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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mystery Solved, well mostly

So my last post was about the mystery of my 2X Great grandmother Charlotte. (here) I couldn't figure out specific details, and other details didn't add up. Like the fact that her "mother" was listed on the 1900 census as only having 2 children, both still alive at the time. Well those were her two daughters from the previous marriage, her first husband died in the Civil War.
Things just weren't adding up. Once I had gotten really frustrated I put it aside and stopped looking. Turns out, a day or so later I noticed that on the 1880 census there was a "Lottie Nash" listed as a boarder in the home of these parents. I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me that Lottie was a nickname for Charlotte. There was also another young girl also listed as a boarder Minnie Wingate, and once I tracked her down I found Charlotte's parent's Find A Grave memorials linked to her as her adoptive parents. F.a.G. NOW this makes much more sense.
Now I understand how her "mother" could have only bore two children that were both alive, yet here is a third and even fourth child they raised. I do not know the specifics yet of Charlotte's biological parents. I have looked into it, but I am not finding any sort of adoption papers for either girl, but the years that would've occurred are not currently on Ancestry or Familysearch. Maybe a visit to the courthouse in Huntingdon is in order the next time I take a trip to Pennsylvania.
There were several Nash's in the Huntingdon area, but I am not sure if the parents passed away, or if, as it was common at that time, the children were removed due to the parents inability to care for them; or they may have even owed the state money. I would assume that her parents did pass away, or at least she never had a relationship at all with her biological parents as they are never mentioned on any of her records.

So now at least that mystery is solved, only to create a whole new one.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Mystery of my 2X great grandmother

It has been some time since I have been able to post, but I finally finished up all my classes for fall semester. Mostly A's but I do believe I will have a final grade of B in my Intro to Psych class. Now that i am able to get back into my research again I am puzzled yet again by a particular woman.

My 2x great grandmother Charlotte Ann (Sloan) Hoffman. I have records for her marriage to her husband, and I have the names of her parents from her death records. However the issue is, I can not link her to her parents in any other records. The censuses in which she should've been living at home with her parents she's not listed. I have gotten aggravated in the past for not being able to find her prior to marrying her husband, but I put it on the back burner then to come back to with a clearer head. Here's to hoping I can make some breakthrough this time.

I have 2 possible birth years for her 1878 and 1881. If 1881 is correct she will not appear on any census until 1900. She married her husband in 1901, and is on the 1910 census with him and their sons. In the 1880 census her parents and her 2 half sisters (her mothers first husband died in the Civil War and left her a widow with two young daughters) are listed, but not her. It is very possible her age was bumped back in order to marry early, as it was VERY common back then. Charlotte would have been 19-22 years old in the 1900 census. Not married, which means she should've been either at home with her parents, possibly living with other relatives, or less often the norm then, living alone and working.

Her parents were James D. Sloan and Leah Rhodes, both from Pennsylvania, and they lived in the Huntingdon area. Leah had previously married Solomon Lemmon, but he was killed during the Civil War. Leah's other daughters were Sarah Catherine & Margaret Ann Lemmon. I am still working on connecting each of James and Leah's parents to my tree, as I hadn't previously done much on this family line.

In order to figure out where Charlotte was, I will have to track each of her grandparents and both of these half sisters. IF I don't find her there, I guess I will need to keep digging. I hope to solve this mystery for myself. She surely was a beautiful woman, I wish I had more pictures of her.

Pictured here is Charlotte and her sons Phil on the left and Frank on the right. Frank was my Great Grandfather. This picture was taken (my estimation) about 1907 based on the approximate ages of her sons.

My littlest one is napping and that is such a rare occurrence so I think I will take this time to get some Christmas presents wrapped.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Hello, it has been awhile since my last post. I keep reminding myself to do a post, then I get busy with something else, so it has been neglected. So far my classes are all going well, not as busy as I originally thought I would be, so I manage to stay ahead for the most part. I have a Psychology test to take this weekend, so this will be short as I need to study some more. My kids are enjoying school and tonight we just attended a Fall Festival at my youngest daughter's school, the kids all had fun.

Lately, after school and taking care of the kids & everything, I have been digging into my sister's father's family lines for them. They immigrated from Italy in the early 1900s, and I wasn't quite sure why so many (almost off of the branches so far I traced came from the same place within 20 years) Turns out there was a lot of turmoil going on there at that time, several volcanos erupted forcing people off the land and most of those people were farmers that had no choice but to come to America. It has been nice sharing information and even pictures that I have found with them.

