Saturday, November 17, 2018

William Ilg eligible for a medal?

     You read that title right! If you have been following along with my research recently, you will see I've been trying to put together the story of my 2nd Great Uncle, William Ilg. Since the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I was coming, I decided to find out as much as I can about him. He was killed in action three days before the end of the war. So we were also remembering the day he gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country. I spent a good couple of weeks learning everything I could about his life from beginning to end.
     Sadly, his military record was destroyed in the 1973 fire at the St. Louis National Records office along with millions of other soldier's records. So, I've also been working hard to recreate his military file. My research has taken me down a path of discovery for sure. Yet, even with all I have uncovered, I have not found a picture of him. All I have is his headstone. The headstone was provided by the government since he was a veteran of World War I. I've been able to collect records from Ancestry, Family Search, Fold3, the Missouri State Archives and the National Records office in St. Louis. I was able to copy his burial case file from the National Records office. That file contained more information than I ever thought I would find. His burial information during and after the war, information about his body, his service, etc. There is still information I can look up the next time I go back in regards to rosters and such.
     For Veteran's day, I was able to visit his grave at Mount Olive Cemetery to put flowers down. I also visited the World War I memorial at Jefferson Barracks, also known as the Gold Star Court of Honor memorial. Here is a short video I made about the day:

     Now, I told you all this information first to lead up to the big news. While we were at Jefferson Barracks, I was talking with my husband and friends about the Purple Heart Memorial that was right next to the Gold Star Court of Honor Memorial. I was under the impression that only those that were wounded during war received the medal. I did not know those who were killed in war were also eligible. I have no clue if William's mother, Pauline Ilg, ever received a Purple Heart for her son since his record was destroyed. But now, I'm curious.
     I talked with a friend of my dad's who is in the local VFW. He explained to me the process of trying to get copies of medals for a soldier that has passed on. It sounds like a pretty easy process, but I know anything having to do with the government is not easy. But I am sure going to try. So as of right now, I do not know if I will receive a copy of a medal for him or not. I will definitely update as soon as I know. So check back later... we may have a huge event to celebrate.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Grand Reopening of the Soldiers Military Memorial Museum

In honor of my 2nd great Uncle, William Ilg, we went to the grand reopening of the Soldier's Military Memorial Museum in downtown St. Louis.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

William Ilg, the gone but not forgotten Uncle

     Wow, it sure is cold today! What is this weather? It just seems too cold for fall. It feels almost like winter. You know, thinking about the weather and the time of year it is, we are fast approaching the 100th anniversary of end of World War I (otherwise known as The Great War). Great Uncle William served in that war in 1918. He was at the battle of the Meuse-Argonne. The weather during that time was cold, wet, rainy, foggy.... all around miserable. Can you imagine what Uncle William felt like during those last few days? Brrr…. What's that? You don't know about Uncle William? Well, grab some hot cocoa and come sit with Auntie Jen. Let me tell you the story of Great Uncle William otherwise known as Willie.
     Up until I started researching our family in 2012, no one knew who Great Uncle William Ilg was or that he even existed. He is the brother of Great Grandpa Joseph Ilg. But because he died so long ago, no one knew him. Great Grandpa Joe never talked about him as far as I know, because Grandma Ruth never mentioned anything to us. I only learned about him from the little date book Grandma Ruth gave me before she passed. His name was mentioned in the book. That's how I found out he was killed in World War I. Here let me show you. Be careful though, this is a very old book and the pages are falling apart.

