Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one true church founded by Jesus Christ, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the Pope is the successor to Saint Peter. The Church maintains that the doctrine on faith and morals that it presents as definitive is infallible. The Latin Church, the autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches and religious communities such as the Jesuits, mendicant orders and enclosed monastic orders reflect the variety of theological emphases within the Church. [Wikipedia]

Catholic settlers who came to America were primarily from southern Europe and Ireland. They met with considerable persecution in the States because of their "papist beliefs." Likewise, a big part of the clash between the native Spaniards and Mexicans in what would become Texas, the Southwestern and Western US, was as much a clash between Catholic and Protestant as it was between cultures.

My Catholic roots are fairly typical. My McHugh family came to America from County Donegal, Ireland during the 1830s looking for work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. NW Illinois, SW Wisconsin, Chicago and finally Indianapolis were stopovers. County Cork native Catherine O'Neil arrived in the US in 1852, making Indiana her primary home.

Until I found the marriage between Baden-born John Wagner and Catherine Laubscher, I was fairly certain that they were German Catholics. Their daughter, Louisa married James McHugh. The couple was married in the German Reformed Church in Philadelphia in 1841.

My grandfather, after being reared in a devout Catholic home, left it to his four children to choose their own path. To the best of my knowledge, none of the four remained Catholic.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Baptist Church

The Baptist Church has had its origins traced back to 1609 in Amsterdam with Separatist John Smyth. Baptists believe in adult baptism, rather than infant baptism. The baptism calls for complete emersion of the body and salvation through faith alone. In England, the General Baptists believed that Christ's atonement extended to all, while the Particular Baptists believed it extended only to the elect.

Roger Williams established the first Baptist congregation in North America in 1638. He broke with the Baptist doctrine shortly thereafter.The First Great Awakening of the mid-1700s renewed the faith in New England and spread it to the South. The Second Great Awakening of the early 1800s took place in the South and was helped by the preachers easing their views on the abolition of slavery.

Ancestral Baptists: Roger Williams, my Gulley line from Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, the Barlows and, most likely, the Lands and Sumters, all three families with their roots in Virginia and Kentucky and allied to the Gulleys..

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Lutheran Church

The Lutheran Church is, so to speak, the granddaddy of the Protestant Churches. It is based on the teachings of Martin Luther, the German friar whose theories on reforming the Catholic Church led to the Protestant Reformation. Lutheranism spread from Germany and Switzerland throughout Scandinavia during the first quarter of the 16th century.

It was the immigrants from these countries that brought the Lutheran faith to America. Three of my ancestral families were included in this move. The Rinkers arrived in Philadelphia from Switzerland in 1743 and migrated to Virginia. The Schultz family arrived from Switzerland about the same time. Maria Schultz married Hans Caspar Rinker in 1757 before they headed south to the Shenandoah Valley. The Crousores [originally Kraushaar] were German Lutherans who arrived in Philadelphia during the early 1750s. Nicholas Crousore moved to western Pennsylvania after the Revolutionary War.
Elizabeth Rogers, daughter of Maria Magdelene Rinker and John Rogers married Henry Wolary and became a Methodist. The Crousores probably became Episcopalians by marriage.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Mennonites

The Mennonites were part of a group of Anabaptist denominations that were founded by Menno Simons of Friesland. Through his writings, Simons articulated and formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders. The early teachings of the Mennonites were founded on the belief in both the mission and ministry of Jesus, which the original Anabaptist followers held to with great conviction despite persecution by the various Roman Catholic and Protestant states. Rather than fight, the majority of these followers survived by fleeing to neighboring states where ruling families were tolerant of their radical belief in believer's baptism. [Wikipedia] The Mennonites settled in Switzerland and The Netherlands before persecution and unemployment led them to Germany.

When Penn's Colony was founded in 1682, Quaker and Mennonite families located near Philadelphia. Among the early settlers was German-born Wilhelm Rittenhouse, a lay minister and papermaker. Rittenhouse had previously resided in The Netherlands, before arriving in Pennsylvania in 1688 to establish the first paper mill in the colonies. He was elected Germantown's first Mennonite minister around 1690. Son Claus inherited the mill and became a Mennonite minister.

Wilhelm's other son Gerhard/Garret was a farmer and miller near Germantown. Garret's son, William relocated to Hunterdon Co., New Jersey and was a farmer and tavern keeper. It is not known if William opted for another faith, but his granddaughter, Elizabeth married into a Presbyterian family.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Society of Friends

The Society of Friends [Quakers]: George Fox founded the Society of Friends during the English Civil War. Fox opposed the Church of England as well as the dissenters. He believed it was possible to have a direct link to Christ without the aid of clergy. Fox traveled throughout England, The Netherlands and Barbados spreading his beliefs.

Fox was brought before the English court on charges of blasphemy in 1650. He stated that one of the magistrates called his followers Quakers because they bade him tremble at the word of the Lord.

Quakerism became quite popular in England and Wales. Persecution of Quakers became equally popular. Together with Margaret Fell, the wife of Thomas Fell, who was the vice-chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and a pre-eminent judge, Fox developed new conceptions of family and community that emphasized "holy conversation": speech and behavior that reflected piety, faith, and love. With the restructuring of the family and household came new roles for women; Fox and Fell viewed the Quaker mother as essential to developing "holy conversation" in her children and husband. Quaker women were also responsible for the spirituality of the larger community, coming together in "meetings" that regulated marriage and domestic behavior. [Wikipedia]

William Penn established the colony of Pennsylvania in 1682. It was designed as a colony to be run by Quaker principals. Philadelphia was its hub. Quakers in the other colonies [excluding Rhode Island] met with persecution much the same as they had in England.

Arthur Howland Sr., brother of Mayflower passenger John Howland, arrived in Plymouth Colony by 1640. Arthur ran afoul of local officials on a regular basis. His son, Arthur Jr., did him one better. He married Elizabeth Prence, daughter of Governor Thomas Prence - an avowed opponent of Quakerism. Gov. Prence had them arrested for refusing to pay church taxes. Arthur Sr.'s daughter Elizabeth married contrary to faith. Mary, daughter of Arthur Jr., married Quaker Henry Goddard. Their daughter, Susanna, married a non-Quaker.

The majority of my Quaker ancestors came in through Philadelphia and migrated to Maryland and Virginia. The Rogers, Evans and Pugh families arrived from Wales during the late 1600s. The Hardings and Ballingers settled in West Jersey. The Wright family rounded out the Quaker immigrants.

John Rogers married Maria Magdelene Rinker in 1787 in Frederick Co., Virginia. Since Maria was not a Quaker, John was removed from the Meeting.

Thanks to the marriage of Elizabeth Rogers [John and Maria] to Henry Wolary, a long line of Quakers morphed into frontier Methodists.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian Church was establish in Scotland and brought to America by the Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish as early as 1640. A second great migration of Presbyterians took place between 1740 and 1758, with Scots-Irish settling in Virginia.

The Mahurin-Hurin family brought their Presbyterian beliefs from Scotland or Ulster during the late 1680s or early 1690s. The family maintained their faith as they settled in Morris Co., New Jersey and Warren Co., Ohio.

