Wedding Wednesday: Happy 96 Anniversary Victor Zumstein


Victor and Clementina Zumstein Wedding Photo
Don't you love a great love story. That's what Robert Victor Zumstein and Clementina Comfort had. Their stunning wedding photo from the 1920s is a treasure and a snapshot of that love.

They were childhood sweethearts living in rural Ontario, Canada. Victor, as he preferred to be called since Robert was a name passed prolifically down through the Zumstein lines creating great confusion, and Clementina attended a one room school house and lived across the street from each other. Their school house was down the lane and on the same street and their church.

At the time of their wedding, Victor had done many amazing things while Clementina had become a teacher in Lincoln County, Ontario. Victor had graduated from the University of Toronto, served as a German interpreter for the Canadian military during World War I and had earned a Masters in Physics and Math from the State University of Iowa. At the time of their wedding, Victor working towards his doctorate in physics having received a scholarship for his education in Iowa.

At the age of 23, Victor married his childhood sweetheart Clementina Comfort, who at that time was a 25 year-old teacher in the public school in Smithville, Ontario. Her engagement ring was said to have cost $100. (That would be worth about $1,100 today!) They were married under a pear tree at the home of Alonzo Comfort, Clementina's father.

Their marriage record reflected their teaching occupation and provided their religion as Congregationalist (which is believed to reference the Elcho United Brethren Church down the lane from their childhood homes.) Their witnesses were Edward Clark and F Almina Comfort.

Following their wedding, they left by train at Attercliffe Station for the State University of Iowa. They owned only their clothes and the "Old Colony" silverware she had purchased a few pieces at a time while teaching school.


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.

Frequency of Exposure Leads to Discoveries



Every year, or month even, more records become available online. This deluge of records has greatly added my research to ancestors primarily in Franklin County, Ohio and Ontario, Canada. As I encounter a new place, I can quickly access additional records without travel as well. All that aside, there is one principle of genealogy that can not be over looked. Frequency of exposure leads to discovery.

Should I believe the paper tree?



A few years ago, my cousin sent me some information from Germany. He had contacted a researcher in Germany and asked for some information on our Mack relatives and their friends the Puseckers.

He received a wonderful letter in response to his queries. A sweet woman spent about 7 hours looking through the Kirchenbuch for the church and seemed to have pushed our family back a few generations and supplied names for a wife we had not previously known. I was very excited to receive this information.

My first challenge was how do I document this information?

Genealogy Hack: Hunt for Neighbors

GenHack Search for Neighbors


Ever have trouble finding an ancestor in a record collection, such as a census? I have a little genealogy hack that you have to try.

German names are quiet challenging to find English language records. My 3rd great-grandfather Joseph Gei├čler has at least seven name variations in documents from 1856-1863!

My Zumstein  line, who immigrated to Canada, has also been quite challenging. For one, no family member can agree on how the end of the name should be spelled... Zumstine, Zumstien, Zumstein? Add to that the fact that many government document records are written in terrible hand writing and the search for this family name gets even more complicated. So, when you have trouble finding a relative, be they German or otherwise, use the genealogy hack to cast a wider net by looking for a neighbor.

Writing a Compound Reason Statement

Writing Better Reason Statements of FamilySearch


FamilySearch is a great online research service where you can build your family tree and attach records and memories to the leaves on your branches. However, there is one kind of record set that you need to be aware of.

Emily Peak of Dayton Kentucky Death Index
Index to Kentucky Death Record on FamilySearch.org 
An index is a great starting point but it doesn't tell you everything on a record. And, sometimes the information is slightly to completely wrong in the index. So, it pays to see if you can find the original record in another resources.

Was Lackman a name or a statement?

Genealogy Lackman Question


We shouldn't read too much into the names of women who appear 'alone' in census records but I couldn't help but wonder why the records dried up for Marietta Hicks who appeared in the 1930 US Census in Ohio after her marriage to my great uncle Samuel Leroy Brown in 1924. Her last name in that record was Lackman and I was scratching my head.

Previously I posted about discovering a second wife to my great uncle Samuel Leroy Brown (read that post here).  The woman I discovered on that record was Marietta Hicks and I wrote about how I thought she might be Mary Jane that my aunts knew about.
"Samuel L Brown married Marietta Hicks on 18 Nov 1924. My mother, my aunt Shelley, and my 2nd cousin Betty insist that her name was Mary Jane. It's possible that Marietta has a middle name of Jane. It's possible that Marietta, wife of Samuel, preferred the name Mary Jane. I have yet to find a birth certificate for Marietta born on 16 Nov 1902 to Morris Hicks and Agatha Sun, according to the marriage certificate." (To read more see "Journey to the Past: The Mysterious Samuel L Brown"

I eventually sorted out that Mary Jane was Samuel's second wife and the one my relatives remembered.  Marietta was a mystery.

