Thursday, September 17, 2009

Washed to the Sea

I don’t know if it's the way for everyone as they get older, but I find myself going back over bits and pieces of my childhood looking for clues as to how and why I became the person I am. Yesterday, a piece of my adolescence died in the form of Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.

My parents belonged to a record club in the mid sixties when I was growing up. You remember records, don’t you? They were those 12-inch diameter black vinyl discs that you had to flip over in order to listen to all the songs. My mother and father’s tastes must have been quite eclectic, or perhaps they forgot to send in the little postcard denying the current selection of the month, because there were a wide variety of different musical tastes represented in their collection.

Bobby Vinton, The Association, Englebert Humperdinck, Blood Sweat and Tears, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, The Everly Brothers, The Seekers, and The Tijuana Brass were some of the artists whose albums graced our record case. Eclectic, yes?

But the album that I was most entranced with, and listened to over and over again was Peter, Paul and Mary’s 1963 album, In the Wind. On the album, the song Hush-A-Bye would become a staple among the lullabies that I would sing to my own children years later (along with PP & M’s Album 1700 entries, Leavin’ on a Jet Plane, No Other Name and I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog).

It was, however, Bob Dylan’s song, Blowin in the Wind that captured most of my attention. The antiwar song sung with a crystal brilliant clarity by Mary Travers became a favorite, a song to memorize and sing. Its quiet protest message penetrated the selfish layer of an adolescent brain, and became a part of my own mantra, my own raised social consciousness, my own antiwar sentiments. Sentiments I wished I had been more vocal about six years ago.

It’s funny how a series of little things turn into your life. Not those wild huge moments, though there certainly have been those, but small moments like tiny drops of liquid that build until you have enough to make a wave - crashing then receding back into the sea. Mary Travers’ recession began yesterday. For those, like me, who loved her voice, her songs, her clear elegant protests, we hold onto the wave that her music inspired.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What do Fill Dirt, a 1500 Year Old Indian Mound, and the Wal-Mart Corporation have in common? Nothing Good!

For a number of years, I had my own personal little boycott going against Wal-Mart. I was upset when they abandoned their building on the East side of Fremont, to build a newer, better, bigger version across town. It was mostly a quiet rebellion, in which I took my business to the local K-Mart, grumbling about the extra 15 minutes of drive time that this change of buying habits necessitated.

My anger briefly flared again in 2001 when I found online, Wal-Mart’s Realty Division. I was shocked to see close to 300 stores across the country had suffered similar fates.

Today, more than a decade (maybe even closing in on two decades, my senility creeping mind can’t remember exactly when the “new” store was built) after coyly hinting to the local newspaper that they, Wal-Mart, had undisclosed plans for the soon to be abandoned building on the East side of Fremont, the building remains empty, unoccupied, and a monument to the schizoid good neighbor policy Wal-Mart brings to its host communities.

What does this have to do with genealogy? Nothing really, except that earlier on Friday, I received an email from my geneablogging buddy, Mississippi Terry, of Hill Country of Monroe County. He asked his friends in the geneablogging community to “Read Deep Fried Kudzu today and weep at the wanton destruction of our heritage.”

In the post, the writer tells about the plans of Oxford, Alabama to destroy a 1500-year-old Indian Mound site to use it as fill dirt for the building of a new Sam’s Club. The mayor of Oxford, Leon Smith, was quoted as saying to the local ABC affiliate, “if any remains are found, they will be reburied there.” Well, sure, after digging them up and tossing them all together in a heap, that’s the least the city could do.

I’d like to think that the Wal-Mart Corporation is ignorant of these plans, and would not condone such a thing. I’d like to think that upon learning of such activities by the town of Oxford, the Wal-Mart Corporation would prove me wrong in my assessment of their community minded character, and say, “No, Way!”

I’d like to think it, but I’m not holding my breath.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sandusky County Kin Hunters Meeting This Sunday

Are you making effective use of obituaries and death certificates in your genealogy research? John Tate will be discussing this topic at the Sandusky County Kin Hunters meeting this Sunday, July 12 at 2:00 PM

The meeting will take place at the Sandusky Township Hall on Rt 19 North in Fremont. There is ample parking and the meeting is handicapped accessible. Guests are always welcome!

For further information, please contact Kim at 419-603-0367.

Footnote and Gannett - A Partnership Made for News-Messenger Readers?

There was interesting reading in my email box today. Footnote, the home of 57 million digitized historical documents, has partnered with the Gannett Company, the publisher of 84 daily newspapers (including our own News-Messenger) to add historical newspaper content to the online world. Two of those newspaper’s, Florida Today and Poughkeepsie Journal (NY) have already had digitized pages added to Footnote’s ever growing list of documents.

According to Footnote, they plan to digitize “the full run” of these two newspapers. That could be quite an accomplishment since the Poughkeepsie Journal dates back to 1785!

Footnote has kicked off the venture with news articles featuring Woodstock and the Moon Landing. No word on whether any of our own local newspaper will eventually be added to Footnote’s content, but that might be worth Footnote’s subscription price, which goes up to a $79.95 annual rate as of August 1. Footnote is currently running a limited time special rate of $59.95 for the annual subscription.

Which of Gannett’s newspapers will have their content added to Footnote? I don’t know. Since Ohio is woefully underrepresented in Footnote’s current small town historical newspaper collection – I couldn’t find any when I took a quick peek – my guess is that at least some of their Ohio newspapers will eventually be part of the collection.

If the News-Messenger ends up as one of them, wouldn’t it make a nice promotional, giving the subscribers to the News-Mess a discount on an annual Footnote subscription? Just a thought….

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Because the Boat Rocked?

Note: Mildred Jane Thacker and Frances Thacker lived beside each other with their families in 1850. They, as well as their families, are listed as “mulatto” in this census. They married cousins Weatherfoot Napper and Nimrod Nicholas Thacker. Were Mildred and Frances cousins? Were they sisters? Why are the descendents of one white, and the other black?

Raccoon Creek starts softly in the southeast corner of Hocking County below the Hocking River. It travels down 109 miles flirting with Athens County and the northwestern tip of Meigs County. Full bodied it runs into Vinton County before it reaches the Ohio River just north of Raccoon Island in Gallia County. The creek has always attracted boaters and fishermen.

In 1857, a trio of men were enjoying the day, paddling a canoe on the creek near Hawks Station in Vinton County. Dennis McKinniss, Malachi Dorton and Weatherfoot Napper were all Wilkesville Township boys. According to the 1850 census, Malachi and “Wed” lived next door to each other. Conspicuous by his absence was another neighbor, Nicholas Thacker, the nephew of Malachi and cousin to Wed.

On another day, it could have easily been Nicholas in the canoe, with Wed back on dry land, but on this day, the men rowing the narrow boat were Dennis, Malachi and Wed. The account of the incident, found in “A Standard History of The Hanging Rock Iron Region of Ohio, Volume 1” is painfully sparse, stating only, “The last three men were drowned at Hartley’s Mill in 1857 by the upsetting of a canoe in which they were rowing.”

