Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Halloween. A glorious holiday celebrating sugary treats and pretending! I have always loved this holiday, mostly because I love candy. Or I used to. I don't have a hankering for it like I did when I was little...maybe too much Halloween candy?

When I was little, Halloween was a big deal. We always made our own costumes out of what we had on hand. I remember that my brother and I would tool around our neighborhood for hours looking for the best candy-giving houses. I specifically remember a house giving cans of soda one year...what a find! And then there was the house that gave out the gross orange and black wrapped candy.
Once a Chiefs fan, always a Chiefs fan.
We would trick or treat regardless of the weather. In fact, one year tornado sirens were going off and my brother and I kept going! My parents used to keep our Halloween candy bags on top of the refrigerator so that they could monitor our intake. Of course, I always climbed up on the counter to get my fill.

Nowadays we buy our children's costumes. Some parents lament the days of making due with what you had on hand, but when they turn out this cute, who am I to say no?
Halloween 2007
Is that an orb? Halloween 2008

Halloween 2010

Halloween 2010
Halloween 2011
Halloween 2012

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - How do you do?

A wonderful curtsy by my mother, Cathy, enjoyed by her brother, Brent. Circa 1962.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Military Monday - Grand Army of the Republic records index

As I have written about here, my third great grandfather Philip Kuhn was an active participant in the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War veterans' organization. He was a founding member of the Seneca, Kansas chapter and active in two other chapters in the state.
My ultimate goal is to find a photograph of Philip. To date I have found no descendants that have photographs so I am looking to other methods to locate one. In Philip's case it seems obvious to look to his G.A.R. connections. It's possible that he was photographed for a chapter photo or during a parade or local veterans' celebration. I googled G.A.R. records and came across a great link. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), the legal heir and successor to the G.A.R. has created a database of each of the G.A.R. posts and where records for that post are maintained.
A screen shot of the SUVCW G.A.R. records database.
The database is set up by state and lists the chapter number, name, city and where the records for that chapter are held. It's a fantastic research tool for learning more about G.A.R. members. It's still a work in progress, so if you are aware of a G.A.R. resource not listed, be sure to let the SUVCW know here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Surname Saturday - Philip Reymer Kuhn

Philip Kuhn is one of my favorite ancestors and I don't care who knows it. His life is well documented from beginning to end and I know something about the man, not just his facts.

Philip Reymer Kuhn was born August 9, 1836 in Shelby, Richland County, Ohio. He was the first son for Samuel and Julia Ann (Reymer) Kuhn and the third of eleven children.
Samuel and Julia Kuhn were farmers in Richland County, Ohio. Three of their ten known children did not make it to adulthood, which would have made the 1850s a trying decade in the Kuhn household. Shortly after Philip's birth the family moved 8 miles north to Plymouth, Ohio, where they settled.

In the late 1850s Philip met Bertha Cutler, his future wife. It is not clear how they met, but I'm betting the church was involved. Proximity doesn't hurt either: according to the 1856 atlas for Richland County, Ohio, the Kuhn and Cutler farms were a stone's throw apart.
Philip and Bertha were married September 19, 1860 in Richland County, Ohio.
The couple had their first child, Frank, 9-months later...almost to the day. And soon there after the Civil War came to Ohio. Philip was mustered into the 120th Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a musician on October 17, 1862, just two weeks after his second child, Ada, was born.

Philip served as a musician in Company I, 120th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. In 1863 he was promoted to "primary" musician, which made him a member of the field and staff for the regiment. As a member of the staff, Philip would have had a leadership role in the regiment with daily contact with the key leaders. Philip served as musician for the regiment until May 3, 1864 when the regiment was attacked while aboard the transport, City Belle, on the Red River in Louisiana. Many of the regiment were killed and those that survived, including Philip, were sent as POWs to Camp Ford near Tyler, Texas.

Philip survived the war, though in his later request for a pension it is clear that his time in the POW camp greatly affected his health. He returned to Ohio in 1865.

Philip and Bertha would have eleven children, all of which lived to adulthood.
The Kuhn family would move from Ohio to Missouri and finally settle in Kansas. Philip was a farmer, but it appears that he had a hard time making a go of it...hence the many, many moves. He was a passionately religious man and member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He was also very intent on ensuring his children received a good education. In fact, he moved his family from Nemaha County, Kansas to Baldwin City so that his children could take advantage of Baker University. In fact, at least 7 of their children attended university, two of which ultimately earned medical degrees.

Philip was also passionate about participating in the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for Union Civil War veterans. He was a founding member of the Seneca, Kansas chapter and also an active member in the Centralia, Kansas chapter. He would also share his prisoner of war story at GAR functions and continued to play in bands the rest of his life.

