Thursday, July 19, 2018

Our Wedding Day - July 19, 2002

Not many know the story of the day we got married, cause it was such a spontaneous thing, that we didn't have time to really tell anyone. Not even our parents. Here is a little information about it all happened. It is amazing what details you remember from certain days. Both Mark and I have different details that we have clung on to from that day. Here is what I remember.

On the day of the 18, we were traveling down to Tennessee to visit with Sarah & David for a little vacation. The first vacation we had ever taken without our parents. (Yeah I know and look what we did lol) It was also the first time I was meeting Sarah & David for the first time. So Mark and I are driving from Missouri to Winchester, Tennessee.
Driving through Nashville, Tennessee
Things were still sorta rocky between us because about a week or two before that Mark told me he didn't want to be in a relationship anymore. Truth was he was scared (as was I)about how serious we were getting, talking about marriage and such. About a week later, we talked things out and got back together. I was still a little scared and worried how our relationship was going to play out. I loved him so much, and he was the only one who knew me so deep and loved me for me. So we are driving, and talking about our relationship, and I made a statement to him that really set off this whole thing lol... I told him "I love you so much, I would marry you tomorrow." He asked if I was serious, and I said yes. Well he was quiet after that. I noticed he was texting and trying to make a phone call, with no luck. So we just kept driving.

We finally get to Winchester, which took longer than expected. So Sarah & David met us at the Walmart then we drove back to their house. Sarah had a delicious dinner waiting for us, her famous Candied Ham. That was all that Mark could talk about was Sarah's Candied Ham lol! So after dinner Mark said he needed to talk to
Sarah & David
Sarah. So they went to his room and talked for a long time. I went to my room, not knowing or having any clue what was being said. Finally, hours later, lol, She came out and said Mark wanted to talk to me. So I went in and sat by him. He asked me if I was really serious about what I said in the car. I thought about it, and said yes I was. So he said, what would you say if I asked you to marry me.... tomorrow? I was like what?! uh..... uh..... hmmm..... well..... so I thought about it. Yes I did love him. And I did want to marry him. And we both knew that we were who God has planned for us to be with. So at that point, we knew we didn't want to wait. So I told him, well as long as you don't say "hitched" then yes I will marry you tomorrow. So he proposed (without saying hitched) and I accepted. So we went to bed that night with knots in our stomach thinking about the next day. I realized that the reason Mark was talking so long with Sarah, was Sarah was trying to make sure this was what he really wanted, and show him the reality of what he was wanting to do. She is such a good friend.

Our Wedding Attire
Well I woke up somewhat early, not being able to sleep because of the excitement. And I wanted to call my parents to tell them, cause I knew they needed to know our plans. That's not something you can just blurt out to your parents when you return from vacation. So I called my mom and explained everything to her. She was sad that she couldn't be there and they couldn't plan a wedding for us. I really I asked to speak to dad and she said "Well he is getting his stress test done today..." I was like Oh Crap! I forgot! Well, his stress level is going to be off the charts when he hears this! Oh boy... Mark also called his parents, and they felt the same way my mom did. Both sets wanted us to wait, but we both felt this was what we were supposed to do. So we dressed for the day. Not exactly what you would get married in, but it was the nicest stuff we had lol! Then off we went.

Sarah was so awesome about the whole thing. She was the driver for the day, so we had to go and get the Jetta from David's work at Bridgestone/Firestone and leave him the truck. Then we went in search of Rings. I think we got our rings from KMart, but Mark thinks it was Walmart. LoL! It was one of the Marts. We chose beautiful gold rings with Crosses on them, symbolizing our union through Christ.
Then we drove to the court house to get things started. We talked to the clerk, who informed us that we needed to take 2 weeks worth of counceling before we could get married. We were like What?! We don't have two weeks?! We would be back in Missouri then, and we were really hoping to get married that day. So said well then if you want to skip the counseling, then we could pay like a couple hundred. Dude! We asked why it was so much. She said, "Well resident of Tennessee are required....." We said "No No we are not residents of Tennessee, we live in Missouri." She was like Oh well then it is only like around $80. LoL! Well that makes things easier! LoL! So if you drive in from out of state basically they don't care of your marriage fails, but by golly if you live in that state you either need to take counseling or pay a big fee. Yeah that makes sense lol, but we didn't argue at that point. The one thing I remember, we signing our name in their huge book of records. Listed on our Wedding Certificate is the page number and everything were we signed in that book. Wow!

