Farm Bureau: Farmers Helping Farmers

Berlage, Nancy K., Farmers Helping Farmers: The Rise of the Farm and Home Bureaus, 1914-1935

If one is not careful, one’s bookshelf can grow at an exponential rate. Mine increased by one with the purchase of Farmers Helping Farmers: The Rise of the Farm and Home Bureaus, 1914-1935 by Nancy K. Berlage.

According to family lore, my great-grandfather Habben had no use for the Farm Bureau. The reasons have been lost to history.

My great-grandfather Ufkes was active in the Farm Bureau. There are numerous references to him and to his wife in the seven years of the local county Farm Bureau bulletin that are extant in the early 1920s. There’s not one mention of my great-grandfather Habben. There are occasional relatives to other relatives, but none have nearly as many as my great-grandfather Ufkes.

Family tradition has it that he was one of the first to raise soybeans in Hancock County. How true that is I don’t know, but there is a reference to him having soybeans for sale in 1926.


Great-grandma Ufkes (actually Tena Ufkes and styled as “Mrs. Fred Ufkes) appears a few times in her own right–usually involving the selling of eggs or chickens. In this 1926 reference she’s selling “Buff Rock hatching eggs.”

Like many things, the Farm Bureau was about economics and politics. That’s probably why one relative was a supporter and the other one was not. I won’t find references to my relatives in Farmers Helping Farmers: The Rise of the Farm and Home Bureaus, 1914-1935, but I may get a little insight. And that’s always a good thing.


Uncle Virgil in UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1878-1960

Virgil Rampley appears in the “UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960.” He was a World War I soldier and was being transported to Europe with other members of his unit.

The port of departure for Virgil was listed as New York City–because that’s where they left from. He was not a New York resident.

I knew Virgil’s mother and where he lived–so that information was not a surprise to me. The manifest entries for this group of soldiers indicated a person to be notified in case of emergency, their relationship to the soldier, and the address of the contact person.

Many World War I era soldiers are included in this database, UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960. Not all are included

Searching these manifest records for soldiers that can’t be identified specifically from other records (maybe you’ve located too many people named William Smith) can be a way to get additional personal information on them–which may help you in sorting them out and determining which one is the one you want.  Not all the manifests have the emergency contact listed. It appears, based on my limited searches, to be included for military transports. I’ve seen other lists for about the same time period that only included names. Like any record set that covers a large time period (over eighty years in this case), this one contains records that vary from one time period to another.

Because the port of origin might not be what you expect and because many of these manifests include age, using an approximate year of birth as a search term may be advised when the name is common.

This database appears to only index the name of the passenger. That’s a shame.





Where Did They Get Hitched?

I’m not much on writing prompts, but since I just located the “missing” marriage information on my last set of great-great-grandparents, I thought I’d look at the locations of where my parents through my great-great-grandparents were married, just to see what patterns and trends there were.

My parents:

  • Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois

My grandparents

  • Keithsburg, Mercer County, Illinois
  • Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois

My great-grandparents

  • Breckenridge, Hancock County, Illinois
  • Tioga, Hancock County, Illinois
  • near Basco, Hancock County, Illinois
  • Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois

My great-great-grandparents

  • St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois
  • Tioga, Hancock County, Illinois
  • Soap Creek Township, Davis County, Iowa
  • near Basco, Hancock County, Illinois
  • Golden, Adams County, Illinois
  • Prairie Township, Hancock County, Illinois
  • Coatsburg, Adams County, Illinois

I’ll stop there–I don’t have all my third great-grandparents marriage records. Interestingly enough, both sets of my grandparents went “away” to get married. Everyone else pretty much got married exactly where they were living.

Citing Sources is All About Me


We sometimes say that we cite sources in genealogy for others. To an extent that is true, but I think that for me, citing sources is not about others–it is about me.


Citing a source is indicating where the material was originally created, what form it was accessed in and how it was accessed. This usually includes publication information, page number, location on a website, and more. I won’t get into the details of citation here. I will admit that my personal citations in my own notes and sources are sloppy. They contain all the essentials, but they don’t fit any “correct form.” Guess what? I don’t care. What I care about are that all the essential information is there-the record, the form in which it was accessed, when and where it was accessed, etc.


At the most crude, citing sources allows me to go back and “doublecheck” what I saw. A citation allows me to as easily as possible find the same source and review it again, making certain I didn’t leave anything out.


Knowing the form in which the information was accessed allows me to compare a “new” version of that record or source. Did I access the microfilm the first time? Have better digital copies been taken? Do I need to see the original at the courthouse? Was all that I accessed the first time a transcription made from a bad photocopy of the original record? All that makes a difference, especially when there may be other “forms” of the same record out there.


Do most genealogists publish? No. However, I will say that in the process of cleaning up my citations I virtually always discover something I “overlooked” while preparing every issue. Every time. I’m always adding to my “to-do” list while reviewing my citations.


The reviewing I’m talking about is not the decision of where to place commas, semi-colons, etc. I’m talkin g about gathering all the elements for the citation as some (most) of my older material lacks all the necessary details. It is often when I’m gathering that information that I locate something else that needs followup, or that I notice an error in a transcription I made years ago, etc. Seemingly always something comes up when I clean up the citations.


And that is about me, because it helps my research. I see brick walls I made for myself and information and clues I overlooked.

Citation is essentially about me–making my research better and allowing me to discover more connections, conclusions, etc.


Even if I only did it “for me,” the citation and analysis of my sources would still be necessary.


Most successful genealogists, those who “find lots of stuff” cite their sources. They may not have the commas and semi-colons in the right places. They might not even have the commas and semi-colons, but they have all the essential parts to create a citation somewhere.


Thinking about where they got something and how they got it helps them analyze and find more.


Personally if they tell you they “never think about that stuff” they are either lying or have errors in their conclusions just waiting to be discovered.




Evidence Explained will provide you with all the details you need to know on citation.



AncestryDNA Class–June/July 2018

Based on many requests, we’ve added this class to our schedule for June/July:

AncestryDNA–5 weeks


  • Understanding what can and cannot be learned from the AncestryDNA test
  • Strategies for “figuring out” people who do not return communication
  • Probability of relationship based on shared DNA and relationship scenarios not presented
  • Downloading AncestryDNA matches into an Excel spreadsheet and working with those matches and that spreadsheet
  • Determining what matches you want to try and figure out
  • Tracking results and findings
  • Problem-solving
  • Looking at the results when the grandfather was an adoptee who wasn’t the birth father of one of his children
  • Analyzing tree for ethnic/geographic pools
  • Sorting matches that can’t be determined specifically
  • Keeping your list of matches up to date

More details are on our announcement page.


A Brothweiler or a Rothweiler?

Review is always a good thing.

The Rothweiler family’s earliest known interaction with my Trautvetter family was when George Rothweiler married Wilhelmina Trautvetter in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1860s. Little is known about Rothweiler’s origins before he married Wilhelmina. Not much had been done on Rothweiler before his time in St. Louis largely because the Trautvetter family’s origins were already known and Wilhelmina was a first cousin of the family of interest. Sometimes one has to draw a line in the genealogical sand somewhere.

That doesn’t mean one keeps one’s eyes shut.

Part of documenting the Trautvetter family was working on Wilhelmina’s immigrant aunts and uncles who spent some time in Campbell County, Kentucky, before heading west to Illinois and Missouri. Her uncles, Michael, Henry, and Adam owned small amounts of property in Kentucky and have been located in several land records.

Including this one from 1854 that was witnessed by a “G Brothweiler.”

The problem is that I’m left with the clerk’s transcription of the witnesses’ signatures. The name of Snellbaker has no apparent significance (at least so far), but G. Brothweiler? The actual name of Brothweiler appears to be highly unusual  and I’m wondering if it could be an incorrect transcription of Rothweiler? Upper case “B”s and “R”s are similar, particularly if the script is difficult to read.

It’s suggestive that at least a Rothweiler was familiar with the Trautvetters in Kentucky. If the witness is a Rothweiler, there’s no guarantee that it is the same one who married Wilhelmina Trautvetter in St. Louis, Missouri.

But it bears some looking into.

And it serves a reminder that reviewing material is always advised–that migration connection may be longer than you think.

My Grandfather Owned the Farm

Land records can contain a variety of information.
This affidavit from 1942 discusses three generations of land ownership in the Rampley family of Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois.
It was located using the tract index to land records that the Hancock County Recorder’s Office has–that index locates records geographically based up on the quartersection in which the property being referenced is located.
That’s how this item was found.
But there are a few lessons with this document.

Records may be created or recorded decades after the person of interest died.  James Rampley (the grandfather) is the ancestor in this case. James the affiant and grandson of James the ancestor is a an actual cousin of mine. This document was recorded nearly sixty years after James the grandfather died and could have easily been overlooked if I had only used records created during James the ancestor’s lifetime. Genealogists don’t always think to research land records quite this far after someone dies.

Items recorded with land records may not be actual “deeds.” This affidavit was created to assist in clearly up some title issues to the property referenced in the deed. Like many records, it doesn’t precisely state what precipitated its creation. That was determined by looking at other records and creating a time line–and by using a little logic and reasoning.

My Two Missing Guys in 1870

I have two ancestors that I cannot find in 1870: John Ufkes and Ira Sargent.

Both men were single in 1870, under thirty-five, had never been married, and had no children. Ufkes probably lived in the general area of Hancock County, Illinois, and Sargent probably in the area of Union County, Iowa. Both were likely working as hired men or laborers of some sort. That’s part of the problem–they were unattached and had relatively mobile occupations.

But the question remains: “When have I looked enough?” At what point do I decide the time searching is not time well spent and is time I could devote to other research activities?

It is a question that does not have a hard and fast answer and really depends upon the individual in question. It also depends upon my personal research philosophy.

Ufkes is well documented and has been located in a variety of records in the United States. He’s generated and left behind virtually every record a German immigrant farmer who lives in the United States from 1869-1924 should leave–except for his 1870 census enumeration. His place of birth in Germany is known, as are the names of his siblings, parents, and extended family. I’ve conducted a reasonable search for him in 1870 and don’t think the enumeration of him will probably alter the life chronology and portrait I already have for him. It would be personally satisfying to find him, but it’s not likely that the enumeration will provide me with an entirely new avenue of research on Ufkes (possible, yes–probable, no). Because of that, I have stopped looking for him 1870. Would I like to know where he is? Yes. Is it worth manually searching three states to potentially locate him? Probably not.

Sargent is not as well documented and comes from a hazier background than does Ufkes. Sargent’s family was moving around Iowa and Missouri in the 1860s. His parents names are known, but not much is known about his mother’s family. He marries in Union County, Iowa, in October of 1870, so it seems reasonable that he’s there at the time of the census, although it is possible that he is not. Most of Ira’s siblings have been located in 1870 (he’s not with or near them) and it’s possible that he’s living with one of those who cannot be located. Ira’s 1870 enumeration has a greater chance of assisting me with my research on him than Ufkes’ does. If Ira could be located, his residence could provide another location in which to conduct a general record search.

Both men were probably working as hired men or laborers in 1870, perhaps living with a family and enumerated with that family’s last name. They could have been in between residences at the time of the census and simply not enumerated. As unattached men, they simply could have been missed by the census enumerator.

Sometimes I occasionally look for Sargent–just to see if I overlooked something.

While I like to determine as much about each ancestor as possible, there comes a time when one has to admit that there may be other ways to spend your genealogical time.

After all, there are other ancestors whose stories are just begging to be researched as well.

Swedish American Church Records, 1800-1946 at recently announced the digital publication of “U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America[ELCA], Swedish American Church Records, 1800-1946.” This collection includes digital images of hundreds of congregations across the United States who had a Swedish ethnic heritage. Not all congregations are currently members of the ELCA.

This database appears to index not just ministerial acts of baptism, death, and marriage, but also includes names in family registers. This is a marked improvement over other images has of Lutheran church records in the United States.

The partial entry for the family of Samuel Otto Johnson from First Lutheran Church is typical. There can always be exceptions. This entry has the dates of birth, baptism, confirmation, and marriage for the individuals listed as well as their place of birth and year of arrival in the United States (for immigrants).

I would still suggest a manual browse of the records for any parish where your relatives were in attendance as there may be miscellaneous items included that did not get indexed.