Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

Archives, Labels (tags), and other links appear at the bottom of the page.

Content at Before My Time is protected by copyright and may not be copied for publication elsewhere without permission. © T. K. Sand.

To follow by email, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

February Ruminations

This month, the genea-blogosphere was all abuzz about the PBS series, Faces of America. As a family history researcher, I've been a little disappointed with the series. The research process has been all but disregarded, and the celebrities whose family trees were researched were not brought into that process.

Some have commented that anything which stirs up interest in genealogy the way Roots did a few decades ago is a good thing. From my vantage point as a family history researcher, I'm not sure Faces of America does that. Most people who aren't already doing genealogy research think they wouldn't know how to do it, and this series does absolutely nothing to cause them to think they could learn. All the searching is done behind the scenes by the professionals, and then--hocus pocus!--by some unrevealed mystique, a celebrity has a fascinating ancestor! I would have much preferred, and I think I was expecting, an approach more like that of History Detectives, where the actual search for information is given every bit as much prominence as the results of the search. (I can see where the professionals might disagree with my position!)

I research my family history because it's fun. It's like a huge, complex, personalized jigsaw puzzle that doesn't come with a picture on top of the box. It doesn't even come with all the pieces. You get some for starters, and once you've got those together, you get to go scavenger-hunting for the rest. You don't have to know how to do it all before you start, any more than you need a college degree to start kindergarten. You figure it out as you go. That keeps it interesting. And the tidbits of information you find as a result of your figuring are the rewards that keep you coming back for more. I wish Faces of America had conveyed that aspect, the pleasure of the hunt.

The day it ceases to be a pleasure, I'm done. If that makes me a mere hobbyist or a genealogical dilettante, so be it. But, like anyone who does jigsaw puzzles, I am invested in getting each piece right so the picture will be revealed. (By the way, nothing pleases me more than to get a reader comment that helps me do that.)

Anyway, having spoken my piece, I will nevertheless be watching the last episode of Faces this week. The subject is genetic genealogy, an area I don't know too much about, so I expect I'll be able to learn something from it.


February Accomplishments

Early in the month, I set up a new binder for the Schulte line. I made more photos for my heirloom family tree, as well as a list of reference photos identifying all images and memorabilia associated with the tree. I participated in the 2010 GeneaBloggers Games, earning medals in five out of six categories for the Tasks I completed. As part of that process, I set up several additional new binders and rearranged material in some of the older binders. I started what will be a series of surname posts that will be linked to the names in my new Surnames list page.

And in the other column . . .

. . . sourcing! My bugaboo! Despite the lure of a Platinum Medal in the Games (50 source citations), I realized early on that I would happily settle for a Bronze (for a mere 10 citations) if I could manage to push myself that hard. Even at that, I managed to drag my feet almost to the deadline. [Having 'fessed up to that, I will also say I discovered two things: 1) that I actually have sourced quite a bit more of my data than I realized, and 2) that the plan I intended to follow, as per my New Year's resolution, in sourcing all my direct-line ancestors was not conducive to efficient sourcing, and I've found a better way of approaching the job.]

And my efforts in the Back-Up category were a total bust, as my DVD writer apparently doesn't work. I'll try again in March, next time with a 2GB thumb-drive that my Bloodhound Cousin Cheryl sent me. Thanks, Cheryl!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

GeneaBloggers Games Closing Ceremony

Thank you,
GeneaBloggers, for hosting the 2010 GeneaBloggers Games!

Friday, February 26, 2010

GeneaBloggers Games Final Tally Sheet

I attempted all six categories of the Winter 2010 GeneaBloggers Games, and amazed myself by completing enough Tasks to earn a medal in five of the six. I'm so glad I participated--I got so much done!


Category 1: 10 citations . . . Bronze!
Category 2: . . . . . . *pffft!*
Category 3: 5 Tasks . . . Platinum!
Category 4: 2 Tasks . . . Silver!
Category 5: 3 Tasks . . . Gold!
Category 6: 4 Tasks . . . Diamond!

