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My Journey in genealogy research, family finds, and travel adventures with Ron!

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Events, Events, Events!


I spent a bit of time this morning updating our Calendar with annual genealogy conferences coming up and some local DAR and historical/genealogical events as well. These are obviously not GoAncestry sponsored events but felt it would be great to have a way to view all on one calendar. I will continue to update this as new events come up. Check out the details of each event for where to find more information.

The standard Rootstech, Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and National Genealogical Society (NGS) can be a great way to gain new resources, make new connections, and travel to a different region for research. Ron and I have experienced the larger conferences and enjoyed them; we'll see you in 2019 FGS when you come to DC!

Our favorite events are those that give you an opportunity to truly connect with others who are doing similar research and truly have time to sit down and talk. Coming up is Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS), Maryland Historical Society's Annual Genealogy Lectures, and many others that offer an ability to focus your research geographically or topically.

One advantage of the conferences is that they are typically located in an area which has great genealogical resources. Ron and I have both had a wonderful time searching State Archives and Libraries when we go to any conference. (Photo is of Ron entering the State Library in Harrisburg, PA.)

If you want to sit at home in your pjs and fuzzy sleepers, check out some of the virtual ways to participate, such as Family Tree's virtual conference or many of the free webinars.

Enjoy browsing the Calendar and potentially getting engaged or re-engaged!


Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash.jpg

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

I've been doing a lot of reading about genealogical/historical timelines recently, basically checking to see if there are more details I can or should add to my timeline template. This template makes use of Excel's rows and columns and I added colorized categories of Birth, Marriage, Residence, and Death to document my ancestor's life history.

This method of tracing my ancestor enabled me to solve some mysteries that had been eluding me for some time. That was my initial purpose in creating a timeline for my great grandmother. But then I started thinking about how I could improve this timeline for future use by learning from what others have created. "the Armchair Genealogist" has a great blog about the "Four Steps To A Family History Timeline". Basically they are:

  1. Identify the Ancestor you wish to plot - She mentions plotting a whole family or surname. I believe that even if you start with one person, you will end up plotting the whole family but I was very intrigued with the idea of plotting a whole surname.
  2. Choose your tool - There are lots of tools available but even more intriguing to me was her mention of using mindmaps as a way of presenting the information. She called Excel (and Word) not pretty or creative but getting the job done which is what I needed. Choose the tool for you that get the job done.
  3. Create Your Categories - This is a great list that includes items for your ancestor and events that also could have impacted your ancestor. I suggest you check it out!
  4. Identify Your Time Frame - This is basically scoping your work and research so it answers what you need and does not become too onerous. My scope was two generations before my great grandmother and one generation after. But it really needs to be what is needed for your purposes and what you are working to accomplish.

FamilySearch also has a good blog on "Using Timelines to Plot Out Your Ancestor's Life".It is mentioned that both FamilySearch and Ancestry generate timelines for an individual automatically, as you research and attach information to your ancestor. I jumped over to one of my Ancestry trees to see how well that would have worked for the timeline on my great grandmother. Turns out not so well as I wanted to include her parents and grandparents (including siblings) in the timeline and it starts with her birth. Ancestry does identify events such as death of parents and birth/death of siblings as long as they occur after the birth, and before the death, of your ancestor.

I believe it is worthwhile to identify why a timeline should be created. In the case of a mindmap or other visual way of representing the data, it could be to publish within a book about your ancestor. In regards to research, it is to solve a mystery, to fill gaps in your research, to identify errors or anomalies, to gather all the data needed to write your ancestor's story; all with the goal to gain a complete picture of your ancestor and their life.

The FamilySearch blog also provides a lot of information regarding other online technologies/tools that can be used to generate and display genealogical timelines, some paid and some free. All were more than I was looking for in consumption of time so believe I will stick to my Excel spreadsheet for now. But there is a lot of interesting ways to approach timelines and many resources available to help you in developing this tool for your purposes. Now to get started on timelines for Mildred and Mary & George!


Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash.jpg

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

There has been a lot of activity recently on transcribing genealogical records. Whether it is blogging about helping with the indexing to incite more interest or setting and cheering on team goals virtually to gain momentum, I have read so much on this topic in the past six months or so. Perhaps I am just more observant of the advancements in digitizing records because of the decision by FamilySearch to discontinue microfilm distribution.

