Nov 21

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Jun 27

My Brick Wall Ancestor (What I Know, What I’d like to Discover)



William Holbert (1751-1819), my 4th gr. Grandfather is one of many elusive souls in my family history. William and wife Mary [Showers] officially appear in Pennsylvania approximately 1776. This is well documented in deeds as well as a newspaper article and book documentation stating he was one of the original settlers of Mast Hope, PA. Recently I also found a document on listed him as serving in the Revolutionary War and Local Indian Wars.  These stories include some detail on my 4th ggr parents’ capture by the Delaware Indians as well. I have visited the small family cemetery they are buried in as well. The main photo on my blog is the actual cemetery they are buried in.

I have been told that they arrived in PA by way of Connecticut then spending time in Sussex, NJ, though I do not have much documentation that would solidify this. My main adventure is to find out where our Holberts originated from in Europe. It has been passed down in the family as well as from very distant family I have located via the internet that they are both originally from Holland and then some say possibly Germany.

Going forward with this family line is well documented thru PA history. My family was quite prosperous in all aspects of the lumbering industry for many decades due to their location on the Delaware and Lackawaxen Rivers. Lackawaxen House, a large hotel in its day is still in existence today and still in the hands of family members.

In conclusion, I would really like to discover where in the Old World our Holbert descendants came from as well as who William and Mary’s parents were. In the mean time I just keep chipping away at that brick.oblHolberts My Brick Wall My Brick Wall Ancestor (What I Know, What I’d Like To Discover). My Brick Wall Ancestor (What I Know, What I’d Like To Discover). My Brick Wall Ancestor (What I Know, What I’d Like To Discover). My Brick Wall Ancestor (What I Know, What I’d Like     …..

Jun 08

Genealogical Journey…What I wished I’d known in the beginning

What  I wished I had known when I first started on my Genealogical journey….to be prepared that there would be a million Joseph, Benjamin and William Holberts all living in about the same area, at about the same time with  about the same birthdates!

When I took over the role of family genealogist little did I know what I was in for. My first step was to sign up for a month of I had a tree on there for quite some time but had done little else as far as research. When I typed in my 4th gr. Grandfather’s name William Holbert born 1751 born possibly Holland/Netherlands, married to Mary Showers and living in Pennsylvania around 1778 I was taken aback at all the results. Searching their sons Benjamin and Joseph proved equally mind numbing.

Sourcing! Another thing I wished I had known! I have so many pictures and copies of old documents that I never sought to source. Now that I am planning on privately publishing our family history I will need to retrace my steps.

I just chalk all this up to another great learning experience!

May 17

Why do I do genealogy?

Why do I do genealogy? Good question! I’ve never really thought about it or was even asked this question before. After much pondering, I believe my first taste was when I was a little girl. My Mom had one of those pale blue/green ottomans, so fashionable in the late 60’s early 70’s. It had a storage area inside.  It was the place to find almost all the old photos and newspaper clipping all mixed together quite precariously.  Well, every so often the mood would strike me to peruse the contents. I would start pulling out the photos, recognizing some faces, the others unknown to my little mind but all the same familiar to me only because of my constant handling over time. I just enjoyed looking at all these old photos; proud of myself when I could identify a face or even the place they were taken. This would continue until I got married and moved out of the house. The ottoman is long gone along with some of those photos from water damage. Most of the contents were salvageable.

Another reason would be all the family reunions I have attended over the years with my Mom’s side of the family. I assumed the role of chairperson of our reunion committee a few years ago. The cousins who were currently running it decided to pass the hat onto the “younger generation”. Amongst the torch passing was a few family photos, the bank book, address book and the piece de resistance was the family history book. Approximately 30 pages of family stories, a few pictures and pedigrees that were due to be expanded on were included in book. I never gave it another thought and practically jumped at the offer to take it over!   I have managed to increase the book to 80 pages with more stories, expanded pedigrees and additional pictures. I have enjoyed it ever since.

I continue my research everyday because I love sharing it with the family and they enjoy the surprises I can offer at times. We now offer copies of the reunion book and a slideshow DVD of photos of our heritage at the reunion for a donation to the reunion funds. Also, we have a closed group Facebook page where family can go to share old photos, memories, create events etc.  I credit today’s technology and my willingness to constantly keep the family informed of happenings with more of the younger generations getting involved with our family reunion.

Bottom line, I do it because I love who my family is, the good and the bad; and of course all the mysteries I want to solve!



May 09

Family, Where it all begins

It is so hard to pick one favorite family photo but if I had to this would be the one.  This is the only picture of my grandparents (my Mom’s parents) with ALL 11 children and their spouses and the grandchildren thru 1950.  This picture was taken circa 1951(?) I guess, as my oldest brother is the youngest in this photo (upper right) and he was born in August 1950.  Today only one child survives of the 11.  I never knew my grandparents so this is a great photo to cherish forever. You just don’t see many pictures like this anymore so it is one to be treasured. I can just stare at it for hours with all the genealogy history running thru my mind as I pass each person’s face.

This was taken at my grandparents’ anniversary party for them. The backdrop is the Borden Dairy Farm, which my family managed at the time in Wallkill, NY. I hope you enjoy the photo and also continue to enjoy my many adventures.

