Seaman 2C Robert August Koehler, Service no. 9450770

Robert August Koehler was born on 28 September 1918, in Peru, Illinois, as both war and a flu pandemic were raging across the world. While the war would cease a month and a half after his birth, the pandemic would go on for another year. In the midst of this turmoil, Robert’s parents, August and Elsie Elizabeth (Pyka) Koehler, were raising Robert and his two older sisters Mildred and Gladys in a home they owned at 2315 Main street in southwest Peru. August Koehler was supporting his family by working as a buffer at Westclox—a local clock factory. Two years…

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T/SGT Eugene Joseph Kieras, Service Number 36480578

Eugene “Gene” Joseph Kieras was born on 14 November 1924, in LaSalle, Illinois. He was the third child of John and Mary Theresa (Brzygot) Kieras. Their two older children were sons Stanley and Edward. Gene’s parents were both born in the area and married in LaSalle four years before his birth on 20 April 1920. After Gene, John and Mary Kieras had two more sons: Ernest and Raymond. Around the time Gene was born his family was living at 1220 Eight street in LaSalle, but they moved several times throughout his childhood. Their longest stay during his life was in…

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T SG William Louis Aplington, Service No. 36765437

William Louis “Bill” Aplington, was born on May 11, 1925, to William J. and Elizabeth Lavanway Aplington, in LaSalle, Illinois. His father was a local attorney who had served in the Army in World War I. By the time Bill was 15, he had five brothers and three sisters. He and at least three of his brothers attended St. Bede Academy—a local Catholic high school. Bill was interested in music and joined his high school’s band becoming president his senior year. He was also successful in his studies having made the honor roll his sophomore year. Other activities he enjoyed…

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S SG Gilbert Edward Amos, Service No. 36430298

Gilbert Edward Amos was born at home on October 22, 1921, in Peru, Illinois, to Edgar Robert and Bertha Wobrock Amos. Edgar, who was crippled since birth, worked as a bookkeeper at Vollmer Furniture Store—a local business owned by his mother’s family. Bertha also worked as a bookkeeper, but at L&B Wobrock—her family’s dry goods store in Peru. Throughout his life, Gilbert lived with and close to his extended family. In 1927, when Gilbert was six years old, his mother passed away. With his father apparently unable to care for him, his aunt and uncle, Lena and Fred Sibley, were…

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How to Find Streams, Creeks, and Rivers Named in Old Deeds

In trying to figure out exactly where Joseph Patterson purchased land in Hall county, Georgia, in 1823, I suspected the district noted in the deed as “tenth” might be incorrect. Instead I thought it should have said “twelfth” as that is where he later sold land, and it was where his mother and brothers owned land. But to know for sure, I needed to find Wahoo Creek which is the body of water mentioned in the deed. So for a moment I considered what resource could help me find the location of Wahoo Creek in Hall county, Georgia. Initially I…

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Another Surprise Discovery in My Marfell Family

  When I research families I am always asking myself questions like why did they move there, why are they doing that, where did they meet their spouse? Usually I do this to better understand their lives, but many times this curiosity helps me unlock new facts about their lives I probably would have otherwise missed. And today that is exactly what happened when I was recently re-doing the research of my mom’s uncle, Howard Marfell. Howard left England in 1920 when he was about 15 years old to travel by ship to the United States. My grandfather, Louis Marfell,…

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Genealogical Research Easily Proves Jeffree Star’s Grandmother is 103 years old

The other day I read an article: “Jeffree Star says his 103-year-old grandmother is real, but here’s why some YouTube sleuths are still suspicious.” For those wondering who Jeffree Star is and why anyone would care how old his grandmother is, he is a celebrity in the makeup world. Wikipedia describes him a “an American entrepreneur, YouTuber and singer, and the founder and owner of Jeffree Star Cosmetics.” As a mother of a cosmetologist, he is a topic of discussion in our home at times so I was intrigued to find out about his family. In reading the article I…

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The Great Eight!

I came across a blog post today, “The Theory of Eight Surnames,” in which the writer shared some advice he received while overseas. They told him everyone should be able to recite what I’m referring to as “the great eight” or the eight surnames of your great-grandparents. For me, I have two sets since I was adopted so I would need to shoot for 16 to remember. If you add in my husband’s line, I’m up to 24. Instead of taking up the challenge and trying to list them, I thought it would be interesting to see it more visually…

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Meet Dennis Wolf – #whyivax

Meet Dennis Wolf, my mom’s only maternal cousin, who was born on July 9, 1945. My mother was 13 at the time of his birth so definitely old enough to understand just how much this new baby boy meant to everyone, especially his parents. The story of his birth and the happiness it brought to everyone was constantly talked about in our family. Dennis was the only child of Aunt Frances, my grandmother’s sister, and her second husband, Henry “Bear” Wolf. Frances had lost her first husband when he passed away only a few years after their marriage – they…

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Paternal Update on My Birthline

Earlier this year I was finally able to reconcile my genealogy research with my DNA. The key outcome of this effort was the realization that my birth father was not actually the person my research had led me to. Because this experience is a good example of the importance of DNA in researching family history, I blogged about the experience and related work that led me to my actual birth father over on another site I set up: Finding Father – Circumstantial vs DNA Evidence. So based on this new knowledge, I have updated my list of surnames shown on my…

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