Category Archives: Vicki RUTHE HAHN – Stateline Genealogist

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:

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!










June 2019 Stateline Genealogy Club – Two Programs and Vicki Ruthe Hahn will be Back!

June 2019 Stateline Genealogy Club – Two Programs and

Vicki Ruthe Hahn will be Back!


15 May 2019

I retired from the Beloit Public Library in March, and I am forming a personal Genealogy business. More information later.

Screenshot_2019-05-16 Photos - Google Photos

The Staff gave me a fabulous farewell celebration with:

PhotoELF Edits: 2019:03:21 --- Resized

Lots of the best cake I ever ate (and I am a pie person) – cake (made with TLC by Debbie Haun) and meal catered by The Blender at the Beloit Public Library.


PhotoELF Edits: 2019:03:22 --- Resized

Lots of praise for 26 years worth of a job well done.  (Even a video from my former supervisor!)

IMG_9848 (2)

PhotoELF Edits: 2019:03:21 --- Resized

Lots of memories.

PhotoELF Edits: 2019:03:18 --- Resized

And lots of camaraderie and kind words from about 60 City employees, Library staff and trustees, former employees, volunteers, friends, and well-wishing library patrons who were able to attend.  Several emails from those who couldn’t make it.

It was a lot of fun.  I will miss them all, and I’m not even sharing all the photos of me hugging, cause I am crying in most of them.

But it was time to retire, for many reasons.

Thanks for letting me do my ideal career.  I grew up wanting to work at a job where I could be a detective, read, write, think, teach, and help people.  It was called “Librarian”, especially “Reference Librarian”, and as I discovered (continuing) “Local Historian” and “Genealogist”.

I have not been attending the Stateline Genealogy Club, or been at the Library.  I live in a different community, but adopted Beloit WI 26 years ago.  (See if you can see the subtle joke I did with this statement.)


Gosh, it sure takes a lot of paperwork to retire.

My extended family think it is great to expand the amount of time that I used to help them while working.  Lots of need lately, so I am looking forward to having genealogy fun with like-minded people.


And I will see you at these two events soon.

June 14 “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.

June 28, 2019 – Bonus 2nd Friday Tour & Research at WHS Wisconsin Historical Society.  Van Galder Coach Bus So Beloit IL FastMart/McDonalds 8 a.m. boarding to Madison WI/UW Campus Langdon/Park.  Return early evening.

Prince Hall Masonic Lodge Picture Research – African American, Beloit, Wisconsin

Prince Hall Masonic Lodge Picture Research-

African American, Beloit, Wisconsin

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

15 May 2019

I was very happy and honored to be given the photograph below (as the Beloit Public Library genealogist and historian), so that it could be preserved and more people could see it.  After researching the photograph, I donated both the photo and the research to the BHS Beloit Historical Society, Beloit Wisconsin to fulfill their request for more Beloit African American photographs and artifacts.
“…your gift (photo) to the BHS…wow! what a piece of history for us to have! Thank you!”
That photograph has the best chance of being preserved and properly displayed at BHS, (especially after it’s rough physical history – story below) .
Prince Hall Photo panoramic stitch1925 Prince Hall Masonic Lodge African American Convention in Milwaukee Wisconsin
I had to scan the 36 x 8 photograph (and back) in 2 sections on the Library photocopier (free for the public).  The panoramic picture above is after I “stitched” the 2 overlapping photographs/scans into one on my computer.  I used the free Microsoft App Image Composite Editor  (more information and download here)
There is an initiative to gather and to archive more materials from Beloit families related to the Black Great Migration to Beloit 1910-1970, and the history of the black community in BeloitBeloit College students under Professor Beatrice McKenzie and the Beloit Historical Society are collaborating to find items that can be digitally photographed and returned.
There was a History Harvest Community Collection event on March 22, 2019 at New Zion Baptist Church Beloit, Wisconsin.  Attendees shared letters, photos, objects, and/or stories of their own or their family member’s migration from the South to work in Beloit’s factoriesStudents digitally captured the artifacts that community members brought to the harvest and are making a digital exhibit that will be housed on the Beloit College and Beloit Historical Society websites.
The 1925 Prince Hall Masonic Lodge African American Convention in Milwaukee Wisconsin photo (copy) and research will also be filed in the Beloit Public Library Local History Collection Pamphlet File under – GEN – Organizations and Clubs (The Prince Hall Masonic W.B. Kennedy Lodge No. 106 (later #3)
Here is the story of that photograph, which was ironically found in a Beloit African American church!:

Beloit African American Organization Convention Photograph

May 9, 2018

“This photograph comes from the estate of Richard J Walsh, delivered by his trustee and sister Bridget Walsh (to Beloit Public Library.)

