Forgotten Jane Morrison Duer

Courtesy of Cousin Becky on Find-a-Grave. Burial in Kessler Cemetery
Courtesy of Cousin Becky on Find-a-Grave. Burial also in Kessler Cemetery. John Duer was married to Margaret at the time of his first wife, Jane’s burial, in 1866.

Why was Jane Morrison Duer divorced from her husband John after about 37 years of marriage and eleven children together? Jane followed John from her native Trumbull County, Ohio to Killbuck Township, Holmes, Ohio and on to Mercer County, Ohio over their long years together. What would cause the relationship to end? I have a working hypothesis but no proof. This was a family most likely stressed by societal and personal crises.

Of the 11 children, 5 predeceased Jane. The couple’s first child, a female, died between 1830-1840. We only know of her existence from the 1830 census record’s tick mark that she was in the age group as being “under 5.” No grave has been discovered for her so she remains nameless.

The next child, William, was certified as insane at age 23 in Holmes County and sent to the Ohio Lunatic Asylum. There are only two other records found for William. In the first, he was listed in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census as an insane laborer, age 30, residing in the asylum in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. That is correct but his birth in Germany is not. That’s interesting to note as his sister and several siblings did marry into the Kuhn family that were immigrants from Germany. Maria, William’s oldest surviving sister, had her birth place listed in error as Germany on her death record provided by her son. William and Maria most likely were born in Trumbull County, Ohio before the family relocated to Holmes County in the late 1930’s.

The second document is a notice in the newspaper, the Holmes County Farmer, on 14 March 1861 recommending that community members write to him and the 7 other “inmates.” I infer he must have been the longest committed as his name appears first. Although alphabetically his surname would be recorded first the others listed are not in alpha order. The article states that “some of these poor unfortunates are supposed to be incurable.” Most of his family had moved on to Mercer County, Ohio by the time the clip was published. No death date has ever been found for William so I suspect he died at the asylum. I am waiting for the organization that holds the records to reopen as they are closed due to the pandemic.

Next oldest son, Thomas Ayers, relocated to Winterset, Madison, Iowa by 1860, enlisted in the Civil War and died unmarried and likely childless of Febris Typhoides on 5 May 1862 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Daughter Maria wed Henry Kuhn and the couple lived two residences away from Jane and John in 1860. Henry enlisted in the Civil war, leaving Maria to raise their young children. During this time period, John and Jane divorced. Although no record has been found, John remarried in 1864, two years prior to Jane’s death. John relocated with his second wife to Adams County, Indiana where he had two deeds for land. Neither deed had then wife Jane’s name on them. When John died, Maria is not named in his will. Maria’s death certificate names both of her parents.

Son John B. had married first in 1860 but his wife Keziah died a few months after the marriage. He then married Carolina, one of the sibling of Maria’s husband, in 1863 and moved across the state line to farm in Adams County, Indiana. He seems to have had a falling out with his father as like Maria, he is not named in John’s will, even though he was residing in the same county as his father. Marriage records found do not name John B.’s parents. No death certificate for him as been located.

Mary Ann was found living with John and his second wife in 1870, however, she also was not named in his will. She may have had a falling out with her sister Maria as shortly after mother Jane’s death in July 1866, Mary Ann took Adam Kuhn, Maria’s brother-in-law, to court in Mercer County. Pregnant with Adam’s child, the unmarried couple could not agree on a financial settlement. Adam, in December 1866, was jailed by Jacob Baker, who married my 3rd great aunt, Caroline Bollenbacher, as Adam refused surety.

Sister Maria and her husband Henry was close to Adam as evidenced by their naming their son, born in February 1866, after him.

Mary Ann and Adam’s child must not have survived as there is no further court records of payment. He married an Elizabeth or Catharin Harper in Van Wert, Ohio 16 January 1868 and went on to have 5 daughters before dying at age 44, possibly due to injuries sustained during the Civil War when he fought in Union Company F, 99th Ohio Infantry.

Mary Ann married first, James Furman in 1875 who must have died shortly after the marriage as she married second John L. Ceraldo in 1879. John’s first wife had probably died as the child, Daniel, shown living with Mary Ann and John in 1880 would have been too old to have been theirs together. No record is ever found again of the boy who is presumed to have died. Mary died in 1909 in Michigan; her husband named John Duer as her father but her mother’s name was unknown. Although she had married after Jane’s death, why would she have not informed her husband in their 30 years of marriage what her mother’s name had been? Like Maria and John B., Mary Ann was not named in her father’s will.

Son Prosser remained in Holmes County, Ohio after the rest of the family relocated to Mercer County. He enlisted in the Civil War and died at Stones River, Tennessee on 2 January 1863. He did not marry or have any known children.

Daughter Sarah Jane married another sibling of Maria’s husband, Phillip, in 1870, four years after Jane had died. Sarah was also not named in her father’s will. Although she died in 1920, no death certificate or obituary has been found for her.

Son Mark Duer disappears from records after being found in 1850 with the family in Holmes, Ohio. He likely died there but no burial location has been found.

Son James William was found living with John and his second wife in Adams, Indiana in 1870 yet he, too, was not named in John’s will. When James wed in 1887 he named his mother as Sarah J. Marisum sic Morrison. James would have been 18 years old when his mother Mary J[ane] died. How did he not remember her name? Perhaps because she was called by her middle name and he thought of his sister Sarah and not Mary as having the first name as his mother. He spent the rest of his life living in Adams County where he was killed in a bike accident. He death certificate names his father as John but the mother was listed as unknown. It was completed by his son, Elra Leroy. Elra was born 6 years after his grandfather John had died. How did he remember John’s name but not the name of his grandmother Jane?

Youngest child, Angeline, was named in her father’s will. She is the only child of John and Jane’s to be named. She was living with him and his second wife in 1870. She married in 1874 and remained in Adams, Indiana until her death in 1933. Like her siblings, her father John is named on her death certificate. Her mother is recorded as Catharine, born in Ohio. The information was provided by Angeline’s daughter, Effie. Effie probably remembered her grandfather as she would have been 9 years old and living in the same area as him when he died. Where Effie came up with her grandmother’s name as Catherine is unknown as there is no Catherines in the family; her paternal grandmother’s name was Nancy.

