Genealogy Trip Summer 2004
We arrived in Cincinnati about 6:00 PM on Sunday, and had a wonderful greeting from Charlie & Mary Backscheider. They took us out to dinner, then for a quick trip around the area to get our bearings. It definitely helped us to find our way!
On Monday, we visited the Bridgetown cemetery where we made some very nice discoveries, and also St. Aloysius Cemetery where our Grandfather, Peter Janson, is buried. Also there are the Neiheisels (excuse the spelling) and several other ancestors. From there we went to visit Jack & Katie Wellman (you guys are awesome). We had a fantastic lunch, a long talk and lots of genealogy. Jack has a GREAT basement office. It would rival many library genealogy sections. Boy, the books he has!!! They were also kind enough to lead us to St Maryís Cemetery and St. John's Cemetery. We had fantastic luck in locating our Janson line at St. Johnís cemetery. We were told we probably wouldnít find anything because of where they were buried. Not only did we find them, on a 9-10í headstone, but also there were four generations on the stone. Talk about luck! From there we drove around St. Johns a bit, then went over to St Maryís to check out a couple of Janson plots there. Not sure if theyíre our ancestors yet, but you never know. Stayed there until it started to rain, then headed back to the hotel for a late dinner (Cincinnati Chili Ė YUM) and early bed.
On Tuesday we hit St. Bernardís cemetery. We found this cemetery totally by accident. I was told it didnít exist. We actually got lost looking for Jack & Kateís house when we found it. Again, another lucky break! Not much there, but a couple of newer Jansons and a new Lipps, but still, everything helps. From there we hit Wesleyan cemetery. Now, I have to say itís a crying shame what has happened to this cemetery! Many of our Dexter line is buried there, including our Great Grandfather. Unfortunately, due to events that were out of the publicís hand, the whole cemetery is in a complete shambles. The public is now involved in restoring the cemetery but it will be a long and expensive project. We knew right where to look for our ancestors, unfortunately, with the tall grass, snakes & rubbish, we never did find them and they should have been right off the road!
When we left there, it was late morning, and we decided to go on to Kentucky (oops, forgot to eat lunch) to meet with Alvin and Wilma Bonar at the Pendleton County Library in Falmouth KY. We have to say you guys are great! They had just returned from a long vacation an hour before meeting us, and ended up spending the entire afternoon taking us around the area. They were truly terrific! We spent the day going through Bonar Cemeteries, looking for Bonar headstones all over Falmouth, KY and the surrounding area, and meeting long lost Bonar relatives. First, however, they took us to the Perry Bonar house in Falmouth proper. It was very weird seeing the home where our grandmother had grown up. We didn't make contact with the current residents, but did get pictures. We located the house from an old newspaper clipping I had found among our Aunt Barbara Janson Hoffman's personal effects.
Next, they took us to Howard Bonarís farm on Caddo Road. At the library we had shown Wilma a 50 year old picture, we had from our mother, of our father's Uncle Howard's farm. It had been labeled as being in Caddo, KY. Wilma quickly explained it was a Bonar farm on Caddo Road and that there was no Caddo, KY. We had always thought it was an Uncle Howard JANSON.... but we were wrong. It was our fatherís uncle all right, but on his motherís side. Wilma knew where it was right away, and agreed to take us there. Thanks to her we found it. Otherwise we would STILL be looking for Caddo, KY!
All this is in Wilmaís book on the Bonar's of Pendleton KY. This farm is the Bonar's homestead, is still in the Bonar family, and has been for the last 100 years. The current Bonar residents are Stan Wylie and Verda Bonar Wylie. Stan and his daughter were home, and even though we came unannounced, they were very hospitable and showed us all around. They had pictures of a Bonar reunion that had taken place the year before. They didnít know we existed at that time, and agreed to invite us to the next one. They were currently remodeling the homestead and the work done so far was fabulous. They also had rooms of furniture from the turn of the century.... gorgeous stuff. The rose garden that was the back drop for the 50 year old photo was gone, but the yard, landscape and picturesque settings of the farm fully made up for the loss, and explained why the farm was still in use. Beautiful! They even had a road and school named after them! It was hard to leave there, but after a couple of hours, we exchanged address, numbers and emails et., and said our farewells. Alvin and Wilma had much more to show us.
Next they took us to some cemeteries that NO ONE could have shown us but them. One was not far from the road, but impossible to get to. We had to hop a fence, go through a hay field, jump over weeds waist high, crawl under a barbed wire fence, jump over a farm gate & cross a dry river bed. Not to mention fighting the ticks, mosquitoes & any other type of bug you can think of (and one of us was in shorts and flip flops - not a smart move). This led us to a section of woods, which had been the early Charles Bonar homestead. The area where the log cabin stood was overgrown with weeds, but Alvin said that foundation of the cabin could still be found when the weeds were gone. Behind the cabin was the very old Bonar cemetery of Charles' family. Family members made the headstones from field stone. On most, the writing was very faded, but unbelievably enough, some were still readable. This cemetery is approximately 200 years old. Hard to believe that you could still read some of those. We also hit another out-of-the-way Bonar family cemetery plot; luckily, this one was a bit easier to get to, just up a hill off the road. This was the cemetery of John Bonar's Family. More great discoveries there! They also took us to two well established cemeteries, Riverside and Walnut Alburn cemeteries, and showed us the grave of our ancestor that had fought in the American Revolution. COOL!!! Now we can join the D.A.R.! Finally, they showed us several of the original Bonar homesteads. We couldnít believe these places still existed! Thank you Alvin & Wilma for showing us around! Also, thank you Charlie for helping us get out of Kentucky. Although, I do have to say that if you wouldnít have distracted me with the phone call, we wouldnít have gotten lost (ha-ha [yeah right!]).
On Wednesday we hit New St. Josephís cemetery. Seeing as this is an Irish cemetery, we didnít expect to find too much, which actually made it easier! We did locate, I believe, three Backscheiders there. Frank Backscheider who married into an Irish family, and his children. No one else that I can remember. We did look around a bit though. After that, we went to Don and Pat (Backscheider) Jasperís house for lunch to meet up with Lavinia "Toots" (Loechtenfeldt) Backschieder. Wow, talk about a wonderful person. Although, honestly, there hasnít been a Backscheider we met that hasnít been exceptional! Anyway, Toots was the wife of John Backscheider (b. 5/13/1920; d. 10/19/2002). She had some great stories and some very old pictures to share. As usual, time got away from us, and we didnít say our good-byes until much later then expected. From there we hit a very small cemetery behind the Police department. Itís called the Delhi cemetery, and itís maintained by the Delhi Historical Society. Unfortunately, nothing was located, so we went back to our hotel to get ready for our dinner at Charlie and Mary Backscheiderís house. Mary, you shouldnít have worked so hard, however, as usual, everything was excellent (hope there wasnít too many leftovers). They held a very impromptu Backscheider reunion for us. It was wonderful to meet everyone at once! On our first trip we never had the time to meet the children of our relations, Charlie and Mary went out of their way to make sure we did this time. We thank you so much for doing that for us. Everyone was great! A lot of stories, laughs, food and just all out friendly talk. Once again, we had a hard time leaving, but eventually pulled away to get back to the hotel to go over notes, update info and get some much-needed sleep.
On Thursday we got a fairly early start and decided to hit Old St. Josephís cemetery to have a look around again. I had some names that I knew were there, but we never located them the first time through. This time I was much more prepared and actually had the lot and plot numbers on most. We really wanted to locate my motherís older sister that died at birth, unfortunately, due to rough times in the 20ís, no headstone was given to her. It was disappointing, but that seemed to be the way it went on 90% of the names I had to look for that day. Oh well, at least I know where they are, and will make sure to visit the areas whenever we make it into town. After that, we did a real quick drive through New St. Josephís cemetery to get pictures of a couple of names we had gotten that week, then we were off again. Met with Charlie and Mary for a quick lunch and more pictures, then off again and on to the Delhi Historical society to meet up with Peg Schmidt (what a great lady). We had met Peg on our first trip to Cincinnati, so it was awesome seeing her again! We finally had a chance to go through some of the papers they had there. Peg actually had some personal papers of the original deeds on two of the Backscheider homesteads. She actually lives in Balthasard Backscheiderís homestead, which is SO cool. In fact, she was nice enough to give us a tour of her home, and give us a little history on it, and the work that had to be done to renovate it. Itís a beautiful home, and we thank you for sharing it with us. She also took us over to John Backscheiderís homestead, Just down the street from Pegís house, which was also in excellent condition!. We spent the majority of the day with Peg, who was great, we finally had a chance to actually talk! From there we drove around a bit looking for the old Janson farm, however, it must have been one of the casualties of nature, and we were unable to locate it. Did a little shopping, bought dinner, and back to the hotel to update, record notes, download pictures, eat and sleep.
