Checking In

Photo by SzaboViktor on Unsplah

Hello Followers. I wanted to check in with you since I have not written a blog in quite some time. The last real blog was March 19, so almost a month now. Like you, my family has been self-isolating. Not only from the virus but the crazier people who do not think it is a serious threat.


My son and I are both essential works so we have been working except for my Easter vacation. I am working four hours in the office and four hours at home. My son works all day in the warehouse. Neither of our companies allows outside visitors. We are both very careful as my mother, who is in her late 70s, lives with us.


Since I am working from home I have not had a lot of the extra family history time I see a lot of people talking about. But, I have tried to take advantage of the free sites and free records that have become available. It’s funny, some of the records I have run across have names that I could have used a couple of years ago. But, now I at least know I am on the right track.

I did have success with my 80 year old uncle’s tree. Back on Thanksgiving he was telling me about his brick wall with his grandparents on his mother’s side. Her father seems to have disappeared after deserting her and her brothers. The name he always went by with this family seems to actually be a nickname. In tracing the date of birth and his birthplace, we tracked down what we think is his real name.

With the help of the West Virginia Archives and History Library, we followed these coincidences and found all kinds of information on his family. But, until we find a document where he uses his nickname along with his real name, we cannot be 100% sure it is him. Or, until we can find some DNA matches. Once we entered his real name into our database, a whole slew of information and family members popped up. Including others on their public trees who seemed to have come to the same conclusion. And, here’s the kicker, it seems there is another family who this man deserted…under his real name. We hope to connect to this family to find some answers.


I’ve also been doing a lot of gardening, my other great passion. We had some umbrella palms start to take over so we had them pulled out, by the root balls. Little did I know a few years after I planted them, they would become evasive! They loved the wet clay soil, too much! I’ve since been filling the spaces in with some organic matter from my compost pile. I’ve also added a few pieces of cardboard and will mulch and soil over that. It’s like having a blank canvas to start planting in.

And, my flowers are blooming. Always a welcome sight and lifts the spirits. My garden is defintely a great boost for my mental health.


I cannot seem to concentrate enough to pull an ancestor story together for a blog, but I did want to check-in. I hope that you and your family are safe and well. As our ancestors did from their pandemics, this too shall pass.

My Little Protégé

The last couple of weeks have been busy! Sure, I am busy working my full-time job, but my dabblings with my family history, as well as other’s family history, have kept me hopping.

However, this makes it all worthwhile.

This young girl is my true young protégé! She is so very excited, as are her mother and grandparents. Showing her documents and how to read them has been amazing. It helps that she is smart as a whip.

We use Zoom, video conferencing, where I can annotate, share our screens, and make notes on a whiteboard. She has genuinely picked up on chasing the leads and picking apart the information in the records.

I enjoy teaching family history research. Let me know if I can pique your interest. Visit https://loganalogy.com/genealogy-classes/ today.

Henrich “Henry” Heilig- Clockmaker Family (Logan)

Johann Henrich Heilig is my 6th great grandfather. He was born in in 1700 and married Susanna De Wees Rittenhausen in 1729. I wrote about the Rittenhouse family and their papermills here. Also, join the Rittenhouse Family Descendants and Friends Facebook page and learn about all the wonderful things they are doing to preserve the Rittenhouse legacy. There is a Rittenhouse Town Board of Directors. They also manage the Homestead House (1707) and the other houses in the village, as well as a Barn that was built during WPA and the grounds.

Some historians place Henrich’s birthplace as Hannover, German. But, other more recent historians say it is Baden-Wuerttenburg, Germany. Johann arrived in Philadelphia in 1720 on the ship “Polly.” Ships were not required to furnish a list of passenger names until 1727. Since their names are not shown on any lists after 1727, they must have arrived prior. Most information I have found says 1720.

Records state his Naturalization was on 11 Apr 1747. According to the Pennsylvania Archives. The requirements at the time were that they had to be a resident of the colonies for 7 years.


Henry, as he was now called, was by trade a clockmaker. It was a skilled and respected profession. At that time, clocks were for navigation and surveying, as well as time keeping.


Henry and Susanna lived first in Cheltenham. And, bought parcels of land in 1749 and 1750. It was on the boarders of Pennsburg and Upper Hanover Townships in Montgomery County. This land was from William Parsons who was a surveyor for the Penns. The homestead passed from Henrich to his son George. George passed it on to his son George Jr. and finally passed to the Hoch family in the 1860s. The house remains in the Hoch family today.


From the https://www.pennsburg.us/borough-history website:

Prior to 1684, the Lenape Indians roamed the hills and fished the streams of the land on either side of the Perkiomen Creek. In 1684, the Indians lost this land when  William Penn purchased it for reportedly “two watch coats, four pairs of stockings and four bottles of cider”.  In time, Pennsylvania Germans settled in the area. Around 1840, the area now know as Pennsburg began to take on the appearance of a village.  The hub consisted of a general store, a carpenter and blacksmith shop and several houses.

