30 September 2014

Motorcyling tip

Being that this is supposed to be a blog about motorcycles as well as genealogy I'd thought I'd give a quick tip, especially for this time of year.

This time of year, at least for me in these middle latitudes, the sun can be at some really bad angles, even with sunglasses the glare can get to you and make seeing the road a real pain. A very quick, and cheap, way of combating this is to place a strip of black electric tape along the very bottom of your face shield. Then, when the sun starts hitting that wrong spot simply lift the shield to put the tape in front of the sun.

Granted, this is an old school way of taking care of the problem, but it does work. My Nolan helmet has a sun visor, but even that doesn't cut the glare down enough. Don't forget to have some sort of eye protection as well if the face shield is up.

29 September 2014

This past weekend I made an incredible find, the Ambrose Leatherman cemetery located near Ellerton. Names in Stone said the cemetery was located along Bittle Road and MD 17. Having grown up near there I knew where to start looking. I went to the intersection and started looking and not seeing anything. I figured that someone would probably know where it was so I started going up the driveways looking for anything that resembled a graveyard. Not finding anything, nor anyone to ask, I left and made my way to Saint John's cemetery to take some photos. Luckily for me church was letting out and the one person I ran in to knew exactly where it was located.

Back I went to the proper place. I knocked on the door and the man who answered showed me right were the cemetery was. He told me that it wasn't really on his property, but no one would mind if I took some photos. He and a few others take care of the spot and it's not over grown, though I did have to remove some weeds to get nice photos.

What I found was a nice family cemetery with some interesting stones. A few types I had never seen before. Out of the 15 stones I found, at least 5 had writing on both sides, all in German. One had a flower on one side.

This is, what I'm guessing, is the back side of Peter Ambros' stone. Note the intricate flower on the bottom.

I also saw foot stones  with the initials and year of death carved on them.

This is Danial Swigart's foot stone. Upon first seeing the stone I thought it was another tombstone.

I'm still trying to compare what I have found to what Holdcraft found in 1958. I do seem to have a photo of a stone not transcribed by Holdcraft. I think there also maybe a stone or two missing. Unfortunately two of the stones were broken and I was unable to find the entire stone.

28 September 2014

Lessons in trusting secondary sources

Secondary sources are sometimes all we have to go on. Sometimes things might even be a "third" source, such as transcriptions of tombstones. I would guess that most people who have done research in Frederick county knows about Jacob Holdcraft's book Names in Stone. For those that don't know, Holdcraft went around Frederick county in the 1950s and 60s transcribing all the tombstones he could find, he found some 75,000 stones in about 300 cemeteries. However, before he wrote his book, he published a series of booklets done by cemetery.

These books are an invaluable  resource for researchers. However, because of the number of times the names were written and re-written, there can be problems. These problems can compound, when 50-60 years later someone tries to find an older cemetery. One such error is the Miller family cemetery, Holdcraft number 22, in Highland, which is between Myersville and Wolfsville. In Names in Stone, he gives the location of the cemetery as being near Harmony-Ellerton road and Wistman Lane, however, in pamphlet number 5 the location is given as the intersection of Harmony-Ellerton Road and Fishers Hollow Road. These roads are only about a half mile apart, but when looking for 6 stones in the over growth it's almost impossible to find.

Twice now I have been out looking for this cemetery, but now don't know exactly where to look. On a Sunday morning there are not a lot of people out to ask, and I have been unable to find the cemetery and will have to research further.

Another error, that also made it's way to Find a Grave is the Summers family cemetery. Holdcraft gives the location as being on Church Hill Road and Ward Cline Road. The person who originally submitted the cemetery to Find a Grave did the same but also added the latitude and longitude of the intersection. When I went to take photos of the cemetery I originally thought the cemetery was gone as I was in the wrong area. Luckily I saw someone mowing their lawn nearby and it turned out that she owned the property that the cemetery was located on.

So what does this say? It says that, if at all possible to find and use original sources as much as possible. It's not to say that secondary sources are bad, quite the opposite, sometimes it's the only thing we have left, we just can not rely upon them entirely.

25 September 2014

Current projects

Everyone has multiple projects going on at once. Here are some of mine, at least how they relate to genealogy.

For a few years I've been working on the descendants of George Dinterman, born in 1800. As one of those descendants I hit one of the typical problems genealogists have, finding two people with the same name and same basic age. In this case it turned out to be two men named Jacob Dinterman. Though one was ten years older then the other, they both died in 1907 and both had married women named Sarah.

In trying to solve the problem of which Jacob was my ancestor I started tracing all of the descendants of both men. Luckily, the majority of those descendants lived in and around Frederick. After awhile I found that I had found almost all of the descendants, named Dinterman, of both men. Only having to step back  a generation or two meant being able to get back to the George Dinterman. I've finished most of the work, I now need to transcribe a few wills and try and find out what happened to a handful of people before I can finish up on a one name study of the Dinterman name.

My second project I've been working on is locating and documenting the cemeteries of Frederick county. Two resources I've been using is Jacob Holdcraft's Names in Stone book and the Find a Grave web site to help locate the cemeteries. While Holdcraft's book is a great resource, he lists the names of the farms and other out of date place and road names. And while Find a Grave is another great resource, there are mistakes in locations or no location at all.

So, what I've been doing is taking the Wee-Strom out and trying to locate these cemeteries. I take a handheld GPS and record the location. With smaller cemeteries I've been also taking photos and if I can, making hand drawn plots of the stones. Those photos I put up on Find a Grave if they aren't already there, and I add or correct the cemetery's location if need be. When I finish I hope to be able to find the majority of the cemeteries that Holdcraft found, though I know a few at least have been destroyed or moved.

24 September 2014

More about me

As a first post it's probably a good idea to give you a bit about who I am. I was born and raised in Frederick county Maryland, I currently live in Montgomery county to be closer to work. I have worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, for the past 14 years making aeronautical charts.

Around 1998 I began riding motorcycles. Since that time I've been lucky enough to travel through all of the lower 48 states and was able to do a month long trip through Europe. The amount of time riding went down when I had children. I currently ride a Suzuki V-Strom 650.

 When my mother died in 2005 I realized how little I knew of my family history, which really meant none. I found an older, hand-drawn family tree and a few older photos and it piqued an interest in my family. Since then I have been tracing my family history. For the past 3-4 years I have been a volunteer at the Frederick Historical Society a couple of Saturdays a month in the library. I also run the Main/Mehn/Mayne Family website.

 Recently I've been combining my two hobbies and that's what this blog is about, and to hopefully give you some tips and tricks for motorcycling and genealogy.