Richard found the photo in the rubble of a church being torn down, the old Emmanuel Baptist Church, at Athletic and E. Grand in Beloit.  The photo had slid down a wall.

James Caldwell copied this photo when his family visited our farm (Walsh Family Farm, was Walsh Brothers Farm).  His wife Cheryl Johnson was related to the Ben Gordon family, who lived and worked on our farm for decades.  The Gordon’s had moved here from Alabama.”  Bridget Walsh

Further notes:

– Ben Gordon’s son Jerry Gordon, California, has done his family’s genealogy, per Bridget Walsh.  The Walsh children played with the Gordon children on the farm.

Bridget Walsh identified Ben in the photographs from the Beloit Oral History Project by Louis Koch – African American Up North – Fairbanks Flats (1976).  (Note – the photograph numbers on the on-line Index don’t seem to match the numbers on the photographs now.) Photographs are available world-wide on-line on the Beloit Public Library homepage , and in two Blue notebooks in the Library Local History Collection:

Shelf Location
Shelf Number
Beloit Public Library Genealogy GEN 977.588 K811 V.1
Beloit Public Library Genealogy GEN 977.588 K881 V.2

Bridget Walsh told me the story of  Ben Gordon’s first wife Etta May.  Etta May died from a chicken scratch infection that the doctor mis-treated. .  They lived (in a house provided by) and worked on Walsh Brothers Farm.  Ben moved to Fairbanks Flats and worked for Fairbanks Morse after Etta May died.  He remarried later.


The 134 photo caption says, “Ben Gordon holding photograph of himself & his first wife from Ross Hill 1921” (near Houston, Mississippi)

– On the back of the panoramic 1925 Prince Hall Masonic Lodge African American Convention in Milwaukee Wisconsin photo is written in pencil – an O symbol with 2 lines through it, the number “380”and “Mr. Creighton”. (Hint – look at the back of historic photographs for clues to their origin or identification.)

Prince Hall Photo back rotated

-The Prince Hall Masonic W.B. Kennedy Lodge No. 106 (later #3) Beloit Wisconsin was chartered by the Grand Lodge in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 1, 1925.  Maybe the 1925 Prince Hall Masonic Lodge African American Convention photograph documents the men that attended that charter ceremony.  Bridget mentioned that she had been told that there were men from several states at this convention.

– Beloit Oral History Project by Louis Koch – African American Up North – Fairbanks Flats (1976) photographs show a similar (later?) Beloit African American Organization photograph with fancier aprons and vestments in photograph 110.

110lThe caption is “Odd Fellows Lodge, including Revered Ogiss Dillon; ca 1940. (AB) This looks like Prince Hall Masonic Organization (see the aprons & white gloves), rather than Odd Fellows, added by K. Simmons 08-01-2006”

I looked at both the 1925 and the 1940 photos to see if I could see any men that were the same, but could not see any resemblances.  The clothing for each year does match the fashion for that year.  (Hint – look at people’s eyes, ears, noses, foreheads, other facial features, and stances to see the same person of a different age.)

How about this for a little known fact? – “In March, 1775, Prince Hall and fourteen other free Negroes of Boston Massachusetts were made Master Masons in an Army Lodge attached to one of General Gage’s regiments, then stationed near Boston.”  (This was the beginning of of the Masonic organization that led to the Beloit Chapter.)”   and “

-James Caldwell may have used the panoramic Organization Convention photograph in their DVD.  “Through their eyes: the history of African Americans in Beloit, WI from 1836 – 1970”, [videorecording (DVD)] Author Caldwell, Jim. Caldwell, Cheryl. Harris, Paulette Ivy. Lamont, Tony.  Publisher Jim and Cheryl Caldwell Foundation, Publication Date 2011; Shelf Location – Beloit Public Library     Non-fiction DVD 977.588 THROUGH


Oakwood Cemetery, Waukegan Illinois 24th Cemetery Walk 2018

Oakwood Cemetery, Waukegan Illinois

24th Cemetery Walk 2018

13 Jan 2019

Vicki’s note – Thanks to Ron Zarnick for sharing this Facebook video (see below.)

  Waukegan Illinois also has an Oakwood Cemetery.   See connections to the Waukegan Oakwood Cemetery grave site map, and a video of the Waukegan Historical Society 2015 Cemetery Walk including Ray Bradbury.  Read more about the history of Waukegan Illinois.

I also updated the BLOG “Genealogy Links and Helps” tab with links under ”

Vital Records – Birth, Death, Marriage (see also States; Countries by name): Death Certificates:

with links to databases that show what disease/reason the “cause of death” number (120 below) refers to, and a translation of historic/current medical terms for diseases:

See the source image

For some reason, one of my most popular postings on this BLOG is the “Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago Illinois”.

The Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library did the tour of Oakwood Cemetery in Beloit WI in August 2018.  See BLOG posting “Stateline Travelers Part 10 – Visiting the Beloit Wisconsin Pioneers at Oakwood Cemetery Tour; Cemetery Clues .

We will also have the Program November 8, 2019 – “Stateline Travelers – Chicago Gangsters Connections to Northern Illinois & Wisconsin”, by (me) speaker Vicki Ruthe Hahn. I will get more information on this video for as I create that program.  🙂

See complete list of The Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library 2019 programs. (Also available on the BLOG tab at the top.)

8 sideways

Waukegan Illinois 24th Oakwood Cemetery Walk 2018, is called “Typical Illinois.” The actors tell us stories of Chicago Gangsters involvement in Waukegan, an Illinois Governor on trial, a writer of the Illinois Constitution, a visit from the White Sox & Cubs and more.

Click here to watch the one hour video tour.

2019 Programs for Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library


Hot off the presses.  These are the programs for 2019.  I am excited to learn more at these programs next year.

There will be a 2019 Programs tab on  the BLOG in 2019 when I move the 2018 programs to the “Previous Programs” tag.  I will have copies printed as bookmarks available soon at the Library, and next week at the December 14 Program:

December 14, 2018 – “Laurence Ousley of the Beloit Public Library – Researching and Writing an African-American Family Life Story”, by Vicki Ruthe Hahn 

 I hope to see you there.       


2019 Programs for Stateline Genealogy Club

@ Beloit Public Library

605 Eclipse BLVD, Beloit WI 53511                                  

2nd Fridays of the month 10 a.m. – noon.

All are welcome. Free resources and support to those learning or doing research on their family history.

BLOG“” for Contact Information, Links & Helps

January 11 – “NEHGS New England Historic Genealogical Society – ‘Get the Most from”, Legacy Family Tree webinar by Claire Vail. In Classroom.

February 8 –”Using Maps in Genealogy”, various webinars from BYU:

Understanding Maps, Land Ownership Maps, Locating Ancestors from Maps and Gazetteers, Sanborn Maps, U.S. Land Records

March 8 – “You Use WHAT for Genealogy? Wonderful Uses for Unusual Tools” Legacy Family Tree webinar by Thomas MacEntee – How to Use Google, Copyright, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Blogging, Dropbox, Social Media for genealogy.

April 12 – “Research Your Swedish Heritage in Living Color Using ArkivDigital”, by speaker Kathy Meade from  Swedish Church Records and other Historical Records online.  In Classroom.

May 10 “Genealogy Clues Found in Obituaries and Funeral Home Records”, by speaker Jarod Williams, , Rosman Funeral Home (rescheduled from 2018.) In Classroom

June 14 “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.

June 28, 2019 – Bonus 2nd Friday Tour & Research at WHS Wisconsin Historical Society.  Van Galder Coach Bus So Beloit IL FastMart/McDonalds 8 a.m. boarding to Madison WI/UW Campus Langdon/Park.  Return early evening.

July 12 “Finding the Genealogy of Houses, and Those that Lived In Them” by speaker Vicki Ruthe Hahn

August 9 “An Introduction to WikiTree, the Free Global Family Tree” by speaker Marty Acks.    A community of genealogists growing an accurate single family tree using DNA & traditional genealogical sources.

September 13 – “NARA; Introduction to Genealogy at the National Archives and Records Administration” on-line Slideshow by Claire Kluskens (presented by Vicki Ruthe Hahn)

October 11 – “Reminiscing – Life Writing Your Story for Posterity to Share with Your Family”, by speaker Vicki Ruthe Hahn. Hands-on exercises & suggestions on how to reflect your own life through words, photos, and mapping.  Bring a photo or picture from your past that you want to write about.   Part 2 -“Soda Fountains to Robots”, amusing stories and vignettes of local personalities in local family owned pharmacies with author Connie Sveum.  Copies of her book will be available for purchase and signing.

November 8 – “Stateline Travelers – Chicago Gangsters Connections to Northern Illinois & Wisconsin”, by speaker Vicki Ruthe Hahn

December 13 – “Lineage Groups – Proofs for DAR, SAR, Colonial Dames, Etc.”  A group presentation by local experts, and using ->search>Wiki> lineage societies


Haunted and Historic Stateline – Genealogy of Haunted Houses


Haunted and Historic Stateline –

Genealogy of Haunted Houses


By Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS – self described Stateline Genealogy Sorter

Beloit Public Library hosted a Halloween Program October 29, 2018 with 54 attending.  I don’t even know how I have been assigned to host these programs every year, but it has given me insight into some angles of genealogy that I never considered before the last few years.  I really don’t like this aspect of Halloween, but attending and hosting the programs has been interesting.  You may have read my companion posting “Other Travelers – Part 1 – Genealogy Psychic Abilities and Me. Do Folks with Psychic Abilities Have an Easier Time Doing Genealogy?”

This year,  paranormal investigator and local historian Kathi Kresol, and spirit medium Sara Bowker joined us for local ghost stories:

2018 Oct 29 Haunted & Historic Stateline Sara Bowker, Vicki Hahn, Kathi Kresol

Sara Bowker, Vicki Ruthe Hahn, and Kathi Kresol

2018 Oct 29 Haunted & Historic Stateline Sara Bowker & Fans

Sara Bowker and some of her fans.


Kathi has written some books about the topic which we have at the Beloit Public Library to check out:

Cover image for Haunted Rockford, Illinois

133.109773 KRESOL

Cover image for Murder & mayhem in Rockford, Illinois
977.331 KRESOL

Kathi and Sara talked about many things that go bump in the night!  They explained that spiritual is tied to the land, and that Native American Indians had a lifestyle that honored that.  Spirits thus are found near Indian Mounds.  Other geographical features that influence the attraction of spirits are running water, and limestone.  Now, can you say “Rockton IL, Rockford IL, and Beloit WI?

Fear and charged emotions can feed spirits strong attraction to a location.  Historic war re-enactments can trigger spirits activity as well.  They mentioned that even a piece of antique furniture from a troubled situation, or a rock from Alcatraz Island Prison can be haunted.
Paranormal research groups have studied the Stephen Mack house in Macktown (Pecatonic) IL, Tinker Swiss Cottage in Rockford IL, and Hanchett-Bartlett Homestead (an 1857 Victorian farmstead house) in Beloit WI.  All three have been tested as having paranormal activity, and ghosts.
A trio of ghosts – presumed to be Stephen Mack, his wife Honnenegah, and their son who died young, have been sighted walking together by the Macktown house in the cemetery where they are buried.  Several young child ghosts have been sighted at the Beloit Homestead – one even having a mischievous personality that matches one of the families son who died early.
These ideas may spark some interesting insights on doing genealogical research on a house.  Even if you you are not “sensitive” to the presence of spirits, you may want to be aware that there are people who do feel that.
I am not, but even I could feel a profound sadness and something strongly while visiting the Battleground of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  So many thousands of men killed in War there in three days of battles.
At any rate, this is just one very small angle of “How to do the Genealogy of a House”, which will be the subject of the program  that I am researching for the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library to present on December 13, 2019.  Be looking for the complete list of 2019 Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library Programs soon!

StatelineGenealogyClub. BLOG BLOG

25 Nov 2018

By Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter (a self-designated description of what I do!)

12statelinegenealogyclublogo-lg-3.jpgFour and 1/2 years ago I created the Blog “”.  The Beloit Public Library management assigned this to me as one of my work duties June 15, 2014.   It was a way for me to inform the people that come to the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library, (which I founded April 13, 2012), and to connect with the wider genealogy population in the Illinois Wisconsin stateline area to let them know about the great genealogy program and resources that the Library has.  Three supervisors had me continue this BLOG.

