Thursday, January 28, 2010

Things Not To Do When You Are Tired, Part 1

Things Not To Do When You Are Tired, Part 1

1. Elephant Training

2. Exercises that require having a center of gravity

3. Eyebrow Plucking

4. Large Hadron Collider repair work

5. Genealogy Research

Oh!! You say, that number 5 doesn't really fit in with the rest of the Things. But wait, dear friend, I have a reason!

The last post discussed ad nauseum my frustration with my great-grandfather coming over in 1907 on the Slavonia, heading up to Allentown/Bethlehem PA, racing back to Hungary just in time to emigrate permanently to Chicago in 1911.

And I couldn't figure out why my great-grandfather (Vilmos Domele, a.k.a. William Domelle) went to Allentown. It was such a mystery, O woe is me!!!!

Today it occurred to me that I forgot to turn to the next page in the manifest records.

Now, before you laugh out loud at me, I've worked with LOTS of manifest records! I've been researching for years and years!!! How could I forget to turn the page???

It's Old Age, that's all I can come up with. Listen! You can hear my brain cells withering up and not being re-born. My demographic group has shifted, and not for the good. I. Am. Old. :-) And tired. What can I say? I use up all my brain power at work during the day and pretty much the only thing I'm good for at night is watching Family Guy reruns. Which, by the way, I'm doing right now. The things that make me laugh for minutes on end are the things like when Stewie forces a fart and pops a blood vessel in his eye.

See? Dumb Dumb Dumb.


So here's the scoop. Turns out Vilmos was heading to Allentown/Bethlehem to see...I don't know, I can't make out the word that states the relationship. Let me know if any of you know what it is:

It looks like Jossef? Gossef? Schusler, on 314 or 319 South St, S. Bethlehem, PA. The other people on the page have nice normal relationships like "uncle" or "brother". There's one other guy with this same word and it looks exactly the same.



Got me.

But at least now I can look this guy up!!! Cause guess what, I have no idea who this guy is. Schusler, or any variant thereof, is not one of my known surnames that interact with/are related to the Domelle family. Oh well. One tiny step forward is still a step forward!!

And remember, it's always a good idea to turn the page.

Great-Grandpa went to....Allentown???

Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against Allentown, PA. I've never been there that I know of, I'm afraid my only familiarity comes out of the Billy Joel song.

I don't have any ancestors that lived in Allentown (that I'm aware of), or even in the near vicinity! And this particular family I'm going to talk about was mainly concentrated in Chicago and northern Indiana. So you'll understand my confusion!

Here is the deal:

My great-grandfather was William Domelle. He emigrated from a town in what was the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now contained within the boundaries of modern Romania). I've written of this before.

He arrived at Ellis Island on October 4, 1911 on the Kronprinz Wilhelm. His info on that manifest is as follows:

Name: Vilmos Domele
Age: 28
Point of Departure: Bremen
Ethnicity: German
Born in: Hungary

Here's the manifest showing William and his younger sister Lena arriving in 1911:

And here's the other side of the line in the manifest, showing that they were both heading out to Chicago:

On a side note, he lists his closest relative as his wife, Magda, who is living back in Duleo, Hungary. So, uh, yeah, huh. He is supposed to have married my great-grandmother sometime in 1912 and as we all know, her name is Elizabeth Obendorfer (or so she says). I wonder if a divorce with the first wife actually happened?????? But that's another day's post...

So yes, he did travel on to Chicago from there and several Domelle siblings and cousins settled down in Chicago and northern Indiana.

His naturalization papers all confirm this.

Now, as part of my new year's genealogy resolutions, I've been in an organizing frenzy for the past few weeks. This means I've not been doing much research, but lots of reviewing of what I have. For instance, I keep lots of notes in my genealogy software for each person on info that I've found. I transcribe census records, certificates, etc. rather than just refer to them. It's labor-intensive, but really so handy when I print out my reports because all the info is right there.

