The House on Evergreen Farm

Louis Schumm family: Frieda, Sarah (Breuninger), Cornelius, Louis Schumm (c1901)

This frame house was the home of three generations of my Schumm ancestors. It is located between Willshire and Schumm in Van Wert County, Ohio. Grandpa always said that the house was originally back in the woods and was moved to its current location. Both the 1872 and 1886 maps of Van Wert County show a house that was back a long lane, possibly as far as 1/8 mile from the road, north of where the house is today. The barn, which is also still standing, was built in 1886 and the house was probably moved closer to the road about the time the barn was built. That must have been quite a job to move a house back in those days. The above photo, taken about 1901, shows the house in its current location. The house was evidently built sometime before 1872.

Louis Schumm purchased the farm and house from Henry F. Tindall in 1878. Louis married Sarah Breuninger in 1883 and Sarah died in 1921. Cornelius and Hilda (Scaer) were married in 1927  and moved into the house with Louis. Louis passed away in 1938 and Cornelius and Hilda raised their family there. Cornelius passed away in 1986 and Hilda remained in the house until the early 1990s, when she could no longer maintain the house by herself. Hilda lived to be 101. Evergreen Farm is registered as an Ohio Century Farm.

Louis Schumm in yard


Louis Schumm home & yard

Until recently, the house was associated with the adjacent 80 acre farm, known as Evergreen Farm. That name comes from the time, years ago, when Louis Schumm and his son Cornelius maintained an elaborately trimmed evergreen hedge around the yard. There are still people today that remember the hedge and the pruned evergreens in the yard. Louis and Cornelius had to trim all of those evergreen trees every summer and the children in the family would rake up the cuttings. Some of the evergreens were so tall that they had to use stepladders to reach the tops.

Schumm Yard

The house does not look very large from the outside, but it is quite roomy inside. The following are some of my recollections of the house from my childhood.  The front door opened into a large family-type room. There was a large oak roll-top desk in this room and a painting of Martin Luther that hung over the desk. That painting now hangs in my office. There was also a round oak table and sideboard in this room. There was a formal living room off the family room. Grandma kept the living room closed off and the shades were always pulled shut. This kept the room cool in the summer. This room was used only for important family occasions such as Christmas, or for very special visitors. There was always a Victorian sofa and matching chair in the living room. Grandma had purchased the set when they were first married. There was a small parlor off the formal living room as well as a bedroom. There were also two small bedrooms upstairs. The kitchen was rather small and it was directly beyond the family room. In the kitchen was a door that opened onto a breezeway. There was always air flowing from the west to the east through the breezeway and it usually felt very comfortable back there. Across the breezeway was the summer kitchen.

The summer kitchen was located at the back of the house, to the north. The summer kitchen had windows on 3 sides and a door that opened onto the breezeway. All this ventilation allowed air to flow through the large room, keeping it cool. In the spring the family would move everything from the kitchen in the house into the summer kitchen. The women would do all of their cooking in the summer kitchen during the hot months and the family would also eat their meals there. At that time they used a wood-burning stove for cooking and to heat water for other purposes. The heat generated by the wood stove was kept away from the main house, keeping the house as cool as possible.

There are several farm buildings across the barnyard, away from the house. These include the large barn, a garage, and a granary.  Grandpa usually spent his days tinkering about in the garage. The granary was built by a distant relative, Abraham Pflueger. He carved his name and the date into a beam in the granary, “Abraham Pflueger, 1902.” There is a large pond to the northwest of the barn, dug in the 1960s.

Over the years the house has been updated with modern conveniences and has been redecorated several times. However, I will always remember it the way it used to be.

Amy, Esther, Louis, Cornelius, Florence Schumm

Schumm home, 1947

It’s OGS Conference Time

It’s about timetime for the Ohio Genealogical Society’s annual conference. That means that I need to send in my conference registration, and soon. The early registration deadline is quickly approaching (14 March). The conference will be held 31 March-2 April 2011 in Columbus, Ohio, and the theme is “Genealogy through the Centuries.”

