Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Plaquemine, Where Thomas Married Mary

Hurricane Isaac is pounding Plaquemine Parish, LA today...and my heart goes out to the folks who are evacuating or flooded out.

The Wood family has a strong genealogical connection to Plaquemine: It's the place  where Thomas Haskell Wood (b. 1809) married Mary Amanda Demarest (b. 1831 in NYC) on 14 May 1845. Thomas (hubby's g-grandpa) was a carpenter (according to the 1850 Census), one of many in the Wood family tree.

The first of their 17 children, Jane Ann Wood, arrived in 1846 (and was baptized in 1847 at St. Gabriel Church, shown above). After Jane came Thomas Jefferson Isaiah Haskell Wood, born in Plaquemine in 1848, and John Marshall Taber Wood, born in Plaquemine in 1850.

By 1851, Thomas and Mary and their three children had left Plaquemine...but a family mystery remains: How did Mary, a 14-year-old from Manhattan, meet Thomas, who was from New England, and manage to travel to Plaquemine to be married in 1845??

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Sweet Souvenirs

Although hubby and I are NOT collectors of sugar packets, occasionally we'll pocket one that reminds us of a sweet experience.

Clockwise from top:

12 o'clock position: We were in Salzburg for our honeymoon and picked up the Restaurant Cafe Winkler's sugar packet.

3 o'clock position: We were in Oregon for a niece's bat mitzvah and went to Mt Hood's Timberline Lodge. (That year, the snow was so high that it covered most of the windows of rooms on the 2d floor of the lodge!)

6 and 9 o'clock: Hubby was in Italy and picked up these packets at small cafes where he ate, just for fun. (Great memories!)

The tradition in hubby's family is to save ticket stubs and other ephemera from trips, so these are part of the haul we brought home once in a while.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blogoversary #4 - Thank you, readers and cousins

Today is the 4th anniversary of starting Climbing My Family Tree. I'd been tracing my roots since 1998 or so, but it took 10 years for me to decide to blog about genealogy. Now, 327 posts later, I've learned a lot from the many bloggers who've been kind enough to comment on my blog entries, and even more by reading blogs written by fellow Geneabloggers. What a journey--and it's only just begun.

My very first post was about a family mystery: "When did great-grandpa die?" I found his death date by using the excellent NYC vital records indexes on the Italian Genealogy Group's site, sent for his death cert, and immediately had more leads to follow.

I've had many wonderful breakthroughs since then, but what I treasure the most is connecting with cousins, on both sides of my family tree and my husband's trees, sometimes with the help of you, my dear readers. Among the genealogical high points chronicled in this blog are:
Cousin Larry and his wife, Maureen, with my hubby
  • Cousin Larry's visit in 2008, when we saw the family bible for the first time. He and I connected through Ancestry surname message board queries about Thomas Haskell Wood, hubby's g-grandfather.
  • Using tips in Dan Lynch's Google Your Family Tree book to locate my 1st cousin Ira, who I hadn't seen for many years before our reunion in 2009. Together we've reminisced about our Mahler ancestors and tried to identify old photos. Hi Ira, see you tomorrow (really!).
  • Researching "sideways" to get new insights led me, in 2009, to two 2d cousins I never knew I had. Plus I gained an "honorary" cousin and together we're researching the Gelbman and Schwartz families.
  • Staying in touch with 1st cousins, once removed, from my mother's side of the family, with genealogical discussions every few months. Cuz Betty has traced the Farkas Family Tree, and Cuz Harriet helped me with recollections of the Schwartz side (quite intensively in 2010).
  • Great-aunt Ida, Dad, and Mom

  • Having a 2d cousin from the Mahler side find ME through this blog in 2010 was very exciting! Cuz Lois and her family are delightful and we see each other a couple of times a year now. Above, a photo of her mom, Ida, with my parents just before they were married.
  • Thanks to my blog readers, I found out in 2011 that the tall man in the military uniform was hubby's great-uncle, Captain John D. Slatter, of the 48th Highlanders in Toronto (who we in the family now call "Capt. Jack"). See photo below right!
  • In 2012, I was able to determine, conclusively, that my husband's Larimer and McClure family connections lead back to Ireland, a discovery I wrote about in my blog post "I married him for his ancestors, St. Paddy's Day edition."
Great-uncle Capt. Jack Slatter

I'm gonna keep on bloggin'. It's fun and has brought me many smiles.

