Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Trip to the Country

Hello again.  Contrary to common belief, I am still among the living and not peering at the soles of the feet of passers-by.  Hopefully I will find myself to be a little better disciplined when it comes to posting to this blog

A few weeks ago my wife and I made a day trip across Kentucky to Ohio County where most of her ancestors are from.  To keep peace in the household, one must work on the spouse’s family lines from time to time.

Sunnyside Cemetery - Entrance

We started by traveling to Beaver Dam, KY to scour the Sunnyside Cemetery for her direct and collateral line ancestors.  This cemetery is owned and maintained by the city of Beaver Dam.  This cemetery is located about one half mile east of town on US Hwy 62.  The latitude and longitude for this cemetery are:  37.415792 N and –86.871924 W.

Lee, Bird P and Nettie - Grave Marker

Here we found several of her aunts and uncles along with many cousins that were previously unknown to her.  We did, however, find the grave marker for her father’s parents, Burden Powell Lee and Nettie Crabtree Lee.  Burden, or “Bird” as he was known, was born 23 May 1882 and died 4 Jan 1939.  Nettie was born 29 Jan 1883 and she died 4 Dec 1955.  The coordinates of their grave marker are  37.41494 N and –86.87295 W.

From Sunnyside we headed a little north and east a smidge to a small cemetery out in the hills and boonies called the McCord Cemetery. We went here to find the location of the first wife of my wife’s uncle on her mother’s side. This little cemetery is located at 37.482202 N and –86.721363 W. it is east off Hwy 1544 on the south side of McCord Road (imagine that). We found her right where she was placed in 1923.  I recommend using the western most entrance.  The entrance on the east end of the cemetery is kind of treacherous as a result of the rain-washed gullies across it.

Wilson Cemetery - Entrance
The last cemetery we visited that day was located east and south of McCord Cemetery.  Here we traveled to the Wilson Family Cemetery again located on US Hwy 62 about 400 yards west of Hwy 1583 near the town of Horse Branch, KY.  This cemetery is located across the highway from the most confused roosters in the country.  At five o’clock in the afternoon they wouldn’t shut up.  The cemetery is located at 37.461780 N and –86.673707 W on the north side of the highway on the side of a hill.  Just about everyone buried here is related to my wife.

Wilson, Dan T and Sarah E - Grave Marker

The easiest grave site to find was that of great grandparents Daniel and Sarah Arnold Wilson.  They are buried within a fenced lot next to the access road.  Daniel Thornberry Wilson was born 25 Feb 1841 and died 2 June 1924.  His wife, Sarah Elizabeth Arnold Wilson was born 18 Jan 1851 and died 23 Oct 1923.  Their grave is located at 37.46240 N and –86.67374 W.

Farris, Isam and Cansadia W - Grave Marker

We also found the grave of the wife’s mother’s parents, Isam Farris and Cansadia Wilson Farris.  Isam was born 9 Jun 1869 and died 22 Feb 1932.  Cansadia was born 26 Jun 1876 and died 2 May 1966 and was very special to my wife as Cansadia stayed with them off and on while the wife was growing up.  Their site is located at 37.46230 N and –86.67350 W.

By the time we finished it was starting to get late in the evening so we headed back toward our home about 1.5 hours away.  It was a successful trip.  I have since located the sites for some more of her ancestors and we’ll be taking another trip soon..

Until next time, remember that chasing dead relatives is cool.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Wisconsin Trip


This has been a fast-moving couple of weeks (actually a quite a few weeks). A lot has happened and I hope that it keeps happening. I spent a great deal of time entering information that I already had and documenting it’s source in my Legacy Family Tree Program. I’ve watched a few genealogy webinars and participated in some very time consuming, but educational, goofing off. However…

In the middle of October 2011 I made the 6 hour drive to Wisconsin to attend the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Fall Seminar in Waukesha, preceded by a few days of family history research.

clip_image002 I arrived at my hotel a little too late to do any research at the area research center in Kenosha so I decided to go to the grave of my great grandmother Dorathea Schwedler and do a rubbing of her grave marker. (I have settled on the term grave marker to refer to tombstone, headstone, bronze plaque on the ground or the lettering on a mausoleum crypt. It makes things much easier for me). Her grave marker is shown at the left. It is a beautiful stone, and since I had it cleaned last year, the name, name of her husband, date of birth and date of death are quite easy to read. Everything below that is really taxing my old eyes. I used the usual Pellon cloth and rubbing crayon. The results were less than satisfactory. The marker is quite badly weathered and the lettering is in German, which I could read if I could see it.

clip_image004At the right you see the marker covered with Pellon with the rubbing completed. Much easier to read, however, the lettering below the date of death is still tough to read. While at the meeting on Sunday a few of us were tossing about some ideas which I tried but really didn’t work well at all. Then I decided to try something different.

clip_image006On the left you can see where I had wrapped aluminum foil over the lettering. Mind you that it was quite windy on that Sunday morning and somewhat difficult taping the material to the stone. I placed the foil with the shiny side to the stone and used my finger tips as the rubbing instruments. Make sure that you have some hand cleaner with you before you do this. Normally you can click on the photo to get an enlarged version to better see the content. If any of you with younger eyes than mine can decipher the lettering let me know. I will translate it and put it in the next installment. On the fifth line there is mention of the children.

On Thursday morning I went to the Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside to research plat books. There I was able to learn the location of the farms belonging to my Great Grandfathers Albert Schwedler and August Ott. Also, not common however, there was a map of the village of Bristol that gave the names of the property owners. With a little digging, I was able to locate on the ground the farms of my Great Grandfathers Schwedler and Ott, I was also able to locate the home of my Great Grandfather Carl Pofahl in Bristol, which by the way is currently on the market and is in excellent shape. While researching in Bristol, I met a kind gentleman by the name of John Dickerson. This gentleman is a walking history of the Bristol area. I was able to purchase from him an old hat (still in its box) that belonged to my Great Aunt Lena Ott, sister of my Grandfather Frank Ott.

While on this trip I was able to meet with many cousins that I hadn’t seen for a considerable length of time as well as some that I had never before met. A trip to the library allowed me to do some 6 hours of newspaper research I arrived back home on Sunday night tired but satisfied with my trip.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It’s the Little Things!

A few years ago I was scanning some microfilm of old issues of the Burlington Standard Democrat newspaper for something on my great grandfather Albert Carl Schwedler when I came across one sentence that caught my eye.  It said that Albert and his wife drove to Milwaukee to visit his brother.  Until then, I had no Idea that our family lived anywhere other than in the Racine County area.  Upon searching the censuses in Milwaukee (city and county) I found my great uncle Rudolph, his wife Bertha (nee Millrat, Millratt, Millradt), and BINGO, my great-great grandmother Fredericke Schwedler.  This filled in a few blanks for me. 

One of the questions that remained was “Where are they now"?  I found out about a website called and on there I found that they had the obituaries for both Rudolph and Bertha.  The both indicated that the bodies were interred in Wanderers Rest Cemetery in Waterford.  Breakthrough right"?  Wrong!  There was never a cemetery by that name in Waterford.  The Funeral director was listed but they were no longer in existence.  A quick look at Google Earth I found the cemetery in Wauwatosa (Milwaukee county) but the name had been changed to Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.  I was able to contact the office of the cemetery and confirmed that these three family members were indeed buried there.  They also furnished me with the location of the graves, who paid for the lot, birth and death dates, and a map of the cemetery.  On Memorial Day 2011 my wife, grandson and myself were in Rochester and made an unplanned (yeh right) side trip to locate these relatives.  They were right where I was told they would be. Here’s proof:


Schwedler, Friedricke 06

Schwedler, Rudolph 01

Schwedler, Bertha 01

One of these days, I’ll figure out how to do word wrap and how to place the photos side by side in this program.  That’s it for today.  Until next time, Happy Digging.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

I know how to spell my name!

Oh, you do?

Often times it is difficult finding the records you need using the spelllng you are familiar with.  This is usually due to a disconnect between the ears and hand of the person recording the birth registration, marriage registration, death registration, census or what have you.  Here are a few examples:

The name Schwedler is pronounced as “swadler” because of the way Germanic names are pronounced.  I have found it spelled as Schwadler, Schwedlr, Swadler and a few more.  My great grandmother Dorathea Garnatz has been found as Dora T. Gamutz, Dora T. Gamats, Dorathea Gemtz, Dora Garrietz and Doreth Swadler.

Many times the surname is seen as both the German and the English form:  Greenwald is the English equivalent of the German Grünewald and has been found as Grunewald and Grinewald.  Polzine has been found as Polzin and Polsine.  The German Müller has been found as Mueller or Miller (they actually mean the same).

Often the name is downright butchered as Aurora being found as Aarva and Alwine found as Alvin.  My great great grandmother Fredericke was found listed, not once, but twice as Fred.  I have Wienke relatives that were listed as Winkie.

You’ll many times find your person by their nickname rather than their given name:  Alwine was found as Winnie and I’ve also found Wilhelmina listed as Winnie as well as Minnie for the same person.

