Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ James Kirk, Scotland

St. Johns, New Brunswick, North America
In Memory of
JAMES KIRK, his Father
who died 3rd Feb 1829
aged 80 years
Died 7th May 1832
aged 81 years

This is another ancestor's gravestone that I was able to visit in St. Andrews Cathedral graveyard. James KIRK and Elspeth RUSSELL are my 5th great-grandparents.

Their son, James KIRK, who erected this monument is the youngest child (I've found) in a large family. I have yet to trace what happened to him in Canada. His much older sister, Elizabeth, is my 4th great-grandmother. There is a memorial to her very near this one which I featured in an early Tombstone Tuesday post.

Exciting News from Scotland

For anyone with Scottish ancestry, ScotlandsPeople has just added OPR (Old Parish Register) death records covering the years 1538 - 1854. Be sure to read the descriptive information, which can be found here. In part it warns of the sparse coverage for these records as there was no requirement to records deaths and burials. Still, I was excited to see these images available and have already found an entry that is very probably my 4th great-grandfather, David Ritchie.

Of course I don't expect you to take my word for it - this is, after all, just a blog!

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ More from Scotland

One great thing about many gravestones in Scotland is the wealth of genealogical information they hold. Women are almost always mentioned by maiden name. It certainly makes it easier to go back a generation. This stone (from the same small graveyard in Oyne mentioned in last week's post) certainly exemplifies what can be found. Here, the children are specifically called out by birth order - 2nd son, 3rd daughter etc. Again, I don't know how I might be related to these BENZIE's but it's a good bet that I am ~ at least slightly!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Post

Well, this is the day that we are all Irish, right? Except that I'm not Irish, or so I thought. I'm German, and Swiss and Scottish with some English and maybe even Welsh thrown in, but not Irish, nope not even a trace. I even used to tell people that in response to the question of why I wasn't wearing green on St. Patrick's day. In reality it was usually just that I had forgotten, but I always said it was because I was NOT Irish.

Now while I'm not Irish, I am definitely Scottish. Two of my great-grandparents were born in Scotland so one quarter of the blood in my veins in purely Scottish. The good news for me as I started to explore this part of my heritage is that Scotland has so many records digitized and available at ScotlandsPeople (which is a fee site and well worth the money in my opinion.) So, there I was sitting at home in my pj's tracing my ancestors in Scotland in the 1800's more easily than I can trace most of my ancestors here in the US for that same time period. I would find a death record and work back to a marriage or birth record and I was just sailing right along. I also looked as come census records for good measure. This was EASY!

And then I came to Thomas SWINTON. He was an early Tombstone Tuesday post and all of a sudden, I couldn't find where someone had been born (or baptised.) I had a marriage record for Thomas and Elspeth SOUTAR 27 Dec 1828. I also had a death certificate for Thomas 19 March 1892. There was surprisingly little information on this document. I say surprising because on his wife's death certificate ten years earlier, their son Thomas, who was the informant in both case, had been able to list not only his mother's parents' names, but also his grandfather's occupation and his grandmother's maiden name. Everything completely filled out. In the case of his father the only information he could give was his grandfather's name, Robert. Nothing on his grandmother at all and no occupation listed for his grandfather.

Still, I thought this would be relatively easy to pursue. I started looking at census information for Thomas to find the parish where he was born. I felt that given a location, approximate age and father's name I could find what I was looking for. OK, great plan - 1851 lists Thomas as being born in Ceres, Fife with an age of 41 that would put his birth at roughly 1810. Quick search - nothing. Expand search for a birth year of 1800 - 1820 - nothing.

OK, moving on to the 1861 census which lists Ceres again but has his age as 57 which would put his birth year at approximately 1804. I've already looked at that. Move on to the 1871 census which now lists his place of birth as St. Andrews and his age at 60 - he sure hadn't aged much in 10 year! Another quick search expanding birth range back to 1795 and taking in ALL of Fife - nothing. Moving on to 1881 census which again lists St. Andrews and age of 72 so nothing new to search. In desperation I decided to look from January, 1795 to December of 1820 for ALL of Scotland - NOTHING.

Wearily I pulled up the 1891 census. At this point his wife was gone and his children all married. He was living alone, still on South St in St. Andrews, 83 years old, listed as a retired shoemaker. Everything is looking about the same and then I focus in on the "Were Born" field. Listed there - IRELAND. Wow - could this be why I could not find a birth record for him, the reason that he had several different birth locations listed when all the other members of the family stayed the same throughout all their census listings? Would this be why his son didn't seem to know anything about his father's parents? Since Thomas is now living alone this would possibly be the only time that he had answered the census questions himself.

I have to admit that I haven't looked for Thomas any further. I meant to post about him as my brickwall ancestor but felt that he couldn't really be a brickwall if I hadn't even looked. I guess I am a little intimidated trying to figure out where to even start. I never read anything about researching in Ireland because after all, I'm NOT Irish. It's just that now, possibly, just possibly, 1/32nd of my blood is Irish ~ and I wore green today!

