Showing posts from October, 2015

Whatever happened to Baby Dorothy?

A few years ago, someone told me that if you're stuck on a particular ancestor's story, you should write down everything you know.  I did it for my great-grandfather, Joseph Ortmann, and now I'd like to try it for my paternal grandmother, Mary/Marie/Maria/May/Mae Siegler Ortman (yes, she did use all those variations of her name over her lifetime).

Mary A. Siegler was born on March 23,1895, in Woodhaven, New York; her parents were George Siegler, a barber, and the former Matilda Hug.  In May of 1889, a brother, Nicholas, was born, but unfortunately he lived only a few months, dying in August, 1889.  After many years passed, George and Matilda had another child, Dorothy G. Siegler, in 1912, making a more than 16-year difference between the two sisters (though I remember clearly my grandmother telling me many times it was a 12-year difference -- don't we all shave off a year or two where we can?).

In 1916, when Mary was 20, she married a bank clerk named Frank Sanger*, ag…

Wordless Wednesday: Easter Finery

Easter, 1961.   Almost wordless -- I have to mention that my mom made all our clothes, even the coats.  I'm on the far left.  Then my mom, my brother (who looks absolutely miserable), my sister Deb and our Grandma Sophie who lived with us.

I think my sister and I could have had a future as Victoria's Secret models, don't you agree?

Ten foods from my childhood --

I just discovered Gina Philibert-Ortega's blog, "Food.  Family.  Ephemera."  Wow, what fun that blog is!  Today, she wrote about baked bean sandwiches, and that triggered such memories for me.

We used to have baked bean sandwiches -- beans on a piece of (white) bread, topped with cheese (Swiss for me), and then broiled until the cheese melted.   You had to eat it with a fork.

This got me started thinking about foods that I enjoyed in my long-ago youth, but don't make any more.  Here are 10 I remember, besides the baked bean sandwiches -- what foods do you remember from your childhood?

1.  "German baby food."  I don't know what else to call this.  My grandmother would make it for us -- spaghetti pasta sautéed in butter with cinnamon and sugar.  Extreme comfort food.

2.  Chow mein -- remember those cans of Chun King chow mein that had the little can of noodles on top?  My grandma would make chow mein from scratch that was so much better than that.

3.  Spe…

An Update on My E-Book

A while ago, I did a series of posts on doing German genealogical research, its joys and agonies.  So many people read the series (in total, the posts were accessed over 7,000 times) and commented on how helpful they were, that I thought I'd expand the series into an e-book.

At this point, I'm more than one-third of the way through the manuscript.

The book is organized in three sections:  1) A case study of researching in the U.S. for the birthplace of my German great-grandfather, Joseph Ortmann; 2)  a case study of researching in Germany for the birthplace of another great-grandfather, Maximilian Langer; and 3)  a cautionary tale for beginning genealogists -- something I had to learn the hard way.

I'd like to do a little crowd-sourcing on this book while it's in progress.  I have the first case study done at this point and would love to have a couple of volunteers read it and give me feedback.  I'd especially like to hear from people who consider themselves newco…

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: My Best Genealogy Day Ever

It's Saturday night again, and Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings has given us the following assignment: 

What was your very "Best Genealogy Day Ever?"  It might be the day you solved a thorny research problem, or spent the day at a repository and came away with more records than you could imagine, or the day you met a cousin or visited an ancestral home.

Boy, this is a tough one.  Was it the day I finally discovered my great-grandfather's birthplace in Germany?  Or the day I learned why another great-grandfather died in a "lunatic asylum"?  I think I'll choose a more ordinary day, the kind of day that every genealogist knows well:  the day on which hours were spent viewing microfilms, a day on which I discovered much information about a particular branch of my family.
My great-grandfather, Maximilian Langer, posed a number of interesting problems.  He died far from his Bremerhaven home, in Goettingen, and after a number of attempts I was able to acquire…

MyHeritage is perplexing me --

This morning I got a new kind of message from MyHeritage, about what to me is a new thing, an "Instant Discovery."  The message said this:

"Good news, we’ve found a new Instant Discovery™ for you. It can add an entire branch to your family tree with 20 people, in just a few clicks!"

Well, that sounded interesting, so I headed over to the site, where I saw this attractive graphic:

All rights to this image belong to MyHeritage
This kind of thing is intriguing, right?  With just a few clicks, I can add 20 new people to my family tree.  While attaching a new branch like this is potentially exciting, I do have a few problems with it.
If I click on the "View Discovery" button, I am taken to a screen where the two main people are set side by side, with the information from both family trees (mine and in this case, B. Jensen's).  I am asked, "Is this the same person?  Yes or No."  At this point, I would like to look at my family tree and B. Jensen…