After the death of her husband, Wed Napper, Mildred Jane moved her family to Pike County where she worked as day laborer. Francis, the wife of Nicholas, stayed with her husband and family in Vinton County. Family tradition says that the Dorton, Napper and Thacker families were part Native American. This originally set them apart from their Ohio neighbors when they first arrived from Virginia.

Eventually, after many decades of living, working and marrying their white neighbors, those that stayed in Vinton County crossed the threshold of race and disappeared forever into the white community. This is what happened to Francis and her descendents.

In Pike County, however, it was the surrounding black community that opened its arms to Mildred Jane and her family. And so Mildred and her descendents passed forever into the African American community.

Two descendents, one black, one white, research the same branch of a family tree. Is it possible they owe not only the color of their skin, but their very existence to a boat that rocked and a canoe trip not taken?

The Postman Sometimes Comes Twice

The postman was very nice to me in the last two days. He gave me an envelope with four obituaries and one envelope from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Whoopee!

I know you are too polite to ask, “Terry, how much did all of this largess cost you?” But it’s okay. Go ahead - ask me. ASK ME!

A buck twenty cents is how much it cost me. That’s $1.20 for all of you specific types. The obituaries came from the Special Collections Division of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, which charges a $1.00 processing fee plus $.05 per copy. The payment is already in the mail and on its way. Thank you, Special Collections Division!

Today, I received the package from the USCIS. I’ve looked through it twice and there was no charge. Back in August, I challenged myself to do “7 Requests, 7 Days,” mainly because I am a devout masochist. This was Day 2 of my self-challenge marathon. I used the Freedom of Information Act to request the complete immigration file for each of my great grandparents, Emma and Leo Schrader.

Emma and Leo, who immigrated to this country from Germany in 1906, never became citizens. When World War I and World War II broke out, they were considered Enemy Aliens. The majority of registrations for World War I are no longer in existence, but there are some states, such as Kansas, whose records still exist. NARA has compiled a list of 5928 files, digitized them, and allowed access to them through ARC.

In today’s mail was Emma’s file. It is eight pages long. I made the request on August 5 of last year. On August 13, a new genealogical service went into effect at the USCIS. The new format charges $20.00 to do an index search. You now must have a valid USCIS file number before you can request a file. The file itself now costs an additional $20 or $35 depending on the type.

You must pay in advance, and if you request the file without a valid USCIS file number they will refuse to do the search and they will not refund your money. (If you already have a valid number, which luckily I did, you can skip the index search and save yourself twenty bucks.)

The date stamp for my request was August 19, so I wondered if I would get the request back, telling me I needed to go through the correct procedure. Fortunately, at least in the case of Emma, I did not, and instead of paying $20 or $35 dollars, I got mine free! (This helps dampen slightly my pain at having to pay NARA $75 for an ancestor’s civil war pension packet. No, I am still not ready to let that go.)

Below I have scanned all eight pages I received from the USCIS. You can decide for yourself, if you want to go through the process. To read more about the new genealogy program offered by the USCIS, you can click this link.

Until Next Time - Happy Ancestral Digging!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Award - How Lovely

I was honored recently by two of my favorite genealogy blogging friends, Harriet at Genealogy Fun and Judith at Genealogy Traces with the One Lovely Blog Award.

I was particularly pleased to be so honored by these two ladies, who along with being terrific, talented writers, are also the essense of the lovely blog ideal. You'll see exactly what I mean when you go and check out each of their blogs.

Harriet has a unique, lovely background design which frames each of her posts. And she always has out the "welcome mat" for friends and strangers alike.

Judith Richards Shubert has a lovely banner, framing her blog. It's filled with beautiful family pictures and is quite stunning to behold.

So you can understand, why being named by these two wonderful ladies would be an honor.

I may have been tardy on my thank you, but I am touched none the less. Thank you dear friends, for thinking of me!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mikey Boy!

Ah, Michael, you are the child who is so unlike me. Sometimes I have looked at you in awe, wondering how it is that I have produced such a child. By the age of two, it was obvious that you had outstripped me in mechanical genius, when you took it upon yourself to replace a dead battery in the toy train engine, that had finally, blessedly gone silent after weeks of constant use.

You opened up the battery compartment of the toy, took out the old battery, went to the drawer where we kept batteries, pulled out the right size battery, put it in the correct way, closed up the battery compartment, and went toddling away with that pleased smile I’ve come to know so well and the train engine running, pressed noisily up to your ear. I watched the whole thing in shock. I, a woman who barely knew what a straight edge screwdriver was, had produced this child.

I remember one particularly trying day, when I had gotten out late from class. I had to pick your brother up at day care, you at preschool and your sister at elementary school. Nothing was going right.

We were finally on our way, racing across town to get to the elementary school when we were stopped at a railroad crossing waiting for an approaching train. You had been begging me to turn the radio on, which I finally had done. Now, you were tugging at my sleeve asking me to turn the radio off.

But, Mikey,” I said with all the exasperation I was feeling, “you just asked me to turn it on!”

Mommy, just listen.”

So, I turned off the radio, and did just that. Wrapped in the cocoon of our car, you and I sat listening in companionable silence to the clickety clack of the train. You with that silly precious grin pasted all over your face, and me suddenly engulfed by your pure sense of joy. There are so many little slices of the world that I would have missed, my son, had you not been there to show me.

Today is your birthday, Michael. I celebrate it not only for you, but for what having you has brought to my life. Happy Birthday, Mikey Boy!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

So, Great Grandpa was a Farmer - Land Records - Part One

Land Patent Records

I come from a long line of farmers. During the nineteenth century, most branches of my family tree made their living in agriculture. This is good news, because being successful in farming, meant owning land. And owning land meant a paper trail of information left for descendents.

If your ancestor bought land from the federal government in the Eastern Public Lands States between 1820 and 1908, than you can use theBureau of Land Management’s website to view the actual land patent used to transfer ownership from the US Government to your ancestor.

What states are included in the Eastern Public Lands States?

1. Alabama
2. Arkansas
3. Florida
4. Illinois
5. Indiana
6. Iowa
7. Louisiana
8. Michigan
9. Minnesota
10. Mississippi
11. Missouri
12. Ohio
13. Wisconsin

In addition, the Bureau of Land Management is slowly adding the land patent images for the seventeen Western Public Land States.

The Western Public Land States are:

1. Alaska
2. Arizona
3. California
4. Colorado
5. Idaho
6. Kansas
7. Montana
8. Nebraska
9. Nevada
10. New Mexico
11. North Dakota
12. Oklahoma
13. Oregon
14. South Dakota
15. Utah
16. Washington
17, Wyoming

What information will you find searching the land Patent records?


As you can see from the image above, the Patent Description gives you the following information for a parcel of land purchased by my GGG Grandfather, Joseph Good.

