31 December 2010

Genealogy Resolutions: 2010 score card & 2011 goals

2010 Resolution Scorecard 
When I sat down to compose this post, my mindset was that I had had a very successful year.  But, having just reviewed my 13 resolutions for last year, I didn't do so well if I just look at the numbers:  one completed and two very well along.  On the other hand, the one completion was a biggie: a research trip to the Salt Lake Family History Library.  Unfortunately, my one completed resolution created more finds to analyze and sidetracked me from my other, more specific, goals.

I had also resolved to eliminate the TO-DO piles.  (Yeah, sure!)  I didn't succeed, but I am very, very proud to have only 2 piles left and they are both much smaller than this time last year.

My other partial success was in finding the parents of the Lucy WAIT who married Asahel DAVISON circa 1792.  I have a couple under study now, and I really think they are the right ones:  I just need a solid piece of evidence to tie them to her.

It wasn't on my list of goals, but I feel very fortunate to have found the birth family for a 90-year-old friend of mine.  Adopted as an infant, she found out she was adopted when the woman she called 'Mom' died.  She has spoken with half-siblings and they are very happy to find out about her.  Also, I found the immigrant grandparents of another friend who thought she'd never know their names.

Alas, that still leaves 7 resolutions virtually untouched and 2 touched but with no substantive change in their status.  I think I need fewer resolutions for 2011!

Goals for 2011 
1.  Keep on the search for the parents of the Lucy WAIT who married Asahel DAVISON circa 1792.  I think I am really close on this one after all these years....

2. Attend the reunion of descendants of Amos RICHARDSON in Morgan County, Missouri in June, 2010 ... a carry-over from 2010.

3.  Write/phone the Del Norte Cemetery in Rio Grande County, Colorado to see who is buried in the plot for which I have a bill of sale / deed to Charles HEGWER ... another carry-over from 2010.

4. Arrange for a headstone at the unmarked grave of Celim PORTER [10 May 1913 - 18 Jun 1913] at Cavalry Cemetery in Los Angeles. Celim was the son of L Willis PORTER and his first wife, Josephine Slater, who died barely a month after her only child and is buried about 20 yards away  ... another carry-over from 2010.

5. Keep working on the 2 remaining piles of research to input or analyze. I made great progress on this goal in 2010.  This year I will get it down to one pile that fits in the TO-DO box by this computer!

6.  Blogwise, my goal was 20 postings published and this makes 47!  The only goal I'll make for GreatGreats itself this year is to get the story of finding my grandmother written.  That's why I started this blog and the time has come.

Overall, I think 2010 was a good year for GreatGreats!  May you have a GREAT year and may your greatest genealogy problem be solved in 2011!

03 December 2010

First Friday Folder: Goodale & Clough

With all my agony over changing templates last month, I completely forgot to do a First Friday Folder.  Did anyone miss it?

This month, I picked a folder of which I had absolutely no idea what it needed.  It was labeled "Goodale ... Clough," which in my system means that it is a catch-all folder for those surnames and their ancestors: I haven't made folders for the couples and haven't printed out any family group sheets. 

The Goodale/Clough folder has about 23 sheets in it: excerpts from some un-sourced online pedigrees, some book excerpts from Heritage Quest, and some database printouts from New England Historical Genealogical Society.  This seems to be some of the info I used to add the names to my database, but it has no organization and I did not leave myself any notes let anlone anything resembling a plan.  My goal for today is to make folders, print family group sheets, examine sources, and make a general plan for each couple.

So, first, I printed out Mehitable Clough's portion of the pedigree chart:

Then, I checked the file drawer and found that I had followed my system: I don't have a folder for any of these couples.  That means that these names were entered into by database when I was more of a name collector than a genealogist, so there's no telling what these family group sheets will look like....

I've made 9 folders now and printed out the corresponding 9 family group sheets. Most were only 2-3 pages long and have source lists looking like this excerpt:
I guess it could have been worse. It looks as though it's been about 5 years since I've looked at any of these names.  There are very few primary sources but some reputable secondary sources and definitely a good lead for further solid research.

The General Plan
I need to start with Mehitable Clough and Thomas Goodell, finding primary sources for all events for them and their children.  (I believe they are my fifth-great-grandparents.)  Then, I can work back through their ancestors, one couple at a time.

Martin Hollick's New Englanders in the 1600s [1] shows several good sources available for most of these names.  The first thing that strickes me is that 'Goodale' is a varient for 'Goodell.'  I don't think I knew that before. 

This has been a secretarial, housekeeping week: making organized folders so I will have a place ready for filing the new research I need to do.  These lines seem to have a good deal of established research attached to them.  I think I just need to verify and document it.  I think research will be easier now, if only because I didn't have the Hollick book five years ago.

Pedigree and source excerpts cropped from my personal database, which uses Ancestral Quest software. [I am very proud of finally figuring out a way to easily get a nice looking pedigree chart into this blog!]

[1]  Martin E. Hollick, New Englanders in the 1600s: A Guide to Genealogical Research Published Betwee 1980 and 2005.  Boston: New England Historical Genealogical Society, 2006.

30 November 2010

Lots of Marriage Records: John Sweet & Judith Payson

Great-great-great-grandparents Norton Bates and Betsey Sweet have caused me genealogical problems for all the years I've been working on genealogy.  First, it took several years to figure out who Norton's parents were: Moses Bates & Ruth Shaw. Sorting BATES in New England is not easy, but now I have all of his lines back for at least 3 more generations and some for many more.

Betsey Sweet is still a problem.  I think of her not so much as a brick wall but more like a climbing wall with footholds and handholds out of reach and me with no safely line....  I've been collecting SWEETs for many years, studying families and hoping for possibilities, while eliminating most of them.  Recent additions to the familysearch.org databases gave me a new location for Betsey's possible parents: Adams, Berkshire, Massachusetts.

CAUTIONARY WARNING: I am NOT saying that the following couple are the parents of my Betsey Sweet.  They are simply one more lead that I am currently exploring.

