Saturday, October 31, 2009

October Genelogy To Do List Excuses

Today is the last day of October and it is time to review my genealogy to-do list for October. This was not the best month to start this to-do list accountability idea, but I will get to that later.

Here was my list for October (in red):
  • Deal with the bookmarks. Get through all the MATTHEWS family bookmarks and try to tackle the rest. I almost got through the MATTHEWS family, but I got stuck with the next generation of RUSSELLs. Not convinced that Moses Russell is really Mary RUSSELL's father yet so I can't add in what I have found.
  • Start to go through the "to-file" folder. Deal with any items for the already reanalyzed SUCKLING and EISWERTH lines. Didn't do this at all.
  • Complete new University of Toronto - National Institute for Genealogical Studies course: US: Probate Records. Finished!
  • Order death certificates from England for John ELVEY and his wife Ann. Finished and entered into database!
  • Work in Vevay Newspaper Index. Complete a year a week (4 years: 1878-1881). Finished 2 years.
  • Attend Military Symposium at Allen County Public Library on October 9&10. Done and really enjoyed the info.
  • Attend International Black Genealogy Pre-Conference at ACPL on October 29. Done and hope they do this again. Tony Burroughs is an awesome speaker!
  • Attend Scrapbooking (for genealogy) at ACPL on October 17. Done and got some ideas of projects to share my genealogy with my family. One idea was to use a scrapbook album and up a family group sheet on one side and photos/memorabilia of the family on the other.
I also created some longer term to-do lists.

By the end of November I need to:
  • Finish compiling coffee table book for my grandfather's WWII photos so that family can order them for Christmas. Finished putting the book together using MyCanvas. I chose MyCanvas because of the price being low and having a coupon code. Now I just need to get orders from the family by November 15. I have also started adding the photos of other soldiers in my grandfather's collection to my blog on Wordless Wednesdays.
By the end of the year I want to:
  • Finish sourcing ECK line. Working on it.
  • Get through all bookmarks. Need to stop making more.
  • Get through to-file folder. See above.
So as I said, this was not a good month for my to do list. But I have good excuses.
  1. As soon as I created my to do list for October, my aunt sent me an email that I had a package coming. It included gravestone photos, which I have added to my database and uploaded to Find A Grave. It also included a binder of my grandmother's research, which I haven't even begun to tackle. I now have photos for Tombstone Tuesday.
  2. Then I received an email from a STULL cousin (who saw my blog post about the family). He sent me lots of new information, including bible records, grave photos, obituaries, and more. I transcribed the bible records, but I haven't begun to enter the data yet.
  3. Lastly, I got another package from my aunt. This included a binder of research on the DINCHER family, including my EISWERTH family. I spent the day yesterday adding all this new information and scanning the photos from the book. So this binder is on my shelf and done for now. I have also put my dad on a mission to find the original photos and get me scans (which should be interesting in my technology lacking extended family).
  4. After getting all this information about my own family, I finally convinced my husband that he should start his genealogy too. He has been interested in finding some stories about his family after hearing all about mine and making fun of my relatives. He talked to his dad and got information on his paternal great-grandparents. So I spent a few days researching his family, with the help of the online Ohio death certificates, until I realized that I shouldn't be doing his family when I needed to work on my own. So I made a resolution to only work on his family when he wants to work on it. (We'll see how long that lasts since I love the search.)
I think that getting all this new information and starting my husband on a genealogy journey are good reasons for not finishing what I set out to accomplish. Work has been very busy. Lots of teachers are out sick or out taking care of their kids with the flu. I'm sure that November will be busy too. Tomorrow I will post my November To Do list.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday:

Another post in my series of photos from my grandfather's collection of WWII photos from Shemya island, Alaska.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Charles Burgess WWII

Another post in my series of photos from my grandfather's collection of WWII photos from Shemya island, Alaska.

Back reads: Charles Burgess, Springfield, Mo.

If anyone knows more about Charles Burgess from Springfield, Missouri, please contact me. I would love to add his story to this photo. Leave a comment or send an email to

Burgess, Charles Photograph. ca. 1940s. Digital image. Privately held by Tina Lyons, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 2009.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Where is Wyoming Street Cemetery?

