Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sorting Saturday: Dad the Grad

Today would have been Dad's birthday. Born in New York City in 1909, Harold was the second child of Isaac Burk and Henrietta Mahler Burk.

At this time, Isaac was moving between Montreal and New York City, going where his carpenter skills won him work, often with his family in tow.

I'm still searching for Isaac's siblings and trying to identify his hometown in Eastern Europe.

Despite all this travel, Harold graduated from P.S. 171 in Manhattan (now the Patrick Henry School) in June, 1923.



The photo at left is probably his grad photo. Happy birthday, Dad the Grad! 

(PS: This is Sorting Saturday because my Queens Cuz found his mother's copy of Dad's Grad photo today--the identical photo.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Amenuensis Monday: Looking Up Famous In-Laws


When hubby and I were researching in Upper Sandusky, Ohio this summer, we wandered into the Wyandot County Museum and talked with the curator about paintings on the wall by artist Frank Halbedel, brother-in-law to hubby's great-aunt Minnie Estella Steiner Halbedel.

One of the most famous paintings shows the Old Mission where Wyandot Indians were converted and worshipped. The mission been reconstructed and is surrounded by many graves of hubby's ancestors in Old Mission Cemetery.

The museum curator kindly copied local news articles about Frank Halbedel, including one about his parents' golden wedding anniversary. Here is an excerpt that describes Mrs. Nicholas Halbedel's father's 15 minutes of fame. This man would be the grandfather of the husband of hubby's great-aunt, but still . . . I've transcribed it below. And the article had one more surprise--keep reading!

"[Mrs. Anna Schactela Halbedel's father] who is still remembered by our older citizens, was a soldier under Napoleon Bonaparte, and he, with the father of Philip Tracht of this city, was present at the famous ball at Brussels when the exultant soldiers of the Little Giant were surprised in their revelries by the forces of the Duke of Wellington, on the eve of disastrous Waterloo, when the Emperor of the French was overwhelmed."
Now for the surprise. Buried in the fine print listing all the attendees were these two names: "Mrs. Edward G. Steiner and daughter, Miss Floyda." Bingo, a direct connection with my hubby's pedigree.

Floyda was his grandma, Mrs. Edward G. Steiner was his great-grandma. Now more research is ahead: This 1902 story appeared soon after Floyda was divorced from her first husband (a brief marriage that I haven't yet found the divorce papers for) and a year before she married hubby's grandpa, Brice Larimer McClure.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Surname Saturday: Heritage Pie Updated

Last October, I modified the idea of creating a heritage pie chart of great-great-grandparents and posted my pies with hubby's great-grandparents and my grandparents.

Today I have enough information to post a chart with the birth place of all 16 of hubby's great-great-grands (above). Except for 4 people, all of hubby's great-grandparents were born in the US (mainly Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Ohio). However, not all of the great-great-great-grands were US-born.

Here's what I know or suspect about where the families of each of hubby's great-great-grandparents were from originally:

IrelandJohn Shehen and wife Mary (maiden UNK)--have evidence
England: John Slatter Sr. and wife Sarah (maiden UNK)--have evidence of English birth, but this family might have long-ago Irish roots
England: Ancestors of Isaiah Wood Sr.--have evidence
England: Ancestors of Harriet Taber--have evidence
England: Ancestors of Sarah Denning--need evidence
England: Ancestors of Lucy E. Bentley--need evidence
Huguenots (possibly France): Ancestors of Henry E. Demarest--need evidence
Huguenots (possibly France): Ancestors of Catherine Nitchie--need evidence
Scots-Irish: Ancestors of Benjamin McClure--have evidence
No. Ireland: Ancestors of Brice S. Larimer--have evidence
Germany: Ancestors of Jacob S. Steiner--have a clue (a letter from a descendant)
Switzerland: Ancestors of Joseph W. Rinehart--have a clue (a family story)
???: Ancestors of Elizabeth (maiden UNK) Steiner
???: Ancestors of Margaret Shank, who married Joseph W. Rinehart



Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Uncle Benny McClure Saves a Coon

Benjamin McClure (1812-1896), hubby's great-great-grandpa, was a pioneer settler in Wabash, Indiana, but what was he really like?

The woodcut at left is from The Wabash Times, 21 December 1893, which ran a story on p. 3 titled "A Biographical Sketch: One of the Sturdy Old Settlers--Uncle Benjamin McClure, a Man Well Known to All the Older Inhabitants of Wabash County--an Octogenarian." The same newspaper used this woodcut when it ran McClure's obit in 1896. And I'm using this woodcut as the profile photo for my Benjamin McClure Facebook page, my social media experiment in genealogy.

