Monday, June 29, 2015

Military Service: 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,
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 Service: 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] []

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Fathers' Day!

Unfortunately, I didn't know my grandfathers. Nathaniel Gardner died many years before I was born. Roy J. Brown died when I was a toddler and I have no memories of him. I wish I had memories of loving grandfathers but I have gathered a much information as I have been able about their lives. And I do have spent many, many happy times with my Daddy.

Center Photo:
Left Photo:
Right Photo:

Happy Fathers' Day!

In remembrance of my father & my grandfathers. 

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.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Census Sunday – The 1869 Hungarian Census

I have used US Census reports many, many times. I have also used Irish census reports. Both taught me a wealth of information about my family’s branches. For the first time I have information form the Hungarian Census.

The Census.

According to Ancestry: The 1869 Census is a “people” census, attempting to enumerate all individuals of all religions, regardless of property ownership. The Census was created by the Hungarian Government. The broad scope of the census makes it particularly valuable for genealogical research. The census was mainly recorded in the Magyar (Hungarian) language, though census records from some areas may also include other languages such as Slovak.

The census is available in the LDS' Family History Library Catalog catalog as Place (Hungary), Topic (Hungary-1869 Census). The microfilms present the towns in alphabetical order of their current Slovak name, with the Hungarian name (under which the records were created) in parenthesis.

The census is available on line at JewisGen where it is searchable and in English. This is a terrific website with much information for Jewish research in more than a dozen countries.

My Family.

My maternal grandfather was Nathaniel Gardner, son of Leopold Gartner and grandson of Markusz Gartner. My 2x grandfather and family are in the 1869 census in Tokaj, Hungary. The census gives me birthdates for the family and the names of his children.

Census                                                          Notes
Mark Gertner b 1826                                       Markusz Gartner b Dukla, Poland
Devorah Horn Gertner b 1838                         married in Dukla, Poland

Children:                                                       Oldest children born in Dukla, Poland
Leib b 1853                                                  Leopold; birthdate varies in other records         
Hani b 1860
Hirsch b 1861
Laban b 1862                                                 Solomon
Herm b 1862                                                  Hermina
Izrael b 1864, Tokaj                                       born Tokaj, Hungary
Jakob b 1868                                                 born Tokaj, Hungary

With Thanks.
Thanks to Robert J. Friedmanfrom Steps to the Past LLC. Robert is a professional genealogist who has been researching my Gartner roots for me. He is a member of the Association ofProfessional Genealogists. The census report is just a tiny portion of the information he has uncovered for me.

Népszámlálás, 1869 (1869 Census) of Zemplén megye (Zemplén County), Tokaj, Tokaj district, house no. 423, p. 184-185, Mark Gärtner and family; Magyar Országos Levéltár (Hungarian National Archives), Budapest,Hungary; FHL microfilm 720008.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My Ritters from PA & OH found in IN

I was very happy to find this reference to my Ritter family on Genealogy Gophers. My blogging friend, Charlie Purvis from Carolina Family Roots told me about the search engine on Genealogy Gophers where you can search 40,000 digital genealogy books. Thanks, Charlie!

"Elmer Ritter. The Ritter family has been identified with Steuben County over sixty-five years. Elmer Ritter, who was born and reared in this county, has been in business at Fremont for a number of years and is the postmaster of that city.

"He was born in Steuben Township of Steuben County August 10, 1867. His father, Philip Ritter, was born in Union County, Pennsylvania, in 1820, a son of John Ritter, who was soon after the birth of this son moved to Wayne County, Ohio, and later learned the trade of carpenter, and in July 1852, he settled in section 6 of Steuben Township. He bought 128 acres of heavily timbered land, and built his house of hewn logs the same spring. In 1868 he constructed a more commodious residence, and his success as a farmer gave him a place of nearly 200 acres, most of which was improved under his direct management and supervision. He continued to work at his trade as a carpenter and was also an undertaker in his locality for nearly half a century. He was a member of the United Brethren Church.

"Philip Ritter married for his first wife Lucy Ann Kope, who died in 1854, the m other of three children, Henry, Mary and Jacob. Philip Ritter married for his second wife Martha (Gillander) Anderson, who was born in the north of Ireland. Of their eight children six are still living, named Martha, Barbara, Theophilus, Lavina, Elmer and Orpha.

"Elmer Ritter grew up on the old homestead in Steuden Township, attended the local schools there, and on moving to Fremont he engaged in the draying business for five years, also sold meat for seven years and then resumed farming for three years. He was appointed to his present duties and responsibilities as postmaster of Fremont May 15, 1916, and has given a most gratifying administration of his office. 

"Mr. Ritter is a staunch democrat and served one term as a member of the City Council of Fremont. He is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America, and he and his family are members of the Methodist Church. In 1889 he married Miss Jennie Saul, of Steuben County. Of their two children a daughter died in infancy and the son, Saul C., was born January 8, 1892. The son was educated in the public schools of Fremont and on April 26, 1918 joined the army, being assigned on account of his previous experience, to the post office department and was located at Camp Taylor, Kentrucky. He has recently returned from service and is now assistant postmaster at Fremont, Indiana."

Source: Ford, I. (1980). Noble County from History of northeast Indiana. Knightstown, IN: The Bookmark.