Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Curtis(s) Family

I have been busy this past month working on my lineage application to the Ohio Genealogy Society. I have an ancestor Harvey Andrew Curtis who fits all the requirements for the Settler and Builder Application. I must say I have been having a blast doing the research in locating documents to prove events. On our podcast Genealogy Happy Hour, Amy and I challenged each other to fill out an application after we did an episode on Lineage Societies. Off I went!

While doing the research I noticed that there are different spellings of the last name through the generations. Let's take his son Enos for example. Enos is listed on the death certificate as Enos Curtis with one "s" but the tombstone had Curtiss, two s's.  Who made that decision and why? Now from what I can see all of Enos children spell their name Curtiss. So somewhere it seems they added one.

I also learned how wonderful librarians in Ohio are and most of the county court clerks as well. I have found marriage records that no one has seen before in church registers. And let me just say thank heavens most of my ancestors on this line died in Michigan and Michigan has all the death certificates on If you have ancestors up there in the north country you should check it out. After all this researching and meticulous documenting I am very ready to do another one. The hunt is on!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Two Mysteries Solved

I have been busy working on my lineage society application after my podcast partner Amy Lay challenged me, and I her, to fill one out before our Podcast on lineage societies and pioneer applications. Mine is coming along really well thanks to some fantastic online tools such as Seeking Michigan where I found many death certificates and Family Search where I found the documents to solve my mystery, with a bit of help from a very helpful librarian.

I was sending of requests to the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library in Findlay, Ohio for some obituaries I needed to help prove death dates and relationships. The line I was working on was the Burks who married into the Curtis(s) family.

                                                               Curtiss Family

My biggest brick wall is John J. Burke who married Ellen P. Hill. Still my biggest brick wall, no mystery solved there yet but I have hope. However, John and Ellen had three sons. Elroy who died under age one, Calvin, my 2nd Great Grandfather and William. Now John and Ellen both died young. Ellen in 1871 and John a year later in 1872 leaving two young boys, Calvin and William in the guardianship of the their uncle Edward Chapman Hill. I had found the guardianship papers online at Family Search but no mention of what happened to the boys as they are not with Uncle Edward in the 1880 census.

After requesting an obit from the library for Calvin I received an email from the librarian in the genealogy department telling me the obit was on its way and included a link to Family Search for the guardianship papers. Well I thought I already had that but clicked on it anyway and low and behold it was a different set of paper. This set was dated 1874 but found in the 1865-1869 records where I did not bother to look as the dates didn't match up. This record was Edward Hill signing Calvin over to William P. Shuck as a farm apprentice at the age of 8. We was bound there until 1887, thirteen years. I had previously found Calvin in the 1880 census as a farm laborer in this household but had no idea how or why he ended up there and not with his mothers family per the guardianship papers. So that was on mystery solved but what happened to William?

My next thought was that William being the younger brother was too young to apprentice but not to young for adoption. With a bit more sleuthing through the records I landed upon William Henry Burk's adoption to William and Caroline Ramsay. BINGO! From there I found him in the 1880 census but then he was gone. My next thought was a date my grandmother gave me for William's death. She had written down 1887, the same year Calvin was finished with his apprenticeship (and he got married that year too). But how would she know that if he was adopted so long ago and this was not even her family but her husbands. Why not check? Sure enough I found his grave on Find A Grave stating he died in 1887 at the age of 18. The headstone states he was born in 1870 but all the other papers I have have his birth date of 1869, not sure why that was different. But YAHOO! Nailed it! Found him! DONE with that mystery.
So I am ever hopeful I will eventually find out something about his fathers parents, the elusive Burks.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


I have been busy these last few months recording a podcast with my friend Amy Lay, a professional genealogist, to help out those new family historians just getting started. We have had a blast learning how to do a podcast and actually getting it out there. Episodes 4 and 5, our latest efforts, are the best ones yet. They cover census records and cemetery research. The first ones are full of great information on pedigree charts and research logs then birth, marriage and death records. Not as casual as the last but like good wine we get better with time.

Speaking of wine, we call our podcast the Genealogy Happy Hour  and include a bottle of wine each episode. The last one on cemeteries was a bottle of Cabernet, see how the red wine fits into the cemetery research, and it has a beautiful stone angel on the label that looks like it could be on a headstone. It is Montes Alpha Cabernet. I should also say we are no wine experts by any stretch of the imagination. We just like it and like the labels. We also do not approve of drinking and researching. Drink afterwards because you will probably need it.

Check us out at

Friday, March 27, 2015

Family Reunions

This summer I will be heading out west with my husband for the Schwiebert Family Reunion. This event happens every five years and alternates between Kirchwalsede Germany and somewhere in the US usually some spot in north western Ohio. Not this year. No sir! We are headin' for Pasadena, CA.

Schwieberts from all over the world attend the reunions and it is so interesting to meet new cousins and catch up with old cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. My direct line is through my grandmother Lydia Schwiebert Burke. Her parents, Fred and Emma (Freytag) Schwiebert lived in Deshler, OH.

Both of their parents immigrated to Ohio from Germany and both were born in Ohio. They had 12 children all but one reaching adulthood. I have two children and cannot possibly imagine having 12 are you kidding?

While attending the reunion in 2010 in Kirchwalsede Germany we stayed at the fabulous Green Hunter Hotel or Zum Grünen Jäger which was very close to the lovely church my Schwiebert ancestors built St. Bartholomew. We got a nice coffee mug with a painting of the church on it as a souvenir.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Church Record Sunday - Where do you belong?

Last  week I headed out to Salt Lake City with my partner in genealogy crime and attended the Roots Tech conference. What a great experience. I learned quite a bit at  the tech classes and got to spend two full days at the Family History Library researching my family. Last year we attended the National Genealogy Society conference and I have to say, if you have not attended a genealogy conference of any kind, get out there and sign up for one.

One of the things I was researching in the library was church records. I did not find anything that would actually help my search but just learning about the churches in the area where my ancestors lived was fascinating. After returning home I continued filing my records in my binder and happened upon my grandmothers Certificate of  Membership to the Presbyterian Church of Ameagle in West Virginia.

This document answers questions and creates more, don't they all?. I  learned that my grandmother joined on the 6th of April in the year 1947 but I don't know how active she was at church. I saw that it was only her name on the certificate so I wondered if my grandfather joined also and had his own certificate or if she joined alone, which is what I suspected. I have the name of the church and I have the name of the Pastor but not the location of the church.

Now talking to my mother, and yes I am lucky I have someone who might have the answers I seek, I found that my Grandmother joined alone and became quite active in the church. I also learned that the church was located beside the Dr. office and across the street from the company store which had a soda fountain in the basement. This was a coal mining town and they had company stores for the workers and their families.  I also learned that my grandmother was a member of two women's groups at this church. The Willing Workers and the Missionary Society. One or both of these groups had a Hat Party once a year. Looks like they had a good time at these hat parties!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Genealogy Do Over Week Three

This is the week where we take the information from "the Interview" and start the research. I am very excited to do it right from the beginning this time and get all the citations in my log. My next step is starting over with my My Heritage family tree. There are lots of names in there that are not proven and I just want to start it from scratch and this is my big chance.

How hard is it to delete people in your tree? SUPER HARD! I look at one and think "oh I should keep him I know everything is true" UGH! It is really hard to be disciplined about starting over. I have everyone on a tree in Ancestry so what is my problem in deleting them in My Heritage? I am sure you all understand and sympathize with me, thank you.

I will end this post and head right over to Deleteville and begin ancestor removal. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Do Over or Go Over, make the commitment!

When I first saw this on Dear Myrtle's Google+ post I was all in! I quickly went to Thomas MacEntee's page to read all about it. The Genealogy Do Over

Then I had to sit back and think about it. How much work was this going to be for me (who in all honesty can let things slide). So I read a little further and it really made sense to me. I have quite a few ancestors in my tree that may or may not be related. This exercise might get all this back on track, organized and proved.

Then I saw the option of the Go Over, yes! Easy way out. I had to ask myself if this was going to be my answer once again. Take the less challenging road. No, this is going to the be the year for really getting out of the "easy road" rut and do things fully, all the way, no ifs ands or buts! I am all in for the Genealogy Do Over. And darn if it didn't start yesterday.