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31 August 2013

Surname Saturday: More Geiszler Brick Wall Suggestions

As I shared before, I am stuck on my ancestor Joseph Geißler. I wanted to share a few more suggestions I received to attempt to crack through his Brick Wall.


"Check the immigration lists through the Ports of Philadelphia and Baltimore. Both popular ports of entry during this time period."

I used to search variations of Joseph Geiszler (see all the variant spellings below) in both ports. I only found one entry that could be a possibility. There were several 'hits' for people with a Geisler name variation but only one had the first name as Joseph. It's possible that Joseph has another name. But, I have never seen it used.

Joseph Giesel entry in Philadelphia Passenger List, database
Joseph Giesel entry in Philadelphia Passenger List, database

I do not want to get too excited about this record. It's only a possibility. I do like the fact that Joseph is 18, born in 1836. I have determined this year to be the approximate birth year for my ancestor. I like the fact that the passenger list Joseph is a farmer and arrived in 1854. My Joseph was a farmer and purchased land in Franklin County, Ohio in 1856.

Unfortunately, he's basically traveling alone. So I don't have any clues to home country or family, etc. I think  the strength of evidence is probably pretty small. Also, naturalization papers say that he was from Baden, not Bavaria (as listed on the ship's manifest). So... that's where I am at on the Passenger list suggestions.


I was told to check the actual document from the cemetery Joseph was buried in. Unfortunately, the only entry tying Joseph to his final resting place is the register of the old Catholic Church of Columbus and it's cemetery. The actual cemetery has a sad story which basically ends with... the cemetery was uncared for and built over. The remains of ancestors were unclaimed and without grave markers. The only thing on the parish register is name and death date.


The next suggestion was "Check to see if he served in the Civil War. Reason for this conclusion was based on the date he died in 1863. Was a relatively young man that would have been prime for service."

Franklin County, Ohio 1863 Civil War Draft record
Franklin County, Ohio 1863 Civil War Draft record

I think I found someone who registered for the draft, but I can't figure out where to go from that record. Joseph Keezler was record as signing up for the draft in Prairie Township, Franklin County, Ohio in 1863. He is listed as married and the appropriate age for service. I have not found anyone with a similar enough name in Prairie Township in the 1860s. So, I would presume (is that the right word), that it is him.

Additionally, a John Kinnear is listed above him. Joseph purchased land adjacent to the Kinnard family from the Kinnards. So, Kinnear could be his neighbor?

Records suggest that Joseph died one month after being listed on this register. My question now is... are there records to suggest why someone didn't go from signing the draft to a service man?


The final suggestion I received to attempt to crack my brick was was the following:

"Make sure you check the death certificates of his children. This may offer clues to his origins. Realize it would have been very uncommon for him to come alone."

Joseph (1836 - 1863) and his wife Caroline Mack (1838 - 1904) had four children.
  1. Carl  (1857 - 1859) doesn't have a death record, that I've found. His death was recorded via a sermon of sorts given by the Catholic Church when he died. His parent's name are identified with little else.
  2. Henry Joseph (1859 - 1931)... the informant was Henry's son William. William was 47 but he did not know (or didn't record) the names of his grandparents. He did not record where they were born either. This is odd because his Grandma Caroline Mack (remarried to Billman) would have died when William was 21!
  3. Mary Elizabeth (1861 - 1940) ... the death record lists her father as  Joseph Geisler and mother as Caroline Mack. No origin is listed. The information was provided by Freida Grener Barnes. Frieda was 18 when her Grandma Caroline died.
  4. Caroline (1863 - 1952)... the death records lists the father as Thomas Geisler and and mother as Caroline Mack. No birthplace for the parents was given. The informant was Curtis Bricker, Caroline's son. He was seven when his Grandma Caroline died.

So.. the death records don't sign any light on additional information for the parents. My only though was that perhaps Fredia Gerner Barnes might have learned about her grandparents from her mother. And, Frieda was 18 when her Grandma Caroline died. She might have known her. Perhaps an investigation of the descendants of Frieda Grener Barnes might reveal information about the Geisler ancestor. Additionally, the Greners did a lot of research on the Grener line. Perhaps they might have done some research on Mary Elizabeth's family as well.


The person who answered my query under the Ohio Genealogy Research name had this final thought;

"One question that I am curious about and don't have a answer for why all the name changes? What is the evidence that you have for these various name spellings

I don't know why there are so many variations of his name. I have posted previously about all the signatures and recordings of his name. Here is a summary of the names used and where I found them. My best guess is that his name was difficult to understand by someone who didn't speak German. And, I also wonder how literate Joseph might have been.
  • Naturalization Papers: Keisler,
  • Land Record: Guisler
  • 1860 Census Record: Gusler
  • Marriage License: Gesley (But his signature is included and is Geissler)
  • Civil Enlistment: Keezler
Now, these are the spelling variants that where associated with records when he was living. The variations continue with his children, who where 4, 2, and a few months old when he died:
  • Death Certificate for daughter Mary Elizabeth: Gysler
  • Caroline married under the last name Gisler
  • Mary married under the last name Geissler (but there is a second spelling that looks like Geiscler)
  • Henry married under the name Geischar, but he used spellings varying from Geiszler (used off and on, on his death certificate and the outside of his horseshoers shop), to Giesler, Geisler, Giescler (early 1890s), Gieseler, Gieszler,

One would think that with Joseph's wife alive she would have passed on the information about her children's father's name. She did remarried shortly after Joseph's death. They knew the only father they ever knew (Michael Billman who died in 1183) was not their birth father. But why couldn't they agree on the spelling of their father's name. And, Henry, couldn't lock into one spelling of his last name for years. Why? I do not know.

So, that's it. That's the update on the leads someone tried to share with me in hopes to crack open the Brick Wall of Joseph Geißler.

My new research queries involve the following:
  • Is there a list telling why someone didn't serve in the Civil War after signing up for the draft of 1863
  • Does the Frieda Grener Barnes family have an information that might shine light on Frieda's mother's family?
  •  What is on the PALAM Ancestor Charts for Joseph Geisler?
  • And, learn more about the migration routes that Germans followed from Baden to Columbus, Ohio.
Seems to me... Joseph did travel to America alone. He didn't live in America long enough to create a giant paper trail. Unless divine intervention happens. I just might have to let this Brick Wall stand.

Future Research: Great Aunt Mary Elisabeth Geissler Grener

Conrad and Marry Elisabeth Grener
Conrad and Marry Elisabeth Grener
Someday I'd like to explore the history of Conrad Grener and his wife Mary Elizabeth Geissler. This what I know about my 2nd great-grandfather Henry Geiszler's sister.

My 2nd great-grand uncle Conrad Grener is the son of Conrad Grener and Friederike Auguste Christiane Adelheide Kiesewetter. Conrad the elder was born in Baden. Conrad the younger was born 13 Aug 1853 in Alton, Franklin, Ohio. Conrad the elder was a countryman to Mary Elizabeth's birth father Joseph Geissler who was also from Baden.

Conrad the elder was born about 1822. Joseph was born about 1836. There would be a 14 year gap between the two. I know when Joseph received his naturalization papers (1858), but I don't know when Conrad received his.

So, did they travel together? Did they know each other in the old country? I have yet to find either Conrad in the 1860 US Census. Did they arrive after the death of Joseph and not know each other at all? Was it a simple coincidence that Conrad and Joseph were both from Baden and arrived in Columbus, Ohio? Was it a coincidence that the eldest son and the eldest daughter of these two men married? Oh the questions just keep coming.

I have heard a rumor that the Greners were well off, at least in the days of the Conrads. The Grener clan appears to be a large and well-liked clan. In fact, I've heard they used to have an annual reunion at the Darby Dan Farm. The millionaire John Galbreath let them use the festival hall on his farm.

If the rumor is true, then it would stand to reason the second part of the rumor is true. That of two sisters documenting the Grener family with much detail and sources. Would it be possible that the Grener descendants did a little research on the lineage of Mary Elizabeth? If so, what did they find? Anything that might help me?

Regardless of what help can be found on the Geissler side, I would still love to know a little bit about Mary Elizabeth's family. I have a photo of her. Now I want to know her story.

30 August 2013

Surname Saturday: Joseph Keezler Civil War Draft

Joseph Keizler Naturalization Ohio
Name on Naturalization Certificate
issued in 1858
Since many records have Joseph Geißler spelled something like Keizler, I played around researching with this last name variation. I knew that Joseph was living in Prairie Township, Franklin County, Ohio in 1856 when he purchased land.

From the Franklin County Plat Atlas, 1856 Joseph Geißler (here spelled Guisler), father-in-law Heinrich Mäck (here spelled Maeck) Jr, and a third man Karl Pusecker purchased three adjacent properties of ten acres each, as verified by the 1856 plat atlas. The property was adjacent to the railway.
In the 1860 US Census,  Joseph is listed with his wife Caroline and their son Henry. Interestingly, both are listed as attending school. Several adults in the community are. They are still listed beside the Mack and Pusecker families as well. Again, the family is living in Praire, Franklin County, Ohio.

1860 US Census Praire Franklin County Ohio
Year: 1860; Census Place: Prairie, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: M653_962; Page: 214; Image: 432; Family History Library Film: 803962, Family 904, Head of household Joseph Gusler

Knowing these bits of information and the many variations of Joseph's last name used in his short years in America, I investigated the Civil War Draft Registration found on

29 August 2013

Thankful Thursday, with a little frustration

Patience, patience, patience. I have to keep telling myself to have patience with volunteers for FindAGrave. I've shared several Thankful Thursday posts about the success of volunteers finding and photographing my direct and collateral line family members. Well, today's success story is mixed with a little frustration that I must be careful to lay aside. Patience.