So after a while of filling out forms and waiting for our turn, we finally were called into the judge who was going to marry us. Sarah was
Walking into the JP's office at 4:10pm
such a sweetheart, taking pictures for us so we would have memories of this day. We walked in at 4:10 pm. He introduced himself and before we knew it, he jumped right into performing the ceremony! Whoa! I barely remember anything. LoL I had to ask Mark last night, did we actually say vows that day? Cause it went so fast I couldn't remember. It was like a big blur! He said yes we did lol! All I remember was hearing him say I know pronounce you Man and Wife, you may kiss the bride, and I kissed Mark. (He was still recovering from a sinus infection, so it was just a quick kiss).
Married at 4:15pm
After that, the rest of the day was just a blur, cause I was just so shocked at what we had actually done. We just got married! My favorite picture was the one of us standing facing each other with our foreheads touching. I asked Mark, "seriously... what did we just do?" I couldn't believe it!

Honestly.... it was the best decision of my life. Though things have been rough, and we have had some battles... I can't imagine my life without Mark. We both have grown in some many ways just from being married to each other. I know I joke with Mark sometimes saying, "after seeing all we have gone through... if I would have known what was in store.... I prolly would have ran when you asked me to marry you"... LoL! But seriously, I would do it all over again. Cause there is no one else I would rather go through these things with.
What the heck did we just do?

Mark is my best friend. We started out as good friends, and we strive to keep that in our marriage. I know our decision caused a lot of strife and hurt when we first got married. But it was the right decision and what God wanted. I continually pray for God's guidance in this marriage and to keep Him center. People have asked us how we have survived so far through everything we have gone through, and all I can say is "through the grace of God, cause it was God's will for us to be married... and we will continue to honor Him in this marriage."

Monday, July 16, 2018

Relatives in Silverton, Colorado?!

So I decided to take some time today to fill in some blanks on my tree. I'm still somewhat laid up with my back, and limited on my abilities. I started on trying to find information of Mark's 2nd great grandfather, William Schulling. I know he is from Ireland, but I don't know much else about his past. I did find some info on Ancestry and Family Search, but couldn't get much before him coming to the U.S. Sometimes it's possible to find out info through other family members so I started looking at his children and his wife, Mary Francis "Fannie" Munday.

She was married once before to a John William Alexander and had one child, Ernest Alexander. I came across Fannie's will on Ancestry, but she died after William Schulling, so there was no mention of him. Although the mention of her first son caught my attention. It stated something along the lines of "If he can be found..." Now that is interesting. This is where I started chasing a rabbit. Ernest married Carrie Bell in 1902 in Texas, but then divorced in 1913 in San Juan, Colorado. Now, there is a town that rings a bell. You, see I lived in Colorado for a short time. Delta, Colorado to be exact. The areas is so beautiful. We traveled quite a bit to the different towns exploring the mountains ranges; one being the San Juan Mountains. So I abandoned my research on Ernest to find out more about Carrie Bell. She was born in Indiana to Daniel Preston Bell and Mary Patrick. Turns out between 1880 and 1885, they traveled to Colorado and settled in Durango. Eventually, they moved to Silverton, Colorado in the San Juan Mountains. Holy Cow! Talk about small world! It's about a 2 hour drive from Delta to Silverton going through the town of Ouray in the San Juan mountains, over the road known as Red Mountain Pass or Million Dollar Highway. A two lane road winding through the mountains with no guard rails. Not for the faint of heart. Once you get to Ouray it takes about 45 minutes to get to Silverton. The first map shows La Platt County and the San Juan Mountains. The second map shows the path through the mountains we took from Delta to get to Silverton.


