After we purchased a home in the Fall of 2016, I began researching the history of the house and its former occupants. I will be using this experience as an example for how to conduct and document genealogical research for the Ancestry Project in English 318 Contemporary American Literature: Families.
The best available resource will vary greatly depending on the location and background of the ancestor(s) you are researching. In my case, I knew the local paper, the Kutztown Patriot, had been digitized by Kutztown University and would be a great starting point for my research. Using variations of the house’s address and conducting some follow up searches, I was able to track down all 5 of the families that previously owned the home.
- 1906 (Built) Rev. Elmer H. Leinbach and Mary (Saylor) Leinbach
- 1930 Thomas A. Bock and Cora (Loomis) Bock
- 1940 June A. Burr and Kathryn (Heckman) Burr
- 1942 Carl R. Bieber Sr. and Loraine M. (Shade) Bieber
- 1958 Walter P. Risley and Ethel F. (Ringer) Risley
As a bonus I also discovered that the neighboring house had been built at the same time as ours and that the original owner’s stable was built the year before their house and that same barn later become part of our property. So I had a bonus family to research:
- 1905 (barn built) Isaac B. Stein and Tillina E. (Sechler) Stein
Once I had identified the families using the Kutztown newspaper archive, I was then able to focus in on each family and expand my research beyond this single source. I will chronicle the research process for each family in the subsequent posts.