A Brickwall Broken Down!

Quite sometime ago, I found an 1825 newspaper marriage announcement for my 3x’s great-parents Jacob and Anna Garber. In the marriage announcement they were recorded as Jacob Gerber and Anna Cummel. Jacob and Anna lived in Berks County, PA, in the area of Amity township. Anna had apparently died before the 1850 census, and I had been unable to find any further information on her. I was also unable to positively identify all of the children of Jacob and Anna  — but that all changed a couple of days ago!!

Before responding to an email from a distant cousin who also descends from this couple, I tried one more time to search for the Garbers. Since their daughter Harriet, who was my 2x’s great-grandmother, has been sometimes recorded with the last name Carver, I tried searching on Carver/Karver/Garver, as well as Garber/Gerber. I tried searching for all Jacob and Anna’s known and suspected children, as well as some unlinked but potential cousins who also lived in the area during the time frame. I ran searches at all my usual genealogy sites, and everything just started falling into place!

Thanks to postings on WorldConnect and find-a-grave, I found that Harriet’s sister Elmina married Samuel Karver (possibly a distant cousin, but haven’t gotten that far yet!). Then I managed to hit the jackpot — a book called “A Pennsylvania Pioneer” described the issues with settling the estate of Joseph Ball. Joseph died in 1821, leaving a very complicated estate and no will and no children. Under Pennsylvania intestate law, his estate passed to the descendants of his aunts and uncles. Lucky for me, Anna “Cummel” was actually Ann Campbell, a great-granddaughter of Ann (nee Ball) Campbell, one of Joseph Ball’s paternal aunts! As described in the book, Ann Campbell Garber’s children were party to a deed in 1854. The book also outlines their line of descent from Ann (Ball) Campbell.  Now I have a basic outline back three more generations!!

So what is the lesson here? Well, all the searches I ran a few days ago I had already tried  before. But it had been a while — probably a couple of years. It just goes to show that with all the new information constantly being added to the various genealogy sites, sometimes it really pays off to go back to those old brick walls periodically and re-try the searches. You just never know!


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