Friday, May 19, 2017

Harshbarger line: No more ancestor stories, for now

At the moment, I am out of names in the Harshbarger line to write about.  Either I've written about them back to their home in Germany or Switzerland (mostly) or I'm not able to find them any further back than whatever their birth or marriage date is, here in the states.  Unfortunately there are quite a few of those names, such as Mary Gearhart, Joseph Withers, Joseph Kirk, Tobias Miller, Peter Ulrich Schnerr, Jacob Kestenholtz, and others.  There is more to be found about these people, I'm sure, but I'm also sure that at this point I don't have the knowledge to do it.  So for now, this might be the end of the Harshbarger posts-until my next discovery.

I have had some thoughts about the more recent Harshbarger lines.  In contrast to the Beeks family, who is somewhat well documented in local newspaper accounts, I have found nothing at all about the Grover Harshbarger family in the 15 years (1927-almost all of of 1942) of newspapers I've read for the Huntington Herald Press.  Obviously one explanation is that the Harshbarger family was small and the Beeks family was large.  But other factors may play in to the difference also.  Grover was a hard working man and Goldie, as far as is known, stayed at home to raise her son.  They didn't get into legal trouble.  They weren't leaders in any church or other organization. They had no musical talents that meant they would be called on to sing at funerals. They didn't have auto accidents (I'm not sure when they actually got their first car, but it would have been before they moved to the Majenica area, surely).  I haven't found their name in any of the "removal" columns either, so I'm not sure exactly when the move was.

The point I'm making is that many ancestors were like the Grover Harshbarger family.  They weren't highly educated, or maybe not educated at all, and the friends they had were also low profile people.  They likely engaged in some of the same activities that more publicized families did, such as get togethers with neighbors, basket dinners, helping each other out. Perhaps they voted, perhaps they didn't, but they likely had political opinions that were not noted in letters to the editor. Lots of good people are hard to trace even 75 to 80 years ago.  No wonder they are hard to trace back in the 1700s! 

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle the loss of the Harshbarger family lines, as far as blog posts go.  Maybe I'll make a discovery in the next two weeks that will allow me to postpone having to make that decision.  I've truly enjoyed learning more about this family, starting from the information I had in my wedding book (great grandparents) and working both backwards and sideways, to learn the stories of the ancestors I've found.  When I started, all I "knew" of the origins was that the Harshbargers were "Pennsylvania Dutch."  They are so much more!