25 April 2010

New Kansas Farm Data from 1870

Ancestry.com has begun posting some of the USA non-population census images from the late 1800s.  The only state they've done so far that interests me is Kansas, but that was enough to keep me busy for the whole afternoon!

A search for 'HEGWER' in the agriculture schedule database brought up three names: 2 in 1870 and 1 in 1880.  The 1870 names were great-great-grandmother Maria Hegwer and her son, Ernest, in adjacent entries on the first of 2 pages for Diamond Creek, Chase, Kansas:

Now, you ask how that kept me busy for the afternoon?  Well, the rest of the 2 Diamond Creek pages also had 8 other Hegwer or Hegwer-in-laws, including my great-grandfather Charles:

Charles' farm entry is adjacent to the entry for his brother-in-law Kasimer J. FINK, who had married Medora Hegwer.  Charles and 2 other brothers had been wrongly transcribed in the index.  So, I spent the afternoon entering alternative names into ancestry.com's database for this census schedule.  I also added annotations for all the in-laws, giving their relationships & spouses.  Altogether, I annotated 12 of the 48 names on these 2 pages: a great afternoon's work, I think!

The first 4 columns after the names are number of improved acres, woodland acres, other unimproved acres, and cash value of the land.  Maria still had a total of 160 acres and Charles had 80.  Subsequent columns show livestock and crops.  Great-great-grandmother Maria died just 3 years after this census, and Charles had left Chase County by 1876.

This info gives me interesting details of their lives at this time, but nothing earth-shatteringly new.  I'm not going to play around in 1880 or the other categories in this new database for fear of spending too much more time here!  Maybe later?!

It does remind me that I should look at the Chase County land records and see if I can find the origin of Charles' land and the circumstances of his selling it.  I know where he is in 1880, but I'm hoping to someday find something to explain how he meets Margaret Lavina Richardson of Morgan County, Missouri.

Source and Disclaimer
Images are cropped from those at ancestry.com.  I am a subscriber but I receive no other consideration from them.

15 April 2010

10 Generations Data: Not so great?

Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings blog for 7 March 2010 was a very interesting discussion about being able to document a person's ancestry back 10 generations.  It's only taken me five weeks to get around to doing the calculations for my ancestry....

I counted myself as Generation 1 (Randy started with his parents each as Gen 1, but some of those who commented started with themselves as Gen 1 or even a child of theirs as Gen 1; so be careful comparing yourself to Randy, his commenters, or me).  I only counted a woman if I had a birth surname and I only counted anyone of whom I'm very sure should be in my lines.

The first result is as expected: No, I do NOT have everyone back 10 generations.  But, if I did, maybe this wouldn't be a fun hobby?! 

I am solid through 4 generations, having all 8 of my great-grandparents, but in the 5th, I've lost parents for either of my 1850ish Irish immigrant great-grandparents.  For the subsequent generations, the ancestors I claim are:
6th generation  --  3g grandparents  --  19 out of 32 possible or 59%
7th  --  4g   --  19 out of 64 or 30%
8th  --  5g   --  30 out of 128 or 23%
9th  --  6g   --  44 out of 256 or 17%
10th--  7g   --  64 out of 512 or 13%

Overall, that gives me 203 out of 1023 or 19.8% accounted for through 10 generations.  Randy Seaver reported that at the 7g level he has accounted for 56%!  (He has a larger percentage of early New England heritage than I do.)

The furthest my HEGWER / RICHARDSON line goes is 6 lines all stopping at the 6th generation.  CARR / CAUSIER has one line that makes it to the 10th generation, which I think is pretty spiffy given that they are my most recent immigrants.  PORTER / DAVISON has several lines well past 10 generations and finding all of their lines to at least 10 seems very realistic.  KEATING / DOOLEY are great-grandparents and I sincerely doubt that I will ever find parents for either of them, but I will keep trying!

I'll use the "SURNAMES" blog page that I started a bit ago to keep track of how these numbers go.  Let me know if that Blogger page is interesting to you!  May you all have great success getting to 10 generations!

12 April 2010

Uncle Benny Hegwer

This photo is one of the treasures I brought home with me from my visit last month with my Aunt Lelia in Utah.  Once again, she pulled out photos I have no memory of ever having seen before!  (More of them will probably appear here over the next few weeks!)  I believe this is the only photo I have of Uncle Benny where he is not a babe-in-arms.

Uncle Benny was the seventh child of my grandparents Bertha (Carr) and Ben Hegwer, whom you saw in a previous post.  In fact, I now know that both that photo and this one of Benny were taken by Bertha's sister, Ann Carr, on the same day, 12 October 1929.  Benny was born here in the family home at the plant for Utah Power & Light at Lifton in St. Charles, Bear Lake, Idaho, on 24 December 1926, so he is almost 3 years old in this photo.  His father, Ben, was the power plant superintendent.

It strikes me that sometimes a photo can be appreciated for its content and composition or, sometimes, a photo is valued because of who or what it records, regardless of artistic merit.  And, sometimes, it may be valued for the greater story it tells.  For me, this photo is in this last category and I hope I can express myself adequately...

Thankfully, Grand-Aunt Ann annotated the back of her photo: 

So, it seems all the more charming to me and personal to know the names of the cats.  Maybe it's because of the name "Fuzzy," but Benny and the cats all look so playful and are obviously planning their next adventure.

But, doesn't the impact and character of this snapshot change when I tell you that Benny died just 17 days after this moment in time?

Shortly after the 2 photos were taken, the whole family became very ill.  His sister Margaret died five days after Benny, the death certificates saying scarlet fever (but Aunt Lelia swears it was diphtheria).  Their father, Ben, never fully recovered and died 3 August 1933.  Brother Ray also never fully recovered but lived til 1937.

One small snapshot can be so much more than just the image on its front side.

10 April 2010

A Great Surprise: Ancestor Approved

  I was speechless to find that I had been nominated by Leah of The Internet Genealogist for the Ancestor Approved award, which was originated by Leslie Ann Ballou of Ancestors Live Here.  Both of these are fine blogs!  Anyway, I've been too speechless to even write and thank Leah for the nomination until now. 

Recipients are supposed to write about 10 surprising, humbling, or enlightening aspects of their research.  Here are mine:
1.  Maria Rosina (Ilgner) Hegwer with 7 young children in tow and being very pregnant, leaving everything behind and getting on the barque Carolina and sailing for about 2 months across the Atlantic to her new world in 1839.  She delivered that baby the day before landing in New York.  I wouldn't have wanted to do that on a modern luxury cruise ship, let alone the way she did!
2.  (First Cousin 3 times removed )Benjamin Stoddard Davison being widowed 3 times [Ellen E. Hunt, Mariette C. Hunt, and Margaret H. Stuart] and  all 3 wives being acknowledged on his gravestone in the Fairfax Plains Cemetery, Fairfax, Franklin, Vermont.
3.  All the people who contribute to findagrave.com and especially  Barb Destromp in Vermont who seems to be dedicated to photographing all Vermont graves!
 4.  All the people who run great county sites at US Genweb project and especially Lorna Marvin at Chase County, Kansas.  She has single-handedly transcribed an incredible number of documents, indexes, etc.  The content at this site is super, especially if you are researching the early Hegwer's.  I know that my research wouldn't be where it is today if it were not for Lorna's efforts. 
5.  Thomas Coram's efforts led to the establishment of the first facility in England for deserted children: The Foundling Hospital in London.  My 5th great-grandfather was admitted there in 1759 as a foundling.  Reading about all the work done by Coram is truly humbling.
6.  Stephen J. Hartzell has a great website with both data and history of the St. Francis Orphanage of Tiffin, Ohio. Without his website, I'm not sure I ever would have found one, let alone 2 of the orphanages that housed my grandmother.  More on that long story in upcoming blogs here!  He may not be a blogger, but in my opinion, Stephen is truly "Ancestor Approved!"
7.  My 8th great-grandparents John and Mary (Baldwin) CATLIN died in or as a result of the 1704 Deerfield, Massachusetts raid.  I can only try to imagine what it was like to live on a frontier.
8.  My father served in WWII, but otherwise, I have to go back to the War of 1812 to find a direct ancestor with military service.  Is that surprising?
9. 4th Cousin Donald's eight great-grandparents were all in Morgan County, Missouri by the mid 1800's.  At that time, my 8 greats were in Kansas, Missouri, Vermont (2), England (2), Ireland, and Canada.  
10.  With only a quick perusal of Leah-who-nominated-me's blog, it looks to me as though we are distant cousins!  I will have to inquire!

Ancestor Approved recipients also need to forward the award to 10 more blogs "who are doing their ancestors proud."  It's kind of a genealogy pyramid or chain letter.  My thought was to acknowledge bloggers who had not already received the award, but my prolonged speechlessness, and the rapidity with which the award has spread, may have sidetracked me....  Anyway, here are some very good blogs and I nominate them with enthusiasm:

Kick-Ass Genealogy by Katrina McQuarrie

Relatively Curious about Genealogy, an anonymous blog from Texas

Eastern Kentucky Genealogy by Teresa Martin Klaiber

These Small Hours by Della  [not really a genealogy blog, but her grandparents treasure it and so do I; it is so well written and will be a treasure for her descendants]

The Genetic Genealogist by Blaine Bettinger

Irish Genealogy by Deborah Large Fox

Midwest Genealogy by Sharlene Miller

Mad About Genealogy by Linda Elliott

Did you count and see that I only list nine blogs?  For the rest, please visit my blog's "followers."  They are GREAT blogs and were already nominated, most several times.

So, "THANK YOU!," again to Leah and  I hope you are happy with what your nominating me has led to here!

CONCLUSION:  We all have so many different stories to tell! We should all be sure to thank all those bloggers we enjoy.  Have a great day!

