Friday, December 7, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 49

Mayme Crusham ~1950
With the writing prompt being Winter, I immediately searched through old photographs to see if I had a wintertime photograph of one of my ancestors. I came across this one of my maternal grandmother, Mary Barbara (Metz) Crusham.

Known by all as Mayme, she was born 5 February 1890 in Cincinnati to Peter and Bridget (Maher) Metz. Mayme was the second oldest of five children, with the others being Helen b. 1888, Alice b. 1892, Stella b. 1893, and Walter b. 1895. Mayme married Michael Crusham on 21 June 1911 when she was 21 years of age.

The photograph was taken in front of Michael and Mayme’s house at 1238 Rosemont Avenue in the Price Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati. My older sister Kathleen is seated on the bumper of what was probably my dad, LeRoy Kubler’s, car as we owned the house next door to Grandma and Grandpa. After discussing the photo with my sister, we decided the boy in the photo is most likely our brother Kenneth. It is difficult to say as he is turned away from the camera, and with my sister being seated you can’t get a feel for the difference in their height. Kathy is two years older than Ken. Our older brother LeRoy was diagnosed with aplastic anemia when he was a couple of years old, so he would not have been allowed out in the snow.

Having said that, and guessing that Kathy is around six years of age in this photo, it is likely that the photo was taken late in 1950. LeRoy died at the age of seven in January of 1950. And a huge storm system moved into the central part of the United States in November of that year.

The snow started out just before Thanksgiving in 1950 as a seemingly normal weather event, but it turned deadly. The significant winds created blizzard conditions, and Cincinnati and other areas received more that 2 feet of snow in three days due to the slow-moving storm. The snow conditions lasted from November 22-30. As if that wasn’t bad enough, above average temperatures during the first week of December led to flooding, with the Ohio River reaching 56 feet, 4 feet above flood stage. That certainly must have made for an interesting winter in Cincinnati.

There are a couple of things that strike me about this photo. First, Grandma’s feet and legs must have been freezing! It sure doesn’t appear as though she has boots on. Second, just in looking at her I would have guessed she was in the winter of her life. And yet, she would have only been 60 in this photo. Heck, I’m older than that right now, which makes me totally revise my idea of the definition of the “winter of your life”!



Friday, November 30, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 48

As November is the next-to-last month in the year, Next to Last is the writing prompt this week.  For this prompt I will be writing about my paternal great-grandmother, Louisa A. Boegel. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in July of 1870, Louisa was the fourth of seven children born to Johann Heinrich Boegel and his wife, Sophie Elizabeth (Suhre) Boegel. Johann had emigrated from Prussia, arriving in Baltimore on 20 July 1858. On 26 November 1858, he married Sophie Suhre in Cincinnati. In later years he owned a saloon on the northwest corner of Ninth and Elm Streets.

In the 22 June 1882 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer, an article appeared on page 8 entitled "Good Pupils" with the subtitle "Who Have Been Tried and Passed". The article went on to list the names and average percentage of all the pupils of Grade D who were examined for admission to the Intermediate Schools and received a score of at least 70%. Under the Third Intermediate School, Sixth District appears the name Louisa Boegel, with a percentage of 70.3. There was one student who scored 70%, making Louisa the next to last student in the class.

Louisa Boegel

On 18 January 1891, Louisa married Henry Kubler at St. Gabriel’s Church in Connersville, Indiana. Together they had two children: Joseph (my grandfather), born in 1891 and Ethel, born in 1894 and died in 1895. Louisa was listed in various city directories as being a seamstress.

Henry was only 33 when he died on 11 February 1902, and on 9 November 1903 Louisa married Charles Fredrick Brinkman. They had a son Charles, born 6 January 1907. Louisa died 17 October 1913 at the age of 43, when her son Charles was only 6 years old.

Louisa may have been next to last in her class when she was 12 in 1882, but without her I wouldn’t be here. And we all know what the person who graduated last in the class in medical school is called - Doctor.

Friday, November 23, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 47

Polaroid Land Camera
This week is Thanksgiving, so the writing prompt is Thankful. The thing that I am most thankful for, from both a personal and a genealogical perspective, is the fact that my dad was a person who embraced new technology - at least to a certain extent. Because of this, I am blessed to have old photos of my family, as well as his military days in WWII, because he was comfortable using a camera. He got a Polaroid Land Camera in the early 1960s, and we were all amazed when the photos popped out of it.

But the best thing he did was to purchase an 8mm movie camera in the 1950s. While he did not shoot a lot of film, I am so fortunate to have in my possession five reels that have survived the years. Included were the 50th wedding anniversaries of both sets of my grandparents! Recently I had the films converted to an mp4 format, using a local service provider. The films were in decent shape considering they haven’t exactly been stored properly the past 50 plus years.

The film is priceless to me, and to have the opportunity to have my parents, grandparents, and other loved ones brought back to life is such a treat. My goal is to edit the footage, removing film that is too light to be distinguishable. I also want to add still photos, text and music to the final product. I did a little of this before I went to Cincinnati in October, creating one mp4 for the Kubler relatives to see and a separate one for my Crusham family. But for my siblings I will make one continuous film that can be shared with them. Hopefully they will treasure the memories as much as I do.

Thanks, Dad - and Happy Heavenly Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 46

For the writing prompt Random Fact, I am relaying a tidbit about my maternal 2nd great-grandfather Patrick Maher. Patrick was born about 1819 in Tipperary, Ireland, where he married Mary Flynn. Their first three children, Patrick, Julia, and Alice, were born in Ireland. The youngest three, Bridget (my great-grandmother), Mary, and Ellen, were born in the United States following the family’s emigration in 1855.

Patrick Maher was drafted into Civil War service in the Second Congressional District of Hamilton County, Ohio in May of 1863. He listed that he would be 44 years of age as of the 1st of July, 1863. It is interesting to note that a Michael Maher and a Timothy Maher, also both 44 years of age, appear on the same draft registration page as Patrick. Michael even lived on the same street as Patrick. Were they related?

My random fact about Patrick appeared in a 13 June 1866 article in The Cincinnati Enquirer. The post listed all the Fenians from Cincinnati and the surrounding area who had been captured by the United States steamer Michigan. Some background on the Fenians is as follows:

The Fenian Brotherhood was established in the United States in 1858, with the goal being to help fund a rebellion in Ireland. They wanted to help the Irish in their fight for independence from the British. Later, a group of Irish Americans decided to focus on a closer target: British Canada. At the end of the Civil War in 1866, the Fenians built an army of combat veterans. As over 150,000 Irish immigrants had fought for the Union, they had a large pool of men from which to draw.

On 1 June 1866 one thousand Fenians led an attack into Canada by crossing the Niagara River from Buffalo, NY. It was fairly unsuccessful, and on 3 June the officers and some of their troops were taken aboard the Michigan. The men were held until the Canadian government announced they would not seek extradition of them. Another unsuccessful raid took place on 7 June. The US government began to arrest known and suspected Fenians, and some of the remaining Fenians in Canada were transported back to the US on 12 June 1866. Many of them were later pardoned by President Johnson.

