Thursday, June 28, 2012

Previously Unidentified, their identities are now known!

Another contact has been made... this time with a Wiseman Cousin on the order of 3rd cousin once removed. And, as a result, several of my "Mystery Photos" that were posted a few years ago have been identified!

I've been in touch with Nancy, who left comments on two posts yesterday. She recognized one of the photos because it is the same one hanging on a wall in her hallway! Nancy is the great-granddaughter of Nathaniel Howard Wiseman whom I knew as "Uncle" Howard (he died when I was 8 years old). Howard was the son of my great-grandfather's brother, thus my 1st cousin twice removed.

Back in January 2009 I posted Little Darlings! Who are you? and was way off on my estimation of the date of the photos. Once it was determined, with help from a few readers, that the pictures were taken in the 1908-1909 time frame, I don't know why I didn't "connect" them with Howard's children. His daughter, Lucille, was born November 12, 1904 and his son, Robert was born August 4, 1907 - both in Kosciusko County, Indiana. Lucille is Nancy's grandmother.

Robert Wiseman, about 18 months to 2 years old, and Lucille Wiseman, about age 4. This is the photo that Nancy has hanging in a hall in her home.

I think this photo is also Lucille.

This photo was originally posted with the other two but I don't think it is Lucille and Robert - the style seems a little older to me - but I could be wrong ;-)

Anyway, two out of three is fine with me! And I'm very happy to have made contact with another cousin too.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Previously Unidentified, their identities are now known!," Kinexxions, posted June 28, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Monday, June 25, 2012

One "loose end" wrapped up!

After posting Pursuing J. W. Hoffman :: Where's THE Book? yesterday, I was talking to my friend Cindy about what all had been found. She "does genealogy" too and we've had several discussions about the Hoffman research these last few days. It's quite nice to be able to "bounce things off" someone else sometimes.

Anyway, I mentioned that I was at the point where I needed to start looking for obituary notices and she says "I have a subscription to Genealogy Bank!"

In the May 5, 1931 issue of the Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio we found a very brief notice of the death of John W. Hoffman. As was expected, he was the "beloved father" of Mrs. F. W. Curtis. And, as hoped, he was the brother of Mrs. Mattie Greasel and Curtis C. Hoffman! And, burial was at Washingtonville.

That means he really IS the son of John Hoffman, Jr.

Of course, this doesn't get me any closer to finding THE book or research papers of Mrs. A. J. Callahan but it is one "loose end" wrapped up. And so, the search continues.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "One "loose end" wrapped up!," Kinexxions, posted June 25, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pursuing J. W. Hoffman :: Where's THE Book?

About six weeks ago, I had made the decision to do no more new research until I had reviewed all of the documents and information I had obtained in Salt Lake City. But then an email arrived from my distant cousin Bob Hoffman regarding the Hoffman Reunions of nearly a hundred years ago. And, well, that "no new research" resolution fell by the wayside rather quickly!

I am now officially obsessed with Hoffmans. I have gotten virtually nothing done since last Friday except for hunting for information on the descendants of John and Catherine (Coy) Hoffman, my 4th great-grandparents. It's amazing what a few clues can do to boost knowledge of a family line! And those two reunion articles were chock full of clues and even outright "good" information!

It's been fun a fun week, frustrating at times too, but mostly fun. One of the things that really piqued my interest in those reunion articles was the mention of a book on the Hoffman family that was in the works. I wanted to know if a book had actually been published, by whom and when. And, if it wasn't published, what happened to the research files?

On Wednesday of last week I went to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne and (among other things) re-checked the shelves for Hoffman family history books. There were 15 or so volumes but they dealt with Hoffman families in the Carolinas and in New York but there was nothing on my Hoffman family from Ohio or Pennsylvania.

So then I thought that if I could locate a living descendant...

The 1913 Reunion Article stated "J. R. Hoffman and others interested and entertained the audience. Some of these talks were for the benefit of the family historian who is preparing a book of some 800 pages and dates the family tree to Germany in the 17th century, when Adam Hoffman and his brothers Michael and Robert sailed for America, locating in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania."

Then, in the 1914 article it told us who that historian was: "The late Mrs. A. J. Callahan, the family historian, had collected a fund of reliable history, biography and geneology [sic] which has since passed into the hands of her half-brother and successor, J. W. Hoffman of 5408 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio, who will be pleased to communicate with any member of the family."

In a search of The Mahoning Dispatch at Chronicling America, I found this paragraph in the Washingtonville column published on October 16, 1908: "Mrs. A. J. Callahan of Salem was the guest Wednesday of her sister, Mrs. John Fitzsimmons, when here collecting the geneaology [sic] and scraps of history relating to the Hoffman family; this will be her portion of a book soon to be published. The family name is widely scattered over this country, from the Hoffman house and banking firms in New York, through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and the far western states."

The obituary of Mary Callahan was published on December 13, 1912 in The Mahoning Dispatch gave us the name of her children and confirmed the names of her siblings: "Mrs. A. J. Callahan died of internal tumor at her home in Salem early Tuesday morning, aged 65 years. Her maiden name was Mary Hoffman, the eldest daughter of John and Catharine (Koons) Hoffman, both deceased and late of Washingtonville, Ohio. She is survived by her husband and son Lawrence Callahan and a daughter, Mrs. Charles King, all of Salem. Also a sister, Mrs. J. C. Fitzsimmons of Washingtonville and three half brothers as follows: Oscar Hoffman and William Hoffman of Cleveland, and Joseph Hoffman of Indianapolis, Ind. Another half brother, L. E. Hoffman, lost his life a few weeks ago when his automobile slid off a narrow mountain road in Virginia. Funeral services for Mrs. Callahan were conducted from her late home at No. 38 Maple street in Salem at 1:30 this (Thursday) afternoon."

I still haven't found a "J. R. Hoffman" among the descendants but after this past week of research, I know that Mary Hoffman was Mrs. A. J. Callahan "the family historian" and her sister, Nancy, was Mrs. John C. Fitzsimmons. They were the daughters of John Hoffman, Jr. and his first wife Catherine Koons. Their half-brother, J. W. Hoffman, is John William Hoffman (who went by J. W., John, and apparently also William), was the son of their father by his second wife Tabitha Crane.

As stated in the 1913 Reunion article, John Hoffman, Jr. (son of John and Catherine Coy Hoffman) was married three times and was the father of eight children. By his first wife, Nancy Koons (whose middle name may have been Catharine), he had two children: Mary (1847-1912), wife of A. J. Callahan (aka Abner, Absolam, and Abraham) and Nancy (1849-1930), wife of John C. Fitzsimmons.

