31 August 2011


Ugh! I don't know what it is but I think I'm stuck. Burn out? Boredom? Brickwalls? Or a combination of all.

In recent months, I've been really excited about the finds I've been making and the paths I've traveled. However, if I have a spare moment to switch on to my ancestors these days. I just find myself staring at the computer not knowing where to go. Since I don't know where I want to go, I just stare for a few minutes and then find something else to do.

I wonder if other genealogists also have these challenges. I also wonder what they do about it. Since I'm a patient genealogist, I think this is a time to be patient with myself.

I'm not giving up on genealogy. Thankfully it's a life long process and hobby. I'm just realizing this month is a month of transition. School has started for the youngsters. My husband is working full-time, completing a bathroom remodel, coaching soccer, and serving at church. I'm a home educator of four and I'm trying to finish a quilt by Christmas. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Add to that worry for my children. The oldest one has two friends moving away. She makes friends easily, so I'm not terribly worried, but she is. And my second just learned his best friend is moving away. That is a huge bombshell. Though we're happy for the family, we're so sad to see their son go. My son has had a harder time making friends. I'm really worried about how he'll weather this storm.

So I suppose this mind of mine is a bit taxed and a brief respite is necessary. However, my mind doesn't really take breaks for too long. So, I suppose the best thing I can do is assess where I want to head. I've found that I've have been using a dartboard approach to genealogy. It's fine in the 'survey' phase but now I need to find some true direction and set some specific research goals. This is where even more patience will come in. I have four lines to research. Which one do I pick? Which person on that line do I focus on? Should I work on more than one person at a time to be more 'efficient' when searching a particular record (say Ohio Tax Rolls for Franklin County)? I don't know and I really need some guidance.

Hopefully this stuck period will result in a time of stepping back from what I have, formulating the big picture, and seeing where to head off next. I have hope.

25 August 2011

Thankful Thursday - Friends Willing to Find a Transcription

In a recent post, I was seeking for help translating a scrap of German. I really couldn't understand the writing enough to know what to insert into the Google translator, per Elizabeth's recommendation. It was a great lead though.

The next step in my query was to see if any of my 100+ friends on Facebook knew German or someone who knew German. Having several friends who served foreign language missions, it was worth a shot. So, I posted the link in my Facebook account and two dear friends Lisa and Chad offered to help. They didn't personally know German but knew people who knew German.

Both forward my query on to their friends. Both friends returned with a reply that the language was on older German dialect that they were unable to read. However, Chad's friend said his father was familiar with the language. Chad sent my query on to him and I received the following message.

Here is the German translation first:

"Zum Andenken von deiner dich gewiss liebenden Freundin Katharina Ellenberger von Kuessingen 22. Juli 1833"

In English it would be something like:

"In memory of your surely always loving friend Kathatrina Ellenberger from Kuessingen 22 July 1833"

Hope this helps your friend.



Well Tobias, it does help. Know I know what this scrap of paper means per the translation. Unfortunately, this is a new name to me. I don't know where this scrap was found. However, Katharina Ellenberger is a devoted friend to someone in one of my family trees.

Even though this nugget has more questions than answers, I'm very grateful for friends willing to help me find the answer to the translation of a scrap German piece of paper. (I also learned how very important it is to document where every scrap comes from, but that's another thing all together).

So today I'm thankful for Lisa and Chad, their friends who know German, and Tobias.

24 August 2011

Wisdom Wednesday - Collateral Lines and Ancestry Searches

I've heard that it's okay to search collateral lines from several sources. I've wanted to focus on my main four branches so as not to get lost in someone's tree. In a database containing 1500+ names, about 200 have been the four main lines of my family (Geiszler, Comfort, Brown, Long).

Well, I decided that in focusing on the main branches that collateral lines are important if I'm not doing someone else's line. If I'm trying to research in-laws and neighbors in an attempt to find an elusive ancestor, then I'm doing something productive. As a patient genealogist, I'm trying to be patient as I learn somethings that veteran genealogists have known probably since their birth. (Okay, just kidding).

