Consanguinity: (kŏn'săng-gwĭn'ĭtē) , relationship by blood, whether linear or collateral.

Primarily concentrating on my Browning family from Harrison County, Ohio (and their subsequent move to Crawford County, Illinois) but I've got Plymell, Crago, Eagleton, Garrard, McConnell, Nichols, Swan, Nevitt, Huls, Markee, Depperman, Papstein/Popstein and Hamilton in there too. And that's just the beginning......

Friday, August 24, 2012

Grandma Minnie in Stories and Pictures

My great grandmother Minnie (Minna Anna Louise (Papstein) Depperman, 1888-1985) has always been something of an enigma to me.  She was in her 80's when I was born and I was only 15 when she passed away at the age of 98.  She lived all of her life in northern Illinois (with the exception of her birth in Germany -- she was 1 year old when she arrived in the US) and I lived only my first seven years in northern Illinois before moving to southern Illinois for four years and then on to Texas.  After the age of 11 I only saw my Grandma Minnie twice more before her death.  We never did get a chance to sit down and have any sort of meaningful conversation.  I wish we had. The stories she could have told me!

Grandma Minnie, her famous "upstairs" (to the right) and homey kitchen
I knew that she'd raised my mother after my mother's parents divorced, and that my mother thought of her more as a mother than as a grandmother. My own personal memories of her are few, honestly; I only clearly remember her spending time with me one on one once (though I'm sure there were plenty more times that I don't recall.)  I remember sitting on Grandma Minnie's lap and she would hand me her Vick's Inhaler, letting me sniff it to my heart's content!  Otherwise I remember playing at her house quite a bit but I'm sure I spent much more time in her basement and on her front porch than I did with her.  She was probably busy cooking and conversing with the other adults.  I remember she forbade me to go upstairs so of course the banishment made me ache to sneak up and see what all the fuss was about!  I do recall sneaking up one day and seeing a row of bedrooms and not much else, all perfectly straight and neat and clean, like they weren't even lived in! -- before I was too scared to stay any longer and snuck back down.

I most remember thrilling to her dark, dank basement, so unlike the basements that I was used to in the metropolitan Chicago area I grew up in.  She would let me play down there because it was basically an empty room with a lot of space to run circles in (which I did!)  I clearly remember climbing down the stairs and seeing an old 1930's washing machine in the right corner of the basement near the cistern and, above that, a picture of a young boy in an ornate oval frame.  When I asked who it was I remember Grandma Minnie saying it was a "picture of my boy that died."  The boy was Alvin Friedrich Depperman, who was born around 1909 and died about 1912.  I was fascinated by the picture.  The little boy's eyes followed me wherever I went but I wasn't frightened of it.  I often stopped playing long enough to look at it longingly.  I wanted to touch it, but it was too high...and I knew better.  My mother always told me that in Grandma Minnie's house I was not to touch anything and to make sure that everything I got out was put back exactly as I found it.

Often when the family would get together I would stand in the front room looking at a picture that was always near the German bible that Grandma Minnie had on her end table.  It was of a handsome calvaryman standing in front of a row of Lipizzaner stallions.  Grandma Minnie told me that the man was her father when he was training those stallions for the Kaiser.  I didn't know who the Kaiser was -- the only Kaiser I ever knew was a Roll, ha! -- but of course now I know that it was Kaiser Wilhelm I, the King of Prussia from 1861 to 1888.  My g-g-grandfather August Karl Papstein wa in the cavalry in the early to mid-1880's and must've been a skilled trainer if he was chosen to work with the prized Lipizzaners (see more about these beautiful horses here)!  Unfortunately all these pictures -- the oval frame of Alvin, the handsome man in the cavalry uniform -- and the Bible, are all lost to us now.  Likely they were sold in a sale my Grandma Minnie's family had when she had to go into a nursing home so they could pay for her care.  Grrr!

