Category Archives: Research

Same Name ~ “The Hughes Sister’s” ~  #52Ancestors week #6

Same NameMy paternal Grandparents had a total of 11 children, 2 from my Grandpa’s first marriage and 9 of their own.  I can imagine the hard time they may have had coming up with names for each child. This is evident in that 3 out of their 4 girls have “Belle” as their middle name.  My Grandmothers name was Virginia Belle but everyone called her Jennie. I am sure she loved her middle name so much that she wanted to pass it on.

The oldest girl’s name was Leola Belle. Born in 1907 she passed away from an acute heart Ellie & Nellie babiesproblem at the age of 32. The next in line were the twins, Ellie Belle and Nellie Belle. They were born in 1910.  When they were born they had the genetic defect of a hair lip. They were identical in every way. Growing up they played tricks on others, including their parents and siblings. They pretended to be each other, confusing everyone. When new kids moved into town one of them would make friends with them, then they would trade off playing with the kids. Once they were convinced there was only one girl, Ellie and Nellie would both show up to play! Believe me, no one ever forgot these girls.

Ellie & Nellie & LeonardI was able to attend 2 family reunions when we lived in Missouri for a couple of years. I was fascinated with them as I hadn’t meet twins before. I remember getting in trouble because I was sitting near them laughing and my mother thought I was making fun of them. In reality, I was laughing because I watched as others came to talk with them and had them confused with each other! You couldn’t blame the people, they had the same hairstyle, same clothes,  same voice!

Although they didn’t share the exact first name their names were so close that for years I have had trouble separating some of their information to add to my tree. Back in the late 60’s Nellie just kind of disappeared. She had gotten married in 1929 and within 9 months she was 6 months pregnant and became a widow as her husband had been murdered.  After this she moved around a lot, eventually marrying a man from Michigan and having 2 more kids. Then there were big gaps in her being in touch with the family. At the beginning of 1962, she reemerged without her husband.  By the end of that decade, she disappeared again.

A month ago I finally found her date of death and some other information I had been looking for. One of the problems with researching is the names Ellie and Nellie are so close in the spelling that when I typed in Nellie’s name I would get Ellie’s information.  I don’t feel too bad about the mix-ups though. Ellie’s son passed away last month and they put Nellie listed as his mother!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Filed under 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, Ancestry, Documentation, Family History, Family Search, Hughes, Memories, Missouri, Research, Uncategorized

“Close to Home” ~ Another Chance Gone ~ #52Ancestors Week 4

Close_to_Home 2I was informed 5 days ago that one of my cousins had passed away. He was one of the 4 remaining 1st cousins on my Dad’s side.  That leaves me and 2 other ones left out of over a hundred. My Dad’s side was huge, he had 11 brothers and sisters and most of them had at least 10 children themselves. I was very saddened, not only for Leonard passing but also for the lost opportunity of learning more about my Grandparents.

This scenario has hit pretty Close to Home for me. I am the only person left in my Me and Brotherimmediate family. My Dad died in 1974, my mother died in 1999 and my sister died in 2012. I had a brother who was 18 years older than I. When I was 6 months old, he graduated High School and joined the Air Force. I had only seen him about 7 or 8 times in my life. The last time I saw him was in 1982 when he came for a visit. While he was there something happened between my mother and him. He abruptly left after a few days because my mother had disowned him. We were told we would never see nor hear from him again. This kind of behavior was common for my mother. A few years later she did the same thing to me.

Almost 2 years ago I finally found my brother after looking for him for over 35 years. By chance, I looked at one of those people finder sites and for the first time his name came up with enough information that I could verify that this was him. My husband and I were leaving for California for a week so I figured after we got back, I would pay for the subscription so I could get his information. When we returned, I put in his information and up popped his obituary! He had passed away 3 days before we got back. I was devastated.

ClocksUnfortunately, this is not the first time this has occurred because of putting off contacting relatives. Over the last 5 years, too many have passed on. I also have only one cousin on my mothers’ side left. SO, with renewed determination, I am going to contact the cousins I have left and ask questions. I will just have to get over the idea that I am being a bother. Time is ticking on and I have to march to that rhythm.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up ~ Freaky Friday #2

J&J picSeveral years ago, my Son-in-law Jake, asked me to research his Genealogy and I quickly gathered all the information that he knew about his family and eagerly began. His paternal ancestors came from Missouri and places on the east coast.

