Friday, November 21, 2014

Etzel Family Origins...

Image Source HERE

...still a mystery!  

(*Context - John Etzel (1826-1904) is my 3rd great-grandfather on my mother's maternal side of the family)

Every family researcher - novice and professional alike - eventually finds themselves face to face with what is commonly called a genealogical "brick wall".  In less than a minute, I can rattle off my list of most-wanted individuals.  I will neither confirm nor deny that these brick walls have robbed me of precious sleep on occasion.  What if?  Where?  Who?  Why?  

Last year, I wrote a bit about John ETZEL (1826-1904), his will and probate record in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Etzel emigrated from Germany to the United States about 1854, according to the 1900 US Federal Census in Reading, PA.  Prior to this, though, I hit a brick wall with both John and his wife, Maria Schumacher (1837-1894).  The local prothonotary office could not locate a copy of his naturalization paperwork (which should give birth date, home town, etc.) even though I know from census records that he naturalized at some point prior to 1900.  Also, since wife Maria died before the 1900 census (valuable because it requires citizens to answer whether or not they are alien or naturalized & approximate date of arrival)...I do not know whether or not the couple were married prior to arrival or afterward.  I assume they arrived together - but that is just a gut feeling.  As for home town - that is also a mystery.  Here is a breakdown of info provided by census documents:

Birthplace of husband and wife John and Maria/Mary ETZEL listed in US Federal Census:

1860 - Baden
1870 - Bavaria/Bayern
1880- Prussia
1890 (no census available)
1900 - Germany (John Etzel...wife died in 1894)

One solution - I am looking for a town that was located in Baden in 1860, Bavaria in 1870, Prussia in 1880, and "Germany" in 1900.  This will require a refresher course in Germany history...specifically studying the ever-changing borders on historical maps.  What was considered Baden in 1860 might just have been considered Prussia by 1880.  I think I need about 5 extra hours in my day to tackle this one :).

In the meantime, here is a snippet from the US Civil War Draft Registration in 1863 including John ETZEL:

Source: U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Col. John Powell (1752-1826): Lanesborough, MA

My research lately is leading me down a Massachusetts rabbit trail of sorts.  Having spent the majority of my life in the Deep South, little did I know that I had such roots in New England!  One of my favorite parts of family history research is taking time to learn about locales that are completely new to me...familiarizing myself with geography, culture, and historical aspects of that particular town/state/country.

For context, today's ancestor is my 6th great-grandfather through my mother's father's paternal grandmother's side of the family :).  Papa's grandmother was a MEAD, and Col. John Powell (1752) is connected through that branch of the tree.

Col. Powell is one of four patriots connected to the MEAD side of our family.  While digging through newspaper archives in this week, I located the following mortuary notice from The Sun in Pittsfield, MA:

John POWELL married Lois CURTIS (1753-1838) on 20 November 1755 in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.  Their daughter, Lois POWELL (an Independence baby! 1776-1871), who married Caleb MEAD (1773-1856), is my 5th great-grandmother.  From FindAGrave, here is an image of John POWELL's grave stone in Center Cemetery, Lanesborough, Berkshire County, Massachusetts:

Source HERE

Friday, November 7, 2014

Our Massachusetts Patriots

Feeling a little patriotic this holiday weekend!  Today I stumbled upon digital images of a text on that includes names and specifics for "Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War".  Three of the patriots in my tree (yes, family...THREE - the number keeps growing!) hailed from Massachusetts, so I was eager to search with their names and see what I could uncover.  Here are the entries, which really read like journal entries or summaries of their records of service:

Source: Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War (Images Online) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.Original data: Massachusetts. Secretary of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. Vol. 1-17. Boston, MA, USA: Wright & Potter Printing, 1896-1908.

Azor Curtiss has an incredible story - including time spent at Valley Forge.  I will have to buckle-down and put pen to paper and share that one with everyone!  John Powell is Azor Curtiss' son-in-law, and his daughter Lois Powell (1776-1871) marries Stephen Mead's son Caleb (1773-1856) in 1795.  Confusing much?

Happy Veterans' Day, everyone!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lawrence ZELLER (1826-1880) and Rosine SCHUMACHER (1835-)

Following my mother's maternal side of the family, connected by marriage to the OSTHOLTHOFF branch, Lawrence Zeller and Rosine Schumacher (also spelled Schuhmacher and Shoemaker) lived in Reading, Hamilton County, Ohio in the mid-to-late 1800s.

