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.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June Ruminations

On writing: I think 'facts' seem like safer turf to me than 'thoughts'--absurd, when you think about it, because it's so easy to be wrong about facts but when it comes to thoughts, all they have to be is honest.

Cynthia Shenette, of Heritage Zen, took her readers on a 1937 trip to Poland with her Aunt Helen in a series of posts this month. I enjoyed that.

I also found myself well-entertained at J.K. Del Collo's Daily Tombstone Photo, a blog I hadn't visited before--so entertained, in fact, that I went all the way back to the beginning of the blog.

I'm really excited to be working on two new projects, both of them books which will be available to interested readers via Blurb's print-on-demand book publishing service. It will be quite awhile before either of them is ready, but I'm hoping at least one will be done by the end of this year. The projects are:
  1. a book about Kate Pettis Kerr which will include the many photographs I have of her, her family, her art, and her career, along with genealogical and biographical information. Much of the content can be found on this blog. Reader, if you are able to share any information, photos, letters, postcards, anything you may know about Kate Pettis Kerr, please use the Contact page to get in touch with me. I am especially interested in finding any additional paintings or drawings she did. My family has two paintings of her younger son, Rosmer P. Kerr, when he was a little boy, and I'm sure there must have been paintings of her older son, Milton E. Kerr, as well. (Click here to see the artwork I already have.)
  2. a book tentatively titled Joseph Meyer Schulte: His Ancestors and Descendants, which will be co-authored by Cheryl Schulte and will include photographs and information that both of us have gathered during more than twenty years of research. We are currently seeking to contact other Schulte descendants who may have other Schulte photos, especially of Joseph's daughter Ida and son Ted, who are under-represented in our own photo collections, and any biographical information which would bring some life to the genealogical data. In addition, I hope to include a few yearbook-style pages featuring head-shots of all descendants up to the present, as a peek at what kind of family resemblance there might be. Reader, if you are a descendant of Joseph Meyer Schulte and Alvina Tobian, please use the Contact page to get in touch with me.

June Accomplishments
  • Ye Olde Genealogy Shoppe has been added to my pages. 
  • I finished reading Annie's Ghosts early in the month. More recently, I read William Martin's novel, The Lost Constitution (my comments on that coming soon).
And in the other column . . .
  • After more than three and a half months, my daily post streak is over.
  • I haven't quite finished the Surnames project. I will though, I promise!
  • The June Ruminations post is running late! Good thing there's backdating!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Searching the Detroit Free Press Archives Online

A comment from Greta Koehl on my previous post led me to discover that the Detroit Free Press archives from January 1831 through December 1922 are available for searching online.

Little or nothing is given away for free though. The search results indicate only that your search term was found in an article on such-and-such a date, and you might get the headline of the article and, if the article is more than a couple hundred words, you might get the first sentence or two. You won't get the part that includes your search term unless it happens to be in either of those two snippets.

You must purchase access to see the full article. A single article is $3.95, and there's a range of other purchase options. I purchased the right to access 10 articles during a 24-hour period for $11.95, but before I did so, I had searched and chosen all ten articles, leaving each search result open in a browser tab. I then made my purchase and returned to each tab to download the PDF of each article.

Three of them were exactly what I had expected (two marriage notices for which I already had documentation and a real estate transaction around the time of my great-grandfather's death); four were shot-in-the-dark (sort of) research about other possible descendants of my ancestors which turned out to be pretty interesting; the rest seem to be irrelevant so, while I did keep a digital copy of each, I did not bother to print those out for my hard files.

On the whole, I found this less than user-friendly for general info-hunting, considering the cost. If you don't know exactly what you're looking for and when it happened, you could pump a small fortune into this method of finding out, and still not find out. If you have a small fortune to spend, I will say it's quicker than reeling through ninety years of microfilms scanning every page for names of interest to you. If you have more time than money and free access to microfilms of these archives, you could certainly search here first and take notes on what dates to look up in the microfilm, because these search results include do the page numbers.

The marriage notices I found were simply announcements of marriage license applications. They included nothing but the names and ages of brides and grooms.

