Monday, March 2, 2015

Tuesday's Tip - The Case of the Two Viola Vanias

When you've got someone in your family tree with the married name of Viola Vania you would think that if you found a death date for her that it would be your Viola Vania. I mean, how common could that name be? And if you found a Viola Vania in Algoma, Wisconsin where your Viola lived then you were good, right? Never assume anything, my dear Watson. Never.

Viola Cayemberg was the daughter of Gustav Joseph Cayemberg (he went by Joseph) and Virginia Wautlet. This is a branch of my husband's family that I don't have much on. The reason is that our reunions are based off Gustav's brother, Eli Cayemberg. Many (though not all) of the descendants of Eli and Florence seem to ignore moving beyond Eli or tracing those lateral lines. I don't. Cousins are a wonderful thing and they can help fill in holes and confirm data. Plus if we keep track of the cousins of Eli and Florence why not of Philippe and Catherine, Eli and Gustav's parents?

The Algoma Record Herald,
Thurs. 30APR1992, pg4
I found two different death dates for Viola from various sources on Ancestry and FindAGrave. One date was November 21, 1994 and the other was April 24, 1992. Seeing those two dates was a bit much. One is my husband's birthday and the other is mine (wrong years...I wish I was that young!). So I put both down for a bit of research when I went back to Wisconsin for Christmas. When I got there I pulled the microfilm for the The Algoma Record Herald and started with the earlier date...

"Viola Vania

Viola Vania, 92, 601 Navarino St., Algoma, died Friday, April 24, at Kewaunee Health Care Center.

The former Viola Buss was born May 9, 1899 in Milwaukee to August and Louise (Bloehmil) Buss. She moved to Algoma from Milwaukee in 1932. In 1919 she married Joseph Vania in Milwaukee. They owned and operated a bar in Algoma until 1947.

Survivors include nieces, Mrs. Mabel Murawski, Muskego, Mrs. Ethel Brauer, Algoma; and other nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, one brother and one sister.

Friends called from 3-8 p.m. Monday at the Wiesner-Massart Funeral Home, Algona, and after 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the church. Funeral services were 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, the Rev. Brent Merten officiating. Burial was in Pilgrims Rest Cemetery, Milwaukee."

The Algoma Record Herald,
Thurs. 24NOV1994, pg7
Not my Viola. On to the next obituary hoping I wasn't going to get double-whammied and end up with no good result:

"Viola Vania

Mrs. John (Viola) Vania, 90, Algoma, died on Monday, Nov. 21 in the Algoma Long Term Care Unit.

The former Viola Cayemberg was born on August 2, 1904 at Rosiere. She graduated from the Rosiere Graded School. Her family later moved to Algoma. She married John Vania in Algoma on March 4, 1924 and they resided in Algoma until the time of their deaths.

She is survived by eight children, Gladys Krueger, James and Lloyd (Janet), Gloria (Jack) March, John (Pat), all of Algoma; Mae (Richard) Dreier, Concord, Calif.; Donna (Ernest) Walker and Raymond (Carol), Green Bay; 24 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and one sister, Ann Vania, Algoma. She was preceded in death by four sisters and one brother.

Friends called at the Schinderle Funeral Home from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and after 10 a.m. on Wednesday at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Algoma, until time of services. Parish vigil was at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Funeral services were on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at St. Mary's Church, with the Rev. Jim Massart officiating. Burial was in St. Mary's Cemetery."

Now this is my Viola! Lots of great information in here that I didn't previously have. I did have that Viola was one of seven children and a sister was Ann(a), so it looks like a sister also married a Vania, but I'll have to look into that one to be sure. At least now I know that all of her siblings, save one passed before November 21, 1994. That's helpful.

This research and discovery was important because we know that so many of the public trees we find are rife with errors. The errors are usually caused by inexperience and sloppiness. I know when I first started out I made a lot of mistakes. I learned and was open to the fact that I could be wrong. Accepting this possibility is an important part of becoming a better researcher and genealogist. Most people learn and evolve in their research, unless they can't acknowledge their faults. Even professional, paid researchers can get it wrong sometimes. If the best can be mistaken then anyone can. Only those that refuse to admit their shortcomings will continue down the wrong paths, and they'll hit more brick walls in their trees.

