Thursday, December 31, 2009

Marriage Record of Thomas F. Larkins and Lula M. Cross

(image from

While just googling around one afternoon, with the surnames of my Irish Larkins ancestors, I came across this image of an index card which abstracted the marriage record of my great great grandparents, Thomas F. Larkins and Mary Louise Cross (she was identified as Lula M Cross in her marriage record.)

The website where this index card was found is: Kalamazoo County Genealogical Records, at Resources found here include: Vital Records, Family Trees, Probate Records, and information from cemeteries, schools, directories, schools, and more. The site is searchable by surname.

Though Thomas and Mary Louise were residents of Sandusky, Ohio, they were married at St. Augustine's Catholic Church in Kalamazoo County, Michigan on January 7, 1889. The priest's name was Rev. Thomas J. Ryan. The parents of Thomas F. Larkins were Patrick Larkins and Bridget Ryan, so it is a good possibility that Rev. Ryan was related to Bridget Ryan Larkins. The witnesses to the wedding were: Joanne Ryan and Maria McHugh. To date, I have not find any genealogical connections to these witnesses, but perhaps in the future I will determine more details about them.

Sadly, Mary Louise Cross Larkins died in 1912, at the age of 42. Thomas remarried, to Emma Lieke, who loved his children and grandchildren and helped to raise Grandpa Tom's granddaughter Doris Wheeler. Pictured below are: Thomas Larkins, his daughter, Irene Larkins Risko, granddaughter Doris Wheeler Parker, and great granddaughter Joyce Parker. Search for the surname Larkins in this blog to read earlier posts about members of the Larkins family in Erie County, Ohio.

Ignatius and Elizabeth Grass

According to the Erie County 1880 Census, Ignatius Grass (his first name was incorrectly spelled Iguns in the census) was born in 1829 in Austria. His occupation was given as "bandage maker."

An advertisement in the Sandusky Register of August 8, 1894 indicates that Mr. Grass made braces, trusses, and other medical devices and surgical equipment. He also sharpened tools, and offered gold and silver plating services. His business office was at Decatur Street near Hayes Avenue, which today is the location of the Firelands Regional Medical Center and the Medical Arts Building.

Marriage records on file at Erie County Probate Court provide the date of December 29, 1880 as the day that Ignatius Grass married Elizabeth Ruppert. Ignatius Grass died in either the very last few days of December 1894, or the first few days of January, 1895. His funeral service was held at his Decatur Street home, with Rev. Balzer from St. Stephen's Church officiating. Ignatius Grass was buried in Oakland Cemetery on January 2, 1895. Elizabeth Ruppert Grass died on December 16, 1921.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Aaron A. Van Blarcum

Aaron A. Van Blarcum died on Christmas Eve, according to his obituary in the Sandusky Register on December 26, 1882. (His tombstone, however, shows the death date given as Christmas, December 25.) His age was 57 years, and 5 months. In the 1874 Sandusky City Directory, he was listed as the sexton for Oakland Cemetery, which is the cemetery where he was buried.

The 1870 U.S. Census for Perkins Township of Erie County lists 44 year old Aaron Van Blorkum as the head of the household, with other family members given as:

Laura age 44
Almeda age 19
Minnie age 13
George age 8
Fredy age 2
Frank infant

Aaron was born in New York, and Laura was born in Vermont. All the children were born in Ohio. What a sad holiday for the family who lost their husband and father at Christmastime.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Martin and Louisa Eldis

According to THE HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Martin Eldis settled in Portland Township, Sandusky, and opened a bakery and provision store on Water Street in the Spring of 1828. He was born at Munster, St. Gregorienthal, Elsass, January 4, 1798, and emigrated to America in 1817. He was married in 1827 to Louise Guckenberger, at Cincinnati, 0hio. Mr. Eldis died on November 28, 1852, "leaving to his wife and children an abundant share of earthly goods."

Aldrich's History continues, in reference to Mrs. Eldis: "We were not welcomed. On our arrival sixty years ago, we were advised to better move on ; if it had not have been for the steamboat trade," she continued, " we never could have made a living in the first year or two. By and by though, the inborn element became more friendly to us, and learned to respect our ways. For nearly four years we were the only German family in this hamlet, and in all probability in the county."