Happy blogoversary to me and my family trees!

2022 update: Still blogging after all these years!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Workday Wednesday: Ancestors Who Worked in Wood

James Edgar Wood and crew building in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, February 1915
With a surname like Wood, it's not surprising how many of hubby's ancestors worked in wood. His grandfather, James Edgar Wood, built homes in Cleveland Heights, Ohio for many years. Above is only one of several we have photos of!

James Edgar's father, Thomas Haskell Wood, was a railroad carpenter when he lived in Toledo, Ohio (1870 Census says so). James Edgar's older brothers, Francis Ellery Wood and Marion Elton Wood, were both carpenters (1900 Census).

My grandfather, Isaac Burk (or Birk), was a cabinetmaker and carpenter, according to his immigration and Census records. Birk is related to birch, so his family probably had other craftsmen who worked in wood.

Monday, August 13, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Ancestor Legends--"Our Larimer Family"

My husband is descended from Robert Larimer, whose arrival in the New World is the stuff of legends.

According to John Clarence Work of Lancaster, Ohio, who compiled "Our Larimer Family" as part of Colonial & Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania, Vol 3, pg 1508, the legend goes like this:
Rober Larimer came from the North of Ireland in the year 1740. His father fitted him out with a stock of Irish linen, and with some money he left the 'old country' to seek his fortune in the new.

That was before the days of steam navigation, the passage by sailing vessels was slow and often fraught with great danger. The vessel on which he embarked was wrecked and most of the crew and passengers were lost. Our great-grandfather [sic] lost everything but his life, he and a few others (tradition records only one other man) were cast upon an island, and were picked up by a French or Spanish vessel and brought to our American shore.

The Captain of the vessel sold great-great-grandfather's time for his fare; this was contrary to the law and custom. He was sold to a farmer who lived up the river not far from Philadelphia. He was a heartless fellow and treated our g-g-grandfather like a slave. He served this man for some time, history does not record how long.

One frosty morning he was sent by the river route to the mill, started in a skiff or canoe without hat, coat or shoes. On the way he stopped at the home of a brother of his "master" to warm. The brother had a different thought. He gave the young man a coat, hat and shoes and remarked, he thought his brother was a hog for sending a man out dressed like that on such a cold morning.

Our ancestor thought he had served long enough time and decided from that time to be on his own. He never returned, made his way to the interior of Pennsylvania "Kishocoquillas Valley" and later married Marry Gallagher or O'Gallagher, born in the North of Ireland, 1721. She died in Pa. in 1800, before any of the Larimer family moved to Ohio.

They were the parents of four children, all born in Pennsylvania: Isaac, Ebenezer, Phoebe, and Grizell. 
Hubby is descended from Isaac Larimer Sr, 1771-1823, the son of Robert Larimer and Mary Gallagher or O'Gallagher. His line runs: Isaac Larimer Sr. & Rachel Smith...John Larimer & Elizabeth Woods...Brice Larimer & Lucy Bentley...Margaret Jane Larimer & William Madison McClure...Brice Larimer McClure & Floyda Mabel Steiner. And so on!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: Two Steiner Sisters

Some of the obituaries I've collected have been extremely helpful in tracing family histories. Others, not so much.

Above, the informative obituary for Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure, husband of Brice Larimer McClure. Floyda's parents' names are included--and her mother's maiden name. That seems progressive for 1948 in the small town of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. (The obit doesn't spell her husband's name correctly, but I knew who he was!)

At right, the skimpy obit for Margaret Mary Steiner Post, wife of Elroy D. Post. She died in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1913. Her first name isn't mentioned, and her husband's name has been modernized from Elroy to Edward. The writer didn't even get the name of her burial town correct--it's Upper Sandusky, Ohio. I know little about Maggie's life, except that she lived with husband Elroy in Knoxville for years, where he owned and operated a sign painting company. No children. On, she's listed as Margaret Elizabeth Post, and her maiden name of Steiner is listed too.

Now here's a bit of a mystery: Elroy Post remarried after his first wife Margaret died, and he had one child with his second wife, a daughter named Margaret. When Elroy died in 1929, he was living in Knoxville and still married to his second wife, Merida. However, he was buried in Old Mission Cemetery in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, right next to his first wife, Margaret Mary Steiner Post. Hmmmm?!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Military Monday: Sgt. Dorothy Schwartz's WWII Adventures

From April 1943 to August 1945, my aunt Dorothy H. Schwartz was a member of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps serving overseas. She enlisted in Sept 1942 and was a top stenographer, training first with the 16th company, 3d regiment, Fort Des Moines U.S. Army post branch in Ft Des Moines, Iowa. She complained in a letter back home that during the fall of 1942, WAACs had not yet gotten winter uniforms. Des Moines was cold and snowy and yet "we're still in seersuckers."

Within months, she was serving overseas in support of a bombardment unit "somewhere in England," as this April 18, 1944 clipping from the Home News (Bronx, NY) indicates. It describes Sgt. Dorothy Schwartz as "daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Theodore Schwartz, 600 E. 178 St" and mentions that an old-fashioned coal stove furnishes heat for her hut, which looks like corrugated metal to me.

In 1945, Sgt. Schwartz received the Bronze Star Medal for "meritorious service in direct support of operations against the enemy."

During 17 months of bombardment leading up to V-E Day, she took shorthand listening in on the phone as commanders discussed when and where to bomb the enemy.

Her function was vitally important for ensuring that bombers received the correct orders and for coordinating military actions so our Allied troops stayed out of the way of our bombs.

Friday, August 3, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Cousins, Cousins, Cousins!

Climbing my family tree has brought me cousin connections I truly treasure. In chronological order of these cousin discoveries:

I identified and located my mother's 1st cousin Harriet in 2007, having seen only a baby photo of her and knowing that she was somehow related to my maternal grandfather. Luckily, her maiden name was uncommon enough that it popped up in my Census searches! Harriet is the last of the cousins of that generation and we've had several wonderful visits, including the one shown here (2008).

Next, I found my husband's 2d cousin Larry via his posts on surname message boards. Larry had been searching for info about my husband's grandfather for years, and once I stumbled on his messages, I answered. Alas, he'd changed his e-mail and moved since posting!

After a few weeks of trying snail mail and such, I posted my own message in the forum where he'd been most active. He responded the same day, and we began a partnership in research that illuminated several limbs of the shared family tree. He'd done 30 years of research into the Wood line, which he shared! Larry and his lovely wife visited in 2009.

That same year, I attended a talk by Dan Lynch, author of Google Your Family Tree, and tried one of his techniques (try "last name, first" and "first + last" in the "News" search). Instantly, a casual comment on a blog showed up in the results, a comment written by my 1st cousin Ira. I e-mailed him, and within hours, he wrote back. Here I am with my sis, reunited with Ira decades after we'd last been in contact--even though he lived only 70 miles away. If we'd only known!

One day in 2010, I blogged about trying to find descendants of my great-uncle Louis, at whose home my paternal grandfather died.

Six weeks later, I received an e-mail titled, "Another cousin has surfaced." Louis's lovely granddaughter Lois had found me while doing online searches to help her daughter with a genealogy project for school! This photo shows Lois and hubby Mark with my sis and me at a family wedding in 2011.

Lois is very close to Lil, another cousin on my father's side (see photo at left). I never knew a thing about her branch of the family tree and it's been a delight getting to know her.

After attending a talk by Toni McKeen, I followed her expert advice about tracing the spouses of my ancestors' siblings with the goal of uncovering promising leads to pursue. I searched for Anna, who married my great-uncle Sam, and through surname message boards, I found Art, who was looking for a family with Anna's last name. I posted a note for Art and he wrote back. He's related to Anna's family and we consider ourselves "honorary cousins" and partners in genealogy research. Together, we've tracked down more info about Anna's family and had a jolly good time doing it.

But wait, that's not the end of my cousin connections. I was lucky enough to find two 2d cousins on my mother's side because of my research into Anna's past. And I've located a number of 2d cousins from my father's side, who I've enjoyed getting to know via e-mail and Facebook. Are there more cousins in my future? I'm sure there will be! Especially since I've tagged this post with some of the surnames I'm researching :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Remember these 1960s metal things?

Back in 1964, I turned the dial on one of those machines that stamps letters onto these metal things to spell out "Paul & McCartney & Marian forever." Not once, but twice as the photo below shows (both Paul medals are in top row).
In the bottom row is the medal I made in 1986, when hubby and I were visiting Philadelphia. Next to it is the medal I made under the influence of a very brief junior high school crush on a handsome dark-haired lad.

So what are these medals actually called? Wish I knew. That's why today's post is sort-of wordless.