I love Google – again!!

I’ve been having fun lately using the Google Earth overlay feature to map where my ancestors lived in various townlands in Ireland during the 19th century. By referencing Griffith’s Valuation records, it’s possible to determine with a great deal of accuracy where they lived and what land they were leasing.

While doing U.S. research last weekend on my great great grandparents Lewis Blacker and Margaret Rebecca (Loury/Lower) Blacker, I wondered if it might be possible to map where they lived in 1850.

Here is the family in the census record – Lewis and Margaret living with their two daughters Elizabeth and her husband Nathan Pierce and Sarah and her husband Alonzo Ford – living in Ward 1, City of Dayton, Miami County, Ohio.

I started by searching Google for an historic map related to that location and time period but the closest I could find was this 1875 map from historicmapworks.com.

Looking again at the 1850 U.S. Census record, I was hoping to find some reference to an address, or at least a street name – but was quickly disappointed when I realized there were none. The only reference is the “dwelling house” number (column 1) and a number indicating the order in which each family was visited (column 2).

Never one to give up easily, however, I wondered if maybe, just maybe, there might be some other notation or reference to a landmark that might give me a clue. So I decided to go through the record, page by page.

Luckily, I didn’t have to go far. The very first listing on page 1 was for a group of people who lived in a hotel. A rather large group of people – 27, to be exact. That could be good, right? A rather large hotel possibly owned by the first person listed – a “hotel keeper” by the name of Francis Ohmer.

Next, I searched Google for Mr. Ohmer’s name, plus a few additional identifiers like “Ohio” and “1850” – and soon came across the American Antiquarian Society web site, with a reference to the Richard P. Morgan Indexes. Included there is a searchable database of the “Ohio Name Index, 1796-1900”, which includes “Odell’s Dayton Directory and Business Advertiser, 1850”. And Mr. Ohmer is in that database.

It appeared at first that the directory was a listing of business people so I began by searching the database for other individuals listed in the 1850 census that looked like they might have owned a business . . . a distiller, a moulder, a grocer, and a cooper. By mapping the addresses of those businessmen, I might be able to ascertain the direction in which the census taker was moving, which would ultimately help me determine where the Blackers lived.

And my idea seemed to be working. And then, quite by accident, I realized there were some “laborers” listed in the directory.

Since Lewis Blacker was listed as a “laborer” in the census, I searched his first and last name in the database but nothing came up. Remembering that “Blacker” is often misspelled, I tried searching on his first name alone – and I got lucky. There was only 20 names in the result, one for a “Lewis Blicker“. A laborer who lived at “Third North Side East of Old Canal, Dayton, Ohio”. And since “Blicker” is an alternate spelling that comes up over and over again (which will be the subject of a blog post in the near future), I believe this is my guy!

I was unable to find a digital image of the directory online but did discover several locations where I could order a reproduction, at a very reasonable price. So I placed an order – and it came in the mail yesterday. Hooray!

Here’s an image of the page where Lewis Blicker appears.

And so now I know he lived on the “north side of Third east of old canal.” Well, at least that’s where he lived according to the Dayton directory.

As a double-check, I decided to continue mapping some of the other folks referenced in and around the Blacker family in the census and it actually appears they lived in a different location at the time the census was taken in October of that year. If my calculations are correct, they lived on First Street between Madison and Sears – just a few blocks north of the Third Street location – at the time of the census.

I still believe the “Lewis Blacker” in the census record (October 1850) and the “Lewis Blicker” in the Dayton directory (published in August 1850) are likely the same individual, as it seems entirely plausible that the family might have lived in two different locations in the same year.

Shown below are the two different locations on the historical Dayton map . . .

And here are those same two locations shown on a current Google map . . .

Obviously, none of this information answers my ultimate brick wall question, which is . . .

Where in Germany were Lewis and Margaret born??

But while driving in my virtual car up and down Third Street, I noticed a church in the block just on the other side of Madison St. I zoomed in on the church sign and saw that the name was St. John’s United Church of Christ. I then located the church website and learned the following:

  • St. John’s was established by a group of German Evangelical Protestants in 1840 as the “German Evangelical Congregation”
  • The original meeting location was in the old courthouse located at 3rd Street and Main
  • The East 3rd Street site was built in 1865
  • That building was destroyed by fire in 1899 and construction on the new church was completed in 1901

So that’s some good information. The church was not in that location in 1850 when the Blacker family lived down the street, but it was in existence at another location. So that’s definitely worth further investigation for possible records.

