Mike's Mathom Collection - Genealogy


My uncle, Martin E. Ressler, was long the family historian. As a kid, I used to visit his farm every Labor Day for a large family reunion, and it was a joy sneaking through his library (it turns out it was the largest private collection of Mennonite musical material in North America! - and a lot of other literature as well) to see what interesting tidbits would turn up. “History” emanated from the place, and discussions around the dinner table would often turn to family history as well.

At some point, he put together a family tree that extended back to the mid-1800s. After he passed away, his youngest brother, my father Elvin, picked up the torch and kept up with the many new generation members that have come along. I have extended the tree by trying to push back into the past; with the advent of the Internet, it has been possible push the strands that my uncle painstakingly assembled back much farther.

Family Tree

Genealogy Tree

The full family tree, as it stands now, is presented here. Please be aware that I have virtually no access to original documentation apart from the testimony of a few living relatives and sadly more relatives who are no longer with us. Beyond that, while I have tried to select (primarily online) sources that should be relatively authoritative and have compared them for consistency, this tree is only as reliable as those sources from which I copied the information. I have tried to be careful to include sources for every person (so I can blame the original link if something is wrong!), but I'm sure some relatively speculative links have managed to slip through. Anything more than 150 years ago should be taken with a grain of salt; anything more than 300 years ago will probably need a bucket.

Note to Ressler/Pawling family members — a password-protected private version is also available, along with some additional supporting documents.

Colorful Characters

Occasionally I will find information about people that goes beyond birth, marriage, and death dates. Sometimes it is a simple tidbit about their lifestyle or occupation, other times a story about a particular incident. Here are a few of the more interesting I've managed to find in my ancestry:


I do have a few “original” sources of information. These are as follows:


Given that I am a long-time Linux/FOSS user, I use the opensource Gramps software to keep track of my records and to generate the family tree above. While it started on linux, it is now available for Windows and MacOS as well and it is entirely free. It has a fairly steep learning curve, but it is very flexible and powerful, and since I've been using it since early 2007, I have gotten used to its way of doing things. (Of course, it has advanced a lot and is easier to use than when I started!) If you would like to dabble with creating a family tree with zero cost except your time, I definitely recommend it.

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Last update: 2023-05-23