Saturday, August 22, 2009

Roots--16 Great-Great Grands!

A few weeks ago, Randy Seaver threw out a Saturday night genealogy challenge:

Do you have a pedigree chart that shows you as #1 and goes back five generations? If not, you should make one! Fire up your software program and create a report and save it (you'll see why in a minute!).

Here is your SNGF assignment for the evening (if you choose to accept it - this is not stump the genealogist or even Mission Impossible):
  1. List your 16 great-great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.
  2. Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.
  3. Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 - 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).
  4. If you don't know all 16 of your great-great-grandparents, then do it for the last full generation you have.
  5. Write your own blog post, or make a comment on Facebook or in this post.
Here's mine:
  1. François Joseph Kempf, was born on 10 Nov 1822 in Niederentzen, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France, died on 15 Apr 1891 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried on 15 Apr 1891 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  2. Marie Anna Weber, was born on 8 Jan 1835 in Mitzach, Haut Rhin , Alsace, France and died on 24 Aug 1921 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  3. Andreas Keller II, was born on 13 May 1824 in Oberentzen, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France, died on 8 Sep 1889 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried on 9 Sep 1889 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  4. Catherina Dreyer, was born on 19 Feb 1822 in Haut Rhin, Alasce, France, died on 5 Aug 1893 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried in 1893 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  5. Jacques Bietiger, was born on 6 May 1835 in Falkwiller, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France,12 died on 12 Dec 1876 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  6. Anna Maria Haldy, was born on 12 Aug 1843 in Oderen, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France, died on 27 Jul 1906 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried on 28 Jul 1906 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  7. August Holzhaus was born on 17 Jul 1836 in Vechta, Niedersachsen, Germany, died on 7 Jun 1925 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried on 9 Jun 1925 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. GERMAN.
  8. Catherine Mehr, was born on 29 Nov 1842 in Oberentzen, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France and died on 1 Jan 1933 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. ALSATIAN.
  9. Henry William Keller, Sr., was born on 23 Jan 1848 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, died on 5 Jan 1927 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas,11 and was buried in 1927 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  10. Mary Rose Bohl, was born on 9 Feb 1857 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, died on 12 May 1911 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas, and was buried in 1911 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  11. Emil Zinsmeyer, was born on 25 Jul 1865 in Bandera, Bandera County, Texas and died on 3 Jul 1932 in Lacoste, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  12. Mary Magdelena Echtle, was born on 7 May 1867 in Hinterohlsbach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany and died on 27 Sep 1939 in Lacoste, Medina County, Texas. GERMAN.
  13. Sebastian Tschirhart, was born on 10 Apr 1849 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas and died on 12 May 1931 in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  14. Theresa Johanna Biry, was born on 17 May 1857 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas and died in 1889 in Bandera, Bandera County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  15. Joseph Haegelin II, was born on 5 Nov 1845 in Castroville, Texas and died on 5 Mar 1940 in Rio Medina, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
  16. Catherine Sophia Haby, was born on 15 May 1859 in Castroville, Medina County, Texas and died on 12 Sep 1930 in Rio Medina, Medina County, Texas. AMERICAN.
My "nationalities" are 8 AMERICAN, 6 ALSATIAN and 2 GERMAN - so 50% AMERICAN, 37.5% ALSATIAN, 12.5% German. Another generation back would be almost exclusively immigrants and add the lines of POLISH and SWISS (1 each). [NOTE: Some of you are going to argue that Alsace is not a country/nationality, but I am going to use that as a designation because it is so unique. Growing up, I would have never identified with the French, no offense, but the customs and traditions of my family are more aligned with German than French. Alsace has been a German-speaking region of France and my grandparents spoke Alsatian fluently in the home. Alsace exchanged hands several times between Germany and France in the 19th century.]

This was real easy to do once I created a report in Legacy Family Tree 7.0. I went to the Report menu and chose "Books and Other" and then selected "Ancestry". On the right side, there is a printer menu and I selected RTF file, clicked the "Create" button, opened the file in Word Pad (Windows Accessories) and copied/pasted the 5th generation into the post above. Easy!

As Randy says on his blog, "One of the great things about writing a blog post like this is that now other searchers can find you on the Internet in a search engine." Thanks Randy for the great tips and a quick blog post for this week!

By the way....I found Randy's blog post in a circuitous manner....I saw Henk Van Kampen's tweet on Twitter and he pointed me toward Randy's post!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dad's Memories of the Corn Harvest on the Andrew Kempf Farm circa 1940's

Hello genealogy friends!

It has been awhile! I am still alive and well in Maryland, just extremely busy! I just began a huge undertaking and it is taking up all (and I mean ALL) of my free time! I just began a graduate certificate program for my "day" job! The certificate is in Administration & Supervision and will open some more doors for me in the future if I decide to spread my wings!

Nevertheless, a new blog post landed in my lap today when I opened up an email from my Mother. She is a wonderful writer and does a fabulous job as the family oral historian. I have both of my grandfathers on tape (gotta get them on some digital device!) and now she is working on my father. So far, I think they are in written form, but I do believe my niece made a podcast of him singing anAlsatian anthem in the Alsatian Dialect (Note to self--get ahold of that tape!).

Here is the story that my mother transcribed and emailed to me and my three brothers:

[Note: I added the photos to illustrate his story!]

Question Prompt: Mark, what do you remember about the corn harvest when you were growing up on the Andrew Kempf farm?

