Thursday, December 01, 2011

Thankful Thursday - A Grandparent by Any Other Name...

Is still a grandparent... (apologies to Shakespeare).

There are many names for grandparents - here are a few from my family:

On my father's side -
"Grandma Kern" and
"Grandma Hill" 
Grandma Hill was my great-grandmother and Grandma Kern's mother and they've always been known as such to distinguish them.
I never knew my paternal grandfathers.

Jessie (Hill) Ormsby Kern and Nancy Jane (Wiley) Hill, 1944

On my mother's side, I had -
I never knew my maternal grandmother.

Me with John Steinbrecher, Christmas Eve 1965

My daughters have -
My mother started off as "Grandma".  When my older daughter was three she asked if she could call her "Grammy" instead and it stuck.  When my sister's daughter was little she tried to say "Grammy" but is came out "Goggy".  Now my mother answers to "Grammy" and "Goggy" interchangeably.

My father died before my girls were born.  They learned from family photos that he was their Grandpa but somehow became known as "Old Grandpa" instead.

Donald Edward and Ruth (Steinbrecher) Ormsby, 1988

On their father's Austro-hungarian side, the girls had "Oma" and "Opa" - the german terms of endearment for grandparents.

Josef and Gertrude (Parzer) Nagy, 1988

 They also had "Ur-Oma", their great-grandmother.

Me with Maria (Oellinger) Parzer, 1985

What do you call your grandparents?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Society Saturday - I see the light!

Chicago Colony New England Women and Illinois Branch Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims recently had a joint meeting with a guest presenter.  Dan Mattausch, from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History gave a very informative presentation  on historic lighting.

We learned that the first light sources in the colonies were candles - usually made of beeswax or tallow.  Colonists used light for the task at hand, not for lighting the whole room.

Soon after, various types of oil would be used in lamps - an early oil used on the east coast was whale oil.  An advancement in oil lamps was the "Betty Lamp" which kept oil in a covered container to keep animals from eating the fuel.

The next major advancement was the Argand lamp in 1784.  The wick was replaced by a hollow wick to allow more air to burn, resulting in a longer, brighter burn.  This was initially a lamp for the elite and servants or slaves would keep it tended.  Miles improved on this by changing the burner so that it would screw in, allowing the lamp to be carried without spilling the fuel.  It also became more affordable.

Other types of oil were used as well, such as turpentine (aka "burning oil") which was much more flammable than previously used whale oil.  Lard was used by many people who lived on farms.  Kerosene was widely used until the advent of electric lighting.

It is always interesting to learn about how different our ancestors' lives were from ours!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday - I am thankful for...

Every year, we try to get together with my mother and my sister's family for the holidays.  Before we start eating our Thanksgiving meal, we go around the table and say what we are thankful for.

Our responses five year ago (2006) were:
Ruth (my mother) - "My family, being all together today and for our new houses"

Donna (my daughter, age 14 - "My wonderful loving family, everyone who has supported me and been by my side through everything, the gift God gave to me to play music, and Dr. Cole for fixing me" (the year of her knee injuries and surgery)

Robin (my sister) - "The good health of my family"

Jeremy (my brother-in-law) - "Family gathering, Good health, life experience and Good fortune"

Zoe (my niece, age 5) - she drew a picture of her family

Amanda (my daughter, age 9) - "The World" :-)

Regan (my niece, age 4) - she drew a picture of her mom

Me - "My 2 wonderful daughters"

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Society Saturday - The Colonial Art of Spinning

Lac des Illinois chapter of Colonial Dames of Seventeenth Century met recently.  Our speaker was Maggie Kraus.  She is a local artist who works in several media, including painting and fabric.  She has been spinning her own yarn for knitting for over 30 years.

She brought her spinning wheel and showed us how she spins - talking as she spun.   She discussed the journey taken by wool after it is shorn from the sheep.  She demonstrated carding the wool and mentioned that it is a great workout for the upper arms!  She then spins the yarn and gathers it into skeins.  She has dyed her own yarn as well - in a large vat over an open fire!  It is not necessary to dye the yarn, though, as there are many naturally occurring colors and shades.

Maggie had brought several yarn samples with her, demonstrating the difference in yarn based on breed of sheep.  Finally, she showed several examples of sweaters and other items that she had knit.  Her homespun yarn and handmade sweaters were beautiful and quite durable.

It was easy to imagine our colonial ancestors spending hours going through this process, just to make a single item of clothing!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Society Saturday - Indian Wars

Illinois recently reorganized their chapter of the Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars.  This group had been struggling recently but is now going strong under the able leadership of Shari Worrell.

We have 20 ladies who belong and we had a very nice organizational meeting.  One highlight was the presentation of a flag and gavel to the society from Honorary Governor General Marcia Weber, and a large insignia from Past State Governor Josefa Lee Hammond.  We also had a memorial service where we honored our ancestors.

Eligibility is based on lineal descent from a Native or immigrant American ancestor who participated in any capacity in actual hostilities, one against the other, or in any other activity with each other, during the period May 14, 1607 to 1900.  Basically, anyone who fought in any of the Indian Wars, on either side, or someone engaged in trading or other activity with the Indians.

My ancestor was:
John Hannum, born ca 1637 at Dorchester, MA to William and Honor (Capen) Hannum.  He married (1) Sarah Weller on 20 November 1662 at Northampton, MA.  After Sarah's death in 1673, John married (2)  Esther Langton on 20 April 1675 at Northampton, MA, and died 19 February 1712.
John and Sarah had:
Abigail Hannum
Hannah Hannum
Sarah Hannum
Mindwell Hannum
Experience Hannum
John and Esther had:
John Hannum. born 9 August 1676 at Northampton, MA and married Elizabeth Clesson
Eleazer Hannum
Ruth Hannum
Esther Hannum
Joanna Hannum
William Hannum
Samuel Hannum

John served as a Private in Captain Elisha Hawley's Company during a war with the French and Indians in 1655.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Society Saturday - On the I & M Canal

The Isle a la Cache DAR chapter had their 1st birthday celebration today.  Hard to believe that we have only been a chapter for a year.  We started with 12 members and now have 34 ladies with several more in process.  Our members are young and enthusiastic and we enjoy getting together.

Our program today was given by one of our HODAR's (husband of DAR), Ron Vasile.  Ron worked for the I&M Canal Historical Society for several years, so he is definitely an expert on the subject.  It was a beautiful fall day which was perfect for a walking tour of the canal.

The Illinois & Michigan canal was built between 1836 -1848 to connect the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River.  This was a major boon to transportation and shipping of goods and contributed quite a bit to the settlement of northern Illinois. 

Ron explained how many of the workers were Irish immigrants.  The work was dangerous because they had to use black powder (gunpowder) to blast through the limestone.  In addition, there was the danger of disease such as cholera and dysentery.  Many were killed trying to dig this 96 mile canal 60 feet wide and 6 feet deep.  

The canal boats were pulled along by mules, driven by boys who walked alongside the canal on a mule path.  Travel across the state of Illinois now took only 24 hours by boat - previously three weeks along muddy roads.  In addition, grain could be brought to Chicago to sell or ship east - one of the reasons Chicago grew and thrived during this period.

The canal has 17 locks because the water level is higher in Chicago than at the Mississippi.  The first lock is partially intact at Lockport, IL.

We enjoyed learning about this important piece of Illinois history.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Society Saturday - Is there a witch in your family tree?

It's almost Halloween, when the goblins and ghouls and witches come out. 

Did you know that there were at least 316 people accused, tried or convicted of witchcraft in the colonies prior to 1700?

While the victims of the Salem witch hysteria are probably the best known "witches", there were many more episodes in our colonial history.

The first known execution for witchcraft in the colonies was that of Alice Young who was hanged in 1647 at Hartford, CT.

The majority of witchcraft accusations occurred in New England, especially Massachusetts and Connecticut.  There were other occurrences throughout the colonies, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. 

There was even a woman, Katherine Grady, who was hanged from a yardarm on board a ship bound for Virginia in 1654.

The Associated Daughters of Early American Witches is a lineage organization which honors the memory of these men and women who were victims of this dark period of our history.

Friday, October 28, 2011

From Russia with Love - Part 3

Part 3 - Becoming American

Here is the last part of the Steinbrecher trilogy -
They started in Russia:
They sailed across the atlantic ocean:

Finally, they settled in Fulton County, Ohio.

This is the Lutheran Church in Pettisville where they worshiped (as it looked in 2010)

They settled near Pettisville, a town with a large population of other German speakers.  My great-grandmother never really learned to speak English.  My great-grandfather could speak enough to "get by".  This is understandable, considering the family lived in Russia for over 100 years and still spoke primarily German.

They did become citizens of the United States on 3 October 1910.

My great-grandparents were:

John William Steinbrecher, born 14 August 1859 in Doenhoff, Russia, son of Johann Wilhelm and Catherine Elizabeth Steinbrecher.
He married (1) Catherine Baus on 27 December 1881.  They had:
1. William Steinbrecher, born 13 August 1882 in Russia
2. Katharine S. Steinbrecher, born 30 May 1884 in Russia
3. Eva Elizabeth Steinbrecher, born 31 May 1886 in Russia
4. Marie Elizabeth Steinbrecher, born 5 July 1888 in Russia
Catherine died on 25 August 1888 and John married (2) Eva Elizabeth Hettinger on 4 June 1889 in Doenhoff.  She was the daughter of Jacob & Eva (Schlegel) Hettinger and was born 30 August 1866 in Doenhoff.
They had:
5. Henry Steinbrecher, born 10 September 1890 in Russia
6. Rosa Steinbrecher, born 13 June 1892 in Nebraska
7. John Steinbrecher, born 22 June 1894 in Fulton Co., OH.
8. Clara Steinbrecher, born 24 August 1895 in Fulton Co., OH
9. Lorenz Louis Steinbrecher, born 18 September 1898 in Fulton Co., OH
10. Arthur E. Steinbrecher, born 25 May 1906 in Fulton Co., OH.

This family photo was taken in late 1894.  
Back: children William, Eva and Katherine Steinbrecher
Front: children Henry and Rosa Steinbrecher, parents Johann Wilhelm and Eva Elizabeth (Hettinger) Steinbrecher, children John and Marie Steinbrecher.

They are buried at Pettisville Lutheran Cemetery, Pettisville, Fulton Co., Ohio with William's parents and some of their children and grandchildren.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Society Saturday - "Hats off to Our Heritage"

The National Society Children of the American Colonists has a project every year to support our colonial heritage.  Usually, when we think of colonial america, the original thirteen colonies come to mind.  There were europeans living farther west as early as the late 1680's.  These were predominantly fur traders who enjoyed a business relationship with the native americans in areas of present-day Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan.  This history is commemorated at Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, IL.

This year, National President Amanda Nagy has chosen to support the Museum.  She is raising funds to help build a hands-on exhibit to show school children what happens to the furs that the traders obtain from the indians.  The children will learn how the furs are made into beaver skin hats similar to the iconic hat worn by Abraham Lincoln.

Her National Project theme is "Hats off to our Heritage" and she will be selling lapel pins to help raise money.

The Illinois Chapter of CAC recently visited the Isle a la Cache Museum and saw the area of the proposed exhibit.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Military Monday - Lookout Mountain

On 24 November 1863, the "Battle above the Clouds" took place on Lookout Mountain just south of Chattanooga, TN.  It allowed the Union to take control of the railroad supply lines at Wauhatchie and marked the beginning of the end for the South.  This was followed by the battle of Missionary Ridge and Orchard Knob on 25 November 1863.

Three of my Civil War ancestors fought at these battles, known collectively as the Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign:

John J. Neeley was in the 57th Ohio Volunteer Infantry which participated in the battle of Missionary Ridge.

George W. Wiley was in the which participated in the 73rd Illinois Infantry which participated in the battles of Orchard Knob and Missionary Ridge.

William D. Hill was in the 59th Illinois Infantry which participated in the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.

Apparently, it was quite popular for veterans to visit Lookout Mountain and reminisce.   This photo shows my great-great-grandfathers C.C. Ormsby, J.J. Neeley and Dick Shores posing atop the Mountain.  

Charles Clark Ormsby was in the 123rd Illinois Infantry which camped at Maysville, AL during this time.  Although his regiment did not fight at Lookout Mountain, it was a great photo op.

