Friday, July 31, 2015

The French and Indian War / Seven Years War [1754-1763]

The French and Indian War /Seven Years War [1754-1763]: This was a conflict between Great Britain, with her American colonies, and France, with her Indian allies, over control of North America. George Washington got off to a rough start as a military officer with a defeat at Fort Necessity, but redeemed himself after Gen. Braddock was ambushed near Fort Duquesne [Pittsburgh]. The victory in the war went to the British. France lost her western possessions to Spain and eastern lands to Britain. France retained New Orleans and some Caribbean Islands. Ottawa chief Pontiac laid siege to Detroit in 1763, but without French support was forced to give up the attack.

Shawnee raids from the Ohio country into western Virginia resulted in the deaths and capture of dozens of settlers. Among them was the family of young John Faucett. His mother and siblings were killed and John taken captive. He spent several years with the Indians and was adopted into the tribe. John was eventually traded back to the whites. [The fate of his father is unknown.]

Prominent Quaker minister James Wright and his family were driven from their home in Frederick Co., VA during the war. Money was raised in Philadelphia for the relief of the Wright family.

site of interest:

(I may be out of commission for a few days due to ankle surgery. I'll try to get a few posts scheduled, but the blog may go silent for a few days!)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ancestors in Conflict: The Pequot War to the Middle East

I thought I'd take a look at military conflict affecting our ancestors for a week or so. If one of my direct or collateral ancestors saw service in a given war, I'll highlight them as I go.

Pequot War: The events leading to the Pequot War began in the early 1630s & came to a head in 1637. The conflict involved the Pequot tribe & the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth & Saybrook colonies of New England, along with their Narragansett & Mohegan allies. Some 700 Pequots were killed or captured. Hundreds of the Pequots were sold into slavery in the West Indies.

One of the events that ignited the war was the killing of trader John Pequot warriors near Block Island. Oldham was the brother-in-law of Jonathan Brewster, son of William Brewster [Mayflower].

Interesting link:

King Philip's War: Although the Wampanoags had been on good terms with the Plymouth settlers since 1620, Sachem [chief] Philip [Metacomet] did not trust them. In 1674, Sassamon, a Christian convert, informed the settlers that Philip was planning a raid. Sassamon was found dead and Metacomet's warriors were suspected of murdering him. Three warriors were taken prisoner and hanged.

Several New England towns were burned, including Providence, RI. The Narragansetts allied with Philip. Philip was killed at the Battle of Assowamsett Swamp in 1676.

John Low was among the volunteers killed by Narragansetts near Rehoboth, Mass. [now Cumberland, RI] in 1676. William Arnold took refuge at the home of his son Stephen in 1675 to avoid Indian raids, & died there at age 88.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SLIG 2016: The Research Log

The research log is a list of sources consulted and sources that need to be checked. The log will be added to [hopefully] before submission.

Research Log for Malcolm MacCallum:

Sources consulted:

Kellam-L: Daniel Kellam [Callum] Who Married Deborah Holden [] – Listserve

Rootsweb World Connect: Oler []2004

Vital Records of Lynn, Mass. To the end of the year 1849, Vol. I, Essex Institute, Salem, Mass., 1905 [Google Books digital image]

Mass. Marriages 1633-1850,, FHL #0761210

The Callum/Collum Family of Salem and Mendon, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, David Curtis Dearborn & William Ford Larson, The American Genealogist, #277, Vol. 70, #1, Jan. 1995 [p. 2-4]

Scots Prisoners and their Relocation to the Colonies, 1650-1654

Sources to Check:

E.N. Hartley, Ironworks on the Saugus: The Lynn and Braintree ventures of the Company of Undertakers of the Ironworks in New England; U of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1957

Marsha L. Hamilton, Social and Economic Networks in Early Massachusetts: Atlantic Connections, Penn State Press, State College, PA, 2009 [Ch. 1: Saugus Ironworks]


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SLIG 2016: The Pedigree Chart

Next up on the SLIG report is the pedigree chart. The chart is generally requested to be 3-4 generations, but for my MacCallums it is a 2 generation chat.

