I am a descendant of my ancestors. The best way I can honor them is to take care of their descendants. Because of that sacred task, I am afraid we have had to cancel our trip to “bring my ancestors home.” Hopefully at some point we will be able to take that special trip.
Einbeck, Goslar, Mittenwalde, Mackenson, Kapellen, Clingen and all those other places will still be there when the time is right.
There are many reasons to think about attending an institute course. Here are my Top 5.
What are your favorite things about institutes?
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Disclaimer – The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy has provided me a discount on my SLIG 2020 tuition for my participation as a SLIG ambassador.. The opinions expressed are my own.
In nine days, I leave for a three-week trip to explore one quarter of my ancestry. (As I read that sentence I see a lot of numbers – is there any doubt I’m an accountant?!)
My paternal grandfather, Charles Arthur Kircher, came from good German stock. All four of his grandparents came from Germany. He knew three of them, and was lucky enough to live near them into his 20s.
My dad’s cousin Thelma had done some work in the 1970s compiling some family information. Thelma had a few documents created in Germany including a marriage record, details from a couple of baptism records, and a Prussian passport from Carl Conrad Friedrich Kircher and his wife Wilhelmine Rosine Auguste Frühauf, my great-great grandparents. Their oldest son, Charles Conrad Kircher was Grandpa Charlie’s father.
Thelma didn’t have quite so many records on Charlie’s maternal grandparents, Johannes Sprenger and Caroline Louisa Hartman, and little in the way of specific locations, but she had some brief stories about her parents and grandparents growing up near Syracuse and Rochester, and names of some family members.
From Thelma’s notes I had baptism locations for Carl and Auguste. Carl’s stated location was close to the actual place and Auguste’s was spot on, down to the church in Berlin where she was baptized. In the last couple of years, I’ve done some pretty thorough detective work, and found baptism records for the other two, Johannes and Louisa.
And in nine days, my husband and I, joined by Carl, Auguste, Johannes and Louisa – in spirit (and photographs if not actual flesh and blood) – will embark on an adventure to take them back to homes they left a century and a half ago.
Meet my ancestors...
Carl Conrad Friedrich Kircher, born 17 November 1821 in Clingen, Schwarzburg, Sondershausen; died 1 February 1899 in Webster, Monroe, New York.
Wilhelmine Rosine Auguste Frühauf, born 8 June 1822 in Berlin, Brandenburg; died 8 May 1897 in Webster, Monroe, New York.
Johannes Sprenger, born 30 January 1827 in Kapellen, Bergzabern, Pfalz, Bayern (Bavaria); died 3 October 1867 in Liverpool, Onondaga, New York.
Caroline Louisa Hartman, born 3 June 1834 in Mackensen, Einbeck, Hildesheim, Hannover, Preussen; died 1 May 1905 in Union Hill, Monroe, New York.
And one more bonus picture of Louisa... I believe the above picture was taken in her "widow's weeds" after Johannes passed away. I have a tin-type showing her in happier days with one of her children. I'm not sure of the identity of baby, but I'd like to think it's my great-grandmother, Franklin Abelone, Sprenger.
Read along in the coming days and weeks as I share my plans and discoveries.
 Evangelishe Kirche, Diözese Sondershausen, “Kirchenbuch fur die Stadt Sondershausen enthaltend die Listen der Gebornen und Getauften 1821” [Church book for the city of Sondershausen containing the list of the births and baptisms 1821], p. 69-70, no. 107, Carl Conrad Friedrich Kircher, birth 17 November 1821; filmed at Staatsarchiv, Rudolstadt; digital images, “Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1813-1846,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/154757 : accessed 26 February 2019) > Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1821 > image 44 of 611.
 Monroe County, New York, Transcript of Death, issued 13 June 2017, Charles Kircher, (1899 death); citing unidentified information on file; Office of Vital Records, Rochester.
 Sophien Evangelish Kirche (Berlin, Brandenburg, Germany), “Geborne und Getaufte 1822” [Births and baptisms 1822], p. 42, no. 490, Wilhelmine Rosine Auguste Frühauf, born 8 June 1822; filmed as Sophien, Berlin, Brandenburg, Baptisms Evangelish, Vol. A837, Vol. I-III, 1822-1825; digital images, “Kirchenbuch, 1712-1874,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/285217: accessed 26 February 2019) > Taufen 1822-1825 > image 49 of 542.
 Monroe County, New York, Transcript of Death, issued 13 June 2017, Augusta R. Kircher, (1897 death); citing unidentified information on file; Office of Vital Records, Rochester.
