Friday, May 29, 2015

Evidentia and the Obituary of Joseph Haitz

My Genealogy Do-Over is going to take me forever!  I decided to concentrate on my maternal grandfather’s Haitz family in hopes that I will have a lot of it correctly cited, proven, and entered into Family Tree Maker Mac 3 before the reunion in the fall.  I would really like to be able to take a large chart of some sort, possibly a descendent chart, to show all the relationships between the children and grandchildren of Joseph and Henrietta (Koewler) Haitz, my great grandparents.  They were the parents of sixteen children so it gets a little confusing to someone like me who did not grow up in Ripley, Ohio where they lived all of their lives!  As an Army Brat, my family only visited Ripley about once a year when we were stateside and, even then, I don’t remember getting together with any of my great aunts, great uncles, and their children or grandchildren.  With the exception of my Great-Aunt Elizabeth, I only knew some of their names and I had no faces to go with most of those until pretty recently.  In the past couple of years, I have been fortunate to connect with some of my Haitz family members through social media and my husband and I have enjoyed going to a couple of the annual Haitz family reunions where I met some of them in person.  It’s a huge family to try and get to know!

Joseph Haitz Obituary
Death Claims Father of 16, The Ripley Bee, 18 February 1960,
page and column unknown;
copy in possession of Lynn Ann Wayson Koehler.
Today, I entered the information from Joseph Haitz’s obituary into Evidentia.  I was able to enter 28 claims and 97 subjects!  With sixteen children to document, it got rather tedious and I will admit that I was never so happy to hear my washer and dryer go off periodically so that I could take short breaks from all the data entering.  Now, granted, a lot of people probably would not have used Evidentia for an obituary for their great-grandfather whose information is already well known, but I kind of like the idea that all my sources, their citations, and the facts that are in the documents will be located and organized so neatly in one place!  

Evidentia Screen Shot of Joseph Haitz Obituary

Evidentia Screen Shot of Joseph Haitz Obituary
These are just two screen shots of what I entered into Evidentia from the obituary of Joseph Haitz

One of my to-do list additions is to go back to the Union Township Public Library, find the correct microfilm, and write down the page number of The Ripley Bee where the obituary was published.  It really bugs me that my citation is incomplete!  Oh well, the things I didn’t know enough to do back in the day is why I am now doing this Do-Over!   

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Louise Koewler and the Broken Promise

Following the church marriage of my grandparents, George Henry Haitz and Janet Linn Becker, the couple lived on Second Street in Ripley with Janet’s parents, Louis and Amy Becker.  While George had stated for the marriage license that he was a clerk, it is unclear just where he was employed.  It is possible that he worked for his father-in-law in the family clothing store, Becker’s, as he would report six years later in the 1940 census.  

His elopement with my grandmother resulted in a loss of what he had hoped would become a career in the business that he loved, baseball.  My grandfather absolutely loved baseball and he was an avid Cincinnati Reds fan all of his life. While I do not know all the details surrounding the loss of a hoped for career, the story is that his maternal Aunt Louise had promised to pay for her nephew’s education and training as an umpire for the Reds.  When she discovered that he had eloped, the promise was withdrawn and George was unable to follow his dream.  I do not know whether he knew of the promise before he eloped or Louise taunted him with it after the fact.  

This story leads to the question of just who was Louise Koewler, besides being the sister of George’s mother, Henrietta.  Her birth is listed in the Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1800 - 1962 database on and Family Search.  She is recorded as Louisa, daughter of A Koehler and H Fisher born 14 June 1877 in Union Township, Brown, Ohio.  She is found as a three year old in the 1880 census of Ripley, Union Township, Brown County, Ohio.  Louise was the ninth born child of Anthony and Henrietta Koewler, although she was the fifth living child during that year as four siblings had died in infancy before her birth.  Her childhood was spent on the family farm in Union Township and at age 22, she was still living there with her then widowed mother.  
Louise Koewler
"Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 May 2015), Brown > Birth index 1867-1878 vol 1 > image 236 of 238; county courthouses, Ohio.
The next year finds Louise as a special teacher with the Nelsonville, Ohio branch of the Work’s Dress Cutting School of Saint Louis, Missouri.  She is working with George F Henry who would, in two years, become her husband.  She and George F., who was also from Ripley, married November 25, 1903 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Her name is recorded on the marriage license/record as Louise Margaret Koewler. I wonder if it possible that my grandfather was named for Louise’s husband.  If that is the case, it might be that Louise felt a special bond with my grandfather which would explain the umpire school offer.  

