Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Thrill Of Finding A Maiden Name -- You Can't Beat It

Catharine Huffman Huffman.  Who would have guessed that the mother of Dennis Meech married 2nd Henry Huffman, and her maiden name was also Huffman.  I have been "dancing" around this lady for about six months -- always with that quiet voice whispering in my ear, "You are close, keep trying."  Admittedly, I was about to put this family back into the manila folder that has been their home for years.  I would get it out, work awhile with no success, and put them away again.  But something kept me interested longer this time.

It all started when I discovered Ohio Probate and Guardian records had been recently published on  I started looking at Franklin County records and soon found the guardian records for Henry Huffman's younger children.  These children are the children of Catherine Huffman Huffman as well.  Granted, they are not my ancestors, as I am descended from Dennis Meech, Catherine's first child with an unknown Mr. Meech.  But a combination of curiosity, and the thought that one of these people may solve more of the puzzle for their mother's identity kept me searching. 

I decided to write about, Catherine's Children, after I found so much good information about them.  Of course, as I started this project, I kept going back and looking for more information about them.  Mainly, because I had fallen in love with this family, but also to fill in the details in my book.

On Saturday, April 13, 2013, I experienced a thunder bolt of a breakthrough.  The grandson of the youngest child of Catherine Huffman Huffman joined The National Society Sons of the American Revolution in April 1939. has recently published these application on their website.  In searching for this man's grandmother, Sarah Huffman Reaver, in, that application popped up.  At first I thought it was interesting because she is listed on it, but that was about all.  It said his great grandmother was Catherine Huffman and I wrote it off as another instance of her married name being all that was known.  Then I looked closer.

On the back page of this man's SAR application it referenced his MOTHER's DAR National #!  Wait a minute there --- I am a DAR Registrar and I have extra special access to DAR membership records. In just a few minutes I had located Nellie Reaver Kasten's application as it has been indexed at DAR. It said her grandmother was Catherine Huffman MEECH. 

It was a dream come true.  DAR knew about my ancestress and her first married name.  A record copy of this application is available for $10 and believe me, I had ordered that application in about two minutes.  I gave them my credit card # and received the original application in a few minutes via email as a .pdf file.  Imagine my excitement when I read the DAR genealogist's note that wrote in the name MEECH for Henry Huffman's 2nd wife.  I knew that, but I didn't think anyone else in the world knew that.  The other exciting thing was that Nellie Reaver Kasten's documentation packet was available for order.  I filled out the form and a check and ran it to the Post Office immediately. This is one record you can't order by email.  What a fantastic day this was --- and no one in the world cares but me.  I finally called a friend and gave her the whole long story, another genealogist is the only one that would understand and half way share the excitement. I am anxiously awaiting the documentation packet from NSDAR, but nothing can beat the thrill I had on April 13.

The death certificate for Catherine's son Henry Huffman, Jr did state that his mother's name was  Katherine Huffman and she was born in Ohio -- but I wrote that off as another case of the informant telling the woman's married name rather than her maiden name.  The informant was Henry's widow Jane, and that makes it more acceptable, as the spouse usually knows more than the children and grandchildren as informants.  But I still ignored it.  Come to find out, it was exactly right.  Catherine and her second husband, Henry Huffman, may well have been cousins -- or not related at all. Of course, that is the next puzzle -- who are her parents?  That is for tomorrow.

For today, I am so happy to have finally solved this bit of the puzzle.  Females are the biggest challenge in genealogy and it is one I love to solve.  Welcome Catherine Huffman -- I am so glad to finally know you. 

The line in this story is:
1. Catherine Huffman married 2nd to Henry Huffman  (she married 1st Mr. Meech)
2. Their daughter, Sarah Huffman married to WilliamReaver
3. Their daughter, Nellie Reaver married to Charles Kasten (she joined DAR in 1928)
4. Their son Karl Frederick Kasten (he joined SAR in 1939)


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