As time went on, many persons of German descent did live happily in Sandusky and Erie County. They became a vital part of the churches, businesses, and culture of Erie County. Martin Eldis and Louise Guckenberger Eldis are buried in Oakland Cemetery.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from the Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay, and I look forward to a New Year of reading the many posts from my fellow Graveyard Rabbits in the months to come!

View the Directory of Graveyard Rabbits at this link.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

P.A. Rice Mausoleum in December

The P.A. Rice Mausoleum is decorated for the holidays, at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stroud Family Monument

The Stroud family was well known in Sandusky, Ohio. Dr. Charles Taylor Stroud came to Sandusky about 1865, according to his son's obituary in 1929. Dr. Charles Taylor Stroud was a dentist. He was married to Lucy Fidelia Allen Stroud. The 1870 U.S. Census for Erie County lists Dr. C. T. Stroud, a dentist, age 49; his wife L. F. Stroud, age 44; son, C.E., also a dentist, age 28; and another son, Chas. E., age 11. Next door to the Stroud family in 1870 is Dr. Edwin Gillard, a physician who was married to Dr. C. T. Stroud's eighteen year old daughter, Ida Stroud Gillard.

The Stroud monument is located in Oakland Cemetery. The names of several Stroud family members appear on the four separate sides of the monument. Facing north, are the names of Dr. C.T. Stroud, who died on October 14, 1891, and Lucy F. Stroud, who died on January 18, 1888. At the base of the monument is the Knights Templar symbol, which features the words "In Hoc Signo Vinces." The phrase means "In this sign you shall conquer." A much clearer version of the Knights Templar symbol is found at the Cemeteries and Cemetery Symbols website.

Names found on the side of the Stroud monument which faces east are: Charles E. Stroud, D.D.S., 1859-1929 and Jennie D. Stroud, 1860-1946. Dr. Charles E. Stroud was a dentist in Sandusky for many years, and he was very active in civic affairs, served in the Spanish American War, and started the first Boy Scout troop in Sandusky. An obituary for Dr. Charles E. Stroud is found in the 1929 Obituary Notebook in the genealogical collections of the Sandusky Library.

Inscribed on the panel which faces south on the Stroud monument are the names: Lamont Jarrett, 1877-1931, and his wife's name, Marcia Stroud Jarrett, 1883-1972. Marcia Stroud Jarrett was the granddaughter of Dr. C. T. Stroud, and she was the daughter of yet another area dentist, Dr. Clarence Eugene Stroud, who died in 1908.

On the panel of the Stroud monument which faces west is the name of C. Eugene Stroud, M.D., who died on January 2, 1908. The Knight Templar symbol is also found on the side of the monument which honors Dr. C. Eugene Stroud. Dr. Stroud, whose obituary is found in the January 3, 1908 issue of the Sandusky Register, was trained as both a medical doctor as well as a dentist. He was born on January 14, 1847 in New York State, and died on January 2, 1908, following an accident at his office in which a vulcanizer exploded. Dr. Stroud was seriously injured on December 13, 1907, but he survived until January 2, 1908. He was survived by his wife, the former Zenobia Boyce, a son, Allen Stroud, and a daughter, Marcia. The newspaper obituary stated that Dr. Stroud was "successful and was highly respected."

Many of the persons whose names appear on the Stroud monument also have individual grave markers at Oakland Cemetery. Pictured below are stones for Dr. Clarence Eugene Stroud, and a separate stone which honors Dr. Clarence Eugene Stroud's wife Zenobia and his daughter Marcia Stroud Jarrett.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

James Cross, Civil War Veteran

James Cornelius Cross was born March 14, 1843 to Charles Cross and Patience Manning Cross. His father was born in England, while Patience was a native of Kentucky. James Cross was a carpenter by trade, and was very active in the Catholic Church. He married Elizabeth Marshall, a German immigrant, who converted to Catholicism when she married James.

During the Civil War, James Cross served in Company G of the 123rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was a member of the McMeens Post of the G.A.R. in Sandusky. James Cross died on December 14, 1913, and is buried in St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio.

The son of James and Elizabeth, Nicholas Charles Cross, became a brother in the Catholic Church. He taught school in Bardstown, Kentucky, and Peabody, Massachusetts.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stories of Belsnickel told to the Parker Children

Pictured to the left are: Thomas Larkins, his daughter, Irene Larkins Risko, granddaughter Doris Wheeler Parker, and great granddaughter Joyce Parker. (Click on the blue links above to read previous blog entries about members of the Larkins family.)

Joyce recalls that her Great Grandpa Tom, Grandma Irene, and her mother Doris used to tell her and her sister Sally and brother Tom about the Belsnickel.

According to Wikipedia, "Belsnickel is the fur-clad Santa of the Palatinate (Pfalz) in northwestern Germany along the Rhine, the Saarland, and the Odenwald region of Baden-Württemberg." By the time Joyce was a child, the name used at their house was "Bellsnickers." The story told to Joyce was that the bellsnickers came around at Christmas time and they were supposed to look in windows, to see if children were in bed on time and if they were being good. Joyce said she was terrified of the bellsnickers, and her big brother Tom would scare her with stories about them.

While Thomas Larkins was Irish on both his mother and his father's side, he married into families with German roots. His first wife was Mary Louise Cross, whose mother Elizabeth Marshall Cross was born in Germany. After the death of Mary Louise, Thomas married Emma Lieke, who was born in Germany in 1875. So while the Larkins family was Irish, the tales they told about Belsnickel/Bellsnickers was most likely from the German traditions of the family of either the first or second wife (perhaps both)of Mr. Larkins.

A visual image of Belsnickel, spelled Pelznickel in this case, is found at the website:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rev. J. S. Widmann

A photograph of Rev. Joseph S. Widmann appears in the book HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, available on Google Books, and in most larger Ohio libraries. Joseph S. Widmann was the son of Daniel and Mary Haffner Widmann, of Sandusky County, Ohio. He was born in Rice Township on January 4, 1861. Rev. Widmann received his education at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, and St. Mary Seminary in Cleveland, Ohio. Rev. Widmann was ordained for the priesthood on April 8, 1892.

Rev. Widmann began his position as curate (one who assists a rector) at St. Mary's Catholic Church on 1892. He served in that capacity for ten years, and then was the Pastor of St. Mary's parish for seventeen years. Father Widmann was devoted to the parish of St. Mary's Church, and also was very active in the community. The December 18, 1918 Sandusky Register stated that "Sandusky had no more loyal or enthusiastic citizen in Chamber of Commerce, the old Business Men's Association, and other acitivies...he was a supporter of any project that seemed likely to advance the city's interests." On October 14, 1903, Rev. J. S. Widmann led in prayer at the convention of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association, held in Sandusky. It was through Father Widmann's efforts that the St. Mary's school building was built, the cornerstone having been set in 1909. The Register article continued, "This building stands as monument to his indefatigable zeal and ability.

Father Widmann passed away on December 10, 1918, after suffering a stroke. Church bells tolled at the report of Rev. Widmann's death. He had been greatly admired by not only church members, but by citizens throughout Sandusky and Erie County. Rev. Widmann's funeral was largely attended, and he was buried in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Sandusky.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oakland Cemetery now Features a Walking Tour Brochure

The website of Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio now features a self-guided walking tour. The brochure is available online here.

Read this brochure to learn about the early leaders of Sandusky, artists, abolitionists, a talented photographer, and the many beautiful monuments at Oakland Cemetery.

This poignant passage from the April 20, 1850 Sandusky Clarion, which also appears at Oakland Cemetery's website reads:
The thought of being buried in so lovely a spot, though it takes away half the fear of death, makes one doubly thankful that he escaped the dreadful scourge of last season, and can hereafter repose in a place unsurpassed for beauty, where ‘twould seem sweet to lie forever.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Charles Armstrong Steen, a Native of Armagh

According to THE STEEN FAMILY IN EUROPE AND AMERICA,available at the Internet Archive, Charles Armstrong Steen was born in the city of Armagh in Northern Ireland on December 25, 1797. He emigrated to the United States about 1831, settling in Berlin Heights, Erie County, Ohio.

A family story that has been passed down through the generations is that Charles Armstrong Steen was from a noble family. When he fell in love with a peasant girl, his parents sent him to the United States to avoid being disgraced.

In 1842, Charles A. Steen married a widow, Lorenda Stevens Sexton, in Berlin Heights. They had four children: Eliza Jane Steen, David Orlando Steen, Mary Olmstead Steen, and Charles Fabine Steen. In 1858, when baby Charles was only an infant, the father of the family was accidentally drowned. THE HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, in a biographical sketch about Benjamin Deeley, reports that Jane/Jennie Steen Deeley's father sold his property in Erie County, and was planning to take the family to Kansas. The story that has been told to the family is that Charles Steen was robbed, after making the sale of his property, and his body was thrown into Sandusky Bay. The Oakland Cemetery interment card states that Charles Steen died of an accidental drowning, and that he was buried on December 6, 1858. However, THE STEEN FAMILY IN EUROPE AND AMERICA, provides the death date as January 12, 1858.

Mrs. Lorenda Steen, now twice widowed, successfully raised her four children in Erie County, Ohio. Eliza Jane (sometimes called Jennie) married a Civil War Veteran, Benjamin Deeley, and they were the parents of six children, including a dentist, a doctor, and two school teachers. David Orlando Steen had a large family also, and his family moved to Oskaloosa, Iowa. Mary O. Steen married George F. Hill, and she served as the postmistress of Berlin Heights for many years. Charles F. Steen married Sarah Nodine Milner. He was a properous farmer in Perkins Township.

While records at Oakland Cemetery state that Charles A. Steen is buried in Block 60, no tombstone remains at Oakland for Mr. Steen. The descendants of Charles Armstrong Steen are numerous, and span from Ohio to Iowa to California.

George Fitch Hill and Mary Steen Hill

Mrs. Mary Steen Hill was born on May 20, 1849 in Berlin Heights, Ohio, to an Irish immigrant father, Charles Armstrong Steen. Mary's mother, Lorenda Stevens Sexton Steen, was a pioneer settler of Erie County who was born in New York State. Mary Steen attended a private school conducted by Job Fish in Berlin Heights. Later, Mary taught school in Florence Township of Erie County.

In 1870, Mary Steen Hill married George Fitch Hill, a son of Dr. Benjamin L. Hill and Joanna Hill. Mrs. Mary Steen Hill was the postmistress of Berlin Heights, for twenty four years, resigning in 1914. In some undated Hill family papers was a newspaper clipping which stated that in Mary's later years, she cherished the friendship of many of the young people whom she had watched grow up in Berlin Heights. She especially enjoyed the community's homecoming celebrations. The article continued, "It is given to few to retain all their faculties and the powers fully to enjoy so large a circle of friends throughout old age."

Mrs. Mary Steen Hill died on December 4, 1936. She is buried in the West End Cemetery in Berlin Heights with her husband George F. Hill, a Civil War veteran who had died in 1922. A family tree chart which shows the children of George and Mary Hill, as well as some of their ancestors is found on a Rootsweb site.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

John Schact

John Schacht passed away on December 4, 1873. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The chain with three links is often seen on the tombstones of members of the Odd Fellows Lodge,
signifying friendship, love, and truth. The clasped hands represent bidding farewell to the deceased.John's first name is listed as Johann, the German name for John.

In the 1870 Erie County, Ohio Census, John Schacht is found residing with his brother Simon Schacht. Both men gave Holstein as their birthplace, and listed their occupation as "fish packer." The November 7, 1867 issue of the New York Times carried an article which reported on the thriving fish business in Sandusky.

In the Sandusky Register of December 5, 1873, a lengthy obituary is found for John Schacht. The Register reported that the funeral of John Schacht took place at his brother's home on Hancock Street, according to the rites of the Order of Odd Fellows. The article continued: "The corpse was presented to view in front of the house, and then the procession to the cemetery was formed. In front was the Great Western Band, and immediately following were members of the German lodges in this city, and then a long line of carriages. The marching dirge was finely played by the Band, and as the procession moved along many expressions of sorrow and many praises for the deceased were heard on every hand."

John/Johann Schacht is buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. A sketch of Simon/Siemon Schacht's business if found in the HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich. It reads:

Siemon Schacht—The business of which Mr. S. Schacht is sole proprietor was established in 1865 by the Schacht Brothers. The trade at that time was the usual wholesale business of frozen, fresh and salt fish for home consumption and distant cities. Schacht Brothers were succeeded by Schacht & Co., and these in turn were succeeded by Schacht & Fruechtnicht. On the retirement of Mr. Fruechtnicht in 1880, Mr. S. Schacht became the sole Owner.

The building occupied by This firm is one hundred and eighty feet in length by twenty-five in width. The firm gives employment to fifteen men, and during the busy season often more. They send out four thousand packages of fresh, six thousand of salt, and sixty or seventy tons of frozen fish annually. Their trade is mainly located in Ohio, Indiana and New York.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Old Perkins Cemetery

The subtitle of the Cleveland Plain Dealer article (left) from March 31, 1941 reads: "Perkins Cemetery Must Yield Bodies of 450 Dead." An article from the website of Perkins Township in Erie County, Ohio, tells us that the original Perkins Cemetery was located behind the Methodist Episcopal Church near the intersection of Taylor Road and Columbus Avenue. In 1941, the War Department of the United States acquired about 9,000 acres of land in Perkins Township, to construct a munitions plant called the Plum Brook Ordnance Works. The Trojan Powder Company produced munitions for the United States Army during World War Two. All the farmers in this rich agricultural area had to leave their farms and re-locate. The Methodist Church, Grange Hall, and the cemetery also had to be vacated.

A company was hired to disinter the bodies of those buried at the old Perkins Cemetery, and the remains were re-buried at the site of the current Perkins Cemetery just off Route 250. A marker placed by the Erie County Historical Society briefly summarizes the relocation of the Old Perkins Cemetery to its currect location. The residents of Perkins Township in the 1940's thought their ancestors' remains had found their final resting place, but due to the War effort, a new final resting place was found.

To learn more about some of the people who are buried in Perkins Cemetery, do a search for Perkins at the Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay. Pictured below is the Parker family lot at Perkins Cemetery. Some members of the Parker family were first buried in the Old Perkins Cemetery, and were re-interred, but many were buried here after 1941.

Burlin V. Boice

In the 1880 U. S. Census for Sandusky County, Ohio, B. V. Boice, age 60, is listed as a miller in Townsend Township. His wife Simbra, is age 47, and the children in the family are: James,Vincent, and Edith.

Erie County Probate records indicate that Berlin Vincent Boice married Margaret Fowler on November 26, 1844; and that he married Anna Robinson on March 16, 1858. The IGI portion of FamilySearch shows that Burlin Vincent Boice married Simbreanna Piana Meek on March 16, 1859.

Glenn C. Kuebeler wrote in his book CASTALIA, COLD CREEK, AND THE BLUE HOLE that Berlin Boice operated a mill in the area now known as Rockwell Springs from about 1868 through 1885.

Burlin V. Boice died on December 1, 1907, and he is buried in the Castalia Cemetery with his wife Simbreanna P. Meek.

Monday, November 30, 2009

William Fink, Proprietor of Farmer's Hotel

While the name Wilhelm Finck is on the tombstone, the name for the same person in the 1870 U.S. Census for Erie County reads William Fink. it is very common for persons of German heritage to have variations in the spelling of their names as it appears on various documents. The Oakland Cemetery interment card for William Fink states that he died of typhoid fever, and is buried in Block 72, Range E. He was buried on December 4, 1871.

The 1870 Census lists the occupation of William Fink as: keeps boarders. The other persons listed in the family are:

Elizabeth age 42
Lizzie age 22
John age 19
William age 14
Rosa age 11
illegible age 3
Anna age 1

Birthplaces were indicated as Germany for William; France for Elizabeth; and Ohio for all the children. The 1870 Sandusky City Directory gives the name of the head of household as William Finke, who was the proprietor of the Farmer's Hotel, located on the south side of Water Street between Jackson and Decatur Streets.

Following the death of her husband, Elizabeth Fink married Samuel Wood. She continued in the hotel business for many years. Elizabeth Fink Wood passed away on 25, 1906.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

General John Beatty

John Beatty was born in Erie County in 1828. He moved to Morrow County, where he was engaged in the banking business. During the Civil War, John Beatty served in the Third Ohio Infantry. Eventually he became a Brigadier General in the Civil War. He wrote a book about his experiences in the Civil War, entitled THE CITIZEN SOLDIER; OR MEMOIRS OF A VOLUNTEER. From 1868 through 1873, John Beatty was a United States Representative to Congress from Ohio’s 8th District.

John Beatty died December 21, 1914, and is buried in the Beatty family plot at Oakland Cemetery. His grandfather, also named John Beatty, was an early land speculator in Erie County, and was the Mayor of Sandusky from 1834 through 1836.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chester John Thompson, Football Star

Chester John "Red" Thompson was born September 8, 1910, to Jay and Clara (Schoenewald) Thompson. Chester was the star center of the Sandusky Eagles football team. He also played football for Sandusky High School and the Sandusky Maroons.

A serious automobile accident claimed the life of Chester J. Thompson on October 3, 1932, as the football team was traveling home from Akron to Sandusky on October 2nd. The car's other passengers, Dallas Biechele, Allan Wuertz, Russell Furrer, and Edward Schaeffer, all received minor injuries. Mr. Thompson's funeral was held at the Andres Funeral Home on October 4, 1932, and he was buried at Oakland Cemetery.

A football is found at the top of his tombstone. Chester J. Thompson was just twenty two years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his parents, a sister Helen, and a brother Ellsworth. Chester's life was cut so short, that he did not have a chance to marry and have a family. A photo of Chester J. Thompson appears in the August 18, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Register, along with his teammates from Sandusky High School. An obituary for Chester Thompson is found in the October 5, 1932 Sandusky Register.

Mrs. Hannah Cowan

Mrs. Hannah Cowan was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania on March 4, 1803. She moved to Bellefontaine, Ohio in 1839. By 1844, her husband had died, leaving her to care for two young children on her own.

According to the November 28, 1882 issue of the Sandusky Register, Mrs. Cowan "was a woman of superior education and strong mind,and taking on her own shoulders the burden of life, she became a school teacher, a profession she followed for twelve years. Among her pupils were boys who have since become famous soldiers and public men, and often in the past twenty years she has been the recipient of personal attention from men who regarded her as their wise instructor in their boyhood."

Mrs. Hannah Cowan passed away on November 24, 1882. She was the mother of Mrs. Clark Center. For many years Mrs. Cowan had made her home with Mr. and Mrs. Clark. Hannah Cowan was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Shortly after her death, General Robert P. Kennedy wrote a letter to Rev. D. J. Meese, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Sandusky, which was reprinted in the Sandusky Register. General Kennedy stated about Mrs. Cowan, "...her patience, her piety and Christian character are still imprinted upon my memory..." He continued, pointing out that Mrs. Cown had laid the foundation for the superstructure of an education.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gift from My Family: Memories of Christmas Past

Paul R. Orshoski,Sr., was born on July 1, 1927. His mother was 100% German, and his father was 100% Hungarian. Paul married his sweetheart, who had roots to Connecticut settlers of the Firelands, and she also had English and Irish immigrant ancestors. Their six children truly represented the American "melting pot." Paul and his wife enjoyed watching the children participate in school, church, and sporting activities. The family loved Christmas...letters to Santa, cousins to visit, "pieces" to learn for the church Christmas play, and little ones who could barely get to sleep on Christmas Eve. Here are some pictures from Christmases past. A holiday tradition was to send a family photo along with Christmas cards to family and friends. Though Paul is in heaven now, his family cherishes the time we had with him.

The family started with a baby girl. This little one never grew tired of hearing stories about "the olden days."

Soon a little boy came along, named after his dad. He would grow up to coach youth athletics like his dad, too.

Then there were three. This baby girl would became a caring nurse in the years to come.

Christmas Eve usually involved Paul spending long hours assembling the toys that "Santa" brought, sometimes until the wee hours of Christmas morning.Oh how the children loved their presents!

There were a lot of smiles when another little boy was added to the family. This young man still keeps the family laughing today!

The family looks so calm, but there were hectic times more often than not.

Baby "Number Five" was a special gift. He would sing "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" in Kindergarten, and later would also sing to his bride.

The baby girl of the family was the delight of her parents' hearts. "She keeps us young," they would say so often.

Stories of Orshoski Christmases past are now being passed down to the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Thanks for the memories, and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Alois Trapp

This metal grave marker for Aloys Trapp is found in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Aloys Trapp died in 1860. The cemetery's interment card for Mr. Trapp lists his name as Ludrick Trapp, who was buried on November 19, 1860, at the age of 38. The 1860 U.S. Census shows an L. Trapp living in Erie County, Ohio, with a wife Saphronia, and children named: Bertha, Benjamin, Wilhelmina, and Frank.

A search of immigration records at Ancestry Library Edition indicated that Alois, Stephanie, and Bertha Trapp came to the United States aboard the ship Nimrod. It arrived in the United States on June 28, 1852. Bertha was only three years old at the time of the ocean voyage.

The Obituary Index of the R. B. Hayes Presidential Center contains a citation for a Mrs. Stephena Trapp, who died in 1914. According to the 1910 Census, Mrs. Trapp (listed in that census record as Stephannia Trapp) was living with her daughter Wilhelmina Wigand at Put in Bay, in Ottawa County, Ohio. Mrs. Trapp's tombstone from Crown Hill Cemetery is pictured online.

A collection of family documents from the Trapp, Weigand, Phillips, and Schraidt families is on file at Bowling Green State University's Center for Archival Collections. As is so often the case, there several spelling variations for the first names of Mr. and Mrs. Trapp. Keep an open mind in your genealogical research. Compare census records, cemetery records, and vital records, to find the connections within a family unit.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Steve and Emma Orshoski

Steve Orshoski was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania on December 15, 1905 to Hungarian immigrants Joseph and Julia (Herzog) Orshoski. Joseph Orshoski worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania. After living a few years in West Virginia (then Virginia), the Orshoski family settled in Bay Bridge, Ohio in about 1917. Bay Bridge was home to the Medusa Portland Cement Company, where Joseph Orshoski and many other Erie County residents found work. Steve Orshoski, and many of his brothers, sons, and nephews would eventually work at the cement plant as they became old enough to work. Steve and Emma are pictured (left) as a young couple fishing in Bay Bridge. The younger girl may be Dorothy, Emma's younger sister.

On July 25, 1925, Steve Orshoski married Emma Yeager, the oldest daughter of Huron residents Andrew and Lena (Piehl) Yeager. Steve and Emma had five children, a daughter and four sons. The Orshoski children grew up in Bay Bridge during the Depression and World War Two years, when money was scarce. Everyone worked hard, had gardens, and went fishing. Emma was a wonderful cook and homemaker. One of her special meals was "wiener stew," made with franks, cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes. After her children were grown, Emma was employed as a cook at the Erie County Children's Home, and later in the laundry department of Sandusky's Memorial Hospital.

Steve Orshoski died on March 18, 1971. After Steve's death, Emma's mother Lena lived with her for several years. It seemed to the grandchildren that Great Grandma Lena Yeager was very, very quiet, and Grandma Emma Orshoski was quite outspoken. Emma Orshoski passed away on November 10, 1979. Steve and Emma Orshoski are buried at Meadow Green Memorial Park. Two of their granddaughters still live in the unincorporated village of Bay Bridge, Ohio, on Sandusky Bay. Steve's younger brother Nick married Emma's sister Dorothy, so the children of these two couples were "double cousins."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mrs. Lois House Parker

Mrs. Lois House Parker passed away on November 15, 1937. A clipping from an unidentified newspaper provides this obituary for Mrs. Lois House Parker:

"Mrs L. G. Parker Taken by Death
Native of Perkins Twp.
And Resided in Castalia

Mrs Lois House Parker, wife of L. G. Parker and a well-known resident of Castalia died Monday evening at 6:20 o'clock at Providence Hospital. Mrs Parker had been a resident of Erie Co all her life, being born in PerkinsTwp. on March 18, 1903, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis House, and at the time of her death was aged 34 years, seven months and 28 days. Mrs. Parker is survived by her husband, an infant son, David House Parker; her parents Mr and Mrs Lewis House of Perkins; six sisters, Mrs Claude J. Minor and Mrs. Harold Groves, both of this city; Mrs. Gus Criblez, of Lakewood; Mrs (Rev) Herbert Thompson, of Salem, O.; Mrs William Doster of Perkins and Mrs. Byron Woolson of Cleveland; two brothers Guy House of Memphis, Tenn., and Byron , of East Cleveland. Mrs Parker was a member of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church here.The body has been removed to the Charles J. Andres Sons' Funeral Home and funeral arrangements will be announced later."

Lois was a descendant of Julius House, an early settler of Erie County. The death certificate of Lois House Parker is accessible through the database Family Search Labs. Mrs. Lois House Parker was buried in Castalia Cemetery, where her husband Lucius G. Parker would also be buried after his death in 1954.

Note: Lois House Parker's aunt, Mrs. Marian House Parker was married to George B. Parker. While both Lois and Marian had the maiden name of House, their spouses were from different Parker lines: George B. Parker having been from Perkins Township, while Lucius G. Parker was a Margaretta Township resident.