The Andrew Kempf Homestead, unknown date

Andrew and Lucille Kempf on their wedding day, December 29, 1931

Mark Kempf's Reply: [As told to Roselyn Keller Kempf, his wife]
This was about in 1943 and I was not old enough to pick the corn – I was about 7 years old – and my job was to “drive” the wooden wagon, which was pulled by 2 mules. The mules were owned by my dad, Andrew. I had to hold the reins and say “giddy yap and whoa” I would tap the rear ends of the mules with the reins and say something and they would go – and they would stop when I said “whoa” – most of the time. Daddy (Andrew) picked 4 to 6 rows of corn on the side and Gerald (my older brother) picked the two rows that the wagon drove over that were on the ground – they would throw the ears of dried corn on the wagon. The wooden wagon (we still have the wagon in the barn) had a high board on one side opposite they would throw the corn so it could fall into the wagon on the low side. They went up and down the rows till the wagon was full. Then came the hard part. We took the wagon back to the house and we had to shovel the ears of corn into the barn, using a big corn shovel ( I still use that same shovel in the garden now). The ears were still in their shucks.
Back into the field and picked more corn until it was picked. Gerald got 10 cents a row and I got 10 cents a load. The corn was not planted as close together as it is now. But you could buy a lot of candy for 10 cents at that time. There were about 60 acres in corn and it made about 50 or 60 bushels to the acre. It was also a different kind of corn in those days – it was white corn and not hybrid, meaning some could be saved to replant the next year – which Daddy did. It may have taken a month or more to get all the corn in from the fields and it was around May or June. That was our summer job. The corn did not have to be completely dry as it is now with the combine method, because the corn went into a barn to finish drying before it was shelled. Now with the combine shelling the corn as it is harvested, it goes straight to some grain company, like Keller Grain Inc., so they wait until it is dry in the fields. The first improvement we had on the Kempf Farm, was that we got rid of the mules, and used a tractor to pull the wagon. But we still hand picked the corn. This was when I was about 10 – can’t remember for sure how old I was. Uncle Ulrich Kempf bought a corn picker (not a combine) a 2-row picker that was mounted on a tractor. It pulled the corn off the stalk and augered it into the wagon – all at one time. We thought wonder what – we did not have to pick corn any more. When that wagon got full, we pulled it to the barn and we had a lift that was run off a belt from the tractor that got the corn into a trough and the tractor would run the elevator up and push the corn into a hole into the roof of the barn. Before the elevator system, we shoveled the corn into the barn by hand. The problem with the mechanized corn-picking system was a lot
of the ears would fall onto the ground when the tractor turned the corner to go to the next row. So - guess what – we had to go and pick the end of the rows of corn by hand before the corn-picker got there – so no corn would be wasted. And sometimes we just went down the rows to make sure that no corn had fallen to the ground and would be left behind. No waste. After the corn was in the barn, we had to wait for someone to bring the corn Sheller to by – there about 3 or 4 people in the county that had a corn Sheller – it was a big investment and few could afford one. They would bring the corn Sheller by and go up to the barn and a few boys and men would get inside the barn on top of the pile of corn (it was dirty and dusty in there) and shovel or push it into a trough at the barn door on the ground and it would elevate it up on the metal trough to the Sheller where it would separate the shucks and cobs from the kernels of corn – the machine would auger the kernels into a wagon – from there we would take the wagon of corn kernels to Mangold Grain Company at La Coste. Nowadays the combine does the picking, shelling and putting into the truck in one operation and it takes maybe one full day to complete what took us a month or more, not counting the shelling. When the corn was shelled, we let the cobs lay on the ground on a pile – but the shucks were baled into big bales to feed to the cows in winter. We put a little molasses on them sometimes to make them more palatable for the cows. (What great fiber ! – r.k.) The same guys who came to shell the corn brought a baler along for the purpose of baling the shucks. I think the Zinsmeyers had a Sheller. Everybody helped everybody when there was a shelling. The farmers would follow the Sheller and go from place to place. I remember Uncle Bernard Biediger, Uncle Ulrich Kempf, Ernie Rhin, and some Echtles, all helping and going to each other’s farms. There was a crew of guys with the Sheller, but the relatives and friends also were there. We had to feed them a break in the morning – probably homemade bread and homemade butter and homemade molasses (most every year we took our sugar cane to the Echtles at LaCoste – Aunt Oliva’s family to have molasses made) Also a dinner - mostly fried chicken (we raised the chickens), homemade beans and noodles (If it was Friday it was only beans and noodles). Another break around 3 in the afternoon – more homemade bread and butter and homemade preserves like fig (we lots of fig trees) – lots of water, tea and lemonade. Mama (Lucille) and whoever was around – the wives of the farmers – would cook in our kitchen, which had no air conditioning. We came into the house or on the porch to eat – there were no disposable plates, so the women washed dishes and got ready for the next meal while we men went back to corn shelling. At the end of the day, there were a few cold beers – but we young kids never drank beer.
It was bottled
beer as there was no canned beer in those days. It would take a day or two to shell all the corn. One of the barns still stands that Daddy built to store the corn. The elevator and lift still is at Gibby’s place. I helped with the corn picking and shelling through the draught of the 1950’s and then it became more mechanized – the combines came into being – and when I was in High School, I went to work at Leon’s
(now Sammy’s) and also went on a milk delivery tru
ck, which went to Uvalde, delivering glass bottles of milk to stores. I had to get up a 4 in the morning to get on the truck – I did that only one summer – did not want to get up at 4 in the morning. I got about 50 cents or less an hour for that job.

[Note on photographs in the above story. They are not necessarily meant to depict the people at the time period my father was talking about. They are to give the reader a better idea of the people in the story. The top photo of the little boy with long hair (sitting in a chair) is my father, Mark Kempf! Later, there is a photo of him with his older brother, Gerald. There is also another one of my father by himself as a young boy. The photo of the horse & tractor team is not identified. The photo of the men working on the tractor (Biry tractor) shows Ulrich Kempf (my father's uncle) in a dark black hat on the far left. The other men are not identified. The two young men standing next to the old car are my father's uncles, Bernard (left) and David (right) Biediger).]

