Friday, February 28, 2014

Ancestors of the Week--the Suffragettes

March is Women's History Month here in the United States. And a lot has been accomplished over the last 150 years. One of the notable accomplishments is the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which gave women the right to vote in 1920. Women at the forefront include Susan B. Anthony (Aunt Susan to many!), Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt, to name of few. But, many unnamed women also fought for their right to vote.

This photo is of the Minnesota suffragettes. Four of the women in this photo are amongst my ancestors. First row and third from left is only identified by her last name, Dallowitz. Her grandmother, Clara, married my great-great grandfather John P. Wombacher. Also on the first row, fourth from right, is my great-grandmother Louisa Wombacher. Two of Louisa's daughters, Marie and Katie appear in the second row. Marie is at the right-end of row 2, and Katie is 4th in from the right.

A couple of things to note--there are three men in the photo! And notice the signs--several are holding a sign with the letter M--perhaps for Minnesota? But, one woman has hers upside down so that it shows the letter W. Perhaps for women? And one woman holds a sign that says "love man". 

So--my question to all of you: what significant or unique accomplishments were your female ancestors involved with? 
P.S. My great-great grandmother Clara was also a midwife, licensed by the state of Illinois! I'm proud of these women!!

Ancestors of the Week--Three Generations and a mystery.

Thanks to my cousin Mary, proud resident of Philadelphia, who sent me this photo to blog about. It's the Wombacher family, again. This photo was taken in 1912. In the center is Robert M. and Louisa Wombacher with their nine children, a couple of daughters- and sons-in-law, and the first five of their many grandchildren.  

In the top row, from the right, you'll see daughter Marie and her husband Morton. Apparently, so the story goes, Marie was not the only Wombacher daughter he fathered a child with. That illegitimate child was adopted out, and no one knows what became of that child.

Sitting in front of Morton is the eldest Wombacher daughter, Katie. She seems to have something on her mind, other than posing for the photograph.....

In front of her is my 12-year-old grandfather, Clarence, better known as Dutch.  I wonder if he knew anything about it??

By the way, March is Women's History Month. I should mention that Louisa and her daughters Katie and Marie were active in the suffragette movement, and worked hard to get the 19th Amendment added to the US Constitution. Thanks to them, women have the right to vote!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ancestors of the Week--Three Sisters

Left to right: Catherine (Kitty), Dora, and Mary Margaret.

In today's Ancestors of the Week we have the three Kane sisters--Catherine (Kitty, b 1886), Dora (b. 1893) and Mary Catherine (b. 1891). Mary Catherine--in her nun's habit--joined the Sisters of St. Joseph de Carondelet in 1920. Catherine never married, and we saw Dora a couple of weeks ago in the Happy Foursome photo with her husband Tom Fay, brother Cornelius Kane and his wife Anna Schmidt.
Interestingly enough, and aside of a couple of photos of their brother Cornelius, I do not have any photos of their father Cornelius (b. 1853) and brothers William (b. 1883) and James (b. 1895). But I do have one photo of brother that for later!

Ancestors of the Week--A Wedding Photo


Here is the official wedding photo for Cornelius Kane and Annie Schmidt. They eloped in 1905 at the tender ages of 18.  They would have four children: Francis (1907), Eleanor (1909), Beatrice (1914), and Harold (1916). Two years later, Cornelius would die in the 1918 flu epidemic. So sad! But they are a good-looking couple, aren't they?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ancestors of the Week--a Happy Foursome.

Last week's Ancestors of the Week photo included my great-grandmother, Annie Schmidt, seated with her parents George and Augusta.  This week, it's Annie as a young adult--she's second from left in this undated photo. With her in this photo is her husband, Cornelius Kane (my great-grandfather), his sister Dora* Kane and her husband, Tom Say. Cornelius, aka Connie, would later be a victim of the influenza epidemic in 1918, leaving Annie to raise their four children alone, including my grandmother Eleanor (Kane) Gates. Annie would marry again.

It's interesting that both women are smiling, yet the men are not. However, they all look like they're ready for some fun!

left-to-right: Cornelius, Annie, Dora*, and Tom.
Photo undated.

**Last week I mis-identified Dora as Kitty.
 Lesson to be learned: label photos correctly and carefully!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ancestors of the Week--George Schmidt family

This photo is of my great-great grandparents George Schmidt and Augusta Schiefelbein, both born in Germany. George was born in August 1850, and Augusta was born in September 1862. The family lived in St. Croix, Wisconsin. There would be two more sons, Robert and George, and one daughter Lillian. George and Augusta would later divorce. George died in Washington state in 1903, Augusta died in Wisconsin in 1905.

The two children with them are their eldest daughter Anna (in George's lap) and eldest son Charles. Anna was born in 1887 in Wisconsin, and is the only great-grandparent of mine that I actually met. She died in 1975. Charles was born in 1888 or 1889. All three sons are a huge brick wall for me--I have no idea what ever happened to them when they became adults.

George and Augusta (Schiefelbein) Schmidt
with children Anna and Charles.
Undated photo, but estimated 1889.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hiding the Past: A Genealogical Crime Mystery

I just finished reading Nathan Dylan Goodwin's fictitious novel entitled Hiding the Past: A Genealogical Crime Mystery. The main character, Morton Farrier, is a forensic genealogical hired by Peter Coldrick, to unlock his past. However, Coldrick's past is not so easy to trace--and it gets complicated as well as dangerous for Morton Farrier.

The author does a fine job with creating a story where the genealogist--Morton--has to employ some non-standard techniques and outside-the-box thinking to uncover Coldrick's unusual family history. There are a few twists and turns that kept my attention. At 256 pages, it's a fairly quick read--I read the first 200 pages waiting for my college students to write their final exam this afternoon.

Bottom line--if you like mysteries and want to think about non-standard genealogical research techniques, this is a fun book to read.

Also of interest: RootsTech 2014 is now underway in Salt Lake City. Wish I was there! However, a number of the workshops will be streamed online. Check out the schedule at

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ancesters of the Week: the Freukes siblings

This week's ancestors are the three Freukes siblings. The eldest is Margaret (1857-1929), on the right. She's my great-great grandmother, married to my great-great grandfather Cornelius Kane who died in the influenza epidemic in 1918. The youngest, Mary (1862-1936) was known as Fay-Fay, and was married to George Siegle.  In the middle is William, born about 1858, is the one I know least about. He was married for a short time to Mary Lena Ruder, but later divorced. I don't have a birth date nor a death date, and remains a mystery as to what ever happened to him.

Mary, William, and Margaret Freukes
Not shown: brother Peter, who had already died.
Undated photo.

Their father was William Freukes (1828-1898), born in Prussia--maybe! Still looking for his passenger list and naturalization papers. His wife was Irish-born Katherine Ralph (1829-1884). There was a fourth child, Peter (1859-1884), who never married.