Walter F Mehrling gravestone
Walter F Mehrling gravestone; Centerton Cemetery, Centerton, Ohio

Laurie Fahler photographed the stone of my genealogist cousin's father and my great grand uncle Walter Frank Mehrling in the Centerton Cemetery in Centerton, Huron, Ohio. I bet she had a lot of trouble getting the colors of this stone to come out true to life. I have had similar trouble but I have not had my image turn out as crisp as she did with this photo. Good job Laurie.

I am truly, truly grateful for Laurie's service and do not want to downplay it. My frustration is that Walter's wife Dora should be buried in the same cemetery, and presumably next to him. Did Laurie see the stone and wonder, "maybe I should take a photo of the wife?" There was no photo request for Dora (I had maxed out my requests for the month and forgot about it. Ugh). I wonder if she thought the photo wasn't needed.

Patience. From this experience, I will do a few things... a) make a list of persons I want to request photos for but can't because I've maxed out my quota and b) always take more photos around the stone than request. I never know when their needed. In the meantime... I've requested Dora's gravestone photo and I will patiently wait for her "Success!" email.

I shouldn't be too frustrated. Laurie did photograph Walter's father Ragan. See...

Ragan M Mehrling gravestone
Ragan M Mehrling gravestone

28 August 2013

Brown Family History: Who were the other four?

When I was in Ohio in May 2012, I noticed a micorfiche draw at the Ohio History Center library that piqued my interest. It was records of still births in Franklin County, Ohio. 

Birth Certificate for Baby Brown

The reason this peaked my interest is the fact that I have a mystery in my family. Who were the other four? On my grand father Lewis Sherman Brown's birth record, there is a note that says his mother Emma gave birth to 9 children and only four were living at the time. I know the names of 5 of her children. But who were the other four? One daughter died in infancy. I have no birth or death record for Edna Irean Brown (14 Dec 1900 – 6 Apr 1901) except what was recorded in the family bible. 

Scan of Laminated Page of Emma Brown's Bible

I have wondered if I did a search of the Still Birth collection if I would find the remaining four children born to Sherman Brown and Emma Townsend. The year range would need to be between 1895 and 1918. That's a pretty big gap. My guess would be more likely between 1902-1918 three children were born fairly close to one another between 1898 and 1902.

As this file is on microfiche at a library I can not easily get to, I will put this research on the back burner for awhile. But at least I can remember what it is I wanted to do on that future day.

24 August 2013

Geiszler Brick Wall Suggestions and Update

Signature from the deed he signed in 1856 for property in Franklin County, Ohio.
Signature from the deed he signed in 1856
for property in Franklin County, Ohio.

I have written before about my ancestral brick wall known as Joseph Geißler.  I took the suggestion of posting his information on the Ohio Genealogy Research Facebook page.

Now, one should expect the group to crack through the Brick Wall magically. However, the group can remind you of or make suggestions for resources you haven't checked yet.
The first thing that was suggested was to contact the group Palatines to America. Apparently, they have resources that would help. They are based in Columbus Ohio.

I know I need to investigate to see if their sources discusses migration routes and the draw of Germans to Columbus, Ohio. For now, I found something that I want to check out.

On the Database tab, I found a link to the Ancestor Chart All Name Index. I selected the G's and found two entries that I want to obtain copies for.

PALAM Name Database

I learned that I could mail $2 to PALAM and then I could have a copy of the Ancestor Charts. Joseph isn't a very common name in Columbus. However, my gut tells me that this might not be my ancestor as PALAM is nationwide. So, I might learn about a Joseph who moved elsewhere in the US. But, it's worth $2 to rule it out.

The Ohio Genealogy Research group also suggested that I cross-post on the Germany/Prussia Genealogy Research page (Which no longer exists. So Sad!) to get help coming from both directions. Maybe you'll meet yourself in the middle.

I don't know what exactly to post on that Facebook page. But, I did ask a few question. How can I learn more about migration routes and the attraction to Columbus, Ohio.  Also, how long would someone be in America before going through the Naturalization Process. I know Joseph listed Baden has his home country and he received citizenship in 1858. So, when would he have arrived?

The feedback I received was the following:
Our FamilySearch Wiki has some excellent articles that are worth some study time. You might be interested in "Tracing Immigrants Search Strategies" and "Germany Locating Place of Origin" We also have an excellent article for you to study on United States Naturalization and Citizenship:

I know better than to expect a miracle when requesting help on a social network. I am thankful for the leads I have been given. I may not find Joseph, but I just might learn more about the overall process of moving to America and becoming a naturalized citizen.

I'll keep you posted on what I learn from PALAM.

