Thursday, December 12, 2013


It seems like I have been neglecting my blog these past few weeks. Of course, there was Thanksgiving, the never ending over 3 month bathroom re-model (which is still not done), decorating for Christmas and probably some writer's block, but no more excuses.

In 1967, my Grandparents (Charlie and Theresa) took me along with two of my cousins to Santa Barbara for the weekend. We visited the Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez missions.  We also visited my cousin Bonnie, who had 2 little girls at the time.  The photo above was taken at the Santa Ynez Mission.  Grandpa Charlie was the photographer.  I am not sure why the parking lot took center stage over us or the mission buildings but that was probably why Charlie was better in front of the camera than behind it.

In October of this year, my sister Kate was visiting me from Colorado. I suggested to her that we take a road trip from San Diego up to the Santa Barbara area.  On our way back to our hotel, the Santa Ynez Inn, from Solvang, Kate pointed out the Santa Ynez mission.  We decided to stop and visit for a bit. I immediately thought back to my trip with my grandparents and cousins 46 years ago.

Here's a photo of what the mission looks like currently --

Funny thing -- the parking lot still basically looks the same!

While we were in Santa Barbara, we did meet with one of Bonnie's daughters, Julie,  who is now all grown up with kids of her own. It was fun visiting with her and her family, as well as with my brother and some of his family. Travel and family -- it doesn't get better than that!

Monday, November 25, 2013


While many of my ancestors and relatives have served in the military, there is probably only a handful who actually died while serving their country.  One of those relatives is Charles James Chambers.  Charles Chambers was a first cousin of my Grandpa Charlie Sherlock.  Charles Chambers' parents were Michael Chambers (brother of Charlie's mother Bridget Chambers) and Winifred Callahan.  Like my Grandpa Charlie, Charles James Chambers was born in Chicago, Illinois.  He was 19 years younger than my grandpa, being born on 22 December 1919.

Charles J Chambers was a Staff Sargent in the 324th Infantry Regiment 44th Infantry Division during World War II. He died on 13 November 1944, probably somewhere in France.  Charles received the Purple Heart Medal of Honor.  He is buried in the Epinal American Cemetery in Lorraine, France.  This cemetery was opened in October of 1944 to bury those Americans killed in combat in campaigns across northeastern France to Germany.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


When I visited Innsbruck, Austria at the beginning of October of this year, I brought this photo along with me on my IPAD.  I so wanted to re-create the photo -- have a photo of me under the same sign that Grandma Theresa posed under in 1961.  Well, I looked around at various spots in Innsbruck and to my chagrin I never found that spot.  Of course, 52 years later, things can look a lot different.  So, I had to settle for sign below.

Reading Grandma Theresa's travel diary, I did notice that she visited the Castle Heidelberg (received by King Ludwig I) on that trip. Since we didn't go to Heidelberg, I did not have the opportunity to see the ruins of that castle.  Instead I had the opportunity to visit on of my favorite castles (if not my favorite) the Neuschwanstein Castle, built for King Ludwig II.  It was definitely one of my top reasons for the trip and I was not disappointed. Not only is the castle majestic, but the surrounding area is absolutely beautiful.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Typically I talk a lot about my Grandpa Charlie on this blog but not as much about my Grandma Theresa.  Well, today would have been her 114th birthday so I decided to devote this post to her.  I think she looks very glamorous in this photo.

Theresa Nebgen was born on 13 Nov 1899 in Chicago, Illinois.  She had two older sisters -- Helen and Ann -- and a brother Emil (who was just 2 years older than her).  Theresa finished her formal education after the 10th grade. According to the 1920 US census, she worked for a bank and the best that I can decipher the handwriting of the census taker, she was possibly a "switchboard operator".

Theresa married Charlie on 23 March 1918 in Indiana.  Charlie was 17 at the time and Theresa was 18.  This may have been the reason why they went to Indiana to get married vs. marrying in their hometown of Chicago.  I think they eloped and that their families were not so happy to hear the news.  In fact, the parents made the loving couple (while still married) live apart for a few years.  I believe the story goes " they were told if you are still in love in a few years, then you can live together".

Not only were they still in love a few years later, but they celebrated their 50th Anniversary to a lot of fanfare 50 years later on 23 March 1968, surrounded by family members and friends.   They would go on to celebrate their 60th anniversary in 1978 and Grandpa Charlie would die just a few months after their 65th anniversary in 1983.

While looking through my photos of Theresa, I found this one below that I just love.  It is not a great photo of Theresa but I love the emotion that is shows -- pure joy and excitement.  I don't know when or where it was taken but I would love to know the story behind it.

