Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday ~ More from the ACPL

While in Fort Wayne, at the wonderful Allen County Public Library, one of the people on our "guided tour" was busily scouring books for various bits of information. As I mentioned in my fishing analogy the other day, some people like the guide to do everything including baiting the hook, while others just need to be rowed to the right spot and left alone to fish.

Rosalie (Rosie) Day was one of the latter and she has an amazing ability to find seemingly random, un-indexed tidbits of great information.  While any of us could Google "Kosciusko County cemeteries" [well, OK, only those of you who are really, REALLY good spellers could Google anything that starts off with "Kosciusko"!!], Rosie was able to find the exact location, including the row number, of the grave of Simon Wyland.  She has been hoping to be able to visit the cemetery after leaving the library and now she knew just what she needed.

In the Kosciusko County, Indiana Cemetery Records, Vol II by Lester H. Binnie there on pg 44 was this entry:

There was also a nice picture of the layout of the cemetery along with some history.

Rosie is the great-grandniece of the wife of Simon Wyland. Rosie knew where Mary (Long) Wyland was buried in Garnett, Kansas, and wanted to complete the family history by locating Simon's final resting place.

So, after some "fishing" in the library, Rosie and her daughter-in-law Wanda (who took all the pictures you are seeing) were able to go directly to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery and take pictures of the stone Rosie had been looking for. 

Rosalie Day standing next to the stone of her Civil War ancestor, Simon Wyland

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More From the ACPL ~ How We Found Cölpin

[Sorry I didn't update this yesterday as I'm sure you've all been on the edges of your respective seats.  The group went out to dinner after spending the last day in the library and between the somewhat late hour and the wine and the need to get up early today, I opted for sleep rather than blogging.]

So, I left off Friday with the question of where to find Cölpin, or more specifically, in what parish would the church records be found?  I came to the library on Friday morning all ready to tackle what I thought would be an easy "find."  I knew that the ACPL had The Map Guides to German Parish Records books so all I would need to do was grab the appropriate one - Mecklenburg-Strelitz - and find my answer.

First thing on Friday, I grabbed the book out of the stacks and went back to the table to dive in.  Checked the index and NO CÖLPIN!  Now I'm a genealogist after all so I don't let a little thing like spelling deter me.  I immediately look for Kölpin and find not one but two.  The books don't have actual maps - more like general sketches of the area.  They are mostly meant to help you figure out in which parish an already-located town would be.  So I'm trying to figure out generally where these 2 Kölpin's would be but in reading more carefully I see that they are both in Mecklenburg-Schwerin and neither are in Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

 The spelling doesn't concern me, but the location does.  As I mentioned yesterday, William Eickelberg's passport application is very specific in saying he was born in Mecklenburg-Strelitz.  Also, the 1870 census entry that I had recently found shows the birth place of all the members of the family as "Strellitz Mecklenberg."  I have to accept that they knew where they lived and it seemed that neither of the Kölpins in the book could be right.  After dithering around with google maps (and finding in present day Germany both a Cölpin and a Kölpin) and looking at the book for awhile I decided to seek some council from our "guide."

So, Michael looks at the google map locations and we look at a big map in the library but are not further enlightened.  Finally he says that he wants to look at a map resource online that he thinks might help us.  I have to admit that as I am watching him type in "Wisconsin maps German Empire" I'm thinking, "Has he not been listening? - my ancestors were NEVER in Wisconsin, they went to Ohio."  He must have caught that look I have because he sort of chuckled and said that the maps are housed at the University of Wisconsin Madison so that's best way to find them.  OH!

In pretty short order he found an entry for Kölpin as follows:

Please note that the first entry clearly states it's in "Mecklenb-Strel" - YEAH that's what we want!!  So a little more searching and here it is:

What's more in looking very closely at the map I see close by another small town - Spanholz.  In reviewing the passenger list, the people listed right before the Eickelberg family are from Spanholz.  So now, lesson number 27 (or something like that, I've lost count) is re-enforced - look at who else is traveling with your relatives.  Well, maybe not "with" - I don't know that they are together.  But this is definitely another match that tells me this is the correct town.  Wow - I was just so happy at this point.  I've wanted to be able to research my ancestors in Germany and this is the first step in doing that!!