Continuing on with my new resolve, I watched a webinar on Ancestry.com in an attempt to figure out their system. I hoped to pick up some skills that would allow me to better search for ancestors.

Okay... putting this all together, let's see how this plays out.

I know very little about my 3g grandpa Joseph Geißler. Here is what I know:

Born abt 1836 in Baden Married: 16 Feb 1856 Caroline Mäck in Franklin County, Ohio
Resided: 1860 in Prairie, Franklin, Ohio
: 5 Jul 1863 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio
This is who I'm trying to learn about. A family member has shared that Joseph settled onto property in Franklin County near two other German families: Mäck and Puesecker. In the 1860 Census record, Caroline said she had arrived in 1854. Her parents and brother Heinrich Louis Mäck were also listed in this Census record.

Here's where I decided to take a tangent. I decided to research Heinrich Mäck to see what I could find. I used Ancestry.com and played with the settings under name fields. I selected Restrict to exact matches and Soundex. That allowed me to find several more records then leaving the setting at default. Didn't really understand that option, until now. Then I also filtered results to include just Collections from the United States. Finally! I stopped receiving thousands of records that didn't match. Man I wish I understand these two simple filters so long ago!

Anyway, I came across lots of information about Heinrich

Birth 30 Aug 1842 - Hannover, Preußen, Germany*
Arrival: 1855 (1900 US Census)

Residence: 1860 Prairie, Franklin, Ohio, United States (1860 US Census)
Married: 15 Dec 1868 to Caroline W Pusecker (1900 gave wife's given name and marriage year, family records gave additional)
Residence: 1870 Norwich, Franklin, Ohio, United States
(1870 US Census)
Residence: 1900 Hilliard Village, Franklin, Ohio (1900 US Census)
Residence: 1910 Norwich, Franklin, Ohio, United States (1910 US Census)
Death: 24 Sep 1910*

* family tree, no official record found of yet

He was hard to find as in 1860 he was Loue Mack, 1870 he was Henry Mack, and 1900 & 1910 he was Louis Mack.

That's fairly normal, but I wanted to know more. So I gave an attempt at looking for the passenger list in 1854 (Caroline) and 1855 (Heinrich).

On the Ancestry.com website, I started with a basic search for Heinrich Mack. I then added information for the arrival date of 1855 and opted for +/- 5 years. I entered the Origin as Hannover and then pressed submit. I received FAR too many hits. I also switched from Summarized by Category to Sort by Relevance on the initial results page. I didn't see anything with an arrival date in 1855. I did see a Heinrich Macke with an arrival date of 23 Oct 1854. I thought that was interesting. But I wasn't certain. There were still a lot of potential options.

So I decided to change the Mack last name settings to Exact with Phonetic matches. This time I narrowed my window of arrival to +/- 1 year. Another Heinrich Mach appeared arriving in 13 Nov 1854. His age didn't seem correct. I wanted to find out who else was on the ship. If other family members were on the ship.
When I attempted to examine the passenger list, I was unable to see the original. The Baltimore Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1820-1872 are currently unavailable online. I had no way of knowing who else was on the ship to see if this was his family.

So I decided to change my search strategy. This time I selected search the Baltimore record only. I entered the last name Macke (default name filter) and no first name. I entered arrival date 1855 +/- 5 years. I receive 165 potential hits.

I saw a Caroline Mach (Heinrich's sister) with the closest age match. There is also a Heinrich Mach, 36, and Christina, 40. I knew these to be the names of Caroline's parents. So I wanted to continue filtering the records until I could see a family that looked like the Mack family I knew about. I narrowed my window down to a range of 1854-1856.

This one looked more promising. I can't find Heinrich at the correct age of 12-13. However, I noticed a Ludwig Mach, which could become Loue in 1860. I can't confirm this family is the one I'm seeking. Family history says that the Mack, Geiszler and Puesecker families traveled from Hanover to the US together and settled on property in Franklin County, together. I'll need to search this ship's records further to determine if the family story is accurate and if these families were on the same ship. If this is my family, there are several other Mach's on the ship that can be included in this 'tangent' family's file. Plus, I'll have one more nugget of information on my 3rd great-grandma Caroline.

