Saturday, August 30, 2014

A New to me Feature at

This week as I have been working on future blogs about my pioneering ancestors I discovered a "new to me" feature at I have been specifically working on my Mormon Pioneers this week. I am intrigued by my second cousin, Charles Coulson Rich and why he converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) from the Society of Friends (Quakers).

To learn more about Charles I have been going through anything I can find at I decided I would see what I could find under the "memories tab" which is a drop down menu as illustrated below. 

I then went to "find" which brings up a search/find box and I entered Charles's name. I wasn't surprised by the amount of information I found because I knew he had a big part in the history of the Mormons in their move west to Utah, California and Idaho. There were pictures, stories, and newspaper clippings. In the upper right hand corner it read 0-50 of 28,215! The first page of my results are illustrated below.

I have read the terms and conditions and I called the contact number listed for to verify my understanding of them. These are all in the public domain and can be used by the public. When I cite the source for the documents and photos I also include the contributor's name if it is listed.

While I do have some pictures from other family members regarding Charles Coulson Rich, some of the pictures are ones I probably never would have seen or been able to add to my personal collection otherwise.

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Pioneer Ancestors

They came by ship and traveled by horse, buggies, wagon trains, in later years by trains and planes to places unknown and built their lives and their families. They are pioneers.

Until this week's episode of WDYTYA? which featured Kelsey Grammer I had never really thought about my ancestors as pioneers. Of course I have my immigrant ancestors but I never really thought about it very much with the exception of my paternal grandmother's Rich ancestors. I know of several pioneers in the Rich family.

My Mormon Pioneers are Apostle Charles Coulson Rich (1809-1883) and his five wives and his 50 children. Charles's parents, Joseph Rich and Nancy O'Neal Rich also joined the Mormon faith and followed him to Utah. Charles is my second cousin six times removed. He is a distant relation I know but his life fascinates me.

My seventh great paternal grandmother is Mary Boone Bryan (1736-1819) daughter of Squire Maugridge Boone (1696-1765) and Sarah Jarman Morgan Boone (1700-1777). Mary married Captain William Christopher Bryan (1734-1780). Mary Boone Bryan's brother Daniel Boone (1734-1820) married Captain Bryan's sister Rebecca Bryan (1739-1813) making them my seventh great uncle and aunt. Many of my Rich ancestors and allied families of Rich, Boone, Bryan, followed Daniel Boone from Pennsylvania, into Virgina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri.

Many of my children's paternal lineages are also pioneers. Their paternal grandmother's Rivers and Plowden lines trace back to England via the Caribbean Islands. The Rivers and Plowden lines started settling into South Carolina in the late 1600's. There are many of their ancestors who were French Huguenots who fled because of religious persecution.

Over the next several months I will be highlighting the pioneers of my family. I realize now that these pioneers are what shaped our families, they showed us where we come from, and they showed us their courage and perseverance to follow their path no matter where it lead them or what the consequences to themselves or their families might have been. 

I hope that as I tell my ancestors stories I do them justice!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Faces From the Past - William Elmer Williams

My paternal grandfather, William Elmer "Billy" Williams, was born on 16 February 1910 in Williamstown, KY to William Points Williams and Sarah Elizabeth Lucas Williams. He died on 19 August 1935 in Williamstown, KY. My Dad was just 8 months old and his sister Sally was 4 years old when their father passed away.

"Billy" was 25 years old when he died. I've only seen pictures of him and there are precious few of those. He was also semi-professional baseball player. 

The picture to left is my grandfather, "Billy" with my grandmother, Peggy Scott Rich, in the middle is my grandfather in his baseball uniform, the photo in the upper right corner is my grandfather and the right bottom picture is my grandfather and his sister, Hildeth Eloise Williams.

"Billy" eloped with my grandmother, Peggy Scott Rich on 24 March but I don't have a year because they used a variation of their names. I still have not found a marriage record for them however, I believe that they were married in 1929 based on their wedding announcements which noted that my grandmother graduated from high school the same year they were married.

Have much more research to do on my Williams side of my tree!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Pvt. Frederick Orth (abt 1828-1863)

Photo Courtesy of John S. Sims and his Find A Grave Memorial# 74080614

My 3rd great grandfather, Frederick Orth, immigrated to the United States in 1858 from Germany with his wife and two of his 4 children. The family resided in Louisville, Kentucky. He served in the 6th Kentucky Infantry Regiment, Company I. The 6th Infantry was formed late in 1861 and of the 10 companies formed, four of them were German immigrants who were residents of Kentucky and a few from Indiana.

My 3rd great grandfather, Pvt. Frederick Orth was wounded at the Battle of Missionary Ridge on 25 November 1863 and died from the wounds he received on 28 November 1863. He is buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Happy Birthday, George Kenneth Rueff (1905-1991)

Today is the 109th anniversary of my grandfather's birthday! Happy Birthday, George!