(Anyone who comes to the Stateline Genealogy Club is a “member”.  There is no cost or obligation.  The Library pays me to facilitate their genealogy program.)

It was decided that I communicate this as a BLOG rather than as a Facebook page.  It was certainly an interesting learning experience to create a BLOG.  My first trial version was using a GOOGLE BLOG, but it was too frustrating to have to incorporate their standard (at that time) of concentric “circles of friends”.  This is my second “Theme” using  I will continue to improve the layout and usability of this BLOG as I have time to learn even more options.

However, that is the problem.  I will have less time to work on the BLOG for awhile.  (Some of my family responsibilities have taken a lot of my time, but will be the material for lots of BLOG postings in the future.)  And:

Recently new Beloit Public Library management has decided that, “going forward”, doing this BLOG will no longer be one of my work duties under a new service model .  I will not be able to work on my BLOG during work hours.

This BLOG has become important to many people in the Stateline Genealogy Club, and to others.  So I have decided to volunteer my own time to continue writing this””  BLOG.

I continue to be assigned to oversee the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library, and the overall Local History/Genealogy Program, collections, Library microfilm requests, and volunteers at the Library.  So I will still be able to assist you in the Library, or you can contact me through the Library -“” for those.

The “” homepage has a link to the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library through a link to this BLOG.  Click on “Resources”, then:

Stateline Genealogy Club

Stateline Genealogy Club offers resources and support to those doing research on their genealogy. Programs are held regularly on the second Friday of each month from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.


The surprise is how widespread this BLOG is now viewed.  I receive posting ideas from many genealogy and history sources – other’s online  BLOGS, links to government sites, emails from Club members, newspaper clippings given to me, news reports, family suggestions and experiences, etc.   I always source my material and give full credit and links back to other’s work.

Since 2014, I have posted 667 postings, there have been 21,341 views, and 14,209 visitors.  There are 69 “followers”, 15 Bloggers, and 54 email.

The BLOG became much more helpful and popular after I added a tab (“Page”) in 2016? for “Genealogy Links and Helps”.   You can click on the Genealogy Links and Helps tab at the top of the BLOG.  The links are organized by topic.  I started that Page as a way for me to gather all of the many useful on-line genealogy links (and forms) into one place for myself, and realized it would help all of you too.  I continue to add (mostly free) links there frequently.

The value of those links is that, even though I was not able to post as many times this year as in the past three, the views have increased.  There were 1,018 in October 2018.  That lets me know that I am on the right track.

Some email followers have discovered that they miss the links on that tab by only relying on reading the emails they get when I post.  It helps to go to the actual BLOG  once in awhile.  One member told me, “Oh, I am just going to live on this (Genealogy Links and Helps) Page!”

The BLOG has been recognized by Cyndi’ as a Wisconsin Genealogy resource, by who contacted me to ask if I would add their military link.  My favorite is an after-school group of students (from I don’t know where!)

“History at Home: A Guide to Genealogy” –  a Special Site Shared with Us by the After-School Students doing a Family Tree Project

who found my site while doing a genealogy project and asked if I would let them use the BLOG, and also asked me to share the genealogy links project (that they had gathered) with you –  So much fun to see their (young) enthusiasm for a hobby we all enjoy and share! BLOG has proven to be a boon to many genealogists throughout the world.  At last count, people from 122 countries have viewed the StatelineGenealogyClub BLOG.  Granted, some of those are only one or two views, and some may have been spam/hacking attempts, but I am still amazed at the variety on the list.  (P.S. – does a great job filtering out any problems, so no worries for you or me.)

I think it goes back to “genealogy is the most popular hobby in the United States, until the summer, when the most popular hobby is gardening.”  The same seems to be true of the world.  It is due to our innate curiosity is to learn more about ourselves and where our families came from.

I am destined to specialize in being the generalist genealogist, rather than specialize in any one region/topic.  So I know a little about a lot of things.

My ancestry is American – Scottish, Irish, Welsh, English, German, French, and (by way of DNA testing) Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal).  My children have the addition of at least Bohemian and Native American Indian.

I received my college degree in anthropology with a history minor, my Masters Degree in Library Science, and have worked in almost every role in public libraries – Page (book shelver), Assistant Clerk, Children’s Librarian, Head of Circulation Librarian, Library Director; as well as stints doing cataloging, academic and specialized libraries.  March, 2019 will mark my 26th year working at Beloit Public Library, WI.  I also substitute taught for two years – and, of course, any subject, any grade.

Communities from central western Illinois to southwest Wisconsin have been my home, and I enjoy traveling and learning the local history of wherever I am.

This BLOG has also sparked another way for me  to reach out to let the stateline community know about the Genealogy program at the Beloit Public Library.  My postings on local topics have caught the attention of several organizations in the Illinois Wisconsin stateline area.  I have been giving genealogy presentations at libraries and genealogy/history societies in the area for the last 2 years.

The BLOG statistics jump each time that I do a Genealogy Club or an outreach presentation because I always refer to this BLOG as a great bibliographic genealogy resource.  The highest stats in one day was the 72 views by 50 visitors on November 10, 2018.

I create 2 – 4 new programs each year that I also present at the Stateline Genealogy Club.  I will be adding another tab at the top of this BLOG about my “Genealogy Presentations” so that you can learn more about their content, reception, and my scheduled events.  The best on-going way  to contact me about presentations, questions about my BLOG, and general genealogy questions is at my BLOG email –

I invite you to continue sharing my genealogy-related explorations as I follow my innate curiosity and quest for learning.  Let me know if there is anything about the BLOG that can improve it.  Happy sleuthing.

Finnish & other Surname Traditions

Finnish & other Surname Traditions

19 Nov 2018

Vicki’s Note – article from “The Origin and Meaning of Finnish Surnames”.  This is further clarification about surnames for those who have heard my talk on “Research Your Overseas Ancestors Without Going ‘Across the Pond”.

I learned more details about about Finnish Surnames in the article.  One can tell a Finnish surname because, “Most Finnish patronymic surnames ended in “nen” or “la,” or began with “Koski,” “Niemi,” or “Saari,…”

Like other Scandinavian patronymic surnames, there is a suffix that indicates “son of” = “The “nen” ending of a Finnish surname can mean “son of,” but is usually a descriptive of the place where a family lived.”

There was no mention of a suffix for “daughter of” in the article.  ” “La” surnames are almost always place names, describing the place where a family lived or from where an individual originated”.

But like other Scandinavian countries, there is a place name, or farm name of where the family lived.  A family may have kept their original farm name as their surname, even if they moved, or they may have changed their farm name to reflect their new location.

“While patronymic surnames were used in Finland for centuries, not every family adopted the practice, and the official adoption of hereditary surnames did not take place in Finland until the period between 1850 and 1921.”

One cannot rely on patronymic names as a surname in Scandinavian countries.  Each generation of sons (or daughters) will be named after their father.  The next generation does not carry the name of their paternal grandfather, but that of their own father.

Hint – Use the Scandinavian person’s BirthFarmName as a surname when filling out your genealogy software/family tree, even if their FarmName changes later in life.  Their patronymic name is specific to that individual (and his father) not his family.  The person’s first name will not help, although you may be lucky enough to receive a family tree of  only the first names of many generations from a cousin in Scandinavia whose family kept track in the family bible as it happened.

Welsh Surnames:

For example – the Welsh also followed a patronymic tradition.  In my family, I can follow my “John” branch once they immigrated to the United States, and kept the patronymic name as a surname through generations. It gets a little trickier researching back in Wales. 

Griffith John – 6th Great Grandfather

Birth 10 OCT 1683 Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Death 29 JUNE 1778 Uwchlan Twp, Chester, Pennsylvania, USA

His father was:


John  Phillip

John Phillip 7th Great Grandfather

Birth 1660 Haverford, Pembrokeshire, Wales,

Death 5 JAN 1737 London, Middlesex, England


and John Phillip’s father was:

Sir Erasmus Baronet Picton Philipps


Sir Erasmus Baronet Picton Philipps

Birth 1623 Picton Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Death 18 JAN 1697 Wales


John Jones

But, we should expect my Welsh 8th Great Grandfather to be

Phillip HisFather’sFirstName.


So either I have another cool castle in my heritage, or a regular guy, or (more likely) I have some genealogy sleuthing to do to find him.  The suggestions for the 2 “or” names above are suggested by other’s family trees.  I will be looking further. 

Hint – don’t just take other’s family trees as accurate.  Use their sources to research for your own conclusions; unless their sources are other family trees!  Just use those as hints.