The long and short of it, is I searched collateral lines and used some new found Ancestry.com tips to generate a lead which just might help me break a brick wall on Joseph Geißler.

10 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Helen Zumstein Geiszler as a Mother

I recently received this wonderful picture of my father and his mother Helen Zumstein Geiszler. I don't have many memories of Grandma Geiszler. I also don't have many young pictures of my father. This one, taken in 1969 1949, is priceless.

Wordless Wednesday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

07 August 2011

Mystery Monday - Samuel Barton

Evaline Townley Geiszler Family Bible, formerly possessed by Margie Wasson

In reviewing records that my mother passed to me, I looked at this entry in my great-grandmother's Bible. I have no idea where the Bible currently is located. My mother photo copied the entry in 1977 from my father's aunt Margie Wasson. I don't know if the bible still exists. Perhaps it's still with the Wasson family. Sadly, Margie passed away last year on the day I drove into town to see her. The Bible could also have been in the possession of my mother, but she's moved several times recently. In going through her boxes during the most recent move, the Bible has not turned up.

In any case, I have this photo copy and I've identified many of the persons on the page. The one I do not know is Samuel B. Barton, died July 22, 1929 in Columbus, Ohio. I recently read a tip that one should research collateral lines. So, I decided Samuel needed to be researched.

Death Certificate for Samuel Barton, 22 July 1929, File No. 46454, Ohio State Board of Health.
Digital copy obtained through FamilySearch.org

I was happy to find this death certificate through
FamilySearch.org. However, there is not much information about Samuel that I can use to track him down. The reason being, is that the informant is Mrs. Geo. Geiszler of 1151 Medill St, Columbus, Ohio. Apparently, Samuel was working on the roof of the home at 1147 Medill St. He fell from the roof and was crushed. His neighbor, Mrs. Geo. Geiszler (Evaline Townley Peak) handled his case with the department of health.

Evaline is a great-grandmother of mine. Apparently, Evaline knew the birthplace of Samuel and where he worked, but not much else. I thought that was very interesting. I don't know the full names and birth dates of my neighbors enough to be an informant on their death certificates. I wondered why Evaline would know such information.

Then I noticed that Samuel was a retired pattern maker having worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. A light bulb went on. Evaline's husband George Geiszler was a pattern maker for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Samuel and George must have known each other from the work place. I imagine they were good enough friends, and neighbors at this time. I'm imagining that Evaline handled the paperwork for Samuel while George was at work. Otherwise, George himself (a friend and co-worker) would have handled this information. And, if Evaline is the one handling the paper work, then no family members were around to do it for Samuel. Samuel is listed as a widow at the time of his death. So, it's possible that no children were close by or the couple had no children at all. The reason I'm imagining all of these things (friendship, no family close by, and no children) stems from this young man.

George Barton Geiszler (1923-1994)

This is George Barton Geiszler. So far as I know, Barton is not a Geiszler family name. Perhaps it is and I've yet to uncover the family link. However, this son was born in 1923. According to the 1920 US Census, George and Evaline were living on Medill Street and George was working as a pattern maker. After the Census, George Barton was born and given the name of his father and now presumably the last name of my mystery man Samuel B. Barton.

With such a namesake, mention in the family bible, and signature of Evaline on the death certificate, I imagine there was a very strong closeness between George (age 44 in 1929) and Samuel (who died at 76).

I searched the 1920 Census, and I can't seem to find Samuel living on Medill St. I did find a Samuel Barton on Long Street in Columbus. Medill is in the 6th Ward of Columbus and Long Street was in the 1st Ward. I haven't figured out where these wards were in 1920 and how close the two streets were. More research to come. Plus, I probably need to figure out where the office for the Pennsylvania RR was in 1920.

