Saturday, July 30, 2011

Surname Saturday: Family of Herman Binninger and Lillian Koehl

Herman Binninger
b. Sep 1869, Germany
d. 13 Nov 1916, Kings County, New York
& Lillian “Lillie” Koehl
b. Apr 1872, New York
|--Lillian Binninger
|----b. Feb 1894, New York
|--Andrew Binninger
|----b. 4 Nov 1896, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York
|--& Carrie
|----b. 1895, Germany

This is the family of Herman Binninger and Lillian “Lillie” Koehl, the sister of my husband’s great-grandfather Henry “Harry” Koehl and the daughter of Julius Koehl and Josephine Lochner. Herman was a butcher, as was Lillian’s father; the 1910 census indicates that Herman owned bowling alleys. Herman and, I believe, Andrew and wife Caroline/Carrie are buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. I cannot find a reference to Lillie; perhaps she remarried or perhaps she is the “Caroline L.” listed as being in the same plot.

I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I Learned Wednesday: 27 July 2011

It’s a short one this week. I am researching the family of Sarah Alice Brinlee and James Raymond Jones. Below is the family on the 1910 census.

1910 US Federal Census, Murray Twp., Coal County, Oklahoma, ED 82, p. 1B, 16 Apr 1910

Line 72 Church St. north of 8th 18 18

Jones, J. R. Head M W 33 M1 15 TX IL IL Eng Miner Coal mine W Yes 12
     Yes Yes No O F H
Allie Wife F W 33 M1 15 6 3 TX TX OH Eng None Yes Yes No
Daisy Dau F W 13 S IT IT TX Eng Musician OA Yes 24 Yes Yes Yes
Raymond Son M W 5 S OK TX TX Eng None No No No
Elsie Dau F W 4/12 S OK TX TX None
Lennie Niece F W 15 S IT IL TX Eng None Yes Yes Yes

This is a poor coal miner’s family - J. R. Jones indicates that he is currently out of work and has been so for 12 weeks.

But he is not the only one who is listed as having an occupation. Daughter Daisy, 13, is a musician. Perhaps she helped to support the family. But unfortunately she, too, has been out of work - for 24 weeks.

Notice Anything Different?


It has been fixed.

Those of you with OCD no longer have to twitch every time you click on my blog.

Many thanks to the generous Bart Brenner, aka GeneaPopPop, of Stardust 'n' Roots. Not only is he a talented writer, he is technically adept, as evidenced by the fact that he was able to figure out how to resize my banner.

I have to say it again: there is nothing like the genealogy blogging community - generous and talented people.

Thank you, Bart!

Monday, July 25, 2011 So Far

Back in May, at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, the people at the booth generously gave out cards that would enable holders to use a six-month demo account at

I picked up one of the cards, and for the first couple of months I made a few forays onto the site to see what was there, but I did not try out all of the features. Several press releases came out about hiring some well-known members of the genealogy community and about the addition of new material, so for the past couple of weeks I have been trying to check the site out a little more thoroughly.

It appears that the overall concept is to add and develop databases that are specific to and to supplement this still-in-the early-stages-of-development resource by drawing on existing databases, both free (SSDI) and for-pay (some of the search results lead to, where you need a paid subscription to be able to access most of the document images). This is combined with the capability for building/adding your own family tree ( and many other sites have this), a for-fee service which you can use to request onsite county document searches by members of the network, interaction with other members on the message forums, and access to instructional materials under the “Learn” tab.

First, I did some searches using some of my own ancestors and some of my husband’s ancestors who had less common names. Here are the results:

I noticed that I got different results from alternate spellings of one of the family names: D’Arco and Darco. This has the potential to be useful; on, one spelling brings up hits for both spellings.

When I clicked to see the results under the category for immigration records, all the links took me to Footnote, where I have an account.

A search for Brinlees on Military Records pulled up mid-twentieth century enlistment records, but they were transcriptions/extracts, not actual images. Still, it was neat to see some information on my uncles’ and distant cousins’ military service.

The main “value-added” item for me seems to be that has some newspapers that Genealogy Bank does not have (= I could not find them on Genealogy Bank when I checked their list of newspapers). The site claims to have images of 100 million pages from newspapers.

The hits under “Cemetery Listings” are not actual hits for an ancestor’s name in a specific cemetery. Instead, the results give the SSDI information on the location where the last Social Security benefits were received, and uses that information to produce a list of cemeteries in that area.

Several times searches or clicking on a result produced an “Oops! An error has occurred” message, but trying again usually (not always) got me through to the database/information.

Other things I checked out:

Message forums: there are a lot of posts, but not many replies. I did a search for a family name, but mostly pulled up error messages.

The “On-Site County Court Records Search” tab has the following description: “Request an on-site county search for any court, criminal, or civil record in the United States. Simply fill in the information below to have someone from our network of court-runners do the job for you - saving you hundreds of dollars and countless hours.” This could be useful, but there was no information on how extensive this network is, that is, whether or not they have all the counties and states covered, and what the level of expertise of their “court-runners” is.

My favorite feature was the “Learn” tab. I read several of the articles and will be checking out the videos. There were some familiar names of people whose expertise I respect, and I hope that the quality of offerings in this area is indicative of where will be headed in the future.

Another thing I liked was the ability to set up “Ancestor Alerts” on the site.

