Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spelling Counts

I have worked for more than 20 years connecting the dots between everyone named Lowmaster, Lawmaster, and Loumaster. Usually when I come across a historical record I can connect the person or dismiss it as an error.

I came upon a grave site record of Paul Lowmaster, 1905-1967. This was in the Anderson Cemetery in Anderson, Missouri, the resting place of William D. (1846-1940) and Lavina C. Lowmaster (1853-1940).

But Paul didn't fit into any of my historical records. I double checked William D's family and it didn't make sense that we, and the census takers, missed Paul.

Although there was a record of Paul, there was no grave stone photo. So I wrote the researcher and asked if she had a photo of the grave. I figured it would be a long shot because I figured if she had one she would have uploaded it. Unless she didn't own" the photo and just wanted to upload the info.

I wrote and she responded -- with a photo.

Hmmm. I suppose one could assume that Lomaster is really Lowmaster. Or maybe not.

I don't know who Paul is but don't believe he fits into the Lowmaster family. He may have been the only one to use the name because the Social Security Death Index nor a search on WhitePages.com returns anyone named Lomaster. I do know that there is a death record in the state of Oregon for Paul and that he served in World War II -- not WWI as indicated above.

But not our Paul.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Research Suspended

Hello Family and Friends,

While I am always an active researcher, I am more active at times than others. Basically, I shut down all research from April through December as I spend my time cycling, refereeing soccer, assigning and teaching refereeing as well.

I will try my best to be responsive to your questions but will re-surface in January. :)


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daniel Laumaster

1858 Death notice of Daniel Laumeister

Rev. Daniel Laumaster departed this life January the 19th, 1858, aged 36 years and 7 days.

We know little about Rev. Laumaster/Lowmaster. Born in 1822, he was not listed on the census of 1830 and 1840 since only the head of household was listed. This researcher has not been able to find him on the 1850 census. He was not living in the household of George and Magdalena Lowmaster.

The records of the children born early to this family are well documented in the York, Pa. church records. The later children were documented through family histories and newspaper articles. But Daniel had no such benefit. No news article of the day has been found and he left no family or descendants to carry on his story.

For years, I have been reluctant to list Daniel with this family. But the evidence of the days calls for it.

Census records in 1830 and 1840 lists three boys in the 5-10 then 15-20 age range. We know of George, Jr., and Jacob. There must be a third and Daniel would be it.

Rev. Vane Lowmaster, historian, lists Daniel in this family. Despite the fact that Vane did not list his source for this information, it stands to reason that he was right.

Daniel Lowmaster died at the age of 34 years. He is buried in the family plot at Fairview Church Cemetery and the grave is marked by a tall slim sandstone marker that was cut from native sandstone, probably by a local stonemason.

Vane most certainly relied on family records, probably contained in the family Bible. If one visits Fairview Cemetery, Canoe Twp., Indiana Co., Pa. one will find the marker Vane referenced. But the name Daniel is not on it. It is simply inscribed D. L. Lowmaster. Thus it is clear that Vane didn't simply go to the cemetery and decide who belonged in which family. He relied on other records.

Brother L embraced religion when quite young and joined the church of the United Brethren in Christ. In January, 1857, he joined the Allegheny Conference, and was appointed to the Stone Valley Circuit. He was re-appointed to the Stone Valley Circuit; but wishing to see his friends, he went home from conference. He arrived there on Tuesday, felt unwell, and on Thursday following he took his bed, and on the next Tuesday his spirit took its flight for higher climes. Disease was small-pox.

Our last clue was that "Brother L. was a single man and owned property near his father's residence, in Indiana county, Pa., where he died."

George Lowmaster, Sr., was the only Lowmaster/Laumaster living in Indiana Co., in 1858 old enough to have a son Daniel's age.

Still, there is one question that remains unresolved. Jacob Lowmaster, Daniel's brother, moved to Missouri where he lived his adult life. His gravestone is marked 1822-1878.

While there was time for Daniel to be born in January, 1822, and have a sibling born in November or December, that is doubtful. Could have they been twins? There were another set of twins in the family. Or it is possible that in all this a date could be off by one year.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Lowmaster Book

I am deeply indebted to my great-uncle, Rev. Vane Henry Lowmaster (1892-1987) for printing a Lowmaster history in 1972. I looked at the crisp pages of my copy, still only 37 years old, and wondered how best to preserve this. And I decided the best way was to unbind it and create a digital copy and share it with others.

Vane did not have at his disposal the resources I have had. His work, outstanding in its day, formed the basis of all that I did.

