Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Will of Leonard Ziegelmüller

In posts found here and here, I discussed discovering the name of the mother of my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Dunzinger Panther. It ends up the surname had been in front of us for a decade or more but we had no idea that it was her last name. My second cousin has provided me with an additional piece of evidence that, had we known to look for it earlier, could have cut decades off of this search. It is the last will and testament of Leonard Ziegelmüller. In order to take advantage of this, I would have had to recognize that the last name in the headline of the newspaper article was definitely connected to her rather than believing another family the article discussed, which she was found living with in the 1870 US Federal Census, was her family. In the end, rather than providing us the breakthrough, it serves as additional evidence that what we have discovered is correct.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Reasons for Aloys Panther's Move to America

 My great-grandfather, Aloys Panther, and his wife Monica Hanle Panther, along with their oldest son, came to America from Baden in 1872. Why? I had speculated that the end of the Austro-Prussian War, the death of his brother and the death of two of his sons may have convinced him to try a for a new start in a new land. I believe his brother may have paid a return visit to his home town to convince him to follow him back to America.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

European Church Records at Matricula Online

There is a web site that contains images of church book images across mainland Europe, mostly in Germany and Austria but also including Poland, Netherlands, Hungary, Bosia-Herzegovena, and Luxumburg. The number of parishes included is amazing. The current count of churches included is nearly 6,000. This site is known as Matricula Online. It can be found at . If you have ancestors from these areas, be sure to browse their church book image collection.

I looked for churches my family is known to be from and sadly, none of them are there. I'm still excited to find this site. They state that their goal is to continuously expand the content of the site.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Missouri Death Certificates 1909-1969

The Missouri Secretary of State web site has a searchable database of images of death certificates for the state of Missouri from 1910 -1969. It can be found at . If you have anyone in your family tree that died in the State of Missouri between these years, I encourage you to search the database. Over a period of a few days, I searched my genealogy database for anyone that died in Missouri during these years. I didn't find every one of them but I did find 58, from just about every branch of my family tree. Several of these gave me new information such as parents, spouses and death dates that I didn't have before. Some causes of death I saw were burned due to a child playing with fire, to typhus, to electrocution.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Undocumented Family Trees - Seefried Ancestors

 In this post from August 2019, I talked about the transcription of the marriage record I found for my 2x-great-grandparents, Andreas Dunzinger and Anna Ziegelmuller. A few months later, I was able to obtain an image of the church book record. You can see that the transcription was an accurate representation of what was written in the record. It lists Anna's surname as Ziegelmilch and her parents as Paul Ziegelmilch and Victoria Seefried.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Newspaper Account of an Orphan Train

After learning about my grandfather's first cousin, Christian Müller, being sent to Nebraska on board an "orphan train" of the Children's Aid Society in 1902, I've been trying to learn more about it. I have so far found just one article in the "Red Cloud Chief" newspaper of Red Cloud, Nebraska. I found the articles below on the University of Nebraska website "Nebraska Newspapers". Here is the article found in the Friday, September 12, 1902 issue of this newspaper:

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Grimmelshausen and Christman Brandstetter

 Not long before finishing my ancestry research in the area around Ortenaukreis, Baden, Germany, I exchanged emails with a person who lived in the area. I provided a family tree to him and he commented that without doubt, my 8x-great-grandfather knew Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen. At that time, I know I recognized the name Grimmelshausen and I know I saw the death record for Grimmelshausen in my research, but since I didn't have a family connection to him, I hadn't looked too hard at it. Once I received this email, however, I started looking deeper into who Grimmelshausen was.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Relative Soldiers Who Died Fighting for the Other Side in War

I'm sure most genealogists know their family members who served in the US Military and especially those who died in battle. Let's expand our search a bit. Do you know of any of your relatives who died on the other side of the front line? Relatives who actually fought against America and its allies? When I was working on my Panther family history book, my brother called saying his son, my nephew, had a school project where they had to map out where their relatives fought in World War II. My brother wanted to know if I had found any of our German relatives that fought in the war. I was able to tell him that I did and, not only that, I had their photographs!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Historical Markers - The Villasur Expedition

Today, August 14, 2020, is the 300 year anniversary of the massacre of the Spanish Villasur expedition, which occurred in the area of my hometown, Columbus, Nebraska. This is not something I recall learning about in any class in any grade in school. I know I don't have relatives associated with this event but I'm confident some people in town do. I know it's easy to ignore the historical markers you see every day when going about your day to day life but it might be a good idea to check them out at least once. What can you learn about your town that you didn't know before? Could your ancestors have been involved in the events?