For those of you new to the pedigree chart: #1 on the chart is the main ancestor. If it's your chart, you are #1. The male in each line gets the even numbers [2, 4, 6 ,etc] and the female gets the odd numbers [3, 5, 7, etc.] So on your own chart:
1. you
2. father; 3. mother
4. paternal grandfather; 5. paternal grandmother
6. maternal grandfather; 7. maternal grandmother

For each person there is a space for birth date & place, marriage date & place; death date & place. There is also a space for #1's spouse.

If a space is blank, you know you need to find that info [or you need to get married! :)-]

Pedigree charts are generally formatted for 3, 4, or 5 generations.

On the chart below the death details for Ann and her parents needs to be located. Malcolm's date of birth is also needed. Martha's maiden name and birth data is needed. For estimates, exact dates should be sought.

The pedigree chart gives you a quick check list of info on several generations of a family. [Envision lines connecting Ann to each of her parents.]

Pedigree Chart for Ann Mac Callum:

                                         2. Malcolm Callum/MacCallum
                                             p. Scotland
                                             m. c1655
                                             p. Essex Co., Mass. Bay

1. Ann Callum/MacCallum
    b. 25 Aug 1659
    p. Lynn, Essex, Mass. Bay
    m. 26 Oct 1680
    p. Essex Co., Mass. Bay

                                         3. Martha [maiden name unkown]
spouse: Peter Twiss Jr.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Helping Hand

It is always nice to be able to lend assistance to folks looking for their ancestors. I recently received an email requesting information on her cousin whose mother was a Prall. With a little digging I was able to answer the questions she had about her cousin and trace the Prall line back to immigration.

If you can help out a fellow researcher or someone just getting started, do so. You never know when it may come back as a reward!

Friday, July 24, 2015

SLIG 2016: Map of Region [Essex Co., MA]

Another item included in the Problem Solving submission is a map of the region where your ancestor lived. In this case, the MacCallums resided in the Lynn, Saugus, Salem area of  southeast Essex Co., Massachusetts. The map is required to be a black & white image, so this one will be converted to b&w before submitting.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Archives of Maryland Biographical Series

I stumbled across a new site last night. The Archives of Maryland Biographical Series is part of the Maryland State Archives website. I found the bio page while searching for Edward Prall [Praul] who served in the Maryland Line from 1776-1783.

The bio page includes a link to the soldier's biography, images, sources and related collections. In this case, some new details arose on "Uncle Ed." One of his sergeants described the fate of his 4th Company at Long Island, including his 2nd Lt. [Prall] being shot in the hand. Prall was one of the officer held on the prison ships near Manhattan.

There have been two dates recorded for Capt. Prall's exchange [he was promoted twice while in captivity]. One was in 1777, the other 1778. A letter, dated 8 April 1778, was included from Brig. Gen. Smallwood to Gen. Washington requesting that he arrange the exchange of 4 officers, including Edward Praul. That would confirm the later date. Edward was released weeks before the Continental Army broke camp at Valley Forge.

Capt. Prall was with the 2st Maryland through 1779. The author of the sketch theorizes that Edward spent most of 1780-81 recruiting in Maryland. [He definitely spent time on recruitment, but details from other soldiers' pensions suggest the captain returned to field service and saw action in the Southern Campaign.]

The article also places his home in Maryland near Churchville.

Another fantastic find!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Weekend in Philly

I spent the weekend in Philadelphia. My girlfriend had a conference there and I tagged along. We went on a trolley tour of Valley Forge on Saturday. The tour guide was very knowledgeable. Other than the fact that the city bus driver skipped the Valley Forge stop at the end of the day, it was a fun day. SEPTA [bus company] came through nicely. A supervisor was sent to pick up the stranded.

I wandered around Independence Mall for awhile on Sunday, scouting out stops for our Tuesday sight-seeing. Philly had a heat index of 105 degrees.* I lasted about 4 hours.

My Monday mission was to do a little research at the Free Library of Philadelphia [the Historical Society of PA was closed.] The library at 19th & Vine is very impressive! Unfortunately, the genealogy resources are a bit scant and the family histories are in the closed stacks.

Tuesday was a good day. The heat wasn't nearly as bad as the previous three days. We took in Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Pavilion, Congress Hall, Elfreth Alley, the Betsy Ross House, and the Philadelphia Mint. We took in the films at the Independence Visitors Center and a 360 film at one of the Franklin sites. While taking photos near Carpenters Hall, we encountered Col. Daniel Morgan, who was preparing to attempt  to recruit soldiers for Gen. Washington. We had a very interesting discussion of his achievements up to the current day [this being 1779, not 2016]. Col. Morgan was a bit miffed that Anthony Wayne was given the command of the Light Infantry due to his being held prisoner after the Invasion of Canada failed. We discussed my Edward Prall, serving with Smallwood's Marylanders. Morgan had nothing but praise for Benedict Arnold, especially his heroics on the Canadian campaign. [Remember, 1779 - the West Point treason was away off yet.] That was really fun!

*I was last in the Philly area in 1993 for the Freedoms Foundation Revolutionary War in the Delaware Valley workshop. The region was in the throws of a record-setting string of days in the mid to high 90s. They must save the heat for me!

Monday, July 20, 2015

SLIG 2016: MacCallum Timeline

MacCallum Timeline:

1625-1634 (est.): Birth of Malcolm MacCallum in Scotland
Dec 1650: MacCallum captured by Cromwell's forces at the Battle of Dunbar in Scotland
Nov 1651: Cromwell sends group of Scots on the ship Unity to Boston as indentured servants to work at Saugus (Lynn) Iron Works
1651-1655 (est) MacCallum works off indenture at Iron Works
1655/6: MacCallum marries Martha _______ at Lynn, Essex, Mass. Bay
6 Jan 1657: MacCallum on a list of members of the Scot's Charitable Society of Boston
12 Sep 1657: Birth of daughter Mary at Lynn
25 Aug 1659: Birth of daughter Ann at Lynn
17 Dec 1661: Birth of son John at Lynn
30 May 1664: Birth of son Caleb at Lynn
2 June 1667: Birth of son Daniel at Lynn
18 June 1670: Birth of daughter Martha at Lynn
26 Feb 1677: MacCallum took an oath at Lynn
26 Oct 1680: Ann MacCallum married Peter Twiss Jr. at Marblehead, Essex, Mass. Bay
1683: A "Callom Mecallom" was rated one shilling at Salem (may be son)
7 Dec 1686: Martha Makallum was received at the Salem Church

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Escursion to Philadelphia

My girlfriend has a conference in Philadelphia over this weekend. In her free time, we are taking in Valley Forge [Sat] and the Philly Historic District around Independence Park [Tues]. The rest of the time, I'm on my own.

My plan for Monday was to research both of our families at the PA Historical Society. There was a slight glitch in that plan, the PHS library is closed on Mondays! Backup plan, the Free Library of Philadelphia. The library has a genealogy department, so may offer some of the sources I need to check.

When you go on a research trip, check the hours of local repositories and have a backup plan!

[I may miss a couple of posts while in Philly.]

Saturday, July 18, 2015

SLIG 2016 Problem Solving Update

Problem Solving attendees were requested to send in preliminary information on their project last week.

Regions offered: New England, South, Midwest, Germany and British Isles

I hadn't planned on narrowing down my six options quite so soon! I did select my Scottish ancestor, Malcolm MacCallum.

