May 172015
Jacob P. Yuncker

Jacob P. Yuncker

An article in the August 12, 1863 edition of the Buffalo Daily Courier lists names selected for conscription in the federal army during the Civil War.1 Included was the town of Alden, near Buffalo in Erie County, New York. A Jacob Yuncker is listed among the 57 names selected in the previous day’s draft.

Since he was living in Alden, this is very likely my second great-grandfather, Jacob P. Yuncker. In the 1855 New York state census, 17 year old Jacob is listed as living in Alden with his parents Hubert and Barbara Yuncker.2 A few years later, several tax assessment rolls3 from the Internal Revenue Service show Jacob P. Yuncker paid taxes on boots and shoes, which were probably part of his shoe making business. These rolls span from September 1862 to June 1863 and they show his business was at Alden, New York. Jacob was a shoemaker like his father Hubert.

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  1. “The Draft,” article, Buffalo Daily Courier, 12 August 1863, 19th District, Alden, New York; New York State Military Museum ( : downloaded 17 February 2015), Erie County, New York Civil War Newspapers. Jacob Yuncker is one of 57 names selected for conscription.
  2. 1855 New York State Census, Alden, Erie, New York, population, Town of Alden, Page 22, FHL #825680, Image 00016, Digital Folder Number 005207118, Household 186, Hubert Yuncker (indexed as Hurbert Janker); digital image, FamilySearch ( : downloaded 21 March 2013); Secretary of State.
  3., “U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918,” database, Operations, Inc., ( downloaded 21 March 2010), Roll 202, Division 8, District 30, Alden, New York, Jacob P. Yuncker; citing National Archives (NARA) microfilm series M603.
May 062015

000665-01It’s been one hundred thirty-one years now. Proof enough that death does do us part, but that love lives on and never fails.

This story begins in 1881 when Mr. Jacob Yuncker purchased farm land near Beal City, Michigan. It happened to be across the road from a then 23-year old pioneer farmer named Joseph Voisin. Mr. Yuncker had a daughter, Mary Ann. She lived with her extended family on her grandparent’s farm down in Westphalia, Michigan near St. Johns.

Mary probably visited her father in Beal City and at some point she met Joe Voisin. They probably met a few times more. Joe played music at Indian dances and at square-dances. Mary attended some of these social gatherings, but since Joe was playing, they couldn’t spend much time together. This probably went on for some months.

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Apr 162015

Trade TokenAnother of my great-granduncles, Louis William Yuncker (1877-1963), was my paternal great-grandmother’s younger brother.  He is mentioned in his mother’s 1921 obituary as living in Saginaw, Michigan.  A quick search online revealed unique items with a connection to the past.

Two trade tokens bear the name L. W. Yuncker’s.1  It turns out Louis William Yuncker owned a meat market in Saginaw.  He undoubtedly used these very same tokens in the family business.

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  1. Richard Greever, Token Catalog ( : downloaded 19 March 2015), L. W. Yuncker’s trade tokens, TokenCatalog #10252 and #312386.
Mar 132015
John E. Yuncker circa 1923

John E. Yuncker
circa 1923

One of my great-granduncles, John Ernest Yuncker (1881-1962), was my paternal great-grandmother’s younger brother. He is mentioned in his mother’s 1921 obituary as living in Los Angeles, California. I had found him listed in the California death index years ago, but I never traced him further. I recently did so and I found that he made quite a name for himself and even had a brush with history.

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Mar 262013

google-earth-00In a past posting I described how I located the homestead of my great-grandparents Albert and Mary Pohl near Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania.  I’ve since found that Google Earth is another tool to further visualize the location.  It is helpful in modernizing old maps to better understand where my ancestors lived.

What I did is add an overlay of an old map to the modern world shown in Google Earth.  This allows you to see precisely where a road, building or property once stood in relation to what’s there now.

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May 182012

I found a scrap of paper on which my mother, Ruth (Stewart) Voisin, wrote a poem.  In December 1945, World War II had finally ended.  Ruth was only 18 years old.  She had just left home and moved to Philadelphia to enroll at the Franklin School of Science and Arts.  This was against her father’s wishes, who said college was no place for women.  Her mother had died two years prior.  With no financial help from her father, she began her way in the world.

She always loved poetry and transcribed many famous poems in her notebooks.  She also wrote her own poems.  In this one, I can envision her sitting in her room at the YWCA looking out her window to the street below:  A young woman on her own, and filled with a sense of peace and hopefulness about the future.

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Apr 242012
Ida (Pohl) Stewart

Ida (Pohl) Stewart, about 1909

The 1910 Federal Census lists the occupation of my grandmother Adelheid T. (Pohl) Stewart as a Taper at the Electric Works.  She was 19 then, just prior to her marriage with John Galbreath Stewart later that year.

I’ve been curious for some time.  What was a Taper?  No doubt the “Electric Works” was Westinghouse Electric Manufacturing Company in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It was a short distance from Turtle Creek, where my grandmother lived.

Through the wonders of the Internet I happened upon a short video clip produced in 1904 that explains a lot.

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Jan 292012

Ruth Voisin

It was twenty years ago today that my mother died suddenly.  I often wish I could speak with her again.  But time is healing my loss and it’s fun to reminisce every now and then.

She collected old lithographs with a theme depicting a bluebird on a tree branch with a little girl gazing up, usually looking out a window.  They reminded her of one by Bessie Pease Gutmann that her mother had.  Of course this morning a couple bluebirds happened by my backyard.  Every time I see one now I chuckle and think to myself it’s mom saying hi.

Mom’s the one who got me interested in genealogy.  She often said that I come from “good stock” and spoke of how strict and clean my German ancestors were.  Even though my grandmother’s pantry had a dirt floor, it was always swept and “clean.”

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Sep 212011
Pohl Homestead

Albert and Mary Pohl Homestead

This is a case of genealogical serendipity.  I set out to determine the precise location of the house where my maternal great-grandparents, Albert and Mary Pohl, lived.  In this picture taken about 1909, the Pohl family posed in front of their house.1

From something unexpected, I uncovered a trail of bread crumbs that led me to their doorstep.

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  1. The original is in the possession of Mike Voisin (mounted on cardboard, 5-15/16 by 6-15/16 inches).
May 082011

My mother had many words of wisdom.  When I was in the seventh grade, my religion teacher wrote a comment on my report card.  My mother’s response to her has remained with me all these years and I still think of it occasionally.

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