What did I get myself into??

I am considering upgrading my laptop.  That led to me evaluate the software I have on my current laptop and decide that of what I have installed, what I really use, what I really need and what I can get rid of.  Besides social media and email, the only thing I use my personal computer(s) for is family research.  Therefore, I am only concentrating on what I need to support my family research.


Now, if I back up a little…I have upgraded hardware several times in the last however many years.  In the past I copied all the files from my old computer to floppy drives (yikes), CDs, DVDs, flash drives and external hard drives. Then when I got my new computer I would copy it all on to the new computer.  Unfortunately, a lot of that stuff I never really organized on my new computer. It just sat there in a folder called “old computer” until the next hardware upgrade. So, copies became copies.  Some files got renamed, some didn’t…WHAT A MESS!!!

So this time I’ve decided to organize and do a software audit BEFORE upgrading any computer.  I estimate that this will take me…20 years.  Kidding.  Kind of.

Over the next few days I am going to talk about what I have found and where I think I am going.
So, stay tuned…

Thank you Pennsylvania and Ancestry.com

I was out of town for the weekend on an annual Easter weekend golf trip with friends. Good weather, great company and lots of laughs.  When I got home on Sunday I was ready to relax, maybe catch up on a little TV, basically do NOTHING.  I got out my iPad and decided to catch up on my genealogy news.  That is when my entire Sunday, and pretty much any spare minute since changed.

I was reading my subscribed blogs and came across this one:
Pennsylvania Death Certificates Now Available

What?  Wait, did I read that right?  Pennsylvania, specifically York County, Pennsylvania is probably my 2nd largest research location.  I have ordered death certificates for my direct line ancestors but not many for collateral relatives.  The indexes didn’t have a lot of information and it was sometimes hard to confirm I had the right person before sending my check
But the database and images not available on ancestry.com is a GOLD MINE!!!

Although it only covers 18 years, I have found lost infants, married daughters, lots of mother’s maiden names and I have been able to piece together some families that I was previously unsure of their connections.  I have filled in a bunch of those death dates that were previously listed as “between 1900-1910” and “between 1910-1920″from census records.
Of course, now I can’t wait for the collection to be expanded so i can fill in even more gaps!
Back to searching…

More About DNA

Well, it’s been a couple weeks since I got my DNA results.  I have shared the results with a few of my relatives and the reaction from my paternal side is a lot of head scratching.  It seems the long line of German ancestors isn’t as long as we thought.
Looking at my paternal grandmother’s great-grandparents, all 8 of them were born in Germany.  
On my paternal grandfather’s side, all 8 of that generation were born in Pennsylvania, but going back further, the majority of that line came from Germany as well.  Therefore I would except to see larger than a 3% result in the Europe West region.
My maternal side is much more diverse, including English, Italian, German and Irish.
I still have found no Scandinavian in my research, on either side.
I’ve decided I would like to try to separate out the lines so I have asked my mother to take a test and since my father has passed away I have asked his brother to do a test.  They have both agreed so in a few months I hope to have a little clearer picture.

I’m a…Viking?

I just received my AncestryDNA results (faster than the 6-8 weeks they state) and for the most part there were no surprises. To be honest, I was a little disappointed that my results were so “vanilla”. 

As far as my research, the furthest I’ve gotten back is to about the mid 1600s on one of my branches. My “foreign” ancestors were all here by the 1850s, my 2nd great-grandfather Massimo Pisani was the last to come to the U.S. in 1856. Once my ancestors were here they didn’t move around much. Except for one branch that moved from Boston, MA to Baltimore, MD in the 1820s, all my ancestors lived their entire lives within 15 miles of where they were born. 

I expected to see more German as my father’s side is very heavily German. But after looking at the mapped results and reading more about migration patterns, the 39% Scandinavian and 9% Europe (East and West) makes sense.
I have never encountered any Scandinavian roots in any of my ancestors but DNA goes way further back than my research. Hopefully I’ll be able to meet some new cousins who may have better answers, but for now I need to go buy myself a helmet and learn how to row a boat!  

Mystery Monday – German Translation

I discovered an article from an old Baltimore German newspaper at Chronicling America that mentioned a Johann Epple.  My 3rd great-grandfather was named Johan Epple.  This may not be him, but I do have the fact that there were not many Epple folks in Baltimore in the 1870s on my side.
Here is the original article courtesy of Chronicling America:

I was able to view the page as text and I copied and pasted the article into Google Translate and got the following translation:

Hmmmm, I’m missing some important parts I think.  Was Johann the victim or the one arrested?
I’m sure that the issue is in reading the original German script.
So, if anyone out there can help with the translation or has another resource to get the full translation, I would greatly appreciate the help.

Crack In The Brick

After 10 years I think I finally located my 3rd great-grandparents (Johann and Catherine Epple) before their boat ride to Baltimore.  I don’t have the time I would like to spend researching, work gets in the way.  But I did have some time last week to spend on FamilySearch and boy am I glad I did!!
I knew that Johann and Catherine emigrated from Germany with their 3 daughters (my 2nd great grandmother Rose being the youngest at the age of 3) in the fall of 1852.
I knew they arrived in Baltimore, Maryland on 29 Nov 1852 on the ship Bessel.
I located them in the 1860 census in Baltimore City with 2 children born since their arrival in Baltimore.
In the 1870 census it looks like Johann was not in the household and that Catherine had remarried (although her age was not quite correct).
In the 1880 census Catherine was living with one of her married daughters and listed as widowed or divorced.
I was unable to locate Catherine in 1900. She would have been about 85 so maybe she was deceased.
I have not been able to locate either Johann or Catherine in any death records.  Johann probably died before Baltimore City recorded death records and I haven’t located either of them in any church records that I have looked at.
I had a clue as to Catherine’s maiden name when I found the death certificate of one of her daughters that listed her mother’s name as Catherine Heyde.  A good clue as my 2nd great-grandmother’s death certificate listed her mother’s name as Katherine J Epple.
So, last week I had some time and since I hadn’t been on FamilySearch recently I decided to start plugging in names to the search box.  I’m not sure why, out of all the names in my tree, I decided to search on Johann Georg Epple, but I typed his name, hit enter and stared at the 1st result.  There it was, Johann Georg Epple and Katharina Jakobina Heyd, parents of Augustine Albertine Epple.  Augustine was one of the daughters that came to Baltimore when she was 14. Her age matched, her parents ages matched, the town of the baptism matched the information from the immigration information.
Further searching resulted in birth and death records for 4 other children that died by age 2 or younger, a marriage record and lots of information on their parents and grandparents, I still haven’t gotten through it all.
So weeding through all this information, verifying and trying to locate the actual records will keep me busy for awhile.
Thank you FamilySearch!


Well, I finally did it.  I bit the bullet, opened up my wallet and ordered my AncestryDNA kit.  As if waiting for the kit to arrive wasn’t bad enough, after I worked up enough spit to fill the tube, sealed it up and trusted my package the the US Postal Service, now I sit and wait.  And wait.  I’m sure that this 6-8 weeks will go as slowly as the 6-8 weeks leading up to vacation.
And what will be worse I’m sure will be the time between connecting my results to myself in my tree and the first DNA match.
But what if I don’t get any matches? Oh God, what did I get myself into?  HA!!!