Welcome

to Journey to the Past, I'm Brenda (Glover) Leyndyke and I believe researching your family history is a fascinating journey.

Last Day Local: Historic Michigan Railroad Depot Now a Restaurant

30 April 2015

Source: "Michigan Central Depot Post Card Battle Creek MI" by Unknown - postcard. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michigan_Central_Depot_Post_Card_Battle_Creek_MI.jpg

The Michigan Central Depot in Battle Creek, Michigan opened in 1888.  The Romanesque style station remained operational until the early 1980's.  Thomas Edison, Presidents William Howard Taft and Gerald Ford visited the depot at one time. During war time it was heavily used for transporting soldiers who had trained at nearby Fort Custer. 

Michigan Central Railroad sold the station to New York Central Railroad in 1918; who sold it to Penn Central in 1968; who sold it to Amtrak in 1970.  The station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Penn Central Railway Station, in 1971.

Currently, it is a beautiful restaurant, Clara's on the River.  Clara's opened in Battle Creek in 1992. As you can see from the pictures, much of the charm has been retained.  The red brick exterior with the replicated clock tower rises from downtown Battle Creek.  The interior showcases how much care was taken to restore this piece of Battle Creek history. Original brass lanterns greet one at the entrance, restored white oak ceilings and red oak wood trim are seen throughout the restaurant. The huge fireplace is much as it was when travelers used it to warm themselves. Tiffany style lamps, cozy nooks and antiques showcasing Battle Creek's history adds to the charm of this local favorite.

The Clock Tower, looking North.
The tree lined sidewalk is where the original tracks were.

 Walk through the arches across the river to Clara's.

 Michigan Historic Site Plaque, looking toward the river.

Clara's on the River, looking south.

Last Day Local is a blog prompt I use to celebrate the history of Battle Creek, Michigan, my hometown for the past 26 years.  I try to post one article on the last day of the month about the heritage and history of Battle Creek, The Cereal City!

Fredricks Family Memories

28 April 2015

Left to Right: Uncle John, Uncle Richard, Aunt Lola, Aunt Jeannie, Audrey, my mom

My research has taken a different direction lately and instead of wanting to collect names and add facts to my database, I want to hear stories.  The best way to hear stories is to visit your relatives.  I wanted to hear these stories when there was about two feet of snow on the ground and traveling was out of the question.  I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity as my aunts and uncles are getting older. I wasn't sure how this project would be received so I opted to mail my aunts and uncles instead of calling them.

My mother, Audrey, was one of twelve children born to Otto and Daisy (Graf) Fredricks.  She has two brothers and two sisters living.  The Fredricks family has a reunion every year in July and I try to go, but this year I won't be able to because of other plans.  The reunion is a great time to catch up with people but it is hard to spend a lot of time with any one person.

A couple of months ago, I decided I was going to write my mom and my aunts and uncles asking for Fredricks family memories.  I typed up eight questions and asked them to answer them.  I included a self-addressed stamped envelope so they could mail them back to me.  I heard from four of the five I sent.  I can't wait to see my aunts and uncles again because their answers left me with many more questions about their memories.

I plan on sharing their stories on my blog, one question at  time.  If you haven't heard the stories of your family, don't wait any longer.  Step away from your database and ask questions. I am so happy I did.

Question 1: What is your earliest childhood memory?

  • Aunt Lola: I remember my mother churning butter.
  • Uncle Richard: During the depression, in 1929, you couldn't get any decent flour.  It was always mixed with vetch or mouse droppings or who knew what else.  Every loaf of bread you tried to make was like a brick.  My mother (Daisy Graf Fredricks) was always complaining about her dull kitchen knives. "You could ride to Germany on them and never feel it." she said.  Pa (Otto August Fredricks) always kept his knives very, very sharp for the pig butchering.
  • Audrey, my mother: I remember going to school my first day and walking down a sandy lane to get on the bus, crying.
  • Aunt Jeannie: I remember swimming at Bear Creek and Don Joswick saved me.
What wonderful memories!  I didn't know my Uncle Richard was such a great storyteller. I had to look the word 'vetch' up as I hadn't heard that before. It is a plant that is used to feed farm animals.  I can see my Grandma standing in her kitchen in her apron, she always wore one, and saying that about her knives. I can hear her laugh, she had a great laugh. I can see her churning butter on the family farm, that has been in the family for over a hundred years.  I know of the sandy lane and creek that my mother and Aunt wrote about. I have swam in that same creek, it runs behind the farm.  These stories have triggered memories of my own and that was something I wasn't expecting.

