Friday, April 1, 2011

Our weekly WDYTYA reminder and a call for help from my fellow researchers!!!

Let's start by saying that tonight is the Gwyneth Paltrow episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" I always kind of liked her and her parents, so I'll be interested to see what she's looking for and which lines they follow.

On a personal note, I need some help on several things. Two of them have to do with deciphering handwriting. Handwritten records can always be a tricky thing and after awhile, sometimes you just get locked into one word or you just can't put it together. So I'm asking for a fresh set of eyes to look at these names - one is the maiden name of my fourth great grandmother, Sophie Ricklefs. I won't tell you what every transcription has it as so as not to put a preconceived notion into your heads.

The second is the town in Germany from which my third great grandmother, Meta Tiedemann Ricklefs, hails. For the life of me, I can't tell what it says. But maybe it's a town your family comes from or a name you're familiar with. Maybe all those crazy letters make sense to you or you just need a current puzzle and want to give this one a shot. Both of these are coming from the back page of John Ricklefs and Meta Tiedemann's marriage certificate - any ideas are appreciated!

The third request is not so much a call for help as just putting the information out into the universe - my great-great grandmother Mary Horgan Gorry corresponded with a soldier during World War I named R. Morrow. My father and I think he might have been from New York City and that his first name might have been Robert. He was at the N.C.O. School, Section C Co. E in Camp Greenleaf in Chickamauga, Tennessee in 1918. His letters give a little bit of insight into life at the camp in general and things going on in his life in particular and I just wanted to put out there that if R. Morrow has any family alive today, and any family that might be doing their own family history, that I would love to share his letters with you!

"Who Do You Think You Are?" airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST on NBC - watch it!

Happy weekend everyone!


  1. the maiden name looks like Izere to me...but these old eyes don't see as good as they use to. ;) can't wait for the program tonight either.

  2. The last name looks like IZERE but look at the way the D in is written in the phrase Oyster Dealer above. I think that maiden name is Dwyer.

  3. I think the first letter of the town is M. See the way he writes look at the beginning of the town. Similar right? Look at this list on M towns in Germany. Any look right to you?

  4. Thank you to you both - you both saw letters in that maiden name that I had never seen because I was so locked into the transcription everyone else was using, so thank you thank you thank you! April, I agree that the first letter of the town is an "M." When I get a chance I'll go through that list!

  5. Hello,

    My own opinions on the names are this:

    Sophie's last name looks like Dozer or Dozen to me. It does not look like a "y" in her name, as the author's "y"s are different from that, and it looks like a typical cursive "z".

    As for the place name, I do not believe it to begin with an "M" because the closing on the downswoop is different. If you look at the letter "A" in "Avenue" at the top of the page, you might agree with me that the two letters look the same. It is my belief that the place name begins with "Ai" and ends with "euche". The "H" place name that comes before "Germany" may give you more clues in your research, but I was not successful in trying to decipher what it says. If it is the district of Hanover (which it didn't look quite that way to me), that will narrow your search down.

    I spent two hours combing through German place names and did not find anything close to any rendition (using A, M, W, etc) of the lettering in the name. My suggestions are to do more research on towns of 1884. There was a lot of change going on at that time and boundaries may have been moved, thereby changing the place name. Also, have you considered looking for marriage records for siblings of Sophie (if she had any)? Perhaps their records would be penned by someone with a neater hand.

    Good luck! I am interested to learn about what you find!


  6. Angela,

    Thanks for the input! Everyone's suggestions are helping me see different letters in Meta's hometown, which has been helpful, although not yet productive! ... "Dozen" is what most people see as Sophie's maiden name. I'm in the process of trying to get my hands on the death certificate of Sophie's son, John, which may or may not have her maiden name listed, but I have some evidence that Sophie came to New York (and therefore possibly died here) so I'm also trying to find her death certificate (which also may or may not list her maiden name) - I will definitely post about any breakthroughs I have once they happen!! (And I'm positive they will happen!) :)

  7. Hi, Again,

    Thought you might be interested in this. I don't know if it has any bearing on your family, but it is an avenue for exploration. It supports both my surname assumptions of Dozen (Dossen) and Dozer (Doser)and gives places where this name came from.

    I hope this helps.

    Good luck!


  8. I really need to stop! But boy do I want to find your families hometown! I just love what I do! LOL!

    Anyway, here are a couple of links that explain the history of East Friesland (where Doser is supposedly from) and then of Hannover, which it became. Both of these things support the name, but may be completely wrong assumptions. But, again, they are avenues worth exploring.

    Alright, I won't bug you anymore.

    Good luck, and I'll be checking in to see what you discover!

    Take care,

  9. Not bugging at all - I'm the same way when some elusive info piques my interest, whether or not its on my own tree! And your enthusiasm has helped renew my own, so thank you! Looks like I have a lot of reading and work to do on this tonight! :)

  10. I would suggest re-scanning the source at a higher resolution so that it is clerer when you enlarge it and/or inspecting the original with a magnifying glass. It will be easier to compare letters in different words.