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Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Ben and I have been playing music together, on and off, for many years- since we were back in college. But then, about 28 years ago (can't believe it's been that long ago), I saw a movie that probably changed my life. It was called "Deliverance". Most people know it was about a foursome of city slickers who took a weekend canoe trip in the back country of the Appalachian foothills on the border of South Carolina and Georgia. But what changed my life was the adventure, wild scenery, white water canoeing, and the music in that movie. The hair on my neck still stands up when I hear "Dueling Banjos". In the next week after I saw the movie, I had bought a canoe and a banjo and started taking banjo lessons in Blacksburg, VA. Kinda crazy, but that's just how it started. And I continued to play old time music and banjo on just about every weekend during the summer at old time fiddler's conventions all over southwestern Virginia- at least for another 5 years. Looking back I guess I was going through what some people were then calling a mid-life crisis. Maybe so, but now, in a crisis, I can take a deep breath, sit down, and strum the ol' banjo until the crisis is over.
Technical Note. I joined YouTube.com today. I had a passer-by take this video of our little trio with my Canon digital camera. The setting was in Standard, 640 x 480 pixel mode. The saved file was in avi format, 112 MB. I uploaded the file to YouTube using their downloadable "Uploader" for files over 100 MB and multiple video uploades. It took 45 minutes to upload the file! I then uploaded an 18.8 MB file in mpg format which I created with my old Olympus digital camera. It took only 8 minutes. Finally, I copied and pasted the HTML code into this blog. I know nothing about HTML editing, but it works. Gotta lot to learn about videos.
Rather than embed my second video into this blog, I think I will just post a link to my "flat footing" video here.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Otto Strike and Bertha Wagner (see above) were raised in the same farmhouse; both wound up losing their spouses. Bertha's husband left her with two young children who eventually took back their mother's maiden surname.
The 1900 Census for household of Charles Wagner and Henrietta (Strike), nee. Hohnke, in West Houtzdale, Clearfield County, PA, included Charles' daughter, Bertha, as a single mother of girl and a boy surnamed Tuschling. Henrietta's children by a previous marriage to a Strike, Julius and Martha, were also living in the household. Henrietta's oldest biological child, Otto Strike, had left the farmstead and was working as a coal miner in the adjoining county of Cambria, in Barnesboro, PA.
As I said in the beginning, genealogy can be very complicated, but look again at the Masch Family Group Sheet above. George Masch's first wife was Caroline Cramp; and his second, Caroline Wollenschlager. The first child of George's second marriage, Johanna Luise Henrietta Masch, married a Johann Kramp. OK, couldn't Cramp and Kramp be spelling variations of the same family name? In other words, couldn't Cramp and Kramp be related?
I hate to do this to you, but I have one instance in which Cramp and Kramp were the same person! When Mrs. Johanna (Masch) Kramp arrived at Castle Gardens, NY, on the S.S. Werra, with her family of 6 children, they were listed on the passenger list as "Cramp". This is only a problem for genealogists. Incidentally, Johanna Kramp had two more children in America before she died early, at age 46, in 1891.
Other than than the two half-sisters, Henrietta and Johanna, and perhaps a third half-sister, Emily, I do not know the fate of the other children of George Masch and his two wives.
I guess we will never know the answer to all the questions that come up in our genealogical research. But we have SOME answers. And that's good enough for me and Bobby McGee.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
The collage above shows four different book covers which describe the history of a few of the unique surnames in my pedigree. The books are available at Amazon.com. How unique are these particular surnames? Well, as a measure of uniqueness, I searched the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) at Rootsweb.com (which is partnered with Ancestry.com) and obtained the numbers of deceased person for each surname and added the numbers to the collage. Click on the image for a better view. For example, there are only 51 deceased persons in the huge SSDI database (currently 81.5 million names) with a surname of Hohnke. There were only 2 persons named Hohnka (ending with "a"), and both are members of my Family as described in the previous entry.
