Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, is this coming Monday, May 30. Memorial Day is always observed the last Monday in May and traditionally marks the beginning of summer. It was declared a US federal holiday in 1971 and its origin dates back to the Civil War. It began as a way to remember and honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed during the Civil War. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. On that day Logan declared in General Order No. 11 that:

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

After WWI, Memorial Day was extended to honor Americans who died in all wars. Today most Americans use this holiday as a time to decorate graves, whether the deceased served in the military or not. For more information about the history of Memorial Day visit Memorial Day History or’s Memorial Day section.

The red poppy has been associated with Memorial Day for nearly 90 years. Since 1922 VFW members and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers have distributed red poppies on Memorial Day weekend in exchange for a contribution to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. This tradition originated with Moina Michael in 1915. She was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” and came up with the idea to wear a red poppy on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving our nation during war. She then sold poppies to her friends and co-workers and the money went to needy service men. By 1922 the VFW had taken on the project. You can read more about this tradition at The Story Behind the Poppy.

Most towns in our area, including Willshire, Rockford, and Celina, have a Memorial Day parade followed by a ceremony at a local cemetery. The ceremony is usually conducted by the local American Legion or VFW. The American Legion and/or VFW also mark all veterans’ graves with an American flag. These organizations deserve a big Thank You for providing these services year after year.

Remember proper American flag etiquette this weekend. The American flag should be flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day. During a parade there may be several participants with a flag, so it is appropriate to salute only the first flag as it passes by. As the first flag passes everyone should show respect by standing at attention with their right hand over their heart. Those in uniform should give their appropriate formal salute.

The following is a list of my collateral ancestors who died while serving our country:

Civil War:

Hallet Bryan (c1836-13 Sep 1863) was the son of Peter and Mary (Huey) Bryan of Jay County, Indiana, and was my 3rd great granduncle. Private Bryan served in Company E, 89th Regiment, Indiana Infantry and was killed in Memphis, Tennessee. He is buried in the Memphis National Cemetery.

Daniel Schumm (2 Mar 1840-8 Feb 1863) was the son of Johann “Jacob” and Hannah (Billman) Schumm and was my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Corporal Daniel Schumm served in the 52nd OVI and never returned home from the Civil War.

John Schumm (30 Mar 1843-28 Oct 1864) was the son of George Martin & Maria (Pflueger) Schumm and was my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Corporal John Schumm served in Company A, 60th OVI. He was wounded and captured in Virginia during the Battle of Petersburg and was imprisoned at Salisbury, North Carolina, where he died.


Carl Schumm was the son of Rev. Ferdinand and Wilhelmina (Brockmeyer) Schumm and was my 2nd cousin twice removed. He was killed in France during WWI.


Ralph J. Derrickson (5 Apr 1925-15 Jan 1945) was the son of Ralph and Alpha (Brewster) Derrickson and was my 1st cousin once removed. Private Derrickson served in the 99th Infantry Division during WWII and was killed during the Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg.

Edgar Schumm (18 Nov 1914-13 Nov 1944) was the son of William & Amanda (Reidenbach) Schumm and was my 3rd cousin once removed. He was killed while serving in WWII.

Victor Schueler (23 Jan 1924-3 Aug 1945) was the son of Adolph and Marie (Limbach) Schueler and was my 4th cousin. Private First Class Schueler was a member of the 85th Mountain Regiment, 10th Mountaineer Division and was killed in Italy during WWII.


Emanuel George Roehm (3 Aug 1931-23 Apr 1951) was the son of Emanuel George and Esther (Ohnesorge) Roehm and was my 4th cousin. Private First Class Roehm was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was killed in action while fighting in Korea. Roehm was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. (source: WWI, WWII, and Korean War Casualty Listings [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.)

Viet Nam:

Corey Wayne Ellenberger (19 Oct 1946-12 Jan 1967) was the son of Kenneth & Nola (Charleston) Ellenberger and was my 2nd cousin. Private First Class Ellenberger served as a rifleman in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division and was killed in South Vietnam. (source: National Archives and Records Administration. Vietnam War: U.S. Military Casualties, 1956-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.)

In December 2000 the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed. This asks all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’ ” at 3:00 local time.

This Memorial Day, amid the family gatherings, the cookouts, the sales, the Indy 500, and the other things you do when you have the day off work, take a moment to remember the real meaning of this holiday.