 

During the research, I stumbled upon a very familiar last name…. Rucker. I know that Rucker is a very common German/Dutch name and that a lot of Rucker’s immigrated to America starting as far back as 1690. I was intrigued and began to dig deeper.

Following the line backward I discovered the name, John Rucker. John had been born thecousin quote FF2 oldest child of Peter Rucker and Elizabeth (Fielding) Rucker in 1680 in England. I became so excited I could hardly contain myself. Peter Rucker born in 1661 in Germany was my 7th times Great Grandfather! That meant he was my daughter’s 8th times Great Grandfather and he was also my son-in-laws 9th Great Grandfather. My daughter and son-in-law are 1st cousins 10 times removed! Jake descended from John Rucker and my daughter, Jerusha descended from Thomas Rucker the 2nd son of Peter and Elizabeth Rucker.

Oh, the fun I have had with this. I have relentlessly teased them about being kissing cousins.

Then it hit me. Jake was my 1st cousin 9 times removed. Sorry, but this kind of creeped me out. Then I felt the heat rush through my face and it dawned on me, if he is my cousin then so are my 2 grandsons!!! What do I do now, have the boys call me Grandma Cousin? This is truly Freaky.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Cousins, Family History, Family Search, Freaky, Genealogy, History, Hughes, Marriage, Missouri, Oddities, Peter Rucker, Research, Rucker's, Truth, Uncategorized

Fresh Start ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks

FreshStart

I decided to participate in the 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Challenge this year. I tried it a few years ago and although I enjoyed it I didn’t complete it. Let’s see how far I get this time!

The theme for this week is “Fresh Start”. I have hundreds of Ancestors who had fresh starts. Many came to Colonial America looking for a better life, and many more of my family moved west for the same reason.  Some remarried after the death of a spouse. So, the problem was, which one should I write about? After much thought, I decided to take a different look at a “Fresh Start”.

You see, I have one brick wall in my maternal line that has driven me batty since I first began researching my lineage. I have tried every method that could find and I did make a few minor finds, but I still only have minimal information on him.

confused-smiley

I decided to make a “Fresh Start” in the hunt for my Great Grandfather, Pleasant/Plesent Smith born February 14, 1853, in Hazel Hill. Missouri. My goal is to revisit all the information I currently have and to start thinking outside the box, looking for new ways to obtain what I need.

I have also made the decision to release my quest for trying to verify the family lore concerning him. I believe this may be what is hindering my searching.  The following is the story my mother told us about him when we were young children.

creek indianPleasant Smith was a Creek Indian Chief who left the tribe to marry my Great Grandmother Sarah Jane Page. They had one son John Pleasant Smith. Sometime after this, he was found murdered. His body was discovered dismembered and placed on the railroad tracks to make it look like he had been hit by a train. He was found before the train was to pass through town. The murderers were never found. A few years after his death my Great Grandmother received a letter from the Creek Tribe addressed to Pleasant Smith, but she never opened it. She sent it back to the addressee.

Let the journey to find the real Pleasant Smith begin!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, Ancestry, Blogging, Brick Walls, Creek Indian, Death, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Memories, Pleasant Smith, Research, Sarah Jane Page, Smith, Uncategorized

You Are Just Now Finding That Out?

Daniel Boone picI have a personal Facebook page for family only. Most of the family I have never met as I was raised about 1300 miles from them. Only 2 of the 150+ cousins are doing any kind of Genealogy research. So as I find new or interesting information on one of our Ancestors I post my findings on my page. In the last week, I discovered that Daniel Boone is my 1st cousin 8 times removed. I posted this along with his line to me and I got great responses. Except for one cousin. They made the following comment ”Why would this be a new find? Shouldn’t you have completed our Genealogy by now?”

I just shook my head and laughed. I have been searching my family roots for over 20 years now and I fully understand the effort and time it takes to thoroughly research each Ancestor. I know this cousin has no idea. I sent her a private message and told her the following.

Thank you for your response. Yes, I am just now finding this Man Standing At Beginning Of Winding Roadinformation on our cousin Daniel Boone. Researching Genealogy is not a short sprint, it is a never-ending journey. It can take weeks, months and in some cases years to find the correct ancestor and their documentation so they can be placed in the tree. Every person must have documentation otherwise it is guesswork and hoping that this ancestor is ours.

Another problem is as you go further back you have a large number of Ancestors to go through. Daniel Boone is our cousin through his maternal Grandmother, Sarah Morgan’s father Edward Morgan. Edward is my 8 times Great Grandfather. To put this in perspective, by the time you are researching 8 generations back you will have over 1020 3 times Great Grandparents! So you can see why it could take years to make new discoveries”

I hope this explains it well enough for her. On a side note….when I told my youngest Grandson he was related to Daniel Boone his response was….”You mean he is real?”

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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The Broader Technique

My Maternal Great Grandfather, Pleasant Smith has always been a mystery. When I first broaderstarted my research over 20 years ago, I only had his name, date of birth and the name of my Great Grandmother Sarah Jane Page. I had a few stories that my mother had told me about him when I was younger, but I couldn’t find anything that would validate them. So, I continued to search in hopes of a breakthrough.

I would love to report that the solid cement wall that blocked me from finding any shred of information had fallen down and the life of Pleasant had been revealed. But I can’t. What I can say is I do know a little more about his life thanks to the broader technique.

Sarah Jane Page ML James Newhouse 2It all started when I was trying to break through my Great Grandmothers brick wall a few years back. She was 22 years old when she married Pleasant. Back in the mid-1800s, that was a little late for a woman to get married. I decided to take a second look at the “hints” that came up when I entered her information. I discovered she had gotten married and had a daughter when she was 16.  Her husband died when she was 21 and she then married Pleasant who was 29 years old. Once I had her previous marriage info, I was able to find her parents, her grandparents, etc. I also found her siblings names. As a result, I found that one of her younger sisters had also married a Pleasant Smith! As a matter of fact, after Sarah became a widow she got married again and, on her marriage license, I found that the ceremony had taken place at the home of  Pleasant Smith.

I began to broaden my search into this “new Pleasant Smith”. That is when I found that he was the son of my Great Grandfather and his first wife Charity. I still felt like I did not have sufficient proof that the two Pleasants’ were father and son. I continued my search and found the younger one’s death certificate. His parents were listed, and they matched. However, it was solidly confirmed when I saw that my Uncle was listed as the informant on the certificate.

I am still looking for more records on the elusive Pleasant Sr. I know someday I will find what I am searching for. Because of this experience I have applied this “Broader Technique” to some of my other brick walls with great success. When I find any name that is listed on marriage licenses, wills, deeds etc. I make a note of them along with any dates or where they lived. Then I take the time to research that person. You never know who your ancestor may have crossed paths with. You can also use the U.S. Federal Census as a guide. Research your ancestors’ closest neighbors. Sometimes they have had interactions that have been documented and it may lead you to new discoveries. Sometimes we need to broaden our search field to find the hidden treasures!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Brick Walls, Broader Technique, Documentation, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, Missouri, Page Family, Pleasant Smith, Research, Sarah Jane Page, Smith, Uncategorized

You Are Descended From Who?

click

How many of you have been searching for an ancestor on Ancestry.com and you get a match in someone else’s family tree? You then click on their “Matching Person (from Family Trees)” link and up comes their “facts” page. Here you can see what information they have on your shared ancestor. I have been able to garner a lot of useful data from these. I have even on occasion found family photos and documentation in the Gallery section. I then, usually, click on the members’ name and go to their profile page to see if we have any more relatives in common.

This is where it can get interesting. As long as they do not have their trees set on private you can browse through page after page of their “recently added findings”. The further back in time that your common ancestor lived, the more unrelated info you have to go through. But sometimes, in all that digging you find a gem! Some crucial document that can help you fill in some of those empty spots in your tree.

Yesterday I found one of those gems. I was so excited I decided it was worth looking

knights templar

more closely at this person’s “findings”. I soon came across some things that made me a little concerned. According to her tree, the woman was related to Lady Godiva, King James (all of them), Doretha Queen of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, 4 of the Knights Templars, Mary Queen of Scots, Robin Hood, King Francois of France, and the list goes on. I am not saying that she couldn’t have been related to one or more of them but there was no documentation or references at all. The one that really threw me though was her claim to be a descendant of King David (from the Bible) through his son Jonathan.

The reason I wanted to write about this incident was to take the opportunity to discuss the topic of credibility. Every person who is trying to construct a legitimate family history should strive for accuracy and provide as much documentation or sources as possible. I have a couple of ancestors who are my “brick walls”. When I find possible leads, I sometimes add that name to my tree so I can find it and continue researching. However, I make notes that this person has not been verified as part of my lineage and should not be added to anyone’s tree until it has been.

cred

Although I did find one good document in this woman’s common ancestor file, it made me concerned about the accuracy of it because of her listing her other “Ancestors”. Her credibility had been called into question.

The moral of this story is: “Always verify any information that you obtain from anyone else’s tree and always make sure your own data is correct when you add your findings to your own trees”. No tree is 100% perfect, but we should make every attempt to not add anything that can’t be proven.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Brick Walls, Credibility, Documentation, Family History, Family Search, Famous, Genealogy, Hints, History, Research, Source Citations, Uncategorized

5 Genealogy Myths

mythThere are so many “truths” that we believe about the subject of Genealogy. When I first started researching mine, I believed everything I read or heard about the subject. I apparently was quite naïve.

 

Here are 5 Myths that most new Genealogists are told but they are not true.

1. Your ancestors’ name was changed when they can through Ellis Island.

This isn’t necessarily true. Passenger lists were created when your ancestor boarded the ship at their port of departure. When they arrived at Ellis Island their names were checked off that list. There were, however, some passengers who wanted to change their names, for whatever reason, and the attendants would sometimes accommodate them.

 

2. Your ancestors’ records were destroyed in a Courthouse fire.Chenango_County_Courthouse_May_09

Yes, a lot of Courthouses have burned to the ground, but this doesn’t mean all of the records were destroyed. Some Courthouses did not totally burn down so the surviving documents were transferred to another county close by. Most of them contacted the residents of the county and asked them to bring in any documents they may have so that they could make a note of them. Many States have archives where their staffs have prepared special helps for genealogists researching around Courthouse fires. They would have records of these notes or copies.

 

3. The 1890 census burned to a crisp.

Truth is it did not burn. It became waterlogged while the fire was being extinguished. The papers were left lying around and they rotted. Some unknown person gave permission for these papers to be destroyed. A fraction of the census’ did survive as well as about half of the Civil War Union veterans census records.

 

4. Everyone has a Family Crest.

crestHaving a coat of arms or family crest is much rarer than you might imagine. Having the hereditary right to use it is even rarer. While there are many companies out there that are willing to sell you all kinds of merchandise with your supposed “family crest” on it, the vast majority of these companies are not engaged in legitimate genealogical research. The coat of arms or crest you get may or may not belong to your family (and it might be made up completely by the company selling it to you), or you may not have the hereditary right to use it. Historically speaking, a coat of arms is a design on the shield of a medieval knight. The design was unique to an individual and not to a family. Sometimes, the individual only had rights to the coat of arms during his lifetime. Other times, he was allowed to pass it down to his descendants, and it became the family coat of arms. Google your last name i.e. Hughes Family Crest and you will see how many variations there are.

 

5. You can find your whole family history online.

Wouldn’t that be great? Unfortunately, errors abound in online indexes, transcriptions, and family trees. There is so much documentation out there that may never make its way online. Repositories still hold richly detailed, lesser-known records that haven’t been digitalized. It would really pay off if at some point you could visit a local library or courthouse.

These are only a few of the myths we have heard or believed. It is best to always verify any information that you may come across to determine the “truth” of it.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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The Good Side of Bad

close up of teenage girl

A couple of years ago I was sharing some of my exciting Genealogy findings with my then 10-year-old Grandson. He was excited to discover that President Zachary Taylor was a distant cousin. He listened intently to the stores of our Ancestors who helped to establish Jamestown. Then I told him that we were cousins with the infamous outlaw, John Wesley Hardin. That is when he got a stern look on his face and said, “What’s so good about that?”

I started thinking about his statement this morning and realized that there really is a good side of the “bad” characters we find in our lineage. Let’s be honest, our family trees would be boring if we didn’t have a few bad seeds in it. They bring colorful tales to our stories and even some lessons.

