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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Top ten posts of 2012

Recently I noticed a lot of people doing posts of their top blog posts for 2012.  As this was my first year of blogging it seemed like a great idea that I should take advantage of.  Here are the posts which had the most reads this past year.  If you enjoyed one of them I would love to hear why!

1.       1940s Famous People
2.       Making a Family Tree as a gift
3.       1940 Culture
4.       1940s: Inventions
5.       Where were you on September 11,
6.       Week 20 of Abundant Genealogy
7.       Book Review and Contest Winner
8.       New Software Release
9.       Fearless Females: Timeline
10.   The Elusive Sarah, Who Was She

Now, on to the future where who knows what I will find and share with you next year!

photo credit: Creativity103 via photopin cc

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Week 52 of Abundant Genealogy

Week 52: Personal Genealogy Website. For which private genealogy website are you most grateful? Who runs the site? How has it helped your family history research? Share the link to the site as well as its highlights as a way to say thanks to those behind the scenes.

The end of this writing prompt series has once again asked a question on a really thought provoking topic.  There are so many good personal websites out there, some that I use on a daily basis; it is like trying to choose a favorite flavor of chocolate cake!  For the purpose of this prompt I would like to highlight Lynn Palmero’s site, The Armchair Genealogist. 

Her main goal is to help people find their family history on the internet by giving you the tools you need to research and then write about them.  Last spring I participated in her family history writing challenge and even though I didn’t complete what I set out to write, I learned so much about my own writing style.  She opened the door a bit more for me to really begin to investigate my future as a “real” writer. 

Lynn has many tabs on her page to help you find your way and broaden yourself in your family history journey.  If you are a beginner, there is a beginner tab to get your started.  Looking for fellow writers to talk to?  Check out her forum for family history writers.  Her blog is always informative, up to date, educational, and at times good fun to read. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Heraldic Primer Part 4

This is the fourth part in a series on Heraldry. You can find parts 1, 2, and 3 on this blog under the heraldry label.  It is my way of giving genealogists a basic over view of what they are looking at when confronted with heraldic items in their search for family.  In this section I will cover common postures for sea creatures, insects, and reptiles.  You never know when you will find words for a heraldic achievement and not pictures.

As in four-legged creatures these categories also have standard postures associated with specific creatures and commonly seen animals as well.  For instance the dolphin and the lucy (the traditional name for a pike) are usually shown upright or swimming.  While reptiles are not common in heraldry, serpents are and frequently they are shown tied in knots or twisted around a staff.  In the case of insects, bees are very popular as a symbol of industry and are usually seen from the top with their wings spread. 

Below you will find the postures and more detailed explanations for them under each fauna category.  You will notice that in some cases there are specific words for specific creatures defining their posture.  These terms only define them and no other creature in their category.  Just like “pride” is used to define a peacock showing its feathers from the avian category.

Water Creatures
If it swims in fresh or sea water you may find it in heraldry.  While the dolphin is one of the more common animals you will see depicted there are many others as well.  Whales and various other types of fish are popular.  Crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs, and escallops can be seen on arms and you may also find a kraken (squid) or an octopus. 
Body curving inward on itself
An “S” shaped curve to the body mainly seen in dolphins

Body in pale, the head to the top or chief

Body in fess, the head to the right or dexter of the arms
Body in pale, the head to the bottom or base

 Insects and Reptiles
This category is the least common of creatures seen in heraldry.  Serpents, or snakes, are seen frequently to represent medicine when entwined around a rod or staff.  Reptiles are seen in top down views typically on heraldry.  This posture is known as tergiant.  Insects without wings are also shown typically  in this top down posture and are labeled tergiant as well.  If an insect has wings, however, they are called volant and not tergiant.

An upright or sitting position
Involved, Voluted, Encircled
Coiled to form a circle
Tied in a knot

Bee volant

Turtle tergiant

Emmet, or ant, tergiant

In part five of the series I will cover the types of flora found in heraldry.

*Heraldic Clipart from “Free Heraldry Clipart Site

Friday, December 21, 2012

More DNA Results!

Last week my husband’s DNA test from Ancestry came in.  I was so excited, jumping up and down excited.  However, I was good.  I waited until he got home to open the email and see the results.  It was hard, very hard.  We got a bit of a shock to say the least.  He is 96% British Isles and 4% unknown.  Wow, and I thought I was pretty homogenous with my DNA results at European (British Isles, Central European, and Eastern European).