Philip died suddenly while taking a walk in Baldwin City, Kansas on June 29, 1899. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Baldwin, Kansas, where he has two headstones. He was almost 63 years old. He left his wife with little money and she was forced to take lodgers to cover costs.

I have been able to find so much information on Philip that he has left a large impression. His reliance on his religion was clear. He also very much valued public service and education. And his desire to work hard to ensure his family had what they needed to succeed, despite health issues, is a very valuable lesson indeed.

Due outs:
- Continue the hunt for a photograph of Philip.

Other posts about Philip Reymer Kuhn:
Breaking down a genealogical wall with (Philip's Civil War letters home)

- Atlas of Richland County, 1856, Plymouth Township, Richland County, Ohio. Richland County, Ohio GenWeb Project.
- "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Oct 2013), Phillip Kuhn and Bertha Cutler, 19 Sep 1860; citing Richland, Ohio, United States, reference p 329 # 653; FHL microfilm 388738.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Follow Friday - Favorites for October 25, 2013

Favorites is my weekly list of favorite genealogy, history and random finds from across the Net.
The original "Mahna Mahna" it's stuck in your head too.
This stuff never happens to me at Are My Roots Showing
Decorate with this awesome free vintage posters
Your go to site for haunted military sites
Be an authentic Civil War researcher: make hardtack
The little-told story of the massive WWII pet cull
British heroines of the WWI homefront
Now on to the Canadian WWI homefront at Ancestor Quest 
Beautiful 1896 California cycling map
All aboard! for family railway history
Round-up of tips for Family Search at Angler's Rest
The house where I grew up at My Ancestors and Me
Preserving your paper archive items
An easy link to the now defunct Google News Archive
Keeping the wedding dress in the family at Climbing My Family Tree
The ripple effect of peoples' lives at

Friday, October 18, 2013

Follow Friday - Favorites for October 18, 2013

Favorites is my weekly list of favorite genealogy, history and random finds from across the Net.
25 scary good carved pumpkins
Beautiful transcontinental map for 1929 air travelers
Aged faces returned to their youth
If not you, then who? Creating ancestral histories
A genealogist's toolkit, brought to you by Ancestry
Searching online libraries at Climbing My Family Tree
Jana of Jana's Genealogy shares her adventures with
Great 1920s wedding photos at Jollett Etc.
African-American newspapers to be preserved, made public
Grave sightings: Sleepy Hollow
Family history resources brought to you by the BBC
The Wiper Times, the funny side of WWI
The Chocolate Chip cookie celebrates 75 years
Check out the updates at the Italian Genealogical Group
And updates at the German Genealogy Group
A mom's way with words at Indiana Ties

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The things that get me...right here

Anatomical Heart from The Graphics Fairy
It's official. I've turned in to my mother. I've sensed it coming for many years, but I haven't quite come to admitting it in public. I'm not embarrassed by the fact, just not quite ready for it...I thought I was young!

Growing up my mother cried at the drop of a hat. She cried at her favorite TV shows: The Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons and Highway to Heaven. She cried at special events like my choir concerts or graduations. She would even cry at songs on the radio. It drove me crazy. Mostly because I was not born with the ability to sooth people who are crying so I didn't know how to respond. I just felt awkward. And now, I am that person.

There are so many things that get me right this big ol' heart. In fact, I've noticed it's the little things that get me to tear up.

School pick up and drop off get me nearly everyday. My watery eyes started here with the sadness of dropping off my oldest for his first day of school. I had spent every waking moment with that boy for five years and it was hard to say goodbye...if only for a few hours. I soon got over that hump, but it wasn't long before I teared up for another reason: seeing the commonality of love. Every morning I walk my son to school and I watch as other parents drop off the most important people in their life. There are hugs, kisses, "have a good days." I suppose it is the knowledge that we are all the same in small ways. We all love our children and only wish the best for them. There is an overwhelming feeling of love each morning at 8:00 and it gets me every time...right here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Follow Friday - Favorites for October 11, 2013

Favorites is my weekly list of favorite genealogy, history and random finds from across the Net.
The search for Madame Nhu: Saigon's infamous Dragon Lady
Awesome starship comparison graphic
Deceased grandma lives on in Google-land
"For Heaven's Sake Stop it": a pigeon saves the 308th
The musical stylings of Cookie Monster
A great step-by-step census brick wall post at Are My Roots Showing?
Grandpa's wagon at From Here to There
A story of polio in the family at Growing up in Willow Creek
A great idea for encouraging membership in multiple family history societies
Depression-era Michigan farm life: Part I, Part II and Part III
These engagement photos are better than yours
The river of five colors