Future Research: Browns in Perry County Ohio

Artifact found in Emma Brown's Bible
I have encountered a family by the last name of Brown from Perry County on occasion during my research. The parents are William Brown and the wife is Mary Ann Fickle. They have nine known children. Two of their children were deaf, Moses and Ferdinand Brown. In 1880 they lived with their sister Mary Brown beside my second great-grandfather Samuel Curtis Brown (b 1821 – d 1900). I've often been told to investigate neighbors because they could be relatives.

I know that The Brown siblings who lived next-door to Samuel Brown were the first cousins of his wife Martha Gordon through her mother Jane Fickle Gordon. Jane and Mary Ann were sisters. What I do not know is whether William Brown (b 1815 in Baltimore, Maryland) is related to Samuel Curtis Brown (b 1821 in Baltimore, Maryland).

I do not know the names of William or Samuel's father. Could they be brothers? Could they be cousins? Could they just have a popular name and birth dates so close together from the same place in Maryland that they only appear to be related.

There is a book entitled Brown Family Research held by the Perry County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society. I contacted the Perry County group and was told that many of the items in their genealogical collection are rare, frail or one-of-a-kind researches / books, etc. Thus, they do not offer inter-library loans.


They recommended an active member of their organization who works on the family name Brown in Perry County. I'm going to see what she knows. It's worth a shot.

23 August 2013

Photo Friday: A Regular Starting Point

f/3.5, Exp 1/10, Bias +1, ISO 80 Focal length 14 mm
Aperture 3.625, Metering: Center Weighted
In the past few weeks, you might have noticed that I have used very similar settings on my camera. I was flooded with objects that I wanted to photograph (and still have more) . My opportunities for photographing are very limited. Trying to match up times of day to use natural light with free time when not caring for home schooling and the home, is quite difficult.

When I'm going to take a photo, I want to take photos of a lot of objects. I need a basic starting point. So. my basic starting points include:
  • AV Priority mode
  • F-Stop at 3.5
  • ISO 80
  • Macro Focus setting
From there, I like play with the exposure setting, zoom, and switch between Center Weighted and Spot focus. Often, spot focus will blow out the background. But sometimes, it doesn't look better than Center Weighted.
f/3.5, Exp 1/10, Bias +1, ISO 80 Focal length 14 mm
Aperture 3.625, Metering: Center Weighted

So... there you have it. My basic starting point for photo graphing my family heirlooms and other memorabilia.

22 August 2013

Thankful Thursday: Volunteer Works Graveyard Miracle

I am so excited I could reach through the computer and kiss the woman's cheek who found and photographed a gravestone that I could not find at the Green Lawn Cemetery in May 2012. I visited Green Lawn Cemetery Section 30 and searched for Leslie Cushman Akison. Leslie is the son of my great grand-aunt Ida Loa Brown AKISON.

I wrote last year: "I had hoped that perhaps he was buried near additional family members and I would get more clues into this aunt's family. I did my best to read the map, but I wasn't confident I knew which plot to look at. I searched and searched the section and decided I now had two sections to ask about in the office."

I did visit the office and ask about the plot and went one more time to search. Alas, I could not find Leslie's stone. Bummer.

In June, a genealogical miracle happened. Anonymous, a volunteer for, found my photo request (that included the plot information) and she went out to try.  She found it. She found it!!!!

Leslie Cushman Akison gravestone
Leslie Cushman Akison gravestone at Green Lawn Cemetery
Did she stop with one photo? Oh now. You see the tid bit of a stone beside it? There was a clue that another stone was there. Yippee!!!

Cora E Schultz Akison gravestone
Cora E Schultz Akison gravestone in Green Lawn Cemetery
I was so excited. I sent a thank you message to Annoymous through FindAGrave telling her of the frustration I had at finding the stone. She said that it looked like these stones were recently placed and might not have been there when I visited. With the rubble behind these stone, I'm inclined to a agree. To the woman, whose name I know not, thank you for the graveyard miracle.

Oh! While she was out at the cemetery, she found a few more gravestones for other requests. Here is another collateral line member of my 'family':

George Paul Karlsberger gravestone
George Paul Karlsberger gravestone in Green Lawn Cemetery

17 August 2013

Surname Saturday: Could this be my Brown Brick Wall

Samuel Curtis Brown of Balitmore and Columbus
Samuel Curtis Brown
b 3 Aug 1821 in Baltimore, Maryland
d 14 Jan 1900 Columbus, Ohio
 I've written before how difficult it is to do genealogy with the surname Brown. My brick wall is Samuel Curtis Brown. He's a traditional looking gentleman from the 1800s, don't you think? Well, here's a research investigation that I've been mulling over for several years.

