Valentine in Mom’s Family Tree

Do you have a Valentine in your family tree? In February 2018, I posted the story of Valentine Creager, my husband’s ancestor.  Now, I relate the story of Valentine Maurer, my mother’s ancestor. The story begins in Germany and ends in New York.

Valentine Maurer graphic1

How do you pronounce “Maurer”? According to mom, the name sounded like “more- er”. As with other stories about mom’s family, I started with Great-Aunt Viola’s handwritten family history. [1]  Part of my grandmother’s ancestry reads:

Valentine Maurer, 2/12/1827 – ? 
[Born] Alsace-Lorraine Germany
[Wife] Kathrine Korzelins  11/4/1824- 2/14/ ?
(She died on Valentine Maurer’s namesake day one year after his death. She was born in Baden-Baden Germany)
Philip Jacob Maurer
Born in Kolncolnge Germany. Date unknown
Anna Metzger
Born in Holland. Date Unknown

My focus was clear – to discover the story of Valentine and Kathrine. Spelling of Kathrine’s name varies and is reported here as spelled on each document.

Valentin Maurer was born on 9 February 1827 in Niederhausen, Freiburg, Baden, Germany. [2] His parents were Leonhard Maurer and Maria Anna Metzger. Note the different father listed on the baptismal record and Viola’s history. This is one of the few items not supported by other sources.

The 1860 census[3]  for Valentine and Catharine Maurer provided an early clue. The family appeared in Galloway, Atlantic county, New Jersey on 15 August 1860:

  • Valentine Maurer, age 31, laborer, born Germany
  • Catherine Maurer, age 31, born Germany
  • Valentine Maurer, age 2, born New Jersey
  • Herman Maurer, age 7/12, born New Jersey (my great-grandfather)

Since both children were born in New Jersey, Valentine and Catharine apparently immigrated to the United States by about 1857.

By 1863, the family had moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, Kings county, New York. Valentine Maurer, age 34, birthplace Germany, appears on a Civil War Draft Registration Record. [4] I haven’t found any Civil War service records for him.

Where was the family in 1870? I am still looking! See “Name variations in census records: Maurer & Klee”  In 1880 [5], they still lived in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.  Four children had joined the family (as transcribed):

  • Mauiner, Valentine, W M, 52, head, machinist, born Baden, father born Baden, mother born Baden.
  • Annie C, wife, W F, 32, born Prussia, father born Prussia, mother born Prussia
  • Valentine, son,  W M, 22, machine building shop, born New Jersey
  • Herman, son, W M, 20, brass moulder, born New Jersey.
  • Kattie, daughter, W F, 14, paper box maker, born New York.
  • Rosie, daughter, W F , 12, at home, born New York.
  • Joseph, son, W F, age 9, at school, born New York.
  • Edward, son, W M, 5, at home, born New York.

The six years difference between the births of Herman and Kattie suggest that Valentine may have served in the Civil War. Names of the children on these two census records correspond to Viola’s information except for one item. She did not record any information about the oldest son, Valentine. Viola may not have known about Herman’s older brother or had forgotten him. 

Valentine Maurer II died on 21 March 1888 at the age of 29 years 10 months and 21 days in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.[6] Cause of death?  “Asthema”.  Calculated birthdate is 1 May 1858. This is consistent with his age of 2 years on 1860 census. Residency in Brooklyn for 25 years further supports the family’s move to New York by 1863. 

DISCREPANCY:  According to his death certificate, Herman was born on 16 October 1858. [7]  However, Herman’s age of 7/12 in August 1860 suggests birth in February 1860. Did I identify the correct family on 1860 census? If so, why the difference? 

Map of Germany showing Baden and Prussia from Encyclopedia Brittanica

Source:  Accessed 10 August 2018

Family origins Baden is in the southwest corner of Germany near France. This western German border, also known as Alsace-Lorraine, alternated between French and Germany rule throughout its history.   Prussia, in the northwest corner of Germany, is now part of Russia.

 In 1883, Valentine and Anna Katharina wrote in the autograph book of Anna Klee, Herman’s future wife. Read more about Anna’s autograph book in “Sources” section of this post. Both entries were written in German. Her signature as  “Anna Katharina Maurer” confirms use of both names. [8]

Valentine may have traveled back to Germany in June 1888 [9] then returned to the United States in September 1888.[10]  The traveler’s age of 61 suggests a possible identification.  Did this journey occur because of the death of his oldest son in March 1888?

The 1892 New York State census fills a gap left by the mostly destroyed 1890 census records. Valentine, age 65, and Annie, age 64, lived on Hopkins Street in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York at that time.[11] Three of their children still lived with them:  Rosie, age 24, box maker; Joseph, age 23, brass worker; and Edward, age 17, mechanic. Valentine and Annie’s status as  “C” or “citizen” suggests that both were now naturalized American citizens.

Valentine Maurer, age 71 years 7 months 9 days, died on 21 September 1898 in his home, 169 Hopkins Street, Brooklyn, Kings, New York. [12], [13]   His calculated birth date is 12 February 1827, same date recorded by great-aunt Viola. I don’t know how she learned of his birthdate. She didn’t report a death date so she possibly did not have a copy of his death certificate. Other interesting items from Valentine’s death certificate:

  • Occupation: surgical instrument maker
  • Birthplace: Baden, Germany
  • How long in U.S.:  43 years [estimated immigration year 1855]
  • How long a resident in City of New York: 37 years [estimated year 1862]
  • Father’s name: Leonhan Maurer.  Father’s birthplace: Baden Germany
  • Mother’s name: Marie Maurer.  Mother’s birthplace: Baden Germany
  • Cause of death: Asthenia following pneumonia

Now, I turn to Valentine’s wife, Anna Katharina.  Her name is listed as Catherine Korselious[14]  and Katherine Korzilous[15] on the death certificates for two of her children. Viola’s spelling of her surname as Korzelins is similar.  Census records suggest that she was born in 1827 or 1828 rather than 1824 as reported by Viola.  The actual date of 4 November is perhaps true. When did she immigrate to the United States?  Did she and Valentine “meet on the boat” per oral family history?  Anna Maurer died on 12 February 1899 in Brooklyn, New York. [16]  Probate records, both filed on 12 March 1899,  name their children and current residences- “Herman Maurer. . . Katie (wife of Stephen) Scheffel, Joseph Maurer and Edward Maurer of the Borough of Brooklyn, County of Kings, New York and Rosina (wife of Jacob) Schnitz of Jersey City, New Jersey.”

Biographical Timeline –Valentine Maurer (1827, Baden, Germany – 1898, Brooklyn, New York, USA)

  • Birth– 12 Feb 1827 in Baden, Germany to Leonhard Maurer and Marie Metzger.
  • About 1855- Immigration to United States
  • About 1856 – Marriage to Anna Katharina Korselious
  • 1858- Birth of son, Valentine, New Jersey
  • 1859- Birth of son, Herman, New Jersey
  • 1860 – Living in Galloway, Atlantic county, New Jersey
  • About 1862/1863- move to Brooklyn, Kings County, New York
  • 1870 – Possibly living in Brooklyn (not confirmed)
  • 1880 –Living in Brooklyn
  • 1883- Marriage of son, Herman, to Anna Klee, daughter of Louis Klee and Anna Wolf
  • March 1888 – Death of oldest son, Valentine
  • June 1888 – September 1888–Travel to and return from Germany
  • 1889 – Marriage of daughter, Katie, to Stephen Scheffel
  • 1892 – Living in Brooklyn
  • 1895- Marriage of daughter, Rosie/ Rosina, to William Jacob Smetts
  • 1897- Marriage of son, Edward, to Margaret “Maggie” Roper
  • 21 Sep 1898—Death of Valentine Maurer
  • 12 Feb 1899 – death of wife, Anna Katharina Korzelins Maurer
  • 1905 – Marriage of son, Joseph, to Emma Beck



Writing this post helped me with a timeline perspective.  Clarified some items.  How did Viola know about Valentine Maurer’s birthdate? Is there a missing family Bible? When did Anna immigrate? I continue to be thrilled that great-aunt Viola was such a good historian. Even though her manuscript lacked sources, I have found many documents that support her information.  I share my information with cousins through this blog and other written materials. As always, there are still questions. I partially met the reasonably exhaustive criterion of the Genealogical Proof Standard. 

What helped:  Having copies of death certificates for Valentine, Valentine II,  Herman, Katie and Joseph. Probate records for Valentin and Anna Katharina, both filed on the same day.  Recent careful review of research.

What didn’t help: Not having 1870 or 1875 census for family. I looked again on two databases. A page by page review of the Brooklyn census seems to be the next step. 

Future plans:  Search Civil War Records again for Valentine Maurer.  Continue search for family in 1870 and 1875 census records. Locate naturalization records for Valentine and Anna Katharina. Order Anna Katharina Maurer’s death certificate-done 6 Feb 2019. 

©Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots 2019


[1] Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker, “Maurer-Tucker Family History,” 2 sections; MS, 1800s to 1980s, Huntington, Suffolk County, New York; privately held by great-niece, Susan Mercedes Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2017.  Carbon copy of original document created ca. 1975-1980 and sent to Viola’s niece, Eunice Bertha Tucker Posten, Ms. Ellerbee’s mother.

