FFF~Week #28

Ancestor: My maternal 2nd-great-grandfather (Paul Mayer)

Facts: I’ve discussed Paul Mayer in great detail in earlier posts (one is here).  You can also use the search feature to find more about him.  Still no headway on finding his parents.  Right now, I’m working on a possible connection between Paul and another man named Mayer who came to Indiana at roughly the same time, Anton Mayer.  I did find Paul’s immigration, and he migrated with a younger man by the name of Anton.  The Anton Mayer who came to Indiana is a different Anton, but I have found his father’s name, Bartholomew.  My hope is that Paul and, I presume, his brother Anton are possible cousins to Anton in Indiana.  The Anton who immigrated with Paul remained in Cincinnati for the rest of his life, I’ve found.  Bartholomew, then, would be my Paul and Anton’s uncle.  So, who are Bartholomew’s siblings?

I’ll have to pick up this line of research after my new society gets off the ground.  I might use this case as an example in German research. Note to self: Add that to list of topics!

One-Year Blogiversary

Time flies!

It’s nice to have basically an electronic journal of what I’ve done or attempted to do for the last year.  There were a couple slow months, I know.  I’ll take this time to list my achievements and goals for the next year.

What I Have Done (June 2014-June 2015)

Started this blog on 24 Jun 2014.

Approved for Society of Civil War Families of Indiana (SCWFI) (Civil War ancestor: Paul Mayer).

Approved for NSDAR (Patriot: Thomas Pearson).

Attended the OGS Conference.

Attended the IGS Conference.

Finished my indexing project.

Had a family reunion.

Began researching for a portion of my BCG portfolio.

What I Want to Do (June 2015- )

Start a local genealogy society (officially by 1 Jan 2016).

Volunteer more hours at local historical society.

Swearing-in ceremony for Sarah Winston Henry Chapter of INDAR (Sept 2015).

Create the yearbook for Sarah Winston Henry Chapter of INDAR (Sept 2015).

Attend regional INDAR meeting (Aug 2015).

Add two more of my ancestors to SCWFI (John Ford and Lyman S. Ford).

Begin working on NSDAR supplemental for William Ballard (born 1715).

Finish studies through NGS (got this in under the wire! Signed up for the NGS Guide to Documentation and Source Citation!).

Attend OGS Conference (Apr 2016).

Attend IGS Conference (Apr 2016).

Attend Midwestern Roots 2016 (July 2016).

Attend FGS Conference (Aug/Sept 2016).

Attend APG’s PMC (Sept 2016).

Join PALAM (Oct 2015).

Become an aunt again!! (July or August 2015)

Put together another family reunion (Oct 2016).

Go “on the clock”???

Apply for First Families of Ohio (James A. Fowler and his wife Elizabeth Devore).

Indiana Genealogical Society Annual Meeting and Conference

The IGS Annual Conference was hosted by the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society and held at University Hall on the Indiana State University Campus in Terre Haute, Indiana, on 25 April 2015, featuring Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, for four lectures. Four other lectures were offered, two about Terre Haute/Vigo County and two about DNA.

I decided to sit in on the Terre Haute/Vigo County sessions and then the final two Judy Russell speeches. Mr. Mike McCormick spoke first about the history of the settlement of Terre Haute. His speech was very informative and enlightening as to the history of the town. I was particularly interested in early business, i.e. breweries, and the Wabash-Erie Canal. Mr. McCormick is the county genealogist for Vigo County for IGS, and most of his speech was from memory!

Next up was a session about the website Wabash Valley Visions and Voices (WV3), which is a digital memory project. Donna Adams and Vikki Sordean are members of two of the charter partners, and they spoke about getting this project off the ground. The project includes partners, different regional repositories, who agree to share their digital collection online in this consortium form.  There are thousands of pictures, documents, and oral histories included on the site, searchable by subject, county, name. Much work goes on behind the scenes, including scanning fragile items, labeling them and tagging them to be found online. What a wonderful effort. I applaud them for their hard work and diligence.

image Donna Adams showing a steamboat picture (the Diana, a Wabash River steamboat) from WV3.

The annual meeting of IGS was held after lunch with general updates and an award ceremony. It was nice to hear firsthand what the Society is doing, where it is headed, and learning of achievements from all around the state. I was part of the 2014 inductions into the Society of Civil War Families of Indiana, having my ancestor Paul Mayer proven. I hope to have my father and son Civil War ancestors added to the list next year.

image image

The certificate is beautiful in person.

