Thursday, 31 October 2013

Delving into the past

In my last post "What's in a name" I mentioned a plate that I received from my Grandmother, Barbara Roth. She told me she wanted me to have the plate because she got it from her grandmother, who was also named Barbara. Being in my teens at the time I didn't ask further questions. And of course, now it is too late.



I work at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener and frequently have people coming into my office looking for the grave site of a relative. Our records are limited, but if someone is buried there I can usually find a location. I've also learned from these people about other on-line tools for finding ancestors.

This got me to thinking about my own great-great grandmother, about whom I knew only a first name. Could I find more?

I started at with a marvellous source, The Eby Book, now kept at the Joseph Schneider Haus in Kitchener.  This is a book written by Ezra Eby about 1895, listing the Mennonite family in and around Waterloo Region. From there I discovered EzraEby.com, where Allan Detweiler has done an incredible job continuing the work Ezra started.

I did a search on this site and found my Grandma:



Then I searched both her parents, finding her mother Katie's mother, Barbara Erb:


So here is the original owner of my plate. I do wish I knew more about this woman who died in 1876, before my Grandma was even born! And about this plate, which doesn't seem very Amish to me. 


As Barbara Erb's parents were born in Europe (continuing my backward search), did they bring the plate to the New World? Or was it acquired here? This record doesn't say if Barbara was born in Wilmot Township, only that she died here. She was only in her forties when she died. With at least nine living children the youngest only two years old. How sad.

But as I clicked on various family members I discovered an interesting fact. Bishop John P Gascho remarried after his wife's death: to Barbara Erb - another one! 


Were the two Barbaras related? The second one didn't marry until her forties, never had children of her own, but took on a big family. And lived to be 96. Was this one the original owner of the plate?

Seems the more questions I get answered the more I have!

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