52 Ancestors Week 13 – In Search of the Reverend Swartz Family Genealogy Road Trip 24 March 2014

Updated 9:00 P.M. on 03 April 2014.

Here’s the story behind the challenge if you want to participate. http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/52-ancestors-in-52-weeks. They are definitely worth checking out even if you don’t plan on participating. Been running around 200+ entries a week for a while now. You can find Amy’s Week 13 recap here with lots of exciting posts for your perusal.

This week’s entry is different from my past entries. I am not focusing on an individual, but a family, the Reverend Simeon and Sarah (Kring) Swartz family. The emphasis is on a particular part of their journey as I plan on covering the reverend in a future 52 Ancestor post. In last week’s entry, I talked about their son, Ira Swartz, and briefly mentioned the genealogy road trip. This was my first genealogy road trip in a while. I covered some other road trips in this blog post. I have mentioned the road trip in a few other blog posts and have a few more in process to cover other aspects of the trip. 

Some background on this genealogy road trip. For a long time, I hadn’t traced Sarah’s family since she wasn’t a direct ancestor. This changed in December 2012 when I was researching headstone photos I uploaded to BillionGraves in November 2012. You can read a bit more about it my BillionGraves interview You Never Know Who You’ll Find. I photographed the headstone of Mary Catherine Jefferies and didn’t think too long about her as her name wasn’t familiar to me. When I researched her name as part of my transcription for her memorial on BillionGraves, I immediately recognized her parents’ names as being my great-grandfather’s sister and brother-in-law. My limited research of her parents hadn’t given me any sign of a Wichita connection. Mary is a work in process for a future 52 Ancestors entry.

Earlier this year, I saw an article about 100,000 books on the LDS site: http://ldsmediatalk.com/2013/10/18/100000-family-history-books. In checking it out, I clicked on the link to use the books. I used Simon Kring (Sarah’s brother) in the search line and found a book about Simeon Swartz, titled Simeon Swartz family history : 1727 ancestors to 1958 de[s]cendants. It’s roughly 117 pages long.

Starting at page 36 in the book (page 47 of the link), Orvo talks in great detail about his father. Orvo is Simeon and Sarah’s youngest child. He mentions how and why they moved to Bushton, Rice County, Kansas. Bushton is about 2 hours northwest of Wichita. I mentioned it to Jim S., a volunteer at Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society (MHGS). He suggested a road trip and he was willing to go with me. Shortly thereafter, I ran across this YouTube video, Simeon and the Cave (page 39 book/50 PDF if you want to know about the cave), by a descendant of Simeon and Sarah.

The video is a hair under 13 minutes long.

Fast forward to Monday, 24 March 2014. In the wee hours of the morning, Jim picks me up, we go to Spangles for breakfast. Guesstimate it was 7:30 A.M. when we left Wichita on this grand adventure.

Rough map of the route.

Google Maps accessed 01 April 2014

Google Maps accessed 01 April 2014

We changed drivers after the McPherson exit and arrived in Bushton about 9:30 A.M. We visited the church founded in 1887 by Reverend Swartz. The church was rebuilt in 1924 and this is what it looks like today.

Photo taken by Jim Scharnhorst and used with his permission

Photo taken by Jim Scharnhorst and used with his permission


Our next visit was to Bushton-Farmer Township Cemetery to see if we could find Ira Swartz’s grave. We found several small children’s headstones, but they were unreadable. We did find a Zinker/White Bronze headstone. We spent about an hour or so walking the cemetery and photographing some of the headstones. The weather was cold enough to call for gloves.

Photo taken 24 March 2014.

Photo taken 24 March 2014.

We drove around the area and found Salem-Friedhof Cemetery, southwest of Bushton. Spent about half hour walking around it and photographing a few more headstones.

Photo taken by Jim Scharnhorst and used with his permission.

Photo taken by Jim Scharnhorst and used with his permission.

By this time,  we were low on gas and Jim’s GPS system indicated the nearest gas station was in Ellinwood. We gassed up in Ellinwood and ate lunch at Annie Mae’s. We drove back to Bushton. The museum and City Hall were closed, and the library was about to open. Spent an hour in the library, reviewing the town’s centennial book and talking to the librarian. She gave us directions to the Fire Department, temporary home of the City Hall. Nobody answered at the Fire Department.

The last leg of the adventure was trying to find Weber Cemetery. Weber Cemetery is half mile west of Dubuque, Kansas and home to three permanent residents. It’s on the southwest corner of the t-intersection of East 230 Road and Northeast 80th Avenue. We looked for 30 minutes, but were unable to find any trace of a cemetery. Suspect it is now part of a farmer’s plowed acreage. Think it was around 3:30 P.M. when we headed back to Wichita.

A big thank you to Jim Scharnhorst for assisting in so many ways to make this trip happen.


This entry was posted in 52 Ancestors, BillionGraves, Family, Find-A-Grave. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 52 Ancestors Week 13 – In Search of the Reverend Swartz Family Genealogy Road Trip 24 March 2014

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 13 Recap | No Story Too Small

  2. Pingback: 52 Ancestor Week 20 – Martha Jane (Jefferies) Lee – Found | Ups and Downs of Family History

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