All 27 Gailliot persons in the SSDI are members of my collective Family. At the SSDI on Rootsweb.com, one can add a "postem" note which can include additional information for any individual in the database. Just think how informative this database would become if users would post a genealogical postem note for each one of their own family members.
An observation: About eight years ago, in the year 2000, there were 36 Hohnke individuals in the SSDI compared to 51 persons at present in this continuously updated and growing database.
Each book in the series entitled, [your name] in History, is published "On Demand" by Ancestry.com and is sold by Amazon.com where I obtained the images of these book covers. The artistic, almost antique-looking, covers show the surname superimposed on a genealogically-themed background of the Statue of Liberty, vintage maps, and immigrants arriving at Ellis Island.
The Product Description at Amazon stated:
"The [your name] in History is a customized book offering a unique blend of fascinating facts, statistics, and commentary ... compiled from hundreds of millions of records from the world's largest online resource ... You may discover the countries and ports they left behind, the ships they sailed and more ... and where they reside today ... check out our collection of nearly 300,000 family name books."
You can see the complete description for the Gailliot book here. Just for fun, in the "books" search bar at the top of the Amazon.com web site, type in "History" and your surname of interest. Sorry Kerbitz, you surname draws a blank.
The Description at Amazon does not claim that any of these books are a genuine GENEALOGY- which I suppose is good for those of us who spend hundreds of hours on genealogical research- ironically, often perusing the multiple databases at Ancestry.com. And I wouldn't mind having a book of my surname if the price drops to about a third of the current retail price. Perhaps a used copy will be become available at Amazon or eBay, but it is not likely since my name is not Smith.
Why do so many names from the former Prussian province of Pomerania (Pommern in German) end in "ke", as for example, Hohnke? Other examples are Lemke, Radtke, Gustke, Marschke, and Pranke. The Hohnke family is one of my major family lines, beginning with Frederick Hohnke, who had at least four children: Julius (see tombstone), Henrietta, Wilhelmina and Paulina. All of the children emigrated from Prussia to America in the early 1880s. Henrietta Hohnke, in particular, was my great grandmother who married Karl Streich.
Recently, I contacted the web master of a site focusing on the MARSCHKE family who were formerly from Kries Stolp, Pommern. I also have an ancestor from Kries Stolp, Pommern, but the surname is MASCH, that is without the middle "r" and without the suffix "ke". She was Johanna Masch, wife of Johann Kramp. For seveal years, I spelled her surname Marsch (with an r) until I went back to the original parish record at St. John's German Lutheran Church in Houtzdale, PA, and took a second look at the hand-written entry. Also, in the meantime, I discovered in the Mormon's International Genealogical Index (IGI) that there was a match for a Johanna Masch (without the r) which fit quite nicely into my Kramp Line and into another German immigrant family in our neighborhood, the Tuschling family. According to the IGI, Johanna Masch had a half sister Henrietta Masch who married a Ferdinand Ludwig Tuschling. Later, thanks to Rudolf Kerbitz of Wesel, Germany, I obtained a photocopy of civil birth registration for one of Johanna's daughters (Bertha J. Kramp) which confirmed that Johanna's maiden surname was "Masch". The surnames, Masch and Marschke are a close match. They are from the same locality and same time period in history, but they would even be closer if I could separate or at least have a common explanation the suffix, "ke".
Incidentally, at the Marschke Family web site, there is a pdf file of a journal and trip with pictures by "Ben" and his wife, who visited the town of Rathsdamnitz, Kries Stolp, Pommern (now in Poland). Ben partially transcribed parish records from the former Rathsdamnitz Lutheran Church (now R. Catholic) which were available in a library in Stolp city. Ben was focusing on the Marschke name but found similar spellings such as Martzke, Marzke, and Martzen, which he concluded were all probably related, perhaps as cousins. Noteworthy, were the marriage entries of several persons named Kramp in these 18th and 19th century church registers.
