Thursday, October 31, 2013

Around the Town Thursday: Pirtle Winery

Welcome to another edition of Around the Town Thursday!  I'm very excited for today's post, for two reasons: first and foremost, it's a winery.  If that's not enough there's the second reason, it's a winery in a church building.  Oh but it gets better!  The old church Pirtle Winery resides in is a Lutheran Evangelical Church that was built by German immigrants.  Being Lutheran I find that very humorous.  So for me, it just doesn't get much better than that, LOL!  Until you get to the wine, that is.

Pirtle Winery
Weston, Missouri

Pirtle Winery has been open since 1978.  According to their About Us page, they've been family owned and operated since they opened.  What a great history to be able to claim.  Located in Weston, Missouri, they're a must stop on the Missouri Wine Trail.

Their wine line up contains the expected red and white grape varieties, but it also contains some fruit varieties such as apple, blueberry and cherry chocolate.  An unexpected treat that you'll find on their wine list is mead.  If you've never experienced mead, you should try it at least once.  What is mead?  The simple definition is that it's a wine made of honey.  Here's a good article on mead (courtesy of  While many wineries tend to stay away from mead, Pirtle embraces it.  There are currently three different types of mead listed for sale on Pirtle's website.  While I'm not personally a mead fan, I highly recommend stopping by to try Pirtle's mead (and other wines, of course).

When you stop in at Pirtle, allow yourself a little time to look around.  Pirtle has an indoor winegarden and wine bar (a new feature I haven't seen yet) which can be enjoyed but if you're there on a nice day, make it a point to buy a bottle of Pirtle wine, step outside to their vine-covered outdoor wine garden (located between the winery and press house), sit and enjoy the day and your wine.  You won't regret the time spent there.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Augusta Christine (Altman) Froemke

Welcome back to Tombstone Tuesday!  After a break for a couple of weeks we're back to visiting the Altman family in Anselm Lutheran Cemetery.  Today we're looking at my great grand-aunt, Augusta Christine (Altman) Froemke.

Froemke family marker
Located in Anselm Lutheran Cemetery

Tombstone of Augusta Christine (Altman) Froemke
Located in Anselm Lutheran Cemetery
Augusta Christine was the fourth of thirteen children of Christian Gottlieb Altman and Christina Frederika Sofie (Kolbe) Altman.  She had five brothers (two older and three younger) and seven sisters (one older and six younger).

Augusta Christine was born 2 August 1868 in Waumadee, Buffalo, Wisconsin.  She married Carl August Froemke, Jr. on 4 July 1888 in Lisbon, Ransom, North Dakota.  Together they had thirteen children (seven boys and six girls).  She died 5 August 1947 in Shenford Township, Ransom, North Dakota.  She's buried in Anselm Lutheran Cemetery in Anselm, Ransom, North Dakota.  The cemetery borders what used to be family farmland.

Carl August Froemke, Jr. and
Augusta Christine (Altman) Froemke

Augusta Christine (Altman) Froemke

Monday, October 28, 2013

Genealogy Basics: Divorce Records

The last three weeks we've talked about birth, marriage and death records.  These three types of vital records are the records most genealogists think about when you say the words "vital records".  But there's a fourth type of vital record that isn't immediately thought of: divorce records.  Obviously divorce records aren't going to exist for every person and prior to the 1900s they'll be virtually non-existent since divorce was rare.  In some places it was even illegal.

So what kind of information can you find in divorce records?
  • Husband's name
  • Wife's name
  • Marriage date
  • Divorce date
  • Current residence of husband
  • Current residence of wife
  • Property of husband and wife
  • Name(s) of child(ren)
  • Birth date(s) of child(ren)
  • Reasons for divorce
The information provided in the divorce records may vary from location to location and all the information in the above list may not be included in the records you find.

Divorces are handled by the court system so the location to contact to obtain these records will vary by location.  They may not be indexed so some searching may be required.

If you have some family information or situation in your genealogy that just doesn't add up, consider the possibility that there may have been a divorce in your family.  