[2] “Deutschland Gerburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” database, Family Search (https: // J8H   :  accessed 11 February 2019), Valentin Maurer, 09 February 1827; citing FHL microfilm 936,825. NOTE: I found this record as I was re-checking sources for this post.

[3]   1860 U.S. Federal Census, Atlantic county, New Jersey, population schedule, Galloway, p. 291 (penned), dwelling 2238, family 2205, Herman Maurer age 7/12; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed, downloaded, printed 14 November 2017); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication M653_682.

[4]   “Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865,” digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed & downloaded 24 November 2018), entry for Valentin Maurer, age 34; citing Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War), Record Group 110. National Archives at Washington, D.C.; original source: Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110. NAI: 4213514; Archive volume number: 3 of 5.

[5]   1880 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, enumeration district (ED) 182, p. 42B (ink pen), sheet 325B (stamp), dwelling 161, family 465, Mauiner [Maurer] Valentine, age 52; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed, printed, downloaded 13 August 2018); citing National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 0852.

[6]  Brooklyn, New York, Department of Health of the City of Brooklyn, certificate of death no. 4076 (21 March 1888), Valentin Maurer; New York City Municipal Archives, New York City, New York.

[7]   Brooklyn, New York, Department of Health of the City of New York, certificate of death no. 10424 (1927, Hermann Maurer, New York City Municipal Archives, New York City, New York.

[8] Anna (Klee) Maurer .  “Autographs Album”  ( book,  Brooklyn, New York, ca 1883); privately held  by Susan M. Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use,], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2017.  Ms. Ellerbee is Anna’s great-granddaughter. The book was found in the personal effects of Ms. Ellerbee’s mother, Eunice Bertha (Tucker) Posten and was probably given to her by her mother, Charlotte A. (Maurer) Tucker, daughter of Herman and Anna.  Unnumbered page, written in German,  “An Anna, dated Oktober 19, 83, [signed] Anna Katharina Maurer.”

[9] “U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925,” database, Ancestry ( : accessed 24 November 2018), entry for Valentin Maurer 07 June 1888;  citing “Passport Application, 1795 – 1905, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. : microfilm publication M1372, General Records Department of State, Record Group 59. 

[10] “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 24 November 2018), entry for Valentin Maurer, birth date abt 1827; citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M237_524; Line 38; List number 1200.

[11] New York State Department of Health, “New York, State Census, 1892,” database, Ancestry ( : accessed, downloaded 31 January 2018), entry for Valentine Maurer, age 55; citing New York State Education Department, Office of Cultural Education, Albany, New York; 173 Hopkins Street.

[12] Brooklyn, New York. Department of Health of the City of New York. Certificate of death no. 16339 (1898), New York City Municipal Archives, New York City, New York.

[13]  “New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999,” digital records, Ancestry (   : accessed and printed, 9 December 2015); probate case file for Valentine Maurer, filed 21 March 1899; citing  New York. Surrogate’s Court (King’s County), Probate case files, Kings County, New York. Filed by son, Herman Maurer; names children. 

[14] New York, Bureau of Records, Department of Health, Borough of Brooklyn, Certificate of Death no. 23456 (4 December 1941), Katherine A. Scheffel; Municipal Archives, New York City, New York.

[15] New York, Bureau of Records, Department of Health, Borough of Brooklyn,  Certificate of Death no. 24968 (14 December 1929),  Joseph Maurer; Municipal Archives, York City, New York.

[16]     New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999,” digital records, Ancestry (   : accessed and printed 20 May 2016); probate case file for Anna Katharina  Maurer, filed 21 March 1899; citing  New York. Surrogate’s Court (King’s County), Probate case files, Kings County, New York. Filed by son, Herman Maurer; names children. 

The tinsmith- Louis Miller

SUBTITLE:  Using occupation as a clue

Louis Miller, tinsmith, 2nd husband of Anna Wolf Klee, my maternal great-great- grandmother.  In my last post, I focused on Louis Klee, Anna Wolf’s first husband.  Now, I continue Anna’s story with this report about Louis Miller.  Great-aunt Viola recorded Anna’s 2nd husband as Charles Miller [1] but his name was actually Louis Miller. In this post,   I report the events of Anna and Louis’ lives in a chronological timeline rather than the actual discovery sequence as reported in other posts.


Anna Wolf was born about 1846 to Conrad Wolf and Margar Ackerman, both from Germany . [2] One record lists Anna’s birthplace as New York[3]  but all other records indicate Germany.  Immigration dates  for Conrad and Margar remain undiscovered.

Anna Wolf married Louis Klee about 1862 or 1863. They had 5 children, all confirmed by census records:  Fritz, Anna (my great-grandmother), Katherine, Louis Jr and Amalie ‘Mollie’.  Louis Klee died in 1871[4] leaving his 26-year-old wife and the 5 children, ages 4 months to 8 years.  In 1875, Anna married Louis Miller, born about  1836 in Germany to Carl Muller and Charlotte Petri. [5]  Louis Miller and Anna had 3 children— Charles, William and  Charlotte.  Anna died in 1883 [6] per probate record filed in 1892 by Louis Klee Jr.


Pedigree Chart: Louis Miller, his 3 wives and their children. Margaret, Lise and Henry Miller are step-siblings of Charles, William and Charlotte Miller (same father).  Fritz, Anna, Katie, Louis JR and Mollie Klee are step-siblings of Charles, William and Charlotte Miller (same mother).

Louis Miller’s occupation as a tinsmith provided an essential clue.  Louis Miller married an unidentified woman about 1862. The 1870 census taker found 33-year-old Louis Miller, tinsmith,  in Brooklyn Ward 16, Kings county, New York  with 3 children, all born in New York – Margret Miller, age 7; Lise Miller, age 4 and Henry Miller, age 2. [7]  In 1875, Louis married Anna Wolf Klee, a widow with 5 children. [8]  The 1880 census shows Louis Miller, tinsmith, and Anna with a total of seven (7) children –four of the Klee children (Annie, age 16;  Katie, age 14; Louis, age 11 and Emalie, age 9), one of Louis’ children (Lizzie, age 13) and three children born to Louis and Anna (Charles, age 4; William, age 3;  and Charlotte, age ½ year). [9]  Three years later, in June 1883, Anna Wolf Klee Miller died at the age of 39. [10] She left her 2nd husband, Louis Miller, and eight (8) children aged 3 to 21 years.

Fast forward to 1892. According to the 1892 New York State census[11],  Louis Miller, age 51, wife  Susie, age 38, and three children –Chas [Charles], age 15;  Willie,  age 14; and Lottie [Charlotte], age 12—lived in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.  Names and ages of the children correspond to earlier records.  By 1900, none of the children lived with Louis and Suzannah Miller who had been married for 16 years. [12]   This suggests that Louis and Suzannah married about 1884 or approximately one year after the death of his 2nd wife. Louis and Suzannah continued to live in Brooklyn in 1905[13] and 1910 [14]. Louis’ occupation as ‘tinsmith’ in 1900 and 1910 increases the probability that I have correctly identified him in all records.

The 1910 census also records 74-year-old  Louis’ marital status as “M3”, suggesting that this is his 3rd marriage, which I had already suspected.  His age at first marriage is recorded as 26 which indicates that his first marriage occurred about 48 years earlier or about 1862. Again, my initial best guess, based on the 1870 census,  now seems more probable.

Louis Müller, tinsmith, age 82, died  23 April 1918 in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.  [15]  He was buried in Lutheran Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.  His death record lists his parents as Christian Muller, born in Germany, and Charlotte Petry, born in Germany.  Similar names – Carl Muller and Charlotte Petri– appear in the marriage record for Louis and Anna Klee Wolf.  Louis’ surname appears as both Müller and Miller in various records with Miller being the Americanized version.

Story of Anna Wolf and the stories of her two husbands are now virtually complete.  Of Anna’s 8 children, I can relate semi-complete stories for five of them.  Questions about Louis Miller’s other wives and his other children remain unanswered.

Biographical outline — Louis Müller/ Miller

muller_louis_biographical outline

Narrative biography:  Louis Miller was born 1835 in Prussia to Christian or Carl Müller and Charlotte Petri.  Louis immigrated to the United States about 1860. He married about 1863; the name of his 1st wife hasn’t been discovered.  She died before 1870. They had 3 children-Margret, Lise/ Lizzie and Henry.  Louis’ 1st wife died about 1869. In 1875, Louis married Anna Wolf Klee, a widow with 5 children—Fritz, Anna, Catherine/ Katie, Louis and Amelia /Mollie.  Louis and Anna had 3 children—Charles, William and Charlotte.  Anna died in 1883. Louis remarried in 1884 to a woman named Suzannah or Susie.  They did not have any children. Louis died in 1918 at the age of 82 in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.



I repeated myself several times in this post.  Was the repetition really needed?  I want to do a timeline for each of the adults that shows the intersections between them.  I’m not sure why this family intrigues me.  Perhaps it’s just because of the challenge!  I am still surprised when most of the puzzle pieces finally fall into place.  I feel a little sad about putting mom’s family aside for awhile.  But, this kind of break may bring fresh perspectives when I resume the work.  I often end with more questions than when I started.  I guess that’s just what genealogy is about.  Inquiring minds want to know!!

Have I met the “reasonably exhaustive research” Genealogical Proof Standard for Louis Miller? Partially.

What I learned:  Be persistent. Continue to use variety of resources.  Look at a variety of clues from all sources.

What helped:   Multiple online resources.  Taking time to fill in research logs and pose questions.