I believe has brought some people on board who can take in the right directions, but right now that seems to be on paper only. At this point it is not worth it to me to pay for this service, as it does not do a significant amount more than the Ancestry-Footnote-Genealogy Bank combination does for me. But I will be keeping an eye on it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Surname Saturday: John A. Kern and Julia Koehl

John A. Kern
b. Jan 1866, New York
d. 22 May 1948, Kings County, New York
& Julia Koehl
b. Mar 1868, New York
d. 1960
m. ca 1891
|--Julius Henry Kern
|----b. 28 Mar 1895, Brooklyn, Kings, New York
|---& Ida A.
|----b. ca 1898, New York
|----m. ca 1925

This is the family of John A. Kern and Julia Koehl, who was the sister of my husband’s great-grandfather Harry Koehl and the daughter of Julius Koehl and Josephine Lochner. I do not know whether John and Julia had any children in addition to Julius Henry. I suspect that John Kern may have been a relative of Philip Kern, who married Julia’s sister Augusta M. “Gussie” Koehl. This family was living in Brooklyn at the time of the 1920 census, but by the 1930 census had moved to Bergen County, New Jersey.

I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I Learned Wednesday 20 July 2011

This week I did not visit any repositories or do any research on Ancestry, FamilySearch, Genealogy Bank, or We visited my in-laws in New York.

I learned a lot.

I brought my Flip-Pal scanner and wand scanner with me and scanned some long-coveted family photographs and two files’ worth of documents.

I learned how to use the Flip-Pal scanner - perhaps not with a great deal of ingenuity or skill, but I did finally take it out of its box and do several dozen scans with it. The greater part of these scans were duds, not the fault of the scanner, but I was testing its limits. I learned that you can make a scan through glass, but the scanner has to be sitting flat on the glass. It cannot be above the glass or angled down onto the glass. However, my father-in-law kindly removed the glass from the set of photographs that I coveted most of all, and I learned that no glass is best of all. I will be pulling up some of the tutorial videos for the Flip-Pal on YouTube to learn more.

The wand scanner once again proved its worth. I learned that it’s a good idea to backup scans with transcriptions when working from an original with bumps/discontinuities in the paper or with poor contrast.

I learned that you may have to settle for not knowing who is in those coveted photographs. One of the photographs may be of one my my husband’s great-great-grandfathers - either Julius Koehl or John Fichtelmann - but we don’t know, because anyone who might have known is no longer alive. Not that I won’t be trying in the coming weeks to get some ideas on this.

I learned that photographs are a great way to inspire relatives to share their memories. I put together a binder with copies of documents (probate records, ship manifests, descendant reports, etc.) for my relatives, but I knew this would be kind of dry, so I added a couple of maps of home cities back in Germany and Italy and the photograph I posted of my mother-in-law’s grandparents’ home in Newark (“Always Go Back and Reread Your Notes”). The reaction inspired by the photograph was amazing. My mother-in-law showed me where her room was, where she played with her childhood friend (and what games they played), and also recalled a couple of priceless stories about her grandfather.

I learned that in addition to providing new items of information, an important function of documents is to confirm or refute old information; I was particularly delighted with seeing the names of baptismal sponsors, whom I recognized as siblings and grandparents. The “smaller” details are as important as the names and dates: home addresses and church names will help tell me where to look.

Not bad for a couple of days.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Heritage Pie Chart

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has come up with the following challenge this week:

Your mission tonight, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1) List your 16 great-great-grandparents with their birth, death and marriage data (dates and places).
2) Determine the countries (or states) that these ancestors lived in at their birth and at their death.
3) For extra credit, go make a “Heritage Pie” chart for the country of origin (birth place) for these 16 ancestors. [Hint: you could use the chart generator from Kid Zone for this.] [Note: Thank you to Sheri Fenley for the "Heritage Pie" chart idea.]
4) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a post on Facebook or google+.

Here are the 14 I know (plus the states for the two that I do not know based on the information given by their daughter in the census).

1. Hiram Carroll Brinlee Sr., b. 25 Dec 1808, Tennessee or Kentucky, d. 28 Jul 1885 Collin County, Texas.  I am using Tennessee because that appears more often in the censuses for him (and in those for his children when they list parents' states of birth).

2. Elizabeth Ann McKinney, b. 23 Feb 1823 Kentucky, d. 23 Mar 1889 Oklahoma.

3 and 4. The parents of my great brick wall, Susan Elizabeth Smith, whoever they were. According to Lizzie Smith Brinlee’s entries on the censuses, they were born in either Tennessee or North Carolina; I am choosing North Carolina because it appeared on two censuses and Tennessee appeared on only one.

5. Joseph Madison Carroll Norman, b. 8 Jun 1833, Alabama, d. 1 Apr 1901, Arkansas. Married 4 Dec 1851 Talladega, Alabama.

6. Rebecca Monk, b. 1837, Alabama, d. bef 1864 Alabama

7. William T. Sisson, b. ca 1826, Georgia, d. 12 Feb 1894, Alabama. Married 13 Jun 1851, Talladega, Alabama.

8. Jerusha Elizabeth Neeley, b. Alabama, d. bef 1858 Alabama.

9. William Spencer Moore, b. 1813, South Carolina, d. 31 Oct 1871, South Carolina

10. Emily Tarrant, b. 1813, South Carolina, d. bef 1873, South Carolina

11. Elisha Berry Lewis, b. 1813, South Carolina, d. 23 Feb 1889, South Carolina. Married 3 Feb 1835 Anderson County, South Carolina.

12. Martha Poole, b. 1815, South Carolina, d. bef 1865, South Carolina

13. George Floyd, b. 29 Sep 1807, Vermont, d. 11 Mar 1880, Texas. Married 13 Nov 1835 Greene County, Illinois.

14. Nancy Finley, b. ca 1816, Illinois, d. 5 Feb 1864, Texas

15. Absalom C. Matlock, b. 21 Mar 1825, Kentucky, d. 1865, Texas. Married 13 Aug 1846 Warren County, Kentucky.

16. Nancy Malvina Harris, b. b. 28 Apr 1827, Kentucky, d. 11 Aug 1862, Texas

Looks like I'm 87.5% Southern Mutt.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Follow Friday Newsletter: 15 July 2011

This Week in Genealogy Blogging

Amen, amen, amen

Kerry Scott at Clue Wagon gives us “5 Reasons You Should Join the National Genealogical Society.” Amen and then some.

