The Beginning

I inherited two photo albums after my Mom died in August of 2015. The photos in those albums are from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and had belonged to my mother's grandmother, Caroline Rohkar. Caroline’s parents, Charles and Dorathea Rohkar, lived in Freeport Illinois. Caroline grew up in Freeport and moved to nearby Ridott, IL where she met and married Joe Murray. Their only child, Henry, became my grandfather. I remember seeing the old photo albums on shelves in the corner of Grandpa Henry's living room and I have vague memories of sitting on my Grandma Murray’s lap while looking at those photos. I wish I had taken notes. I wish everyone wrote names and dates on the back of photos but that is another story! Grandma Murray died in 1985 and my mother inherited them and had them for 30 years. As one of four kids in my family, I feel fortunate to be the custodian of the albums, hopefully for the next 30 years.

As I began looking at these photo albums my curiosity grew about the people in the photos and I wanted to know who those people were and how we are related. Soon I was exploring other branches of my family. I began traveling to places where my ancestors had lived, New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and South Dakota, and dug up information in courthouses, historical societies, libraries and walked through many graveyards. In Whippany, New Jersey I stood at the graves of my 7th great grandparents Abraham and Sarah Bruen Kitchel and I felt connected to them.

Along the way, I have found a passion that has become a desire to document everything for future generations. I wanted my 7th great grandchildren to know the ancestors that I know. I began thinking of writing a book but I couldn’t decide where to start. I spent months jumping from one idea to another, but when I thought of a creating a website the bigger picture became clear. I knew I could document everything in one place and it would live on for as long as the Internet exists. And for the present time, I have hopes of connecting with new aunts and uncles and cousins. And we can share photos and stories and know more about our ancestors.

The Photo Albums

The smaller photo album has the name, ‘Carrie', embossed on the cover, which tells me it was Caroline's personal photo album. Carrie’s photo album contains 50 photos and only 12 of them have names connected with them. The larger photo album was probably kept in the parlor where family and friends gathered and holds 43 photos and only 4 of them have names connected with them. Of the 93 photos only 16 are identified leaving 77 photos without names attached to the person or persons in the photos. 

I would like to know who those people were that were important enough to be in the family photo albums. I need help identifying the remainder of the people in the photos. Please look through the two photo albums and let me know if you have a name to match a face.

My Research

In January 2016 Linda and I drove to Virginia and Florida to visit family and on the way home in early February we searched for a couple of cemeteries in Indiana and were fortunate there was not any snow on the ground. I found the graves of my 5th great grandparents Ephraim and Elizabeth Thomas in the Mull Cemetery five miles southwest of Rushville, IN, in a farm field about a quarter of a mile off the gravel road. Later we located the grave of my 4th great grandmother Nancy Gregg Edwards in the Paris Cemetery just north of Boyleston, IN. I was so excited and plan to return, as there is much more to find in the area.

In the fall of 2016 I drove to New Jersey hoping to find information about ancestors named Kitchel, Pierson and Bruen dating to the 1600’s and 1700’s. The trip was incredible and I was able to stand at the graves of 12 great grandparents ranging from a 6th great grandmother in Parsippany, NJ to several 9th great grandparents in Newark, NJ. Abraham Kitchel, who I wrote about previously, was a founding judge in Morris County, New Jersey. He and his wife Sarah are buried in the Whippany Burying Yard in Whippany, NJ. 

Moving Forward

I recently spent several months scanning photos and cleaning them up in Photoshop and I have posted almost 400 photos of my ancestors on the Hintermeister and Murray family trees. I will be working on their biographies over the coming winter and post them as I go.  Once the website is complete for the first 4 generations, I will probably go back more generations to get to my 7th great-grandparents Abraham and Sarah Kitchel in New Jersey. And time didn’t start there either. I expect I will be busy for several years to come.

In Closing

Bear with me as this site develops and let me know how it works for you. And send suggestions that you might have.