Recommended Reads

Recommended Reads

NOTE: We will be on the road again with limited internet so Recommended Reads will be on hiatus for a bit after today unless we are somewhere with normal service and connections.


Genealogy Journals and Newsletters by Wayne Shepheard on Discover Genealogy

Revamped ScotlandsPeople Means Free Access to Births, Marriages, Deaths Index by Gail Dever on Genealogy à la Carte

This Quick Tip is true everywhere. I found my documentary proof of parentage in a land deed filed 31 years after my ancestor died:
Quick Tip: Deeds Might Have Been Recorded Much Later by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy

8 Weeks to Better Rhode Island Genealogy Research – Week 8 – Everything Else by Diane Boumenot on One Rhode Island Family

Family Stories

Searching for Gold. . .farbs: A Brotman Genealogy Adventure by Amy Cohen on BrotmanBlog: A Family Journey

Remembering Mien Woordes (1916-2009) by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy

We need to remember to tell our own stories, too, and not just focus on our ancestors:
40 Years Later: A Genealogy Factoid for My Descendants (September 23, 2016) by John D. Tew on Filiopietism Prism

Grandmother Creates Brickwall with Weak Mortar, Thanks to One Detail by Vera Miller on Find Lost Russian & Ukrainian Family

The Skelly Station by Margie Tolsdorf on Cousins


Ancestral Quest: New Update by Pat Richley-Erickson on DearMYRTLE’s Genealogy Blog

Family Tree Maker News – Mac Edition by Keith Riggle on GenealogyTools

Want to Have Some Fun with Historic Images? GIF IT UP Might Be for You (Starts 1 October) by Diane L. Richard on UpFront with NGS

This Page Lets You Disable a Lot of Google’s Activity Tracking by Eric Ravenscraft on Lifehacker

10 Things I Wished I Knew When I Started My Blog by Barbara Poole on Life from the Roots

Methodology, News, Etc.

Reaping What We Sow – Part I AND

Reaping What We Sow – Part II, both by Tony Proctor on Parallax View

Mexican War Soldiers – A Project You Can by Lori Samuelson on Genealogy at Heart

That old writing can be hard to decipher:
& I Was Reading Too Fast by Michael John Neill on Rootdig

Research Plans, Mind Maps and a Case Study by Sue on Kindred Past

31 Days to Better Genealogy – Version 2.0 by Amy Johnson Crow on Amy Johnson Crow Professional Genealogy Services

Dick Eastman and John Grenham, Could They Both Be Wrong? by John D. Reid on Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections

Genealogy Education

Be sure to check the GeneaWebinars calendar for ongoing hangouts and study groups. Click on the links below to register and for local webinar times.

Trails West: Crossing the Continent 1840-1869, by Mary K. Roddy, Saturday, 1 October 2016, Southern California Genealogical Society

AHA! Analysis of Handwriting for Genealogical Research, by Ron Arons, Wednesday, 5 October 2016, Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Bring ‘Em Back to Life: Developing an Ancestor Profile, by George G. Morgan, Wednesday, 5 October 2016, Minnesota Genealogical Society

Martha Susannah Alberty Sturgell Wagner Clevenger (1858-1916)

Martha Susannah Alberty was born 15 June 1858 in Newton County, Missouri. She was the daughter of John S. Alberty and Susannah Douthit. Her father died in 1861, although it doesn’t seem to be tied into the Civil War. Her mother raised the family on her own until she married Isaac Sturgell on 30 September 1867 in Newton County.

This marriage, although ending in divorce, had a definite impact on Martha’s life, as she married Isaac’s son, Abijah Houston Sturgell, on 5 June 1876, also in Newton County, Missouri. The timing is actually quite interesting because her mother was in the midst of divorcing Abijah’s father at the time of Martha’s and Byge’s (as he was known) marriage. Martha was also the baby of her family – I wonder what her mother thought about her marrying Isaac’s son? That must have made for some interesting conversations!

In spite of their parents’ difficulties, Abijah and Martha were happily married and had a large family, settling next door to Newton County in Barry County, where the Sturgells had been living.


Mary Susannah, born 18 October 1877; died 27 November 1878
Julia Ann, born 5 January 1879; died 5 March 1968; married Columbus W. Taylor, 7 March 1895
Maggie Clementine, born 8 November 1880; died 18 October 1921; married William Al Periman, 25 February 1897
John Houston, born 15 April 1882; died 1941; married Della Brooks, 12 November 1902
Lee Rue, born 3 December 1884; died 16 August 1947; married Gertrude Shirley, 8 August 1906
Nora Bell, born 5 November 1886; died 28 July 1960; married John D. Periman, 18 August 1901
Gertie May, born 6 December 1888; died 8 December 1900
Amy Cora, born 21 August 1891; died 19 May 1964; married Frank Richard Slemp, 22 August 1910
Oscar Eldon, born 13 September 1893; died 15 June 1968; married (1) Ethel Anne Nation, 16 September 1915 (2) Martha Henderson, 11 September 1943
Glena Agnes, born 29 February 1896; died 16 December 1907
Andrew Herman (Bud), born 6 October 1898; died 27 January 1989; married Jessie Lee Ellen Nixon, 22 October 1921

In spite of their overall happy life, Byge and Martha, like their friends, suffered through some difficult times, too. Their first child, Mary Susannah, named for her two grandmothers, died just after her first birthday. That must have been doubly difficult for Abijah, as his mother, Mary, took his sisters to Illinois in the 1860s, leaving his father, Isaac with their sons. I doubt he ever saw his mother or his sisters again so losing his first child, named for his mother, had to be even harder.

They lost two other daughters, Gertie, at the age of two years and Glena, when she was only eleven years old.

I have only one photo of Abijah, taken when he was a young man:

AbijahSturgell - C
Abijah Houston Sturgell

This photo is a picture of a picture and I don’t know who has the original – probably a Sturgell cousin still living in Missouri – but the original is in poor condition. My husband worked a bit of Photoshop magic to darken the image and fill in some of the especially faded areas in the middle of the picture around Byge’s chin and neck.

Martha was widowed on 2 June 1905 when Abijah died. There is no death certificate giving a cause, but local newspapers supplied the painful details. From the Cassville Republican on 12 January 1905:
B. Sturgle is in bad health and has been for some time.

Next, on 30 March 1905, there was a newspaper update:

Bige Sturgle who has been sick so long is reported worse.

Finally, on 8 June 1905, the final notice was published:

Bigey Sturgle died Saturday and was buried Sunday at the Snider cemetery. He left a wife and several children to mourn his departure.

What was this long illness that eventually took Abijah’s life? When Dave and I went to Missouri and met Sturgell cousins, they said he had been working in the barn when a lamp fell over and caught fire. He was badly burned. I can only imagine what a painful death this must have been, as the January newspaper clipping implied that the accident had been some time in the past.

Martha still had four children at home when her husband died – Lee Rue, Amy, Oscar and Bud. Four months later, she married Benjamin Wagner on 29 October 1905 in Barry County, Missouri. I have found no records for Ben Wagner. By 1910, Martha Wagner was head of household with Oscar and Bud at home with her. It says she has been married twice, and currently for five years, but Ben is nowhere to be found.

Wagner/Sturgell Household in 1910

On 19 July 1911, Martha married her third husband, J.A. Clevenger, likely Joseph A. Clevenger, who was also living in Mineral, Barry County in 1910. His wife at the time was Jennie. Joseph was ten years younger than Martha if he is the right man.

I have a photo with Martha:

Martha, on left with children and son-in-law

The way everyone is dressed, I am wondering if this was taken right after Abijah was buried. I have been to the Snider Cemetery and one would need a machete to cut through the trees and undergrowth. It looked very much like the trees in the background in this picture. Martha was with sons Bud and Oscar, daughter Amy and John and Nora Periman.

Martha died at the young age of 58 on 10 July 1916. She is buried next to Abijah at the Snider Cemetery, but I have no death certificate for her, either. It is possible she died in Oklahoma and her body was shipped back to Cato for burial. J.A. Clevenger survived her, passing away in 1939.

Tidik: One Name Study, Part 2

Yesterday, I took a look at the Tidik family of Udol, Slovakia. Records in the first half of the 1800s are limited because the church registers for this village don’t begin until 1828.