And once again, you never know what you’ll find on Google!!


Featured Image attribution: By Google Inc. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Share This:

My trip to RootsTech 2017: part 1

What a trip! What a week!!

I’ve been back home a week but still feel like I’m floating on air a bit. I thought I had prepared myself but really – I think that’s impossible where RootsTech is concerned.

Note: The original post was getting long so I decided to split it into three parts. This post covers Monday and Tuesday, February 6th and 7th.

Another Note: Proceed reading at your own risk! After I wrote this post, I thought about cutting it back. But then realized I might enjoy looking back on this at some point in the future. So there it is.

MONDAY February 6th

Standing in line on Monday morning outside the Family History Library. Photo from author’s collection, taken February 6, 2017.

Having arrived the evening before, I was up early, had a quick breakfast, and then took the light rail to the Family History Library (“FHL”). I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but having never been to the FHL before, I was a little teary-eyed while waiting in line for the doors to open. Wow. What a genealogy geek!

I did a little research and then headed to DearMyrt’s “Mondays with Myrt” Google hangout, which was recorded live at the FHL. (“DearMyrt” is the non de plume of Pat Richley-Erickson – author of the DearMyrtle Genealogy Blog. I highly encourage everyone to follow the link over to her blog where you’ll find lots of great info and all the links for her weekly live and archived hangouts.) And oh yes, Myrt is the reason I went to RootsTech this year, thanks to the free pass she gave away last October.

The week before RootsTech, Myrt invited any of us who wanted to sit in on the hangout to drop by. I really didn’t know what to expect, and I was a little nervous to participate – but since I’m trying to step outside my comfort zone a little more these days, and I wanted to thank her personally for the RootsTech pass, I decided to give it a try.

A few days ago, I finally worked up the courage to watch the recording – and since I don’t think I embarrassed myself, or any of my family members too much, I’ve included the video below. It starts where I have a short chat with Myrt.

After the hang-out, it was back to researching my brick wall. I finally took a lunch break and met up with a new Facebook friend, Yvonne Demoskoff – author of Yvonne’s Genealogy Blog, and her husband Michael. One of the highlights of the week was meeting other genealogy bloggers – what a treat!

Then it was back to researching for the remainder of the afternoon. Sad to say I didn’t have much luck that day.

I had dinner that evening with a cousin who lives in Salt Lake. It was fun to catch up and share family stories.

TUESDAY February 7th

Up early again and back to the FHL. More dead-ends that morning and then lunch again with Yvonne and Michael.

One of the rows where microfilm is kept inside the Family History Library. Photo from author’s collection, taken February 7, 2017.

Back for more research in the afternoon, which included looking through several old microfilm reels of German birth records, hoping to find a reference to my ancestor LEWIS (Ludwig?) BLACKER, born about 1806 in Germany. No luck.

So I decided to turn my attention to all the wonderful books they have at the library. I randomly picked some of the states related to my family history – since many of those books are not digitized or available anywhere but the FHL. The first state I picked was Kansas. Thought maybe – but probably not likely – I might find a reference to my great great grandfather John Buchenau.

In recent years, I narrowed down his death to some time between 1900 and 1910 in Kansas, but had never been able to determine an exact death.

Bingo! I located his death record!! I’ll write a blog post specifically about this topic in a few days. But suffice it to say, I was pretty excited!

It was a great way to end the day, so I headed back to the hotel, looking forward to Wednesday – Day 1 of Rootstech!

Click here to read part 2 . . .

Share This:

What I learned today about Masonic records

A Masonic ribbon embroidered into a ‘crazy quilt’ made by my great grandmother Ada Cordelia (Buchenau) Blacker and her daughters Muzetta and Kate Blacker

I’ve been brainstorming with my Mom for a few days now about our biggest brick wall – her maiden name BLACKER. And she finally said to me: “Why don’t you call the Masonic Lodge in Montana to see if they might have some information about my grandfather?”

Actually, that isn’t the first time she’s mentioned this. It’s just the first time I was paying attention.

