Dominik Kowalski, one of my paternal great-grandfathers:
In April 1942, the United States conducted what is now known as the "Old Man's" draft registration. This registration was for men who were born between 1877 and 1897 - those who were 45-60 years old. The intent of this registration was to record the amount and skills of domestic manpower available for home front war support. Two of my great-grandfathers and two of my husband's great-grandfathers registered in this draft (click on pictures below for larger images). Each card lists the registrant's name, home address, date and place of birth, name and address of employer, and a person of close contact (usually a wife, sibling, or parent). The second page of the card also lists physical characteristics of the applicant. Because this occurred in 1942, these cards are a great way of keeping track of where your ancestors lived and worked in between the 1940 Census and the 1950 U.S. Census (which hasn't even been released to the public yet). Try looking up one of your relatives at FamilySearch.org.
Dominik Kowalski, one of my paternal great-grandfathers:
Louis (Luigi) Licciardi, one of my maternal great-grandfathers:
Lawrence Brunswick, one of my husband's maternal great-grandfathers:
Anthony A. Schroeder, one of my husband's paternal great-grandfathers:
This is a photo of my maternal grandfather's family. His father (my great-grandfather), George Bellan (far left, seated) immigrated to America from Croatia in June 1893. He settled in Cleveland and five years later his wife, Ursula (far right, seated), made the journey. They had eight children, all born in the Cleveland area. They are, from oldest to youngest: Rudolph (tallest boy), Olga (tallest girl), George (right of Olga), John (seated, in dark suit), Edward (left of Ursula), Mary (short girl, standing), William (my grandpa, seated, in white suit), and Theresa (on Ursula's lap). I do not know the exact date of the photo, but I am estimating it at around late 1916 to early 1917 based on the sizes of the two youngest children. As far as I know, this is the only photo of the entire family in existence; John passed away in 1922 and Mary and Olga passed away in 1927 and 1928, respectively.
I never really got to know my paternal grandmother; she passed away when I was only four years old. This was one of her tins. It's nothing fancy - just a painted Decoware tin with a few small rust spots and dents in it. But, other than the photos and documents I have uncovered via my genealogy research, it's the only thing of hers that I have, so it's special to me. My aunt gave it to me a couple years ago filled with a batch of my grandma's original-recipe chocolate chip and walnut cookies. That's a photo of them below. The story goes, my dad and his three siblings would squabble over whose cookies had more chocolate chips in them, so my grandmother just started putting exactly five in every cookie.
My maternal grandparents, William Bellan and Dina Licciardi were married on September 27, 1947 at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Cleveland, Ohio. I am fortunate to have a nice collection of wedding photos from the event, some of which are posted below. Click on each photo to see a larger image.
Ceremony and Immediately Afterwards...
Reception: Euclid Ballroom at the Hotel Statler, Cleveland, Ohio
Theodor Tumbusch, one of my husband's gg-grandfathers on his mom's side, immigrated to America from Germany in 1861. His ship manifest is below. He was about 27 years old and his last residence is listed as Koesfeld (proper spelling is Coesfeld). Listed beneath him in the manifest is Anna Rasing, who was either already his wife, or who would soon become his wife upon arrival in America (I still need to figure that out.) They arrived in Baltimore and eventually made their way to western Ohio, where they settled on a farm in Mercer County. Unfortunately, Theodor died rather young in 1870; Anna lived until 1918.
I've done some research on the surname 'Tumbusch,' and it's difficult to determine what the name means or indicates. 'Busch' in German simply means 'bush' in English and 'tum' might refer to several meanings. The English word 'tumble' has roots in German - the German verb 'taumeln' means to fall, drop, or stagger, and the verb 'tummeln' means 'to romp.' The German noun 'tumben' means 'tomb.' The German noun 'tumult' has essentially the same meaning as the same English world and the noun 'tumultant' refers to a rioter. So, maybe my husband had an ancestor who fell in bushes or who was buried in bushes or who caused some sort of commotion or uproar in bushes. Your guess is as good as mine.
