Thursday, June 30, 2016

Papers, Folders and Documents, Oh My!

Well, I have finally wrapped up my most recent research project and have begun to tackle the dreaded project - organizing my scattered research material.

I now have a waste basket full of miscellaneous non-pertinent papers, miscopied documents, etc. and a nice stack of notes and documents to be sorted.

Folders are in 2-3 piles. They need to be alphabetized.

The documents and notes will then be put into the folders, new folders created as needed and the folders placed in the filing cabinet.

Anticipated time: I have no idea! End of summer? You have to allow for trips, new research, blogs, all sorts of stuff!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Simmons Adventure

I decided to tackle my Simmons family one year at SLC. I did some preliminary research. It seems that a gentleman had posted his Simmons lineage online with a series of pedigree charts. I made copies of the charts. I also found that the gentleman had enlisted a Salt Lake genealogy research firm to compile the genealogy. The professional hired had posted several queries about the Simmons clan. One of those posts led me to find out that James Morris Simmons had died in Carroll rather than Howard Co., IN. I drove up to Delphi and got a copy of James' death certificate. It gave his mother's first name as Dolly. The Simmons research gave her maiden name as Jennison, but other sources gave different maiden names.

Right off the bat, I was able to confirm Dolly Jennison as the mother of James, thanks to a Jennison genealogy.

I requested a meeting with the research firm that had done the Simmons research. The pedigree charts were sorely lacking in documentation. I asked the firm if it would be possible to get a list of sources used to compile the charts. The original researcher had recently passed away and his heirs would not release any part of the research to outsiders. The charts had since been pulled from the internet. I was given a pedigree chart, unsourced, for my line.

So, it was check the places and dates on microfilm at the FHL. I was relatively successful. I wonder what the heirs did with the research?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2000 Connecticut

Connecticut was an  interesting trip. I spent time at Hartford, Stamford and New London. I visited the Ancient Burial Ground to view William Douglas' grave. I also took in a few historical sites in Harford, including the statue of Gov. John Winthrop Jr. I stopped to thank him as well. Winthrop was al so the family physician for my Wakeman family. Hannah Wakeman Hackleton got herself into a bit of mischief  [adultery, murder and blasphemy]. The Governor commuted the death sentence for Hannah. So here I am!

Perhaps the weirdest event was at the hotel near Stamford. Evidently, the night clerk decided to view some "adult entertainment" and it got fed to all of the rooms!

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Maryland State Archives

Another "where is it?" story. I drove around Annapolis for awhile and stopped at a fire station for directional assistance. The Archives building was behind the fire house!

At lunch time the facility closed! I went across the street to the 7/11 and bought a hot dog, chips and Diet Coke, which I ate on a bench in front of the Archives.

This was one of my very early research trips, so inexperience contributed to my moderate success. Most of my discoveries were about Edward Prall's service with Smallwood and the 1st Maryland during the Revolution.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


In 2003, I went to the inaugural meeting of the Hereditary Order of the Signers of the Bush Declaration. Uncle Edward Prall had been one of the signers of the document, also called the Harford Resolves. Local Harford County Patriots had sworn their support for the actions of the 2nd Continental Congress on 23 March 1775. After the dinner, I hung around for a few days to do some research in near-by Baltimore.

I was focusing on my Rhodes-Cunningham family. Early 1800s City directories were my big success. I was able to find nearly all of the Cunningham family [6 girls & 1 boy] through about 1815. Zachariah Rhodes stopped appearing about 1813/4 and his wife Harriet about 1818. That narrowed the range of death for both. [I hadn't been to Boston yet!] I also found some info on Edward Prall.

Yet, the highlight of the trip was Fort McHenry [think Francis Scott Key]. I wandered around the fort and took pictures. The visitor's center offered a 15-20 minute film on the siege of Fort McHenry and Key's authoring the Star Spangled Banner. At the end of the film, the National Anthem began playing, and the curtains of the theater opened onto the fort's parade ground and the replica of the 1814 flag flapping in the breeze. GO USA!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

New Jersey Adventure

One summer I drove up to Trenton & Flemington, NJ for some research. I spent forever trying to find the NJ State Archives. I finally parked and asked a passerby where the facility was. He pointed to the large building about a football field away - "Right there." I fed the meter and went in to research.

At the Deats library in Flemington, I looked through the Prall card collection and Prall folders. My best find was the will of Benjamin Prall [brother to Cornelius Sr.] and the letter from the innkeeper with whom he had left the will. Benjamin had been on a trading trip, became ill and wrote his will.