Above is the tombstone for Mrs. Hanna (Johanna), born Masch, wife of John (Johann) Kramp, at I.O.O.F. Cemetery, Brisbin, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Though barely legible, the inscription indicated Hanna died 4 June 1891. She was born 9 Oct 1945 in Kries Stolp, Pommern. Could Johanna have been related to the Marschke, Martzke, Marzke, or Martzen families who resided in the same Kries (= county in America)?
LeRoy Boelke (note suffix) in, "Pomerania, its People and its History", 1983, which I purchased from Pommerscher Verein Freistadt in Milwaukee, WI, states on page 29:
"With the Germans from the North Germany came other names from Friesland and Saxony, such as the -ke and -el endings. The -el shows up as Barthel, Wetzel, and many others. The -ke ending shows up as Lemke, Radtke, Wilke, Boehlke, and others. These name endings were of course found in northern Germany as well as in Pomerania, but because there were so many Pomeranians in Wisconsin most of these types of names came from Pomerania."
Unfortunately, Boelke did not go into any more details of WHY these names end in "ke", but as he indicated there were many Pomeranian immigrants who settled in Wisconsin- and I might add Michigan and Minnesota as well.
Regarding the roots of the names already mentioned, the following is found in, "A Dictionary of German Names, 2002, 2nd Edition, 579 pages, by Hans Bahlow, translated and revised by Edda Gentry, published by Max Kade Institute of German American Studies, Madison, WI, USA. Note that the roots of MARSCH and MASCH mean the same thing.
"Hohn (Low German)= Huhn (chicken) surname of a poultry grower or dealer. Also Hohnke, compare to Westphalia Kluckhorn (brooding hen)."
"Masch, Maschmann: Low German. Contracted from Marsch (mann) like Kasch from Karsch; compare Maschmeyer alongside Marschmeyer, from the habitation, 'Auf der Masch' (Marsch= damp, rich grazing land in lowlands near rivers and by the sea)"
"Kramp(e): probably surname of a locksmith. Compare dornagel and others. Also compare to place name Krampe in Pommern, Crampe in Brandenburg."
Vornefett "fat in the front" (I knew I would be mentioned in here someplace).
- Marschke Family web site click on "Ragtag Info"> then "Pilgrimage"> click on desired pdf file for Ben's trip to Germany: without or with pictures.
- Max Kade Institute of German American Studies
- Pommersche Verein Freistadt
- For more on German naming patterns, see Chapters 12 and 13 in Larry O. Jensens's Genealogical Handbook of German Research.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
The path shown above is the Heritage Rail Trail County Park in York Co., PA. The trail runs from the historic district of York, PA, south to the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland, a distance of about 21 miles. Then the trail runs directly into the Northern Central Railroad Trail in the Gunpowder Falls State Park which runs 20 more miles from the border to Ashland, MD. Thus, the 41-mile trail is preserved in a County park in PA and a State park in MD. Good going rail-trail people.
Today, I parked my car in Glen Rock Boro, York Co., PA, and bicycled about 6 miles to the Mason-Dixon Line; crossed into Maryland; and biked another 4 miles; then turned around at Bentley Springs and returned.
I didn't realize until I bicycled 6 miles to SUMMIT Grove that I had been going uphill since Glen Rock. I thought it was my advanced age that was slowing me down. In fact, the trail in York County averages about 0.8% but then doubles to 1.5% in those 6 miles. I read about it all on an Historical Marker at the Summit which is 825 feet above sea level. I can here someone chuckling all the way out in Colorado ... and no, there is no panoramic view from here. The summit was once the location of a Methodist Summer Camp Meeting and is still active today. I also read that a "helper" engine was used in the old days to help push a heavy passenger or freight train up the grade. Good idea, but where was that helper engine today.
