At a meeting of the Heart O'Wisconsin Genealogical Society in Wisconsin Rapids, Vickie Schnitzler says she was speechless after discovering a unique piece of her family's history that dates before the end of the Civil War.
"I saw it, I read it, and it took me five minutes after I read it to be able to actually move" she told Newsline 9.
Schnitzler is a genealogist and district representative of the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society. After years of looking through certificates, records, deeds and census accounts, a passage in the published memoirs of Civil War Captain John Henry Otto became an incredible breakthrough.
In the book Otto mentions her Great Great Uncle Johann "Herman" Hasz specifically by name. This lead Schnitzler to discover her ancestor died in battle at Bentonville, North Carolina on March 19th, 1865. From records with the National Park Service, she was able to find where her distant relative is buried.
"I cried. It was like the whole circle was complete" she said.
Schnitzler's newly discovered information about her Great Great Uncle accompanies a photograph she treasures of him in uniform and a Civil War Ancestor Certificate, issued by the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society.
"I see bits of my father in him. Around the temples and the eyes, there are bits of the family I can see" Schnitzler said recalling the photograph by memory. "Somebody took the time to do Herman's photograph and preserve it, and pass it on to family members, the same way family histories should be done" she said.
Schnitzler says preserving photographs, certificates and family pedigrees is a good way to ensure family histories are not forgotten as time goes by.
"As you start looking in records in the Register of Deeds office you start to see more personality" she said.
Though pursuing family histories is a lot of work and something people work for years on, Schnitzler says the key is not to get discouraged. Using the resources available in local genealogy groups can be of a big help.
"Don't give up" she said smiling.
Online Reporter Rob Duns (WAOW)
LINKS TO GENEALOGICAL SOCIETIES IN NORTHCENTRAL WISCONSIN:
The Wisconsin State Genealogical Society: http://www.wsgs.org
Heart O'Wisconsin Genealogical Society (Based in Wisconsin Rapids): http://www.howgs.org/
Marshfield Area Genealogical Group (Based in Marshfied): http://www.marshfieldgenealogy.com/
Marathon County Genealogical Society: http://marathoncountygenealogicalsociety.org/index.php
Wisconsin Historical Society: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/libraryarchives/arcnet/northlan.asp
Eagle River Genealogical Society: http://www.eaglerivergenealogysociety.wordpress.com/
Three Lakes Genealogical Society: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~witlgs/tlgs.index.htm
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Affiliate Listing: http://www.wsgs.wetpaint.com/page/Affiliates
Association of Professional Genealogists: http://www.www.apgen.org/directory/search_detail.html?mbr_id=910
Listing of Wisconsin Public LIbraries: http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/wis_lib.html
Listing of Historical Societies: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/localhistory/directory/
Listing of Wisconsin County Courthouses: http://www.wrdaonline.org/Biography/wrdalist.html
Listing of Wisconsin Cemeteries: http://www.findagrave.com
Oshkosh Public Library: http://www.opl.org