Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Problem #3 researched at the Family History Library:  Who was the birth mother of my 2nd great grandmother Anna Simon Homrich?  Anna Simon was born 6 years before the marriage of her father Joseph Simon to Catherine Schneider.  So even though she is listed on later documents as her mother, was there really someone else who died when Anna was very young?

Background information:  Anna Simon's father Joseph Simon was born in 1818 in Prussia.  He immigrated to the United States in 1952 with his wife Catherine Schneider and their children - Phillip (17), Anna (16), Mathias (13), Peter (8), Nicholas (5) and a 2 month old baby.  In the 1900 US Census, it was reported that Joseph and Catherine were married for 50 years and that Catherine gave birth to 7 children with 2 still alive.  According to Joseph Simon's death certificate from 1906, he was the father of 12 children but only 4 were still alive at the time of his death.

Findings: I located a German marriage record for Joseph Simon and Catharina Schneider which states they were married on 4 August 1850 in a Catholic church in Mehring, Rheinland, Prussia.  I had been told that Anna Simon was from Bavaria, but this record shows that there is another town named Mehring and is located in the Rheinland area of Germany.

I also located a German marriage record for Joseph Simon and Anna Maria Josepha Kesten.  Could this be the missing mother?  According to the record, they were married on 1 Dec 1841 in Mehring, Rheinland, Prussia.  In addition, I found a baptism record for Joseph Simon, the son of Joseph Simon and Maria Josepha Kesten.  This Joseph Simon was born on 8 October 1848 and baptized on 12 October 1848 in a Catholic church in Mehring, Rheinland, Prussia.

Going back to the clues from the 1900 US census, the two children of hers that were still living were Peter Simon (1852-1943) and Nicholas Simon (1853-1936).  So far I can only find 3 of the 7 children that she gave birth to -- Peter, Nicholas and the infant named in the 1860 census.

Now, for Joseph Simon, who was the father of 12 but only 4 were alive at his death in 1906 -- those alive would include Anna (1844-1914), Mathias (1846-1922), Peter and Nicholas. If you add to these names, Phillip Simon (1843-1863), the infant and Joseph Simon, there is still 5 more names of children that I am missing.  Of those children, 4 of them were the children of Catherine Schneider and 1 of them was from Maria Josepha Kesten.

So, my plan is to look for birth records for the other children in both Germany and the United States records. I also need to research Maria Josepha Kesten further to see if I can find out who her parents were and if there were any siblings.

The more information I discover, the more questions I have ...

Friday, February 10, 2017


The second problem that I researched at the Family History Library was regarding my 6th Great Grandfather Thomas Myles and his spouse Miss Kendall.

Some background information:  My 3rd great grandmother Barbara Dever was the daughter of Elizabeth Myles (the first of my ancestors that I found originated in a county in Ireland other than Mayo or Meath).  Elizabeth Myles (my 4th great grandmother) was born in 1744 in County Limerick and was the daughter of Zachary Myles and Katherine Conyers/Conner (1727-1835).  According to a record I found in the "Ireland, Select Births & Baptisms" database, Elizabeth was baptized at St. John in Limerick, Ireland.  Her father was listed as Zachary Myles (FHL film #874438).  Zachary Myles was the son of Thomas Myles and Miss Kendall.

So, my plan was
1. Look for the Baptism Record of Katherine Conyers/Conners
2. Look for records (birth and death) for Zachary Myles (1725-1840)
3. Look for any records for Thomas Myles and Miss Kendall

My findings at the Family History Library, included finding an article titled "Limerick's Forgotten Son: Sir Thomas Myles" by Padraig Og de Bhaldraithe.  According to this article, the Myles family had been in Ireland since the days of Cromwell and resided in County Limerick since a generation or two after Cromwell.

