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.

Harry C. Ostrander- Who Are you?!?!

John Mohler and Family

John Mohler and Family- Adella, Harry and Edith are on the far left (Harry is holding baby Edith)

So lately I’ve been working on my family history. Particularly for my paternal line- the Kinsels.  My ggGrandfather Harry Ostrander has been a big mystery and has been by far the biggest research challenge this novice has come up against.  Here is his story so far:

Harry married my ggGrandmother, Adella May Mohler, on 24 Dec 1896 in Henry, Ohio.  They had one daughter, Edith Ostrander- my gGrandmother.  Adella died in 1899.  The family story is that Harry moved back east to New York or Boston to “teach at a University”.  After her mother died when she was 2, Edith only met her father once, but she did know his brother, Uncle Roy.

Edith was raised by her Grandparents, John and Caroline Mohler.  I found her in the 1900 Census (on Ancestry.com) living in Monroe, Henry, OH with them and again in 1910.

So, research-speaking, Harry “disappeared”.  There are many, many Henry Ostranders out there.  I had nothing on him except the snippet of time that he was married to Adella.  Though the help of more experienced researchers that I found on the Ostrander mailing list on RootsWeb.com, I was able to piece together a bit more.  I found him in a tree that was submitted to Family search and it gave me a birth year-1897.  Someone pointed me to an index/transcription of the marriage licence for Adella and Harry.  It includes a note that says “On App of G.W. Ostrander”.  This was likely a relative-like a parent, so that led me to George Washington Ostrander who in the 1880 census, had 2 sons- Harry and Leroy (among his other children).  The dates matched- I had found young Harry!

So I turned my attention to figuring out what happened to Harry after his wife died and he left his daughter with his in-laws.  This is where things REALLY get interesting…

I have two possible Harry Ostranders and I’m not sure which one is “mine”.  Both are listed in the Census records as Harry or Henry C.  Both have approximately the same birth years.  Both have the same birth state and listed parent’s birth states (which Match George W. and Helen Rouse).  Both are married and their oldest child is older than my gGrandmother.
One Harry C. married an Ella and lived in Toledo, Lucas, OH- where George lived, and near where Harry and Adella were married and lived. This is the Harry that is listed as the son of George and Helen in the Ostrander Big Book- a very comprehensive genealogical history of the Ostranders. (BTW- the big book doesn’t mention Adella or Edith at all).
The other Harry C. is found in the census records as being a border in New Jersey in the 1910 census records with occupations at a local College and as married to a Mamie in New Jersey in 1920 and 1930 with similar “college” occupations (administrator, etc.). His only child also is much younger than Edith (like almost 20 yrs).

So the first Harry could be mine because a) it makes sense that he may have stuck around Ohio where his parents lived. b) The Ostrander Big Book (who was researched by people WAY more adept than me) lists this Harry as the son of George Washington.  But the Big Book could be wrong- it doesn’t even mention Edith and Adella.

The second Harry could also be mine because he fits the “gone back east (New Jersy is near New York, right?) to teach at a university or college). It also seems to make sense that a man who is newly single and living as a boarder far away wouldn’t get around to seeing his daughter much.

Both Harry’s are possiblities and I don’t have any clue how to figure out which is the “real” Harry.  I think about him a lot- what must it have been like for him to have his young wife die (how?) and be left with a small baby. It wasn’t like now when it was as acceptable to be a single Dad.  Did he leave thinking he’d establish himself and come back for her? Why did he not have contact with her- maybe there were letters?

I just keep praying that I can be guided in the right direction to “sort” him out.  Help has been coming slowly, but it must be divine because it comes in bursts- I’ll be fiddling around on Ancestry and say “Hey, I’ll try looking for Harry again…” and find new things all the time- even though I think I’m doing the same searches I’ve done before.  I also know that I’ve been guided to the kind people who have been able to help me so far 🙂

July 17, 2008. Tags: . Uncategorized. 2 comments.