Friday, September 30, 2011



Or at least it seem that way.   I seem to go in spurts in blogging.   I hope I am on the up side now…….I have been researching my husbands side for the past few months.    He seems to have more interesting ancestors than I.    This is because they arrived from 1733 to the early 1800’s.

My Irish relatives came over in the 1880’s and my mother and her parents came over in 1926.   I find the Irish and German research to be very difficult.    I found a lot of information after their arrival but not a lot in Europe.

I find  it unusual is the fact that both of our families settled in Pennsylvania and STAYED THERE.   How rare is that?  I have been perusing the local county Historical Societies and looking on the Gen Web site for those counties.   I guess a road trip will be in order.  The good thing is that they are no more than a two hour drive away.


I felt the need for a little autumnal color.


Sunday, September 25, 2011



My father had the philosophy that children should eat what they are served. This was the result of his growing up during the depression.  And my mom served things that only my father liked.  The most disgusting and repulsive food to me were creamed Lima Beans.  

The texture was gritty and flavorless.   He seemed to like everything creamed, including spinach, lima beans and corn.   Why anyone likes cream on vegetables still escapes me to this day.  

He also liked raw onions in everything and the worst were meatloaf and hamburgers.   I remember picking out the onions  in everything I could find, and I do not eat them now.  My mother bought a blender years ago and chopped up the onions and celery that she put in the stuffing because I would sit and pick them out of the dressing.

We had to finish everything on our plates and I would sit in the dark in the kitchen, gagging and holding my nose while I had to eat what was there.

I still do not eat Lima Beans and will pick them out of vegetable and make a nice, neat little pile of them on my dish.  They are a vegetable invented to punish children.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I am both happy and sad at the same time.   I contacted the person ("me") who had posted the information for the grave at Freeport Cemetery.   I was interested in Mary A Bowser who had died on 17 February 1914. 

This was in the area of possibilities for the death of Olive(Maud) Bowser Stephens mother.   Olive had indicated in her second marriage license application 6 June 1914 that both of her parents (Jacob Bowser and Mary Murphy) had died.

I sent an email to "me" inquiring about her/his posting. The grave had been moved to Red Oak and I actually had two questions.   The first was about Mary A Bowser and where was Red Oak.

"Me" replied that Mary A Bowser that was buried was only three years old and they also searched the rest of the Bowsers and no one there fit into my criteria.   The Red Oak was adjacent to Freeport Cemetery.   She/he said in fact not too many people knew that Red Oak had been part of Freeport.

I sent a "thank you" email back and was glad to get the information.   That is one of the myriad of cemeteries in Armstrong County PA that I can take off my list....I was really glad for the reply and history about the cemetery.

Monday, September 19, 2011


This weekend was very busy for me.  After perusing the plethora of Bowser Family trees I could not find a death date for Mary Ann Bowser.   On her daughters second marriage license application in June of 1914 they were both listed as deceased. 

So, having nothing much better to do, I went on find a grave and electronically visited every listed cemetery in Armstrong County.   I found one single grave Mary A Bowser, 17 February 1914.   Moved to Oak Ridge.    This is a likely candidate, but where is Oak Ridge and who had her moved.   I have to give them a call and Google Oak Ridge.

I visited my cousin Helen, her grandfather and my husbands grandmother  were siblings.  She shared (very generously I may add) her folders on one side of the family.  I spent the better part of yesterday going through and copying files.   The family names were Feldkamp and Honerkamp.   Both sides came from the Kingdom of Hanover in the early 1830-1840 era.   She had copied many census records and I searched Ancestry to see what I could find but there were no census records to be found on these families.  I have to talk to her and see where she got her records.   I wonder who is doing the indexing, I have a suspicion that it is not someone that English is their native language.

I did find one nugget of information and it was a death of death on one of the descendants of Johan Feldkamp.   Helen did not have this record.  Now I will search the Diocese of Pittsburgh Archives and see what they might have.   The first Catholic Church in Pittsburgh was founded in 1808 and that parish was St. Patrick.  There were a few German parishes founded a few years after that.

Each answer brings more questions.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011



Since I found the parents of Olive Bowser I have been looking at online trees, census records and the documentation of the Bowser Family in the early Pennsylvania history.   I have found that the Bowsers/Bausser/Bauser/Basur came to the USA in 1733.   It seems that a whole group of the family left Switzerland and headed for Philadelphia.

I have found them in Montgomery, Lancaster, York, Bedford, Somerset, and Armstrong County Pennsylvania.  I find much information, but what is right and documentable?   