John Jr. had four children by his second wife, Tabitha Crane Zimmerman: Oscar Charles (1853-1927), John William (1858-????), Lewis Edwin (1859-1912), and Joseph F. Hoffman (1869-aft1920). By his third wife, Elizabeth Hess, he had two children: Mattie (1874-1938), wife of Grant Greasel, and Curtis Charles Hoffman (1877-1959).

Now, the one child of John Jr. that I was most interested in was John William Hoffman, primarily because he "inherited" the family history from his half-sister Mary Callahan. And wouldn't you know it, he turned out to be a "problem" child. I was able to find the other seven children through marriage records. I found them in nearly every census, and I have record of their deaths. For all except Lewis Edwin and John William, I know who their children were, and most of their grandchildren and even several of their great-grandchildren. Lucky for me they almost all remained in Ohio where marriage and death records are available online for the time period in question.

But what about my "person of interest" John William Hoffman?

In 1860 and 1870 he was living with his parents in Mahoning County. His mother Tabitha died on November 20, 1871 when John W. was 13 years old. Within a year or two his father remarried. In 1880, John W., age 22, was living on St. Clair Street in Cleveland with two of his brothers, Louis, age 21, and Oscar, 27. John and Oscar were brakemen on the railroad, while Louis was a jewelery salesman. Oddly enough, the youngest of the three, Louis, was listed as head of household. His brothers were listed as boarders.

I have not yet found a good candidate for John William in Ohio in the 1900 or 1910 census records. In 1920 John W. Hoffman was a lodger living at 5607 Euclid Street in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County. The page he was listed on (20A) is a "Supplemental" page and did not include the head of the household. There were eight other persons at that address. John W. was listed as age 62, divorced, and worked as a tool maker in a factory. I'm not positive that this is the "right" John W. but he fits as being the right age and he is in Cleveland. I haven't found a good candidate for him in the 1930 census yet either.

If that is the "right" John W. Hoffman, then he was married some time after 1880 and divorced prior to 1920. What was the name of his wife? Did he have children? Where the heck was he in 1900, 1910 and 1930?

On FamilySearch, in the "Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953" I did find a record for a likely candidate. This John W. Hoffman was born January 11, 1858 in Washingtonville, Ohio. He died on May 4, 1931 in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio and was buried in Washingtonville. His street address was 1634 E. 70th in Cleveland. His occupation was machinist. John W. was widowed and his wife's name was Alice. However, his father was listed as John W. Hoffman and his mother's name appears to be Sarah Corg. Both were born in Washingtonville. The informant was Mrs. F.W. Curtis of Cuyahoga Falls, which is 30+ miles south of Cleveland and north of Akron in Summit County, Ohio. (Cropped portion of the death record of John W. Hoffman is on the right.)

This John W. Hoffman was of the right age, born in Washingtonville, died in Cleveland. His occupation of machinist "sort of fits" with John W. in the 1920 census who was a tool maker. But in 1920 John W. was divorced while this fellow is widowed. Then there is the matter of his mother's name, which should be Tabitha Crane. Who was Sarah Corg? And, who was Mrs. F. W. Curtis?

A search of the 1930 census in ancestry for anyone with a last name of Curtis in Cuyahoga Falls, Summit County, Ohio produced an entry for Fredrick W Curtis, age 51, with wife Ada, age 48, both born in Ohio. They were married about 1915 (when he was 36 and she was 33). Enumerated in the household was Fredrick's mother-in-law, Alice Hoffman. She was 66 years old, widowed, and born in Ohio.

Going back to 1920, I found the Curtis family residing in Cuyahoga Falls: Fredrick W. Curtiss was 40 years old, his wife Ada was 37 and living with them was his mother-in-law, Alice Hoffman. She was 56 years old, widowed, born in Ohio.

In the "Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973" on there is a record for Ada L. Hoffman, 33, and Frederick W. Curtiss, 36, who were married on August 31, 1915. That record gives her parents as Alice Snow and John W. Hoffman. No record has been found for their marriage in the databases at or FamilySearch.

Alice and Ada Hoffman were not found in the 1910 census but I did find them in 1900. They resided on Whitney Street in Ward 18 in Cleveland. Alice was born in Sept 1863. Her marriage status was "Dd" which I presume to mean divorced. She was the mother of two children with only one living. She worked as a Janitor. He daughter, Ada was born in July 1882, was single and worked as a Bicycle Clerk. (It should be noted that in 1900 Lewis Hoffman, brother of John William Hoffman, was living in Cleveland and "Bicycle Mfg" was his occupation. Also, in Lewis' obituary of November 22, 1912 it stated that "With his brother, J. W., he was the founder of the Hoffman bicycle business.")

This appears to be the former wife of John W. Hoffman who died in 1931, and his daughter Ada Curtis. The fact that Alice and John W. sometimes state that they are divorced and later widowed is a little confusing but really not all that unusual. I do believe, in spite of his mother's name being given as "Sarah Corg" that this is my "person of interest" and the son of John Hoffman Jr.

But it looks like I've reached a dead end (pun intended) regarding descendants of John William Hoffman. Ada Hoffman married Frederick Curtis when she was 33 years old. They do not appear to have had any children. Ada L Curtis was found in the index of Ohio Deaths on She died on January 18, 1964 in a long-term care facility in Clark County, Ohio. Her place of residence was Akron, Summit County, Ohio.

And now I'm back to my original questions: Was the Hoffman family history ever published? If it wasn't published, what happened to the research files?

I will, of course, continue to pursue further research on the children of John Hoffman, Jr. (particularly obituaries) hoping to find a living descendant with information regarding the family history research done by Mary (Hoffman) Callahan. Future posts will highlight what has been found on them to date. If anyone reading this is related or has further information on any of these people, please contact me at

And if you've made it this far, I congratulate you, and I thank you for reading...

Update June 25, 2012: See the post One "loose end" wrapped up! for the death notice of John W. Hoffman. Yes, he really is the son of John Hoffman, Jr!

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Pursuing J. W. Hoffman :: Where's THE Book?," Kinexxions, posted June 24, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Hoffman Family Reunion of 1914

This is the second newspaper article on Hoffman family reunions that was brought to my attention a few days ago by Bob Hoffman. The first article was on the 1913 Reunion. The articles were obtained from The Mahoning Dispatch, portions of which have been digitized on Chronicling America, the historic newspapers site. The Mahoning Dispatch was published weekly on Fridays in Canfield, Mahoning County, Ohio beginning on May 4, 1877 with the last issue printed on April 26, 1968. The site currently has digitized issues available from October 2, 1908 through September 30, 1921.

