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Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

First German Reformed Church

No, not that type of connection! As far as I know, I am not related to George Washington through his mother or his father. This is similar to the “Six Degrees of Separation” game (and no, I haven’t found any connection to Kevin Bacon either!). I did however, discover that one of my ancestors had something in common with our country’s first president. It was a particular place.

As I was researching information on my  4th great-grandmother, Elizabeth Lutz, I came across an interesting piece of information. The daughter of Adam Lutz and Maria Rucht was baptized on September 24, 1762 in the First Reformed Church of Philadelphia by Rev. Frederick Rothenbuehler. The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 35, No. 1, published in 1987 lists this on page 11. It mentions that her father was “of the Palatinate (came on the ship Lydia from Rotterdam, 13  Oct. 1749…)” and lists her sponsors.

Wanting to know more about this church, I used Google to see what I could find. The First Reformed Church of Philadelphia was also called the German Reformed Church of Philadelphia and was founded in 1727 by German immigrants. The minister, Rev. George Michael Weiss, arrived with 400 other people from the Palatinate region of Germany. Today, the church is called Old First Reformed UCC (United Church of Christ).  For more on the church’s history, you can go to History of Old First Reformed UCC, Old First Reformed Church, and The German Reformed Church. I was excited to find that my 4th great-grandmother was baptized in a church that is now part of the denomination of which I’m a member!

I also learned that in 1800 memorial services for George Washington was held at that church! Well, not in the same building because the congregation had moved down the road a bit but the congregation still had the same history as it did when Elizabeth Lutz was baptized 38 years before!

My 4th great-grandmother married Adam Goul and went on to have eight children. My direct ancestor was their first son, John W. Goul, through his daughter, Melissa Goul, through her daughter, Katie J. Blazer, through her son, Glen R. Johnson, through his daughter, Mary Johnson (my mom!). Elizabeth died in Champaign county, Ohio on November 13, 1845 and is buried in Treacles Creek Cemetery in that county.

(Image: Wikimedia Commons; photograph in public domain)

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train

Not too long ago, I read a Facebook status (and I’m sorry but I don’t remember who it was) that mentioned their ancestors had traveled less than 50 miles over several generations. The revelation prompted me to think about how many miles my ancestors traveled before landing at the place they called home until they died.

Instead of going back many, many generations, I will begin with my maternal 2nd great-grandparents.

emanuelstern_nancy

Emanuel Bushong Stern b. 7 Oct 1834 in Montgomery county, Ohio. Nancy Caylor b. 10 May 1840 in Wayne county, Indiana.  Emanuel had traveled approximately 105 miles from his birthplace in Ohio. Nancy had traveled about 68 miles from her birthplace. The family remained in Hamilton county. After my 2nd great-grandparents divorced, Emanuel traveled to Yale, Nebraska to visit one of their children and was found living there in the 1910 census. He traveled (probably by train) about 787 miles.  Nancy died (21 Dec 1900) in the same county that she had lived with her husband. Emanuel was buried (after 10 Sep 1911)  in Hamilton county so he (or his remains) had to travel back from 787 miles to Hamilton county, Indiana.

isrealwilt

Israel Isaac Wilt b. 20 Jan 1823 in Rockingham county, Virginia was in Prairie township, Henry county, Indiana by the time of his marriage to Christena Nash on 2 Feb 1857. He had traveled about 503 miles traveling through Pennsylvania and Ohio. Christena was b. 1837 in (probably) Beaver county, Pennsylvania. She had traveled with her family 316 miles.  They lived in Henry county the rest of their lives. Israel died 11 Sep 1919 and Chrstena died 18 Aug 1876.

joewiltfamily

The Stern’s daughter, Martha Jane Stern, b. 9 Feb 1872 in Clarksville, Hamilton county, Indiana married Joseph Napolean Wilt (b. 21 Jan 1868) on 10 Sep 1890 in the same county both were born. By the 1910 census, Martha and Joseph were divorced and she was remarried and living in Anderson, Madison county, Indiana – 29 miles away. By 1923, Martha and her second husband, William Frank Clawson, moved 2,257 miles away to Lane county, Oregon. Both of them died in Oregon and were buried in Leaburg. Joseph Wilt. By 9 Jan 1944, when Joseph died, he was living near Nabb, Indiana – about 102 miles from his birthplace.

