Decoration Day, 1923

In 2011, I posted one picture from my great-grandmother’s collection. It was of a Decoration Day parade in Caldwell, New Jersey. Here is another few pictures from that same day. I happen to also know thanks to Llewellyn’s diary, that her and her mother used to volunteer with her church to decorate the graves of veterans also. She sure was one great lady. I am thinking of all our fallen soldiers today.

Decoration Day, 1923

Decoration Day, 1923

Decoration Day, 1923

SNGF: My Ancestor’s Occupations

Randy Seaver has posted another great Saturday Night Genealogy Fun topic! The mission this week is to list the occupations of my ancestors. Well, I certainly can do that! To protect privacy, I will omit anyone who is still living.

Randy suggested using the Ancestor Chart number for each person, so here we go!

4. William Thorward Moore (1930-2012)

Odd jobs

Police Officer in North Caldwell, New Jersey.

Police Chief in North Caldwell, New Jersey.


5. Florence Jean Redford (1930-2001)


A&P Cashier in Denville, New Jersey.

6. Stanley Lee Mays (1923-1976)


U.S. Army during WWII


7. Emogene Taylor (1929-2005)

Various odd jobs


8. William Lawrence Moore (1901-1980)



Assistant Stenographer

Senior Accountant – AT&T, for over 30 years

9. Llewellyn Josephine Thorward (1899-1986)

Bookkeeper, Insurance Company, 1920s.


10. Clifford Herbert Redford (1894-1955)

Phonograph Errand Boy, (1910 Census)

Plumber, (WWI Draft Card, 1920 Census, 1930 Census)

Maintenance Man – Battery Manufacturing (1940 Census)

11. Jane Mable Parkin (1896-1957)

Phonograph Inspector (1920 Census)


12. William Harmon Mays (1872-1952)


13. Iva Belle Moyer (1894-1949)


14. Marshall Howard Taylor (1892-1958)


15. Lula Margaret Applegate (1901-1978)


Cashier at Coney Island Amusement Park in New Richmond, Ohio.

16. Robert James Moore (1871-1925)

House Painter (1892-1915)

17. Mary E. Johnson (1873-?)


18. Lewis Thorward (1875-1946)

Butcher at Vanderhoof and Wilton Market.

Butcher at Thorward and Van Duyne’s Market

Butcher at Thorward Meat Market

  • He was in the same market for over 42 years. It changed owners, but he stayed.


19. Jennie Viola Love (1876-1960)


20. Herbert Redford (1872-1940)

Hatter (1900-1940 Census)

21. Sarah Ann Sutcliffe (1873-1924?)


22. John Walter Parkin (1863-190?)

Sandpaper Factory (1880 Census)

Motorman (1900 Census)

I think that is enough for now, but it was fun to see. 🙂


Herbert Redford


Herbert Redford happens to be one of my favorite ancestors. I know I’m not supposed to play favorites but I just can’t help it. He is the first ancestor whose record I sent away for. I was so excited and it took quite a long time. It was well worth it though. 🙂 Plus I have this photo I believe to be him. It was passed down through the family and I was given a photocopy of it where someone identified him as “Herbert Redford”.


November 14, 1872

Herbert Redford is born to Samuel Redford and Frances Wright Travis in Bloomfield, New Jersey. He is their second child and second son.

October 7, 1874

Herbert‘s first sister, Sarah Elizabeth Redford is born in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

September 30, 1877

Herbert‘s little brother Samuel dies shortly after he was born.

Note: Index entry, need to obtain original.

April 23, 1879

Herbert‘s little sister, Lillian Redford is born.

June 1880

Herbert is 7 years old living in East Orange, New Jersey. He is going to school with his older brother William.  His dad is working as a hat manufacturer, which is a trade that was passed down from Frances Travis-Redford‘s family.


March 20, 1894

Herbert marries my 2nd great grandmother Sarah (Sadie) Ann Sutcliffe (daughter of Paul Sutcliffe and Mary S. Senior) in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Herbert lists his occupation as Hatter, continuing the occupation to the fourth generation through his mother’s family. Both Herbert and Sadie were 21 at the time of their marriage.


October 29, 1894

My great grandfather, Clifford Herbert Redford is born in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

Note: Index entry, need to obtain original.


New Jersey took a census in 1895. Herbert, Sadie, and Clifford are living in Bloomfield with Herbert’s parents and siblings.


September 28, 1897

Herbert‘s father Samuel dies in Bloomfield, New Jersey. His age is about 54, I do not currently have his birth record or know where it is.

Note: Index entry, need to obtain original.

December 18, 1897

Herbert and Sadie‘s second child Howard Redford is born in Orange, New Jersey.

April 13, 1899

Herbert and Sadie‘s first daughter, Edith Redford, is born in West Orange, New Jersey.

June 1900

The United States Census rolls around again. Herbert and Sadie are now living on Whittley Avenue in West Orange. They own their home but have a mortgage. His sister Sarah Redford-Tinston and her husband are living with the family.


June 1905

Herbert is enumerated in Essex County, New Jersey in the State Census. He is living with his wife Sadie and their three children. Also living in the house is Herbert‘s brother William and William’s son Harry Redford, age 10. Herbert‘s mother Frances Travis-Redford is also living in the household. They own their home but have a mortgage on it.

Note: I will have to go to the State Archives to see the actual census. All I have online is an index. 🙂

August 29, 1906

Herbert and Sadie‘s fourth child, Lillian Elizabeth Redford, is born.

April 1910

Herbert is working as a hat finisher. He has been married for 17 years and they have 4 total children now, with all still living.  His brother William is still living with him and is also working at a hat factory. William’s son is now living in Los Angeles, California with his aunt Sarah Redford-Tinston. Herbert’s mother Frances is now living with her daughter Lillian Redford-Stemmle. They live at 16 Gist Place, Orange, New Jersey and they pay rent.



According to a 1912 Orange, New Jersey city directory, Frances Travis-Redford (wid of Samuel), removes to Los Angeles, California.

September 12, 1919

Herbert fills out a World War I Draft Registration Card. There is no evidence he ever had any military service. His occupation is listed as Hatter. He is described as being short (tell me about it. haha), Medium build and he had blue eyes and brown hair. He gives his address as 16 Gist Place, Orange, New Jersey.


January 1920

Herbert and Sadie are still renting their house at 16 Gist Place. He is still employed at a Hatter. Their sons Clifford (age 25) and Howard (age 22) still live at home. The youngest child, Lillian (age 13) is also living there. The household also now has a boarder named Alfred Ireland who is a machinist in a factory.


Herbert’s mother (Frances) is living in Los Angeles, California with Sarah Redford-Tinston and her husband.

August 27, 1921

Herbert‘s mother Frances dies in Los Angeles, California of chronic myocarditis. She was 80 years old. She is buried at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery in Los Angeles. Sarah Redford-Tinston is the informant on the record.



Note: Herbert’s wife Sadie possibly died in this year. I don’t know the place, but my current thinking is New Jersey. There is a Sadie Redford buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Orange, New Jersey. Someone took a picture of the grave for me on Find A Grave, but there is nothing on the marker to indicate this is my Sadie. The year does fit for her birth year.

April 1930

Herbert is now widowed and living as a lodger in Los Angeles, California. He is one of nine lodgers in the house of Margaret Clement. All the boarders have various types of jobs and are from lots of different places.

April 1940

Herbert and his sister Lillian Redford-Stemmle are living together at 3469 Siskiyou Street in Los Angeles, California. Lillian is listed as widowed but Herbert is listed as single. The x mark indicates Herbert is the person giving the information. Herbert states that he is a Hatter but has been unemployed for 16 weeks.. He also says he is actively seeking work.

September 11, 1940

Herbert dies in Los Angeles, California at the age of 67. His cause of death was chronic myocardial degeneration due to Coronary Artery Sclerosis. The Informant on his death certificate is his daughter Lillian Redford-Swiggart. (Whom I previously thought went missing.) He was buried at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery in Los Angeles and a kind Find a Grave volunteer fulfilled a photo request for me. 🙂


Records to Find:

  • I want to fill the gap between 1880 and the 1890s.
  • Samuel Redford’s birth record.
  • The 1905 Census entries at the New Jersey State Archives. ( I would like to make a list of ALL people that I would like to find before I go.)

Records to Order:

  • Herbert’s birth record from the New Jersey State Archives
  • His siblings birth records from the New Jersey State Archives
  • Samuel Redford Jr’s death record from the New Jersey State Archives
  • Marriage Record for William Redford
  • Birth Records for Herbert and Sadie’s children.
  • Samuel Redford Sr’s death certificate from New Jersey State Archives.

