Jun 09

Two Ancestral Homes in the Old Country

I am fortunate to have photos of two of my ancestors’ homes. They are not just photos of old homes on this continent. These photos are special because they are from the Old Country–from Germany. I have a photo of a house on my paternal side and several photos of a house on my maternal side. And the homes were not all that far away from each other.

The Rueck house is on my dad’s side of the family and the Schumm house is on my mom’s side.

Christena Rueck (1858-1945) was my great-grandmother. She married Jacob Miller (1843-1918) in 1882 and they were the parents of my grandfather Carl Miller (1896-1973). Carl was my dad’s father.

Rueck home in Appensee, Wuerttemberg.

The Rueck home shown in the photo above was in Appensee, Baden-Württemberg, and was built in the 1500s, according to what is written on the back of the photo. It was razed in the 1980s. Fortunately all of that information is written on the back of the photo along with the names Louise and Ursula Rossle, Karlsruhe. I am not sure who Louise and Ursula were.

I do not know how many generations of Ruecks lived in this home or if my great-grandmother Christena Rueck ever lived there. Perhaps her father Jacob Rueck lived there before immigrating.

Christena Rueck immigrated to America in about 1880 with her parents Jacob and Regina Rueck and Jacob’s two Rueck nephews. They lived in Ohio for a short time until most of the family moved westward, some to Oregon and some to Oklahoma, but Christena remained in Ohio.

John George Schumm home, Ruppertshofen, Wuerttemberg.

The Schumm home shown in the photo above was in Ruppertshofen, Baden-Württemberg, and was built about 1814. My mother was a Schumm and we descend from immigrant John Georg Schumm (1777-1846) who immigrated with his 4 sons and one daughter in 1833. John Georg’s wife died in Germany about 10 years before some of the family immigrated. The John Georg Schumm family lived in Holmes County, Ohio, for a few years before moving to Van Wert County, Ohio, where they established the village of Schumm and the Lutheran church there. I descend from John Georg’s son Johann “Louis” (1817-1855), his son “Louis” John (1851-1938), and his son Cornelius Louis (1896-1986). Cornelius was my mom’s father.

John George Schumm home, Ruppertshofen, 2002.

John George Schumm home, Ruppertshofen, 2002.

I am not sure if the Schumm home is still standing. Over the years several Schumm descendants have visited our ancestral town of Ruppertshofen and they took these photos.

Both the Rueck and Schumm houses look a lot alike. And they look large. Particularly the Schumm home. Perhaps that was the standard type of house built in Württemberg at that time.

Both Appensee and Ruppertshofen are in Baden-Württemberg and are about 27 miles apart.

Location of Appensee and Ruppertshofen, Wuertemberg. [1]

Yes, I feel very fortunate indeed that my family saved these old photos, giving us a look back into the past.


[1] Google.com search, distance between Appensee and Ruppertshofen, Wuertemberg.

Jun 06

Tombstone Tuesday–Infant Daughter of Charles E. & Mary P. (Andrews) Pickering

Pickering infant, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of the infant daughter of C.E. & M.P. Pickering, located in row 6 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Dau. of
C.E. & M.P.
Born & Died
Oct. 14, 1915

The church records indicate that “Baby Pickering” died of weakness on 8 November 1915 at the age of only a few hours. This record indicates that she was buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery on the 9th. Survivors included Charles Pickering and his wife.

Her Mercer County death certificate gives 15 November 1915 as her birth and death date. This record indicates that she died of premature birth, born at 6½ months, and that she was buried on 16 November. H. & F. Pulskamp, Celina, in charge of the funeral arrangements. This record also names her parents as Charles and Mary (Andrews) Pickering and that she was born and died in Liberty Township. [1]

Her tombstone gives her death date as 14 October 1915.

Three different records and three different dates.

Pickering infant daughter, 1915 Ohio Death Certificate.

The Pickering name is mentioned in Zion Chatt’s records only about three times and they likely were not members of the church.

This child was the first child born to Charles and Mary Pickering. Her parents were both from the Chattanooga, Ohio, area.

Charles Pickering married Mary Andrews on 8 June 1915 in Celina, married by Rev F.G. Reitz, the Evangelical Lutheran Minister there. Charles was born in Blackcreek Township on 1 February 1886, the son of John and Barbara (Johnson) Pickering. Mary Andrews was born in Liberty Township on 23 February, 1898, the daughter of John and Sophia (Alt) Andrews. It appears that her parents’ consent was not given even though Mary was under age. Charles was a farmer and Mary was a housekeeper. This was Charles Pickering’s second marriage. [2]

Charles was first married to Phoebe Kendall and they had a son Russell Francis, born 12 August 1907, [3] Phoebe (Kendall) Pickering died of tuberculosis on 23 June 1912 at the age of 28 years, 4 months, and 13 days. She was buried on the 25th. Zion Chatt’s records indicate that she was not a member of the church but that she was under the spiritual care of Zion’s pastor at the time of her death. It appears Zion Chatt’s minister officiated at her funeral but I do not know where she is buried.

I found it interesting that when I located Charles and Phoebe Pickering in the 1910 census someone indexed the road they lived on as Ruttebegga Pike in Blackcreek Township. I wondered where that road could have been and when I looked at the census image itself I saw that the road was actually Ruttledge Pike. This census indicates that Charles and Phoebe had been married four years, married about 1906, and that Phoebe had given birth to just one child. [4]

By 1920 Charles and Mary (Andrews) Pickering lived in Jefferson Township, Mercer County, Ohio, where Charles worked as an oil pumper. They had two children of their own by this time, Lloyd and Theodore. Their household in 1920: Charles, 32; Mary, 21; Russell, 12; Lloyd, 3; and Theodore, 1. [5]

By 1930 the Pickerings had moved from Mercer County to Medina, Ohio, where Charles found work in the oil fields there. Their family had also grown by 1930: Charles E, 46; Mary P, 31; Lloyd E, 14; Theodore D, 12; Alma C, 10; Marcile O, 8; Otis O, 6; and Joyce I, 1. [6]

They remained in Medina County, at least another 10 years and had at least three more children. Their household in 1940: Charles, 56; Mary, 41; Lloyd, 23; Otis, 17; Joyce, 11; Charles, 9; Gaylord, 6; and Loretta, 2. [7]

Charles Pickering died 22 July 1946 and his wife Mary died in 1956. They are both buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Lodi, Medina County. Their Find a Grave.com memorials indicate that Charles was born 1 February 1884 and that Mary was born in 1900.  [8]


[1] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” FamilySearch.org, Pickering 15 Nov 1915; Liberty Township, Mercer County Deaths; FHL microfilm 1983549.

[2] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” FamilySearch.org, Charles Pickering and Mary Andrews, 8 Jun 1915; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 10, p.470, no.939; FHL microfilm 914959.

[3] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” FamilySearch.org, Russel Francis Pickerin, 12 Aug 1907; Blackcreek, Mercer Births, unpaignated; FHL microfilm 2367099.

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 107, p.11A, dwelling 228, family 230, Charles E Pickering; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1375227, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[5] 1910 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Mercer, Ohio, ED 136, p.12B, dwelling & family 254, Charles Pickering; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[6] 1930 U.S. Census, Chatham, Medina, Ohio, ED 2, p.5B, dwelling 130, family 138, Charles E. Pickering; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 2341582, NARA microfilm T626, roll 1848.

[7] 1940 U.S. Census, Chatham, Medina, Ohio, ED 52-2, p.4B, household 71, Charles Pickering; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T627, roll 3112.

[8] Find a Grave.com, Woodlawn Cemetery, Lodi, Medina, Ohio; Charles E Pickering memorial no. 52762215; Mary P Pickering memorial no. 52762253.

Jun 02

Who Was Ida Brewster?

In last week’s blog post I mentioned the water problems we had in our basement after receiving 5 inches of rain in a very short period of time the Wednesday night before. Our sump pump did not fail. Ironically it went out just three days before and Joe installed a new one. No, the rain came down so hard that it came in the basement window in the back room.

I had a hard time believing that so much water could come in through the bottom of a window but I had the chance to view it first-hand last Sunday night when we received another very hard rain–another 1.7 inches to be exact.

I was down in the basement checking on that same window when the water started coming in again. It was like a little waterfall and I could not stop it. I felt so helpless. I yelled for Joe as I tried to pack the bottom of the window with the rag I was holding. The puny cloth did not do much good and the water flowed down the wall and rapidly moved across the floor as I yelled to Joe, encouraging him to hurry up and get the wet/dry vacuum to suck up the water.

I moved boxes and other stuff across the room and tried to mop the water back to Joe, who finally had the vacuum up and running under the window.

Thank goodness that rain did not last long and we were able to keep ahead of the water that night. We certainly did not need any more rain. The standing water outside had been receding from Wednesday’s 5 inch downpour and things weren’t looking too bad that Sunday.

We sometimes watch the HGTV show Beachfront Bargains and one of the things people always ask for is a home with a view of the water. Well, we have that right here this year. For the last two weeks we have been able to see water from every window in our house–a view of water in every direction. Never mind that most of that water is standing in a field our in our front yard.

However, the basement water problem actually turned out to be a good thing. I decided to make lemonade out of lemons and take the opportunity to give the basement a good cleaning and rearrange things while everything was moved around and the area rugs were outside drying out.

1894 Book from Ida Brewster. (2017 photo by Karen)

While going through some boxes I found this nice old book that I think we found while going through things at my mom’s last year. I remember seeing the name Ida Brewster written in pencil on the inside and figured that it came from my dad’s side of the family. I knew someday I would try to figure out who Ida Brewster was. It should be as simple as searching my database.


The inscription reads: Presented to Harry Snyder by Ida Brewster, Dec. 25, 1894. The book, Youthful Yarns, has a copyright of 1894 and Ida probably purchased it as a Christmas present for little Harry.

1894 Book from Ida Brewster. (2017 photo by Karen)

The inscription is dated 1894, two years before my grandmother Gertrude (Brewster) Miller was born. I looked through my Brewster database but there are no Ida Brewsters in it. Maybe Ida married a Brewster–a Brewster by marriage. Or maybe my database is incomplete.

As I searched the Internet looking for an Ida that married a Brewster I learned that a Charles W. Brewster married an Ida M. Cramer in 1898. There is a Charles William Brewster (1871-1943) in our family, the son of Daniel and Sarah (Fetters) Brewster. But that really did not fit because the book was signed with the date 1894 and Ida M. Cramer would not have been a Brewster until 1898. I looked at this couple anyway.

I learned this was not my relative, but another Charles W. Brewster, born in Pennsylvania in September 1872, [1] who married Ida M. Cramer 20 February 1898 in Noble County, Indiana. [2] Ida was born September 1879 in Indiana. [1] I tracked Charles and Ida in the 1910-1940 censuses while at the same time I tracked my Charles W. Brewster (my relative) and his wife. The other (non-relative) Charles W. Brewster died in 1947 and his wife Ida May (Cramer) died in 1952. They are both buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Noble County, Indiana. [3] I believe I can eliminate this Ida Brewster as the presenter of this book.

So who was the Ida Brewster who gifted this book? Was Ida a nickname or an unknown middle name of one of my relatives? Maybe.

Ida would have been from the generation before my grandmother Gertrude, probably from Gertrude’s father Philip’s generation. Gertrude, born in 1896, was the oldest child in her family and her father Philip was the oldest child in his family.

1894 Book from Ida Brewster. (2017 photo by Karen)

I noticed that that one James Thomas Brewster married Ida Heacock in 1891, [4] and they lived in Pike County, Indiana. [5] Not a Brewster from our family that I am aware of.

I also searched for Harry Snyder, mainly in Adams County, Indiana, but did not have any success there, either.

There was an Ha…Snyder in Madison, Pike, Indiana. His first name is unreadable because there is a big black blotch on the image, but the name looks like Ha…, with the last letter having a loop, like g or y. So it could be Harry Snyder who was 9 years old in 1900. [6] The Ida Brewster lived in Marion, Pike County, Indiana, about 30 minutes away.

This was getting to be way too much conjecture and at that point I decided to throw in the towel for this one.

Maybe someone in my family randomly found this book with a Brewster name, purchased it, and Ida Brewster was never even our relative. Or maybe Ida Brewster is a relative that I have not learned about yet.

And, just in case you are wondering, the area beneath the leaky basement window has been totally cleared of boxes and other stuff, cleared of everything except the wet/dry vacuum, ready for duty in the event of another downpour.


[1] 1940 U.S. Census, Albion, Noble, Indiana, ED 57-2, p.1A, line 24, Chas Brewster; Ancestry.com; from NARA microfilm T627, roll 1082.

[2] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Charles W Brewster and Ida M Cramer, 20 Feb 1898; Noble Marriages, Vol. 7, p.378; FHL microfilm 1704901.

[3] Find a Grave.com, Charles W. Brewster memorial #31505558; Ida May Brewster memorial #31505601; Rose Hill Cemetery, Albion, Noble County, Indiana.

[4] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Thomas Brewster and Ida Heacock, 20 Oct 1891; Pike Marriages Vol. 8, p.513; FHL microfilm 1433322.

[5] 1900 U.S. Census, Marion, Pike, Indiana, ED 28, p.2A, dwelling & family 27, Thomas Brewster; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1240397, NARA microfilm T623, roll 397.

[6] 1900 U.S. Census, Madison, Pike, Indiana, ED 26, p.4B, dwelling 78, family 82, Peter R Snyder; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1240397, NARA microfilm T623, roll 397.

May 30

Tombstone Tuesday–Memorial Day 2017

This past weekend, Memorial Day weekend, we visited three of the cemeteries that I write most about and while there I took some photos of some veterans’ markers with their new American flags.

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio:

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio:

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Kessler, aka Liberty Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio:

Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio, Memorial Day 2017. (2017 photo by Karen)

In memory of all those brave soldiers who served our country and fought and died for us and for our freedom.

May 26

Memorial Day Musings 2017

This coming Monday we celebrate Memorial Day, a federal holiday that was originally called Decoration Day and traditionally marks the beginning of summer. A day to remember those who died in military service for our country.

Memorial Day began as a way to remember and honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed in battle during the Civil War. In 1868 the 30th of May was officially proclaimed as the day to decorate their graves. After WWI Memorial Day was extended to honor Americans who died in all wars. Today most Americans use this holiday as a time to decorate grave sites, whether the deceased served in the military or not.

On display this weekend at Willshire Home Furnishings. (2015 photo by Karen)

Memorial Day was declared a U.S. federal holiday in 1971 and is now observed the last Monday in May. In December 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed, which asks all Americans to pause at 3:00 p.m. local time and reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day.

Remember to observe proper flag etiquette on Memorial Day: The American flag should be flown at half-staff until noon and then raised to full-staff. During a parade there may be several participants with a flag and it is appropriate to salute only the first flag as it passes by. As the first flag passes everyone should show respect by standing at attention with their right hand over their heart. Those in uniform should give their appropriate formal salute.

Resthaven Memory Gardens, Auglaize County, Ohio. (2014 by Karen)

Most area towns have a Memorial Day ceremony at local cemetery, conducted by the local American Legion and/or VFW. They also mark all veterans’ graves with an American flag. A big Thank You to those volunteers.

Willshire Home Furnishings will have a display of over 160 military uniforms, photos, flags, maps, and letters of local servicemen all weekend and Memorial Day (9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday). It is a wonderful display and well worth a visit. My dad’s photo and Army jacket will be on display there.

Some things to do on Memorial Day:

Take time to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day and the sacrifices made for our freedom

Attend a Memorial Day Service at a local cemetery or park

Attend a local Memorial Day parade

Fly the American flag

Visit the Memorial Day Celebration museum at Willshire Home Furnishings

Visit a cemetery and decorate a grave with flowers

Vast array of uniforms, photos, and other items on display at Willshire Home Furnishings. (2015 photo by Karen)

Memorial Day Celebration at Willshire Home Furnishings. (2015 photo by Karen)

We drove through Chatt yesterday as we were driving around the countryside looking at the flooding after Wednesday night’s big storm. Kudos to those who put the American flags on the power poles in the village. They really look nice and are a great patriotic touch for town.

Currently I am doing some memorial-type research at the request of Martin Hubert, president of the Memorial History Society in Alsace, France. He is seeking information about two area WWI soldiers who were among 50 soldiers killed in action on 29 September 1918 in his village of Linthal, France, in the Vogesian Mountains. The soldiers were buried in the military cemetery of Oberlauchenand and both men have monuments in local cemeteries.

Hubert is researching all 50 soldiers and is keeping their memories alive by honoring them at a commemoration and memorial ceremony in Linthal next year, one hundred years after their deaths. The two soldiers from this area are Private August H. Froning and Private Glenn Homer Nichols.

Private August Froning was born 30 June 1892 in Sebastian, Mercer County, Ohio, the son of Herman and Catherine Froning.

Private Glenn Nichols was born on 16 February 1890 in Center Township, Mercer County, Ohio, the son of James Collins and Lilly (Rice) Nichols.

I have located a nephew of each soldier and have contacted one about this upcoming event to honor his ancestor.

What a wonderful thing Hubert is doing to honor these soldiers.

Elm Grove Cemetery, St. Marys, Auglaize County, Ohio (2013 photo by Karen)

And finally, what is it about rain and patriotic holidays? A few years ago we had 13 inches of rain over several days that included the Fourth of July. This past Wednesday night we had at least 5 inches of rain. Our basement didn’t take on water when we had the 13 inches of rain but it did Wednesday night.

The rain came down so hard and fast that it poured in the basement windows. It wasn’t much fun cleaning the basement up and drying it out but it could have been worse. We mainly had large puddles of water which would have been much larger had the area rugs not soaked up much of the water. We were up until 4:00 a.m. that night moving things to dry places, vacuuming and mopping up water, and carrying heavy water-soaked rugs upstairs and draping them over the truck. What else could we do with them?

But it could have been so much worse. The rain did stop. We had power the whole night and the sump pump continued to run. Our basement wasn’t flooded–we just had those big puddles. We don’t have wall-to-wall carpet—we were able to carry out the wet area rugs and they will eventually dry out. I know many others had much more damage in their homes and basements and it is so sad to see all the flooded fields, knowing the farmers will have to do a lot of replanting.

Have a nice Memorial Day weekend, everyone, and take some time to remember those who have served our country.

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