Thursday, October 3, 2013

It has been quite some time between entries...over a year and a half! I have been busy moving, buying a home and getting re-settled in the SF Bay Area. I also have continued to work on genealogy when possible, but have not done a lot. Last record I discussed finding CB Keller as a child in the 1860 Census in Baltimore, MD. That was exciting! I since have located his mother's (Juliet) request for a widow's pension for William, her husband, from the Civil War pension funds! That was a very cool find! Apparently, though, her request was rejected as William was not a soldier, but a civil worker in a general's office, albeit on the front lines, defending the city with musket in hand. All very exciting, and all very sad that Juliet was an ill and frail old woman, with no apparent income, and was denied this money in her last years. She died before the judgement had been declared final.

But still - that piece of information indeed helps me focus on the Baltimore area, and into Pennsylvania, as it seems that is where William is from. I also have Juliet's maiden name, Hawk, from CB and Nora's marriage license, and indeed Lucy A. Hawk appears on the census record, living with the family in 1860, listed as mother-in-law. So again - there is a new piece of information. I also think that there is more information to be found sorting through the many pages of the widow's pension application.

I am still struggling with the Schwinn and Winter(s) men, though. I cannot get a clue to follow to find Henry Schwinn back any further than the 1880 census, except for his marriage record in 1860 to Mary Mueller. I believe that they lived in Germantown all that time, so something has to eventually be discovered. I just have to keep looking. Actually, just this morning I found a clue to something that has bothered me for a few years. In their older years, three Schwinn brothers - Louis, John and William - were on the census rolls as living together on the family farm, along with a "Mary Kraker, Mary Cracker, Mary Crocker" depending on the year. She was listed as a hired girl, domestic and "cojen". Someplace - I cannot now remember - I saw her listed as a cousin, and indeed her grave stone is right next to the brothers' in the Springdale Cemetery, Peoria IL. Well today, on FamilySearch.Org, I was again looking at records for Henry Schwinn, and there was one that listed him as father to Anna A. Crocker on her death record. One of Henry and Mary's daughters is Anna A., and the birthdate is the same, so lo and behold - the Crocker connection! So - it looks like Marie very well may be cousin to John, Willie and Louis, and lived with them on the farm all those years. I will do some more delving into these records, and see what I can find.

With some of these new findings, I have the itchy fingers and feet to travel again. I am planning on making another genealogy trip in April of next year. It will have a little bit of fun involved, as well. I decided to take the train, rather than drive, as the trip will include the greater Baltimore area as well as the Boston/Salem area for some research on my mother's side. So, when I looked at the train schedule, I discovered that the train stops in New Orleans, and I've never been I will hop off the train for a few days and see the sights of "The Big Easy"! When I started discussing this with my friend Deb, she thought it was a great idea, so she is doing the N'awlins part of the trip with me, on the train, and her husband will fly in to meet us, and we'll tour the city together. What a great idea! She and I had a lot of fun in Charleston a few years ago, and I know we will have a blast. After about 5 days, they will head home and I will get back on the train and continue to Baltimore. I will hang out there for 7-10 days, researching. Having never been there before, or to Washington DC, I will make a couple of side trips there, and also to the Philadelphia area, as I haven't been there either. I want to see the Liberty Bell, Gettysburg and the Amish quilts! I will rent a car there, and after 10 days or so I will head north to the Salem, MA area for more research. I have ancestors in Essex County back to the 1620's through the mid-late 1700's. Anyone who lived there during that time more than likely had some experience with the Salem Witch Trials, so I am interested to see what I can find on my JACOB and KELLOGG lines there. I plan on being there about a week, then will turn the car in at the Boston train station, and travel home via the northern route, going to Chicago, then through Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, Iowa, Washington, Oregon then home! What a trip! I'll be gone about a month total, which is a long time. I am so looking forward to this!! We actually have reservations in N'awlins already, so it is really real! I will, of course, blog daily on the trip.