There is a need for beginners, advanced, and everything in between. Indexers can focus on English-only records or lend their expertise to a foreign language. Here are just a few of the organizations to check out and see if you want to get involved:

You can also check with your local library or historical/genealogical society to see if they are working any digitization projects. I think there is an added benefit in working local in the contact you will make. Of course, updating Find A Grave or BillionGraves is also a means of digitizing and sharing content. This community is about sharing of information so we can all find our ancestors.



I visited the Maryland State Archives yesterday. See this post with a few insights on the trip. My initial thought was to simply browse, become familiar with their processes and holdings. And I did browse, a lot, 3 hours to be exact. But what surprised me was that the reference librarian assisting me specifically asked who I was looking for in my family tree. I had been hesitant to ask for tips on searching for a family member because their website states that the reference librarians do not have time to research people's families. That was a nice surprise.

I had already found my locker (lucky number 13) and stashed all my stuff (except loose-leaf paper, #2 pencils, and my phone) so I grabbed a bunch of resource materials and sat down, you guessed it, at desk number 13. I spent my three hours at the archives looking through the birth, history, and family story volumes to find Eliza Jane Harvey, my third great grandmother. I did not find a birth record but I also do not have an assurance that I have the correct birthplace county for her. My Grandfather said his Grandmother was born in Queen Anne's County but the marriage record I have for her and John Robinson states she is from Harford County. Needless to say, this mystery still needs to be solved. But there is time...

This is all part of the plan that Ron and I came up with recently; for me to get more involved in the genealogy research, community, and work. This means I need to get smarter (my word, not his) at my research and smarter at the resources within my fingertips, those available within a one day-trip. This was just the start!

Oh, did I mention they have a grand piano?!





Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

It seems that a large number of people must have organizing their genealogy files as a New Year's Resolution, at least for 2018 anyway. I have received many emails, read many articles, and observed many classes that are devoted to organizing. This is no small feat for genealogists as we accumulate a variety of types of artifacts and these all come in one or both formats of hard-copy and digital. I consider myself to be organized but admit to being overwhelmed at times. Ancestry.com posted a Blog that provides 7 steps to getting organized. I especially like number 7, "Make it a Habit". Ready! Set! Here we go with #2...because doncha' know, I've got #1 down already!




Unfortunately the title may make it seem like I am advertising Fold3...and in a way I guess that is true. Why is this a bad thing? Because it is a paid site for genealogy research. Can people do research without these paid sites? Absolutely. Ron and I have often spoken about removing some of our subscriptions and we analyze on a yearly basis those organizations to which we join. This genealogy hobby can get a bit pricey and because it is so popular now (and has been for a while), there are many sites to vie for your time and dollars.

On Thursday, 23 November, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced that new pension images were available on Fold3. These files cover the surnames M(Moore)-Q for the War of 1812. This is the first project installment of a series made possible by FGS and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). What is great about this project? Access to the files is free!

It got we wondering what else is free on Fold3. As it turns out quite a bit. Check out the listing here.


I hope to spend more time at genealogy research. This summer, I was able to devote quite a bit of time working with my Mother on a book about her Grandmother, Alta May Thomas. I am truly thankful, both to spend the time with parents (as my Dad is also assisting) and to hear all the wonderful stories, the memories that Mom has of her Grandmother. I cannot wait to see the finished product. Part of my assistance was providing research support to validate facts and also find new information on Alta. It has been a wonderful journey of fantastic finds and quality time with my parents. However, as we are nearing the end of this project, I am looking to what I want to work on next.

I have multiple things I would like to resume work on for friends and family: a story about Linda's Mum, finding Christian's heritage through his Father's line, and continuing the tree for all of Hancock County (yes, that will take me a few years). I also would love to find out what area of Ireland the John Robinson family came from before emigrating to Pennsylvania. But I only have one week! Why the rush? In approximately one week, my youngest daughter, Michele, will be heading to Ireland with her boyfriend, Alex. So my challenge is to find out as much as I can about the Irish background on the Robinson line in one week. Of course, it is also possible that Michele's travels will not take her and Alex anywhere near where our ancestors lived in Ireland. No worries, it just means another trip for her and Alex...and perhaps Ron and I!



Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash

We received a request, via the GoAncestry Facebook page, to search for an obituary for Shirley M. Albea. She was born 5 June 1941 and died on 15 December 2004.

There are obvious places to search such as Ancestry.com or other paid online sources. Ancestry.com does not have obituaries (original or transcribed) available. The U.S. Obituary Collection at Ancestry notes only the Name, Death Age: 63, Birth Date: 1941, Death Date: 15 Dec 2004, Obituary Date: 18 Dec 2004, and Newspaper Title: The Albany Herald. Next step, Newspapers.com which has a wealth of newspapers online; this requires a subscription. A quick check there showed that The Albany Herald is not one of the papers digitized yet. So then I went to the Library of Congress website where they also have a large collection of newspapers which are being digitized under the program "Chronicling America". This time for free but again, no Albany Herald. Based on Ms. Albea's fairly recent death date of 2004, I decided to check Funeral Home websites. The Mathews Funeral Home maintains a collection of obituaries but the oldest I found in my searches was for 2013. A prior Google search had provided me with a transcribed obituary at GenealogyBuff.com. However, I really wanted to find the original for the request. There are further searches that could be done by contacting a local (to Albany, GA) library to see if they have copies of this newspaper, on microfilm or print. I decided to stop my search here as I feel the GenealogyBuff websites probably provides a good transcription of the obituary and should be sufficient.

For the obituary, please see the Surname entry for Joseph and Shirley Albea. Additionally, check out Georgia Homepage or Dougherty County Homepage for more information on these regions. The South is definitely not my area of expertise in researching so if anyone would like to assist in building out any states and/or counties with quality information, please send me a message!


Radios and My Grandpa


In the 1930 Blue and Gold, my Grandfather was listed as a member of the Radio Club at Findlay High School in Ohio. My Grandfather, Frank Hoy, graduated just one year later in 1931 so this membership would have been in his Junior year. It is unknown whether he was a part of the first year for this Club. Attached is a picture of the members; my Grandfather is in the first row to the far left.

The club had a station and their call letters were W 8 A R M. "The purpose of the club is to teach its members to become good radio operators. The meetings include code practice and a study and discussion of transmitters and receivers. The members are encouraged to learn the code, build transmitters and receivers, and apply for licenses. A number of motion pictures on the building and operating of radio stations were shown at the club meetings." According to Wikipedia, radio education began as early as April 1922 when Tufts College professors broadcast the first of a series of educational lectures, described by the press as a sort of "wireless college".

The Congressional Radio Act of 1912 required amateurs to be licensed and provided restrictions on transmission. It was noted that three members of the FHS Radio Club had already become licensed amateurs and others had applied and would receive their licenses in the near future. I would be curious to know if my Grandfather was one of those who had an interest in becoming licensed.

Regardless of my Grandfather's interest in radio, his parents had an interest in the entertainment that radio brought as the 1930 census reflected that they owned a radio. Beyond the Ham Radios, the beginning of radio was definitely focused on variety shows, primarily of the comedic nature although dramas also gained popularity. However, crooners and dance music did become the mainstay of radio. Frank Thomas' parents and my Great Grandparents were dance enthusiasts and I was told that they often had dance parties at their home, rolling back the carpets and dancing the evening away.


Artists from Germany


I bet from that title you thought I was going to produce grand information on the multitude of artists from Germany. Well, that is partly correct but only two; my third Great Grandfather (Hermann Groenland) and his brother (Theude Grönland).

I have been searching for artwork made by Hermann Groenland/Henry Greenland for quite a while now. While I haven’t been successful with him yet, I have found vast quantities of his brother's artwork which have been auctioned at Southeby's and Christie's for far more than I could consider paying.

Just today I noticed that Theude has pieces displayed at museums in England:

As an aside, the Met (in NY) holds a tapestry by Rigobert Milice (see photo attached) which was created after a painting by Theude Grönland; it is not currently on display/view.



Recently, Ron and I both have found some, shall I say odd, information regarding our ancestors' wedding certificates. I posted something on Facebook recently about how much I enjoyed all the new Marriage Records that have been digitized and made available recently. This is directly related to those records. I found my Dad's parents, Josephine Dulgar and Milton Robinson married in Baltimore, Wood County, Ohio at the Church of Christ. Why is this unusual? Well, because I never imagined my Grandfather ever going to another church other than the one that I was familiar with for many, many years. This church, Mt. Zion United Methodist, was founded by some of his direct ancestors and his Grandfather, Milton Harvey, was one of the trustees. My Grandfather told me stories about how he recalled riding in a horse and buggy with his Grandfather to attend this very church, just a few miles from the ancestral home. So what took him and my Grandmother to Baltimore, Wood County to be married, perhaps even to live? Why were they there instead of at the farm in Marion Township, Hancock County?