(Mrs. Sarah Denning McClure, hubby's great-great-grandma, died in 1888. Widower Benjamin soon sold the family farm and lived with his children for the next 8 years.)

Hubby used the microfilm reader in the Wabash Carnegie Public Library (which has lots of useful genealogical resources) last month to look for McClure's name in local newspapers. He found a story in the Wabash Plain Dealer one week after McClure's death that gave us new insight into this pioneer man's strong religious feelings. Here's the story in its entirety:
Uncle Benny and the Coon

How the Late Mr. McClure Balked a Party of Hunters
Jehu Straughn, the genial pioneer resident of this county, tells an anecdote of the late Benjamin McClure, which shows how thoroughly loyal Mr. McClure was to his Christian faith.
Many years ago when the country was new and Mr. McClure lived on the farm just west of the city, an industrious, contented husbandman, rugged in constitution and strong in religious convictions, there was a coon hunt by persons living in the vicinity of Mr. McClure's farm.
The coon was started, and ran toward the home of Mr. McClure, ascending a tree in the door-yard of that gentleman. It wanted only a few minutes to midnight when the animal ran up the tree and it was after twelve when the hungers located him. It would have been an easy matter to shoot the creature, and some members of the party were determined to do so, but Mr. McClure, who regarded the Sabbath day as sacred, lifted his hand warningly and said: "Boys, you can't shoot that coon until Monday. This is Sunday and the day shall be kept holy. If the coon is in the tree tomorrow night at this time, get him if you can, but he shall not be killed before that."
The hunters expostulated, but to no purpose, and the dawn found the coon still in the tree. During the day the hunters dropped in and begged to be allowed to fire at the coon, but Uncle Benny turned them all away with the remark: "No man shall ever say that he heard the crack of a rifle on my farm on the Sabbath day, if I can prevent it. Come tomorrow and if the coon is there, he's yours."
But Sunday evening the coon ran down the tree and escaped and Mr. McClure was roundly censured, but he was true to his convictions and not an iota did the lavish criticisms cause him to yield from the position he had taken.



Monday, September 16, 2013

Mayflower Monday: Celebrating Degory Priest and the Allertons

Today is Mayflower Day, the day in 1620 when the Mayflower set sail from England, headed for the Virginia colony. 

Thanks to Cousin Larry's decades of research into the Wood family tree, we know there are four Mayflower ancestors in our past. I want to celebrate them today! 

(1) Degory Priest. His line led through the Coombs family to Sarah Hatch, who married James Cushman. Their granddaughter Lydia was the mother of Harriet Taber, who married Isaiah Wood Sr. in Massachusetts in 1806. Harriet and Isaiah were hubby's great-great-grandparents.

(2) Isaac Allerton, (3) Mary Norris, and (4) Mary Allerton. Mary Allerton Cushman's son Eleazer Cushman married Elizabeth Royal Coombs, great-grandaughter of Degory Priest, linking these ancestors to the family tree of Degory Priest.

Military Monday: Elihu Served 6 Days in the Revolutionary War

Elihu Wood Sr., hubby's 3rd great-granddaddy, is the only one of his ancestors officially recognized as having fought in the Revolutionary War.

According to the 1896 multivolume publication Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, Elihu--a resident of Bristol County, MA--responded to an alarm in Rhode Island by joining Captain Henry Jenne's company in Colonel Hathaway's 2d Bristol Regiment on August 2, 1780. Elihu was mustered out on August 8, 1780. Grand total of Revolutionary War service: 6 days.

During the War of 1812, his son, Elihu Wood Jr., was in Lt. Col. B. Lincoln's regiment, serving from June 30, 1814 to July 10, 1814 in New Bedford and Fairhaven, MA. His military service totaled 10 days.

Two other ancestors saw service during the War of 1812:
  • Daniel Denning was a private in Capt. John Hayslip's Ohio Militia from September to November, 1814.
  • Isaac M. Larimer was a Sgt and Ensign in Capt. George Sanderson's company in Ohio, serving from April, 1812 to April, 1813. 
At least four ancestors fought for the Union side during the Civil War:
  • Benjamin Franklin Steiner was a private in 10th Company L, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, enlisting in 1862.
  • His younger brother, Samuel D. Steiner, served in Company C, 180th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in 1864-5.
  • Hugh Rinehart was a private in Company I, 15th Ohio Infantry, in 1861.
  • Train C. McClure served the longest of hubby's ancestors. He enlisted as a private in the 89th Regiment of the Indiana Infantry in August, 1862, and didn't leave the Army until July, 1865.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sympathy Saturday: February Was a Sad Month for the Steiner Family

Adaline (Addie) M. Steiner, daughter of Edward George Steiner and Elizabeth Jane Rinehart, died of consumption [see obit] only three weeks shy of her 20th birthday, on February 23, 1879.