The Faucetts may have started out as Virginia frontier Scots-Irish Presbyterians. I have no proof of this yet, but old John Faucett fit the profile of the Scots-Irish pioneer. By the time the Faucetts and Hurins reached Indiana, they were attending the Methodist Church.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Reformed Churches

The Reformed Church: As Protestantism took hold in Europe, believers in Calvinism were forced to flee Catholic dominated countries. Dutch settlers in New Netherland [New York] established the Dutch Reformed Church in America. New Netherland also saw an influx of other Protestant groups, namely the Huguenots and Walloons. French-speaking settlers would establish French Reformed Churches in their new communities. German Calvinists who did not follow the Lutheran doctrines, established the German Reformed Church.

As the Dutch families moved west, as the Pralls did from Staten Island to Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, they found a shortage of Dutch Churches. Since the Presbyterian Church was also a Calvinist Church, they joined there.

Among the families recorded in the Dutch and French Reformed Churches were the Pralls, Billious, Swarts, Titsoots and Christoffels. Louis DuBois, one of the founders of New Paltz, NY, helped establish the French Reformed Church in that village.

John Wagner and Catherine Laubscher were married in the German Reformed Church in Philadelphia in 1841.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day and a Scheduling Glitch

Something went amiss while I was scheduling posts and the May 24th post ended up appearing on the 22nd. So you need to read the 23rd's post to set up the "Pilgrims and Puritans."

With the 24th being recognized as Memorial Day and Monday being the "official holiday," I invite you to take time to reflect on your family members who gave their lives in service to the US. From the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, the Philippine Insurrection, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Gulf War to the wars in Iraq, Iran and other Middle Eastern Countries and all military actions in between - remember their sacrifice!

The Pilgrims and the Puritans

The Pilgrims, or Separatists, were a Protestant group opposed to the aspects of the Roman Catholic Church that remained in the practices of the Church of England. They wanted to do away with or separate from the Church of England. The Separatists also opposed some of the public behavior          allowed in England.

In order to escape persecution, the Separatists fled to The Netherlands in 1608, where they were welcomed by the Dutch. The Pilgrims began to worry that their children were adapting too well to the customs in Holland and sought a new home.

In 1620, the Pilgrim leaders secured passage to North America to set up their own colony. Plymouth Colony was to be established in northern Virginia along the Hudson River, but the Mayflower was blown off course and the colony was founded farther north.

Elder William Brewster was one of the colonial leader. It would appear that the family followed Separatist beliefs through a couple of generations, with the Brewster and Turner families. Intermarriage with the Keeney and Douglas families and a move to the Connecticut Colony may have marked the end of Separatist practices.

The Puritans [Congregationalists] believed that the Church of England was in need of reform, by felt it was beyond help. They wanted to purify the Church. The Puritans settled in what became the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Boston became its hub. The Puritan influence remained strong until the end of the century. As Anglicans, Presbyterians and others settled in Massachusetts, the influence of the Puritans waned.

The Lockwoods were among the families who arrived with the Winthrop fleet in 1630. The family would move to Connecticut in the 2nd generation and New York in the 3rd.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Faiths of Our Ancestors

Over the years of research it has been interesting to see what religious denominations my ancestors have followed and at what point, if any, they switched to a different church. That I am aware of, my ancestors have followed about eleven different faiths: Congregationalist [Separatist], Puritan, Baptist, Reformed [Dutch, French & German], Presbyterian, Anglican/Episcopal, Quaker, Mennonite, Lutheran, Methodist & Catholic.

There were switches from one church to another over the years. The Pralls were Dutch Reformed in New York, attended the Presbyterian Church in New Jersey and eventually switched to Methodist. I think the first switch was due to convenience. The two churches shared similar practices and there was a lack of Dutch Reformed Churches in Hunterdon Co., NJ. The next switch? I think that one may have had to do with Ann Bathia Rhodes Prall deciding her children would follow her parents' faith and husband Isaac R. not objecting.

My Quaker ancestors ran into a different motivation. Love and marriage. Somewhere along the line there was a marriage "contrary to faith" and he or she was removed from the Meeting.

Over the next few posts, I'll take a look at those 11 denominations. We'll examine a little of the history of each, where the followers settled and how changes developed as the settlers migrated from New England, the Middle Colonies and the South westward.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Final Look at the St. Johns: Christopher's Children

When you are trying to put together a family, it often helps to understand naming patterns. Different cultures have different customs when it comes to the naming of children.

The Dutch, as a rule, named the first two boys after the grandfathers and first two girls after the grandmothers. Parents, siblings would follow.

Unfortunately, the Welsh followed a similar pattern. The children were named for the paternal grandparents, maternal grandparents, then the eldest brother [husband] and sister [mother].

Christopher St. John was the father to ten children:
Mathias: paternal grandfather, Mathias [Du]
Joane: wife [Du/Eng]
Sarah: ??
Katherine: paternal grandmother, Katherine was Mathias' wife [Du]
Roger: ??
James: ??
Humfrey: ??
Thomas: Christopher's uncle Thomas [Du]; father [We]
Elizabeth: ??; grandmother [We]
Nicholas: ??

The parentage of Christopher's wife Joane and his mother Katherine are yet unknown. Sarah and Elizabeth could well be grandmothers. Roger, James and Humfrey could be candidates for Joane's father, grandfather and brother or an uncle. They are more English than Dutch. Nicholas is probably named for Christopher's family.

So there it is! Confusion!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dutch vs. Welsh: Which was Christopher St. John?

Today's post compares the information I have on the Dutch Christian Santken and the Welsh Christopher St. John. The Santken lineage is only three generations deep, while St. John runs several. I am showing four generations.


(1)  Mathias Sension/St. John [bp. 9 Aug 1601 St. Olave Silver Street, London]: the immigrant.

(2)  Christian Santken [b. c1575, Antwerp – d. c19 June 1629 London], m. by 1601 Joan _______ [b. England – d. after 1652/3 London]

(3)  Mathias Santken [b. c1550, Antwerp – d. after 1582 London]


(1)  Mathias Sension/St. John [bp. 9 Aug 1601 St. Olave Silver Street, London]: the immigrant.

(2)  Christopher St. John [c1581 Highlight, Glamorgan, Wales – c18 June 1629 Silver Street Parish, London, England] m. by 1601 Joan Fleming? [b.???? – d. by Oct. 1605 London]

(3)  Thomas St. John [c1560 Wales – 25 July 1611 St. Olave, Bermondsey, Southwark, England] m. Jane Matthew [ferch Robert]

(4)  Christopher St. John, Esq. [c1526 Wales – after 22 April 1616 Highlight, Glamorgan, Wales] m. Elizabeth Bawdrip
There are a few differences in the vital statistics for the two:                     
    (1) Birth: Dutch - c1575, Welsh - c1582. That 7 year gap becomes an issue.
    (2) Spouse: While both are married to a woman named Joan, the Welsh spouse has the surname Fleming. It was noted in the Dutch Church records that Santken's wife was English.
    (3) Parentage: Dutch: father Mathias; Welsh: father Thomas & mother Jane Matthew, grandparents: Christopher & Elizabeth Bawdrip.
The issue that has concerned me the most is the age at marriage. Our Dutchman was about 25/26. Our Welshman was about 18/19. In 1600, the mid-twenties was a more common age of marriage than the late teens.
Wills also played a crucial role in the research:                                                 Christopher St. John [gf] named his son Thomas and grandson Christopher. Robert Matthew [Christopher's grandfather] mentioned Christopher St. John, son of his daughter  Jane. Of course, one vital document could not be located - the will of Thomas St. John, Christopher's father. That will, if one was made, might offer details that would answer the questions of Christopher's nativity.
The will of Christopher St. John, made in 1629, named his sons: Mathias, Samuel, Thomas and Nicholas.
There is no doubt that there was a Christopher St. John of Wales and a Dutchman of the same name. The question remains: Which one was the father of Mathias the immigrant?
Although I'm not 100% convinced, my inclination is the gentleman from Antwerp.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

More on the St. John Saga: Strangers

For records checked and progress made at the 2014 SLIG, see my posts for January 13-17, 2014. Strangers. A simple word. During the time that the St. Johns [Dutch or Welsh] arrived in London, Strangers were foreigners. Today we would call them aliens. The Strangers had settled in London and nearby cities and towns in search of work. The majority were Dutch or Walloons, Protestants escaping Catholic rule in the "Low Countries." Others were from the German States, France, Italy, Scotland and Ireland.

The question was, as it pertained to my research, would the Welsh have been considered Strangers?

Wales was annexed by England under the Laws in Wales Acts of 1535-1542, also called the Acts of Union. Therefore, someone born in Wales around 1580 would be considered an English citizen. Cheistopher St. John was born in Wales between 1580 and 1585. That should have resolved the question, right?

Wrong! The argument was that the St. Johns were heavily tied to their Norman heritage. Christopher would have considered himself a Norman rather than a Welshman or Englishman, thus allying himself with the Strangers.

Unfortunately, none of the sources I was able to access gave a clear-cut definition of Strangers. I leave it to the reader to judge whether Christopher St. John, if a Welshman, could have been considered a stranger.

A final note: One of the consultants with whom I had previously worked asked me about my project. His conclusion was that no self-respecting Welshman would have been caught attending the Dutch Reformed Church!

(coming up Christopher the Dutchman vs. Christopher the Welshman)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The St. John Saga Continues

The April 2013 issue of the NEHGS Register included Jerome Lafayette Santken's article Origins of Mathias & Nicholas Sension Determined. Mr. Santken made a case for the Dutch origins of Mathias St. John. According to the article, Mathias's grandfather, Mathias Santken, was a native of Antwerp [Belgium], then a part of the Spanish Netherlands. He migrated to London about 1582. Mathias's son, Christian/Christopher was born about 1575, probably in Antwerp.

The Santkens appeared in the records of the Dutch Reformed Church of London located in the parish of St. Olave in Silver Street. There were 12 children born to Christian and his wife, Joan. Only a handful of them reached maturity. The eldest was Mathias, the immigrant, who was baptized at St. Olave's on 9 August 1601.

Not long after reading the Register article, I was contacted by another St. John researcher who claimed that the St. Johns found their roots in Wales. That set up my project for the 2014 Salt Lake Institute. Was Mathias Dutch or Welsh?

I compiled the evidence for both arguments and headed for Salt Lake. At the root of the research problem was the definition of one word, Stranger. Exactly what group or groups of people were considered Srangers in London during the late 16th and early 17th centuries? That turned out to be a difficult question to answer!

Monday, May 18, 2015

A State of Confusion: My Battle with the St.John Family

I have neglected one of my ancestral families for awhile in the posts. The reason is a state of confusion over the origins of that family - the St. Johns.

It rings a bit of my battle with my Crail family. With crucial information missing on James B. Crail Jr. and Mary A. Jones and inconsistencies in details supplied by some Crail researchers, I haven't been able to fully accept the Crail line.

There are basically two schools of thought on the origins of the St. John family. One has the family originating in Wales. The other offers an origin in the Spanish Netherlands [modern day Antwerp, Belgium]. Both are heavily documented. The question is - Which one is correct?

First, the basic background on the immigrant ancestor, Matthias St. John/Sension. Matthias was born in London in 1601. He married Mary Tinker in New Windsor, Berkshire, England in 1627. Matthias, Mary and their three children sailed for America in late 1633 or early 1634. They settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay Colony. Matthias died in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut in 1669. The St. Johns had spent time residing in Windsor, Wethersfield and Hartford as well.

The St. John surname itself added to the mystery. Sension, Sention, Senchon, Sentyon and St. John were all used in records generated on the family. "Sin-jun" is a rough approximation of the English pronunciation. [Sinclair, for example, is a variation of St. Clair.]

It was a periodical article that ignited a renewed interest in the St. Johns. (to be continued)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

There's a Mess of Young 'uns in the Family Tree!

Following up on the mothers of my ancestors, I totaled [hopefully] the number of kids in each family. Accuracy here is a bit shaky. In some cases research was done on only one child, so siblings weren't mentioned. I may have only located or focused on my direct line ancestor. There's a considerable margin for error. Anyhow, here are the numbers of "recorded issue."
 # of kids - frequency
(1) 13 = 2
(2) 12 = 12
(3) 11 = 15
(4) 10 = 9
(5) 9 = 16
(6) 8 = 14
(7) 7 = 27
(8) 6 = 22
(9) 5 = 18
(10) 4 = 18
(11) 3 = 11
(12) 2 = 12
(13) 1 = 68

Reasons for the size of the family:
(1) most of our ancestors were farmers and needed a  lot of kids to help out;
(2) infant mortality rate was relatively high, so large numbers of kids were common;
(3) the wife died in child birth;
(4) multiple marriages; if the wife died, the husband needed a female to take care of his children; if  
     the husband died, the wife needed a man to support her and her children;
(5) one spouse or the other could no longer procreate;
(6) the wife reached an age where child-bearing was no longer healthy for her;
(7) large families were no longer in vogue
(8) enough is enough!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Popularity of Female Names

I discovered a nice feature on RootsMagic that allows you to list the mothers and their children. I decided to see which names have garnered the most popularity among my female ancestors. Here they are!
(1) Mary, Marie, Maria, etc. = 37
(2) Elizabeth, Elsbeth, etc. = 31
(3) Catherine, Katherine, Tryntje, etc. = 17
(4) Ann, Anne, Anna, Anneke, etc. = 15
(5) Joanna, Joan, etc. = 13
(6) Sarah = 11
(7) Susanna, Susan, etc. = 9
(8) Alice = 8
(9) Jane = 7
(10) Agnes, Hannah, Frances/Francoise, Rebecca = 5 each

Unusual names with 2 or more: Bethia (3), Ama Jemima (2), Thomasine (2)

If my calculations were correct, there were a total of 247 females. 40 names appeared only once, 7 twice, 4 three times.

Nothing earth-shattering, but a fun & interesting exercise.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Find A Grave

Find A Grave has become one of my favorite sites. For those of you who are not familiar with this cemetery/burial site, contributors post individual burial information or, in some cases, full listing of cemetery interments.

Information on the cemetery listing varies depending on what details the poster has available. It might simply be the decedent's name & years of birth & death. The entry could also include full birth & death details, obituary &/or bio with links to possible family members. The link to the person posting the data could provide a relative or just some good Samaritan interested in helping others with genealogy info.

Check the site frequently. New additions are made daily. I have found a number of relatives' burial info on Find A Grave that have helped flesh out individual stories.

There may be some incorrect postings. As with any site, cross-check the information whenever possible.

Recent finds for me: My maternal grandmother's brother's burial info, that of one of my paternal great-grandfather's brothers & a picture of ancestors John & Dolly [Jennison] Simmons from the 1850s.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Another Problem to Be Solved & Other Stuff

#1. I've decided another problem needs to be added to my list of candidates for SLIG Problem Solving 2016.