From the Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910 database:
This looks like a very good lead, given Betsey's death record listing parents' names John & Judith Sweet and a calculated birthdate of about 1794.  Last weekend, I traveled to the newly remodeled Los Angeles Family History Library (yes, they've changed names again) and got to see the source film, FHL# 760,652.  Sure enough, there where it was supposed to be on p. 23 was entry #124:
But, it's not quite as advertised: it says "intended," not "married," and is the only entry on that page without a notation of when a certificate was given.  I was very sad to see that I did not have a solid marriage record here, but I kept reading the film, mostly because it was such easy reading.  I was not hopeful since the familysearch.org search function had not turned up any other records. Then, just a few pages later, I found this one:
 Aha! Over two years later, they again made their intentions AND got a certificate another month later!  The difference in her name is not a deal breaker; it just gives me additional names to watch.  But, now I'll need to watch for issues around Betsey's birthdate in relation to the marriage of her parents.

I kept on reading, hoping to see some children for the couple.   There were some children listed pages later for other families, but none for any Sweet family nor Payson family.  But then, the format of the document changed again and it went back to some marriage records where I found this one:
Aha! Aha!  And 'they' thought they could fool me!  This entry sure makes it look as though this couple actually married on 4 September 1796.  These three entries were the only SWEET or PAYSON names I saw on the whole film.  There weren't even any of either name among the recorded earmarks!

I still can't link this couple to my Betsey Sweet with any confidence, but they are the best candidate now and the best candidates I have ever had.

I'm sharing this research to show that the familysearch.org databases are not perfect.  I tried again today to form a search that turned up either the second or third entry in the online index.  After quite a bit of effort and knowing the records are indeed on the film, I was able to find my second record:
Again, it's indexed as a marriage rather than intentions.
And, finally, I was able to force the third one to show up in a search:
Note that it was indexed as 'Tason' rather than 'Pason,' an understandable indexing interpretation if one had not been reading pages of that handwriting and looking at how known Ps & Ts compared.

This all showed me again in just one day that I must always, always go to actual sources.  This experience also reinforced the idea that just because a search in an online database doesn't turn up the people I'm looking for, it doesn't mean that they aren't there!

Births, Marriages, and Intentions of Marriage, ca. 1766-1847 [Adams, Massachusetts].  FHL # 760,652.
https://beta.familysearch.org ; database: Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910.

Digital photos of the microfilm images off the microfilm reader by MHD.

29 November 2010

A New Celebrity Cousin!

I admit it's interesting to me to find a distant relative is a celebrity or historical figure, but I don't go looking for them.  I've often thought that I'd much rather be related to a professional or serious genealogist!  If only Steve Danko had a Silesian Hegwer in his Polish lines....  At least I've got Pauline Litton in my Carr line, as I've written previously, and I'm very proud of that!

But wait, today there is news:  Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings and I are cousins! I'm so excited!  Alright, it's only 8th cousins, but that's something!  

I just saw Seaver's recent post  on his Peirce Surname.  We share 7th great-grandparents George Stearns and Hannah Sanderson of my New England Porter line.  I am not totally surprised, though, since I've been reading his series of surname lines and I had seen several names that I knew were neighbors of several of my great-greats. I saw him last year at Jamboree but didn't talk with him; if he comes this year, I'll be sure to introduce myself!

06 November 2010

Something Old, Something New

Something New
I hope this is not a let down after all the talk about changing templates, but here it is!  My goals were to get to play around with the design options in Blogger and to have a new & more attractive appearance to GreatGreats. 

Something Old
I'm still reading/analyzing the microfilm version of the Bishop's Transcripts for Helperthorpe and Weaverthorpe in East Yorkshire.  As I've already posted, I've found some solid sources for baptisms and marriages for direct ancestors for whom I previously only had dates obtained from other researchers.  I've also found lots of names & dates for which I need to do some more analysis before I write about it here or accept it as something to add to my "proven" lines.

While studying this microfilm, I've been re-reading some of my reference books on genealogy in English records.  One book in particular has been very helpful:
Genealogical Research in England and Wales, Vol. I by Gardner & Smith.  My copy is from 1956.  [Whoa, stop the presses: This is younger than I am...how can I call it old?!]

I've especially found Chapter 13: Bishop's Transcripts and Their Value helpful with this film.  In a very thorough discussion of the differences between the transcripts and the parish records, the authors emphasized the importance of seeing both sets of records wherever possible:
There are cases on record where the Bishop's Transcripts list some entries not recorded in the parish registers.  One may surmise that the transcript was made, not from the parish register but from some day-by-day account.  The differences between the register and the transcript may have occurred at the time the register was copied from the day book, and the transcript was also copied up at the same time with variations occurring in the copying of the details.  Researchers should be aware of these possibilities. The Ideal method of research is to search both the registers and the transcripts if such is feasible and not too expensive. [p. 197]
I have found a film reference for Weaverthorpe parish records and I will order that film.  It will be interesting to see what differences exist between the records in this one small town. 

Older books can be very useful, especially when I am lucky enough to find them at at used bookstore for a very, very good price.  No trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City is complete without walking over to visit Sam Weller's Books, which is where I found this book (and also Vol 3 on a later trip).

Changing a blog's design can be just as much, if not more, fun than shopping for a new outfit with coordinating shoes!

David E. Gardner & Frank Smith. Genealogical Research in England and Wales, Vol. I.  Salt Lake City: Bookcraft Publishers, 1956. 

I have no connection with Sam Weller's Books and receive no special consideration from them.  I just like their used books department and, given the location, it's pretty likely to always have a good selection of used genealogy books!

27 October 2010

Great-Great-Great-Grandmother Rachel GRICE: Update

I'm still working through the Weaverthorpe microfilm.  I've already renewed it once and still haven't made it all the way through for the first time!  The film does not have its own index, but the FamilySeach entries online have helped me find some of the entries.  Otherwise, I'm basically reading the entire film page by page.  I've certainly seen films with poorer quality images, but some of this film is very hard going.  So, I'm expecting to renew the film again next week; and, that will keep it at my local FHC indefinitely.  

There are several GRICE entries and I am extracting each one.  I've started to make family group sheets for them all in an attempt to confidently sort out all the Grice's.

The baptism of Rachel Grice
Online, unsourced notes show her birth and/or baptism on 2 June 1816 in Weaverthorpe or West Lutton.  With this film, I now have my own real source for Rachel for a specific event with a specific location!
This image is fairly easy to see on the microfilm reader; my photo here does not do it justice.  Transcription of the entry on a page of baptisms for the Weaverthorpe parish, Yorkshire, in 1816:
June 2 / Rachel Daughter of / John & Sally / Grice / (abode) West Lutton / grocer / (performed by) Abm Ashworth
Perhaps the most significant information here is that specifying an occupation for her father John.  There are clearly two John Grice's in town in this time period and this entry will certainly help correctly determine Rachel's line.

The Marriage of Rachel Grice and Joseph Ethell
Again, all I had here were unsourced notes from other genealogists.  But, now I have this beauty:
I've read about 60 years' worth of Weaverthorpe BMD entries now, and this is the only ETHELL in the lot!  Joseph may have been "of this Parish" at this time, but he was not part of any extended family raised here!  This entry is unusual in Weaverthorpe in that, where only one of the couple signs their own signature, it is usually the groom.  I'm assuming the witness, Charles Grice, is Rachel's older brother, but that could change as I proceed with all the other Grice's!

  • I think I will still need to look at the original parish records, rather than relying only on these Bishop's Transcripts.  The original entries could well have additional or even different information.
  • I'm feeling more confident about the potential for keeping the different Grice families straight. I think I am going to be able to present a fairly solid line of evidence to confidently identify Rachel's parents and at least her paternal grandparents.
  • I'm still proud that I've stayed focused on Weaverthorpe for several weeks now.  But, I must admit, even with all this success, I am getting bored and am eager to change to researching and writing about something else!

Related Posts
Research Diary - Weaverthorpe, Yorkshire
First Friday Folder - Joseph Ethell & Rachel Grice
Bishop's Transcripts for Weaverthorpe, 1631-1852. Church of England. Parish Church of Weaverthorpe (Yorkshire). FHL # 990,896. Item 3. [There are very few page numbers, but the images are generally in chronological order.]

15 October 2010

Elopement of Ben Hegwer & Bertha Carr and Genealogical Kindness

[from the Ely Daily Mining Expositor, 11 September 1912, p. 1]

I treasure this newpaper clipping.  Luckily, the entire, original issue has been handed down.  Otherwise, I doubt if I would have ever looked for an article, let alone found this 4-page newspaper.  The paper is starting to crack, but it does give a legible image from a scan or photo.  Clicking on the image should give you a larger image so that you can easily read all the exciting details of the chase!  My research does verify Bertha's being of legal age.

The family legend was that great-grandfather John Henry CARR sent the sheriff's posse after Ben & Bertha.  I had always assumed it was just a legend, and was very pleasantly surprised to find the newspaper in the things my dad left.  I'm not sure Dad knew he even had this paper. 

John Henry and at least two of his other children were working at the mine in White Pine, near Ely.  Ben worked for the related power company.  [A previous post has a photo of this couple many years later.]  

Other news of the day
Other front page news that day included articles on the rebellion in Mexico, election campaigning, violations of banking law, rebuilding New Orleans, and hostilities in Turkey.  I guess some things never change...

Interestingly (at least to me), there were two more articles about local weddings, and here's where I get to the Genealogical Kindness.  First, the article immediately adjacent to Ben & Bertha's was about the lovely, planned wedding (with breakfast and guests!) of Katherine Graham and Elmer Porter.  Was it just a coincidence that they left on the same train for the same destination as my grandparents?  It could well have been: the train didn't come by daily and Salt Lake is where it went; there weren't that many options.  But they must have all known each other.  Maybe the wedding and departure of the Porter's helped prompt Ben & Bertha to plan the elopement and join the ride?!

I went to ancestry.com and found 5 family trees including the Graham/Porter couple.  None included a marriage date/location nor did they include Katherine's siblings.  So, using ancestry's connection option, I sent brief emails to all 5 tree owners, offering to send a copy of the article.  In just 4 days, I've received replies/requests from 3 of the 5.  I feel very good about sharing this info!

Second, there was a very brief social notice about Louis Cononelos of McGill leaving (on the same train as everyone else mentioned here!) for New York to meet his fiance, Nina Chakopoulou, who was arriving from Athens.  The couple would be married in New York and return to McGill.  I did not find any family trees for this couple, but I posted a comment on their 1920 census record and gave her birth name and the newspaper citation.  I hope that info will help someone someday.

I subscribe to ancestry.com, but otherwise still have no connection to these companies and receive no special consideration from them.

I have no reason to believe that Elmer Porter is any relation to my own Porter line.

01 October 2010

First Friday Folder: Richard ETHELL & Mary BEETHAM

I'm taking it easy this month: I know this is a very thin folder!  I selected this couple because they are (probably? hopefully?) the parents of Joseph ETHELL, the subject of last month's FirstFridayFolder and my recent Weaverthorpe post.  I'm still working on the Weaverthorpe/Helperthorpe microfilm and I just don't want to change gears right now.

The Couple
I am very hesitant to post this information at all: I have no primary sources and there are clearly problems with what I do have. Please do not add this data to your database, but for this discussion, here is what I have right this minute:
Richard ETHELL was born 17 March 1784 in Rillington cum Scampton, Yorkshire and died 18 December 1845 in Low Hutton, Yorkshire. Mary was born 10 September 1774 in New Malton, Yorkshire and died 26 June 1856 in Huttons Ambo, Yorkshire. They were married 23 November 1801 in High Hutton, Yorkshire.
The Problems
Oh, dear, where do I begin?!
  • Richard seems a bit young to be getting married and what is the likelihood that a 17-year-old would marry a woman 10 years older than he?
  • I have to be very careful about the town names, given the possibility of confusing the script for 'Hutton' versus 'Lutton' or 'Sutton.'
  • The first child I have for them, Thomas Beedison ETHELL, was born (or is it a baptism?) before the marriage date and before Richard would have turned 16 years of age.
  • I have a number of variant surnames for Mary: Beedam, Beedison, Beetham, Betham.  If the Thomas I just named goes with this couple at all, perhaps Mary was a widow and has another surname all together.
  • The biggest problem is my complete lack of anything I can honestly call 'evidence.'  Some of my info is from two family researchers who are generally very thorough, but their conclusions are conflicting and not all their pieces are sourced.  That's why I'm working on their son's generation and reading the Weaverthorpe/Helperthorpe records for my self right now.
The Folder
It's hard to have organizational problems in a folder that only contains a few items, but there were still a couple of things to do.  I had not printed a new family group sheet for 4 years, which isn't so bad I guess since I have not been working on them in that time.  There were two copies of the 1841 census image and no annotation to explain why I had two!  And, neither of them had been entered in my database.