Floyda Mabel Steiner, hubby's grandma, was born in March of 1878, so the Steiners were coping with a lot in 1879.

Addie's passing was the third death of a child for poor Edward and Elizabeth. Their first-born died in 1852, and their second-born, Elveretta, died at about age one, in February of 1855.


In all, the couple had 9 children, but only 6 survived to make adult lives: Orville J., Margaret Mary, Etta Blanche, Minnie Estella, Carrie Eilleen, and Floyda Mabel. My Steiner & Rinehart ancestor landing page, one of the tabs at the top of this blog, tells more about these families.


Several Steiner family members are buried in Old Mission Cemetery, Upper Sandusky, Ohio, a beautifully-kept cemetery that is home to that famous mistaken "February 31" death date on the tombstone of Christiana Haag, which I photographed when visiting this summer.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Family Friends Friday: "Cousin" or Cousin?

JW is the dark-haired beauty second from right 
Family friends sometimes turn out to be distant cousins. That might the case with "Cousin JW," who I've recently located decades after her name last appeared in the Farkas Family Tree minutes.

A couple of months ago, my cousin loaned me 31 years of minutes from the monthly get-togethers of the children/grandchildren of Moritz Farkas and Lena Kunstler Farkas. As I scanned and indexed all the documents, the name "JW" kept showing up--a name I didn't know.

I read about JW's college studies, how she lived with my great-uncle Albert Farkas and his wife Sari while in New York, and how the entire family was invited to her wedding. Later, JW wrote about her travels with her doctor husband, who served in the Korean War, and sent word when her daughters were born.

JW's oldest daughter has a distinctive name and when I did an online search for her, I found her! I wrote her via snail-mail, asking whether she knew of the Farkas Family Tree and saying how much I'd like to chat with her.

A week ago, a letter arrived from JW herself, saying she had been in the process of moving when her daughter received my letter. I called and learned that JW's parents always referred to the Farkas family as cousins, but we don't know exactly how we're cousins. She's going to dig up her grandparents' information to see whether we can pinpoint our mutual relatives back in Hungary, where these families are from. Fingers crossed that we can figure this out!

Cuz Betty immediately remembered JW and sent her and me the 1946 photo shown above (JW is the dark-haired beauty in the dark dress, sitting second from right). Whether she's Cousin JW or "Cousin JW," a close family friend, I'm so happy to have connected with her! And now other cousins are lining up to write and call JW. What a wonderful reunion it's turning out to be.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Even More 10-Minute Genealogist Tips

Have only 10 minutes to squeeze in some genealogy research? Here are even more ideas* for what I do when all I have is a few minutes:
  • Take another look at some old document, checking for new clues. Have you wrung everything out of every birth cert, obit, news clipping, or photo? Every time I think there's nothing new to notice, I'm surprised. Or once I've learned some new fact or name, I can review old documents with new eyes. Case in point: The 1905 obit for Elizabeth Rinehart Steiner, which mentioned two granddaughters whose names were unfamiliar to me: Mrs. John Rummell of Galion (Ohio) and Mrs. A.T. Welburn of Detroit. After my recent trip to the Allen County Public Library, I came back with more info about Elizabeth's son Orville J. Steiner, whose younger daughter Capitola Steiner married Arthur Welburn and whose older daughter married John R. Rummell. Bingo! I dug out the obit, and used its date to narrow my search for when and where these two ladies got married.
  • Browse for new blogs to read and follow. Although I follow dozens of bloggers, I also keep an eye out for other blogs that can give me new tips and trigger ideas for breaking through brick walls. In addition to looking at Geneabloggers, I've surfed for blogs among those listed in Family Tree Mag, the Genealogy Blog Finder, Cyndi's List, and blogs followed by or mentioned by bloggers I respect and enjoy. Or if you attend a talk by an expert, check out his or her blog. For example, after attending two of Harold Henderson's FGS sessions, I now follow his excellent Midwestern gen blog.
  • Set up a Google Alert for one or two surnames you're researching. This is a long-shot, but take a few minutes to set up an alert so that if someone blogs about your ancestors' surname, you'll get an e-mail alerting you to the post. Just follow the really simple directions here. My alerts generally follow the pattern surname AND genealogy. Why? Because I don't want lots of alerts that have nothing to do with genealogy. Of course, if you have a very unusual surname to research and you're seeking cousins out there today, go ahead and use the surname without genealogy, or add a locale to your search phrase. I don't have any success stories on this yet, but my fingers are crossed. Good luck!
* My other 10-Minute Genealogist posts are here and here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Adams County, Ohio (Guarding Prisoners for 50 Cents a Night)

