Saturday, November 28, 2009

Shepherd, Mayville, Annen Quick update


I realized I hadn't updated this for a while so I wanted to add a little quick note.

I recently obtained a copy of Peter Annen's (b. 1848) naturalization records. The document provides some really interesting information, such as that he arrived with his family arrived on the ship Columbia which sailed to Quebec in July of 1857. From there they entered the U.S. in Detroit and came to Wisconsin. It lists his wife and children's information, also, so it's a pretty good document.

Additionally I have been talking recently to several researchers from the Shepherd family (Greeley connection) and have been getting a little more information about those branches than I previously had.

I've also recently been talking to a Mayville who lived here in Wisconsin for some time, his family was from Michigan where they had emigrated from Quebec. I was glad to meet him because I have always wondered how my Wisconsin line of Mayvilles was related to the Michigan line. I will hopefully be finding out a little more about that line, especially with the help of Carroll.

I'm still trying to get ahold of Edmund Mayville Jr.'s obituary from California. A lady on has been supposed to get me a copy since June and still have not done so, which is quite frustrating due to lack of options. I am highly curious as to if he had a family out there. There has been someone from California visiting this page as well as my family photo site, looking at the Mayville stuff and I really wonder if they are related, because that would be fantastic. If you see this, could you please email me? I know the Mayvilles generally don't like to talk about the family, but I would be glad to meet you!

Well I haven't much else to say right now. Hopefully I will have some more time to work on genealogy when winter break rolls around!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Reynolds & Liebenow updates

Woo, it seems today I have made some small leaps in a couple of what seem to have been brick walls..

I talked to Gilbert H. from Caribou, ME, on the phone today. He is a local historian there, having lived in the area his whole life (73 years I believe). He told me about a pamphlet he had found which was from the Reynolds Family Association and had a section about our family, particularly about Everett Elisha Reynolds. This pamphlet was published in 1931 and apparently Everett was still alive then.

I found there to be some very interesting information in what he read aloud to me from this book: it states that Everett "is a shoemaker of Canton, ME", "Lived in Brockton; Wisconsin for seven years; California two years; Caribou, Hartford, Ft. Fairfield, ME. In 1888 went to Glasgow, Scotland for short time."

He went to SCOTLAND?! He was busy in 1888. This is the year he left his Wisconsin family; the year he supposedly went to California (according to my grandmother her story had been he went to Cali for a gold rush? [gold rush part ruled implausible because of the year] and wrote to the family a few times but then was never heard from again); the year he found the plow and brought it to Green Ridge Grange starting on August 3rd 1888 and taking 37 days to reach Green Ridge, ME.; and NOW he also went to Scotland in 1888. Now isn't that something???

This basically has connected almost everything I have found out so far, from his first wife Melissa Harris (and children, including another daughter that I hadn't known about yet), to his time in Wisconsin and his marriage to Kate McConnell (which this book acknowledges that at the time- 1931- she and the three children were living in Chicago... I'm not sure about that I need to try to see if my grandma knows why she would have been in Chicago at all).

It connects all of the scattered people and places who I have been trying to prove are all tied to a single entity, Everett Elisha Reynolds, rather than perhaps chasing two different people who lived parts of each of these lives but aren't the same person and one isn't my ancestor. No, I can now almost definitively (and only "almost" because nothing is EVER definitive in genealogy or anything else for that matter) say, that Everett Elisha Reynolds, the man I have traced in all of these unlikely, varied places, with varied little notes attached, is indeed one person who did all of these things and is indeed my ancestor without a doubt.

I think most intriguingly is that he sent in this information himself, because he was a member of the Reynolds Family Association (RFA) and I believe that they probably required then, as they do now, all applying members to submit their direct Reynolds lineage and any pertinent information to each person.

I think the last two bits of information I really want are to know if Everett's journal is still around, and also to try to find out when Everett died. I tried looking through RFA obituaries today at the Historical Society, because their yearly newletter/pamphlet contains a section for obituaries of Reynolds descendants, but in years 1931-36 I could not find him. I suppose it wouldn't shock me that he lived to be 100, but who on earth knows. I just need to find out somehow.