I am not sure who Dick Shores was.  He may have been the Richard Shore born ca 1848 in Ohio who served in the 149th Indiana Infantry and died 30 August 1930 in Casey, IL (Pension index at NARA).  The census lists Richard Shore living in Casey, IL in 1880 (born ca 1848 in OH), and Richard Shores living in Crooked Creek Township, Cumberland Co., IL in 1900 (born ca 1848 in OH).   I don't believe that he was related to C.C. or J.J. although Casey and neighboring Crooked Creek Township were small communities so they probably knew each other. The 149th IN regiment did not participate in the above battles either, so I suspect these old veterans were simply enjoying each others' company on a road trip.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Society Saturday - Children of the American Colonists honor Christopher Columbus

The National Society Children of the American Colonists was honored to participate in a ceremony at Columbus Plaza.  National President Amanda Nagy posed with the explorer himself before the festivities.

The ceremony was organized by the Knights of Columbus and several lineage organizations took part.

The high school student who won the "Christopher Columbus Essay Contest" sponsored by the NSDAR read her essay.  After a concert by the Marine band, and remarks by several dignitaries, there was a procession of wreaths.

Columbus Day 2011 was a gorgeous 75 degrees with blue skies in Washington, DC.

National President Amanda Nagy with President General Dr. Richard Clouse starting their procession.

After the ceremony with NSDAC National President Georgia Holder

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Society Saturday - A Cemetery Tour

The Chicago Chapter, Colonial Dames of America met recently for a Cemetery Tour.

We met at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.  One of our members has given tours there before and took us on a walking tour.  It was a beautiful fall day, about 70 degrees.

This cemetery is where several prominent early Chicagoans are buried.  Above is the monument for architect Louis Sullivan.  Others buried there are developer Potter Palmer, retailer Marshall Field, architect Mies van der Rohe, piano manufacturer William Kimball, and railroad car maker George Pullman.

It was nice to walk in this beautiful cemetery and learn some interesting tidbits of Chicago History.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Society Saturday - Pierce Downer Pool Party

No, there wasn't a pool party in Chicago in October, I'm just late posting this.

The members of Pierce Downer Society, Children of the American Revolution met for their annual pool party (in August).  Members had fun in the pool, and in the sun.  They enjoyed refreshments and worked on plans for the upcoming year.

The members that day range in age from 2 months to 19 years.

One of the reasons that I enjoy having my daughters in C.A.R. is the friendships that they make.  The teenagers tend to take the younger members under their wing and help them along.  Members of all ages make friends from around the state and across the country by attending state and national meetings.  And, it's a good opportunity for children to learn about leadership, patriotism and history while having fun.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Military Monday - Joseph Thompson McGowan

My fifth and last direct Civil War ancestor is Joseph Thompson McGowan (J.T.).  He was my third-great-grandfather.

J.T. was born on 16 July 1819 at Chester Co., PA.  I do not know who his parents were.  Sometime before 1842 he traveled to Knox Co., OH where he married Melvina E. Miller on 27 February 1842.  She was the daughter of Henry and Rebecca (Jackson) Miller.  She was born on 23 December 1821 at Fairmont, Marion, (West)VA.

J.T. and Melvina soon moved to Allen Co., OH where their children were born.

Their children were:
1. Elmina J. McGowan, born 21 April 1844 - she married John J. Neeley (one of my Boys in Blue))
2. Clementine Marinda McGowan, born 28 September 1845
3. Seaman Ellwood McGowan, born 26 May 1848
4. Zelpha A. McGowan, born ca 1850
5. Henry A. McGowan, born 1855
6. Louisa A. McGowan, born 24 April 1859 (second wife of J.J. Neeley)
7. Frank E. McGowan, born 23 December 1862
8. Lura A. McGowan, born ca 1864

Melvina's father Henry Miller received Bounty Land for his service in the War of 1812.   He died in 1858 and willed it to his daughter.  The family moved to this land in Bourbon Co., KS in 1864.   
J.T. joined the Co. A Irregular Kansas Militia under Major C.C. Tompkins between October 15-27, 1864 and was stationed at Mound City, Lind Co., KS.

Melvina died 16 February 1876 at Bourbon Co., KS.

J.T. remarried to Mary A. Smith on 3 April 1887 at Bourbon Co., KS.  She was born ca 1835 in CO.

