Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Transcribers Needed! How You Can Help

I recently received an email from the National Archives regarding a need for volunteers to help transcribe and tag items in the archives catalog.  What an awesome opportunity to help digitize historical records!  With the holiday season approaching, this opportunity is a wonderful way to give back to the genealogy community by helping to make available some of the U.S.' national treasures! Not sure where to start?  I say, just follow your heart - check out the Transcription Missions and select whichever area interests you.  The directions are simple - just click here and the easy to follow instructions will get you on your way to doing a very good deed.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Test Driving MyHeritage.com and Making an Amazing Find!

I had a free account with MyHeritage but I was never a subscriber until recently when a 50% discount offer was made for members of the National Genealogical Society.  I believe the discount is now offered for a limited time to everyone - check it out here.  I decided to give it a try and I immediately scaled a brick wall on my Duer line that I've recently been researching.  Here's how I did it...
I downloaded my gedcom from Ancestry.com to my home computer and then uploaded to MyHeritage.  My tree is large so I received an email from MyHeritage once it had been loaded and was ready to go.  The following day I went on the site and it was easy to upload a site photo (I used my Genealogy At Heart logo that I keep jpg'd in Dropbox and my Google+ pic, added a blurb about what my research interests are and what I'm currently investigating.  I happened to write that my brick wall was to determine the link between John Duer and his purported son, Thomas.  Thomas died in 1829 intestate and John, in 1831, with a will that omitted Thomas, understandably since he was deceased, but did not include any of Thomas' children.  That wouldn't have been odd, however, John did include a grandson who lived out of the Trumbull County, Ohio area, who was the son of one of John's deceased daughters.  Why include a grandson that lived in another state and not the grandchildren that lived next door?  Hmm.
I have researched probate, land and court records, cemetery records, tried to find Bible and church records, obituaries, collateral lines, biographies, area histories, and contacted area genealogical societies and libraries but found nothing. The census and tax lists just aren't helpful since they do not show relationships that far back.
I put the research aside for a month but it's been gnawing at me.  I originally made the connection of John and Thomas through the work of Edgar Duer Whitley, a gentleman who had found me on the internet 6 years ago from a Rootsweb posting I had made in the early 2000's.  My tree proved lineage to Thomas but I couldn't go farther back.  His tree showed lineage to Thomas' son John who had a daughter, Maria, that I'm descended from. Edgar emailed me and kindly sent me an electronic copy of all his years of sleuthing.  He never had a citation, though, of how Thomas and John were related. Shortly after he emailed me he no longer responded to my emails.  He was quite up in age and I figured he was deceased.  Thus, I couldn't know how he knew that Thomas was the son of John.
I would love to tell you that MyHeritage found the answer super quickly but that didn't happen.  I actually didn't receive any Record or Smart Matches from them.  I assume that's because my uploaded tree is well sourced.
I decided to snoop around their Family Trees located under the Research category.  I entered birth and death location and death year info for Thomas Duer.  A number of trees popped up with displays similarly to Ancestry.com.  I clicked on the first one and didn't find anything exciting.  The citations were all from Ancestry trees.  Ugh!
Then things got interesting - I clicked on Thomas' wife Hannah as the tree owner had her listed as Hannah Preston.   I had her listed as Hannah Byrd.  When I went to Hannah's page I discovered that she had remarried to a James Preston in September 1831 in Trumbull County, Ohio.  How had I missed that?  Interestingly, here's how the marriage license is written:
"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database with images, Family Search (https://familysearch.org:  21 Nov 2016), Trumbull>Marriage licenses 1828-1839 vol 2>image 55 of 181; county courthouses, Ohio.
Notice the right side records Hannah's surname as "Dewer" but in the body of the text as "Duer."  The record is indexed by Dewer so I never found it.  The tree owner had found it because he was descended from James Preston.  Putting in "James Preston" in the FamilySearch.org search form would have brought it up.
How do I know that the Hannah Duer is the wife of Thomas.  There was only one other Hannah Duer living in the country in 1831 and she was 10 years old, residing in Pennsylvania.  My Hannah and James were both born in New Jersey in 1775.  James' first wife died in 1829 in childbirth with twins shortly after Hannah's husband, Thomas, died.  Both had young children in the home so it makes sense they would have blended their families.  
I went back to Ancestry.com, Familysearch.org and Rootsweb's World Connect Project, to see if other's had this information.  Nope!  Only the one tree on MyHeritage.  For me, this was definitely worth the price.
It looks like the marriage didn't last long which could explain why no one else has the information on their trees.  By 1840, James was living with the children from his first wife and Hannah was living with one of her children as the tick mark in the age category for a female most likely is for her.  That age tick mark is lacking on James' record.  In 1850, the couple remained separated per the census records. Hannah's tombstone notes her first husband's name, Duer.  James lies next to his first wife.  It appears that this was a relationship that both sides wanted to forget.  This could also explain why Hannah's first husband's purported father, John, omitted her from his will written in 1830.  I'm now searching for a divorce record.  This story just gets more interesting with every find! I'm very happy to have found this information that quickly with MyHeritage's site.  Once I'm done with my Duer's I'll be searching their site for other clues on additional lines.  Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