An obituary isn't confirmation of a connection. It's a secondary source of information provided by grieving relatives that can get things wrong, but it can help to establish proof and lend credibility to assumptions when combined with other primary and secondary sources. I already knew Viola Cayemberg was born on August 2, 1904 because I had previously pulled her birth record at the Wisconsin Historical Society. The birth date matching up perfectly strengthened both of these records  as well as the other census data I had collected.

Even if you're fairly certain that someone you found is the right person you need to check the records and confirm your research. Write it down in a research log and put your assumption/what you hope to find. If it turns out to be true you can happily and confidently put that person in your tree.

Until next time, have fun tending those roots!

(Viola Vania nee Cayemberg is my husband's first cousin twice removed)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Does Alfred Kuehl Belong in my Tree?

The Luxembourg News,
Thurs 13OCT1949, pg1
You look for an obituary to try to see if someone fits into your family tree. You're looking for parental acknowledgement to help determine a connection and then you see that none was given in the obituary.

It's terribly frustrating to see "He was born in...on..." and then nothing significant following. One assumption is that the names of the parents wasn't known, but I'm doubtful that was the case here. Alfred married in his twenties so unless his parents died and he never mentioned them to his surviving wife, they should be known.

Another possibility is that there was a rift in the family and they were intentionally omitted. I hope no one finding this post thinks I'm making that assertion. I'm just throwing out possibilities. Maybe they just didn't think that listing parents long gone was significant. Not everyone writes an obituary to please a genealogist. If only...

Doing a quick search in the Wisconsin Birth Index I easily found him. Alfred W. Kuehl; Birth Date - Dec 1887; Birth place - Kewaunee, Wisconsin, USA; Reel 0098; Record 001987. I'm fairly certain that I pulled this record during one of my trips to see about a connection, but being enrolled in school full time and having a pile of documents to sort through for genealogy isn't helpful.

Another hit I got with the information provided in the obituary was from the Wisconsin, Births and Christenings database. You don't get to see an actual document. It's just an index, but it's still useful information.

Name: Alfred W H Kuehl
Birth Date: 1 Dec 1887
Birth Place: Kewaunee, Kewaunee, Wisconsin
Gender: Male
Race: White
Father's name: Fred Kuehl
Father' Birth Place: Kammrin, Mecklemburg (sic), Germany
Mother's name: Friederike Strahl
Mother's Birth Place: Tessin, Mecklemburg (sic), Germany
FHL Film Number: 1302886

Apparently the transcriber never heard of Mecklenburg, but those m's and n's can blur together when transcribing, so I'm not going to be too picky. I do have a Frederich Kuehl in my tree and he was from Mecklenburg, Germany. His wife's name in the census records was Wilhelmina not Friederike.

I have census records for my Frederich and Wilhelmina Kuehl and they were born around 1842. I easily found this Alfred in the 1900 census and his parents were born around 1857. That's a fairly big discrepancy. So as of right now I can't put Alfred into my family tree. I can't rule him out completely either. My Fred and Mina Kuehl may have been his uncle and aunt. I don't know. They are the beginning of that branch of my tree. To find out I'll have to work past them. I'll put Alfred away for now and see if he comes in to play in the future. At least in my research I was able to rule him out (for now), and I was able to add his obituary to his FindAGrave memorial for others to benefit from. Sharing is caring and I hope that this post at least helps another Kuehl to place Alfred.

"Illness Fatal To Alfred Kuehl, 61

Kewaunee - Alfred Kuehl, 61, died at his home here Saturday after a several months illness.

The funeral service was held Tuesday afternoon in the Duescher Funeral home with the Rev. Leonard A. Spooner officiating. Burial was in Riverview cemetery. Pallbearers were Tom Rank, Jule Neumann, William Trakel, Othmar H. Lietz, John Vanderbloemen and Edw. J. Stika.

He was born in Kewaunee Dec. 1, 1887 and lived in Kewaunee all his life. He was a plumber by trade and for a number of years was associated with Wencel Selner as Kuehl & Selner. Later he entered business alone, and after working at the shipyard during the war entered the employ of Jerry Libal, Luxemburg plumber.

He was a former chief of the Kewaunee fire department, and served with the department for many years.

Surviving are his wife, the former Emma F. Landt whom he married in Kewaunee Feb. 20, 1912; three daughters, Mrs. Alfred (Alyce) Kasal, Kewaunee; Miss Hazel, Manitowoc; Mrs Robert (Marion) Goen, Long Beach, Calif.; two sons, Earl and Eben. Kewaunee; and three grandchildren. Other survivors include two brothers, William of Marshfield, Otto of Aledo, Ill., and one sister, Mrs. Hattie Zimmer of Manitowoc."

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Freaky Friday - Woman Convicted for Hogging Phone Line

The Fond du Lac Commonwealth
Reporter, 06FEB1962, pg 10
Today I'm sharing another one of those accidental articles. The ones that I just accidentally came across when researching and couldn't help hitting the "copy" button on the microfilm reader. Once again, it's not something I'd share on a Funny Friday post. While the clipping's title sounds amusing once you get into the article itself there is little funny about it. You're wanting to turn your head from the train wreck. Wanting to look away from the crash on the highway. Wanting to...but you can't and you just have to ask yourself, "What. The. Hell?!?!"

"Woman Convicted For Hogging Phone Line

Stockton, Calif., Feb. 6 - (AP) - Virginia Irene Plumb, 44, was convicted Monday of attempting to hog a telephone line during an emergency last July.

Mrs. Plumb was charged with refusing to relinquish her rural party line to Mrs. Ora Smith who was attempting to summon aid for her baby, whom she believed critically ill.

The defense contended that no real emergency existed since the baby was dead at the time of Mrs. Simth's (sic) attempted call. The prosecution held Mrs. Plumb should be judged guilty of an attempt to commit the crime.

Judge William Dozier set sentencing for Feb. 20."

Wow. And what a freaking defense! The one thing this clipping shows us is that not being able to get off the phone is nothing new...and it's apparently not just something that only teenagers have a problem with! The 21st century doesn't corner the market on stupid...1962 had it going on as well!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Missing My Uncle

April 3, 1941 - January 30, 2015

Sometimes life just isn't very fair.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Military Monday - Remembering my Uncle

My uncle, Edward Thomas Brown, Jr., passed away sometime on Friday, January 30th. I found out as I was driving to a Scout class this weekend. Not the best drive after that news and being cheerful in class wasn't happening either. We knew he was sick for a few weeks. Cancer. By the time it was discovered it had really progressed. We knew it all didn't sound good, but you never know how long you'll have after such a serious diagnosis. I did think I would have at least a little more time though. I had emailed his wife and asked what time and phone number would be good to call this Sunday. My husband, boys, and I wanted to be able to talk to him again even if the cancer kept him from being able to talk back. We never got another Sunday to say goodbye. It makes his passing even harder to deal with. We didn't call quickly enough.

I thought I transcribed this clipping before, but I couldn't find it. Either way I'm sharing it today. I don't know when or if an obituary will be published. I do know that he will be cremated and his ash will be scattered in the Pacific. Thank goodness for FindAGrave where I could at least create a virtual memorial.

"Ensign Edward T. Brown

Ensign Brown Navy Aviator

Ensign Edward T. Brown, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Brown, 576 West Green street, this city, recently was designated a naval aviator and received his 'wings of gold' at the U.S. Naval Auxiliary Air Station, New Iberia, La.

He now is serving aboard the aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet, with its home port at San Diego, Calif.

During his training, he gained ground and flight experience that fully qualified him for all-weather flying and primary anti-submarine missions, and completed carrier landing qualifications aboard the anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier, the USS Lexington, in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ensign Brown, whose father is assistant principal at the H. F. Grebey Junior High School, was graduated from the University of Scranton and entered the service in June, 1962. he is an alumnus of Hazleton high School, class of 1958."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Remembering the Space Shuttle Challenger and Crew

(This is a repost from 2011, but I know I'll never forget that day)

When I was in Junior High School I wanted to be an astronaut.  The guidance counselor would try to persuade me to not try for it because they hire so few a year, blah, blah, blah (yeah...wonderfully encouraging man...).  I was also in 8th grade when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded.  I was sitting in typing class when our science teacher, Mr. Nause, knocked on the door and called our typing teacher, Ms. Miller, out of the room.

Ms. Miller was a jokester.  She was a bit harsh too...not all of her jokes were the most pleasant, i.e. - telling kids with dimples that they were birth defects, etc.  I didn't mind her.  In fact I enjoyed her class, if not her humor (and I have dimples!).  So a couple minutes later she came back into the classroom and told us that the Challenger exploded.  The class laughed uneasily.  Everyone figured that with her sense of humor she was trying to make a joke, and we knew that you always laughed at her jokes!  She repeated it several times, but couldn't convince us.  She had to leave the room and get Mr. Nause to come back in and tell us that she wasn't joking.  Needless to say there was silence after that.

The period ended a few minutes later and it was time for gym class.  My gym teacher (I don't remember her name) sat in the gymnasium with the radio on listening to the news about the disaster.  There were only about 5 of us that sat there with her and listened and cried while everyone else did who knows what. It pretty much ended up being a free period for them. Here are some balls go do something.

There are three tragedies that occurred during my life that I feel certain I will remember for the rest of my life.  This is one of them.  How absolutely heart-breaking to think of their families (and I somehow always do think of the families when tragedy happens), and how terrible it was for Mrs. McAuliffe's class to be there watching it happened.  I hope they will be remembered for what they are.  Heroes making the way into the great unknown.  Explorers.  Trail-blazers.

Do you remember where you were?

Rest in Peace:

Ellison S. Onizuka - Mission Specialist - from Kona, HI.  First Asian American to in space. LTC, USAF

Sharon Christa McAuliffe - Crew Member, "Teacher in Space Program" - from Concord, NH.  Was selected from over 11,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space.

Greg Jarvis - Payload Specialist - born in Detroit, MI.  CPT, USAF

Judy Resnik - Mission Specialist - born Akron, OH. Second American woman and second Jewish person in space.

Michael J. Smith - Pilot - born Beaufort, NC. CPT, USN

Dick Scobee - Commander - born Cle Elum, WA.  LTC, USAF (Vietnam veteran. Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross, and Air Medal)

Ron McNair - Physicist - born Lake City, SC.  Second African-American in space.  Black belt & Saxophonist.

For more information on these heroes, please check out the NASA website.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Military Monday - Fort Carson GWOT Fallen Soldiers' Memorial, 2010-2013

Fort Carson GWOT Memorial stone, 2010-2013

These photos were taken shortly after Memorial Weekend on Fort Carson. All of the flags, flowers, bottles and various token were left behind by friends and loved ones as a tribute to those they lost. We need to remember ever single one of them!

Roll Call

SSG Matthew J. West 30 Aug 2010
SPC Timothy L. Johnson 16 Sep 2010
SSG Carlos A Benitez 14 Oct 2010
PFC Tramaine J. Billingsley 14 Oct 2010
SGT Rafael Martinez, Jr. 14 Oct 2010
PFC Dylan T. Reid 16 Oct 2010
SGT Robert C. Sisson, Jr. 21 Feb 2011
SGT Ken K. Hermogino 9 May 2011
PFC Eric Daniel Soufrine 14 Jun 2011
SSG Lex Lee Lewis 15 Jul 2011
MSG Charles Levan Price III 12 Aug 2011
CPT Drew Edward Russell 8 Oct 2011
CPT Joshua Sean Lawrence 8 Oct 2011
SPC Christopher L. Mendonca 4 Dec 2011
SSG Allen Robert McKenna Jr. 21 Feb 2012
SSG Daniel Joseph Brown 24 Mar 2012
SrA Bradley R. Smith (3 Jan 2010)**
SSG Christopher L. Brown 3 Apr 2012

SSG David P. Nowaczyk 15 Apr 2012
1LT Alejo R. Thompson 11 May 2012
SGT Tofiga J. Tautolo 27 May 2012
Maj (sic) Walter D. Gray 8 Aug 2012
CSM Kevin J. Griffin 8 Aug 2012
MAJ Thomas E. Kennedy 8 Aug 2012
SPC Mabry J. Anders 27 Aug 2012
SSG Christopher J. Birdwell 27 Aug 2012
SPC Kyle R. Rookey 2 Sep 2012
SSG Mark H. Schoonhoven 20 Jan 2013
SPC Charles P. McClure 2 May 2013
SPC Trinidad Santiago Jr. 2 May 2012
SSG Joe A. Nunez-Rodriguez 30 May 2013
SPC Ember M. Alt 18 Jun 2013
SPC Robert W. Ellis 18 Jun 2013
SPGT William R. Moody 18 Jun 2013
SSG Joshua J. Bowden 31 Aug 2013
SFC Liam J. Nevins 21 Sep 2013
SSG Patrick H. Quinn 13 Oct 2013

May all of our Service Members come home for good soon!

Fort Carson 2003-2004 memorial post
Fort Carson 2004 memorial post
Fort Carson 2004-2005 memorial post
Fort Carson 2005-2006 memorial post
Fort Carson 2006-2007 memorial post
Fort Carson 2007-2009 memorial post
Fort Carson 2009-2010 memorial post