Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Emma Schwabe

Minna Bartels Ella Bartels

Charles and Alwine Dietrich 

These are the tombstones of my great grandfather Daniel Bartels sisters.  I had discovered them last May on a trip to the MCKEESPORT VERSAILLES CEMETERY.  Ella died last and there is no date inscribed on her stone.  She had never married and I suppose she had pre purchased the stone and had no children to make sure the date was carved.

If I had known they were there I would have brought a bucket and cleaning brushed to clean the bird poop off of Emma’s stone.

A bigger mystery is why my mother never mentioned her Aunts.  I guess she thought I would know this information by some sort of genetic osmosis.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Charles and Alwine Dietrich

This is the tombstone of my Great Tante Alwine (All vina)   I did not know of her existence until last May when my sister and I went on a trek to the cemetery.

It seems that Alwine and her sisters Emma, Ella, and Minna emigrated to the USA in the late 19th and early 20th century.  I also found their nephew August (my grandmothers brother) and a brother of Alwine named William.

Why did they leave and why did my great grandfather Daniel and his wife Maria Korbach not come with his siblings?

And the biggest WHY question, why did my mother Gerda Schridde Dowd not mention that the family was here?   Perhaps she did and I do not remember.   I do remember that she said her grandfathers sisters all died of cancer, but I thought they were in Germany…

That will remain a mystery.




My 2010 census form arrived today.   Did our ancestors know about its arrival, or did the enumerator just arrive one afternoon?  There must be an answer out there on that query.  

I can imagine that most of the questions were answered by the lady of the house.  What I have found in my ancestors is that the women were all “keeping house.”

Somehow, that sounds a bit better than “housewife”   that term implies (to my ears) that you were married to a house.

As I look back at the question of long ago I wonder if any of our ancestors felt that the questions were invasive?   Or did they just answer because it was the thing to do…Seventy two years from now will our descendents be looking forward to the release of the information.    To me, it will not be the same looking at some data sheet, as opposed to looking what the enumerator wrote so long ago.

There would have been much information unknown  without those old census records for our perusal.   I think the census gives us a major stepping stone to search for the majority records that can be found.

Some of the questions seem funny  and the wording “politically incorrect” by todays standards.  Guess I should go and open it before the census police come and get me for non compliance. 


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Family Chronicle Magazine


Today I purchased the March/April issue of  FAMILY CHRONICLE MAGAZINE   I was perusing the articles when one entitled “The Last Sons of The Civil War”  caught my attention.

I was reading about how some 120 descendents of Civil War Veterans were still living.    Most of these people were born after their fathers, Civil War Veterans, had most likely been married two to three times.   The men were older widower who had married much younger women.

Then I had an Eureka moment and realized that my husbands grandmother Mary Stephens Sperl (1900-1986) was the daughter of a Civil War Veteran….

I have not found his story, but in the 1900 census it lists him as being married twice and his wife, Olive Bauser/Bowser Stephens,was indeed twenty five years younger than her husband. 

I found this website SONS OF UNION VETERANS OF THE CIVIL WAR and I realized  that my husband was eligible to join the organization.    He was really surprised, I guess no one had ever mentioned the fact that his grandmother was the daughter of a Civil War Veteran.

I suppose now I should send for his Civil War File.   I will add it to my to do list, but so far all I have done is make a list.

I am hoping that this will give me more information about his great grandfather and perhaps Robert Stephens first wife.


Thursday, March 11, 2010


Claudia 1968 001



Dowd Kids 1958 Laurel Hill Park PA 001


Sunday, March 7, 2010



At least I feel that I am,   I want to get things done or at least started but I seem to lack the initiative to start.

Perhaps I should make a list.   What I find holding me back is lack or time, or inability to find time to get started.    I think that it is the fact that I am working full time, but I read the others on my blog list that seem to get it done.   

I am hoping with the spring and warmer temperatures and lengthening  of daylight perhaps I will get motivated.


1) Send for Pennsylvania birth certificates.  I think that I have about 20 I would like to have.  

2) Send for Church information from the DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH

3) Talk to the genealogist at CALVARY CEMETERY to see if they have any information that I need.   The genealogist is only there on Thursday.

4) Join a few historical societies that may be of help to me.   Including one in Baltimore, Mifflin Township,  and Lebanon County, PA.

5) Make a trip to Harrisburg PA to search the archives and see if I can find information on Michael Coleman.  Who is an ancestor of my husband and daughter.

6) Search for information on Jacob Bauser/Bowser and his daughter Olive Bauser Stephens.  

7) Decide the best approach and where to send for information for record in Ireland and Germany.

I think I should not make the list too long or I will become  overwhelmed.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010



Anna Orourke Zentner  Peter Zentner

This is a picture of my Great Aunt Anna O’Rourke.   Anna was my grandmothers oldest sister.  My grandmother was born in 1892 so she was sixteen when Gertrude was born.

Anna married three times, first was to Charles Forgie.  He died in an accident, I have yet to delve into that incident.  She had one son, Charles.

Next she married Peter Zentner and they had five children.   I do remember my cousins, but they were all married at the time.    Pete died an early death also.

Then she married James Clougherty, the local priest introduced them.   I have the feeling from talking to my cousin that this was a marriage of necessity rather than love.  She needed someone to support her and he needed someone to take care of his children.

Anna is buried with her husband Peter and I have no clue where James Clougherty is buried.

The baby Richard Davis was her grandchild, son of Mary and Carl Davis.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Tom D family listings

Tom Dowds family notes Gertrude B O'Rourke delayed birth cert 1943

My mystery is my grandmothers family.    In my fathers notes he has listed my grandmother and her five siblings.  Then on his second paper he has listed three unknown, Dennis, Loretta and who is the other child?    On my grandmothers Delayed Birth Certificate it has written that there were three children who had died at the time of my grandmothers birth but a total of 10 children.

I found  the county death log for Loretta, she has died about the age of two with “brain fever.’ I know of Dennis because of my grandmothers talking about him and how he drowned in the river.  Dennis was not included in the 1880 census and I imagine he would have been in the 1890 census. So he would have been about the age of ten when he would have died, that is my theory.

My great grandfather, Patrick O’Rourke, had purchased his cemetery lots in August of 1891, this seems  to coincide with the possibility of the time that Dennis would have been swimming in the river.

Why the delayed Birth Certificate?   Gertrude and her brother William both applied at the same time,   my theory is they needed to get Social Security Cards.

It also listed Ellen MORTEL O’Rourke as being three years older than her husband Patrick.   On their tombstone they are listed as being born the same year.