Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ancestry Saturday: Just Need to Convince The Unconvinced

A convincing 1900 Census record?
My great grandfather Andrew Alfred Baker's parents have been the toughest ancestors to research. 

I'm convinced his father's name is Michael Baker and his mother was Barbara Fries.  A wedding record of him and one for his sister are the keys to the proof.  I wish there were more, though.

I keep hoping that someone else holds some more keys.  I just need to find them and convince them to share.

My research shows he had two sisters that came to Germany with him and his mother.  One was Lizzie and the other was Lena.  Barbara, his mother, had married Jacob Albert before coming to America in 1884.  There were several Albert children, half brothers and sisters to Andrew.

The Albert cousins have been located and are convinced.  They don't have any more than me, though.

The Baker cousins have been hard to bring around.  What they have or don't have hasn't been shaken loose.

Lizzie married a Luebke, a Perger, and a Carson.  She died in Cleveland in 1941 and is buried in an unmarked grave at Calvary Cemetery there.

Lena I've never found.

Lizzie had at least one child with Fritz Luebke.  Their daughter Cora had four children.  However, all of them passed on without bearing children.  No relatives, thus, survive.

Fritz' son Frederick may have also been Lizzie's son.  He was born before Fritz and Lizzie were married so uncertainty abounds.  No birth record or baptismal record has been found to put the blood line to rest.

Though Frederick has several offspring, the offspring haven't researched their family roots or, at least, reached the same conclusions as me.

I contacted one who, initially, was intrigued by the connection.  His intrigue went away quickly, though, and I count him as now unconvinced.

Here's the data:

Multiple records tie Lizzie Baker to Barbara Fries and, thus, Michael Baker.

That same Lizzie was living with her son, or at least step son, Frederick Luebke in the 1900 Census next door to Barbara Fries and her second husband after Michael Baker died, Jacob Albert.  Next door!

When Frederick died, one of his sons witnessed the death certificate and noted his mother as "Elizabeth Unknown."  At least he acknowledged Elizabeth though.

I wonder out loud.  What's that one more thing I need to convince the unconvinced?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ancestry Saturday: Platt Family Returns to Niagara Falls, Canada


It was almost 50 years ago that my parents, John and Linda Platt, visited Niagara Falls and began their married life that would add three sons and four grandkids to the family tree.

The Platt family has returned.

My kids and I went the opposite direction of the masses and spent Spring Break heading north where there was still snow on the ground and ice bridges in front of the falls at Niagara Falls.  I called it a visit to the white, snowy beaches of the American North Coast that stands in contrast to some of their classmates who visited the white, sandy beaches of our Southern U.S. Coast.

The Skylon Tower that opened in October 1965 wasn't quite completed when John and Linda visited in June 1965.  The famous tower is now seeming a bit dated actually. 


The high-rise hotels and casinos that overlook the Falls weren't there 50 years ago, though there were some hotels thought to be high-rises at the time.  From our 50-story hotel we could see both the American and the Canadian Falls, as well as another 50+/- story casino that stood in front of our view.

The Falls themselves were a little bit different 50 years ago.  Even with measures to control erosion, there's about a foot less earth behind the Falls every 10 years.  After five decades, the difference is measurable indeed.

We also didn't arrive via U.S. Route 62.  The Interstate highway system is now complete that brought us there.  U.S. Route 62 would have taken a couple extra hours each direction. 

EZ Pass made the toll roads and toll bridges easily passable even though the trip into Canada takes a Passport now.  My kids got to learn that their grandfather John Platt headed up the New York State Thruway and, briefly, the EZ Pass agency too.

What a difference 50 years makes, even to one of the wonders of the World.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ancestry Saturday: Where Was Grandpa Born?


My grandfather Richard Edward Platt's obituary said he was born in Youngstown, Ohio.  Every document I can find says the same thing ranging from his retirement article to his death certificate.  Nothing documents his birth though and Youngstown may not be right.

Once, my Aunt said her father was born in Meadville.  Meadville seems more likely.  His father ran the amusement park in Youngstown in 1914, but in the winter months they lived in Meadville at Grace Smith Platt's parents home.

So, which is it?  Youngstown or Meadville?  Ohio or Pennsylvania?  The answer is elusive.

The Youngstown City Health department has no record. 

The Ohio Birth Index has 386 people born in Ohio on March 7, 1914 but not one among them with a name even remotely resembling the name Richard Platt.

The Meadville answer has nothing to back it up either though.

Pennsylvania reports no record of his birth by that name or on that date either.  And the index can't be viewed by the public until the year 2020.

I may never know for sure.