Theodor Tumbush had three sons, Henry, Bernard, and Herman, all of whom lived into adulthood and had sons of their own to carry on the family name. It appears that most of Henry's children chose to change the spelling of the name to 'Tumbush' - their birth records indicate the original spelling, while military, marriage, residential, and death records are most often without the 'c.' As far as I can tell from the records, the children and grandchildren of Bernard and Herman kept the original spelling.
If you're not one of my in-laws and have never heard the name 'Tumbusch' before, you're not alone. It's not a common name. The Worldnames Public Profiler maps surnames for 26 countries around the world using recent telephone directories and voter registries. It is not scientific or completely comprehensive, but it still gives you a good idea of relative popularity of a name in different places. In the U.S, the frequency per million (FPM) for the name Tumbusch is only 0.41 (The Tumbush spelling is 0.25). By comparison, my surname, Kowalski, which is basically the Polish equivalent of Smith, has a FPM of 81.56. And Tumbusch is actually MORE common in the U.S. than in Germany, where the FPM is only 0.09.
Zooming into Europe: It is a little difficult to see, but the only area in which 'Tumbusch' is found is the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is where Theodor's hometown of Coesfeld is located.
Breaking down the United States: Tumbusch on the left and Tumbush on the right. Not surprisingly, both spellings are relatively common in Ohio compared with other states.
And, finally, Ohio by county, Tumbusch on the left and Tumbush on the right. That county in western Ohio in the darkest shade of blue is Mercer County, where Theodor and Anna orginally settled. Notice the small concentration of Tumbush near Cleveland. One of my husband's great uncles moved to the Cleveland area to work on the railroads in the early 20th century and I am willing to bet that some of his descendants still live in the area.
Based on the rarity of the name, it is probable that many people with the surname Tumbusch or Tumbush in the United States today are descendants of Theodor Tumbusch. And if there are any Tumbusch's out there who AREN'T of his lineage, it would be interesting to try to trace back their ancestors to Germany to try to find the common ancestor. That may have to be one of my longer-term goals for the future. In the meantime, I'm adding Coesfeld, Germany to my list of must-visit places whenever my husband and I get a chance to take our genealogy trip to Germany.
Tumbus(c)h family documents can be viewed and downloaded at this website: http://schroeder-tumbush.weebly.com/tumbush.html
Dina's Childhood Doll
Treasure Chest Thursday is a weekly blogging prompt from Geneabloggers in which we are encouraged to write about family heirlooms. I am looking forward to using this prompt every week or so to write my about ancestors' possessions AND to catalog those items of my own that I want my kids and grandkids to preserve for future generations.
This week's post is about my maternal grandmother's childhood doll. She is currently sitting in a display cabinet in my mom's house, so, when we were visiting over Christmas, I took a few photos.
Around the time my Grandma was preparing to sell her home and move in with us (mid-1990s), my Aunt Sharon took the doll to get cleaned and fixed up. The doll got a new dress and stockings, but she saved her original clothes and put them in a box (left pic below). In the box, Aunt Sharon also wrote down the doll's details (right pic below) - when Grandma got her, what she named her, and every address at which she "lived." I am so very thankful for these details; it makes this particular heirloom so much more personal than if we just had the doll itself. Grandma got the doll on her 10th birthday, which was 4 Sep 1924 and she called her either 'Doris' or 'Alice.' And, if I wanted to, I could now plot on a map every location in which Grandma lived during nearly her whole life. (For a geography nerd like me, that's pretty cool.)
Sorrowing Old Man (Van Gogh, 1890)
Sometimes I ask myself why I devote my sparse kid-free hours to genealogy research. I mean, I could be reading (for fun!), learning a new language, knitting cute kiddie clothes (yes, I used to knit), or even exercising (ha!). But instead, during many naptimes I choose to sit down at the computer and search for dead people. At first, I became interested in it for my kids' sake. I want them to have a sense of where they came from and to know about their ancestors' lives - their traditions, successes, and struggles. And then I found myself genuinely interested in these people's lives AND the overarching history behind their choices and decisions, which ultimately affected certain aspects of my life.
But today I was thinking: What if there is some other involuntary and invisible force driving me to continue on my quest for family history? Whether you believe in God or some other divine power in the universe, what if someone out there wants us to learn about certain ancestors because, for lack of a better term, they got a "bum rap" during the time in which they lived?