Monday, October 7, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - Mary J. Tosh

Mary J. Tosh is my third-great grandmother on my maternal side. She was born February 14, 1835 in Virginia to Thomas and Lucy (McClanahan) Tosh and was the first of eight children.
Thomas Tosh was a wealthy land and slave owner in Roanoke County, Virginia. In 1860 his estate was valued at more than $500,000 in today's dollars. The Tosh family fortunes begin to change in the 1850s/1860s. First, Lucy Tosh died of a heart ailment, probably a heart attack in 1856. And then the Civil War came to Virginia. It's hard to imagine your home being a battlefield, yet the Tosh family was right in the middle.

It appears that two of Mary's brothers fought in the war. James T. Tosh attended the Virginia Military Institute and served as adjutant general and aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. Robert E. Colston, commander of the 16th Infantry Regiment. He would have been the General's right-hand man. William Tosh served in Salem's Flying Artillery with his brother-in-law and Mary's husband, Marcellus White. Mary had a lot of loved ones fighting which probably meant meaning stressful years.

I have no record of Mary Tosh's marriage to Marcellus White, but I believe they were married in 1859 because their first child was born in July 1860.
All records that I have found for their first child, Thomas White, indicate that he was born in Virginia. Yet there is not a record of his parents in Virginia during that time. There is a "possible" 1860 census entry for the White family in Ray County, Missouri, which could include Mary. However, she is listed as living with her father in Virginia in 1860. You just can't be in two places at once, Mary.
I believe that Marcellus and Mary knew that a war was imminent and decided to move their family further away from the center of the action, hence Missouri. Or, they could have been following Marcellus' sister and her husband, who had moved to Missouri in the 1850s. Sadly, Missouri was a very dangerous place during the war thanks to guerrilla warfare running rapid, so the young family was no safer there.
Regardless, Mary spent the entire war raising her son on her own (with possible help from her in-laws). Marcellus fought for the South throughout the war, even spending a year as a prisoner of war. It must have been a very difficult time for Mary.
Upon his return from the war, Marcellus and Mary settled in Ray County, Missouri and continued their family. Marcellus was a farmer and Mary a housewife. Little information is known about the couple. I have found no record of Marcellus owning land. Marcellus died in 1895.
Mary lived on for another twenty years. In her later years she lived with my second-great grandfather, Hugh C. White. She died February 26, 1915, just 12 days after her 80th birthday. She is buried next to her husband in Lavelock Cemetery, Hardin, Missouri.
Other posts about Mary and the Tosh family:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Follow Friday - Favorites for October 4, 2013

Favorites is my weekly list of favorite genealogy, history and random finds from across the Net.
Books you've never really read
The Drool Sergeant of WWI
The story of WWII's seabees
We've talked about this before: family history's correlation with a well-balanced child
A little help from friends with Navy uniform 101 at Jollett, Etc.
Executive Order 9981: Equality in the military
Family History timeline tips from the Armchair Genealogist
How to sketch a terrible place: Andersonville Prison
There's poop on the moon
Feisty bunch keeps tight hold on Missouri town's history
Why we celebrate Oktoberfest in September
Great colored slides from the 1950s at ABT UNK
Sometimes simple family trees are the best

Read more here:
Great tip for creating your own Graveyard kit

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Oktoberfest

My name says it all...I'm German. Or rather, I'm of German descent. My own German ancestors immigrated so long ago (1760s) that it's almost a fib to call myself German. My husband's ancestors, the Roelkers, migrated in the 1870s so I suppose he is a little more "German" than I am. Either way, I have always felt a strong connection with my German roots. German roots and beer. Which is why, when our family lived in Germany with the military, I made a beeline for Oktoberfest.
In September 2007, my husband was away on a deployment so a group of friends and I decided to travel down to southern Germany. At the time my son was 4-months-old.
One of my favorite photos of my son and I. A testament to the fact that children really can go everywhere if you so choose!
Oktoberfest was an absolute madhouse. A wonderful, glorious madhouse. Of course, it isn't really suited to children and we were not allowed to go in to some of the fest tents with our little ones, but we sure did find some beer.

There is an unbelievable crush of people, regardless of the time of day. But this is true of any German festival. The scariest part of Oktoberfest? The bathroom at the Munich train station and the crush of people trying to board the train. Thank goodness my little one was strapped to me. Luckily, being a new mom I was not able to imbibe as much as I would have liked so I had all my wits about me and we made it out alive.

Such a wonderful time!