1. Patentee
2. Issue Date
3. Land Office
4. Cancelled
5. US Reservations
6. Mineral Reservations
7. Authority Note type of Entry – Cash in this example)
8. Survey: State
9. Acres
10. Metes/Bounds (Post will be No)
11. Document Number
12. Accession/Serial Number
13. BLM Serial Number


Below is the description of the land that Joseph purchased.

Believe it or not, those seemingly undecipherable notations will tell me exactly where Joseph’s land is located.

The easiest way, is to find a Plat Map in the county where the land is located. It doesn’t matter what year the plat map was produced, the numbering of the township and range will remain the same. (However, in counties such as Gallia County of Ohio where the boundaries have changed, you might find the land listed in another county depending what year the land was purchased and what year the Plat map was produced.) Look for the range and township number to match. In this case, I would look in Seneca County for Township 3-N in Range 14-E.

However, if you know how to read it, the information taken from the land description will tell you precisely where great grandpa’s land was located. Public lands used the rectangular survey system, which utilized principle meridians and base latitudinal lines as their basis. .

Below is a Map taken from page 47 of The Auditor of the State of Ohio’s Publication, The Official Ohio Lands Book.” It illustrates how the rectangular survey system worked.

1. Meridian - 1st PM

Refers to the first Meridian which is the Ohio/Indiana Line
Base Line – In Northwest Ohio, the base line is the 41st parallel of north latitude.
2. Range: 14-E
This tells you that the land is located 14 ranges east from the 1st Principal Meridian. This takes you into Ohio. (Anything with an E designation would be in Ohio. Anything with a W designation would be located in Indiana.)
3. Township 3-N
The 3-N tells us that the land is located in the third township north of this baseline, in Range 14. This township happens to be Liberty Township, in Seneca County. Township 4-N in that same range, for example, would be Ballville Township in Sandusky County.

Townships are divided into 36 sections with 640 acres in each section. Below you can see the numbering system used. Notice section 8 and section 5 would are adjoining sections.

In this instance, Joseph had purchased 80 acres. The location of the acreage is described as E ½ NE. You can see the section pictured below.


And finally, there is the land patent document itself. You have your choice of viewing it in four different formats – small GIF, large GIF, TIFF, and as PDF file. The website says the PDF file is the best for printing. Below is an example of my small GIF file.

Notice the Certificate No. 4785 in the upper left hand corner matches the patent number on the Patent Description. This number is important if you decide to order a land entry file from the National Archives.

My next post will discuss doing just that.

Until Next Time…

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Me – The Poster Child for ole Abe Maslow’s Theories

I have been anxious the last six months as I realized that my job, like that of millions of others, was in serious jeopardy. As the economy shriveled up like a stale French fry wedged in the seat cushion of a sixteen year old’s jalopy, my anxiety arose in direct and opposite proportion.

I believe I may have lamented in previous posts, that I alas, do not have in my repertoire, the normal feminine ingrained ability to handle several things at the same time, especially when I am under stress. (A notable genetic mutation, I’m sure.)

My point is, that during the last six months I have found it difficult to concentrate on enjoyable or challenging pursuits such as writing and genealogy. Two weeks ago, my anxiety reached its off key crescendo, when I finally got the word, that our client, whose account I have worked on for over five years, had fired us, leaving yours truly, without work.

Now you would think that the six months of anticipation of this very event would have been enough to cushion the blow, and that the shoe finally dropping would be somewhat of a relief, but you would be wrong.

The first week I sat staring blankly at the walls. I vaguely remember visions of “bag lady living” dancing through my head, and I’m sure there was some masochistic inventory taking, but mostly there was catatonic staring.

Before anyone sends over the cuckoo squad, I did eventually move past that stage, and into a more action-oriented phase, which after a few days of researching my options, made me twice as depressed.

Let me just say, it sucks to be out of a job no matter what your age, but if you happen to be over a certain age, it sucks doubly. If you doubt me, go ahead and look up the statistics.

Or better yet, if you want to really fall into a pit of depression, go ahead and read the advice on getting another job, if you happen to be over the age of, let's say, fifty. Whatever you do, don’t admit how old you really are or how much experience you really have, because employers DON’T WANT IT, according to the so called experts. As I said, it sucks. (Whatever happened to people honoring the wisdom that comes with age? Don’t answer – it’s a rhetorical question.)

Fortunately, after two weeks of limbo, the boss called with some project work that should keep me busy until the beginning of September. (I’m putting a note on my calendar to get the worry beads out come the first of August.) It’s not the same as having my own client, but I’m not complaining.

I also did some research on a couple of companies that I think our company should take on as clients, and my boss has already made preliminary contact with one of these companies. (And bless my boss, she was excited as I was at the potential.)

So I’m not sure what this means for my writing and my genealogy research. As Maslow’s theory pointed out, if a person’s lower needs aren’t met, they can’t move on to the higher need of self-actualization.

The point of this post is to inform any readers who are still hanging around, what was going on in here in TerryWorld, and the reason behind my continued absence.

I also wanted to ask each of you to show a little patience, a little kindness and some respect for your fellow man. It’s a tough world out there, people, and we need to understand that for some, it isn’t business as usual. You don’t have to be the solution for someone else’s problems, but you sure as heck don’t have to be the source of new problems either.

Until Next Time …

Note: For anyone who didn’t have to suffer through Psych 101 (or Marketing 101), you can read more about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, here. The pyramid graphic should give you the gist of it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Genealogy, the economy and me

For the last year and a half, my drug of choice has been genealogy, double stacked with a heavy dose of blogging. Every odd slivered moment that I could scrape together, was blithely spent on getting that next “high.”

The ability to peek into what was happening in the world of other geneabloggers, people who felt and wrote about genealogy, like me, was a heavenly respite from a world where people rolled their eyes the minute the subject of anything deader than their nightly dinner came up in conversation. Ah, the pure joy of finding such a world.

But about the time that Facebook became the new nerve central for the genealogical blogging world, I realized that I had taken a wonderful hobby, and managed to make it into a blind obsession. So realizing this new step would take me, now a mainlining Internet junkie, to a new level of addiction, I wisely abstained.

Then those sly dogs at Blogger, who must have seen the signs of waning addiction, figured out a way to ramp up my need for a fix by creating the innocuous gadget “Followers.”

My whole day would hang on the number of followers that my blog had. If someone added themselves to my following, I was in heaven. If someone deleted themselves from the group, I was in despair. Why or why had they left me? Up and down, like a kid on a runaway roller coaster, my emotions hinged on the “love” that readers gave me. (And it was such great love!)

But something happens to you when you start assigning your own self worth based on the views of others. You get a little nutty - okay, maybe a lot nutty. Realizing all of this, I started backing off.