The real estate transaction was something I did not expect. Although the article title was "Real Estate Transfers," the date was a week or two after the death of my great-grandfather, Felix Hauer, so I suspected I would find a death notice in the same column directly below the real estate transactions. However, there were indeed not one but two real estate transactions between Felix and J. N. Wolfslayer, the first and last in a list of sixteen:
  • Felix J. Hauer to J. N. Wolfslayer, lot 22 of Wesson's sub of p. cs. 644 and 723 (April 20)... $400
  • J. N. Wolfslayer to Felix Haure [sic], lot 22 of Wesson's sub of p. cs. 644 and 723 (April 24)... $400
These two transfers were recorded 4 June 1897, and were published in the Free Press the next day. The transfers had taken place in April though, less than a month before Felix's death from tuberculosis on May 19 of that year.

I'm not sure, but I think J. N. Wolfslayer was John Wolfschlager, the brother of Felix's mother, i.e., his uncle. [Update: I now think J. N. Wolfslayer was Felix's cousin John N., son of Andrew Anton Wolfslayer, another of Felix's uncles.]

Over the years, I've seen a number of these back-and-forth real estate transfers in my family history research. I'm not sure what's accomplished by them. Leave a comment if you can enlighten me!

This is my first encounter with Detroit real estate records--I've never looked for deeds in Detroit, despite having several ancestors who lived there. Reader, if you've done any deed research in Detroit, I'd like to hear about your experience, particularly pertaining to deeds in the 1800s-early 1900s.

Monday, June 21, 2010

117 Years Ago Today: A Wedding and an Odd Little Cup

I must have been about ten years old when my grandmother, Evelyn Hauer Kerr, gave this little cup to me. If she told me anything about it at the time, I surely don't remember now. I happened to find it the other day while I was looking for something else. I hadn't seen it for quite awhile and I'd been wondering where it was; I'd been wanting to put it in The Mausoleum with my other heirlooms.

Oddly, I hadn't remembered there was a handwritten date on the bottom. It must not have meant anything to me when I was a kid. But today, as a family historian, I went straight to my family tree database to see what happened on June 21, 1893.

I started with Evelyn. She wasn't born until 1894, and her husband Rosmer was born in 1892, so I moved on to Evelyn's parents. And there it was. Felix Hauer and Lizzie Schulte were married on June 21, 1893, in Detroit, Michigan.

But . . . ??? What an odd little wedding keepsake! Or is it a wedding keepsake at all? Who wrote the date on the bottom? What, if anything, is the significance of the cup? These questions will go unanswered; there's no one left who would know.
Update, 26 November 2014:
I've made the funniest discovery about this little item. I was online kidding a friend about getting a chamberpot while her bathroom is being remodeled, and I decided to look for one on ebay. In so doing, I discovered that this little cup is actually a miniature mochaware chamberpot. It may have been made for use as a salesman's sample. The regular-sized one currently for sale on ebay is pictured below. (My miniature pot appears very yellow in the picture above, but I can only claim bad lighting, because in fact it is much closer to the color of the full-sized chamberpot in the ebay photo.)

And now I am even more curious about the wedding date on the bottom. Might this have been given as a funny wedding gift? I'd like to think so!

For more about mochaware, read Yankee Magazine's Antiques: Mochaware or Mochaware: The Hidden Utility Gem at Colonial Sense.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pedigree Chart: Evelyn Elvina Hauer

.       +--- 4-Theodor Hauer,d.???
     +--+ 3-Joseph H. Hauer,b.Abt Apr 1837,d.6 Jun 1893
  +--+ 2-Felix J. Hauer,b.5 Jan 1867,d.19 May 1897
  |  |          
  |  |     +--- 5-Wilhelm Wolfschlaeger,d.???
  |  |     | 
  |  |  +--+ 4-Johann Peter Wolfschlaeger,b.Abt 1804,d.After 1879
  |  |  |  |    
  |  |  |  +--- 5-Anna Gertrud Merren,d.???
  |  |  | 
  |  +--+ 3-Theresa Wolfschlaeger,b.16 Oct 1843,d.Abt 1914
  |     |       
  |     |  +--- 5-Mathias Wigger,d.???
  |     |  | 
  |     +--+ 4-Maria Elisabeth Wigger,b.Abt 1810,d.???
  |        |    
  |        +--- 5-Catharina Ronnewinkel,d.???
--+ 1-Evelyn Elvina Hauer,b.1 Apr 1894,d.19 Dec 1988
  |           +--- 6-Balthasar Meÿer,d.???
  |           | 
  |        +--+ 5-Joan Herman Meÿer,b.Abt 24 Mar 1750,d.???
  |        |  |    
  |        |  +--- 6-Maria Kochs,d.???
  |        | 
  |     +--+ 4-Johann Hermann Meyer,b.Abt 14 Dec 1788,d.20 May 1855
  |     |  |       
  |     |  |  +--- 6-Carl Franz Anton Friderici,d.???
  |     |  |  | 
  |     |  +--+ 5-Maria Clara Friderici,b.21 Dec 1755,d.???
  |     |     |    
  |     |     +--- 6-Anna Maria Elise Meschede,d.9 Sep 1778
  |     | 
  |  +--+ 3-Joseph Meyer Schulte,b.7 Feb 1843,d.16 Oct 1921
  |  |  |    
  |  |  +--+ 4-Maria Gertrud Hagedorn,b.13 Dec 1820,d.After 20 May 1855
  |  |     |          
  |  |     |     +--- 7-Joan Henricus Hagedorn,d.22 Jan 1779
  |  |     |     | 
  |  |     |  +--+ 6-Gerhardus Henricus Hagedorn,b.20 Oct 1766,d.???
  |  |     |  |  |    
  |  |     |  |  +--- 7-Elisabeth Ontrup,b.Abt 1728,d.18 Dec 1798
  |  |     |  | 
  |  |     +--+ 5-Clara Elisabeth Hagedorn,b.Abt 20 Jul 1798,d.???
  |  |        |       
  |  |        |  +--- 7-Lubbert Brede,d.27 Mar 1775
  |  |        |  | 
  |  |        +--+ 6-Anna Gertrudis Brede,b.3 Mar 1763,d.???
  |  |           |    
  |  |           +--- 7-Gertrud Meier Erdman,d.3 Sep 1784
  |  | 
  +--+ 2-Elizabeth Louise Schulte,b.28 Jun 1872,d.25 Jun 1930
     |  +--- 4-Ferdinand Tobin,b.Bef 1830,d.???
     |  | 
     +--+ 3-Alvina Tobian,b.23 Mar 1848,d.8 Jun 1902
        +--- 4-Johanna,b.Bef 1830,d.???

Visit The Vertical File for a PDF copy of Evelyn Hauer's Pedigree Chart. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Surname: Burdick

The Burdick surname is part of Rosmer P. Kerr's heritage. His sixth great-grandfather was:
  • Robert Burdick, born 1633 in England. He married Ruth Hubbard on 2 November 1655 in Newport, Rhode Island, with whom he had eleven children. He died 25 October 1692 at Newport. Robert and Ruth were my eighth great-grandparents.
  • Deborah Hubbard Burdick, born about 1662 at Westerly, Rhode Island. She married Reverend Joseph Crandall about 1681. They had eight children. She died at Westerly in  1697. Deborah and Joseph were my seventh great-grandparents.
Johnson, Nellie Willard. Burdick. Norwich, New York: 30 September 1937.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Surname: Opp

The Opp surname may or may not be part of the heritage of Rosmer Kerr. His sixth great-grandmother was formerly thought to have been:
  • Mary Opp, who was said to be the wife of Elder John Crandall. Apparently this name is now thought to be incorrect [see Crandall Family Genealogy Forum #1611 by Paul Gifford]. In any case, Elder John and his wife, whatever her name is, are thought to be my eighth great-grandparents.
The Crandall Family Association is hard at work on this problem. I'll wait right here!

John Cortland Crandall, Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants (New Woodstock, New York, 1949)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Surname: Crandall