More photographs:

This is an early photo of Andrew Kempf, Julius Mechler & Joe Naegelin playing around!

Andrew Kempf's brother, Ulrich. Andrew & Ulrich's property was adjoining and part of the larger, original Alsatian homestead (from Benjamin Kempf)

Ulrich's son, Gilbert (Gibby) Kempf--Dad's first cousin and the same age. They grew up together and then Gibby's children and my brothers' and I played together. Gilbert still lives on part of the Ulrich Kempf homestead with his wife.

Note from Roselyn Keller Kempf:
I asked Mark about his early memories of corn harvest and as we are at the computer, we can look out and see the field of now harvested corn that borders our yard - the same field Mark worked in as a young boy. The farmer who is renting the Kempf Farm land, Morris Salzman and his son, Travis, have about finished combining. They started yesterday afternoon late and came today to finish. They got into their pickup and left for lunch – no homemade beans and noodles or fresh homemade bread and butter unless they went to Sammy’s, who I think still makes homemade noodles and beans on Fridays. Their combine and tractor are air-conditioned with a closed cab so they do not have to sit in the dust and heat and they told Mark they have a GPS system so they can set the first round when they are plowing or planting and then the tractor automatically follows that pattern – they do not have to steer so can plant or plow a straight line – but still hand turn the corners at the end of the rows. I do not think the combine has the GPS only the tractor.

Times have definitely improved the lot of the farmer –
but he still is at the mercy of the weather – they have not figured how to order rain at the right time! The Salzman’s rent a lot of land from various people, some of which is irrigated and some of which is not – as the Kempf Farm. I am sure they will make much profit on the irrigated corn this year – because here the corn got maybe 6 inches of rain. And a lot of heat! It is 103 on the patio now – and I can see the sunflower field at Gibby’s is blooming bright yellow out the window. They planted that for Dove Hunting season.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Web 2.0 and Genealogy Research--My Favorites!

Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt

Week #14: Talk about the different types of technology you use in your genealogy research. Whether it’s a new search engine, a special application, or anything else “2.0,” let readers know what you’re working with, and how it’s working for you.

Flickr--yes, this is a photo sharing site, but I couldn't live without it! I have family and friends in two continents, six states and this the main way I share photos with them. I upload photos here more than facebook. I especially like the "leave a comment" feature that I use to "tag" and identify individuals in group photograhs. My relatives can comment on the photographs and assist in the identification process or just add their two-cents worth! Here is one photo that my father chimed in on. I have quite a few faces to identify as you can see!

Facebook (fb)

  • "Friend" fellow genealogists and keep up with their status updates
  • Follow multiple blogs on the fb application, Networked Blogs
  • Become of "fan" of genealogy related sites or "join" a group to stay up-date-with your favorite applications/groups/software. Here are just a few groups/pages on fb that I follow:
    • Geneabloggers--Thanks Thomas MacEntee and gang! They are a wonderful support for both veteran and newbie bloggers. I love the weekly blog post ideas for inspiration!

    • Legacy Family Tree--My genealogy software
    • Clooz--Organizational software that I use. It is an electric filing cabinet that assists you with search and retrieval of important facts that you have found during the ancestor hunt. Clooz shows you the relationship between documents, whereas, genealogical software (i.e., Legacy, Family Tree, etc.) shows the relationship between people.
    • Facebook Friends of the National Archives

    • National Genealogical Society


  • Post a status message when your blog gets updated. Your followers will be alerted and follow the link to read it. The reverse is also possible as long as the people that you are following do likewise. I was creating the post manually, until I discovered....

Tweet Later

  • I use this service to automate a Twitter post from my blog when it gets updated. This is easy and there is a tutorial! I don't have to remember to log into Twitter to "advertise" that I updated my blog.

  • I also use this service to set up a keyword search. Periodically, Tweet Later will search ALL of the tweets for the specific Key Word(s) that you request. The results will be sent to you in your email inbox (it can get to be a long list depending on what you search on). You can search on "genealogy," specific genealogical organizations or particular people's names. This is a huge time saver because you don't have to constantly stay on Twitter to monitor status posts for something you are interested in. Also, you will learn about posts of people that you may not be currently be following (but you may decide to follow them after you discover that they are posting information on a topic that interests you!). Tutorial is here.


  • I use this application to organize the Twitter people that I am following. Not everyone that I follow has posts on genealogy, so I set up groups in Tweet Deck. One group is titled, "genealogy." I have another group of "close friends" another on "librarians." This way, my twitter posts are organized according to subject (more or less). This is a much more efficient way to read Twitter than by logging into the Internet version of Twitter.

  • TweetDeck has now integrated with FaceBook and one of your groups is automatically your Facebook friends. It is so nice to be able to scan that column for the latest status posts from your fb friends. You don't have to login to fb either! have been a full subscriber for many years and I couldn't live without it! new site and I love the social networking aspect! A big bonus...they are uploading Texas birth and death certificates and I am saving them just as fast as they appear online! You can create your own pages and link your own uploaded information with Footnote content. See this page on my great-great grandfather.

iGoogle (How I organize my RSS feeds)

  • The only thing I will say about this fabulous application is to read an earlier post that I created on this application!