One such story is about my 9th Grand Aunt Sarah (Hood) Bassett. She was born in 1657 insalem witch trials sign Lynn Massachusetts.  She married William Basset in 1675. In May of 1692, Sarah along with her sister Elizabeth and Sister-in-law Elizabeth were arrested on the charge of practicing witchcraft. All three were transported to Salem which was about 5 miles away. They were carried there by a wagon that had bars on it to prevent escape. All three women were tried and convicted and were sent to prison in Boston.  Sarah was accompanied by her 22-month-old son Joseph and she was allowed to keep him with her. She was released in December 1692. Not long after the ordeal was over, Sarah gave birth to a daughter whom she named Deliverance as an ode to her freedom.

PilloryAnother story is from my 9th Great Grandfather Thomas Garnett. He was born in Kirby Lonsdale, Lancashire, England, December 15, 1595. He was brought to Virginia in 1609 as an Indentured Servant by Captain William Powell. Indentured Servants were basically slaves and had to serve for at least 10 years to earn their freedom. William Powell was a mean master and he abused all of his “servants”. It is said that he was also a drunk. In 1619 Thomas complained to the Governor of Virginia about his master’s behavior to which William brought charges against him for disloyalty. This Petition by William Powell to the General Assembly caused the Governor himself to give this sentence upon Thomas Garnett “that the said defendant should stand four days with his ears nailed to the Pillory” that is to say from Wednesday, August 4th and for likewise Thursday, Friday and Saturday next following…and every of those four days should be publicly whipped.” [Journal of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619, page 12].

To me, regardless of the circumstances that each of these ancestors found themselves in, feel that these accounts bring some “Flavor” to my Family History. I actually find myself spending more time in research and writing about the ancestors that were “unique”!

What type of stories do you have in your Family Tree?

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com:   http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Famous, Genealogy, History, Jamestown Colony, John Wesley Hardin, Massachuettes, Research, Salem Witch Trials, Sarah Hood Bassett, Thomas Garnett, Uncategorized, Virginia

Racing to the Finish Line

Lets be honestIf we are to be honest it is hard to resist rushing through our research in the effort to go back one more generation. Especially when we find that next ancestor while doing the research. It is exciting to see how far back we can go and what interesting facts or stories we may find. Sometimes we abandon a “brick wall” ancestor to pursue an easier line.

I must confess, I have been guilty of this. One of these ancestors, my 4 times Great Grandparents on my Dad’s maternal side has been patiently waiting for me to return and try to find any information on them. I have had them in my tree for over 8 years and I have tried filling in the blanks, but I always got impatient in the searching.

A cousin I met for the first time gave me their information. I had taken a research trip to State Historical SocietyMissouri and when I walked in her house I was both impressed and jealous. She had been researching our mutual family for over 40 years. She had worked for the State Historical Society in Jefferson City for over 30 years and she had been able to search to her heart’s content. She had dozens of file cabinets and binders full of documentation. I took her word without hesitation.

A couple of days ago I decided to scan through my trees to find the dead-end lines and see if I could find anything pertaining to them. I had my 4 x G-Grandfather as Augusta White who was born in Virginia and lived in Alexandria, Kansas in 1835 when my 3 x G-Grandmother was born. That was it. My 4 x G-Grandmother had even less information. I had her name as Margaret “?”. Nothing else. I also had their children as Elisa Jane and Greenbury/Greenberry White and I at least had their birthdates and place of birth.

Elisha Jane WhiteI decided to take a different approach this time. I would start with the son and see what came up. I use more than Ancestry.com to do research so I pulled up all the sites. I found a Civil War Union Army document that had Greenbury’s name and place of birth that matched mine. It also listed his parents name as Augustine White born in Virginia and Margaret McClain born in Kentucky. With a little more research I found their marriage information and census records that listed the names of their children which matched mine. In no time I had the dates for their marriage, their places of birth, additional children’s names and the places they had lived. This opened even more doors of info which gave me possible names for their parents. My cousin had Augustine’s first name wrong, but once I discovered his correct name it busted through that brick wall.

The moral of this story is: It pays to revisit those “brick walls” ancestors often and exhaust every possible lead. Who knows what you may find?

 

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available  on Amazon.com:     http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter

 

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