The final two sessions I attended were both presented by Judy Russell…you can’t go wrong listening to her speak! Her speech, titled “Staying Out of Trouble: The Rights and Responsibilities of Today’s Genealogists,” I have actually heard before; it never hurts to hear this one again though!  Many things to consider when looking for records and when using records (I’m looking at you copyright!).  The final lecture was about the black sheep in the family, “Rogues, Rascals, and Rapscallions: The Family Black Sheep.”  I hadn’t really given it much thought, other than, say, criminals being black sheep, but Ms. Russell outlined three groups of black sheep characters: Law Breakers, Philanderers, and Deadbeats.  The black sheep of the family usually provide colorful records of the past, and, while those related to the black sheep at the time have to live through their blunders, the descendants of said black sheep can revel in the record-finding!



All in all, I had a great couple days in Terre Haute, lots to learn and meeting new people. I am very much looking forward to the Annual Conference to be held 15-16 April 2016 in Fort Wayne, Indiana!

Genealogy Do-Over~Week 9

NOTE: Life got in the way and I totally fell behind! It happens!

Week 9: 27 Feb – 5 Mar 2015

* Conducting Cluster Research
To me, cluster research = FAN club, dubbed appropriately by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG. I’ve mentioned it before here. That will direct you, hopefully, to a much better explanation of this concept. And, the FAN club concept does make sense. I’ve used it several times and have had good results. For instance, I researched and found information on Aaron Ballard’s neighbors in Henry County, Indiana, who mentioned him as being a kind, helpful man. Also, I’m still fleshing out the relationship between Paul Mayer and Casper Zeph, mentioned earlier here. Were they related or just friends?

* Organizing Research Materials – Documents and Photos

My state of organization, at this point, would be best described as so-so. I really need to take a month off work and focus on organizing all that I have amassed but how realistic is that? I have 2 days off a week and those are spent with family, groceries, volunteer work, or other meetings/appointments. My goal *should* be to spend an hour on organizing as soon as I clock out (I work at home, so I could get right on it).  Actually, my documents are organized in so-so fashion; my pictures are a disaster. I used to scrapbook a lot and had sat down and organized every single photo we had into a giant box with dividers. Then, the box got knocked to the floor and all the pics scattered everywhere. They were put willy-nilly back into the box. That was, well, more years ago than I’d like to admit. I pulled the box out yesterday and put it on my list of things to-do, reorganize it!

Genealogy Do-Over~Week 8

Week 8: 20 Feb – 26 Feb 2015

* Conducting Collateral Research

What is a collateral line? In genealogy, a collateral line is someone not directly related to you but related to someone in your direct line. For example, my grandfather’s sister, my great-grandmother’s brother, and so on. They are in your ancestral line but not directly related to you. And, boy, can they provide some missing pieces of information! When I first started out delving into my family history with the help of my fabulous late aunt, she tended to focus on our direct line. That’s all she was interested in and, of course, that’s fine. I began noticing the others associated with our direct line and began tracing them back, as well.

Example of an interesting collateral find in my family: My 2nd-great-GF, Dr. Amos Benton Ballard, was married three times. Researchers before me knew about wives #1 and #3, but no one had documented wife #2…until me. It was a short-lived marriage, maybe 2 years in duration, and produced one son. The marriage ended in divorce, and this woman outlived Amos by many years. I found her obituary that listed her as being his widow. They had been divorced for 40+ years! Interesting! She had never remarried or had anymore children.

Another example: I know my 2nd-great-GF Paul Mayer immigrated in April 1859 on the Germania along with an Anton Mayer, born 1837. In doing some digging for Anton, I found an Anton Mayer who resided in Terre Haute, Indiana, who was born in 1842 in Wurttemberg, Germany, and was a brewer, immigrating in June 1858 on the Bavaria. At first, I thought I had found the Anton who immigrated with Paul. Upon further review, I think the Anton in Terre Haute might’ve been a cousin to Paul.  Anton in Terre Haute was quite a figure in the brewing industry and there is quite a bit written about him, including photos and his father’s name, Bartholomew. So, if I can track down Bartholomew Mayer in Wurttemberg, Germany, I might be able to figure out his siblings, one of whom might be Paul’s father. Whew! In older posts here, I’ve written about Paul Mayer and how he was a brewer/tavern owner in Richmond, Indiana. Richmond and Terre Haute are both on the National Road.

UPDATE: I’ve cleaned up my entire RM7 database and since this week was about collateral line research I added the siblings of a number of my direct-line ancestors!

*Reviewing Offline Education Options

It is well known that when doing genealogical research not all of it can be found online. One must actually leave the sanctity of their home and visit courthouses, libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and so forth. The same thing goes for educational opportunities. In a way, I wish I could turn back the clock a few years so that I could go to school just for family history research. At my age now, though, it’s not feasible, which is why I tend to gravitate toward online educational courses. I do attend conferences and lectures when able. I’ve been to FGS in 2013, NGS in 2014, and Midwestern Roots in 2014. I volunteer when able and hit 1-day conferences, too. My goal is to attend an institute eventually. The problem with that is they are usually 1-2 week’s in duration and that means I’d have to go somewhere, away from home, for that time. My husband does not like the idea of that, he doesn’t like the idea of me being out there, all alone. He’s okay with the genealogy stuff mostly (he thinks sometimes I’m more interested in the dead than the living).

I decided to refresh my memory about the BU online course. As it turns out, it’s a 15-week course and requires 4 texts, all of which I already own. The course is $2695, but since I’m a member of NGS I could get a 10% discount. I did some number crunching and if I could manage to save $400/month between now and September, I could sign up for the fall course. It begins 1 Sep and would be complete by the first week of December. I suppose I could take out a loan, but I’d rather pay for it outright than deal with interest, etc. I think I’ll consider this versus ProGen.

UPDATE: A new Do-Over is beginning the day after this one ends, that would be Friday, 3 Apr 2015! For more info, check here! Make sure to read the very first post from Thomas MacEntee; it’s full of all the instructions you need.

Revisiting Paul Mayer

For some background on Paul Mayer, see this post.

I found out yesterday that the application I completed to join the Society of Civil War Families of Indiana (SCWFI), honoring Paul Mayer, had been approved! He served 3 months in 1861 in the 8th IN Regiment and saw action at the Battle of Rich Mountain in West Virginia with his regiment. I’m still working on finding Paul Mayer’s parents in Wuerttemberg, Germany!

I’m still working on my father/son Civil War veteran combo. I have no trouble linking myself to the son, but the link between father and son will be harder to prove as there is very little documentation linking the two together (the father being John Ford, my Do-Over research ancestor).  Both John and Lyman Ford served in the 59th IN Regiment from 1862 until the war was over.

My DAR application must’ve recently been sent in because my check was finally cashed!

More info on the SCWFI: Indiana Genealogical Society

Casper Zeph

Mr. Zeph is not a relative of mine, that I know of. He was, however, part of Paul Mayer’s FAN club (friends, associates, neighbors). When Paul Mayer was enumerated on the 1860 census in Richmond, IN, he was living in a household with the following:

Gasper Seff, age 32, born Württemberg

Elizabeth Seff, age 32, born Württemberg

Mary Seff, age 4, born Indiana

Paul Myre, age 23, born Württemberg

Drapert Fullhart, age 16, born Württemberg


In trying to figure out any of Paul Mayer’s German relations, I looked at Elizabeth Seff, age 32. A sister, perhaps? Well, Seff is a surname that appears exactly nowhere else in Indiana hardly ever! As it turns out, while doing research at the Indiana State Archives, I was going through the 1862 draft registration book for Wayne County, IN, and stumbled upon a “Casper Zepf,” age 34!

With that clue, I immediately checked more censuses but came up empty handed. The Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond, however, has some newspapers indexed online so I checked those and this is what I found:

Murdered; Richmond Weekly Telegram (RWT) 13 OCT 1866, page 1, column 5

Hmm…no wonder I couldn’t find him on the 1870 census. However, I don’t know where he is buried either.

I found microfilmed early Lutheran church records at the same library, not indexed, and began going through them, page by page. Much like the 1862 draft registration list, I stumbled upon this:




The baptismal record of the son of Casper Zepf, Heinrich Casper Zepf born in 1862, sponsored by one Paul Meyer [sic]. I pulled up the 3 newspaper articles regarding the murder of Casper Zepf, 2 written at the time of the incident in 1866 and 1 written in 1867. As it turns out, Casper Zepf owned a tavern in Richmond, IN, refused to serve three men on a Sunday, and the three men beat him to death, cause of death: a brick to the skull. However, about 6 months later, an article appears in the newspaper stating that the body of Casper Zepf had been disinterred because of suspicion that he might have been poisoned and they wanted to check his stomach contents. This raises a number of questions for me: Suspicion must’ve been high to actually exhume this man’s body 6 months after his murder so there should be some sort of court record? Did they embalm bodies in the 1860s? If not and the stomach and its contents were left intact at burial, could they even be reliably tested 6 months later looking for poison? Who suspected him of being poisoned and by whom? I’m going to need to research court documents for more answers. Regarding the baptismal notation above, my guess is Elizabeth was not a Mayer. Interestingly, I found who I think is her listed on the 1880 census, remarried and living in Wisconsin, with son Casper Zepf and daughter Mary Zepf who is 2 years younger than Casper on that census, plus an older son with a different surname.

My question is: Do I continue to pursue this? Maybe Casper Zepf was just a friend of Paul Mayer’s? Maybe they met on whatever ship they sailed on to get to America? Maybe Paul Mayer just boarded with them? I imagine I’ll check the court records about the whole murder and then exhumation issue. There is also the question of Drapert Fullhart. I can’t find him at all after the 1860 census. I see in my future many hours spent at the Wayne County Courthouse!

From the Richmond Palladium, 11 Oct 1866:


From the Richmond Weekly Telegram, 13 Oct 1866:



From the Indiana True Republican, 27 Jun 1867:


My apologies for the quality of photos; the microfilm printer was broke the day I visited the library, so I took pics of the screen.

Pre-Conference Activities

The day before the conference, Midwestern Roots 2014, I kept myself very busy. I took the day off work and got to the Indiana State Archives at 10 a.m. for a small tour and introduction. I was there until 3 p.m. researching! I needed to do some IN Civil War research on my ancestors, Paul Mayer, John Ford and his son Lyman. I also found my 2nd-great-GF, Amos Ballard, on the 1862 draft list stating he had “disease of the heart” and therefore could not enlist. He was the one who later became a doctor. Also, while looking through the 1862 draft list, I found the name of the man who Paul Mayer is listed as living with on the 1860 census (the first census where Paul is enumerated and I wondered if this man was married to Paul’s sister as they all came from Württemberg). On the census, it was transcribed as “Gasper Seff”; on the 1862 draft list, it’s listed as “Casper Zepf.” Aha! More on that later!

After the Archives, I needed to go to the Indiana Historical Society as I wanted to see the Ballard letters up close and personal. Of course, they are only open until 5 and I’m basically on the opposite side of Indy. Plus, I had had no lunch. I ordered some chilled peach and goat cheese soup and pasta salad online from a place in Indy called Soupremacy (located on the Circle, if you’re ever in town, just go!). I drove down there, called them, and they ran it out to me! Super service! Off to the Historical Society.

I drove around the block a couple times trying to figure out parking; however, I realized what to do, pulled in, and got a great spot. I made it to the Historical Society Library at 4 p.m. (after a few bites of soup and salad!).

There was just so much to see and do at the Historical Society, and, of course, I had only mere minutes. I made my way to the Library, already had the call number on hand, and my materials were brought to the reading room for me. How awesome it was to see and practically touch the same letters my ancestors had written and read, the earliest from 1833 and written by my 4th-great-grandparents. They can be viewed online here:


It was an entirely different feeling to see them in person. I had copies made, as many as I could afford and with the time I had. One letter was written by the sister of my 3rd-great-GM about their mother’s passing. One of the most touching things I’ve read to date.

From the Historical Society, I dashed off to my hotel to check in and get ready for the final event of the day, The Google Earth Genealogy Game Show, held at the Indianapolis Public Library in downtown Indy. It was the first time I had visited their library, and it is gorgeous! The speaker was Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems Podcast, and she took us on a tour of Google Earth using historical questions in game show-style fashion. Lots of fun!

I have used Google Maps a lot in the past but never Google Earth and, boy howdy, what have I been missing! I’ve got a lot of learning to do with Google Earth but what a neat and fun app, especially when used with genealogy!

Afterward, yummy refreshments were served at a reception and then I was on my way back to the hotel for the evening for some much-needed rest and to prepare for the first day of the conference.

I will leave you with this quote I saw at the Indianapolis Public Library:

“Light captured in words won’t hide in shadow; it emerges to illuminate life.”

