The ROOP Couple Who Were Buried Before They Died

The Incorrect Grave Marker

In the case of Hamilton N. ROOP and Mary Elizabeth EPPERLY errors were made when the information was given for the marker placed on the grave. Who had this marker made and when was it placed on the grave? The children or well-meaning but more distant relatives?

The same incorrect years of death were found in Louise Roop Akers and Everette L. McGrew’s compilations on the Roop family.[1], [2] Did they get the dates and the name of the husband from the marker or was the marker made with the dates found in these compilations?

MRIN00478 Hamilton Null Roop and wife Mary Elizabeth Epperly grave marker
Find A Grave Contributor Roger Roop (#46830952), permission to use all FAG photos taken by contributor received 7 January 2015 per email.[3]
The certificates of death were found in the database “Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014” and show these dates are correct:

  • Ham N. ROOP, as his name was recorded on the certificate, died on 8 December 1918 and not in 1919 as seen above.[4]
  • Mary L. ROOP, as her name was recorded on the certificate, died on 5 January 1929 and not in 1926 as seen above.[5]

The death certificates and the grave marker might be considered by some to not be for the same persons as the names and dates are conflicting. However documentation for the parents and children show this is the same couple.

Mary Elizabeth EPPERLY was seen in all census listings as Mary E. except in 1880 when she was enumerated as Elizabeth. Her 1872 marriage record has her full name. Her son Silas Shelburne ROOP was the informant on her death record and gave her middle initial as L.

The brother of my 3rd great-grandfather Gordon H. ROOP (1838-1863) was seen as Hamilton N. ROOP in early records:

  • 1860 Census: Hamilton N. Roop
  • 1870 Census: Hamilton N. Roop
  • 1872 Marriage: Hamilton N. ROOP and Mary Elizabeth EPPERLY (Marriage License/Certificate to Obtain a Marriage License/Minister’s Return of Marriage).
  • 1880 Census: Hamilton Roop (no middle inital)
  • 1890 Will of father James Roop: names son Hamilton N. Roop
  • 1900 Census: Hamilton Roop (no middle inital)
  • 1910 Census: Hamilton N. Roop
  • 1918 Death Record: Ham N. Roop (informant: son G. H. Roop)

Hamilton and his wife named a son George Hamilton ROOP. This son’s nickname was “Ham” and he signed his WWI draft card George Ham ROOP. George died in 1930. Could this be the source of the confusion concerning Hamilton’s name on his grave marker? I have found no records which show the father and son as Sr. and Jr. other than the family compilations.

Concerning the middle initial: Family tradition may be where Hamilton’s middle name being Null, a variation of the maiden name of his paternal grandmother Catherine Barbara NOLL, came from. Or is it possible an earlier family historian believed he/she knew what the middle initial stood for and made this assumption? I have found no record to prove Hamilton N. ROOP’s middle name was Null.

I changed all my records and writings to reflect Hamilton N. ROOP and made a notation concerning my doubts about the middle name being Null. How would you handle this type of conflict?

[1] Louise Roop Anderson Akers, comp., The Family Rub, Rup, Rupe, Roop, Roope  (2001 Printed by Jamont Communications, 339 Luck Ave., Roanoke, VA 24016).
[2] Everette L. McGrew, My Mother Was A Rupe  (revised August 2000).
[3] Find A Grave, database and images (, Find A Grave Memorial no. 17296789. Memorial page for George Hamilton Null Roop created by Roger Roop (#46830952) 4 Jan 2007, citing Surface Cemetery, Riner, Montgomery County, Virginia; the accompanying photograph by Roger Roop used with permission; ( : accessed 7 January 2016).
[4] “Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,” index and digital images,, citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, Certificate of Death No. 40835, Registration District No. 601B. Ham N. Roop, male, white, age 63, born 10 Aug 1855, died 8 Dec 1918 in Montgomery, Virginia, registration date 9 Dec 1918, father James Roop, mother Mary Carl. ( : accessed 28 December 2015).
[5] “Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,” State file no. 2390, Registration area no. 600B , Registered no. 9. Mary L Roop, female, white, age 83, born abt 1846, died 5 Jan 1929 in Montgomery, Virginia, registration date 7 Jan 1929, father Allen Epperly, mother Susan Epperly, spouse Ham Roop. ( : accessed 4 January 2016).

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Hamilton N. ROOP
Parents: James ROOP and Elizabeth CARROLL
Spouse: Mary Elizabeth EPPERLY
Children: Giles H., George Hamilton, Silas Shelburne, John T., Mary Elizabeth “Ella”, Mattie E., and Charles Luther
Whereabouts: Floyd and Montgomery counties, Virginia
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grand uncle

  1. Hamilton N. ROOP
  2. brother of Gordon H. ROOP
  3. uncle of Gordon Washington ROOP
  4. grand-uncle of Walter Farmer ROOP
  5. great-grand uncle of Myrtle Hazel ROOP
  6. 2nd great-grand uncle of Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
  7. 3rd great-grand uncle of Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Discovery of the Year….of the Decade!

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms series has been preempted for this breaking news story. 🙂

doorwithbrickstinyDear Cuz Bill “BJ” Bernath,

As you know one of my ancestors was looking out for me during the holidays when I got a great deal on the 6-month subscription to Ancestry. The ROOP branch is the first to get worked on. We’ve been working on your brick wall since you first contacted me in 2005 so I can say this is the discovery of the decade.

James Anderson Roop (1849-1928) courtesy of James Elkins via BJ Bernath

It might have even been your James Anderson ROOP who was looking out for me. But I don’t think he was happy with me. This morning, out of the blue, my access to the site was switched to Guest member. The polite and friendly person on their Facebook page helped solve the problem.

As soon as I had access I went to search for Archer ROOP’s death record. I could not believe who popped up in the lists of indexed hits. Since there were no hits for Archer I got ROOP individuals with A. initials including James A. ROOP, husband of Almeda J. HOLLANDWORTH (sic, indexed spelling).

BJ, your great-grandfather James A. ROOP died in Altavista, Campbell County, Virginia, on 16 May 1928 of angina pectoris. His widow was the informant and although she signed Mrs. J. A. ROOP she gave her full maiden name as Almeda J. HOLLANDSWORTH in the field for name of spouse.

James and Almeda must have been living in Altavista from as early as 1 November 1927 as the attending physician had been seeing him from that date until his death. The undertaker Finch & Colbert planned to have his burial take place on 19 May 1928 in Dothan, West Virginia. Finch & Colbert are still in business and have been since 1905.

“Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,” index and digital images,, citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, State file no. 10617, Registration Area no. 152A, Registered no. 14. James A Roop, male, white, age 78, born 16 Sep 1849, died 16 May 1928 in Altavista, Campbell, Virginia registration date 17 May 1928, father James A Roop, mother Betty Corral, spouse Almeda J Hollandsworth. ( : accessed 5 January 2016).

I still haven’t found his widow Almeda in the 1930 and 1940 census but, I must be honest with you Cuz BJ, I was too excited to get this off to you to do a thorough search.

Best wishes,
Cousin Cathy

Genealogy Sketch

Name: James Anderson ROOP
Parents: James ROOP and Elizabeth CARROLL
Spouse: Elizabeth Jane BURK(*) and Almeda Jane HOLLANDSWORTH
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-granduncle

  1. James Anderson ROOP
  2. brother of Gordon H. ROOP
  3. uncle of Gordon Washington ROOP
  4. grand-uncle of Walter Farmer ROOP
  5. great-grand uncle of Myrtle Hazel ROOP
  6. 2nd great-grand uncle of Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
  7. 3rd great-grand uncle of Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Correcting a Date of Death with Virginia Vital Records

One of the first lines I worked on when I began researching on the internet was my grandmother Myrtle Hazel ROOP‘s line. Over the years I learned there were several researchers who worked on the ROOP and collateral lines. I am so grateful to them for sharing their work.

Before I go on with the actual reason for this post I’d like to mention three of these researchers.

