St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays Fellow Genis!

This poem is republished with the permission of the author:

The Clues

Fayette County is but one of the few
of many places ancestors passed through.
They stayed for a time, with jobs and kids
Daily survival and busyness they lived amid.

Whether out on the porch or in the yard
Neighbors hardly needed an 'Introduction Card'.
They shared their sorrows, good fortune too
Neighborhoods became family without 'Ta-do'.

Like marriages, in sickness and health
Everyone helped, shared their wealth.
Whether fresh fruit, veggies, or milk
Friendships made life go 'smooth as silk.'

Now, we look with a magnifying glass
At where our ancestors lived in past
We boldly search for the lives they led
We scrounge for records til we go to bed.

When they gave their name, did they think
100 years ahead that we'd curse fading ink?
Did they consider how all their daily acts
Would become so important to us as "facts"?

As they married, baptized, raised their kin
Did they imagine future generations coming in?
A 5th great-grand, whether narrow face or so round
Descendants from one to hundreds here abound.

No, they never thought we'd want them so
As we search here, there---high and low.
They simply lived lives, much as we all do
Without considering leaving us any clues.

Written by Judith Florian, Dec. 21, 2008 at 3pm

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sharing Pilgrim Blood with Sarah Palin

Well. What do you know. Since my household has several members in it who are descended from passengers on the Mayflower who arrived on these shores back in 1620, I thought I'd look more at the Mayflower history sites.

The Mayflower Society is a lineage society which is for blood descendants of the Mayflower. My spouse had three grandpas on the Mayflower- Francis Cooke, John Cooke and Richard Warren.

Richard Warren and his wife, Elizabeth, appear to have the most descendants living in America today. Some of the more famous ones listed are President Ulysses S. Grant, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, President George Bush, President George W. Bush, and recent Vice President Candidate Sarah Palin.

I am currently reading an old book on the Mayflower which is self described as a form of documentary chronicle. I'm early into the book, but think I will enjoy reading it as it is the story of the family, my family. One of the sites I visited refers to this book as a fictitious account. No matter. It's still interesting.

If you're interested, the book is The Plymouth Adventure by Ernest Gebler.

Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
Georgia Front Page

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pilgrim Heritage

November is upon us and as we all get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving and all of our blessings, I thought you might enjoy visiting this site.

Learn more about these pilgrims who America remembers each year.

Blessings to you and yours from a household chock full with Mayflower descendants! Tis our blood heritage.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Zoom and Read, Zoom and Read

Just thought I'd pass this along--

On one of my forums, it was announced that Google Earth has a new feature. In some locations, when you zoom down to the street level at the location you desire, it may be possible to see some tombstone readings from the road.

Apparently, there has to be a small camera you can click. Click the top right hand bubble and use it for a 360 degree view.

I tried this for a couple of cemeteries in Fayette County but the small camera is not there. At least it isn't at this time.

I did look around another cemetery in another state and was able to read some tombstones. Unfortunately, none were of interest to me.

Could be of interest to you though!

Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
Georgia Front Page

Monday, October 27, 2008

Look It Up, Dano!

I was wandering around today and came across the site "Books We Own.". It is manned by a group of volunteers (my favorite people) who are willing to provide complimentary lookups in books they own.

This site has been active for over 12 years. Reimbursement may be requested for copy or snail mail services.

Check it out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grandpa was a Sailor?

Life is full of surprises. Just like today.

I was cruising around looking at World War I Draft Registration forms. I knew my paternal grandfather had signed the draft registration and I knew he had served in France. For more information on Grandpa Charlie of Company C, go back to my October 24, 2007 entry.

I have even held the card he signed while visiting the National Archives in Morrow.

Today, I typed in my maternal grandpa's name. Ahh. He, too, signed up for the World War I draft. Not a surprise as he was born in 1888. The surprise is his statement of having served four years as a seaman in the Navy. Huh??

I know I've never heard that before. Now I will contact some older cousins to see if they have any knowledge of that. When did he serve? Obviously,it was before 1917 when he signed the draft. Obviously, it was as a single man as he married grandma in 1915.

I do know he left school after 6th grade to help support his family. I do know he was a self made man. I do know he had beautiful blue eyes and a twinkle in his eye. I do know he loved his family. I also know he used to slice pieces of cake from the back side of the cake so grandma wouldn't notice it.

Now I shall have to look to see what more information surfaces on Sid. The secrets we uncover after so many years... Sometimes, they are fun. Sometimes, they are not. This one is just a "Well, what do you think about that?" kinda secret.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hunley Men Remembered

The discovery of the Hunley and its crew continues to amaze genealogists, history buffs and the general public. Recently, I visited the Hunley Memorial at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, SC, where our family placed wreaths in memory of all sea faring men who have perished in the service of their country.

It was eerily quiet in the cemetery. We followed the signs to the memorial. While on our way down the long paths, we found many beautiful old tombs from the time of the Civil War. Magnolia Cemetery is the final resting place of many an early Charleston family. You can easily follow the history of the area just by looking at the many names.

It was a surprise to learn the Hunley had three crews which had perished in her history. As the 145th anniversary of the loss of the second crew has just been observed within the last week, I find it fitting to remember the crew.

Horace Hunley was aboard this training mission of the Hunley on October 15, 1863, when it sank. Once again, the Confederacy raised the Hunley from the ocean, only to have it sink again in February 1864.

The story of the Hunley is fascinating. To learn more, click here.

Fayette Front Page
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
Georgia Front Page

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Genealogy Fair & Pie Contest

Note: This entry is written by Donna Rosser, who is the author of The Barefoot Photographer Blog on the Fayette Front Page. She was gracious in allowing me to post it here for you.

The National Archives, Southeast Region is having a Fall Genealogy Fair and Pie Contest October 18 from 9 am to 4 pm. The facility is located at 5780 Jonesboro Road, Morrow, GA.

A few weeks ago I received an email from my friend at the National Archives asking me if I would come give a short presentation on restoring and preserving old family photos. Of course I would love to! So I am! I will be presenting from 2 to 3 pm. There are many very interesting presentations throughout the day.

In addition to my talk about preserving your old photos – Christine Wiseman from the Georgia Archives will tell you how to care for your family archives. Just what are family archives? Well, old family bibles, letters, deeds, certificates, etc. Just about anything paper you want to keep and preserve for future generations. Christine will discuss storage materials and techniques.

Kevin Kuharic from historic Oakland Cemetery will be on hand to discuss cemetery preservation. He will also talk about the damage (and repairs) from the tornado that went through Atlanta and Oakland last spring.

In addition to these interesting programs – you will learn all you need to know about searching for information at the archives and using many new online features. If you are thinking about getting started searching for your roots or have been doing it for a while, this is a great place to spend a Saturday to ask as many questions as you can think of and get some great tips.

Registration for this event is $20 and includes lunch provided by Honeybaked Ham! Oh and I forgot the best part – you can bring a pie (dig out a good old family recipe) to share and enter in the contest. At 3 pm ribbons and prizes will be awarded.

For more information and to get the registration form – click on this link

About year ago I wrote a blog about the National Archives and what an interesting place it is to visit. If you haven’t read it – here is a handy link to find it.

Donna Rosser

Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
Georgia Front Page

Friday, October 03, 2008

Mystery Land Identified

"Follow the land."

It's a statement one hears often when beginning genealogy. Well, today, I did find documentation which solved another tidbit of a mystery.

I had recently received pages from the book Selected Final Pension Payment Vouchers- Pennsylvania which seemed to point me towards Iowa. Iowa?

In this book was a typed copy of an 1863 will of the third wife of my 4th great grandfather. I spell this out as I am of the blood line with his first wife, who appears to have died by 1790. In the will, the lovely widow gives her 160 acres of land in Cass County, Iowa, to her daughter by her first marriage. Hmmm. Whose land was it? Why only her heir and not those of her dearly departed husband or those children the two had together? Most likely, that is one mystery that will not be solved.

I found the land record today on the Bureau of Land Management- General Land Office Records. Yes, the widow did have land in Iowa that was bounty land given to her for the Revolutionary War Service of her husband. She received the land in 1860, even though her husband had died in 1843 at the ripe old age of 82.

By 1860, she had returned to Washington County, PA, and was living with the daughter from her first marriage. I suspect that is why she gave the land to her. I still find it odd as she had sons from her marriage with grandpa.

While looking around the Land Management Records, I stumbled across other lands of interest.
Take some time and look around for yourself. You might be surprised as you find bounty land in states far away from the areas where your ancestors lived.

Click here to go the Bureau of Land Management.

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Monday, September 29, 2008

Chief Who, You Say?

It's another one of those mailman moments. Over the weekend, another envelope appeared out of his truck and into my eager hands. Now this one was a surprise.

The letter was from a grandson of one of the cousins who had dropped by to see us about six years ago. This grandson was on the visit with his grandfather as we sat and talked genealogy. We had been trying to decipher some old floppies that reportedly had information going back to Charlemagne. I've yet to find anyone who can break into these floppies. (The author has since passed.)

This young man, who is a now a grown up man, was kind enough to send some updated information on the family. He has linked his bloodline to that of Chief Wampage II of the Siwanoy Indians of Westchester County, New York.

I've not heard of this Chief, so I was eager to learn the significance of this. In my quick (and admittedly, not thorough) research, I find Chief Wampage signed a treaty under the "Treaty Oak" with Thomas Pell for something like 50,000 acres of land extending from the Bronx area to the Hutchinson River.

Of interest in my readings was the name Anne Hutchinson. Wampage is said to have murdered her himself when a group of Indians came calling on the settlers. Hutchinson has quite a story, and it is one worth reading. She was the daughter of Francis Marbury, and she reportedly had a brilliant mind. She was a devout Believer and went as far as to hold Bible studies in her Massachusetts home for both men and women. She stood trial for being a "strumpet" and later moved down to the New York area with her husband, William Hutchinson.

She's a fascinating woman. At her trial, it is reported she said, "You have no power over my body, neither can you do me any harm. I fear none but the great Jehovah, which hath foretold me of these things, and I do verily believe that He will deliver me out of your hands…."

I urge you to find a book or just look online for her story. What a woman. What a time she lived in. What a fate she suffered.

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Friday, September 26, 2008

Readng the Newspaper

Google recently announced indexing of OLD newspapers has begun. If you are lucky, you can google the name of the newspaper of interest, along with a date and name, and find it!

I've been looking at this new option over the past couple of weeks. There is a learning curve involved as well as some glitches in the system. There are also opportunities to purchase some of the newspaper articles.

Never mind those small inconveniences. If you hit upon more family history, you will be excited. One word of warning-- be prepared to stay tuned closely to your computer. It takes a lot of time to do this.

I hope the process will become easier and faster. In the meantime, .


Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Patriot's Hymn on September 11

The Patriot's Hymn
Penned by Rev. Thomas Garland
1915 Philadelphia, PA

Remember. Reflect. Pray.

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Crossing the Political Line in History

The mailman delivered more fun to my mailbox today. I was thrilled to see the pages arrive from the History of Harrison County Missouri which was published in 1921. I was surprised to see a cousin had crossed the line.

In all my research to date, I have yet to find even a hint of anyone leaving the Republican party. All history books I've seen seem to indicate my ancestors were all dyed in the wool Republicans. I wasn't sure anyone alive today disagreed with the family of old. Today, I stand corrected.

Let me backup and fill you in on some of my recent quests. Recently, I was looking more indepth at Barnet VANDERVORT and his wife Elizabeth HENRY, daughter of John HENRY (1750-1838) of Allegheny Co, PA. One of their sons, Dr. Robert Henry VANDIVERT (1817-1887) left Muskingum County, Ohio, sometime around 1856. End of trail.

I had to know more. So, online I went and checked the census records. The spelling of the name seems to change quite often during this time frame. I contacted the library in St Louis, Missouri, to see if they could help me out. They located information on the family and popped in the snail box.

Here we are now:

The information in the book tells us he was the presiding officer at the first Republican Convention held in Harrison County, Missouri. He was quite respected and served two terms in the Missouri State Senate. From family notes, he also served in the Missouri Militia as a surgeon and organized a company for the Mexican War.

His brother, Samuel Smith VANDIVERT, also left Ohio at or about the same time as Robert. Samuel appears to have "crossed the line" as he is mentioned in the book as a Douglas Democrat and the presiding officer at the Democratic Convention in Harrison County held the same year.

I bet those dinner conversations were exciting. I have to wonder how much they debated or if they put aside their personal politics for dinner.

I wonder what each of them would have to say about the election this year. I wonder if they could have comprehended a time with the ticket of Obama-Biden or McCain-Palin. I wonder....

Fayette Front Page
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
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Arts Across Georgia

Monday, August 18, 2008

1787 Documents Located

What a day I've had. What a sense of American pride I have today.

As you may be aware, our country is celebrating the 221st anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution on September 17. Did you know you can see some of the original documents pertaining to the framing of this great document all while sipping your coffee in your jams?

Wow. Who knew? I stumbled onto this find this morning and am inspired to share this link with you. We all need to honor and protect the Constitution. Dig in and look at some of the documents. You'll see records of votes, delegate credentials, drafts and some other interesting pieces. Come on, you didn't expect me to give away all the secrets, did you?

Go to|4032462
and spend some quality time with the founders of our great nation. Spend some time reflecting on this great land. Then, get on your knees and thank our Creator for this land.

If you want to read some more, look around the Fayette Front Page for more articles on the Constitution. You can find them in Hooked on History and in Patriotic Potpourri. Keep an eye on these as we get closer to the big day.

You won't be disappointed......

Fayette Front Page
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Saturday, August 16, 2008

USCIS Establishes Genealogy Program

Thought I'd pass this along to you. This is a new service which was just announced August 13.

Customers can now turn to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for help in researching their family’s immigration history through the agency’s new Genealogy Program.

USCIS maintains historical records documenting the arrival and naturalization of millions of immigrants who arrived in the United States since the late 1800s or and naturalized between 1906 and 1956. Until today, the process to request these records was handled through a Freedom of Information Act / Privacy Act (FOIA) request.

“In many cases USCIS is the only government agency that has certain historical records that provide the missing link which genealogists or family historians need,” said Jonathan “Jock” Scharfen, USCIS’ Acting Director.

The agency anticipates interest in genealogy to continue to grow. In the past four years alone, USCIS received more than 40,000 FOIA requests for historical records. The new genealogy program will create a dedicated queue for genealogists, historians and others seeking genealogical and historical records and reference services that generally require no FOIA expertise. As a result, USCIS will provide more timely responses to requests for records of deceased individuals.

Individuals may submit genealogy records requests by using the new forms, G-1041 -Genealogy Index Search Request, and G-1041A - Genealogy Records Request. Both forms are available on the new USCIS Genealogy Program page at: The fees include:

Genealogy Index Search - $20
Copy of a File on Microfilm - $20
Copy of a Textual File Copy - $35.

Georgia Front Page
Fayette Front Page

Thursday, August 07, 2008

When Time Stops...

What? Can time stop? You betcha...

Time does stop for me. Just ask my kids. I can become so immersed when I'm on a fact finding mission that I see nothing. Not only do I not see the world around me, I don't hear.

Just in the past couple of days, while I've been looking more intently on Barnet VANDERVORT and Elizabeth HENRY, the kids keep trying to get my attention. Whines of "I need to turn off the lights," or "Are you going to make dinner?" erupt from their precious little mouths.

"How can you be hungry or tired? I've only been here for 10 minutes." Well, I stand corrected. They pulled me away from my research after four hours! Yep, time does stand still for me.

Guess it must be that genealogy virus raising its tentacles to grab me!

Yesterday, my new found cousin sent a link to me of a site of which I was unaware. Thought I'd pass it on to you in the event you want to take a look. My cousin had posted some pictures of old. So, here I am today, studying every feature on their face, their hair and their clothing.

"What's that? You need clean clothes?" Arggh-- guess I have to come back to the present before I get can back to the past.

The link:

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

30 Years and Here They Are!

Since my last post today, a comment was sent regarding Barnet VANDERVORT and Elizabeth HENRY!

Yes, yeppers, yesirreeeeee!!!

I am most certainly talking about Barnet VANDERVORT b. 1777 in NY and d. 1871 Muskingum Co, OH. His wife, Elizabeth, was b. 1778 on her father's farm which is located in what is now Allegheny Co, PA. Elizabeth died and is buried with Barnet in Muskingum Co, OH. And somewhere around here is a picture of their tombstone!

I have been told by another descendant of theirs I made contact with 2 years ago that they had 10 children. So far, I have only documented four of them.


So, please allow me to tell you that it truly is never too late to look for your roots. And I'm happy to say someone else in my blood line has contracted the genealogy virus!!

Cousin of my Irish blood--- I can't wait to share the family with you.

Gone, Yet Remembered

I started yesterday with such high hopes. There she was, a cousin of mine who I had just located... even if it is a mere 30 years later.

My efforts of yesterday did pay off. Although not how I wanted.

Mrs. Gordon Charles BROADBENT has been found-- sorta. She was Margie Alberta ADERTON and was born in 1905 in Oregon. Chances of finding her still breathing, kicking and with her memory intact are slim. Actually, I suspect the Margie A BROADBENT who died in 2002 in Oregon is my gal.

Now to see if I can locate her obit. My contact of yesterday hadn't done any research on her lines, but he did send me the files he had. It was those files who led me to locate her death. My contact of yesterday did not know if she had any descendants. Now I will try to determine that. I can also look to her siblings' children and grandchildren to see if they have the genealogy virus coursing through their blood.