Well, I could go on a bit more, but since this is my first blog post in about 6-weeks, I'll call it a night and publish this entry!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: William Christman Children

The children of William and Margaret [Kelliher] Christman (my husband's great grandparents). We have only identified the oldest girl. We are unsure if the child to the far left is a boy or girl? The baby could possibly be my husband's grandfather. Circa 1912 in Brooklyn, New York.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Harry and Mary A[deline] [McDonald] Anderson

Anderson Headstone
Originally uploaded by Andrea Christman
St. Charles Cemetery (Farmingdale, Nassau, New York). My husband's paternal great grandparents. They are end-of-line for this branch. I have not put much energy into this couple and their common last names don't give me much hope! Adeline's maiden name was McDonald! One day I will have to get busy....The gravestone doesn't even have dates! They were both born in 1882 (exact date not known) in Brooklyn (I'm assuming) and Harry died around 1970.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Alphabet Soup...Oh Brother!

11th Edition of Smile for the Camera!
Prompt: The word prompt for the 11th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Brothers & Sisters. Were they battling brothers, shy little sisters, or was it brother & sister against the world? Our ancestors often had only their siblings for company. Were they best friends or not? Show us that picture that you found with your family photographs or in your collection that shows your rendition of brothers & sisters. Bring them to the carnival and share.  Admission is free with every photograph!

The next Carnival submission for March is on brothers and sisters and I immediately thought of this photo of my brothers and me. If you look closely, you will see wooden blocks spread across the floor and my two younger brothers are bare-foot. That was their usual mode of dress and boy were the bottom of their feet like shoe leather from running wild in the "country" where this house is located (and where my parents still live). The four of us were born within 5 1/2 years, consequently, we grew up together with similiar memories and experiences. I can't say that every moment was filled with loving, tender moments; but now that we are all grown with families of our own, we really enjoy being around each other and have truly grown to be friends! Derek and Craig still live in Texas (San Antonio), Ben lives outside of Denver, Colorado and I live outside of Washington, DC.  Whole family gatherings are not as often as we would like, but we do manage to squeeze visits with each other into our hectic schedules. At least the distance keeps Mom and Dad young by hustling them all over the US to "keep things even" and visit with each family. Thanks Mom & Dad--you have given us a great Legacy!
Our names are alphabetized from A-D; A being the oldest (that's me!)
Left to Right: Derek (3yr 5mo), Craig (4yr 4 mo), Benjamin (6yr), Andrea [me] (8yr)

My Brothers, My Friends
I love my brothers, my brothers love me. 
My friends, my heros, they always will be.
In sundry ways our uniqueness is clear.
I have gone gone far, but my heart is near.
They like playing sports and being outside.
I prefer play music and playing inside.
Sometimes we fight and scream at each other,
but always my friend for they are my brother.

Adapted from poem submitted by: Michele' Cobb
(Submitted by: scrapfauxfun)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Andrew Kempf

Snapshot of my grandfather (Andrew Kempf) and 2 friends! My grandfather was born 7 May 1897, so this photo is probably early 1900's....he lived to be 96 years old so I guess he always was young at heart!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Joseph & Katharina Haldi

My Great, Great, Great Paternal Grandparents


GEB [born]
8 Mar 1807 [in Fellering, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France]
GEST [died]
18 May 1849

GEB [born]
6 Feb 1804 [in Echolzmatt, Switzerland]
GEST [died]
10 Oct 1878

Joseph and Katharina [nee Haller] Haldi immigrated to Castroville, Medina County, Texas on 5 Jan 1847. They arrived in Galveston, Texas on the ship, Schanunga.

They are buried in St. Louis Catholic Cemetery in Castroville, Medina County, Texas. The last name Haldi evolved to Halty by 1900 and is currently used today in Medina County with that spelling.

Katharina Haller Haldi died soon after arriving in Castroville, and her grave is the earliest marked grave in St. Louis Catholic Cemetery.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jello Salad--Which Food Group Is It?

Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt: Week #6 - Let readers in to your kitchen. Discuss your family’s favorite foods. What was a typical Sunday dinner in your childhood house? What did grandma make that had you coming back for more? Were there any dishes that the dog wouldn’t even eat? Thanks to We Tree for the inspiration!

Well, I am a tad behind on my blogging, but I wanted to make sure that I blog on a prompt from 2 weeks ago! While I could describe any number of food traditions in my family, I think I would like to talk about....Jello!!!

The phenonomen of Jello Salad is totally lost on my Brooklyn, NY born and bred husband while it was a staple in my house growing up in Texas! In my house, jello was one of the basic food groups, while my husband doesn't even consider it edible! 

The big debate over any gathering, was 1) who is going to bring the jello salad? and 2) which jello salad should they make? 

Would it be the Orange Jello with Pinapple and Grated Carrots? My grandmother Kempf loved to make that one! 

Orange-Carrot Salad
  • 1 (6 oz.) pkg. orange flavored gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can crushed pinapple, undrained
  • Carrot curls
  • Lettuce
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water, and stir in cold water. Chill until partially set.

Fold carrots, oranges and pinapple into thickened gelatin. Spoon into an oiled 2-qt. mold; chill until set. Unmold on lettuce and garnish with carrot curls. Yield: 12-15 servings.

Or would it be the Rosy Strawberry Jello with sour cream topping? Here is the recipe handwritten by me in high school (circa 1975) where I got the recipe from my home economics teacher (I guess I am dating myself here!):

Rosy Strawberry Ring

Note: I usually made this in a glass dish and did not bother to unmold it. I would spread the sour cream topping over it before serving.

A twist that was sometimes served was Green Jello with Pear Halves. That was something special because it involved layering!

