Sunday, February 27, 2005

Puterblaugh or Bloggerbaugh?

I've been blogging for nearly six months now. Generally I've maintained my focus on online genealogy and the Civil War and so far I haven't generated much of a following, despite the fact that after pornography, music downloads and, more recently, blogging, those subjects are among the most popular uses for the internet.

So far only one other blog has bothered to list my blog on their blogroll. It's occurred to me that the reason for that may be that I haven't gotten around to putting a blogroll on my blog, something which probably tends to discourage reciprocation. Today I signed up with and I now have the 'code' to modify my 'template' for blogrolling, but I still don't have a clue where exactly I should paste it and I'm worried that if I paste it in the wrong spot I'll permanently deform my glorious blog, so I'm waiting patiently for the e-mail with expert assistance from Blogspot support.

I mentioned in last week's post that my maternal grandfather was born in Akron, Ohio. On closer inspection of the family tree I've discovered that he was actually born in Akron, Indiana, a small village a little north and mostly east, ten or fifteen miles up the Tippecanoe, from Logansport. Until today I hadn't realized Indiana has an Akron and the entry I had seen just said Akron, so I had assumed it meant Ohio as my grandfather's family came to Indiana from Pennsylvania by way of Ohio. They lived in Coshocton County in Ohio for about three decades before moving farther west to Indiana. But Coshocton is more than a hundred miles from Akron, Ohio, so it occurred to me to check. Sure enough, Indiana has its own Akron and that's where he was born.

Writing about my father's line is fairly easy because there are a quite limited number of facts that I've been able to establish and build upon. My mother's line is actually much more challenging as the family tree was put together originally in 1909 by a fellow named William Welfley and published as a book called the 'Descendants of George Steele'. Welfley was deaf during his later years and I suspect that may have helped his concentration. I don't have a copy of the book itself, but sometimes I'm able to access it online. It's hosted by Pennsylvania State Genealogy, which I assume is the university, but when I link to it the links often go dead. The site seems to be in a sort of twilight zone between Rootsweb, a project that tries to make genealogical information freely available to the public online, and which is a private paysite that likes people who subscribe in order to get access.

Welfley's book was published in 1909, just as the Studebaker Company was successfully making the transition from producing horse-drawn wagons to producing automobiles. It was the only American company to make that transition. The genealogy has more than 20,000 entries, including more than 800 people with the Steele surname. Nearly 300 Studebakers are on the tree. The only other surnames with more than 200 entries are Hoover, Conner and Puderbaugh, a name which is sometimes rendered as Butterbaugh.

The problem for me, as a strictly amateur genealogist, lies in trying to reconcile such a glut of information. I haven't really looked at it carefully for the past two years as I've been working more on my father's line. I like to think that progress I've made on that line and things I've learned about drawing inferences will enable me to make more sense of all of the information on my mother's line.


Scott said...

Just found your blog and found it to be really well-written. Good stuff. And don't worry about people reading it; if it's interesting, it'll eventually find an audience, and while you wait for them to find you, you're still making your voice heard.

Keep it up!

(I've got a blog at, if you're ever bored.)

Craig said...

Hi Scott
Thanks for stopping by and for dropping a comment. I need more of those. You'll note that I now have my Blogrool up and running and that I've added your blog to my (quite) short list. Now if I can just figure out how to put a heading on my blogroll, I'll be all set.