That's not the end of the story however.  With the help of this wonderful map I begin to narrow down, based on the towns around, exactly which parish is correct.  I look up Stargard and some of the others and begin to pinpoint the area.  Then, I decide it's so close to the edge of what I'm looking at, that I need to look at the parish bordering to the south.  I pick a city and find where that is in the book and what do I find?  There, on the page, big as life is listed "Cölpin" the city I was looking for all along!!  I recheck the index a few more times, but it's just not there!

Recounting this story at lunch I came to the realization that I was actually GLAD that it hadn't been there.  If it had I would have simply noted the parish and the numbers of the films that I could look up and been done.  Instead I was introduced to this wonderful map resource.  It's beautiful and I'd encourage anyone with German ancestors to check it out.  If you remember nothing else, just remember to google "Wisconsin map German Empire" and it will be right at the top!

All smiles as we find Kölpin

A big thanks to Wanda Hunter Day, one of the great people I meet on this trip, for capturing the pictures of that fun moment when we spotted Kölpin!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fishing With A Guide, or What I Found at the ACPL Today

If you've read my blog before and seen my Bucketed List post, you will know that one of the things I've done is to go fishing in Alaska.  On that trip my friends and I commented more than once about how very glad we were that we had decided to hire a guide.  Not only did he row the boat (no noisy motors for us!) but he also helped us as much or little as we each needed.  For me, not being a "fisher-person", I was more than happy to let him bait the hook, take the fish off etc.  Nancy's husband Bob, on the other hand, needed nothing more than for the boat to stop and he was ready to fish.

So, what, you might ask, does this have to do with genealogy??  Have I change from "Random Relatives" to simply Random??  Nope - it's just that the last few days a small group of us have been enjoying the Allen County Public Library with Michael John Neill (who writes the great Casefile Clues) as our "guide."

Today was a great example of what this meant for me.  I have been discussing one of my German relatives with Michael.  William Eickelberg was born in Germany in 1863 and came to this country as a small child.  [picture is William Eickelberg as a young man with his family in about 1887/1888]  I've felt fortunate that in one of the census records I've found (1880, Meigs Co, Ohio) it is  specifically noted as "Mechlinberg."  Even better, on a passport application that I had found on Ancestry.com it showed that he had been born in Mecklenburg Strelitz.

Certainly that narrows it down - and Mecklenburg Strelitz is the smaller of the two Duchies of Mecklenburg - but still it's not enough to look at church records.  I needed a town.  Well to condense this somewhat - yesterday evening I found the passenger list for the family!  Not only that but I had a few lessons re-learned along the way.

I had actually seen this in an index earlier and dismissed it because only the father's name was right.  The children didn't seem right and the wife's age was all wrong.  Also, the index had "unknown" for the town were they came from so really, what did it matter anyway, right?!?!  I knew about when and about where - I needed a town.  Of course the first rule that we all know, myself included, is LOOK AT THE ORIGINAL IMAGE anyway. 

When Michael looked at the passport application with me - and pointed out a few things about naturalization laws along the way! - I decided to look again because the dates matched and were fairly specific - September, 1865.  (The date of the passenger list on the index at Castle Garden.org and the date William had on his passport when he had come over from Germany.)

I had to page through the images because this year (on the Hamburg passenger lists) is not indexed and the handwritten index seemed as much work as just looking at a few months.  Before too long there it was - and there was a town plainly indicated ~ Cölpin!

Also, the wife's age, which had been transcribed as 22 clearly showed 32 - which was a match.  Between the time I first looked at the index for this record and now when I was looking at the actual record, I had found the family in the 1870 census and found the "additional" child who had seemed out of place before - so again, this was now a match.  Second lesson, go back and review some of those items in your list of failures (you do keep that list, right??)  Sometime new information will shed new light on records.  The names still are not exactly what I would expect for the son and wife, but for the daughter, "Annie" in English and "Johanna" in German are close enough.