What didn’t help:  Late night work sessions.

TO-DO:   Confirm death date and place for Fritz Klee, Catherine Klee Reichert, Louis Klee JR, Mollie Klee Keenan, Charles Miller, and William Miller.  Discover marriage, census, and death information for William Miller.  Look for additional information about Margret, Lizzie and Henry Miller.


[1] Viola’s history. Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker, “Maurer- Tucker Family History.” (Handwritten notes. Huntington, New York, ca. 1975-1980), Esbon J. Tucker, p. 2;  carbon copy  privately held by Susan M. Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use,], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2010.  Transcribed by Ms. Ellerbee in 2012. Ms. Ellerbee is the granddaughter of Amalie Charlotte Tucker and great-niece of Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker. No sources in original document; most information has been confirmed by reliable sources.  Pages 2 -3.

[2] “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, Family Search (   : accessed & printed 19 December 2018), entry for Louis Muller and Anna Wolf Klee; citing Marriage, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; marriage 5 September 1875.

[3] 1870 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 16, p. 78 (penned), dwelling 288, family 762, Anna Kleh ; digital images, Family Search  (  :   accessed, printed, downloaded 14 August 2018);  citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593. Anna Kleh [Klee], age 25, place of birth: New York, parents of foreign birth.

[4]  “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, Family Search  (  : accessed & printed 20 December 2018), entry for Louis Klee, age 31; consistent with other records that Anna Wolf Klee was widow by 1876.

[5]  “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, Family Search, entry for Louis Muller and Anna Wolf Klee.

[6]  New York, Probate case files, Anna Miller (formerly Anna Klee) deceased; “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866 – 1923,” digital images, FamilySearch ( : viewed, printed, downloaded 18 December 2018); filed 8 Jan 1892 in Kings County Surrogate Court by Louis Klee Jr.

[7] 1870 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 16, p. 803A (stamp), dwelling 267, family 720, Louis Miller age 33, b. Prussia, tinsmith; digital images, Ancestry  (  : accessed, printed, downloaded 5 January 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_957.

[8] “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, Family Search, entry for Louis Muller and Anna Wolf Klee.

[9] 1880 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, enumeration district (ED) 149, p. 328A (stamp), p. 53 (ink pen), dwelling 159, family 585, Louis Miller age 45, tinsmith; digital images, Family Search (  : viewed, downloaded, printed 19 December 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication T9, roll 0850

[10] New York,  Probate case files, Anna Miller (formerly Anna Klee) deceased.

[11] State of New York, “New York, State Census, 1892,” digital images, Ancestry  (   : accessed, printed, downloaded 5 January 2019), entry for Louis Miller, age 51, page 21.; citing New York State Education Department, Office of Cultural Education, New York State Library, Albany,New York; wife, Susie plus 3 Miller children born to Louis 2nd wife, Anna Wolf Klee.

[12] 1900 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, election district 27, New York City Ward 28, enumeration district (ED) 526, p. 14 A (ink pen), dwelling 144, family 349, Louis Muller age 64; digital images, Family Search (     :    accessed, printed, downloaded 21 December 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T623.

[13] State of New York, “New York, State Census, 1905,” digital images, Ancestry (  : accessed, downloaded, printed 5 January 2019), entry for Louis Miller, age 69 (transcribed as 64); citing New York State Archives, Albany, New York; Page 36, lines 22-23.

[14] 1910 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 28, enumeration district (ED) 0912, p. 2A (ink pen), dwelling 14, family 28, Louis Miller age 74, tinsmith; digital images, Ancestry (  :  accessed, downloaded,printed 5 January 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T624_982.

[15] Louis Miller death record. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, Family Search (     accessed & printed 21 December 2018), entry for Louis Muller, b 1835, Germany; citing Death, Brooklyn, Kings, New York Municipal Archives, New York; ‘married”.

©Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

I can’t find Ludwig/ Louis Klee in 1880!

What do you do when the puzzle pieces don’t fit? Some pieces must be missing! You can’t find someone in 1920 census record and you are fairly certain that he or she was still alive.  Later, you discover that the person died in 1922. Information in death record leads you back to 1920 census. Careful documentation helps to complete the puzzle.

Image used with permission.  Barry J. Ewell, “Genealogy: Following every clue leads to genealogy success,” blog post, GENEALOGY BY BARRY, posted 22 Dec 2015

Great-Aunt Viola ‘s  eight-page family history, written in the 1980s, provided large pieces of the  family puzzle.[1]  She recorded names, events and dates for 4-5 generations of the Tucker-Maurer family.  Specifically, putting the puzzle together for Ludwig  (Louis) Klee and Anna Wolf, my maternal great-great grandparents (Generation 5) proved difficult.  This post reviews the clues and missing puzzle pieces for the title concern:  I can’t  find Ludwig (Louis) Klee in 1880 census.

To begin, there is the matter of Anna’s marriage to Charles Miller which occurred ‘several years after Ludwig’s death’ , according to Great- Aunt Viola. [2]  She recorded that Charles and Anna had 3 children.  CLUE #1 Anna was still of childbearing age when she married Charles.  She was certainly less than 40-45 years old and possibly closer to early or mid-30s.

In 2014, I found 1910 census record for Louis Klee, age 57, and wife, Anna, age 53, in Brooklyn. [3]  ANALYSIS:   Profile doesn’t fit if Anna had children with her 2nd husband and is a negative finding.  CLUE #2.  ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESIS:   The presumed children of Charles and Anna were Charles’ children with another woman.  This doesn’t exactly fit but is possible.

In 2017, I found Anna Klee listed as ‘wid Louis’ in 1876 Brooklyn City Directory. [4]  CLUE #3:  Louis died before 1876. If true, then Ludwig (Louis) Klee and wife, Anna, will not be found in 1880 census.

Clean-up of mom’s family tree resumed in January 2018. Ludwig (Louis) Klee, Anna, and Charles Miller were among my targets.  When did Louis die?  When did Anna and Charles marry?  The search tested new and rediscovered skills and did not follow the chronological timeline of actual events.

Great-aunt Viola reported three children for Charles and Anna – Charles, William, and Charlotte.  Charlotte married Otto Stumpf and had 2 children- Oscar and Otto.  The unusual surname seemed a good place to start. In July, 2018, I found a 1910 census record for Charlotte and Otto Stumpf in Queens, New York. [5] CLUE #4:  Lottie’s age of 30 suggests birth year about 1880. This is a “Reverse Genealogy” strategy because I started by moving forward in time instead of back. [6]  Using children to find out about parents falls into this category.

In August, 2018, I found 1870 census record for Louis Klee, age 30, and wife, Anna, age 25. [7] (See blog post, Name Variations in Census Records for details).  CLUE #5:  Ludwig was known as Louis and alive in 1870. Children listed on 1870 census are the same as the ones  listed by Great-Aunt Viola.

After careful review, I began again in December 2018.  I initially returned to Ancestry database but found no new information. Then, I moved to the Family Search database.


Find 1880 census record for Charles and Anna Miller.  Rationale:  Assume that Anna was a widow in 1876 and had remarried by 1880, birth year of Charlotte Miller Stumpf.

  • Multiple search criteria using various spelling of names with minimal results. Finally, a large puzzle piece emerged – New York Surrogate Court Probate Record for Anna Miller (formerly Anna Klee).[8]  (CLUE # 6). Record includes several important items:
    • Probate filed January 1892 by son, Louis Klee
    • Anna died 23rd June 1883 in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York
    • Named 7 children – Anna Maurer, Katie Reichert, Louis Klee, Mollie Klee “all of full age”. Charles Miller, about 15; William Miller, about 14; Carlotta Miller, about 12.
    • Husband, Louis Miller, renounced rights to Anna’s estate.
    • Analysis: Anna’s 2nd husband was known as Louis Miller, not Charles.  Charles could be his given or middle name.  Married names of Anna and Katie Klee are consistent with Viola’s history.  Charles Miller, born about 1877. William Miller born about 1878. Carlotta Miller, born about 1880, certainly the same person as Charlotte Stumpf, age 30 in 1910.
    • Why wait for 9 years to file probate after Anna’s death? Perhaps waited until Mollie, youngest child of Louis Klee and Anna, was ‘of age’  at 21 years?  Dispute between children of first marriage and Anna’s 2nd husband?
  • Changed husband’s name to Louis Miller for search. Still using Family Search database.
    • Marriage record for Louis Miller, widower, age 39, and Anna Wolf Klee, widow, age 29. Married on 25 September 1875 in Brooklyn, New York. [9] CLUE # 7
    • 1880 census record for Louis and Anna Miller in Brooklyn, New York. [10] Names and ages on  census record:  CLUE #8
      • Louis Miller, age 45, born Germany, tinsmith
      • Annie Miller, wife, age 35, born Germany
      • Annie Miller, daughter, age 16, born New York
      • Katie Miller, daughter, age 15, born New York
      • Louis Miller, son, age 11, born New York
      • Emalie Miller, daughter, age 9, born New York
      • Lizzie Miller, daughter, age 13, born New York
      • Charles Miller, son, age 4, born New York
      • William Miller, son, age 3, born New York
      • Charlotte Miller, daughter, age 6/12.
      • Analysis: Names of children and approximate ages, except for Lizzie, are consistent with other records.  Census taker may not have asked if any of the children had a different last name. Louis Miller could have adopted the Klee children. 
      • disco-ball-150x150Lizzie Miller, age 13, born about 1867, is likely the child of Louis Miller and another woman. BSO Alert!  Confirm parents of Lizzie Miller. Locate Louis in 1870 per census.

