Monday, April 29, 2013

N is for Names - Family History Through the Alphabet

Names always interest me, especially the unusual or uncommon ones, but I'm also interested in the ones that are handed down multiple times.  There are both among my ancestors. Some of our unusual names include the old-fashioned ones of Elvira, Beulah, Mabel, Arabella, and Keziah, which are all on my paternal ancestors' sides.  On my maternal side, we have names like Crusin/Cruson/Crewson, Sabra, Rena, and Zerelda.  Strangely enough, uncommon women's names are more prevalent than uncommon men's names. 

On My Paternal Side
Elvira Snair was named for her grandmother, Elvira Bartley Gerner.  Elvira Snair's mother was Lana Gerner Snair.  The younger Elvira was born in about 1904, the older Elvira in 1854.

Alonzo and Alfonzo Gerner were born in 1874.  Their nicknames were Lon and Fon (also spelled Fawn).  I sometimes wonder how their parents decided on these names which sound of Spanish origin to me.  In The Little House on the Prairie series of books, from about the same time period, there was a young man named Alonzo.  Perhaps these were popular names of the time.

Beulah Riss, born about 1919, was named for her aunt, Beulah Gerner Doyle, who died in 1913.  The younger Beulah's mother was Bessie Leota Gerner Riss, sister to Beulah Gerner.  Bessie cared for Beulah's half-orphan son, Lee, after Beulah died.  It was a kind way for Bessie to honor the memory of her sister.

Then there's a string of men named William Doyle in our family.  Andrew Doyle's father was William and Andrew named one of his sons William (born 1863).  Andrew and his son both emigrated from England in 1869-1870.  William, the one born in 1863, did not name any of his sons William but he has a grandson (through Gust Doyle) named William; and that William named his son William.  Oh, yes, the dates help!

Gus, Gust, August, and Augustine
The names Gus, Gust, August, and Augustine are abundant on both sides of my family.  On my father's side are his father, Gust Doyle.  In one census he is listed as August; other times he signed his name Gus.  My father insisted that his father's name was Gust so that's how I record it.  Gust Doyle could have been named for his mother's brother, Gus Froman.  Gust Doyle's cousin, Gust Proud, could also have been named for his uncle, the same Gus Froman.

On my mother's side there's Augustine Bickerstaff, who had a son named Augustine.  It's a good thing there are dates to differentiate between them.  I do not know if either of these men were called by nicknames.

On My Maternal Side
Crusin/Cruson/Crewson Bell and Rena and Sabra Bickerstaff are all names I've heard nowhere else but in our family.  Sabra was born in 1798.  Perhaps it was a common name then. 

Emma Nelson, born in 1845, named her son Edward Jesse Bickerstaff.  Emma died when Edward Jesse was about 7 years old.  He named his oldest daughter Emma.  I can only assume it was in honor of his mother.

Elizabeth is a common name but it seems unusual that so many in the same family would use the name without it being in honor of a mother or grandmother, an honor bestowed either by her husband or her children.  Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen had 15 children.  Two daughters' names included Elizabeth:  Hannah Elizabeth and Wilhelmina Elizabeth (which she reversed during WWI).  Hannah named one of her daughters Elizabeth Zerelda.  Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen's oldest son, Henry, named his oldest daughter Elizabeth; and one of Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen's younger sons, Jacob Meinzen, named his daughter Elizabeth.  It's not uncommon for daughters to be named for their mothers but to have three granddaughters named after their grandmother was a surprise to learn.  Was she much-loved, much-revered, or both?

Jacob Increase Meinzen and Lula Bernesa Meinzen had uncommon middle names.  Increase was, perhaps, bestowed with the hope of many descendants.  Unfortunately, Jacob was killed within four months of his only child's birth.  Where did Bernesa come from?  I had never heard it until this discovery.  It was the name of both mother and wife of Jesse James.  Strange, huh?

Perhaps our family's most unusual name is Zerelda.  She gets her own post.

Do you have any unusual names in your family?

This post is a contribution to the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge created and hosted by Alona Tester at Genealogy and History News.  Thanks, Alona.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sentimental Sunday:   A Once-Strong and Sturdy Barn

Three generations -- father, son, and grandson -- milked cows, stabled horses, and stored hay in this barn.  Deprived of its purpose, it now stands empty.  It was once a noble barn, both strong and sturdy, giving protection and comfort to those it served.