Most of the land was owned by the Heilig Brothers.  They owned and  resided in the oldest house in Pennsburg located at Seminary and Fourth Streets. The Heilig Brothers took it upon themselves to refer to this village as “Heiligsville”. Residents had their own ideas, and out of loyalty to the then Pennsylvania Senator, James Buchanan, wanted to name the area Buchanansville.


As the village grew in size, a meeting was held in 1843 at the Hilleg’s family store to decide on a permanent name and lay out boundary lines.  After a week long bitterly contested battle, it was finally decided to name the village “Pennsburg” after William Penn.


Henrich and Susannah had five children:

i. Heinrich Heilig, b. 1722 , ii. Jurg George Heilig, b. 1720; d. 1796, Upper Hanover Township., iii. Johannes Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.).
iv. Anna Maria Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.), m. Michael Slonaker., v. Susanna Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.), b. 1726; m. Henry Deany.


Johannes or John changed the surname to Highley. The other children kept the German spelling of Heilig.

This notation appears on a locally sold post card by Len Hillegass of the Heilig House: “The Heilig House at 313 W. 4th Street is considered to be the oldest house in Pennsburg. Wounded and ill Colonial Soldiers were cared for there by the very compassionate Heilig family during the Colonies’ fight for independence from British rule during the American Revolution.” Album by Reid Heilig
You can see other pictures of the house at https://imageevent.com/heilig/heiligheritage/heilighousepennsburgpa?n=1&z=2&c=4&x=0&m=24&w=0&p=0

Henry was a clockmaker. He passed down the art of his clockmaking skills to his children and nephews. One of the most famous being David Rittenhouse, who was an avid astronomer, he built complicated astronomical clocks and orreries, or planetary models, that not only kept time but predicted celestial events.

David Rittenhouse tall case clock. 1984.0416.007.

Henry is even listed in the U.S., Craftperson Files, 1600-1995.

With hand made brass works in the German style, it consists of 19 bells, a wooden cylinder with pins that activate 19 hammers to play tunes, a bone wave to switch tunes. Iron frame is dovetailed together. You can read more about each piece on Reid Helig’s site at https://imageevent.com/heilig/hheiligclock/themusicmechanism

Henry was buried along with this wife in the mostly Rittenhouse family cemetery, Methacton Mennonite Cemetery. Click here for a partial list of burials with links to tombstone photographs. Henrich’s and Susannah’s are below. This cemetery is located in Worcester Township, Montgomery County, PA.

There is a wonderfully thorough history written by Linton E. Love, a descendant of the Rittenhouse family. In it are the descendancts of Henry and Susannah. Linton has created a database extending from the 17th century up to
the 21st century from Claus to his 12,810 descendants as of March 2005!

Do you have a Heilig clock? You might!

One-On-One Virtual Classes

One-on-One Virtual Exchange

Introducing affordable one-hour genealogical sessions!

  • Virtual Family History Classes through Zoom (Video Conferencing much like Skype or Google Hangouts).
  • Virtual tutoring individual screen shares a virtual whiteboard to work on: 
    • Family tree creation.
    • Records search for documenting your family history.
    • Break down brick walls on a particular ancestor.

30 minutes of free consultation to discuss your needs, prior to the paid session.

Schedule your session today by selecting the appropriate picture below.

FAMILY HISTORY DETECTIVES

VIRTUAL BASIC FAMILY HISTORY CLASS

Basic Family History Class covers how to research your family tree, step-by-step.  Please note, after the second Basic Family History Class — you will be sent access to the materials to review and refer back to, at your leisure.  The class was designed with children in mind, but anyone is welcome to take the class.

The class is divided into five sessions and teaches how to start to trace an ancestor.

Benefits:

  • How to start a family tree and where to look for clues for who your ancestors were, leading to who you are.
  • How different people in your family are related, and how to make a pedigree chart.
  • Using Zoom, I will guide you along the way and help you to organize your findings, locate different sources, and learn how to cite your research.
  • There are many genealogy activities on the internet, but this class will allow you to ask questions in a virtual classroom.

We use Google Classroom for this class. Be sure to add the extension DocHub (free) to your Google Chrome in order to open and edit certain assignments.

Learn more at https://loganalogy.com/genealogy-classes/ 

Getting the Most Out of Indexes and Hints

Lately, I have been helping several people with their family history. One thing that they have all in common is the same issue I ran into when I first started. They did not take full advantage of the document hint that was given to them when they were researching.

For instance, a man and I had both located a census on his relative. He took it at face value, only looking at the page that, in this instance, Ancestry® had provided. It showed the page of his ancestor and their children. However, when I looked at the same document, I was able to find the wife’s family in the same census record. How? By using the back and forward arrows to look at the other pages in the census.

Most families tended to stay in the same neighborhood if not living together. In this case, they were neighbors. I’ve found where both sides of the family were neighbors up and down the street. Of course, with the inventions of cars, airplanes, and other transports, this won’t be the case for our generations and those that come after us; we move around more often.

Another common mistake is to look at the index only for information rather than looking at the whole record. For instance, take this death record of my great grandmother, Caroline Stitt Logan. The index shows her relevant details, such as her date of birth, date of death, etc.

But, if you click on the document, it shows her cause of death, the informant for the certificate (my great grandfather signed it), where they lived, where her parents were from, and where her burial was.

Another example is of this obituary that came up under Caroline’s name. If you only go by this index, then you would think that it is the obituary for Caroline, but it is not. It is for her father, William.

Click on the obit and look at all the information we have. It lists William’s father’s name and William’s children, with their married names.

The most fascinating records to do this with are passenger lists and immigration paperwork. Not only can the passenger list tell you where your ancestor is going, but it can tell you where they are from and whom they are visiting. Some immigration paperwork will list family names, birth dates, etc. You may even get a picture of the immigrant, depending on the time frame.

Dissect every document you can get your hands on. You never know what you may discover.

But, what if there is no image to click on when you find an index? Look at the film number or the “source information” at the bottom of the index. For instance, here is the index for Elizabeth Hennig.

There is no document to click on and dissect. But, there is “Source Information.”

The source information tells me that the original data can be found in FamilySearch. After pulling up FamilySearch.org, click on “Search” and then “Records.” Then “Restrict Records By” “Film Number.” Enter the film number found on the Ancestry index. In this case, it is film number 527772. Once there, you click on the link it provides and then the film number from the index.

Click on the magnifying glass next to the record your researching, in this case, the 527772.

It would help if you remembered that humans indexed and scanned these records. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to how they scanned in the images. If you are lucky, they are by date, but sometimes they are scanned in randomly. It would serve you well if you were patient.

Then go back, as have been doing, and look at older records that you may have placed an index hint to and see if you can get more information out of that source. You may be surprised!

Good luck! Let me know if you need assistance.

Reconnecting

Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, and it is also a great way to reconnect with family as well. Yesterday I took my mother to her sister’s house for Thanksgiving. All her siblings were there too. Mom is seventy-six, but has been sick for the last couple of years and hasn’t visited face to face with them.

It was a pleasant visit. My two aunts and my uncle were there. My son, mom, and I. My cousin, his wife, and children came. We Facetimed with his brother, wife, and cousin who are out of the country. And, we also spoke with another cousin on the phone who is out of state. Isn’t technology grand? 

My uncle has been researching his own family history for decades. He has run into the proverbial brick wall with his great grandfather. I asked him to send me the name, and I would see what I could find out if anything. My uncle also spoke to me about passing on his research to either his children or his grandchildren. He is 80 and is having some medical issues and, therefore, would like to make sure his research lives on.  

He thinks one of his grandaughters is interested, but like me at her age, they are not just into family history just yet. I am hoping that she does find the bug and at least makes sure his ancestry is preserved for generations to come.  

That is why I keep telling my son specific stories I find that I think will pique his interest. I want him to preserve my ancestry research too. 

Everyone should have at least one family historian in their family. It is a vital way to keep our history alive!  

If you need help with your research, visit https://loganalogy.com/family-tree-research-specialist/. I also offer one on one and group tutoring as well as consults. Helping you find your ancestry is my passion.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Family History Research

To get the most out of your family history takes time. You need to research and verify facts and sources. Sometimes you need to order documents. But, what you get out of it is so much more than the time and money you spend. It helps you to understand your family members a little bit more, and it may just help you to understand yourself a bit too.

And, don’t underestimate your children. As I explained in my Family History for Children blog, children are very curious and avid learners of their history. A good age, in my opinion, is about 4th grade.

There are many online programs out there to help you find records but do not ignore the many other outlets that can help you. I have reached out to many other researchers and genealogists in the past to help guide me in the right direction. Some I have hired to look up documents for me in a place I was not able to go to myself. Also, see my post on using Facebook to help you in your research.

Maybe you are not curious enough about your family roots to spend hours digging through historical databases. That is where Family History Researchers like myself can help.

At www.loganalogy.com, there are many ways in which I can assist you in your family history research. I not only blog about my ancestors and family research in general, but I also offer other services.

An online genealogy basics class, I provide one-on-one tutoring as well as group tutoring in the Clay County, FL area, online consultations, and I offer my Family History Research Specialist service.

So, visit me at www.loganalogy.com today, and let’s build something together!

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