22 February 2010

Great Books: Marsha Hoffman Rising

Virtually all genealogy guidelines say to talk to your family members now, since you never know when it will be too late. Now, I add, 'Communicate with your favorite authors or researchers because you never know when it will be too late.'

Two of my very most favorite genealogy books, both in general and for Missouri research, are FamilyTree Problem Solver [1] and Opening the Ozarks: First Families in Southwest Missouri, 1835-1839 [2 ]. This is a very sad blog entry for me because the author, Marsha Hoffman Rising, died this week. I never had the chance to hear her speak, let alone to meet her.

Opening the Ozarks
In this impressive and well-documented 4 volume set, Rising set off to investigate the first 1000 people to file land claims at the federal office in Springfield, Missouri. She wanted to see to what extent the origin of a pioneer can be found by studying their neighbors and she wanted to document successful research strategies for the early 1800s. Counties represented are Benton, Camden, Cedar, Dallas, Greene, Hickory, Miller, Polk, Pulaski, St. Clair, Texas, and Wright. The research techniques, history, and migration patterns, etc., that Rising discussed are all useful for anyone doing early Missouri research.

Unfortunately for me, my RICHARDSONs, SHAWs, & HIX/HICKSs are not in her main sample. But, they were in adjacent Cooper & Morgan counties at the same time and they and some of their in-laws are listed & discussed in Rising’s research. She even cited Cousin Donald’s RICHARDSON research!

In support of the books, she established a website and encouraged submissions of additions and corrections to the book. I found one correction to submit last year and greatly regret that I didn’t get around to it sooner.
Not knowing if anyone will maintain the website, I’ll publish my correction here in honor of Marsha Hoffman Rising.

In Volume 2, page 1373, the Benjamin F. McFarland who married Sarah Richardson in 1830 is discussed. This Sarah/Sallie is almost certainly a
daughter of Amos Richardson and Elizabeth/Betsey Hicks/Hix. Rising places the couple correctly in 1850 in St. Clair county, Missouri [3] (but did not show images nor list family names since this family was just extra data she added and not part of the main study):

However, by 1860 Sarah is apparently a widow and Rising places her in Cass County. The related census image appears to be [4]:

This Sarah's age is much more than expected and the names & ages of the children do not match well at all with the names from 1850. However, there is an alternative Sallie McFarland in Greene County, shown here beginning on line 39 in the household of John Spears[5]. It was common for my Richardsons to use Sally & Sarah interchangeably.
And, the children continue on the next census page:
The Green County Sarah is a better match for age and an almost perfect match for the children from the 1850 census. I am as certain as we can ever be that the Sarah Richardson who married Benjamin McFarland is really in Greene County in 1860 as shown above.

I also have a comment on Rising's listing Benjamin F. McFarland as one of the possible children of James McFarland and Frances Webb on pages 1372-1373. Now, this is a collateral line for me and I have only researched it a bit in hopes of finding a clue for Benjamin's father-in-law's ancestry, but I don't think that James was Benjamin's father.
Morgan County, Missouri probate court records [6] have a series of proceedings for the estate of a Benjamin McFarland, who died before 5 August 1840, and is periodically referred to as 'senior.' A 'junior' Benjamin is specifically listed. Yes, it is possible that 'junior' & 'senior' are used for relationships other than father-son, but this relationship must at least be considered and disproven before assuming otherwise. Also, there is a film of wills for the time period but I have not yet seen it [7]. It could well have a definitive solution for this issue.

Overall, given the location, dates, and names of the administrator and others listed, I am fairly sure that these records belong to the Benjamin McFarland who marries Sarah Richardson. Rising's James McFarland may have had a son 'Benjamin' but I am fairly sure that it is not the Benjamin who married Sarah and appears in the census excerpts above.

FamilyTree Problem Solver

From the Introduction: "Relatively few genealogy books are intended for the advanced researcher, as this one is. Instead, this book is intended to give each reader new ideas for tackling those knotty problems that have been sitting on the backburner of the research schedule for months or even years." [p. 2] The emphasis is on analyzing records, especially those before 1850. Courts, census, and land records are discussed, as is the importance of following collateral families and neighbors. Most examples are from Missouri, Kentucky or New England but definitely applicable to all locales.