My other sets of great-great-grandparents (ancestors of my grandfather) were James Wilson Johnson b. 16 Aug 1829 and Amanda Evaline Mullis b. 1833 and Franklin Blazer b. 2 Jun 1836 and Malissa Goul b. 17 Oct 1832.

James Wilson Johnson, I think

 

James W. Johnson was born in Brown county, Ohio and by the 1850 census, he had moved to 137 miles away to Rush county, Indiana. Amanda was born in Wilkes county, North Carolina and had traveled with her parents and family to Rush county, Indiana – 519 miles. Amanda d. 21 Mar 1868 in Rush county. After her death, James moved around, reportedly through Howard county, Indiana and finally settling in Anderson, Indiana – a little over 40 miles away. 

malissa_blazer

Franklin Blazer was probably born in Madison county, Indiana and stayed in that county until he passed away on 27 Aug 1873. Malissa was born in Union, Champaign county, Ohio and by the time she married Franklin before 1859, she was living in Pendleton, Madison county, Indiana – a little over 125 miles away.

johnson_john_katie

The Johnson’s son, John Lafayette Johnson, and the Blazer’s daughter, Katie J. Blazer married on 4 Jul 1883. John was b. 2 Mar 1861 in Rush county, Indiana. Katie was b. 27 Sep 1864 in Stony Creek, Madison county, Indiana. By the time of their marriage, John was living close to her. They remained in Anderson, Indiana – 40 miles from John’s birth and 9 miles from Katie’s birth until 1930 when they moved to Greene county, Ohio to live with their son (my grandfather). That move took them 109 miles from their home. Following each of their deaths, they were buried back in Anderson, Indiana.

glen_vesta_friends

My grandparents, Glen Roy Johnson b. 21 Nov 1898 and Vesta Christena Wilt b. 7 May 1898, were both born in Indiana. He was born in Anderson, and she was born in Noblesville. When her mother and stepfather moved 29 miles away to Anderson, she was still young.  After they were married on 24 Dec 1916, the couple moved 109 miles away to Fairfield, Ohio (the town merged with Osborn and became Fairborn many years later). As my grandfather was in the military, he was at Ft. Omaha in Nebraska; Kelly Field in San Antonio, France during WWI; Wiesbaden, Germany during the early 1950s; and by the time they returned to the states and my grandfather retired from the US Air Force, they lived on Devonshire in Dayton, Ohio. So even though they had traveled over 4200 miles and then some, they moved 18 miles away from Fairborn. When I was a baby and small child, they had moved to a home on Rahn Road in Kettering – 14 miles away. Before my grandmother died 19 Jan 1984 they had spent many years living 9 miles away at the Park Layne Apartments at 531 Belmonte Park in Dayton. After my grandmother’s death, my grandfather moved almost 13 miles away to the Trinity Home on Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek, Ohio. He was there at the time of his death on 18 Jan 1985.

mom

My mom, Mary Helen Johnson, was born in Anderson, Indiana and moved with her parents 109 miles away to Fairfield, Ohio when she was very young. She remained there until she married my dad in 1943. They moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (close to 400 miles away) before moving to Great Falls, Montana – about 1300 miles away. My dad was in the military, and they moved to Japan and back twice – over 6500 miles from Columbus, Ohio. In fact my mom drove my brother and sister from Dayton to Washington to catch the ship for Japan the first time they moved to Japan – a trip of over 2300 miles – very lengthy for a young woman with two little kids in 1953. By the time they returned to the states for the final time, they moved to Panama City, Florida – about 780 miles from Dayton. In 1960, they moved back to Ohio and bought a house in Beavercreek. This was the same house my mom lived in until 1977 when she moved a little over 5 miles away to the town home she lived in for the remainder of her life. (My father is still living so I will not disclose all the places he has lived.)

Below is a list of how far my ancestors traveled in order from who lived (and/or) died at a location farthest from their birthplace to the shortest distance:

  • Martha Jane Stern – 2246 miles
  • Amanda Evaline Mullis – 519 miles
  • Israel Isaac Wilt – 503 miles
  • Christena Nash – 316 miles
  • James Wilson Johnson – 190 miles
  • Malissa Goul – 125 miles
  • Glen Roy Johnson – 115 miles
  • Mary Helen Johnson – 115 miles
  • Vesta Christena Wilt – 113 miles
  • Katie J Blazer – 113 miles
  • Emanuel Bushong Stern – about 105 miles
  • Joseph Napolean Wilt – 102 miles
  • John Lafayette Johnson – 95 miles
  • Nancy Caylor – 68 miles
  • Franklin Blazer – less than 5 miles

According to Wikipedia, History of Indiana, the “state’s population grew to exceed one million” by the 1850s, and several of my ancestors had either made their way to Indiana or were born there. My Wilt/Nash great-great-grandparents likely traveled over the National Road in their westward migration from Virginia and Pennsylvania to Indiana. The Mullis family would have likely traveled by wagon through the wilderness to either the Cumberland Gap/Wilderness Road or to the National Road to get to Indiana.

There were probably several reasons for my ancestors to move north and west – better economy, more fertile farming land, more opportunities, and different political and social climates.

Though my maternal roots run deep in Indiana, I am partial to the state of my birth – Ohio. Even then, I didn’t stay there to live, work, marry and raise a family. I moved over 1000 miles away! Just as my ancestors left the places of their birth in search of something better, that is what I did. I moved (and stayed) due to job opportunities and warmer climate.

Have you tracked your ancestors?

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania conjurs up thoughts of the Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, the Founding Fathers, and even the movie “National Treasure.” My first trip to Philadelphia was in about 1965 when I was about four years old. Not only were we going to visit some of the places I mentioned but also to visit my dad’s sister, Marie. On the way from Dayton to Phlly, we stopped in Hershey and toured the chocolate-maker’s manufacturing plant (this was before OSHA and other laws prevented a tour right by the gigantic vats of milk chocolate!). As a young chid, I was fascinated with the street lights shaped like Hersey Kisses candy! We left with oodles of chocolate and other candy.

We stayed at my Aunt Marie’s for at least two nights and also enjoyed the sights of Philadelphia.

My Aunt Marie

Carpenter’s Hall

From Pennsylvania, we went to Manhattan and while my dad had business meetings, Mom and I saw the Rockettes, Rockefeller Center, and shopped at  department stores.  One of my mom’s class mates (and sister to my uncle’s wife) lived on Long Island, so we spent a day visiting them and taking a ferry boat ride out by the Statue of Liberty. Either going East or returning home, we stopped at the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Many years later, as a high school student the summer before my Junior year, I went with my church’s Youth Fellowship back to Philadelphia. We stopped on the way in Johnstown and spent the night at a church and then on to Lancaster and spent two days sight-seeing and enjoying the hospitality of a family who opened their home for 22 of us kids and many adult sponsors plus our Christian Education director and the minister and his family. Then on to Philly to walk the cobblestone streets, visit Christ Church, get a close up view of the Liberty Bell, and tour Independence Hall. We saw the home of Betsy Ross and the U.S. Mint. Outside of town we took mine cars deep into the coal and iron ore mine.

Now, I would like to visit again, but this time with the knowledge that some of my ancestors lived near to Philadelphia before the Founding Fathers set quill to parchment with their signatures on the Declaration of Independence.

 

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In my post a year ago, My Nash Connections, I mentioned my 3rd great-grandparents – Alexander and Elsy Nash. Elsy’s maiden name has been reported to be Winninger or Winger – and several variations of those names. With my Ancestry subscription that came with my new Family Tree Maker software, I thought I’d do some more digging.

Clicking the “leaf” next to Alexander’s name brought up seven different records.  The very first one was the Pennsylvania (PA) Minesinger Family Tree.  It listed Alexander’s wife as Elsie Minesinger.  Well, it was a start.  I had to start checking that information out and see what documentation I could find before believing that Minesinger was the maiden name I’d been looking for.

There were no source citations listed for their marriage and the citations listed for Elsie’s birth and residence came from a census after her marriage to Alexander.  Still nothing that answered any questions.  Elsie’s parents were listed as Joseph Minesinger and Christina.  Since Christina had been Alexander and Elsie’s daughter’s name, and the reason my grandmother’s middle name was Christena, I thought it was a clue.  However, I also knew that whoever put together that information, could have just deduced the woman’s name was Christina.

Since most of Alexander and Elsy’s children were born in Henry County, Indiana, I knew that the couple had moved there from Pennsylvania.  Looking to see if there were any other Minesinger families in the Henry County area – perhaps a purported sibling of Elsy, I found John Minesinger living two doors away from Alexander and Elsy in the 1850 US Census for Henry County.  In the 1860 Census, they are shown right next to each other and again 2 doors away in the 1870 Census.  There is also a “Christean Minesinger” buried in Lebanon Baptist Cemetery – which is where Alexander, Elsy and three of their children are buried. 

It’s not enough information for documentation that Minesinger is the Elsy’s maiden name – but it’s more than I had a year ago.  I will continue to search for other records – church, christening, etc. until I am satisfied that I am on the right track.

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The parents of my great-grandfather – Joseph Napolean Wilt – were Israel Isaac Wilt and Christine (or Christena) Nash.  I haven’t delved into the Nash family very deeply and wonder if I’ve really scratched the surface.  One of my resolutions, posted in I Resolved To . . ., is to pick another branch of my family to research. After all, my grandmother’s middle name was Christena – after her grandmother. 

Christena Nash was the daughter of Alexander Nash and Elsie.  Elsie’s name has been spelled Elcie, Elsy, and Elsie.  Her surname has been listed as Winninger or Winger – and several variations of those names.  Christena was born in 1837 in Pennsylvania. 

Alexander Nash was born the end of May in 1808 in Pennsylvania.  His parents remain a mystery to me although in the 1880 US Census, Alexander listed his father as born in Maryland and his mother as born in Pennsylvania.  A man named Alexander Nash is in the 1840 US Census enumerated in Beaver Township, Green County, Pennsylvania with 1 male age 0-5, 1 male age 30-40, 1 female age under 5, 1 female age 5-10, and 1 female age 20-30.  This leads me to believe – although not documented – that Alexander is the older male as he would have been 32 in 1840.  Elsy born in mid-July 1813, would have been 27 years old.  Their oldest three children are reportedly: Sarah Nash, born in 1829; an  unknown son born between 1835-1840; and my 2nd great-grandmother, Christena, born in 1837.  I found Sarah’s information through the Henry County Genealogical Society on an index of the Lebanon Baptist Cemetery in Henry County, Indiana.  She had died on August 21, 1850 at the age of 20 years, 7 months, and 27 days and was listed as the daughter of Alex and Elsie Nash.  Her mother was only 15 when she was born.

Alexander and Elsy were enumerated on the 1850 US Census in Prairie Township, Henry County, Indiana.  His age was listed as 42 and her age as 38.  Children in the household included: “Christy Ann” (Christena), Sarah, Alexander, Catherine, and Nancy and Elsy (appearing to be twins).  If the young male enumerated in the 1840 Census had been their son, he had died prior to the 1850 Census.  Sometime between the two censuses, the family had moved from Pennyslvania to Indiana. As the younget girls, Nancy and Elsy, were listed as born in Pennsylvania and were age 4 in 1850 – their move to Indiana had been recent.

The 1860 US Census shows the family living in the same place.  Even though Sarah was to have died in 1850, there is a Sarah still enumerated with the family – something further to be researched.  One thought is that she actually died in 1860 and the indexer either made a typo when putting the date online or couldn’t read the headstone.  That would also mean that there was an unknown daughter in the 1840 census and Sarah was actually born in 1839 and Elsie hadn’t been as young as if Sarah was born in 1829.  It might also explain why the family didn’t show up in the 1830 Census – they might not have been married yet and still residing with their respective families.  Children, besides Sarah, included in the 1860 Census include Alexander, Catherine, Nancy, Elsy, and Mary.

Alexander died on April 14, 1883 and Elsie died on May 3, 1890.  They are both buried in the Lebanon Baptist Cemetery.  They had a son, Wilmot Nash, born on April 9, 1848 who died at age 2 on June 11, 1850.  He is buried close to them.  Their daughter, Christena, also died before they did – on August 18, 1876. 

Further research will include the 1870 and 1880 US Census records for Alexander and Elsie; Indiana marriage records on their children; headstone transcriptions; other Indiana county records; and looking into Nash families in the Beaver Twp and Green County areas of Pennsylvania.

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Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (ca. 1966)
Photographed by Gene Amore
Digital image taken of slide held by Wendy Littrell (Address for private use)

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There have been several times in the past where I’ve come to a brick wall – more like a cement wall – unmovable and indestructable.  When I’ve come to a screeching halt in my research, I’ve generally focused on either other activities or other names in my ancestry.  I think it is usually a case where I’m looking so hard at one thing, I can’t see what’s right in front of me.

However, there are still some brick walls that I haven’t been able to even knock one brick out of in order to see a little glimmer of light from the other side.

Parents (and therefore their ancestors) of:

  • William Amore (my 2nd g-grandfather) b. Feb. 6, 1828 in Troy, albany, NY d. Feb. 9, 1896 in Franklin Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio.
  • Charlotte Imons (my 2nd g-grandmother, wife of William Amore) b. Aug. 4, 1828 in Ohio d. Oct. 9, 1862 in Coshocton County, Ohio.
  • Frances Ogan (my g-grandmother, wife of James Emory House) b. Nov. 29, 1846 in Ohio d. Feb. 18, 1915 [I posted about her story here.]
  • Julia Lewis (my 2nd g-grandmother, wife of Florus House, mother of James) b. Dec. 24, 1815 in Ohio d. Oct. 6, 1899 in Coshocton County, Ohio.
  • John Blazer (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. abt. 1812 in Ohio d. Unknown probably in Indiana.
  • Martha McManaway (my 3rd g-grandmother, wife of John Goul) b. abt. 1801 in Germany or Rockingham, Virginia d. Oct. 7, 1855 probably in Indiana.
  • Frederick Goul (my 5th g-grandfather) b. in Germany. (No information on his wife either.)
  • Jacob Johnson (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. Dec. 11, 1787 in New Jersey d. May 2, 1855 in Center Township, Rush County, Indiana.
  • William Shields (my 4th g-grandfather, father of Ann Shields, father-in-law of Jacob Johnson).
  • Thomas Stanley (my 4th g-grandfather).
  • Sarah Smithey (my 4th g-grandmother, wife of Thomas Stanley).
  • George Mullis (my 4th g-grandfather) b. 1768 in Wilkes County, North Carolina d. 1833 in Surry County, North Carolina.
  • Johnathan Wilt (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. abt. 1800 in Virginia.
  • Catherine Hollinger (my 3rd g-grandmother, wife of Johnathan Wilt) b. 1799 in Virginia.
  • Alexander Nash (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. about 1808 in Pennsylvania. (No information on his wife, Elsy’s, family.)

My research has included checking the census records for the areas in which they died and going backwards as well as any other on-line documentation – wills, marriages, births, deaths, obituaries and newspaper articles.  I’ve also asked living family members what they have heard about ancestors in case oral histories have been passed down.

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