Thursday, July 2, 2015

Independence Day!

My husband & I are once again hosting a big family BBQ on the 4th of July! Hurray! It is lots of work and lots of fun. We have a nice screened in porch that is perfect for my uncle, the family patriarch, to sit on a rocker and a big back yard that’s perfect for the younger cousins to run and play. My brothers & cousins all bring a dish to share and my husband is in charge of the grill. There will be lots of laughter; sharing of ‘remember when…’ stories; and, this year, our baby grandson will be passed from one set of loving arms to another.

Each time we gather for Independence Day I set up a family history display of some kind. This year I will focus on our Revolutionary War soldiers: seven of my 5th great grandparents who helped to free us from the British Empire.

I made a trifold display board that includes:

·         A family tree chart from my paternal grandmother going back 5 generations that shows both her Revolutionary War soldiers

·         A family tree chart from my Paternal grandfather going back 5 generations showing his 5 Revolutionary War soldiers

·         An 8x10 Chart for each soldier with his military details

·         The soldiers are numbered, both on the family trees & on the charts, to make it easier for the family to understand how each soldier is related to them.

I will make some copies of this information for those who want to take it home.

Whatever you do to celebrate, remember those who made the day & our country possible.

Related Posts:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Military Monday: Casper Ritter & Casper Ritter, both served in the Revolutionary War

With Independence Day coming soon I have been reviewing the information I have gathered about my family’s Revolutionary War soldiers. We have several, all in my father’s family. One example comes from our Pennsylvania Ritters. I can keep some of them straight but others are confusing.

My 5th great grandfather, Johannes Ritter, Sr. 1743 PA – 1816 PA served in the Lancaster County Militia.[1] Two of his brothers also served. Martin Ritter, 1749 PA – 1827 PA served in the Northampton Militia.[2] Johannes and Martin are easy to keep straight but looking at a third brother gets a little confusing.

Casper Ritter, brother of Johannes & Martin, and Casper Ritter, nephew of Johannes & Martin, both served in the War.  

Casper Ritter                              Casper Ritter [nephew]
Son of Heinrich                                               Son of Casper [yet another Casper]
b c 1749 Bucks, PA                                          b 24 July 1747 Northampton, PA
d 1822                                                             d 2 May 1824 PA
Wife Hanna Ottilia Hertz                                Wife Anna M Germantown
Corporal                                                         Private, Infantry
Northampton Co Militia[3],[4]                         Northampton Co Militia[5],[6]

I have gone back and forth between these two men, trying to keep each straight.  Although they are uncle & nephew they were born and died about the same time & served in the same militia. I am very fortunate to have these patriots in our family and to have some information about their lives. Is it too much to ask that they have different names?


[1] Knox, Larry. The Ritter Family . Privately Printed, 1999.
[2] Roberts, Stroudt, Krick, and Deitrich, THE HISTORY OF LEHIGH COUNTY,PENSYLVANIA AND A GENEALOGICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF IT'S FAMILIES; 1732-1914; Lehigh Valley Publishing Company, Ltd., Allentown, Pa., 1914, Vol. III; pp 1054-1063; Lehigh County Historical Society, Old Court House, P.O.Box 1548, Allentown, PA 18105.
[3] Corporal Casper Ritter, Ancestor #A096300, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Research Database.
[4] Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File, Records of the Comptroller General of Pennsylvania, Corporal Caspar Ritter
[5] Laudenslager, David R. County of Lehigh, Allentown, PA Veterans Affairs Office, Veterans Grave Registration Record. Revolutionary War Veterans. 1. Pennsylvania: 1994.
[6] Private Casper Ritter, Ancestor #A096307, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Research Database.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Military Monday: Lt. Johann Jonas Wolf, Revolutionary War

                                              With Independence Day approaching, 
it feels like time for me to review the
Revolutionary War soldiers in my family. Johann was my 5th great grandfather, on my father's side of the family.

Lieutenant Johann Jonas Wolf, York Co Militia, Pennsylvania

"Jonas Wolf of Berwick Township, second lieutenant in the Fifth (Captain Peter Ickes) Company, Eighth Battalion, York County Militia, according to a return of the York County Militia made in April, 1778; he remained a member of this unit, under the same captain, when (in 1779) it became the Eighth Company of the Seventh Battalion, and was commissioned 'lieutenant', according to a return dated Je 17 and assigned to the year 1779, and one for the year 1783. Lieutenant in a detachment of the York County Militia under a command of Captain John Wampler, in actual service guarding prisoners of war at Camp Security in York County, D 7, 1781 - F 7, 1782.”[1]

Camp Security, Prison of War Camp in York Co, PA: Built in 1781, it consisted of log huts and a large stockade. British, Canadian & Hessian troops were held there. Many had originally become prisoners in Saratoga, NY.

The York County militia, who often sympathized with the prisoners and only loosely guarded the camp, ran Camp Security. A farmhouse still existing on the site may have been used as militia headquarters. The Continental Congress had no money to feed or clothe its military prisoners, so a parole system allowed prisoners to work for local residents thereby supplementing the camp's meager supply of food, clothing and blankets. Wives and children accompanied many of the prisoners, a common practice at that time.

Today Camp Security is the last remaining undeveloped prisoner-of-war camp from the Revolutionary War.[2]  I would like to look into this & visit the site of the camp.

[1] Source: Young, Henry James. Genealogical Reports for The Historical Society of York County: Evidences of the Wolf Families of York County before the Year 1850, 1938. From York County Heritage Trust, 250 East Market Street, York, Pennsylvania.
[2] []

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

DNA, at last!

For a long time I have read blog posts about DNA & genealogy. It has often sounded confusing and technical. However, it also sounds like there is great potential for uncovering more of my family tree. At long last I ordered an Ancestry DNA kit. I registered on line, filled the tube & mailed it in. Stand by for results!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Flag Day: Our Family’s Unofficial Flag

Congress adopted the Stars & Stripes as the official flag of the United States of America on 14 June 1777. In 1949 President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day. This is our 66th Flag Day.

I have a large trunk full of my Nana’s mementos. My Nana, Helen Coyle Gardner, was born 9 January 1897 in New York City. Tucked inside her old school notebook is an American flag. This flag has 42 stars and therefore, it is an unofficial flag.

In 1818 the Third Flag Act came into effect. It said that each new state would not be added immediately but had to wait until the next July 4th to be added to the flag. In 1889 there were 38 stars on our flag. North and South Dakota entered the Union on November 2, 1889, giving us 40 states. Six days later Montana became #41. Three days later Washington became #42. For 243 days we had 42 states. However, those states had to wait until July 4th to see their stars officially on the flag. Flag manufacturers must have gone ahead and made flags with 42 stars, like the flag my Nana owned.

However, on 3 July 1890, Idaho became the 43rd state. The new official flag skipped over 42 stars and went to the 43 star flag as the Third Flag Act required.

My Nana, as a little girl, had this small unofficial flag, folded it and tucked it into her school notebook. I remember my Nana as a woman who was immensely proud of her country and I’m sure she’d be glad to have her little flag brought out for this year’s Flag Day. 

Be sure to fly your flag on June 14th!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Blog Book

Have you turned your blog into a book? I have read posts where bloggers have done this. The idea has great appeal to me. I like the idea of a paper copy of my digital research & discoveries but I am unsure of the best tool for this purpose. I've been spending lots of time recently, trying to decide how to do this.

My Publisher. I have used My Publisher to make beautiful books: Christmas Memories, Don’s ADK Hikes, Adam’s Wedding, Alyssa’s Races. I’ve made photo journals of our trips to Disney, South Carolina, Spain, Tahiti, etc. Each book I have made with them is beautiful, full of good memories & receives many compliments from family & friends. I know this program well but each book takes time & care and is best suited for photo based pages.

Mixbook. I have used Mixbook for cards & family calendars. The calendars illustrate our family fun times & chronicle family birthdays and anniversaries. Each Christmas I give them out as gifts. I made a personalized alphabet book for our grandson that has photos of many our family members. I know this program well but I think that adding each blog post and accompanying photos, one at a time would be a slow process.

Lulu. I looked at this website but did not use it. I normally write my blogs in Microsoft Word, copy & paste them into Blogger & then add photos. I keep the word documents in a folder. I think I’d have to add the photos into the word documents and then change each into a PDF before loading to Lulu. It looks like there are lots of size & color options that look nice but this would be time consuming.

Options. It looks like using any of these options for a blog book would take significant time. That process would take time away from research and actually writing blogs.

Blog2Print. Blog2Print is designed for the purpose of printing blogs. I thought I’d give it a try. I decided I need to make a book/volume for each year of my blog. Each volume would start with my blog anniversary. I decided on a black and white paperback version to cut down on costs. I went ahead and followed the steps to make a book of my blog’s first year. My blog entries & photos went quickly into the program. A Table of Contents was automatically created. I could select a cover design, add photos to the front & back covers, and add a dedication with a photo.

Problems with Blog2Print for me are… There’s not a lot of personalization or I have not learned how to do it. I don’t see an option to change fonts. I have added ‘My Pages’ but cannot see them on the preview so don’t know if they are really there.

I went ahead and ordered a book and it looks nice. Should I make more with Blog2Print? It does move the posts over quickly & easily. Am I happy despite the fact I cannot ‘tweak’ it? Is there a better program out there? Would looking for another program take more time than just going ahead with Blog2Print?

Have you turned your blog into a book? I welcome any suggestions.