For Missouri researchers, the specific record samples are a bonus. After reading just 2 chapters, I had a list of 5 types of records that I have never heard of before and will be checking to see if they exist in my counties! Overall, I just cannot emphasize enough how useful and enjoyable this fine book is to me.

These are really great books, the kind I read and go back to often.
I regret that I did not take the time to communicate with Ms. Rising and tell her myself.

I do not have any connection to the publishing company nor any sales company nor ancestry.com. I use Opening the Ozarks at a local public library and I bought my own copy of Family Tree Problem Solver.


[1]Marsha Hoffman Rising, The FamilyTree Problem Solver: Proven Methods for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Wall. Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2005.

[2]Marsha Hoffman Rising, Opening the Ozarks: First Families in Southwest Missouri 1835-1839. Derry, New Hampshire: American Society of Genealogists, 2005.

1850 US census image at ancestry.com, cropped from Dist 72, St.Clair County, Missouri
1860 US census image at ancestry.com, cropped from Sugar Creek, Cass County, Missouri
1860 US census image at ancestry.com, cropped from Pond Creek, Greene County, Missouri
[6] FHL # 981,210: Missouri, Morgan County, Probate Court Record, vol. 1A, 1834-1847. Estate of Benjamin McFarland: pp. 96-97, 113, 121-3, 136, 144, 170-1, 185, 196, 235, 257.
[7] FHL # 981,623: Missouri, Morgan County, Probate Court -- Wills, vol. 1-2 1835-1903

19 February 2010

Baptism: Charles Causier

This image shows the 4 December 1836 baptism record for Great-great grandfather Charles CAUSIER in the records of the Parish Church of Dodderhill in the County of Worcester in England. It says they were living in the Hill End section of Dodderhill and that his father was a labourer.

His parents were William CAUSIER (1794-1873) and Anne TOLLEY (abt 1809-1891). I'm currently combing the Dodderhill & Droitwich records in an attempt to verify Anne's birth and parents. There seem to have been several churches in the area and I don't think I would have found this image without the notes Cousin Judy sent me: Thanks, Judy!

FHL Film# 352,025; Item 1: Worcestershire Parish Records, Dodderhill, Vol. 7, baptisms 1813-1841, p. 158.

09 February 2010

More Treasures from the To-File Pile: CARR Family

John Henry CARR
Here is a photo of Great-Grandfather John Henry CARR. I don't have the original, so I can't see the bottom identification of the photographer very well. But, it does look like a British motif. Consequently, I'd guess this was taken between 1895 and 1907.

He was born 20 July 1862 in Castleford, Yorkshire and died 13 January 1933 in Los Angeles, California. His occupations included postman, slater, belt maker, engine driver, electrical 'engineer' at a smelter, janitor, and 'engineer' for the Los Angeles Auditorium Building.

Bertha Maud (Carr) HEGWER

This photo of the 6th of his 7 children was the adjacent item in the to-file pile today. I received these photos electronically from my cousin some time ago and I am very grateful for her sharing them.

My guess is that this is circa 1913 in Logan Canyon, Utah or perhaps shortly earlier and somewhere in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Grandma Bertha was born 13 Dec 1893 in Racine, Wisconsin. The family went back to England when she was a baby, but they returned to the USA in 1907. She died 21 September 1972 in Susanville, California. I knew her best of my grandparents and treasure this photo since all the others I have are about 1960 or later.


With all the unusual rain we've had, I'm making unexpectedly good progress on the to-file piles. There are still three piles, but they are much smaller!
Are you jealous?

01 February 2010

A Carr/Causier Voyage & More

The first time I remember hearing the expression "Every journey has two ends" was in a podcast from the National Archives of the United Kingdom. [Please see Note 5 for more info.] Now, I have my own examples!

Fairly recently, findmypast.co.uk
(a commercial subscription site) posted oodles of records of passenger lists of people leaving from the UK on long voyages during the years 1890 to 1960. Last week, I finally got around to playing in those records, accessing FindMyPast for free at my local Family History Center. It was great fun!