Details below:
  1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! I completed 10 source citations. Getting my wisdom teeth pulled was less of an ordeal.
  2. Back Up Your Data! As per Task C, I've burned my Legacy database to a DVD. At least I think I have! Not a moment too soon, either, because my computer is acting very strangely and I can't get it to run the DVD so I can check to see whether it's readable! Update: it appears my DVD writer doesn't. I certainly seem to be beatin' my head against a wall when it comes to making a backup! You may recall my January attempt to backup to the external hard drive failed for lack of remaining space!
  3. Organize Your Research! Task A completed (over 20 ancestral items sorted and filed!). Task B completed (41 digital files organized!). Task C completed (20 photos organized!) Task D completed (over 100 digital photos organized!). Task E completed (over 25 people entered and sourced in my database!).
  4. Expand Your Knowledge! Task A completed (I learned how to make a customized Googe map and embed it in a post!). Task B completed (created and posted a Kate Pettis Kerr timeline!).
  5. Write, Write, Write! Task A completed (wrote an About page for my blog!) As per Task C, I've prepared and pre-published six posts. For Task E, I've created a Surnames page and a Helpful Hints page for my blog. I'm frustrated, because when I tried to add them to my blog as tabs, they show up as a list of links instead, moving my current post further down the page.
  6. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! For Task A (hardly a task, more like fun!), I've visited and commented at a few new-to-me genealogy blogs. Also, as per Task G, I've hit the Follow button on those blogs that have one, as well as subscribing via Google Reader. Two of the ones I visited were Me and My Ancestors and My Ancestors and Me. How funny is that! Task B completed (four entries at Find-A-Grave!). For Task E, I've renewed my registration at Family Search Indexing and completed my first batch for 2010, a hellacious page of the 1910 Michigan census, which I chose because I figured I would recognize a lot of Michigan names even if the handwriting was bad. So I hereby apologize to all the Italian, Finnish and Norwegian researchers out there who hope to find their Gogebic ancestors. Good luck with that!

Some Events in the Life of Kate Pettis Kerr

Click on an entry to view the image and more information.

Earlier this month, I posted a Schulte timeline made at TimeRime. For this one, I used Timetoast. I found Timetoast much easier to use and I think the display is more attractive. Timetoast also allows me to customize the size of my embedded timeline.

In addition, Timetoast gives me the option to view my entries in list form, which I find very useful. Although there is no Print option associated with the list itself, it can be printed using the Print command in your File drop-down menu.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Cutting Edge Memorabilia

I always liked my grandfather's desk. It had lots of cubbyholes and there were interesting things in there. I associate the scissor set pictured here with that desk, although at 10.25" in length, it might have been too long for a cubbyhole. And in truth, I don't know whether it was Rosmer or Evelyn who held official claim to the set. I have no idea how old it is, nor from whence it came. I don't think it was a terribly expensive set, and I would guess it to be from the first half of the 20th century, so not a family heirloom until I took possession of it and deemed it so.

The scissors themselves are marked "Premier Cutlery, Inc., Germany." Make what you will of that. The case strives to look like leather, but isn't. The letter opener is pretty sharp though, and the scissors work just fine. I'm sure both of my grandparents Kerr got plenty of use from them. When I see them, I imagine my grandmother snipping an article from the newspaper at her kitchen table in the house on Lake Shore Road, or my grandpa opening the mail.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kerr Tombstones at Forest Lawn

My great-grandmother, Kate Pettis Kerr, was born 2 October 1864 and died 11 June 1937. She was the first one buried in the Kerr plot (Section 33, Lot 41) at Forest Lawn Cemetery (11851 Van Dyke Avenue, Detroit, Michigan).

My uncle, Karl Franklin Parker, was buried in the Kerr plot after his death on 30 January 1969.

On February 9, 1969, less than two weeks after Karl's death, my grandpa Rosmer Pettis Kerr died.

Evelyn E. (Hauer) Kerr, my grandma, died 19 December 1988 and was buried next to Rosmer.

In the map below, the Kerr plot appears at the lower left. Other gravesites of interest to my descendants are marked also.

View Forest Lawn Cemetery, Detroit, MI in a larger map

Monday, February 22, 2010

Madness Monday: Genealogy of The Simpsons

Genealogy fans, if you can't wait to see what noble branches lie in the Simpson family foliage but you missed last night's episode of The Simpsons, you will want to click over to Fox and see The Color Yellow (Season 21, Episode 13).

