Sunday, August 31, 2014

Motivation Monday - Looking for Live Cousins- "DIETZ" of Bavaria and Hesse Darmstadt

           Looking for Live Cousins from my German Twig on my Fathers Side 

                                                    Searching for live cousins? 
                            This is such a new concept for me.....  
                                                 ..........and I am finding it exciting!  
                                                                               I am anxious to start this adventure.

                                 ANYONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS PLEASE SHARE

Looking over my August posts and I can see that I really slacked off. I seemed to have lost my mojo, my enthusiasm.  Maybe I needed a break and just didn't know it- just so much going on in July.  I was out of the state traveling for over 3 weeks in July. Everything just caught up with me and I got lazy and unfocused.  Funny thing is I out of the state in Texas right now, so now I am trying to think things through and see what I want to do next..........  I certainly have a pretty lengthy TO-DO list from previous months of posting and analysing .

I did take a number of German based classes this past week at FGS Conference in San Antonio. And one class that dealt with finding live cousins. Who knew!! So I need to go through my notes and the syllabus and see what I need to do to start this process. I am almost sure that I need to connect with a live female cousin who probably has the family bible, documents, pictures and personal information I need. But it could be any of them, you just never know where you will find the information you need.

I really do want to find some living cousins on my German twig, I cannot do anything cross the pond into Germany because I do not have  the parish/ village / town/ city. I do know the regions in Germany but both are too massive to really do anything with, so I am back to square one - finding out where they came from in Germany the exact Parish and/or Village in Bavaria and Hesse Darmstadt. I do need to get my maps out and see what "Germany" looked like in mid 1800's. What was going on in Germany and with them that caused them to come to America?

OK the German family name is DIETZ. I have posted a little on this name already but it was in connection to the GARDNER name...  Both were children coming from Europe with their parents, They met and married in the United States, I have done some posting about Harry but need to do some research and posting about Elizabeth and her family........ need to make that German connection.  Need to find living descendants of Elizabeth DIETZ and her siblings.

Here is the family structure as I know it right now........
........ starting with my 2x great grandparents on my fathers side - George and Caroline DIETZ 

George A DIETZ (b:1832 Bavaria -d:1907 Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania)
wife Caroline NOEL (b:1844 Hesse Darmstadt - d: 1928 Pittsburgh Allegheny, Pennsylvania)
married to George before 1864 in Germany [best guess]

Elizabeth -my great grand mother on my fathers side 
(b: 1864 Baltimore Maryland -d: 1951 Alliance, Stark, Ohio)  married Harry B GARDNER no date/location - 6 known children

George, Jr (b: abt 1865 Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania - d: unknown [possibly Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania]- single.married children?

Henrietta (b:1868 Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania  - d: 1917 Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania - married Robert LEVY in 1898 in Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania- no known children

Christian  (b: 1871  [probably Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania] - d: unknown  married Fannie LUTTINGER in Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania in 1905 - 2 known children

Maria   (b: 1874 unknown [probably Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania] - d: 1938 Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania married John H SHIER unknown date/location  - no known children

Emma (1876, [probably Allegheny, Allegheny Pennsylvania]  - unknown married Edward RAIDER unknown date/location- 6 known children

Andrew H (b: 1880 [probably Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania] - d: 1914 Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania - single/married children? -

Kate (b: 1882Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania  - d: 1941 Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania married John T RHALL in 1902 in Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania - no known children


The first record I have for George and Caroline DIETZ is the 1870 US Census. They are living in Allegheny City. Allegheny, Pennsylvania - no street address listed -

George is 32, white male, a chairmaker, from Bavaria, father & mother are foreign born, box is checked that he is a citizen
Caroline is 27, white female, keeping house, from Hesse-Darmstadt& father/mother are foreign born

children listed 
Lizzie, 5yr, from Pennsylvania - father & mother foreign born - att school
                   other records show Elizabeth was born in Baltimore, Maryland
George, 4yr, from Pennsylvania- father & mother foreign born
Henrietta, 1yr, from Pennsylvania - father & mother foreign born

There were two people in the 1880 US Census that were listed in the household above George & Caroline.  I thought they were related but not sure now.But I have not found any information to connect them or t disprove it,. I only found them on the one census and nothing after. I will be carrying them along for a while so I don't forget them. I want to connect them or disprove the relationship. .

