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Showing posts from 2013

Back at the Writing Desk --

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Well, as I'm sure you noticed, I didn't post something every day in November.  Oh well.  But I did have lots of fun, especially going to England, and I hope you won't mind if I make a diversion and write a little about that.

I'm working on my pictures.  I opted not to take my "big" camera and rather took a small point-and-shoot.  There were pluses and minuses to that decision, but I really didn't want to be burdened with the heavy camera, worried about losing it or having it stolen, etc.  Unfortunately, the little camera I got didn't take great pictures, especially in low light, so I didn't get the kinds of shots I wanted.  But here's an example of one that came out well:

Linkup to Texture Tuesday
This is Hampton Court, originally built in the 1500's by Cardinal Wolsey, and was later appropriated by Henry VIII.  We didn't get to go inside, but rather toured the gardens, early in the morning.  It's a beautiful place in a beautiful s…

A Welsh Connection!

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A while back, a very nice woman who lives near York, England, contacted me to see if I knew anything about someone named Constantine Hug, who was born in Baden, Germany and who emigrated to Wales in the mid-1800's.

I have many Hugs in the family tree, as you will know from previous posts, but when I looked, I saw no one with the name of Constantine.  I checked on Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com, and the only thing I came up with was a Konstantine Hug who was born in Nonnenbach, Germany, in 1831.  It says his parents were Sebastian Hug and Maria Dorer, and while I have several Sebastians in the family tree, I can't see where this Konstantine would fit in, especially since Nonnenbach is about 120 miles away from where the Hugs are centered in Heiligenzell or Lahr.  I sent the information along, nevertheless.

The road to Nonnenbach by jenknox --
Nonnenbach is a small town on the border of Germany and Switzerland, a couple of miles from the Bodensee, a large lake.  In Wales, where Co…

Here we go again --

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Hello everyone -- it's been a while since I last posted, right before my knee replacement surgery.  I've been coming along fine, but recovery (along with my participation in Open Studios a couple of weeks ago) has taken quite a bit of my attention, and it's only now that I can begin to go back to much more interesting things, like genealogy.  

I'm going to try to make it up to everyone by posting something every day of November, as part of BlogHer's "NaBloPoMo" challenge.  They're offering prizes!  How can I not try for an iPod Mini?  Let's see, where did we leave off?

Interesting Bremerhaven view, from amdolu  on flickr

The Ortmann clan in Erkeln, Germany, is beginning to fill in, with the descendants of Stephan Hermann Ortmann, the brother of EDC's great-grandfather, Joseph Ortmann.  I won't go into details about them, in order to protect their privacy, but we do have quite a few relatives in that little town!  I'm hoping to hear back …

Signing off for a short while (I hope) --

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Well, dear readers, I'm off to the hospital tomorrow for knee replacement surgery. I'll probably be in the hospital for three days or so (until Sunday), but then I hope to be back and posting soon, because there's lots to tell you about.  Here are a couple of teasers:

1)  I heard from the webmaster of the Erkeln website!  He wrote me a long email with lots of interesting information and other people to contact.  Seems there are still a few Ortmanns connected to Erkeln and to us, no doubt.  I'll give all the details in a few days, I hope.

2)  We have a kind of Y-DNA mystery, maybe, that could be very significant.  It involves a possible "non-paternal event," and I'll leave you with the job of figuring out what that is, until I'm able to post again.

3)  I've gotten farther back in the Ortmann line; though it's not documented yet, we are into the 1600's!  

4)  I've heard from a cousin in Erkeln!  Her name is Magdalena (last name not Ortmann),…

Further thoughts on Joseph, Erkeln, Brakel, etc.

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I woke up at 6AM today, "too exthited to thleep," as the little boy in the Disneyland commercial says, and of course I was thinking about Joseph Ortmann and Erkeln and Brakel and so on.  One thing I was contemplating was the names -- in looking for Joseph in various locations, I was paying attention to the first names I was seeing, because often children were named for grandparents or other relatives and so on.  Interestingly, though Joseph's father's name was Conrad (and he was named for his father, Conrad), none of Joseph's sons has Conrad as a first or middle name.  His first son was Augustus J. (J = Joseph, I assume), but I see no Augustus anywhere in the family trees.  The second was Joseph Bernard, and Bernard comes from both sides of the family -- Joseph had an uncle named Bernard, and Annie's father was Bernard.  His third son was Herman Henry -- don't know where the "Herman" came from, but Joseph had a brother named Heinrich (Henry) and…

And one brick wall comes DOWN!!!