Under-the-Sea Pear Salad
  • 1 can (16 oz.) pear halves
  • 1 pkg. (3 oz.) Jell-O Lime Gelatin
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 pkgs. (3 oz. each) cream cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
Drain pears, reserving 3/4 cup of the syrup. Coarsely dice pears and set aside. Dissolve gelatin and salt in boiling water.  Add pear syrup and lemon juice. Measure 1 1/4 cups into an 8x4-inch loaf pan or a 4-cup mold. Chill until set, but not firm-about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, soften cheese until creamy. Very slowly blend in remaining gelatin, beating until smooth. Blend in ginger. Stir in pears. Spoon over set gelatin in pan. Chill until firm-about 4 hours. Unmold and garnish with chicory or watercress. Serve with mayonnaise, if desired. Makes about 3 1/2 cups or 6 serviings.

Note: Recipe may be doubled, using a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
~The New Joys of Jell-O, General Foods: White Plains, 1974. 69.

I am the proud owner of The New Joys of Jell-O (copyright 1974), and I have a couple of jello molds stashed here somewhere, but since getting married, haven't had a chance to use them much! LOL!!

Maybe on that next trip to Texas......

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award


Wow, was I ever surprised to learn that seven of my new blogger friends have nominated my blog for the Kreativ Blogger Award! This is a nice surprise, especially considering my little "break" from blogging due to an overly hectic schedule which got derailed by an upper respiratory illness. It is amazing to me how quickly one gets behind after feeling poorly and now I am trying to play catch up!

First word of the award came from Greta Koehl (at 6:45 AM on 19 Sept.) from Greta's Genealogy Blog. At 9:34, Cindy from Everything's Relative stopped my blog to inform me she had the same idea. Later that evening, at 10:09 PM, I got word from Colleen from Orations of OMcHodoy. Then the next day, 20 Sept., Sheri from Twig Talk and Debbie from Blanton Family Roots and Branches  nominated me! It didn't stop there because at 11:52 PM, Jennifer from Jennifer's Genealogy Blog contact me to tell me that she too nominated me! Virginia just contacted me today, but I already had this post completed, so I am keeping her on my list below (see #3). I feel honored! Thank you!

Here are the instructions:
1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers. (how to choose only 7!!)
4. Link to those sites on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.

I read many blogs every week. Any extra time is taken up. I learn all the time thanks to them. Here are my choices for the award:
  1. Battlefield Wanderings--I love this blog since I have two Civil War Veterans that I am keep ing track of....Nick does a great job of helping you to visualize a variety of Civil War Battlefields.
  2. Delia's Genealogy Blog--Delia's blog is full of information and family research.
  3. Oh Blah Vi, Oh Blah Va: Life Goes On....--Virginia chronicles her family research on Ancestry, Family Search, Find-A-Grave, etc. among other interesting genealogy related topics.
  4. Cemeteries with Texas Ties--Judy posts great photos, research findings and informative posts connected to Texas cemeteries.
  5. Find Your Folks--Professor Dru blogs about organizational tips, research findings, professional conferences and all things related to genealogy.
  6. Another Day With Donna--Donna journals daily activities, travel and especially genealogy.
  7. Nordic Blue--Cheryl blogs about her family and pioneer history and Norwegian-American  genealolgy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Franz Joseph Haby & Katerina Koenig

Franz Joseph Haby
Born 30 Sep 1820
Oberentzen, Alsace, France

Died 22 Feb 1904
Castroville, Medina County, Texas

Katerina (Katherine) Koenig
Born 18 Mar 1828
Berrwiller, Alsace, France

Died 1 May 1917
Castroville, Medina County, Texas

My maternal great-great-great grandparents
Buried in St. Louis Catholic Cemetery
Castroville, Medina County, Texas

Obituary for Katherina Koenig Haby

~transcribed by Frances Neumann from the LaCoste Ledger

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Happy Dance! Going Back One More Generation.

The theme for the 65th Carnival of Genealogy: "The Happy Dance. The Joy of Genealogy. Almost everyone has experienced it. Tell us about the first time, or the last time, or the best time. What event, what document, what special find has caused you to stand up and cheer, to go crazy with joy?

My happy dance had to be in the summer of 2002 when my husband and I went to Manhattan to research at the New York Genealogy & Biographical Society (NYGBS). Although we were members, we had never visited their library and didn't really know what to expect. We met some really nice librarians and patrons doing research and we had fun going back in all of the early directories where my husband's great great grandfather, Frederick Christmann, would appear. We knew he fought in the Civil War, and having already acquired his Pension File from NARA, we had some dates to use. We knew that he married 3 times and the dates of each marriage was recorded in this file. Frederick Christmas was born in Lahr, Germany and his wives were German.

The cool thing about this visit was that someone at the library told us that the St. Matthew's German Lutheran Church Records were on microfilm and that we should go through them to find the record of his marriages.

My husband sat at one microfilm machine and I at another and we tediously went through the rolls of film looking for Frederick. It sounds easier than it actually was. The church records were handwritten and in GERMAN!

My husband was the lucky winner, finding Frederick's second and third marriage entries. We never found his first marriage. I think we knew from the Civil War pension file that the 2nd and 3rd marriages were at St. Matthew's German Lutheran Church. We are not sure when or where the 1st marriage took place.

The records that we found provided the names of his parents, hometown and the names of each of his wives and their addressess! We also found out that his second wife, the woman my husband descends from, was a widow and we were later able to find some half-cousins from her first marriage! The marriage record for his 3rd wife, provided names for Frederick's parents.

We BOTH did the happy dance when my husband found this record and I will always remember that sense of accomplishment we both felt at the end of a very long day!

Here is the record for his second marriage. It is jam packed full of vital information. Thank goodness we had a friend in Germany to assist us with the transcription:

Frederick Christman and Eliza Eggersmann's marriage is the last one listed on this image. If you click on it, it will enlarge. They were married on August 7, 1864 in New York, New York.


