Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Word of the day

Dictionary.com's word of the day is: consanguineous. The definition is: "Of the same blood; related by birth; descended from the same parent or ancestor." Be sure to work that into your next surname report or family history book.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Obits on the radio

In another Post article, this one about the surprising resurgence of cattle rustling in Missouri, it is mentioned that obituaries are read over the air on a rural radio station. Honestly, I'd rather listen to that than NPR any day of the week.


Farmer issues call from the fatherland

An article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tells of a German farmer who is looking for long-lost American cousins, descendants of the TONJES family.

I've run across this surname quite a bit in my research. It's not relevant to me personally, that I know of, but many of my ancestors lived near Bielefeld. More precisely, Kölkebeck is close to the ancestral homes of the HOLZ, KOCH, VOSSIEK and WIEDEY families, as well as the other related families. Melle and Buer, where even more ancestors lived, are just a bit further north. While researching the church records of some of these towns -- Borgholzhausen and Bockhorst, as I recall -- I've seen the TONJES (TOENJES) name more than a few times, so the name seems to have been well represented in the region.

As far as St. Charles goes, I can't remember whether I've come across the name in local records. I vaguely recall seeing the TONJES name, though.

I do have one TOENJES family in my database. They appear to be St. Louis Catholics. I don't have many details because it's like this: A TOENJES woman married a NOFTSINGER man, whose father married a RICK woman -- RICK being my primary interest in this case. In other words, I'm the 3rd cousin, once removed of the children of this TOENJES woman. I'll have to do a little digging to see if there might be a connection to the TONJES brothers mentioned in the article.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Am I the only one slightly creeped out by the sight of fingers on microfilm?


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cave scans

Following up on yesterday's post about scanners, Chris posted a comment and link to a National Geographic photo gallery which shows how a scanner was used on ancient art. Very cool.



Basement.org has published an interesting list that could be used to entice those not using RSS to start subscribing to a few feeds. It's not all about blogs.

Taking RSS Beyond Headlines : Part One.



Apparently the confusion over how this name was spelled -- BUDDENBERG or BUDDEBERG -- wasn't limited to American records; baptisms from the Lutheran church in Rödinghausen go back and forth between the spellings.

I extracted information for eight BUDDENBERG children, four each from two families. The priest's abbreviations for writing town names makes it unclear exactly where Johann Friedrich BUDDENBERG's family lived, but they weren't the focus of my search anyway.

I was looking for the baptisms of Johann Heinrich BUDDENBERG's children and I think I've found the proper town names for "Schwend." and "Donoh." "Schwend." likely refers to the town of Schwenningdorf, a couple of kilometers southeast of Rödinghausen. When Johann Heinrich's fourth child was baptized, their residence was listed as "Donoh." The town of Dono is a couple of kilometers east of Schwenningdorf.

The baptism records did not end the confusion over Johann Heinrich's wife's name. None of the four baptisms list her full name; the most that was revealed was "Cath. Mar." I think it's safe to assume her name was Catharina Maria, or Cathrine Marie as one entry in the IGI cites. As for her surname, the records alternate between SCHALE and SCHOLLE.

There was no indication as to when or where Johann Heinrich BUDDENBERG and Catharina Maria SCHOLLE were married, so for the time being I'm going to assume it was at Rödinghausen and order the microfilm for marriage records at some point for verification. This may turn out to be another four- or five-roll order to track down all of the baptisms, marriages and deaths for this family.

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Film Review: Kinser family group sheets

I didn't find any information that can be used at this time. The few copies I did print out looked very nice, though. If you're looking for documented information, this is not a film you should order.

Title: Kinser, Kinsor, Kintzer, Kinzer, Kincer and allied families, ca.1650-ca.1975
Film number: 1421814
Film quality: 9.5/10

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Film Review: Rödinghausen Lutheran Church Records

There's not much to say about this roll of film. The quality is OK and the format doesn't lend itself to providing many details, so nothing really stands out. I found the records I needed. End of story.

Title: Kirchenbuch, Evangelische Kirche Rödinghausen
Film number: 473707
Film quality: 8.5/10


Monday, January 23, 2006

Scanner versatility

If you don't have a digital camera but do have a scanner you'd like to rip apart, see The Scanner Photography Project.