It's been very interesting to me to look at pictures of Grandma Minnie.  The pictures I have of her are for the most part taken long after she raised her children and became a grandmother.  Recently a cousin sent me a picture of my Grandma Minnie taken when she was only 10-12 years old.  I love it! I post it here.  It was likely taken about 1900.  Minnie (the eldest girl) is posing with her parents, August Karl Papstein (1864-1946) and his wife Anna Marie Louise Koehn (1868-1952), her brother Otto and little sister Clara.  Goodness but when my younger brother was a boy, he sure did look like Otto in this picture!

Tragedy was just around the corner for the family, however.  August and Anna had already lost two infants before this picture was taken.  Otto never did get a chance to grow up -- he was born in September of 1891 but died between 1900-1910 and was buried in an unmarked plot next to his parents in the Peotone (Will Co. IL) Cemetery.  Clara was born in December of 1896, married Earl Laroche around 1918, and died in 1920.  She too was buried in the Peotone Cemetery.  August and Anna would go on to have three more children before 1910 (Louis b. 1901, Elsie b. 1905 and Frank b. 1909.) Then there was a lapse -- Anna was 44 upon Frank's birth -- and then perhaps....just PERHAPS....another came along. 
Grandma Minnie in 1918

I say perhaps because I have heard two distinct stories about this last child's parentage in my family.  A boy named Edwin Papstein was born on 10 Oct 1915.  Edwin was developmentally impaired (perhaps Down's, though the nature of his developmental issues has not been passed down.) As to whose son he was?  Well, if he was Anna's she was 48 when  he was born.  That's not beyond the realm of possibility, but it is a stretch one would think?  Anyway, the other story was that Edwin was Clara's son, born out of wedlock to Clara and an unknown man.  Clara would have been 18 if this is true.  As it is, I cannot locate Edwin or Clara on the 1920 census.  Clara was to die in 1920 and if Edwin was hers, it is not surprising that her parents took him in to raise him.  Edwin is, perhaps tellingly, NOT in the household of August and Anna in 1920 although their other children are.  This isn't definitive, however; they could have placed him in some sort of facility because in 1930 Edwin is found in the Illinois Institute for Feeble Minded Children in Lincoln in Logan Co., IL.  This place was also called variously the "Lincoln State School and Colony," the "Lincoln Developmental Center" and the "Lincoln State School."  In 1940 Edwin is living with August and Anna and is listed as their "son," though a biographical paper written by my grandma Minnie on the occasion of August and Anna's 50th wedding anniversary in 1937 did not mention Edwin at all.  So....until I can order Edwin's death certificate (he died in 1983 and is buried in the Peotone Cemetery) I am simply theorizing here.  It's fun to do that though!

My grandma Minnie married Franz Herman Depperman in 1904 and they had seven children.  Franz died in 1955 and Grandma Minnie went on and lived by herself until her death in 1985.   This last picture was taken on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1954.  It is Grandma Minnie and Grandpa Franz and their children (from left to right) Frederick Walter Depperman, Herman August Albert Depperman, Anna Henrietta Bertha (Depperman) Schannon Onkin, Alfred Eric Depperman, and Franklin Louis Depperman (my grandfather.)

Grandma Minnie was a fiesty and opinionated woman and the stories my mother tells me keeps her alive.  I sure hope that the recent finds I've made on this side of the family will shed some more light on her ancestors.  These Germans (Prussians) have been too long in the dark for me!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Finally.....a few Papsteins!

As I mentioned last week, my plans were to start using OneNote as an organizational tool for my Browning family. I have begun that and I'm in love with it so far.

But life, in the words of the immortal John Lennon, is what happens when you're busy making other plans.  Life brought me a few awesome tidbits this week which have sent me spinning off into my German families.  It's so much at once that I'm afraid I'll have to post more than once about it.

I've spoken before of the ridiculously small amount of knowledge I have about my mother's Prussian roots.  Her family didn't share information or pass down much in the way of history and anything that my great-grandmother Minna Anna Louise (Papstein) Depperman ever had was lost when it was all placed in a sale to help fund her last days in a nursing home.