     Who are all these people, you ask? These are all his brothers and sisters. He was the 4th child of Great Great Grandpa and Grandma Ilg but the oldest of the surviving children. What do I mean by that? Well Great Great Grandma Pauline had a total of nine children, but only four of them survived childhood. All of Willie's siblings before him had died and he had two more pass away after him as well. See, Great Great Grandpa and Grandma Ilg were poor. Very poor. They could barely afford a place to live, nor could they afford food. They lived in the Carondelet area, which had the nickname "Vide Poche". That translates into "empty pockets" in French. With being so poor, it's not surprising illnesses ran rampant through the family. One of his siblings even died of starvation. It's amazing Willie survived. If that wasn't bad enough, tragedy struck the family in 1901. Willie's father died in an accident at his job at the Provident Chemical Works factory. Grandma Ruth told me the story one time. She said he was operating a piece of machinery that required two operators. The story goes that the other operator slipped and caused a piece of machinery to come down and crush Great Great Grandpa's head. I know, so tragic.
     Willie was only 7 years old when he lost his father and his mother was still pregnant with his youngest brother. He and his surviving brothers were obviously too young to work, so things just got worse. Doing research one day at the library, I found a newspaper article in the Carondelet News about Willie and his family, asking for help. It still breaks my heart to this day. Let me think, yeah it was published right around this time in 1903. Right around winter time and Christmas. Oh Christmas.... Soon you will be making a list for Christmas. Probably will include things like an Amazon gift card, the new iPhone, maybe some CDs, things like that. Willie was probably hoping for food. Or coal to keep warm. Maybe a blanket. Puts things into perspective doesn't it? Poor Willie. I think... yeah I have a copy of that article right here.

     I know, I felt the same way after reading this. So heart broken. It didn't stay this way forever though. Although I'm sure it felt like it would. Great Great Grandma Pauline got married again to a man named Jacob John Baumgartner. I have to say, I'm not sure which name was his first name, cause the documents kept going back and forth, so we will just call him John. This is where I'm a little fuzzy on the details. I can only speculate. I don't think Pauline's marriage to John was a good one, sadly. In 1910, they were all living together at one address on Tesson in Carondelet. By 1916, Pauline is living at a different address with Willie and her three sons on Virgina in Carondelet. So I think they separated. I've found no proof of divorce yet, but I'm still looking. I know John was still alive at this point cause I found his death certificate from 1938. It still only mentions his first wife and that's who he was buried with. Pauline took her original last name of Ilg. The whole situation makes me wonder, but that's all I can do right now... is wonder.
     So now Willie, being the oldest, is supporting his family. It is 1917. He is 22 now and working as a cook and bartender. He also worked during the summer at Mannion's Park there on Broadway as a waiter. What's Mannion's Park? It's an old theme park. Yes! I was surprised too, to learn they had an amusement park in Carondelet. So I guess it runs in the family. I used to work at Six Flags in Eureka during the summer. I wasn't a waiter though. I didn't want food service, haha!  Sorry, I was chasing a rabbit there. Anyway, Willie has been working since at least the age of 17. Can you imagine? Being 22, and having to not only support yourself, but your mother, who is partially blind, and your three brothers as well. Do you know any 22 year old doing that? Great Uncle Otto was the second oldest child, but was unable to work for some reason. How do I know that? Well, sadly this would be the year Otto passed away from Pneumonia. On his death certificate, it states he was unable to work; that he helps at home. This was right before the time the 1918 Spanish Flu ran rampant through the world. Poor Uncle Otto. And poor Uncle Willie. He was the informant on the death certificate. I can't imagine going through that pain again, of losing a sibling. But he was the man of the family, so you have to do what you have to do. Anyway, he didn't have much time to grieve. He had bigger fish to fry. Cause Willie would soon be drafted for World War I otherwise known as "The Great War".
     By now, the war had been going on for three years. The U.S. didn't declare war on Germany until April 6, 1917. After intercepting a message sent from Germany to Mexico asking to form an alliance against the US, President Woodrow Wilson thought it was time to step up and fight. And when that was decided, the Selective Service Act went into effect; otherwise known as the draft. Oh gosh, my heart would just drop. I can't imagine how Great Great Grandma Pauline felt. Knowing there was a possibility that her sons could be drafted. When the draft was enacted, Willie was forced to register. I saw newspaper articles threatening police involvement if anyone tried to avoid registering. What could Willie do? He had to register. Great grandpa Joe and Great uncle John were still too young to register at that time. Willie was hoping he could claim hardship and not have to serve in the war. On his draft card, he stated that he was the "sole support of Mother". You want to see a copy of that card? Here you go. There is information on the front and back.

     The first lotto occurred around June of 1917. Willie must have been relieved when his number wasn't called. He could go on living his normal (or close to normal) life. I wish that could be where my story ended. But it doesn't, cause there was another draft coming in 1918. And this time around, they weren't so lenient. In June 1918, there was a second lotto, and this time, Willie wouldn't be exempt. The US Army was in serious need of soldiers, so some that were exempt before, were not exempt this time, except for serious circumstances. I've had a hard time finding out what his draft number was, but I believe it was 774. I found the List of Men Ordered to Report for Duty for 1917-1918. His name was listed with the order number being 774. So Willie would look for that number in the newspaper.
     During my research, I came across more articles talking about the draft. This included photos of the draft. I also found some vintage video on YouTube. Here let me show you. It really makes it seem more real.

     The draft began in the morning on June 5th, 1918. It took hours for them to go through and draw the capsules out of the bowl. When it as all said and done, it would be published in the newspaper. Willie would have been notified by mail that his number had been selected and was expected to report to his local board for service. Sadly, I don't have any of Willie's documents (except for his registration card I already showed you), but I did find a few samples online of what would have been sent out. Would you like to see them? These are possibly some of the documents Willie would have received.

     So, William Christian Ilg was inducted into the U.S. Army July 6, 1918 at Jefferson Barracks. Just after the fourth of July celebration. The days leading up to him leaving must have been miserable for Great Great Grandma Pauline. Helping her son pack. Discussing with him the plans. Him telling her what she needs to do while he is gone. Her saying she will be praying for him. I'm sure many tears were shed as she hugged her son with the intent of never wanting to let go. He probably spoke with his brothers, preparing them to be the men of the house now and to take care of mom. Great grandpa Joe would have to get a job and look after the family now. Willie probably told his family he would write them soonest chance he got. As he walked off, I'm sure Great Great Grandma Pauline cried, wondering if she would ever see her baby again. And just like that, he was gone. Off to serve his country. Off to War.
     According to the List of Men Ordered to Report that mentioned earlier, He was ordered to report to his Jefferson Barracks for induction, then he would be off to Union Station to take the train to Camp MacArthur in Waco, Texas. I wondered what was going on in his head as he left his family. Was he scared? Was he excited? Worried? Sad? I wonder if he had some friends that were drafted with him. The train ride took quite a while. Probably making stops along the way, picking up more soldiers. All before their final destination. Once arriving at Camp MacArthur, he probably didn't have much time to get settled in before training began. Training took a little less than 12 weeks, which was the standard. Here are some photos I found of Camp MacArthur during that time. Camp MacArthur was also known as "Tent City", as you can see from the photos why. The living conditions were pretty primitive as most of the men lived in those tents. Yes next time you have to do laundry, maybe you won't complain. How would you like to do laundry like that? But this would be luxurious compared to what was ahead.

     Now from this point, most of what I tell you is based on my research of soldiers in World War I and the facts about his unit. I can only speculate his feelings through this whole ordeal. After training, they would have taken a train up to New York for the next leg of their trip. Willie boarded the S.S. France from New York at Pier 86. Embarkment began on September 25 at 1:30 pm until 5:07 pm, then resumed on September 26 at 10:25 am until they finished at 11:45 am. Finally at 3:35 pm on September 26, 1918, they began their journey. From what I've learned, the journey would have taken approximately 8 days to get from New York to France. I bet the sight of the Statue of Liberty was a beautiful sight. A reminder why Willie was going to fight. I wonder if he stood on the deck as they sailed away. I wonder if he ever got sea sick. I've never been out on the ocean for that long on a ship that big. I do love being on the water, but I don't know how I would have handled it. The anxiety alone of knowing where I was heading and what I was about to face would be torturous enough. I wonder how they passed the time.
     Approximately 8 days later, they would arrive in France, then probably take another form of transportation to their next destination. Train most likely I've had quite a bit of difficulty trying to trace where Willie would have been. On the few military records I do have for him, it lists a few different Companies and Units he was a part of. It was hard enough trying to find out which Division he was in. Most of all the information having to do with the battle was divided up by Divisions first. Once I learned what Division he was in, that made it somewhat easier. First he was part of the 83rd division, then he was part of the 5th Division, also known as the “Red Diamond” Division because of their Red Diamond Shoulder insignia. Since Willie was part of the Replacement Infantry, he came into the Division after they were already in France fighting. First he was listed with Company E 49th Infantry, then with Company I 11th Infantry.
     Not much is known about these particular Companies and infantries. I've gone through some morning reports and read up on some of the battles they fought in. Here is just a little information I dug up about the 5th Division:
On September 16, 1918, they “...moved by road and bus to the Argonne front and went into the attack on October 12th east of Montfaucon. The division continued in the attack until October 22d when it was relieved by the 90th Divison, and was withdrawn to the vicinity of Malancourt. On October 27th the division was again brought into the attack southwest of Brieulles, crossed the Meuse river and took Dun-sur-Meuse...” Source
     According to a Newpaper article, Willie had written home to his mom about his fighting during this time. Gosh, I so wish I had a copy of that letter. I would have loved to have read, in his own hand, his experiences over there. Now I could continue to bore you with facts and details about the war and his Division which would never give you the full effect of what Willie went through “over there”. Although, I did find a video on YouTube that gives a somewhat recreation of the fighting during the Meuse-Argonne Offense. It does include some real video footage from World War I. Have a look.
     Doesn't that just speak volumes? I can't imagine anyone going through that. But look how excited the soldiers were when they announced the end of the War. The Armistice was signed November 11, 1918 and was put into effect at 11 am. That's it! The war was over. And the 5th Division had such an important role in the final push. By Armistice Day, the 5th Division had advanced further east than any other Allied division. I've got a copy of the Map from the Research Library in St. Louis to show you. See? Look at the spot that says 5th and you can see their line is the farthest.
     The celebrations at home, began as soon as the Armistice was announced. Parades, dancing, singing, etc. Here is a copy of a newspaper article from the Cardondelet News dated November 15, 1918. I got this copy from the Carondelet Historical Society. It talks about the celebrations going on in Willie's hometown.

    Can you image how Great Great grandma Pauline felt, hearing the news? Being woken up in the middle of the night to the sounds of noise makers, yelling, celebrating, etc. Thinking, “Oh my gosh, my son will be coming home...” That last line in the article really got to me. "Never again will a nation so thoroughly celebrate any occasion unless it is when the two million young American soldiers return to their homes."
    Why do I look so sad? Well.... There is something I haven't told you yet. Great Uncle Willie was killed in action, Today, 100 years ago, November 8, 1918 – 3 days before the end of the war. I can only speculate based on information I have found, that he was shot in the face. In one report, it states his skull was fractured and his upper jaw was missing. I know, it's so awful to think about. I pray he didn't feel anything. When I went to the Soldier's Military Memorial Museum, one quote from a soldier states that you couldn't poke your head out of the trenches because once you did, it was just a mess of what sounded like machine gun fire. Could it be that when Willie stepped out of the trench to fight he was killed instantly? That's a possibility. As of right now, I do not have any reports of what happened. Again, all I can do is speculate from what I do have.
     So he would never be part of the end of the war celebrations we saw in that video. He would never come home... And what's worse, Great Great Grandma Pauline would not find out until over a month later. Since the announcement of the end of the war, she would be expecting to hear from her son any day to tell her he was coming home. This whole time, she was waiting for the moment to finally hug her baby again. That moment would never come. On December 20, 1918 it was published in a few newspapers announcing those who were killed in action. Here I have a few newspaper clippings.