Happy 114th Birthday, Grandma Theresa!

Monday, November 11, 2013


Veteran Day Tribute --

I am very proud of my Dad (Donald Sherlock) and his two brothers, Edmund and Charles "Chuck", who served in the military.  Edmund Sherlock (2nd from the left) served in the Navy during World War II.  He enlisted in 1944 when he was 18 years old.  Eldest brother Chuck (4th from the left) also served during World War II, but he served in the Air Force.

 Donald served in the Army during the Korean Conflict in 1951 to 1953.  Below is a photo of him (on the right) with his section leader Keith Daily.  This photo was taken in Korea.

Happy Veteran's Day to all of those who have served in the military (both past and present -- including my nephew Wally) and a huge debt of gratitude to all of you  for your service to our country.

Friday, November 8, 2013


I am not quite sure what this is.  The above document was given to me by Susanne while I was visiting Munich.  At first, I thought it was some organization that my grandfather belonged to while he was living in Germany.  However, Peter Joseph Nebgen came to the US at age 20 and he definitely looks older than that in the photo.  So, my next guess (I always like to have several options) is that is some group he was the President of while living in Chicago. From what I can tell (with my limited knowledge of German) that it was a group that was either planning a trip to Europe or one that was encouraging people to visit Germany. ( I did figure out that there is a Secretary, Financial Secretary, Treasurer and 2 Board of Directors also listed on the photo.)  Obviously it was aimed at German speaking Americans since it is in German.  Perhaps my Great Grandfather belonged to some civic group, like Kiwanis or Rotary, and was encouraging travel to Europe.

So, here is what I do actually know -- I have found documentation of his travels to the US from Germany on three different dates.  He came to the US on 8 Dec 1888 (still trying to figure out if this was his initial visit) on the ship Waesland.  The trip was from Antwerp, Belgium to New York.  The second trip was in 1914 -- he arrived in New York from Rotterdam on 18 Aug 1914.  He traveled with his wife Theresa aboard the ship Nieuw Amsterdam.  The last trip that I found happened in 1929.  On 1 Sep 1929, he arrived in New York from Bremen.  He, along with his wife Theresa, sister-in-law Helen, and niece Rose Roemer were aboard the ship Muenchen.

So back to my research because the more I find out, the more questions that I have ...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


While visiting Munich on my Austria/Germany trip, my cousin's wife Susanne gave me a copy of the above document.  I brought the document home and did some research.  Hamburg-America Line was a transatlantic shipping enterprise established in Hamburg, Germany in 1847.   Did my German ancestors use one of their ships to immigrate to the United States in the late 1800's?

The SS Imperator was launched on 23 May 1912 and began its maiden voyage from Cuxhaven to New York in June of 1913.  Both the Imperator and the Vaterland were in service before World War I.  The Vaterland was caught in port in Hoboken, New Jersey at the outbreak of World War I and was interned by the US.  The Vaterland was seized, renamed the "Leviathan" after war was declared on Germany in 1917 and served as a troop ship. The Imperator was handed over to the allies as war reparations to Britain and sold to the Cunard Line.

My great grandfather Peter Joseph Nebgen did immigrate to the US in 1888 but he wasn't aboard a ship from this shipping line.  So, I still need to find the connection (if there is one) between PJ Nebgen and Hamburg-America Line.

Monday, November 4, 2013


It seems like I was either traveling or packing for a trip the entire month of October. I am definitely not complaining since I loved it -- from visiting various locales in Austria, the town of Munich and places in the Italian Alps (in the first third of the month) to the beautiful coastline of Ventura and Santa Barbara and the inland valley of Santa Ynez and the darling Danish town of Solvang in the Central Coast area of California in the latter part of the month.  After all of that, I spent this past weekend in the college town of Westwood, celebrating Parents Weekend at UCLA with my daughter.  So while I thoroughly enjoyed all my traveling, it did leave little time for my blogging.  So, now my task is to get back on track.   However, before I do ...

One of the highlights of my trip was definitely visiting with family.  While in Munich, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet my cousin Bernd and his lovely wife Susanne (with whom I share a love of genealogy).   Susanne gave me two documents that I had never seen before and will share on my blog in an upcoming post. It was delightful to meet Bernd and Susanne and they gave us a fun tour of Munich, giving us the opportunity to smell the wonderful Farmer's market, hear the music from the large glockenspiel and see the historic St. Peter's Church  (the oldest church in Munich).

On my sister Kate and my road trip to Central Coastal California, we visited with my brother Mike and his wife, daughter and his eldest darling little granddaughter in the Danish town of Solvang.  Okay, I will admit that Kate and I returned to Solvang the next morning so that we could eat some of those delicious Danish pancakes at Paula's Pancake House (it's always a must stop when I visit that town).  

Kate and I also visited our cousin Julie, who we hadn't seen in 20 years and got the opportunity to meet her lovely family.  It was just one fun day after another!

Now, however, I am home and need to get back to research, blogging and creating scrapbooks of my travels or I could sit at my computer and look at my photos one more time!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


It's Throwback Thursday!  I guess that is a bit redundant with genealogy since isn't it all in the past.  The photo was taken in 1983.  My cousin Sean was getting married in November so for my aunt decided the theme for the wedding shower would be Halloween.  My Dad and his two brothers joined in the merriment and the spirit of the event.  Uncle Chuck was the headless man/woman, my Dad was a fisherman (already caught a can of sardines) and Uncle Eddie was a belly dancer.  I was sure happy that I had brought my camera with me to the party to take photos.

Wishing you all a Happy Halloween or as they say in Irish --

OĆ­che Shamhna Shona Duit (EE-hyeh HOW-nuh HUN-uh ditch*)

Thursday, October 17, 2013


While I was perusing the slides of my Grandparents' visit to Austria in 1961, this one caught my eye.  I remembered that Innsbruck had hosted the Winter Olympics several times.  Perhaps, this is what made me save this photo vs. disposing of it like I did with all the other photos without people in them.  Yes, I am still kicking myself for doing that five years ago.

So, when I found out that I would be traveling to Innsbruck this fall, the ski jump was definitely on my list of sites to see.  Now, I guess it is not surprising that it doesn't quite look like that anymore.  The photo below is the current ski jump (the 6th one that has been built).  The current one is 14 years old.  Our tour guide told us that the Innsbruck cemetery is below the ski jump so the jumpers can see the cemetery on their way down.  I guess that gives them added impetus to jump correctly and not end up in the cemetery -- one way or another!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


On our first full day in Austria, we took a tour of Innsbruck.  The first place we stopped was the Basilika Maria Empfangnis (also known as the Wiltener Basilica).  As I was sitting in a pew in this absolutely gorgeous church, I suddenly remembered that my Grandmother commented about this church in her travel journal while visiting  Innsbruck in 1961.  

Grandma Theresa wrote in her 1961 travel journal about the church of "Our Dear Lady" in Innsbruck --
"words can't tell you how beautiful it was".  Grandma Theresa, you were so right!  It was absolutely breathtaking!

Wow, even the organ in this church is majestic.  There is a statue of the Blessed Mother (shown in the photo below) that is the reason why people have been making  pilgrimages  to this church since the Middle Ages.

On the ceiling of this church are murals of the life of the Blessed Mother.  Visiting this church was a wonderful way to start off our trip to Austria and Germany.

Monday, October 14, 2013


I always feel like a detective when I am putting clues to together to solve one of my genealogical ancestry questions.  For example, I know a given person is related to me but how are they related.   I am so happy when I finally put all the clues together.  I go through that same process with some of the photos I have inherited of my Grandpa Charlie's years in the movies.

I have about 50 photos and a fair amount of them have the name of the movie and the other actors listed on the back of the photo.  However, I ran across the above photo (which I just love because it looks like they are having so much fun).  Grandpa Charlie is the 4th from the left. I have several photos with these same people.  For some reason (I can't recall exactly why now), I thought these photos were from the movie "Task Force".  I watched the movie and I did see Grandpa but none of my photos were shots in the movie.  So, I assumed (incorrectly of course) that they were just outtakes (of course, that assumption meant that this part of the story was totally taken out of the movie which obviously could happen.)  So, while I decided that this was the correct theory, it didn't stop me from wondering and continue researching to see if possibly there was another movie that did have these photos.

Yesterday, in the middle of my research, I found another movie (just the title and story, not the actual movie) titled "China's Little Devils" which was made in 1945.  Grandpa played one of the Flying Tigers.  Okay, now this is making much more sense to me. That is exactly who they are depicting in these photos -- The Flying Tigers. Now, I really want to watch this movie, but so far it is unavailable.  I will have to keep an eye for it while I continue my detective work.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Fifty two years, my Grandparents (Charles and Theresa Sherlock) enjoyed a month long vacation in Europe.  They visited England, Ireland, Amsterdam, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.  It is my dream to follow in their footsteps -- to visit the places that they visited and create my own memories.  I won't be able to visit them all in a month long trip like they did, but rather in several separate trips.