Johannah Amelia (Papstein) Hoff
Recently, however, that's started to change.  The last couple months have brought quite a bit of extra knowledge my way.  When I was first entering into a serious study of my family's genealogy in the early 1990's I found a Popstein family (the anglicized version of Papstein) descended from my g-grandmother Minna's youngest brother, Francis Frederick Ferdinand Papstein.  Frank, born in 1909, was 20 years younger than my g-grandmother was.  He moved to New York state in the 1950's and raised his family there.  I corresponded with Frank's youngest daughter Marie for a few years.  Marie and I are first cousins twice removed and we are only seven years apart in age even though her father was of the same generation as my g-grandmother. 

Out of the blue a few nights ago I get an email from Marie's elder brother.  He sent me a map of the Pommern area of Germany and mentioned that our common ancestor (my g-g-grandfather and his grandfather August Karl Papstein, b. 6 Sep 1864 in Neu Labenz, Kreiß Dramburg, Hinterpommern, Prussia (which is now Poland) had a much older sister named Johannah Amelia Papstein, born in June of 1848.  The news itself didn't surprise me because I've always assumed August had siblings (and his obituary said he had a twin sister) but I was surprised to learn that he was one of the younger siblings in his family.  I was also a bit surprised because I didn't figure I ever would know any of his siblings.  I assumed many of them were still in Germany and were lost to me.

While I scurried to Ancestry and finally found Johannah Amelia Papstein after a rather diligent search, I received another email from my cousin who'd told me about Johannah.  He sent me a few pictures, one of which I was especially thrilled with!  My next post will be all about this picture and some of the things he and I have spoken about and I can't wait to share that. This post, though, is about Johannah. 

When I learned that Johannah was born in June of 1848 it occurred to me that, as incredible as it may seem, my cousin Marie (and her brother, the cousin I just mentioned who sent me the picture) has an AUNT born 164 years ago!  Wow! They have me beat.  My eldest aunt was only born in 1887.

Anyway, I learned that Johannah Amelia was born in or around Labenz in Kreiß Dramburg, Hinterpommern, Prussia (which is now Poland.)  I began a correspondence with the author of the tree containing Johannah and Albert and their descendants.  Turns out she and I are 4th cousins since our great-great-grandparents (August and Johannah) were siblings.  We exchanged info back and forth -  she let me know that Johannah had married Albert A.J. Hoff there around 1870 and they had at least three children that she knew of - and then they decided to emigrate to America.

Wilhelmina (Koplen) Papstein
I went on the hunt for any passenger lists that might show when Johannah and Albert came to America.  I found them after only a bit of digging and I found some more info besides. Who knows why the couple chose to travel separately but it appears that they did -- Albert came first to New York aboard the "India" in March of 1885 and Johannah and their living children (Anna, August, Emma, Bertha and Martha) followed soon thereafter.  They traveled aboard the "California" and arrived in New York City on 15 Jun 1885.  Johannah listed her destination as Peotone in Will Co., IL.

On the lists were the names of three additional children my cousin did not know about!  I looked at the 1900 census for Albert and Johannah in Kankakee Co., IL and it stated she was the mother of nine, with six of those still living. By the time we put the passenger list together with the census records, we determined that their chidren were Anna (1872), unknown (c1874-bef 1885), unknown (c1876-bef 1885), August (c1877), Emma (1879), Bertha (1881), Martha (1883), unknown (c1886-bef 1900), and Albert (1887).

But I'm sure by now you've noticed the pictures.  Oh my!  This was the best!  She sent me the picture of Johannah that you see posted here but not only did she have a picture of Johannah, she had a picture....of her MOTHER!

I know I squealed.  Hah!

Up until now, I have had no information about Friedrich Papstein and his wife Wilhelmina Koplen/Kopplin/Koplin, other than their names. Yet there Wilhelmina was on my cousin's tree, austerely peering at me from underneath her great white bonnet.  I see my g-grandmother Minna in her eyes.  I asked my cousin about the pictures but she doesn't know if they came from Germany or were done here in the states.  However, she did say she obtained them from her great aunt and that all of them were huge 16x20s, 'seemingly done at one time.'   

I post them here hoping that one of my readers will take a look at these and help me date them.  I 'think' I have a relatively good idea as to the date of Johanna's picture (the one posted at the front of this post).)  Firstly, she is wearing a memory charm housing a picture of a child, perhaps a young boy.  Her collar is high and her dress mourning black with a simple stripe of decorative gathering along the sides.  It's hard to judge by her hairstyle since she likely wears it as she did when she was younger but the age she looks (in her 40s) the dress and the high collar makes me want to date this in the early to mid 1880's.  She might've had it done prior to leaving for America or when she arrived to send back to family.

Now to the picture of Wilhelmina.  I've studied this one and the more I look at it, the more it seems that this is an older picture, re-done.  Perhaps Johanna took it with her when she left to remember her mother by?   Though I don't know.....even though the ornate white tightly looped bonnet, severe hair, and large criss-cross tie make me think this is a picture from the late 1850's-early 1860's, Wilhelmina's age (she was probably b. c1828 or so if Johanna was born 1848) makes me believe it is quite a bit later.  Perhaps the 1880's?  My cousin wondered if it could have been taken at the same time as Johanna's (therefore giving us a clue that Wilhelmina ALSO came to America!) and that is certainly possible, but I really don't know.

What do you all think?

Oh, more pictures soon!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Martha Ann Browning Cooley, and Bits and Pieces

It's Tombstone Tuesday and today I feature a tombstone that is close to my heart -- that of my aunt Martha Ann Browning.

Martha was born in Crawford Co., Illinois on 16 Oct 1934 to my grandparents Virgil Browning and Beulah Garrard.  She was their only child until my father came along in 1941. 

I've written in more detail about my aunt Martha 
and my feelings about her in a previous post about my grandmother's life.  You can read it here if you wish so I'll be brief.

Martha was a bright child and a rosy-cheeked girl.  She made friends easily and was the life of the party when she was around people.  She sang in the choir and when she was in high school, about 1952 or so, someone made a record of one of her songs that I think my father still has.  I've heard it and she had a beautiful singing voice.  Funny, my dad does too.  I wish I could say I inherited that!

She married Oral Oval Cooley on 7 Jun 1953 in Robinson in Crawford County.   All the pictures I've seen of the pair look like they were very much in love and my aunt Martha was all aglow.  She became pregnant at the age of 19 and gave birth to a son on 30 August 1955.  All was not well with her, though, and she began to show complications immediately after the birth.  She developed a fever and died at the Allen Sanitarium (a hospital in Robinson IL) three days later due to hemorraging from the birth.

I've posted my favorite picture of my aunt Martha here.  She is a real beauty.  I see my grandma and my dad in her and she's just....oh, I don't know.  Doesn't she just GLOW?  Her beauty is within. 

I wish I'd known her. 

Now to the bits and pieces:

I'll be going on a genealogical trip to Little Rock in a few days along with a friend of mine. Her great-grandfather was murdered there in 1929 and we'll be hitting all the sweet spots when we're there. We'll go to the Arkansas History Commission and the Arkansas County courthouse in Stuttgart. We hope to hit Dewitt (where the murder occurred) and maaaybe even make it to a cemetery or three. For my part, I will be investigating the Strickler family (one of my daughter's lines) who moved to Washington Co., AR from Sullivan Co., TN in the 1830's.  I hope to find some wills and other goodies.  Our daughters (both age 19) are coming with us so it'll be a girl's weekend as well!

My love affair with OneNote is in full swing. I'm putting records in there and seeing it all come together and I'm really liking it so far. I can feel that this will be a big bonus for my work.

I'm also in heaven -- I've recently found Ohio Probate Records online at Familysearch!!!!

None are indexed and the image count is sky-high but I've been spending my time going through each and every image in the counties of Harrison, Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Jefferson and Washington. As you can imagine this is a tedious and time consuming undertaking. Weeks even! But that's okay -- it must be done because there's no way I'll be getting to any of these counties soon (and even if I did, I'd have to spend days in the courthouses there pouring through the records!)

So -- if my presence is a bit spotty I'm not checking out of here, I'm hopefully adding more information to my arsenal.  I've already found some real gems in the OH records that I want to explore.

Oh, and ok....I've also experienced a D'OH moment of epic genealogical fail proportions, so much so that I don't even want to admit to it here for fear that I'll have to turn in my genealogist card and go sit in the back of the class.

*sigh* I'll make myself do it. Just not now. Haha!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Research Plans are my Weekend Plans

First, thanks to everyone for all the kind comments about my newfound brother.  It's a great adventure I'm embarking on!

My plans this weekend are to spend some time revamping all my files.  It's the first step to getting to the point I want to be at with my research on Samuel Browning.  I've been using OneNote a long time to keep my personal files in order (as well as using it as a gathering receptacle for random notes about families I found while cruising the Internet) and I really wanted to find a way to incorporate it into my daily genealogical life.  However, it seemed so overwhelming.

I ran across this article and this article on a few days ago about OneNote.  I read it and re-read it and decided to give her suggestions a try.  I downloaded her Research Log and Research Notes templates and played with them a while until I got them into a format I was comfortable with.  I redid all my random notes into different notebooks by surname and made sure to attach the Document tab she suggested to each of them.  Lastly, I began a chronology report on Samuel and his wife Margaret and synced it to SkyDrive via the new Outlook email that will soon replace Hotmail.

All this is 'a lot accomplished' for me, with 'much more to be accomplished' this weekend.  I am tired of running about like a headless chicken chasing tails I've already chased.   This weekend I'm ready to begin the task of moving everything over and consolidating it into one streamlined system.  I'm excited to do it and I can't wait to see results with it.

Heck, I'm already seeing results!  As I did the chronology and placed source materials in for reference, I saw exactly what else I needed to research and what my current sources were.  No more headless chickening!  I can go back through the work I've already done and fill in missing details.  I love it!

Lastly, I have a bewildering amount of original source documents that can be inserted into OneNote and I can FINALLY see all of them in one place, in one file, without scratching my head trying to remember where I put things, where I filed them, what they say (I can translate underneath) or who gave them to me.  I can access these things in the cloud and all my data will be a lot safer than just being on my PC and external HDs.  I've told myself I needed to do this for a long time -- I'm just doing it.  Nike should be proud of me.  Ha!

Tech and I aren't the best of friends -- meaning I don't have the new 'gadgets.'  I live on a very limited budget and so I don't have or want a smartphone (I have the internet ALL AROUND ME at all times, I can't justify the cost lol!) or a tablet PC. I had a laptop back in the 90's but that one was given to me, and I'd take another older one if someone would give it to me free (ha!)  My computers are all over 5 years old (luckily I know enough about them to fix them when I need to) and my parents always buy the latest thing and pass the older ones down to me anyway.   I have a old Dell Axim x51v that I flashed to use Windows Mobile 5 and I put Pocket Genealogist on it and carry my database with me that way.   Yeah, I'm old school.

I've used TMG (The Master Genealogist) as my genealogical database program of choice since 1993 and have no intentions of switching. It is a fantastic genealogy program with loads of personalizing options and high caliber reporting capabilities. I know that some of what I plan to do with OneNote could probably be done within TMG but I guess that I don't 1) have the patience to get into the learning curve with it and 2) I like the inherent 'feel' of the file cabinet/file folder idea of OneNote. One is my database, the other my filing system.

I am a happy genealogist!