16 February 2015

Presidential Cousins

The latest post at the Vita Brevis blog, Celebrating Presidential Kinship, US Ancestry by Christopher Carter Lee,  does "briefly" discuss the presidency,  genealogy of the individual presidents, and NEHGS's support of such research and archiving.  It also reminds me that I haven't blogged about any of my presidential connections….

While I am not descended from any American Presidents, several of them are distant cousins through some of my Great Migration ancestors.  At the 2009 SCGS Jamboree, I had the pleasure of talking with Gary Boyd Roberts at the NEHGS booth.  I blogged about his great books before but didn't list my presidential cousins...

That year, after reviewing my pedigree chart, Gary Boyd Roberts listed the following cousins for me:  Fillmore, Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Harding, Coolidge, FDR, Nixon, Ford, both Bushes, and conditionally added Pierce and Hoover.  It's almost six years since Mr. Roberts examined my chart and wrote the notes and I'm still gratified by his kindness.

As the Vita Brevis post mentions, there is a newer 2012 edition of the book and I'm sure it's worth having for all the additions & corrections it must have, but I can't bear to replace mine.  I will always cherish the thought that Gary Boyd Roberts actually took my pedigree chart back to his hotel room, read it, wrote on it, and took the time to write a detailed personal comment on my copy of his book! Thank you, Mr. Roberts!

I hope to someday get to Boston to visit the library and do lots of research.  I'll take my book along with me, hoping to show Roberts and talk with him again.  In the meantime, I really, really hope that someday NEHGS brings him back to this area for Jamboree.

11 February 2015

Great Resource Verifies New Cousin: Martha (Earl) Black Beck

In genealogy, we seem to spend a good deal of our time fitting pieces together, hoping we're right, and going on from there.  Don't you love it when you find something that verifies a chain of assumptions?

I've been working on William EARL with wife #1 (married 1860 in Ottawa County, Ohio) Ellen/Helen KEATING and wife #2 (married 1868 in Ottawa County) Mary HADD Gourno Earl Peeling for some time with no indication that they are related to me.  But, when you know so little about a great-grandfather, you must research those around them (FAN concept)!  My great-grandfather, Patrick KEATING, had land dealings with William EARL in Ottawa County, Ohio, in the 1860-70s, and William's first wife was an Ellen KEATING.  I figure there has to be a family relationship there but it's been outside my grasp.  Ellen left even fewer records than Patrick and for years I believed that there were no children from her short marriage to William Earl.

Long story short: a few months ago, I was able to verify that some of the children formerly/sometimes attributed to Mary HADD's first or second marriage were actually her step-children.  Ellen Keating did have descendants!  But, there was still a lingering uncertainty with confused names, common surnames, and only circumstantial links.

The great resource in my title for this post is the Ohio Memory site . It's one of those resources where you can get lost for hours and find wonderful things! It's a must if you have any roots in Ohio.

Today, after reviewing all the inconsistencies in Ellen's children's names and ages, I decided to review my "EARL possibilities" folder and found a note that there is an obituary for one of Ellen's daughters at OhioMemory.  Hmm, better check it out…. well, it's a great find! It's just a 15-line obituary with only 94 words from an unnamed newspaper, but it ends all my doubts about the children of William Earl and Ellen Keating!

 Mrs. Charles Beck, better known in Oak Harbor, where she was born and raised, as Mrs. Mattie Black, died at Marion, Ind., last week Wednesday, at the age of 52 years.  She was a step-daughter of Mrs. Mary Earle and half-brother of Wm. T. Earle.  For many years, the deceased with her first husband Daniel Black, operated a milk route in Oak Harbor, residing north of town about a half mile. she leaves two sons Ira and Guy, the former being a prosperous grocery dealer at Marion, Ind., and the latter in the ministry.
The online item title is "Obituary of Mattie Beck" and has a handwritten date of 2-26-1917 on the clipping image and was submitted by the Harris-Elmore Public Library, which seems to be about 9 miles from Oak Harbor.

The Great News
Careful readers should now be asking "What's the great news? Where's your connection to Patrick anyway?  Well, one of my atDNA matches is a descendant of Daniel Black and Martha/Mattie Earl! Ancestry.com DNA predicts we are 4th-6th cousins with "very high confidence. " My "conclusion" is that my great-grandfather, Patrick Keating, and Ellen Keating are indeed related: maybe cousins, maybe even siblings!

Of course, there's still a lot of work to do.  But I think it will be easier to find Patrick's origins now that I
'know" at least one relative for him!

The Plan

  • Enter all my Earl info into my database and online trees
  • Contact and exchange info with my new Black Family cousin
  • Go back to researching Patrick with a new perspective and renewed energy!

Don't you love the feeling that just maybe there is an answer in sight?

06 February 2015

First Friday Folder: Benjamin Richardson & Ellen Holt

My First Friday Folder feature has been silent for over two years. Given that this year's mega-goal is organization, it's time to start it up again! (Read the very first one here to review what I mean by First Friday Folder.)  I picked this particular folder this month because I knew it would be an easy one to do and would help ease back into the First Friday Folder habit.

