Thursday, February 23, 2017

Interview Your Elders

With the recent passing of my mother, I find a bit of solace in the fact that I spoke with her in the past few months regarding things she remembers about growing up in southeast Iowa. I encourage all genealogists to please, (Please!) set up a time to speak to the elders of your family. You never know how long they will be with you and they will almost definitely have more information about the era of their childhood than you know.

After my mother broke her hip back in August and she was on the road to recovery, I was reminded that as indestructible as she seemed, she would not be around forever. I asked her if we could spend some time talking about her memories. She was hesitant, but only because she didn't think she had anything important to say. In this case, she couldn't have been more wrong.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Passing of My Mother, Agnes Catherine Panther Miller

This past Saturday, at 12:20pm, while I held her hand and family gathered around, my mother passed away. She knew she was near the end and told everyone she could that she loved them. When the doctors detected a problem with her heart, they sent her to Lincoln to see a cardiologist. When she found out the news and she returned to Brookestone center in Columbus, Nebraska, she told the nurses who greeted her that she was back, but that she hoped it would be a short stay. Less than 24 hours later, she left us. She was a cheerful, fun, helpful and outgoing lady. Everyone that met her commented about what a neat lady she was. Her funeral services are scheduled for this Saturday, February 18. I expect the church to be filled with people who loved her to pay their final respects. Who was my mother? Let me tell you....

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Biography of Thomas Doran

There are three Tom Dorans in my family tree. This is the story of my great-grandfather.

Nancy Doran had come to America from Ireland some time in the previous ten years but did not arrive with the rest of her family. In 1850 she was living with her parents, brothers and sisters in Havorford Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. Her occupation was listed as weaver. Nancy was an unwed mother when Tom was born somewhere between 1853 and 1859, likely in Brooklyn, New York.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Müller Orphan Train Connection

The distant cousin that helped me with the discovery of the Müller family connections mentioned that he received some information from a Barbara Heise Grooman from Asheville, North Carolina. He didn't have an email address, physical address or phone number for her. I did a web search for her name and town and found snippets from two books on Google Books. The books were "Train to Red Cloud: A Small Boy's Journey" and "Journey's End: An Orphan Train Rider's Story". I found In the Journey's End snippet a good copy of the Müller family photo that I had only a poor copy from the Bixenman family history book.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Locations in Old Photos

I had this old photo of my parents and my two oldest brothers. Given their ages in the photo, I'd estimate it was taken in 1958.
So where was this photo taken? I see the house number of 3602. Unfortunately, that doesn't tell me much. Had I truly thought about it, which I didn't, I may have been able to find it. I recall my mother talking about how they lived for a time on 18th Street in Columbus, Nebraska. I just never bothered thinking about where this was taken.

Monday, December 19, 2016

How to Eat an Elephant - Part 2

In part one of this post, I talked about how to eat an elephant, one bite at a time. Move your enormous project along a little bit at a time and before long you'll be done. This really is the way I accomplish a lot of my genealogy and other goals. However, some people don't agree with that way of getting large projects done. They say, to expand on the eating an elephant analogy, that you'll soon get tired of elephant. Plus, once the dead elephant has been sitting around for a while, it begins to smell.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

How to Eat an Elephant - Part 1

Here's an old riddle for you. How do you eat an elephant? The answer? One bite at a time. The same thing goes for any seemingly impossibly large task.

What big tasks do you have that you'd really like to accomplish, if only you had the time or the ability to actually get it done? One task that can be massive is scanning in several large boxes of photos you got from your parents or grandparents. With all those hundreds or thousands of photos, how can you possibly get them all done?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Family Search - Iowa Death Certificates

When was the last time you looked at the records available at Family Search? If it's been a while, I encourage you to go and look at the collections available. To do this, go to Search, Records, then click the link "Browse all published collections". Then, if you haven't visited in a while, click on "Last Updated" to sort them by the last updated date, newest first. When I did this, I saw that they had recently added "Iowa, Death Records, 1921-1940".