Frederick Christmann, Wittwer [widower]; aus Lahr, Baden; 44 Jahr; 275 Mulberry Str; Schneider [tailor]; und Wittwe [widow] Elise Eggersmann; geb. [maiden name] Meier; aus Salzhausen, Hannover; 36 Jahr; Crosby Str. 35; Zeuge [witness]: David Mebold Mulberry Str. 277. Christian Zimmermann 275 Mulberry Str. (legitimiert durch C. Stollmann; Mott Str. 167) [legitimacy by C. Stollmann]

It was through his marriage to his 3rd wife that we discovered the name's of Frederick's parents. And we almost stopped when we found the record for the marriage that my husband descends from! What a mistake that would have been....

In this record, we found out his father's name was also Frederick and his mother was Salome Maaler.

This just goes to show you, you are never finished until you are finished...and that is sometimes hard to tell in genealogy!!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt #4: Castroville, Texas

“Take a genealogy day trip and blog about it. Discover the local history and genealogy in your area. Take a trip to a cemetery or other historic location. Describe the day, what you learned, where you went, how it looked, how it sounded. Armchair genealogists will love the mini travelogue.”
I am going to have to fudge a bit on the challenge this week, since I do my genealogy research trips on holidays or between semesters. I have already blogged about a wonderful genealogy road trip in October 2008, that I took with a dear friend and it was on that trip that I got to do my first research in a county courthouse (cool!), small town library (very helpful), and also the historical society of Steuben County New York (fabulous folks). As much fun and educational as that trip was, it had nothing to do with my family or my husband's family history, but it sure made me reinvigorated to get back at it!

My most recent genealogy road trip was on Christmas 2008 and it was spent in my hometown of Castroville, Medina County, Texas. It has been many years since we last visited over Christmas as my husband and I now live in Maryland. In addition to being with my 3 brothers, their families and my parents, I also had in mind to make it to the church cemetery and take head stone photos as well as meet with a local historian, family friend and distant relative, Frances (related five different ways!).

My husand and I departed from Baltimore to take the Southwest Airlines' nonstop flight to San Antonio, Texas. I lugged my laptop, scanner and luggage through the Baltimore airport and was happy to learn that our beautiful hotel, The Hotel Alsace Spa and Resort (sitting high on a hill overlooking my little hometown) had free wireless access. The hotel also had a spa, but alas, this was not the trip to take advantage of that luxory! My parent's home was filled with my brother's family who flew in from Denver, Colorado and some other grandkids who did not want to be separated from their 1st cousins! My two other brothers live in nearby San Antonio.

The meeting with my mother's cousin, Frances, was entertaining and very educational, as it always is! Frances and another woman in Castroville, Connie, have become the de facto caretakers of the records of St. Louis Catholic Church. They also extensively researched their own families as well as other people in Castroville. Since I am related to both women, they are able to answer a lot of questions that I come up against! The visit with Frances was bittersweet because I had already met with her 2 years ago and scanned every photo that she had of our common ancestors (a lot!) but when my laptop was stolen from my home last fall, those photos went with the laptop. Thank you for people like Thomas MacEntee who encourage and educate people on backing up their data! I know better (I am a high school media specialist and give these "lessons" every day), but for goodness sake, I can't seem to follow all of my own good advice! So needless to say, I will be at the next Data Backup Day on Feb. 1st!

As much as I did not want to be recanning photos that I already scanned previously, visiting with Frances for an afternoon is always a fruitful event and it was a chance for my mother, Frances and me to reconnect and get relationships and marriages straight in our records.

I was excited to again view the photo (and then scan) of an early immigrant to Castroville, Carolina Wussler Echtle. While she did not emmigrate when Texas was still a Republic, her story is fascinating and I find myself in awe of her and people like her who made the same sacrifices.

Carolina Wussler Echtle & 9 Surviving Children

Carolina emmigrated from Gengenbach, Baden, Germany in the latter part of June in 1883, to the United States with eight children . Seven more children were born to her and Martin Echtle, but they died in Germany before the family emmigrated. Carolina and her children embarked at Antwerp, Belgium for New York on the ship Silasia, and it took 14 days at that time to make the trip.


After arriving at New York, they at once left for San Antonio, Texas, where she met her husband, Martin, and oldest son, Joseph. Martin and Joseph came down from Iowa to meet the rest of the family, as they had left Germany a year or so earlier. I can't imagine traveling anywhere with 8 children, much less on a ship across an ocean to an unknown place!

Here is the ship's passenger list for Carolina and her eight children:

Upon her arrival in Texas, Carolina found her husband, Martin ill and died shortly after their arrival. The family settled in Boerne where they stayed for two years. They then moved to Bulverde until 1887 when they moved to Geronimo, Rio Medina. They stayed until 1902, then moved to a farm near La Coste where family members still reside. The family was very poor. They had no stove, but Joseph (oldest son) built one with rocks outside the house. They often wondered where their next meal was coming from. Most of the meals were made from flour, such as "noodles," "dunes," "pluda," "Knepfla" and "phana-kucha" as well as "kartofel soup." They seldom had meat, as they had only one of two hogs to kill in the winter time. The older girls worked as maids for families in San Antonio.

While visiting with Frances, I found that she had researched the early newspapers and found Carolina's obituary. The local library in my hometown does not have a microfilm printer, so Frances transcribed the obituary:

My mother has written down the recipe for homemade noodles just like the way the early immigrants used to make it (read obituary above). It is still served with beans on Fridays at the local diner! It is a meatless meal and cheap too! This is from my mother:

"This next recipe is for "Knapfla" (The K is silent when pronouncing the word. I got the verbal instructions on how to make Knapfla one day at the grocery store from Florence Tschirhart (90 years of age). She is a good noodle maker and gave me tips on how important kneading is when making noodles. Until then I did not have much success with noodles until she told me how to knead the dough. " ~Roselyn Keller Kempf

Mrs. Tschirhart's Knapfla

2 Eggs
1 cup water

2 Cups flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
Add more or less flour to make a spongy dough

Mix in a shallow bowl and then with a spoon or knife, cut off pieces from teh dough while in the bowl, straight into the boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes and drain.