The genealogy I have found for my husband makes this result believable.  He has ancestors from all over those islands: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Jersey, and England.  However, he has 2 Germanic lines and I have a feeling are where the unknown bits come from.

Two of his 2nd great-grandmothers on his father’s side were of Northern European decent.  Augusta Jahnke (last name of step-father) was born in New York City to German immigrants.  Her mother, Maria Meier, was from Munster but I have not located where her father, Augustus Heinritz, was from.   The other grandmother, Annie Munsmann, was born in Connecticut to Danish immigrants Henry Munsmann and Caroline Anderson.  These two women are the only non-English ancestors that I have found in 400 years of family.

This week I began reaching out to potential cousins that are likely to be related to him.  There are quite a few in the 4th cousin range, but nothing closer than that.  One of these hints even had a tree match which makes things so much easier when corresponding with unknown people.    I am still slogging through the possible connections trying to identify other cousin matches that Ancestry may not know about.  His family had to be difficult with 2 name changes.  Sigh.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think that the 4% unknown could possibly be the genetic legacy of these two women?  Could it just be some “junk” DNA floating in there from an ancestor not identified?  Or am I completely off base here….

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Week 51 of Abundant Genealogy

Week 51: States and Provinces. What is your favorite state or province for genealogical research? Who is most generous with their records? How has this helped your family history research? Share with others your tips and tricks for researching in this location.

I have to admit my family’s move to Virginia put us in an excellent place to do research for family history.  Living in here within driving distance to The National Archives, The Library of Congress, The National Genealogical Society, The Daughters of the American Revolution Headquarters, and so many other historical and genealogical significant places means that there is never an excuse not to do research.  You can read about my discoveries in past posts on this blog.

Once you are in town you can spend every waking moment in research endeavors.  I have found the archivists, volunteers, librarians, and staff at these locations very helpful and friendly.  There isn’t a problem they won’t tackle and you can ask questions of them until you are blue in the face.  However, coming with a research plan and a goal in mind will make your visits more productive and worthwhile.  But, I am sure you all know that!  

My advice to you is that you need to think about what and how you pack.  Most of these institutions will not allow bags of any type into the research rooms.  This means you will need to store your belongings in lockers and carry your equipment into the research rooms and this can effect what you take. A little thought will need to be put into it to keep you happy and sane.  For instance loose papers are discouraged in the reading room at NARA.  In this case having your notes on a laptop or tablet would be most beneficial. 

Here’s to happy ancestor hunting in the Nation’s Capital!
photo credit: Klara Kim via photopin cc

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's Time for Blog Caroling!

Image from the Library of Congress
One of my favorite, but little sung, carols.  I hope you enjoy!  To see more Blog Carols make sure you check out the Footnote Maven’s Blog Caroling post.


Sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on YouTube

English:  Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabelle!

Bring a torch, to the stable run

Christ is born. Tell the folk of the village

Jesus is born and Mary's calling.

Ah! Ah! beautiful is the Mother!

Ah! Ah! beautiful is her child

Who is that, knocking on the door?

Who is it, knocking like that?

Open up, we've arranged on a platter

Lovely cakes that we have brought here

Knock! Knock! Knock! Open the door for us!

Knock! Knock! Knock! Let's celebrate!

It is wrong when the child is sleeping,

It is wrong to talk so loud.

Silence, now as you gather around,

Lest your noise should waken Jesus.

Hush! Hush! see how he slumbers;

Hush! Hush! see how fast he sleeps!

Softly now unto the stable,

Softly for a moment come!

Look and see how charming is Jesus,

Look at him there, His cheeks are rosy!

Hush! Hush! see how the Child is sleeping;

Hush! Hush! see how he smiles in dreams!


French:  Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle --

Un flambeau! Courons au berceau!

C'est Jésus, bonnes gens du hameau.

Le Christ est né; Marie appelle!

Ah! Ah! Ah! Que la Mère est belle,

Ah! Ah! Ah! Que l'Enfant est beau!

Qui vient la, frappant de la porte?

Qui vient la, en frappant comme ça?

Ouvrez-donc, j'ai pose sur un plat

Des bons gateaux, qu'ici j'apporte

Toc! Toc! Toc! Ouvrons-nous la porte!

Toc! Toc! Toc! Faisons grand gala!

C'est un tort, quand l'Enfant sommeille,

C'est un tort de crier si fort.

Taisez-vous, l'un et l'autre, d'abord!

Au moindre bruit, Jésus s'éveille.

Chut! chut! chut! Il dort à merveille,

Chut! chut! chut! Voyez comme il dort!

Doucement, dans l'étable close,

Doucement, venez un moment!

Approchez! Que Jésus est charmant!

Comme il est blanc! Comme il est rose!

Do! Do! Do! Que l'Enfant repose!

Do! Do! Do! Qu'il rit en dormant!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Software Release

For the past few weeks I have been assisting with the Beta testing of a new software program called Evidentia.  Some of you may have heard of it, if you haven’t, well, let me tell you about it. 

Evidentia is a program created by ed4becky, LLC and was released 17 December 2012 (yep that was yesterday).  They pride themselves in being a “Source Centric genealogy tool.”  Instead of looking at the person Evidentia looks at the source and the information it contains.  With this program you collect, in one place, all the pieces of evidence a single source holds. 

Once you have your sources and evidence, or assumptions, entered into the program Evidentia will create several different reports where you will see where the holes are, what flaws there may be in your logic, and lead you to figure out what else you need to research.  It will also give you a Genealogical Proof Report analyzing all the assumptions you have made about a specific fact, for instance your grandfathers birth date.  The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), as you may know, are the guidelines genealogists use to give credibility to their findings.  Following the 5 steps to the GPS will give your research the proof needed to feel confident in your findings, and Evidentia helps you with that. 

To help you along with the process of learning the software you can watch six videos available on YouTube. Within an hour I had several case studies up and running showing me how valid my proofs were and where I needed further work in my research.  Most important, this software is designed to enhance whatever program you currently use for genealogical research, not replace it.  Evidentia is available for Mac (OSX 10.7+) and PC (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8) and best of all you can download a free 30 day trial before you purchase.  Also, for a limited time you can purchase Evidentia for $19.99 instead of $24.99.  In my opinion it is reasonably priced for software of this type.

So check it out, I don't think you will be dissapointed! I love my copy so much I became an affiliate.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week 50 of Abundant Genealogy

Week 50: Genealogy Database. Which individual database has been most helpful in your genealogy research and why? Is this database available for free or is it behind a subscription wall? What does this database include and how can it benefit other genealogy researchers?

There are so many databases bookmarked on my computer.  General Websites, lineage society records, archives, and various other places people may not think to look for their ancestors.  To be honest, there are hundreds of amazing databases out there.  I decided to pick one of the more obscure sites I like that maybe you don’t know about.

The Index to Early Bible Records is run by Debbie Duay, Ph.D, and is an ongoing project that provides an index to tens of thousands of pre-1800 family bible records.  It is part of an online lesson that teaches you how to research ancestors who may have been involved with the American Revolution.  Researching Your Patriot Ancestor teaches the basic research skills a person would need to help them with this quest, as well pointed you to places that you may not have looked for more information.

When you enter the index you will find information listed alphabetically by the husband’s last name.  Using the find function on your computer will be helpful at this point as there is not a search function embedded in the site.  The next columns list the husband’s first name, year range for the bible, wife’s maiden name, wife’s first name, where you can find the bible, and a title for the collection it is in.   Most of these bible records can be found online through the archives that hold them or 

Happy searching!  Maybe you will get lucky and find one of you ancestor in this index.  So far, I am still looking.
photo credit: mrmanc via photopin cc

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Goodbyes Are Hard: My Last Family Tree Firsts Post

Goodbyes are always hard, but I knew that I only had one year as a newbie genealogist with Family Tree.  Well, as of today, my journey with them as the Family Tree Firsts Blogger has come to an end.  You can read my final post here.

It has been an amazing year, as I am sure you all are aware.  If you aren’t acquainted with the posts, well, go back and read them.  I’ll wait.  Seriously, they were cool, you’ll enjoy them.  Best of all, you can see how I evolved as timid newbie to what you have today: a slightly less timid, but still fresh faced and new, genealogist.

However, with endings come beginnings and I am anxious to see what doors open to me in the future.  I am excited and energized more than ever with thought of what lies in front of me.  Research has always been my passion and I want to start doing more of that with original records and in the places my ancestors lived.  Writing has become a near obsession and I want to write on more topics than my family.  There are stories to tell and information to share.

I hope that you will stick around and see what else I discover and get up to.  The ride isn’t over yet, in fact, I think it is just revving up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The puzzle of Maria Meier Heinritz Jahnke

Image from the Library of Congress

I have struggled for over a year to trace my husband’s paternal line.  There are so many George Bennetts in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century.  Let me rephrase that… there are so many Bennetts, from Ireland, in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century.  My goal, from the beginning, was to track his family, and the maternal lines, back to the immigrant families.  Maybe, just maybe, I would get lucky and find out where the families came from too.  You can read past posts under Bennett, Jahnke, and Taylor for these family lines.

Recently I wrote about one of these maternal lines from the Bennett family, Jahnke.  You can read the post here.  I am sure you can see why the puzzle was not coming together and was frustrating to say the least.  I ordered the marriage certificates that I spoke of in the previous post and fortunately all but one have come in. 

First I looked at the marriage certificate and handwritten entry to the books for Emil and Maria Jahnke.  The certificate gave me a lot of information, including the fact that Maria was a widow (and she switches between Maria and Mary) and older than Emil.  The information from the return of marriage is listed below:
1.       Full name of Groom        Emil Herman George Jaks [he signed it Emil Jahnke]
2.    Place of Residence          142-143 Str. 8th Av. City
3.    Age at next Birthday       26 years Oct 11th last
4.    white
5.    Occupation         carpenter
6.    Place of Birth     Stessin, Pommerane
7.    Father’s Name  Ferdinand Jahnke
8.    Mother’s Maiden Name                               Louise Engelman
9.    No. of Groom’s Marriage             1st
10.  Full Name of Bride           Maria Heinritz
        Maiden Name if a widow             Meyer
11.  Place of Residence          142-143 Str. 8th Av. City
12.  Age next Birthday            31 years May 11th last
13. white
14.  Place of Birth     Munster, Westphalia
15.  Father’s Name  Unknown
16. Mother’s Name Unknown
17. No. of Bride’s Marriage  2d
New York May 12th 1884
Certificate of Marriage
State of New York

I hereby certify that Emil Herman Jeorge Jahnke and Widow Maria Heinritz were joined in marriage by me, in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, in the City of New York, this twelfth day of May A.D. 1884.
Dr. E.F. Moldehnke
Pastor St. Peter’s Germ. Lutheran Ch. [Maybe this one?]
124 E. 46th Str. City

Mrs. Margar. Sommer
Mr. George B. Jahnke

I was thrilled with the luck.  My husband’s 2nd great-grandmother was born in NYC in 1872.  According to this marriage certificate Emil was not her father.  She was most likely born Augusta Heinritz during her mother’s first marriage.  I know her younger sister Mary was born in 1887 and therefore a daughter of this 2nd union.

Plus, I now had the place where Maria Meyer was from in addition to the church they attended.  The church records are on FamilySearch too.  Unfortunately they are not indexed, but I can browse the images.  Perhaps I will find another marriage, birth, baptism, or death record for these families there.

Using Ancestry and FamilySearch I went about filling in the gaps and holes of these people’s lives.  First I looked for a marriage certificate for Maria and her first husband.  I located it in the database New York City Marriages 1600-1800s at Ancestry.  I will need to order the certificate to see what else I can find written on it, but for now I know that Augustus Heinritz and Maria Meier were married in 1871 at Manhattan.
Using this information I went looking for them on the 1880 US Federal Census.  Up until now I had no luck finding Augusta.  Now I know I was looking for the wrong last name.  It took me several hours of trial and error before I found them.  In 1880 A. Hennritz, his wife Mary and 2 daughters, Gussie age 8 and Hattie age 6, were living in Flushing, Queens.  This was the first time I had seen the name Hattie.  Now I wonder where she went, and what happened to her.

Since I had 2 daughters to work with, as well as ages, and parents’ names I set off locating birth records.   Thankfully once I had that information it was relatively easy to find what I was looking for.  Auguste Heinritz was born 18 March 1872 and Henrietta Heinretz was born 22 July 1873 both in Manhattan.  These certificates are now on my to-be-ordered list.

Pressing my luck a little further I went looking for Augustus and Maria on the 1870 census.  She should have been about 17/18 and he should have been about 34.  Believe it or not, I have a potential hit in the 1870 Census for Maria living in Manhattan.  She may have been living in the 7th election district of the 10th ward, New York City, on Christie Street between Grand and Hester.  Unfortunately the Census taker only listed her name (Mary Meier), her age (17), that she was female, and from Germany.  The way the listing is made I also can’t tell if she is living with anyone.  It states she and 29 other people live at the 90th dwelling visited.  Most are from various Germanic places, but none have the same last name as her.  It would be possible that she was related to one or more of these families, but I have no way to tell at this point. 

The last piece I uncovered was the listing for Emil and Mary on the 1892 New York State Census.  In my head they should be living with at least 3 daughters: Augusta, Henrietta, and Mary.  However, they are not living with any of the children.  They are listed alone, two pages in front of his parents, and his brother’s family on Long Island.  Where did they go?  Augusta would have been 20, Henrietta 18, and Mary 8.  Currently I am looking to see if they are living somewhere together because I don’t know of any other family to search for.

Off to order more certificates and work this puzzle out.  Next I need to figure out James Bennett and Isabella Rudy, Augusta’s in-laws.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Heraldry Part 3

In this third part of my series on heraldry I will start defining animal positions.   This topic is split up into 2 posts due to the volume of information and graphics presented.  Over the next two posts I will discuss the most common positions of animals as well as the positions that occur in only certain fauna.  The following is by no means a complete listing of all the positions, or heraldic postures, an animal could have.  By this point I am sure you have realized that heraldry can be very complicated and in-depth.

Heraldic fauna fall into 6 classifications: beasts, birds, fish, insects, monsters, and reptiles.  In early heraldry there were very few animals used, mainly the lion, but over the years the selection grew to several dozen animals that were popular to use.  The tables below show the different postures you may find when looking at arms. 

Four Legged Animals, Beasts, or Monsters
Four legged creatures are some of the more common charges found.  Examples of these are: bear, dog, dragon, lion, stag, and tiger.

Rampant (rearing)
Body erect, forelegs apart and out, back rear leg off ground
Salient (leaping)
Body erect and elongated, forelegs out and together, rear legs together on ground
Courant (running)
Body elongated, head erect, all four legs extended
Passant (walking)
Body horizontal, head angled or erect, three feet touching ground with right foreleg raised
Statant (standing)
Body horizontal, head angled or erect, all four feet touching the ground
Sejant (sitting)
Body angled, head erect, all four legs touching the ground, rear legs tucked, front legs straight
Sejant Erect (sitting upright)
Body and head erect, rear legs tucked, forelegs apart and out
Couchant (lying down)
Body horizontal, head erect with legs tucked under body
Dormant (sleeping)
Body horizontal, legs tucked under body, and head down in a sleeping position
There are also two head potions that are common with four legged animals or beasts: gardnat and regardant.  If the beast is looking at you, the viewer, he is known as being gardant.  On the other hand regardant refers to the beast looking backwards over their shoulder.

Birds or Avians
There are three divisions of avians within this category: raptors, general birds, and special birds.  The three most common raptors are the eagle, falcon, and owl. Each have a position that is commonly associated with them:  displayed for the eagle, rising and close for the falcon, and close guardant for the owl.  In the general bird group you will find commonly the crow, duck, and martlet.  The default position for these birds is close.  Special birds have positions that are unique to them and no other birds.  These would pride for the peacock, vigilance for the crane, and piety for the pelican.

Birds have wing positions like beasts have head positions.  They can be used by themselves or combined when explaining the position of the bird’s wings.  I listed the wing positions first because they can be used to define the body posture of the bird as well.


Both wings on same side of body
Wings on either side of body
Wingtips away from body
Wingtips tucked back towards body
Wings and legs splayed
Wings close against the body and feet on the ground
Feet invisible, wings outstretched, wings may or may not be displayed
Feet on ground, wings elevated or displayed, addorsed or not
Close affront (close guardant)
Normally only for owls also known as close guardant
Seen only with Peacocks, close affront with tail feathers displayed
Seen only in cranes, close with one leg raised, stone in claw
Piety (or vulning)
Seen only in pelicans, normally with nest and chicks

In the next post I will go through fish, insects, and reptiles.  These are very interesting because there are specific terms associated with each that are not used to describe other animals.



Heraldic Clipart from “Free Heraldry Clipart Site