There is nothing better than family stories.  Don't you agree? 

My Ancestry and a German Script Cheat Sheet

24 April 2015

Julie Cahill Tarr has been writing her blog, Gen Blog, since 2008 and I have been a reader for awhile now.  It was only recently that I discovered her post, Tips for German Research-Write it out in GERMAN! and what a helpful post it was. I have always wanted to have someone who knew how to write in German do this for me.  Now, I can do it myself.

Julie explains about the German alphabet and how difficult it can be to try and read it using handwriting guides. Julie gave an excellent tip and the links for creating your own cheat sheet using the German names in your family.  I followed Julie's tip and created my own table:

Ancestor
Fraktur
Sutterlin
Johann August Fredrich
Johann August Fredrich
Johann August Fredrich
Christoph Fredrich
Christoph Fredrich
Christoph Fredrich
Susanna Koenig
Susanna Koenig
Susanna Koenig
Louise Fredrike Zastrow
Louise Fredrike Zastrow
Louise Fredrike Zatrow
Casper Graf
Casper Graf
Casper Graf
Mary Wrightweasner
Mary Wrightweasner
Mary Wrightweasner
Johann Philipp Graf
Johann Philipp Graf
Johann Philipp Graf
Sophia Kolter
Sophia Kolter
Sophia Kolter
Heinrich Kolter
Heinrich Kolter
Heinrich Kolter
Anna Susanna Denzer
Anna Susanna Denzer
Anna Susanna Denzer
Johann Caspar Graf
Johann Caspar Graf
Johann Caspar Graf
Katarina Margareta Philip
Katarina Margreta Philip
Katarina Margareta Philipp
Johann Philipp Graf
Johann Philipp Graf
Johann Phillip Graf
Maria Catharina Geffinger
Maria Catharina Geffinger
Maria Catharina Feffinger
Johann Caspar Graff
Johann Caspar Graff
Johann Caspar Graff
Anna Cecilia Colter
Anna Cecilia Colter
Anna Cecilia Colter
Johann Nickel Grav
Johann Nickel Grav
Johann Nickel Grav
Anna Christina
Anna Christina
Anna Christina

Now, I have a useful cheat sheet to help me with Fraktur and Sutterlin handwriting. If you would like to download the fonts for your use, check Julie's blog post where she has written about this.  Thank you, Julie for the excellent tip.

The Death of Zalton Fenn

22 April 2015

My great grandmother, Hattie Fenn Glover, had an older brother, Zalton.  They were the children of Daniel C. Fenn and Elizabeth Poor Fenn.  I found Zalton's death certificate and noticed that his brother, Tully, was the informant.  

Further research shows that Tully knew what he was talking about when he gave information on this death certificate.  
  • Zalton's name is spelled correctly.  
  • The birth date is accurate, 19 November 1850. 
  • The parents names are given, including mother's maiden name: Daniel Fenn and Elizabeth Poor.
  • The parent's birthplace is accurate: Daniel in Vermont and Elizabeth in New York.
This isn't always the case and one needs to analyze death certificates to determine the accuracy of the information.  I have found more errors than accurate information on death certificates.  This time I got lucky and the information provided was verified by other records.

Zalton Fenn died 15 December 1908 in Big Rapids, Michigan, at the age of 58.

Source: State of Michigan, "Death Records 1897-1920," database, State of Michigan, Seeking Michigan (http://seekingmichigan.org/discover-collection?collection=p129401coll7: accessed 20 September 2011), certificate of death for Zalton Fenn; citing Michigan Department of State, Lansing, Vital Statistics Division.




Veterans Stories at Grand Valley State University, Michigan

20 April 2015



Grand Valley State University(GVSU) in Allendale, Michigan has been preserving oral histories since 2006.  The history department and GVSU library in partnership with the Library of Congress have been collecting the stories of combat and non combat veterans and civilian witnesses over the past nine years.

The Veterans History Project is a digital collection of interviews with people who served during war time, whether one saw combat or not.  It includes veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Civilians have been interviewed as well.  Stories have been collected from workers in the war industry, aid workers, peace activists, and civilian contractors.

Interviews have been conducted throughout West Michigan.  All interviews have been videotaped and are archived at Grand Valley State University and the Library of Congress.  The Library of Congress has other oral histories besides the ones from the GVSU project.