Genealogy Go-Over: Getting Started


The series of posts I will be writing is based on the Genealogy Do-Over Workbook by Thomas MacEntee. I highly recommend it. 🙂

Okay, so the best way to get through things is to just jump right into them. I’ve learned that about myself over the years. Starting on Thursday of last week, I started getting things ready for my Genealogy Go-Over. The first section of the Do-Over/Go-Over is to clear your slate. I know myself, which means I’m going to have some problems keeping my fingers out of the cookie jar. My intention isn’t to start completely over from scratch. What I do want to do is revisit my current family file person by person. One of the big things that I wanted to happen in my Family File Cleanup was I wanted a good sync between my DNA Family Tree, my computer database and my website database. I don’t want to have one thing in one, and have to use another for something else.

Since I will only be going over what I have, I do want to have access to my old files. I just don’t want to jump in and do 8,000 things at once. To help myself with this, I took all my paper documents which I have in acid-free page protectors and I put them in 3 ring binders that I have here. Eventually, when the time is right, I will be analyzing each of those documents. I will be getting rid of some. Anything that comes from a state repository will be staying (basically that I paid for). To help myself not get lost in the documents, I have made myself an index using Google Sheets. This way, I can easily access the list of paper documents that I have.

Binder Index in Google Sheets

I know that I could have spent hours deciding how to index this and what to put on it. That’s just how I am. Instead I went with being short and sweet. I have the focus of the record, the type of document, and whether it is scanned or not. I didn’t allow myself to even check my digital files for scans. If I knew off the top of my head it was scanned, it got a yes, otherwise it got a no. I have separate tabs for each binder. It will be very easy for me to just glance at this and get to what I need to find. The documents are in the order that the list is in, so I shouldn’t have to flip back and forth looking for anything. It’s already saved me a lot of time just when I was doing my Timeline post for William Harmon Mays.

The next big thing that I have to take into account is my digital files. When I went through my previous cleanup, I set up a numbering and organizational system that works for me. I am still trying to decide if I’m going to keep it that way, or re-organize it some other way. I don’t have to think about that yet though. Right now I’m just clearing my slate so I can breathe again. That means I did a thing.

My Genealogy DriveThis is the current state of my Genealogy Drive. I’m not going to lie to you, I still panic a bit when I look at it. I tell myself that I can still use my old organization if I want to. That thought is what pushed me into going ahead and moving everything into the Hold Over folder. In fact, I might even move the Hold Over folder to my Media Drive so that I can’t be tempted too much to go wandering in there. The only thing in my Family Files folder is my current working Legacy file. The Office Files only holds one file currently. It’s my new Genealogy Task Tracker.

There will be a few resources I will be using as I go through this process. I will be working through Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas Jones before I get back into researching. I will also be trying out Evidentia for the first time during this process. It is a lot, but I think if I take my time and go through it slowly, I will be setting myself up for success in the future.

The last thing I’m going to share today is that I’ve made a new e-mail address just for genealogy! In a perfect world, I would use my email. However, it’s always been temperamental. So instead I am now using I had every intention of trying to ditch the leeny part of my e-mail. I thought maybe I should have a more grown-up sounding e-mail once and for all. It was almost impossible to find one that wasn’t already in use and I’m not a fan of adding a million numbers into an e-mail.


So that’s where we stand as of today, I’m still working on the next part of Month 1 in the workbook. I will tell you more about that next Wednesday! 🙂

Source List:

Thomas MacEntee, The Genealogy Do-Over Workbook (Kindle Edition); GeneaBloggers ( : downloaded 31 December 2015), Month 1.

Not a Brick Wall but a Brain Wall

Just last week, I wrote about how my thinking has changed over the 13 years I’ve researched my family history. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two weeks watching videos and reading genealogy books. It’s very funny how much my thinking has changed over just the last few weeks. The more I learn, the more I realize that I didn’t have brick walls before but brain walls.


The reason I say brain walls is because what used to seem insurmountable, just isn’t anymore. Things are challenging, or they test my knowledge but never does it feel like I’m stuck. Okay, George Thorward sometimes makes me feel stuck. That’s only because I need to get access to more records or learn more about something. It feels like something finally switched in my head. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m analyzing the data better or because I’m becoming more knowledgeable about how to do things. I don’t have a college educated background in research and things, so I didn’t start with all this knowledge on how to write-up reports or do huge research projects. I’m just trying to learn the best I can. Really that’s all any of us can do I guess.

Have you ever had something just click in your head? I’m sorry for all the rambling posts lately, I am just being very contemplative as I get ready for my Genealogy Do-Over.

Credit: Lightbulb image is a free stock photo.

William Harmon Mays


This weeks timeline focus is my great-grandfather, William Harmon Mays. Lets see what I can find to do next with him. 🙂

June 2, 1872

William Harmon Mays is born to John Mays and Celia Slusher in Elliott County, Kentucky. He is their second child and first son. 1

June 1880

William is counted in the 1880 United States Census. He is 8 years old and lives with his parents and older sister in Elliott County, Kentucky. John and Celia tell the census taker they are unable to read and write. John is also sick with dysentary.