(6) Wright/Bowater/Davis: Who was the wife of James Wright, Quaker of PA & VA? For many years, it was believed that Mary Davis was the wife of James Wright. In 2000, Stewart Baldwin published an article in The American Genealogist stating his case for Mary Bowater being Wright's wife. Recently, the case for Mary Davis as Mrs. Wright has resurfaced. That leaves a question that needs an answer: Was Mary Davis or Mary Bowater the wife of James Wright?

This one would probably rank in the 3rd slot for SLIG consideration.

#2: I've been reading Thomas Fleming's George Washington's Secret War about the Valley Forge encampment and the disgruntled political leaders and officers dissatisfied with Washington's leadership in 1776 &1777. I'm only about 100 pages into the book, but early opinions are forming about our civilian leadership during the early years of the War for Independence.

Pennsylvania's civilian leadership was an embarrassment. Hard-liner whigs were the chief problem. They were afraid of a standing army, among other issues. The Massachusetts leadership, primarily cousins Samuel & John Adams, couldn't get past their Puritan roots and Harvard education to act intelligently. Richard Henry Lee of Virginia was aligned with the Adamses. There were numerous other Congressional and military leaders of like-thinking. All of this would lead to an attempt to remove Washington from command [the Conway Cabal]. Oddly enough, the favorite son of the anti-Washington set was Horatio Gates, the alleged hero of Saratoga. [Benedict Arnold was the key to the victory in my opinion] Gates would show his stripe in 1780 fleeing the disastrous Battle of Camden. 

I wonder how my Revolutionary War ancestors felt about the issue? Most of them seemed to have stayed the course. I can't recall coming across any references to ancestral support for Washington's ouster.

#3. It is well past time for me to reorganize my genealogy files. I have folders for some 20-odd families [at least!] that need to be placed in the cabinet. There are numerous articles and items that need to be placed in folders. The catch? Getting around to doing it!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Brief Genealogy Break & Theatrical Promo: bonus post

For those of you near Hendricks Co. [IN] with an interest in live theatre, Hendricks Civic Theatre will be presenting a stage adaptation of Jane Austin's "Pride & Prejudice" over the next two weekends. Yours truly will be playing the Bennet family's butler.

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Based on the Novel by Jane Austen
May 15, 16, 17 and 22, 23, 24 
Longstreet Playhouse
Directed by Darby O’Brien
$15 (Adults 18+) | $13 Youth & Seniors
FREE Ages 3 & Under

For more details & directions to our cozy 82 seat theater, contact HCT at

Brushes with Famous People Down Through History

One of my genealogy presentations is entitled Brushes with the Famous and Infamous. It deals with the historic figures that some of my ancestors [direct and collateral] came in contact with over the years. Some were ancestors. Here's a list of nine and how they tie in.

(1) John Winthrop Jr.: Physician and Connecticut governor. If it weren't for him, you probably wouldn't be reading this post. He commuted Hannah Wakeman Hackleton's death sentence back in 1665/6!

(2) Roger Williams: Founder of Prvidence Plantation [Rhode Island] and a direct ancestor.

(3) Wilhelm Rittenhouse: Mennonite minister and papermaker in colonial Pennsylvania; direct ancestor.

(4) Rebecca Towne Nurse: Hanged as a witch at Salem Village in 1692; direct ancestor.

(5) George Washington: Surveyor, Commander in Chief of the Continental Army andFirst President of the US; he stopped at the home or inn of Casper Rinker near Gainsboro, VA on a surveying trip.

(6) Nathanael Greene: Revolutionary War General; a distant cousin.

(7) Henry Jerrell: He was a member of the Reno Gang. The Renos were credited as the first train robbers in post-civil war Indiana. Henry was a 4th or 5th cousin.

(8) David Crockett: Tennessee congressman who was killed at the Alamo in 1836. Robert Cunningham, 1st cousin 5x removed, was also an Alamo defender.

(9) Al Capone: Chicago crime boss. One of the federal agents who helped bring down Capone was David Nolan, intelligence officer for the US Treasury [1st cousin 2x removed].

There are several others. If your genealogy society needs a speaker and the topic is of interest, drop me a line. I do single and multiple sessions.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Road to Indy [Maternal Side]

Mom's side of the family took a few different routes and a few similar routes to Indiana and Indianapolis.

(1) McHugh-Crail: Louisa [Wagner] McHugh moved her children to Chicago from Shullsburg, Wisconsin in 1904, six years after her husband, James, died. Son Charles married Bess Catherine Crail in 1910 and the family moved to Indianapolis after Bess' father was appointed federal meat inspector there in 1911. The Crail family may have arrived in Indiana from Ohio or Kentucky as early as 1820, when James Berry Crail Sr. arrived in Harrison Co., Indiana. From there he went to Washington Co., Shelby, Bartholomew and, finally, Brown Co. James Jr. seems to have resided in Ohio from at least the early 1830s until the late 40s, before settling in Shelby Co., IN. Sons Sylvester, John and Aaron resided in Marion or Hamilton Counties from 1857 on. After Aaron died in 1868, wife Catherine moved her family to Peru, Miami Co. Eldest son James moved to Ontario Canada in 1894 to attend veterinary school. From there it was back to Shelby Co., IN and Chicago before moving to Indy in 1911.

(2) O'Neil: Catherine O'Neil left County Cork, Ireland [by way of Liverpool] for America in 1852. She married Aaron Crail in 1857 in Indianapolis. Hamilton, Marion, Miami and Shelby counties were home until she moved with son James to Chicago for 1910-11. The family returned to Indy, where Catherine died in 1934.

(3) Simmons-Jennison: John Simmons Jr. made a brief appearance in Dearborn Co., IN about 1820. He returned to Pennsylvania shortly thereafter. The next of the family to arrive in Indiana was son John William Simmons and his wife Dolly Jennison, who moved to Switzerland Co. in 1819, then moved to Ohio, before settling in Henry Co. during the 1840s and then Newport, Kentucky. James Morris, eldest son of John W. and Dolly [Jennison] Simmons took root in Indiana after leaving SW Ohio during the late 1840s and settled in Howard Co. Son John T. eventually settled in Tipton Co., where daughter Ama Jemima "Mima" married James Crail. [see McHugh-Crail for arrival in Indy]

(4) Crousore-Smith: The Crousores of Pennsylvania settled in Clinton Co., Ohio, where Jacob married Ama Jemima Smith in 1822. The Smith had come to Ohio from Virginia. By the middle of the decade, the Crousores, Smiths, Reels and Reeders were on the move to Indiana. Rush, Delaware, Madison and Howard Counties were stops between 1826 and 1846. Jacob and Amy's daughter, Edith married John T. Simmons in Howard Co. in 1849. The family then moved to Tipton. Edith's daughter, Mima would eventually move to Indy. Jacob and Amy eventually moved to Kansas. [Amy's brother, John, married Jacob's sister, Elizabeth. They were part of the migration as well.]

The earliest arrivals in Indiana were 1819 and 1820, although some of the stays were brief. The first permanent arrival was 1826 and the last 1911. Arrivals in Indy ranged from about 1855 until 1911.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Road to Indy [The Prall Side of the Family]

My apologies to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway folks for the title, but it is May and I am near Speedway.....

Yesterday, I laid out many of the routes that my ancestral families took to reach Indiana. Whether they originated in New England, New York or Virginia, the families ended up in Indianapolis.

My paternal side:

(1) Prall-Wolary: The Prall & Wolary families had migrated through several southwestern Ohio counties before merging together in Auglaize Co. Hugh M. Prall & Margaret Jane Wolary married in 1874 and moved to Grant Co., Indiana by 1878. Their son, William Marshall Prall, a candy-maker moved to Indy about 1907. He married Mayme Faucett there in 1911.

(2) Faucett-Hurin: The Faucetts settled in what would become Warren Co., Ohio shortly after arriving in Cincinnati in December 1797 or January 1798. John and his wife Eve [Fry] came down the Ohio River from western Pennsylvania. Their son, Joseph, was born along the way. The Mahurin/Hurin family had arrived in Cincinnati a couple of years earlier. They had been New Englanders transplanted to NY & NJ. Othniel & Bethia [St. John]Hurin also settled in Warren Co. John decided the family would move to central Indiana in 1823. Joseph Faucett & Rebecca Hurin, now married, were part of the migration. John settled in Marion Co. Joseph & two brothers-in-law settled on an adjoining tract in Hendricks Co. Joseph's son, Benjamin moved the Faucetts to Indianapolis in 1882.

(3) Clark-Miller: Isaac Clark of Kentucky & Catherine Miller of Pennsylvania married in Butler Co., OH. They took the Ohio over to one of the Indians river towns during the mid-1840s & made their way to Hendricks Co. Daughter Nancy married Benjamin Faucett in 1852.

(4) Cawby-Gulley: Two families from the southern states made their move to Indiana from Kentucky. Martin Cawby Jr. settled in Johnson Co., IN during the early 1850s. He buried his 1st wife & mother there. Martin's 2nd wife was Lucinda Gulley. The family lived in Johnson & Hendricks Counties before settling in Indy about 1880. Lucinda's family arrived in Indiana earlier. Her parents, Willis Gulley & Betsy Land, came to Shelby Co., IN about 1828 with Willis' father, Enoch. Willis sold out & moved to Decatur Co. in 1834.  About 1865, the Gulley moved to Hendricks Co., then back to Shelby Co. before returning to Decatur Co. in 1876. Elizabeth Cawby, daughter of Martin & Lucinda, married Charles Faucett [Benjamin & Nancy].

The families began to arrive in Indiana in 1824. The last in 1878. Arrival in Indianapolis ranged from 1880 to 1907.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Family Migration Routes

Awhile back I did timelines for most of my families. Today's post is going to cover general migration routes the family groups took to get to Indiana. Some were a round about. Others were relative direct.

1. Plymouth Colony > New York > Ohio > Indiana
2. Massachusetts Bay > New York > Pennsylvania > Virginia [now West Virginia] > Ohio >
    Kentucky > Indiana
3. Massachusetts Bay > Rhode Island > Maryland > Pennsylvania > Ohio > Indiana
4. New Netherland/New York > New Jersey > Pennsylvania > Maryland > Pennsylvania > Ohio >
5. New York > Pennsylvania > Virginia [now West Virginia] > Ohio >  Kentucky > Indiana
6. Massachusetts > New York > New Jersey > Ohio > Indiana
7. Pennsylvania > Maryland > Virginia > Ohio > Indiana
8. Maryland > North Carolina > Kentucky > Indiana
9. Virginia > Kentucky > Indiana
10. Maryland > Kentucky > Indiana
11. (West)Virginia > (Ohio?) > Pennsylvania > Ohio > Indiana
12. Pennsylvania > Ohio > Indiana (> Kansas)
13. Plymouth Colony > Connecticut > New York > Ohio > Indiana
14. Pennsylvania > Missouri > Wisconsin > Illinois > Indiana
15. Pennsylvania > Illinois > Wisconsin > Illinois > Indiana

There are supposed to be three basic migrations into Indiana: (1) New England to Northern Indiana; (2) Mid-Atlantic States through Pennsylvania and Ohio to Central Indiana; (3) The Upland South through Kentucky or Ohio into Indiana.

For the most part, my Southern families followed the pattern. [see #8 and 9] The Mid-Atlantic pioneers [NY, PA, MD, NJ] didn't do a bad job sticking to the script. [see #4, 5, 7, 12] Those New Englanders! Not one of my NE families followed that "due west" route. Most of them eventually landed in New York and followed the Mid-Atlantic route. Quite a few ended up going down the Ohio River to Cincinnati, settled in Ohio, then on to Indiana.

What motivated all of these people to move west? Primarily land. Kentucky opened up for settlement, then Ohio, then Indiana. A few people joined family members already in the state. Others found jobs available.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Some Current Family Mysteries - Genealogically

As I start to get into the mindset of deciding on my Problem Solving project for the 2016 Salt Lake Institute, I decided to list the gaps in family group sheets. Some are long-standing and may never be resolved. Others are families I just haven't looked at in a few years. There are a few relatively new gaps on families "discovered" in recent years. So, mostly for my benefit, here they are.

1. CRAIL: This one is in the "probably never resolved" category. Where were James B. & Mary A. [Jones] Crail from their marriage about 1833 until 1851 and from 1854 until 1875. When & where did James die. They were undoubtedly in the Cincinnati area until mid-1837. Sylvester and John were born in Hamilton Co., Ohio. Aaron was born in Marion Co. in 1839. After selling town lots in Marietta, Shelby, Indiana in 1854, James & Mary vanish until 1875. Mary is widowed & living in Indianapolis at that time.

2. GULLEY: Enoch Gulley lived in Virginia during the Revolutionary War years. There is no record of Enoch having served in either the militia or Continental Line. There is, however, a George Gulley who saw duty with Virginia regiments. A DAR application for this George Gulley had the same wife and descendants as Enoch. Some of the dates and places did not fit Enoch. That application has since been rejected. There is also a lengthy service record for this George Gulley. Enoch & his wife died before the Rev War pensions were available. Were Enoch & George the same person? Proof needed!

3. TWISS: Martha Twiss married Joseph Jennison about 1745 in Salem, Massachusetts. Martha is probably the daughter of Peter Twiss Jr. & Sarah Nurse. I have yet to find her birth record to confirm parentage. Compiled genealogies on the Twiss families tend to miss Martha. Does she fit here?

4. MOORE: Hester Jane [or Jane Hester] Moore married  James Morris Simmons in Warren Co., Ohio in 1826. Census records give her birthplace as either North or South Carolina. Hester was about four years older than James. Was she married before? If so, what was her maiden name? Who were her parents? The 1830 census shows no viable candidates for Hester's Moore family. I dealt with this one several years back. That was before I had uncovered the earlier generations of my Simmons clan. Hester might be worth a fresh look.

5. MACCALLUM: I submitted Malcolm MacCallum/Callum for the mini-problem solving session at the SLIG this year. Malcolm was a Scottish prisoner of war sold to the Saugus/Lynn Iron Works  in Massachusetts by Oliver Cromwell in 1651. He was married by 1656 and the births of his children are recorded [with numerous spelling variations]. A handful of references are made to Malcolm in other records. A concentrated research effort has not yet been conducted on him.

