Covering genealogy, family history, historical events and places, and anything else related!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Familien-Stammbüchelchen, Carl Joseph Schneider & Christina Nagel

My aunt Joan has the Familien-Stammbüchelchen (Family Pedigree) which records the births of the children of my 2nd-great-grandparents Carl Joseph Schneider and Christina Nagel. All their children were born in in Remagen, Ahrweiler, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. Only their first three children are listed: my great-grandfather Johann (John), born 6 December 1878; Johann Wilhelm, born 5 July 1882, died 17 August 1882; and Johann Wilhelm, born 8 December 1883.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

National Cat Day

October 29 is National Cat Day. It is a day to celebrate the cats in our lives, and to encourage the adoption of cats that need to be rescued. Pet & family lifestyle expert Colleen Paige founded National Cat Day in 2005.

My five cats are pictured below. In back are my dilute tortoiseshell littermates Melody, Luna, and Harmony. In front are my tuxedo kitten Flash (my only male) and my black cat Jewel. So far this is the only picture I have of all five of them together.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Statue of Liberty Dedicated

On 28 October 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated. The statue was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. It was a gift of friendship to the United States from the people of France. In 1865, French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye stated that any monument to American independence should be a joint project of the United States and France, and in1875, proposed that the French finance the statue and that the United States build the pedestal and provide the site. Bartholdi was inspired by Laboulaye's words. The torch was the first part constructed; it was completed in 1876.

The statue represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. The date of the Declaration of Independence is inscribed on the tablet held by the statue.

A parade was held in New York City the morning of the dedication. A nautical parade was held at 12:45 PM, and the dedication followed. President Grover Cleveland presided over the dedication. French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps and Senator William M. Evarts, and Chauncey Depew also spoke at the dedication.

Liberty Island is in New York territory, but is on the New Jersey side of the state line. The statue has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States since 1886.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Mappy Monday: Collective Municipalities of Cochem-Zell, Germany

Verbandsgemeinden (collective municipalities) in Landkreis Cochem-Zell, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. Map by Hagar66 [GFDL (, CC-BY-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (, CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (, CC0, Public domain, FAL or Attribution]. Available from Wikimedia Commons.

This map shows the collective municipalities (Verbandsgemeinden) in the Cochem-Zell district of Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. One of the communities in Verbandsgemeinde Kaisersesch is Düngenheim. My 4th-great-grandfather Nikolaus Schneider was from Düngenheim.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mother-in-Law Day

According to House Joint Resolution 331, passed in 1981, the fourth Sunday in October is Mother-in-Law Day. In honor of the day, I am posting a photo of my father and his mother-in-law, my maternal grandmother Margaret (Schneider) Boe.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

George Washington Bridge Opens

George Washington Bridge, 1931. Photo by Irving Underhill. From the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York.

On 25 October 1931 at 5:00 AM, the George Washington Bridge opened to traffic. That day, 56,312 cars and 100,000 pedestrians crossed the bridge. There were long lines of traffic on both the New York and New Jersey sides of the bridge, but no major accidents.

A dedication ceremony had taken place the previous day, and the bridge was open to pedestrians from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM.

The bridge was a project of the Port of New York Authority. Othmar Ammann was the chief engineer, and Cass Gilbert was the architect. Construction began in October 1927. The bridge's towers were originally going to be encased in concrete, with granite facing, but as a cost-saving measure, the steel towers remained exposed indefinitely and became accepted by the public.

 When the bridge opened, the toll for cars was 50 cents. A motor bus company took passengers from Fort Lee, New Jersey to the 181st Street subway station for 5 cents. The toll for pedestrians was 10 cents, but it was later reduced to 5 cents, and it was discontinued on 30 May 1940. More than 5.5 million vehicles traveled across the bridge in 1932.

Initially, there were six lanes of traffic on the bridge. Two more lanes were added to the bridge in 1946. The lower level of the bridge opened on 29 August 1962.