 Evangelish-Reformierte Kirche Drusweiler, Taufen [Baptisms], Vol. 9, 1812-1839, unpaginated, 1827, no. 10, Johannes Sprenger, birth 30 January 1827; Family History Library microfilm 1,457,537, item 8.
 John Springer, burial details, ID no. 2902, “Cemeteries,” Onondaga County, NY USGenWeb (https://sites.rootsweb.com/~nyononda/cemeteries.html : accessed 24 November 2018). Website has links to two transcriptions of Liverpool Cemetery. “Liverpool Cemetery from James” shows plot-owner information.
 Detlef Bähre to Mary Kircher Roddy, e-mail, 25 February 2019, “Re: Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Kircher 1789 birth record at Kirchenbuchamt on Hildesheimer Str.,” Personal Correspondence Folder, [(E-ADDRESS), & ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Seattle, Washington, 2019. Note that a Find A Grave memorial indicates a birthdate of 3 June 1836. See Find A Grave, (http://findagrave.com : accessed 7 December 2018), memorial 25418634. Louisa Bauman (1836–1905), and digital image of Union Hill Cemetery (Webster, Monroe, New York), Louisa Bauman gravestone; memorial created 21 March 2008 by Russ Pickett, photograph added by Diane Schinsing Burlee. The baptism record found by Detlef Bähre close to the time of birth is more accurate.
 Monroe County, New York State death certificate no 1905-114, Louisa Bowman; Department of Public Health, Rochester.
When you register for a course at one of the institutes such as the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), plan ahead. Think about what you will do before and after to make the most of the education. If you plan ahead, you can prepare your mind to have as many hooks as possible on which to hang your new learning. And if you make in a point to schedule some follow-up on the course, you’ll go a long way toward cementing that knowledge in your brain.
As an example, I once took a course in genealogical documentation. In the months before the course, I worked on writing up an article, a case study with many examples of conflicting evidence. I had over a hundred source citations. I knew which types I could do pretty well with, those I struggled with, and too many where I had absolutely no idea what to do or how to do it. When I arrived at the institute my mind was primed with questions. With everything the instructor said I had at least some idea of how I could apply it. There were several “Oh, that’s how you do that!” kind of moments where I learned solutions to fix the problems in my case study. My preparation, writing my article, installed hooks in my brain to which I could attach my new-found knowledge.
With another institute course, “Gothic Script and Fraktur,” at SLIG 2019, I also prepared a bit. I made myself some flash cards and word-lists. But I also planned on some follow-up learning. I was lucky enough to return to Salt Lake City for research a few weeks later and I focused my research efforts almost exclusively on working on my German ancestors. Practicing over and over what Herr Bittner had taught us with my own family helped to make that education stick. I also attended the International German Genealogy Conference five months after that SLIG course. Though the conference sessions covered much more than script records, the examples in presentations I attended provided continuing practice for my new SLIG skills.
When you sign up for your next institute course or attend a conference, think about what you will do both before and after to maximize the value of that education.
For more about opportunities at SLIG, click here.
(1) - Evangelishe Kirche, Diözese Nordhausen, “Verzeichniss der Aufgebotene und Getrauten in der evangelischen Gemeine St. Blasii im Nordhausen im Jahre 1820” [List of the banns and marriages in the protestant community of St. Blasii in Nordhausen for the year 1820], p. 71, no. 2, marriage of Kircher and Schönemann, 30 July 1820; filmed at Staatsarchiv, Weimar; digital images, “Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1805-1874,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/149328 : accessed 26 February 2019) > Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1808 (St. Blasii) Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1810-1812 (St. Blasii) > image 56 of 815. Note, the FamilySearch description of the date coverage on the film is incomplete.
I recently ran across a graduation address, presented at a high school in New York. It captures the thoughts of a young man, on the verge of adulthood, beginning to make sense of the world and his place in it. In a few months he’ll be off to join the freshman class at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The Prevailing Discontent
Probably there is no one here tonight who does not know that the majority of our people are discontented. They are dissatisfied because their business is not profitable enough, their homes are not like those of their friend, their government is not carried on as they would have it, and their neighbors are not as good as they ought to be. In fact, they are dissatisfied with everything and everybody. So general is this feeling that perhaps there is not a person here tonight who is not more or less discontented with his present conditions and surroundings.
Would it not be profitable to spend a moment to ascertain the extent and causes of this feeling of unrest and discontent? The American people more than any others are affected by this feeling. In some ways it is a decided advantage to us. It spurs our ambition and prevents us from becoming slothful and indolent by keeping before us the examples of those who surpass us in business success. But is there not danger of carrying this feeling too far? There is such a thing as reasonable discontent as well as reasonable ambition. And at present it seems as if we are being seized by a very unreasonable spirit. On every side we hear the same cry of the tyranny of the rich and the privations of the poor. Why are the people so loudly complaining? Let us see if there are any good reasons for this clamor. What complaint do the different classes of people make?
The farmer is constantly complaining because the merchant or some other class of people are getting the best of this world. If he doesn’t make a certain sum of money each year, he thinks he would be better in the city. He does not realize that his table is furnished with the best that the soil can produce. He forgets that about four months in each year he has scarcely anything to do and that he is the most independent of all the different classes of people. He overlooks all this and considers his difficulties only.
The inhabitants of the city see the poor farmer come to market with a load of produce for which he receives a few dollars that he has probably earned three or four times over and thinks the man must be getting rich because he raises all he eats and does not have to pay house-rent.
But the city man sees the agricultural occupation in a different light than the farmer himself. He thinks the farmer has time to go fishing whenever he doesn’t feel like working because he is his own boss. He doesn’t see the seamy side of the farmer’s life. He never had to crawl around in an onion patch or a strawberry lot like a caterpillar or to take a day or two every little while tending potato bugs. Whenever a city man tries farming he generally goes back in a year or two quite satisfied with city life.
The common people read of the money which the Standard Oil Company and Sugar Kings are making but they do not realize that oil and sugar are much cheaper now than before the monopolies were formed. Nearly every person would join a trust if he could. The laborer joins the labor union to control the price of wages and if there was only a possible chance the farmers would build one of the greatest monopolies yet known.
The immigrants who are constantly being unloaded at our shores have a great deal to do with the dissatisfaction of our people. They work for less wages and therefore throw our people out of employment which not only makes them poor but gives them time to see someone who is acquiring wealth faster than they are. As a rule these immigrants are not of the best class but are criminals or some who were too lazy or quarrelsome to get a living where they were. They had the idea that if they could but reach America they would live like kings and their wives like queens, and being disappointed in this they straightaway turn anarchist and labor agitators.
Our people see their money lavishly spent by the government, for instance in the post office department the government pays to the railroads an average of 8 cents for the transportation of a pound of mail 448 miles. Besides renting 5000 postal cars for $3,600,000 annually which could actually be built for $2,000,000 and would last twenty years. Which the express companies carry milk a distance of 396 miles to New York at 1/6 cent per pound returning the cars free of charge. When the nation’s money is spent at this rate there is some reason for the people to be dissatisfied.
Much of this trouble is due the newspapers. Years ago these were scarce and people knew nothing of what the rich were doing. They did not hear of large balls upon which more money is expended than many a farmer sees in a lifetime. They knew only of what themselves and their neighbors possessed, and were satisfied with their condition.
Instead of looking at the true causes of this discontent people who are afflicted by this trouble can think of no other one to blame except the president and the prevailing political party. They think the political leaders sympathize with the rich men of the country and the monopolies and by taking advantage of this feeling as far back as many of us can remember, the leaders of the principal parties have succeeded in making the people believe something different each presidential election.
Yet no party satisfies us and we are no better off. The American people are today more prosperous than any other nation and although everything is not always as it should be even in America, instead of continually grumbling at our short comings why not spend more time in the enjoyment of the blessings which we already possess.
Charles A. Kircher,
Oration at the Webster (NY) Union School commencement, 22 June 1897
As you read the commencement address, did thoughts run through your head as to when it might have been written? (The money paid by the express companies to ship milk might have been a giveaway…) From the envelope in which I found these words I knew exactly when and why this address was presented. But the sentiments expressed are strikingly contemporary. With but a few changes, this exact same address might be given at any high school commencement in any city in America in the coming few weeks.
I was particularly struck with the author’s impressions of immigrants. Three out of the writer’s four grandparents were living at the time, joined by a step-grandfather on his mother’s side whom he had known his entire life. All four were 1850s-era immigrants, three from Germany and one from Switzerland. All his grandparents had come to America in their 20s. Many of the neighbors of his grandparents’ generation, the farmers in Webster on the eastern edge of Monroe County, were German immigrants. Their accents alone would have been a dead giveaway these people were immigrants. Did Charles see his grandparents and their contemporaries and anarchists and agitators? It’s doubtful.
Reading the thoughts of my grandfather reminds me again why I love genealogy so much. Though we may change our clothes or our hairstyles, the human psyche does not change. We as humans share the same hopes and dreams for our children and grandchildren, the same competitiveness against our neighbors and colleagues, the same fear and suspicion of “the other” as has every generation that has come before us. Every bit of history I read seems to reinforce this notion.
That’s not to say that individual attitudes might not develop and change as a person grows and sees more of the world. I know by my 18-year-old grandfather’s words what he believed in 1897. I only wish I could pick the brain of the same man in 1950, after all he saw in the ensuing 50 years. I look forward to engaging in such discussions with him (and his grandparents!) some day when I make it to heaven.
A few weeks ago I blogged about how to translate German newspapers on Newspapers.com.
Today, someone on facebook asked a similar question, but her paper was on GenealogyBank. I knew enough to know that if you can type a name in the search box and get a hit, somewhere behind the scenes there must be a little squirrel in a cage who matches what you type with the OCR files. But where the heck is that squirrel hiding on GenealogyBank? So I asked…
Yes, those live chat opportunities on your favorite websites can be a great source of info. I asked “Mike” at GenealogyBank and he didn’t know the answer, but got back to me a while later via email. And yes, it’s doable!
Find the article you want on GenealogyBank. I’m using a German-language paper, because generally I can read the English ones, but I need help with the German ones.
My target article is the one in the red box. I can read enough of the Fraktur font to know the first couple of words in my article are “John C Horstmann gestorben” and the last words are “Pastor Otto Buess amtirte.” That will be important…
Right click anywhere in that white header at the top where my red arrow is pointing. You’ll get the dropdown box shown. Click where it says “View page source.”
Get ready, folks… it’s not pretty. You can see the little gray bar on the right, showing how long this page is. And the entire thing is filled with this little teeny tiny print. Ugh.
But Ctrl+F is your friend. That will bring up a search box. Use that to search for one of the words in your article. I figured “John” was probably on the page a lot, “Christian” not so much, so I chose that.
GenealogyBank highlighted all the instances of “Christian” in yellow, so it was pretty easy to spot the one I wanted. Interestingly, though the newspaper page is laid out in columns, the OCR goes article by article. (I haven’t experimented enough to know if this is always the case, but for this example it definitely worked. Fingers crossed for your searches.) So it was pretty easy to highlight the whole article I was looking for. (Remember where I told you above that knowing the first few and last few words of your article would be important? Now you know why!)
I pasted that text into a Word document. I also put a clipping of the article in the Word document (as an image). When I click on the article image, Word brought up the Format tab. On that I clicked on the “Wrap Text” icon and selected “Tight.” This put the image and the copied text right next to each other.
There were a few errors in the text, but surprisingly not as many as I anticipated. But with the article image and the text right next to each other, it took me a only few minutes to clean it up. Once I had what I thought was correct, I copied that and pasted it into GoogleTranslate (https://translate.google.com). And I had my translation!
I know, I know, GoogleTranslate is not perfect, but it’s perfecter than I am with my rudimentary German skills. And it’s fast. I can quickly get the gist of the article and determine if it’s of interest.
So that’s my quick trick today to translate those pesky funny-font foreign language newspapers. I hope it helps you discover more about the stories of your ancestors.
 “John C. Horstmann gestorben,” Die Gasconade Zeitung (Herman, Missouri), 28 January 1921, p. 2, col. 4; digital image, GenealogyBank (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 8 April 2019).
Sometimes I blog because I want to share a story with my family and friends. Sometimes I blog because I have a cool technique I think other genealogists might benefit from.
And sometimes I blog just so I will remember that cool technique. Two days ago I spent hours trying to find a 19th century map of a tiny place in California, searching for the location of a land claim. Eventually I stumbled on a website that got me there. And then this morning, I realized I’d located the wrong property in the wrong location and I wanted to recreate the search to find the right location. And for the life of me, only two days later! I couldn’t remember how I did it. It took a while, but eventually I found what is hopefully the right 160 acre parcel for Mr. X.
Immediately after, I decided I needed to write down my search strategy so in two weeks or six months when I’m once again search for maps I won’t have to recreate the wheel. And I thought I’d share with you my process and screen shot so you, too, can peek into your ancestor’s 19th century life. . (And if I need a refresher in how to do it, I can just find this blog post!) Here goes….
4. Right-click on map location to select Map Township
The site has highlighted the township. NOTE: - not every township is clickable. I tried to right click on the township immediately to the south of the desired township and I got the message shown just above the map “We could not map a land description for the requested location.”
I did those same steps for a different location, this time in Amador County, and you can see I was able to right click and "Map Township" for 2 different townships
My initial click was the township on the left, but I decided I really wanted the one on the right. So now I have 2 maps I could look at. How do I know which is the right one? Well, I could rely on the fact that I clicked on the one I really wanted last, so it’s at the bottom of the list, or I could read the description which read:
CALIFORNIA, Mount Diablo - Twp 007.0N Rng 010.0E
CALIFORNIA, Mount Diablo- Twp 007.0N Rng 011.0E
I can recognize that Rng 011 is higher than 010, so further east. That's the one I want.
5. Right click on the orange “Search” button. That brings up this screen in a new tab.
Pro tip: The BLM site drives me a little crazy. If I back up a tick or two, it winds up back with a waaaay zoomed out view of the entire US and I have to click and move and zoom and pan just to get back to the little teeny town I was looking for. If I right click, that view stays open. So if I have the option on this website for any button, I ALWAYS right click!
On the above screen I could look at land patent documents. But that’s not what I’m after…
6. Instead click where it says “Surveys” to get this view:
This gives me several things I can look at. I want the first one, the “Original Survey.” (But at some point I'm sure I'll circle back and look at what else might be available.)
7. Click on the yellow plat image button to bring up this view.
I find this screen really hard to navigate around, with those blue arrows.
But in the lower right on the green band at the bottom there are a couple of buttons, including “PDF”. Click on that and it will spin for a minute while it generates the pdf –
And eventually say the pdf is ready for download.
If you left click on the word “DOWNLOAD”, it will overtake the window with the pdf, but if you right click on it, it will open the PDF in a new tab. Like I said, always right click.
I now have a map I can read all at once, move around in, and most importantly download to my computer for future reference.
These maps are so detailed I can “walk” with my Great-great grandfather John Fields as he left his home in Amador City to visit the grave of his dearly departed wife Mary. Maybe he stopped in at Tucker’s House for something cool to drink. And on his way home he passed Rosie’s field and Rosie’s vineyard, noticing the grapes ripening as summer wore on. The tiny details on this 145 year old map are a window into my ancestor’s world. Which ancestor are you going to shadow in these maps?
I recently posted about how to translate German books. Today I saw a post on the "German genealogy & cultural history" Facebook groupabout how to translate from Newspapers.com. I wanted to know, too, so I figured out a solution.
It’s pretty simple. Find an article you would like to translate on Newspapers.com.
Click on the “Clip” icon above the newspaper page and draw a box around the article you want to translate.
After you’ve selected your text, click on the blue “Clip”.
A window will pop-up prompting you to “Share” or “View Clipping”. Click on “View Clipping”.
That will revise the view to show only the clipped portion.
Notice underneath the article the words “Show article text (OCR)”. Click on that. Voila! the text magically appears.
It is not perfect. I’m sure there are errors in this text. I can see an “i”, possibly because my clipping included the vertical lines on the left and right of the article. There could be other glitches, as there often are with Optical Character Recognition (OCR), depending on the quality of the image, but at least I have something.
Now I can copy the transliterated text and paste it into GoogleTranslate. , GoogleTranslate is not perfect, either, but hopefully I can get the gist of the clipped article. If I want a better translation I can hire a translator to translate the original article.
Pretty quickly I was able to be able to roughly “read” this foreign language article. What foreign language newspaper are you going to search first?
I was looking at DNA matches on Ancestry. A good match, 65 cM, came up. But when I looked at the details on my list of matches, it said “Tree Unavailable.”
When I clicked on the match name, I got to this next screen. You can see at the bottom where it says “The connected family tree is private” and it gives me a button to click to contact the match.
But up at the top, where my red arrow is pointing, I can once again click on the name to get the Member Profile for Match. Once I scrolled all the way down on that screen, below “Recently Added Content” I can see that Match does indeed have an Ancestry Public Member Tree.
Sometimes you have to dig to find the trees, but if Ancestry “shuts the door” with a “Tree Unavailable” message, be sure to walk around the whole “house” and peek in all the windows to see if you can’t find a tree hidden on the Member Profile page.
Sometime in the 1970s my dad’s first cousin Thelma Wooster Van Alstyne typed up some genealogy information on her great-grandparents, immigrants from Germany. Her two reports provided information on my great-great grandparents, two immigrants couples, Charles Kircher and his wife Augusta Frühauf who met and married in Germany before emigrating, and Johannes Springer of “Kappeln” in Bavaria and his wife Louisa Caroline Hartman of Hanover, Germany, who came to America separately and were likely introduced to each other by common friends in Syracuse, New York. Thelma’s charts gave the birth, marriage and death dates for these couples and all their descendants she knew about at the time she prepared the charts. In addition to the charts she wrote up a dozen or two paragraphs of “Notes” on each couple. There is not one source cited on any of the notes or descendancy pages.
Thelma must have had some documents. There are photocopies of some records from Germany for the Kirchers, including an 1849 passport from the Royal Prussian States and a couple of documents reporting on baptisms which were likely provided by the couple to the pastor who married them. Thelma had the documents transcribed and translated. With some of the other documents I only have copies of the translations, and no idea where the original documents are. God bless Thelma for doing as much as she did. Without it, much of the history would have been lost.
I’ve tried to go back and prove what Thelma had in the trees and notes. Most of it was accurate, at least to a degree. I have not found a Kappeln in Bavaria, but there is Kapellen, and using microfilm and digitized records from the Family History Library I found Johannes Sprenger’s baptism record. In fact, for three of those four immigrant great-great grandparents, I found original baptism records, and in several cases I’ve been able to work back another generation or two (or more!) on German soil.
But one of them had me stumped. Louisa Caroline Hartman of Hanover. Hanover is the name of a city, as well as a former kingdom, in what is now Germany. It is neither a small nor a very specific place.
Here’s all the information about Louisa I had from Thelma’s “Notes on the Springer Family”:
Johannes Springer had four brothers and sisters.
The Hartmans in Germany had money. Louisa’s parents didn’t want her to come to America, so she probably didn’t get any of the family’s money.
The Springer’s in Liverpool were poor. Grandma (Frances) and Aunt Amelia used to pick up sticks for fuel near the salt mine.
Relatives in Liverpool and Syracuse: Hartmans (Nellie, Fred, Nick, Amelia Hartman Klassi), Getmens, Bauers (Mrs. Bauer was a Hartman).
The descendency chart started with:
LOUISA CAROLINE HARTMAN M. 1st JOHANNES SPRINGER
B. June 3, 1836 (Hanover, Germany) B. 1835 (Kappeln, State of Bavaria)
D. May 1, 1905 (Buried in Union Hill) D. Oct. 3, 187- (Age 42) Liverpool, NY
Hanover... Ugh. But the notes listed some Hartman cousins in Liverpool and Syracuse. Nellie, Fred, Nick and Amelia Hartman Klassi. I like that Klassi name – unusual enough to hopefully be easy to find. Sure enough, found an obituary, “Mrs. Frank Klassi Dies at Daughter’s Home.” The article title is wrong, but the text is just what I was looking for:
At the residence of her daughter, Mrs Frank Klassi at No. 16- [?] Strong avenue yesterday occurred the death of Mrs. Abbie Frech Hartman, aged 73 years. Surviving her are three daughters, Mrs John L. Bauer, Mrs. Frank Klassi and Miss Nellie Hartman of this city and a son, Fred G. Hartman of Newark, N. J. Funeral services will be held privately at 2:30 o’clock tomorrow afternoon and burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery.
As I searched more for this family I discovered through census records and obituaries the patriarch was Frederick August Hartman. (I think Thelma might have been slightly off listing Nick as a Hartman. He appears to be a cousin on the other, Springer, side. Nick Springer and Sarah Gettman were children of Johannes Springer’s brother Nicholas who lived next door to Louisa and Johannes in Liverpool.)
The pieces began to fit together. Louisa Hartman Springer’s daughter, Franklin Abelone was baptized on 14 June 1857 in Liverpool. Her godparents were Frederick Hartman and Abelone Hartman. Cousins. Godfather. Yes, Frederick Hartman was beginning to look a lot like he must be Louisa’s brother.
I ordered both Frederick and Louisa’s death certificates. Not cheap to get New York vital records, but surely one of them would tell me the parents’ names and the birthplace in Hanover… And the records came! Louisa was born in… Germany. Her father was Anthony Hartman, born in… Germany. Her mother was Mollie Hartman, born in… Germany. Louisa was 68 years [months and days not givene] at her death on 1 May 1905. Not exactly the specific details I hoped for.
What about Fred? Fred’k A. Hartmann, died 19 May 1902 at age 79 years, 3 months and 25 days. He was born in… Germany. He’d been in the US 55 years. His father was Anton and his mother was Amelia, both from… well, you know… Germany. But at least there was some math I could do. I calculated a birthdate of 24 January 1823. If, of course, the unnamed informant on the death certificate knew what they were talking about.
The details on the two certificates meshed well enough. Anton and Anthony seemed a solid fit. Mollie is not a far stretch as a nickname for Amelia. Both Frederick and Louisa named daughters Amelia.
And there things sat for a year and a half. I tried to work on the problem off and on. My attempts to find a marriage record in Liverpool for Johannes and Louisa met with stonewalling from the likely church where the baptisms of their children and probably their marriage occurred. I reached out to distant cousins, looking for a family bible which might say something. No bible, but my “new” cousin Amy had a fabulous photo album from Louisa’s daughter, Amelia. The album contained several Hartman pictures, including one of Abelone Frech Hartman with all her children, and one of Frederick and Abbie together.
