SNGF – How Many Surnames

Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings does a “challenge” every Saturday called, “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.”  I’ve never done a full blog post on one of his challenges, but this one caught my eye just because I
started to wonder about the answer to his question this week.  This week’s challenge was to find out how many different surnames are in your database and what the top one (or five or ten) are and then write a blog post about it.  So here it goes…..

First off, I used my RootsMagic database for this task.  While I use both RootsMagic and Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic is my more up-to-date database because it is the one that I use for my active research.  To answer Randy’s question, I went into RootsMagic and went to the Reports menu, then went to Lists, scrolled down to the “Surnames Statistics” list.  I then chose “Frequency of Surnames” in the report options.

The resulting list actually surprised me.  I have 204 surnames in my database, making about a 5 page report!  I actually expected the list to be shorter since I only have a total of 816 individuals in my database.  I discovered that I have quite a few one person surnames, and quite a few people where apparently, early on in my research, I neglected to list their surname as unknown so they now show up as a one name person with their first name being their surname.  (One more item on my to do list – clean up those unknown surnames!)
My top five surnames with birth date ranges are:
WASHLER – 76 people from 2012 to 1851
LINK – 67 people from 2006 to 1561
LINCK – 38 people 1846 to 1430
WELTY – 34 people from 1968 to 1720
WARSTLER – 30 people 1914 to 1752
The earliest surname in my database is by far LINCK, dating back to 1430.  The next closest surnames are MUELLER, WUERSCHLER, and NEUWIRTH all dating to the early 1600’s.  (I didn’t count LINK in that one simply because it is a continuation of the LINCK surname.)
The most important thing that I discovered out of this exercise is that I have a lot of work to do on fixing those first names that should have a surname of UNK for “Unknown.”

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Family History Through the Alphabet – C for Christiana

For 26 posts I will be doing a personal family history journey through the alphabet, one letter at a time.  My personal challenge for this series is that I am going to try to match as many of the letters as I can to first names of my ancestors and research that individual’s life to write a full narrative of their life.  For those letters that I can’t match to an ancestor, the post will be either a) about a artifact or a location where an ancestor lived, or b) educational in nature.  Although the challenge is complete, Alona, the host, is encouraging others to participate anyway.  Additional information on the challenge, can be found at Take the ‘Family History Through the Alphabet’ Challenge

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Christiana Farver

As I started writing my next post for the Family History Through the Alphabet, I realized that March is Women’s History Month, so I completely trashed my original post about my great grandfather, Curtis Washler and instead, I will be telling you about my great grandmother, Christiana (Farver) Washler. (Great coincidence that both husband and wife had names starting with C!)

Great Grandma Washler was one of the very first of my ancestors that I “discovered” when I started doing genealogy.  There were probably quite a few reasons for that – we lived on the family farm at the time; she was the mother of my paternal grandfather; her grave was only a few miles from the house and very well marked, and the list could go on.  Even with all of that, I have to say that I actually knew very little about her.

Curtis and Christiana (Farver) Washler
Date Unknown

Christiana S. Farver (I still haven’t found out what the “S” stands for) was born on 21 August 18591.  She was the youngest child to Isaac and Mary Anne (Myers) Farver.  At the time of her birth, the Farvers were living in Concord Township in DeKalb County, Indiana.  By the time of the 1870 census, Christiana’s parents had moved the family to a farm in Jackson Township where Christiana would spend her childhood and the early part of her adutlhood2.

Unfortunately, at this point, I know little of Christiana’s childhood beyond her place of residence.  I know that in May of 1877 at the tender age of 17, Christiana married my great grandfather, Curtis Washler.3  After their marriage, Curtis and Christiana lived for a few years with Christiana’s parents, Issac and Mary Anne Farver on their farm in Jackson Township.  Sometime between the 1880 census and the 1900 census, Curtis and Christiana moved to Concord Township.4  As of yet, I have not found definitive proof of this, but according to family stories, the farm that Curtis and Christiana moved to was most likely the farm that is still in the Washler family today, and is the farm where I grew up.  One of my biggest “to do” items is to go back home and search for the land records to show when Curtis and Christiana bought that property.  (Unfortunately, DeKalb County is a “burned” county, so the search may not turn anything up.)  Based on census data, Curtis and Christiana stayed on the farm in Concord Township for several years until moving to neighboring Newville Township sometime before the 1920 census.

Christiana and Curtis had nine children in all.  Only seven of their children survived to adulthood.  Their children were:

Christiana, Curtis and their children

Leonora         b. 8 Mar 1878       d. 12 Jan 1879
John               b. 24 Feb 1879    d. 26 Jul 1948
Estella            b. 29 Mar 1881    d. 20 Jan 1971
Lillie               b. 18 Feb 1883    d. 24 Oct 1887
Cleveland       b. 15 Feb 1886     d. 27 Nov 1953
Louis              b Feb 1888           d. 14 Jul 1954
Ida                 b. 14 Jan 1890       d. 8 Dec 1987
Adrian            b. 14 Oct 1893      d. 15 Nov 1983
Donald           b. 10 Jun 1898       d. 11 Dec 1975
  (Donald was my grandfather)

Christiana died on 22 May 1935, four years before Curtis.  They are both buried in Riverview Cemetery near Newville, Indiana.

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1  I can’t say for sure that Christiana’s birthdate is the 21st, but this is referenced in a family genealogy, “Descendants of Heinrich Worschler,” compiled by Edwin L Wiley, Louiseville, OH.  August 1859 is confirmed by Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Concord, De Kalb, Indiana; Roll: T623_366; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 53.
2 Ancestry.com, 1870 United States Federal Census, Jackson, De Kalb, Indiana; Roll: M593_309; Page: 322A; Image: 161; Family History Library Film: 545808.
3“Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12596-44585-97?cc=1410397&wc=M94W-117:n76959793 : accessed 25 Feb 2014), De Kalb > 1872-1878 Volume 4 > image 231 of 295.
4 Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Concord, De Kalb, Indiana; Roll: T623_366; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 53.

Family History Through the Alphabet – B for Bechtel

For 26 posts I will be doing a personal family history journey through the alphabet, one letter at a time.  My personal challenge for this series is that I am going to try to match as many of the letters as I can to first names of my ancestors and research that individual’s life to write a full narrative of their life.  For those letters that I can’t match to an ancestor, the post will be either a) about a artifact or a location where an ancestor lived, or b) educational in nature.  Although the challenge is complete, Alona, the host, is encouraging others to participate anyway.  Additional information on the challenge, can be found at Take the ‘Family History Through the Alphabet’ Challenge

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Interstingly, as I was putting together this Family History Through the Alphabet post, I realized something…I have no direct ancestors whose first name began with the letter B!  So I checked for others in my tree with a first name beginning with B…still nothing!  It came down to either I had to switch to a last name for this post, or do a post about my sister.  So, wanting to keep with the family history idea, I moved over to last names.  The first name that came to mind is also one of my biggest genealogical frustrations – the Bechtel family.  (Variations of the name that I have run across include Bechtal and Bechtol.)

My second great grandmother was Caroline Bechtel.  Unfortunately, I know very, very little about Caroline and her family.  I have  found very little in the way of documentation of Caroline’s life to be able to prove or even hypothesize on who her family was prior to her marrying my great great grandfather in 1850.  What I

Caroline Bechtel

do know of Caroline and her family comes from Federal Census records and Ohio Marriage records.  Admittedly, I have not had the opportunity to do “on the ground” research on the Bechtel family due to distance constraints.

Caroline Bechtel was apparently born in 1832 (possibly 3 February according to an undocumented family history passed down to me) in Stark County, Ohio.  Caroline married my great great grandfather on 7 July 1850 in Stark County, and they remained in Stark County until sometime between 1860 and 1870 because by 1870, they appear in the Jackson Township census for DeKalb County, Indiana.

Caroline died on 11 May 1873 at the age of 41 leaving behind John and their nine children.  I did manage to find John and Caroline’s grave marker in Bear Creek Cemetery many years ago though the cemetery was at that time in pretty bad disrepair.

One of my long-term genealogy goals is to find out more about Caroline and her family.  I would love to be able to finally trace the Bechtel family back beyond this one individual.

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

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

Wordless Wednesday – Winter Work

“Ira and Donald Washler”
(as written on the original)
date unknown

I love this picture just because it shows what life was like for my grandfather’s generation during the winters – hard work just to bring in the wood needed to keep warm when snow was covering everything.

The picture does need a little explanation…the writing on the back of this picture identifies the individuals as “Ira and Donald Washler” which I can confirm is at least partially true.  The man on the right is most definitely my grandfather, Donald A. Washler.  However, there was no “Ira Washler” as far as I have been able to find.  My best guess at this point is that the other man in the picture is actually Donald’s brother-in-law, Ira Reinhart.  Ira married Donald’s sister, Stella.

I have a few requests out to family members to see if my hunch on this picture is correct.

Tombstone Tuesday – Donald and Mary (Hablawetz) Washler

This week’s Tombstone Tuesday post is of my father’s parents, Donald and Mary (Hablawetz) Washler.  I have only very very vague memories of my grandfather and unfortunately no memories of my grandmother since both died when I was still relatively young.  It wasn’t until I started doing my genealogy research that I knew that my grandfather actually died on my 4th birthday.

My grandparents are buried in Riverview Cemetery in Newville, Indiana.  This is the same cemetery where both of their parents, many of their siblings and many of the family ancestors are buried.

Donald and Mary (Hablawetz) Washler
Riverview Cemetery, Newville, DeKalb County, IN

Donald Adelbert WASHLER:  b. 10 June 1898 in Concord Twp, DeKalb County, IN
                                               d. 11 December 1975 in Auburn, IN
                                                m. 28 March 1929 in United Brethren Church of Newville, IN

Mary Louise HABLAWETZ:   b. 07 August 1907 in Wilmington Twp., DeKalb County, IN
                                               d. 25 August 1973 in Auburn, IN