Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I decided it was time to do a little housekeeping.   The Christmas picture has been retired and in storage till next year.

I went to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and decided to look and see if they had the famous Bowser book.   They did and I still did not find Olive Bowser.  I think I really have to wait until April when the Armstrong County Genealogical Society reopens. 

Why do they close from November till April?   That is a mystery and I will find out when I go back to do more research.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Is this week 51 or 52?   I have lost track of the time.   The first thing to do is evaluate what you have done the past year.

I went back and read what I had set for myself.   My main goal was to send for death certificates.   Actually, my husband and I drove to New Castle PA.  I  did not know you could not get them in person.  It was a nice drive and the Pennsylvania countryside is pretty in the summer.  What I learned was to call first, good thing it was only a 30 mile drive.

With just these few documents I have started another quest.   The biggest surprise was the date on my great grandfather, Thomas Dowd (and the names of his parents) were not what was listed on some of his documents.   The date he and Bridget had written on their marriage application was entirely different on his death certificate. 

The date he had give was indeed belonging to another Thomas Dowd and the parents names were not the same.   Is the first Thomas a cousin???   And the first Thomas an uncle of his father, or cousin of his father.   To list your date of birth and have it belong to another person of the same name is not random.

The REAL great great grandparents are John Doud and Catherine Fitzmorris (Fitzmaurice)   When I checked the listings of sponsors of Thomas and Bridget, a Richard Fitzmorris was on the Diocese of Pittsburgh list.  Finding "real" great great grandparents was not part of my goal.   I found that the women whom I suspected were my great grandfathers sisters, were indeed his sisters and I also found them with John and Catherine as their parents in the  Glinsk Parish Church records

I also did not expect to find a cousin in Germany.   My cousin, AS had started her blog about two months after I and I was so surprised when I got the notice that My Heritage had found 20 some matches.
AS's, mother is still alive and she was able to identify my Great Aunts in my Schridde Family Picture.  Her mother had lost her photos in the war bombing.    I found a lot of relatives.  I found the names of two more great great grandparents.  That was not part of my goals but it happened.  AS was quite happy to get pictures of her great aunts too.

I started to search for the two people who my father in law went to place flowers on their graves in Union Dale Cemetery.  "Some Civil War Guy"  Chuck had said.   Turns out that guy was Chucks great grandfather (Robert Stephens), and the second was most likely his son, James Stephens.   Chuck did not think he had any relatives who fought in the Civil War.   I found, through another cousin, he has a second great grandfather, Darius Anthony, who fought and died in the Civil War.

Next, was to find Robert Stephens wife,   this one was a process and with the help of people on the Allegheny County Roots Web list I was able to find Olive Stephens and with the help of Chucks aunt I found her in Salem Ohio.    On her obit I found the names of Olives parents, Jacob and Mary Bowser from Armstrong County PA.

It seems the Bowser Family is quite prominent in Armstrong County.   The progenitor seems to be Matthias Bowser who  came to the USA before it was the USA, circa the late 17th century.   This requires a lot of searching to confirm this fact.

Neither of these four people were on my list to do.  Jacob and Mary are definitely on my to do list for 2011.   I am learning Jacob and Mary Bowser hard to find, in fact, extremely elusive.   I know they are there and it will seem quite easy once they are located..    But I have to wait till the spring when the Armstrong County Genealogical Society reopens for the year.

I have no formally set new goals but I can sense them into 2011, with the Bowser's on the top of my list.

Friday, December 24, 2010


When I first had met my husband, Chuck, he told me that his parents had waited until Christmas Eve and after the children  went to bed, the whole house was decorated.

Today I received my newsletter from the GERMAN BOHEMIAN HERITAGE SOCIETY and one of the articles stated that it was a tradition that was decorated on Christmas Eve.  It seems that the children would visit the house of other and the mother would decorate and when they came home from their visit St. Nicholas or the Christ Child had visited and left gifts.  I told him today about the tradition and I guess his family's tradition came from the immigrant Bohemians.

He said that nothing was done and when they woke on Christmas Day the tree and decoration, inside and out were done.   It was magical.  After the kids were grown, all the sons would meet at his parents home and exchange gifts after midnight.   We would eat after everyone would arrive.  We would have cold cuts, cheese and salads.   I had baked Christmas Cookies and would bring a large box of the treats for the occasion.

While his parents were alive we  would spend Christmas Eve at his house and Christmas Day with my family.   It made for an easy decision on which house to visit over the Holidays. 

They have been gone for about 15 years and I really do miss them and the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations with our families.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


That today was my two year blogiversary.   But thank you to Thomas MacEntee at GENEABLOGGERS I was re reminded today when I did my daily, and sometime more than daily check of his blog.   Thomas, I have learned so much from you and the others when I read your blogs.

A lot of people out there have been researching their roots for many years and I have just been doing this for a little over two.  In these past two years it seems that I have been finding ancestors at the speed of light and some at a snails pace (Olive Bowser)   Some of it was done with much research and some was serendipitously.  I was really excited to find a cousin who lives in Germany, our grandparents were siblings.   She did not know anyone from her family had emigrated to the USA.   It was confirmed by her mother, who is still alive, and her mother was able to identify the mystery siblings on my family portrait of the Schridde Family.

And when I found my great great grandparents (John Doud and Catherine Fitzmorris) on the CONNERS GENEALOGY web page on a list of Roman Catholic  Records in Glinsk Parish, County Galway.  I wasn't looking for anyone, just my usual perusal of records.    I would have not known them if I hadn't recently (Genealogical Mortal Sin) sent for their death certificates after two years.   Another suggestion was to obtain my obits and the death certificate at the same time,   thank you Nancy at  MY ANCESTORS AND ME.   I still have not found quite a few obits though.  

I love to read all of the blogs on my list, and add to them when people have their favorites listed.   Perhaps I spend too much time reading, not really.  I am still on hiatus from research and perhaps after the Holidays I will get going again.  I guess research is like any other activity you learn to do, you get better with practice and help with lots of examples and advice.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


And all I have done so far is move the daughter, and learn how to insert a photo that now is of a good size.   I missed the "shrink to fit" option when I posted the poinsettias. 
Chuck and Emily are still in upstate PA and I had to come back to work.  
I wish I could remember what my parents had said about their celebrations of Christmas.   I remember that my mother said that they had lighted candles on the Christmas Tree and one of the candles started the tree afire.   My grandfather, Willi, threw the tree outside. 
My father never did say anything except sometimes they would get an orange.   With his father dead and my grandmother trying to eke out an existence it would have been difficult.    But I do have my grandmothers Nativity Set.
I suppose those mysteries will never be known since I am the oldest of the six.   My mother did tell me that it was her mother who gave them money to buy us presents so we would have a nice Christmas.    My dads mother also bought presents for the children.
I wonder now how my parents managed all those years.   I, like many others, were poor and we did not know it.   I guess we were blissfully unaware.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

IF I COULD NOT...........

make the picture smaller I decided that I would change the photo a few times.   I am on hiatus from genealogy.  That does not mean I do not think about it but rather it is on hold until my daughter is moved and settled in the house.      But I do have enough time to read everyones blog and enjoy what I may find.

I am check the weather forecast for SNOW  and I hope everything goes well and no snow for our drive.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Since everyones blog is nicely decorated I decided to give mine a try.   I like the picture but I have yet to figure out how to shrink the photo, because my blog title is gone.  I will play with it later. 

We all have been getting our daughter ready to move for her new job.   The first job after graduation from Nursing School.   She has  a lot of support from us and as I was thinking about our ancestors.    I can not imagine leaving my homeland and just moving across the ocean for parts unknown. 