This year I will be strictly a conference attendee. I am no longer an officer or committee chair at OGS due to changes in my dental work schedule. I have, however, volunteered to man the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) table in the exhibit area for a couple of hours. The rest of the time I look forward to attending the lectures and learning new research techniques and tips.

The conference planners ask that when you register you indicate the lectures you think you would like to attend. This is for space planning purposes. However, you are not obligated to attend the sessions you mark and I often change my mind at the last minute. As always, there is a nice variety of topics to choose from and all of the presenters are top-notch. This makes the selection process difficult. This year I am interested in learning more about technology, writing and military research. So, what are some of the lectures I plan to attend this year?

Some sessions of interest to me:

  • Researching Your Colonial War Ancestor, by Craig Scott, CG
  • After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans, by Amy Johnson Crow, CG
  • Writing Your Family History Using Microsoft Word, by Michael Leclerc
  • Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking, by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

Joe’s grandfather worked for the railroad and I would like to pick up some research tips in this area. Uh-oh. I see a conflict already. Two of the lectures above are in the same time slot, the Civil War and Writing lectures. Decisions, decisions… I would like to attend Leslie Huber’s Thursday session, Researching and Writing Your Ancestors’ Stories, but that session almost runs into the new lineage society banquet time period. We can’t miss that banquet. Our family will be inducted into the new lineage society, Century Families of Ohio, on Thursday evening. This will be a special way to honor our grandparents and our other ancestors who resided in Ohio between 1861 and 1910. Our family will be honoring a total of 21 ancestors that evening. Joe had more ancestors than me this time, 13-8, and Jeff gets to honor all 21!

One of the features I like best at an OGS conference is the exhibit area. I like to browse the exhibit hall for items of interest. Ok, so I like to shop–anywhere, any time. I like to look through the books and maps and I am always interested in new genealogy software and tech items that can be used for genealogy. There are usually some clothing items and fun stuff to purchase as well. I often get new information and ideas by talking with the exhibitors and other attendees. There is always something new to learn in the world of genealogy. That’s what this conference is all about–learning, networking, meeting up with friends, and making new acquaintances. After all, we all have the common interest of genealogy and family history.

Well, looking through the registration booklet again, maybe I should select an Ohio or Pennsylvania lecture. After all, the Brewsters were from Pennsylvania and I still need to find out where Jackson Brewster was from… I still have time to make my final decisions.

See you in Columbus next month!

Deb, Karen, Miriam, Kenny (2010 Toledo)

Elissa, Leslie, Karen (2010 Toledo)


Unusual Names—We’ve Got ‘Em

Johann Pankratius Schinnerer 1829-1857

Look carefully at this tombstone photo. I’m sure you noticed right away that two names are misspelled. Pankratius Schinnerer is such a common name! Who could possibly misspell it?

Yes, some of my ancestors have very unusual names. Most of these uncommon names are in my German lines and are collateral ancestors, not my direct line. My direct ancestors did not seem to venture into the realm of obscure names but instead chose the more common German names, such as Jacob, Louis, and Friedrich for the boys, and Elizabeth, Maria, and Christina for the girls. No, my direct ancestors did not seem to be very adventurous. Or maybe they just knew what they were doing.

For one, if you chose an unusual name for your child you run the risk of having that name misspelled over and over. Johann “Pankratius” Schinnerer was my second great granduncle. Pankratius emigrated from Bavaria in 1852 with his brother Martin and both settled in Van Wert County near their other brother, Friedrich. Friedrich was my second great grandfather. Although the name sounds like a medical term, according to WorldLingo the origin of Pankratius is Greek and it means “all defeating.” Pankratius was a Roman martyr in the early Christian Church, mentioned in 354 AD. The Roman Catholic anniversary of this martyr is May 12th. Regardless of the meaning, nearly everyone seemed to have a difficult time spelling his name correctly. The passenger list of the ship Amelia recorded his name as Pangraz. His probate record spelled his name Bronaratius. His estate papers show him as Bumcratuez and his estate sale notice listed him simply as John B. Schinnerer. Church records were the most consistent at spelling his name correctly. Unfortunately, his name was misspelled on his tombstone, misspelled forever at his final resting place.