George was the fifth son born on 8 August 1905 to William Joseph Rueff, Jr and Anna Marie Kirn Rueff on 8 August 1905 in Louisville, KY. His father, William founded the Rueff Sign Company in 1912. My grandfather has five brothers and one sister. 

On 26 September 1936, George married my grandmother, Mary Myrtle Behrle. George and Myrtle lived in and raised their children, Nina, Kenny and Bonnie in Louisville. George worked in the family business, Rueff Sign Company. He loved to fish and was an avid bowler too. That love of bowling is alive and well in his great grandson Bryan.

My memories of George are wonderful! I remember as a child we would go to visit George and Myrtle and he would have pint size containers filled with change. He would dump the change out and I would have to count it out down to the last penny! I remember being at their house on Hounz Lane (the house is no longer there due to road expansion) and spending many fun hours with my cousins, aunts & uncles.

After Myrtle died in 1977, my grandfather moved to Tennessee to live with his son Kenny and his wife Barbara and their family. He would go and spend time with each of his daughters families too. By the late 1980's my grandfather came to live with Mom and Dad. I am grateful for the time my sons, Kenny and David got to spend with their great grandfather. I know that my children and all of my cousins children benefited from knowing their great grandfather.

For as long as I can remember George and Myrtle always had a dog and a bird in their home. I will never forget the day that I walked into his room (at my Mom's) to say hello and found a note on the bird cage in his room. The note said, "George, please clean my cage. Love, Bird". I just laughed! 

My grandfather died on 19 May 1991. We were all in his room and my Mom was holding one of his hands and I was holding the other. He was peaceful and I am sure he was ready to see Myrtle again too. My grandfather was buried in Louisville, KY. My Mom, her sister, Bonnie and I all flew together to take George home. 

My grandfather was a warm, kind, loving, patient and generous man. He was always happy I don't ever recall seeing him mad about anything (but then I am biased) and he moved at a very slow pace, literally. 

Happy Birthday, George! I love you!

Friday, August 1, 2014

How Do I Set the Record Straight... (Part 2)

Who is William Rueff, my immigrant ancestor?

Back to the drawing board, again! My first problem with William is finding out exactly when he immigrated with his family to the United States. I have not been able to find a passenger list for William since I began my research in the early 1980's. I am beginning to wonder if it may have been lost or possibly destroyed. There are many Rueff families who immigrated to the United States in the 19th century and many more named William but none of them are the William Rueff I am hoping to find.

Since I have not found any passenger lists for William, his wife Favilie and their son, Charles Karl, I decided to take a closer look at the census records. I know that William and his son made it to Louisville but what happened to Favilie? Did she die on board the ship they were traveling on or did she die after they arrived in the United States? I have been through passenger lists and indexes for Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania with no luck. There are plenty of Rueff's who immigrated to the United States but none of them in the time frame I am expecting William and his family to be in.

The second problem I have with William is his place of birth. Census records state he was born in Germany. Previous research lists his place of birth as Alsace, France. With the ever changing boundaries of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries it is difficult to know which place is correct. I've been searching through new databases on hoping to find a marriage record for William and so far I have not found a record. I am also looking for a birth record for William's son Charles Karl in these new databases but again I have found nothing. 

According to previous research William arrived in Louisville about 1820 but I cannot locate any census records for William prior to 1850. The only census records I find for William Rueff are the US 1850 and US 1860. I then decided to start going through census records for the major Atlantic seaports from 1817-1840. I looked at Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania and have come up empty handed. Where were William and his family between 1817 and 1840? 

I went back to the US 1850 Census record and discovered that I missed a really important clue in the past. There was living with Charles Karl is a John Rueff age 24, Charles Rueff age 22 and Henry Rueff age 22 all born in Barvaria. How could I have missed this? I'm very particular about census records and make sure that I go through all the names to be sure I have the right names, dates and places. Shame on me!

In the above picture is the US 1850 Census record for Charles Karl Rueff and his family. The picture on the left is a cropped version that shows Charles's family and the family of Frances Brening/Brining living next door and Charles Rueff's father William, is living with her. Charles, John and William are all listed as shoemakers. So why is William living with Frances Brening/Brining? I have more questions than answers at this point. I've tried to follow the Brening/Brining family but it only leads to information that is not related to my Rueff family. 

Now I need to follow John, Charles & Henry Rueff to see where they take me. These young Rueff men are certainly old enough to be the sons of William however previous research has found no record that William and Favilie had any other children. Are they nephew's of William? Are they even related to each other? 

Source: "United States Census, 1850," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 01 Aug 2014), Charles Ruff in household of Chas Ruff, Louisville, part of, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States; citing family 131, NARA microfilm publication M432.