Showing posts from 2011

Religious Divisions

So I was browsing Kindle books for what I might read next and came across author Alice Zogg. Of course, I saw the name, saw that she was born in Switzerland, and I had to know more. After contacting Alice, I found out that she had married a Zogg, who was also born in Switzerland. They live in California now. She also shared this little tidbit:
It is unlikely that the many Grabs Zoggs and the numerous Walenstadt Zoggs are closely related.  The family line of Zoggs from Grabs (and surrounding area) are mostly of protestant ancestry, whereas the Zoggs from Walenstadt (and surrounding area) derived  predominantly from people of Roman catholic faith.  In addition there is another group of Zoggs in the state (Kanton) of Graubünden. Interesting!

I haven't read the book I purchase yet, but if you're interested in finding out more about Alice and her books, check out

Ulrich Zogg

There is a line of Zoggs who came to the U.S. and settled in the northeast. Their patriarch was Ulrich Zogg, who was born in Grabs, Switzerland, in 1828. In our line, Florian Zogg was born in Grabs in 1831. So I couldn't help but wonder whether the two were related. It struck me that I might be able to find out by tapping Her. Thommen's records again. Alas, what he found shows no direct relation. But I still think - way back there - the families must have all come from the same bloodline. At any rate, here is what Roland had to say:
If your birthyear  1828 is correct, I have the solution and the answer that the lines not are related. So Ueli *1828 is the 6th child from 10 , from Ueli Zogg 1794-1837 and Margrith Vetsch 1798-1879, marriage 1817
And Ueli *1794 is the eldest from 6 children from Andreas 1772-1804 and °Ursula Zogg 1778-1823, marriage 1793
And Andreas *1772 is the eldest from 5 from Hans 1749-1790 and Ursula Schlegel 1748-1785, marriage 1771
And HAns *1749 is the third c…

The Zoggs

A lot has transpired recently on the Zogg front. I found a couple of contacts in Switzerland who have been most helpful. One actually provided five generations of information that he has compiled from original records.
1.Florian Zogg born 1831 marr. Anna Gabathuler, born 1837, from Wartau, daughter from Mathias and Anna Sulser, 10 children, Mathias is the 5th.2.Florian Zogg, born 1806 marr. 1826 Magdalena Bohner, 1805-1873 from Wartau, 9 children, Florian is the third. 5 sons had a family with children, so this family is today the greatest Zogg family3.Florian Zogg born 1769,  he marr. 1789 Agnes Stricker, Christians daughter from Grabs, he was a cattler-trader, 13 children, Florian was the 11th. Brother David was a french mercenary.4.David Zogg 1746-1788, marr. 1766 Anna Stricker, Grabs, 1746-1825, 8 children, Florian is the youngest. Three other sons had a family. Normally only one or two sons could marry.5.Florian Zogg marr. Before 1747 Maria Eggenberger, we know two children, Anna …

All Saints Weekend

It seems somehow appropriate to visit a cemetery the weekend before All Saints Day (and therefore Halloween). I didn't see any ghosts, but I was saddened by the number of field stones in the Parker Memorial Cemetery. Saddened because those graves, although marked, will never be known by name. I find field stones interesting because they give us a glimpse of the materials that were available to our ancestors. But they are also beyond frustrating... because each one marks a grave that is unidentifiable. You can tell that many of them once bore inscriptions, but now they are worn away to nothing. Sad. At least one of them was still in good condition and readable. I imagine it was placed much later than the others.

The Kuisls

I just finished reading The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch (Lee Chadeayne, translator).

The book in itself was interesting, but what I found to be particularly of note was the postscript. Apparently the inspiration for this book was the author's own ancestry of executioners - the Kuisl family. I have not yet found such a shocking occupation in my own family's past. We were doctors, teachers, preachers, farmers. But who knows what we would find if we delved back into the medieval past!

The author notes: "In the past few years, genealogical research has become increasingly popular. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that we are trying, in a world of increasing complexity, to create a simpler and more understandable place for ourselves. No longer do we grow up in large families. We feel increasingly estranged, replaceable, and ephemeral. Genealogy gives us a feeling of immortality. The individual dies; the family lives on."

Maybe this is why I find genealo…

In Search of Dishes

I purchased this set of dishes last year (I think) from Garden Ridge. I have loved them and wished I had purchased another set so that I would have 8 placesettings. The burgundy dishes I got from Pier One back in 1996 have not aged well... cracking and getting extremely hot in the microwave. So I've relegated them to the sideboard (perhaps to the donation pile soon). That left me with only 4 placesettings of these (Casa Cristina Oro) and some clear burgundy "Visions" that I was given as a gift sometime around the college/post-college years. I've looked all over to try to find more of the Visions, with no luck. So... I finally found these at Replacements, but for a pretty steep price (compared to the $20 I paid for my first 4 placesettings).
Enter Craig's List. I found 8 placesettings for sale in Oklahoma City. So the wheels start turning in my head and I think... if Martha (Stone) could go get these for me, then give them to Amy's parents, then Amy's paren…


Wondering how to go about finding people in Belgium. It's a long story really. But suffice it to say that an acquaintance is wondering about his extended family, who lives in Belgium. The surname is Doornewerd, but I haven't been able to find many people with that surname. And doesn't appear to have any online records for Belgium. Or maybe I just haven't looked hard enough. Or maybe they're restricted to the international subscription, which we let drop because everything was in another language. At any rate, it doesn't appear that Doornewerd is a common surname. It also doesn't appear that there are many online records for births/deaths/marriages/census/etc. for Belgium. We'll see. Another quest!

Union Ridge

While visiting my sister this week in Chicago, I decided to take a walk through the neighborhood to Union Ridge Cemetery. Union Ridge is one of the highest points in Cook County and is a part of Norwood Park. Originally organized in 1872 from adjacent townships (Jefferson, Leyden and Niles) as a village, and named after Henry Ward Beecher's novel Norwood, or Village Life in New England (1868), Norwood Park was annexed to the City of Chicago in 1893. Click here to read more about Norwood Park.

Union Ridge Cemetery is a beautiful place... well-shaded, and mostly well-kept. Quite a few of the headstones have begun to sink into the ground, obscuring the lower parts of the inscriptions. The cemetery is mostly surrounded by residential areas, which you would think would make it a peaceful place. And it was for the most part... except for the one lady who was outside in her backyard screaming the f-word at God-knows-who.

There were several large monuments, and a good number of military bu…

Heckman Hickman Eckman vandenHeck and other variations on a theme

I suppose I should have taken German. I would have never pegged Heckman as a German name, but it turns out that the word "heck" or "hegge" means "hedge" and presumably referred to a family who lived near a hedge. Had I taken German, I would have known that. I would now also be able to interpret the census and other records of our Zogg ancestors. But, alas, I didn't take German.

PS - Why do I care about whether Heckman is a German name? Only because I'm stalking someone else's dead people.

Happiness is Dead People

I like what I do... most of the time. But lately I've been happiest when thinking genealogy. A church member just mentioned in passing that she was needing someone to make a photocopy of a page in their family Bible, which is in the archives at Abilene Christian University. Well, you can't just make a comment like that to me without expecting a conversation... so we spent the next 20-30 minutes standing at the bottom of the stairs talking about lost lines and 19th century travel habits and internet vs. foot-to-the-ground research.

I'm sure if my job was genealogy research I would find my mind wandering to graphic design, web design, publications, etc. But right now I would just rather be doing anything but that... including stalking dead people.

Lord Help Me

I was in a fairly good mood this morning. Meg let me sleep about 6 hours straight. Vertigo fairly under control. Only a mild headache. Got some stuff done this morning before work.

Then... got to work and checked my e-mail. Really rude and critical e-mail from a church member about the new website. Bye-bye good mood.

I'm trying to talk myself down. Take it with a grain of salt. Consider the actual content and ignore the rudeness.

Maybe e-mail is just a rude medium.

You'd Be More Interesting If You Were Dead

I saw a t-shirt today with this saying on it... "You'd Be More Interesting If You Were Dead." Ha. Love it.

Next up for bid in this year's church auction... genealogy expertise. I've done the Greek Feast for two years and have had enough of that. This time... I'll do something that I would do anyway. Stalk people. But with permission.

Over. It.

Sometimes I would just love to quit my job and work from home. Stalking people. Or something. As long as it doesn't involve working with actual, live people.

There are all kinds of problems with live people. But chief among them is emotions. When you're exploring your family genealogy, you can imagine what they might have thought or felt, but you don't have to actually deal with their feelings. I hurt someone's feelings yesterday... completely unintentionally and I'm really not quite sure how or why. But today I can't stop thinking about it and it bothers me. It was all about work. So the solution: don't work with people.

Problem is... there are no jobs that don't involve working with people. At least a little. It would just be much better if they were dead people who, I imagine, don't get their feelings hurt.

Heat, Boredom and Other Blog Inhibitors

Kef asked me yesterday why I hadn't blogged in a while. So here are my excuses:

It's too hot for me to go on quests over my lunch hour.Since Ken died, my routine has never been the same.All of my best blog ideas come to me in the shower. Although my laptop is handy in lots of ways, it is not water-proof.Nothing is happening. I haven't been pursuing any family lines (for myself or others) in a while.I lack self-discipline, and therefore just don't get around to it.Maya. I have my hands full with this little caninite {props to Ron Hettler for the hybrid of canine and termite}.I'll try to be better. Promises.

Livin' the Dream

If it weren't for my tight family connections, I wouldn't know my second-cousin-once-removed Bryan and his bride Kendi. (Most people don't, I'm told, have a clue about their second-cousin-once-removed.) I find Bryan and Kendi interesting because they are so cute... so young... and sooo doing just what they want to. Some people wait their whole lives to do what they love. These two dove in right out of college. Bryan is a photographer (among other things) and Kendi is a fashion blogger (among other things).

The family grapevine tells me that Kendi has bought a dress shop on the square in a suburb of DFW. Who does that? Especially at such a young age? Umm... I guess people who are brave enough to live their dream. Now, I haven't really talked to Kendi about this venture, but I can only assume that running her own shop is a dream of hers. And I admire that. Have a dream. Do it.

I used to dream about doing some things. In fact I have a whole list of things I wanted to …


So I did end up creating a Facebook group for our Gideon descendants, but so far it hasn't been as successful as our Zogg group is. I think the Gideons just got too spread out, the Giddens/Gideon name confused everyone, and no one knows where they belong. We are having an on-going discussion with distant cousins via e-mail, but I get the feeling we're spinning our wheels a bit. I could ask, "What's the point?" But then I'd be asking that question about genealogical research as a whole. I guess the point is curiosity... and some people are just more curious than others.

Lots of Gideon descendants heard all kinds of stories about having Cherokee blood. I always took it for a fact, until one day my mom's cousins told her that they just made up that story to see if anyone would believe it. But somehow other lines (who had never met these nefarious cousins) heard similar stories. Could this be why we can't trace the lineage of Lillie Parks? Is she Cherokee…

What a Mess!

I was thinking about starting a group on Facebook for Descendants of Dr. Berry Wilson Gideon.

Then I thought, would it be easier to just create a website? Hmm. Lot of work.

Then I thought... wish there was a way to simplify this, but the simpler you get the less information you have.

Anyway.... all of that drove me to distraction and I started shopping/browsing for genealogy stuff. I thought it would be nice for me to display my tree somehow, so I started looking for family trees that are suitable for framing. They are very simplistic, and rightfully so since you have to fit it all on one page. But in the process I saw this amazing pictorial family tree. And thus the reason for the title of this post...

So if you have come across a frame-able family tree that you particularly like, I'd like to know about it. I think the photographic version is a little much. I'd like something that's pretty and includes several generations. I guess I could just make my own, huh?

A Different Life

After a conversation with someone yesterday, I began to reflect on how much I personally have changed since moving to the metroplex. The things that defined my life in Lubbock are no longer the norm. I'm not involved with Emmaus. I don't know any people in my demographic. I don't volunteer to work with children (for pay or otherwise). I never give spiritual talks or lead small groups or reunion groups. I rarely paint or sing or play the piano. I don't write feature articles. I don't make agape or go to the movies or take day trips to sled on sand dunes. I'm generally not the life of the party or the one doing the planning.

So who am I now? Am I all about work? Well, not really. I still like to write (but don't do it often). I've added genealogy to my interests, but that's a fairly solitary endeavor. I hesitate to volunteer for things. I don't lead spiritual activities. I go straight home from work most days... Meg needs to be let out. Most of my…

Morbid or Peaceful?

When Ken died, I thought I'd shy away from my fascination with cemeteries and family history. In the moment, it seemed morbid. But I felt compelled to go visit Floyd's resting place (Ken's dad) yesterday during lunch. People may think I'm morbid for walking cemeteries in my spare moments, but Bear Creek Cemetery is one of the more peaceful places I know to go. All the people there are at peace... there's greenery and shade and flowers and reminders of lives lived well. I can't explain why I feel soothed there, but somehow I do. The questions and uncertainty of "real life" seem insignificant there, where lives are finished and strife is over. Sure, there's a melancholy there. But sometimes melancholy is just the balm I need to heal.