This afternoon I took time to stop at one of the closest cemeteries to photograph some headstones to upload onto Find-A-Grave. I really enjoy doing this. I used to be so uncomfortable going to cemeteries, but now I find it rather peaceful. Today I managed to get about half of this small church's headstones in about an hour, about the time it took for my son to lose his patience with walking around the stones. Since it is so close to me, I plan to return sometime this weekend if the weather holds off. 

I think it is a wonderful website, Find-A-Grave; being able to have an online memorial for your loved one. I am able to "visit" my great grandparents and other family in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, without leaving home, thanks to the many volunteers (and some cousins) who have taken the time to upload their headstones. I think it is a great thing to do, so I try to stop and take pictures of cemeteries from time to time when I have a little extra time.  I have 3 places I need to return to finish up, but they are all out of the way, so I haven't got them done just yet.

Here's a photo (and link to the memorial) of my 3x great grandparents headstone taken by a wonderful volunteer (spanielfam F.A.G. profile) in Pennsylvania.

Until another day....

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Monday starts a new journey for me.  I will be starting my freshman year online at New River Community College.  I have been out of school for 15 years, at first I was terrified about taking classes online, or at all honestly.  I always wanted to go to college while in high school, but I was never decided on what I wanted to do.  Life happened and I didn't go, but I am glad that I waited since I know what I want to do now.

I am planning on getting my Associates of Science in General Education.  That may change as I talk with my advisor on which is my best option.  I can go with a liberal arts program, and I will have more freedom for certain classes.  However, that also requires 2 semesters of foreign language.  My previous experience with it are telling me not to, but for a business aspect I think it would be beneficial.

I took Latin in 6th and 7th grade, and Spanish in 8th and 9th.  I honestly didn't enjoy either class, and I barely retained anything over the years.  Vocabulary wasn't the hard part, but the usage, pronouns etc, I hated that in English, so in a different language it made it that much worse.  If I decided to go that route, I would probably choose German, as I think it would be the most beneficial to me in the long run.

Several of my family lines are from Germany, I run across some information that was in German and I would love to be able to read it to see what exactly it pertains to.  I would also love to be able to translate my Aunt Donna's family bible that is in German.  I am not on board with the decision yet, but I am not 100% against it either.

I was able to start one of my classes early, College Success Skills, and I have completed the 14 weeks of assignments.  All I have left to complete is my final Exam, which is a 500 word essay.  I only have to wait until everything is available online Monday to do that.  It was a very easy class, but I did learn quite a bit.  It focused on things like how to study more efficiently but spend less time actually studying, taking good notes, how to prepare for exams, stress and anxiety etc.

The other classes I am taking this semester are Computer Business Applications, College Composition I, United States History and Principals of Psychology. I checked out my professors on and all but one has great ratings.  I am pretty excited to get started.  Although I initially wasn't sure which of my social electives I would be interested in, I am pretty stoked to be taking Psych, and plan to take a second course later specifically about children.  It really doesn't relate to my business plans, but like my advisor told me, I need to take some classes for fun.

Last week my kids started school, one in 1st grade and the other in 7th grade.  Their first week went well, although the youngest is a bear to get up in the morning, no matter what time she gets in bed.  My mother reminded me I was always difficult to get up as a child.  I still am not a morning person to be honest.

I am very excited, but nervous as well, I hope that I am able to keep up with a full class schedule each semester.  I don't think it will be a problem though, I just got to remind myself I don't have time to play on Facebook and Ancestry all day long anymore.  I will have to dedicate a certain time frame for that so that I don't get wrapped up into it.  I am a procrastinator most of the time, so my oldest daughter plans to ask me everyday when she gets home if I did my schoolwork.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Hoffman Connections

Please remember, as my last post, some dates could be incorrect, as older dates, record keeping wasn't the greatest, if it even existed in the area at all.  Some of the dates I have may be off, as they were either found in personal bible records, or from other sources (census records, and other documents). Also spelling of names varied and sometimes were nothing close to what we know of them to be spelled.   I try to keep everything as accurate as possible, and I document everything I am able to.

