Sunday, April 2, 2017

Review of March Genealogical Pursuits

Well, it's been an interesting month for my genealogy pursuits.

I have kept up with the Ancestry.com hints for the past month, which have led me to some further research on family.  One hint was about the Bergan family.  As I researched, I learned that Paul Misner (his mother was a Bergan) had become a priest, then a bishop.  Apparently he had become lost in our family stories as his first cousin had become a quite well-known bishop, then archbishop (Gerald Thomas Bergan). Anyway, it ended up being quite an interesting story that I never knew. So that story was told on my blog.

I have also kept up with the 52 Questions that I committed myself to doing at the first of the year. March's theme was Goals and Achievements.

But the best thing of all for the month of March was being found and then contacted by a long-lost cousin who found me on Ancestry.com.  We have not had contact with her or her siblings for about 35 years! It has been such a blessing to share information and pictures.  We are hoping for a reunion in person soon!

And I have been helping my son-in-law with some of his genealogy, which has been interesting.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bishop Paul Bergan Misner 1891-1938

While going through some of the hints on Ancestry.com, I came upon some for the Misner family.  Katie Bergan, daughter of Nicholas Bergan, had married Frank Misner in 1888.  One of their children was Paul B. Misner, born in 1891 in Peoria, Illinois.  As I looked at hints for Paul, I began to wonder if he had married.  It appeared that he had traveled a great deal, so I decided to look into him more.

I found Paul Misner in the 1930 Census living in Los Angeles.  He was listed as a priest teaching at a college there.  Well, that answered my question about a wife or children.  I looked more and found that he had attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Perryville, Missouri In 1917.  As I continued searching, I learned that he had studied in Rome, Italy from November 1920 until June 1922.  He arrived in Shanghai, China for missionary work in February of 1923.

The Rev. Paul Bergan Misner of the Vincentian Fathers was appointed bishop of the province of Kiangsi, China in 1934.  He had served in China since 1923.

Bishop Misner died at the age of 47 on the 1st of November in 1938 in a small village Chin-Kao-i near Yushan, Kiangsi, China. The cause of death was listed as “Probably apoplexy”.  He was buried within the mission compound at Yushan.

The reason why I found this story so fascinating is that Paul Misner was a first cousin to Gerald Thomas Bergan.  Gerald was born in Peoria in 1892.  He and Paul attended and graduated from Spalding Institute in Peoria.  Gerald was ordained in Rome in 1915, and became a bishop in 1934 in Des Moines, Iowa, the same year that his cousin Paul became a bishop in China!

Bishop Gerald Bergan was one of my great-grandfather’s best friends, so I grew up hearing about him frequently.  I never heard of his first cousin, Bishop Paul Misner.  My family has a very, very distant relationship (going way back in Ireland)  to Nicholas Bergan, grandfather to both Gerald and Paul.

Genealogy in February

I don't feel like I have done well with my research this past month.  We were away from home for 2 1/2 weeks, and the pool and beach and company and just enjoying the warm weather drew me away!

I did get more research done for friends before we left on our trip.  There is more to be done, so I hope to get to that soon.

I also kept up with the Ancestry.com Hints, which can be a bit of a chore.
However, I usually find something of interest and this month was no exception.  I   often find that I miss the days of when I was just beginning this journey and each new find was SO exciting!  And I still miss not having anyone to share my finds with that would also be excited with me!

And, finally, I have kept up with the 52 Question Challenge.  The February topic was "Love and Friendship".  One of the questions was "Do you know the story of how your grandparents met and fell in love?". I was sad to realize that I don't know the story of my maternal grandparents.  But I do know that my paternal grandparents met and fell in love with each other at Westfield College in about 1905.  They graduated and then married.  I always think it so impressive that they both went to and completed college way back then!

So now March has arrived and I hope to step up my game with my research! Unless the beach should call again!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January review of my genealogical work this month

It's been a busy month here genealogically-speaking!

This month I have been working on purging my paper files, which I have been using/keeping since I began my genealogy in about 1994.  I have periodically purged them, but when I was unable to close the file cabinet, I knew it was time to go at it again.   I finished up the work today and am proud to say that the file cabinet door is closing easily once again! It's an important thing to do for a couple or reasons: 1) in almost all cases, it is no longer necessary to have paper copies of census readings, or multiple copies of obituaries, etc., as long as they have been incorporated into your database, and 2) each time I go through paperwork, I find some new clues or things to check out.  It's a good feeling to have it completed! I also have gone through the few records that were not in my database and have updated the database with those records. I have two letters to be written for additional information found in the records.

This past month I did some research for two other people.  I always find that very rewarding...I love helping others learn about their history! And, hopefully, they find it helpful and interesting.

I have done some more research on the Kennison/Kinnison family and have put my notes in Evernote.  I find Evernote a great place for my working notes.  Now if I could just find the connections I am looking for!

And I have done well keeping up with the Ancestry.com hints for my tree this month.  Today, the end of the month, I was going through what hints were there and while looking at the husband (John Reece) of my great-great grandfather's sister, Nancy Ferrel, I found that she had two sons born to her before she died in 1851. She and John had married in 1845, and I have not found the family in the 1850 census.  But while looking at the 1860 census for John and his new wife Elizabeth, I realized that there were two sons there who were born before Nancy died.  This was exciting for me, and, hopefully, I will be able to find out more about the sons!

I am also doing the FamilySearch #52 Stories Project where a question a week is asked and you write about it.  I'm using a journal and I have gotten through the first five weeks, so that's a start. The questions for January were about Goals and Achievements.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

52 Question Project from FamilySearch

I came across a project for this year that I thought I would share if others had not seen it.  It is the FamilySearch 52 Questions Project to assist in writing your story for others.

The Project is broken down into one question for each week of each month.  They are seemingly simple questions to answer, but I am pondering the individual question through-out the week before I answer it.  I am already stumped on a specific question for next week: how did my grandparents meet?  Ugh...I don't know!  I do know that they eloped, but meet?  I have one chance in finding out, but it's probably not going to pan out.  My mother's closest cousin who spent a great deal of time living with my grandparents may know.  She's 85 years old, so she's my only hope!

Each month is broken down into a specific topic.  January was Goals and Achievements.

So if you are interested, here's the link for the information:

https://familysearch.org/blog/en/52stories-weekly-questions/

Monday, January 23, 2017

2017-what will it bring with my genealogy?

Looking over my genealogy goals for 2016, I did somewhat well. I did some challenges, but did not reach either of the specific goals that I set.  I am no closer to finding the father of William Adamson (b. 1790) than I was a year ago. And I have not located any pictures of my great-great grandfather, William H. Murphy.  I had added another goal of finding out more about my husband's grandfather and who he knew when he came to the US at the age of 16.  I did find some possibilities there, but nothing proven.  I guess the best part of the year genealogy-wise was that I did some rather extensive research for another person that turned out to be quite revealing for them.

So what will 2017 bring?  I am always excited to learn what new records might open up, or what person will contact me out of the blue with some information! specific goals?  A new challenge is beginning on Pinterest that I am planning to do in February.  Otherwise, I can't think of any specific research goals, other than to continue searching! Perhaps do more to help others with their genealogy quests. And do more blogging!

One of my goals for 2016

One of my goals for 2016 was to try to find connections to Henry Fritz here in the United States.  Heinrich “Henry” Fritz came to the US in 1913 from Alsace-Lorraine.  The family story is that he came here by himself, knowing no one.  Henry was born in 1896, so he was sixteen years old when he arrived.  His papers indicate that he was coming to Peoria, Illinois to his friend Albert Schretz.

The next time I can find Henry is in 1917.  Both his Draft Registration and his Declaration of Intention (to become a citizen) are from 1917 and he reported that he lived in Alta, Illinois and his employer was “Chas Gratz”.

I have searched for any “Fritz” in the area during the time that Henry arrived and have not been successful.    I have located a Grau family (Henry’s mother was Karoline Grau).  It seems likely that there must have been some reason that Henry traveled to Illinois upon his arrival to the US.  It is probable that he had some family here.  I have not located any Fritz family, so I started looking for his mother's family, the Grau family, in Illinois. Karoline’s parents were Conrad Grau (born in 1804) and Katherine Ruch (born in 1821).

I found a record for a Konrad Grau, born in Germany, who was naturalized in Lacon, Marshall County, Illinois on the 8th of January in 1883. It doesn't seem likely that this would be the Conrad Grau that was born in 1804, as he would be about 80 years old at the time, but it is a possibility. If his wife had died and he had sons here, he may have come to the US.

I also found a burial record for a Conrad Grau born on the 12th of June in 1845 and died on the 20th of August in 1866 and is buried in the Martin Cemetery in Marshall County, Illinois.

Konrad Grau (Conrad Graw) served in the 64th IL Regiment during the Civil War.

35 miles away in Long Point, Livingston County, Illinois I found the family of a Henry Grau, born about 1848. I suspect that Henry and Conrad (b. 1845) were brothers, and possibly brothers to Karoline Grau Fritz (born 1860).  They would have had a different mother than Karoline as her parents, Conrad and Catherine, didn't marry until 1852.  But Conrad was 17 years older than Catherine, so it could be that he had been married before.)

I have found no records to indicate that Henry had any connection with the Grau family.  My next clue and search was based on his Passenger Records.  From that I learned the following:i

from Passenger Records at Ellis Island-arrived Feb. 3, 1913 on ship Rochambeau:
name: Fritz Heinrich
age: 16
occupation: laborer
nationality: German
Race: German
last permanent address: Bischweiber, Germany

nearest relative: mother-Karolina in Bischweiber, Germany
final destination: Peoria, IL
person going to: friend-Albert Schretz at Edelstein by Peoria, IL
place of birth: Bischweiber, Germany
hair: chestnut
height: 5'8"

So who is Albert Schretz? I found that he was Peter Albert Schertz, born in 1887 in Nebraska.  He was the son of Peter W. Schertz, born in Illinois. Peter W.’s parents were John Schertz, born in Alsace, and Magdalena Engel, also born in Alsace. So there’s the possible Alsace connection. Now John and Magdalena had been in the US since at least 1848 (when son John Schertz was born).  So Henry could not have known “Albert Schretz” as a friend! Perhaps his grandparents were friends or relatives to Henry’s grandparents?

What I learned is that John Schertz and his wife Magdalena had three sons:  John,  Peter W. and Joseph F.

Peter W. Schertz had the following children (mother unknown at this time):
Clara, Roy, Gertie, Albert, Carl, and Earl.

All this is to say that I really didn’t meet my goal of learning who Henry Fritz knew when he came to the United States.  I still only have some clues.