Sunday, March 6, 2022



Late last year I wrote about the FUTURE and that it might include my membership into DAR through my 5x great grandfather, Ashbel Waller.  You can read about it HERE.  

And now, just two short months later, it is OFFICIAL - I am a member of Daughters of the American Revolution!  

Wendy made it happen and kept me informed along the way.  She notified me on February 10 that my application had been verified and that I would receive my national number on March 5.  And just like that, yesterday I received the golden number confirming without a doubt that I'M IN! Which means HE'S IN!

Ashbel is a newly recognized patriot and I am honored to have had a part in recognizing him.  And just to make it completely official, here is Ashbel's entry.

A very belated thank you to, Ashbel Waller, my 5x great grandfather, for his service.  And a special thank you to Wendy for helping me to honor Ashbel.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

52 Ancestors: Map - Ashbel Waller's Grave

This week's blog prompt immediately brought to mind a map I received years ago from the Butler County Historical Society.

In my inquiry to them about the location of Ashbel Waller's grave (Ashbel is my 5th great grandfather), they forwarded this map to me.  But what does it mean?

In 1985, there was an encroaching sub-division to this area of town so some studies were performed to learn more about the property.  "D.E.M.", a member of the National Genealogical Society, sent a letter to the Butler County Commissioner with the subject "Gravestones with the partial name ELIZABETH WALLE? and the surname CONGER in Knottingwood subdivision, Section 6 of Union Township on Hamilton-Mason Road."  D.E.M. explained to me that Union Township is now known as West Chester Township.

There is a lot of information in the letter but the most important when it comes to Ashbel is the first bullet point:

As you knew yesterday, last fall in the 1840 census I noted that ASHABEL WALLER was listed as having performed revolutionary or military services and then an ASHBEL WALLER was shown on the 1830 cadastral map that you copied to have been the owner of about 101 acres in the northeast corner of Section 6 adjoining Liberty Township.  Later, I visited the graveyard and believe that its site is at or near the b in the name Ashbel Waller as printed on the map.  Today it can be described as about 0.4 miles eastward from Route 747 along Hamilton-Mason Road thence about 0.2 miles southward parallel to the meridional section line.

So in order to understand this better, I zoomed in on the b in the name Ashbel Waller.

Does that mean he is buried on the land he owned in Butler County?  Looks like it to me.  Interesting to note that Cyrus Osborn was his son-in-law, married to Ashbel's daughter Ruth, and the Executor of Ashbel's will.

I've sent inquiries to other organizations and have been unable to find a definitive grave site or any photos.  I need to spend some time learning more about maps so I can understand exactly what this means.  One more thing to add to my to-do list.

In other news, stay tuned for more information about Ashbel and his service in the Revolution.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

52 Ancestors: Curious - The Grumer girls

I've written before about the Grumer girls, one of which was my husband's grandmother, Pearl (Grumer) Byrd.  My mother-in-law always thought the girls had been adopted by their step father, Frank Grumer, but I've never been able to find out much information about that.

Their mother, Mary Nelson, has been a bit of a mystery to me.  I knew that she was born in Sweden in about 1872 or 1873 but until her marriage to Charles Pickett on 20 September 1892 I had no information about her.  My friend in Sweden has looked for records for her in Sweden but has been unsuccessful.

Mary's first children, Pearl and her twin Ruth, were born 1 April 1894 in Rock Springs, Wyoming and two years later, on 10 October, 1896, their sister Bertha was born about 18 miles away in Green River, Wyoming.  Neither my husband or I ever remember hearing about Bertha - my mother-in-law seemed to know very little about her family, although she did stay in contact with Ruth and her family.  Although I can find no information for Charles Pickett other than his 1892 marriage to Mary, I know that on 24 May 1897 Mary married Frank Grumer.

We've always been curious as to who the biological father of the girls was and if they were, in fact, adopted by Frank Grumer.  I've made some inquiries in Wyoming and have found that they did not have birth records from that time period and adoption records are restricted to just the person of record.  Dead end.

But something curious happened this week.  I've been pondering what 'curious' event I might blog about when I received a suggested edit on FindAGrave for Frank Grumer.