John (72) and Johanna (70) DIETZ  both from Bavaria ...he was a stocking weaver
The 1880 Census shows both families were living at the same address.

So there are a number of grandchildren from George and Caroline children that I can try to follow and find them or their children .........

Elizabeth - 6 children (one of them is my grandfather)
Christian - 2 children
Emma - 6 children

Now that I have all this information in front on me, I can see the holes and what I have,  what I have makes more sense and gives me a better sense of what I need to do next.............but the first thing I need to do is go back over my materials from the conference and use it to my advantage. Keep it fresh  and use it........

.........continuing again soon.

Sentimental Sunday - San Antonio Riverwalk Experience (Texas)

FGS Conference is over. It was an excellent conference, sometimes very intense. Time for a little down time and exploring,

A relaxing day in San Antonio before heading home........... off to the Riverwalk. I did not realize that the Riverwalk is a whole little city unto its self. Many many restaurants,dozens of major hotels (two complete separate Marriotts) grocery store, pharmacy, little shops of all types, inside and outside eating, shopping along the river for the craft fair and a whole Mall hidden so it does not disturb the restful waterways........ wow I am so impressed. So I decided to take a ride on the boat first  just to see what is here and like I said I was so surprised.

You may recognize this first picture...... a view of part of the Riverwalk area from my 23rd floor balcony hotel room (San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk)  Absolutely love the view. From my balcony I can see that all boats are full..... the whole place is crowded. I have run into other conference goers but there is a People's Festival happening for the weekend. I believe there are thousands of people attending........ traffic, cars and people,waiting lines everywhere

 And here I am in the boat waiting to goooooooooooo........  (did I tell you that it is 97 degrees out and 100% humidity? Well it is, no good news about it) I am trying to enjoy myself , forget the crowds, and the heat/humidity and be in the moment, It is harder to do than you would think. I did enjoy myself............

 There are lots of boarding points along the Riverwalk........the lines were long to just buy a ticket and then turn around and get into another line for the 30 minute boat ride.  I was shocked to find out how much the ride costs,........ for a senior (over 60yr) costs $6. I know! I know! what a value for the money. Regular cost is only $8.  ..... this landing is just across the street from my hotel and down one level....... it is fascinating that there are all types of businesses on so many different levels- water level, street level, 1st floor, 2nd floor, 3rd floor etc.

 .....and this is looking back up to my hotel on the right and the other Marriott is on the left.

.....lots of craft fair vendors and people to buy

......more craft vendors under the bridges on the river level

........looking up with threatening clouds (nothing happened but it made us all wonder for a while)  This is connecting the convention buildings together as you cruise between them,  During conference time some of our meeting rooms and luncheon rooms were on the river level and we could watch the boats cruise by all day.......

.......a sign welcoming us to San Antonio Riverwalk district


............just an interesting building

.........beautiful mosaic on the top of this building, I wish it showed up better.

.......outdoor theater seats with live performances given on the other side of the river. Nothing going on right now, is the other side of the river where the plays and live performances, music happen. It is larger than it looks in this photo

.......this just represents all the beautiful lush green trees and bushes and beautiful flowers. No water shortage here.

....most of the bridges are cement, concrete or stone this one is unique with metal and you can barely see the Texas flag flying high above.

.......outdoor eatery on the river level and the street level too.

I have to say that our driver and guide, Alfredo, was a super guide. He is native to San Antonio and to Texas so he knew everything about this area, all the buildings and businesses - great history lesson and made the tour so much more enjoyable than just riding around, Thank You,

........... it is HOT in Sacramento area too but it is DRY not humid. I find that I am drinking a lot more water than usual (anyone knows me knows that I always have a bottle of water with me all the time so you can imagine keeping hydrated here. It has been a challenge.

Time to get back to the hotel. I am really HOT and tired ....  I have been doing a lot of walking and going up and down stairs. Need to  eat dinner and begin packing for my trip home tomorrow to Citrus Heights California

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Follow Friday - GONE TO TEXAS FGS Conference

Howdy you'all!!  (ooops! not a very good accent - sorry!)  This will be a little different post since I am at a genealogy conference. I want to show some of the things I am doing and seeing. 

 I am lucky enough to be able to attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in San Antonio, Texas, I have been here since Tuesday. All I can say is that it is very HOT and VERY HUMID here. Yes Citrus Heights is HOT but dry NOT humid. AND I usually stay inside in the air conditioning......... the funny thing is,  it is so HOT & HUMID outside and very cold inside the Convention Center. Just cannot win.  
I am on the 23rd floor of the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel which overlooks the riverwalk area.......  really a great view. I've seen a number of sightseeing boats .........  looks like fun.

.........and it was HOT and HUMID (I think I said that already) but then it thundered and then it rained.  Not just a short  soft warm rain- the wind was blowing, the rain was coming down in buckets but it was warm,,,,  and again even higher HUMIDITY if that is possible. I was walking back to the hotel when this all happened so I was soaked by the time I got back to my room............  
                                                               Welcome to San Antonio

It's just me.......  all dressed up and waiting to go to conference. Today is Society Day and so I wear my Root Cellar t-shirt, plus my name badge and swingers plus Root Cellar tote bag. I like showing off Root Cellar........... 

O dark hundred ....... going to breakfast and it is still dark outside and the lights are still on....... I want to go back to bed for several more hours but I guess not this time.

Beautiful entrance door of the convention center. Don't know that you can see the picture that covers the entire door........  it is a dancing woman It really is beautiful. 

These are just lights lining most of the hallways........  what is so nice about these is that it is a piece of some type of metal (gold colored) and the design you see is in holes........  and then the light bulb inside shines through the holes. It reminds me of the porch lights we made in scouting many years ago...... fill and tin can with water and freeze it... once the water is frozen you take it out, working outside, with a paper design, a nail and hammer. The nail holes follow the paper design. Then dry it out and load in a fat short candle, light it and see the light shine through the design created by the paper design, nail and hammer. These are on walls of the convention center - looks Spanish. Great fun project. 

 Lot s of goodies again this year.............  new tote bag sponsored by Find My Past. I've decorated my name badge with lots of pins (collected from the city or state that I attended conferences) and large, medium, and small buttons from various vendors.  The tote bag is a very sturdy large bag with water bottle holder on the outside end. Lots of pockets and holders inside and outside the bag. Big thanks Find My Past,

New blogger beads for the conference. I hope you can see them....... multi-color beads with cowboy boots and cacti.......  very appropriate for the Texas conference.  There is a big blogger presense at these conferene, so we have our own blogger/ media area in the exhibit hall. Wearing the beads identifies the person as a blogger especially to other bloggers. This year My Heritage supplied the beads. Each year it is a different person or company.

Gift from FamilySearch at the their blogger meeting  ..... nice surprise. It is a charger set, which will handle lots of different devices including my iPhone and Chuck's android phone.

 Another gift at the Find My Past Breakfast...........  it is a cell phone (or other small devices) holder and charger......  how cool!!

Something different being offered at this conference. Usually there are several luncheon's being offered each day .......  unfortunately the cost of the luncheons seem to be going up which drives the total cost of conference way up. Anyway, they offered  box lunches for most of the luncheons instead of catered lunches and for a lot less..... works for me and it was fresh tasting and good. The room was completely full so think it was a success.  (the choices were ham and swiss cheese OR turkey and cheddar - both looked very good. I had the turkey & swiss and was very satisfied)

BTW - Classes are great.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday's Obituary - Happy 97th Birthday Daddy

Today is my dad's birthday. Happy Birthday Dad!! My dad would have been 97 years young but best of all he would have been living. Oh how I wish he would have lived on, but he didn't, but he did - he lived on through me and my brother, his two grandsons and his one great granddaughter at the time AND of course his wife, my mother. It is so hard to lose someone you love, and sometimes it feels like it will be almost impossible to go on without them. We had no service, no memorial, no family gathering to let him know how much we loved him and how much we would miss him, no stories to share, no jokes to tell - nothing. We did this because those were his wishes and we wanted to honor him but I don't think he knew how much we needed that closure. This was 7 February 2006 and 8 plus years later we all still feel the same- kind of in a limbo, no closure. I have given this a lot of thought over the years and shed a lot of tears. I have talked to him as if he were still here waiting for the answers to questions. He will always to be in my heart and a big part of my life but it is time to let go and let him rest in peace. Never really understood that statement "rest in peace" because what else are they going to do, but maybe just maybe they are still hanging around trying to give comfort and reassurance to the living that they are ok and they will be seeing us again down the road.

