History From America's Most Famous Valleys
of JOHANN HENRICK LEUCHER (1720-1800)
Ancestors of HENRY ARBA LYKER (1916-1994)
Researched by: Herman W. Witthoft, Sr.
A Genealogy of the Lyker Family
THE BEGINNING OF MY LYKER PROJECT
(How It All Came About)
My name is Herman Wellington Witthoft, Sr., born 23 June 1926, and I reside at 141 Hudson Ave., Chatham, NY 12037. I have been ppily married for the past 48 years to Doris De Vane and have five children: Melissa Ann, Maria Elizabeth, Martha Jane, Charles Martin, and Herman Wellington, Jr., and four grandchildren. My father was the Rev. Charles M. Witthoft, Sr., (1889-1989) and my mother, Florence Zula (Shafer) Witthoft (1890-1986). I have four sisters and one brother: Ruth Elizabeth, Martha Adelaide, Doris Anna Maria (Peggy), Florence Lois, and Charles Martin, Jr.
The year 1990 marked a major change in my life. I retired in August, after 31 years of employment with the State of New York, Department of Equalization and Assessment as Principal Real Estate Appraiser. However, in the winter before my retirement, I became interested in computers and genealogy, simultaneously. At the age of 64 my hands touched a computer keyboard for the first time --never too old to learn!
My interest in genealogy came naturally. My mother was anav id genealogist for over 60 years, and my two sisters, Florence and Martha for many years. All of my Mother's efforts were without the aid of a computer, just hand and typewritten notes, forms and letters. What a lot of paper!
I decided to use the genealogy computer program, Personal Anceestral File (PAF), produced and sold for $35.00 by the Church of sus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormons. I reasoned that cause they were the world's biggest genealogists, having over 150,000,000, names on file, their program should be the best and also the simplest because they appealed to the amateur genealogist and beginning computer user. (I need "simplicity" !) Information can be transferred back and forth with other genealogy programs ing the GEDCOM feature of the program. (GEDCOM = Genealogical Exchange Data)
As of 26 November 2001, the total number of people I have searched and have in my PAF file, all families, is 94,770 people.
Henry Arba Lyker 1916 - 1994
In 1990 my path started to cross with my first cousin, Henry Arba Lyker; our mothers were sisters. He had been a dairy farmer all of his life taking care of 75 or more milk cows, milking twice daily. He had very little time for anything else. Then he retired, turning the farm operation over to his youngest son, John Henry Lyker. He had led a busy business and family life for the many years. We used to meet at the Kilts reunion held annually the third Sunday in August. So we discovered that we were both interested in discovering our Kilts and Schaeffer roots.
We started a routine that continued on for a few years. Henry, would eat breakfast at various restaurant locations Duanesburg, Fort Plain, and Cobleskill among others. He would get "jaw boning" with the locals who were sitting at the counters and he would tell of his interest in discovering people who had Kilts or Schaeffer "roots". Then he'd telephone me and we would meet at his house in Lykers Corners and go vist the "suspected" cousins. Henry said that because I had the car and was making a 150 mile round trip that he would buy lunch. Then after lunch I would buy ice cream cones at Stewart's, a locally owned convienence store chain. We did this every few weeks for the next few years, until he died in 1994.
Early in our travels we met with a family who had quite a bit of Schaeffer information. The information was easily forthcoming as to his family and his parents, but then it slowed down as we got into the grandparents. Then Henry interrupted me and started talking about cows and horses. I thought to myself, "I'm driving a 150 mile round trip and now we're talking about cows and horse shit?" I was perturbed, but after listening a little bit and observing the people, I noticed that they were at ease and enjoying the conversation. Then I realized what Henry had done. The people had become ill at ease with my questioning and were embarrassed that they didn't know all of their family information, but became relaxed with the cows and horses routine. So after a little bit, I tried to get some more information, but then asked the people if they would ask their siblings for more information and mail it to me. So that's the technique Henry and I often used, "Cows and horse shit".
The Research of
Mrs. Harma (Lyker) Becker
(Completed in August, 1961)
I don't know why Henry Lyker and I never searched for members of the Lyker family. At the times of our travels and searches it never crossed my mind and now it is too late as Henry died, 9 November 1994.
I now know there are very few people with the surname Lyker today in the United States. I have a computer program, Directory USA '99, which lists over 80,000,000 telephone subscribers in the USA. There are only six with the surname Lyker on it and two of them I know of, Henry Lyker's children, William and John, both of Lykers Corners, Root, Montgomery Co., NY. In contrast, one of my other ancestral families, Finkle, has over 600 people listed with telephones in 1999. What about the Lyker female lines? I don't know as I haven' t been able to follow them down to the present time.
The only source information that I have on the Lyker family is a typewritten, unpublished and uncirculated 113 page report, "Genealogy compiled by Mrs. Harma Lyker Becker". Harma is Henry's Aunt. I do remember Henry said that his father, Arthur, and uncle, Henry Rulof Lyker, helped with the report and that his aunt, Harma, typed it up.
Recently it came to my mind that as a tribute to my first cousin, Henry Lyker, that I should publish the Lyker genealogy, circulate it at local libraries and maybe we could find out more about this family.
So, this is my attempt at a Lyker Family Genealogy. . . .
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