I've got another one (or two) for you. Ron has also been finding a lot of wonderful marriage records and discovered that some of his ancestors crossed the border of Nebraska to get married in Iowa. These two couples did not just jump over the state border to get married. They traveled from the western side of Nebraska, all the way across the state, and then into Iowa. The records do not indicate a reason. Ron also spoke with his Mother and she could not identify a reason either.

These are some of the mysteries that I find so intriguing. Perhaps our ancestors' lives were just as complicated and complex as ours are today. We plan to dive into these stories (and others) in a more detailed way in the coming weeks and months, do focused research on each one, and then report back. More to come!





If I had blogged yesterday, it would have simply stated "We are home."

Secondarily, I would have mentioned that we found a lot of Bennetts in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. And I mean a lot, pages and pages. Ron insisted that they must have owned the whole town. We first focused on the Wills, making copies of Bennetts prior to 1900, with a focus on 1800-1860. I have Martha's! Next, we took pictures of early Bennett Land Deeds. I'm not even certain the exact time-period for this because, while I was making copies of the Wills on the microfilm reader, Ron was listing what we should take pictures of next. There were a couple very helpful and knowledgeable people at the courthouse who assisted. I still need to review all the information we captured. It will take a while. I'll post some more information and lessons learned about the visit to the Luzerne County courthouse.

The Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, Inc. was a bit of a let-down. There were two rooms of computers (about five in each room) with the seats almost completely filled. That wasn't the let-down. The website states "NEPGS has many available resources which can aid in your genealogical quest." and continues on to list books, newspapers, manuscripts, church records, cemetery records, etc., etc. It further states that the lists on-line are only indexes and that they invite people to NEPGS to visit during operating hours to view the actual files. However, when I asked about any plat books on the cemetery or aids in finding information on my relative Rufus Bennett, we were told to talk to the caretaker of the cemetery and basically escorted out of the building. As the President of the organization walked us out, I asked about the work that was going on in the two rooms and she said they were working on a very important transcription of Scranton records to put on-line. I imagine they must have been on a tight deadline. She also said that all their references are on-line and that all the Luzerne County courthouse records are on-line at Family Search. I will be curious to find out if this is true. Okay, I've grumbled about that enough.

The caretaker of the cemetery at Hanover Green could not be found, so Ron and I wandered around what looked to be the old section to find Rufus Bennett. It took us a while but we found him, his wife, and daughter! It would have been quicker if I had remembered what it looked like from FindAGrave. It was very helpful to have this reference because it helped us track down the location. I got some pictures and we headed back to our home base. Because our day ended so early, we decided to pack up and head back home yesterday evening instead of this morning. While it wasn't fun to be on the road for another four hours after we had already driven three hours, it is so very good to be home!


Long Day. Short Blog.


The title says it all. We didn't get back until after 9 pm and I have been prepping for tomorrow until now.

A good experience at the Tinsman Farm. We went back to the Sunset Christmas Tree Farm today and the owner, Tim, kindly showed us around. Beautiful old wood floors, a huge stone fireplace in the basement with old crockpot on swing-arm, and a beam with the date William Tinsman put up the barn were the highlights of the tour. Ron was able to take a few bricks with him that came out of the old home as Tim and his wife are in the process of remodeling the whole house.

We stopped in at the Mt. Hermon church, what was originally called the Greens Church, as the doors were open. Turns out an artist has purchased the place and is contemplating whether he will use it as a home or his studio. He gave us a quick tour, some parting gifts, and a promise to stay in touch when he removes the stained glass windows. A very good stop and enjoyable time.

Off to Flemington, NJ and a couple hours of research at the Courthouse to find Jacob Albright, believed to be Rachel's Dad, and more information on the no longer elusive Tinsmans. Ron says he is "done". :)

Next stop was the Straw Church where Charlotte and Dave showed us around the cemetery to point out the Tinsmans and other interesting "residents". They have been working on a project to document all the old portions of this cemetery and have a lot of knowledge on this cemetery.