If you're really lucky, you'll have to watch the Old Spice ad first! Oh, yeah!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Surname: Rogers

My grandpa, Rosmer Pettis Kerr, was a descendant of the Pilgrim Thomas Rogers. Our Rogers line is as follows:
  • Thomas Rogers, born in the mid- to late 1500s, arrived at Plymouth on the Mayflower in 1620 with his son Joseph. His wife and other children remained in Leiden, Holland, at that time, but at least one of the children came over later. Thomas died "in the first sickness" as did many other Pilgrims during their first winter in America. Thomas Rogers is my tenth great-grandfather.
  • Lt. Joseph Rogers, the son who came with Thomas on the Mayflower, was seventeen when his father died, according to Nathaniel Philbrick in Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War. William Bradford became a substitute parent for Joseph. By 1633 Joseph had married a woman named Hannah. They had eight children. Lt. Joseph Rogers is my ninth great-grandfather.
  • Elizabeth Rogers, born to Joseph and Hannah on 29 September 1639 in Duxbury, Massachusetts, married Jonathan Higgins, son of Richard Higgins and Lydia Chandler, on 9 January 1660 in Eastham. Elizabeth Rogers Higgins is my eighth great-grandmother.
At The Plymouth Colony Archive Project, you'll find three items pertaining to Lt. Joseph Rogers:
See also:
  • Sherman, Robert M., F.A.S.G., editor. Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, V. 2. Plymouth, Massachusetts: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1978.
  • Rogers Surname Origin

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Key to the Tree

As promised, today's post is a key to those photos on my heirloom family tree which were not individually identified in yesterday's post. I've also added a new tag to my Labels list so that, in case I'm unexpectedly flattened by a truck this afternoon, all information about the tree and its contents will be easily retrievable.

The three ornaments above are among the newest additions to the tree. Of the people in these photos, only Darius J. Pettis is my direct-line ancestor. William Efner and Marceline Corneilson were half-siblings of my direct-line ancestors, and Paul was my second cousin, twice removed.

The five ornaments above are all direct-line ancestors with the exception of Mrs. Micajah Pettis. I believe this is Micajah's second wife, Mary Margaret Maxfield. His first wife, Tryphena Sedgwick, died in 1842. These five ornaments and the ones in the following four pictures were given to me by my daughter. Because they're the ones I started with, they're all direct-line ancestors except Mrs. Pettis above and my aunts and uncles which are included in the John Krentz family portrait along with my dad and his parents.

These last three ornaments are two-sided.

The John Krentz family portrait was easily divided down the middle in Paint Shop Pro. My uncles don't actually have their heads cut off! They are very slightly tucked under the frame though and, in the image below, the frame is casting a shadow.

Below is the last of the new frames I bought. I had to hang my dashing Uncle Karl on the tree, and my talented aunt, the poet Bonnie Elizabeth Parker.

Oh, did I say "the last of the new frames?" By that I meant "the last of the new frames which already have pictures in them." Because, in fact, there are five new new frames which I haven't filled yet, and a couple more on the way.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Heirloom or Hairloom, You Decide!

I'm still playing with my new toy, the heirloom photo family tree I introduced a few weeks ago. I've added some new items to it. Above is a silver treasure chest. On the front it says, "The love between a Grandmother and Grandchild is a priceless treasure." I added charms for the birth months of each of my grandchildren. Each charm has a Swarovski crystal on the front, and the name of the month on the back. I made a little montage of my five grandchildren for the frame inside the chest.

There's plenty of room left in there for some of my tiny keepsakes from my grandparents Kerr:
  • an odd little bead from Evelyn's collection of doodads--it's a replica of a bar of soap, and it says "IVORY" on one side and "Proctor & Gamble" on the other. I hope it's not real ivory!
  • a little watch that's lost its chain and doesn't work anymore--it's about ¾" across and is engraved "EK" on the back. I've photographed this watch and used it as a page trim in my digital Evelyn and Rosmer scrapbook.
  • Rosmer's Put & Take spinner--I wrote about it here.
  • Evelyn's St. Anthony icon--I wrote about it here.
  • Rosmer's racy peepshow ring--I wrote about it here.
The next item has taken a little time to put together. It's a big "Mom" locket, and it's loaded with really neat stuff!

