St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Neu with a Treusch for Treasure Chest Thursday

The title sounds like a slurring of the words after too much holiday cheer?  Actually, it's the TREUSCH, I mean, the truth.

Several months ago, I wrote about an unknown cousin who had attended a 1935 family funeral.  Just who was cousin Elizabeth TREUSCH?  Click to read about her mysterious appearance in my life here.

Fast forward to the day before yesterday.....

In reading the group forum I belong to in Allegheny Co, PA, I came across an entry on the immigration of the NEU family from Germany to Pittsburgh to Kansas, etc.  It's always interesting to note how our ancestors traveled in the past.  Guess they didn't have to worry much about the body pat downs of today.  Wow, now that conjures up an image!  Can you imagine how your grandma or great grandma would have reacted to being searched as they sought to fly in the air?  Of course, flying up in the air was either not available at their early times or it wasn't as widely used by the general population as it is today.


The name NEU rang a bell in the deep corners of my feeble brain.  It seems like I knew someone who married into that family.  Ahh, a quick search of my genealogy database confirmed it.

Uncle Francis McClain CALDWELL (1868-1934) had indeed married a Margaret NEU (b. 1871) in Pittsburgh.  They had four children of which I am aware.  Three of their children were girls and fourth child, a son.  I had married names of the girls from Uncle Frank's obit and from the 1935 funeral of cousin Austin BRENDEL.  I even knew the addresses of Margaret NEU CALDWELL and the four children from the wedding announcement list of my parents.

And that is where I lost them all.  From time to time, I would look around and just couldn't pin any living names with the names and addresses I had on paper.

Until 2 days ago.

With the wonderful technology of today and helpful genealogy buffs, I found the grave of Uncle Frank.  Near him is wife Margaret with a year of her death.  I asked my group if anyone knew who all was buried close to them and in their plot.  With the delightful assistance of volunteers, I was sent a list of both the CALDWELL and NEU plots in the old cemetery.  One lady even volunteered there was an Elizabeth TREUSCH in the NEU plot.


By checking the census records now, I could find Elizabeth NEU TREUSCH.  And she was the older sister of Margaret NEU CALDWELL.  No blood relation to me, but I will be happy to share the family info with a great grandson of Uncle Frank and Aunt Maggie.  You see,  I also stumbled across a living, breathing kin of theirs through the blood of one of their daughters.

So, now I can happily give them a Christmas present of the past.

Ahh, genealogy.  Ain't it fun to be NEU again?  Yep, it's the TREUSCH!

Special thanks to Beverly and Helen for your assistance in this puzzle.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Finding Gold in the Gold Rush Back in Pittsburgh


The name just popped off the 1913 newspaper death record in Pittsburgh. 

Hmm... I sorta have some DORRINGTON types in my line and they were early pioneers, living and dying in Carnegie (actually Temperanceville).

This John K DORRINGTON has to tie in someway to my line.  I just know it.  Now, can I prove it?

Pittsburgh Press
February 27, 1913

John K DORRINGTON, age 85, a pioneer coal deal of Pittsburg, died at his residence, Belle Ave and Mountford St, yesterday.  He was born in Carnegie and came to Pittsburg when young, getting his early education in the public schools.  When the gold excitement in California broke out, Mr Dorrington was one of the "Forty-Niners" who went overland from Pittsburg. He returned in 1852 by the Nicaragua route.  Later he went to Minnesota, settling on a fram near St Peter, on the Minnesota River. Mr Dorrington was active in putting down an uprising of the Sioux Indians at Fort Ridgley, Minn. He was one of the first to respond to the call of frontier settlers who were being massacred. He was in the midst of a battle lasting 48 hours when the Indians had surrounded the little frontier town. In 1864 he returned to Pittsburg and entered the coal business in which he continued 32 years. He retired from business in 1896. He is survived by one sister, Miss Margaretta M Dorrington.

The death record itself is inconclusive.  So, on to the death notice....

DORRINGTON- On Wednesday, Feb 26, 1913 at 10:30 am, John K Dorrington, at the residence of Mrs. J B Dorrington. Bell Ave and Mountford St, Northside, Pittsburg.
Funeral services at his late residence, Bell Ave and Mountford St, on Friday afternoon at 2:30 pm. Interment private.

Ah-  Mrs J B DORRINGTON--  now I know who she is--  Agnes J McDONALD who married Joseph B DORRINGTON, son of Thomas DORRINGTON and Nancy. Thomas's  Irish immigrant parents, Thomas DORRINGTON, SR and Jane YOUNG DORRINGTON are buried at (my family) the St Clair Cemetery in Mt Lebanon, Allegheny, PA.

Thoma, Jr and Nancy had several children, including a Margaretta who was born in 1843 according to the 1850 census.  She turns up again living with the widow Agnes J DORRINGTON in 1920. 

Bingo.  Some hints were in the death notice and death record.  Lucky me.  More hints and supporting documentation came from the marriage record of Joseph B DORRINGTON and Agnes McDONALD.  Still more supporting evidence came from the 1920 census.

I had missed John K earlier (from the 1850 census) and now I know why.  The obit tells us he had already gone out searching for gold.  

Yes, John K is connected to me.  Although he and I share no direct blood.  His aunt, Jane DORRINGTON, married my uncle, Walter GLENN. 

Ahh, genealogy.  How much fun it is to connect more dots and find those golden nuggets.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Are Your Roots in Georgia? Great Used Book Sale Online

While my genealogy roots are not in Georgia, I still am interested in the state.  I imagine it's because I have spent some time there in the Peach State.

There are some 20 used books for sale on Georgia that would be of immense value to those researching the state.  Included are some indices for early Georgia grants byb the English crown and some probates, as well as some Civil War letters and histories of some counties.

There are a couple of titles that really caught my eye.  One is on those beautiful old Savannah gardens and old Georgia courthouses.

If Fayette County is of interest to you, then you will most likely be interested in:
Fayette County, Georgia Probate Records 1824-1871 by Jeannette Holland Austin. Abstracts of court house records, 383 pp., hardbound, like new. Price: $15.00.

So go on and take a gander.  You may just find the perfect peach for your collection......

Ahh, genealogy.  Kinda like making the perfect peach pie.  You have to find just the right ones for your taste buds to explode in delight.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Sharing Memories of Christmas Past

The time has come for the yearly dragging out of the dusty boxes which are filled with the holiday decorations.  It always seems to take hours for me to unwrap the ornaments.  It's not that I have a house full of holiday boxes.  Nope, instead I have a heart full of loving Christmas memories of the past.

Each year as I unwrap the treasured ornaments and decorations, I travel back in time to when I was a child and my parents and other beloved family members were alive.  Their smiles, voices and stories of their youths all swim around in my heart.  Often, I find myself just sitting quietly as I relive the warmth of Christmas past with my family.

Take time this year to share your Christmas memories of the past with your children and grandchildren.  Give them a reason to sit and think lovingly about the past in years to come.

Ahhhh, genealogy.  Sometimes, just an ornament can bring time to a standstill.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Monday, November 29, 2010

Madness Monday: Decorating the Tree with Borrowed Ornaments and Nuts

The holidays are here and our memories and houses are aglow with the traditions of our ancestors.  What do you do when an over eager family seeker decides to go nuts and publish undocumented lines as your blood?

Recently, a very nice lady contacted me through a documented cousin of mine and asked for some information on the family.  While she and I share no blood, her grandchild does have several drops of my blood flowing in his little veins.  The lady was excited to try and find information on the family so she could put a book together for the little guy.  Super, I thought.

Until I saw what she decided to publish.  She apparently looked at one census and found the name of a young lady (my great grandma) in question in a family and adopted that family as hers.  Arrrggghhh.  Another fairy tale!

She did not seek to try and verify the family as the right family for the young lady in question.  In fact, she chose the wrong family with the same surname living in the next county as mine.  Nope.  Sorry.  Wrong.

I sent her an email and suggested she look at the documentation for the family she chose as mine to see if she was really right.  When I was a newbie, I had looked at that family and found evidence they were not mine.  I used wills, family photos, family Bibles and land deeds to support what I found.

Unfortunately, that didn't set well with her fairy tale and she decided to ignore me.  Now, there's another line that will go on thinking they have blood they don't.

This is not uncommon as Ancestry allows anyone to post anything without documentation.  As I have said before, Ancestry trees are just fluff unless you can put some meat on those bones.

