Saturday, September 25, 2010

Adventures in Ancestoring Ahead!

I'm getting ready and looking forward to tomorrow (or is it later today by now LOL?). A small local heritage group is hosting their fourth annual historic driving tour on Saturday. This year the tour will feature historic sites and buildings in and around the small rural village that my paternal grandmother's family line spent several generations living in and near. There are even some relatives still in the immediate vicinity today. I'm taking a camera and will report back here about any finds and items of interest I may learn.

I just now realized that the place where we will pick up our tickets and tour packet is only blocks from the cemetery where  a set of my gr-gr-gr-grandparents and a set of my gr-gr-gr-gr-grandparents (yep, that's four greats) are buried! I see a small detour from the official tour in my future.

 Out Adventuring,
~ Karen the AncesTree Sprite

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday – Great Grandma's Ring

It wasn't fancy or flashy. Just a small rose cut dark reddish-purple amethyst solitaire set in a simple rose gold band. My mother would show it to me from time to time when I was little and tell me that when I was older, it would be mine to wear.

The ring had belonged to Mom's maternal grandmother, Olie Lillian (Warner) Dyer of Wampsville, Madison County, and later Carthage, then Watertown, both in Jefferson County, New York. It had been given to Olie (pronounced OH-lee) when she was in her mid teens. No one knows if it was new when she received it or if the ring had been handed down to her from another relative. Amethyst was Olie's birthstone.

Olie had nine children who lived to adulthood, and more grandchildren than I've been able to determine. But she and my mother shared a special bond. You see, my mother was born on Olie's birthday and was named after her. When my mother turned sixteen, Olie pased her amethyst ring on to Mom, who wore it with pride, only eventually replacing it with her own engagement and wedding rings. At that time, Mom put the ring anyway for safekeeping to one day pass to her daughter.

On my 16th birthday, I unwrapped a small gift and there was gr-grandma's ring! It wasn't my birthstone, but I loved that ring and the connection to the past it had for me. I wore it with such pride.

Sadly, the ring is long gone and I don't have a photo to share of it. In high school, I participated in band, and part of our performance uniform was the wearing of white gloves. One day, I had a new pair of white gloves and to my chagrin, I realized at the last moment the gloves would not fit over the ring – the stone sat too high. I slipped off the ring and quietly stashed it inside the mouthpiece compartment of my instrument case. When I returned from the performance, I discovered the ring missing from my case – never to be seen again by me or my family.

Twenty four years later, I still think of that ring and wish I could go back in time to leave the ring at home that evening. 

*insert wistful sigh here*

~ Karen the AnceTree Sprite

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Floyd E. Yohn

Floyd E. Yohn
July 2, 1918 – August 18, 2004
Wife Martha Yohn – On Laureldale Cem. PA.

(small side stone inscription)
I am facing the east where the sun never sets – I am facing home where I shall rest. My feet point at the place where I was born, on that day, on a DeHart's farm. Floyd E. Yohn

Location: St. John's Church of Mt. Aetna, Berks County, PA

Floyd E. Yohn was my father's elder brother. He was born on his maternal grandfather's farm (Thomas Henry DeHart), which was located directly across a field from the hillside where the church and cemetery are located . Floyd's feet do indeed point to the site of the DeHart farm where he was born. Floyd's wife Martha predeceased him and was buried in Laureldale Cemetery, Reading, Berks County, PA next to her first husband. 

~ Karen the AncesTree Sprite

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pennsylvania Pioneers (My Father's Folk)

I'm going to get this blog ball rolling by introducing surnames from my father's side of the family tree. My father came from a long line of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) folks. These were the early immigrants from the Palatine region of Germany that arrived at either the Port of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania or who migrated south from the Schoharie Settlement in NY to the Tulpehocken Valley in western Berks County PA in the 1700s and early 1800s.
My father's ancestors never ventured farther west from the Port of Philadelphia than western Berks/eastern Lebanon Counties in Pennsylvania - less than 90 miles distance in over 260 years. I myself was born, raised and have always lived in Berks County. My roots run deep here.  

Stories from my searches will follow in later posts to this blog, but for now here are Pennsylvania surnames I've found in my father's side of my family tree (in alphabetical order):

Achenbach   Albright   Betz  Bickel  Christler  Closs  DeHart  Dengler  Dieffenbach  Fronfelt/Fronefield  Gehris   Gernandt  Gruber  Heydt  Hiester   Imbody   Jauss  Kastnitz  Kobel  Krauss  Lieb  Mather  Muthard  Neiman  Reigner   Schmidt  Smeltzer  Strunk  Yohn/Yahn/Jahn 

Could you be a long lost distant cousin?

~ Karen the AncesTree Sprite

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The View from My Branch

Welcome! A Tree Sprite is a magical creature who lives in, nurtures and protects her tree. OK, so I am not magical, but I am the caretaker and guardian of my Family Tree; I am an AncesTree Sprite

 Ever since I was a young child, I've been interested in my family's heritage, stories and people. My maternal grandmother's walls were filled with old family portraits and I wanted to know the stories behind each of those stern faces that looked down on me. Many of my father's family were all buried in the same small church cemetery and I would wander around the headstones looking for names and wanting to know the stories behind the stones.

Today I have gray hair and I'm a lot closer to joining those ancestors than that child was. I'm not a professional genealogist, just an enthusiastic hobbyist embarking on my first attempt at blogging. Come join me in my adventure as I share some of my finds, my frustrations, and my family stories. I welcome comments, suggestions and encouragement along the way.

Come and share the view from my branch!

~ Karen, AncesTree Sprite