Hubby's McClure ancestors are mentioned several times in old transcriptions of abstracts from the Adams County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas--which I found while at the Allen County Public Library last month. Interesting insights into their lives as Ohio pioneers!
  •  Alexander McClure and Halbert McClure, hubby's 4th and 5th great-granddads, respectively, were involved in a court case I don't understand. It was listed under "McKay vs Glasgow" (see right), which was "same vs Alexander McClure, same vs Andrew Kerr, same vs Halbert McClure, same vs E. McWright. Issue a fa et le fa in these five cases. Jesse McKay, 29 July 1823." What the heck is a fa et le fa when translated from legal terminology?
  • John McClure, hubby's 3d great-grandpa, was paid 50 cents for guarding a prisoner named James J. Neil for one night. He was one of several guards in Ohio vs Neil who were paid, apparently on an ad hoc basis, for watching this Neil guy. Other guards paid 50 cents were: William Ellison, William K. Stewart, John Bratton, Samuel Doherty, and Charles M. Wilson. Interestingly, a few guards were paid 75 cents for "guarding prisoner to jail" (transporting him?): Benjamin Bowman, William R. Stewart, John Bratton, and Samuel Doherty.
  • John McClure rented farm land from David Bradford, from the first of April 1822 to the first of April 1823. He agreed (in writing) to plant wheat and corn, pay as rent 1/3 of all grain he raises, cut the meadows, put up the hay and give 1/2 the proceeds as rent, and not to pasture the meadows. Presumably John lived up to his end of the bargain, since his name didn't appear as a defendant later in the court records...
This branch of the McClure family came up from Rockbridge County, Virginia, in the early 1800s to settle in Adams County...a distance of about 300 miles. Quite a ways to travel in those days! But then again, Halbert McClure had brought the family from Donegal to Philadelphia on a rough sea voyage, then they all walked from Pennsylvania to Virginia. So maybe Adams County didn't seem so far after all.

Wordless Wednesday: Double Trouble, Dressed Alike (for a Change)

Everybody, label your photos with names and dates! This is a "wordless Wednesday" because there were no words on these photos.

My Mom, Daisy Schwartz Burk, rarely dressed her twin girls alike because she, as a twin, didn't like this "tradition."

But here are two special occasion photos where Sis and I are dressed alike.

Above left, we're "gypsy girls" playing the piano at a Farkas Family Tree Thanksgiving dinner (is my memory correct, Sis?).

Above right, we're dressed up for, I believe, a family event on the Burk/Mahler side of the family. Without the initials on the top margin, I would never have guessed who was who. How 'bout you, Sis? Sadly, no dates, either. Lesson learned: Label, label, label.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday's Obituary: David Mahler, "Technician: Motion Pictures"

My great-uncle David Mahler was born in Latvia in 1882, the oldest son of Meyer Elias Mahler and Tillie Jacobs Mahler.

David is on my "to do" list because I don't have his naturalization papers nor do I know anything of his life once he left New York for the West Coast, to work in Columbia Studios after an in-law got him a job there.

It seems that David was something of a ne'er do well, and his East Coast relatives apparently heaved a sigh of relief when he moved away.

Above, David's listing in the 1940 Census, when he was living in the Universal Hotel in L.A. Occupation: technician, motion pictures. Address in 1935 was in North Carolina.
He claimed he was married, but I've never found any proof.

Sadly, he died of cancer in the Motion Picture Country Hospital and his last residential address (3871 1/2 Lankershim Blvd in LA) suggests he was struggling financially.

David died on May 31, 1964--here's his obituary:

Mahler, David, member of Studio Utility Employees Local No. 724. Services Tuesday 11 am at the Groman Mortuary Chapel, 830 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles.
Today I added David to the Find-a-Grave listing of burials in Hillside Memorial Park in LA. RIP, Uncle David.