From the cooling house, milk was driven by wagon in winter or truck in summer to the Meadow Gold Milk Plant.  There are no milk buckets or cooling equipment now. 

Its joists and rafters speak of strength while its siding is fragile and decaying.

Once repaired yet now crumbling and in disrepair.  It is abandoned.

The heart of this dairy farm was the milking parlour where friendly, gentle cows lowed and chewed as they gave their warm milk.  Now, only debris litters the parlour.

This barn once stood on Strawberry Hill on Fredonia Road outside of Stoneboro, Pennsylvania.  It's been torn down since these photos were taken.  Sometimes I think that buildings have souls and that they offer support to those who care for and use them with wise stewardship.  I spent only an hour or so in and around this barn, yet I felt a connection to it.  Melancholy fills my soul today as I remember that this once proud, useful barn is gone.

William, Gust, and Lee Doyle were the father, son, and grandson -- the stewards -- who worked on and cared for this barn and farm.  They, too, are gone.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Reading the Newspaper

The Story
Audrey loved having a camera but she didn't use it often enough to master its intricacies.  After she married Lee the camera became a family camera and she and Lee both used it, but not too often.  Money was tight and film was expensive.

This evening, Audrey was engrossed in reading the newspaper.  Lee decided to take a photo of her.  He silently walked to the bedroom, picked up the camera, opened it and, without a word, sat down not far from her, balanced the camera to steady it, then snapped the photo.  Surprise! 

Of course Audrey was surprised!  She didn't really enjoy surprises nor being photographed unawares.  She wouldn't let Lee off the hook so easily.  No, if he was going to take her photo, she would take his.  She took the camera from him, insisted that he sit where she had been sitting, and took a photo of him, too.  Twin photos, they thought.  Fun.  But Audrey didn't keep the camera balanced and steady and Lee's image came out blurry.  They were both disappointed but since she'd paid for film and the developing of it, into Audrey's photo album both photos went.

Author's Thoughts
The story above is completely imaginary.  The prints went into the album never to be spoken of again.  It would be fun to know how these photos really came to be.  Had I realized as a child that I would have wanted to know as an adult, I would have had to pry the details from Mom.  And no matter the story, she would have told it very matter-of-factly and without embellishment or enthusiasm:  your dad surprised me by taking my photo so I took one of him.  Or, we decided to take each others' photos.  What could have been a fun bit of family history is left to their daughter to imagine.

The Back Story
Audrey Meinzen, my mother, received a camera for her graduation from nursing school in 1937.  Her budget was limited and purchasing and developing film were expensive.  Every print was saved whether she held the camera steady or not; whether there was enough light or not; whether the print was clear or blurry or dark or too light to recognize who was in it.  She and Lee Doyle married in September, 1938, and lived in a small apartment in Niles, Ohio.  Their first child was born in May, 1939.  This photo must have been taken early in their marriage, before pregnancy altered her figure.

When I was a child and youth, reading the newspaper was a daily occurrence in our home.  In fact, we received two newspapers:  The Youngstown Vindicator, published 7 days/week; and The Niles Daily Times, published weekdays.  Youngstown was a larger and slightly more distant city in another county and The Vindicator carried more expansive national and world news but also occasionally published news of our little community of Mineral Ridge.  Niles was a smaller city only several miles away and The Times carried news about Niles, Mineral Ridge, and other small communities surrounding Niles.  It was especially good at reporting about school events.  Both newspapers were delivered in late afternoon or early evening. 

The Vindicator and Times were delivered by newspapers boys with huge bags slung over their shoulders and across their chests.  They walked or rode bikes, getting on and off them at each delivery stop unless they had arms strong enough to throw them from the road.  (Ah, the energy of youth!)  The boys usually threw the newspapers onto the porch and patrons complained if the newspaper landed on the steps on rainy days or crashed into doors or broke windows.  None of those things happened at our home as far as I remember.

The boys usually collected payment for the newspapers on the weekends.  Each boy carried a coin changer on his belt, a special hole punch, and a ring of cards with the subscribers' names and addresses on them.  I suspect those boys hoped to find a member of the family home and with payment at the ready so they wouldn't have to return again.  (Unless, of course, those boys knew a dressing down was coming because of the wet newspaper or crash on the door earlier in the week.  In our small town, mothers considered it their responsibility to help the youth grow into responsible young men and women and didn't hesitate to assist in the training they received at home, if necessary.)  Each subscriber had a card like the paperboy's card which she handed to the paperboy when paying.  After money was exchanged, the paperboy punched both the subscriber's card on his wring and the subscriber's card to indicate that the weekly bill had been paid.  He dropped the coins into his coin changer.  If the exact amount was not given, he pushed levers to dispense the needed coins to give change.

The Vindicator usually had three or more sections, The Times, two, thereby providing a section for everyone in our family should we all have wanted to read at the same time.  Mom might have a break just before she put dinner on the table to sit and read a bit.  If Dad had worked dayturn, he read before dinner also.  If they didn't get to the paper before dinner, they read it after.  But they always read the newspaper. 

My mom used the old newspapers to wrap the potato peels and any other dinner scraps before she or one of us kids took the bundle to our garbage can behind the garage.  She laid it under paint cans and used it for other various purposes.  Recycling was a little different in those days.

How did I inherit my disinterest in reading current newspapers with parents like that?!

Head over to Sepia Saturday and link to all the news that's fit to print -- er -- stories about newspapers and such.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Mixed Pickle, Sweet Pickel - Gramma's Webster's Recipe Book - Family Recipe Friday

Someone commented on last week's recipe post that generations ago cooks kept a lot of information in their heads.  It seems they didn't require the details provided by today's recipes as many modern cooks do.  Was it because there were fewer options for ingredients and cooking methods?  Maybe recipes didn't have such individual, specific needs or, if they did, perhaps they were learned at the side of a mother or sister, using the same recipe of ingredients often enough that the recipe became rote.  Was it because times were simpler?  I doubt they had a constant tide of new information assailing them on an hourly basis so perhaps it was easier to focus.  Whatever the reason, I sometimes stumble to decide how to mix and bake the old recipes.

Mixed pickle
5 qt.  [bracketed to left of first 3 lines]
1 quart small cucumbers
1    "   small onions   green tomato
1    "    cauliflower   (peppers)
sprinkle with salt
and let stand over
2 quart vinegar when
boiling add 8 tablsepoon
mustard.  3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cayenn pepper
1 tablespoon tumeric
boil in weak vinegar
10 min put in paste [?]
and boil. then seal.
while hot

Sweet pickel
For Pear, peaches, or apple
1 qt vinegar, 3 lb. sugar
1/2 ounce each whole cloves
and stick cinnamon
Boil fruit remove and
Boil syrup until clear
put in fruit & seal.

It looks like Gramma adapted the Mixed pickle recipe over time adding green tomatoes and peppers to the other ingredients.  I was surprised to see flour in the ingredients for pickles and also surprised at the quantity of spices.  I have a tender palette:  my husband teases me that I think catsup is spicy.  I'm not sure how well I'd enjoy these pickles with their cayenne and tumeric.

She doesn't mention the quantity of ingredients for the sweet pickle recipe.  Three pounds of sugar seems like a lot, but then they <i>are</i> sweet pickles.  I also find it interesting that she gave the weight of the spices instead of spoonful measurements.  The other recipes I've transcribed call for spoonful measurements.  I think this recipe may be the most challenging yet.

Gramma probably used Ball or Mason canning jars (as opposed to crocks or metal cans).  She didn't mention how long to boil the pickles.  These days each food being canned has a recommended processing time in a water bath or pressure canner for the food to be considered safely canned.  I doubt much detail existed during Gramma's time.  However, I don't know of a single family member who was harmed by her canning methods or those of any other family member.

The grandmother to whom these recipes belonged was Emma Virginia Bickerstaff Meinzen.

Happy canning (when canning season finally arrives)!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

When Google Reader Goes

I understand that Google Reader will be discontinued on July 1, 2013.  I've been wondering what else will disappear at the same time.  Considering how I dislike change, I'm trying to be prepared as much as possible.

Will Google Friend Connect continue?  Is that associated with Google Reader?
Will the Reading List and list of blogs discontinue when Google Reader does?  They're below our blog(s) on our Blogger dashboards and show several posts from blogs we've subscribed to with Google Friend Connect and a list of blogs. 

What RSS reader will you use instead of Reader?  What do you like about it?


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

M is for Matrilineal Ancestors - Family History Through the Alphabet

The matrilineal ancestors, or mothers' mothers, are sometimes so hard to find, especially their maiden names.  But I keep searching.  (Sometimes I think, seven years and this is all I have?!  Of course I have more but no more mothers on these two lines yet.)

My mother's matrilineal ancestors, beginning with her and moving to each next mother
  1. Audrey Victoria Meinzen, 1915-1997  (married Lee Doyle)
  2. Emma Virginia Bickerstaff, 1893-1973  (married William Carl Robert Meinzen)
  3. Mary Thompson, 1872-1940   (married E. J. Bickerstaff)
  4. Lydia Bell, 1851-1930  (married John Thomas Thompson)
  5. Lydia Fithen, abt. 1826-btw. 1880-1900   (married Jacob Bell)

My father's matrilineal ancestors, beginning with his mother and moving to each next mother
  1. Beulah Mae Gerner, 1888-1913   (married Gust Doyle)
  2. Elvira Bartley, 1854-1943   (married Fredrick K. Gerner)
  3. Rebecca Smith, 1820-1899   (married Dixon Bartley)

And that's as far as the research has taken me on the women in these two lines.

This post was written to contribute to the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, created and hosted by Alona Tester of Genealogy and History News.  Thanks so much, Alona!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Posts I Most Wish Official Bloggers Would Write

There seems to have been a terrible row and some very hurt feelings amongst some genealogy bloggers these past few days over what was and wasn't done by Official Bloggers, especially at RootsTech.  I'm not going to jump into the fray and speak negatively of anyone.  As far as I understand it, the Official Bloggers were never given guidelines, expectations, or criteria of what or how to post or how often to post to their blogs.  I trust that all of them shared what they believed would be of most interest or most importance to the genealogy community at large as their time was available to do so.  I'm grateful to them. Thank you.  Below are my thoughts and hopes about Official Bloggership.

What I Wish Official Bloggers Would Write
Please write a post about the sessions you attended.  (For me, what I can learn is the most important aspect of a convention.)  If you attend several sessions each day, blogging could become a grueling chore but you wouldn't have to write or publish all posts on the same day.  Those of us who couldn't attend wouldn't mind having the conference posts extend beyond the last day of the conference and those who were at the conference may have attended different sessions and may also like to read what you have to say.

In your posts, I wish you would tell me
  1. the name of the session you attended and who presented it.
  2. a brief highlight of the session.
  3. a little more detail about some aspect of the session that was new, helpful, of interest, or especially useful to you.
  4. how you will (or already have) put that information to use.
For those of us unable to attend the conferences, I think this would be greatly appreciated and I don't think it would harm a presenter if only some small aspect of the presentation were shared.  Perhaps Official Bloggers could organize together so their posts wouldn't overlap. 

I'm on the outside of genealogy conferences, having only ever attended one, and have never been (and probably never will be) an Official Blogger, so maybe I'm missing something -- possibly the busyness and hectic atmosphere of a convention.  I'm interested in learning.

My only other thought is a plea for us to be kind-hearted and respectful toward each other.  Engendering hurt feelings does nothing to encourage community.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Dip, Molasses Cake - from Gramma's Webster's Recipe Book - Family Recipe Friday

Here's another page from my grandmother Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen's Webster's Spelling Recipe Book.  The patent number date is 14, 1909, so we know Gramma wrote the recipes after that.  In 1909 she was 16, but the handwriting looks like it's written with a mature hand.  I have no doubt that she used these recipes:  they are spotted and dotted with ingredients that missed the bowl!  If you'd like to see the other recipes from her book, click on recipes under the Post Topics at the bottom of the page and a list will appear.

The dip recipe is a sweet one, probably used for fresh fruit, or possibly for cakes or cookies at parties or on special occasions.  I don't ever remember my grandmother making or serving it.

The order of ingredients for the Molasses Cake, which sounds quite a lot like gingerbread, seems unusual to me.  Commonly, cake batter is mixed with sugar and eggs first, then other liquid ingredients, with dry ingredients last (unless liquid and dry ingredients are alternated).  It's also hard to tell what's to be mixed together from the way this recipe's written.  The spices could easily be mixed in either the flour or the molasses.  I think the lard and soda go into 1 cup of hot water.   Cakes are usually baked in a 350-degree oven for anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 or 50 minutes.  Use a toothpick to test for doneness:  stick it in the cake, if it comes our clean, the cake is done; if it comes out with moist cake ingredients on it, bake a little longer.

1 tablespoon corn Starch
1     "      "     flour.
1/2 to 3/4 cup Sugar, --
               or to taste.
Butter size of egg.
Pour on Boiling
Water to make
thick enough.
Nutmeg or Vanilla

Molasses Cake.
2 cups flour.
1 cup molasses.
mixed together.
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1       "          cloves.
1 table spoon lard
1 teaspoon of Soda
Cup in Hot Water
Pinch Salt.
1 egg beaten last.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Free Historic Maps . . .

. . . available through April 20, 2013.  As part of National Library Week ProQuest is making its Historic Map Works Library Edition database available at no cost to all.  Perhaps you will find an ancestor's name on an old property map, see the lay of the land when your ancestor walked, or make some other connection between land and your ancestor.  (UPDATED:  It appears that you must to to ProQuest to get to Historic Map Works.)
Look at your census transcriptions to find where your ancestors lived, then use the search box at the website to type in a location.  When a list of available maps appears, click on one of them to be taken to the map.  When the map appears, click on it to enlarge it.  It seems there's also an option to overlay an old map on a current one (though I haven't tried it).

Options available at the website include Browse, Search, Address, GPS Mapfinder, Illustrations, Directories, and Points of Interest.  Directories seem to be limited but the Illustrations section is extensive.  Do a broad search for a state, or a narrower search for a specific location.  When the results appear, use the F3 button on your keyboard (a search box will appear on the bottom of your monitor) to search for a location or name.  You will also be offered the options to print and/or save the map.

I just learned of this free resource this evening and haven't had time to search.  I'm hopeful!  What a generous offer from ProQuest.  Thank you.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wishful Wednesday - A Fortunate Grandchild and Time Remembered

After reading A Fortunate Grandchild, I'm wishing my memories were as clear as those of Miss Read (pen name of Dora Saint).  This book is a collection of childhood reminiscences about her grandparents, several aunts and uncles, the homes where they lived, and interactions she had with them.  There is no plot, no story, just brief vignettes.  She was born in 1913 and her memories seem to begin in about 1915.

You might think this book is a children's book and indeed, a child may be interested in and enjoy the book, but based on some of the words --daunting, obliged, vividly, conscious, unintentional-- I don't believe she wrote it specifically for children. 

The pen and ink drawings by Derek Crow delightfully illustrate the stories.  Below are drawings of her sister's fear of the Kaiser appearing from behind a curtain at their grandmother's house; her aunt's response to the surprise of a mouse; and her grandfather rapping at the window to chase away his sons.

The illustrations liberally embellish the 108 pages of the little book and capture the feeling of post-World War I England.   Either the author and artist carefully discussed the content of the drawings or Mr. Crowe was very insightful.

Miss Read introduces her second collection of memories, Time Remembered, with the words, "This is an unashamedly nostalgic account of one of the happiest periods of my life."  Nostalgic, yes.  Delightful?  Also yes. 

Miss Read begins the book with her memories of their family's move from London to the small village of Chelsfield when she was seven years old.  Memories include friends, school days, teachers, the community and community activities, and her thrill at living so close to the country where she could enjoy the beauties of nature.  Again, Derek Crowe's illustrations enhance the text with delightful drawings of select events.

If you have an ancestor who lived in a England in the early 1920s, you may appreciate this book to learn of activities of the time period.  Even if you don't have ancestors from England, you may enjoy this book.

So, that's one of my most recent wishes.  I doubt that wishing will bring back childhood memories but perhaps if I concentrate a little harder....  If you decide to read the book, I hope you enjoy it.

 Here's hoping all your wishes come true!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

L is for Language - Family History Through the Alphabet

I'm using the word language in a very broad sense to include words used by a group of people (such as the English language, the German language, etc.); both written and spoken words; and also aspects of language such as definitions, dialects, accents, idioms, etc.

Just think of the difference in the English spoken by someone from the U.S. and someone from England.  We understand each other but may not understand some words, phrases, or idioms.  Also consider the difference in the English spoken by someone from New England and someone from the deep South.  In that case we understand each other but sometimes accents may affect understanding.  I believe there may be a similar effect with our modern English and the older English (or any other language) our ancestors wrote and spoke.

Also consider the change in word definitions over time.  In my lifetime I've seen many words change (or add to) their meanings.  When reading an old newspaper, letter, or journal, don't assume that all the words have the same meaning now as then.

Here are just a few brief thoughts about our language and our ancestors' language(s)
  • Same word, different meaning
  • Same word, different sound (accent and/or different spelling or spelling variation
  • Different word, unknown meaning to us
  • Different idiom, common to our ancestors, new to us
  • Same word, different spelling (may involve accents)
  • Same spelling, different meaning

I've written several posts about this idea and how it relates to the search for our ancestors.

Judy G. Russell at The Legal Genealogist often shares legal terminology found in old documents, then translates and explains it for her readers.

And for a treat and an illustration of my thoughts above, you may enjoy Jennifer's post, Lost in Translation:  Words and sayings, and what did Mammy say to the milkman?.  You'll laugh and you'll learn.

This post is a contribution to Alona Tester's Family History Through the Alphabet challenge.  Thank you, Alona, for creating and hosting the challenge.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Where On Earth Is Christian? -- Mappy Monday

You can read about Christian and his family.  You can read about Christian and his neighbors.  But I'm not sure you can read about Christian and his property (except that he claims property ownership in census reports).

The 1860 and 1870 U.S. censuses of Fairview Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, both indicate that Christian/Christopher Garner/Gardner owned property.  (And he probably continued to own the same property in 1880 based on neighbors in the 1880 census.)  But if that's so, why is his name and the location of his property not shown on the 1874 map of Fairview Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania?  (You can enlarge the map by clicking on it.  It will open in a new window.  If you click again, it will enlarge again.)

On the right hand side of the map from about the middle up, you can see the names of Christian's near neighbors.  In fact, you can almost follow in the footsteps of the census takers in 1860 and 1870, going from south to north:
--> A. McAlroy (or Andrew McElroy)
--> A Story (Alex B. Story)
--> S. Wiles (Simon Wiles)
Christian should be here according to 1860, 1870, and 1880 census reports.
--> W. McGurvey (or Wm. McGarvy)

Other neighbors mentioned in the 1870 census and shown on the 1874 map include Mrs. Mortimer, T. Jamison, S. Farringer, and J. Kaylor, among others.

As far as I can see, C. Garner/Gardner's name does not on this map in the neighborhood or anywhere else.  Am I blind?  Have I missed C. Garner/Gardner/some other variation of his last name?

Do you ever feel like an ancestor just doesn't want to be found?  Hmph!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Christian/Christopher and His Neighbors, 1860-1880

I recently posted results of my search for Christian/Christopher Gardner/Garner/ (possibly Gerner) and his family/their families in 1860, 1870, and 1880 census records.  I've been reviewing those records, continuing to guess that they are the same man, yet continuing to seek confirmation.  With this post I'm looking specifically at Christian's neighbors in those censuses.  Below are the individuals listed in each census beginning one page before Christian and ending one or two pages after his page.  (The page numbers refer to written page number/printed page number).

1860 census
Christian Gardner, Fairview Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania
40 years, farmer, owned property, born Prussia
Neighbors (pp. 45/405, 46/405, 47/407) (40 lines/page)
  • Thomas Jamison, John Smith, Nichols Snow, George McKinney, Alex B. Story
  •  Peter Kaler, Andrew McElroy, Simon P. Wiles, Christian Gardner, Wm. McGarvy, Henry P. Shakely
  • James Blany, Hugh Young, Samuel Ervin, John S. Moor, Henry Wagoner, Mathew Porterfield

1870 census
Christopher Gardner, Fairview Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania
50 years, farmer, owned property, born Prussia
Neighbors (pp. 14/220, 15/221, 16/222, 17/223) (40 lines/page)
  • Leonard Keller, Ann Keller, Elisabeth Farringer, Simon Farringer, Hiram Farringer, George McKinney, Thomas Jameson
  • William B. Jameson, W. W. McDermott, John B. Jameson, Alex B. Storm/Story, Andrew McElroy, Simon Wiles, Christopher Gardner
  • William McGarvey, John J. McGarvey, Matthew J. McGarvey, Jane Mortimer, Joseph Wiles, G. W. Wiles, Henry Wiles, Washington Campbell, Amos Campbell, Jacob Kaylor
  • A. L. Campbell, Andrew Campbell, William Gibson, Jacob Hepler, James Wilson, Geo. H. Graham, James Blaney

1880 census
Christian Garner, Fairview Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania
60 years, farmer, (census did not question whether property owner), born Prussia
Neighbors (pp. 50/219, 51/220, 52/221) (50 lines/page)
  • Rozilla C. Wiles, Frank Sweney, Jacob M. Zarmun (?), Jacob Calendar, Wash. Campbell, Adophus Gral, Jos. F. Campbell, William H. Shakley, Donald Anderson, Edward D. O'Brien, Lewis E. Robinson, Albert E. Anderson, Jason C. Thompson
  • Georgia A. Hannah, John M. Dixon, Philander Mock, Christian Garner, Alford Heusel (?), William J. Myers, Alex B. Storey, Jas. S. Jameson, Isaac Kaylor
  • Hiram Farringer, Francis Hamon, Andrew G??ves, George McKinney, Joseph Horton, Samuel McKinney, Edward H. S???, Ann Niblock, David Boyd

I notice that several names appear from census year to census year and that they are in the same sequence.  (In 1880 the census taker recorded the census in reverse order from the census takers in 1860 and 1870.)
  • George McKinney (1860, 1870, 1880)
  • Alex B. Story/Storm (1860, 1870, 1880)
  • Andrew McElroy (1860, 1870)
  • Simon Wiles (1860, 1870)
  • Christian/Chrisopher Garner/Gardner
  • William McGarvy (1860, 1870)
  • Washington Campbell (1870, 1880)
Based on the record that several near neighbors remain the same throughout the 20 years, I believe that Christian/Christopher is the same man in all three censuses.  In years subsequent to the 1860 census additional names/families appear amongst the earlier ones.  Some of the additional families may be the sons and daughters of the individuals in the 1860 census.  Since it was a farming area, it makes sense to me that the fathers gave property to their children as they became adults and/or at the time of their marriages.  Another possibility is that property owners sold parts of their property to others.

Next I will look at an available Butler County property map current to the time.

This research doesn't give me any evidence to further my thought that this man is my ancestor.  I believe it supports my idea that Christian/Christopher are the same man with name variations.  I'm still searching for my connection to Christian Gerner.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Hometown News

These cute, joyful-looking boys are cousins who lived down the street from me when I was a child.  Their grandfather and my grandmother were siblings.  They're with a soapbox derby car here but they graduated to building go carts.  I was occasionally invited to ride/drive the go carts on the track behind their house.  Even then I loved speed and, aside from a car, those little go carts were probably the speediest thing I could ride and have the wind in my face.  (No helmets in those days.)  I didn't look for the results of the Soap Box Derby so I don't know who won.  Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), the boys' uncle, Jim Bickerstaff, was a stock car driver.

I happened onto this photo while searching for an obituary in paper copies of the Niles Daily Times at the Ohio Historical Society Archives.  (I found the obituary.)  Some of the newspapers in their collection have many issues bound into single large volumes.  Imagine my surprise when I turned the page and found this photo. It's hard to believe it wasn't in my mother's scrapbook.  She cut out and saved newspaper articles right and left.  Maybe she culled her collection later in life. 

If you'd like to read the article below the photo, click on the image.  It will open in a new window.  Click again and it will enlarge.

Google, hear my plea:  continue adding newspapers to your collection, please.  I hope that some day the Niles Daily Times will be available at google newspapers and I'll be able to get a good image of the photo and the obituary as well as perform word searches. 

I guess this was a not-so-wordless Wednesday.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

K is for Killed (or Died) in Childhood - Family History Through the Alphabet

Losing children was a frequent event to our ancestors and perhaps it's morbid to discuss infants and children who were killed or died of disease or illness and yet I think it's important that they be remembered.  How a mother must have mourned at the loss of her child....  Just a few below.
  • Little 5-year-old Ethel Clair Gerner was killed from poisoning.  She was a daughter of Fred K. and Elvira (Bartley) Gerner.  She was born on 15 May 1892 and died 16 April 1897.  She is buried in Bear Creek Cemetery, Petrolia, Butler County, Pennsylvania. 
  • Less than 3 months old, Netta (or Meta) Mildred Gerner died of enlargement of the liver.  She was a daughter of Fred K. and Elvira (Bartley) Gerner.  Born 23 Jun 1894, died 9 Sep 1894.  Buried Bear Creek Cemetery, Petrolia, Butler County, Pennsylvania.
  • William Meinzen, born about 1872, died of typhoid fever on 24 Nov 1888.  He was the son of Henry Carl and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.  He's buried in Union Cemetery, Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.
  • Stillborn Infant (unknown gender, unnamed) was buried on 25 Jan 1891 in Union Cemetery, Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.  The parents were Henry Carl and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.
  • Carl Nelson Meinzen, born 3 Sep 1896, was the son of Henry Carl and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.  He died on 14 Sep 1896.  Burial location is uncertain but probably in Union Cemetery, Steubenville, Ohio
  • Flora Victoria Bickerstaff was the daughter of Edward Jesse and Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff.  She was born on 5 Aug 1909 and died 30 Aug 1910.  Her cause of death was convulsions.  She is buried in Oakland Cemetery, Mingo Junction, Jefferson County, Ohio.
  • Leila Doyle was just 3 days old when she died on 2 Mar 1913.  She was the daughter of Gust and Beulah Mae (Gerner) Doyle.  She's buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Sandy Lake Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
  • Alice Bickerstaff, daughter of Ellis and Emma (Nelson) Bickerstaff, was born 27 Apr 1871 and died of convulsions on 21 May 1871.  

I appreciated the following quote from The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman:
Of course, the losing of children had always been a thing that had to be gone through.  There had never been guarantee that conception would lead to a live birth, or that birth would lead to a life of any great length.  Nature allowed only the fit and the lucky to share this paradise-in-the-making.  The graveyards, too, told the story of the babies whose voices, because of a snakebite or a fever or a fall from a wagon, had finally succumbed to their mothers’ beseeching to ‘hush, hush, little one.’  The surviving children got used to the new way of setting the table with one place fewer, just as they grew accustomed to squishing along the bench when another sibling arrived.  Like the wheat fields where more grain is sown than can ripen, God seemed to sprinkle extra children about, and harvest them according to some indecipherable, divine calendar.

Length of days is not guaranteed to any of us and I feel the need to record and/or document the brief lives of those who came before.  

This post is a contribution to Alona Tester's Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, hosted Genealogy and History News.  Thanks for creating and hosting the challenge, Alona.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

J is for Jewerly - Family History Through the Alphabet

Cameos are the jewelry I'd like to share.  Even though my father was a jeweler, we females of the family didn't own or wear much jewelry.  My mom and I both had lockets.  I suppose my sister did, too, but I don't remember.  My mother had several rings, including her engagement and wedding rings, a single strand of pearls, some earrings that she wore frequently, and these cameos.  She had other jewelry but none that is memorable.

When I was little I loved the larger cameo brooch with the dancing ladies.  Who knows why something catches a child's fancy?  Perhaps the dancers looked happy, even flamboyant to my young eyes?  When Mom wore the  brooch  she also wore the earrings, above it.  They are not exactly matching but since they're separated by a face, I doubt anyone compared them.  I don't remember my mother wearing either pendant.  The one on the left is my favorite these days.  I love the details of it.  The one on the right is so pale that it didn't photograph well.  It must have been a part of a larger piece of jewelry -- at least that's what I guess because of the rings both top and bottom.

The large brooch is about an inch and a quarter long.  I didn't measure the others but you can guess their size from the photo.  The metal on the large cameo was repaired at some time in the past and it looks like it needs a repair again.  It was interesting to photograph these then enlarge the photos to see so much detail.  (You can enlarge the photo, too, by clicking on it.  It will open in a new screen and be larger, then enlarge again if you click on it in the new screen.)

As I was researching cameos today I learned that I have not been as kind as I could have been to these.  They have been together in a fabric holder but because they are susceptible to scratches and breakage they should be carefully stored either laying in their own places without touching other pieces or gently wrapped in fabric.  I also learned that they can be cleaned with white toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.  Because the shells dry out, they also need to be conditioned a few times a year with baby or mineral oil left on overnight and removed with a soft cloth.

I love these cameos but they've been hiding away and I rarely look at them.  Maybe I should find a small shadow box so I could display and enjoy them.

This post is a contribution to Alona Tester's Family History Through the Alphabet challenge.  You can read more about the challenge and find links to others' posts at her blog, Genealogy and History News.  Thanks, Alona.

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