Saturday, March 17, 2018

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY 2018 ~ I know I have Irish heritage - What are my Irish surnames… far?

St patricks day hat with calendar

May the luck of the Irish be with all of you. 

According to the DNA tests my brother, Norm and I are 50-60% Irish.  My paper trail confirms some of that, but we have more Irish records to pursue.  And, you all know how tough that can be.

What are my Irish surnames, so far?
Word Art 1
Follow that rainbow to the pot of gold

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Shamrocks in corner

Friday, March 16, 2018

FRIDAY FINDS of a Different Kind

Normally, when I write about Friday Finds, they include various documents I have located, or perhaps even a photo of a particular ancestor.
This week my find was located on the Detroit Historical Society’s Facebook page. I happened to be scrolling through my FB news feed and came across an item that related to my birthday.

What I saw was a photo taken on my birthday, March 13th, in the year 1903 in Detroit, where I was born.  I remember Gratiot Ave. as a place my parents and grandparents talked about, along with Woodward Ave., Grand River and all the Mile roads in Detroit.
Here’s the image, used with the gracious permission of the Detroit Historical Society.  I’ve darkened it just a little so it would show up better.

On McDougal Ave just north of Gratiot Ave looking north_taken 13 Mar 1903

The caption for the image reads as follows:

On March 13, 1903, this scene was captured on McDougall Avenue, just north of Gratiot Avenue and looking north. St. Philip's Mission Church is visible adjacent to a plank sidewalk along with many residences.

Have you found items like this from your place of birth or where you grew up?

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall

Sunday, March 11, 2018

MY BIG FIND AT THE FHL- Part 2 ~ What else was I able to turn up once I had John Doller’s original name?

Copy of Dollars-FreadasParents
John & Bertha - about 1935

If you read my blog yesterday, then you know that I made a pretty huge find (with help from library staff), while I was attending Rootstech.  You can read about it here WHAT A FIND - John Doller's real name was Johann Tolarowski - my husband's great grandfather.

In the 15+ years I’ve been researching mine and my husband’s family, I was never able to find some of the records I wanted to for John Doller and his wife, Bertha Keller. 

Now I know why!
If you enter John Doller in the search criteria on a website, you aren’t likely to come up with hits for Johann Tolarowski.
Once I learned John’s birth name, in German records, I was able to locate more information.

The first thing I found was his German passenger record.  He traveled from Germany to the U.S. with his wife, Bertha, son, Erwin and infant daughter, Ida.

 TALAROWSKI_John-Bertha-Erwin-Ida passenger record 1890_Germany to NY

They traveled on the ship Columbia from Hamburg, leaving on 3 Jul 1890.
Here’s the index for this record.  His occupation, Maurer, means Mason.  Family lore says that one child died on the ship.  We know it wasn’t Erwin, so it had to be little Ida.  More on that in a minute.

Name: John Talarowski
Gender: männlich (Male)
Departure Age: 32
Occupation: Maurer
Birth Date: abt 1858
Residence: Dahlwin, Westpreußen
Departure Date: 3 Jul 1890
Port of Departure: Hamburg
Port of Arrival: New York (New York City (All Boroughs))
Ship Name: Columbia
Captain: Vogelgesang
Shipping Clerk: Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft
Shipping line: Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft
Ship Type: Dampfschiff
Ship Flag: Deutschland
Accommodation: Zwischendeck
Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 068 A
Household Members:
Name Age
John Talarowski 32
Bertha Talarowski 26
Erwin Talarowski 4
Ida Talarowski 8 Monate

The New York Passenger record I located has the family arriving in New York harbor on 11 Jul 1890.  There is an entry in the column title “Date and Cause of Death” across from Ida’s name.  What do the numbers 12-18 mean?

