Silas Williams #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Silas Williams

Silas Williams

This week on my #52 Ancestors post I’m going to reach back into the 18th century. Today I’m writing about my third great grandfather Silas Williams.

It was in researching this Williams family branch that my sisters and I launched our genealogy research “careers”. Look what you’ve done Silas Williams! You’ve created several genealogy monsters in our family. (Good for you!) So I have a special affection when I write about this area of my family tree.

Silas was born 20 August 1796 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His parents were Abel and Sarah James Williams. Silas was the sixth child of Abel and Sarah’s eleven kids. The family moved to Greene County, Pennsylvania for a few years and finally ended up in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. I’ll go into the reason for the move to Ohio in a future post when I write about Silas’ father Abel.

St. Matthews Church, Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

St. Matthews Church, Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

Silas would spend the rest of his life in Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio. He married Sarah (Sally) Lappin 15 July 1819. He was 22 and she was 20 years old. Like his father before him Silas was a prolific man. He and Sally had eleven children. My second great grandfather Isaac was their seventh child. These folks were hard working farmers. If you’ve ever seen the rolling hills of eastern Ohio you’ll know farming there wasn’t easy.

After eleven children and 20 years of marriage Sally died 11 September 1839 at 40 years old. Silas eventually married Susannah Wilkin 19 November 1846. Silas and Susannah had a son Thomas in 1847. Silas passed just a year later 1 October 1848 at 52 years old.

Silas’ story was first unearthed by my sister Mary Ellen about 1997-ish. Several trips were made from west to east across Ohio by my sisters and myself as we walked the steps of our 3x great grandparents. We stopped at St. Matthew’s cemetery and took photos of Sarah and Silas’ final resting place. On a whim I tried the door of the little white church next to the cemetery and to my surprise was able to walk in. What a simple yet beautiful place to worship.

St. Matthews Church Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

Silas Williams Headstone St. Matthews Church Cemetery, Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

After several long looks around I saw two framed photos on the back wall. A few steps brought me face to face with Silas and Sarah. What an amazing find! Silas had donated the lot St. Matthew’s was built on so he and Sarah were remembered with their photos still hanging on the rear church wall. How many times does that happen in genealogy research! Another family member contacted the church and was able to have copies of those photos made. That’s the photo of Silas seen above.

Silas Williams was a husband, father, church-goer and farmer. I’m sure in retrospect Silas felt he lived a pretty uneventful life but nearly 218 years after his birth I’m sharing his story here. Your story is my story Silas and I’m very proud of it.

P.S. I’m a much better photographer today than I was in 1997! :)

I Found My Dad on Facebook!

Cam and Flora Nantz Frueh children 1922

Cameron and Flora Nantz Frueh children 1922

I’ll bet we’ve all done it. Posted old family photos to our Facebook timeline. Maybe someone in your family has started a family Facebook page so the entire clan can share their pics. This very scenario happened to me with some pretty spectacular results.

It all started at the beginning of the year with my New Year’s resolution to organize my family history files. My first step was to take the easy route and scan family photos with my Flip Pal. Documents would get scanned later. As I uploaded my scanned pics to my laptop to file I’d also post a few to my Facebook page. It was always fun to get other family members reactions to the old pics. Occasionally someone would comment when a particular photo jogged their memory.

Soon one of my cousins started a family Facebook page so everyone could post and enjoy each others photos. Great idea! I’ll just mention here that this Facebook group consists of first cousins. All of our parents were children of Flora Nantz and Cameron Frueh. So I posted lots of pics to the Facebook page, some without any kind of identification in the hopes another family member had a similar photo with names.

That’s when it happened! Another cousin puts the photo (above) on our Facebook page. He identifies his mom as the 5 year old in first row far right. There she is with the rest of her siblings at an older sister’s First Communion. The significance? My father is in this photo! In the back row, far left stands my eleven year old dad!

John, Adolph, Mary Frueh

John, Adolph, Mary Frueh
23 April 1922*

I have a copy of a photo of my dad as an infant but the rest of the pics I have of him are all as an adult throughout the rest of his life. I’ve never seen a photo of my dad as a child! I can’t tell you the swell of emotion I felt as I looked at my dad as a young boy. I have to say I touched his little boy face on my computer screen with tears in my eyes.

Now the incredible irony here is that I have digital copies of several photos from yet another cousin last November. It’s the second photo here. My sisters and I took a guess at who these kids were but had no idea since there weren’t any names on the photo. Imagine! I had a photo of my dad (on the left) as a kid and didn’t even know it! Let me tell you learning to date photos has now become a priority.

The takeaway here other than the fact that I’m over the moon having a photo of my dad as a child? Don’t give up hope of finding a photo, some information, a document, anything that will provide answers in your genealogy research. Use all avenues available to you. Courthouses, libraries, online databases and even Facebook. Don’t ever, ever give up! Because one day when you least expect it your info will show up!

*I found the date of my aunt’s First Communion on FamilySearch.org. They have the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio Parish Records from 1796-2004.

It is Bigger Than Ourselves!

