Tag Archives: 52 Ancestors


A #52Ancestors prompt to write about “longevity” spurred me to check out my Family Tree and see if I could find how long my ancestors lived. I learned a lot through this exercise, but how long ancestors lived proved to be elusive.

A Longevity List

Using Family Tree Maker, I printed out a list of all people in my tree and their birth and death dates and age at death. Thanks to help from Amy Johnson Crow, I learned how to make Family Tree Maker do the math, so I didn’t even have to do simple subtraction. Thanks Amy and thanks, FTM.

After copying all the names of people who lived to 85 or above, I realized I need to narrow the field even more.  I looked at centenarians and ninety-nine year olds first, then those 95 or over.

Well, this looks exciting–I have FIVE ancestors who lived more than 100 years according to the list from my records. BUT…..

Erroneous Information In My Tree

The first centenarian, Anne Edward Rogers, wife of a 9th great-uncle, was born in 1615 in England and died in 1719 in Massachusetts according to my data. That would make her 104 years old. However, I don’t know where I got that birth year, because the only information now available came from Find a Grave where her birth date is listed as unknown. Scratch Anne Edward Rogers from the list.

My next ancestor claiming to have reached 100, Frances Belcher, is a closer relative, so I’m excited.  My 9th Great-grandmother Frances was born in England in 1598 and, my record said, died in 1678.  Whoops! Her death actually occurred in 1698, instead of the erroneously recorded 1678. That means she was a respectable, but not record-breaking, 80 years old when she died. The information on her comes from Find a Grave and from a family history of Hugh Welles (husband of Frances Belcher), neither of which is conclusive (primary) evidence, anyway.

115-year-old 7th Great Aunt?

Lydia Death (appropriate name for this exercise, right?)  lived in Massachusetts from 1682 to 1797, according to my tree.  While I have the usually reliable Massachusetts town record (Sherborn Massachusetts) that attests to her birth, reviewing her page revealed that I have NO Reliable Source for the date of her death.

110 Year Old, Legendary, 7th Great Grandmother

Next, I come across Penelope Van Princis Stout, a legendary woman in the most literal sense of the word.  Penelope married my 7th great-grandfather, Richard Stout, an adventurer and perhaps part-time pirate. My mother’s maternal grandfather “Doc” Stout traced his ancestry back to Robert and Penelope Stout.  Penelope’s personal story includes a shipwreck, a deadly injury,  capture and rescue from death by Indians, and becoming the “Mother of Middletown New Jersey.”  You can read the entire embellished story about the miraculous Stouts on this web page.  Although her birth year might range between 1622 and 1626, her marriage to Richard Stout is documented, as is his death and the fact she was still alive in 1705.  One of the many stories written about her says she lived to 110 years (1622-1732). Although that report was written in the late 1700s, closer to her time than others, it still does not constitute proof. Alas.

And Then There Was ONE Centenarian

Checking the information on Mary Jane Emaline Cochran, a First Cousin three times removed, drew me into a fascinating life.  I have to resist! Not only does she not come from the line I’m currently reviewing, but I also have resolved to stick with the grand parents for a while and resist writing about the aunts and uncles and cousins.

But if I WERE writing about her (which as you can see, I am plainly not) I would tell you that she was born in 1885 in Kansas and died in 1989 at the age of 103.  She did not spend all 103 years in Kansas. When she was just 17, she married a much older Belgian immigrant farmer and they lived in Kansas and in Colorado and had seven children together before he died. She remarried and had three more children with her 2nd husband. They lived in Michigan until she moved back to Kansas with her husband when they were in their fifties. She died in the state of Washington, according to that state’s death records and the Social Security Index. If I were writing about her, I would track down where her children were and whether she had gone to Washington to be with one of them.

But I’m not going to write about her.

Was She Ninety-Nine?

Elizabeth Bee, a nine times great-grandmother would have lived to the ripe age of 99, had I not discovered that some researchers had mistaken her from some other Elizabeth Bee.  She married a John Stout (The same Stout family as Penelope married into). Despite the fact she was a widow at death, I doubt the church records would have called her Elizabeth Bee.

One record used by several people lists in Latin “Elizabeth Bee filia” followed by a difficult-to-read first name with the surname Bee. A few lines  further on and a few days later, the death of “Elizabeth Bee uxor”with the same man’s name.  It seems obvious to me that a child died and a few days later the mother who had given birth also died.  And she was an Elizabeth married to a Bee, not a Bee married to a Stout.