A little history about Durango and Silverton
"The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company formed Durango along the banks of the Animas River in September 1880 to serve the San Juan mining district. Lots of silver (and later, even more of gold) was being discovered in the mountains ever since gold fever struck in 1872 and resulted in the settlement of mining towns like Silverton, 50 miles north. Durango had a more tolerable climate and a good supply of water and coal for operating the smelters to pull precious metals out of the ore. Hundreds of gold miners had camped out in this area in 1860, but within a year of its founding in 1880, Durango had a population of 2,400 and really began to grow. People arrived from many countries to work in the smelters and mines and on the railroad. By the turn of the century, Durango had become a vacation destination, with the creation of the San Juan National Forest in 1905 and Mesa Verde National Park in 1906. The population of the city of Durango doubled to 4,686 by 1910." ~ Durango, CO - Official Website
"The Brunot Agreement between the Utes and the US government in 1873 opened the San Juan Mountains to mining by removing 3.7 million acres (about 5,780 square miles) from the Ute Reservation in western Colorado. Miners first made their way into the San Juan Mountains in 1860–61, but it was not until 1869 that valuable minerals were discovered and not until 1871–72 that mine development took place. With completion of the agreement, the San Juan Mountains saw a mining rush that resulted in many towns being established in 1874 and 1875, including Silverton." ~ Brunot Agreement - Colorado Encyclopedia

Tracing the Bell family
At this point in time, the earliest I found the Bell family was 1885 in the Colorado State Census. So they settled right about the time Durango was founded. The government heavily advertised the settling of the San Juan area, so the Bell's probably decided that's what they should do.

1885 State Census

In 1900, Daniel Preston was listed as living in Durango, San Juan, Colorado with some family running a boarding house and by 1910 he was listed in San Juan County, Colorado as being a Quartz Miner along with his son. Finally the proof he was a miner. There just might be more records available through the historical societies.

1900 US Fed Census

1910 US Fed Census

By 1940, both Daniel Preston and wife, Mary, had passed away. But what I found so fascinating is they are actually buried in Silverton. Mary passed away first in 1921 so she was the first buried there. After she passed, Daniel Preston went to live with his daughter Carrie in Denver. But when he died in 1937, he was buried right next to his wife in Silverton in Hillside Cemetery. There a few Bell's buried in the cemetery including their daughter Anna Leota.

Hillside Cemetery

Daniel Preston and wife, Mary, Headstones

There are no more active mines in Silverton anymore. It is now a tourist town in the warm months. During the winter, traveling to Silverton is not easy in the mountains because of the snow. We were fortunate to travel there while we lived there back in 2008. Little did I know, Mark had family buried there. Now the next time we visit Colorado, we will have to travel back to Silverton with a whole new appreciation. These are pictures from our visit. We stopped to put our feet in the nice cold water. This is either Animas River or Mineral Creek. I'm unsure where we stopped to put our feet in. One day though, we will return and we will put our feet in the water again. And hopefully do some research while there.

Me, my daughter, Sarah, David and Jeremiah

My daughter and I having a good time

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Personalizing your Ancestor's timeline

Questions have been brought up recently about adding certain details to an ancestor's timeline on In our Facebook group, Genealogy Addicts Anonymous (GAA), we get questions about adding relationship that are not marriages, how to edit a person's profile that is Transgender, and even questions about adoption. There are many options available to personalize an ancestor's timeline to suit their lifestyle. While there are probably some areas they could update and change on Ancestry, there are definitely ways to get around it and make it work. This post is an informative post on how to personalize your ancestor's timeline. I created a fake tree to use as my example, so all names, dates, relationships are fictitious. The topics that will be addressed in this post include: (but not limited to) Changing a persons name while keeping the original name, making changes to the profile to accommodate Transgenders and adding and changing different kinds of relationships whether it be marriages or parents. These options can be used for more than just these examples. When you get some time, play around with the different events you can add to someone's timeline. If you scroll through the different events you can add, then you can see all the different options. You'd be surprised what you can add. For now, let's focus on these topics at hand.

Most people are not familiar with adding your own events to an ancestor's timeline. Usually they add items that are already sourced; such as Censuses, Marriage Records, Military Records. Once added, they create their own event on the time line; Residence, Marriage, Military, Death, etc. But did you know you can add your own events? You are not limited to what Ancestry has available. There are so many options such as Baptism, Bar Mitzvah, Divorce, Education, Employment, Probate, Retirement and the list goes on. To add an Event, open the ancestor's profile, then click the "+Add" button. Once the dialog box pops up, click the drop down arrow to look through all the different Events you can add. Some events allow you to add descriptions. They can be helpful for details that help explain the event. See Fig. A. Click to make the image bigger.

Fig. A

Adding a name change

The first topic I will address is the name change option. For whatever reasons, some people change their name from the name they were given at their birth. Even though they change their name for future use, that doesn't negate the name they use to have or the events and documentation that went along with that name. So you don't want to remove the old, or not include the new. So here is what you do. First you start with the name they started this life with. Then when they went through the process of the name change, add it as as new event. Select "Name" from the drop down menu. See Fig. B. The events are listed alphabetical so you have to scroll down to get to "Name".

Fig. B

When the dialog box opens, add the new name. You can even set it as preferred if you wish. Since there is no separate field to add in the date the name change occurred, you can either add it in the notes section of the ancestor or use the "Custom Event" option. This particular option is discussed more thoroughly in the next section. The great thing about adding the name change is you can add sources to prove when it took place. But that will have to be another post.

Adding a Custom Event

While there are plenty of options under the Add Event drop down menu, it is not all inclusive. There are so many events that happen in our lives that there was no way they include everything. That's where the "Custom Event" option comes in. It's right at the top of the list along with Birth, Marriage and Death. See Fig. C.

Fig. C

The particular event I will be using for this example is Surgery. Whether it be for Appendix, Mastectomy, Gender Reassignment, Amputation, Nose Job, etc. But you can use this option to create any event you wish. Once you select the "Custom Event" option, a dialog box will appear. You can fill in the fields accordingly. See my example below in Fig. D.

Fig. D
As you can see, you can name it whatever you choose, add the date, location and even a description. The options are limitless. Once you add the event, you can add pictures and/or documents to source the event. Remember, this is your ancestor, and you can add all the events you wish. Just remember, documentation is the most important part of putting together a tree. Proof. So whatever event you add, be sure to add where you got this information, whether from personal experience, a story from a relative or documents that prove the event.

Sometimes there is no documentation to back up certain changes to someone's life. For example someone who is Transgender. There is no documentation to go along with this change in someone's life. This is more of a recent topic, that deals more with the living. For privacy reasons, it is always wise to not add the living to public trees. But if the person has passed on, you can add this information. If no event has taken place, such as a surgery to officially change the gender, you can add the gender that they most identify with. There is no field in the Gender box to add a description, so my suggestion is, add a story to be able to attach to the Gender fact. That way when you have official documents that contradict the selection (such as a birth certificate), it explains that even though that's how they were born, this is what they identify as. If you don't know how to add a story, see Fig. E below. Click on the Gallery tab, then Add, then Create Story.

Fig. E
After you click on Create Story, you have the option to type up your story, add the date, location, description and you can tag whomever you wish. Once that's all done, go back to the Facts page, click on the Edit button on Gender, click on Media, then add the story. See Fig. F

Fig. F


When we add new people to our trees, we have to connect them to the others by some sort of relationship. Whether parent, spouse, brother, sister, daughter, son, etc. Those are the basic choices. Did you know there are more options to chose from? Family trees in my opinion are more than just about blood relatives. It is about the people in our lives that have made a difference. Step parents, Partners, Boyfriends/Girlfriends, etc. Relationships today are changing from what they used to be. Couples are not getting married, some are just dating while some are just labeled partners. There are also many different kinds of parents, such as step parents, foster parents, guardians, Aunts/Uncles, etc. You can edit the type of relationships everyone has in your tree.

As time marches on, relationship standards change. Not everyone is getting married anymore, and standard couples are changing. I'm sure as time goes on, Ancestry will be making changes to their formats, but until that happens, we make the best of it using the options they have given us. To start out, chose the option to "Add Spouse". Once the dialog box pops up, fill in the information. Then under Relationship, click the drop down menu and chose the best option available. If none of them match, choose either "Other" or "Unknown". See Fig. G

Fig. G

Now if you already have someone added to your tree, but the relationship changes, here is what you do. On the profile page, click on Edit, then Edit Relationships. Then select the drop down menu next to the person to change the relationship. See Fig. H and Fig. I

Fig. H
Fig. I
Once the people have been added or edited, you can add an event to their timeline to explain the relationship, whether it be marriage, dating, divorce, etc. See Fig. J

Fig. J
You are in control of the timelines on your tree. So add the details that are most important to the lives of your ancestors. One last option to change is if your relative marries someone of the same gender. You can add the spouse as stated above, then you can just go in and change that spouse's Gender. Our job is to record the facts as they are presented about our ancestors, so do your best to record the truth to the best of your ability.

People who raise us in this life are not always our given parents. Sometimes they are step-parents, foster parents, Aunt, Uncles, Guardians, etc. Well you can edit these relationships in your tree as well. Just as you did above for editing the relationships for Spouses. See Fig. H again. Once in there, select the drop down menu next to the name of the person of whom you are changing the relationship of. Choose the best option available for that relationship. If you have many different sets of parents, you can also add an alternative Father or Mother and change their relationship. See Fig. K.

Fig. K

As time goes on, our lives change. What used to be standard in our lives has become history. And things that used to be unheard of are now very standard. Years ago, people didn't have vehicles. Now just about every family has at least two vehicles registered in their name. These are documents that go with our ancestor's lives and will be documented for future generations. Years ago, traveling out of state or country wasn't quite that easy or possible. Now, just about everyone has a passport. Another official document that keeps track of places that ancestor has traveled. Instead of passenger lists, they use passports. As our lives evolve, the way we keep records must evolve as well. Though we may not agree with the way some live their lives, it's not our place to judge. It is our job as Genealogists to record the truth about our ancestors. We are records keepers. So I hope this post has helped you record the details of your ancestor's lives. If have any questions or suggestions, please leave your comments before and I will do my best to answer them.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Strong Women run in my family

When I first started this journey back in 2012, my sole purpose was to just put names to photos. I had never felt extremely connected to my extended family. While I was close to my parents, my maternal grandma, and my paternal grandpa, I was not familiar with any family farther back. Especially on my maternal grandma's side. So I never thought I would connect with the women generations back on her side and gain more understanding to who I am and why certain things have happened they way they did in my family.

My maternal grandma is Ruth Mary Wheeler nee Ilg. We would go to her house at least once a week to spend time with her. I have many great memories of those visits. During that time, my 2x great Aunt Ruth Kelley nee Buer lived just down the road.
Back Row L to R: 
Ruth Mary Ilg, Oma Mae Dennis
Margaret "Honey" Buer
Front Row: Maggie Helfrich holding
Jerry Valdes
So she would be included in all we did. I called her Auntie. She was my grandma's mom's sister. My great grandma, Margaret "Honey" Ilg nee Buer passed away when I was just an infant. I was very close to my grandma Ruth growing up. At least so I thought. During our many visits before Auntie passed (and even after), we never discussed a lot about my grandma's life growing up. I wasn't interested and no one volunteered the information. As I got older, I got bits and pieces, but that was it. During the last years of my grandma's life is when I started asking more questions, looking for answers. Grandma was more willing to talk as she was getting to the end of her life. it was like she wanted me to know at least some of the truth. Over the course of the years, I was able to trace back to my 3x great grandma, Maggie Helfrich nee Molten. I was able to gather a lot of information about my family, but I never expected to learn all I did about their personal lives.

Growing up wasn't easy. I have a lot of good memories, but also some rough ones. Dad was an alcoholic so things were not always peaceful. A lot of fighting took place. Not physical, just verbal. But the verbal fights can be just as scaring as the physical ones. I always said, "when I grow up, I never want to be with someone who was an alcoholic or verbally abusive." Sadly, I ended up in some not very good relationships. One who used to be very controlling and emotionally abusive. By God's grace I was able to get away from them and find someone who loves me very much and treats me very well. All I ever wanted really was to get out of my parents house and away from the fighting. To start my life with someone who was going to love me for me and always be there for me. Years later, my mom told me she was proud of me for being a strong woman. For standing up for myself and doing what was necessary to survive in life. I sure didn't think I was strong, but saw her as strong for dealing with certain things she had endured in her life.  Looking back over all I have learned about the women on my mom's side of the family, I saw a surprising trend. We descend from a long line of strong women. Women who had to do what needed to be done to survive. And that has been passed down for at least 7 generations.