The Good News
The best thing I have going for me here is Richard ETHELL himself. Noted English genealogist, Pauline Litton, is an Ethell/Ithel descendant and has used the family research as examples in her publications and speeches. It is her reputation that gives me confidence that the other two family researchers and I do indeed have the right people and that we just need to tidy up around the edges!  I've seen two of Litton's articles and would like to find more.  Also, she has registered the ETHELL surname at the Guild of One-Name Studies.  What I really need to do is to write to her! And, I'd like to buy her book,too! 

There are certainly problems with my Ethell/Beetham couple, but I can't really do anything here before I thoroughly deal with my Ethell/Grice couple!

It's nice to be able to use the research of others as a help in my genealogy, but my ETHELL line is a good example to show that there can still be conflicts and problems.  Clearly, I still need to find and study the sources and build my own solid evidence trail.

I'm proud of myself for staying focused on Weaverthorpe.  I'll be even more proud if I can stay focused until I've finished the film, analyzed it, and made a thorough plan for what to do next....  

I have no connection to nor do I receive any special consideration from The Guild of One Name Studies or Litton's Swansong Publications.

27 September 2010

Research Diary: Weaverthorpe, Yorkshire

This post is a report on how my research on ETHELLs and GRICEs of my last First Friday Folder post is going.  Ah, the unexpected things I learn....

Having reviewed my folder on great-great-great-grandparents Joseph Ethell & Rachel Grice, and feeling well-prepared for my research, I arrived at the local Family History Center and set myself up at a microfilm reader.  My goal was Item 3 of FHL # 990,896: Bishop's Transcripts for Weaverthorpe, 1631-1852, Church of England, Parish Church of Weaverthorpe in Yorkshire, England.  My first thought was 'How inconvenient that I'm going to have to scroll through 2 whole items to get to the one I need, drat!'

I am still compulsive enough that I at least write down the title of every item on a film and annotate my notes about whether or not I read an item.  First, I wrote down the film number and what my general goal was: birth and marriage data on Joseph, Rachel, and their children.  Then, I wrote out the title entry for Item 1 and my note that I was not reading this one at all: whoever even heard of 'Helperthorpe'?  I need Weaverthorpe and so there. 

But the compulsive me, while rapidly scrolling through Item1 on my to Item 3, did a random stop and read one page.   And, there was a GRICE!  This is not a super common surname so I figured I'd better check this out before I went any further.  I ran Google maps on one of the FHC's computers and found that, wonder of all wonders, Helperthorpe is only 0.8 mile from Weaverthorpe! 

I had broken one of the cardinal laws of genealogy: know your geography before you do serious research!  Fortunately, the Genealogy Elf had given me a GRICE on my random stop.  Otherwise, I probably would have sent the film back to Salt Lake without knowing what I had in my hands.

Quickly reading backwards just 3 pages from my random stop yielded 4 more GRICEs, but the year was much to early to be of use to me now, so I went forward to an intermediate section title page which said "Helperthorpe -- 1790-1807, 1802, 1809-1812." As 1790 was where I had decided I would focus my reading in Weaverthorpe, this seemed like a good place to start my notetaking for Helperthorpe.  I saw that Helperthorpe must be a pretty small place because there were only 3 baptisms and no marriages nor burials for the entire year from Lady Day 1790 to Lady Day 1791.  I also found a notation for one year specifying that the marriages and burials for that year were recorded at Weaverthorpe.  So, clearly, these two locations are linked and I must consider them both in my ETHELL / GRICE quest.

I read through to 1850 in Helperthorpe and found 15 GRICE entries (including 3 children of a Wilson/Grice couple.  I can't yet connect any of these to my lines, but I've just begun!

Before I left for the FHC, I went to the GENUKI website and ran Weaverthorpe through the church database.   I searched for all churches within 6 miles of Weaverthorpe.  I quickly got a list of 26 churches (18 Church of England and 8 Methodist of one sort or another).  Here's a snippet of those search results:

I'm already pretty confident that my GRICEs & ETHELLs are connected to Weaverthorpe and to Lutton.  Now, I see that if I had run this search earlier when I should have, I would have also known to search in Helperthorpe and Butterwick.

At the FHC, I scrolled ahead to Item 3 to read Weaverthorpe. [I had already run Google maps on Hornby of Item 2 and found that it was 60 miles away and I don't feel a need to read it yet!]    I started reading/notetaking in the third section, dated 1760-1775.

There are more GRICEs here, but the script is different and it appears to be spelled 'grifse,' which I think is GRISSE, a possible alternative spelling.  I was hoping I was making a good assumption when I found this marriage record:
Banns of Marriage between Richard Grice & Ann Kellington were published on Tuesday ye 12th ye 19th & ye 26th of May by Mr Geo Lawson Mininster. / The above Richard Grice, spelled Grifse in ye Baptismal Register of Lutton, Batchelor & Ann Kellington also of Lutton Spinster, were married in ye Chapel of West Lutton by Banns on Wednesday ye twenty ninth day of May in ye year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty two by me...

Wasn't that nice of the minister to specify the exact name he wanted!  Altogether, I extracted 14 more GRICE entries this day.  I still can't confidently claim any of them, but I am starting to form family groups.  Once I get to the 1830s, I hope to find the link I need.

Whoops! I woke up with the sudden realization that I wasn't looking for GIB/GIBS/GIBB/etc.  That's the surname of Rachel's possible mother.  I think I would have come to my senses if I had seen a GIB, but it bothers me that I hadn't actually include the surname in my goal statement.  The little research I've done before on Rachel has never found any GIB (etc.) families anywhere near a GRICE or ETHELL.  

Well, I'm eager to get on with reading the Weaverthorpe film, but I won't make it to the FHC today after all.  Life gets in the way sometimes....  But, I've sat here instead and reviewed all the notes I've made so far.  I'll try again on Thursday!

  • Always run the church locations before reviewing any church records in England.
  • Always look at a detailed map and see the nearby towns, too.
  • Make sure the goals I specify for reading any film have all the surnames I'm looking for.

There are no page numbers in either of the two Bishop's Transcripts used here.  All the records are in rough chronological order.  The film is unusually clear and easy to read for the most part.

25 September 2010

Irish Genealogy Tip: The Irish Times

ProGenealogists recently posted a brief mention by Kellie Scherbel about a tool for finding variant spellings for Irish surnames.  It's a great tool, hosted by the Irish Times.  But, I quickly found that they have a LOT more at their site for those of us trying to research Irish ancestors.

The Irish Times home page, under the 'More' section, the drop-down menu includes an option for 'Irish Ancestors.'  The Surname Search button there yields a search box and this explanation:
"Enter a surname in the box above, and find out:
  • the number and location of households of the name in Ireland 1848-64;
  • variant spellings or associated names;
  • surname dictionary entries;
  • surname histories;
  • the number and location of births of the name in 1890;
  • published or printed family histories;
  • a possible coat of arms associated with the name."
It all works beautifully!  I got quite a lot of information on KEATING and less, but still useful, on DOOLEY. 

There are also options for placename info, research outlines, immigration, and full text archives of a regular Irish Times genealogy column by noted genealogist John Grenham, beginning from Jan 2009!  And, there are more links to additional helps at this page.  I think it's a real treat to be able to read regular articles by Grenham!

Thanks to ProGenealogists for this tip.  Now, I just wish I could find some little lead somewhere about specifically where my Irish great-grandparents originated ....

I read the ProGenealogists blog regularly and love the info available at their website, but I have no other connection to them at all.  

I receive no consideration from the Irish Times, but I will start visiting their Irish Ancestors webpage regularly now that I know about it!  Warning:  There is an option to subscribe for full access to Irish Ancestors.  But there are oodles of free goodies available.

15 September 2010

PORTER Descent

"In the proliferation of Porters in colonial Connecticut, several large and unrelated families can be sorted out.  Significant among them are the descendants of John and Anna (White) Porter of Windsor; of Dr. Daniel, Thomas and Robert Porter, all of Farmington; and of Richard Porter of Weymouth, Massachusetts." 
This quotation is from The American Genealogist article 'Some Connecticut Descendants of Richard Porter of Weymouth, Massachusetts' by John A. Leppman [1].  Unfortunately, I am not a descendant of Richard but of Dr. Daniel, and there is not as much written about him.  It is, however, reassuring to see a published article in a reputable journal saying that these several PORTER families are unrelated.

On the other hand, my PORTERS were somewhat prominent and left many records in the Hartford, Connecticut area and later in New Haven. It becomes just a bit harder to separate them when they left Connecticut for Vermont in about 1797.  But, I am blessed with one of those probate documents that you read about in a journal and ask, 'Why didn't my ancestor's leave a record like that?'  !

Thomas Porter (husband of Abigail Bates) appeared 20 February 1799 at a probate court in Waterbury, Connecticut on behalf of his father Ashbel to settle the estate of his grandfather Thomas Porter [2].  Thomas, the grandson, and his father Ashbel are both specified as being 'of South Hero in the County of Chittenden State of Vermont.'  Finding one document that clearly lays out three generations in two states for this common surname settled many of my concerns about correctly connecting PORTERs!

Probate records can be wonderful finds, especially for common surnames in colonial New England.  Maybe someday I'll attempt to find Dr. Daniel's English origins, but I think that will take a lot of work and a lot of luck!

This line of descent is:
Dr. Daniel Porter (American immigrant prior to 1644) =  Mary
Dr. Daniel Porter  =  Deborah Holcomb
Capt. Thomas Porter  =  Mary Welton
Ashbel Porter  =  Hannah Norris
Thomas Porter  =  Abigail Bates
Homer Thomas Porter  =  Dolly Ann Bates
Celim Homer Porter  =  Clara Evelene Davison
L Willis Porter

[1] The American Genealogist, 1977, vol 53, p. 31.
[2] Waterbury, Connecticut: Register of Probate Records. FHL film #6,139; Item 2: Volume 3, 1799-1820, p. 118. (Note: there are many other Porter entries throughout this film.)

03 September 2010

First Friday Folder: Joseph ETHELL & Rachel GRICE

I selected the folder of this set of great-great-great-grandparents because a film of Bishop's transcripts for Weaverthorpe in East Yorkshire, England has arrived for me at my local Family History Center and I need to get ready for starting this research project next week! 
The Couple
Joseph ETHELL was probably born 7 April 1816 in Huttons Ambo, North Yorkshire, and probably died 18 Jan 1889 in North Yorkshire.  Rachel GRICE was probably born 2 June 1816 in West Lutten, Weaverthorpe, North Yorkshire, and died about March 1895 in Castleford, West Yorkshire.  They were perhaps married 16 July 1835 in Weaverthorpe and at least 2 of their 10 children were probably born there, too.  These dates/places are from two, usually very thorough, family researchers who were kind enough to share with me. Unfortunately, I have no record of the exact sources they used, nor do they agree exactly with their details.

I have Joseph and Rachel together in the following censuses, all in Yorkshire:
1841  -  South Elmsall, South Kirkby
1851  -  Glass Houghton
1861  -  HIghtown, Castleford
1871  -  Gow Close, Glover's Row, Whitwood
1881  -  Discomb Row, Welbeck Street, Castleford
Obviously, there should be a good deal of information about this family in the Bishop's transcripts of Weaverthorpe.  On the other hand, the family could have really been in one of the little, adjacent parishes and not have used the Weaverthorpe church itself.  Another caution is that I know they were members of a Primitive Methodist Chapel by 1849.  Their marriage should still be recorded in the parish church, but the early baptisms might not.  At any rate, I need to see this film and I am hoping it will give me some "real" sources!  And, if they are not there, at least I'll know to start looking in neighboring parishes.

The Folder
The organization of the folder is in pretty good shape.  It includes a family group sheet, census summary and images, and a few other copies of records.  (I am missing a few censuses for some of the children, but I think four of them may have died young.  Perhaps I can find death info in the film next week.)

There was just one 3-page printout from GENUKI in 2006 on "The Ancient Parish of Weaverthorpe" that my current system files under the location rather than in a couple's folder.  Reviewing the three pages before moving it to my Yorkshire notebook, I saw that the website included a link to the 1834 Electoral Roll for Weaverthorpe and I don't remember having tried it before.  Unfortunately, a quick visit there showed no Ethell, Grice, or anything close in the surnames.  But, I did see that they have more maps and have added 8 church photos.  Clicking on the link to the Methodist Chapel leads to a nice photo and a database search for other nearby churches that very quickly showed me that there are 6 churches within three miles of the chapel.  GENUKI is a wonderful thing!!

The Biggest Problem: Geography
Is it just me or does anyone else have trouble keeping Yorkshire place names straight?  It may be 'English' but it usually feels like some language I have never, ever seen....

There is a Huttons Ambo (High Hutton & Low Hutton) only about 16 miles from Luttons Ambo (East Lutton, West Lutton, Lutton).  There is also a Sutton in North Yorkshire.  With different scripts in that time period, I think these locations could be mixed-up.  Also, sometimes they seem to be giving a local neighborhood name but the larger city sometimes.  For instance, I have one notation that Rachel was born in West Lutten and one that she was baptized about two miles away in Weaverthorpe.  And, I also have that daughter Jane may have been born in Elmsall or in South Kirkby, which are only about a mile apart from each other (and only about 60 miles from Weaverthorpe).  Where these seem to be different places, it could just be someone referring to a larger or smaller neighborhood name for one location.  I need to keep a map handy and to keep an open mind!

  • GENUKI is a wonderful resource for anyone researching in England.  The aids to finding nearby parishes are outstanding.  The site is continually adding info: I need to check back more often!
  • I must pay continual attention to place names and geography, especially in Yorkshire.  Keeping civil and ecclesiastical parishes sorted is hard enough, but when the names themselves are so similar, it is even worse.
  •  I still need real sources for the basic events in this couple's life.  I hope that my having reviewed this folder before starting to work on the microfilm will help me focus my search and keep the locations straight.
Line of Descent
Joseph Ethell = Rachel Grice
Jane Ethell = William Carr
John Henry Carr = Ann Matilda Causier
Bertha Carr

24 August 2010

William Causier in Dodderhill

I went back to the Dodderhill Parish Survey Project site mentioned in last post and found great-great-great-grandfather William CAUSIER actually named! It says 
 Most of the Land is owned by Earl Somers and Thomas Thould, with John Bobeson, Thomas Wilson, Edward Bayliss, and William Causier as main occupiers. Full details are in the Appendices of the document available by clicking the link below, which also has information on the various legal documents conveying the land at Impney to John Corbett.
 My goodness!  A name and more information available?!  What could be better than that?!

It took a while to navigate and get to the additional information, but it is super!  Links led to the Worcestershire County Council site and, wonder of all wonders, they have a searchable database with digital copies of the 1845 tithe maps!  There are lots of ways to display the maps and a complicated/thorough legend and labeling system.  It seems to work much better with IE instead of Mozilla.  This image is a very simplified version of what I found:

The pink hash-marked spaces are roads, with the main one from the right of the top center to the bottom left corner being Bromsgrove Road.  The label didn't transfer with the image, but the area immediately to the east of that road and immediately south of the L-shaped dead-end is Hill End!

Now, for the biggie: look at the line of 8 structures along Bromsgrove Road in the center of the image.  The thin, greenish parcel with the 4th structure down is that of William Causier in 1845!  I hope this makes sense because this is a great find: a map that specifically shows William's land and the location of the Hill End area.

The unique intersections allowed me to use Google street view and locate the spot! It shows lush foliage in a mostly residential area with the Hill End busstop in front of a wall that would be just about where William's parcel was.  I may never get to see it in person, but this find is almost as exciting as that would be for me.

The tithe mapping database says:
Parcel 436
Owner: Earl Somers
Tenant: William Causier
Title: Cottage and garden
Area: 0,0,9
Tithes: 0
Land Use: Non-agricultural 
Parish: Dodderhill
 I haven't yet found the appendices and document mentioned, but I'll keep looking.  And, I don't know what the '0,0,9' means for the area, but I bet the folks at RootsChat will!  Right now, I'm going back to RootsChat to show them what I found because of their answers to my query!

It's good to keep looking and exploring all the info in a large website.  I don't know why I kept looking this time because I know I was assuming it was all just general info and would never have anything on just, plain, regular folk....

Now, I have a map and a very specific location for a great-great-great-grandfather from 1845.  English geography doesn't seem quite so complicated right now!  I am so very excited! A map can be better than anything!

I am not an employee of any of the entities mentioned here, nor do I receive any special consideration from them.

20 August 2010

Great Resource: National Probate Calendar for England & Wales

There have been lots of announcements lately about the debut of the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar database at ancestry.com.  I finally got a chance to play around in it and found some of my CARRs and CAUSIERs.

Grice Ethell Carr 
He is one of my great-grandfather John Carr's brothers.  I don't have problems in that generation or the previous one, so I haven't done too much work on Grice Ethell.  Given his unusual name, he is easier to spot when looking for CARRs in general, and I have written about him before.  

This find [1] gives me a specific address and a death date.  The surprise (or problem?) is his wife's name being 'Sarah,' when I was expecting Emily J.  Since I have no other record of him after 1901, Emily could have died and he could have remarried.  I should spend at least a little time and see if I can fill in the new gaps and see if I can resolve the wife issue.  I don't feel a real need to pursue the original records that go with this index entry, but at least I now know where and how to find them!