Region: New England
Ancestor: Malcolm MacCallum
Time Frame: 1630 - 1710
Location: Massachusetts
Goal: To flesh out the life of Malcolm MacCallum
What is known: MacCallum was a prisoner of Cromwell after the Battle of Dunbar [1650]. Cromwell had many of his prisoners transported to the British colonies in America. MacCallum was among those sent to the iron works at Lynn/Saugus, Massachusetts aboard the Unity in 1651. By about 1655/6, he married Martha ???? His children were born at Lynn. Little else is known.

This project has the potential of being a complete disaster or a roaring success. The chances of locating information on MacCallum's early years in Scotland are very slim. He was probably between 16 and, say, 25 when captured. [So born between 1625 and 1634.] If he appears beyond the birth records of Lynn [deeds, marriage, death, local histories, etc.] then there is a chance of learning a good deal more about the Scotsman. The children dropped the Mac from the surname, so Callum needs to be searched as well.

As the various parts of the project are ready, I will post or summarize them on the blog.

1. One page summary with goals
2. Time line
3. Research report [what has been done, what needs to be done]
4. Family group sheet
5. Pedigree chart
6. Research log
7. Map 

Friday, July 17, 2015

One Last Round of Female Surname Mysteries

Fry: Eve Fry married John Faucett about 1790, perhaps later. No marriage record has been found to date. No vitals records confirming her birth and death dates appear to exist. That Fry is her maiden name is generally accepted, as at least one grandchild has Fry as a middle name. Records from Virginia, Ohio and Indiana appear! [Please?]

DuBois: The wife of Chretien  of  Artois, France was Cornelia. Her maiden name remains a mystery.

Dodge: About 1600, John Dodge married in Somerset, England to Margery ????

Dobbes: Alice Dobbes married Richard Gaymer 1561/2 Essex, England. Or was it Alice Hobbes?

Crousore/Kraushaar: Two generations of befuddlement. Nicholas married Elisabetha, surname not yet known. The identity of the wife of John, his son, remains unknown.

Clark: Who was the wife of Samuel Clark [b. c1750 PA]?

Cawby: Who was the first wife of John/Johannes Cawby of North Carolina?

Bridgum: Same question as to the wife of John Bridgum.

Brayne: Elizabeth???? was the wife of Edward Brayne.

Brackett: Three generations of missing mom info: William married Alice ????, Richard - wife unknown, and Peter married Rachel ????

Bowater or Davis?: There is open debate about the maiden name of Mary, wife of Quaker James Wright of PA and VA. For some years, Mary was believed to be a Davis. Then, Bowater was favored. Now both are again debated. If Bowater is correct, there are a few missing mothers.

Blessing: Margaet ???? wife of John Blessing.

Billiou: Thomas married Amie???? Son, Jean/Jeaq's wife remains a mystery.

Belknap/Beltoft: Laurence, no wife named; Richard married Elizabeth ???? [1500s England]

Barlett: A totally new twist! Katherine ???? married a man named Bartlett. His first name, her last, unknown.

Barlow: Three Thomas Barlows, three unknown wives.

Baker: Samuel of NJ, wife unknown.

Well, I've probably missed a dozen or so, but you get the idea!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

K-G Maiden Name Quandries

Keeney: Usual problem, William Keeney married, c1627 in England, Agnes or Annis ????

Jennison: Elizabeth Favour was believed to be the wife of Robert Jennison of 17th century England. Confirmation needed! Their son, Robert married Grace ???? about 1639 in Massachusetts.

Hubbard: Levin Hubbard married 3 times. Lydia Marshall was the first and Charlotte Adams the 3rd. Who was the 2nd?

Howlett: Who was the wife of William Howlett of 16th century Suffolk, England?

Hooker: Who were the spouses of father and son combo, Robert and John Hooker? John was also called "alias Vowell;" that's a topic for a later post!

Greene: Richard [c1526-1608] of  Dorsetshire, England - his wife was.....?

Gorton: Three Thomas Gortons. Only the grandson's wife is named, Anne???? Two generations forward to John: He married Margaret Wheaton/Weedon/Weeten/Weeden. Which one is correct?