What prompted them to go?  Was it economic, like our daughter.   How long did it take to come to this decision,  after Emily got the offer there was a lot of work to do involving housing.    Did our ancestors have any idea where they were going?  Was there a relative or some of support system for them when they arrived.

Emily and I have been packing boxes and moving everything to the garage to be packed in the U Haul truck.   Did our ancestors bring much with them., what would be on their list to take with them.  This day and age the move will go with relative smoothness, with the exception of looking for a snow storm.

It has been interesting moving a child off on her own.   But, how was it for the families that were left behind in the old country?  Much harder I would think,   I can call her or send a text message.   One hundred years ago they had to wait for the letter to make it across the ocean to find out how their children were faring.  It will prove to be interesting for me and it will give me a lot to ponder about my ancestors moves.



We usually had a live Christmas tree.   (I missed the first post) and we would decorate it will glass ornaments and lights.   Those were the light bulbs that we as big as those 9V night lights.  They were very heavy and would weigh the tree branches down.

Under the tree there would be a little village with houses, shops, and a church.   Little people happily hurrying along there was were also in the village.  

My dads brother, Richard, had purchased the Lionel Train Set for my brother and I.  It would be there every year.

A lot of the ornaments were made in Germany or Eastern Europe and one by one they would break.  The lights were replaced with bubble lights.   They were shaped like a candle and would bubble up in the tube when they got warm. 

In the fifties an Aluminum tree with bulbs of a solid color was used and it was illuminated with a rainbow, rotating disc that made the tree glow with four different colors; green, red, blue and yellow.

One item that was antique, even at the time of my childhood was a paper mache Nativity Set.   It belonged to my grandmother, Gertrude O'Rourke Dowd.   It was said that they came from OBERAMMERGAU, GERMANY.   Many are missing from long ago and I have tried to find replacements but that has not yet happened. 




Henry and the Tree 001

After Henry knocked over the tree.  "What, why are you looking at me??"

Thursday, December 2, 2010



After thanksgiving we would start to make cookies.   We had an assortment and there were none that would not be eaten.  The variety included Chocolate Chip Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Thumbprints, Sugar Cookies, Brown Sugar Cookies, Seven Layer Bars, Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies and many more.    My very best and favorite cook book is the  BETTY CROCKER COOKY BOOK  This book has never failed.

After I got married I started to make the cookies and would freeze them in batches, till one day I discovered that they were disappearing mysteriously from the freezer.   Since we had no children at that time I know who to question about  that mystery.

What I would then do was to pack two Rubbermaid containers with lids and give them to both parents.  My in laws on Christmas Eve and my parents on Christmas Day. 

On Christmas Eve we would have cold cuts sandwiches, a salad or two and cookies.   On Christmas Dinner it would be a repeat of Thanksgiving with a turkey and all the trimmings.

Saturday, November 27, 2010



Today is my lucky day.  While pondering my Olive Bowser for a few months I had to recheck my thought and came up an idea (really I should have thought this before)  that perhaps, just maybe,  there had been an Obit in Salem, Ohio, where she had died.

The reference librarian at  SALEM PUBLIC LIBRARY was able to find Olives Obit.


Mrs.  Oswalt Rauhut

Mrs Olive Rauhut, 49, wife of Oswalt Rauhut died at 5:30 PM  Monday at her home, 115 East Pershing Ave.  She had been ill of heart trouble only 18 hours.

Mrs Rauhut, daughter of  the late Mr and Mrs Jacob Bowser, was born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, and spent most of her life in Pittsburgh.  Two years ago she and her husband came to Salem to make their home.

Surviving are the husband, one son James, at home; two daughters, Mrs Irene Scheuring, north of Salem, and Mrs Mary Sperl of Millvale,PA and several brothers and sisters.

The Funeral service will be at 2 PM, Thursday at the home on Pershing Ave, in charge of Rev H L Miller, burial in Grandview Cemetery.


I find it odd that her son James was not listed with his last name of Stephens.   But, by the wording of the obit it seems that her brothers and sisters are still alive.

I feel another trip to the Armstrong County Genealogical Society will be upcoming in the spring.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I think the last of the year will be somewhat slow in my research.  Due to the Holidays and my daughters move to North Central PA for her first job.
Today my old (2004) computer is not functioning.   It seems to me that there is something wrong with the  connector where the power cord is inserted.   I am not getting an electrical connection (tried a new cord) and the battery is dead.   I feel that the cost of repair can not be justified, the money spent could be allocated to buying a new one.    Thank you everyone for prompting other to back up their data, and I have been.
Today I was perusing the death certificate of my Great Aunt Alwine Bartels Dietrich.   Every time I reread my information I seem to discover a new kernel of knowledge.   Today I enlarged the document and discovered that my   2xgrandparents were from Hanover.   I thought they were from Celle, or do I need to look more closely at the map......Cele was listed as birthplace on my grandmother, Anna Bartels birth certificate.     This leads me on to more research, actually I do not think this is ever finished.  Each discovery prompts us to do further back and find more.    Alwine was the first of the Bartel siblings to died and her sister gave the information, so I am 99% sure it is accurate. 
Does everyone have the same experience of overlooking some item to have it pop up as really important and you wonder how in the world you have missed that?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010



Jenny my cat, has nothing to do with Genealogy, but  I thought it was funny enough to post.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I only have a few things on my gift list.

The first would be a picture of my Great Grandparents Thomas Dowd and Bridget Naughton and their children.  

The second would be to find my elusive Jacob, Mary and Olive Bowser somewhere in Pennsylvania. I sort of have everything on hold.  Perhaps after the New Year I can get back and search.    I suppose everyone is busy and a lot of bloggers are sort of on hiatus too.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


My husband and daughter had a road trip and this time DID find housing.  The house was built in 1910 and has been updated. There is work to do but it is mostly cosmetic.  We will have another road trip in December to move she and all her stuff to upstate PA.

Now, I am hoping to move all my genealogical data into her abandoned room.   I have been reading everyone's ideas on storage, organization and have purchased a few file folders to start my project.  

I am still agonizing on Olive Bowser.  I have gone thru the Armstrong County Census of 1880 and still can not find this family.   Did the enumerator visit the house many times till he got his information?    Did he go back if no one answered?   I am at a loss for now on how to proceed.   ARMSTRONG COUNTY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY   is closed from November thru April so I can not do much until the spring thaw and there has not been a snow flake falling as of this time.


Friday, November 12, 2010



I am getting my daughter ready for her move, she found a job and is moving.   Which is good for her, and we will miss her, but, she has to go where the work is.

I am back to searching for Jacob and Mary Bowser.   I have started in insane task of searching Armstrong County communities one by one, looking or them.   I am in the 1870 census.   So far they only person I have found was thirteen year old Lafayette Bowser, he is not living with the parents Jacob and Mary.   Is he on some sort of apprentice, he does not have any occupation listed by his name????

The funny thing, and I really had to laugh, I found a listing of Margaret Myers and she was born in W├╝rttemberg and her son was below and his place of birth was listed as Atlantic Ocean.    I guess he was born on the high seas on the way over.   I can not imagine the conditions under which poor Margaret had given birth on that ship. 

I am still in the A’s in Armstrong County.  I think they were hiding from the census taker.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Today I received an email from  Footnote advertising that I could sign up for one free week to search, this was in relation to the Civil War.

What I found out there was a Civil War Pension of Robert Stephens and then I decided to search for the elusive Jacob and Mary Bowser.    This time I did indeed find a couple with that name.    In the  1860 census I found a Jacob Bowser and his wife Mary were living in Pine Township, Armstrong County PA.   Jacob was 32 and Mary 28 years of age.