He died on 10 December 1890 and is buried at Dayton Cemetery in Bourbon Co., KS near his first wife.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Society Saturday - Learning about the Brothers' War

At a recent Colonial Dames Seventeenth Century meeting, we learned about the "Brothers' War".  The meeting started off at a member's home where we conducted business and had a nice lunch.  Then we traveled to Grayslake, IL Historical Society.

There, Society Director Dave Oberg told us about the Brothers' War - ie. the Civil War.  He was in costume and told of the 50 young men from the Grayslake area who fought for the Union.  At the time, the town of Grayslake did not exist, and these were predominantly farm boys who fought.

He gave an extremely interesting and well researched talk about many of the young men.  He told of the battles they were in, showed portraits of some of them, and made connections to some current local residents.

Along with some excerpts of letters and diaries written by these men, he also entertained us with songs that were popular with the troops. 

A very interesting program and I'm glad that I travelled the 40 miles each way to attend.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Military Monday - George W. Wiley

My fourth Civil War Ancestor was George Washington Wiley.

George was born 29 November 1838 at Decatur Co., IN to Thomas and Hester (Critser) Wiley.  When he was 22 years old, he moved to Clark Co., IL with his parents and made a living as a farmer.

He served as a Private in Co. B, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery "Madison Battery" from 26 August 1861 until 31 August 1864.  According to the "History of Crawford and Clark Counties" published in 1883, he "participated in the battles of Pittsburgh Landing and Corinth, and came out unscathed".  George returned to Clark County where he married Susan Mumford on 14 January 1865.  She was the daughter of Levi and Mary (Funk) Mumford and was born 4 April 1844 at Martinsville, Clark, IL.

George and Susan had ten children:
1. John Thomas Wiley born 18 October 1865
2. Mary "Mollie" Wiley born 4 September 1867
3. Thomas J. Wiley born 16 May 1869
4. Arthur Wiley born 4 December 1871
5. Hester Wiley born 11 December 1873
6. Nancy Jane Wiley born 5 August 1875
7. George Wiley, Jr. born 31 January 1877
8. Robert Wiley born 9 January 1880
9. Susan Wiley born 25 September 1882
10. Frances M. Wiley born 12 August 1887

George is described as having light hair, blue eyes and standing 5 foot 9 inches tall.  He was a democrat and served as County Supervisor in 1882.  He was a member of AF&AM Casey Lodge #442.

Apparently, as George grew older, he realized that he was not as "unscathed" as the County history claimed.  He applied for a military pension for reasons of: chronic cough, piles, rectal prolapse, injury to "lower bowels and testacles by lifting heavy timbers...resulted in complete loss of right testicle"...causing "privates to swell and turn black" (NARA pension files).  In a letter written to his granddaughter Ethel Wiley Troughton dated 12 September 1919 he tells her that he sustained "3 bullet holds in my close 2 just grasing the hide". 

In 1904-05, George and Susan moved to Pomona, CA.  He joined the masonic lodge there.  They lived at 925 N. Garey St.

Susan died of cerebral hemorrhage and paralysis on 15 January 1916.  George died of bronchitis and gastritis on 1 January 1920.  They are buried in the Pomona Cemetery at Pomona, CA.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

From Russia With Love - Part 2

Part 2 - The Journey -

My great-great-grandparents, along with some of their children made the trip from Doenhoff, Russia to Ohio in 1892.  The first step then, as it is today, is to obtain a passport -

This is a page from their passport - it is predominantly in Russian, however there are some sections in German and in French.  Note that I said "their" passport - the family shared this document.
Listed on this page are Wilhelm Steinbrecher, his wife Catherine, their children Catherine, Elisabeth and Wilhelm, along with Wilhelm's wife Eva and their children Wilhelm, Heinrich, Catherine, Eva Elisabeth and Maria.  Basically, eleven people in three generations planned to travel.

They boarded the steamship "Oldenburg" in Bremen, Germany for their journey across the atlantic.

Their ship arrived in Baltimore, MD on 14 April 1892.  The passenger list gives the following details about the family:

Wilhelm Steinbrecher, age 57 year old male traveling in a family of 11.  Their nativity is Russian, last residence is "Ternhoff".  Their destination was Iowa and his occupation is farmer.  Their religion is protestant and all are in good health.  Wilhelm is the only family member with money and has $15 cash for the voyage.