Caroline (Lichtenfels) (Hammann) Mayer

You might’ve noticed in my posts about Paul Mayer  and the Lichtenfels that when Paul Mayer married Caroline she had a second surname, Hammann. Caroline had in fact been married before marrying Paul, to Christian Hammann. Caroline and Christian were married 27 February 1862 in Richmond, Indiana. They had 4 children, 2 of whom survived. The two who died were listed in the local newspaper. Only one child was identified, Emma, age almost 5 at her death in August 1866. The second child was not listed as male or female, no age, died in August 1867. The surviving 2 children were daughters, Mary Otilia, born 2 December 1862, and Mary Anna, born December 1866. I am not sure what the correct birth order is. It almost seems as though Emma and Otilia might’ve been twins, then the third child was born and subsequently died, and Mary Anna was born last.

Christian was a partner in a brewery in Richmond, called Hammann & Winterling.  On the 1860 census for Richmond, I found a “Christopher” Hammann living with a John Hammann and his family plus a Henry “Winderling.” Christian fell ill with consumption and returned to Germany in 1867 in hopes of finding a cure. He died there, however, in August 1867. It is interesting to note that John Hammann died in August 1866 from cholera, as well as Caroline’s youngest sister Sarah. No cause of death was listed for Emma Hammann, but she also died in August 1866.


I must mention here that I had to look up what a Leiderkranz was. In Richmond at that time, apparently it was a Beethoven Liederkranz, a German musical group.

Unfortunately, I have found no record of burial for either Hammann child who died young. In studying the history of St. Andrews Cemetery (St. Andrews Catholic Church is where they attended), I did find out that there was a first cemetery located just south of the church, but it was soon found to be too small and the cemetery is now at its present-day site. The info, however, did not state if the burials at the first cemetery had been moved or if that small first cemetery is still present. I need to work in more time for research in Richmond!

To me, it sounds as if the mid 1860s were kind of rough for both Paul and Caroline. In my mind, they knew of one another before their respective spouses died, probably moved in the same circles in the mid 1860s, what with going to the same church and being employed in the same line of work and living in the same neighborhood. At some point between January 1868 and January 1869, they must’ve kept one another company in grief. They were married on 4 February 1869 and expanded their family to include:

Joseph Fred, b: Sept 1869 (Joseph on the 1870 census and Fred on the 1880 census), d: 1900

Caroline Elizabeth, b: February 1871, married to Henry Lennard, d: 1906

Albert F., b: December 1874, d: 1929

George William, b: June 1877 (Willie on the 1880 census, George on the 1900 census), d: 1907

Eva P., b: May 1879, married to Joseph Sauer, then Frank Egley, d: 1963

Thomas, b: May 1881 (he was 4 years old when Paul, his father, died), d: 1930

(Of note, on the 1870 census, Caroline’s daughters with Christian Hammann are listed as Otillia [sic] and Anna; on the 1880 census, they are listed as Hannah and Mary. Neither Hannah/Otilia or Mary Anna had any surviving children. Otilia’s marriage certificate to Frank Macke lists her as “M. Otillia” and on censuses with Frank she is listed as “Mary” and “Mary O.” I’m not sure where Hannah came from.)

(Of note, on the 1900 census, the last census Caroline was listed on as she died in 1902, she is noted as having had 10 children, 8 surviving.)

(Of note, I found Otilia’s obituary/death announcement! Three things: She is listed as the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christian ‘Hammon’, went by ‘Tillie’, and her birth date was listed as 2 December 1862!)

(Of note, I’ve requested death certificates on some of the individuals above, so I might add more specific dates in the future.)

Spur of the Moment

Ran over to Richmond again today on the spur of the moment to squeeze in a little more research. Today, I visited the Morrisson-Reeves Library. I reviewed the oldest directory, 1857, and the next few, plus some of the older plat maps. My big find? In the 1863 directory, I found a listing for a ‘Mary Brenker’.


No other Brenkers before or after in the directories I checked. In my post about Paul Mayer, I noted his second wife was Mary Breiker. Her last name, however, is illegible on both her headstone (due to age and wear) and on their marriage license and Breiker was the closest I could get. Could this be the Mary who Paul married? It is of note that I placed her address on an 1854 map, and it is equidistant from where Paul lived and worked. Interesting!

ETA: I also checked for similar spellings of the surname, especially Brinker. Out of the directories I checked during that time frame, I found one Brinker in 1870, none before. Her surname on both the headstone and marriage license appears to have an ‘i’ in the middle so I am leaning toward her surname being Brinker and the Brenker in the directory was a misspelling. I can’t even begin to count the number of ways that Paul Mayer’s surname was spelled in the directories, the censuses, etc.!