Friday, June 28, 2013

Ancestor Landing Pages: Views But No Connections Yet

As you can see from this chart, my ancestor landing pages are being viewed. The bottom two pages were posted just a few weeks ago, so the low page views are no surprise.

I started using ancestor landing pages back in January, after reading a post by Caroline Pointer. The Birk and Mahler pages were among the earliest posted, so it makes sense that they're the most viewed. Even though the pages have not yet brought me new genealogical connections...I still have hope they'll lead to breakthroughs!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Those Places Thursday: My Brick Wall in Crawford County, Ohio

Tod is that sliver of a town at far left of Crawford County, Ohio. And Tod is where one of my hubby's brick-wall ancestors lived. During the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in August, my goal is to blast this brick wall out of existence by doing research at the Allen County Public Library and in Bucyrus, the county seat of Crawford.

The brick wall's name is Jacob S. Steiner. He was born about 1802 (estimate based on Census data) and his occupation was tailor. Jacob and his wife Elizabeth (maiden name UNK) and their oldest child, William, were all born in Pennsylvania (Census again). Everybody else in their family was born in Ohio.

I know Jacob died sometime between the 1850 Census and the 1860 Census, because he's not in the 1860 Census. His wife Elizabeth is the head of the household in 1860 in Tod, and she has two of her adult children living with her, plus two of her teenage children, plus a two-year-old named Albert J. Steiner. Given Elizabeth's age, I have to believe that Albert is her grandson, but so far, I haven't identified who he belongs to. Elizabeth died in 1864 and is buried in Oceola Cemetery #2, in Crawford County.

So when and where did Jacob die? Who were his parents and where in Pennsylvania was he born? And the biggest question of all: Where in the Old World did the Steiner family come from? One family story says the Steiners (and another family in our tree, Rinehart), were Austrian. Another says they were Swiss. Well, we're going to do our best to track Jacob and family back through the 18th century and see where the trail leads!

PS: Registrants for the FGS Conference can sign up for free one-on-one genealogy consultations to help plan research! Read all about it here. Consults are on Tuesday afternoon, August 20th, and only a limited number of appointments are available, so sign up right away.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday (almost): More Canadian badges from WWI

Members recruited from Canadian universities . . . formed in 1918
Based in Toronto, a unit in the Canadian Expeditionary Force
Unit organized in 1866, one of 107 Canadian infantry units in WWI
With Canada Day only a few days away, I wanted to post more of the WWI badges collected by (I believe) Captain John Daniel Slatter, long-time bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders Regiment based in Toronto.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Military Monday: Oh Canada! WWI Military Badges

Heirloom belt from WWI
I saw this wonderful belt for the first time on Saturday, when a family discussion about genealogy reminded the current owner that he had this in his possession. Hubby remembered seeing it in the attic of his childhood home many decades ago.

It was passed down by a Canadian relative--mostly likely Captain John Daniel Slatter of the 48th Highlanders of Toronto. Capt. Jack, as we like to call him, was hubby's great-uncle, one of three military bandmasters in the Slatter family.

Capt. Jack was very close to his sister, Mary Slatter Wood (who married James Edgar Wood in Ohio). We have a couple of photos of him: One, above, shows him at Camp Borden in Canada in 1917, where he trained dozens of military bands and 1,000 buglers.

According to the 48th Highlanders Regimental Museum, Capt. Jack's military record was:

1874-6    Training Ship Royal Harry
1876-81  Royal Fusiliers
1881-6    "A" Battery Royal Canadian Artillery (Quebec City and Northwest Battalion)
1916-9    Officer-in-Charge of Training Bands & Buglers, Military District #2
1896-1946  48th Highlanders of Canada (based in Toronto)

Because he was in charge of training, he would have been able to trade badges with many of the military men he trained.

Above and below are the first closeups of the badges on this incredible heirloom belt. More to come soon, leading up to Canada Day on July 1st.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Sorting Saturday: More on the Kossuth Ferenc Society

My Farkas grandparents and their siblings were involved in the Kossuth Ferenc Literary, Sick & Benevolent Association--in fact, great-uncle Sandor (Alex) Farkas was among the founders in 1904.