I found scans of official death certificates for a large number of people in my genealogy database, including several that I had paid for official copies of previously, such as my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Dunzinger Panther, and great-grandfathers Tom Doran and Charles Miller.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Family Portraits

Some of my favorite pieces of family history documentation are family portraits. They literally let you see the family structure at a given point in time and give you perspective on the difference in ages between generations and let you see similarities between different family members and sometimes can show you the personalities of your ancestors. Here are a few family portraits. Some from my immediate ancestry and some from collateral lines.

First we'll focus on the Panther family. First up is the family of my great-grandfather, Alois Panther:
F: Veronica, Mary, Anna
M: George, Alvin Edward (Middle), Joseph, Elizabeth
B: Leonard, Benedict (my grandfather), Frank, Aloysius, Morris

Friday, November 4, 2016

DNA Testing and Distant Cousins

The story about my great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Dunzinger Panther is that she was born in 1854 in New York City and after the death of her parents when she was two years old, her grandparents brought her to live with family in Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa. I found her in the 1855 New York State Census as one of two children of Andrew and Fanny Dunzinger along with her sister Mary A. Dunzinger. It says she was born in 1854.

She's found in the 1870 US Federal Census living as a servant in Burlington in the Charles and Walburga Wagner household. I found her in the 1905 Iowa State Census where it states that she had been in Iowa for all except two years of her life.

Andrew Dunzinger is found prior to immigration to America, in Wemding, Bavaria, as is the Wagner family. So logic follows that this would mean that the family she was brought to live with would have been the Wagners.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Re-examine What You Have and What You Need

Not sure what to do next in your genealogical research? I know I was recently at the point that I kept reaching dead-ends. I couldn't break through a couple of genealogical brick walls and was making no progress. So what to do now? Rather than continue to hammer away at these impenetrable walls, I looked at my direct ancestors and the documentation I had for them. Surprisingly, there were several basic documents I didn't have. For example, I didn't have the 1920, 1930 and 1940 US Federal Census pages for several of them. Realizing this, I went to Family Search, and browsed through their home town, page by page, in order to find their entries.

To to this, go to Family Search, go to Search and click Records

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Surnames - Why Your Ancestors' Names Were Not What You Think They Should Be

I got to thinking about surnames and how many of the surnames of my ancestors did not follow the rule of children taking their father's last name and daughters changing theirs to their husband's last name when they get married. Because they didn't follow this rule, both of my grandmothers had last names other than what they would have been had their ancestors strictly followed this rule. Here is a list of the surnames that did not follow this rule and an explanation of how this happened.

It wasn't changed at Ellis Island - My great-grandfather, Carl Müller, and his brothers and sisters were all born with the surname of Müller. Previous family histories said that it was changed to Miller at Ellis Island or that he gave them the wrong name because he was hiding from the German military. While he may or may not have been hiding from the military, we know that his name change was not because of this and it certainly wasn't changed at Ellis Island.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ancestors of Maria Magdalena and Anna Maria Liebrich

This is part three of the results of my research of the ancestors of my great-grandfather, Charles Miller. These are the ancestors of his mother, Maria Magdalena Liebrich and her sister Anna Maria Liebrich. After Maria Magdalena died, his father married her sister, Anna Maria.

First Generation

1. Maria Magdalena Liebrich, daughter of Ludwig Liebrich and Maria Catharina Maier, was born on 30 Apr 1830 in Ohmden, Esslingen, Württemberg and died on 6 Feb 1865 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg at age 34.
Maria Magdalena Liebrich baptismal record
Maria married Johannes Handal. Johannes died July 6, 1851.