My dad's side of the family hails from Williamsport, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania. One of the great things about researching there is that there are lots of online newspapers. I have found tons of information about my ancestors in these papers.

I keep finding obituaries that mention burials at Wyoming Cemetery or Wyoming Street Cemetery. But I was never able to figure out where this cemetery was located. (Obviously Wyoming Street right?) I checked the Lycoming county genweb and genealogy society websites. I found a great map to all the cemeteries in Lycoming county, but no Wyoming Cemetery listed.

One of these obituaries was for John E EISWERTH (1875-1937):
Well look at that. There is his tombstone. This was one of the photos in the set my aunt sent me in my surprise package.

So where was this photo taken? Saint Boniface Cemetery in Williamsport, located at the corner of Penn Street and Wyoming Street.

My dad asked my grandfather, who used to dig graves at St. Boniface, about this cemetery as well. My grandfather believes that Saint Boniface bought up the older cemetery at Wyoming Street. There is an old section of Saint Boniface Cemetery with many unreadable stones. I figure this is where my favorite ancestor, Valentine BLITZ is buried.

This also means that mentions of Washington Steet Cemetery corresponds to the Williamsport Cemetery on Washington Boulevard.

I hope that this reminds others to check for name changes of cemeteries in obituaries and to look at maps of the area to locate where cemeteries are currently located and what they are named.

John E Eiswerth marker, Saint Boniface Cemetery, Williamsport (Lycoming), Pennsylvania; photo taken by DKE, 2009.

Copyright Tina Lyons, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

DAR Lineage Questions - Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about my troubles understanding how you can get into the DAR when an ancestor's pension was denied. Thanks to Sheri for reminding me that there are other ways to prove service besides a pension file. I think that the fact that I have trouble believing John Shepherd's story is the problem with me understanding this case.

But I still haven't figured out the case of Moses Russell.

Here is the problem: I think that there are two Moses Russell and people are using the wrong one to prove their lineage.

I used Ancestry's Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book database to search. Unfortunately the keyword search would not search anything but the DAR member's name. So I also did a Google book search and found snippet views that allowed me to go back to the Ancestry database. (Confused yet?)

I found a member who used another member's proof of Moses Russell being in the Revolutionary War. The problem is that they are two different Moses Russell.

The first one that was proven was found on a pension list in 1832 for McMinn county, Tennessee.

The other one used this pension list, but left off the date. Which is a problem when the second Moses Russell died in 1825 (7 years before he was on the pension list). This is my Moses Russell. As far as I can tell he never lived in Tennessee. He was born in Virginia and moved to Ohio (Gallia and Meigs county).

Looking on Footnote, I found two pension files for Moses Russells. The first one is a Moses Russell living in Tennessee (S1874) and the other is for Esther Russell, Moses Russell's widow (W5754) in Meigs county, Ohio.

Does finding a name that matches your ancestor count as proof? I wonder if everyone has made this same error when trying to join with Moses Russell as their ancestor. I hope not.

One reason that I am wondering about all the DAR records, besides wanting to join at some point, is that I found a reference to a DAR file in a book of Gallia county Revolutionary War veterans that lists Mary Russell, who married Phineas Matthews, as the daughter Moses Russell (from Ohio). But I could not find this record on Ancestry due to the search not working properly. Plus the number given as a reference is application #465240 which is way outside of the listings on Ancestry.

The pension file for Esther includes a bible listing (really just a list) of the names of her children with Moses Russell and their birth dates (Moses, Nancy, Charles, and Thomas). She lists her marriage date as 1785. Mary was supposedly born in 1783 and not mentioned in the bible record.

