Treasure Chest Thursday – Hannah’s Small Treasures

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a trip back home to go through a lot of my mom’s and grandma’s stuff that was still at my Dad’s house.  As I said then, there was just so much that we found that it was almost overwhelming.  This week’s Treasure Chest Thursday is about two of the items that we found that came home with me.

As we were going through all of the things we found, we came across two books that were very obviously quite old.  Both books were quite small and both were leather bound.  The first of the two had only a leather spine and the front and back were hard cover.  Inscribed on the front cover was “The Presbyterian Hymnal” in beautiful lettering.  When we opened it, the note on the front cover (seen here to the left) read, “Mrs. H. Hill  Marseilles, Ohio.”  Our first thought was that this belonged to my grandmother, Hannah (Hill) Link who grew up in Marseilles.  Then it struck me….this says “Mrs.H. Hill.”  When Grandma was Hannah Hill, she would have been Miss Hill!  That meant that this hymnal had to have belonged to her grandmother!

Sure enough, when we turned to the publication page, it read, “Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by the trustees of the Presbyterian Board of Publication.”  This was a nearly 140 year old hymnal!

The second book was so unassuming that had we not stopped to take a close look, it could easily have been accidentally discarded.  The book was quite small and leather bound with a flap that secured the front cover closed.  There were no markings on the outside at all except for one simple word in gold lettering on the spine… Bible.  After finding the hymnal, I for one was pretty excited at the prospect that this may be just as old.

When we carefully opened the bible, there was a simple, handwritten note sitting inside that read, “Grandma Hannah McCleary Helm Hill Bible – 1855.  This note, which was just stuck inside the bible, was in my grandmother’s handwriting, so while it seemed reliable, it wasn’t necessarily conclusive about the date or ownership of the bible.

Looking a bit more, I found two notes that were handwritten on the pages of the bible.  The first was in the front and it read, “Hannah Helm, Nov 4th 1855.”  The second was on the back cover and reads, “James Helm, Nov 4th 1855, Hannah Helm.”  I recognize the handwriting on both of these inscriptions as being that of Hannah’s first husband, James Helm.  The recognition is based on a letter I have in my possession that James wrote to Hannah before they were married.

Wow!  As if the 140 year old hymnal wasn’t enough, we were holding a 160 year old Bible!  Based on these notes, this would appear to be a bible that was perhaps given to Hannah by her first husband.  My initial thought when I looked at the date of the inscription was that maybe, just maybe, this was a gift on their wedding day or shortly after.  When I went and checked my database, however, I found that they were married on 28 Aug 1854, so the Nov 4th date is over a year after their wedding.  I don’t know exactly what the occasion may have been for James to give the bible to Hannah, but this date has definitely gone onto my “to do” list for Hannah!

Beyond the excitement of finding two such incredibly old and personal items of my great great grandmother’s, these two items did also provide just a hint of genealogical information in the form of indirectly telling me what denomination Hannah belonged to.  I know it may not sound like much, but to have a personal item that answers a question like that is a genuinely fun find in my mind.

So now I am faced with one small dilemma…do I keep the items out on display in their current condition, or do I find a way to more permanently preserve these items?  I’m very up in the air over this decision, and I’d love to hear some reader comments or suggestions.

What do you think?


Tombstone Tuesday – James Madison Pool

James Madison Pool is my 3rd great grandfather through my mother’s side.  The Pool family is one of my lesser researched lines and most of what I have for this family has come through either derivative or authored sources.  James and his wife Mary are buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.

Photo used with permission courtesy of Kathy Swartzfager Scott
 (Find A Grave Contributor #47092236)

 James Madison POOL:  b. 11 Jan 1823 in Richland County, Ohio
                                      d. 13 Mar 1903 in Upper Sandusky, Wyandot County, Ohio
                                      m. 04 Nov 1847 in Richland County, Ohio

Mary Emaline (HARTUPEE) POOL:
                                       b. 14 Nov 1827 in Richland County, Ohio
                                       d. 11 Mar 1896 in Wyandot County, Ohio

Photo used with permission courtesy of Kathy Swartzfager Scott
 (Find A Grave Contributor #47092236)

Sentimental Sunday – Happy Birthday, Mom

Today would have been my mother’s 69th birthday.

