The Brand 9-11

The Brand 9-11

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(Vicki’s note – photographs are downloaded from Bing on-line “free to share and use”.  I wrote the poem. Such a sad day then and a sad anniversary now.  

Last night, 18 years ago, 2,977 people were spending their last night with people they loved.  Victims from over 90 countries died in those attacks, not just Americans.

Many others have died since, and more will die with long-developing cancers, etc.

“Seventeen years out from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, nearly 10,000 first responders and others who were in the World Trade Center area have been diagnosed with cancer. More than 2,000 deaths have been attributed to 9/11 illnesses.

It will get worse. By the end of 2018, many expect that more people will have died from their toxic exposure from 9/11 than were killed on that terrible Tuesday. “  2018 Lohud article

“The World Trade Center Health Program (WTC HP) was established as a result of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The World Trade Center Health Program offers services at no cost to World Trade Center workers, responders and survivors to help with medical and mental health conditions related to certified WTC-related health conditions. This includes anyone receiving workers’ compensation, anyone receiving line-of-duty benefits, and anyone else who was not at work but who was injured or made ill.”

The Brand 9-11

By Vicki Ruthe Cogswell (Hahn) 2012

The Brand on his arm;

The Brand on the land.

A plane-plowed crop,

A pierced arrow; two!

A round smashed;

Where were you?

11 11, 175 175, 77 77, 93 93


The pilot he knew.

Too old to join up,

He marked his body…

They marked our country,

Our psyche, our lives.


The eagle in hand,

The flag we fly –

Symbols of all

Whose lives went dry,

That day with

Tears, and sweat, and fear.


The fire, the smoke, the shock;

Can’t we turn back the clock?

Firefighters marching fast

To help those whom we cannot.

Too late – their lives all passed.


The towers melt, crush down

Our heroes and our kin.

All Americans that day.

Smashed, fired, smoke-drowned-

Those that jumped; or trapped away.


The ones that left,

That got out in time;

Those that were held back

From being on time –

All bereft, all choking brine

Of salt – tears, sweat.


The air thick – grey, black, brown.

Filled with solid dust of –

Asbestos, pulverized rust,

DNA, computers, glass,

Paper, plastic, photos,

Purses, concrete, heels……………

Confusion, pain, gasoline,

Steel; DEATH

Rolling from the wounded

To swallow us all.


To sear us with a Brand

We will never forget.

To mark us from a hand…

Of reason, gone wrong!


But the heroes, all true,

The best of me and you,

The few –

Some now hurting,

Short of breath,

Came to help,

Now about dead,

No way out,

Except to …….



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Exploring Irish Ancestors Program by Vicki Hahn – WBCGS September 7

Exploring Irish Ancestors Program                   by Vicki Hahn – WBCGS September 7

Vicki’s note – here is a press release from WBCGS :

WBCGS Meeting Program – Saturday, September 7, 2019 -1:30 p.m.

Exploring Irish Ancestors

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

The Winnebago & Boone Counties Genealogical Society will hold its regular meeting at Spring Creek United Church of Christ, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, IL at 1:30 PM on Saturday, September 7, 2019.

Learning about extensive web sites and techniques for finding anything Irish.

Vicki Ruthe Hahn has retired as Public Services Librarian at the Beloit Public Library, WI.  She has her BA and MLIS from the University of Illinois.  She is the blog creator of “”; and is the founder of the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library.  Vicki designates herself as the “Stateline Genealogy Sorter” SGS.  With a background in anthropology, history, clothing history, and teaching, she sorts out mysteries, rediscovers histories, weaves stories, and helps people with their family genealogy and local history, specializing from Central Illinois to Central Wisconsin.

All interested persons are welcome! Refreshments will be served.

There is no cost to attend.

For more information, call Wendy at (779) 203-3511.

Visit us on the Web at:

Find us on Facebook:

Thank You,
Kathy Burfield – President, WBCGS

Searching In The Vital Records Maze


Searching In The Vital Records Maze


by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

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I took the opportunity to go to the Rock County WI Courthouse in Janesville with friend, Debra Ramsey.  Debra has done a lot of research in different vital records offices in several counties/states.  I have not done much other than on-line. Time to get with it!  Only 20 % of the genealogical information that we want is on-line.  80% is in courthouses, churches, libraries, funeral-homes/cemeteries, and people’s homes.

Searching physically on-site takes a whole different approach.  I appreciate learning from Debra’s in-sight and experience.  I arrived first so that I could get an understanding of the facility expectations and assistance.  Each facility has their own rules.

I had to show my ID and fill out a form of personal identity information that is required each yearly visit.  Then I filled out a day visit form including the date and time, and the surname(s) and year (approximate) that I would be searching that day, .  They issued me a locker and key for my purse and cellphone.  I had to turn off my cellphone first as the ring is amplified in the locker.

I had to look on my cellphone first for the search information that I would need.  It was hard to be not be able to have the search information with me from my Family Tree App,, the email client requested names/dates,, and my Legacy Family Tree TelGen Families app, etc.

Pens, cellphones, scanners, cameras, and photocopying are not allowed.  They do supply sharp pencils with no erasers, and (full-size) scrap paper!  I was able to take my notebook in with me.  It was hard to get used to bringing in only printed out family name/date information.  I quickly realized that pre-printed blank forms for birth/marriage/death would have been easier to fill in rather than transcribing every word from the vital record to my notepaper.  I will be more prepared next time.

There are large index books for birth, marriage, and death records, and grouped by type and by year ranges. The staff member helpfully guided me on how to use their records organization. Debra showed me more details, and how to use the Excel spreadsheet indexes on the computer (which she noticed are sometimes incorrectly transcribed from the hand-written book indexes.)  Key word searches are not easy on the spreadsheet, and the format is clunky to use.  Most of the hand-written book indexes are clearly written and readable except for some letter flourishes.

Marriage records, within a book index,  are listed in parallel columns by surnames for several pages of each first letter.  All of the “C” s for example are listed roughly by year and not exact alphabetical, but as they entered the names.  It is necessary to skim through all of the names.  The same page has a column on the left for Groom’s names – last, first, middle; and on the right for bride’s names – maiden, first, middle.  The names do not necessarily line up with each other as couples.  One has to look at the columns to the right of each name for the month/day/year of the marriage, and then to the next column for the vital record number.

We found one case where the groom’s name was listed three times in a row, within a 3-year span, next to three bride’s names.  Two of the names were apparently the same bride with a different (married) surname.  She must have married the first man again after having been married to a second man.   The usual index arrangement is to have the bride’s name within a list (on a different section) alphabetically by her surname(s).  We may have seen this example in the computer Excel spreadsheet index.

The record number refers to the actual vital records kept in books on space-saving (slightly claustrophobic) bookcases that may need rolled apart.  The order of the books is by type – birth, marriage, death; record # range; and year range.  The actual order was mixed up and didn’t make total sense to this librarian.  Yet we found what we were looking for.  Later amended or years-after-the-fact vital records may be kept in more current books.  (I.E. – people without a birth certificate who wanted later to file for social security.)

We noticed that older records forms have more information required on them than the newer ones.  Older marriage records have date and address of marriage; ages and full names of bride and groom (including birth family maiden name of the bride); township/city where they each live; when the license was issued by which county agency; names of two witnesses that were present at the marriage; marital status, number of marriages, relationship, occupation, nationality, and race of groom and bride;  and birthplace and (maiden) name of mother and father for bride and for groom.  More recent records do not have all that, but what a gold mine to have even most of that information!

One has to rely on a staff member to access Winnebago County vital records in Rockford, Illinois.  (Though I think that they told me by phone that it is possible to search yourself?) It takes a long time for the person to scan and print out portions of microfiche for a record.  They may not have indexes, and may not realize the importance of source information to be attached to that printout.

Well worth the trip to anyplace for vital records, if not available on-line.  Some government entities do have vital records that you can look at on-line.  It will cost you to get an official print copy – $20 in Rock County.

Some facilities require you to make an appointment first.  Most have specific hours or days open, some restrict when genealogists can do research.  Each state may have several different facility locations for where they keep vital records, dependent on how old they are.  When records were legally required, and then actually kept, varies.   Some states may duplicate or rely on County level records. The on-line databases are digitizing more vital records, but it seems disjointed, hit or miss. ( Refer to the chart linked below.)

Local, county, state, federal government offices/agencies can be closed at irregular times with planned furlough days to balance budgets, or in-service days for staff training.  The holidays closures are not uniform across agencies, even within a county.  There may be partial or whole closure days adjoining a regular holiday closure. The hours open may change with what day of the week it is, or closures for staff lunch break, etc.  There may be seasonal variations.

Also keep up with possible un-planned closures due to frozen budget/government shut-downs.  There will be vacations and medical leave absences if you need a particular staff person or specialized service.  You may need to look on-line at the agency homepage, or phone/email ahead.

Rock County Courthouse, 608-757-5650, 51 South Main Street Janesville, WI  53545

 8 – 5 weekdays. Staff assistance is available from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm.
Searching –

Genealogists are often the lowest in order for the busy staff to help.  The day that I was there, the courthouse was very busy with requests from the public for getting current vital records registered, and active current needs.  One request was for a vital record that a sister wanted of a brother – even though she had a different last name, she was able to get the record with proof of her relationship.  (More information on state’s rules is on the chart linked below.)

Too bad most of my family’s records will not be in close-by facilities.  We can appreciate what genealogists only had before computers and Internet – traveling to the agencies/ facilities, and requests for information by mail with payment by check.  I have been actively doing genealogy research for 7 years, and have been able to get by on online computer only so far.  Now I will be more prepared for on-site research.

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(Vicki’s note – click on the title for a link to the full related article from ):

Wildly varying access rules and availability make a tangled maze of your ancestors’ state-level vital records. Let us guide you through….
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Also see the handout that I got at the Courthouse on the

Wisconsin law for searching death records:

WI Vital Records Law

Vicki Hahn Presentation today – GIG) German Interest Group, Janesville WI


Vicki Hahn Presentation today:

Monday, August 5, 2019 at 7 p.m. –

(at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 2921 Mount Zion Avenue, Janesville WI –

“Research Your Overseas Ancestors Without Going ‘Across the Pond”


Researching Your Overseas Ancestors – Handout – Countries Links, by Vicki Ruthe Hahn  7Aug2019

Vicki’s BLOG –  (Tab – “Genealogy Links & Helps”) webinars –

Translations & Languages in Genealogy:

Google Translate – free app. – free app. “Learn a language for free.


World Vital Records from  $

Google International- table of search engines listed by country and region & if English translation:  – collections in Chicago IL.  Bohemian, Czech, Polish, etc.

Professional Genealogists Services $$ (   –

Family Tree Tours, Travel Back to Your Roots, Kathy Wurth German-speaking countries, etc.

RootsWeb Hosted Web Sites Index –

WorldConnect Beta Program – GEDCOMs uploaded – search  or upload family tree – – maps, surnames, genealogy forms, etc.

Latter Day Saints (Mormon) Library catalog – Utah collection, online, and @ Family History Centers:

Commonwealth War Graves/ Memorials – WW1 & WWII (154 countries) –

Global Home for Jewish Genealogy –

Castle Garden (Immigration Center 1820 – 1913)

Ellis Island (Immigration Center 1892-1924)

Passenger Lists, several countries –

Immigrant Origins –

One-Step WebPages by Stephen P. Morse  – Research Wikis  – – links for birth, marriage, death, church, immigration, military, probate; biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, maps, native races, naturalizations, newspapers, & obituaries.

RootsWeb.com & largest free award-winning Internet Genealogical community.  Searchable database.  Submit Your Family Tree free to WorldConnect Project.

My Heritage  (database algorithms especially good for Slavic countries.)


Other Useful Links –

European archival material & institutions –;jsessionid=7395957D15C32A0D8219D0204A3BE9DB

Europe by countries –

Most common surnames:


Find My Past – “” – $ England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Canada, Australia, US

General Register Office (GRO) – Order certificates registered in England and Wales from July 1837 on; Look at parish records to trace back further.

National Archives -United Kingdom – – census returns, wills, military records, etc
– births, marriages, deaths, adoptions & civil partnerships records. – catalogues of archives in England & Wales dating from the 900s to now.

Ireland :

Five Basic Sources – will get you back 200 yrs. Most Irish people only able to go that far: Census Returns, Civil Registration, Parish Registers, Primary Valuation of Tenements, Tithe Composition & Applotment Books:

National Library of Ireland NLI –

Irish Cultural & heritage Center, Milwaukee, WI – Irish Immigration Library

Catholic Parish Registers in Ireland & Northern Ireland digitized Microfilm at the NLI –

Other Ireland religious denominations records –

Anglican Church – Church of Ireland Parish Registers – records at (RCB) the Library of the Church of Ireland; Or in churches – (Griffith’s list) shows dates for each parish, if records survive & where:

National Archives of Ireland –

Public Records Office of Northern Ireland –

Office of the Registrar – General, Dublin –– order birth, adoption, death, marriage or civil partnership certificates


German and American Sources for German Emigration to America


Baden-Wuerttemberg area –

Germans to America – Passenger Lists:

1850 – 1897 –,sl&col=1002

Germany / Deutschland Immigration, Emigration & Migration – several sites

German Parish records –

German lineage books online –


Germany GenWeb –

Germanic Genealogy Society –

Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach – Astrid Adler website:

Max Kade Institute for German- American Studies, UW, Madison –

German translator/ genealogy researcher Amy Koppe – ;

Scandinavian Countries:

Denmark’s archives:   

Norwegian archives from 1867.  Digital Archive of Norway –

National Archives of Norway –

Scandinavian, etc. Passenger lists – (NARA) National Archives & Records Administration –     

Canadian passenger lists 1865 – 1922 – Library and Archives of Canada –

Finland Passport Records & passenger lists – Institute of Migration Nordic Censuses Summaries – Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland –

Scandinavian Patronymic surnames:

German Ancestors Genealogy Help

German Ancestors Genealogy Help


Vicki’s Note – at this time, the highest percentage of ethnic ancestry in the United States is from German immigrants.  Of course “German” was actually “Germanic” ancestry until the formation of the country. 

“The unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871, in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France. Princes of the German states, excluding Austria, gathered there to proclaim William I of Prussia as German Emperor after the French capitulation in the Franco-Prussian War .” (Wikipedia)

I have several resources to assist you in your Germanic genealogy research under the BLOG tab “Genealogy Links and Helps”  at the top of the page, under the alphabetical listing by topics for “Assistance for Genealogy”, “German (Germanic) Ancestors”, and “Translations and Languages in Genealogy”.

One of those resources is Amy Koppe, who I just got an email from.   I have no experience with her work, but offer her information as another resource to explore.

Happy genealogy searching!

German translator & German genealogy researcher:
Amy Koppe
Dayton, OH and starting in December 2019, Naila, Germany
Degrees in German (4.0 GPA) & International Studies; master’s degree in education.  Our family has lived in US & Germany. Speaks German & English at home.  Family ties to Thuringia (Thueringen), Bavaria (Bayern) & Schleswig-Holstein, with a wide variety of dialects & cultural experiences.  Will translate historical & modern documents in typeset or in script; both synopses & word-for-word translations.  Beginning in January 2020,  will do in-country research (see my website for more information).

German Interest Group GIG Workshop Saturday July 20, 2019 Janesville WI

German Interest Group GIG Workshop                    Saturday July 20, 2019                                       Janesville WI

Vicki’s Note – Sorry for the late notice.  Here is another conference/workshop close by, inexpensive, and good speakers!

Click on this link to download a copy of the Workshop flyer and Registration form – 

Green County Genealogical Society (GCGS) Workshop Saturday, September 7, 2019 – Monroe WI


Green County Genealogical Society (GCGS) Workshop Saturday, September 7, 2019 – Monroe WI


Vicki’s Note – Another Conference/workshop close by, inexpensive, and good speakers. Click on the registration form here –  GCGS Workshop Brochure 2019 (1) :

Green County Genealogical Society workshop to be held on Saturday, September 7.

Morning sessions feature Lori Bessler, Wisconsin Historical Society Reference Librarian, presenting “Organizing & Analyzing Your Research” and “Meet Mrs. George H. James: Writing a Biographical Sketch.”

Afternoon sessions include discussions on “Publishing Ideas and Costs” (Sharon Mitchell) and “Using Social Media, Blogs, Etc” (Ginny Gerber).

Lunch is guaranteed for those who register by the early bird deadline of August 23. The workshop registration fee is $25 before August 23 and $30 after.

Details on the sessions, lunch, directions, and online registration with credit card payment are on the GCGS website


Rock County Genealogical Society (RCGS) 2019 Scholarship* Conference – Saturday September 14

Rock County Genealogical Society (RCGS) 2019 Scholarship* Conference – Saturday September 14


Vicki’s note – *”All registration fees from this RCGS’s 2nd annual Scholarship Conference fund goes for a 2020 Rock County High School Senior.”  A nice one-day conference nearby, affordable, and for a good cause!  Register by returning form by September 1, 2019.

Click on these 2 links to PDFs for more information and to register:

2019 RCGS Scholarship Conference Poster



Veteran Records Destroyed by Fire in 1973

21 June 2019, updated 17Jul2019

Vicki’s note – some information that I ran across today while trying to help my veteran sister by wading through the quagmire bureaucracy that is the Veteran Affairs:

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Veteran Records Destroyed by Fire in 1973

On July 12, 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis destroyed records held for Veterans who were discharged from the Army and Air Force.

Records Held for Army Veterans

The fire destroyed 80 percent of the records held for Veterans who were discharged from the Army between November 1, 1912 and January 1, 1960.

Exceptions:  Records for retirees and reservists who were alive on July 12, 1973, were not involved in the fire.

Records Held for Air Force Veterans

The fire destroyed 75 percent of the records held for Veterans who were discharged from the Air Force between September 25, 1947 and January 1, 1964 with surnames beginning with Hubbard and running through the end of the alphabet.

Reconstructing Your Records

If your records were destroyed in the fire, there is a specific request that we submit to the NPRC for any additional service records.  This request provides information that allows the NPRC to research for other types of documents.  The NPRC can attempt to reconstruct portions of the service treatment records from the Surgeon General’s Office using unit records and morning reports, and by looking at extracts from military hospital admission records provided by the Surgeon General.


Updated 17Jul2019:

Towards Reconstruction:

As part of the reconstruction effort, the NPRC established a “B” registry file (or Burned File) to index the 6.5 million recovered records. So too, the NPRC established a separate temperature controlled “B” file area to protect and safeguard the damaged records. Later, in April 1974, the NPRC established the “R” registry file (or Reconstructed File) to further assist with reconstruction efforts. Since then, staffers have placed all newly reconstructed records into the “R” registry file and stored them in an area separate from the “B,” or burned, files.

In the months following the fire, the NPRC initiated several new records recovery and reconstruction efforts, including the establishment of a new branch to deal with damaged records issues. As many military personnel records had been partially or completely destroyed by the fire, the new branch’s central mission was to reconstruct records for those requesting service information from the NPRC. While some staffers sought to recover such information from documents and alternate sources outside of the NPRC, others searched through the center’s organizational files for records to supplement the destroyed OMPFs.

These alternate sources have played a vital role in the NPRC’s efforts to reconstruct service files. Some of the more important records used by the NPRC to supplement damage files include: Veterans Administration (VA) claims files, individual state records, Multiple Name Pay Vouchers (MPV) from the Adjutant General’s Office, Selective Service System (SSS) registration records, pay records from the Government Accounting Office (GAO), as well as medical records from military hospitals, entrance and separation x-rays and organizational records. Many work hours were spent making these sources usable. Efforts included: the transfer of records to the NPRC, screening projects and securing access to VA computer records.

In terms of loss to the cultural heritage of our nation, the 1973 NPRC Fire was an unparalleled disaster. In the aftermath of the blaze, recovery and reconstruction effort took place at an unprecedented level. Thanks to such recovery efforts and the use of alternate sources to reconstruct files, today’s NPRC is able to continue its primary mission of serving our country’s military and civil servants.

Stateline Genealogy Club, LLC

Stateline Genealogy Club, LLC

June 7, 2019

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

Screenshot_2019-05-16 Photos - Google Photos

I retired as a Reference Librarian in March, and wanted to continue my work helping people with genealogy and stateline Wisconsin/Illinois local history.  It is important to me that I am able to continue the Stateline Genealogy Club, meeting at the Beloit Public Library that I founded in 2012.

Below is information about the  new genealogy business I formed.  It is from my new Stateline Genealogy Club, LLC brochure that I just created.  ( The actual brochure is not fuzzy like the first snipped/pasted/enlarged version on the BLOG.  I added the brochure in a second clearer, but smaller font as well.)  I can email the brochure to you.

Beloit Public Library has contracted with me to continue organizing, leading, and presenting the monthly (newly named) “Beloit Public Library Genealogy Classes” there.

I will see you at the Library for the June 14 program –

“Crossing the Border, French Canadian Ancestors”, by speaker George Findlen. The steps, resources & aids that one needs to successfully identify the parents of an immigrant who settled in the U.S. from Quebec,

and every second Friday of the month!  The patent/brand “Stateline Genealogy Club”  and logo now belong to me.

I continue to do presentations at various stateline Libraries, and Historical/Genealogical Societies, etc. –  (see tab above “Presentations by Vicki” for the calendar).  I will let you know of other libraries in the area that contract with me for more regular programs.

My work searching an individual’s family genealogy will be limited, as I will concentrate on consultation with teaching/helping people who are researching their own history, doing local presentations, contracting with Libraries, and writing this BLOG.  (As you know, it takes a lot of time to “do” genealogy.)

Most questions about specific Beloit, Wisconsin family/local history questions should be answered by phoning the Beloit Public Library directly at (608) 364-2905.   I have done some basic genealogy training with the staff, and will be doing more training.

Only contact me if more detailed or extensive research is needed.  I will be at the Beloit Public Library after the monthly programs for 1 hour, if someone wants to briefly get help from me in person without paying me a fee.

It is not as easy now that I am not working at the Library 40 hours a week as the “Resident Librarian Genealogist”.  My Stateline Genealogy Club, LLC company will be part-time as I want time to do the many hobbies I enjoy, including researching my own family history!










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