Friday, July 31, 2009

They arrived!

Yesterday my two other microfilms arrived at the FHC. I went through the Halstead marriage records, still none for my ancestors, but a few for their siblings. The roll also happened to have marriage banns from Knockholt, Kent, where I have relatives from! Again, none for direct ancestors, but some for siblings, including one of the siblings from Halstead, who married a man in Knockholt. That was a nice surprise:-) The records from Roccaromana, Caserta, Italy also came in and I can't read them. Now, obviously I realize I can not read the Italian, but it is so tiny (it's one of those small microfilms) that I cannot make out any of the words/letters. I am going to buy a magnifying glass, but I'm not sure that will help enough. Any recommendations are more than welcome!

Today my birth/death/marriage certificates came in from Buffalo. It took just a week and a day from ordering them, which is really decent time. Unfortunately, the marriage record couldn't be found, but the index was fuzzy, so I think I must have guessed the wrong year. Next time I'm there I'll check the library microfilm, which might have the record.

I received death certificates for:
  • Charles Herman Eichhorn, which has his parents names, Nicholas Eichhorn and Dora Schneider, and shows I had the right family in Canada! Now I have to continue my search there and eventually back to Germany. He was buried at Buffalo Cemetery and hopefully his wife is next to him, as I have no idea when she died.
  • Elizabeth Whitehead, my great aunt, who died at 9 days old. The death cause is different than the one listed in the church records; this one makes more sense (cerebral hemorrhage).
  • Maria Tross, which has her maiden name as Strassheim (on a marriage record of her child it looked like Crossheim or Crosshein). It also says she was buried in Buffalo Cemetery, so hopefully I can find some info on her husband (Wenzel/Wesley Tross) there and in her obituary.
  • Mrs. A. [Barbara] Fleeman. She died in 1870, so there is pretty much no information, other than she was born in France about 1824, but no maiden name. Also no cemetery, but based on her probate file, they might not have been able to afford burying her.
  • Adam L. Fleeman. Not my ancestor as hoped, but rather his grandson, who died at 3 months, 24 days. He is buried in Forest Lawn, so I will go visit next time I am in Buffalo.
I received birth certificates for some of the siblings of my ancestors as follows:
  • William Tross Eichhorn, son of William F. and Augusta (Tross) Eichhorn.
  • Clara Evelyn Eichhorn, daughter of the same.
  • Adeline Whitehead, daughter of Charles and Anna M. (Sanderson) Whitehead.
  • Amelia Angela Maria Casilla [sic] daughter of Marcantonio and Carolina (Izzo) Casillo.
Time to go update the Legacy file:-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Story of Me

My parents were high school sweethearts. Apparently my father liked a dress my mother was wearing and then they took a class together and started dating. She was a freshman and he was a sophomore. It also didn't hurt that my mom's best friend was my dad's sister, so it was easy for them to meet.

After my mom got her associates degree my parents married. It was 5 September 1980, my mom was 20 and my dad 21. About five months later my mom was pregnant with me.

I was due on Thanksgiving and the story goes that my great aunt Marilyn wanted me named Tom Turkey if I was a boy (this is the same aunt that later convinced one of my cousins that my aunt was pregnant with a mouse, a la Stuart Little). I ended up not coming on Thanksgiving, or the week after, and the doctors had decided to come get me on 10 December. Even in the womb I didn't like being told what to do, so I decided to make my entrance on the 9th instead.

According to my father, while driving to the hospital he stopped at Ted's (a fantastic hot dog restaurant in Buffalo, NY) and grabbed a hot dog. My mother doesn't recall this, although she said it is possible...

I came out screaming (and haven't been quiet since) and received a 9+ out of 10 on my tests (always the high achiever:-)). As you can see from the picture, I was also completely adorable.

As the first grandchild on both sides, my parents wanted to honor my grandmothers with my name. Both grandmothers said no to their first names (Marlyn and Agnes) and one to her middle name as well (Loretta). Therefore, my middle name became Elizabeth, my paternal grandmothers middle name. It also happened to be my mothers middle name and one that has much family history. My first name I believe came from a soap opera, which is why there are so many Amandas my age.