My dad wrote his own obituary and I kept it in tact except a little updating, plus I added the first picture. The cost was prohibited unlike the old days of these community notes being free but it is the least we can do for him............... we certainly wanted to honor him and tell his story. Hopefully it is captured here. But I don't know that it tells how loving he was, how patient, how much he loved his family and wanted only the best for him, how much his advise and counseling meant to each of us...... yes, I am my fathers daughter and very proud of it.

Sacramento Bee Newspaper,
Sacramento, California 12 Feb2006
In Roseville, CA, February 7, 2006, 9:20pm, born August 17, 1917 in Alliance, Ohio, age 88. Resident of Roseville, CA, and a long time California resident, 1957. Survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Jane (Little) Gardner. Loving father of Sandra Lee Aberle-Benward & son-in-law Charles David Benward of Citrus Heights, CA and Robert Michael Gardner and daughter-in-law Nancie Grogan of Castro Valley, CA, 3 grandchildren, Michael John Aberle & his wife of Kristi Athena Aberle of Galt, CA, Jason Gardner Aberle of Roseville CA & Kimberly Ann Sheffield of San Lorenzo, CA. One great granddaughter, Ashlyn Makayla Aberle of Galt, CA. Son of John Patterson and Margaret Evelyn (Branfield) Gardner formerly of Alliance, OH, Del Ray Beach, FL and San Carlos, CA; Brother of Lois Ann Seidner and brother-in-law Richard John Seidner of Surprise, AZ and brother of Vancil Roy Gardner (deceased) of Alliance, OH. Graduated from Beaver Senior High School, Beaver, PA in 1935; attended Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh, PA. He served with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 135th Field Artillery Regiment, 37th Division, Ohio National Guard prior to World War II, Attended Officer Candidate School #23 at Ft Benning, Georgia, 1942. Served with the 385th Infantry Regiment, 76th Infantry Division during World War II; Army of Occupation in Germany with 33rd Field Artillery Battalion 1st Infantry Division, 867th Field Artillery Battalion (280mm Gun); Korean Military Assistance Group (KMAG) as Artillery Advisor to II Corps Artillery (Korea); attended military schools at Fort Monroe, VA, Fort Lee, VA, Fort Sill, OK, & Fort Bliss, TX.  
He retired from military service in 1962 at Fort Winfield Scott, Presidio of San Francisco, CA in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel, Artillery, after serving with the San Francisco-Travis Air Defense Command. Awarded the Expert and Combat Infantry Badge, awarded the Bronze Star Medal twice, the Commendation Ribbon with Medal Pendant. Retired from San Mateo County Assessor's Office in 1977 and El Dorado County Assessor's Office in 1983. Life member of the Military Officers Association of America, life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7889, life member of Disabled American Veterans, life member of National Association for Uniformed Services, member of the 76th Infantry Division Association. At Lieutenant Colonel Gardner's request, no services will be held. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and a friend to one and all. He will be interned in Arlington Military Cemetery, Wash DC. The family requests that any remembrances be made to the American Cancer Society.

Published in the Sacramento Bee on 2/12/2006. 

(Note: at the last minute this second photo was NOT included in the obituary)
Since 2006 the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, Dixon, California has been opened and Mom has changed plans from Arlington National Cemetery to the new Sacramento Valley National Cemetery for both of them to be buried. It would have been a very prestige's to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC (by the way, one of my favorite cities to visit) but it makes more sense, it is easier to visit in the future.  Since they are both veterans they will both be honored. 

By the way, dad was cremated and is just waiting patiently for his beloved Mary Jane to join him someday. She is now 94 years and has been waiting almost 8 years to join him. 

-- do a post- Beaver Senior High School, Beaver PA 1935  - I attended reunion in 1999/2000
--want to do more reading about the 1920's in Alliance, Stark County, Ohio and through the 1920's, 30's, 40's & into the 50's
--research more about Military Officers Association of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7889,  Disabled American Veterans, National Association for Uniformed Services, 76th Infantry Division Association.
-- I have a lot of the paperwork my dad kept about his military status                                                                            

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Travel Tuesday - Family Reunions

I remember my mom and my dad separately talking about attending family reunions in their youth. This was before they married- Millcreek Park, Youngstown Ohio was mentioned by my mom but that is it.
I wish I had the foresight to ask each of them about these reunions but my dad has passed on and my mom's memory doesn't remember much anymore...... my loss, my children and my grand children's loss.....

