Sunday, September 20, 2009

Visiting Sylvia's Grave

For those of you who have yet to read about how I made my connection to Sylvia's Diary click here. You may also find the background information here helpful.


Sylvia Lewis Tyler 
(6 Jun 1785 - 18 Dec 1851)

My husband and I moved from Las Vegas to Washington DC over the summer. We drove most of the trip ourselves, but we were blessed to have my parents and younger sister join us for the section of the drive from Wisconsin to DC. Our schedule was tight and at the last minute it looked like we would have time to try to find Sylvia Lewis Tyler's grave in Ohio.

I wasn't able to find the correct paperwork on the exact location of her resting place. In a last minute effort I called the nice lady from the newsletter. She not only dropped her plans for the day, but she met us at the cemetery and locate Sylvia's partially covered grave (it had fallen down and had been run over by a lawnmower). The nice lady from the newsletter was even so kind as to point out other family graves and gave me copies of all the vital records we had talked about on the phone! (I swear, genealogists are the nicest people on the planet!)

It was a moving experience and I am so glad that I was able to experience it with my mother.

Finding Sylvia's Diary

My maternal grandmother, G-Ma as she is known to her grandchildren, asked me to see what I could find on her Tyler line. I set out with a few names, a "I think there is a doctor in that line", and a dream.

I worked my way through the tree until I hit a brickwall with what I could find on Ancestry.com. I was stuck on a A.R. Tyler (1823-1879) and Emma A Dean (1836-?), who are the parents of Charles Tyler (1859-1944). With this little bit of information, I searched messaged boards and posted my own inquires. I eventually found a posting with an Abel R. Tyler listed as the son of an Abel and Sylvia (Lewis) Tyler.

I searched and searched for a connection to this Abel and Sylvia. Abel isn't that common of a name and according to this posting, their birth locations matched up with those listed on A.R. Tyler's Census records, but I wasn't finding anything new. My frustration grew and I ended up typing Abel and Sylvia's names into a search engine and found them in a newsletter from a local genealogy-based group in Trumbull, Ohio. This newsletter indicated that Sylvia not only had written a lengthy diary, but that it was in the possession of a national museum!

I thought I had died and gone to some kind of genealogy heaven! The newsletter article indicated that anyone with information on the Tyler or Lewis families should contact one of their local chapter members. I picked up my phone, dialed the number given, and opened the door to my greatest genealogical find.

The lady was most helpful and gave me the majority of the vital records I was missing to prove the connection. She had spent some time with the museum curator over the summer and they had explored the records and dissected Sylvia's life. We talked for a good hour about Sylvia and when I hung up the phone, I had the email of the museum curator.

The curator and I began to converse regularly about our dear Sylvia. Sylvia's diary was in the possession of the museum and they all had a special place for her in their hearts. I filled the curator in on A.R Tyler's descendants and she filled me in on his ancestors. She even shared with me transcripts from the diary.

I emailed the transcripts to my family and we all enjoyed reading Sylvia's words. Together we learned about life in frontier Ohio, we laughed because Sylvia only called her husband "Mr. Tyler", and we cried when she lost her baby. 200 years later and Sylvia had still touched our hearts.

Thinking that I had already been given my fair share of genealogical blessings, I told the curator that my husband and I would be moving to the Washington DC area at the end of the summer and that I would love to meet her. She in turn, invited me to see the diary in their archives!

Ancestral Trading Cards


My maternal grandfather's family has an annual family reunion in Wisconsin. I have not been able to attend in the past few years, but have very fond memories of them from my youth.


At this past reunion, someone had the bright idea to print up the newly found photo of our common ancestor John Miller. The best part was they they worked their Photoshop magic and added some vital dates, locations, and names. They then distributed them at the family reunion. Thanks for picking up a copy for me Mom!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Ahnentafel Roulette

Randy over at Genea-Musings has his Saturday night challenge up.  Here are the instructions:
  1. How old is your father now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."
  2. Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ahnentafel. Who is that person?
  3. Tell us three facts about that person with the "roulette number."
  4. Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.
  5. If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick your mother, or yourself, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!
My Ahnentafel Roulette: My father was born in 1957, making him 52 years old. I broke out my trusty calculator and determined that my Ahnentafel Roulette number for tonight is 13. Person No. 13 on my Ahnentafel charts is my great grandma, Ruby M Dyer Miller. She is my paternal grandfather's mother.




Ruby M. Dyer (1895-1990)

  1. Ruby is the daughter of John Franklin "Johnny F" Dyer and Estella Haskins.
  2. She married my great grandfather in 1915 in McGregor, Iowa. I have a photo from their wedding day. (see above)
  3. I was lucky enough to meet her as a child. She died in 1990 and I helped clean out her house. As we were cleaning I expressed my love of her "hair pin" dish. It was packed up with the rest of her belongings and that was that. Jump forward to July 2008 when I got married. Shortly after our wedding I received a package from a cousin in Texas that I hadn't talked to since that day in 1990. I opened the unexpected package to find that she had given me Grandma Ruby's hair pin dish as a wedding gift! (see above)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Getting to Know Sylvia Lewis Tyler

200 years ago, a 15 year old girl named Sylvia Lewis, daughter of Royce Lewis and Ruth Parmalee, started a diary in Connecticut. Her and her friends, like many young women today, decided that they would record the details of their lives. Little did Sylvia know, she would continue her diary for 20+ years. She would record her family's move from Connecticut to Ohio, her first years of marriage, the births and deaths of her children, and the daily happenings of women in frontier Ohio.

Sylvia Lewis (6 Jun 1785 - 18 Dec 1851) would eventually become Sylvia Tyler, after marrying Abel Tyler (1785 - 2 Jan 1853) in Trumbull County, Ohio. Sylvia gave birth to 7 children. All but one, Susan who died at the age of 2 days, lived into adulthood. In addition, Sylvia and Able fostered a young girl named Hannah Goodwin for a period of 4 years and adopted a young girl named Sarah Thompson in infancy. The children are listed in age order below:

  • Hannah Goodwin (fostered): 
    • b. 6 Apr 1804 in New Hartford, CT 
    • d. 1876 in Grant, WI
  • Lewis Alderman Tyler
    • b. 26 Sep 1810 in New Hartford, CT 
  • Ruth Parmalee Tyler Humason
    • b. 2 Mar 1813 in CT 
    • d. 20 Mar 1910 in Mantorville, Dodge, MN
  • Sally Thompson Tyler Squires (adopted): 
    • b. 1 Feb 1818 in PA 
  • Susan Tyler
    • b. 2 Jun 1818 in Vienna, Trumbull, OH 
    • d. 4 Jun 1818 in Vienna, Trumbull, OH
  • Norman Woodruff Tyler
    • b. 21 Jan 1822 in Vienna, Trumbull, OH
  • Abel Royce Tyler
    • b. 6 Jul 1823 in Vienna, Trumbull, OH 
    • d. 24 Aug 1879 in WI
  • Sylvia Amanda Tyler Bushnell
    • b. 1826 in Vienna, Trumbull, OH 
  • Nathan Bailey Derrow Tyler
    • b. 14 Jul 1828 in Vienna, Trumbull, OH 
Sylvia died in 1851 in Vienna, Trumbull, OH. Her husband, Abel Tyler, married a woman named Sarah M. Truesdell on 2 Jan 1853. As far as I am aware, Abel and Sarah did not have any children. Sarah died within a few years of their marriage. After Sarah's passing, Abel and a few of his children from his marriage to Sylvia moved to the Grant County area of Wisconsin. To this day, the descendants of Sylvia and Able can be found living in this area.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"The Perfect Place to Spend Eternity"

I was long ago told that I had Norwegian ancestors, however, no one had any proof of their existence. In my quest to add only sourced ancestors to my new tree I had to search long and hard to find my great-great-great-grandparents, Hans and Antonette Hanson.

Luckily for me, I was eventually able to locate Hans and Antonette in text-based cemetery index that had been typed up by a local genealogist in Richland County, Wisconsin. I am blessed to have most of my family living near Richland Co., WI and within a week my Mom had located the remote cemetery and taken pictures!


The cemetery is down a blink-and-you-will-miss-it grass lane off County Highway X in Richland County. The white sign simply states: 1857 Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery: "The Mother Church" of Five Points Lutheran. (It looks as if there is a foundation of a small building, maybe the mother church itself.)


In the photo on the left, you can see the main family stone that is etched with "Hanson". To the left is the father, Hans J. Hanson (1852-1919), and to the right the mother, Antonette Hoff/Hoss (1849-1932). In the background are the graves of their son Magnus Hanson (Nov 1883-Dec 1883)and daughter Hilda Hanson Wolfe (1884-1959).

My ancestors chose their final resting place to be in the back of the cemetery along the tree line, overlooking a small meadow. My maternal Grandmother, upon visiting this serene place said "This is the perfect place to spend eternity".

Always, Sara Beth

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"I wish I knew what happened to..."

I can't count the number of times that I have heard my maternal Grandmother say "I wish I knew what happened to...". By the time I was in high school I had heard her say this what seemed like a million times. This simple sentence was usually preceded by a story about an eccentric family member or a story from her youth. I had always been intrigued by her stories, but hearing this question over and over again finally prompted me into action.

My trip into the world of genealogy was an interesting one. I began by reading what little information my Mom had written down about our family. From there, I typed the names of my ancestors into search engines and prayed for results. Often I found nothing, but on rare occasions I found unsourced trees. Eventually, I learned about different genealogy websites and gain more information on my family tree. I saved this into a PAF and proclaimed that I had "researched" my family history.

In the last couple years, I realized that I needed to figure out the details. I was going to do this "for real" this time. So, I purchased a subscription to Ancestry.com and started a new family tree. I entered myself, my parents, and my grandparents into this tree. Then, I made a promise to myself to only add people to my tree if I had a source to indicate that they belonged. This has been a blessing and a curse, but it was the right way to go.

This blog will follow my research and will be used as a place for me to record my thoughts and finds. If you found this blog because you are researching a mutual family member please comment so that we can collaborate!

Sara Beth

Lesson Learned: When someone repeatedly asks a question, find an answer.