The Couple
Benjamin RICHARDSON and Ellen HOLT are two of my 4th-great-grandparents on my dad's side.  This is the public debut of my officially claiming them as ancestors.  Prior to this week, I have had them in my database with the middle names of "UNPROVEN."  No, I haven't written my proof statement yet, but I really think there's enough to go on finally… and having a folder in which to put it all while I work on the statement is a good thing, right?  Then, the proof statement can be a new post!

The Folder
This folder is in pretty good shape because there were only a few things in it:
  • two maps of the Estill County area of Kentucky
  • a FHL film note for a film on Estill County wills
  • copies of 3 email conversations with Richardson expert, cousin DR on Benjamin
  • placeholder copies of p.1 of about six websites with pedigrees including early Richardsons.
I put an official new label on the folder.  I removed the UNKNOWN middle names from Benjamin & Ellen in my database and printed out a family group sheet.  It has virtually nothing more than son Amos' info and notes.

The Plan 

  • Write proof statement, including DNA evidence, on Benjamin & Ellen being the parents of the Amos Richardson who married Elizabeth (Betsey) HICKS.
  • Review evidence/sources DR already has collected on the couple and enter into my database.
  • Figure out what other early records exist that might help document Benjamin and Ellen.
  • Track all of their children for at least 2 generations of descendants, which should further strengthen the DNA evidence.

Line of Descent
Benjamin RICHARDSON = Ellen HOLT
Amos RICHARDSON = Elizabeth (Betsey) HICKS
John D. RICHARDSON = Isabella SHAW
Charles HEGWER = Margaret Lavinia RICHARDSON
Benjamin Theodore HEGWER = Bertha Maud CARR, my paternal grandparents

I still think it's important to revisit folders/couples every so often, if only to see if there's anything to be done to make more room in the file drawer.  I hope my renewed resolve lasts…!  I know I cheated a bit by picking this folder, but it stills feels good to be posting again.

31 January 2015

My CARR-line mtDNA

[First, a comment: This is embarrassing…my first post in a year…how did that happen? Better late than never?]

One of the projects I've been most involved with over the last year has been genetic genealogy.  Altogether over the past few years, I have paid for or won  (Going to conferences does pay off!) a total of 9 DNA tests on my husband's or my lines.  For the past 18 months, I've made a point of studying more about it.  I've read books, blogs, articles, and gone to several seminars, including the DNA Day at Jamboree last year.   Unfortunately, the field is seemingly growing and changing faster than I can keep up! But I am finally feeling confident enough to post the first in what should be lots of upcoming DNA posts sprinkled among others.  I believe that writing about my results is part of my learning process, but my main goal is to share what I've learned about specific lines…and there's really been a good deal of progress on some of them lately!

A few years ago, a first cousin graciously agreed to give a sample so I'd have info on our CARR maternal line.  From Grandma CARR it goes back through Ann Matilda CAUSIER, Catherine HUGHES, and Lydia COOPER.  The paper trail to my 3rd great-grandmother, Lydia COOPER, is well documented.  According to census data, Lydia was born about 1803 in Brierly Hill, Worcestershire, England.  I hope this year to really search for her parents.

mtDNA Results

Grandma CARR's mtDNA comes back as haplogroup J and is consistent with her English heritage.  As of today, there are 304 HVR1, HVR2 matches.  With just a quick review and, as is the nature of mtDNA, there's no sign of a match in a genealogically relevant time frame.

This test was done over 4 years ago; so, to determine a specific subclade, I'd need to upgrade the test.  Doing so could be useful in eventually confirming or disproving any hypotheses I might come up with for Lydia's parentage.

  • Review Brierley Hill baptism records to see if I can find any possible parents for Lydia.
  • Spend more time/care in reviewing the current mtDNA "matches," …who knows what may show up?  Also, I have my aunt's atDNA…I need to get it transferred to FTDNA and see if any of her mtDNA matches are also atDNA matches.
  • Review the FTDNA projects available to me and consider joining them. 
  • Consider upgrading this test.  Maybe there'll be special conference pricing at Jamboree!

27 January 2014

Advantages of Sharing Info: Great-Great-Grandmother Catherine Hughes

When I started working on genealogy, I had my grandparents' names and virtually nothing else.  It took some work and a lot of luck, but I was very fortunate to soon find other researchers who had been working for years and had all purposefully put their data online or published it in society newsletters, etc., to make it easier for others to find.  I think of their generosity whenever I meet genealogists who proudly proclaim they don't share their work.  I understand, and have had those thoughts myself..., but I know my research wouldn't be as far along as it is now without the help of others before me.

Today, I found Great-Great-Grandmother Catherine HUGHES' 23 July 1837 baptism in the Bishop's Transcripts of St. Thomas' Church in Dudley, Worcestershire, solely because of distant Cousin Judy and the info she shared with me several years ago.  She had done her research over years in the "dark ages" of genealogy research: alone, by hand, by snail mail, taking months to go from one clue to another.  Thank you, Judy! And, if you should see this, please contact me--I can't find you....

Line of Descent
John Hughes = Lydia Cooper
Charles Causier = Catherine Hughes
John Henry Carr = Ann Matilda Causier
Grandma, Bertha Maud Carr

FHL film # 350,620:  Pre-printed forms,  film starts at p. 230, goes to 300, and then starts over at #1 in about April.  Catherine's baptism is on the page numbered 64.  Unfortunately, Catherine's is one of the many which have only a baptism and no birthdate.

13 November 2013

100 Years Ago Today

My father was born in this house 100 years ago today.  The house (the building on the left) was part of the compound at the Logan Canyon power plant of Utah Power & Light where his father, Benjamin T. Hegwer, was in charge (I don't know his exact title).  There's another view of the yard and corner of the house here: obviously a different season!  The power plant and the house are still there today.  And, I still miss my dad.  He loved all things mechanical/technical and I know he would have been a blogger....

The neat thing about this photo is how well Daddy annotated it.  As with other photos, I have no recollection of having seen these before he died.  It also strikes me that I actually have photos that are more than 100 years old....

With Veteran's Day always the same week as his birthday and it being a 100th birthday, it only seems right to share some of Daddy's service photos.  This one is dated 2-3-43 and shows Daddy at the USO in Gulfport, Mississippi.  I believe he was at Gulfport for some specialized training.

According to the back, this group photo is an "Official Air Force Photograph" of July 1944 at "Army Air Field / Alexandria, LA."  The 6 men, from left to right, as labeled on the back in my dad's handwriting are:
P.W. Baker, PFC
___ Russel, Cpl
___ Bauer, Cpl
G. Hultman, S/Sgt -- crew chief
H.C. Hegwer, Sgt -- asst crew chief
___ Wilson, Sgt
(Below this list, it says Pfc Lindsey was absent.)

I hope that this photo makes its way to the families of the other men.  As far as I know, my dad was the oldest member of the crew.  

Can any of my dear readers identify the type of plane for me?

[All photo originals in MHD collection.]

11 August 2013

State of the Blog: Fourth Blogiversary!

Wow! Four years can fly by, can't it?

What is the state of the blog?  While my database was out of commission unexpectedly from April 2012 to April 2013, I had a self-imposed moratorium on any new research.  Since last blogiversary, 20 of the 22 posts in the last 12 months were written just since last April.  If I'm not researching, I couldn't justify blogging.  I tried to spend all my extra time figuring out the database problem.

I used to post annual goals for my research, and maybe I'll go back to that now that I'm back researching.  I did accomplish two of my oldest goals: attending a national genealogy conference (NGS) and visiting a new-to-me genealogy library (Carlsbad Public Library).

Giving back: I've made a concerted effort to give back to the genealogy community.  I volunteer for Souther California Genealogy Society, Find A Grave, and at least once a year for British Isles Family History Society.  To celebrate this blogiversay, I have made a proposal (and it was just accepted yesterday!) to lead a series of 4 introductory sessions at my local branch library as part of National Family History Month in October.

Database ramblings  ---  The question is not so much what features a different software package has, but "How well will all the details in an existing database transfer?"  My research was extensively and thoroughly sourced with detailed citations...not one of the dozen new programs I tried fully accepted all my citation detail. There were other problems varying from program to program.  I forced myself to pick a program and began using it to enter new names and other data, thinking I just needed to get used to it.  While doing so, I discovered the depth of the missing citation data.  Long talks with customer service...repeat attempts with previously rejected products...growing frustration with missing features and screen/print appearance....  My solution: give in, run Parallels on my new Mac and go back to Ancestral Quest.  I am happy again.  New Goal: find someone else who uses AQ with Parallels...I know I can refine the process some more!

Newest project:  To support my efforts at verifying ancestors of Isabella Shaw, I am reconstituting family groups of Millers and Shaws in Knox/Morrow County Ohio from 1800 to 1860.  So far, I'm using the numerous county history books and making a database of every Miller and Shaw.  We'll see...more on this one as it develops.

So, Happy Blogiversary to everyone!

19 July 2013

Carr & Causier on FindAGrave

I've spent a lot of time on Find A Grave lately.  This post is the first of probably several about my finds. For some locations, especially Vermont, FindAGrave has become a necessary part of my search regimen.  

For my Carr / Causier lines, my grandmother and all 4 of her direct ancestors who immigrated to the USA are at FindAGrave with bio info and photos of the markers!  Each memorial page includes links to immediate family also at FindAGrave.

I can use the photo of the Carr niche here because I'm the volunteer who took the photo and submitted it to FindAGrave.  Photos from FindAGrave can only be used with the specific permission of the submitter/photographer.

Here are links to my Carr & Causier ancestors at FindAGrave:

My grandmother
Bertha Maud (Carr) Causier
Bertha's father, John Henry Carr
Bertha's mother, Ann Matilda (Causier) Carr 
Ann's father,  Charles Causier 
Ann's mother,  Catherine (Hughes) Causier
Many, many thanks to all the other volunteers at FindAGrave who make all this possible!