All things history and genealogy.

All things history and genealogy.

Tag: stories

The ancestor quest: humor, poems and prose for Genealogists.

I have gathered and transcribed several items of humor, poems and prose for Genealogists that have touched me in some way. The ones I have selected and printed below are my favorites of the hundreds that can be found – and the ones that hit home the most.


Dear Ancestor


Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
So many years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.



 Genealogy – where you confuse the dead and irritate the living.



Murphy’s Law for Genealogists


The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated and at which the platform collapsed under him turned out to be a hanging.

When at last after much hard work you have solved the mystery you have been working on for two years, your aunt says, “I could have told you that.”

You grandmother’s maiden name that you have searched for four years was on a letter in a box in the attic all the time.

You never asked your father about his family when he was alive because you weren’t interested in genealogy then.

The will you need is in the safe on board the Titanic.

Copies of old newspapers have holes occurring only on the surnames.

John, son of Thomas, the immigrant whom your relatives claim as the family progenitor, died on board ship at
age 10.

Your gr. grandfather’s newspaper obituary states that he died leaving no issue of record.

The keeper of the vital records you need has just been insulted by an another genealogist.

The relative who had all the family photographs gave them all to her daughter who has no interest in genealogy and no inclination to share.

The only record you find for your gr. grandfather is that his property was sold at a sheriff’s sale for insolvency.

The one document that would supply the missing link in your dead-end line has been lost due to fire, flood or war.

The town clerk to whom you wrote for the information sends you a long handwritten letter which is totally illegible.

The spelling for your European ancestor’s name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.

None of the pictures in your recently deceased grandmother’s photo album have names written on them.

No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, owned property, was sued or was named in wills.

You learn that your great aunt’s executor just sold her life’s collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer “somewhere in New York City.”

Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversely proportional to the value of the data recorded.

The 37 volume, sixteen thousand page history of your county of origin isn’t indexed.

You finally find your gr. grandparent’s wedding records and discover that the brides’ father was named John Smith.



Whoever said “Seek and ye shall find” was not a genealogist.


Strangers in the Box


Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I’ve often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, and serene.

I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories,
Are lost among my socks.

I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I’ll never know their ways.

If only someone had taken time,
To tell, who, what, where, and when,
These faces of my heritage,
Would come to life again.

Could this become the fate,
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories,
Someday to be passed away?

Take time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours,
Could be strangers in the box.

Originally posted 2016-04-26 10:17:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

New Link: Online Newspapers Archive

Learning of this online newspapers archive site was very exciting to me. Some of the most valuable information we can find in our genealogical search comes from newspaper accounts because they provide a more detailed reflection of the lives of our ancestors – not just facts and figures. I have added this link to the main ‘Genealogy Links’ page in the top menu.


Online newspapers archive.
Online newspapers archive.

The Online Newspapers Archive site endeavours to centralize the thousands of historical newspapers from various sources in one location.

The first newspapers I looked for were those in the Acadian territories of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick before, during and after the expulsion. My family names do show in the papers available after 1850, but it will take some time to sift through them.

The newspapers for Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois and Kentucky also look promising as a great deal of our family history took place in these states.

One great disappointment, though is that there is nothing yet for the United Kingdom.

Although there are great gaps in the newspapers available for some geographical regions, what is available could provide that ‘gem’ one or more of us have been seeking.

I definitely intend to investigate this site further.

Transcription: Wogaman, Burkett and Holdery – Burkhart — Burckhardt — Burket — Burkett

Transcription: Wogaman, Burkett and Holdery – Burkhart — Burckhardt — Burket — Burkett



Author:     Ezra McFall Kuhns
Publisher:     [Dayton, Ohio? : s.n., 1948]
Series:      Genealogy & local history, G7296.