Plate of pasta

Photo Credit: brokenarts at www.freeimages.com

My husband, daughter and I had a delicious meal this past Sunday. We attended the “CIAO” dinner that’s hosted every year on Palm Sunday at our city’s civic center. “CIAO’ stands for Charitable Italian American Organization. For 27 years the group has served thousands of meals with proceeds going to scholarships for area high school seniors and other worthy causes.

As my little family enjoyed our pasta and meatballs my husband mentioned how everyone in the CIAO community was working to make this event the overwhelming success that it was. From middle school and high school kids that were busing and washing tables, to the kids’ parents who had cooked and were serving the meal, and the grandparents that were selling tickets and cannoli. The Italian community had come together to host another outstanding event.

You know the first thing that came to my mind at my husband’s observation was our genealogy community. Even though we seek and search on an individual basis it’s the work of the entire genealogical community that allows us our great genealogy finds. From those who have diligently scanned and digitized records for online publication, to those who acquire and maintain valuable information at repositories we could not achieve any measure of genealogy success without their hard work.

There’s the seldom noticed efforts of our local genealogy societies. Many volunteers spend lots of personal time managing a society from minutes, to dues, to programs all in an effort to bring attendees pertinent research info. More so I can’t begin to imagine the volunteer work that goes into the state and national workshops held over several days on a yearly basis.

Then there’s those who research and write books with detailed explanations to help any level of researcher. Whether we’re researching a military ancestor or our Irish heritage. There’s a book for that! Their expertise is invaluable to the new or avid researcher.

I’m thankful for the information and tips I’ve acquired from family historians and genealogists who take the time and make the effort to maintain blogs and websites. I know firsthand the work that goes into each and every blog post!

So as I appreciate a local civic organization coming together working as a whole to benefit my community, I know I’m a part of something bigger too. A community of individuals teaching, sharing and encouraging anyone with an interest in genealogy. It’s a wonderful, diverse genealogy community we belong to and whether we choose to take our passion to a higher, professional achievement level or enjoy it as a hobby, all genealogists and family historians bring something to the table. We always need to respect each individual’s choice in how they approach their personal research.

So in the words of my genealogy friend Dante Eubanks, “Collaboration, communication, & support!” It’s essential in our genealogy community as we move forward together and support each other to reach our common goals.

Charles H Lowery #52 Ancestors

Charles Henry Lowery

Charles H Lowery

This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is about my great-grandfather Charles Henry Lowery. Charles is the son of my Civil War veteran George Washington Lowery and Barbara Ann Lowe. Charles was born 2 Sept 1872, in Sandusky County, Ohio. He married Sudie Louisa Barron on 30 Oct 1892 in Henry County, Ohio.

Charles and Sudie had ten children. My grandfather Basil was their third child.

Charles worked on the railroad which caused the family to move from Henry County, Ohio to Allen County, Ohio and finally Lenawee County, Michigan. By the time the family moved to Michigan a couple of the older children had married. My grandfather Basil was one of them. He didn’t make the move to Michigan and stayed in Allen County, Ohio with his young family.

(You might be interested in a quick look back at wife Sudie’s #52 Ancestors post. It tells a tale about Charles and their family life!)

Charles H Lowery and goat

Charles H Lowery and goat

Charles was my mother’s paternal grandfather. She would remember how her grandfather Charles boasted of his Ohio grandchildren whenever they made the trip to Michigan for a visit. He’d buy them penny candy and it would be waiting their arrival in a brown paper bag. My mom remembered him fondly.

I know my family attended Lowery family reunions in Michigan way back when. I wish I had been there. I’d love to know all of those stories today.

Charles passed away 13 Mar 1946 in Washtenew County, MI. He was 73 years old.

Sudie Louisa Barron #52 Ancestors

Sudie Louisa Barron

Sudie Louisa Barron

This is my great-grandmother, Sudie Louisa Barron. She was born 11 Jan 1874 in Marion Twp., Henry County, Ohio. Her parents were Rachel Golden (Golding) and Thomas Barron. Sudie was the second youngest of nine children. I’ve found her referred to as Susan in censuses but she’s always Sudie in our handwritten family histories.

She married Charles Henry Lowery 30 Oct 1892 in Henry County, Ohio.

This is my maternal grandfather’s mother. The only story I have ever been told about Sudie is one of decisiveness, she was a strong-minded woman.

Charles Lowery, Sudie Barron and grandkids

Charles Lowery, Sudie Barron and grandkids

Charles worked for the railroad, which brought Sudie, Charles and their eight children to Allen County, Ohio. They lived there long enough to have a couple more children and two of the older children married. My grandfather Basil being one of them.

As it happened, Charles’ railroad work took him to Michigan. Sudie stayed in Ohio with the children and Charles would send money back to her. As time went on Charles’ visits as well as the paychecks decreased.

Sudie heard rumors of Charles and some carrying-on in Michigan and decided to pack up the children and head north. I guess Charles was more than a little surprised to see Sudie and their passel of children on his boarding house porch when he came home from work that day. I can only imagine their conversation that evening.

Yep, she was a decisive strong-minded woman. I’ll bet Charles thought so too that day!

She died 19 Mar 1943 in Adrain, Lenawee County, MI. She was 69 years old.