He referenced the Historical Society of York, Pa. when he wrote: "It seems certain that most, if not all, of the Lowmasters of America are descended from this single immigrant, Wendel Lawmeister (Lowmaster); and until 1875, practically all of them lived in York, County, Pa."

Vane then added his own note: "The above date is not entirely correct. Some of them left York much earlier. One went to Richmond, Virginia, and a descendant left two daughters. One is reported to have gone to Ohio. John Lowmaster bought his farm in what is now Canoe Township, Indiana County, in 1845."

Vane made no reference to paternal descendants who go by the names Lawmaster, Laumaster, and Loumaster. His focus was on his family, that is, his father and grandfather, as well as his maternal side, the Emericks.

This work was an excellent start for this researcher. It contained a number of ambiguities, for which I am thankful, because it has forced me to search for more and check and double check his sources. And he has still left a lot to ponder as I have yet to explore his statement that "Legend says his (Wendel's) wife was of the House of Von Beulow."

Lowmaster, 1972, by Rev. Vane Lowmaster

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Do You Know This Family?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Help Needed

As much as I try to do this by myself, I need help, especially tracking down the living. At least the dead stay in one place. Usually. Below are names I have found that belong in our family but I have yet to connect them. Please contact me if you know where they fit.

Jacob Laumaster married in Philadelphia to Jane Fenimore of Burlington, NJ on August 26, 1836 (Source: Burlington Gazette)

Donald Louis LOWMASTER 4 Aug 1954 Riverside Co., California Mother: CIDOR
Source: California Birth Records

Lisa Renee Lawmaster - d. 16 Jan 1978, buried Midland Cemetery, Midland MI

Adam Gregory Lawmaster (b. 1983) and Jesse David Lawmaster (b. 1981) - Orange Co., Calif. Mother is Ms. Artle

Alexander Dean Lawmaster
(b. 1992 in Gray Co., TX), son/of Bobby Dean Taylor and Elizabeth Lea Lawmaster.

Brittany Nicole Lawmaster
(b. 1987, Orange Co., Calif.), unknown father and Ms. Henderson
Melanie Lawmaster (b. ca 1949/50), Tulsa, m. 1992, Kevin Wall

Rachel Kathryn
(1994) and Sean Christopher Lawmaster (1992), b. Orange Co., Ms.

Rebecca Jane Lowmaster (b. 1963), m. Kenneth Schott Lettich (1985) and Raymond Alan Palacek

Monday, February 16, 2009

Daniel Wenger, 5th Cousin or So

I had an opportunity to work with the Amgen Tour of California, a professional bike race, February 14-17. My assignment on Monday was Santa Cruz, a coastal town in northern California.

I had corresponded with Daniel Wenger a number of times over the years. Since he lived in Santa Cruz I made a point to alert him to my presence and my assignment (Bay @ Anthony). Ture to schedule, he showed up to say hello but had to leave before the race came through.

Barry and Daniel

Daniel and I are 5th cousins, once removed, through Rev. Christian Wenger and Maria Weaver and through Henry Light, Jr., and Magdalena Funk. And we're also 7th cousins, once removed through Hans (John) Wenger and Ann Shirk. And maybe through two different lines. Not quite sure how that one works. But it was a great to meet another cousin.

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Questions about George

George Lowmaster, the son of Frederick's Laumeister/Laumaster, left York and eventually settled in Indiana Co., Pa. But when did he leave and when did he arrive? And where was he in between?

His son, my third-great-grandfather, John Lowmaster, was born in Va. or Pennsylvania. On the 1860 and 1870 census he was listed as having been born in Virginia. The other census records lists Pennsylvania.

I long suspected that around 1813-14 George and his brother John left York and went down the Shenandoah Valley into Virginia.

I will reformat this...
Record of Geo. Lowmaster - 2 x x x 1 x 2 3 x 1Males under 10 - 2 (Levi, John)10-1616-1816-2626-45 -- 1 (George)45+FemalesUnder 10 - 2 (Catherine, Magdalena)10-16 -- 3 (Rebecca, Mary Ann, Leah)16-2626-45 - 1 (Mary Magdalena)

This also establishes the birth date for the twins. If they were born in 1802 as some researchers and the Indiana (Pa.) Gazette claimed (in 1904), they would have been on this census as 16-26 years old, not in the 10-16 year category.

This record is for the town of Bath, Va. And it all is starting to come together.

Bath is also more commonly known by the post office in the town. Since there already was a Bath, Va. in Bath Co., Virginia, this Bath also went by the name of the post office -- Berkeley Springs. Yes, the same Berkeley Springs which is on Rte 522 about 12 miles south of Hancock, Maryland.

I have to find a reference but I have one to John (brother of George) Lowmaster who was living in Berkeley Co., Virginia. Until 1820, Bath was part of Berkeley Co. Morgan Co wasn';t formed until 1820. This means a new place to look for our Lowmaster ancestors. I always assumed Martinsburg (WV) was their home since that is Berkeley Co. but now it looks like Berkeley Springs is the place.

More to come...

Saturday, February 7, 2009


My interest in the SEGER line is with Annie Seger, 16 Dec 1854 - 17 Apr 1915, in western Pennsylvania. Annie's full name was Maria Ann Seger. She married Aaron States in 1871.

She is the daughter of Samuel Seger (1822-1889) and Eva Whitaker (1828-1903).

Annie was my grandma's grandma. I have a plate (ceramic?) that belonged to Annie. It was simply marked by my grandmother (my Grandma's plate).

I defer questions of research on this line to Bill Seger of St. George, UT. His email is redhen at infowest dot com (put it all together). Bill is my third cousin once removed (through Samuel Seger). He's also 3c1r thru John Lowmaster, 5c thru John Christopher Rishel, and 4c1r thru George Lowmaster, Sr. I guess we're related many ways.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Who the heck is David Forry Laumaster?

Connecting all these names is much like working on a 500 piece, well, 2,000 piece (sometimes it seems like 10,000 piece) jigsaw puzzle. You trust that you have all the pieces and eventually they all fit. But once in a while you get a strange piece that doesn't seem to fit.

...Yet you know it must...

David Forry Laumaster was born 9 Aug 1884 in York, Pa. A Laumaster from York in the 1880s is enough to establish likely probability that he is from the family of Wendel.

We don't know his father -- only his mother. His mother was Mary L. ________ who was born ca. 1863 and died between 1920 and 1930, probably in Baltimore. We find David, a fireman, living in Baltimore between 1910 and at least 1941. Around 1920, David married Rose T. ________ and apparently did not have children.

Mary remarried Charles Long around 1905.

I had hoped that by 1880 the 17 year old Mary was married to our Laumaster and they would appear on the census but I could not find such a record. The 1890 census, of course, is not available.

Any information would be greatly appreciated

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Social Security Death Index

Believe it or not, it is often easier to get information from the dead than from the living. Much of my research is concentrated on death and cemetery records, census records, and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). I'm using the SSDI to support my theory that all of us have ancestors whose records are now in the SSDI. If I can link everyone named L__master in the SSDI as being related, it's highly unlikely there are those living with the name who aren't related to us. As of January 14, 2009, I have linked all 93 Lowmasters in the SSDI. There are eight Loumasters; all connected. There are 45 Lawmasters and I have connected 43 of them. I am still working on the remaining two. I will admit, I'm not sure where those two fit in.

UPDATE 1/22/09: There are six Laumasters in the SSDI of which I connected two. I must add these to the list and bring them into the fold as well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Worst Family History Book Ever

In 2001, my uncle, Lloyd Lowmaster, spent $40 on a book called The Y2K Lowmaster Family Yearbook. I absolutely hate to see people ripped off.

UPDATE --- FEB 9, 2006: The Colorado State Attorney General reached a settlement with Morphcorp for deceptive advertising. Details here.

Other user experiences are listed here as well:

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Genealogy.com GenForum

The Lowmaster Y2K Family Yearbook is one of the most poorly written and researched histories and yearbook that I have even seen. I thought the company in Bath, Ohio, which promised a family history was the worst, but with the advent of computers for ease of printing and the Internet for ease of gathering information, people and companies use these methods to make a cheap product for the unsuspecting.

The inside cover page shows a picture of a family of seven, presumably a Lowmaster family, however there is no identification as to this family and the authors were wise not to try and pass these people off as Lowmasters.

They claim it is published by the Lowmaster Family News, a company that doesn't exist. The second page claims “My wife and I have been researching the Lowmaster family (and other related families), genealogy and history since 1986.

“We would like to thanks (sic) the reader of the Lowmaster Family news who sent in piles of family information which made the publication of this work possible.

“This Crest is a graphic artist’s interpretation of the Lowmaster Crest. Its (sic) of greater value as a work of art, then (sic) as a genealogical or historical document.”

Spelling and grammatical mistakes abound on this page. Certainly this is not a professional effort by anyone.

No one sent “piles of information” and I can demonstrate exactly where all their information comes from.

The Lowmaster Longevity Records

This section is not a section on longevity but merely a filler to take up space and create the illusion of research. This information is readily available, for free, from a variety of sources, all of which come from the public records of the Social Security Death Index.

Certainly, if one were to include longevity records, they would have to include those who have lived 99+ years and are still living, however, this information only known to true researchers of the family.