(First Page)

Burket Family Bio
Burket Family Bio – Wogaman, Burkett, Holdery

It has been said that Emanuel Burkhart whose home was in one of the Swiss Cantons, probably Berne, had two sons who came to America, sometime between 1742 and 1754. One of these is said to have been Jonathan and the other Christian. Rupp’s records no persons by either of these names, until the arrival on November 22, 1752, on the ship St. Michael, of Johann Burckhard, and on September 24, 1753, the arrival on the ship Neptune, of Johannes Burkhart. There is listed, however, the arrival on the ship Rosanna, on September 26, 1743, of Heinrich Burckhart. This person so nearly fits in with the known facts of the case, as to lead to the belief that this Henry, to use the English equivalent of his first name, was the progenitor of the family under discussion, in America. There is not much support to the traditional name of Jonathan, and it could easily be the case, in any event, that like thousands of others, there was the first name “Johan”, by which he might have been known, but omitted from the registration. It is stated that the immigrant’s wife died at sea, and that the father died four years after arrival. There were four children, Salome, probably the eldest, born August 14, 1734, Jehu, Nathaniel, and probably another boy said to have been named Christian. Salome, according to well authenticated statements, was seven years of age upon arrival, and this fact, as well as her marriage in 1759, she being then of marriageable age, seems to be controlling in fixing the approximate time of the arrival in America, that is at about the time of the arrival of Henry as above stated. Jehu married Madalene (Motlene) Croll or Kroll, who was the daughter of Ulric Croll, of Elizabeth township, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, who came to America on August 19, 1729, aged 27 years, on the ship Mortonhouse. The brothers moved to Frederick county, Maryland, residing and working there at their trade, as well as farming, from about 1768 to 1775, after which Jehu and family moved to Reedy creek on the Yadkin, Rowan county, North Carolina. About 1809, Jehu moved to Montgomery county, Ohio, and became the owner of a 112-acre tract located on Salem pike, a few miles north of the city of Dayton, opposite the Brethren church at Ft. McKinley, Jehu died in 1823, and his wife a few years before. He was the first Bishop or Elder of the church of the Brethren (Dunkard) in this vicinity, and assisted in the organization of the Lower Stillwater church of that denomination (still flourishing at Ft. McKinley) and out of which church sprung the church at “Happy Corners”. Despite his connection with one of the peace loving sects, Jehu seems to have served in the North Carolina troops in the Revolution, was paid a fairly large sum presumably for military services. Again, in a muster roll of Capt. Andrew Long’s company of Col. Samuel Miles’ rifle regiment of Pennsylvania troops, taken on June 4, 1776, appears the name of “Jehu Burket”. This company came from western Bucks county, and there is authority for the statement that Jehu’s wife’s people were, or had been, formerly residents of that region. It could easily be possible that Jehu had returned to Pennsylvania before finally settling in North Carolina, and enrolled for a short time only as the records of that company would indicate, after which he returned to Maryland or North Carolina. From the extreme infrequency of the name Jehu, and the singular fact of it being attached in this case to the last name “Burket”, it appears to the writer as more than a coin

(Second Page)

Wogaman, Burkett, Holdery 2
Wogaman, Burkett, Holdery

cidence. This conclusion might be further justified from the fact of the somewhat roving disposition of the person in question, who in the course of this life, removed three or four different times, and to distant points. Jehu and Motlene had nine children, Henry being the fourth. He, Henry, was born on May 13, 1771, in Maryland. On December 25, 1793, Henry married Elizabeth Rinker, in North Carolina, who was born on June 22, 1772, and who died on February 9, 1836. About 1815 or 1816 this family came to Montgomery county, where Henry’s father had already located. Henry acquired 400 or more acres of land on the so-called Stringtown pike, in Madison township, about a mile or so north of the village of Trotwood, and about the same distance west of the settlement on the Salem pike formerly known as Taylorsburg. He died in September 1817, leaving a will which was probated in due course. Henry and Elizabeth had the following children, all born in North Carolina: Mary (sometimes called Mollie) born October 27, 1794; John, born December 27, 1795; George, born November 23, 1797; Elizabeth, born September 7, 1801; Isaac, born February 3, 1803; Charles, born March 13, 1805; Amelia, born December 8, 1807; Anne, born December 8, 1809; Martin, born October 5, 1811; and Barbara, born April 20, 1815.

As previously stated in this narrative, Mary the first child of Henry and Elizabeth, married John Wogaman the second, on August 18, 1818, and their child was George, who married Catherine Hilderbrick on June 15, 1843. She was born on July 17, 1824, the daughter of David Mary Hilderbrick, and Mary was the daughter of George and Elizabeth Holtry.