That added three kids to the family group!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Salt Lake City trips before the Salt Lake Institute

Two or three times during the 1990s, I made trips to the Family History Library. My 1st trip was primarily designed to find Cornelius Prall Sr.'s estate settlement from 1819. Not only was I able to find the settlement, I discovered 2 or 3 more kids! Cornelius had died in 1813, but the estate was settled in 1819. That led to a mess in determining his family. Kids were assigned to wrong parents, left out completely or became siblings over the years.

My others trips were less organized. I had goals each time, but the FHL is like a candy shop - you go in for lemon drops, but the Tootsie Rolls, peppermint sticks and other items look good too! It's hard to keep your focus.

That's why I fell in love with the Problem Solving course at SLIG - one project to focus on for 5 days!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Virginia Bound

Back about 2002/3 my target destination was Virginia and my Quaker and Swiss ancestors. Several of my Quaker families [English & Welsh] settled in the Welsh Tract in PA for a time in the late 1600s before migrating to Frederick Co., VA. The Swiss Lutherans also started in PA & then moved on to Frederick Co.

I contacted a local resident with whom I had corresponded & met with him for awhile. That helped orient me to the area. The Welsh Quaker Rogers & the Swiss Rinkers were major land holders in the area. The families intermarried -ending the Quaker line - and my branch eventually went to Ohio.

I was ablei to visit the Quaker Burying Ground near Gainsboro where both families are buried.

The Hadley Library staff in Winchester was extremely helpful & I was able to gather quite a bit of new info on my Frederick Co. ancestors.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Locating the family homesteads

About three or four years ago I decided to go to the Danville Library to see if I could locate the tracts of land once owned by my Faucett families. With the help of the library genealogist, I was able to locate the land.

I drove around to see what was there now. At the corner of Morris & Raceway was John Faucett's farm, now a housing edition just inside the Marion Co. line. The tract shared by Joseph Faucett & his two brothers-in-law was on the opposite corner. It's now a small farm. Joseph moved a few years after his father died. That farm is also a housing edition at the corner of 100N & 950E not too far from the Avon WalMart.

If you live near ancestral land, see where it is.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Back to Kokomo: My most recent adventure

I had the opportunity to research at the Kokomo-Howard Co. Public Library last Wednesday. I was hoping to find some new info on my Crousores, but they were in the area too early to generate many resources.

I did make a couple of nice discoveries though.

(1) 1889 Kokomo directory entry for James 'Crait' [misspelling for 'Crail']: Blacksmith.

(2) Rush Co. marriage for Katherine Crousore

(3) Reference to the marriage application for James Crail & Mima Simmons at Tipton. That document should contain some interesting information.

(4) John T. Simmons [Mima's father] was buried in Sharpsville Cemetery. The record I had was Sec. 1 Row 24 in an unmarked grave. At the bottom of his obit someone wrote  Sec. 1 Row 33, between graves 1 &2. Was that an error, or did John decide to relocate himself?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Holding back those emotions!

I spent many hours researching at the Orlando - Orange Co. Library. One of my trips involved trying to locate an article I had learned about that discussed ancestor Hannah Wakeman Hackleton Whittaker's colorful life. When I came up with the correct periodical and the article, I nearly let out a cheer! I contained myself, however, and celebrated by making a copy of the article.

Those finds are a real rush!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My 1st "old" document

During my 1st trip to Jessamine Co., KY, I located the marriage of Martin Cawby from 1809. It was folded up in a library book card holder. I carefully unfolded it and went up to the guy who was manning the records room to ask if it was possible to make a copy of the marriage record. He pointed me to the copy machine. I was terrified that I might rip the already tattered document. It was about 190 years old! The copy was made and the document placed safely back in the holder. Whew!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Those early research trips

When I first got started, gathering information and records was the key focus. No one told me until my first genealogy conference about 1993. Note that I did not mention recording sources.

After learning the importance of documentation, I had to do a lot of back-tracking! The Family History Library catalog helped. If the FHL had a book I used, I could get the source info that way. For others, I had to wait until I could access the book or film.


Friday, June 17, 2016

My 1st research trip to Indy from Florida

I started researching in 1990. During Spring Break I flew to Indy to research the family. The State Library had closed stacks and the Archives were in a couple of small rooms, I think, in the State Library before it was remodeled into the nice facility it is today.

Marriage applications were stored there then and I was able to access and copy my paternal grandparents' app. It was an original document and white gloves had to be used in handling it. Now the applications are on microfilm at the Records archive in the City-County Building.

