Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Biography of Johann Heinrich Kempker

Johann Heinrich Kempker was born on December 31, 1797, likely in Fürstenau, Kreis Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, in what is now Germany. It is unknown who his parents were. In 1830, at the age of about 32, he married twenty-nine year old Mary Anna Nichting. On September 9, 1831, his wife gave birth to a daughter, Maria Anna Kempker. His wife died the following year of unknown causes.

In 1833, he married twenty-nine year old Maria A. Hillman. On June 6, 1834, she gave birth to a son, Gerhard Heinrich Kempker.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Genealogy Conferences

I recently attended two genealogy conferences. Other than the local LDS family history day, I've never attended a conference before. So, what did I think and what are my thoughts about conferences in general?

If you had asked me prior to these conferences, I would have told you, "I'd like to get to some conferences but I just haven't had the time or opportunity." Now that I've gone, which I'm glad I did, my general thoughts about conferences are, "If you really want to meet any of the speakers, or if you have a definite interest in the exact subject of one or more of the sessions, or if you know others in the genealogical community and you'd like to interact with them, then it's worthwhile."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Learning About Their Lives

While I am, like all genealogists, thrilled when we discover the name of a new ancestor, one thing that has always made me smile is learning about actual events in their lives. Having the pertinent information down on paper helps you learn the facts about the events, but pictures allow you to really get a feel for what happened.

While going through my mother's photos, I found one photo album that contained some pictures I don't think I've ever seen before. I tend to believe it was the photo album that belonged to my grandparents, given the time-frame the photos were taken and the things in the photographs. Among the photos were a few from a sale my grandfather had when he sold off all his dairy cows.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Family Tree DNA MyOrigins

Family Tree DNA has revamped their MyOrigins. At first, I thought it was just in the way they present it. In actuality, it appears they've recalculated their formulas. Previously, Family Tree DNA MyOrigins told me I was 45% Scandinavian, 39% British Isles, 12% Southern Europe and 4% Asia Minor. I understood that to be telling me that my German genetics was actually due to the migration of population between Western Europe, British Isles and Scandinavia, as in the Anglos and the Saxons. The Southern Europe would be due to some Europeans migrated northward out of Italy and Greece through the centuries. Some of the British Isles would be from my Irish ancestry and the Asia Minor was the surprise of my yDNA haplogroup.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

What's Happening

I realize I've been quiet on the blog for the past month. This is because I just haven't felt up to trying to come up with a subject and none have just come to mind. What have I been doing? I've been busy working, scanning in some of Mom's old photo's, thinking about her, and have been busy with family. I suppose all the distractions are good for me at the moment but I look forward to getting some down time.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Old Miller and Doran Photos Scanned

I'll take this moment to remind you of the importance of scanning in your old family photos, especially if you don't know who they are! A cousin of mine had several old family photos, several of which she didn't know who was in the photo and one just made my day when I saw it. Here they are.

First, does anyone know who the lady in the fur collar is? The closest resemblance I can find is Grand-Aunt Crescence Miller. Crescence is shown in the hat. Are these two fashionable ladies the same person?

Known photo of Crescence Miller
Is this fashionable young lady also Crescence?

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