In connection with what has been said as to Jehu Burket, it should be mentioned that the material is based somewhat on a History of the Burgner family, published in 1892. This narrates an interview, in 1889, with a granddaughter of Salome Burket. This granddaughter well remembered Salome the sister of Jehu. She had married a Burgner, and after her husband’s death lived in Maryland near Frederick. Also, a pamphlet on the Burket family, prepared by Mr. John M. Burkett, of Washington, D. C., has been useful and most essential in establishing some of the important facts of the story of this family. It should also be mentioned that the family migrated in large numbers to Indiana in the early part of the nineteenth century, and many members have achieved prominence both in civil and professional walks of life, including farming and other lines of business.


The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.


I have been researching my family’s genealogy for over twenty years and my appreciation of the tireless and volunteer contributions in the pursuit of genealogy is endless.


All of our continuing efforts to expand our own genealogies do contribute to the cumulative effort of us all to save and expand our genealogical resources.


At one time, the only options for researching outside one’s own community were to depend on the mail system at the time or to travel to the location involved.

Although mail was relatively inexpensive, the flexibility of performing research oneself was lost. There was no opportunity to just dive right in and pursue a lead found in the return information. One would then have to mail another request, and then another, and then another – making this process time-consuming.

Submit Hall
Submit Hall

Travel to the location(s) in question could be very expensive, but resulted in the opportunity to pursue leads found while on site. If new information led to other organizations, agencies, museums, archives, etc. within the area, it was possible to also visit and do further research. This option provided a much more timely method of researching.

Genealogy has evolved considerably with the advent of the personal computer. Now, one can travel the world, visit museums and historical sites, communicate with organizations virtually, as well as doing research using free and paid sites online. The immediacy and flexibility of researching genealogy is something to be marveled at.

How was this possible?

This evolution started with passionate and dedicated volunteers and individuals who began transcribing physical records, collecting photos and images of documents, and placing them in online archives, databases and in specialty archive sites. For the most part, these resources were free and available to everyone.

With some sadness, I have watched a major shift take place in the short time since I began. As the popularity of genealogy became evident, commercial sites and paid services suddenly appeared online – the most noted of which being .

Barker, William Sr. - Accused in Salem Witch Trials
Barker, William Sr. – Accused in Salem Witch Trials

It was still possible to find considerable free information and resources online, but those who had the funds and wanted to save time and effort could pay for subscriptions to make their search easier. Those of us with limited funds began setting up our own sites posting tips and information for other genealogists.

The newest shift I’ve been seeing is the trend for paid services and sites to ‘buy out’ free resources and add them to their paid catalog, leaving paid sites as the only option.

I still consider genealogy as a historical ‘treasure hunt’, one which I pursue with great effort and pleasure. I love nothing better than to discover an obscure site offering valuable information and this blog has provided the venue for me to post this information and assist others.

All links I find to valuable sites can be found in the ‘Genealogy Links’ tab above. Another update with dozens of new links will be completed soon.

Ambler, Joseph and Williams, Ann Wedding Certificate. Let's all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.
Ambler, Joseph and Williams, Ann Wedding Certificate.  Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.

I think it is important for us to try and preserve the free resources that remain, and possibly add new ones. This is only possible through the efforts of volunteers and the willingness of those of us researching to share information for free. I have made all information from my research available in the ‘Blythe Database’ in the tab above, including sources. Unfortunately, in order to include photos and images, I would have to start my own server. I do wish I could though, because the gold in the genealogy treasure for me has always been photos and images of documents, etc. I will say, though, that the images in my articles are either owned by me, credited to the rightful owner or under free commons license (credit requirements). Feel free to use any images on my site, but please be sure to include the photo credit. A credit to this site on the ones I own (uncredited) would be appreciated.

How can we all help to encourage and preserve free information?

Here are just a few ideas.

  • Start a website of your own and freely post any information you are willing to share.
  • Donate physical items to genealogical and historical societies, museums, libraries and archives that provide free services to the field.
  • Start a newsletter or contribute to existing newsletters to collect and provide information to other researchers.
  • Offer your services to anyone researching in your area through services such as RAOGK (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness), which has since shut down indefinitely due to the illness and death of its Administrator, Bridgett Schneider.
  • Volunteer in ways to add to or improve what is available. Examples include transcription of documents, taking and submitting photographs of historical and/or genealogical importance, voluntary work at a location providing free services and resources, and conducting and documenting interviews for first hand accounts.

