Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bloggers Best Friend Award!

Much thanks goes out to Cheryl at Heritage Happens who awarded me this honor! For a number of months I really didn't spend much time working on my blog (as you can tell from the few posts). I decided for 2010 I was going to devote more time to my blog and reading my friends posts as well. So far so good....I've been keeping up with my "resolution".

I have enjoyed so many of the genealogy blogs that it is really hard to pick one. I love Heritage Happens~ Cheryl's blog, Jasia at Creative Gene, Becky at Kinexxions, Bill at West in New England, and Becky at Grace and Glory and MANY MORE.
One of the blogs I have discovered recently is Leah from Random Notes. Because of the poems that Bill and Leah wrote for the newest Carnival of Genealogy I was inspired to give it a whirl and attempt to write a family history poem.
Therefore, I am awarding this newest blog honor to Leah at Random Notes....with much admiration and thanks! Thank you Leah, you go've got a great genealogy blog. Thank you for sharing your stories and pictures and of course your POEMS with all of us!

Wordless Wednesday~~Absolutely Too Precious!

Arlene Guinee, Six years of age
Second row, first one of left
On the back of this photo she scribbled
Nightingale School 1B 1P 37113--I imagine the 1P should be 19
Photo privately owned by P. Taylor

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ode to My Family History

This month's Carnival of Genealogy topic is to create a poem that tells our family's history that could be used as an introduction to a book or video. Not an easy task, although Bill from West in New England, Leah from Random Notes and Jasia from Creative Gene have all done a terrific job.
With help from my family and friends, who constantly have to listen to my babbling about my family research this little poem was created.

Footprints in my family history...

They sailed across the pond
from England, France, Poland, and Germany.
To name a few, they include;
Hanaway, Guinee, Wozniak, and Sawicki.

Many settled in Delaware and Pennsylvania
before migrating to Ohio, Indiana, and west of the great Mississippi.
They were millers, farmers, teachers, and bakers
Protestants, Jewish, Catholics, and Quakers.

They have fought in many wars,
spanning many generations.
Serving as soldiers and sailors-
Witnessing the birth of this great nation.

They are my grandparents, parents,
aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Through them I am a granddaughter, daughter,
sister, aunt, cousin, and mother.

Honor our ancestors memories, their stories live within all of us.
Each of us holds a special place on our eternal tree.
These are the footprints of our family history,
Now start your journey by taking that first footstep....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Benjamin Bowsher, father of 22!

Benjamin Bowsher
Born 1833
Died 1901

When I look at different branches of my family tree, it amazes me how many children some of my relatives had. Many of my relatives were farmers, it was understandable that they had a large family to help with the work maintaining the fields and the farm itself. One of the largest families on my tree is that of Benjamin Bowsher.

My 3rd great grandfather Benjamin Bowsher was born and raised in Marion County, Ohio. He met and married Nancy Hockenberry, daughter of David and Elizabeth (Reizor) Hockenberry in December of 1854. Nancy was just 18 years old when they married. Within one year they had the first of twelve children. They are as follows:

1. Olive Vivian Bowsher, born 1855
2. Anthony David Bowsher, born 1857
3. Esas Marilda Bowsher, born 1859 (my 2nd great grandmother)
4. Margaret Jane Bowsher, born 1861
5. William Allen Bowsher, born 1863
6. Allen Bowsher, born 1865
7. Ellen Bowsher, born 1867
8. Hester Marie (Hettie) born 1869
9. Everett Bowsher, born 1872
10. Ada Bowsher, born 1874 (twin)
11. Arthur Sherman Bowsher, born 1874 (twin)
12. Infant, unknown name, born 1877

So, at the age of 44 Benjamin was a widow with at least eight children still at home! Wow. In 1879 he married Mary Elizabeth Luse, who was born in 1855, the same year Benjamin and Nancy's oldest daughter Olive was born. I wonder if they were friends?
Benjamin and Mary went on to have ten more children! They are as follows:
1. Martha Melissa Bowsher, born 1880
2. Sarah Elizabeth Bowsher, born 1884
3. Benjamin Bowsher, Jr., born 1886
4. Ida Bowsher, born 1887
5. Joseph Albert Bowsher, born 1888
6. James Francis Bowsher, born 1890
7. George Warren Bowsher, born 1892
8. Lillie Myrtle Bowsher, born 1894
9. Louise T. Bowsher, born 1899
10. Infant, died at birth (Mary may have had the measles)

Twenty two children. I believe that Benjamin had the most children on any branch of my family tree. Unfortunately, he died in 1901 and is buried in Warden Cemetery, Monticello, White County, Indiana. Elizabeth died in 1831. Next time I get to Monticello, I will have to look up the Warden cemetery and hopefully find Benjamin and Nancy's graves. There is a lot of information on the Bowsher family in the White County Museum in Monticello, in fact a direct descendant of Benjamin, and my 4th cousin- Judy Baker Carol is director of the museum. Check out my post about our chance encounter on Good Friday two years ago. I believe someone in the family sent me Benjamin's picture. I have a copy of a picture of Nancy Hockenberry, but it is really a very poor copy otherwise I would have published it as well. Who knows, maybe someone in my family has a really good copy I can get my hands on someday!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Arlene, Marvin, and Shirley Guinee
ca. 1939

Photo owned by P. Taylor

Sunday, January 17, 2010

52 Weeks of Genealogy...Week 3

Several months ago I posted a blog titled "Please Forward" asking many times have they moved in their lifetime? When I sat down and thought about it, I was shocked how many times I myself have moved (18 times). I've documented each and every address that I can remember and filed it in my own genealogy research. Just thought I would save my descendants a little bit of time in the event they ever wanted to trace my movements.

