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Family Lore Roahrig Surnames

Surname Saturday: R + Umlaut O + H + RIG = Roahrig

In my research of Kathryn Roahrig Bradford’s family, I came across 8 different spellings which indicated to me that this foreign name included a vowel alien to the English language.  On one side journey I inspected a naturalization document which included the applicant’s signature. ” AHA!” I thought.  There is a German vowel: the umlaut O, the O with two dots over it, the O that sounds like perk or burn.  THAT vowel.  In most cases one would transcribe that letter into English or French with an “o” followed by an “e”, but many, many transcribers have not followed that rule.  Somewhere along the way, my ancestors’ just settled on the spelling R-O-A-H-R-I-G and standardized the family’s name. My ancestors then were probably from an area of Europe that spoke German. That U.S. Federal 1850 census lists Frederick Roahrig as from France; the 1870 census states that he was a native of Alsace.  THAT is the clue.  Alsace is a region of France that borders with Germany, and has been the site of political turmoil for centuries, rocking back and forth between French and German control.  At the time Frederick shows up in Ohio it was considered France.  His family may have spoken French, German or a combination of the languages.

I am exceedingly happy that fellow family historian, Doug Kreis, has shared his Register Reports with me.  THANK YOU AGAIN, DOUG!  For included in his massive projects are obituaries, which have some amazing data sets in aggregate.

Frederick Roahrig’s parents were Jean George and Eve Gerling Roahrig, born in Buhl, Alsace, France at the turn of the 19th century.  They married in Buhl on 31 December 1817 and had six children: Marie Eve, Magdalena, Frederick, George, Salome, and David.  All were born in Buhl before 1835.  I had found Frederick, husband to Elizabeth and father of John in the 1850 census.  Putting this much information together I can conclude that Frederick emigrated from Alsace between 1835 and 1850.

I swept my eyes back over the report again, this time concentrating on obituaries of Frederick, his wife Elizabeth Lapp, and his sister, Magdelena Reiger.  From these three obituaries I pull this data set:

Frederick Roahrig was born in 7 January 1827 in Buhl, Alsace, France.  He came to America with his parents and in a few years married Elizabeth Lapp Roahrig (born 26 August 1832 in Muskingum County) on 6 April 1849 in Muskingum County, Ohio.  Elizabeth died on 4 January 1900 in Muskingum County; Frederick died in Muskingum County on 4 April 1908.  They are both buried in the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church cemetery.

Magdelena Roahrig Reiger was born 22 December 1822 in Buhl, Alsace, France.   She was baptized as an infant and joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hatten in 1837.  She emigrated to America in 1847 and later that year married George Reiger. She died in 31 August 1893 in Muskingum County, Ohio, and was buried in the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church cemetery.

Looking into the history of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Muskingum County, Ohio adds one more important detail: it was founded in 1839 by sixteen, German speaking, Alsatian immigrant families.

For now, my family story flows something like this: Jean George and Eve Gerling Roahrig, fed up with the political turmoil of their region and lured by the relative calm of America, emigrated in 1847, with their living children to America.  They landed at New York and came up the Erie Canal to Buffalo, then continued on westward to the open lands of Ohio.   Or they landed in Philadelphia and moved through Lancaster, Pennsylvania before heading out to the German speaking Ohio communities.  There, in Muskingum County, Ohio they were welcomed by the Lapps and the Zimmers, the Mosers and the Kreis’.  The children married, and had children who prospered.  And I am here, six generations later, to tell their story.

Next week: Sing praises for safe travels–in time.  Ahnentafels that will lead me to five ancestral immigrants!!

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Random Thoughts

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy, Week 1: One Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy

Challenge 1: Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?

I don’t remember much about New Year’s celebrations of my childhood.  Our family of six got together with the D family of five, swapping out which home hosted the gathering.  We ate Brunswick Stew and played in the basement.  Was that New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day?  Meh.

The only celebration that really stands out was a party I hosted on New Year’s Eve, 1969.  A gaggle of eighth grade girls giggled and talked from the sleeping bags scattered on the den’s concrete pad floor.  The black and white television probably showed footage of the Times Square countdown, and we probably had snacks from the kitchen just steps away. I don’t remember.

I don’t remember any conversation–but this.

Hugging a pillow tight, Humpy said, “Just think, in ten years, we won’t know each other.  We won’t know where each other lives.  We won’t know each other’s secrets or boyfriends or jobs. It is now 1970, and in 1980 we won’t know each other!”

The future suddenly cast a shadow into our small, snug party.  We could feel its tug, its scattering hand.  Someone started to cry.  And we hugged each other, mourning all the losses we would have to live in the new decade.  Gradually sleep overtook our eyes, clouding our vision of the future.  From that brief moment, I was changed; the human capacity to imagine a future–without current companions–was awakened.  It was the dawning of adulthood that dawning of 1970.

To sleep: perchance to dream.
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Advent Calendar Family Lore

Postcard Advent Calendar, December 19: Here, Kitty, Kitty!

