Monday, February 28, 2011



LAST SURVIVING WORLD WAR 1 VETERAN DIES.  This headline caught my interest this morning.   Frank Buckles was 110 and he had lied about his age to enlist.   

The article was interesting and I thought how the Great War is now flowing into ancient history.    It also tells that there are no Canadian, French or German WW1 vets still living.  It did not mention if any are still alive from the UK. 

Guess I will have to search that topic.

My grandfather, Willi Schridde, was a wounded vet of WW1, serving in the German Army.   I had asked a German man who I occasionally correspond with about the availability of German records at that time and he said that they were all classified.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Here are the remaining prints by Helmut Clausen.   This has produced a genealogical mystery.   My cousin in Germany told me that Helmut was not the son of Fritz Claassen and Lily Schridde Claassen.    She has talked to her mother, Gerda who is 84 years of age.  

My cousin also said that Fritz and Lily name was spelled Claassen as opposed to Clausen.    Mystery number one and mystery number two is who was Helmut and why did my grandmother have his prints?   Mystery number three and four  is Helmut the son of a brother of Fritz Claassen and why did my mother say he was a cousin?

The last mystery is why I do not get any information when I do a Google search for his name.   I even did a search on  

Helmut does a good job with the painting of water and the reflections.  That is difficult to do in water colors.  The reflections of light are good too.

Helmut Clausen water color prints8 Helmut Clausen water color prints7 Helmut Clausen water color prints6 Helmut Clausen water color prints5

Helmut Clausen water color prints4


Sometimes I just feel like I need a change, or I get bored with how the blog looks and I change the appearance.  I feel like the green is to encourage springtime.

I called my sister to wish her a Happy Birthday.   She wants to go to Ireland, and wanted to know if her other sisters wanted to go.   I HATE flying, never liked it since my first flight and I have logged many miles. 

I said I was interested and since she had 2012 in mind it will take me a long time to get used to the idea, and get a script for Valium. 

I have to looked into this potential trip.   What I want to do is find more information on  my O'Rourke side.   I have the Dowd side researched down to their town.   Even my sister thought it would be good to go to the town where our ancestors came from.  The research places are in Dublin and I would like to spend a day or two perusing the records there.    Guess I should start a list, which is what I love to do.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011



Helmut Clausen water color prints1 Helmut Clausen water color prints2

  Helmut Clausen water color prints3


Helmut Clausen water color prints9


Helmut Clausen water color prints10

I found these prints among my parents papers.   I remember seeing them when I was younger and I asked my mother about them.    She said they were her mothers (Anna Bartels) and I inquired who was the painter.   She said it was "a cousin"  The pictures are scenes in Hamburg, Germany

The man was Helmut Clausen.  With my research I found that Helmut was a first cousin of my mother.    Helmut's father was married to my grandfather's sister, Lily Schridde.   Helmut's fathers name was Fritz Clausen. 

I did a Google search for his name AND artist but did not find anything on the Internet.  I have the prints matted and  will find somewhere to hang them in my house.

They are all shades of blue and gray.   I wondered if those were the colors he  liked or if Hamburg is gray most of the time.    The interesting part is I also do watercolor painting as a hobby.   I plan to start painting again after retirement.

Will post more in this series later.

Friday, February 18, 2011



Last Saturday I went to the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society monthly lecture.   IT is free and what you have to do is pay $5 for the parking.  The $5 parking in Pittsburgh is really cheap.

The lecture was on using the New Family Search web site.   I have ALWAYS had trouble searching on this site, which admittedly I thought was operator error.   My theory was proven correct.

She talked for two hours and I learned a lot.  I was searching for too detailed of information.   I should look under generalities and the lecturer said that if it does not come up by the search it doesn't mean it is not there.

For example I was searching for Armstrong County, PA and it would not come up.   So I did as she suggested, I put in Pennsylvania, Armstrong and a lot of things magically appeared.   Each section has subsections and I have found church records and I now have to make a list and order then from the local LDS Family History Center.  

This searching should keep me busy for a long time.   Now, hopefully I can break some of self imposed brick walls.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


What was my favorite toy???   My favorite was one I never received....  When I was grade school my neighbor had a TERRI LEE DOLL  I thought this was the most special doll ever created.

In the fall my grandmother asked what I wanted for Christmas and I said the Terri Lee Doll.   I was so excited, and when Christmas arrived what did I get but a MADAME ALEXANDER DOLL   For me at age nine that was a great disappointment and I now realize that the Madame Alexander was probably more expensive than the Terri Lee but  I felt really let down.   I did not let her know how I felt.   I find it odd that fifty years later that I remember it still.

Another item I enjoyed were JACKS  We would play for hours on end it our fingers were raw and bloody.  Not really, but we did have a good time, perfected fine motor skills I suppose.

One Christmas I got a bicycle and it was a cobalt blue color and I really did love that bicycle.


My two accomplishments for this week are:  I have found two wills from men named Jacob Bowser.  All I have to do is head to Kittanning and look at their wills.   But, I have become wiser and will call first.  I am glad it is only a forty five minute drive.  
Second was today I went to monthly meeting of  the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society.   Today was a presentation by Debbie Kapp who talked about Exploring the New Family    I have always had trouble using the Family Search web site.  She covered four main places to search and explained the fine details of the web design.   There were a lot of things I did not know or perhaps missed.   I am now excited to go about their site and see what I can find.   
I had a feeling of disappointment when some book I would be interested in was located in the LDS Library in Salt Lake.   Debbie said that a lot of the same books are in other Libraries or genealogical societies.  I have to search more on that subject.  I should have deduced that myself, but now I know.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011



Once a month, on the second Tuesday, the Oakmont Genealogical Study Group meets.    It is a small group, we usually have some one speak and exchange ideas.