Linda Pearl Dickey Roop (1943-1994) collaborated with Everette Llavon McGREW (1923-2008) on a book on the ROOP family. The summer of 1994 she was diagnosed with cancer and died a month later. Everette took over the task of finishing the book which he titled My Mother Was A Rupe. He gave me an updated copy in 2002.

During his research trips back to Virginia he met Louise Roop Anderson Akers  (1933-2015) and they shared information. Louise and Everette did all their research the old way. They visited court houses, cemeteries, families, etc. collecting information, photos, and documents. Louise also put together her information in a book, The Family Rub, Rup, Rupe, Roop, Roope. I bought a copy of the book and later she gifted me a hardcover copy for Christmas 2001.

I began entering information from both of the books into my database. Both are compilations of dates and places of birth, marriage, deaths, residences. Neither have source citations but the second part of Louise’s book includes many photocopies of records she found. Unfortunately they are not linked in any way to the family groups in the front of the book.

As I entered the information I was able to confirm family relationships with census records. However I found dates and places I questioned and have wanted to find the answer to these for a long time.

One of these was the date of death of Nora M. ROOP and her husband Sherman LUCAS. Louise had the same date, 27 May 1941, for both Nora and Sherman while Everette had 27 May 1941 for Sherman and no date for Nora.

Screenshot of my database on RootsWeb’s World Connect

In my notes for Nora, above, I questioned the date of death being the same day as that of her husband (below).

Screenshot of my database on RootsWeb’s World Connect

In my January 1st post, In 2016 I’m Going To…., I wrote about the four Virginia Vital Records databases at Ancestry I plan on working with since I signed up for my 6-month subscription during the holidays.

Nora’s certificate of death was one of the first I searched for in the Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014 database at Ancestry.

“Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,” index and digital images,, citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, State file no. 13052, Registration district no. 2600, Registered no. 37. Nora May Lucas, female, white, age 60, born 16 Oct 1880, died 27 May 1941 in Radford, Montgomery, Virginia, registration date 28 May 1941, father W C Roop, mother Hattie Simpkins, spouse S P Lucas. ( : accessed 30 December 2015).

The certificate of death for Nora May LUCAS confirms she died on 27 May 1941 as Louise wrote in her book. The next look up would be the certificate of death of her husband.

“Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,” index and digital images,, citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, Certificate of death no. 4113, Registration district no. 2600, Registered no. 11. Sherman Paris Lucas, male, white, age 70, born 25 Nov 1874, died 20 Feb 1945 in Radford, Montgomery, Virginia, registration date 5 Mar 1945, father Jacob Lucas, mother Celia Akers, spouse Nora Lucus. ( : accessed 31 December 2015).

Sherman Paris LUCAS died on 20 February 1945, not the same day as his wife.

I was right to question the dates of death. It doesn’t matter how the error was made or who made it. This isn’t about pointing fingers. The important thing is I searched and found the records to correct the error.

As I  work through the ROOP descendants I’ll be attaching the records and citing the sources to prove the dates found by earlier researchers. More importantly, if errors were made I’ll correct them and plan to write short posts about the corrections.

I have no plans of contacting owners of Ancestry Member Trees about corrections as this would be too time consuming.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

A Trip to Northern Alsace, France

 Our first stop was the town of Merkwiller-Pechelbronn, the birthplace of Jacob STAMBACH and his daughter Marie Barbara STAMBACH. We will have to go back to this town as I have learned that the house that once belonged to Jacob STAMBACH still stands in this village.

In May 1994 Mr. & Mrs. Ray B. Grove visited Merkwiller. He wrote: “Back on the road again we headed for Merkwiller to see the home of Jakob Stambach which had been sited on a plat plan dated 1717 which we had found in a Füenfrock genealogy. Sure enough, we were able to identify the structure from the plan and took several pictures of this very old but still lived in structure.”[1]

Marie Barbara STAMBACH, born abt. 1703 in Merkwiller, married (1) Johannes NONNENMACHER November 25, 1721. She married (2) Johann Michael FÜNFROCK on March 2, 1733/34, after the death of her first husband. FÜNFROCK emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1770 after his wife’s death in 1768.[2]

Marie Barbara STAMBACH and Johannes NONNENMACHER were the parents of Maria Barbara NONNENMACHER who married Johann Jacob RUPP, our immigrant.

