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.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

#172--#12--Louis Eitelbach

Louis Eitelbach


     The theme for this week is #12.  If you look at a family tree and start with you, the 12th person listed is your maternal great grandfather. Louis Eitelbach is my great grandfather on my mother's side.   So, he is the focus of this blog.  Louis was born in Hagen Hamm, Germany in July 1864, one of seven children of Nicholaus Augustus and Helena (Agatz) Eitelbach.  In 1885 he married Maria Berta Huelster.  While in Germany they had four children:  Walter, Louis, Maxmillian and William.

     On May 25, 1895 Louis arrived in New York with his wife and four children.  They sailed from Antwerp on the Red Line ship, Rhyland.  According to the ship manifest, their destination was Brooklyn, New York.  Louis age was listed as thirty and his occupation as a locksmith.  

Louis and his sons
The 1900 census indicates that they were living at 1287 Greene Street, Brooklyn and two additional boys, Harry and Frank, had been added to the family.   By 1910 the family had moved to 152 Napier Street, Queens, New York and in 1920 lived at 8766 109th Street, Richmond Hill, Queens, New York.  While it appears that the family had moved, actually Napier Street was renamed 109th Street.    In all three censuses his occupation is given as a machinist in a tool shop.   The 1920 census indicates that he had filed for naturalization.  I have not been able to find those records.  


Louis died on December 26, 1926.
Louis with my mother

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

#171--Big Family





This week’s theme is large family.  I have lots of large families in my tree—those with ten, eleven, twelve, or more  children.  I decided that I would investigate my 4th great aunt’s family.  Virginia Jane Hannah, known as Jane, was born on November 28, 2801 in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.  Her parents were James and Nancy (McKee) Hannah.  She moved with her parents to Brown County, Ohio.  There she married Peter Penny, born in 1791, on May 14, 1820.

Jane and Peter, a farmer, had eleven children.  I knew very little about them so I decided to get some basic information about each:  birth, marriage, death, husband’s occupation, and an estimate of the number of children. 

1.  James Penny was born on October 1, 1821.  He married Matilda A. Brown on July 16, 1843. They had 14 children in 19 years. He died on September 25, 1887, in Clark, Ohio, at the age of 65, and was buried in Hamersville, Ohio.  His worked his entire life as a farmer.

2.  William Penny was born in 1822.   I could find no other information about him. 

3.   Nancy Jane Penny was born on January 27, 1823.  She married Andrew J. Ralston, a farmer, on June 11, 1840.  They had 12 children. She died on April 9, 1865 and was buried in Fulton, Illinois.

4.  Dulcena Evaline Penny was born on November 11, 1824.  She married George Shick, a farmer, on July 16, 1843.  They had eleven child during their marriage. She died on November 27, 1906, in Lawrence, Illinois

5.  Peter Penny was born in 1826.  No other information about him could be found.

6.  Lewis H. Penny, also a farmer, was born in 1828. He was married three times—first to Jane Fite, then to Elizabeth McGuinlan, and last to Elmira Ralston.  He had five sons and four daughters. He died in 1910.    

7.  Lucinda E. Penny was born on June 7, 1829, in Brown, Ohio, She married John T. Richey, a farmer, on June 27, 1847. They had three children. She died on December 25, 1907, in Troy, Indiana and was buried in Cannelton, Indiana.

8. Wesley S Penny was born on September 18, 1829.  He married Martha Fiscus and they had six children together. He then married Mary Belle Shell and they had five children. He died on August 3, 1912, in Brown, Ohio.

9. Andrew Penny was born on May 29, 1831.  He married Matilda J. Ralston and they had five children together. He died on December 11, 1891, in Douglas, Missouri, at the age of 60.

10.  John Darlington Penny was born in 1835 in Brown, Ohio, He died on September 25, 1887

11.  Indiana Penny was born on March 14, 1835.  She married Jacob Harding Fite in 1850 in her hometown. They had four children in 16 years. She died on April 18, 1881, in Bracken, Kentucky, and was buried there.

Two things struck me as I did this.  One was that the unusual names given the children made it very hard to keep them straight.  For example are Lucinda and Lucy the same person?  Turns out yes.  I think the  boys who I could not find information on, probably died very young.  Second, I was interested in the fact that Lewis Penny married Elmira Ralston and Nancy Jane Penny married Andrew Ralston.  Also interesting was that Lewis H. Penny married Jane Fite, while Indianna Penny married Jacob Harding Fite.  I am wondering if those paring were brother and sisters.  Later I can check that out.  I am interested in the Ralstons because India Anna Hannah, another of my 4th great aunts,  married a Ralston, whose first name is not known.  More to check out. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

#170--My Not Bachelor Uncle




This week’s theme is bachelor uncle.  I looked and looked through my genealogy to find a bachelor uncle and was not successful.  So I decided I would just write about one of my uncle, who is not a bachelor, William Fisher Richards, my great uncle.

He was born in 1879 to Abiathar and Mary Jane (Cochrane) Richards.  Chester Ingersoll Richards  (1867--1940 ) was his brother and Gertrude Richards (1875-1960) was his sister.  I could not find much information about him.  I know , as a child, he was born and lived in Brooklyn, New York and then attended Union College in upstate New York.  From census data, he appears that he returned to Brooklyn and was employed in his father’s shoe business along with his brother, Chester.  He died in 1929 and is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. 

While I do not know much about Uncle Bill, I do have some great pictures of him.

The one at the top of the page is of him on the left with this brother, Chester on the right.  It is rather interesting picture.  I cannot figure out if their mother was in the middle and for some reason her head was cut out.  At that time, there was something called a mother's chair, where the mother sat under a black cloth and could hold her children.


Here is the second one.  I am guessing he is about 6 or 7 in this picture.  There are many things I like about his picture. The way his hair is parted, his big eyes, the hat that he is holding in this hands, and the fact that only one of his feet is on the floor.  The chair he is sitting in is pretty impressive, too.  That is a whole lot of fringe on the bottom!











Here he is a little older.  I think this might be a picture taken for his high school or college graduation.  I like his jacket and the ruffles around the collar.














And this one is the only picture I have of him as an adult.  That bow tie is great.
















I would love to know more about his life. What he did.Where he traveled. Where he lived.

Monday, February 25, 2019

#169--At the Courthouse--Contesting a Will




Edward Richards, my seventh great grandfather and immigrant ancestor, came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in about 1634, settle in Dedham, Massachusetts and signed the Dedham Covenant.  He married Susan Hunting.  Edward and Susan had four children:  Nathaniel, John, Sarah, and Mary.  Edward was active in the affairs of Dedham, and acquired a good deal of land.

Edward Richards died May 25, 1682, shortly after dictating his will but before signing it.  He left his wife room in this house, 12 pounds per year to be paid by their sons, Nathaniel and John, and the right to select 40 pounds worth of household goods.  His homestead, Broad Oaks, he left to his second son, Nathaniel, along with lots in Fowl Meadow and on Pond, Poweset, Birch and Great Plains.  To both Nathaniel and John he gave “The remainder of Mr. Cook’s farm.”  He left his daughter, Mary Richards Bullard, 15 pounds, if she was a widow otherwise her husband, Nathaniel, was to receive 5 pounds plus what he had already given him.  John Hearsey, husband of Sary Richards, received 40 pounds plus what he had already given him.  If his son, Nathaniel, was to send a college (“he brought up a son to learning”), Nathaniel should receive an additional 60 pounds toward the expenses.  Susan Hunting died several months after her husband on September 7, 1684.

Nathaniel and John were appointed administrators of Edward’s will.  They also divided Susan share (40 pounds in household goods) according to the custom of the times, two shares to John as the oldest son, and one share each to the other children.  Nathaniel Bullard and John Hearsy provided receipts
for their wives share.  Bullard and Hearsy filed a petition in the Suffolk County Court contesting the will based on their belief that their wives had been wronged.

“His daughters in their young time desired and with their parents free consent lived out at service
&…both married at about 18 yers of age…, but we both John and Nathaniel Richards seeing our father so destitute of help, willing with great care and labor lived with our father and carried on his whole business till we were each of us about 30 years of age before we married,”

The Court after hearing testimony, upheld the will.  Bullard and Hearsey appealed the decision to the Court of Assistants, but again failed to have the will set aside.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

#168--Picture--Meet the Family of John Wesley Hannah




I love family pictures, whether they are old or new.  This pictures was given me by my cousin, Alice.  It is part of my gallery wall of family pictures.  From the size of the two young girls, I suspect it was taken about 1884 or 1885.  It a photograph of the family of Captain John Wesley Hannah from Butler, Missouri.