I'm leaning toward Gulley or MacCallum for SLIG 2016. Moore & Twiss would be 3rd & 4th choices. Crail is a distant #5. Stay tuned for the final decision! :)-

Friday, May 8, 2015

Adventures with Cemetery Records

Dealing with cemetery records can be an adventure. Large metropolitan cemeteries can be the easiest to maneuver. Small rural private/family cemeteries can be the most difficult. Then again, maybe, maybe not.

1. Locating the burial records. Once you know where your ancestor is buried, find out where the cemetery records are located. In many communities, the local historical or genealogical society, the DAR, a local genealogist or some other saintly group or individual has compiled the local cemetery burials. The local library's genealogy room frequently is the repository for them. Other possible locations: the local genealogical or historical society, the cemetery caretaker, the local historian, or the cemetery office. Make sure that you record the exact location of the gravesite(s) you are searching for. [section, plot, row, grave #, etc.]

2. Find out who to contact at the cemetery. If the cemetery is large enough to have an office  containing the records, find out who is in charge and when the records are available. Call ahead. Some cemeteries have a staff genealogist to help researchers, but may only be available one day per week.

3. When you get to the cemetery, ask the caretaker or staff for a map. If none is available, ask about the layout. If you know the section to look in, a little leg work will do the rest.

4. If you are dealing with a family cemetery in a remote location. Get permission to wander around from the property owners. They may also be able to give you directions or know about the graveyard.

5. Types of records on hand. These generally apply to larger cemeteries.
Burial permits: slips granting permission for burial [name, residence, age or birthdate, date of death and burial, location of grave];
Burial cards recording burial info [pretty much the same info as on burial permits];
Day books: record of purchases and burials [in addition to details already mentioned, date of purchase of the plot, plot interments, possibly birthplace & date.]
<Cards and day books may be on microfilm.>

6. Take your camera!

Some of my favorite cemetery adventures:
1. Greensburg, Decatur, IN. After locating the burial records for my Gulleys, I asked the librarian for directions to the cemetery. She didn't know, but was sure her husband did. The wonderful lady called her hubby at work and got the directions!

2. Crown Hill, Indianapolis: The Day Book page for the Cain-Jennison plot was a genealogist's dream. Names, birthplaces and dates for several members of the family. Names of all family members buried in the plot, plus a couple who were buried out of state!

3. Eller Cemetery, Delaware Twp., Hamilton Co., IN: I stopped at the farmhouse that fronted the property where this little graveyard is located. The owner gave me directions by cutting through the housing edition nextdoor. After asking a few people, someone told me the "shortcut." I did a little snooping and found a path that led right to it along the property fenceline! [Aaron Crail was buried in Eller Cemetery in 1868.]

4. Back Creek Quaker Burying Ground, Gainsboro, Frederick, VA: This was my first experience with fieldstones being used as tombstones. [Rogers & Rinker families]

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Obituaries can be an extremely valuable source of information on your ancestors. Beware of the fact that the obit is as reliable as the person who provided the details.

Some early newspapers had obituary sections. Others fit them in in local news sections or personals. Modern newspapers have the obit section. Many obits are posted online via newspaper indexes or local library indexes.

You may run into death notices rather than obituaries. If all you need is the date and place of death, then you're in good shape. Small town papers may have more detailed articles than larger locales.

When you are looking for an obit, narrow down the date as much as possible. Searching all of the May 1900 papers beats searching all of the 1900 papers! If you have a date [i.e. May 1, 1888], start with that issue and search ahead about a week. If the paper is a weekly, check the week after the death - for starters. The same would hold for a bi-weekly.

What can you find in the obituary?  The ideal obits will give you the name of the deceased, birth information, date/place of death, spouse, marriage, number of children with names, siblings, occupation, some biographical data, place and time of funeral. Shorter obits: name, age, spouse, birthplace, residence, survivors, funeral details.

Verify all of the details that you can with other sources. The informant could have been wrong! Also take some of the flowery prose included in the small town papers with a grain of salt. After reading a few of my family members' obits, I felt I should have submitted them for sainthood.

If the obit gives the names of children and siblings, then you may have some new leads to follow on the family.

I will close with a mystery. I found Rufus Jennison's obit and funeral notices in the 1864 Indianapolis papers. All other records state that he died in 1862. I guess ol' Rufus wanted to stretch things out as long as possible.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Genealogy Source: Death Certificates

You found an ancestor's death certificate on-line or at the health department! All of your questions are about to be answered! Right?

Well, maybe.

You are relying on the truthfulness, memory and accuracy of basically two people. The attending physician and the informant. The doctor is going to provide the cause, date, time and place of death. The informant will provide the other crucial information: full name, birth date, place of birth, parents' names and birthplaces, etc.

The big question, how reliable is the informant? Chances are that the person giving the information is the spouse, child, sibling, parent, some other relative, or person acquainted with the decedent. How familiar are these people with the background of the person who died?

My mother's death certificate has one error on it. Her name is given as "Ruth Jane." It should be "Ruthjane," one word, no middle name. As I recall, Pop and I told the person recording the info that it was one name. On the record now, that's not the case.

The personal details that you generally find on the death record are: name, residence, sex, color, marital status, name of spouse, birth date, age at death [years, months, days], occupation, birthplace, father's name and birthplace, mother's name and birthplace, name and address of informant. Medical details? Date of death, dates physician attended the person, cause of death, place/date of burial.

The medical info should be reliable.

As far as the personal info, determine the relationship of the informant to the deceased. Then consider the state of mind of the informant. The closer he/she is, the more likely a memory lapse.

Spouses, siblings and parents are most likely to know more details. The children and other relatives should know most of the answers. Neighbors? Who knows!

On several of the death certificates that I have on file, one or both parents are listed as "unknown." The same goes for the parent's birthplace. The birthplace of one or both parents is incorrect in a few cases. In the case of  J.M. [James Morris] Simmons, his mother is given as "Dolly Simmons." Her maiden name was not given.

There are misspellings of given and surname in some cases. My Mom is a prime example. Spelling corrections had to be made to her great-grandmother's certificate. In some cases nicknames are given, especially if they were the primary name used. [Ama Jemima Simmons went by Mima.]

In a few cases, the birth date may not be given. An estimated age should be given though.

My most disappointing death certificate - personal information-wise - was that of Mary A. Crail. Given: date of death, residence, sex, place of birth, race, and age.
Marital status was incorrect. She was recorded as "married." "Widowed" would have been accurate.*
Father's name: T. Jones
Mother's name and spouse's name were "unknown."

Other errors have popped up. Aaron Crail's birthplace was given as Ireland on a son's death certificate. Isaac Prall's birthplace was given as Scotland on his son's death certificate. [That may explain Prall being a Scottish surname!] Catherine O'Neil Crail's birth was recorded as 15 December 1833. She died on 29 July 1934. Her age was given as 99 years, 7 months, 14 days. If 1833 was correct, then her age should have been 100-7-14.  [Matching up with family lore.]

How do you know the information on the death certificate is correct? VERIFY, VERIFY, VERIFY!
Locate a birth record, if possible. Check the census records. Research the rest of the family. Try to find as much corroborating evidence as possible Exhaust every possible lead!

*Unless James B. Crail abandoned the family, he died between 1853 and 1876.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2016 Registration Just Around the Corner!

OK, I'm jumping the gun a bit here, but the SLIG 2016 registration date is only about a month and a half off. Registration opens on June 20th. The early minutes of registration are a mad house! The most popular tracks get filled up in a hurry! I signed up last year about 20 minutes into the registration kick-off and barely got a slot in the New England Research class.