     This would be the worst Christmas present that Great Great Grandma Pauline has ever received. After all the heartache she has been through in her life already. She now has lost another son. Willie gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country. With this war going on, there wasn't much they could do with the dead, so they got buried right where they fought. I got copies of Willie's Burial Case File, which explained more than I ever thought about what happened after he died. I was able to hold these original documents in my hand. The same documents Great Great Grandma Pauline held and signed. It was humbling for sure. I will have to show you the copies I got. As you can see from this paper, Willie was buried on November 12, 1918 at the brow of the hill, north of Liny. He was buried in his uniform with one dog tag and his mess kit. For identification purposes. Then one of his dog tags was placed on a cross marking his burial location.
     Once the war was over, the military decided to give the soldiers a more proper burial. Willie was disinterred on July 10th, 1919 to be moved to the Argonne American Cemetery (#1232) in Romagne, Meuse, France. He was buried in a pine box this time. Still in uniform, but "badly decomposed" as the paperwork stated. He was in Grave #29, Sec. #60, Plot #1. A lot of soldiers are still buried over there to this day. Willie was one of the lucky ones to have had his remains shipped back home to be by his family. Great Great Grandma Pauline decided she wanted her son home by her. It took three years before they could start sending the soldiers back. But at least he was coming home.... just not in the way anyone had hoped. Here is a copy of the card she filled out to have her son brought back to her. Yes, this is one of the original documents I held in my hands.
     So once again, Willie was disinterred (a gentle way of describing the fact they were digging up his remains again) on July 25, 1921. His remains had quite a journey before he arrived home. He was sent by rail to Antwerp, Belgium on August 11, 1921. He was to take a ship home from there. He arrived on August 12, 1921, then had to wait to be shipped back to the United States. Finally he was loaded September 19, 1921 on a ship called the "U.S.A.T Wheaton". They set said on September 20, 1921, carrying Willie along with many other soldiers who lost their lives. They arrived 13 days later in Hoboken, New Jersey on October 3, 1921 at Pier 4He would then be transported by train. Trains were the best forms of transportation during this time. He left New York on October 10, 1921 at 10:05 am on the Pennsylvania Railroad and arrived just a day later, on October 11, 1921. He was to be picked up by Joseph Fendler & Son Undertaking, so he could be prepared for his burial.
     They would have a visitation at Fendler Chapel on Michigan Ave in Carondelet, then they would have the funeral itself at St. Boniface Catholic Church. The same church that Willie had attended when he was a young boy for church and for school. Once the funeral was over, he would be then taken to Mount Olive Cemetery on Lemay Ferry for a proper military funeral. He was buried right next to his brother, Uncle Otto.
     Willie was finally home... and laid to rest for the final time. Because of his sacrifice, along with other brave men, we won World War I. I know he would have rather have stayed home to take care of his family, but he protected his family in the best way he could by standing up to fight. I know his death really shook the family. For so long, he was the one that the brothers looked up to. He was the one Great Great Grandma Pauline relied on. He was practically the glue that held the family together. I know the family was never really the same again. He is honored by the City of St. Louis in the Soldier's Military Memorial Museum downtown. His name appears on the memorial dedicated to the St. Louis native soldiers who gave the Ultimate Sacrifice in World War I. In 1924, a local group in St. Louis called the Gold Star Mothers began a project to honor the St. Louis sons and daughters who had made the ultimate sacrifice during the war. They created the Court of Honor. The memorial featured a bronze plaque for each fallen St. Louisan bearing the individual's name, rank, unit, branch of serve and cause of death. The memorial has since been destroyed due to urban development, but many of the plaques still exist and are housed at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Great Great Grandma would have been a member of this group and would have shown her support by wearing a yellow star on her sleeve. Here is a photo I found of the Court of Honor in 1919, when the soldiers came home from war. This is where they would eventually place those plaques.
     Great Great Grandma Pauline died a few years later and was buried right next to both of her sons. William is the only one who has a headstone out of the three. That is because it was provided by the military for free. The family was still very poor and couldn't afford to place a headstone for Uncle Otto or Great Great Grandma Pauline. Great Grandpa Joe filled out the request in 1931 for Willie to have a headstone. And that is the one that is placed there today. Today there are other family members buried there including Pauline's other son, John, and his wife, Leona, and John's two children. At least Great Great Grandma Pauline is surrounded by family.
     I think it is very important to make sure he is remembered for the sacrifice he gave. So I tell you the story of him today, so hopefully you can pass it down to your family. In that way, he will live on forever. And his sacrifice will not have been in vain. Sadly, To my knowledge, I do not have even have a photo of Great Uncle Willie. I have some photos of the boys when they were kids, but none that have Willie's name on them. Breaks my heart...

     What do you say we go and visit him at Mount Olive Cemetery? Go lay some flowers down at his grave?  Come on, let's go.

Family Date Book
Carondelet News
Missouri Marriage Records
St. Boniface Church Records
St. Louis City Directories
Missouri Death Records
World War I Draft Registration Cards
St. Louis Post Dispatch
St. Louis Star and Times
Various Website Relating to World War I
List of Men Ordered to Report
Map of Meuse-Argonne Offensive
William's Burial Case File
Pictures were either provided by Me or found on the Internet

Repositories include:
Missouri Historical Society
St. Louis County Library Headquarters
National Archives Library - St. Louis Branch
Carondelet Historical Society

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Family Date Book: Not a Reliable Source?!

I know what you are thinking. "You can't get more accurate than a family date book that has dates recorded by the family themselves. Recorded by the ones whom the dates apply to. People don't record their own records incorrectly!" Or do they? Well let me tell you what I've learned.

I've told the story about how my Grandma Ruth Wheeler gave me boxes of photos back in 2012. Along with those photos, she had a Family Date Book that had been passed down since the early 1900s. I thought I had hit a gold mine! Birth dates, Death dates, Marriages, Parents, Children, Immigration, etc. So much information! This was also the start of my obsession with family research. I took the book, photographed each page, then put it away. It was already falling apart and I didn't want to destroy this treasure. It is now packed away with some other special photos. Once I had the photos uploaded to my computer, I poured over them. Reading each page over and over again. Some pages were written in German. Others in English. I started with entering the English information into a family tree. See the photos below for copies.

Over time I started collecting documents to back up this information. I'm deducing from the information that the two authors were my 2nd Great Grandma, Pauline Ilg nee Kimmerle and my Great grandma Margaret "Honey" Ilg nee Buer. The information written in German I believe was written by Pauline as she was from Germany. Then I believe it was translated later and rewritten by Honey. If it wouldn't have been for Pauline documenting the births and deaths of her children, I wouldn't have found the documents supporting this information. And honesty, at the time when I found this, I didn't think I needed any other supporting documentation. I had the same thoughts as I wrote at the beginning of this entry. You can't get more accurate than this. Who am I to question this? They were present at these events, so to me that dictates this is true. I mean why would they lie? Boy was I in for a surprise.

The first crack in my foundation was the marriage between Joseph Ilg and Margaret "Honey" Buer (One of my authors). Their marriage date was listed in the book as July 23, 1919 and the location being Detroit, Michigan. See Photo. I also had other photos from anniversaries, with years and milestones written on them. Everything I got from my family backed up this information. 

Left: Page from date book listing their marriage information
Right: Family celebrating Joseph & Honey's 25th Wedding Anniversary
(Year written on back of photo)

After I added the information into my family tree, I started getting hints about documents linked to my family. The first thing that conflicted with my information was the 1920 census. Joseph and Honey were both listed, but listed separately and single in St. Louis, Missouri. Joseph lived with his mom and brother, and Honey was listed as living with her grandma, Maggie Helfrich. At this point, I am still new to all this, so I didn't know what to make of it. They were supposed to already be married and in Detroit, Michigan. Their child, my grandma's birthdate was September 9, 1920 and she was born in Detroit, Michigan. By this information, they should be there. What the heck?!

