Friday, March 22, 2013

I is for Immigrant Ancestors and Inventions - Family History Through the Alphabet

I is for immigrant ancestors.  I believe all of my ancestors were immigrants at one time or another, ancestors who arrived in North America from European countries.  More research will prove or disprove this belief.  My immigrant ancestors include, in no particular order,
  • Jacob Saylor and his family, including my direct ancestor, Katherine Saylor Froman, immigrated in about 1852 from Germany.  They settled in Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
  • John Froman arrived in the U.S. in about 1856.  He made his home in Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
  • Henry Meinzen came to the U.S. in 1866 from Prussia (or Hannover, or Germany, depending on which census one reads).  Jefferson County became his new home.
  • Abel Armitage and his family, including his daughter Elizabeth Armitage who is my great-grandmother, immigrated in 1864 from England.  They settled in Jefferson County, Ohio.
  • Fred Gerner and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in about 1855.  They settled in Butler County, Pennsylvania.
  • Andrew Doyle and his family, including my direct ancestor, William Doyle, immigrated to the U.S. from England in 1865.  Stoneboro, Mercer County, Pennsylvania, became their home.
These cannot be my only immigrant ancestors but I haven't researched far enough back to determine who earlier ancestors were and when they arrived in the United States.

I is also for inventions, specifically those invented during the times of my known ancestors.  I thought I'd mention just a few that may have impacted them.
  • Safety razors were invented in the 1880s by the Kampfe Brothers but did not become common until disposable blades were invented.  My grandfather was a barber by trade and barbered until the mid-1960s.  As far as I remember, he never switched to disposable razors in his shop.  It's probable that he used disposables at home as he grew older.
  • Automobiles became available in the early 1900s.  Imagine the transition from driving a horse at 5 miles/hour to driving a car at 10-20 miles/hour.  Wouldn't people have felt like they were speeding along?!  I do not know when any of my ancestors first owned automobiles but I remember that my grandmother, born in 1893, seemed uncomfortable in cars even in the 1950s and 1960s.  She never obtained a driver's license but she surely could have earned a backseat driver's license.  I remember her sitting beside my grandfather while he was driving saying things like, "Bob, you slow down.  You're going 35 miles and hour.  That's too fast!"
  • Glass canning jars were invented and patented in 1858.  To be able to safely and inexpensively preserve the garden's produce must have been a boon to women (and their families) of the late 1800s and after.  I don't have any oral or written family history about the use of canning jars but I know that one of my maternal great-grandfathers was a gardener by profession.  I have no doubt that his wife learned to can using canning jars.
  • Indoor plumbing must have produced joy and amazement.  To have water come into the home without having to carry it from a distance, even if the distance was only from a well between home and barn, and to not have to carry the used water back outside in buckets must have been a great work-saver to many in the family.
I think of other inventions and imagine how they lightened the workload of the ladies (vacuums, sewing machines, electricity), eased transportation (railroads), enhanced communications (telegraph and telephone), and offered entertainment (moving pictures, bicycles, photography).  There are so many inventions that we take for granted:  invented a century or more ago, then enhanced so many times that the items we use sometimes bear little resemblance to the original inventions.  Ah, progress!

This post is a contribution to the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge.  Go to the link and you can see other submissions for this meme.  Alona Tester of  Genealogy and History News is the creator and keeper of this meme.  Thanks, Alona! 


1 comment:

  1. Great post Nancy...I especially enjoyed you looking at inventions during the time of your known ancestors. Most innovative :-) ... Thanks, Catherine


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