I am still actively pursuing my research and operating my sites, Empty Nest Ancestry and Blythe Genealogy. All data I’ve accumulated, including images, documents, links and sources is available for free access and download on Blythe Genealogy. Feel free to check it out by searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the upper drop down menu.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

If you have new information of relevance to genealogy, or are willing to volunteer your services to provide research in your area on behalf of others and would like to spread the word about your own efforts in this regard, or just plain news of interest, please let me know and I’d be glad to post it here.

Guest posts are welcomed but are subject to Editor review and may not be accepted. If accepted, the author will be given credit for the article and can include two nofollow links.

Please consider making information you have available to others in any way possible and for as little cost as possible and volunteer and/or donate to those who do if you can. Let’s keep our voluntary and free networks operating and providing for researchers in the future.

We must know the genealogy questions before we can find the answers.


It has become increasingly apparent recently that there are two distinct schools of thought regarding quality and depth in genealogy research.

There are the genealogists who believe in working only with well-sourced, proven information – and then there are those of us who started our genealogical quests simply for the pleasure of doing so.

Before either camp can begin searching for answers, they much first know the genealogy questions.


My own research (see my Blythe Database) started with a curiosity about our history because I grew up in a military family that moved a great deal, and therefore I had very little opportunity to meet with near and distant family members to learn family stories and lore.

I do agree with the article “Take time to produce well-sourced, quality work,” on the Genealogy Today site, in which they respond to another article by Sharon Tate Moody in the Tampa Tribune, entitled “Drive-by genealogists should learn a few rules.”

I am one who looks at unsourced information as possible clues to breaking down brick walls and answering questions. Although the information itself may be unsourced and seen as questionable, it can be regarded as a clue.

When I receive gedcoms from others, or access information online, I do not discard what could be valuable information simply because there are no sources cited. I note the information, making it part of my own database, intending to return to it, find and cite concrete sources as I can.

Yes, I’ve found mistakes, but I have also found wonderful information allowing me to enlarge upon my family’s own stories.

I believe in the researchers’ responsibility for assessing the quality of the data they receive from others. I never take sources cited by others at face value, always working to find the sources cited and attach concrete proof in the form of images, etc.

Although a great deal of the Blythe Database attached to this site is not sourced, the majority of it is – the result of tireless work and ever increasing expense over 15 years. I have a clearly stated ‘Data Quality’ disclaimer linked in the upper horizontal menu of every page and post, and it states:

“The Blythe Database is my genealogy research in its entirety and is an ongoing process. I spend a minimum of four hours a day researching sources to verify data.

I have been researching genealogy for over fifteen years and you will note that I classify all sources by quality. If it is a poor quality source it is clearly indicated as such…

…It is common for there to be gaps in data and sources and in these cases I will use the individual anyway and either leave sources blank (indicating no sources found) or will clearly indicate source quality. It is up to the person using the data to use the information as classified.

I continually search out sources and documents to verify data and improve on substantiation. I have made some of my best discoveries using unsourced data as a starting point and I would hate for those clues to not be available.

This site is an effort to provide open, free sharing of genealogical information. However, all information is only as good as the sources cited.

I will gladly make corrections to data providing the information provided can be substantiated by the submitter with a source…”

Let’s face it: it’s quickly getting to the point where information gleaned from others will rarely include sources, images, etc. as more and more researchers become protective of their data. I understand as I struggle with my decision to openly share ALL of my information, but ultimately feel I’ve made the right decision, hopefully promoting more open and cooperative sharing of data by others as well.

Genealogy is a passion for me – and others. I enjoy the hunt as much as finding those elusive facts and sources. Maybe it’s my inner detective struggling to get out. Whatever the reason, my database will always have a substantial amount of unsourced data as I continually stumble upon new and hopefully ‘breakthrough’ information. I do, however, spend as much time as I can finding evidence and sources, but find (and I’m sure others do as well) that each new discovery raises numerous new questions, and finding those answers takes a great deal of time and effort.

There will never be an end to my quest…

photo credit: droetker0912 via photopin cc