And then, the unthinkable, the economy collapsed, making my little obsession seem like, a trivial self-indulgence. I watched all around as family and friends lost jobs or were laid off. In my own case, wages were frozen, bonuses evaporated (if only I had been an AIG gangster), and I now I faced the week-to-week terror of hearing, “I’m sorry but your services are no longer required.”

A brown bag and an index card that said, “Just breathe,” sat at the ready as I checked my ever-shrinking retirement portfolio. (It’s become so small that I don’t think portfolio is the proper term – maybe pofo?)

And God bless the ever present cable news, which by now had become my new preoccupation. The media continually told me, lest I forget, how bad things were. I would listen on my lunch hour, at supper time, and before I went to bed. It was like watching a train wreck. You knew better than to watch, but you were still irresistibly drawn to the spectacle.

I did then, what I always do when things get rough; I became a turtle, pulling into my shell. I didn’t want to read, I didn’t want to write, I just wanted to be left alone. I wanted to mope. (Have I mentioned I need long periods of reflection time to figure things out?)

And then, I don’t know, the sun came out the other morning, and I looked at the tiny daffodil shoots popping up through the ground, and I said “enough, already.” It’s time for action. It’s time to do something. It’s time to breathe.

So I’m looking for some balance - a little bit of writing, a little bit of genealogy, a little bit of exercise. I want to spend some time with family, some time cleaning out my office, some time figuring out how to work smarter, some time to plant flowers and maybe even some time to read a book.

And that my friends, is what I intend to do. If I am MIA from blogging and the geneablogging world for stretches of time, I hope you’ll understand.

I leave you with two quotes for this week’s positive thinking. The first by Thomas Merton, who said,

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

And this one by Frank Herbert,

“There’s no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves”

Here’s hoping that each of you can “feel the waves” and find your own balance.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Year of Positive Thinking - Week 9

It hung there, on my bulletin board - forgotten underneath the doctor’s appointment card, a receipt of a long since mailed certified letter, and some important reminders about the changing status of things at work. Bulletin boards are like that, an accumulation of daily minutia and formed layers of time that can, to the trained eye, be read like the rings of a fallen tree.

I vaguely remember printing it and hanging it there, but the twenty-eight pin holes decorating its surface will attest to the fact that it was hung quite some time ago. I have always been a fan of Maya Angelou’s poetry, a particular favorite, “On Reaching Forty,” gets trotted out every time some poor soul reaches that magic number.

But this one, “What I Have Learned,” speaks volumes to one who is on the shady side of fifty. I think it captures the essence of my quest for “Positive Thinking.” I’m glad I was wise enough to save the words, though the fact that they are obviously in need of dusting off, speaks volumes to my best laid plans.

What I Have Learned

Maya Angelou

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life
does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she
handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled
Christmas tree lights.

I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll
miss them when they're gone from your life.

I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a life."

I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on
both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

"I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually
make the right decision.

I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People
love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back

I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what
you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Have a good week!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Year of Positive Thinking - Week 8

I’m not sure if you can ascribe this week’s quote to positive thinking, but it highlights what I see as a personal flaw in my own psyche. For this week, I am making it my mantra, and my reminder.

We rest here while we can, but we hear the ocean calling in our dreams,
And we know by the morning, the wind will fill our sails to test the seams,
The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore,
For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.
(Tom Kimmel & Michael Lille)

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Seneca County Ohio Roots

Whether we know their names or not, each of us has 16 sets of third great grandparents who served their own specific role in our existence. The decade of the 1830’s played a pivotal part for a quarter of these individuals in my own family tree.

My paternal grandmother’s contributions were living presumably somewhere in Pomerania. On my paternal grandfather’s side, not all of the players had yet been born. Of those that were living, some were in Ohio, and some were in Pennsylvania. It would be three decades later, before the all the necessary parties had made their way to Southern Ohio’s Appalachian region, playing their own part in my eventual existence.

My maternal grandfather’s family were scattered about in New Jersey and Ohio, and it would take two additional decades before for the “right” people would find themselves in Henry County of Ohio ensuring that my siblings, cousins and I would eventually come to be. But the early birds to this party were my maternal grandmother’s people.

All four sets had found their way to Seneca County by the mid 1830’s and they had all settled in Liberty Township.

The Lutheran contingent had come from Shenandoah County in Virginia by way of Fairfield County, Ohio. The German Baptists were also from Shenandoah County, although there is no reason to think the two groups had ever known each other, it is interesting that they both had made their way to Liberty Township.

The Armstrongs came from Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, and the final piece of my genealogical puzzle, the Lynches, were also originally from Pennsylvania with stopovers in Fairfield and Franklin Counties in Ohio.

If you had family that spent any significant time during the last seven decades of the nineteenth century in Liberty Township of Seneca County, Ohio, we are, quite likely, related.

If you aren’t related to the Lynches (Daniel and Margaret Anderson Lynch), then you are probably related by the Armstrongs (William and Leah Shupe Armstrong.) If not the Armstrongs, then we are certainly related by the Goods (Joseph Good and Magdalena Click Good.). But if you still haven’t found the connection, then may I suggest the Feasels (Henry Feasel and Jane Kendall Feasel) as the source of our mutual genetic inheritance?

For the Feasels came to the county in full force. Brothers George and Henry both took out land patents in 1831, George on August 12 and Henry on November 14. Both had large families and with the later addition of a nephew, Samuel Cotter Feasel, who located near Bascom, Ohio, it is fair to say that the county was awash with Feasels.

There were so many Feasels, that the area in which they lived was called, Feaselburg. While to my knowledge there was never such a place on a map, to this day there is a cemetery located on what was once old George Feasel’s land, called Feaselburg Cemetery.

Below is a partial plat map of Liberty Township in 1865, showing where all the Feasel plots were located. The red dots stand for the various Feasel holdings, with the Green dot indicating the location of Feaselburg Cemetery.

While tracking done errant Goods, Armstrongs, and Lynches is difficult business because of the commonness of the name, there is no such problem when it comes to my Feasel relations. According to Feazell researcher, Don Feazell, who maintains a website dedicated to all things Feazell (Feazel, Feazle, Feasel, Feezel and Feezell), almost all individuals who use the F-E-A-S-E-L spelling of the name descend from Michael Feasel Sr, with the a large number descending from his son Jacob Feasel, who was the father of Henry and George. According to Don, “Only a few family lines are known to use this spelling today.”

Which is why, anytime a new database comes online; I plug in the Feasel name just to see what interesting tidbits I can find. I solved a little family mystery in this very manner when the Family Search’s Pilot Site program added the database for Michigan Marriages 1868 – 1925.

I plugged in the name Feasel, and surprisingly enough I found 39 matches for the name. The most interesting result was the name Ross W. Feasel, my great grandmother Laura Jane Feasel Lynch’s brother.

Ross and Gertrude Betts were married in Seneca County on August 25, 1896. Their eldest daughter, Bernice was born that same year. In looking at family records I noticed that their next living birth happened February 16, 1914 when twin daughters, Evelyn and Vivian were born 18 YEARS LATER! That had always seemed odd.

