Wednesday, April 13, 2016

FINDING Barbara Stumpf’s Zell

I have been able to connect all but one of my German lines back to their ancestral village. My fourth great - grandmother, Barbara Stumpf of “Zell”[1],  married Augustus Weppner, circa 1817, in either “Zell, Bavaria” or Pfeddersheim. They immigrated to Buffalo, New York in 1834[2] following the birth of the last German-born child in Pfeddersheim[3] . When I started to look for their marriage record, this German line became more challenging than my Millers because there are quite a few “Zells” in Germany. I put that research aside until last month.
Barbara Stumpf Weppner Grave Marker. United German & French Cemetery, Cheektowaga, Erie, NY
This morning, I came upon this blog post by Sonja. By the way, if you do German research, Sonja’s blog is a treasure trove. Sonja announced a website that combines the Meyers Orts und Verkehrs Lexikon for searching capabilities in Germany and Poland. I have to say this is an amazing mapping tool! In the old genealogy days, I could only access the Meyers Ort on microfilm at my Family History library. Then I thought it was really cool beans when it could be accessed at Ancestry (in card catalog, search under “Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs” or “Meyers Gazetteer of the German Empire”).
The MEYERSGAZ site is amazing. It toggles historical maps with the modern maps which will keep me happy for many years to come as I finger walk old maps to solve research dilemmas. It also claims to not “worry about diacritics when searching”. The Ecclesiastical listings show the nearest parishes or synagogues with mileage added. Remember that our ancestors hitched a ride in a wagon or walked to religious rituals so this feature would be really helpful in selecting the microfilms one needs to order.
Hope you will enjoy as much as I do, and thanks, Sonja !

[1] Weppner Family Announcement for ARNOLD WEPPNER Memorial (dated Sept. 5 1900) (n.p: Name: Name: Copy of Original; n.d). Private family archive.
[2] New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957. Year: 1834; Arrival: , ; Microfilm serial: M237; Microfilm roll: M237_24; Line: 19; List number: 696
[3] IGI (Vol. 5, Germany). Batch.#C966491 , Source #0949593

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Epidemics in genealogy

Pandemics and epidemics are a reality of research that cannot be avoided when doing genealogy. When I started genealogy at the age of 17, I was photographing cemetery stones when I landed on one marker‘s inscriptions where the father and his children died all in one day. I wrote about it here.
The other day, I was looking for a particular death record in Csötörtök, Pozsony, Hungary. I am in the years between 1865-1867 and see a cholera breakout.
Pgs. 197-198. Catholic Church Record: Csötörtök, Pozsony, Hungary. Now called Štvrtok na Ostrove, Slovákia
CholeraChurch Record Csötörtök, Pozsony, Hungary1866Pgs. 197-198. Catholic Church Record: Csötörtök, Pozsony, Hungary. Now called Štvrtok na Ostrove, Slovákia

The cause of every death recorded on this page was cholera. Sometimes pages like this one goes on throughout a a length of time in months. By the way, this is a really good pandemic history timeline for references to locations of Cholera outbreaks in the Asia and Europe at this link about Eastern Europe plagues.

sources: Wikipedia: Epidemics

GENEANET: Why I use Geneanet.

For the uninitiated, Geneanet has some nice genealogical tools. I have been a free subscriber to Geneanet for over ten years and it never lets me down. I gravitated over to Geneanet because I discovered that many international researchers share their research online there.

My favorite thing is the Geneanet Email Alerts I receive in my emails. Once in awhile, I receive a listing, in an email format, of all my surnames ( with locations ) that were recently uploaded to Geneanet.

Here is a screenshot of the type of email I receive. It’s a pleasant company to sign up on because I never get any other emails (read: promotions) except my Geneanet Email Alerts.
As you can see from my own listings, I localized my preferences quite narrowly to the actual villages. On one of my surname listings, I did not list an ancestral village but I want to see where that surname pops up worldwide.

When you sign up, there are no limits to the quantity of surnames. Not depicted in this image in the Geneanet email alerts are my other surnames and that is simply because nothing has popped up for them yet. Occasionally, I get one of my surnames where the place of origins is unknown, lo and behold, I learn something and discovered a new connection!
I constructed a very small tree up in Geneanet but one does not have to do that at all. One can also upload a gedcom if they please. Geneanet family trees are displayed in the Sosa-Stradonitz Method. The set-up is very easy for English-speaking members.
I really do not know anything else about the company as I only use the Geneanet Email alerts. They apparently have a subscription service for Premium members, a genealogical community, plus more.
If you would like to sign up to only receive the Geneanet Email alerts, you can create a free account at

Once signed in, scroll down to the panel titled Geneanet Email Alert >> click on the title which will bring you to a page like this one.
The locations for your surnames can be selected by Country, Region/State. State/County/Subdivision and Place in a dropdown menu box. You can also set a date range; I don’t set a date range myself so I can cast a bigger net. I also put in a couple variations of the spelling of certain surnames to catch variants in a localized area.

One neat little thing that amuses me every time I sign into my account is the NAME DAY calendar so Happy Name Day to everyone called Celeste, Celestina, Celestine, Celesta.

Monday, April 4, 2016

BRICK WALLS and how I log them.

B  Brick Walls.Genealogist will always have them. We stare at the brick wall. We pry the mortar away from each brick and look through the empty hole we created for more clues. Or we just take a deep breathe and jump over the whole brick wall and land in a fields of clues ( clover ? ).
In my One Name Study, I keep a spreadsheet in Google Docs of unidentified people that I need to fit into families. This is what it looks like.
I title each sheet by types of records accessed. I use the surname spellings as they are indexed or viewed on the records. I also insert a direct link to the source.
This example here is a small collection of people in my One Name Study that have been found in ship records or city directories but not actually placed into a family. Sometimes I know what family I will connect them to but did not have time or I need to do deeper research to prove the “connection ”. When I make a connection, I just delete them from the spreadsheet. It’s very satisfying to chisle away at these brick walls. 

Applications that solve Brick Walls in genealogy

Applications are the meat-and-potatoes of immigration research. There are many kinds of applications where one can gather such facts as places and dates of birth and marriage for the applicant as well as for their family network .
In my One Name Study, I have been working on connecting my One Name Study constituents in the United States to their places of origin in Eastern Europe. One type is the passport application that are in databases on Ancestry and Family Search. For the United States alone, FamilySearch has amassed, at least, 6 collections ( U.S. Passport Collection at Family Search ). At Ancestry, there are numerous sub-sections but the main one is the U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925.
Here is one crown jewel of a find for my One Name Study(2) interest :

This is Joseph Stermensky’s Passport picture with his signature and a seal that was affixed to his Emergency Passport Applications to “Czechoslovakia”(1).  Not all passport applications bear photographs but a remarkable amount of them started to show up around 1915. Many examples can be seen at this collection mentioned in my other blog.

Here is one page of Joseph Stermensky’s actual passport application which, among other details such as a physical description, states where he lived and where he was headed:

(1) - U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925, for Joseph Stermensky.28 June 1920. Emergency Passport Applications, Argentina thru Venezuela, 1906-1925.1919-1920.Volume 001: Czechoslovakia. Ancestry. 
(2) -

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: Meet the A-Z Challenge drop-out !

( updated ) Meet the A-Z Challenge 2016 drop-out ! I have to say that I admire the regulars bloggers that made a routine of blogging everyday. Thank you all for your encouragement and fellowship. You are great A- Z challengers. If I post once a month, I will have met my own blogging goal.

A-Z Challenge

This will be a new cup of tea for me to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge. More about it in this LINK. As I am genealogy researcher, I will be blogging in the genealogy genre but I have not picked a theme yet. Fellow GOON and genealogist, Roz,  gives an excellant example on how this is done. Look out ! Roz has been doing the challenge for five years which I think is incredibly awesome !
Roz posted the A to Z Challenge schedule on her opening post. How nice, we get Sundays off.
I am already two days behind because I could not get my old Microsoft WRITER LIVE to work on my ancient laptop. Dear Carole and Jana pointed me in the right direction to find a substitute which is OPEN LIVE WRITER.
My father was a sportswriter. I have poets, history journalists and wordsmiths running in my family veins. However, I am not a writer at all but I want to share things I find so we will see how this challenge will challenge, albeit frustrate, me.

A2Z-BADGE [2016]

I was looking to see what genealogists are jumping into this challenge so I collected a handful doing the challenge.I may not have them all listed but will add them as I go.
Naturally, we start off with Roz at GenWestUK
Jill Ball is doing her One Name Study with the A-Z challenge.
I was totally blown away by the research of Kristin Cleage  Her theme is writing about the descendants of enslaved people in the USA who were born free.
Stephanie Lincecum's Southern Graves blog
Dianne Nolin from “Beyond the BMD” started a whole new blog called “The Genealogy Challenge” for her A- Z challenge.
Pauline Cass, Your Roots Are Showing Dearie!, Wendy does a charming post on the letter B for baby stuff and there are many creative ones out there. There is also an A-Z Challenge Facebook page for other links.