Monday, October 7, 2013

Joseph Vincent – Who were You?

Today, October 7th, was my second great grandmother’s 161st birthday. That is if she was still living today but she died at age 68 many, many years ago.

Though I never came close to meeting her when I think of Grandma Sarah Eliza Vincent I always wonder about her father. You see, he is the endpoint of the third shortest branch on my family tree.

What we actually know about third great grandfather Joseph Vincent can be counted on one hand.

1. His name was Joseph Vincent.
(Notes copied from a second great aunt to a cousin to us say his name was Joseph or John. But as far as the actual documents found it has only been given as Joseph.)

2. He died 3 months before his second daughter Mary E. Vincent was born in 1855/1856.
This would be useful information if we knew the birth month of Mary along with an exact year. But Mary is almost as elusive as her father. He may also have died from a lumbering accident. But I have to verify where that part of the story initiated.

The rest of the story we were told was that Sarah and Mary’s grandparents helped raise them. The 1861 Canada census seems to confirm this. Sarah and Mary are listed in the household of their maternal grandparents, Seneca and Martha Rider in Madoc Township, Hastings County, Canada West, which later became Ontario. Their mother Mahala or Mahalia Rider Vincent has not been found on this census. We’ve looked near and far. We’ve used various spellings, initials and the maiden and married name in the search. From her father’s probate we know she did not remarry at this time.

We can guess about some information about Joseph but they are only guesses not facts.

1. Joseph Vincent and Mahala Rider likely married after 11 January 1851 and before 7 October 1852.
Why? Mahala is single on the 1851 census and from what we know Sarah was not illegitimate.

2. Joseph Vincent’s birth was possibly sometime before 1830 possibly as early as the 1810s.
This is only a guess assuming Joseph was near the age of Mahala who was born in 1830. My real guess is Joseph was born sometime in the 1820s but again it is only a guess.

3. Joseph and Mahala lived in Hastings County, possibly in Madoc Township.
This guess comes from Sarah’s birthplace given in her obituary. Since the actual source (Sarah herself prior to death, a document, etc.) is unknown I am not sure of this information’s reliability.

Despite having a likely location we have not turned up any further information on Joseph. Church records for this time period are scarce. (I have not yet learned if the early records of the nearest church still survive.) Joseph does not appear in land records nor probate records in Hastings County. Widening the search location has not turned up any further leads yet.

Looking for potential candidates for Joseph in the area prior to marriage has turned up a couple Vincent families but no definite candidates standing out from the few available. But there is no guarantee that he was from a family in the area.

Unfortunately, there is still too much unknown about Grandpa Joseph Vincent. I hope to someday figure him out. At least I have a name … I think.

Happy Birthday Grandma Sarah and D.!

©2013, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Genealogy Roadshow – My Impressions and Thoughts on the Newest Genealogy Show

Note: Going into the viewing of the first episode of Genealogy Roadshow late Tuesday night (I caught a first repeat at midnight) I knew that a “call” had been put out earlier this year for people interested in solving a family history mystery. So I, like most in the genealogy community at large, had a little background knowledge of how the people came to be filmed. Here are my impressions and thoughts ...

Boy! That line looks like they’re there for an Antiques Roadshow episode. They even have a host a la Mark Walberg or Lara Spencer. But as they’re showing this, they seem to have quickly glossed over that people have submitted their questions to be answered prior to this day. (So I don’t think the others standing there in line have questions in hand and are getting answers at a table like the onsite appraisals at the Antiques Roadshow but that’s sort of the impression being given.)

It’s fast paced with dramatic music to enhance “the moment.” They give a bit of info to each participant but again, like in Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA), not a lot of genealogy how-it’s-done is being shown or explained as they do the reveal. I think a bit more how to/where to go needs to be presented. I realize that for those viewers who likely have not dipped their toes into researching their genealogy this might be a snoozer. BUT by presenting a bit more how to/where to go, those viewers who are motivated to get started with their genealogy don't get a shock when the answer they seek requires more than just a little work. I wonder if they have anyway to figure the statistics on their audience in regards to the percent that have never done genealogy, does a little, and does a lot. I'm guessing if you watch it, you have some level of interest whether you've done anything about it or not.