Starting with the outside:
  • the little blue locket that contains snippets of my grandfather's moustache--you can see the inside here.
  • a charm that I had engraved with my mom's initials after this picture was taken
  • a locket charm just under an inch in diameter--I made a tag with her name on it to identify the contents, which we'll get to in a minute . . . aw, you know what's comin', don't ya?
  • an October birth-month charm

In the outer locket, I put pictures of my mom and dad together, one at the very beginning of their relationship, and the other after they'd knocked out quite a few years. (A 50th Anniversary picture? Off the top of my head, I'm not sure. I'll try to remember to update here if I find out.)

Finally, the inner sanctum:
  • upper left locket charm--that's me, and a tiny lock of my hair tied with a tiny turquoise ribbon
  • upper right locket charm--my sister Kathleen, and a tiny lock of her hair tied with a tiny kelly green ribbon
  • lower locket charm--a tag identifying a tiny lock of Alvina Tobian Schulte's hair tied with a tiny pink ribbon. Alvina was my mom's great-grandmother.
  • and now you can see at the bottom, in the locket charm with my mom's name in it, a tiny lock of her hair tied with a tiny baby blue ribbon. You can read about Alvina's hair and my mom's here.
I'm thinkin' I could use another dozen of those locket charms!

Speaking of charms, I've also added my mother's charm bracelet to the tree. That's my happy little face you see in the globe charm!

There's also another locket on the tree now. It's the same, front and back.

Inside, I've put pictures of my son and daughter.

There are three other new photos on the tree as well. I'm in the process of making an identification key for all the photos. But that's tomorrow's post!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Potato Peelers

click to enlarge

The only thing on the back of this photo is a pencil-scribbled "HUG 2," no date, place, or other identification. I've no idea who the people are. I believe the four women are all peeling potatoes. I imagine that's a window behind them, but what of the interesting curved shape at the top of its frame? What's the large flat thing in the foreground? I wondered whether the whole thing might be a stage set, but on closer examination, the elderly women appear to be genuinely old, and the porch looks real. If you know anything about this picture or recognize anyone in it, please use the Comments feature to clue me in!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Tombstone of Micajah P. Pettis

click to enlarge

JULY 5, 1806 - 13 AUG. 1881
APR. 9, 1820 - 10 JAN. 1895

On 8 August 1881, Mrs. M. Pettis purchased a gravesite (Sec. 7, N half of lot 44) in Winnebago Cemetery, Winnebago County, Illinois. Her husband Micajah Petit Pettis, my third great-grandfather, died five days later at the age of 75, and was buried there.

Micajah's first wife was Tryphena Sedgwick, daughter of Elijah Sedgwick and Tryphena Parker. She had died in February 1842 at age 38, and was buried in Lowell Cemetery, Westmoreland, Oneida County, New York. Her mother had died only a month earlier and was also buried at Lowell Cemetery. Micajah was left with four young children 4-10 years old.

Mrs. M. Pettis, nee Mary Margaret Maxfield, was Micajah's second wife. They were married in New York and later relocated to Illinois. They had no children of their own, but took in a foster daughter who moved with them to Illinois.

In June of 1884, a few years after Micajah's death, Mary married George Butcher. Although George was almost five years older than she, he outlived her by more than fifteen years. She died at the age of 75, like Micajah, and was buried with him. Nothing on the gravestone indicates that she had remarried.

View Winnebago Cemetery in a larger map

I believe I've marked the actual stone on the map above. It's oriented such that when you stand facing it, you are looking toward Westfield Road.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter 2010 GeneaBloggers Games

I didn't participate in the GeneaBloggers Games two years ago, but when I looked at the categories for the Winter 2010 Geneabloggers Games and their qualifying tasks, I had to admit these are all things I should be doing anyway, especially considering my (lapsed!) New Year's resolutions. So I hereby enter the Games.

I must admit, I'm typing with a little swagger as I've already completed the first step to enter. I made my flag at We Are Multicolored, which represents my American heritage as well as my ancestral roots in Germany and the British Isles. I don't use a sidebar, so I'll be flying my flag in any post that pertains to the Games.