Anyway, I found this census entry:

1920 United State Census, Columbus 1st Ward, Franklin County, Ohio; p. 4A, family 86, dwelling 57, lines 26-277; January 6, 1920.

I know it's hard to see, but Samuel Barton is married to Caroline. He's 66 and was born in Pennsylvania. She's 43 and was born in Illinois. Her parents are German and his parents were also from Pennsylvania. But the identifier is the Samuel is a pattern maker for a Railroad company. I'm not certain how many Samuel Barton's were pattern makers in their 60s in the 1920 Census. I didn't find many entries for Samuel Barton in Columbus in 1920 in the first place so I'd like to suggest that this is my mystery man.

Working backwards, I found a Samuel Barton in the 1910 Census (Year: 1910; Census Place: Columbus Ward 4, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T624_1181; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0078; Image: 346; FHL Number: 1375194.). In this one he's married and has his in-laws living with him. Samuel, 54, and Kataline, 34, have been married for two years. They have no children. Samuel was a pattern maker. His in-laws Julius F and Fredericka Bergener arrived in the US in 1867 and are now living with the Bartons.

Working backwards again, I found Samuel Barton in the 1900 US Census (Year: 1900; Census Place: Columbus Ward 8, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T623_1268; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 76.) This time his wife, of 14 years, is Nannie A. They have a lodger living with him. Nannie and Samuel were both born in Pennsylvania. From this I could guess that his marriages to Kataline and Caroline were done in Ohio. I found his marriage certificate to Caroline in 1907, which lead me to believe that Kataline was a miss interpretation of Caroline in 1910.

All of this is leading me to believe that Samuel had no family in Ohio besides his two wives. Apparently, none of his wives born children to him. So, my guess is that Samuel worked with my great-grandfather George in the pattern shop of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Perhaps George was like a son to Samuel and George felt Samuel was like a second father. The closeness developed such that George wanted to pass Samuel's name on to his son George. Evaline must have also felt the closeness which is why she recorded Samuel's death in her family bible.

I can't say that all of these leads are true. But, if I'm right, then Samuel will never be forgotten in the Geiszler family anymore. Perhaps a Barton family might know him and appreciate the impact Samuel must of had on this family in Ohio.

Mystery Monday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

03 August 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Samuel Leroy Brown and Marietta Hicks

I'm excited that I found the wedding certificate for my grandfather's brother. But now I have more questions than answers.

According the Brown Family Bible kept by Emma Virginia Townsend Brown, Samuel Leroy Brown was born in 20 Jun 1902, in Columbus, Ohio. Emma is Samuel's mother, so it's fairly certain to say that she remembers her son's birthdate. Various interviews done by my mother regarding her father's brother indicated that the name of Samuel's wife was Mary Jane. The couple had a son born in 1945. He could still be living so I'm going to withhold his name. And the last clue that I had was that Samuel moved to Missouri and potentially died in Dec 1948.

Unfortunately, Samuel's nieces (by his brother Lewis Sherman) did not know much about Uncle Samuel. So, I decided to see what I could see.

Using Ancestry.com, I attempted to locate a marriage certificate for Samuel and Mary Jane. I had the hardest time narrowing down my searches to the year, name, and dates of interest. So, I went over to FamilySearch.org. I LOVE being able to filter the records down on this site. I think they have the best record filter there is. It makes sense and is easy to use.

Ohio County Marriage Records, 1790-1950. FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org). Digital images of originals housed at various archives throughout Ohio. Marriage Records. FHL microfilm, 1,525 rolls, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

So, I was able to find a marriage record for Samuel L Brown (no birth date given) to a Marietta Hicks. Well, Mary Jane / Marietta, that seems close. When the marriage certificate mentioned the names of Sherman Lewis Brown as the father of Samuel and Emma Virginia Townsend as the mother, I knew I had my man (and his marriage!).

I suppose before I move onto the next step I really need to learn how to accurately cite the source listed above. Footnote Maven is my next step.

Then the next step is to figure out if I can find his death certificate in Missouri. More on that later.

Wedding Wednesday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.


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