The Crandall surname is part of Rosmer P. Kerr's heritage. His ninth great-grandfather is thought to be:
  • Nicholas Crundell (1) [see Crandall Family Genealogy Forum #1611 by Paul Gifford].
  • Nicholas Crundell (2), whose wife's name was Elizabeth.
  • James Crandell [see Hey, Elder John... by Earl P. Crandall].
  • Elder John Crandall (1617/18-1676). His wife was said to be Mary Opp, but apparently this name is now thought to be incorrect [see Crandall Family Genealogy Forum #1611 by Paul Gifford]. In any case, Elder John and his wife are thought to be my eighth great-grandparents.
  • Reverend Joseph Crandall (about 1661-1737) married Deborah Hubbard Burdick about 1681. Joseph and Deborah are said to be my seventh great-grandparents. [See The Story of Joseph Crandall].
  • John Crandall (about 1682-1767) and his wife Hannah are thought to be my sixth great-grandparents.
  • Elijah Crandall (1734-    ) married Mary Auchmuty on 28 March 1754 at Westerly, Rhode Island. They are my fifth great-grandparents.
  • Ruth Crandall (1771-1837) married William M. Pettis about 1795. They are my fourth great-grandparents.
The website of The Crandall Family Association is the place to go for the most current research into the Crandall ancestry. My other source of information is the 1949 genealogy by John Cortland Crandall which, based on current research, has errors.

John Cortland Crandall, Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants (New Woodstock, New York, 1949)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Schulte Cousins, 1900 Style

In 1894, Joseph Meyer Schulte and his wife, Alvina Tobian, were blessed with three grandchildren, one born to each of their three oldest children. (Their youngest son Ted was just eight years old at that time.) I estimate this picture to have been taken circa 1901, give or take.

The grandchildren, left to right, were:
  • Mamie, born to Joseph's daughter Ida on 9 May 1894.
  • Elmer, born to Joseph's son Rudolph on 4 August 1894.
  • Evelyn, born to Joseph's daughter Elizabeth on 1 April 1894.
In essence, these three grew up as 'only' children and in some ways took the place of siblings in each other's lives. Evelyn (my grandmother) was great friends with Mamie all her life. And when my mother was born, Evelyn chose Elmer (Cheryl's grandfather) to be Mom's godfather. 

I think Elmer resembles both of the girls to some extent, but the girls don't resemble each other. What do you think?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Surname: Godfrey

The Godfrey surname is part of Rosmer Kerr's heritage. His fifth great-grandmother was:
  • Mary Godfrey, wife of Josiah Cooke III. She was probably born about 1670. Mary and Josiah were my seventh great-grandparents.
I know nothing more about her.

Robert M. Sherman F.A.S.G., editor, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, V. 2 (Plymouth, Massachusetts: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1978), p. 153-217.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Surname: Wills

The Wills surname comes to me via my grandpa Rosmer Kerr. His ninth great-grandmother was:
  • Margaret Wills, wife of George Cosford. Margaret and George were my eleventh great-grandparents.
I haven't done any additional research on this line and I have no documentation.

"The English Ancestry of the Pilgrim Thomas Rogers," The Genealogist, V. 10, p. 138+.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Surname: Cosford

The Cosford surname comes to me via my grandpa Rosmer Kerr. His ninth great-grandfather was:
  • George Cosford, whose wife was Margaret Wills. George and Margaret were my eleventh great-grandparents.
  • Alice Cosford, christened 10 May 1573 at Watford, Northamptonshire, England. She married Thomas Rogers on 24 October 1597 at Watford. Alice and Thomas were my tenth great-grandparents.
To date, I haven't done any additional research on this line and I have no documentation.

"The English Ancestry of the Pilgrim Thomas Rogers," The Genealogist, V. 10, p. 138+.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Surname: Blake

The Blake surname comes to me via my grandpa Rosmer Kerr. His seventh great-grandmother was:
  • Joanna Blake, of England. She is said to have married Robert Sedgwick on 6 January 1636 at Andover, Hampshire, England. Joanna and Robert were my ninth great-grandparents.
At the moment, I'm hoping to hear from someone who's done quite a bit of research on this line. Click here to read Charlotte Dolan's research at the Blake Family GenForum.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Little House in a Wilder Neighborhood

My great-grandmother, Kate E. Pettis, was born on 2 October 1864. Two years and four months later, on 7 February 1867, Laura Ingalls Wilder was born. The Ingalls' Little House in the Big Woods at Pepin, Wisconsin, was about fifty miles up the Mississippi River from Kate's birthplace, Winona, Minnesota.

Of course, I didn't know that when I discovered the Little House books at the school library. I must have been ten or eleven years old at the time. My interest in genealogy and family history was still several years in the future. My interest in Laura, however, was triggered with the first book I read. Thereafter, every time I went to the school library, I turned left just inside the door and made for the far end of the shelves along that wall. The Little House books lived on the second shelf up from the floor. Was there one available that I hadn't read yet? Oh, good!

