Saturday, July 18, 2020

Events on the Day Emma Virginia Bickerstaff Was Born

This was last night's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, suggested by Randy Seaver of GeneaMusings:
What happened in the world on the day your maternal grandmother was born?  Tell us the date, the place, and find a newspaper page for that date, ideally from the place she was born.  What are some of the headlines?  What was the weather? 

Emma Virginia Bickerstaff was born on Thursday, July 6, 1893, near Steubenville, Ohio, to Edward Jesse and Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff.  Steubenville published five or six newspapers at that time but none are available online.  The nearest city with a newspaper I can view at home was published in Wheeling, West Virginia, a distance of about 26 miles (by current roads and highways).

These are some of the front page headlines from The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer of July 6, 1896.
  • The Money Question, New York.  Regarding the scarcity of currency
  • The Iron Scale, Pittsburgh, PA.  About local iron manufacturers agreeing to Amalgamated Association wages
  • A Millionaire's Daughter, New York.  Miss Edith Drake, 27, disappeared from home
  • Blood Will Flow, Inez, Ky.  Requesting that Andrew Farmer be given up to be lynched after a drunken row
  • Five Burned to Death, Gagetown, Mich.  The house was struck by lightening
  • At the World's Fair, World's Fair Grounds, Chicago.  Great crowds continue
  • The Riots in Paris.  Trouble began at a students' ball and the lawless element took advantage of the opportunity to make themselves felt
  • Ten Buildings Burned, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Several Lives Lost, St. Paul, Minn.  A floating bethel (a floating home for rivermen) burned, two women and four men lost their lives
  • Terrible Storm, Reading, PA.  Great destruction caused by hail in eastern Pennsylvania
  • The Mine Disaster, London.  Results of a disastrous explosion at Ingram's colliery, Thorn Hill, Yorkshire
  • The Royal Wedding To-Day, London.  Wedding of the Duke of York and Princess May

The weather report for West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, and Ohio, in the lower right hand corner of the front page, predicted fair weather with westerly winds.  It gave the previous day's temperatures with a morning low of 70o and a mid-day high of 99o

Other international, national, state, and local news articles were scattered throughout the rest of the paper.

Thoughts and Observations
My great-grandmother, with a newborn and a 1½-years-old, was probably miserable if she didn't have electricity and fans in her home, assuming the temperatures on July 6 were similar to those on July 5. 

I don't believe the events recorded on the front page would have impacted Emma's family in any particular way, and I doubt much on the other pages of the paper would have affected them either.

Thanks for the genealogy fun, Randy.


Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Died Early, Born Late

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun at Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings was to answer this question:   How Many Ancestors Have You "Met?"

1) Write down which of your ancestors that you have met in person (yes, even if you were too young to remember them).
2) Tell us their names, where they lived, and their relationship to you in a blog post, or in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook.

Many of the ancestors I could have known died at early ages of unusual cases, and being the youngest child of my parents, I was born late.  I regret that I have met exactly and only four of my ancestors.

Audrey (Meinzen) Doyle (1915-1997), my mother, was born in Warren, Ohio, where she lived for a few years of her childhood.  She lived most of her life in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, except for a few years back in Warren while she was a nursing student and in Niles, Ohio for a few years after her marriage.

Lee Doyle (1913-1987), my father, was born in Stoneboro, Pennsylvania, where he lived for the first 20 or 21 years of his life.  From there he moved to Niles, Ohio, where he lived until after his marriage to my mother in 1938.  He lived the rest of his life in Mineral Ridge, Ohio.

Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen (1893-1973), my maternal grandmother, was born in Mingo Junction, Ohio.  She lived there and in neighboring towns, including Steubenville, until she was about 20, when she moved with her parents to Mineral Ridge, Ohio.  When she married, she and her husband lived in Warren, Ohio, for a few years, then moved to Mineral Ridge.

William Carl Robert Meinzen (1892-1979), my maternal grandmother, was born in Steubenville, Ohio, and lived there until his marriage in 1914.  He and his wife lived in Warren, Ohio, for a few years, then moved to Mineral Ridge, Ohio, where they both spend the rest of their lives.

Thanks for the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Randy.


Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Monday, June 29, 2020

Introverts, Extroverts, Newspapers, and Ancestors

newspaper article about Fred Gerner having his fingers amputated in Butler Citizen, September 9, 1918, p. 3, col. 5advertisement for J. I. Case sulky plowI am always thrilled to find snippets of information about my ancestors in newspapers.  Not long ago I found a tiny news article in the September 8, 1918, issue of the Butler Citizen that told me my great-grandfather, Fred Gerner, had caught his hand in a sulky plow which required amputation of some of his fingers.  Ouch!  It's not an accident you'd hope for anyone but interesting information to learn.

Other than a brief notice that Fred Gerner's will was being probated (which was in a newspaper in an adjacent county) this article about his accident with the plow is the only other time I've found Fred Gerner's name in a newspaper.  Fred and his wife Elvira had plenty of experiences when they could have been in the paper.  With 15 children you'd think they would have been mentioned in news articles about marriages.  Or, when two of their little girls died, one of poisoning, you'd think there would have been something in a newspaper about that.  Many old newspapers, as far as I can tell, were magnets for sensational news stories.  But no, nothing about my great-grandfather Fred Gerner.  Not even an obituary.

When I told my daughter about this article and the accident, her response was something like, "Oh, how awful to have been published in a newspaper, especially for an accident like that!"  She and I are both introverts and generally private about our personal affairs.  I agreed it would be awful to be in the newspaper for that reason, or almost any reason.  And then I began to wonder how much I could tell about whether an ancestor leaned toward being an introvert or an extrovert based on newspaper articles.  Perhaps not much.  But, on the other hand, maybe at least a little.

Henry Meinzen's big radish in Steubenville Herald-Star on October 15, 1898Henry Meinzen's 12' corn stalk mentioned in Steubenville Herald-Satr, September 7, 1899 I've found more in newspapers about my Meinzen ancestors than any other family line.  There were accidents, marriages, obituaries, and two articles about my great--grandfather, Henry Meinzen showing off vegetables he grew.  At the time of the articles, right, he was a gardener living outside of Steubenville proper.  When he grew several plants to great size, a six pound radish and a 12 foot corn stalk, he toted them to the newspaper office in the nearby city where they were put on display and announced in the local newspaper, the Herald-Star (on Oct. 15, 1898, and Sept. 7, 1899).  Those are the actions of an extrovert!

My daughter reminded me of the time my husband sampled an insect at the state fair which resulted in a paragraph in a local newspaper.  He is positively an extrovert.

If I were to base personality on the number of times I see ancestors in newspaper articles I would have to say that most of my ancestors were introverts, or leaned that way, because it is rare to find news articles about them.  In reality that's probably not a fair basis for knowing an ancestor's personality.  Many ancestors lived in rural areas where small, local news items may not have been collected and published or where there may not have been local newspapers.

The idea of personality traits among my ancestors, including being an introvert or extrovert, is fascinating to me.  Would we have become friends?  Would we have enjoyed each others' company?  The only real resources to determine personality are from those who knew ancestors, someone who was a contemporary or a younger person who remembers the ancestor, or from someone who'd heard stories passed down.  That's a rare occurrence in my family.

If searching newspapers for articles about ancestors, be sure to determine whether the locale where they lived had more than one newspaper.  If so, pay attention to which newspaper was the gossipy one, the one that published snippets of who visited whom, who was courting whom, etc.  With today's OCR it's easier than ever to search for news articles about ancestors.

Do you have stories or news articles about ancestors that suggest his or her personality?


Sunday, May 31, 2020

How to Find the Most Indexing Options at FamilySearch

Until a few months ago this is how I found projects to index.  Along the top of the FamilySearch screen to the right of its logo, I clicked the Indexing tab and from the dropdown menu chose the option Find a Project.  When this screen appeared, I chose the country I wanted.

FamilySearch Find a Project Indexing Screen

The screen below is what I saw today after choosing the United States.  It offered me three projects to index.  Only three.

FamilySearch Find a Project Indexing Screen Current Projects

A few months ago when I clicked the Indexing tab, I chose Web Indexing from the dropdown menu to see what that was about.

FamilySearch Web Indexing screen

I learned that I have my own indexing dashboard!  It tells me my indexing totals, my progress (there's a graph when I scroll down), and has messages (which sometimes tell me that specific projects are priorities for indexing).  It also offers me a little blue box, Find Batches.  I clicked it, just to see.

