Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Genealogy by the States: Pennsylvania and the Larimers

Jim Sanders has started a great series of blogging prompts for 2013: Genealogy by the States. You can see the entire week-by-week listing of states on his blog, Hidden Genealogy Nuggets.

The first week's prompt was for Delaware. Since I have no ancestors connected with Delaware, I'm joining the prompt series with week 2, Pennsylvania.
Bethel Cemetery, Bremen, Fairfield Cty, Ohio
Hubby's Larimer ancestors have some history in Pennsylvania, as I mentioned in a recent post ("How the Larimers Came to America"). Robert Larimer married his wife, Mary O'Gallagher (or Gallagher) in Kishocoquillas Valley, PA.

Their son, Isaac M. Larimer (1771-1823), was born there (he's hubby's 4th great grandpa), and Isaac married Elizabeth Woods (1773-1851) there in 1791.

By the early 1800s, the Larimers had moved to Ohio. Isaac was Sgt & Ensign in Capt. George Sanderson's company during the War of 1812, serving April 1812-April 1813, and with his comrades was surrendered by General Hull at Detroit. Isaac was a member of the Ohio General Assembly in 1848 and 1849, representing Fairfield, Hocking, and Perry Counties. Isaac is buried in Bethel Cemetery, Fairfield County, Ohio.

I know this isn't the week for Ohio, but hey, it's right next door to Pennsylvania, right?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: Cruising Along, Thanks to Photos and Diary

Scanning old photos -- pried up from the pages of a magnetic album with thin dental floss -- I found that my late father-in-law Edgar James Wood didn't just label the back of his photos, he typed the labels. (The grid marks on the label are from the glue of that awful magnetic album. Grrrrr.)

So this is Edgar and his wife, Marian Jane McClure Wood, on one of their many European trips. Edgar had worked his way across the Atlantic playing in a band while in college during the 1920s. When he married Marian and they had a family, they had to stay put. Later, with the children grown, they resumed their travels.

Because I have Edgar's diaries from 1959-1985, I can flip through his notes of this very trip.

They flew from Cleveland on Sept 2 to New York, visited with family, and sailed for Europe on Sept 5, arriving in Southampton on Sept 9. Met up with their sis-in-law Lindy and then flew to Paris, on to Lyon, Venice, Rome, Athens, Vienna, and finally to Trieste, where they boarded the Cristoforo Colombo for Halifax and then New York.

Edgar describes the day of November 5, 1969, this ways: "Sea calmer. Most of day on deck. Gala Farewell Dinner. Scrabble, then looked in on elaborate and good floor show 'Neapolitan Carousel.'"

He took Italian language lessons on the ship, something he continued on and off for years. And he passed his love of travel and foreign language down to his children.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Photos from Hungary, 1924

My maternal grandfather Theodore (originally Tivador) Schwartz came from Uzhorod (Ungvar), Hungary.

Among the photos passed down to me is the photo of a couple dressed up and posed at the photographer's studio (at left). It has a date of 1924 on the back.

Who are they?? I now know, in 2022, that this couple are from my Schwartz family and most likely did NOT survive the Holocaust. 

Etel and Paula Schwartz, two sisters of my grandpa, are shown at right in about 1910-1915, photographed in a different studio in Ungvar and clearly much younger.

For comparison, Paula Schwartz is shown at left, with her daughter Ibolyka (Violet), in 1930.

This is my Wordless Wednesday mystery...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thank You for a Star

Kathryn Smith Lockhard has very kindly nominated me with a star for Blog of the Year. Thank you for this first star! It's an honor that I greatly appreciate.

The Thought Palette lists these rules for Blog of the Year:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award.
2 Write a blog post and about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
3 Please include a link back to ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
5 You can now also click ‘like’ on ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then share your blog with an even wider audience.
6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Let me pass this honor along to my good friend Mary, whose blog Growing Up in Willow Creek reflects her genealogical finds, challenges, and adventures in tracing her Agard, Nunn, Hardenbrook, Wortman, Doyle, and Tucker family lines. Mary is a genealogy angel (if you don't believe me, ask the local genealogical societies where she and her husband have been so active). She's also an inspiration to do things right (like citing sources). Congratulations, Mary! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Matrilineal Monday: How the Larimers Came to America

From "Our Larimer Family" by John Clarence Work
The Larimer line of my mother-in-law's family made the leap to America in 1740, with a tale that's still told by descendants today. It's recounted in the Larimer booklet written by John Clarence Work (hubby's 2d cousin, 3x removed).

John did his genealogy research in the 1950s and 1960s, relying partly on information reported by the families and partly on primary documents he painstakingly discovered in local repositories. Not all of the dates in his booklet are correct (I checked) but John included every descendant he could track down or learn about through letters to relatives. He had hoped to find a connection to any Larimer ancestor who served in the American Revolution, but discovered only 1812 service among Larimer men in the family.