I have found that creating time lines for my ancestors helps me fill in the blanks. Of course, I document when and where they were born, married, and raised their families. But, as we know that is not the story...those are simply the facts. I have started documenting major events that took place in their community, their city, and the country. For example, my Great Great grandparents Charles and Katharine (Sommer)Ball were married here in Chicago in 1885. The Chicago Haymarket riots were in May, 1886. Charles and Katharine's daughter Alma was born in October of 1886. Another event I added to their timeline was the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition that was held here in Chicago, Illinois. Schooling, government, wars, presidents, vacations, those are events I love to add, to give my "facts" a story. I have started my own's getting really long....I constantly think---to add or not to add...
When my oldest daughter graduated from college (yippee!) I wanted to give her something "little" because I had already given her her BIG present. The "little" gift was a scrapbook. Except it really wasn't a "little" gift, for one major took a lot of time and money! I started out at the beginning, making pages of all those major "milestones" in her life. It was fun to work on it. I found I kept wanting to add more and more. Thank heavens there were only so many pages that would fit in the book! I was pleased with the way it turned out. I never really thought of making one up for myself. I have a small collection of photographs from my childhood. I have more from my adulthood when I bought my own camera and started my love of photography. It wouldn't be hard to put one together, but it would take TIME!
Documenting my personal history would take some time. I know that I am so much more interested in the who, what, where, when, why, and how about my ancestors that I simply don't want to take the time to write my own. However, if I do a little bit at a time, like a baby step- I imagine it really won't really be that big of a project. What should I work on next??? Schools I attended, vacations I have taken, jobs I have worked at, friends in my life, hobbies I have had, genealogy dances I have danced, vital records I have found, ancestors I have connected, oops there I go again hmmmmmmm!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Week 2

New Lenox Public Library
Thanks to Genea-bloggers and Amy from WeTree for coming up with 52 blog ideas for 2010. Here's week 2. Visit your local public library and describe their local history and genealogy collections. I would love to describe the local history and genealogy collections at the New Lenox library..
First of all, let me start by saying--I work part time in the Adult Services/Reference department at the New Lenox Public Library and I LOVE my job! The library is located in Will County, south of Chicago, Illinois. The population of New Lenox is approximately 25, 000 people. The picture above is the "new" building for it is only 8 years old. It is about 56,000 square feet and BEAUTIFUL inside and out. In my opinion it is clearly one of the most beautiful libraries in the area.
Although our local history collection is not very large, what we have is priceless! Our book collection consists of materials not only on the community of New Lenox from the 19th century, but Will County history, Cook County history, the Civil War and local heroes, schools, churches, and of course local historical and genealogical societies. We have a bulletin board devoted to stories and photographs of early New Lenox settlers, churches, schools and businesses.
Last fall our library participated in a local history preservation project. We digitized many New Lenox photographs, obituaries, histories, and news stories from the 19th and early 20th centuries. This New Lenox: History in the Making project is still in the works, as more material is being gathered and will be added to the website.
Our collection doesn't stop there! We have a small collection of newspapers on microfilm. However, patrons visiting the library can easily access our internet database of the Chicago Tribune Historical Archives and many other Chicago newspapers. New Lenox library card holders can access most of our internet databases on genealogy from the comfort of their own home! is the only database that must be accessed at the library.
An area that many times is overlooked or missed by patrons searching local history is the pamphlet file. Not only do we have government documents regarding New Lenox but, we also have a super collection of publications by the South Suburban Genelogical and Historical Society and the Will County Historical Society. "Where the Trails Cross" and "Civil War Rosters" are two such publications.
Of course our reference materials include many genealogy books. Being part of a large public library system, if we don't have a particular book in our collection we can usually request it from another library or even an out of state library (for a small fee). I take advantage of our "Interlibrary" loan policy many times! Another plus--our library receives the Ancestry magazine--one of my favorite magazines too!
New in 2010 is our Genealogy Club which meets once a month! Our first meeting was this past Tuesday and we had a great turnout!
Wow, I for one look forward to more club meetings and our collection of local history and genealogical materials continuing to grow!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Isn't she lovely!! Wordless Wednesday

