This family history site is dedicated to my family's roots and comprises lines that all converged on Northern California: my paternal grandfather's Goss, Goodwin, and Converse families who settled in California's Mother Lode during the Gold Rush; my maternal grandmother's Swiss-Italian (Malugani and Cerini) and Pennsylvania Dutch (Fisher and Miller) roots; and my maternal grandparents' (Wargin and Sikorski) origins in Poland. It also introduces my wife's Yi family in Korea.
This web site is a selective narrative version of my more complete Family Tree Maker database. More expansive and searchable infomation is also posted on RootsWeb.com. This site focuses on my direct ancestral lines and gives details about my ancestors, their siblings, aunts, uncles, grandchildren, and first cousins. My database on the other hand goes down four generations from where my line leaves off, i.e. down do my ancestors' first cousins and their children (first cousins, once removed). As such my database houses information on over 13,000 known or suspected relatives!
I try to be careful about how much information I post about the living. I maintain as much data as possible in my home database but endeavor to be selective about what is posted publicly on the Internet. Out of concern for privacy, this site only contains detailed information on those who have departed and tracks their descendants down to my grandparents' generation. The living are only referenced by first and last name here.
Each family book is a compilation of individual family group sheets, each detailing the subject and his immediate family. The first webpage assigned to a family surname contains the first two generations and then subsequent generations are given their own pages. A typical record looks like:
From the perspective of arrival in America, our family begins with the Edward Fuller (1575-1621) who sailed to America from England aboard the Mayflower and arrived at Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, in 1620. Edward and his wife died that first winter and their son Samuel was raised by Edward's brother. George Bonham (~1609-1704) also migrated to Plymouth where his son married Edward Fuller's granddaughter.
Deacon Edward Convers (1588/9-1663) sailed to the Massachusetts Bay Colony aboard the Arbella with Winthrop in 1630 and established the Puritan First Church of Woburn, northeast of Boston. His prolific family expanded into Connecticut and Vermont. Erastus Convers (Sr.) (~1804-~1847) came from one of the Vermont branches that resettled in Erie County, Pennsylvania, by around 1820. From there the line moved west to Iowa and then followed the California Gold Rush to Coulterville, Mariposa County, California.
The German lines start right at the founding of William Penn's Germantown Colony on the outskirts of Philadelphia in 1683. The Küster (Kester) family, Mennonites from Kaldenkirchen/Krefeld of the Rheinland-Pfalz (Lower Palatinate), near Düsseldorf, arrived in Germantown about 1685. Later the Müller (Miller) and Stutzman families, German Baptist Brethren ("Dunkers"), arrived in Germantown from Steinwenden, Rheinland-Pfalz, near Kaiserslautern, in 1727. Next came the Greib (Cripe) family, "Dunkers," of Hessen or Baden in 1733.
The Fishers, likely from New Jersey, may also have had roots that go back to Germantown.
These families migrated across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Western Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska before leaping across to California after the Civil War.
The Chapman family settled in Virginia's middle peninsula, between Richmond and Fredericksburg, by 1700. From there they moved inland to Amelia County, southwest of Richmond. After the American Revolutionary War, the Chapmans moved further inland to Amherst County in the Virginia Blue Ridge mountains. From there they crossed into Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa, where Harriet J. Chapman6 (1842-1936) married John Jackson Fisher3 (1843-1906) in Wapello County, Iowa.
California Gold Rush
John Converse3 (1829-1909), of English Puritan roots, arrived in Coulterville, Mariposa County, California, in 1851. That same year, the Goodwins, Scottish coal miners from Ayrshire, Scotland, arrived in Pennsylvania and began working the coal mines of Northumberland and Schuylkill counties. James Goodwin2 (1829-1864) began investigating California in the mid-1850s, finally settled in Coulterville in 1856, and sent for his family around 1857. They came by way of the Isthmus of Panama.
Andrew Goss1 (1840-1912) arrived in California from Sweden in 1853 or 1854 and settled in Coulterville. He married Elizabeth Goodwin3 (1852-1942) and their son married Alice Converse4 (1879-1951) to produce my paternal grandfather, Lloyd Goss3 (1912-1981).
The Cerinis of Giumaglio, Ticino Canton, Switzerland, began investigating Marin and Sonoma Counties in California, as early as the 1880s and finally made their permanent migration with the Maluganis in 1892. The Maluganis, short in physical stature, became allied with the Fishers of tall, robust German-Pennsylvania Dutch stock in the hills above Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, and produced my paternal grandmother, Hazel (Malugani) Goss4.
My mother's Wargin family arrived in America in 1890 by way of Ellis Island from north-central Poland, then ruled by Prussia. They probably settled first in Chicago, Illinois, before putting down roots in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Around the same time, the Sikorskis arrived from Poland, probably originating in central and eastern Poland, which was under Russian rule. After arrival, they operated saloons in iron ore towns in northwestern Wisconsin and northeastern Minnesota.
- "Our Roots in Coulterville & Greeley Hill," an article written for the Mariposa County branch of the California GenWeb Project.
- "Coulterville Cemetery," a compilation of names and dates found in the Coulterville Cemetery, Mariposa County, California.
- "Sylvester & Sarah (Parkhurst) Fisher of Gage County, Nebraska," although not posted on line for download, I have a rich-text formatted transcript of this work that Calvin C. Hobson compiled in 1972, Joy May Gagon re-edited in 1988, and I re-transcribed in 1996. Please email me if you're interested.
- "Getting Started in Asian Genealogy", as compiled for the Howard County Library, Miller Branch:
Although I don't have direct blood relations with the following lines, the Barrett, Beaman, and Greeley ties to my Goss, Goodwin, Converse, and Malugani lines are such that I've taken on a little bit of research of my own. If you're interested in these lines please let me know and I'll try to put you in touch with blood-kin.
The Barrett clan of Mariposa and Merced counties originates with Hugh Massey Barrett (b. 1791) and Carolina Butler (b. 1794). Their son, Joseph Barrett was born 13 Jan 1824 in Clonmel, Waterford, Tipperary, Ireland. Joseph moved to the New World and married Henrietta MacInnes of Scotland in Ontario, Canada. Joseph and Henrietta moved to California by 1857 and started a family in Hornitos, Mariposa County. Later they moved to Maxwell Creek (modern day Coulterville) in Mariposa County, and eventually to Merced County.
Joseph's grandson, Francisco "Frank" Harry Barrett (1898-1977) married Ila Anna Goss (1905-2006) in Modesto, Stanislaus County, California in 1924. Having grown up in Coulterville, they returned to their family origin and became historians for the small gold mining town. Their historical and genealogical work was key in sparking my interest in history and genealogy.
The Greeley clan descends from Andrew Greele of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England who sailed to the New World from Londonderry, Ireland. He married Mary Moyse and began a line in New England. Andrew's great-great grandson, Stephen Greeley (b. 1772 in Newcastle, Lincoln Co., Maine) and his wife, Hannah Nelson had as many as 11 children. Among the children were Burnham T. Greeley (b. 1806) and Orchard Cook Greeley (b. 1806) who both followed the Gold Rush to California. They settled in what is now known as Greeley Hill, near Coulterville, Mariposa County, California.
Horace Austin "Doc" Greeley, a grandson of Orchard's, married Elizabeth Ann Converse in 1902.
Contact me at email@example.com.