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.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Surname Saturday: Denning (Lesson: Rule Names OUT)

One goal of the recent Midwest/FGS trip was to trace the family of Benjamin McClure's wife, Sarah D. McClure. Was her maiden name Deming or Denning? I've seen it both ways in various places.
Sitting in the ACPL and reading histories of Adams County, OH, where they met and married, I saw NO mention of any Deming family. But there was one prominent Denning family, that of Job Denning. So now I ruled Deming out and concentrated on Denning, at least for investigative purposes.

The first thing I did was plug "Job Denning" into Ancestry as Sarah's father. That turned up a green hint leaf with family trees to check out. It also led me to a Find-a-grave site, right place and right time. Now I had a death year (1836) and an approximate birth year (1775) to check, as well.

Also, I used my trusty search engine to find hits for "Job Denning" "Adams County Ohio" and found more than one solid reference to Job and Sarah. Above, the clipping of Job Denning listed as an associate judge in Adams county, OH, in 1820 (thank you, Google Books). Earlier, he was a court "cryer" [sic] and a constable. He successfully applied for a tavern license in 1797. On and on, his story unfolded from a bit of Internet searching. Quite a busy man, was this pioneer ancestor Job Denning.

Now comes the hard part: Checking everything and connecting Sarah Denning McClure to Job Denning through some real evidence. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thriller Thursday: Researching Sideways Reveals "Burglariously" Charge

A few days after attending Debbie Parker Wayne's FGS talk about tax and land laws, I had a chance to apply her ideas while researching the Steiner family in Upper Sandusky, the county seat of Wynadot County, Ohio.

Visiting the Heritage Room of the Upper Sandusky library, I systematically checked each genealogy book on the shelf for any mention of a Steiner. One book listed names mentioned in early probate entries and court of common pleas law cases. There, to my surprise, I found hubby's great-grand uncle (the brother of his great-grandpa Edward G. Steiner) in an 1870 entry titled: "State of Ohio vs. Samuel D. Steiner."

Hubby scrambled off to the elegant Wyandot County Courthouse a few blocks away and came back with photos of this case's paperwork. It turns out that hubby's great-grandpa Edward G. Steiner was mentioned in the case after all! Most mysterious of all, this was a breaking and entering case, as you can see:
The State of Ohio, Wyandot County

To the keeper of the jail of the county aforesaid, greeting:
  Whereas Samuel D. Steiner late of said county has been arrested on a complaint signed and sworn to by John Price, that Elisha Holmes on the 30th day of October in the year of our Lord 1870, in the night season of the same day, to wit:

  About the hour of 8 o’clock p.m. in the county of Wyandot aforesaid, into a certain store-house of one Matthew Mitchell, is there situate and being, did willfully, maliciously, burglariously, feloniously, break and enter with intent then and there and thereby, feloniously, burglariously, to steal, take, and carry away the personal goods, chattels, and property of value of Matthew Mitchell and John B. Mitchell in the said store-house then and there being.

  And the deponent aforesaid being sworn as aforesaid further says that Samuel D. Steiner, Edward G. Steiner, and John Sheehy, before said felony was committed as aforesaid by the said Elisha Holmes, to wit:   On the 30th day of October in the year of our Lord 1870, in the county of Wyandot aforesaid, did unlawfully, feloniously, purposely, and of deliberate and premeditated purpose aid and abet and procure the aforesaid Elisha Holmes the said felony in manner and form aforesaid to commit.

  And whereas the said Samuel D. Steiner has been brought before me, to answer to said charge, and has by me required to give bail in the sum of $1,000, for his appearance before the court of common pleas in said county of Wyandot on the first day of the next term thereof, which requirement he has failed to comply with.

  I command you to receive the said Samuel D. Steiner into your custody in the jail of the county aforesaid, there to remain until he shall be discharge by due course of law.

  Given under my hand and seal this 9th day of November 1870. – M.W. Welsh, J.P.  
This is still a thriller because I don't yet know what happened--no other paperwork was in the folder or mentioned in the transcribed listing of names in lawsuits. But you know I will be digging deeper to find out. If I hadn't followed up on Samuel's name in the records, I wouldn't have known about Edward's involvement at all.

