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, April 29, 2019

#178--Genealogy Road Trip to Paris

Edgar County Courthouse

My blog this week is about a Road Trip, which I took when I first started doing genealogy.  The Hannahs lived in Edgar County, Illinois for about 40 years and Edgar County is not far from where I live—about a one day drive.  So I decided to visit.  John M. Hannah, farmed and I wanted to visit that land as well as the cemetery where the Hannah’s were buried and the cemetery where my 3rd great grandmother, Elizabeth Mears was buried.  I also wanted to do research in the Courthouse and Genealogical Library.

So on a Tuesday in June, I headed off to Edgar County because the Edgar County Genealogical Library and Society is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday morning I was at the Genealogy Library when it opened.  I spent that day exploring what they had in terms of resources—I looked at the History and Edgar County (which I discovered was for sale so I bought one for later reference), looked at indices of marriages and deaths, etc.  The librarians were very, very helpful in finding materials that they thought I might be interested in.  I also spent time with the person who put all the information on the internet for the Civil War Regiments from Illinois.  He was able to give me additional information, e.g. physical description of my great great grandfather.  For each day that I was in Paris, I stopped into the library and did a little research.

The next day was devoted to visiting the places I wanted to see.  One of the genealogy librarians drew me a map with very clear directions.  My first stop was the Light Carmel Cemetery, where my great great grandmother was buried.  I remember driving though a lot of corn fields to get to it and several farmer waving hi to me from their tractors as I went by.  Despite assurances that I could not miss the cemetery, I drove right by it (This was before the days of GPS).  Realizing my mistake, I turned around and there it was.  As soon as I got out of the car, I knew I had no clue where the grave was, so it time to walk by every grave stone and read it.  After about ten minutes, I found it.  There it was laying on the ground, broken off at ground level, and fortunately face up.  After taking some pictures, it was time to move on.

Next it was time to go see the farm land.  My directions told me to go down a particular road—I cannot remember the number, and when I came to the curve in the road, the land would be to the right.  Amazing, I found it, got out of the car and took more pictures.  It was still a working
Farm Land

Hannah Plot
Then I went on to Chrisman, which is a little nearby town where I had some lunch. There was not much there for me so I moved to Paris, Illinois where I visited the Hannah plot in the Edgar Cemetery.  The money for land for the plot, the large oblique, and headstones was contained in Abertine Hannah’s will.  Here were the remains of people I actually knew something about.  Further down, there tombstones from other branches of the family.

After that I went back to my motel room, rested a little and had diner at the Paris Family Restaurant where I had the best ever homemade strawberry rhubarb pie!

I spent most of the next day at the Edgar County Courthouse, a truly magnificent structure.  The clerk showed me where to find the land records and how to understand them.  The books the land records .were in were not able to be Xeroxed, so for each transaction for John M. Hannah, and his children, I had to write down such information who John Hannah bought the land from or to, where the land was in terms of township and range, etc.  There were well over forty transactions so that took a lot of time.  I also recorded transactions for his sons, John Wesley and George Newell, and daughter, Albertine.  After the land records, I got the probate records for John M. Hannah and Albertine Hannah.  That was enough for that day.  I went back to my motel room and spent some time reviewing what I had accomplished and making sure I had not forgotten something on my to do list.  After that barbeque for dinner.

My first genealogy trip was over; it was time to go home and analyze all the information I gathered.  Before I did that, however, I stopped at the Genealogy Library to thank them for their help.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

#177 At Worship

This week’s theme is at worship.  I previous blogged about John Elliott, Apostle to the Indians (see the link on the right) so I needed another idea.  Several years ago, I visited Koblenz, Germany, where in the early1800’s my 4th great grandparents, Heinrich and Christinae (Brucker) Eitelbach lived.

What I know about them comes from the Family Search website.    Heinrich was born on February 6, 1807 and Christina, in 1811.  They were married on February 10, 1834 at the LIEBFRAUEN KATHOLISCH (Church of Our Dear Lady)  in Koblenz and their 5 children:  Catharina Eitelbach (1834 – unknown); Nicolaus Joseph Eitelbach (1835 –unknown); Petrus Eitelbach (1836 – unknown); Margaretha Petronella Eitelbach (1838 –unknown) and Joannes Adamus Eitelbach (1839 –unknown) were baptized in that church.

Here are some of the pictures that I took of the church.

Main Aisle

Altar where they may have been married
Altar detail

Baptismal Fount
Fount Detail

Statue of Our Lady


I would like to talk to Henrich and Christina about there experiences with the church.  Did they attend every Sunday?  What was their wedding like?  

Monday, April 15, 2019

#176--George Augustus Cochrane--Where Are You?

This week’s theme was out of place  One ancestor that was not where he should be was George Augustus Cochrane.  George was born in Rochester, New York on December 15, 1838.  His parents were William and Emma (Merrett) Cochrane.  He had five siblings.  The family is in New York Census for 1855 in Rochester, but by 1860 had moved to Brooklyn, New York at 125 Fort Greene Place.  George married Ella Brinkerhoff on January 2, 1861.

I could not find George and Ella in the 1860 or 1870 census, but I could find all his siblings and his parents—all still living in Brooklyn.  George, however, was missing from the census and was not buried in the family plot in Green-Wood Cemetery.  He was definitely out of place.  I was able to find him and his second wife, Charlotte Atkinson, in Woburn, Massachusetts in the 1900,1910 and 1920 Census.   He was working as an inspector.

So where was he for those 20 something years?  What place was he in? I now know. While looking at his mother’s will, I found him.  Papers of Administration indicated he was in Montreal Canada along with his wife and his three children—Grace Brinkerhoff, Charles Augustus, and Ella Louise. George Augustus Cochrane died on March 31, 1931 in Woburn.

I would like to talk to George and find out what he was doing in Montreal, why he moved there, and why he returned.

Monday, April 8, 2019

#175--James Hannah and Thrulines

The theme for this week’s genealogy blog is DNA.  Last week I wrote about Andrew Jackson Hannah, who I found through my DNA on Ancestry.com.  So this week I wanted to go in a different direction.  Ancestry recently changed its genealogy circles to ThruLines.  According to their web site it “shows how you may be related to your DNA matches through a common ancestor.” To do this, ThruLines takes the family trees of DNA matches and your tree combines them into one tree for one ancestor.  I decided that I would explore Trulines.

The opening page is arranged by generations:  There is a series of boxes.  On the first line is your parents, second line, their parents, then their parents, etc.  It will go back as far as your tree goes.  Those you are definitely related to are enclosed in a solid line box and those you may be related to are enclosed in a dashed line box.  When you click on an ancestor’s box, you get a descendant’s tree or a list of people who are in the tree.  For each individual, it tells you how the person is related to you, e.g. second cousin, and the number of centomorgans you share across a how many segments.

I decided to focus on my James Hannah line, because it is a line that is pretty complete, has a number of people in it and most importantly because I am pretty familiar with it.  When I clicked on James Hannah, the first thing it told me was that I had 44 DNA matches through James Hannah.  It listed five of his children—James, John M., Jane, Andrew and Henry, along with their children.  When I clicked on one of the children, e.g., James, I got his children along with their relationship to me and how many centomorgans we share.  As I clicked, there were indeed some descendants I did not know about and I could include them in my tree, but not before checking out the documentation for the person.  As I looked at the information available in the tree, it appeared to be very accurate.  However, I was disappointed that five of his eleven children were not included as no DNA was available.  Hence, I did not learn anymore about William, Nancy, Rebecca, India Ann, Mary, and Elizabeth.  However, in the future one of their descendants may do their DNA and appear in Thrulines.

As I looked through the Thrulines, I noticed one in a dashed box for a William Hanna, a person I did not know about.  When I clicked on him, Thrulines indicated he was my fourth great grandfather and I shared 26 DNA matches with him.  The first thing I did was look at his descendants.  My James
Hannah was not listed among them!  There was a James two generation down, but the birthdate was way off.  That was disappointing, but some of the information was useful.  The family was located in Newry, Northern Ireland, which I had seen before.  There was a reference to a source called Irish Pedigrees, Vol II, which had a section on the Hannas.  I will go back and read it very carefully.  Was Thrulines correct that this was my fourth great grandfather, no. not at all.

Thus far, I like Thrulines very much.  I am a visual person and being able to see everything laid out in a diagram is helpful to me.  Also I like being able to look at the sources on other people’s trees to see what they have to offer.  However, I would be very cautious.  I found one tree where the children listed were born from the early 1600’s to the mid 1700’s.

Monday, April 1, 2019

#174--Andrew Jackson Hannah and his brick wall

This week’s theme is a brick wall, a spot in your genealogy where you can go no further with a particular ancestor.  Sometimes that is not a problem as I do not want or need any more information and sometimes it is.  I have several brick walls and my most current one is Andrew Jackson Hannah (1818—19xx).  I found him while I was looking at my DNA matches.  Another woman and I share 22 centimorgans across two segments, making us fourth cousins to sixth cousins, according to Ancestry DNA.  As I understand it,that means that our common ancestor could be at the least at the great great great great grandfather level.  That also means I have been look in all the wrong places,
e.g. not far enough back.  Unfortunately, that is further back than either of the trees with Andrew Jackson Hannah in it goes, but provides me with a clue that I need to look at my 3rd great father and see what I can find in terms of his parentage.

But first, what do I know about Andrew Jackson Hannah?  What I know may help me figure out where to look.  He was born in 1816 in either Brown County, Ohio or Kentucky, although one person
thought it might be Pennsylvania.  He had a brother William, who was born in Ohio, and perhaps a sister, Jane.  He married Margaret C. Dunlap in Robinson, Pennsylvania, in 1850.  Margaret died in 1856.  She and Andrew Jackson Hannah had three children.   He then married Martha Jane Weaver and they had 11 children.  He lived in various counties in western Pennsylvania until 1875 when he moved to Ohio, Kansas.

So now I have three places to look—Brown County, Ohio, Kentucky, and Western Pennsylvania. All places where folks in my Hannah line have lived.  I have looked at all the Hannahs in Brown County and the two adjacent counties and can find no connections.  I have started reading A History of the Hanna Family by Charles Elmer Rice about the family of Robert Hanna and Elizabeth Henderson, who came to the colonies in 1763 and settled in Pennsylvania.  Several of their sons settled in Kentucky and Indiana.
It will take me a while to sort this group out, but I may find something useful.  There are two clusters of Hannahs in western Pennsylvania, one cluster is found in Hannastown, founded by John and Robert Hanna, and the other in Westmoreland/Armstrong county.

So I am slowly making a little progress, mostly by eliminating people.  Just wish I could talk to Andrew Jackson Hannah and ask him about his parents.