George F Henry

Louise Margaret Koewler
"Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 May 2015), 004268836 > image 87 of 218; county courthouses, Pennsylvania.
Louise and George’s life after their marriage is still being researched.  There are several possible matches for them in the census for the years 1910 - 1940 in locations from Chicago to Indianapolis, although I haven’t been able to actually prove that those listings are the same people.  I haven’t found any possible children for them so it may be that they were childless. 

George F died in 1957 and Louise in 1961.  Both are buried in Maplewood Cemetery.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Two Anniversary Marriage

On page 343 of the Brown County, Ohio Marriage Record book, there is an entry for the marriage of my grandparents, George H. Haitz and Janet Becker.  It is dated January 4, 1934 and is signed by Father G. Anthony, the Catholic priest in Ripley, Ohio.  The application for the marriage license that is above the marriage certificate is dated December 30, 1933 and giving consent to the court were their mothers, Henrietta Haitz and Amy Becker.  A fairly straight forward record documenting the date and place of a marriage between two people who were in love or so it would seem, however, that isn’t the whole story of my grandparent’s wedding.   

Family Search, George Haitz, Janet Becker
"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789 - 1994," digital images,
Family Search ( accessed: 20 March 2015),
issue of marriage license and marriage of
George Haitz and Janet Becker; citing volume 30, page 343.

No matter what the document states as the marriage date, my grandparents celebrated the anniversary of their wedding on December 26, the day after Christmas for that is the true date of their marriage, or at least the first one anyway.  I’ll never know how long their plan had been discussed and perfected, but at the age of nineteen, George along with sixteen year old Janet crossed the Ohio River, found someone with authority in Augusta, Kentucky, and were married.  

I’m not sure how long the secret stayed between them, but the cat was certainly out of the bag by December 30 when the application for a marriage license for the two of them was granted in Georgetown, Ohio.  I wasn’t there, of course, but I can imagine that no one in either family was overly happy with the situation, the exception being George and Janet.  When George’s Catholic parents discovered what had occurred on the day after Christmas, a church wedding was immediately planned and on the fourth day of January in 1934, George and Janet found themselves once again vowing to love, honor, and obey each other, only this time in front of the parish priest.  

I haven’t been able to locate the record for that first elopement date and only know the story from my grandmother telling me.  She has been gone now for 31 years, but I wish I had back the time to ask a few more questions. 

When and how did she meet my grandfather?  George had graduated from Ripley High School that spring and she was a junior.  She was a town girl and he was a country boy so I suppose they met in school, but how long had they known each other?  

Why did they decide to go to Kentucky to elope rather than stay in Ohio?  Did they return that day or the next?

Was she scared or nervous when she left her house on Second Street knowing that when she returned she would be a married woman or was she filled with sixteen year old bravado?  How about my grandfather?  He had to have known that his parents would not be happy.

What did my great grandparents, both the Beckers and the Haitzs say and do when they were told?

Did she and my grandfather have a plan for the future or were they just hoping it would all work out in the end?

The marriage license states that my grandfather was a clerk.  Was he working for my great-grandfather Becker in his Ripley dry-goods store, Becker’s, at that time?  Is that where and how they met?

There is a little more to this story.  My grandfather lost a baseball career opportunity as a result of his elopement, so stay tuned!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Evidentia Software - Why I Like It!

Genealogical Do-Over and Evidentia

As part of the Genealogy Do-Over I purchased the software Evidentia, and I am so happy I did!  Evidentia helps me follow all the elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard so I can be confident that my family tree is as accurate as can be.  

As I collect documents, newspaper articles, census data, etc as part of my reasonably exhaustive search, I can enter all the pieces of information contained in what I find.  I like that I can pull every little bit of information out of whatever I have found and have it right where I will be able to find it later without having to touch that piece of paper or return to that web site again.  If you stop and think of just how many different pieces of information that a census entry, for example, tells you about just one person, nevertheless a whole family, then you will appreciate how Evidentia can handle it all in an organized manner.  Each little fact can be linked to the appropriate ancestor with a correct Evidence Explained citation.  The program has wonderful templates that make it a cinch to cite anything you will come across.  