1920 US Federal Census for Margaret "Honey" Buer

1920 US Federal Census for Joseph Ilg

 So I decided I needed some help. I had joined a group called GAA (Genealogy Addicts Anonymous) in hopes of learning more. I posted my query to them, asking if anyone could find a marriage record for them. Within minutes, a gentleman found their marriage record. GREAT! He told me it was at The location was definitely Detroit, Michigan, but he said the date I had listed was wrong. The date of the marriage record was July 23, 1920. Wait, what? 1920? Not 1919? What the.... OH!!! They got pregnant out of wedlock! They got married after Honey turned 17, and had my grandma just two months later. That's why they went to Detroit, Michigan. To hide the truth of what happened. 

What a crazy find. I do not know how many people knew this fact, if any. I do not even know if my grandma knew the truth about her parents. So the incorrect data that was recorded, was done purposefully. Great... OK that's just one thing... Doesn't mean the whole book is wrong does it? Doesn't mean there is something else wrong. Well...

The second crack in my foundation came just recently. I wrote about it in another blog post. I have had a hard time tracing my 2nd and 3rd great grandmas and their lives, mainly in Tennessee. In the family date book, it lists the birthdate of my 2nd great grandma Oma, born to Logan and Maggie Dennis. It also mentions Maggie's birthdate. Then it talks about Maggie and Oma leaving Tennessee, and coming to St. Louis, in Oct 1890, and marrying Jacob Helfrich. That's it. No marriage date for Logan and Maggie or even for Jacob and Maggie. This has been my brick wall since I started my research. Since I've written blog posts about this, I won't go deep into it. The big surprise came when I found the divorce record for Maggie and Logan. It mentions Maggie's "adopted child" with the same age as Oma. It also states Maggie does not have any child of her own. What?? So that means my 3rd great grandma is not related to us by blood. So once again, the family date book is wrong. It states Logan and Maggie had 1 child Oma. Not true. See the three photos below.

Both are pages from the family date book that state Maggie had 1 child, Oma, with Logan

Maggie's divorce record from Logan stating she has no child of her own.

Those were the two huge discrepancies in my family date book. Those were enough for me to call into question all the data that was written in English. As stated before, I believe it was written by Honey. To be fair, the last discrepancy, Honey may not have known about. So she may have written it thinking it was true. But that also means, anything my family has said and passed down, may not be true. I am having to look at all this in a whole new light. My mom has confirmed her side of the family was big on hiding the truth. So I have to be more skeptical when information is given to me by others on that side of the family, unless they have some documentation to back it up. 

I did find a few more errors when it was translated from the German to the English. They did not include the names of the villages the family came from. Only the general area. I had to go back to the German pages to find the names.

Left: The pages written in German that actually list the villages they came from
Right: The watered down English translation omitting the villages

As you can see, just because you have a family date book that includes all the information you could ever want, it still needs to be verified by documentation. This is information is written by a fallible human being. Mistakes can be made, information transcribed wrong, or purposefully misleading. Don't be discouraged.  The Genealogical Proof Standard has been extremely helpful in my research. It teaches you how to reconcile information that does not match and how to determine how much you should trust the source. If you haven't gotten a copy, I recommend you picking one up today. Don't give up if you have run into a snag. Just go over all your sources and determine if the information you received was reliable. Whether from another Ancestry member or a direct Family member, it could be wrong. So always live by the phrase: PROVE IT!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

"Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry"
This is a verse in the song "Where were you?" by Alan Jackson. Just one of a few that have come out since the 9/11 attacks on the two towers in New York City. It's a question we ask quite a bit, especially around this time. Just a generation before us, they were asking, "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?". I am too young to answer this, but my mom still remembers it clear as a bell to this day. Same with me when it comes to 9/11. It is very important that we document this for future generations. Just like I am too young to be able to tell you where I was when Kennedy was shot, my daughter is too young to tell me where she was when the two towers went down. Document it. Journal it. Whatever you can do to pass down this information. has a timeline set up documenting the events of the day. Click here to read about it.

Now that you know how the events happened, Here is my story...
It was a school day for me. I was attending Hickey College at West Port Plaza off Page Ave in St. Louis, Missouri. My normal morning routine involved listening to my cds while on my commute to school. So I had no ideas anything was going on at that moment. When I arrived at school and joined my group of friends, they were talking about something that happened to the two towers. One said, they heard a plane hit one of the two towers. Another said, no they heard it was the pentagon. The stories they were describing all seemed so unreal. I honestly thought it was rumors started by news stations or something. It was too bizarre to believe.

After our first class, we all went to the local restaurants to check out the news to find out what was going on. I ran to the local pizza place there in the plaza cause I knew they had a tv. I will never forget what I saw. It was still before the towers had fallen. The site was horrific. Smoke everywhere. Huge holes in the buildings. I kept telling myself this wasn't real. That this only happens in the movies. Not in real life. We only had a 10 minute break in between classes so I couldn't stay long. But that 10 minutes was enough to shock my world. I went back to class in a daze. A few of my friends did not come back right away. They were watching the news reports. I don't know how we got through the rest of the day, but we did. As the day went on, we learned more and more about what happened. We learned terrorists had hijacked the planes, using them to attack the two towers, the pentagon and even the White House. The plane meant to attack the White House was unsuccessful thanks to the brave passengers on board.

After school, I had to go to work. I was a clerk at One Way Bookshop on Manchester Rd in West County. When we got there, my co-worker had figured out how to put on the local news on one of our TVs. For hours we watched the aftermath. We heard stories about gas stations raising the prices of gasoline in anticipation of what was to come, but the government stepped in and stopped it. I could not process this. Could not. It was all too scary. Were we going to go to war? Is this the beginning of the end? What could we expect?

Since 9/11, many changes have occurred. Stricker safety precautions have been put in place when it come to flying. We used to be able to go with people up to gate to see them off, or even meet them at the gate when they arrived. Not anymore. All national monuments increased their security measures such as checking bags or only allowing certain items past their checkpoint. One change that I remember occurred down at Bull Shoals Lake, a place we used to vacation a lot. We used to be able to get right up close to Bull Shoals Dam in our boat, but they now have buoys up blocking the path and they will sound an alarm if you get too close. Even the tours have changed. You have to park at one location and be bussed in. Safety measures today that you may get frustrated at or complain about, but that are there because of this event.

It was amazing to see everyone come together from different backgrounds, beliefs, races, putting their differences aside to join as "One Nation" like we should, to help each other, support each other and love each other. We don't always agree, but we are still One Nation. I read somewhere that this year will be the first year where 9/11 will be taught in schools as history. It's amazing how far we have come and grown as a nation. But never forget how we got here. Never forget those who lost their lives and those who gave their lives. Never forget...

I'm going to close this blog post with a commercial that was aired during the Super Bowl in remembrance of 9/11. The commercial only aired one time during Super Bowl XXXVI on February 3, 2002, but many people have never forgotten it. Anheuser-Busch's creative team came up with the concept and moved heaven and earth to make the commercial. They had to get approval from members of Congress, the advertising community and from New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani. "We filmed in New York City," said Bob Lachky, former executive vice president of Anheuser-Busch Global Creative. "We had a helicopter going over the Brooklyn Bridge. Mayor Giuliani let us into the city -- the only film company of any sort right after 9-11. To actually come into air space with our helicopter to film the Clydesdale... the hitch coming into Battery Park and it was amazing...just amazing." It was amazing, especially considering how New York was a city still hurting. And yet a St. Louis-based company, touched by the pain of the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil, took a risk to help one of our favorite cities and our nation heal. (a) I have to admit, watching it again, even 17 years later, still causes me to tear up.

Lyrics from MetroLyrics
(a)-Fox 2 News in St. Louis: (
Video footage from YouTube (