Rest Margie-- while I tell you of your roots. Yes, you are descended from Barnet VANDERVORT and Elizabeth HENRY. Elizabeth was the daughter of John HENRY (1750-1838) and his first wife, Sara SMITH, daughter of John SMITH of Hopewell Twp, Washington Co, PA. John HENRY was an early settler of Lower St Clair in Allegheny Co, PA and is buried at the St. Clair Cemetery.

It's a rich history for all of us. Just gotta wonder, is it ever too late for the genealogy virus? I think not.

Fayette Front Page

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hot on the Trail-- 30 Years Too Late

Arrrrgggghhhhh. The sound coming from my throat filled the air. No, no, no. It just can't be.

Maybe I should go back in time just to catch up to today. I was cruising around some thirty year old genealogy journals when--- bingo-- there's familiar names jumping off the page. In the query section of the 1977 Western PA Genealogical Society Quarterly Journal, there is a notice of someone looking for my family.

I know for whom they search. They search for the oldest daughter of my 4th great grandfather. I can help. I can put them in touch with one of her descendants.

But the request is from 30 years ago! So I quickly type in my request to the WPGS to see if they can tell me if this lady is still a member. Oh, by the way, I am a card carrying member of the WPGS as well as a member of their First Family Section. So, you see, I am entitled to hold my head high. Yeah, right.

Anyway, the last address they have for her is in CA from 2002. Gee, guess when I joined? In 2003.

I've been searching for her. I found her husband who died in 1971 in Santa Clara, CA. I can't find her. But then, I don't have her first name. Chances are she, too, has gone on to meet her kin in spirit.

I did find someone on one of the paid sites who has her husband in his tree and I checked their tree to see one of the surnames the lady was searching for. I've madly jotted off an email to the tree owner to see if he has information on her. Now, I sit and wait.

The lady, Mrs. Gordon C. Broadbent, sent out her message 30 years ago for info on Barnett VANDERVORT and Elizabeth HENRY.

Mrs. B, I've seen your request, and I'm here to help fill the gaps. Even if is thirty years later.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Newsworthy Notes of Old

It's been one of those months. I've only kind of dabbled in my past. Today, during my "dabble" time, I came across another website I thought you might like to peruse.

The website is Newspaper Abstracts and it appears to be contributions from volunteers. I did a quick search to see if there were any abstracts of interest in my search. There were not.

There are also no abstracts from any Fayette County newspaper. This would be an interesting project should anyone want to jump on it.

I've signed up for the email newsletter so I will be interested to see what pops up. If you look at the site, be aware. The clicks on the sidebars quickly redirect you to two paid sites which do have loads of newspaper articles.

It's worth a look-see in my dabbling opinion.

Click here to view Newspaper Abstracts.

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page
Community News You Can Use

Friday, July 18, 2008

To Abandon or Not?

Just thought I'd pass along this tidbit.

I checked on the status of HR 6056 bill today and the latest press indicates it "appears to have been abandoned." Of course, it could have also been incorporated into another bill.

I'll be sure to let you know if I hear of anything else on the subject.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

No Vote Today

I checked online and saw where the alleged vote on HR 6056 did not
happen today. The bill is still in the Subcommittee on Information
Policy, Census and National Archives.

What I did find was a very informal unofficial vote that indicates
the overwhelming majority of the online people who voted shot the
bill down.

This will be interesting to follow.

I'll let you know when more information surfaces.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

House Votes July 10 on Preserving American Historical Record Bill

On July 10, the US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on HR 6056. Here is the link to learn more about the bill, the background, the money, etc.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Home Again

I've been remiss. Actually, I've been home.

Home to my roots. Home to where my soul calls me. Home with my toes in the sand.

For the past several days, I've been basking in the sun in the lowcountry and thinking about the past. For me, that past is the 1870s when my maternal great grandparents landed in this area from Sweden.

One of my cousins dropped by with a DVD for me. This DVD had movies from the early 1950s on it. I cried as I saw my grandparents in the video. I cried as I saw my beloved family members who are all gone. Here they were laughing and smiling again. Today,they are smiling in my heart.

If you've got ole movies hanging around, please take the time to review them. Take the time to get them on DVD. You'll journey back to the past with happy tears.

My cousin promises to bring me World War II video next. I can hardly wait.

Until next time, you can find me on the beach. I'm easy to find. My toes are dug in the sand and I have a faraway look in my eyes.

Monday, June 16, 2008

1864 Will Located for Widow of a Patriot

There goes the phone again. Here it comes with a new find.

One of my cousins, who always delights me with his now famous, "I've found something," called and relayed the welcome news. Today, I received the news via snail mail.

He has found the 1864 probated will of Margaret Harbsion Moffitt Simmons. Margaret was born c. 1795, the daughter of American Scout John Harbison and wife, Massey White. Massey's story in itself is fascinating. She was kidnapped by Indians, escaped, came back to Pittsburgh area, and gave invaluable information to the locals regarding the Indians and some local supporters of the Crown. Massey even has a Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter named in her honor in Pennsylvania.

Margaret first married a Mofftt but is quickly widowed. She then becomes the third wife of John Simmons (1761-1843). Her will has been published in a recent book about Pennsylvania Revolutionary War pensions. Now we have her death date (March 9, 1964)! Now we know more!

Now we have more mysteries to solve! Her will mentions land in Iowa? She gives this land to her daughter. I have always assumed this eldest child of hers was from her first marriage. Did the daughter move to Iowa? Did she sell the land? How did they get this land? Was it given to her husband? So many questions.

The big surprise in her will was the mention of two children of which I was unaware. The order on the will leads me to suspect one of them was from her first husband, and the other was with John. I've even got a husband to go with this name! Time to search again in Wasington Co, PA, for this new name.

I still don't know where she is buried. Was she buried in Wheeling, WV, with her husband who died in 1843 or was she buried in Washington, PA? So far, all of my stone turnings have not turned her up.

I'm off to investigate land deeds in Iowa now. How far will my search lead me? How much will I learn? I've certainly learned history on two continents during my tenure in genealogy and have gained an even deeper appreciation of early America.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Elusive Headlines Uncovered

Thought you'd want to know that is offering free access
to their historical newspaper collection through June 19. They have
recently doubled the collection.

Looking for me until then? I'll have my nose stuck in the papers of
old digging for those elusive kinsmen of mine.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Photos of Stinchcomb and Turner Families

There are several photos available to descendants of the STINCHCOMB and TURNER families of early Fayette County, GA. The owner of these photos has graciously offered to share them with any who may be interested.

Let me know if you are interested and I'll get you in touch.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Stinchcomb Cemetery

Nathaniel and Susannah Stinchcomb

It was a beautiful late May day when I took the golf cart over to the Stinchcomb Family Cemetery, which is located just east of Lake Peachtree in Peachtree City. There are only a few marked graves in the well kept plot, which can be found just off of Hwy 54 and adjacent to a cart path.

The largest monument is for Nathaniel and his wife. Nathaniel was the son of Absolom STINCHCOMB and Mary PENN. In the 1833 Elbert Co, GA, will of Absolom, he gives one half of his land which he drew in the GA land lottery to Nathaniel. The actual location is designated as "number 101 in the sixth district."

For those researching the STINCHCOMB family, Absolom and Mary were married in 1785 in Amherst Co, VA. Mary was the daughter of Philip PENN. Early family lore placed Mary as a niece of William PENN, but research by family members find evidence that Philip PENN (b. 1736) was a son of George and Ann.

I have not researched any further into the PENN family lines. According to a John M Penn, there are no living descendants of the founder William PENN with the PENN surname by about 1860 in America.

Go out and photograph old grave stones. Each of them have a story to tell, and some of them will send you on a journey into history.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Line Creek Trail Update

In early April, I was pleased to bring you news of the old Line Creek School photo which had been located. A blown up version of the picture is on display at the Peachtree City Library. There is also a video of the picture with an interview on the Fayette Front Page.

A reader who lives in the area sent the following comment as a response to the "Follow the Trail" column:

I'll bet, if you have Browns in that picture, you might also have Stinchcombs (remember, the Fayette patriarch of that clan is buried on the side of the Hwy in PTC! He's my gggrandfather!) His youngest son, Elijah, married Mary Elizabeth Brown. Dempsy Brown mentions his grandchildren and deceased daughter, Sarah Ann Stinchcomb, in his will, but I haven't made that Brown to Brown connection.

Just a little ways down the road, Zadock Davis is buried on a hilltop off of Huiet ggggrandfather.

On the other side of the county, I descend from Moses T Turner whose son was "exhorter" at Inman Methodist Church.

I have an old school picture, and in it Mary Pyron (my mother's first cousin) is the only child in the picture wearing shoes, but then, she was the only girl in her family!

I do enjoy your column! Keep going!

other names in my lines are: Darnell, West, Jones, Wesley

Yes, I have heard the name Stinchcomb while learning more about the early graves in the area. According to one of the paid genealogy sites, Victor Stinchcomb (d. 1925 in Fayette Co) did marry Sarah Ann Brown, daughter of Dempsey and Martha. Dempsey Brown was the child of Benjamim Brown, who is buried in Brown's Cemetery. Victor Stinchcomb was the child of Nathaniel and his wife, Susannah Oliver.

Since you haven't made the Brown-to-Brown connection, have you traced another early set of Browns in the county? They were over in the Fayetteville area, and there are descendants of those Browns still in the county.

I contacted the "other" Brown family in the county and gleaned some information which may be beneficial to you in your search. Roland Brown (b. 1795 in SC) married Dicey Waldrop and lived in Fayette County. His son, Robert Brown (b. 1819 in SC), married Rebecca Pope in Fayette Co in 1842, and is reported to have died in Haralson Co, GA.

I would appreciate you sending a copy of the picture of the old school that you have. Chances are other readers could see a familiar face.

Perhaps, I'll get out today to snap some shots of some old graves. Following old trails is fun-- and it's educational. Who knew there was so much life in the area before Peachtree City was founded 50 years ago!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Free Military Records 'Til May 31 Mark Agreement

I'm all about saving my pennies and then choosing to spend them wisely as I research the past. Here's a present to you. Check out the following story which came by way of another site. Take some time to honor your fallen soldiers/sailors this weekend as you uncover more information.

To celebrate the signing of a five-year digitization agreement with
the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), The
Generations Network (TGN) will make's military records
collection free May 20 through May 31.

Some notable records in that collection include the Civil War
pension index, Revolutionary War and War of 1812 bounty land
warrants, and WWI and WWII draft registration cards....

Here's the link to get you started.

Monday, May 19, 2008

WWII Heartstrings

When found, old family letters are mighty moving. Especially when letters are found which date back several decades or more. These letters tug at our heartstrings.

The following are a couple of letter fragments from dear cousin Ellen who found them in her attic recently. The letters are from WWII when her father, James R Glenn, Jr (1913-2001) was stationed in North Africa and Italy from the fall of 1942 through 1946.

Undated letter fragment

It rained all night night before last, and all day
yesterday, and we're deep in mud and misery, so I
can't write long but I wanted to write long enough to
tell you about the lovely poems I'd been reading and
let you infer how very much I'd like to be reading
them to you.
I love you,

9 January 1945
Dear Mrs. Glenn:

I am pleased to inform you that the latest report
states that your husband is making normal improvement
on 15 December. You will be notified immediately when
additional information is received.

Sincerely yours,
J.A. Ulio
Major General,
The Adjutant General

Cousin Ellen writes, "The reason it is funny, is the dates. In fact, Mom got
the letter from my dad saying that he had been
wounded, but was in the hospital recovering before she
got the telegram from the War Department saying that
he had been wounded. It's incredible in this day of
cell phones and email to imagine that they didn't see
each other or hear each other's voices for nearly 5

"The day I found them in my mom's old suitcase, I spent the
entire day reading through many of them."

"What a day it was! They were not only alive again, if
only for a few hours, but they were young and vital

Friday, May 09, 2008

Maggie's Story- Mother, Daughter, and Inspiration 136 Years After Death

The October 1872 obituary read; "Death, in whatever form it may come, or whatever may be its circumstances, is usually distressing in its character..........But a few minutes before her death she wrote the following lines, referring to her child, which had died a few days before."

"Up among the angels, That bright and happy band,
Our own dear babe has gone, To take its harp in hand.
Mother, brothers and sisters dear,
Weep not that she did leave you here;
She has gone to her home, gone to her rest,
Gone where the good alone are blest-
Home in Heaven. Jesus wept with sorrowing friends;
Jesus comforted their soul; Jesus died, He suffered pain,
He died that we might live again for all." -- Maggie

This obituary of Margaret Emma Simmons LEA was one of the many treasures found in her mother's, my great great grandparents', Bible. My heart weeps for Maggie and her loss. I can only imagine how thrilled she was when she married Cassius Monroe LEA (1846-1925) near the end of 1871. I can only imagine her happiness when she realized she was going to be a mother. I can only imagine her despair when the little infant girl died right after childbirth. I can only imagine her young husband's pain and his overwhelming grief when his beloved Maggie died a few days later. Her obituary goes on to relay she died of a broken heart.

I sit and look at the picture I have of Maggie and I cry for her. I mourn her loss and the loss of all the young mothers who also departed life after childbirth. I also admire Maggie's strength as she wrote a poem to comfort her family during her time of grief and rapidly failing health. Her belief was strong. Her belief was real. Her belief is inspirational.

So, sweet Maggie, my great great aunt, Happy Mother's Day. While you sleep peacefully in eternal rest, your words live on forever.

Because I am the story teller of my generation. I am the one who cherishes your memory as well as those of all my family members who have gone. I am the mother whose heart breaks for your loss- even though you've been gone 136 years.

Find those treasures. Honor thy mother. Honor a mother's memory.

Update:  10 Aug 2010-  The middle name for Cassius has now been confirmed as "Monroe" and was sent to me by the g-granddaughter of Mansfield B Lea, the brother of Cassius.  Thanks!

©2008-2010 AS Eldredge

Monday, May 05, 2008

We May Be Happy Yet

The attic can be a great place to find old family treasures. The old
family Bible can be another source of great finds. Such is the case
of the Bible of my great-great grandparents. Tucked away between the
pages are several letters. Also tucked in the pages is some hair.
By the length of it, I suspect it to be female. It is also a light
brown, so it is most likely not of an elderly lady.

During the mid to late 1800s in history, it was not uncommon to keep
hair samples of the dearly departed. By keeping the hair and making
mourning jewelry, the dearly departed was never far from your heart.

I wonder if it is the hair of Margaret Emma (1851-1872) who died from
complications of childbirth. Margaret Emma was the daughter of my
great great grandparents. A picture I have of her reveals the marked
similarity between her facial features and mine. Is that why her
life story beats so strongly in my heart?

She was known to be a poet as she wrote a beautiful poem upon the
death of her newborn daughter, which was a couple of days before
Maggie departed this earth. The poem is so heartfelt and touching
that I still shed tears every time I read it.

One of the letters we found in the Bible was written as a song. The
author signed as Emma. Which Emma? I suspect it is the other Emma
in the family in the latter 1800s as Margaret Emma was called
Maggie. The other Emma is Margaret Emma's first cousin, Emma Elmira
HENRY (1859-1935).

The handwriting is difficult to read so I will only provide a few of
the lines. Enjoy.

We May Be Happy Yet
by Emma (Henry?)

Oh Smile as thou were want to smile
Before the right of care
Had crushed thy heart and for awhile
Let only sorrow there.

Some thoughts perchance twere best to guell
Some impulse to forget-
Oer which should memory cease to dwell
We may be happy yet- yes
We may be happy yet

Friday, May 02, 2008

Glimpse of Life-- Sixty Years Later

"I was going through an old box of family correspondence."

That statement alone is enough to perk up my eyes as I read my daily
dose of emails. One of my cousins wrote to tell me she had found
some letters of old she wanted to share. With her permission, I will
share excerpts with you.

Walter Robb GLENN (1882-1952) was one of eight children of Wilbert
Joseph GLENN (1850-1891) and Zuleika Florence RALSTON (1852-1918). I
first found Wilbert and Zuleika back in the late 1990s when I was
really starting to research my GLENN line. Wilbert and Zuleika are
both buried in my "family" cemetery, the St Clair Cemetery in
Allegheny Co, PA. I visited their graves, in addition to all my
family graves, in 2002. When the Historical Society of Mount Lebanon
began their project of researching the residents of St Clair
Cemetery, I joined in to help. Together, we found more information
on the family for the booklet on the cemetery.

Wilbert died young leaving his wife with six children. So, why
can't I find six children? One of the eight, Howard, had died at age
2. Another child, Maggie, appears to have died as a child. Where is

In steps cousin Ellen with the key. Walter Robb GLENN, child of
Wilbert and Zuleika, was adopted by his aunt Maggie HAWKINS who had
no natural children. They later move to California.

I have followed Walter and his life in California through census
records. Now, he comes to life-- 60 years after writing these
words. Here is part of Walter's 1947 letter to his nephew and niece
upon the death of their father James, Walter's natural brother.

Los Angeles 28, California
August 28, 1947

....My recollections of that delightful
visit in 1934 are still vivid and pleasant. I treasure
the memory of seeing you two and all the others during
that eventful summer that now seems in some ways so
long ago and in others so recent....

...Jim certainly lived a wonderfully fine life. Of all
the six children left when our father died so young,
it was he that assumed the heavy responsibilities and
sacrifices of a very immature head of a family. Why
did I never tell him how much I appreciated and
admired him? We just don't do those things, do we?...

...We are spending this summer rather quietly at home.
Usually we take a rather extensive auto trip, but not
this time. We just take an occasional one day jaunt
around the nearby countryside. We turned in our old
car the other day, my third Olds, and purchased a
Chevrolet--about the only car we could get delivery
on. We may take a two or three day trip in it soon,
just to get the thrill of a new car. I remember the
thrill you kids got from my first Olds back in '34. Do

I hope you are now inspired to find some old family letters. Go back
and spend some time with your family. You just never know what
glimpse you will find.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Clean Out The Attic

It's beautiful outside. The sun is shining and there's a wonderful
cool breeze in the air.

Take advantage of this weather and clean out the attic. Find those
old family photos and papers. Dust them off.

More importantly, take time to read those old letters. Bask in the
memories of those who are gone. Smile as you remember that "extra
something" about one who is gone.

You may find your roots. You just may find your heart.

Monday, April 21, 2008

History Lives in the Heart--- Everyday for 40 Years

I love genealogy, today and everyday. It's a fascinating passion for
me. My family history lives in my heart.

Today, I received a press release from Florida regarding a cousin of
mine. His passion is also history, whether it be our family or our
country. Today, I must acknowledge my delightful cousin who always
inspires me in my search and who is always stretching my boundaries
in genealogy. Today, I must acknowledge one of the few people who
truly share my love of digging around in the family cemetery for
clues, and who is always willing to meet me there. Today, I must
acknowledge a man who lives his conviction of God, home and country.

John A. Williams Jr has just received recognition from the Sons of
the American Revolution for 40 years of faithful membership. John
said, "If we don't know how this country was started, the history
that has brought us to this date, then how can we intelligently plan
for the future?"

Cousin John, you are a true American Patriot. Cousin John, you
inspire me. Cousin John, I'm proud to share our roots together in
Allegheny Co, PA, where our grandpas John HENRY (1750-1838), James
GLENN (1750-1813) and John Simmons, Jr (1761-1843) were our patriots.

Most importantly, I look forward to the next time we can raise a
toast to our ancestors. I look forward to the phone call with the
statement, "I think I've found something."

I look forward to find the past.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Research Guide or Research Fraud?

"Hey, it's a new place to go! Hey, it costs money! Hey, this could
be a scam!"

Readers, beware! Not all alleged genealogy sites are true genealogy
sites. There is a new warning posted by the PR Director of a popular
genealogy site which provides a snapshot view of a few of these
sites. Here is the link for the warning.


While we all want to believe that everyone shares our love of
history, please be reminded to verify the sources to whom you choose
to spend your precious research money. I routinely look at new sites
to evaluate them for my own personal research. Most times, I choose
not to follow up with these sites for a number of reasons. The most
important one I would recommend to you is "Follow your gut feeling."

Have a great weekend!

First With Community News You Can Use
Peachtree City, Tyrone, Fayetteville

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Follow the Trail

"How's your family research coming along?", asked one of my
acquaintances the other evening as her eyes were twinkling. Did she
sense my slight hesitation as I blurted out my reply? "Just fine,
thank you." I waited. She blushed and said, "I've found something
and I want to show it to you." Ah. No wonder she expressed an
increased interest into my hobby. She's found a trail.

Boy, oh boy, she does have a find. It's a picture from 1905 of about
two dozen or so children in school within the area now known as
Peachtree City. Why, that certainly predates the town's known
educational system! We studied the picture, and noticed the children
appear to range in age from about 6 to about 16. We noticed the bare
feet. We noticed the fancy clothes. We laughed as we noticed the
looks on some of the faces.

What next? Follow the trail!!!! Dig up the census for the area in
which the school was located. Find the families in the area in the
1910 census. Find the land owners surrounding the area. Locate the
local church records for that time. I suspect the names Huddleston,
Brown and Gray will show up.

I'll be meeting with my friend next week and spend some time with her
working on this project. We'll be thrilled as we attempt to unravel
as many clues as we can about the photo. I imagine you'll even hear
laughter erupt as we narrow down the suspects.

If you're of old Fayette County blood, contact me. Perhaps, I'll
have some happy trails for you to investigate. Perhaps, I'll have
some trails uncovered. In any event, follow the trail. You never
know where it will lead.
Community News You Can Use
Peachtree City, Tyrone, Fayetteville

Saturday, March 29, 2008

If You Don't Remember ....

I hear ethereal whispers, persuasive, soft and still, 
"Daughter, if you don't remember us, who will?"…

I don't know who first uttered this quote, but they could have been talking about me.  I hear the whispers of the past calling me to preserve their stories for the future.  I hear the whispers from the grave.

Today, I received a letter from Sweden.  This time, I had no clue when I looked at the return address.  With anticipation, I opened the letter.  It was from the granddaughter of my oldest living cousin in Sweden.  Stina's grandfather was the brother of my great grandmother who immigrated to America back in 1879.  We've been gone from Sweden for over a hundred years now.  Still, I hear the whispers calling me.

Stina is now in her 80s and neither reads nor speaks English.  Thankfully, her granddaughter has a fairly good command of English.  In the letter, she has a few surprises.  At least, I was surprised.  She tells of the area in Stockholm where my great grandmother's brother lived.  It was a poor area.  Now this in itself is not surprising.  If you read the history of Sweden, being poor was quite common.  So common that it is estimated 4 of 5 residents emigrated during the late 1800s to escape the poverty.  Many chose to come to America.  There is no doubt in my mind that had my great grandparents stayed in Stockholm, they too would have lived their lives in poverty.

The surprises in the letter come from sharing some of the life that Jonas Petter and his family had.  My heart ached for these children as I read the words of my cousin.  

It's interesting to learn about our past.  It's interesting to be able to talk about the past.  It's amazing when we can shed our rose colored glasses and look at the failings of our ancestors.  It's phenomenal when we can share their triumphs.

The past is calling me.  My family of old is whispering for me to tell their stories.  Is yours?  Sit still and listen.  You may be surprised.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wearing of the Green, is it?

St. Patrick's Day.

It's a day of celebration of having Irish blood course through the
veins. Why wear green?

The wearing of the green was first worn in honor of St. Patrick who
used the Shamrock to demonstrate the Holy Trinity to the Irish people
back around 400 AD. In fact, the color blue was the first prominent
color associated with St. Patrick. Irish who became Christians would
wear shamrocks to show their support of Ireland and of the Roman
Catholic Church. Changing to wearing of the green seems to have
become popular in the 1700s.

Those Irish who are not Roman Catholic wear the color orange. Some
say this is because both orange and green coincide peacefully on the
Irish flag. Others say the orange is the Irish Protestant way to
honor William of Orange, a king of England, Ireland and Scotland in
the late 1600s. William of Orange was raised in the teachings of
Calvin and was Protestant.

The first known public St. Patrick's Day Celebration in the United
States was in Boston in 1737. Even George Washington allowed his
Irish troops to honor the day in 1780.

People who choose to wear orange today, in addition to the green, do
so to honor their Irish heritage. Another common method to honor
Irish heritage is to use the Anglicized Gaelic term 'Erin Go Bragh."
Ireland Forever.

My Irish blood soars. It courses through my veins as I research more
of my family history. My ancestors who chose to come to America
brought with them a tremendous heritage of courage, strength, and
deep religious beliefs.

Erin Go Bragh.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Take A Stand

This morning, I was cruising around a site with some old Civil War
Era newspapers on it. It's a free site and is focused on
Pennsylvania papers. Also included at this site are some of the old
Presbyterian papers of the time.

I found an article about Uncle Bob, that is, the Rev. Robert W Henry
(1827-1869). I've shared some of the information I have found on him
in the past with you. Imagine my surprise when I found a new article
this morning. It was in a Presbyterian paper from 1857.

Think about the times. Think about the issue that was in hot
debate. Think about the upcoming war. All of these thoughts raced
through my mind as I read the article.

In the article, an outspoken pro-slavery minister makes a statement.
In it, he writes the Rev. R W HENRY, who he says is anti-slavery, has
been asking him to remove to Chicago for the good of the church. Now
that is an interesting statement. He does include a telegraph from
the Rev. Henry, as well as other men, asking him to join them for a
meeting. They offered to pay his way and offered him several dates.
This man refused to go to the meeting. I'm curious as to what
happened to that man.

While I do know that Uncle Bob was a Presbyterian minister, I find it
interesting to see this article. I don't know his politics and I
don't know those of his family. All I know is the history books
portray them all as Republicans and strong Christian men. Is this a
glimpse into his character? Is this a glimpse into the thoughts of
his family?

His cousin, James GLENN, was a Captain in Co. D of the PA 149th. He
spent time in battle and was awarded a sword for his service at the
Battle of Seminary Hill at Gettysburg. Here is a part of the
comments found in the History of the Regiment Book by Nesbitt (1899).

"During his service he became known as a fighting officer,being
frequently assigned to other commands when severe fighting was
expected. He was almost reckless in his bravery. It was a common
remark among the boys that "the Captain didn't know when he was
licked" and after his attempt to rally half a dozen members of his
Company on the retreat from Seminary Hill at Gettysburg, to stop the
advance of a division of Lee's Army, followed by his service in the
Wilderness and other campaigns, the mention of his name was sure to
recall recollection of his bravery and soldierly qualities. He served
his entire term of service without sickness or wounds, and was
engaged in every march, skirmish or battle in which the Regiment

I still don't know their personal beliefs. I do know these were men
willing to take a stand. Stand and fight as in the case of James
GLENN, or stand and preach as in the case of the good Rev. Uncle Bob.

History is full of men and women who take a stand. Keep looking.
You'll be surprised at what stands our ancestors have taken at one
time or another. You'll learn more history about our country.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Where Are Those Papers?

Finding new clues is exciting. Finding new genealogy sites to visit
is also exciting. Just this week, I checked out a site called
Footnotes. Footnotes has many records available and it appears they
have some arrangement with the National Archives.

While they do allow a free name search, you must pay to see the
information. Lucky for me I noted they have a free seven day trial
available. Before you invest on their site, check to see if they
even have the areas of the country in which you are searching. Since
they don't have a lot from Western PA, I don't think I'll invest in
it at this time.

When I looked for the Naturalization Papers for grandpa John who came
from County Monaghan, Ireland, I had several hits. The closest
suspect in this case was naturalized in Pittsburgh in 1899. Being a
resourceful researcher, I first emailed the Allegheny County
Courthouse to see if they have a copy of the record there. I
provided the name, birth date and place, year of immigration, year of
suspected naturalization, where he lived at the time, and his
spouse's information. Nothing. I received a very nice note from the
courthouse saying they have no records.

So, I guess I either have to subscribe to Footnotes for one month or
go to NARA for the information. I'm not sure which will be the
better choice for me. I'm going to look around Footnotes some more
to see if I can find any other suspects in my family line. If I do,
then either the free seven day trial or an one month subscription
begins to make sense.

When searching for Naturalization records, be sure to ask for the
Intent to Naturalize Documents as well. That may provide more
information as to the boat and actual date of entry into the US.

One interesting note is that Footnotes does have some old FBI cases
on it. While I am unaware of any blood kin having these types of
files, it may be interesting just to read.

A quick update on my Australian cousin. I haven't heard back yet. I
don't know it they check their emails on a regular basis or if they
have changed their address. In any event, if anyone in Australia is
reading this, I am searching for the descendants of Joseph PATTERSON
b. 1843 in County Monaghan Ireland. Hope to hear from you soon.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Irish Roots With An Accent

Spending time researching for my friend's German roots made me stop
and reflect more on my Irish roots. I am of Fighting Orange Stock.
I am of dissenters stock. I am of Irish blood.

Granted, some of my Irish roots have been in America since before the
American Revolution. But I do have one that is fairly recent. That
is, if you can call 1879 recent.

Sometimes, I gripe about the costs of one of the paid genealogy sites
to which I belong. Sometimes, it's worth every penny. Today may
have been one of those days. For today, I may have made contact with
some descendants of my recent Irish roots.

I decided to check the newer indices today to see if I could track
down the boat my great grandpa sailed over the pond. I still haven't
pinned it down to my satisfaction, but I do have several leads to
follow. I also spent some time looking at Griffith's Valuation. If
you've got kin living in Ireland during the timespan of Griffith's,
it's worth a look see. I chose the county in which I am interested,
clicked on it, and realized I needed more information. Guess I'll
have to find Grandpa's Naturalization papers. They are most likely
in Pittsburgh. Now to find the right court. A search that will most
likely take some time, I'd wager.

In the meantime, I checked the paid genealogy site to see if
grandpa's brother was there. His brother left Ireland and settled in
New Zealand. He's there! And his information names a parish in
County Mongahan that I must search! And his information also gives
the same parents as my grandpa's. Right man.

I've popped off an email to the submitter of the information. It's
been some time since my New Zealand cousin posted the information. I
hope he still has the same address. If not, I guess I'll be
investigating how to find someone in New Zealand.

Pretty cool. Have I made contact with some of my Irish roots? Will
I see the family resemblance? Will I sing a song of Irish lore?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Confirmed Assumptions

Last week, we talked briefly about hunting for a person with "old
country" roots. I am pleased to share the followup finds.

As you will recall, a volunteer from Random Acts of Genealogical
Kindness responded to my pleas for help in Washington State. This
volunteer located the obits for our man in question and his wife.

His obit provides his birth and death dates. His obits tells us he
did live in San Francisco before Washington State. His obit is the
icing on the cake. We had found a passport application from 1894
with our gent's name and particulars. I am now certain that this one
is the right one. Yes, we've confirmed our assumption in this case.

His wife's obit provides the marriage date and location. The rumors
we had heard were only off by a county or two and only one year.
That's pretty good.

The next step, should my friend decide to pursue her German roots, is
to contact Washington State and get a copy of the marriage license.
That could provide us with the location of her birth in Germany as
well as the correct spelling of her maiden name.

We could also check with federal government for her naturalization
papers. They should have a copy of them, and if not, contact
Washington State for them.

As for our gent, I suspect he had kin in St. Louis as that is where
he was naturalized. We could send off for his naturalization records
as we know the date of naturalization and the court in which it

I still have one assumption that is not confirmed. I suspect our
gent met his future wife when he returned to the Rhein area of
Germany for a visit in 1895. She was a young teenager at that
point. She comes to America when she is of age and marries him. I
suspect this could have been an arranged marriage. If we find her
naturalization papers, they could go a long way to proving or
disproving that particular theory. In the meantime, it makes for a
nice story.

Use Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness when you need only one or
two items in a particular spot. Their volunteers can ask for
reimbursement for parking, copy costs and 50 cents per mile. It's a
great service. Just be sure to thank the volunteers.

Monday, February 25, 2008

When In Doubt, Check The Map

Just thought I'd pass on a site I stumbled across today. Not only is
this a great place to find some maps from the c. 1870 timeframe from
across the US, the site is allowing viewers to look for free during

I spent just a few minutes and quickly found some of my kin.

Hope you find some of yours!!

Community News You Can Use
Peachtree City, Tyrone, Fayetteville

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hunting We Will Go

I guess this could be thought of as a theme song of mine. A Hunting
We Will Go... Hi Ho The Merry O.......

I've been hunting this week in a place I've never been. I've been
hunting for some "old country roots" for a friend of mine. With
scant information, and I mean scant, I've searched for her
grandparents. All she knew is her birth father was reported to be
first generation American of German descent.

The hunt began easily with a search on one of the paid sites to which
I subscribe. A hunt that ended almost as soon as I began. I found
the marriage of her parents and then I found the birth of her
father. Her father's birth record lists the name of his parents.
The problem is that's about all it listed.

Her grandfather had a name which was Americanized. What I haven't
found is whether he changed the name or whether his new name came
from when he immigrated. According to census records, he was born
about 1863 in Germany and he immigrated in 1881. So, he is here too
late for the 1880 census and there are no remaining records of the
1890 census.

A person with his last name and a name similar to his Americanized
name is found sailing into New York in 1881. This information states
he was single and originated in Prussia. So now what. Keep hunting.

The next record found is one of the Americanized name application for
a passport in 1894. On this application, the name is correct, the
year and month of birth is correct. The year of his immigration
correlates with the year of immigration found on the census reports.
Other information noted is a specific location in Germany--
Ruthweif, Rhinforting (sic?). What is odd is this application was in
San Francisco, not Washington State as I had anticipated.

The application stated he lived in both St Louis and in San Francisco
since moving to America and was naturalized in St Louis in 1886. It
still can not be discounted as being the incorrect man. But, he is
not documented fully as being the right man. As of now, I strongly
suspect he is the man for whom I am searching. To date, I have no
rumors of when he moved to Washington or where he lived for the first
several years of being in America.

The 1900 census shows our man living in Kitsap Co, Washington, as a
boarder and he has been naturalized. The US Immigrations Records
show our man going to Germany for a visit in 1904.

The 1910 census shows him married to a German girl who came over
about 1904. Now, since I don't have a good feel for the spelling of
her maiden name, I have yet to identify her coming into the country.
What I have uncovered is she was about 20 years younger than her
husband. They rapidly had 3 girls and one boy. Since it appears she
became a citizen after 1906, we can check with the federal government
for her naturalization papers. All naturalizations before 1906 were
done locally with no requirement to send paperwork to the federal
government. Finding naturalizations before 1906 really means hunting
long and hard for where someone was living when they were
naturalized, and then finding which court naturalized them.

Our man disappears after the 1930 census. His wife's death was
easily found from the Washington State Death Index. Since the index
is only online from 1940 and his name is not listed, I will deduce he
died between 1930-1940.

The hunt is far from over. Next, I contacted the Random Acts of
Kindness organization and found a volunteer in Kitsap County. Within
a 24 hour period, this volunteer has located the obits and popped
them in the mail. I look forward to seeing if the obits answer any
of my questions.

I've also sent the passport application to a cousin of mine to see if
he can decipher the correct name of the town and region of Germany.
I look forward to seeing his response.

Hunting for kin. A Hunting we will go. Hi Ho, the Merry O- can't
wait to see the catch!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Influenza Strikes

The winters of 1917-1920 were tough on America. Not only were we
focused on events across the pond, we had a new enemy. Influenza.

Even now, during our winter months, our health officials warn us of
the dangers of influenza. Even now, our beloved family members who
died during that time are difficult to find. So many morgues were
overrun and the population was just tired. The rumors of some mass
graves for influenza victims still persists to this day.

Thought you might enjoy checking out the following site which has
some startling facts regarding the Flu Pandemic of the early 20th

Thursday, February 07, 2008

If You Don't Know It, You Could Blow It

Questions. It's a way of life for genealogists who are always
searching for answers. Quite often, we stumble right up against a
brick wall. It seems as if no matter how hard we hit that wall, we
can't find a way over it. Here are some thoughts for you as you try
to blast your way through your brick wall.

You have to know the information. In other words, don't assume
anything! If you can't document the family lore about where grandma
and grandpa came from, where they lived, how many children they had,
etc., you risk blowing right past the truth.

Think about it. Do you really know if great grandma or grandpa were
married only once? Do you really know if they were divorced or
widowed? Do you really know if all their children were born on the
right side of the marriage certificate? Does grandma really remember
when her parents were born?

One of my brick walls was with a grandpa of mine. I had been told by
my father that his father had been married twice. Funny how no one
else in the family had ever heard that tidbit. I asked my father how
he knew. It was simple. He was at a train station with his mother
and siblings back in the 1930s and there was another lady with a son
sitting close by. He heard the other lady tell her son not to speak
or look at my father and his family because they were the results of
"that woman" who stole your father away from us. Now my father was
never able to glean what the name of his older half brother was. He
spoke of it to me and his younger brother soon before my father
passed away.

So everyone who knew the truth was gone. I tried searching for a
divorce record in the county where my grandfather lived with his
parents. Nothing. I tried the surrounding counties. Nothing. It
has been suggested I try neighboring states. Way back in the early
1900s, divorce was not a common event, but it did happen. To date, I
have yet to find his divorce. Of course, I also haven't been able to
document the other son's name. The census records haven't been of
much help. Did the lady remarry?

I did locate the marriage license for my grandparents. On the
application, my grandfather had stated he was previously married and
provided the date of the divorce. So, now I have legal documentation
of the divorce. But from whom? And where?

I have also located his World War I registration in which he lists
his status as single. This, too, correlates with the date of the
divorce, which was 1917. It would appear he joined the Army soon
after his divorce. He also went overseas to fight for his country
and came back wounded. He had known my grandmother since he was a
child. I have pictures of her sitting with him at the hospital while
he endured the surgeries necessary to help him walk again. She
didn't marry him until 1920, so I'm going to go on a limb here and
say the distraught woman with her son at the train station gave false
information to her son. Marrying someone three years after your
divorce doesn't quite add up to a "stolen" man.

Take home message is simple. You have to be able to document,
document, document. You can't just blow past information if it
doesn't fit in with your carefully constructed tree. Sometimes our
assumptions become the truth. Sometimes, it's only in our minds.
Don't blow it. Just make sure you know it!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Who Dat?

Sometimes, digging around for the clues on family history is fun.
Sometimes, it can give even me a headache.

I recently received an email from one of my cousins who spends more
time researching the family than I do. I know, you probably didn't
think it was possible. This cousin is a doll and we've even
published an article together. By popular demand, this article is
going into a reprint this summer.

This cousin writes and asks, "Who is this?" She was looking at a
census and found a name we've never seen before. So, she sent it to
me. I looked at the census and am not quite sure I agree with the
translation of the name, but nonetheless, there sits another child.
Another child? Who dat?

William HENRY (1789-1849) married Zebiah MIDDLESWARTH (1797-1872) in
the county in which they were both born and raised. They stayed
there and had seven children. Those are known facts. We can
document this. We can document the names of the children, their
dates of birth, their spouses, their dates of death, and their final
resting places. I've visited most of them.

Now, why are we finding another child in the 1850 census? Not only
is he another child, he has a name that, to date, has not been seen
in the family before this time. Kinda unusual in the old Scot-Irish
naming traditions. And, this child, allegedly named Joshua, is not
found in any of the orphans court proceedings when daddy William
dies. All of the other children, who are still minors, have their
uncle, my 3rd great grandfather, named as their guardian in court
records. This alleged Joshua is also not listed in daddy's will.
Curious. Think he would have been.

I have found a Joshua HENRY who lived in the county, but not too
close to the family, who died around 1845 or so. He did leave a son
Joshua, but his named guardian is not someone that I know.

I looked around and noticed one of Zebiah's sisters, Mary, had a
husband who died in 1844. Court records show guardians were named
for six of their nine children. What were the names of the other
three children? Don't know.

Another curious thing about that 1850 census. The handwriting on the
original census is difficult to read. It LOOKS like the head of the
family is Mary HENRY? We know the head of this family is named
Zebiah. However, all the children listed, save the alleged Joshua,
are those known children of William and Zebiah. Could Zebiah have
been gone for a time? Could Zebiah have left her sister, Mary, in
charge of taking care of the younger children? Another clue
surfaces. In the court records for the children of William HENRY,
the children are listed as having very little financial worth. This
leads one to believe that Zebiah didn't get too much when he died.
In the 1850 census, this alleged head of household Mary HENRY has a
net worth of $20,000. Hmmm. Did Zebiah remarry? No. She is buried
with William and most of their children. Note, there is no Joshua
here either.

Another thought runs through my head as I try to piece it all
together. William and Zebiah had a son, William, who died in
February 1850 as a result of scarlet fever. Could Zebiah have been
gone for awhile taking care of others? Could she have had a bout of
it and not been able to take care of her own children? Would the
census taker think that Mary's last name was HENRY, the children in
the household had that surname?

I don't know the answers. These are all possibilities for me to
consider. I think I need to find the complete estate file of William
to see if there is any mention of another child in it. I am still
leaning that this Joshua was not a natural born child, but rather one
they took in and cared for upon his parent's demise. Hopefully, I'll
find the proof I need so I can rest easy. I just find it unsettling
when there are unanswered questions lingering around the air.

Who dat? I don't know. I hope to know soon.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Get Ready for the Tax Man

I'm always digging around to find more evidence of my ancestors.
Recently, I was looking at some old estate records from 1864. I find
it rather interesting that one bed, one pillow, and one blanket would
be listed as belonging to the deceased. Especially since his wife
has been reported dying the month before he did. I still need to
confirm her date of death. Tis a pity her headstone is not listed as
being with the family. Now, she was his second wife and they were
married only about 30 years. So you would think she'd be there with
the family. Two of the three children they had are buried at the
cemetery, although there are no remaining headstones. Their third
child died in New York, I believe. In fact, dear cousins, if you
know where Addison HENRY is buried, please let me know. I know his
widow and child are listed as living in Galway, New York.

To complicate matters, Grandpa James's first wife was also named
Sara. And their children are most definitely buried in adjoining
plots. Ahh, another day.

Anyway, in looking at James estate details, I find there are several
monetary notes listed. Back in 1864, about $10,000 was a lot of
money to have loaned to people. One note was to his son and the
other note was to a name I don't recognize. Guess I should look at
that name and see if I can determine any reason why Grandpa would
have loaned money to a potential non-relative.

The estate file also contains a sworn document from a son-in-law of
James in which he states he heard James say repeatedly that his bed
and bedding were to be equally divided by his daughters who had
remained in the area. My first question is how does one divide one
bed and one pillow? Guess they got that all straightened out.

One of his sons- in-law was the attorney of record for the estate.
Convenient for everyone. In this file, I also found a statement from
the Tax Collector's Office from 1869. The paper was to the United
States for Internal Revenue. The items on the tax bill are for
income, Billiard Tables for private use, carriages, plates and gold
watches. So way back when, the government wanted to know if you had
a gold watch, and if so, it appears you would have had to pay tax on
it. Of course, who would have guessed that a billiard table, of all
things, would be considered tax worthy by the federal government.

My suggestion of the day is to look at everything. Look at the
actual files in the estate. Don't just look at an abstract. You
could miss something vital. Also, take time to look at the local tax
records. Who knows. Maybe you'll find something that is time worthy
in your search.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Today is etched into my memory. Tis the day my parents were married,
oh, so many years ago. As you are looking into your family history,
don't neglect to talk with the living. I remember my mother telling
me stories about her wedding. I remember her telling me stories
about the family.

Write these stories down for those who will follow in your shoes.
Write these stories down and pass them on to your children, and to
the family story teller in your life. What gems these become for the
children, the grandchildren, and for the future. Let your
descendants know how you laughed, you cried, you lived and loved.

As for my dad's thoughts about his marriage, he once told me he never
considered divorcing my mother. Murder, perhaps. But never
divorce. My dad was a man who truly loved and respected his wife.
What a great legacy for me and mine.

What a great legacy you too can share.

So, Happy Anniversary to my dear parents. I only wish I could tell
you in person. Just know I remember. I remember the love, the
laughter, the tears. And I am writing down your stories of the past
for the future.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Genealogy for beginners

I spent some time today wandering around one of the subscription
services looking for the residence of one of the widows in my
family. Mary Emma became a widow in 1869, when her husband, the
younger brother of my 2g grandmother, died while on a trip to the
Holy Land. We're now investigating the boat Uncle Bob was on when he
went on his journey. If we are correct, there may have been contact
with a really cool famous American author on it. One of my cousins
has promised to dig up the letter he has from Uncle Bob's trip.

Thanks to my newly in real time met cousin, I have documentation from
1872 indicating Mary Emma was living in Mt Washington, Allegheny,
PA. So far, the census records have not been helpful. I guess I'm
going to have to send for her obit. I know, from other sources, that
she slipped and died in the bathtub. I just recently found she died
in 1918. So, more clues to follow. Another day, another clue.

Have you been infected with the overwhelming desire to find out more
about your grandma or grandpa? If you need some instructions on
getting started, there is a free Intro to Genealogy class on the
internet. I haven't taken it so I can't say if it is really worth it
or not. If you are interested, check out the
site. And if you do take it, let me know if you found it helpful.

In the meantime, I'll keep looking for more information on Mary Emma
as well as all the other slippery kin in my story.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Got An Itch?

First, let me give credit where it is due. Bob, my delightful cousin
from the last posting, said, "You really raise some genealogical
"itches" with your writings!"

I've never really thought of genealogy as an "itch," but it sure is
one! The best way to fix that "itch" is to scratch. Scratch around
the old files and find new clues.

Yesterday, someone led me to a posting about George Washington's
early PA lands. The author recounted how a docent at Mount Vernon
talked about Washington selling some of his PA holdings when he
needed some money for Mount Vernon after the Revolution. This led a
descendant of one of the men involved with Washington's selling of
the land to show an old article which is a second hand account heard
from some of the participants.

Not only does this article talk about the events surrounding
Washington's claim to the land, he also talks about some of the
participants coming to America. Change the names and you've got my
family. Now, I wonder if I need to research their story even more.
In the article, the author gives a point of departure from Ireland as
well as a date. He also gives the point of entry into the colonies.
The time frame and location fit my family. I think I will now look
to see if I can find a manifest of any ship coming or going at that
time. Who knows-- this could be a break for which I have been
searching for a number of years.

If you want to read the article, let me know and I'll direct you to
it. It was first presented in Ohio in 1929. The descendant has
been in direct communication with me as I was able to tell him that
I, too, have an ancestor who was on the wrong side of the George
Washington land claim. We're now trying to determine if we share
some kin. We certainly shared land up in PA in the 1780s. He has
some REED kin that he hasn't really delved into yet. I have REED kin
as David REED b. 1774 did marry an aunt of mine. Oh, by the way, it
was some of David REED's elders, conveniently named David as well,
who were also involved in the Washington land claim. I even hear
there is a historical marker on the site when Washington came to
dinner at David REED's to discuss the issue at hand.

I'll dig up the details from the Washington land claim so you can
read them. It really is interesting to review.

In the meantime, let me go scratch my itch and learn more about some
early ship arrivals into this great land of ours.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Could Have Talked All Day

What a great find! What fun we had!

I had the pleasure of spending yesterday with a cousin. A cousin who
I just met real time. We've known each other by email for over three
years now. We laughed, we talked, we shared documents and old
pictures. He and his wife, who live in Texas part time, brought a
notebook with some old papers in it. How amazing it was for me to
touch, and more importantly, make copies of the notebook. The names
I know and love were there. I was able to glean some more
information I had not previously seen.

He unknowingly gave me a mission when he pulled out a beautiful
memoriam book from 1884 with a name inscribed and said, "We don't
know who she is." Well, we'll find her and give her a home. We'll
remember her.

After Bob left, I spent hours happily going through the information
he brought and entering new finds into my genealogy program. No
matter how cold it was outside, I was all warm and fuzzy inside.

Now to find the mysterious Kate I NEELY. In reading the booklet,
which was produced by the Presbyterian Minister who gave her eulogy,
I found some clues. I found the name of the minister, the name of
the church and started my search. The Rev. E R Donehoo was minister
of the Eighth Presbyterian Church in the West End. At times in the
1800s, this area was also known as Chartiers and as Temperanceville.

There are other clues as to the mysterious Kate in the eulogy. It
would appear she was unmarried as the good Reverend repeats a
statement her father made to him when he arrived at the home of the
newly departed on that fateful day, August 27. We know she was at
least 13 years old in 1884. That's a start. In looking at the
church history, we can determine E R Donehoo began preaching at the
Temperanceville Church in 1869. Donehoo also mentions he had known
the lovely Kate for over ten years. This leads me to believe her
family lived in the neighborhood.

By going back and checking the 1880 census for the neighborhoods
surrounding Temperanceville, we find a James W NEELY b. abt 1807
(and d. 1891) whose youngest child is named Kate. Kate was born abt
1859. I think this is my mysterious Kate.

How does she relate to my cousin? He has a grandpa, Jonathan NEELY
who married my 3g- aunt. To our knowledge, Jonathan, b. 1812, was
born in the same general locale at James W. They are of an age to be
brothers. Confusion. Jonathan's father, Watson, is reputed to have
been born in Ireland, while James W.'s father is reported to have
been born in PA. Hmmm.

James W, has a son whom he names, James Watson NEELY. The son
becomes a physician in 1875, and no doubt, attended the deaths of
both his mother, Amelia McMichael NEELY, and his sister, Kate.

In searching further, I found where a James NEELY b. 1782 came to
America from Ireland at the age of 6 and settled in the area at which
both Jonathan and James W were born.

I do believe at this point that James W and Jonathan were either
brothers or first cousins. More research is needed to clarify the

However, I have found the burial place for our mysterious Kate. Her
tombstone with the dates of 1856-1884 is with the James W NEELY
family out at another one of the cemeteries where I have loads of
kin--- the Montours Presbyterian Cemetery in Robinson Twp.

There is also a Samuel NEELY there who was in the Revolution. Guess
I gotta shake some trees and see who will brave the cold and go take
pics of the graves. Now I have a desire to know who all is in the
family plot there. Perhaps there are some finds there for my NEELY
descended cousins.

I could have talked all day. However, I am happy to have found the
lovely Kate I NEELY.

How fitting to end this with the words of Rev. Elijah R Donehoo who
spoke of Kate with the following words. ".....The years will come
and go, joys and sorrows will multiply upon us who shall tarry here
below, but the memory of this quiet beautiful life will linger in our
hearts like some goodly dream, which grows softer and sweeter and
more precious each time that we recall it........."

Sleep sweetly, our lovely Kate.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year Resolution

The following is from a fellow geni who does a really super job of
offering assistance to others and she keeps up one of the sites where
I do some of my research. I just couldn't resist passing along her
resolution for 2008. It's something we all need to do.........backup
our finds on more than one source!

As "antique" as my paper may be
It holds everyone in my tree
Tho' the ROM and disk will fail
My paper journey is my trail.

Master Xerox has seen my pages
Documenting family of all ages
There, names and dates organized
Cheering everyone's hearts and eyes.

I picture a distant time (too near!)
When my words remain so clear
Tho' the binding with its rips
My paper will save many trips.

And when a 100 +years afar
Then, old monitors a dying star
Yet my paper will still be read
Whether outside or in bed.

While "ancient" Internet proclaimed
That the future would be its fame
Computers so small to fit in an ear!
Cause anguish throughout the year.

You see, those ROMs and Thumbs
Turned out to be ideas so dumb
They held forests, not just trees
If only that data could be retrieved!

Yes, I forsee Internet will be "ancient" here
(Although to this odd idea, you may jeer!)
Thousands of years past and ahead
Lines of dusty books can still be read!

Oh yes! Leave my tree in ancient pages
Where descendants find names and ages
There Grandma rests, and Grandpap too
Back to the gr-gr-gr-gr-gr, and on through.

Pathetic howling echos ever ensues
What Name and Password to use!
The database which was "guaranteed"
Sucumbed decades ago-- genealogy greed.

"No Access" your grandchildren find
Everytime they try to get "online"
That tree you posted for all to see
Has not outlived the paper of Tree.

Genealogy experts even now do say
"Do "back-up" on paper each day!
"Don't rely only on CSS and HTML
"Paper will keep your stories to tell."

So I say again, just one last time--
(At least it will let me end this rhyme!)--

As "antique" as my paper may be
It holds everyone in my tree
Tho' the ROM and disk will fail
My paper journey is my trail.

By Judy Florian, copyright Jan 1, 2008
Webmaster of Washington Co PA Genealogy Websites
May be reprinted on free websites as long as these three lines are kept

Happy New Year!