Why is it we seem to think about these questions after the fact when it is too late to ask? This past
year I have really been concentrating on finding living descendants. Maybe some of them might have participated or have some of the stories that their parents or grandparents passed down to them........  I can only hope.

Anyway this year my oldest son Michael has decided he wants to start new family memories and activities. He planned out the FIRST "ABERLE" FAMILY REUNION.......  My last name is BENWARD but my two boys last name is ABERLE, sons of my first husband. I was reluctant at first but then got into the spirit of it. Lots of plans were made, lots of activities and lots of down time planned. Invitations went out, RSVP's came back. AND we were a go........ Four families responded that they would be attending. We talked about what we wanted to do, eat, other activities, who would be coming and when and more. Each of us had a task or two - so we all had a hand in making this a successful reunion.New memories were made this year and I hope that we continue to gather each year.New memories were made this year and I hope that we continue to gather together each year.


Reservations were made at Jenkinson Lake (aka Sly Park Lake). It is located in Pollack Pines, California in the Sly Park Recreation Area. The Resort offers camping with full hookups. It is a beautiful place to bring families and young children.  Michael reserved two camping sites for July 6 Saturday - Tuesday July 10.

                                   This is our first family reunion picture. Isn't this a beautiful place!

l-r ..... Chuck Benward, Sandra (Gardner-Aberle) Benward, Lisa Cole and Michael Aberle, Jason & Krisi Aberle, Leslie and Travis Aberle with Sasha  (Peanuts ran out of picture)
front row l-r.....  Ashlyn Aberle, Aden Aberle and Josh Nickell (Krisi's son)

       Our camp site looked like tent city - large, medium and small tents, lots of coolers and chairs set out
                                                         Jason Aberle trying to stay cool
                                                Leslie Aberle and Ashlyn Aberle playing cards
                        Aden Aberle, Josh Nickell, & Ashlyn Aberle - A little down time with puzzles and coloring

                                      Granddaughter: Ashlyn Aberle with her original tye dye shirt
                                  Grandson: Aden Aberle showing off his original tye dye shirt

Both sites were flat, and plenty of space. Trees for shade, large circular pit for those hot dogs and smore's, a BBQ grill for all other foods. Three Aberle families were camping out overnight (Benward family came in for day to day use- we don't camp anymore unless in a camper or hotel) . The area was great for bike riding so all three grandchildren brought their bikes. Also we brought all types of water equipment. One of the activities was tye dying t-shirts. They did that in the early morning hours before I arrived. They were hanging from the trees in zip lock bags and were taken home in the bags. They had fun. Another activity was a scavenger hunt.......... a child with an adult of their choice - three teams in all. Great time.

                                           Travis Aberle and Josh Nickell throwing the ball
                                 Michael Aberle getting that fire going for the SMORES ....... yummy!!
Grandpa Chuck helping grandson Aden Aberle with a USA puzzle. Ashlyn Aberle and Josh Nickells coloring
                              Travis and Leslie Aberle's dog  Sasha. She is so friendly and loves playing
                          Travis and Leslie Aberle's dog Peanuts. He is so cute & very friendly. Loves the outdoors
Everyone down to the lake and into the water. New blow-up boat for Michael's birthday. Everyone tried it out. They all loved it. Everyone in the water..........

I forgot that the boys took their children out fishing - no luck but they loved it.

New memories were made this year 
I hope that we continue to gather together each year

We are already planning 2015 Aberle Family Reunion.............  
................bigger, better but just plain fun & relaxing 

(I would like to rent a motor home for next year and stay over the weekend....... don't want to miss a minute with my grandchildren)

NOTE: need to document this a little better with more details.
Want to search for newspapers in Youngstown, OH for any news of the family reunions my mom was talking about.
Do a little more research to locate living descendants of the Gardner Family, Little Family, Branfield Family, Bristol Family?  OK this is going to take some time to do this. I am aware of living descendants in the Little Family in another branch but I have not asked them about my mom's branch, they may know. Duh!!
Have not done much research on the Aberle side either, so looks like that is on the schedule too.