The two presenters are both quite lively but sensitive when needed with their delivery of both good news and bad news.

After a few of these reveals and the follow up with the host after each reveal, I’m getting a People’s Court feeling mixed in with the Antiques Roadshow feel at the beginning and in between things. It’s kind of odd, but kind of/sort of works sometimes. There’s also the feel of being at a meeting and having this revealed in front of “friends” – quite different than a presenter and participant alone in a room somewhere like on WDYTYA. I wonder what the original Irish version of this show is actually like. HINT: BBC America/PBS – bring the original UK version of these shows (WDYTYA, Genealogy Roadshow) to America. Perhaps make it a mixture of the various seasons using the personalities that we in the US might know from WDYTYA UK, Canada or any of the other international versions. (I know legal logistics would make this unlikely.)

The fast pace is more upbeat but maybe a few less reveals would allow a more thorough coverage/presentation of the reveals. (I think this is the genealogist in me. I wouldn’t just gloss over what’s been found. I explain why we looked at something and what it tells us.)

The follow up with the host showed in at least one case that a miss-connect appears to have happened -- though the presenter said “highly-probable” the participant took it as “I’m definitely related.” Those two statements are not equal. I hope someone gently pointed this out to the person.

Another very brief segment had to do with DNA. They didn’t even bother to explain it nor that it took how many weeks to get the results. The topic really should have been presented better. (Though the presenter did fine with what was presented). I hope for the next DNA reveal the topic is covered more thoroughly.

Overall, I think it was a good mixture of a variety of questions answered and different situations. I like that they took on both the bad news (no, you are not related to …) along with the good news.

I think the series will accomplish what is one of its likely goals: get viewers interested in genealogy. But, I hope when these newbies go seeking their family history they find the help they need – things are not handed to you like in these reveals! There is work involved. HINT: Hey, Genealogy Roadshow: If you get a second season, wrap up each episode telling viewers to seek out their local genealogical and historical societies because many offer help in getting started. After all, your presenters are both presidents of two national societies.

©2013, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Got Michigan?

I have scribbled parts of this information down or dictated it numerous times as I’ve helped people find their ancestors that settled in or wandered for a time in Michigan. Those familiar with the internet for genealogy likely know most of these resources for Michigan. But for those not so familiar with the internet for genealogy some of these resources for Michigan may be new to them.

In either case, an important point to remember is: not everything is digitized or on the internet. Microfilm, books and paper files do and must have their place in our research. That said, the many resources that have been indexed and digitized give us easier access and quicker results – hopefully positive results.

So here are the internet resources with Michigan-related records that I recommend. Many have the type of records that are necessary for a proven (record-based not myth-based) family history. I’ll start by highlighting specifics from some websites and then cover other websites more generally – places (websites) to check for the particular area you are researching. Are you researching another state? Some of these sites will have something to offer you too. But for the Michigan-specific sites, use them as a guide to see if similar sites exist for your state of interest.

So let’s start with the website where the early State of Michigan vital records can be accessed along with many other things.

FamilySearch – a free website of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ (LDS)/Mormons
Several years ago the LDS began to digitize the microfilm collections and other records (with permission of the record owners) and placing them on their website, FamilySearch. While there is quite a lot for all over the world, not everything is digitized. So visit often to check what has been added. The FamilySearch catalog will help you find record collections. (I suggest search by place – try looking just under the county first, then try the town/township, then the city/village.) If it isn’t digitized you can likely order (rent) it to view at a local FamilySearch Center (formerly Family History Center) near you.

For the digitized collections you can find them by clicking on search, on the records page scroll down to browse locations and click on the region you want to search. The camera icon to the left of the database title indicates record images are available, browse means at present there is no index but you can look at the record images (kind of like viewing microfilm but with a mouse click not a hand crank).
Tip: Want to see what has been added lately or since your last visit? Once you are at a region's database collections page, click on the "Last Updated" column header and the database list sorts by date added/updated. That's one way I keep my eye on new things.
You will find the United States Federal Census listed under United States not under each state. (From the home page, click on search, on the records page scroll down to browse locations and then click on United States.) So scroll down the list of database collections to the U area. Or in the left column scroll down and click on Census and Lists and then scroll down to the U area. Note: there are indexes for all census years but some years do not have the actual census images, only links to the images at other websites (some are free, some are pay sites.)