Recall my original objective – Find 1880 census record for Charles and Anna Miller.  Objective was not met because Anna Wolf Klee’s 2nd husband was known as Louis Miller, a previously missing puzzle piece.  However, I did find Louis and Annie Miller in the 1880 census.  the census record provides estimated birth years for the children.  The probate record shows that Anna Wolf Klee Miller died in 1883, age about 37 years.  She left seven children, ages 3 to 19. This section of the puzzle is almost complete!

Two days later, I renewed my search for information about Louis Klee’s death.  I got a hit almost immediately.  Louis Klee, age 31, died 25 October 1871. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.[11]  CLUE #9 and a missing puzzle piece.

FITTING THE PIECES TOGETHER:    Why couldn’t  I find Ludwig/ Louis Klee in 1880 census?  Many clues and irregular puzzle pieces later, I have the answer.   Louis died in 1871, leaving his widow, age 26, with 5 children under the age of 8.  His youngest daughter, Amalie, was only 4 months old when her father died.  His son, Fritz, is believed to have died within a year or two of his father’s death. Anna married Louis Miller in 1875 and bore three more children.  Anna Wolf Klee Miller died in 1883.  Aunt Viola had recorded only one piece of misinformation – the name of Anna Wolf Klee’s 2nd husband.



My search for this family has been long and difficult. Great-aunt Viola’s naming of Charles Miller as Anna’s 2nd husband threw me off track. This is one of the few things that I haven’t been able to  confirm.  I believe that Viola wrote what she remembered.   Louis Klee and Anna Wolf were Viola’s grandparents.  Both had died more than 20 years before Viola was born. Viola’s other grandparents, Valentin Maurer and Anna Katharina Corselius, died  about 8 years before Viola’s birth. Viola herself was an orphan at age 20. Piecing together the Maurer family story would be much more difficult without Viola’s history.  This blog is my gift to the next generation by telling the family stories.

I feel sad.  Men and women died so young and left young children to be raised by others.  Children grew up without knowing their grandparents.

What I learned:  Value of searching multiple databases.  Systematic, careful documentation of everything, even negative findings.  Use multiple names and dates as search criteria. I often use the Reverse Genealogy principle, although I didn’t know the term until recently.  Be persistent.  A record that wasn’t there last week may be there today. Or, maybe I didn’t use an appropriate search term last week?  Possibly  new source – The American Antiquarian Society.

What helped:  Viola’s handwritten history as a base.  Online resources and databases. Going back and forth in time as I searched.  Used different name spelling.  Writing more concisely to keep blog word count about 1500 words.  Question everything!

What didn’t help:  Frustration when hours of work turned up nothing. I was ready to give up more than once.  This family’s story is still not complete.  Piecemeal  record keeping during early years.

TO-DO:  Follow research plan to discover information about each of Anna Wolf Klee Miller’s children. Confirm parents of Lizzie Miller, age 13 in 1880 census.  Confirm residence and death information for Louis Miller, born about 1835, died after 1892 (Anna’s probate date).

NEXT POST:   Louis Miller’s story


[1] Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker, “Maurer-Tucker Family History,” 2 sections; MS, 1800s to 1980s, Huntington, Suffolk County, New York; privately held by great-niece, Susan Mercedes Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2017.  Carbon copy of original document created ca. 1975-1980 and sent to Viola’s niece, Eunice Bertha Tucker Posten, Ms. Ellerbee’s mother.

[2] Charlotte A. Maurer section, “Maurer-Tucker Family History,” page 3.

[3] 1910 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 32, enumeration district (ED) 0988, p. 7B (ink pen), dwelling 124, family 159, Louis Klee age 57; digital images, Ancestry ( : viewed & downloaded 30 December 2014); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T624_985.

[4] The Brooklyn City and Business Directory: for the Year Ending May 1st, 1876 (Brooklyn, New York: Lain & Co., Publishers, 1876), page 485, column 2, entry for Klee, Anna, wid, Louis, h 138 Johnson; digital image, Ancestry ( : viewed, downloaded, printed 19 March 2017), microfilmed from the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society.

[5] 1910 U.S. Census, Queens, New York, population schedule, Borough of Queens, enumeration district (ED) 1255, p. 8B (ink pen), dwelling 133, family 187, Lottie Stumpf, age 30; digital images, Ancestry ( : viewed & downloaded 17 July 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T624_1064.

[6] Jennifer Dondero, “More Reverse Genealogy”, The Occasional Genealogist, (  : accessed 1 December 2018).

[7] 1870 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 16, p. 78 (penned), dwelling 288, family 762, Louis Rleh [Kleh]; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed, printed, downloaded 14 August 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593. Surname transcribed as “Rleh” for Louis and “Kleh” for others in family. Recorded names and ages of children correspond to information in Aunt Viola’s family history.

[8] New York, Probate case files, Anna Miller (formerly Anna Klee) deceased; “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866 – 1923,” digital images, FamilySearch ( viewed, printed, downloaded 18 December 2018); filed 8 Jan 1892 in Kings County Surrogate Court.

[9]  “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, Family Search ( : accessed & printed 19 December 2018), entry for Louis Muller and Anna Wolf Klee; citing Marrige, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.

[10] 1880 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, enumeration district (ED) 149, p. 328A (stamp), p. 53 (ink pen), dwelling 159, family 585, Louis Miller age 45; digital images, Family Search ( NVX : viewed, downloaded, printed 19 December 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 0850.

[11]  “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, Family Search ( 845 : accessed & printed 20 December 2018), entry for Louis Klee, age 31; consistent with other records that his wife, Anna, was widow by 1875.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots, 2019.


Susan’s Genealogy Research Goals for 2019

In my last post,  End of Year Review- 2018 Genealogy Goals,  I reviewed my 2018 goals. Now, I present my 2019 goals and some insights.

Why set goals for your genealogy research?  The terms ‘focus’ and ‘guide’ come to mind.  Focus implies a specific area for your attention. A synonym for guide is ‘direct’ which also means ‘showing the way’.  Goals help you stay focused and direct your path. Annual  genealogy goals should also be flexible.  Circumstances, such as time and money, change.  New opportunities and challenges present themselves.  Be prepared to change or delete.  Be open to adding new goals.

Goals can be broad or narrow.  I believe that broad annual goals serve us better.  Although, some specifics are needed.  Example:   “Order birth/death/ marriage certificates” is probably too broad. “Order at least 4 birth, death or marriage certificates for Tucker-Maurer ancestors”  gives direction and is measurable.

COMMENT:  My teacher persona now kicks in. Most people use the term “goals” in the same way as the term “objectives” .  I view goals as broad statements with a long term focus such as goals for the year, quarter, month or project.  An objective (or step) reflects a short term focus—what do I want to accomplish today, this week, or during this work session.  Objectives are more specific than goals.   “Order death certificate for Anna Klee Maurer from New York in January 2019” is an objective.  Enough of the soapbox. Don’t fret about which term that you use.

I found this blog post helpful:   Setting Genealogy Goals by Jennifer Patterson Dondero. [1]  She suggests five steps:

  1. Previous year review
  2. Broad interest or goal identification
  3. Refining your interests/ goals
  4. Correlating your previous year review with your refinements
  5. Finalizing your resolutions/ goals

I have already reviewed  2018 (see last blog post).  Based on that review, I wrote an initial set of goals (step 4).  So, back to steps 2 and 3.  My broad interest areas are mom’s family (Tucker-Maurer) and husband’s family (specifically Ellerbee). We are tentatively planning a genealogy field trip to Alabama and Georgia in summer 2019. Purpose is to visit areas where Ellerbee family lived during pre-Civil War era.  I reviewed Ellerbee family research in 2014 before we made a trip to east Texas. Ellerbee family review was done December 2017 through January 2018 as I prepared a scrapbook for father- in-law’s 80th birthday.  I think that initial goal refinement is needed to set aside mom’s family for now and focus more on Ellerbee family.  

Here are my refined 2019 goals:

Tucker-Maurer family (mom’s family):

  1. Continue paper & digital file clean-up.  Timeline:  January 2019. 
  2. Defer remainder of work as needed.

Ellerbee-Simmons/ Johnson-Reed (husband’s family)

  1. Purchase notebooks for Ellerbee-Simmons & Johnson-Reed certificates, photographs and other memorabilia.
  2. Send in husband’s DNA test.
  3. Begin paper & digital file clean-up for father-in-law’s and/or mother-in-law’s family.
  4. Plan field trip to Alabama and Georgia to trace Ellerbee family migration. If time and geography permit, follow migration of Johnson-Reed family.

Posten-Richards family (dad’s family)

  1. Copy paper BMD certificates from Posten relative to digital files. Place originals in Posten BMD notebook.
  2. Submit at least one article to a local genealogical society for publication in their newsletter.  Priority: Use information from 2010 Posten family history (continued from 2018). 
  3. Assist nephew to combine family trees of his parents (continued from 2018).
  4. Revise at least 4 chapters of Posten family history book. Explore publication options for  2020.  (One chapter done in 2018).

Genealogy Blog:

  1. Post on regular basis, optimally every 2 weeks.
  2. Post at least 2 stories about each family- Posten-Richards (Dad), Tucker-Maurer (Mom), Ellerbee-Simmons (Father-in-law), Johnson-Reed (Mother-in-law).
  3. Limit each post to about 1500 words.
  4. Purchase or download software to post GEDCOM family tree. Add at least 2 family trees to blog.
  5. Address Genealogical Proof Standard in reports/ posts.

General items:

  1. Create master lists of To-Do/ BSO items and questions for each family. Begin with  Tucker-Maurer and Ellerbee families.
  2. Send for at least 6 BMD certificates. If budget permits, request one certificate per month.
  3. Add to Research Toolbox: Book about “Dating Vintage Photographs”; possibly Dragon software.
  4. Continue volunteer genealogy work with Daughters of the American Revolution.
  5. Enroll in at least one genealogy-related webinar or online class, topic to be determined.  
  6. Review Genealogy Proof Standard. Buy book on this topic.


Printer & ink             $  60.00
Paper/ Notebooks $ 10.00
Books $ 50.00
BMD Certificates $ 120.00
Personal education $ 150.00
Subscriptions $ 600.00
TOTAL $1040.00   

Want more information about research goals? Look at these websites:  

Thomas MacAntee, Genealogy Do-Over, Month 2:  

Legacy Tree Genealogists:

Family Tree Magazine:


I have learned so much in the past two years from the Genealogy Do-Over. My file clean-up efforts will eventually pay off although progress sometimes seems very slow. My research habits continue to improve. My family feels a little neglected at times. I need to balance my genealogy and family time better.  

My husband suggested that I can earn money with genealogy. To do that, I need to pursue certification. I am not adding that to my goals for 2019 but will keep it in mind.

What I learned:  Define broad interest/ research areas.  Some of my blog posts meet the ‘reasonably exhaustive research’ standard and some do not. I use the blog as a sounding board for questions and brick walls.  The work doesn’t have to be complete for posting here.

What helped: Finding blog post about Setting Research Goals from The Occasional Genealogist. I reformatted my initial scattered list into broad interest areas/ categories. I believe this organization will help me to focus in 2019.

What didn’t help:  My background as a teacher wanting to separate goals and objectives. Not everyone needs to make that distinction! It’s a matter of semantics.

To-Do:  See my 2019 goals.


[1] Jennifer Patterson Dondero, “Setting Genealogy Goals”, The Occasional Genealogist, December 2017 (   : accessed 20 December 2018).

End of Year Review–2018 Genealogy Goals

December, a time to remember our blessings through the giving of gifts and family celebrations. One of my gifts has been time for Genealogy Do-Over.  How did I spend that gift?  In this post, I reflect on the year and present my 2018 goals and activities.

Overall, I am pleased with my genealogical research this year.  Contact with 4 cousins includes sharing information and asking for opinions about questionable data or conclusions drawn by others.  I was pleasantly surprised when one cousin sent me a box of old family pictures. Another cousin shared pictures digitally. My mother’s album of similar pictures has been lost so this was a wonderful gift!

I routinely use Genealogy Do-Over principles as new research directions appear.  I talked to my oldest son about preserving the legacy.  Daily computer time was limited for several weeks due to a painful shoulder.  Shoulder problem is now resolved as long as I work in short bursts.  Maybe Santa Claus will bring Dragon software? 

I hoped to complete digital clean-up of Mom’s family tree by the end of the year.  Did progress on Genealogy Do-Over interfere with conducting new research and following new leads?  In some ways, yes.  However, I did follow new leads.  Developing more efficient research habits meant slowing down a little. Specifically, I renamed digital documents immediately after downloading to my computer and  before saving the document to genealogy software.  I cited the source right then, too. This practice will ultimately save time later. Thorough documentation helped me to find insights that I would probably have missed before.  And, I wrote down those insights including  how I came to a specific conclusion!   

Writing blog posts took more time than I expected each week.  Some posts are really long and potentiallydifficult to follow.  At the end of theyear, I set a goal of 1500 words or less for each post. This goal will continuefor 2019. As I wrote, I gained new perspectives about each person or family. Gaps and questions seemed more clear.   

Susan’s Genealogy 2018 Goals:

  1. Continue paper and digital file clean-up.  Focus on mom’s family as Dad’s family files are almost done. Results:  Goal met.  Work continues on mom’s tree. 
    • Created research logs for 80 of the 297 persons in mom’s tree, including 28 identified direct line ancestors. The non-direct line persons (N = 52) are siblings of direct line ancestors and the siblings’  spouses.
    • Completed paper records (Individual worksheet, Research checklist, Biographical outline) for direct line ancestors and their siblings.
    • Digitally, renamed media files and rewrote source citations using Roots Magic source templates/ Evidence Explained[1] format.  Approximately 75% complete for Mom’s tree.
    • Refined labelling system for digital files.
    • Used same process of paper and digital file cleanup for a few files in other family trees (Dad, Father-in-law,Mother-in-law).
  2. Submit at least one article to a local genealogical society for publication in their newsletter. Use information from 2010 Posten family history.
    • Result:  Not met. Presented information to local DAR chapter about Father-in-law’sdistant cousin who lived in Oklahoma before statehood.  Keep same goal for 2019.
  3. Revise at least 4 chapters of Posten family history book. Explore publication optionswith expected publication in 2019.
    • Results:  Partially met. Revised one chapter of Posten family history book. Continue same goal for 2019.
  4. Send copies of grandparents’ BMD certificates to cousin.
    • Results: Met. Sent copies of grandparents’ certificates plus other BMD certificates to cousin. Sent print-ready copies of blog posts to another cousin.
  5. Send for at least 6 BMD certificates. If budget permits, request one certificate per month.
    • Results:  Partially met. Requested 5 certificates. One certificate sent to me by another Tucker-Maurer family researcher. Received 2 of 4 certificates requested. Waiting for 2 certificates from New York.  Certificates from State of New York can take 8-9 months. Certificates from New York City usually received within 6-8 weeks.
  6. Blog-related goals:
    • Post on more regular basis, optimally every 2 weeks.  Goal met.
    • Expand to husband’s family, at least 4 stories about his family during the year. Goal met.  Posted 5 stories about husband’s family.
      • Simmons,Ellerbee, Johnson-Reed scrapbooks—posted 29 January 2018
      • Valentine in the family tree: Valentine Creager—posted 14 February 2018
      • Elegy to Elizabeth Hayes Ellerbee – posted 5 March 2018
      • Pre-1850 census records using William Bailey as example – posted 25 September 2018
      • Holcomb family and New Madrid Earthquakes, 1811-1812, posted December 3, 2018.
    • Explore options for posting family trees to blog. Goal partially met.  Option called RootsPersona ( is one option. For 2019, post at least two family trees to blog.
  7. Learn more about DNA testing.  Join DNA Do-over Facebook group. Goal met. Joined Facebook group on 4 January 2018. Read posts about once a week.
  8. Post DNA results to GEDmatch.  Goal met. Posted DNA results to GEDmatch on January 7, 2018. Posted family tree to GEDmatch in March 2018.  Helped one DNA match discover biologic grandmother (person and person’s mother had been adopted; person was able to give me possible surnames and a location).
  9. Assist nephew to combine family trees of his parents (his mother is my sister). Goal not met. Talked about family trees during visits to nephew.
  10. Prepare Ellerbee family scrapbook for Papa (Father-in-law). Goal met. Completed 11 January 2018. Presented to him in honor of 80th birthday.

Other activities:

  • Created digital scrapbook of vintage Tucker-Maurer photographs. Includes photos sent to me by two cousins.
  • Consulted books and online resources about preservation of vintage photographs.
  • Purchased archival quality plastic sleeves for preservation of vintage Tucker-Maurer photographs.
  • Purchased notebooks for BMD certificates, photographs and other memorabilia of Posten-Richards and Tucker-Maurer families.
  • Used principles learned in Genealogy Do-Over to research families of two persons who are related to me by marriage.
  • Joined GenealogyBank for access to newspapers.
  • Continued routine scheduled backups to Cloud and external hard drive.
  • Purchased 7 books for Research Toolbox: 
    • Berry, Kenyatta D. The Family Tree Toolkit. New York, New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2018.
    • Bettinger, Blaine T. Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy. Kindle edition.Cincinnati, Ohio: Family Tree Books, No date.
    • Crawford,Mark.  Confederate Courage on Other Fields: Overlooked Episodes of Leadership,Cruelty, Character, and Kindness. El Dorado Hills, California:  Savas Beatie, 2017.
    • Hendrickson, Nancy. 52 Weeks of Genealogy: Projects for Every Week of the Year. Kindle edition. San Diego, California: Green Pony Press, 2017.
    • Lardas,Mark. Nashville 1864: From the Tennessee to the Cumberland.  New York: Osprey Publishing, 2017.
    • Richards, Amber. Preserve Your Family Pictures: How to Save Photo Heirlooms for Future Generations. Kindle edition. Publication information not listed.
    • Rigdon,John C. Historical Sketch and Roster of the Georgia 25th Infantry Regiment. Kindle edition.Cartersville, Georgia: Easter Digital Resources, 2015.

How much did my hobby cost?  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Archival materials      $ 76.83 (includes scrapbook items)
  • BMD records                $92.00
  • Books                            $74.80
  • Copying                       $    4.20 (forms for paper files)
  • Ink/ printer                  $339.95(New printer July 2018)
  • Online databases        $788.75 (Discontinued 1 due to minimal results)
  • Paper/Scrapbook        $  10.00 (3 reams paperfrom estate sale)

Total                           $1386. 53

Average/ month        $  115.54

Ink/ printer and online database costs should decrease in 2019.  

Next blog post:  2019 goals and budget   


[1] ElizabethShown Mills. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd ed. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015).

New Madrid earthquakes and Holcombe ancestors

What do you know about the New Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid) earthquakes of 1811-1812? If you are like me, you  don’t know much, if anything.  Geologists and seismologists (persons who study seismic activity, a.k.a. earthquakes) can maybe tell you about it.  I learned about the earthquakes while researching my mother-in-law’s Holcomb ancestors. Several Holcomb families are reported to have  lived in or near New Madrid, Missouri, when the earthquakes struck.  As a genealogist, can I prove the connection?  First, I relate the family history  and  historical documents then information about the earthquakes. Finally, I make my own conclusion.

New Madrid earthquake pic

The ancestral Holcomb/ Holcombe line traces back to Pendleton County, South Carolina.  The 1790 census shows Joel Holcomb with one male over 16 years and 4 females. [1]   Joel Holcombe I received a land grant in Warren county, Kentucky  in 1792. The state of Virginia generally reserved land grants in this area for Revolutionary War soldiers. [2]  Joel Holcombe I is my mother-in-law’s fifth great-grandfather.

An extensive Holcombe family history was published in 1947.[3] The narrative records one or more men named Joel Holcombe in each generation.  Sources include historical documents and oral family history. The editor also refers to written communications from numerous family members.

Pages 492-493:  “[Joel Holcombe I] moved about 1797 with brother, Harman Holcombe, to Warren Co., Ky [Kentucky]. . . . moved from Warren Co., Ky. about 1804 with his brother, Harman Holcombe to New Madrid, New Madrid Co., Mo., they being reported as the first settlers there to take up land W. of the Mississippi River in the then new Louisiana Purchase. . . . moved to St. Clair Co., Ill. where his brother, Zachariah Holcombe, arrived in 1807. Joel had returned to New Madrid, Mo., by 1809 when he d.[ied] there.”

Page 493:  “Joel Holcombe II. . .  moved from Pendleton to Warren Co., Ky. about 1797 . . .and on or before 1812 had left Warren and was settled in New Madrid Co., Mo. where they were Dec. 16, 1811 when the first of a long series of earthquake shocks there, and throughout a large adjoining region. . . . “

If this account is true, then Joel Holcombe I died in or near New Madrid in 1809. Other Holcombe relatives survived the earthquake.   “The Holcombes  fled this disaster with others, generally mounted, carrying but little of their property to higher ground to the north and west, in Mo., where Joel Holcombe remained only a year or two before removing to St. Clair Co., Ill. , where he entered land in 1814. . . . “ [4]

Census records for 1820 show Joel Holcomb in St. Clair County, Illinois.[5]  The family consists of 2 free white males of 16 and under 26 and 1 free white female of 26 and under 45.  Birth years for the males are estimated as between 1794 and 1804 suggesting that this is the younger Joel Holcomb.  So far, information looks consistent.

However, there is at least one issue. Joel Holcombe II’s birth year is reported as about 1797. If true, then he would have been 13 or 14 years old at the time of the New Madrid earthquakes. At present, I am not attempting to validate the above information as reported in the Holcombe history. That is another project!

missouri map

New Madrid is in the boot heel region of Missouri.  During the early 1800s, the Mississippi River system  was the primary trade route connecting eastern cities with New Orleans.  New Madrid was the largest settlement between St. Louis and Natchez, Mississippi.  This thriving, busy community had no way to predict the coming earthquake. Survivors reported rainy, unusually warm weather in the days just before the first quake.

The first earthquake shook the people of New Madrid, Missouri out of their beds at 2 a.m. on December 16, 1811. Numerous quakes continued to occur through March 1812. [6]  At least two of the subsequent quakes were felt as far away as Washington, D.C.  Eyewitness accounts describe the general destruction including coffins being tossed out of the ground at the local cemetery.[7]  At one point, the Mississippi River actually ran backwards and carried a flatboat about 4 miles upstream.

Located near Dunklin County, Missouri is Holcomb Island.  Dunklin county was formed in 1845 from Stoddard County which had been formed from  New Madrid County in 1845. [8]  Was this island named after our Holcomb ancestors? From a message board:  “Could Joel have been unlucky enough to have his 100 acres sink to the bottom of the Mississippi?”[9] The same person reported that Joel Holcomb bought land in New Madrid County from an Edward Robertson in October 1811. I have not seen the original land transfer record and have not located it online.

Question:  Were Holcomb ancestors present in or near New Madrid, Missouri at the time of 1811-1812 earthquakes?   Answer:  Likely.  The land transfer record would prove that Joel Holcomb I purchased land in New Madrid about two months before the first earthquake. Land purchase suggests residence  at the appropriate time.  What other Holcomb families lived in the area?  Joel Holcombe II may not have been old enough to have his own family.  The assertion still needs to be proved.  I see a genealogy field trip to Missouri in my future!

For additional information:

Fuller, Myron L. The New Madrid Earthquake. USGS Bulletin 494. Washington Gov’t Printing Office, 1912. [Cape Girardeau, MO: Center for Earthquake Studies, 1989].  121 pages with extensive references including some firsthand accounts.  Available online:



I have been intrigued by this story since I first read about it in 2015 as I delved deeper into my mother-in-law’s family.  The New Madrid earthquake was a significant event in our nation’s early history.  We lived in Arkansas for 9 years and heard about the New Madrid fault which runs through northwestern Arkansas.  A similar earthquake now would potentially cause thousands of deaths.  I have only scratched the surface on this topic.  Still makes for an interesting family story.

In this post, I continue to write about possible family connections to specific events. These connections make both the people and the events more real.  I realize that I need to validate information reported in the Holcombe book.  The challenge will be to separate the lives of multiple men named Joel Holcombe in various generations.  Genealogy Do-over focus for 2019?

What I learned:  Personal stories about those who experienced  the New Madrid earthquake. The impact was more far-reaching than I expected.  The Indian leader Tecumseh is part of this history. The Holcombe family story has been handed down for generations.

What helped:  Previous access to some documents.  Book about the earthquake in my local library.   1820 & 1830 census records for Joel Holcombe (probably  Joel  II) in St. Clair, Illinois. Met word count goal of less than 1500 words for this post.

What didn’t help:  Not having access to documents mentioned by others.  No online database found with 1810 census or tax records for Missouri. I am becoming too dependent on technology!

To-do:  Field trip to New Madrid and/or Missouri State Archives. Continue search for documents about Holcomb family during this time period.  Search 1810 census records in Warren County, Kentucky for Joel Holcomb.


[1] 1790 U.S. Census, Pendleton district, South Carolina, population schedule, , page 5, column 2, line 12, Joel Halcomb; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed, printed, downloaded 21 September 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M637,Roll 11.

[2] Hannah Elizabeth Weir McPherson, The Holcombes.Nation Builders (Washington, D.C.: The author , 1947), 492.

[3] McPherson, The Holcombes, Joel Holcombe I (p. 477, 492-493); Joel Holcombe II (p. 493); Joseph Holcombe (p. 493, 499-500).

[4] McPherson, The Holcombes, 493.

[5] 1820 U.S. Census, St. Clair county, Illinois, population schedule, page 131, line 33, Joel Halcomb; digital images, Family Search (   : accessed & printed 2 December 2018); citing National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication M19, roll 25.

[6] Jay Feldman, When the Mississippi ran backwards: Empire, intrigue, murder, and the New Madrid earthquakes.  New York, NY: Free Press, 2005.

[7] Arch C. Johnston & Eugene S. Schweig, “The Enigma of the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812,” Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 24 (1996), 339-384; image copy, Semantic Scholar, (  :  accessed & downloaded, 2 December 2018).

[8] Family Search Wiki (   : accessed 3 December 2018),  “Missouri County Creation Dates and Parent Counties.”

[9] Donna Lonan, “Wingfield Notes: The Holcombs,” My Arkansas Families, discussion board, November 1981 and January 1982, posting date unknown  (  : accessed 2 December 2018).

The story of stollen

What food traditions are honored by your family during this holiday season?  For my husband and his family, Nana’s cornbread stuffing is the ‘must-have’ dish with Thanksgiving turkey.  My family ate traditional fare of turkey with white bread dressing for Thanksgiving.  My mother’s allergy to turkey meant that she also baked a chicken or duck for her meal.  One of my fondest memories about visiting mom’s parents is stollen, a sweet yeast bread with German origins.  In this post, I digress from the telling of individual stories to share our family recipe and a few stories.


What’s left of the most recent stollen at our house

As mentioned, stollen is a sweet yeast bread with German origins.  It is made with dried fruits, nuts and spices. How to pronounce “stollen”

Here’s the RECIPE:   CHRISTMAS STOLLEN_one page

My maternal great-great grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Germany. Valentine Maurer and Maria Metzger were from Baden in southwest Germany. Ludwig Klee claimed Prussia in north east Germany as his homeland.  The ancestry of Anna Wolfe, Ludwig’s wife, is either Dutch or Prussian.  So, we honor those German traditions and food.