Patrick Maher was one of the men arrested. An article in the Cincinnati paper in 1870 listed Patrick as an officer in the local Fenian organization. Apparently he was not deterred by his previous arrest.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 45

While I have some photographs of male ancestors that I have collected over the years, I do not have one that I think qualifies for the writing prompt Bearded. Instead, I’ll talk about the three brothers who all looked very similar, right down to their stylish mustaches.

My maternal second great-grandparents, Joseph Henry Metz and Barbara (Karch) Metz of Insheim, Germany had nine children, four of whom were boys. The youngest boy, who was also the baby of the family, was my great-grandfather Peter Metz.

One child, Magdalena, died in Insheim, Germany when she was just two months old, but I believe all of the other children lived and died in the Cincinnati/Covington greater area following their emigration to America.

Nicholas, Barbara, Anna and Elisabeth
For three of the four boys, I have been able to locate photographs. The oldest child was Nicholas Metz, who was born in Insheim on 8 August 1842 and died in Cincinnati on 26 February 1920. He arrived in America in 1866, traveling with his mother and five of his siblings aboard the Fulton. By the 1870 census he was living in Cincinnati with his mother and three brothers, Joseph, John, and Peter. Nicholas married Carolyn Blanner, and they had four children: Magdalena, Rosa, John, and Mary. The photo shows him with his sisters Barbara Metz Zimmer, Anna Maria Metz Radenheimer, and Elisabeth Metz.

Joseph and Rosina
Joseph Metz was born 2 October 1853 in Insheim and he died 25 September 1925 in Cincinnati. He was on the same ship as his mother and siblings, arriving in America in 1866. In 1877 he married Magdelena Germann, and they had five children: William, John, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Helen. Joseph is pictured with his sister Rosina Metz Strassel.

Peter Metz (my great-grandfather) was born in Insheim 30 May 1862 and died in Cincinnati on 4 February 1935. He was only four years old when he arrived in America with his family. On 3 November 1887 he married Bridget Maher, and they went on to have five children: Helen, Mary (my grandmother), Alice, Stella, and Walter. He and Bridget are pictured, probably in the 1920s.

Peter and Bridget
What struck me first in looking at the photos is how much the three men resemble each other. The second thing I noticed is that they all wore their mustaches the same way. I have never seen a photograph of their father Joseph Henry Metz as he died of a bee sting in Insheim at the age of 43. It would be so interesting to see if his sons looked like him. And if he, too, favored wearing a mustache.

Nicholas, Joseph and Peter

Saturday, November 3, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 44

Since we just celebrated Halloween, this week’s writing prompt is Frightening. Though we just had a television show with ghosts filmed in our house, we have not experienced any paranormal activity here nor have I heard of any ghost stories in the family. I did have a creepy experience in a cemetery when I was young though.

Price Hill United Jewish Cemetery
My Grandma and Grandpa Crusham lived on the north end of Rosemont Avenue in Cincinnati. The area was known as West Price Hill. Not too far past my Uncle Charlie’s house, which was easy walking distance from my grandparent’s home, was the entrance to Price Hill United Jewish Cemetery. Going through the cemetery was a short-cut to Rapid Run Park. As there was not much to do at Grandma’s, my brother, cousins and I would head to the park to play.

One day we stayed a little too long at the park, and it grew dark. As we were walking through the cemetery, one of my cousins began telling ghost stories. All of a sudden we heard a strange noise, and it wasn’t coming from any of us. Tha-wunk, tha-wunk, tha-wunk! What in the world could it be?

We began to walk faster, but it seemed we were heading towards the noise and not away from it. Our imaginations ran wild as we envisioned grave robbers opening a crypt, or murderers digging into the ground to dispose of a body. We began to run.

As we rounded a corner we came upon several boys approaching us. One of them was using a baseball bat like a walking stick. Tha-wunk, tha-wunk, tha-wunk! We laughed nervously as we passed them, and made fun of each other for being scared in the first place. But after that we made sure we were always on the way back to grandma’s house way before it got dark.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 43

The past few weeks I have been out of town and didn't have access to my genealogical information in order to write, so I am getting back in the swing of things with this post about Cause of Death. The most unusual and perhaps saddest cause of death that I have come across so far is that of my 2nd great-uncle, John A. Colgan. John was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in late June of 1880, and he died 22 August 1881 in Cincinnati at the age of 14 months. He was buried 23 August 1881 in Section 2, Lot 12, Part S, Range 10 of the Saint Joseph’s New Cemetery, where the rest of his family was also laid to rest.

His parents were Edward C. Colgan and Bridget (McHugh) Colgan, both of whom were born in Ireland and died in Cincinnati. John was the youngest of nine children, six of whom died in infancy or early childhood. On a death card which I found at the Cincinnati Department of Health, the cause of death for John was listed as “inanition”.

John A. Colgan death record
Inanition is the same as starvation, which is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient, and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition, which is the biggest contributor to child mortality. The most common cause of malnutrition is poverty. But were the Colgans impoverished?

On the 1880 census, taken on 10 June 1880, Edward Colgan was listed as being 45 years of age and working as a bookkeeper. His wife Bridget was 35 and a homemaker, and also living in the home were the following children: Catherine age 16, Charles age 11, Barbara age 9 and Clara age 7. (Clara died the next year of smallpox at the age of 8.) Obviously John was not yet born at the time the census was taken. This particular census year doesn’t indicate if those listed owned or rented their homes, though if someone was a boarder, that was noted. The Colgan family was not shown to be boarding at the home on Mill Street.

It would certainly seem like Edward would have been able to adequately provide for his family. What caused the baby to die of starvation? And how did these parents handle the loss of yet one more of their children?


Saturday, September 22, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 38

Carol Wambaugh 1960
The writing prompt Unusual Source brought to mind a letter dated 24 February 1964 that was written by my great-aunts Nellie and Stella Metz to my cousin, Sister John Daniel (born Carol Wambaugh). Upon hearing the other nuns speaking of their grandparents, Carol expressed regret to her mother, Stella (Crusham) Wambaugh, that she didn’t know much about her own ancestors. Stella asked her aunts Nellie and Stella to relay what they knew, and in turn they wrote to Carol, giving the information they knew about the family.

In addition to filling a few holes in the family tree, the letter was filled with other tidbits about when various ancestors came to America and where they traveled from to get here. They included known birth and death dates, what some of the men did for a living in their home countries as well as once they got to the United States, where they worshipped, and that great-grandma Catherine (Colgan) Crusham arrived in America around the age of 3 just in time to get her tongue clipped.

letter from Nellie and Stella
It was from this letter I learned that the Crusham family had emigrated from Tuam, County Galway,
Ireland. With that piece of information I was able to visit the Galway Family History Society in Ireland to research their records in search of the original spelling of the Crusham name. As I’ve written in the past, it was usually spelled Crisham in Ireland, though other variations existed as well. From there I was able to obtain baptism and death information on the family.