Gilbert didn't know anything of a Reynolds diary when I mentioned it, but he said he would inquire around town. He also said his wife's second cousin is a Dr. Jay Reynolds who lives in, I think, Ft. Fairfield, and whom Jim Ashby suggested I write asking if there was such a diary still around. I haven't heard from the Dr. Reynolds but I hope someone will find something out there in Maine.

Also, I have been working on my photo project... It's nearing "final" stages- won't ever be done, really, hopefully, I keep adding new pictures- but one of the last stages is digging through all of my family emails for pictures people have sent me over the years to include in the family photos I have just from my family. The site is

In any event, I was just rummaging through the Liebenow family folder in my email and I found the email where someone transcribed the marriage record from a Pittsburgh church for Ferdinand Liebenow and Augusta Koch. It says witnesses were Ferdinand Koch and Albertina Koch. I decided to search the 1900 census for a Ferdinand Koch living in PA, but assuming I had already done this when I first got the email, I didn't expect to find anything. Well, I found one about 40 some years old in 1900, living in Pittsburgh. He has a huge household, and I look at the bottom and see that his PARENTS are living with him.

Well, I see that this could very likely be the brother of my August Koch, because her death record has the father's name as Earnest Koch and mother as Earnestine Schoso (b. ca. 1832 and living in 1905 with Ferdinand and Augusta in Wisconsin). So, the parents names are Ernest and Christiana. Ernest is b. Jan 1834 and the wife is Aug 1832. Their immigration year is given as 1882, which is [admittedly a sort of long shot] the same year as Augusta Koch immigrated (I don't think I have found their names in any passenger lists yet but I need to try harder to now, to confirm this census-made connection).

So, I am pretty excited about these new openings and will hopefully keep updating this about them

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bingen Homestead, Great-Grandparent treasure trove

This past weekend turned out to be quite exciting. On Saturday I drove to Milwaukee to meet my cousin Jack Bingen Copet who I have corresponded with for a few years now about the Bingen family.

Jack showed me around Allenton and Addison, two small communities in Washington Co. This included several churches and cemeteries. The last cemetery we visited was St. Anthony, which contained the graves of my ancestors Johann Bingen and Anna Maria Mueller as well as Anna Mueller's parents, Mathias Mueller and Elizabeth Bommersbach.

After wandering around outside of St. Anthony's church for a while we went to the top of the hill where a cousin of ours, Dorothy Weiss, lives. Jack wanted to ask her all she knew about where the Bingen homestead was, and who we might ask for permission to look at it. We were told that it was just ruins back in the woods somewhere, but we still agreed that it would be very interesting to look at anyways.

We drove to this person's farm and asked them if they knew anything about it. The man who owned the farm told us it was back along this, basically, wagon trail, and that it would get brush-y and we'd have to go for a little jog but that the foundation was still there and the remains of a summer kitchen.

We started driving back on the trail but it was crazy- lots of rocks rutting the entire thing, huge dips and other similar things, so we eventually abandoned the car and set out on foot for as far as we could go on the path.

The entire path was overdrawn by a canopy of trees, bright new green leaves leaving dappled splotches of light all on the ground. We walked briskly to avoid the perpetual onslaught of bugs, but were constantly looking around everywhere for signs of what we had been told to look for. We walked very far back along the path and eventually ran into a full-blown forest where the path we were on split in two directions. Each of us went down one way and then came back, deciding we still didn't see anything.

We gave up and traipsed back to the car, determined to ask Mark, the farm owner, some more questions to try to find what we were looking for. Just as we reached it we took another look at the square of grassy field next to the car. I had briefly considered the spot right when we stopped, I guess using my affinity for archaeological concerns, but I hadn't seen anything conclusive that looked like a foundation from where we were on the path.

We asked Mark, and he offered to take us on his 4-wheeler to show us. Of course, he stopped right where we had stopped the car. The ruins were back behind some of the huge overgrowth of grass and weeds, prickly plants and so on, that had taken over the small square of land since a home had been there. Mark left us, and Jack and I proceeded to jump through the tall foliage to where we could see a lot of stones. We found the back edge of what we believe was the foundation of a house, the stones perfectly aligned in a straight edge.

Well we took a lot of pictures, took a couple of interesting rocks from there and then left.