John's more than 60 pages of Larimer research starts with the saga of patriarch Robert Larimer setting sail from the North of Ireland with a chest of Irish linen in 1740, getting shipwrecked, being rescued, and then winding up indentured to the captain of the rescue vessel for the cost of his rescue.

After untold years of service, Robert Larimer walked away from this near-slavery, went to the "Kishocoquillas Valley" of interior Pennsylvania, and married Mary Gallagher (or O'Gallagher). She died in Pennsylvania in 1800 and the Larimer family soon moved to Ohio (ca 1801-2). Wiseman's History of Fairfield County (Ohio) indicates that Robert Larimer was the first resident of the area to die, John says (citing his sources, of course, page number and all).

Robert Larimer and his wife Mary were hubby's fifth great-grandparents, on his mother's side. Thank you to John Clarence Work for this head-start on Larimer genealogy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Lucy, John, and Maggie

Above, Lucy E. McClure (1880-1922), husband John De Velde (1874-1947), and Lucy's mom, Margaret Jane Larimer McClure (1859-1913). My research shows that Lucy married John in mid-1905, in Chicago.

This photo was on a metal plate in a tiny envelope, passed down from Lucy's brother, Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), hubby's granddaddy. My local gen club is having a photo expert speak this week, and I'm hoping to learn more about the nature of the photo, plus an approximate date. My guess: 1905-1910.

UPDATE: The expert says this is a tintype dating from the early decades of the 1900s. Tintypes were relatively fast and easy to make and therefore quite cheap in comparison to other photo techniques. This photo may be what it looks like, a casual pose by tourists visiting a travel destination (you can't see it but there's scenery in the background). Maybe Lucy and John were on honeymoon or taking a trip with her mom? Oh, I can make up a dozen stories about why the three of them might be in this photo together. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Liebster Blog Award


Many thanks to Jenny Lanctot at Are My Roots Showing? for honoring me with the "Liebster Blog Award." She explains that Liebster means "dearest" in German, so I'm getting a bit of a language lesson along the way! 

The intent, as I understand it, is to introduce "undiscovered" bloggers to the wider blogosphere. Here are the rules: 
  1. The recipient answers 11 questions chosen by the person who made the nomination.
  2. The recipient selects up to 5 bloggers (who have fewer than 200 readers) to receive the next round of nominations.
  3. The recipient writes 11 questions for his or her nominees and sends them to the recipients when notifying them of the award.
Jenny has asked her nominees to answer the following questions: 
1. What is your favorite time of day and why?
     Early morning, because it's a great time for thinking and even blogging before the phone starts to ring and e-mails pile up.

2. How and when did you first discover your passion, whatever that passion is?

     Nearly 20 years ago, I was sorting through old family photos and realized there were no photos or documents about my paternal grandpa Isaac Birk. He died years before I was born and I knew nothing, literally nothing, about him. It took years for me to find out something as basic as where and when he died, and then I was hooked!

3. Hopefully, you’re familiar with The Breakfast Club for this question. When you were in high school, in which social group did you best fit?

     Well, I lacked the angora sweater of "in-crowd" girls and had not one athletic bone in my body, so "jocks" weren't my crowd either. My friends and I were on the literary magazine, does that help explain? :)

4. Where do you write your posts and why did you choose that place?

     At my desk, where the sun shines in from the east and I can see all the critters outside my window (colorful birds, scampering chipmunks, hovering hawks and more).

5. What always makes you laugh and why?
     Good-hearted humor, not mean-spirited stuff or slapstick. 

6. If you could appear on a televised talent show, what would your talent be?
     "Who Do You Think You Are?" is the only TV show I'd love to be on (too late now, I know) and my talent would be oohing and ahing as the producers take me to the villages where my ancestors grew up.

7. Which flower reminds you of happiness?
     Almost any flower. Right now, the purple blooms on my African violets, which look very vivid and vivacious.

8. What is your favorite book and why?

     My favorite genres are mystery and sci-fi. Stuck on a desert isle with no library, I'd read and reread Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy. 

9. It’s important to eat your vegetables, but which vegetable do you always resist/avoid eating?
    Lima beans. Ugh. Brussels sprouts a close second.

10. What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

    Rainy days are great for sewing or, in a genealogy mood, flipping through a surname file for some undiscovered nugget. All while a crockpot of hot soup or stew simmers in the kitchen!

11. Who is the one celebrity, past or present, you would like to meet — and what would you ask that person?

     I'm from the Bronx. We don't usually get in the face of celebrities. 