A professional genealogy buddy of mine recently commented on this very subject as another avid genealogy buff lamented on fact vs. fiction in trees.  With her kind permission, I have included her thoughts on the subject......

Being a professional genealogist,  I have dealt with this type of situation and it can be very touchy. You  do not want to discourage an exchange of genealogical information that  may be beneficial to you but, at the same time, you do not want to have your hard-earned research used in a errant way by
someone else.

Below is a list of suggestions to help weigh the merit of sharing your genealogical research with someone you don't really know.

    1. As  the requester, I feel the asking party must prove how they are     
related to me and I have to be satisfied that they are correct.  If  I have any
doubt of their motives, I discontinue contact.
    2. I do my own basic research on what they provide to see if I feel it is
correct.  Request a few of specific source/citations or a few copies of
original documents and see if you can  find that information yourself.  If     
they refuse or are not willing to provide a little bit of specific
documentation, I  discontinue contact.  If I find definite evidence that the     
requester is barking up the wrong tree, I will gladly send what I find     
source/citation, documents and all, so hopefully, they will take that and     
continue down the correct path.
    3. Put a copyright disclaimer on any information you send to someone
else.  This provides you with some protection if your research is used     
erroneously for profit without going through the proper procedures.  Many times
a copyright disclaimer will make the receiving party think twice about
using your information without your permission.
    4. Sometimes you have to be blunt.  If you feel the person's research
is wrong and they insist they are part of your tree, inform them of the
discrepancies you see in a generalized fashion, i.e. I do not have record
of my ancestor being in Ohio during that time frame or this ancestor  would
only have been 10 years old at that time so she is probably not the     
mother.  Ask them to prove you wrong.  If they are a true genealogist,
they will appreciate the truth.  And if it proves to be your missing link,
you will benefit.  But again,  use caution.   Make sure you see  good,
sound genealogy methods and documentation in their research.  If not, steer
    5. If someone tries to publish a genealogical work without
source/citations and original documents, no  editor worth their salt is
going to touch their project.  If they self-publish for profit and you  have
used the copyright disclaimer on your research, you could have an attorney go
after them.  If they self-publish for their own use, there isn't much
you can do.
    6. My final point is to be careful what genealogical information you
supply to someone else, even if you are related.  DO NOT ever give out or     
post personal information on living individuals.  There are persons out there
that have been victims of identity theft because an unaware relative posted
their personal information on the Internet in a family tree.

Hope this helps,
Pam Nixon

Whispers From The Past
Family History Research Service
Westland, PA  15378-0008

Ahh, genealogy.  Sometimes, you just have some nuts on the tree with your beautiful ornaments.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Arlington's Newest Hero is Preserving and Honoring Vets

All I can say is "wow."  This young man is a tremendous hero to the families of the men and women who have fallen while serving America in the War on Terror.  The compassion of this young patriot has resulted in a tremendous database for Arlington.

Read more on Ricky Gilleland and the Preserve and Honor Project:

Visit the site:

His volunteer work to honor our veterans should inspire us all to preserve our history.  Ricky is right--  we are people, not numbers.  So, come on and step up to the graves in Arlington if you visit or live in the area.  Or if you a family member of one of the fallen, be sure to honor their memory by telling their story on the Preserve and Honor Blog.

Ahh, genealogy.  What great heroes there are among us.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Monday, November 08, 2010

Call for Fayette County, Georgia Genealogy Buffs to Assist in Index

The US GenWeb Census Project is in need of help.  If you live in Fayette County, Georgia, or have old family ties to the area, then this is a great project to get involved in while sitting in the comfort of your home.

Fayette County Mortality Schedules attached to the 1850-1880 Census Project have been abstracted and are now in need of a second transcriber.

If you can help, visit the US GenWeb pages for Georgia.  According to the webmaster, more information can be found on the Fannin County pages.

Ahh, genealogy.  It's the gift that keeps on giving throughout the generations.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Tis the Season: Making the List and Dabbing Our Eyes

How many times have you cried when reading of a death or while attending a marriage? Early newspapers can be a great source for us genealogy buffs.  Just think. Our ancestors used the printed press as a great way to communicate items of importance.

It's just so rewarding in today's world to find those old notices.  Of course, sometimes those old notices leave a lot to be desired.  As a friend reminded me recently, our loved ones didn't move around that much in the old days and so detailed obituaries weren't necessary.  If one could read and knew the family, then the reader would most likely have known the details that today's genealogy buffs are digging for.

The all volunteer group that is diligently working on indexing Pittsburgh and Allegheny Co, Pennsylvania deaths, marriages, divorces and photos from early Pittsburgh area newspapers is still digging in the newspapers to find them.

I just can't believe this little project I suggested and spearhead is now close to being one year old.  Our actual anniversary is in January, but now is the perfect season for me to give thanks to the wonderful volunteers who are involved with me on this list.

The last update for deaths now includes 56, 599 names while the marriage index now has 14, 440 happy couples.

Be sure to check it out at

The project was noted in recent editions of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter,Georgia Front Page, and the Western PA Genealogy Society.  Here is the press on our little index project:

Early Pittsburgh Marriages and Deaths Indices are Online and Growing

In January 2010, a small band of genealogy seekers embarked on a project to make anyone who has roots in the Pittsburgh area jump for joy.  43 volunteers have been indexing marriages, deaths, and divorces from early Allegheny County newspapers and putting it all online at no cost.  Over 52,000 death entries and over 11,000 marriages have been indexed and put online through August.  The dates of the newspapers range from 1806-1987.

Project coordinator Ann S Eldredge says the idea of an index came to her as she regularly keeps in touch with other Pittsburgh researchers on the popular mailing list of Allegheny County sponsored by  An avid genealogy researcher, Eldredge remarked, "I saw on the list that Google had put images of several old newspapers online and Pittsburgh was on it. After spending many hours of looking for my family and investing in Visine for the eye strain, I realized I couldn't be the only one who had uncovered a few golden nuggets of information. It seemed so simple.  If anyone was looking at any of the dates, they could write down all the names of that day.  After all, how many of your ancestors do you not know when they married or died?"

With that simple question posed to the group, an index was born.  Eldredge volunteered to capture the names the volunteers put on the list. List member Norm Minert quickly set up a page for the newspapers submitted so there would be no duplication of efforts.  USGenWeb Allegheny County Archives File Manager Ellis Michaels volunteered to get the the submitted indices online.

The daily newspaper lists began to pore in.  "It didn't take long for the sheer volume of names being submitted to become overwhelming," said Eldredge.  "I quickly realized I needed help.  I put a call out for volunteers to assist on my end, and they came. The enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers are inspiring.  The work they are doing for family researchers and genealogy buffs is just fantastic.  What a gift to give."

"It's been an amazing journey over the last eight months as the volunteers have graciously given their time to read the old newspapers.  We have so many death and marriage entries from 1889 and 1890.  Since the census was lost for 1890, this almost serves as a substitute. I've found my relatives through this project.  Some of the death entries have even led to connections with living cousins.  It's been worth it."

"Stop on by and see what our volunteers have done," Eldredge said as a smile came across her face. "After all, the good folks of Pittsburgh are just dying to get in."

To view the death, marriage and divorce indices, go to .

Permission was sought from other groups to reprint the press release while kudos poured in.

Here are some of the comments sent.  While the comments came in my mailbox, the words are for all of the fantastic volunteers on this project.

"Thank you again and you have done a wonderful job.  A tip of the hat to you."
JR Jamieson, Project Volunteer

"Thank you for taking the time to index these newspaper articles.  They are wonderful for any Allegheny Co., PA researcher."
Melinda Pennington, Editor, Pennington Pedigrees

"Congrats on taking on the Pittsburgh newspaper indexing project. It is well-appreciated. Although some of the newspapers were indexed on microfilm, there was a huge gap."
Elissa Scalise Powell, CG

"I saw the article in Eastman's newsletter about your indexing project.  It's a great project.  Would you grant me permission to use the article or excerpts from the article in the North Hills Genealogists newsletter?"
Amy Arner, Co Editor, North Hills Genealogists Newsletter

Ahhh, genealogy.  Sometimes you just got to have a box of tissue nearby.

Update 11/16/2010:  Another great comment on our work:
"In 1905 there were 5 Buckley children placed in St Joseph's orphanage. No one in today's generation knew about them. Because of your efforts and the additional scraps of information made available we were able to find descendants of each of the 4 who had children. We are building the bridge back. Thank you for your fine work.'
John S

©2010 AS Eldredge

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 1794 Indenture from Allegheny County, PA

Although I am not a blood relative of Alexander LONG or William MISKELLEY, I find this 1794 indenture interesting.

Alexander LONG was a friend, neighbor and fellow church member and founder with two of my 4g grandpas in early Allegheny Co, PA.

Ahh, genealogy.  What fun the past can be.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Serving America Through Politics and the Military

Everyone of us has a viewpoint on politics.  While I don't always agree with all of my kin on their thoughts, I find it interesting to go back in time to see how my family has been involved in politics in one way or another throughout America's history.

The first mayor of New York on land that was American, not English, was installed at the Wall Street tavern of my grandpa.

"...The little two-story affair on the west corner of Nassau Street deserves more extended notice than its size would seem to justify. It was John Simmons' tavern, where, in February, 1784, the common council met and with appropriate ceremonies installed the newly appointed Mayor, James Duane, in the presence of the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor. It is said that Simmons weighed more than four hundred pounds, and was of such bulk that at the time of his funeral the doorway of the tavern had to be enlarged to admit the coffin. His widow continued the business for several years, and among its later proprietors were David King and Samuel Randolph. After it ceased to be a tavern it was occupied by T. & W. Benton, bootmakers ; Thomas L. Rich, merchant tailor ; John N. Baur, watchmaker, and others.

In historic interest the site on the east corner of Nassau Street is the most important in New York. Here stood the second city hall, built in 1699-1700. In 1789, having been made over into the most elegant building in America and renamed Federal Hall, it became the first capitol of the United States, and on its balcony General Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the Republic...."  (Source:  file:///Users/username/Desktop/newSimmons2009:10/New%20York%20City%20-%20Wall%20Street%20Ninety%20Years%20Ago.webarchive)

It's not hard to imagine my grandpa and his family leaning out of the windows to see General Washington become the first president of the United States.  After all, history books have documented that Washington had eaten at the family tavern back in 1784, and had hired a distant family member on his staff.

History books have also shown an uncle as being the first keeper of the door when Congress first met in NY.

Fast forward in time and see who else in the family has served America in elected office.

Uncle Samuel Smith HENRY (1786-1853)- Ohio State Representative
Cousin Ashmen Cooke HENRY (1828-1907) -  Mayor of Oakland, CA
Couisn James BUCHANAN - President of the United States
My dad-  City Council Member

While this is not a complete list, it serves to show my family has always been interested in serving America.  Not everyone has an elected office.  Many chose to serve America in the military- starting with the American Revolution.

So, elections.  Yep, they are important.  They were important to my ancestors. 

Ahh, genealogy.  My ancestors fought so I could vote.  What a gift.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Friday, October 22, 2010

Preserving History: How Digital Are Your Records?

If you have ever received a bad file in email or a great big box of outdated floppy discs made by a distant and now dead cousin, you will appreciate the following article.  Actually, you'll enjoy reading the article even if your files have been pristine.

Preserve often--  preserve well..........

The link in the Dick Eastman article will take you to the white paper.  Read it, ponder the super information presented--  and then join me as I search for an achival data reader..........

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

I have written several times about the advantages and disadvantages of storing records digitally for many years, both your personal records as well as the holdings of major archives and records repositories. Now Gary Wright, an employee of FamilySearch, has written a definitive whitepaper on the subject that explains the issues involved with digital archiving. He describes in detail the pitfalls of digital storage of priceless paperwork and of old family photographs that have been digitized. As he explains, if done right, digital archives will last for decades. If done wrong, they may not last three years.

I had a chance to read this whitepaper a few weeks ago when Gary circulated it amongst a number of people in the industry, asking for our comments. I told Gary at that time that he had to publish it on the web and, when he did, to please let me know the address so that I could inform the readers of this newsletter. After all the comments were in, Gary did exactly that. White Paper: Preserving Your Family History Records Digitally is now available on the web site at

I would suggest you read this whitepaper and consider the information within it carefully. Then forward copies to all your genealogy friends, society members, and anyone else with an interest in genealogy. I think every genealogist as well as every person who has heirloom documents and photographs in his or her possession should read White Paper: Preserving Your Family History Records Digitally at

Ahh genealogy. How do I digitize?  Let me count the ways........

©2010 AS Eldredge

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Founders to go Online

Thought you'd enjoy knowing this fun little tidbit from the National Archives......

National Archives to Put the Founders Online

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grantmaking arm of the National Archives, is pleased to announce a cooperative agreement with The University of Virginia (UVA) Press to make freely available online the historical documents of the Founders of the United States of America.

The NHPRC and UVA Press will create a new web site which provides access to the fully annotated published papers of key figures in the nation’s Founding era. The project is designed to include the papers of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission will provide funding in the amount of up to $2 million for the UVA Press to undertake the work on the published papers.

Through this web resource, users will be able to read, browse, and search tens of thousands of documents from the Founding Era. A prototype web site including the contents of 154 volumes drawn from print editions of the papers of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison will be prepared by October 2011. The fully public version will be launched by June 2012 and will also include the 27 volumes of the Papers of Alexander Hamilton. By June 2013, the Founders Online expects to add the 39 published volumes of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin. The new resource will include the complete contents of 242 printed volumes, including all of the existing document transcriptions and the editors’ explanatory notes.

“This new archive of the Founding Era will revolutionize our understanding,” said David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, “by creating for the first time a free and fully searchable collection of the Founders’ own words in the context of their time. As scholars and statesmen debate the meaning of documents such as the Constitution and Bill of Rights, they can turn to the originals and the wit and wisdom of the Founders’ own debates. And we can only express our gratitude for the effort of dedicated editors and scholars to create this work, a national monument to the founding of our nation.”

This award to help the University of Virginia Press create a new online presence for the papers of our nation's founders is great news for the University and for scholars everywhere," said University President Teresa Sullivan. "For ten years, the Press has built on the pioneering vision of U.Va. faculty to harness digital technology in the service of scholarship and education through the Rotunda imprint. As a public university, we applaud the leadership of the National Archives in bringing this important archive to life. Making these materials available to the public for free reflects the core values of the University and indeed of our nation's founding generation, whose words will now be readily available to teachers, students, and citizens.”

Historian Ron Chernow, author of the recent biography Washington: A Life, said, “Unfortunately, the Founders have become remote and abstract, when in fact they are rich, full-blooded, and fiery characters. This new site will not only help students learn more deeply and develop a visceral love and respect for this era, but it will stimulate interest in history for teachers, too, and will reconnect them to primary sources.”

In conjunction with entering into the cooperative agreement, Archivist David S. Ferriero also announced the appointment of three leading scholars to a special Founding Fathers Advisory Committee. The three members are Edward L. Ayers, President of University of Richmond, and leading scholar on the Civil War and American South; Mary Beth Norton, Professor of American History at Cornell University, and leading scholar on the social and political era of the 17th and 18th century America; and David Hackett Fisher, Professor of History at Brandeis, a leading scholar on the colonial era and Pulitzer Prize-winner author of Washington’s Crossing (2004). The Committee will advise the Archivist on the progress of the Founders’ editorial projects, and it is scheduled to meet at the National Archives on December 13, 2010.

Ahhh, genealogy.  So much reading, so little time.....

©2010 AS Eldredge

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Have to Reach Out to Research in PA for a While

While the PA Archives will be closed to the walking, talking, visiting public for the next several months, all is not in despair.  They will still process inquires if you talk or write to them.....

Pennsylvania State Archives to Close for Four-Month Renovation Project

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) announced today that the State Archives of Pennsylvania will close from Oct. 18 through Feb. 3, 2011, for needed renovations.

While Oct. 16 is the final day researchers can visit the facility at Third and Forster streets in Harrisburg, staff will continue to respond to telephone, e-mail, and postal inquiries during the renovations.

Barbara Franco, PHMC executive director, said the $250,000 project will expand and modernize the existing lobby and public research areas. A larger vestibule is required to facilitate access for people with disabilities and will include automatic doors. The work will provide more space for the increasing number of researchers, as well as new wiring and additional computers to improve access to the collections. Security systems will also be upgraded.

While the renovations will extend the life of the building, plans are still in process to replace the 50-year-old facility that is nearing its capacity. Water leaks exist. The facility lacks adequate environmental controls or fire suppression systems to protect its more than two hundred million pages of one-of-a-kind records, including the Charter from King Charles II to William Penn creating the colony of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission operates the State Archives. Visit the archives online at PHMC's website,, and choose the State Archives link. For further information about the closure or to make research inquiries, call 717-783-3281.

Ahh, genealogy.  Sometimes you just can't walk the walk.  Sometimes, you just have to talk.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Politicians are All in the Family Thru Early Plymouth Connections

Another day, another genealogy find.  I find this story from of interest if only to show we are pretty much all connected to each other one way or another.  We may not share any common interests in the present with some of our extremely distant kin, but we are probably more alike than we realize.  Take, for instance, .... Reveals Midterm Election Connections: President Obama Related to Palin and Limbaugh

/PRNewswire/ -- As Americans prepare to cast their votes in November's mid-term election, today announces that several key political leaders and media personalities are more than mere political allies or political foes—they are actually related.

The world's largest online family history resource reveals that President Barack Obama is related to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Obama and Palin are 10th cousins through common ancestor John Smith. The website also found that Obama is related to one of his most vociferous critics, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Perhaps Rush will ease up on the President when he learns they are actually 10th cousins once removed via common ancestor Richmond Terrell. researchers also discovered that Palin, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and conservative author Ann Coulter are also cousins through Englishman John Lathrop, who was exiled to the United States for becoming a minister of an illegal independent church.

But the connections don't end there. Obama, Palin and former President George W. Bush are also related. Obama and Bush, who both reached the highest office in the land, are 11th cousins through common ancestor Samuel Hinckley. Palin and Bush, who are also 11th cousins, are also related through Hinckley. Apparently leadership runs in the family, since Hinckley's son, Thomas, went on to become governor of Plymouth Colony.

"We have all watched the heated media coverage as the leadership of Congress is at stake in this very contentious upcoming November election," said Anastasia Tyler, a genealogist at "It is not unusual, however, to find family members on different ends of the political spectrum. This election season is an ideal time to look into the family trees of our candidates and their critics to learn more about the ties that make them all part of this great country."

Other Famous Finds

These newfound family connections between our nation's top political players are the latest of several discoveries from the research team at

* In 2009, discovered that Obama and financial investor Warren Buffett are more than just allies. The two men are 7th cousins three times removed.
* also revealed that Obama and actor Brad Pitt are 9th cousins.
* In 2008, announced that then-Governor Sarah Palin is a distant cousin to both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Princess Diana. recently announced it has extended its relationship with NBC for the second season of the hit television series "Who Do You Think You Are?" worked with NBC on the first season of "Who Do You Think You Are?" that debuted in March 2010, providing important family history research for the show, including tracing the roots of the seven celebrities featured.

As for my roots, I do have White House connections to a president, but not the current one.  My blood kin there was James Buchanan.  A presidential gold coin was just released for Buchanan--  I've got one.

Ahh, genealogy.  How many blood lines are hanging around in the ole proverbial woodpile?

©2010 AS Eldredge

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Playing Your Song for Eternity?

This morning, before the caffeine hit the bloodstream, I received a weird story from one of my genealogy buds.  Could it be an early Halloween joke?  It appears there is a company across the pond who will immortalize people or pets by pressing their cremated remains into a vinyl record.

Vinyl record?  This group even offers album cover art with either a photograph of the dearly departed or a painting.  Customize the album with a last message, will, directions, or music and you're ready to go.

After I chuckled at the grim reaper and blood spatters on the website, I wondered how many people could even play a vinyl record.  I think I have a record player tucked away somewhere deep in the dungeon here at the house.

I kind of like the idea of leaving a recording of my voice for my future family members, but I think I will just turn on my video camera for the occasion.  And, my family can always raid the computer and old photograph album books for numerous examples of my smile.

I think I will pass on the offer to spend eternity pressed on a vinyl record.  I think I would rather be pressed into the heart and memories of my loved ones.

Ahh, genealogy.  And the beat goes on.........

©2010 AS Eldredge

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Marking Veterans Final Resting Places

Chances are you have some veterans in the family. Have you thought of honoring the memory of their desire to protect our great land and the freedoms you enjoy?  It's easy and I encourage all genealogy and history buffs to honor your loved ones.

My grandfathers both served America in World War I.  One was in the Army and suffered from the exposure to mustard gas.  Click here to read more of Charlie and his World War I experience and subsequent death.  The other grandpa was in the Navy for a short stint, and died happily at an old age.

While my dad is buried in a military cemetery and has an official veterans marker, my grandfathers do not.  Since my grandpas both have headstones at their final resting spot, I have not had the reason to seek honoring their military service with a government issued headstone. But wait--  can I do it now?

Just recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new option to honor our veterans who are buried in private (non-government) cemeteries and who have privately purchased headstones.

Now, we can honor our veterans' service to our great land with the addition of a bronze medallion to the existing headstone.  For veterans who died on or after November 1, 1990, the medallion can be ordered through the VA.  For more information on the medallion option, visit

Perhaps, the VA will soon have these medallions available for veterans who died before 1990.  Wouldn't that be great?

Ahh, genealogy.  Loving the past and wanting to honor my special veterans---  always and all ways.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Family Tree Maker for Macintosh Pre-Sale

 The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at announced last spring that the company would re-introduce Family Tree Maker for Macintosh before the end of the year. Apparently, the company plans to meet that deadline. The product isn't available yet but is now taking orders and is promising delivery in "early November." Best of all, those who order the product now will receive a 20% discount.

A new page has appeared on's online store to says (in part):
Family Tree Maker for Mac - Pre-Sale
20% Off

Introducing Family Tree Maker for Mac
For 20 years, Family Tree Maker has been the #1-selling family history software. Millions of people have used it to discover, preserve and share their family stories. Now Mac users can too.
Family Tree Maker for Mac, which is based on Family Tree Maker 2010, makes organizing, researching and sharing your family history easier than ever, whether you're just getting started or already an expert.
The web site then goes on at some length giving details of the new program's capabilities. To be blunt, it all sounds identical to the capabilities of the Windows version and I'd suggest that is a good thing.

Near the bottom of the web page, it says "This item has not yet been released. It will be released and shipped in early November."

Family Tree Maker for Macintosh will retail for $69.95. The online store is offering it as a "pre-sale" for a 20% discount: $55.96.

I ordered my copy today.

You can find's online description and order page at

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lost in Memory Lane

Fall has come and now it is time for the cleaning to begin.  I've got to put up all the reminders of long, hot, lazy summer days.  Gone are the beach towels, bathing suits and sunscreen.

In are the new school pictures of the kids. While I was adding the new pictures this morning, I took time to look at all of the school pictures behind the current one.  Smiles and memories flood me as I look at those precious children who are now so grown up.

I paused and remembered my childhood.  How much fun it was to go into my parents' room and look at the pictures in the frames.  I liked to take them apart and look for any treasured pictures that were behind the photograph they had on display.  Many a time, I found pictures of my parents when they were younger, and sometimes, I found pictures of my siblings and me when we were just little sprouts.  Those fancy Easter Sunday dresses and ill fitting suits for the boys.  Just thinking about those old photographs today set me on a course of thinking and remembering the past. 

I so miss the hugs, the dogs, my grandmother, my grandfather, and most of all, my parents.  I guess I'll spend some more time on Memory Lane today, before I get too old to be able to retell those old stories to my kids.

Ahhh, genealogy.  Ain't it a sight for sore eyes!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Shooting It Up at the Alamo

The Alamo?  I had family at the Alamo?  Imagine my surprise when my cousin through our joint 4ggrandfather told me the story.  I was so taken back that I asked him to write down the story so I could share it with you.  Terry took his documented information on Robert Cunningham and interspersed it with history excerpts of the Alamo and  Texas found online. The story of cousin Robert and his place in destiny is fascinating as it brings history in focus for our family---  and maybe, yours.

Robert W Cunningham:  The Alamo
by Terry Prall

Robert W. Cunningham¹ was born on 18 Oct 1804 in New Berlin, Chenango Co., New York.²  He died killed defending the Alamo on 6 Mar 1836 at the age of 31 in The Alamo, San Antonio de Bexar, Republic of Texas.²

Robert W. Cunningham was the eldest of the children of David Cunningham and Anna Jennison, born in Chenango Co., New York in 1804.  He made the move west with his family as they settled in Jeffersonville, Clark Co., Indiana during the 1820s.

Robert opted for a life on the river, common to his Cunningham, Jennison and Simmons kin. Members of the family lived along the Ohio river towns in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio throughout the 1800s. 

Cunningham spent time in Kentucky and Arkansas before working on the Mississippi River cargo flatboats that took him to New Orleans.  In 1832 Robert wrote his family back in Jeffersonville that he was going to settle in New Orleans. That decision was soon to change.

Texas beckoned.

By 4 March 1833 Robert had moved to Texas where he received title to a league of land on Skull Creek [present-day Colorado Co.] in Austin's burgeoning colony.  [His name appeared on the tax index list of 1833 in "Austin County."]

Moses Austin laid the foundation for an American settlement in Mexico's northern-most state, Texas, in 1820-21.  He was granted land on which to settle 300 families by Governor Martinez.  Moses died in June of 1821 and his son, Stephen F. Austin, reluctantly took over the Texas Grant.  The new "Empressario" met with the governor's representative in San Antonio and laid out an acceptable plan for settlement.  He then returned to New Orleans to advertise for colonists. Austin led the first families into Texas in 1822 and soon had to go to Mexico City to confirm the grant. 

During his return to the colony, the Mexican government fell to revolution. The new Constitution of 1824 was loosely patterned after that of the US. There were serious differences - no trial by jury, Roman Catholicism was the state religion, Congress had the final say in interpreting the constitution, the president had the right to command the army in person and the rights of the states were not clearly defined. Slavery had been all but outlawed in Mexico, but there were some allowances. Coahuila and Texas, the northern-most states, were combined into a single state. Distribution of land favored native Mexicans over colonists. Colonists had to swear to follow the constitution, including following the Catholic faith.

Other colonies sprang up in Texas over the next few years. Austin's was by far the most successful and continued to grow. Changes were on the horizon with another revolution in 1829 and one of its leaders, a hero of the previous war, was Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The U.S. was making noise about annexing Texas. Slavery was outlawed. Vice-president Bustamente declared himself president in 1830 and forbade further colonization of Texas. Juan Matin Verimendi was elected vice-governor of Coahuila y Texas and into the picture came Verimendi's son-in-law, James Bowie.

Among new government officials in Texas was Col. Juan Bradburn, in charge of Anahuac. He instituted martial law, conficated colonists' property, citizens were arrested, Mexican soldiers robbed and stole and went unpunished. In 1831, enraged citizens arrested one of Bradburn's soldiers. They were in turn arrested by Bradburn. One of them was a young attorney named William Barrett Travis.

The prisoners were eventually released and Bradburn sent to New Orleans, from where he promptly retuned to Mexico. As Santa Anna continued to lead the revolt, Sam Houston arrived in Texas in 1832. Santa Anna was elected president in 1833. It was shortly before Santa Anna took office that 29 year-old Robert Cunningham arrived in Texas.

Santa Anna was soon dictator of Mexico, the Constitution of 1824 was abolished and the rights of Mexicans and colonists alike were revoked. The Texans tried reason before rebellion and sent Austin to Mexico City with their grievances in 1834. He was promptly arrested and imprisoned. Austin was released later in the year.

1835: The state of Zacatecas was opposed to the new dictator and prepared to defend itself from the encroaching Mexican Army led by El Presidente himself. Of 5000 Zacatecas defenders, 2000 were killed and 2700 were taken prisoner. For two days, Santa Anna's army butchered citizens and plundered the state capital. Meanwhile, General Cos, the dictator's brother-in-law, was dispatched to Coahuila y Texas to shut down the legislature and establish martial law. The mood among Texas colonists was quickly shifting to one of independence.

Travis led a force to take Anahuac. Austin returned in September, now ready to support the rebels and a Committee of Safety was formed at San Felipe. The town of Gonzalez had been given a cannon for protection against Indian raids. Mexican forces were sent to reclaim the cannon. They were not successful. The Texans captured Goliad and Concepcion. Plans were underway at San Felipe to establish a provisional government. A declaration was written calling for a return to the Constitution of 1824. By the end of November, Henry Smith was appointed governor, James W. Robinson lieutenant governor, Austin commissioner to the U.S. and Sam Houston was commander-in-chief of the army. They would meet at Washington-on-the-Brazos on 1 March 1836 for further action. General Cos' army was now encamped in San Antonio de Bexar and in an old, run-down Spanish mission outside of the town - the Alamo.

What transpired in the life of Robert Cunningham between March of 1834 and late 1835 is not yet documented;  he wrote his family in 1836 that he had joined the Texas army. He was undoubtedly with the army as it moved from Concepcion to San Antonio in November and December of 1835. Robert was serving as a sergeant and second gunner in Captain T.L.F. Parrott's artillery company.

Parrott's company was initially under Austin's command, but Austin was called away and Edward Burleson took command of the regiment. Burleson gave the order to attack the Mexican forces on the evening of December 4th. Ben Milam led the assault on the town, while James Neill attacked the Alamo. There was much house to house fighting over the next five days. Among the most notable casualties of the battle was that of Col. Ben Milam on the 7th. Milam had been an inspirational leader of the Texas. Cannon fire helped keep Mexican forces from leaving the Alamo to reinforce Bexar. By the 9th, Cos' troops had retreated to the old mission and ran up a white flag. In the early morning hours of 10 December 1835 Cos surrendered. Cos and his officers were never to return to Texas, nor were they to, in any way, oppose the reinstitution of the 1824 Constitution. Santa Anna, at the head of an army of 6000, was marching toward the rebellious colony.

Robert Cunningham chose to remain with the Bexar garrison. He was assigned to Captain William R. Carey's artillery company as a private. Cunningham was part of the force of fewer than 100 regulars left to man San Antonio de Bexar under the command of Col. James Neill.

Col. James Bowie arrived on the 19th of January with 30 men and orders [left to Bowie's discretion] to abandon Bexar, blow up its fortifications, and remove the artillery to Gonzalez. Neill disagreed. Bowie took stock of the situation and finally agreed with Neill that holding Bexar was crucial. Bowie wrote Houston stating that "we would rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy." The commanders began to fortify their defenses.

Governor Smith ordered Travis to Bexar. Travis made several pleas to have his orders revoked and even threatened to resign his commission. In the end, Col. Travis led his 30 men into Bexar on February 3rd. On the 6th arrived the Tennessee Mounted Volunteers under the command of former Congressman Col. David Crockett. Crockett proceeded to regale the soldiers and citizens with stories of his exploits. David informed them that he had told Congress that "you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas. Neill left on 20 days leave on the 11th and placed Travis in command of the regulars.

Bowie was drinking heavily and suffering from bouts of fever [probaby typhoid or pneumonia] and constantly at odds with Travis. Finally, on the 14th, they agreed to maintain their separate commands and make major decisions together. 

23 February 1836: Sentries see guidons on the horizon. Orders are given to evacuate Bexar and move into the Alamo. Santa Anna had arrived. 

Santa Anna, under a white flag, demanded the surrender of the Alamo. He was answered with a cannon shot. A blood red flag was raised in Bexar - no quarter, no prisoners - the Alamo garrison was to be put to the sword. 

Travis drafted a letter on the 24th and sent it out through Mexican lines:

FELLOW-CITIZENS AND COMPATRIOTS : I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continued bombardment for twenty-four hours, and have not lost a man. The enemy have demanded a surrender at discretion ; otherwise the garrison is to be put to the sword, if the place is taken. I have answered the summons with a cannon-shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism, and of everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid with all despatch. The enemy are receiving reinforcements daily, and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. Though this call may be neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible, and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country. Victory or death!"W. BARRET TRAVIS, Lieutenant-Colonel commanding." P. S.—The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared in sight, we had not three bushels of corn. We have since found, in deserted houses, eighty or ninety bushels, and got into the walls twenty or thirty head of beeves. "T"

Other riders were sent out to deliver dispatches and pleas for help. Skirmishes took place between Mexican and Texan troops. The Alamo was constantly bombarded by Mexican artillery. Return fire was sporadic. Forage parties were sent out to find food and firewood. The Texans also managed to put to torch a few nearby huts that would provide cover for the enemy. Miracuosly, there were no deaths among the defenders. Bowie's illness had won out - he was now a bedridden non-combatant. Travis was in full command. 

The artillery headquarters of Capt. Carey was in the southwest corner of the compound. It may have been there, at Alamo's 18 pounder, or the battery trained on the main gate on the south wall to which Pvt. Cunningham was assigned. From his post he witnessed the shenanigans of fellow artilleryman, Scotsman John McGregor and Crockett. McGregor on his bagpipes frequently duelled Crockett and his fiddle. When not at his post at the southeast barricade joining the south wall to the church, Crockett was found around the compound trying to keep spirits up. Periodically David would scale the southwest wall and take shots at enemy soldiers within range. On one occasion he took aim on a Mexican engineer 200 yards away - and shot him dead. Life was anything but boring for young Cunningham.

On March 1st, 32 men arrived from Gonzalez to reinforce the Alamo. Still believing that reinforcements were on the way from Goliad, Travis sent Crockett and two others to find the men and lead them back to the Alamo. About twenty miles out, Crockett's party located the party of about 50. Crockett got most of the men safely inside the Alamo; the others were driven off by the Mexicans. The last messengers were sent out on the 5th. The defenders of the Alamo had not received word that the provisional government had declared Texas an independent republic on March 2nd.

Santa Anna called for an all out attack on the morning of the 6th and ended the bombardment about 10:00 P.M. on the 5th. The exhausted defenders inside the Alamo slept.

At about 5:00 A.M. the Alamo sentinels outside the walls were killed in their sleep as the advance troops approached. Overly enthusiastic soldiers shouted "Via Santa Anna!" and brought the Alamo to life. Santa Anna ordered the 'Deguello' [cut throat song] to be played. 


A three acre compound that required 1000 men to adequately defend it, had perhaps 200-220. Crockett's Tennesseeans repelled multiple assaults, forcing the enemy to the west. At the north wall, two assaults failed, but the third did not. Travis, at the north wall, was one of the first to fall. The Mexican troops swarmed over the north wall. Texans exposed to musket fire were cut down. Others abandoned their positions and fought a retreat toward the two barracks and church. 

Robert Cunningham and the other artillerymen fired into the masses of Mexican soldiers filing into the compound from the north. As their shot ran out, they grabbed nails, scrap metal, door hinges and anything else they could load into their cannons. The "scrap shot" nearly wiped out one entire Mexican company. The south wall was left unguarded as guns were trained on the north. Battery by battery the artillerymen were overrun. At some point during the push over the south wall, the 32 year-old artilleryman from Jeffersonville fell next to his cannon riddled with musket fire or pierced by bayonets.

The north and south walls had been breached. Mexican troops scaled the east wall and entered the foray. The defenders there escaped into the prairie and, despite cover fire from Captain Almeron Dickinson's artillery on the church, were slaughtered by the enemy cavalry. Defenders jumped from the west wall and tried to fight in the ditches near the mission.. They were also cut down by the Mexican cavalry. Many defenders took refuge in the long barracks [west wall] and the low barracks [south wall]. 

Crockett and his men were still in the open, backed up against the southeast palisade and in front of the ruins of the church. They put forth a desperate last stand. Witnesses reported between 15-20 soldiers piled around Crockett and a couple of his men.

Captured cannons were turned on the doors and walls of the two barracks, tearing brick and defenders to pieces. Soldiers stormed the buildings firing point-blank into the Texans reduced to hand-to-hand combat. Bayonets finished the job. Soldiers stormed into Bowie's room and found him lying near death in his bed. Legend holds that he generated enough strength to discharge a set of pistols and bury his famous Bowie knife into one of the enemy. His body was raised on bayonets like a bale of hay. 

The Alamo's 18 pounder was turned on the church by Mexican soldiers and blew apart the doors. Dickinson's artillerymen and the remaining Texans who had taken refuge in the church were quickly overrun. A handful of men were captured and taken before Santa Anna - they were executed on the spot. By 6:30 A.M. it was all over.

Survivors? At least 14. The wife and children of defender Enrique Esparza and a few other Mexican women and children. Travis' slave, Joe. Susanna Dickinson and her infant daughter were the only Anglo survivors. Mrs. Dickinson and Joe were sent north to tell of the fall of the Alamo.

Santa Anna ordered Christian burials for his dead [estimates between 600 and 1200]. Many bodies had to be tossed into the nearby creeks and rivers. As to the Alamo defenders they were stacked - a layer of wood, a layer of bodies..... and put to the torch. Only one, Enrique Esparza, whose brother fought for Santa Anna, was granted burial.  

It is not known how long it took the news of the fall of the Alamo to reach the Cunninghams in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Reports would have begun making their way from New Orleans up the Mississippi by the end of March. News of Robert's death may not have reached the Cunningham family until late April.

By that time, Sam Houston and the Army of Texas had exacted a measure of revenge. On 21 April 1836 the Texans, with the battle cry, "Remember the Alamo!", overwhelmed Santa Anna's forces at San Jacinto, killing 650 and capturing 700 in an 18 minute battle. Houston's force of just under 800 suffered 9 dead and 34 wounded. Among the Mexican prisoners was a soldier in a corporal's uniform. Upon seeing him, other prisoners shouted, "El Presidente!" A disgraced Santa Anna was brought before Houston and signed Texas over to the general in exchange for his life.

Robert W. Cunningham, born in New York, resident of Jeffersonville, Indiana, with stops in Kentucky, Arkansas, New Orleans, and numerous towns along the Mississippi decided to settle in Texas in 1832. On the 6th of March 1836 at the Alamo, he joined David Crockett, Jim Bowie, Travis and the others in immortality.

Sources for excerpts:

The History of Texas:

Battle of the Alamo [wikipedia]:


    1. Bill Groneman, "Cunningham, Robert W.," biographic sketch, Texas State Historical Association, The Handbook of Texas Online ( : accessed 29 January 2010).
    2. Wall Street John, William F. Archerd online [], accessed 6 November 2009.
Note:  Current online for Wall Street John, Ann  S Eldredge []


Ahh, genealogy.  Sometimes, it can just leave you in awe of history.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Friday, September 03, 2010

Are Your Aliens Lost?

Have you ever thrown your hands up in despair when the trail to your early family leads nowhere?

I suspect every family researcher suffers that same feeling as we exclaim, "They were aliens! Came to earth in between the census years, procreated, and left."

Of course, it is even more frustrating to know where they were at any given time in history, but be unable to document it legally.  Oh, why couldn't they leave wills?  Why didn't they prepare when they knew their life expectancy was limited?

Another genealogy buff just sent this and I thought you'd like to see it, too.  Perhaps, this could be of value to those who are searching for their own personal alien from 1798-1828.

Go to the National Archives and check their landing records.  Landing records were kept in the United States for aliens who desired to be naturalized.  This could lead to a great find!

Here is the link to check it out:

Ahh, genealogy.  Guess we were all aliens at one time. 

HT to Family Tree Mag

©2010 AS Eldredge

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Original Nuremberg Laws Finally at National Archives

General Patton ignored orders from General Eisenhower in 1945--

but the original Nuremberg Laws finally make it to the National Archives in 2010.

My parents had the opportunity to visit some of Hitler's concentration camps while my dad was part of the American Occupation Force after World War II.  The sight, the smell, the feelings of being there where so many lives were lost due to Hitler's policies were overwhelming according to my mom.  She never forgot the sights and the horrors of the tour of the camps.  When she talked about the visit, she would close her eyes and shudder as the tears would roll down her face.

Ahh, genealogy.  Sometimes history comes back to us in the sight and in the sounds of today.  I guess I'll just take a moment and say a prayer for those who suffered and died in the concentration camps, and remember my mom.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Got to Cool Off to Get Hot

Ok, my dear cousins--  whether you are inlaws or outlaws---  I've got the hint!

I'm going to stop writing new blogs (oh, the horror of it all) until I get the NEWEST info up on our tree.  Two different sources have written to me in the last week to see if I am still interested in the family.

So, I'll cool down the writing for a few days so my family ties on that one line can be updated. 

I've also been hot on the trail of my 4g grandpa and have located his EXACT address in 1839.  I've been using that to determine which cemetery is the most likely for his bones to be located.  However, I've been told just today that the most probable cemetery from 1843 Wheeling is now a playground.  Sigh.

In the meantime, has anyone run across the Virginia Militia 1st Battalion of the 4th Regiment under the command of Col B F Kelly?

Ahh, genealogy.  All it takes is a gentle prod or two to get me back hot on the trail again.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ancestry Day in Atlanta Scheduled for September 18 at National Archives

The following is a blurb sent out by and by the Afro-American Genealogy Society, Metro Atlanta Chapter.  Looks like it could be a fun day!

Saturday, September 18, 2010
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA South East Region),
5780 Jonesboro Road; Morrow, GA 30260

9:00am–4:00pm (doors open 8:30)
$10.00 Registration includes a box lunch at noon.

Free parking, seating is limited.

Presentations:    - Getting the Most from your Membership
- Online Member Trees: Ancestry's Powerful Tool Keeps Getting Better
- Ancestry World Archives Project and You
- African American Collection at Ancestry
- Southern Claims Commission Records (Presented by Reginald Washington from the National Archives - Washington, DC)

Have you seen recent TV shows focusing on family history? If so, you may be wondering how you can get started on your own family history. Or you may be a long time user of and are wondering how to get more from your membership. Register today to attend our Ancestry Day in Atlanta and learn about the premier family history website from a true insider.

Sponsored by: The Afro-American Genealogical Society Inc., Metro Atlanta Chapter ( in partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) South East Region ( are excited to host at this event!

Your presenter, Lisa Arnold is a content manager for and has been involved in genealogical research, teaching, and lecturing for more than 15 years. She holds a B.S. in Family History from Brigham Young University and is currently a Master's Degree candidate at the University of Limerick. From the Philadelphia area originally, she is the former Director of the Family History Center in Valley Forge, PA, and author of "Finding Your Quaker Ancestors". Lisa is the Chapter Coordinator for her local chapter for the Association of Professional Genealogists and is the proud grandmother of 5 (and counting!).


Ahh, genealogy.  Live the life.  Love the life.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Artifacts of Civil War Prison Camp Lawton Revealed

What can I say?  Job well done!!!! 

All eyes in the world of history and that of the Civil War were at Magnolia Springs today in Jenkins County, GA.  Georgia Southern University will place the artifacts on exhibition starting October 10 at 2pm at the Georgia Southern University Museum.

Oh, and Georgia Southern is my alma mater.

Ahh, genealogy.  Dig, brother, dig.  Find those roots!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Bitten While Hiking to Shoot a Family

My love for history and genealogy has led to some interesting field trips around the area in which I live.  As a volunteer for Find-a-Grave, I get requests from time to time for photographs of long departed loved ones.  I don't know these genealogy buffs who submit the requests, but I enjoy the hunt.  I always learn something new.

For instance, take a closer look at one of the recent requests to come my way.  It seemed easy enough.  All the lady wanted was some pictures of a couple of gravestones in the Old Landrum Family Cemetery in Fayette Co, GA. 

Looking it up seemed easy to do.  Here it was.  And then I got lost. 

The description of the location was confusing as I am not an "oldtimer" of the area.  The directions said, "accessible from the abandoned section of Peachtree Parkway."  Hmm, abandoned Peachtree Parkway?

One fine, steamy day last week, I took a quick drive to the area I thought could be the abandoned Peachtree Parkway.  Well, the area is all built up and even has an elementary school on it. So, if it was it, it's not now.

Being an enterprising young grasshopper, I popped into the first funeral home I saw.  The kindly gentleman asked (in a oh-so-sorry-for-your-loss-gentle-voice) if he could be of service.  I told him  I was looking for a graveyard.  One can imagine the looks on the faces as I beamed and said I wanted to shoot someone.  Oops, clarification was needed.  I wanted to photograph someone who was buried in a local cemetery and I couldn't find it.

Well, they couldn't either.  The lady who was happily and joyfully assisting me at this point called City Hall to see what they knew.  Nothing.  But, they knew someone who would know. 

My new buddy and I were looking at maps of the development of Peachtree City when she spotted an area called "Landrum's Mill Pond."  About that time, the lady at City Hall called back and told us she has spoken to someone else at the library who said the cemetery was down a well worn path through the woods.  She even had directions!

"Go up Hwy 74.  Turn onto Peachtree Parkway, and turn left onto World Dr.  Go to the cul-de-sac and park.  Walk down the path and it will be in the woods."

A quick driveby told me it was going to be a little harder than that, so I went home and got my energetic fun loving family and dogs.  As usual, they were eager to assist :).

Hiking, we went down the path which quickly showed evidence of asphalt and old faded lines.  Eureka, it's the abandoned Peachtree Parkway that we didn't know existed!  Hmm.  No graveyard seen here.  Let's start taking some of the paths off of this path.

At the second path I sent the kids and dogs down, they started yelling.  "Come quick! It's a cemetery."

There sat the old Landrum Family Cemetery in a nicely fenced in area. 

As I surveyed the area, I could see a spot where the trees were younger.  Could this have been the site of the family home of Jeptha Landrum?  He was the owner of the land from around 1825 or so, and is reported to have assisted the Creek Indians in their removal after the Creek Nation signed the land over to the state of Georgia.  The Landrum family owned quite a large plantation and Landrum served the new county as a Judge and also as sheriff.

I don't know if the clearing with the young trees was the house site, but I can imagine the site if it had been.  The cemetery would have been down the hill off of the dirt road leading to the house in an area close enough to visit, but not close enough to be disturbed by the creek or mill pond.  The mill pond is still there and is further down the path from the cemetery.

Back in the cemetery, I started taking shots of the graves.  Some were legible and others were not.  There were a number of broken stones that appear to once have had markings on them.  Others had succumbed to the elements of time.  Still, other spots were quite sunken.  Could these be the slaves indicated by the Landrum family to be buried there?  Early tax records show the Landrum family had somewhere around a dozen slaves or so around the 1850 time frame.  Of course, these same records indicate taxes on the land were less than $1.  Oh, if only I could have that tax bill today!

We wiped off some of the stones as I snapped away.  Some of the markings appear to be gone.  Others, I can probably make out enough to match them with the index of the cemetery put online by a Landrum family member.

I sent some of the pictures to a local photographer friend who tried to bring out the details for me.  She suggested I go back and take some more shots for her to play with.

I plan to go back out there in the fall to retake some shots.  Photographs of old graves can provide some more clues if the lighting is different (hence, a different time of year and time of day).  I will also take some water with me to sprinkle on the graves.

Yes, I will go out there again on another hike.  But I think I will wait until the chigger bites heal!

Ahh, genealogy.  It's fun hiking around the past, even if the present bites you.

Note:  Many thanks to the wonderful folks at the Carmichael-Hemperley Funeral Home and Crematory on Senoia Rd in Peachtree City.  They were super as they spent about an hour with me trying to find the old cemetery.  I appreciate their kindness!

©2010 AS Eldredge

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dear Mary, The War is Over

Can you imagine the scene when General Lee made the decision to surrender on April 9, 1865, to General Grant?  Can you imagine the heartache, the despair?  General Lee was surrounded after the fall of Richmond and Petersburg.  All he had was a tired, starving army and lots of Union soldiers between him and the supplies so badly needed.

It took great courage to surrender.  The terms he requested of General Grant included immediate pardons for his army.  Grant honored that request and also supplied some food to the starving Confederates.  It took most of the day as the two generals sat and talked in Appomattox. By all accounts, they had not seen each other in over 20 years.  Reports tell us they talked some of the past before they settled down to the business at hand.

The war was over.  Can you imagine how much relief was felt by the men wearing their uniforms of blue and gray that day!  The struggle was over.  No longer would brother take arms up against his brother. They could go home.  They could back to life. 

With time, the Union would truly reunite.  A note of interest is that after the Civil War, the United States of America becomes a single entity when referring to it.

What was it like on that fateful day?  The following letter provides only a quick mention of Lee's surrender.  More fighting would be in the future for other soldiers that day and many more to come.
The letter below was written by George LEMMON, of Co. F, 139th PA Infantry, at the end of the Civil War, to his cousin, Mary Shoop.  The family of Mary Shoop has preserved the letters sent to her by her brother, George SHOOP,  and plans to have the collection published. 

A special thanks to her 2g-grandson, John Snowden, for giving me permission to publish this one letter of the collection on my genealogy blog.  

Camp Near Burks Station, Va. April 30 {1865}

    Cousin Mary,

    Your welcome letter came to hand this morning. I was very glad to hear
    from you. I am in good health at the present time. I hope these few lines
    may find you all the same. We have been moving Camp today and building
    summer quarters. We have gay quarters built but I donât think we will stay
    here very long. I think we are going back to Richmond or Petersburg closer
    to our base of supplies. The 5^th and 2^nd Corps moved in that direction
    this morning. The report is that we will remain here a few days yet.

    Well Mary, I did not get time to finish this letter last evening. I was
    called on to draw rations. I will do as well as I can this morning. We had
    some rain here in the night and looks as if it will rain more today. I
    hope we will not have such a flood as you had the day I started to the

    I suppose you have heard all the news about the last battle. I got through
    safe and was there when Lee surrendered to Grant. I was talking to your
    brother George when the news came that he had surrendered. I tell you
    there was a happy set of boys. The cheering went from one end of the line
    to the other, and our caps was flying in the air and all the brass bands
    was playing The Star Spangled Banner.

