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.

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