I am still working to locate the Zellers' immigration information and passenger lists.  However, I do know from census records that they arrived at some point before 1860 from Bavaria.  According to the 1860 census, youngest daughter Anna is 3 months old and listed to have been born in Bavaria.  SO - if that is correct, maybe they arrived just prior to the census in June 1860?  It's also possible that Anna was born in Ohio and the census taker didn't record correct information.  Here is a snippet from the 1860 US Federal Census in Hamilton County, OH:

Lorenz Zeller - age 33, male, butcher (boocher!  the spelling!), value of real estate $1100, value of personal estate, $500, birthplace - Bavaria.

Rosina, age 25, female, Bavaria
Effie Shoemacher, age 15, female, Bavaria (possibly Rosine's sister? cousin?)
George, age 3, male, Bavaria
John, age 2, male, Bavaria
Anna, 3 months, female, Bavaria

In 1863, Lorenz Zeller is listed on a Civil War draft registration document for Hamilton County, Ohio:

Source HERE

Zeller, Lawrence, age 37, male, butcher, born in Germany (his entry is second from the bottom)

Here is a brief chart from my own records for more perspective:

I am still working to identify exact date of birth, marriage, immigration, and death for both Lorenz and Rosine.  Stay tune for any updates!  Also missing - burial site for both.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Matrilineal Monday: Catherine Margaretha Miller (1899-1945)

Matrilineal Monday - sharing photos, stories, or genealogical information about women in our family tree. 

Today, I'm sharing a photo of my great-grandmother, Catherine Margaretha Miller.  What's not to love about this sweet photograph?  Taken at my great-grandparents' home in Samoht Ridge, Delhi, Hamilton County, Ohio, a copy of this photo was passed to me as part of a collection of family history information from my maternal grandfather.  Catherine passed away while my grandfather was bravely serving the United States abroad during World War II. 

Some of the details I love most about the photograph include her beautiful outfit, lapel pin, and necklace, the fact that my hair appears so much like hers (I get my dark hair from both sides of the family, though!), the brickwork on the front facing of the home, and the family dog making a cameo in the back left.  Old photographs like this one really enable me to feel a personal connection to relatives I have never met!

Happy Monday -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Nancy Ann Barber (1822 GA-1887 AL)

Smyrna Baptist Cemetery, Dothan, Houston County, Alabama

Nancy Ann (Barber) Thompson (1822-1887) is one of my 32 (yes, 32!) 3rd great-grandparents.  Does that number seem high?  Never thought about it before?  Folks, make sure to look at THIS WEBSITE and let the math blow your mind.

Back to Mrs. Thompson.  I realize that I have members of both my immediate family and my husband's family (maybe?) reading this blog...and the many family lines can get a little crazy.  Nancy Ann (Barber) Thompson is related to my HUGHES family through my grandfather (Alto) and his mother (Hattie Bruner - 1881-1966) and then Hattie's mother, Mary Thompson (1848-1892).  Nancy Ann (Barber) Thompson is Mary Ann (Barber) Thompson's mother.  Nancy married Theophilus Thompson (1820-1877), and they lived first in Gadsden County, Florida (this is where Nancy's father, William Barber (1792-?) owned a considerably large farm.  Both Barber and Thompson families lived in close proximity to each other in Gadsden County and also migrated just a bit north together to what is now Houston County, Alabama (at that time it was Henry County).  One of my side projects at the moment has been to dig into the land and personal property records of William Barber and track the family's migration from Decatur County, GA to Gadsden County, Florida and lastly to Henry County, Alabama.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Family Recipe Friday: Banana Sandwich

This post isn't so much about a "recipe" as it is about a legend.  The Banana Sandwich.  OR - the 'nana sandwich.  Have you experienced this wonderfully simple sandwich?  Were you thinking peanut butter or fluff...and are now completely grossed out by the suggestion of mayonnaise?  Don't fear the mayo!  Trust me.  It's a winning combination.

Just ask Matt LeCroy of the Washington Nationals.  Obviously banana sandwiches didn't help his team make it to the World Series...but at least he gave the Southern delicacy a little press.

The truth of the matter is...this wonderful pairing of bread, thinly-sliced bananas, and mayonnaise is part of my family identity.  Only one of my parents actually eats banana sandwiches (HI Dad!).  At least I think so (Hi Mom!  I don't think I've ever seen you eat one...).  I *believe* this is a Southern tradition, and I will do my very best to promote this culinary tradition in my own home.

If you have ever watched an episode of "Finding Your Roots" on PBS, you'll be familiar with the host - Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. - asking his guests, "Who do you say are your 'people'?"

My "people" definitely eat banana sandwiches with mayo.  No question!