I found a baptism record for John Miles, which states that his father is Thomas Miles.  John Miles, was christened on 28 Feb 1707 at St. John in Limerick, Ireland.  I also found records for possible siblings -- Mary Miles and Eleanor Miles.  I found records of Katherine Connor's siblings on Ancestry.com.  Charles Connors was baptized on 8 Dec 1729, David Connors was baptized on 6 Nov 1726 and Patrick Connor was baptized on 28 Jan 1735.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


The first problem that I worked on while researching at the Family History Library was about Patrick "Paudeen" Chambers and his son Thomas Chambers and the lack of documentation that I have for them.

Some background information: Patrick Chambers was supposedly born in 1716 in Abbotshall, Fife, Scotland to John Chambers (born in 1682) and his wife Bessie Fair (born in 1680).  Patrick's son Thomas Chambers was born in 1774 in Glenna Bo, Newport, Mayo, Ireland.

Findings: I did locate a record "Scotland Births and Baptisms" on FamilySearch.org for Patrick Chalmers.  According to this record, he was christened on 25 Mar 1716 in Abbotshall, Fife, Scotland.

Plan: To continue to look for documents pertaining to Patrick Chambers and his son Thomas. I am interested in finding out why Patrick would move from the East coast of Scotland to the West coast of Ireland.  I also wonder if Patrick had another family before the birth of his son Thomas (who was born when he was 58 years old).  I also need to look for possible other children of Patrick, both in Scotland and in Ireland.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Ever since I started researching my family history on a regular basis (probably in the early 2000's) I have longed to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  With their vast resources, of course, it was near the top of my "Genealogical Bucket List".  While I longed to visit the Library, it almost felt like a daunting task.  How could I prepare enough so that I wouldn't waste that golden opportunity?  What if I spent a few days there and really didn't accomplish anything but later figured out I should have done things differently?

I decided to register for a trip with a group -- Ancestor Seekers.  They would make the hotel arrangements and provide some direction and hopefully lots of assistance!  I felt like this would give me a safety net -- people to help me navigate the largest genealogical library with its massive book collection.  Ancestor Seekers had people who could help with British Isles, Irish, German and American research.  It sounded like the best plan for me.

But I still needed to plan for my research.  I couldn't just show up and hope they could help me.  I registered for a "Preparing for the FHL Visit" webinar, which reinforced the idea that I needed to plan and actually perhaps have a few alternate plans.

So my big question was "who do I research while I am there" and "what do I research about these people"?   Before deciding who to research, I decided to find out what resources were available at the library  -- that might help me to decide what were my best chances of finding information.  I decided that I would focus on my Irish ancestors and then if time allowed, I would do some research on some specific German ancestors.

I made a list of the books that I wanted to peruse while I was there, as well as, which microfilm to look at.  I created some problem sheets which would focus on specific problems and individuals that I was hoping to solve.  Each problem sheet contained the following information: problem, background information, sources checked and plan.  [I will discuss each of these problem sheets in a future blog post].

After doing all of this, I met with a mentor -- someone who has taught several Genealogy classes that I have taken.  We met for lunch and discussed all of my problem sheets and my approach for my visit to the FHL.   After a few months of preparation, I felt like I was finally ready to visit the Family History Library.


Last week, my daughter and I went to the movies to watch "Lion".  According to my Google-employed son who told me about the movie, it was about a guy using Google Earth to find his birth home and village and more specifically his family.  It was a very touching movie!

The movie got me thinking on how many times I have used Google Earth for my genealogy research.  Some of my more memorable searches include the following:

1. Locating parcels of land where my Great Grandmother Bridget Chambers spent her childhood in the townland of Letter, Islandeady, County Mayo, Ireland. [If I had used Google Earth while on the road in Ireland I might have been able to see the land with my own eyes]

2. Trying to match a house that I have in a 1960 photo (the childhood home of my Great Grandfather Bryan Sherlock in Demailestown, Meath, Ireland) to see if it still exists today.  [Sadly I had no luck with my search but considering how old that house would have been -- he lived there in the late 1800's -- it probably has been torn down and a newer house built.]

