Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish you and your loved ones bounteous blessings during this strange, difficult Covid year.  I especially wish you the blessings of success as you search for your ancestors.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

How Many Children Did My Ancestors Have? - SNGF

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun this week suggested the following:
Thinking about your direct ancestors back through 2nd great-grandparents - in other words, ancestors #2 to #31 on your pedigree chart - how many children did they have?  How many lived long enough to marry?  How many died before age 10?
The information below is based on currently known information; more research may uncover additional children, marriages, or early deaths.

#2-3  Lee Doyle (1913-1987) and Audrey Victoria Meinzen (1915-1997)
3 children:  1 son, 1 married; 2 daughters, 2 married

#4-5  Gust Doyle (1888-1933) and Beulah Mae Gerner (1888-1913)
2 children:  1 son, 1 married; 1 daughter, 1 died before age 10

#6-7  William Carl Robert Meinzen (1892-1979) and Emma Virginia Bickerstaff (1893-1973)
4 children:  4 daughters, 3 married

#8-9  William Doyle (1863-1941) and Tressa Rose Froman (1856-1936)
3 children:  1 son, 1 married; 2 daughters, 2 married

#10-11  Fredrick K. Gerner (1848-1926) and Elvira Bartley (1854-1943)
16 children:  6 sons, 6 married; 10 daughters, 8 married, 2 died before age 10

#12-13  Henry Carl Meinzen (1837-1925) and Elizabeth Armitage (1862-1920)
15 children:  7 sons, 4 married, 1 died before age 10; 6 daughters, 6 married; 2 infants, gender unknown, died before age 10

#14-15  Edward Jesse Bickerstaff (1871-1945) and Mary Thompson (1872-1940)
9 children:  5 sons, 5 married; 4 daughters, 2 married, 1 died before age 10

#16-17  Andrew Doyle (1836-1908) and Elizabeth Jane Laws (1845-1910)
14 children:  7 sons, 5 married, 2 died before age 10; 7 daughters, 6 married, 1 died before age 10

#18-19  John Froman (1841-1871) and Catherine Saylor (1844-1928)
7 children:  4 sons, 4 married; 3 daughters, 3 married

#20-21  Christian Gerner (~1820-1899) and Elizabeth Stahl (~1824-????)
4 known children:  3 sons, 3 married; 1 daughter, married

#22-23  Dixon Bartley (1805-1900) and Rebecca Smith (1820-1899)
9 children:  4 sons, 3 married; 5 daughters, 4 married

#24-25  Carl Meinzen (dates unknown) and Unknown
2 known children:  2 sons, at least 1 married

#26-27  Abel Armitage (1821-????) and Eliza Hartley (1812-1856)
2 children:  2 daughters, 2 married

#28-29  Ellis H. Bickerstaff (1840-1907) and Emma P. or V. Nelson (~1845-1878)
4 children:  2 sons, 2 married; 2 daughters, 1 married, 1 died before age 5

#30-31  John Thompson (~1850-1823) and Lydia Bell (1851-1930)
9 children:  2 sons, 1 married, 1 died before age 5; 7 daughters, 5 known to have married

  • These generations span the years from 1805 to the present, from earliest birth to children still alive, more than 200 years!  The births, however, span about 110 years (1839 to 1950).
  • There were 104 children born in these four generations.  I suspect some families may have had more children if one of the spouses hadn't died early (#5 Beulah Gerner Doyle, #18 John Froman, #27 Eliza Hartley Armitage, and #29 Emma Nelson Bickerstaff).
  • There were 50 males and 54 females born.

Thanks for the fun, Randy.  This was a great exercise to show gaps in families, holes in research.  Some of these families I researched 15 years ago when I was a beginner and when access to records was more difficult.  Further research now may uncover more information.


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


Sunday, October 18, 2020

FamilySearch Campaigns, October 2020

Do you know about and receive email notifications of FamilySearch Campaigns?  They offer links to further information/documents for ancestors such a military records, gravestones, and even timelines.  When I look at the campaigns I see information for between 3 and 20 ancestors.  For me, the campaigns
  • are gentle reminders to return to people I've researched years ago and who now may have additional documents available on FamilySearch.
  • give hints that new new-to-me information is available about people I'm currently researching.
  • show ancestors who have been added to my tree by others who are working on the same ancestral lines (and remind me to review the documents and consider accuracy).
FamilySearch's campaigns change over time.  Two years ago I posted a list of their 2018 campaigns.  Some are no longer available.  Get them while the getting is good, as the saying goes! 

Below are the campaigns that are currently available.  You'll need to be signed in to your free FamilySearch account to see the results.

Homelands offers records for specific ancestors from many different countries, including the United States.  The link is

U.K. Record Hints may include parish registers, census records, births, christenings, and marriages, etc.  The link is

Military Records may offer WWI Draft Registration, WWI Enrollment Cards, WWII Draft Registration, WWII Army Enlistment Records, U.S. Veterans Administration Registration Cards (including for the Civil War).  There may be others, too, but they seem to be primarily from the United States.  The direct link is

Calendar shows a monthly calendar which includes many individuals with dates of births, marriages, and deaths.  You can click on any individual to see more.  The link is

Memorial shows gravestones, primarily from Find a Grave.  This seems to change frequently and sometimes shows markers from earlier generations, sometimes from more recent ones.  The link is

Female Ancestors (or as the header says, "Celebrate the Women in Your Family Tree") gives an overview time line of birth, marriage, and death dates and locations, and gives the number of years ago the ancestor was born.  From this page you can click a link to see a more detailed timeline.  The direct link is 

Keepsakes offers you the opportunity to create visual family trees to use as wall art.  There are four options.  The link is

Pioneers shows individuals who participated in the trek west with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Below the fold it include a timeline from 1800 to 1870.  I was surprised to learn that I have pioneer ancestors considering that I'm the first member of my known family.  The direct link is
125 Years shows ancestors who were born before 1894 when the Genealogical Society of Utah, forerunner of FamilySearch, was founded.  It also shows how old they were in 1894 and has a link to show their timeline.  The link is

Women of Faith shows relatives who part of a legacy of faithful women, and may also include a few men, probably because of their mothers or wives.  The direct link is

Two other campaigns are Pioneer Child shows individuals in your family tree who made the trek west as children and Relief Society shows female ancestors/relatives who were members of the Church's women's organization.

Have you viewed any of these campaigns and have they helped you with your research or insights int he lives of your ancestors? 


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


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

"A Wonderfully Preserved Man"

I found this newsy article on page 11 of the August 15, 1925, issue of the The Youngstown Sheet and Tube Bulletin (page 11, column 3). 

"Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meinzen and
daughters were guests on July 26th
at a party in honor of the 88th an-
niversary of Mr. Meinzen's father,
Mr. H. C. Meinzen of Stubenville.  A
birthday dinner was enjoyed by a
large group of relatives who repre-
sented four generations.  Mr. Mein-
zen Sr., is a wonderfully preserved
man and despite his advanced age
enjoys good health and is quite active
He spent a few days at his son's
home on Wilson Street."

Sometimes I can't help but laugh at the language used in old newspapers.  The description of my 88-year-old great-grandfather, Henry C. Meinzen, as "wonderfully preserved" struck my funny bone.  Perhaps I should print his photograph and this little clipping and preserve them in a canning jar. 

Henry & Elizabeth with some family members and a friend,
between 1917-1920
The four generations represented at his birthday party would have been
  1. Henry, himself
  2. His living children:  Henry (the younger), Belle, Mina, Lula, my grandfather Wm. Carl Robert "Bob,", and Naomi.
  3. Henry's grandchildren, the sons and daughters of his own children who are too many to name.  This would have included my mom and her sisters.  Some of this group of children were born in the early 1900s, others in the mid- to late-1910s.
  4. This generation would have been the grandchildren of Henry's two oldest children, Henry (the younger) and Belle whose children were old enough to be married with children of their own. 

Though Henry was doing well in August, 1925, he died on December 30, four and a half months after this article was published. 

It's such fun to find these kinds of articles in old newspapers.


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

Sunday, September 6, 2020

On September 15, 1938 - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

For this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings, suggested, we choose a date from our family history, then go to dMarie Time Capsule to enter the date and learn events from the the date we chose.

Audrey Meinzen & Lee Doyle, abt. 1937
My parents' wedding anniversary is next week:  they were married on Tuesday, September 15, 1938.  I doubt they were paying much attention to the news or anything but each other, but I decided to see what was going on in the world around them.  This is what dMarie and the local newspaper, The Niles Daily Times, published on that date told me.

Top News Headlines
Sep 15
  • British PM Chamberlain visits Hitler at Berchtesgarden
  • Martial Law Extended after Riots in Czechoslovakia
  • Czechs Fear They May Be Asked for More Concessions
  • France Confident of Solution Without War
  • John Cobb sets world auto speed record at 350.2 MPH (lasts 1 day)
Sep 16
  • George E.T. Eyston sets world auto speed record at 357.5 MPH

President and Vice President
Franklin D. Roosevelt
John N. Garner

Top Songs 

It was the era of big bands, the fox trot, and waltzes.  My mom enjoyed music but my father, not so much.
  • "My Reverie" by Larry Clinton (here)
  • "Begin the Beguine" by Artie Shaw (here)
  • "Cry, Baby, Cry" by Larry Clinton
  • "Ti-Pi-Tin" by Horace Heidt
  • "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" by Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb
  • "Thanks for the Memory" by Shep Fields (here)
  • "Music, Maestro, Please" by Tommy Dorsey
  • "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" by Andrews Sisters
  • "I've Got a Pocketful of Dreams" by Bing Crosby (here)

Radio Programs
"Amos and Andy"
"Kraft Music Hall"

Academy Award Winners
Best Picture:   "You Can't Take It With You," directed By Frank Capra
Best Actor:      Spencer Tracy in "Boys Town"
Best Actress:   Bette Davis in "Jezebel"

Essential foods:  Bread 9¢/loaf.  Milk 50¢/gallon.  Eggs 57¢/dozen.  Cheese 17¢/loaf.
Fruit & Vegetables:  Head Lettuce 15¢/2.  Yellow Onions 17¢/10 lb.  Grapes 5¢/pound.
Meat:  Chuck Roast 17¢/lb.  Ground Beef 29¢/2#.  Dressed Chickens 25¢/lb.
Coffee 14¢/lb.
Baking supplies:  Flour 75¢/24½ lb.  Sugar  $1.15/25 lb.
For canning:  Mason Jars 65¢/doz.
Transportation:  Car  $710.  Gas 20¢/gal.
House  $6,420
Stamp  3¢/ea
Average Income  $1,808/year.  Minimum wage  25¢/hour
DOW Avg  155  (I doubt my father was investing money yet.)

This was such a fun activity, Randy.  Thanks for suggesting it.  I think it can add a lot of interest to the lives of ancestors we know little about.  And I always enjoy jumping back into the social history of my ancestors' lives.


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 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. 

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