Above, a photo of the officers as they appeared in 1930, during the 25th Anniversary year. According to the caption, my great-uncle is seated one in from the right. The entire 1930 Anniversary booklet is available by appointment at the YIVO Archives in New York City* so perhaps one day I will see this photo in person (and get a better copy of it). Grandpa Teddy Schwartz, married to Hermina Farkas, was an officer at one point and was honored for his activities by the Kossuth Society some time after the 25th Anniversary.

Sandor/Alex Farkas was the oldest of 11 siblings. After Alex came Hermina (Minnie), my grandma; Albert; Julius; Peter; Irene; Ella; Freda; Rose; Fred; and Regina. Julius and Peter were known in the family as the "bachelor brothers" or "the boys" even when they were at retirement age (and beyond).

* Also at YIVO: Some records from the Sons of Telsh benevolent society, the group to which some of my Mahler relatives belonged. Others belonged to the Independent Harlem True Brothers and therefore were buried in a different cemetery.

Note: The Farkas family also rented meeting rooms from the United Order of True Sisters in New York, a benevolent society started by German Jews that today is devoted to charitable activities related to cancer care.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Wood family of Ohio

Wood brothers: John Andrew, Edgar James, and Wallis Walter
James Edgar Wood
Today I'm highlighting hubby's family in the Buckeye State, starting with his dad, Edgar James Wood (1903-1986). The above photo shows Ed and, we think, his next-younger brothers. One brother is not in the photo: Theodore W. Wood.

Edgar Wood's father was James Edgar Wood (1871-1939), shown at right. He was a builder whose homes I've showcased in other blog posts, like the one here

James was one of 17 children of Thomas Haskell Wood (1809-1890) and Mary Amanda Demarest Wood (1831-1897). In order from oldest to youngest, they are: 
  • Jane Ann Wood (1846-1936)
  • Thomas Jefferson Isaiah Haskell Wood (1848-1861)
  • John Marshall Taber Wood (1850-1859)
  • Lucy Maria Kize Wood (1851-1870)
  • William Henry White Wood (1853-1893)
  • Alfred Olando Wood (1855-1895)
  • Francis Ellery Wood (1857-1933)
  • Joe Elemuel Wood (1859-1864)
  • Lavatia Allen Wood (1859-1864)
  • Charles Augustus Wood (1862-1895)
  • Rachel Ellen "Nellie" Wood (1864-1954)
  • George Howard Wood (1866-1866--d. in infancy)
  • Marion Elton Wood (1867-1947)
  • Mary Emma Wood (1869-?)
  • James Edgar Wood (1871-1939)
  • Robert Orrin Wood (1873-1933)
  • Leander Elkanah Wood (1874-1874--d. in infancy)
We're still researching some of these Wood siblings. We know almost nothing of Mary Emma Wood after the 1870 Census...except that she married a man named W.R. Eagle. Need more on her, for sure.

William Henry White Wood married Allise (Alice?) and had four children, according to 1880 Census: Hattie, Phillip, Cathie, and Thomas. And then??

What about Charles Augustus Wood, a carpenter who died of "la grippe" in 1895? Did he marry? Or have kids? Still digging...

By the way, Mary Amanda Demarest's parentage is a mystery. See the tabs at top of this blog for a special ancestor landing page devoted just to her.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Thank You, FGS--I'm a Winner!

#FGS2013
Will you be at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana this summer?

As one of the FGS Conference Ambassadors, my name was entered into a random drawing for a free conference registration--and I won! Thank you so much, FGS :)

If you haven't already registered, you have until July 1st to get the early-bird rate and save big. Registration details are here.

