Genealogy e-newsletters worth a look

Recently a reader asked me to provide some tips about how people new to genealogy can learn more about how to uncover their own amazing true stories of their family’s history.

One way is to subscribe to several genealogy-focused electronic newsletters. One of my favorites is the New England Historic Genealogical Society‘s The Weekly Genealogist.

I always look forward to opening the latest issue of The Weekly Genealogist when it arrives in my inbox. It lists upcoming webinars, genealogy and local history events, intriguing answers to reader surveys, information about new databases now available and more.

Note: If you have any ancestors who lived in the New England area as I do (my Powers line came from the New England area before migrating to southwest Virginia), then you should take a moment to check out their website.

Even if you don’t have ancestors from the New England area, there are still resources available which may help you in your quest for information.

Choose to register for a free membership, which provides limited access to some of their online databases or spend a few bucks (less than $90/year) for an individual membership to access all that the Society has to offer.

My favorite section of the Weekly is the Stories of Interest section, which features unusual stories with a genealogy focus. The most recent issue told a story about a retired Japanese American Air Force officer’s search for the Japanese biological woman who had given him up for adoption by an American military family who were stationed in Japan in 1960. His biological mom had never given up hope of reconnecting with her son. Read more about their story here. Learn about his search for his American father here.

The Weekly Genealogist newsletter is included in the free membership. To select the membership that is right for your needs, visit to learn more.

Another great free resource is to register for Dick Eastman’s well-known genealogy newsletter, Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter. It’s a great resource for learning all kinds of things, including:

You never know what you’ll find in this newsletter – and that’s part of the attraction in it for me. If you’re interested, visit to register for the free version or for the paid version ($19.95/year).

Happy ancestor hunting!




Posted in Best genealogy websites, Genealogy How To's, Genealogy News, Libraries, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Barbara Louise Kline (1932-2018)

KLINE_Barbara_LouiseWe lost a member of the Kline family this week. Barbara Louise Kline died Thursday, May 10, at her home in Rootstown.

Barbara was born 8 Oct 1932 in Ravenna and was one of 13 children of Joseph Kline and Helen (Knapp) Kline.

Barbara married her high school sweetheart, William Kline, on May 10, 1952, at Immaculate Conception Church in Ravenna, Ohio. Barbara passed away on what would have been their 66th wedding anniversary. William died in 2016.

William built a home in Rootstown, Ohio where he and Barbara raised their five children and where she lived for the remainder of her life.

Barbara is survived by her children Becky (Dan) Bailey of Deerfield, Beverly (Deral) White of Freedom, Bill (Chris) Kline of Rootstown, Kathy (Dave) DeSalvo of Rootstown and Janet (Dale Mickley) Vair of Rootstown; 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren;  her brother, James Kline of Rhode Island and Rita (Kline) Starkey of Texas.

Read Barbara’s full obituary here. Condolences and memories may be shared here.

Posted in Kline/Cline/Klein, Knapp, Obituaries | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Close Call in Fallbrook

John R. Knapp, son of John P. and Sophie Knapp, narrowly escaped a fast moving wildfire raging through the San Diego area. Yesterday morning he was forced to evacuate his home in Fallbrook, Calif., after a sheriff’s deputy knocked on his door and ordered him to leave when flames got too close to the Rancho Monserate Country Club retirement community where he lives.

With no time to grab anything, he left immediately, not knowing whether his home would still be standing when he returned.

After watching the fire burn from a safe distance for five or six hours, John returned to his neighborhood. He was shocked to discover that his home had survived the blaze. Unfortunately, many of his neighbors were not so lucky. Dozens of mobile homes in the community were destroyed.

The local TV news crew interviewed John about his narrow escape. While John is thankful his home is still intact, he is very concerned about his neighbors and how they will deal with the loss of their homes.

Related Content:
Live Blog: Lilac Fire blackens 4,100 acres
Evacuation Orders
Photos: Smoke from Lilac Fire seen across San Diego County

Posted in California wildfires | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Calling all Knapp clan members – It’s family reunion time again!

Florence Cora Kline Knapp and John L. Knapp

It’s family reunion time again! Don’t forget to check the Reunion page for an update from Uncle Gary. Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Posted in Kline/Cline/Klein, Knapp, Reunion, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

War Tales Mileski-Style

mileski_mackMy husband Mark came home from a visit with his family and began telling me about a story written about his uncle, Mack Mileski, and his experiences during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

I was surprised to learn that Uncle Mack had survived not only the war’s first kamikaze attack on a U.S. naval vessel, but a torpedo hit as well!

Spoiler alert: Yes, I know this is a blog focused on the Knapp family, but my father-in-law happens to be married to a Mileski.  And I also can’t resist thanking veterans for their service, especially our WWII vets. They don’t call these guys (and gals!) the greatest generation for nothing. These folks are tough!

When I was a newspaper reporter, part of my beat was the Ohio Veterans’ Home (OVH) in Sandusky, Ohio. I have interviewed my fair share of veterans, but I never tired of listening to them talk about their experiences. One of them remarked to me that “…every time a veteran dies, it’s like a book that is lost to history forever.”

That’s why I am so glad people are recording these stories – before they are lost forever.

The article recounts Mack’s experiences as an aviation machinist’s mate 1st class who repaired torpedo bombers and kept them flying off the deck of the carrier USS Santee.

According to the article, Leyte Gulf was the largest naval battle of WWII, involving hundreds of ships. The battle lasted four days and when it was over, the Japanese had lost more than 12,000 sailors, a fleet carrier, 3 light carriers, 3 battleships, 10 cruisers, 11 destroyers and 300 planes. The U.S. Navy suffered 3,000 casualties and lost a light carrier, 2 carrier escorts, 3 destroyers, a destroyer escort and 200 airplanes.

Mack’s quick reflexes allowed him to dive out of harm’s way when an enemy plane strafed the ship and then crashed onto the carrier’s deck. Luckily, Mack lived to recount the experience some 70 years later at age 90 in this article. Mack and his buddies were told that their carrier was the first American ship hit by a Japanese suicide plane in the war.

But the Japanese Navy wasn’t done with the USS Santee yet because just 15 minutes later the Santee was hit by a torpedo. Fortunately, no one was killed and the ship was not seriously damaged thanks to the torpedo hitting a steel beam instead of the more fragile hull.

A special thanks to Don Moore, who has been a reporter, editor and publisher in West Florida for more than 50 years. Moore has written thousands of articles about veterans and their war time experiences, including this one about our very own Uncle Mackie. Don has published these accounts on a blog called War Tales.

Read all of Uncle Mackie’s stirring account of his war time experiences here on Don Moore’s wonderful blog, War Tales. There also are some great photos of Mack when he was in the Navy, so be sure to check it out.

Click here to view the War Tales fan page on Facebook.


Posted in Mileski, Military Service, WWII | Leave a comment

We want you!

MC900436222We want you – at the 2017 Knapp Family Reunion!

Calling all members of the Knapp clan! Check out the Reunion News tab for the Save the Date announcement from Uncle Gary Knapp!

Watch the Reunion News tab for the date and time of the next reunion planning meeting. We need help and volunteers for a variety of tasks, including food, set up, clean up, games and activities, etc.

Also, you’re invited to submit family recipes to Knapp Notes as well. If we get enough submissions, we could print a Knapp Family Cookbook.

Looking forward to seeing you all in 2017!


Posted in Reunion | Tagged , | 4 Comments

From Heppenheim to Hawaii – the life of Marianne Cope

Sister Marianne Cope in her youth. From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Sister Marianne Cope in her youth. From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Last week I heard from a Knapp cousin who recently discovered Knapp Notes while doing family history research. Barb Brown had an intriguing story to share with us.

It’s an amazing story of how a young girl from Heppenheim sailed from Germany on the same ship that carried one of our ancestors to America – and grew up to do incredible things. Here is Barb’s letter below:

Dear Ann:

I recently stumbled upon “Knapp Notes” in researching my family history.  Johann Klein (1801-1883) and Elizabetha Knapp (1803-1841) are my 3rd great grandparents.

Do you have any information on Elizabeth’s grandparents and earlier?  I would appreciate any assistance you can give me.  I noticed in the “Notes” references to the Moledor’s.  My 2nd great-grandfather is Johann Moledor (1816-1876).  I have a copy of his Reisepass a cousin generously shared with me if you are interested.

I also noted the name Trares listed on your website.  I am not related to the Trares, but researching genealogy often leads to tangents.  One of these side investigations led me to the following, which you may find interesting.

When he was 14, John Lewis Trares (1825-1904)  arrived in the U.S. on the ship Ariosta on October 16, 1839 (per New York Passenger List , 1824-1957).

Turning to the next page of this same passenger list (traveling on the same ship), you will find the Peter Koob family.  Note that the youngest of the family, Barbara, was 1 1/2 years old.  The Koob family was from Heppenheim, Hesse.  Upon reaching the U.S., the Koob family moved to Utica, NY where the family name became Americanized as Cope.

Barbara became a nun  and taught in the schools in the area and also became a principal.  She established two Catholic hospitals in the area and acted as administrator.  In 1883, the king of Hawaii pleaded with religious orders asking for help in caring for lepers.  Over 50 religious orders were contacted.  Only Barbara responded with enthusiasm. She and six other sisters went to Hawaii to care for those devastated by this disease.  She cared for Father Damien , also known as St. Damien of Molokai, in his last months.

By the way, upon entering her order, Barbara became Sister Marianne.  She was canonized in 2012 by Pope Benedict as St. Marianne Cope.

Had the Koob family traveled west with the Trares, instead of heading north, we may have had a saint from our parish of St. Joseph, Randolph.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of information.


Barb Brown

(A distant Knapp cousin)

Thanks, Barb, for sharing this fascinating bit of history with the other members of the Knapp clan. Please note Barb’s request for assistance with learning more about her Knapp, Klein and Moledor connections. If anyone has any information to share, please contact me at Knapp Notes and I’ll pass along the information to Barb.


Wish to learn more about Marianne Cope and her work with the lepers in Hawaii?



Posted in Catholic Church, Germany, Heppenheim, Hessen, St. Joseph Randolph, Trares | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Trares brothers die within hours of each other

While researching the background of Henry Trares in my previous post, I learned of an odd coincidence concerning the deaths of two of Henry’s sons, Florian and Roman Trares.

Roman J. Trares was born 30 March 1893 in Edwardsville, Madison, Illinois. He died 8 May 1959 in Taylorsville, Christian County, Illinois.

When I reviewed Find-A-Grave, I found a reference to an article about the two brothers which was printed in the Edwardsville Intelligencer newspaper on Tuesday, May 12, 1959, on page 2:

Former residents Florian and Roman Trares, sons of the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry Trares, Sr., of Edwardsville, died, apparently within a short time of each other, relatives here learned Tuesday morning.

Florian, husband of the former Edna M. Motz of Edwardsville, died of a heart attack at 6:20 p.m. Monday at a hospital in Danville, where he resided. He was associated with the Sugar Creek Creamery Co. there. The body of Roman Trares was discovered about 7 o’clock Monday evening at his home in Taylorville when relatives sought to notify him of the death of his brother. The exact time of death has not yet been established.

Florian Trares, who would have observed his 58th birthday anniversary Tuesday, was born May 12, 1901 in Edwardsville and had been associated with his father in the old Palace Store Co.  He was married here June 18, 1924 by the Rev. E.J. Eckhard. Surviving in addition to his wife and one sister, Mrs. John (Daisy) Keshner of Edwardsville; are a son, Edward, of Hartford, Conn., and two daughters, Mrs. Mary Ann Allen and Mrs. Mildred Schaefer, both of New York City. Mrs. Schaefer is the wife of George Schaefer, producer of the award-winning TV play, “Little Moon of Alban.”