Possibilities for the errors include:
  • Mary's birth date is incorrect.
  • The marriage date is incorrect. (But I have found it in Berkley county, West Virginia records.)
  • Moses and Esther were married after their daughters birth (2 years seems long though).
  • Esther is not Mary's mother. Moses had another wife who died after Mary's birth and before he married Esther. Esther may have raised her and been a mother to her completely.
The naming of Mary's children seems to reinforce the relationship to Moses and Esther:
  • Charles Whipple MATTHEWS (Esther's son's name, possibly Mary's brother. There is also a WHIPPLE family in the area.)
  • Esther MATTHEWS
  • Moses Russell MATTHEWS
  • Nancy MATTHEWS (Esther's daughter's name, possibly Mary's sister)
  • Aaron MATTHEWS (Phineas's father's name)
  • Elisha MATTHEWS
  • Thomas Russell MATTHEWS (Esther's son's name, possibly Mary's brother)
The deeper I search for this family the more confused I feel. Family stories state that Mary's parents were Moses RUSSELL and Esther/Mahitable NOLAN/NOLAND. But I am not so sure. Still looking for some primary evidence to back up or disprove this information.

Any comments are appreciated. Leave a comment below or send me an email to

Thursday, October 15, 2009

DAR Lineage Questions - Part 1

Last weekend I spent a day and a half at the Allen County Public Library attending the 2nd Annual Military Symposium. This year's topic was Military Lineage Societies. Lectures focused on Revolutionary War, Civil War, Spanish-American War and WWI societies.

This workshop inspired me to start thinking about how my own research can help me join a lineage society. So I have been looking into some of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) lineage books for my ancestors.

But I have come across two issues. I don't know all of the history of getting into the DAR and what research is (or was) required. But I have major issues with two of my revolutionary war ancestors.

My first issue is with John Shepherd. A family history of the family states that John Shepherd served in the French and Indian War as well as the Revolutionary War. He died in 1846 at the age of 117 years.

I have always been skeptical of this man. Did he really live that long? Did he really serve with George Washington? Some of the story seemed a little too good to be true. Proof from the family history book of his service is the Pennsylvania Archives (obviously there can't be another John Shepherd).

Then I found his pension file on Footnote. (Finally found I should say because it was listed under the surname John and given name Shepherd in Pennsylvania. This is not a Footnote problem, but how it was filed at the National Archives.) He was DENIED a pension (his pension number was R9485). Unfortunately, his application files are missing. They were sent to a representative in Congress to look into getting him a pension. But it appears that it was never granted and the file was never returned to the pension office.

The reason for not giving him a pension was that he stated that he was discharged at a hospital by a doctor who was retired before the date that John gave for his discharge. I wish that I had the rest of the file to see the back and forth between John and the pension office.

Here is where we get back to the DAR. Three women have obtained DAR membership with John's service. How do you get into a lineage society for ancestors who served in the Revolutionary war when your ancestor was denied a pension? How do you get in with proof of service with a common name?

I would love to hear your comments on this case. Send me an email to or leave a comment below.

Next time I will discuss my issues with Moses Russell's descendants and proof of lineage (an even more confusing case).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: WWII Photo Series Intro

Today I am going to start a series of WWII photos for Wordless Wednesdays. My goal with this series is to post one picture a week from my grandfather's WWII photo collection. I will be posting photos of other individuals who served with my grandfather, Roy SUCKLING, during his time on Shemya island in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

My grandfather was on Shemya island for 28 months and served for 3 and a half years in the Army signal corp. He had a great collection of photos from those years (with the help of a great dark room on the island). Many of his pictures are of other men and include their name and hometown on the back side. I hope that the men in the photos or their families will be able to find these photos after I put them online.

So now for the first photo in the series:

Johnston, Tommas. Photograph. ca. 1940s. Digital image. Privately held by Tina Lyons, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 2009.

Back reads: Tommas Johnston, 6604 Van Buren Ave, Kammond, Ind.

A Google search does not find Kammond, Indiana. This may be Hammond or Raymond, Indiana. The name could also be Thomas Johnston.

If you know Tommas Johnston, please send me an email to I will be happy to send you a higher resolution copy of the photo. I would also love to hear your stories to add to the photo.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Genealogy Surprise Package - Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about the genealogy package that my aunt sent me. We've already discussed the binder of my grandmother's research. Today we find out what was in the envelope...

