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, June 30, 2015

#64 William Cochrane--You Have Taken Up a Great Deal of Time

2015 is half over, so our theme this week has to do with halves.  I chose to blog about the ancestor that I feel has taken up about half my research efforts.  I am not sure that any of my ancestors has taken up half my time, but there are several who have taken up a great deal of time.  Edward Richards, my emigrant ancestor, comes to mind.  He settled in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1632.  I gathered a great deal of information about him from the town records.  Actually, it was pretty easy, but time consuming,  to get that information as the town records are very detailed.  So I decided I should blog about someone else who took time because of brick walls..

That person is William Cochrane, my great, great grandfather.  He has presented me with several
brick walls, some of which I have yet to break through and all of which have consumed time.  My first wall was to document his parents.  I had heard from my Aunt and Father that he was the cousin of Lord Thomas Cochrane, the England navel admiral. FromWilliam’s  gravestone I knew that he was born in 1810. To find his parents, I tried several things—First I looked at other people’s trees on line that contained a William Cochrane and checked the records in Family Search.  No luck.  Second I tried Burke’s Peerage, which while covering the family, but it did not list any William Cochranes in the right age range.  I knew that it was possible to order wills from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.  So I ordered several in the hope that a William Cochrane would be listed as an heir.  While a good idea, that did not work either.  Serendipity often is a friend of genealogists and in this case the parish records for St. Marybone were added to Ancestry.  I searched them, and there he was—William Cochrane-Johnstone, son of Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone and Ann Morgan.  Further search of the parish records located his brother, Andrew George Cobett, who I knew about, and two siblings—George, and Anna Maria, who were new to me.  Part of the difficulty seems to me to be the fact that William’s father’s last name was Cochrane-Johnstone, however, William and his brother Andrew used the last name Cochrane when they were married in England and in their lives in the United States.

While I know from the New York State Alien Registrations that William was in Buffalo New York in 1836 and was married to Emma Merrett at Saint Andrews of the Wardrobe in 1834.
Exactly when in that two year period he and Emma arrived in the United States is another brick wall.  They are not included in the passenger lists of those arriving in New York City, in Philadelphia, or in the Castle Garden records.  Since Buffalo is on our border with Canada, at times, I wonder if they came in through Canada.

So I will continue on and off to hunt for William Cochrane’s arrival in the United States, and eventually I may find that information.  If I were able to, I certainly would ask him.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#63—Nancy McKee—Where Are You Buried?

This week's theme is about buildings.  I have blogged about the Fairbanks House (Jonathan Fairbanks--Building his Family a House) and about the Palace Hotel (Building Me a Palace--John Wesley Hannah, so I had pretty well exhausted that theme.  So I looked for other ideas.  Several blogs suggested that Tuesday should be Tombstone Tuesday, so I decided to go that route.

Now that it is summer in the Midwest, it is a great time to take a trip.  One of the first genealogy trips I took was to Edgar County, Illinois.  I had just started my genealogical research and was anxious to find out more about my Hannah relatives.  Among the things I wanted to do was to visit the various cemeteries and see and photograph the graves.  The Edgar County Genealogical Society had a listing people’s graves and the cemeteries they were in.  Most of my ancestors were buried in the large cemetery in Paris, Edgar County.  However, Nancy Mckee was buried in the Mount Carmel Cemetery, sometimes known as Light Carmel Cemetery, in the Brouiletts Creek township of Edgar County.  Nancy McKee (1773-1846), is my great, great grandmother, daughter of Andrew and Mary (Bamford) McKee, and wife of James Hannah.

So the first thing I needed to do was figure out how to get from Paris, Illinois where the Edgar County Genealogy Society and Library was to the Light Carmel Cemetery.  Fortunately, the volunteers at the library were able to not only give me directions, but also draw my route out on a map.  So armed with my map and a camera, I set off in my car and drove up US 150 for about 10 miles to a right turn on 1960 north.  Then I drove 3 miles to a left turn on 1900 Street.  Having been told I could not miss the cemetery as it was just a little way down the road, of course, I drove right by it and had to back track.

Once out of the car and in the cemetery, I had a sudden realization that while I knew that Nancy McKee was buried here, I did not know exactly where and the listing of graves did not give any location.  So, there was only one thing to do—start walking up and down each row in the cemetery
and read each grave stone.  After about ten minutes of looking, I found her gravestone.  It had fallen over—fortunately, it had fallen with the writing facing up.  While somewhat difficult to read, the following is on her gravestone:  “Wife of James Hannah, also 2nd wife of Jacob Jones. 72 years, 7 months, 14 days.”  Next to her grave is the grave of her second husband, Jacob Jones.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#62--Heirlooms--Things that I Value from the Past

Father's Lacross Stick
This week’s theme is about heirlooms, something valuable that has been handed down in your family.  I have a number of heirlooms that have been past down to me from my parents and grandparents.  Some of them have only sentimental value like my father’s lacrosse stick that he used when he was All-American in that sport or two very large boxes of postcards that chronicle all the places that my family has visited or my grandmother’s Louisa May Alcott books.  I read all those books when I was a child and Little Women was my favorite.

Grandmother's Books

Others may have more value.  One of my heirlooms that may have some value is my bedroom set—a double bed, a chest and a dresser.  The set originally was bought by my grandparents when they were first married.  In fact, both my father and my aunt were born in that bed.  My grandmother gave it to my father, when she moved out of her house, and when he died I inherited it.
Here are some pictures of the set:

I wish I knew more about this bedroom furniture.  I would love to know 1) Where it was bought, 2) How much it cost and 3) Who picked it out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#61--Ella Huelster--A Very Fancy Wedding

The theme for this week is weddings.  Previously, I have written about several weddings:  #20—“Romance in Real Life—Jennie Sophia Willey and John Wesley Hannah” and #17—“Gertrude Richards—Saying I do.”   So this time I thought I would just use one of my favorite wedding photos. I love the floppy hats that the bridesmaids are wearing, the fancy veil on the bride and the formal attire that the men have on.

Just so who are these people?  It is a picture of the wedding of Elisabet Katarina Maria "Ella" Huelster and Charles Wood Mitchell on June 19, 1919.    My mother, Ella’s cousin, was the flower girl. She is in the second row on the far right.  I do not know who the other people are.  I searched the newspapers for the area in the hope of finding an article on the wedding and all I was able to find was their application for a marriage license.

I wish I had asked my mother about this picture.  I would like to know who the other people were, where the wedding was held, what the wedding reception was like, and anything else she could remember

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

#60--Regina Wendel--New Beginning for Her and for Me.

This week’s theme is commencement or new beginnings.   This blog is a new beginning for me and for the Wendells.  I thought I would have a “new beginning” by research a line that I had pretty much overlooked before.  I picked my Wendel line, and specifically Regina Wendel, my great, great, great grandmother and her family.  They migrated to the United States so that is a new beginning for them, too.  I have done some research on Regina's husband, Joseph Minarzik (Blog #6--Joseph Minarzik—How Do You Spell That Name), but not Regina.

Battenberg Castle
Searches in Ancestry.com and Family Search.org provided me the information I was looking for.   I found Regina Wendel was born in Battenberg, Germany in 1825.  She was one of twelve children born to Johannes Wendel and Katherine Kohl.  On September 9, 1849 she married Joseph Minarzick.  I am still not sure about the date she and Joseph came to the United States.  However, Charles, their oldest son, in his application for an army pension swore that he was born in New York City in 1853.  So, they immigrated sometime between 1849 and 1853.

In the 1860 census, Joseph and Regina have 8 children:
Charles, Elizabeth, Cary, Susan, John, Maria, Louisa, and Kate.  They were living in the lower east side of Manhattan in the 17th District, Ward 22.  Joseph was working as a tailor.  Regina Wendel Minarcik died on June 18, 1878, three years after her husband died.

While I am saving them for another day, I also found two of her brothers, Konard and John, in New York City in the 1870 census.

If I could talk to Regina, I would like to know why she and Joseph decided to come to the United States and to live in New York.  I would also like to know about her experiences of living in a tenement in New York as well as about raising 8 children.