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Cousins Heimat Journey – and Why Our Cousins Matter

The Importance of Cousins The 2010 Schrock Reunion at the Heritage Center in Metamora, Illinois, brought cousins together from Florida, Virginia, Nebraska, the West Coast, and even France–but the majority had never met before, and they met cousins they didn’t know they had.[1] In a Chicago Tribune article in December 2015, Richard Asa’s piece titled […]

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Mary’s Friendship Quilt: Constructed, Used, Lost, and Recovered

How great-grandchildren recovered a part of their collective history By Donna Schrock Birkey, with Mary Cender Miller That day, June 20, I spent the afternoon with four of my Schrock 2nd cousins. We pulled out scrapbooks, photo books, vintage items and all manner of fun family mementos. All of us were great-granddaughters of John (1862-1951) […]

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Searching for a Cure–the Untimely Death and Exemplary Life of Albert E. Schrock

by Donna Schrock Birkey Albert Elmer Schrock   (1886-1917) Timeline of Albert’s life: 1891 Albert’s family moved to Champaign County from Tazewell County when he was five years old. 1898 Joseph Yordy family moved to Fisher when Josephine was five years old. 1907 Josephine became Albert’s wife. They were both 21 years of age. The couple […]

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Family Tree Update

The Family Tree section of the website has been updated. There are changes to the early Birki/Bircky/Burki ancestry, coming about as a result of recent combined research of Bavarian documents by Herbert Holly, Hermann Hage and Joseph Staker. The most significant changes occur in the ancestries of the Burkey families that settled in Putnam County, […]

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Daniel Schrock and Barbara Yoder line of Schrags

Daniel D. Schrock (1821-1880) and Barbara Yoder (1830-1877) arrived in Aurora, Preston County, West Virginia, about 1859 from Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Their descendants hold a reunion every year at Deep Creek Lake, near Oakland, Garrett County, Maryland, usually held on the 3rd Saturday in July. I was recently sent this photo from their 2011 reunion […]

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Two Schrock Women – 108 and Counting

Two Schrock Women–108 and Counting by Donna Schrock Birkey Originally published in the Summer 2012 issue (Vol. XXXIX  •  No. 2) Illinois Mennonite Heritage Quarterly ( (Used with permission of original publisher)   Two Schrock women, Estelle Elizabeth Schrock Lewis and Lydia Mae Schrock, both turned 108 in 2012. Third cousins, but they have never […]

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The Cane Belonging to Joseph Schrock (1828-1901)

I recently spent several days in Eureka, IL, and one of the interesting activities while there was to see, handle, and photograph a 100+-year-old-cane belonging to Joseph Schrock, son of Johannes and Catherine Salzman Schrock. I asked Byron Schrock to document the cane’s history and project its future. His story and my photographs are below. […]

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Barbara Schrock Belsly: The Forgotten Wife and Mother

Barbara Schrock Belsly: The Forgotten Wife and Mother by Donna Schrock Birkey Originally published in the Winter 2011 (Vol. XXXVIII  •  No. 4) Illinois Mennonite Heritage Quarterly ( (Used with permission of original publisher) The Belsly family has known very little about Barbara Schrock as Joseph Belsly’s first wife; in fact, Barbara is the least […]

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ABC 7 News Chicago Newscast with Courtney (Hatch) Sensenig, Michelle Obama, and Gov. Pat Quinn

Here is a video taken of the ABC 7 Newscast reporting on Michelle Obama’s visit to Chicago for the signing by Governor Quinn of an Illinois law making it easier for service personnel families to transfer licenses from state to state.  Jim and Jan (Heiser) Hatch’s daughter, Courtney Sensenig, a nurse and US Navy wife […]

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