Saturday, November 10, 2007

Speaking of the Know-Nothing Party ...

Earlier today, I read Janice's article on the Know-Nothing Party in New Hampshire, and the article sparked my memory of reading old newspaper articles that mentioned the Know-Nothing Party in the county where my ancestor's lived.

Over this past summer, I learned about Pennsylvania State University's digital collection of Pennsylvania Civil War Newspapers. One of the newspapers in the collection is for Huntingdon County, which is the county where several of my ancestors lived. As I was searching for articles that included my ancestors, I stumbled across a political petition that had my ancestor and one of his sons listed on the petition. The petition was printed in the paper before the 1856 election, and the petitioners were calling upon their fellow Whigs to not join the Know-Nothing Party. Apparently, these petitioners believed that the Know-Nothing Party went against the democratic principles of the United States. (As a side note, when James Buchanan was elected President, the newspaper rejoiced in a large ad. The paper was overjoyed that sectionalism was defeated in that election, but in a sad, ironic twist, the U. S. would erupt into civil war only five years later.)

So what exactly was happening? The Whig party collapsed as a political party by the 1856 election, and the tension between the states was increasing. Sometimes I think it is hard to imagine what people were feeling during that time period. I believe newspaper articles help open windows into what people were thinking and feeling during the time period right before the civil war.

In case you want to read other Huntingdon County newspapers, here is a link to some of the other early papers:



Friday, November 9, 2007

I Am My Own - Well Not Quite ....

Earlier today, Randy Seaver posted about songs on genealogy, and one of the songs mentioned was "I am my own grandpa." Randy's post reminded me of an ancestor who participated in a situation similar to the situation described in the song and I decided to write about it.

My ancestor, Jacob Detwiler, was married twice. He first married my ancestor, Barbara Housholder/Householder on 8 December 1836 in Pennsylvania. They had at least six children who lived to adulthood. By the 1870 Census, Jacob and Barbara were living on their own, as their children had all been married by then. By October of 1871, Barbara had died. I was not able to determine when she died exactly from her grave marker, even though it appears as though there might once have been a date of death on the stone. The cemetery transcription for Riverside Cemetery suggests that she died on 25 April 1871, but since there isn't a death registration for her, I have to find some other record that would indicate when she died. I have not yet checked with the Sexton of the cemetery to see if there are any records on her burial. It may be possible that I'll find more information on her and what the cause of death was.

How do I know that Barbara was dead by October of 1871? Jacob remarried that month, to a much younger woman. On the 24th of October 1871, Jacob married Alwilda Arnold in South Bend, Indiana. Although I have not been able to find any church records that give birth dates for Jacob, Barbara or Alwilda, census records do indicate when they might have been born. Barbara was born either before or about 1810. Jacob was born about 1815, and Alwilda appears to have been born about 1850, give or take a couple of years. The most shocking instance for me about Jacob's second marriage is that Alwilda was almost the same age as Jacob's youngest daughter. In other words, Jacob was old enough to be Alwilda's father. The newspaper articles listed that both Jacob and Alwilda were residents of Three Rivers before they got married in South Bend.

I wonder, though, why they married in Indiana. I realize that the Saint Joseph River runs through Three Rivers and South Bend. It may be that Alwilda had family there, but one has to wonder how Jacob's grown children felt about his remarriage or how the community might have felt about the marriage. If Barbara did die in April of 1871, Jacob remarried within six months. To me, remarrying within six months of the death of a spouse seems too early. As far as I know, Jacob did not have any young children living in his household, and all of his children were grown by 1871. Is it possible that either Jacob's children or his neighbors were against him remarrying because his wife had been dead for only a short amount of time? Did Jacob and Alwilda get married in Indiana instead of Michigan as a result of possible disapproval? At the moment, I don't know what Jacob's faith was because he and Alwilda and several of his children were married by a Justice of Peace, so I don't know if there are any records that might indicate why he chose Indiana.

Jacob and Alwilda would have at least one son, Charles, who lived to adulthood, and they may have had another son who died at the age of one. There is a death record in the Saint Joseph County, Michigan County Clerk's office for a Casey E. Detwiler who was born in Indiana. The problem is that the mother is listed as Emma. It could be a mistake for Alwilda's name since the marriage record gave her first name as Elwilda. I have not found any other Jacob Detwiler's in the Southwestern Michigan and Northwestern Indiana area who would have been old enough to have been the child's father. It is always possible that this child is another couple's child. Whether or not Jacob and Alwilda had one or two children, the birth of Charles probably confused later descendants of his relationship to other Detwilers in the area. As I mentioned before, all of Jacob's older children were married and had children. Jacob was already a grandfather before Charles was born, and Charles' birth would automatically make him an uncle to the children of his older half-siblings. I can only wonder how confusing it might have been to be one of Jacob's grandchildren; several of Jacob's grandchildren would be older than their own uncle.

Jacob Detwiler died on 21 December 1879 in Saint Joseph County, Michigan. I have not yet found his probate file, but it is always possible that I missed it while looking for other probate files.


(I don't have my sources with me, but I have tried to list as much of my sources as I can remember.)
  • "Married." Huntingdon Gazette, December 28, 1836, page 3,
  • Household of Jacob Detwiler. 1850 U. S. Federal Census, Walker Township, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. (Note Detwiler for this family is spelled Ditwiler in this census.)
  • Household of Jacob Detwiler. 1860 U. S. Federal Census, Lockport Township, Saint Joseph County, Michigan. (Detwiler is spelled Detweiler in this census.)
  • Household of Jacob Detwiler. 1870 U. S. Federal Census, Lockport Township, Saint Joseph County, Michigan.
  • Saint Joseph County Genealogical Society, "Riverside Cemetery," in Cemeteries of Saint Joseph County, vol. 4.
  • Saint Joseph County, Indiana Marriages, Saint Joseph County Clerk, book 6, page 391. (Note: Detwiler is spelled Detwilder and Alwilda's name is given is Elwilda.
  • Saint Joseph Valley Register and National Union, (no date or page number. These newspaper articles and the marriage record above were kindly looked up for me at the beginning of this year.)
  • Household of Alwilda Detwiler. 1880 U. S. Federal Census, Lockport Township, Saint Joseph County, Michigan.
  • "Death record of Casey E. Detwiler," Saint Joseph County, Michigan death records, book one, page 59.
  • "Death record of Jacob Detweler," Saint Joseph County, Michigan death records, book one, page 122. (Note: Jacob's last name is spelled Detweler in this record.)

Forgot to Mention These Articles

I forgot to mention these articles a few days ago, when I wrote about other interesting articles. The articles I forgot to mention were:

I completely forgot to mention these articles, and I am terribly sorry for my oversight. Both of these articles are at Blaine Bettinger's The Genetic Genealogist.

More Genealogy Blogs Added

I've added more genealogy blogs to this blog. The blogs I added are:
  • Matt Unger's Papa's Diary Project
  • The Stone Gene Pool
  • Now What?

You can find these and other blogs on the lower left side of this blog. Any suggestions for other genealogy and history blogs are welcome.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Picture At the Beginning of Adulthood ...

Terry Thornton posted a challenge in one of his posts for other bloggers to post pictures of themselves dressed in costumes as adults. So here is my photo:

The occasion for dressing up was my high school graduation. I'm standing in between my grandparents in this picture. This picture is the only picture that I have of my graduation. All of the other pictures were lost. This picture was taken by my digital camera and that is why the quality of the picture is so poor.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

One of My Ancestor's Tombstone ...

I realize this is a random posting, but the past couple of days I've been thinking about posting one of my pictures I took of an ancestor's grave marker.

Copyright 2004. Picture of the grave of Barbara Detwiler at Riverside Cemetery in Three Rivers, Michigan taken by Jessica Oswalt.
This is the grave of my ancestor Barbara, the wife of Jacob Detwiler. As you can see, the stone is broken into two pieces. I am not sure if it was broken by accident or if it was a result of vandalism. You can't tell by just looking at this picture, but the part of the stone that is still part of the marker, an elegant inscription has eroded away to being unreadable. I did look at the grave closely and that is how I know about. I could not read it, but I wish I could have been able to, since there might have been important information on the marker. And that fungus did not make reading the stone any easier. Does anyone know if it is possible to determine what was inscribed on a tombstone?

Some Articles I Want to Mention...

I've noticed several articles so far this week that I thought were interesting or important. The articles that I chose were:
  • "Be Careful with Indexes in Ancestry" by Randy Seaver. I thought Randy made some important points in his article.
  • "Ancient Recordings Now Available In Digital Form" by Craig Manson. Craig has a link to where people on listen to early recordings on the internet. I think it's neat that people have access to listen to these recordings. especially from a historical perspective. Thanks Craig for drawing attention to this collection.

I realize that I have only mentioned two articles, and if I have missed any other articles, please feel free to let me know.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Genealogy and History Thoughts - Column Seven

Originally, I planned to write about this topic for column six, but I changed my mind.

Whenever I hear about brick walls, I hear more about people not being able to move on to the next generation, but I usually don't hear about other possible types of brick walls. Has anyone ever considered the lack of time to do research as a brick wall? I know that there has been at least one book written about how to do genealogy on a tight schedule, but other than that, I don't hear much about a tight schedule being a brick wall. I suppose it is not considered a brick wall because one can still find records to do research on his or her ancestors, but when I think about the impact of one's schedule on research, I believe a lack of time is a brick wall. Of course, brick wall might not be the best term or way to describe this problem.

For me, the lack of time hampers my ability to do research. This is what I consider my brick wall at the moment. Of course, I am in school and schoolwork comes first, but when I do have the time to do research, I usually am able to do so only during school breaks. (I realize that for those who are working at a job, that this situation applies as well.) I guess, for me, the most frustrating part of doing research is that I either don't have the time to research or go to the places where my ancestors lived. (Can you tell I'm addicted to genealogy?)

If I go somewhere to do research, I feel as though I never have enough time to look up all the records I want to, but I am sure that is the case for most of us. I guess one way to resolve this issue is to bring along another person (ie., family member) to help with the research. (Of course, there can be problems with this situation, but I won't go into that now.)

I guess I am fortunate that I have family members who are willing to help me with look for information, and thereby allow me to be able to look at more records than I would be able to on my own. So, I guess I am wondering how many times do we stop to think about and be thankful for the time that we do have for researching and for those who are willing to help us? (If I appear to be just rambling, I'm sorry. I've been having trouble, lately coming up with ideas to write about for this column.)

So what do you think? I'd love to hear what you think.

More Genealogy Blogs Added

I have added several genealogy blogs today. The blogs added are:
  • Colleen's The Oracle of OmcHodoy
  • Lisa's 100 Years in America
  • Lisa's A Light that Shines Again
  • Lisa's Small-leaved Shamrock
  • Taneya's Genealogy Blog

I also have updated Renee Zamora's Genealogy Blog, so that the URL now reflects her Blogger blog. You can find these and other blogs on the lower left side of the blog. Any suggestions for other genealogy or history blogs are welcome.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Blog Changes

I've been playing around earlier today with my blog's image. I really don't know how to personalize my blog, so I've decided to make due with this purple rectangle.

Interesting ....

I just learned about this yesterday from one of the yahoo genealogy groups that I am member of, and I thought I would share this on my blog. is apparently offering people free time for searching Ancestry's databases in return for those people's transcription of records. You can read more about here:

I wonder if participating in this would be worthwhile. It seems like it might be beneficial ....

Carnival of Genealogy Posted!

The Carnival of Genealogy has been posted at The Genetic Genealogist. The topic for the next carnival is a carousel. Click here to go to the carnival.