16 February 2015

Presidential Cousins

The latest post at the Vita Brevis blog, Celebrating Presidential Kinship, US Ancestry by Christopher Carter Lee,  does "briefly" discuss the presidency,  genealogy of the individual presidents, and NEHGS's support of such research and archiving.  It also reminds me that I haven't blogged about any of my presidential connections….

While I am not descended from any American Presidents, several of them are distant cousins through some of my Great Migration ancestors.  At the 2009 SCGS Jamboree, I had the pleasure of talking with Gary Boyd Roberts at the NEHGS booth.  I blogged about his great books before but didn't list my presidential cousins...

That year, after reviewing my pedigree chart, Gary Boyd Roberts listed the following cousins for me:  Fillmore, Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Harding, Coolidge, FDR, Nixon, Ford, both Bushes, and conditionally added Pierce and Hoover.  It's almost six years since Mr. Roberts examined my chart and wrote the notes and I'm still gratified by his kindness.

As the Vita Brevis post mentions, there is a newer 2012 edition of the book and I'm sure it's worth having for all the additions & corrections it must have, but I can't bear to replace mine.  I will always cherish the thought that Gary Boyd Roberts actually took my pedigree chart back to his hotel room, read it, wrote on it, and took the time to write a detailed personal comment on my copy of his book! Thank you, Mr. Roberts!

I hope to someday get to Boston to visit the library and do lots of research.  I'll take my book along with me, hoping to show Roberts and talk with him again.  In the meantime, I really, really hope that someday NEHGS brings him back to this area for Jamboree.

11 February 2015

Great Resource Verifies New Cousin: Martha (Earl) Black Beck

In genealogy, we seem to spend a good deal of our time fitting pieces together, hoping we're right, and going on from there.  Don't you love it when you find something that verifies a chain of assumptions?

I've been working on William EARL with wife #1 (married 1860 in Ottawa County, Ohio) Ellen/Helen KEATING and wife #2 (married 1868 in Ottawa County) Mary HADD Gourno Earl Peeling for some time with no indication that they are related to me.  But, when you know so little about a great-grandfather, you must research those around them (FAN concept)!  My great-grandfather, Patrick KEATING, had land dealings with William EARL in Ottawa County, Ohio, in the 1860-70s, and William's first wife was an Ellen KEATING.  I figure there has to be a family relationship there but it's been outside my grasp.  Ellen left even fewer records than Patrick and for years I believed that there were no children from her short marriage to William Earl.

Long story short: a few months ago, I was able to verify that some of the children formerly/sometimes attributed to Mary HADD's first or second marriage were actually her step-children.  Ellen Keating did have descendants!  But, there was still a lingering uncertainty with confused names, common surnames, and only circumstantial links.

The great resource in my title for this post is the Ohio Memory site . It's one of those resources where you can get lost for hours and find wonderful things! It's a must if you have any roots in Ohio.

Today, after reviewing all the inconsistencies in Ellen's children's names and ages, I decided to review my "EARL possibilities" folder and found a note that there is an obituary for one of Ellen's daughters at OhioMemory.  Hmm, better check it out…. well, it's a great find! It's just a 15-line obituary with only 94 words from an unnamed newspaper, but it ends all my doubts about the children of William Earl and Ellen Keating!

 Mrs. Charles Beck, better known in Oak Harbor, where she was born and raised, as Mrs. Mattie Black, died at Marion, Ind., last week Wednesday, at the age of 52 years.  She was a step-daughter of Mrs. Mary Earle and half-brother of Wm. T. Earle.  For many years, the deceased with her first husband Daniel Black, operated a milk route in Oak Harbor, residing north of town about a half mile. she leaves two sons Ira and Guy, the former being a prosperous grocery dealer at Marion, Ind., and the latter in the ministry.
The online item title is "Obituary of Mattie Beck" and has a handwritten date of 2-26-1917 on the clipping image and was submitted by the Harris-Elmore Public Library, which seems to be about 9 miles from Oak Harbor.

The Great News
Careful readers should now be asking "What's the great news? Where's your connection to Patrick anyway?  Well, one of my atDNA matches is a descendant of Daniel Black and Martha/Mattie Earl! Ancestry.com DNA predicts we are 4th-6th cousins with "very high confidence. " My "conclusion" is that my great-grandfather, Patrick Keating, and Ellen Keating are indeed related: maybe cousins, maybe even siblings!

Of course, there's still a lot of work to do.  But I think it will be easier to find Patrick's origins now that I
'know" at least one relative for him!

The Plan

  • Enter all my Earl info into my database and online trees
  • Contact and exchange info with my new Black Family cousin
  • Go back to researching Patrick with a new perspective and renewed energy!

Don't you love the feeling that just maybe there is an answer in sight?

06 February 2015

First Friday Folder: Benjamin Richardson & Ellen Holt

My First Friday Folder feature has been silent for over two years. Given that this year's mega-goal is organization, it's time to start it up again! (Read the very first one here to review what I mean by First Friday Folder.)  I picked this particular folder this month because I knew it would be an easy one to do and would help ease back into the First Friday Folder habit.

The Couple
Benjamin RICHARDSON and Ellen HOLT are two of my 4th-great-grandparents on my dad's side.  This is the public debut of my officially claiming them as ancestors.  Prior to this week, I have had them in my database with the middle names of "UNPROVEN."  No, I haven't written my proof statement yet, but I really think there's enough to go on finally… and having a folder in which to put it all while I work on the statement is a good thing, right?  Then, the proof statement can be a new post!

The Folder
This folder is in pretty good shape because there were only a few things in it:
  • two maps of the Estill County area of Kentucky
  • a FHL film note for a film on Estill County wills
  • copies of 3 email conversations with Richardson expert, cousin DR on Benjamin
  • placeholder copies of p.1 of about six websites with pedigrees including early Richardsons.
I put an official new label on the folder.  I removed the UNKNOWN middle names from Benjamin & Ellen in my database and printed out a family group sheet.  It has virtually nothing more than son Amos' info and notes.

The Plan 

  • Write proof statement, including DNA evidence, on Benjamin & Ellen being the parents of the Amos Richardson who married Elizabeth (Betsey) HICKS.
  • Review evidence/sources DR already has collected on the couple and enter into my database.
  • Figure out what other early records exist that might help document Benjamin and Ellen.
  • Track all of their children for at least 2 generations of descendants, which should further strengthen the DNA evidence.

Line of Descent
Benjamin RICHARDSON = Ellen HOLT
Amos RICHARDSON = Elizabeth (Betsey) HICKS
John D. RICHARDSON = Isabella SHAW
Charles HEGWER = Margaret Lavinia RICHARDSON
Benjamin Theodore HEGWER = Bertha Maud CARR, my paternal grandparents

I still think it's important to revisit folders/couples every so often, if only to see if there's anything to be done to make more room in the file drawer.  I hope my renewed resolve lasts…!  I know I cheated a bit by picking this folder, but it stills feels good to be posting again.