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

01 April 2015

On This Day: Watchmaker moves near railroad

Watchmaker Louis Weber moved from Centre Square to North Queen Street near the Pennsylvania railroad depot On This Day in 1880. Weber sells gold, silver and nickel cased watches, chains and clocks. He also repairs items. 


Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 1 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

31 March 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Emanuel Winter

Emanuel Winter (12 April 1821 – 4 July 1888) is buried at the Zion Reformed Cemetery in New Providence.

Sadly, being of an “impaired” mind, he hung himself, thus taking his own life.

Emanuel, according to the 1870 US Census, lived in Smithville, Providence Township. He was 49 at the time and a farmer. Living with him then were: Ann Winter, 69; nine year old Marus Gochnauer; and seven year old Elizabeth Gochnauer. The census does not indicate relationships. 

Ten years prior, in 1860, the Census shows Emanuel and Anna in Providence Township. Emanuel is a farmer. Living with them are: John, 16, and Simon, 15, Gochnauer. Again, no relations information is provided in the 1860 Census. 

Emanuel was just 27 at the time of the 1850 Census, where we find him in Martic Township. The head of household is Joseph Winters, 63. It is presumed from this information that Joseph is the father of Emanuel. Also living there are: Joshua Winters, 25; Benjamin Winters, 24; Amos Winters, 18; Elizabeth Hurt, 40; Mary Hurt, 15; Martha Hurt, 9; and Jacob Hurt, 3. Again no relationships are provided.


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

On This Day: Fulton sees growth

Fulton Township reports much growth On This Day in 1880. The growth includes residential, barns, and bridges. 

John Wright, Mrs. Groff, and Mrs. Harlan all put up new residences. Tom Jones, David Deaver, and Robert Clark built barns, while Timothy Haines build a large tobacco house. The new bridge crossing Peters’ Creek is ready for inspection. Mrs. Reynolds is continuing her mercantile business at Eldora station. 


Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 31 March 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

30 March 2015

On This Day: Telegraph office opens

The American Union telegraph company has announced On This Day in 1880 that it will open an office in the city. Four wires run already run through the city via the Pennsylvania railroad poles.  


Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 30 March 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

29 March 2015

Census Sunday reveals possible immigration information

Dennis O’Flaherty is my 2nd great grandfather. He was born about 1839 in Ireland and died in Phoenixville, Chester County before 1902. He married Martha Durkin in 1867 or before, and they had eight children. 

That just summed up my knowledge of Dennis O’Flaherty. Today I am using the Census Records to pinpoint some more information about him. 

1870 US Census
Dennis, 31, works at a rolling mill in 1870. Hattie (Martha) keeps house. She is 30. At that time, they had two children: Mary, 2; and Hugh, 1. Living with them was 24 year old Ireland born laborer Patrick Hannegan. Dennis states he could not write. Martha could not read or write. 

1880 US Census
Dennis and Martha O’Flaherty are living on King (sp?) Street in Phoenixville, Chester County. The Census was taken on 7 June 1880. At that time, Dennis, 45, worked in the Iron Works. Martha was 41 and kept house. Both were born in Ireland. Their children are listed as Mary, 12; Hugh, 11; Michael, 8; Dennis, 7; Maggie, 3; and Martha, 1.

1910 US Census
Martha, 62, is listed as a widow in this Census. She lives on Airy Street in Phoenixville, Chester County with daughter Katherine, 23. The Census was taken on 16 April 1910. (side note: Catherine marries martin Welsh who lives just three doors down on 27 April 1910). Martha responds that she had 10 children but only three are alive and that she immigrated in 1870. Martha and Katherine live next door to Edward Murphy and his family. Perhaps just a coincidence, but it is interesting that Martha’s mother’s name was Abyan Murphy. 

Tracing Dennis O’Flaherty on the US Census gave me a possible lead on Martha Durkin’s arrival date. However, my grandmother always had implied they had met here and married here. If Martha had immigrated in 1870, as the 1910 Census states, then they would have been married in Ireland. In addition, three of their eight known children were born before 1870 here in Pennsylvania. Twins James and Mary were born in March 1868, while Hugh was born in 1869. It is my belief that Martha simply supplied the wrong year in the 1910 Census.

Census Sunday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015.

My Family Calendar This Week

Happy birthday to Patricia Beattie, Lauren Morris, Alex Soanes, and Tim Peters! May God grant you all Many Years.  

Patricia Beattie is my second cousin once removed. She is the granddaughter of Nora Kilpatrick, who was my great grandmother Mary Kilpatrick’s sister. I’ve never met Aunt Nora’s branch of the family but would love to get to know them. 

Lauren Morris is also my second cousin once removed. Her great grandfather is my Uncle Reds (Raymond Welsh), who was my grandmother’s brother. Sadly, I have not met her yet either. 

Alex Soanes – Alexander really – is my third cousin once removed. He used to be my neighbor! We used to live right down the street from him, his mom (Dawn Mullin) and his five siblings! Alex and his wife still live nearby and they have three children. Oh yeah, Alex’s third great grandparents are Dennis and Martha Durkin O’Flaherty. They are my second great grandparents. 

I have not seen Tim Peters in years; sadly, I probably would not even recognize him if I saw him now. He is my third cousin. Tim’s great grandmother is my Aunt Helen. I mention her often. She was the youngest of my great grandfather’s (Franklin Still) siblings. 

Memory Eternal
Today is the 108th anniversary of David Still’s death. David is brother to my George David Still and therefore he is my fourth great uncle. David was a farmer in East Fallowfield, Chester County all of his life. He is buried with his wife and mother at Hepzibah Baptist Cemetery near Doe Run in East Fallowfield, Chester County. 

Monday, we remember Walter G Deyoe (141 years), and Joan Elaine Morris (nine years). Walter is the first great uncle of my husband. His brother Morgan was hubby’s grandfather. Walter was only three years old when he died. Joan is an aunt of Lauren Morris mentioned above (in the birthday section). Joan’s mother (Joan Welsh) is one of my Uncle Red’s daughters. 

Thursday, we remember my husband’s third great grandmother Elizabeth Eckman, wife of Henry Eckman. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Martin Eckman and Elizabeth Sides. She was 87 when she passed in 1875. 

We recall another Elizabeth Eckman that day as well. She was the daughter of John Jacob Eckman and Catherine When. She married Daniel (last name unknown). She died in 1875 at the age of 86. 

Finally, Friday is the fifth anniversary of my brother-in-law Frank Eckman’s passing. Frank was young, just 59 when he passed in 2010. 


My Family Calendar This Week will be a weekly feature.  
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015 

On This Day: Stable burned

A stable, belonging to the widow Mrs. Catherine Doerr, was destroyed by fire, reported the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer On This Day in 1880. The framed stable was likely started by someone familiar with the premises, according to the report. The building was entirely destroyed; however, a horse and two hogs were saved. The building, located in the rear of Doerr’s house at 532 Manor Street, was relatively new and was in fact insured for $200 with the Lycoming Company. 


Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 29 March 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

28 March 2015

Fearless Females: Best Friends

Today Fearless Females Challenge is: Do you remember your mother’s best friend? How and where did they meet? How long were they friends? What activities did they share? 

Although my mom has passed, her best friend is still very much a part of my life. “Aunt” Gloria is my godmother. She and mom met through Girl Scouts, I believe. They became friends as school girls. They also went to Bishop Shanahan High School in West Chester together. 

Fearless Females is a daily prompt throughout March celebrating Women’s History Month initiated by Lisa A Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist  
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

Surname Saturday: The Barr Family of Lancaster County

The Barr line, though admittedly the one I am the least familiar with, is ironically one that I am the furthest back on. Ancestry.com indicates the majority of people with the Barr surname is Scottish or from Northern Ireland. England, Great Britain and Germany follow. Finally the New York Passengers List shows several from Switzerland as well, though comparatively not many. 

The Barr name, at least in my husband’s case, is a Pennsylvania German name. Pennsylvania German names were generally either personal names, occupational names, or derived from whence they came or lived. Barr is an example of a personal name. Barr is derived from Berhard, according to “Early Life of the Pennsylvania Germans” by A. Monroe Aurand, Jr. 

Susan Barr was the first Barr I came across in my research. She was born 15 May 1792 to Martin Barr and Maria Herr. She died in Providence Township, Lancaster County on 27 March 1849. She married John Longnecker and they had six children, including Elizabeth who married John Henry Eckman. 

Martin Barr, father of Susan, was born 29 January 1747. He appears on the 1772 Tax & Exoneration Lists for Conestoga Township, Lancaster County. He married Maria Herr (1751-1816). Martin died on 15 June 1815.  

While I am not certain of Martin’s mother’s name since his father was married twice, his father was Jacob Barr. Jacob was born in January of 1723 and died sometime between March and November 1803. The “Abstracts of Lancaster County Pennsylvania Wills 1786-1820” show he dated the will on 15 March and that it was executed on 1 November of that year. His will names his wife as Anna but that would be his second wife. His will names his children and states which wife they were born to! His children (of his first wife) are Martin; Jacob; Christian; Abraham; Elizabeth, wife of Daniel Keehnports; and Barbara, wife of Christian Forry 

Jacob is the son of Martin Barr and Anna Elizabeth Groff. Martin was born in 1680 and died in 1758.

Martin was the son of Martin Barr (1660 – 1757) and Anna Magdalena Mayer. 

Martin was the son of Felix Barr (born about 1620) and Berchtold Staehl. This last fact information from a fellow researcher and I have not yet independently verified it. 

While searching through the Barr Family today, I did find many others who I simply cannot place yet. A trip to the County Archives is definitely in my future!

Surname Saturday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.  

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

On This Day: Accident reported at TMI

Before TMI meant Too Much Information, many living in Central Pennsylvania felt TMI did not offer enough information. TMI, of course, stands for Three Mile Island. On This Day in 1979, in the early morning hours as many area residents were either still asleep or early birds were putting on coffee, a pressure valve in a reactor at the nuclear power plant failed to close. It was – and still is – the worst nuclear accident in US history. 