Lowmaster Baby Name Records

This section is not a section of baby names at all and the dubious claim that they researched these for naming their children is preposterous. Using the same Social Security Death Index, they merely arranged those names and added a count to them.

Lowmaster Book of Locations

This section is nothing more than a search of public records (i.e, telephone records) with a total by state.

Lowmaster Marriage Records

One record? Need I say more?

Lowmaster Birth Records

This section is merely the birth portion of what is contained in the SSDI. The index does not contain the location of the birth but the state that issued the Social Security Number. Thus the state is not necessarily the birth place and this book listed Virgin Islands where Virginia should be.

The Lowmaster Book of Deaths

This section is the death portion of what is contained in the SSDI. However, this section is full of errors. By my count only 16 of the 61 records are accurate. The reason is that most death records in the SSDI only contain month and year but not day. This book chose to fabricate death dates merely by making them the 15th of the month. In addition, they listed some people named LOMAX in this section.

The Lowmaster Book of Residents

A public search of phone records will result in this section.

The Lowmaster Census Book

There are very few records listed here. True researchers have at their disposal census records through 1920. This appears to have been lifted from a search of census records.

The Lowmaster Phone Book

Same as the book of residents, only this time the phone number has been left in.

Lowmaster Cousin Records

Lowmax is not a relative to Lowmaster. Lawmaster, Laumeister, Laumaster, and Loumaster are.

Lowmaster Believe it or Not!

This section is mostly a listing of business under the Lowmaster name.

The Lowmaster Jokebook

An insult to research.

The History of the Lowmaster Family

This is a joke. Contrary to the history, there are no Lowmasters in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) from the 17th century. There are no listings for Lowmaster in "virtually every European country." This “history” is written to be so generic that it applies to any family, such as Smith or Jones, but we know the derivation of the Lowmaster name and it didn’t start in Europe. It was an Americanization of the German “Laumeister.” And further, Christopher Columbus did not show up in 1942, my history teaches it was 1492.

My years of research do tie together everyone named Lowmaster. And Lawmaster. And Loumaster. I hate to see people falling for such hoaxes as this work. -- Barry Sherry

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Last of the Laumasters?

Today I found an obituary for W. Fred Laumaster. That came as a surprise but probably shouldn't have. I have been following the Lowmaster, Lawmaster, and Loumaster lines and conveniently ignored the Laumaster line. The last (of six) Laumasters in the Social Security Death Index died 25 years ago and it was easy to assume that the name had died out. Especially if one never went looking.

W. Fred Laumaster, died Tuesday, January 13, 2009, at the York Hospital. He was the husband of Betty T. (Finerock) Laumaster. Fred was born January 10, 1924, in West York, a son of the late Elsie B. (Shepp) and William Fred Laumaster, Sr. There were no descendants named Laumaster mentioned. He is survived by a daughter, Kim A. Giuffrida, wife of Tony of York; and two grandchildren, Toni Neiman and James Giuffrida, both of York; an aunt, Louise Shepp Hamme of York; and two cousins, Albert Hamme and Margaret Gartland.

It's always hard to contact someone out of the blue but I did send a message to the granddaughter, Toni, using the message feature on Legacy.com. Yes, it's very tacky but these guestbooks are only up for 30 days then they are gone. I hope to heard back from her although I doubt that I do. It may well be that Betty, Fred's widow, is the only remaining Laumaster. I hope not and hope that someone in this family help us track this branch.

Source: York Daily Record & York Dispatch on 1/15/2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sorry Your Grandmother Died

Except she didn't.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying "'The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." And I guess I did that tonight.

I was doing a Google search for obituaries I may have missed and received the following result:

Obituaries - August 2, 2008: HeraldTimesOnline.com

Aug 2, 2008 ... Guila Elmore. Martha Johnson. Most read stories in obituaries .... Anna
Gobert ( Bloomington, IN) Esther Lawmaster (Bedford, IN), ...
www.heraldtimesonline.com/stories/2008/08/02/obit.obits.sto -

There in black and white was the name Esther Lawmaster. Esther is pushing 90 and it is not out of the realm of possibilities that she died last summer.

Of course I couldn't accept this snippet as proof and clicked on the link to read more. And it was a link to nowhere. It offered me the chance to buy a one day pass for $4 to search the site but I decided instead to send my sympathies to her grandson.

Lee Lawmaster was surprised and I hope not insulted when I asked him if he had his grandmother's obituary. She is alive and well.

The obituary notice was, in fact, for her brother and her name was printed that day -- as one of his two sisters still surviving.

Lee sent me his great-uncle's obituary and I sent him an apology. And many years of healthy living for his grandmother.