

As I did in 2014, I'd like to share my "top 10 genealogy find" for 2016...

Number 10: Finding myself in several newspaper articles as a young child was lots of fun! One article was about a city-wide contest where I won 3rd place in jumping rope. Another article was about a trip I took as a Campfire Girl where I fell off a statue and got a nasty bump on my forehead. (I think this picture is pretty pathetic, but it's the only one I could find with this injury!)

St. Joseph (German) Catholic Church,
Detroit, Michigan (Wikipedia image)
Number 9: Years ago, I received a copy of a torn 1895 wedding photo of my great grandparents, Frank & Anna (Adam) Kaechle. With some help from a Facebook group, I was able to locate the church where they were married. I also hired someone to look up their church marriage record!

Marriage record for Frank & Francisca (Holthoefer) Adam (Ancestry)
Number 8: Just a few weeks ago, I discovered the 1858 church marriage record for Anna (Adam) Kaechle's parents. Anna's parents, Frank & Francisca (Holthoefer) Adam, were married at St. Mary's Church in Detroit.
Henry W Wingert & others on a bandwagon
Number 7: Although the person in the photo isn't a direct ancestor, I absolutely loved receiving a copy of this photo of Henry W. Wingert who was a band leader on a bandwagon! What an incredible photo!

Me in Clinton County with a business card of A. L. Merrill (June 2016)
Number 6: On a trip to Pennsylvania this past summer, I was thrilled to find an actual business card for my great, great grandfather, A. L. Merrill, who was a candidate for County Commissioner! And, yes, he did actually serve as county commissioner. I also found a photo of him as commissioner, but I still need to get permission to post it.

Papers received from the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society
in regards to the Michael Kline family
Number 5: I "discovered" I had Mennonite ancestors, only to find out they weren't Mennonites after all! But, the information I received from Pennsylvania's Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society provided me with a lot of information about Michael Kline and his 14 children.

Number 4: Through work I did in Melinde Lutz Byrne's "Practicum in Genealogical Research," I determined that John M Boyers was likely the father of Eliza Ann (Boyers) Dickson. More research is still needed, but I made a lot of progress!

Me and two cousins at the tombstone of Robert & Frances (Quigley) Stewart
Clinton County, Pennsylvania (June 2016)
Number 3: One of the "genealogy" highlights of my year was meeting quite a few of my dad's Pennsylvania cousins that I had never met. Three of them went with me to Clinton County, Pennsylvania, where we spent a day visiting several cemeteries and the library. This is a photo of me with two of them standing next to the headstone of Robert and Frances (Quigley) Stewart's massive headstone. Robert and Frances are my 4th great grandparents and represent the furthest we've been able to trace our Stewart line.

Birth certificate showing my Werther family came from Berka
Number 2: Although I didn't know it, I actually had digital copies of the paperwork which showed where my Werther family had emigrated from in Germany! My Great Aunt Beulah, who got me interested in genealogy in 1998, had these papers in her files and I had copied them a couple of years ago while visiting an aunt and uncle.

Map made by JRS showing the immigration voyage of my Peters' family
Number 1: And, the top find for 2016 was locating the origins of my Peters family who emigrated from Germany in 1859. Though I wrote quite a few posts as I shared the steps to this discovery almost in real time on my blog, a summary can be found on my post titled "How I Traced My Immigrant Family to Germany."

Photo of Joachim Peters that belongs to my family, alongside a painting
of the photo that got handed down in a cousin's family.
BONUS: I can't believe I left this out of my "top 10" list! This year, I discovered my dad has hundreds of photos that I had never seen before! He has been emailing them to me, and we are working together to fill in the details. I have also received photos from other cousins. It's always exciting to find photos of the people we are researching! So, this is definitely one of my "top 10 genealogy finds" of 2016!


  1. It certainly has been a successful year for you, Dana, and I’ve enjoyed watching it unfold. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your achievements in 2017!

    1. Thanks, Dara. It's been an exciting year, and I can't wait to learn more!

  2. I agree with Dara--you've had a very successful year of genealogical research and shared lots of fascinating stories with all of us, not just with your family. Good luck with 2017's research!

    1. Thanks, Marian! I can't wait to see what the year will bring!

  3. Wow, you've accomplished A LOT! I especially loved your #1 - it was fascinating to hear how you were able to trace your family back to Germany. And photos - who doesn't love photos? Congratulations on a successful year.

    1. Thanks, Debi. And, yes, photos are GREAT!

  4. You've made terrific progress in the last year. I love the photos, but the business card is great. Hope you are as successful in 2017.

    1. Thanks, Linda. Yes, seeing that business card was really special! I hope you have successful 2017, too!


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