3. Locating the following churches -- Katholische Maria Himmelfahrt (Helferskirchen, Rheinland, Germany), Saint Boniface Church (Wirges, Rheinland, Germany) and St. Laurentius Church (Dernbach, Germany).  [This helped with my visit to see them in 2015]

4. Trying to see what the house my Grandmother Theresa Nebgen Sherlock grew up in Chicago, looks like today.

5. And of course, looking at my Google Earth photos of my childhood home in Southern California. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016


For the past 15 years, I have printed copies of my genealogical research -- birth, marriage and death records, census forms, and immigration and military service records -- and then filed them in notebooks.  Before filing them, I would create an "Individual Research Record" that would include all of the pertinent information about that individual, including sources,  in a concise form.  I even printed that record sheet on fuchsia paper for the females and aqua paper for the males. It served as my cover sheet for the individual's documents.

As a visual learner, this paper and notebook system worked well for me.  I could actually see the information in my hands and filling out the individual research record helped me digest and analyze the information.  Of course, it also took up my time.  Time that I was filing and filling out forms could have been time that I should have been researching or entering my research into my Roots Magic computer program.

As time went on my research documents and notebooks seemed to expand exponentially.  The good news was that the kids went away to college so there was more room for my now 25+ large notebooks.  The bad news was how large was this going to get? How many rooms can I devote specifically to genealogy research and storage?  Can you be a genealogical hoarder?

So, last week I made a huge decision -- it was time to digitize my genealogical research!  Time to slowly get rid of my 25+ notebooks -- well after those records had been digitized.  I guess I could have researched the best way to go digital but while I read some of those articles in the past, once again I needed to find a system that would work the best for me.

I created folders on my computers for each of the family branches -- Homrich, Sherlock, Chambers, etc.  Then within each of those folders are sub-folders for the individuals that I have already researched.  Going through each notebook, I then digitally save the documents as well as the fact sheet about the person on Ancestry.  I also have created an Excel spreadsheet for each of the family branches with the names and documents saved so that at a quick glance I can see what I already have and what I still need to look for.

I know that this digitization project will not only take some time (probably several months) and also be probably rather monotonous at times but it will be worth it in the long run.  I will not only have a lot more time to do actual research but will actually have rooms in my house that can be "guest rooms" instead of storage rooms!

Sunday, July 10, 2016


After two visits to Ireland, I have now refined my bucket list for any possible future trips to the Emerald Isle.  While Dublin is a nice place to visit, I want to spend any time I have walking in my ancestors' (no matter how far back) footsteps.  So here is a listing of places I would like to visit --

1. Townland of Letter in County Mayo -- I got so close but not close enough to the home town of my Great Grandmother Elizabeth Chambers,  Perhaps I will get the opportunity some day to see the actual land where her father Thomas Chambers farmed and raised his family.

2. The townlands of Demailestown and Lady Rath in County Meath -- I have learned that what is called townlands in Ireland may be no more than a neighborhood or housing complex.  I would love to see the actual area that my Sherlock ancestors (my great grandfather Edward and his parents Bryan and Margaret Kilroy Sherlock) called home.

3. Clew Bay Heritage Center -- Situated in a 19th century building in Westport on the shores of Clew Bay, it would be wonderful to see the artifacts, photos and documents of the history of Westport and the Clew Bay area.  (Westportheritage.com)

4. Museum of Country Life -- I wish we had the time to visit this museum, located in Turlough Village (northeast of Castlebar in County Mayo) while we were in Mayo last August.  The museum tells the story of country life in Ireland from 1850 to 1950.  It would have given me a better understanding of the daily lives of my Irish ancestors.  (www.museum.ie/country-life)

5. Scurlogstown -- I would love the opportunity to visit Scurlogstown in County Meath or one of the other towns in Ireland named after my Scurlog ancestors.  I need a picture next to the sign!

6. City of Limerick in County Limerick -- Recently I have discovered that Limerick was the home town of my 5th Great Grandfather Zachary Myles and 5th Great Grandmother Katherine Conyers as well as their daughter Elizabeth Myles, my 4th great grandmother. Limerick was also the birthplace of my 6th Great Grandfather Thomas Myles.