Mays Family, 1880
1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Elliott County, Kentucky. Martinsburg township, enumeration district (ED) 20, p. 579-C, dwelling 117, family 117, John Mays; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 1 Apr 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 412.

June 1900

William is going by his middle name of Harmon on the 1900 United States Census. He is working as a farm laborer for Andrew Fraley in Elliott County, Kentucky.

William H Mays, 1900
1900 U.S. census, population schedule, Elliott County, Kentucky. Devils Fork township, enumeration district (ED) 17, sheet 06-A, dwelling 98, family 98, Andrew Fraley; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 16 May 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 518.

October 19, 1905

William marries Sarah Elizabeth McDaniels in Rowan County, Kentucky. The wedding takes place at her father’s residence. This is the first marriage for 33 year old William and 17 year old Sarah.

William Mays, Sarah McDaniels
Rowan County, Kentucky, Marriage Register 1880-1954, 5, 1904-1906: 327, Mays-McDaniel, 19 Oct 1905; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Mar 2016)

September 1, 1906

William’s first child, Mary Jane Mays is born in Morehead, Rowan, Kentucky. William is 34 years old and Sarah is 18 years old. 2

January-May 1910

Family Lore: I believe sometimes in this time period Sarah dies. The rumor in the family was that she was sick with tuberculosis. We have no records to indicate that.

May 1910

William is counted with his wife Elizabeth and young daughter Mary in the 1910 United States Census. They are living in Rowan County, Kentucky next to his parents. He owns his own farm. Elizabeth is crossed out of the census, but all her information is there.

William H Mays, 1910
1910 U.S. census, population schedule, Rowan County, Kentucky. Hogtown township, enumeration district (ED) 156, sheet 14-A, dwelling 226, family 227, William H. Maize; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 16 May 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 498.

November 11, 1914

William‘s mother, Celia Slusher-Mays, dies at the age of 73 in Tate township, Clermont, Ohio. She suffered from Mitral insufficiency and senility for 6 months. The informant for her death is Harmon Mays. 3

April 27, 1918

William marries Iva Belle Moyer in Clermont County, Ohio. William lists his parents as John Mays and Celia Slusser. He states he has been married once before. Iva had never been married before.

Family Lore: My grandmother told me that Iva Belle started off taking care of Mary Jane (Janie), and William married her later. She gave the impression is was a year or more after Iva began caring for Janie.

William H Mays, Iva Moyer
Clermont County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1800-2013 285, Mays-Moyer, 1918; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 17 Mar 2016)

January 1920

William is now living in Monroe township, Clermont County, Ohio. He is now renting the farm he lives on with his second wife, Iva Belle Moyer. His daughter, Mary Jane Mays, is now thirteen years old. William’s father, John is living with the family and he is now able to read and write.

Observation: It’s very cool to me that John learned to read and write between 1880 and 1920. It looks as if he could write in 1910, but not read. Just very awesome and shows you it is never too late to learn things.

William H. Mays, 1920
1920 U.S. census, population schedule, Clermont County, Ohio. Monroe township, enumeration district (ED) 60, sheet 03-A, dwelling 52, family 52, William H. Mays; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 16 May 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 1355

January 21, 1923

My grandfather, Stanley Mays, is born to William and Iva Belle Mays in Tate township, Ohio. He is their first child. His birth was originally falsely recorded as being in 1913 but it was corrected in April of 1923. This isn’t a false correction. The birth certificate was pre-printed with 191__ and it was corrected to be sure that 1923 was given as the correct year of birth. 4

May 3, 1924

William and Iva’s second child, Ralph Dallas Mays is born in Tate township, Ohio. This is their last child. His birth certificate doesn’t show his name but the details all match him. 5

January 20, 1927

William‘s father, John Mays, dies in Tate township, Ohio at the age of 84. He had internal injuries after falling. No other details were given at the time of his death. Harmon Mays is the informant for his death. John’s name on his death certificate is listed as Harmon Mays and the cemetery office also lists him as Harmon. These are the only two times I have heard of John referenced to as Harmon. 6

January 11, 1928

William‘s oldest child, Mary Jane Mays marries George Jegley in Clermont, Ohio. She lists her parents as Harmon Mays and Elizabeth McDaniel. She lists her birthplace as Morehead, Kentucky. 2

May 1930

William is 57 years old in the 1930 United States Census. He is now living in Tate township with his wife Iva and two sons, Stanley (my grandfather) and Ralph.