Needless to say, some tracks are far more popular than others. It takes awhile for some of them to fill. Try to gauge the popularity of the topic and hope for the best.

Here is the list of tracks being offered: (coordinators are given in parentheses)
  • Corpus Juris: Advanced Legal Concepts for Genealogy (Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL)
  • Advanced Genealogical Methods (Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS)
  • Advanced Research Tools: Land Records (Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA and Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA)
  • Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum (Angela Packer McGhie)
  • Intermediate to Advanced DNA Analysis Techniques for Genealogical Research (Angie Bush, MS)
  • Beginning Genetic Genealogy (Blaine T. Bettinger, JD, Ph.D.)
  • Writing a Quality Family Narrative (John Philip Colletta, Ph.D., FUGA)
  • Research in the South (J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA)
  • Resources and Strategies for Intermediate U.S. Research, Part 2 (Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA, FMGS)
  • Research in New York (Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS)
  • Early U.S. Church Records (Rev. David McDonald, CG)
  • Solving Problems Like a Professional (Michael G. Hait, CG)
  • Problem Solving (Luana Darby, MLIS)
The course descriptions will be posted sometime this month, so check the UGA website frequently for details. Here is the url:

Problem Solving is returning after a year on hiatus. I don't know if there will be any changes to the format. If you have a "brick wall" research problem, then give Problem Solving a try! You will have professional consultants who specialize in your geographic region to help and plenty of time to work on your problem in the Family History Library. There will also be feedback from the other folks in your group.

I think I've had a pretty good record in solving all or part of my problems over 14 years. If you have any questions, contact the SLIG committee. You can drop me a line as well. I can probably answer a few questions.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Trips Not Taken -Yet, Hopefully

To officially put the wraps on the Research & Recreation trips topic, I'm going to look into the future! These are trips not yet taken, but I hope to plan and execute one day.

(1) Ireland: My primary destinations would be County Cork, where Catherine O'Neil Crail was born, and County Donegal, home to my McHugh family. I would hit the primary research facilities and visit local sights. A train trip from Cork to Donegal would be fun. Ulster might be another stop, if I could prove the Mahurins were in Northern Ireland before coming to Massachusetts.

(2) Wales: Merionethshire would be the main destination. Research and wandering around Fron Goch and other locales key to my Rogers, Evans and Pugh families. A couple of other destinations might be on the list, pending on research findings.

(3) Scotland: I would love to make a return trip to Scotland. This time I would have a few target families: MacCallum, Cunningham and Douglas for starters. A bit of research in Edinburgh to start with, then go where the research takes me!

(4) Switzerland: The canton of Zurich would be my destination. There I would be visiting and researching in the towns of Nurensdorf and Bassendorf to learn more about the Rinkers.

(5) England: Too much territory and too many families to deal with! I estimate that 70-80% of my ancestors hailed from England. I would guess that Hampshire would be the first stop. Come to think of it, England might have to be converted into 3-4 trips.

(6) Germany: A lot of additional research would be needed to find out where most of my German families came from. Wittenberg [Trisler], Baden [Wager, Laubscher] and Westphalia [Rittenhouse] would be on the list.

(7) The Netherlands: Leiden, Heerde and Zutphin figure into my Dutch ancestry and some of my Huguenot, Walloon and Pilgrim heritage. Leiden would be the primary stop for research and sightseeing.

OK, that's a good start. Now all I have to do is plan and finance the trips. Six of the seven would call for about 2 weeks each. England, maybe 3-4 months. Allowing for extra time, a year overseas should do it! :)-


(1) Rhodes Island is at the top of the list. Plenty of families to research.

(2) New York: I've been to part of the state before. NY City and Onondaga County would be Simmons research destinations. Plenty of places to see in the Big Apple and nearby.

(3) Virginia: I really need to conduct onsite research on several Virginia families [Land, Gulley, Barlow and  Sumter], so a trip to Richmond and pertinent counties would be in order.

(4) Missouri: Madison [Wager, Laubscher] and Jo Daviess [McHugh] Counties would be in order.

(5) Massachusetts: Boston, Danvers, Salem, Plymouth, the list goes on and on. Each stop would offer research venues and historic sites! Most of those English families started out in Massachusetts. A month might cover it!

I've probably left out a few places that I need to visit. Several local day trips are needed as well. Those would most likely be research only: Campbell-Kenton Counties, KY, Cincinnati public library, Henry, Bartholomew, Miami and Jackson Counties, IN.

About 10 years and a couple of million dollars should cover the trips.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Wrapping up the Genealogy Research + R&R Trip

2003 was the last true combination research and sightseeing trip. Since then, it's generally been one or the other. I also attended the FGS Conference in Orlando, FL that year. 2004 was a stay close to home summer thanks to a quartet of hurricanes. In 2005 I attended the NGS Conference in Nashville, TN.

2006 marked the FGS Conference in Boston, MA. The NE HisGen Society library was open extended hours for attendees. I took advantage of the opportunity one evening and had a brief session with noted genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts. I was also able to track down crucial information on the Zachariah Rhodes "lost at sea" incident.

The magical resource was a photocopy book of Frederick A. Holden's Family Record or journal of facts of the Holden Family in America, 1852-1910: from Randall Holden about 1636 to the present time. Volume VII. [New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, 1989] The book gave the name of the ship Captain Rhodes sailed from Baltimore [Hannah] & the date she left port [14 August 1815]. The information provided on Zachariah's wife was incorrect - Harriet Shepperd.

2007 saw me traveling to Fort Wayne, IN for the NGS Conference. I did do some research at the Allen County Public Library and stopped off in Marion [Grant Co.] to do some Prall research. I visited the Herbst Thrailkill Cemetery where my great-grandparents are buried and what is left of the town of Herbst [the Methodist Church and a couple of housing editions] where the ggp lived for awhile. I attended a AAA baseball game and visited family in Indy. I also made the decision to "move back home."

Guidelines for the Genealogy R&R Trip:
1. Select your research destination and the schedules of local research venues.
2. Pick your museums, historic sites, etc.
3.Set your schedule.
4. Have fun.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania and Virginia and the Revolutionary War

2002 marked the final leg of the Revolutionary War summer workshops. The Revolution in the South was an extremely interesting trip. Among our stops were Kings Mountain, Cowpens, Guilford Court House, Alamance, Jamestown, Yorktown, Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello and a final stop in Washington D.C. that included Mount Vernon.

I vowed that I would visit some of the sites we missed the following summer. But first....

In March 2003, the Hereditary Order of the Signers of the Bush Declaration held its inaugural meeting in Harford Co., Maryland.

From the HOSBD website: "On March 22, 1775, thirty-four men gathered in a small tavern to sign the historic Bush Declaration. In this short text, these unique individuals pledged their lives and fortune to support freedom." This document was signed three weeks before the war broke out at Lexington and Concord. Among the signers was my collateral ancestor Edward Prall. I felt that "Uncle Ed" deserved to be represented. I joined and attended the banquet and meeting.

With Baltimore nearby, I went to the Marylanad Historical Society and did some serious 1810-1820 work on the  Baltimore City directories to try to unravel the mysteries of the Rhodes-Cunningham family. The effort was a major success. I was able to narrow the years of death for Captain Zachariah Rhodes and his wife Harriet Cunningham. I was also able to learn about the occupations of Harriet's brothers-in-law. The entire group was living in the Fell's Point neighborhood on the harbor.