Currently, Grand Valley State University has conducted over 1200 interviews, most which are available at their website under digital collections.  Some of the interviews are available on I-Tunes, as well.

The Veterans Collection is another digital collection that is available at Grand Valley State University.  This collection has papers pertaining to World War I and World War II.  This collection was gathered, in part, through the work of the Veterans History Project. Information found in this collection includes, photographs, correspondence, and a scrapbook,  This is an ongoing project of Grand Valley State University.

The oral history interviews has led Grand Valley State University into creating documentaries.  There are three documentaries so far:

  1. Nightmare in New Guinea is the story of those who served in the 126th Infantry, 32nd Red Arrow division during World War II in New Guinea.
  2. Up from the Bottoms is the story of the migration of African Americans to Muskegon, Michigan during World War II.
  3. A Team of our Own is the story of the All American Girls Profession Baseball League, that played from 1943 to 1954.  47 oral histories were conducted with for this documentary.
Another part of the Veterans History Project is education outreach to schools. Training is provided to students who are interested in learning how to conduct interviews.  Plus, presentations and materials are available to teachers interested in including Veterans History as part of their curriculum.


Currently, there are 23 digital collections available at Grand Valley State Universities website, many of them that would be of interest to family history researchers.  I have written about three of them. Some of the other collections include Civil War and Slavery Collection, Grand Valley State University photographs and publication, 15th Century printing, Navy Recognition Training Slides, Grand Rapids Oral Histories, other photographs and more.  

Often researchers don't think of university collections unless our ancestors attended that school.  That is a mistake when the resources are as rich as the ones provided by Grand Valley State University. Be sure to check your local university for collections that might help in your research.


Teacher in Salem, New Hampshire Finds Cellar Hole of Moses Poor

19 April 2015

Do you ever wonder if anyone is reading your blog posts?  Sometimes I wonder and then one special comment is left that makes writing worth it.


Source: From A History of the United States by Wilbur F. Gordy, Copyright 1920 by Charles Scribner's Sons of New York. This illustration of The Battle of Bunker Hill is between pages 142 and 143.


The blog post that the comment was left on was "Moses Poor Killed at Battle of Bunker Hill"


I'm a Social Studies teacher in Salem, New Hampshire. This is kind of a strange story, but I'll relay it to you anyway in hopes that you have any information you would be willing to share! 
Out behind the school I teach at, there is an old "cellar hole" that I always wondered about. Last year, I became curious enough about it that I did quite a bit of research and was excited and surprised to discover that it was the home of Moses and Hannah (Sinkler/Sainclair) Poor from 1770 until Moses' death in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. The cellar hole is in remarkably good condition with a set of steps (probably side/back steps) still in place and apple trees on either side of the threshold. There's even still a boot-scraper! 
 Anyway, many of my students are interested in the site as well, especially since we're making some great discoveries on the site. I've learned a little bit about Moses Poor, but I'd love any more information you have. So far, all I know is that he was born in Newbury, MA in 1742, married Hannah in Hampstead, NH in 1767, had three sons (one named George was born, I'm assuming in the "cellar hole" house since he was born in 1773 in Salem, NH), and died in the Battle of Bunker Hill. I also recently discovered that he was a "surveyor of lumber" for the town of Atkinson, NH upon its incorporation in 1767.
I hope that you will respond [email address for private use] with any more information you have about Moses or his family. Thanks so much in advance!

I think this is an awesome discovery and for the teacher to share it on my blog was most welcome. I replied to the comment and sent what few items and information I had on Moses Poor via email.  The teacher replied and shared research that she had conducted.

Moses Poor is my fifth great grandfather.  He married Hannah Sinkler 31 March 1767 in Hampstead, New Hampshire.  I am a descendant of their son, Moses Augustus Poor.  

This research was very well done.  It was a timeline starting with Hannah Sinkler's birth in 1739 and ending with her death in 1815.  Other timeline entries included Moses Poor birth and parents; his siblings; land records; marriage record; town history; children of Moses and Hannah Poor birth record; Moses Poor enlistment in the military; research on Moses Poor's regiment; and a public auction held after Moses Poor's death. It was a genealogist's treasure trove of information.

It was obvious that a lot of time went into the research and I appreciate being the one to receive it.  Teachers impact student's lives in so many ways and for this teacher to research what started as a 'cellar hole' and add to it to bring historical context to what is in the school's backyard is a wonderful thing.  One that I am greatly appreciative of.