Jane is buried in Kessler Cemetery and according to the trustees, the records are incomplete. They do not show who purchased the plot or if her husband John is buried next to her as family lore claims. There is a sunken area that appears to be burial next to Jane but records do not exist to state who is interred there. There is no tombstone. John’s second wife was buried in Kessler but in a different location. John is not buried on either side of his second wife. What is obvious is Jane’s tombstone that is boldly engraved “wife of John Duer” even though she wasn’t at the time of her death.

I suspect daughter Maria purchased the headstone as she was the only child still residing in Mercer County at the time of Jane’s death that had the means to afford it. Maria’s husband was a prosperous farmer and active in the community. In my opinion, Maria wanted the legitimacy of the first marriage noted for eternity.

It’s likely that Margaret’s children paid for her tombstone and wanted to show the world they, too, were legitimate so also engraved their mother as the wife of John.

The year 1866 must have been a tremendously difficult time for Maria. She had 5 children age 7 and under, her parents had recently divorced, her father remarried, her husband was away fighting for the Union in the Civil War, she has a brother that was committed to an insane asylum, 5 deceased siblings and her sister files a bastardly charge against her brother-in-law. What a mess!

But my underlying question is why did Jane and John’s children not hand down their mother’s name to their spouses/children?

Perhaps the state of the union, along with the loss of so many children caused Jane to suffer from the same melancholy as her son, William. John may have abandoned Jane for a new relationship with the widow who owned property close to his newly purchased land across the state lines in Indiana.

I believe Jane was forgotten by her adult children because it was too painful to remember those difficult times. They did not want to inform their children of their mother’s and brother’s mental state. No family member I have reached out to was aware of Williams insanity commitment. The family just didn’t speak about painful situations.

Last week I received a call from a clerk with the Mercer Ohio Common Plea Court. She had searched for a divorce record for John and Jane between 1860 and 1866. None was found. Perhaps John abandoned Jane and the paperwork was filed in Adams County, Indiana where I’ll be searching next. It’s possible that single document may help me better understand the straw that was the backbreaker of the relationship. The search continues!

Reuniting the Lost and Found

Somehow – this was not published when originally written so it’s made available today.

Last blog I wrote about the very worthy Fields of Honor database project in the Netherlands that memorializes fallen World War 2 soldiers. Strangely, as I was writing that article, I was contacted by an Ancestry.com member who I first connected with last spring about her DNA. One of her parents was adopted and she was trying to see if we were related as I had placed information from the same geographical area she was researching on my Ancestry.com tree for the same surnamed individual. There were other coincidences – they had the same occupation, religion, place where they immigrated from and where they immigrated to about the same time (early 1900’s). We were thinking they were related but after comparing our DNA results, they weren’t blood relations.

The Ancestry member had received an email from another member who was contacted by someone in the Netherlands who found World War 2 dog tags using a metal detector and wanted to send them to family. I was contacted since we had the same surname – Koss – as the found tags who once belonged to Joseph E. Koss who died in 1944 in Holland.

I reached out to the memorial owner at Findagrave.com. If you are a family member please email me (see contact me page) and I will happily connect you so you can get the tags.

I’ve blogged in the past about scammers and dog tags – you can view that here. This does not smell like a scam to me but to keep my readers safe – I’ll play middleman for you. Using a metal detector and finding a lost object is typical in my world as that’s one of my husband’s hobbies and he has found lost articles for people for years.

Funny how I’ve been contacted by folks living in the Netherlands twice in the past few weeks – maybe that’s where I should go visit next!

The Caribbean Connection…An Update

Pirates of the Caribbean

This was supposed to have been published in June 2020 but somehow was not.

Last week I blogged about my strange experience looking for my Hollingshead family going from England to Barbados to Pennsylvania/New Jersey.  I was desperately searching for a document to show proof that my ancestor, Daniel, was the individual in all of those locations.  
Some odd happening occurred – a dream, an undelivered email, an internet site popping up after the electricity had been turned off  – put me back on track.  Here’s what happened this week…
Although the member of my local genealogy association that I had reached out to for help in connecting with a presenter’s email was returned as undeliverable, I used the same email address and reached the person I was seeking a few minutes later.  She responded she was unavailable but when get back with me soon.
I’ve signed up for a British seminar online that I found by “looking small” as instructed in my dream. It’s scheduled for Friday and I’m eagerly awaiting it.
Being impatient, I had a hunch that the dream meant more than just the upcoming lecture.  I don’t know why I did the following, but I did and I’m glad of that.  I decided to check Ancestry.com hints for Daniel.  I don’t use the hint option very often.  I do sometimes if I’m starting a new search for a client but for my own tree, not so much.  In case you aren’t aware, your Ancestry hints never really leave you.  If you click “Ignore” that isn’t the same as delete – which isn’t an option.  When you Ignore, it simply goes to the Hint section and is placed under that heading.  The other categories are Undecided and Accepted.  Accepted hints are all those that are showing in your Facts section, Undecided are those you can’t make up your mind about after you’ve reviewed it.  
In my Undecided section, I had about 15 hints and most were completely wrong – wrong locations (like Ohio and I was searching before there was even an Ohio territory), wrong time period (like the 1900’s and I needed 1600-1700’s), or wrong names (like Hollins).  There were 2 interesting hints, however, that I clicked on and both were from a DNA relative I’ve corresponded with in the past.  I trust her work and she always uses citations!  The hints were notes she had taken from old texts she had found in her local library.  Lucky lady, she lives close to an awesome research library.. I wanted to find the original books to check her notes so I did a Google book search (on Google, click the “Other” box and then click “Books” is the easiest to find and lo and behold, this is what I discovered:

Alfred Mathews. History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia:  R. T. Peck & Co,1886, p. 1156.

