Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ 01/28/09

[Davie & Donnie Ritchie ~ probably around 1936]

Posted for my sister ~ this is one of her favorite picture of our Dad, "Donnie"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ William Eickelberg

Minersville Hill Cemetery, Minersville, Ohio

William Eickelberg
Sept. 11, 1829
Jan. 16, 1893
63Y. 4 M. 5 D.

My mother and I went searching for this stone one day after a drive of more than 3 hours, most of it in the driving rain. We were visiting Wooster, Ohio which is in the northern part of the state. Minersville is down on the Ohio river - on the boarder with West Virginia. I decided I wanted to make the trip though because I didn't know when I'd ever be this close again. My Mom bravely volunteered to go with me!

Thanks to wonderful people who transcribe cemeteries, I had found a listing for this cemetery courtesy of the OhioGenWeb tombstone transcription project. I had no idea where the marker was or really even where the cemetery was. A query on the Meigs County list was answered by several helpful people who gave some great directions to the Historical Society as well as to the cemetery. It's fortunate they did because this cemetery is back a dirt road which you enter from the gravel road that is off the tiny paved road up from the river!

It was also wonderful that even though we had driven there in the pouring rain for the entire trip, when we actually got to Pomeroy - where we stopped first to do some research at the Historical Society - it had mostly stopped raining. By the time we found the cemetery it had completely stopped. The cemetery is very well kept in spite of its somewhat remote location. Here's the view from the gate.

William Eickelberg's stone is down and to the left - the last row before the trees. My Mom found it almost right away. We did wander around the rest of the cemetery and then had a picnic lunch in the car ~ most people do picnic at cemeteries, right?!?!

All in all it was really a marvelous day. I found some records I hadn't known about while we were at the Historical Society and finding this gravestone was just the icing on the cake. The whole trip just left me feeling overwhelmingly grateful to all the people who spend time transcribing records and answering queries and just generally helping those of use trying to research in places where we don't live.

I also had a great day with my Mom who is always up for an adventure and unfailingly supportive of my genealogy "quests" even though census records and cemeteries don't thrill her to the extent that they do me!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Random Relative of the Week ~ Jan 25, 2009

Olive Isabelle DUNCAN QUICK

Born October 15, 1910 ~ Louisville, Colorado

Died April 24, 1995
~ Hamilton, Ohio

Ollie Belle as she was known, or just Belle in later life, was my Grandmother. While she is technically my Mother's step-mother, she and my Grandpa Quick were married when my Mom was only 3 so Belle is the only one I knew as "Grandma Quick".

I recently was able to scan a copy of this great picture of my Mom and Grandma on a horse. Please note the open-toed, high-heeled shoes Grandma is wearing! Hopefully they were only posing for the camera, and not going on a trail ride.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ SOUTER, Robert & family

The Memory of
late Dundee Carrier St. Andrews
who died 29th June 1823
in the 47th year of his age
Also his wife ELIZABETH KIRK
died 9th August 1863
aged 87 years
Also their daughter ELSPETH SOUTER
died 14th January 1882
aged 74 years
Died 19th March 1892 85 years

Last Tuesday's post made me think more about our trip to Scotland in May, 2007. This is another ancestor's gravestone that I was able to visit in St. Andrews Cathedral graveyard. One thing I love about researching my ancestors in Scotland is how women don't lose their maiden names. Many documents will refer to them that way and it makes it easier to find the previous generation.

I am also busy trying to get a time line together for the last mentioned person on this memorial, Thomas SWINTON, as he is going to be my first brickwall ancestor posting. Thomas is my 3rd great-grandfather.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Random Relative of the Week

Cora Black Ritchie

Born January 25, 1921 ~ Cleveland, Ohio

Died December 16, 1996 ~ Clarksburg, West Virgini

This week's Random Relative is in honor of my niece who just started classes at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
While I don't know very much about Cora, I do know that she graduated, cum laude, from Miami in 1942.