Ralph Derrickson Jr (1925-1945)

Tombstone Tuesday–Brewster, Pearl & Philip

Philip & Pearl Brewster, Riverside Cemetery, Adams County, Indiana

This is the tombstone of Philip and Pearl Brewster, nee Reid. The gravestone is located in Riverside Cemetery, one mile east of Geneva in Adams County, Indiana. The tombstone reads: BREWSTER—Pearl (1880-1962), Philip (1868-1935).

Philip and Pearl were my great-grandparents, Philip was born 9 Aug 1868 in Adams County, Indiana, the son of Daniel and Sarah Brewster, nee Fetters. He died 21 January 1935 in Adams County, Indiana. Pearl was born 20 September 1880 in Salina, Kansas, and died 19 February 1962 in Adams County, Indiana. She was the daughter of William and Emily Reid, nee Bryan. Philip and Pearl were married 1 Dec 1895 in Adams County, Indiana. (Book G:145) Pearl was in the five generation photo featured in my blog A Snapshot of the Past—Five Generations of My Family.

Obituary: The deceased, Philip H. Brewster, was born August 9, 1868, and peacefully departed this life at his home in Jefferson Township, January 21, 1935, at the age of 66 years, 5 months and 12 days.

On December 1, 1895 he was united in marriage to Miss Pearl Reid, who survives him.  To this union were born eight children, all living:  Jesse Brewster, Glen Brewster, Mrs. Arlie Ellenberger and Mrs. Arthur Weaver, all of Wabash Township; Dore Brewster and Mrs. Ralph Derrickson of Jefferson Township, Mrs. Robert Dudgeon of Berne, and Mrs. Carl Miller of Mercer County, Ohio.  Besides the widow and children, he leaves to mourn his departure, 22 grandchildren, his step mother, Mrs. Loverda Brewster, three brothers, Charles W. of Ft. Wayne, Frank, of Berne and Fred of Jefferson Township; and three sisters Mrs. J.A. Buckmaster of Portland, Mrs. Dale Rockwood of Jeromeville, Ohio and Mrs. Charley Abnet of this community.  His father and two sisters preceded him in death.

In 1928 the deceased suffered a stroke of paralysis from which he partially recovered but during the past year his health gradually failed him and during the last two weeks of his life he was confined to the house.  Although he suffered for years he bore his affliction patiently and uncomplainingly.  He spent his entire life in farming in Adams County, the place of his birth.  He was a member of the Evangelical Mt. Carmel Church of which he was janitor for a number of years.  Mr. Brewster had a wide host of friends and was much esteemed and respected by all who knew him. (source: unknown newspaper clipping)

Obituary:  Mrs. Pearl Brewster, 81, a resident of Geneva, died at 2 p.m. Monday at the Adams County Memorial Hospital following a heart attack.  She had been in failing health since last July, since which time she had resided with a son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Derrickson, east of town.

A native of Salina, Kansas, Mrs. Brewster was born Sept. 20, 1880, the daughter of William and Emily Bryan Reid. She was married to Philip Brewster who preceded in death in 1935.  She had resided in Jefferson Township most of her life.  She was a member of Geneva Church of the Nazarene.

Surviving are four daughters, Mrs. Carl (Gertrude) Miller, Willshire, O., route 1; Mrs. Ralph (Alpha) Derrickson, Mrs. Robert (Bernice) Dudgeon, and Mrs. Arthur (Dorothy) Weaver, all of Berne route 2; Mrs. Arley (Elva) Ellenberger, Geneva route 2; three sons, Jesse Brewster, Geneva route 1; and Dore and Glen Brewster, both of Geneva route 1; 34 grandchildren, 77 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren; four sisters, Mrs. Zorpha Lawrence, Fort Wayne, Mrs. Minnie Peters and Mrs. Edith Stroube, both of Portland, and Mrs. Orlando Brunner, Portland, route 2.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Geneva Church of the Nazarene, Rev. R. E. Baker officiating.  Burial was in Riverside Cemetery.  (source: Geneva Herald, 22 Feb 1962)

Philip and Pearl had the following children: Gertrude (1896-1973), Alpha (1898-1968), Jesse (1900-1964), Dore (1902-1982), Bernice (1907-1994), Elva (1909-2005), Glen (1912-1971), and Dorothy (1916-2009).

I remember my great-grandmother, Pearl. Grandpa Miller would take Grandma (Pearl’s daughter Gertrude) and me to visit Pearl at her house in Geneva. Those two would talk for hours and hours. I was under ten years old then and was bored silly. Now I would love to be able to go back in time and listen to those conversations and ask them questions about our ancestors.

Philip Brewster (1868-1935) 1912 photo

Pearl (Reid) Brewster (1880-1962) 1912 photo














Ten Tech Tools & Tips

Flip Pal Scanner, Magic Wand Scanner, RootsMagic To Go

I like tech items very much. I especially like gadgets that make my research easier. Tools that help me scan documents, digitize photos, store, enter and share data are at the top of my list of favorite things. Below is a list of some tech items that I like to use along with some tips. I hope this list will give you some helpful ideas. I am not connected with these companies in any way. I just like and use their products.

1. Flip Pal Scanner. Many genealogists I know think this product is a very handy tool and I agree. Even if you are not interested in genealogy you may like this product to digitize your photos or for scrap-booking purposes.  It is a portable scanner about 10 x 6 inches, a little smaller than my Mini Notebook. It runs on 4 AA batteries and uses an SD card to store photos images. The size of its scanning bed is 4 x 6 inches and it will scan photo that size quickly. If a photo is in an album or book and cannot be removed, you can take the cover off of the Flip Pal, flip it over onto the album and scan the photo right in the album. The Flip Pal will also scan large photos by scanning the photo in sections. Flip Pal’s ‘stitching’ software will then put the sections back together, making the photo complete again. The quality of the scanned photo is good. An SD card as well as a USB to SD adapter is included with the Flip Pal. The adapter is handy in case your computer does not have an SD slot. Photos are very easy to transfer to your computer with the SD card. I definitely plan to take my Flip Pal to our Miller Reunion this summer with extra batteries. The Flip Pal website has a nice video to demonstrate the product.

2. Magic Wand Scanner. This little scanner is very portable and easily fits into your purse when you go on a research trip. It is about 1 x 10 inches and uses 2 AA batteries. You simply place the scanner on the document and slowly run the scanner over the document. It stores images on a micro SD card and the images come out quite good. There are two ways you can get the images onto your computer. I prefer to use a micro SD card adapter. I put the micro card into the adapter, which is the size of a regular SD card. I then put the adapter into my SD slot on my computer and upload the images to my computer. You can also transfer your images by using the USB cord that comes with the Magic Wand. I purchased my Magic Wand Scanner a few weeks ago on Ebay at half the regular price. It is refurbished but works just fine. There are several on-line videos that demonstrate the scanner.

3. Evernote. This is a handy program that I use to store and share information, photos and other items between all of my computers and my android phone. It works this way: I downloaded their free program onto my home computers and put their app on my droid. After that I could create and save notes, web addresses, lists, journals, photos, etc. on any of my computers or my phone. When I turn on my computer and am connected to the Internet, all of my devices sync, keeping all my information current. All my information is shared and updated among all my devices. All this information is also stored on the Evernote website. I can access my stored information anywhere, as long as I am on-line.  I just need to log in to view it. I can make a shopping list on my home PC and it will be available on my droid phone when I am at the store. I can journal on my Mini during breakfast and finish the article later on my PC in my office. Data is constantly being synchronized, saved, and stored. Information can be organized by category, in folders. Organized and handy! Evernote also provides a free e-mail account. I have sent items from my Droid via Evernote when I was unable to use my home Internet connection. All this is free. They do have a paid version, their premium account, which provides more storage and the ability to use Microsoft Office documents and other features. I may upgrade in the future, but the free version meets my needs for now.

4. AncestorSync™. Earlier this week, at the NGS conference in Charleston, Dick Eastman reported about this new program. According to their website, “AncestorSync™ enables you to synchronize your family tree, source documents, citations, and notes across all of your computers and a web pedigree of your choice.” This is something I have been waiting for–the ability to store and view genealogical files in “the cloud.” And best of all, Roots Magic will be compatible with it, as well as several other genealogical programs. It will be available in June. I can’t wait to try it!

5. Digital camera. Did you ever think of using your digital camera to take photos of documents at the court house or other repository? Your camera will take great photos of documents when using the close-up setting. Make sure the flash is turned off and that the lighting in the room is good. I can usually hold the camera steady but if that is a problem you may need to stabilize yourself against something or use a small tripod. I have a tripod that was once used for a spotting scope. I try to review and check my photos as I go, just to make sure my images are not blurry. Photographing documents saves the cost of purchasing a hard copy. Plus the document photo is already digitized, ready to upload to your computer. I usually ask permission before I take photos of the record books. I have also used this camera technique to take a photo of an existing photo as well as a microfilm image on a microfilm reader.

6. Digital movie camera. I have several reels of old movies that were filmed by my parents back in the early-mid 50s. It has been years, no decades, since anyone has viewed these movies. These are some great home movies and they need to be digitized before they deteriorate. I just have never found a good place to have them converted. One person said he could do the job. He said he would digitize them by playing the movies and recording them with a digital movie camera. At that point I decided I could probably do this task myself. That would save me some money. Plus I would be able to edit the movies as I record, something that a third party could not do. After discussing the quality of my digital movie camera he said that my camera would record about as good as his would. There you go! This is a project that I have not done yet, but I am ready. I have my parents’ old movie projector (which still works!) and a screen. I plan to use the tripod to mount and steady the camera. I’ll let you know how this project turns out.

7. USB Thumb/Flash Drive. Most of us have these little gadgets now. They can store an unbelievable amount of information. Consider keeping one in your purse or billfold at all times. That way it will always be available in case you want to upload photos or information while visiting someone. That idea could also work in reverse–carry it with you so you can share your photos or information with someone else. Be sure to take one with you when you go to the library. The microfilm machines and digital scanners at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne download to USB flash drives. You can now take digital images home with you instead of paper.

8. Mini Notebook/Netbook Computer.  By now you have probably noticed that I really, really like little technical gadgets. The iPad is a very tempting device that has been calling to me, but so far I have resisted that call. I would love to have one, but I really can’t justify purchasing it. I have my HP Mini Notebook, which meets my needs and which I like very much. It is compact, very portable, has lots of memory, and it is a computer. The iPad is compact and portable but it is not a computer. My Mini has a keyboard. I do a lot of journaling and typing, so having a keyboard is important to me. In fact, a keyboard is a must for me. I also would need a USB port and, from what I have read, I don’t believe the iPad has a USB port. I use a flash drive a lot. I transfer data and photos and use RootsMagic To-Go with a USB flash drive. In addition, I can use my Mini with a digital projector for presentations. I use my Mini each morning while I have breakfast, to check my e-mail and catch up on Facebook. Yes, I think I have talked myself right out of an iPad–at least for the time being.

9. RootsMagic To-Go. I use the Roots Magic genealogy software to record my family information. RootsMagic To-Go, a feature of RootsMagic 4, allows me to upload my RootsMagic family files to a USB flash drive. I can take that flash drive with me and plug it into any computer to view and/or share my family files.

10. Kindle. Although I do not really use my Kindle for genealogy, I love the fact that I can carry my library with me wherever I go. Not only that, but I can download a book wherever I am, with my Kindle 3G phone connection. My Kindle does not have WiFi, which is fine with me. The 3G connection is faster here than our WiFi connection anyway. I can get a 3G connection just about anywhere–another advantage over WiFi. And the Kindle 3-G connection is free. I can go on-line with my Kindle, although it is not the best way to access the Internet. Another great feature of the Kindle is its screen. I can read outside in the sun. There is no glare on the Kindle screen. That is a problem with some other digital reading devices. That feature allows me to pursue one of my favorite summer pastimes–reading on our deck while sipping green tea. Since this blog is now completed, I think I might just do that right now.

Magic Wand Scanner

Tombstone Tuesday-Mary Ann Cottrell Headington

Mary A Cottrell Headington, Died June 19, 1903, Aged 86y, 8m, 14d, Green Park Cemetery, Jay County, Indiana

This is the tombstone of Mary Ann Cottrell Headington, located in Green Park Cemetery, Portland, Jay County, Indiana. The gravestone is inscribed: Mary A Cottrell Headington, died June 19, 1903, aged 86y, 8m, 14d. Her date of birth was 5 October 1816, calculated from the age given on her tombstone. Mary Ann Cottrell married William Headington on 24 March 1838 in Baltimore County Maryland. (source: Maryland Marriages 1655-1850, abstracts from the Maryland Historical Society,; his surname was abstracted as Hedrington)

Mary Ann was my fourth great grandmother. I descend from her daughter Elvira, who married Daniel Reid. Mary Ann was the subject of a 1903 Portland newspaper article that I featured in a recent blog, A Snapshot of the Past—Five Generations of My Family.

Mary Ann Cottrell was born in Maryland and died in Portland, Indiana, according to her death record from the Jay County Health Department. Her cause of death was capillary bronchitis and she was a housewife. The record shows a surviving spouse was William Headington, but he had died in 1879.  The information on her death record was taken from Book H-5:28.

Mary Ann’s parents may have been Henry and Mary Cottrell, nee Bently. (source: Jay County, Indiana, 1982, compiled by the Jay County Historical Society) This source is too recent to use as proof, but it gives information for further research. Henry Cottrell and Mary Bently were married 23 March 1801 in Baltimore, Maryland. (source: Maryland Marriages 1655-1850, abstracts)

Mary Ann Cottrell and William Headington had the following children: Elvira (1839-1911), Ruth A (1840-1940), Mary E (1843-1906), Louisa V (c1846-?), Rebecca (c1849-?), Wesley E (c1852-?), Celina (1854-1856), Sarah Ellen (c1857-?). According to the 1900 census, Mary Ann had given birth to ten children but only six were living in 1900.