Marietta is the daughter of Morris and Atha Hicks, who was a grocer at the time of Marietta's marriage to Samuel in 1924. Samuel was working in his father Sherman Lewis' Garage. 1929 is the last time that Samuel is listed in a city directory. In the 1930 US Census record, Samuel is working as a fireman for the railroad and boarding at the house of Leslie and Fronia McCue. Leslie also works on the Railroad as a fireman.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Portsmouth, Scioto, Ohio; Roll: 1867; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0030; Image: 680.0; FHL microfilm: 2341601. Family 311, Morris P Hicks, head of household


Meanwhile, Marietta is living with her parents once again. She is working as a saleslady in a bakery. But the things get a little strange. First, She listed as 28, which is accurate, married, possibly accurate, but had been married for 23 years? Um... is that right? Three years would work, but that would be a second marriage. Meaning, Marietta and Samuel's marriage was over by 1927, if not earlier.

Now, I discovered a marriage record for a possible daughter named Mary Lou Lackman that would match the daughter listed in the 1930 US Census. There is a possibility that Mary Lou is still living, so I won't post that record here. That marriage record links Marietta Hicks to a William Lackman. The daughter's marriage record also answeed a question of mine. Perhaps I'm the only one who thinks this way, but I'll go for it. I had trouble finding a marriage record for Marrietta to a Mr. Lackman. So, I thought perhaps she was being bold and making a statement with her last name (Lack - Man). It turns out, there is another marriage record to find!

But, knowing that there is really a last name Lackman associated with Marietta and knowing that she now has a daughter to raise, where did she go next. In the 1940s, I have new clues why I couldn't find Mary before knowing for certain about her daughter.


Year: 1940; Census Place: Red Bank, Monmouth, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2369; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 13-146. Household 20, Mary Hicks and duaghter Mary Lou Lackman, boarders.

I find it fascinating that Mary is listed as a widow. She was living in Newark City, New Jersey in 1935 but her daughter was living in Ohio. Why were they separated? The clue could be that Marietta was working as a nurse in 1940 in Red Bank, New Jersey. Thus, she may have gone to training and once complete and ready for a full-time job, this new living situation was the transition to bring her daughter to live with her once more.

Oh, it's so nice to revisit old research and old posts and dig a little deeper having learned new skills. It's also nice to realize that few people, if any would really give a government worker a 'statement' for a last name. But, I do know a few people living who would. Maybe that's why my mind asked the question. Am I the only one?

Mystery Monday: SOLVED: Who is Bertha Schenck

Bertha Schenck Columbus, Ohio

Mystery Monday Solved (at least I think so)

I have someone in the family album that belonged to Maggie Geiszler (1861-1921, Columbus, Ohio) that I've been blessed to be the guardian of. Many of the photos have been identified, but several have not.

Above is a photo of Bertha Schenk. However, I'm not certain when that photo was taken. It is a very thick, heavy print so that should help me discover the date. However, I do have a photograph that helps me determine a few more details with which to do some research.
Bertha Schenk is Maggie Geiszler bridal party
Bertha as bridal party to my ancestor Magdalena Hoppe in 1882
This picture is part of a wedding party collection associated with the marriage of Henry Joseph Geiszler to Magdalena Hopppe on 3 Jul 1882 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. That explains why Bertha was be in Maggie's photo album, she was her Maid of Honor.

So, Maggie and Bertha are likely about the same age. And, they're living in Ohio in the 1880s. So, I added these items to Ancestry.com as I hoped to discover a City Directory about the 1880s or a census record from that time period for Bertha. Turns out, I did! And what's great about Ancestry.com is that it has a box of "Suggested Records" to follow.

Sure enough, I discovered Bertha Schenk was born on Mar. 6, 1861 and died Mar. 14, 1939. She's the daughter of Jacob and Katarina Schenk, immigrants from Switzerland. In the 1870s, Jacob was a common laborer and Katarina worked at a garden nursery. In the 1880s, Bertha was a domestic servant (same as her friend Maggie).

She married Jacob Kuehner, also from Switerzland, and they have one son. They have four sons... Herman born in 1884, Arthur in 1886, Edgar in 1889 and then Raymond in 1896. I'm inclined to think this photo is either of Herman (the first born) or Raymond the last (as he's much younger than the others).

Mystery Kuehner child of Columbus, Ohio
Which Kuehner son is this darling?

Isn't it amazing that when you solve one mystery you discovery another?

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.
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