$1,000 bail was a ginormous amount in 1870. What could great-grand uncle Samuel and great-grandpa Edward have done to be accused of aiding and abetting so feloniously and burglariously a theft??

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Motivation Monday: FGS + ACPL = New Ideas and Info

Wrapping up the FGS experience, the various tracks really offered something for everyone: Records; Methodologies; Tech; Brit Isles; Writing/speaking/publishing; Military; Midwest Religious Communities; Online resources; Midwest; Migration; African-American; German; European; Transportation; Genetics; Ethnic origins; NARA.

Given my focus on hubby's midwest ancestors, I stuck to the Midwest track for most of my sessions, enjoying talks by Melissa Shimkus, Elizabeth Plummer, Kris Rzepczynski, Harold Henderson, and Amy Johnson Crow. Two great lunch speakers: Josh Taylor on Saturday and Audrey Collins on Thursday, both motivational and entertaining.

As tempting as it was to go to sessions all the time, I devoted two afternoons and one evening to the Allen County Public Library. (No, no costume for the dance, just research.)

Who said libraries are going away? Not anyone who's ever been to ACPL. Its printed materials are genealogy gems, its librarians and volunteers are experts and friendly to boot. In one place I could consult books about Indiana and Ohio, the two main areas where Steiners, Rineharts, McClures, and other ancestors of hubby lived. I'm coming home with about 300 photos (not photocopies) of pages from history books, genealogies, old directories, cemetery listings, etc. That's enough raw material to keep me busy for many weeks. Some bull's eyes, some clues, lots to evaluate and check.

Also I networked with FGS attendees as well as with people in other areas (Wabash, Upper Sandusky, Wyandot) to further the research effort. More about this in future posts. So many ancestors, so little time!

Blogoversary #5 and Going Strong!

Thank you, dear relatives and readers, for following along on the genealogical journey I've been documenting here for the past five years. And thank you to the many dozens of Geneabloggers whose posts and comments have encouraged and inspired me to try new things, like the ancestor landing pages just below my masthead and using Facebook for genealogy.

Some of the high points since Blogoversary #4: 
  • Being "found" by Philly Cuz, a second cousin from my Schwartz side. She's been kind enough to share photos and stories. Quite a trip down memory lane on both sides, and of course, an in-person visit is in our future. Thank you!
  • Finally seeing the all-important McClure book to confirm the Scots-Irish connection. And while at Allen County Public Library, locating more records of the McClure fam in Adams County books on the open shelves. Thank you to ACPL staff and volunteers! 
  • Teaming up with a long-time Bentley researcher to try to fill in the blanks on William Tyler Bentley's life and family. We have a ways to go but have been making progress together. And it's wonderful to have connected with an actual Bentley cousin (hi Elizabeth) who's tracing her tree also. Thank you all!
  • Being "found" by the son of a woman who sailed across the Atlantic with my Auntie Dorothy Schwartz, the WAC, on the oceanliner that defied the German subs. I never would have known about the magazine article describing that tense ocean crossing if not for him. Thank you!
  • Scanning and indexing 31 years of notes and historians' reports from meetings of the Farkas Family Tree, my maternal grandma's family. One fabulous cousin retyped many barely readable documents for this project, and a number of cousins very patiently answered questions about who's who, so we can get this book into shape for the next generation to browse and keep (I hope!). Thank you!
Now for some of the big questions I'm still trying to answer:
  • Are any descendants of Paula Schwartz and her daughter, Viola Weinberger, still alive? And do they want to be in touch with their US cousins?
  • Where oh where in Ireland do hubby's ancestors hail from? Yes, I'm talking about you, SmithShehen, and Larimer ancestors. Stop hiding in plain sight!
  • Where did the Steiners and Rineharts come from in the Old World? Thanks to the kindness of FindaGrave volunteers who've photographed graves and clarified family connections on our behalf, we expect to make progress. 
  • Where in Lithuania did Isaac Burk/Birk come from and who else was in his family (parents and siblings)? Hello, are there any Birk cousins out there?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday FGS and ACPL Discoveries: The McClures of Donegal

After a morning with the Ohio Historical Society and then a tutorial on the Allen County Public Library, today was RESEARCH day.

