©2009-2016 Becky Higgins

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Blaw/Blue Chalice

The Chalice

This silver cup has been passed down from father to son in the Dutch Blue family since the 1600’s.

It was crafted by silversmith Jurian Blanck, New York City

The major Dutch BLUE family descends from a couple associated with the Dutch West India Company, Frederick Janss and Grietje Janss. They are believed to have originated in the northern part of The Netherlands and appear in the records of the Dutch Reformed Church in Recife, Brazil, in the year 1646. By 1651 they were in

New Amsterdam, where Frederick Janss received a grant of land. Their son, Jan Frederickse (John, son of Frederick) took on the surname BLAUW after the British took over the colony. Many of Jan’s descendants migrated to New Jersey, then westward to Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia (West Virginia). From these locations they spread throughout the United States and Canada.

From "The Chalice" Newsletter of the National Blue Family Association, Volume 28, No. 1, Winter 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

52 Weeks Genealogy #7 Google Maps

Keeping in line with my project I decided to use google mapes to take a look at the village (today) where Charles Ruch and Salome Siegler were born and raised. The display below is the normal view but I also looked at the satellite view. Looking at the village that way showed to beauty of the surrounding area as well as the beauty of the village itself.
I don't have an address for either family and, I'm sure, the village has changed significantly since the 1870s but it's nice to be able to "visit" without leaving home:)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Project Update and a Working Day

I have lots of genealogy work planned for the day. I realized last night that I need to straighten up a number of placenames in my Family Tree Maker program in order to make good use of the maps feature. For some reason I seem to have often entered descriptions in the location field for a number of facts. Oh, well, making the corrections will surely teach me a lesson.

Before I start on that though, I wanted to report that I received that article on Alsatian law I ordered through InterLibrary Loan. I thought it would cost $15 but there was no charge. Yea for that!!! I do love libraries!!

Unfortunately, most of the article discussed the time period after 1919 when France regained control of Alsace/Lorraine from Germany. (The article was written in 1927 so the writer was unaware of the future German takeover of WWI.) I was hoping for more information of the time period following the Franco/Prussian war. That said I still learned a couple of little tidbits that I may be able to use as I write the story and writing the story is the purpose this project.

The time to drawing very near to my "putting pen to paper", or more accurately "putting fingers to keyboard", to tell the story of Charles and Salome (Siegler) Ruch.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Miller Family Bible

Here are a few pages from one of my most appreciated family treasures:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Alsace Naming Convention

A question has bothered me for some time now: Why did the first few children of Salome and Charles Ruch not use their first (given) throughout their lives. Eva Salome was know as Salome until later in life, Caroline Magdalena was know as Lena, Louise Julie and Lisette Emma were Julia and Emma all their lives. In fact no one in the living family had ever heard the names Louise and Lisette in reference to these twins. I can understand the occasional person preferring his/her middle name but this just seems to be a trend.

Well, last night as I was perusing the internet looking for more information about life in Alsace during from the 1850s to the 1880s, I came across the following message which answers my question.


Von: fpbstra@club-internet.fr (Francis BUSSER)
Datum: 10.07.98, 01:11:49
Betreff: MIDDLE names

Dear all american researchers,

Please forget all you know about first, last and middle names if you handle with our Alsacian, Swiss, German or French names. This is a strictly american concept and make no sense here.

We all have here a 'family name' (French : 'nom de famille', German :'Familienname') corresponding with your 'surname' or 'last name'. But don't use this vocable, as the place of the 'family name' is not always the last.

We have also one or several given names and the order in which they are listed in the official documents has nothing to do with the usage we make from. We speak from 'prénoms' (French) or 'Vornamen' (German).
Given names is an acceptable translation, but don't speak from first or middle names. In the list of our given names, we (or our family) choose one as a 'call name' (French : 'prénom usuel', German : 'Rufname'). His
place in the birth certificate is variable. Not seldom we don't use the same 'call name' in our occupation and in our family.

So my wife is known as 'Claude' in her occupation and as 'Marie-Claude' in a part of the family. Her father was 'Antoine' in his family and 'François' outside.

Better : here in Alsace, we use also orally the 'Hofname' ('farm name') in place of the family name. One of my parent was known as the 'MAPSe Franz' altough his name was 'Franz HEINRICH', but his mothers farm name was 'MAPS'. Sometimes you can find documents with confusion between farm name and family name.