The 1977 Blackout

The Brooklyn Historical Blog has a couple of wonderful posts on the New York blackout of 1977: “July 11th-July 14th 1977: The Week a Little Girl was Born in Flatbush, Brooklyn and the Lights Went Out Across NYC: By Chantal Valencia Lawrence” and “The 1977 Blackout.” I wasn’t there, but my husband was.

Some informative posts on Google+

Tamura Jones at Modern Software Experience provides some detailed impressions of the features of Google+ and how they differ from Facebook in “Google+.”

At the Jewish Ginger Genealogist, Banai compares and contrasts Google+, Facebook, and Twitter in “Google+ vs Facebook vs Twitter - 10 Things.” I’m hoping Google+ leaves out the games. Banai follows this up with “Google+ - What’s Missing.”

In “Some Google Plus Commentary,” Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings lists relevant posts, comments on what it is like to use Google+, and cites some of its advantages over Facebook.

At Genealogy by Ginger’s Blog, Ginger Smith lists some good posts on Google+ and adds her own observations in “Google+ ... Geneabloggers are All Abuzz.”

At TransylvanianDutch John Newmark makes some interesting predictions about the future of his participation in Google+ and Facebook in “Who Will Google Kill This Time?”

In “Hanging Out With Google,” Heather Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy gives an in-depth description of her experience hosting a Hangout at Google+: what worked and for whom and what didn’t.

A well-developed idea

At Stardust ‘n’ Roots, Bart “GeneaPopPop" has a thoughtful “list post” on “The Eight Stages of My Genealogical Development.” I think his description is spot on!

A fascinating film

Over at Shades of the Departed, catch the full-length “A Trip Down Market Street,” film footage taken just days before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and read about the research that was able to date the film in “Historic Market Street 1906.”

Paying for free stuff

In “Case Study: Ancestry’s paid and FamilySearch’s open access book images match - WHY?” DearMyrtle presents the smoking gun - smoking images? - pointing to Ancestry’s use of source images that are free elsewhere as part of their “available to paid subscribers only” service, and although there are other possible explanations, Ancestry’s source description doesn’t help their case.

An article on genealogy that quotes Popper

Yeah, Karl Popper. It’s “Genealogy and Science” at J. H. Fonkert’s Four Generations Genealogy. Fonkert believes the question should be not so much what genealogy is as what methods genealogy uses.

An irresistible contest

Not so much for the prize offered, but for the challenge. Check out “Who’s That Girl?” at Maureen Taylor’s Photo Detective. I can’t wait to see what Maureen will come up with.

A word of warning!

“Is that obituary totally factual?” is the question Paula Stuart-Warren at Paula’s Genealogical Eclectica recommends we ask ourselves when we use obituaries as sources of information - and she lists the possible sources of misinformation.

Eye-candy for the genealogist

Wendy Brittain at Shaking Leaves: My Adventures in Genealogy has found lots of ancestor information and some amazing plat maps on Ancestry - I know you map-heads out there are already geeking out - check it out in “Those Places Thursday: Mapping my Family in Marion County, Alabama.”

Great advice

At Genea-Musings, Randy Seaver posts “My Research Problem Solution Advice” - his answer to people who feel they have exhausted online resources. Excellent suggestions here - this should be turned into a FAQ somewhere.

If only a college education could be this inexpensive

Valerie Elkins at Family Cherished has a great list of ways to get an education in genealogy that won’t break the bank in “Getting a Great Genealogical Education for Little or No Money.”

For more suggested blog reading

Check out “Best of the Genea-Blogs” at Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings, “Monday Morning Mentions” at Lynn Palermo’s The Armchair Genealogist, “Follow Friday Gems” at Deb Ruth’s Adventures in Genealogy, “Follow Friday: This Week’s Favorite Finds” at Jenn’s Climbinb My Family Tree, and “Week in Review” at John Newmark’s TransylvanianDutch.

This Week I Started Following These Blogs:

From My Tree Branch To Yours

Piney Woods and Prairie Winds



My Research Week

Other than working on my husband’s family lines this week, I followed up on some odds and ends that popped up on several of my families.

I am still working on bookmarks, Diigo, etc. and this week I mostly continued to fix up the 4 initial categories for my Genealogy Toolboxes (one Toolbox is on the blog, the other one is on Weebly). But I did import my Safari bookmarks (my single largest collection of genealogy bookmarks) from my desktop to my laptop, so that’s real progress.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Always Go Back and Reread Your Notes

As I was writing up the sources for yesterday’s post, I went back to my notes on my conversation with my mother-in-law regarding the D'Arco family house in Newark. She had remembered and given the addresses! James Street was the address of Nicholas D’Arco’s store; the family house was located at 446-8 Summer Avenue. This is the street view picture Google Maps gives for that address:

I think this is the right house.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday’s Tip: Using Immigration Records in Location Studies

Putting the D’Arco Family Together

One of the pleasures of researching my husband’s family lines is that it leads me to new geographic areas, new patterns of movement and family association, and, what is most interesting, new research approaches.

My Southern American, mostly rural agrarian ancestors followed certain migration patterns. I track their movements to learn about them, but their locations also help me to identify them and distinguish them from others with the same name. They didn’t have much by way of addresses, but did have rural routes, descriptions of landmarks, metes and bounds and, on a few occasions, townships, range, and sections.