After the construction of the George Washington Bridge began, the population of Bergen County, New Jersey increased in anticipation of the bridge's opening. Ridgewood, New Jersey expected a population increase, since the opening of the George Washington Bridge would make commuting to New York City easier. In the 1950s, my parents and grandparents moved to Ridgewood, and both of my grandfathers worked in New York City.

"An Astounding Span of Steel and Wire." New York Times 18 October 1931: 119.
ASCE Metropolitan Section - George Washington Bridge
"Bridge Commuters Pay 5-Cent Fare." New York Times 25 October 1931: RE1.
"Dedication Today for Hudson Bridge." New York Times 24 October 1931: 19.
"56,312 Cars Cross Bridge on First Day; Festive Air Reigns." New York Times 26 October 1931: 1.
George Washington Bridge
History - George Washington Bridge - The Port Authority of NY & NJ
"Population Rises in Bergen County." New York Times 25 October 1931: RE1.
"Ridgewood Expects Gain from Bridge." New York Times 25 October 1931: RE2.

Friday, October 24, 2014

52 Ancestors: #43 Mathias Joseph Nagel

Mathias Joseph Nagel, my 2nd-great-grandmother Christina Nagel's older brother, was born on 17 March 1845 in Hürth, Rhein-Erft, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. His name at birth was Mathias Aussem. His parents, my 3rd-great-grandparents Johann Nagel and Anna Maria Aussem, did not marry until 31 August 1848. It was necessary to obtain permission to marry. At the time of his birth, Anna Maria was a widow. She had a son, Peter Esser, from her marriage to Wilhelm Esser. Perhaps Johann was not seen as being capable of financially supporting a wife, stepson, and new baby at that time. 

Mathias immigrated to the United States, and he married Mary Hill on 20 June 1873 in St. Louis, Missouri. When they married, he became a stepfather to Mary's daughter Martha, from her previous marriage to Josiah Howard. After their marriage, Mathias and Mary took a trip to Germany, probably to visit his family.  When they returned, they sailed from Bremen, Germany to New York on the Weser, and arrived on 11 August 1873. The couple lived in Jefferson City, Cole County, Missouri, and had three children together: John (born 5 March 1875), Sarah (born 11 January 1877), and Mathias (born 15 October 1878). 

Mathias worked as a landscape gardener; his father had also been a gardener. By 1875, he had a nursery business at the corner of Madison and Dunklin Streets in Jefferson City, Missouri. When the Missouri governor's mansion in Jefferson City was remodeled in 1887, he laid out the grounds. According to the September 1887 issue of the Gardeners' Monthly and Horticulturist, he had one of the most beautiful Sago palms west of the Mississippi River.

Mathias sold his nursery to Hugo Busch and Charles Purzner in 1890, and in 1891, for health reasons, he and his family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He initially leased property, but then purchased 500 acres of land. In 1892, he decorated the Catholic churches with wreaths and evergreen strings. By 1894, he was shipping caña agria (also called canaigre) to Germany. In 1899, he built a sanitarium on his property, which consisted of three five-room stone houses. Patients came to stay to regain their health.

In 1900, Mathias and his sons struck a quartz ledge with ore containing gold and copper.

In 1914, a two-page article on the Forestry Service which had been written by Mathias was published in the Congressional Record, vol. 51, pages 11517-11518.

Mathias died in Santa Fe on 11 July 1922 and was buried on 15 July 1922 in Rosario Cemetery.

Mathias Aussem birth registration. Hürth (Rheinland). Bürgermeisterei. Zivilstandsregister, 1800-1875. Geburten 1833-1845. International Film 1237622. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978, 1979, 1981.

Mathias Nagel and Mary Hill marriage record, St. Louis, Missouri, 20 June 1873. Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007. Original data: Missouri Marriage Records. Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives. Microfilm.

New Mexican, 6 June 1891

New Mexican, 17 December 1892

New Mexican, 7 March 1894

New Mexican, 31 August 1899

New Mexican, 30 April 1900

American Forestry, vol. 20, 1914. Available from Google Books.

Mathias Nagel family, about 1910. I think my great-great-grandmother Christina (Nagel) Schneider, sister of Mathias, is also in this picture.