Family Mystery

Discovering the Notebooms

My understanding of the Noteboom line of  my family history ended with my third great-grandfather Walter Noteboom, who was born in 1845 in the Netherlands.  That’s  it – nothing more.  The Noteboom line was an enigma… until recently. I had the fortunate luck of receiving some assistance from a visitor to this blog, Peter Miebies.  He pointed me to a database for Dutch genealogy at

On that site, I found a pedigree that included Walter Noteboom (though this pedigree listed his first name as Wolter).  The Stamboom Dusseljee [Dusseljee Pedigree] was published by J. Lodewijks in 2008.  We’ve exchanged preliminary emails and information – she’s sent me information from her database and I’m sending her information about what happened to Walter and his family in the United States.

I’ve been spending time going through all the information in her tree – it documents four more generations back from Walter.  It’s a lot of data, and there is not a lot of source documentation, so at this point the information is largely anecdotal and/or unproven.  However, there is a lot of really interesting information that will be fun to delve into.

Oude Kerk, Amsterdam

One of the first things to pique my interest was the marriage 6th great grandparents Sjouke Sijes Noteboom and Jannetje Zweersen. Sjouke Sijes Noteboom was baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church on October 2, 1707 in Oenkerk, Friesland, Netherlands.  As an adult, he was a master carpenter.  He married Jannetje Zweersen on May 1, 1733 at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam.  Jannetje was born on February 8, 1713 in Zwolle.

According to Wikipedia, the Oude Kerk is Amsterdam’s oldest building from circa 1213, and its oldest parish church, consecrated in 1306.  Saint Nicolas is its patron saint.  It is situated on Oudekerksplein, the square in the main red-light district of Amsterdam.  Following the Reformation in 1578, it became the home of the Calvinist Dutch Reformed Church.

Wood vault ceiling, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam

Some interesting historical notes about the Oude Kerk:

  • Rembrandt’s children were all christened there and his wife is buried there.
  • The wooden roof vault dates to 1390.
  • The floor is gravestones.  Citizens of Amsterdam were buried there until 1865 and there are more  2500 graves within the confines of the church.

Happy Genealogy Day – What genealogy means to me

Nan and Pop

Nan and Pop

When I was 7 years old, my family moved away from my dad’s extended family.  As a result, we did not see them nearly as often as we used to and I didn’t develop the types of relationships with my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins that I should otherwise have had with them.

Mammaw and Pappaw

Mammaw and Pappaw

On my mother’s side of the family, my mother was largely estranged from her parents, well mostly her mother.  They had a very difficult relationship and generally did not get along.  I can probably count the number of times I saw my maternal grandparents on two hands.  As a result, I feel like I have missed out on what I might have learned about our family history from them.

Genealogical research feels a fairly significant void in how I feel connected to my family.  Be seeking out information about my family, I’ve discovered things that have allowed me to feel connection to family going back for generations. My ancestors come alive in photographs, stories, diaries, and official records.  I learn of my 3rd great grandfather Michael Reilly who had his grandchildren living in his home with him after their father disappeared while riding a New York ferry.  I discover my 2nd great grandfather Louis F. Schillinger was a prolific architect, who designed many of the turn-of-the-century brownstones in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn.  I find my 3rd great grandfather James Jackson Johns fought for the 30th Georgia Infantry during the Civil War, and died a poor invalid in 1917 due to an illness he contracted during the war.  I found the gravestone for my great  grandparents Marion and Lela Douglas, confirming information about Marion when before I only had his name.  I’ve also made connections with distant cousins, with whom I share a common ancestor.  Genealogy has provided me a way to learn about and feel more connected to the rich history of my family.

Happy Genealogy Day!  And good luck to everyone in their own family history quest!


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How-To Presentations & Companion Guides

Xaver Schillinger in the 1905 New York State Census

Xaver Schillinger in the 1905 New York State Census

I’m launching a new series of How-To Presentations and Companion Guides.  I was inspired by my recent experience looking and finding my 3rd great-grandfather Xaver Schillinger in the 1905 New York State Census.  Using my real world example, I take you step-by-step through the process I used to locate him – a difficult task since he did not come up in a routine search using’s search engine.  I ended up having to manually search for him in the census, because his name and those of his family members were butchered by the enumerator recording the census.  However, I was able to turn what would seem like an arduous task into something that was easily accomplished in a single evening in front of my home computer – no special trips to the National Archives, Sutro Library or Family History Center required.

So, without further ado, here is How to Search the 1905 New York Census.


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James Jackson Johns and Ellen Moore Parentage Research Report

I’ve been working on trying to answer the question about who are the parents of James Jackson Johns and Ellen Moore. I didn’t have a name for the parents of Ellen Moore, who is my third great grandmother, and reportedly one of the ancestors with Native American ancestry. James Jackson Johns, my third great grandfather, is often listed as the youngest son of Bartlett C. Johns, but I didn’t have anything to substantively prove that fact. So I set out to see what I could find in order to definitively prove who were their parents.

My research document is attached here, along with images of the records I used in this research.

James Jackson Johns – Ellen Moore Parentage Research Report

Pedigree Charts

Family Group Records

James Jackson Johns Confederate Service Records

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Name that Ancestor

I posted the below six pictures on Facebook, with this message to my family.

It’s time to play “Name that Ancestor”. I need your help – do you know who these people are? They were in with the photos I got from Pop. They may be siblings, cousins or close friends of Grandpa and Grandma Reilly (Lawrence Ambrose Reilly and Ethel Loretta Powers Reilly).

These were probably taken in the last 1910s or early 1920s.  Potential surnames include: Reilly and Powers.