The binder really distracted me from what I thought was going to be in the package. I thought I was getting a bunch of gravestone pictures. But instead I found a one-inch binder of paper. So after I figured out how many awesome things the binder contained, I opened up the envelope.

Inside the envelope I found:
  • An SD card
  • Two cemetery lists
  • A letter from my aunt.
In the letter my aunt told me what she had sent and asked if I thought I was "opening a can of worms." She must not realized that I opened that can of worms the first time I found the 1930 census records for both my grandmothers. I want everything that will help me further my family tree (even if it is overwhelming at times).

She also said that she was working on getting some more research on the EISWERTH family from my grandfather's cousin. That would be nice since I can't get that line anywhere.

So what was on the SD card? 121 gravestones from St. Boniface Cemetery in Williamsport, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania and Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Bastress, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania.

My aunt has almost zero computer skills. She can check her email, I don't know if she can do anything else. So my dad and I had speculated on how I was going to get these pictures. We thought that even though she had just bought a new digital camera she would have each picture printed off and then send it to me. Which meant that I would get to scan them back to digital. I was not looking forward to the extra work, but I knew that I would do whatever I had to do to get those pictures.

Instead my aunt bought a new SD card, put it in her camera, took the gravestone pictures, and then sent me the card. I thought that this was a good, easy alternative to sending the pictures electronically. It might be a good idea for others who want some pictures. Just send an SD card to the person (as long as they have a digital camera) and get the pictures back in the mail. This is also good for people with slow internet (My aunt is still on dial-up. It hurts just thinking about it.)

Most of the pictures are distant relatives or non-relations with the same surname. But I have obtained her permission to post them on Find-A-Grave so others will be able to see them. Plus now I have pictures for Tombstone Tuesdays!

Now I need to think of a good thank you gift to send my aunt. (I can't just send her back the SD card and tell her to fill it up again, can I?)

I Was Nominated for Family Tree Magazine's "40 Best Genealogy Blogs"!!!

Yesterday, I saw that Family Tree Magazine had opened their voting for the "40 Best Genealogy Blogs." When I went to vote for my favorites, I was shocked to see "Tina's Genealogical Wish List" in the list. The blog is nominated in the All-Around category with some great competition.

Here are all of the nominees for the All-Around category. (You get to vote for 3.)
- AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors
- CanadaGenealogy or, "Jane's your aunt"
- Creative Gene
- footnoteMaven
- GeneaBloggers
- GeneaBlogie
- Genea-Musings
- The Genealogue
- Tina's Genealogical Wish List
- Transylvanian Dutch

Footnote Maven posted the links to all of the nominated blogs.

It is really an honor to just be nominated. I started this blog at the end of June and haven't been so good about posting after school/work started again. Being on this list has re-energized me to make a larger commitment to updating the blog.

Thanks to everyone who nominated me. And a bigger thanks to everyone who is reading my random thoughts. Plus a big welcome to all the new people who have found out about "Tina's Genealogical Wish List." Make sure you check out my first post about my goals.

Make sure you go and vote for your favorites. And if you vote for this blog, thanks.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Genealogy Surprise Package - Part 1

On Wednesday, I received an email from my aunt that she had sent me a genealogy package. I was so excited, but I had to wait until Friday to receive it. She didn't tell me what she had sent, but I had high hopes. I knew that she had been taking pictures of gravestones of our ancestors and that she didn't know how to send pictures electronically. So I assumed that she was just sending me a box of pictures that I would have to scan and add to my database.

When I opened the box, I found a manila envelope and a binder. The binder contained copies of my grandmother's genealogy research. Research that my grandmother told me my grandfather had convinced her to throw away. I was so excited. The binder contained family reports on both her ECK and HAEFNER lines. (Just in time for me to start resourcing those lines.) It also contains copies of lots of obituaries and funeral cards. (Now I just have to figure out a way to get the originals passed on to me.)

Unfortunately, most of the information in the binder is unsourced. But it can be used as a guide for my research. I'm also finding things that make no sense with my research.