I wonder...if you made one of these, would libraries that allow digital cameras allow one to bring in this sort of contraption to "photograph" books, maps and microfilm?


Google *finally* added the ability to delete Gmail messages with a button. It's great, but I keep using the old drop-down method! Once that addictive habit is overcome, think of the precious seconds that can be reclaimed each day.

Slight delay

My computer recently decided that I wasn't a worthy enough user and locked me out. Something apparently went wrong with the user profiles and logon process, which is interesting since I'm the only one that uses this PC. It wasn't anything sinister; an error would pop up but the logon screen changed so quickly that I couldn't do anything about it. A different screen would appear and it offered me no options or access to Windows. Eventually, by pounding on keys I finally got the screen change to stop, which allowed me to finally log onto the system. In other words, a small child or pet probably could have solved this problem.

I then started the process of backing up and preparing to reinstall XP. After several oh-so-fun hours on Saturday and Sunday, the system is mostly back to where it should be; XP is fine and I have almost all of the programs and settings I need. While it's a pain to deal with, the results are worth it. The system runs better when it thinks it's new. The killer, though, is the amount of Windows patches and necessary reboots.

I don't think I lost any data, but if I did it's because I forgot it was on the primary hard drive. (I generally save all important files on a second hard drive for this very reason. When it comes time for a reinstall, I don't have to worry about what happens when I format the first drive.)

The point of this is that this weekend I was going to upload some new scans, upload older scans again, and update some of the surname pages to reflect recent findings. Obviously, that didn't work out. Some of the items are interesting. Well, if you are researching the same families you'll learn something.

Friday, January 13, 2006


I had intended to order another roll of Hamburg emigration lists (#470835) in an attempt to find the KRUG family, but I am crossing this film off of my list. After finding that Johann Christoph KRUG was already in America by January of 1853, there's no need for this film. This means that the family likely emigrated from Bremen, or even Le Havre. I fear this is another family that will require a list-by-list search.

There's always the possibility that the family's entry on a Hamburg emigration list (previously researched) slipped through the cracks, like that of Margaretha Catharina KRUG, but I don't know what the odds of that would be.

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Harris and McAtee, new surnames

Two new surname pages have been created: HARRIS and MCATEE. Both families had ties to Charles County, Maryland and the BOSWELL family. After a quick glance around I already see a problem with the MCATEEs: It's unclear if Patrick was Irish or emigrated from Ireland after having been born in Scotland. In fact, the immigration details of his wife and children are a bit murky, too.

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Donner Party

MSNBC: Doubt cast on Donner family cannibalism.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

FHL rental fee

While scanning the latest, never-ending batch of RootsWeb mailing list digests this morning, a subject line from the Baden-Württemberg list caught my eye: "Blame Kodak for LDS Film Rental Price Increase." The first reply, though, sheds more light on the subject.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

They have what in the library?

From Local6.com (WKMG):

"Brown University's library boasts an anatomy book that combines form and function in macabre fashion. Its cover -- tanned and polished to a smooth golden brown, like fine leather -- is made of..."


No need to learn another language?

DL.TV, a streaming or downloadable video tech show, recently highlighted the SpeechGear Interact. As demonstrated in the video, the user speaks into a microphone and after a short delay hears a translation of their speech. It's OK, but the device seems a little on the large side.

After a little digging, it seems like this tool has been around for a couple of years, so perhaps the developer was at CES to show off advances(?).


Meyer: Oops

The possibility has always existed that the passenger manifest believed to list our Gustave MEYER was not the correct document. Even after narrowing down the time frame to between 1872 and 1874 -- based on census records and family history -- there are a handful of passenger lists with boys approximately 16 years old and named Gustave MEYER on their way from Germany to America. (Searching for the name alone in that era yields even more matches.) The October 1, 1873 passenger list of the S.S. Holsatia, for reasons I now can't remember (red flag!), seemed like the best fit years ago.

Ordering the microfilm of Hamburg emigration lists to verify Gustave MEYER's supposed passenger list was not a priority, but it should have been. After recently seeing that the boy by this name on the S.S. Holsatia was from Magdeburg (Sachsen-Anhalt), I realized our Gustave, born in Evinghausen (Hannover), would have to go back on the immigration "to do" list. He's not alone. I've yet to find Gustave's brother Louis on a passenger list in the 1880s.