FamilySearch Web Indexing Find Batches screen

Oh my goodness, there are so many more indexing options than the three I found when I clicked Find a Project!  Today, when I took this screenshot, there were 55 record groups in English available for indexing.  Just recently they've started using a grey background for the high-priority batches, but I can choose any batch I want to index.

At this screen, I can also choose
> whether I want to index or review
> the level of indexing I want to do (beginning, intermediate, or advanced)
> the language I want
Changing any of those settings changes the batches available for indexing.

Many of you who index consistently for FamilySearch probably already know about web indexing but if you don't, you'll be pleased to know more record sets are available.

This post was prompted by a comment I saw yesterday by someone who found only four record sets to index at FamilySearch.  I wish I remember where I saw the comment because I would tell him or her, "There's more!  Look at web indexing!"

Happy indexing!

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Friday, May 8, 2020

Two Brothers

These are brothers William -- Bill -- and Lee Doyle.  To be accurate, they are half-brothers who share the same father, Gust Doyle.  Lee is my father. 

More than 13 years separate them:  Bill was born in 1926, Lee in 1913.  Lee's mother died soon after he was born.  When Gust remarried, his second wife was not keen on the little three-year-old boy who came with her new husband.  It seems she did what she could to turn others against him.  In many ways she succeeded, but not completely.

Bill and Lee both grew up on the family farm in Steoneboro, Pennsylvania.  Their father died in 1933.  A year later Lee left the farm.  He was 21 and William was only 7.  Lee never returned to the farm.

It amazes me that somehow their relationship continued despite the separation in their youth.  William's sister and Lee's half-sister, Tressa, was part of this trio of siblings who remained friendly.  Throughout their adult lives the three of them and their families got together at least once or twice a year to enjoy each other's company.

This photo was taken in about 1960 while William and his family were visiting Lee's family.

This post is a contribution to Sepia Saturday 519.  Thanks for hosting, Alan.


Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Monday, April 27, 2020

The 7-Day Indexing Challenge

Are you participating in the 7-Day Indexing Challenge at FamilySearch to index one batch a day?  I index on Sunday afternoons but I appreciate this challenge because it encourages me to index every day.  One batch doesn't take long and I think of it as one small way I can give back for all the documents I've found at FamilySearch at no cost to me.

The past few days I've been indexing Arizona birth records but in the past I've indexed Civil War and other military records, immigration records, death records, U.S. Census records, among others. 

If you haven't indexed before and wonder what it's about or how it looks, here's a screenshot of the birth records I was indexing today.  These appeared to be part of an index compiled by the county to make the records easier to find in their volumes of birth records.  They were all in alphabetical order.

On the right is the information to be indexed.  On the left are the pieces of specific information to be typed in as found on the card.  For this record that included:  given and surname of infant; sex (if on the original record); birth month, day, and year; location; father's given and surnames; mother's given and surnames.

It took so little time to complete the five cards in this batch that I indexed four more batches.  Some batches are harder and take more time.  Some records are not typed, in which case we have to read handwriting.  And sometimes the batches have more than five records.

There are instructions with helpful images to explain the project and near the box for every response I type there is a little round question mark.  When I click on that it gives me information for about specific response.

If you get a batch that you feel you just can't do, you can always return it, no questions asked.

I extend to you the challenge to index.  Will you accept?


Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Sunday, April 19, 2020

1850 or 2020 Census? I'd Rather Have the 1850, Please

In March, 2020, our mailbox received not just one but three pieces of mail from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Two were envelopes, the other a postcard.  All three announced that our response was required by law.  And census day wasn't until April 1.  With so many deaths from this pandemic I wonder if the descendants of some early responders to the census questions might be confused by seeing an ancestor listed as alive in the census on April 1, 2020, yet finding a death certificate for the ancestor dated sometime in March, 2020.

Responding to the questions online, all 13 of them, brought to mind the 1850 U.S. census with its 13 questions.  They rival each other for brevity, if not content.  I know the U.S. Census was not created to benefit family historians but from a family history viewpoint I'd rather have the 1850 census over the 2020 any day.  You? 