Yesterday I was at my grandmother's house doing some yardwork and we decided to go in the basement to try to find the elusive little book that Mathew Diebold wrote all of his plans in for building the Diebold house that now stands on Breese Terrace here in Madison.

We found a large box and the first thing I saw was a bag of pictures!! I couldn't believe it. My grandmother didn't understand, either, because she had thought all of our family pictures were upstairs and already indexed. But no, here is a nice big collection I now have to get labelled and indexed for my photo porject.

Also in the box was a huge assortment of memorabilia from my great-grandparents Blanche Tice and Sylvester Diebold. We found a program from a 1914 horse show that had Mathew Diebold's most famous horse, Lady Broderick, being shown by his son James Diebold.

Blanche's yearbook from Marshfield High School were there as well as her nursing yearbooks from when she attended nursing school at St. Joseph's in Marshfield. There was also a scrapbook album Blanche had assembled from her Junior, senior and post-hs years including a lot of interesting mementos, old crepe napkins and other things, and at the back a series of journal-style entries detailing trips and other high points in life after graduating from high school. Included in this was the chilling "Joe died" on a particular June day. Blanche was initially engaged to Joe Marsh when he signed up for service and had acute appendicitis strike him soon after arriving at camp. He underwent a number of botched surgeries and eventually died, and this is what caused Blanche to enter nursing school. So, this was altogether extremely poignant look into Blanche's early life.

I found another box with an old metal chain link purse that must have been hers as well as some drawings Sylvester did in middle and high school - ca. 1915! They are pretty fantastic and all in good shape still. These were very exciting finds!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Long time no see?

I'm sorry about the length of time that has elapsed since my last entry, because, of course, I have been doing genealogy even when not having the time to update this blog.

I haven't found anything extremely big or anything but here are a few little tidbits from recent memory:

Generally catching up on emails, I've been in contact with a lot of random lines all over the place. I found a man, Gerhard Wiederholt, who is connected to the Mayville family through the Nachtwey family (I was able to find that line back to the 17th century!) and ALSO to the Hartung family, which his wife belongs to. So it turns out we are cousins by marriage twice, by two completely different families. Isn't that funny how it turns out?

I was also contacted by a random Mueller who lives in Germany--- between he and Gerhard my German has been quite tried!!--- who was gracious enough to trace back my Mueller line (Bingen ties) although he apparently doesn't have a connection to this line.

Just last week I found out a little more about William Mayville, a stray son of Susan Reynolds and John Mayville. The last I could find of William was in 1910 living in Montana after the death of his wife Acsah Averill Mayville. A Huycke relative occasionally sends me records he comes across, however. Recently he sent me Silas Reynolds's pension files from when he served in the Revolutionary War, and before that he sent me William Mayville's pension files, because he had served in the Civil War.

Well, the pension files were extremely interesting, and included affidavits from both Ephraim and Peter Mayville as well as other relatives and family friends. It also included William's full birthdate, which I had previously not been able to find. And at the very, very end of this huge document was a short little notation stating that William had died 13 Feb, 1919 in Tennessee! I couldn't understand how he possibly ended up in Tennessee. He had been born in Vermont, lived in Wisconsin for a number of years, moved on to Minnesota and then to Montana, before- apparently- deciding to live at the National Soldiers' Home in Johnson City, TN. I admit it's a pretty area but quite the opposite of anything I expected to find.

With this new date I set to work looking for ways to locate his death record and also find where he was buried. Through I found he is buried out in Tennessee and I hope to find someone who would be willing to visit his grave and photograph it. My Aunt Anne Mayville lives in Nashville but the cemetery is actually closer to my dad's family who live in Fuquay-Varina outside of Raleigh, NC. I hope that someone will help me out at some point.

I was able to find that Tennessee has started an online index for some of their later records and this included William's record. I found a volunteer on who made a copy of this record for me, for a somewhat steep price of $10. I volunteer at the Historical Society for RAOGK, also, but usually only charge a couple dollars because I don't believe in paying exorbitant amounts for what should, really, be free and available to everyone. I would agree, however, that associated fees are not necessarily the fault of the researcher, buuuut... well.

Anyway, I hope to receive that record soon and hopefully it has something to say, although I would expect it to contain scant information at best.

I may be meeting towards the end of this week with Jack Bingen Copet, because I realized I haven't yet seen the graves of my Bingen ancestors out in Washington Co., WI. He's out of a job and has agreed to meet with me to show me around. We've been in contact probably 3-4 years now so it should be interesting to finally meet!

That is all I can think of for now but I will be sure to update this considerably more frequently now that it is summer break!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mayville/ Miville Continued

Carroll has helped us find the links between our John Mayville and the immigrant ancestor Pierre Miville. John, or Jean, 's father was Jean, son of Charles, son of Charles, son of Jacques, son of Pierre.

Pierre and Jacques have very interesting stories, just search for them on google and there are myriad sites, especially about Pierre. Pierre was solid Swiss, but the name Miville apparently has Roman origins. I would imagine so does the family itself.

I have been looking into some of these things alongside what Carroll has sent me. As I mentioned before, Pierre was Captain of Richelieu's Guards. He did in fact have to flee, it appears, when Richelieu and King Louis XIII (both benefactors of Pierre) died within half a year of each other.

Also as I mentioned, Jacques, son of Pierre, married a Filles du Roi. Catherine de Baillion was from a family of minor nobles and as the link I provided before said, Catherine is a descendent of Charlemagne, and therefore so am I. This has been a possibility for me for several years, as I followed one line back through the Leonards of England towards Charlemagne, but that proved to be rather faulty and I gave up on finding direct evidence. With Catherine, however, it appears that many prominent French genealogists have proven with primary documents that she is a descendant of Charlemagne.

One of my Charles Miville ancestors was apparently involved at least to a slight degree in some fur trading, which I find interesting. There are a lot of other various bits of information that I have been exploring, so I am excited to find out more.

I am overall very excited just for the fact that we finally have made the connection to our ancestors. I'm supposing, still, that whatever caused John Mayville to leave Canada must have been something wretched because I still feel like he was trying to cover up something. I still don't even want to rule out the Native American card, either. Especially since there does not seem to be much online at all about Jean/John Mayville's parents, Jean Minville and Marie-Veronique Richard.

So, of course that leaves a lot more to be investigated. I need to contact Odette Ladd to see what she says and dig out a couple of my Huycke correspondents also to let them know the big news. and Ned Braatz. I can't forget him. He will be very happy as well. Hopefully I will have time to do that at work tomorrow.

I also now, need to work on figuring out the Michigan Mayvilles. They must be closely related because that name variant is not so very common, or so it seems. Maybe Carroll can tell me a bit more. I'll have to see if I can contact one of them and get them to do the DNA testing or something just so we can see how close the match might be.

Its a shame school is interfering with the amount of time I want to be able to dedicate to this stuff rather than to pointless things like Chemistry... Yuck.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


So, the other day my uncle Rob Mayville finally received the results of his Paternal DNA test. They apparently don't have an exact haplogroup for him, but I believe it is r1b. This is based on the fact that, since we went through, they matched my uncle's DNA against other submissions and found people with similar sequences. All of these people are in the r1b haplogroup, which generally comes from around Western Europe.

I have to look into some other things, but I took a look at whose sequences my uncle's DNA matched with and we were lucky to have a very close match with a man named Carroll Deschaine. All but one of the 46 markers tested were the same between Carroll and my uncle, and according to the site this meant that the relationship between the two could be as close as 6 generations back. The other matches were 10, 12 and more generations back. I couldn't believe this match was so close.

I emailed Carroll today to ask if he had done any work on his genealogy and might know how we are related. His answer was pretty awesome. He is a Miville descendent. Our common ancestor is most likely Pierre Miville but the common ancestor might even be even closer than that (either way Pierre is my ancestor).

Carroll indicated that he has done extensive work on this family and that my line may belong to Pierre's son Francois because apparently his line was associated with a lot of name mutations. He is going to help me connect my line to Pierre, as there is a sizable gap in known information. What is known, however, is that the line does connect, because we have hard DNA evidence for once.

I am really excited about this. I have been looking into the family now, especially Pierre. Pierre was apparently a guard for Cardinal Richlieu.

This could be where the garbled nonsensical story that I have heard from the Mayvilles came from. That story purports that John Mayville (or, "the guy who came from France") was on Napoleon's court and had to flee so he went to Canada. As you will see at the link above, Pierre was a guard for Richelieu and was the immigrant ancestor. So, could be the story was at least right in tying our family to SOME important French guy.

Additionally, the two sons of Pierre both married Filles du Roi, or Daughters of the King. These were women sent to help populate the new territory in Canada. They were mostly nobility at first and then became more hardworking women from lower down in the strata.

Francois had one wife which he had 12 children with and then married a second woman who was a Filles du Roi. Jacques's only wife was a Fille du Roi, Catherine du Baillon (

This is really interesting, and I am excited to see what Carroll can help me turn up. His line is, I think still in Canada, and he speaks French and is very familiar with Quebec records. He is also very willing to help. We got very lucky with this find and I'm really excited to see what will come of it!

I still want to know what John Mayville seems to have been trying to hide, though.. Seriously.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Reynolds Info!

I had written to the Caribou Historical Society in Maine in the hope that they would have information about my Reynolds family or at least about the Green Ridge Grange. They wrote back that they had several newspaper articles about the Grange and that the plow that Everett Reynolds brought to the Grange was now taken care of by the Historical Society.

The man agreed to photograph the plow and send me the other things he had found but he said there wasn't really anything about my family, which puzzled me, since the Reynolds family was pretty involved with the town of Caribou from the get-go, if my other information was correct.

I received the information earlier this week, and should have written here sooner but I have been following up on things because I received a great deal of information.

The first thing in the stack of papers was a picture of the plow and then a closeup of a plaque that is on it, which describes Everett E. Reynolds' journey and, interestingly enough, mentions that he had a diary in which he kept note of things.

[Picture of the plow & plaque]

I couldn't believe that, and I noted that it was very interesting that he took this journey to Caribou in 1887, about the time he disappeared from Jefferson County, Wisconsin!!

The next few pages were about the Green Ridge Grange. It was essentially a meeting place for the local farmers and a place where dances and other public gatherings were held.

[Picture of the original Grange]

The picture above has the name Fred I. Reynolds written alongside it. He is the second cousin of my ancestor Elisha T. Reynolds.

There were several articles [click here] about the Grange, including one about it burning down not long ago and another a memoir by Maude Brown, a Reynolds descendant. The article includes interesting info about the Reynolds family first arriving in the area and how the area was first known as Reynolds, Maine. I found that to be pretty interesting!!

The next four pages were the history of Green Ridge Grange as compiled August 2, 1948. It mentions the story of the plow arriving there and again states that Everett E. Reynolds had a diary in which he wrote about his trip. It says that the diary was now in the possession of relatives. I still can't believe he had a diary, but I am hoping that it still exists! It could provide so much information on a man who disappeared from here without any true reason.

I wrote to a Dr. Reynolds of Fort Fairfield on the recommendation of Jim Ashby, and hopefully he will know something about this diary, and if it still exists.

[History of the Grange: page 1 ; page 2 ; page 3 ; page 4]

I was then at the end of my packet but I noticed that I had received a smaller letter sized envelope also from the Caribou HS. I wasn't sure what it was and I opened it to find a note explaining that it had been found after the first packet was sent out.

It was a photocopy of a letter, written to a Miss Ashby. I recognized the name first because she shares a surname with one of my contacts in Maine and also because the name was interwoven with the history of the Grange and other things I had come across in researching the Caribou area.

I was puzzled as to why it was included because it started out fairly regularly, a friendly update between friends, so I checked the end to find a signature: Everett E. Reynolds.

Well you know I almost dropped over dead at seeing this, most especially because the letter was dated Sept. 8, 1926 and was written from Canton, ME.

I will provide the transcription below and then further discussion. The letter contains so many grammatical errors that it would be pointless to include the standard "sic" notation after each one. Everett also didn't use periods so I will insert some where appropriate.