My family had that situation with my second great-grandma Sarah (McKee) McCabe and second great-grandpa Chester Eaton McCabe.  After some digging my mother stumbled across another branch of the family we had no idea existed!  Initially we suspected Chester had run off and simply re-married.  We eventually discovered Chester and Sarah divorced, Chester met another woman and married her while Sarah came to Kansas City to be with her children in this area.  It was a fun mystery to solve and couldn't have been solved without the help of some cousins and a Civil War pension file.  We don't have the divorce documents yet but that's definitely on my list of things to get.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Follow Friday: Ascending the Stairs

TGIF!  I hope you're as excited about the weekend as I am.  Friday means another edition of Follow Friday and today we're looking at the blog Ascending the Stairs.  Rachelle's blog chronicling her genealogy research is an interesting read and her post Just another clue, that will lead you to another clue and to another one made me smile, nod my head and giggle just a little because what she writes about the tiny morsels of data that genealogists find is true.  Those tiny morsels do keep one "engaged in the hunt, but never satisfies the immense hunger."

And I completely understand finding information that isn't cited.  My maternal grandfather, bless his heart, was a fantastic genealogist.  Careful with his work and tireless in his research efforts, he provided our family with some great information.  Unfortunately none of it is cited and not all the supporting documents were collected so those of us working on this genealogy now are retracing Grandpa's work.

Back to Rachelle's blog, I found her posts to be well written, with very little rambling (genealogists don't ramble, do they? LOL) and interesting post subjects.  I especially like how she periodically posts about her Genealogical Resolutions.  And having never been on a genealogical research trip, Rachelle's posts about Texas on a Wing and a Prayer and Genealogy Trip Planning - Success! really helped to open my eyes about planning versus execution of a research trip.

Take a few minutes today and go check out Rachelle's blog.  It's well worth your time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Genealogy Basics: Death Certificates

Over the last couple of weeks we've talked about birth records and marriage records, which can be used in your genealogy.  Today I want to talk about death records.

Before getting started I want to rewind to last week's post about marriage records.  In that post I neglected to mention a valuable piece of information.  If you're searching for a marriage record by the bride's last name and you're unable to locate it, consider the possibility she may have been married before and didn't use her maiden name on her new marriage license application.  This happened to be the case with my grandparents' marriage record.  It was a good thing I was able to provide the names of both the bride and groom when I requested the record copy because my grandmother used her last name from her previous marriage (Woods), not her actual maiden name (Brown).

Edward B. Conwell, Jr. and Edith M. (Brown) Woods' marriage license

Now, back to the intended subject of this post: death certificates.  Now, keep in mind that prior to 1900, many states had incomplete vital records.  Most birth, marriage and death records were kept by churches prior to when standardization occurred in the U.S.  A good resource to refer to when trying to determine if you'll find birth or death records in the state you're looking at is the ProGenealogist website.  You can pretty much assume the East coast states are going to have earlier standardized records than the Midwest or West coast states, simply because of when the states and state governments were formed.

So what type of information can you find on a death certificate?
  • Name of deceased
  • Age of deceased
  • Date of death of deceased
  • Place of death of deceased
  • Time of death
  • Cause of death
  • Place of burial
  • Date of birth of deceased (if known)
  • Place of birth of deceased (if known)
  • Name of parents (if known)
  • Birth locations of parents (if known)
  • Spouse's name (if spouse is a wife it may include the maiden name)
  • Current residence
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Name of physician or medical examiner
  • Name of informant and relationship to the deceased
Let's take a look at an actual death certificate.  We'll be using my great-grandfather's death certificate as an example:

Death certificate for my great-grandfather, Edward Bell Conwell, Sr.

This death certificate is a veritable gold mine of information.  It shows most of the information on the bulleted list above.  The only thing I don't see on the certificate that is listed above is the place of birth of his parents.  In addition I can tell that he only resided in Kansas City, Missouri for 6 months and the time between the claimed onset of the cause of death and his actual death was 2 months.  This would lead me to believe he moved from his prior residence to the place of death for health reasons.  I happen to know the place of death was the house my grandparents owned at the time, so he died while living with his son.

Something that stuck out at me on this death certificate was the answer to his marital status at the time of his death.

The answer itself is not odd.  Great-grandma Zella died two years before in 1948.  What's interesting to me is that it looks like the number two is listed in that box with his widowed status.  I'm possibly reading too much into that because I've never heard of great-grandpa having been married before he was married to great-grandma Zella, but stranger things have happened.  I also double checked the family history book my grandparents made for me when I was a child and nothing is listed there for a second wife so I suspect it may have just been a notation of some sort but I've added it to my list of things to ask the parental unit in the future with the hope that she'll know for sure (just in case I'm wrong).

