Sunday, June 18, 2006

Colonial lecture

A recent lecture about Colonial ancestry was not what I expected. Sure, I knew there would be talk about royal connections, but what nearly put me to sleep was almost two hours dominated by royals and notables -- not how to find connections to those people, but rather a laundry list of names.

It was obvious the speaker knew the material, but are people that desperate to find such a connection? Maybe, but I'm not so sure that was the case the other day. I wasn't the only one fidgeting and few people were taking notes. The same talk probably plays better elsewhere (New England?), I guess.

When a break was finally taken, I headed to the basement to research a few things I can't do at my local library. By doing so, I skipped the rest of the lecture. So, to be fair, maybe the lecture got better after noon. And I do regret not sticking around for a free consultation.


Hey, this Internet thing works

Within the last few weeks two distant cousins -- one from the BENNE family, another from the LANKAU family -- have either found my website or old (and outdated) message board posts. As usual, I don't have proper reports to exchange. Hang in there, I'll get them done eventually.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Rick; Electric Funeral Car

I try not to stray too far down collateral paths, but the case of Jacob RICK seemed interesting. Third great-grandfather August RICK had a half-brother named Jacob (Jakob), born on December 25, 1836, in Siegelsbach, Baden. A church record from St. Louis shows that a Jacob RICK was in the area before 1860 and a passenger list shows that a man of the right age (and traveling with others believed to have been family) immigrated in 1853.

The next step was to find this man in census records. Jacob RICK is listed in 1870, 1880 and 1900 in San Francisco. The first two census records list him as a native of Baden. The 1900 census lists his date of birth as December of 1836. So far, everything matches up. The only things holding me back from definitively stating this was in fact August RICK's half-brother are: I haven't found additional records to show he was in St. Louis, and I haven't found his marriage record. I just don't feel comfortable connecting this man to the family in my database since San Francisco is so far from where other family members lived at the time.

Reviewing an index of California deaths helped provide details about Jacob's wife and children. I then contacted the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library to order free obituaries, two of which I've received so far. Now that a cemetery has been identified, I'm hoping to find out when Jacob died -- likely between 1900 and 1905 -- so that I can request his obit. The obituary of his wife Elizabeth was fairly detailed and if Jacob's is similar, I should be able to finally resolve whether he's family or not.

As for the title of this post, when Jacob and Elizabeth's son George died in 1910, an electric funeral car was used from San Francisco to Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma. Not knowing exactly what that was, but figuring it may have had something to do with streetcars, I went to Google and found that it had been discussed on the San Francisco mailing list several years ago. Interesting.


Holz, Vossiek, etc. in Werther

I wasn't expecting much while looking for assorted Lutheran records from Werther. But I recently found a detailed marriage record for Ferdinand Friedrich HOLZ and Anna Katharina Ilsabein DEPPERMANN which noted who their fathers were, where they lived and when they were born. This may not seem like a big deal, but glancing through the IGI you won't be able to determine when the bride and groom were baptized, despite thousands of Werther records having been indexed.

It looks like the missing baptisms may be the result of an incomplete index. I noticed this when I started to find "new" VOSSIEK baptisms while going through every page. I'm not going to spend time analyzing how many records were not indexed, but it's worth noting that I found the VOSSIEK baptisms in the section for those that lived in the Werther parish (kirchspiel), outside of the city (stadt).

So, within the next few days I'll be back at the library trying to find the HOLZ and DEPPERMANN baptisms. Hopefully, details will lead to the names of their mothers, which would then lead to marriage records. Even without the baptisms, though, the dates of birth listed in the HOLZ-DEPPERMANN marriage record shows that they were older than that was indicated in their passenger list entries.

As far as the other names I'm researching in Werther -- KINDERMANN, SCHIERBAUM and WURSTEBROCK -- I did find a couple of marriage records, but haven't finished looking for deaths/burials.



City directories from Magdeburg have yielded three different addresses for Karl LANKAU in the 1820s. Each record shows that he was a shoemaker (schuhmacher/schuhmachermeister) and lived in the eastern part of the city, near the Elbe River. Unfortunately, it seems that this area was heavily bombed during WWII and there's not much to work with from the FHL catalog pertaining to the Altstadt section of Magdeburg.


Fantasy Coffins

Yahoo/Reuters: Ghanaians say stylish goodbye with fantasy coffins. Stylish coffins (four photos).