So, that is what is new in the Keller Genealogy area. I am also still enrolled in my certificate program, although it got slowed down with the move, as a lot of things are still in storage. But I am confident that by the end of next year I will be done, and certifiably (in more ways than one!) a genealogist.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Further findings on William and Julia Keller

I found William L and Juliett Keller, living in Baltimore, in the 1860 census. Their children are William (11), Harry (9), Byron (CB using his middle name, 6) and Estelle (6 months). Lucy A. Hawk (Juliett's mother?) age 60 is living with them also, as well as Susan Chase, 19, as a domestic. Now that I have them in Baltimore, I need to see what I can find for birth records for CB and the other kids. This may prove difficult, but I will see what I can find. I also have traced Juliett, her mother and the children to the 1870 and 1880 census records. William SR seems to disappear after the 1860 census. It may be that he left, moved away, or died in that time period. I am looking through the civil war soldier lists to see if I can find him there, but it is slow going as there are a lot of William Kellers who were soldiers. I have posted on many genealogy boards and mail lists, and have already received some replies from people with Kellers in Pennsylvania, so we'll see what pans out. Hopefully something soon!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Marriage Certificate for CB Keller and Ella Nora Howard

Well...I ordered a copy of CB and Ella Nora's marriage certificate from Nebraska, and there it was in today's mail!! I was eagerly awaiting this new piece of information so that I could possibly search out CB's birthplace. There is family lore that he came from the Baltimore area, and one census entry lists his birthplace as Maryland, but you never know. Until today.

The marriage license information not only had his place of birth, but listed both of his parents' names, as well as his mother's maiden name. What a treasure trove! Charles Byron Keller was indeed born in Baltimore, Maryland, to William L and Julia E. (Hawk) Keller. Wow!

So now it is off to Ancestry to begin searching the census for William and Julia, and see what I find. I will be busy with that for a few days, until I come up with enough evidence to make any sort of statement, but I will post when I find out anything definite.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Well, it seems that I got a little derailed there for a while! Sorry for not getting more blogging done. You know how life gets in the way sometimes. :-)

This is a new year, with new goals and - dare I say it? - new resolutions. I have embarked on the next chapter of my genealogical life. I am enrolled in an online certificate program offered by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, which is affiliated with the University of Toronto. Classes officially start tomorrow, although I received all of the written material for the first class yesterday, so am well on my way to completing that. There are 40 courses that I must complete, however the first 8 or 10 are very basic, and I can probably rely on the knowledge I have already and get through them quickly. For example, the first one is "Getting Started". I have to put together a 5 generation pedigree chart, then family group sheets for that pedigree. I already have all of that information on my software program, and I am not going to go through the hoops of re-writing it all by hand! That would be a silly exercise, and too much of a strain on my right arm. So you see? Almost done with class #1 before it evens starts! The other classes in the "basic" section cover such information as organizational strategies, census extraction and transcription, cemetery research, land records and using the Family History Centers for research assistance, so those should not prove to be too great a challenge! I will end up with a certificate in American Research as well as one in German research. 12 of the classes are electives, and I have elected to take all of the German classes for those choices, so will have a double certification.

As a follow up to my last post, I have not yet made it to the Family History Center in Mesa. I will definitely make it this month, as it is one of the field trips for one of my classes. I am eager to get there and familiarize myself with the system once again. I researched at the FHC in Oakland, CA many years ago, but have not been in quite a while.

I also have not yet received information from Nebraska on CB Keller and Ella Nora Howard's marriage, nor on the birth records of their first child, Juliette (AKA Julia or Juliet). The information has been requested, so hopefully I will have it soon. As to my great-grandfather Gustav August Winter, I did receive a transcription of his death records from Peoria. It lists his occupation in 1899 as a policeman, which is the same information I had found in the Peoria City Directory, and lists his death in the same year from "inflammation of the brain". The death information lists the name as August Winter, while the directory lists the name as Gustav A. Winter. The address listed in both places is the same, so I think I have at last found a solid clue for this elusive man! Now, if I can trace him backward, and end up in Germany, that will be fascinating!