Odd, until I found the wedding of one Ross W. Feasel and Gertrude Greak married December 21, 1912 in Monroe County, Michigan. Gertrude’s father, listed as Isaiah Betts, confirmed that this was the same Gertrude who had married Ross 14 years earlier.

Obviously, there was a divorce and a second marriage for Gertrude, but in the end, the two of them remarried, and in addition to the twins, they went on to have daughters Irene and Mildred before Gertrude died in 1923. Interesting to note that their second marriage occurred three months after Mama Feasel’s death.

As a student of family history, I am always amazed at the confluence of events that had to take place for my own existence to have been made possible. The more I study my own roots, the more I realize how heavy the word “if” floats atop my head. All the events that had to happen in precise order, with the correct people and at the perfect time make me shake my head in wonder.

The next time you are feeling low, or are angry with the moron who just cut you off in traffic, it might be wise to remember this: Each of us who have made it here, to this often troubled world, did so because we beat the odds and won the most important lottery of all – life. And that’s gotta count for something.

Until Next Time – Happy Ancestral Digging

Note: For more on the Feaselburg Cemetery, see the posting I have done at Great Black Swamp Graveyard Rabbit website.

Some of you will notice that I took an unintended two-week hiatus from the Geneablogging world. A quick thank you to all of you who nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award (including the first to nominate me – sista crankypants.) I have some catching up to do on responding to comments. The Monthly Mélange for February may be a little later than planned this month because I also have to do some major Geneablogger reading!

PS If you found this post by googling one of my family names, please feel free to get in touch with me. I always love to do some mutual sharing when it comes to the family tree.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Daughter

You were maybe twenty months old, and we had started using a time out chair when you continued to get into something you had been told not to get into, like say, cigarette butts sitting in an ashtray. Only this was in a pre-enlightened time, when I didn’t know any better and called it “The Bad Girl Chair.”

I was standing near “The Bad Girl Chair” one day, when you suddenly pushed me. I lost my balance and fell back into the chair. I quickly stood back up, and you pushed me again, and continued to push me until I, suddenly wising up, asked you, “Do you want me to sit in this chair?”

Head nod yes.

“Because I’ve been bad?”

Vigorous head nod yes.

I sat down in amazement. Here you were, less than two, and not only did you understand the concept of “The Bad Girl Chair,” but you stood there unafraid to stare down an authority figure (me) when you thought you were justified. I knew then that the world was in big trouble, just as was said authority figure (me)!

You are such a paradox, my beautiful daughter. Gentle hearted, thoughtful, strong willed, competent, stubborn, insightful, considerate, tough, brave, intelligent, less than punctual and kick ass funny, when the mood strikes you. I would not change one tiny little thing about you, my love.

From the first moment I saw your sweet little heart shaped face, I fell hopelessly in love with you. I don’t say it often enough, princess, but I am so glad that you are my daughter. Happy Birthday, baby girl.



My Year of Positive Thinking - Week 6

I am suffering from an embarrassment of “positive” riches. My friend Teagen, though she had a stressful week last week, managed to send me a beautiful book filled with enough positive quotes to last me an entire year. That’s right, an entire year, every day, 365 days!

Next week, I will be pulling from this quote book and talking more about it, but I wanted to thank Teagen publicly for such a thoughtful gesture, especially with the kind of week she experienced.

Speaking of last week, as you know, last week started on a bit of a low note. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. HARRIET of Genealogy Fun also had a Bad Day last week. She dwelled a little in that vat of you-know-what, but was able to pull herself out of it. I say, “Good for you, Harriet!”

This week’s quote comes from my boss, Sam. When she sent it to me, I knew that this was the next quote that I wanted to use. It’s from Nelson Mandela.

"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

So that’s my goal this week, to be the candle instead of the candlesnuffer.

Have a great week.

PS to Harriet. Ohio has more snow in the forecast this week. If I could only figure out how to do it, I would share. :-)

Monday, February 16, 2009

A webinar, a database, and the forgotten African American Ancestor

There is a brick wall for African Americans when they start researching their ancestry. That brick wall is slavery. On February 24, is presenting a free, one-hour webinar featuring Marjorie Sholes, a professional genealogist who can show you how to identify slave owners and track down your slave ancestors. You can read more about the program and register for it here.

You should know however, that it is possible your ancestor belonged to an overlooked group, known as free people of color. Though their numbers were small, these individuals existed from the days of the early colonies right through to the eve of the civil war.

Some of the individuals were former slaves who had been given their freedom and some descended from African Americans who came to the colonies as indentured servants early in the seventeenth century. When their term of indenture was completed they were free, the same as their white counterparts.

By the last half of the seventeenth century, African Americans were brought to the colonies as indentured servants for life, in other words, slaves. But for some, those among the first to come to this country, there was freedom – for themselves and their descendents.

Just how many of the Free Colored was there? Below are graphs of statistics taken from the 1790, 1820 and 1850 census. As you can see, the percentage of Free Colored remained steady at 2% of the total population. During that same time period, the percentage of slave to total population declined from 18% in 1790 to 16% in 1820 and finally to 14% in 1850.

Would it surprise you to know that some of the largest population of free coloreds resided not in Free states but in Slave states? In 1790, the six states with largest population of free colored accounted for 71.4% of the total free black population.

Below is the chart for the number of slaves that were freed and those that fled, according to the 1850 census.

If your ancestor came originally from the state of Delaware, the chance that they were a member of the free colored class is much better than if they came from the state of Georgia.

Curious how your free African American ancestor might have made his living? Below are the top occupations listed in the 1850 census for Connecticut and Louisiana.

Finally, if you are wondering if you descend from a free person of color, the New England Historic Genealogical Society is featuring their database “Free Negro Heads of Families in the United States in 1830.” For the month of February, you may access this database free. Happy Hunting!


Debow, J.D.B., Statistical View of the United States, Compendium of the Seventh Census, 1854, PDF download, Internet Archive, 2009.

Russell, John Henderson, The Free Negro in Virginia, 1619-1865, 1913, PDF download, Google Books, : 2008.

Slave Code for the District of Columbia, American Memory, Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860, Law Library of Congress,, 2009.

Slave State, Wikipedia,, 2009.

Maine 1790 Census, USGenWeb Census Project, Maine 1790 Census,, 2009.

Vermont1790 Census, USGenWeb Census Project, Vermont 1790 Census,, 2009.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Not Dwelling in the Vat of Crabbiness

Okay, okay, I lied. I didn’t post my positive thinking piece as promised. But, in mulling it over, I decided that I would let Monday’s post stand.

Yah, I was crabby, but in writing about my day, I relieved my stress, poked some fun at myself, and then got on with things.

Life doesn’t always go the way you want it to go. Sometimes, no matter how good your intentions, things run amok. As long as you find a healthy way to deal with it, and don’t dwell too long in the vat of crabbiness, it’s okay. The positive police won’t come and lock you up.