Happy Birthday, Kirk!

17 April 2015

Kirk Anthony Leyndyke
17 April

Twins Kirk Anthony and Karen Anne were born in Grand Rapids, Michigan to

James and Elizabeth Leyndyke.
Kirk graduated from Forest Hills High School, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Kirk and I were married in 1981, in Palms, Michigan.

Kirk is a wonderful father and husband, who brings peace, joy and love to our family.

Kirk is a retired, school counselor from Lakeview School District, Battle Creek, Michigan


Happy Birthday, Kirk

Where in the World is Mary Ann Swallow Dyer?

15 April 2015

Where in the World is Mary Ann Swallow Dyer?

Census records are some of the first records I search for when researching an ancestor. I have been doing a series of Where in the World? posts in table format to see where there are gaps in my research. This table is for Mary Ann Swallow Dyer, my third great grandmother.

FACT
DATE
PLACE OF RESIDENCE
ENUMERATION DISTRICT/PAGE ID./DWELLING
Birth
7 Aug 1818
New York, New York, United States

Marriage
about 1837
to William G. Dyer

Census
1840


Census
1850
Cazenovia, Madison, New York, United States
/76A/1072
Census
1855
Syracuse, Onondaga, New York, United States
/234/Line 44
Census
1860
Adrian, Lenawee, Michigan, United States
/139/1007
Census
1870
Adrian, Lenawee, Michigan, United States
/9/72
Death
10 Sep 1875
Adrian, Lenawee, Michigan, United States



















Mary Ann Swallow Dyer married William G. Dyer, place unknown. William and Mary Ann Dyer's daughter, Adaline L. Dyer, married Samuel Stillman Glover, Jr., placing her in my Glover ancestry. 

Mary Ann Swallow is one of my ancestors that I need to do more research on.  I do not know who her parents are at this time.  Her birth information is secondary and taken from census records, with the 1855 New York Census providing the place of birth for her.


Obituary of Businessman John Zobel, Manistee, Michigan

12 April 2015

I would love to have a detailed obituary on every one of my ancestors like the one I found for John Zobel.  John's obituary provides details of where and when he came to Manistee county that genealogists love to read.  His obituary goes beyond the dates and places by sharing stories. The only piece missing that would be helpful was the name of his wife. Most days I am thankful for finding any type of obituary for my ancestors.

John Zobel was the husband of Henriette Fredrich Zobel, my great grand aunt.  It was through my research of Henriette's marriage that I found information about her parents, my second great grandparents, Christoph Fredrich and Susanna Koenig.  I still remember the excitement I felt when I found her marriage record.

John Zobel died 31 October 1921 in Manistee, Michigan.

Below, in two parts is John Zobel's obituary with transcription.


Source: Manistee News Advocate-Manistee Daily Advocate, 31 October 1921, front page, column one, newspaper owned by Manistee County Historical Museum.

Transcription:
JOHN ZOBEL, 87, HERE 51 YEARS, TAKEN BY DEATH

PASSES AWAY AT 8:30 THIS MORNING AT HOME, 182 LINCOLN STREET

OPENED CLOTHING BUSINESS IN 1889

WORKED IN WOODS WHEN HE FIRST CAME TO MANISTEE-RETIRED 13 YEARS AGO-WAS MARRIED 60 YEARS

In the death at 8:30 this morning of John Zobel, 182 Lincoln St., Manistee lost another pioneer. He had lived in Manistee 51 years and was 87 years old.

Death was due too general debility. About a year ago Mr. Zobel fell critically ill with pneumonia, but recovered. Later he began ailing and for the last five weeks had been in bed. He was able, however to be up for a short time Saturday.

In business 20 years
Mr. Zobel 32 years ago opened the clothing and shoe store which is now operated by Charles Zobel & Sons. He retired from business 13 years ago.

Mr. Zobel was born in Guhringen, West Prussia, Nov. 23, 1834. He came to the United States in August, 1870, and a month later moved to Manistee. For a year he worked in the lumber woods, when he suffered an accident.

He was in the woods during the big Manistee fire. His trunk and belongings were buried in a pit by his boarding house landlord, at the mouth of the river. When he came down from the woods he found the trunk but the contents were gone. The trunk was still in his possession.

Joined by family
A year and a half after he came to Manistee his family which had been left at New York, joined him. He went into the clothing business in 1889, with his son Charles, in a building at Poplar and River streets, on the site now occupied by the Manistee County Savings Bank building.