Cora was the youngest child of Mary BENZIE and Thomas RITCHIE. I also have a married name for her of HARBERT, that I found based on a social security death record. Unfortunately she did not stay in touch with the rest of the family, or at least not with my part of the family, so I have not yet discovered if she had children or really any other information about her.

I do have the program from her graduation, on June 1, 1942.

I wish I knew more about her ~

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In the Wintertime We Go...

I realize this is supposed to be a "Photo Essay" but I can't help it, I like WORDS. As soon as I saw the icon for the 64th COG, I immediately remembered a poem from my childhood. I rushed to my Childcraft How and Why Library, volume 1 and there it was:

White Fields

by James Stephens

In the wintertime we go
Walking in the fields of snow;

Where there is no grass at all;
Where on top of every wall,

Every fence and every tree,
Is as white as white can be.

Pointing out the way we came
- Every one of them the same -

All across the field there be
Prints in silver filigree;

And our mothers always know,
By the footprints in the snow,

Where it is the children go.

I suppose I thought of this because who loves winter more than children? When we are young the excitement of a new snowfall makes getting bundled up until we can hardly move seem all worthwhile.

For the photo part of this photo essay, I have chosen some picture of my Mom and her brothers taken in Denver in 1942. I am so fortunate that my Grandfather not only took a lot of pictures as my Mom was growing up, but also labeled and dated them. These are re-creations of the pages in the albums rather than just scans of the pages. I have put in the captions just as my Grandfather had them.

Weren't they just adorable?

I sure hope my Mom hadn't just walked home from school in that outfit! Of course I remember wearing dresses to school in the winter - we weren't allowed to wear anything else. But we wore snow pants under the dresses and took them off when we got to school.

[This post was written for the 64th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Jasia at Creative.Gene]

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ BENZIE, William & family

This week it was an easy choice. As I mentioned in my Sunday Random Relative post on Mary BENZIE, she came to the United States without her parents, who had remained in Scotland. So, today I picked her parent's gravestone in Inverurie.


William Benzie
In memory of this daughter
Barbara Shepherd
who died Nov 5, 1890
Aged 5 years & 10 months
Also his son William
Who died in infancy
And daughter Annie Leith
Died Oct 17, 1893
Aged 3 years & 5 months
His Wife
Helen Lumsden
Died April 16, 1919 aged 69 years
The said
William Benzie
Died March 3, 1922, aged 78 Years

What is even more special about this selection, is that I took the picture myself. In May, 2007 I had to opportunity to go to Scotland with my parents. We took a trip focused around the locations where my father's paternal grandparents had lived. Part of that trip took us to Inverurie.

I could probably spend a full year blogging just about that trip and all the wonderful things we saw. It is just truly amazing how those names on a chart can come to life when you see the churches and villages and start to imagine your ancestors there.

Here is a full picture showing my dad standing beside the stone.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jack H Quick's Baby Book

My Grandfather, Jack H Quick, was born on July 3, 1911 and we are fortunate enough to have his baby book. The "H" in his name did not stand for anything ~ his name was simply Jack H Quick.

Interestingly, one of the pages in the book is inscribed, "Jack Edwin Quick." I have often wondered if they originally intended to name him Jack Edwin as Edwin would have been his uncle - his father's brother. His father's name was John H Quick and I have yet to find anything that states if the "H" stood for anything.

My Grandpa used to tell a wonderful story about starting school and how his first teacher insisted that his real name had to be John since Jack was just a nickname. She called him John all throughout the first day. She also asked him multiple times what his middle name was as the H had to stand for something.

The next day his mother strode into the school and told the teacher in no uncertain terms that she had named her son Jack H Quick and this IS what he would be called. Whenever my Grandpa told that story, I always picture his mother wearing that big hat with the feather [picture here]- even though that picture was taken much earlier! She was not a woman to trifle with.

One of the entries in this book near the end is:

The saddest event of his babyhood was the loss of his papa by death on Oct 24th 1912.