The other thing that was included with the scan of this death certificate was the statement by licensed embalmer.  However, as you can see it wasn't actually completely filled out.  I wonder if they chose to not embalm him or if the embalmer just didn't bother to fill out the appropriate blanks on the form?

Statement of licensed embalmer from Edward Bell Conwell, Sr.'s death certificate

Great-grandpa Edward Bell Conwell, Sr.

Typically death records are some of the first records genealogists will try and locate.  This is because it's usually the most recent record of the research subject and can contain a great deal of information.  But genealogists should always make an effort to verify the information provided on the death certificate before assuming it's correct because the information being provided isn't being provided by the subject of the record but by a person who knew the deceased and that person may not have all the information or completely accurate information.

It's also important to remember that information included on death certificates may vary by location so the information you would find on a Kansas death certificate may very well be different than the information you would find on a New York death certificate.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Follow Friday: Ancestry Sisters

TGIF and welcome to another edition of Follow Friday.  Today I'm highlighting Ancestry Sisters' blog.  Here's a quick disclaimer: Ancestry Sisters is a professional genealogist's blog.  I have not received any compensation from Ancestry Sisters for this post.  My Follow Friday posts are as unbiased as I can possibly make them and my criteria for Follow Friday is simply that the blog has (fairly) current posts and that I feel the posts are interesting and relevant.

Anyway, I was originally drawn into Ancestry Sisters for their post series on Was Mary Doefour really Anna Myrle Sizer? Help us find new clues and confirm this mystery (it should be noted the series is a re-post of a series of articles written by Rick Baker for the "Peoria Journal Star") but delving into their post history a little further I was excited to discover The Scary Side of Your Family Tree and The Importance of Researching Siblings.  While I don't personally have the need for the information given in The Scary Side of Your Family Tree (at this time), it was an extremely interesting post and, heck, knowledge is power right?  The Importance of Researching Siblings, however, was a different story and provided me yet another avenue I might approach with one of my brick walls.  We're always taught to focus on our direct lines in genealogy but here is an instance where researching non-direct lines assisted Ancestry Sisters in breaking through a brick wall they had.  Looks like I may be going off on a tangent in the next few weeks to see if I can find anything for my brick wall via her siblings.

Take a bit of time today and go check out Ancestry Sisters.  I bet you'll find something there that may be helpful in your research.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Around the Town Thursday: Christy's Tasty Queen

After having traveled to Hutchinson, Kansas to see some great sights, we're back in Kansas City for this edition of Around the Town Thursday.

Today we're stopping in at Christy's Tasty Queen, a great little hole-in-the-wall restaurant located in Kansas City, Kansas.

Christys Tasty Queen in Kansas City, Kansas
I grew up in the Turner District so Christy's was a staple for myself and other Turnerites.  They have the BEST tenderloins in the area.  But the tenderloins isn't the only great food at Christy's.  I love their burgers and their hot fudge sundae shakes.  D1 is a fan of their tenderloin (of course), which is the size of a small plate but well worth the price!

Christy's has been around since 1983.  It's not a sit down restaurant, though it does have one or two picnic tables you can sit outside and eat at.  Many reviews on Yelp and Foursquare have referred to it as a hidden gem and throwback restaurant.  I would agree with both statements.

Don't wait until you're in the area to stop at this excellent restaurant!  It's worth making a special trip to try the tenderloin and a shake.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pay It Forward

I've mentioned before that I like to frequent estate sales.  There are always interesting items to be found and as I wander through the sales I often wonder what the person who owned the items being sold was like.  I've brought D1 and most-wonderful-mother-in-law to "the dark side" with me and they have begun going to the estate sales as well, sometimes with me and sometimes on their own.  More often than not we leave the estate sales with nothing.  Occasionally we'll find things we can use and sometimes, just sometimes, we discover a little bit of treasure.  D1 has gotten very good at helping me look for treasure to use in my genealogy or on my blog.  My second post for the blog was a treasure discovered at a sale and I'm currently working on researching another discovered not long ago.  I hadn't brought most-wonderful-mother-in-law in on the game of find-the-genealogy/blog-treasure.  It just hadn't occurred to me since she and D1 always went together and D1 knew to look for items I could use.  But she has proven to be good at discovering treasures for me without even trying.

