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Friday, August 23, 2013

German History in Maryland

Just this week I was re-shelving a book at the York County Heritage Trust, when I noticed that the book was about German church records in Baltimore, Maryland. So I went to the index and found who I have been searching for over the past few years! It was just by chance that I took the time to check the index.

This morning, I spent some time researching places in the Baltimore, Maryland area where I can visit and hopefully learn more about my dad's ancestors. While on the German Marylanders' website, I skimmed the timeline and learned the following:

In 1940, Gustav Brunn, a Frankfurt Germany native developed a spice used for crabs.  He had arrived a year earlier in Baltimore from Germany.  His spice was sold many years later to McCormick.  Brunn invented 'Old Bay'. (courtesy of German Marylanders).

I suppose good old Gustav and I have something in common...he created a blend of spices that today is used widely on our favorite seafood, and I accidentally stumbled on relevant data that I considered to be a treasure into my family's past. 

P.S.  If you are interested in learning where the name 'Old Bay' came from, read more here.


Monday, August 12, 2013

World War I Hero...Sgt. Stubby

My husband's Staub family sponsors a team each year for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life team.  Their team name is the 'Stubby Staubs.'  Recently, in a blog post by AncientFaces, I read a story about a dog named Stubby, aka Sgt. Stubby, who was a hero during World War I.  

Below is a glimpse of the Sgt. Stubby's obituary, printed by the New York Times in 1926.  Read the full story on AncientFaces.
 
"The noise and strain that shattered the nerves of many of his comrades did not impair Stubby's spirits. Not because he was unconscious of danger. His angry howl while a battle raged and his mad canter from one part of the lines to another indicated realization." - New York Times Obituary 1926
 
 
 
 


Monday, January 14, 2013

TV Worthy I Am Not ...

Today I opened my Inbox and read a notification wishing me a happy blogging 2nd anniversary.  Apparently I started this blog two years ago.  Time sure flies. 

I could claim being busy, and that might be so.  There were no 'ah-ha' moments, therefore nothing intriguing and worth while mentioning.  However ...
  • I uncovered one Staub ancestor's Company information when he served in the Civil War.  Just this Christmas I shared this information with a great nephew (that makes me feel old!) who has an interest in  Civil War and participated in a re-enactment. I think that I opened another door and made a young historian happy. 
  • Prior to Super Storm Sandy, I visited with an elderly neighbor, taking them a dish of my 4-cheese macaroni casserole.  One thing lead to another and I ended up with information about his family and embarked on a journey to help him find his roots.  I hit a brick wall, but did find some interesting stuff, AND learned the history of three counties - Baltimore, Frederick, and Carroll.  Funny how little details are too darned important.  Now I can't wait to share what I found.
  • Saw the movies Lincoln and Les Miserables.  I actually understood the history from it all and enjoyed it.  Also, I developed a deepened appreciation for my ancestors who lived during those trying times.
Guess it is the small stuff that keeps me digging.  So, you won't be seeing me on TV anytime soon, right?

Happy New Year.  Blessings to all genealogists.  Happy research.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Homestead in Brodbecks, PA
of Jesse and Agnes Berkheimer
How many of us baby-boomers grew up knowing little about our family ancestry?  I missed out on many opportunities to ask questions.  Thankfully, I had an uncle who felt it was important for me to have a framed photograph of my great-great-great grandmother before it got lost in an estate sale.  What started as a hobby is now an obsession! And, I am not alone.

One day while volunteering in our local research library, a lady asked me for help in trying to understand her German ancestors.  Her relatives claimed that they were Irish. She was so patient and eventually we found that her German ancestors couldn't sail to America when they wanted to and were offered land to stay in Ireland, thus the German-Irish connection.  Proof in hand, she couldn't wait to share this at the next family reunion!

I knew little about my mother's paternal ancestors, and found bits and pieces about her parents, their divorce, and that I have a step grandmother.  Nothing exciting, just a loose end on the family tree.  Another find was an article from the Berkheimer family file which revealed that my great, great, great grandfather, Andrew Berkheimer, had a brother, Henry, who had bought a farm shortly after becoming married in the early 1800s in Washington Township, Pennsylvania.  Together with his wife Elizabeth, they raised a family and operated a widely known wool mill.  Today it is a working farm (sorry but I couldn't find a photograph of this farm, just driving driving directions) listed on the National Registry of Historic Buildings.  This find won't land me on NBC's show "Who Do You Think You Are?" but to know that a piece of their history is important enough to be registered and still a working farm is pretty cool.

Over a year ago, I began my family research, and didn't know that I would become so obsessed with history.  A quote from Henry Wiencek sums it up for me.

"Genealogy becomes a mania, an obsessive struggle to penetrate the past and snatch meaning from an infinity of names. At some point the search becomes futile - there is nothing left to find, no meaning to be dredged out of old receipts, newspaper articles, letters, accounts of events that seemed so important fifty or seventy years ago. All that remains is the insane urge to keep looking, insane because the searcher has no idea what he seeks. What will it be? A photograph? A will? A fragment of a letter? The only way to find out is to look at everything, because it is often when the searcher has gone far beyond the border of futility that he finds the object he never knew he was looking for."
-- Henry Wiencek




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

True Grit

For anyone over the age of 40, you will remember the Grit newspaper.  Today, the Grit paper is no longer in circulation, BUT it is a magazine. 

I am not promoting the magazine by any means (but it is interesting).  This is something that I stumbled on when reading my eNewsletters from several of my favorite magazines. 

Growing up, my parents subscribed to this weekly paper.  Mike and his siblings peddled the Grit paper, and I can still remember Nell helping the kids with their paper money and bookkeeping.  Am I jogging any memories for you?  Care to share, anyone?