So, if you are having trouble locating an ancestor try getting “hooked on phonics”, or try looking for Bill or Wm instead of William, Edw for Edward or even Robt for Robert.  Your imagination can be used to look for Raymond as Ray, or David as Dave or Au or Aug for August. Interchange John and Johann or if Peter was called Junior then look for Junior.  You may try finding Carl Frank by looking for C.F.  Use wildcards and broaden your search by looking for the given (first) name if it is unusual or unique.  Try spelling the name as it would have been spelled in the native country.

Good hunting,


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bit by Bit

Bit by tiny little bit some things are coming into focus.

I have recently discovered that Grandma Ruby Belle Noble Schwedler (daughter of Dyson Noble and Sarah Ann Sharp) not only had two sisters, Myrtle and Edna Noble but also had two brothers.  The first brother (un-named) was born 9 May 1883 and died the following day.  The second brother (also un-named) was born 18 Aug 1884 (the same birth date as Great Aunt Myrtie) and apparently died soon afterwards.  I have yet found a death date for him.

Below is a photo of Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Dyson and Sarah Ann.  Double click on it for a larger view.

Noble, Dyson and Sarah Ann

Keeping it in the family, so to speak, Grandpa Otto Schwedler ( husband of Ruby above) had three previously unknown sisters and one brother.  Two of the females were born in Brighton, Kenosha County, Wisconsin.  I had only known Geat Grandpa Albert and Great Grandma Dorathea Schwedler to have lived in Racine County.  But, this is for another entry.  I digress.  Great Aunt Anna was born soon after the Schwedlers arrived in this country in November 1882.  Two years later Great Aunt Minnie (Wilhelmina) was born in November 1884. I have no birth location (yet) for these two ladies.  I found a record of birth for the birth of one female in May 1887 and another in May 1888 in Brighton, As of yet, I have no death dates. I then found the death record of a Louis Schwedler, son of Albert and Dorathea for 8 Aug 1890 in Rochester, Racine County. And lastly, there was a Fredia Schwedler born to these parents on 15 Sep 1891 in Rochester and died the same day.

That’s all for today.  I’m now planning my trip to Waukesha for the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Conference in October.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mid-year Clean up

All genealogists know what it’s like.  First you get lucky and find a ton of information that you can use.  You gather and gather like there is no tomorrow for an hour, a week or longer.  Now you have all of this stuff – in a pile – and you need to do something with it. 

First, you need to gather your source information for all the goodies that good fortune (and hard work) has placed in front of you. 

Second, you should enter this information into your computer’s genealogy program – remembering to cite your sources as you go along.  It is a lot easier to do it at this time rather than later.  Trust me I know.  I am still going back and sourcing the information that I entered years ago and my memory is not as good as it once was.

So, let’s get the piles off the desk, floor, dining table or where ever it is, get your mind right and deal with it.  I’ll be leaving the comfort of home for awhile and my mess will still be looking at me when I return.  And, I hope to return with more information about cousins that I haven’t seen for many years which will add more to the pile that I already have. 

It may be two weeks before I write again.  I’m going to be quite busy for a couple of weeks.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Found: The eighth family surname

Yes, it is true.  The eighth family surname has finally surfaced. My wife’s father’s maternal line carries the surname of CRABTREE.  So now I have my lines identified.  And, they are:


My Family

Wife’s Family

Father’s   Paternal SCHWEDLER LEE
                   Maternal NOBLE CRABTREE
Mother’s  Paternal OTT FARRIS
                   Maternal POFAHL WILSON

Have you ever had the feeling that you had stepped into quicksand, and liked it?  Well, this week I began to research my wife’s lineage.  I had run into some brick walls on my own lines so it is time to change gears, so to speak.  I already knew the surnames of my wife’s parents.  She has only an older sister and an aunt still living so I turned to the internet for help.  I found it in the form of a RootsWeb listing for Ohio County, Kentucky.  None of the information is sourced, however.  But I now have the names and many of the birth dates, marriage dates, death dates, (some going back to the mid 1700’s) and places on which to focus my attention.  Also listed were some nicknames which can be helpful.  I also  found a couple of family trees online which followed the information that I had with a few discrepancies noted.  Overall, I was able to enter, including collateral family members, over one thousand more names this past week.  Checking a few census records on the direct lines has confirmed some of the information I had gleaned from RootsWeb.

Thanks to the people of Ohio County, Kentucky for keeping such good records.

Well, it’s back to work.  Now where did I put that …….?