I would start with my mom's life, but I have promised her the stories she told me would not be shared, at least until after she is gone. Things happened she never told anyone, except for me. I will say, she is definitely a strong woman for surviving what she has and continuing to go on. So, we will start with Grandma Ruth, mom's mom. She was born September 9th 1920 in Detroit, Michigan to Joseph Melchoir ILG and Margaret Buer. She grew up an only child, and from what I have learned, it wasn't an easy childhood. When she was little, they lived with Ruth's great grandma, Maggie Helfrich. Her dad, Joseph, wanted a boy so bad, so he raised her like a boy.
Ruth's parents liked to go out quite a big and would leave her to babysit (from a very young age) friend's kids while they would go out. These are all things I was told by my mom and grandma. I know there was a lot more that happened, but it was not talked about. There were times Grandma would just get quiet or tell me she didn't want to talk about it anymore. She was definitely not happy at home. So she ended up getting married young to Joseph Valdes. She was only 16. Yet that didn't get her out of her parents home. In the 1940 census, it has them all living with her parents. The marriage didn't end up being her happy ending she had hoped. Grandma Ruth told me he was a jealous man. Very mean. By the time WWII came, the marriage was falling apart. He was supposedly stepping out on my grandma with a woman that lived down the road. So in June of 1942, they were divorced. Eventually Ruth found happiness with my grandpa, Les Wheeler. They were married in 1945. Though life was still hard after marriage, by now, she had grown into a strong woman, doing what was necessary to survive.

Ruth's mother was Margaret "Honey" Buer. She was born July 19, 1903 to Edward Buer and Oma Mae Dennis. Her and her sister, Ruth, were very close growing up. They all lived with Margaret's grandma, Maggie Helfrich. Oma wasn't ready to be a wife and mother from what I understand. According to records, Oma and Edward separated in 1909 and then finally divorced in 1913. During this time, Margaret and her sister continued to live with grandma Helfrich. Then in 1915, their father remarried and moved to Joliet, Illinois. When he moved, he took Maggie's sister, Ruth, with him. Maggie stayed behind with grandma Helfrich. Oma was nowhere to be found. By 16, Maggie was working in a factory to help support her grandma. That was not all that
happened. She wound up pregnant by my great grandfather, Joseph Ilg. In order to hide this, they went away to Detroit, Michigan. There was a relative up there they could stay with. Soon after Maggie turned 17, her and Joseph were married and my grandma was born just two months later. They finally returned to St. Louis after my grandma was about a year old. To hide the fact she got pregnant out of wedlock, they told everyone they were married a year before they were actually married. It has been recorded down that way ever since. They even celebrated all anniversaries that way. I only found out the truth because of my research. I found a copy of their marriage record from Detroit. I never asked my grandma if she knew the truth. I couldn't do that to her in case she didn't know. As stated above, Maggie, Joseph and my grandma lived with Maggie's grandma, Maggie Helfrich. I've done lots of research on them and have learned only a little by talking to family. My grandma and her mom didn't always get along very well. I was told, Margaret didn't really want to be a mom. Of course, I don't know details as my family was big on hiding things. My mom said she had a great relationship with Margaret. Although, just from reading this snippet of her life, you can see she, and her sister Ruth, didn't exactly have it easy.

Ruth Buer was closer to her father, Edward Buer and went to live with him and his new wife in Indiana for a short time. I am unsure when she came back to live with her grandma, Maggie Helfrich, but she did. She was married to her first husband, Joseph Mrazek,
at the age of 17. On her marriage license, Maggie Helfrich is listed as Ruth's natural guardian and her permission was required for her to get married. Sadly, it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops. My grandma relayed stories about the abuse Ruth suffered at his hands. Since they all lived with grandma Maggie Helfrich, my grandma heard everything that went on in the house. There were times Ruth's sister wanted to intervein, but her husband, Joseph wouldn't allow it. Eventually, there was a divorce and Ruth found happiness with her second husband, Howard Kelley. I was blessed to spend many years with Auntie. My grandma and her were really close. She passed in 1994 and every day I wish I could still talk to her about her life and the things she went through.

