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.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

#30DayFHWChallenge-Day 12: Bill Adamson

Obviously, I have not been able to keep up with the daily challenge of writing for this blog.  I hadn't thought about this being a daily challenge!  The last challenge I did was in 2015, but it was a weekly challenge, so I had more time to work on it.  Anyway, I have decided to just chose a prompt from the daily challenges to write about as I can.  Today I am doing Day 12, which is to craft a poem or love letter from one of you ancestors to his or her future spouse.  I have changed that a bit, in that I am not writing the poem, but sharing one that my Uncle Bill (William Harold Adamson) wrote to his wife on their first anniversary! I have included pictures of the front and the back of the little booklet.

My grandmother wrote in her scrapbook:


"Billy was the first to enlist in the Naval Reserves at Peoria on December 8th-1941.
He left on December 18 for the Great Lakes Training Station.
Left for New York Receiving Ship on January 23. 1942. Called me long distance Friday morning to say good-bye."
"Dropped in on us at 1:00 A.M. Sunday January 18, 1942 for a 36 hr. leave. Gray and Mildred, Ella and Dorothy Cation were here for dinner and we took pictures. Left at midnight."

Bill was engaged to Dorothy Cation at the time of his enlistment.  They married on the 21st of May in 1943 in Boston at the Navy Chapel. Dorothy returned to Peoria to stay with her mother while Bill returned to active duty.  On their first anniversary he sent this to her:


Inside the poem was:

"YOU CALL THIS A MOP, 
TO ME IT'S A SWAB.
TO ME IT'S BRIGHTWORK, NOT BRASS, FOR ANY OLD KNOB.

YOU PUT RUGS ON THE FLOOR, I PUT SAME ON THE DECK.
IF IT'S POTATOES YOU EAT,
I EAT SPUDS BY THE PECK.
YOU CALL IT CATSUP, MY NAME IS RED LEAD. 
I WAIT IN A CHOW LINE,
YOU JUST GET FED.

BUT LONGING FOR SOMEONE, AND MISSING HER SO. 
THERE'S ONLY ONE WORD
FOR THIS FEELING I KNOW."
And with that there is "A picture of me without you" and it is blank. Signed "Love, Bill".


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

#30DayFHWChallenge-Day 8: James H. Murphy

Today is Election Day and the writing challenge for today was to imagine the first time your ancestor got to vote.  My great-great-great grandfather James H. Murphy came to the United States in 1849 and was naturalized in 1858, so his first time voting in an United States election was in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln ran against John C. Breckinridge, John Bell and Stephen A. Douglas. 

Lincoln was the only Republican running and, based on the Murphy family's long history of voting Republican, I would imagine that James H. Murphy also did.  The election was on the 6th of November in 1860. James lived in Kickapoo, Peoria County, Illinois then, so it is likely that he would have needed to come into Peoria to vote. This vote was incredibly important as it was the impetus for the outbreak of the Civil War.

As difficult as this vote may have been, I imagine that James was very proud to vote for the first time in his new country.  It is interesting to compare and consider how difficult and important our vote is today one hundred and fifty-six years later.

#30dayFHWChallenge-Day 6: Eddie Murphy

Today's challenge was to share a favorite family photo and write about the feelings that
must have been felt by the ancestor. Although I have many favorite photos, the one that first came to mind was of my grandfather, Edward Francis Murphy, holding his brand new first-born child (who happened to be my mother)!

Knowing my grandfather, I am sure that he was absolutely terrified to be holding a new baby and that he also felt as close to heaven as he ever had before. I would also guess that as soon as the picture was taken, he immediately handed the baby to my grandmother (pictured in the back)!