I’ll be forever grateful to the nuns who talked about their families, and peaked Carol’s interest enough to ask her mom what she knew about the Crusham/Metz families. And that Nellie and Stella cared enough to write a six page letter to Carol detailing what they had heard about our family history.

Nellie and Stella Metz with their sister Lulu

Saturday, September 15, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 37

Kim, Chuck and Debbie
The writing prompt for this week is Closest to Your Birthday. I am unaware of any direct relatives who share my exact October birth date. The only person I found in my family tree was a very remote in-law whom I know nothing about.

But I do have two cousins whose birthdays are quite close to mine. And I even have a cute picture of the three of us on the couch at Grandma and Grandpa Crusham’s house.

Michael and Mayme (Metz) Crusham had 8 children who lived to be adults. The oldest, Marie, was a spinster and never had a family, but the other 7 all married and had children. Altogether there were 38 grandchildren - 20 boys and 18 girls. All of them were born in Cincinnati.

In the pecking order, I was grandchild #19. Just 15 days before me, my cousin Deborah was born. And 6 days after I arrived, my cousin Charles was born. The photograph shows the three of us together, probably taken at Easter in 1956.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 36

This week’s writing prompt involves Work and I'm writing about my dad’s early work history. LeRoy Kubler was born 29 June 1917 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Joseph and Lillian (Hungler) Kubler.  He was the second oldest of four children, and the only boy. He graduated from the Printing Vocational High School, located at 608 East McMillan Street, on 10 August 1934. In high school he set pins at a bowling alley to earn spending money.

cook at Jefferson Barracks
From the time he was 18 until at least the age of 21, Roy was listed in the Cincinnati Directories as being employed as a chef. How I wish I would have talked to him about that! I know that his mother taught him to cook (and clean house) along with his sisters, and that he was a cook at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis during his training with the Army Air Forces in WWII. He was quite good at it, and enjoyed preparing meals his whole life.

By 1941 Roy was working for the Railway Express Agency (REA), an organization that was responsible for shipping parcels by rail and truck throughout the United States. In order to work for the company he had to join the union. He became a member of the Cincinnati Labor Organization - Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees, Cincinnati Lodge No. 2045. This union was formed in 1899 by 33 railroad clerks meeting in Sedalia, Missouri. He was employed by the REA when he got married to Catherine Crusham on 17 January 1942, and when he enlisted in the Army Air Forces shortly thereafter.
Union Roll of Honor

Dance Freight Line
When Roy came home from the war in November of 1945, REA made arrangements to get him back home to Cincinnati following his separation from the army at Fort Knox, Kentucky. It is unclear whether he was able to return to his position at REA when he was discharged from the military, but at some point he went to work for Dance Freight Line, a regional trucking carrier with an important connecting terminal in Cincinnati. Dance served Ohio, Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Brady appointment
In the Cincinnati Enquirer on 6 May 1955 an article appeared listing the appointment of Roy Kubler, formerly assistant traffic manager of Dance Freight Lines, as sales representative for Brady Motorfrate Co. at the Cincinnati terminal. Brady Motorfrate had terminals in many locations including Cincinnati, Chicago, and Des Moines.

This new position would have lasting implications for the family. By January of 1956 Roy was required to move to Chicago, uprooting the family of six. Five years later, he was transferred to Des Moines, where he remained until his retirement in 1984, though his career would take many paths over those twenty-eight years.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 35

For this week’s writing prompt, Back to School, I’m going back to the early to mid-1800s in Ireland. First, it’s important to understand a little bit about how children of the poor began to get educated in Ireland.

The Commissioners for National Education (National Board of Education) was established for the purpose of administering funds for education of the poor in Ireland. The Board was empowered to make grants to existing schools for the payment of teachers and the provision of equipment and to provide for the building of new schools, to appoint and pay inspectors and to establish a model school for the training of teachers.

Prison East and school location
It was through such a grant that the Prison School (also spelled Prizon School) was built. The name actually has nothing to do with any prison, but is derived from the townland in which it is located - Prison East. Located in County Mayo, Prison East is in Civil Parish of Manulla. The building of the school began around 1823, according to letters written by Father Patrick Nolan who helped to establish the school. The original dimensions were listed as 40 feet by 20 feet. In 1937 a new building erected on the same land just to the west of the old school. At some point the original building was torn down. The 1937 building is still standing today, but the school closed in 1970.

Prison School
The earliest records on the school are found in a report by the National Board of Education (NBE) from 1850. It mentioned that the Prison School had a male teacher and received funding of 10 pounds from the NBE that year. Both boys and girls attended the school, with the total number of pupils ranging from 56-65 during the school year.

Slates and chalk were the writing tools, and while some books were supplied to the school, it is unclear whether each student had their own or needed to share. The school had a timber floor with a large open fireplace for heating the space. Each student was required to bring a sod of turf each day to keep the fire burning.

Subjects studied at the school included reading, writing, spelling, grammar, arithmetic, music, geography, and history. For girls, sewing and needlework were added, and for boys, agriculture and book keeping. It was originally forbidden that students speak Irish in school. Those who did were punished. From that it would seem that a child who did not speak English would not be allowed to attend the school.

Attendance at the school fluctuated depending on the time of year. The older boys and girls would stay at home to help with the planting or harvesting of the crops. During winter months, attendance was higher.

According to a website on the history of Prison School, the first teacher at the school was a man with the last name of Carlos. He was followed by a man named Colgan from Bailefaidirin, who had been trained as a gardener. Colgan, it is said, had a very beautiful garden around the school. In 1864 Edward Colgan was listed as the teacher for the boys school, and Bridget Colgan (his wife) was shown as the teacher for the girls school. The one room school was split in half with a partition separating the boys from the girls. The website states that Colgan was a Fenian and was dismissed by the NBE, so he and his family emigrated to America.

Edward Colgan was my maternal 2nd great-grandfather. He was born 31 December 1834 in Drumadoon, Balla, County Mayo to Thomas Colgan and Catherine (Carroll) Colgan. On 26 December 1863 he married Bridget McHugh in Balla. They had eight children, with the first three (Catherine, Anna Marie, and Edward) being born in Prison. Children Charles, Barbara, Clara, John P., and John A. were all born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

As noted above, Edward and Bridget were both teaching at Prison School in 1864. I am guessing that Bridget only taught for that year (and perhaps only part of the year) as daughter Catherine was born 27 December 1864.

In our family it had been discussed that Edward was a member of the secret society Fenian movement, a band of warriors dedicated to overthrowing British rule in Ireland. They staged an unsuccessful revolt in 1867. Was Edward an active participant in that? Is that why he lost his teaching post at Prison School?

