Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.

25 April 2015

On This Day: Lancaster man granted patent

A Lancaster City man was granted a patent for a painting compound On This Day in 1881. The painting compound can be used on roofs, fences, and such. The paint will not crack. George W. Hawthorn secured the patent through Wm. R. Gerhart, a solicitor of patents.


Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 25 April 1881. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.  


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

24 April 2015

Family History Conference comes to Lancaster County

I am so excited! The Lancaster Family History Conference is being held today, Friday 24 April and Saturday, 25 April in Lancaster County … and I am finally able to go! 

Today I am attending an afternoon session: Behind the Scenes at the Genealogy Roadshow with D. Joshua Taylor. When the show came to Philly, I actually applied (yes, you have to apply to be on the show) but never heard from them. Of the various shows on television at the moment, I prefer this one because it is every day people, not stars who can manipulate the findings. 

The two hour session, held at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, will cover the methodology used to verify or disprove family stories and claims. If I had been chosen, I had asked for help with my Still line.  

My 4th great grandmother, Margaret Still, has always been difficult. I was fortunate enough to become addicted to genealogy while my great Aunt Helen was still alive. She was – at that time – the elder of the family and knew so much of the family, plus she had the family bibles! We met and wrote often throughout the years.  Since then I have discovered additional information about Margaret but I still have not proven who fathered her first son, George David Still – my 3rd great grandfather. 

I am hoping that Joshua Taylor might suggest some resource or method that I have not thought of or, at the very least, provide some direction. 

Saturday, the Conference continues at the Lancaster Host. Joshua Taylor will open the session with a Keynote Address. The theme this year is “Celebrities and Cellmates: Finding that Famous (or Infamous) Ancestor.” 

Like any conference, there are several talks to choose from. The first one I chose is “Who is a Palatine Anyway?” by James M Beidler. My husband’s family (Eckman) immigrated from the Palatine area in southwest Germany in 1727. Johannes Eckman arrived in Philadelphia in September of that year on the William & Sarah.  

The second session I selected was “Pre-1790 Oaths of Allegiance and Naturalizations in Pennsylvania” by Jonathan R Stayer. I have not yet sought out the Eckman naturalization records, though I do want to, so I thought this might be helpful. 

I chose “Printed Legends and Missing Footprints in Early Genealogy Complications” with Joshua Taylor. The session will discuss methods used in tracing 19th and early 20th century records. He will also discuss what to do when we come across that century old genealogy that cannot be proved. 

My final session tomorrow will be “The Making of a Family History Book” by Stephen H Smith. I am finally ready to publish. Notice, I did not say or indicate that I am anywhere close to being done researching any line. However, I have traced several lines to my immigrant or to a major point in time that would be a good start.

While that will end the Lancaster Family History Conference, it will – I hope – provide me with some direction and insight as well as some networking.

On This Day: Library of Congress established

The Library of Congress was established On This Day in 1800. President John Adams signed a bill authorizing the transfer of the federal government from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. That same bill established a library for the members of Congress. 

Did you also know …

The Library of Congress, which is located at 101 Independence Avenue, has a Local History & Genealogy Reading Room? For more information, go to http://www.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/.

Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/about/history-of-the-library/  


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.                 

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

23 April 2015

On This Day: Leprosy exists in Adams County

There was a case of leprosy in New Oxford, Adams County On This Day in 1880. The victim is a Civil War veteran. He was discharged in 1865 after contracting the incurable disease during his service. He receives disability from the government.

The article, which ran in the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer, did not identify the soldier by name. 

Leprosy is a chronic, infectious disease causing skin lesions and nerve damage.


Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 23 April 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

22 April 2015

On This Day: Earth Day Celebrated

Today is Earth Day, a day designed to increase global ecological awareness and our symbiotic relationship with the Earth. The first Earth Day was celebrated On This Day in 1970. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin was instrumental in creating Earth Day.

21 April 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Isaac & Mary Jane Winters

Isaac Winters (1854 - 1945) is buried at the Zion Reformed Cemetery in New Providence. He is buried with his wife Mary Jane (1855 - 1929). 

Isaac was born 3 July 1854 to Benjamin Winters and Mary Garvin in Paradise Township, Lancaster County. He died of pneumonia on 29 March 1945. Mary Jane King was born 1 November 1855 to Samuel King and Mary Swilkey. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage on 1 February 1929. The couple married in 1877 and had 10 children. 

Tombstone Tuesday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

On This Day: Qualifications stated for census enumerators

Those who desired to be appointed a census enumerator had to apply and meet certain requirements. An article appeared On This Day in the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer in 1880 listing the requirements to be an enumerator.  

A written application had to include:
* Place of birth
* Present legal address
* Education information
* A list of any offices held
* Present occupation 

The application also had to be in the person’s own handwriting. 

Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 21 April 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.                 

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

20 April 2015

On This Day: Columbine High School massacre

It hardly seems like 16 years but it was On This Day in 1999 that two teenagers plotted and carried out a shooting spree at their high school – Columbine High School – in the otherwise peaceful town of Littlton, Colorado.

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students, a teacher, and finally themselves. An additional 23 people were also injured that somber morning

  • Cassie Bernall
  • Steve Curnow
  • Corey DePooter
  • Kelly Fleming
  • Matt Kechter
  • Daniel Mauser
  • Daniel Rohrbough
  • Dave Sanders, Coach
  • Rachel Scott
  • Isaiah Shoels
  • John Tomlin
  • Laura Townsend
  • Kyle Velasquez
May Their Memory Be Eternal


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

19 April 2015

Sunday's Obituary: Jennette Still

Jeannette S. Still, 94, of Mortonville, died Friday afternoon at the Harrison House, Christiana, where she resided for the past two and one half years. She had been in failing health during that time.

She was born in Mortonville, daughter of the late Frank and S. Jennie Van Horn Still, and resided there for the past 19 years. Miss Still was a graduate of the Women's Hospital of Philadelphia and was a registered nurse in Michigan and Pennsylvania for 50 years, retiring at age 75. She was a nurse at Wilkes-Barre City Hospital for several years, a head nurse at Women's Medical, Surgical, and Obstetrics Hospital, worked in the children's eye, ear and throat ward at Allegheny Hospital, Pittsburgh, was assistant and relief assistant for three years at Grace Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, and instructor and assistant for many years at Grace. She also worked on private duty as a nurse at Ford Motor Co. in Michigan.

After retirement, she returned to Mortonville. Miss Still was a member of the Old Doe Run Presbyterian Church.

Surviving are two sisters: Alice Rodgers, of Anaheim, California, and Helen Webster, of Mortonville; and several nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at the Maclean Funeral Home, Fifth Avenue and E. Lincoln Highway, Coatesville, at 10:30 a.m. Monday. Internment will be in the Old Doe Run Presbyterian Cemetery.

Sunday’s Obituary is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

52 Ancestors: Live Long, Aunt Jennie

This week’s 52 Ancestors Challenge prompt is:  Live Long. Time to feature a long-lived ancestor. Any centenarians in the family? My Aunt Jennie may be the longest living ancestor. She lived 94 years. I can not think of any centenarians. 

Aunt Jennie is Jennette Sarah Still. She was born 24 January 1888 to Franklin Pierson Still and Sarah Jennie VanHorn in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County. Her older brother, Pierson George Still, is my great grandfather. 

She never married. Instead, she graduated from the Women's Hospital in Philadelphia. She was a nurse at Wilkes Barre City Hospital. She was also a head nurse at the Women's Medical, Surgical and Obstetrics Hospital. She also worked in the children's ear, nose throat ward at the Allegheny Hospital in Pittsburgh. After some time nursing here, she went out to Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan where she was a registered nurse.

The 1900 and the 1910 Census show Jennie Still living at home with her parents in East Fallowfield, Chester County. The 1930 and 1940 Census reveal Jennie, employed as a nurse, living in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. 

I am not sure when exactly she went to Michigan to be a nurse, or even why she chose Michigan. She retired at age 75, which would have been 1963. At that time, she moved back home to East Fallowfield Township in Chester County. I always recall Aunt Jennie living in the Harrison House Assisted Living Home in Christiana, Lancaster County. She died there on 18 June 1982. 


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is a weekly genealogical challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small 

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

Seeking info: Forsythe Manor

Seeking info concerning Forsythe Manor in Detroit MI circa 1930-1940.
What type of institution was it?

Memory Eternal, Uncle Pete

It was 13 years ago today that my Uncle Pete passed. He left his loving wife (my now late Aunt Marianne), two daughters and two grandchildren.

He was born Peter Hruszczak on 16 October 1932 to Panko Hruszczak and Bessie Matys. His brother, Joseph, is my grandfather. I have many good memories of Uncle Pete.

The photo is from the newspaper announcement of his wedding to Marianne Sherman. They were married in February of 1956 at St. Cecilia's RC Church in Coatesville.

Before he married, he had served in Korea. He had been in the Army. He had enlisted on 10 February 1953 and was released on 22 December 1954. The photo is of him obviously in uniform at that time. I obtained a digital copy from my cousin, one of his daughters, awhile back.

May His Memory Be Eternal.

On This Day: Farmers cautioned on diseased cattle

Lancaster County farmers were cautioned On This Day in 1880 about the possibility of diseased cattle. The cattle were imported from Hartford and Cecil Counties in Maryland and sold recently at the Chad’s Ford farmers’ club in Chester County. The disease the cattle may carry is pleuro-pneumonia.   

Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 19 April 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015