On 7 Nov 2006 Willy Istvan sent me the following message:

I am 99.9% sure that your Brown line is connected to a Brown line which my wife is connected to. I believe that your Samuel Curtis Brown is a sibling of a Brown family that two of my wife's "cousins" are descended from. I am attaching a Brown Descendant Report that I believe to be correct. Your Samuel is a perfect match, regarding his locations, with this other Brown family. Also, if you find Samuel Brown and Martha (Gordon) in the 1870 census in Hamilton, Franklin, OH, they are living next door to 3 of Samuel's siblings, Ferdinand, Moses and Mary.

Also, what source do you have for the father, of Samuel Curtis Brown, being James Brown? I had thought that his name was James Brown, but I wasn't positive. I knew his mother's name was Catherine, because she shows up in census records living with her children.

I keep bumping into this family and I've let this email sit in my inbox for many years. I crossed his path again last year. Yet, I can't jump fully into the belief that William Brown who married Mary Ann Fickle is a brother to Samuel Curtis Brown who married Martha Gordon (daughter of Mary Ann's sister Jane). Willy didn't include source citations for his information. And that makes me hesitant to say, I agree. Yet, he makes the following argument that I would love to accept.

I ran into your Samuel when I was researching the Fickle family. My Brown line is connected to the Fickle's as follows:

William Brown (born 22 Sep 1815) married Mary Ann Fickle (born 22 Feb 1820) on 7 Sep 1842.

Mary Ann Fickle had an older sister, seventeen years her senior, named Jane Fickle (born 6 Dec 1803).

I was researching Jane Fickle and found that she had married Charles Gordon.

I found that one of their daughters by the name of Martha Gordon, had married your Samuel Curtis Brown. Immediately I thought to myself, wow, this Samuel Brown could be related to my Browns.

My Browns were born in Baltimore County, MD. They moved to Perry County, OH, the birthplace of Martha Gordon. All of my Brown's then moved on to Hamilton or Columbus in Franklin County, OH. All of these locations matched your Samuel.

Then I did some research in census records. In finding Samuel and Martha in the 1870 census living in Hamilton, Franklin, OH, I found that their neighbors were Moses, Ferdinand and Mary Brown. These were all three known to me already and all three were in my database. My wife's Brown cousins have info on all three of these siblings of William Brown, and here they were, all three of them living next door to Samuel.

"U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1870" database, FamilySearch; (http:/ Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio,Lockbourne Post Office, Page 6, Household 38, Samuel Brown; NARA microfilm publication M593

"U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1870" database, FamilySearch; (http:/ Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio, Lockbourne Post Office, Page 7, Household 38, Samuel Brown; NARA microfilm publication M593

In the 1850 census, Moses, Ferdinand and Mary Brown are all living with Catharine Brown in Madison, Perry OH. Moses and Ferdinand are listed as deaf and it is most likely the reason neither of them were married. I assume that Mary stayed with her brothers to help take care of them.

Their brother William is also found in Madison, Perry, OH in the 1850 census with his wife Mary Ann (Fickle) Brown and 4 children. Living on one side of them is Joseph G. Fickle, father of Mary Ann and Jane Fickle. William's other neighbor is George Fickle, a brother of Mary Ann and Jane.

Have you ever been able to find Samuel in the 1850 census? I couldn't find him. I am almost positive that Samuel is the brother of my wife's Browns. There are just way too many coincidences. And the connection to the Fickle family is 100% for sure. Let me know what you think.

Again, the arguments are delightful. I would be very inclined to believe it but I hesitate. The number one reason is that I can't find Samuel in the 1850 US Census. And, other than being born in Maryland in 1821. I don't really know where he is until 1857.

I would LOVE to know how to determine what to do with this information.

16 August 2013

Photo Friday: Be sure to see what is inside

Photographing Mission Objects

f/3.5, Exp 1/13, Bias +1, ISO-80, Focal length 18 mm
Aperture 3.625, Metering: Center Weighted

f/3.5, Exp 1/10, Bias +1, ISO-80, Focal length 18 mm
Aperture 3.625, Metering: Center Weighted

This box actually was saved from my husband's mission to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He served a two year Mandarin Chinese speaking mission. He received this box from one of the people he served. I didn't know why he saved a little box with Ma, Stanley, and Jing-Wei written on different sides of the box. After I set the box aside, my husband asked... "Did you photograph what was inside?" Ummm... no. There is something inside?

f/3.5, Exp 1/10, Bias +1, ISO-80, Focal length 16 mm
Aperture 3.625, Metering: Center Weighted

Lesson learned... Open the box to see if something is inside. Now the origami inside ties the box to his mission a little bit better.

15 August 2013

Thankful Thursday: More Find A Grave Success Emails

As I've shared before, I love when an email comes to my inbox from Find A Grave that tells me that I have had a photo request fulfilled. Yippee!

Frank and Verna Schlared Gravestone
Frank and Verna Schlared shared gravestone at
Forest Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.

This photo was taken by Brenda Mellett of Vernie E Sanborn and her husband Frank Schlared. I just learned about Vernie last year on my trip to Ohio. She is a niece of my great-grandmother Emma Townsend Brown. So, I was happy to place a request and see it fulfilled. I think Brenda was having trouble blocking the shadows on the stone. That doesn't matter as I am so grateful for the photo.

Emma Weimer Ranck of Franklin Ohio
Emma C Weimer Ranck, buried in Fernwood Cemetery in Lockbourne, Ohio
Photo by Tim Crane

Next, I received a message that Tim Crane went to Fernwood Cemetery and captured the gravestone for Emma C Ranck. Fernwood Cemetery is in Lockbourne, Franklin County Ohio. Emma Weimer is the wife of William Ranck, son of Charles Ranck and Elizabeth Holmes. Charles is the brother of a great grand uncle of mine... Jefferson Babcock Ranck. I know this is confusing. But, I want people to be remembered. And I often get lost on the collateral lines. Thanks for the help Tim.

While Tim was there, he also took photos of Emma's husband William and their daughter Thyrza. I can't thank people enough to gather more than just the specified stone. Take a photo of the whole lot, and then some. You never know what brick walls you can smash down by so doing.

10 August 2013

Surname Saturday: Searching for Bricker, Grener, and Billmans

Caroline Mack Geissler Billman
Caroline Mack Geissler Billman
I have no qualms about posting my deepest wish to contact distant cousins. The ones of interest for me are descendants from the following three families: 

1. Michael Billman and Caroline Geisler (nee Mack) of Franklin County, Ohio
2. Allen Bricker and Caroline Geisler (marriage record spelling was Gisler) of Pleasant, Franklin, Ohio.
3. Conrad Grener and Mary Elizabeth Geisler of Prairie, Franklin, Ohio.

Why? Well, because I'm hoping to learn more about Michael, Caroline, Caroline, and Mary Elizabeth (also known as Lissie). Idealistically, I would love for clues to break open the brick wall of Micheal's ancestors and that of his wife's first husband Joseph Geissler. However, I have photos of the mother and daughters, but not the step father. 

I know no stories of these people. I want to know more than what the Census records can tell. Will I ever find an ancestor?

09 August 2013

Photo Friday: Charm Bracelet

This Charm Bracelet belonged to my mother during her teenage and young adult years. I could kick myself for not asking mom about each treasure on her bracelet. Mom gave me these artifacts in August of last year. I started playing around with photographing them. I should have sent her a copy (even if I wasn't pleased) and said... what does each charm represent. But, I didn't. And she passed away in December.

Photographing Charm Bracelets
f/5, Exp 1/6, Exp bias +0.7, ISO 80, Focal Length 18 mm
AV 3.625, Metering: Center Weight Average

This object is larger that the watch face or crown pin of the previous weeks. So, I had to zoom out to capture the bracelet.

 Laying out the bracelet was very troubling. I wasn't sure which way to orient the bracelet so you could see all of the charms. So I just fiddled and fiddled until I had this arrangement. I'm satisfied with it.

Photographing Bracelets
f/5, Exp 1/6, Exp bias +0.7, ISO 80, Focal Length 18 mm
AV 3.625, Metering: Center Weight Average
Isn't it interesting that the settings are the same as the first photo? All I did was shift the framing of the artifact to the right a little and the photo instantly became brighter and clearer. Hmm..

Photographing Mementos

f/5, Exp 1/5, Exp bias +0.7, ISO 80, Focal Length 20 mmAV 3.625, Metering: Center Weight Average

On this last photo, I just zoomed in a little closer. (The larger the focal length number, the closer the zoom.)
I think this looks the best.

However, I'm wondering what the bracelet would look like on a black background. So.. when I get my new compact camera (since my 'old' one died), I will try again. just to see.

08 August 2013

Thankful Thursday: Find A Grave Successes

Woo-hoo! I love when a receive and email that says " Find A Grave Photo Request: Success!" I'm going to share a few that I've recently received:

Patty did a GREAT job photographing the gravemarkers for Michael Carrington Geisler and his second wife Sarah Jane Drew.

Michael and Jane Geisler of Franklin County Ohio
Gravemarker for Michael Geisler and his wife Jane by Patty
Obetz Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio

Michael Geisler was born Nov. 20, 1830 in Bavaria and died Oct. 1, 1920 in Franklin County, Ohio. His wife Jane (interestingly both were on their second marriage when they wed). Jane was born May 12, 1841 in Ireland and died Mar. 5, 1928 in Franklin County, Ohio.

Patty took a second picture showing the top of the stone. Kudos to you for photographing multiple angles! I wonder if the little white stones that say father and mother behind the large monument belong to this plot or another. Hmmm...