The Mahoning Dispatch ~ Canfield, Mahoning County, Ohio ~ Vol. XXXVIII

Bright, Breezy Paragraphs Telling
The Happenings in the Village on
Mahoning's Southern
By Peter M. Herold.

                    The Hoffman Reunion.
Pursuant to adjournment last year, the Hoffman family and kindred assembled in the Washingtonville town hall last Saturday. As about everybody in town is directly or indirectly related, excepting the writer, they took me in so as to make the meeting unanimous as well as harmonious.

The attendance was fully as large as last year, some being here Saturday who were not here last year, and some were here last year that were not present Saturday. Everybody came in autos or by electric line.

The brief history of the family as published in The Dispatch last year need not be repeated here. The late Mrs. A. J. Callahan, the family historian, had collected a fund of reliable history, biography and geneology [sic] which has since passed into the hands of her half-brother and successor, J. W. Hoffman of 5408 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio, who will be pleased to communicate with any member of the family.

The recently deceased members of the family are Mrs. A. J. Callahan, who died and was buried at Salem; L. E. Hoffman, who was killed in an auto accident in Virginia, and Mrs. Lucinda Yaggi.

There are no Hoffmans residing in this community, but the mother of all the Weikarts, their sisters and intermarried relatives, inclusive of the Bostons, the Bates', the Hilmans, Gilberts, Bosserts, Rollers, et al., was a Hoffman, and by this collateral process the neighborhood has been largely populated.

Another branch of the Hoffman family is holding a family reunion at Southern park today (Aug 13). The branch which met here last Saturday were descendants of Dietrich Hoffman. It is not our intention, however, to deal with family history, but to simply state that 150 persons were present and the reunion was a success.

Among the Hoffmans present were John Hoffman's sons by his second marriage, J. W. and O. C. Hoffman, of Cleveland; his widow by the third marriage, Mrs. Elizabeth Hess Hoffman, her son Curtis C. Hoffman and family of Chagrin Falls and his sister, Mrs. Mattie Hoffman Greasel of Cleveland.

At the noon hour Saturday, all being seated at the well filled tables, John R. Hoffman arose and pronounced a blessing upon all those present and returned thanks for the bounties spread before them. After dinner a vote of thanks was extended for the numerous bouquets of beautiful carnations furnished for the tables, and a motion carried to present the flowers to John A. Weikart, who be reason of illness was unable to be present last year and this.

After all had gratified the needs of the inner man, a business meeting was held and the same officers were re-elected for another year, the reunion to be held at Rockhill park on the second Saturday of August, 1915. Before adjournment the following program was rendered:

Piano solo, Miss Anna Hoffman, Homeworth; recitation, Dorothy Woods, Washingtonville; recitation, Ethel Weikart, Washingtonville; vocal solo, Thelma Bossert, Washingtonville; short address, Mrs. Mollie Norton, Niles (aged 75 years); recitation, Miss Helen Woods, Washingtonville; Piano solo, Miss Marie Weikart, Washingtonville; remarks, Mrs. Margaret Osborne, Alliance, (past 80 years of age); vocal solo, Mercedes Gilbert, Washingtonville; address, Rev. Cowgill, Salem; vocal solo, Mrs. Grant Greasel, Cleveland; invocation, Rev. Cowgill.

The officers elected are: President, Howard Hoffman, Homeworth; vice president and treasurer, James C. Weikart, Washingtonville; secretary, Mrs. Howard Hoffman, Homeworth; historian, Miss Yaggi, Salem.

The out of town guests were: Mrs. Johnson of Indiana, came to meet her sister, Mrs. Norton, and accompany her home for a visit, Rev. Cowgill of Salem, who brought the beautiful cut flowers, roses, carnations, etc., for table decoration.

The guests from Alliance and vicinity were: Mrs. Osborne, John Hoffman and wife, George Hoffman and wife, Madison Walker and wife, Howard Hoffman and family, Milton Hoffman and John R. Hoffman and their wives. The Cleveland guests were: O. C. Hoffman, J. W. Hoffman, Mrs. Lizzie Hoffman and her daughter, Mrs. Grant Greasel and son. From Chagrin Falls came Curtis Hoffman and family. Lisbon, Mrs. Lydia Burnap. North Lima, Ed Crook, wife and son Robert.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Hoffman Family Reunion of 1914," Kinexxions, posted June 19, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The 1913 Hoffman Family Reunion

This article (and a second one) was brought to my attention a few days ago by Bob Hoffman (see this post), courtesy of the two wonderful ladies who volunteer at the Columbiana County Archives and Research Center.

The Chronicling America website (part of the Library of Congress) shows that The Mahoning Dispatch was published weekly on Fridays in Canfield, Mahoning County, Ohio beginning on May 4, 1877 with the last issue printed on April 26, 1968. The site currently has digitized issues available from October 2, 1908 through September 30, 1921. I haven't yet taken the time to go through all of the issues but a search for Hoffman and related surnames provides quite a few hits.

As a side note, there are two options for downloading the images - a high quality, large "jp2" file and a smaller pdf file of lower quality. After downloading the jp2 file I discovered that I didn't have a graphics program that would open the file! A quick search showed that Irfanview along with a JPEG2000 plugin will open the downloaded images.

The article consumes the entire first column of the first page and a small portion of the second column so it had to be "clipped" in sections. It includes quite a few surnames, some of which I recognized from information that was given to me in September 2004 by Stephanie Martin Shively. She is a descendant of Daniel Coy, half-brother of Catherine Coy who married John Hoffman. Catherine and John are my 4th great-grandparents.

Stephanie had some information on all of the eleven children of John and Catherine, more on some than on others. This article contains quite a bit of information on the family of John Hoffman, Jr., which is one of the children for which Stephanie had little information.

Since obtaining the article two days ago, I have found quite a bit more information on the family of John Jr. and have been able to trace all of his children and some of the grandchildren through census records from as well as marriage and death records from FamilySearch. but still have a few holes to fill in. Several passages have been emphasized in bold and will be discussed in future posts, as will other portions of the article.

The Mahoning Dispatch ~ Canfield, Mahoning County, Ohio ~ Vol. XXXVII

Bright, Breezy Paragraphs Telling
The Happenings in the Village on
Mahoning's Southern
By Peter M. Herold.

Hoffman Family Reunion.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart
And hope to meet again.

The largest family gathering held in Washingtonville for many years assembled in town hall last Saturday, when the Hoffman family held their annual reunion and picnic. Other families have had larger gatherings, but they are held statedly in groves especially fitted up for the purpose; while that of the Hoffman family held last Saturday was all under cover and had the privileges of the town property and the school grounds.