We stopped at about 7:30 pm for a lovely dinner near our home base. Wonderful surprise was the German dinner special on the menu. It was delicious!

Okay, I'm off to bed now. Tomorrow is a search for land deeds and wills on the Bennetts of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.




We started our day with a 2-hour drive south to the area of Lumberville, Bucks County. We were meeting a couple who live at Temora Farms, an historic farm built in 1732. We had originally met this couple in Germany when touring during the 2014 Christmas season. At that time, we had exchanged contact information and decided to call them about one week ago to see if they would be interested in a luncheon out. They offered to give us a tour of their farm. Their homestead is beautifully decorated and has some amazing antiques. Then after a tour of a few of the surrounding out-buildings, we got ready to head to the Tinsman Lumberyard and lunch at the Black Bass.

The Tinsman Lumber is a quaint hardware store and two buildings of lumber supplies, all situated across from the Delaware River. Ron was able to spend some time talking to Bill Tinsman Sr. and Bill Tinsman Jr., sharing stories. Ron shared information on the research he has been performing for the last five years. It was a good conversation and we all exchanged contact information to keep the sharing of research and stories going. Bill has said he can take Ron around to many of the ancestral places, farms and land, so we definitely plan to visit again in the near future.

The luncheon at Black Bass was a delicious meal, eaten within view of the Delaware River. After some time catching up with Helen and Craig, we went our separate ways. Just across the river into Stockton, New Jersey, we made a quick stop at a gas station. We were both so surprised to realize that it is self-serve; haven't seen one of those in years! Our final treat for the day, after being on the road for a while, was a smoothie from Smoothie King and then back to our home base we went.


News in Newton!


Our theme for this trip has been "good day, bad day". I do not mean this in the context of experiences, it is purely a reference to finding new information on the TInsman family. Yesterday we had wonderful experiences with the folks at the Warren County Historical & Genealogical Society but there was nothing new discovered. Today, well today was a totally different beast.

We started our day with grabbing some travel mugs with coffee to go. A beautiful 45-minute drive on the east side of the Delaware brought us to Newton, New Jersey where we planned to check out the Land Deeds for Sussex County. Voila! There were Tinsmans all over the grantee and grantor land deed records. Ron was amazed. I should mention that I believe his amazement was due to the fact that he had paid someone $80 for a listing of all the land deeds related to the Tinsmans a number of years back and the individual sent information that had no Tinsmans in it, with the statement that this surname was not represented. Regardless, we were thrilled and even more committed to doing our own research.

We devoted 1-1/2 hours to gathering (and taking pictures of course) all the land deeds where a Tinsman was either a grantee or a grantor. Ron also took pictures of the early marriages, starting from 1795, and additional land deeds of Samuel Thomas Green. A quick trip out to the van to throw some more quarters in the meter and then we were off to take a few pictures of Newton and find a place to eat. We had foregone on breakfast as we were anxious to get started on the research.

After lunch, we decided it was time to get out of the archives and research for a bit and see some sights. We drove through Fredon and Frelinghuysen, we stopped in Blairstown for some pictures, and we made it to the Sunset Christmas Tree Farm. Some people may be wondering why we stopped at this location when there are still 259 days until Christmas. This specific farm is where the Tinsman first built their homestead and farm. Ron contacted the person who currently owns this farm and he was kind enough to agree to meet us this Wednesday so we could see the home and the barns, all original (with improvements I'm sure) from when William Tinsman first built the place. Obviously, we are super excited!




Warren Wandering


We had another beautiful morning, with sunrise, coffee, and genealogy discussions. We ate breakfast in and spent the morning in genealogy research. We left our home base to meet up with a contact from the Warren County Historical & Genealogical Society for lunch. The Belvidere Diner was a nice spot and I tried a sloppy joe club; Megan said it is called a New Jersey sloppy joe. It was good.

The Warren County Historical & Genealogical Society opens from 2 to 4 pm on Sundays. The books and reference material are maintained on the second floor of an old home that doubles as a museum. It definitely was a gathering place for those who enjoyed discussing history, researching, and generally just catching up with each other's lives. We enjoyed the quick tour of the museum and browsing through the reference manuals.

