Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Cousins That Blog!

Karen is up on Monday - don't miss her blog at Genealogy Frame of Mind tomorrow.  She hasn't given a clue as to her topic, but I am sure it will be great!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Surname Saturday - Skirving

Isn't that a great name - Skirving. It's one of my Scots lines and direct line ancestry. The nearest Skirving to me was my great-great-great grandmother, Helen or Ellen Skirving. She was born in 1814 in Forres, Morayshire, Scotland while her father was employed there. Her parents were John Skirving and Margaret Wardlaw.

In April 1833, the family sailed from Cromarty in Scotland eventually reaching York, Ontario - present day Toronto - on July 9, 1833.  The emigration party consisted of Mother (Margaret Wardlaw Skirving) and children Margaret, Ellen (Helen), Kate, John, Annie, Mary, Chrissie, two women servants and one man servant. They sailed aboard the Triton.

John Skirving died September 22, 1833 of malaria in Etobicoke. This left his wife and seven children to fend for themselves, which they did by opening a school.

Ellen or Helen as we have her in other records, married Alexander Maitland on November 8, 1836 in York. The first six of their nine children were born in Canada.  The family moved back and forth between the US and Canada until eventually settling in Lexington, Missouri at the conclusion of the U. S. Civil War. Helen and Alexander are buried in MachPelah Cemetery in Lexington, Missouri, along with their daughter, Annie.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, February 26, 2010

2010 Census -This Does Make Me Want to Cry

Yesterday, cousin Karen sent this link about the 2010 census. Apparently NO IMAGES are to be preserved from the 2010 Census. I'm astounded. What it means is that your future grandchildren, or great grandchildren won't have that resource to go through and find info about us in 2082. Someone suggested making sure you made copies of your census form. What good this will do, I'm not sure, unless someone collects and films them and makes them available in 72 years.

My DH, love him as I do, hates the fact that even 72 years later, that information is available about people who are possibly living. Anyone who sees the information his mother gave is going to be misled anyway, because she was so nervous she made DH born in 1946 and their marriage in 1949 instead of the other way around!

So, better get those family histories published or pass them on to someone who cares about the family history!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Indexing - Should I Laugh or Cry?

Now that Ancestry has seemed to clean up it's stupid census link errors, I have a bone to pick about the indexing.

It seems the trained monkeys who are indexing census, have invented a place called "Gland of Malta." Seriously:

Frank Smith:
Birth Year: abt 1793
Age in 1870: 77
Birthplace: Gland of Malta
Home in 1870: Castleton, Richmond, New York
Race: White
Gender: Male

It's funny, but when I look at the link, I see "Island of Malta." Stuff like this really tries my patience.

But imagine my surprise when I found another record, this a death certificate.

This is what I found in the indexing:

Name: Not Named Smith
Death Date: 27 Dec 1916
Death Location: Franklin
Residence Location: Franklin
Age: 71
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: White
Birth Date: 15 Jun 1845
Birth Location: Harrison
Father's Name: Frank C Smith
Father's Birth Location: Kentucky
Mother's Name: Agnes B Chinn
Mother's Birth Location: Kentucky

I mean, really, who goes through 71 years without a first name? No one. His name, Frank B. Smith is clearly written on the death certificate.

Now, if I am looking for a death certificate and I see something like "Not Named," I tend to skip over it, figuring it is a stillborn. Of course, a closer look shows that the Not Named is 71 years old and a closer look shows his name clearly written.

I still don't know whether to laugh or cry!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ancestry Will Drive Me Crazy Yet

Ancestry is one of those subscription services that you love, hate and love to hate. Sunday evening it had been more of a "I HATE ANCESTRY" night and I know that I am not alone. C'mon, how many of you out there have gotten this message:

Database id or database name specified incorrectly or the database is no longer valid. 

It has been an extremely frustrating time trying to search census and then after ages of waiting, you get a page with that message.

And you know, I think it is only going to get worse once all these Genie shows hit the air. Could I survive without Ancestry? I doubt it. It is still the best overall resource out there.

Usually when Ancestry starts acting flaky, I start looking for other things I can do. Since most of those things usually involve working on Ancestry, it makes me a bit cranky.  It seems I am usually swearing at my printer or at Ancestry these days.

Maybe I'll take a page out of Cousin Carol's book and go clean out my email folders.

PS.  After waiting a couple days, I got a response from Ancestry that I needed to clear my cache. Now this problem has happened intermittently over the last couple days and has cleared up without any action on my part. No, Ancestry, this is not a cache problem.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bye Bye Library of Michigan

There are times that I am so glad I moved out of Michigan, that it isn't funny.  At this moment in time Michigan should be glad I moved out, especially the governor.

I know things are tough, but where the hell have they spent the money. Oh, we had to have a new Welcome center on I-75 south of Monroe, didn't we. Unfortunately, no one supervised the installation of the locks in the women's restroom, because they were all installed incorrectly. I did bring this to the attention of the governor after a stop there on the way back from Tennessee one year. None of the doors would shut securely. Small thing, but you can imagine they spent hundreds of thousands on that one rest stop. I wonder how much it cost to make that repair?

The state of Michigan and the City of Detroit and Pontiac have spent money on several sports venues. You certainly remember the Silverdome in Pontiac. That's been abandoned for the new and improved Ford Field in Detroit. Don't forget Comerica Park. After all our winning football and baseball teams have to have new fields so they can win Superbowls and World Series.  Oh wait, the Lions will win a superbowl when hell freezes over. But so what the taxpayer can front the money. What a joke.

Now, the Michigan department of History, Arts and Libraries is being dismantled. The genealogy collection is about to be a thing of the past.  We don't need libraries do we? After all we are all going to grow up to be athletes.

So where the hell are the so-called superstars of Detroit? Why aren't they upset that their state is losing one of its most important resources.  And if you play for one of the Detroit teams, you better take the city and state seriously. The taxpayers of Michigan have funded enough sports venues, it's time for the Sports teams to give back and give back big.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, February 22, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Where Does the Inspiration Come From? Or Blunder Your Way to a Blog Topic!

Okay, I know I've left it a bit late, but hey, I've been sick and the Winter games are on! DH is watching ice dancing prelims which are starting to bore me to tears.  "See ya later, honey, I'll be in my office for a while!"

The head congestion has fried my brain and I am thinking, "Am I up on Monday?"  I think the answer is yes.

So my topic is where I get the inspiration for my blog. The first six weeks of this blog just flew by without much thought on my part and the topics just flowed from my fingers. After a week of not feeling quite up to par, the ideas have seemed to dry up, unfortunately the sinuses haven't!

I find when I am actively researching, especially a new resource, I can rattle on about all kinds of subjects. But after days of not working on anything at all but email and the Olympics, I was somewhat at a loss for a topic.

Actually, some of the best ideas can come from mistakes I've made and how I've gone about rectifying things.

One of the biggest mistakes I made was in simply taking at face value information that was given to me, without verifying the sources. The first time something didn't add up, I sat down and tried to figure out which was correct and how to go about recording both pieces of information. And how to avoid it again.

And it seems through the years of actively researching (since 1986, thank you very much,) I've come across this problem time and again. Not just errors, but information that differs from what I have and why I think it is important to include it. There are still times that I come across obvious errors, ages don't add up, birth place is wrong on a death certificate, parent's name is wrong. I mean, have you ever come across a death certificate where the informant is the son of the decedent and he gives his own parent's names as the parents of the decedent? This has happened to me a couple times. Usually through census and other vital records you can document this as an error. But it is still important to document when you enter that erroneous death certificate, what you surmise happened when the information was taken. The frustrating part is when you can't figure out which information is correct. In this case, I just document both, usually I put what I consider the incorrect information in the notes. And because I am blessed afflicted with OCFRD* I become a person possessed with the tenacity to find more information that will prove or disprove my information.

What I really find irritating are the number of headstones I've found recently with just years on them, and I have the obituary which has a different year on it chronicling the life of so-and-so and the stone says he/she died a year prior or a year later. Maybe it is an instance of the stone going in much later? Since some of these are in upstate New York and I have many instances of "Burial will take place in the Spring," I'm thinking maybe it's possible they died in October and didn't get planted until April or May due to weather, but how can you really verify that? So I keep an open mind and record it all including my thoughts in [ ].

So that is basically how I get my inspiration for Gene Notes. Blunders of genealogists past and my own errors will probably supply me with blog topics ad infinitum or ad nauseum.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Cousins That Blog

I'm up tomorrow and my topic is about how I draw inspiration from mistakes I've made, or errors I've found in work other people have shared with me.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Surname Saturday - Maitland

Helen "Nellie" Maitland is one of my direct line ancestors, and was married to John Henry Percival, whom everyone called Henry. Don't you just love nicknames? Nellie was my great grandmother, and she died in 1947 a few years before I was born.

There are all kinds of stories about the surname - one being de Mautelant and rumors they came up from Italy. I love fairy tales. I've not been able to prove or disprove it, but keep it in the family history.

Nellie's grandfather, Alexander Maitland (one of a long line of Alexander Maitlands) emigrated from Scotland circa 1834 to Canada, where he ended up in Toronto, met and married his wife Ellen Skirving, moved in and out of the US and ended up in Lafayette County, Missouri.  Alexander and Ellen Maitland were the parents of Alexander Maitland who married Mary Grieves Oliphant and they produced Nellie.

This is one of my favorite photos of Nellie, taken probably circa 1900 possibly with a Brownie camera?

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, February 19, 2010

Faces of America

One pet peeve I have with TV is that everything I want to watch usually comes on during special events like the Olympics. Fortunately for me, I was able to catch the latest episode of Faces of America at

I've found elements of each story interesting or even moving. I find it interesting that the show's host doesn't share his research techniques, though. Makes you wonder if he is even the person doing the research, eh?

After the Olympics, Ancestry's Who Do You Think You Are? debuts. Should be interesting!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Favorite Free Resources - Rerun

This nasty cold and the Olympics are luring  keeping me from regular postings. Mostly the culprit is the Winter Olympics light sensitivity that causes me to sneeze every 12 seconds. So I am re-running one of my early blogs on free genealogy resources on the net.

I love travelling and I love surfing - the web that is. Over the years I've come across a few great freebie genealogy gem sites. They are not in any kind of order, except how they come to my mind. Click on the link to go to the site.

Family Search Labs. This is a pilot site hosted by The LDS Family Search. It is a collection of records world-wide that the LDS is putting online. Some are just indices, others are indexed images of census, birth, marriage and death records, probate records, funeral home records. This site is free. I've gotten tons of good stuff from this site and I eagerly anticipate more additions.

Old Fulton New York Postcards. This site is so misnamed. It ought to be New York Newspapers, scrapbooks and other historical data or another ridiculously long name. If you have New York State research, this is a great site for obits, marriage announcements and miscellaneous stuff. The search engine is fairly sophisticated and the results are pdf images of whatever has been scanned. This site is free, but the webmaster will accept donations.

Find-A-Grave. I have been nicely surprised by this site. I've added records to the site. And photos. One of the great things about this site? Volunteers who will go to the cemetery and take pictures. Again, it is a free site, but you can "sponsor" a record which removes the ads.

Online Searchable Death Indexes for the USA. This is a great site. Some of the links it will take you to are pay sites, such as Ancestry, but there is a wealth of information on the linked sites. Some links will take you to GenWeb sites, others state archives sites. If you scroll almost to the bottom you will see a link to take you to marriage, divorce and other records.

Missouri Online Death Records 1910-1958 (for now.) It originally started out as images from 1910 to 1956. They've added 1957 and 1958 as the 50 year anniversary rolls round and I have great hopes of them continuing this database. Their search engine is pretty advanced once you click on the advanced search option. Best of all you can save and/or print the image for free. I have pulled hundreds of death certificates off this site. And if you click on the collections link at the top of the page, you will find links to other items in their digital collection. Some newspapers, photographs, coroner's reports. If you find information but not a digitized image, generally you can send them a $1 and they will send you a copy.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Almost!*

* Reason(s) for Wordless Wednesday

1. Cold.
2. Olympic games.
3. Someone is having a birthday.

Yep, all three!
Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Sarah Kirtley Percival Webb

Sarah Kirtley married first Dr. John Stearns Percival. They were my great-great-great grandparents. She was his second wife. After his death, she married Lewis Webb.

Finding this tombstone was not easy. Are they ever? When we went searching for it one day in the 1990's all we had was her name in a book of tombstone readings for the Old Burlington Cemetery in Burlington, Kentucky. All four of us walked past it. More than once.

When we finally found it, imagine my surprise at what I found on the front of it.  Took me a while to actually look at the top of the stone though! Don't forget to click on the full tombstone photo to enlarge it.

The OCFRD has been temporarily supplanted by OCOGD (Obsessive compulsive Olympic Games disorder) and my new favorite sport to watch is the snowboard cross.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Cure for OCFRD

Not that I want to be cured of my Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder, but two things have slowed down my research lately.

1. A nasty cold.
2. The winter olympics.

The cold I can really do without, because it is all in my head and I really hate that stuffy feeling. The winter olympics are my favorite events and I find myself enthralled by figure skating - as long as it isn't ice dancing - and luge, men's and women's moguls, biatholon, bobsled and short track racing. I even enjoy the opening and closing ceremonies.

Too bad there were no Olympians in my family history. None of us were that coordinated!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Cousins That Blog

Don't forget to check out Cousin Carol's blog at Reflections from the Fence tomorrow. I think she is continuing the slave theme that I started a couple weeks ago. Enjoy!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Surname Saturday - Klijewski/Klijewska

This is one of Hubby's Polish lines - his grandmother, Mary Klijewska who married Leo Kruszka (yeah, the guy who changed his name to Pear.) She was the oldest of Maxymilian Klijewski and Mary Siekierska's six children. Her youngest sister was Sophie Klijewska and she is another story altogether.

The photo is of the Klijewski family circa 1908. Mary Klijewski is the one with the veil. Sophia is on her mother's lap.
 This photo is of Leo & Mary Klijewska Kruskza.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, February 12, 2010

Putting Census OCFRD To Rest -- For a While

Wahoo! I finished the latest census project - a total of 180 different censuses, thank you very much. As interesting as they are, too much of a good thing can be a royal pain.

Now, I've moved on to more birth, marriage and death notices.  I have searched and searched for Charles Percival who died in 1958 in New York state. I just found him purely by accident by searching for descendants of one of his daughters. Good things come to those who wait and who have Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder!

Happy Hunting!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, February 11, 2010

OCFRD* and Searching for Obits

I've been searching again on my new favorite site Old Fulton Postcards  aka Fulton History. I LOVE this site. I've been looking for an obituary on Charles P., son of Frank P. and Carrie H. I didn't find one for him, but I did find a combined obituary and birth notice. The obituary was for Charles' maternal grandmother, Julia Farnsworth. The birth notice was for Charles' daughter. Julia died a few hours before the birth of her great-granddaughter at her grandson's house.

As many obituaries and birth notices that I've found over the years, this was a really weird first.

*Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

OCFRD* and the Census

 My pile of census covering 1850 to 1930 and including some New York State census from 1892 totaled about 169 before I started entering the information and sorting out the families. I've since added about 15 to that total and now stand at 47 to go. Every so often I come across a family with a simple name, like Reed for instance, that I have the 1900, 1910 and 1930 census for but they are totally MIA for 1920. Information from a county history indicates that the family had lived in that county all their lives. So where are they?

I've been running into this problem with various families and censuses.  I've done line-by-line searches for various families over the years and nothing. I've checked out the Family Search Pilot search for 1920 - they aren't there. I've searched Heritage Quest - I've searched Ancestry. Here are some of the reasons I think I can't find them:

1. They were out of town visiting relatives.
2. They used aliases.
3. They were picked up by a spaceship.
4. They moved in 1920 and managed to elude the census taker.

Or maybe even all four.

*Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder
Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

OCFRD* & Late Night Gems

I can't tell you how many times late at night when I finally make that decision to shut things down for the night, I come across a gem while searching for information on Homer Percival.

It read: Mrs. Mattie Van Dyke and Homer Percival were guests of her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Cottet...

Just that little bit told me that Mattie Van Dyke was Mattie Percival Van Dyke; Homer was her first cousin, and her daughter married Leslie Cottet. The 1920 Census shows Mattie and her husband, Donald and son Donald P. I couldn't read the daughter's name, but it looked like Krista to me. Searching for Krista Van Dyke did not yield any results.

This is where my subscription to America's Genealogy Bank comes in handy. I figured there was a good chance Krista ? & Leslie had passed, so I looked for his obit and found him and mention of his wife, Kniste. Whoa. That's unusual. I found her obituary and this explanation for her name:

"Mrs. Cottet was born in Canastota. She was named Kniste, an Oneida Indian word meaning cluster of pines, because the hospital room where she was born was named Kniste, her daughter said.