Rev. M I Comfort buried in the Bear Creek Cemetery in Drexel, Ohio. Photo by Janie Fletcher

Next, Janie Fletcher fulfilled my photo request for Reverend Merrit Ithamer Comfort.  Merrit born Aug. 28, 1866 in Lincoln County, Ontario, Canada and died May 2, 1944 in Vandalia, Montgomery County, Ohio. He is the son of my third great grandfather (and 2nd cousin 6 times removed) Ithamer Comfort and his wife Susannah Moote.

Merrit is buried in Bear Creek Cemetery in Drexel, Montgomery, Ohio. I'll be honest. I don't think I'll ever get to Montgomery when there is so much research to do in Franklin County and then in Canada. So... THANK YOU Janie.

Thank you ladies for your work. I appreciate it.

07 August 2013

Is this German Scan Readable for Translation?

Title page to family bible that my mother copied
in the late 1970s. I love having my mother's handwriting

My darling mother started the family history in 1977 for both her and my father's lines. Did she rock or what? She did this back when Xerox copies were the rage. She came across a German Bible in possession of Margie Wasson. She copied the Bible but never got around to transcribing the book. Since that time, it is believed that the Bible passed on to my mother and was in her collection of stuff before she moved twice and downsized prior to her death last year. During this process, the German Bible is believed to have been discarded by an unknowing person because it was poorly cared for. So sad. I have what is believe to be the only copy of the genealogical data within that bible.

I have held onto the Xerox copies wondering what to do with them. The quality is poor and I don't read German. I don't want to send the copies to anyone for translation because these are the only copies of a book that no longer exists. If the pages could be read and I lost them in transit, I think I would, um, cry a river or something.

Today, I decided to scan the copies so I could have a back up. What the heck, right? The first scan left me in shock. I think the files might be readable enough to send to a transcriber? If that's the case, I might be able to open a few brick walls. I'm super excited. Now I am anxious to see what these pages mean.

German Bible entry in need of transcription
Second version of previous entry

Are these readable scans? I think they are, but I don't transcribe things often. However, I read a few ship manifests with terrible scan quality and people were able to read them. Could these scans be better than those manifests? Could I send them to a transcriber? Oh how I hope the answer is a resounding yes (for the vast majority of the 7 pages). 

If these pages are readable, it is my belief they are liked to the Hoppe and Geiszler families that I struggle with. A news clipping (not shown) is on a page across from the above page. If I can read it slightly, the last name Hoppe (English version of the name) is in the article. That's a great+ grandma!

German Bible entry in need of transcription
From a German Family Bible that no longer exists

The above page looks like the names could be Geiscler. Family members perhaps? The bottom half of the page doesn't get any better in person. But perhaps the top half is readable. Please let it be so!!!!

German Bible entry in need of transcription
Another entry from the same German Bible Xerox copies

I have no idea what/who this page refers to. I do know that my mother wrote 'DEATH' on her Xerox copy. So, this is an entry for someone. But who? I can't tell.

I've been to a class that said you can try to figure out what the writing says. However, I would rather know if these images are readable enough for someone familiar with the German language to transcribe. It would be faster and better to let someone else handle the work. I have so much other information coming in all the time (and stuff I haven't processed), that I don't think I could spare the time trying to figure everything out.

Anyway, if you know of a person who can translate German, please provide a referral. I would really love to unlock the mysteries of these old copied papers.

I just looked at the date. It's the 9th anniversary of my father's death. This is his line. Is he helping me from beyond the great divide? I'm in tears now. Anyway... I know the power of the Genealogical Community to collaborate and help each other out. Please point me in the right direction to turn this treasure and anniversary into something to celebrate.

06 August 2013

Tech Tuesday: Applause for FamilySearch Family Tree

I have taken a break from using FamilySearch Family Tree. I love the direction it is heading. However, it has been pretty time consuming to attach records to persons on the Family Tree. Now, I was super excited last year, during beta testing, to finally be able to find something on FamilySearch and then attach it to the tree. However, after many months of use, I had wished the process would be made a little easier. And FamilySearch Family Tree delivered!!!!

I think FamilySearch deserves a round of applause for making my genealogical life a little easier. Let me show you what I'm talking about.

The past year, if I found a record on FamilySearch, I would save it to My Source Box. Then I would have to search on the Family Tree for the individual person. Click on their source records. Then select Add Sources. Then I could finally attach the sources after I found them in My Source Box. Sometimes, it was easy. Sometimes, a bit difficult. I also wished I could see if a record was attached to the Tree before I went through the saving process.

The pop up box that shows after you select Attach to Family Tree

Today, I felt the urge to attach a few more records, and look what I found! See that blue "Attach to Family Tree" box? I new something wonderful was about to happen. I clicked on it and Claude J Bailey was listed under Possible Matches. When I pressed select, I was asked to enter in why I thought this was the correct record. I entered my reason and confirmed that I wanted to attach the record. That was cool. So fast. So easy!