No so with my husband’s ancestors, who were mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century immigrants to New York and New Jersey - they had real addresses in this country: on the censuses (which I can even read if I’m lucky) and in directories. When I first started I didn’t have much to go on, because their European names confounded a lot of the census takers and because I was unaware of how useful city directories could be.

I learned how important it was to “follow the address” from attending several presentations given by Warren Bittner at the 2011 Spring Conference of the Fairfax Genealogical Society. Sometimes the address may be the only constant for an ancestor with a name that seems to morph from year to year. And recently a researcher on my husband’s Fichtelmann line sent me a spreadsheet with year-by-year addresses for his Fichtelmann great-great-grandparents from 1859 through 1900 - be still, my heart! (Migration geeks will probably understand my excitement.)

I realized that I could do the same for my husband’s Koehl great-great-grandparents, because I have addresses from the 1870 through 1900 federal censuses, two New York state censuses, several New York City directories, and even Julius Koehl’s estate papers.

But right now I am using the address/location connection to put together my husband’s D’Arco family in Newark, New Jersey. Right now I only have three censuses and one city directory.

But I have more address information. I have immigration records.

Immigration records have plenty of juicy tidbits of information which may include: last permanent residence, place of birth, final destination, name of nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came, name or relative or friend passenger is going to join with full address, and so on. Again, if you can read the handwriting, these things are goldmines of names, dates, places.

I started with three census records for the Nicola D’Arco-Vincenza “Jenni” Rossi family:

1910 US Federal Census, Newark City, District 2, Essex County, New Jersey, ED 52, p. 13A, 21 or 22 Apr 1910

Line 4, Lock Street 191 215

Dargo, Nicholas Head M W 29 M1 1 Italy Italy Italy 1900 Alien English Driver Mason
Cannot read or write
Vincenza Rose Wife F W 18 M1 1 0 0 Italy Italy Italy 1907 Italian None
Cannot read or write
Rosie Rose Sister-in-law F W 38 S Italy Italy Italy 1907 Italian None
Cannot read or write

1920 US Federal Census, City of Newark – Ward 15, Essex County, New Jersey, ED 265, p. 22A, 13 Jan 1920

Line 26, James St. 159 267 504

Docco, Nick Head O M M W 36 M 1896 Alien Cannot read or write
Italy Italian Italy Italian Italy Italian Yes Peddlar Fruit wagon OA
Jennie Wife F W 27 M 1907 Alien Cannot read or write
Italy Italian Italy Italian Italy Italian yes None
Angelina Daughter F W 10 S NJ Italy Italy
Maggie Daughter F W 7 S NJ Italy Italy
Florence Daughter F W 5 S NJ Italy Italy
Geraldine NJ Italy Italy

1930 US Federal Census, City of Newark, Ward 15, Block 1882, Essex County, New Jersey, ED 7-263, p. 6B 7 Apr 1930

Line 78, James Street 159 22a 40

Darco, Nick Head O $3000 M W 47 M 27 No No Italy Italy Italy Italian 1901 Alien Yes
Grocery store Self Yes No
Jennie Wife F W 38 M 16 No No Italy Italy Italy Italian 1909 Alien Yes None
Julia Daughter F W 19 S No Yes NJ Italy Italy Yes None
Margaret Daughter F W 17 S No Yes NJ Italy Italy Yes None
Florence Daughter F W 15 S Yes Yes NJ Italy Italy Yes None
Geraldine Daughter F W 11 S Yes Yes NJ Italy Italy Yes None
Rose Daughter F W 9 S Yes Yes NJ Italy Italy Yes None

This was followed by the 1937 Newark Street Directory:

D’Arco, Anthony F. (Evelyn E.) gen contr 403 N. 12th h do
Florence married George Galante
Gelardina T. Seamstress r 159 James
Margaret r 159 James
Nicola (Jennie) h 159 James

I know of no connection to the Anthony D’Arco who appears at the top of this list, and he did not live at the same address as the Nicola D’Arco family (Florence, Geraldine, and Margaret were daughters), but he’s filed away just in case and I will be consulting a Newark street map.

Next comes the Record of detained alien passengers from the S. S. Neustria, arrived from Naples 27 May 1902: Nicola D’Aro arrives to go to his brother Giov[anni], who lives at 31 Garside St., Newark, NJ.

Here is an image provided by Google Maps of houses in the vicinity of 282 Garside Street (which searches reveal is in the neighborhood of Newark known as Little Italy):

The next record I found was the List or Manifest of Alien Immigrants for the United States Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival for the Ship Hamburg, which sailed from Naples on October 19, 1907 and arrived in the port of New York on November 1, 1907. This record contains the names of Vincenza Rossi and her mother [or sister, if you go by the 1910 census above] Rosa. Among the many interesting items of information this document includes are their Last Permanent Residence - Cava [de] Tirreni, their place of birth - Vietri sul Mare (which is near Cava de Tirreni), and their destination: brother-in-law (or, for Vincenza, uncle) Vincenzo D’Arco, who lives at 225 Freemont Av., Jersey, NJ. According to the 1910 census, Nicola and Vincenza did not marry until around 1909, so this indicates that Vincenzo may be the husband of a sister of Rosa (and Vincenza as well if she is actually Rosa’s sister).