Out of all these women, Oma Mae Buer nee Dennis had the worst time handling life. She went through two fathers, had to work at a young age to survive with her mom, married young, had two children young, and apparently had a rough time adjusting to life. She wasn't there to raise her daughters or be a wife to her husband, who eventually divorced her. After the divorce, she went wild, leaving her children
behind. She married again at some point to a Caldwell. This is all told me be family. Mom remembers being around her close to the end of her life. She developed dementia and possibly Alzheimer's. But there was one detail I found that really showed me how Maggie Helfrich felt about her daughter. In her will, she listed her daughter as receiving only $1.00. After discussing it with a records keeper at the St. Louis court house, she explained that was done to prevent the said person from coming back on the estate filing a complaint that they weren't mentioned in the will. It was a deliberate act to keep them from getting anything else of the estate. Ouch... Out of everyone, I don't think Oma handled the pressure as well as everyone else. She seemed to crack under everything. Yet this is just based on limited information.

The last woman in my family I want to talk about is Grandma Maggie Helfrich. She was born in 1863 in Nashville, Tennessee. Right at the start of the Civil War. I have been unable to trace her before her first marriage. Most of the information I got about her to start with came from the family date book. If you have read my blog before, you have heard me mention this date book before.
A treasure trove of information that has been instrumental with helping me trace my family. Even with the information I had about Maggie Helfrich, it has been difficult finding records for her in Tennessee. I do know she was married to a Logan Dennis and they had Oma Mae together. I believe Logan was a seaman with very loose morals. I have found some interesting information that I can not confirm nor deny that it has to do with my Maggie and Logan. The probability is high, but without more information to back it up, I can't call it official. The information I have found doesn't paint a pretty picture of Logan. The first thing I found was a court record complaint against Logan Dennis made by a Mary Dennis. (Mary is Maggie's middle name) Supposedly they were intimate with each other and he abandoned her. I have yet to prove this is my Maggie. Then I found a court case of a woman who had an affair with a Logan Denis, wife of a Mag Denis nee Morton (Molten possibly, which is Maggie's maiden name) Soon after that, Maggie sought a divorce and married her second husband, Jacob Helfrich. That's how she made it up to St Louis. He was from here and all his family lived up here. I don't know much from here, but he supposedly abandoned her. In 1899, she is listed as a widow and from then on was listed as so. Yet, we found his death record in 1910 in Indiana. There was a second child born to Maggie, but I can't trace whether it was with Logan or Jacob. She ran a boarding house for many years just to make ends meet. She never married again, but worked hard to take care of her family. Her daughter, granddaughters and their family. Doing everything that was needed to survive.

As you can see from this blog post, I have come from a long line of strong women, doing whatever was necessary to survive. They weren't perfect and made their own mistakes, but they overcame many obstacles in life. I never thought I would find any connection to my past as far as the experiences I had gone through in my life. After researching, I definitely saw a pattern. Life at home was hard. We did out best survive the trials that came our way. I am proud to come from such a strong line of women. It gives me hope that no matter what comes my way, we will overcome it and be stronger for the next trial.
Ancestry Bracelet I made to memorialize
the women in my family.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The ILG's have been located!

If there is one thing I have learned on this genealogical journey is be patient. Just because you haven't found what you are looking for right now, doesn't mean you won't ever find something later on. Sometimes records become available online that weren't there before. Sometimes you get connected with people that have more resources. Sometimes you just change your search field. Whatever the change, it can bring about different results. That's what happened in this case. I was introduced to another Facebook group called German Genealogy. Then thanks to a member in that group, they steered me into a direction I had never been. The results: I finally found records that connect my 2x great grandpa, Franz Jakob ILG's family.

My friend and fellow Addict Darry, contacted me the other day about a post he saw in a group that I wasn't a member of yet; Germany Genealogy. Hard to believe I know haha! He told me he saw a post about the name 'Fuchs' in the group and thought of me. So, of course, I joined the group! I reached out and made connections regarding the 'Fuchs' surname. Putting feelers out, so to speak. While I was in the group, I also decided to post about my 'ILG' family. I explained that I haven't been able to trace my family in Germany yet and needed some guidance on where to look for records. I do have all kinds of records after Franz Jakob ILG came over to the United States in 1888, but nothing before then in Germany. I actually was in contact with a lady  years ago named Rose who gave me information about the 'ILG' family in Germany. Quite a bit of information, but I had no proof to go along with it. No documentation, nothing. So I just put it off to the side.