In organizing this data (I decided to re-arrange it in order by year it happened), I came across something odd. His naturalization papers note that he was in the US once before: in 1907, he was in "Allentown, PA". For whatever reason, this hadn't jumped out at me before.

So, it turns out that William Domelle, a.k.a. Vilmos Domele, came through Ellis Island twice! It's always been family legend that his mysterious wife Elizabeth Obendorfer (whom I'm now convinced must have been a predecessor to Mata Hari) came over twice, but no one ever mentioned William doing it.

But the information matches!

The name is Vilmos Domele, the arrival date is 21 August 1907, which is 2 years, 10 months before the arrival date listed above. This Vilmos is German, born in Hungary with an age of 24.

(On the subject of age, I really wish that no one ever asked your age, but only your birthdate! People seem to be pretty subjective on what age they give in all these records.)

Anyway, back to the 1907 Vilmos - he arrived at Ellis Island from the port of Fiume on the ship Slavonia.

On the manifest, he states that he's going to Bethlehem, Pa. Again, his closest relative is his wife back in Gataja (see my 03-Jan-2010 post for a previous mention of Gataja). Her name doesn't appear to be "Magda" as in the 1911 manifest, if anything it looks like a form of "Vilmos". Maybe he gave her name as Mrs. Vilmos Domele? I'll have to figure that out later.

I looked it up and Allentown and Bethlehem are only a few miles apart.

But the manifest doesn't say WHO he was going to visit!! Stupid manifest!!!! ARGH! :-D

Because I have NO IDEA why he would have gone to Allentown/Bethlehem.

It crossed my mind to review the 1900 census for Allentown to look for familiar last names, but that's a whole 7 years prior to the date William was there. So that may not be helpful to me. After reviewing wikipedia, it seems that Allentown might have had around 40,000 people in 1907 and Bethlehem around 10,000. Not too big, but definitely not a small town.

It's a mystery! Yet another to add to the whole Domelle/Obendorfer mystery pile.

My only hope is Vilmo's brother Miklos (a.k.a. Nickolaus, a.k.a. Uncle Nick).

Now, Nick came over in June of 1907, but the first census I find him in is 1920 and he's living in Philadelphia with his wife and 2 1/2 year old daughter.

Like a good Domelle though, he does eventually move his little family out to Chicago/Indiana because it couldn't have made sense to have this outlier Domelle family all the way over on the East Coast.

But maybe, Just Maybe, Nick made his way from Ellis Island to Allentown, and then on to Philadelphia.

His name is definitely not spelled typically in any 1910 census because I've not yet been able to find him. But that is my only glimmer of hope at the moment.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ode to My Family's History - 89th COG

The latest Carnival of Genealogy has a topic of poetry! We can write a poem on our family's history.

Here is my submission (and I apologize ahead of time!!!). :-)

O Woe is me!
My poor family tree
Is full of walls
Made of brick and concrete!

One is John Akins,
That scurrilous lad!
"Says" he’s from England,
Ha! That’s a laugh!

Ole Natty Turner,
Of Lamberton fame.
Born maybe in London,
Beyond that, fair game!

Great Grandma Lisbet,
A mysterious dead end.
The Obendorfer wall
In all directions extends!

Domelle O Domelle!
What’s your ethnicity?
German or Hungarian?
Or is it Tomele with a T?

Finally that Kirby!
My great-gram’s dad.
Census-takers must have
His info been forbade.

All of these walls,
All so dear to me!
I’ll never give up,
That I guarantee!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dear Websites that post video content...

Hello out there all you websites! I know you are trying desperately to figure out a way to hold us hostage like in the olden days of TV where we had to watch consecutive minutes of commercials. I know you need to make money, I totally get that and I'm okay with it.

But all you news websites (and other websites) that try to make me watch a 30-second commercial so I can watch a 90 second video......well, it just doesn't happen. I leave. Sorry. Well, actually I'm not sorry.

Let's be realistic. 15 seconds max. I totally sit through a 15 second commercial to wait for my content. But on principal, I'm not sitting through a 30 second one. Ever.