The order in which given name and family name are used depend on the context and on the social situation.

In French, a 'Pierre François Michel Antoine CHARRON' can sign his will as 'Michel CHARRON', but he sign a request to an administration as 'CHARRON Michel' and perhaps his wife call him 'François' and not

In German, 'Peter Franz Michel Anton WAGNER' is known by everybody as the 'WAGNER Michel'. If cultivated he sign in the French manner 'Michel WAGNER', but generally his signature is 'WAGNER Michel'. His wife call him perhaps 'Peter' or 'Anton' and not 'Michel'.

In very pious catholic families, you can find all the children with 'Marie' and 'Joseph' (or 'Maria' and 'Josef' in German) in the list of her christian names. In one of my families I find 'Maria Josef Karl Anton' called 'Karl', 'Maria Josef Anna' called 'Anna', 'Maria Josef Anna Luisa' called 'Luisa' or 'Lüwiss', 'Maria Josef Emil Anton' called 'Emil', 'Maria Anna Josef' called 'Maria', 'Maria Josef Doris Eva' called 'Doris' or 'Butzi' and 'Maria Josef Anton' called 'Anton' or 'Dony'.

As you see, it is better to forget all you know about first, last and middle names if you handle with our Alsacian, Swiss, German or French names. And if you don't like to increase the confusion, don't never
translate the christian names or the geographical names.

Good nightmares !
Francis Busser (in Alsacian, 'de Busser Franzl') in Strasbourg (Alsace)
Thanks for Francis I’ll look at all the relatives in Alsace with fresh eyes!!

Alsatian Folk Dress

Found at Southern Illinois University website - http://www.siue.edu/COSTUMES/PLATE95DX.HTML

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Davey Stones in Dodgeville, WI

Here are a couple of tombstones from my husband's maternal side (not my project side) found at East Side Cemetery in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. This is the immigrant couple coming from Cornwall, England.

John Dyer Davey, born abt 1810, died 14 Mar 1883.

Mary Ann Davey (John's wife), born 1817, died 08 Feb 1897.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

One Red Rose

For some reason I've been musing about my parents, Gladys and Earl Stewart, for a few weeks now. My Dad died in 1994 and my Mom in 2002. Theirs was a sometimes rocky relationship but they hung together and raised basically two families.

My two brothers and I were born in a small town in Indiana. I've always joked that we lived just on the wrong side of the tracks; since the railroad basically bordered our backyard, I doubt that joke is much off the mark. When I was ten we moved to Chicago where, after the initial culture shock, we thrived in the urban setting.

When I was 16, my sister was born and the second family was underway. By the time I turned 18, my brothers and I had left home either for marriage, school, or the military. My little sister became an only child with all the benefits and woes included in that role.

But, back to my parents. They never seemed to me to be particularly romantic even in the best of times but Dad rarely, if ever missed a valentines day. Now what that means is, on the day, he walked to the local convenience store and brought home one red rose. It wasn't much or well thought out but it was always there.

I miss them both and wish he could pick up that rose for her today. I know she always appreciated it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ole Brother Donk Sermon

Below is a transcription of a sermon penned by my great-grandfather for an itinerant peacher, Brother Donk. It's a bit difficult to read in parts because I left it as written with all the colloquial spelling and all. However, you should find a cadence that seems to help.
Some of the content may be offensive to 21st century ears (I know it is to mine) and I apologize for that but taken in the context of the time and place (rural Indiana) I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
"Does your mamies know your out?"

Baptist Sermon by Old Brother Donk. February the 26. 1860

Text “And He weighed ‘im in a bellows and found ‘im wanting.”

My deer Breethering I am a little man and I’m an old man and I’m Somewhat decript an I’m not So high larnt nor so well bred in the Scripter nor what these big colleg’ larnd fellers what preaches about the ludurnal moshun of the arth an comicks an planicksan Geologer an Biologer and Sockologer and other big larning which confusticated with Greek and Latin they throw out frome their larned lips as though a common clod hopper like your humble Sarvant darsent understand a word of what they preached about. Now though I Say it that ortent to say it I’ve wore the gospel harness for morenor twenty year and I’m mighty thankfull that I never put on enny Brichen to hold back with But now as I’m an unlarnt candle of the Lord and a dipped one at that. They call me ole Donk but it used to was ole Brother Donk.

I’m glad to Say to you my breethering that I’m a hard Shell Babtist fur I’de rather have a hard Shell than no Shell at all. Now my deer breethering and Sistern, I’m guine to let you find your own teses this evening which you can easily do by lookin in the leaves of the Bible somewhar between Revolutions and generations and when you find it it shall read as follows “And He weighed im in a bellows an found im wanting.”

Now my deer old brothers and Sisters ah I’m not a guine to preach to you to night frome New Testament for I dizzarn with my nateral Sight that there are menny young folks here what needs advice for they’re so awfully Stuck up and Stiff with pride that they think they’re daddies and mammies dont know B frome a broomstick ah but Now in the first place ah I’m afraid that some of them will be weighed in a bellows and found wanting. ah And you young ladies what Sets over there ah a tossing ov your purty heads to make your ear bobs wag ah and has got your false curls stuffed with cotton ah which looks like the curls on a Newfoundland dogs back ah. Does your mamies know your out? Oh yes ah and you will Simper and gigle an try to get Sum ov the young men to look at you ah although your not more nor fourteen or fifteen and are gist beginning to understand the meanin of Soft love words ah Does you mammies know your out? Oh yes Ah and youll get on your finery and Store cloths and jimcrackery and jewelry and try to make the people Stare at you ah Oh yes ah and you cant get into the church nor its pews when you go to meetings ah an you Stand round in the iles so that the people may See you fine dresses and the red ribons and the blue ribons and artificial flowers and grasses which make you look like unto a frosted inguin bed ah if your mamies dont know your out youl be weighed in the bellows and found wanting and youl take that red pant and that whight paint and daub your faces ah Do not the indians the Same? Ah you think that theirby it will make you look purty and hide your dark skin and freckels So yoll intrap a pair of whiskers and youl think about gittin maried. You had better go home and larn home works before you learn the pianer and yuse sich big words from the Dictionary when you couldent spell two words in Webster spelling book without making ah yes ah and you can larn to chatter french and Italien ah and put on the agony ah but you had better learn that true worth dont lie in fine clothes and big words ah but in the moral edycashun of the head and heart ah and the common sense of the mind for he weighed him in the bellows and found im wantin. Now you men what sets in the back four of the house I say unto you in the languague of Saint James that your time that was to hav ariven hav aroven for you shell be weighed in a bellows and found wanting if you can get them forty pound cigars in your mouths you can make the smoke roll like a tar kiln in South Caroliner ah and if you can get a little ov your aslo pewter in your pockets and a brass watch and a hoss you can out sihvrder move than a big nigger in bead cloth. Does your mammies know your out? If you can git a little fuz to grow on your chins you can grease em up with bars of soap and make em look as justfdvis as a mules …… ah and you can cull up your soap bars until your heads smell uctous as a muskrat ah and you can git to goin a sparkin and feed on moonshine ah when you git heels over head in puppy love and sentiment ah you think about taking upon yourselves the title husband ah when if youd go home and look at family bible records you might find not mor nor 17 or 18 years ago you wer litttle chindlen brats in your cardles ah now your not a bit more fit to be maried than a two year old todler is to be president of the united states for youl be weighed in a bellows and found wanting. Oh yes and youl try to act out the big boy to perfection by Struttin around like a turkey gobler Struttin over hot coles ah and takin about as plane an Sensible as a guinea niggar Ah but when you get your fashionalbe Suits on you and your Shals tossed across your Shoulders ah you look like a hoss in hot wether with his fly blow hiver on him ah does you dadies know your heads hav got So little brains in them and are so light that you hav to hold them back in a fortyfive angle? You may go and drone through colidge and git your acomplishments ah but youl leav the world not a whit wiser for you will make about as much show with your numbskull tomfoolery in the world as a tadpole in lake Superior ah. If you get larning git it right and dont rest on your own acomplishments for he weighed im in a bellows and found im wanting. Now if your mamies dont know your out you had better post yourselves up in the tricks and turns of the world before you venture out amoung wicked men ah and not be So goslin green like as to be weighed in the bellows and found wanting. Now in conclusion let me Say to you you ortent to make fun of old … Soles and think your dadies and mamies dont know nuthing about the tricks and turns of this world Ah for they hav lived longer in it than you hav and know what kind of humons live in it. Ah you had better take their advice for if you dont you will come out on the little end of the horn.