From left to right they are:
Capt. John Wesley Hannah—he moved to Butler, Missouri after the Civil War and built and ran the Palace Hotel.
William Hannah—moved to Auburn, New York and then Brooklyn, New York.  Started the W. D. Hannah Shoe Company
Marinda Hannah—Also known as “Toots,” married Edward DeArmond, who became a Brig. General I the United States Army.
Gertrude Hannah—Married and divorced Harlan Turner. Moved to Colorado, where she ran a boarding house for students at the Colorado School of Mines. 
Cora Hannah--Also known as “Tim,” Married William Parke, an attorney, and lived in Brooklyn, New York
Anne Charlotte Hannah—Married Charles Ross and moved to Auburn, New York, where Charles was in the shoe business. 
Jennie Sophia Hannah—she came to Butler to visit her brother, fell in love and married John Wesley Hannah.

I love this picture.  I can just imagine them all getting all dressed up, going to the photography studio, and posing for this picture.  I would love to know why they decided to have this picture taken, what they did with it, and where it was taken.

Monday, February 11, 2019

#167 Love



This week’s theme is love.  How appropriate for Valentine’s Day.  One way to express love on Valentine's Day is by sending cards.  I have some vintage postcards that were sent to my father when he was six or seven so I thought I would use them for this blog.


The first one is from a woman, named Nellie.  She wrote”

Dear Richards:  Do you remember a year ago when I was with you, helping you send note to all your Valentines? I hope you receive as may and much more this year. “





















This one has no message but from the handwriting, I think it came from his mother.  At the bottom of the card it says:  “When looking for someone to love you a lot, I’m hoping you will Forget-me-not.”


















This last one is not signed, but came from Auburn, New York, so I think it might have been sent by one of his aunts, who lived there.  The rhyme on the card reads:  “My Heart is small, but it is true, and I will offer it to you.”


Monday, February 4, 2019

#166--Andrew McKee's Pension File



This week’s theme is surprise.  I was surprised last week when I by chance found information about a family in a cluster of families that I have been researching.  So for this week, I had to think about how I could be surprised this week.  Last year I went to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  One of the things that I did was download the pension file of Andrew McKee, my 4th great grandfather.  A fellow researcher had been kind enough to send me what she had, but I was interested in seeing the entire file.  I have not looked at the file since I downloaded it. 

So I decided to read the entire file and see if there were any surprises in it.  The entire file is 60 pages—I believe I had about 20 to 30 pages that contained the documentation to get the pension for Andrew so there was more to read.  Unfortunately a number of the pages were not legible so I do not know what information I missed.  But there was lot of information.  Some of it I knew.  I was aware that Andrew McKee in 1776 enlisted in Captain Robert’s Company, Colonel Irwin’s Regiment. He was discharged in April 1777.  He re-enlisted in 1780 or 81 for 18 months and served with Captain Zigler’s regiment.  He was at the battle of Three Rivers, and at Saratoga where British General Burgoyne surrendered.   Further, he was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, a battle that ended the Revolutionary War.  For serving to the end of the war, he received a bonus of $80.  He was granted a pension of $8.00 per month.  What I did not realized is that upon his death on June 18, 1835, his children applied for a pension for Andrew’s wife, Mary.  I was amazed at the amount of paper work getting the pension for her required.  Evidently proving two people were married was difficult. 

However, there was much more information in the file that did not relate to his war records and was useful in moving my genealogy forward.  Most of the information came from statements made on his behalf by his neighbors.  So what was I surprised to learn?  First, Andrew Mckee and Mary Bamford were married in 1770 near New London Cross Roads in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Now I know where to begin to look for marriage records.   Second, he settled in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania
in 1799 with his wife and his nine children.  His oldest son, William, moved with his father, but bought his own farm, and did not live with his parents.  Third, my third great grandparents James and Nancy McKee Hannah and their children also moved with Andrew.  I have been looking for the birth records of their son, James Hannah, in Armstrong County so now I know I should look in the Chester County area of Pennsylvania.

The file contains not only the documents related to Andrew and Mary’s pensions, but also  number of letters requesting information about his war record.  I was surprised to find a letter from my great aunt, Cora Hannah Parke (Aunt Tim), inquiring about his war record.