This journey is going to lead me down the path of the Birch's and all those other names that have joined them. I know this will take me to England, Germany, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and elsewhere. The men in this family will be working as coalminers, railroad brakemen and Laborers in Saw Mills.

The common name "birch" is derived from an old Germanic root, birka, with the Proto-Indo-European root *bherəg, "white, bright; to shine."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Amanuensis Monday ~ Florence Birch McWilliams & John T. O'Rourke

Application for Marriage ~ John O'Rourke & Florence Birch McWilliams
 In doing my research on the Birch's I  had difficulty locating "Florence Birch" a daughter of James Birch and Anna Warrander.   It wasn't until I found this "Application for Marriage License" dated 6 May 1940 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that I discovered that Florence Birch had been married previously and that husband had died two years prior.  That explained her name change to McWilliams and why I couldn't locate her.
     Thank goodness for documents such as this as I am able to gain a plethera of information from it and fill in so many missing pieces.

Warm Regards,

Monday, July 2, 2012

Military Monday ~ James Murray and The Civil War

James Murray was born on 11 Jun 1829 in Addison, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. When he was 22 years old he married Lydia Beal who had grown up in the same County of Somerset.  Lydia (1834-1888) was a bit younger and at the time of their marriage she was only 17 yrs old.  James and Lydia started a family right away and after just five months of marriage they had their first child, Alvey Murray.   They went on to have six more children, Urias, Franklin, Owen, Levi, Emma and Lizzie. 
  The time came for James to serve in the Civil War. So in August of 1864 he left Lydia, and his seven children to fulfill his responsibility.  James served as a Private in the Army, Bat. M 6th Art. PA. This was a very tough time for everyone.              According to the family Bible, Lydia was having a difficult time managing all the children alone at home.  She sent a message to James, who was in the middle of the Civil War, and informed him he had to come home to help her. In June of 1865, apparently that's what he did.   
   They remained in Somerset County and James worked by farming his land. James and Lydia went on to have seven more children; Margaret, Amanda, Harmon, Sarah, Mary, Martha and Edith.
  Lydia passed away in 1883 at the age of 53 years, 5 days. Their youngest child, Edith, was just four years old. That left James with many young children to continue to rear.  She was buried in Hostetler Cemetery, Hostetler Church of the Brethren, Greenville Twp, Somerset Co., Pennsylvania.
      In 1908, at the age of 79, James Murray passed away.  His oldest child was 56 yrs old and his youngest child was 23 years. He is buried in Hostetler Cemetery, right next to his wife, Lydia.   James and Lydia should be proud of the life they lived. 
                                                      Warm regards,
Hostetler Church of the Brethren, Somerset Co, PA