Later the business was removed into the place which is now the Woman's Shop, which building he owned until his death. In 1894 the business was moved into the Cameron block. Although he retired from the business, he retained an interest in the building.

Mr. Zobel was married 60 years ago last May. Besides his widow he is survived by two daughters, Mrs. William Walter and Miss Ottilie Zobel, and three sons, Charles, Henry and Julius Zobel. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren also survive him.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been completed.

Happy National Siblings Day 2015

10 April 2015



I think a day such as National Siblings Day should be declared a national holiday and everyone gets a day off work!  Are you with me?  Since that probably isn't going to happen, I will devote this blog post to my wonderful siblings, Linda, Nancy and Neil.  Here we are throughout the years.

Circa 1969-Harbor Beach, Michigan
L-R: Moi, Neil, Nancy, and Linda

Christmas 1978, Deckerville, Michigan
Back Row L-R: Linda, Moi
Front Row L-R: Nancy, Neil

Celebrating my Parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary
 at Mountain Jack's, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2002
L-R: Nancy, Moi, Mom, Dad, Neil and Linda

21 September 2003
Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame Banquet, 
honoring our father, Bruce Glover, 
at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
L-R: Linda, Moi, Nancy, Neil

May 2012-Celebrating my parent's 60th Wedding Anniversary, 
South Haven, Michigan
Bottom to Top of Stairs: Linda, Moi, Nancy, Neil

Although our family is spread throughout the United States, Linda in Texas; Nancy in Washington; Neil in Alabama; and myself in Michigan I still have fond memories of the times we spent as children growing up together and family dinners with our own children.  Yes, there have been ups and downs as most families can attest too, but no one knows me like my siblings do, warts and all.

Happy National Siblings Day, Linda, Nancy and Neil.


Follow Friday: Genealogist on a Journey Blog

Rebecca Walbecq is one of our newest Geneabloggers!  Welcome, Rebecca! Rebecca's blog is Genealogist on a Journey.

I first learned of Rebecca's blog when I was looking at the blog roll at Geneabloggers with my daughter for a presentation she was working on. I noticed that there were two "Journey to the Past" blogs: mine and Rebecca's.

Since my social media guru daughter was with me at the time I asked her what her thoughts were on it. Should I let Rebecca know about it or not?  We talked about it and decided I didn't need to do anything about it, just let it go for now.

Later, I posted on a Facebook page and asked what they would do if they found there was a blog with the same name as theirs.  One of the responses prompted me to buy my own domain. I went with google domains and purchased the domain name, Journeytothepastblog.com.  I didn't want any problems with using just Journey to the Past, because of the connection to the movie, Anastastia.

It wasn't until I saw the list for New Genealogy Blogs for the week of March 28th , at Geneabloggers, that I decided to contact Rebecca. I was thinking about it and decided I would want to know if I had the same blog name as someone else. This is what I wrote to Rebecca:

Hi, Rebecca, Congratulations on your journey with genealogy blogging. I just wanted to let you know that I have a blog by the same name, Journey to the Past. I don't know if that matters to you or not, but just wanted to let you know. The only thing I could think of is that those looking for your blog may end up on mine because I have been blogging for 5 years now. If you are curious you can check my blog out at www.journeytothepastblog.com Again, congratulations and I hope you are as successful in your journey to the past as I have been in mine. Sincerely, Brenda Glover Leyndyke

Rebecca emailed me back and said she was changing her blog name to Genealogist on a Journey.  I want to extend a big welcome to Rebecca and encourage all my readers to go to Rebecca's blog, Genealogist on a Journey .  Rebecca has a wonderful start to blogging.  She includes her blog as part of her website, myfamilyconnect.weebly.com.  She has surnames, pedigree charts, her father's line, mother's line, DNA information, links, a place for readers to share information, a discussion forum, and contact information on her website.  Rebecca has places to connect with her on social media sites, as well.  It is a well designed website and blog.

Please give Rebecca and her blog, Genealogist on a Journey, a warm welcome to the world of blogging. I agree with Rebecca when she says that genealogy is a journey.

Caspar Graf's Immigration Record-Where is His Wife, Mary?

08 April 2015

Why can I find the arrival of Caspar Graf, but not for his wife, Mary?  I have scoured the records to no avail. Were Caspar and Mary married in Germany or the United States? I have looked at marriage records in Germany, New York, and Indiana? Where are you hiding Mary?


