Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to...

Posted by Craig on 1/30/2009 2 comments
My great-great-grandmother Mary Ann Wallace Kanalley. She was born on this day, Jan. 30, some 131 years ago (1878) in the small lakefront town of Cobourg, Ontario, just across Lake Ontario from Rochester, N.Y.

Mary and her five children while her husband James was serving in World War I overseas.

She was the first-born child of Andrew Wallace, a painter of Scotch-Irish descent, and Catherine Bulger, whose parents came to Canada from Ireland as young adults. Andrew and Kate would go on to have eight more children, four in Canada and four in Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, where they died.

Mary married James Kanalley, a poor man 10 years her elder born to Irish immigrants. James' parents Thomas and Rose came to Canada due to the Potato Famine - something none of Mary's ancestors could claim. Her folks were already well established in Canada, coming as early as the 1830's.

Mary's parents disapproved of the engagement, and the couple fled to Cleveland, Ohio, to have the wedding. Neither of her parents attended. They later moved back to Cobourg, but the story goes that James never got along with his father-in-law Andrew. In a bit of irony, James was also a painter, so it is likely Mary met him through her father's business (and her grandfather Daniel Wallace was a painter, too).

Mary and James Kanalley had five children in the early 1900's - Wallace, Catherine, Mary, Marlene, and Ann. Wallace, the eldest, was born Jan. 5, 1902 in Cleveland, and he is my great-grandfather.

James served overseas in France and England during World War I for the Canadian Army. He was wounded and discharged early. Alcoholism and affects from mustard gas meant he was never the same once he returned, and he suffered an early death due to heart disease at age 55 in 1923.

Mary was very independent and a strong woman, and she refused assistance to care for her children from the Canadian government. She worked as a nurse's aid to raise her young family - her youngest was 12 years old at the time of James' passing - and took the family to the Buffalo, N.Y. area in Nov. 1924 in hopes of a better way of life.

She remarried to Nicholas Jacoby in 1929 in North Java, Wyoming County, New York. Mary died in 1940 in Buffalo.

Mary's last surviving child, Marlene, died Dec. 19, 2006 in Fort Erie. However, in 2009, Mary is survived by 11 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren, and many more descendants.

On this day, her birthday, she's remembered!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mayors I descend of

Posted by Craig on 1/10/2009 0 comments
While nearly half my ancestors I've found to date were farmers or day laborers, a good handful were also mayors.

Through both my father and mother's side, I trace myself back to mayors in Germany and France. Also known as a Schultheiss or Burgermeister, a mayor in Europe was historically the "chief administrative officer" of his jurisdiction and "served as the link between village government and the representatives of the ruling prince," according to "Becoming German" by Philip Otterness.

In some places the mayor was elected and in others he was appointed by the central government. Mayors "needed to be literate," while "many of the villagers he represented could not read or write." Literacy was not common in rural parts of Germany until the late 1700s, according to Otterness.

Here are the mayors I descend of, sorted chronologically by year of birth:

-Nicolaus VON RITTENHOFFEN, born about 1370, Mayor of Saaerbruecken, Bavaria, 18th great-grandfather
-Hans der Junger WANNEMACHER, born 1535, Mayor of Darmstadt, Hessen, 13th great-grandfather
-Hans Marx KLEIN, born 1620, Mayor of Waldfischbach, Bavaria, 9th great-grandfather
-Jean DuPONT, born about 1623, Mayor of Homburg, Bavaria, 10th great-grandfather
-Michael REUTER, born about 1630, Mayor of Medelsheim, Bavaria, 8th great-grandfather
-Jean PLAIDEUR, born about 1640, Mayor of Bierbach, Bavaria, 10th great-grandfather
-Heinrich KLEIN, born 1642, Mayor of Waldfischbach, Bavaria, 8th-great-grandfather
-Andre SCHUVER, born about 1649, Mayor of Wiesviller, Moselle, 8th-great-grandfather
-Claude-Nicolas BENOIT, born about 1662, Mayor of Homburg, Bavaria, 9th great-grandfather
-Adam GRUNDISCH, born 1673, Mayor of Poerrbach, Bavaria, 6th great-grandfather
-Jean-Adam UEBELHOER, born 1743, Mayor of Bremmelbach, Alsace, 6th great-grandfather
-Christien UEBELHOER, born 1769, Mayor of Bremmelbach, Alsace, 5th great-grandfather

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The man with eight daughters: Jean Plaideur

Posted by Craig on 1/06/2009 4 comments
Born about 1640 in Eparcy, Picardie, France, my ancestor Jean Plaideur was a Lutheran living in a predominantly Catholic land. In the late 1650's, the French Huguenot decided to flee religious persecution to a place called Saarland, a war-stricken region that offered cheap land in hopes of repopulating. Best yet, this place did not discriminate against practicing Protestants.

Plaideur found a home here in a village called Bierbach, literally "Beer River." He found a wife, taking 16-year-old Anna Eva Schwarz's hand in marriage after an agreement with her father Wendel. The Schwarz family, also Protestant, was one of just two that survived the Thirty Years' War that devastated Bierbach and Wendel was determined to find a good mate for his daughter. He was impressed by Plaideur, who had a superb work ethic. The man not only farmed, he opened up a restaurant and bar in town less than a year after his arrival.

Plaideur brought new hope to a deserted village and he was one of the key figures in turning the Bierbach economy around. Several other families soon joined the community and Plaideur was elected mayor. He served the people well while fathering eight children with Anna Eva - all daughters.

I descend of Jean Plaideur in multiple ways - through his eldest daughter Johanna (married Wannemacher), his daughter Anna Catharina (married Koerner), and his daughter Anna Eva (married Moser). I actually descend of Anna Eva twice - through both her son Peter and her son Jacob.

Just one man, but one with a very interesting story, who helped repopulate and turn around a village that was devastated during the Thirty Years' War. Since I go back to him through four different lines of my ancestry, I've always found him fascinating. May he be remembered.

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