My Schinnerer ancestors seemed to enjoy christening their children with unusual names. Also in this line is Kunigunda Margaretha Schinnerer, born in 1756 in Ipsheim, Bavaria. Her name is derived from Kuni (clan) and gund (war).  Yet another Schinnerer was given the name Aegidus, a male name derived from the Greek and Latin word for a young goat or kid. Other names in the Schinnerer clan include Wolfgang, Balthasar, Agneta, Valentinius, and Appollonia. I have a Valentin and Theobald in my Mueller tree, a Sebastian and an Eberhardt among the Breuningers and two Hallot Bryans.  My grandfather’s name was Cornelius. In the Bible, Cornelius was a Roman centurion who was baptized by Peter.

Unusual names are not limited to my family. My husband’s family tree also has some interesting names. Most of his ancestors were in this country long before mine were and he does not have nearly as many German ancestors as I do. Joe’s fourth great grandmother was Silence Platt. What a nice quiet, peaceful name. Silence was married to Samuel Bennett. Their grandson, Joe’s second great grandfather, was named Landon Bennett. Landon named one of his sons Henry Brandenburg Bennett. Henry was probably named after Henry Brandenburg, a storekeeper near Paddy’s Run in Morgan Township, Butler County, Ohio. Before they moved to Mercer County, Landon and his wife Elizabeth also lived near Paddy’s Run and the two families more than likely knew each other. Henry Brandenburg Bennett and his wife Sarah Milligan named their seven children after US states or territories. Their children were named Nevada, Dakota, Minnesota, Goldsby Alaska, Arizona Landon, Delaware, and Vermont. Vermont was Joe’s grandfather.  Henry Brandenburg Bennett must have loved the United States.

Standing: Vermont, Goldsby Alaska, Dakota, Arizona, Delaware; Seated: Nevada, Henry Brandenburg Bennett, Sarah (Milligan) Bennett, Minnesota

A tribute to the subject of the tombstone photo: Johann Pankratius Schinnerer was born 25 March 1829 in Ipsheim, Kingdom of Bavaria, the son of Georg Michael and Anna Barbara (Zeller) Schinnerer. He married Rosina Hoffman 25 November 1853 in Van Wert County, Ohio. He died 8 July 1857 after a 7 week illness of the liver and is buried at Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio. He was only 28 years old. He and Rosina had four children, but only one lived to maturity, Johann Martin Schinnerer. Johann Martin never married.  May you rest in peace, Johann Pankratius Schinnerer.

AKA William Wilbur

William W. Reid, c1898

I have spent a lot of time working with lineage applications. I have successfully completed quite a few for myself and for others. I was chair of the Ohio Genealogical Society’s First Families of Ohio for 5 years and during that time I reviewed nearly 100 applications each year. I am the Registrar for the Lima Chapter NSDAR and have successfully completed DAR applications for a number of their members. I have even given lectures about preparing a lineage application. Yes, I have had a lot of practice in this area of genealogy.

Lineage applications often require a higher standard of proof than the average family research project. For a lineage application you have to show proof of every name, date, and place that you write on the application and you have to prove that each generation is linked to the next. I have always felt that you will quickly discover what areas you still need to research and prove when you prepare a lineage application.

A couple years ago, when I submitted a supplemental application to Settlers and Builders of Ohio, I was a little surprised when the SBO chair asked me for proof of my gr-great-grandfather William Reid’s middle name. The family historians in our family had always referred him as William Wilbur Reid and, without double checking all of my proof documents, that was the name I wrote on the application. I looked through my proof documents again and discovered that I could find no real proof that his middle name was Wilbur. The documents I have only give his name as William Reid. His tombstone is inscribed with William W. Reid, but the W. could stand for any number of names beginning with the letter W. His middle name probably is Wilbur, but without solid proof, I cannot say for certain that it is.

