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 . . .

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A belated Happy Anniversary . . . and a family mystery

Two days ago – August 30th – was the 168th wedding anniversary of my great great grandparents Catherine Tyler and John Buchenau.

Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of John but I do have this picture of Catherine.

Catherine B. (Tyler) Buchenau
Catherine B. (Tyler) Buchenau

John and Catherine were married on August 30, 1848, in Ottawa, La Salle County, Illinois. I remember the day – way back in 1981 – when their marriage record came in the mail. I was beyond excited! (The family mystery is discussed below the images and transcriptions.)

Marriage Certificate/License: John Buchenau and Catherine Tyler
Certification page

Transcription of handwritten portion, right side of page:


2035A
John Buckman [sic]
&
Catherine Tyler
_______
Filed Sept 20, 1848
[illegible]
Certif. – Aug. 30, 1848
License – Aug 29, 1848
Page 99

Marriage Certificate/License: John Buchenau and Catherine Tyler
Marriage License: John Buchenau and Catherine Tyler

Transcription:


State of Illinois
La Salle County
       The People of the State of Illinois to any
person legally authorized to solemnize the
vows of Matrimony Greeting
             You are hereby Licensed and authorized
to Solemnize the vows of Matrimony
between Mr. John Buckman [sic] and Miss Catherine
Tyler now both of La Salle County and State of Illinois
and hereof make return together with a [illegible]
of the Marriage within Thirty days from date
of the Marriage and this will be your sufficient
justification for so doing.
In testimony Whereof I hereunto
set my hand and have affixed the
Seal of this Court at Ottawa
Aug 29th 1848
M[illegible] Murphy Clerk
John Buckman [sic]
to
Catherine Tyler
Aug 30, 1848

Marriage Certificate/License: John Buchenau and Catherine Tyler
Marriage Certificate: John Buchenau and Catherine Tyler

Transcription:


State of Illinois
Lasalle [sic] County
Be it remembered that on this 30th day of
August A.D. 1848 by Virtue of my office
as a Justice of the Peace, in and for the
said County of Lasalle [sic], and in accordance with the
within License, I performed and joined together a man
and wife Mr. John Buckman [sic] & Miss Catherine Tyler
in the holy bond of Matrimony.
Witness my hand and seal the day and year
above named.                         Warner Brown (Seal)
Justice of the Peace

John and Catherine went on to have six children, including my great grandmother Ada Cordelia (Buchenau) Blacker – born in 1853 in St. Joseph, Missouri.

By 1865, the family was living in Kansas.

In 1871, Ada married my great grandfather David Lyman Blacker and moved with him to the Montana Territory.

And here’s where the mystery comes in.

  • Some time between 1880 and and 1890, Catherine left her husband – and moved to the Montana Territory to live with her daughter Ada and son-in-law David Blacker in Helena.
  • Records for John seem to indicate he died between 1900 and 1910, probably in Kansas. I have been unable to locate where he is buried.
  • Catherine died in Helena, Montana on April 21, 1923. She is buried next to her daughter Ada and three of her granddaughters at Forestvale Cemetery in Helena.

Catherine never returned to Kansas to rejoin her husband – not even for a visit.

Hmmm . . .

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From Pennsylvania to Montana

Catherine B. (Tyler) Buchenau
Catherine B. (Tyler) Buchenau

An interesting blog post, written by Scott C. Steward at vita-brevis.org entitled “Far afield“, inspired me to share the story of my great great grandmother on my mother’s side, Catherine B. (Tyler) Buchenau.

The gist of Scott’s post is that most folks think their ancestors didn’t move around much. I immediately related to his post because I used to think the same thing – until I learned about Catherine. Continue reading

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Steamboat travel on the Missouri River

Vast herds [of buffalo], extending away to the horizon line of the north-ward bluffs, were moving slowly toward the river, grazing as they came.  On arriving at the river’s brink they hesitated and then, snorting and bellowing, plunged into the swift-running current and swam to the opposite shore.  When the [steamer] Stockdale reached a point nearly opposite the Elk Horn grove, excitement rose to a high pitch on board, for the buffalo became so thick in the river that the boat could not move, and the engines had to be stopped.  In front the channel was blocked by their huge, shaggy bodies, and in their struggles they beat against the sides and stern, blowing and pawing.  Many became entangled with the wheel, which for a time could not be revolved without breaking the buckets.  As they swept toward the precipitous bank of the north shore and plunged over into the stream, clouds of dust arose from the crumbling earth while the air trembled with their bellowings and the roar of their myriad hoofs . . . it seemed almost as if they would overwhelm the boat.  No one on board cared to shoot among them, for the sight of them was too awe-inspiring . . . Several hours elapsed before the Stockdale was able to break through the migrating herds and resume her journey, and they were still crossing when at last she passed beyond view.

Hanson, Joseph Mills. “Blockaded by Buffalo.” The Conquest of the Missouri: The Story of the Life and Exploits of Captain Grant Marsh. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 2003. 97-98. Print.


I believe that three of my great grandparents and two of my great great grandparents experienced at least one trip on a Missouri River steamer – probably sometime between the years 1867and 1879. And so I found myself feeling quite curious about what that trip might have been like.

Continue reading

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