26 January 2015

Genealogy Do Over Week 4 – Part One

This week’s prompt is managing projects and tasks, and tracking searches and until I sat down to write it, I thought I was on top of things. I plan well and I know how to use my day planner and understand its necessity. But seriously, let’s be honest.  

I sit down and I start a search and one thing leads to another and pretty soon there went the entire afternoon and even worse sometimes I get so sidetracked. Like earlier today. I went to Ancestry.com to confirm some information about Aunt Jo, who I wrote about in my MatrilinealMonday. A few clicks later I was looking at her husband in the 1930 census. At age 8 then he was in the St. John’s Male Orphan Asylum in Philadelphia.  

I read Anne Faulkner’s Ancestor Archeology today and she is absolutely right about slowing down and doing things right. Genealogy should be about quality and not necessarily about quantity.   

So tonight I am posting this, shutting down the laptop, watching Sons of Liberty on the History Channel and in the morning I will re-focus. I know, as I said before, what to do and how to do it but it is so hard not to get sidetracked. That is the goal I must work on. It is my personal … demon! 

Looking back:
Week 3 -  tracking research and conducting research
Genealogy Do Over has Done Me In
Week 2 - set research goals, self interviews, and family interviews
Week 1

Genealogy Do-Over is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers.  
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

Matrilineal Monday: Aunt Jo Remembered

Josephine Eckman Pelikoski passed away peacefully two years ago today. So, today Matrilineal Monday just seems a perfect fit to remember her.  

Born 25 July 1926 in Philadelphia, she is the daughter of John Charles Eckman and Mabel Eckman. She was the middle child. Her older brother is John Charles Eckman and he younger is Frank Raymond Eckman (Dad). They three kids grew up in Philadelphia, attended school there and worked there after high school.  

During World War II, Aunt Jo worked in the payroll dept. of the John B. Stetson Co. when they were working on military contracts. The Stetson Hat Company was located on the corner of intersection where 5th Street, Germantown and Montgomery come together in the Kensington area. When the War ended, she worked for the So. Philadelphia National Bank in the bookkeeping department. 

Then in 1948, after serving six years in the US Navy, she married Anthony Pelikoski. Their first son, named Anthony Jr., was born the same year. They also have another son, Robert. 

They stayed in Philadelphia until 1960 when the family moved to Atco, New Jersey. Aunt Jo enjoyed raising the boys on their mini farm where she enjoyed flower and vegetable gardening.

When the boys were older, maybe around the time they would have graduated high school, Aunt Jo went to work for Lacy's Fabric Shop in the Berlin Farmers Market. She liked to sew, making the job a perfect place to work. Later she was a cashier for seven years in Annings Variety Store in Atco until the store closed then as a cashier in the original Canals Wine and Liquor store in Berlin for 14 yrs. until she retired at 80.

Once retired, Aunt Jo did not slow down at all. She and a few close friends traveled in the States, Canada, the UK, South America, and the Panama Canal, as well as many Caribbean Islands.

Josephine loved all animals especially her two cats, Patches & Buttons. Being originally from Philly, she was a huge Phillies fan.

I wish I would have known her better but I am so grateful for the time I did know her. We wrote often and I got to know her, as well as many family stories! Vichnaya Pamyat!

Matrilineal Monday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman

On This Day: Dukes of Hazzard premiers today

It was On This Day in 1979 when the Dukes of Hazzard premiered with their iconic 1969 Dodge Charger known as General Lee and the gorgeous Duke cousins. Luke and Bo Duke spent as much time getting out of trouble as they did helping people.  

Luke Duke was portrayed by Tom Wolpat. Since the show he has done some tv but he has also performed in several musicals and recorded his own country music as well. He was by far my favorite actor on the show. I was 10 when the show first aired, so by “favorite actor” I mean I thought he was to die for! My favorite character, looking back, would have to be Uncle Jessie.  

Uncle Jessie was played by Denver Pyle and his character epitomized the stereotype of a good ole back woods country boy. John Schneider portrayed the blond Bo Duke. He was easy on the eyes but not the brightest bulbs sometimes. He still acts and has been in some good shows and movies. He plays a wide range of characters too. Daisy Duke, best known for her short shorts and long legs, was played by Catherine Bach.  

The series ran through 8 February 1985. 
Photo: Wikipedia

On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.                

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

25 January 2015

On This Day: National Monument ordered

Today we so often see monuments in every town. Rarely do people even stop and really look at them and remember those who the monument was set to honor. It was On This Day in 1776 that the first national monument was ordered. 

The monument was to honor the memory of Revolutionary War Brigadier General Richard Montgomery. He was killed during an assault on Quebec on 31 December 1775. Jean Jacques Caffieri was commissioned to create the monument, which was finished in 1778. The monument is located at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City.
Public Domain image from Wikipedia


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

Sunday’s Obituary: John Dmytryk

Tuesday will be the fourth anniversary of the passing of a good friend and fellow parish member, John Dmytryk.  

His obituary read:
John Dmytryk, 87, of Coatesville, husband of Rose M. Szanyi Dmytryk, died Thursday, 27 January, 2011 in Brandywine Hospital. Born on 29 January 1923 in Newark, NJ, he was the son of the late Stephen and Sophia Prydun Dmytryk. John was a graduate of the former Scott High School, Coatesville. He was employed as a contractor for the Wright Brothers of Chester County for many years. He also was a deputy sheriff of Chester County and constable for the state of Pennsylvania. John was known as a man of many hats but his great enjoyment was mowing on his John Deere tractor and caring for his iris and blueberry gardens. He was a member of the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Coatesville. In addition to Rose, his wife of 15 years, he is survived by a son, John L. Dmytryk of Coatesville and two brothers, Nicholas Dmytryk and Peter Dmytryk, both of Coatesville. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Julia, a sister Maria (Mae) Sopko, and a brother, Tony. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral service at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 4, at the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Charles Street, Coatesville. Visitation will be from 9-10 a.m. Friday at the church. The Thursday evening visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Maclean –Chamberlain Funeral Home, Inc., W. Kings Highway (Route 340), Wagontown, with the Panakhyda Service at 7:30 p.m. Interment will be in the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery, in Valley Township. In John’s memory, those who wish may make contributions to the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 299 Church St., Coatesville., or to the Wagontown Volunteer Fire Company, PO Box 185, Wagontown, PA 19376. Arrangements by the Maclean-Chamberlain Funeral Home, Inc. Wagontown, 610-384-7191. 

His obituary was published in the Daily Local News on 1 February 2011.

Sunday’s Obituary is a regular genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

My Family Calendar This Week

Thursday of this week is National Puzzle Day. I used to love putting jigsaw puzzles together but why I bring this up is because it dawns on me that genealogy is like a big family puzzle. We spend our time seeing if this person fits here or there and matching up events and such. So really Thursday could be “National Place An Ancestor Day”! 

Happy birthday this week to David and Mark Peters, and Doug Schlichter! May God grant you all Many Years.  

Memory Eternal
Today (25 January) is the 104th anniversary of the death of Julia T Coursault. She is my husband’s 2x great aunt and the daughter of Oliver C Coursault, of Philadelphia, and Catherine Wren, of Ireland. 

Monday is the second anniversary of Aunt Jo passing. Aunt Jo is Josephine Eckman Pelikoski. She was (hubby’s) Dad’s sister. She married Tony Pelikoski. Tomorrow I will share more about Aunt Jo during Matrilineal Monday.  That's her photo at right.

It is also 152 years since John F Longnecker passed away in Colerain Township, Lancaster County. He is my husband’s 3rd great grand uncle. He is the son of John Longnecker and Susan Barr. One of six children, his sister Elizabeth is hubby’s 2x great grandmother. He married Mary J. Atchinson.  

Tuesday is the 113th anniversary of Elizabeth Herr Creswell’s passing. Elizabeth is hubby’s 2x great grandmother. The daughter of David Herr and Catherine Bumberger, she was one of seven children. Elizabeth married James Cresswell and had six children together. James preceded Elizabeth in death and she married Martin Barr afterwards. 

Friday we remember three people who passed: Wilda Bing Sensor (84 years), E.Wayne Sammons (10 years), and Thomas A VanHorn (98 years).  

Wilda is my second cousin 4x removed, according to FTM. She is the daughter of John Bing and Melissa Iddings. John is the son of Joseph Bing who is the son of John Bing, who is my 5th great grandfather.

Wayne Sammons is the husband of my cousin Janet Webster. Janet’s mom is my Aunt Helen (Still Webster) who I mention at least once a week probably! Aunt Helen is my great grandfather’s sister and she was such a great help when I first got interested in genealogy. It doesn’t seem like 10 years since Wayne passed. I still see Janet from time to time, usually at a major family event. 

Thomas is the son of Chrispin Pierson VanHorn and Maria Rice, my 3rd great grandparents. He married Minnie Wisner. They had two children – Thomas Andrew and Mary – before they divorced. Aunt Helen wrote about him once. She stated that after he and Minnie separated, Thomas came to live with them – Franklin and Jennie VanHorn Still and family. 


My Family Calendar This Week will be a weekly feature.  
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

24 January 2015

Society Saturday: Molly Maguires

The Molly Maguires was a secret predominantly Irish society known for its activities in the Coal Region of Pennsylvania. Depending on who you ask depends on the second part of the definition. They were either a group of Irish men and women who stood together fighting for the rights and safety of the coal miners and their families. Or, they were a terroristic group of Irish men who wreaked havoc in the coal regions. I suppose it depends on what side of the mine shaft you stood.

Now before I delve into this society, I should put out my disclaimer and opinion now since I am sure it will come out in my writing. My 2x great grandmother, Anna Keating Walsh (later changed to Welsh), is rumored to have been a Molly Maguire – according to my cousins (her great grandchildren). Hence, my interest is also centered around the Shenandoah area as that is where my family lived for a spell. While I would like to get to the truth regardless of which it is, I have to say that my Irish kin are very mild mannered and I could never believe any Irishman (or woman) was/is part of a terroristic group. 

For the sake of this article post:
While the Molly Maguire is said to be a woman, by that name, in Ireland who killed several landowners’ agents, this post will focus on the secret organization as it pertained to Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania 

The Molly Maguires
Local law enforcement (if one could call it that) first became aware of the Mollie Maguires during the summer of 1862. My Anna Keating would have been seven that year and, while I have not found documentation, it is believed that is when she arrived in America from Ireland. 

At least 50 murders occurred between 1 January 1863 and 30 March 1867 in Schuylkill County, according to the “Miner’s Journal.” The Molly Maguires were never charged with these or any other crimes committed, that is until the Pinkerton Agency got involved in 1873. 

James McKenna, an alias of James McParlan of Pinkerton, reported back that the Mahanoy Valley was the focal point of the Mollies and that all Mollies were also members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH). That said, not every member of the AOH was necessarily a Molly Maguire. McKenna set up headquarters the next spring in Shenandoah and, on 14 April 1874, he infiltrated the AOH becoming a member.  

Sometime before November 1874, Catholic clergy denounced the Molly Maguires. That is when, according to the Sunbury American, “new and frightful diabolism” occurred. In fact the society was actually excommunicated by the Archbishop if Philadelphia, according to a later article in the New York Times. 

One infamous Molly Maguire named Daniel Dougherty was accused of murdering Chief Burgess George Major. According to the Sunbury American, Dougherty was guilt. According to Aurand’s text, Dougherty was actually innocent. Either way this case caused much excitement. 

McKenna attended the AOH meetings and, when certain orders were made, he was able to warn the intended victims before the Mollies took action.

Six men, all believed to be Molly Maguires, were hung at Pottsville on 21 June 1877. Five of them men were accused of murdering police officer Frank B. Yost. The other allegedly killed another man. 

In 1875 McKenna took the stand against the Molly Maguires revealing himself as McParlan, shocking nearly everyone in the court. It was the first time a Molly Maguire was ever actually convicted. Several other hangings were also held. In all, 20 men were tried, convicted and hanged. This essentially put an end to the Molly Maguires. 

The AOH still exists. It is the oldest Irish Catholic fraternal organization in the States, dating back to 1836. 

Aurand, Jr., A. Monroe. Historical Account of the Mollie Maguires. Lancaster: Aurand Press. 

"Crime in the Coalfields," Sunbury American ( Sunbury, PA) , 27 November 1874, Page 1, Image 1, col. 7. Accessed online 24 January 2015. 

“Molly Maguires Excommunicated,” New York Times, 22 December 1875. 

"The Molly Maguires," The Elk County Advocate (Ridgeway, PA), 25 May 1976, Page 4, Image 4, col. 4. Accessed online 24 January 2015. 


Society Saturday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

On This Day: First Apple is sold

The first Apple Macintosh computer went on sale On This Day in 1984. The Mac, as it came to be known, found its niche in the desktop publishing and education fields.


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

23 January 2015

On This Day: Elizabeth Blackwell received medical degree

It was On This Day that Elizabeth Blackwell received her medical degree from New York’s Geneva College. Blackwell, English by birth, went on to found the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. She later returned to England where she became a professor of gynecology. Blackwell received her M.D. in 1849, making her the first woman to receive an M.D. from an American medical school! 

National Institute of Health (NIH): Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

Follow Friday: Caught my eye this past week

Each week I try to read several other blogs. Miriam Robbins, of AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors, writes “Friday Finds and Follows” each week and it is a great idea! So today I thought I would combine the GeneBloggers’ Follow Friday prompt with Twitter’s #FF with other finds via social media. 

Blog posts worth reading:
Eva Rosine Seehafer was one Tough woman: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” is a heart wrenching post about Lori Wenger’s 2x great grandmother. This poor woman had a tough maternal road. Lori’s blog is titled: The Buttermaker and the Midwife. 

Lara’s Family Search did another great job with her post Monday titled “Ancestor Deep Dive: Zlata Tzipra Sanshuck Supkoff” about her great grandmother. I enjoy reading the resources others use to trace immigrants and those who they left behind. 

A Bump On A Log - Genealogy Do-Over: Week 3” was great. It was like reading my own thoughts. I recognize how important research logs are but I have not had much luck sticking with them over the years. Hence, I have been digging my heels in the proverbial sand. Thank you, Anne Faulkner, for making me feel so not alone anymore. I think I may be ready to try again now too! Anne blogs at Ancestor Archaeology.  

Gail Dever’s blog, Genealogy a la carte, is a great resource! Her recent post, “Cimetières du Québec adds more cemeteries online” offers links to cemetery databases in Quebec. While I personally cannot trace my family to Canada (tho many Slavic people went thru Canada before entering the US), I am researching for someone whose family did just that. Hence, I appreciate the additional resources.

Olive Tree Genealogy raises a question I have actually seen quite frequently lately – what happens to all our hard work when we die? Are your kids interested? Your nieces or nephews perhaps? What if you have no one? “What Happens To Your Genealogy Research When You're Gone?” is a great read! While this particular article does not suggest it, I would like to suggest adding your wishes to your will.

My New Follows at Twitter:
I’m sure I added more than just two people this week but unfortunately, Twitter does not have an “added” date to your follows.
  • @Bill_11 – a photographer and genealogist
  • @PlantDrEMB – Ellen is of the Clan Henderson.
Genealogy Facebook Pages I've "Liked":
Irish Genealogical & Historical Society offers many images as ell as historical information about Ireland. Being Irish, I would love to go there some day. The realist in me however, sadly realizes that ship has sailed long ago. 

Follow Me


Follow Friday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers                

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

22 January 2015

52 Ancestors celebrating birthdays

Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small, asked this week which ancestor has the closest birthday to us? At first glance this should be simple, right?  

She specifically said ancestor not simply family member. So, first job is to define ancestor so that everyone is on the same page. Merriam Webster defines ancestor as “a person who was in someone's family in past times: one of the people from whom a person is descended.” Personally, these two are not necessarily the same thing.  

My birthday is 16 February. Also born on that day is John Kirchner, 158 years ago, but he is my husband’s 2x great grandfather not mine. Technically then, this does not answer the prompt. My Uncle Tom (my mom’s brother who just passed in August of last year) is a Valentine’s baby (14 February). Since he has passed away, he is in past times but I did not descend from him.  

The closest relative who I have descended from and who has passed is my 3rd great grandmother, Sarah Bing Still. She was born 204 years ago on 18 February.  

So who is Sarah?
Sarah is the daughter of Robert Bing (1781-1824) and Sarah McWilliams (1788-1859). She married George David Still (1808-1888) on 30 December 1930, to whom she had six children. 

Sadly, I do not know much about her. She died of pneumonia and is buried in the Old Doe Run Presbyterian Cemetery in East Fallowfield. She and George however attended the Washington ME Church. 

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is a weekly genealogical challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small. Look for my weekly posts each Thursday!  
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

On This Day: Poles seek independence

The January Uprising breaks out On This Day in 1863 in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus against the Russian Empire. The uprising lasted until 1865. The goal had been a national independence.  


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.                

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

Those Places Thursday: Witmer Tavern

Last week we virtually visited the Eagle Tavern in Lampeter. That tavern is on the Watch List again put out annually by the Historic Preservation Trust (HPT) of Lancaster County. A post on Facebook reminded me of another tavern of historical note that is in horrible condition - Witmer Tavern. 

The note read: “Another one in need of big help is Witmer tavern on the Old Philadelphia Pike near route 30. The porch roof is falling down and it looks like lights are on inside but I never see any sign of life. This beautiful historic property was built in 1725 and was a wagon stop on the old Kings Highway from Philly to Lancaster. I don't know why someone doesn't see the importance of this old building and maintain it the way it should be.” 

Henry Witmer’s Tavern was originally built for Henry Witmer, a Mennonite landowner and tavern keeper. The date stone reads 1773 but parts of the house may date back to 1722, according to Our Present Past by HPT. In 1722 (some sources say 1725), which was prior to Lancaster County being formed, the land was patented to Henry’s grandfather, Benjamin Witmer.  

The Witmer family was well known in the area. They were also prominent in several early projects, like the Philadelphia-Lancaster Turnpike (1792). 

It is located at 2014 Old Philadelphia Pike (Route 340) in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County. The Tavern is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It is marked by a Pennsylvania Historical Marker, which was dedicated on 26 September 1988. 

The 1725 Historic Witmer’s Tavern Inn was the last operating inn that sprouted up along Old Philadelphia Pike. It was last renovated in 1992. All the rooms, according to Travel Weekly, have air conditioning and a working fireplace as well as daily maid service. However, a drive past this place reveals no signage indicating anything but a personal residence.

Historic Preservation Trust, Our Present Past, Lancaster, 1985. 


Those Places Thursday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 
Photos © by Anna Eckman
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015