The same holds true with my grandmother Gertrude’s middle name. Family tradition says her middle name was Emma, but I have no documents that actually show the name Emma. She has no known birth record. Her marriage record, her church records, and other records simply have her listed as Gertrude Brewster. Deed records and her obituary give E as her middle initial. There are other middle names in my family tree that are questionable as well: Philip H. Brewster is known for sure, tradition says the H stands for Henry; Pearl Reid is on the documents, tradition says Pearl Salina Reid. Then there are those that never claimed to have a middle name: Daniel Brewster, Jackson Brewster, and others.

I have no problem indentifying the middle names of the German ancestors in my family. For centuries the Germans gave their children at least two names at baptism, sometimes christening them with three or four names. The first name was usually a religious name, often a saint’s name, and all the males in the family would have the same first name. The middle name was their secular name, the name by which people called and knew them, and the name they used on legal documents. Johann was a favorite first, or spiritual, name in my German ancestry. That name was Hans in some of the earliest German church records I have looked at. Most of the males in my German families had the first name of Johann. They were baptized as Johann Jacob, Johann Georg, Johann Ludwig, Johann Friedrich, and so on. But they were known as Jacob, Georg, Ludwig, and Friedrich. This naming pattern was the same for the females in the family.

One of the best sources for middle names is church records. They usually record baptisms and the child’s full name was recorded at that event. Children were often given their secular name in honor of a relative or friend who was the child’s sponsor at baptism. Today the trend of giving children family names continues. Females are sometimes given a family surname for a middle name, often a surname from the maternal side.

I still search for that document that may contain the compete name William Wilbur or Gertrude Emma. If any of my relatives come across such a document, please let me know.

Karen’s 2011 Genealogy Goals

It may seem a little odd to be writing about my 2011 genealogical goals in February, but you have to believe me, I wrote these goals early in January.  You see, at the time I wrote my goals I did not have this blog on which to post them.

Karen’s 2011 Genealogy Goals:

  • Digitize photos
  • Digitize old home movies
  • Digitize documents I now have in binders
  • Create family/genealogy slide shows
  • Keep a genealogy diary
  • Join Sons & Daughters of WWII Veterans
  • Backup data every month
  • Start a web page and blog
  • Review collected information in family binders & write conclusions
  • Go to a national genealogical conference
  • Discover when Isaac Huey died and where he is buried

These are some lofty goals, but one goal is already completed: to start a web page and blog. Thanks to Jeff, this has become a reality—and in less than one week! He works fast.

Most of my goals have to do with digitizing and writing. In other words, I want to get family information and stories written down and put them into a lasting format that will be easy to share. So relatives, keep telling your stories. I love to hear the stories about grandma and grandpa and the good old days when you grew up. And of course I love those old photos, too!

I am doing well with some of my other goals, too. I have joined “52 Weeks of Sharing Memories: A Genealogy Journal”, hosted by one of my Facebook Friends, Lorine Massey. She also writes the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Each week she prompts us by giving us a topic to write about. I can say that I am up-to-date in that writing. As for digitizing photos, I have been busy doing that with my new toy, which I will discuss in another blog. I have also been faithful to back up my computer data with my new external hard drives. Yes, I have two 320GB hard drives plus my old 80GB external drive. I sure don’t want to lose any data or photos! I do my back up the first of every month, as suggested by another blogger Dick Eastman. I plan to go with Miriam to the FGS Conference in Springfield, Illinois, in September. Then there is that new lineage society, the Sons & Daughters of WWII Veterans, that I plan to join this year and become a charter member.

Some of the other goals will be a little more challenging. I have collected a lot of information over the years and much of that information was just placed into binders when I got home from research trips. I need to look at those documents, review them and write summaries and conclusions, much like a research report. Yes! A research report for myself. Who knows what I have buried in all those binders. Perhaps some of that information will reveal what happened to Isaac Huey.