Eliphalet Miller

Transcribed from the original by Becky Higgins. November 1996

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Higgins Tombstone Tuesday

I posted this on the Elgin Genealogical Society's blog in 2009 before I had my own. Thought I'd throw it out again here. It does go along with my Ruch research as Emma Ruch married Thomas Higgins a descendant of the Luke in question.

This is a photo of the table stone for Luke Higgins of Ballinrobe, Ireland 1808-20 Jul 1873. The photo was taken 18 Jul 1996 after several days of searching and with the help of County Mayo History Center in Ballinrobe.

My husband, sister-in-law and her husband, and I took this trip to Ireland early in my research of the Higgins family. Because of that I had low expectations of getting much further while there but wasn't about to pass up a trip to Ireland. I did have some undocumented hints that the family had been in the area of Ballinrobe and as luck would have it the history center was located in there. Things started to pop within hours of our arrival.

Our hostess at the B&B asked what had brought us there and when we answered we were looking for information of our Higgins family she said, " Higgins, ah, Higgins - I think Leo [Leonora] was a Higgins. I'll ring her up." And so she did and so started our week long visit with relatives we didn't even know were still around.

Back to the stone, our visit to the Catholic cemetery was very productive but we weren't able to find a stone for the progenitor known to us as "Old Luke" (he's far from the only Luke in the family). When I brought this up at the history center a map of the old section of the cemetery showed the location. Alas the old section was covered with briers and brambles and was difficult of traverse. However, we were determined and so we trudged in following the directions and landmarks from the handdrawn map. Nothing, not stone.. until my husband swaying side to side said, "I think I'm standing on something here." He and our brother-in-law took out their pocket knives and began cutting away the over-growth and there is was - still legible.

My husband stood before it and as he began to read the inscription the church bells rang out,


Don't you just love serendipity!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Twins Follow-up

If you read my post about Aunt Jule's twins on February 4th, you know that I've been having trouble locating any records on their births and/or deaths. This is not a new problem but one I've procrastinated on for a few years now. Here's the little bit I think I know:
  1. The twins were born after 1901.
  2. According to the 1910 census, Julia had "0 children and 0 living"; not sure how valid this information is.
  3. By 1920, Julia is no longer living with Charles and the census lists no children.
  4. Charles & Julia were married at German St. Peter's United Evangelical Church (now St. Peter's UCC) in Chicago.
This is what I've tried so far to no avail:
Today, I e-mailed a request to St. Peter's church asking if their archivist could look for a christening and/or burial for the infants. I really wanted to visit the church myself but I just don't feel I should put this off any longer. How I would love to find these babies and put their names and data in my files so that I they can be remembered by their kin.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Aunt Jule's twins

This picture is a treasure and a mystery all in one. The infants are the twin children of Louise Julia (Ruch) and Charles Brown. According to the family story, they died within days of each other when they were nine months old. The mystery is that I have yet to find documentation of either their births or their deaths. I'm still looking and have at least one clue but, as you may well imagine, there were many Brown families in Chicago between 1901 when they were married and 1920 (census information) when they are no longer living together.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Calendar

Randy Seaver's SNGF mission for January 30th 2010: Make a birthday/anniversary calendar using genealogy software. Thanks for this, Randy, I hadn't even looked at this feature in Family Tree Maker. Now that I have, I think it will come in very handy in the future. This mission caused me to look for some additional data as I'll explain later. First, here's my January 2010 calendar:

The blue highlight indicates birthdays and the purple indicates anniversaries.

Another part of the mission was to look at one date, say January 30, a talk about the relationship to me. This is where the addtional research came in. The calendar shows that Marie and Alphonso SHACKLE celebrated their 95th wedding anniversary on that date. Now, my family tends towards good longevity but that is really pushing it. Obviously, I'm missing some vital information; a quick check on Ancestry for Alphonso and I can report that he died in July of 1976. However, I wasn't so fortunate with information on Marie. She is my 2nd cousin twice-removed. She was born Marie LEISURE and our common ancestors are George Washington LEISURE and Lucinda MYERS.

January 30th is also the birthday of Harold E. ROBERTS who turned 84 on that date. He is still living, although we don't know him personally. He is my husband's 2nd cousin; their common ancestors are Mary Louise Stephens and Joseph Davey.

Using a calendar from time to time may just help me fill up my to-do list. I think I'm going to need a larger tablet!!