Olive was born in 1874  and Jacob and Mary were the names of her parents.    If this was MY Jacob he would have been 46 and Mary 42 at the time of Olives birth.  This couple and their children were born in Pennsylvania.  
Now I just have to follow this couple.   I am hoping that I will be able to do this and I do not find this particular Jacob had died in the Civil War.

Now my question is why did I not find this couple in the Ancestry collection?   Were my search criteria off?  My problems are usually operator error,  but I honestly believed I had searched every option and at the Armstrong Country Genealogical Society, I did not find this couple either !!!!!

Some of the  children has  unusual names,  Nathaniel, Lewela, Calven, Lafaett, and  Mathias. 

Also living with the family is a man aged sixty five with the name of Thomas Murphy listed as a retired farmer and born in Ireland.   Could this be Mary Bowsers father?  Also is Margaret Brunbaugh age twenty four and a daughter Martha age one.    Could this be Jacob or Marys sister?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Christof Sperl 1832-1902 

Not so wordless…….My theory on who I think this may be.    He has such a penetrating gaze.   At the bottom on the photo I seem to be able to make out the top of Sperl and possibly the word Christof.

My theory is that this is the great great grandfather of my husband.   Christof Sperl was born in Rosshaupt, Bohemia in 1832 and emigrated to the USA in 1869.   He settled in Millvale PA, which is a suburb on Pittsburgh and it lies on the banks of the Allegheny River.   There were quite a few settled from Bohemia to settled in Millvale.

He died in 1902 and is buried in St Anthony’s Cemetery.   The cemetery has no records of where he is buried but the death record listed it as his place of burial.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



GOOGLE TRANSLATE  is my favorite translating site.   It will translate web sites, but not the content of old documents you may find.

So far I have used it for German, Czech and French.   A lot of Genealogy groups have website in their native language and I find it easy to view the contents after their translation.

I use it all the time and am well pleased with the results.

Sunday, October 24, 2010



Anna Bartels Confirmation second row last on right

This is an interesting photo.  On the back it say “Zur Errinnerung an meine Konformation Ostern 1915.”

"The blush on my conformation Easter 1915.", according to Google Translate.  I do not know what is meant by The Blush.

My grandmother is in the second row from the bottom on the far right.   I like the collar on the ministers robe.  Anna was born in 1900 so her age was 15 at the times.  Taken in Celle Germany.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


At least for the time being.   I am exhausted, mentally that is, in looking for Robert Stephens and Jacob, Mary and Olive Bowser in the 1880 census in Allegheny City PA.   

I did not find Jacob and Mary Bowser in the 1870 census except for a couple living in BUFFALO TOWNSHIP  I see it is now North Buffalo Township, what happened to the regular Buffalo Township.

The couple at the time of the census were Jacob and Mary both were 59.   But the youngest son, Jacob was 6.   Olive would have been born in 1874 and at that rate Mary would have been 63.   I seriously do not think this is MY Jacob and Mary.  But there is a will to see and I need to see if Olive is listed in the will.  This Jacob died in 1878, Olive would have been four.

I am wondering if the Stephens family and Bowser family live on the same street in Allegheny City and  the census was skipped or not read??  At this point anything idea is possible.

I did update my family tree and changed the name of my Great Great Grandfather from Thomas Dowd to John Dowd and his wife from Cate Sweeney to Catherine Fitzmorris.  

Two things lead me to believe it was true.  The first was the information given by Bridget Naughton Dowd at the time of her husbands death.   She had stated that her husbands parents were John Doud and Catherine Fitzmorris.   Secondly in searching the records from Glinsk Parish in Galway I found John, Catherine, Thomas, John, Maria and the two women and My Theory that they were Thomas’s sisters (Catherine DOWD Mulroy and Norah DOWD Finnerty).

    That theory proved correctly with the parish records.    Thirdly was the inclusion of Fitzmorris relatives for the sponsors on a few of the Dowd Children Baptism, my grandfather was one of them.

I have to take a break and consider what to do next. 

On my trip to Armstrong County, a helpful man looked up the records of the 155th Infantry Company I and it listed my relative, Robert Stevens (Stephens) as discharged in 1862, invalid.    I have to look how to get a copy of his discharge papers, perhaps that will be helpful to me.

Friday, October 15, 2010



Olive seems to be the most elusive of all the ancestors.   Following yesterdays  excursion to Kittanning, I revisited the documents that I had in my collection.

On the naturalization record of her second husband, Oswald Rohut, it states the place of her birth is the NS Pittsburgh.  That would be the North Side of Pittsburgh.     Up until 1907, the North Side was Allegheny City.   It was a town unto it own.     In that year ALLEGHENY CITY  was forcibly annexed to the City of PITTSBURGH.   From the reading it does not appear that this was a welcome merger in the City of Allegheny.

I have searched for both Robert Stephens and the family including Jacob Bowser/Bauser, his wife Mary and my ancestor Olive Bowser.   In the 1900 and 1910 census it lists Olives parents and Olive as born in Pennsylvania.   I can not find either of them in the 1880 census.   I have tried to read the entire census report and still no luck.   In 1880 Olive would have been  five or six years old and Robert would have been twenty five.

An interesting note which was told to me on Thursday was that a lot of young women would marry the old Civil War Veterans in order to be eligible for their Civil War Pensions.

More to research…

Thursday, October 14, 2010


At least for now, that is.......First, I got lost in the town of Kittanning PA.   It is not exactly that big, somehow I passed up the entrance and had to call the place and a kind lady helped me get to the right place.

The Olive Bower listed with Mary as her mother was not correct.   The first Olive died in 1885 so she was quickly eliminated.

Next, and a lot of help, I found a Jacob and Mary Bowser in the 1870 census, but no Olive.    Then I found Jacob died in 1878, so that was why I could not find him in the 1880 census.    But Mary was 52 at the time of the birth, so I have my doubts about this family.

My next stop will be to go to the Armstrong County Courthouse and see the will of the above Jacob Bowser.   I will save that for another day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Since my recent discovery involving Olive Bowser, her mother Mary and exactly who is her father....I am  going to the Armstrong County, PA town of Kittanning tomorrow.

The Armstrong County Genealogy  Society has hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12 until 4.   If a person wants to use the library the cost is $4.50 per visit.   Hopefully,   I can find information that will show the relationship of Great grandmother Olive Bowser and her parents.

I have found some preliminary information I think might be a solid lead.   I am hoping the folks there might be able to guide me.

The interesting thing about this Society is that they are closed from November thru the end of February.   I find that a bit odd. Why do they do that?   If I find out I will have to post the reasoning behind the idea.

Fact is Olive Bowser born C. 1874 with mother named Mary, the only place I have found them is in Armstrong County.   I have to solve the name of the father, who on the census is listed as Felix and on the Civil War register a person of that age and living in Franklin Township is Jacob F. Bowser.   My theory and gut feeling is that is Jacob Felix.   I hope this will be answered.   And on an earlier census Levi is listed as Felix father, and the mother is another Mary.  

Seems Felix has  a multitude of siblings, as did very one else at that time.   Also listed are Van Buran, Absolam, Felix, Harrison, Hannah and Wilson.  I must admit they were pretty creative with their names. 

More to be discovered.   

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010



Maria Korbach Bartels Grave of Maria Korbach

This is my great grandmother Maria Anna Johanna Korbach Bartels.   From the picture of her as a young woman it says it was taken in Jena, Germany.

I know virtually nothing about her or her family.   The second picture is of her gravestone.  It says Maria Bartels geb Korbach.   I can not read the dates, and I wonder exactly where it is located.   Is the person in front of her my great grandfather?

I tried to enlarge the picture but it was a Polaroid photo, I think perhaps my grandmother, Anna Bartels Schridde took it or one of her relatives to send to Anna.   I remember she was alive during my life time.  I am thinking that perhaps she died in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s.

Thursday, October 7, 2010



At last Saturdays meeting, John Colletta talked about using many sources to identify your people.  Or what you think could possibly be your people.

I am back to the Bowser/Bauser side of the family.  I had searched a few months to find grand mother Mary Stephens Sperl parents.   First I found Robert Stephens, her father.   I found him by visiting UNION DALE CEMETERY because Chuck said his father went there to decorate "A civil War Soldiers Grave”     That Civil War Soldier proved to be Chucks great grandfather and Mary's father.

This led me to the 1900 Allegheny City census and I found Robert and the children along with his wife Olive.  Robert was 25 years older than Olive.   After brain storming and help from Aunt Edna, who is 85, I found her buried in Salem OH.   She had remarried, her name is now Olive Rauhut.

  On Olives death certificate it listed her father as “Jacob”   I have had a futile search for Jacob and Olive Bowser.   Until listening to John Colletta lecture.   Back to re-read my papers, I know I should have done that.   What I missed was Olives mothers name which was Mary…..   He said to search under siblings etc.    My etc proved to be mother Mary and Olive and I have a viable candidate in Kittanning in Armstrong County PA.   Which is up the Allegheny River from the city of Pittsburgh, where Robert and Olive lived.

Olive was born in 1874 and in the 1880 census they are living with the father Felix and quite a few children.    Off to check the Civil War records and what do I find but an enlistment in the 139th Regiment  Pennsylvania Infantry, and listed is Jacob F Bowser and this regiment has enlistees from Kittanning and Pittsburgh.

My theory is this is a likely candidate for my Jacob Bowser.   I have contacted the Armstrong Genealogical Society and a short trip is due to search through those records,    Good thing is it is only a 30 minute drive.

What amazes me is that ALL of the people I search for in the USA are in Western PA.   They never moved far.




Willie Schridde, 39, Meets Death In Home Near Kennywood Park As Bolt Streaks Down Chimney.

A freak electrical storm, accompanied by a heavy downpour of rain, struck the district early today, Lightning Killed a Mifflin Township man, but did small damage to house and other structures.

Willie Schridde, 39 of 339 Vista View Street, Mifflin Township, near Kennywood Par, a German Veteran of the World War, was killed shortly before 6 a. m. today when struck by lightening which came down the chimney of his home.

His wife Anna, 36, and daughter Gerda, 13, who were unharmed by the bold which killed the father, ran to the second floor of their bungalow home to find Schridde’s clothing afire.  The wife extinguished the blaze and called Dr R L Botkin, of 27 South Second Street, Duquesne, who pronounced Mr. Schridde dead.

Mr. Schridde was a millwright at the Duquesne Works of the Carnegie Illinois Steel Corporation was remodeling into a two story dwelling the little home which he built by himself three years earlier.

Schridde came to this country ten years ago after serving in the German Army during the war.   His wife said he had undergone 17 operations for wounds received in the war but was in good health in recent years.

He had risen early today to shut the windows in the attic when he was killed while walking past a fireplace, his wife said.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010



In the course of two days Emily has received calls for interviews.   All I can say is it is a good thing she has a Subaru……..

More on them after the fact……..Her Karma is  good this week………..

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Anton, Katharina Sperl 054 

This is one of the other side of the stone that was featured last Tuesday.   This is the father of the children Johann Sperl, Anton F Sperl, and Margaretha Sperl.

Anton was born in Rosshaupt, Bohemia according to the records of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  

He died from Typhoid Fever a few weeks after grandfather John C Sperl Was born in 1899. 

Monday, October 4, 2010



It was great, John P Colletta is extremely knowledgeable and he can weave a story.    The information he presented  was extremely helpful for me because being relatively new in researching.   The searching he suggested made a lot of sense and somehow I wondered why did I not do this kind of search routinely?

I will have to go back and re-evaluate the way I have been looking for relatives.   I think the big thing is to do what he suggested (immigration and ships, census and the local records, study maps (did  not think of that personally) and the courthouse.)

Another treat was the lunch.   We had pasta and lettuce salad, chicken, ham, green beans, carrots and roasted red skinned potatoes and pie for dessert.

Has written a  recent book, ONLY A FEW BONES which he spoke of how it took years to research and all the documents he need to write the story.   I would have purchased it but it was sold out.

I will go back to next years meeting.

Friday, October 1, 2010



I am relatively new to Genealogy meetings.  I have attended two local meetings.  One was on German research and writing given by JOHN HUMPHREY  It was a two day course on German research and handwriting.   This was sponsored by the  WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY  It gave me a lot of information and the handwriting section on the old German Scripts was excellent.

Tomorrow the meeting is featuring JOHN P COLLETTA PHD.  This is an all day conference hosted by Tarentum Genealogical Society and in association with the Armstrong County Historical Society and the Oakmont Genealogical Study Group.

The four topics are  Passenger Arrival Records, How to Prepare for Successful Research in European Records, Breaking Through Those Brick Walls, and Discovering Your Ancestors’ World thru Maps and Gazetteers.

I am really looking forward to this education meeting; it is an all day affair and only twenty minutes from my home.  

Perhaps after I retire I can attend the weekly meeting that I read about and a lot of Bloggers attend.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010



Anton, Katharina Sperl 026 

This is a picture of Caroline Nosseck, half sister of grandfather John Sperl.   Caroline was married twice, the first ended in the death of her husband and she remarried.  The second marriage lasted a lifetime.  I am not sure which marriage this was,  but I think it was the second.   I do not I do not know the names of the others in the pictures.  But I love the dresses and flower arrangements.  

I will have to ask my cousin Julie.  Caroline is her grandmother.

Julie said it was her grandfather William Aheimer and they were married January 26, 1928.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Anton, Katharina Sperl 043 

This is a photo of three children of Katharine and Anton Sperl.  Three children who died within a year must have been very difficult for them.

They had another son, born in 1899 who was also named John, who was my husbands grandfather.

This cemetery is St Anthony’s Catholic Cemetery located in Shaler Township, which is a suburb of Pittsburgh PA.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 52 Second Life

Well, I saw the intro and after everyone's impression with  the site, I decided to try it again.  Initially I thought it reminded me of the movie Inception.     I must admit it was visually great. 

But, when I tried to visit the site of the LDS within it Foxfire told me it could not open it because it did not know the program with which to open it.  Did anyone else have this message and if you opened the program which program did you use?

I am now intrigued and disappointed  at the same time.  Perhaps it is because my computer is six going on seven years old.   Really, it is.   It is my goal to see how long I can keep this going.   I do find that a few programs cause problems if I download them and it is not as fact as could be.

The old computer is a hp pavilion ze4800 and all I have done to it is replace a fan and install a new hard drive.   I love this computer and do not want to give it up,  LOL

Wednesday, September 22, 2010



In the vague recesses of my temporal lobe, I remember.  I suppose you have to be in your fifties or sixties to remember this.    When I think of it today I am astounded that this was even done or how they thought it was a good idea.

WHAT??   When I was probably about the age of six or seven we went to the shoe store and in the middle of the store there was a machine where you could stand on it and see an x ray of your feet. SHOE STORE FLUOROSCOPY my  mother would not let us get on there.  This would have been the late 1940 or early 1950

She would holler “Don’t get on there, get off of there.”  I suppose you were to get the best fit.  

Looking at that today it still amazes me that this was a source of major radiation  and who knows the REMS that were passed out to trusting and unsuspecting customers. 

Gerda, you were very wise to not trust the unknowing.



Lois Coleman and Joseph Sperl

This is the wedding picture of Chucks parents.   It was December 30, 1941  The had met in the summer and married in  few months.    I was surprised how they could get done all that planning in such a short time.

Joe was working for an arsenal during the war and his job was considered important and he did not get drafted.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010



My neat and handy find is DROPBOX  Did you ever go to research and find you need a document that you do not have?   This will solve the problem, and it is FREE.

Click on the link and watch the video and then download the program.   You set it up for private (genealogy documents) or to share (would be good for vacation photos). 

Set up the icons on your desktop and then click on a folder, copy and paste.

It is also good if you should happen to have a hard drive failure or lose you flash drive that contained your precious information.

I love little tecki things.

Monday, September 20, 2010



My madness happened yesterday.   I broke another major brick wall.   The Madness part came in place today when I read a tip on the Kim Komando newsletter when a person wanted to know when the photos were taken.

This did not relate to me about the digital photo dating,  but the writer Miranda had an excellent quote:


This should be our mantra.  

The whole family said that our great grandfather Thomas Dowd was born in County Mayo, and as I found out he was born in County Galway.   It took me a long time to verify, because I believed what the family tradition had said.  If I had not sent for his death certificate (I know I should have done that first and it took me awhile to do it) I would still be here with My Theory that the young women (Nora and Catherine Dowd/Doud) were his sisters and now I KNOW they were.   I have to peruse the GLINSK CHURCH RECORDS  to see if I can find Richard Fitzmorris and determine if he was a nephew of my Great Great Grandmother Catherine Fitzmorris.

I am mad with joy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Today after finding John Dowd (Doud) and Catherine Fitzmorris I stumbled up GLINSK BAPTISM RECORDS  and it does indeed have Baptism records including the ones of my Great Grandfather Thomas Dowd.

This is part one of three but it also has listed a few siblings of Thomas.   John Dowd 4 April 1862.   Maria Dowd 28 August 1864,    Catherine Dowd 2 July 1868 and Honoria Dowd 21 August, 1870.  There is allegedly a brother Michael who moved to Cleveland or Chicago after emigration.   I have to find him…..

Thomas had two women who I had a theory that were his sisters,   Catherine and Nora.  There were about the same age and married here in the USA.  Catherine married Thomas Mulroy and Nora married Cummins Finnerty.   They were sponsors for Thomas and Bridgets children and at one time lived next to each other in North Braddock PA.

One of my Cousins said that the family would visit some relative in New Jersey PA, and I am wondering of that was John Dowd who was three years younger than Thomas.

Galway Ireland


Thomas Dowd, information from the death certificate, as supplied by his wife, Bridget Naughton.

Birthday    12 May 1858.  I have found birthdays from 14 March 1860 to 12 May 1859.  

Father listed on death certificate.  John Dowd, birthplace County Galway, Ireland.

Mother listed on death certificate.   Catherine Fitzmorris, birthplace County Galway, Ireland.

A search of the Irish Family History Foundation revealed a marriage 24 February 1857, in the Parish of Glinsk, County Galway of John Doud and Catherine Fitzmorris.

Witness were Patrick Morris and Cecelia Fitzmorris.

Baptism Thomas Doud  7 June 1859, parish Glinsk, County Galway.  This would be about one month after Thomas birth.

Address Kilbegnet And Donamon.

Sponsors Patrick Doud and Honoria Dowd.   Were Patrick and Honoria married?  Were they siblings of John Doud?

What makes me think that this is true is on the information from the Diocese of Pittsburgh for sponsors for the Dowd children listed a Richard Fitzmorris and a Richard Fitzmaurice.     Is this my grandfathers Uncle?   

I have found no Sweeney names among the list of sponsors.


What I need to do is find out how to get the whole record with all of the births in this family.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010



picturesbyclaudia 215 

This is the April 1918 wedding on my husbands grandparents (seated)   John C Sperl, age 19 and Mary Elizabeth Stephens, age 18.    In the back row was one of John’s brothers, either Joseph or Charles, and Mary’s sister Irene Stephens Scheuring.

Photo courtesy of Edna Sperl

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I have decided to do this great date chasing caper.   My father said his grandfather (Thomas Dowd) was born in County Mayo Ireland, this was also collaborated by a few cousins that I have met thru genealogy.

On his marriage license application, in October 1889 in Pittsburgh-Allegheny county, it lists his birthday as 14 March 1860.  On the Irish Family History Foundation is lists Thomas Dowd, Mayo County, Baptism in April 1860 with parents Thomas Dowd and Cate Sweeney.   That is the only Thomas Dowd in Mayo County in that time frame.

  On the 1900 census it gives a birthday as March 1858 with his immigration in 1880.  He and Bridget Naughton have been married ten years.

Bridget’s birthday on her marriage application was listed as 25 March, 1867, cousins said she was also from Mayo County.   On the LDS site it has a record of Bridget Naughton with birthday of 25 March 1868 with parents listed as Thomas Naughton and  Catherine Ward. On the 1900 census her birthday is listed as March 1866. 

1910 census census Thomas is listed as birthday about 1865 and naturalization in 1882.   Bridget’s birth about 1867.

1920 census Thomas is 55 years of age, meaning he was born in 1865, and Bridget is 43, being born in 1877.  Bridget became naturalized in 1903.

1930 census, taken on April 12, 1930,  Thomas had died on 18 March 1930, just about a month earlier.   Bridget’s age is 63 and living with her is listed Mary R granddaughter.   Whose child is Mary R?  Bridget is unable to read or write.

Death certificate information.  Thomas Dowd, born 12 May 1858, County Galway Ireland.  Father John Dowd, County Galway Ireland and mother Catherine Fitzmorris, County Galway Ireland.   Thomas date of death is 15 March 1930, cause of death pneumonia, at age 71.  Information supplied by Bridget Dowd.

Bridgets death certificate information, date of death 2 January, 1939 also from pneumonia.   Father listed as Thomas Naughton and Nora Nee, supplies by her son Richard Dowd.

Interesting fact.   I have rechecked my information from the Diocese of Pittsburgh and a sponsor for my grandfather, Thomas Dowd (1891) is listed Richard Fitzmorris and he is also sponsor for Catherine Dowd (1893)

Children of Thomas and Bridget:
Thomas Dowd   1892,  Catherine 1893, John 1896, Nora 1896, Mary 1898, Richard 1900, Agnes 1903, and Theresa 1906.
Where to go from here?



A really handy dandy thing I have found is an Add On for Firefox.   It is called SCREEN CAPTURE ELITE  It will take a picture of a page on you can save it as a complete page, visible page, or a selection. 

There is a small camera icon on the right of the task bar on the bottom of your screen.   Right click and the a cross appear and you choose where you want to store the screen shot.   It is free and works with Firefox.

You can store it on your desktop or in a file folder.   I store it on my desktop and then move it where I want.   I find it great if you are not connected to a printer and you want to save things like bank statements, registrations to hotels or things your buy.   

It is also good to capture anything related to genealogy, records or anything interesting information.   You can review what you have saved later and decide if it is relevant or not.  Paper and ink is saved and you only print what is necessary.  