Wordless Wednesday - Charles and Anna May (Sanderson) Whitehead

Scanned at my Aunt Lois's home in Florida. I am not sure who the child is.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Joseph and Sophia Gresz

Joseph J. and Sophia Gresz buried at Forest Lawn cemetery in Buffalo, Erie Co., New York. They are my great-great-great-grandparents. This is the nicest stone I've found so far for my family. I am amazed it is in such great shape considering its age. If only Sophia had made sure her maiden name was on it...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Amanda's Excellent (Genealogical) Adventure (Day 2)

Last Thursday began in Buffalo, this time I was spending the day with my Grandmother. We headed out to Forest Lawn in between rain storms and hoped for the best. The man at the desk was tremendously helpful and found the location of Gottlieb Finck and Joseph and Sophia Gresz. We walked over to the Gresz stone first, as it was located right behind the office. It is a large, very nice stone. We then drove to the end of the cemetery and found Gottlieb's, which matches his wife Barbara's. We were trying to find Barbara's (we had found it on our last trip, it's in the same area). After a couple minutes of searching I returned to Gottlieb's, as in front of it I had seen a granite Mason symbol. Hoping it belonged to him (maybe there was an arrow...) I started pulling the grass and weeds away... and found another tombstone for him! This one was older and had the same dates, but had his last name as "Fink." Why does he have two stones? This is a mystery for another day...

After our adventure it was time for me to head back to Syracuse, as 3 of my FamilyHistory Center films had come in. I arrived before the volunteers and anxiously waited in my car. Upon the center opening I put in film one of Halstead, Kent, England parish records and hoped to find the baptismal record of Thomas Hayman. Much to my amazement, it was the first one! With that good omen, I kept reading the records, which are filled of my Hayman and Whitehead relatives! The man next to me was impressed by all the writing I was doing and I just said "He was the first one!!!" Small English CoE parish records are my new favorite genealogy records, as I have about 30 pages of written notes from the parish records and two bishop's transcripts for the area. I just finished the second microfilm as they closed. I can't wait to go back Wednesday to check out my Ontario land records and go over the parish films again.

Currently, I am trying to figure out how/if all of these people are related. The earlier records (early and mid 1700's) were really difficult to read, so I skipped over them to the early 1800's, and I have to feeling a lot of the answers I need lie in them. Following the lead of the man next to me on the microfilm reader I will be bringing a magnifying glass... I also have 2 more films that should be arriving soon, another of Halstead records and my Italy records, which will really be testing my skills.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Amanda's Excellent (Genealogical) Adventure (Day 1)

It began Wednesday at 6:40am. This is when I left my apartment and headed toward the inactive records center in Buffalo. I arrived shortly after their opening at 9am and was directed to the new CD version of the Buffalo death index, available for 1852 - 1944. Someone has recently scanned the book indexes and created pdf files that you can view on the computer. This makes it much easier for the workers, as they do not have to bring out the huge index books for every searcher who visits. I ordered death certificates for 4 of my ancestors, meaning I only could not find one I was searching for. I also ordered one for my great-aunt who died as a baby. These should arrive in my mailbox sometime next week.

I then moved on to birth indexes. It is here that I must thank Marvin, who happily lugged out 10 different index books for me to go through. He was the most happy and helpful government worker I have ever met. I ordered a couple of my ancestors sibling's records, as I am a big fan of cluster genealogy.

Lastly I looked at the marriage index which is located on microfilm and found the listing of one of my great-great grandparents and ordered this certificate as well. Unfortunately, the other listing I was hoping to find was not there:-(

At about 11:30 I left and went to the central Buffalo & Erie County library branch. My goal there was death notices and I did rather well, finding 8 of 13. The multitude of Buffalo newspapers in the late 18- and early 1900's make it a challenge, as you will find the death listing in a "vital records" section, but the death notice will be listed in another paper. I am hopeful that I will be able to find the rest, plus those of the people whose death certificates I just ordered, on my next trip.

This was the end of genealogy for day one, outside of showing my finds to my mother and grandmother. I will post on day 2 at a later time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Old Marcellus Village Cemetery

As part of my RAOGK volunteering, I went to the Old Marcellus Village Cemetery in Marcellus, Onondaga, New York. An inactive cemetery located right in the middle of the village. This is my new favorite cemetery for a multitude of reasons, most shown here.

First, it has the following notice outside the cemetery gate:


Here rest the forefathers who gave so much character to the community that they founded. We cannot forget those old families, who built fine homes, lived wholesome lives and contributed in a large measure to the life of the community.

Here rests many a soldier of the American Revolution, of the War of 1812, of the Civil War, their warfare over. Here they all sleep among their kindred, waiting "till the day breaks and the shadows flee away."

There is no one to speak for or guard the remains of those interred in the heart of our village. There is no one to preserve the memories of and the legacy from our past. There is no one but us.

Please treat this area with respect.

It seems to work at least a bit, this is an old cemetery, but in relatively decent shape.

Many stones that are no longer in decent shape, due to weather or
breakage, have these little replacement stones with
name, death date and war veteran information: Imagine if all cemeteries could do this! Kudos to whomever has undertaken this task!

Lastly, come two of my favorite ever tombstones, the first was located next to a small tree at one point. The tree h
as now grown around it.