Just for interest's sake, here are the questions from each of these two census years.  The questions asked on the 1850 U. S. Census (and all other years except 2020) can be found at United States Census Index of Questions.  The questions on the 2020 U.S. Census can be found at United States Census 2020 - Questions Asked on the Form where you can read why the questions were asked and a guide for responding if you have any doubts.

1850 U.S. Census, Questions for Free Inhabitants  (Census date was June 1.)
  1. Number of dwelling house (in order visited)
  2. Number of family (in order visited)
  3. Name
  4. Age
  5. Sex
  6. Color  (This column was to be left blank if a person was White, marked "B" if a person was Black, and marked "M" if a person was Mulatto.)
  7. Profession, occupation, or trade of each person over 15 years of age
  8. Value of real estate owned by person
  9. Place of Birth  (If a person was born in the United States, the enumerator was to enter the state they were born in. If the person was born outside of the United States, the enumerator was to enter their native country.)
  10. Was the person married within the last year?
  11. Was the person at school within the last year?
  12. If this person was over 20 years of age, could they read and write?
  13. Is the person "deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict?

2020 Census Questions  (Census date was April 1.)
Questions 1-5 were household questions.  Numbers 6-13 were to be answered for each individual living at the address.
  1. Number of people living or staying at this address
  2. Name of each person who was living or staying at this address
  3. Was the house, apartment, or mobile home owned by you or someone in this household with a mortgage or loan; owned by you or someone in this household free and clear (without a mortgage or loan); rented; or occupied without payment of rent?
  4. Your telephone number
  5. Person's name
  6. Sex
  7. Age and date of birth
  8. Of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (with option to answer yes or no)?
  9. Race (Each option has a space to claim a more detailed ancestry such as Black or African American; American Indian or Alaska Native; Chinese; Asian Indian; Samoan; etc.)
  10. Name of Person 2 living at this address
  11. Does this person usually live or stay somewhere else?
  12. How is other person living in the home related to the first person?  (Respondent can choose from sixteen relationship options.)
There's not much overlap in the questions:  name, age, sex, color.  And location.

Paper-lover that I am, it's hard to imagine what this 2020 census would look like if it had to be compiled into a form other than online.  I love the paper census pages with columns of questions and rows with names and responses to the questions.  The organization makes it easy to view quickly as well as comb through carefully.  This 2020 Census will probably never be presented in such a simple format.

As brief and uninformative as the 2020 Census is (from a genealogist's viewpoint) there's a good chance that any of you reading this post and many others who won't but who are family historians, are already keeping records for yourself and your immediate family members which will give more information than a U.S. Census ever could.  Pity the new researcher in 2092 who's just beginning, hoping to find helpful information in the 2020 census.


Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Monday, March 16, 2020

Strong Female Ancestors for Women's History Month

I have found no new photos of any of my grandmothers since the time I made this collage a few years ago.  It seems grandmothers' photographs are hard to come by.  I believe each of these ladies were strong women:  character, morals, determination, abilities and capabilities, and for some, physically strong, as well.  Didn't they have to be strong when they lived during times when women labored in so many different ways to care for their families and were responsible for so much?!

Left to right, top row, bottom row
Audrey Meinzen Doyle, Emma Bickerstaff Meinzen, Mary Thompson Bickerstaff, Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen
Beulah Gerner Doyle, Elvira Bartley Gerner, Tressa Froman Doyle, Elizabeth Laws Doyle

These ladies are my mother, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and a great-great-grandmother.  The top row is my maternal line, the bottom, my paternal line. Here are briefest of histories of these ladies, their personal women's history, if you will, from between 1845 and 1997.

Audrey (Meinzen) Doyle, 1915-1997, my  mother
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Lived through the Great Depression
▸ Graduated from high school in 1933
▸ Graduated from nursing school in 1937 and worked as a nurse for a year
▸ Married, birthed and raised three children
▸ Lived through World War II
▸ Lived as a widow for 10 years

Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen, 1892-1973, my maternal grandmother
▸ Learned to read and write
▸ Married, birthed and raised four daughters
▸ Supported her husband's barber shop by washing and drying the towels
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Lived through World War I and World War II
▸ Worked in a bakery to earn money to put her youngest daughter through college

Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff, 1872-1940, my maternal great-grandmother
▸ Learned to read and write
▸ Lived through World War I
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Married, gave birth to nine children and raised eight
▸ Buried one child

Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen, 1852-1920, my maternal grandmother
▸ Immigrated to the U.S. as a young girl (after the Civil War)
▸ Married, gave birth to 15 children and raised 12
▸ Buried all but six of her children before she died
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Lived through World War I

Beulah (Gerner) Doyle, 1881-1913, my paternal grandmother
▸ Learned to read and write
▸ Married and gave birth to twins

Elvira (Bartley) Gerner, 1854-1943, my paternal great-grandmother
▸ Learned to read and write
▸ Married and birthed 16 children and raised 14
▸ Lived through the Civil War, World War I, and most of World War II
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Was a farm wife and a midwife

Tressa (Froman) Doyle, 1867-1936, my paternal great-grandmother
▸ Learned to read and write
▸ Married, gave birth to and raised three children
▸ Raised raised grandson
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Lived through World War I

Elizabeth (Laws) Doyle, 1845-1910, my paternal great-great-grandmother
▸ Could read and write
▸ Married and gave birth to 14 children, raised 11
▸ Immigrated to U.S. by herself with three little children (to meet her husband)
▸ Lived as a widow for two years

Looking at these brief statements about my foremothers one might think that their lives consisted of being born, learning to read and write, marrying, giving birth to children, and surviving wars and pandemics.  Knowing a little about the times in which they lived and knowing a little more about the lives of each, it's certain that they lived rich, full lives.  They all managed their homes, preserved and cooked food, cared for their husbands and children, and some, if not all, were involved in serving and working together with their neighbors, friends, and relatives. 

I'm of the opinion that one cannot change history.  We can view it from various perspectives.  We can edit out or ignore the parts we don't like, or embellish those we do.  We can research it in more detail.  But I believe the past is fixed, unable to be altered or changed in any way.  There are plenty of people who bemoan the limitations of women in the past.  But how can we compare their day with ours?  Times, circumstances, and the environment were different.  Desires and expectations were different.  Their lives were what they were.  I believe they have a right to be honored for who they were, whether they did great or small things by the world's standards.


Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

A Trio of Books for Women's History Month, 2019

In a year's time I usually read several good books related to women in history.  This year I came up a little short.   Still, I think these three are worth reading if the times and places are of interest to you.

The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women:  A Social History 
by Elizabeth Norton
     This book is organized into the seven ages of Tudor women which Norton categorized as infants; young ladies; marriage; tradeswomen; pilgrimages and punishments; settlements and proposals; and old age.  The author often uses well-known royal figures to describe the ages, though also includes “common” women to detail events in women’s lives.  (I suspect the information available through her research informed the author's decision about which women and details she could include.) 

The text was occasionally interrupted with sidebars that were two columns wide and sometimes a page or two long.  They were well-defined and placed so as not to interrupt the flow of the content and paragraphs both before and after them.  Some of the topics in these sidebars include, “A Pleasant Pastime for a Child,” Samplers and Stitchery,” “Those Things that Prohibit Conception,” “Cutpurses and Arsonists,” “Angels Food and Holy Maids,” etc.  You get the idea.  They were interesting and added depth to the rest of the content of the book.

One sentence gives a good idea about the standing of women at that time.
Despite everything they actually did to earn themselves, and their dependents, an income, for Tudor women it remained their marital status that defined them rather than the type of work, business or trade that they might pursue.  (p. 111)
Reading about and trying to imagine the situation of Tudor women, from birth throughout their lives into old age, makes me shudder.  It also makes me hold them in high esteem:  they were not weak women.  Looking from the perspective of 2020 to the Tudor age (1485-1603) I am grateful to be alive now, not only because of the near-equal standing of women in society but also because of the freedoms we enjoy and the modern conveniences we have.

If your ancestors come from England and you're interested in social history, you may enjoy this book and its look into the lives of women of that time.

Down Cut Shin Creek:  The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky 
by Kathi Appelt & Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer
     This is a children’s chapter book with many photos of the pack horse librarians, an imagined day with one of them, and an explanation of the program.  I thought it gave an excellent, simple overview of the program.