Other family members are listed:
Catherine 55y female, Wilhelm 32y male, Elizabeth 27y female, Wilhelm 7y male, Catherine 5y female, Eva 3y female, Elizabeth 2y female, Heinrich 1y male, Catherine Elizabeth 20y single female, Elizabeth 5y female.

Within 2 years, the family was established in Fulton County, Ohio.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I have done 86 of these!

I "borrowed" this from the Adventures in Genealogy Education Blog - thanks, Angela, for posting.  She credits this as follows:

I have seen this genealogy meme on other blogs, but it was the post on Sheri Fenley's blog, The Educated Genealogist, that got me to decide to participate. Sheri credits the original author Becky Wiseman, the Traveling Genie and author of Kinexxions, who came up with this meme as sort of a self-evaluator of one's genealogical experience.

My score is in purple.
99 103 Genealogy Things

1. Belong to a genealogical society

2. Joined a group on Genealogy Wise.

3. Transcribed records.

4. Uploaded headstone pictures to Find-A-Grave or a similar site

5. Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents)

6. Joined Facebook.

7. Cleaned up a run-down cemetery.

8. Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group.

9. Attended a genealogy conference.

10. Lectured at a genealogy conference.

11. Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society/local library’s family history group.

12. Joined the National Genealogical Society.

13. Contributed to a genealogy society publication.

14. Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.

15. Got lost on the way to a cemetery.

16. Talked to dead ancestors.

17. Researched outside the state in which I live.

18. Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.

19. Cold called a distant relative.

20. Posted messages on a surname message board.

21. Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.

22. Googled my name (and those of ancestors)

23. Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.

24. Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it.

25. Have been paid to do genealogical research.

26. Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research.

27. Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.

28. Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals.

29. Responded to messages on a message board.

30. Was injured while on a genealogy excursion.

31. Participated in a genealogy meme.

32. Created family history gift items.

33. Performed a record lookup.

34. Took a genealogy seminar cruise.

35. Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space.

36. Found a disturbing family secret.

37. Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking).

38. Think genealogy is a passion and/or obsession not a hobby.

39. Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person.

40. Taught someone else how to find their roots.

41. Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure.

42. Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.

43. Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.

44. Disproved a family myth through research.

45. Got a family member to let you copy photos.

46. Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.

47. Translated a record from a foreign language.

48. Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.

49. Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.

50. Used microfiche.

51. Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

52. Used Google+ for genealogy.

53. Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.

54. Taught a class in genealogy.

55. Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.

56. Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.

57. Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.

58. Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.

59. Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.

60. Have found many relevant and unexpected articles on internet to “put flesh on the bones”.

61. Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

62. Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.

63. Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC.

64. Have an ancestor who came to America as an indentured servant.

65. Have an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 or Civil War.

66. Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.

67. Can “read” a church record in Latin.

68. Have an ancestor who changed his/her name, just enough to be confusing.

69. Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.

70. Created a family website.

71. Have a genealogy blog.

72. Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone.

73. Have broken through at least one brick wall.

74. Done genealogy research at a court house.

75. Borrowed microfilm from the Family History Library

76. Found an ancestor in an online newspaper archive.

77. Have visited a NARA branch.

78. Have an ancestor who served in WWI or WWII.

79. Use maps in my genealogy research.

80. Have a blacksheep ancestor.

81. Found a bigamist amongst my ancestors.

82. Attended a genealogical institute.

83. Taken online genealogy (and local history) courses.

84. Consistently (document) and cite my sources.

85. Visited a foreign country (i.e. one I don’t live in) in search of ancestors.

86. Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes.

87. Have an ancestor who was married four times.

88. Made a rubbing of an ancestor’s gravestone.

89. Followed genealogists on Twitter.

90. Published a family history book.

91. Offended a family member with my research.

92. Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.

93. Have a paid subscription to a genealogy database.

94. Submitted articles for FamilySearch Wiki.

95. Organized a family reunion.

96. Converted someone new to the love of all things genealogy.

97. Have done the genealogy happy dance.

98. Visited the DAR Library in Washington D.C.

99. Have done indexing for Family Search Indexing or another genealogy project.

100. Visited the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

101. Had an amazing serendipitous find of the "Psychic Roots" variety.

102. Visited the Library of Congress.

103. Belong to a lineage society

Of course, that is 86 things up until today...  (some are definitely on my to-do list)

Friday, September 02, 2011

From Russia, With Love - Part 1

Part 1 - Historical Background -

My maternal Grandfather's parents and grandparents were natives of Russia who immigrated to the United States in 1892.  They were part of the ethnic group of Germans living in Russia. 

Historically, in 1762-3, Catherine the Great of Russia issued an invitation to Western Europeans to travel to Russia to settle and farm the land.  They were promised religious autonomy, the ability to maintain their own culture, and freedom from the military draft.  Between 1764 and the early 1800's, hundreds of thousands of Germans settled in Russia.

My Steinbrecher ancestors settled in Donhoff (German) or Gololobovka (Russian), a town southwest of Saratov, east of the Volga river. 

In 1872, Alexander II revoked the previously granted privileges.  Germans began to be drafted into the Russian army, and were discouraged from practicing their own culture, language and religion.  For this reason, many Germans from Russia began to leave.  They traveled to the United States, especially the midwest and great plains.  Many also traveled to Canada, Brazil and Argentina.

My ancestors were Lutheran.  This is the Lutheran Church in Saratov, the nearby city.  If there was a church in their town, it is no longer there.

My great-grandparents were:
Johann Wilhelm Steinbrecher, born 5 March 1834 at Doenhoff, Russia.  He was the son of David and Catherine (Krauss) Steinbrecher. 
Catherine Elizabeth Steinbrecher, born 30 June 1839 in Russia.
They were married in Russia and had 11 children:
1. John William Steinbrecher (see next post)
2. Henry Steinbrecher, born 11 April 1864
3. Katherine Steinbrecher
4. Marie Steinbrecher
5. John Steinbrecher
6. Marie Elizabeth Steinbrecher
7. Catherine Steinbrecher, born ca 1870
8. Elizabeth Steinbrecher
9. Elizabeth Steinbrecher, born 21 February 1885
10. Eva Steinbrecher
11. Jacob Steinbrecher

For more information about the Germans from Russia, visit 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Military Monday - William Dennis Hill

Installment #3 of my Civil War Ancestors is my great-great-grandfather William Dennis Hill.

He was born on 14 April 1838 at Butler Co., OH to Caleb and Margaret (Dodds) Hill.  His father died when William was young.  In 1860, he traveled to Jasper Co., IL with his mother, brother, and sister. 

He enlisted in August 1861 and served in Company F, 59th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  He served over 3 years and participated in the battles of Pea Ridge, Stone River, and all the battles from Chattanooga to Atlanta, where he was discharged.

He returned to Clark Co., IL where he married Sarah Ellen Forester on 12 October 1865.  She was born 24 May 1846 at Hocking Co., OH.  They had four children:

1. Harry Oliver Hill, born 12 January 1867
2. Charles Taylor Hill, born 18 August 1869 (my ancestor)
3. Lyman L. Hill, born 25 August 1871
4. Maude M. Hill, born 5 October 1880

In 1864, William purchased 80 acres of land in Clark County.  He later purchased 200 acres.  His livelihood was as a farmer.  His religion was Methodist Episcopal.  His politics were Republican and he served 2 terms as County Collector in Clark County.

Sarah died on 27 March 1914, and William died on 19 February 1925.  They are buried in Slusser Cemetery in Clark County, IL.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Society Saturday - Dames of the Court of Honor

Today was the annual meeting of the Illinois Society of the National Society Dames of the Court of Honor.
We met at Tom's Steak House for lunch and a meeting.  We had an interesting program given by Ellen Stortz about "Trees of the White House".  Charter member JosefaLee Hammond reminisced about early days of our chapter.  The 2011-13 officers were installed.

The Motto of this organization is "Noblesse Oblige" which means Rank Carries Obligation.  Membership in this organization requires proof of lineage from a commissioned officer who served in a conflict prior to 1865, which includes several colonial wars, the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Mexican War or Civil War.

My qualifying ancestor is Lieutenant Thomas Leffingwell.  He was born in 1622 in  Croxhall, County Derby, England.  He immigrated to this country by 1637, settling first in Saybrook, CT.  From there he moved to Norwich, CT where he served as their Deputy to the CT Legislature in 1662, 1663, and 1665.  During King Philip's War, he served as Lieutenant.