I really like this add on.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I remember 9/11 because I was off that day.    It was a cool, crisp and bright sunny day.    I met my husband at the local family restaurant for breakfast.  We always take two cars because he like to sit, relax, drink coffee, and read the morning paper and I am ready to go after I eat.
Breakfast was finished when one of the regular, who was a detective, got a page.  After his call was finished he said “A Plane has just hit the World Trade Center…”
After a bout of disbelief, I wondered if it was an accident and then my thoughts turned to terrorism.  Honestly my prime suspect was Osama bin Laden.   I had read about him  years before 2001  
After breakfast I went home to watch the television and viewed it with disbelief. The whole world seemed to have gone mad.    I had a hair appointment that morning at 10 and another client came in and announced that the Pentagon had been hit and a plane was hijacked.
Back home and more news about an airplane crash not too far from Pittsburgh in SHANKSVILLE PA  The rumors were crazy, was it a crash, was it terrorism.  
The truth be told, by that time the passengers had heard of the strikes.   I know if that would have happened to me and I knew we were a flying bomb to hit Washington DC, I too, would have tried to thwart the efforts.   When you realize that the flight is doomed and you will not survive I would have done what I could to prevent that from happening.
The rest of the evening and into the night the scenes were horrific.   I even woke up in the early morning and turned on the television, perchance, that I had dreamed the whole thing.
Our daughter was in Cleveland in college.    My thoughts were of her safety.   Phone lines were jammed, but she was safe in the dorm and the classes were canceled.   My thought was to leave at a moments notice to go to Ohio to get her.    She said that the weirdest thing was that the college town was in the flight path of Hopkins Airport and with the suspension of air traffic, the silence was deafening.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Dowd cemetary plots Brad Cath.
Here is another of my dads retained paperwork.  It lists his mother, Gertrude O’Rourke, and The Dowd side of the family.
I think my father would be extremely interested in Genealogy and the information I have found.   I wonder why he never told me of the documents he had squirreled away in the old file cabinet.   Perhaps, he thought no one would be interested in them.
I do have three mystery photographs.
picturesbyclaudia 279
Beautiful woman, but who is she?   No name on the back.picturesbyclaudia 278
It looks like they are all dressed up for a wedding.   But, who are they?
picturesbyclaudia 282
World War I soldier, Who is he?    The only one I have found serving and killed in WWI is Owen Mulroy, the son of my Great Grandfathers sister Catherine DOWD Mulroy.  Perhaps it is Owen.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I have no picture to post, because there is not a tombstone.  

My great grandparents Thomas Dowd and Bridget Naughton are buried in BRADDOCK CATHOLIC CEMETERY  I knew they did not have a tombstone and I wanted to purchase one for them.   I just had to determine the dates. 

But with the new information about dates of birth and dates of death this project is on the back burner for now.  

I suppose I will have to start with the cemetery and see what dates they have.

Sunday, September 5, 2010



I have seen a few blogs out there for organizations and libraries and I have been contemplating perhaps we need one for our group; the Oakmont Genealogical Study Group.

I talked to our president and she thought it was a good idea but she knew nothing of how to do that…..I do know. I just have to set it up but first I should talk to my cousin, who is in the same group, about the idea.

Why do I think we need this?  To give some exposure to our little group and hopefully it will enable us to gain more members.

I just have to figure out how to allow all the members to post entries……I think it can be done, but, does everyone need to have a Gmail account to post.

The meeting is the second Tuesday of every months and I will present my case then.

Saturday, September 4, 2010



I spent yesterday and today catching up with a lot of blogs.  I enjoy reading every ones trials, tribulations and triumphs.

But, what I did discover is a lot of people are feeling like me and seem not to have the motivation to post.   They seem to be like me I want to do it but are having a problem getting things started.

I hope this is temporary, and I am sure it is.   Myself I have to get researching on my great grandparents Dowd and Naughton.   I feel very deflated because I do not know who they are.   My cousin did not offer any information, he thought the dates that I had were good.  Guess he is puzzled too.

Point number one, the dates of birth given on their marriage license.    Point number two, the different dates on their death certificates and the parents names that are listed.

I have to find siblings.   This has been a problem for me. My father told me that his grandmother had a twin sister and he could not tell them apart.   So, from that I know she was in the USA.    For  him to remember this information about Bridget and her sister  the time line must be from 1925 (dad would have been seven) till 1939, the year Bridget died.  

There are two women (Norah and Catherine)  whose names were Dowd they are of the same age group as my great grandfather.    I found their marriage records, but Norah Dowd Finnerty is not in the 1930 census, so Norah died sometime between 1920 and 1930.   Can I send for a ten year search?     Catherine Dowd Mulroy is listed in the 1930 census as a widow.   These woman and their families lived next door to each other on the same street as Thomas and Bridget.   I check newest records for the Western District of PA and can not find him there.

I also have to make a list and go to the cemetery and see what else I can find.    Perhaps on Tuesday.

I think my malaise is caused by this conundrum.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


O'Rourke cemetery plot  Brad Catholic

This was the diagram of my fathers,  I think he was searching his family and trying to find who was buried in which plot.  

The records are not complete and I am still scratching my head.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010



Jellyfish in the Tennessee Aquarium.   My ancestors are making my head ache, so I posted a change.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010



August Bartels

This is the tombstone of my grandmother, Anna Bartels Schridde, brother.    I am wondering if there is any information to be gained from sending for his death certificate.    Perhaps there will be better information about their parents, I have yet to find anything on my great grandmother Maria Anna Johanna Korbach from Jena, Germany

Monday, August 23, 2010


I did find two women, Nora Dowd Finnerty, and Catherine Dowd Mulroy. The Dowd women were married in 1891 and 1892. Thomas and Bridget were married in 1889.

My theory is that they were Thomas sisters. After their marriage the three families lived on the same street. But, I have no documented proof. Thomas sponsored Thomas Mulroy in his Naturalization process.

They were sponsors for each others Baptisms. I have been searching for death information, but did not find anything in the cemeteries where my great grandparents were buried. The record keeping is not very good, and information is missing.

The family lore is that there was one relative that lived in NJ and one brother Michael Dowd who lived in either Cleveland or Chicago.

I have to get searching again and think I will start with the Church records, and go back to the cemetery.

Naming pattern of Thomas and Bridget.

Thomas A Dowd b. 1891
Catherine Dowd b. 1893
John Dowd b. 1896
Nora Dowd b. 1896
Mary Dowd b. 1898
Richard Dowd b. 1900
Agnes Dowd b. 1904
Theresa Dowd b. 1906

Friday, August 20, 2010


I have been on vacation for one week and have not posted. I have been thinking a lot about my latest development. The date of birth and names of my great grandparents.

This would not be such a mystery if I had erroneously just taken for granted other peoples information. I did not do that.

When I took the dates of birth that were given on Thomas and Bridget marriage license I truly believed that they would know what they were. They were both literate......but, the dates of births and names of my great grandparents are totally different. With the exception of Thomas Naughton. I know that on the census records there were a few different dates for years of birth, but I know how that can be done. I will just have to revisit that.

Who are these other people that I have have information from the dates provided on the marriage license application?

Now that I am home I can scan and send them to my cousins and ask for their inputs. I will solve this mystery.

Am I up to 20 questions yet? That is what I feel that I am working on, Playing Twenty Questions.

Thursday, August 12, 2010



The death certificates have arrived and I have more questions than I do answers.

I did find the names of my Great Great Grandparents.    They would be the grandparents of Anna Maria Johanna Bartels.    I was correct in the assumption that the sisters of Alwine Bartels Dietrich and Emma Bartels Schwab would have given the answer. 

My great grandfathers name was Wilhelm Bartels and my great grandmothers name was Johanna Bertian  (Bertham) both from Hannover Germany.     In my research I found that my grandmothers brother was Wilhelm and a brother of the four Aunts was Wilhelm Bartels, he was also living in Duquesne, PA.  They are now ensconced in my tree.

I found that Katharina Rauscher Sperl Nosseck was Frank Rauscher also from Rosshaupt.  This time it was listed as Germany,  not Bohemia or Austria.  Her mothers names was unknown.

Katharina’s second husband Joseph Nosseck died at age of fifty four from TB.   This was in 23 December 1916.

The biggest mystery are my great grandparents Thomas A Dowd and Bridget Naughton.   On Thomas marriage license application he had listed his birthday as 14 March 1860.    I found a corresponding record submitted by a LDS member and on the Mayo IGFH site with that birthday and his parents listed as Thomas Dowd and Cate Sweeney.

