matthewkmiller on FamilyTreeCircles - journals

matthewkmiller on Family Tree Circles

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I was looking through my direct ancestors to see if I had photos of headstones for those that could be available. I found that I was missing a photo of the headstone of my great-great-grandmother, Maria Elizabeth (born Geers), (married Menke), (later married Schutte). Her burial is supposed to be in a cemetery local to where my mother grew up. I emailed a cousin and she didn't have it despite looking for it a few years back. I went to and saw that her headstone hasn't been posted. I submitted a request for a photo of her headstone, then it occurred to me to "glance" through the site and see if I could find headstones of others in my tree "real quick" so I had all the information I could on my relations. It's such a tiny little town, there couldn't be that many people buried there, right?

Wow. Just wow. I've now been at it for a week, all the time previously spend researching has been used downloading headstone photos and sometimes filling out spots in the tree I was missing information on someone or even missing people. It's amazing how families in small towns inter-marry. No, there's no "kissin' cousins" but when you have a dozen or so surnames, each marrying into the others, it gets quite confusing. A simple little "let's get a quick photo or two" has turned into a major, "let's see if we can connect everyone in this cemetery". Since I'm probably halfway through the alphabet in this "small" cemetery, I think it's likely 75-90% of the people buried there are linked and will end up in my family tree. Although probably 60% were in there already.

I know it's not a primary or even a secondary source (I think I'd call it a backup confirmation and a few more details source), when the new information fits the information I already have, I'll take it as relatively reliable.

3 comment(s), latest 5 years, 7 months ago

Completed Project

I just republished the Bixenman Family History book, Volume 1. Thank you Paula for sending me good copies of the original book. I've received the first copy of the book and verified it looks good. You can order it here.

This makes two major projects I've finished in the past few months. The next major project is to take the research already completed on my wife's genealogy and put it into a database so we can use it for various future projects. First though, a break from genealogy for a bit to work on things around the house. What? Real life exists? Yes, there is a life outside of genealogy. Time to work on it a bit.

1 comment(s), latest 5 years, 7 months ago

Continuing Progress on Projects

I finished scanning and editing the pages of the Bixenman Family History book and am in the process of generating and verifying the pdf file for on demand publication. Hopefully I'll have a copy of the book in my hands in the next week or two.

Mystery - Elizabeth Dunzinger

Gift from a cousin

I've been working on recreating (to republish) the family history books of the Bixenman family using my poor quality scans for the pictures and retyping all the text. That's quite a job when just volume 1 is nearly 500 pages! My distant cousin sent me good quality photocopies of all the pages of volume 1. Now, I'm scanning each of these in and will just have to clean them up a bit and put them together into a book. What a life saver! Instead of MAYBE having it done by the end of the year, I fully expect to be done well before that. Thank you Paula!


I was able to meet up with the ship expert on Wednesday and got good scans of the ship image and the ad for Norddeutscher Lloyd from the time-frame of my great-grandfather's voyage to America. It lists the trip between Bremen and New Orleans for November 19 and shows that the Hanover I is the ship making the voyage. My great-grandfather took the trip in September of 1872 so it's not an ad for his exact voyage but at least in the correct time-frame because he traveled on this ship.

I put together the updates for the book. Every time I think I had it ready, I found another small thing to correct. Finally, on Saturday, I published the Second Edition of the book. I posted a note about it on my extended family's Facebook group page and sent the email to the long list of relatives that would be interested. I also posted .pdf files of the pages that were changed the most onto my Family History Links page on Rootsweb so people who have the first edition can print them up and place them into their book so they have all the updated information.

This morning, I got an email from one of my second cousins saying that another second cousin, who traveled from Australia to attend our family reunion last month had passed away. He went in for knee surgery and was home recovering when he passed in his sleep. I'm glad I was able to meet James Adrian Panther, b. Feb 29, 1944, d August 24, 2012 before his passing.

Now to get back to re-publishing my dad's genealogy. Hopefully it will be done by the end of the year.

First Family History Blog Entry

I'm not sure if I want to try to keep up on a genealogy blog but thought I'd give it a try. Just my thoughts on what I've been doing lately and challenges I'm having.

My genealogy work load is through the roof right now. Granted, I don't do it for a living and I don't do anyone else's genealogy so it's just what I feel I need to work on for my own family tree. I just have so much in the works that I'm having difficulty keeping up. Here's a list off the top of my head:

1. Second edition of my Panther family history book. I put out the first edition almost exactly one year ago and I've gotten new information that really needs to be in there. The updates are: a) a CORRECT picture of the ship my great-grandfather came to America on. The one in the first edition is, not only wrong, but very wrong. This is the main reason I want the second edition put out. b) An old family photo from the village he was from that no one knew who was in it. My second-cousin sent me a letter she's had in her possession for a while that tells us exactly who it is. c) New information about the history of the ship my great-grandfather's brother came over on. I need to get this put out because the city manager of the village my ancestors are from is ordering 6 copies of the book and I want to be sure they have all the correct information. This is high-priority, like in the next week. The person who gave me information about the ships also appears to have a schedule/ad from the shipping company my great-grandfather use from the approximate timeframe. It actually advertises for the voyage my great-grandfather took to America. The problem is that I've had difficulty getting together with the person who has this. It's just that my work schedule is inflexible at the moment and she's only available during certain times. I can't decide how to arrange my priorities at the moment. I really want to include this schedule/ad but I really need to get the second edition published ASAP.

2. Republishing my father's family history books. Someone put out my father's paternal grandmother's genealogy about 12 years ago but there are no copies available any longer. It's a two-volume set of hardcover books of about 450 pages each. I got my hands on a set about 6 months ago and I scanned them in using a very quick handheld scanner, except I got good scans of the photos. The person that put out the original books stated in the introduction that she is not copywriting the books and anyone can use the information any way they choose, but should just include acknowledgement, so that is not a problem. Besides, I'm just doing an on-demand publication for my immediate family because I truly want a copy of the books for myself and some of my siblings might also. I've got about 300 pages done. I'm having to retype the text and insert the photos. Once I get 100 pages into it, with photos, Word starts responding quite slowly so I'm having to split the books into several sections. I hope to have volume one done this year. The second volume will likely have to wait until next year.

3. My wife's genealogy. The good news is that the research for her family history is complete. We borrowed a copy of one of the books from her brother. I'm working on entering this into a database on my computer. Once this is done, there is a book put out for her grand-uncle when he became a US Senator and her mother was born and grew up in Germany and has an extensive family history on her side. I just need to gather everything into a database so we can work with the information.

4. Original research. Recently found two new sets of great-great-grandparents. I'm hot on the trail to jump the pond to track their families back to Ireland. One of my great-grandmothers has always been a mystery. I MAY have figured out where she was born. I'm just waiting to hear back from their local genealogy society from the query I sent them a few weeks ago.

Dorans and Kellys in Hancock County, Illinois

I tracked down my grandfather's parents to Hancock County, Illinois. They were Thomas Doran and Mary Ann Kelly. They eventually moved to Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa and are buried there. I'm looking for their origins. I found Mary Ann's parents, Hugh Kelly and Catherine Murphy. They are buried in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois. I found Thomas Doran's parents names in his obituary. They are Thomas and Catherine Doran from Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois. Thomas Doran is apparently a popular name in Carthage as I found "my" Thomas Doran, his father, Thomas Doran and at least one other Thomas Doran in Carthage. There are two articles talking about Old Tommy Doran who died in 1877 at about 100 years of age. I spoke to someone at the Hancock County Historical Society and at the County Clerk but my time was limited. I found their names while there but didn't have time to go any further. Can someone help me track down information about Thomas' parents, Thomas and Catherine Doran? Or Hugh Kelly and Catherine Murphy?

1 comment(s), latest 5 years, 11 months ago

1940 Census

Looking through the 1940 Census. Found my father and most of my aunts and uncles that married into my mom's family. Found my dad (John A. Miller) and my uncle (Aloysius Dohman), both 10 years old, living about 8 blocks from each other. I knew they were good friends but didn't know for how long. Appears they were likely friends their whole lives.

Panther Family Reunion

The Panther Family Reunion 2012 is coming up this weekend. This is for descendants of Moriz Panther and Elizabeth Birk from Moesbach, Baden, Germany. Two sons remained in Moesbach (Phillip and Donat) and two moved to southeast Iowa (Ferdinand and Alois). We know that most attending will be descendants of Alois' son Benedict, we hope to see many more from other branches of the tree. You can see some of the family tree research and charts, order the book and see photos and movies from the reunion linked from this page:

2 comment(s), latest 5 years, 5 months ago