TMI was only five years old when the pressure valve failed to close and the cooling water drained into that open valve. The cooling water was contaminated with radiation. When the water drained, the core began to overheat. 

For those who have never seen a nuclear plant, imagine rods – kind of like large pipes – which must remain within a certain temperature range. Water in the tank cools the rods to keep them in that acceptable safe temperature range. When the water drained, obviously then the water level lowered, exposing the rods and causing the core to overheat. 

In an incident such as this one, the emergency cooling pumps automatically start up and force a cool down, essentially. However in this case the operators misread the readings – keep in mind nuclear power was still in its infancy – and turned off the emergency system. It was not until that evening, about 8 p.m., that operators recognized the need to get water back into the core and to restart the pumps. Once they did this, the temperature came back down and the emergency was soon resolved and important lessons were learned. 

From a public information viewpoint, it was a nightmare. Not enough information was provided to the people who needed the info. Too much incorrect information was given publicly. Families were concerned, wondering if they need to evacuate. Some did. Most stayed.  

We stayed. It was a Wednesday. Daddy went to work as normal. I went to school. My mom and sister (she would have been too young yet for school) stayed home as usual. Life went on as normal.  

Do YOU remember this incident? Did it affect your normal routine?


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

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

27 March 2015

Follow Friday: A Hodgepodge

This week I have to admit genealogy took a back seat. It was my first full week back to work (I work seasonally at a nursery – LOVE IT!) and my kids had some medical issues (one still does actually) but I did get some reading done.

EIN Presswire sent me a news release concerning a new online Jewish database. The Knowles Collection links generations of Jewish families from all over the world. It has reached its one-millionth record milestone and is now easily searchable online. The vast majority of new contributions are coming from families and private archives worldwide. The free collection can be accessed at FamilySearch.org/family-trees.

The National Genealogical Society conference is 13-16 May 2015 in St. Charles, Missouri. The early bird registration deadline is this Monday, 30 March 2015. For more information see the registration brochure.

Blog posts worth reading:

  • Dear Myrtle has finally published a How To that makes Hangouts easier to navigate. If you plan on attending Mondays with Myrt, her post this past Tuesday is a must!
  • Diane Haddad wrote of Angie Harmon’s recent appearance on “Who Do You Think You Are?” in her Genealogy Insider blog. Harmon is one of my favorite actresses and I found her Revolutionary Veteran, Michael Harman, most interesting. Harman (spelled with two As on the show but I noticed Haddad spelled it like Angie’s) wintered at Valley Forge … as did my husband’s 6th great grandfather, Jacob Eckman! (Side note: my Jacob was one of the few men to have actually died at Valley Forge – 20 May 1778 – as this was an encampment. There was no fighting at Valley Forge.)

My New Follows at Twitter:

To clarify, these are new people I followed this week.

  • @JohnHouchins – a fellow genealogist
  • @Angie_Harmon – yes, the actress!
  • @Originsnetuk – British & Irish resources
  • @Irish_Genealogy – an Irish family historian
Follow me


Follow Friday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

On This Day: Hershbergers keep hotel in Christiana

Christiana will soon have new hotelkeepers, it was reported On This Day in 1880. J. Hope Hershberger and his wife would be moving to Christiana, Lancaster County, “in a few days” to keep hotel. The Hershbergers are currently the host and hostess of the Kennett Square hotel. 

About the Hershbergers
From 1867 to 1872, Hope held a tavern license for the White Horse Inn (White Horse Hotel) in Londonderry. He then held a tavern license for the Kennett Square Hotel, in Kennett Square (Chester County), from 1873 to 1879. 

By June 1880 they were in fact at the hotel in the then Village of Christiana in Sadsbury Township. He was 53 at that time. His wife was 42. Living with them was his six year old niece Bertha Cox, four borders and two servants. 

The 1870 Census shows Hope as being a farmer in Cochranville, Londonderry Township, Chester County. His wife, Vienna, keeps house. They have a domestic servant and a farm laborer living with them. 

Vienna passed away on 6 November 1891. Hope passed on 1 March 1893. They are buried together at the Upper Octorara Cemetery in Parkesburg, Chester County 

Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.  

Chester County Tavern Petitions, 1700 – 1923. http://www.chesco.org/DocumentCenter/View/4010  

Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 27 March 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

Year: 1880; Census Place: Sadsbury, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1143; Family History Film: 1255143; Page: 498C; Enumeration District: 174; Image: 0699 

Year: 1870; Census Place: Londonderry, Chester, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1323; Page: 336A; Image: 672; Family History Library Film: 552822 


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

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

26 March 2015

On This Day: Salisbury remembers George Boots

Salisbury Township recalled George Boots On This Day in 1880. The Intelligencer’s correspondent writes of the death of Boots, one of the area’s oldest citizens.  

Boots is described as being colored, living on Welsh Mountain, and peculiar. He has “claimed that he had seen 150 returns of Christmas Day,” although his exact age is unknown. Boots had been able to recall the Revolutionary War as well.

Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 26 March 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