2015 in Review

2015 was a bad year for this blog as I did not post a single entry. This was, however, a great year for finding my dead with finding the burial locations of my 4x great-grandparents, Peter and Margaret (Schaeffer) Wetzel, being the highlight of the year.

Seeing time and time again where people are having difficulties finding their people buried in a particular Coal Township, PA cemetery, I decided that I wanted to photograph and record the GPS coordinates of all tombstones in this cemetery and make sure that everyone had a Find-A-Grave memorial with this information. I began this project during the summer and by late-fall had completed one of the smaller sections, which totaled almost 600 graves. This project was partly inspired by fellow Find-A-Graver, Robert David Miller, who has done the same in multiple location cemeteries and who’s data was a great help to me when I traveled multiple hours knowing that I would not have to blindly wonder around cemeteries hoping to find my ancestors.

2016 Goals

I want to do so many things in 2016 but know that so much will fall by the way-side as life continues and priorities will have to be made with the house and my grandmother being at the top of the list. My top five six genealogical goals for 2016 are, in no particular order:

  1. Determine if and how the US Nahodil’s are related; this includes all variant spellings, Nahadil, Nochodil, etc. If you are a Nahodil descendant, please leave me a message or send me an email as I would love to connect.
  2. Continue with the cemetery project that I started in 2015 with photographing and recording the GPS locations of all tombstones in a local cemetery.
  3. Figure out what I am going to do now that Ancestry.com has discontinued its Family Tree Maker software and will cease supporting it at the end of the year. I have almost 20 years of data in this desktop software that I will now need to migrate to different software; this would be a perfect time for me to also clean up my facts and sources. I have already purchase Magic Roots and Legacy but do not like either as they do not have the capabilities that I require.
  4. Delve deeper into the world of genealogical DNA testing. I have been involved with AncestryDNA for a few years now but find it limiting. I would like to get involved with testing through FamilyTreeDNA; this is more detailed and requires more knowledge of DNA than I currently have. I hope this avenue may be able to help prove or disprove some of the family stories about my Nahodil ancestors.
  5. Consistently maintain and update this blog on a weekly basis. Writing does not come naturally to me so it seems to take so long to produce even a few short paragraphs. I really have to hand it to all the other bloggers about there that publish frequently and with such interesting posts that keep you coming back for more.
  6. Begin gathering and organizing all the paperwork needed for my DAR application.

Well, off to play cards with my little old grandma.

52 Ancestors: #1 George Rudolph Nahodil


I was reading through my normal blogs yesterday when something caught my eye…”52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”.  So I headed over to Amy Johnson Crow’s site at http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/posts/challenge-52-ancestors-in-52-weeks/ to read more about her challenge for 2014.  One blog post for a specific ancestor each week… I should be able to swing once a week even with the upcoming move.


Since my Pop was always my favorite, it seems fitting that he should be my number 1 post.  My grandfather, George Rudolph Nahodil, was an amazing man.  He was a family man.  He was a hard working man.  He was a caring man.  He was a funny man.


Rudy, as George was known by his entire life, had a great sense of humor.  I imagine it must have started as a young boy as he listed his occupation as an “Actor” on his World War II enlistment record in 1942 when he was just 19 years of age (or so he claimed); Rudy’s actual occupation was as a laborer in the anthracite coal mines of central Pennsylvania.

George Rudolph Nahodil - a sampling of the ears

George Rudolph Nahodil – a sampling of the ears

The Nahodil family was blessed with big, beautiful (uh, did I really just say that?) ears.  The ears of the earlier generations were so distinctive that you could pick a Nahodil our in a crowd without even knowing him.  While my actor grandfather was overseas in the military, he must have spent his downtime perfecting his signature move known as the ear wiggle.  He loved to perform this move for us kids, especially when other adults were around but not looking…we broke out in giggle fits every time.  We all wanted to learn this skill and spent a great deal of time practicing but nobody has ever done it as well as Rudy; I’ll turn 40 next week and still catch myself “practicing”.


Rudy was the consummate joker and all people and places were fair game.  Dragging his leg behind him as a zombie might was not uncommon while out shopping with the kids and other adults.  This was hysterical when I was a child but I now I cannot help but think of how mortified his wife must have been…still makes me chuckle.

Rudy - This was not Halloween.

Just another day in the Nahodil home.

1 year anniversary – recap and look ahead to 2014


I can’t believe it has been one year since I first posted to this blog.  After reading other genealogy blogs for a few years I thought that this would be a nice and easy way to possible connect with other relatives.  I figured that this would be a great way to keep my ancestors alive while making the information freely available to others and I hoped to connect with new cousins.  Was I sadly mistaken…I have come to accept that I am not a writer nor a story-teller.  In my quest to push on, I found that it took me many hours to write each post.  A quarter of the way through 2013 I made the decision to move to the area from which my ancestors’ came.  The long distance house search and frequent trips upstate lead to many things being put on the back burner, that included this site.  I am happy to say I have found a house and plan to make the move in a couple of months, provided that no issues pop up.