On the death certificate his birth is listed (by Bridget) as 12 May 1858 in County Galway…….and his parents listed as John Dowd and Catherine Fitzmorris.   

On Bridget’s marriage application she had listed her birth as 25 March 1868 and on her death certificate it is listed as 22 February 1865,  This information was given by her son Richard Dowd.  On the LDS site and the IGFH it lists her birthday as the March date and her father as Thomas Naughton and mother as Catherine Ward.    On the death certificate her parents are Thomas Naughton and Nora Nee.

This leaves me confused and with more questions than answers.  For the moment I am stumped.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010



On Monday Chuck and I drove to New Castle PA.    I ordered the death certificates, and they said that I could not pick them up they would have to be mailed.   I did not check the website to see if it was true.   I did not want to be irked by myself. 

All I can say is it got there fast to the Bureau of Vital Statistics.   She said it would take a few days and I know they will come on Saturday, which is the day I leave to go to visit my friend Ruth.

I am searching for the parents of my great grandfather Daniel Zacharias Bartels.  I had posted before that last year I had found his sisters buried in the McKeesport-Versailles Cemetery.   I did not know they were here in the USA, let alone buried here.  

My mother had talked about her Tante Alwine and some other old German women.  I suppose like everyone else as a child, they did not pay any attention.   Or maybe she thought this was common knowledge.

So, I am hoping that when the first and second sister died, the other siblings had given their parents name.  Or perhaps it is wishful thinking.  

I remember that my mother talked about my grandmother, Anna Bartels Schridde had a cousin Margaret.   I knew Margaret because she was a RN and was excited when I went to Nursing School.   I guess the fact that Margaret had a mother and father did not enter into the equation since I knew Margaret as an adult.

My father also told us we had NO RELATIVES and I have found plenty.   We just never knew them, although he knew them.   He spoke fondly of his Aunts and I remember meeting my grandfathers sister Theresa.

So, I hope the certificates come on Friday, but if they don’t I will have something to look forward to when I return from my long drive south.

Sunday, August 8, 2010



I guess I am incorporating two ideas for this post.   Saturday Night Genealogical Fun and Sentimental Sunday.  

My fathers mother, Gertrude O’Rourke Dowd had a lot of food allergies, but she ate what she was allergic to and then would take her allergy medication.  Why?   Because I like them.

My father told her he was going to write on her tombstone    “Here lies Gertie O’Rourke, she killed herself with her knife and fork.”

Later on my father, Thomas Dowd, would complain about various maladies but he would not go to the doctor or if he did he would be noncompliant.

I told him I was going to write on his tombstone.  “Here lies Tom Dowd, he thought he knew more than his doctor.”

Tom said “Don’t you dare.”  I didn’t…..

Saturday, August 7, 2010



Thomas and Gerda

I like the photo of my parents.  It reminds me of AMERICAN GOTHIC  by Grant Wood.


On Monday I hope to take a road trip to New Castle PA to the Pennsylvania Department of Vital Statistic.   That is where the deaths and birth since 1908 are located.    I have a list of several I would like to have.  

Last year I found, and it was quite a surprise, four of my great grandfather siblings had emigrated to the USA around the time of 1890-1906.    I want to request their death certificates and see if their parents are listed.   I decided to go for the earliest one first because there were remaining sisters and, hopefully, they will have listed my great great grandparents.

It is only about an hour drive and perhaps I can get myself in gear to get things done.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Thomas, Gerda and Claudia 1950

This is a picture of my parents and brother Tom and I. It was taken in our back yard. I am thinking it was the summer of 1951. Because my brother was born in November of 1950.

My thoughts now are, who took the picture and why are we both looking at my dad. He must have said something funny or crazy to get us to look at him like that.

My father always planted a large garden. He told me that his grandfather, also Thomas Dowd, always had a large garden and he would walk to his house and he would give him vegetables to take home.

Dad had two plots, upper and lower. In the lower he would plant tomatoes, green onions, beets, cabbage, lettuce, and beans. In the upper garden he had asparagus and raspberry bushes, and at the property line a line of Concord grapes growing on a wire fence. He also planted peach, apple and plum trees. The apples were made into apples sauce and plums were canned. The peaches did not seem to grow well, or there were not enough for canning.

They canned everything they grew. Mom and dad would spent a lot of time in the late summer and early fall in a sweltering kitchen preparing the vegetables, cleaning the bottles, and washing the rings for the Ball Jars.

In early fall we would go to a Farmers Market and buy a bushel or two of peaches, apples, pears and more tomatoes. I had the honor and privilege of working in the kitchen. I hated every minute of the drudgery.

I remember blanching tomatoes and peaches and taking off the skins in preparation for putting them in jars. A sugar syrup solution was made and put over the fruit. I guess boiling water was used for the vegetables.

They would cook them in a large water bath or in a huge pressure cooker. They knew which had to be sterilized in what cooker. After that was done for the day I would hear the lids of the jars popping as they permanently sealed.

We would have produce all autumn, winter and spring. Then in the summer the process would begin again. After my father died, I found homes for all that equipment. I think my friends really like what I gave them.

I do not do any canning myself, but my sisters do. I guess it is because I was exhausting from canning at an early age.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010




From the collection of Angelika Schonwitz.

This is a photo of my great grandparents Anna Meta Hackmann and Frederick Schridde.   My cousin said it was taken about 1890.   I thought perhaps it was a wedding picture, but they were married 24 September 1887.

It is a pleasure to see your great grandparents when they were young.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Another bit of information from my cousin ES. She sent me two pictures of her mother, and her mother does resemble my mother. Both women are named Gerda. She also was able to identify many of the people in my unknown picture, I had suspected that they were my great grandparents and my detective skills proved to be so.

Possibly Schridde Family

According to my cousin the elderly woman is Anna Meta Hackmann Schridde, Freida Schridde Bordolo, next unknown, fourth is Hilde a woman who was helping at their house, fifth Lily Claussen, Rudolph Bordolo and Fritz Claussen and the elderly man is Frederick Schridde.

The children are Rolf Claussen, Fritz Claussen, Rudolph Bordolo, Liese Lotto Bordolo and Heinz Claussen. The picture was taken in 1928 when the first new car was purchased. Just like here everyone is interested in a new car. I wonder if the men lifted the hood and looked at the engine.

My cousin said that her mother was so happy to see the pictures, the pictures that she had were destroyed in the war.

It amazes me that two people living a half world away were able to share and identify family from long ago.

She also sent me a picture of my great grandparents taken about 1890. They look so young and happy. I will post it later since I can find it at the moment.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I think after the excitement of finding a cousin, who is researching in Germany, I have come to rest. Not rest, as in quitting, but rather, I have expended a lot of psychic energy the past few week and I am rather just resting.

I still have a lot of things to do. From ES (my cousin), I have found the name of Willis great grandparents. I have looked on the LDS site and found nothing. My great great grandmother's name is Anna Katherine Sophie Goetjem. I am thinking that perhaps the name is Dutch. Hamburg is close to the Netherlands so it is possible. More research has to be done on this line.

ES mother is still alive, by my calculation I think she was born in 1928, I have to check the numbers, but Gerda did not make the Gerburtstag list.
I sent ES a few question I hope Gerda can answer them for me.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Schridde Family



Schridde FAmily c.1918

From left to right. 

Heinrich Theodore Frederick Schridde   b. 28 September 1862

Elsa Schridde Czitkowski  b. 15 December 1889   d.   June 1961

Anna Meta Margarethe Hackmann    b. 8 April 1868

Willi Schridde   b.  14 February 1898     d. 19 August 1937

Kate Schridde Schmolling   b.  26 December 1900

Emilie Schridde Beckmann  b. 24 September 1887    d. 26 March 1961

Frieda Schridde Bordolo     b. 25 March 1892       d.  November 1961

Lilly Schridde Clausen     b.  28 January 1896      d.  1977

Friday, July 2, 2010


My excitement has been realized.. My German cousin is official. Our grandparents are siblings and she identified the five sisters with their names.

This all was because she and I both joined My Heritage Family Tree. I had joined in the spring and she had joined in June. She told me that she was unaware that she had family living in the USA. I can honestly say that I knew I had relatives living in Germany, but I did not know who they were or how to contact them.

She also told me that her mother knew the Schridde Family History. I will have to ask her if her mother is still alive. Her mother would be eighty two, so, it is possible that she is living.

The interesting part is her mothers name is Gerda and she was named after my mother. Gerda, my mother, would have been five years older than her cousin.

More to come.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


A few days ago I had written to a potential German cousin. I got the reply and was invited to join their site. I have yet to figure out the relationship but I think perhaps first cousins twice or three times removed.

In some areas I had more information than she, BUT.......I have learned the names of my great great grandparents........She did not have posted the names of the other sisters children but I did find out the years that my great aunts had died. I have a little more to fill in on my chart.

I had offered to share a picture of the Schridde Family and the few documents that I have. It seems that her ancestor was a sponsor at the wedding of Willi Schridde and Anna Bartels

I feel like a kid at Christmas.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I am back for vacation and was checking my email when one of my accounts had a message. It was one of those "we found a match" notifications.

I was amazed the names the person had were also the names of my grandfather Willi Schridde sisters. My theory is this quite possibly could be a person descended from one of Willi's sisters. The birth dates were the same that I had found on my great grandmothers Gerburtstag list.

I send her, I am thinking the person is a female, a note and explained who I was.. I hope they reply because there could be a lot of information that we could share. I HOPE HOPE HOPE they will reply. They live in Germany and with Google translate we could correspond. I do hope they will get back to me.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


A few weeks ago I had posted the old Army tent and talked about my first trip to the beach. Well here is where we stayed this time.

It is a two bedroom condo in Corolla NC. Has a nice kitchen, family-dining room, two bathrooms, and a laundry room. Has a lot of room for a condo and off the deck you can see the sound and the ocean.

The best part is no bugs and A/C and I can't say that about the tent.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Things have been slow here in the Genealogy Department. I guess everyone needs a break once in a while. The only thing I have done was to go to a Genealogy Book Sale.

It was through the Western PA Genealogical Society.
I bought about six books, most of them relating to Ireland and Germany. I did find the RED BOOK. I had heard of it and took it while the other were madly searching. They are all in the trunk of my car waiting for me to check them and see if anything is of any use The total cost was $13.00 and to top it off I got a cookie.

The society has a meeting every second Saturday and that was the feature of that meeting. What happened was that there was a guy who was taking every book in sight and piling them in boxes. He had an accomplice guarding his booty. The only thing I could think of was that he perhaps had a store and was buying them for resale.

I was disappointed by that because I felt that there might have been some that I could have used. The books seemed to be from the library collection and some of them were very old.

I guess I am on hiatus from research. As of July 1st I am going to be working part time so, hopefully, I will have mre time for research and to do things other than work.....

The Society had published a book of the marriages in Allegheny county from 1870 to 1875. My great grandparents had married in 1874, according to the 1900 census. I looked up their names and did not find them.. this leads me to believe either, they were married in some other state (Boston perhaps??) or their record did not make the list...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Charles Forgie is a person whom I have yet to research. My grandmother Gertrude O'ROURKE Dowd had a sister named Anna O'Rourke. Anna was 18 years older than Gertrude. Anna was first married to Charles Forgie, It appears that her first husband, Charles, died at an early age. She next married Peter Zentner.

They had five children, Leo, William, Mary, Ellen and Rita. Peter also died at an early age. After Peters death (don't know when) Anna married James Clougherty. There were no children from that marriage.

Below is the tombstone for Anna's son Charles. He would be my first cousin once removed, and is buried near his mother Anna, also pictured below.

Charles Forgie 1998 1952

Anna O'Rourke and Peter Zentner

I think that Richard Davis was a grandson. Possibly the child of her daughter Mary Zentner Davis. Anna is buried with husband number two, but where is Charles Forgie and my theory is James Clougherty is buried with his first wife.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

52 Weeks ToBetter Genealogy

Well, better late than never. At least as long as posting goes.

I did not find any of my family on Find A Grave. So, there are a lot there now. I spent the better part of three hours just adding my immediate family. I did add the sisters of my great grandfather, Daniel Mathias Zacharias Bartels. Looks like about five of the siblings emigrated to Pennsylvania and Daniel stayed in Germany.

I am hoping that perhaps some cousin will find them and write to me. It has happened before.

Now that my fingers are exhausted from typing, I will finish for today.


Accomadations NC 1962 001

Accommodations on the first trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.   The sibs and I still go but we are staying in air conditioned houses and condos now.

Monday, May 31, 2010



Robert Stephens GAR

Robert Stephens is my husbands great grandfather.   He is buried in UNION DALE CEMETERY   PITTSBURGH PA

Robert was just found this year.   Chuck said that his dad always went and decorated the graves of “two Civil War soldiers” buried in Union Dale.    

I asked Chuck’s Aunt Edna and she told me that one of them was Robert and the other was Robert’s son James.    James did not fight in the Civil War.  

Robert was born in 1845 and emigrated with his parents Charles and Hannah c.1854.  There are two different arrival times I have found.

Robert married his wife Olive Bauser in 1891.   On the 1900 census he had listed that he was a widower.    I have been searching for Olive and Roberts marriage license and information on the first marriage but this remains elusive.

Olive was 25 years younger than Robert and my theory is that Olives parents did not approve of the marriage because of the age difference and they eloped.    I would love to find the records on their marriage.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


picturesbyclaudia 277

Picture of my mother Gerda Schridde Dowd and father Thomas Dowd. This was their wedding picture taken one week before he left for England in WW II.

T Dowd G Schridde Marriage Cert 1944

Now if I had not know where this certificate was located and they had been married in Goldsboro NC, I would be going crazy looking for where they had gotten married.


The insignia is from the Army Air Corps, a precursor of the Air Force.

My dad’s job was to repair the airplanes that were on bombing missions over Europe. After being drafted everyone started out in the Infantry and had decided that he did not want to get shot.

While in England Dad went to the Library and studied Air Plane Mechanic books. Then my father took the test and qualified to be a mechanic. Dad said that he did this while most of his buddies went into to town and drank alcohol. Tom said that he could not afford to do that since he had a wife and mother to support at home.

The worst part of it was that he would never know who would return or be shot down. Once a crew did twenty five missions they were retired. I think most of them never saw ten missions. I have to read about the longevity of the bombing crews. I would venture a guess that it was not very long.

I have a whole collections of his WW II pictures, I should scan and post them.

B 17 Flying Fortress

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


The hand held scanner came today and so far I am impressed with the quality of the scans

PTDC0003 PTDC0002

PTDC0005 PTDC0004 The top two scans were the copy of the Justice of the Peace Marriage License.

The second is the Marriage License and for the life of me I have no idea how I copied it mirror reverse.

The last is my grandmothers Baptismal Certificate and I sort of scrunched the paper. I think it works well and the quality of the scan is great. I also managed to scan the table.

I think the problem is just a learning curve. I need to get a white back ground and a piece of glass to hold the item stationary while I scan it.

The scanner copies about 8 x 11.5 and the top document was too large.

I like it, I just have to practice.