I intend to participate in all six categories.
  1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! With 10 citations the minimum for a bronze medal and 50 needed for a platinum, at this point I'm not even going to guess how far I'll get. Five a day would do it. We'll see!
  2. Back Up Your Data! Since my external hard drive doesn't have room for a complete computer backup at this point, I'll be burning my important genealogy files to DVDs, as per Task C. Goin' for the Gold!
  3. Organize Your Research! Wasn't this the essence of my New Year's resolutions? There are six Tasks to choose from for this category. I intend to complete at least four.
  4. Expand Your Knowledge! There are five Tasks to choose from. I'll try to pick one or two, and then not obsess over them!
  5. Write, Write, Write! Of the six Tasks listed, I have my eye on A, C and E. We'll see!
  6. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! There are seven Tasks to choose from. I'll pick three and go for the Gold.

A Valentine for My GeneaBlogging Friends

(click to enlarge--you know you want to!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Faces of America Online

I'm happy to see that Episode 1 of Faces of America is available online. If you missed it on Wednesday, you can watch at your convenience this weekend. Episodes air on TV Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on your PBS station and subsequently online.

Click here to become a fan of Faces of America on Facebook.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Face of Lincoln

Run time: 21:38

Although this film has been around since 1954, I don't recall ever seeing it as a child. No matter--I wouldn't have been nearly as amazed by it then as I am now.

Abraham Lincoln was born 201 years ago today. There's a great Lincoln Timeline at The History Place.

Ancestors on my father's side who were living during the Lincoln presidency included his grandparents and at least some of his great grandparents, but all were still living in Germany at that time.

On my mother's side, her paternal grandparents (Milton E. Kerr and Kate Pettis) were both born during the Civil War. Her paternal great-grandparents were all in their twenties, and all four of them still had at least one living parent. At least three of my mother's great-great-great grandparents were also still living when Lincoln took office. All lived in the United States.

Mom's maternal grandparents hadn't been born yet. Her great-grandparents Schulte still lived in Germany. Joseph Hauer and Theresa Wolfschlager weren't married yet, but both were living in the United States.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Watch TV Tonight!

This series runs Wednesdays, Febuary 10-March 3 at 8 p.m. on PBS.

Click here for Faces of America website.

Click here for Faces of America Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

In Search of the Schulte Line . . . Time Line, That Is . . .

I was looking for a way to embed a timeline in my blog, and I found TimeRime. Since I've been working on the Schulte line, I entered some relevant Schulte dates and uploaded a few pictures and documents to give the software a test run. The timeline above is the result.

Free is a very good price, and you can create as many timelines as you want. You can even invite someone else to collaborate with you. When the timeline is embedded, it updates automatically if you enter more data.

You can get very specific about the date and time of an event, right down to the hour, minute, and second. For some events, that could be very useful. I'm not particularly happy with the way dates are displayed, though--I would like a three-letter month for the sake of clarity. This software displays the month using numerals, leaving a date like 3-5-1921 open to two interpretations. The viewer is forced to find other dates to see what the format is. If you were looking at it, would you assume the month is first or second in this example? I'm betting most U.S. viewers would be wrong.

Data entry is fairly (not overly) user-friendly. In addition to the information that pops up when a viewer mouses over an event in the timeline, you can also add text, images, and video. You can add a photo gallery to an event. I'll have to play with the embedded timeline a bit after it's posted, but it appears that the extra text and pictures will not appear where the timeline is embedded. Clicking on an event that has such extras takes the viewer to the TimeRime website to view it there.

I'm not sure how the software determines which events are displayed in dark print and which are in light gray. All events were entered in the same manner and left at the default priority setting. Priority settings can be changed later (there are four levels of priority).

I was a little confused at one point to find one of my events out of sequence by about a hundred years, even though the date I entered was correct.

I didn't see any way to alter the color scheme, which would be a nice option.

I haven't decided whether I'll add more events to this timeline. At this point, I invite you to have a look, try out the navigation tools, and let me know what you think as a viewer. Does it seem easy to use? Are you able to figure out how to view the documents and pictures? Does it add confusion or clarity to the Schulte family history?

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

Followers, Friends, Family, and Fellow GeneaBloggers:

Follow by Email

Where are you?