Select Page

Looking back to 2018, forward to 2019

The very best part of falling headlong into family history research is the stories.

Stories in The Legal Genealogist’s family take us back a long way in America on the maternal side and in Germany on the paternal side.

Stories that begin, in this country, in the late 1600s. Stories in Germany that we can take all the way back to the late 1500s.

Some of them, astoundingly, given my family’s tendency never to let the truth get in the way of a good story, that may even possibly be true.


And some of the possibly-true ones — that is, the ones that I’ve managed to document with something other than a marginal note that one of the family storytellers told me so — had very big milestones in 2018 or will have big milestones here in 2019.

These “big milestones” are events that were exactly 50 or 100 or 150 or 200 years ago — or more! — during the year.

And they’re the kinds of milestones that we shouldn’t allow to pass without pausing to reflect.

Looking back

In 2018, for example, in the 250-year milestone category, we had the birth of a fourth great grandfather in Germany. Johann Jürgen Nuckel was reportedly 47 years old when he served as the informant for the death of his mother, Elisabeth (Behnhauer) Nuckel, in Bremen in 1815.1 I wish I knew more about this man, but other than the names of his wife and children and his death in 1823, there’s not a lot to go on.

In the 200-year milestone category, there was the death of Elizabeth Pettypool Jones, my fifth great grandmother, in Rutherford County, North Carolina. Daughter of John Pettypool and Sarah Sanford,2 she died on 2 Sep 1818 at Rutherford (now Cleveland) County, and was buried at Sandy Run Baptist Cemetery.3

And in the 100-year milestone category, nothing beats the marriage of my German grandparents. Hugo Ernst Geissler and Marie Margarethe Nuckel were married 14 February 1918 at St. Jakobi Church in Bremen, Germany,4 after a civil ceremony at the City Registrar’s Office.5 Their decision to emigrate to the United States — bringing my then three-year-old father along6 — changed the course of my personal history in a big way.

Looking forward

Coming up in 2019, there are a lot of milestones, and for a change — with one rather amazing exception — I’m going to focus entirely on births this year.

In the 250-year milestone category, there’s the birth of a fifth great grandfather, Wilhelm Storch. Well, at least that’s a pretty good approximation. His birthplace was given as Bremen, Germany, and his age at 61 in his death record, recorded in October 1830,7 so 1769 is probably as close as we’re going to come. I descend from him through his daughter Maria Margarethe, who married Carsten Heinrich Sievers in 1817,8 then their son Carsten Hinrich Wilhelm Sievers, who married Metta Huthoff in 1840,9 then their daughter Marie Margarethe Sievers who married Johann Nuckel in 1860,10 then their son Carsten Hinrich Wilhelm Nuckel, who married Juliane Margarethe Smidt in 1884.11 Their daughter Marie Margarethe Nuckel was the bride in that 1918 marriage above as one of the 100-year milestones for 2018.

In the 200-year milestone category, we have the birth of a second great granduncle, David Davenport Baker. He was the first-born child of my third great grandparents Martin and Elizabeth (Buchanan) Baker. Born 29 June 1819, David D., as his name was usually recorded, married his half-first-cousin Mary Baker, daughter of his father’s half-brother Thomas Baker, in 1838, and went on to produce nine known children with her.12

In the 150-year milestone category, there’s the birth of my great grandmother Eula Baird Livingston in Alabama on 24 October 1869.13

In the 100-year milestone category, there are two births to take family precedence — miles and even continents apart. On 10 September 1919 the first of my paternal grandparents children — Marie Emma Geissler — was born in Bremen, Germany.14 Then on 8 November 1919, in Tillman County, Oklahoma, my maternal grandparents had their second child… and their first surviving child… my uncle Billy.15

And in the 50-year milestone category, comes that amazing exception from this year’s focus on births. Because … oh my … come October, it’ll be the Golden Wedding Anniversary of my oldest brother Evan and the sister-of-the-heart he married, Judith.16 How in the world is that even possible??? Boy oh boy is the family reunion this year gonna be a party…

These are the stories we all have in our families, aren’t they? And they are, in truth, one of the real reasons why I have to write this blog. Why I have to tell the stories. To make sure that those I remember aren’t forgotten… that these milestones continue to be remembered down through the generations.

Cite this post: Judy G. Russell, “Milestones, 2019,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 5 Jan 2019 ( : accessed (date)).


  1. Bremen Standesamt, Zivilstandsregister (Bremen city registry office, civil status registers), Todten (deaths) 1815 p. 464, Elisabeth Nuckel geb. Behnhaner.
  2. Elizabeth was identified as a child of John and Sarah Pettypool in an 1803 deed. Granville County, North Carolina Deed Book R: 228, Granville County Record of Deeds 1797-1805, Microfilm C.044.4009, State of North Carolina Library and Archives, Raleigh.
  3. W.D. Floyd, “Cleveland County Cemeteries,” Website On Disks, CD-ROM (Forest City, NC : Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County, 2007), entry for Elizabeth Jones, Sandy Run Baptist Cemetery. See also Sandy Run Baptist Church Cemetery, Cleveland County, North Carolina, Elizabeth Jones marker and memorial 21655263; digital image, Find A Grave ( : accessed 1 Jan 2019).
  4. Heiraten (Marriages), p. 41, nr. 5, Geißler-Nuckel, 14 Feb 1918; Kirchenbuch (Church Book), Evangelische Kirche St. Jakobi, Bremen, Heiraten 1911-1930; FHL INTL microfilm 953,273.
  5. Bescheinigung der Eheschließung (Certificate of Marriage), nr. 135 (1918), Geißler-Nuckel, Standesamt (Registry Office), Bremen.
  6. Manifest, S.S. George Washington, Jan-Feb 1925, p. 59 (stamped), lines 4-6, Geissler family, 4; “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, ( : accessed 1 Jan 2019); citing National Archive microfilm publication T715, roll 3605.
  7. Bremen Standesamt, Zivilstandsregister, Todten 1830 p. 496, Wilhelm Storck.
  8. Bremen Standesamt, Zivilstandsregister, Heiraten (marriages) 1817 p. 319, Sievers-Storch.
  9. Ibid., Heiraten 1840 p. 432, Sievers-Huthoff.
  10. Ibid., Heiraten 1860 p. 282, Nuckel-Sievers.
  11. Ibid., Heiraten 1884 Nr. 713, Nuckel-Smidt.
  12. Elma W. Baker, The Rugged Trail, Vol. II (Dallas, Texas : p.p., 1973), 73 (citing Library of Savanah Card, Denver CO).
  13. Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Health, Death Certificate No. 6367, Eula Robertson, 14 Mar 1954; Division of Vital Records, Richmond.
  14. See Judy G. Russell, “Marie’s memory,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 20 Jan 2018 ( : accessed 5 Jan 2019).
  15. Oklahoma State Board of Health, Birth Certificate no. 71334, Billie Rex Cottrell, 8 Nov 1919; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Oklahoma City.
  16. Chicago Tribune, “Wedding bells ring for couples,” 2 Nov 1969, p. 42, col. 2-5; digital images, ( : accessed 5 Jan 2019).
Print Friendly, PDF & Email