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Heritage House - A Family History

Heritage House Overview

Heritage House Overview
Family Workshop
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This site was originally created and launched back in the summer of 2005.  It has gone though numerous changes over the years.  Both due to various changes within the specific web-hosting sites through which the site was published as well as my own personal choices for change in the perspective, purpose and presentation.


Much of my personal debate originated with the requirement to provide a name for the site in order to list it with other genealogical databases.  After much consideration, I chose to call the site “Heritage House” because there are many surnames within my own personal genealogical lineage.  I wanted a name that would encompass the whole of the family without placing any more significance or importance on any one surname.


A second big reason in the choice of name would be that this is a personal project into not just my ancestral lineage but about the history of my family as a whole; something more along the lines of a Genealogical Documentary than a basic or simple genealogy site.  When talking about my family, I have often been heard stating… “I don’t have a ‘Family Tree, I have a Family Orchard’ and I say that with great humor, I also say it because of the extent to which I have chosen to take my personal research.


As an individual who grew up in a home where we could joke about the “yours, mine and ours” scenario with regards to the children, I cannot see where these individuals can be ignored.  Therefore, I made the personal choice to not confine myself strictly to bloodlines when listing the name of those I view as family members as well as my personal opinion that in doing so would severely reduce to full impact to the wonderful story that is my family.


This site is essentially a personal web site that is geared toward genealogy; it contains the results of personal research as it pertains to my personal lineage.  Provided within these pages are also what I have begun calling “saplings” as they are the “seeds” of information that can possibly provide a better starting point for someone else within my family who may have an interest in searching out and developing their own individual genealogical site or document in the future.


As with all genealogical sites, this site will continue to grow and evolve based on the perspective of the coordinator as well as comments and suggestions from family members. 


Personally, I have always been more than just a little fascinated with history, especially when it came to my family, so my curiosity in genealogy and the desire to create this should come as no surprise to most of those who know me.


When I moved back to Ohio in the fall of 1999, my Aunt Judy had already been working on our family genealogy and history for quite some time, actually for years I believe.  One of the individual projects she had been working on at that time was a “booklet” of sorts for Uncle Dick about the Hostetter side of the family.  I was honored to be able to be a small part of that project.


She had done so much work on it, carefully copying material and pictures for him; it was actually quite impressive to me.  I had just begun learning how to use some of the photo editing programs on my computer and offered to re-create what she had done in a computerized form.  It was that project that eventually added to the inspiration for the creation of this web site, although it did not become a reality until the summer of 2005. 


As I began to learn more and more about photo editing programs, both the ones that came on my computer as well as the ones I had later purchased; Mom and I got to talking about what a great project it would be to create these big Family Scrapbooks for myself and my brother and sisters.


We thought it would also be a wonderful project for her and I to do together.  Although she did not live long enough to see this project to its conclusion, I will always cherish the memories of its beginnings.  She was so fascinated with the process of being able to take old, worn out and scratched photos and creating new looking, beautiful, clear images.


It was during this project that we began talking about the different pictures that would be used for the scrapbooks that another project was born. As we began looking through the various pictures, talking about the people in them, who they were and how we were related to them, brought about the project “The Family Directory”.


This project was in essence a much simpler one but had a deeper, more significant purpose.  What we hoped to create was a “Who’s Who” sort of book about our family.  In order to do that, we knew we needed to begin working on a central information point.  So, we sat down together at the kitchen table and began creating what we would ultimately call “ TheFamily Fact Sheets” which would be a source document for everything concerning that individual family member.   We decided that this “Fact Sheet” would be created on each family member either on his or her 18th birthday or when they got married, which ever came first.


The fact sheets would be headed with the family members’ given name at birth and would then be filed in alphabetical order in three ring binders.  This became our “Family Directory” with an alphabetical listing or index in the front called “The Family Registry.”  In some ways it was a frustrating process because we decided that we wanted to be able to accomplish two things through it.  One was to create a means of easily identifying or tracking an individual family members ancestry as well as be able to easily to see just how different people within the Directory were related to each other; all through one source.  The choice to go alphabetical in binders is in reality a modified form of a military alert roster and seemed to suit our purposes perfectly.