So after a little internet searching, I discovered that the records were probably located at the Grand Lodge of AF&AM of Montana. And I gave them call.

I asked the man who answered the phone if he might have records dating back to the late 1800s/early 1900s and he said he did. Typically, he explained, any record they have would probably include the date the member joined, his date and place of birth (Bingo!), date and place of death, and any offices he might have held.

I gave him my great grandfather’s name – DAVID LYMAN BLACKER – and told him I believed he was a member of the King Solomon Lodge,  based on a newspaper article from April 1911, just after my great grandfather died.

“Death Claims David Blacker”, undated clipping from unidentified newspaper. Privately held by Nina Jean (Blacker) Dalin.

I also asked him to search the name of my great grandfather’s brother, JACOB BLACKER, as I believed he was also a Mason.

He searched and searched . . and then searched again in some old archival records. But still no luck. We discussed the fact that my great grandfather originally lived in Virginia City, then relocated to Radersburg, and finally ended up in Helena. He checked the records again, thinking he might have originally joined another lodge, but still nothing.

After further discussion, we both began to wonder if David might have first become a lodge member in another state. He explained to me that if that had been the case, David would have been welcome to attend meetings and conferences in Montana without formally moving his membership from the original state where he became a member to his new place of residence.

I thanked the gentlemen for his efforts, hung up, and immediately began looking at my records to determine which state or states might be likely candidates for further research.

Just prior to his arrival in the Montana Territory in 1864, my great grandfather spent some time in Colorado. So that’s one possibility.

And before that, he may have lived in Missouri. Of the two locations, I decided Missouri was the best place to start. So I contacted The Grand Lodge of Missouri

The woman I spoke with told me they receive quite a few look-up requests from folks like me doing genealogy research – and that she loves researching old records. “Well then,” I said, “. . . I’ve got the right person!”.

I gave her the names of my great grandfather and his brother. And in addition, I asked if she would look for my great grandfather’s father-in-law, JOHN BUCHENAU, as I think it’s possible he was also a Mason – and he lived for a short time in St. Joseph, Missouri.

I expect to hear back with the search results some time next week. I’ll keep you posted!

Share This:

a little bit of serendipity

Last week while going through some old Montana newspapers, I just happened upon this news article that mentions my great grandfather David Lyman Blacker. I’ve searched his name on many occasions – but this is an article I’ve never come across. So it was a great find!

Mineral Land Convention

Also listed in the article are John Keating, my great grandfather’s business partner, and Moses Morris, a close friend who was at my great grandfather’s bedside when he died years later in 1911.

The source for this newspaper article is:
“Mineral Land Convention,” The Helena independent. (Helena, Mont.), 28 Nov. 1889, p. 1, col. 3; image copy, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress (www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov : accessed 28 November 2016), Digitized Newspapers.

A transcription of the article follows here:

MINERAL LAND CONVENTION.

Delegates Who Will Represent This
County at Encore Hall Tuesday.
      —————o————–
The delegates from this county to the last
meeting of the Mineral Land convention
met last evening and added several gentle-
men to their number. The convention
meets on Tuesday at Encore Hall, at 2 p.
m. The following is a full list of the Lewis
and Clarke Delegation:

J. S. Harrris, Thomas Cruse,
H. M. Parchen, Moses Emanuel,
Moses Morris, C. B. Vaughn,
E. R. Tandy, Geo. B. Foote,
J. B. Wilson, John Keating,
James W. Carpenter,  R. C. Wallace,
Chas. Runley, Henry Klein,
E. D. Weed, Chas. Rinda,
James Gourley, Wm. Hickey,
John Shober, C. K. Wells,
Wm. Coyne, Clarence Kinna,
Ed Zimmerman, P. H. Constans,
Henry Jurgens, Niel Vawter,
John Steinmetz, Joseph Davis,
A. M. Thornburgh, Samuel Word,
John T. Murphy, J. B. Sanford,
John Steinbrenner, Albert Kleinschmidt,
Jacob Sweitzer, James Sullivan,
L. H. Hershfield, Mike Burns,
R. P. Barden, A. K. Prescott,
Ben Price, M. M. Holter,
David Blacker,  W. E. Cox,
B. P. Carpenter, Thomas G. Merrill
And all the members of the house and
state senate from Lewis and Clarke county.
—————o————–

Share This: