Friday, March 29, 2013


       I have no idea who the two people are in the above photo.  It was passed down to me with other family memorabilia. It was taken at a studio in Dublin so that narrows down which side of the family.  The Sherlock-Caffrey branch of the family lived in County Meath, which is a lot closer than those who lived in County Meath. According to the studio's information, it was taken some time between 1880-1915. Can anyone narrow down the time frame because of the type of photo mounted on this type of cardboard?  I have other similar photos mounted this way (my best guess is early 1900's).

Thursday, March 28, 2013


      My 2nd great grandparents (Baltazar Nebgen and Anna Maria Wittayer) both lived their entire lives in the municipality of Dernbach in Germany.  Dernbach is located in Westerwaldkreis in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany or more simply put, it is in the western central part of Germany.  My great grandfather Peter Joseph Nebgen was born in Dernbach on 12 Dec 1869 and lived there until he immigrated to the US in 1888.

      The above photo is a picture of the old Dernbach homestead of Baltazar and Anna Maria.  It is rather exciting to see a photo of the house where my great grandfather grew up.  I wonder if this house is still standing.  I am thinking that I am putting "Dernbach" on my bucket list of places to visit.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


       I love finding people who will talk about genealogy with me!  I am not talking about my family members who listen carefully for the first few minutes and then wonder when the conversation will be over but those who love family history research as much as I do.  I also love finding "long lost relatives" while I am doing my research.  Okay, most of them are not "long lost" because I never knew they existed in the 1st place but it does give me great joy to find "new" members of my family.  So, you can imagine my joy when I discover "new" members of my family who want to talk genealogy with me.  Yes, I put that in my "almost too good to be true" category!

      A few weeks ago, I received a comment and then an email from Bernd and Suzanne. So, yes, they really discovered me rather than me discovering them  It turns out that Bernd's great grandmother is this lovely lady in the above photo (Maria Rosina Nebgen) and my great grandfather is the handsome gentleman standing in the back (Peter Joseph Nebgen).  Okay, how great is this?  Not only are we related, but we have shared photos and information back and forth. They had the matching photo of one that I already had.  I thought this was amazing since this has never happened to me before, except perhaps with my siblings!  Oh, and one more thing -- they live in Germany, which makes it even more exciting to me!  They translated our 2nd great grandmother's "dying card" for me.

    I love sharing my stories and photos of my ancestors on this blog. I hope, in the process, I am preserving their stories for generations to come. Yes, I will be creating a family history book with these stories, photos, and memories.  Most of all, however, I will be cherishing the "new" relatives and genealogy aficionados I meet along the way!

Monday, March 25, 2013


       Recently, I ran across this old newspaper clipping from 1938.  I checked my spreadsheet of Grandpa Charlie's movies and didn't see "Keystone Hotel" listed so I did a bit of research.  According to, "Keystone Hotel" was made in 1935 and is the story of a hotel holding a beauty contest with a judge who is cross-eyed, so he selected an elderly cleaning lady as the winner.  Of course, the crowd was outraged and chaos ensued so the cops were called.  In this case, it was the "Keystone Cops" which I am sure caused even more chaos!

       I couldn't find Charlie's role listed on IDMB so he may have played a policeman or one of the angry mob. The article mentions Charlie's nickname of "Teenie Terror" as a Chicago policeman.  I have read in other articles that Charlie was the shortest guy at the department and that is where the "tiny" moniker originated.  The next sentence about his injury is what my brother Danny refers to as "the 2% rule" -- you can tell a story as long as it is 2% true.  Charlie was injured on the job but it was due to a taxi driver running into the police car and not "slugs" or gunshots from Al Capone or bandits!  Grandpa Charlie was in the hospital at least twice in the 6 month period and it did force his early retirement from the police force.   Moving his family to Southern California, he gave us his "badge" for the "big screen".

Saturday, March 23, 2013


      My paternal grandparents Charles Sherlock and Theresa Nebgen were married 95 years ago today (March 23, 1918) in Crown Point, Indiana.  They both lived in Chicago, but since Charlie was only 17 at the time, they married in Indiana.  I think perhaps Indiana had a lower legal age for marriage (okay, need to research that).  As I have told the story before, they came home and their parents made them live separately with their own parents for a few years until they thought they were old enough to be married.  But with stubborn resolve, their relationship not only survived those first early years but 65 years until the death of Charlie in 1983.

