Finding Culture Within the Family

Last week, we studied the Amos side of our family tree and once again we learned of our German roots. This week, let’s look at Beatrice Holmes, the grandmother from Topeka who took care of Duane and Bruce. We know so very little of her and her family. But perhaps, just by her English surname, we can imagine a bit of cultured decorum that counterbalances the stodgy stubbornness so often associated with our Kraut-iness (although, surely we have none of that).

So, let’s take a look at Beatrice and her family.

From our family records, we know Beatrice was born in 1880 in Swan, Indiana, to (Eugene) Milton and Mary Alice (Cramer) Holmes. Her father Milton drilled wells for a living and was originally from Ohio. We don’t know much more about his family.

Thanks to Ancestry.com however, we know quite a bit about Beatrice’s mother’s family. The Cramers were from Swan, Indiana—in fact they settled the town. That means we have another founding for which we can claim credit (so what if it’s only an unincorporated community within the township of Swan).

According to the 1860-1870 census records, Beatrice’s grandfather, Ephraim Cramer, ran a dry goods and grocery store there in town. According to this website on Indiana cemeteries, her great-grandfather, Conrad, was the community’s first settler. On that site, check out his list of children: six from his first wife, Magdalina, before she died at the young age of 32, and 12 from his second wife, Lydia. The Cramers were a town, just of themselves!

But wait a minute, Cramer—is that an English name? It could be, according to this Ancestry.com family fact page. Or, it could be Dutch, German or Irish, depending on its original spelling.

We have more surnames that pop up on Beatrice’s side of the family—names like Broughton, Rickard, Timmerman, Sitts and Haus. All these people, as far back to the mid-1700s, were born here in the United States. We’re like founding fathers within our country!

Interesting, huh? I wonder where we’ve immigrated from and when?

The Treasure of a Family Bible

The Amos Family Bible

Bibles are precious for so many reasons, one being the family history so carefully recorded within their pages. In a previous post, Jerry showed us a picture of a Gulick family Bible. Here, pictured above, we have one from the Amos family. It belonged to Charles and Elizabeth Amos, great-grandparents to the Amos boys.

Let’s take a look at the genealogy of this side of the family. We know a few facts—names and dates from Ancestry.com—but we don’t know many stories. We’ll have to take what we can get, yes?

On July 31,1809, Andrew Amos was born in Hannover, Germany. We don’t have a date for his immigration to the United States, but in 1837 when he was 28 years old, Andrew married Catharine Mottinger in Columbiana County, Ohio. Interestingly, Catharine’s family traces back to the mid 1700s in Pennsylvania, where the name is also listed as Mattinger.

According to the 1840 census, Andrew and Catharine settled in Columbiana County and started their family of seven children—four girls and three boys, one of whom was Charles Wesley Amos.

In the 1850 census, Andrew was a wagon maker and he owned property valued at $800. By 1860, he and Catharine had moved to Noble County, Indiana and he farmed on land valued at $1500. Their son Charles was 18 and listed as a farm laborer.

Charles, of course, is the son we’re interested in.

Amos Family Bible, marriage

Isn’t this beautiful? The artwork, the handwriting—all of it is stunning. On October 24, 1867, Charles married Elizabeth Amelia Jarrett. I wonder if they received this Bible as a wedding gift? I wonder whose handwriting it is, Charles or Elizabeth’s?

Amos Family Bible, births

By 1880, Charles, Elizabeth and their children were living in Swan, Indiana. Here, Charles worked as a carpenter. In fact, the tools my son Jason writes about in his report are Charles’ tools.

In 1880, William Arthur was born. That’s right, our Arthur—the guy who would later become a blacksmith to the Amish and grandfather to the Amos boys.

So there you have it, a record of the Amos family from 1809 to 1880. We look at this family Bible, we admire the beauty of their handwriting, we envision the things Charles created with his tools…and suddenly we have so much more than just names and dates. These treasures personalize those who once owned them and they give us part of the people themselves.

Begats and Other Intricacies of Genealogy

George and Amanda (Capen) Gulick's Family Bible

Genealogy can be tricky. On one hand we have oral stories passed from generation to generation, each woven through the viewpoint of the person telling it. On the other, we have historical data such as census records, newspaper articles and Bibles, all factually recorded in days gone by.

The stories bring life to the data. The data brings credibility to the stories. And once in a while, the fine thread separating the two becomes extremely ragged.

But I’m sure that never happens in our family, right?

This week, we’re going to look at the Gulick side of the family. Gulick was Gladys’ maiden name (Gladys being Duane, Bruce and Jerry’s mother) and her family farmed in rural Williamston, MI, during the 1900s.

Jerry has gathered extensive information on the Gulicks from the State of Michigan Library, including the book Gulicks of the USA, by David E. Gulick. Interestingly, what he found corresponds with information that Joel (Duane’s son) found online, entitled Gulick Family Papers, Princeton University, NJ.

I’ll summarize, but it’s probably worthwhile to read the book or online version.

In a previous blog post, Jerry told us the name Gulick originated in the Dutchy of Julich, which is located in northwestern Germany, near the border of the Netherlands (Holland). As Germans, prior to 1350, our ancestors spelled their name Gulich or Guliche. When they moved westward into the Netherlands, they adopted the Dutch spelling of Gulick.

Duchy of Jülich

In 1653, Hendrick and Geertruyt Gulick immigrated from Amsterdam, Holland, to New Amsterdam, which is now New York City. They came with their two sons Jan (John) and Jochem.

It’s interesting to note that in 1687 Jochem took the oath of allegiance to Great Britain (remember, America was still under Britain’s rule) and was a captain in King’s County militia. He also purchased 85 acres on Smokey Point, Staten Island. Can you imagine the value of that land today?

Jochem’s the guy we’re interested in. Jochem begat Pieter; who begat another Jochem; who begat Willem; who begat Peter; who begat George Washington Gulick, who as a child moved with his parents to Michigan.

We’ve now just covered 200 years (and it feels like we’re reading Genesis 5 from the Bible).

Are you keeping track of all this? Maybe you’re currently expecting and looking for baby names? You know, it’s always good to go with a good, strong family name. Here are the women that go along with these men— Jacomyntie, Eva, Cornelia, Eleanor, Mary and Amanda. Each of them had maiden names beginning with Van, meaning we truly are a dutchy family (except for Amanda, who traces back to Hungary).

Let’s jump ahead to 1853, when George Washington Gulick and his bride Amanda (Capen) built a log cabin on Epley Road, near Williamston. This area, about 15 miles southeast of Lansing, is where the Michigan Gulicks flourished. In fact, there’s even a Gulick Rd. And it is here that George, according to family lore, could cut logs and build a cabin in one week.

George and Amanda had this great family of 11 children, seven of whom were living as of the 1900 U.S. Census.

George and Amanda (Capen) Gulick

The George and Amanda (Capen) Gulick Family
Standing, l-r: John, Elmer, Perry, Bert, Joseph (Joe Sr), Annette, Grace
Seated: Amanda (Capen) and George Gulick 

So here we have a start to the Gulick genealogy. There’s more to come—another 100 years—so stay tuned.

Discussing the Gulicks with Duane, Bruce and Jerry is an interesting reflection on their childhood. Duane and Bruce don’t know much about this side of the family because, as they mentioned, they didn’t spend much time with them when they were growing up.

Jerry, on the other hand, did. He maintained his relationship with Gulick relatives into his adult years and heard many stories. It’s Jerry who has a lot to pass along to us, including George and Amanda’s family Bible, shown above. He also provided George and Amanda’s obituary articles, shown below, which are glued to pages within the Bible.

And lastly, Jerry sent the picture of a house, shown below, that may be the house George and Amanda built on Haslett Road.

Thanks Jerry!

George Gulick obituary

Amanda Capen Gulick obituary

Gulick home

Our 5 Claims to Fame

why geneology?

Every family makes claims of genealogical greatness, but only ours holds credibility. Right?

Actually, there’s some merit to that humorously biased statement. For us, our genealogy truly is great because it belongs to our family alone. It connects us to our past, impacts who we are today, and preserves our heritage for the future. So this week we’re going to introduce a study of the Amos Boys’ genealogy. In the weeks ahead we’ll look at their maternal family, and later in the year, we’ll do their paternal family.

How many of you are genealogy geeks?

I’ve been since my early 20s, when Grandma Gladys sent me an old family photo. Over the years, I’ve acquired bits and pieces here and there and shoved them all into a box. Nowadays, I just go to Ancestry.com and everything’s available in a handy database. It kind of takes away the thrill of historical sleuthing, but who has time for that anyway?

Jerry’s into genealogy too. He’s much more meticulous than I am, and he’s done extensive research on his maternal side.

“There used to be an area called “Hulick Land,” says Jerry. “They don’t pronounce the G’s (or J’s) like we do, they say them like an H. It was right between Holland and Germany, and the two countries used to fight over that. Supposedly, that’s where the Gulicks are from.”

Gulick, as you may know, is Gladys’ maiden name.

And then there are names like Laing, Holmes, Van Ortwick, Cocoran, Mottinger and Beaumont. Obviously, we’re a great mix of people coming from many places.

This is going to be fun, isn’t it?

If you’re interested, sign up at Ancestry.com. You can subscribe for a monthly fee, or you can go to your local library and access it for free.

In the meantime, here are our family’s five big claims to fame (stay tuned to learn how we connect):

  • William I, Duke of Aquitaine, France, and founder of the Benedictine abbey of Cluny
  • Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great and Holy Roman Emperor
  • Stephen Hopkins, Mayflower Pilgrim who landed in Plymouth, MA, in 1620
  • Peter Laing, founder of the hopping metro of Laingsburg, MI.
  • Scottish raiders who stole cattle from the English (okay, maybe this isn’t classifiable as famous, but it’s interesting nonetheless:-)