Until recently, I had not spent much time tracing my Hoffman line.  I had primarily focused on my Vogan and my Casto lines.  But when I started adding in the information for my Hoffman great grandparents and tracing them back in the census records, I kept getting hits from a private tree for photos.  Photos of people in my family I have never even seen a picture of.  That got me very curious.  I private messaged the owner of that tree and she was very happy to share her tree with me, and pictures.  Turns out she is a wife of a 3rd cousin, 1x removed.

Speaking of that, 1x removed, it took me forever to fully understand what that meant exactly, it always confused the crap out of me.  Basically, that man is my mother's 3rd cousin and he was born a generation away from me, so he's my 3rd cousin 1x removed.

Anyhow, she put me in touch with another cousin, Judy, who sent me a disk of files.   I truly appreciate all the pictures, and records that Judy has given me.  On the disk was pictures of my 4th great grandparents Anton "Anthony" Hoffman and his wife Anna Katherina Munzel Hoffman.
According to the notes with the disk, Anna Kristina was ill when this picture was taken.  

Also on that disk was copies of their birth documentation, passports, information from their children etc. that they needed for travel and marriage.  The documents were written in German, but they also have an English translation.

Anna Katharina Munzel birth

Anton Hofmann birth
So with these documents I also learned both of their parents names as well.   Anna Kristina was the daughter of Jonathan George Munzel (a shepherd) and Anna Elisabeth Schmalz.
Anton was the son of J. Christian Hofmann (a cabinet maker)  and Anna Katharina Zange.

Here is an image that shows where the Hoffmans and where Anna Katharina's family were from.
Most of those records were needed for their trip to America.  I really love the following pictures, the passports have physical descriptions of what they looked like when they prepared for their travel.
Anton's passport
Anna Katherina's passport

Drawing of the boat The Clementine, they travelled on.
In July 1842, Captain Gesselmann grounded the Clementine in the English Channel as she was bound from Bremerhaven to Baltimore with 189 emigrants.  The ship was towed to Dunkirk and repaired.  She set sail again for Baltimore in August 1842.   Source:

Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1964

Anton and Katherina travelled with their infant daughter and also Anton's brother.  The image above shows how often things were spelled differently, their last name was listed as Hoofman on the passenger list.  They arrived in Baltimore, Maryland and promptly headed to their destination, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, they had with them 3 boxes of belongings.  

Anton and Anna Katherina had 8 more children once they arrived and settled in Huntingdon county Pennsylvania: John, Philip (my 3rd great grandfather), Susannah, James, Conrad, Elizabeth, Mary and Sophia.

Anton "Anthony" served in the Civil War in the 3rd Infantry Regiment, for some reason only for 3 months.  I am not sure why, but his entire unit only served for those 3 months before they were recalled back to Pennsylvania and mustered out of service.

After his military term, he was granted Citizenship on April 19th, 1862.  Which I have read when a man was granted citizenship, it also automatically gave his wife and any children born elsewhere the same right as citizens.

Anton passed away on June 4th, 1888 and Anna Katherina sometime in 1893.

There were several stories on the disk, that were told to their children and grandchildren.  The stories that I will share were recollected by their grand daughter Ada Mae Kough-Bradley.  Ada shared these stories at the first Hoffman reunion in 1930 in Saltillo, PA.  Ava would be my 1st cousin 4x removed.  My great aunt Donna mailed me these exact papers that were given out at that reunion.  Also attached to the papers on the disk is the article that was in the newspaper.  It listed all in attendance at the reunion.  My great grandparents Frank & Ethel Hoffman were there, as well as my 2x great grandparents Fred & Charlotte Hoffman.  Donna also has an old bible I really want to get to see.  It's in German and she says it is very delicate.  I am hoping to visit sometime and be able to scan it & have it translated.   

Ada Mae Bradley

The following is one of the stories recollected by Ada.

