29 August 2023

A Sister's Death Certificate Furthers Ancestor's Research

"Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1946," Index and Images, , Michiganology (www.michiganology.org : accessed 1 May 2021), Entry for Amalie E. Engelhuber, 24 Dec 1930; Michigan Department of Community Health, Lansing

It took me the longest time to find the parents of my great grandfather, Johann August Fredrich. I found the names of his parents by researching his sisters that were named in his obituary.

The above death certificate is for Amalie (Fredrich) Engelhuber, J. August's sister. The informant was Amalie's daughter, Mrs. Charles Schoedel, Mae. The parents are listed as John Fredrich and Susana Koenig. The baptismal records of the children list the parents as Christoph Fredrich and Susanna Koenig. I am guessing the father might have been Johann Christoph, but until I see proof of that I use Christoph.

Amalie Fredrich was born 14 June 1842 in Prussia. She married Leonard Engelhuber on  27 January 1873, in Manistee, Michigan. Her death was 24th December 1930, in Saginaw, Michigan.

Don't rule out siblings when researching your ancestor, you may find what you have been searching for through one of the siblings.


27 August 2023

My Great Rivers of Europe Adventure

If third's time a charm, what is the fourth time called? My husband and I had planned on taking a once in a lifetime trip for our 40th Anniversary, in 2021. We decided to take a Christmas Market river cruise along the Danube in December 2020. We would travel from Nuremberg, Germany to Vienna, Austria. Well, a little thing called COVID 19 got in our way. The trip was cancelled. Okay, no big deal. We wouldn't want to travel during a pandemic, we would wait until 2021. 

We signed up for the same Christmas market tour in 2021 and one week before our trip was to happen, Austria closed its borders and Germany followed soon after because of Covid. Dang! 

My husband and I talked and we thought maybe it would be better to travel in the Spring when we could be outdoors more. The river cruise company was offering a Springtime in Belgium and Holland tour. Perfect! There was even one day where we would be close to where Kirk's ancestors lived. I was going to hire a guide to drive us around South Holland. Covid didn't get us this time, but Kirk's heart did. We had to cancel our trip so Kirk could get treated for Atrial fibrillation. The cardiologist felt he may have gotten it due to his second covid vaccine. Who knows? The doctor wouldn't clear him to travel.  

Luckily, we had trip insurance for all three reservations and we weren't out any money, but we had to use the money before December, 2023. We looked over the trips available and decided on The Great Rivers of Europe tour. It was a 16 day river cruise that started in Amsterdam and ended in Vienna. It was kind of a combination of the three trips we didn't take, minus the Christmas markets.

It was a glorious trip. We traveled the Rhine, Main Danube Canal, and the Danube Rivers with a short time on the Mosel. The cities we stopped in included:

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Leaning Ladies in Amsterdam

Cologne, Germany

Koln Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

Koblenz, Germany

Pieces of the Berlin Wall, Koblenz, Germany

Winningen, Germany

Winery Tour and Tasting

Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg Schloss

Wertheim, Germany

Museum in Wertheim

Wurzburg, Germany

The Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge) in Wurzburg

Rothenburg, Germany

Rothenburg Tower and Walls

Bamberg, Germany (No pictures)

Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg Rally Grounds

Regensburg, Germany

One of the entrances to  Old Town Regensburg

Passau, Germany

St. Stephen's Cathedral where we heard a pipe organ concert.

Melk, Austria (No photos)

Vienna, Austria

Riverboat Adagio

We traveled with Grand Circle Cruise Line and a group organized by Travel with Scott and Curtis, in Kalamazoo. Most of the people in our group were from Michigan. Grand Circle hires program directors who are with you throughout the whole trip. There were four program directors. Ours was Bob, he was fantastic. Young and energetic with a great sense of humor. 

Bob, or Bop as the Germans called him, our group's program director

Grand Circle is known for its educational component of the trip. We met a lot of teachers on the boat. The program directors went with their group on every stop we made and talked about the history of the place we were. Each person had a set of headphones. On board activities included a trafficking discussion, glass blowing demonstration, apple strudel making experience, kitchen tour, Ukranian refugee talk, and more.

The Amsterdam Replica

Although, it wasn't a genealogy trip, there were times we were able to think about our ancestors. Kirk's father's family was 100% Dutch. I have never found them living anywhere other than the Netherlands until his second great grandfather immigrated to New York. One of the experiences we had on our time in Amsterdam was a canal boat tour. While on this tour we saw a replica of the ship "Amsterdam". The name sounded so familar to me, but we were in Amsterdam so I figured it was just that. When I got home I checked my research and saw that Kirk's second great grandfather, Marinus van den Bos, his wife Lena, and daughter, Neeltje, arrived at the port of New York on 12 March 1881 aboard, you guessed it, The Amsterdam. They traveled in steerage. I wish I had remembered that because we would have toured the replica. Oh, well, it gives us an excuse to go back, which I would enjoy doing.

The closest I got to where my mother's family came from, a small village near Rockenhausen in the Rhineland-Palatinate, was when we were in Heidelberg, Germany. Heidelberg is about an hour away from Rockenhausen. We took a bus from Frankfort, Germany to Heidelberg. The drive through wooded areas reminded me of Northern Michigan. 

I enjoyed all the cities we visited but I did have two favorites, Rothenburg and Nuremberg. Rothenburg was a medieval walled city. In Nuremberg, we got to see Courtroom 600, where the Nuremberg trials were held. I could write a blog post on each city we visited, but I won't bore you. I took over 700 pictures and editing them down to a few to make a Shutterfly book with was hard. 