He married Mary White and they had 7 children.  I descend from his daughter Mary Leffingwell who married Joseph Bushnell.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Military Monday - John Johnson Neeley

The second "installment" of my Civil War ancestors is John Johnson Neeley.

J.J. Neeley was born 20 July 1841 at Perry Co., OH, the son of William Thompson and Mary (Johnston) Neeley.  They moved to Hardin Co, OH when he was young.

He was a Private in Captain Samuel R. Motts Co. C of the 57th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He enlisted on 9 December 1861 and was discharged on 2 January 1865.  The company fought in:
Shiloh or Pittsburg landing, TN; Wolf Creek Hindman, AR; siege and assault of Vicksburg and Jackson, MS; Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, TN; Snake Creek Gap, Dallas or New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, seige of Atlanta, Jones Brook, Fort McAllister, Savannah, GA; Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Goldsboro, NC and a number of minor engagements and skirmishes. 

On 14 March 1865, he married Elmina J. McGowan at Bourbon Co., KS.  They returned to Hardin Co., OH, and had nine children:
1. Harvey Slaman Neeley, born 18 Feb. 1866
2. Charles Harmon Neeley, born 19 April 1867
3. Lena E. Neeley, born 6 September 1868
4. James A. Neeley, born 20 June 1870
5. Mark Wood Neeley, born 15 January 1872
6. Mary Clinna Neeley, born 8 April 1874
7. Clara Clementine Neeley, born 14 March 1876
8. Orilda Maude Neeley, born 8 October 1878
9. Buddie Neeley, born 2 October 1880

The family moved to Illinois in the fall of 1880, where J.J. worked as a farmer and a feed dealer.  Elmina became ill and her sister Louisa moved to Illinois to help take care of the children.  Elmina died on 26 June 1882 at Greenup, Cumberland, IL. 

J.J. married Louisa on 27 December 1882 at Cumberland Co., IL.  J.J. and Louisa had 5 children:

10. Zella Edna Neeley, born 5 December 1882
11. Unnamed infant, born and died 15 February 1884
12. Fred Frank Neeley, born 17 May 1889
13. Alva Coral Neeley, born 12 April 1894
14. John Virgil Neeley, born 3 September 1899.

J.J.'s pension application describes him with red hair and a beard, and blue eyes.

He and his family were members of the Pleasant Valley United Brethren Church in Cumberland Co., IL.

He died of pancreatic cancer on 17 September 1908 at Casey, Clark Co., IL and is buried in the Washington St. Cemetery there.  Louisa died on 12 March 1917.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Society Saturday - Illinois Chapter of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America

The Illinois Chapter of DFPA met today for lunch and planning. 

We have some exciting things coming up - we are hoping to host the National President Donna Derrick at a meeting this year.  Donna will finish her term in April, so we will be honored if she comes all the way from San Diego to meet with us.

We are planning some joint meetings with other lineage groups in the area.  Because there is so much overlap in our membership, a joint meeting gives us an opportunity to "kill two birds with one stone" - cutting down on time and travel requirements. 

Finally, we are hoping to host one of the National Society's October Board meeting in the future.  We talked about various locations such as Chicago vs. Springfield, and brainstormed some tours and activities we could do in each location. 

Our chapter has 44 members with other ladies working on their applications.  Membership is somewhat restrictive, because it is through only the male line.  Basically, you need to trace your lineage back through either your paternal grandfather (using your maiden name) or your maternal grandfather (using your mother's maiden name) to a "Founder" (someone who was here prior to 1687 with a Revolutionary War "Patriot" in that line.

My Founder is: my 9th great-grandfather Richard Ormesby, who was born in Lincolnshire, England ca 1602.  he came to the colonies on the ship "Abigail" and settled first at Saco, Maine.  He married Sarah Upham ca 1640 and they had three children, John, Thomas and Jacob.  Richard lived in New Hampshire for a short period, then moved to Salisbury, MA and finally to Rehoboth, MA where he died in 1664.

My Patriot is: my 5th great-grandfather Nathaniel Ormsby, who was born in 1734 at Norwich, CT.  He married Elizabeth Perkins in 1759 and they had 8 children.  Nathaniel served as an Ensign in the French and Indian War, then in the Continental Army in 1777.  He was captured by the British and died at Albany, NY while captive on 25 October 1777.