Monday, May 4, 2015

My Cousin who fought at the Alamo

I'm blessed to have learned how to use Facebook to benefit my family history research. In fact, it was after I read an article in a genealogy magazine in 2008 by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak that I first learned about, and signed up for, Facebook. Almost every week I make a new connection or learn a new piece of information about my family history through a page, group, post, link or message on Facebook.

A few years ago I connected with a distant cousin on Facebook named Karen Flanders Eddy. With the maiden name of Flanders I knew she had to be related, as my mother's maiden name was also Flanders. I suppose all the members of the Flanders family in America are related. I've learned so much over the years from Karen. And again she has blessed me with valuable information. This evening she posted this to my wall
From the Find A Grave Memorial I learned this about my cousin John Flanders.
Now how easy was that? Research about a distant cousin was just dropped in my lap! This chart shows my relationship with John. 
Now as I post this on my blog, it opens up the possibility that someone else researching the Flanders family may find the link through a Google search, a post on Google+ or even Facebook. It just pays to get the word out, while also documenting an interesting story about a cousin.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

64 year-old Valentines Tell a Poignant Story

These little Valentines were sent by me and my twin brother Dennis on February 14, 1951, when we were 3 yrs old. They were signed for us by our dad, Ernest L. Margheim. 

I especially like this Valentine since I can see that I tried to sign my own name on the back side. My dad signed my name at the top, but I was writing my name below. It looks like I got as far as B e c and part of the "k", with Dad finishing the k and y. This is the earliest sample I've found of my own handwriting. Cool!

But here's the best part of this "find".
The envelope containing the valentines tells this poignant story. While I have no idea how Dad came into possession of these valentines, I found them as I've been sorting through all the paperwork I brought home after his death last year. 

They were sent on Feb. 14, 1951 to our MOTHER, Ruby Margheim, whose address is 1674 Parkwest Lane, Wichita, Kansas. And they were sent to her, for us, by our FATHER, as we were all living with his parents at 114 E. 6th St, Hoisington, KS. 

My dad and mom, who were married 14 July 1943, were divorced in Nov. 1949. Dad loved our mom so very much and was heartbroken upon her leaving our family. Upon her departure, we were all very blessed to be able to reside with my dad's parents, John and Mollie (Koleber) Margheim at their home in Hoisington, just 10 miles north of our birth place of Great Bend, Kansas. We were dearly loved and very well cared for by our grandparents, as our dad worked long hours at Thies Packing Company in Great Bend, KS. When our mother moved away, she took the family car, so Dad was able to drive his parents' car the 15 miles to work each day. Our Grandpa Margheim was employed as the Head Custodian at Hoisington High School at that time (pictured below). He was able to walk the one block to the school to go to work. And Grandma Margheim never learned to drive, so she was always at home with us. How blessed we were to get to live with them at that time. 

One month after we sent this post card to our mother in Wichita, Dad married our step-mother (of 47 years!) Phyllis Jones. This is a picture of us all on the day of their wedding, 18 Mar 1951. We're in the back yard of my grandparents' home with Grandpa and Grandma Margheim and our new step-mother Phyllis. We're pictured below with our grandparents and our new "mom".
I'm not surprised that my dad still had all these pictures, but I do wonder how he came into possession of the valentines. I'm just grateful that he had them and KEPT them. It tells a lot about Dad to know that he bought the valentines, helped us sign and send them to our mother and then kept them for us all these years. They reveal love all the way around. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Another Mary Rebecca and her family's early days in Oregon

I've spent many hours in the last few weeks attaching records to my ancestors on the Family Tree at Last night I was working on the family in this chart below. At the top right you can see Rebecca Jennings (1819-1889), married to Samuel Daniels (1819-1905). 
While doing this important task, we can learn some good facts and details about our family. As I was attaching records to Samuel Daniels, I saw that he resided in Monroe, Allen, Ohio in 1850, then in Gentry County, Missouri in 1860. By 1870 his family was residing in Kirby, Josephine, Oregon. In the 1880 census his family were residents of Slate Creek, Josephine, Oregon. I started thinking about their moves and what was driving them westward. I wondered what Josephine County, Oregon was like in 1870. 
I found this wonderful web site
It offers this map of the area at that time.
The site gives us a good but brief history of that area in the mid to late 1800s. It's worth taking 5 minutes to read. In each of the censuses from 1850-1880 Samuel Daniels lists his occupation as Farmer. I can't help but think, however, that some kind of mining occupied his time also. 
The chart at the top of this post shows that Samuel and Rebecca (Jennings) Daniels's daughter Sarah Ann (1847-1919) married William Stringer about 1864 in Oregon. The photo above is taken from Josephine County's Historical Society "Passport to History" site. You can see that the caption says "Stringer was the name of the person who first built the Wilderville Store here (Josephine County). William Stringer fought in the Indian War as part of Company B in the Second Oregon Mounted Volunteers." This is a pretty good find! 

In the 1860 census at Linn, Oregon, the 26 year-old single William Stringer is living next door to his parents Bluford and Elmira Stringer. They are pictured below.
The chart below shows my relationship with William Stringer and Sarah Daniels, and specifically their daughter MARY REBECCA. Notice my full name is also MARY REBECCA (Margheim at bottom right). 
It's fun to find a cousin with my name who has ties to the early mining settlement days of Oregon. If only I could interview her!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Seeing the resemblance in grandmothers

This is one of my favorite old family photos, showing my grandmother Amalia "Mollie" Koleber in about 1905. She's pictured with her father George and mother Catherine Elisabeth "Katie" Dietz Koleber, her oldest brother George Jr. and brother Daniel. This family had just immigrated to America through Ellis Island the previous year from Kratzke, Saratov, Russia. 
I absolutely LOVE this picture of my grandmother Amalia Koleber. I've written about it before in this post. I've been studying it to determine a resemblance that Mollie might have had with her mother Katie. 
This is my great-grandmother Katie Koleber, above, on her farm near Wakeeney, Trego, Kansas about 1924. As I look at her face, I see my grandmother's face when my grandmother was in her teens, as shown in the photo above (she's on the left).

This family photo may have been taken about 1926. It shows George and Katie Koleber (seated) with all their family, except Daniel, who had died in 1916 at the age of 18. From left to right standing are Albert, Victor, Henry, George Jr, Fred, and Emil.  
This is my grandmother Mollie (Koleber) Margheim about 1978, at age 76. And pictured below is HER grandmother, my great, great grandmother Maria Elisabeth Maier Dietz (1851-1929). I do see the resemblance that my grandma bore to her grandma. I noticed that my great, great grandma Mary Dietz is holding a handkerchief in her left hand (below). Notice in the photo at the top of this post that my grandma Mollie is holding a handkerchief in her little left hand. 

It's interesting to me to note that Mary Elisabeth Maier Dietz, above, died 5 Sept 1929 and her daughter Catherine Elisabeth "Katie" Dietz Koleber died 18 Nov 1929. My grandmother Mollie Koleber Margheim gave birth to twins, her 3rd and 4th children on 18 Oct 1929. So Grandma Mollie lost her grandma, gave birth to twins 6 weeks later, then lost her mother one month after the births of her daughter Laverna and son, Leonard Margheim. What an emotional time that must have been for my dear Grandma Mollie.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sharing a headstone photo brings me closer to my ancestors

I was happy this past week to get the above message from my Facebook friend Terry Batt. We've corresponded before so he knew that my paternal grandmother's surname was Koleber. The great thing about posting information like this on Facebook is that others can see it and add to it. I was fortunate that Dr. Brent Mai saw this posting and added this information for me: 
Dr. Brent Mai is the Director of the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Brent's grandaunt, Mary "Marie" Magdalena Deines, was married to my granduncle, Friedrich "Fred" Koleber, so he also knew of my Koleber connection. 
From my RootsMagic database, I was able to prepare this chart above that shows my relationship to the Georg Adam Koleber whose headstone is at the top of this story. I'm his second great grandniece, as he's a brother of my great, great grandfather, Johann Heinrich Koleber.  

Terry proceeded to share this headstone also.

He tells me it's the headstone of Heinrich Dietz and is one of the oldest markers in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery. I'ts made of granite, rather than limestone, as are most of the other headstones in the cemetery. You can see in the relationship chart above that my grandmother Amalia Koleber's mother was Catherine Elisabeth Dietz. Thus my Dietz/Koleber connection. 

I found this better picture of the headstone at
In the first photo of the headstone you can notice the carving of the representation of fabric at the top of the monument. In connection with Heinrich's memorial on Find-A-Grave is the memorial of his sister Katherina. The fabric is also visible at top right. 

Evidently a correction needs to be made on the Family Tree at This screen shot of their family's detail page shows Henry (or "Heinrich)'s birth year as 1876, since his headstone tells us he was born in 1879.

These screen shots show the memorials at for the parents of both Heinrich and Katharina Dietz. In the photo above of Katharina's headstone, this headstone of her parents is barely visible at the left. 
I was born and raised in Great Bend, Kansas which appears at the bottom right of this map. My father went to high school in Hoisington, which is just 10 miles north of Great Bend. His father, John L. Margheim grew up in the Russell, Kansas area, seen at top right. This map shows the placement of the Trinity Lutheran, or bender Hill Cemetery in Russell County. 

This little map snippet shows where the Trinity Lutheran or Bender Hill Cemetery is in relation to Canon City, Colorado (at far left), where I currently live. 

It's such a blessing to have friends like Terry Batt, who shared this information and Dr. Brent Mai, who added more details so the people and our relationships have become more meaningful and relevant.

The Katharina Elizabeth Dietz (1876-1901) whose headstone is pictured above, married Frederick Schneider. 

This chart shows her at left with her husband Frederich and son Harold Frederick. At the bottom right is Lefa Virginia Margheim, the first cousin once removed of Harold Frederich Schneider. The chart below shows that Lefa Virginia Margheim is also my first cousin once removed. 
When I determine personal relationships, I'm blessed to feel so much more connected to those ancestors who are represented by headstones in these cemeteries. They aren't just monuments, but they're my family! And they are remembered. These families immigrated to America from the Volga region of Russia. That's why I like the Russian proverb that I use as my tag line: "We live as long as we're remembered."   

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Getting Closer to the Family of my Husband's Great, Great Grandmother

One of my research "brick walls" for the 16 years I've been working on our family's history has been my husband's great, great grandmother Pleasant Horner. She was on my mind this past week so I spent most of today looking for her family online. She was married to my husband's great, great grandfather John Haught, and as I wrote in my previous post this morning, I woke up today to an email that referenced the Haught ancestors of my husband.

As a result of the research I did today, I was able to prepare this chart:
Much to my surprise, I found quite a bit of information on the family of Pleasant Horner on the Family Tree at While I didn't find any photos of Pleasant Horner, I did find this attractive portrait of her sister Mahala. It had been provided to the Family Tree by V. K. Roberts.
Also available there for viewing was this photo containing another sister Nancy Ann Horner with her husband at left:
By looking at these photos of the sisters of Pleasant Horner, I think we can get a good idea of her appearance. 

I found this photo of Colonel Ellsworth Horner, son of Elias and Mahala Horner Villers. 
Further hunting turned up this wonderful story submitted by V. K. Roberts. Larry and I found it particularly interesting since we're members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But our immediate families were not members of the Church as early as the times referenced in this article: 

What's in a name and a dream?

Elias and Mahala Villers decided to name their new baby boy on that 13th day in August, 1868, after a Colonel Ellsworth, the first Union Colonel to fall in the Civil war. Elias had served three years as a Union soldier. Colonel was a honest honorable hard working man. Growing up mid West Virginia's rolling green and wooded hills with 10 other brothers and sisters gave Colonel some treasured memories. He never forgot his roots and beloved West Virginia. He often sang to his children the song, "Mid The Green Fields of Virginia." Colonel Ellsworth Villers was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints the thirty-first of August 1925 in the Iowa River just north of his home in Tama.Grandpa had sent for the missionaries after he dreamed his father and mother visited him. His father Elias had not joined the church while living. Elias told Grandpa in the dream not to put off joining as he had done till it was too late. Grandpa recalls the Mormon missionaries spent a lot of time with his parents teaching them the gospel while living in West Virginia. Grandpa's father disagreed with some points of doctrine and never joined the church. Grandpa remembered hearing one missionary say to his father "Brother Villers, I will preach to you in the spirit world." This was the very same missionary Grandpa saw in his dream preaching to his father.
I'll continue my search for information about Larry's great, great grandmother Pleasant Horner Haught. Today I identified her parents and siblings and was blessed with these photos. Who knows what I'll find the next time.