While on my Illinois trip I found such a large connection to Germany, with most of my paternal grandmother's family being born there, that I have decided to have that be the first major European focus for me. My grandmother and her mother were born in this country, but the rest of the family members, including her father, were born in Germany, and came here in the 1850-60's. I am excited about the German research classes that I will be taking; they will give me the knowledge I need to be able to research these families.

I wish everyone out there a very Happy New Year, and wish that 2012 brings happiness, health, love and family connections into your lives.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I made it home this afternoon without much ado. The drive from Gallup was uneventful, other than the ever-present road work, and multiple lane closures! ARGH!!! I was glad to finally be off the road, and everyone here was glad to see me home. The kids had big hugs for Nana, and many "I missed you"s were said with feeling. That's always nice, and I really missed all of my family, but especially the little ones!

My next plans for my genealogy journey is to sort through all that I learned while I was gone, and then go check out the Family History Library in Mesa, which is about an hour away. I would love to plan a weekly trip over there for a while to research the lines that I have started working on. I also need to work on documentation for DAR membership, as I have two lines of ancestors that have Revolutionary War soldiers.  So those are my goals for now.

To begin with, I will continue to work on CB Keller, and find his and Ella Nora's marriage information from Nebraska. I also am anxiously awaiting the information I ordered on August Winter to see if he is my August Winter. So I definitely have some leads to follow up on.

Thanks for following along on this journey, and I hope you come back and check on my progress form time to time. As I said the other day, I will keep up with the blog, updating finds that I make, and trying to put in something at least weekly. So, it is on to the next chapter!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This morning Tucumcari, this afternoon Gallup

The neon lights at the Blue Swallow Motel do indeed work!
The swallow flashes on and off at a slow pace - very cool! They also have lights along the roof line of all the rooms and a swallow above every garage. Truly a lovely spot. Kevin and Nancy are great people, and I sat with them over coffee this morning and chatted about Tucumcari, the Motel and life in general. They also have a golden retriever, Bessie, who claimed me as we sat outside. I stopped petting her at one point, and she turned to look at me with baleful eyes, and plopped her head on my lap saying "please don't stop!" Too cute.

I hit the road about 10:30 and had a relatively easy drive to Gallup. Of course the road work followed me, even though it is Sunday! (I forgot to say it was with me yesterday, as well) Stuff on the side of the road is OK, but when they shut down a lane, or both lanes and put you on the shoulder, then I object!
That was about it, though, and it was over in about 10 minutes, so I guess I can't complain. I'm sure those guys are getting overtime for working Sunday!

I arrived at the El Rancho Hotel about 3:00, got checked in and went to see the room. This is an old hangout of "the stars" apparently. I would say the 30's and 40's mostly. The lobby is very full of heavy wood furniture in the old western feel, with a lot of Native American accents thrown in. Reminds me of John Wayne, who is one of the people who stayed here a lot. Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall, Lucille Ball are others. My room is the Gregory Peck room. It has a very "lodgy" feel to it, with a great fireplace at one end, and deer heads on the beams. I can feel how elite it may have been once, but now all it feels is dingy and sad. Which is too bad. The rooms are OK, but small and cramped, and you can literally have one foot in the shower and the other out the door in the room, with one hand on the sink and the other on the toilet. Interesting gymnastics await the morning shower!

Oh yes - you can only use the wi-fi connection in the lobby, and the password is FF928F6DFFC959F4E4BF37B988 if that gives you any idea about the place! Plus, there is only one outlet in the room - uh-oh - all of my things need recharging! Plus it has a phone, but no cord to the jack! The guy at the desk tells me they're having problems with the phone lines. Duh! But, still, it is kind of cool, and they have awesome Indian jewelry, which I am going to go take a look at on the way to dinner. And it is only for one night, and then I am on the final leg home.