Even though this is exactly what I’m looking for regarding the route of immigration, there is no proof, other than that Stroud J. Hollinshead, a likely descendant, shared the info for his personal biographical sketch.  Sigh!  He even got some of the facts wrong.  The second paragraph is a hot mess; How could Daniel, the first ancestor, be killed at the Battle of Blenheim and then hold public office in Sussex County, New Jersey?  Quite a feat, I say.  The date of birth is off by a few years.  Didn’t mention the first wife, Ann Alexander, from whom I’m descended but does mention their child, Mary, as the daughter of the second wife, Thomasin.  Mary married a Duer; according to this bio, so did Mary’s stepmom after the death of Daniel.  Hmm, but something isn’t quite correct there, either.  Thomasin was a female and the information states she married a Jane Deuer.  I suspect they meant John as this would have been the early 1700’s.  
Then I found the following interesting story:

Rev. John C. Rankin, DD.  The Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge, NJ. Jersey City:  John H. Lyon, 1872., p.7.

I knew Daniel was flipping property but I didn’t know that he had sold to a James Alexander of New York.  That peaked my interest as his first wife was an Alexander and I’ve not been successful in locating her family.  So I read up on James Alexander and Lord Stirling.  The family liked to hide among other Alexander families in Ireland and France where they fled after picking the wrong political side in Scotland.  Scholars haven’t been able to sort through all the stories the family told in the documentation they left behind of who was related to whom as the same individual’s tales changed from time to time.  Then, there’s the whole timely topic of race relationships.  Lord Stirling made his money partially from the slave trade while father James was alive and didn’t object.  My Daniel, however, appeared to have not been in favor of slavery.  He brought a slave family with him to New Jersey but it appears there was manumision.  I told myself (no proof here!) that Daniel was empathetic as he was purportedly an indentured servant, though others felt this showed he was of the Quaker faith.  Yet, as I learned more about James Alexander, I discovered that Daniel’s second wife Thomasin left several slaves to her children when she died so the couple may not have the same shared beliefs or, I’m completely wrong about Daniel. More research definitely needed.
The Presbyterian Church reference provides another important clue.  Some believe that Daniel was Quaker but I’ve found nothing to support that.  He and his children were baptized in the Church of England in England and Barbados,  Some of the Alexander land was later donated to the Presbyterian Church.  That’s not surprising since James was a Scott and probably of that faith.  Further reading informed me there were no Quakers in the the area when Daniel relocated there.  If he had been a devout Quaker, he would have likely settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania as the Duer’s initially did.  This would explain why I’ve never found a Quaker record for Daniel.
Although all of this is interesting to my research, the last weird occurrence happened while I was reading online.  My husband and I share an office and he decided he was going to clean his workspace.  He is a piler and I’m a filer – he has piles everywhere and I have everything sorted in a variety of devices (handing file folders, in/out baskets, file cabinets, tubs in folders, etc.).  As I was deeply involved in an old text my husband said, “Is this yours?”  He was holding a CD.  I haven’t used CD’s in I don’t know how long so I shook my head no.  “Should I toss it?”  he asked.  “What’s on it?” I replied.  “The theme song of Pirates of the Caribbean.”  I thought he was kidding me.  “Yeah, right.” I said.  “Seriously,” he replied.  He thought I had recorded it to help me with my search.  (Photo above – you can see it’s scratched so it’s not new.) Nope, wasn’t I but somewhere in the great beyond there’s a tech savvy spirit with a sense of humor who is helping me along.  Keep it coming!

Halloween Hope

This was supposed to have been published October 2020 but I just discovered that didn’t occur. Those darn gremlins!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN – the gremlins were in my computer this morning so I wasn’t able to post.

Just hit me that I have not been in a library – archive – on a research trip – in 7 1/2 months.  I’m ready for a reset and suspect you are, too! 

What’s Up with Ancestry.com?

My clip – look at the 3rd image from the left side to see the red dot

Are you noticing some subtle changes on your Ancestry.com home page? I’m referring to the red dots on the right side of header above the leaf and sometimes the envelope.

What’s up with that? Clicking on the leaf I see that I have some Hints. Scrolling down the drop down Hint menu and clicking on “See all recent hints in” I still have the red dot. I also have a counter that is still not working:

All Hints= 1 & Photos=1 but I’m on the photo page and there are no hints!


Sometimes the red dot is showing above the envelope but it seems to clear away when I get a legitimate message from another member. I had a “1” showing for three weeks, even though I had read the message. I discovered that you must click in the “respond” box, even if you aren’t really responding, to make the counter reduce. That doesn’t work for Hints, however.

The dot seemed to appear about the same time that Ancestry changed the viewing of Hints but I’m not sure they are related. Seeing the information on the right screen side will take getting used to. I’m not complaining about it, just don’t see the need for that change when there are others that could be addressed.

I realize I am perseverating on a dot which is a picayune detail but as it’s time for me to renew, I am looking at the program with the price of an annual subscription in the back of my mind. How they can’t get it right after all these years is beyond me.

I blogged about the Newspaper.com free access a few weeks ago. I have Ancestry All Access Membership, however, over the last year, I’ve often clicked on Newspapers.com and received the message that the image isn’t accessible because I don’t have their premium subscription.

Here’s a little math since I love saving money! The Ancestry.com All Access membership for a year is $389.00 which includes Ancestry, Basic Newspapers.com and Fold3. Newspapers.com Access Everything membership is $74.90/6 months or $149.80/year. Their Basic membership is $44.95/6 months ($89.90/year).

If I select Ancesty.com World Explore membership for $149.00/6 months ($298.00/year) and purchase Newspapers.com separately ($149.80) and Fold3.com separately ($79.95/year) the total cost would be $527.75 annually. So, yes, I am saving money by going through Ancestry.com in order to access Newspapers.com and Fold3, however, I’m not getting full access to Newspapers.com which I sometimes need.

My local library has the full Newspaper.com subscription but it is only available at the library so that hasn’t been helpful. Here’s my work around – as I work on my personal genealogy, I’m making a list of any item I can’t readily access and then, will either check it out at the library someday or wait until the site has another free weekend. In a pinch, I’d use the Ask a Librarian option for a look up. For my research areas, Newspapers.com does not have the info that would be worth it for me to buy the Everything access. Your needs, however, might differ.

RootsTech is REMARKABLE!

My RootsTech Relatives

If you aren’t on rootsTech today you are missing some awesome genealogy stuff. I don’t think it’s too late to participate – it’s free – just go here to register.

