Wednesday, January 28, 2015


For the past 10 years, I have sorted my notebook collection of family history documents by first name.  Yes, I know that is a bit odd but it worked (or seemed to work) for me.  In December, I read a few blogs where the authors discussed re-visiting their family history information.  This got me thinking and I decided it was time to re-organize my 10 or so large notebooks and file the documents according to "family branch" instead of first name.  How much time could it take, right?

So, I started with the Chambers, and using my "Descendants of Thomas Chambers" document as a guide, I found that those documents fit into one large notebook.  Wow, this is easy, I thought! Next came the Sherlocks, and even though it took 2 notebooks for them, it was still rather easy.

Okay, so let's see what other small family branch I could work on next. I had completed (or at least was under the impression that I had) my "Descendants of Oster Hober" document, which was 27 pages so that should be relatively easy.  The problem, I found out quickly, was that I wasn't completed with a lot of the sub-branches in my research.  How can there be this many Hobers, Hoefers, Gebhards, Muehls, Koenigs and Yegges?  Every time I think I am almost done, a whole bunch more crop up!  Now that I have been working on this for the past two weeks, I am hoping it is now under control.

The good news is that I am finding some interesting stories.  Stay tuned for those in future blog posts!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Merlin Nicholas Schuster (my 8th cousin), the son of Emil Schuster and Elizabeth Hoefer (descendant from the Hober line), was born on 25 Nov 1923 in Farley, Iowa.  He joined the service on 18 Jan 1949, after working on his family's farm in his teen years, and was discharged a year later.  Merlin, however, was called back as a reserve on 27 Sep 1950 (due to the Korean Conflict) and was sent to Korea in November of 1950.  Merlin was a radar man for the 82nd Anti Aircraft Artillery Battalion and 2nd infantry division.

On 13 Feb 1951, Merlin was taken captive as a Prisoner of War by the North Koreans while he was fighting near Hoensong, South Korea.  PFC Merlin Schuster died a few months later, on 6 Jun 1951, while he was a prisoner in a North Korean camp.  Merlin was awarded the Prisoner of War Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

Sources: WWI, WWII & Korean War Casualty Listings (
               US Korean War Casualties, 1950-1957

Note: I truly believe that it is important that we don't lose the stories of our family members, living and those that have gone long before us.  To that end I think that telling these stories and creating books with these stories will hopefully preserve their memories for generations to come.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Every Veteran's Day, I think about my Dad and his two older brothers who served in the Armed Forces.  According to family history, Charles (known as Chuck and 2nd from the right) served in the Air Force while Eddie (with the white sailor hat) served in the Navy during World War II.  My dad Donald (on the far left) served in the Korean War from 1951-53.

My Dad never spoke with us kids about his time in the military.  Interesting enough, I probably have more photos of my Dad from 1951 to 1953 than I do from the rest of his life.  Every time I look at this photo, I have to laugh because my Dad probably wanted his photo taken with this sign not because it was on the border of North Korea but because it said Notre Dame on it.  My dad was a huge Notre Dame fan!

So, to my Dad, Uncle Eddie, Uncle Chuck, several of my cousins and 2 of my nephews as well as all veterans -- thank you so much for your service, we owe you a debt of gratitude!  Happy Veteran's Day!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


As a child, I remember waiting with much anticipation for the arrival of the Sear's Christmas Catalog. My siblings and I wore out the pages of the catalog, looking at all of the toys and making our lists after perusing that catalog.  

Imagine my surprise when I read Anton Vincent Hoefer's (a 6th cousin 3 times removed) obituary which mentioned the purchase of a house from the Sear's catalog.  What?  I had never heard they sold real houses!   "Florence and Frank (2 of his children) were born in the house that Anton bought and built from a Sear's catalog".  Then he later built another house -- this time it was a 2-story square house.

So, of course, I had to research this practice of "purchasing a house kit from the Sear's catalog.  How do they delivery it?  Who builds it?  I found out that 70,000 of these ready-to-assemble kit houses were sold through the mail order from 1908-1940.  These kits contained 25 tons of material with 30,000 parts and were shipped by railroad.

I wonder how many pages there were in the instruction booklet for these house?  Is planning on offering these house kits anytime soon?

Saturday, August 9, 2014


What are the origins of the surname "Kilroy"?  According to, Kilroy is the anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac Giolla Ruaidh".  "Mac" means son of.  "Giolla" means servant or youth and "Ruaidh" means red-haired.  So basically, Mac Giolla Ruaidh means "son of red-haired youth".  Other equivalents of this surname are Mac Elroy, McElree, Gilroy and of course, Kilroy.

According to the "Kilroy Connection" by Hugh McGough, in the 1890 birth records the most people with the surname of Kilroy were found in County Mayo (47) followed by County Roscommons (with 34), County Galway (with 25) and County Cavan (with 19).

I read recently that you can tell which county/counties a person came from in Ireland by their surname.  Well, back to researching my Kilroy ancestors!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Until the middle of May of this year, the only Kilroy ancestors that I knew about were my 2nd great grandmother Ann Kilroy Chambers and her brother James Kilroy.  It is hard to build a family tree with only 2 people. I had hoped that one day I would find more Kilroys but it seemed like my research methods never yielded me any Kilroy results.  Then I received a message from a fellow member of one of my Irish Facebook groups, asking me if we were related.  I, of course, had zero idea if we were so I did the only thing I could think of -- email my cousin Betsy who has more information than me.  She answered "we probably are" and then sent me information on the Kilroy family.  

We can now trace our Kilroy family back to the patriarch Patrick Kilroy, who lived from 1730 to 1818.  Patrick was married to Honor McLoughlin (who lived from 1730 to 1790).  They had 6 children -- Edward, Peter, Patrick, James and 2 daughters.

James (and a spouse to be named later -- still looking for that information) were the parents of 6 children.  I am noticing a pattern here.  Their children were Patrick, Nora, Bridget, John, Peter and James.  The last child James and his wife Barbara Dever were the parents of my 2nd great grandmother Ann Kilroy Chambers.  

So, now, (thanks to Betsy) instead of 2 lonely Kilroy leaves, I have an actual Kilroy family tree.  I have lots more names for this tree and will talk about some of them in future posts.  

Monday, July 28, 2014


When we were planning our trip to Austria and Germany last fall, I remember my mother-in-law telling my husband that there was a German deli in Carlsbad, California (about a half hour from where we live).  Fast forward to Saturday when I was cleaning out our garage and I started thinking about that German deli.  Of course, why then?  Who knows?  So, I asked my husband about the deli and he remembered there being one but not the name so I did some research online.  I found out the name of it is Tip Top Meats.  Okay, that doesn't sound very German to me but I was assured that it was a German deli.  I looked at the menu online and still wasn't totally impressed but decided we would give it a try yesterday for lunch.

Wow, I certainly have been missing out on some good German food all these years -- right in my own "almost" backyard.  I ordered the cold roast pork sandwich with German potato salad.  I was deciding between having the whole sandwich and the half sandwich and selected the whole sandwich.  Only at this place, does 3 halves make a whole.  It was literally 3 halves of a sandwich.  I don't know why more places don't serve cold pork sandwiches.  Lots of places serve cold roast beef!
As I was sitting there eating my delicious sandwich and the best tasting German potato salad ever and of course a German beer (one needs the full experience), I was transported back to the village of Hohenschwangau (where the Neuschwanstein Castle is located) and to the Jagerhaus Restaurant where I had ordered the Krustenbraten mit kren (cold roasted pork with horseradish).  They served it with sauerkraut and King Ludwig bread.

Of course, back to reality, the amount of food that you are served is enough for two meals and I ordered just the sandwich.  So, guess what I also ate for dinner last night?  We also checked out their little market which has all kinds of fun German food.  Now, I am hoping that we will be able to prepare the food since all the directions are in German but hey, isn't that is what Google Translate is for?

My one regret is that we were so stuffed we didn't even look at the desserts -- my favorite part of any meal.  I am thinking a return trip to Tip Top Meats is definitely in my future!