 Roman Trares was born here March 30, 1893, the son of the late Henry and Frances Heddergott Trares. His only survivors are the sister, Mrs. Keshner, and a number of nieces and nephews. The body will be returned to Edwardsville for burial in the family plot in St. Mary’s cemetery.

No other plans for either funeral were available. 

The Find-A-Grave entry also said that Roman Trares was a World War I veteran, serving with the Arkansas CFR 1 CL 668 Aero Squadron. In addition, I found a number of ads and announcements in the Edwardsville Intelligencer which touted “Roman Trares and his Novelty Orchestra” as playing in the area during the 1920’s. Apparently, Roman was a noted pianist with his own orchestra.





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Henry Trares

TRARES_HenryHenry Trares was born 20 April 1855 in Randolph, Portage, Ohio. He was the son of John Lewis Trares and Nancy Mary Ann Knapp. Nancy was the daughter of John Adam Knapp and Elizabeth Andes. John Adam was the brother of our immigrant ancestor, Franz Adam Knapp.

Henry’s uncle, John Sebastian Trares, whom I have already written extensively about in previous posts, had established a drug store in Edwardsville, Illinois. When John Sebastian went home to Ohio for a visit, his nephew, Henry, then 14 years old, decided he wanted to “go west” when his uncle returned. Henry did and soon became a clerk in his uncle’s Edwardsville, Illinois store.

He continued to work for his uncle until 1882, when he and a partner, E.A. Keller, opened a hardware store called Trares & Keller. In 1892, he purchased the business of A. Gerber & Son, a general store housed in the Gerber Building at Main Street and Hillsboro Avenue in downtown Edwardsville.

Henry Trares became a successful and well-known businessman in Edwardsville. For 18 years his store prospered  in the Gerber Building. Then, in 1909, a new building was erected  which became the largest department store in southern Illinois in the Schwarz Building.

Henry Trares was elected president of the First National Bank. When the bank was consolidated with the Bank of Edwardsville, he was elected chairman of the board of directors, a position he held for many years.

Henry also was active in the Edwardsville Home Building & Loan and was an organizer of the People’s Loan Association. He also was active in other civic activities, including being a member of St. Boniface’s Catholic Church, the St. Boniface Benevolent Society and the Holy Name Society. He was a member of the Catholic Knights of Illinois and the Knights of Columbus.

On May 20, 1879, Henry married Frances Heddergott, a member of an old Edwardsville family. Frances died June 26, 1933, four years after celebrating their golden (50th) wedding anniversary.

Henry and Frances had eight children, including:

  • Henry Jacob Trares (1880-1955), who, like his father, became a merchant and took over the family mercantile business.
  • Theresa M. Trares Keshner (1883-1963)
  • Clemens Raymond Trares (1885-1918)
  • Wilbur Alvin Trares (1891-1952), who became a Madison County, Illinois court judge for more than 24 years.
  • Roman J. Trares (1893-1959)
  • Julius August Trares (1896-1927)
  • Florian E. Trares (1901-1959)

Henry Trares died at his home in Edwardsville on June 14, 1935, and was buried in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Edwardsville.



Posted in Heddergott, Knapp, Trares | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Can you identify Uncle Gary?


1st Communion 1954 St. Patrick’s Kent, Ohio

Tim De Frange kindly shared this vintage photo with us. Thanks, Tim!

As you may remember from a previous post, Tim shares some common ancestors with us via the Eichler connection. If you don’t remember the post I wrote about the Eichler connection, you can review it here.

I thought it might be fun if we try to identify the little boy in the photo who we all know and love now as Uncle Gary Knapp. Vote for your choice and we’ll announce the results on Knapp Notes on the day when we announce the date of the next Knapp Family Reunion.

Can you pick out Gary in this picture? Vote for you choice by clicking the appropriate number below.


Posted in DeFrange, Eichler, Knapp, Local History, Ohio Churches, Polls, Reunion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment