Meet Your Researchers: Sylvia Elaine Burg Sligar
Although neither Sylvia, who passed in 2007 just after this bio was posted, or her husband (both pictured below) are direct descendants of the Wayts, I considered them 'family.' Anyone who has read our Descendant Narrative posted on this site and taken the time to browse the source citations will see her name scattered all over the list. Sylvia never failed to respond to my sometimes lengthy and involved e-mails, and her feedback was wonderful, resulting in many important additions to our family history. Just before she passed, Sylvia and I discovered that we shared another common aspect of our lives: her brother-in-law and his wife were a part of a family who lived right next door to my grandmother, Bertha Wayt Winters, for many years in Elm Grove. My grandmother had saved photos of members of this family when they were just small children in the early 1900's, and we were able to forward these to surviving family members.
"Every genealogist wishes they had started when their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were still alive. I sure wish I had started on this journey back then," says Sylvia Elaine Sligar. "When I was a young mother with three small babies to care for, I took them to my grandmother's house for a visit, and her sister, Great Aunt Yetta, was telling how she and her younger sisters were smuggled out of Russia as young girls. Being busy with either changing one of three diapers or whatever else one had to do, I didn't pay much attention to the story.
"As a child, I never knew that my father had any siblings," Sylvia continues. "He and my grandmother refused to talk about their lives in Russia and Romania. I found out how many siblings he had when I found my father's mother in the 1910 census, where it tells the number of children and if living. I have no idea of whether any of the other siblings ever came to the U.S. When I first started thinking about doing genealogy in 1987, I went after actual records. I found the relatives' arrivals on the ships lists; many of the dates were close, but some were even on different ships and memories weren't that accurate. I also found naturalization papers, census records, and vital records to flesh out the oral materials my cousins had gathered."
By 1992, Sylvia had become quite involved with her husband's side of the family tree. She began with the direct connections, such as Briggs, DeGarmo, Luke, McCreary, Dague and (of course) Sligar - all originating in Ohio and Marshall counties. She visited Sand Hill Church Cemetery, then went on to historic McCreary Cemetery (where the famous Wetzels and their wives are buried), including the massive Greenwood in Wheeling in between. The Wheeling area cemetery excursion ended at Stone Church where there are a number of important Sligar ancestors buried.
After running into some trouble finding the burials at Stone Church, Sylvia and her husband, Dick Sligar, "went to both the library and the court house. We had wonderful stokes of luck in both places. In the court house we were planning on going to the county clerk's office to look at vital records. In the elevator Dick and I were talking about the problems with finding anyone in Stone Church Cemetery. A man riding in the elevator with us told us about the secretary in a department who had the information in her computer. We went there and she did and she gave us the section and lot numbers of two Sligars, one who died in 1895 and one who died in 1913. She told us she had all burials in her computer."
While at the library, Sylvia was given the name of a person who shared a g-g-g-grandparent with her husband. They were able to get together and share stories. Back home, the research continued: "We live 25 miles from a National Archives. I became a volunteer there for a number of years. I spent the time from 1992-1994 adding much information and expanding the family data I had, from the census and data found at the local LDS [Latter Day Saints] family center."
It was about this time that Sylvia began to seriously work on compiling all of the burial records of Stone Church Cemetery: "When I was home again, I decided there were so many of Dick's family in Stone Church that I wanted the whole book. I found a lady who photocopied it and sent it to me, then started making my database and realized it would be possible for me to copy all the data and make it available for all, as I thought there were probably other researchers who would like that info." (Sylvia's Stone Church Cemetery: Interments and Readings 1709-1945 (Wheeling Area Genealogical Society, April 1999) is a wonderful resource - recommended to anyone requiring records of that burial spot.)
Sylvia then brings us up to date with how she far she has come: "I've been researching our combined families for 19 years. Most of Dick's ancestors have been traced back to when they immigrated to the colonies. I have the Sligars back to the small German village of Heisebech in Hessen Kassel when Peter Schleicher's son Valentine married in 1782. There are wonderful church records of that town still held in the local archives. When I realized that I had most ancestors traced as far back as I was going to be able to get them, I decided to trace the families that siblings married into and my family lines have become a web, including a great many Ohio and Marshall County families."