For example, I started resourcing my BLITZ line this weekend. Eva Catherine BLITZ married Frank A HAEFNER. Eva's parents were Valentine BLITZ (my fav ancestor, due to his name) and Margaretta LUTZ. In the research binder I received, they have a child Lena (1895-1956) who married Frank GAUS (1911-1972) and a child Magdalena (1864-1926) who married Frank GAUS (1863-1932).

In the census records, there is no Magdalena. There is a Margaret, who goes by Maggie sometimes, born about 1861. There is also a Lena/Selanose, born about 1864. The Lena in the binder can't be Valentine's child because she would have been born 15 years after the last child. I looked for the GAUS family in the census and I found them, but no proof that they are related to the BLITZ family.

This family has to be related somehow because why else who my grandmother keep current records on the GAUS family. There are obits and pictures of the GAUS family. So they must be related, but I can't figure out how.

This is my first endeavor with someone else's raw research. I have used family history books before. I have corresponded with people researching the same lines. But this is like a binder of stuff I don't know know how to begin to tackle.

Next time I will write about what was in the envelope.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What I Found When I Organized my EISWERTH Line

This is part two in my series of how I am reorganizing, resourcing, and reanalyzing my sources in my genealogy database. Technically it is part three because I first started the series with explaining what I was going to do. The first post about my findings was about my SUCKLING line. I have split the task of going through my files and sources by my four grandparents.

Yesterday I finished my paternal grandfather's line: the EISWERTH family. This family was pretty easy to complete because there was only 4 family groups to "fix". The DINCHER family came to the US from Germany in the mid-1800s. Lewis EISWERTH came around 1868 from Germany and married Mary DINCHER. They had a son Edward EISWERTH who married Angela Catherine COUCHIE whose parents came from Austria in 1892/3.

Even though this is my surname line, I really don't have much on them because I haven't been able to get any of them aboard a ship, let alone across the Atlantic Ocean.

I didn't find anything new with the EISWERTH and DINCHER lines. Just cleaned up the database and added the sources for a few spouses that I had previously neglected.

I did finally decide that my grandfather was never recorded in the 1930 census. His parents are found in Limestone township, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania living with Edward's sister, Agnes. But my 9-year old grandfather is not found with them. I'm not sure where he was, but I can't find him. I'll have to wait for the 1940 census to finally have a record of him in the census, I guess.

My main success was with the COUCHIE family. This family has some surname issues. I'm still not sure which one is right and which one they actually used. Angela says her maiden name is COUCHIE on her SS-5. She also says that she was born in East Palestine, Columbiana county, Ohio. I had easily found her and Edward living with her widowed mother and 2 siblings in the 1920 census, but could not find them before or after that. I also knew that the family had used the surname KAVCIC from a cousin's research.

I decided to start a new search over the weekend by looking for children in the 1900 census whose name started with "Ang" and who were born in 1900. I also used the keyword May, since that was the month that Angela was born and the months were all recorded in the 1900 census. I looked in Ohio and Pennsylvania. I was then able to find Angala Kavcee (probably KAVCEC) in Darlington township, Beaver county, Pennsylvania (link to entry on Ancestry) with her father Enos and mother Apolonia. Darlington township is right on the border of Pennsylvania and Ohio and nearby East Palestine, Ohio. Angela's brother Charles is listed as born in Ohio and the other children were born in Pennsylvania.

Then I search the 1910 census in Beaver county for the family. This time they are listed under the surname
"Courchene" (link to Ancestry entry). Enos died in 1908. In 1910, Apolinia, 51, is listed as married for a second time for one year (married about 1909) to a Frank who is 26. This is the first record that gives the COUCHIE (or a varient of) surname. Is this Frank's surname that the family adopted or did they change it and his surname is not recorded? Or was Frank a relative of Enos and had the same surname?

I searched for the Beaver county, PA genealogy and found the naturalization records for the county were available online. I was able to find Enos' naturalization with the surnames KAIJIJ and KAVCHICH in 1903. I had found a listing for him in the index of Columbiana county, Ohio naturalizations, but hadn't gotten around to ordering an original copy. It seems that Enos started the application process in Columbiana county (declaring intent) and finished it in Beaver county (obtaining naturalization). Documents from both counties are in the file.

