Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Oklahoma Wildifires - Hoag Genealogy

This passed two weeks has  been a nightmare for the residents of Dewey County, Oklahoma as the Rhea fire raged across from the west to the east. My elderly aunt has a farm in Dewey County and lost her home of 73 years. 
She is the eldest of seven children and was the original family genealogist.  For many years her attic was filled with her research and memorabilia she kept after her parents passed away. She also used chest freezers that no longer worked to keep her research safe from the elements.  Several years ago at a family reunion, my cousin and I visited with her about all these records.  She wanted them to go to the only male Hoag in the family.  Fortunately, not long afterwards she gave it all to him. I am eternally grateful, for if she had not, all would be lost.  
The house as it caught on fire.
All that remains are ashes.
Dewey County, Oklahoma after the fires.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Remembering Grandma Hoag

This weekend I will be celebrating a milestone birthday. This day always brings to mind the memories of my Grandma Hoag. She lived on a farm in Oklahoma with her husband, Mitchell William Hoag and her seven children. They raised chickens, hogs and cattle and grew wheat and hay crops. My mother was the youngest of the seven and didn't like farm chores; "slopping through the muck to the barn" was the least thing she wanted to do.

Her name was Mary Steinmetz and she was born in Pond Creek, Oklahoma in 1899. Her parents were immigrants from Russia. I have always wanted to learn more about the land and customs of her parents, my great grandparents.   Her eldest brother, John, was the only child to come to America from Russia. They buried several other children in their ancestral homeland.
Mary's parents were John (Sr.) and Anna Catherine (nee Hergert) Steinmetz. They enter the United States through the Port of Baltimore in September of 1892. In 1970 Mary wrote a narrative of her family history. This is an excerpt from her story:

This is a family history of John Steinmetz (Sr.). His parents were Adam and Marie Elizabeth (nee Kester) Steinmetz. There were farmers and lived near Saratov, Russia near the Volga River. They lived in villages but went outside the village to farm the land which the Czar had issued to them for their use. Their capitol was Moscow. Their ancestors had migrated from Germany; therefore, their language was German although the Russian language was spoken in various places. Only the Catholics and Lutherans were allowed to build churches; however, prayer meetings were allowed in the village homes.  Through these meeting and Bible reading, people became Christians and later adopted other faiths 
 The Steinmetz and Kister families were probably among the original founders of the mother Colony of Walter which was established August 25, 1767.
My aunt inserted the italic statements into her mother's story after her death. My aunt was the first family genealogist and researched her lineage to join NSDAR and Mayflower Descendants.

Adam and Marie's son John was born on July 13, 1863 at Bruenendale (sic), Russia. His fiance' was Anna Katherine Hergert who was born Jan. 11, 1865 at Bruenendale (sic). They were married in Dec. 26, 1882 at Moore Village, Russia. Their minister was Rev. Julius Holtz. In Russia the parents did the match-making. Weddings always meant celebrations and most of them were performed during the long winters because there was time for leisure and sleigh rides.
Brunendale is a reference to the daughter colony of Brunnental founded in 1855. It was centrally located in the Volga Colonies approximately 18 kilometers east of the Volga River.
John and Anna's first child was a son who was born on Oct. 17, 1883. Since it was the custom to name the first son after the father, he was named John. Later in life he added an H for Henry to distinguish himself from his father, John. 
Soon after the birth of John (H). John (Sr) entered the armed services. He served there for five years in the Russian army without any compensation. His duties were cook and housekeeper for an officer.  The Czar did not think it was necessary under their laws to compensate or pension soldiers.  After completing his term of service, he was released in the summer of 1888 
 A daughter, Katherine, was born on June 24, 1889. There was quite an epidemic of smallpox at this time and consequently Katherine died Jan. 24, 1890. However, John H survived. Amelia was born prematurely on February 16 of that same year (1890).  She died two days later, Feb 18. A son Jacob was born on Dec. 21.1891. He died six days later on Dec 27.  
 Mother Anna Katherine had two brothers, Jake and George Hergert, who had come to the USA prior to 1891. George lived a Woodbine, Kansas from 1877 to 1894 when he moved to Pond Creek, Oklahoma. His older brother Jake joined him at Woodbine in 1886 and then moved to Albert, Kansas about 1890. She also had a brother who was farming with his father in Russia. George sent him the passage money to come with his family to Woodbine, Kansas. He refused to come so John and Anna Steinmetz decided to come to America because they had read in letters that there was an opportunity to become a land owner there. After several weeks sailing the stormy Atlantic Ocean they landed in Baltimore, Maryland on Sept 16, 1892. They lived in an empty box car for several weeks because they were quarantined.  The had to be vaccinated for cholera and stay long enough to see the reaction. Since no illness nor side effects developed, the box car was coupled to a through train to Woodbine, Kansas near where George Hergert lived.
In all the records I could find, Katherine was always written as Catherine. John Steinmetz filed on a claim in Oklahoma and was able to realize his dream of land ownership.

My grandpa Hoag passed away when my mom was twelve years old on a cold snowy night coming home from a school board meeting. The doctor presumed he had a heart attack before getting stuck in the snow. Grandma Hoag passed away on my thirteenth birthday, so she always comes to mind as the annual day approaches.

You can learn more about the Volga Germans through the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and The Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University in Portland, OR. You can also find them on Facebook.

I have never been able to determine which part of Germany they lived in prior to their migration to Russia.

I love genealogy, there is always something more to find!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Gregory Family Living in Kansas City 1900 to 1960

The Gregory family livedin the Kansas City metro area from 1900-1960. I love maps and thought it would be interesting to map there addresses as found in the census and other documents using the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collections. A tutorial on how to use these maps is available in PDF format.

I chose the map above  based on the 1930 Federal Census entry for Leonard L Gregory in Kansas City, Jackson County, MO.  They are enumerated at 3206 East 23rd Street, between Waldron Ave and College Ave. This house is no longer standing when you look at Google maps. There is a business built where this house once stood. 
In 1940 Federal Census the Gregory family is living at 2320 Chestnut Ave. This home is located a few blocks West of their location in 1930. The house is in the middle of the block. The house is still standing today and can be seen using Google maps. 
Leonard was living with his parents at 1715 College Ave in the 1900 Federal Census.
Leonard's mother passed away in 1904 and he went to live with his aunt and uncle in Iowa. By the 1910 Federal Census they had taken Leonard to Skowhegan, Somerset County, Maine.  This was the home state for his uncle, Orrin Moore.
Leonard returned to Kansas City and joined the Army in 1913 at the age of 17.  He sister, Pansy, was appointed guardian since he was under age and the whereabouts of their father was unknown to them. He served for five years as a private in the field artillery unit according to his WWI draft registration paper.  He moved back to Kansas City and married Virgie Snoddy in Jackson County, Missouri on 3 Feb. 1917. 
Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas is his location when he filled out the draft registration form on 5 June 1917. 
When he registered for the second WWI draft, 12 Sept 1918, he was back in Kansas City living at 1006 Harrison.
By the 1960s this family was living on Flora Ave. I don't know how many times the family moved; however they stayed within the city of Kansas City in Jackson County and didn't move more than a few blocks.
All of these locations are found on this one map from the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Collection.

Maps are a great tool for genealogy research!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mapping Railroad Migration Routes for Louthan Family

Using the maps found on David Rumsey Map Collections
I plotted the possible route that my Louthan ancestors could have taken from Columbiana County, Ohio to Linn County, MO.  I used four maps:
I marked the locations they lived in with yellow.  The railroad routes are followed with a color that stands out. The Louthan family is first found in Beaver County, PA across the state line from Columbiana County. After(?) the death of Hiram Louthan the family left Colubiana County. The father of his wife (Harriett) Edmund Hayes moved to Washington County, Ohio.  I do not know if he moved first and Harriett followed or if Hiram in fact moved to Washington County before his death.  Hiram was in the 1840 census and earlier tax lists but I haven't been able to find him since 1840 in Columbiana or Washington County.  I also do not have clarification on his burial. Harriett, now Ormiston, and three of her four children show up in Washington County, OH in the household of William Ormiston in the 1850 Census. The eldest son, Oliver Louthan is living with the Cope family. I believe Harriett's sister or niece  married a Cope. After the Civil War, William Harriett and their children along John and Anna Jane Haddow Louthan and Oliver and Elizabeth Vernon Louthan moved to Linn County Missouri.  They crossed Indiana and Illinois to get there. 
They could have crossed Indiana as shown on this map.

And then across Illinois as shown on this map 

 They moved to Northern Missouri so I chose Hannibal as the destination to cross the Mississippi River. The railroad does go to Linn County.  I stopped marking their path here because family lore states they took a covered wagon from Linn County to Barber County, Kansas. The map below doesn't have roads on it only shows waterways. I would need to do a lot more research to figure out how long this journey would have taken.  I rode a steam engine on vacation and learned they travel 10 -20 mph.  Taking into account they followed the rivers and streams so they could take on water, the routes were not straight.
Kansas and Missouri 1869 map: 

This map from 1884 shows the railroads and roads across Missouri.  John and his second wife, Mary Ann Hale Louthan, left Missouri about this time. Anna Jane died in 1881 and is buried at Purdin, MO. John and Mary's first child died and is buried in Mumford Cemetery, Barber County, Kansas. I am not aware of the route they took across Missouri into Kansas.

They resided in Barber County until the Land Run into Oklahoma Territory. There they homesteaded in Major County where many descendants still reside. John and Anna Jane had three children survive to adulthood while he and Mary had nine children survive to adulthood.

It could also be that the Louthan family traveled by covered wagon from Ohio to Missouri. Or perhaps on the waterways of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. I need to research these other travel options. 

There is always more to learn and placing my ancestors into the context of history brings them into perspective.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Mobile Society: Is it really more mobile today?

I wonder if my ancestors moved as much as I do.  Seems I move every five years or so for my spouses job. I am between places of employment so this is the perfect time to do some more research and the history of travel from 1800-1900 is going to be my focus. I am aware it is faster to relocate today than it was 200 years ago, but swiftness didn't appear to a factor in migration. Who doesn't dream of carving out their own place in the woods or mountains?

My ancestors lived in New York in the 1700s but they didn't stay there.  As the West opened up they loaded up their belongings and moved West. Some stopped in Ohio and others moved on West into Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.  One spent a brief time in Iowa, between censuses of course so I cannot track him. 

I can only imagine the weeks or months of preparation.  The head of the household would often go first and find the place to build a home. After some time had passed he would go back and bring his family along. Sometimes the son ventured west with friends or business associates. All of them were looking for new opportunities. 

The hardships my ancestors endured on there sojourn is something I can only conjure up in my imagination. I didn't have to load a covered wagon, hitch the team and drive for days to arrive in my new destination city. No one died along the way or suffered illnesses. I didn't have to gather firewood, build a fire or cook a meal along the trail. I certainly didn't have to live on hard tack and soup.

I plan to plot on a map the route that each of my ancestors may have taken to arrive at their ultimate destinations. I have purchased tiny colored dots that I plan to use to designate each surname. I will need to research what common trails of their day existed and also consider they may have traveled by river part of the way. I know from census records when and where my ancestors were in a particular location. So I have points to plot on the map, I need to figure out the route they took. The National Parks System is a good place to begin. Here is a map of the historical trails. I have found or down loaded many county histories for the places my ancestors lived. I think I am well prepared for this journey. 

In America most of my ancestors settled in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. The boundaries changed as new states were formed so I need to plot their location and see if they moved or if the boundary changed; county and state boundaries evolved over time as land was added or taken away by Congress.

This should be an interesting endeavor!



Monday, May 22, 2017

Seeking Royal Hazelton

It's been a long dry spell here on Ancestry Search since I have been working on other projects, namely sewing a quilt top. I have set it aside for the moment as I received an email from Sue about our common ancestor, Royal Hazelton. The affidavit signed by Royal's son, Thomas, states that Royal died aboard ship at Baton Rouge, LA. Nancy Browning descendant of Mary Ann Hazelton states that her grandfather William LeRoy Browning, who lived 1879-1981, wrote that Royal died in Panama. Traveling with him at the time was a family name Britain. G E Briton is found on ship manifests that I found on  An R H Hazelton did travel to San Francisco in 1879. I don't know who he is or how he fits. Royal is reported to have died in 1851. His widow received a land patent in Polk County, Iowa after his death.

I love a mystery! The best resource I know of for online newspapers is Chronicling America.  I searched for the terms "California Gold Panama" in Louisiana Newspapers from 1850-1851. I received a lot of hits and the nice thing about these articles is they list the name of the ship, the passengers aboard and where they were headed and if someone died along the way, it tells that too! Chagres is the port in Panama where the ships sailing from New Orleans were headed and then they had to cross over to the other ocean and board a ship to San Francisco.  It will take some time to read all the newspapers I can find. Stay tuned!

If you know of other non-subscription sites, please comment below.