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.

Friday, February 12, 2016

#81 Happy Valentine's Day


Esther Howland Card














With Valentine’s Day this coming weekend, I was reminded that I had some wonderful old Valentine postcards that were sent to my father in the early 1900’s.   I wondered about the history of Valentine’s Day cards, so it was off to the internet to do some research.   What did I find?  Briefly, beginning in the 1600’s it was not uncommon to give small gifts, poems, and notes expressing affection.   In the early 1800’s printed cards gained in popularity.  In England, cards were made out embossed paper and lace.  Having received one of those cards, Esther Howland in Worcester Massachusetts began printing similar cards in the United States.

While very fancy Valentine Day cards replete with real bird feathers, glass tokens, and dried flowers were popular during the Victorian Era, by 1900 printed Valentine postcards became popular. While the format may have changed the messages pretty much remained the same—sentimental expressions of affection.  I was interested to learn that recipients typically kept their cards, often putting them in albums.  I do have an album of cards collected by my mother, but the cards from my father’s family were kept in a box in the basement!

Here are a couple of the postcards that I particularly like:


The verse reads "My heart is small, but it true,
And I will offer it to you"

It was send in 1911, when my father was 7 years old.  It came from Auburn, New York so I think it may have been sent by his cousins, the Rosses, who in their message ask if he has reached the stage of having a girl friend yet.

This next one came from Manchester, New Hampshire in 1910 from Nellie.  I have no idea who Nellie was, but she asked if he remembered her helping him send out Valentines last year and hopes he gets lots of them this year.



This last one was send without a message, but by the handwriting I am betting that it was send by his mother,  The message is 
"When looking for someone to love you a lot,
I am hoping that you will forget me not"

If you like old postcards, you might want to look at my Pinterest Board:  Vintage Postcards.  I have lots of Valentine cards as well as card for most other holidays.  

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

#80 Chronicling John Wesley Hannah Part II

Last week I blogged about how I searched the newspapers in Chronicling America and the information I found about the Palace Hotel and John Wesley Hannah.  However, as I noted there were 86 other articles in the Butler Missouri papers about John Wesley Hannah, which did not involve the hotel.  As I read them, I learned that he was much more than a hotel owner and manager.

John Wesley Hannah with daughters
The Palace Hotel was not his only building.  He also owned the building on the north east corner of the town square.  I believe that is the building he used for the mercantile store that he ran when he first moved to Butler.  According to an article on March 7, 1888, the building was destroyed by fire; however, John Wesley Hannah had it insured for $1000 and that covered the cost of the loss.  In addition, in November of 1891 he in partnership with J. J. McKissick bought the new building on the south side of the town square.

In the late 1880’s John Wesley was involved in the politics of Butler and Bates County.  In 1888 he was nominated by the Republican Party to run for representative for the 12th election district.  He lost that election to a Mr. Stone.  However, he was not through with politics.  In 1889 in a local convention called by four of the leading citizens of Butler, he was nominated for mayor.  He seemed to be a somewhat reluctant candidate as he said he would accept the nomination only if the others, e.g. aldermen, also accepted their nominations.  Since two of the men declined to run, it appears that John Wesley did not run either.  It also seems that John Wesley traveled for political reasons.  In August of 1888 he travel to New York to welcome James G, Blaine home (Blaine was a candidate for president as far as I can tell.) and in 1889 John Wesley traveled to Washington, D. C.

Community affairs also took up time.  Beginning in 1884 until 1887, he was the chairperson of the committee that raised the money and negotiated for a railroad to come to Butler.  It does not appear that the committee was successful. In April of 1889 he and Representative Wade settle a dispute over who would become the next postmaster in Butler.  In that same year he was elected chairperson of the Gas and Water Committee.  In 1890 he was on a committee to beautify the nearby lake and land surrounding it.

I also found more personal information about him.  I learned that he was a founding member of the Butler Masonic Lodge, was involved in a physical dispute with another gentlemen, and was quite sick in March of 1888.  However, what surprised me the most was a small article from 1886 that read as follows:  “Capt. Hannah has brought quite a herd of cattle up from his ranch in Indian Territory and will stall feed them for the markets.”  While one of the censuses describes him as a cattle rancher, I had no idea that the cattle were on a ranch that he ran in Indian Territory.

While it took me a long time to get these articles organized, it was well worth it.  I now have a much greater understand of John Wesley Hannah.  However, there is more to learn.  The newspapers also have articles about his children.  In addition, I have finally figured out how to read the articles from the Butler Bates County Record, 1868-1878 on the State Historical Society of Missouri so there is more to search.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

#79 Chronicling John Wesley Hannah in Chronicling America



When researching my ancestors, one of the things I like is to find out more about them than when they were born, married, and died.  Know how they earned a living, where they lived, if they traveled, etc. makes them come alive for me.

Last winter I was introduced to a wonderful source for adding other information.  The Library of Congress in Chronicling America has local newspapers on line.  Now if you are thinking they have newspapers from only big cities on line, you are wrong.  They focused on papers from small towns and cities all over the United States.  In fact they have 1967 papers which were published from 1836 to 1932.  As far as I can tell, they have papers from all the states with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska.

I love to read these local papers.  They give me a pictures of life in America at a simpler time.  Also they report all kinds of events that would never make it into the papers today.  I was pleased to find out that one of the papers on line was the
Butler Weekly Times and  the Butler Daily Democrat.  My great grandfather, John Wesley Hannah, moved to Butler in 1866.  Now I could search and see what the paper reported about him and his family.

There are several ways to search.  I think that the advanced search options are the best as you can narrow down the hits to those you are most interested in.  I learned that it is important to know how the paper referred to the person you are interested in.  When I tried John W. Hannah or J. W. Hannah, I got very little.  By reading what I did get, I discovered that the paper often referred to him as Capt. Hannah.  When I used that in the phrase box, I got numerous and appropriate hits.  It is also possible to combine two key words.  Because John Wesley Hannah was the proprietor of the Palace Hotel and I wanted to know more about the hotel, I put Palace Hotel into the search box and check the Butler
papers.  That gave me a very large number of hit.  When I looked, all the stores that were located on the first floor of the hotel and who advertised came up.  That was interesting, but not what I wanted. I narrow the hits down by adding Capt. Hannah.  I still got a large number of hits but they were all appropriate.

It is possible to save the entire page of the paper that has the article you are interested in or to use the snipping tool and just save the article.  The problem with the first strategy is that you will not know where on the page the article is and the problem with the second strategy is that you will not know the date of the article.  I ended up saving just the article, but putting the date into the file name.

There are 36 articles that focused on the Palace Hotel and John Wesley Hannah and 81 articles on John Wesley Hannah.  I have downloaded the articles on the Palace Hotel.  Some of them report on events that happened at the hotel.  There were parties, marriages and conventions.  Other articles described the improvements that John Wesley Hannah was making to the hotel—redecorating rooms, painting the outside of the hotel or adding a billiard table.

My next task is to read the 81 articles on John Wesley Hannah.  I know that there will be some overlap with the articles on the Palace Hotel but I expect to find out more about his life apart from the hotel.   Stay tuned.  Next week I will blog about what I found on John W. Hannah.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

#78--Organizing the Minarciks, Eitelbachs, Cochranes, and Richards




Over the years I have collected an awful lot of papers pertaining to various ancestors.  Some of them are organized into folders, others are in notebooks and still others are loose.  So my resolution for this year in terms of genealogy was to get those papers organized.

 I looked at a variety of different methods for organizing them:    How to Organize Your Files;   Organizing your Records. You can use file folders, notebooks, and numbering systems.  I decided that the notebook scheme would work best for me.  I used loose leaf notebooks to organize my courses when I taught, so this seemed comfortable for me.

Not wanting to get totally overwhelmed, I decided to begin with the lines of my grandparents—Richards, Hannah, Eitelbach and Minarcik.  So the first step was to buy four notebooks, each a different color.  That way each line is a different color and I can tell at a glance what the line is.  I also bought clear plastic page protectors, and section dividers.  Now I had no excuse.  I decided to start with the shortest line, the Minarciks,  as it would be the easiest and would give me some sense of accomplishment as well as find out if this was really going to work for me.

I began by sorting the pages into categories by person—Regina, Charles Jr., Charles Sr. and Joseph.  For each person then put the pages in order—I wanted each person’s section to begin with the basic information--a family group sheet and if it was available:  birth, marriage and death records.
 Then, I wanted to put in the census information, followed by whatever other information I had.  For example, Charles, Sr. Pension File from the Indian War would go after the census.

At the beginning of each notebook, I put a pedigree chart.  Then, for each person, beginning with the most recent one, I put each page into its page protector and then into the notebook—maroon for the Minarciks.  Each person separated by a page divider.

There is one thing missing—a list of what I have for each person.  I looked at some checklists on line, but I want to come up with my own checklist for each person that will tell me exactly what I have in terms of documentation as well as what I do not have.  There is one other loose end.  I have not decided what to do with the pictures I have of people.  They are generally of odd sizes so typical picture pages will not work and I think they could end up in a heap in the bottom of a page protector.
So what is my reaction to this method of organizing?  So far, I am pleased with it.  All the information for the Minarcik line is in one place.  I can easily find what I am looking for.  It would be easy to add additional documents.  On the negative side, it took me a good deal of time to organize a rather short line.

Friday, December 11, 2015

#77--On Christmas Ornaments and Trees




The theme for this week is holidays.  I just put up my Christmas tree.  Christmas tree and ornaments are on my mind.   So it seemed very appropriate to blog about my trees.  When I was growing up, we always had a big tree that sometimes hit our very high ceiling.  On that tree, we hung lots of ornaments, some of those ornaments were on my mother’s tree when she was a child and others were on my father’s tree.

I now have those ornaments and they are very special to me.  When I had  two dogs, I was afraid that they would knock the tree over and break the ornaments.  To keep them safe, I got I small tree, put it in the living room on a table, and hung most of my old ornaments on it. This week I want to share my favorite ornaments with you:  a bell that actually rings, a Santa and a teapot.























I also have a glass candle holder, although I cannot imagine putting a lit candle in it and hanging it on the tree.



If you have ornaments that are precious to you, I would love to hear about them.  



Friday, December 4, 2015

#76 Cochrane--Thank You Cousin Addie


The theme for this week is Thanksgiving.  Those who know me know that I have a collection of postcards.  Most of them are from places that my family or I have visited. Buying postcards before the advent of digital cameras was one way to insure that you had a image of the sights that you had seen. However, I also have holiday postcards and those are most special to me because they were sent to my father, when he was a little post.

I have several Thanksgiving cards;

This one is my favorite.  It was sent to my father in 1909 by his cousin, Addie Cochrane.  


I also have some other Thanksgiving cards.  I like this one because it combines the traditional colonial woman and boy with a turkey.


Turkeys seem to typify Thanksgiving.  Here is another card with a turkey featured on it.



I am grateful that my family kept these cards and that I am able to share them with you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

#75--Nathan Aldis--Oops I Lost You


This week’s blog theme is “oops.”  I have had lots of oopses while doing genealogy.  I have researched the wrong person, attached the wrong person as a spouse, and had multiple people, who turned out to be one person.   I have also misplaced paper docuemnts, only to discover them later. Several years ago, I decided that I would write some brief sketches about my emigrant ancestors.
I did do all of my Richards grandfathers.  Then, I began to branch out and do some of the collateral lines.  I guess something else came along that occupied my time and by the time I got back to genealogy, I had forgotten I written them.  Imagine my surprise when looking for something else to find them neatly written on a yellow pad.  So that is my oops for this week’s blog.  One of my bio was of Nathan Aldis, so for this week I am sharing his oops bio with you.

Nathaniel Aldis is my 8th great grandfather.  He was born in Fressingfield, Suffolk County, England about 1596 to Francis Aldous and Sarah (Mary) Gooch.  In 1638, he immigrate to the colonies and settled in Dedham with his wife, Mary and his children:  Lydia, Mary, Ann and John. He signed the Dedham Covenant and became a member of the church on February 11, 1640 and a freeman on May 13, of the same year.

Nathaniel Aldis was a selectman for two years (1641 and 1642). He was one of the first deacons of the Dedham Church.  He served as a member of the meeting house and pastor’s salary committees.  In 1642 he bought one sixth interest in the watermill in Dedham.  Seven years later, he sold that interest to Nathaniel Whiting.  He was the appraiser of several estates.  .  Nathaiel died on Mary 15, 1676.  His son, John, and his wife, Mary, were the executors of this estate of was valued at 223 pounds.  His wife, Mary died on January 1, 1677.