Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beyl Ancestors

With the help of my new found Beyl cousins we've been able to trace the Beyl ancestors back to my 7th Great-Grandparents.

For someone who couldn't even find my great-great grandparents a few months ago...this has truly been a gift.

Joseph Antoine (Anton) BEYL
b-1/2/1897 Strasbourg
d-1/28/1989 San Francisco, CA
*Married: Amelia FRIES (3/11/1905 - 12/18/1982)

Francois Antoine (Franz Anton) BEYL
b-5/31/1860 Oberlauterbach
*Married: Josephine SIGRIST (3/19/1865 - ?)

Jacques (Jacob) BEYL
b-3/12/1815 Oberlauterbach
*Married: Maria Anne (Maria Anna) SCHMITT (3/23/1825 - ?)

b-4/27/1791 Oberlauterbach
d-12/27/1850 Oberlauterbach
*Married: Madeleine (Magdelaine) LEHMANN

Jean (Joannis) BEYL
b-7/20/1754 Oberlauterbach
d-12/7/1831 Oberlauterbach
*Married: Catherine SCHICKEL

Jean Georges (Joannis Georg) BEYL
b-5/19/1729 Niederlauterbach
d-6/18/1758 Oberlauterbach
*Married: Maria Elisabeth KRAEMER

Joseph BEYL
b-1682 Siegen
d-4/10/1752 Siegen
*Married: Anne Marie FRITZ

Monday, November 26, 2012

Introducing Anton and Josephine Beyl

Anton Franz Beyl with his wife Josephine Sigrist Beyl 
and one of their sons Joseph Beyl

I never thought I'd actually see a photo of my Great-Great-Grandparents. I can't even put into words the emotions that I felt seeing this photo for the first time.

My Great-Great Grandfather was a baker. If you look in the first window you'll see different types of breads. Yummy! I wish I could taste them.

The other windows have beautiful lace curtains, which I can imagine Josephine dusting.

Joseph has such a swagger about him. Isn't he a cutie? What a charmer he must have been.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brown Ancestors

I've written about Marie Anne Brown and her husband Dr. Ernest E. Kent. Today I'd like to share more about the Brown family.

Marie Anne Brown's parents were Peter Elie Brown, MD and Maria Sophia Rafter.

Dr. Peter E. Brown was the son of Jeremiah R. Brown and Susan Wooldridge (Woolridge). Jeremiah R. is my 4th great grandfather. He and his wife Susan and their 6 sons immigrated from England to Canada...where they settled near Hudson Quebec in 1842. (Near the Ottawa River, opposite the indian village called Oka, 30 miles from Montreal). The ship they traveled on was named Pusie Hall.

1841 England Census 
Hampshire, St Mary Bourne, District 1A

Jeremiah R. Brown was born December 23, 1809 in Thatcham (England) parish. His parents were Jeremiah (Jery) Brown born 1783 and Mary Brin. Jery and Mary married on August 27, 1804 in Thatcham, England.

Jeremiah R. had two brothers David Jeremiah Brown born 1805 in Thatcham and James Brown born 1807 Thatcham. Jeremiah R. died July 1884 in Quebec, Canada.

Jeremiah R. had two brothers David Jeremiah Brown born 1805 in Thatcham and James Brown born 1807 Thatcham. David married Catherine Delanie Bohanen and Ann Hamilton (1805 - 1850). He immigrated to the USA and took the name David Benham. James Brown married a woman named Sarah (1809).

Jeremiah R. Brown's wife was Susan Wooldridge who was born November 9, 1800 at 5:15 and baptized the following Sunday in Newbury church. It is said that she is buried in the Catholic Cemetery, Ste Anne de Bellevue under the name Woolridge (no "d"). Her parents were James and Susannah Wooldridge.

Susan was 10 years older then Jeremiah.

1851 Census of Canada
Canada East Quebec / Valedreuie County

They had 6 sons:

James Brown (1827-1809) Revered
William Brown (1831-1912) Spouse: Mary Hodgson
John Brown (? - 1905) Spouse: ?
Frances Brown (1835 - ?) Spouse: Eliza Grisdale (1835 - ?)
Charles Brown (1838 - ?) Spouse: ?
Peter Elie Brown (1839 - 1933) Spouse: Maria Sophia Rafter
Sister?? Mrs. Joseph Lancaster (found a reference to her in her brother James Brown's obituary...haven't been able to find out any further information on her yet)

Reverend James Brown Obituary

Peter E. Brown, MD married Marie Sophia Rafter (b. Jan 5, 1837 Quebec - d. Oct 28, 1918 Ste Anne de Bellevue)

Peter and Marie had 9 children:

Joseph Henry Patrick Brown (1863 - 1934) Spouse: Margaret Augusta De La Rende (1859 - ?)
John James Louis Brown (1865 - 1939) Spouse: Gertrude Juliette Martha Wilare
Frederick Alfred Brown (1866 - 1900) Spouse: Agnes Jervis
Irederie Brown (1869 - ?)
Cecilia Agnes Brown (1870 - ?) Spouse: Pascal Deslauriers
Peter Elie Brown (1871 - 1913)
Charles Edward Brown (1873 - 1929) Spouse: A Ethel Van Der Veer
Marie Anne Brown (1877 - ?) Spouse: Ernest E. Kent
Helena Cathrine Brown (1879 - ?)

Marie Sophia Rafter was married in 1856 to a James McElhearn in Montreal, Quebec (Basilique Nortre-Dame) and she was 19 years old. It appears from the witness signatures and the text that her parents are John Rafter and Mary Ann Rafter.

Marriage Certificate 1856 Montreal, Quebec
Basilique Notre-Dame
Maria Sophia Rafter and James McElhearn

James McElhearn immigrated from Great Britian to the USA in 1850 at the age of 26...his ship name was Argyle.

James and Maria Sophia married in 1856 and James died at the age of 35 in 1859...they were married only 3 short years.

It's hard for me to imagine losing a husband so quickly and yet if he had lived...she wouldn't have married Peter E. Brown and I wouldn't be here today. 

Death Certificate of Marie Sophia Rafter

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mystery Photo

I'm not sure who this photo is of.

I tend to think it's the Kimple's...because of the gentlemen's mustache. Every photo of William and Mary Kimple, William is sporting a similar style mustache. Maybe this was taken on their wedding day??

Monday, November 12, 2012

George Washington Bates - Civil War Vet

George Washington Bates
b - Aug 4, 1842
d - Sep 30, 1928

1st Wife
Nancy H Towner 1847 – 1906
Herman W. Betts 1868 – 1903
Gertrude Betts 1870 – 1950
Morrow Betts 1873 – 1958
Cortella M Betts 1879 – 1942
Circe Annette Bates 1881 – 1941
Earl M. Betts 1885 – 

2nd Wife
Emma C Erb 1863 – 1940
Grace Bates 1904 – 2000

Civil War Draft Registration 1863

Lists George "Betts" as single, farmer and 20 years old.

Other Betts/Bates family members are listed here as well, such as Reason Betts Jr., William Betts, and others. I would love to find out more about their service in this war. All 3 of these men survived the war.

George Bates (far right)

Robert Minnigh with Great Grandpa Bates

George W. Bates Civil War Buriel Card

Death Notice:

  • Birth: Aug. 4, 1842
    Crawford County
    Pennsylvania, USADeath: Sep. 30, 1928
    Crawford County
    Pennsylvania, USA
    PA--Meadville Tribune....03 Oct 1928
    GEORGE BATES: 86; WShenango, lifelong resi-dent & CivilWar Vet, died Monday[10-1] at his home after a long period of ill health. MrBates enlisted in the PA 14thCavalry in 1861, serving with meritorious record throughout the entire duration of the CivilWar. Returning to his home he soon became one of the twp's foremost farmers, retaining that position until a few years ago.
    Surviving are his wife Emma & the following children: Mrs Gertrude Bush-Williamsfld; Mrs Cortelle Sharp-Parkman; Mrs EO Minnigh-Con-neautville; Mrs Grace Williams-Jamestown; William Sponsler-Youngstown; Morrow Bates-Conneaut OH; Earl Bates-Denver CO.
    Service will be held Thursday [10-4] at State Line Church with interment in ParkLawn Cem

Remembrance Day: Military Heroes

These are a few of my family military heroes:

Harold Minnigh

brothers: Robert and Richard Minnigh

Robert Minnigh pictures from military service

There are many more ancestors who served in the military. I have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War...but sadly I don't have pictures of them.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cousin Search: Marie Anne Brown and Ernest E Kent

I am looking for information on Marie Anne (Marriane) Brown and Ernest Edonard Kent and their children. I am the Great-Great Granddaughter of Marie Anne and Ernest Kent.

Growing up my grandmother told me stories about the summers she and her brother spent Grandma and Grandpa Kent. They lived on Lake St. Louis and the cousins would descend on the island during the summer.

Here's what I do know:

Marie Anne (Marriane) Brown:
born: Nov 20, 1877 in Quebec, Canada
died: ?
married: Nov 7, 1874 in Quebec, Canada to Ernest Kent

Ernest Edonard Kent:
born: June 25, 1874 in Quebec, Canada
died: ?
married: Nov 7, 1898 in Ste-Anne Quebec, Canada

They lived in Quebec, Canada for many years.
I have a 1911 Census of Canada that lists Marie Anne and Dr. E. E. Kent in Jacques-Cartier District #162 with their 7 children.

Both of their families were well off....part of the "upper class". Marie Anne's father was a doctor and Ernest is listed in the 1911 census as a doctor as well. I'd love to know what type of doctor he was.

I know eventually they buy a house on an island on Lake St. Louis but when? My grandmother and her brother would spend summers there with all their cousins. Ernest would play the piano and sing "Silver Threads Among the Gold".

Dr. E E Kent's Sail Boat

I wrote an earlier post about Marie Anne and Ernest.

Ernest Edonard Kent 1874-? Family Tree

Marie Anne Brown (Kent) 1877 - ? Family Tree

Dr Kent and Marie Anne had 7 children so my grandmother had a ton of cousins. I hope there is someone out there who had a grandparent like mine who spent the summers with Grandma and Grandpa Kent. Someone who has pictures and stories to share. And if anyone knows about Marie Anne's family the Browns or Ernest's family I'd love to hear from you.

I have a few other pictures and a stories I would love to share as well. I have a ton of information on Lake St. Louis.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New Information on Joseph Anthony Beyl

I have recently been contacted by a Beyl cousin in France and a genealogist who has been helping her. In a short comment and email I learned more then the many hours I've spent researching the Beyl side of my family.

When I started this blog I hoped I'd find my lost cousins...but feared getting my hopes up. I have been truly blessed to meet (even if only through emails) the most amazing people...all of whom I'm so thrilled to call family.

From left to right: Amelia Fries, Jane Adams holding son Jeffrey, and Joseph Beyl

My Grandfather has written about his father so much more eloquently then I ever could, if you're interested read here.

Joseph's obituary:

Birth: Jan. 2, 1897
Strasbourg, France
Death: Jan. 28, 1989
San Francisco
San Francisco County
California, USA

Joseph A. Beyl
Funeral services will be held tomorrow for Joseph A. Beyl, a well-known San Francisco chef who died Saturday after a lengthy illness. He was 92.

Friends may visit after 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Evergreen Mortuary at McAvoy O'Hara Co., 4545 Geary Boulevard. Funeral services are at 3 p.m., with San Francisco historian Kevin Starr giving the eulogy. Private internment will be held at Mountain View Cemetery.

Son of a Strasbourg baker, Mr. Beyl left his home in Alsace in 1912 when he was 15, saying he wanted to see the world. After arriving in New York City, he talked his way into a cook's job at the Hotel Astor, explaining that he had worked in his father's bakery.

Mr. Beyl susequently worked at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia and the Minneapolis Athletic Club.

By 1916, he began working as a cook at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco under the famed chef Victor Hirtzler, who became Mr. Beyl's mentor.

Mr. Beyl became chef de cuisine at the Hotel Californian in Fresno in 1924. He returned to the San Francisco area in 1932 and remained here throughout his life.

During his career, Mr. Beyl served as chef in San Francisco's Alexander Hamilton Hotel, the Lake Merritt Hotel in Oakland, the Menlo Country Club in Redwood City and various restaurants. He retired in 1970. He was a member and past president of the Gastronome Club.

Mr. Beyl and his wife, who died in 1982, were longtime Oakland residents. Since 1983, Mr. Beyl lived in San Francisco.

Survivors include a sister, Anna Fromm of Strasbourg; a son, Ernest Beyl of San Francisco, Laurel Beyl of San Francisco of San Francisco, Michael Beyl of San Anselmo, and Jeffrey Beyl of Seattle; and five great-grandchildren. 

What I'd like to share is the new information that has been shared with me.

Joseph Anthony Beyl was born in Stasbourg on 1/2/1897 to Franz Anton (Francois Antoine) Beyl and Josephine Sigrist. He had a brother Leon Marie (Leo Maria); two sisters, Maria Antonia Beyl and Anna Maria Beyl.

FRANZ ANTON (FRANCOIS ANTOINE) BEYL was born 31 May 1860 in Oberlauterbach, he was a baker. He married JOSEPHINE SIGRIST born 19 March 1865 in Obernai.

1. JOSEPH ANTOINE (Joseph Anthony) BEYL born 02 Jan 1897 in Strasbourg; died 28 Jan 1989 in San Francisco
2. LEON MARIE (Leo Marie) BEYL born 28 Sept 1898 in Strasbourg; died 18 Feb 1976 in Vandoevre-les-Nancy
3. MARIE ANTONIA BEYL born 27 June 1900 in Strasbourg; died 13 July 1900 in Strasbourg
4. ANNA MARIA BEYL born 21 June 1902 in Strasbourg; died 11 May 2000 in Strasbourg

I'm still looking for more information about Leon and Anna Maria's children and grandchildren and will share as soon as I learn more.

(left to right: Amelia Fries Beyl, Honor "Ben" Boland Adams, Ernie Beyl, 
Jane Adams, Jeff Beyl, Roxanne Minnigh, Joseph Beyl, 
anet Burns Minnigh and Robert Minnigh)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Getting to Know...Arthur Henry Kimple

Arthur Henry Kimple was the son of Mary L. McCaskey and William L. Kimple, and brother of my Gr Grandmother Esther "Bobbe" Kimple (Minnigh).

Arthur Henry Kimple born 11/28/1892

I don't know much about Arthur yet, but there is quite the mystery beginning to unfold.

Arthur was 13 years old when Bobbe was born, so he was quite a bit older then her.

He married Mildred Amelia Prescott on 9/7/1923 in Wentworth, Ontario. Mildred was from Canada.

Arthur Henry Kimple

Arthur and Mildred Kimple

Recently my wonderful Aunt has taken the time to scan in photos my Grandfather had and found out that Arthur had a son named Lloyd (Loyd). Yet from the census records I've reviewed Arthur and Mildred had no children listed as living with them.
Bobbe holding Arthur's son Lloyd

Mary Kimple, Bobbe Kimple and 
William Kimple holding Arthur's son Lloyd

Based on these photos...he grew up to be a grown man.

Arthur Kimple and son Lloyd

The plot thickens...

The 1920 census...Arthur is 27 years old and living at home and he's listed as married. Married!!

He didn't marry Mildred for 3 more years. (I have the marriage certificate to prove it.)

So why in 1920 is he listed as married but living with his parents and sister? Where's his wife?

After a bit a searching I found a Lloyd H. Kimple born 1919 and his mother's name was Mary E. Yohe (Kimple). In 1920 she is living with her parents and her 1 year old son Lloyd. Census says she's been married for a year.

By the 1930 Census Mary E. Yohe (Kimple) is still living with her parents Frank E and Margaret J Yohe and her now 11 year old son Lloyd....but now she's listed as a widow.

We know that Arthur H Kimple is very much alive in 1930, so either this is the wrong match...or it was easier to call herself a widow. Were Arthur and Mary ever divorced?

Arthur was a mechanic. In the 1940 census he was unemployed for 30 months and shortly after in 1941 his father William Kimple died of stroke. Mary L. Kimple his mother sold the house and moved. The 1945 Florida Population Census shows her living in Florida with her son Arthur.

Then in 1946 Arthur and Mildred divorce in Osceola, FL.

I still can't find any marriage records for Mary E. Yohe (Kimple)...there is much more to uncover here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How Genealogists Can Use Social Media

Social media is such a big word in our culture. It's become a way for news to be shared, families to keep in touch and companies to market their goods and services. The possibilities are endless!

So can family historians get in on this action? Is there any benefit to using Facebook, Twitter or Google +?

The simple answer is...YES!

Social media allows you to make connections. With Twitter and Facebook you have an opportunity to not only meet and connect with like-minded individuals, but distant cousins and professionals you wouldn't have been able to meet otherwise.

Twitter and Facebook can seem overwhelming. It's a 24/7 live stream of conscience thought and advertisements. If you let it, it can consume an enormous amount of time.

Here's what I recommend:

1) Have a goal in mind before logging on. Having a purpose or goal for your visit will help keep you focused instead of getting caught up in all the feeds and posts just to come away from your computer forgetting why you logged on in the first place.

2) Give yourself a time limit. Whether it's 10 minutes or an hour and stick to it. Log off when you've hit your limit.

3) Keep each account focused. I have a personal twitter feed and a twitter account for AncestryChick. This way I can follow the appropriate people and not mix the two. This also helps to have the appropriate people following me. If I mixed them all together those who are following me would become frustrated by my jumble of tweets and posts. I wouldn't post ancestry/genealogy information to those who are following me personally or about writing and vice versa. Facebook allows you to have a personal page and a public page, which I suggest utilizing. My personal page is for friends and family and my public page is for AncestryChick. This is where I post about my blog updates or information about genealogy related stuff.

4) Connect and Engage. This is important! Ask questions. Tell others what you are looking for. Hit a wall in your research? Put it out there and see if anyone can help. Comment on blog posts, Facebook posts and twitter feeds. Just like any other relationship you must do your part and be present and engaged.

I've found Social Media to be a great addition to my genealogy research. I've been able to connect with distant cousins, learn about conferences and online webinars, and read get answers to my research questions. If you haven't tried it yet, I would highly recommend it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Getting To Know Jane Theresa Adams

I never had the privilege of meeting my grandmother, Jane Theresa Adams...she passed away a few weeks after my older brother was born.

She was born on June 9, 1930 in San Francisco, CA. She was adopted by Miner Barnes Adams (b. 4/9/1899 in Mt. Vernon, NY / d. 5/17/1969 in Palo Alto, CA) and Honor Jane Boland Adams (b. 12/22/1900 in San Francisco,CA / d. 1/3/1988 in CA)...everyone called Honor "Ben". Yet no one can tell me why. Hmmm??

Miner and Ben had a daughter Nancy Ruth Adams (b. 12/20/1926 d. 5/24/1993). They had two other children that I have evidence of...both died at birth. Judy Adams on 11/29/1928 in Palo Alto, CA and John Adams on 2/20/1930 in Palo Alto, CA.

(left to right: Amelia Fries Beyl, Honor "Ben" Boland Adams, Ernie Beyl, Jane Adams, Jeff Beyl, Roxanne Minnigh, Joseph Beyl, Janet Burns Minnigh and Robert Minnigh)

Now what I find interesting...is that Miner and Honor were preparing for a baby to be born in February of 1930 (if that was full-term) and yet my grandmother was born in early June in 1930. That's only a little over 3 months. Adoptions usually took longer than that. So either my grandmother Jane wasn't adopted immediately after birth OR Miner and Honor knew the birth mother perhaps??

Growing up there were only a few things I knew about her...
  1. She was adopted.
  2. She played the piano.
  3. She'd been married twice and divorced twice.
  4. She was beautiful.
  5. She died of cancer.
  6. I supposedly resemble her.
I don't remember seeing pictures of her growing up. I mourned her absence in my life. Maybe it was easier to idolize someone who wasn't there. But I did miss her. I use to talk to her late at night when I was trying to work out some adolescent problem...thinking she would have the answers. 

Jane Theresa Adams
(I LOVE this dress. I even have a pair of shoes just like the ones she's wearing)

Jane was always a mystery.

My mom met my dad when they were just teenagers so she has been a huge help in filling in some of the blanks. 

I may never know Jane's entire story...and that's truly a tragedy. She was given up for adoption and brought into a family who from all appearances loved her. I believe they did. But I also think, from all I've been told, that Jane also had a darkness to her....a pain that was deep. 

After pestering my dad a bit, he finally sent me some photos of Jane last March. I was coming home from a business trip in Chicago and there was a large envelope from my dad and inside were a handful of B&W photos of Jane and my Grandfather Ernie. I cried! It was the first time I'd seen a photo of her. It was such a special moment. 

Jane Adams fixing her veil on her wedding day. Ernie and her mother are standing beside her.
I love the kid in the background...was he part of the wedding or was he a creeper? 

Ernie Beyl and Jane Adams on their wedding day

Amelia Fries Beyl, Jane Adams with son Jeffrey and Joseph Beyl

Jane with her sons Jeff and Michael

This photo is my favorite...after being told I resembled her...I could finally see why. I sit just like this, with my shoulders rolled forward. Our bodies are very similar and I have her hands.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Adoption As Part of Your Genealogy Research

Ancestry.com had a great video about Adoption Research and Genealogy. Very interesting...so please watch! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bemP0LQ4lik&feature=youtu.be

My Grandmother Jane Theresa Adams was adopted and I've begun my research on finding her biological family. She was born in San Francisco, CA on June 6, 1930 and she was adopted by a wonderful family. Honor Jane Boland and Miner Barnes Adams from CA.

I've begun to look into finding her birth parents and since she was in CA that requires quite a few of hoops to jump through.

My first step is to get a copy of her birth certificate. Now this will list her adoptive parents, but I want to start with that so I know I'm working with the correct county. I've filled out the application and now have to take the sworn statement to be notarized before mailing with the fee. It needs to be notarized since I'm not able to walk into the county office myself. In a few short weeks I will get a copy of her birth certificate.

But in order to view her original birth certificate I will have to first petition the courts for permission. Once a court order is granted, I will then mail a copy of that with an application and fee. And that's if I'm even given permission.

It all seems daunting, but I'm curious and it's a mystery I'd love to solve. Plus, I believe many of my own health issues come from her family line and it would be nice to have a bit more information.

Anyone had any luck uncovering an adopted relative's birth parents? I'd love to hear your story!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mystery Photo

As family historians you'll come across photographs of unknown individuals from time to time. Don't push them aside assuming you'll never know who the picture is of.

Here is a photo my Grandpa Minnigh gave to me over 18 years ago and I can no longer remember who he saidwas in this photo. Sadly there is no note on the photo either.

I believe the photo is of a Minnigh and his wife. I've always thought this was of George Minnigh, my 4x Great Grandfather.

There are a few things I find so interesting about this photo. First that's it's taken inside of the home. Usually you see photos standing outside, I would imagine due to lighting issues with those old cameras. And why did they decide to have a photo done of them this way? It's such a domestic scene.  

Interesting features:

  • The man is sitting in the forefront, while his wife is sitting some distance in the back. (How did that conversation go? Or was it just assumed and she quietly took her place?) And the rocking chair he is sitting is looks beautiful, while she is sitting in a straight back chair.

  • He's holding 2 shotguns and she's sitting beside her spinning wheel. This shows their positions very well.

  • He's dressed in nice trousers and a very nice jacket. His wife looks to be wearing a very fine blouse. I can't tell if she's wearing a hat or if that is just her dark hair. 

  • I love the wood burning stove in the front left corner...what a gorgeous antique that would make these days.

  • The fireplace is roaring and they have two cauldrons hanging from the hooks. Those would be cast iron and well used. I wonder what's cooking inside? A stew perhaps?

  • There are two oil lamps on the mantle just behind the clock.

  • And the clock...this I just love...why? Because it says 10:30 and since there is light coming through the windows...I assume it's 10:30 a.m.

  • The house/cabin is small. There isn't a great deal of floor space and what flooring there is...it's brick. The living room/kitchen is very functional. Maybe there is a dining table positioned behind her. 

  • Can you see the firewood? There is a piece beside him and some next to her. But then look in the fireplace...you'll see the same type of wood is burning there.

  • It's hard to see exactly what is behind her...but it appears to be fabric hanging over her left shoulder...maybe a curtain or room divider of some sort.

I believe this is a Minnigh. In fact, I see a strong resemblance between the gentleman and my own Grandpa Minnigh.

If there is anyone out there who might recognize these two...I would LOVE to hear from you.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Family History Is Just About Those Who Are Gone...Or Is It?

When we begin to assemble the key players of our family tree, we all begin with the basics. We write our names neatly in the primary box at the bottom of the tree. Then we move up a branch and we write our fathers name...then our mothers name. Then we separate off into the paternal side and fill in the names of our father's parents and grandparents. Then we work our way back to our maternal side and diligently fill in the names of her parents and grandparents.

We may fill in the birth dates and death dates if we know them, maybe making a mental note to "Call Mom and ask what Grandma's birthday was".

After we've dutifully filled in all the blank lines we step back, and with a sigh, we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.

Maybe we frame this tree and hang in our hallway with the other family photographs. Checking off our list "Research Family History".

But wait!! Don't check that off your list quite yet.

Family History is more then just the names and dates of our parents and grandparents. The history of our families...of ourselves...is the story each of us have to tell. Sadly our stories are lost after we are gone, little tidbits may remain in the memories of our children, cousins or nieces, but the things that may matter to us go unmentioned.

Who better to tell your story then...YOU.

Family history is about OUR own stories too! Not just those who've already passed.

Many times we are so focused on getting the facts about our 4x Great Grandfather that we forget to get the stories of our parents, ourselves or our children down. I know I'm guilty of this as well.

But guess what?

All those who are dead...will stay that way. Their history will remain in place. It's those who are alive that we need to worry about. It's their stories...our stories...that need to be preserved now. Think of all the information that is sitting in their heads, just waiting to be mined.

"But my life is so ordinary! There is nothing special about me!" you say.


How is that possible?

History is about ordinary people. Some who have done extraordinary things, but they were ordinary just like the rest of us. Today blogs, like this one, are read by many. Why?? Why are blogs so successful? They are written by everyday people about their everyday lives. What about Twitter or Facebook? Their entire existence is based on peoples desire to know about other peoples lives. Why do we want to know what someone had for lunch? Why do we care what movie they saw last night? Because we're curious about people.

So imagine your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren or even your 4x great grandchildren...don't you think they will be curious about you? Curious as to why you loved to play the piano? Why you chose to be a doctor? Or why you quit college?


So tell it....because family history is NOT just about those who are gone!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

1940 Census - Kimple's Neighbors with the Minnigh's

The 1940 Census has recently been released and I've had a chance to find some of my family members on it.

Tonight, I found something interesting...I found that my 2nd Great Grandparents - William and Mary Kimple lived next door to my Great Grandparents - Harold and Esther Minnigh.

In 1940 my Grandfather Robert Minnigh was only 15 years old.

I love finding these little tidbits.

I'm still looking for a death date for William Kimple. I know that Mary Kimple is in Florida with her son in 1945. So maybe William passed away shortly after this census was taken and Mary moved to FL to be by her son Arthur. Yet, she was living next door to her daughter and grandchildren, so why move? So many questions?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Minnigh Homestead

My Grandfather, Robert Minnigh, lived on Minnigh Lane. I asked him many years ago how it was possible for him to live on a road that shared his last name and he told me..."Back in 1800's some of our ancestors settled in this part of Penn on 200 acres, what is now Minnigh Lane was the lane that ran through the property - it is now a public road."

Picture if of my 3rd Great Grandmother Eliza Jane Bradley and her husband William Minnigh standing in front of their home.

Eliza and William had four children: Edrie Viola (1852-1857), May (birth and death unknown), Catherine (birth and death unknown) and son Elmer Oliver (1861 -1945). My grandfather's modern day home was located about 500 feet from Eliza and William's home (as seen in picture above). The land on which it sat consisted of 200 acres, which had been purchased by William from Eliza's father (John Guy Bradley) at the time of their wedding. In 1889 William invented and obtained a U.S. Patent #396887 on what he called a "seed grader and cleaner"  - something to be used by all growers of grains. Whether or not it was ever produced I have no idea.

Another interesting story was told to my Grandfather Robert by his father Harold. In the 1800's the home was built in approx 1860 - after William & Eliza had married and moved to the farm - William started growing tobacco in addition to his regular farm crops. (There use to be a photo taken long ago of tobacco tied in bunches hanging in a barn located behind the house). Indians still lived and roamed through out the area, usually several in number - they would come by the  house from time to time to beg or barter. They were primarily interested in the tobacco and at some point it was agreed upon - tobacco for lead. The lead to be melted down and cast to form lead balls for ammunition for hunting. It is said that is was never made known where the lead came from but the Indians were never gone long before they were back with the agreed upon amount of lead for tobacco. It was quite certain that the location of the lead deposit was on the farm nearby but William supposedly never learned of the location and though it was searched for, they never found it.

Pictures from Minnigh Homestead

Foundation from Eliza and Williams home

There is a walnut tree that still stands adjacent to where the house stood that still produces a few walnuts each year. As a child Harold would gather nuts from that tree.

An oil painting by Mary B. Dille was given to William Minnigh on July 1, 1896. I'm waiting for a photo of the actual painting to be sent to me, but below is the card that was attached to the painting.