TALAROWSKI_John-Bertha-Erwin-Ida NY passenger record 1890_Germany to NY

I have searched every way I can think of for information on the numbers 12-18 in the date/cause of death column for Ida.  There are ICD codes for causes of death on many death certificates, but 12-18 isn’t one of those codes.  I tried looking at the beginning of the microfilm series for any indication of what the numbers in that column could mean.  No luck.  I welcome any input from others who may have an answer.  Were they able to take baby Ida off the ship?  Is there a death record for her in the U.S.? Is she buried in New York?

 The next record I located for this family was the 1892 New York state census.  On 16 Feb 1892, the Talurowski family is enumerated in the second district, Buffalo, Erie, New York.  This was the first U.S. record I located with the family still using the name Talurowski.  This is 19 months after their arrival and Ida is not named with them.  Further indication of her death.

John Talurowski, male, age 33, born in Germany, alien, working as a Mason, Bertha Talurowski, female, age 26, born in Germany, alien, Erwin Talurowski, male, age 6, born in Germany, alien.


We can see that John had not yet applied for citizenship, nor was he using the surname, Doller.  According to the 1920 census, he was naturalized in 1902.  I had searched naturalization record listings at the FHL, but they did not have 1902.  I would really like to find this record.

I’ve mentioned time and time again, on this blog and in classes I’ve taught, that social media can be one of our greatest resources for genealogy.  Especially Facebook groups.  I belong to many of them, not only in the U.S., but for other countries as well.  I wrote a blog post about this subject back in 2014 and it still holds true today FACEBOOK – HOW IT CAN BE VERY USEFUL IN YOUR RESEARCH

I decided to ask for assistance on the Western New York Genealogical Society group, to which I’ve belonged for some time. I thought perhaps someone in the group would have some tips specifically related to obtaining naturalization records from the Buffalo area.
Here is my query: Posted on 10 Mar 2018 at 10:37 a.m.

ADVICE needed.
Hello everyone. I wonder if you could tell me if anyone has experience in retrieving naturalization records? I have been looking for years for the papers for a particular person in the Buffalo area. A HUGE find at the FHL was that the last name was not Doller, but Tolarowski. It would appear that he arrived and kept the name Tolarowski for a few years. I believe he may have changed it when he was naturalized. Which gives me even more reason to want the record. From census records he was naturalized in 1902. The family lived in Buffalo from 1890 until his death in 1935.
Thanks in advance for any advice.

Within minutes I began receiving responses.  I continued to check back as I wrote yesterday’s blog post.  About an hour after I first posted, I checked back only to find that one of the members had located the information I needed on Family Search.  I, of course, know about and use Family Search daily, but hadn’t had a chance to look through their records since learning of John Doller’s German name.  Not only did the member, Kasia, tell me that the record was on Family Search, she posted images of the various records she found.

TALAROWSKI_John_naturalization card_1905 - Copy

Now that I have this information I should be able to request his naturalization papers.  I’ve got a volume number and a page number.  I’m doing my genie dance again!
After the loss of two young daughters and one son, John and Bertha did go on to have one more daughter, Freada Emma Meta Doller (my husband’s grandmother), born in Buffalo, Erie, New York on 24 Aug 1895.  Freada married Heinrich “Henry” August Fink and they had four children.  She died at the age of 85 in San Diego, California.  Her older brother, Erwin went on to marry Lena Boskat and they had 6 sons.  Erwin lived to the age of 77 and died in Buffalo, New York.

John and Bertha continued living in Buffalo until their deaths.  John died 15 Dec 1935 and is buried in Buffalo Cemetery, Cheektowaga, Erie, New York.  You may visit his memorial here #80147013 and Bertha died 6 Oct 1950 and is buried in the same cemetery #80147168.

This has been a great story to write and I hope to learn more if and when I locate John’s naturalization papers.

Please contact me if you are related to this family, I’d love to hear from you.
To read more about the Doller family please see the following blog posts.  There are several more photos included in these posts.


SEPIA SATURDAY ~ The Doller Family of Buffalo, New York, early 1900’s


Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall


Saturday, March 10, 2018


DOLLER_John_headshot circa 1895 B&W

During my trip to Rootstech this year, I allowed a few days for research at the Family History Library (FHL).  Read about my preparation for my trip and all the fun I had in these two posts:

Rootstech Preparation - My First Time Attending and Rootstech is Over but We Had Fun

If you’ve been to the FHL you know that not every day will be a bonanza of finds (although we’d like that to be the case).  I’ve been fortunate to have been there 3 times now and my luck has varied from day to day. 

On Saturday afternoon, my friend Pam and I had done all we could at the Rootstech conference and decided to spend the last couple of hours of the day at the FHL.  We were on the 3rd floor (books) and I wasn’t having much luck with my ancestors, so, on a whim, I decided to go down to one of the International floors of the building.  I’d had some good luck with German records on a visit in 2015.  Why not try again?  So down to B1 I went.

I asked one of the volunteers if there was anyone available to help with German records.  I was directed to Elder Kirk. 

My question – Is it possible, with very little information to find any records for John Doller and his wife Bertha Keller?  These are my husband’s great grandparents.  I knew they’d immigrated from Germany to New York about 1890. 

Here’s what I had: 

John Doller born 25 Dec 1859 possibly in Dansig, Germany, immigrated about 1890, died 15 Dec 1935 in Buffalo, Erie, New York.  He married about 1884 in Germany, Bertha Keller, born 28 Jun 1865 in Berlin, Germany, died 6 Oct 1950 in Buffalo, Erie, New York.  I had 3 unknown children born to this couple, based on how many children were listed for Bertha in the 1900 census.  I had two known children, Irven/Erwin born 1885 in Germany and Freada born 1895 in New York.  Not much to go on.  I had no idea if the locations in Germany were correct or not.

Elder Kirk first asks if I knew the religion of this couple.  Were they Catholic or Protestant?  I said I didn’t think they were Catholic (based on the church attendance of descendants).  He begins pulling up sites on the internet that I had no knowledge existed.  My experience in German research is very limited.  Elder Kirk first tells me that the name Doller probably was the Americanized version of the surname.  We weren’t having any luck with John’s name so we switched to Bertha Keller, which Elder Kirk thought was a name that would not have changed. 

NOTE:  It was 4:30 and the FHL closes at 5 on Saturday.  We kept hearing the announcement over the loud speaker “the library will close in 30 minutes, the library will close in 15 minutes.”  So, both Elder Kirk and I knew our time was short and that on Sunday, the next day, the library is closed.

He told me that the area called Danzig was Eastern Pomerania formerly part of West Prussia and located along the Baltic Sea.  Here is a link to more about the area The Polish Corridor.  And here is a map.

Danzig corridor map

Now Elder Kirk took me to the PTG Pomorskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne (Pomeranian Genealogical Association) website.  Searching this site for Bertha Keller LOOK WHAT CAME UP!!!!


Remember those 3 unknown children that I said I had for Bertha Keller?  They would have been born between 1884 and their 1890 departure to America.  Their names were listed as Unknown 1,2 & 3 in my Legacy database.  Here they are!  Elder Kirk said that Tallarowski would easily have been John/Johann’s actual surname.  That when pronounced the first part of the name is very similar to Doller. 

The children are:

Laura Ida born in 1886 in Sobowidz

Otto Johannes born in 1888 in Sobowidz

Ida Bertha born in 1889 in Sobowidz

Next we went to another website that told us about Sobowidz/Sobbowitz.  Here’s the screenshot I took of that.  I only brought my iPad down to level B1 when I went so I was happy to be able to photograph these websites.

Time was running short for us so Elder Kirk pulled up the list of microfilms for the parish records, in hope we could locate both the births/baptisms of the children and the marriage of Johann and Bertha.

TAUFEN is a German word for Baptism and HEIRATEN is a German word for Marriage. We were off to pull film numbers 245765 and 245767. Wish us luck, the clock was ticking and the library would soon be closing.  Elder Kirk was so kind.  He said, you take one film and I’ll take the other.  We set up the film on adjoining microfilm readers and off we went.