Green River Star, Mar 28, 1941

Funeral Services for Local Pioneer Held in Evanston 

Funeral services were held at 10 o’clock Thursday morning from the Durnford Mortuary, Evanston, for Frank Grumer, 79, pioneer resident of Green River who died Tuesday afternoon in Evanston.  Death was attributed to pneumonia. 

Born April 15, 1862, in Baden, Germany, Grumer came to the United States when he was 15 years old, first settling in St. Louis, Mo.  In 1888 he moved west to Green River where he had since made his home.

Surviving Grumer are three daughters, Mrs. J.H. Offield of Green River, with whom he had been making his home; Mrs. J.E. LaRoche of Vallejo, Calif., and Mrs. M.B. Byrd, Winnemucca, Nev.; one granddaughter, Mrs. Jack Lambert of Salt Lake City; and two great-grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Offield left Green River early Thursday morning for Evanston to attend funeral services.  Burial was in Mount Olivet cemetery in Salt Lake City, beside his wife who died in 1926.

Looks like a fairly typical obituary, right?  I read it, checked off the people in my head (Mrs. Offield was Bertha, Mrs. LaRoche was Ruth, and Mrs. Byrd was Pearl, my husband's grandmother), and put it aside.  

But WAIT!  I looked at it again (why does it sometimes take us extra time for something to register?) and focused on "one granddaughter, Mrs. Jack Lambert of Salt Lake City; and two great-grandchildren".  That information is true but it was the information that wasn't there that had my head spinning.  This was 1941 and my mother-in-law was born in 1921 and her four cousins (Ruth's children) were born in 1917, 1919, 1920, and 1921.  So why weren't they included?

In the last few days I've connected with the person who sent me the obituary to include on Frank's memorial and she's been a HUGE help in trying to sort this out.  I've learned more about Mary (she had eight siblings), the names of her parents, and from her obituary learned that she came to this country at just three years old.  So down the rabbit hole I go.

I'm speculating that Charles Pickett was the biological father of Pearl and Ruth and, perhaps, Frank was the biological father of Bertha.  And maybe, just maybe, he didn't 'recognize' the children of Pearl and Ruth as his grandchildren.  It's just so curious that one grandchild was mentioned while five were not.

This afternoon I've been in contact with the church in Salt Lake City where Charles and Mary were married to see if, maybe, they might have marriage records that might help.  And on the off chance the twins were born in Salt Lake (maybe they were just told Wyoming so that the 'secret' of their father could be maintained) they might have some baptismal records.  And just as I wrote that sentence, I received a message from the church that they would see what they could find.

Interesting to note that on Mary's death certificate Frank (the informant) listed her birthdate, name and birthplace of father and mother as ?, Pearl's death certificate shows her father as unknown, and Ruth's death certificate shows her father as Frank Grumer.  I don't have Bertha's death certificate but in the SS Applications and Claims Index she lists her father as Frank Grumer.

And that's what has my attention today.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

52 Ancestors: Favorite Photo - My Grandmothers

This past week were the birthdays of my grandmothers so with this week's blog prompt, I thought I'd highlight both of them in photos. 

Mildred Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy

Grandma Loraine (never Mildred), my paternal grandmother, was one of a kind and I've shared quite a bit about her over the years.  She was the official packrat of the family, although I'm learning that not only did my dad share that gene, but since I have so much of her 'stuff' I should officially announce that I, too, am a packrat.  Loraine was born in Santa Cruz on 20 January, 1896 and died in Los Gatos 08 May, 1982.

Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer, c 1897

Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer, 1912

Mildred Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy, 1969

Clara Maxine (Fitzgerald) Martin Hunter

Grandma Clara was my maternal grandmother - did I ever know that her middle name was Maxine before I started with genealogy?  We were fortunate that our grandparents lived about 10 minutes apart so we spent a lot of time in Fresno visiting.  We loved to visit Grandma Clara because she had the chicken ranch and we loved helping collect, weigh, and package the eggs.  Clara was born in Fresno on 22 January, 1903 and died in Fresno on 27 February, 1987.  With the exception of a year or two in Oakland in about 1940, I don't think she ever lived outside of Fresno.

Clara Maxine Fitzgerald, 1903

Clara Maxine Fitzgerald, 1923

Clara Maxine (Fitzgerald) Hunter, c1960

I can't believe my grandmothers have been gone all these years and now - gasp - I'm the grandmother.  Time sure has a way of marching on.

Happy birthday, Grandmas!  

Friday, December 31, 2021

Top 10 Genealogical Finds of 2021

Here we are again at the end of a year - time for me to post my Top 10 Genealogical Finds for 2021.  Once again I don't feel that I've been too productive but I just keep plugging away.  So in my best David Letterman voice, I give you my Top 10 Genealogical Finds for 2021.

You can read my previous year's discoveries here: 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2012.5 2011

Number 10:  The original post was from 2020 Large - Marks Schwartz  but I received some follow up information in 2021.  I was hoping to identify these two photos in the hope that they might be Marks.

I contacted the Photo Genealogist ( and I sent her photos, information, and anything else I had related to the family.  She analyzed everything, researched, studied and did her magic to conclude that these two boys were not Marks but his brother, Colman.

Colman Schwartz, 1890, age 5

If you want/need photos identified, I encourage you to get in touch with Ava for assistance.  She is very busy so you'll need to be patient but it is so worth it.

Number 9:  In the Kitchen  I was glad to finally document my mother's 'famous' Tamale Pie.  I realize it's only famous to my siblings and me but someday, maybe someone will find the recipe and make it famous again.

Number 8:  Dick Crawford was a very special friend to my grandfather, Sig Levy, and I was thrilled to be able to learn more about him.  I don't remember ever meeting Dick Crawford or even hearing about him but I'm glad that he's now been "found" (at least in my blog).

Number 7:  With the exception of one decade, my dad spent his entire career working for Dean Witter.  Sure the name changed over the years and today is known as Morgan Stanley but he stuck with them until his death.  I'm glad I was able to find his scrapbook/album and learn more about his time there.

Number 6:  After some anxious moments, we found a photo of my husband's great grandfather, Winfield Scott Byrd.  And as luck would have it, we found ourselves driving through Pocatello, Idaho on a road trip this fall which is where Winfield (and many other ancestors) is buried.  We were happy to have been able to stop and pay our respects.

Mountain View Cemetery, Pocatello, Idaho

Number 5:  I discovered a photo and learned a lot about the 1902 class of Fresno Grammar School and it really gave me a sense of what life was like for my grandfather.

Number 4:  Connecting with people is one of the greatest gifts of blogging.  This year I met two New Friends and was able to obtain a copy of a book that features the home of my grandparents which they owned for nearly 50 years.  

Number 3:  I'd procrastinated for years getting my blog put into print and am happy to say that I accomplished it this year.  Once I found a platform to use and figured things out, it was actually sort of fun to put these together.  In fact, now I'm putting the book together as I blog so that when I finish this post, I'll add it and get the book ordered.  Preservation - Blog Books
Number 2:  Who knew Mrs. Gunzendorfer made a Nut Cake?  It wasn't an actual cousin that I baited but with a name like Gunzendorfer, it's not hard to "hook" others who know the name.  I'm so thankful that George connected me with Ann - hey, another new friend!

Number 1:  This year has helped me learn so much about my dad's time in the Army, particularly when he spent time in Germany in 1946.  I'd always wondered how it was that he found himself at the War Trials and after transcribing all of his letters, I learned about that time and his feelings about seeing the Dachau camp.  I only wish he were here so we could talk about - I bet I'd learn even more.

I've started putting together a book with his letters and accompanying photos.  It's going to be a long ride but I'm happy to have the opportunity to document it in one more way.  Hopefully, that will be my top genealogical find in 2022.  I think I'll incorporate this photo, with his caption, in the title.  Watch for a best seller!

While it hasn't been a full year of discoveries, I do feel like I've made some headway with some of my projects.  On to 2022!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

52 Ancestors: Future - Daughters of the American Revolution


I've written before about my desire to join the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  I'm not really someone to participate in clubs but I really wanted to honor my patriot 5x great grandfather, Ashbel Waller.  I've written about him several times - here's a sample. HERE'S MY TICKET. 

Earlier this week my blogging friend, Wendy, posted on her blog related to this prompt and stated that she might close down her blog.  I LOVE her blog so I was very sorry to hear this but completely understood because she is the registrar for her DAR chapter and I know that keeps her very busy.  You can read her blog post HERE.  I commented about how much I enjoy her blog and casually said in my comment If you ever feel the need to get involved in one more thing, you can always help me (and my patriot) get admitted to DAR.

And then things started moving very, very quickly.  Within one hour Wendy replied Debi, I found a patriot for you.  You can thank your grandfather Earle Martin for his lineage.  Most of your ancestors arrived after the Revolution.

WHAT?  My track to Ashbel Waller is through my maternal grandmother and Earle Martin was my maternal grandfather.  Just like that she found another Revolutionary War patriot?

Turns out that this new (to me) patriot is Archibald McDaniel, my 4x great grandfather.  I really don't know much about Archibald other than a name and some dates that I have on my tree.  He was already verified through DAR so my path would be relatively easy but......I wanted to honor Ashbel Waller which Wendy said I could still do and she would help me.

And just like that, she sent me a draft of my application and had nearly all of the information I would need.  I'd contacted a local chapter in 2010 and after some frustrating e-mails back and forth, I put Ashbel on the back burner and told myself "I'll get back to it".  And as you might suspect, I told myself that for the next 11 years.  Yes, 11 years.  And then yesterday arrived and I'm so close to sending in my application - hang on, Ashbel, I'm coming for you!

I can't thank Wendy enough for guiding me through this.  Okay, let's be real - she's doing more than guiding!  And because of her, my FUTURE just might involve being an official DAR.

Here's how I descend from Ashbel - Clara Fitzgerald was my maternal grandmother.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

52 Ancestors: Holidays - Dolls

I don't have many memories of holidays as a child (that was a LONG time ago) but I do have a few memories that involve dolls.

My parents were raised in different faiths - my father Jewish and my mother Christian.  While "technically" we were not Jewish since our Mother was a Gentile, they agreed that the kids would be raised Jewish and Mom non-formally converted.  But one thing she said she could never take away from her kids was Santa Claus.  Which was definitely a bonus for us as we celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas - SCORE!

When I think about those long-ago holidays, the clearest memories I have is of dolls.  I don't remember specifics as to how old I was when I received which doll but as I was rummaging through my hope chest the other day, I came across some that I've held on to all these years.

Little Women was a favorite book back then and while I don't remember too many specifics of the book, I do remember that my favorite character was Jo.  I'm not sure what it was about Jo that drew me in but it must have been something for me to hang on to this doll all these years.  Boy, she has sure seen better days!

Her poor arms and legs are falling off - a sign of a well loved doll.

I seem to remember that my sister liked Amy and had a doll much like this.

And a few years later when Troll dolls were all the rage, I had quite a collection.  But these two seem to be the only ones I hung on to.

There were always dolls in our bedroom.  When my parents or grandparents were traveling, they would often bring home a doll or two to add to our collection.  There was a shelf in our room up by the ceiling where we could display the dolls and they could collect dust.  

I remember one very special doll that, apparently, I played with quite a bit as she is very beat up.  See her up above in the middle of the shelf?

But no doll was as special to me as Tiny Thumbelina.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to save her but I remember she looked something like this.

Tiny Thumbelina was not only a very special doll because she moved like a real baby but she is how I found out about Santa Claus!

I must have been about 8 or 9 years old when my cousin came for a visit from Kentucky shortly before Christmas.  She was right between my sister and me in age and we had a lot of fun playing together.  While we had a pretty cool play house in the back yard, we had sort of outgrown it so didn't play in it often.  But to my cousin, it must have looked pretty interesting so she asked if we could go out to play.  Sure, let's go.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the door and saw a bunch of toys stacked inside.  What was that?  So, of course, inquiring minds wanted to know so we quietly stepped inside to take a look.  And there amongst the toys was a Tiny Thumbelina doll brand new in her box!  I never said a word to my parents but when Christmas morning rolled around and that beautiful Tiny Thumbelina doll was under the tree with my name on it, I figured it out.  My parents were Santa Claus!

I don't think kids are as fond of dolls as we were but boy did we have fun playing with our dolls!