By Franklin T. Wike, Jr.
Conducting hands on genealogy research can be fun, but it is also time consuming. Below is a very brief list of procedures I went through in order to obtain certain information about one side of my family. This information comes from original records and/or microfilm of originals which offers a certain amount of data about the persons life, occupation, where they lived and/or are buried, attended church, etc.
Charles William Wike
My grandfathers name was Charles William Wike and he lived in Lebanon, PA. In order to find out more about my family, I obtained a copy of his social security application filed December 4, 1936. It stated he was born in August 1900. It also stated his parents were Franklin Thomas Wike and Mary Whiler. This application also listed his address, occupation, where he worked, and a variety of additional information.
Franklin Thomas Wike
Then I checked the 1910 census records for South Lebanon Township, South District and found a Frank Wike listed in the town of Rexmont. It listed his age as 38 (indicating he was born in 1872) and his wife Mary as being 33 years old. They had 7 children, but only 6 were living at the time. The children were listed as: Willie, a son age 14, Sallie C. a daughter age 12, Charles W. a son age 11, Robert G. a son age 8, George a son age 5 and Mary a daughter age 2.
My next piece of documentation was a marriage license dated April 4, 1896, from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, issued to Frank T. Wike, age 24 (indicating he was born in 1872) and Mary Weiler. The parents of the groom are listed as Elias and Sarah Wike.
Elias and Sarah Wike
From there, I checked the 1880 census records from Cornwall, PA, and found an Elias Wike age 42, (indicating he was born around 1838). He was married to a Sarah age 36 and they had 4 children, Gilbert a son age 13, Agnes a daughter age 11, Thomas F. a son age 8 and Jane Bertha a daughter age 2. Since the son Thomas F was age 8, (that would indicate he was born in 1872), the same year as Franklin Thomas. At this point my assumption is that Franklin Thomas and Thomas F. are the same person.
Grand Army of the Republic
Next, I found a cemetery record from Cornwall, PA, for a Elias K. Wike, born September 29, 1837, and died December 23, 1898. He was also listed as G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic, meaning he was a union soldier during the civil war). That cemetery also had listings for his wife, Sarah E. Knecht, born November 30, 1843, and died August 15, 1895, as well as their son Wilson Gilbert, born February 23, 1867, and died April 5, 1890.
Checking the applications for burial of deceased soldiers, I found an application for Elias Weik, born September 29, 1837. He was listed as a private with Company C, 7th Regiment, PA Vol and in Company E, 190 Regiment, PA Vol.
The muster rolls for Company E, PA Vol, list Elias Weik state that he was mustered in May 27, 1961. It also states that he was a prisoner or war from August 19, 1864, to March 12, 1865. He was discharged June 6, 1865.
Where my research will take me next, I do not know. The information above has taken several years to acquire. My hopes are that I will be able to find out where Elias was held as a prisoner and what battles he fought, in order to gain some type of information as to what he may have endured. I would also like to find out who his parents are, however since there are no state records of marriages or births that far back, I expect that research to be very time consuming. Another aspect that adds to the challenge of researching is the variety of names, spelling of names, and even dates of birth. Therefore multiple records are always preferred when documenting information.
U S Legacies Magazine November 2004