A recent acquisition for this Society came from the historic Shippen Manor. We wered told that these good folks shipped over boxes and boxes of records which the Society is still working to go through and catalog. We left with new friends, new experiences, sunny skies, and no more clue as to the Tinsman connection for Dennis Sr. A bit disappointed but not completely discouraged. Tomorrow is another day.





Started our day (actually mine as Ron had been up for a while already) with a beautiful sunrise over the lake, a cup of coffee, and a conversation about the elusive Tinsmans. Now we are grabbing some breakfast at Friendly's and I suppose it must still be fairly early as we are the only customers currently. The crowds were picking up as we left, on our way to the Hunterdon County Historical Society in Flemington, New Jersey. Not sure what to expect as it seems like they have lots of resources but they also prefer a one week advance notice to pull these from the archives which I believe is at a separate building. Needless to say, we did not consider this before contacting them. I sincerely hope it is fruitful in finding Ron's family.

Well, 10-1/2 hours later, we are tired and happy. What a wonderful group at the Hunterdon County Historical Society! They pulled files, they researched the TInsmans (and associative family surnames), they gave information on the local history, and they referred us to other places to check out for resources. The Society has a part-time librarian and volunteer genealogists on-staff. Additionally, there was a local researcher, knowledgeable on boating in the area (historical of course) and on Revolutionary War records. We spent a wonderful 2-1/2 hours working through the stacks of information (books, files, maps, microfilm, etc.) and then grabbed some lunch at a local deli called Cocco's Cafe & Gelato. Two wonderful panini sandwiches later, we were back at the research for the afternoon.

The amount of resources this facility houses is amazing! And the facility is a beautiful workplace as well. We truly enjoyed our time there and were so thrilled with the helpful and knowledgeable staff. There were TInsmans coming out of the walls as we continued to look throughout the day and Ron made a potential SAR connection. We came away with more knowledge, more friends, more books, more hints, and a tour of Doric House to boot. What a fabulous Society!

Three items to note about the Hunterdon County Historical Society. They have hundreds of boxes in their archives that LDS came to microfilm, they provided Hank Jones (renowned researcher of Palatines) with hours upon hours of research time for his books, and they house all the research compiled by Hiram Deats. We were looking for resources that we couldn't find online, we found it! Tired but happy.

I'll leave it to Ron to post his findings on the Tinsmans and finding/validating his line...!


In Easton

Our journey started with overcast skies and Baltimore traffic. Only one hour later we were traveling through the rocky, rolling hills of Pennsylvania. First meal out. We stopped at the Prospect Diner in Columbia, Pennsylvania. A local joint that had delicious breakfast. According to the GPS we will get to the Marx Center at 11 am. A bit behind schedule as we hoped to make it at 10 am when it opened. I get to claim credit for both the good food in Columbia and the lateness of our expected arrival in Easton. Entirely unrelated as the breakfast did not hold us up much, it was me showering at 6:15 am this morning. Oh, and I am supposed to mention that someone (he knows who he is) had to labor at packing the van by himself this morning. He does take good care of me.

Sights along the way... Sign which read "Steam passenger line for Berks County", a white brick barn (seen stone many times but not brick), large stone houses and walls, dilapidated barns, and a sign directing us to turn here for the "Rich Maiden" which was open. I cannot tell you what the rich maiden was as we did not turn.

We got to the Marx Center just before 11 am. The volunteer at the center gave us a tour She called it the five cent tour but it was probably worth more than that as she was very knowledgeable and quite thorough. Then she left us to dive into the stacks. Ron found a file on the Albrights. It looks to be a bunch of type-written letters of inquiries and answers about this family's lineage. So far nothing that looks definitively to be Ron's people. So we are out at lunch now and enjoying some excellent pizza with fungus and pepperoni before heading back for more research.

We decided to hit the Northampton Historical and Genealogical Society (which houses the Sigal Museum and Jane S. Moyer Library) before we went back to the Marx Room. We had found a reference to two family stories, Lee and Tinsman, that we knew were there and we knew we would regret it if we didn't at least check it out. Turns out the Tinsman folder had one page of an obituary from mid-1800s and the Lee folder had many, many pages of 50th wedding anniversaries and obituaries from the 1990s plus a baking contest won by Elizabeth Lee (no historical information about her family). Go Elizabeth! However, I did find a really cool book on the Shoemaker family that had connections to many families in Luzerne County, including the Bennetts. We spent about an hour there, helped by the kindly staff which seems to be the theme so far, and went back to our waiting periodicals at the Marx Center.