I think I started buying Little House books for my daughter before she could even read. They're my first answer to the question, "What did you like to read when you were a kid?" Yes, there were a few other answers too, but I never considered buying a whole set of Nancy Drew books for my daughter. You could easily borrow those and happily give them back. The Little House books? Those were keepers.

The Little House on the Prairie was southwest of Independence, Kansas. The Ingalls family lived there in 1870-1871. Forty years later and 140 miles north, my grandpa Rosmer Kerr, then just 17, worked as a hotel clerk in Topeka for awhile. Rosmer, being a city boy, would have enjoyed quite a different experience from that of the rural-dwelling Ingalls family.

Laura lived for awhile at Walnut Grove, Minnesota. My dad's brother raised his family there. (Different centuries, of course. My uncle's first child was born eighty years after Laura.) I have cousins who live there still, less than ten miles south of where the Ingalls family lived On the Banks of Plum Creek.

The Ingalls family stayed at the Masters Hotel in Burr Oak, Iowa, for about a year, helping to run the hotel. My cousin Judy and her family live a bit over a hundred miles southwest, as the crow flies, of the Masters Hotel, which is now preserved as the Laura Ingalls Museum.

Charles Ingalls finally settled his family in the Little Town on the Prairie, De Smet, South Dakota, which was the setting of several more books: By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, These Happy Golden Years and The First Four Years. Members of the Ingalls family were still living there when my grandpa John Krentz and some of his siblings moved to Lisbon, North Dakota, 150 miles north of De Smet.

Laura and her husband, Farmer Boy Almanzo Wilder, eventually left the Ingalls home for a place of their own; they were On the Way Home to Mansfield, Missouri, where Laura lived until her death in 1957. My kids have first cousins who grew up in the Ozarks about 50 miles southeast of there a quarter century later.

On impulse during a road trip in 1998, I altered my route so as to pass through De Smet, where I stopped briefly at the Ingalls' home, now a museum. There was more to see and do than I had time for, so maybe I'll stop by there again someday.

Laura and Almanzo buried their baby son while they still lived in De Smet. Several other members of the family are buried there with him. Their daughter Rose was the only other grandchild of Charles and Caroline Ingalls, and because Rose had no children, the family's lineage ended at her death in 1968. Still, their legacy lives on in the stories Laura shared, and the stories live on because they parallel the stories of so many of our ancestors.

What about you? What bits of your ancestors' history might be illuminated by commonality of place or time with the Ingalls family? Did you read Laura's books when you were a kid? I'm especially curious to know whether boys read them, or were they considered girl-stuff? Are you of the generation that grew up with the TV show? Did that have any effect on whether you read the books?

Will you find yourself in the vicinity of any Ingalls or Wilder homes during your summer vacation? You might want to plan a stop. You'll find links to plenty of background and planning information at Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Sites: A Guide to Little House Country.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Surname Saturday: Holy Roman Emperor, Batman!

I have no idea what to make of this. Charlemagne was my nth great-grandpa? Seriously? Genealogically speaking, it seems almost meaningless to me. And "Charlemagne" ... what is that? A first name? Last name? Nickname? How am I supposed to put that in my database?

Did all those King Henrys have a surname? 

And how about this: William T. Conqueror?

All I wanted to do was find out who Mary Ann Russell's parents were. Somehow I found her at,
a website I'd never heard of before. Have you checked it out? It's a membership website, and you'll want to read the explanation about this global project on their Access page.

I found navigating a little tricky. From the start page, you click on your language of choice. You'll be taken to a page with a short menu in the left sidebar. You'll need to return to this page to access the menu again, as it's not available on the other pages. Using the back-button on your browser can end up being pretty laborious when you start clicking through the links you'll find; I found it easier to keep the menu page open, and wheel-click or right click to open my menu selection in a new tab or window. You'll also see a log-in box in the left sidebar. You needn't be a member, though, to use the search box on the right and click through the lineages.

I entered Mary Ann Russell's name in the search box and found her page. As I clicked and clicked up her branch of the family tree, I began to wonder what the colorful dots meant. Hovering revealed the secret:

A red ball identifies the descendants of William the Conqueror, king of England;
A yellow ball the descendants of Charlemagne, Holy Roman emperor and king of Italy;
A dark-blue ball the descendants of Hugh Capet, king of France;
A green ball the descendants of Ferdinand the Great, king of Castile and Leon;
A pale-blue ball the descendants of D. Alfonso Henriquez, the first king of Portugal.