Anton & Anna Katherina had many issues on their journey to America.  First the ship, The Clementine,  it lost it's anchor they got stuck in port for a few days while the crew fished the anchor out of the water.  Then once they started on their journey, the ship was bottomed out and taking in water.  It was told that the crew was trying to abandon ship and leave the passengers to their watery death, but a brave man figured out their plan and made them stop.  In total, it took them 4 months to travel from Bremerhaven Germany to Baltimore Maryland. When they left their village of Friedewald, they had a 2 week old baby, Catherina Christina Hoffman.  Due to harsh conditions on the boat, and sickness, sadly she passed away a few weeks after finally arriving in America.
Philip Hoffman

My 3rd great grandfather, Philip Hoffman, 
was born Sept 24, 1875 in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.  He married twice in his lifetime.  First to my 3rd great grandmother, Rosanna Bradley on June 2nd, 1872.  She was born in Huntingdon, PA December 4th 1851 and passed away there on December 26, 1886. Together they had 5 children: Nora Elva, Anna Catherine, Laura Virgina, Fredrick Elsworth and George Emerson.

Philip and his father Anton were both listed (living beside each other) on the 1880 Census as farmers. Rosanna's parents lived right on the opposite side of Philip and her, her father was also listed as a farmer.

Family of Rosanna Bradley - she is the 2nd girl from the left standing in the back row

Marriage record of Philip & Rosanna - married June 2nd 1872 at her parents home
Philip second married Emma Wagoneer in 1892. Understandably so, since he had 5 children under the age of 15 to care for, (the youngest only 3 years old) at the time of his wife, my GGG grandmothers' death.  He and Emma had 5 more children, half siblings to my GG Grandfather.  Philip passed away on Jan 11, 1911 in Huntingdon, PA.  
Philip and Emma - his second wife

My Great Great Grandfather Fredrick Elsworth Hoffman was born in Saltillo, Huntingdon, PA on August 13, 1878.  Fred worked on the railroad and I was so thrilled to receive these pictures from cousin Judy.  Here is a picture of him on one of the trains he worked on.   His brother George also worked on the railroad, I am not sure if he is in the picture or not.  If he is, I would say it would need to be one of the two younger boys closer to him in the picture since Fred was 5 years older than him.  I am not aware of the date on this picture, but it would be nice to know.  He appears to be about 40 or so years old.
Zoomed in
I got someone to clean this image up and remove his name from the picture.  So much cleaner than the original.
Fred married Charlotte Ann Sloan (b. Mar 8, 1878) sometime in 1901 according to the 1910 census records. They had 2 children Frank Evan and Philip D Hoffman.
Phil & Frank about 1911
Phil, Charlotte & Frank Evan. about 1907

Another interesting thing that Judy sent me was this postcard that Fred mailed to his half sister Elsie.  Judy told me that the baseball team pictured was the Mapleton team.  I found a similar picture (same players different pose) online and it identified them as the 1909 team.  Only one player was identified on that picture.  Fred would've been 30 years old at that time.  I don't know if he was in this picture or not, but his message to Elsie makes me think that he had some involvement with the team, maybe he played, or knew someone on the team?  Cousin Judy has reached out to the Mapleton town historical society to see if maybe they have a team roster from that year.  Here's to hoping for further answers.

My great grandfather Frank Hoffman was born on April 24th, 1902 most likely in Mapleton.  His death record says place of birth, Pennsylvania, but his parents both were living in Mapleton in 1900 and together there in 1910.  It is safe to assume he was born there as well.
Frank about 2 yrs old
Frank as a baby.  I adore this picture

Since I left off in this place on my Vogan post, with my great grandfather, I will do the same with my Hoffman post.  Look for another post concerning my great grandparents lives later on.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Vogan Roots

I have spent a lot of time, off and on, over the years working on my family tree.  Some of this research is proven, and some speculation.  I try to prove every source I find.  Once you get closer to the 1700s, it is much harder to find documentation.  More of the "documentation" that goes back to the earlier generations is 2nd hand knowledge, passed down over the generations, either in family trees, or in Bibles.  Sometimes dates and years can be written or transcribed incorrectly.  Please do not take these dates as fact.

I have traced my Vogan origins to Ireland, Cootehill, County Cavan specifically.  I found this very interesting as I have always identified as Irish.  I've always felt pulled to it, but I never had a solid lead.  Turns out, I have another line that originates from Ireland as well.  More on them in another post.  I have made contact and have been speaking with a possible VERY distant Vogan cousin.  Her Vogans also came from Cootehill, Co. Cavan, but they came to America in 1832 and moved to Canada in 1837.  I just know that she is a descendant of another generation.  I would love to prove it one day.  I have sent snail mail to the five Vogan addresses I found listed in the Cootehill area.  I am hoping that one of them may have some knowledge of my Vogans, or would possibly pass my letters on to someone in the area that could help me.  