I'll add my 5 nominees later. Thanks again to Jenny for this fun award!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ancestor Landing Pages - New to My Blog

A wonderfully detailed blog post by Caroline Pointer on Blogging Genealogy gave me the idea of creating ancestor landing pages for key people or family branches on my tree.

Now, following Caroline's instructions, I've created four tabbed landing pages, two for ancestors in my family (Birk and Mahler) and two for ancestors in hubby's family (Slatter and Demarest).

Each ancestor landing page has:
  • An image of some sort, either the person's head shot or a document or place related to his or her life
  • An intro paragraph about the person, explaining:
    • why that person was important to the family 
    • why that person intrigues me 
    • what genealogical questions I want to answer
  • A quick summary of dates or other key facts about this person
  • A listing of that person's spouse and children (for handy reference)
  • A bullet list of links to posts I've written in the past about that person or that family
Caroline's method of listing bullet points linked to blog posts from the past is not just good cousin bait, it's a way to index what else is on the blog about a certain ancestor or family. Remember, I put a "Search this blog" widget high on my home page to encourage visitors to look for specific people or surnames. But summarizing every post in one landing page saves visitors (who might be cousins!) from having to hunt down and read many posts just to determine the connection between the families.

It was interesting to see how many times I've blogged about the Slatter family, for instance, whereas I've barely blogged about Mary Amanda Demarest--mainly because cousin Larry, the Wood family genealogist, had done so much detailed research into her background before I connected with him (via a surname message board) several years ago.

I'm still trying to figure out whether to use one tab* for husband/wife (like Meyer Mahler and Tillie Rose Jacobs Mahler) or have a single name on each tab. After all, I do want to feature the matriarchs who were vital to the history of the family tree! But IMHO, the tab title "Mayer Mahler's story" seems a bit more intriguing than "Meyer Mahler & Tillie Jacobs Mahler." Perhaps I'll change things later on, as I see how things work and think up new refinements.

*UPDATE: I've changed the tabs to show husband and wife, except for Mary A. Demarest. The lady ancestors deserve equal billing IMHO. Because the ancestor landing pages are attracting views and getting my surnames indexed in search engines, I expect to put more up in the future.

2022: More ancestor landing pages have brought me some ancestor inquiries!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Sisters Visit D.C. in 1966ish

Dad (Harold Burk) took my younger sister Harriet (in blue) and me (in yellow print) to Washington, D.C. around 1966ish to visit cousins and see the sights.

Previously, I wrote about trying to identify the year because of the outfit I wore in photos from that trip.

Here are more photos from that trip, when we met cousin Lois for the first time. The date on the edge of the bottom photo says March 1968, but that's hard to believe because we're dressed for summer.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Genealogy Priorities: Birk, Mahler, Jacobs Families

Happy new year! It's time to set new genealogy goals. Here are the brick walls I want to break down in 2013, from my side of the family tree:

Obituary of David Mahler, died 30 May 1964
  • Mahler. Meyer Mahler, my g-grandpa, told authorities that he arrived in New York City on 27 May 1885. Which ship? He's NOT on the manifest of the S.S. Wisconsin, which arrived on that date, I know from "browsing" passenger lists on FamilySearch. But he may have come on a different day in that year, so more research is in my future. (I've started a new "family tab" about Meyer, see just below my blog header.) His wife Tillie Jacobs Mahler seems to have arrived in 1886 with their children, Henrietta Mahler (my grandma) and David Mahler. Again, no luck finding them yet, but I'm gonna keep looking. Speaking of David Mahler (see 1964 obit above), he told Census officials he was married (in the 1940 and 1950 records). Who was his wife, and where/when were they married?? This is a mystery. One more Mahler mystery: When/where was David naturalized? 2022 update: No answers yet, but he was in the 1950 US Census as living in LA, working as a laborer for a movie studio.
  • Burk or Birk. I'm still on the trail of grandpa Isaac Birk's siblings, and by 2022, have found a number of delightful 2d cousins who helped. For a summary of Isaac's story, see tab just below the blog header. According to the 1905 NY Census, he and a brother, Meyer Birk, were boarders in the Manhattan apartment of Meyer Mahler and family (soon to be Isaac's inlaws, since married Henrietta Mahler). Meyer was listed in the Census as a "cutter" which makes sense, since Meyer was a tailor.
  • Jacobs. Meyer Mahler's wife, Tillie Rose Jacobs, is something of a mystery. According to family legend, she fooled her children into giving her a 100th birthday party early. (2022 update: The 1950 US Census lists Tillie as already being 100 years old. Nope.) Also, what can I learn about her parents, Julius (Jonah) Jacobs and Rachel Shuham, back in Latvia? I'll create a "Jacobs" family tab soon to summarize what I know.