I don't even think commercials on TV should be 30 seconds anymore!!!! We're all so immune to ads at this point, just show a picture of your product and say what it does. That's all we need. Showing me that your Charmin toilet paper is strong and soft enough for a bear's butt doesn't really influence me. Just flash a picture of your toilet paper roll with the words "Really Strong and Really Soft on Your Butt" and I'll get the idea. Maybe I'd even buy it!

Okay, stepping off my soap box for the moment. But I'll be back! :-D

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thanks for All the Happy!

Many Many Thanks to everyone that nominated me for the Happy 101 Award! You all made me feel very special!!!

Of course, I am a day late and a dollar short when it comes to nominations, as it seems the award has made its' rounds through our community.

So rather than struggle to find only 10 blogs that I love (my Google Reader has 43 genealogy blogs!), that also haven't already been nominated multiple times, I'll stick to listing out 10 things (in random order) that make me both Happy AND Grateful.

Happy Things:

1. Nature

The other day, I stood up in my office getting ready to go home and something outside the window in the distance caught my eye. Behind my building is a parking lot, but beyond that is a small area of woods. I've delighted in watching the trees get green in the spring, turn colors in the fall, and hold snow in the winter. It's amazing how many shades of green there are! This one day though, snow was on the ground from this very cold snap we've had and what had caught my eye was a red fox. He trotted out of the woods from the left and sat down next to a tree and looked around. He was so pretty against the snow!!! After a minute or two, he got up and ran back into the woods. The very next day, again, movement caught my eye, and I got to watch two young deer actually frolic - they were running around, stopping, waiting for the other to catch up, then running around again. It was so cool!

2. Christmas Lights

It's true, I adore christmas lights. They cast such a happy warm glow, I would keep them on year round, but then I guess they wouldn't be as special, and wouldn't be "christmas" lights but just plain old everyday lights.

3. Mom's Sympathy

There's nothing like Mom on those bad days. I'll show her a burn from the oven or a horrible black-plague-like bug bite and she just pours the sympathy all over me. Thanks Mom!

4. Laughing at Things with My Dad

AIRPLANE! Family Guy. South Park. Ren and Stimpy. Hot Shots and Hot Shots Part Deux. Jude Law being Paris Hilton on SNL (I bet he still has that on tivo)...the list could go on and on!

5. Pets

Unconditional Love, need I say more?

6. Friends You've Been Friends With So Long That When You Are Out Together and Somebody Weird Walks Into the Bar You Don't Even Have To Say Anything You Can Just Look At Each Other And Crack Up

Oh yeah, it's awesome.

7. Cars That Turn On Every Time

Honestly, it's heaven. If you've never been a girl who knew nothing about cars and owned a car pre-cell phone era that didn't turn on all the time, you just won't get this one. I love my reliable little car.

8. The Internet

The other day I was walking up the stairs and a book on a little bookcase I have there caught my eye. It was Bartlett's Quotations. I got it in my early 20s and was so pleased with it! All those quotations in one spot! And I thought wow, a kid now would wonder what's the point of that book when you can find whatever you want on the internet? I've loved learning things and knowing things and finding out about things all my life. I think the Internet is the coolest thing ever.

9. Hot Chocolate Made with Real Whole Milk

I had a little bit of whole milk left over from all the holiday cooking so I made a cup of hot chocolate with it. OH. MY. GOD. That's what hot chocolate is supposed to taste like, not that crap you make up in the office with the hot water that comes out of the coffee machine! I forgot! Holy cow it was good. It didn't even need whipped cream! I just sat there fully focused on drinking it, tasting it. Wow.

10. Tropical Ocean Water

There's just nothing like walking straight into the ocean and not noticing a temperature difference. Clear and beautiful and warm, I could just float forever in it. And I'm a good floater, which I'm sure has nothing to do with the fact that my body fat is probably at about 75% after all that eggnog last month.

11. Yes, My List Goes to 11...

Because it's my blog and I get to do what I want here. The last thing I'm grateful for are all the wonderful connections I've made online with this whole genealogy "thing". I've met such caring, funny, helpful and brilliant people and I'm grateful for the chances I've had to interact with you all, and happy about all the laughs and sympathy and epiphanies you've given me! You are all the best! Remember to do things that make you happy!!!

R.I.P. Hugh Watkins

You are, and will be greatly missed!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Great-Grandma is still a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery

I've talked before about my mysterious Great-Grandmother, Elizabeth Obendorfer Domelle. For years I didn't even know for sure what her death date was, but eventually I came across the "Jasper County, Indiana Funeral Home Records of Rensselaer & Surrounding Areas" and found this on page 129:

Domelle, Elizabeth
b Nov 29 1877 Vienna Austria
d Apr 14 1958 Dyer IN
sp Wm

Inexplicably, I can no longer find that source in, but that's a different blog post for another time. Also, remind me to vent about the annoying dys-functionality of using the tab key when filling in search forms. WHY does it skip the last name field??? WHYWHYWHY!!!!!

But, anyway, fortunately, I don't need the reference because I was able to order the actual death certificate. Indiana is one of the states that requires 18 different forms of identification for you and your ancestors in order to get a certificate. I sure hope they tell the truth when they say they shred everything.

Anyway, oh happy day, earlier this week I got the death certificate annnnnddddd....I don't really know that much more than I did before. Oh well.

The informant was her son Anthony, and I guess he never knew her parents names either. I do have a bit more of family medical history, which is good to have, apparently she had diabetes and severe generalized arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

What I do know about her is what my grandfather has told me, things like how wonderful of a cook and baker she was (as in, how when she made pastry dough, she would stretch it out so thin it would cover the whole table and you could see through it!) and that she told them that her father was in the Austrian army (family lore says general), and once, she was so hungry back in Europe that she ate grass. Maybe that's why she loved cooking so much...

Also, she called herself an orphan, but there's also other family lore where she called herself a twin as well. She didn't talk that much about herself. So remember that the next time you are around an older relative...get them talking!!!

Next for me I guess is to try to locate the marriage certificate for her and my great-grandfather. It's probably in Chicago, around 1912, but that's all I know. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Oh Just Pick A Name Already!

If you have an opinion on this, I would greatly appreciate hearing what it is!!!

I have this one family line, the "Domelle" line, and they emigrated to the US from what was the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the beginning of the 20th century.

Where they came from is now within the borders of modern-day Romanian.

But the Domelle's are actually German.

Apparently there was a big movement of Germans into Hungary during the 18th century. Much of the land was uninhabited and the Habsburg rulers wanted it more populated to help keep the Turks at bay. So they invited a bunch of Germans to move in, and they did. (See the Habsburg Rule section of this.)

An interesting consequence that resulted from these pockets of german-speaking people in Hungary was that towns and counties and such ended up being referred to by two names, the Hungarian and German versions of each name.

Of course, once all the towns became part of Romania later on in the 20th century, then there was a Romanian name for the towns.

So which name am I supposed to use?

The one my ancestor used on whatever document I'm looking at? What if they switched back and forth depending on their mood? Do I use the modern day name?

For instance, my great-aunt Anna Magdalena Domelle who emigrated to the US in 1919 lists (on her Social Security Application form) that her birthplace was:

Gatga, Tenesmege, Hungaria.

Actually, someone else typed it for her, she just signed it. Which is why that is a horrible mis-spelling.

The town is actually "Gattaja". In German.

In Hungarian, it's "Gátalja".

In Romanian, it's "Gătaia".

(Oh, and thank you german version of Wikipedia for being much more clear on Gattaja than the english version! Now I have to remember to check other languages of Wikipedia to help me along as well!)

I do know that the entire family (according to my grandfather and all the census records) spoke German.

But sometimes, they gave the Hungarian name for things, as in when my great-grandfather William Domelle said he was born in Nagyosz, which is actually Treibswetter in German, and Tomnatic in Romanian.