The topic starting with this year will be on going for the next five years.  The Civil War.   We can expect to see many lectures and articles written about that topic.   Olive Bowsers father would have been of the age to serve in the Civil War but I have not found any information mention his name in the Pennsylvania Archives.   Perhaps Jacob was his middle name.

Stopped by the LDS Church and checked their records from Armstrong County PA.    In the book of wills filed I found two Jacob Bowser, one who died in 1878 and one in 1893.   I need to go to the County Courthouse in Kittanning PA and see if I can check those records.   There are thousands of Bowsers from Armstrong County.

I just have to wait for the spring thaw.

Saturday, February 5, 2011



The first time I remember seeing television was when I was very young, probably about three or so.    We did not have a television and on Friday nights my parents and I would go to the neighbors and watch The Friday Night Fights.  I remember is was sponsored by Gillette.   The television was small and in black and white..   I must have thought this was the most boring thing in the world, I do not remember watching it but I remember being there.

When I was about thirteen my parents built a game room in the family home.   It was down in the basement and it was paneled with wood and it had two couches and a few end tables and a television.

We did indeed have a television but we weren't allowed to watch it.   On occasion the whole family would go and watch things like I LOVE LUCY, THE HONEYMOONERS WITH JACKIE GLEANSONMILTON BEREL, and TED MACK ORIGINAL AMATEUR HOUR  My husband remembers watching  CAPTAIN VIDEO at his neighbors.

After my brothers came along the television was now upstairs and we would spend the mornings watching TV westerns that were made for kids, this was soon followed by cartoons.   But after my dad came home from work we did not watch TV any more, Dad controlled the TV till bed time. 

I do not watch much television today.  Even today when people talk about what they watch I am sometimes clueless what they are talking about.


Just a bit irked about this show, or lack or it.    Last night I was all set and snuggled down to watch "Who Do You Think You Are?"  and it was not there.     It was a Steeler's special .  For the past two weeks everything that could have been learned and questioned has gone on 24/7 in this town.  There was no need to go over the obvious again and again.   I must add I am not a sports fan and I am in the minority in this town of sports nuts.

I checked the next local market one hundred miles from Pittsburgh and it was not there either.   This happens again in March with the basketball.   I thought that is why they had sports stations like ESPN.

I did find the airing this morning on the NBC website.   I will be glad when the game is over.  I still wish I had someone to do my research for me.  LOL

Thursday, February 3, 2011



2327 001

My childhood home and the house my parents built.

2327 Monroeville Rd 001

At an early stage of construction with my dads truck in the side yard.

Claudia Dowd 001

Me tethered to the play pen so I would not run into the street while they worked on the house.


My previous post about Doom and Gloom was posted (by me) on the wrong blog.   I decided to leave it there and I have to search and see how the same type of weather would have affected our ancestors?

Did most of them walk to work?  I think perhaps they did since most of them lived in the community where the factory was located.   Our great grandmothers probably we stay a home mothers raising the larger families.   If they did work I would suspect they would have done washing or housekeeping for someone else.

I know my grandmother Gertrude O'Rourke would do housekeeping for others.   I also remember that she did a weekly cleaning for a local Savings and Loan to supplement her income.   I went with her one morning and had to sit still in a chair while she cleaned.   Since the Savings and Loan was a few miles away from her home, we took the street car and I remember the far was about a dime.

My other grandmother Anna Bartels work cleaning the local school HOMEVILLE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL.  I note that this school was built in 1939 and that was just a bit after her husband, my grandfather, Willi Schridde had been killed by a lightening strike.   This school was a ten minute walk from her home.

Willie Schridde worked as a millwright at the DUQUESNE STEEL WORKS and they lived up the hill from the plant.   The men walked to work, which was downhill and I do not know if they was trolley service  back up the hill.   Something I had never thought about before.

Thomas Dowd lived near the  EDGAR THOMPSON US STEEL WORKS plant and the men also would have walked to work.   Our grandfathers and great grandfathers did a lot of back breaking work.

I have a little more exploration to do on these two Steel Mills and snow storms of the past.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Weather forecast that is, is over and done for South Western PA.   After listening to the forecast since Saturday or Sunday in my neck of the woods it was essentially a non event.

That may be due to the fact that I did not have to go to work on Tuesday....I did hear of ice and accidents.   Somehow, they never cancel work. 

The major icing did not happen and on Tuesday it was warm enough to warm and melt a lot of the ice.  The ice on my driveway was about an inch and down at the bottom it was about two inches thick.   

When I got home from work today it seems that the melting occurred at the bottom of the ice and it was cracking and there was space underneath.    I got out my metal shovel, I do not know what kind of shovel it is but it done the job.   I was able to spend about a half hour hitting the ice, breaking it off, and tossing it in the yard and out of the driveway. 

The driveway is virtually free of snow and ice and I like it that way.   No ice on the steps or sidewalk.   Most of the snow melted on the roof and the melting water is about finished.

I can not believe that the groundhog said it will be an early spring. It remains to be seen, but I have a hard time believing a large rodent with a weather forecast.