Mary Ann Cottrell Headington (1816-1903) Photo taken c1898

Here Come the Brides

Elizabeth Scaer, nee Schinnerer

The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was just a week ago and the details of Catherine’s wedding gown were probably the best kept secrets of the entire event. The secrecy surrounding that information could rival that of any of classified military operation.

Catherine’s gown was indeed elegant and timelessly beautiful. As soon as she stepped out of her royal limousine numerous wedding gown designers began cutting and sewing knockoff gowns. In New York at least one knockoff gown was finished just a few hours after the ceremony. Knockoff gowns should be available in a couple months and will undoubtedly be very popular this year.

Watching highlights of the royal wedding made me wonder about wedding dresses of the past. What was the fashionably well-dressed bride wearing over a century ago? What types of wedding attire did my ancestors wear? I pulled out some old photos, looking for wedding pictures.

Unfortunately, I have very few wedding photos of my ancestors. I do not have one wedding photo of either of my grandparents. I don’t know if they had photos taken on their wedding day or if the photos did not survive. I do have one wedding photo of my maternal great grandparents, John Scaer and Elizabeth Schinnerer, married 15 April 1894 in Van Wert County. (Vol. 8:287) Although the church records say they were married at Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm, couples back then were often wed during an informal ceremony at the home of the bride. Their photo shows them sharing a nice friendly handshake. It looks like they were sealing a business agreement instead of committing their lives to each other. “A handshake instead of a kiss.” I remember that line from an old TV commercial. (photo: Longsworth & Agler, Van Wert).

John Scaer & Elizabeth Schinnerer (15 April 1894)

Most of the wedding dresses that my ancestors wore were probably home made. In the 1800s my Mercer, Van Wert and Jay County kin didn’t have the luxury of shopping at the nearest David’s Bridal or commissioning a designer to make their special dress. The bride, a family member, or a good seamstress often made the dress. Or, she may have worn the best dress that she had at that time. Her wedding dress could later be altered and worn again for other events. Sleeves could be shortened and necklines changed. I’m sure my ancestors were very practical in that respect.

During the second half of the 19th century wedding dresses were not necessarily white or ivory. They were often made with colored fabric, even floral and striped fabric. Brides chose just about any color, although green was considered unlucky. White was a symbol of purity and virginity and was thought to ward off evil spirits. Wedding dresses were often brown or gray or even black. Such dresses could not only be used as a best dress but could also be a traveling dress. After all, a colored dress would not show dust, dirt and stains as much as a white dress. Again, practicality and cost won out. Materials ranged from printed cotton to lightweight wools combined with silk.

Believe to be Birt Balyeat & Emma Schinnerer (26 Oct 1898) Rank photo, Van Wert

Unknown from Schinnerer/Scaer album; Longsworth & Agler photo, Van Wert














The bridal veil was an important accessory years ago. It was often the fanciest part of the bride’s ensemble. Even if the bride had to make her own dress she might be able to afford a white wedding bonnet that she could keep as a special memento. Veils consisting of artificial white orange blossoms were also popular in the late 1800s.

Believe to be Henry Schinnerer & Louise Schumm (1 May 1892) Rank photo, Van Wert

Unknown from Schinnerer/Scaer album; Rank photo, Van Wert














Some of these photos are of unidentified relatives on their wedding day. These photos were in an old album that contained both Schinnerer and Scare photos, but mainly Schinnerer photos. If anyone can identify these Schinnerers or Scaers, please contact me. Some of them were Friedrich Schinnerer’s children. I tried to compare facial features to identify them, but please let me know of any corrections.

Many hats were worn at the Royal Wedding last week. I’m not sure if hats have made a comeback or if they were worn because the Queen always dons a hat. A few of those hats were quite unique last week and I wondered how some women kept them attached to their foreheads. Below is a nice photo of some classy hats from the Schinnerer/Scaer album.

Unknown ladies from Schinnerer/Scaer album; Longsworth & Agler photo, Van Wert

Below is an old poem about the color of a bride’s wedding dress and the luck it might bring:

Married in white, you will have chosen all right.
Married in gray, you will go far away.
Married in black, you will wish yourself back.
Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead.
Married in blue, you will always be true.
Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen.
Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow.
Married in brown, you’ll live out of town.
Married in pink, your spirits will sink.