I began fulfilling that dream this month on October 1st.  My brother invited my husband and I to join him and his wife on a trip to Austria and Germany.  How could we say no?

After a very long flight from California to Munich via Chicago, our tour bus drove us to Innsbruck, Austria which took an additional 2 or so hours.  We checked into the Grauer Baer Hotel in Innsbruck, exhausted but very excited, and was just in time for dinner with our tour group at the hotel restaurant on that first night.

Our adventure would begin the very next day ....

Monday, September 30, 2013


"Who's on first ... What's on second?   I inherited a bunch of photos from my Grandpa Charlie's years in the movies.  Some of the photos are stills from actual movies while others are publicity shots for individual movies.  Some of the photos are labeled as to the name of the movie and the actors shown in the photo, while others give no information.  So my job is to be able to identify the actors and the title of the movie.  I am trying to compile a book of these photos for my family and all this information would be very helpful.  Since I am also on a quest to watch as many of Grandpa Charlie's movies as possible, I am thinking that watching the movies may also solve some of my photo mysteries.

Over the weekend, I watched a "mini" marathon of Abbott and Costello movies, focusing on the ones that Grandpa Charlie had a role in.  I watched "In Society" (he played a policeman), "Here Come the Coeds" (he played the assistant sports announcer), and "In the Navy" (he played one of the marines on the ship).  So far no scenes like the photo above.  Then I watched "It Ain't Hay" which I doubted would be the candidate but I was wrong!  Grandpa Charlie plays the bouncer for the loan shark that Abbott and Costello are visiting for a loan.  It was so great to hear Grandpa Charlie's voice again.

I am really loving this old movies.  Let's see, which one to watch next?

Friday, September 27, 2013


                                                                 1961 in Los Angeles

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


                                Anthony Schmidt and Josephine Homrich Schmidt

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I have had this photo for about 12 years and always thought that it was the photo of my great grandfather (Peter Joseph Nebgen) with his siblings and his parents.  Since I knew his brother Nicholas was older than him, I assumed that he was the tall fair haired young man in the back row (the taller one).

I have another photo of 4 siblings with some names written on the back.  It read, "Uncle Clemenz, Uncle Emil, Uncle Pete and Aunt Maria.

Since my great grandfather was Peter Joseph, again, I assumed that he was "Uncle Pete" with his siblings. Only two of the siblings, Nicholas and Peter, immigrated to the US so they are the ones that I have the most information about.  The obituary for Peter's mother Anna Wittayer does mention that she had 7 children, but 2 of them died before she did in 1919.  I assumed that the 2 children died as babies.

I have a cousin Bernd, who lives in Germany, and his wife Susanne not only does family research but she graciously shares the information with me (otherwise I would be totally lost on the Nebgen family history).  So, with the information from the 1890 census of Duisburg that she sent me, I realized that I had been mistaken about my photos and my assumptions!

According to the 1890 census, there were 5 children living with Anna and Balthazar --
1. Peter (born in 1863) -- making him the oldest
2. Peter (Clemenz) -- born in 1867
3. Emil - born in 1876
4. Maria - born in 1880
5. Joseph Laurentius - born in 1884.

They have 2 other sons -- Nicholas who immigrated to the US in 1885 and my great grandfather Peter Joseph, who immigrated to the US in 1887.

So, let's re-visit that 1st photo -- Nicholas and Peter Joseph are not in that photo.  It was probably taken some time between 1886-1887.  Nicholas was in the US and Peter Joseph was either serving on a naval ship or also in the US.    Now, photo #2, that Uncle Pete in this photo is the eldest brother Pete, not my great grandfather Peter Joseph.  They could have made it easier by not naming all the boys Peter!   My last assumption about two of the boys dying as babies.  Incorrect, too!  You are probably not surprised by now!Nicholas died in 1915 (at age 50) so he was one of the children who died before his mother.  The other one was Joseph, who probably died in 1917 during World War I (found some records on this).

Lesson learned is "don't make assumptions without all the facts!"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013



Continuing on with my Genealogical Travel Bucket List , #4 would be Wirges, Germany.  I should have noted before that these aren't in any particular order (most important to least, alphabetical, close to far, etc.). Wirges is a collective municipality, located in the Westerwaldkreis District of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.  There are about 10 local municipalities within the collective municipality of Wirges, including Dernbach, Bannberscheid, Staudt, Helferskirchen, Leuterod, Moschheim and Wirges.

Most of the roots of my German family history originated (or at least to how far back I can go now) within these municipalities.  My 7th great grandfather Christian Hommerig was born in Moschheim as was his son (my 6th great grandfather) Johann Adam Hommerich.  The family then moved to Wirges, where my 5th great grandfather Christian Hommerich was born.