Maria married Johan Christian Müller, son of Christian Gottlieb Müller and Anna Maria Schach, in 1852.
Johan Christian Müller and Maria Magdalena Liebrich marriage record

Children from this marriage were:

i. Carl Christian Miller was born on 7 Oct 1852 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg, died on 20 Oct 1923 in Fort Madison, Lee, Iowa at age 71, and was buried in Fort Madison, Lee, Iowa. Another name for Carl was Charles. Carl married Philomena Bixenman, daughter of Benedict Bixenman and Crescentia Wolfgang, on 14 Apr 1891 in Wien, Chariton, Missouri.
ii. Christiana Friederika Müller was born on 12 Nov 1854 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg.
iii. Christian Luis Müller was born on 26 May 1856 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg.
iv. Maria Louisa Müller was born on 28 Oct 1857.
v. Luisa Friederika Müller was born in Sep 1859 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg and died on 25 Dec 1872 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg at age 13.
vi. Dorothea Fredricka Müller was born on 2 Aug 1861 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Baden-Wurtemburg and died in 1939 in New York, New York, New York at age 78. Dorothea married Christian Kurz about 1900. Dorothea next married John Gusenburger in New York, , New York.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ancestors of Johan Christian Müller

This is part two of the ancestors of my great-grandfather, Charles Miller. Here are the ancestors of his father, Johan Christian Müller.

1. Johan Christian Müller, son of Christian Gottlieb Müller and Anna Maria Schach, was born on 6 Dec 1828 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg and died on 21 Nov 1899 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg at age 70. Another name for Johan was Gottlieb.

Johan married Maria Magdalena Liebrich, daughter of Ludwig Liebrich and Maria Catharina Maier, in 1852.
Marriage record of Maria Magdalena Liebrich and Johan Christian Müller
Children from this marriage were:

i. Carl Christian Miller was born on 7 Oct 1852 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg, died on 20 Oct 1923 in Fort Madison, Lee, Iowa at age 71, and was buried in Fort Madison, Lee, Iowa. Another name for Carl was Charles. Carl married Philomena Bixenman, daughter of Benedict Bixenman and Crescentia Wolfgang, on 14 Apr 1891 in Wien, Chariton, Missouri.
ii. Christiana Friederika Müller was born on 12 Nov 1854 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg.
iii. Christian Luis Müller was born on 26 May 1856 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg.
iv. Maria Louisa Müller was born on 28 Oct 1857.
v. Luisa Friederika Müller was born in Sep 1859 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg and died on 25 Dec 1872 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg at age 13.
vi. Dorothea Fredricka Müller was born on 2 Aug 1861 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Baden-Wurtemburg and died in 1939 in New York, New York, New York at age 78. Dorothea married Christian Kurz about 1900. Dorothea next married John Gusenburger in New York, , New York.

Johan next married Anna Maria Liebrich, daughter of Ludwig Liebrich and Maria Catharina Maier, in 1866.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Descendants of Johan Christian Müller

This is the first of what will likely be three posts regarding my findings from my discovery of the origin of my Miller/Müller ancestors and relations in New York City and Germany. This is part 1, the descendants of Johan Christian Müller. Among his children was my great-grandfather, Charles Miller, who moved to Wien, Missouri and eventually to Fort Madison, Iowa.
 
Descendants of Johan Christian Müller

First Generation

1. Johan Christian Müller, son of Christian Gottlieb Müller and Anna Maria Schach, was born on 6 Dec 1828 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg and died on 21 Nov 1899 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg at age 70.

Johan Christian married Maria Magdalena Liebrich, daughter of Ludwig Liebrich and Maria Catharina Maier, in 1852. Maria Magdalena was born on 30 Apr 1830 in Ohmden, Esslingen, Württemberg and died on 6 Feb 1865 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg at age 34.

Marriage Record
Children from this marriage were:

+ 2 M i. Carl Christian Miller was born on 7 Oct 1852 in Nürtingen, Esslingen, Württemberg, died on 20 Oct 1923 in Fort Madison, Lee, Iowa at age 71, and was buried in Fort Madison, Lee, Iowa. 
 
Carl Christian's Baptismal Record