This is what has impressed me the most so far and it only just began:

FAMILYSEARCH.ORG – my thanks for pulling this off virtually without a hitch. Maybe there was a hitch on your end but it was seamless on ours. I absolutely LOVE the interactive RootsTech relatives feature and found a 4th cousin once removed living very close to me. Didn’t know she even existed! Using the Send a Message feature I made an attempt at connecting. Maybe if I ever get the covid vaccine we can meet. The map feature of where my people are is shown above and I think it’s just wonderful. Proves I’m a mutt without research, doesn’t it?! Actually looks very similar to my ethnicity results from Ancestry/MyHeritage/23andMe.

My FAVORITE research session so far has been from Goldie May’s Richard K. Miller on How to create Google Chrome shortcuts for Faster Genealogy Research. More info is available on their website so check this out here.

My FAVORITE AH HA session has been How to Make Rooibos Tea by Sarah Wing from South Africa. Funny but I brewed a cup right before the Expo Hall opened last evening so I thought I would enjoy the video but I was shocked to learn that a small strainer I inherited from my grandmother is a tea strainer. Duh, she used it to drain liquid from kidney beans so that’s how I’ve used it for over 50 years. I got so excited to learn what the kitchen device is really supposed to be used for I sent out an email to my family who would remember how it was used. Nothing like making connections over the simplicity of everyday living!

Which gets me to the next part of RootsTech I find interesting – I signed up for the 21 day Family Connections Experiment. What a brilliant idea, especially now with our world turned upside down for so many reasons. Learn more about it here.

The CREEPY BUT COOL tech toy is from MyHeritage – Deep Nostalgia. I can’t wait to try it! Take a photo and it animates it. You have got to check into this.

Another CREEPY BUT COOL tech device is from Audiobiography which has designed a product that can be placed on a tombstone or family heirloom and using an ap on your phone, the bar code will be read and you can learn more about the person/item via audio or text. Pricing was reasonable, too. Learn more about it here.

There’s much much more but those were the items that were most interesting to me so far. Two more days to go so don’t miss out – check it out now.

Researching Step Sibs Unveils a Treasure Trove

Photo courtesy of Tut on Find-a-Grave

A few blogs ago I mentioned I needed to check out the sibling and step siblings of Margaret Ann Martz Searight Duer to try to discover why she relocated from Hardin, Ohio to Adams, Indiana.  I guessed that she had met my John Duer in Adams as he was a property owner in the same area as Margaret.  Turns out, there was much more involvement than I thought.

Since Margaret was the second wife of John, I had never researched her family since they are not related to me, or so it seemed.

Online trees showed Margaret was born to the first wife, Margarethae Himmelsbach, of George Peter Martz in Germany.  I have found a baptismal record for another child of the couple, Catharina, born 17 September 1830 in Rheinzabern, Pfalz, Bayern.  The child and the mother must have died shortly after as George married Elizabeth Goetz Martz, the wife of his deceased brother, John.  The second union produced eight children.  I never found a birth record for Margaret and determined her birthdate from her tombstone shown on Find-a-Grave.

Like Margaret and her first husband, George Washington Searight, “father” George and “step-mother” Elizabeth lived in Hardin, Ohio in 1850.  By 1860, some of the children were still residing with George and Elizabeth who had moved to Mercer County, Ohio. 

Interesting, I thought!  Perhaps John hadn’t met Margaret in Adams, Indiana but instead, in Mercer where he was found living with his first wife, Jane, in 1860.  Actually, they are 3 pages away in the census from where John and Jane lived.  Also living nearby, just two residences away, was daughter Maria Duer who had married Henry Kuhn, also an emigrant from Germany.  Perhaps John and Margaret met at a community event as Henry Kuhn was a leader of the German settlers in Mercer County. His wife, Maria, who was not German, even has an obituary in the German newsper.

Knowing that Margaret had family in Mercer helped me better understand why she was buried there and not in Indiana.  I still had no answer as to why Margaret purchased property in Indiana so I took the time to learn about her step siblings, thinking that perhaps, they lived in Adams County.

I decided to start with “step sister,” Hannah Lucinda and what a surprise I found!  Hannah died in Missouri before 1880 when the census shows her husband, Abraham Orr, residing with his brother, Thomas.  I was interested in learning more about Abraham because he was a property owner at one time in Trumbull County, Ohio, where my John Duer was born and where he first married.  In researching Abraham I discovered his mother was Anna Duer, sister to my John Duer.  Who knew these families were interrelated! It gets even better – After Hannah Lucinda died, her youngest children, Mary and Phillip Orr, are found living in the household of Phillip Martz, “step-brother” of Margaret in (drum roll, please) Mercer, Ohio.  So the Duers and Martz’s were connected prior to John’s marriage to Margaret.  No telling when or where they first met!

I hit pay dirt when I got to “step-brother,” Eli Martz.  He had a bio in amugbook from Mercer County, Ohio that, although not 100% accurate, provided me with background information about Margaret and her family. 

I thought it strange that Eli has two entries and the information is slightly different.  The first, names him Eli Martz, “the son of George P. and Elizabeth (Goetz) Martz.” P. 429.  I read this entry first.  When I finished the article I noticed the next article was for an Elisha Martz.  Hmm, who could he be? 

Elisha Martz was the “son of G. Peter and Elizabeth (Goetz) Martz.” p. 430. Yes, George P. is the same man as G. Peter.  Elizabeth Goetz Martz is the same mama.  At the very end of Elisha’s article the confusion is cleared – Eli and Elisha are brothers.  Why the parents would have named them so similarly I have no idea. 

Their stories have a few discrepancies which makes this very interesting!

Both stories state Margaret emigrated with her STEP-father and 3 of her step-brothers to Frederick Town, Maryland about 1830.  All of the online trees have Margaret’s father’s name wrong – it was not George Peter but George’s brother, John Martz.  George Peter was Margaret’s uncle who raised her after his brother died and George married the widow.  That explains why no record for Margaret’s birth has been found!

