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Posts Tagged ‘Hottinger’

My maternal grandmother, Vesta Christena (Wilt) Johnson, was the middle child (and oldest daughter) out of six children born to her parents Martha Jane Stern and Joseph Napolean Wilt. She had three older brothers – Clarence, Jesse, and John, and two younger siblings – Nellie and Clifford. My great-grandparents divorced before my grandmother was ten. Martha went on to marry her late sister’s widower, William Frank Clawson. They did not have any children together; however, Joseph married Anna Park and they had a son named Albert – my grandmother’s younger half-brother.

It was apparent throughout the letters my grandmother wrote to her siblings as adults that none of them spent any time with their father or his new family following the divorce. I’m not sure if my grandmother ever met Albert, but she did have a picture of him at about 16 years of age. There was also a picture taken later of a tombstone shared by Joseph and Anna as well as Albert who died in 1933. The birth year listed 1917.

As new records were added to online databases, I discovered that Albert’s age was listed as 5 years old in the 1920 census and as age 15 in the 1930 census. At least a two year discrepancy according to his tombstone. Then I discovered his birth certificate showing that Albert was born on October 21, 1914! That meant that someone made a big error on his birth year listed on the tombstone.

Then I discovered Albert’s death certificate. Joe was the informant listed on his son’s death certificate and listed August 1, 1914 as the date of birth. There was an inquest to find cause of death. And that is when I read the horrible information. Albert died due to his skull being crushed; struck by a railway train as he was walking along the tracks. No wonder some of the information was off – as a grieving father, Joe may not have been thinking clearly about his son’s birth when his tragic death was fresh on his mind.

How did Albert not know a train was coming? Not paying attention? It happened too fast? Or could he have been deaf and not felt the vibrations in the ground soon enough? I bring up deafness because an earlier collateral relative on the Wilt side – brothers Charles and Absolam Hottinger, “deaf-mutes” according to the Rockingham (Virginia) Daily Record on November 9, 1912, were struck by the Chesapeake Western freight train near Penn Laird. Absolam was killed almost instantly, and Charles had extensive injuries.

I find it quite sad that my grandmother did not have a relationship with her younger brother, and instead of stories and her memories, all we are left with is one close-up photo of him.

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When I started working on my family history, information on the web was lacking. In fact, aside from the beginnings of Ancestry.com, Rootsweb, and the old LDS FamilySearch.org, the main website was Cyndi’s List. Cyndi Ingle was a one woman show back in 2001, and she still is. Except today, Cyndi’s List is much bigger.

Fortunately, back then a good friend let me borrow her family tree software in order to begin. All the beginning genealogy articles I found online or in a few magazines suggested to start with yourself. That is exactly what I did. Now, almost twenty years later, I am using the latest version of Family Tree Maker (FTM). The database assigns a reference number to each person, and my number is 1. Number 2 is my dad. I really have no idea what the computations are for numbers in FTM. My mother shows up as Reference number 7359!

My descendants include four children and eight grandchildren! My ancestors include my two parents and four grandparents.

• Paternal: Lloyd William Amore and Ella Maria House
• Maternal: Glen Roy Johnson and Vesta Christena Wilt

As I go further back into my family history, not only do the generations become compounded but I am at brick walls on others. I have listed the number of known and documented ancestors after the relationship.

Great-Grandparents – 8

• Paternal: William Henry Amore and Mary Angeline Werts; James Emory House and Frances Virginia Ogan
• Maternal: John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J Blazer; Joseph Napolean Wilt and Martha Jane Stern

Great-Great-Grandparents (AKA 2x great-grandparents) – 14 out of 16

• Paternal: William Amore and Charlotte Reed; William Washington Werts and Louisa Bookless; Florus Allen House and Julia Ann Lewis; BRICKWALL on Frances Ogan’s biological parents.
• Maternal: James Wilson Johnson and Amanda Eveline Mullis; Franklin Blazer and Melissa Goul; Isreal Isaac Wilt and Christena Nash; Emanuel Bushong Stern and Nancy Caylor.

3x Great-Grandparents – 25 out of 32

• Paternal: BRICKWALL on William Amore’s parents; Zachariah Reed and BRICKWALL on Charlotte Reed’s mother; George Peter Werts and Margaret Catherine Maple; David Bookless and Mary Cartmell; Allen House and Editha Bigelow; Abel Lewis Jr and Nancy (Ann) Johnston.
• Maternal: Jacob Johnson and Ann Shields; John Mullis and Darlett Stanley; John Blazer and Mary Ann Nelson; John Goul and Martha McManaway (or alternate spellings); John Wilt and Phebe Hottinger; Alexander Nash and Elsy Minesinger; Peter Stern and Margaret Bushong; Abraham Caylor and Susannah Miller.

4x Great-Grandparents – 42 out of 64

• Paternal: BRICKWALL on Zachariah Reed’s parents; George Peter Werts and Susanna Huff; William B Maple and Mary Fuller; (thought to be but not proven) William Bookless and Ann Pearson; John Cartmell and mother of Mary Cartmell NOT PROVEN; Lazarus House and Rebecca Risley; Eli Bigelow and Anna Freeman; Abel Lewis and Elizabeth Jones; James Johnston and Catherine See.
• Maternal: BRICKWALL on Jacob Johnson’s parents; William Shields and Mary (maiden name is unknown); George Mullis (Sr) and Margaret “Polly” Owens; Thomas Stanley Sr and Sarah Mason; Philip Blazer and Elizabeth Kingsley; John Griffith Nelson and Mary Dickenson Arbuckle; Adam Goul and Elizabeth Lutz; BRICKWALL for parents of Martha McManaway; Peter Wilt and BRICKWALL for John Wilt’s mother; John Hottinger and Mary Orebaugh; Joshua Nash and Abigail (maiden name is unknown); Joseph Minesinger and Christeana (maiden name is unknown); Christian Stern and Susanna Roudebush; John Bushong and Anna Stover; Johannes Caylor (Kohler) and Sarah Salome Kinsey; Joseph H Miller and Catherine Botafield.

Now, 17 years after I began this family history journey, where do I start in order to break down those brick walls? I start with myself once again and go through each person’s documentation, ephemera, and stories in order to pick out as much information as I can. I also check into each person’s FAN club (family, associates and neighbors) – cluster research – for even more evidence.

(Photos above (left to right top to bottom) – First collage: Glen & Vesta (Wilt) Johnson; Lloyd & Ella (House) Amore; William Henry & Mary (Werts) Amore; John & Katie (Blazer) Johnson. Second collage: Peter & Margaret (Bushong) Stern; Joseph & Martha (Stern) Wilt and family; Emanuel & Nancy (Caylor) Stern; George Peter & Margaret Catherine (Maple) Werts. Third collage: James Wilson Johnson; William Amore; Melissa (Goul) Blazer; Isreal Wilt.)

This is the first post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for Week 1. For more information or to sign up to participate (all free!!), check out Amy Johnson Crow’s post: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

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