About a week ago we stopped in at a special sale one of our favorites had advertised.  It was being held in an old assisted living facility and I'd been told it contained a hodge-podge of items belonging to the facility and possibly belonging to the former residents of the facility.  The sale was huge.  There were rooms upon rooms of...stuff.  Medical beds sat next to tables of books which sat next to boxes of records and on and on throughout most of the first floor of the facility.  D1 told me the day before the sale had been even bigger.  I was shocked with how much stuff was for sale.  Most of it was nothing useful in my world.  We spent a couple of hours there each of us finding a little bit of something.  I'd decided to purchase an interesting homemade scrapbook (which I plan to post about at a later date) and was considering a very interesting CPT Pilot Rating Book.  The rating book belonged to a Robert Price Hays.  I have to admit I wish it belonged to one of my ancestors.  What a great piece of history.  It showed his progression through his pilot's training, complete with comments about him and his performance and signatures of his instructors and Mr. Hays himself.

While I was taking time to consider whether to purchase the book or not I was looking through a box lid of pictures and other paper items and we were talking about genealogy, my blog, "lost" pictures and genealogy items like the ones we were looking at and how sad it was that those items might never be reunited with interested parties.  This wasn't the first time I'd gone through that box and I kept coming back to a couple of newspapers that were in there.  I was looking at one of the papers when most-wonderful-mother-in-law discovered a nice little treasure.  In between a couple of pictures she discovered a souvenir marriage certificate.

It was when she found that marriage certificate that something clicked and I realized there were some connections within this box...and also to that CPT Pilot Rating Book.  The newspapers I'd been reading were from the area the bride and groom were from...

There are articles in this paper circled with a
notation in the upper left corner about Mr. Hays
being mentioned in the paper.

This paper had the obituary for Mr. Hays' father,
who was a widely-respected doctor for his community.

...and the groom was the same person who had owned the rating book.  And while I was intrigued, what cinched my decision to buy the group of items was the date listed on the marriage certificate.  The couple on the certificate had gotten married the exact same day D1 and I had gotten married...67 years earlier.  I couldn't leave it there after making that discovery.  I knew I just had to buy the items I could identify as having belonged to Mr. Hays.  I grabbed up the two newspapers, the marriage certificate and the rating book and began looking at the pictures in earnest, hoping to find a picture to go with the treasures I had so far.  Alas, many of the pictures were unmarked and there were so many I couldn't justify purchasing them all.  None of the photos could be identified as Mr. Hays or anyone related so we left the sale with our treasures.

So what to do next?  I had these items that didn't belong to me.  I knew people had been reunited with items of genealogical interest by others but I'd never thought to do it myself.  I had plans to go to the Midwest Genealogy Center the next weekend so when I went I took the information with me and sat down to see if I could locate someone who might be interested in the items I'd discovered.  But where to look?  I decided to check out to see what I could find on there.  I hoped to locate a post on one of the message boards or a family tree which I could use to contact someone but for all I knew it would be a longshot.  I hadn't had much luck finding information on Mr. Hays himself.  I'd tried Find A Grave with no luck for him or his wife.  But one of the newspapers had an obituary for his father and that's where I decided to look.  I entered my search terms and Ancestry spit a number of hits back at me.  Among them were over 5,000 family tree hits.  WOW!  I opened up the search results and was completely overwhelmed.  How did I know which one would be the right choice to contact?  I began clicking through the trees to see if I could find a direct descendant of Mr. Hays' father when one tree in particular stood out to me.  The tree owner wasn't the direct descendant but was close enough that I felt comfortable contacting the owner to see if they were interested in the pieces I'd purchased.  I posted a message to Mr. Hays' father's entry on the tree and hoped for a response.

I didn't have to wait long.  The next day I had a message in my inbox from a very excited genealogist.  I'm happy to report that I've made arrangements to send the tree's owner the documentation I purchased from the estate sale.  I can't help but wonder what Mr. Hays might say about this situation.  I like to think he'd be happy to have his personal items reunited with his descendants.  Everyone wants to leave a legacy after all; everyone wants to be remembered.  It's a good feeling to be able to reunite these documents with the family they belong to and I'm now on the lookout for my next genealogical find.

Pay it forward baby!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Genealogy Basics: Marriage Certificates

Today we're continuing to talk about vital records.  Last week we talked about birth certificates and some of the information you can find on them.  This week we're going to talk about marriage records.

If you've been married you know how obtaining a marriage license works.  You fill out an application, get the license, the ceremony is performed, license is signed and returned to the state office to be filed.  At some point in time, some genealogist, somewhere in the world realized how great of a resource these documents were.  Most of the information you'll find will be located on the actual application for the marriage license.  Let's take a look at what kind of information we might find on a marriage license:
  • Full name of bride
  • Full name of groom
  • Date of marriage
  • Location of marriage
  • Name of officiant
  • Names of witnesses
  • Birth date of bride
  • Age of bride
  • Birth date of groom
  • Age of groom
  • Whether single, widowed or divorced for each party
  • Number of previous marriages for each party
God bless the Jackson County Recorder of Deeds because they've digitized their records and have made them searchable.  I was able to locate a copy of the marriage record of my great-grandparents just by going to the Recorder's website.  Below is a copy of the application for their license.  As you can see it lists some, but not all, of the information from the list above.  Keep in mind, different states had different information requirements for their vital records but some of the information is standard across all states, so what information Missouri requests on their applications may be less information that what you might find on the application from, say, Illinois.

Application for marriage certificate for
Edward Conwell, Sr. and Zella McCabe

Another important point to remember: while the majority of licenses filed for were used by the couple, there were instances where the couple filed for the license but never held the ceremony and, therefore, were never legally married.  Marriage licenses expired if they weren't used within a certain time period.  Keep this in mind if you find the application but never find the filed certificate.  I was happy to discover that Edward Sr. and Zella's marriage license had been used and filed and was included with the application when it was digitzed.  Below is the copy of their marriage certificate:

Marriage certificate for Edward
Conwell, Sr. and Zella McCabe

So just from this record I was able to learn the names of the bride and groom, their ages, when they were married, who married them, and where they lived when they applied for the license.

Typically these records have not been digitized and have to be requested from the state or county where the marriage occurred.  There is usually a fee attached and the fee typically covers the search time and a copy of the record if it's found.  Marriage certificates may look different from state to state but the basic information is standard across the states.

Now for an interesting bit of information I discovered after I found this marriage certificate: I learned that my great-grandma Zella was living in Wyandotte County, Kansas when she married my great-grandpa.  I always thought they were both living in Jackson County, Missouri.  Yay for new and interesting finds!

Tune in next week for information on death certificates!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Follow Friday: Ancestry Search

Welcome to another edition of Follow Friday!  Today I'm highlighting Ancestry Search, a family history blog written by Kathleen.  I admit, this one I started reading purely because the first post I saw was Kathleen's post on Researching in the Kansas State Census.  Anyone who knows me fairly well knows I love living in Kansas.  Not tolerate, not like but LOVE so anything Kansas (or Missouri since I was born there and spent many happy summers there) automatically catches my attention.

Enough of my rambling.  Focusing back on Kathleen's blog post about the Kansas State Census, she notes in her post an obvious mistake which was made during indexing two children on the census.  This is a great reminder that indexes (and enumerators) are only human and can make mistakes, thus checking AROUND the family you're looking for in the census records is always a good idea.

Kathleen's posts are just right in length (in my opinion).  I've said before that we genealogists have a tendency to ramble and get off on tangents (noooo, not us!) so a post that focuses and gets straight to the point catches my attention and keeps me reading.

And one last item of interest.  It was Kathleen's post on Reading County History Books - Clues in the Biographies that caused me to Google one of my ancestor's names and discover a Who's Who book that has been digitized for the area in which he resided.  The book is a collection of biographies of the longstanding citizens in the area he lived in and I was tickled to find him in there.  So a big THANKS to you, Kathleen, for writing that post!

Take a minute today and read just one of Kathleen's posts.  I think you'll find it worth your time.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Around the Town Thursday: Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center

It's Thursday and time for another edition of Around the Town Thursday!  We're still hanging out in Hutchinson for Museum Day Live! but we've moved from Strataca - Kansas Underground Salt Museum to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center!

Mercury-Redstone Rocket located outside
the Cosmosphere's main entrance

Since D1 and I were already in Hutchinson we decided to go to both the Salt Museum and Cosmosphere on Museum Day Live.  The great thing about the Cosmosphere is that there's something there for everyone...literally.  Besides the museum and it's massive amount of exhibits, there are films, planetarium shows, an A/V tour, flight simulator and a special conservation project tour.  You can pick and choose what you see and do while at the museum, but whatever you do make sure you allow plenty of time!  The Cosmosphere website offers sample itineraries for various amounts of time which are good guidelines.  Here's my couple of pennies worth: forget doing anything else the day you visit the Cosmosphere because it's absolutely worth spending all day there!

D1 and I were on limited time because Ginger J had a Boy Scout function that evening so we knew we wouldn't be able to do everything.  We skipped the shows (and didn't know about the conservation project tour) and we headed straight into the museum.  I've been to the Cosmosphere before but it's been a very long time.  There was a new feature I hadn't seen before prior to entering the museum: you could stand in front of one of the museum's beautiful murals and have your picture taken!

D1 and me at the Cosmosphere in front of a mural honoring the
founder, Patty Carey, and the development of the Cosmosphere
Mural painted by Robert McCall
My favorite piece of artwork at the museum is the stained glass window above the entrance to the exhibits which pays tribute to lost astronauts.

It's a beautiful piece and I can't help but stare at it whenever I go to the museum.

The museum is chronologically laid out very well.  As for the actual layout I personally don't care for all the angles, I feel that it causes the museum to be disjointed and, at times, difficult to know which direction to go and what to see next.  That, however, is my only complaint about this museum and it's a minor complaint at that.  The museum is packed FULL of great exhibits and information.  It takes you step by step from the very beginning of the space race to as current as they can get it without compromising current projects.  There's even a small exhibit about the Berlin wall.  It amazes me how many exhibits the museum staff has been able to fit into the space they have in the museum.  I'd love to see the museum be given the opportunity to have a larger building.  I can only imagine what the staff could do with it.

There are so many exhibits it's hard to choose just one or two to highlight here.  Some of the ones I enjoyed the most are the Berlin wall exhibit, the Kennedy exhibit, the Liberty Bell 7 and the moon rock.

A piece of the Berlin wall on exhibit at the Cosmosphere

Moon rock on display at the Cosmosphere
Liberty Bell 7 capsule (post restoration)
Interior picture of the Liberty Bell 7 capsule (post restoration)
But out of all the exhibits there was one that was my absolute favorite: the exhibit case on John Glenn and his space flight.  John Glenn was my favorite astronaut.  He was smart, likable, well-respected, hard-working and just an all around good guy.  While not as noticed as Neil Armstrong and Gus Grissom he was an important part of the space race.  It was nice to see him get some well deserved spotlight with his own exhibit case.

John Glenn: First American in Orbit

Newspaper with headline announcing John Glenn's successful orbit
There's also a really great outdoor exhibit of the Titan rocket that you can walk around the base of.  Unfortunately it was closed the day we went due to bad weather (I was a sad panda, I really enjoy looking around the Titan rocket pit).  Again, there is so much to see and do there it's impossible to list everything.

The staff was friendly and helpful.  They don't hover around you while you're there but if you need something they're always available.  There's a food court if you get hungry and, of course, a gift shop that has some really cool goodies for sale.

The Cosmosphere website is informative and worth checking out to help you plan your visit to the museum.  I didn't think the ticket prices were too bad for what you get.  The museum has longer hours than most museums as well so there's plenty of time to peruse the exhibits if you plan ahead a little bit.  The Cosmosphere also offers opportunities for Scouts, field trips, special events and SPACE CAMP!  Who wouldn't jump at the chance to be an astronaut for a week!

The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center was voted one of the original 8 Wonders of Kansas.  I give it an A++!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Julius Ferdinand Altman

It's time for Tombstone Tuesday again.  We aren't straying far from last week's spotlight.  Today we're looking at my second great-grandfather, Julius Ferdinand Altman.

Tombstone of Julius Ferdinand Altman
Located in Anselm Lutheran Cemetery

Julius was the fifth of ten children of Christian Gottlieb Altman and Maria Elizabeth (Neubauer) Altman.  He had seven brothers (three older and four younger) and two sisters (one older and one younger).

Julius was born 11 May 1826 in Neulewin, Markisch-Oderland, Brandenburg, Prussia, Germany.  He immigrated to the United States in either 1854 or 1855 and married Marie Louise Henrietta (Froemke) Altman on 5 April 1863 in Waumandee, Buffalo, Wisconsin.  Together they had 13 children.  Julius died 3 November 1919 of pneumonia at his son, Ludwig's home.
Julius Ferdinand Altman

Monday, October 7, 2013

Genealogy Basics: Birth Certificates

Last week we talked a little bit about genealogy basics and how to get started.  In that post I touched on some different records available for genealogical use.  The next few posts are going to discuss what those records are and what information can be extracted from them.

The first records we talked about were vital records.  Vital records consist of birth, marriage, divorce and death records and are referred to as primary sources.  The definition of a primary genealogy source is a document or source that was created at or near the time an event occurred.

Early vital records were mostly recorded in church or civil registers.  As the United States matured as a nation the need for better record keeping developed.  Prior to the 1900s vital records were mostly incomplete.  Once states began developing their own registration processes and laws the majority of life events began to be recorded.

These days everyone most likely has a copy of their birth certificate or can get a copy of their birth certificate so let's look at those first.  Since different states entered the union at different times their laws and bureaucratic processes developed at different speeds.  This means that some states have very early birth records while other states won't have birth records until much later.  The ProGenealogist website has a chart here showing when each state put into law the requirement for registering births and deaths and also when that state reached a 90% registration rate which was required for entry into the U.S. Registration. It also contains a great state-by-state synopsis following the chart.

Here's a list of some of the information you might find on a birth certificate:
  • Child's full name (very helpful if the child happened to use a nickname)
  • Child's gender
  • Child's date of birth
  • Child's place of birth
  • Child's race
  • Child's birth order
  • Names of both parents
  • Maiden name of the mother
  • Parents' approximate birth date and ages
  • Parents' places of birth
  • Parents' occupations
  • Family's religious affiliation
  • Family's home address
  • Hospital where the birth occurred or the name of a medical attendant present at the birth
As you can see birth certificates are a wealth of information.  Typically, they can only be obtained from the state where the birth occurred and all states charge a fee.  The fee covers the search time by state employees and one copy of the certificate.  For more recent birth certificates only direct relations can get copies of the certificate.  States usually are more lenient when it comes to much older certificates and allow for genealogy-based requests.

Things to remember:
  • When states first began registering births anyone who hadn't already been registered could go and file for a delayed certificate of birth.  To do this, the person filing for the delayed birth certificate had to go to the state office with some type of proof of their birth (a document or person who would swear to the truth of the statements and birth facts) and make their application for a birth certificate.  The certificate was issued and filed with other certificates from that time, it was not filed with the certificates from the person's actual date of birth.
  • When a birth certificate had or has an error an amended birth record can be filed.  It will show the corrected information and will be filed with the original certificate.
Birth certificates do look different from state to state.  These days the information is pretty standard across the states.  Before standardization occurred the information could vary widely from state to state.  Have you found anything interesting on birth certificates of your ancestors?

Tune in next week for information on marriage certificates!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Follow Friday: Are My Roots Showing?

It's Friday again, which brings us to another edition of Follow Friday!  Today I'm highlighting Jenny Lanctot's blog, Are My Roots Showing?  Now, I have to admit the original reason I chose to look at Jenny's blog was because of the blog's title.  It's a cute title and I giggled as I pictured a woman looking over her shoulder in a mirror behind her, asking her husband if her roots were showing.  And my reasoning for looking at her blog is a good lesson in marketing.  Give your items an interesting title and it will bring people in.

Jenny's posts are informative and, at times, humorous.  I found her post on FGS 2013 - Helpful Hints for Conferences to be very helpful.  I've not attended a large genealogy conference yet but I hope to in the future and I think her tips will be very helpful.  I thoroughly enjoyed her post Does This Count as an Ephiphany?  Not only did it provide some interesting insight into what could have happened when ancestors disappear during a census year but it also gave a good tip to about checking the pages before and after your ancestor's census listing to see if there are any other possible family members.

I recommend taking a few minutes and checking out Are My Roots Showing?  It'll be well worth your time.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Around the Town Thursday: Strataca - Kansas Underground Salt Museum

It's Thursday, who else is excited for Friday eve?!  Another Thursday brings us to another Around the Town Thursday post.  Today we're looking at the Strataca - the Kansas Underground Salt Museum.

Entrance to the Visitors Center of the Kansas Underground
Salt Museum located in Hutchinson, Kansas

Once a year the Smithsonian Magazine hosts an event they call Museum Day Live! and on that day you can get free admission to one of over 1,500 museums that choose to participate for you and a guest.  It's not just Kansas that participates, this is a nationwide event with FaceBook and Twitter presences in addition to their website.  It's a fantastic event and makes me love Smithsonian Magazine that much more for hosting such an event.

This year D1 and I were actually free the day Museum Day was scheduled for so we decided to make a day of it.  D1 had been wanting to go to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson for awhile so I signed up for a ticket for us.  Tickets are issued by household so at some point he decided to sign up for a ticket to the Salt Museum, also located in Hutchinson.  I was excited about going to the Cosmosphere but to find out that we'd be including the Salt Museum in our trip made my day.  It had been awhile since I'd been to the Cosmosphere but I'd never been to the Salt Museum.  And, oh!  A blog post to boot.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Hutchinson is about four hours away from Kansas City so we got up at really-stinking-early-o'clock in the morning to get to Strataca early enough for the first tour.  The museum is actually below ground...650 feet below ground to be exact.  The building that serves as the entrance actually doesn't hold much more than the ticket counter, waiting area, restrooms, locker area and tour prep areas.  The tour groups are limited to 28 people because of the capacity of the elevator down to the museum.  Even though you're assigned to a tour group, you're not actually tied to that group for the entire time you're in the museum.  The museum is self-paced once you get thru the initial tour guide introduction.

Large piece of salt mined in the Salt Museum

The museum website recommends allowing at least two hours for the museum experience.  You could spend far, far longer than two hours in this museum.  The exhibits are interesting, videos informative and staff friendly and knowledgeable.  The museum offers two excursion rides, each costing an additional fee after the purchase of the regular ticket (there are several different ticket options, including a Salt/Cosmosphere combo ticket).  The Train Ride and Dark Ride are absolutely worth the additional purchase.  As an added bonus to the great tours these rides provide, taking the Dark Ride gets you the opportunity to take home your own piece of salt from the museum.

D1 enjoying the Train Ride at the Salt Museum

Having fun at the Salt Museum!

I absolutely recommend going to see the Salt Museum!  Make sure you allow plenty of time so you don't rush through the museum.  If you have the time and money to do both rides in addition to the museum, go for it!  D1 and I both thought the rides were worth the price paid.  Be open minded when you go, it's not all about the mining process.  You also learn about the history of the mine, the people who worked in the mine, geology, and you even learn a little bit about post-mining storage facilities that work in conjunction with the mining operation.  Don't hesitate to ask questions, the museum staff is knowledgeable and ready and willing to answer them.

And the Strataca doesn't stop with the museum!  They have an events area (and often hold weddings, meetings, theater performances and other events there), different opportunities for Scouts, schools and kids in general and various special events, many of which sound like so much fun!

Take a day and go deep into Kansas...underground.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Marie Louise Henrietta (Altman) Froemke

It's Tuesday and that means another edition of Tombstone Tuesday!  Today we're still wandering thru Anselm Lutheran Cemetery.  Among the many family members residing in Anselm Cemetery is my second great-grandmother, Marie Louise Henrietta (Froemke) Altman (a.k.a. Altmann).

Headstone of Marie Louise Henrietta (Froemke) Altman (a.k.a. Altmann)
Located in Anselm Lutheran Cemetery

Tombstone of Marie Louise Henrietta (Froemke) Altman (a.k.a. Altmann)
Located in Anselm Lutheran Cemetery
Marie Louise was the second of seventeen children of John Gottleb Froemke and Efa Rosina (Bair) Froemke.  She had six brothers (all younger), nine sisters (one older and eight younger) and one younger sibling of unknown gender.

Marie Louise was born 5 April 1846 in Buchwerder, Friedeberg, Brandenburg, Prussia, Germany (a.k.a. Welmin, Gmina Strzelce Krajenskie, Strzelce-Drezdenko, Lubusz, Poland).  She died 12 March 1904 in Casey Township, Ransom, North Dakota.  She immigrated to the United States with her family in 1856 and married my second great-grandfather, Julius Ferdinand Altman 5 April 1863 in Waumandee, Buffalo, Wisconsin.  Together they had 13 children.  The inscription on her headstone reads "Asleep In Jesus Blessed Sleep".  She is buried in Anselm Lutheran Cemetery in Anselm, Ransom, North Dakota.  The cemetery borders what used to be family farmland.

Marie Louise Henrietta (Froemke) Altman (a.k.a. Altmann)
You  may have noticed I have added an also known as name of Altmann.  The family story goes that the Altmann/Altman brothers came to the United States and subsequently had a falling out.  The brothers parted ways, with one changing his last name by dropping one of the N's from the end of the Altmann name.  I personally haven't verified that information but it makes for an interesting story.  Big Brother C has been working on the Altman side of the family and he has much more information than I do, but I'm working on updating my records as he shares his findings.

Thanks for stopping by!