And a gen book I've tried to get my hands on for a year is here in the ACPL's collection..."Following the McClures, Donegal to Botetourt." Second edition, the latest and greatest.

It confirms that Alexander McClure is almost certainly hubby's 4th great-granddad (Alex's dad, Halbert, the patriarch, is hubby's 5th g-great).

The McClures were originally from Scotland but (the book explains) they left for Ireland to exercise religious freedom. Halbert McClure was born in Parish Raphoe in County Donegal in 1684, according to LDS records cited in the book. Halbert married Agnes (probably a Scots woman) and they had 6 kids, including our ancestor Alex, b. 1717. One of Alex's sons, John, married Ann McFall and their son Benjamin became a pioneer and civic leader in Wabash, IN.

Oh, the book has lots of detail about the McClure fam's situation in Donegal, then their voyage to the new world. They landed in PA and then walked, yes walked through Maryland and down to Virginia. What a saga, well worth the wait.

After hours FGS dance party at ACPL

Thursday, August 22, 2013

FGS Fun and Wabash Adventures

Today was my day to learn about Wolverine State research (with Kris Rzepczynski), Brit ancestors on the move (Audrey Collins), Swiss research (Michael Lacopo), Buckeye State gen (Amy Crow), and Hoosier gen (Harold Henderson).

All well-attended, engaging and informative sessions. Lots of good ideas for finding elusive ancestors and tapping new sources. Plus between-session conversations about surnames, techniques, and more.

Meanwhile hubby had Wabash on his mind. The town historian agreed that Wally's 3d great-grandpa Benjamin McClure and family would have watched as the new-fangled electric arch lamps were turned on in the city in the 1800s, or at least could see the incredibly bright lamps from his farm 3 miles out of town.

And hubby located an oral history given by his cousin (Benjamin's great-grandson) about growing up in Wabash at the turn of the 20th century. If he's lucky, he'll also see (and photograph) his great-great uncle's Civil War bible too. Stay tuned.*

*Bible wasn't where it should have been. Disappointing! Oh, well...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Hubby Meets MLK

While bearded hubby Wally Wood was editor of the Columbia Owl at New York's Columbia University, the newspaper worked with other college newspapers and civil rights groups to organize an appearance by Martin Luther King Jr. (circa 1962).

Student leaders from area colleges were represented on stage as Wally introduced the vice-president of Columbia, who then introduced Dr. King.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Matrilineal Monday: Saluting Marian McClure Wood

Marian McClure, age 4
My late mom-in-law, Marian Jane McClure Wood, was the only child of Brice Larimer McClure and Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure.
Marian McClure, age 14

These are some photos of Marian as a youngster, a young lady, and finally a Mom.

Wood family

At left, in Cleveland Heights, Marian McClure Wood, her father Brice Larimer McClure, and her husband Edgar James Wood. The kids are my hubby and his siblings.

Jane is the traditional middle name passed down through many generations (on both sides of the family).

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Society Saturday: The Kossuth Society's Cemetery Plot

My Farkas family in New York City was deeply involved in the Kossuth Ferencz Hungarian Literary Sick and Benevolent Society . . . serving as founders, officers, and committee heads over the years.

The "literary" part of the title was represented by a lending library. The "sick and benevolent" part of the title included the group purchase of plots at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Flushing, NY.

When I visited Mt. Hebron, I took a close look at the society's pillars and gates. The left gate reads: "Kossuth Ferencz" and the right gate reads: "H.L.S. & B. Ass'n."

See the small plaque in the center of the right gate? It's dedicated to my great-uncle Alex Farkas, Chairman of the Cemetery committee, August 1929. He was one of the society's organizers in 1904.