Source: "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," database, Ancestry.com, Entry for Johan Casper Graf, arrival date 18 Nov 1859.

Johan Caspar Graf, age 34, male, merchant, of Hannover, traveled from Bremen, Germany aboard the ship Roland, mastered by Hermann Wieke. He arrived at the port of New York on 18 November 1859.  The country which he intends to be a inhabitant of is New York. I believe this is not Caspar's original trip to the United States for reasons I list below.

Also, on the ship manifest is Johan Georg Graf, age 32, and Anna Graf, age 24.  The other information for Georg and Anna is the same as Caspar.  I know through other research that Caspar had a brother, Georg. This manifest does not have Mary or any children on it.

The next year in the 1860 United States Census records, I find Caspar Graf (transcribed as Grove), living in Harrison, Miami county, Indiana with his wife, Mary, age 25; and children Caroline, age 7; Philippina, age 5; Jacob, age 3; and Philip, age 1.

Information gleaned from this census record, which may or may not be accurate, shows that Caspar and Mary were born in Bayern; Caroline in New York; Philippina, Jacob, and Philip in Indiana. Using that information tells me that Caspar, Mary and Caroline were in New York by 1853.  They have moved to Indiana by 1855 at the time of Philippina's birth.  I looked without success at the 1850 U.S. Census Records for Caspar and/or Mary.

Complicating the research further is that Caspar dies in 1869, leaving me with only the 1860 Census record for Caspar. I have Caspar's baptism record, though.  He was baptized 19 October 1827 in Rockenhausen, Pfalz, Bavaria with a birth date and place of 14 October 1827 in Katzenbach.

The 1870 Census complicates things a little because it shows Mary living in Harrison, Miami, Indiana with her children: Caroline, Philippine, Jacob, Philip, Henry, George, Valentine, and Elizabeth, all children born in Indiana! After I get over my admiration of Mary for being a widow and raising eight children, I go to look for more information.

The 1880 Census has Mary living in Harrison, Miami, Indiana with Jacob, Philip, Henry, George, Valentine, Elizabeth, and Henrie Ettie.  Henrie Ettie is age six and listed as a daughter.  This is a problem for another day, with Mary's husband dying in 1859. Again, all children born in Indiana. This is consistent for the six children who were in the previous census.  Mary dies in 1898, leaving me with the 1880 Census as the last one Mary is found in.

Caspar and Mary's first born child, Caroline, who I am trying to find out where she was born, hoping it will lead me to more information, is not in the house at this time.  The next thing I do is look for a marriage record. Caroline Graf married Charles E. White on 21 March 1871 in Miami county, Indiana.  Since the record was an index only one, I need to find the original record and see if her birthplace is listed.

Further searching shows marriages for Caroline and Charles White's children.  One states her mother was born in New York and another says Indiana.  I will not give up, I will not give up.

I know I have only touched the very basic sources for Caspar and Mary Graf by using the census, marriage and death records.  I can surmise that their daughter, Caroline, was born in the United States, probably in New York or Indiana.

How does this help me with my original question of finding out when Mary Graf immigrated?  It gives me a time frame of pre-1853 to look at.  I need to find out when Caspar and Mary were married as well.  Was it in the United States? or Germany?  Another Graf researcher states Mary's maiden name as Wrightweasner, but I cannot confirm this.  I can't even find that surname in any research. I have done.

This show the best and the worst parts of why I love genealogy.  I love the puzzle that it provides and working on putting all the pieces together, but it is frustrating to have conflicting information in so many records.

What are my next steps?  This is where I am asking my readers to weigh in. What would you do next?  Please leave a comment and together we will find Caspar and Mary?  Oh, and while I am at it I would love to confirm Mary's maiden name!





Military Monday: John Richard Watt's WWI Draft Registration

06 April 2015



Source:  "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," [database on-line], Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 July 2014), entry for John Richard Watt; order number 91638; United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

John Richard Watt was the oldest son of David Watt and Catherine McGee Watt, my paternal great grandparents.  He registered for the World War I draft in the registration of 12 September 1918.  He was living in Tacoma, Pierce county, Washington at the time of his registration.  