A New Kind of Normal

When you are reminded how short and precious and fragile life can be, you make all kinds of promises to yourself about what you're going to change in your own life. I'm going to clean up the house, do laundry, walk the dog, go to church on Sundays, find more friends, eat better (no, not really... what's the point in that?), tell people I love them... I don't know if any of us really make good on those promises to ourselves. We do, in a way, just go on with life as usual. But I can't help but think about Kenda and how her "life as usual" is never going to be the same. I know she will do okay because she's a strong person, grounded in her faith. But she could certainly use our prayers and support as she finds her new normal.

Everything Changes

My last post was about my own post-mortem, and this week I'm neck-deep in the grief of Ken Diehm's post-mortem (he chose cremation by the way). My boss, leader, pastor, mentor, friend passed away last Saturday. Suddenly. Unbelievably.

I can't begin to explain the effect he had on people. We expect thousands at his memorial service. But for me, he was an inspiration. He taught me to take a deep breath and not over-react. He was calm and tolerant. Slow to anger. Sometimes it frustrated me because he never got worked up about the things I was worked up about. But over time that helped me to learn that everything was going to be okay... that whatever the big issue was, it wasn't the end of the world. 
When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Ken led the church in opening up our apartments to be transitional housing. Pictured below is one of those "refugees" - a chef who was serving us some jambalaya. 

Ken was joyful. He laughed easily and often. He loved a good joke.…

Bury or Burn?

I used to think I definitely wanted to be cremated when I die. It seems like it would be so much cheaper than a full-on burial. But the more I research genealogy, the more I think I should be buried somewhere. Not that anyone will really care, but what if someone a hundred or two hundred years from now is trying to find my birth and death dates? If I'm not buried anywhere, where do you put the marker? How will I have a catchy epitaph if there's no stone to put it on?

I should mention that recently I've spent a lot of time uploading tombstone images to - so I do have a good reason for thinking about these things.

I guess I'm just too vain. If I weren't, it shouldn't matter whether I'm buried or burned.

I was somebody.
Who, is no business
of yours. (Anonymous epitaph, Stowe, Vermont)

What I Know: Anna Knust Zogg

Anna is a mystery. We don’t know who her parents were, but from the census records of her daughter Flora, it is believed that she was born in Switzerland. She married Mathias Zogg in Carthage, Missouri and had one daughter, Flora. What happened to her after she and Matthias divorced? From the divorce records, we see that Matthias accused Anna of not doing her household duties (cooking, cleaning, etc.). Anna never appeared for the court proceedings. One of Flora’s daughters thought she remembered a visit from Anna when they were children. The other daughters disagree that it was Anna. Aunt Melinda likes to theorize that Matthias murdered her or that she ran off to California to become a star. My belief is that she probably remarried and moved away from Carthage, Missouri. OR she may have followed the Quinns to Texas to live near her daughter, but was not a part of her life.

What I Know: Matthias Zogg

I've started trying to compile some of the information from historical records to make a narrative about my ancestors. Might as well post some of it in case others are looking for this information. Up first, my Great-Great Grandfather. 
Me > Russell Terry Mason > Jessie Mae Terry Mason > Flora Margaretta Augusta Zogg Terry > Matthias Zogg
Matthias Zogg was a miner who immigrated with his family from Grabs, Obershan, St. Gallen Canton, Switzerland to the USA through Baltimore on 28 Aug 1874. Matthias and his father and brother (both named Florian) were miners in West Virginia before moving to the Carthage, Missouri area. They continued to mine zinc and Matthias also farmed. 
Matthias was married three times and divorced twice. The first marriage to Anna Knust did not last long. He accused her of shirking her wifely duties, complaining that he was forced to prepare his own meals before going to work. There was one child from that union, my great-grandmother Flora Margaretta…

The Obsessive Genealogist

So when I decided to blog more and focus on genealogy, I changed the title of my blog to be "The Quest" because it was more descriptive than just my "handle." But I'm beginning to think that I should rename it "The Obsessive Genealogist." Why? Simply because every time I hear someone say, "I really don't know much about my family," I immediately go home and start a family tree for them in Family Tree Maker. Is it strange that I know which of my friends' great-grandfathers lived in Canada? Or where they're buried? Or that they died of typhoid? Is it odd that I'd spend hours upon end looking up census records and death certificates and tombstone photos of people that aren't remotely related to me? (You never know.... I might find out my friends ARE related to me!)