The out-of-town members of the family came by electric line and automobiles from Cleveland, Chagrin Falls, Canton, Homeworth, Alliance, Freeburg, Paris, Salem, North Lima and Leetonia - the Washingtonville kinship being divided among the Weikarts, the Bostons, the Hilemans, the Fitzsimmons' and their intermarried relatives, so that when dinner was announced 138 relatives surrounded the tables and partook of a bountiful meal, which none can prepare and enjoy than persons of German extraction. Before adjournment everybody present was served with ice-cream and cake.

Order being restored, the meeting was opened with devotional exercises conducted by Rev. S. Z. Cowgill of Salem, whose mother was a Hoffman. Then followed the following program, conducted by Mr. and Mrs. Howard C. Hoffman, president and secretary of the reunion: 
Piano solo..... Marie Weikart
Recitations by Willie Bowker and Ethel Weikart.
Vocal solo..... Thelma Bossert
Recitation........Helen Woods
Song - "Count Your Blessings," by Dr. H. K. Yaggie of Salem, whose mother was a Hoffman.
Recitation....... Mary Grim
Piano duet... Ruby and Marie Weikart
Recitations... Rose Woods and Glen Van Skiver
Piano solo......... Freeda Paisley
Recitation....... Dorothy Woods
Vocal solo..... Mercedes Gilbert

Short talks by Rev. S. Z. Cowgill, J. R. Hoffman and others interested and entertained the audience. Some of these talks were for the benefit of the family historian who is preparing a book of some 800 pages and dates the family tree to Germany in the 17th century, when Adam Hoffman and his brothers Michael and Robert sailed for America, locating in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Another branch whose paternal head is Didrich Hoffman (first son of Michael Hoffman) was born in Philadephia, Pa., and located in this part of Ohio. He owned the Cherry Valley farm now covered by the coke ovens. The brown stone marker in the Lutheran graveyard at Washingtonville bears the following inscription:

"In memory of Didrich Hoffman who was born June 23rd, 1751, and departed this life on the 10 of March A. D. 1826, aged 74 years, 8 months and 13 days."

His son, John Hoffman, sr., owned the Fairview farm north of town and his son, John Hoffman, jr., resided in Washingtonville; was thrice married, all of whom bore him children - Mrs. N. C. Fitzsimmons of this place being by his first marriage with Nancy Koons. His second marriage was to Tabitha Crane, whose sons were here from Cleveland at the reunion. Of his third marriage with Elizabeth Hess are Mattie and Curtis Hoffman, both married. Mattie Graduated from the Washingtonville high school in the class of 1890, and was afterwards married to Grant Greasel, now of Cleveland. Curtis was in the employ of the Brown-hoist Co of Cleveland and represented his company in Cuba for a while, then in Russia and in Egypt. Both were here Saturday.And inasmuch as many of the Hoffman family attended school here, A. L. Taylor of the school board opened the new school building, and all those in attendance went through the various rooms, and some from basement to bell tower. Curtis Hoffman was one of the Hoffman Bicycle Co. a few years ago, but now resides upon a small farm near Chagrin Falls. When going through the various school rooms on Saturday with his wife and three children he remarked to "Buck" Taylor that after all the carving he had done, getting his name and initials, upon the seats and benches in the old building, it was a pity to have all his labor destroyed by fire. So that it can be seen that C. C. Hoffman was much like the average boy of his day.

It should have been stated in the proper connection that the elder John Hoffman and his wife Catharine are also buried in the Lutheran grave yard with the following inscriptions:
   "Catharine, wife of John Hoffman died Feb. 10, 1857, aged 77 years."
   "John Hoffman died Feb. 8, 1869, aged 80 years, 3 months."

John Hoffman, jr., was buried in the Odd Fellows (or Oakland) cemetery west of town; his first wife having been buried in the Methodist grave yard. His third wife was at the reunion on Saturday and enjoyed the day's proceedings with her children and grandchildren.

A business session was held near the close of the reunion. The old officers were retained for the coming year and Washingtonville was unanimously chosen as the place of next meeting to be held the second Saturday of August, 1914. A collection was taken and enough money was raised to pay for the use of town hall and other incidentals, leaving $6 in the hands of J. C. Weikart, treasurer of the Hoffman Reunion.

Relatives visited both church yards after adjournment, and while they found the names and dates they sought for, they found neither grave yard in an inviting condition. They may get some needed attention before next year's reunion.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The 1913 Hoffman Family Reunion," Kinexxions, posted June 17, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cousins Connecting, Contributing, Collaborating

Three months ago (March 2012) I began a series of posts on my Hoffman-Huffman Family of Columbiana County, Ohio and Berks County, Pennsylvania, which is one of my Maternal Grandfather's Lines: Becky Wiseman >>> Virginia Phend Wiseman >>> Rolland Victor "Vic" Phend >>> Susie Lula Yarian >>> Lovina Berlin >>> Susannah Huffman >>> John Hoffman >>> Dietrich Hoffman >>> Michael Hoffman.

In August 2011, prior to the publication of those posts, I had been contacted by Nick Hoffman, a descendant of Dietrich's son, Michael. At that time I hadn't really done any research on the Hoffman line - most of the information I had was from two other researchers and had been received several years ago. Then I went to Salt Lake City for a couple of months, concentrating on researching the lines for whom I had little information, one of which was the Hoffman family. That series of posts in March was the result of the information that had been found in Salt Lake City.

I contacted Nick to let him know about the blog posts. In the meantime, he had made contact with Mike Lies, a descendant of Barbara Hoffman Lies - sister of Dietrich. It was Nick who had sent the information on the 1750 marriage of a Michael Hoffman and Engel Schedlerin, which lead us to reconsider the "known" information regarding Michael's wife. (I wrote about that in Questioning the Status Quo :: Oh, Maria!)

As a result of the Hoffman-Huffman posts in March, I was contacted by Bob Hoffman, a descendant of Jacob Hoffman who is another son of Dietrich. Bob wasn't able to provide any additional information on Dietrich or Michael but did send along a nice report on Jacob's descendants.

Yesterday I got a very nice (to say the least!) email from Bob. Nice enough to that I let out a shout causing my friend Cindy (working in another room) to ask if I was okay ;-)

Bob and his brother, Tom, spent the day at the Columbiana Archives (Columbiana County Archives and Research Center). I know from personal experience that the two ladies working there - volunteers - are very nice and extremely helpful. While Bob and Tom were perusing the shelves, the ladies were on the computer doing some look-ups.

What the ladies found were two articles on Hoffman family reunions at Washingtonville, published in the Mahoning Dispatch - one on August 15, 1913 and the other on August 14, 1914 - both on the Chronicling America website.

