Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Family Tree Maker Tasks--Two Down and Nine to Go!

Family Tree Maker Tasks

Family Tree Maker (FTM) has a feature that allows you to list tasks as you encounter things that you think you should do as a part of your research effort.  You can also assign priorities to the tasks, ranging from high to medium to low.  I had twelve tasks, three high and the remainder medium, that have been on my program for at least six months.  I have done other research; but have I attended to these tasks?  I am ashamed to say--no!  Today I decided it was time to take them on.  

The first was to "Locate the document 'The Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800' by Lewis Preston Summers. On page 496 it lists Christian Richards as a grantee (buyer) of 138 acres on Terry's Creek."  I had viewed this document before; but not made a copy of it for use as a source document.  Christian is my 4th great grandfather, who along with his parents and some siblings emigrated to America in 1750 from Switzerland.  They initially settled in Reading, Pennsylvania and then in about 1768, moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  The referenced book document the purchase of 138 acres at Terry's Creek in 1782 by Christian Richards, probably shortly after he returned from the Revolutionary War.  Their name in Switzerland and Virginia was Ritschhart/Ritschhard; but when they moved to Virginia, they apparently changed the spelling.  There is some speculation they did so because the English, who were dominant in the area, didn't like the Germans.  I have also found Christian Richards as a soldier in Captain Jake Holeman's Dunmore County Virginia Militia Company during the revolutionary war.  Dunmore County was the area in which Christian and his family lived until 1772, when it became Frederick County, which then became Shenandoah in 1778.

I first looked up "Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800" in WorldCat and discovered it was in several libraries including Heritage Quest, which requires a subscription.  However, I have a library card for the Los Angeles library which enables you to access Heritage Quest for free from home.  Once I logged onto the L.A. Library, I selected "History Geography & Genealogy" as noted in the graphic below.  I then selected "H" and clicked on the Heritage Quest data base.  

Once I was into Heritage Quest, I selected "Books" and entered the name of the book I was seeking, "Annuals of Southwest Virginia 1768-1800".  When I clicked on search up came the below listing, with my book of interest listed first.  

I think clicked on the book and discovered it was completely digitized.  Fortunately, my notes I had entered in FTM tasks included the fact that page 496 contained the name "Christian Richards".  As you can see below, that page gave the details of Christian's purchase of 138 acres on Terry's Creek.  Interestingly when I later checked the index for other information in the book about Christian, it listed another page; but not page 496!  I was fortunate that my notes included that valuable piece of information.   

The next obvious question is "Where is Terry's Creek"?  Amazingly, I typed Terry's Creek into Google Maps and it gave me a location in Frederick County, just to the SE of the county seat, Blacksburg.

My next task on my "High" priority FTM Task list was, essentially, to check Family Search for records of German Churches in the Indianapolis area during the 1850-1900 time frame.  My wife's great great grandparents, Frederic and Julia Schmidt, lived there during that time and had immigrated to New York from Germany and then on to Indianapolis.  I started with the Family Search Catalog; but didn't get much response to several different wordings of my topic of interest.  Then I shifted to Books and came up with one that looked interesting, although, not obviously about German Church Records in Indianapolis.  It was "Greater Indianapolis, The History, the Industries, the Institutions, and the People of a City of Homes".  

Fortunately, when I clicked on the book title, it had been digitized and I could search the index and Table of Contents.  That revealed that there were three chapters about Churches in Indianapolis.  Since they were quite lengthy, I decided not to just print all three chapters.  Rather, I scanned them and was able to identify about three pages that talked specifically about the German Churches.  It not only names the churches and their pastors; but gives their addresses.  Therefore, I can check to see if they still exist.  I have already sent letters to several churches seeking information; but this should provide me with more candidates.  Since several of Frederic and Julia's children were born in Indianapolis, I am hoping to find some baptismal, marriage or other types of church documents that might give me clues as to Frederic or Julia's home towns.  I know that Frederic was from Wurttemberg and Julia from Bavaria; but I need something more specific.

The book also had a chapter about "The Germans in Indianapolis" which should be informative.  It mentions several German organizations that existed, some of which may have records of interest to me.  I know from other research that two of the children belonged to the Maennerchor (men's choir), which was a group dedicated to the preservation of German classical music.  That same organization was mentioned in this book and, in fact, had a photo of the Maennerchor Hall, where the group met and performed.

I still need to research the Family Search records for more information about Indianapolis German Churches, especially the microfilm file; but the book that I found was a good start.  I also still have nine of the "Medium" category tasks to go; but I have broken the ice and, hopefully, that will lead to quickly completing the remainder of the tasks!