Enos' tombstone reads KAVCIC. So where and when did COUCHIE/COUCHE (two brothers used two different spellings) originate? This family confuses me.

I did find Apolonia COUCHEE in the 1930 census in Cleveland living at the Little Sisters of the Poor. This allowed me to find her Ohio death certificate in Cuyahoga county (no wonder I couldn't find it in Columbiana county) in 1945. It lists her parents as Herman or Verne BRECHT and Mary BRECHT. Angela's SS-5 gives Apolonia's maiden name as ALBRECHT and her sister Helena's death certificate in 1916 (cause of death: "violent death from being run over by a train") gives the maiden name as

The best part about doing this line was using Find A Grave. At the beginning of September a researcher had added the transcriptions for St. Mary's Cemetery in East Palestine, Ohio. I knew this was where much of the family was buried through a cemetery transcription book. I took a chance and requested photos and the NEXT day, I was rewarded with photos of Enos' gravestone and 3 of Angela's sisters' stones. Apolonia's name had been added much later to Enos' stone and also she also shared a stone with her daughter Anna who died in 1993. Helena KAVCIC BOGATAY and Mary KAVCIC TROBEC's stones were also added.

This project has show me how much I have grown as a researcher. My search abilities have definitely improved. I can't tell you how many times I tried to find that family in the 1900 census and eventually gave up. The simple addition of the month as a keyword gave me instant results.

I still have a lot of work to do to figure out this KAVCIC/COUCHIE/however-they-spell-it family and also to hopefully find passenger lists and naturalization documents for these German families and get them across the pond. But right now it is time to start tackling the ECK line.

My October Genealogy To Do List

Yesterday I wrote about my new strategy to get through my genealogy to-do list: Post it on this blog. Today I am posting my October to-do list.

I still haven't quite remembered how much I can get done during the school year. Since my schedule changes weekly, I never know how much time I will have. Even when I think I have a day off, it can become an afternoon of work pretty quickly. So this was something that I struggled with while compiling my to-do list for October. What can I realistically get done?

The other thing I struggled with was prioritizing between what I want to do and what I need to do. I've been working hard on fixing my source citations and reanalyzing my sources to find more clues about my family history. I was able to finish my EISWERTH line yesterday. I want to start my ECK line, but I really need to address the bookmarks that I have amassed and also the items in my to-file folder on my computer.

So here is my list for October:
  • Deal with the bookmarks. Get through all the MATTHEWS family bookmarks and try to tackle the rest.
  • Start to go through the "to-file" folder. Deal with any items for the already reanalyzed SUCKLING and EISWERTH lines.
  • Complete new University of Toronto - National Institute for Genealogical Studies course: US: Probate Records.
  • Order death certificates from England for John ELVEY and his wife Ann.
  • Work in Vevay Newspaper Index. Complete a year a week (4 years: 1878-1881).
  • Attend Military Symposium at Allen County Public Library on October 9&10.
  • Attend International Black Genealogy Pre-Conference at ACPL on October 29.
  • Attend Scrapbooking (for genealogy) at ACPL on October 17.
One of the challenges this month is that it is family history month, which means I will be spending more time than normal at ACPL. I will have to make sure that I don't do "too much" research there and create more work for myself.

I also created some longer term to-do lists.

By the end of November I need to:
  • Finish compiling coffee table book for my grandfather's WWII photos so that family can order them for Christmas.
By the end of the year I want to:
  • Finish sourcing ECK line.
  • Get through all bookmarks.
  • Get through to-file folder.
I am hoping that once I get through my resourcing project I will be better organized and not have so many virtual piles of stuff to go through. Once I finish the ECK line, I'll be half way done. (I have two binders for my hard copies and the BASCOM line takes up one on its own.) Hopefully by the end of 2010, I'll have figured out how to keep everything organized. (Yeah, I know. I don't think so either.)