From those records, I gleaned the likely progenitors of today’s Tidiks:

Michael, born about 1801, who married (1) before 1827 to Juda Drabasin, who was born about 1806. Michael was buried on 1 December 1871, after dying of head pains. Juda was buried on 26 November 1865. He married (2) Maria Dragan on 29 April 1866. She died on 6 August 1873 during one of the many cholera epidemics to strike there.

Michael and Juda Tidik had six known children:

Michael, baptized 2 September 1828; died about 1918 and married Maria Hrinya.
Anna, baptized 22 January 1832; no further records found
Maria, baptized 12 January 1835; no further records found
John, baptized 9 July 1837; no further records found, but he may be the John who married Anna Jurecsko and buried a son, John, 4 days old, on 3 February 1871.
Helena, baptized 25 February 1840; no further records found
Susanna, baptized 10 July 1842; no further records found

I’ve mentioned it before, but I will mention again, that I am not sure how on-the-ball the village priests were in Ujak/Udol in the 1800s. In spite of the records seeming to be quite complete and mostly fairly easy to read, I have been unable to find vital records that should be there. Ages are also more often wrong than right when compared against baptismal records when I do find them.

Could villagers have moved away or attended a Roman Catholic church? Probably not. First, these families were all Greek Catholic. The closest Roman Catholic parishes look to be about 40 miles away. Second, until the 1880’s when the villages emptied out and inhabitants moved to the mills and mines in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio, it is doubtful that many of the villagers ever traveled more than a few miles from their home village. Hajtovka is only about a mile from Udol and the two villages shared the same parish church, St. Dimitry.

Tidik records are somewhat scarce in the first half of the 1800’s, but in the second half of the century, the number of Michael Tidik records exploded.

We have:

Michael Tidik, born c1801, who married Juda Drabissin, before 1827
Michael Tidik, born 1828, who married Maria Hrinya, on 25 November 1850
Michael Daniel Tidik, born 1860, who married Helena Bisz, on 9 November 1884

These three Michaels were father, son and grandson. However, look at all the Michael Tidik families that popped up after 1850:

Michael Tidik & Anna Jurecsko, who had sons Michael and John born in 1861 and 1871. No marriage record has been found for them.

Michael Tidik & Anna Ksenyak, who married on 9 November 1873 and had two daughters, Veronica and Helen, born in 1875 and 1878

Michael Tidik & Anna Pruzinsky, who had three sons and two daughters born between 1864 and 1873. No marriage record has been found for them. Anna died on 18 May 1874, aged about 30 years old.

Michael Tidik & Anna Varholyak had one daughter, Maria, born in 1875. No marriage record has been found for them.

Michael Tidik & Anna Sendick had three sons, John, Stephen and Nicholas, born in 1877. 1879 and 1882.

Michael Tidik & Helena Bisz married on 9 November 1884 and had four children born between 1885 and 1896.

We also have two John Tidik sets of records:

John Tidik and Anna Leschissin had three children, Elias, John and Susanna, born in 1858, 1861 and 1864. No marriage record has been found for them.

John Tidik and Maria Szovik had Michael and Maria born in 1885 and 1888. No marriage record has been found for them.

Since I have only one John Tidik born in a time period to be the above John/s, and that would be John, born on 9 July 1837 to Michael and Juda Drabissin, I have to assume for now that at least John who married Anna Leschissin was their son.

It is very possible that John who married Maria Szovik was the same John, but it is also possible that John and Anna’s son, John, born in 1861 was this second John.

Not being able to find these records where I would expect them to be is annoying. I truly believe that these church books have some serious errors in them. There were a couple of stray records that I came across that I think support this idea.

I found one record for the birth of a Michael Tidik to Michael Tidik and Anna Dragan in 1869, which I think is a clear error for Maria Dragan. In the same year, 1869, there is a birth record for Stephen Tidik for Michael Tidik and Helena Hrinya, which I think is another clear error for Maria Hrinya.

Thus, I know there are errors of commission and suspect that there are also errors of omission, where the priest or assistant, if there was one, forgot to enter records.

Death and burial records seem to help sort these people out at least a little bit.

The wives of Michael born about 1801 are evident: (1) Juda Drabissin and (2) Maria Dragan. Juda died in late November 1865 and Michael married Maria Dragan in April 1866. He died of head pains in 1871. Maria Dragan, noted as the widow of Michael, died in 1873 during the cholera epidemic.

Next, we have Michael born in 1828. He married (1) Maria Hrinya on 25 November 1850, although I don’t find birth records for any children until 1858. Maria was another victim of the 1873 cholera episode, dying on 15 August. She was born about 1832.

I do not have a death certificate for this Michael, but according to family lore, he lived until about 1918. That might be true, but the Udol church books are recorded in a variety of languages and in that time period, records were kept using the Cyrillic alphabet in Russian, which I don’t read very well. He was definitely still alive in the 1890s unless his death and burial weren’t recorded.

I believe that Michael Tidik who married (2) Anna Ksenyak on 9 November 1873 was this Michael.

That still leaves two other mystery Michaels. It is not possible that the remaining two were either Michael born in 1801 or Michael born in 1828, as there are four Michael Tidiks and wives having children between 1861 and 1871 – Michael with Juda and Maria Dragan, Michael with Maria Hrinya and then Michael with Anna Jurecsko and Michael with Anna Pruzinski.

Later on, we have the solitary record of Michael Tidik and Anna Varholyak’s child born in 1875 (could this possibly be another recording error by the priest?) and, finally, we have Michael and Anna Sendick’s three children born between 1877 and 1882.

All are mysteries.

Michael who married Anna Sendick can’t be Michael married to Maria Hrinya and Anna Ksenyak because they have a child born in 1878, while Michael and Anna Sendick had a child born in 1877.

There is at least one more Michael Tidik running around Udol in this time period, the one who married Anna Pruzinski. Anna died in May 1874, aged about 30. Could this Michael have soon married Anna Varholyak, who perhaps died giving birth in 1875 and then he married a third Anna, Anna Sendick, about 1876? That scenario would fit the facts, but I have absolutely no idea whose son this Michael might have been. If he was about the same age as Anna Pruzinski, he would have been born in the early 1840s, but he could have been a lot older. We might also be dealing with more than one Michael here, but I tend to doubt that.

Marching on towards the 20th century, the records thin out. There are only two male Tidiks who appear in the vital records – John Tidik and Maria Szovik have a son, Michael, born in 1885 and a daughter, Maria, born in 1888. I don’t have any information on their son, Michael, past his birth record. There is no notation that he died very young.

Michael Daniel Tidik and Helena Bisz have daughter Michael, born 1885 and died in 1892, Helena, born in 1887, son John, born in 1889 and died in 1901, and son Stephen, born in 1896.

Stephen was the only remaining male Tidik to carry on the name from Michael and Helena’s branch of the family. He married Maria Scerbak, sister of my grandmother, Julia. The family settled in Passaic, but two boys were orphaned when Maria died in 1926 and Stephen followed in 1938. There are quite a few descendants of this couple today.

There are several miscellaneous Tidiks that I have found in records. John Mike Tidik settled in Ohio, but both his marriage and death records give his father’s name as Martin Tidik. It doesn’t look like he was part of the Udol Tidik family.

There is a Michael Tidik living in Passaic in 1900 (mis-indexed as Tivik) with wife, Julia and sons Michael born in 1896 and John born in 1898. Michael and Julia married about 1895, apparently in New Jersey. This Michael was born reportedly in April 1862 and I don’t know who he belongs to. However, the names on the census page in 1900 look just like the names in the Udol church books, so he seems to be related to this family.

There is also a Michael Tidik arriving at Ellis Island in 1896, aged 36. I can’t find the passenger manifest page since it is another one of the many mis-indexed pages on the new, improved totally  messed up Ellis Island website. (Can you tell I don’t like their new website?) However, this seems to be Michael Daniel Tidik who married Helena Bisz and if I could find the passenger list, he was likely headed to Passaic, New Jersey.

There aren’t many surnames whose entire history can be covered in two blog posts, but Tidik is one of them. I even have two photos of Stephen Tidik:

Mary Tidik
Maria Scerbak, left, with husband
Stephen Tidik and friend, c1917

Stephen Tidik, left with unknown
man and Peter Scerbak, right, c1925

It seems strange to end a story with a photo, but since Stephen Tidik is the one who crossed into the 20th century, so it is.