By selecting Michigan in that left hand column (after going to United States), you’ll see the Michigan specific database collections. Want a vital record – birth, marriage, death? Then start here – Michigan, Births, 1867-1902; Michigan, Marriages, 1867-1925; and Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897. They are indexed with record images and free! Note: These are the records kept on the state level at the Department of Health not the county level. Michigan vital records began in 1867 but like everywhere else it took time for people to comply with the law. So for earlier events there is a chance they were not reported/recorded.

Other Michigan databases include: Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952 (index only at present time but enough info to get started); Michigan, Probate Records, 1797-1973 (a newer collection still in progress, with no index, organized by county with records available varying); Michigan, State Census, 1894 (index only); and Detroit Manifests. There are also several databases that have information extracted from various sources -- some are parts of the former International Genealogical Index (IGI).

There is one other website with important vital records for Michigan. And by that I mean a site with images of the actual vital records.

SeekingMichigan – a free website of the Archives of Michigan  
The shining star on the Archives of Michigan's SeekingMichigan website is the Death Certificates Collection 1897-1920. Its search engine is not so fabulous (no soundex capability) but you will see and be able to download the actual death certificate once you find it.
Tip: click on advanced search. This will get you tailored filters for each specific collection if you only search one collection at a time.
A newer addition to this site is the 1884 and 1894 State Census for the counties that the Library of Michigan/Archives of Michigan has in its possession. Again, a better search engine would be greatly appreciated along with another wish -- the ability to search page by page (those neighbors were often relatives back then.) There are other collections to investigate: civil war focused databases, oral histories, earlier state census, etc.

It was mentioned at a seminar in Fort Wayne, Indiana, last month that the releasable Death Certificate images from the 1921-1952 FamilySearch indexing project will be located on the SeekingMichigan site at some point in the future. Some of the online databases that were at the Library of Michigan’s website are now in the "Seek area" or "About area" of the SeekingMichigan website. The Naturalization Indexes that were created for many counties whose records are at the archives can be found on the Seek area. The County Clerks Directory can be found on the About area.

Library of Michigan
Related to the Archives of Michigan is the Library of Michigan. Michigan’s state library and archives situation has been rocky the past 10 years. Much of the Library of Michigan’s genealogical collection has been transferred to the Archives of Michigan. At least most of the collection has not been broken up and sent to other places – that surely would have been a great loss for the state. Most of the residents in Michigan came from someplace else so naturally the collection should have items from other states. A lot of the online resources that were on the library’s website seem to have been shifted to the archive's website.

One database listing still on the Library of Michigan’s website is the Library of Michigan Newspaper Microfilm Holdings Lists. Use it to find out what newspapers are in its microfilm holdings before you head to the library in Lansing. The newspapers are listed by county.

So if you are researching another state, don’t forget to check out the resources of its state library and state archives. Note: in some states some counties have a county archive in addition to a county library. Library-Edition – a $ pay-service via home or library subscription
Ancestry is one of the big commercial sites. If you don’t have a home subscription, then check your local libraries to see if one of them subscribes to the library edition of the website. Usually at the library you can bring in a USB flash/thumb drive and download images from the library computer. Or some libraries with wireless internet allow you to connect your laptop/tablet and use the website on your device while you are in their library. In that case, you can download the image straight to your device's drive.

The easiest way to see what Ancestry has for Michigan is to click on the main search tab (not the pull-downs). On the main search tab page, scroll down to the map and select Michigan. Now you will see all the databases that apply to Michigan sorted by categories. Here are some highlights.

You will find all the Federal census years 1820-1940. (That is correct, there are no 1790, 1800, or 1810 census years for Michigan.) Don’t forget to check out special census years/forms collections: Veterans, Mortality, Indian, Non-Population (like agricultural), Defective/Dependent/Delinquent – you never know what you will learn. The IRS Tax Assessment Lists may provide another view of your ancestor. There is an index to the 1894 Michigan census but no census page images.

