Friday, September 4, 2015

Is There a Difference Between How Men and Women Approach Genealogy?

When I first began working on family history I had interactions with genealogists/family historians that left me with the impression that men and women approach family history differently and may have different goals when seeking ancestors.

My impressions
  • Men are most interested in finding their direct line ancestors while largely ignoring the siblings and children of those ancestors unless finding them can lead back to and give more information about the direct line ancestor.
  • Women are interested in finding direct line ancestors while at the same time seek to discover the siblings and children of those ancestors, thereby gathering and recreating families.

If this perception is true I assumed it had something to do with what I think of as innate qualities of men (often goal-driven) and women (often nurturing).  As time has passed I've noticed that men search for collateral lines but primarily it seems to be for the purpose of aiding the direct lineage and not solely to recreate the families of ancestors.

What do you think?  Is this generally true?  Have you noticed differences in the way men and women approach genealogy and family history?  What is your experience?  If you are a guy, what is your approach?  If you are a female, what is your approach?  Or are the differences related more to the level of experience of the genealogist/family historian?

I hope you'll share your thoughts.


Copyright © 2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Farewell Old Heritage Quest Search Engine

Through my years of family history research I've had three favorite sources of finding census records:  FamilySearch, Ancestry, and Heritage Quest.  Each was indexed differently and the presentation of results was different in all three.  When I couldn't find an ancestor in one it was possible to search in another and see the ancestor in a list of results.

I especially liked Heritage Quest for its straight-forward list that included name, age, occupation, and county, all on the same line.  It was a tidy, concise list.  I didn't need to scroll through multiple pages with extraneous informaiton.

Sometimes, when I knew where the ancestor should be -- was most likely to be -- I was able to search the location for a first name, a last name, or even an age and see a list of all possible candidates.  You know how the handwriting is so individual and the transcriptions vary depending on what the indexer thinks is written.  Seeing the list of all men named Paul in a specific county could be helpful.  Seeing them all on the same screen was even better.  But no more.

Heritage Quest has become a mini-Ancestry.  Yes, I like Ancestry, but even more I liked having Heritage Quest as a third option for searches of census records.  We don't need another variation of Ancestry.  We need -- I need -- the old Heritage Quest.

I knew Ancestry and Heritage Quest began working together in March of this year but since I haven't had the need to use it I didn't realize how much its presentation of census results had changed.

Farewell, dear old Heritage Quest.  I miss you.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The WayBack Machine and a Late Anniversary

For this past Saturday's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings suggested we use The Wayback Machine to see what our blogs looked like over time.  As I was looking I realized that I hadn't written a post for this blog's anniversary so I've combined the two.  My Ancestors and Me was born on August 1, 2009.  The Wayback Machine's first record of it is in 2011.

October 19, 2011:  It took me two years to realize that visitors had to scroll side to side to read posts.  This was taken soon after I changed the width.

January 17, 2012:  This was before I removed the border across the top.  (It didn't show in the above image because cropped it out.)

November 13, 2012:  After I removed the border at the top and changed the "welcome" image and link colors.

December 12, 2013:  The Wayback Machine seems to have been trying to translate my blog into a different language.

 July 2, 2014:  After I added pages and rearranged the sidebar.

March 22, 2015:  More pages but everything else is the same.

The changes have been subtle.  My blog's header has remained the same from the very beginning.  I've never felt the need to change it but looking at these screenshots in quick succession I realize that I could make it shorter so more of each post and image would show above the fold.  My sidebar arrangement has changed through the years as I reconsider my priorities.  It took me a while to realize that new readers might want to know from the beginning (toward the top) about the writer of the blog. 

Don't you think that's enough views of this blog's header for one post?  I do!

Thanks for visiting.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mineral Ridge Miners

O is for Ohio-Mineral Ridge Miners from Celeste Friedman on Vimeo.

I understand that most of the images in this video are not from Mineral Ridge.  Even so, I think it gives a good feel for the work of coal miners.  Watching and listening, I feel sorry for the men, boys, and animals who spent so much of their lives underground without the benefit of daylight performing such labor-intensive work.

I do not have ancestors who mined coal in Mineral Ridge, but I have coal-mining ancestors in other parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Copperweld Steel, From Mite to Giant - Workday Wednesday

The Youngstown Vindicator published the following article on Sunday, February 14, 1943, page B-44.  This particular issue of The Vindicator was filled with articles about businesses in Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and their production for the war effort.  Copperweld was mentioned in several other articles.
From Mite to Giant
Copperweld Steel's Expansion Puts It High Among Alloy Firms