Goode: Henry married about 1646 to whom?

Goddard: Daniel married Anne ???? and they had Henry about 1665 in Gloucestershire.

Garrison/Gerritsen/Gerrits: A pair of early Staten Island mysteries: Who were Hester, wife of  Johannes and Hannah, wife of his son John?

Gamage: Sir Thomas of Wales, who was his bride?

I think tomorrow should wrap up this topic.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

More Distaff Discrepencies

MacCallum: I left one M off the list. Malcolm/Mackum/Micum MacCallum, a Scots POW  indentured to the Saugus/Lynn Ironworks by Oliver Cromwell in 1651, married a lady named Martha about 1655/6. Martha's maiden name has yet to be learned. Not helping the issue is the fact that their children were recorded under numerous variations of Malcolm and MacCallum. The Mac was dropped by the children.

Low: I'm including this one as a "check your facts really well" item. It has been resolved. I had a John Low married to an Elizabeth Stoddard, both of Hingham in Massachusetts. They married in Marshfield. The two towns were a considerable distance apart for 17th century travel. Further research pointed to an error. I had the wrong couple! The correct pairing was John Low and Elizabeth Howland, both of Marshfield.

Looke: Thomas married about 1646 in Eseex Co., MA. Not only was his wife's maiden name unknown, but researchers weren't sure if she was a Mary or a Sarah.

Lockwood: Ruth, wife of Edmund Lockwood, who arrived with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, has yet to have her maiden name unveiled.

Livingston: Judith Livingston was believed to be the wife of Henry Barlow of VA and KY. There is no definitive proof of that "fact."

Latham: The paternal line of Frances Latham, "the Mother of Governors," is a bit lacking in maternal detail.  Lewis & Elizabeth, John Jr. & ????, John Sr. & Joan, Thomas & Elizabeth, Nicholas & ????. Maiden names or full names are missing in each generation.

Lakin: Margery, wife of Henry, married about 1654 in England. Maiden name unknown.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Distaff Surnames N & M

Norton: Hugh Norton of Fairfield, CT married about 1722. The question is to whom?

Maverick: A new twist! Robert Maverick married Miss Bull in 1577 Devonshire. Her first name is missing!

Mattle/Motley: Thomas Mattle married the mother of Anne Mattle about 1602. Who was she?

Maplett: Another variation on the theme. Rev. John Maplett married widow Ellen Leaper in England. What was Ellen's maiden name? The reverend's son John married Mary ???? Another missing surname.

Mahurin: Hugh Mahurin's [1691-1755] wife is believed to be Mary Campbell. This is based primarily on the fact that the name Ebenezer shows up in the Campbell and Mahurin familes in Taunton, Mass. Ebenezer Mahurin was thought to be named for Mary's father.

Monday, July 13, 2015

More Distaff Surname Issues - O & P

Prall: Arent Jansen Prall was married three times. There are issues with all three. (1) Marie Billiou's death date is in question - sometime during the 1690s. No name issues. (2) Catherine: There is no record of Arent's 2nd marriage. My belief, based on Arent's will, is that she was Tryntje [Catherine] Barents Blom, widow of Hans Christopher and mother of Arent's daughter-in-law, Maria Christopher. (3) Arent's will also mentions a 3rd wife, believed to be Madlenor. Again, no marriage record. Arent's grandson, Aaron, was married twice. His 2nd wife, Mary Whittaker, is well documented. The identity of Aaron's first wife is unknown. They may have married in Kingston/Wildwyck, NY. They had a daughter, Alida, who was raised by Aaron's parents, Pieter and Maria.

Perkins: Lydia Perkins[1640-1715] , wife of Francis Peabody, was the daughter of  Isaac Perkins and an unidentified Wife.

Olmstead: The wife of Richard Olmstead [1608-1687] remains unidentified.