For example I have the names of two different women as wives for Valentine Bowser.   Was he married twice and who is the mother of Daniel Bowser?    My Mary Murphy has a father named Thomas and was living with her and Jacob A. Bowser in Pennsylvania in 1860.   Someone else has him living in Iowa.  The two names are the same but they can not be in the same place at the same time.

I have written to a few of the owners of the trees and I hope someone answers so I can figure this out.   I find personally when something does not feel right, it usually isn’t.

More work tomorrow and I know this is going to be a long project.   The fascinating thing is how people have been able to trace this family back to the late 1600’s in Switzerland.   How much of it can I prove to be correct?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


It was a cool, bright and sunny Autumn day.  I met my husband at the local family restaurant for breakfast because I was not scheduled to work that day.   Several of the local police usually stopped at the same  restaurant.  

One of the detectives got a phone call and said "A plane has hit the World Trade Center."   My initial thought was that is was small Cessna type plane.   Soon more calls and the police had to leave.   The detective stated that the thinking was it is a terrorist attack.

Next I went to get my hair cut and by then a second plane had hit and rumors were swirling.  I went home to watch the TV and the reports of another hijacked plane and it was thought to be over Cleveland.   Since my daughter was in college in Cleveland, and not too far from Hopkins Airport I was really getting upset.  I tried to call her but she was in class, at least I hoped she was.  

Next came the report that the plane had turned and was in Pittsburgh's air space.   Scenes of horror were imagined as I tried to think if Pittsburgh was the target.  No Pittsburgh wasn't, the plane was now flying East over Southwest PA. 

Then a crash just east of Pittsburgh............I kept waiting to hear of more hijacking and heavens knows what else.   I sat with morbid fascination, dread and fear while watching the collapse of the towers.    I wondered why people were told not to leave the twin towers, I was feeling that if I was there I would have left.  

It was one of the scariest event in my life as well as others.   My daughter's classes were cancelled and I worried about her.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Actually, I have been spending a lot of time and psychic energy worrying about my daughter who lives near the Susquehanna River in NE PA.   She lives more to the center of town and not on the edges.   She is a RN and works at the local Medical Center.

She did not get any water in her basement but many people did.   There are levees on the river and the river got quite close to the top.   The next town down, Athens PA, the river breached the levees and flooded the town.  What she has to do is boil the water and the sewer system is not functioning.   If the levees had been breached in her town I can not imagine the damage that would have happened.

The hospital has cancelled the elective surgery for two days and she is hoping to be able to get back to work.   Being off is fine when you have something to do.   The town, Sayre PA, has a great Facebook page and they have been updating the townspeople with all the needed information.  

My great grandparents and their family lived near the banks of Turtle Creek.  This was long before any flood control.   My grandmother would talk about the many floods and how they had to move everything to the top floor and then the massive clean up afterwards.  After the parents died her sister Mary O'Rourke told her brother William, O'Rourke to sell the family house and move because she just could not clean a house like that again.

  The did sell and move up on a bluff overlooking the old house and the creek.  The old family house and beyond it is the bluff where they moved.  The town was called East Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011



pictures I took  asst dates 220

Tom and Gerda taken in Erie PA,  early 1940’s.

Monday, September 5, 2011



Since last Thursday when my fellow Bowser researcher generously gave me the names of the next Bowsers in my and her family, I have been perusing all sorts of sites and posted family trees.

I have a lot of information and now trying to make sense of it.   The biggest thing that caught my eye is the number of people who just post names and dates all willy-nilly. 

I really wondered if they had read and correlated the dates of birth and deaths of the parents and they children they have posted.   

For example, one of the ancestors had his first child at the age of 11 and one wife continued to have children fifteen years after her posted death…..with no mention of a second wife or marriage.

This also happened to another ancestor I was following, he did not emigrate to the USA but someone working on his line had him here years before my great grandfather emigrated and was 13 when his son  was born.

This is going to make my job quite complex.   Are the dates of birth and deaths of the parents wrong or do the children listed belong to another branch of the Bowser family?    I have not written to any of these people, how can I mention that their math skills and assessment skills leave a lot to be desired.

Does anyone else find this a problem?

Friday, September 2, 2011


Wednesday I spent the afternoon at the ARMSTRONG COUNTY GENEALOGICAL LIBRARY  A member there is researching the sister of Jacob A Bowser. I had copied the marriage application of Olive Bowser Stephens where I found Mary Murphy, Olives mother. 

She share with me the names and dates of four more previous  generations of Jacob A Bowser.  That was VERY exciting to me because it takes me back to the 1600's.  Now with this information I can search and document the information. She said she did not have the documentation because she had started thirty years ago and did not cite her sources back then.   It is easier to search if you have names and dates. 

Guess I will be busy on this line for a very long time.