Friday already! Boy the time went so fast! This day proved to be full of surprises for us, as we had very unexpected visits from some very special people. The first surprise was Larry and Judy Dorn, and again I have to say, that you guys are just great! I did receive a phone call from them on Monday saying that they would try to make it down on Friday, but then I never heard from them again. We got back to the hotel on Thursday, and there they were outside our hotel. WOW. They had decided to make a day of it and spend the night in Cincy. Met up with them for breakfast and had a great talk with them! They had tons of information, and advice to help us in our search. They are related to us through the Backscheider line by the way. Unfortunately, we didnít get to spend as much time with them as we would have liked. However, they agreed to help us continue our search for certain information while they were in town (and they had already find a lot of info for us). From there we were back in Kentucky, this time just over the border, to meet with Jean Marie Backscheider his wife Odile and their children (they had just arrived from France the night before), plus Kip and Ginny Backscheider for lunch. When we arrived at Michell's Fish Market, we met up with our second surprise for the day.....Tom and Mary Anne Backscheider. They had driven up from Tennessee to have lunch with all of us. What a great surprise! The lunch was wonderful, but the food couldn't compare to meeting all those wonderful people. We had great stories to share about people, places and events. But of course the main topic was GENEALOGY! Jean Marie was full of very interesting information, and we received family trees from all the Backscheider lines present. We also met his lovely wife Odile and their four children. All had accompanied him from France. They were having a wonderful time in the states, and were staying at Kipís and Ginnyís home for their two week visit. Jean-Marie wanted see and talk to EVERY Backscheider he could, which led us to give him all the Backscheider contacts we had. After a wonderful lunch, we said our good-byes, until we met up with them for dinner at the Backscheider reunion, stole Jean-Marie, and headed back to Delhi. We spent a lot of time at the hotel going over information with him, and then took him to Delhi to have a look at the Backscheider homesteads we had seen with Peg the day before. He was fascinated with them, especially the original barn still standing on Bathazardís farm. Pegís husband was nice enough to show us the barnís interior, which we hadnít seen the previous day. We stayed there until Peg came home to introduce Jean-Marie to her. John-Marie was fascinated with the houses and history of the area, and did eventually go the historical society with Peg later in the week. He also returned to her home many times to show his family and other Backscheiderís the original homesteads.
Okay, after saying goodbye to Peg and her husband, it was back to the hotel to change for dinner, and then back to Kentucky for the Backscheider reunion dinner (which was why we and Jean-Marie had come to Cincy). WOW, talk about the Backscheiders! I canít even tell you how many were there. Some we knew, most we didnít, but we did manage to talk to quite a few while we were there. Again we were given more information for the web page. It was an excellent time, and we thank Dennis Backscheider and his family for planning this and then extending an invitation to us.
Saturday was a 5:00 wake-up and then on the road for home. Made pretty good time, got back around 1:00, I had a quick shower, then Mar was nice enough to drive me up to Milwaukee to meet Dan and the kids (only another 1 Ĺ hours of driving Ė UGH).
We want to thank everyone that we met! You were all wonderful, and it was very difficult to leave. As usual, it wasnít enough time. There was still a ton of things we needed to see, many places we needed to go, and more people we needed to meet, but, unfortunately, time just ran out. If any of you ever find yourselves in our neck of the woods, please look us up. We would love to get together again.
Take care and thanks once again!
Edited by Marleen Janson.....I HAD to get MY two cents in!
Copyright © 2003 [Marleen Janson]. All rights reserved.