Suzanne Link
1 yr old

Anita, David, Suzanne and Earl Link
July 1944

Suzanne Hannah Link Washler was born July 14th, 1944 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  She was the youngest child of Earl and Hannah (Hill) Link.  For Grandma and Grandpa Link, it was probably almost like starting a family over since my mother’s older siblings were both several years older and either out of the house or very close to it.  (As you can see from the picture to the left, my Uncle David was already in the Navy when Mom was born.

We lost Mom at the all too young age of 62 back on 27 December 2006.  I have written and re-written this post a few times, and the words never quite seem to be right to describe Mom’s life.  What I decided to do, in the end, is share with you what I said at Mom’s funeral.  All four of us kids got up to deliver our own personal eulogy for Mom.  Below is mine….

When I sat down to think about what I wanted to say today, I really had a hard time with it.  There are so many memories that I could share, but none seemed quite appropriate by themselves.  I thought that after the viewing last night, talking with someone might trigger some memory that would be the appropriate one to share. I watched people flow through the funeral home yesterday paying tribute to Mom, and I began to realize just how many people’s lives Mom had touched during her time here on Earth.  There were acquaintances, friends, co-workers, fellow parents, relatives, and the kids – and I mean kids of all ages.
 How do you share a single memory about someone who gave so much of her life to others?
 Mom was so many things to so many people.  She was the friend who sat and talked on Sunday after church.  She was the nurse who cried when one of the infants she was caring for passed away.  She was the parent who was always involved in school activities.  She was the sister who was always there.  She was the wife who was there through it all for nearly 40 years.  But most of all, she was Mom and Grandma. The amazing part of that is that she wasn’t Mom or Grandma to just her own kids.  Kids were truly her life.  In her professional life, she always said that the last twenty-some years when she was at Lutheran taking care of babies were by far her favorite years as a nurse.  Despite the heartache that was an inevitable part of that job, Mom loved being there.  I know that for her one of the hardest things to handle over the last year and a half was when she finally had to stop providing bedside care for the infants. But you know, she still managed to find a way to keep working down there at the hospital so she could be involved in taking care of kids. The same sentiment was there when it came to other kids that weren’t her own.  Over the years, as the four of us grew up, I think that my mother was Mom to more kids than even she could count.  I watched them file through last night – people that Beth and I went to school with almost twenty years ago that still think of her as Mom.  Kids that Abbey and Zach went to school with much more recently that still think of her as Mom – literally two generations of Eastside kids that she was Mom to – and she loved every one of them.  And that doesn’t even count the kids that Dad taught over here at DeKalb that probably still think of Mom as Mrs. Ed more than 30 years later. And then there were her own kids and grandkids.  For us, Mom was always there, no matter what.  Sarah mentioned the other day when there was some disagreement going on in the house that she missed Grandma because Grandma always seemed to make all of us get along.  And she did.  That was because she knew each of her children and grandchildren so perfectly that sometimes it was only her that could really talk to us.  She loved each of us individually as if we were her only child or grandchild, but most of all, she loved us as a family.  I think this fall Mom probably showed that love more than any of us have started to realize yet.  Despite what she was dealing with personally, she was there to babysit the grandkids.  She was there to offer words of comfort to a nervous college freshmen.  She was there to provide support to a young minister facing challenges in a new church.  And she wanted to be there with her family.  Just in the last few months, I know that she came down to see us at the end of the summer, and then in October, she went to babysit Beth’s kids literally the week before she somehow found a way to come to Orlando with my family to spend time at Disney World – I have no doubt that all of it was hard because of what she was dealing with, but she refused to give up time with her family. In the end, all of this reminds me of a conversation that I had with one of our ministers a while back.  He had told me that our time here on Earth is really nothing more than practice for our eternity in Heaven.  Looking back at Mom’s life, I believe that that statement sums up how she lived her life – she was an angel in our midst who was practicing for her time in Heaven.  Her love showed through in everything she did.  I truly believe that in the end, God looked at Mom, and decided that practice had indeed made perfect – it was time for her to come Home and begin her eternity with Him.  And I have absolutely no doubt, that the moment Mom appeared before Him, she heard what all of us hope to hear someday – Well done, good and faithful servant, well done. I love you Mom.

Suzanne Link
2nd Grade

Happy Birthday, Mom.  We miss you.

Suzanne Link
14 Jul 1945
1st Birthday

Suzanne Link
date unknown

Suzanne Link
14 July 1946

Suzanne (Link) Washler
Luminaria for Mom at
Pensacola Relay for Life

Find A Grave and My smh Moment

For those who may not know all of the text and internet slang out there (honestly, I have to look most of it up  myself), the term “smh” typically means “shaking my head” and is used when someone finds something so stupid or ridiculous that words don’t do it justice.  Another popular term used for a moment like this is “facepalm” which is well illustrated by the image to the right.

Well, over the past couple of days I have been having what I can’t quite call just a single smh or facepalm moment, but perhaps an overall revelation that has made me feel pretty much exactly like Bill Cosby does in this picture.

I have been “using” Find A Grave off and on for a few years, but I have to admit that I have never used it very “religiously” because much of what I had found in the few searches I did really wasn’t anything of significance.  For most of my relatives, I was finding just basic memorials that had no real information, or only had information that I had already proven through pretty exhaustive research.  So I never spent much time on the site.  I created a profile a few months ago with the intention of trying to give back and fulfill some local requests here in Florida, but even that never really materialized.

That view of Find A Grave dramatically changed this week.

On a whim this week, I started to seriously use the website.  I requested the transfer of several family members’ memorials to me for management; I started uploading the gravestone pictures that I have in my picture library; I made numerous editing suggestions to memorials, and what really led to my facepalm was I did a few searches that I had never tried before.


All of a sudden, I started to stumble across information that I had not found anywhere else!  I was finding references to maiden names for female ancestors.  I found names of parents that had completely and totally eluded me up to this point on my lesser-researched lines.

Why had I not done this sooner?!?!?!

I find myself sitting here now looking at the 5 elements of the GPS, and I am staring at #1 (Reasonably exhaustive research).  I now realize that I have been overlooking what should have been a very basic research item!

If you haven’t used Find A Grave in a while, or you don’t contribute to it much, I sincerely urge you to go back to the site and dive in.  What you find may help you out, but probably more importantly, what you can contribute may help out someone like me who just hadn’t been looking closely until now.

Tombstone Tuesday – Curtis and Christiana (Farver) Washler

Washler Family Tombstone
Riverview Cemetery, Newville, Indiana
This week’s Tombstone Tuesday post is for my great grandparents, Curtis and Christiana (Farver) Washler.  My great grandparents are buried in Riverview Cemetery near Newville, Indiana.  The plot can best be described as the Washler family plot, since the large “Washler” stone (pictured above) stands in the middle of the plots where Curtis and Christiana are buried along with many of their children and their spouses.

Curtis A. WASHLER:      b. 08 May 1855 in Stark County, Ohio
                                       d. 12 Jul 1939 in DeKalb County, Indiana
                                       m. 10 May 1877 in DeKalb County, Indiana
Christiana S. FARVER:   b. 21 Aug 1859 near Spencerville, DeKalb County, Indiana
                                       d. 22 May 1935 in DeKalb County, Indiana

Sunday’s Obituary – Newton H Link

This week’s Sunday Obituary is for my great great grandfather, Newton Link.

Obituary of Newton Link
22 Mar 1967
Upper Sandusky Daily Chief Union
Upper Sandusky, Ohio

Newton’s obituary was a virtual gold mine of information for me.  Some key pieces of information that I got from his obituary that I did not have previously were that all of his siblings had preceded him in death (I was still missing a few death dates), his occupation information (I had known he was superintendent of the county home, but did not know of his other jobs), his church affiliation, and the maiden name of his second wife, Ella.  I particularly found it interesting that Newton was the last of his family because he was actually the first born in his family, and was apparently the only member of the family that wasn’t one of the “Wandering Link’s.”

I have to say that for me, this was probably one of the first obituaries I found that actually gave me new information on someone and didn’t just corroborate the information I already had on an individual.