The articles are a treasure trove of information that provide leads for further research. I'll be transcribing the articles and posting them here in the near future - primarily for 'cousin bait' since there are a lot of names given, but also just because the articles are interesting and give a little more insight into a different era, of the life and times of people of a hundred years ago.

One of the paragraphs really got my heart pounding:
"Some of these talks were for the benefit of the family historian who is preparing a book of some 800 pages and dates the family tree to Germany in the 17th century, when Adam Hoffman and his brothers Michael and Robert sailed for America, locating in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania."
There was a book published on 'MY' Hoffman family? Where? When? By Whom? I want it! And then there is that "Three Brothers" myth again. Oh, my!

But Bob had even more good news. He and his brother had found the grave markers for Dietrich and for "my" John and Catherine in the Washingtonville Cemetery. Bob says the stones are in terrible condition, broken and illegible but he's going to send me photos! (I hadn't been able to find the stones on my visit there last year.) Oh, and that first reunion article? It gives transcriptions of their stones! I had that from "The Henry R. Baldwin Genealogical Records" but it is confirmation of the inscription from yet another source.

Bob's email was definitely worthy of the 'happy dance' don't you think? And to those naysayers who think blogging about your genealogy is a waste of time - don't you believe them! I've lost track of how many times I've been contacted by other researchers as a result of blog posts. Most are inquiries and not 'exciting' but I appreciate each and every contact. You just never know what you'll find when you open your email! Yes, folks, blogging works!

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Cousins Connecting, Contributing, Collaborating," Kinexxions, posted June 15, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Jacob Berlin :: The Voyage Across the Ocean

As shown in There were three brothers who immigrated... Yeah, Right! Jacob Berlin arrived in Philadelphia on November 9, 1738 on the Charming Nancy with his two brothers, Frederick and Abraham. Jacob is my 6th great-grandfather.

List 65 A in "Pennsylvania German Pioneers" (Strassburger/Hinke, 1934) not only gave the names of the men over the age of fifteen years, but also gave their ages. Among the 65 men listed were: Hans Jacob Barlin, 22; Geo. Fredk. Barlin, 18; and Abraham Barlin, 16.

The Harbor of Philadelphia seen from New Jersey Shore, based on Scull's Map of 1754 (From Etching in The Historical Society of Pennsylvania) published in "Pennsylvania German Pioneers" (Strassburger/Hinke, 1934)

Since there is apparently (I haven't seen it) a record of their father, George, requesting permission to leave their home in Niederbronn and given the fact that he is not on any of the passenger lists for the Charming Nancy, it is presumed that George and his wife perished on the voyage on their way to a new life. Reading about the conditions on the ships and the crowded conditions, it is not surprising that they could be among those who died.

The year 1738 became known as "The Year of the Destroying Angels" due to a higher than average number of passenger deaths and illness on ships coming from England. Also that year there were a higher number of immigrants leaving their homeland, nearly 6000. The number of German immigrants arriving in Philadelphia had more than doubled each year beginning in 1735 with 268, 736 in 1736, and 1528 in 1737. Ships were overcrowded and heavily laden.

Part one of the article by Klaus Wust "The Emigration Season of 1738 – Year of the Destroying Angels" was published online in 1998, with his permission. I've picked out a few passages that mentioned either the Stedman Brothers or the Charming Nancy.
"In Rotterdam, additional merchant ships were fitted for the overflow of emigrants. Even the departures of John Stedman's St. Andrew and Charles Stedman's Charming Nancy were delayed by these transformations. Passengers said the two Stedmans had deliberately picked the healthiest and sturdiest people."
"Captain Walter Goodman of the Robert & Alice sent a letter back to Germany on October 19th. Excerpts were published in the Rotterdamse Courant two months later:
"On the 4th of July last I sailed out of Dover in England and arrived here on this river on the 9th of September with crew and passengers in good health but on the way I had many sick people, yet, since not more than 18 died, we lost by far the least of all the ships arrived to-date. We were the third ship to arrive. I sailed in company with four of the skippers who together had 425 deaths, one had 140, one 115, one 90, and one 80. The two captains Stedman have not yet arrived and I do not doubt that I shall be cleared for departure before they arrive since I begin loading tomorrow. I have disposed of all my passengers except for 20 families."
"On November 20th another letter from the people in Germantown to the people in Wittgenstein was sent. The letter concludes with an upward assessment of the total number of victims: "There has been a cruel, destroying angel among the travelers this year for the number of those who died so far on the voyage and here has reached about 2000."
"The ship Davy qualified in the port of Philadelphia on October 25th. The next day the Gazette revealed the horrible story of this voyage. The captain, both mates and 160 passengers died at sea. It was the ship's carpenter, William Patton, who brought the ravaged vessel up the Delaware. Patton listed 74 men, 47 women and no children as the remaining passengers but only 40 of the men were well enough to come to the courthouse."
"Next appeared the long overdue St. Andrew, commanded by the favorite ship captain of the Germans, John Stedman. Several letters of passengers on some of his previous five runs between Rotterdam and Philadelphia were full of praise for him. This time, on a voyage that lasted twelve weeks, almost 120 passengers had died before reaching port on October 29th. The same day, Lloyd Zachary and Thomas Bond, two physicians recruited by the authorities to tighten the inspection of the incoming Palatine ships, presented this report to the colonial council:
"We have carefully examined the State of Health of the Mariners and Passengers on board the Ship St. Andrew, Captain Steadman, from Rotterdam, and found a great number labouring under a malignant, eruptive fever, and are of the opinion, they cannot, for some time, be landed in town without the danger of infecting the inhabitants."
"It was the last emigrant transport that John Stedman ever commanded. After his return to Europe, he settled down in Rotterdam in the shipping business. There was disbelief in the German community that such fate could have befallen a ship led by a Stedman. The Send-Schreiben expressed the reaction as follows:
"The two Stedmans, who had so far been renowned for the transfer of Germans and wanted to keep this reputation, also had to suffer the plight this time, one of them lost near 120 before landfall, although he had a party of the Hope's roughest and sturdiest folks, who had to succumb to sickness and fear of death. And the other one lost probably five-sixths, of 300 hardly 60 were left. His mates and some of his sailors he lost and he himself lay near death."
The online article ends at this point, I haven't yet obtained a copy of the entire article (it's on my To Do list). But after reading the above article, I think it is a wonder that the three Berlin brothers survived the journey. They were young and most certainly of strong stock. The conditions on board the ship must have been terrible. I can imagine the boys trying to help the other passengers and wonder what they must have thought of the situation. Obviously, I am delighted that they survived!