Note from Andrea--this is suspiciously like German spaetzle that I learned to make when my husband and I lived there 1995-1998!

Well, I didn't even go on to talk about my cemetery excursion, but that has to wait for another day! This trip "home" gave me the impetus to begin blogging to keep me on track with my research and to share, as well learn from others. I scanned a lot a photos from my parents and I have uploaded those to Flickr. I find that the "Add a Note" feature is useful when you do not have the luxory of sitting down next to someone to get their assistance in identifying people. My parents can log into Flickr and make comments on the photos or add a note so that I can properly record names and places! Yea! I also joined find-a-grave online and began uploading my gravestone photos from the St. Louis Catholic Cemetery. Lastly, this trip gave me the inspiration to begin grouping my records into some sort of story. When I acquired the photos of Carolina Wussler Echtle from Frances, I logged into to find the family on the ship's manifest and when I did that, I also found the photo of the ship! Most of the Alsatian settlers came into Galveston and I have not been able to find those records on I was unable to visit the cemetery where Carolina was buried, but hey, I have to have another reason to return to my roots to continue on with my story!

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my genealogy trip home and finding out all that was produced out of a simple desire to scan photos and gravestones from one cemetery!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--3 Generations

3 generations  sitting on a Brooklyn stoop
September 1962

left to right: Daniel Joseph Mulhearn (1884-1973), John Christman (1957-), Tom Christman(1958-), John Francis McAllister (1903-1983)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

Here is another tombstone from the cemetery in my hometown, Castroville, Medina County, Texas. The cemetery is called Saint Louis Catholic Cemetery, and is still in use and managed by the Catholic Church.

August was a Civil War Veteran from Ohio. He is one of the few ancesstors that I have that was not an Alsatian immigrant! After the war, he settled in Castroville and married a widow with three children, Catherine Mehr Schmitt. They had 8 more children together. Catherine immigrated to Castroville with her parents, Joseph and Anastasia. The Joseph Mehr, Sr. They were from Oberentzen, Alsace, France and the family came to Texas in or about the 1840's. They settled in the Bader Settlement four miles west of Castroville, whre Joseph cleared the land and took up ranching and farming.

I blogged about August Holzhaus' photo earlier, in a Wordless Wednesday post.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Keeping with Technolgoy (or trying to)!

Well, my blog is supposed to be about genealogy not technology, but I am finding these two interests of mine converging. There is also an overlap with my day job, school libray media specialist! Most often, I learn about new technology from other bloggers. I read their blogs for the content,  but I also look a their layouts, widgets, and basic features that they are using to see if I can apply some to my own blog. I am constantly trying to keep up with technology to pass along techniques to my students, use with my students to better impace their learning or use in my  genealogy "world."

I find that many websites have their own blogs and if I subscribe to their RSS Feeds, I can "hear" about their latest innovations as soon as they advertise them. has a blog and that is where I learned about the features of My Canvas. I even watched the tutorial last night, having missed the "live version," I was able to catch up in the archives because of a post by Stefanie Condie.

Flickr, the photo sharing site has a blog. So does Twitter. The blog is how I keep up with that site's newest acquisitions. YouTube has also joined in the blogging arena.

My previous post discusses how in the world I keep up with all of these blogs without losing my mind! Put these feeds in your Reader or iGoogle page or you will not be able to keep up!

Most people who will be reading this blog will probably be aware of RSS Feeds, but you may have friends or colleagues who do not understand the possibilities that open up to you when you start to subscribe to these feeds.  If you have a difficult time understanding or explaining the concept to someone else, I find the most helpful tutorials come from a company called Common Craft: Explanations in Plain English. They ingeneously put up "low tech" video tutorials to explain the most technologically advanced concepts and they are so fun to watch! The video on RSS feeds is one of my favorites. Their tutorial on Wikis was one of my first introduction to their videos, but if just type "Common Craft" into the YouTube search engine, you can see all of their video clips. I did watch the one on Twitter, but I found that the blog entry put up by Thomas MacEntee on Facebook Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers and more was brilliant and more useful for applying it to genealogy.

Lastly, there is one blogger in the technology world that I follow because he focuses on web 2.0 social networking sites. His name is Pete Cashmore and his blog is called Mashable! He describes the site as, "Founded in July 2005, Mashable is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Networking news. With more than 5 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is the most prolific blog reviewing new Web sites and services, publishing breaking news on what’s new on the web."

So, while I am not entering information into Legacy Family Tree, scanning documents for uploading, searching for records on,,, etc., reading blogs from all my new found genelogical friends, you can find me lurking in the techie world trying to learn what is the next best thing out that will help make my world a bit easier to navigate!

Blogs Everywhere! Keeping up with Them All...

Since I made my New Year's Resolution to become more active in the blogging community, I find it increasingly difficult to find the time to read through all the wonderful blogs that are out there! Blogger has a wonderful feature to assist and that is when offered, click on the "Follow Me" button and the person's blog feeds will show up in your dashboard when you log into Blogger.

I love this feature because it is easy to do and a very visible way to monitor who is reading your blog!

I also do one more thing, but it may seem redundant to some folks. I am a lover and use of iGoogle. I have used it in my other life, School Library Media Specialist. I like iGoogle because:

  • All of your blogs are visible on one page with the latest 3 or more posts visible. You set up the parameters. This is different from a reader because in a reader, you capture all of the blog posts until you read them and/or delete them or mark them as favorites.

  • I find that I am too busy to want to see everything that has ever been been published and that if I monitor my iGoogle page daily, I can quickly see at a glance what is "happening."

  • If I find a particularly interesting blog post in my iGoogle page, I can click on the blog heading and a new Internet window will launch. I can then browse that blog and go back in their history as long as I want!

  • You can personalize each iGoogle tab any way you want with numberous themes. For variety, each tab can have a different theme. You can name the tab anything you prefer.

  • You can easily delete RSS feeds, add RSS feeds, and move the RSS feeds around on your page so that your favorites will be at the top of the page.

  • There are numerous widgets that you can add for ease; i.e., clock, calendar, things to do list, translator, ping widget to update your status in other social networking sites, etc.
I have my iGoogle page set as my Homepage. The only faults that I see:
  • It does tend to take a few minutes to load, especially if you have a lot of feeds on the page/tab.

  • Since this is not a Reader, the set number of posts keeps updating and the oldest ones "drop off" iGoogle. If you really want to capture EVERY post from EVERY blog, then this would not be the format for you.
Here is the "home" tab from my iGoogle page:

You can see my widget so that I can quickly update my "status" (I update to facebook and twitter) from this site. Why would I do that? I work in a busy high school media center (library) and I do not have time to do much "personal" social networking, so I find that if I keep my iGoogle page up at work, I have access to my calendar (which my husband uses and we sync it with our Outlook calendar at home), my "things to do list" my blog postings and my status updater. Also, facebook is blocked at my school, so at a minimum, I can still update my status even if I can't log in! If I come across a neat website or blog or article that I would like to share, I can quickly put it in my "status" and let my friends and colleagues know about it.

Here is my tab where I post my genalogy blogs:

You can see that enlarged the box in one of my feeders (top row, in the middle) and these options give you the ability to quickly share the feed with someone, delete it, or change it so that you can see more blog posts than the default of 3. You can also select the "You might also like" option and Google will try to find you more feeds like the one on your page.

You also have the capability to share the entire tab with someone. This is great if you want someone else to read the same blogs as you; maybe a friend, colleague or genealogy group, etc.

Well, I hope that I have given someone a peek at my attempt at how I organize all of the wonderful information on the World Wide Web and maybe you can use some of the ideas that I have shared with you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday:: Brothers

Genealogy Blogging Prompt #3: Participate in weekly blog themes: Tombstone Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, etc. Many genealogy bloggers post photos of grave stones on Tombstone Tuesday or a photo worth 1,000 silent words on Wordless Wednesday. Participate in these informal events or invent your own.

Bernard Biediger and his brother David, circa 1925

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

I have been catching up on my genealogy blog reading and I have noticed a common thread on Tuesdays: Tombstone Tuesday. I saw on Kinexxions today that Becky Wiseman credited Amy Crow on her blog, Amy's Genealogy, etc. Well, whomever came up with the idea, I think it is fantastic!

Here is my first blog entry for Tombstone Tuesday! Katherina Dreyer Keller, my great-great grandmother. The text is in German because the early immigrants mostly spoke the Alsatian dialect, which is very Germanic.

Katharina Dreyer was born in Ranspach, Alsace, France on February 18, 1822. She immigrated to the United States with her parents, Martin Dreyer & Catherine Lotheringer Dreyer. Their ship, "Heinrich", left Antwerpen, Belgium in December, 1843 and arrived at Galeveston, Texas in March of 1844. Katharina was on the same ship as her future husband, Andreas Keller. She travelled with her parents, four sisters and a brother. Catherine Dreyer, the mother, died enroute to Texas. Martin Dreyer Dreyer & three of his daughters settled in Castroville. All the people who came on the ship had to camp in San Antonio for nine months before they came to Castroville. The emprassario, Henri Castro, was delayed and did not arrive until September of 1844. Some people camped among the ruins of the Alamo during those long months. Katherina and Andreas had nine children after they settled in Castroville.

Katherina and her husband Andreas were among the original settlers of Castroville, Medina County, Texas and since they settled in Texas while it was still a Republic, they entitle me to apply for Texas First Families as well as Daughters of the Republic of Texas, if I get all of my paperwork together!

Just a couple more genealogical "things to do" to keep me busy, in case I get bored :-)

Here is a special placque that was placed at their gravesite by descendents:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt #2

Topic: Participate in carnivals. A carnival is a showcase of bloggers' posts on a given topic.

Word Prompt:
The word prompt for the 10th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Costume? No, not as in Halloween. Costume as in dress in general; especially the distinctive style of dress of a people, class, or period. Show us that picture that you found with your family collection or purchased that shows the costumes of the rich to the not so rich, from the civil war to the psychedelic sixties. I know you have them, so share. Admission is free with every photograph!

This photograph was one that I found in my paternal grandfather's ancestral home. They had many, many photographs and fortunuately for us, most were labeled! This one was labled on the back with the name, O'Toole. The only problem is that that is not a family name! I will need to research my paternal great grandmother's siblings and see who her sisters married because I have a feeling that it is from one of those families.

I think that this photograph dates from the early 1900's and I have always loved the photo from the first moment I saw it lying in the box! It was taken at a studio in San Antonio,Bexar County, Texas. The boy probably lived in San Antonio or my ancestral hometown, Castroville, Medina County, Texas (about 30 miles West of San Antonio).

The boy looks as if he is going riding! I love his short pants, black stockings, straw hat, riding stick and most of all, the black, button shoes! Adorable! I guess you wouldn't catch many modern day boys in an outfit like that!

Someday I hope to identify him by his first name and family!