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Well, the Joseph Ortmann story has suddenly broken wide open, everyone!  If you remember, I recently discovered the date and place of his death (June 10, 1911, in Union, New Jersey).  Having joined the Hudson County, New Jersey, Historical Society, I was advised by my new fellow researchers there to send away for his death certificate, in the hope that it would list his birthplace.  So I did, and it came today.

I was so nervous as I opened it!  I forced myself to read it slowly, bit by bit,taking in the information.  We see that his birthdate is recorded as July 27, 1848, but if we look at the other evidence, for example, his enlistment in the Navy during the Civil War, this can't be right.  If he was born in 1848, then his enlistment papers should have said he was 16 years old, but the papers actually say he was 20.  In 1864, he was much closer to his birth age than he was in later years, so believing he was correct in stating his age as 20 at that time makes sense.  I think it…

Y-DNA Part 1 -- My head is spinning!

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A while ago, brother Chris had his DNA analyzed, to find the Y-DNA history in our family, that goes back through Grandpa Bill Ortman's line. (When I had mine done, it was mt-DNA, the line going back through Grandma Walli.)  All this stuff is very complex and (at my age :) difficult to understand, but I've been puzzling through it.  First, the basic stuff we learned.

Source:  familytreedna.com
So much as it was with my chart, which started with "Mitochondrial Eve" in East Africa, this one starts with "Adam" (also in East Africa -- they had to be in the same neighborhood, right?), and much as mine broke up into smaller groups with letters representing groups that went off in different directions, so does this one.  Our path (through Grandpa Bill) went from Adam following the A, B, F paths, then K, then P, and finally to R, third from the bottom, in the brown part of the chart.  We are R-M269, as a matter of fact, which is easier to remember than U4b1a1a1 on Gra…

Salt Lake City, here I come!

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I've decided to make a pilgrimage to the LDS Library in Salt Lake City, toward the end of September, the mother lode in terms of doing genealogical research.  It's an 11 hour drive from where we are, which is less than I'd thought.  It's kind of frustrating to be searching for information and find out that what you want is only available on microfilm at the LDS library -- and I can only imagine how much I could accomplish in a couple of concentrated days on-site.


They say they have lots of people to assist you in your research, but just to be sure, I'm going to try to make an appointment with a professional genealogist to give me some direction, so I don't waste time heading off down the wrong road.  This is very exciting to me!  Maybe I can break through some of the "brick walls" that have been frustrating me.

Another cool thing is that you can visit the Mormon Tabernacle and listen to the organist rehearse, every day at noon -- not a Mormon, not relig…

Brief update on Joseph Ortmann

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So far, my attempts at finding more information on Joseph Ortmann (EDC's great-grandfather) have come up short.I exchanged emails with a very nice man at the Jersey City Public Library, but he was unable to find any further information on Joseph's death.  He did say that obituaries were fairly uncommon until the mid-20th century.  He gave me information on how to order the death certificate, since I know the date and place; I'm going to do that and hope that it gives his place of birth.

I also joined the Hudson County Genealogical Society, and conversed with some very nice people there.  I discovered that the webmaster of the HCGS site has a Joseph Ortmann in his family history, but we quickly figured out that they were not the same person :(

So, I went back to familysearch.org and decided to take a kind of backwards approach -- since I'm pretty sure Joseph's father's name was Augustus, what could I find searching on Augustus Ortmann?  I found two possibilities, …

The Story of Joseph Ortmann

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Hi everyone -- I've been away from blogging for a bit, but am raring to get going on it again.  I've been working hard on EDC's great-grandfather, Joseph Ortmann, but still not getting any information on his birthplace in Germany, which is keeping me from going farther back.  One of the books I have suggests that if you're stuck, you write everything you know about the person, telling their story.  So that's what I'll do here.

Joseph's story brings in a state we haven't talked about -- New Jersey.  Grandpa Bill Ortman, despite having grown up in New York, was actually a "Jersey boy," since he was born in Union City, New Jersey.  Deb Ortman was born in New Jersey, too, since we lived there (Cedar Grove, suburb of Newark) before we moved to Minnesota.  So we Ortmans do have roots in that state.


New Jersey, with our neck of the woods circled in green.
Joseph Ortmann was born in 1848 (in July) in "Pommern," Germany.  Pomerania, or Pommern, …

An interesting find --

I'm at a genealogy conference in Sacramento, today and tomorrow.  After listening to one of the presentations, I upped my presence on My Heritage, and started searching some of the people in our family.  Here's something interesting I found -- I'm sure this is EDC's dad, Bill Ortman.  Unfortunately, the file came as a .pdf, so I can't reproduce it (it's not a .jpg). but here's what it says:

"Among the tid-bits we have picked up about some Saturday NBC programs is that Colonel Goodbody and Judge Gordon will dedicate the 9:30 AM food program to Georgia and will embarrass the Atlantans by revealing that they chew 50 carloads of sugar cane annually and that a boy soprano, Billy Ortman, will be heard on the Keys to Happiness program at 10:45 a.m."