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Jacob Berlin :: The Voyage Across the Ocean," Kinexxions, posted June 13, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday :: Jacob Berlien (1716-1790)

On page 14 of volume 2 of the The Berlin Family by Reginald Berlin, published in 1992, the author writes:
Jacob Berlin is buried at Abbottstown, Pennsylvania in the Lutheran Cemetery, in the old section, across the street from St. John's Lutheran Church. On his tombstone, which is still readable, is the following inscription: "Here rests the body of Jacob Berlin. Born the 6th of December 1716, Died the 7th of April 1790. Aged 73 years 3 months, 3 weeks. Now has my struggle in life ended. My work in life is finished. I go forth to my Jesus and say to all a good night."
The transcription of Jacob's baptismal record (from the Zahn Collection, Historical Society of York County) shows that Johann Jacob was born to Johann Georg Berlin and Anna Elisabetha on the 17th of December of 1716 and baptized on the 19th. Godparents were Mister Johann Jacob Arbogast; Anna Barbara, Mr. Johann Philips Pfaltzgraff citizen here and married housewife; Mister John Martin Gross, citizen and a miller at the lower mill.

According to the baptismal record Jacob was born on December 17th while his tombstone states that he was born on December 6th. But the two dates actually refer to the same day.

In 1582, there was an adjustment to the calendar year known as the "Gregorian reform" in which ten days were omitted from the calendar. It was decreed that the day following (Thursday) October 4, 1582 would be known as (Friday) October 15, 1582. However, by the time the British were ready to go along with the rest of Europe, the old calendar had drifted off by one more day, requiring a correction of eleven days, rather than ten. The Gregorian Calendar was adopted in Britain (and in the British colonies) in 1752, with (Wednesday) September 2, 1752, being followed immediately by (Thursday) September 14, 1752. Do a search for "Julian Calendar" or "Gregorian Calendar" and you'll find tons of info out there and some explanations that strain the mind.

Anyway, after writing yesterday's post There were three brothers who immigrated... Yeah, Right! I went out on the Internet to see if there was a photo of Jacob's tombstone available.

A quick search of Find A Grave for Jacob Berlin, died 1790, came up empty. I scrolled through the list of cemeteries for Adams County Pennsylvania looking for any Lutheran Church cemetery in Abbotstown and found it listed as Saint John's Lutheran Cemetery. He is listed there as Jacob Berlien, which is the name on his tombstone. Imagine that!

The photo on Find A Grave wasn't the best so I did a search for "saint john's lutheran church cemetery abbottstown pa" the second result in the list said there were tombstone photos of "St. John's Lutheran Church Cemetery, Abbottstown, Adams County, PA." Ya gotta watch those "saints" since sometimes they are abbreviated and other times they're not!

I was in luck because there was a rather nice photo of Jacob's tombstone. I contacted the submitters of the photo (Margaret Gagliardi and Ken Schultz) and obtained their permission to use the photo. Thank you very much Margaret and Ken!

Photo courtesy of Margaret Gagliardi and Ken Schultz and the Adams County, Pennsylvania US GenWeb Archives, used with permission. Tombstone of Jacob Berlien in St. John's Lutheran Church Cemetery, Abbottstown, Adams County, Pennsylvania.

I played around a bit with the photo in Picasa and came up with the version below.

The lowest part of the inscription is still not readable, but the rest of the stone is a little more legible. Using one of the online translation websites I came up with a literal translation of the words, shown below in square brackets.

Hier Ruher der Leib
[Hier = Here; ruhe = reposes or rests; der = of; Leib = body]
Gebohrenden 6 December
[geboren = born; den = the]
Gestorben den 7 April
[gestorben = departed, gone, dead; den = the]
Alt 73 Jahr 3 Monat 3 Woch
[Alt = Alter = Age; Jahr = Years; Monat = Months; Woch = Woche = Weeks]

The inscription as shown in volume 2 of "The Berlin Family"

Here rests the body of
Jacob Berlin
Born the 6th of December 1716
Died the 7th of April 1790
Aged 73 years 3 months 3 weeks

Now has my struggle in life ended.
My work in life is finished.
I go forth to my Jesus and say to all a good night.

The translation of the inscription from Find A Grave Memorial# 41797876

Here lies the beloved
Jacob Berlien
born the 6th of December
died the 7th of April
Age 73 years 6 months and 3 weeks

Now that my struggle has ended
My journey is complete
I go to my Jesus
and say to all a good night

Regarding his age at death... Using the calendar in Legacy and inputting the dates 06 Dec 1716 and 07 Apr 1790 his age calculates to 73 years 4 months 1 day. Inputting 17 Dec 1716 as his date of birth, his age then comes out to 73 years 3 months 3 weeks.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Tombstone Tuesday :: Jacob Berlien (1716-1790)," Kinexxions, posted June 12, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Monday, June 11, 2012

There were three brothers who immigrated... Yeah, Right!

Yesterday, I was reading James Tanner's post Fact or Fiction? in which he discusses several recurring genealogy myths including 'The Three Brothers' myth. James links to two articles. One by Dick Eastman states "Genealogy newcomers often trip over the 'three brothers' story. It has been repeated thousands of times. I have yet to see one instance in which it is accurate." The other article, by Kimberly Powell said "While the 'three brothers' myth is very rarely true, there are documented cases of three brothers immigrating together." She goes on to say "While such a story in your family tree is more likely to be a myth than not, it is always worth checking out with good genealogy research."

It was back in 1986, just a few years after starting genealogy research, that I got my introduction to the 'Three Brothers' myth when I came across a small booklet titled simply "Berlin Family" which was written in 1911 by A. F. Berlin of Allentown, Pennsylvania. As it turns out, that little booklet was full of information, some of which has been proven to be true but much of it is full of errors and misinformation.

The first paragraph on the second page stated:
"I am informed that sometime before the Revolutionary War three Berlins (brothers), Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob came to America from Prussia." He goes on to say "One of the three original brothers, Isaac, settled in Philadelphia."
On page three he states:
"Another of the three original brothers, Jacob, settled ultimately near Lord Fairfax Manor in Clarke County, Virginia."
And in the next paragraph:
"Another of the three original brothers, Abraham, settled on the line of York and Adams County, Pennsylvania, where the town of Berlin now stands."
During the summer of 1986, Mom and I took a trip to Pennsylvania to research the Berlin and Yarian ancestors of her 'Grandma Phend' (Susie Lula Yarian Phend). Susie's parents were Eli and Lovina (Berlin) Yarian and Lovina's parents were John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin.

From the obituaries of John D. Berlin, we learned that he had been born in Adams County, Pennsylvania. There we found Orphan's Court records from 1843 which linked Susie's grandfather, John D. Berlin, to his father, Frederick Berlin.

Since the area in Adams County (near Abbottstown) where Frederick Berlin lived had been a part of York County prior to 1800, we also visited the Historical Society of York County. That stop proved to be monumental. There we found the records providing links to Frederick's father (Frederick) and to his grandfather (Jacob - our 1738 immigrant ancestor). But the big bonanza was in the collection of Dr. Charles T. Zahn who had spent many, many, many years gathering information on the Berlin family.

It was a huge collection but we had only half a day left before we had to return home. We did make copies of selected items, hoping we were getting the all-important "good stuff" but I'm sure we must have missed a few of the important documents and information as we didn't get through the entire collection. I had always hoped to return there but haven't made it yet!

Below is a portion of a letter dated July 31, 1970 that Dr. Zahn wrote to another Berlin researcher telling of the immigration of the presumed brothers while also adding an important research tip!

"The story of the Berlin family in America begins in 1738 with the arrival at Philadelphia, on the ship Charming Nancy from Rotterdam but last from Cowes, England - - of three young men or boys (presumably brothers.)
"Hans Jacob Barlin, age 22
"George Fredk Barlin, age 18
"Abraham Barlin, age 16
"On the three lists for the ship the name was variously spelt as Barlin, Barling, or Barly. They, themselves did not sign, but just gave their mark. I have a considerable amount of information on what happened to these three boys, all obtained from existing documents and gravestones, as well as from published histories. The latter, however must always be subject to verification, since much incorrect information has been published in local histories."
Sometime after the above letter was written, Dr. Zahn apparently discovered information that led him to write to the Strasbourg Archives where he obtained confirmation that the three young Berlin men were indeed brothers.

Above is a portion of a letter written September 30, 1977 by Charles T. Zahn, in the files of the Historical Society of York County, Pennsylvania.
"They came from a spa in northwestern Alsace, France (formerly Germany); namely Niederbronn or Niederbronn-les-Bains. From the Strassbourg Archives I have obtained Xerox copies of the baptisms in German script of the three brothers who came on the ship Charming Nancy in 1738. They were the sons of George and Elisabeth Berlin, whose marriage record was not available because of a gap in the marriage records at the time in question."
I don't recall whether the documents written in German script were in the collection or not but I did get copies of the hand-written transcriptions.

Dr. Zahn's information confirmed that there were indeed three brothers who came to America together, but their names were Jacob, Frederick, and Abraham - not Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as stated by A. F. Berlin. Although two of the names he gave were the same as the immigrants, Jacob and Abraham, their places of residence show that they were actually sons of the immigrant Abraham. So, in this case the myth turned out to be true, just not quite the way A. F. Berlin thought.

The immigrants Jacob and Frederick (22 and 20 years old, respectively, in 1738) both settled in York County prior to 1752 while Abraham (16 years old in 1738) remained in eastern Pennsylvania, settling near Reading in Berks County, and later in Easton, Northampton County.

In a letter dated October 25, 1977 Dr. Zahn stated that "For some 55 years" he had been collecting material "on the descendants of the three Berlin immigrants in 1738. Now 79 years old I am beginning a genealogy of the early members of this interesting family."

Sadly, Dr. Zahn passed away on May 17, 1979 and so never fulfilled his dream of publishing a book on the Berlin family. I thought perhaps someday I would compile a book on that family but I got side-tracked working on the Phend family and wrote a book about them instead.

However, two other researchers did take up the challenge. Among the letters in the Zahn Collection were several from Terry L. Johnson-Cooney and Reginald L. Berlin. In 1992, utilizing their own research as well as that of Dr. Zahn, and others, they published the first of five books on 'The Three Brothers' and their descendants. I think Dr. Zahn would be pleased. I know I was!

The Three Brothers - Jacob, Frederick, and Abraham.

Pennsylvania German Pioneers : A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals In the Port of Philadelphia From 1727 to 1808 (Volume II Facsimile Signatures 1727-1775) by Ralph Beaver Strassburger, edited by William John Hinke published by the Pennsylvania German Society Norristown, Pennsylvania, 1934. Photographed at the Allen County Public Library April 5, 2012.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "There were three brothers who immigrated... Yeah, Right!," Kinexxions, posted June 11, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers

Francis Caruthers (Carruthers, Carouthers, Crothers, Cruthers, etc.) is my 5th great grandfather. His daughter, Elizabeth, married William Alexander who died in service during the Revolutionary War.

Research on this family was conducted by sisters Lynda Alexander Fonde & Marsha Alexander Groff (and others) and published in 2000 on  pages 427-435 in "American Patriot...The New Frontier : Alexander, Sprague & Related Families, Volume II".

In 1766 Francis purchased 166 acres of land from John Steel "lying on the west side of Elk River, North Milford Hundred" in Cecil County, Maryland which was part of a tract called New Munster. A hand-drawn plat map of the area shows that on the east side of Elk River were the lands of seven Alexander families. ("American Patriot" pages 428-429)

Francis Caruthers wrote his will on January 27, 1801. It was entered into Probate Court on December 14, 1805 in Cecil County, Maryland and is recorded in Will Book 6 pages 397-400. Scanned images were obtained from microfilm 013868 on February 13, 2012 from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. My transcription below varies slightly from that published in "American Patriot." They may have had a copy of the original will, while this is a transcription recorded in the record book.

No. 216 Francis Caruthers December 14, 1805

In the name of God Amen - I Francis Caruthers Senior, of Cecil County State of Maryland, being weak of body, but of sound disposing Mind and Memory, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form following - viz - Imprimis

I give and bequeath to my well beloved Son Robert the sum of twenty dollars, each and every year, during his natural life, to be paid him by my son Walter, out of that part of my real estate herein bequeathed to him.

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved daughters Elizabeth Ann Rachel & Leah each the sum of Five pounds, and it is further my will that if my said daughter Elizabeth, should be dead or not claim the above legacy in five years - in that case that the same should go and be paid to her son William Washington Alexander -

Item. I give and bequeath to my Grandson Francis, son of Walter the sum of five pounds.

Item. I give and bequeath to my well beloved son Walter, his heirs and Assigns forever (after the payment of the aforementioned legacies) all that part of my real estate, whereon he now lives, with the appurtenances there unto belonging. - lying on the south side of the Line beginning on the bank of the Big Elk-creek at the small May pole marked with Six notches, and about thirteen and one fourth perches, below the mouth of a run implying itself on the same Side into said creek, and said beginning is about five and a half perches, below a bunch of May poles, on the opposite side of said creek, and is a Corner of James Garretts and James Alexander lands - and thence from said beginning, South forty nine Degrees, West, twenty eight perches, to a marked poplar, thence south sixty seven degrees and forty minutes west - until it intersects the most Westerly line of said tract, and the New Munster line - at the small white oak standing on the same and now marked with three notches, on the east side thereof.