Find early French Catholic records for Michigan in the Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection) 1695-1954 database. The Michigan Death Records 1897-1920 is an index to the death certificates found at SeekingMichigan. This index has the soundex search option, a few more search options, and links to take you to the images on SeekingMichigan. There are a couple other death indexes that cover more recent times also. And don’t forget to check the social security death index. (Yes, they’ve taken some information out but it is better than nothing.)
Remember with any database (where ever it is), read the “about this database” to find out what is included and not included in the database. And to learn where more information might be located.
Under Immigration & Travel, there are Detroit Border Crossings and Great Lakes Crossings of various years. (You may be surprised how mobile your ancestors were back then.) There are Michigan Eastern District Naturalizations if your ancestor was in the Detroit-area. There are a few naturalization and passport databases that cover the whole United States so you may find your Michigan person included.

Though not solely Michigan-focused, some databases to check out for your immigrant ancestors are the Passenger Arrival Lists (like New York) and the Passenger Departure lists (like Hamburg). They are indexed and most have page images.

The databases in the Military collection often cover the whole country. Some to remember to check are the WWI and WWII draft cards, the various Civil War databases and various pension lists.

There are a variety of Michigan city directories in the Schools, Directories and Church Histories category. Some are listed individually and some are in the US City Directories 1821-1989 database. The Tax, Criminal, Land and Wills category has a database on Pre-1908 Michigan Homestead and Cash Entry Patents and a database for the US General Land Office Records (those that bought land from the government). Got an inventor in the family? There is a database for the US Patent and Trademark Office Patents 1790-1909.

Under the Reference, Dictionaries and Almanacs category, there is the Michigan Pioneer Society Collections Report Vol. 12, the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) along with many other broader-focused databases.

There are over 8,000 listings under Michigan in the Stories, Memories and Histories Category. Who knows what you may find. The entries range from family genealogies to abstracts of records. The Newspapers and Periodicals Category under Michigan does not have a lot of entries but there are a few. The newspapers are mostly smaller towns, several of them more up north or on the west side of the Lower Peninsula (the mitten portion of the state).

Don’t forget to check out the message boards and member-submitted family trees. For the last couple years when using Ancestry Library Edition, you cannot see either of these areas. But from home, you can create a registered user id on (without subscribing/paying/giving a credit card) to be able to post messages and see the public trees. (Doing this allows you to communicate without revealing your email to spammers.)

RootsWeb – a free website but hosted by 
RootsWeb is one of the older genealogy websites. RootsWeb's message boards are the same as the message boards on Ancestry. (Did you know that your user id works on both websites?) Some message boards are linked to mailing lists which you can subscribe to when at the RootsWeb site. (The message board messages appear on the mail list but the mail list messages do not appear on the message boards. If you subscribe, I suggest digest-mode so all messages come from the mail list together not from individuals whose emails you don’t recognize – it keeps your mailbox cleaner.) There are various databases hosted on this site too. User-submitted family trees, WorldConnect Family Trees, are here too. Also, the site hosts many personal and society websites. Use the website's index/search engine to locate sites for specific states/counties.

USGenWeb Project – a free website network  
Though it has been around for a long time, not everyone has heard of the USGenWeb Project. For every state and just about every county of each state there is a volunteer run website. What is on each varies but it is still worthwhile to check out the website for the county you are searching. Some just have where to go to search while others have transcribed records and cemetery readings among other things. Note: there is also the WorldGenWeb Project that covers other countries in a similar manner.

HeritageQuest – $ a pay-service via library subscription
If you are a Michigan resident use your library card or Michigan driver's license to access (Michigan Electronic Library) for access to HeritageQuest and its Federal Census, digitized and searchable Family and Local History Books, PERSI (PERiodical Source Index) and other databases. Live in another state? Your state might have a similar agreement with ProQuest (owner of HeritageQuest) but the name of the access site will be different.  