Next I visited the family stomping ground at Fell's Point, where I tracked down the addresses [buildings probably long-since razed and replaced] and toured some of the shops. I got a nice feel for the waterfront.

My final stop was Fort McHenry, birthplace of The Star Spangled Banner. If you get a chance, visit!
The climax to the documentary on the siege is opening the curtains to reveal the flag. Unbelievable!

Also in 2003 I decided to take in my 1st national conference, the NGS Conference in Pittsburgh. It would also give me the opportunity to do a little research and visit the area where my Crousore and Faucett ancestors lived. [Also the Simmons clan, as I would later learn.]

After the conference, I drove to Uniontown to research at the Historical Society there. I was able to find a few tidbits on Nicholas Crousore. Then the sightseeing began. Mount Washington Tavern, Fort Necessity [where the French defeated G. Washington], the site of Braddock's defeat during the French and Idian War, Jumonville [where G.W. defeated the French, igniting hostilities].

After school was out for good [retirement], I packed up and headed for Virginia to visit my Welsh and Swiss roots. Revolutionary War sites missed in '02 would follow.

Winchester, Frederick Co., Virginia was my primary stop. I stopped at the Hopewell MM Cemetery and Meeting House where members of the Rogers family had attended. I met with Col. Sidney Rogers in Gainsboro and he graciously shared copies of his Rogers research with me and directed me to the Back Creek Quaker Graveyard where several members of the Rogers, Rinker and Wolary families are buried.

I conducted research at the Hadley Library in Winchester. I was able to uncover a great deal of information on the Rogers, Rinker, Allemong and Wolary families. The staff was exceptional.

Other sites: Rev War hero Daniel Morgan's gravesite, Washington's HQ and Stonewall Jackson's HQ.

Onward! I visited the Jamestown historic village asnd Revolutionary War Museum at Yorktown, the Ninety-Six Battlefield, Camden, Cowpens and Historic Brattonville. In addition to being the location for the Battle of Huck's Defeat, Brattonville played host to the filming of Mel Gibson's The Patriot.
It was fun seeing buildings and landscapes utilized in the movie.

I wrapped up the trip with a visit to my uncle in Augusta, Georgia.


top & middle: Fort McHenry, Baltimore, MD;
bottom: Fell's Point, MD

top: Washington's Tavern on National Road, PA;
middle: Fort Necessity; bottom: Jumonville Battle site

top: Site of Braddock's Defeat;
middle: Hopewell Meeting House, VA;
bottom: Back Creek Quaker Graveyard, VA
top: Daniel Morgan Monument
middle: Washington's Winchester HQ
bottom: Powhattan village, Jamestown

top: Replicas of Godspeed & Susan Constant, Jamestowm;
middle: Cannon demo; bottom: 96 starfort
top: Kershaw House - Cornwallis' HQ, Camden, SC
middle: DeKalb Monument at Camden Battlefield
bottom: Cowpens Battlefield

top: Bratton House, Historic Brattonsville
middle: field used as battle site during The Patriot
bottom: Brattonville Visitor's Center 

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Illinois - Wisconsin - Indiana - Kentucky Trip

2001 covered a lot of territory. I decided to take the pro-genealogy course at Samford University's summer genealogy institute in Birmingham, Alabama. Unfortunately, the McHugh clan was having a reunion in Indianapolis that same week. I had already planned to follow-up Samford with a trip to Wisconsin to do McHugh research and a stop over in Springfield, Illinois to visit Mr. Lincoln's resting place. So, Indy and a visit with McHugh cousins would have to follow those stops. Kentucky would get a brief visit as well.

Springfield was purely sightseeing. Lincoln Historical Park, which included Lincoln's home and several other buildings from the 1850s, and Lincoln's Tomb and Memorial were on the agenda.

Next stop, Galena, Illinois. The McHughs made Galena their home for a couple of years before moving on to Wisconsin. Jack McHugh, my grandfather's eldest brother, moved to Galena during the early 1900s and became a cigar maker. I stopped by the Historical Society [it was closed, always check the schedule!] and was able to find a 1914 City Directory reprint in the Museum gift shop [the museum was open] and located Uncle Jack's business and home addresses. He lived in an apartment or loft above a local business. The cigar factory is now a stationary store and print shop. [A call to the owner confirmed the building once housed the cigar factory.]

Lafayette Co., Wisconsin was next. I stopped at the library in Shullsburg. The librarian gave me the number of the local historian. We met at her house and she made copies of the McHugh information she had on file. Stops at St. Matthew's Catholic Cemetery just outside Shullsburg and St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in nearby Gratiot to take photos of McHugh tombstones. I walked the main street of Shullsburg and bought a souvenir t-shirt at the local beauty shop. I also took some shots of Gratiot.

I also visited the county seat of Darlington for court house research [deeds and vital records] and to visit the Darlington library and Historical Society. Both were successful stops. The library offered obituaries on microfilm and the Historical Society had had a nice collection of McHugh info!

I stayed at a resort north of Madison for a few days of R&R [research and relaxation]. I visited the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison for a day of research. I spent a day at the New Glaus Swiss Village. I simply goofed off for a day or two as well.

On to Indy! Sightseeing was primarily cemeteries for a good part of the trip, along with catching up with family friends and cousins. I spent an evening with my McHugh clan after missing the reunion.

Tipton and Sharpsville [Tipton Co.]: I visited the public library in Tipton for research on the Simmons and Crousore families. I visited the family gravesites at Sharpsville Cemetery [John T. & Edith (Crousore) Simmons].

Kokomo [Howard Co.]: Two stops here, the Kokomo-Howard Co. Public Library and Crown Point Cemetery [James M. & Hester Jane (Moore) Simmons.

Indianapolis: I took in the State Library [for obituaries on a dozen or so family members] and State Archives [land records]. I visited Crown Hill Cemetery, where about two dozen relatives are interred. Just across the Marion County line, in Hamilton Co., I visited a remote cemetery where Civil War veteran Aaron Crail was buried in 1868.

Greensburg [Decatur Co.]: My first stop was the Court House [land and marriage records] and then the local library. There, thanks to cemetery records, I learned where my Gulleys were buried. I asked the librarians for directions, but she wasn't sure where the cemetery was. She called her husband at work to get directions for me! Some people just go the extra mile to help out! I drove to the Star of Little Flat Rock Baptist Church and wandered the "old section" until I found the graves.

Kentucky! I visited the Sons of the American Revolution Library in Louisville.

In Nicholasville, I also returned to the Jessamine Co. Historical Society for additional research. I visited the Hoover Graveyard there. Members of the Cawby and Trisler families are buried at Hoover. At the time it was pretty rundown. Markers were overturned, broken and buried. The cemetery was due to be fixed up by the JCHS over the next few years.

Side trips: Boonesborough and Fort Harrod, again; the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill and a ball game at Cinergy Field in Cincinnati.

Genealogy, history and cemeteries! What a trip!

Top: Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill, KY & Hoover Graveyard in Jessamine Co., KY

Galena, IL: Print shop that housed Jack McHugh's cigar factory  &
Street view of Shullsburg, WI

Lincoln Memorial Tomb, Lincoln Home in Springfield

top: New Glaus Swiss Village [WI]
bottom: James, Mima, Catherine Crail 
graves at Crown Hill Cemetery, Indy