 

A Merry Xmas to all of my readers, on this the sixth day of the Minor Postcard Advent Calendar. Today’s card is a REAL PHOTOGRAPH, on bromide paper by the Rotographic Company, New York City, copyright 1906.  On the back, thirteen year old Helen Stephenson Minor wrote her four year old brother, Donald Corbley:

How are you and Billy getting along by this time?  Are you coming with Papa when he comes up after me?  Have you been sliding down the hill any this winter? I expect it runs pretty nice doesn’t it?  Bye Bye. ~Helen

Helen attended a boarding school, near the town of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, I believe.  In this note she asks Donald about his pony, Billy, and inquires into the farm’s sledding.  It must have been a white Christmas season for her to anticipate a nice run down the hill.

Like Helen, I LOVE this photocard! The tiny tree looks as if someone topped a cedar or hemlock and decorated it with hand-made paper chains and stars. The candles appear to have been painted on after the photograph was developed!  And I adore the kitten, all snug in its crocheted sweater.  “What ARE you,” she asks the toy horse.  This wheeled toy is represented in many of my cards and must have been a favorite gift of the era.  The basket hung on the tree holds another popular gift:  a trumpet-like instrument.  But take a look at that doll!  What a face! At first glance I thought this was a skeleton wrapped up in fancy attire.  I don’t know what to make of it.  Do you?

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Advent Calendar Family Lore

Surname Saturday: The Minor Postcard Advent Calendar, December 18: Sneaking Up On Santa!

Night Before Christmas Series No.15

This fifth day of my Postcard Advent Calendar, a project inspired by Minor Family treasures,  I am happy to share this Christmas greeting from seventeen year old Helen Stephenson Minor to her eight year old brother, Donald Corbly.

Dear Brother, How are you enjoying this fine weather?  I was out for a sled ride to-night.  There were nine girls went just had a dandy time.  I suppose I will be home to-morrow.  Well  I got through one examination all O.K. Got an “A” grade in English History.  Well Bye Bye.  ~Helen

Helen was attending a boarding school in a nearby town.  Judging from the postmark, Helen wrote from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, which makes me wonder if she was not attending Waynesburg College or an affiliated high school.  Helen mailed the card December 21, 1910 and would have arrived home in time to celebrate the night before Christmas with young Donald.

This card’s vignette is unusual in its story. A tow- headed young child pauses during his clandestine mission. “Do you see what I see,” he asks us.  The Christmas tree, adorned with beads, crystals, and balls, sheds its candlelight on the Christmas eve scene. Santa Claus is just around the corner and seems to be playing with the white flocked horse! What a racket Santa must be making as he runs the stead’s wheels across the wood floor! How tempting to our young peeper to just grab the drum and join the fun.  But we all know how this night ended–with a scurrying of slippered little feet, back to bed, back to sleep. The publishers information is in some code on the front of the card: a dot in a circle within another circle sits next to an N within a triangle.  Both can be found in the lower right corner of the card.  On the back are the words “Night Before Christmas Series No. 15.”  Any collectors with information?  Please leave a comment!!

 

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Advent Calendar Family Lore

Postcard Advent Calendar, December 17: A Joyous Christmastide from Ivan Vannoy to Donald Minor

 

Printed in Germany

Dear Cousin, We arrived home safe and it has been winter ever since.  Old Santa is coming to our church Friday eve. and we are anxious to see him. Come out and see us and we will take a sleighride. ~Ivan Vannroy

On this fourth day of the Postcard Advent Calendar I share a Christmas “meow” from 1909.  The lightly embossed kittens send young Donald Minor wishes for a joyous Christmastide.  The publisher’s mark is right below the right kitty and reads “Painting only. Copyrighted by S. Garre, New York 1909.”  Small print on the back indicates that the Series #1064 postcard was printed in Germany.

The note’s salutation has led me on a goosechase to find the connection between Donald and Ivan.  The postmark is stamped Tama, Iowa, December 22, 11am, 1909.  And while some Pennsylvania Minors migrated west to Ohio, Illinois and Iowa in the mid-1800s, I don’t recall seeing the name Vannroy in any other family documents.  In fact,  I can’t find any Vannroy in my Iowa census stumping….My genealogical skills have failed me.  So far.

I love chasing the family geese.

UPDATE:

In researching other Advent cards, I went back to the web-based genealogy for the Thomas Minor family, from whom I am descended.  Within the surname list I found the word I was hunting: VANNOY.  When I plugged this spelling into Ancestry’s search engine I confirmed the Thomas Minor Society’s information.

*drum roll*

Francis Marion Minor had three children older than Donald’s father, Robert.  John P. was the eldest, then Alfred (whose son Carl also wrote to Donald), then there was Sarah Pricilla.  Sarah married Mark Herrington and had Beatrice Jane.  Beatrice Jane married John Vannoy and had little Ivan in 1906.  They are cited as living in Tama, Iowa in the 1910 census.

Story unfolds: Sarah’s daughter Beatrice marries and moves west to Iowa.  She travels home in 1909 with her family, including young Ivan, before winter sets in. The Christmas kittens are then sent in Ivan’s name, to the young cousin with whom he played during his Pennsylvania visit.