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Free Access to MyHeritage Photo Enhancer and In Color

 I received an email today letting me know that My Heritage is providing free access for everyone, even non-subscribers, to their Photo Enhancer and In Color tools through September 10, 2020. If you don't have a MyHeritage subscription, you'll definitely want to take advantage of this offer! I know I'll be giving the photo enhancer a try and I'll be colorizing some photos I missed the last time around.


Monday, July 27, 2020

Free iPhone Scanning App

I know I've heard about scanning apps for mobile devices before but I always preferred to use a full sized flatbed scanner for when I need to scan something in to save for genealogy sources. The problem is that there are times when I didn't anticipate needing my scanner so I didn't bring it and my only option is to take a photograph of the document or photo or miss saving it completely. Overall, taking a photo works okay but you always end up having it at a slight angle or saving things only as image files. I found an app today that has been around for a long time. In fact, it's been on the iPhone for as long as I've had one.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A Hack and a Data Leak in Two Major Genealogy Web Sites - Updated July 22, 2020

If you use Family Tree Maker, currently owned by MacKiev and use it to sync your genealogy database to and from Ancestry's servers, change your password immediately! The headline reads like the main web site was hacked but according to information security website, it was a a misconfigured server that held a "database [which] contained around 25GB worth of data belonging to 'The Software MacKiev Company,' which syncs’s user data." Among the data that was left in the open for anyone to download were users IP addresses, date and time of users' access, email addresses, messages exchanged with support, internal system user IDs, subscription type and status and user location data such as city and GPS coordinates. This affects approximately 60,000 users. They don't know whether or not any malicious actors got a hold of the data but they can't prove they didn't. You need to assume your username and password are compromised and act accordingly.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

"Long Lost Cousin" Takes a DNA Test

I knew I had some first cousins who are children of the brother of my father. I've known their names for decades. I had never met them or if I ever did, it would have been at my grandfather's funeral when I was about 9 years old and I don't remember. Then, once I grew up and started working on my genealogy, I knew they lived somewhere in California. They had relatively common first names and Miller for a last name and they lived in California. I really had no hope in finding them. The Bixenman family history books, written by Sister Catherine Seemann around the year 2000 listed the children of these cousins.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Solving Crimes Using Genealogy and DNA

I'm sure everyone has heard of the new technique of solving crimes using DNA and genealogy. I thought I'd review the television shows out there that deal directly with this process of solving cold cases, along with how it touches our lives.

The first case that gained publicity for being solved using genetic genealogy was the Golden State Killer case. In this case, the perpetrator committed at least 100 burglaries, 50 rapes and 13 murders between 1974 until 1986. I'm not sure this could be considered a cold case since the lead investigator never let up in trying to find the killer. The technique of using DNA triangulation along with family tree building of DNA matches found on led to the arrest of the murderer in 2018.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

My First Experience as a Search Angel

Since my genealogical research is at a brick walls that don't appear to have any cracks, I've become frustrated at not having any success at finding anything. I thought that if I took a look at someone else's problem, I might be able to relieve that frustration. I thought that if I tried my hand at tracking down the birth parents of an adoptee, it would be an amazing feeling. What I discovered is that the biggest challenge at becoming someone's Search Angel is being able to start the research. Typically when I encounter someone posting a request on any genealogical or DNA testing groups on Facebook, someone has already responded to them. One time when I was the first to respond, they didn't trust the process that I'd need to see their DNA test results. I understand this suspicion and appreciate it. You should always have suspicion when someone is requesting access to your private information. The problem is that they won't be able to help you without that information. Finally, on Thursday, May 14, I reached out to someone looking for a Search Angel and began the search.