Arlene Guinee Wozniak Turnbull
ca. 1945-1948

Photo owned by P. Taylor

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ludwik and Stella Sawicki

Stella and Ludwik Sawicki
ca. 1914
Stella and Ludwik (Louis) Sawicki are my Great Grandparents. Ludwik was born in August of 1863 in Pozen, Poland. He immigrated to the United States about 1885 and eventually came to live in Chicago, Illinois. He married Stanislawa Wieczorek, daughter of Andrzj and Antonina Wieczorek. Stanislawa (Stella) was born in 1868 in Pozen, Poland. I am fortunate enough to have a copy of their marriage license from Cook County and marriage certifcate from St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church.
Stella and Ludwik resided in a predominately Polish neighborhood in Chicago, IL. They had eleven children between 1890 and 1905. Six daughters and one son survived through adulthood and produced eighteen grandchildren for Stella and Ludwik. Thanks to I have found a number of the children's birth certificates and have even found several of the children's marriage certificates. I have also been lucky enough to have found the Sawicki family on the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 Federal Census records.
Ludwik worked for the Steel mills for many years as did many relatives and neighbors. I never knew either of my Polish Great Grandparents for they already passed away many years before I was born. He died in 1937 at the age of 74. Stella lived until 1948. Both are buried on a small hillside in Holy Cross cemetery in Calumet City, Illinois.
I usually visit the graves of many of my Polish ancestors at Holy Cross cemetery twice a year. I attempt to clean off the headstones and usually look for more ancestors. Of course, I take pictures of the headstones and document where the graves are located to make finding them easier in the future!

Happy 101 Award

Thank you to Becky from Grace and Glory for awarding this really neat honor! I have enjoyed Becky's stories and pictures of her family history for quite awhile!

I am to name ten things that make me happy~~~gosh that is an EASY requirement! Here it goes....

1) All my children, I am blessed to be their Mom. I am trying so hard to document all of our good times together!
2) My sister and her family, my many, many cousins, and other family members who tolerate my consistent questioning about our ancestry.
3) I am so happy that I work at two different libraries. One an academic and the other a public. Both offering me opportunities to spread the "genealogy" bug to students, faculty, staff, and patrons! Thank you.
4) My friends who never seem to tire of my chatter regarding my newest "discovery" or brickwall!
5) My grandmother and my mother's recipe boxes! Not only are the recipes terrific, but many are in their own handwriting!
6) Family photographs, especially those from my mother and grandmother. I always love looking at them and discovering something new!
7) Chocolate cake, chocolate brownies, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate ice cream, get the idea?
8) A home cooked dinner that someone ELSE has made. I am not fussy! It will be delicious I am sure!
9) Dakota, Anya, and Kaylee, the family pooches~~ who keep me company and let me work without any interruptions by sleeping on my bed or next to my chair whenever I am on my computer.
10) My genealogy friends and internet friends who tolerate my gift of gab and never ending questions.

Now, I am to pass this terrific award onto other blogs that I enjoy. Here they are....

Judith at Genealogy Traces
Wendy at All My Branches Genealogy
Sheri at Twig Talk who is recovering from a really awful fall.
Leah at Random Notes
Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life

I am delighted to see that the following blogs have already been awarded this honor as well:

Becky from Kinnexions
Apple from Apple's Tree
Jasia from Creative Gene

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday, Chatty Cathy & Casper the Friendly Ghost

Chatty Cathy
& Casper the Friendly Ghost
Christmas ca. 1961

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Using the library!

Elisabeth Rusch Sommer &
her granddaughter Julia K. Sommer
ca. 1880's
Elisabeth Rusch Sommer is my GG Great Grandmother. She was born in 1816 in Germany and died here in Chicago on December 30, 1899. Last year, through an internet connection, I was blessed in discovering a distant cousin who provided me with the above picture.
Well, it's a New Year, so it's about time I wrote about my continuing research on my Sommer/Rusch ancestors. I devoted almost all of 2009 to researching just these two families. I am happy to say I found quite a number of great connections and of course, with those connections come even more questions.
Amy Coffin from the We Tree blog came up with weekly blog ideas for all 52 weeks of 2010! Thank you Amy. Week one suggests using the library for your research. Great suggestion, for I work at both an Academic library and a Public library. Both of which can provide great resources for searching your family history.
I live in a pretty small community on the very south side of Chicago. My public library is small and unfortunately you wouldn't find too much information on genealogy on the shelves. However, thanks to an Inter-library Loan program I can request almost any book from any library in the United States. I request a lot of books too. I love using WorldCat and finding many many books on not only specific locations, topics, but also surnames! One of the books I am currently reading is the fourth edition of "In Search of Your German Ancestors" by Angus Baxter. I like this book so much I most likely will order it from Many public libraries will have the library edition of on their public computers. Who wouldn't love using for their research? Although my public library doesn't subscribe to, there are a number of larger libraries in the area that do subscribe to this great database. I can use their electronic databases when I visit their library.
At Governors State University library you will find the Chicago Tribune on microfilm going back to 1885! What a great resource for death notices and obituaries!
Another great resource I use at least once a month is the Chicago Heights Family History Center. I have requested many reels of microfilm from their library for my German family research. Thanks to those many reels of microfilm and many more hours reading them, I have discovered a lot of information on my Rusch and Sommer ancestors from Neckargemund, Germany. I am slowly connecting the dots, crossing the t's and dotting the i's!
Thank you Amy for suggesting people use their public libraries! They may also want to look at the local universities and Family History Centers too for discovering more information on their family history!

The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown


SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!