07 April 2010

Great Books: Gary Boyd Roberts

I really enjoyed last week's episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, and I was especially happy to see Gary Boyd Roberts briefly as he showed Ms. Shields her pedigree.  I've met Roberts a few times, all at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree.  The first time was in 2005, when I asked him to sign my copy of Best Genealogical Sources.  At that exhibit hall, he also offered a research consultation for a small fee.  I used it to have him look at my New England pedigree chart; the experience was incredible!  Not only did he add names, but he wrote down sources with page numbers included--all from off the top of his head!  I had chatted with him in intervening years when he attended, but last year, I took my pedigree chart back again.  I was purchasing a copy of the new Ancestors of American Presidents, and he volunteered to take it and my chart back to the hotel overnight.  The next day, he gave me both back with a wonderful, long inscription in my new book and lots & lots of annotations all over my chart.  It will take years to follow up on all the leads.  Gary Boyd Roberts is truly one of a kind!

The Best Genealogical Sources in Print: Essays by Gary Boyd Roberts, Vol. One (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004)
500+ pages, hardback, index; not always the easiest reading, but absolutely packed with sources for New England research;  last year I was very unhapy to hear that he no longer thinks he will ever get to a second volume

I really enjoy reading this book and it is my absolute favorite for good sources on New England genealogy.  It is a selected collection of some of Roberts' writing from 1976 to 2004 but then updated for this publication.  I especially use the chapters on Western Massachusetts, major publications, Torrey, and compiled genealogies.  There really is too much of great value to list it all here.  I believe all serious genealogists researching early New England need this book. 

Ancestors of American Presidents (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009) 
830+ pages, hardback, index; oodles of charts & pedigrees; some photographs; extensive bibliography

This book is worth using for the reliability of the research.  I wanted this book because of the bibliography and the pedigrees including Alice Freeman, one of my early New England ancestors.  I am not a descendant of any presidents, but can apparently call several of them 'cousin.'  It's very , very interesting to see how many of our presidents have been each others cousins! 

Jamboree this year is June 11-13; early bird registration has started.  I am a member and volunteer of the society but receive no other consideration. 

I am a member of NEHGS but receive no other consideration from them.  I paid for my copies of each book.

I am a subscriber to ancestry.com but receive no other consideration from them.  I watch WDYTYA but have no other connection to the show.  I do wish they would work on my ancestry....

02 April 2010

First Friday Folder: Simeon Bates & Abigail Bates

I see all the neat blogging ideas for days of the week, such as Wordless Wednesday or Surname Saturday, and they do inspire me, but I think I'm just not that kind of genealogy blogger.  However, I have been thinking about doing something alliterative maybe once a month that would directly support enhancing my research.  My new idea is for the first Friday of the month: take one family folder from my file drawers and spend some time with it.

My plan is to go through it and look at:
Clean-up:  Are there any duplicates or other papers I can remove? (I always feel good when I can make a folder smaller!)  Is there anything that even shouldn't be in this folder in the first place?!
Organization:  Is everything in the right grouping: for instance, are all the census documents together and in order?  Are the family group sheets for the children who aren't my direct line together?  Have all the documents and other sources been entered in my database?  Do I need to print any new family group sheets?
Problems:  Are there any glaring problems with this family and have I clearly written my concerns?  If it is a time period with censuses available, is there a census summary grid and is it up to date?  Where do I stand in having appropriate sources and are they recorded?
Plans:  What do I do next?  What do I need to do so I can do the next thing?

Simeon Bates and his wife, Abigail Bates
So, today I began with 5th great-grandparents Simeon BATES (21 Mar 1737/1738 - 1828) and Abigail BATES (3 Oct 1733 --  ), who were themselves first cousins as both were grandchildren of Joshua BATES and Rachel TOWER.

This folder had some duplicates in it that I could discard and 2 pages misfiled.  I had not entered my source for their children's baptisms & communion. There were several worksheets that could be better grouped for easier review. The family group sheet printout was 2 years old, so it was really good I had discarded some unnecessary duplicates or else cleaning out the folder could have actually increased it!

I ran the names through the databases at New England Historic  Genealogical Society (NEHGS) to look for new additions, printed a couple of pages, and updated my database.  The big problem with this couple is that "Simeon Bates" is NOT a rare name in that time period/locality.  There are numerous, sourceless genealogies online that have Simeon with two wives: Abigail Bates and Martha Swift.  I'm very confident that my Simeon did NOT marry Martha Swift.  The Bates/Swift couple is clearly having children at the same time that my Bates/Bates couple is and in different towns.  And, neither of them is the Simeon Bates of lighthouse fame!

I need to review Attleborough, Bristol, Massachusetts history and types of available records, especially probate to see what I can find.  I need to track Abigail.  I must track their children more thoroughly: I only have anything past births for 2 of the 6.

I think it's a good idea to go back and look at folders every so often, if only to be something different from current, long standing projects.  It's a nice, little break!

I knew that I wouldn't reach any great resolution with this folder, but it's certainly in better shape now than it was!  And, I think I am more likely to get somewhere with it when I do go back to it.