Tombstone Tuesday ~ from Scotland

While in Scotland in the summer of 2007, I was (not surprisingly) photographing gravestones. We were in a relatively small graveyard in Oyne and I was taking pictures of all the BENZIE stones I could find. Given the size of the cemetery, there were an amazing number of them! I have not yet worked on this line, so I have no idea if the person commemorated on this stone is a relative, but I do believe that all the Benzie's here are related in some way. It's just rather hard to work out with the Scottish method of naming and all the men seem to end up being named either William or James! Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I have an amazing number of them to sort out.

I found this stone especially interesting as it is a memorial, rather than a gravestone, since the people were not buried here.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Family Events ~ March 15 - 21

March 15, 1881 ~ My great-great-grandparents, Rudolph GRABER and Emma ZAUGG were married in Apple Creek, Ohio.

March 18, 1900 ~ My great-grandaunt Laura GRABER's husband, Charles RITTENHOUSE was born.

March 19, 1852 ~ My third great-grandparents (parents of Emma) Jacob ZAUGG and Anna BARTCHEY were married in Switzerland.

March 19, 1892 ~ My third great-grandfather, Thomas SWINTON died in St. Andrews Scotland. [mentioned at the very bottom of this stone]

March 20, 1759 ~ My fifth great-grandfather, Jakob ZAUGG was reportedly born in Eggiwill, Switzerland.* [grandfather of Jacob ZAUGG above]

March 20, 1844 ~ My great-great-grandmother, Caroline FLORY was born near Apple Creek, Ohio.

March 21, 1759 ~ My fifth great-grandmother, Anna SCHENK [wife of Jakob] was reportedly born in Langnau, Switzerland.*

March 21, 1913 ~ My grandmother, Lela Mable SAURER was born near Apple Creek, Ohio.

March 21, 1966 ~ My brother-in-law's great-grandfather, the Reverend Enoch Melvin MOUSER died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

*I have no real verification or good sources for these events but have been "told" by other researchers.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday Night Fun ~ Sunday Morning Style

I tried the Saturday night fun that Randy Seaver always posts over on his great blog, but I didn't get around to finishing it until this morning. So, here are my two results. The first is just a raw list of names and I didn't do anything to the counts. It was interesting because it reflects which names at the most prominent in my database. Somtimes it is just because there were large families and I happen to have entered all the children I found. [I can't figure out how to make there bigger, so if you are intersted you'll have to click on them to really see them]

Wordle: SurnameWordle

The second is on that I "forced" to optimize the names roughly by generation - how closely they were to me (or my sister's children in the case of her husband's family.) I think I like the second one better.

Wordle: SurnameWordle2

Thanks Randy for pointing out this fun site for creating these "Wordles"!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Rudolph & Emma GRABER

Rudolph 1853 ~ 1918
Emma, his Wife 1860 ~ 1919
Apple Creek Cemetery, Apple Creek, Ohio

I've decided that this is "Graber Week" at Random Relatives! Rudy and Emma are the parents of my Random Relative from yesterday, Laura Graber Rittenhouse.

I have a number of pictures of Rudy & Emma including this one which I believe was taken at the time of their wedding in 1881.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Big Sister and Little Brothers ~ Through the Years

The word prompt for the 11th Edition of Smile for the Camera is brothers and sisters. We are asked to show that picture from our family photographs that shows our rendition of brothers & sisters.

I am fortunate to have many pictures of my Mom and her brothers, so this seemed the ideal time and place to display just a few. I happen to think they are totally adorable children ~ and naturally my Mom is the cutest of the lot!! So first, a more formal portrait of the trio and then a few snapshots.

[Jacqulin, baby brother Jack and middle brother, Robert]

All dressed up for Easter in Denver, CO.

Traveling across Kansas ~ as much "fun" then as it is now!

Heading off for school in Hamilton, OH - big sister is still the tallest...slightly.

By the time big sister is graduating from high school, both little brothers are taller than she is - even "baby" Jack at only 12 years old.

Fast forward about 25 years ~ big sister is in the back on the far left, "baby" Jack is to the far right with Robert next to him...both are well over 6 feet tall while big sister never made it over 5' 4"...but she never let the fact that they both tower over her deter her from ruling the roost. She is, after all, the big sister and that is something that never changed!!

Family Events ~ March 8 - 14

[still catching up...]

Elsie RITCHIE - my great-great aunt was born on March 8, 1869 in St. Andrews, Scotland.

James RITCHIE - my great-great uncle (Elsie's younger brother) was born on March 9, 1879 in St. Andrews, Scotland

Helen Cormack BENZIE - my great-great aunt was born on March 11, 1888 in Inverurie, Scotland.

Jane Emslie BENZIE - my great-great aunt (older sister of Helen) was born on March 12, 1882 in Inverurie, Scotland.

Random Relative of the Week - Mar 9, 2009

[I haven't been doing so well with my Random Relative posts...it's been a month since the last one! I will try to do better in March.]


Born July 12, 1901 ~ near Apple Creek, Ohio

Died March 30, 1985 ~ Wooster, Ohio

Laura was my great-great aunt and as I mentioned in a previous Tombstone Tuesday post, she is the source of most of the information I have on the Graber side of my family.

What was so interesting about talking to Aunt Laura was that she was a link back to a generation beyond my grandparents, even though she was their contemporary in age. Laura was the youngest child in the Graber family and my great-grandmother [Ella GRABER SAURER] was the oldest in that family. When my great-grandma Ella was having her first child, her own mother [Emma ZAUGG] was having her last child. That is the source of this Wordless Wednesday picture from a number of weeks ago.

So, while my great-grandmother past away when I was not yet 5 years old, Aunt Laura came to my high school graduation ~ and was around many years after that! She was the keeper of a photo album in which she had picture of all the families of her brothers and sisters. Her father, Rudolph Graber - subject of last week's Wordless Wednesday post - had come to Ohio from Switzerland as a young man. Aunt Laura wrote about him for a county history book and I have her hand-written account. She was more interested in his descendants than in his "pedigree", but she did have a picture of his father and mother.

I was fortunate enough to inherit Aunt Laura's book from my grandmother. It was in one of those horrid magnetic albums, so I spent some time scanning the pages and then taking them all apart and carefully putting the pictures in an archival album. I also put the scanned pages into a Kodak Gallery album to give to my Dad and my uncle. As it turned out, several people saw the book and have ordered copies of their own. Most all of Rudy's descendants knew about "Aunt Laura's Book" because we all had to send pictures of ourselves to her periodically.

This is one of my real goals - to share all these one-of-a-kind items with relatives. It's one of the best things about technology...now, instead of this compilation of pictures and history that Aunt Laura made being just "mine", it can easily be shared with all Rudy & Emma's descendants!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ 03/04/2009

Rudolph Graber, Wayne County Ohio, [1880/1890?] ~ don't know the name of the cow!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ and a Story

APR. 29, 1864
SEPT. 27, 1940
MAR. 24, 1863
DEC. 11, 1934

Along with this TT, comes a story.

Nellie & William are my great-great grandparents. Thanks to my Grandpa Quick I know quite a bit about his grandparents. I know that they met in Ohio and married January 1, 1884. I know that they went out west to Colorado sometime after that - certainly by 1887 when their son William was born. I know that not only Nellie and her husband went west, but also Nellie's sister Sophie and brother John - her only living siblings - ended up in Colorado. I know that Nellie's parents both came to Colorado as well and that they are buried in Lafayette, Colorado. I know that Nellie is buried in Fairmont Cemetery in Denver, Colorado because I took this picture and have visited there more than once.

What I didn't know until yesterday was why, this summer when I decided to request her death certificate along with a few others, the nice people at the Colorado Vital Records Department were unable to find it. Oh they looked - they looked under her maiden name as well as her married name and they looked through all of 1940 but to no avail. The funny thing is, I almost didn't request her death cert, because I didn't expect it to tell me anything anyway. I knew her parents names, I even knew her mother's maiden name as well as where Nellie herself was born. Also, Colorado birth and death certificates are not cheap. But for some reason I filled out a form for her and included it...and came up blank.

Well, that made no sense. I knew when she died, so obviously this was just a record that somehow was misfiled or not recorded ~ right?? The only thing I hadn't check was how it was that I KNEW she died in Colorado. Because when it came right down to it, I didn't really have any source for that conclusion other than the fact that her whole family lived in Colorado including her children and grandchildren - so where else would she have been? Well, not surprisingly, when a person leaves the place they had grown up, and doesn't leave until they are an adult and married they just might still have ties back there even if not family ties! (Why is it still so hard to think of some of my ancestors as three-dimensional PEOPLE?!)

I found through the Denver Library's Western History and Genealogy website that there was an obituary published for Nellie. I ask a volunteer at RAOGK if they would be able to obtain a copy for me. Well, yesterday in the mail I got a copy of a standard obituary as well as a brief article. The article is titled, "Nellie Eickelberg, Denver Mining Man's Widow, Dies in Ohio.

Wow - I'm so glad this is my year to clean up my database and put my facts in order. It will force me to find all the things that I've just always "thought" were true because someone told me or just assumptions that I made back when I was starting out.

Anyway - I NOW have a death certificate for Nellie because the Ohio death certs for that time are online at the FamilySearch and this time, I not only know where she died, I also know how I know!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Family Events ~ March 1 - 7

William BENZIE - my great-great-grandfather died on March 2, 1922 in Inverurie, Scotland.

Erma Christina GRABER MALCUIT - my great-great-aunt died on March 3, 1984 in Ohio.

Anna STETLER - my 4x great-grandmother died on March 5, 1882 in Wayne County, Ohio.

James Swinton RITCHIE - my great-uncle was born on March 7, 1912 in Cleveland, Ohio.

[Something that I am shamelessly stealing from Julie over at GenBlog is this idea of showing what events happened during the coming week in my family history. Thanks Julie!!]