Inscription reads: "In Memory of the widow Thankful Bachelor, who died June 3, 1805 in the 81 year of hes Age." What a fantastic married name! I wonder what she thought of this name

Monday, July 20, 2009

Postcard - London Pubs

In 2001, I had a friend who was studying in London for a semester. When I went to visit over Thanksgiving break we went on a pub crawl and I bought this postcard for my scrapbook. It is glued to the paper, hence no back available. I recall having a lot of fun on "Thanksgiving" night...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

“It will remind you what a great person you are”

Please read this wonderful article on writing an autobiography/journal. A man with short-term memory lost works to remember by reading his autobiography. The link was posted by Kathy Gunter Sullivan on the Rootsweb TGF list.

Sons of England Benevolent (or Benefit) Society

The obituary of my 3rd great grandfather, Charles Whitehead, invited members of the Sons of England Benevolent Society to his funeral.

From what I can find online, this appears to be a society that helps lower class protestants from England in Canada get health insurance and burial plots in hopes of gaining support for the monarchy. As Charles was Church of England, I assume he was a member and helped others with these things. There are some microfilms available that have membership rolls, that would be interesting to find. I am also trying to find a book or website that explains this society in some depth, but so far have come up short. More information as soon as I can find it:-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


"Cherry" she would call and I would stand up from the porch step and run to the right, not touching the driveway, around the first tree, staying in front of the small the small flower garden, but out of the road, and around the second tree as she chased me. With her hand outstretched I just reached the porch. Safe... for now...

The thing I remember most about summers as a child was playing outside with the neighborhood kids. I grew up on a dead end street, with a girl my age named Tammy, her older sister Kelly, my younger sister Chris and a bunch of other people of similar ages.

During the day we would congregate on Kelly and Tammy's front lawn and play "pies."

For anyone who hasn't played this, there is the person who is "it." They have to come up with a category, such as pies, and all the other players think of a pie. The person who is it then starts naming pies, pumpkin, cherry, apple, strawberry rhubarb, and when they call yours you have have get up and run around the desired area without being tagged. If you get tagged, you're the new "it." Basically, it's a more interesting form of tag.

We would play it over and over, coming up with weirder and more interesting categories and answers. With the wide age range, at least 8 years, it was a game that stayed fun for everyone, as you could always come up with something (and if you couldn't, there was always help available). I remember always thinking that when I wrote my autobiography someday I would name it "Pies" for that will always bring back the memories of summer during my childhood. Memories of street hockey, kickball, swimming in the pool, wandering through the woods at the end of the street, hide-and-go-seek, chalk drawings on the driveway and staying up late.

While writing this post, I thought to check if this really was a game and it turns out, it's listed on It makes me smile to think of children outside as I write this, hoping the sun doesn't go down for just one more opportunity to make it back to the porch step.

Wordless Wednesday - Ralph, Carrie (Gress) and Ethelyn Williams

Ralph, Carolyn M. (Gress) Williams and their daughter Ethelyn. Carrie was born approximately 1871, so I would guess this picture was taken around 1900. I like the glasses on Carrie (hopefully footnoteMaven will, too:-)) and her dress.

Carrie is my great-great grandfather's younger sister. This photograph is in possession of my Aunt Lois and was scanned during my recent trip to Florida.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Genealogy Wise

Yes, I have a page... I am not sure how often I will be able to follow it (I can't even keep up with my Facebook groups, but I figure it is one more way to get my surnames out there.

Tombstone Tuesday - Beethoven

Beethoven's tombstone at Vienna (Austria) Cemetery. Even in the middle of January, visitors keep it decorated with flowers. Photo taken by Amanda January 2009.

New Header

I received a new header today from Deez of Cemetery Explorers. He has become the go-to header creator for geneabloggers for obvious reasons:-) Thank you so much Deez, I love it!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Memory

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Today would have been the 79th birthday of my grandfather, Robert Alfred Casell. This picture was taken approximately March 1983. I am on the left, just over a year old, and my cousin Erin is a newborn. Unfortunately, he died 29 May 1983, seven months before my sister, his 3rd grandchild, was born.

Growing up I would go through his scrapbook over and over and claimed it as my own at an early age (eventually, at least and before my Uncle's ever asked for it...). It has pictures of him, his parents and siblings, his wedding, my grandmother, his children, Erin and I, and the family tree he put together, as well as other ephemera. Upon his death my grandmother added items about his death, such as cards, flower decorations, etc. It is beyond a doubt what got me interested in genealogy, long before I knew what genealogy was. The start he provided from information he got from living relatives has been invaluable to the start of my search.

Happy birthday Grandpa! You're loved and missed.

Back to Basic: July

July went quick! GRIP  went virtual! I attended (most) of the sessions in Documentation and then continued my citation work with my ProGen a...