My mother-in-law had always heard that the D'Arco family was from Naples. This illustrates what was apparently a common phenomenon when immigrant ancestors referred to the old country - they often chose a larger, more well-known city: Cava de Tirreni > Salerno > Naples. Here are maps showing where Cava de Tirreni is located in relation to Vietri sul Mare and when Vietri sul Mare is located in relation to Salerno:

So next I looked Vincenzo D’Arco up in the immigration records. Two records appear to be good matches for Vincenzo:

List or Manifest of Alien Immigrants for the Commission of Immigration

Name: Vincenzo Darco
Arrival date: 6 Jul 1900
Estimated YOB: 1878 (could also be 1873)
Age: 22 (could also be 27)
Port of departure: Naples, Italy
Ethnicity: Italian
Ship Name: Spartan Prince
Port of arrival: New York, New York
Last residence: Cava Tirreni
Whether going to join a relative, and if so, what relative, their name and address:
my brother D’Arco Giovanni
4 Garside St.

List or Manifest of Alien Immigrants for the Commission of Immigration

Name: Vincenzo Darco
Arrival date: 2 Jun 1903
Estimated YOB: 1872
Age: 22
Port of departure: Naples, Italy
Ethnicity: Italian
Ship Name: Palatia
Port of arrival: New York, New York
Final destination: Jersey City, NJ
Last residence: Cava Tirreni
Whether going to join a relative, and if so, what relative, their name and address:
my brother D’Arco Giovanni
282 Garside [Garsmond?]
Jersey City, NJ

This entry appears to be crossed out - perhaps he did not make the trip?

There is another entry for a Vincenzo D’Arco traveling on the Germania on 21 Mar 1907, age 46 [or 42], from “Cava de Ter.” going to his brother Saverio, 342 [Clinton St.?], Newark, NJ.

Here the age does not match, but he appears to be traveling from the same place in Italy to the same city in New Jersey - but the street address does not match and Saverio is a new name. Could be the same guy, an older relative, or someone completely different? This is another item to file this away. This same Vincenzo appears on a March 5 manifest but is crossed out - this manifests indicates that his hair is gray, so I’m guessing the 42/46 age is correct. And the point of origin of Cava de’ Tirreni is clear. I’m guessing he was a relative.

To sum up, Vincenzo D’Arco is listed as a relative by marriage for Rosa and Vincenza Rossi, Nicola and Vincenzo both claim a Giovanni D’Arco on Garside St. as a brother, and Vincenzo and the Rossis all come from Cava de Tirreni - so I believe I have at least three D’Arco brothers/relatives, two of whom may be married to Rossi sisters/relatives.

The other address that recurs is 159 James Street. This house is well remembered by my mother-in-law; according to her, the D’Arco family lived in a beautiful turreted house in New Jersey before she and her parents moved to Brooklyn. It was a duplex with 5-room and 3-room units on each side.

This is the picture I get when I input 159 James Street Newark into Google Maps:

This is obviously not old enough to be the house my mother-in-law remembers, but just in case I’ll be checking with my mother-in-law to see whether she remembers anything like this on James Street.

My plan for “putting together the D’Arco and Rossi families” is to use these posited relationships, the addresses (with some map work), and the place of origin in Italy - Cava de Tirreni - to identify members of these families, which I hope to confirm through study of directories, vital records, and other records.


Street view photographs and maps courtesy of Google maps


Nicholas Darco [Dargo] household, 1910 U.S. census, Essex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Newark City, dwelling 191, family 215; National Archives microfilm publication T624, p.13A. Accessed via

Nick Darco [Docco] household, 1920 U.S. census, Essex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Newark City, dwelling 267, family 504; National Archives microfilm publication T625, p. 22A. Accessed via

Nick Darco household, 1930 U.S. census Essex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Newark City, dwelling 22a, family 40; National Archives microfilm publication T626, p. 6B. Accessed via


The Price & Lee Co.‘s Newark, N.J. Directory, 1937, p. 1373. Accessed via on U.S. City Directories database.

Immigration Records

Nicola D’Arco entry, Record of Detained Alien Passengers of SS Neustria, 17 May 1902, page 96, line 14; in New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957; National Archives microfilm publication T715. Accessed via

Entry for Rosa and Vincenza Rossi, List or Manifest of Alien Immigrants for the United States Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival for the Ship Hamburg, sailed from Naples on October 19, 1907 and arrived in the port of New York on November 1, 1907, page 219, lines 2 and 3; National Archives microfilm publication T715. Accessed via

Entry for Vincenzo D’Arco, List or Manifest of Alien Immigrants for the Commission of Immigration for the SS Palatia, sailing from Naples, arrival date 6 July 1900 in port of New York, page 27, line 12; National Archives microfilm publication T715, accessed via

Entry for Vincenzo D’Arco, List or Manifest of Alien Immigrants for the Commission of Immigration for the SS Spartan Prince, sailing from Naples 21 May 1903, arrived in the port of New York 5 June 1903, page 102, line 7; National Archives microfilm publication T715, accessed via

Entry for Vincenzo D’Arco, List or Manifest of Alien Immigrants for the Immigration Officer at the Port of Arrival for the SS Germania, sailing from Naples 6 March 1907, arrived in the port of New York 21 March 1907, page 24, line 23; National Archives microfilm publication T715, accessed via

Entry for Vincenzo D’Arco, List or Manifest of Alien Immigrants for the Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival for the SS Madonna, sailing from Naples 24 February 1907, arrived in the port of New York 6 March 1907, page 32, line 20; National Archives microfilm publication T715, accessed via

Personal conversation

Interview with J. Koehl, 9 January 2006.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Questions About Online Trees

Recently I was flipping through the latest issue of Family Tree Magazine and stopped to look at some of the sites mentioned in “Dazzling Destinations,” an article about what FT considers to be the best 101 sites for tracing ancestors. Listed under the “Share and Store Alike” section were several websites with the capability for posting/sharing family trees. Some of these sites are on my “list of things to check out” and I have read about them in other genealogy blogs. Some of the bloggers mentioned various features of these sites that they liked and found helpful in research and a few even wrote about some useful cousin connections they had made through them.

It is this last item that has made me consider using yet another venue to put my family tree(s) online. Currently my family tree information appears in only two places: on this blog in bits and pieces as individual posts, and on Ancestry in the form of four public trees and one private tree. Eventually I would like to put my trees online on my own website, but I presently lack the skills to do that.

After looking over some of the websites mentioned in the article, I have a bit of an idea what they offer and how they differ, but that is not the same as actually using them and experiencing their shortcomings or benefits.

I like the setup of Ancestry Public Member Trees because they suggest documents and databases that may be relevant, let you add your own sources, photographs, documents, and so forth when you want to, and suggest possible matches in other Public Member Trees. From recent experience I can say that although I have a number of additional sources for my trees, the hints have been helpful.

For those of you who have used or are using these sites for online family trees, I would like to know how they have benefitted your research and helped you to connect with other researchers. I am not so much interested in contributing to anything like One World Tree or in the shared research/Wiki editing type of online tree, although I am aware that some sites that do this also have the option for individual/unshared trees.

Some of my specific questions are:

1. What are the specific value-added components of the site: cousin connections, research resources such as access to certain documents, tree-building and display features, aids to organization of research, or special features such as discussion forums, how-to tutorials, other content?

2. How easy is the site to use: joining/registering, uploading GEDCOMs, adding people individually, making changes, adding sources, documents, and photos, viewing in different formats, privacy settings, Help service for problems?

3. How does the site compare with Ancestry trees, private websites, or other similar websites?

4. Does the website have shortcomings or areas that need to be improved? Does joining the site lead to a large volume of e-mail offers for paid products or to an increase in spam?

The sites mentioned by the article that sounded appropriate to my intended use are:


My Heritage

Shared Tree (could not get this site to load - bad sign)

Tribal Pages



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: My Elevator Speech

Tonia Kendrick’s (of Tonia’s Genealogy Blog) first challenge of 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog - to write an elevator pitch for our blogs - has become this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun at Randy’ Seaver’s Genea-Musings.

This is mine:

I’m crazy about genealogy and I’m addicted to it. Some people think I’m just a crazy addict. The purpose of this blog is to show you why I’m hooked on genealogy and why you should be, too. Should you decide to give genealogy a try, I’ll provide some pointers on how to find your ancestors. Once you have felt the thrill of the hunt, you’ll never want to stop.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Follow Friday Newsletter: 8 July 2011

This Week in Genea-Blogging

Can I redo my education?

At Climbing My Family Tree, Jenn describes how she is incorporating genealogy into her children’s home schooling curriculum in “Genealogy for Kids: Family Tree Notebooking Page.” And there is a bonus in the post - check it out! She follows this up with “Genealogy for Kids: Cemetery Scavenger Hunt.”

A post that really struck home with me

Was Melissa Manon’s “The Value of Cultural Knowledge” at ArchivesInfo. I love that she is teaching her daughter how to think critically and question information that is passed off as fact. This post made me reflect on how much knowing the cultural context has helped me in family history research and how much more cultural knowledge I have acquired through my research.

An outstanding angle on Independence Day

For the 4th of July Leah at Leah’s Family Tree honors some of her “non-combatant” ancestors who did their part in making the United States of America great in “America in My Family Tree.” A perceptive take on our celebration of independence.

A neat map

Presented by A Postcard a Day: “Curiously juxtaposed USA.” Check it out; there are some really excellent town name juxtapositions! You will probably have to click on the map to be able to read the names - it’s worth it.

A neat idea

Presented by Denise Barrett Oleson at Moultrie Creek Gazette: “Build an online family journal with Posterous.” Denise makes an effective case that this is the perfect platform for the technologically-challenged, so I’m definitely interested!

For the rest of you Kentucky-heads out there

J. Mark Lowe has started a series on “Kentucky’s Revolutionary Land Grants - Part 1” at Kentucky & Tennessee Stories. Map included.

A pro with wildcard searches

That’s Lorine McGinnis Shulze at Ask Olive Tree Genealogy a Question. In “Hiding in Plain Sight,” she outlines a case study demonstrating how she finally traced the family of an ancestor with a difficult-to-spell Eastern European name. Brava!

Why don’t we have movies and shows like this already?

At The We Tree Genealogy Blog, Amy Coffin sends up both Hollywood and the genealogy community. And we are laughing hysterically. Read “If Genealogists Ran Hollywood.”

What would you include on the list?

Another thought-provoking post from Marian at Roots and Rambles: “The Top 3 Changes in Genealogy.” Agree/Disagree/Anything to add?

Effective message-boarding

Is described by Deb Ruth of Adventures in Genealogy in "Heard on the Message Board.” She gives some tips for writing an effective query and lists some of the main genealogy message boards.

Last, but never least

Do NOT miss reading the entries for the 107th Carnival of Genealogy - The Seasons of Genealogy at West in New England, hosted by the inimitable Bill West. Outstanding!

For more suggested blog reading,

Check out “Follow Friday on a Saturday” at Cheryl Cayemberg’s Have You Seen My Roots?, “Follow Friday: This Week’s Favorite Finds” at Jenn’s Climbing My Family Tree, “Follow Friday Gems” at Deb Ruth’s Adventures in Genealogy, “Best of the Genea-Blogs” at Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings, “Week in Review” at John Newmark’s TransylvanianDutch, and “Monday Morning Mentions” at Lynn Palermo’s The Armchair Genealogist.

This Week I Started Following These Blogs:

365 Days of Genealogy

Greenealogist’s Corner

Unsolved Histories: Adoption and Forensic Genealogy

Thank-You Corner

My thanks to Patti Browning of Consanguinity for leaving a comment on my “Seasons of Genealogy” post to let me know that if I do get to go to Dallas on a research trip I might want to visit the Southwest Branch of the National Archives over in Fort Worth! You bet I’d like to! Thank you for the information, Patti!

I’m very happy to see that one of my favorite bloggers has returned to posting: Amy at They that go down to the sea celebrates the 4th of July with one of the discoveries she made: “Independence Day and genealogy.”

My Research Week

Since “What I Learned Wednesday” (which was yesterday, as I am writing this Thursday evening), there has actually been a little bit more research action.

1. I continue to eat crow concerning the usefulness of shaky leaves on Ancestry Public Member Trees (PMTs). Last night I decided to input a few relatives on the Matlock line, and for the Luney M. Goforth and Malvina Isabella Gracey family that leaf led me to the 1900 census, where I had not been able to find them before. They are listed there as Lemey M. Gofnok and Milvley I. Gofnok. Well, as if their names weren’t already unusual. In turn, I found the oldest of the five children, Thurza, who I knew must exist from the 1910 census (5 living children). However, she wasn’t on the 1910 census with the family, so I didn't know her name or whether she was a boy or a girl; I figured she was already out of the house. And, using her unusual first name and the birth states for her and her parents, I found her with her husband Doc Pitts on the 1910 census. So, I admit it, a shaky leaf helped. I don’t think I would have found the Gofnoks without its help (though I have done some imaginative census searches in my day).

2. Blogger put me into the “new-new” Blogger in Draft today. I didn’t like it, and actually could not navigate to it by selecting “New Post” or “Design.” Turns out they have the URL scrambled, so I just unscrambled it and got into the new version of Blogger in Draft - which I didn’t like. I like to think of myself as traditional, but you can call me primitive (I don’t like New Search, either). So I unchecked the “Make Blogger in Draft my default” box. Still, there seem to be some scrambled posts with messed up pictures, which I have put back into draft form until I can fix them up. Bleghh.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What I Learned Wednesday: 7 July 2011

Something exciting (for me) happened this week - I got my first Findagrave message! It was a request to add a maiden name to one of the memorials that I had added. I do not yet have “big numbers” in Findagrave, both because I don’t get much of a chance to spend time in cemeteries and because many of the pictures/transcriptions that I have done are already in Findagrave, so I was really pleased to be able to do this for someone. (Note to self: Try to get out to cemeteries more often!)

More luck at I found a Benedetto and Maria Davi who, based on calculated year of birth, appear to be the people I have identified as parents of Giovanna “Jeni” Davi, my husband’s great-grandmother. I’ll be sending off for death certificates within the next couple of weeks. The Davis I found died in 1934, so I’m hoping that the form will be as detailed as the 1907 one I received for Julius Koehl and that the informants knew who their parents were.

I did some bookmark cleanup and organization - added some links to my Texas links and some items to my Research toolboxes here and on Weebly. I have also started working up a list of resources on Diigo. What did I learn? Bookmarking and bookmark organization takes a lot of time! This needs to be one of my resolutions - do a bit of bookmark management each weekend before I start regular research.

This weekend I discovered the “U.S. Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection” on It gives the full text of the record plus extracted information. Pretty neat if one of the names you are researching shows up there - for the person I was researching, in addition to the full obituary, it provided names of parents, siblings, spouse, children, age at death, residence, date and place of birth, date of death, and military service in a convenient form for reference. I’ll have to give it a whirl with some other names.

Strange item of the week:

Three Nora Lees? I have been working on the family of Minnie Brinlee and Raligh Jones. Their oldest daughter was Nora Lee, who married Charles Alexander Whitaker. Their oldest son, Cecil Odes, married a Nora Lee Small and another son, Burl, married a Nora Lee Scroggins. Or so say the entries on Findagrave.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Surname Sunday: Julius Koehl and Josephine Lochner

Julius Henry Koehl
b. 1839, Meisenheim, Germany
d. 16 Mar 1907
& Josephine Lochner
b. 1842, Wurttemberg
d. 17 Jan 1895
|--Josephine Koehl
|----b. 11 Feb 1867, Brooklyn, Kings, New York
|----d. 1949
|---& Peter H. Glashoff
|----b. 3 May 1866, Gluckstadt, Germany
|----d. 6 Oct 1937
|----m. 1899
|--Julia Koehl
|----b. Mar 1868, New York
|----d. 1960
|---& John A. Kern
|----b. Jan 1866, New York
|----d. 22 May 1948, Kings County, New York
|----m. ca 1891
|--Margaretta Helena “Lena” Koehl
|----b. 26 May 1869, Brooklyn, Kings, New York
|----d. 22 Oct 1875, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York
|--Lillian “Lillie” Koehl
|----b. Apr 1872, New York
|---& Herman Binninger
|----b. Sep 1869, Germany
|----d. 13 Nov 1916, Kings County, New York
|--Frances Koehl
|----b. 8 Feb 1874, New York
|----d. 1966
|---& Paul Haas
|----b. 29 Jan 1876, New York
|----d. 22 May 1946
|--Julius Koehl
|----d. bef 26 Apr 1876
|--Magdalena M. “Lena” Koehl
|----b. 1876, New York
|----d. Apr 1969
|---& Frederick William A. Tonjes
|----b. 24 Jun 1879, Bremen, Germany
|----m. 14 Nov 1900, Kings County, New York
|--Henry “Harry” Julius Koehl
|----b. 4 May 1878, Brooklyn, Kings, New York
|----d. Feb 1965, New York
|---& Anna Christina “Christine” Fichtelmann
|----b. Feb 1882, New York
|----d. May 1961
|----m. 1898
|--Augusta M. “Gussie” Koehl
|----b. Aug 1879, New York
|---& Philip Kern
|----b. 7 Aug 1878, Germany
|----m. 25 Apr 1905
|--Louis Julius Koehl
|----b. 22 Aug 1881, New York
|---& Catherine “Katie” Reuss
|----b. 1884, New York
|----m. 20 Apr 1904, Kings County, New York

This is the family of my husband’s great-great grandparents Julius Koehl and Josephine Lochner. I wrote a post on this family soon after I started this blog in 2008, but have learned a great deal more about this family since then, particularly in the last few weeks. As you can see, there are still gaps - death dates are missing for several of the children - but I have a plan of action. For one thing, I will be sending off for death certificates and mortuary certificates for the two children who died young - Margaretta Hellena and Julius. Some of the sources of information are: the death certificates of Julius and Josephine Koehl, the probate records for the estate of Julius Koehl, census records - including two New York state censuses, birth, death, and marriage information accessed through the website, city directories, passport applications, tombstone photos, World War I and World War II enlistment records, and naturalization documents.

I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

Friday, July 1, 2011

Follow Friday Newsletter: 1 July 2011

This Week in Genea-Blogging

You tell ‘em!

Dear Myrtle (“21st Century genealogists: how websites are failing us.”) and footnoteMaven (“Making My Way in the World Today Takes Everything I’ve Got”) have gone on a tear this week - a good tear! It’s all about putting citations with images from online websites/sources - if the big websites will not do it, there are ways to do it ourselves.

BillionGraves getting its act together?

In “I’m Finally Using BillionGraves,” Taneya at Taneya’s Genealogy Blog reports on her recent experience with BillionGraves that’s a good deal more positive than some of the initial reports we’ve seen. It seems that BillionGraves has been getting some of the bugs ironed out.

Another viewpoint on

This time a negative experience is reported by Valerie Craft in “A Disappointing Day with” at Begin with Craft. But there is a positive aspect, too: A representative of replies in a comment with an apology and indicates that the necessary update to the app should be available soon.

What happened during those 5 years - check the Freedman’s Bureau records!

Angela Walton-Raji highlights a resource that can shed light on the fates of former slave families during the 1865-1870 period in “From Virginia to Arkansas, and Back to Virginia - A Freedman’s Bureau Migration Story” at My Ancestor’s Name.

A great idea from Marian Pierre-Louis at Roots and Rambles

is “What Exactly Do I Research?” Michael Hait at Planting the Seeds likes the idea and has also written on “What Exactly Do I Research?”

It cannot be emphasized often enough -

“Tuesday’s Tip - Get Connected!” is Deb Ruth’s advice at Adventures in Genealogy this week. She tells how doing this is paying off in her own research.

Thank you to Lorine McGinnis Shulze

of Ask Olive Tree Genealogy a Question. She provided some information in response to a query this week - “Lots of New York Info Found with Wide-spread Search” - that mentioned the website I had visited this website before but not checked it out in detail. This time I did. Big-time information information on my husband’s family, and the option of linking to the New York vital records website to pull up the forms to send off for copies. Neat and easy to use.

Walking in our parents’ footsteps

An experience Carol’s Man gets to have over at Reflections from the Fence: “THE Trip, Fort Verde State Historic Park, Man’s Close Encounter With WWII Reenactor.”

Don’t hold back!

At The Armchair Genealogist, Lynn Palermo has some good tips for first-time visitors to archives: “When Fear Holds You Back From Doing Your Best Research!”

And to prove it, a report on first-time experience

Susan Clark of Nolichucky Roots shares “A Newbie’s View of the National Archives - Those Places Thursday.” Okay, well, this wasn’t exactly new news for me - we shared experiences over dinner in DC last Friday! It was a blast - genealogy bloggers are the most interesting and enjoyable people to talk to and I wish I could do stuff like this all the time. Anyway, Susan has good info - the waiting time, getting your stuff in, how nice the staff are - the whole scoop.

There’s a new kid in town ...

Google+. And, of course, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings will be checking it out and is already trying to figure out “What Will the Google+ Project Mean for Genealogy?” Might be good news for people fed up with Facebook quirks and endless changes.

And over at The Ginger Genealogist, you can read Banai’s opinion in “Google+ - My First Thoughts.”

When your female ancestors are in hiding ...

This week Susan Farrell Bankhead at Susan’s Genealogy Blog has two posts with lots of suggestions on finding female ancestors: “Resources for Finding Females” and “More on Finding Females.”

For more suggested blog reading

Check out “Best of the Genea-Blogs” at Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings, “Follow Friday: This Week’s Favorite Finds” at Jen’s Climbing My Family Tree, “Follow Friday Gems” at Deb Ruth’s Adventures in Genealogy, and “Monday Morning Mentions” at Lynn Palermo’s The Armchair Genealogist.

This Week I Started Following These Blogs:

Karen’s Genealogy Oasis

Professor Dru’s Blog

The Tree Ward

McKinney Public Library Genealogy Blog

My Research Week

In my last post, I said that I hadn’t done any research this week. That was true until about 10:00 last night. As I mentioned above, Lorine McGinnis Shulze mentioned the website, I checked it out, and it filled in lots of information on some of the New York side of my husband’s family: quite a few full dates of birth, death, and marriage and the maiden name of the wife of his great-great uncle Louis Koehl - so now I know all of the spouses of the children of Julius and Josephine Koehl. And there was also information on “persons of interest.” Not bad for an hour and a half of research.