This is from April 22, 1932.  Dad would have just turned seven.

I'm surprised, because I thought Dad was exclusively on CBS, but here he is on NBC.  Oh, by the way, this is from a San Antonio, Texas, new…

Can I have a drum roll, please?

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23andme finally finished analyzing my DNA sample (the results have come in bit by bit), and gave me the ethnic/nationality composition.  This is the first one that makes sense to me:

Northern European
French and German 30.0%
British and Irish 13.1%
Scandinavian  11.1%
Finnish <0.1%
Nonspecific Northern European 38.0%

Eastern European 3.5%
Southern European
Balkan 0.4%
Nonspecific Southern European 0.1%

Nonspecific European  3.7%

This seems more reasonable, doesn't it, than the first one that said I was 38% British Isles or whatever?  I think they lump French and German together because the border has been fluid, and our Hug line is right on the border of France.  I don't know why there's such a large chunk of "Nonspecific Northern European," but I'll try to find out what's up with that.  It will be interesting to see how Chris's analysis matches up to this.

One more step back --

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After I attended the German Genealogy conference last month, I was so excited that I ordered a microfilm from the big library in Salt Lake City -- this costs $8.99 for every film you order, and if you get no new information from it, well, say goodbye to your $8.99.  But I went ahead and ordered the "Kirchenbuch Katholische Kirche Wolfach" -- the church record book for the Catholic church in Wolfach, Germany.  I had tried asking for information from Wolfach on the email list of genealogists from Baden-Wuerttemberg, but got no response, so looking at the church records myself seemed like a good idea.  The Salt Lake City family history center sent the microfilm to my local family history center, housed in the local LDS temple.

I looked through twenty-five years of entries, searching for our 5th great-grandfather, Blasius (or Blasy) Hug.  Here's what I came up with:

from the Kirchenbuch Katholische Kirche, Wolfach, Germany
The line that is of interest to us is second from th…

New DNA Results

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I got my results from 23andme about a week ago, and while the results are not quite finished, there's a wealth of information to digest.  It comes in several areas:  1) Health information; 2) matches with other members, and 3) a bit about nationalities, though that part isn't finished yet.

I didn't know whether I really wanted to do the health part, but now I'm glad I did.  There were only a couple of big surprises -- I guess I didn't need to do a DNA test to know that I have a somewhat elevated risk of heart disease or Type 2 diabetes, but a couple of things caused me concern.  I have to pay attention to my eyesight, because I'm at risk for macular degeneration, and it turns out I'm a carrier for one serious condition -- doesn't affect me, but I'll be talking to a couple of you about it.  But it's good to know these things, so you can actually do something about them.  I was worried about Alzheimer's, which you can't do anything about, …

Back in Business

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Okay!  It's been a while, but now that I'm 1) finished with school, 2) done with the watercolor workshop that I went to all this week, and 3) have our new dog Hugo pretty much settled in, I can turn my attention back to the genealogy research that has been calling my name for the past few months.  I'll just give you some hints about things I'll be writing about in the near future.  But first things first, here's Hugo:

Hugo the Great
Isn't he adorable?  Okay, so here are some of the things I'll be writing about:
My recent DNA results More U4 news, including some about dogs New relatives discovered through DNA matching Chris's results, soon, I hope The family history expo I'm going to in a couple of weeks and much, much more!
So stick around!  Lots of fun to come.

An interesting "German Roots Festival"!

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Just got back today from "My German Roots:  A Festival for German Genealogists," in Sacramento.  I had a great time!  They had multiple sessions going on at the same time, but they gave us a spiral bound book so that we wound up with information from every presentation, which was very cool.

It was held at a huuuuge Presbyterian church, and maybe 100 people were there.  If you were to zoom in on this picture, you'd see that just about everyone's hair is on the spectrum between grey and white -- it was a bunch of oldsters, all right.


But, that's who has time for genealogy, because it is definitely a huge sinkhole of time.  So there were multiple presenters, a professor from Brigham Young University and six of his students, who gave presentations on all kinds of things.  I chose to go to sessions on
Church records in Germany How to use the Family History Library catalogue Reference books you need for German family history Status in German society, 1500-1800:  Where …