Item. I give and bequeath to my well beloved son Francis, his heirs and assigns forever, all that part of my real estate with the appurtenances thereunto belonging, whereon he now lives, and lying on the north side of the affore described line - and it is further my Will and desire that all of my just debts and funeral expenses, be paid equally by my Sons Walter and Francis.

and lastly I do constitute my two sons Walter & Francis sole executors of this my last will and testament revoking and annulling all former Wills - ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and testament. - In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty seventh day of January eighteen hundred and one   Francis (his mark) Caruthers {Seal}

Signed, sealed, published and delivered, by the said Francis Caruthers, as and for his last Will and testament in the presence of us, who at his request and in his presence, subscribed our names as Witnesses.
Fras [sic: Francis] Hindman
Josiah Alexander
Rebeccah Alexander
Henry Reynolds

Cecil County Ss
On this 14th day of Dec. 1805 personally came Francis Hindman and Henry Reynolds two of the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing Will and said Francis made oath on the holy evangels of Almighty god that he saw Francis Caruthos [sic] late of said county deceased, sign and seal this Will, that he heard him publish pronounce and declare the same to be his last will and testament that at the time of his so doing he was to the best of his apprehension of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding and that he subscribed his name thereto as a witness at the request and in the presence of the Testator: and the said Henry being one of the people called Quaker did solemnly sincerely and duly affirm in words to the like effect. Sworn & affirmed before D. Smith, Regr.

Cecil County Ss
On this 19th day of December 1805 came Francis Caruthers and made oath on the holy evangels of Almighty God that the foregoing is the whole and true last Will and testament of Francis Caruthers late of said county deceased that hath come to his hands and possession and that he herewith [knows] not of any other and further that publication has been duly made of this Will and that he doth not know of any objections being made against the probate being taken. Sworn before David Smith, Regr.

Cecil County Ss
On this 19th day of December 1805 came Josiah Alexander one of the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing last Will and testametn of Francis Caruthers late of said county and made oath on the holy evangels of Almighty God in the same words and to the same effect as before Sworn by Francis Hindman before David Smith Regr.

Walter Caruthers on the 14th of Dec. by a Note in writing under his hand renounces his right and claim to the administration and Francis in like manner on the 19th day of December also renounces his right and claim to the administration. Test [sic: Testator] David Smith Regr

I wonder why Walter and Francis declined to accept the duties and responsibilities as administrators of their father's estate? It sounds rather intriguing to me. Since I don't have copies of the estate file, future research plans include obtaining those documents as well as deed records and (of course) any other records that can be located for him and/or his children in Cecil County, Maryland and neighboring areas.

The New Munster area of Cecil County, where Francis Caruthers (and the Alexander families) resided, was in the upper northeast corner of Maryland bordering Chester County, Pennsylvania and New Castle County, Delaware.

The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers (page 1 of 4)
Dated January 27, 1801 and probated December 14, 1805
Cecil County, Maryland Will Book 6 pages 397-400
Family History Microfilm 013868 accessed and images scanned on February 13, 2012

The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers (page 2 of 4)

The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers (page 3 of 4)

The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers (page 4 of 4)

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers," Kinexxions, posted June 4, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Friday, June 01, 2012

Switzerland County :: Wiseman-Bray Marriage

During my recent jaunt "down south" I spent a few days in Southern Indiana doing a bit of research for myself and my friend Cindy. My primary objective was to get a copy of the marriage record for my 2nd Great Grandparents, Charles Wiseman and Naomi Bray.

I had been to Switzerland County for research several times in the past and was really not looking forward to going to the Courthouse. My memories of the "genealogy" room were not pleasant. It was a small, dark, musty, dank, malodorous room in the basement. The large volumes were not organized in any way and it was not an easy task to locate the desired book.

I seem to recall that it had a dirt floor too, but maybe only a portion of the it was dirt. At any rate it was a terrible place for research. The room wasn't big enough for more than two people at a time and if photocopies were needed you had to carry the books (you know the very large, heavy volumes) up two flights of stairs and then wait for the Clerk to take the time to make the copies. During a previous visit in 1999 I attempted to use the digital camera for copies but there just wasn't enough light in the room. So I pretty much simply transcribed or abstracted the necessary information.

But, thankfully, that has changed. Even though all I wanted was a marriage record, I was told to go to the Recorder's Office. The clerk on duty that day was very nice though she wasn't the one who normally helps genealogists. She took me down to the basement to a well-lighted, organized room. I made a comment about how nice it was compared to the last time I visited. She laughed and said it's good that things change! I heartily agreed with her.

It only took a minute or two to locate the right book. I had left the camera in the car not knowing if it could be taken into the Courthouse and expecting the records to be in that old nasty room. I also expected to have to take the book upstairs but no, there was a copy machine right there! An old one, but it worked just fine - after we spent a few minutes trying to get it to work. At any rate, with copy in hand, I left with a smile on my face! And then I had a fun time driving the narrow back-roads up and down and through Switzerland County.

Switzerland County, Indiana Marriage Records "1846-1849" (No Volume Number) page 422. There are two volumes that include the year 1849, this record is from the "small" book.
"State of Indiana Switzerland County SS

"Be it remembered that on the 7th Day of Augt 1849 the Clerk of the circuit Court of said County Granted Charles Wiseman & Naomi Bray Marriage Licence which reads in the words and figures following towit State of Indiana Switzerland County SS

"The State of Indiana to any person duly empowered by law to Solomnize Marriages in Said County Greeting

"This is to certify you to join together in the holy bonds of Matrimoney as husband and wife Mr Charles Wiseman and Miss Naomi Bray and for so doing this shall be your sufficiant warrant
"Witness William Patton Clerk of the circuit Court of said County and the Seal thereof hereto attached at Vevay this 7th day of Augt AD 1849 [signed] William Patton Clerk PT [?]

"And afterwards to wit on the 3rd day of November 1849 the following Certificate was filed;

"This is to certify that I did on the 9th of August 1849 Join together as Husband and wife Charles Wiseman and Naomi Bray. this given under my hand this 11th Aug 1849 [signed] Joseph Hawkins a M. G."
Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Switzerland County :: Wiseman-Bray Marriage," Kinexxions, posted June 1, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])