Finally, Find a Grave lists (with no documentation) January 1, 1591 for her birth and 1685 in Nottinghamshire England as her death. So if Find a Grave is correct, she lived to 94, not 99.

A 7th great-grandmother, Hannah Rice, whom I thought died at 99, actually died at 89.  Instead of relying on shakier data, I should have looked a little harder and found the Concord Massachusetts town record which records her death year and age at death–89.

More Miscalculation

Fifth Great Uncle Stephen Barrett Jr. would have been 98 at death if the dates I originally had were correct.  The Rutland Massachusetts town records say he was born in 1753, however I have only Find a Grave to rely on for his death date, and instead of the 1852 I had recorded earlier they say 1832. So he died at the age 78 or 79.


  • William Lwelyn Kaser, a cousin of my father, was born in 1891 and died in 1988.  Those dates are confirmed by the Social Security records and by Ohio Death Records. He lived to 97.
  • My mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser, lived to 96.
  • George Reed, 7th Great Grandfather born 1660 and died 1756 in Massachusetts, lived to 96 according to Find a Grave and New England Genealogy and History Register.
  • Isaac Bassett, of Norton Massachusetts, my 5th great-uncle, lived from 1755 to 1852 (including service during the Revolutionary War) which made him 96 at death.  This is well substantiated by various sources.
  • My mother’s sister, Rhema Anderson Fair lived to 95, and so did many of my earlier ancestors in New England.
  • Robert Irving Stout, First Cousin two times removed lived from 1891 to 1986, very well documented living to ninety-five. The thing that amazes me about Robert Stout? He lived in the same city as my parents in the eighties and they never made the connection.

Others too far removed from me–related only by marriage  or very distant cousins–reached their nineties.  But these are the highlights, and lowlights of research errors discovered while searching for longevity.

So did I find a lot of long-lived ancestors?  Some, but not as many as it appeared at first.

Meanwhile, I need to get my nose back on the grindstone of following my Kaser line (and the associated names).

What I Learned

Contrary to popular belief, the long-lived ancestors do not all come from the twentieth century. My New England ancestors were a hearty crew.

And what did I find?  I found a lot of errors. I found that I need to double check the information on many ancestors where I did the research four or five years ago. And I learned that an amazing amount of new information has become available that was not there a few years ago.

I need to review all my earliest entries on my tree and”Family get rid of any questionable reference materials and the associated information.

I learned that when I began filling in boxes on my family tree, I depended too much on index lists like

Millenium File“.  That document merely compiles information from other family trees rather than from primary sources.

Family Data Collection“. Same complaint as with the Millenium File.  I routinely ignore information from that source, and need to go back and eliminate those places where I used it as a reference–in my less choosy days.

Find A Grave presents several challenges. First, most of the information there is not sourced. Unless there is a photograph of a gravestone, the written information is questionable.  It provides guidance but proceed with caution. A second challenge is that there are both the general U. S. Find a Grave and separate ones for states, and a third that includes “Deaths at Sea”.  These lists are redundant, so citing all of them does not give you 3 sources of information, just one source expressed in three different ways.

And can somebody explain to me that Netherlands file?  It looks like it is another compilation of individual family trees rather than solid information, so I rarely even look at it.

If I live long enough, I may get this all straightened out.

A New Start with Adam Stahler


It turns out that Adam Stahler (1747-1807) is NOT my 4th great grandfather.  I explain in detail elsewhere, but I have deleted what I wrote about him here. (Points 2 and 3 are still relevant.)

ADAM STAHLER, (1747-1807) 4th Great Grandfather

What could be more appropriate for the New Year than a new start? That is where Stahler comes in.

So, as I teased in my last post, Ancestors in Aprons will try something new in 2018.  At the beginning of every year I promise to climb out further on the branches on my father’s side of the famly tree. And every year I am stymied by the lack of or contradictory information on the KASER family.


New Start 1–Deleted



New Start 2: Three Little Letters

The second new start, I am hoping, will come from finally doing a DNA test.  I have mine, and I got one for my brother for good measure.  We have pretty solid evidence about where our families come from–The British Isles, Netherlands, Germany.

The Ancestry.com test will not sort out some of our questions like were they Swiss or German? were they really Irish? Or, as my brother suspects were there some French?  Instead, Ancestry lumps all of Western Europe into one bigger pot, and we need to find other ways to answer those particular questions.

I am hoping the results may put us in touch with other members of the Kaser and related clans.  The human contacts made through close matches in DNA just might tear down a few brick walls on our father’s side.

I know just about as little as it is possible to know about DNA, except to know that it is not magic.  I will be reading more about it, spending extra time tracking what it shows me once the results are in. And I hope will be coordinating the DNA information with the paper trails I’ve been chasing.

A START WITH 52 Ancestors Again

Amy Johnson Crow has challenged bloggers to write and talk about an ancestor each week in a new 52 Ancestors project.  This time she will give a prompt to stimulate an angle for writing.  I will be participating–maybe not every week–but at least frequently, as in this first post in which I START to introduce ADAM STAHLER, my 4th great-grandfather, and my plans for the coming year.


52 Ancestors #37 Anna Barbara Müller Lost Half Her Children

Anna Barbara Müller (Schneiter) 1839-1912

Steam-sail ship

City of Dublin, the steam-sail ship Schneiters sailed on from Antwerp to New York.

Even though I know that infant and childhood were dangerous times in earlier centuries, my heart goes out to a family that loses five children. Anna Barbara and Samuel Schneiter would have had ten children if all their children had lived to adulthood. Instead, five died as infants or young children. Anna is the great- great-grandmother of my husband Ken Badertscher.

Born in Buchholterberg (see map below) in the canton of Bern, Switzerland on June 7, 1839, Anna Barbara Müller was baptized three weeks later. In October of 1858 , just 18 1/2 years old, she marries Samuel Frederick Schneiter, 23, in the canton of Bern. Samuel had been born in Steffisburg, in the region of Thun in the same canton. To emphasize how close their towns were, here is a four-hour hike that goes through Buchholterberg and Steffisburg.

Bern is the second largest canton of Switzerland in both area and population. Most of Ken’s ancestors  came from the canton of Bern, which means that in their native country, they lived as close to each other as residents of the state of Delaware. I fact, closer than that, because they came from an area north of the lakes and not far from Thun and Bern.

The capitol is the city of Bern (Berne in French) which is also the capitol city of the country.The sprawling area includes both spectacular alpine areas and lower meadow lands where dairy farms prevail.  The Thun region centers around Lake Thun, which connects with Lake Brienz at the city of Interlaken. The names of Sigrisvil, Thun, Goldiwyl, Grosshoctetten and Steffisburg have all popped up in researching Ken’s ancestors.  All are on this map.

Swiss map

Swiss towns of Ken’s ancestors. Created with Google Maps and Awesome Screenshot.


Now that I have indulged my fascination with the geography of genealogy–back to Anna Barbara’s story.

In August of 1859, just two months after turning 19, Anna gave birth to a daughter, Alice. She and Samuel had settled in Steffisburg, but by the time their son Gregory was born in 1861, they  had moved  about 13 miles north to Grosshöchstetten. (webcam here.)

Three years later they had moved again–this time to Goldiwil/Goldywil–by the time Anna gave birth to an infant who died. They named her Rosa Emma. Within two years, Anna gave birth to another girl–this one also named Rosa. It was a custom to name another child after one who died.

The following year, Ken’s Grandmother Helen Stucky (Bair, Kohler)’s mother Ida was born.

Apparently, Samuel was having a hard time finding a good source of income, because the family moved several times, and when Ida was eighteen months old, they traveled to Antwerp, Belgium and emigrated to America–arriving in 1869. Perhaps they would have come earlier, had it not been for blockades of the Civil War.

For those who hesitate to travel with children, consider what Anna did. In the summer of 1869 she packed up all her family belongings, said goodbye to her own birth family and traveled with four children–ages 18 months, 3 years, 8 years and 10 years. [According to the ship manifest, Ida was 9 months instead of 18, which would make other records of her birth year incorrect.] The family made their way from Switzerland to Antwerp–about 450 miles through either France or Germany and then through Belgium– and then sailed with other Swiss immigrants in steerage to New York City.

Schneiter Family arrives New York.

Schneiter Family listed on passenger list, arrival June 1869

Sailing steerage would have meant a steamship, fortunately better than the older sailing ships. The sea voyage would have taken about two weeks. The City of Dublin (picture at top of article) was a steam ship equipped with sails that had been launched five years earlier. The Inman line that operated the ship reportedly treated passengers better. For instance–providing food, whereas formerly steerage passengers were expected to provide their own.

Subscribers to my free newsletter got extra information about emigrating on a steamship in steerage. If you have not yet subscribed, click on this link: http://eepurl.com/w0msD.  See the latest newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bzJ4D9

Although conditions were improved on steamships–according to one article, only one in 1000 passengers died as opposed to one in two hundred on sailing ships–the passenger manifest as a column for deaths enroute.

Passenger List

Heading of Passenger list with Schneiter family arriving in New York, 1869

Corralling kids that age on a trip like that sounds like a tough job to me! But none of the Schneiter famiy died en route.

I have not been able to find out whether they immediately moved to Ohio where Samuel worked in the mines in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. But I do know that shortly after they arrived, Anna was pregnant again, this time with a boy, William, born in 1871.  Four years later (1875) she gave birth to Franklin. Two years after that, when Anna was 35, she gave birth to her last child–Flora–born in 1877.

That would mean that by 1880, the household consisted of mother, father and three boys between 5 and 19 years old and three girls between 3 and 14.  The oldest, Alice, had married Fred Wenger by then. The record shows a total of seven children in 1880, since we know that one child died in infancy in Switzerland.

However, in the 1900 census, Anna says that she gave birth to ten children and only five were living.  In the 1880s, the two youngest children, Frank and Flora, died. That leaves five children living, that we know of, and three who have died by 1890. How does that get to be five and five in 1900? It is a mystery. She probably lost infant children while still in Switzerland.

Her husband Samuel died in 1902 in New Philadelphia, Ohio. When Anna died in 1912, her New Philadelphia obituary named five surviving children.

Mrs Anna Barbara Muller died Thursday at her home on East Front Street. [New Philadelphia, Ohio]. Three daughters and two sons survive her–Mrs. Fred Wenger, Cleveland, Mrs. Charles Murray, Canton , Mrs. Fred Stucky, Stone Creek, Godfrey Schneiter, who lives a few miles from this city and William Schneiter of this city.

Like most of the family, Ann Barbara, born in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland, is buried in the cemetery in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Her joint tombstone with her husband Samuel also lists the two young children, Flora and Franklin.  But surely she left behind loved infants in Switzerland.


According to the obituary there are five children living in 1912, just as in 1890. But the thing that has me puzzled– is Mrs. Charles Murray Rosa Schneiter?

Although I can find no records of a Rosa and Charles Murray,  only Rosa can be Mrs. Charles Murray. Alice Schneiter was Mrs. Fred Wenger and Ida Schneiter was Mrs. Fred Stucky.

Although I have not found records for Rosa Schneiter (or Murray) after the 1880 census, and I assumed that she was one of the children who died before 1900. That, however, is impossible. Since Flora died in 1883, there are no other daughters that could be Mrs Murray. Until I can find a marriage record and a death record for Rosa, I have no proof positive.

How Ken is Related

Kenneth Ross Badertscher is the son of

Agnes Bair Badertscher, who is the daughter of

Helen Stucky Bair (Kohler), who is the daughter of

Ida Schneiter Stucky, who is the daughter of

Anna Barbara  Schneiter.

Notes on Research

U. S. Census records: 1880, Warwick Twp, Tuscarawas County, Ohio; 1900, Goshen Township, Tuscrawas County, Ohio. Obtained at Ancestry.com

New York Arrival Passenger List, 1820-1957: Year: 1869; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 313; Line: 35; List Number: 724; Ancestry.com, 2010.

Schweiz, Heiraten, 1532-1910 ,” database,Family Search.org, FHL microfilm 2,005,964,

Schweiz, Taufen, 1491-1940,” database, Samuel Schneiter, 04 Jun 1835; citing Steffisburg, Bern, Switzerland. Family Search.org;(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FVDH-8P1 : accessed 4 September 2015);FHL microfilm 2,005,789.

New Philadelphia (Ohio) Democrat, 8 Feb 1912, transcribed at FindaGrave.com.

Switzerland Beerdgungen 1613-1875 database, Family Search.org, Microfilm 2.005.966

Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health