I'm hoping the slide show thing works - it's an experiment!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Random Relative of the Week

Mary BENZIE Ritchie

Born December 7, 1876 ~ Inverurie, Scotland

Died February 21, 1961 ~ Garrettsville, O

Mary, the oldest girl in the back, center is my great-grandmother. Pictured with her are her sisters. Left to right they are Lizzie, Mary, Helen and in the front, Jane. The imprint on the front of the picture is "R Brown Inverurie"

All of the Benzie sisters eventually ended up in the US.

Mary BENZIE's husband, Thomas RITCHIE was also born in Scotland. My Dad says that he loved to listen to them talk as they both retained their Scottish accents. My Dad also remembers when Mary died that they had such a hard time finding heather but that they eventually did. They had to have heather since she was born in the Highlands!

I have yet to track down exactly when Mary came to the US. I know that she did NOT come with her parents, James BENZIE & Hellen LUMSDEN as they remained in Inverurie and are buried there. Mary was still living in Inverurie as late as 1891 when I find her in the census of that year. By 1900 I believe she was living in the Boston area as I have found an entry that could possibly be her as a domestic servant on the 1900 census.

Certainly she and Thomas were both in that area by the end of 1900 when they were married in Cambridge, MA on October 17, 1900.

By at least 1902, when their first son was born, they were living in Ohio. Mary and Tom would have a total of 8 children, all of whom lived to adulthood. Their 4th child, David Washington RITCHIE was my Grandpa. He always said he was the "youngest of the oldest 4."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

9th Edition Smile for the Camera: Who are You?

For the 9th edition of "Smile for the Camera" we are asked to post a photo of one of our "unknowns". Unfortunately, I have more than a couple but the one I have chosen is the one I would most like to know more about.

The photo comes from my paternal grandmother's side of the family, but Grandma Ritchie was never sure about the identity. She also was not sure if the picture was someone on her mother's side or her father's, although she always thought it was from her father's side. I tend to be of that opinion also as on her mother's side, which would be GRABER and ZAUGG, there are many pictures and I have found no resemblance to this man.

My Grandmother was born and lived most of her life in and around Apple Creek, Ohio which is in Wayne County. There is a very strong Swiss-German heritage there. As a matter of fact, my Grandpa used to tease her that she only spoke German until she went to school. Although that is not quite true, both of her parents did grow up in German speaking households.

If this picture is from her father's side the names involved would be SAURER and FLORY. The picture is a tintype in a very ornate wooden case. I don't believe it is a companion to the one of Caroline FLORY posted earlier as the cases are very different and the one of Caroline has not held up well. This picture is cracked but otherwise very clear. [I restored the picture somewhat to "erase" the crack before I posted it here]

I used to think it might be Caroline Flory's husband, John Ulrick SAURER but I'm not so sure. I have large charcoal drawings of a number of ancestors on that side and I can identify the actual picture from which each is done. [see my post here on Caroline Flory]. If this were indeed Caroline's husband I would have thought a similar drawing would exist.

So I now wonder if this is a collateral relative on either the SAURER or FLORY side? I am not at all good at seeing similarities in pictures, but for those of you with that type of eye, here is a picture of John F. SAURER, my Grandma Ritchie's father. He is the son of John U. SAURER and Caroline FLORY.

So, at the end of the day I am still left with the mystery, "Who are you? I REALLY want to know!"

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt #1 ~ Favorite Picture

[This post is based on a great idea from Amy Coffin at WeTree. She has come up with a series of 52 different blogging.prompts, one for each week of the year.]

Week #1 Upload your favorite picture and talk about it on your blog. Answer the who/what/when/where/why of the subject matter and explain why it is your favorite.

I could never pick just one picture as my favorite, so I chose, "My Favorite Picture That I Never Expected To See In My Life That I Received From Someone I've Never Met In Person."

The people in this picture are:
Far back: Jack H. Quick
[my grandfather]
Middle Row (l to r): Dick Heflin, Nelle [Eickelberg, Nissen, Quick] Heflin, Harry Nissen
Front Row (l to r): William Eickelberg, Nellie Eickelberg, Helen Nissen
Far front/extreme right - Ruth [Evans] Quick.

