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.

Monday, March 25, 2019

#173--In the Paper--Divorce Confusion

The theme for this week’s challenge is “In the Paper.”  I love old newspapers.  There is a tremendous amount of information in them.  The advertisements can tell you which stores are having a sale, how much eggs or a loaf of bread costs, and if you look at the pictures, what kind of clothes were in fashion.  The social columns are a wealth of information.  In the Butler Daily Times, I learned that
my grandfather was home from school  and that my Great Aunt Lottie and her nieces were visiting her relatives  In essence, newspapers cover the daily life of the people and places where they lived as well as more unusual events.

I previously wrote about two unusual events that I found in the Butler Daily Times: the  Goose Saloon and about an incident at the Palace Hotel.  So this time I looked for another article and found one in the Brooklyn Daily Star for February 26, 1930.  The article involves two brothers, Harry Eitelbach and Frank Eitelbach.  They were similar in many ways.  Both were jewelers, both lived in Queens, New York, and both married women named Ethel.  They were different in that Harry’s wife, Ethel, wanted a divorce.  The newspapers described what happened:
I blogged about a gun fight at the


I would like to talk to both Ethels.  I would like to know what Frank and his wife told the neighbors about the situation.  I would also like to know from Harry's wife, what led to the divorce and how it affected their lives.

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.