Musée de Pétrole in Merkwiller-Pechelbronn (Petrol Museum in Merkwiller-Pechelbronn)
View of graphic on side of the museum building explaining the mining done in Merkwiller-Pechelbronn.

The white sign on the building reads: “1735-1965 Anciennes Mines de Petrole” (Old Petrol Mines) and is diagonal across the street from the petrol museum in Merkwiller-Pechelbronn

The bulletin board in the lower right-hand corner of the picture is on the facade of the “Mairie” (city hall).

 Leaving Merkwiller-Pechelbronn we passed through Kutzenhausen-le-Haut (Oberkutzenhausen) and continued to Kutzenhausen, the birthplace of Maria Barbara NONNENMACHER RUPP.

La Maison Rurale de l’Outre Forêt

La Maison Rurale de l’Outre Forêt, the group of buildings on the corner, to the left, houses a living museum. It is one of the oldest fortified farms in the historical center of Kutzenhausen. Situated near the Protestant church, it is made up of two buildings used as dwellings, a double barn, annexes, a garden and an orchard. Its history goes back to the end of the 17th – beginning of the 18th century when it was owned by the STAMBACH family. It remained in the hands of farming families until its existence was threatened. In the 1990s it was renovated and now brings about 12,000 visitors a year to the village of Kutzenhausen with its 800 inhabitants. The ways of our ancestors, their traditions, and events in their lives may be re-lived and discovered by the visitor. Our visit was too short to visit the museum but it will be on the top of our list when we go back.

The STAMBACH farm with its double barn on the left and one of the two houses on the right.

12-28-2001-08Front view of the Protestant church in Kutzenhausen. It was built in 1765. The Protestant parish dates back to before 1554 while records go back to 1714. There were a few old grave markers on the left side of the church. The living museum which once belonged to Felix STAMBACH is to the right of the church. On my next visit, I will try to find out if the old church was on the same site as it is mentioned in Felix STAMBACH’s will dated 1730. The relationship of Felix STAMBACH (1643-1729) to our Johann Jacob STAMBACH (1657-1715) will have to be researched. Mr. Grove believes that he may have been a brother to Felix.

Across from the Protestant church is the former administration building of the Fleckenstein family (I need to confirm this). In the background is the newer Catholic church. The building to the right I believe is the Ferme des Fleckenstein, an Inn owned by the MALL family. According to Mr. Grove, at the entrance and in the courtyard one still sees the remnant of the Fleckenstein coat of arms.

Typical farmhouse in Kutzenhausen across from the STAMBACH farm/museum. The steeple of the Catholic church can be seen in the background. On the street is the word “ECOLE” is a warning to slow down as the school is nearby.

 Another one of the typical old houses in Kutzenhausen.

12-28-2001-12Side view of the Catholic church in Kutzenhausen. It was constructed in 1905. From 1693 until 1905 both the Protestants and the Catholics worshipped in the same building, the Protestant church seen previously.

12-28-2001-13 Front view of the Catholic church in Kutzenhausen.

Statues on the opposite side of the street from the Kutzenhausen cemetery on the way out of town.

The entrance of Steinseltz on the main road. The older buildings are found only in the center of the village.

Oberhoffen-lès-Wissembourg, the birthplace of our RUPPs. We drove through Steinseltz and Oberhoffen-lès-Wissembourg on our way to Wissembourg. We didn’t stop for pictures as it was raining.

12-28-2001-17Maison du Sel or House of Salt dates from 1450. The renovated old building faces the Lauter River in Wissembourg. The building has new windows and a new facade but the roofing gives away its age. The attic rooms, on four stories, have windows that open onto little balconies that are protected by the extended roof.

The Lauter River runs through Wissembourg in front of the Maison du Sel.

Lovely view of the dwellings in Wissembourg along the Lauter River taken from the little bridge next to the Maison du Sel.