DNA Lab Analysis - The Accuracy is Questioned

Recently I attended a workshop by Dick Eastman on Cloud Computing provided by my local genealogy society.  Dick spoke briefly, a lunch break was given and then the workshop resumed.  Although his information was interesting, it was the side conversations I overheard during lunch that piqued my interest.
I need to offer a disclaimer first - one of my children is employed by a large laboratory in the U.S. and part of the job responsibility is to trouble shoot and then correct problems that individual labs are encountering.   The troubleshooting my child does is regarding equipment and not results.  To my knowledge, none of that organization's business is in DNA analysis.  Even so, this proud momma often hears from family and friends who got results back that there must have been some mistake - how could whatever level that was being measured be so high, etc.  It was with this background that I brought to eavesdropping on the conversation at the next table...
A woman was explaining that she had recently had her DNA results returned and she wasn't matching with anyone in her family.  She is unmarried and has no children so none of them tested.  Her parents are deceased and she had no siblings.  By matching, she was referring to cousins.  A man at the table conjectured the lab had made a mistake and mixed up the samples.  Another attendee reported that his results matched with his children, siblings and first cousins but not with relatives from 3 generations back.  He, too, originally thought the lab had erred.  Then a match occurred with a surname which he was not familiar.  He thought he had somehow missed that line in his research so he went back over his records and low and behold, discovered that the matching surname lived in the same boarding house as his 2x's great grandmother.  Hmm.  And yes, great grandma was married to who he had assumed was his great grandfather at the time.  There went all of his research on that great grandpa's line!
Could a lab make a mistake?  Absolutely!  The likelihood, though, is not as great with the processes and procedures that are in place as is the entanglement of human relationships.
The following day I was reading a list serv to which I belong and an individual had posted how she had inadvertently given a female DNA test kit to a male relative.  The lab caught it and asked for clarification.
My advice if your returned results give you unexpected findings - get the test redone at another site.  Prices are dropping for the holidays so the cost is negligible.  There are "rumors" that Ancestry will run a special beginning November 25th for $69.00 to beat the FTDNA price of $79.00.  I don't have that in writing so check around on the 25th to see what happens.
When the test results are returned, if they're similar, well, you know you need to explore other lines to determine who's the daddy.  If they are not the same, I'd contact the lab and share your findings.  You'd probably get your money refunded if the lab made the error and an offer for another test as a thank you for letting them know there is a quality control problem.  Personally, I'm betting on the relationships and not the lab as the culprit.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Family Tree Maker's Fall Newsletter Makes Me Feel Vindicated!