It was after Nuremberg that things got hard. A lot of people were packed into the courtroom and no one was wearing a mask, me included. A day or so after Nuremberg I got a sore throat. I wasn't too worried because any cold I get starts that way, it moves to the ears, and then the chest and it is gone. This one went that way as well. Many travelers were having the same symptoms. Mine was mostly a cough. In Germany, you go to an Apotheke and talk with a pharmacist and they give you the meds they think you need. I needed a cough syrup. Of course, Kirk followed with similar symptoms a day or two later. We were tired and tried our hardest to make it through. We did quite well. We wore our masks. We didn't go to the after dinner activities as we needed our sleep. I forgot to set the alarm one night and we missed the bus to Melk Abbey. The only other thing we didn't go to was Bamburg. Kirk woke up in the morning and said I am not going anywhere today. I didn't feel comfortable leaving him alone so I stayed with him. 

Sacher Torte, one of the many excellent desserts on board ship.

It was a great trip and I am already looking at what other trips we could take with Grand Circle. They are a great company. The staff was exceptional, the food unbelievable delicious.

All the cancellations were worth it. It was a trip of a lifetime. We got home safely and two days later tested positive for Covid. Yes, it finally got us. I guess our 40th anniversary will be remembered as the Covid one, from start to finish. 

25 August 2023

State vs. County Death Certificate Differences, If Any

Marquette County, Michigan, death certificate no. Local File No. 69 (22 March 1945), David Watt; Marquette County Clerk Office, Marquette, Michigan.

I ordered and paid for the above death certificate before David Watt's certificate was available on Michiganology.org. The type written one above is from the Marquette County, Michigan clerk's office. The information was taken from their death records. The typewritten one is easier to read, but it is a derivative source, meaning it was transcribed from a previous record. 

There are only minor differences between the two records. 
  1. The Michiganology copy has a state file no. 252 4952, in addition to the local file no. 69. 
  2. The Michiganology copy has industry or business as D.S.S.&A Ry, meaning Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic Railway, the company David Watt worked for as an engineer.
  3. The Michiganology copy doesn't have the sex or race completed.
  4. The Michiganology copy has a more complete medical certification section.

"Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1946," Index and Images, , Michiganology (www.michiganology.org : accessed 1 May 2021), entry for David Watt, 21 March 1945; Michigan Department of Community Health, Lansing

One of the things I thought was interesting is that David's wife Catherine McGee Watt's name wasn't recorded on either copy. The informant was their son, Burt. I know he knew her given name later in his life. 

Other than David's wife's name not being recorded the information missing on the county copy isn't anything crucial to a researcher, but it is a good reminder to always check the original copy of any record you are seeking. Don't rely on someone else's transcription.

23 August 2023

1791 Elk Lick Pennsylvania Tax Records

If there are any records older than two hundred years available, you can bet they are tax records. Tax records, and land records, are some of the oldest records that genealogists can find in the United States.

Pennsylvania. Bedford county. "1791 Elk Lick Township." Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Call number 974.081B39TAE

That is true for Elk Lick Township in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, now in Somerset county. I was fortunate to find Elk Lick Township tax records for the years 1788, 1789, 1791, 1792, and 1793 at the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Now these tax records are available online at Family Search.

Pennsylvania. Bedford county. "1791 Elk Lick Township." Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana n.p.. Call number 974.081B39TAE

I have many ancestors that bought land and paid taxes in Elk Lick Township. Surnames include Beachy, Hershberger, Livingood, Maust, Forney, Schrock, and Seese. 

What good is it to know how much one paid in taxes? It may not be as important to know the tax paid as it is to know where your ancestor owned land and when. We follow our ancestors through the census every ten years, but if we can't find them in the census or it is 1890 then you can use tax lists to know their whereabouts in between the census years. In this case, before the every name census year(1850).

Was the county your ancestor owned land in a burned county? Some states required tax records sent to the state level. The example above shows the payment for state and county taxes. Other burned counties would ask tax payers to show proof of the tax paid. The govenment wants to make sure they got, or get, their money. No one wants to pay taxes twice. Hopefully, your ancestors saved their receipts.

What is the earliest tax record and where that you found for an ancestor?

21 August 2023

Research in the Great Lakes at the University of Wisconsin-Superior

Often times when researching the Great Lakes as a Michigander I am tempted to research only in Michigan because Michigan has borders on four of the five Great Lakes. If you do this you will be missing a lot of information that could be helpful. The states that border a Great Lake besides Michigan are New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Don't forget areas of Canada, too.

Wisconsin has a helpful resource in the Maritime Collection at the University of Wisconsin, Superior. The maritime collection has a wealth of information for those who would like to research maritime history.

The Maritime Collection at the University of Wisconsin, Superior is at the Jim Dan Hill library in Superior, Wisconsin. It's online presence is excellent and some research can be done online. Archivist contact information is included for further help.

What will you find in the Maritime Collection? Lots! Information on over 7000 ships, the shipping industry, ship blueprints, ports, shipping statistics, record books, ship log books, periodicals and newsletters, newspaper clipping files, publications, reports, manuscripts, and maritime links is available in the collection. The topic headings of each one of the above topics takes one to a separate page with more information.

The concentration of information is on Lake Superior, but there is a lot of information on the other four Great Lakes. The ports section has Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, Alpena, and even some Canadian ones, Sarnia, Windsor, and Collingwood to name a few. 

If you are researching Great Lake maritime history be sure to check out the resources at University of Wisconsin-Superior.