Family Date Book

I know they say what helps is knowing what village your ancestor came from. Fortunately, I have the family date book I got from my grandma that listed information about the 'ILG' family. It was originally written in German, but then translated into English. Yet, the closer I looked at the translation, there was some information that was left out. In German writing, it had Franz Jakob ILG being born in Seitingen, Tuttlingen, Königreich, Württemberg. In the translation, it only said Wurttemberg, Germany. Well, that's like saying I was born in Missouri, USA. It has to be narrowed down before we can start to find anything. So I made sure to scour the pages written in German to see what else they may have missed.

Not more than a few hours later, a member of the German Genealogy group got back with me and told me he found Franz Jakob's birth information. What?! are you kidding me?! It was that easy?? Well technically it wasn't quite that easy. He sent me a copy and the link to the website where he got it. I was overjoyed! Slight hitch though.... it's all written in German. Guess I better brush up on my German. It was also challenging navigating the site, which was also in German. Finally a tangible piece of evidence connecting Franz Jakob ILG to his parents listed in my date book.
Seitingin Birth & Baptism Register
Franz Jakob ILG

Oh I'm not done yet. Once I learned how to navigate the site (Thanks to Google Translate), I was able to page through the register to find more information. According to the information I got from Rose, Franz Jakob had brothers and sisters. Since there was no way to search an index for these names, I took the time to page through each individual page to find them. I started with Franz Jakob's entry and looked backwards, following the parents names, Jakob ILG and Magdalena Schreibar. Reading the old German writing was proving somewhat difficult, until I became more familiar with the writing.  After searching backward, I searched forward. All in all I found he had ten brothers and sisters. OH my gosh TEN!! So many more ILGs than I thought existed. I wonder how many others have come to the United States. Oh my.... Ok stay focused.... First continue finding information about the ILGs from this resource. 

This site also included registers for Marriage and Deaths. Now to find the marriage record of Jakob ILG and Magdalena Schreibar. I started near the birth of the (what I thought at the time) first child, and got lucky!! I found their marriage record!

Marriage Register
Jakob ILG & Magdalena Scheibar

Now the information contained in this register was a little harder to read. I took the time to translate (To the best of my limited ability) the headers of the columns to understand more. 

Column Headings for Marriage Registers

  • Namen des Bräutigams und der Braut – Names of the Bridegroom and bride 
  • Stand, Charatter, Profeffion, Aufenthalts Ort, religion - Stand, character, profession, residence, religion 
  • Eltern – Parents 
  • Ledig, geschieden oder verwitwet, in beiden letzteren Villen auch der Name des gefchiedenen oder geftorbenen Gatten - Single, divorced or widowed, in both latter villas also the name of the miscarried or deceased husband 
  • Geboren wann und wo – Born when and where 
  • datum der Königl, Erlaubnis zum Heirathen, wo diefe erfordert wird - date of king, permission to marry, where this is required 
  • Ort und zeit der Proklamation - Place and time of the proclamation 
  • Ort und zeit der Kopulation - Place and time of copulation (marriage) 
  • Geistlicher, der die trauung gehalten - Clergyman who kept the wedding ceremony 
  • Zeugen – Witnesses 
  • Dispensationen - dispensations

With this information, I was able to understand a little bit more. Yet the handwriting is still a different task to tackle. I am still working on translating ALL the details of this record. But with this basic information, I was able to recognize some words and names, which allowed me to look for more marriage records. On this marriage record, it lists Jakob and Magdalena's parents. So I am able now to look for their marriage records, and then in turn, then children's birth records and also death records (which is in another register on this site). 

I am not even close to exhausting this resource yet. As I've looked through, I have recognized a lot of ILG names along with other surnames. I plan on looking through everything very closely to make as many connections as I can. All this came about just because a friend recognized my name in another facebook group. As I stated at the beginning of this entry, even though you may have hit a brick wall and can't find what you are looking for at this moment, be patient. You never know when or how you will crack the wall, or in this case, break that sucker down!!

Family Date Book
Family Research for Rose Schiller compiled by Thomas Koch
Google Translate for translating the German Language

Special Thanks to the people in the Facebook groups: German Genealogy and my personal favorite Genealogy Addicts Anonymous (GAA)