Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Birthday, Cassie!!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter in law, Cassie Kitts! You are a wonderful daughter, wife and mother. It is truly my pleasure to call you my daughter and my friend. I am so glad that my son had the sense to get back in touch with you when he moved back to Charlotte! I hope that you have a fantastic birthday and we love you.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy 104th Anniversary to my Great Grandparents - The Behrle's

Recently, I've been going through old photographs belonging to my parents. As I pulled a Sears bag out of my Momma's pie safe I thought I would find pictures of our family especially mine because when my boys, Kenny and David were growing up, Sears was the only place to go get good pictures without breaking the bank.

Imagine my surprise when I found a picture of my great grandparents on their wedding day nearly 104 years old in the Sears bag! On the back of the photograph I found the names of everyone in the picture, the place where my great grandparents were married and the date of the wedding.

Today marks the 104th Wedding Anniversary of my great grandparents, Dr. Raymond Alexander "Papa Ray" Behrle and Pauline "Lena" Orth. Raymond is the son of John and Mary Jane (Hermann) Behrle. Pauline is the daughter of Conrad and Katherine (Wilke) Orth.

Unfortunately, the photograph had a couple of tears and someone had rounded all of the corners as if to fit it into an oval or circular frame. I suspect that my grandmother, Myrtle is the culprit who cut the corners. After all it's her parents in the photograph. Below is the photo as I found it.

This is the photo as I found it in the Sears bag.

Raymond and Pauline were married on Wednesday, October 26th, 1910 at St. Francis of Rome Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky. They had four wedding attendants, Anna May Orth, sister of the bride, Myrtle Walker, Louis Schuler and Godfrey (?) Bitzer. There was a wedding announcement in the October 29th, 1910 issue of the Kentucky Irish American. Then in the November 5th, 1910 issue of the Kentucky Irish American there is an announcement of their return from their honeymoon. 

This is the wedding announcement from the Kentucky Irish American newspaper published on October 29, 1910.

This the their returned home from their honeymoon from the Kentucky Irish American newspaper published on November 5, 1910.

I really wanted to restore the picture for my Momma as a birthday gift but I knew it was not something I could do with my own photo editing software. I also didn't want to entrust it to just anyone. This is where my childhood friend, Ed Higgins saves the day for me. Our parents were the best of friends. We had reconnected on Facebook and noticed that he was posting amazing photos. I sent him a message asking if he could recommend someone. He said he really didn't but would I mind if he took a shot at it. I said of course and a few days later he sent me the restored picture via email. It was absolutely gorgeous! I couldn't wait to give it to my Momma. A few weeks later my Momma and Daddy along with my nephew Bryan cane for visit. I gave her the gift bag with the restored photo and she loved it! Below is the restored photo. Thank you so much Ed!!

Photo restoration by Ed Higgins Photography

So today, I wish my great grandparents, Papa Ray & Lena a Happy 104th Wedding Anniversary. I also want to wish Papa Ray, who was born on October 27, 1880,  a Happy 134th Birthday!

(c) 2014 Dawn Kogutkiewicz

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Happy Birthday to my 2nd Great Grandfather William J Rueff, Sr.

Today marks the 165th anniversary of my great, great grandfather William Joseph Rueff, Sr.'s birthday.  He was born on October 22, 1849 in Louisville, Kentucky. The son of Charles Karl and Dorothea (Brun) Rueff. (c) Copyright Dawn Kogutkiewicz 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Connect. Explore. Refresh. FGS 2015

I am proud to be an ambassador for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). FGS is being held February 11th-14th, 2015 in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend the conference next year. The theme for 2015 is Connect. Explore. Refresh. 

What does the theme of Connect, Explore and Refresh mean to me?

I am hoping that being an FGS Ambassador will allow me to connect with new people from all aspects of the genealogy community. I enjoy meeting new people. I enjoy being able to learn from others and getting to know them. Learning new things that will take my new friendships and my research to the next level.

For me to be able to explore new opportunities, new methodologies, online classes or any other format I can use to further my knowledge in the genealogy community is exciting and challenging. I have seen the list of seminars being offered at next year's conference and I see so many I would love to participate in. I wonder if in the future the FGS Conference would be available simultaneously as virtual conference too.

By connecting and exploring, I hope to refresh my own genealogy research. We all have list of who, when, where and why questions about our ancestors. That long list of family members that seem to be hiding from every census record imaginable or the one ancestor who seems to have fallen from the sky with no parents, no siblings, a wife with a missing maiden name and a dozen children. So with a new year fast approaching I am planning on refreshing my family tree to see what happens next!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Esther Thomas - Happy Birthday

Tomorrow marks the 121st anniversary of the birth of Esther Thomas, my 1st cousin 4 times removed. I would never have known her story if not for my cousin Sandy St. Clair. Esther, Sandy and I connected through my third great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Warsaw "Betty" Morrow Cameron Miller. For Sandy, "Betty" is her second great grandmother, and she is the maternal grandmother of Esther. 

Esther was born on October 18th, 1894 in Pewee Valley, Kentucky, the fifth child of William Grayce Thomas and Gabriella "Ella" Cameron. Sometime between 1910 and 1919 Esther left home and went to Chicago where she performed. It was while she was performing in these little honky tonk's around Chicago that she was seen by agents from New York City. She left Chicago and went to New York City and began using the stage name of Esther Walker, where she became a musical-comedy star and a recording artist. 

Beginning in February of 1919 at the Winter Garden Theater, Esther starred in "Monte Cristo, Jr." until August 6th, 1919 when the show was temporarily suspended because of the Actor's Equity strike. The show resumed on September 8th, 1919 and closed on October 4th, 1919. Then beginning on October 7th, 1919 Esther starred in "Hello Alexander" at the 44th Street Theater until November 22nd, 1919.

Between 1919-1920 and 1925-1927 Esther made over 30 recordings for the Victor and Brunswick recording companies. Included in the Victor recordings are the songs "What-cha Gonna Do When There Ain't No Jazz" (1920), "Sahara (We'll Soon Be Dry Like You)" (1919), and "Sweet Kisses" (1919). The Brunswick recordings include "I Don't Want Nobody But You" (1926), "I Love My Baby (And My Baby Loves Me)" (1926) and "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue" (1926). If you would like to hear some of Esther's recordings you can find them on and at

In 1920, Esther married Karl St. John Hoblitzelle. Karl was a theater owner and philanthropist. Karl built the Majestic Theater in Dallas, Texas in 1921 which is still in use today.  Karl also built Majestic Theaters in Houston which opened in 1923 and was torn down in 1971, as well the Majestic in San Antonio which opened in 1929 and is still in use today. Esther and Karl made their home in Dallas, Texas. Esther was very involved in civic organizations such as the USO, the American Red Cross and the Junior League. She was also involved with many social clubs including the Dallas Garden Club, the Dallas Country Club and remain active in local theater productions.

Esther Thomas Hoblitzelle died of pancreatic cancer on July 28th, 1943 in University Park, Texas at the age of 48. She left the bulk of her estate to the Hoblitzelle Foundation which was founded by Karl and Ester in 1942. The Hoblitzelle Foundation continues to this day.

Garrick, David,'ll%20Soon%20Be%20Dry%20Like%20You-Columbia%2018613.jpg
Garrick, David,
Garrick, David,
Internet Broadway Database - All rights reserved description of cover art.
Library of Congress, National Jukebox, List of recordings for Esther Walker,
Majestic Empire,
Powell, Sandy, Photograph of Esther Thomas Hoblitzelle in suit
Powell, Sandy, Emails and conversations
"Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 September 2011), Esther Hoblitzelle, 28 Jul 1943; citing certificate number 31500, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2137308., Various recordings by Esther Walker

Friday, October 10, 2014

An Open Letter to my son Kenny

Dear Kenny,

It has been thirty four years since you were born. Having you is one of the many blessings that I have been given in my life. I will never forget the day you were born for it is forever etched in my heart!

What a funny, charming and silly little boy you were growing up. As you got older, it was very clear that girls all loved you! You and David have given some of my most cherished memories! As a matter of fact, you have given our entire family, both the Kitts's and the Williams's many wonder memories that we all cherish.

So today in honor of your birthday, I am going to see the new movie, Dracula Untold as we share a love for movies especially when they involve the supernatural! Then tonight Tommy & I will go out to dinner at Olive Garden, your favorite restaurant and share a toast to you.

Happy Birthday, Kenny! I miss you more than you can possibly imagine but I know that you are with me, forever in my heart and soul.

I love you to the moon and back times infinity,


The first days at home with your Dad and I. 
 The many faces of Kenny! 

Kenny and David, brothers always and forever!

All pictures are in the personal collection of Dawn Kogutkiewicz and may not be reproduced with out consent. Copyright 2014