Click around in Mary Ann Russell's tree long enough and you'll find dots in all five colors. The whole experience was a little overwhelming. Again, the navigation is confusing. Using this link to her branch of the family tree, you arrive on a page that shows Mary Ann with a yellow dot next to her name, dots of all five colors under her name, and a yellow dot beside her father's name. Clicking on her father's name will take you to his page, where he will be at the top with his yellow dot, and below you'll see it's his mother who has the yellow dot beside her name; i.e., it is through her lineage that he is descended from Charlemagne. You can click through the Charlemagne line that way.

But suppose you are on Mary Ann's page and you are wondering about the other colored dots under her name. Do they mean anything? Yes, they do. They mean she is a descendant of all those lineages. How do you follow her lineage back to William the Conqueror, or one of the others? You do so by clicking on one of the tiny flag icons at the lower right corner of the info box. You'll see the dot next to Mary Ann's name change color, along with the dot next to the name of her parent who is descended from that line. Now when you click through the parents' lineage, you'll be following a different line back.

I found that sources are listed (peerages and such) for some lines but not all. More information is available to members, but at this point I'm not ready for a membership. I'd like to know more about, though, and would appreciate comments from any of my readers who have used the site, either as members or as guests.

Now, about those ancestors of mythological proportions. I really don't know what to do with this! There are plenty of generations between me and my grandpa, the Holy Roman emperor, for which I have not yet found sufficient documentary evidence to support my connection, and in truth, I probably never will... although the odds get better as FamilySearch continues to add free online access to more and more of the world's documents.

Nth great-grandpa Charlie and me
(strong family resemblance, no?)

But what about now? I was blindsided. I can't even imagine how to think about this. So I'm making a list of questions that have come to mind, and I invite my readers to share their thoughts on any aspect of this topic in the Comments section, or on your own blog if you prefer, and let me know you've done so via the Comments section here.
  1. Have you found royal ancestors in your own family tree? If so, how did you find them? What were your thoughts at the time? If not, what do you imagine your thoughts would be if you did?
  2. How would you react to such news? Would you search for documentation? Accept the lines as they appear in peerages or other books which, presumably, have been well-researched by historians? Something other way entirely?
  3. How meaningful is (or would be) this kind of connection to world history for you? 
  4. Would you believe it? Question it? Doubt it? Disbelieve it? Disregard it entirely?
  5. Would you be inclined to add the lineage to your working database? If so, why? If not, why not?
  6. If you were adding the lineage to your database, how would you go about entering the names when, instead of surnames, you have stuff like "of Aquitaine" or "The Conqueror" or "III, King of England"? Is there a standard way of entering such descriptions? If you just put William in the Given Name field, with no surname in the Surname field, and the descriptors in the Title fields, The Conqueror is going to show up in your index as plain old William, right next to that guy Bill your third cousin Marlene married awhile back whose last name you don't know.
Yeah, I know. I'm just makin' fun now...

Dealin' with a touch of Sarah Jessica Parker Syndrome...!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Stephen Hopkins: Bermuda Castaway, Jamestown Survivor, and Mayflower Pilgrim

Enter Stephano, singing, with a bottle in his hand:

"I shall no more to sea, to sea;
Here shall I die ashore."

William Shakespeare
The Tempest, Act II, Scene ii

If they made a movie of Caleb Johnson's book, Here Shall I Die Ashore, it would be a big-budget documentary action flick filmed on two continents, the ocean between them, and the island of Bermuda. The cast? Huge. Costumes? Everything from shipwreck tatters to a wardrobe fit for the King of England. Don't forget those fancy Pilgrim outfits and whatever the Indians wore.

And the dialogue? Uh-oh... Early Modern English? You're kidding, right? The action takes place in Shakespeare's time and, sorry to say it but I've never been a big fan of Shakespearean English. Without an interpreter, much of it is Greek to me. Well, alright, not exactly Greek, but I certainly miss the subtleties of contemporary communication.