Obviously, individuals who traveled alone are sometimes harder to identify on passenger lists, especially when their surname is anything but unique. I knew that, but I suppose I was hoping to have initially found the right list.

It looks like the best bet for figuring out which ships the MEYER brothers came to America on is to order the alphabetical indexes for the Hamburg emigration lists. Even doing that will be somewhat of a crapshoot, though, since it's not certain that Hamburg was in fact the port of departure. There is a good chance that Gustave and Louis left from Bremen. In fact, a quick check of Germans to America and Ancestry's database shows more possible matches on ships from Bremen than Hamburg.

The lesson here is that if your ancestors left from Hamburg, by all means order the microfilm of the Hamburg emigration list to verify the arrival passenger list. This may not be necessary if the family name was rare or the traveling party was large and identifiable, but for a few bucks it's worth the confirmation.

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Sony Reader: Size of paperback, stores dozens of books

The Sydney Morning Herald has published an article (more) about the Sony Reader, which should hit the market in a few months. Not that I have a pressing need for such a device, it just looks cool and I'm interested to see if the screen is really that impressive.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Boswell: Friends of accused witch

An abstract from Charles County, Maryland, Land Records, 1790-1796:

"The complaint of Elizabeth Stewart, widow of James Stewart, and daughter to John Brooke, of CC, decd. Elizabeth Stewart complains that some evil minded person or persons have set forth that she, sd Elizabeth, is a witch, and that some years ago, she bewitched a man and caused his land to be barren, and that she could make all the land barren that she walked on, if she thought proper so to do. She is much distressed by those reports, thinking that it may be prejudicial to her children's character after her death. She now lives in VA, from whence those wicked reports have taken their rise. She, being willing to leave her character on record at her death, she applied to us to say all we know about how she led her life from her youth to his day, Dec 1, 1792."

Ten individuals, including Matthew BOSWELL and other family members, testified to knowing Elizabeth STEWART for about forty years and claimed they "never heard that she was accused of being a witch, nor accused of any misbehavior, during the time she lived in Maryland."

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Old photos and misc. info about locals

While browsing through the stacks last week I came across the book St. Charles County's Participation in the World War, which is a very good companion resource to World War I draft registration cards. The book contains numerous individual and group photos of county servicemen and residents, as well as limited information -- date of birth, names of parents, when enlisted and discharged, rank and unit -- about many of the young men.

The book was reprinted in 1993 by the Frenchtown Museum Corporation.

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Emigration from Lippe to the USA

Anyone researching families from Lippe should definitely check out Emigration from Lippe to the USA, especially if you cannot get your hands on a copy of Fritz Verdenhalven's Die Auswanderer aus dem Fürstentum Lippe (bis 1877). The book, and now this site, would have saved me some time on the POHL family.


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Friday, January 06, 2006

Ebert: Clue in Catholic records

I'm sure that Ferdinand EBERT died in the 1850s. He's not listed in St. Louis City directories after 1854; his wife, Agatha, was listed as a widow in the same records beginning in 1859; and there's a somewhat unclear entry in the City's death register from June 1856. It'd be nice to find a church burial record or any cemetery info, but I'm fairly confident to have exhausted those avenues.

Then there's the Catholic marriage record of Ferdinand's son:

Josephus Ebert filius +7 Ferdinand Ebert et Agathae Albrand.

When researching church records written by Germans it's common to find the + symbol to indicate that an individual had died (gestorben). You'll typically see such a notation in marriage records when a widow/widower remarried (referencing their previous spouse) or a parent died before their child married. So, I believe the record translates to "Joseph Ebert, son of Ferdinand Ebert, deceased for seven years, and Agatha Albrand."

This transcription from an 1862 church marriage record is nothing out of the ordinary, except for the number seven, which is written in superscript, that is, to the right and slightly above the cross. This notation may be normal elsewhere, but a couple of St. Louis County librarians -- one very familiar with local Catholic records -- and someone at the St. Louis Archdiocesan Archives had not seen a record like this before.

This notation is very important to the research of Ferdinand EBERT. That the math is a little off (1862-7=1855) doesn't really concern me. What's important is that this bolsters the City death register, in which the name was indexed as EBUT -- understandable when seen on microfilm.