It didn’t take long.  He had the film with the baptisms and was able to quickly locate records for all 3 children, Laura, Otto and Ida.  I had the marriage film and with some help from Elder Kirk we located the marriage record for Johann and Bertha.  THESE WERE SUCH HUGE FINDS!  The records were all in German.  I asked Elder Kirk what a particular word was, listed on the marriage record and low and behold, it translated to Mason.  If I wasn’t certain before this, that was the point where I wanted to hug Elder Kirk.  John Doller had been a Mason in every record I found for him in the US records. 

With 5 minutes to go until the library closed, I had to take pictures of the microfilm finds as quickly as I could.  I would normally have taken a picture of the beginning of the film, the number etc.  But, I can always do that on my next trip.

Here’s an image of the marriage record for Johann Tolarowski (spelled many different ways in various records) and Bertha Keller on 7 Sep 1884.

Copy of IMG_1463-marriage annot

The baptism and death record for Laura Ida.

IMG_1465 - Copy

The baptism and death record for Otto Johannes.


The baptism Ida Bertha.  There is no death date because she died either on the ship or in New York.

IMG_1474 - Copy

This is what I like to see on an Family View in Legacy.  Filled in information.  At this point we are missing or only have partial names of Johann and Bertha’s parents, but I’m hoping I can locate them.DOLLAR family

The discovery of John’s German name has lead to me finding more information about this family.  I need to stop writing before this gets too much longer.  Don’t stay away, more on this story coming very soon.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

ROOTSTECH IS OVER BUT ~ We had fun……..meeting other bloggers, wandering the Expo Hall, enjoying the classes and researching at the Family History Library


I’ve been home from Rootstech for two days.  Of course I caught the obligatory cold during my visit.  But, it was on the last day, so it never ruined my fun.

This was my first time attending. I was fortunate to have my friend Pam join me.  She and I have been friends for over 30 years, she lives in Colorado and is fairly new to genealogy.  Quite an overwhelming experience, that’s for sure.

We arrived on Monday afternoon so we would have all day Tuesday at the FHL (Family History Library).  This was my third time at the Library and Pam’s first.  Many of us know what a wonderful and inspiring place it is.

We woke up Tuesday morning, had breakfast at JB’s and headed to the library.  Pam had a great day and was able to find lots of information in the books about North Carolina marriages.  I worked, yet again, on some of my brick wall families and came up empty.  I’ll never give up though.

They might not be in this book, but I will find them eventually
Pam, hard at work
My happy place
We were all given the option to check-in to the conference on Tuesday.  Boy, was that a process. Two hours in line with hundreds of others.  The Rootstech staff really did a great job keeping the line moving, kudos to all of them.  We received a nice bag and a flash drive with the syllabus for all the classes.

Day One at Rootstech.  We had picked classes to attend so we knew where we needed to go.  What we didn’t expect was the long lines for some of the more popular classes. This was the case on all four days of the conference.  The other thing we didn’t know, was that we had to pre register for the Lab classes. I guess we missed that in the Welcome to Rootstech emails.  Pam and I had quite different agendas, based on our levels of experience.  She picked up some great information at her classes.  I ended up attending only a couple of classes during the four days because the Labs were full.  Lesson learned for next time.