According to Eli’s article, the family arrived in 1830, however, the twins, Phillip and Caleb, were born in 1831 in Germany so that is not correct. Elisha’s article states they arrived in 1833.  That makes sense and would explain the longer than usual lapse in children’s births.  The couple seemed to have children annually in Germany but there is a longer gap between the twins (1831) and Eli in 1834.  Having twins and moving to start a new life in a new country would definitely have put a damper on having another child at the original rate. 

Margaret’s uncle was a shoemaker but decided he wanted to try farming so he relocated to Sandusky, Ohio after 3 years in Maryland, according to Eli, or 18 months, according to Elisha.  Really, what’s a year and a half?!.

Quickly deciding raising corn wasn’t for him, they packed up with the intent to return to Maryland.  On their journey they stopped at Wayne County, Ohio where they decided to stay for 14 years, per Eli, or until 1848, per Elisha. 

George bought land in the then wilds of Mercer County, Ohio but on the way in 1847 (Eli) or 1848 (Elisha), the family decided to stop in Hardin County, where they were found in the 1850 census.  Both agree in 1852, the family made their way to Mercer.  After his second wife died in 1876, says Eli, George relocated to Illinois where he died “about 1882.”  Elisha says George relocated to Illinois in 1864. He doesn’t say when George died. He does gush about what a great dad George was; Eli says nothing.  Hmmm.

This leads me to a big WHAT?  So, sons Eli/Elisha did not keep in close contact with Pop, as the year discrepancy is rather large of when George left Ohio not to mention they don’t know when their dad died.  Seems like this is a trend with the Duer siblings too, who never told their children their mother Jane’s name.  What is going on with these folks?

Since George’s wife, Elizabeth, was found living with Eli in 1870 and George is not found in any record after 1860, I’m thinking that both Eli and Elisha were somewhat accurate about George’s whereabouts. Eli would have known when his dad left the area because mom was in his household. Elisha might have remembered when his parents split households, probably in 1864.

The mug book names George’s 9 children, the eldest, being Margaret, “the widow of John Doer, who resides in Adams, county, Ind.” p. 429 or “Margaret, the widow of John Deuer, of Jay County, Indiana.” p. 430.  Yes, she was the widow but John wasn’t from Jay County  and I love the spelling of John’s last name!

The point, though, is I would have never located this had I not searched for more information on Margaret’s step siblings. 

The book goes on to note where every sibling resided and the only step-brother/cousin of Margaret that lived in Indiana was  Phillip.  However, he lived in Salem which is in southern Indiana, Adams is in northeast so Margaret clearly didn’t relocate to Adams because of Phillip’s move to that state. I’m thinking Margaret moved to Adams to be near John and away from ex wife Jane who most likely remained in Mercer. 

Now I’m intrigued as to why Uncle George (geez, I DO NOT need another Uncle George in the family) went to Illinois at an advanced age.  None of his children were residing there between 1864-1876. Supposedly, youngest daughter Hannah Lucinda died in Illinois per an online family tree but there is no citation. Her spouse was listed as a widow in Iowa in 1880 so possibly she died on the way to relocating west. Whether she stopped to visit her dad on the way, I don’t know.

George didn’t appear to keep in touch with any of his children as no one seems to know what became of him. The year of 1864 is interesting to me as that was likely when John and Margaret married.  The Civil War wasn’t over yet.  Maybe there was just too much drama for a man up in age and he decided to leave his wife for a new start.  I say that because Elisha mentions that George’s wife died in Mercer.  Eli/Elisha both agree it was in 1876.

The mysteries may continue, however, the beauty of the information in the mug book is priceless.  What a wonderful example of why it’s important to research the relatives, no matter how distant they may at first appear to be!  My tree is becoming gnarled.

A Sad Brick Wall Discovery


Certificate of Insanity, William Duer, May 1852; digital image, FamilySearch.org: Accessed 27 December 2020, citing Common Pleas Court civil records, 1825-1901 ; civil index, 1825-1900 Miscellaneous, 1846-1873 Miscellaneous (alphabetical), pre-1900 Depositions (chronological), 1886-1901. Film # 008271767, image 921 of 2904.

Usually, I’m happy when I climb over a brick wall but sometimes the find provides harsh reality of what the individual was experiencing. I recently had such a discovery and in all honesty, I put off writing about it for a month.

I’ve made a lot of progress on my John and Jane Duer line lately although several mysteries remain, like where is John buried, why does Jane’s tombstone say “wife of John Duer” when he was married to someone else at the time of Jane’s death and why does Jane’s youngest children, who were adults when she died, not tell their own children about Jane as evidenced by their death certificates stating mother is unknown?

My working theory is, among other reasons, because of the sad discovery I made regarding one of John & Jane’s children.

William Duer (1828-c. 1852) was the oldest son and oldest surviving child of John and Mary “Jane” Duer; he relocated with the couple from Trumbull County, Ohio where he was most likely born to Killbuck, Holmes, Ohio where he is shown residing with his parents and siblings in 1850. That census shows that William and his closest aged sibling, Thomas, was working on the farm with father John.

For years, I had difficulty discovering what became of William as he was not shown with the family in the 1860 census in Mercer County, Ohio where they had relocated, nor was he found in any census anywhere. He seemed to have disappeared in thin air as nothing was found for him anywhere. Until now and thanks to the images on FamilySearch.org.

I mentioned a few weeks ago how to access those images so click this link if you don’t know how.

My search for William took the usual path over the years – checking all the online sites, family trees and connecting with known relatives. I thought he had perhaps died in the Civil War which wouldn’t explain where he was in 1860, but I also had another missing brother from the 1860 census so I figured they may have been together somewhere and missed the enumeration. That brother, John B., eventually ended up in Adams County, Indiana. William was never found again. Until now.

I decided to look through the images for Common Plea Court Civil Records, 1825-1901, for Killbuck Township, Holmes, Ohio where the family lived to see if a record may exist for anyone in the family. That’s where I discovered the Certificate of Insanity for William Duer.

From the medical report, I learned that William was age 23 and free from infection. In March 1852 William complained of “feelings in his head” that lasted 1-2 weeks. He was last reported sane on 12 April 1852.

Apparently, insanity must have been shown for at least 30 days before the courts could be contacted. The physician diagnosed William with melancholy that was not related to hereditary or epilepsy. He was not violent. His past medical history showed bleeding and blisters but it does not clarify the cause.

Interestingly, the physician noted William had received “no education” and “worked hard” and had “no amusement” yet he was not “disappointed” by his life. The education information is verified by Historical Collection of the Mahoning Valley which stated “the public schools were few, with little interest taken in public education until 1840, when a new impulse moved the settlers” (p. 484). William’s early life was in Trumbull County which became Mahoning County.

The Justice of the Peace had also visited William at his home and found him insane. Since he was a resident of Killbuck, he was sent to the Ohio Lunatic Asylum to undergo treatment. His condition had been the case for less than 2 years. The reason cited for committing William was that “his being at large would be dangerous to the safety of the community.” Although this clearly conflicts with the physician report stating that William was not violent, father John Duer attested the same.

I do not believe William every survived the commitment. I suspect he is buried on the asylum grounds where there are numerous unmarked graves. I will be following up with an organization that holds the records which is currently closed due to the pandemic.

I hadn’t expected this would be the reason for the brick wall.

From searching through images, prior to this find, I discovered a letter to the courts regarding another community member’s request for an insanity hearing in the preceding year. The request was denied, not because the woman wasn’t insane, but because the county had already used up all of their bed space in the asylum. I have no idea from the records what the county’s allotted number was but it is telling that there were more community members who needed mental health assistance then there was available treatment for them.

This find leads me to a new working theory about William’s mother, Jane, that I will explore in more details next time.

With Heavy Heart, Comparing Ancestor Patriots to Those Who Stormed the Capitol

My blog plans have changed due to the events of this past week.  Originally, I was going  to share a find I discovered by accident on Christmas evening but that will wait. 

When I began Genealogy At Heart, my goal was to post blogs to further the genealogical education of everyone interested in family history.  One of the ways I would accomplish that objective was through sharing heartwarming genealogical finds. 

My heart hurt this week by the lack of respect and the irresponsibility that was shown by the mob that attacked the Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6. Their denial of the truth and their selfish actions are abhorrent.   Although I have only once previously written about my personal political beliefs I cannot remain silent on what occurred on Wednesday. 

I suspect, based on your belief system, you may stop reading this – here’s why you shouldn’t do that and try to keep an open mind.  We can’t pick and choose our ancestors.  You need to be open to all the records of their lives so it would be in your best interest now to practice that today and continue reading. 

A genealogist needs to be respectful, responsible, honest and hard working.  I believe those 4 traits are beneficial to all people in every career field.  Today, I’m providing some genealogical education since it appears, based on the latest poll, that 45% of U.S.Republicans believe that the mob’s behavior was acceptable.  Please know I am not bashing Republicans as my own family had been members since the days of Abraham Lincoln. My intent today is to reflect on the events of January 6, 2021 and compare it to my family research. Wednesday was a historic day for our nation and my family was a part of much of the United States’ history.

As an educator, I often give non-examples to students and I intend to use that method below. 

What is a “patriot”?  Google’s dictionary states its “1. A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.” 

Those who believe that storming the Capitol is acceptable behavior are calling themselves patriots. Donald Trump and his daughter also used the term, though she deleted it.  I vehemently disagree with them.

I vigorously support my country and I am willing to defend it against enemies/detractors.  The key word is “enemies” which the Google dictionary defines as “a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.”  I am not hostile (unfriendly/antagonistic); those who took part in the assault on the Capitol were and they were violating the sanctity of our country’s rules of law.  The legislators tasked with certifying the election results were not the enemy; they were following the law.  They were voted in by their constituents to do that job.  Those who tried to prevent them from their jobs are the enemies and are not patriots.

An enemy is not someone who merely disagrees with you.  An enemy uses violence because they want it their way and  believe their view is the only one that matters.  Patriots DO NOT act in that manner. 

Here are some examples of Non Patriots and Patriots:

Non Patriot

Photo texted to author by colleague.
Wearing the shirt “Camp Auschwitz” exemplifies being a NON PATRIOT.  There are no words I can use in a family blog to describe someone who mocks the 1.1 MILLION who died at Auschwitz.

Patriot

PATRIOT George Willard Harbaugh (1924-2004) served in World War 2.  He was captured and held by the Nazi regime in Camp Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow & after the notorious Black March, was confined at Camp Wobbelin Bei Ludwigsloft. He earned a Purple Heart.  I knew this Patriot; he would be appalled by what happened on Wednesday.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He is my husband’s uncle.

Non Patriot

Photo on site by Simon Davis-Cohen, no photographer noted. Antagonizing those who are serving to protect and defend the citizens of this country who follow the rules of law are NON PATRIOTS.  Granted, this country needs to clean up the folks in blue as not all of them are fit to serve. It is still inexcusable to resort to violence.

Patriot

Patriot George Bryant Harbaugh (1893-1954) served in World War 1.  He was injured at Chateau-Thierry, France on 14 July 1918 & in the Argonne Forest on 1 Oct 1918 supporting France from the “enemy.” He earned a Purple Heart.  He and wife Elsie (1896-1968) to his right, were the parents of PATRIOT George Willard Harbaugh & they are my husband’s maternal grandparents.

Non Patriot

Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP. Carrying a flag does not make you a Patriot; standing for the ideals of the country does. This clown, Jake Angeli, (clearly man is not the right word; my middle school males are more manly then this person) needs someone with sense to tell him it is not Halloween, he isn’t a shaman, Q Anon is FAKE NEWS,  nor is it appropriate to mock the hallowed halls of Congress.  Screaming is also inappropriate.  Guess he never learned how to choose a positive peer group either based on those surrounding him who are allowing his poor conduct.  All pictured are NON PATRIOTS.  (I just keep thinking – where were the women in these men’s lives? How could you raise a son to act this way? Why would you date/marry someone with these character traits? Come on, ladies, step it up to become Patriots!)

Patriots

PATRIOTS are not found just in the Military.  On 4 Jul 1923 these Patriots were celebrating our country’s independence.  They were immigrants who were mocked for where they happened to be born & the religion they chose to follow, worked their entire lives in dangerous low level jobs, endured a KKK cross burning yet they so strongly believed in the ideals of this nation they became citizens. Left to right, boarder living with my grandparents, my maternal grandmother Mary Koss (1900-1985) & my great uncle Joseph Koss Jr. (1902-1993).