But don't worry... Shakespeare wrote for an Early Modern English audience, whereas Caleb Johnson wrote for... well, me! He's pulled together tons of research about my ancestor, Stephen Hopkins, and about the events of his lifetime, both historic and picayune, and woven it all into a narrative that's as detailed as it is readable.

Stephen Hopkins, it turns out, had a pretty interesting life--adventurer, family man, businessman--Johnson tells all, including the suggestion that my 10th great-grandfather inspired the character called Stephano in Shakespeare's The Tempest. I hadn't heard this before, so I did a little search and found Dating The Tempest by David Kathman, in which he compares, line by line, what Shakespeare would have read in a first-hand report about the shipwreck of the Sea Venture (with Stephen Hopkins aboard) with what he wrote in his play. Pretty convincing!

In addition to Johnson's text, he's included seven appendices, almost a hundred pages of additional material.

I'm happy to have added this book to my family history library. In the glow of hindsight, though, I think I should have bought it in hardcover. It's a definite keeper!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

What are your favorite genealogy quotations?

Last month at Creative Gene, Jasia's review of Annie's Ghosts caught my attention and I got the book from my library. I was not disappointed. Steve Luxenberg's story about researching a family secret was fascinating enough to overcome my ADD and my (seemingly opposite) tendency to fall asleep while reading.

I was about halfway through the book when my cousin Cheryl, of Two Sides of the Ocean, wrote and asked if I'd read it yet. She'd also picked it up after Jasia's review and had just finished it. She's not the only one, either--the book is enjoying a good deal of attention among other geneabloggers too.

I don't know why I forgot to pull quotes from the book as I read. I usually notice a good observation when I read it, and I write it down either on a tiny scrap of paper which will then float around among the papers on my desk for years to come, or if I'm anywhere near the computer, I type it into Notepad with the appropriate citation details. But I didn't think to do that this time.

I often find myself in need of quotations pertaining to family history and genealogy. Luckily, Nancy pulled some excellent Luxenberg quotes at My Ancestors and Me. I get by with a little help from my friends!

What about you? Do you collect quotations about these subjects? I invite you to share your favorites, either as a Comment or in a post on your own blog. If you choose the latter, please leave a link in the Comments here so I don't miss it.


See also Dead and Gone and Still Private, an article by Steve Luxenberg about the accessibility of old medical records.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Surname: Kochs

The Kochs surname comes to me via my grandma Evelyn Hauer Kerr. Her third great-grandmother was:
  • Maria Kochs of Herzfeld, Westfalen, Germany. She would have been born before or about 1730. She was married to Balthasar Meÿer. They were my fifth great-grandparents.
Maria and Balthasar are named in the christening record of their son Joan Herman, my fourth great-grandfather. I currently know nothing more about them.

Christening record of Joan Herman Meÿer ~ 24 March 1750
son of Balthasar Meÿer and Maria Kochs
(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Surname: Meschede (also Mesches)

The Friderici surname comes to me via my grandma Evelyn Hauer Kerr. Her third great-grandmother was:
  • Anna Maria Elise Meschede of Herzfeld, Westfalen, Germany. She would have been born about 1725. She married Carl Franz Anton Friderici on 29 July 1749 in Herzfeld, where they had five children together. She was his second wife. Carl and Elise (Elisabeth) were my fifth great-grandparents.
Elisabeth's full name appears only in the record of her marriage. In the birth records of her five children, she is called Elisabeth.

Marriage record of Carl Friderici and Elizabeth Mesches ~ 29 July 1749

Christening record of Maria Clara Friderici ~ 21 December 1755
(click to enlarge any christening record)

Christening records of other children born to Carl and Elizabeth show her maiden name as Meschede.

Christening record of Catharina Elisabeth Friderici ~ 20 July 1750

Christening record of Joan Steffen Friderici ~ 21 March 1752

Christening record of Joannes Christophorus Friderici ~ 12 February 1754

Christening record of Joannes Henricus Friderici ~ March 1769

I found no other Mesches or Meschede in the Herzfeld records. However, I did find a town named Meschede located about 30 miles south of Herzfeld. That may or may not be relevant; to date, I haven't looked into it any further.

Katholische Kirche Herzfeld (Herzfeld, Kr. Beckum, Westfalen, Germany). Birth, marriage & death registers. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. FHL microfilm 871723 & 871724. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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.

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