12-28-2001-20Hôtel de Ville, the city hall of Wissembourg, built between 1741-1752 in rose-colored sandstone with its little bell tower and clock. This building is in the center of town on the Place de la République. Turning to the left into the rue du Marché-aux-Poissons or Fish Market Street, you reach the little bridge over the Lauter River next to the Maison du Sel.

Coming back to Steinseltz after our visit to Wissembourg, we came in on one of the smaller roads leading into the village. An old sign at the entrance of Steinseltz is speckled with little holes from grenade fire.

We drove into Steinseltz and parked our car across from this building. SURPRISE!! The first thing we noticed was the street sign on the corner of this building.

Close up of the street sign

The main street of Steinseltz is named after one of their former mayors, a RUPP.

12-28-2001-24The little street to the left of the street sign “Rue du Maire Rupp” lead us to the Steinseltz cemetery. Inside the gate, to the right, was a row of very old grave markers. They were most likely taken from the churchyard in recent years. The very first stone was for a RUPP.

Close up of the old grave marker

Hier ruht in Gott
geb. Juncker
geb. 20 Januar 1819
gest. 29 Juni 1898

I am not sure about the last word in the first line. It translates to read Here rests in God, Magdalena JUNCKER, born 20 January 1819, died 29 June 1898, and she was married to a RUPP.

12-28-2001-27Tombstone for Albert RUPP (1906-1965) and his wife Elise ZIMMERMAN (1907-1996). Dates are in dd-mm-yyyy format. The row of old grave markers can be seen in the upper left-hand corner.

Grave of Georges RUPP, a former mayor of Steinseltz.

In front of the large grave site for the mayor, Georges RUPP were five markers. The farthest to the right was this one:

12-28-2001-30Magdalena Rupp
geb. Herold (maiden name)
Lina Rupp

I believe that Lina may have been a granddaughter of Magdalena. To the left of this grave was another one that was very difficult to decipher:

Lina Rupp
geb. Greiner
Henri Rupp

Note that this Rupp was also a mayor of Steinseltz. It is possible that Henri and Lina were the parents of Georges.

12-28-2001-31This grave was to the left of one previously mentioned (Henri and Lina) but not photographed:

von Herold

Heinrich Rupp must have been the husband of Magdalena Herold Rupp. There were two more graves to the left of this one but they were so weathered that the names and dates could no longer be read.

Typical old houses in Steinseltz that we passed while going up the hill to see the churches.


Front view of one of the two churches in the “rue des Eglises” (Churches Street) in Steinseltz. I have seen another photo of this church and if it is labeled correctly then this is the Protestant church.

12-28-2001-34Monument in the churchyard of the Protestant church in Steinseltz:

To our

At the foot of the monument, the names of the men from Steinseltz who died during World War II including Charles RUPP.

View of one of the older houses in Steinseltz. The stairs lead to the front door. The arched doorway to the right of the stairs is the entrance to the cellar. The large barn door can be seen behind the stairs. On the left is a house built most likely after World War II.

View of the main street, rue du Maire Rupp, in Steinseltz.

Plaque on a building in the rue du Maire Rupp

In Memory of
Georges Rupp
Promoter of the
Agricultural Co-op

Hope you all enjoyed the pictures that we took of the area that our ancestors came from. We will be going back again when the weather is nicer. The fields were filled with melting snow and it was raining most of the time we were there. With warmer weather, we should be able to get nice photos of the villages from a distance. Summertime is especially nice as the people there hang boxes filled with geraniums below all the windows. Steinseltz is especially well-known for their geraniums. Of course, we will be sure to get plenty of photos of the inside and outside of the museum in Kutzenhausen as well as visit with Mr. René RUPP in Oberhoffen-les-Wissembourg.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions for our next visit.

[1] Grove, Ray B. Stumbaugh Tree of Life (Our Roots). Online: . Last accessed January 1, 2002. This site is no longer online. The book is on >
[2] Burgert, Annette Kunselman. Eighteenth Century Emigrants from the Northern Alsace to America. pg. 413.

Updated 11 July 2018: Formatting and grammatical errors were made.

© 2001-2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.