Thank Goodness, there was a good place to take a rest stop before reaching the Summit. I bought a big Lipton Ice Tea at the renovated train station in the village of New Freeland. I had to wake up the proprietor who had fallen asleep, sitting up, with his arms across a portable DVD player. I can understand his fading out; I was probably the second person in the cafe that day- it was Tuesday after Memorial Day. When he woke up, he also said he was tired from moving house and preparing for a wedding- his. Hope he doesn't fall asleep at the alter ... or on his honeymoon.
A little German Heritage: New Freedom was named after a Peter Free, a son of a German immigrant who had bought a large tract of land in the area in 1780. The village thrived on grist mills and lumber camps, and being close to the railroad.
About a mile and a half south of New Freedom near Summit Grove is the border between PA and MD. However, once the border was in dispute, and so, the astronomers, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were hired to survey a boundary, called the Mason-Dixon Line, between the two colonies and to set markers. The south face of each marker bore the seal of Lord Baltimore; and on the north face, the seal of William Penn. I believe I passed one of these M-D markers on the trail near the Line but no seal was evident. Understandably, if this was one of the ancient markers and it was indeed identified, it would be just a stump in no time because every bookshelf in every home in America would be displaying a piece of the rock. Let it be. Sh-h-h-h-h.
The remaining images are a bit of wildlife I enjoyed seeing along the trail. I wish to emphasize that this is an isolated, quiet trail, especially during the week.
How about them wonderful ferns growing in Pennsylvania, the state whose name means "Penn's woods".
This wildflower in present on what I believe is the Honey Suckle bush. You can see through the trees to the rippling waters of Gunpowder Creek.
It's hard not to take your eyes off the path while riding through such beautiful scenery. But watch out for those black-colored speed bumps. And keep your camera ready to shoot.
The official Heritage Rail Trail County Park web site.
So, of course that started me to thinking about the ancestors and cousins of my family who were ethnic Italians. Realize that most of my ancestors were relatively recent immigrants from Europe and they wound up in ethnic marriages. My Dad's German father married an English woman whose father was born in Scotland. My parents were both born in America, but my grandmother was born in Switzerland of parents born in Bohemia and Alsace. My father's family immigrated to Clearfield County, PA, and my mother's to Braddock, PA. Scratch a Pennsylvanian and there is probably an immigrant not too far beneath the skin.
The Italians who immediately came to mind were the SCORD family- though their surname does not end in "O", and I don't know if they ever ate m-m-m-m-m Milano Bread. Michael Scord married my father's biological sister, Ruth STREICH (she spelled it STRYKE just before marrying). Mike is pictured below in the center of a bunch of Strike cousins at a gathering in 1989. Unfortunately, I was not in attendance, because I never knew they were gathering. Actually, these are my biological first cousins, and my father was adopted by his aunt who married a Kramp and our families sort of lost touch until recently. I was glad that there was another gathering in 1999- unfortunately, it was a few months after Mike Scord died in his 95th year.
Michael Scord and Ruth, nee. Streich, had three daughters, two of whom are labeled in the "gathering" picture. It was thought that when Mike Scord died in May 1999, he was the last of his generation. However, my late father who was the last-born of that generation of Strike children and their spouses, has a widow who is still living at age 88 (my mother).
Actually, Mike Scord was born in Cambria County, PA, in America, and it was his mother, Tilli Ida, and his father, Fredrick SCORD, who was born in Italy about 1878. Below is a picture of Fredrick Scord and my late father, Robert KRAMP, born STRIKE, about 1954, in Spangler, Cambria Co., PA.
Incidentally, some members of my Russell Line (Otto Strike married Emily RUSSELL) still live in Pennsylvania. Years ago, I visited one long-lost cousin named James E. Russell. He lives in Johnstown just "over the hill" from Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions. As I drove up his long driveway, I looked to my left and I swear there was a full-sized sculpture of a Nittany Lion (mountain lion) on a large flat rock in his garden. Don't believe me? I got a picture of it in my family album. Y'see, he was an avid fan of the Penn State football team.
Note to myself for further research: What is a Nittany? Does it feed on genealogists?