While I have not located any emigration or immigration documents for Edward, I did find information on Bridget Colgan. She was 23 when she arrived in New York on 19 November 1868 aboard the ship S/S Minnesota. With her were 2-year-old Ann and 1-year-old Edward. Also listed above Bridget on the ship’s manifest was 17-year-old Catherine McHugh, Bridget’s younger sister. Where were Edward and their 4-year-old daughter Catherine? Did they travel to the United States earlier to get a home established in Cincinnati before the rest of the family came over?

Life in the new world was not easy for the Colgan family. Little Edward died 9 December 1868, a month after arriving in America. One has to wonder if he contracted something onboard the ship. Anna Marie died in 1869 at the age of 3, Clara was only 9 when she died in 1872, John P. was less than a month old when he died in 1876, and John A. just a year old when he died in 1881. Only three of Edward and Bridget's eight children lived to be adults.

Edward continued to teach, at least initially, at a Catholic school in Cincinnati. The 1870 Cincinnati Directory lists him as a teacher, but by 1873 he was working as a bookkeeper. It would be so interesting to know what he thought about the educational system in Cincinnati versus what he left behind in his old country school.

The 30 September 1870 issue of the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer contained an article stating that 40 Irishmen met the previous evening to organize themselves into a section of the United Irishmen. Edward Colgan not only attended but was appointed temporary Treasurer. I wonder if he was again dismissed as a teacher due to his Fenian affiliation?

Bridget died 30 March 1886, and by 1910 Edward was living with his daughter Barbara and her family. He died 20 October 1921. Most of the family is buried in New St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Cincinnati.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 34

Non-population is this week’s writing prompt, which is probably confusing if you are not involved in genealogy. Most people in the United States are aware of census records, in which the federal government attempts to locate all the people living in this country at a given point in time. Less familiar are the non-population schedules, which were used to identify and quantify resources and needs. Agriculture, mortality, and social statistics schedules were taken in 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Manufacturing/industrial schedules were taken in 1820, 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. And the delinquent, defective, and dependent schedule was a supplemental schedule taken only in 1880. These schedules are helpful to genealogists not only because some of them contain names not found on any other records, but also because they add additional information about our ancestors and the communities in which they lived.

Agricultural Schedules recorded statistics on farms, plantations and market gardens, listing the names of owners, agents and managers. The type of statistics recorded included the total acreage of land, the value of the farm, machinery and livestock, amount of staples (wool, cotton, grain, etc.) produced, and the value of animals slaughtered, etc.

Mortality Schedules included anyone who died in the year prior to the record being taken. In addition to the name, also listed were the age, sex, marital status, state or country of birth, month of death, occupation, cause of death, and the length of the final illness.

Social Statistics Schedules contained information about cemeteries listed within the city boundaries, trade societies, churches, and a list of schools, colleges, libraries, and newspapers, among other things.

Manufacturing/Industrial Schedules identified any manufacturing, mining, fishing, mercantile, and trading businesses which had an annual gross product of $500 or more.

On the 1880 census, if a person was noted as blind, deaf and dumb, idiotic, insane, or maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled, or was enumerated in a prison, orphanage or poorhouse, a supplemental schedule called the Dependent, Defective and Delinquent Classes was included. The schedule included different forms to enumerate the following classes of individuals:

blind
deaf and dumb
idiotic
insane
homeless children (in institutions)
inhabitants in prison
pauper and indigent inhabitants (in institutions)

To date I have only located a non-population schedule for one of my ancestors - Samuel Moorhead. To be honest, I really hadn’t taken any time to study the schedule until this writing prompt came along. Samuel is my paternal 4th great-grandfather, and he was born about 1799 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. This county is located east of Pittsburgh. At some point before 1826, Samuel moved from Pennsylvania to Cincinnati, where he married Elizabeth Carnes. Together they had seven children.

1855 Cincinnati map

The Industrial Schedule for the 8th Ward of Cincinnati was taken 1 June 1850. It showed that Samuel Moorhead had a business making bricks, with a capital investment in real and personal estate of $300. Samuel listed that he used wood and clay in the process of making the bricks, placing a value of $450 on the wood and $125 on the clay. He had 5 employees making bricks by hand and horse power. His average monthly cost for labor was $135. Annually they made 500,000 bricks, which were valued at $2,000. In the 8th Ward alone there were 41 brick makers shown on the schedule!

In the 1850 census, which was enumerated on 23 July 1850, Samuel and Elizabeth were living in the 8th Ward of Cincinnati with their children Josiah, John, Samuel, Elizabeth, Angeline, William, and Oliver. Samuel was employed as a brick maker, as were sons John and Samuel. That accounts for 3 of the 5 employees Samuel listed on the Industrial Schedule.

The 1860 census shows the family living in the 16th Ward in Cincinnati, with the two youngest children still at home. Though he was in his 60s, Samuel was still employed but now he worked as a moulder (someone who makes moulds for casting). The value of his real estate was listed as $800. By the 1870 census, Samuel was a widow as Elizabeth had died 6 August 1866. He was living with his daughter Angeline and her family in 1870 on a farm in Union Township, which is located in Highland County, Ohio about 70 miles northeast of Cincinnati. When he died on 30 January 1879, his body was brought back to Cincinnati for burial in Spring Grove Cemetery next to his wife.

While the normal census records would have let me know that my 4th great-grandfather was a brick maker, without the non-population schedule of 1850 I would have had no idea that he had ever owned a brick making company. Hopefully I will come across more of these schedules so that I can gain a better understanding of my ancestor’s lives.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 33

We are talking about Family Legends in this week’s writing prompt. A couple of legends come to mind. The first is that my great-grandfather Michael J. Crusham came to the United States because he was fleeing the law after being accused of stealing a horse. I’ve found no evidence of this being the case. The second is that my great-great grandfather served in the Civil War. I’ve written about Micheal W. Cramer in the past, which you can read here. Unless he was a super-young member of the drum and bugle corp, I don’t think he was in the war.

So what to write about? How about a family that became a legend in the business of death, among other things? My paternal 3rd great-grandfather Wilhemus (William) Hillenbrand was born 7 March 1811 in Frankenthal, Germany. He was the youngest of 6 children born to Andreas and Gertrude (Walter) Hillenbrand. While I have not located his immigration information, I found a general land office certificate that indicates that on 16 March 1837 William Hillenbrand of Ohio County, Virginia purchased 80 acres located in the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 31 in Township 10 north of Range 13 East in Ripley County, Indiana. When William bought the land, he was already married to Maria Barbara Schantz, and the couple had one daughter named Elizabeth, who was born in 1835 in Ohio County, Virginia. The couple eventually had a total of 9 children.

John Hillenbrand
The oldest son of William and Maria was John Hillenbrand, my 3rd great-uncle. Born 18 February 1843 on the family farm in Ripley County, Indiana, John was quite an enterprising young man. Reportedly he owned 16 sawmills by the age of 18, which was his age when his father died in 1861. On 12 May 1863, John married Margaret Herr in Dearborn, Indiana and they had 8 children, 4 of whom lived to be adults. In 1876 he and his family left the farm to move to Batesville, Ripley County, Indiana where he opened a general store with his brother William.

Batesville was platted on 3 November 1852. Born and raised in the area, John was a member of the first town council of Batesville, and served as postmaster of the town during President Grover Cleveland’s second administration.

After a local furniture plant in Batesville was destroyed by fire, John purchased the property, and rebuilt and expanded the facility. He thus founded the American Furniture Company in 1879, one of the most substantial industrial enterprises in Batesville. He kept his hand in the mercantile business, and in 1888 he bought his brother out and formed the Hillenbrand & Mitchell Company with one of his son-in-laws. The business continued to expand with its lumber and sawmill operations.

The Batesville Water Works Company was founded by John in 1901, and in 1906 he purchased the Batesville Casket Company, with active management of this enterprise being turned over to his son, John Adam Hillenbrand. He also organized the Batesville Electric Light & Power Company, and his son John Adam served as the President.

Batesville Casket Company is still in operation today as a subsidiary of Hillenbrand Industries, along with Block Medical, Inc.; The Forethought Group, Inc.; Hill-Rom Company, Inc.; and Medeco Security Locks, Inc., employing over 6,000 people world-wide (1,200 locally) and with revenue of 1.6 billion. Numerous people and institutions have benefited from the philanthropy of Hillenbrand family members and/or the foundation set up by Hillenbrand Industries. A few examples include:

  • George & Sophia Hillenbrand donated the land for Liberty Park in Batesville
  • Margaret Herr Hillenbrand donated money to build Margaret Mary Hospital on land that was gifted by her son, George M. Hillenbrand
  • The Batesville Memorial Public Library was built on land donated by John Adam Hillenbrand
  • Memorial Pool and Southeastern Indiana YMCA were built with donations from the family
  • John Adam Hillenbrand donated land to St. Louis Catholic Church for a new school

I think it is safe to say that the Hillenbrand family members and their businesses are legends in Ripley County, Indiana - and beyond.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 32

Chicago ~1958
With the writing prompt this week being Youngest, my mind went to youngest in the family. I am the baby in my family, having three older brothers (one of whom died before I was born) and one older sister. That made me think about other members of my family tree, wondering if any of them were also the youngest born child. I knew that neither mom nor dad were the youngest in their families. As it turns out neither Grandma or Grandpa Kubler, my dad’s parents, were the babies in their families, nor were my mom’s parents, Grandma or Grandpa Crusham.

In looking at the ancestral chart, I had to go all the way back to my maternal great-grandfather Peter Metz, who was the youngest of 9 kids, to find another baby. None of my other great-grandparents fell into this very special place in their families.

In a way my family is unique in that my parents had almost two separate sets of children. My sister is 11 years older than me, followed by a brother who is 9 years older than me, and then a brother who is 18 months older than me. In between the boys, my mom suffered a couple of miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in all of one and most of the other ovaries being removed. She was told she would most likely not get pregnant again, and if she did would not carry the baby to full term. And then along came my brother and me.

My sister was like a second mother to me, and she spent a lot of time caring for my brother and me. With my brother being so close in age to me, we were best buddies as children. We shared bottles and toys, and got along great. My sister has corroborated that we were sickeningly sweet to each other. We played a lot of games together, rode our bikes and acted out war scenes with his G.I. Joes, and later played baseball with the neighborhood boys.

Maybe due to our close age, I never really felt like the baby of the family. I certainly never was aware that I received special attention. Mom never played favorites with any of us, and if anything my dad favored the brother next closest in age to me. I don’t think my dad ever got over losing his oldest son to aplastic anemia at the age of 7, and I believe my brother reminded dad of Roy.

One benefit of being the youngest is that I learned a lot from my older siblings. My dad had a bit of a temper, so by observing what set him off with the older kids, I avoided doing those things. It was also nice to have my parents to myself for the last couple of years of college, when the others had married and/or moved away.

It was a good childhood, with a lot of love and laughs. I enjoyed my place in it as baby of the family. Even if I often shared that place with my not too much older brother.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 31

The writing prompt Oldest probably makes you think of the oldest person in your family. But that topic was covered in Week 3 when the prompt was Longevity. Instead I want to write about the oldest heirloom that I have in my possession. It is an oak chair that was made in the mid to late 1800s.

North Wind face?
Whimsical furniture containing griffins, lions and gargoyles appeared in England in the 1820s, and the style made its way across the pond. A unique American version was the face chair. The carved face was supposed to blow evil spirits away. G. Stomps & Brother (later changed to Stomps-Burkhardt Company) of Dayton, Ohio was one of the furniture manufactures producing face chairs in the 1800s. While there is no marking on the bottom of our chair, I have seem many photos of similar looking chairs that were made by the Stomps company.

So how did this chair come to be part of our family? In 1944 my father LeRoy Kubler was stationed at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri, living in a boarding house along with my mother and oldest brother Roy. My father was in the Army Air Forces, and received orders that he was shipping out to India. He was given enough time to drive my mom, very pregnant with their second child, and Roy to Cincinnati and deposit them with her parents, Mike and Mayme (Metz) Crusham before leaving the country.

When the house next door to her folks came on the market, mom quickly sent a letter off to dad asking if she should buy the Koch home. Before my dad even had time to answer, she had borrowed money from her brother Charlie and purchased it. The next letter dad received announced, “I bought the Koch house!”

face chair
The Koch’s left behind a couple of pieces of furniture, of which one was this chair. Mrs. Koch said that the chair was 100 years old at that time, indicating that it was manufactured in 1844. Mom and dad kept the chair, and it moved with us from Cincinnati, to Chicago, to Des Moines and then back to Cincinnati when dad retired in 1984. I always loved it, though it had a very dark patina on it for much of the time it was in our family. Back in Cincinnati, dad decided to refinish it. While the stripping brought out the beautiful grains in the wood, I knew what the Keno brothers on Antiques Roadshow would say. “Well, if your dad hadn’t refinished the chair, it would be worth $2,000. But since he stripped off the original finish, it is only worth $300.”

After my dad died, my siblings and I divided up his household items. As I am the only one who lives in an old home and collects antiques, I got the face chair. It sits proudly in the foyer of our 1902 Queen Ann house. Several years ago I took the chair to a new antiques dealer in our town. She called it a North Wind chair, and said it had been made in the mid-1860s. She placed a value of around $1,600 on it. We discussed the fact that my dad had refinished it, and she simply asked me if I like how it looks now. I told her that it really is so much better because you can see the beautiful wood and also make out the facial features. She said then that is all that matters. I suspect she is off a bit on both the production year as well as the value, but that’s okay. I don't intend to ever sell the chair. It keeps a bit of mom and dad here in the house with me.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 30

The writing prompt this week is Colorful. I feel like I have already written about the most colorful people in my family. I don’t know of any who were artistic, and can’t think of any who had a color as their name or a place of residence. So I looked in my genealogy program for someone with a colorful last name. My inner 12 year old always snickers when I see the name Cocke in the tree.