What do I do??? Naturally in my notes I capture all this information, but in my family tree software, in the main display for each person, which version do I use?

Right now I am using whatever they used the most in their documents. But I would prefer to have a consistent way of capturing it.

Any thoughts from anyone?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mad Men yourself!

Big thanks to Sheri for showing me this!!!

You can "Mad Men" yourself. I think it's like LOOKING IN A MIRROR, especially the drink and pearls part, both of which I happen to be accessorized with right now. The pearls might be a bit much for my yoga pants and sweatshirt, but my mom always taught me not to worry about being over-dressed.

2010 Genea-Resolutions (COG 87)

87th EDITION OF THE Carnival Of Genealogy

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is:

New Year's Resolutions!

I've been very careful for many years to avoid making resolutions. Call me a realist! :-D But I shall be more optimistic now that it's a brand new decade and there's only two more Arthur C. Clarke books to be depressed about (in that we're not space-technologically where he thought we would be). In the grand scheme of things, I'll get over it, I promise, since I am unlikely to make it until the year 3001, no matter how much I'm counting on never dying, ever.

Meanwhile, back to 2010.

My forced retirement from genealogy for the last quarter of the year due to workload at the real-life job that pays for my genealogy made me realize just how much I would miss it if I didn't do it. And yet, my time off these 2 weeks has also made me realize what an incredible procrastinator I am, even when it's something I love! Darn those perfectionist genes, they take the fun out of everything. And that leads me to my first resolution:

1. Everything does NOT have to be perfect.

I know, I know, I almost can't type the letters that make those words. My heart is beating a little faster, or maybe that's the 8 glasses of iced tea I've had this morning. Either way, it makes me nervous to think about not being perfect. But if being perfect makes me put everything off until I have enough time to "do it right", then it's not worth it.

However, that doesn't give me permission to be sloppy, thus, the next resolution:

2. Piles of paper do not a file cabinet make.

I've got a thing, I'm one of those people that has piles of paper. The annoying thing for other people is that I can nearly always find the piece of paper I'm looking for in those piles of paper under my desk, in the basket in the closet, on the shelf in the closet. I just know where they are. But maybe I can use that brain power for something else, like moving the space program along faster, if I didn't use it to remember where that death certificate, still in its' envelope, from Indiana that came last April is. I got a beautiful new bookcase last year, with 2 big drawers in the bottom that hold hanging folders. There are some hanging folders in there, but one half of the drawer is.....a big pile of papers. I know! It's so irritating.

And it's not just the real world that has piles of paper, my virtual computer folders for genealogy have piles of virtual paper in them too....welcome to number 3:

3. Folder Organization Created in 1996 Can Be Retired With Full Honors

It's true, when I first started using my computer to research and store genealogy I came up with a file/folder structure. I'm still using it. It's time to take an hour or so and ponder what might be a better way to organize my info that's stored electronically now that it's double-digit years later!!! A sub-point to this one is investigating the best way to make use of metadata on my stored info rather than having a title for the document or jpg that is 128 characters long (which when buried deep in a folder structure makes Windows throw up a little bit in its mouth).

And voila, on to the next item (I mentioned "jpg" in that last thought):

4. Scanning Takes Time, But It Is A Good Thing

I got an awesome little scanner earlier last year and I've barely used it! I think I have been afraid of not doing it right (refer to resolution #1). So what if I only get 3 photos done in one sitting because I get distracted or need to go to bed because it was a long day at work. It's okay!!!

And finally, the last one:

5. Not Everything Is On The Internet

Yes, hard to believe, but once in a while I need to get up and go to somewhere to find information. I did do this a few times this past year (a couple local historical societies), but it's definitely something to continue in 2010. Sometimes it might be a disappointing trip, but other times, I just might find some awesome little nugget of information. Either way it's good practice for researching.

And that's it for me! I think 5 is a good number. They aren't pure resolutions, but more like promises for the year, but I think I can handle them.

Happy New Year!!!