County Government Websites like the County Clerk
Some Michigan counties actually have databases on their websites so check out the county government website (especially the county clerk) for the county you are researching. The database/index may be free or there may be a charge for seeing/accessing a specific record. Think birth, death, marriage, land, and probate.

Macomb County’s County Clerk page has a searchable death index for deaths from about 1960 forward though there are some earlier ones included but not all earlier ones. More recently a land records search (some fee involved to see the actual document) was added. Oakland County’s County Clerk has a genealogy research service page that allows you to search marriage and death records back to 1941 and then order/pay for a record you desire. (Remember the earlier records are free at FamilySearch or SeekingMichigan.)

University and College Libraries
University and college libraries may not immediately come to mind when thinking genealogy resources but they can have some useful stuff. Two that come to mind for Michigan are the HathiTrust Digital Library and MLibrary Digital Collections. MLibrary has in its featured digital collections Michigan County Histories and Atlases containing over 400 digitized titles.

County and Local Libraries
Investigate the websites of the county and local (city or township) libraries. Does a library have a genealogy collection? Does it have indexes or database resources on its website allowing you to find answers or prepare a research plan (what to look at) for when you are able to visit? Does it have a research/look-up service? Take a look. Your answers may be a click away, or a visit away.

Genealogical and Historical Societies/Groups  
There are two ways to use genealogical and historical societies/groups. The first is to join or attend one where you live. Don’t worry if you don’t have ancestors where you live. Many societies/groups have meetings with topics/speakers to help you learn your hobby. They are also great for meeting others with a like mind, cause, habit, or disease called genealogy (whichever stage you are in.)

The second is to join or check the website resources of a society/group in the area you are researching. Some societies/groups may have member publications with historical information/data. Or they may publish databases, books, etc. on the area’s history or records. In either case, look for these societies/groups and see if they have a website. Genealogical and historical societies/groups may be stand-alone groups or united with a historical commission or local library.

Cemeteries/Cemetery Associations
In this day and age, even a cemetery may have a website. Use a search engine and take a look. The cemetery’s website may have something as simple as a request form (or instructions on how to request information) or have a searchable database of who is buried there (and hopefully where.)

Related Cemetery Resources  
There are several websites out there that use volunteers to record and preserve tombstones/gravestone information from cemeteries across the United States and even the world. Try searching these websites; you never know what someone has posted. FindAGrave, BillionGraves, are just a few.

It seems like not a lot of Michigan newspapers have been digitized. So odds are you will have to visit a library and view some microfilm. But there are some out there.

ProQuest has some Michigan newspapers (along with other states) that libraries can purchase subscriptions but these subscriptions are very expensive so not many libraries are able to do so. One example: The Detroit Free Press is available from the beginning to 1920. So check the websites of local libraries to see if they offer such databases. Usually these will be for in-library use only.

Two other websites, and, have some Michigan newspapers (usually smaller papers.) Before you go out and buy a subscription though, make sure a website has newspapers for the area(s) you are researching and the time period you are researching. At the time I wrote this post, on GenealogyBank it is fairly simple to find the newspaper titles for both the Historical Newspapers and Recent Newspapers. Each has a link to the newspaper titles on the home page below each database. You can also do a search without a membership to see what kind of results you will get. On, it is a bit harder to locate its newspaper titles. To see a list of the newspapers on Archives, I’ve actually gone to the main browse page of (who licenses the papers to Archives) to find a list of newspaper titles by States in the United States.

A few libraries in Michigan do have digitized local newspapers but there is not one place to go to find them. The International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) keeps track of many digitized newspapers not only for Michigan but worldwide. And a few other Michigan newspapers can be found in the Google News Archive. Google may have cancelled its Newspaper Project but what was done is still there if the copyright owner has not removed it.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records  
Did your ancestor buy land from the federal government or earn bounty land from the government? Check out the BLM GLO website. You can search by last and first name or simply last name and search all states or a single state. Even if your ancestor sold his bounty land to someone else, you will likely find his name now. Two points to remember: 1) not every state was a federal land state and 2) these are the first sales from the federal government to a person (non-government entity) and subsequent sales are not included in this database.

Fold3 – $ a pay-service via home or library subscription
The Fold3 site is digitizing military records and pensions. Some collections are done but many are in progress. So keep an eye on this site and any collections of interest to your research. For Michigan, the website also has Detroit city directories digitized and indexed (1861-1923) back from its former days when it was called Footnote. Directories are located under the Non-Military Records. Some libraries have subscriptions to Fold3 that you can access while in the library.

Other Websites that will be of help
And lastly, use a web search engine (such as Google) to search for your ancestors. You never know where they will turn up. See the Google help area for tips on how to search and on how to use search operators more effectively.

Happy Hunting!

©2013, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Delivery … A Sign that You’ve taken Genealogy Too Far?

Tombstone Tuesday

Earlier this spring my sister had a package delivered. It arrived while I was baking so I didn’t retrieve it directly from the delivery man but waited until I put the tray in the oven. (The snow wasn’t falling yet.) Stepping outside I looked down and said, “Oh!” Then, I giggled as I brought the box inside setting it by the door. I knew what my brother would think when he stopped by that night.

And I was right. His words when he spotted the package, “Don’t you think you guys have taken this too far? Now you’re getting tombstones delivered!”

[The guys he referred to are Mom, my sister and I – the family genealogists.]

My reply to him was, “No, and it is not what you think. It’s a coat from Macy’s and they sent it on the hanger in a box instead of in a poly-bag. I knew the minute I saw the box you would think it was a tombstone!”

Honest, we haven’t gone that far in the deep-end. Though, my birthday present this year was a bit odd.

[Note: Though the package arrived earlier this year, I took a photo of the “tombstone” box in August before we recycled it.]

©2013, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Discovering the Life behind a Face in an Album

My mom inherited through her mother, her grandmother Bertha’s blue photo album. Cloth-covered, the album is about 8-1/2” x 6” and about 2” thick. On the cover is a silver detail, hand-engraved with the initials B.G. and the year 1887. Its contents range from 4” x 5-1/2” and 2-1/2” x 4” mostly sepia photos to almost a dozen 2” x 3-1/4” and 2-1/2” x 3-3/4” tintypes. Most of the photos have the backboards trimmed down so the photos fit into the paper frame slots.

Unfortunately, only a few of the photos have names associated with them. Great Aunt Helena at one point in the 1970s added Anna to one tintype’s paper frame. One photo I identified by recognizing that the same photo was reproduced in a church anniversary booklet. What I had hoped might be Uncle Ernst (Bertha’s brother), turned out to be Pastor Arendt. I realized then the album was likely a mixture of family and friends.

In 1887, Bertha would have been 23 years old. She would not marry (for the first and only time) until 2 years later. Was the album a gift or did she buy it herself? I don’t know.

In December 2012, I decided to scan the photos in the album. Years ago (before digital CD with film processing) I had photographed these photos to help preserve them. I decided scanning them would make them more accessible and allow me to compare them to photos that were in Great Aunt Helena’s possession (which I have been granted access to scan).

One photo in great-grandma’s album carried the inscription “…from Fredricke Pump.” I knew she more than likely was not a relative since I have thoroughly researched Mom’s family and PUMP is not one of our family surnames. So one night I decided to see what I could find about this woman in great-grandma’s album.

Had I done this search years ago (even four years ago) it would have taken much longer than essentially one night to accomplish. But thanks to digitized record images and index databases available online, the search time was greatly reduced.

The first question: was PUMP her maiden or married name?

I started my investigation with the Michigan Deaths 1867-1897 index and images collection located on the website.1 Knowing nothing about this woman I thought this collection might give me a chance of either catching her as married or single, or as a mother of a deceased child.

The search brought up one result: A Fredericke Fisher who died on 12 June 1894 in Shelby Township at the age of 25 years 8 months and 10 days. She was married, born in Michigan and her parents were given as Michael and Lena Pump of Waldenburg, Michigan. From the age at death her birth figured to about 2 October 1868 making her about four years younger than Great Grandma Bertha.

But is this the Fredericka that I sought? Very likely. I am able to say that because I have some 20 years of genealogy research experience and a lot of experience with Macomb County’s early German community. Pump was not a common surname in the area.

This also meant based on the inscription that Bertha and Friedericke had met before either had married. It is sad to think Friedericke had such a short life. But knowing she was married at the time of her death, the question became did she have any children?

So the next things I looked at were the 1900 Federal Census on Ancestry.com2 and the Michigan Marriages 1867-1925 index and images collection on FamilySearch.3 (Using two browser tabs I was able to search both databases at the same time.)

From the Michigan Marriages database, I learned Friedericke married Julius C. Fisher on 9 November 1889 in Detroit.3 She was listed as Ricca age 19 residing in Detroit employed as a domestic and her parents were given as Michael Pump and Lizzie Nay. A Willie Pump of Detroit was one of the two witnesses. By the age given, this would place her birth as 1870 not 1868.  We’ll get to the birth date and mother’s name discrepancies in a bit.

From the 1900 census, I found Julius Fischer living in Utica, Sterling Township, with wife Elizabeth and sons Gerhard born August 1889 and Anga born August 1893.2 On the census, years married was given as three for both Julius and Elizabeth with her being the mother of 2 children (2 living). Knowing Friedericke’s death date and the years married given, the children would be from Friedericke not Elizabeth. From my experience with the answers for this question on the census, usually only the children born to that wife were counted and not step-children though sometimes they were added to the children living total. I wonder how this particular enumerator had phrased the question during the visit and who answered the questions (we don’t get to learn that until the 1940 census).

So now the questions were when did Julius marry again (1897 as per the census) and which wife was the mother of each child (confirm what is indicated/suspected)?

So the search for these answers brought me again to the Michigan Marriages on FamilySearch3 and to the Michigan Births 1867-1902 index and images collection on FamilySearch.4

While locating Julius’ second marriage on 6 May 1897 in Detroit to Elizabeth M. Yerge,3 I spotted the marriage of his son Gerhard.  Gerhard married on 24 December 1915 in Detroit to Clara M Ebert.3 His parents were listed as Julius C Fisher and Recca Pump.

Looking at the Michigan Births 1867-1902 index and images on the FamilySearch website, Gerhard was found to be born 20 August 1890 in Detroit as the son of Julius and Fredericca Fisher.4 The interesting thing is that Anga (listed as a son on the 1900 census) was found to be Angia born on 10 August 1893 in Shelby Township as a daughter of Julius and Fredericka Fisher.4

Looking at the family forward in time using the federal census, Anga/Angia reveals to be Angeline M. or N., an unmarried daughter on the 1910,5 19206 and 19307 census enumerations.  According to the Michigan Death Certificates 1921-1952 index on FamilySearch, Julius died 23 January 1932 in Highland Park.8 But Angeline has “disappeared” and has not been found on the 1940 census. Did she marry or die? No probable death entry for her has been found in the Michigan Deaths and Burials Index 1867-1995 on

From the 1920 census, Gerhard and Clara had a son Richard in about November 1916.6 Gerhard died 9 December 1926 in Detroit.8 Clara remarried and had additional children with her second husband as seen on the 19307 and 194010 census enumerations; in both cases Richard was still in the household.

Back to Friedericke’s birth and parents.

A check of the Michigan Births 1867-1902 index and images on the FamilySearch website4 initially did not locate a birth record for Fredericka (using an 1867 to 1869 birth range). This was not so surprising since compliance with the vital records law took several years to achieve meaning not every birth was recorded in the earliest years after the law took effect. But I noticed in the hits list entries for a Michael and Lenah as parents of a Rickey. These were entries with the parent listed in the left column not the child so the Events information in the second column was for the parent’s residence not the child’s birth. Clicking on the entry brought up the child’s birth information: Rickey born 17 August 1870 in Macomb Township to Michael and Lenah Pump.4

Later on I was able to verify that Friedericke’s baptism record from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Waldenburg states she was named Friedericke Juliane Therese born on 17 August 1870 to Michael and Engeline Pump and baptized on the August 29.11

So what about the differing birth dates – October 2 and August 17 for Friedericke? A search of the civil births and the church baptisms revealed no other children born to Michael and Engeline Pump. My guess (sorry guys) is that the husband Julius provided the information for the death and the marriage records and simply got it wrong. (This includes the incorrect mother’s name. See below.) But as I said, it is my guess.

Using many of the same database collections (Michigan Births, Michigan Marriages, Michigan Deaths and earlier years of the federal census) already mentioned I was able to sketch out the following basic information about Friedericke’s parents and siblings.

Michael Pump, age 32, married Engeline Kiernkranz, age 31, on 22 May 1866 in Macomb Township.12 By the 1870 census they had a 3 year old son John.13 (Friedericke was born after the census day.) On 28 August 1874 Engeline (Lena) died in Macomb Township.1 On 2 June 1875 in Detroit, Michael married Louise Nues.3 The 1880 census shows that Michael and his first wife had a third child William about a year after Friedericke.14 So the 1880 household contained Michael, his second wife and three children.

Friedericke’s brother John went on to marry Mary Schreiber on 27 February 1888 in Waldenburg.3 Her brother, William, went on to marry A. Louise Kandt on 19 September 1901 in Utica.3

A visit the following week to the local library with a large genealogy collection resulted in finding some obituaries.

The Utica Sentinal, Saturday June 16, 189415
Mrs. Julius Fisher, who has been sick for a year or more with consumption, died on Tuesday morning. Funeral Thursday. Her infant son is also very low and can live but a short time.

Note: Again there is mention of a son like on the 1900 census. Angeline was born in August 1893 making her still an infant at the time of her mother’s death. There are no birth or death records of other children for Julius and Friedericke. She would not be the first infant/child to be mislabeled but this one seems to go on longer.

As for Friedericke’s grandson Richard Fischer, he died 17 June 1972.16 A brother and five sisters survived him. (They were the children of his mother’s second marriage.) The obituary indicates that Richard did not have any children.

More research could be done on the Pump and Fisher family but I am satisfied with what I have found. Though it appears that Richard was the last living descendant of Friedericke Pump Fisher, I have found that at least one of her brothers still has living descendants.

Note: I’ve given the spellings of names as they are spelled in each document. When I am referring to the subject of this post, I have used the spelling of her name that is from her baptism record because I believe that is mostly likely the way her parents intended it to be. And even if they could not read/write, the pastor could. For Friedericke (any spelling) common nicknames (of various spellings) were Reca, Rikie, and even Rachel.

Finally, I kept the sourcing simplified for this post (not giving specific image numbers/page numbers) because it is very easy to find the records back with the online indexes.

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Source List
1. "Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897." Index and images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2012. Citing Michigan Secretary of State. Michigan Deaths. Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan.

2. 1900 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), accessed 2012. Citing United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

3. "Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925." Index and images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2012. Citing Michigan Secretary of State. Michigan Marriages. Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan.

4. "Michigan, Births, 1867-1902." Index and images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2012. Citing Michigan Secretary of State. Michigan Births. Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan.

5. 1910 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), accessed 2012. Citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

6. 1920 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), accessed 2012. Citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

7. 1930 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital image (online database), accessed 2012. Citing Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

8. "Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952." Index. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Michigan Secretary of State. Michigan Deaths. Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan.

9. "Michigan Deaths and Burials Index, 1867–1995." Index (online database)., accessed 2013. Citing "Michigan Deaths and Burials, 1800–1995." Index (online database). FamilySearch, Citing index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.

10. 1940 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), accessed 2013. Citing United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

11. Church Records (Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Burials), Immanuel Lutheran Church, Macomb, Macomb, Michigan, United States.

12. "Michigan, County Marriages, 1820-1935." Index and images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013.

13. 1870 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), accessed 2012. Citing 1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

14. 1880 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), accessed 2012. Citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

15. “Mrs. Julius Fisher,” obituary, Utica Sentinal, 16 June 1894. Microfilm accessed at the Mt. Clemens Public Library.

16. “Richard Fischer,” obituary, The Macomb Daily, 19 June 1972. Microfilm accessed at the Mt. Clemens Public Library.