New member introducing myself

+9 votes
Hi All,  I am just starting on this journey and have already hit a brick wall.  Trying to search my maternal grandmother and can't seem to get past the mid 1800's.  Father's name was Jacob Shank and I think it was Jacob Herr Shank, b. 1855, mother was Laya Naomi Bonham b. 1861, d. 1913  both from PA.  can anyone point me in a good direction? Thanks in advance!
WikiTree profile: Kathy Fortenberry
in The Tree House by Kathy Fortenberry G2G Crew (430 points)

4 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
Hi Kathy!  Welcome to WikiTree!  I trust you will find it useful and helpful, as i do!  

Regarding your brick wall, don't give up yet!  

If I were you, the first thing i would do is make a profile for your maternal grandmother, including as much documentation as you are comfortable sharing online.  Then make profiles for her parents.  Then ask a question here using the Wiki IDs of the person you are asking the question about - put it in the same place you put your Wiki ID to ask this question.  

Thus the profile and the discussion will be linked from either side--later visitors to the profile can find the discussion, and even more importantly, those of us who want to help you can see what you've already got, so we don't waste time and energy finding it all over again.  There is nothing so discouraging to those of us who want to help as spending some time finding a few gems of sources only to have the profile manager say, oh, yeah, i already got that...and that....and that...

We can be most helpful if we can see everything you have assembled so far, look it over for clues that you might have missed, and let you know about missing sources that we think should be available somewhere.

In your particular case, Jacob and Laya seem to be living in a time frame where they probably left at least a bit of a trail of documentation: they are living right through a period of censuses and BMD registrations.  Try to find all members of the family on the censuses  --- you just never know when granny is staying with one of the other sons, or a cousin is living with a family.  Sometimes figuring out just how the cousin or niece is related opens a whole other door.  When you can't go directly back, go wide!

(That's where a lot of the interesting stories come out, too!)

In Jacob's case, it seems likely that there has been some anglicization of his name.  Keep your eyes open for Jakob Schenck, or something that could have become Shank.  Remember that in the duchies that later became Germany, the second name was the 'calling' name, so he might officially be Hans Jakob Schenck and or Karl Jakob might have looked right at him without realizing it was him!  

Don't give up!  When you have the profiles built, ask a question here again.  Also feel free to send me a message by clicking on my name, and I'll have a look!


by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
selected by Mike Hess
Did Laya remarry?  Check out this Find a Grave:

Remember everything is just a clue until there is a lot of evidence.
Excellent advice!
+5 votes
Jacob Shank, 1880 US Census, Martic, Lancaster, PA

His parents are Alfred Shank age 52 and Elizabeth Shank age 46. Jacob Shank was 25 in 1880. Jacob Shank had three sisters and four brothers.

Both Jacob and his father Alfred worked as butchers. Two of the sisters worked as dressmakers.

Sister's names and ages in 1880 were Barbara 27, Susan 17, and Hannah 13.

All members of the household were born in Pennsylvania.
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
+5 votes
In the 1870 US Census, Martic Twp., Lancaster, PA when Jacob was 15, one sister named Louisa was 13 and another named Alice was 13.

In the 1860 US Census, Mary M. was 11, Tolitha was 8, and Douthitt was 7. Jacob was 5 at that time. All children were born in Indiana Co., PA except Charles R Shank 19 who was born in Cambria Co. PA.
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
+4 votes
HI Kathy, and welcome to WikiTree. I am so glad that you are introducing yourself in our g2g forum. I hope that you enjoy WikiTree as much as I do.
by Cheryl Hess G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)

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