    Well Mary, we got good news this morning that the rebel General Johnston
    has surrendered to Sherman. If this story is true, we will soon get home.
    I think the last battle has been fought. I donât want to hear another
    cannon fired.

    We got some very unwelcome news the other day about the assassination of
    the President. It created great excitement in our camps for several days.

    Well Mary I think I will close. Your brother George is well. I send my
    best wishes to all the family. I will wait very patiently for an answer.

    I remain, your cousin,

    George Lemmon

Ahh, genealogy. Reading letters of the past can open our eyes.  Perhaps you have some letters buried deep in your family? 

©2010 AS Eldredge

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sighted! Johnny Reb in Union Camp!

Oh dear!  How can Johnny Reb be listed in an union database?

This was similar to the question I recently asked myself when I saw an article on a National Graves Registration Project run by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.  Wouldn't the database be just for those boys in blue?

While the project dates from 1996, the database is relatively new with a start date in 2005.  The great news for all of us genealogy and history buffs is that it doesn't matter which side your beloved fought with during the War of the Northern Aggression! 

Yes, the database accepts both Confederate and Union Civil War final resting spots.  With this new found knowledge, I thought I'd give it a try.

The database is free to the public to search.  However, if you want to contribute or correct entries, then you must sign up as a submitter and be approved.   I don't know what the process is, but it took about one week for me to be approved.

Trying the database on for size!

According to estimates, over 4 million American men were part of the Recent Unpleasantness.  Does it matter which side your blood flows from?  No.  These young men all fought for their vision of America and states' rights.

Just this morning, I submitted four names to the database.  Two wore the blue uniforms and two wore the gray.  I'll be interested in seeing how long it takes for them to be verified by the group.  I still don't know the approval process, but I will find it interesting to see if they are approved at approximately the same time or if a delay is seen.  Be aware you need to have quite a bit of information on your beloved in order to enter them.  It takes more than the standard name, rank and serial number.  The form asks for the unit, the date of enlistment, date of discharge, state fought for, company, dates of birth and death, and information on final resting spot.  There is even a spot to indicate if there is a stone or if it needs replacing.  Short comments can also be added.

And before you wonder, I am related to the four American heroes I submitted this morning.  Yes, my blood has the Rebel Call as well as the Union Blue Glory coursing through my body.

Here is the site in case you want to check it out:

Ahh, genealogy.  We are all red, white and blue patriots, even if some of our family fought for "the others." We are descendants of Americans who lived, fought, and sometimes, died for our freedoms.

Update:  12 hours later--  one each (Reb and Yank) has been approved and now available for viewing.

Update 2:  24 hours later--  All submitted beloveds have been added to the database.  Guess I'll have to send more! This time, I'll send a Gettysburg Yank Hero and a Chickamauga Rebel Casualty. Yes, I am an equal opportunity battlefield history buff.

©2010 AS Eldredge

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Whirlwind of Treasure in Carnegie

In the last week or so, there has been a flurry of activity on the DOOLITTLE family of Carnegie, Allegheny, PA.  It all started when I wrote a post on August 3 about cousin William James GLENN.  Little did I know finding the Civil War personal war sketch at the  CarnegieCarnegie site of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie, Allegheny, PA, could make me so happy.

Emails have been flying around since then from a descendant of Jacob DOOLITTLE (1809-1891) asking if I could assist with more documentation about his wife, Sarah CUBBAGE, and her family.

Sarah CUBBAGE was the daughter of Irishman George CUBBAGE and his wife, Nancy CALDWELL.  I have not yet been able to find evidence that Nancy is one of my CALDWELL clan, but her 1791 birth in the same general neighborhood as my documented 1830ish births make it likely.  To read more on CUBBAGE family, go to St Clair Cemetery.

The cool find for me in the email was the noting of the final resting place of Nancy CALDWELL CUBBAGE. She is listed at Venice Presbyterian Church Cemetery in McDonald, Washington, PA.  Of more interest was noting Nancy's final resting spot uses the surname of her first husband, George CUBBAGE.  My notes and research indicate she married Alexander EWING after the 1826 death of George.

A quick check with the descendant of George and Nancy confirmed what I thought I knew on the marriage to EWING.

To my knowledge, Jacob DOOLITTLE and Sarah CUBBAGE had five daughters.  Two of them are of special interest to me.

Susan Belinda DOOLITTLE married into the LEA family--  that is, J W LEA of Carnegie.  The LEA family was the neighbors, friends, and sometimes, spouses of my blood line.  See a recent posting on Cassius M LEA, the husband of my 2g aunt. 

The other daughter of Jacob and Sarah who married into my family was Martha E DOOLITTLE (1842-1907.)  Martha was the wife of William James GLENN (1839-9018.)

Maggie (ah, how I love THAT name) of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie also contacted me to see if I could identify any of the gents in the picture they have of the Thomas Espy GAR Post as I have several cousins in that group.  I took a quick look at the photo and realized that the odds of me recognizing the older men in full beards was basically little to none.

So, I started on a new journey of looking through old files and records to see if I could locate any pictures of some of these men when they were younger.  I guess the folks at the library have most likely identified cousin George B FORSYTHE as my dearest cousin, his granddaughter, (yes, I know her) recently donated some more Civil War relics to the post. 

I've also seen pictures of some of the GLENN men when they were younger.  Could I see enough family resemblences in the pictures as they aged?  I think not.


I dug around and found some living descendants of William James GLENN!  After making a phone call and leaving a message, it was now time to wait.

Today, I got the phone call.  After speaking with the gentleman who confirmed his identity and his love of genealogy, my heart experienced a whirlwind of activity.  Another connection to the past established!  He has pictures!  He has stories!  And he has a cousin that he works with to research the past!  Oh, glorious day!

Click to read the post that is causing such a whirlwind of activity:

Special note to Maggie at the library--  I hope to have some photo ids for you soon.

Ahh, genealogy.  What treasures a whirlwind of new finds can be!  Sometimes, it takes just a nudge from someone new to bring new energy to the hunt. 

©2010 AS Eldredge

Friday, August 06, 2010

Arlington National Cemetery to Get a Much Needed Facelift in Burial Records

Yippee!  There's almost nothing as disappointing as when a cemetery has been sloppy in keeping records or in finding out the old cemetery keeper of the information's family thought it worthless and threw it out.  I'm so glad this project to preserve the burial records and information of our nation's heroes is getting the assistance it needs from volunteers! Read on......

Northern Virginia Technology Council Member Organizations to Assess Arlington National Cemetery's Information Technology Requirements

/PRNewswire/ -- The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) announced today that the Department of the Army has accepted in principle the organization's pro bono offer to provide assistance in the assessment of the information technology requirements to rectify the unacceptable state of the records at Arlington National Cemetery. This effort stems from an Army investigation earlier this year that found the Cemetery's record keeping in shambles, burial records on index cards, improperly marked graves and serious difficulties in accurately locating the graves in the cemetery. All these issues persisted despite spending more than $5 million on a program to digitize burial records that has shown no results.

In response to public reports of this serious problem to record keeping, the following 15 NVTC member companies have volunteered their assistance to constitute an assessment group: ACS, a Xerox Company; Blue Canopy; Booz Allen Hamilton; CACI; CGI; Consumer Electronics Association (CEA); Corporation for National Research Initiatives; CSC; IBM; Lee Technologies; MAXIMUS; Microsoft; MITRE; SoltechOne; and Vistronix.

"The NVTC membership is eager and willing to support the U.S. Army as it responds to this difficult situation. We want to ensure that we honor the women and men who served their country and, in many cases, gave the ultimate sacrifice for this nation. We are united in our willingness to support Senator Warner in his efforts to remedy this crisis," said George C. Newstrom, President and COO of Lee Technologies and former Secretary of Technology for then-Governor Mark Warner.

"NVTC is made up of the country's most well respected and innovative technology companies and this collaborative pro bono effort demonstrates their loyalty, compassion and admiration for those who served in the armed forces, many making the ultimate sacrifice," said Bobbie Kilberg, President and CEO, NVTC. "We applaud Senator Warner for his leadership in trying to resolve this important matter. NVTC looks forward to working under the direction of Army Secretary McHugh and his team to help assess Arlington Cemetery's technology requirements. It is an honor and privilege to be involved."

©2010 AS Eldredge