Family History

Mystery Marriage or Record Keeping Mistake? Maria Chardoulias Halvangis (1894-1951)

Mystery Marriage or Record Keeping Mistake? Maria Chardoulias Halvangis (1894-1951)

A mystery is brewing on the Halvangis/Chardoulias branch of my family tree. Was my great grandmother married once BEFORE she married my great grandfather or is this a records keeping mistake? Here is what I know.

Peter Heinrich Ratz (1867-1934), Kingdom of Württemberg, Renounces German Citizenship

Peter Heinrich Ratz (1867-1934), Kingdom of Württemberg, Renounces German Citizenship

This document pertains to my 2nd great grandfather, Peter Heinrich “Henry” Ratz (1867-1934). He renounced his German Citizenship in 1883 so he could emigrate to America. This is part of his story.

From Greece to Detroit: A Brief History of the Karatzis Family

From Greece to Detroit: A Brief History of the Karatzis Family

From Greece to Detroit: A Brief History of the Karatzis (Karr) Family.

German Birth and Baptismal Record of Peter Heinrich Ratz (1867-1935)

German Birth and Baptismal Record of Peter Heinrich Ratz (1867-1935)

Every once in awhile I stumble into an amazing genealogical find. This one pertains to my 2nd great grandfather from Germany, Peter Heinrich Ratz (1867-1934).

My Grandfather and the Greenlandic Inuit During WWII

My Grandfather and the Greenlandic Inuit During WWII

In May of 1943 my grandfather, James William Halvangis (1920-1973), made his way to Greenland as a member of the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. There he met some of the indigenous people of the island, The Greenlandic Inuit. Here are some of his amazing photographs.

Mystery Reel of 1980s Home Movie Film Revealed (Part II)

Mystery Reel of 1980s Home Movie Film Revealed (Part II)

A mystery reel of 1980s undeveloped home movie film is found in my parent’s basement. The contents are revealed here!

Little Leo Campbell (1918-1923)

Little Leo Campbell (1918-1923)

This is the story of Little Leo Campbell (1918-1923), my 1st cousin 2x removed.

Pneumonia in Detroit: The Death of 20 Day Old Anna Pawlowski (1918)

Pneumonia in Detroit: The Death of 20 Day Old Anna Pawlowski (1918)

Documenting the lives of children who died is an important role of a family historian. My great aunt Anna Pawlowski (1918-1918) tragically lost her life to pneumonia after only 20 days. This is her story.

Nebraska Man, Leo Amen, Cuts Off Own Finger To Free Self From Plow (1936)

Nebraska Man, Leo Amen, Cuts Off Own Finger To Free Self From Plow (1936)

In 1936, Leo Marcus Amen (1912-1994), a Nebraskan farmer, was faced with the unenviable task of using a jackknife to amputate his own finger that had become caught in a plow. He is my 3rd cousin 2x removed. This is his story.

Baptisms and Moon Landings

Baptisms and Moon Landings

The baptism of my grandparent’s first grandchild happened on the same day humans stepped on the moon for the first time. Here is that story.

What I Did With a Mystery Reel of Home Movie Film (Part I)

What I Did With a Mystery Reel of Home Movie Film (Part I)

I recently discovered that our family’s 1970s Kodak XL360 Movie Camera still had a reel of used but undeveloped Super 8 film it it! Here is what I did with it and what I hope to find.

"Dziadzio" - My Polish Great Grandpa: Adam Pawlowski (1879-1959)

"Dziadzio" - My Polish Great Grandpa: Adam Pawlowski (1879-1959)

My great grandfather, Adam Pawlowski (1879-1959) was known as “Dziadzio” by my mother and her generation. He was a quiet man, perhaps because he spoke little English. His hands seemed permanently yellowed from cigarettes and he had false teeth that he kept in a glass next to his bed. This is his story.

Genealogy Blogging and the Brick Wall Busting Discovery of My Schmidt Family

Genealogy Blogging and the Brick Wall Busting Discovery of My Schmidt Family

Genealogy blogging led me to the discovery of this beautiful photograph of my 3rd great grandparents, Carl Schmidt and Ernestina Zenner Schmidt (d. 1922), and their 8 children. Here is how.

"Son is Electrocuted Where Father Died" - Tragedy in the Costlow Family of Johnstown (PA)

"Son is Electrocuted Where Father Died" - Tragedy in the Costlow Family of Johnstown (PA)

Eerily similar tragedies befell the Costlow family of Johnstown, Pennsylvania on June 15th of 1930 and November 3rd of 1958. Anthony Joseph Costlow (1897-1930) and his son, James J. Costlow (1921-1958), were both electrocuted while working in the same steel mill. These are their stories.

Alma Ratz Hanley (1894-1979): A Photo Essay

Alma Ratz Hanley (1894-1979): A Photo Essay

Alma Ratz Hanley (1894-1979) was one of my paternal great grandmothers. She is also the subject of this 49th installment of my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks family history blogging challenge. I hope you enjoy this photo essay about her life.

James J. Halvis (1896-1987): A Greek Family Mystery Is Solved

James J. Halvis (1896-1987): A Greek Family Mystery Is Solved

James J. Halvis (1896-1987) was my 1st cousin 3x removed. Until now there had been an unclear connection between his family and my own Halvangis line. Here is the story of how this Greek mystery was solved.

Dewey Loudermilk (1898-1957): The Coolest Name In My Family Tree

Dewey Loudermilk (1898-1957): The Coolest Name In My Family Tree

Dewey Loudermilk (1898-1957) was my 1st cousin 3x removed. He has, perhaps, the coolest name in my family tree. This is his story.

The Psychogenealogist Pic of the Week (#100) - Battle Creek Woman Reaches Century Mark

The Psychogenealogist Pic of the Week (#100) - Battle Creek Woman Reaches Century Mark

If born just a few weeks earlier than her February 17, 1900 birthday, Ida Rhoads Sears (1900-2002) would have achieved the rare distinction of having lived in three different centuries! This is her story.

James William Halvangis (1920-1973): "Meeting" My Grandfather Through Photographs

James William Halvangis (1920-1973): "Meeting" My Grandfather Through Photographs

James William Halvangis (1920-1973), my maternal grandfather, was the only one of my four grandparents who died before I was born. I’ve enjoyed “meeting” him through photographs. I hope you will too.

The Contemplative Beard of David Costlow (1853-1924)

The Contemplative Beard of David Costlow (1853-1924)

The beard of David Costlow (1853-1924) is a soft and greying cloud in active weather. David’s calm eyes rest contemplatively above a yard that teeters tenuously between kempt and neglect.