One more thing I learned from visiting the Kossuth plot: My great-aunt Jennie Katz Farkas, who met her husband Alex Farkas through Kossuth, was enough of a mover and shaker to get her name listed on the pillars of the plot gate--separate from her husband. Way to go, Aunt Jennie! She also thought up the idea of the Farkas Family Tree--thank you, Aunt Jennie.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Mary and Edward in Coney Island

My pretty great-aunt Mary Schwartz eloped in New York City on Christmas Eve, 1913 with Edward Wirtschafter, a dapper furrier who reportedly swept her off her feet.

This photo is obviously from a different season--a season for going to the boardwalk.

Great-aunt Mary is shown at left in the front row. (Years ago, my mother identified Mary and my sis wrote a note below the photo.) Philly Cuz has positively identified Edward as the lucky man with the two gals. Alas, we don't know the other lady.

Because Philly Cuz wondered where and when the photo was taken, I dug it out and turned it over. And guess what?

It was taken at the Elite Studio in Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, NY. (Click on the link to read about the park's fascinating past.) Judging by what people are wearing, we suspect this was taken before 1920.

In searching for Mr. Goldberg, who owned the Elite Studio, I stumbled upon a post from a gentleman whose father owned the first studio on the Coney Island boardwalk. We've had an e-mail conversation and he says his dad's studio was not in Steeplechase. I'll keep looking!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: More Ten-Minute Genealogist Ideas

Two months ago, I posted a few ideas on what I can accomplish when I have 10 minutes to spare for genealogy. Here are three more thoughts on doing research in bite-size periods in between real life:

  • Search Find-a-Grave or post extra info there. Find-a-Grave is frequently my go-to source for "possible" birth and death dates, as well as "hints" on family relationships. I double-check everything, especially info that isn't accompanied by a photo of the gravestone, because after all, anybody can transcribe incorrectly. But this is good jumping-off info for other searches and has helped me connect relatives in several cases. I also give back by posting extra info when I locate a family member on the site. See my extra info for James Edgar Wood, above. The write-up and photo took me more than 10 min but less than 15, but if cousins go looking for our ancestor, they'll find him and me!
  • Search for brick-wall ancestors in new or updated Family Search collections. So many updates are being posted to Family Search that it pays to check back every now and again. Also, being occasionally less than methodical, I've discovered document images on Family Search that I never noticed were there before, like marriage records or death certs. 
  • Check my "to do list" on my personalized home page of Ancestry to see what I'm still trying to find out after all these years. Once I learned how to personalize the home page, I immediately posted a listing of "most wanted" ancestors for myself, along with what I want to know. If I have a spare few minutes, I check this list and challenge myself to be creative in doing a search I've never done before. These are very elusive ancestors, however, so no luck just yet. Oh, it helps to personalize some frequently-used links on the home page, too, so I can skip directly to those databases.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Almost Strangers" and "Shooting the Past"--Entertainment for Genealogists

British writer/director Stephen Poliakoff has a thing about families and the past--just like genealogists.

If you haven't seen his work, let me recommend Almost Strangers (a 3-part miniseries that ran in England under the title Perfect Strangers). It takes place at a noisy, jam-packed family reunion. As you might imagine, secrets are exposed and complications ensure as several touching and surprising family stories emerge. With a cast including Michael Gambon and Michael Macfadyen, the acting is fantastic. Poliakoff was inspired to write this after attending his own family's reunion (read about it here).

I just finished watching another Poliakoff miniseries, Shooting the Past. On the surface, it's about the fate of a sprawling archive containing 10 million photos spanning the 20th century--and the dedicated but quirky staff that has been taking care of this collection for years. However, family stories are at the very core of the plot and these tales unfold slowly and in unexpected ways. Stick with it: you'll be rewarded in the final episode with a masterful family tale told entirely through photos. Read more about the background here.

Both of these Poliakoff works are available via Netflix, Amazon, and other sources. Click and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Elkhart's Island Park Hosts Fam Reunion, 1902

From the Elkhart Truth
In August of 1902, hubby's 2d great-grandpa Brice S. Larimer (1819-1906) was the oldest person to attend a reunion of three families united by marriage for many decades: The Larimers, the Works, and the Shorts.

Relatives traveled from as far as South Dakota and Michigan to attend this reunion at Island Park in Elkhart, Indiana. Island Park is, today, home to events such as music festivals. These ancestors were trend-setters!

The 1902 event wasn't the first reunion of the three families. The 2d annual reunion was held in June, 1901, and again Brice Larimer was mentioned as "the dean of the party" because of his age as the reigning patriarch.

Many years later, John Clarence Work* wrote a definitive history of the Larimer family, 1740-1959, based in part on the genealogical research of Aaron Work (1837-1924) of Elkhart, Indiana. This book is now downloadable from the Family History Library here.

* John Clarence Work's grandmother was Cynthia Hanley Larimer Work. See the family connection?!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Genealogy by the States: The Bentley California Land Rush!

William Tyler Bentley, hubby's 3rd great-grandpa, seemed to be drawn west throughout his life. Born in New York in 1795, he moved his family to what became Elkhart county, Indiana, in 1835. Though they were early settlers, most of the family didn't put down permanent roots in Indiana.

Tulare County, CA
During the 1850s, William and his grown children* (except two of his married daughters, Lucy E. Bentley Larimer and Lucinda H. Bentley Shank) moved to California in search of fertile farm and ranching land. Remember that California only became a state in 1850, and Visalia was the county seat of Tulare in the early days. By 1858, Visalia was being served by the overland stage coach from St. Louis to San Francisco. The Bentleys were part of this exciting time in California history!

The 1867 voters' records of Visalia (Tulare county) list William Tyler Bentley as a farmer. His son Elisha Morgan Bentley (married to Charlotte Raymond) was raising livestock on 320 acres in Visalia (according to the 1870 non-population Census).

William's daughter Elizabeth E. Bentley Light and her husband Emanuel were farmers in Tulare county. Another daughter, Abbie Eliza Bentley Curtis and her blacksmith husband, Leonard Curtis, lived in Santa Cruz, CA.

William's obit from the Visalia Times Delta of April 3, 1873 reads: "Died on South Tule River, March 29, 1873, Wm. T. Bentley, aged 77 yrs, 7 months, father of E.M. Bentley, of this place."

To learn more about the Bentleys' lives in California, I'm sending for the obits of Elisha Morgan Bentley and his wife, Charlotte (see below, right). *According to Lucinda H. Bentley Shank's obit, Wm Tyler Bentley left for California in 1848 and five of his seven children followed to California in 1851.

Special note to "Cousin Elizabeth"--please get in touch again re William A. Bradford.


Genealogy by the States was started by Jim Sanders of Hidden Genealogy Nuggets.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Getting Ready for FGS 2013: FAN Research for the "Most Wanted" List

FGS 2013 is just weeks away and I'm going over my list of "Most Wanted" ancestors, the people hubby and I really want to find. My plan is to bring along not only a printout of the Family Group Sheets, but also a complete alphabetical index of the family tree. That way, if I can't get online, I can consult my paper files.

But I want to do as much as possible from home. So, using FAN (Friends and Neighbors) research, I'm retracing my steps--and I believe I've discovered a sibling of one of the "Most Wanted" Ancestors.

Joseph W. Rinehart (sometimes spelled Reinhart), 1806-1888, is hubby's great-great-granddaddy. From at least 1850 on, he lived in Tod in Crawford county, Ohio. Scrolling through the 1880 Census for Crawford, I spotted another Reinhart just two farms away: George Reinhart. George is only 3 years younger than Joseph, both were born in Pennsylvania, and what's more, George's household includes little George Hilborn.

The Hilborns were in-laws to the Steiners. Who, you ask, are the Steiners? Joseph W. Rinehart's daughter Elizabeth Jane married Edward George Steiner (see his Civil War draft registration, below). And other Hilborns married other Rineharts.

Civil War draft registration (1863( of Edward George Steiner
As it happens, the Rineharts AND the Steiners are on the "Most Wanted" list so I'm definitely making progress by using FAN to be understand the geographic connection between the Rinehart, Steiner, and Hilborn families.

Just wait till we're at FGS and can dive deep into the Allen County Public Library's vast collection of genealogical records! Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Surname Saturday: 500 Pages of Farkas Family Tree History

Earlier this year, I learned for the first time that when my maternal grandmother's family tree group got together, they kept records. Written records (mostly typed)! Meeting minutes and year-by-year historian's reports for most of the period from 1933 to 1964, when meetings were held at least 6 times a year.

The first official meeting of this group took place in March, 1933. As recorded in the Constitution, "Any male or female over the age of 16 who is a member or descendant by blood or marriage of the family of Moritz Farkas and [his wife] Lena [Kunstler] Farkas shall be eligible for membership in this organization." Moritz and Lena were the patriarch and matriarch, honorary members of the Farkas Family Tree.

The idea for the Farkas Family Tree came from my great-aunt Jenny Katz Farkas, who joined the family by marrying great-uncle Alex Farkas. Alex was the oldest of Moritz and Lena's children. My grandma, Hermina Farkas Schwartz, was second-oldest. By the time Jenny suggested a tree association, all the Farkas siblings were married except for Julius and Peter, the bachelor brothers who never married. Moritz and Lena were already grandparents many times over when the tree was started.

The Farkas Family Tree had three specific objectives, according to its Constitution:
  1. To perpetuate the bond of blood relationship.
  2. To promote good will and understanding.
  3. To engage in social activities for the mutual benefit of the organization and the members thereof.
One of my cousins was able to get his hands on a nearly complete set of the bound books holding the minutes and reports of the tree's three decades. After he had the books unbound, I scanned each and every page (more than 500 in total). At right, the first of four original pages from the historian's report for the year 1939, when my Auntie Dorothy Schwartz was the historian. Lots of work to do the scanning, but very rewarding to read (sometimes in TMI detail) what my ancestors were doing month after month!

A copy shop took my printouts of the scans and created spiral bound books for me. Next, I prepared an index of every name mentioned in the minutes and reports. Because other than a family history buff, who's going to read all 500 pages? But everyone will, I'm sure, look up their own names and the names of their parents (or children) in the index, then flip to those pages first.

For handy reference, I also created a "who's who in the family" summary page. In addition to the Constitution (with 1949 and 1954 amendments), I included the three-stanza family tree song with lyrics written by my great-aunt Ella, which we used to sing to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic." And I included a listing of all the officers from 1933 through 1964. (Hint: Women could be elected secretary but not serve as president or vice-president/treasurer.)

One of my other cousins created a diagram showing the names of every member of the tree in the photograph of the 25th Anniversary Weekend in June, 1958 at the Pines resort in upstate New York. I put the photo and the diagram on the cover, as you can see. Yes, I'm in the photo, but of course as a very young child (wink). By the time I came of age to be a full-fledged member, the Farkas Family Tree had sputtered out of existence, simply because members had moved away, changed jobs, or had grandchildren of their own to visit. The minutes and historian's reports will live on as time-capsules of a special period in my family's history.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: John Larimer and Rachel Smith of Wabash, IN

John Larimer (1794-1843) was born in Mifflin, PA and moved west with his family to Ohio. He met and married Rachel Smith (1799-1838) in Fairfield county, OH in 1818. By the mid-1830s, they had moved further west to become pioneers in Wabash, Indiana.

Rachel Smith Larimer, 1799-1838
John bought land there in 1836, alongside property owned by his brother Moses Larimer (1804-1857).

John Larimer, 1794-1843
When Rachel died at 38, he had her buried in Eldridge Cemetery. Two years later, he remarried to Nancy Orr, in Fairfield county, OH, and brought her back to Wabash, along with her three children.

In 1843, John died from "an infection of his throat caused by a deer bone splinter which lodged there," and is buried in Eldridge Cemetery, Millersburg, IN.

John's father Isaac Larimer served in the War of 1812, part of Capt. George Sanderson's Company from Fairfield, OH. Others in the Larimer family and related families also served in the same company, including: Robert and James Larimer (John's brothers) and Samuel Work (part of the family that John's sister Cynthia Hanley Larimer married into).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Great-Aunt Rose's 1925 Bridal Outfit

My stylish great-aunt Rose Farkas married dapper George Freedman in New York City in 1925.

Here she is in her fashionable bridal gown and floor-length veil, holding a magnificent bridal bouquet. Very 1920s and very sophisticated, IMHO.

A few months ago, I scanned this portrait at 1200 dpi, gave the original to one of Rose's sons, and made a copy for the other. They were thrilled and I was happy to reunite the original portrait with the proper part of the family tree.

Rose was one of six daughters and five sons born to Moritz (Morris) Farkas (1857-1936) and his wife, Lena Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938).

One of Rose's sons just told me that this wedding outfit was made by Rose's sis-in-law, Jennie Katz Farkas. Jennie was married to Moritz & Lena's oldest child, Alex (Sandor), and Jennie was renowned as a fashion seamstress. Turns out that she made nearly all the bridal outfits (and maid/matron of honor dresses) for her sisters-in-law!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Za Za and Louis Waldman in the Bronx

Someone in my mother's family was friends with the Waldmans, because I still have this photo of the adorable Waldman children.

The inscription on the inside front cover shows the original Hungarian notes (dated 1918) and my mother's transcription of the names: Za Za and Louis Waldman. 

Who were the Waldmans and whose friends were they? I know they lived in the Bronx (I checked the Census, not just the photographer's address). Were they friends of the Farkas family (my grandma Hermina Farkas) or the Schwartz family (my grandpa Theodore Schwartz)?

More FAN (friends and neighbors) research needed!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: Freedomland, the Bronx's Theme Park

For a few summers in the early 1960s, we in the Bronx had our very own high-profile theme park: Freedomland.

It was in what we locals called a "two fare" zone--meaning we had to pay for a train and a bus to get there, because the park was way out in the middle of nowhere. And that, of course, was the point--where else would you find 205 undeveloped acres in New York City?

On opening day, June 19, 1960, tens of thousands surged through the gates. The attractions were loosely based on American history, from the Wild West and San Francisco's earthquake to the Great Chicago Fire and space travel. A few "rides" were surprisingly low-tech and tame, even by the standards of the day--such as Casa Loco, a "house" with a steeply raked floor that defied visitors to stay upright. A highlight I remember fondly was the gondola ride across the "country," but because of long lines, I rarely took that ride.

As youngsters, Sis and I roamed the park quite often, and we also remember seeing any number of rock 'n roll shows there. I don't remember seeing Paul Anka, who played at Freedomland more than once, but I do recall Major Lance, whose two hits were Monkey Time and Um, um, um, um, um, um..." 

Although Freedomland was closer to home, we found the rock 'n roll shows at the Palisades Park amusement park more glamorous. Celebrity DJ Cousin Brucie presided, which made it a treat, even if we had to cross the George Washington Bridge to get there. Besides, Palisades Park was immortalized in a hit record by Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon, whereas Freedomland was...a former swamp.

By September 1964, Freedomland had sunk into bankruptcy, paving the way for the giant Co-op City development that was built on the site. Sis and I switched our allegiance to the New York World's Fair, a long subway ride away and a story for another day.

Although Freedomland has been out of business for nearly 50 years, it has its own nostalgic Facebook page, complete with loads of vintage photos, postcards, and souvenirs.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Surname Saturday: Bentley and Morgan, from New York

One mystery was solved today when the mail brought death file info for Lucinda H. Bentley Shank, my Tombstone Tuesday for this week.

Lucinda's younger sister, Lucy E. Bentley Larimer, is hubby's great-great-grandma. 

This death document confirms that Lucinda's parents were William T. Bentley of New York and Olivia Morgan Bentley of New York. Lucy's document says her mother was "Oliver" [sic] Morgan.

I'm so glad I didn't accept the name shown on family trees contributed by Ancestry users, who said "S.L. Hixon" was Lucy and Lucinda's mother. As if I needed another reason to look at the documentation for myself, this case shows how important it is to DIG DEEPER before coming to a conclusion!

Next challenge: Where in all of New York State were Lucy and Lucinda born? Where did they and their parents and siblings live?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Showtime! A Tale of Two Shows

Guest blog today by hubby, who was involved in shows presented at Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, OH and at Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, MA. He loved the shows so much that he bought the LPs, pictured here.

Annie Get Your Gun had already been a Broadway hit and a blockbuster movie when it was announced for a summer run in Cain Park, minutes from where hubby and family lived in suburban Cleveland Heights. Here's his memory of working that show as a high school student apprenticing with the crew:

"For Annie, I ran a follow-spot from a 20-ft-high brick tower beside the stage. During the action, Annie Oakley and her beau, Frank Butler, are sailing back from Europe. They get hungry, so Annie shoots into the sky (from center stage). Waiting up on the tower, I throw down a prop stuffed seagull. The audience couldn't see me up on the tower and it seemed like a bit of magic when the bird landed on the stage at Annie's feet. (The night it accidentally landed in the orchestra pit, the conductor handed it up to her.)

"On the last night of the run, an "accomplice" and I cleaned out the theater's prop room and brought all kinds of things up to the tower. When Annie raised her rifle and shot, we threw down six or eight different stuffed animals--a pig, a skunk, even a couple of birds. One of the actors took this in stride, ad-libbing, "That's some fine shootin', Annie!" as Annie and the others cracked up.

Years later, he played Lutz, the prince's valet, the only non-singing role in a Berkshire Community College production of Romberg's The Student Prince.

The director cast hubby as the valet because he looked more mature than the college students playing the other roles. And he had a beard (still does, matter of fact), which was important to the serious look of the character.

Leaving the cast party on closing night, hubby and his ex-wife met a woman who stopped them and commented, "I've never been kissed by a man with a beard." Hubby, being very obliging, leaned over to kiss her cheek...but she grabbed him, pulled him close, and kissed him full on the lips. The kiss went on and on and on. Finally he managed to break away. On the way out, his wife asked in an acerbic tone, "Who was that?" Hubby answered truthfully, "I've never seen her before in my life." Wife had the last word: "She seemed to know you!"

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Lucinda H. Bentley Shank

Gone but not forgotten is the inscription on the tombstone of Lucinda H. Bentley Shank and her husband, Jonas C. Shank. They're buried in Eldridge Cemetery, Elkhart county, Indiana.

Lucinda is hubby's 2d great-grand aunt, the older sister of Lucy E. Bentley, who married great-great granddad Brice S. Larimer.

Just three weeks ago, my query posted on Ancestry's Bentley message board put me in contact with a Bentley researcher who had traced more of the Bentley children, finding Lucinda and Lucy in Elkhart county and learning that the rest of their siblings had journeyed to California in search of fertile farmland and a bit of pioneering adventure.

At his suggestion, I sent for Lucinda's death record. Meanwhile, I also contacted the wonderfully knowledgeable and helpful folks at the Elkhart County Genealogical Society, who sent me the above photo (along with at least a dozen other photos of Larimer family tombstones from Elkhart County). 

According to Lucy Bentley Larimer's death doc, William Tyler Bentley and Oliver [sic] Morgan are her parents. Now we want to confirm by reading the names on Lucinda's death cert.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Military Monday: In Honor of Canada Day, More WWI Badges

Happy Canada Day! This post continues the series of photos of a WWI military belt given to the Wood family before 1925 by, we believe, Captain John Daniel Slatter of the 48th Highlanders Regiment of Toronto.

At left, a closeup of the badge worn by Divisional Cyclists Overseas. Military men on bicycles (who wore these from 1914-1916) were engaged in intelligence gathering and even participated in infantry activities.

And above right, the badge of the 21st Essex Fusiliers. Some members of this unit went to London early in WWI as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.

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.