(Special To the Vindicator)
50-ton furnace at Copperweld Steel
    Warren, Feb. 13.---Copperweld Steel Company's plant, still expanding, is a giant war producer.  It began as a comparative baby in October, 1939, and this summer will be producing a substantial proportion of the electric furnace steel made in America.
    Its products go into airplanes, ships and tanks with the United States Navy its principal receiver.
    A telegram from the Navy Department, read at a rally in the new cold draw building a few weeks ago, declared:  "The navy has given Copperweld a big job to do.  When your present expansion is completed you will be producing a substantial part of the electric furnace steel made in America.  The navy gives such assignments only to proven leaders.  The founder of your company, S. E. Bramer, is such a leader[.]"
    The telegram was signed by Clark H. Woodward, real [sic] admiral, chief of the incentive division of the U.S. Navy.
    Since Oct. 1, 1940, Copperweld's Warren plant has been in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Specializes in Specialties
    Copperweld's Warren plant makes virtually any kind of specialty steel.  Originally it was established for the dual purpose of supplying its Glassport, Pa., plant with the materials for the widely known Copperweld wire, rods and related products and other customers with high-grade alloy steels.
    The Glassport plant took billets of special steel, coated them with copper and molten-welded the two into a perfect bond.  The billets were than rolled into bars and rods.  From rods of about a half-inch thick, wire of all sizes down to as fine as a human hair was drawn.  In all sizes the same percentage of copper sheathing was maintained.  The advantages of the tensile strength of the steel with the electrical conductivity and corrosion-resistant properties of the copper made the product in high demand for the electric power and light industry.
Long Experience
    War brought new and tremendous demand for high-grade specialty steels.  President Bramer and his associates had 25 years experience in steel making and knew production design and methods to greatly expand efficient manufacture of specialty steels.  High ranking U. S. Navy officials frankly say they are glad this nation had Copperweld Steel's personnel.
    Electric furnace steel manufacture is a highly specialized process.
    The furnaces takes [sic] a charge of scrap iron with various combinations of iron, chromium, nickel, tungsten, spiegeleisen (bright iron), vanadium, silicon and other elements, reduces the mix to a molten mass at terrific temperature and in three or four hours disgorge alloy steel in ladles and thence to molds.
Finishing capacity Rises
    In Copperweld's plant there are 35-ton furnaces, 50-ton furnaces and a few as small as six-ton capacity to produce limited quantities of specialty steel.  Furnaces must be small enough to permit good control of the mixes and speedy enough to be efficient producers.
    The complete process of Copperweld's planned plant was casting ingots from the various proportional mixes, re-heating and then rolling the billets into bars or rods of the various sizes demanded by customers.
    Now, however, Copperweld not only makes thousands of tons more steel than originally planned, but has vastly increased finishing capacity.  There are 12, 18, 24, and 29-inch mills, a new 21-inch nearly completed and enlargements of all others.  There are greatly expanded finishing and fabricating units including large heat treating and cold drawing capacities.
    Men---and women also, nowadays---at Copperweld realize the importance of their jobs in the war effort.  Men of Copperweld last fall tore down and erected in 12 days the 29-inch mill.  It was a miracle of modern industry, but typical of Copperweld production.

Had my father, Lee Doyle, not worked at Copperweld I would probably have read this article with passing interest, but knowing he was working there during the war it helped me gain an appreciation for Copperweld's contribution to the war effort and for the work Dad performed there.  

Previous posts about Copperweld:
Copperweld Steel Mill - Workday Wednesday
Copperweld, Dad, and the War Years - Workday Wednesday


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Alfonzo Gerner - Tombstone Tuesday

Alfonzo / Alphonzo Gerner

Alphonzo Gerner
Husband of
Elva W. Covert
1874  ---  1952

Alfonzo is buried in Bear Creek Cemetery, Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Alfonzo has, perhaps, more given name variations than most people have surname variations.  They include Alfonzo, Alphonzo, Alphonso, Fon, Fawn, and possibly more I haven't remembered.

Thanks to Zachary Pyle for the photograph.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Goldens, and Less - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (on Sunday)

Randy Seaver of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun at Genea-Musings suggested we find which of our ancestors celebrated golden wedding anniversaries.  My memory told me that there were at least four couples among my ancestors, but a search through only four generations revealed seven.

The Seven Goldens (thus far discovered)

William Carl Robert Meinzen and Emma Virginia Bickerstaff were married 58 years, 4 months, and 30 days.  They married on September 8, 1914.  The marriage ended when she died on February 7, 1973.  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1964, and were honored with a newspaper article.

Henry Carl Meinzen and Elizabeth Armitage were married 50 years, 2 months, 2 days.   They were married on April 24, 1870, and she died on June 26, 1920.  They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1920.

John Thomas Thompson and Lydia Bell were married 50 years, 5 months, 9 days.  They were married on September 23, 1872.  He died on March 4, 1923.  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1922.  (From all information I can find, this marriage may have terminated years earlier -- let's just say it didn't appear to be wedded bliss -- but there was no divorce.)

William Bickerstaff and Susanna Holmes were married 63 years, 18 days.  They were married on March 4, 1830.  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1880. 

Frederick K. Gerner and Elvira Bartley were married 53 years, 8 months, 2 days.  They were married on July 24, 1872.  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1922. 

William Doyle and Tressa Rose Froman were married 51 years, 10 days.  They were married on March 17, 1885.  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1936. 

Dixon Bartley and Rebecca Smith were married 61 years, 5 months, 13 days.  They married on July 16, 1836 or 1838.  (Calculation is based on 1838.)  They celebrated their golden anniversary in 1888 and were honored with a grand fete which was reported in the newspaper.  Their marriage ended at her death in 1899. 

The Almost Goldens

Lee Doyle and Audrey Victoria Meinzen were married 48 years, 8 months, 4 days.  They married on September 15, 1938, and ended at Lee's death in 1987. 

Edward Jesse Bickerstaff and Mary Thompson were married 49 years, 5 months, 22 days.  They were married on March 15, 1891.  Their marriage ended at her death after

Andrew Doyle and Elizabeth Jane Laws were married 48 years, 9 months, 19 days.  They married on November 11, 1861.  Their marriage ended at his death.

The Briefest Marriages
These ended when a spouse died a premature death due to illness or accident.

Gust Doyle and Beulah Mae Gerner married 1 year, 3 months, 14 days.  They married on December 19, 1911.  The marriage ended at her death.

John Froman and Catherine Saylor were married about 10 years.  They married in about 1861.  The married ended at his death in 1871.

Abel Armitage and Eliza Hartley were married less than 12 years.  They married on 13 January 1847.  She died between 1852 and 1859.

Ellis Bickerstaff and Emma Nelson were married 16 years, 8 months.  They were married on September 1, 1861.  The marriage ended when she died on May 1, 1878.

This has been an interesting post to write, considering that I believe marriages can continue into eternity.  When I write of the number of years of marriage, I'm writing about mortal, temporal years.

Thanks for the fun, Randy.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Alfonzo Gerner's Wife # 1:  Death or Divorce?

After finding a marriage certificate for Alfonzo Gerner and Hattie Slagle with a marriage date of December 17, 1896, and knowing that at the time of his death in January, 1952, Alfonzo was a recent widower of Nona Covert, I wanted to investigate further to see what I could find.  I wanted to know if Alfonzo remarried because Hattie had died or because there was a divorce.

I guessed she might have died but no searches for Hattie Gerner revealed a person of that name -- at least not in online records.  Newspaper searches at MyHeritage, Google Newspapers, and Chronicling America did not help me find Hattie Gerner, either. 

Alfonzo and Hattie did not appear together in the 1900 U.S. census.  Alfonzo was living at home with this parents, Fred and Elvira (Bartley) Gerner.  But where was Hattie?  On their marriage certificate Hattie identified herself as Hattie Slagle, 22 years old (therefore born before December 16, 1874), and she named her parents as Frank and Jennie. 

With those few bits of information I searched the 1900 U.S. Census for Hattie Slagle.  In the index I found "Hattie M. Slagle" living with parents Benjamin and Jennie.  Alfonzo's Hattie had no middle initial and her father's name was Frank.

When I went to the census image, I saw "Hattie B. Slagle."  She was born September, 1874.  And there, the last individual in the family, was Ross Gerner (indexed as Gemes), grandson to head of household, born February, 1897.  Hattie's marriage information is blank (whereas the marriage information for all others in the family is identified). 

There are two other females of marriageable age in the family, Nellie, age 23, and Jessie, age 17, but both are identified as single.

I believe this is Alfonzo's Hattie even though her father's name is Benjamin in the census and Frank on the marriage record.  Other information aligns with the marriage record, and there is the grandson.  Alfonzo's obituary names Ross Gerner as his son.  A search for Ross turned up nothing helpful.

Further searches for Hattie led me to  the following:
  • A brief note was published in the Titusville Herald of Tuesday, August 20, 1935, that read, "Miss Hattie Slagle, of Bruin, is caring for Mrs. Nancy Bunting who has been ill for some time...."  Titusville is about 50 miles from Bruin.
  • A death certificate for Hattie B. Slagle shows that she was born on September 6, 1874; that her parents' names are Frank Slagle and Jennie Fredrick; and that she was divorced.  Hattie died on November 18, 1952.

  • I've been unable to find an obituary for Hattie but Find A Grave shows that Hattie Slagle was buried in Allegheny Church Cemetery in Butler County, Pennsylvania.  (You can click to enlarge the image.)

I am certain Hattie and Alfonzo divorced but I'll probably never know why.  One wonders because they married in December, 1896, and Ross was born just two months later in February 1897.  It's possible Hattie or Alfonzo felt the need for a speedy marriage, or perhaps either or both of their parents felt the need and added some pressure to push the couple into marriage.  That's never the best way to begin a marriage.

I thought of searching for a divorce record but because Alfonzo is not a direct-line ancestor I probably won't.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.
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