The first page of the Family Fact Sheet itself contains a wealth of genealogical information for future generations, regardless of where they are within the Directory.  As long as a Fact Sheet exists on a given family member, their connection to any other family member within the Directory can be traced backwards and forwards by simply following the alphabetical flow of names.


An example of this “Flow” would be if I wanted to look at my own “Gorby” history.  I would flip to the “M” section because my maiden name is “Miller” and find the “Fact Sheet” labeled Valerie Jean Miller.  When I look at my “Fact Sheet” I can see the full names of both of my parents as well as see the full names of both of my Maternal and Paternal Grandparents. 


My next step would be to flip through the Directory to the “G” section and find the “Fact Sheet” on Margie Eilene Gorby because that’s my Grandmother and her maiden name was “Gorby”.  When I look at her “Fact Sheet” it will show what her parents and grandparents full names are, revealing that her fathers full name was Norman Leroy Gorby.  So I would stay there in the “G” section and flip to his “Fact Sheet” where it would reveal that his fathers’ full name was John Clark Gorby. 


So, by flipping through the “Family Directory” based on the maiden or surname of a parent, it should be easy to trace a connection to nearly anyone else within that Directory.  These “Fact Sheets” also contain additional information such as siblings, which identify Aunts and Uncles.  If you flip through the Directory and look up the “Fact Sheet” one of the names listed as your mother or fathers siblings, you’ll see a list of their children, thus telling you the names of your cousins.  This process can be repeated over and over again just by using the alphabet.


Something else we talked about was just how frustrating it can be when it comes to knowing exactly who someone is talking about at times.  We attempted to clarify some of that, especially when it came to the women in the family.  While there are a lot of reasons that names are changed, marriage is probably the number one factor.


Therefore, the recorded names of women will always have their ‘last name at birth’ provided in parenthesis directly following their middle name.  If there are multiple marriages, especially if there are children born to the marriage, the names of women will always be recorded with all married names shown in chronological order to the current last name, each divided by the back slash.


A good example of the above would be my mother.  She was born Carol Ann Hostetter.  She married Merland Martin Miller and had three children, then married Robert Wallace Starkey and had one child.  Therefore, her name will always be recorded within the Directory as:


                                        Carol Ann (Hostetter) Miller/Starkey


We felt that this would make it a lot easier for individuals who wanted to use the Directory to trace back to see the exact ancestral connection they may have to another individual listed within the Directory.


Another situation where something can be confusing in genealogical searches are ‘nicknames’ especially when the individual is known to rarely (if ever) go by their given name.  Here's a couple of examples of that in our family, my Uncle Dick and Uncle Peewee. 


Most people are aware that ‘Dick’ is a common nickname for Richard; however we decided to add that to his name within the Index to the Family Directory, listing him as Clyde Richard ‘Dick’ Hostetter Jr.  Because all my life he has always been known to me as "Uncle Dick".  However, his wife, my Aunt Charlotte always referred to him as "Rich", which could be confusing to researchers in later generations if there was recorded information from multiple sources, each using the name they knew individually and nobody coordinating the information. 


However, if an individual wasn’t already pretty familiar with the family, it could be difficult making the connection between "Uncle Peewee" and Donald Eugene Gorby.  There were many years in my life where I did not know that the two were the same person.  Uncle Peewee is Gramma Margie’s brother and his name has been recorded in the Index to the Family Directory as Donald Eugene ‘Peewee’ Gorby.


Another situation that creates confusion are those that don't have a nickname but choose to go by their middle names, for whatever reason.  This particular situation applies to my Great Aunt, my mothers' Aunt Jean.  I am her namesake as my middle name came from her because it was her middle name as well.  However, it was many years later that I learned “Jean” was not her first name.  She was named Wilda Jean Gorby at birth and she was known to me most of my life simply as Aunt Jean Riley.  There really is no way at this time to indicate anywhere other than making a note of it that an individual always went by their middle name rather than their given first name.  Thus, while she was always known as “Jean” or “Aunt Jean”, she is simply listed in the Index to the Directory as Wilda Jean (Gorby) Riley.


In January of 2002, when my mother passed away, I sort of set this project aside, somewhat losing interest in it.  However, during the summer of 2005 I made the decision that it was most definitely a worthwhile project.  I know Mom would have wanted me to continue with this, it was important to both of us.  I have since modified that original “Family Fact Sheet” to include some additional (and always optional) information about our family.


Every genealogy search is different and done for different reasons.  Personally I have always been fascinated by historical information and even more so when it comes to my family.  My personal journey into the past with regards to my family spins a greater web than that of most, because I do include as much of the ancestry of my half-sister Malinda R. Starkey and stepbrother John Allen Starkey as I can find.


I have done this because while the specific identification of “half” and “step” are used ONLY here in this Documentary to indicate the statistical relationship not actual.  I have never personally felt it or viewed either of them as any less a brother or sister to me than I view Jacqueline or Marjorie, the two sisters with whom I share the same biological mother and father. 


Another reason I have often used the expression of “I don’t just have a Family Tree, I have a Family Orchard” can be best explained when looking at my sister Marjorie Irene’s branch of the family tree.  There is contained within her individual family traces, the somewhat smaller searches into the lineage for Gbur Family as that is a lineage for her eldest son William, as well as the DeSellem Family for her second son Bryan and the Bouch Family for her youngest daughter Shayla as well as the fact that two of her step-children Frankie and Cameron are the biological children of her husband Frank. 


This practice of establishing these smaller side searches or "Saplings" continues for my other nephew Justin Wellman, the son of my sister Jacqueline as well as for my nieces Elizabeth, Megan and Molly Starkey, who are my brothers’ daughters and my niece Amanda Shepard, my nephews Robert and Lee Burnip which are the children of my sister Malinda. 


As I have already said, I often refer to these smaller "side searches" as "planting saplings" in that this site and the Main Family Directory can also provide some direction or "off-shoots" to the various families that help to make up my entire family tree.  Thus hopefully providing a useful research tool for generations to come.  I suppose it could be seen as laying as much ground work as I can for them. 


All of that is because while this is my personal project, somewhere down the line, when I too have faded into the chronicles of time and become part of what is the history of this family; someone might want to pick this up and continue where time would not let me go.


It is also with all of this in mind that the final page of that newly modified ‘Fact Sheet’ was created for the specific purpose of making it possible to contribute to the “telling the story” of our family.  Any genealogy site can be filled with simple or basic facts such as names and dates, but the story of a family also provides a record of other things, such as who we are, where we’ve been, where we are going, our individual accomplishments and achievements.  We have many Veterans both past and present in our family.  We have had family members give of themselves for humanitarian causes and some have held public offices.  We have Doctors, Lawyers and many others that have made historical contributions to society.  It is my desire to make a record of these so that this can become a family legacy rather than a simple memory by a few.


Finally, I do not in any way make the assumption that any requested information is owed to me or that just because I have created this site and put it out there that people are going to line up to complete the forms.  However, I am beyond words with appreciation to those that are willing to provide it to me.  It is my sincere goal to provide factual information that can be cherished by all of us as well as generations to come.  I am sincere in my hope that when I am no longer here, there will be someone who wants to pick up where I left off and continue the story of our family.


It is important that family members understand that the information gathered through this web site is for the sole purpose of updating and maintaining a current "Family Directory".  This web site does not retain or publish any of the information received through this site.  All of the interactive forms on this site are designed to automatically clear themselves as soon as the information has been submitted.


Once received, the information is entered into the appropriate "Family Fact Sheet", the sheet is printed and filed accordingly into a three-ring binder and the information is then deleted from the computer.

SPECIAL NOTE:  The web site does not retain any information submitted through the use of the interactive forms contained therein.  All forms automatically clear themselves once the information has been submitted.  It is sent to a non-published email address through the publisher directly to the site coordinator.  All information is then hand written into the Family Directory and is not published in any form through any medium.