It is difficult to say for certain what we found after the four total hours at the Marx Center. Ron so appropriately called it "casting a net and seeing what you catch". It truly felt that way. I found a Hoy history that had nothing (to my knowledge) to do with my Hoy family. I found two histories on the Courtrights/Kortrights but have no idea if any of the information relates to the Margaret Courtwright that married Zebulon Lee. I found a Bennett folder that had a 24-page history on Bennetts that I did not recognize. However, one of the Bennetts in this history married a Catrina Tinsman who may be a distant Aunt of Ron's; interesting coincidence. I found some tax lists from 1621 and 1677 that had many Albrechts/Albrights; took pictures but still need to determine if they have any relation to Ron's family line.

My final thoughts for the day... The two genealogical centers (Northampton Historical and Genealogical Society and the Public Library/Marx Center) in Easton should combine their resources and volunteers. I love the view of the lake directly behind our cabin! I'm sitting here writing (which I love), with a glass of wine to my left and my darling husband to my right. Life is good.





My Grandmother, Ruth Naomi KNIGHT HOY, was known to be a good cook. When attending church and grange potlucks, she was complimented on her dishes. I recall many Saturdays mixing pie crusts and baking cookies and cakes with her. If only I had paid closer attention because, perhaps like all good cooks, she modified the recipe based on her taste and experience. She would tell me the modifications and provide additional instructions, which were not in the recipe. I mean, what do you do with instructions "Mix and bake."

I enjoyed reading this Blog on "How to Start Family Food Traditions". When I saw this Blog initially, I thought of my Grandmother and building a history of her recipes and life all in one book. As I read the Blog though, I just started to want my Mom's tuna casserole and Spanish rice dishes. Food traditions are wonderful family experiences, whether they are built into your history or you start them fresh for the next generations.




I was recently reminded of my cousin Marjorie. Like many people in our lives, she was taken from her family way too soon. Are we ever ready? I know that I treasure time with my family very much, would love to have more time together, and still miss my grandparents. No matter at what age they passed, I always wish I had more time with them.

Marjorie was technically my Father's cousin, my second cousin. I remember when she would come over to my grandparents (Josephine & Milton Robinson) to clean their home. I think her and Barbara shared in this help around my grandparent's house. I would look forward to it but I'm certain I was probably a pest and hindered them from getting their chores done. I still can hear Marjorie's voice and see her smile as she admonished me for some silly "knock knock" joke or something that I would tell her. I absolutely looked up to them, their humor and beauty, and couldn't wait to be just like them.

So, why the title of Photographs for this Blog? Well, I am the family collector of memorabilia (aka heirloom hoarder). My parents have given me photographs over the last few years, sometimes of family and sometimes of friends of the family. I found a home for the last set they gave me. I have a new small collection that I will post soon to see if anyone would like the originals.



The De La Haye and Petillon family names have been found in Billigheim from 1692-1748. These families may have been here earlier; however, I believe this to be the first recorded evidence. We do know that Charle De La Haye who married Elisabetha Petillon had his father listed on the marriage record as a citizen of Billigheim.

When Ron and I visited Germany in December of 2014, we went to this church. Out of the four we visited, all with associations to the Hoy family, this was the only one which was unlocked so I was able to take some pictures insides as well as the outside ones. After spending time walking around and taking photographs, I  took a small pamphlet on the history church and left a nice donation, kindly thanking the young woman who was cleaning the church after the Sunday services for allowing me time in this space and place. On the exterior of this church, the stone walkways circled every church portion of the grounds. In some cases, these reminded me of the stone walkway from grandma and grandpa's home to their old garage.

Interesting coincidence, when searching in Google maps, the location for Billigheim-Ingenheim, Germany presents a picture of this church at the top left..

Check out more photos of this church at the Rhineland-Palatinate Gallery!


Bishop Jonathan Weaver was the 19th Bishop of the United Brethren in Christ. This wonderful portrait hung in my grandparents' church (Salem Evangelical United Brethren) for years. When we visited family in Ohio; my brother, sister, and I attended the Sunday School class which was all ages and behind a curtain (no Wizard involved) at the front corner of the sanctuary. There was no separate room, just an area that they set aside for younger children to attend separate services.