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MO SOS & Archives

The Missouri Secretary of State and State Archives has announced a new look for their site. This is, as I recall, the second revision since Robin Carnahan took office last January. Let's hope there's another announcement (death certificate index!) forthcoming.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Resolution #3

This year I'd really like to get past some brick walls. While I'm stuck on several lines because of the inability to easily (and cheaply) access records overseas, I hope that there's something that would help with the following families:

It's very frustrating that this entire branch of the family is so mysterious. I can live with not being able to order their church records; I'd settle just for knowing where those churches and home towns were. For the EBERTs, I'd settle for less than a town name. Finding an accurate clue that names a specific region would be progress.

There are a couple of loose ends in Missouri and Virginia that don't need much to connect, yet I'm not sure the records exist to do so.

Any progress on John HEATON would be a major step forward. I'll need to finally get familiar with Presbyterian records and archives, wherever those might be.

A family of seven came to America in 1854. Two of the children lived in the St. Louis area. What happened to the parents and other siblings? There's a hint that they, too, settled in St. Louis, at least temporarily. Where are the records?

Similar to the HOLZ family, I need to find the two HUHN men (brothers?) who immigrated with Helena (HUHN) POHL. Without them, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to find where in Kurhessen the family was from. I have, I think, so far been lucky enough not to need to research a surname within a city, compile every record and look for a connection, but I think that's what it's going to take here.

I don't know how much I can really do with this family, but that one of the men was said to be a preacher intrigues me.

The immigration records of this family need some work. It looks like two of the siblings came to America after their brother(s) and father. I don't know for sure, though, because I can't find the second (or third or fourth) passenger list. Did the mother immigrate as well? In addition to those missing records, it sure seems like the time line indicates Conrad REINMILLER was in America before 1860, but where is he in the census? What happened to brother Henry?

I'm not picky or looking to miraculously solve all of these issues. I'd settle for one big success, like on either the EBERT branch or HEATON family.

Also, I need to *finally* finish one of my indexing projects.

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St. Louis burial/death records

The Special Collections Department of the St. Louis County Library has put online a useful guide to St. Louis City Burial Certificates.

The earliest records in this microfilm set (1882) have "Burial Certificate St. Louis" printed across the the (sic) top of each document. The certificate recorded a death and gave permission for internment (sic) of the deceased body in a cemetery in the City of St. Louis. Because a deceased body could not be buried in St. Louis without this document, it was often referred to as a "Burial Permit."

With the passage of time, the heading at the top of the pre-printed form changed to "City of St. Louis, Health Department Certificate of Death." The arrangement of the information changed through the years, and the later records in the set gathered more information about the deceased.

In fact, the records evolved so much that toward the end of the record set the forms pretty much resembled State of Missouri death certificates. So if anyone ever says that you can't get death records in St. Louis City before 1910, when the State started to keep track, remember that the "burial" permits go back to 1882 (and the city death register to 1850).


Monday, January 02, 2006

Resolution #2

This is out of my control, but I'd like to order more rolls of FHL microfilm this year. I was able to get 21 in 2005, so here's hoping for less delays caused by backorders in 2006.


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Resolution #1

This will be a bit tricky. You cannot make progress on some families without collateral research. But I need to continue cutting back on descendant research. While I am still interested in (someday) compiling all-inclusive genealogies, I need to focus more on specific ancestors and their siblings in order to, hopefully, make progress. This is how I got started, but along the way I've found myself easily sidetracked.

I will still extract all relevant family information from church records or certain other resources, and it will be too tempting to ignore information while at some libraries, archives, etc. -- time permitting -- but I need to put things like 20th century census records and directories on the back burner. (As The Genealogue cruelly pointed out, there are still well over 2200 days left until the 1940 census is released. I should probably put all census records on hold until 2012 and then just declare that the year of census research.)

On the other hand, I really, really need to track down descendants of some ancestors, the hope being that they will know the name of the German town I've been looking for. Frankly, I have had very little success in this area. I often do not get a reply and in other cases people don't care about genealogy/history. I usually have better luck making contacts when people find the website or old mailing list and message board posts. And with that in mind, I'm also going to start posting more. It's essentially free advertising -- might as well take advantage of it.