William Mays, 1930
1930 U.S. census, population schedule, Clermont County, Ohio. Tate township, enumeration district (ED) 19, sheet 07-A, dwelling 178, family 186, Harmon Mays; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 16 May 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1758.

May 1940

William is now shown as living in Monroe township. It should be noted that he is probably living in the same area and not moving around. This is a rural area and these townships are usually all near each other. William and his sons are grain and tobacco farmers. Tobacco was big for this area and our family is even kind of known for it.

William Mays, 1940
1940 U.S. census, population schedule, Clermont County, Ohio. Monroe township, enumeration district (ED) 15, sheet 17-B, household 367, William H. Mays; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 16 May 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T627, roll 3041.

May 3, 1947

William’s son, Stanley (my grandfather), marries his wife Emogene Taylor.

Family Lore: Some members of the family say they married in Kentucky, and some say Ohio. I am still looking for their marriage certificate.

October 2, 1949

William‘s second wife Iva, died after a year long illness at the age of 55. Her cause of death was heart disease. The informant on her death certificate is William Harmon Mays. 8

January 19, 1952

William‘s second son, Ralph, dies in Tate township, Ohio at the age of 27. The informant on his death certificate is my grandfather, Stanley Mays. 9

March 7, 1952

William dies at the age of 79 in Monroe township, Ohio. It says on his death certificate that he had arteriosclerosis for many years before his death. His parents are listed as John Mays and Cecelia Gray. His daughter Mrs. George Jegley is the informant on his death certificate.

William H. Mays death certificate
Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate 14438 (1952), William Harmon Mays; digital image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Sep 2010)

Records to Find:

  • I am still looking for some kind of birth record for William. There should be a county birth record, I just have to locate it.
  • Stanley and Emogene’s marriage certificate. Might be in Campbell County, Kentucky.
  • There is a 20 year gap between 1880 and 1900. I need to fill this space in with alternate records.
  • I will probably look into Andrew Fraley’s family also. Since William lived and worked on his farm, it might help me to find more information on William.

Records to Order:

  • I can’t think of any records to order at this time. Everything else for William will most likely have to be done in person. I will need to research which records are available.

Note: There are more events but I didn’t put them to protect the privacy of living individuals. 🙂

  1. Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate 14438 (1952), William Harmon Mays; digital image,   FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Sep 2010)
  2. Clermont County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1800-2013, 35, 1926-1930: 228, Jegley-Mays, 1928; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 24 Mar 2016).
  3. Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate 59028 (1914), Cela Mays; Ohio Department of Health, Columbus.
  4. Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics, returned 910 (1923), Stanley Lee Mays; Ohio Department of Health, Columbus.
  5. Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics,  43991 (1924), blank; Ohio Department of Health, Columbus.
  6. Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate 639 (1927), Harmon Mays; digital image,   FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 Sep 2010)
  7. Clermont County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1800-2013, 35, 1926-1930: 228, Jegley-Mays, 1928; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 24 Mar 2016).
  8. Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate 61919 (1949), Iva Belle Mays; digital image,   FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 May 2016)
  9. Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate 07293 (1952), Ralph Dallas Mays; Ohio Department of Health, Columbus

The Genealogy Breakthrough that Made Me Cry

I don’t usually do blog posts this close together, but I just had to share my latest break through. I was attending one of Legacy Family Tree’s webinars (Mining Uber-sites for Germany Ancestors by James Beidler) and using one of the tips, broke down my not-so brick wall. This brick wall has stumped us all for years. I’ve talked about George Thorward before.

  1. Wordless Wednesday: George Thorward – 1st Car
  2. Tombstone Tuesday: Thorwards – Tombstone pictures for George and his wife Josephine, plus an extra one of them outside their house.
  3. Did I Find Him? – An entry where I first wonder about the George Thorward/George Yohn question.
  4. Surname Saturday: Thorward – A very brief glimpse of what I knew of the Thorwards in July of 2010
  5. An Unexpected, Yet Expected Turn – George shows up in his marriage record as George Yohn and I end the entry with the question: Who are you George?
  6. Mysterious Ancestors: I tried to examine this George Yohn/George Thorward thing yet again.
  7. George Yohn… Again: I got Josephine and George’s marriage record in the mail
  8. Timeline: George Thorward: Again, I use a timeline strategy to sort out what I know about George Thorward/Yohn. Note: Eagle eye readers will notice I state at the beginning that I lost the article that showed where he came from in Germany. Then post that same article at the bottom of the post. Talk about losing things right in front of your face!

That brings us all up to date except for the recent revelations. I’ve been blocked when it comes to George for a long time. Until about a week ago that is. On Facebook, a conversation between some Thorward cousins popped up. My 2nd cousin 2x removed (haha, I love that), happened to mention that her father (grandson to George Thorward) used to tell a story about George. According to her father, the story is that George and his brother came to Newark, New Jersey in 1866 from Wüerttemberg to escape serving under the King of Bismark. According to him, George was 12 at the time. They came to Newark to stay with their sister whose last name was Gantz and she had a hat factory. The family lore also says their last name was originally Weigel but that the brothers made up the name Thorward. George then got a job on a farm in Towaco, New Jersey. There he met and married the farmer’s daughter, Josephine Doremus. My 2nd cousin also believed that George’s brother was Benjamin and he went west to the Chicago area. I will dissect this family lore in another entry on another day. There is going to have to be another timeline soon I think. 🙂

Now I had always heard about George and a brother who came with him, but I could never find the brother to substantiate anything having to do with a brother. George and his descendants were the only Thorward ever in New Jersey that I could find. There was one other Thorward family that pops up in the mid-west but I never had any connection to them. I know I should have been a good genealogist and researched them also. I mean if you think about it, there was only that one other family so they had to be related somehow. I just never got around to it with all my other things going on. Note to myself, a to do list will help with this in the future, haha. This other family was headed by Benjamin Thorward and he did say he was from Wüerttemberg. So now I will definitely be adding that family to my to-do list!

Fast forward to today’s Germany webinar and I got one little tip that sparked in my head. I was watching when I saw a database pop up as an example. It was called the Wüerttemberg, Germany Emigration Index. All I put into the search box was George Weigel. I didn’t add anything else.


This was the very first search result. I’m not going to lie to you, I might have blacked out for the second half of the webinar. I will definitely be re-watching it because it was full of such good tips. I just can’t remember any of them at the moment. If this turns out to be a match, it would also explain where the Yohn/John comes from in the earlier records for George.

johanngeorgweigelI am very excited about this for a lot of reasons. I know this still has a long way to go to be a stronger connection. I have plenty of records I still want to get my hands on for both of my candidates here. I believe the next record I will get is George’s New Jersey death record and see what that says. It was on my to do list anyway. Plus I want to learn a lot more about this section of Germany and what was happening at the time.

So all of this is very exciting for me but I know there is still tons of work ahead. I’m sorry if I come across a little scattered but my brain is moving 500 miles per hour! Never fear though, I am taking a cooling off period and slowing down. I will be examining lots more records before I determine if this is my guy or not. I am so much closer than I ever was before though!

Records to Order:

  • George Thorward’s death certificate from New Jersey. The issues that kept George from stating his real name in the beginning of his America journey, probably wasn’t shared by whoever filled out his death certificate. His wife was still alive, maybe she was aware of his family history. I might not ever be able to 100% prove the Weigel connection, but it won’t be from lack of trying.

Records to Find:

  • An immigration record for either George Thorward, George Yohn, or Johann Georg Weigel.
  • I am going to try and track down the sister by the name of Gantz.
  • City directories – George showed up in many directories once his name was Thorward but maybe he used one of his A.K.A.’s in Newark before moving to the more rural area.
  • Maybe a naturalization record would give some great information. As early as 1900 George stated on the censuses that he was naturalized. If he was telling the truth, that should give me something!
  • I want to look for a will for George in New Jersey. It could be he might mention a brother or nephews/nieces in his will.
  • The land records for George’s house on Central Avenue.
  • Any more newspaper mentions of my George to see if it gives anymore about his German history or family.
  • Research the other Thorward family that shows up in the mid-west. This is allegedly George’s brother. Maybe I will find records to help me, by researching them.

You can be sure you’ll be hearing more about this in the future!

Genealogy Do-Over or Go-Over?


I have been equally overwhelmed and inspired since returning from my genealogy break. Coming back from a long break has left me with fresh eyes, and a mostly fresh brain. What isn’t fresh, is my computer files. After all the stress and heartache of 2014, I just didn’t have it in me to continue trying to fix the mess my computer swap left me. I basically just walked away from the task and didn’t think about it anymore.

I previously talked about it in a March 2014 post. So now here I am. Wondering how I’m going to get started again. Sure I’ve been researching, but I am limping along. My digital organization is working alright, though I’m still trying to better it. I have an overabundance of files after my computer switch and then a software switch after The Unforgivable Act (TUA). Honestly, I don’t even know if I got around to telling you the details about that aftermath. In the interest of saving web space, I will just briefly say that I was using Family Tree Maker and was test driving Legacy Family Tree. Family Tree Maker crashed for the thousandth time and corrupted my file. I restored it just fine but I officially signed off Family Tree Maker that day and started to use Legacy full-time. I was just done with dealing with it.


The great news is that I love Legacy Family Tree. I had used it for about 6 months, learning one thing at a time. In fact, it was probably because of Legacy that I decided I’d had enough. I am very glad that a software company has taken the reins with Family Tree Maker, because I think the program is going to get better now. That doesn’t change my mind, I am still done with it as my main program. I am in love with Legacy Family Tree and I’m not changing again. 🙂

You are probably wondering what my point is, and why I continue to ramble. Well, the reason is that I am a rambler and rambling is what I do best… No, sorry, ignore my sad attempt at humor. I’m rambling because I’m contemplating another decision and I think I know what I’m going to do but I’m not jumping in just yet. While I was away, the genealogy online community started a Genealogy Do-Over movement, which is kind of like my Family File Cleanup except more organized, with peer support, and you know actual planning!  I was feeling pretty depressed about the state of all my files and even the state of my source citations which I am re-doing… again. I know, it’s not lost on me either that I am doing it again.

The difference between a Genealogy Do-Over and a Go-Over is kind of self-explanatory. I don’t think I need a full do-over because I just did my file cleanup and everything in my file is sourced. I just want to re-do them in Source Writer. I think what I need to do is go over everything one more time and make it uniform again. I was reading Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over workbook and it really inspired me. What I didn’t do in my family file cleanup was to set guidelines or practices for myself. I don’t have any set plans, I just fly by the seat of my yoga pants. That is what I know I need to change. I also want to learn how to better examine evidence and not work through it so quickly. If you are worried I will disappear again, never fear, I am going to document everything here. Just because I don’t think you hear from me enough. HAHA!

Disclaimer: Legacy and Family Tree Maker have no connection to me. I receive no compensation for talking about them. I purchased both programs with my own money. There are no affiliate links in this blog but I can’t speak for when you leave this blog. I purposely didn’t link to either software program because I didn’t want to have to link them a million times as I talked about them. You can find Family Tree Maker and Legacy Family Tree by clicking their names in this disclaimer.

When I Started

Over the past few years, I have become the go-to person in my family for family information. I gladly overwhelm everyone who asks me with tons of information. I answer any questions about the family or just genealogy in general. I find lots of ways to bring up my ancestors in a fun way. It didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t just say, hey this family tree thing is cool. I’m going to do that for the rest of my natural life.

What I Knew
This is all I knew when I started. With a privacy blur, for privacy sake.

Everyone can research their family tree. It’s something we are all capable of. I always tell people though, don’t get yourself bogged down in a “have to finish” scenario. Let’s be honest, none of us will ever really “finish”. There is always more to find. You might find the dates and places quickly, but that isn’t the story behind your ancestor. That isn’t telling their story. Some people aren’t interested in that part at first, and I think that’s just fine. I was a name and date collector at first, and I kind of still am. I look for the stories too but I had an experience at a repository that changed my view of genealogy.

I’ve talked about it before. My first visit to the Nabb Research Center in Salisbury, Maryland. When I got started, I was given a family tree by my Grandma. I didn’t pursue it right away but it was always there in my mind. After I graduated high school, I was working with my Mom in a video store (R.I.P Blairs Video of Leonardtown, MD). She would start to chat about wanting to research the family tree and she even got the first Ancestry membership in the house. It wasn’t long before we broke out Grandma’s family tree to see where to go. We saw that the Taylor Family had first lived in Somerset County, Maryland. What? Who sells hundreds of acres on the Eastern Shore of Maryland? My ancestors do of course. We got in the car one weekend, and we went to the Nabb Research Center to search for our ancestors. Armed with our family tree knowledge. Not the tree, but the knowledge. Oh boy, we were newbies.

We walked in, and the very, very helpful staff asked what family we were researching. We proudly stated, “The Taylor Family!” Words can not explain the way the helpful gentleman’s face changed. It went from, “Nice to see you, glad to help you” to “Oh”. I’m not joking, just “Oh”. He gave us a tour of the small center and a rundown of the documents we might want to use. Then gently let us know that searching the Taylor family in Somerset County might be a little overwhelming because it was kind of like searching for John Smith in Virginia. About that time I was saying, “Oh”.

ohIt was a great first day in a repository, I looked up plenty. Mom looked up plenty. There was just so much! Then you realize there are pages of just land patents with the name Taylor in them. Not the owner name, the name of the land. Taylors Chance, Taylors Hill, Taylors Addition, Taylors Advice, Taylors Bog, Taylors Adventure, Taylors Delight. You get the point. 🙂 Then you see the same names, William Taylor, James Taylor, John Taylor. There were so many Taylor resources there, I can’t even remember them all. Oh my, to a new genealogist, this was intimidating. The thing you don’t see, is my family tree, because that wasn’t in the collection. I mean, I knew William Taylor who had a wife Sarah, but I didn’t know William Taylor by himself, because I was only thinking about my direct guy and what I saw on my tree. The problem with that is I have 23 William Taylors in my family tree. Some of those can be sorted off the list due to the year of birth being too recent. I couldn’t do that though, because I was only armed with my memory. I had no working knowledge of the tree.

Once I got home and licked my wounds. I decided I was going to become the expert on the Taylor family. I was going to know every William Taylor and every James Taylor. I wasn’t going to feel so adrift at the research center the next time. The problem was, even after going back a second time, I was still adrift. It was at that point I realized that I know nothing Jon Snow… Sorry, the really bad humor Kathleen showed up for a minute there. What I really realized was that it was okay to be a name and date collector for the time, because without the names and dates, I wasn’t going to have any way of finding the stories of my ancestors.

What I Know
What I know

Which is why, when my people ask me now how to get started, I tell them to start with what they know. Without going through the same process, how else will they be able to go on this 13+ year journey of really knowing where they come from. They might not be interested in spending 13 years on the family tree. Maybe they just want a basic knowledge without all the thousands of details. I have no way of knowing, and honestly I don’t think they do either. It wasn’t until I was feeling dejected after two wonderful days of researching that I realized how far I really wanted to take this crazy genealogy journey. So until they know, I’ll just be sitting over here on my hands trying not to overwhelm them. There is one thing I can’t help but tell them. WRITE DOWN YOUR SOURCES. PLEASE. Mom found a book where it said one of the Taylors sold all his land and followed his son to Kentucky because the son was absconding from justice and we didn’t write it down. We were new, we didn’t know, but now we want to know what happened! Don’t we all wish we had done that in the beginning. Oy vey.

Thank you for listening to my nostalgic rambling. I just can’t believe I’ve been researching for over 13 years now and I still don’t know where Horatio Taylor fits in to everything. That just goes to show, there is always more research to do.

P.S. I know I threw Horatio in there at the end. I was looking at our photocopies of the land patents and I remembered that I never did find him.

71 Years of Wedded Bliss!

Elkhart Weekly Review - 05 May 1906 All this rain has left us with some plumbing issues and I don’t want to think about it anymore. We got it fixed on a weekend thanks to a very generous local company. It really makes you thankful for people when they go out of their way to help, without charging you an arm and a leg. After all the stress and worry, I decided to use one of the newspaper websites to search and I came across the article to the left! Last week, I talked about what a small world it was and I thought I’d also share this gem about that very same person.

It appeared in the May 5th, 1906 edition of the Elkhart Weekly Review. It talks about Reuben and Anna Webb, my 3x great uncle and aunt. For some reason, I’ve always loved these two. I don’t know why, maybe it’s just their stability and longevity. I am still trying to track down their descendants. I know their wedding anniversary was a big deal, because they frequently appear in the paper as a celebration. Not only that but it seems as if they had a big shindig every year to celebrate! I’m pretty sure if I had been married 71 years, I’d be throwing parties too! That’s a big deal.

One of the things in the article that struck me because I had never heard it before, was that “soon after their marriage they went westward to Indiana with their parents”. I know that they went from Brown County, Ohio to Tippecanoe County, Indiana but I had no idea their parents came with them. In fact, I was pretty sure Reuben’s dad, Reuben, lived in Ohio for the rest of his life. Not that I have any records stating that, it’s just what I assumed! It could just mean Anna’s parents but it didn’t sound like that.

I also love that it mentions Reuben’s time in the Civil War, I had already known that, but I love the more personal recollection about it. Sadly, a few months after this article and their 71st wedding anniversary Anna died.

Tomorrow will be the 181st anniversary of their marriage. According to records, they got their license on the 4th of May, and then were married on the 16th. I say Happy Anniversary for any day they wanted to celebrate on. 🙂



“Wedded Many Years,” Elkhart Weekly Review, 5 May 1906, p. 8, col. 3; digital images, Genealogy Bank ( : accessed 15 May 2016), This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society.

Brown County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1818-1939, 4: 136, Webb-Sidwell, 4 May 1835; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 May 2016).

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