I found Down Cut Shin Creek after reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson, which tells the fictional story of young Cussy Mary and her mule, Junia, who carried books to patrons through the hills and coal mining areas of eastern Kentucky.  Cussy Mary described herself as a "Blue" and resulted in her being considered colored and treated as such.  It was a good introduction to the hardships and challenges of pack horse librarians as well as the discrimination associated with being a person of color in the 1940s.

Cussy Mary’s father's comment about books, “A sneaky time thief is in them books.  There’s more important ways to spend a fellar’s time,” suggests the challenges of introducing books and reading to the people of that time and location.  Building trust and persuading people that reading was a good thing is a theme throughout the book.

Victoria the Queen:  An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire 
by Julia Baird
     I appreciated the detail of this book which includes Victoria's interactions with her contemporaries and her perspectives of current events of the time and, more importantly, how she instituted changes.  Most of us probably have some awareness and knowledge of Victoria and the Victorian time period.  This book gave me a greater insight into Victoria and her life.  As the author suggests in the introductory paragraphs, Victoria wasn't perfect.  She had her faults, yet she was a great queen despite her faults.

The subject of child labor repeats throughout the book as changes came about, little by little, decade after decade.  In July, 1832, at the age of 13, Victoria travelled to Wales.  She described the impact of coal mining in the country near Birmingham.  My coal mining ancestors lived further north, in Durham and Northumberland, however I suspect the description below would apply equally to both locations.
The men, women, children, country and houses are all black.  The country is very desolate everywhere; there is coal about, and the grass is quite blasted and black.  I just now see an extraordinary building flaming with fire.  The country continues black, engines flaming, coals in abundance, everywhere smoking and burning coal-heaps, intermingled with wretched huts and carts and little ragged children.      (p. 41)

Reporting on Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1898, Mark Twain wrote,
'British history is two thousand years old, and yet in a good many ways the world has moved further ahead since the Queen was born than it moved in all the rest of the two thousand years put together....  She has seen more things invented than any other monarch that ever lived.’  Since Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, the lives of people in her country and around the world had been transformed by the invention of the railway, steamship, telegraph, telephone, sewing machine, electric light, typewriter, camera, and more.    (p. 465)
Again, if you have ancestors who lived in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, this will give you insight into what their lives may have been like. 

Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think?  Do you have other books to recommend for women's history?


Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Friday, February 28, 2020

The Miles They Travelled from Their Homelands

About half of my great- and great-great-grandparents left their homelands to come to America.  I try to imagine leaving the country I know, the language I speak, the home I've lived in, nearly all of my possessions, and especially family and friends I love -- and I can't.  How did my ancestors have the fortitude and courage to make that choice?  To change their lives so completely?  I'm sure it would have been a carefully considered decision based on a variety of circumstances.

These grandparents emigrated from England and Germany/Prussia/Hannover in about equal numbers.  Some travelled together as families, parents and children, so the distance would have been the same.  For some of the ancestors I know only the general location of their starting point, therefore miles may be approximate. 

3,518 miles
Andrew and Elizabeth Jane (Laws) Doyle brought their three children, including my great-grandfather William, from Northumberland, England, to Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

4,062 miles
John Froman's naturalization document indicates he was a native of Hesse Cassel.  He came to the U.S. with several siblings.

4,147 miles
Catherine Saylor named Baden as her place of birth.  She travelled to the U.S. with her parents, Jacob and and Elizabeth (Shaefer) Saylor.

4,084 miles
Frederick Gerner, according to a family source, was born in Mannheim, Germany.  He and his parents, Christian and Mary or Elizabeth (Stahl) Gerner, travelled to Butler County, Ohio.

4,097 miles
Henry Carl Meinzen came from Hannover, Germany, to Steubenville, Ohio.

3,554 miles
Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen's last known city of residence in England before emigrating to the U.S. was Trimdon, Durham.  She came to the Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio with her father Abel Armitage and several siblings.

The closest experience I have of travelling such a distance is driving between Ohio and Rexburg, Idaho, about 1,800 miles, when my daughter went to college.  The closest experience I have of moving to and living in a different country is serving in the Peace Corps in El Salvador.  We travelled most of the 1,900 miles by air and returned home after 8 months.  It's quite a different thing to travel twice that far with the intention of never returning to live in your country of birth. 

I hold my immigrant ancestors in high regard.

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2020 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic was "So Far Away." 


Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

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