While writing does not come naturally or easy for me, I plan to continue this blog in 2014.  I have set a more realistic goal for myself  to write once a week about a relative who has an anniversary that week.  I really enjoyed the theme of Ancestor’s Anniversaries that I did last year and plan to take that approach in the coming year.


Back in June I received the AncestryDNA results for myself and an older Wetzel cousin.  I continue to be amazed at how many people I share DNA with.  Unfortunately, many of my closer connections do not have a public tree or their tree is lacking enough information to determine how we may be related.  I have contacted a few “cousins” but this was one of those areas that I slacked on last year.  I think contacting one DNA match a month is an achievable goal of 2014.


After receiving my AncestryDNA results I was contacted by a fairly close “cousin” who ask how we were related.  As soon as I looked at his tree I knew that the connection was through my paternal side which I knew nothing about.  Through 14 years of researching my family tree, my paternal side remained blank.  After receiving this inquiry, I entered the name of my father and his parents.  Long story short…it appears that I have an Aunt out there who has a very well developed family tree on Ancestry.com and has included many pictures.  Even though I never knew them, it is nice to see what my ancestors looked like.


2013 was a great year in that I met or connected with so many great people, many of these connections came as an unexpected surprise.  In the beginning of the years I was contacted by a trio of Lynn descendants who were wonderful to connect with and meet as we pooled our information and resources to pass on our family history.  After sending emails back and forth for the previous year, I had the pleasure to speak with Thelma (Strausser) Rothman’s granddaughter on the phone.  October brought the surprise of the year in the form of a message from Rose Nahodil’s grandson, who is the son of her eldest daughter.  Though it was slightly saddening to find that Rose left her young daughters, it was wonderful to find that they are alive and well and have had good lives.  November was another fabulous month as I visited my 3rd cousin and met her family.  This is a group that I am related through two different branches of my tree as they are descended from both my Nahodil and Strausser lines.  Once again, I found myself surrounded by a great group of people who were thoughtful in sharing their stories and pictures.


If you run across my site, please feel free to leave a comment to say hi or anything else you like.  I love meeting cousins and hope to meet many more once I move where a majority of them live or have lived.

Ancestor’s Anniversary – August 24, 2013 – Laura Belle (Wetzel) Klinger

Laura Belle Wetzel was born in Trevorton, Pa. on August 24, 1870, daughter of Henry and Catherine (Kissinger) Wetzel whose children were as follows: Nelson, Laura (married Landis Klinger), Harriet (married Charles Murray), Carrie, Howard, Weimer, Harry, Mildred (married Frank Evans followed by William Patterson) and Grant (died young).


Laura gave birth to her first child, Ada Mae, on November 19, 1891; this first child was born illegitimate and the father’s name kept a secret and remained unknown to the family until 2012 when baptism records were found showing the father to be a man named Richard Williams.


In 1900, Laura moved to Philadelphia and married Landis Klinger.  January 1, 1903 brought the birth and death of the couple’s first son, Russell.  In April of the following year, Laura gave birth to Landis and a year later to their son Ralph.


Laura (Wetzel) Klinger holding young Marlin Strausser (c.1909)

Laura (Wetzel) Klinger holding young Marlin Strausser (c.1909)

Upon moving to Philadelphia, Laura and Landis settled in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city and it is there that she lived in the same Gordon Street house for the next sixty-five years.


Laura was very close to her younger brother Howard so the siblings always made sure to get together to celebrate their birthdays, which were a day apart.  The pair continued to celebrate their birthdays together up to and including when Howard passed away during their annual birthday gathering in 1957.


Howard Wetzel and Laura (Wetzel) Klinger celebrating their birthdays together

Howard Wetzel and Laura (Wetzel) Klinger celebrating their birthdays together

Not only was Laura close with her brother Howard but also his youngest son Royal.  Royal grew up spending much time with his aunt, including spending summers with her and her family in Philadelphia.


Ralph Wetzel, Lillian (Murray) DeConcini, Elizabeth (Osman) Wetzel, Royal Wetzel, Laura (Wetzel) Klinger, Landis Klinger Sr, Howard Wetzel

Ralph Wetzel, Lillian (Murray) DeConcini, Elizabeth (Osman) Wetzel, Royal Wetzel, Laura (Wetzel) Klinger, Landis Klinger Sr, Howard Wetzel

On January 8, 1965 Laura died and was buried with her husband Landis and son Ralph at Whitemarsh Memorial Park.  Laura is now buried with her husband, three of her children, and two of her grandchildren; one day she will be joined by a great grandchild who was born a decade too late but loves her none the less.

August 18, 2013: Ancestor’s Anniversary – Claude Benjamin Lynn

Claude Benjamin Lynn, one of eleven children born to George Washington Lynn and Harriet Fry, was born October 16, 1893 in Tamaqua, PA.  On June 30, 1894, Harriet sponsored her son’s baptism at ZionEvangelicalLutheranChurch in Tamaqua.


By 1900, George Lynn’s career as a Railroad Engineer had taken the family to CoalTownship in Northumberland County, PA.  We can see in the 1900 Federal Census that Claude was attending school but at the age of 6 was not yet able to read or write.


Like so many others before him, Claude left school before 1910 and had taken to the work force to help support his family as well as save enough so he would one day be able to have his own home and family.  The 1910 census only shows that he was a laborer working odd jobs; I cannot help but wonder if he was following the family professional on the railroad or was he doing some other type of odd job.  Five years later Claude appears as a laborer in the Shamokin city directory; he is still living at home with his parents.


On June 3, 1917 Claude completed his World War I Draft Registration.  Looking at this document, you’ll notice that he listed his year of birth as 1892 instead of 1893 as listed on his baptism record; you’ll also see that he listed his place of birth as Shamokin, PA which, again, is different than recorded at his baptism.  The most interesting piece of information gathered from his registration is that he has noted that he is physically disabled and refers the Draft Board to his physician Dr. A. S. Jones of Shamokin.  What physical disability did Claude have, how sever was it, and how long had it affected his life?


Claude Lynn died on August 18, 1917 at the age of 23; cause of death is listed as Pulmonary Hemorrhage due to Pulmonary Tuberculosis.  Was this the physical disability Claude previously mentioned?  Claude was buried in this family’s lot on the 21st of August.


The August 21, 1917 edition of the Mount Carmel Item includes the following article:


Hemmorrhage Caused Death

Seized with hemorrhages at Independence and Orange streets, Shamokin, Claude Lynn, Shamokin.  Reading railroad engineer, died less than a half hour later.

August 9, 2013: Ancestor’s (100th) Anniversary – Thelma (Strausser) Rothman


Thelma Strausser, the second of seven children born to George and Ada Mae (Wetzel) Strausser,  was born August 9, 1913 in Trevorton, PA.  Within  a few short years of her birth, her family moved to neighboring Coal Township.  Thelma’s father George was killed in a mining accident when Thelma was just 13 years of age.


Aside from the mines that took the life of the head of the family, there were few options for employment so the family decided to relocate to Philadelphia.  Not only did this move provide more opportunities, but it also moved them to the same neighborhood as Thelma’s grandmother Laura and her family.


Thelma married notorious police figure and numbers runner Max Rothman around 1933 and by 1934 they had their first son, Clair A. Rothman.  A year later came their second son George and in 1939 they gave birth to their daughter Maxine.


By 1940 the Rothman family was living in Upper Darby.  Tens years later they were living in Millbourne, which is a neighboring community of Upper Darby.  I have spoken to an elderly cousin who remembers Thelma and told me stories of taking trips in Thelma’s convertible down to the Rothman’s shore home at the Jersey shore.  From pictures I have seen and people I have talked with I, hear over and over again that Thelma was a physically stunning woman who women tried to emulate.


Thelma went missing in the early morning hour of April 11, 1951; her car was found later that same morning on the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.  The Philadelphia Police searched the area and Fairmount Park guards dragged the Schuylkill River without success.  On April 26, Thelma’s body was found floating in the Schuylkill River five miles from where her car was found.


Official date of death is April, 26, 1951; cause of death is drowning; age 37 years.

Sunday’s Obituary – Landis Klinger



Obituary for Landis Klinger JR as published in The Philadelphia Inquirer on 06/07/1970.

Obituary for Landis Klinger JR as published in The Philadelphia Inquirer on 06/07/1970.

LANDIS, JR., on June 4, 1970, of 3042 W. Gordon St., beloved son of the late Landis and Laura Klinger and brother of Mrs. Mae Strausser; also survived by 3 nieces and 3 nephews.  RElatives, friends and employes of PNB are invited to the service Monday, 1 P.M., from the parlors of Harold B. Mulligan, 1119 W. Lehigh ave.  Int. Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Friends are invited Sunday eve., 7 to 9.


Landis was born on April 18, 1904 to Landis and Laura (Wetzel) Klinger.  Born in Philadelphia, he lived in the same house in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city throughout his entire life. Landis’ father died in 1941, his mother in 1965 and his younger brother Ralph died in 1962.  Mae (Wetzel) Strausser was Landis’ step sister, they had different fathers.


Landis never married or had children and he was a banker for at least forty years.  I wish I could include his photograph in this post but I have not yet found one as he seemed to always be the person taking the pictures.


Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Ambler, PA.

Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Ambler, PA.