The Vogan name comes from my mother's side of the family.  My ancestors (6th great grandparents to be exact) William Vogan b.1725-d.1790 and Isabella b.1726-d.1763 had 10 children according to records I could find.  All of them were born in the "Colonies" except their first son, James who was b.1744 in Cootehill, Co. Cavan.

Circa 1900s

There obviously was no photography available in the 1700s, but here is a view of what Market Street in Cootehill looked like in the 1900s, and more recently below.
2011 - Market Street, Cootehill
        © Copyright Eric Jones and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence 

I am not sure on the date of which they traveled to the Colonies, but I would assume it was sometime between 1744 and 1746.  I have checked every ship log that I have found, none of which I can find these people, nor their names spelled differently on.  My guess is that the last name was misspelled horrendously, or the ship log may have been lost.  I have another resource I want to check, a book at a local college, hopefully sometime next week.

Their next child, Jacob, supposedly b.1746 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The rest of the children, including my 5th great grandfather John (b.1752-d.1812) were born and died in the Lancaster, PA. area as well. I haven't personally traced any of their family lines yet, aside from James and my direct line, John.  I have found  records stating that the sons of that generation: Isaac, James, Samuel and my 5th great grandfather John, fought in the Great American Revolution.

From the children of that James, was a son John (so many of the same names it is really difficult to keep who is actually who) that is my 5th great grandfather, John's nephew.  This John Vogan was the founder of Vogansville, Pennsylvania.  He never married, and apparently was a very prominent man of the time.  To the right, it talks about him and mentions his family coming from Cootehill, Co. Cavan.  I have found several publications that include sections about Vogansville and John Vogan.  

History of Lancaster Co, PA - 
page 814
Written by: Franklin Ellis and Samuel Evans 
Published by: Events and Peck 1883

John Vogan married Rudy Giffen on Feb. 2nd, 1774 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the First Reformed Congregation.  During the war, he was in the battle that is now known as the Paoli Massacre, that happened on Sept 21, 1777.  He later received a war bounty of 200 acres for his service.  John and Rudy had 5 children: William, Nancy, John, Samuel & James.

William was born in 1779 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. About 1810 he married Mary Harlan (b.1794-d.1874) daughter of Jonathan & Elizabeth Harlan, in Harlansburg, Lawrence, Pennsylvania.  William and Mary were my 4th great grandparents.  Together they had 7 children: Ruth, Jonathan, Sarah, Jesse, John, Elizabeth and William.   The senior William died on January 1, 1823 in Slippery Rock, Butler, Pennsylvania.  Shortly after his death came the arrival of his last child, William W. Vogan on June 17th, 1823.

Source: (History and genealogy of the Harlan family, and particularly of the descendants of George and Michael Harlan, who settled in Chester County, Pa., 1687 - Compiled by: Alpheus H. Harlan - publisher: The Lord Baltimore Press - date: 1914 - page 387)

Mary remarried in 1825 in Harlansburg, Pennsylvania to William Dean and together they had 6 more children, which would be half siblings to my 3rd great grandfather William W. Vogan.

William W. Vogan married Anna Smith (b.1823-d.1898) on April 23, 1844 in New Castle, Lawrence, PA. They had 8 children: Ivester, Mary, Daniel, John, Thomas Hamilton (b.1856-d.1913), William Wallace, Elizabeth & Frank S.  William W. Vogan died on June 2nd, 1910 in New Castle.

Thomas Hamilton Vogan, my 2nd great grandfather married Margaret Jane Palmer in 1891.  The following photo was taken in 1906.  Thanks to my cousin Soozie for the photo.  At the head of the table is William W. Vogan.  On the right closest to the front here is Thomas holding his son, my great grandfather on his right knee, Frank Melvin Vogan b.1902-d.1989 and another young child on the left knee.
Photo taken July 4th, 1906

I will leave off with my Vogan line here, as it is late, and I want to do a more detailed post on my great grandparents and my grandparents.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Finding Susie

I took on the task of researching the grandmother of the man that raised me.  You see, she passed away early in her years and only had one child who was in jail at the time.  Her grandchildren were all very young, some were not even born yet.  Two of them recalled her passing, but couldn't remember exactly when.  When Bernie told me that he had been looking for Susie, but never found her, I offered to help look. I had been researching my own family off and on for years, and really enjoyed piecing together my history.  The least I could do was try to help.  The only information he was able to give me was her name, her maiden name and the name of her husband.  I did not have a birth date, but an approximate time frame, "about 1905."  No death date, I only knew she passed when he was young, so sometime about 1960.