But I’m afraid with the scant clues I had: - aprobable birthdate for Fred, first names for parents but no maiden name for Mama, a Kingdom comprising about 14,600 square miles (roughly twice the size of New Jersey), - and little in the way of online records, I just didn’t have the stamina to tackle that problem. So many ancestors, so little time…
In January I took a class at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) from Warren Bittner, Baerbel Johnson and Daniel Jones on reading Gothic Script and Fraktur. It was a delightful experience, one of the most fun weeks of learning I have ever had. Five days of “code breaking” flew by, not one moment feeling like work. But now I have the confidence to take on those “chicken scratch” records which used to scare me to death.
A couple of weeks after SLIG I had to go back to Salt Lake City for some meetings, and I built in some time for more research at the Family History Library. I was getting a bit of help from Daniel on a few bits I couldn’t read in a couple of records. Herr Bitter was there as well and I couldn’t resist sharing how excited I was about my new-found skills. I sat next to him later in the day and he worked at one computer and I at another, but every once in a while he offered a little advice on this or that. I saw him at the library several more times in the next few days. (I do hope I wasn't too much of a pest.)
My Hartmann problem in the back of my mind, I thought I’d see if Warren had any ideas. I guess I was right about the size of the problem. When he asked who I was looking for and I said “Frederick Hartman in Hannover,” his response was a brief two words. “I’m sorry.”
But a little later he wanted to see what I had on him and I showed him the 1855 New York census for Frederick in Syracuse. It showed he’d been in Syracuse 5 years. He was married and living with his in-laws who reported being in Syracuse 3 years, so it pointed pretty strongly to an immigration year within a couple of years of 1850. Warren said, “Why don’t you look for a passenger list for Frederick. You might find a few, you might find a lot. But it’s worth a shot.”
Yeah, right, I thought. My experience with passenger lists has rarely been fruitful. I don’t know the name of the ship my guy came on, I don’t know when, I don’t know if the list for the ship he did come on survived, I don’t know if it was microfilmed… or indexed… or digitized. Was it legible enough that the indexer could come up with a reasonable approximation of the name? If it made it through all those hoops would it say anything more than “Frederick Hartman, age 25, laborer from Germany?”
Below is my “typical” passenger list. The columns are: Number on the manifest, Name, Age, Gender, Occupation, The country to which they severally belong, and The country in which they intend to become inhabitants.
The name, age and gender columns at least have a bit of variety. The other three are laborer, Germany and U.S. of America. Even a 2-month-old baby on the next pages was a “laborer.”
So, no… I didn’t jump right on Warren’s suggestion. But after a few more days of research, I’d exhausted the questions on the other “findable” lines and so I thought I’d at least give it a shot. I searched in Ancestry’s New York Passenger Lists database for a Frederick Hartman arriving in 1850 +/- two years. I got only 20 hits, so not too many to go through. Some I could immediately throw out based on the passenger’s age. Only one had a birth year of 1823, so I checked that one first. The Columbus arrived 6 April 1850 from Bremen. What I saw on that list had me drooling.
The column headings might be a bit hard to read due to the ink splotches, but they are: Name, Last Dwelling Place, Occupation, Age, Destination, [no heading, but the entries show number of boxes of possessions] and Sex.
Look at those letters! Thank you D. Meyer, Master of Columbus. You are my hero! Your second grade teacher who taught you that beautiful penmanship is my hero, too!
So what do we have here? Frederick Hartmann, from Makensen, a farmer, age 27, uncertain about his destination, one box, male. Next line, Caroline Hartmann, [ditto, also from Makensen], 22, destination Pitsville [?], 1 box, female. Could this be Louisa Caroline? She’s a little old from what I know about Louisa, but if she subtracted a little in her later years (many women did) and added a few on this manifest (maybe she worried about appearing too young to support herself, so she tried to be a little older) she might be within range to be Louisa. But I’m pretty sure Frederick and, Caroline aren’t a married couple because they’re not going to the same destination. And look at 8, 9 and 11 lines below Caroline – Wilhelm Benzinger, Matthias Zimmermann and August Zimmermann – all three of them are going to Syracuse, where Frederick wound up.
Imagine if you will, a ship full of people, lining up to give super scribe, D. Meyer, their particulars. Frederick really can’t decide where he’s going but there’s a trio just a bit behind him in line, all of them talking up the many opportunities of Salt City and Frederick is convinced. Do I know this is really what happened? Nope. But hey, it makes sense, right?
I really like this passenger list. I could find it. It is legible. It has really specific information like Makensen and Syracuse. I sooooo want this list to be mine!
Allow me a little digression… When I was a kid, I chewed a lot of Bazooka bubblegum, the pink stuff with the comics inside the wrappers. Often hard as a rock, but enough spit and you could get a pretty good chew. I cannot tell you much about the comics. But one, for some obscure reason, has stuck with me the last 50 years. Bazooka Joe is on his knees beneath a street lamp, clearly looking for something. His friend offers to help. Next frame his friend asks if this is where Joe lost his thingamabob. “No,” says Joe. “I lost it over there.” “Then why are we looking here?” “The light’s better over here.”
I feel that way a lot in genealogy. Some record isn’t from where my ancestor was from, and it’s probably not them, but the “light” is better on the record. It’s legible. It’s got places - “Makensen!” and “Syracuse!” That is some great light! It just HAS to be my people. Please, please, please, genealogy gods, can this be my people? Pretty pretty please. The light is so good on this one.
Well, I have absolutely no idea if the Hartmanns on the Columbus are my people. But Warren has given me the name of Detlef, a researcher in Hannover, who used to work at the Landeskirchliches Archiv Hannover. I’ve already emailed Detlef about a baptism record on a family in Einbeck, maybe he could look for a Mackensen record, too. So I gave Detlef those details, and crossed my fingers.
Three days ago I heard back from Detlef. The microfiche from Mackensen was horrid, difficult to read and not worth taking a picture of. But it was legible enough at least to find some relevant entries. He found two baptisms on that crummy microfiche. Two children of Heinrich Anton Hartmann, a Schumacher [shoemaker], and his wife Johanne Amalie, born Schollens. Friedrich August Hartman, born in Mackensen 24 January 1823. And Johanne Dorothee Caroline Hartmann, born in Mackensen 14 March 1828. Frederick’s was exact date calculated from his death certificate. That informant did know what they were talking about!
Caroline’s baptism name doesn’t include the name Louisa. The birthdate is consistent with the Columbus passenger Caroline Hartmann, but the birthdate does not match Thelma’s details on Louisa Caroline. I think this might be another sister. My experience with my German families indicates children are often christened with three or even four names. The “first” name is often the name of a godparent, but the child may be called by one of the other names. When you’re doling the names out three-to-a-kid you run through them pretty quickly, so often the “extra” names are used for multiple children. So Louisa Caroline’s baptism record is still waiting for me to lay eyes on it, but I’m pretty darn sure I’ll find it in the parish registers of Mackensen. Can’t wait!
 A note on the names – the records in Germany use the spelling “Sprenger.” In America they use “Springer.” I will use the Springer variant unless I am talking about a record which uses Sprenger.
 Liverpool is a small town on Lake Onondaga, northwest of Syracuse, where Johannes and Louisa settled.
 “John” Sprenger died 3 October 1867 in Liverpool. His gravestone says he was 42 years old. This is close to the baptism record I found for Johannes Sprenger, born 30 April 1827, son of Jakob Sprenger and Elisabeth Scheib in the church register for Drusweiler, FHL microfilm 1457537
 “Mrs Frank Klassi Dies at Daughter’s Home,” Syracuse Post Standard, 3 December 1909, p. 7, col. 3; digital images FultonHistory (http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html : accessed 22 February 2019).
 Monroe County, New York, death certificate no. 114 (1905), Louisa Bowman; Office of Vital Records, Rochester.
 Onondaga County, Verified Transcript from the Register of Deaths, Register no. Vol. F, p. 101 (1902), Fred’k A. Hartmann; Office of Vital Statistics, Syracuse.
“Hannover,”GlobalSecurity.org (https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/de-hanover.htm : accessed 22 February 2019).
 “Size of States,” State Symbols USA (https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/national-us/uncategorized/states-size : accessed 22 February 2019).
 Utah Genealogical Association, SLIG - https://ugagenealogy.org/aem.php?eid=36
 “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, Ancestry (http://ancestry.com : accessed 14
December 2018), manifest, Bark Davenport, 9 May 1849, page not numbered, lines 125-130; citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), microfilm publication M237 (1820-1897), Roll 79. age 2 months; citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), microfilm publication M237 (1820-1897), Roll 87.
 “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, Ancestry (http://ancestry.com : accessed 8
February 2019), manifest, Columbus, arrival 6 May 1850, page 1 > New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 > Roll M237, 1820-1897 > Roll 087 > image 451.
 Ibid, pg. 3, image 453.
 According to Meyersgaz.org, the standard spelling is Mackensen.
 Detlef Baehre, Hannover, Germany [(E-Address for private use)], to author, email, 19 February 2019, “Re: Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Kircher 1789 birth record at Kirchenbuchamt on Hildesheimer Str.”
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.