The Family

Great-Grandparents John Henry CARR and Ann Matilda CAUSIER made at least two trips between the USA and England. The first trip was between May, 1887 and February, 1889, settling in Wisconsin with 3 young children (Matilda, Grice Ethell, & Charles William). There, Jane Catherine, Ernest Grice, and Bertha Maud were born. Sadly, both Matilda and Grice Ethell died in Racine, Wisconsin in July 1889. About 1894, the family returned to England, where their last child, Anne Martha was born in 1904.

The Voyage with Two Ends

Some time ago I had found the arrival manifest for their 15 September 1907 return through Philadelphia. Here are crops of both pages of the arriving manifest.

Page 1 [Source 1]
John Henry CARR is line 18; Ann and four children are lines 19-23:

Before I talk about the Carr’s in this image, let’s look at the ‘scribbles’ on the page. The line through Mr. Marshall on line 26 means he did NOT take the voyage after all. The date and code numbers on line 23 for Aunt Annie most likely mean that she applied for naturalization in 1931. [Note 6]

Page 2 [Source 2]:

I especially value seeing that great-grandfather John Henry was only 5’7” and had blue eyes, while great-grandmother Ann was 5’3” with brown eyes. Re-examing all this info for the writing of this blog, I see that maybe I can’t find a birth record for Ann is because I have been looking in Tipton, Staffordshire per her death certificate, rather than in Castleford, Yorkshire. Given that the passenger list was made 40 years closer to her birth, it could be the accurate one! It’s funny how re-reading documents can reveal details missed before.

Also, note that on Page 2 where it says John Henry was going to his father’s at 188 Wiliams, it really is his father-in-law Charles Causier’s address. There is no indication that William Carr ever left Yorkshire.

Last week, at FindMyPast.co.uk, I found the passenger list for the 4 September 1907 departure from Liverpool [Source 3]. So, now I have both the beginning and end of the Carr’s second voyage!
This passenger list doesn’t give me any earth-shattering new info, but it does contain the surprise that Grandma Bertha was called, at least once, “Bessy.” If I had not already had the arrival manifest, finding the departing passenger list would have given me a date, a ship, and a port, which would surely make finding the arrival easier.

The Ship

They traveled on the SS Merion. It was easy to find info on this ship at Wikipedia.com. The wiki entry says that the ship was first launched in 1902, so it was still fairly new when this family sailed. The entry continues that the ship held 150 second class passengers and 1700 in third class. Its career includes running aground and a few at-sea collisions, but fortunately none in 1907! Perhaps most interestingly, it was sunk, without casualties, by a German submarine in WWI while on duty in the Mediterranean as a decoy. [Source 4]

Finding documents and matching photos like all these really strike me. I just stare at this ship thinking over and over that I may have never met them, but my great-grandparents were on this ship! Wow!

Maybe this FindMyPast database will be expanded one day soon and I'll be able to use it to find the date and full info about the first Carr/Causier trip to the USA. For now, I'll just try to get used to the idea that Grandma Bertha may have been a 'Bessie.'

I neither work for nor receive any consideration from any of the entities listed here.

Sources & Notes
[1] cropped from ancestry.com database “Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945,” 1907 / September / Merion / image 27

[2] cropped from ancestry.com database “Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945,” 1907 / September / Merion / image 28

[3] cropped from findmypast.co.uk migration database
"Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890-1960"; SS Merion, Liverpool to Philadelphia, 4 Sep 1907

[4] Merion picture & info from Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Merion
-- Wikipedia says this image is in the public domain in the USA.

[5] More info about the National Archives podcasts: The best way to access their wonderful podcasts is at

Here's the podcast specific to passenger lists and every voyage having two ends: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/every-journey.htm

Just for fun, here are links to 3 of my other most favorite National Archives podcasts:

How the sinking of the Titanic affected the families of the crew

a case study on genealogical research featuring the family of Charles Darwin

workhouses of the 1800s

The National Archives have an incredible amount of resources and I could never do them justice in this blog. For genealogy research help, I love the book Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives by Amanda Bevan. My copy is the 7th Edition, published in 2006. !

There is a wonderful document “A Guide to Interpreting Passenger List Annotations” online through JewishGen. It has lots of examples and all sorts of info about all the details on passenger lists. Be sure to look at all of the sections: my printout of the guide runs to 28 pages.