Obee: Hendrick Obee [1625-aft 1692] suffers the same fate as Richard Olmstead.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Distaff Surname Issues

Scott: We are going back to the 16th & 17th centuries here for the Scott family. George [1495-1562] is lacking his spouse's identity. Son Edmund [1524-1621] married Joan, whose maiden name is not yet known.

Scofield: Richard Scofield married about 1648 in Massachusetts. His wife was named Mary. Another missing maiden name.

Schumaker, Umstatt, Revacomb: Gerhard Rittenhose has one of the more interesting "wife issues." Early researchers believed Gerhard's wife was a Revacomb. That was all but dismissed over the years. Two candidates remained, Mary Schumaker and Anna Umstatt. Mary is favored, but by no means is the decision conclusive.

Ross vs. Johnston: The parentage of William Douglas Sr. of Scotland, England and Connecticut is open to debate. It is believed his father was Robert Douglas of Scotland. His mother? Two possible candidates: Jean Ross and Nicolace Johnston.

 Riddlesdale: Jasper Riddlesdale married Elizabeth about 1518 in Suffolk, England. Son Henry married Joan about 1554 in Suffolk. Grandson John married Dorcas about 1583 in Suffolk. In each case the spouse's maiden name is missing.

Rhodes: Walter Rhodes' wife Elizabeth has the missing surname syndrome as well. They married in England about 1603.

Remington: The wife of Yorkshire's Richard Remington, Joan [b. c1465] also is missing a maiden name. Richard's gggs, John's spouse, Elizabeth, likewise.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Surnames of Female Ancestors II

Tucke: Robert Tucke's wife is given as Alice with no surname. Solving this one requires research in 1500s Devonshire, England. Boy, a two-three month stay in England would be a nice research trip!

Thomas: We now travel to Wales for another missing maiden name. The wife of Evan Thomas was Sarah. Sarah was born about 1600.

Swart: And then there's the situation where you have no name for the missus. This is the case for the wife of Cornelis Swart. The time frame is the early 1600s in The Netherlands.

Strutt: The late 1500s in Suffolk, England brings another missing surname. Agnes, wife of Robert Strutt.

Sumter: What was the maiden name of the mother of "the Gamecock," Gen. Thomas Sumter? That would also apply to his sister, Anna Sumter Land. William Sumter married a lady named Elizabeth. To make matters worse, the couple is often confused with other Williams and Elizabeths from the early 1700s in England. [They immigrated to Virginia about 1730.]

Standiford: Pathiah or Bathiah Standiford married James Cunningham in 1773 Baltimore. The question here, who were her parents?

Stallion: Thomas Stallion married Elizabeth about 1531 in Essex, England. Her maiden name? Unknown at this time.

St. John: Appropriately enough, there is more that one issue with this family. Christoper/Christian St. John [Sension, Santken] married a woman named Joan about 1600/01 in London. His grandson, Mathias, was married to Elizabeth in Fairfield, Connecticut. Trust me, I've searched for the maiden names of both women! Mathias' grandson, Job married Sarah. It is believed, but not confirmed that her maiden name was Lewis.

Smith: Revolutionary War veteran Henry Smith was married to Elizabeth Powell at the time he filed for his pension. Elizabeth was too young to be the mother of Henry's son William. So, the identity of William's mother remains a mystery.

Simmons: John Simmons Jr. was married three times. The name of his first wife is believed to be Mary Nelson. The only reference to her identity is a DAR application.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Surnames of Female Ancestors: From Z to A

My first installment here actually skips Z, Y and X. That brings W up first.

Wryall: Mary, the wife of Elder William Brewster [Mayflower] is my first candidate. Wryall is one of at least two surnames [Wentworth being the other] offered for Mrs. Brewster. Both surnames have been met with skepticism by many researchers. You'd think someone married to a gent that famous would be well documented!

Wheaton: Margaret, wife of John Gorton. There are several spelling variations for Margaret's surname: Wheaton, Weedon, Weeden and Weeton [marriage record]. Several entries on Margaret give her father [multiple candidates]. In at least one case, she is tied to Frances Latham by her marriage to Jeremy/Jeremiah Clarke. That makes her an ancestor of a whole slew of famous folks!
I haven't worked on this line in awhile, so checking Weetons in Warwick, RI may be in order.

Waite: This surname is listed for Bethiah, wife of Richard Waterman. Rice has also been offered.


Very/Verry: The maiden name of Bridget, wife of Thomas Very, is unknown. She is a possible descendant of Henry Scudder. Research on Bridget would go back to Kent, England around 1600.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Looking at Surname Questions: Some suggestions on Finding Female's Surnames

I would imagine that many of you have had, at least, a few surname issues - especially with your female ancestors. I'm going to take a

A number of issues are involved here:
(1) No surname is given for the wife
(2) Several possible surnames are given for the wife
(3) The wrong surname is given for the wife
(4) The wife is confused with another female with the same first name and becomes accepted
(5) The first name of the spouse is misread in records due to poor handwriting or indexing errors

#1 can be really frustrating. It seems like every record you come across has her first name, but no clue to her maiden name.

#2 is generally the result of several sources that go back to early research. Hopefully, more recent research will explain away each one or give some evidence as to why it should still be considered viable.

#3 can also be frustrating and infuriating. That wrong surname, if generally accepted, can misdirect research on the family and introduce branches that don't belong on the family tree.

#4 fits that frustrating and infuriating cycle. Everyone hates getting saddled with wrong ancestors!

#5 can really mess up your research. Handwriting can be a challenge to read in everything from census records to wills to deeds.


(1) Check the neighbors! It's easiest to do on the 1850 and later censuses. If there's a family living close to your family with a gap that fits the age of your gal, maybe you have the answer. There may also be a member of the family living with relatives. Also look at deeds or plat maps for neighboring families. Probate records could also solve the problem: identify the heirs, witnesses and others named in the documents. Military pensions, birth records and baptismal/christening records, marriage bonds and licenses, death certificates, local histories and biographies are other sources to investigate.

(2) This is a tough one. Try the sources listed above. Check compiled genealogies to see what source is cited for that surname. Then investigate!

(3) Once again, check all of the usual sources listed in #1.

(4) This requires some bullheadedness. If you suspect your ancestor's surname is in error, prove your suspicions right or wrong. Something as simple as an elusive marriage record may provide the answer.

(5) Get creative! Try to thing of all of the possible errors that could have been made. Look at the other names on the census pages to see what quirks you notice in m, n, o, a, f, and other frequently confusing letters. In other documents, look at letter formation in words that you have already figured out.

There you have a few suggestions on those elusive ladies. I'll be looking at a few examples in my own family tree of female surname quandaries over the next week or so.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Updating My Graet-grandfather's Siblings: Update

After a few days off, I'm back. I mentioned earlier that I was updating my great-grandfather's brothers and sisters for the Prall Family Newsletter. The task is finished!

My original family group record for the 10 siblings had more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese. Exact birth, marriage and death dates were missing for several people, including a number of their children.

I now have the birth and death dates for all 10. The full date was located for nearly everyone, if not, at least the month and year. I was able to locate the marriage dates and places for all 10, except one of the girls' first marriage.

The kids were a different story! A lot of new information was uncovered on the youngsters. Still, details are missing on several. Exact birth, marriage and death dates were not located in a number of cases. Even spouse [husbands, generally] names were hard to come by in several instances.

All in all, it was a worthwhile exercise. A good deal of new information is now ready to be entered into the computer.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day!

July 4th. The celebration of US independence from Great Britain. Those of us who can trace our roots back to the colonial era probably have Revolutionary War ancestors. Some patriots, some loyalists, some neutral or switching sides from time to time.

I'd like to thank my Rev War ancestors, direct and collateral, for their sacrifice and dedication to the cause. I'll probably miss a few, but here goes:

Captain Edward Prall, Maryland Line. [POW - Long Island]
Private John Faucett, Pennsylvania militia, Virginia Line.
Private John Simmons Sr., 2nd New York Provisional Regt.
Private John Simmons Jr., New York militia and Levies
Captain Holden Rhodes, Rhode Island [naval] privateer [POW - Forten Prison, Gosport, England]
Brigadier General Nathanael Greene, Continental Army, Quartermaster General, Commander of Southern Campaign
Private Peter Jennison, Massachusetts militia at Lexington.
Private Henry Smith, Virginia Line at Yorktown,
Amos Singletary, Massachusetts Provincial Congress.
Private Conrad Eathenhouse, Lossberg Regt., Hessian army; later Virginia Line
Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, Continental Army, later British Army
Matthias Schultz, Pennsylvania Line
John Schultz, Daniel Morgan's Rifle Company

There were others who served briefly with local militia units or leant misery and discomfort to the enemy.

Friday, July 3, 2015

1870 Census: The Faucetts were missing in Hendricks Co., IN

I haven't worked on my Faucett family in quite awhile. I also thought I had the family of Benjamin F. & Nancy [Clark] Faucett nicely settled in Hendricks Co., IN from their marriage until they moved to Indy about 1882.

A couple of days ago I was checking on  for the Clark family. The 1870 census had the Clarks in Hendricks Co., where they were "supposed" to be. I had the Faucetts missing from the mix for several years. Suddenly, there was Benjamin 'Faucet' in Mattoon, Coles Co., Illinois! What was the family doing there? Was it the right family?

Sure enough, Benjamin, Nancy, Alpheus, James, Charley and Mary, The names fit, as did the ages, birthplaces, etc. Benjamin was shown as a railroad laborer.

After the Civil War, the family must have fallen on hard times and Benjamin found work on one of the railroads based in Coles Co. They did return to Hendricks Co. before the end of the decade. Youngest son Leroy was born  there in 1878.
y puzzle!
Another piece of the famil

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Another New Discovery!

While working on the family group updates that I posted about yesterday, I came across a new cousin of note. My great-grandfather's sister, Harriet Cunningham Prall, was the focus of this particular update. Her daughter, Annie E. Grove married Alphonse Thomas Sr. They had two children Annie and Alphonse Jr. [Tommy].

Baltimore native Tommy Thomas became a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox in 1926. He would go on to pitch for the Washington Senators, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Browns and Boston Red Sox before retiring in 1937. His best year was 1927. Tommy posted a 19-16 record with a 2.98 ERA. An elbow injury in 1930 and subsequent surgery in 1932 caused Thomas' effectiveness to fade.

He was a player-coach with Chattanooga in 1939, then went to AAA Baltimore in 1940 as a coach and manager until 1949. He also served as the Orioles general manager beginning in 1943. He resigned from the Orioles in 1949 and was hired to scout for the Red Sox. He was GM for the Minneapolis Millers for a short time, then returned to scouting for Boston until 1973.

After retiring from baseball, Thomas and his wife retired to their home in Dallastown, York, PA. His wife Alice died in 1982 and Alphonse Thomas Jr. died in 1988.

The information for this post was gleaned from Jimmy Keenan's article that appears on SABP at

This is big stuff for an avid baseball fan!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Updating Family Groups

I recently volunteered to provide a series of articles for the Prall Family Newsletter on the children of my great-great-grandparents, Isaac Rittenhouse Prall and Ann Bathia Rhodes.That involved updating my files on all ten children!

I have waded through, Find a Grave, World Vital Records and looking for new details on my great-grandaunts and uncles and their children.  I have added more new information than I ever dreamed of! A lot of blanks have been filled and new cousins added.

Of course, it's a bit depressing knowing that some of the information in my 2009 books on my family is in error, but that's to be expected. Data is corrected, changed, and added as time passes. At least I will have current information out there. Hopefully, all of it accurate.

If you haven't updated a family file in awhile, then have at it! Pick one to start with that only has three or four kids. Ten is a lot to deal with!