Non Patriot

Getty Images/Photographer unspecified. I have no idea what the above person’s education level is, however, he made a poor choice in breaking into the Capitol. Did he never pass Civics?! That “duh” look on his face shows he has perfected playing stupid over the years to get out of trouble.  Education or lack of it does not make one a Patriot.  Storming the Capitol to interrupt the important business of certifying a national election to attest the leader of the free world is most definitely something a NON PATRIOT would do. 

Patriot
Patriot

My maternal grandfather, Ivan “John” Koss (1892-1970), left, did not have the opportunity to attend even 1 day of school.  He often endured the slur, DP, at his job with U.S. Steel in Gary, Lake, Indiana.  He wanted to become a U.S. citizen so badly but feared he would not pass the test due to his illiteracy.  The girl pictured below him is his daughter Mary Lou (1931-1999).  She tutored him and he successfully passed to become a citizen in 1942.  She is shown on the bike she was given for her help in allowing him to reach his dream.  She went on to volunteer with her chosen political party as an adult for years to ensure that everyone eligible could exercise their voting rights. Even though he had a wooden leg, John hobbled in the cold Indiana weather to vote in every election.  They were true PATRIOTS even though they belonged to different political parties.

Non Patriot

Photo by Mike Theiler, Reuters

Parading into the Capitol with the symbol of racism from THE LOSING SIDE in the Civil War is demonstrating NON PATRIOTISM, along with prejudice, white supremacy, a disregard for the feelings of others AND the stupidity of not realizing that the south lost the Civil War over 155 years ago.  Get over it and stop believing the lie that the war was about state rights.

Truly this is a creepy photo not just due to the fact that it’s the first time the Confederate flag was brought into the Capitol.  You can read more about the men in the portraits and their views on the nation’s divisions in the mid 1800’s.

Patriot

My 1st cousin, 3 times removed, Jacob Wilson Parrott (1843-1908) was left orphaned at age 10. He later became a private in the Union Army, Company K, 33rd Ohio Infantry in 1861.  He volunteered in 1862 to infiltrate Confederate lines and hijacked the locomotive, The General, from Atlanta, Georgia.  He was successful in destroying the train, however he was captured and severely beaten 110 times in an attempt to make him talk.  He refused to be broken and later  escaped.  Captured again, he was exchanged in a soldier swap.  He was taken to Washington, D.C. where he met President Abraham Lincoln and was the first recipient of the Medal of Honor. This PATRIOT, like John McCain and George Willard Harbaugh who were captured, was not a “loser” as the current individual residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would call him.  A loser and Non Patriot is someone who incites others to “be worst!” and then watches the events unfold from safety. In other words, they are cowards.

Non Patriot

Photo by Saul Loep/AFP/Getty Images. If you are  proud while breaking the law you are a NON PATRIOT. Taking what doesn’t belong to you makes you a thief, aka criminal. This individual did not come to unite the country but to take home a souvenir. Shallow and selfish!

Patriot

This is the grave marker for my immigrant 2nd great grandfather, Henry Kuhn and his wife, Maria Duer.  Henry, born in Bedesbach, Pfalz, Bavaria arrived at 16 in the U.S. At age 30, in 1862, he joined the Union Army & served as a private in the 45th Regiment, Ohio Infantry, Company 1 in the Civil War.  He didn’t have to, he wanted to. He is a PATRIOT and I am proud to be a Daughter of the Union Veterans because of his belief that our country be “UNITED.”

Non Patriot

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Image. Richard “Bigo” Barnett of Gravette, Arkansas – you are a NON PATRIOT.  Poor baby, was it too long you had to stand that made you have to sit at someone’s desk and put your feet up? You are not even close to being George Patton Reincarnated as your Facebook page is titled.  Taking mail that doesn’t belong to you makes you a thief.  Leaving a quarter doesn’t make it right. Your actions show your lack of character. You would think by age 60 wisdom would have been involved but clearly Small Minded Bigo has none .

Patriot

Like Henry Kuhn, PATRIOT Samuel “August” Samuelson (1839-1908) was an immigrant from Stora Haddebo, Vastra Harg, Ostergotland, Sweden who arrived in the U.S. at age 12 with his family.  Settling in Indiana, he chose to join the 73rd Indiana Infantry Regiment as a private in the Civil War.  He was seriously wounded and left for dead at Stone River, Tennessee but he survived.  Although he suffered the remainder of his life from his injuries, this PATRIOT refused to give up and went on to become a prosperous farmer.  He is my husband’s paternal 2nd great grandfather. You would never have seen this man breaking into someone’s office, rifling through their belongings and putting his disabled leg up on their furniture.

Result of the actions of a Non Patriot

CNN article by Harmeet Kaur, no photographer noted. Vandalizing property is only done by NON PATRIOTS. Destroying historical property is only done by thugs and idiots. No “good” person would act in this manner.

Patriot

My husband’s 2nd great maternal grandfather, John A. Long, (he was the grandfather of Patriot John Bryant Harbaugh) so hated slavery that he was run out of Morristown, Jefferson, Tennessee at age 16 because of his views.  Relocating to Indiana, he decided to enlist, at age 49, as a teamster with Union Army Company I, Indiana 9th Infantry Regiment.  His experiences took him all the way to Texas.  He mustered out on 28 September 1865.  John Long demonstrates you can be a PATRIOT at any age.

Non Patriot Action

Photo by Melina Mara/Washington Post. Leaving a mess behind for someone else to clean up is what a NON PATRIOT does. Did no one ever teach this group to leave your area better than how you found it?

Patriot

Leonard Harbaugh (1749-1822), my husband’s 5th great grand uncle, was a carpenter who helped build the original White House, the contractor for the War and Treasury Buildings and the Foreman of Carpenters for the Capitol after it needed to be restored due to the previous siege by the British in August 1814.  He and his wife are buried in the Capitol Cemetery in Washington, D.C.  I can only imagine how that PATRIOT would have viewed those who vandalized his hard work. Bet he always left a clean job site!

Non Patriot

Jenny Cudd – seriously, grow up.  You are a NON PATRIOT and act like a spoiled child. As a white woman you sicken me! Maybe you need to think about your actions as it probably explains why you weren’t elected mayor in Midland, TX in 2019.  Kudos to your community to seeing what you represent.

Patriot

Above is the grave marker from Covententer’s Cemetery, Jackson, Mahoning, Ohio, of my 5th great grandfather, John Duer (1748-1831) who served as a private in the Sussex County, New Jersey Militia for the Continental Army.  He had a son who served in the War of 1812 and a grand son who served in the Mexican American War.  Clearly, this PATRIOT led by example and instilled in his descendants the importance of protecting our democracy.

Actions of a Non Patriot

Photo by Katherine Frey/Washington Post. Only a NON PATRIOT would think it was acceptable to deface something that does not belong to them.  For all those real Patriots who were injured doing what was right, the NON PATRIOT’s action makes a mockery of what real Patriots endured. This statue purportedly was vandalized with blood. Only a mentally ill person or someone who has no understanding of the dangers of body fluid transmission would do something like this. Guess that explains why the vast majority of the mob didn’t wear a mask or social distance.

Patriot

My husband’s maternal 4th great grandfather, Christian Thomas Harbaugh, a member of the Moravian Church that opposed violence knew it was the right thing to do to stand up to the invading British Army.  Christian was commissioned in Christian Smith’s Company as an Ensign on 29 March 1779 in Frederick County, Maryland.  Putting your country first demonstrates being a true PATRIOT.

Non Patriot

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images. NON PATRIOTS believe stealing is acceptable. You might not expect that from a father of 5 with a physician wife but Adam Johnson from Parrish, Florida thought his white male privilege made him cute and justified his actions.  It does not – he needs to be in jail. He’s a danger to raising those children. I wouldn’t want his wife to provide me medical assistance even if I was near death. He is maskless and not social distancing. When he gets home he can easily spread covid to his family. She needs to lose her job.

Patriot Sadly, there is no picture for Wilson Williams (1754-1831),  my husband’s 4th great paternal grandfather who served in Hempstead Harbor, Long Island, New York’s Militia Company in 1775.  In keeping with his religious belief, his grave was simply marked with a stone that has disappeared over time.  He is buried next to his wife in the Dutch Reformed Church Cemetery, Long Island, New York. Family lore states the Hessians invaded his home but were driven out as the soldiers thought the fireplace was possessed by the devil.  It actually was chestnuts, stored on a niche in the fireplace, exploding from the fire.  Wilson and his sons were able to use the Hessian’s arms to keep them from returning.  What a PATRIOT!

In my family tree, I have more than the 12 Patriots I have highlighted above but these were the individuals that came to mind as I watched in horror on Wednesday at the events unfolded at the Capital.

My Patriots were NOT perfect people, just like every other human.  They did, however, strive to do what was right for their country.  I honor their courage and spirit.  As you reflect on the events of the past week, please think of your Patriot ancestors and pledge that you will follow in their footsteps.  We have a lot of work to do in this country and now is the time to get involved.

Your Family and the Neighbors

Somehow – this did not get transferred from Blogger to my website on 27 Sep 2020 so here it is:

This is the second weekend that has been absolutely beautiful in my part of the world and I spent it putting in my fall garden. Yesterday, our new neighbors, who actually aren’t new, inquired as to what we were growing.  They plan on putting a raised bed garden in next weekend along our shared fence line.

So, how is a “new” neighbor not new?  Well, they lived one house north of their present location for two years and moved one house south in May when the former owner decided to move into a condo after his wife died the previous year.  The condo he moved into is next door to his deceased wife’s first husband.  They all remained good friends.  

The house that the “new” neighbors moved from was purchased by someone they knew from the New England state they formally lived in.  This new to me neighbor is their old friend.

Same thing happened to the house on the corner of our block – the person who built it decided to buy some property on a lake a few miles north where he could retire.  He sold it to a Midwest family.  They lived their for two years and decided to move to a home not far away with more amenities.  They sold the “old” house to a relative.

One of my adults kids bought a home two years ago that’s only 4 minutes from me (if I miss the light).  The insurance agent we recommended is the brother of someone who I used to eat lunch in high school with and who was a good friend of my husbands.  That high school is 1500 miles from where we all currently reside.

My own family flipped houses, too.  I have a nice brick bbq grill my husband and son built based on a memory of one of the house flips.  My grandparents decided their first home had become too large so they had a smaller house built a few miles away from the original home in Indiana in the early 1960’s.  One of the “extras” they selected was a brick bbq in the backyard.  Looking back on it now I find the choice amusing because they had no experience with outside grilling.  They used the grill only once, a Memorial Day weekend, when I was 5.  I distinctly remember it because the house their original home they sold to my uncle and his family the year before.  Being small, I have no memory of the family’s real estate transaction.  I do have some memories of visiting their prior home for holidays and regular visits.  I distinctly remember playing hide and seek with my cousins in the new house as I climbed into a window seat and fell asleep.  That caused the adults to hysterically run around looking for me.  The window seat became off limits to us after that. But back to the bbq grill…

The reason I remember the grill is because on that particular Memorial Day weekend my grandparents were giving a going away party to my uncle, recently divorced, who was going to move to Florida.  They had bought their old home back from him and this was the last family get together in their “new” home.  He was the only one in the family that knew how to light charcoal.  The problem was there was a downpour shortly after he lit the briquettes and they were quickly extinguished.  We ran into the house and since we were a large family in a small home, the women went to the kitchen to prepare the food on the stove and the rest of us were sent to the basement, which was pretty much empty.  The adults brought down some folding chairs and the kids sat on the bare concrete to eat our hot dogs.  

I share this story because 60 years ago my family, much like my neighbors, played musical households – selling to a family or friend and in our case, returning to the original home.  

Sure, family, friends and neighbors traveled in wagon trains, passenger ships and on barges to emigrate to a new community.  I hadn’t really thought much about that being a common custom continuing today until my back yard chat with those “new” “old” neighbors yesterday.  

In this ever changing world that requires almost daily adaptions, it’s nice to think that we still seek the comfort of our loved ones to rely on in our neighbors for support.