Canton Me Sept 8 1926
Dear Miss Ashby,
I rec. your letter last night[.] I was much plesed to here from you and well I rember you when you was a small Girl was well aquainted with your Father am glad your Mother is in good helth[.] I can say I am ingoying [enjoying] the best of helth for a man in his 80 year but I cant do as much work as I could in my young days[.] I have about all the work I can do all the time make a good living have ben in Canton 14 years but am thinking some of goin a way for the winter but cant till before next month[.] I am sending you a [piece??] from a Bangor (paper) that O.B. Griffin wrote about me and the old Plow I gave the Plow to the Green Ridge Grange 25 years ago and they think they have a [prise?] and I geuss [sic] they have[.] I live all a lone do my cooking and have just what I want have cooked minney [???] the winter in the woods & in sporting camps so you see I no how to cook[.] I should be plesed to here from you at enny [???] time and I will try and ans. [answer] in my humble way[.] it gives me cheer to here from frends [__ry]

Truly yours
Everett E. Reynolds

[Letter: page 1 ; page 2]

I am so excited about this letter. First, it gives a good idea of where he is living and confirms my ideas about that. He was on the 1910 census in Hartford, ME but in 1920 he was in Canton, ME.

Also, the age he gives corresponds to the man who is my ancestor.

Additionally, the paper he mentions, with the article about him and the plow, almost has to be the same article I have, or at least something very similar. In that case the article might have been written earlier that year, 1926, for the 25th anniversary of the plow being in the possession of the Grange. Now I can try to track down Bangor papers from 1926, because the article has "July 1" at the top. I am hoping that this will work out because the article I have is in bad condition and hard to read half of it, so I believe that if I get a copy of the full article it will help provide even more information about Everett E. Reynolds.

I am also hoping that this information will also help me narrow down when Everett died. Previously I knew only "sometime after 1920." But now I know that he was living in 1926 and seemed to be in good health. I need to try to get a hold of the 1930 census, and I found a woman in Maine who is going to try to help locate his death record. I can't imagine why it would not exist anywhere as late as 1930.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year update

Hey sorry for the long absence here, I was very busy with my semester and hardly had any time to update.

I have been contacted by a number of interesting individuals over the past few months. One of them was a Brandmueller. Not sure if there is a direct connection from his line to mine, but I would not be surprised, as they were from the same area and it is not a common name. I am hoping we can find out more information about these lines but the Brandmuellers have to this point remained quite elusive.

My uncle Bob Mayville has submitted a DNA sample to the labs. This could help put rest to one of the many mysteries surrounding the Mayville line, and we'll see if my theories are upheld. We will be able to determine whether there is any Native American blood and hopefully see if there are any roots in France.

I'm excited to hear back but at the same time I am leery of things like this. Submit a swab to some big company somewhere? I would prefer it if it was possible to make sure there weren't any screw-ups- mixing up DNA from other people or something, for instance. Who knows. I mean, I'm sure its legit or would be ostracized forever... at the same time, you never know when the next scam is going to come along.

Anyway, since winter break began I have been sending off letters again. One I believe was inquiring about the McConnells again, and a couple to various places in Maine to check on more things with the Reynoldses. Honest to god they are hard to track down. I wrote to the town clerk of Jay, ME where the records for Canton, ME are supposed to be. They didn't have any death record for Everett Reynolds and gave me a new number to call. Not sure that will yield anything.

I wrote also to the Caribou, ME Historical Society. A town so small does indeed have its own Historical Society and I was able to obtain their address with the help of a couple more contacts I have made from around that town. I was lucky to find these people because otherwise I would be in the dark. Its unfortunate that everywhere I check seems to have no further information for me, as I heard back from the Caribou HS.

The man who wrote back said that there wasn't anything about the Reynoldses there, which is interesting because they were purported by several other people to have been integral to the beginnings of that town. They do, however, have pictures of the Green Ridge Grange which was mentioned in the newspaper article I have, and they also have the plow that Everett Reynolds brought to Maine from Massachusetts. He is sending me photos of that, too. I'm pretty excited just to see that. I wish we could somehow find out more, though. Its very unfortunate.

I have another thing on my bucket list and that is to finally call Mr. Hitchcock of Caribou. I have been waiting until I have time to come up with specific questions to ask him, as he is the town historian and from what I have been told, knew some members of the Reynolds family.

I'm also buckling down to get some work done on my family photo project. I'm trying to remember, really, where I left off as it was a few months ago. I have most pictures uploaded so I believe I will be getting them onto the website soon. Hopefully.

There should be some new updates at some point. Happy New Year!