John Watt was born in Marquette, Michigan on 23 August 1883. According to John's son, Warren Watt in "Stories from My Life", John left Marquette in 1904 after serving as an apprentice at Lakeshore Engine Works. He worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad in Washington until 1918. September 1918, the time of the above registration, finds John working as a Machinist for Washington Machinery Depot in Tacoma, Washington.  John lists his wife, Agnes, seen in the picture with John, on his draft registration.  John was tall and slender with grey eyes and brown hair. 

Draft registrations are one of my favorite genealogical finds.  I like the detail provided.  I have pictures of John Watt, but if I didn't I could get a picture in my mind with the descriptive details provided on this record. 

Dickson Township, Michigan One Room Schools

03 April 2015

The school information in this post was compiled from information obtained at the Brethren Heritage Museum, which is managed by the Brethren Heritage Association, Brethren Michigan.

The Brethren Heritage Museum has been a wonderful source to discover more about the early days of Brethren Michigan.  My ancestor's, Valentine Graf and Johann August Fredrick, families were early settlers of the area and their children attended one room school houses. 
 
Valentine Graf Family, date unknown

Valentine Graf and his family arrived in Dickson Township, near Brethren, Manistee county, Michigan around 1900, after the 1900 Census was taken. He settled on property on what is now, Graf Road. Valentine's family, at this time, included:
  • Nancy Mast Graf, his wife
  • Henry Jerome Graf, born 1890
  • Franklin Ernest Graf, born 1891
  • Daisy Ellen Graf, born 1892
  • Mary Ann Graf, born 1894
  • Maggie Jane Graf, born 1899
Two more children: Nina Belle Graf, born August 1901, and Martha Beulah Graf, born August 1905 were born after their arrival in Michigan. 

J. August Fredrick Family in 1922

J. August Fredrick had settled in nearby Manistee by 1875.  He bought his property on Coates Highway, near Brethren, in 1901. August's family consisted of:
  • Louise Zastrow Fredrick, his wife
  • Emma Louise Fredrick, born 1876
  • Otto August Fredrick, born 1878
  • Augusta Fredrick, born 1880
  • Mary Fredrick, 1884
  • William Arthur Fredrick, born 1890
  • Alma Fredrick, born 1893
  • Leonard Fredrick, born 1897
The first school in Dickson Township was in 1880.  It was known only as "Log Cabin School".  This would have been before my ancestors time in Dickson Township.

Brethren School #1, circa 1902-1907

Brethren School #1 opened in 1902.  The above picture shows the school and children attending it.  I believe some of my family has to be in this picture.  I have looked at it with a magnifying glass many times, but I am not able to name which ones are Grafs or Fredricks.

If a child attended school from the age of five to about thirteen, which many rural children did at the time, I believe the following children would be attending the Brethren #1 School in 1902: 
  • Graf Children: Henry (12), Frank (11), Daisy (10) and Mary (8)
  • Fredrick Children: William (12), Alma (9) and Leonard (5)

Brethren School #2, date unknown

Brethren School #2 replaced the #1 school in 1907, because of the growing school age population. The Graf and Fredrick children and ages in 1907 would have been:
  • Graf Children: Henry (17), Frank (16), Daisy (15), Mary (13) and Nina (6)
  • Fredrick Children: William (117), Alma (14) and Leonard (10)
I have an early picture of my grandmother, Daisy Graf, as a teenager and by comparing the pictures, she might be the one in the very back row, in front of the door, second from the left, but I can't be positive.  

Brethren School #3, circa 1917-1921

By 1917, most of the first generation Graf and Fredrick families are too old to attend school.  There were possibly three, Nina Graf (16), Martha Graf (12) and Leonard Fredrick (15).  Brethren School #3 was divided into two classrooms.  This school was only in existence for four years, until 1917, when the school district voted to consolidate schools and closed all the one room schools.  The faces on this picture are almost impossible to see, even with a magnifying glass.

The map below shows the One Room Schools in Dickson Township, Manistee, Michigan.  My ancestors attended Brethren School #1, #2, and #3, which are Numbers 2, 7 and 10 on the map. Those schools were on the corner of North Coates Highway and North High Bridge Road, at the four corners of Brethren, Michigan. Today, the old consolidated Brethren School Building is still standing on this spot with renovation efforts underway.


The Graf family lived on Graf Road, between N. High Bridge Road and the curve of Graf Road.  The Fredrick Family lived the next road up, Coates Highway, between Graf and Leckrone Roads, after the curve.

No one is left in the family to tell stories about their time in a one room school house, but I am sure if they were they would tell a very different story from what my education was like.