Well, well,  I'm feeling pretty righteous!  I recently received the Fall Newsletter (which, BTW, is the ONLY newsletter that Family Tree Maker has emailed to me this year so it correctly should be labeled as the "First Fall Newsletter" since Software MacKiev bought the rights for the Microsoft version which is what I formerly used.)
The newsletter was designed to notify the public that they are running behind and don't have the synch ready as they had earlier stated would occur before the end of 2016.  Okay, glitches happen and I am pleased that the organization is taking ownership that they will not be able to meet their self imposed deadline.
IMHO, this is a major step forward.  I've been blogging for quite a while about my frustration with FTM not syching with my large Ancestry.com tree.  Every time I called customer service they would blame Ancestry.  I'd call Ancestry and they'd tell me to call FTM.  I'd wait a day or two and try again as I was hoping whoever was on duty would have the knowledge to assist me.  I posted for help, too but no one seemed to know what the problem was.  The only "help" I ever received was twice when I was emailed a useless pdf that supposedly would get the synch back but that never worked, either. The final time I called, the rep tried to tell me I couldn't follow instructions.   So much for service! That was the day I switched to Legacy Family Tree's standard edition.
But back to the newsletter... I quote, "...So, should you get the latest build right now then? Well, it depends. The improvements are mostly in stability and performance. So if FTM is crashing or has slowed to a crawl with large trees, then have at it. " Finally, they admit that the product doesn't work well with large trees!  Now it's official who owned the problem and I don't blame Ancestry.com one bit for cutting the prior company owners' off last December.  What a nightmare it must have been for Ancestry staff to have to take all those calls from unhappy FTM users!  I also give kudos to Ancestry's staff for handling the calls I made to them in a professional manner.
I tried to link to the newsletter but I don't see it posted on their website so I'm providing the link to sign up to their Mailing List instead.
I would like to see FTM offer a goodwill gesture by providing the new version for free to anyone with a large tree to make up for the wasted time and lack of support.  FTM could determine the size of the tree for the offer.  For now, that's the only way I'd be back.              



Friday, November 18, 2016

Ancestry's New Connection Ap

I downloaded Ancestry.com's new ap "We're Related" on October 25th.  The first day I couldn't get it to stop loading the "Who are you?" page.  I tried several times in the following week and always time out getting the "Error communicating with server, please try later.  Error getting trees.  We seem to be having trouble pulling up the roots."  Cute but annoying.
I'm not sure if it's because my tree is so large or if there is some other issue on their end.  I travel a great deal and thought it would be neat to find others who might be related to me.  Definitely don't use this if you don't want your gps coordinates known!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Watching the Waistline - Diets from My Family's Past

Just had my annual physical and was happy with the results.  I always brace for the doctor lecture about losing weight.  It didn't come, though, because it's hard to tell someone to diet when the lab results are all good.  Still, I know it's not healthy to be carrying around extra weight.
I come from long lines of fat people so I like to believe it's genetic and not lifestyle.  That's actually delusional on my part as they all loved food and so do I,  My grandmother's best gifts were cookbooks of which I inherited many.
With the holidays approaching, hubby and I decided it would be wise to be more selective of our food choices for the next few weeks.  My hydroponic garden is doing awesome with the warm days and cool nights so I have a bountiful supply of organic lettuce, kale, and cabbage.  Only 3 tomatoes so far but it's early for a Florida harvest.  Same with the peppers, broccoli and cauliflower but that's ok, too.
With the weather cooling off I decided it would be a good idea to make my grandmother's stuffed cabbage recipe.  About 15 years ago I took all of the family recipes, retyped them and had three books made - one for each of my kids and one for me.  I also included anecdotes about the recipe, such as the awesome beef stew from the Lutheran Church Woman's Guild Society's cookbook that was attributed to my sister-in-law  When I first made it and let her know how good it was she had no idea what I was taking about.  Turns out, my mother-in-law submitted the recipe because she wanted to have her daughter's name in print.  We chuckle every time someone mentions beef stew.
Since food was always a big deal in our family, I wanted to pass down as many stories as I could and adding them to the cookbook insured they would be remembered.  By creating a cookbook, I also eliminated wear and tear to the originals.
I don't know why but instead of going to "my cookbook" I pulled out one of my grandmother's old ones and there was her "Miracle Diet" consisting of apple cider vinegar.  I don't know where or when she got it so I did a little internet searching and discovered that no one else can figure out that diet's origin.  I can assure you it didn't work for her.  This got me thinking of other diets.
I found this on a blog by Peter and Drew Greenlaw from 3 March 2016:
"Dieting goes back at least as far as the 3rd century BC, according to Louise Foxcroft, author of Calories & Corsets:  A History of Dieting Over 2000 Years.  She says that followers of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates recommended a diet of light and emollient foods, slow running, hard work, wrestling, sea-water enemas, walking about naked and vomiting after lunch."  I guess this was also the first documented recommendation for purging.
I'm making a great leap here but my maternal line was originally from the Greek island of Kos. Hippocrates' medical school was located on Kos Island.  I can only imagine my ancestors going to Dr. Hippocrates and being given the fat lecture and his diet.  Clearly, that diet didn't work either or it would have been passed down.
Happy Hunting!
  
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-history-of-dieting-and-weight-loss-it-started-2300-years-ago-with-the-greeks-158890/#HRor0tUIBYocC0pg.99

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Genealogy Catch Up - Using the Extra Hour of Day Light Savings to Keep Organized

My goodness I accomplished a bunch last weekend with that hour of extra time!  I'm taking the advice I preach and cleaned out my emails, making sure that I saved everything that was important to my desk top and if it was super important, to the Cloud.  I use the free Dropbox.  For information that may someday be important, I save the link to an Excel file I keep in Dropbox.  For example, if there is a particularly interesting blog about clues from old photographs from Ancestor Cloud or Genealogy in Time Magazine, I copy the link in the Excel spreadsheet.  One column is Topic, next is the link and the third is comments, if any.  That way, if I ever have a brickwall or a client comes to me with a difficult quest with an area where I'm not an expert, I can quickly find useful information.
One email I had received from last month was for a special on Roots Magic.  For my faithful readers, you know I dearly miss the simplicity of the old PAF that Family Search once provided for free. I switched to Family Tree Maker when PAF was dying and was happy until it stopped synching with my Ancestry.com tree.  The many calls and emails I made between both organizations were pointless so I gave up and went to the Standard free version of Legacy.  I liked it so much several months later I bought the Deluxe version.  IMHO, Legacy has the BEST charts of any genealogy software product out there and is a bargain for the price.  But back to the Roots Magic email, there was a special offer for $29.95.  I thought I could do better so I hunted around and found I could get it for $20.00, along with an instructional ebook.  I decided to make the purchase, download my GEDcom from Ancestry and upload to Roots Magic in preparation for when Ancestry.com and Roots Magic are able to synch like Family Tree Maker failed to do.  I got my $20.00 price from the Association of Professional Genealogists but I also found it by looking for special offers.  Here's the link if you'd like to purchase it - ROOTS MAGIC SPECIAL.
Another special for the upcoming weekend - November 12-13 - is Arkivdigital will be free for everyone.  If you have Swedish family it's a must use.  Yes, the records are in Swedish but there are helpful hints on their site or you could use Google Translate.  Happy Hunting!  Now back to Roots Magic...
I was pleased with how quick the upload was; Legacy takes a whole lot longer.  After updating both Legacy and installing Roots Magic, I saved to the Cloud and to a stand alone hard drive as I am paranoid to lose the information.
While I was doing that, Hubby was working at his desk beside me.  I looked over and what did I see but visions of holiday shopping appearing on his screen!  So I gave him my gift list for this year - a new sewing box and three genealogy books.  I did have to have him log onto my National Genealogical Society account to get a discount on the books but that was a good savings, too.
All that took up my extra hour but I felt so good about cleaning up my data I decided to move on to finishing the Canvas project I started in the summer.  I'm just about done with our family poster. I think it's a bargain for $34.95.  Granted, I'm going to have to get it framed.
Haven't checked out how to make one?  If you click on EXTRAS on the Ancestry ribbon and then click on the drop down menu for Photo Books and Posters you leave Ancestry and go to MY CANVAS.  To make a poster, click on their ribbon FAMILY HISTORY.  You can import your Ancestry.com tree to their template and get creative from there.  It's an awesome holiday gift.
If only I could have an extra hour every weekend!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

John Duer, Where Art Thou Buried and other Duer Mysteries?!

