Celebrating Oktoberfest in my tree!


My personal family tree is quite built out, extending in some cases tens of generations. However, as is the case in some families, I am actually estranged from my biological father’s family including him. It’s ok, I’ve moved on! That part of my tree for some time has lacked “shaky leaves” on ancestry.com or any potential leads as I knew very little about that side or any maiden names. What I could recall since childhood was the German name Eichler (my paternal grandmother’s maiden name I thought) which for me helped define my “mixed bag of ethnic make up” of being part-German. When asked about my ancestry, I would say “I am Irish, Scottish, French and German”, in the order of what I believe the percentage of that makeup is.
In my own tree research I tend to focus on the brick walls and uncovering interesting nuggets of historical significance or colorful stories. I haven’t tended to the other side of the tree so it in itself hit a brick wall. If it weren’t for my mom bringing to attention an Eichler obituary from back home, I might not have done anything until I had some spare time—that would be a while.
At first I couldn’t understand how the obit fit in, was she my grandmother’s sister or Aunt? My mom shared another surname Nash that I vaguely recalled hearing. Once I plugged those names in to my tree on ancestry.com, those shaky leaves started appearing. I kept checking and verifying each new discovery. Coupled with an online historical newspaper site I use frequently, I was able to piece together the Eichler history and what I found was amazing.
The first Eichler immigrant came from Neustadt, Prussia (where it’s wine not beer being celebrated!). This Eichler (my 3rd great grandfather) married a Barry from Ireland and started both a family and a family bakery in Utica, NY. With my penchant for pastries and cake (and celebration of wine), this explains a lot. {Quick historical note for family still in NY, the bakery was on Bleecker Street in the location where Chanatry’s eventually built their first grocery store.}
From the Eichler/Barry union came a son who married a Servatius. It was tracing the Servatius line back that I discovered additional immigrants from Prussia and Baden (Schrempf married Servatius). Familiar to my New York family (those old enough to remember ), the John J. Servatius Sons wallpaper and paint (hardware) store at 1036-38 Whitesboro St.Columbia Square was this family’s economic contribution to Utica.
So as I wrap up another October, it’s been quite exciting to learn about a previously unknown family tree branch and be able to honor all that is German (perhaps only 25% or so) in my DNA. I will raise my my glass of wein as I celebrate our own October fest of Halloween and candy!
What interesting discoveries have you made recently about your family?

Data driven crazy…by Google


That’s me currently. I’ll admit, I do love research and technology. It’s the behind the scenes data and interconnectedness that amazes and perplexes me. Sure I hit roadblocks like any other genealogist, but the ones I am finding myself up against lately are of a technology nature as it relates to starting my business.

I get asked pretty regularly, how’s your website traffic, what’s your reach? I just assumed I could go into my web hosting service and see the data. It must be buried pretty deep because I couldn’t find anything and the support boards weren’t any help either. Time to spend some time and do this right.

Google Analytics was the recommendation I found at every turn. What, it’s free?! I’m sure the catch is that Google has access to my data in my website, maybe more. I can deal with that, I think… So I pulled the GA switch this weekend. From there, I went to my Facebook company page and figured what the heck, let’s promote this page and I created a paid ad with a fixed budget not the crazy $5 per day. I set up target audience demographics, interests etc… I thought, this is way too easy. And it really was! I downloaded both the Facebook Insights and another analytics app that pulls in the GA data. Now, I’m hooked. I can tell in an instant how many unique visitors, what’s my bounce rate and how long they stay on each page of the website. Just plain cool.

Google has some cool technology typically so I thought I would check out the Google Glass tour that started in Durham, NC. This proved to be an underwhelming experience compared to all of the great tech endeavors Google has been part of. After waiting in an hour long sun-baked line with my children (2 under the age of 5) and our caregiver, it was finally our turn to see what the buzz was about. I put the Google Glass on, it kept trying to find a connection. It didn’t understand my commands, or actually my question “Ok Glass, where am I?” until it was my last moment with this contraption. Finally the screen above my right eye displayed the words “Durham NC” and then showed me on a map. Hmmm, do I need a small piece of glass monitor over my right eye to show me where I am? Perhaps I should have asked how to say “good evening” in Japanese. As a genealogist, the most practical purpose i considered this Terminator type eye piece would provide was the ability to take photos of graves and dictating what was being viewed. I could easily pull out my iPhone for this and as far as pics, the $1500 current pricetag of Glass would more easily translate to a new Nikon.

While I continue to build my business, I will be keeping stock of the steps and technology along the way. Watch out there could be a lecture in my future! In the meantime, I wonder how many new visitors liked my Facebook page or visited my website while I wrote this? Ok Glass, where am I?