This was great - this was thrilling - but the search for Cölpin would prove even more interesting.  (I know that many of you have already jumped on Google and are saying to yourselves, "easy - there it is" but the challenge is - what German parish does it belong to?  If I wanted to now look at church records, I need to know that.  And for those of you with the complete 33 vol set of Map Guides to German Parish records at hand - it's not in the index!

How did my guide help solve that problem?  Tune in tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More Fun at the Midwest Family History Expo

Another person I got to meet at the Family History Expo was Lisa Alzo, who writes the great blog at The Accidental Genealogist.

Not only did I get to meet Lisa but I also got to hang out with her at the blogger table and I attended her great class on “Finding Your Female Ancestors.”

While Lisa certainly gave us some great tips on locating female ancestors, I would say that the session was about so much more than just finding them.  It was focused on finding out about them, about telling their stories. Lisa has such a passion for this topic that it was just contagious. (Be sure to see who else Lisa has inspired by checking out Susan Petersen’s post on this same session.)  

Giving these female ancestors a voice is something that Lisa wants us all to do and she has done just that in her book, Three Slovak Woman.  She exhorted all of us to do the same.   Lisa's enthusiasm and passion for the subject started me thinking about a number of women in my own family tree. While I can't imagine that I could actually write a book, I can at least begin to document the struggles some of my ancestors had and try to better understand their lives.

I have this picture which is labeled simply “Four generations”

The little boy is my grandfather, Jack H Quick (1911 - 1999) and I can easily identify his mother (Nelle Eickelberg 1885 - 1970) and her mother, his grandmother (Nellie Auflick 1864 - 1940) from the many other pictures I have of each of these woman.

So, is the older woman Margaret Hannington (1830 - 1914), Nellie's mother, who died when Jack was 3 1/2?  He looks young enough in this picture to make that possible.  Or is this perhaps Louisa (1835 - 1928), wife of William Eickelberg, even though that would make her Nellie's mother-in-law and not her mother?

I do know from my Grandpa’s stories that his great-grandma Eickelberg did live with them for a time. He used to call her "little grandma" and apparently tormented her because she couldn't chase after him!  He once told me that he had to be careful to stay out of the reach of her cane or she would whack him with it. (and from other stories he's told me I'm sure he richly deserved to be whacked!)

Regardless, both women are people I should know more about. Both followed roughly similar paths, coming across the ocean to first settle in Ohio and then end up in Colorado.  Margaret came from England while Louisa came over from Germany without that advantage of knowing the language. Margaret moved from Ohio to Colorado with her husband, Thomas Auflick while Louisa buried her husband in Ohio and then later moved to Colorado when her daughter's family left Ohio.

I often wonder if Louisa wanted to go?  Of course with no other family that I have found - she was living with her daughter -  there was probably no other option. Her name was on the other side of her husband's marker I found in the Minersville Hill Cemetery in Ohio so clearly she intended to be buried there.  Of course Margaret had buried 4 children in Ohio and no woman's life in the mid-1800's was going to be an easy one!

So, I need to start understanding more about what their lives might have been like.  Even if I don't write a book, I can pass that knowledge on to future generations at least informally. It's up to me to make sure that they don't become anonymous names and dates on my pedigree chart!

“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman”. ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fun at the Midwest Family History Expo

While I was at the Midwest Family History Expo this past weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Smith aka “Dr. Bill” from Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories

This was a double pleasure since I am currently reading his book Back to the Homeplace (conveniently available on my Kindle!) and really enjoying it. Earlier, there had been a discussion on Facebook (started by Susan Petersen) regarding e-books and how one would “autograph” an e-book. Well, Dr. Bill solved that for me by presenting me with this:

In thinking about the whole e-book/autograph issue, I find that, for me anyway, the thrill is not so much having a book with a signature – that I may or may not be able to read – but in getting to meet a real live author! I’m always a little in awe of someone who can write books.* Now I just need to figure out if I can uploaded the picture to my Kindle – so I can have the autograph with the book!

More “Fun From the Family History Expo” tomorrow ~ because believe me, we had more fun that just one post can contain!

* "...if she had only books, that she might learn for herself what wise men knew! Saints and martyrs had never interested Maggie so much as sages and poets."
           from The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot