Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A "Brick Wall Ancestor"

Awake and arise, you wonderful Genea-Musings blog-readers, and know that it is Saturday Night - time again for more Genealogy Fun!

We all have "brick wall ancestors" - those for whom we cannot find a complete name, or identify a set of parents. By posting information about a "brick wall ancestor," someone mght find your post and be able to contribute to your knowledge about that ancestor.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (and I sincerely hope that you do) - is to check your files and sources, advance to your keyboard, and:

1) Identify one of your "brick wall ancestors," and tell us about him or her. What do you know? What would you like to know?

2) Tell us about this person in a blog post of your own, a comment on this blog post, or a Facebook comment or note. Be sure to leave a way for readers to contact you.

Here's one of mine (I chose to use one that I haven't written about before):

Catherine Ruth may have been born 10 March 1770 in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and died 8 December 1813 in York, York County, Pennsylvania. She married Philip Jacob King of York, Pennsylvania before 1790. They had 12 children: Catherine King (1792-????); George king (1794-1860); Elizabeth King (1796-1863); Sarah King (1797-????); Lydia King (1799-????); Catherine King (1801-????); Jacob King (1803-????); Rebecca King (1805-????); Anna Maria King (1806-????); Barbara King (1808-????); Julia Anna King (1810-1825); Henry King (1813-????).

I have two sources that list her father differently. They are:

1) The typescript "The Kings of York County: Pioneers, Patriots, and Papermakers," by Richard Shue (no publication place or date), accessed at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

On page 5 of Part III, it says that "This connection with the eastern Pennsylvania county arouses speculation from the fact that a certain German immigrant, Conrad Ruth, sailed with Jacob's grandfather, Nicholas King, aboard the Ketty in 1752." and "There is the further possibility that the Ruth and King families were neighbors in Berks County before Nicholas King moved his family westward to York County, presumably about 1757."

That is pretty nebulous and conjectural, in my view, but it does provide a lead to follow - Conrad Ruth.

Where did this information come from? Most likely, from family papers and sources that Richard Shue had access to when he compiled the typescript about the three generations of the King family.

2) The website Strine & Yessler Families of York County, PA ( indicates that Catherine Ruth (born 10 March 1770) was the daughter of Johann Peter Ruth (ca 1700-1771) and his second wife, Catherine Meyer (????-????), daughter of Peter Meyer. Johann Peter Ruth's first wife was Anna Sophia Lauer (1703-????), and they had 14 children.

The source provided for the birth of Catherine Ruth in 1770 was: Submissions, Family Group Sheets ( 250 E. Market Street York, PA 17403: York County Heritage Trust); The Historical Society of York County.

There is a source provided for the family of Johann Peter Ruth and Anna Sophia Lauer: Akerboom, Descendents of Peter and Anna Sophia (Lauer) Ruth , Reference no. 929.R974 (; The Historical Society of York County, 250 East Market Street, York, York, PA, US.

This second set of parents is from a new resource for me - I checked today to see if there were any online mention of Catherine Ruth and found this website.

Obviously, Catherine can't be the daughter of both a Conrad Ruth and a Johann Peter Ruth. Johann Peter Ruth was age 70 in 1770 - how likely is it that she was born to a 70-year old man? Now Johann Peter Ruth did have a son named John and a son named Peter, so it could be that either of them was Catherine's father.

I need to obtain the information in the two sources mentioned above to determine whether they solve my brick wall ancestry problem or not.

It is unlikely that Catherine Ruth was a widow when she married Philip Jacob King at the age of 19 or so. There is also the distinct possibility that Catherine is not a Ruth at all.

If a reader has more knowledge about Catherine Ruth's parentage, or can help me obtain the information in the two sources listed above, please contact me at


Terri O'Connell said...

I would not rule out Johann as the father at age of 70. My father in law had children well into his late 60's, anything is possible, especially if the wife is young enough. (I did not look for the wifes age as I read this)

Greta Koehl said...

One of my favorite subjects; mine is at

okielois said...

My g-grandmother Clara Henry Collins.

The 1st record I found of her is her marriage record in Franklin Co Iowa Oct 8 1884. She married Lewis N. Collins. She was 20 years old. Her father was given as John Henry and her mother as unknown.

1885 Iowa state census, Hamilton county, Independance Township, page 286. with husband Lewis & 1 son.

1890 Oklahoma Territory census, Payne Co, Clarkson Township, page 1106.with Lewis & 3 sons & in-laws.
She is listed as 26 in the 1890 Oklahoma Territory census and born in Michigan.

1900 census--She's not there, but her family is still in Payne Co OK.
Then she isn't listed in the 1900 Oklahoma Terr. census at all. I think she may have died before then. Her husband and the 2 older boys are there. The baby was not. I suspect he died.

In her son Homer's mental hospital admission records in 1916 in Norman OK, it states that
she died in a mental hospital in Kansas. I suspect it was before 1900 as she isn't with her family in the 1900 census, but that is conjecture.

I couldn't find anyone that I was sure was her in the 1880 census.

Couldn't find her in Kansas death index.

Any ideas as to where to look next?