After you have completed the search process, Evidentia is ready to help you analyze all your information.  You can see which piece or pieces of information are stronger than others, which are primary or secondary pieces, and how different facts can connect with one another to give you a complete picture of the event or fact.  I was very surprised when I discovered that I had no real proof of my grandfather’s birthdate other than his say so!  With that surprise, I was able to add a task to my to-do list that I probably would never realized I needed to do without Evidentia.  Now to find a birth or baptism record for him!

With all that Evidentia does for you, it will also help you resolve any conflicts that arise in your genealogy research.  I know it will be a huge help with those ancestors of mine who aged much less than the ten years allotted them with every census!  I also have a great-great grandfather who just couldn’t seem to decide where he was born.  Each document gives me a different state!  Evidentia will help me see all the birth locations and years in one spot ready to be analyzed and resolved.  

The final step in the Genealogical Proof Standard is the written conclusion, and Evidentia helps you with that too!  With all your information and analysis on the screen in front of you, it is easy to write your conclusion based on your sound research.  You can then print it or save it for future use.  All your hard work won’t get lost on your desk or in that pile of paper that you will go through eventually.  

I am really glad that I bought this software!  I haven’t had it very long or used it with very many ancestors yet, but I can already see how it will help me and might even break through some brick walls.  I have read where some people use it only with their brick wall ancestors while others use it for everyone in their database.  So far, I have been using it for all my family as I really want to know the program before I get to my more difficult ancestors and, like I said before, I did discover the lack of a birth record for my grandfather so it has been worth the time it takes to enter the information.

If you decide to get Evidentia, the support is wonderful too!  Ed Thompson, the creator, will quickly answer emails and Facebook messages.  I had a problem linking to my Dropbox account and he did everything in his power to help me.  He stayed with my problem until he found a solution and now everything works like a dream.  He has a Google+ group and a Facebook page for the users of Evidentia.  Don’t you wish everything had that kind of support?  

By the way, I was not asked to do this review nor was I paid or compensated in any way.  When I like something, I just think others might want to hear about it!  

Update - I am now a part of the Evidentia affiliate program so if you click on the Evidentia link and purchase it, I receive a small portion of the purchase price.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Genealogy With Kids - Liam's Introduction to Family History

All About MeA couple of weeks ago, I was watching my six year old grandson, Liam, when I received the gift every genealogy grandma hopes for!  Following our usual routine, I asked what he would like to do and he announced to me that he saw on television where people could get on their computer and find out all about their great grandfather and that is what he wanted to do.  To say I was thrilled would be an understatement!  Being a teacher who recognizes a teachable moment when she sees one, I took complete and full advantage to introduce him to my world of genealogy.  

I had been preparing to approach my grandchildren about genealogy for a long time.  I had read various articles on how to interest children in their family history, ways to include them in research, and how to share genealogy using kid-friendly charts, ancestor cards, and books.  I purchased the book Zap The Grandma Gap by Janet Hovorka who also writes The Chart Chick blog, signed up for the emails on the Zap the Grandma Gap webpage, and downloaded their 35 page activity book that can be downloaded and printed for children to use.  All I needed was a kid and now I had one!

Liam had no doubt seen all my binders and other tools of my genealogy hobby, but had never asked about them or their purpose.  As I showed him all my files and binders and talked about the word genealogy, he seemed to get more and more excited.  When I asked if he would like a binder to get started, the answer was a loud "Yes"!  

Zap the Grandma GapJanet Hovorka's activity book teaches children to begin where all good genealogists begin which is what you know about yourself.  So with the book printed, hole-punched, and inserted in his white binder, Liam and I sat down and started filling out the blanks and drawing the pictures that told the story of him.  Only being in first grade, he needed help spelling and, at times, it was slow going.  We took a couple of breaks to eat a snack and for him to play with his toys, but he was always ready and eager to return to his genealogy.  After a while, we decided that he had written enough for the day and it was time to create a cover for his binder.  He thought about what it should have and decided it had to have the word genealogist on it as well as his name in cursive.  He also included figures of his ancestors and a “timeline” at the top.  We inserted it into the sleeve of the binder and he was quite pleased with himself!      
Zap the Grandma Gap

When it came time for his mom to pick him up and go home, he proudly took it with him.  I was later told that he announced to his dad, “Grandma made me a genealogist!”  With their busy schedule, Liam’s baby sister, soccer, and school, they don’t have time to do much with the interview sheets and other pages in his binder, but that’s okay.  They will get around to it, and most importantly, I know the seed was planted and you can bet I am not going to let that little seed whither and die away as long as I can keep him interested.  Whether he later catches the genealogy bug in its full potency or not, Liam has a good beginning in discovering his family history.  Later on I will post about the biography scrapbook Liam is now making about his great-grandfather.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Genealogy Do-Over

Genealogy Do-Over

I have been doing genealogy, or researching my family history, for a very long time.  I was 
always curious about my ancestors, but with family and children, I never had the time to get serious about it until the computer entered my life in the mid to late 1990s.  I already knew some names from my mother’s side of the family because my grandmother had related stories to me about them during a visit to the small town cemetery where so many of my family is buried.  It’s funny that I can’t remember exactly when I visited the cemetery with my her, but maybe that is to be expected since I am an Army Brat and we didn’t spend much time in Ripley, Ohio to begin with.  For a couple of weeks during the summer, except when we were stationed in Hawaii and Germany, we vacationed there so perhaps it was during one of those whirlwind weeks that I went to Maplewood Cemetery with her.  Or it may have been during the time my mother, brother, and I stayed with my grandparents in Ripley while my father was at Fort Rucker, Alabama in flight school.  I think we celebrated Memorial Day that year in Ripley and that always meant my grandmother visiting each of her ancestors’ grave sites to pay her respects and leave flowers.  Perhaps my six year old self went with her and it is the explanation of who lay in each spot that I remember and that sparked my interest in family history.  But, like I said, it wasn’t until the computer came into my house that I decided to get serious with researching my family.

The infant Internet opened the world of genealogy for me.  Like now, I lived in South Carolina with my husband and children, far away from Ripley, Ohio where the records, newspapers, and family with their stories were located.  The Internet had these things called Bulletin Boards that allowed people from all over to “talk” to one another about a variety of things, one of which was genealogy.  It was like the Internet was made for genealogy!  I could ask a question about a family name and there would be someone far off in Ohio willing to look in books, the library, or the courthouse for whatever I needed.  Then I discovered software, Family Tree Maker to be exact.  That magical thing that I put on the computer to keep track and organize all the information that I was collecting.  Lo and behold, back in those days, Family Tree Maker even had CDs that contained all sorts of records with the names of my family!  Soon after, I discovered there were websites that allowed me to actually search in records!  What a great and wonderful world had opened up for me.  

Fast forward to 2014...many versions and brands of software later and all the information that my great wonderful world had given me started looking a bit ragged.  The more I had researched, collected names and dates, the more the Internet grew.  Not only could people still talk to each other about genealogy, but expert genealogists were now teaching how to go about it correctly.  They spoke of citations, the Genealogy Proof Standard, organizational techniques, and technology.  As I soaked up all the knowledge over the years of what and how to do all this in the correct way, I was also realizing, but pretty much ignoring the fact, that I probably needed to start over because I had no earthly idea how I had gotten most of my earlier information or how I had arrived at some of the conclusions I had made at the turn of the century.  I knew I had a mess!  

Things have a way of working out or showing up just when they are needed and it was no different with my messy situation.  In December 2014, I saw a post on Facebook in which Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers asked if people were ready for a “genealogy do-over”.  It was just what I needed to spur me on!  I had already begun working on fixing my citations in Family Tree Maker so I thought I was ahead of the game when I joined the group in January of this year.  Ha ha!  Was I ever wrong!  Thomas was teaching the group how to research, log our finds, create a to-do list, make sure we were correct in our conclusions, and all before we even opened our software!  What was this?  Would I be able to really do what genealogists did with their information?  Well, long story short, I bit the bullet and started over with this new to me way of thinking, researching, and collecting.  I’m not going to say it has been easy peasy all along, but I will say that I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing with my research and I feel good about my brand new family tree.  Thomas is now in the middle of round two of the do-over and I am still with him.  I’m still learning, changing, and tweaking some things about my methods of research.  It’s hard to break old habits, but the members of the Facebook do-over group and its leader are a huge help and support.  

This blog is also part of my do-over commitment.  I am hoping to use it for several new ways of doing things, genealogically speaking.  First, I want to document what I find, probably not all of what I find, but a good portion of it.  Second, I want to share what I find and, in return, hope to discover new cousins, how ever distant they may be.  And finally, they say that whatever you put on the Internet is there forever so maybe my great-great grandchildren will be able to read and learn about their ancestors in the future.    

This is one of my favorite Thomas MacEntee books.