It turns out that writing is my coping mechanism. Once I wrote the post, my doom and gloom mood lifted, and I was able to laugh at how personally I was taking a series of random events. Now that may be an unconventional vision of positive thinking, but it kind of works for me. Maybe that’s progress.

Until Next Time . . .

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dear Internet – This is NOT my Monday Positive Thinking Post

Dear Internet,

I am having a bad day. I do not like Mondays. It is laughable that I chose this day of the week for my positive thinking posts. Was I not begging for trouble?

Most of the issues I am having are computer related, and while that might not sound like a big deal, it is. I make money using my computer and the Internet. And when I can’t log into a certain database in a certain East Coast city, I can’t make money. Wah!

However, the whole tone for the day was set first thing this morning, before I knew the universe was conspiring against me.

I did a dumb thing. I made myself a cup of tea, and put it into one of our mugs that we’ve had for almost seven years. As I am carrying the tea from the kitchen into the family room, I hear a telltale crack that should have been my warning that something bad was about to happen. But I am slowwitted and I keep on walking.

Actually, I got as far as one more step, when the side and bottom blew out of the cup, spraying the contents of what moments before had been boiling water, all over me. My left foot with its long Morton’s toe, along with one of Morton’s brother toes, took a direct hit of the liquid as it obeyed the laws of gravity.

Fortunately, though I am by nature a hillbilly (please no emails, I use the term lovingly) and start my mornings barefooted, this morning I had slipped on a pair of footies. Unfortunately, they are made of absorbable material and as I am jumping around in pain, it occurs to me that the biggest source of pain is this now soaked footie, which I immediately rip off. This turned the pain down a notch, but it still hurt. So I took an ice pack wrapped in a washcloth and put it on the burn to cool it down and ease the pain. Then I sprayed burn ointment on it.

According to the Internet, I should have run the burn under cold water for about 15 minutes, not used the spray, and then wrapped in non-fuzzy material (I had some gauze that is now wrapped around the two toes.) All the other burns were superficial. I suspect this might be a partial thickness burn.

Moral of the story - wait a few minutes before you pour boiling hot water into a cup. Then wait a minute or so more before carrying the liquid anywhere. If you hear a funny cracking sound, set the cup down immediately and step back. Learn to drink a nice cold glass of milk to wake yourself up in the morning.

So I’m cranky, I hate Mondays, and I’m setting down my Pollyanna persona that I’ve been practicing for the last few weeks, and taking a few hours to enjoy some well earned crabbiness.

My quote for today (oh yes, I have one) comes from my friend Leslie, who upon reading all the aforementioned catastrophes wrote me back and said, “Sometimes you just need to bask in the vat of crabbiness.” Indeed.

Tomorrow, I will post my regular positive thinking post. Have I mentioned I hate Mondays?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Snapshot - Summer of 1932

The car, grandmother’s dropped waist dress and hairstyle suggest a picture taken in the late 1920’s. Her sister Elsie’s dress style, finger wave bob, and more importantly, the little guy holding each of their hands, my dad, firmly dates the picture as summer or early fall 1932.

This post written for the 10th edition of Smile for the Camera: Costume at Shades of the Departed.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Monthly Mélange - Edition I

We live in such a hurried world, always rushing from point A to point B, from one task to the next. Frankly, I don’t do “hurry” very well. That probably explains why I am so unprolific when it comes to posting on my blogs. (Or would that be non-prolific? Or does non-prolific apply only to nuclear test band treaties? Hmm…)

I’m not sure why we are all racing around. Where exactly do we think we are going? I am, by nature, a more reflective person. Things have to roll around in this brain of mine before they take root. So once a month, I’m going to sloooow things down, and do a little reflecting on the blog posts that lingered with me from the past month.

Now understand, I could easily come up with a hundred or more that fit into that category. There is a lot of good writing and interesting topics to be found in the blogosphere, but I’m only going to highlight a dozen or so that, for whatever reason, have stayed with me. It may be that they made me smile. It may be that they made me weep, or it may be that they told me something I wanted to know, even if I didn’t know I wanted to know it.

My picks, like my tastes, are eclectic, hence the name “Monthly Mélange.” I hope you find one or two of these topics that linger with you.

Now to kick this series off, I have a wonderful post that is universal in its theme. What is more wonderful than a grandparent sharing their passion with a grandchild? I loved this story, “You Really Do Know Her” by our lady, footnoteMaven. It’s sweet, without being saccharine, and it’s guaranteed to make you smile.

Speaking of smile, I chose this post by Amy of We Tree, because in addition to the fact that “The G-Files” is about organizing your genealogical data (which always interests me since organization is my personal downfall,) but also because of this wonderful line in her post. “I bought 100 manila folders and I'm not afraid to use them.” You go, girl! I’m still smiling typing that line.

For those of you not local, that is not Northern Ohioans, you may not know about Johnson’s Island. Johnson’s Island is located in Lake Erie, along the Sandusky Bay. During the Civil War, it housed Confederate officers as prisoners-of-war. But why was it called Johnson’s Island? Well, now I know thanks to Dorene of Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay, and her post, “Leonard Beatty Johnson.”

Do you remember the Challenger? Well Denise Olson does. She had a unique perspective of the event. She watched from her office, which happened to be 120 miles from the launch site. This is a short, touching post about the day, and its impact on Denise. Read “Remembering Challenger” at her blog site, Moultrie Creek.

I’m a BIG PowerPoint fan. But just when I think I’ve found all the bells and whistles, Thomas MacEntee shows me another in “Creating a Banner Image,” at Facebook® Bootcamp for Geneabloggers. While it’s true the post is geared toward bloggers, anybody wanting to learn how to make a banner with their PowerPoint program can easily follow along with this step-by-step post. (Dude, Thomas, where were you when I was struggling with the PP program last year?)

My smart friend, Sheri Fenley, tackles a subject near and dear to every genealogist’s heart, “What Happens To My Research When I’m Gone?” In Part 1, Sheri talks about the use of a codicil to determine your wishes and in Part 2, she tells of a wonderful woman who is ready and willing to give your research an eternal home. Not for nothing is Sheri called The Educated Genealogist.

Sometimes when we write about those people who loomed large in our childhood, we tend to look at them through a filtered lens. We round out the rough corners; soften the focus, and dim the light until some of their special essence is scrubbed from the picture. This is not the case with Craig Manson’s portrait of his grandmother. In “Nana’s 100th Anniversary”, we meet a woman who refused for decades to pay property tax because her son had been barred by segregation from attending the local school. A woman, who unannounced, showed up in Germany while her son and his family were posted there. Make no mistake. This is a loving tribute, but it is also a refreshingly honest portrait of a woman who had what we Ohioans call spunk. You can read about it Craig’s blog, GeneaBlogie.

Miriam Robbins Midkiff of AnceStories holds a Scanfest about once a month. What is a Scanfest, you ask? Well, it’s a get together via Live Messenger, where the individuals, mostly geneabloggers, spend an afternoon “chatting” and scanning. This month, before the event, Miriam wrote a blog post entitled, “Things You Don’t Want to Do During Scanfest.” She went on to list seven things, some of which are definitely worth knowing for anyone who does scanning. (Including No. 2, which is, don’t scan photos into .jpg files.) If you scan, you definitely want to check this out.

Randy Seaver’s has a habit of writing exactly what I’m thinking, only writing it better, and funnier, and well, actually writing it. So when he wrote his post, “Is US Content being held hostage on” I was all like, right on, Randy. I snickered when he mentioned that we were on Day 6 of the hostage watch. I wanted to come up with a comment that fit his post, but I drew a big blank. A few days later, with visions of a large, organized geneablogger protest, I went back to make an appropriate comment only to find that a very nice person from had REPLIED to Randy’s post. Talk about making your voice heard! So get over to Genea-Musings to see both Randy’s piece and Chris from Ancestry’s reply. (Note to Randy – can you say you want to see additions to the Newspaper collection – I LOVE that collection.)

Under the category of “You just can’t make this stuff up,” comes my next pick, “Killed by Wm. C. Falkner.” Mona Robinson Mills of Graveyard Rabbit of Yorknapatawpha County tells an interesting tale of bad blood, a few killings and an unusual tombstone. All revolved around the great grandfather of Nobel Prize winner, William Faulkner. With such a bloodline, Faulkner probably had to become a writer.

If you have ever had the solemn chore of packing up the vestiges of a deceased loved one’s life, you will understand the feelings of Lorine of Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Her two-part post, “Packing up a Life” and “Packing up a Life – Day 2” are a touching memorial to her mother’s life. She sums up what many have felt in the same circumstance. “We left feeling a bit depressed both at the seemingly never-ending job ahead, and at the realization that we were packing up a life. Once packed it would be over. A life lived, now gone.”

Finally, I admit it. I totally missed this entry when it was first posted on January 1 at Terry Thornton’s, Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi. Which is a pity, because it would have brought some much needed levity to my life, but better late than never. For a few months in the 1940’s, the Thorntons were the proud owners of a pet alligator. Like yarn being waved before a cat, Terry entices us with the story of an alligator, plucked from the Georgia swamps by family friends, delivered as a prospective pet, and determined to cause the family (and community) chaos. For my part, I’m still trying to get my head wrapped around the idea that “friends” would think a medium sized alligator had the makings of a perfect pet. While I sit here and chew on that some more, go see for yourself at “My Pet Alligator.”

Well, that’s it for the January edition of The Monthly Mélange. If you missed any of these particular posts, why not spend some time catching up. It’s okay to take the time, maybe even do a little reflecting. After all, what’s the hurry?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The 65th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy Has Post

Fifty geneabloggers responded to the topic, “Happy Dancing, The Joy of Genealogy” that Becky Wiseman of Kinexions hosted for the 65th Edition of the COG. That’s a lot of twinkle-toed genealogists! Share in their joy, and maybe take a moment and share a similar experience by commenting on some of their posts.

Just in Time for My Friend Dawn

My friend Dawn today was bemoaning the complexities of organizing your genealogy data. Funny that she mentioned this because I am currently writing a post for the first edition of The Monthly Mélange, in which I confess that, “organization is my personal downfall.” Cross my heart, I wrote that exact phrase yesterday.

Well leave it to Dear Myrtle to have solutions in the shape of a checklist. Myrtle prepared a checklist for January (“2009: All You Can Be”) and one for February (“Finally Getting Organized: February 2009 Checklist”). You can download them free, in a PDF file, but as “Myrt” suggests, viewing them online will enable you to click the hyperlinks.

Just so you know, Dawn and I will have to do double time to make up for the month we are behind, and if we can do it, so can you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sandusky County Kin Hunters Meeting

Just a reminder, that the February meeting of Sandusky County Kin Hunters will take place this Sunday, February 8 at 2:00 PM. John Tate, the guest speaker, will be sharing his own knowledge and experiences in doing family history research.

The meeting, which is free and open to anyone with an interest in genealogy, will be held at the Sandusky Township Hall on Rt. 19 North in Fremont. Parking is ample and the building is handicapped accessible

For more information, contact Kim at 419-603-0367

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Year of Positive Thinking - Week 4

I am announcing that this week, I will be inaugurating a monthly post entitled, “The Monthly Mélange” which will list blog posts that for whatever reason, stayed with me after I had read them. Perhaps the post made me smile, reflect, or learn something new. While I could easily come up with 200 that would qualify, I am limiting myself to 10 - 13 that I want to highlight and share with you.

Some will be for those of you who, like me, love working on family history. Other posts, I hope, will have universal appeal. For the present, I am sticking to using those written by other geneabloggers, but that is not a hard and fast rule.

And finally, I have this week’s quote. It comes from Teagen’s Mother-in Law, who succumbed to cancer in 2001. Teagen says that she had “a very positive and spiritual outlook throughout her life.”

I didn’t know Teagen’s mother-in-law, but I think she would have liked the idea of inspiring a stranger with one of the quotes she had collected. Perhaps it will be your inspiration too.

"People who have the gift of courage are those who can feel angry, hurt or depressed, yet can bounce back into life and add a bit of laughter and enthusiasm to other lives as well as their own."Fresh Bread - Joyce Rupp

Keep the Faith, and have a great week!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Looking for Catherine

When I first saw her picture that summer of 2000, I admit I was not the tiniest bit interested. There was no sense of recognition, no feeling of familial kinship, just mild amusement at my mother’s latest passion, and maybe a sense of gratitude that I had not inherited the looks of the woman in the picture. I confess, now, to being a little embarrassed by my own shallow arrogance.

Still, there must have been something in that picture that reached out to me, because like a bag of forbidden Halloween candy, I kept stealing back to take a peek, picking up pieces of information here and there, studying them intently, looking for clues, trying to discover who Catherine Good Lynch really was. I discovered that she had married George Washington Lynch in Seneca County, Ohio on December 17, 1852. I learned that the family had moved to Crawford County, Illinois in 1874, before moving to what was then Greer County, Texas. (A boundary change later would put the county in Oklahoma.) Catherine and George had run a general store in Mangum, Oklahoma. She was the mother of four children, her second eldest, a son, was my great grandfather. I learned that she had died of typhoid fever in November of 1900, and was buried at Riverside Cemetery in Mangum. But knowing these few details was not enough. I wondered, who were her parents? Did she have siblings? Through the census, I discovered three Catherine Goods in Seneca County. None was the correct age, but they were close enough to make me take a second look. Eventually I settled on Catherine Good, the daughter of Joseph Good. I narrowed it to this Catherine because of the family’s close proximity to the Lynch family farm. When I had finally discovered Catherine living in Crawford County, Illinois in 1880, I found that both of her parents had birthplaces in Virginia, and only Joseph’s daughter, Catherine fit the bill. But how was I to prove it? Joseph had not made out a will, but he did have an estate. It was my first look at probate records, and while the clerks in Seneca County were helpful, there was nothing in the microfilmed papers to suggest a relationship between Joseph and Catherine. I began to collect names of other Goods who might be siblings, then reading the obituaries of these “maybe siblings” to see what I could find. I came up empty handed. Finally, one night as I drifted off to sleep, I thought, “What happened to the land?” For Joseph, who was a farmer, had farmed the land right up until his death in 1873. The probate record, mentioned nothing about land. By chance, I had made an Internet connection with a woman who did title searches in Seneca County. I posed the question to her in an email. She wrote back asking me for details of the land Joseph had owned. She told me she would take a look. Finally, one day, she wrote me that she had found the land, and noticed that there was a court case attached to it. This made her curious, and she said that she would see what she could find. A few days later, she called to tell me she had the case file, but in looking at a list of the heirs, Catherine was not mentioned. I was crushed. I had been so sure that Joseph Good was Catherine’s father. About 20 minutes later, she called back and said she had found “something.” She would not say what, but asked if I could meet her at her house later in the week. Without a moment’s hesitation, I said, “Sure.” On arriving at her home a few days later, she handed me a sheet of paper. On the top it read, “Statement and testimony of Susannah Miller.” It began as follows: “My name is Susannah Miller. I am one of the defendants herein and oldest daughter of Joseph Good, deceased. I was present when my father and my brother in law, Willis Morse, came to my house in Cass County, Michigan where I now live in September 1871 and heard my father give directions to said Morse in writing into a book he had for that purpose, the amounts he (my father) had paid on advancement to his children respectively and in number the amounts and items, and some of which I know to have been advanced viz: “ Susannah’s deposition went on to list her siblings, the children of Joseph, and the amount of money he had advanced to each child. The fifth name on the list, made my heart race. “To my sister Catherine Lynch $50.00.” Catherine had not been listed as an heir, having sold her share of the estate to a nephew-in-law, Dennis Blue before moving west. Dennis, anxious to get his share of the estate, which had been sold at a sheriff’s sale, was getting set to close the deal when Susannah and two other siblings, brought suit to halt the proceedings, thus the reason for Susannah’s deposition. It had taken three years of tracking down leads, and in the end, my happy dance resulted from a generous, knowledgeable friend, a court case, and a $50 debt. It was as simple and as complicated as that. Until Next Time – Happy Ancestral Digging!

Written for the 65th Carnival of Genealogy - The Happy Dance. The Joy of Genealogy

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Etched in Stone

Just because something is etched in stone, doesn’t mean that it is, well, “etched in stone.” Take for example the case of the Good Family Marker. On August 15 1979, the marker was unveiled at the Flat Rock Church of the Brethren’s Homecoming Sunday service. The church, located in Forestville, Virginia, included the unveiling ceremony in its program that Sunday morning. The marker read:
In Loving Memory of William Good 1737 – 1806 And Wife Maria Snavely 1740 -1831 Early Pioneers of the Tunker Brethren in Virginia And Descendents. Erected by William Conrad Good And Other Descendents 1978
A lovely sentiment to be sure, but unfortunately the death date for Maria was wrong. Maria’s grave marker, which was located on the original family farm, was still legible when it was read by D. Saylor Good, a descendent, on December 29, 1903 The marker was in inscribed in German. “Hier Ruht Marie Guth. in Sie ist Gestorben Augst den 10, 1822. Ald 82 Jahr 1 Monat 6 Tag.“ Roughly translated it said, “Here lies Marie Guth, Died August 10, 1822. Age 82 Years, 1 Month and 6 Days.” The death date is confirmed by a will that was proved October 7, 1822 for Mary Good, which can be found in the Shenandoah County Will Book M, Page 94. The story, which was told by June Hulvey in her book, “The William Good Family,” does not say how the error came to be, but clearly a descendent reading the marker and going no further, would come away with an incorrect death date for Maria. That incorrect death date might lead someone to overlook Maria’s will. It might lead to confusion on just who Maria’s children were, and in effect, it might change the history of a family. Mistakes happen on markers. They happen in obituaries. And they even happen on death records. Whenever possible, it is always good to keep digging, even after you have found your prize, just to confirm the accuracy of your find. The marker, which originally rested on the property of the Flat Rock Church, was moved to the Flat Rock Cemetery about a half mile away.

Flat Rock Church of the Brethren Flat Rock Cemetery

That is where the fifth Great Granddaughter of William and Maria Good found it, when she went looking for it in 2005. Incorrectly inscribed or not, it was still a thrill to find this monument of my family’s heritage.

Until Next Time – Happy Ancestral Digging!
Hulvey, Velma June Good. The William Good Family, Revised Edition (Stephens City, Va., Commercial Press Inc.), 1996.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Year of Positive Thinking - Week 3

This week's positive quote comes from my friend Shirley. As a teenager she saw the quote in her local newspaper, and the words captured her own "imagination." Today, a framed copy hangs on her wall.

"Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice and happiness, which are everything in the world." ~ Blaise Pascal.

So here's to imagination and all it promises to create, and to my friend Shirley, who was kind enough to share this special quote.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Year of Positive Thinking - Week 2

Well it seems, uh, downright dorky, this whole year of positive thinking thing. I am mentally cursing myself for having started it. But since I committed to it, and I was always big on making my children stick with their committments, I guess I will just have to live with being dorky. It's only for 51 more weeks, how bad could that be?

This week’s positive quote is from my friend Teagen, who sent me, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us. ” The quote is from Finding Your Way Home by Melody Beattie

Last week proved personally trying; I proved that mere words do not a positive thinker make; and the only thing I can say positively for sure is, that this post (which I previously said would be on Mondays) is two days late.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fulfillment of a Dream

It is, of course, ironic that Martin Luther King day and the inauguration of our 44th President are occurring on consecutive days. The man who stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August of 1963 and said, “Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood,” must surely have envisioned the historical event that is taking place tomorrow.

Whether or not you supported his presidency, you cannot ignore the magnitude of what is about to happen, a man of black heritage taking the oath, for the highest office of our land.

Real progress, however, will be made when the young children of today, look on the election of an individual of any race, man or woman, as nothing out of the ordinary. We will have arrived, as a nation, at the door of our mutually promised heritage when that day occurs.

The man who said, “We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote,” must be pleased with tomorrow’s events.

Today we honor a man who had a dream. Tomorrow we see a portion of that dream fulfilled.

Note: If you read this post at my original Desktop Genealogist Blog on the News-Messenger website, you will notice that the second to the last paragraph was not included there. That is because the website required me to change the word "Negro" to the word "Black." Not wanting to change the historic speech of Dr. King, I elected to omit the offending paragraph.