Ruth is my Mom's biological mother. Ruth and my Grandpa were divorced when my Mom was barely 2 years old. My Grandpa had custody and Ruth did not remain in my Mom's life so consequently I had no pictures of Ruth as a young woman. I do have a picture of Ruth when she was in her 50's and briefly got in touch with my Mom [long story, not for here] but that was it.

I also have a baby album of my Mom's that has a picture of her with her Dad and a space labeled, "Mother and baby" but the picture in that space is one of my Mom at about 2 years old! Also in the album were 4 carefully cut out heads, all of my Mom - adorable baby that she was - so I have to assume that Ruth was in all of those pictures. How I wish I had them!

Well, I have my tree posted out on Through a contact from the information posted there I began an e-mail correspondence with a man, Don, who is the grandson of my great-grandmother's [Nelle Eickelberg's] 3rd husband, Dick Heflin. Got that?!?

I turns out that Dick had been married before and had children from his previous marriage - something I hadn't known. Don and I exchanged e-mails for awhile and I mentioned that I had some pictures that included Dick. I sent Don scanned copies and then I put the originals in the mail. They were just snapshots, but I though he might like to have them.

Don really appreciated them and told me that he had other pictures of Dick that he had been meaning to scan. I told him that I'd be interested in seeing them. Even though Dick Heflin was not a blood relative, he was the Grandpa that my Mom grew up with. He and Nelle were married early enough that Dick was a big part of my Grandpa's life as well. So Dick was very much a part of the family stories and family life.

Some time later - I'd actually forgotten about it - Don sent me a whole raft of scanned images. I was looking through them thinking how fun it was to see pictures of Dick in his army uniform (WWI) and just having fun looking at all the neat old pictures.

Then, this one came up and I gasped. The young woman sitting right in the front was staring at me with my mother's face! At least the eyes and the smile were the same. I could easily identify everyone else in the photo, but this woman in the front - could it really be Ruth? I shot off an e-mail to Don asking if there was identification on the picture. I told him that I knew all the people - and named who I thought they were - except the woman in the front on the right. He came back almost immediately, thank goodness, and told me that it said, "Ruth Quick."


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ 01/07/09

Harry Nissen, Nelle [Eickelberg, Nissen] Quick, Jack Quick
Denver ~ 1911

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Jennie [SAURER] SENFF

Born July 13, 1875
Died October 31, 1911

Jennie was one of Caroline FLORY SAURER's children. I chose Jennie because of the few stories my Grandma told me about her. Although Jennie died before my Grandma was born, Grandma told me more than once how, "everyone loved Aunt Jennie." Grandma said that Jennie's husband adored her and bought her china "from England." I actually have that china and it's certainly not fine or expensive - but it's a very pretty white and blue flowered pattern and I'm sure that in rural Ohio in the early 1900's it was quite special. Jennie's brother and wife - my great grandparents - still had a hand pump in their kitchen when my father used to visit them as late as the 1940's!

Talk of "Jennie" confused me for a while and I thought she must have been a child I had missed in my research. I always found mentions in the census of "Emily" Saurer when I was researching the family. I even had this card to confirm that name.

It wasn't until I started looking at dates and talking more to my Grandma that I realized that "Emily J" and "Jennie" were the same person. Fortunately, I didn't have to rely on her funeral card which gives nothing of her own name.

I so wish I had a picture of Jennie. I have pictures of her older sister and her brothers, but somehow no picture of her was handed down in my family. Of course the pictures I have of the rest of the family are all, as far as I have been able to establish, taken after 1911. There were no family group pictures or baby pictures. Of course Jennie was not quite 9 when her mother died and I'm guessing that having pictures taken wasn't the first thing on her father's mind as Jennie was not even the youngest of the children that Caroline left behind.

So, in the absence of a picture, I always think of her gravestone when I think of her - small and ornate, pretty and pink while the others around her are plain and gray and severe.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Research work and cleanup

As I noted in my initial post, I want this blog to help keep me on track with my research and cleanup work. As a follow up to yesterday's entry, I've decided to start my database clean up, how else - randomly - with Caroline FLORY SAURER. As I was writing about her last night I opened my database to look for her death date and discovered that is wasn't even entered!

I have this great photo of the gravestone, so I was able to use that, but REALLY I need to get my database in order. So, this week's to-do list includes:
  • Pull out [paper] file and review contents
  • Add info and sources for anything not recorded
  • Make notes of missing info for further research
  • Be sure that I have checked my good Ohio sources such as the Hayes Obituary Index
  • Make sure all children have birth info with source
  • Scan mystery tintype of a man that my Grandma thought MIGHT have been from the Saurer side.
Hey, wait ~ mystery photo...I think I know what I need to do with that! Perfect Smile For The Camera, Who Are You? post.

In pursuit of New Year's resolution #5 I will work both forward and back one generation from Caroline in my cleanup this week. It shouldn't take that much in the one generation forward as I believe my great-grandfather was the only one of her 5 children who lived to adulthood to have children of his own. There is that one brother in California to check on though. See, writing this helps straighten out in my mind what I need to do.

There is now one other reason I need to work on cleanup and research. Miriam's fantastic post over at her about posting our brickwall ancestors was like a wake up call. I need to be able to clearly identify my problems, in the way she has outlined, before I can expect to either get help or see what my next research opportunity is.

Off to get some work done!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Random Relative of the Week

Caroline Flory Saurer
20 Mar 1844 ~16 May 1884

Well I know it's been less than a week, but I've decided that Sunday would be the best day for my Random Relative post of the week. It's a day where I have more time to reflect and just sort through my pictures. Besides, it's called "RANDOM Relatives" so who knows if the next one will really appear on Sunday!

Caroline FLORY is my gr-gr-grandmother on my father's side. The picture to the left is a large charcoal rendering of a tintype [see picture below.] Fortunately it was at least labeled on the back as "Caroline, mother of John Saurer." This picture intrigued me from the first time I saw it when visiting my Great Aunt Pearl [daughter of John Saurer.] I always thought that Caroline looked sad, or at least wistful.

I picked Caroline for today because she was the cause of one of my first truly thrilling genealogical moments. I had just started to seriously get into research. By "seriously" I mean actually looking for records to back up all the information I had collected over the years from hearing my relatives talk. I had quite a bit of information at this point because I just loved looking at old pictures and, of course, when people show you pictures they tell you about them. My fascination for pictures is really what propelled me into genealogy in the first place. But I digress.

On a trip to Apple Creek, Ohio to visit relatives I decided to run over to the court house in Wooster. Not really knowing what I was doing at this point I was fortunate that the person there was very helpful and pointed me to some indexes which had been published by the local historical society. I happily looked up births for quite some time and made copious notes. I found more children listed for Caroline and John Saurer then I was previously aware they had.

Then I decided to look for marriage records and bingo! There was a listing for John Saurer and Caroline FLORY. I felt so proud of myself ~ an actual new piece of information that no one else in my family had been able to tell me. That, however, wasn't even the thrilling part. This was just the index so I asked the nice lady about the actual record and she showed me where the big ledger-type books were kept. I looked up the record and nearly fell off my chair [really, it was hard to keep from shouting with glee.] The record had some writing next to Caroline's signature which was HER FATHER'S consent to the marriage because she was only 16! So, right there I was able to go back another generation. If that wasn't cool enough, I also found and was able to make copies of her father's will.

WOW! I was totally hooked for life. Of course I soon found out that not every single trip to a courthouse was going to yield up such treasures. I don't mind though. Looking at old records just fascinates me almost as much as looking as old pictures. It's a way of touching history.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Watt Cemetery ~ Madison Co, IL

I recently received several photo requests for this cemetery. I saw the picture on Find-A-Grave and it looked like a nice old cemetery on a grass hill ~ perfect for a Saturday afternoon stroll. My Dad was at my house waiting on my Mom to come back from a quilt store and I decided that he really wanted to go cemetery visiting with me. Besides, he is always good at finding those elusive stones for me! When we got there I was shocked to see the state of the place. It was hugely overgrown as you can see by this shot from the road.

The thing that interested me was that it seems like this is the back of the cemetery even though this is now the only road near it. All the markers are facing away from the road. It's very old - with a number of the markers indicating birth dates in the late 1700's. Of course there are many, many totally illegible stones, but amazingly I was able to find and photograph 3 out of the 5 requested. Well, OK, my DAD found them - I photographed them! But anyway, I've got a good start on resolution #4. Of course I also took other photos besides the ones that had been requested and I'd like to come back when the weather is nicer and try to get all the legible ones.

Here are two of the stones, which we found near the back (in terms of the picture and the road) after traipsing through all the overgrown middle part. The names are James WATT b. June 24, 1792 d. Dec 6, 1879 and Diana, wife of James (maiden name STICE according to the memorial on Find-A-Grave) b. July 14, 1792, d. Jul 25, 1866.

I haven't been able to find much information about the cemetery yet, but will work on that for another day.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Only a little bit late, I wanted to put out some of my goals for the coming year. Seeing them here will [hopefully] make them more "official" and thus more likely to be accomplished.

1. First and foremost, get this blog off to an active start and keep it going throughout the year.

I have to admit that I've been just a little bit nervous to actually take the plunge and start blogging. There are just so many wonderful genealogy blogs out there now. Then I realized that I wasn't competing, I was doing this for my extended family and my own research needs. I anyone else wanted to read, that would be icing on the cake!

2. Become really organized this year by following along with DearMYRTLE's monthly organization checklists.

Years ago I had copies of these monthly checklists when they were posted on AOL. Due to not following them, I became too disorganized to even find my printed copies. I was thrilled to see them back online.

3. Get all my gravestone photos posted on Find-A-Grave.

This site has to be one of my favorite finds of 2008. I don’t know why it took me so long to find it as I love things cemetery-related. This is such a great place to share all my cemetery photos. I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked in 2008, but this year I intend to get everything posted.

4. Take a minimum of 52 volunteer photos for Find-A-Grave.

just started working as a photo volunteer late last year (around September) and managed to take 19 photos in that time, so this should be do-able. It’s a fun way for me to “give back” to the greater genealogy community. I mean what could be more fun than roaming around a cemetery??

5. Clean up my main genealogy database.

I’m not even sure what this means yet, but I need to work very diligently this year on my sources and citations. I'm sure this will be the subject of numerous posts to come.

6. This last one is really more of a secret ambition than a resolution ~ so SHHH, don't tell ~ but I would like to become a Graveyard Rabbit!

I’ve been reading up on this wonderful group of people, and I’ve decided that it’s definitely what I want to be “when I grow up”!

I feel like six is probably enough for this year, so I’ll leave it at that for today. I'm just so excited that I've finished up with my accounting classes so my after work and weekends will be free to actually work on my genealogy. I feel like I will be able to take a really good shot at my list this year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Why "Random Relatives"?

Let's face it, true genealogists don't want anything to be "random" about their relatives!! We would like them all to be neatly organized and categorized, not to mention properly cited. I know that I would and so have made 2009 my year to get my genealogy in order. Step one was starting this blog to document my efforts.

So then, why "Random Relatives"? It was named
after a comment made by my oldest niece when I offered to copy a photo for her to take
to college. The photo is one of her great-great-grandmother, Nelle Eickelberg and since niece #1 has (and loves) a pearl ring that originally belonged to Nelle, I thought this was a perfect present. Alas, not everyone (OK, not anyone) in my family shares my passion for vintage photos, trips to the cemetery and hours perusing census records.

The response to my generous offer, accompanied with a great eye roll, was, "Oh sure...I thou
ght I might want a picture of the family that I know and love but instead just give me a picture of some random relative that I never met!" Her mom and I just cracked up and a blog was born.
The "Random" part will be the pictures that I will upload. I will just pick whatever picture strikes my fancy that particular week. The (hopefully) organized part will be the research and data cleanup that I am pursuing and documenting here.