Holbert-Eldred Family

The Holbert-Eldred Family

May 07

Family DNA

I just received an email from offering current subscribers a chance to try out their new DNA testing.

Traditionally DNA testing for genealogy research involved the testing (y-chromosone) of the male descendant to trace the male line of your family. If you are researching your female line then a female family member would be tested fo the (X-chromosone) for the family descendants.

This new DNA testing will analyzes the autosomal DNA which includes the entire genome—all 23 pairs of chromosomes.

As states, ” the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests look at much smaller amounts of your DNA. For example, YDNA tests only look at about 40 locations whereas AncestryDNA comprehensively looks at the entire genome at over 700,000 locations, all with a simple saliva sample. 40 vs. 700,000? You don’t need to be a scientist to see that this is a huge improvement.” Read more at .

Well, I am anxiously awaiting my official invitation to try out this new test. At $99 its a real bargain compared to other testing site so, we will see.


May 01

Genealogy, how it all started

Our family reunion has been ongoing since the late 1940’s. Our reunion is called the Holbert-Eldred Family Reunion in honor of our grandparents Rennie & Lena (Eldred) Holbert that consists of the descendants of my mother and her 10 siblings and their relations which is now at about 4 generations.

It all started back in the spring of 2008. I was invited to a cousins house that was currently one of the Committee members for our reunion. Amongst the many topics to be discussed was the taking over of the genealogy work that had been completed thus far.

Well I guess that is when the “genealogy bug” jumped up and bit me.  All of a sudden I had this urge to jump at the chance to do this, and I did!  I could not wait to get started on updating the work that was contained within the small family book that was started many years ago by a cousin I never knew. My cousin that was relinquishing the book to me had only updated the children (us) of the 11 siblings and retyped the book into a more current format.

The first thing I did was re-sign up for a 14 day free trial to (I had done this once back in 2000, but never continued my subscription).

I was fortunate that I had a lot to go on from our previous researchers; history went back to our 4th great grandparents on both the Holbert and Eldred sides.  I plugged some info in on my 4th great grandfather William Holbert and that is when the cloud nine feeling left me and reality hit. I could not believe how many William Holberts there were that were born around 1751 and lived in Pennsylvania! I moved on to his sons Benjamin and Joseph. Same thing! Guess these where the popular male names for the time period.

So like most of you starting out I found myself digger a deeper hole and riding the rollercoaster of It reminded me of the saying “round and round we go, where we stop nobody knows.”  That sure is true in the genealogy world!

Now jump forward 4 years, thousands of hours and dollars spend on the search for more documentation and I am now stuck trying to find my 4th ggr. parents origins, which some say is in Holland, but I can’t seem to get him out of Pennsylvania where he just sprung up with his wife like a jackrabbit.

Thanks to, Family Search, my local library, the many historical societies sites/websites I have visited, all the message board posts that found me some new family thus new info and all my close family that have offered to help me out where they can.

I am loving this new chapter in my life and it looks like it will continue for a very long time to come!

Apr 26

A story within a story…a paranormal experience?

I have posted a new page that contains a story I wrote last summer entitled “Autumn Kisses from Grandma”. The story is a true experience I had at the Wallkill Valley Cemetery where some of my family, including both sets of my grandparents are buried.

My encouragement for writing this story was a contest offered on a website called (This website is now Hudson Valley Halloween Magazine) The contest was to write a sotry about a true paranormal experience that I had in the Hudson Valley. I thought, “I can do this!” Remembering back to that day at the cemetery, I couldn’t wait to put pen to paper to get my story out. I managed to submit my story 2 hours before the deadline.

After waiting for what seemed like a lifetime to hear if my story was chosen, I was shocked beyond words when I visited the website one day and seen my story listed as one of the top 3 finalist for voting. I was so excited to become a finalist, never imagining I would actually win. The prizes to me were wonderful, Linda Zimmerman books, a CD recording of the original rendition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow read by none other than Jonathan Kruk 4 tickets to Historic Hudson Valley and the best one of all….2 tickets to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery tour!

Well to end this post….I won! After some feverish voting my story came out on top!! I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was. So, please take a moment and read my story and let me know what you think.

Apr 25

What is in a name?

Well for my very first blog post I thought I would explain to you how I came up with the name The Bark Peeler for my blog. I tried of course to think of something original. I always thought things like branches, twigs and roots used in the names of websites and blog names for genealogy were becoming over done even though those words would fit into my heritage.
As I dug deeper into my mind I came upon the tanneries in our history and how the whole process worked.

For several years I have been researching my mother’s side of the family who settled in Pennsylvania’s Wayne and Pike counties. My 4th great grandfather William Holbert was the first settler of the town of Mast Hope, PA. He and his wife came to Pennsylvania around 1770. He was the supplier of the lumber that built the Trenton Bridge over the Delaware River in 1803. The lumber industry ran through my families blood well into the late 1800’s. A distant cousin, William P . Holbert, ran several successful lumber mills and tanneries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the mid 1800’s.

The hemlock tree, which was quite abundant back in those days was most prized for its bark. The “Bark Peelers” would cut down the trees, peel off their bark, and carried it to the tannery to make tannin for the tanning of leather. Spring was the best time to remove the bark as the sap was now moving and it would loosen the bark to make it easy to peel. Quite a hard way to make a living!

Hence the name of my blog…I am The Bark Peeler of my family.