Let's face it - life can be difficult, even in our 21st century, first-world, technology-aided lives. I often imagine how much MORE difficult it was for our ancestors, and I'm not just talking about the lack of physical comforts that we enjoy today due to a wealthier society and advanced technology. How did they cope with the difficulties of life psychologically and emotionally? How did they face the seemingly be-all end-all judgments of a much more rigid and intolerant society? There were no therapists or medications to help people through their inner struggles. Just about the only person with whom you could speak confidentially about your deepest thoughts and fears was a priest or minister, who would either tell you to pray more or to stop feeling and acting that way because your emotions and actions were sinful. There are individuals in all of our family trees that probably didn't live the most noble or upright lives - but is it right for us to judge them and their actions without knowing their whole stories?
Maybe that person who took his/her own life had a terrible chemical imbalance that could have been remedied with today's therapy methods and medications? Maybe that person who ended up in jail would have had a more successful life if he hadn't been shunned his whole life for being illegitimate? How many war veterans became hopeless alcoholics because the flashbacks were very real and all-too-frequent? Maybe that man who hit his wife and children just had no other way to cope with anger or losses in life? Maybe that woman who resorted to theft or prostitution would have never done so if her husband had not died or abandoned her? Was that person emotionally dead inside because he or she had been orphaned or neglected as a child?
So maybe that's another of our jobs as family historians and genealogists - to try to understand our ancestors' imperfect lives by uncovering the circumstances into which they were thrown. Maybe then, we can objectively give our dead family members a "second chance." It won't necessarily make their actions in life 'ok', but maybe God sympathizes with these souls and maybe that's why He pushes some of us still living to not "give up" on those of our family members who struggled through life, perhaps both externally and internally. And, even though sorting through old documents can never give you a sense of a person's true thoughts and emotions, sometimes it can give us a sense of what they had to go through and put up with.
Fancy banquet and dance at one of the fanciest hotels in Cleveland. My great-grandparents, Louis and Adele Licciardi are seated in the center of the photo - Louis' head is just to the right of the tear in the photo and Adele is seated to his left in the black dress.
Most of the old photos that I do have of my ancestors are in pretty good shape; this one, however, is not. There is a large tear down the middle. This is one photo that I would like to have restored by a professional. I don't have a lot of clear, quality photos of my great-grandparents from this time period and I just love this one for its general nostalgia, too. The fashions, the hairstyles, even the table settings just say so much about life in the 1920s.
The first item on my 2013 list of genealogy-related New Year's resolutions was to get the binders off of the floor space around my computer desk. And it's done! It is amazing how much better the space looks now.
I purchased these "magazine stands" from this website. Delivery took less than a week and they were easy to put together - I did both in under an hour. I love that they are just the perfect height so that I can place an open binder on top when I am doing research - previously, I had usually just kept it in my lap while mulled through search engines or updated trees on Ancestry.com. Standard-size binders fit JUST RIGHT, and the shelves, though thin, DO hold their weight well because they are slightly angled upward. I'm such a dork, but I don't know if I've ever been this excited over a piece of furniture.
This is the headstone of my husband's 4x great-grandparents, Francois Pierre Bulcher and Mary Celestine (Voisinet) Bulcher. They were born and married in the small French village of Evette, which is currently situated in the Territoire de Belfort and located not far from France's eastern borders with both Switerland and Germany.
They came to America through New York as a young married couple in 1847 with a baby daughter named Marie Rose (Mary Rosa), who is my husband's 3x great-grandmother. They entered the country under the surname of "Burtechert." Their journey from France to Western Ohio is chronicled in a biographical sketch of one of their sons, Joseph John Bulcher, which was published in A Biographical History of Darke County, Ohio.
"It was a long and tedious voyage from Havre to New York, and by canal they proceeded to Buffalo, by lake to Toledo, and by canal to Berlin*, Ohio, where they arrived in the woods. By ox team they came to Wayne township, Darke county, and the father (Francois) pruchased forty acres of land just over the line in Shelby county, for which he paid three dollars per acre."
According to U.S. census data, the family lived on this land for about twelve years before moving to Patterson Township in Darke County. Francis and Mary Celestine lived here until they both died in 1907. They were married for sixty years and had twelve children together.
Emily Kowalski Schroeder