Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

#98--Why Did You Send Me a Card with a Pig on It?

A new year will be here in a just a few days.  I looked to see if I had an old New Year’s post card that someone had sent to my father, and I was surprised to find that I did.  Here it is:

I also have a Pinterest Board devoted to vintage New Year’s cards.  Sometimes, I go online and find cards to add to my collection and at other times, I like to just look at them.  Today was a day to look and pick several to put in this blog.  I noticed that the cards fell in several categories.

First were those like this one that involved Father Time, and sometimes Baby New Year.

Partying to celebrate the New Year, often with champagne

Or the coming of the New Year

And one theme that I found rather unusual:  pigs.  As it turns out, pigs are a symbol for good luck.  Of all the pig cards, this is the one I liked the best.

I cannot decide which one I like the best, but that big pig makes me laugh.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

#97--Time to Trim the Tree

Today is it snowing here in Michigan.  It is the second time it has snowed this week and I think we have more snow now that we did all last winter.  So, it seemed like a wonderful time to put up the Christmas tree.  One of the things I love about doing that is the ornaments.  In a family that is pretty sentimental, I have lots of ornaments, many of which are very special.  Last year, I blogged about those that belonged to my parents (  On Christmas Ornaments and Christmas Trees  ).  But I have other ornaments, which have a story attached to them.
When I was growing up, we always had a big tree. One year, we had a tree that was bigger than usual; in fact, I believe the top of it hit the 12 foot high ceiling.   Because it was big, we needed more ornaments.  So my mother sent my father and me out to get a few more.  I remember that we drove down to Fifth Avenue, and went to a small variety store.  We picked out these two sets of ornaments.

The birds that clip onto a branch

And these trumpets.

I also like to decorate the bottom of the tree.  Some times I just use presents wrapped in brightly colored paper with big bows and other times, I use some old toys.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

#96--Moving with the Mears

My last blog was about the way my great-great grandmother, Charity Mears, named her children. While working on that line, I noticed another interesting things about Charity Mears and her sisters.  I had always heard that families moved from one place to another because they know someone there or believed it would be a better place. With the Mears sisters I could see it in action.

When the sisters married, they all lived in Brown County, Ohio.  Here is a list of the sisters and their husbands.
        Mary Mears ((1786-1873)—Lemuel Boyle Sayer
Elizabeth Mears (1796—1880)—Jonathan Shreve
Catherine Mears (1799-1888)—Robert Legate (1802—1822)  and  Israel Donnelson Sayre (1807-1849)
Nancy Mears (1801-1883)—George Newell (1798-1875)
Jane Mears (1803-1878)—Jesse Stephenson (1804—1828)and David Calvin (1800/1810—1845)
Charity Mears (1806—1842)—John M. Hannah (1799-1842)
Sarah Jane Mears (1808-1899) George Fisher (1807-1907).

As I looked at the census information for these families, I noticed that they began to leave Brown County for places that were further west.  The first couple to leave were Jonathan and Elizabeth Mears Shreve who by 1820 had moved to Ripley County, Indiana, where Jonathan’s father now lived.
I knew that by 1830, my great grandparents, John and Charity Mears Hannah were living in Edgar County.  However, according to the census for 1830 George and Sarah Jane Mears Fisher and Israel and Catherine Mears Sayre were also living there.  But that was not the only Mearses who were in
Edgar County.   I also knew from her will that Elizabeth Mears, the mother of all the Mears girls, was in Edgar County at the time of her death in 1842.   Further Jane Mears Stephenson, whose husband died in Brown County in 1828 also came to Edgar County as she married David Calvin there in 1833.
One couple did not go to Edgar County, even though they did leave.  George and Nancy Mears Newell stayed in Brown County until 1860 when they were in Deer Park, LaSalle, Illinois.  They remained there until their deaths.  While all her sisters left Brown County, Mary Mears with her husband Lemuel Sayre remained in Brown County.

So why might these families moved to Illinois?  I think the answer is land.   For each family I searched the Illinois Land Sales and found that each husband and Elizabeth Mears bought land.  Generally land was bought on a land warrant or for $1.25 per acre.  As I looked over the purchases they were all in the same area—Townships 15 and 16 in Ranges 11 and 12.  That would mean these families were living relatively close together in Ross, Prairie, Edgar or Brullet.  That area is the four townships in the upper right hand corner of the map.  Someday soon, I will take that township map and plot exactly where the land was purchased.

If I could talk to them, I would ask why they moved.  I would also like to know how they travelled from Brown County to Edgar County.  Did they go over land?  Did they go down the Ohio River and then up the Wabash River?  Or did go partly down the Ohio and then overland to Edgar County?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

#95--What Should We Name the Baby? The Mears Know

What to name a child is a decision that many parents agonize over.  The name is eagerly awaited by the parents’ relatives and friends.  Today, many parents seems to be picking unusual names.  That was not always the case.  In ages past, some families followed naming conventions; e.g., the first son was named for his father’s father, the second son, for his mother’s father, etc.  Alternatively, other families named their children to honor a relative or friend.  I have relatives that followed both of those conventions.

Several weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to learn more about my great, great grandmother, Charity Mears’s, family.  As I added her siblings to my tree, I noticed that I had seen many of those names before—not just one or two of them, but almost all of them. I then realized where I had seen them before.  They were the names of Charity Mears’s children.

Charity Mears and her husband, John M. Hannah had nine children—six girls and three boys.  Of the six girls, five have the same first names as her sisters:
            Sarah Jane Mears—Sarah Ann Hannah
            Nancy Mears—Nancy Hannah
            Elizabeth Mears—Elizabeth Hannah (also named for her
                    grandmother, Elizabeth Mears)
           Catherine Mears—Catherine Hannah
           Mary Mears—Mary Sayres Hannah

Mary Sayres’s name also honored a brother-in-law.  Catherine Mears’s second husband was Israel Donnelson Sayres. The Sayres lived in Edgar County, Illinois.  The same location as John Wesley and Charity (Mears) Hannah. So that is where that middle name came from.

The sixth girl was Albertine Hannah.  At first, I thought that perhaps Albertine was a popular girl’s name in 1834.  That turns out not to be true.  However, Charity did have an uncle, Albert Mears, so perhaps Albertine is named after him.

Interestingly, while Charity had a brother,  Samuel, his names was not used for her sons. Her oldest son was named for her brother-in-law, the husband of her sister, Nancy.

    George P. Newell—George Newell Hannah

The second son was named Oliver.  I have not a clue where the name for Oliver P. Hannah came
from. Nowhere in my genealogy can I find the name Oliver. Further, a search of the census records for Edgar County did not turn up any one named Oliver.  I think that fits so well—Oliver P. is a mystery. Other than the dates of his birth and death at the age of 20, I know nothing about him and have not been successful in my search for more information.

The youngest son was named for her husband.
John M. Hannah—John Wesley Hannah

I would guess that the children’s names were selected by Charity Mears Hannah.  Her husband, John M. had 10 brothers and sisters.  With the exception of the name, Nancy, none of Charity and John M.’s children had their names.  I would just love to talk to Charity so I could ask about the naming of her children.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

#94--From There to Here--The Richards, Hannahs, Minarciks and Eitelbachs Arrive

I recently flew to and from Europe.  It took about 8 hours to get to Spain and about 10 hours to fly back from Rome.  During those flights, I thought about my ancestors who came to America and what they may have experienced.  They arrived along before airplanes crossed the ocean so I decided to go back and look at the ships that they took to get here.  I also decided to focus on my four main lines—Richards, Hannah, Eitelbach and Minarcik.

Edward Richards is my earliest immigrant ancestor.  According to Cutter in “New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, V. 2., Edward Richards came from England about 1632.  While not listed on the ship manifest, he is presumed to have come on the Lyon with his brother Nathaniel.  The Lyon sailed from London on June 22 and arrived in Boston on September 16.  While they were on the ship for 12 weeks, for only 8 of those weeks were they at sea.

James Hannah is my next immigrant ancestor to arrive.  However, I have not been able to figure out exactly where or when he landed.  I do, however, have some idea of when he might have immigrated. The earliest document that I am able to locate is an 1806 application for a land warrant in Armstrong Count, in which James swears that he and his family settled on the land in 1799, built two cabins, cleared the land and planted crops.  Andrew Mckee, his father-in-law, and Phillip Anthony both swore that James Hannah had lived there for at least five years.  Further, his oldest child, James Hannah, consistently states that he was born in 1795.  So my best guess is that James landed in the Philadelphia area some time before 1795, married Nancy McKee and along with his father-in-law and his family moved to Armstrong County.  At that time, it took 7 to 8 weeks to cross the Atlantic.

.Le Havre in the 1850's
My third group of ancestor were the Minarciks.  On June 27, 1854  Joseph Munarzick with his wife, Regina and two children—Elizabeth and Carl—arrived in the port of New York.  They sailed from LeHavre, France on the ship William Tell, a 3-masted, square-rigged sailing ship on May 21.  The
William Tell arrived in New York on June 27.  The voyage lasted 38 days. According to the ship manifest, there were 618 passangers on board along with cargo.  Interestingly, Regina Munarizick’s parents, John and Catherine along with their children—Marie, Catherine, Carol, Susan and John—were on the same ship.

The last to arrive there the Eitelbachs.  They sailed on the Red Star Line’s Rhynland, a four-masted steam ship.  While I cannot pin down exactly when they left Antwerp, they arrived in New York on May 23, 1895.  The Red Star Lines’ web page indicates that the voyage typically  took from 7 to 10 days, so they should have left sometime between  May 13 to 16.  Looking at the passenger list, I learned that they came third class or steerage, their quarters were in the stern of the ship and they brought 5 pieces of luggage with them.  I also saw that Louis described himself as a locksmith.

So over the course of about 400 years, the amount of time it took to travel from Europe to the United States dropped from 8 weeks for Edward Richards to 38 days for the Minarciks, to 7 to 10 days for the Eitelbachs to my 10 hours.  I know what my trip was like, I would like to know more about theirs.

Monday, October 10, 2016

#93 My DNA and More Cousins than I Can Count.

Several weeks ago, I blogged about the ethnic analysis I received from Ancestry DNA.  The second part of the analysis is a comparison of your DNA with the DNA of other people who have submitted their DNA to Ancestry.  The end result of that analysis is a listing of trees that contain people who have a DNA chain that matches yours. As I looked at my matches, I had 4 third cousins, 94 4th cousins, and 112 pages of 5th to 8th cousins.  I was also the member of 2 DNA Circles.  A circle is a group of individuals, at least 3, who share a common ancestor.

So what did I find? The two circles I was were in the John M. Hannah Circle and the Charity Mears Circle (my great, great grandfather and grandmother).  Those in the circle were descended from their two sons—John Wesley Hannah and George Newell Hannah.  I really did not learn much from these circles as all these folks were already in my tree.  I will, however, contact the person to created the tree.

All those cousins were a little daunting and overwhelming.  Also frustrating, because some people’s DNA is not linked to a tree or the tree is not available publically.  You can sort your matches in various ways:  relationship, hint, or new.  If possible, Ancestry will identify the common ancestor.  You know that because there is a leaf (Hint) next to the tree.  I had 25 people with hints.  I have not looked at all of them in detail, but 20 of them are for people who are my 5th to 8th cousins.  For the several I did look at it appears that many of them come from Massachusetts and my Richards line while other come from my McKee line.  Because I have access to their trees, I could use the information and added it to my tree.

For matches that have no hint, and that is the vast majority of matches, Ancestry gives you the tree
and the surnames that you have in common.  I have not very little success with that.  I suspect that you need great patience and an intimate knowledge of all the surnames in your tree.  You can have ancestry tell you the shared ancestors you share and the locations of all the ancestors in both trees.  Let me show you how that might work.  I have a match with a family I will call M.  We share the surnames Smith, Allen, While and Scott.  However, the people with those surnames do not match and from my perspective do not seem to be related.  When I asked for the locations, we had ancestors in common that was equally baffeling.  However, when I looked at who we shared matches with, the light was beginning to dawn. Several of those shared matches led back to John M. Hannah and Charity Mears.  So given that information, I at least now know what route to pursue, if I choose to.

It seems to me that how well this works for a person depends on how many other people who are related to you have submitted their DNA to Ancestry.  I also think it hinges on what you find most interesting in genealogy.  Many people want to have as many people as possible in their tree.  In fact I have a match with someone with over 16000 people in their tree.  I am more interested in having fewer people and knowing more about them and their lives, e.g. where they lived, what they did, where they went to school, etc.  In a couple of months, I will let you know how I am coming with my DNA.

Monday, September 19, 2016

#92--Richards, Hannah, Cochrane, Eitelbach and Minarcik--Where Are You Really From?

A while ago, I decided that I would have Ancestry.com analyze my DNA.  I ordered the kit, spit my saliva into the tube and anxiously awaiting for the results.  Like a watched pot that did not boil, it seemed to take forever.  Then, one day I got an e-mail that something had happened and they were not able to do the analysis.  I was so disappointed.  Fortunately, they sent me another kit—this one was free and I began to wait again. 

I knew there were two parts of the analysis:  one that focuses on your ethnic background and the other that connects your DNA to people who have also submitted their DNA to ancestry. Because I have been working on various lines in my family for over ten years and can go many centuries back, I was pretty sure that I knew my ethnic background. Had you asked me, I would have told you I was English, Irish, and German with maybe a little Czechoslovakian.  I was much more interested in learning who I was related to, and hoped that some of those connections would break down a couple of my brick walls. 

So one day, while I was not thinking about it, an e-mail arrived announcing that my DNA results were available.  I was delighted.  When I looked at the ethnic results, I felt a little bit like the man in
the Ancestry commercial who thought he was German and always wore his Lederhosen, but found he was Scotch Irish and now wears a kilt.  Some of my results were not at all what I expected and others made sense.  My DNA tested as:  Scandinavia-- 33%; Ireland--32%; Western Europe--16%; Iberian Peninsula--12%; Great Britain--4% and Italy/Greece--3%.

I could easily connect some of my lines to these locations.  My Hannah line has strong roots in Ireland so that made sense.  The Eitelbacks and Minarciks came from Germany and some of long ago relatives lived in Normady, France.  That accounted for Western Europe.  Scandinavian?  Actually, when I thought about it and read some of the information that Ancestry supplies, it made great sense.  In the Middle Ages the Danes invaded the eastern portion of British Isles and after the invasion, they stayed.  My Richards line and most of its collateral lines comes from that part of England.   The Iberian Pennisula connection baffled me.  However, I learned that in about 5,000 B.C there was a migration of individuals from what is now northern Spain to Ireland and that there was a second migration in the 4,000 B.C. era from Germany.    The named location does not always correspond to what I thought it should be and that is true for the Italy/Greece connection.  When I looked on the map and read the accompanying information, the location also included parts of Spain and France. 

If you are wondering about how successful I was in connecting to other people, stay tuned.  In the meantime, like the man in the Ancestry commercial I am considering whether I should give up my Christmas Wassail Bowl and begin serving Danish Glogg.