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Monday, February 13, 2017

RootsTech 2017!

Goal #1 for 2017 - Stay out of the hospital (they're starting to recognize me there, that's not good)
Goal #2 for 2017 - more family history research & blogging about it

I had the opportunity this year to attend RootsTech in Salt Lake City, which was such an awesome experience!

I won a free pass to RootsTech which got me off my butt and travelling to SLC.  Thank you Shannon at the Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Taught Family Historian blog!

I had such a great time, was so inspired, and learned so much it's unbelievable that happened all in one place.

There were great general sessions including an incredibly moving speech from LeVar Burton.  Seriously, by the end of the speech everyone was crying.  Everyone.  It was beautiful and moving!

I attended a session on starting Scandinavian genealogy and did a hands on workshop with ArkivDigital.  I feel much more comfortable with diving into some of my Swedish ancestry now (I actually looked up my first household record for one of my ancestors).

There were so many great sessions I attended but I'm also really glad I attended the "100 Days to Better Family History" session so I could take all of the energy from the conference and make an organized plan.

RootsTech Selfie!





RootsTech Exhibition Hall

















So, now I'm all motivated and one of my top goals is to regularly blog about what I'm doing with my family history research!  Stay tuned!

Friday, November 18, 2016

New Weekly Blog Posts!

While driving to work this morning listening to a new podcast, I had an thought for an interesting blog serial I could focus on.

I know I have totally not been posting like I had wanted this year.  Honestly 2016 has not been a particularly fantastic year for me, I won’t bore you with all the details but let’s say the hospital staff know me a bit too well.  So, I haven’t focused on posting or on doing ancestry research this year.

But, back to my idea!  So, this morning I was listening to a new (to me) podcast called Medieval Death TripIt sounds more ominous than it is.  It is a literary focused podcast examining various excerpts from medieval primary sources along with commentary.  I was listening to the prologue this morning where the author of that podcast (author, host – what is the correct term for that?) said he was inspired by the book, Wisconsin DeathTrip.  That book is a non-fiction work published in 1973 that is based on a collection of late 19th century articles, photographs, narrations from Wisconsin – most of them kind of “news of the weird” but as a collection highlight the lives, thoughts, fears, etc. of the people living at that time.  I haven’t read this book, but I think I’m going to because that sounds fascinating.

So, after being inspired by a podcast inspired by a book, I thought of a weekly blog serial taking the ideas of using print media from the various locations and times of my ancestors to flesh out their lives. 

I LOVE looking at old newspapers!  While a great place to find a wealth of information in your genealogical research, it also is a unique glimpse into the lives of the people in that region and time.  Often our research takes us to the time before internet and computers, before Skype and email, and usually before TV or telephones or radio.  Local newspapers were the lifeblood of information.  It’s how you learned what was going on in your community, your state, your country and the world.  Not only are their articles about the main events happening, but also you find very mundane articles about who is having dinner with who. 

So, my plan is to have a weekly post called Old News - New Stories highlighting an article, excerpt, advertisement, photograph, etc. from a publication which is local to one of my ancestors during their time.  So, hopefully you will find it interesting and perhaps inspire some of your own research into the lives and times to help bring your ancestors to life (figuratively speaking).

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Colorful Ancestry

I figured I'd join the genealogy bandwagon and do my color chart based on states/countries that my ancestors came from for the last 5 generations.

It is a pretty neat way to visualize this information and see where those patterns are and how families have moved.

I also have my big question marks because my paternal great-grandfather was adopted.  We are pretty sure he was born in OH, but I should probably put a question mark there as well.

Five Generation Chart - Birth States

I also then created a chart based on Counties to see how much things changed.  I actually expected more change than I saw, which surprised me.  I know if I expanded out a few generations that would certainly change.  But this chart is a bit more detailed.

Five Generations - Birth Counties

Where I do see quite a bit of changes is when I changed the chart to show the counties where folks died.

Five Generations - Death Counties

So, these color charts are fun but also give you a quick visual aide with some useful information at a glance.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Hannah Bryan (1770 - 1841)

Since I voted today in a Primary election, I figured I'd start my Tombstone Tuesday posts with this one because it was one that lead me to my Presidential relation, President Lincoln.

New grave marker for Hannah Bryan
Obviously, this grave marker isn't from 1841.  I'm not certain when this one was installed but according to Find A Grave their original stones were trodden on by cows and so their ancestors replaced them.
Photo of original headstone for Hannah McDaniel
Hannah is the daughter of Benjamin Bryan and Lydia Lincoln (Lydia was the sister of Abraham Lincoln - the grandfather of the President of the same name).  So, through Hannah, President Lincoln is my 2nd cousin 6x removed.  Which I find pretty cool.

But, besides that fact, I find that the life of Henry and Hannah very interesting.  One of my goals this year is to trace more of their life.  They were both born in Virginia and Henry fought during the Revolutionary War (it's also the anniversary of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse - which Henry participated in and his company stayed behind to help with the wounded).
They were married after the war and lived for a while in an area of Virginia which is now West Virginia before moving up to Ohio around 1810.  The Gallia County Genealogical Society lists Henry as one of the First Families since they were living there before 1821.

I actually got to visit this family cemetery a few years ago when we were travelling to a friends wedding up in Michigan.  We just happened to pass through Gallia county and the name rang a bell and so we stopped back through on the way back home which was really kind of cool (I didn't realize it at the time but my great-uncle still lives in Galliopolis).

We also quickly stopped by the library and found a folder/book full of genealogical research someone had done on this family that we were able to scan - I'm still going through all of that information!  Make sure to stop by libraries in the areas where your ancestors have lived because you never know what might be squirreled away in archives or in their genealogical sections.

McDaniel's Crossroads - Walnut Township, Ohio




Sunday, March 6, 2016

Jamestown, NY Research Adventure

Over the holidays I had a bittersweet research adventure.  I ended traveling up to Jamestown, NY because my grandmother had become very ill (she ended up passing away a few days later) but while I was up there (after visiting my grandmother) I decided to do some genealogy research since I am rarely up in that area of the country.
Freeman J. Hunt

This is story about how sometimes you *really* have to get off your bum, step away from the electronic searches and go into some of these research places because I would never have found some of this great info if I hadn't decided to go to the Fenton History Center in Jamestown, NY.

The librarian researcher and one of the library volunteers there helped me find some information on
my Hunt family as well as finding that one of my ancestors, Freeman J. Hunt, was a member of Company B in the 72nd NY Volunteer regiment.  At finding that, the librarian got a special glint in her eye and scurried off to the archives and came back with several scrapbooks.

Company B apparently remained very close after the Civil War and they kept photos and newspaper clippings not only from during the war but all of their various reunions after as well as clippings for wedding anniversaries and obituaries for those who were part of the company.  Most of this is not electronically scanned at the moment.  It was amazing looking through the picture albums which had been saved by this group.  I was able to find a photo of my ancestor, which I did not have previously as well as obituaries and details of his civil war service.

It really was so exciting and it was also fun to see the librarian and volunteer at the Fenton History Center so excited about it as well.

So, remember to go out and see if there are local history centers that have genealogical info because you never know what someone, sometime had squirreled away and donated to one of these archives that you will be able to find!
My husband helping me find my 3rd great-grandfather's photo in the scrapbook

Company B, 72nd NY Volunteer Infantry
1st Regimental Flag, 72nd NY Volunteers
1884 Reunion Company B, 72nd NY Volunteers
So a great big shout out of thanks to Barbara at the Fenton History Center library (and her great volunteer - although I don't think I grabbed his name).  If anyone has family research in the Jamestown area - certainly check this place out!
Fenton History Center - 67 Washington Street, Jamestown, NY 14701

Thursday, February 18, 2016

2016 Genealogy Goals

The end of 2015 ended up being quite a bit crazier than I had anticipated so I haven't done much genealogy for the past couple months.  But, now it's calming down it's time for me to set some goals for myself and for this blog for 2016!

Prune my Tree
First and foremost, my first goal is to clean up my Ancestry.com tree.  I have a lot of stuff in there that I think is incorrect or I don't have any sort of back up documentation on and I really need to go in and delete or unlink some of the people from my tree.

Back when I first got on Ancestry I got the little green leaf and I just went a bit too crazy copying things to my tree.  Can I put that down as being "young and silly"?  But, the result being I have a lot on my tree that just shouldn't be there.  So my first goal of the year is to go through and if I don't really have any sort of backup for someone being in my tree then it's time to prune.  That way I can work on focusing my attention and expanding my actual tree - with documentation!  :)

Fertilize my Tree
I am going to start working and filling in missing documentation for the family I do have and have some back up documents for but am missing some items.  So, it's working from the ground up to fill in some of those missing holes and expanding on some extended family.

Chasing Down a few Fussy Roots
There are a few "problem children" I want to focus some time on to expand on their stories or to see if I can get past a brick wall/stumbling block.

Migration of Henry McDaniel's Family
I actually have a decent amount of info on Henry McDaniel because he was a Revolutionary War veteran so a lot of folks have documented his family, especially post-Rev war.  What I actually want to look more into is his story of where he came from pre-Rev war and maybe more about his migration from Virginia to Ohio.
What I know (briefly):
1763 - Henry McDaniel born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia
1779 - Enlisted during the Revolutionary War in Bedford County, Virginia
1780 - Wounded during the battle of Kings Mountain
1781 - Discharged from service at Camden (I am assuming SC given his Rev war history)
1788 - Married Hannah Bryan in Greenbriar County, VA (now WV)
1810 - Migrated from Lewisburg, VA (WV) to Gallia County, OH
1838 - Died in Gallia County, OH
I'd like to learn more about why families moved from this area of Virginia to Ohio (I can't imagine this was an easy trip) and see if I can trace their footsteps (or theorized footsteps) from fighting to create this country to expanding it's frontiers.

Adoption of Eugene Chambers
This is one of my "brick walls".  Eugene was adopted by the Chambers family in West Jefferson, Ohio but I have never really been able to find out much about his biological family.  We believe his family name was Costella (o).  We have some family stories that have been passed down but not really anything to back that up.  According to one of my cousins who has also been doing genealogy work, the courthouse records in that area burned down.
So, I need to try to find other sources that might give me some clues as to where Eugene came from and more about his family.  I know I want to really hit some newspaper resources to see if I can find some clues that way and try to come up with some other creative ideas to find information.
If anyone has any ideas for me - please let me know!
What I know:
1893 - Eugene Costella born (possibly Ohio but some sources have said Virginia)
1900 - Living with the Chambers family, the census lists Eugene as a "cousin" (I don't know if he is actually a cousin, or if they just told the census taker he was a cousin since he wasn't officially adopted at that point, or if the census taker didn't know how to list the child so just put cousin)
1910 - Living with the Chambers family, this census listed him as an "Adopted Son" (somewhere in that 10 year time period he was officially adopted by the Chambers family)
Samuel Ernest Dishner After His Divorce
Samuel is my great-grandfather and his divorce from my great-grandmother, Phoebe Gillenwater was drama-filled and messy.  My father never knew his grandfather and my grandmother never saw him again after his divorce.  This wasn't just a divorce, it involved Samuel just disappearing (at least for a while). So, I have started finding some information, but I don't really know much about his life after his divorce and he moved away and I would like to see if I can find out more about his life after he left the rest of my family.
What I know:
1899 - Samuel Dishner was born in Scott County, Virginia
1917 - Married Phoebe Ethel Gillenwater in Scott County, Virginia
1931 - Lived in Jenkins, Kentucky (had a chiropractic practice)
1939 - Lived in Kingsport, Tennessee (had a chiropractic practice)
1947 - On Aug 2 Samuel disappeared, his family filed a missing person report
         - On Aug 26 Samuel sent a postcard to one of his family members saying he was in FL
         - On Aug 31 Reported in the newspaper that Samuel had moved to Kentucky
1948 - Lived in Jenkins, Kentucy (had a chiropractic practice)
1956 - Lived in Houston, Texas
1971 - Died in New Braunfels, Texas
Gertrude Morgan After Her Divorce and her Missing Son, Emerson Morgan Hunt
Another divorce case, and I'm really not quite certain what happened to Gertrude afterwards.  I have a few clues but I'm not sure if it's the same Gertrude.  With women it always gets a bit hazy because did she keep her married name?  Did she revert back to using her maiden name?  Did she re-marry?  The only clue I have - and I'm not 100% its the same people but I think it is, is related to a record I have for her son, Emerson Morgan Hunt.  Emerson was a bit of a surprise because we didn't really know about him.  My theory is when his parents divorced, he went with his mother (I believe he was a young adult at the time of the divorce) and most of the information like obituaries for his other siblings and father don't mention him at all.  The record I have is his draft card and enlistment.  But, after that, I can't find any more about him either so I am unsure if he died during the war.
What I know:
1870 - Gertrude Morgan born in New York
1896 - Gertrude married William Hunt in Jamestown, NY
1899 - Emerson Morgan Hunt born in Jamestown, NY
1910 - Living in Conewango, PA
1918 - Draft card for Emerson Morgan Hunt lists him as a student at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and his nearest relative as Gertrude Morgan Hunt residing in Boone, MD.
1920 - Census for William Hunt lists him as married but does not list Gertrude as living with him, their two other children, Paul and Eunice are living with William.
1929 - William Hunt dies in Jamestown, NY, his death certificate lists him as divorced (no mention of Gertrude or Emerson in his obituary).
So, I think all of this will keep me occupied this year and I'm going to try to be good and blog about what I'm finding and sharing and documenting those stories as I find them!