I remember that Gram always had stollen when we visited. Sometimes she bought the stollen from a commercial bakery,  Entenmann’s.  Entenmann’s  baked goods are available at many retail grocery chains. If you have never tried any of their cakes and desserts, you are really missing something wonderful! Sometimes the stollen came from the local bakery where great-aunt Viola worked.

My sister found the original recipe years ago. Both of us tweaked the recipe a little to produce this version. I make this stollen the week before Thanksgiving. We eat it Thanksgiving morning while watching parades on TV.  For the next several weeks, snack time often includes a small piece of stollen.  I often make a second recipe in December.


Use real butter, not margarine.  I use unsalted butter.  I cannot say how it would turn out if you use soft butter from tubs or salted butter.

Nuts:  I use pecans. Almonds or walnuts give a slightly different flavor.

Raisins:  We like golden raisins but regular black raisins work well, too. I haven’t tried the recipe with cranraisins.

I don’t have a counter-top mixer. I do all of the mixing and kneading by hand.  Quality should be the same if you use a counter-top mixer for kneading the bread dough.  Continue to mix in fruits and nuts by hand.

One recipe makes two stollen cakes. Wrap one in plastic wrap and aluminum; place in the freezer. Keeps in freezer for months.

Warm a piece in microwave for 10-15 seconds then put some butter on it. The butter just melts into the bread.



I put the recipe at the beginning of my post.  Why?  Personal preference. I am annoyed by  food posts that show multiple pictures of a dish with lots of text before you ever get to the recipe.  I don’t mind reading a short introduction.  Then, I want to read the recipe!  If I am interested, then I will read the rest of the post.  I guess it’s a marketing ploy similar to a salesperson telling you all about a product without telling you the price.

What I learned:  different ways to pronounce ‘stollen’.

What helped:  years of experience making this sweet yeast bread for my family.

What didn’t help:  nothing.

TO-DO:   I made one batch last week for my family. Make another batch after Thanksgiving for in-laws.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Ida Bedell Maurer, age 28, succumbs to Spanish Flu

This year represents the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu epidemic.  We usually think that victims of influenza are more likely to be very young or very old. However, the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919 was different. “It [Spanish flu] seemed to target the young and healthy, being particularly deadly to 20 to 35-year-olds.” [1]   Ida E. Bedell Maurer, age 28, became one of those victims.


(Image: from the National Museum of Health and Medicine) – Pandemic Influenza: The Inside Story. Nicholls H, PLoS Biology Vol. 4/2/2006, e50

Ida E. Bedell was born in October 1890 to William H. Bedell and Mary Ida Decker.[2]  By 1900, her parents moved to Huntington Station, Suffolk county, New York. [3]   The family of her future husband moved to Huntington Station from Brooklyn between 1900 and 1910. [4], [5]    The two families possibly knew each other.  In July 1916, Ida E. Bedell married Herman Charles Maurer, son of Herman Maurer and Anna Klee in Huntington Station, Suffolk county, New York.  The Huntington Long Islander newspaper carried the wedding announcement [6]:

Maurer - Bedell Marriage

Following their marriage, “Mr and Mrs Herman Maurer left on the afternoon train for Bridgeport, Conn., where they will reside. The groom hold a responsible position in that city.”   Herman’s ‘responsible position’ was that of a carpenter for the Remington Arms Company. [7] ,[8] .  The young couple’s future seems bright.

Nothing else is known about their life in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In October, 1918, Ida Bedell Maurer, age 28, died from influenza. [9]  Her husband, Herman, was also hospitalized with ‘the disease’.  There is no mention of children.

Bedell_Ida_mMaurer_death notice_crop

Following Ida’s death, Herman returned to Suffolk county, New York where he continued to work as a carpenter.  [10]  In 1922, Herman married Elizabeth Bailer [11] . They became the parents of two children – Herman E. Maurer, who died in World War II, and Grace Maurer. I wish I knew more of their story.

Websites with additional information:

Spanish Flu, posted 11 September 2018:

“The Deadly Virus: The influenza epidemic of 1918″, no date:



I have thought about writing this piece for several months.  My husband and I both have ancestors who died between 1917 and 1919.  I can confirm deaths due to the flu for some. Death certificates and/or other death records for some people remain undiscovered; those stories are for other posts. Both young and old persons from our families died during this time.

What I learned:  That the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919 was more likely to affect younger people than the very old or very young.   Ida Bedell Maurer was just one of those younger persons.

What helped:  access to multiple record sources.  Research on this family has been virtually complete for several months.

What didn’t help:  personal family issues and a slight delay in being able to write and post this blog.  Online, I found a picture of a young woman in bridal clothes who may have been a victim of the 1918-1919 Spanish flu. I could not find any identification. If I posted that picture here, people might think that the picture is of Ida. I would not want any mis-identification.

To-Do:  Search for pictures of Herman and/or Ida in their teens or 20s.  I have pictures of Herman as a baby and, in his 60s with his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Bailer.


[1] “1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic”,  ThoughtCo, Humanities, History and Culture,  No date,   :  Accessed 5 November 2018.

[2] “New York and Vicinity United Methodist Church Records,1775 -1949”,  database; marriage record for William H. Bedell and Mary Ida Decker, 30 June 1880,  Ancestry (   :  accessed 4 November 2018),  citing  Methodist Episcopal Church Records in New York City and vicinity, Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library; New York, New York.

[3] 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Suffolk county, New York, population schedule, Huntington Station,  ED, p. 2 (ink pen), p. 79A (stamp), dwelling 21, family 21, William H. Beddell, head; digital images, Ancestry (  : accessed & printed 5 Novmber 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration,  Washington, D.C.. microfilm publication T623.

[4] 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 21, enumeration district (ED) 331, p. 3B (penned), dwelling 13, family 63, Herman Maurer head; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed, downloaded, printed 8 October 2010); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T623_1058.

[5] 1910 U.S. Census, Suffolk County, New York, pop. sch., Huntington, enumeration district (ED) 1367, p. 2B (ink pen), Family #26, Herman Maurer (head); digital images, ( : accessed, viewed, downloaded 31 January 2017); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T624, roll 1083.

[6] “Maurer-Bedell,” Huntington [New York]  Long Islander,  Friday, 21 July 1916; PDF (cited by JamesCummings18, online family tree (

[7] “Connecticut, Military Census, 1917,” database and images, Ancestry (   : accessed & printed, 4 November 2018; citing Connecticut Military Census of 1917; Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut State Library.

[8] “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital image, Ancestry ( : viewed, downloaded, printed 25 July 2016), entry for Herman Charles Maurer, age 23; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918: citing Selective Service System, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; dated 5 Jun 1917.

[9]  “Mrs. Ida Maurer”, death notice, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, 15 October 1918, page 10, column 3; (   : Accessed & printed 1 February  2018.

[10] 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Suffolk County, population schedule, Brookhaven, enumeration district (ED) 94, p. 4B, dwelling 78, family 94, line 93, Herman C. Maurer, boarder; digital images, Find My Past (  :  : accessed, downloaded 3 February 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D. C. microfilm publication T625_1268.

[11] United States, Marriage Transcription for Herman Maurer and Elizabeth Bailer, 12 Feb 1922.  Find My Past (     :   accessed & printed 3 Feb 2018); Civil Marriage & Divorce records. Original data from New York City Municipal Archives, New York, New York. Borough: Brooklyn.


“It runs in the family”: Family health history pedigree

Did you inherit grandpa’s nose?  Are your eyes the same color as great-aunt Anna? Your genetic inheritance determines these, and other, physical characteristics. Medical conditions can be inherited as well as the risk of developing certain diseases.  As a genealogist, you collect a lot of information about your ancestors.  We tend to focus on dates and places – birth, marriage, death, occupation, travel. Do you also record information about illnesses?  What do you do with that information?

October is Family History Month.  It is a time for collecting and organizing information about your family. I suggest that you also develop a systematic plan for gathering and recording your family’s health history.  Thanksgiving is National Family History Day, as declared  by the U.S. Surgeon General. [1]

What are some genealogical sources of health information? Well known sources include death certificates and obituaries.  Less well known sources include various census records and county histories.

  1. Death certificates. Usually list cause of death and contributing factors.
  2. Family members. At your next family gathering, ask questions about your ancestors’ medical and health histories.  Someone might remember that your cousin twice removed had kidney stones and that her mother died from the same thing! Label this information as ‘tentative’.  Remember to cite source and date.
  3. Obituaries. Cause of death sometimes listed.  “A lingering illness” suggests illnesses such as cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease/ emphysema, dementia, heart failure, kidney disease, neurologic disease or stroke. Following an accident, people may survive for years with various levels of disability.  “A sudden illness” suggests a more acute condition although the person may have had symptoms for days, weeks or months.
  4. Birth certificates. May list weeks of gestation, which could indicate prematurity. May also report complications of pregnancy suffered by the mother.
  5. County death records. Usually a list of names, dates  and cause of death.  Availability of these records varies widely.  I found some county death records in Texas for the years 1917-1920 when causes of death were overwhelmingly ‘influenza’ and ‘pneumonia’.
  6. Look for information in newspaper social columns.  “Mrs. Mary Adams returned home Tuesday from Oklahoma City where she attended  the funeral of her sister, Susie, who died from pneumonia.”  A brief death notice may follow an earlier story about an accident or that the person had been admitted to the hospital.  Obviously, before our recent privacy laws went into effect!
  7. Published and unpublished family and county histories. Look for details that may lead you to search for other records.  “John James died after falling off a horse. He lingered, speechless, for three days.”   “Marilyn Samuels spent her last years in a tuberculosis sanitarium.”
  8. Reports of a woman’s death soon after giving birth. Sarah Ostrander Richards, my great-great grandmother, probably died from complications associated with childbirth.  Here is the evidence:  “Mr. [Nathaniel] Richards second wife was Miss Sarah Ostrander, born June 20, 1801 and died March 27, 1836. She had one son, Ostrander, born March 20, 1836.” [2]

CENSUS RECORDS show limited health information.

  1. Decennial Census records. Some included space to check if the person was ‘deaf, dumb, or blind’.[3]  (1850 census, column 13; 1860, column 14; 1870, column 18; 1880, columns 16-19; 1885, columns 16-29). If person is ‘inmate’/ patient of hospital or other institution, search for other clues about why person is there.
  2. Census mortality schedules,  data gathered from 1850 through 1885.[4] In general, these schedules listed persons who died within 12 months before the census.  Cause of death was one recorded item.
  3. 1880 census supplemental forms:  Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes (wording as posted on NARA website): [5]   Information limited to the named categories.
    1. Schedule 2: Insane
    2. Schedule 3: Idiots
    3. Schedule 4: Deaf- Mute
    4. Schedule 5: Blind
    5. Schedule 6: Homeless Children
    6. Schedule 7: Prisoners
    7. Schedule 7a: Pauper and Indigent

How do you document your family’s health history?  One method uses the U.S. Surgeon General’s website, My Family Health Portrait.   


Other websites that you may find helpful (listed alphabetically by author):

Centers for Disease Control:  Family Health History.

Family Search Blog:  4 steps to starting a health history.  Includes a downloadable Family Health History form.    URL:

Genetic Alliance: An easy to follow booklet, “Does it run in the family: A guide to family health history.”     URL:

Laura Landro, 30 March 2014, New Tools to Track Your Family Health History, Wall Street Journal,

Donna Prezcha,  Tracing your health history, URL:

Why is it important to know my family medical history?   URL:

Vibrant Life, 6 Medical History Questions You Should Ask Family,  Article 6, 19 July, unknown year;


In this post, I presented  common and less common sources of family health information.  Add to your to-do list:  Develop method to collect and record family health information.  Add family health information to records. Use multiple sources.



I collect family health information but haven’t routinely documented  the information in a meaningful way. Until I used the Surgeon General’s website, I only vaguely understood the importance of a genetic health history.  ‘Cause of death’ is an item on forms that I use.

What I learned:  nothing new at this time.  However, my learning curve for this information has evolved over the past 5-6 years.

What helped:  Knowing about the Surgeon General’s website. I presented this information to nursing students for many years.

What didn’t help:  nothing really.

TO- DO:  Review family health and medical information collected to date.  Use more diverse sources of information.  Record individual health and medical information on research logs.


[1] Surgeon General’s Family Health History Initiative website,  URL:

[2] J. B. Stephens, Compiler, History and Directory of Newton and Ransom Townships, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania (Montrose, Pennsylvania: J.B. Stephens, 1912), p. 86; digital images, Pennsylvania State University Libraries Digital Library Collections, ( : accessed, viewed, downloaded 2 July 2010; Nathaniel Richards family – 3 wives and their children.

[3] Blank copies of Census forms available from National Archives and Records Administration:

[4] See note number 3.

[5] See note number 3.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots, 2018

What’s in your family pedigree?

October is National Family History Month.  Colorful fallen leaves are among the month’s  symbols.  Have some leaves fallen from your tree?  Is your tree almost bare? For about 18 months now, I have been sharing family stories and my journey towards becoming a more efficient and effective genealogist.  This month is no different.  Today, I reflect on the use of pedigree charts as a genealogy tool to fill in branches and add leaves.

family tree design fall leaves

Accessed 8 October 2018 from:

Start small and stay focused.  Work on one family and one generation at a time.  If you feel like you are going too far out on a limb, scoot back and try another branch.  Your tree doesn’t have to be large or old. I have 5-8 generations and  200-300 people per tree (Dad, Mom, Dad-in-law, Mom-in-law). I have large and small branches. Some branches have many leaves, some have only a few.

Compare a pedigree chart to a sapling.  The  trunk is still small with a few branches and leaves. My initial pedigree charts showed 3-4 generations (branches)  with many incomplete details (leaves).  Over time, I added information on these charts.  I use a pencil  and question marks extensively until I can prove facts.  I am still learning to be very careful with research.  As a start, become familiar with the concepts behind pedigree charts.

Basically, a pedigree chart shows a person’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and, sometimes, more generations.  One of the easiest formats is 3-4 generations designed for printing on standard 8 ½ x 11 inch paper. Limiting the number of generations on the page means that basic vital information (birth, death, marriage) can be included and easily read when printed.  You are number 1 on the chart, or anyone else of interest in your family tree.  As you expand the number of generations, start new charts as needed.

You may want to start with a blank printed chart and fill it in by hand.  Those who advocate doing everything on the computer, please don’t choke!  Freely use pencil or question marks as needed.

Since recent posts focused on mom’s family, here is copy of  mom’s pedigree chart from RootsMagic, the genealogy software program that I use. Look for this feature in your program.  When first opened, online family tree databases usually show this standard type of pedigree chart.  Options may include flipping the chart so the home person (a.k.a. Person number 1) is at the top or bottom of the page.  The option chosen depends on what you are trying to show.


Traditional pedigree charts start on the left side of the page (person number 1). However, person number 1 can be on the right, top or bottom of the page. I have seen charts that start at the top of the page then list children across the page. Choose a format that best fits the message.

Kristen Williams, self proclaimed Genealogy Addict,  presents easy to follow directions in her  May 2016 blog post, “How do I get started?”  

Want a basic 4-generation pedigree chart?  Try this one from National Archives and Records Administration:  4 generation pedigree chart

Here is another form of the standard pedigree chart:   Grandma’s 6 generation box chart

In my first genealogy class, we received large 24 inches x 24 inches foldable 6-generation pedigree charts.  This chart is unique because it has room to list the children of the first 4 generations. I haven’t found a comparable pedigree chart online. If anyone knows of a source, please comment!

There are other types of pedigree charts, including fan and bowtie charts. These formats provide  different ways to view your ancestors.  Printable and fillable forms are readily available online.

FAN chart

This chart looks like a folded out fan. Color coded fan charts can be impressive. As with other pedigree charts, you can easily add more generations.

Ancestor Fan of Daniel Richard Posten_ver4

Fan chart, ancestors of Daniel Richard Posten, my dad.

One genealogist offers a different view of fan charts in his blog post of 16 April 2013.   James Tanner cautions about using any type of pedigree chart. Specifically, he discusses  “ unspoken inference that the information you find to create your fan chart is correct. “  His caution about pedigree charts applies to all of us who publish information about our families.

Bowtie chart  

This expanded fan chart looks like, well,  a bowtie.  The person of interest (Person number 1 on other charts) is in the middle.  Person number 1’s parents are on the left and right of the center circle. Also described as two connected fans.

Tucker_bowtie Pedigree

Bowtie chart, ancestors of Eunice Bertha Tucker, my mom. I did not add birth, death, marriage information here. Some templates show space for that information.

Similar to the bowtie chart is an hour-glass chart. In this chart, person number 1 is in the middle with parents above and below.

These are only three of the many choices for showing your family pedigree.  On your web browser, type in ‘family pedigree chart’ for many images and forms.

For Family History Month,  pick out a pedigree chart format and fill it out as much as you can. Try at least one of the other formats.

Websites:  Pedigree charts and other family history forms   Accessed 7 October 2018.   Free genealogy charts,  no publication date. Author:  Paul Hoesl.      Free downloadable chart.   Accessed 7 October 2018.    Accessed 7 October 2018.   Updated 3 August 2018. Author:  Kimberly Powell   Accessed 7 October 2018. Author: Kimberly Powell.  Updated 30 May 2018

Need more ideas for Family History Month?  Here are two websites with suggestions.

Kimberly Powell, ThoughtCo.  Ways to celebrate family history month. 

Family History month for non-genealogists”, blog post, 4 October 2013,  by Laura Hedgecock, Treasure Chest of Memories blog.



I am taking a short break from record clean-up for my Genealogy Do-Over. In some respects, I continually celebrate “Family History Month”.  I found suggestions for doing more than just recording birth, death, and marriage information.  I like the idea of different pedigree formats.  I respect Mr. Tanner’s practice of not using fan charts and agree with his caution about continuing to publish information that may not be correct. 

What I learned:  some of the ‘fillable’ online pedigree forms require purchase of additional software. Formats and amount of information vary widely.  Format of choice may depend on how readable you want all of the information to be. Some genealogical software programs offer more than one type of printable pedigree chart. 

What helped:  Software program that prints traditional format pedigree with options for number of generations and information.  I learned how to fill in and use pedigree charts in my first genealogy class, taken about 30 years ago.  GULP!  Has it really been that long ago???

What didn’t help: At least one online genealogy database does not offer user-friendly, printable pedigrees.  I didn’t try to print pedigrees from other online genealogy databases. 

To-do:  Continue trying to locate company that makes large scale, foldable pedigree format that includes names of children. Create own form, based on the original one that I have. 

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2018