No. It's not strange. A little obsessive, maybe. But completely normal.

Aha! Didn't Know This...

If you're a genealogist, you probably know that you're not likely to find your family in the 1890 U.S. Census. That's because most of it was lost in a fire in the 1920's. But due to the Facebook page, I now know that they are working on a database that will help fill the gap. Here's a link to the article and more about the so-called "1890 Census Substitute."


I love romantic movies. I watch them over and over again. And yet there is no romance in my life. You would think I wouldn't watch them so I'm not reminded of what I'm missing... but I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. The biggest thing I miss by being alone is not having someone to do the mundane things with... dishes, grocery shopping, wandering aimlessly on Saturdays. And then there's the fact that if you never date anyone you'll never marry anyone. And if you never marry anyone you'll never have kids. And if you don't have kids you don't have heirs. And if you don't have heirs, who do you leave all your genealogical research to? Truly I never wanted children. But I am saddened by the prospect of our family line coming to an end. I guess technically it's not entirely up to me. But this little part of our line is up to me. And it ends here.

Cold hands, cold feet, hot face, and family mysteries

I finally decided to really try to figure out why my feet and hands can be frigid while my face feels hot and flush. It only happens during the winter, but it happens with such frequency now that I just wish for summer! Which is not normal for someone who lives in Texas and doesn't like to be hot. I came across a recent blog post from a gal in London. She describes a similar sensation, although hers seems to come along with changing of color and is diagnosed as Raynaud's. I don't think I have the actual disease, but perhaps a lesser version of it. Or maybe just erratic circulation. But she also mentioned having problems regulating body temperature when drinking alcohol. I've always thought I was just a lightweight (figuratively... if you know me you know that's not literal) and couldn't hold my liquor. But when I have an alcoholic beverage my face gets extremely hot and I just feel generally uncomfortable. Maybe I do really have this disease!

On a vastly differ…

Reconciling History

As I'm researching family history, I'm finding it very difficult to reconcile the timeline in my mind. I think of immigration as a contemporary happening. Something that occurred in modern times. But I think of the Civil War as an old fight. An antiquated quarrel that couldn't have happened in the recent past. And yet it wasn't long after the Civil War that my Zogg ancestors immigrated to America (less than 10 years actually). What made them think that a country divided would be a better place to be than the picturesque village of Grabs, Switzerland?

It's hard for me to imagine that the Civil War was so relatively recent. On this MLK Day, I think about the fact that it was only 50 years or so ago that segregation was "abolished." And even now it remains in some ways. Last night I was watching Oprah's Master Class featuring Maya Angelou. I had never read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," so I decided to start reading it. The whole concept of…

The Mystery of Zogg

I'm reading a book right now about a woman who was lost as a child. The book is about how she and her granddaughter tried to solve the mystery of who she really was. It makes me think of the Mystery of Zogg. What I would really like to know is... what happened to Anna Knust Zogg? From the divorce proceedings, we know that she wasn't one for staying around the house cooking and cleaning (if you can take Mathias's word for it). But why would she leave her child to be raised by family members? Did she die? Did she run away? And where did she come from to begin with? We don't even know who her parents were.Was Knust her maiden name, or was she married once before Mathias? Did she marry again after divorcing Mathias? Did she have more children?

What we DO know: Anna Knust was briefly married to Mathias Zogg and had a baby girl named Flora Margaretta Augusta Zogg. And if she hadn't, I wouldn't be here.

New Direction

I haven't blogged much in the recent past, and honestly it's because I've been busy doing other things. Well, other THING actually: genealogy research. So I've decided to gear this blog more towards my current work in "stalking dead people" as my sister calls it.

Most recently I've been working on the Gideon/Giddens line of our ancestry. Some of the Giddens migrated to the area where I currently live back in the 1860's, so I've been trying to track them all down (since I live here now). In the process, I was able to connect with the widow of Thomas Berry Gideon, who is living in Granbury. She had possession of a book entitled "Descendants of James Giddens, Sr. 1720-1811" written by Andrew J. Giddens in 1988.  I borrowed the book, but before I started reading in-depth I decided on a whim to google the title. I found a copy for sale on Amazon of all places! So I purchased the book and have now scanned the chapters. If you are interested in…