We had pictures of her alive about in 1958, so that helped.  I truly hoped to help locate her final resting place.  Bernie's father, "Pops" as I call him, is up in age now, and wishes to say his last goodbyes to his mother.  He's searched many times over the years, but never has found her.  He thought he remembered where she was buried, but has been there many times and can not find her.  They had been to the courthouse that owns the cemetery and they claimed to have no records of her buried there.

So I started with the basics, census records.  First I found Susie and Pops living as boarders in 1940.  I then found them in 1930 census living with her first husband, Pops' father.   This was the correct Susie.  It stated she was 20 years old and had married at 18.  So, married in or about 1928.  I found her in 1920, living with her uncle Frank and grandmother Jennie.  Checking into previous censuses for Jennie, I learned she had 3 sons: John, Oliver and Frank.  So that left John and Oliver as her possible fathers.  I couldn't find her in a census for 1910 living with either of the possible fathers, so I took a trip to the local courthouse.  I found her marriage license that listed her parents, Oliver was her father. It listed her age, so still no birth date.

I knew we could order her death certificate if we were able to gather up enough information, but I still was not finding her birth or death date.  Not on Ancestry or Familysearch, or multiple other resources.  I knew with so many local families with the same last name here in town, someone had to be related to Susie that remembered where she was buried.  I've always figured more of them had to be related than who all they claimed, as their last name is very common here.   I starting asking friends on Facebook for their parents & grandparents names.  Soon I had quite a list of people that I could connect to this same family tree I had put together.  Although most of them did not think they were related to this bunch, they were.

Turns out, after searching more, with the help of my friends, I was made aware that Susie's baby sister was still alive and well.  After speaking with her I had another person confirming that she was buried where her son remembers.  I made another trip to that courthouse with this information, I searched thru their plot books, still couldn't find her, or anyone that would've purchased her plot for her.  I was disappointed, but didn't stop looking.  I figured that I might as well put this tree together better, since I already had so much information.  One evening while looking up records for one of the family members I saw new hints on people that I had already cleared up.  I checked a person and found out that Ancestry released new information, was I in luck?  Was I finally going to find more on Susie?

Sure enough, when I went to her profile, there it was.  Her death certificate, her marriage and divorce records, all staring back at me.  I was so thrilled I called Bernie right away, he apparently was asleep as it was almost 11pm.  I had all the information I needed, but her burial location only said the city's name, and cemetery.  There is only one in the city limits, so again I call the courthouse.  I now have her birth and death date, maybe that will help.

Unfortunately, they still can not find records for her.  The funeral home has been out of business for many years.  The funeral home that took over for them has since closed down.  I was able to locate where the second homes records are kept, but they have no idea where the previous record books are.  I was hoping to find the records, maybe at least it would say the actual cemetery.  I've called around and enlisted the help of a few other historians in the area, but so far no one has managed to locate those records.

Although I know she has to be in that cemetery, I really wish I was able to show her son exactly where she is buried.  I feel as I have not reached my goal.  I like to have all of the information available for a person, and Susie's story is not complete.  I know that I brought tons of information they did not even know.  Bernie didn't even know his great grandparents' names.  I was able to trace back several generations, uncover her birth and death dates for them, plus the dates of her marriages.  I know I gave them a lot of information they otherwise did not have.  But to me, her story is not complete.  One day I will find her.

Working on finding Susie and this tree, has sparked further interest.  I found it very gratifying to help Bernie's family piece together this mystery.  I really enjoyed helping someone else with their family, and I realized this is something I have such a passion for.  I have been working on my own tree and branches of it off and on for years.  Anytime I uncovered something new, I would get so excited.  But this, was something totally different.  I knew where my family came from, and it was just uncovering the records for people I knew existed.  Finding Susie meant something I had never done before, working from no information and building a tree, connecting family members here in town to their cousins they didn't know they were even related to.  I am very proud to say that even though I still haven't found Susie's final resting place, I helped reunite some long lost family members.