First I have to add the disclaimer that this name is only in the tree if I can find the link between Thompson Hightower and his potential father, George Hightower, Jr. George’s  wife was Frances Ann Hall, whose great-grandmother was Anne Cocke. Anne was born in 1686 in Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Virginia to Richard Cocke and Elizabeth (Littlebury) Cocke. Yes, someone actually named their son Richard Cocke. His father was also named Richard Cocke, so perhaps he wanted someone else to feel his pain.

Bremo
The senior Richard was born on 13 December 1597 in Stottesdon, Shropshire, England.  Stottesdon is located about 141 miles northwest of London. He arrived in Virginia around 1633, and patented 3,000 acres of land on 6 March 1636. It was located on the James River in Henrico County, Virginia, and he called it Bremo. The location is about 12 miles east of what is now Richmond. Richard served as a member of the House of Burgesses, and was a Lieutenant-Colonel of the County of Henrico. He was later Sheriff of Henrico County. By his death in1665, he had land grants totaling around 10,000 acres.

potential Cocke cousins
When I was in Richmond several years ago, I visited Bremo and adjacent Malvern Hill, which was owned by Richard’s son Thomas. At a National Parks Service Museum located nearby, I was speaking to an employee and explaining why I was there. As it turns out, he is a Cocke descendant as well. Are we cousins? That is yet to be determined, but he did say that I look very much like his sister.

So what is the origination of the surname Cocke? There are several theories. One is that it is literally a nickname from the bird - the cock - which was then given to a young lad who strutted about proudly like a cock. Another is that it was applied to a natural leader, an early riser, or a lusty or aggressive individual. Whatever its meaning, you have to admit that it is a colorful name that leads to sudden interest in genealogy when brought up at family reunions.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 29

With the writing prompt being music, I have to write about my dad, LeRoy Kubler. Music was an important part of his life. He came from a musical family, in that his father Joseph Kubler owned a bar when my dad was in his late teens or so. My father told me that he and my grandfather both played musical instruments in a band at the bar.

My father’s real love was singing though. Often he and my mom, Catherine, would sing around the house together, or while we were driving in the car. He had a wonderful voice, and his whistle was nothing short of a musical instrument itself.

After he retired in 1984, he and my mom moved from Des Moines, Iowa back to Cincinnati, Ohio where they had both been born and raised. After settling in Delhi Township, they immediately heard about the Delhi Seniors organization, which met nearby at the Delhi Township Community and Senior Center.

Dad directing the chorale group
December 1988
Dad soon formed the Delhi Senior Chorale group, of which my mother was one of the first members. He arranged all the music for their numerous performances, and was the musical director. He also began to write songs for the group to perform, composing both the music and the lyrics. He file the songs with the U.S. Copyright office to protect his work. Copies of his music are in my files, and are a great treasure to me.

Mom in the chorale group
December 1988
Being able to attend a couple of his concerts was a thrill for me, and I’m grateful for the photographs and videos I have of those performances. The fact that 8 members of that chorale group dressed in their concert attire to escort my mom’s casket into the church when she died in 1989 is a moment I’ll never forget. They sang “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” as they entered, and there were no dry eyes in the church after that.

While I wish I had a thimbleful of my dad’s musical talent, I do believe that being raised in a musical household has played a big part in the fact that I have a great appreciation for many different kinds of music and for the artists who create them.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 28

Elsie Metz 1902
The writing prompt for this week is Travel. While most of my ancestors traveled great distances to emigrate to the United States, and many more migrated across this country after they arrived, I have found no one in the family who traveled as extensively as my 2nd cousin, twice removed, Elsie Lauretta Metz. I wrote about Elsie, who was born in Cincinnati in 1880, and the wild weather she experienced while on a ship in 1912 earlier this year when the writing prompt was Storms. You can find that post here. I also had written about her family and attendance at the University of Cincinnati back in 2013, and the link for that post is here.

in December of 1911, Elsie applied for a passport at the age of 30 in preparation for some travel she was planning to do the next year. While I knew a lot about her 1912 trip due to a journal that was returned to our family, I had no idea of the extensiveness of her adventures until I was preparing for this post. Through a list tucked into her journal and also searches on ancestry.com I was able to find the following travel and passenger information about Elsie. I suspect that the list is missing some entries as well.

1889 traveled to Rome, Italy, according to her journal.

1893 traveled to the Chicago World’s Fair, according to her journal.

1899 and 1905 traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, according to her journal.

1906 traveled to Quebec and Saguenay, Canada, according to her journal.

1907 traveled to Europe, according to her journal.

1908 traveled to Cairo, according to her journal.

27 August 1909 sailed on the SS Kaiserin Augusta Victoria from Cherbourg, France to New York, New York, arriving on 3 September 1909. She spent the summer touring Europe with friends.

1910 and 1911 traveled to the Adirondacks in New York, according to her journal.

9 May 1912 sailed on the SS Cincinnati from Hamburg, Germany to New York, New York, arriving on 20 May 1912. (Her diary indicates that she left on the trip 30 January, 1912, so this ship’s list is only from the last leg of her journey.)

7 July 1914 sailed to Europe for extensive trip.

5 August 1914 applied for an emergency passport at the American Embassy in Berlin to immediately return to the U.S due to the outbreak of WWI.

22 August 1914 sailed on the SS St. Paul from Liverpool, England, arriving in New York, New York on 30 August 1914.

3 October 1914 sailed on the SS Lusitania from Liverpool, England, arriving in New York, New York on 8 October 1914. (This trip is puzzling to me - in light of the war, why would she have gone back to Europe that fall?)

1916 traveled to Lake Placid, New York, according to her journal.

1918 traveled to Chillicothe (Illinois? Missouri?), according to her journal.

1920 traveled to Luddington (England? Michigan?), according to her journal.

8 March 1921 sailed on the SS Fort Victoria from Hamilton, Bermuda to New York, New York, arriving on 10 March 1921.

1922 traveled to Ogunquit, Maine, according to her journal.

5 March 1923 sailed on the SS Fort Hamilton from Hamilton, Bermuda to New York, New York, arriving on 7 March 1923.

1923 traveled to Colorado, according to her journal.

1924 traveled to Alaska, according to her journal.

26 August 1925 sailed on the SS Paris from Plymouth, England to New York, New York.

1926 traveled to Ocean City, New Jersey, according to her journal.

27 August 1927 sailed on the SS Paris from Plymouth, England to New York, New York, arriving on 1 September 1925.

29 July 1930 sailed on the SS St. Louis from New York, New York to Cherbourg, France.

2 October 1930 sailed on the SS Milwaukee from Boulogne, France to New York, New York, arriving on 11 October 1930.

22 March 1932 sailed on the SS Florida from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida, arriving on 22 March 1932.

15 August 1938 traveled the Flanders Hotel in Ocean City, New Jersey with a friend.

1939 traveled to New York City for the World’s Fair.

16 March 1949 sailed on the SS Lurline from Los Angeles, California to Honolulu, Hawaii, arriving on 21 March 1949. On 10 April 1949 flew on United Airlines from Honolulu, Hawaii to San Francisco, California.

30 March 1952 flew Trans World Airlines from New York, New York to Lisbon, Portugal. On 30 April 1952 flew on Trans World Airlines from Madrid, Spain to New York, New York.

27 March 1953, travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and received a temporary immigration card there.

25 September 1954 flew on Royal Dutch Airlines from Amsterdam, Netherlands to New York, New York.

5 July 1955 flew on British Airways from New York to London, England, where she spent a month touring Scotland with a friend. From there they went to London to meet up with some friends before touring Ireland. She returned 19 August 1955 on British Airways from London, England to New York, New York.

17 June 1956 flew on Scandinavian Airlines from New York, New York to Stockholm, Sweden.

29 July 1956 flew on Pan American Airways from London, England to New York, New York.

31 March 1957 sailed on the SS Homeric from Havana, Cuba, arriving in New York, New York on 2 April 1957.

27 April 1958 flew from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

8 September 1958 flew on British Airways from London, England to New York, New York.

July 1959 flew Pan American Airlines from Nassau, Bahamas to New York, New York.

29 August 1960 flew on American Airlines from place unknown to San Antonio, Texas.

8 October 1959 flew on SR Airline from place unknown to New York, New York.

13 June 1962 sailed on SS Italia from Nassau, Bahamas to New York, New York, arriving on 16 June 1962.

one of Elsie's travel talks
Elsie never married, so much of the time she had traveling companions with her. In the early years it was her mother and her unmarried brother, though the extended trip she took in 1912 was done in the company of family friends. She was a woman of many interests, with both bachelor and masters degrees from the University of Cincinnati. She was extremely active in the Cincinnati social scene, and was a patron of the arts as well as an amateur actor and director of community plays. She frequently appeared in the Society Page of The Enquirer, Cincinnati’s daily newspaper, and on several occasions gave presentations about her travels. With at least 40 trips spanning 73 years, she certainly would have had a lot to talk about!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 27

Since we celebrated the 4th of July this week, the writing prompt was Independence. My mind immediately went to 1776. To date I have identified one relative who served in the American Revolution. My 6 times great-grandfather Jacob Christopher Kern was born in 1742 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest child of Johann Georg Kern and Catharine Elisabeth (Fraudhueger) Kern, who were married in Niedersteinbach in 1723. Niedersteinbach is in Northeastern France near the border of Germany.

About 1770, Jacob married Catherine Elizabeth Utt in Northampton, a Pennsylvania county that was carved off of Bucks County in 1752. Jacob and Elizabeth went on to have 8 children, two of whom were born prior to the Revolutionary War.

As Bucks County was very near Philadelphia, Jacob would have been at ground zero when the first and second Continental Congresses took place in 1774 and 1775. The second Continental Congress formed the Continental Army by resolution on 14 June 1775 to coordinate the military efforts of the thirteen colonies in their revolt against Great Britain. It is no wonder that he ended up serving in the war.

Jacob was commissioned by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Spyker, who commanded the 2nd & 6th Philadelphia battalions. Jacob was a 2nd Lieutenant under Captain Phillip Hetrick’s company from Berks County in 1776. He then served as a 1st Lieutenant in Captain Henry Shepler’s company, also in Berks County. As 1st Lieutenant, his job duties may have included teaching the soldiers discipline, order and fearlessness. As most men had no military experience prior to enlisting, he would have taught them military formations and how to be soldiers. In the event of the captain’s death, Jacob would have stepped in to take over the company. The last information I could find on Jacob indicated that he was a Corporal under Captain Philip Hahn in the New Hanover township company as of December, 1778.

It is written in military articles that Corporals were not often with their regiments as they were off performing other duties, which perhaps explains how Jacob and his wife had a daughter who was born in December of 1778. Five more children followed, the last of whom was born in Pennsylvania in 1792.  By 1793, the family had moved to Hamilton County, Ohio. Jacob died shortly after the move, leaving Catherine on her own with the eight children.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 26

Black sheep is the writing prompt for this week, alluding to a family member who was a troublemaker or an outcast. While I may indeed have some black sheep in my family, I haven’t found any criminals yet. I do have a favorite story about an ancestor we thought was a bit of a troublemaker in Ireland, however.

Catherine Colgan's birth certificate

My maternal great-grandmother Catherine Colgan was born 27 December 1864 in Ireland to Edward and Bridget (McHugh) Colgan. Her birth certificate indicates that she was born in Prison, and that the dwelling of her father was also Prison. Edward and Bridget were both school teachers in Ireland, and Edward taught at a Catholic school in Cincinnati after they emigrated. My aunts told me that Edward was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood when he was in Ireland. We all assumed that he was arrested for that, and they threw him and his wife in prison for his transgressions.

When I traveled to County Mayo in 1997, with Catherine’s birth certificate in hand, I stopped into a local pub near Drumadoon where the Colgans had lived to ask about the prison. As I said to them at the time, I thought it unlikely that the prison still stood after all these years, but was it possible records still existed that could tell me why Edward and his wife had been thrown into prison?

Seeing the blank expressions on their faces, I showed them the birth record. They began to laugh, and exclaimed, “Prison is a village near here!” I laughed too, and said they had ruined our favorite family story as we had been making up tales, thinking he was in prison. The barkeep replied, “Oh and to be sure he was, just not the kind with bars on the windows!”

And so the family black sheep was no more.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 25

When I saw the writing prompt Same Name, I immediately thought of Michael Crusham (or Crisham, as it was more commonly spelled in Ireland). My maternal 3rd great-grandfather was Michael Crusham, and he was born in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland about 1811. He married Catherine Archer on 28 September 1826 in Tuam. They had the following children, all of whom were born in Tuam: Mary b. 1827, John b. 1832, Michael (my 2nd great-grandfather) b. 1833, Catherine b. 1835, Honor b. 1844, and William b. 1846.

My 2nd great-grandfather Michael Crusham married Mary Cruise on 15 October 1855 in Tuam. Their children included Michael (my great-grandfather) b. 1857, Peter b. 1860 and d. 1863, Judith b. 1861, Peter b. 1864, and Julia b. 1867. All the children were born in Tuam as well.

Michael and Catherine
Great-grandfather Michael Crusham emigrated to the United States ~1882, and he married Catherine Colgan in Cincinnati, Ohio on 21 July 1887. From their union the following children were born: Michael (my grandfather) b. 1887, Edward b. 1889, Mary b. 1892, Clara b. 1894, Charles b. 1896, Agnes b. 1899, Thomas b. 1902, John b. 1906, and Dorothy b. 1908.

My grandfather Michael Crusham married Mayme Metz in Cincinnati on 21 June 1911. Their children were Marie b. 1912, Edward b. 1913 and died 1913, Stella b. 1914, stillborn infant b. 1916, Catherine (my mother) b. 1920, Margaret b. 1922, Charles b. 1925, Elizabeth b. 1927, and twins James and Michael (my uncle) b. 1930.
Michael and Mayme
Uncle Charles Crusham and his wife Dorothy (Gronefeld) Crusham named one of their sons Michael. One of his other sons, Charles, has a son named Michael Crusham. Also, my Uncle Michael Crusham and his wife Rita (Murphy) Crusham have a grandson named Michael Crusham.

