I have bits and pieces on one branch of my family gathered by my father’s first cousin, Thelma. She sent Dad a packet of information including copies of letters and other random documents. Few of them have any sources attached. With some, a little research may lead me to the source. With others, all I have is a (poor) photocopy of a clipping, maybe from a newspaper, or perhaps from some other source. Some items are translations from German-language documents, with no indication the translator’s identity.
The genealogy professional in me cringes at the lack of sources for these documents, but the great-great granddaughter in me needs to share with my siblings and cousins the tiny bits of information I have about our intrepid ancestors who braved an ocean voyage to settle in a land where they didn’t speak the language and came with only a few resources. They bought land and started businesses. They raised families, and educated their children. Because of their courage and tenacity I am where I am and who I am today.
I only recall meeting Thelma once. She was a sweet and kind lady. The summer after I finished graduate school, my husband and I set off from San Rafael, California on an epic 10,000 mile trip across the country, and one of our stops was in Webster, New York, Thelma’s home and my paternal grandfather’s birthplace. I didn’t want to impose so Mark and I headed to Thelma’s for dinner only after setting up our tent in the local campground, knowing she couldn’t insist too hard that we stay the night with her if it would mean leaving our belongings unattended overnight. As we drove into the campground after a lovely dinner and a skunk crossed our path, I had a twinge of rethinking our strategy. What were we in for?!!!
Alas, I was young and foolish and not the least bit interested in genealogy. Oh, if only we’d agreed to stay the night and I’d had the chance to hear all the family stories Thelma had to share…
Below is one document from Thelma’s packet to my dad. A 17-line faded clipping written in German, printed in gothic type accompanies the translation. It appears to be the obituary of my great-great grandfather, Johannes Springer.
“Brother Johannes Springer of Kappeln, state of Bavaria, died in Liverpool, New York on October 3 in his 42nd year. The one who passed away looked for and found about 14 years ago the forgiveness of his sins by the blood of the Lamb. Also, since then he has been a devout member of our church, beloved and respected by everyone in the community. Sickness over the years had a few times before brought him close to death. This time nerve fever caused his death. He lived as a Christian and endured his burden as it is expected of a believer. He passed away peacefully and blessed in Christ Jesus. His widow, three minor children, four brothers and sisters, and many relatives mourn his death. May the Lord comfort all with his healing grace.
A note on the page beneath the translation says “Above is the translation of the German account of Great Grandpa Springer’s death. Louise Sutter has the original clipping.”
What I know and what I have discovered so far:
I will continue to research this family and share what I discover with my family and friends I welcome input from any cousins who want to join in on the fun!.
 Cemetery listing for Liverpool Cemetery, Liverpool, Onondaga, New York found at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyononda/CEMETERY/Liverpool_Cemetery.html Note, the FindAGrave memorial 23987756 for him lists a death date of 3 October 1864, but he appears with his wife and three children in the 1865 New York Census in Salina.
 1865 New York State census, Onondaga County, New York, Salina, p. 36, dwelling 281, family 284, John and Margaret Connell; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 August 2016); citing Census of the state of New York, for 1865. Microfilm. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. Note, although “Frank” is identified as a male, she is actually a female, my great-grandmother Frances who later married Charles Conrad Kircher of Webster, Monroe, New York.
 1870 U.S. census, Onondaga County, New York, population schedule, Salina, p. 13 [penned], dwelling 110, family 110, Louisa Springer; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 April 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1061.
 Cemetery listing for Liverpool Cemetery, Liverpool, Onondaga, New York found at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyononda/CEMETERY/Liverpool_Cemetery.html
 "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZXK-96L : 14 July 2016), Nicholas Springer, Liverpool, Onondaga, New York, United States; citing enumeration district ED 193, sheet 235B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0906; FHL microfilm 1,254,906.
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.