The Expo Hall opened for a sneak preview on Wednesday evening, but we waited until Thursday morning to go there.  WOW!!  What a wonderful setup.  It was like Disneyland for genealogists.  All the software and DNA companies had booths.  Lots of society, book, charts and many other fun booths.  There were classes and demonstrations being held every where.  The media hub was full of activity and interviews with the genealogy movers and shakers in the industry were going on a lot of the time.
There were displays all over the Expo Hall.
The Legacy staff hard at work
I was able to finally meet, face to face, other bloggers & genealogists I’ve been friends with on Facebook for many years.  Of course we took photos of the occasion.   
With Pat Richley-Erickson aka Dear Myrt
Marian Pierre-Louis and Geoff Rasmussen from Legacy Family Tree software
David Robison, Professional Genealogist & author of Old Bones Genealogy of New England blog
Deidre Erin Denton author of  Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches Genealogy
Laura Wilkinson Hedgecock from our Geneabloggers Tribe Facebook group
Russ Worthington from Monday's with Myrt and author of Family Tree Maker User blog
Jonny Perl - Innovator award winner for the year for his program DNA Painter
Linda Stufflebean - author of Empty Branches on the Family Tree blog
Susan Howard, Facebook friend
Michelle Ganus Taggart author of A Southern Sleuth blog
Randy Seaver, author of Genea-Musings blog and my friend Pam Paxton
Yes, I admit it.  I like to collect the ribbons given out at various booths
On Friday, as many bloggers as could make it, gathered near the media hub for a group photo.  You should have seen us all trying to squeeze together.  If you find Thomas McEntee in his colorful shirt in the front row, you’ll see my head just above his. There’s about 40 of us represented here.  More bloggers were at the conference, but some couldn’t make it for the photo shoot.


The conference was over on Saturday evening.  My friend Pam and I made our plans to have a couple of extra days after the conference.  The FHL is closed on Sunday.  It was a day we had planned to stay at the hotel so I could share some technology and research tips with her.  It couldn’t have been better……it snowed!  Being from southern California, I get excited any time I see or am in snow.  I apologize to all of you who live in places that have snow, but this was great!! 
The view from our 8th floor room at the Plaza Hotel
Snow covered street near the Salt Palace where Rootstech was held
Pam & me enjoying the cold weather on our way to Squatters Pub for dinner
Our last day was Monday.  Neither of us were flying out until late afternoon.  So, where did we go?  Not difficult to guess. Right back to the FHL.  By this time, Pam was really making progress in her tree and finding more and more evidence.  Lots of information on the third floor (my favorite – the books).
Takeaway from my first trip to Rootstech.  It was a bit overwhelming at first.  They do a great job with such a large crowd.  There were vendors selling food and drink items, so even if you attended lots of classes, you didn’t go hungry.  There was a good variety of classes, but they weren’t always easy to attend, because of the high volume of people.  The Expo Hall was, hands down, my favorite part of the entire experience.  Meeting up with so many longtime virtual friends was fantastic!

Would I attend again?  I think that I would, but with a different agenda.  Perhaps just go for a couple of days during the conference and spend the other days going to the Library

Did you go to Rootstech this year?  If so, what was your experience like?  Was it your first time, or had you attended before?  If you haven’t attended, do you want to in the future?
Stay tuned because I had a BIG breakthrough at the library involving my husband’s great grandfather, John Doller.  A blog post about that will be coming up soon.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall

Sunday, February 25, 2018

SUNDAY’S OBITUARY ~ William Davies, born in Scotland in 1825–died in Washington, D.C. in 1904

DAVIES_William_death notice_EveningStar_pg 5_20 Jun 1904_WashingtonDC
Transcription: Davies. On Saturday afternoon, June 18, 1904, at 5:30 o’clock, William Davies, aged seventy-nine years.  Born in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, Scotland.  Funeral from his late residence, 309 I street southeast, Monday, June 20, at 4 p.m.

William Davies is my sister-in-law’s 2nd great grandfather.  Born in Kilbarchan, Renfewshire, Scotland he married Jane Cameron on 7 Apr 1849 in his home town.

William first married Jane Cameron on 7 Apr 1849 in Kilbarchan, Renfew, Scotland and they had two known daughters, Frances, born about 1852 and Mary Jane (9 Mar 1863-21 Jun 1863).  Because of the large gap between the births of Frances & Mary Jane, there may well be other children that were born to this couple.

Here is there marriage record from Scotland.

CAMERON_Jane marriage to William Davies_1849_Scotland_annot

William and his wife Jane immigrated to the United States between 1849 and 1855.

Sadly, William’s wife, Jane died 5 Apr 1863, age 36 and his infant daughter, Mary Jane just a couple of months later.  You may visit Jane and Mary Jane’s memorial on FindAGrave here – Jane #69470171 and Mary Jane #147481252.  They are buried at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Their names appear on the same headstone. I wonder if childbirth played a roll in Jane’s death?  It so often did back then.

Bye the time of the 1870 census, William had remarried.  His second wife was Elizabeth C. Kirkwood born 21 Jan 1839 and died 19 Apr 1890, age 51.  She is also buried at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. #69469749.

William remained in Washington, D.C. and can be found in the 1900 census in a household with 6 of his children.

1900_DAVIES_William & children_WashDC - Copy

A record of William’s death can be found on, however, the image is not available unless you are at the Family History Library or an FHC location.  I will be at the FHL later this month and will locate this film and get a copy of the image to add to my Legacy database.

District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1961
Name:    William Davies
Event Type:    Death
Event Date:    18 Jun 1904
Event Place:    District of Columbia, United States
Address:    309 I St S E
Gender:    Male
Age:    79
Marital Status:    Widowed
Birth Year (Estimated):    1825
Birthplace:    Scotland
Burial Date:    20 Jun 1904
Cemetery:    Congressional Cemetery
Father's Birthplace:    Scotland
Mother's Birthplace:    Scotland
Frame Number:    720
Reference ID    155492
GS Film Number    2115159
Digital Folder Number    004024880
Image Number    720

If you are related to this family, I’d love to hear from you.  Should you have any additional information or correction, please contact me.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall

Saturday, February 24, 2018


rootstech sponsors
I’m pretty excited that I will be attending Rootstech for the very first time this year.  It’s been on my wish list for a long time.  Why not?  It’s the biggest genealogy conference in the world, with thousands of attendees, hundreds of speakers and a huge exhibit hall.
I’ve been to Salt Lake City and the Family History Library twice.  Once in 2011 and again in 2015.  But, never during a big seminar or conference.  This at least makes me familiar with the library, the Plaza hotel and the surrounding area.  My friend Pam is joining me, coming in from Colorado. She started her genealogy journey not long ago and is anxious to learn more.  I expect we will both be overwhelmed by the sheer number of people, classes and activities.

  • Meeting face to face some of the people who have been my virtual friends for several years.
  • Attending the plethora of classes that are offered each of the four days.  It’s very difficult to choose which ones to attend.
  • Walking through and experiencing all the vendors in the exhibit hall.  I’ve hear reports there will be as many as 200 of them. 
  • Being able to share my passion for family research with my friend of over 30 years and helping her with her research.
  • Spending time at the FHL and hoping to find some of the hidden treasures and dare I hope….break down a brick wall.
  • Being around others who share my love for our ancestors and making sure they are never forgotten.
  • I long ago made my reservation for the conference and my hotel reservation at the Plaza.  And, of course, my plane reservation.
  • Over the past several months I have been making a list of the people, places and things I want to look for.  Whether it’s microfilm or books.  I keep this list in Evernote so it is with me on all my devices.
  • I do all my work on my desktop PC.  Of course I’ll need to take my laptop and I’ll be taking my iPad.  I’ve made sure that everything that’s on my desktop is also on my laptop.  All the programs I use for editing, my Legacy program etc. are all synced up. 
  • I’ve made new “business” cards so that I can share them with the people I meet.  My genealogy is not really a business, but it’s an easy way to share websites, email and phone numbers with others. 
  • I’ve downloaded the Rootstech app to all my devices.
  • I’ve pre selected the classes I’d like to attend.  They are first come first serve, so I also need to be sure I have a second choice for that time slot.
  • I’ve washed and packed all my clothes.  It’s not easy for a southern California girl  to prepare for the cold weather in Utah this time of year.  I hope I’ve chosen wisely and brought enough layers.
  • I’ve secured my ride to the airport.
  • Now…..I just wait until Monday for my flight and let the fun begin. 
I’m hoping to be able to write a blog post or two while I’m attending the conference.  But…I won’t be surprised if I’m so busy or tired, I don’t write until I get home.
If you will be attending, please look me up on the Rootstech app and get in touch.  The more people I meet the more fun I’ll have.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall