North Carolina Confrence

As many of you know, I recently did some travel for work.  This confrence took me to the NGS confrence in Raleigh, North Carolina.  In spite of the 5 (yep, 5) flights and a rental car snafu, it was a lot of fun.

For the first time ever, I flew over my hometown- I was pretty excited 🙂


I got in on the last flight of the night at 12:40 only to find that Alamo, where I had reserved my rental car, closed at 12:00. Wha?!?!  So this is me in the abandoned pick-up area of the airport waiting for a super shuttle at 2:30. Can you tell I”m fervently hoping no one will come by and kill me?!?!


I didn’t get to do much sightseeing, but I was amazed at how many trees there are in Raleigh. Being a desert-baby I couldn’t believe that they were everywhere and no one had to plant them. I did get away to visit the North Carolina History museum. It is in the city center near the capitol and this old church (built abt. 1830).


Meatless May also took a temporary break because, when in the South, you have to have BBQ.  North Carolina is apparently known for it’s vinegar-based BBQ and it is goooood. 


No, I didn’t eat this plate of food by myself, I shared with a co-worker.  In case you were wondering, we had ribs, brisket, and some really, really good meatloaf.  The sweet potato fries were delish, and I enjoyed the fried okra, too. It is kind of like fried zuchini.  I was also had hushpuppies for the first time- they can only be described as little fried balls of happiness.  The biscuits were awesome, too.


I met some really interesting people on the plane back home. On one leg, I sat next to a guy who was coming home from protesting Obama’s Notre Dame commencement speech.  He had spent the night before in jail.  We had a very interesting discussion on abortion, gay rights and whatnot.

Another plane mate I met pretty much shared the whole trip. He was going from Raleigh to SLC to turn in his final project. Apparently there is a pretty well-known violin-making school in SLC and he is one of only 3 people in this year’s graduating class. One of these handmade violins takes about 200 hrs to make and sells (on the low end) for about $6,000.  I asked him to let me take a picture while he was checking on it between flights.


Over all, I really, really enjoyed talking to and connecting with the people that use Ancestry and understand what makes them tick.  Like this nice lady. She brought these books she had made using Family Tree Maker to our booth to show them off. They are over 1,500 pages of her tree, stories, pictures and etc.  Amazing.


I missed DMP and the girls like crazy and was so, so, so glad to get home (and it only was partially due to the 3 flights I had to take).  No one missed me too terribly while I was gone (except Chester) but they were all really glad when I came home. Birdy kept kissing me and sitting on my lap with her hand on my chin saying “I luff you!”. 

EJ was very excited to see me too, but it might have had something to do with the presents I brought- giveaways from other confrence booths!  They loved ’em!

May 22, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

An open letter to DMP

Dearest DMP,

In this tough economy, I understand that it is difficult to find a job and that you are having a tough time filling all of the time you have on your hands.  I suggest you take up a hobby for which you are fantastically suited for and that utilizes the talent you posess that all of the brothers-in-law are jealous of- your ability to grow lots and lots of facial hair.


You see, today it has come to my attention that there are beard clubs (they let people with moustaches in too!) and, best of all, a World Beard and Moustache Competition!  I suggest you consider the following categories:

Imperial: The "Imperial"

The Styled Moustache:


I really think you have a chance. Particularly I think you could have an edge by utilizing actual pictures of some spectacular moustaches from the past.  Personally, I think you could take some tips from the distinguished facial hair of my forefathers.  For instance, you could go with a well-groomed distinguished moustache like a young Henry Clegg Jr:


I’m also a fan of the flowing goatee sported by Fredrick Lewis (Henry Clegg’s wife Ann Lewis’ father, BTW):


Of course, the best ancestral beard has to be Joseph S. Murdock, sporting the “natural”:


Just a thought. Or, you know, you could look into taking up another hobby, like collecting bottle caps.



April 26, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Matilda Elisabeth Draeger Kinsel

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of Matilda, but I wanted to continue my occasional blog series featuring some of my ancestors and their stories and she is an interesting one to me.

Matilda Elisabeth Draeger was born in Germany 13 Oct 1839.  As of right now, I don’t know where she was born, who her parents are or much about her life until she married Johann Gottfried Kinsel in 1860 at age 21. 

However, the internets have directed me to a book written by an englishman that was published in 1842 that describes “The Rural and Domestic Life of Germany“.  He paints a picture of small German villages being a lively and interesting place.  He describes how many of the houses have arched dorways and several are painted with bright colors and vines trained up the sides. Women gather at centeral fountains to gather water and gossip.


He describes young German girls of the time like this “The children are odd little objects; thick, well fed and with plenty of hair, in German fashion; the little girls, in bodices which seemed ready to burst with plumpness with their hair in tails. The larger having their tails hanging down theeir backs and the smaller, having theirs brought from the sides of their heads in hanging bows to their ears over which they pass. Most of them were without shoes and stockings.”

On 20 May 1872, Matilda and Gottfried and what appears to be their 6 (!) children  and 448 other passsengers boarded the ship Celestial Empire in Bremen, Germany to join the first wave of German immigrants migrating to the American midwest- in their case, Ohio.


After about 8 weeks of travel, they arrived in New York on 15 July 1872.  And according to the captian, the voyage was not easy. I found a description from the Captains log of this particular voyage (!) and he described it “… have had but 8 dry days during the entire passage; has had 1 birth and 14 deaths…”.  

Matilda and Gottfried settled in Benton, Ottawa County Ohio.  She lived there until her death on 30 Dec. 1922.  When I have more time, maybe I’ll start a “part 2” to cover her life in the U.S.

April 7, 2009. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Julia Dorthea Treter Kinsel

This is the beginning of an occasional series where I attempt to flesh out the lives of our ancestors.  This will likely lean heavily toward the Kinsel side of things (sorry Mom) since the Mongomery line has lots of stories and work done.


Julia “Dora” Treter Kinsel was born in Yurneschavo, Cries Schroda Province, Posen, Germany.   Here parents were Daniel and Julia Baumert Treter. She had 3 brothers and one sister-, Ferdinand, Edward, Ameal (possibly Emil) and Anna.

In 1964, when Dora was just 14, her family left from Hamburg, Germany on the ship Thuringia.  She and her family settled in Caroll, Ohio.  Her father is listed in both the passenger list and in the 1889 census as being a “farmer”.   During the 1800’s, many German immigrants came to Ohio to take part in the American dream.  Most of their neighbors  in the 1880 census are all from Germany or Prussia, so it perhaps wasn’t as much of a “culture-shock” as we might think to move from her home in Germany to Ohio.

Dora met Otto “Adam” Emil Kinsel, another German Immigrant, and they were married 11 Mar, 1883. They had 6 children- 5 boys Emil Otto, Edward August, Henry Willie, Alfred August and Otto Godfriedt.  Their oldest was their only girl- Matilda Dorthea.


Dora and her sons in 1946.

Adam died when Matilda was just 13 years old.  According to his obituary, he was “attempting to raise a bent” (i learned that a “bent” is an individual assembled section of timber that makes up the framework of a barn) with his wife and two brothers. One of the posts slipped and he fell and got caught between the plank and a sill.  His head was “mangled” and had a number of ribs broken.

I can only imagine what it must have been like for Dora- not only did she lose her husband, but her children weren’t old enough to really help out with the farm – their only means of income.  The 1900 census shows that they had a hird laborer working for them on the farm. That must have been a big help.

Dora died 2 September, 1950 at the age of 89.

March 6, 2009. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 6 comments.

Slave Manifest indexing


Over the past couple of days, I’ve been indexing slave manifest records with the Ancestry World Archives Project.  These are records that were kept when slaves were transported by ship from place to place.  These are really valuable records for people who have slave ancestry since it usually contains the owner or shipper’s name (if they were perhaps being shipped by a company from one place to another to be sold). That is key info for researching ancestors who are difficult to find.

I wasn’t prepared for how poignant an experience this would be for me.  Seeing these names of men and women – most of whom don’t have last names- written out makes me think of who they were and what their life was like. I just got an image that lists a young woman and then 4 children, boys 8, 6, and 4 and a little girl, 2. I  hope that these were her children being transported with her- but the reality is that they could not be and, since slaves were property, they could have been taken from their parents to be sold elsewhere (surely they wouldn’t sell little kids 2 or 4, right? they couldn’t do much…).

It is also interesting to see how many are listed as “mulatto”. It is sad that people who had a white parent were still considered slaves.

I’m so grateful that this work is being done. I have a nephew who is black will one day likely want to seek out his family tree (he is adopted) and I hope that with the help of putting projects and indexes like this online, that process will be easier.

Check it out- indexing is fun, easy and you can tell me what you think of the tool and process 🙂

February 17, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.