I made some nice discoveries, considering I had no idea what I was doing.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why all genealogy libraries should have 'stacks'

As a researcher, one thing I hate  when going to a library is closed stacks. You know, fill out the  order slip and wait for the book(s) to be delivered. If you have exhausted your research check-list and need to look for other options or just want to browse to see if you missed any goodies - you can't.

While researching my Cawby family in SLC, I was following a lead on the Catawba River in NC offered by a fellow researcher. Going through the NC section of the library, I came across a book on the settlers of the Catawba Valley. That book opened the door to deeds and family members that helped flesh out the Cawby story.

With closed stacks I might never have found the book and another 80 spelling variations to go with the 60 or so that I already had!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sometimes online census indexes are wrong

OK, I know that never happens. All census indexes are flawless. Humor aside now. I had spent several years trying to find the wives of John Crousore and son Jacob. I knew Jacob was married in Ohio, but that was about it. The name was not indexed correctly in 1820, so knowing Salt Lake had the census books, off I went. Jacob was my mission at the SLIG a few years ago.

I found the family in Clinton Co., OH. I had Annie/Anny as the first name of the Mrs. No Annie/Jacob marriages. There was a Jemima Smith marriage. I investigated. She looked promising.

The family was in Delaware Co., IN by 1830. Deeds gave me more! Ama Jemima Crousore! Wait! My ggm was Ama Jemima Simmons Crail! She was named for her grandmother!

Further research in SLC and Clinton Co., OH gave me Ama/Amy's brother [John Smith, of course], a new sister for Jacob [Elizabeth, married John Smith] and William and Elizabeth [Reel] Smith, the parents! The Crousore, Smith, Reel and Reeder migrated to Rush, Delaware, Madison and Howard Counties.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

forlorn hope

Straying briefly from the "genealogy adventures" topic, while reading Patrick O'Donnell's Washington's Immortals, about the Maryland Line, I came across a term that I had not seen before - the forlorn hope.

In military action, the forlorn hope was an advance unit [company strength or smaller] given the job of breaking through enemy lines to allow the main force to assault the enemy position. During the Revolution, that basically meant using axes to chop through abatis [spiked logs built to rip apart the enemy] and make a pathway for the main troops.

The expectations were that the forlorn hope would suffer severe casualties, perhaps being totally wiped out - essentially a suicide squad. It was a matter of honor to be selected for the unit and many volunteered.

At Stony Point, NY in 1779, many Marylanders were part of the forlorn hope, paving the way for "Mad Anthony" Wayne to take that British outpost.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Waiting on the mail

Going back to the 90s again, two other researchers and I were digging into those NJ Prall records. We wrote the courthouse and ordered from the indexes that we had already received. Then we made copies or transcribed documents to forward to our cohorts.

I received a thick envelope one day from one of the gals. One document had a stick note: "read this first." The document revealed a court record that proclaimed Cornelius Prall to be the son of Aaron.

We "knew" that to be the case, but had no proof. Now we had the proof!

Ah, technology! That court document is now in a book of compiled Hunterdon Co., NJ court records!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Strategy 101: Deeds

Back in the mid-90s, I was researching my Hunterdon Co., NJ Pralls. I had ordered a copy of the deed index, but the deeds listed for Cornelius Prall Junior and Senior didn't fot the time frame. Taking a gamble, I ordered about 10 deeds with the name Cornelius attached.

The gamble paid off. The dates were the dates that the deeds were recorded! All of the deeds pertained to my two Corneliuses. Either they or the gents they sold land to waited several years before recording them.

Take that into consideration when doing deed research.

Oh, for you youngsters, back in the mid-90s, research was conducted via a thing called postal mail, by telephone and visiting the nearest Family History Center to order microfilm or fishe.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

An act of kindness!

I was researching my Gulley family maybe 15 years ago in Greensburg [Decatur Co., IN]. After copying a few deeds and other records at the courthouse [that's the one with the tree growing out of the roof], I went to the local library. There I located the cemetery where my Gulleys were buried - the Star Baptist Church cemetery.

I asked the librarian if she knew the location of the church. She didn't, but was sure her husband did. So, the librarian called her husband at work to get the directions for me.

Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty! I was able to find the church cemetery and the gravesites. Pictures were taken.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Research Adventures over the Years

I've had some interesting adventures while researching over the  past 26 years. I will be sharing a few of those over the next few days.