The program features a number of exciting tracks: African-American genealogy, British Isles genealogy, ethnic origins, European genealogy, genetics, German genealogy, and "how to and lessons learned." I'll be mixing and matching my sessions throughout the week. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day to Harold Burk

Dad (Harold Burk (1909-1978), son of Isaac Burk and Henrietta Mahler) was so proud when his youngest daughter Harriet graduated high school (above, from her graduation). Neither Harold nor any of his siblings went to college, because they all had to leave school after about 7th or 8th grade to go to work. But all of their children went to college (and all got graduate degrees, as well). On Father's Day, I'm honoring Dad with this photo.

He would, I suspect, be a little surprised and very pleased to know that we're researching his parents' roots and trying to pinpoint the towns where they lived in Lithuania (Burk/Birk) and Latvia (Mahler).

Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: The Ten-Minute Genealogist

I'm busy, you're busy, we're all busy. But we really can get things done bit by bit.

Here's what I learned I can accomplish in just 10 minutes:

  • Write and post a message to a surname message board. Above, the message I posted on Friday about a long-standing brick wall ancestor named William Tyler Bentley, hubby's 3d great-grandpa. He almost certainly married Olive Morgan, but it would be nice to have documentation. Less than 24 hours later, a Bentley descendant contacted me! Now we're working together to trace this elusive guy's family. William Tyler Bentley was the father of Lucy E. Bentley, who married Brice S. Larimer. And thanks to the Elkhart County Genealogical Society, I now have much more info about the Larimers (plus a tantalizing lead on Mr. Bentley).
  • Click to follow a hint or two on an Ancestry tree. There are still dozens of unexamined hints on the trees I've posted on Ancestry. When I have a spare minute, I log on and check a few out. Most I click to "ignore" but some are very promising. OK, it's easy to get carried away: Today I was checking the hints on the mother-in-law of the uncle of the wife of a cousin, once removed. Had to stop myself from clicking on those!
  • Blog as cousin bait. I want to make it easy for cousins to find me. The more I blog, the higher the possibility that one of my posts will show up in a search done by someone who's related or knows about my family in some way. It works: One of my 2d cousins found me a few years ago via this blog (hi, Lois!) and another 2d cousin found me via my Ancestry tree just weeks ago (hi, Philly Cuz!).
  • Google a particular ancestor. I'm always finding new things that weren't online or weren't digitized just a year or two ago. It really pays to go through my ancestor list one by one and check out the top "web" results, "image" results, and "news" results, not to mention Google Books and HeritageQuest. In 10 minutes, I can do a quick search on one ancestor. 
  • Read other genealogy blogs. I follow about 60-odd geneablogs, and try to read at least a few every day. You all are having lots of genea-adventures and have taught me so many good tips about family history research! Thank you.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Planning for FGS 2013: Surname Networking Cards

Once hubby and I decided on a trip to the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, we ordered business cards for surname networking. (We chose VistaPrint, which prints good-looking cards at a reasonable price.)

Here's what the back of the networking card looks like. The card stock is white and the lettering is black. I've put it against a yellow background so the card is more readable here:


Now, if we meet people interested in these surnames or researching these counties, we can hand them a card and stay in touch. Who knows, someone might know someone who knows someone . . .

Here's the front of the card, with one of our fave photos of the Steiner sisters of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and of course our contact info (this blog's URL plus e-mail addresses and phone number, but no address).


The green tree clip art was part of the card design we chose, a perfect symbol to represent our efforts in climbing our family tree.

I was inspired to create the card by reading how other gen bloggers use cards for surname and family history networking--thanks, in particular, to Gena's Genealogy and Barbara Poole's Life from the Roots for good ideas. 

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I'm an Ambassador for the FGS 2013 Conference...if you want to register as an ambassador, please check it out here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Searching the NYPL Digital Gallery

Hotel McAlpin, where Mom & Dad were married.
Today I'm having fun searching through the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery in search of old photos of places where my relatives and ancestors stayed and played in New York City.

Here are a few blasts from the past from the Schwartz and Burk branches of my family tree.

Steel Pier at Atlantic City, where Mom & Dad honeymooned
Castle Garden, where many of my ancestors entered New York City
Ellis Island, where other ancestors entered New York City

Savoy Plaza Hotel (right), where Dad had his business