Tomorrow - Goodyear, AZ and my family!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Erick OK to Tucumcari NM

I really didn't have much to say about Erick - the town is basically non-existent. I think there are two gas stations and a Subway, two motels and a burger/steak joint. That's about it. But, the motel where I stayed, while your usual run of the mill place, was run by an extremely nice East Indian family. The husband is on duty in the evenings, and was genuinely nice when checking me in. He said he thought the storm that had been hovering all day was about to hit, and if I wanted to get dinner, the place across the street was very basic but good (the burger/steak joint), but that I should go soon and get back so that I didn't get caught in the thunder and lightning. Then he said breakfast was from 6 to 9 in the lobby area, and that bacon and eggs were cooked fresh for everyone. Yeah, right I say to myself. That means a big warming tray with stuff in it and you serve yourself. Then I went to the room, and was pleasantly surprised to find it very clean, new mattress, a very comfortable big, sink-in chair to sit and read (which is exactly what I did), clean bathroom, and good TV set. So all the boxes are checked! So I settled in for the night, and actually slept like a log for the first time in 2 or 3 nights.

When I woke up this morning, to a large clap of thunder, and looked out the window, the parking lot was flooded and the downspouts were gushing! The rain was so intense that I could hear it pounding on the roof, and I was on the first floor of two floors!
I took my shower, got dressed and headed down to the lobby for my breakfast. I was greeted by the wife, who manages check-outs and breakfast, and asked how I liked my eggs, and how many pieces of bacon did I want. I said "scrambled, and two, please", and she said "go get your plate, and serve yourself toast, or coffee cake or a waffle and I'll bring you your eggs and bacon." Wow! So I did, and she did. Great breakfast! There were four other people seated when I came in and by the time I left there were another 6, and she was still cooking and serving as I went back to my room. Very nicely done, Premier Inn of Erick, OK! I hung around for about another hour and a half, to let the worst of the storm go by (I hoped), and then loaded up quickly and headed on my way. It poured and lightninged and thundered for about an hour and a half, and then stopped. I could see the line way ahead in the distance where the clouds stopped and the sunshine began, so I knew the worst was over.
Oh yes - the road work followed me here, as well. I forgot to say that yesterday was pretty good - lots of shoulder work, but no lane closures. No so today!
I arrived safely in Tucumcari after about 4 hours of driving - not too bad, considering the storm. I also gained an hour with the time change - woohooo! Tucumcari is interesting. It is a major spot on the Route, according to many of the guidebooks, and the main strip - Tucumcari Ave, or Historical Route 66 - is pretty cool, with a great many of the original neon signs still up and supposedly functioning. I'll check it out tonight. The Blue Swallow Motel, where I am staying, is considered by many to be the "Jewel of the Route". The couple who own it now just bought it this summer, and moved from Michigan, and are restoring it quite nicely. As a matter of fact, as I arrived today, they were moving all of the furniture in the office/lobby so that it was in the place that it used to be when the original owner - Lillian Redman - had it. They moved the counter first, in the corner, with the shelves behind, just like they had seen in pictures! Then the chairs got moved to flank the fireplace, and the other stuff just kind of fell into place. It does look good, I must say, although I have no idea what the old pictures look like. It was too early to check in, so I ran around town for a bit, when to the local BBQ place they had recommended, had an awesome pulled pork sandwich for lunch (and, I think, dinner!), drove around to see some of the murals that are painted everywhere, went to the Dinosaur Museum, then back to check in. By then they had the lobby complete, and I checked into my charming room. This place is very cool! Check out the garage...
Pretty cool, eh?!

So now I am going to post this, them go sit outside, where it is a lovely 78 degrees, with a cold drink and read my book. Tomorrow is off to Gallup, and the grand El Rancho Hotel where apparently all the movie stars used to stay.