#1. My first venture into trying to verify the story of Captain Zachariah Rhodes' death at sea began with the Salt Lake Institute during the early 2000s. The week was moderately successful, but Zachariah's story was not verified to my satisfaction.

I did find a confirmation that the event took place in the Gorton Genealogy. Later I found more detail in the Roger Williams biography volume on his daughter Mercy. The book cited Gorton. My big breakthrough came at Boston on a trip to the NEHGS Library. Volume VII of the Holden Family in America included notes on Zachariah: ship [Hannah], port of departure [Baltimore], destination [Puerto Rico] and date of departure [14 Aug 1815]. Holden also cited Gorton.

The odd part of the quest: Of the three sources, Gorton had the least amount of detail on Zachariah!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

US War records in the 20th & 21st centuries

World War I, World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, Gulf War and the wars in the Middle East. The most current conflicts should be accessible from the source - the servicemen and women involved.

The World Wars, Korea and Viet Nam: has collections of enlistments, casualties, burials and similar records. Fold3 will also have pertinent collections. The NARA should have service records, although, I believe, some of the 20th century records have been destroyed.

That takes us to the end of the military record review.

My ancestors contributed to the Colonial Wars, French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, Barbary Wars, War of 1812, Texas Independence [Alamo], Civil War, Philippines & WWII. In some cases, they were direct line; in others, near or distant cousins or uncles.

With one exception, the Alamo, all came out alive. A few were wounded or contracted diseases that would eventually contribute to their deaths. Still, they all served!

My girlfriend and I recently went to Branson, MO for a weekend. The shows wrap-up with military tributes - Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard anthems. More places should do the same.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Indian Wars, Spanish American & Philippine Wars

The bulk of the post-Civil War military action was on the Western frontier [1866-1898]. Check the usual sites for records on the cavalry, infantry and artillery units that waged war against the tribes west of the Mississippi River and Texas:, Fold3, NARA and sites specific to battles.

The 19th century went out with the Spanish-American War [1898], best known for Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. The 20th century dawned with the War in the Philippines [1901]. Once again, check sites with military records and sites that focus on the engagements. ["Rough Riders"]

Monday, June 6, 2016

Civil War Records

Records for the Civil War can be accessed through a variety of sites.

(1) Fold3
(4) Civil War Soldiers and Sailors site [search engine for locating soldiers and sailors]
(5) NARA
(6) Individual state archive sites for local military records
(7) World Vital Records
(8) Do an internet search for "civil war research" to see what turns up

Friday, June 3, 2016

Texas and the Mexican War

OK, technically, the battle for Texas Independence wasn't a US war. Considering the fact that a healthy percentage of the men involved were Americans, maybe it dies qualify. Texicans battled President/Generalissimo Santa Anna's army during the mid-1830s. The Battle for Bexar [San Antonio] in December 1835, the Battle of the Alamo [Mar 6, 1836] and the Battle of San Jacinto [Apr. 1836] led to the formation of the Texas Republic.

Interest in making Texas a state and adding the southwestern territory to the US helped fuel the Mexican War [1845-48].

For records, check Fold3, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, NARA and sites related to the Mexican War and the Texas Rangers.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Conflicts with the Native tribes

After the Revolutionary War, the Northwest Territory was formed in 1787. Several Midwestern states were formed from the territory: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Inevitably, encroachment by Americans into Indian lands led to warfare. The Battle of Fallen Timbers [1794], St. Clair's Defeat/Battle of the Wabash [1791], The Battle of Tippecanoe [1811] and Black Hawk's War [1832] were among the notable battles waged in the "Old Northwest" before the native tribes were finally pushed west.

Check internet sites and pensions for information on soldiers [regular army and militia] who fought in these conflicts.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Barbary Wars, War of 1812 & Why I don't gamble

Well, my predictions for the 500 were a bust. Brabham wasn't the top rookie & Andretti didn't lead the most laps. As for my top eleven - Newgarden, Hinchcliffe, Kanaan and Kimble were the only ones to hit the 11. Congrats to Alexander Rossi for his win.

The Barbary Wars are little known military conflicts between the US and the Barbary Coast pirates during the early 1800s. The pirates attacked European and US shipping along the North African coast and frequently held crews captive while extorting governments for their return or the promise of not attacking a nation's ships. Google "Barbary Wars" to see what's available as far as background and available records.

The War of 1812 was ignited by the British navy impressing [forcing into service] American sailors. The British attacked Washington DC and nearly captured President Madison. Andrew Jackson grew to fame with his victory at New Orleans. Check Fold3 for information. Also search the 'Net.