I read Bishop Weaver's biography and enjoyed some of the quotes attributed to him. That he "had a disposition to see the amusing side of things" and that he felt "sometimes those who knew the least were the most active in their opposition". I particularly love this second quote but let's not get into politics... For the biography on Bishop Jonathan Weaver, see the surname posting in Hancock County, Ohio: 




Communities Count!


I received a hint from Ancestry.com recently, suggesting that this family photograph may be John Robinson. I absolutely know that it is John Robinson, his wife Eliza, and five of their children! I know this because I recognize Eliza and John from portraits that my parents have of both of these ancestors. They also happen to be wearing the same outfits so I suspect that the photographs were all taken on the same day.

The photograph is labeled as such:

     Front Row (l to r): Eliza Harvey Robinson, John Robinson, and Wilson (Will) Harvey.
     Second Row (l to r): Mary, Milton, Julia and Elizabeth

I received this hint just when our renewal message from Ancestry.com had shown up in my Inbox a few days prior. Receiving gems like this are worth a subscription to Ancestry. So, my point is that communities of those with the same interest who are willing to share can make great strides in research and in putting together family history stories. Even digital communities count!


17 January 1733

This is the date that my 7th great grandparents, Johann Carle HEY and Maria Eva SCHAURER, were married.

Finding their marriage record (see below) in the Evangelische Kirche Rohrbach was such a wonderful find!


This same microfilm had all the birth records for their children, except for Mary Elisabeth who was born in America. I will be publishing screen captures of all these events plus additional information.

It was great to be able to add a father (Hans Peter SCHAURER) for Maria Eva. But there is so much more I can do with all this information as some of the other witnesses to the birth, such as Issac HOY and Albrecht and Juliana WOLFF, are obvious family members. Note that Maria Eva's mother's maiden name was WOLFF.

Additionally, my direct ancestor's (Johann  Philipp) godparents were Philipp and Maria Elisabetha BOUDEMONT. I plan to search for this family surname in America to help me find the HOYS in Pennsylvania. More on that topic later!



Yes, I have selected my husband's surname for this week's #surnameSunday entry! This has nothing to do with genealogy or ancestry research (well, almost nothing) and everything to do with his generosity and good heart.

I have been wondering since Friday evening what surname I would select to write about on Sunday. Lots of options with lots of stories to tell; just hadn't decided which one would win out in my thoughts this time.

I was still thinking through ideas yesterday morning when I received an email from Ron titled "Happy Retirement!" Yes, we sit across from each other but still send emails. :) Anyway, knowing how excited I am about having  more time for genealogy research when I retire next week, Ron was thoughtful enough to research the topics writing family histories and researching in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. He then gifted me electronic books on the subjects; I cannot wait to dive into this information!

And, just so this entry is also about history and genealogy, check out Ron's Blog on The Nielson Genealogical Search. Told from a personal perspective, it is a great introspection on the twists and turns that this research can take us.

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    • Ronald

      The Spring Slowdown


      I think it is a common theme really.  Each year as spring opens and the weather allows a release to the outdoors, the website will see a slowing in information.  That is ok, we really love our gardens as well.  I am also a huge fan of grilling foods.  I am not sure any of that will change in years to come either.   We have also taken a grand step in our field research and spent a week primarily in New Jersey with a few stops in Pennsylvania. It was a grand discovery, and yet, it was overwhelming as well. I have yet to go through all of the information that we uncovered.  And again, we found more holes that need attention.  I jokingly tell my bride that I am "DONE" now that I have linked my American lineage to the initial immigrant from Germany.  It is just a joke, there is always more to do. Thankfully so!   In the coming weeks things will settle and we will once again make some time to get more of our information on line.  Expect a wealth of data surrounding the early Tinsmans in America, maybe in Germany as well.  I will see what I can do.  I will also get more linked information posted for other areas.  Finding so many local resources while we traveled has proven that courthouses and societies are very important places to visit, and even make new friends.   I hope you will find something worth your visit, maybe even something Grand!!!!!
    • Ronald

      Winter is coming


      No, not the Game of Thrones.  I wish though.   Just thought that my primary genealogy season is usually the winter and early Spring.  Not sure what time you have available, but this works for me.