Christian's wife Anna Christina Hober (my 5th great grandmother) was born in Staudt, Germany.  Both of her parents, Johann Hober and Sophia Maria Sabel were also born there. Anna's paternal grandparents, Gregarin Hober and Maria were also born in Staudt, as was Gregarin's father Oster Hober (my 8th great grandfather).  The cemeteries of Katholische Friedhof Wirges (in Wirges) and Katholische Maria Himmelfahrt (in Helferskirchen) are the burial locations of a great many of my ancestors.

So, how could I not want to visit this place -- basically the birthplace or ancestral homeland of my German roots?  Now if I could just figure out a way to combine this pilgrimage to the homeland with a river cruise on the Rhine River, I would be thrilled!

Thursday, September 5, 2013



Continuing on my "Genealogy Travel Bucket List", I head back to the United States and to the town of Byron Center in the Kent County, Michigan.  In 1847, my 2nd great grandfather Sebastian Homrich (see above photo) immigrated to the US from Germany.  He was 17 years old at the time.  Sebastian married Catherine Herzeg and they had 3 children.  Catherine died after giving birth to the 3rd child, who didn't survive either.  Then in June 1863, he married my 2nd great grandmother Anna Simon in Byron Center, Michigan. I consider Sebastian the Patriarch of the Homrich family here in the US.  Sebastian and Anna had 14 children, including my great grandmother Theresa.

Sebastian was a farmer during his many years in Byron Center. I would love to see his former property, where Theresa grew up with her many siblings. Sebastian and his family attended Mass at Saint Sebastian's Catholic Church in Byron Center. I would definitely want to visit the church as well as the church's cemetery, where a lot of my ancestors are buried.  Sebastian and Anna are buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Grand Rapids, so I would need to make a trip up to Grand Rapids, too.

My great grandmother Theresa Homrich Nebgen is buried in Chicago.  Hmmm, wonder if that is going to be my #4 location?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Last week, I started creating my "genealogical travel bucket list" of places where either my ancestors lived or traveled to.   Continuing on that list today, #2 is County Meath, Ireland.  While I have visited County Mayo on my trip to Ireland last year, I did not get the opportunity to visit County Meath. Grandpa Charlie's mother's family (the Chambers) were from County Mayo, while Charlie's father's family came from County Meath.

According to my Dad's cousin, the Sherlock ancestors lived in Lady Rath and then later in Demailestown in County Meath.  I located both of these town lands on a map.  They are very close to one another.  They are west of Drogheda, east of Kells and north of Navan and Kilmessan.   According to the cousin, there are Sherlock family members still living in County Meath.  I would love to not only meet these relatives but also see the house in the photo below.  I believe that is where my Great Grandfather Edward Sherlock grew up.  The problem is I don't know if this house is located in Lady Rath or in Demailestown, which I guess mean I need to visit both places.

In the above photo, is the property of another of my grandfather's cousins.  I think some serious research is needed before taking this trip but how wonderful would it be to step on the former property of my ancestors  ... to see the house that my great grandfather lived in as a child (hoping that they haven't torn it down since 1961) ... to meet fellow Sherlocks, Caffreys and Everards (new ancestor name given to me by my cousin)?

Thursday, August 29, 2013


A lot of people make "bucket lists" of the places they would like to visit before they die.  Yeah, I have one of those but I also want to make a "genealogical travel bucket list" -- places that I want to visit where my ancestors either lived or visited.  It is not about the research here but rather to walk in their shoes or rather experience just a bit of what they saw.

So, I am starting my list and they are in no particular order.  #1 is Letter, Mayo, Ireland.  Letter is a townland in the parish of Islandeady in County Mayo.  Last year, I visited Ireland and even got the opportunity to see the old cemetery and ruins of the old church in Islandeady.  I was beyond thrilled!  So, yeah, I am possibly being a little selfish here but I want a return trip.  I have now located on a map the exact area where my great grandmother Bridget Chambers grew up in the townland of Letter.

I want to see the land where she lived (the above photo is of their land taken by my cousin Betsy on one of her trips there).  I want to see St. Patrick's church (could there be a more perfect name for an Irish church?) where she attended Mass.  As I stand on their land, I will look towards the west to view Croagh Patrick (photo below) where supposedly Saint Patrick preached and chased the snakes out of Ireland.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


When I was a child (perhaps around age 10), I remember going with my family to say "Bon Voyage" to my grandparents (Charlie and Theresa), who were leaving on a cruise from Los Angeles/Long Beach harbor. We were able to board the cruise ship and see their cabin for a short time before we had to disembark.  I remember champagne bottle corks popping, streamers and everyone waving as their ship left the harbor. I thought this was very exciting and such a glamorous way to travel.  Being one of six children, our family vacations typically consisted of visiting some beach state parks in California with our trailer. I promised myself when I got older, I was going to take a trip on a cruise ship.

I think they traveled to Hawaii on that cruise which made even more glamorous to me!  Hawaii was a tropical paradise!  Since that time, I have been to Hawaii five times and have taken cruises three times, never though, a cruise ship to or around Hawaii. But what I haven't experienced is someone seeing me off on a cruise ship -- someone visiting me and then getting off the ship before it departs and wishing they were traveling too.

I do wish I would have talked to my grandparents about their travels.  Of course, not at age 10, but when I got older -- perhaps when I was college age.  I would love to know what was their favorite place, how did my grandpa feel when he visited the house where his dad grew up (his father died when he was a baby) and was there some place left on their bucket list that they never got to visit?

Monday, August 26, 2013


After my father died, I inherited the collection of my Grandpa Charlie's photos from his movie days. Charlie Sherlock was a character actor in over 300 movies from 1932 to the early 1960's.  In some movies, if you blinked your eyes, you might miss his role while in others he had more of a substantial role.  Of course, these photos did not come with a lot of information, so I have been playing detective, trying to figure out what the title of the movie was.  I do have the list of Grandpa Charlie's movies from (although I do find one that is not listed from time to time).

My goal is to watch as many of these old Grandpa Charlie movies as possible. It is not as easy to get one's hands on these movies as you would think.  I am thoroughly enjoying watching these movies, even if Grandpa is only in one or two scenes.   Plus, I have found that some of these photos are not actual "stills" from the movies but rather either "outtakes" or PR shots.

The above photo shows Abbott and Costello with Grandpa Charlie.  What was the movie?  I am not exactly sure.  Abbott and Costello made 4 movies in 1942 -- "Ride 'Em Cowboy", "Rio Rita", "Pardon My Sarong" and "Who Done It?".  It is most likely from "Who Done It?"  I guess I will need to watch the movie to find out for sure.

My ultimate goal is to create a book with photos and information after I have completed all my "movie" research.  But that means a lot of watching old movies before then.   Please pass the popcorn ...

Saturday, August 24, 2013


My great grandmother Anna Maria Simon was born in Mehring, Altotting, Bavaria, Germany.  I have heard many wonderful things about Bavaria and would love to visit there one day even without any genealogical connections.  So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that there was a small Bavarian town in the state of Washington.  Now, I realize it is not the same thing as visiting Germany, but it is much closer and easier to travel to.

So, my daughter and I, who were already planning a trip up to Seattle, decided that a few days visit to Leavenworth, in addition to Seattle, would be a great idea. Ten days ago, we visited this darling town of Leavenworth.  First stop for us, of course, was the bakeries.  Yes, there are 3 in town.  We made it to 2 of them.  It's very hard to choose between a creme brullen (pastry filled with Bavarian cream and then topped with rich chocolate), a cinnamon krisp or a very large Bavarian pretzel.  Oh, just give us one of each!  After eating, it is time for shopping.  Our first store will be "Kris Kringl".  I always need more Christmas ornaments especially since I decorate 3 trees!  After purchasing ornaments for my silver/white tree and my "Around the World and Space Galaxy" (yeah, don't ask!) tree, we headed over to the Nussknacker Haus.  For those of you needing a translation, it is a shop filled with nutcrackers.  I purchased a "Yoda" nussknacker for my son.  Maybe now you are understanding part of that "Space Galaxy" thing.

We visited Leavenworth too early in the year for the Oktoberfest or the annual Christmas Lighting Festival but that just gives me 2 more reasons for a return visit.  I don't think I got much genealogy done on the trip, but the town was delightful and the people were very friendly and welcoming.

Hmmm .... now for that trip to Germany ...

Thursday, August 1, 2013


This photo was taken in 1944 at Niagara Falls in New York.  Grandpa Charlie and my Dad are in the photo. I am not sure what they were doing in New York.  I'm guessing it was just a vacation.  Their home was in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles at that time. I don't know why but I love looking at vacation photos -- mine and everyone else's too!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


                                                                 Charlie's Movies

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I try to share my love of genealogy with my family.  Of course, after a few sentences come out of my mouth, the "glazed over" look appears on their faces.  So, I have learned to do in "bite size" pieces.  I try to make it interesting to them.  Yesterday, I found out that one of our relatives died in "Defiance, Ohio".  Well, those of you who are "Scandal" (the TV show) fans, know that the "rigging of the election" took place in Defiance, Ohio.  Since my kids watch the show, I thought this would be interesting to them.

I also purchased the DVD set of the 1st two seasons of "Who Do You Think You Are?" (the television series that is now showing on TLC).  I bought it for myself to enjoy watching the episodes again, to see if I got any additional clues for my research and to just enjoy someone else finding out about their roots.  I started watching the DVD a few days ago and something  happened.  My daughter (who is home from college for the summer) started watching one of the episodes with me. It piqued her interest. Of course, maybe it was seeing the mosaic of  Emmitt Smith on the bottom of his swimming pool or maybe it was him traveling to Africa to find his relatives.  Of course, when one of the actresses said that finding out about her 7th great grandparent changed her life, my "math major" daughter wondered how when she had 511 other 7th great grandparents, how much effect 1 person  would make.

Last night when we sat down to watch TV, my daughter asked if we could watch the latest episode of "WDYTYA" (the one with Kelly Clarkson).  During the commercials, I had time to relate some of the documents I had found in my research as well as some of the emotions attached to finding about your relatives.  Who knows -- maybe I have a budding "family history" buff on my hands.  Well, it is in her genes!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


One of the many places my grandparents (Charlie and Theresa Sherlock) visited on their great European trip of 1961 was the small town of Assisi in Italy.  Assisi is located north of Rome, in the province of Perugia.  Isn't Perugia the name of some delicious gourmet chocolate?

Behind Theresa (and I am guessing two of their traveling companions) is the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi.  It is a Franciscan monastery with an upper and lower church.  In addition to this church, there are several more churches in Assisi, including the Cathedral of San Rufino, the Basilica of Santa Chiara (Claire) and Church of San Pietro (just to name a few).  There are also two medieval castles in this town.

I am putting "Assisi" on my bucket list and also making a note to locate the chocolate factory in Perugia.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I love being organized!  Not that I am, but I constantly strive towards that goal.  Recently I discovered that I should have 512 7th great grandparents, so I decided to create a document to chart my progress towards finding all those elusive ancestors.

I created an Excel spreadsheet with my grandparents in the first column, then their parents in the 2nd column, and so forth.  The good news (after entering all the names that I knew) is that I do know the names of all my grandparents, great grandparents, and 2nd great grandparents.  Before too much applause, that is only 28 people.  Of course, when I get to my 3rd great grandparents, the number and percentage found goes down dramatically -- 17 of 32 3rd great grandparents, only 8 of 64 4th great grandparents, etc.

When I analyze it according to nationality of my ancestors, I find that I only have as far back as 4th great grandparents for my Irish ones, but that at least eclipses the Polish relatives, which I can only trace back to my 3rd great grandparents.  For some reason, my German ancestors rule the "research roost".  I can trace back my German roots to three 8th great grandparents, six 7th great grandparents and four each of the 5th and 6th great grandparents.

All this makes me think that I have a lot more work to do!


                                           CHARLIE'S MOVIES

Monday, July 8, 2013


For the past 10 years or so, when I have conducted my genealogical research I have focused on special states and countries.  I thought I was lucky since my ancestors seemed to live in just a few states -- Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and California.  Yeah, a few relative retired and died in Florida or Arizona but that was a small minority.  One of my grandmother's cousins did live for a time in Minnesota but I thought that was an aberration.  However, today I found out that I have relatives and their families who lived and died in other states -- South Carolina, Iowa and more families in Minnesota.

A few weeks ago I "found" my 8th great grandparents Oster and Afra Hober.  I was thrilled and so proud of myself until I read a few days later, that I have 1024 8th great grandparents.  Okay, well, I only have 1022 left to research!  I did for the first time "locate" 8th and 9th cousins.  I didn't think those actually existed!  My research "discoveries" are begetting more research "discoveries".  This is way too fun!

But not all "discoveries" are always happy ones.  I did find out that I was related to the Gebhard line (that is good news and we share the common ancestors of Oster and Afra Hober).  Upon further inspection, I noticed that the three little boys named William, Charles and Henry (aged 7, 5 and 2) all died on the same day.  The above photo is their tombstone. I have to imagine that there was some sort of tragic accident to take the lives of all three little ones on the same day. How very sad it must have been for their parents and siblings!

Back to research ... and this time looking at a few more states ...