The address given, however, intrigued me.  I have a terrible time keeping track of the geography and levels of goverance in England.  This one, especially with no punctuation, completely threw me.  So, I posted a question in the Yorkshire section at RootsChat (also see previous post about this great resource).  Almost immediately, I received several responses, telling me that the street address is 12 Brandon Terrace.  'Slade Hill' is an area within the Moortown district of Leeds.  I also was told that it's a very nice area of town and that 'Slade Hill' has an alternate spelling of 'Slaid Hill.'  I love RootsChat!

William Cornelius Causier
Yes, this record [2] only says 'William Causier,' but with the info given, he is the one in my files as William Cornelius Causier, the son of my great-great-great-grandfather William Causier and his first wife, Letitia Willis.  My line is through William's second wife, Ann Tolley, so this is a very collateral record for me.

His occupation at that time is new to me.  I sent off another question to the Worcestershire section of RootsChat asking about 'Hill End' and the relationship to Droitwich and Dodderhill.  I've seen it many, many times in parish records for the Causiers.  Again, I received replies clarifying the lay of the land and including a new website to checkout:  the Dodderhill Parish Survey Project.  There's enough info there to keep me busy for ages!  Their growing site includes history, maps, and records.  Thanks, yet again, to the great folks at RootsChat!

The WRONG William Carr!
My William Carr is my great-great-grandfather and I only have death information from another family researcher.  Granted he's an absolutely expert researcher, but it would be nice to find more info anyway.  As you should assume, the search at the database turned out oodles and oodles of William Carr's who died in 1916.  But I was excited when one of those high in the list was a William Herbert Carr who died in 1916 from Scarborough, Yorkshire, which is very close to where I would expect to find William, and 'Herbert' is a family name.  But, look at what I got when I went to the image [3]:

Regretably, I have no known relationship to this brave soldier.  I am, however, certain that my 76-year-old great-great-grandfather was NOT off in France in WWI.  This non-find reminds me that no matter how an index entry may appear to match, don't get too excited! 
Yet again, I found myself playing around, finding absolutely interesting stuff on collateral lines and strangers.  Do I need to draw a harder line on how I spend my research time?!

The entry on William Carr was a good reminder that I must never assume that an index entry is the person I'm researching, not even when the dates seem to match.  And, it's real folly with common surnames.

Genealogy people, and especially those at RootsChat, are the nicest and most helpful people!  I should spend more time in RootsChat searching the info already there and I should see if there are any queries where I can be a help and not just a problem.

[1]  England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941.  [Database at ancestry.com]  Image from 1928, p. 526.

[2]  England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941.  [Database at ancestry.com]  Image from 1870, p. 333.

[3] England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941.  [Database at ancestry.com]  Image from 1917, p. 454

I am a paid subscriber to ancestry.com but I receive no other special consideration from them in any way.  I am registered at RootsChat [that's free!] and receive nothing but good responses from them.

09 August 2010

Sacheverell Causier, 1715

This image is from Worcester, England.  I believe it records the baptism of my sixth-great-grandfather, Sacheverell Causier and (yeah!) shows his father as Wm. Causier [1].  'Causur' is a fairly common variant for Causier.  I believe that this is the Sacheverell who married Betty Astmore in 1744 [2].

Two other entries, perhaps children of the same person but written as 'Will,' are for:
  • William, 10 Jan 1712
  • Elizabeth, 19 Oct 1717
The first image on this roll in Item 2 has "The living is a vicarage united to the Rectory of St. Nicholas, Droitwich, in 1928.  For microfilm of St. Nicholas parish registers, see BA 4305."  As noted below, having people in Droitwich in this era means we have to look at lots of different places!

Interestingly, the third image says "Note.  In this register is recorded the baptism of Edward Winslow, a Pilgrim father, on 20 October, 1595."  

There are lots of CAUSIER, WOOD, and HUNT entries in this film and the two items listed below.  Most of them are, at this time, 'unknown' to me.  Unfortunately, there is not an ASTWOOD or anything similar to be seen anywhere....

[1]  St. Peter de Witton Church, Droitwich: Parish Registers, 1544-1978; Baptisms 1544-1853, Marriages 1544-1769, Burials 1544-1812, Salt Lake City Family History Library, FHL # 801,595, Items 2-5. Item 2 is kind of in  chronological order without page numbers.

[2]  Cousin Val is my only source for the Astwood link.  So far, I haven't been able to find anything else.

Additionally, these two records are also available:

Parish register printouts of Droitwich, Worcester, England (St. Peter); christenings, 1716-1875.  FHL # 883,780; Item 3.  The image of the title page says "Computer Printout of Saint Peter, Droitwich, Worcester, England (1716-1875) Births or Charistenings, A thru Z" and that the info is from a controlled extraction program in 1976.  There are 7 CAUSIER (and variants) entries; I only know how 2 of them fit in with the line.

Registers of The Church of St. Peter de Witton, Droitwich, Worcestershire: Baptisms 1544-1840, Marriages 1544-1837, Burials 1544-1838.  This very nice book appears to have been published by a genealogy group, but publication info does not appear on the title page or its reverse.  The ISBN is 0-905105-83-4.  There is a very brief, but nice, historical introduction.  WorldCat credits the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry (there are some wonderful resources at their website) and gives a date of 1986.  I was able to access a copy by using interlibrary loan at my local library, with the copy I saw having traveled across the country from Harvard University Library!  Since this was a nicely typed transcript done by locals familiar with the records, I was able to use it to help with the microfilm of the original that the image above is from.  The book's introduction lists the nearby churches of St. Mary de Witton, St. Nicholas, and St. Andrew.  I have also seen records from Dodderhill.  There can be CAUSIERs in any of them!

06 August 2010

First Friday Folder: Job Bates & Sarah Martin

I selected the Bates/Martin folder, my 4th-great-grandparents on my mother's side, for First Friday review because I am having so much trouble with their parents.  Given that researching this Job's parents has only led to bigger problems, back I go to making sure I do everything here that I can.

Physically, the folder was pretty well organized.  The family group sheet was old, so I printed a new one: the new one is 4 pages longer than before!  I like to work from a new print out because things look different to me on paper than they do on the screen.

I worked briefly on filling in gaps in the US census data for their 12 children and was able to find those for 3 more of the children in 1850-1880!  Now I only have gaps for 4, three of whom I cannot prove even lived to 1850. 

Job Bates and his wife, Sarah C. Martin
Job BATES and Sarah/Sallie MARTIN were the parents of the Abigail Bates  [1] who married Thomas Porter in  1813, probably in Chittenden County, Vermont [2]. Sarah died 19 August 1851 and Job died 4 (or perhaps 7) February 1863, both in Essex, Chittenden, Vermont.  They are both buried in the Essex Center Cemetery [3 & 4].  And, that appears to be as far as my certainty goes.... 

Sarah C. Martin was born about 1763-1770 and probably in Connecticut [3].  She is often referred to in undocumented, online trees as Sarah Childs Martin, but I have not found any solid documentation of a middle name nor any tie to a Childs family.

Job Bates was possibly born 22 November 1768 in Attleborough, Bristol, Massachusetts to Simeon Bates and his first cousin, Abigail Bates [4]. I have more info linking my Job to these parents. My concern is whether or not that Job Bates is the Job Bates who is the father of the Abigail Bates who marries Thomas Porter: his entries in the 1850 and 1860 censuses, his children's censuses for 1880, and the History of Chittenden County [5] all give Connecticut as his birthplace. I think his children were probably the informants for all of those sources so they are not independent evidence, but it is still enough to make me hesitate.

Unsourced online family trees consistently have a marriage date for Job and Sarah of 1793 in Thompson, Windham, Connecticut, which is only about 40 miles from Job's supposed birthplace in Attleborough, Massachusetts.  But I have not found this record in Barbour, Bailey, or in Thompson town records. 

12 children, but who died when?
A publication from 1882 says that Job & Sarah had 12 children (8 boys and 4 girls), "...all of whom arrived at maturity, and six of whom are now living"  [6].  Another, from 1886, also says there were 12 children and 5 were living at that time [5] .  Unfortunately, neither names the children.  A grandson, Luther, is discussed and I am thinking he may have been the informant.

I have 12 children (split 8 & 4), but  I only have death dates for 9.  I can account for 6 dying before 1880 and 3 died in 1889.  That leaves the deaths of John, Hosea, and Elnathan unknown to me.  It does, however, seem to say that the three of them were alive in 1882 and one of them died before 1886.  That's the kind of unknown data that bothers me, even though it wouldn't really add anything to my direct line.

  • Go through the Vermont State index cards on microfilm for full details on all the children, especially their birthplaces and being on the look out for 'new' children.  Perhaps I can determine the five who were living in 1885.  Also, look again for Job and Sarah.
  • While I'm solid on land records for Job in Chittenden County, I should review/find all probate info for both Job and Sarah in Chittenden County and perhaps in other counties where he might have owned or inherited property.
  • Try the Connecticut state index as mentioned at the SCGS Jamboree in June 2010 by Christopher Child in his presentation on Connecticut resources.  As I remember it, he said it is perhaps more complete and easier to use than the Barbour collection books.  (I have specific notes about that source somewhere in the ToFile Pile.)
  • Review  my notes for the town records for Essex and Westford in Chittenden County, Vermont.  Perhaps I missed some or perhaps I should just plain go back and do them again?!
  • Find probates for sons Clark in Michigan and Welcome in Vermont since they might refer to siblings.
  • Review everything I have on Sarah's parents so that I can make a plan to find her birthdate and birth place.

Review is good and I'm glad I'm doing this formally at least once a month.  Writing it out formally this time led to my cleaning up about six little problems I didn't even list above!

Given all that I have on Job and having such things as dates, location, siblings, and land records, I'm fairly confident he is indeed the son of Simeon.  It's just all the Connecticut birthplace stuff that makes me hesitate.  On the other hand, I have good evidence for Massachusetts and while the Connecticut sources are numerous, they are probably not independent of each other.

[1] Vermont General Index to Vital Records, 1871-1908, FHL #540,106; Abigail (Bates) Johnson's card: Abigail (Bates) Johnson, born Connecticut, age 94y 6 (or 8)m 3d; died 11 Mar 1889 of lung fever, recorded in Colchester; widow; father Job, mother Sallie Martin

[2] Hamilton Child, Gazetteer and Business Directory of Chittenden County, Vermont for 1882-1883  (Syracuse, New York: Journal Office, August, 1882), available at Heritage Quest Online; p. 190: "Thomas Porter, son of Ashbel Porter, born September 17, 1773, came to Colchester from Grand Isle, Vt., in 1806, and bought the Amos farm, then owned by Moses Catlin.  Mr. Amos built the house now standing on the place.  January 24, 1813, he married Abigail, daughter of Job Bates."

[3] The 1770 date is calculated from her entry in the 1850 census for Westford, Chittenden, Vermont at age 80 and born Connecticut.  Her surviving children all gave their mother's birthplace as Connecticut in the 1880 census.  The 1763 date is calculated from her headstone's death date of 19 August 1851 at age 88 years.  See Findagrave for a photo.

[4] Massachusetts, Attleboro: Vital Records, 1694-1900, FHL # 1,987,017; Item 1, p. 26.  However, in the 1850 census of Westford, Chittenden, Vermont, my Job is 80, which would yield a birth year of about 1770, and born in Connecticut.  Also, his Essex Common Burial Ground headstone inscription of 4 February 1863 at age 93y 2m 13 d leads to a calculated birthdate of about 21 November 1769.  See Findagrave for photos.  

[5] History of Chittenden County, Vermont. Syracuse: D. Mason & Co., 1886; p. 698. Available at Heritage Quest. 

[6] Hamilton Child (comp.), Gazetteer and Business Directory of Chittenden County, Vermont for 1882-83.  Syracuse: Journal Office, 1882; p. 256.