I have been interested in genealogy since the 1990s when my Mother asked me to help with her Nehmer and Schauer families and the information she had received from Vera Brooks. It was a short genealogy then, about 4 generations in the United States. My father’s Sajdak family was even shorter, three generations — two in America.

I turned to my wife’s family. Equally easy — at first — with four generations of Stiehms and Burtons, and  three Van Der Wals and den Dekkers. Then my wife’s grandmother, Georgia Burton, gave me a copy of Griggs’ The Burtons of Asheville (NC) and Casstown (OH). And it was off to the races.

My wife’s family has grown from those four generations to over 14 generations and includes two Pilgrims, some Revolutionary War participants, and many ordinary people who contributed to our heritage and our country in ordinary ways. The direct family tree has grown to over 3,300 individuals.

Thanks largely to the work of Edward Stiehm and family members who have contributed, The Stiehm branch is a comprehensive collection of well sourced information and contains over 10,000 individuals in the Schlosser -Stiehm family.

From my early mistakes — most notably trusting everything I found, and having confidence that I could easily “refind” information — I have learned, and am trying to document better. This blog is one way I have tried.

As you look around, you will find links to full genealogical books and articles about the family. You will find a growing collection of documents. You will find more social media connections to our family. And you will find stories. I decided that my attempts to rewrite these stories would suffer from the telephone effect, as I retold the stories, information would be lost. So, in most cases the stories are reprints if the “original” author’s retellings. I am mostly an editor.

As editor, there are a few conventions I have tried to maintain. The most important is that I have tried, when drawing connections to the family, to make the generational references to our parents — John Sajdak, Marie Nehmer, Henry Van Der Wal, and Joan Stiehm. In this way, the connections would be more applicable to our brothers and sisters and Aunts and Uncles and distant cousins. So someone listed as a great-great grandfather is the GG Grandfather of our parents and is our GGG grandfather, our children’s GGGG Grandfather and so on. As you find your connection, just be aware.

While the focus is directly on our families, I hope many will find answers to their family mysteries. If you find enjoyment, errors, questions, have suggestions for other stories or family connections, please let me know.

To our thousands of as yet unmet “cousins,” we hope you enjoy the information collected here. After all, it’s your family, too.


Ken Sajdak

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