For at least seven generations there has been at least one male named Michael Crusham in the family tree. And five of those were directly father to son. That is pretty impressive! It also adds a degree of difficulty when trying to do genealogical research in an area where several of them lived in the same town during the same time period. Which Michael Crusham is in the record? It reminds me of the old television show, "To Tell the Truth". Will the real Michael Crusham please stand up?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 24

As you might expect, this week’s writing prompt is Father’s Day. I have written extensively about my dad in other blog posts, so I am going a different direction this week. Another important “father” in my life was Father Francis Ostdiek, from whom I received my First Holy Communion.
Holy Trinity October 2017
Father Ostdiek was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1913. In 1920 he was given the responsibility for building first a church and then a school to establish Holy Trinity parish in Des Moines, Iowa. Bishop Thomas Drumm gave him $500 and a plat of land at Beaver and Adams Streets. With $100, he purchased a former Knights of Columbus hut from Camp Dodge, which he dismantled and moved to the new location to serve as a temporary church. By the next year he built a combination school and church, and in January of 1922 thirteen students attended the school.

Holy Trinity School
We moved to Des Moines in 1960, and our new home fell within the boundaries of Holy Trinity. It was there that my brother and I began our education at the parish school, riding the school bus from our home in northwest Des Moines. I remember that Father was very visible in the school building, and of course we saw him each morning at mass before the school day began. From Father Ostdiek I learned what it meant to be not only a good Catholic, but a good person as well. He taught us to be kind to one another, and to help others in need. He was an incredible example of walking the talk.

Father Ostdiek ~1960s
Due to tremendous growth in the Catholic population in the early 1960s, part of Holy Trinity was divided off to attend the newly constructed St. Mary of Nazareth Church located a few miles from Holy Trinity. When the church boundaries were redrawn, our street fell into the new parish. Beginning in 1965, we attended Sunday mass at our new church. However my brother and I continued to attend school at Holy Trinity. Father Ostdiek remained pastor of the church the entire time we were there, retiring in 1969 after serving the parish for 49 years!

On 4 October 1979, at the age of 91 he greeted Pope John Paul II from his wheelchair when the Pope visited Des Moines on his U.S. tour. The Pope reportedly said, “You could not come to see me in Rome, so I came to you in Iowa.” That certainly must have been a highlight in Father Ostdiek's life, which ended on 6 June 1981 at the age of 93. He lived a long and holy life, and I am grateful that he was part of mine during the years when my faith was in its infancy.
Father Ostdiek meets Pope John Paul II

Saturday, June 9, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 23

Kirche St. Peter
We are Going to the Chapel with this week’s writing prompt, and my approach is to write about an old ancestral church that I visited. The oldest church (or perhaps I should say portion of a church) where ancestors worshipped that I have seen in person is the Kirche St. Peter in Büsserach, Switzerland. This Roman Catholic Church stands on a hill on the south side of Büsserach, which currently has a population of 2,251. About 76% of the village is Catholic. While a 1759 church was demolished in 1951 to make way for the existing building, the attached tower dating back to 1464 is still standing.

bells
Within the tower is a museum containing photographs and relics of the church’s history. When I visited in 2013, my host arranged for a private tour of the museum. It was fascinating to see all the displays, and climb the steps to the top of the tower. I counted at least five bells. Did one of my ancestors ever climb the stairs with the responsibility of ringing the church bells to call parishioners to Mass?

painting of the old church
There were many death memorials hanging on the wall with my maiden name Kübler on them. I took photographs, even though I am not sure how they fit into my tree. But the most interesting and exciting thing for me to see was the antique baptismal font, which I was told would have been the exact one used to baptize members of my Kübler family, who emigrated to the United States in 1854.

baptismal font
Walking in the town where they lived, seeing the sites that they saw every day, and finally "going to the chapel" where they worshipped all gave me an opportunity to travel back in time and experience a bit how they had lived. And to wonder all over again, how did they ever leave it all behind?

Büsserach, Switzerland

Saturday, June 2, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 22

For the writing prompt So Far Away, I decided to take a less literal interpretation of the theme. Instead of looking at an ancestor who came to America from far away, or talk about visiting a research center in a distant location, I wanted to write about an ancestor whose occupation was very far away from the woodworkers, salesmen, railroad employees, etc. that I normally find with my male ancestors. Let’s talk show biz, instead.

My second great-uncle, John P. Hungler, was born on 2 November 1876 in Covington, Kentucky. His parents were John and Anna (Hightower) Hungler. His brother Albert was my paternal great-grandfather.

John was 26 years old and working as a tobacco salesman in London, Kentucky when he married 20-year-old Mabel Lillie on 26 November 1904 in Highland County, Ohio. Highland County is located about 70 miles northwest of where John was living. It is interesting that they got married in Highland, especially since Mabel's family was in Michigan at that time.

November 1910
Not long into their marriage John and Mable became vaudevillians, performing under the stage names of Jack and Mable Price. Vaudeville shows, one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the United States and Canada from the 1880s until the early 1930s, were made up of a series of separate acts grouped together on a common bill. The acts might include comedians, singers, plate-spinners, ventriloquists, dancers, musicians, and animal trainers. The shows played to all economic classes in various auditoriums or theaters. It was on the vaudeville circuit that the saying “Will it play in Peoria?” was coined, meaning that if an act could succeed in Peoria, it would work anywhere.

I have been able to locate several newspaper clippings announcing the appearance of Jack and Mable Price. Their shows were comedy and singing skits, some of which were extremely racist. A listing in the November 6, 1910 Pittsburg Press for the Family Theater on Fifth Avenue in New York stated that “Jack and Mabel Price, known as the ‘two corkers in cork’, will entertain with a black face comedy.” Another act was entitled “Chief Tenderhoe”, for which a reviewer proclaimed that Jack “is certainly an Indian of wonderful strength and his act i [sic] a big novelty." My dad remembered being told that at one performance the audience was so incensed that an Indian had abducted a white woman, several men ran onto the stage. Jack and Mabel had to escape through a back door.

In the 1930s, vaudeville began a steady decline and by the end of the decade it was dead. The Depression affected attendance, and the popularity of talking and singing movies also provided fierce competition.

It is unclear what year Jack and Mable Price went back to their lives as John and Mable Hungler, but the 1930 census indicates that they were living in Leoni Township, Michigan. My father said that they had a nice house on a lake there, as well as an additional residence in Florida. Their shows must have played well in Peoria!

They never had any children, which makes you wonder who inherited their estate. John died in Michigan in May of 1946 at the age of 69, and Mable was 67 when she died in Michigan in July of 1951.

Old actors never die, they just lose their parts.