(What a happy coincidence that I had a Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog.  Or was that choice in my blood?)

German Surnames:

Hint – (a suggestion about German Surname genealogy from a member of the audience) – The Nazi German government required an ancestry family tree back 7 generations for a  man to be one of the upper rank of German Officers.


Article from

8 sideways

The Origin and Meaning of

Finnish Surnames

“While technically considered a part of Scandinavia, Finland has a unique language and surname traditions all its own that set it apart from its neighbors in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. In fact, Finland spent a long time as a part of Sweden. While it was its own nation from earliest recorded times to the Middle Ages, it was conquered by the Swedes in the 12th and 13th centuries A.D. as part of the overall Crusade movement. This brought Finland into the world of the Catholic Church. Finnish gradually became the language of the peasantry, while Swedish was used by the nobility and the church.

Finland was conquered by Russia in 1809, and declared itself independent in 1917, after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. This was the first time Finland had been an independent country in at least 700 years, yet the original Finnish language from those ancient, pre-Sweden times still survived. It is the language that was used to create Finnish surnames.

Like other European and Scandinavian countries, the most common type of surname in Finland was the patronymic, with a person taking on a surname based on the first name of their father. However, the Finnish language is very different from other European languages, including English, and those who emigrated from Finland often found that people of other nations simply couldn’t pronounce their surnames as they were meant to be pronounced in the native language. Since many people from Finland left the country during the Bolshevik revolution, having surnames that conformed to the local languages of the places they went was important to them, as they wanted safety for their families, and this meant being accepted in the nations they went to.

Upon leaving Finland, some Finnish immigrants abandoned their traditional surnames completely, while others changed them to Swedish versions. Others adapted their surnames to the local culture while still maintaining the Finnish distinction of their names, while others refused to change anything about their surname. That is why there is such a variety of Finnish surnames in the world today. It all depended on what those who left the country did with their surname in their new country….”


Read the rest of the article by clicking here.


Stateline Travelers Part 10 – Visiting the Beloit Wisconsin Pioneers at Oakwood Cemetery Tour; Cemetery Clues

Visiting the Beloit Wisconsin Pioneers

at Oakwood Cemetery Tour, Cemetery Clues

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

August 21, 2018

(Photographs by Vicki Ruthe Hahn):

There are many clues on the tombstones in a cemetery.  Join us on a tour as I point them out.

Oakwood Cemetery entrance

“The original City Cemetery was located in what is now known as Horace White Park. It was relocated to the present Oakwood Location in 1840. Oakwood is located at 1221 Clary Street and sits on 28 acres.

The chapel at Oakwood was erected in 1913 near the Clary street entrance.  The chapel was used for committal services for many years and finally as the Cemetery office until the mid-1970’s, when operations were moved to the Eastlawn Facility.”

Oakwood Cemetery Chapel

We met at the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel.

In early days, if a person died in the winter, their body was slid down from the outside of the Chapel to a cellar to wait for the ground to thaw for burial.

Oakwood Cemetery Bob Pokorney

Robert Pokorney II, Cemetery Coordinator, did a very comprehensive tour at Oakwood for the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library on May 25, 2018!  (In the background – Cemetery Volunteer Janet Wagner holds her dog Bette Davis – another volunteer! )

John Kalkirtz also told us a lot about Beloit Pioneers and Oakwood Cemetery history.

Oakwood Cemetery John KalkirtzOakwood Cemetery walking


A fitting headstone – tribute to Rebecca the Deer,  another animal friend of the Cemetery, who visited there often:

Oakwood Cemetery Rebecca Deer


Find Oakwood Cemetery and Eastlawn Cemetery records about individuals, plots, and maps on-line at the City of Beloit website.  Click here for links to them.

More than one individual in a family may be represented/entombed within a mausoleum.  Look for their names and dates on the outside decor, on a plaque by the door (inside or outside), or in the Cemetery Records.


Veterans from a specific war may be buried together in one designated area, or as an individual with their family.  Pictured is the Civil War Monument with associated headstones.

Oakwood Cemetery Civil War


Oakwood Cemetery Annie McLenegan

I also enjoyed Janet Wagner’s view of Oakwood, and her thank-you gift of a card and a CD of photographs she took during our tour.  Janet is slowly scanning and transcribing a scrapbook by Annie McLenegan who documented the history of the Oakwood Cemetery.  Some important facts are only known from her recordings.  This will eventually be put on-line as well.  Click here for a link to the (partial) posting.  Here are some quotes:

Oakwood Cemetery Anne McLenegan book

Oakwood Cemetery Annie McLenegan book 3

Oakwood Cemetery Anne McLenegan book 2

Oakwood Cemetery Crane

Pictured is another early Beloit settler  headstone – Eleazar Crane, died June 14, 1839.  Notice the broken headstone to the right (and in photo below).  Oakwood staff and volunteers work on repairing and resetting those stones. The raised concrete “fence with tree stump decor, to the right, was higher in previous years.  The ground keeps rising.


Oakwood Cemetery in ground headstones Some headstones are embedded into the ground (to the left)  and cannot be lifted without ruining them.  The ground can disintegrate the stone.  Sometimes they can be rested on boards to get them off the ground.

Click here for  a link to the complete BILL BOLGRIEN’S OAKWOOD CEMETERY HISTORY TOUR,  and see some quotes from it below:

Oakwood Cemetery tour Bill Bolgrien 1

Oakwood Cemetery tour Bill Bolgrien 2

(Hint – following the clues of his age and date of death “dod”, Charles Johnson probably served as a Major in the War of 1812; he would have been age 26 in that war.)

Oakwood Cemetery tour Bill Bolgrien 3

Oakwood Cemetery tour Bill Bolgrien 4

Oakwood Cemetery Titanic


Oakwood Cemetery Titanic Wirtz

One of the famous burials is that of Titanic drowning victim Albert Wirz, who had been on his way to visit his Beloit Aunt and Uncle.


Oakwood Cemetery - Beloit Booth Family

And what is the Booth family doing in Beloit?  Are they related to the pioneer Booths that helped settle the Troy, WI (about 40 miles away)  family that I am studying? This just indicates the many connections found among the scarce early settlers of the stateline communities from Milwaukee, Troy, Madison, Janesville, and Beloit Wisconsin AND Chicago, Meacham Grove, Rockford, Rockton, Roscoe, Macktown, and Galena Illinois.

By the way, Before taking a photograph, please use a soft brush to whisk away grass, dirt, moss, and lichen that get/grow on a headstone.

Here are links on how to safely clean headstones and effectively  photograph   them.  It helps to use photo editing to make the letters and numbers more readable.  Read the “Headstone Inscription Discovery” Posting to see an example.  Search on “headstones” for many other Postings about these topics.  Also look on the BLOG tab above for “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps” for many helpful links on these, and more topics.


Oakwood Cemetery Chapin

Hint – if you are very lucky, the headstone can even tell you where the person was born pob (Hartford, Connecticut), and where he died pod.

Our 4th Wednesday Book Discussion at Beloit Public Library on August 22 at 7 p.m. is on a book about early Beloit settlers,  “Pioneer Beloit” by Arthur l Luebke.


There are many styles of headstones and symbols of affiliation that can help you with clues to your ancestor’s life.  Click here for a link to some of those meanings.


Our tour guide, John Kalkirtz, wrote a poem that:

“puts into the words the spiritual, emotional and physical presence at Oakwood …It is an inspiration to me, and I hope for others.”

“Sacred Space”

by John Casey Kalkirtz

I walk the land.

Others lay beneath my feet.

Quietness fills my spirit.

I am one with the world.

This sacred space allows me to reflect, walk, sit and cry without interruptions.

All is at peace.

The others who once walk the land are now here at the cemetery in silence.

I feel their presence.

They give off the energy of their spirit to me and others who have the courage to really listen.

Time stands still.

Past, present, and future are one.

I lay my hand on the memorial marker which is the parting reminder of their presence.

The sun light dances on the ground.

Birds sing in the trees.

Nature is alive with the songs of the present moment.

Those who walked this land are with me.

They are my friends and I am theirs.

Each of us gives a happy nod to each other which is felt in the caress of the wind.

Molecules of their past breaths fill my body as I breathe in the air.

Pictures of their past lives fill my mind.

Countless faces roll past my eyes.

All of these souls are with me.

Love fills my soul.

Invisible hands gently caress me.

I am in total peace.

No fear touches my heart.

I am in a place of respite.

I am home with others.