Monday, July 1, 2013


For the past month, I have been distracted preparing to host a reception for 70 people -- incoming UCLA students and their parents.  We hosted the wonderful reception yesterday at our home.  I now am back on my "genealogical" track and will be devoting more time to my genealogical research and blogging.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Adelaide Mayer (the woman on the far right) was my Grandma Theresa's best friend since they were girls. Since she was an important part of our family (including godmother to my brother) I decided to do some research on her too.

Adelaide's father Bernard Mayer was born in Illinois but his parents were born in Prussia.  His father's name was Bernhard Meyer (interesting the name or spelling change).  Bernard was a printer and worked for a printing company.  Adelaide's mother Marguerite Heil was born in Germany and immigrated to the US in 1874.

Now, for a little bit about Adelaide's spouse Adolph Haberstroh, Jr, who she married on Dec. 31, 1919.  Adolph was born in 1897 to Adolph Haberstroh, Sr and Mary Price.  His father had been born in Germany but immigrated to the US, while his mother had been born in Illinois.  Mary Price Haberstroh died in 1906 after giving birth to Adolph's younger brother Joseph.  Baby Joseph died 13 days later.  Adolph also had a few other siblings -- older sister Ann (who died at 1 year of age), younger brother Harold and a younger half brother Edward.

Adolph Jr. was an apprentice seaman in the 4th Division of the Illinois Naval Militia during World War 1. In 1923, Adolph was an assistant buyer for Rothschild and Company (  In the 1930 census, Adolph was living in the Norwood Hotel in Chicago, listed his marital status as single and was a rug salesman.  In the 1940 census, Adolph was living with his father and stepmother and brother Edward in Maine, Illinois.  His occupation was rug salesman. Adolph died in 1948.

It looks as though Adelaide and Adolph were only married for a short time.  How long?  I am not quite sure. I do know that Adelaide had 3 siblings -- Marguerite, Veronica and Bernard.  I remember Adelaide as a very sweet and independent lady who loved us as if we were her grandchildren.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


                                                 ADOLPH NEBGEN AND FAMILY

Monday, June 24, 2013


Sometimes, old family friends seem to feel more like family than just friends of your grandparents or parents. Adelaide Mayer was one of those people.  According to my Grandma Theresa (Nebgen Sherlock), she was her oldest and dearest friend.  She told me that they had been friends since they were girls. I don't know if they went to school together or met after that.  I decided to do some research and see if I could possibly pinpoint when their two paths first met.  Is that even possible?

All I knew about Adelaide was that she was about Grandma Theresa's age and that her current last name was Mayer.  She had been married when she was younger but that marriage hadn't lasted and there were no children.  I located a marriage certificate for Adelaide.  How lucky is that?  So, according to the license, her maiden name was Mayer and that is also the name she returned to after her divorce.  Adelaide married Adolph G. Haberstroh, Jr. on Dec. 31, 1919 (which was New Year's Eve).  They were married by the Assistant Pastor of Queen of the Angels Parish.  The license lists Adolph as 22 years old and Adelaide as 20 years old.  I wished they would have listed witnesses on the certificate because I would bet that Theresa was her maid (matron) of honor.

Now, to located Adelaide Mayer in the US Census. According to the 1900 US Census, Adelaide was living in Chicago with her father Bernard, her mother Marguerite, her older sisters Marguerite (age 8) and Veronica (age 2).  Adelaide was listed as one years old, but her birth date was listed as May 1899.  According to the 1910 US Census, Adelaide lived in Chicago with her father, mother, and older sister Marguerite and younger brother Bernard.  There is no mention of her older sister Veronica, who would have been 12 years old at the time. I wonder if she died between 1900 and 1910.  The organist from the church, William Esswein, also lived with them. The 1920 US Census lists Adelaide (now with the last name of Haberstroh) living with her parents and her spouse and younger brother Bernard.

Back to my research and more news about Adelaide in my next post ...

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I love this photo of my Grandpa Charlie (Sherlock) in Germany (I think!) in 1961.  This was a part of their month-long trip to Europe.  Whenever I see this photo, I think it looks like it is from one of his movies when actually  it was from his life.

On that trip, they took a cruise down the Rhine River and visited cities along the Rhine.  I am thinking that this is from one of those side trips. I have a photo of Grandma Theresa also with this officer, but of course, hers is  much more the typical pose of two people looking at the camera.

What is also typical of this photo of my Grandma and the German officer is that they are not posed in the middle of the photo.  Grandpa Charlie always took photos like this. He would say that he already knew what his family members looked like, he wanted to get the scenery as the focus point.

I do love how they were dressed up in all of the photos of this trip.  I guess that was custom in that time while now we are much more casual. Sometimes, I do yearn for those days ...