My last post, Records Breadcrumb Trail May Lead to Wrong Conclusions, and an earlier post, Circular Migration Patterns-How History Repeats Itself, 30 May 2015) noted my research of my Duer line.  My latest hurdle is finding the burial location of John Duer, my 3rd great grandfather.
I know from his Indiana probate records that John died on 25 February 1885 in Adams County, Indiana.[1] John and his second wife, Margaret Martz Searight, were living in Jefferson, Adams County, Indiana in 1880, along with their two children Charley, age 14 and Lucinda, age 12.[2]  Adams County, Indiana is adjacent to Mercer County, Ohio where both had resided with their first spouses.  I’m descended from John’s daughter, Maria, with his first wife, Mary Jane Morrison.[3]
I’m discovering some interesting information regarding John and Margaret and I wish I could connect up with relatives who might be able to shed light on my findings.  The first “odd” event was John and Margaret’s marriage on 11 December 1864.[4]  How that is odd is that first wife, Mary Jane, did not die until 10 July 1866.[5]  No divorce documentation has been found.  Nothing leads me to believe that John was a polygamist; he was raised as a Presbyterian and his father, Thomas, was buried in a Presbyterian cemetery in Trumbull County, Ohio.[6]  The Justice of the Peace for the second marriage was a third great uncle of mine on another line, John Leininger.  The Leiningers were Lutheran.  Since Mary Jane’s tombstone clearly states she was “the wife of John Duer” and there was only one other John Duer living in the area at the time who happened to be her son who was married to a Carolina Kuhn, this isn’t a case of mistaken identity.  I’m positive that the John Duer that married Margaret was not John and Mary Jane’s son John (Jr.) as I have his marriage certificate to Carolyn in 1863.  John Jr. and Carolina’s first child, John (of course!) was also born in 1866.  Likewise, John Sr. and his second wife, Margaret’s first child, Charles, was born in 1866.  I haven’t been able to find the exact birth date but remember, first wife didn’t die until July 1866.   
If John Sr. and Mary Ann had divorced, why would Mary Jane’s tombstone inscription note her as a wife?

Figure 1Mary Jane Morrison Duer Tombstone[7]
To further support I have the correct John Duer, his will probated in Adams County, Indiana not only mentions his children from his second marriage to Margaret, but Angeline, his youngest daughter with his first wife, Jane.[8]
John and Jane had ten children; at the time of his death six were known to be living.  Yet, he did not note any child from the first wife in his will except Angeline.
There could be several reasons for the omission.  Perhaps his older children, as well established adults, did not need financial assistance.  Maybe there was a falling out and the older children were no longer speaking to their father.  Angeline, Mary and James, children from his first wife, were living in Adams County, Indiana while the other children were living in Mercer County in 1870.  Although geographically these counties are next to each other, perhaps John decided only unmarried children living in Indiana would receive compensation. 
I’ve searched for an obituary for John and Jane and haven’t been able to find one.  I’ve also been unable to find where John was buried. 
Kessler Cemetery records are incomplete.[9]  Jane is mentioned in the records, however, John is not.  According to one of the county trustees, the older section of the cemetery has no empty plots.  There is an empty space in Jane’s row so it is possible that John was interred there with no stone.  If they had divorced, why would he be interred close to his ex? 
To rule out a burial elsewhere, other cemeteries in Mercer and Adams counties were examined.  No burial location for John was found.  John died before death certificates were mandatory in Indiana so there is no clue to be discovered there. 
John’s second wife, Margaret, was also buried in Kessler Cemetery and her burial is notated in the records.  There are no empty spaces in Margaret’s burial location and all surrounding graves have readable tombstones, very similar to Jane’s.  Like Jane, Margaret’s stone denotes her as the wife of John Duer:

Figure Margaret Ann Martz Searight Duer Stone[10]
Margaret was first married to a Mr. Sea(w)ri(gh)te.  She had a daughter, Effie, from her first marriage that was born in 1856.  Effie was born in Ohio so Margaret had emigrated from Hesse, Germany prior to that time. 
I’ve never been able to determine where Margaret’s first husband was buried, either.  Oh, these missing men!
Here’s the second odd situation with this family – John and Jane’s daughter, Maria (not to be confused with Mary, another of their daughters) married Henry Kuhn Jr.  Henry was also an immigrant from Germany; he was quite prosperous and well known in the German community in Mercer.  The Leininger family (the JP for the second marriage) were much like the Kuhns; born in Germany they adapted quickly and held many political offices in the community as well as being successful farmers.  Surely these individuals would have all known each other.  Maria and Henry’s tombstone is ornate and also in Kessler Cemetery.  They could have well afforded a small stone for John. Why doesn’t John have one if he was buried there?
Some individuals do not want a stone but I find no reason that John would have been one of those folks.  His father, mother and grandfather had stones, as did both of his wives.  It seems to me that his passing wanted to be forgotten.
As I was researching obituaries I came across the following unsettling article:



John's wife, Margaret, had met a similar fate[11]
Figure 3 The Fort Wayne [Indiana] Daily News
The son that lived nearby was Charles.




Figure 4 The Evening Republican


Figure The Fort Wayne [Indiana] Evening Sentinel



Figure 6 The Indiana Tribune (in German)

John and Margaret’s son, Charles Edward Duer, was married to Almeda Buckmaster.[12]  I thought she was the “Mrs. Duer” who had died on 1 June 1894[13].  I began to wonder if there wasn’t a sinister side to this line but I’m happy to report that upon analysis, there were two Charles Duers, one in Indiana and one in Ohio.  Both had a loved one die by fire but they were not one and the same.  Whew!  Thought I was identifying a murder suspect for a bit.  Guess it’s just a creepy coincidence!





[1] “Indiana, Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999,” John Duer, Volume A-C, page 484-486; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:  ancestry.com:  accessed 16 October 2016), citing Adams County, Indiana Circuit Court.
[2] 1880 U.S. census, Jefferson, Adams County, Indiana, population schedule, page 6 (handwritten), family/dwelling 54, John Duer; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:  ancestry.com:  accessed 16 October 2016), citing FHL microfilm 1254263.
[3] See previous blogs for citations.
[4] Ohio, Marriage Intention Application, John Duer,
[5] Find-A-Grave, database and image (http://www.findagrave.com:  accessed 16 October 2016), memorial page for Jane Morrison Duer (1804-1866), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22503919; memorial created by Teresa citing St. Kessler Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio; image by Cousin Becky.  Tombstone states “Jane, wife of John Duer” and clearly shows 1866 as the death year.
[6] Find-A-Grave, database and image (http://www.findagrave.com:  accessed 16 October 2016), memorial page for Thomas Duer (1775-1829), Find A Grave Memorial no. 57798621; memorial created by BLJns75 citing St. Pricetown Cemetery, Newton Falls, Trumbull County, Ohio.  No tombstone pictures but confirmed with a local genealogist in Trumbull who had tripped over Thomas’ fallen stone and had it reset, the cemetery was for Presbyterian’s only.
[7] Find-A-Grave, “Jane Morrison Duer,”
[8] “Indiana, Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999,” John Duer, Volume A-C, page 484-486
[9] Author to       , Mercer County Trustee, Phone and Email, date, .  Author is deeply appreciative of         for not only scanning and emailing the cemetery records for the Duer family, but including other family members who were interred in the cemetery.            Also physically went to the gravesite to verify that there was no stone for John Duer.  She took pictures of surrounding stones and emailed to the author.  Her dedication is exemplary!
[10] Find-A-Grave, database and image (http://www.findagrave.com:  accessed 16 October 2016), memorial page for Margaret A. Duer (1823-1904), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22546617; memorial created by Teresa citing St. Kessler Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio; image by Cousin Becky. 
[11] “Burned in Her Home,” The Fort Wayne [Indiana] Daily News, 29 December 1904, p. 1, col. 3.                  
“Aged Woman Cremated,” The [Columbus, Ohio] Evening Republican, 30 December 1904, p. 1, col. 2.
“Aged Woman Burns to Death in Home,” The Fort Wayne [Indiana] Evening Sentinel, 30 December 1904, p. 1, col. 3.
“Radridten and Indiana,” Indiana Tribune, 30 Dec 1904, No. 110, p. 1, col. 6.
[12] “Indiana Marriage Collection, 1800-1941,” Charles E. Duer and Elmeda Buckmaster, 6 March 1886; digital image, Familysearch (https://familysearch.org:  accessed 17 October 2016); citing FHL microfilm 002321466; citing Adams County, Indiana County Clerk Office, p. 124.
[13] “Fatal Burns,” The Lima [Ohio] Times-Democrat, Vol. X, No. 195, p. 1, col. 1.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Records Breadcrumb Trail May Lead to Wrong Conclusions

I’ve been researching my Duer line lately with the idea that I’ll write a Kinship Determination from where my line begins, with Maria Duer, my great great grandmother, to my gateway ancestor, Thomas Stone Duer.     
I’ve blogged previously about the serendipitous events and detailed how history repeats itself (see Circular Migration Patterns-How History RepeatsItself, 30 May 2015). After discovering the connection, I’ve become more determined to learn about the Duer Family.
Maria left some wonderful records, however, they initially led me to a wrong conclusion.  Years ago, I had found her obituary through the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Index[1] but I couldn’t decipher it as it was in German and used Gothic script.  Her daughter Emma’s death certificate stated Maria was born in Germany.[2]  The obit and the daughter’s death certificate led me to believe that Maria was of German descent.  By just looking at the surface, those two records reinforced what I already knew about my father’s long line of German ancestry; I had Leininger, Bollenbacher, Kuhn, Kable, and Kettering surnames sprinkled everywhere in my tree and all of them were German immigrants.  No surprise that Maria Duer would have also been German.  How wrong I was!
Maria was born in Mahoning, Ohio on 2 September 1833.[3]  Adam Kuhn, Maria’s son with whom she resided at the time of her death and who was the neighbor of his sister, Emma, had served as Emma’s death certificate informant.  It is understandable that Adam most likely identified himself with his father Henry Kuhn’s German heritage.  German born Henry Kuhn was a prosperous citizen in Mercer County, Ohio and maintained a close connection with others who had immigrated from Germany.  Henry and Maria had been married for 55 years so she, too, would have been known in the German community so her obituary in a German newspaper makes sense.  After having the obituary translated, I learned that it never stated she was German but it did mention her German born husband.  Daughter Emma died at age 50 after suffering long term physical abuse from her ex-husband of 25 years.  Adam likely recalled his father’s birth place instead of his mother’s when he provided Emma’s death certificate information.  In grief, he probably just made an error.
Census records, a second obituary in English, and a mug sheet entry all confirm Maria was born in Ohio and connect her to her parents, John and Mary Jane (Morrison) Duer.  Maria Duer was once a brickwall ancestor but no longer!  What a great lesson in making sure a reasonably exhaustive search was performed AND analysis of all the found records was done. 





[1] “Maria Duer Kuhn,” obituary, Die Minter [Ohio] Post, 1 August 1913, page 1, col. 3.
[2] Ohio, Bureau of Vital Statistics, death certificate, “Emma Landfair,” number 12296 (stamped, 21 February 1914.
[3] 1850 U.S. census, Killbuck, Holmes County, Ohio, population schedule, page 245 (handwritten) dwelling 557, family 572, Maria Duer; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com:  accessed 16 October 2016); citing NARA microfilm publications M432_696.
1860 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, population schedule, page 141 (handwritten), dwelling 1008, family 1013, Henry and Maria Coon Jr.; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com:  accessed 16 October 2016); citing NARA microfilm publications M653_1009.
1870 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, population schedule, page 15 (handwritten) dwelling 55, family 58, Maria Kuhn; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com:  accessed 16 October 2016); citing NARA microfilm publications M593.
1880 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, population schedule, page 7 (handwritten) dwelling 55, family 58, Maria Kuhn; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com:  accessed 16 October 2016); citing FHL microfilm 1255048; citing NARA microfilm publications T9_1048.
1900 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, population schedule, sheet 9 (handwritten) dwelling141, family176, Meriah Kuhn; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com:  accessed 16 October 2016); citing NARA with no further information provided.
1910 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, population schedule, sheet 9 (handwritten) dwelling 320, family 278, Miria Kuhn; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com:  accessed 16 October 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication T624_1214.
Ohio, Department of Health Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate, “Maria Kuhn,” state file number 41826, 22 July 1913.
“Marie Kuhn,” The Grim Reaper, The Celina [Ohio] Democrat, 25 July 1913, page 1, col. 4.
Compilers, A Portrait and Biographical Record of Mercer and Van Wert Counties, Ohio (Chicago,IL:  A. W. Bowen & Co., 1896) 400-401; digital image, Google Books (https://books.google.com:  accessed 16 October 2016).