      I remember celebrating their 50th anniversary in 1968.  We celebrated for the entire weekend.  On Saturday morning, there was a Mass and renewal of vows at our local church, Saint Genevieve's Catholic Church in Van Nuys, California.  Two of their sons, Donald and Edmund, were not only parishioners there but also ushers at Sunday Mass and their children attended school at St. Genevieve's Elementary School with one of the kids at the parish high school. All 3 sons were in attendance for the renewal of vows, as well as, their spouses and most of the grand kids   Three of the grandsons -- Danny, Kevin and Michael -- served as altar boys for the Mass.  A breakfast was held at Don's house following the ceremony.  On Saturday evening, the adults celebrated with a 5 course meal at a nice restaurant.  The following day there was a huge party at Edmund's house at which not only family members but lots of friends were also in attendance.

       The above photo was taken outside St. Genevieve's Church on March 23, 1968.  In addition to Charlie and Theresa, my Dad Donald is also in the photo. He is the handsome man to the far left.  Also, in the photo, is my cousin Bryan Sherlock, who died in 2009.  I thought it was rather appropriate that I post of photo of Bryan on my blog since he was the original family genealogist.  While I did start collecting data earlier than him (in 1983), he started his online research earlier than me in 2001.  He was uploading family trees and posting comments on online message boards while I hadn't even gotten that far with my research or technology skills.

        So, thanks, Bryan, for all your research!  I am carrying on the torch of family research.  Happy 95th Anniversary, Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Theresa!  I know that you are probably celebrating with your 3 sons up in heaven today!

Monday, March 18, 2013


        Look at the gem I found over the weekend!  As I have mentioned numerous times on this blog, my paternal grandfather Charles Sherlock was a character actor in over 300 movies from the early 1930's to the early 1960's.  As a former Chicago policeman on disability from an accident occurred while on duty, he could afford the luxury of playing various roles in movies, yet not taking it too serious,  knowing that he had other sources of income.

       Charlie must have been visiting his sister-in-law Helen Nebgen Cedargreen and her husband Albert in Chicago, at the time this telegram was sent in 1949.  I did a little research and found out that the movie's title was changed from "Frame Up" to "Undertow".  Changing the movie title happens often in Hollywood, or at least it used to occur frequently.   "Undertow" is the story of an ex-con, who is framed for the murder of his fiance's uncle.  John Russell, Scott Brady, Dorothy Hart and Peggy Dow are the stars of the movie.  Grandpa Charlie plays the role of "Detective Cooper".  Rock Hudson also has a tiny role in the movie as a detective.

       Perhaps, I should start a weekly post on this blog, titled "Movie Monday" to discuss Grandpa Charlie's movies ...

Sunday, March 17, 2013


     This Saint Patrick's Day is a little more special than most.  I think it is because of our trip to Ireland this past fall.  Seeing Crough Patrick (where supposedly Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland) and realizing that it was almost in my great grandmother Bridget's backyard makes this holiday more special, almost like celebrating a family member's birthday. 

     Traditionally we have eaten corned beef and cabbage on this holiday in the past.  However, the problem is I am not much of a corned beef and cabbage fan.  So, today we decided to change it up a bit.  Instead I am making Guinness stew.  My husband has already made an Irish soda bread and will soon be making a Guinness molasses bread.  The crust for the banoffee pie is already done.  Okay, let's be honest, I think that is what I am most looking forward to eating tonight! 

      I did start the day with some tea from Connemara and may be ending the day with some Irish coffee.  I am wearing my green, so let the celebrating begin ... 

Wishing you all --  
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!  (Happy St. Paddy's Day)

Friday, March 15, 2013


             This is the funeral card for my Grandpa Charlie (Sherlock). I decided today to honor both of my Grandpas by posting their funeral cards on my blog.  Grandpa Leonard is on MyPolishRoots blog.

          Grandpa Charlie died the same year I got married.  At his funeral was the first time that my fiance met my extended family (aunts, uncles and cousins) and yes, we still did get married!  In fact, we married on my Grandpa Charlie's birthday -- July 9th -- and even though he was no longer with us, we still thought about him on that special day.  I am sure that it was tough on my Grandma Theresa on my wedding day since that was his first birthday after he died and only 2 months after his death.  My Grandma was a real trooper (and although she was very sad about Grandpa) she celebrated the joy of my wedding and being together with all the family.

Monday, March 11, 2013


         I love making genealogical finds and when they are done accidentally, it is even better!  So this weekend, I was stuck at home with my car in the shop for repairs.  It was a perfect time to scan old photos -- childhood, wedding, and the kids when they were babies.  Well, as I was going through one of my daughter's scrapbooks she had done on family history for a middle school project, I found a copy of a letter.  I guess if I was organized I would know exactly where the original one is!  It is on my "to do" list to find.  Anyways, the letter is in German and is addressed to (I thought) my 2nd great grandfather Baltazar Nebgen.

        For years, I was just happy to have this letter in my possession and didn't care that I had no idea what the letter was about.  I could try translating in online but it being handwritten would cause me more problems -- is that an s or a k or a t?  I have a friend name Sabine, who I knew from my daughter's high school band days and my PTA days.  She is from Germany so perhaps she could translate it for me. Okay, so now you are probably asking why I hadn't thought of this earlier, say perhaps 5 or 6 years ago.  Well, my life was so crazy with kids' activities and mine that who even had time to breathe back then, never mind do genealogy research and translate German.

      So, this is what I found out -- the letter is actually to Mrs. Baltazar Nebgen, my 2nd great grandmother.  It is from a captain of a Dutch ship. I think I mentioned in a previous post that my great grandfather Peter Joseph Nebgen was a midshipman.  I also want to mention that even though my great grandfather's first name was Peter, it seems doing research that he often went by his second name Joseph.  I guess this is common for Germans in those days (something about taking a saint's name for the 1st name).

      It is my understanding that Mrs. Baltazar Nebgen (Anna Maria Wittayer) had written the captain of the ship because she had not heard from her son since he got on the ship and she was worried.  Okay, I can totally relate to this.  Sons do seem to have a problem calling home (or writing home in those days).  So the concerned Mom wanted to know where her son Joseph was.  This letter is from the captain of the ship reassuring Anna Maria that Joseph is doing well and working hard (exactly what all mothers want to hear) and that he would be on the ship a bit longer.  It seems though, that Joseph wanted to go back home as soon as he got off the ship.

      I love that my Grandma kept this letter all those years and that she passed it on down to my father and now to me.  It is a true treasure!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


                                     Theresa Nebgen Sherlock and Charles Sherlock

Monday, March 4, 2013


     In October of 1952, my Dad (Donald Sherlock) and three of his fellow soldiers were sent to Camp Stoneman before being sent overseas to Korea.  In this photo, Leonard King, Bernie Katz, Donald Sherlock, and Louis Pontrelli are at the Los Angeles International Airport getting ready to board a plane to the Bay area.

     Camp Stoneman was located in Pittsburg, California (northeast of both San Francisco and Oakland) and was a staging area on the west coast for troops leaving for Korea.  For more information on Camp Stoneman, check out

Note: Whenever I come across in my research some place I hadn't heard before, I research it to find out more. Wikipedia, of course, is a great source but there are lots of websites, like the military museum website listed above. I love learning more about not only the history of my family but the history of places and things they were involved with. I think it will make my family history book that much more interesting.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


             Today would have been my Dad's 84th birthday.  Donald Joseph Sherlock was born on 2 Mar 1929 in Chicago, Illinois.  Here he is in a photo with his two older brothers.  Donald is the cute one to the far left.  In the middle is his brother Edmund (known as Eddie) and on the right Charles (who always went by the name Chuck since his dad was also named Charles).

             They were very close siblings -- living most of their life in the same town.  They raised their families in the same town (Van Nuys, California) sending their children at times to the same elementary and high school. Only when they were much older did two of them move away -- Eddie to Vista (in San Diego County) and Chuck to Ventura (near the beach north of Los Angeles).  Donald lived in the same house in Van Nuys that he bought 6 months prior to my birth in 1955 until his death in 2001.

            Happy Birthday, Dad!  We miss you and love you!