The record is attached to the Family Tree, and I can click through to the tree from the record.
When I was finished with the process above, I noticed that the search record now said "View in Family Tree." I had a direct link to the three. Woo-hoo! Genealogical Happy Dance. I'm so happy I could kiss the team that answered this silent prayer, request, what have you.

Just to be sure, I went and checked out family members who I have previously attached records to. Sweet! There is a "View in Family Tree' link. No more doubt saving work. Hopefully, the work will go faster now. Yee-haw!

If the name isn't found in Possible Matches, select your History List

Now, if the Possible Matches comes up empty, never fear. Simply click on the History List. Look. There is Claude J Bailey, and a few other folks that I have recently worked on.  (This happened often with a wife whose married is name is listed on a record, but is not recognized on the tree with that name.)

And if this still doesn't find the person you're after, do a search in a separate window on Family Tree  for the individual who want to attach a record to. Find their ID at the top of the Profile page. Enter it on the screen above and viola! Instant attachment. (This also was useful when I found a sister-in-law that needed to be attached to Claude J Bailey. I had to search the Family Tree for her ID number. Then I entered it in the appropriate screen. Not a big deal).

So... FamilySearch has answered two of my requests.... make attaching records to the tree easier and see if a record is attached to the Family Tree before attaching it. Hallelujah.

Now.... if they can stop sending me MY updates on the weekly 'Things that have been updated on your watch list", and only show me the changes OTHERS have made... I am sure I'll be a happy camper for some time to come. And, when they do that, I might just have to break out the video camera and record my Genealogy Happy Dance.

03 August 2013

Future Research Projects: Thomas Betts and his father Richard

Future Genealogy Research
Old Harvard College from the yard.
Last month, I had mentioned how I organized my emails with Evernote. Now that all of my past e-mails are organized, I now want to preserve the emails in a condensed form. So, my Future Research Projects are primarily for me as my blog serves as multiple purposes, one of which is to keep track of research I want to do some day, far down the genealogical journey. However, I share these projects publicly so that perhaps I can connect with a distant cousin in the process. So... when you see Future Research Projects, you'll have an idea that it will be full of resources and questions about what I hope to discover someday.

Thomas Betts and his father Captain Richard Betts

My eight great-grandfather is Thomas Betts (d. 1709) through his daughter Elizabeth Bets (b 1701) who married Robert Comfort, Jr (b 1697). Robert and Elizabeth were both born in British America in the province of New York. They had several children, one of whom is John Comfort (b 1741) who was loyal to the crown and left New York for Canada after the American Revolution.

I am not ready to investigate him further but thankfully there are a lot of resources to learn about my eight great-grandfather when I'm ready. Here are some of the links for when I, or any distant cousin, might be interested:

History of the Betts Family
History of the Betts Family
I found one website with the History of the Betts Family. I haven't found the source information in my quick look over the information. However, I will go back and read through the information. As with anything in genealogy, one wants to treat things as clues or pieces to a puzzle and then provide documentation as it becomes available.

Another resources details information about Richard Betts of Long Island. Richard Betts would be my ninth great-grandfather. I certainly want to review this with more attention to detail at some point.

I found another website entitled TransylvanianDutch: The Immigrants: 1600s. There is a brief mention of ninth great-grandfather Richard. “My eighth great grandparents, Richard Betts and Joanna Chamberlain were married in Ipswich, Massachusetts Bay Colony - in 1648. It is thought Joanna arrived by 1635, and Richard mid-1640s. Joanna Chamberlain was the daughter of Elizabeth Stoughton and Richard Chamberlain, and the granddaughter of Rev Thomas and Katherine Stoughton.”  This website does provide sources. And it would primarily present collateral lines of Richard. However, I'm coming to learn that it's important to understand the community an ancestor lived in. So, this will be another interesting resource to review.

I found a Family Tree of Captain Richard Betts. This tree does have some sources. On the whole, the tree focuses on mostly focused on Joanna Chamerlain's line. She's my ninth great-grandmother.

Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey
Google Books sourced points by providing access to the Book Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey. In this book I found a biographical sketch Captain Richard Betts on page 68.

As I said, someday I'll look more thoroughly through this information. Until then, I have all these notes in a relatively safe place. My Evernote and email account just became a little less cluttered.

02 August 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Wall Art is Family History

I keep looking around my home and wondering what should hang on the walls. My grandmother Louise Brown had a terrific sign on her wall at some point. I found it in her former bedroom at my aunt's home. I think it fits her personality to a tee.

What's also great, is I love the photo I took straight out of the camera. This photo was taken outdoors in the afternoon. I placed the object inside a light box and snapped photos of this item along with other objects. I'm so thankful that with my limited knowledge of photography, I got a great photo of a piece of wall art from my Grandmother's collections.

Photographing Wall Art Memorabilia
f/5, exp 1/60, exp +0.3, ISO 200
Pattern metering

Take a look around your home and that of your parents or grandparents. What signs do they have that feature their personality, mottoes, or beliefs?