"Her mother saw that name and thought, 'Wouldn't that be different?"'

Canastota was called Knistestota by the Indians, according to local history accounts, meaning cluster of pines by silent or motionless water."

Okay. That sure is a different way to pick a name!

*Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Distracted Genealogist with OCFRD*

I'm sitting here [Friday evening] sipping a glass of Cherry pinot noir from a winery in Canton, Michigan courtesy of our trip to Michigan last summer to visit younger daughter.  I've been taking every opportunity to take a break from my census project. I started with 169 census reports that I've found since January 1st all relating to the Percival lines I've been working on that went from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, New York and other locales. It's nowhere near as daunting as the 350 plus I worked on last year, but it gets those OCFRD* juices going and sometimes I just have to stop, pull back and think.

I work in fits and spurts.  Sometimes those fits and spurts will last for weeks. Sometimes I just gather all the information that I can and then work on entering it all. Other times, I just pull census till there's no more records to find, then I print them up in batches and start entering the info. I don't usually enter servants into my genealogies. I might note that Mr and Mrs Smith have two maids and a cook enumerated with them, but not their names. Sorry, but the servants are not part of the genealogy! 

I was thrown a curve ball today (spring training starts soon, eh?) when entering a 1900 census when I realized I hadn't found an 1880 census for Delos Percival and family. Since entering a Percival (soundex) choice in Ancestry did not yield Delos, I tried searching for him by first name only by county - Oneida and state - New York. Happy dance when the search resulted in Delos Pererille.  Remember, SPELLING DOESN'T COUNT!  And enumerated with him, his wife and one son was Sarah Bronson, housekeeper, and she is listed as his sister. 

Whoa.  Could she be one of the children of Moses and Susan Seegar (Segar)? I went back and took a look at the 1870 census, and sure enough, Sarah Bronson again enumerated with him as a servant. The 1870 of course does not give relationships. That was the end of my luck though. I have no idea that she is indeed Delos sister. She could be his wife's sister and it could be an error by the census taker. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a marriage record, a death announcement or anything to prove or disprove this. Also, 1850 really is a bad year to be searching in New York since I have been able to find Moses and Susan and most of their other children. For now, she is tentatively entered as a daughter of Moses and Susan with a caveat of how the information was obtained.

I will agree that my method doesn't always work for others, but it seems to really produce results for me. I will put it aside and hope for more success at a later date.

Happy Hunting

*Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disease.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Tomorrow!! Karen's Turn!

Cousin Karen is back from her speaking engagement in Florida and I bet she has a super Relatively Speaking blog for us tomorrow. Be sure to check out her blog at Genealogy Frame of Mind.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Surname Saturday - Knost

I just noticed that most of my research has centered around my dad's family lately, but Surname Saturday seems to really focus on my mom's family. And Knost is one of hers. And it is pronounced Kanost, in other words, the K is NOT silent.

It has been a relatively simple name to research, since it isn't very common. The earliest one I have found is Johann Heinrich Knost and the most recent one was Emelie Catherine Marie Knost - Amelia - who married Joseph Meyer in Auglaize County, Ohio. Amelia and Joseph were my mother's grandparents. My mom had some recollection of this grandmother, since Amelia lived with some of her children in Michigan after Joseph died.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Other Grandmother I Never Knew

Both my parents lost their mothers at young ages. My maternal grandmother, Luetta Meyer Zimmeth died at the age of 37 on December 20, 1931 from complications from surgery for tuberculosis. She left three young children behind. John "Jack" was just nine years old, Catherine "Kaye" was almost eight; Marguerite "Margie" was newly turned six.

My mother's recollections of her mother were almost non-existent since her mother was so ill with TB. Mostly my mother lived with her aunt Rose and uncle John Ochsenfeld. Jack lived mostly with his Grandma Meyer and Margie was passed back and forth between families.

After my grandmother died, so close to Christmas, my mother said that was probably the best Christmas that she could remember, because everyone felt so sorry for those poor children. Of all the kids, Jack probably had the only real memories of his mother.  After the funeral, my grandfather left, and was only seen sporadically by family over the next few years. Mom continued to live with her aunt who was very strict, and her uncle who tried to spoil her.

My mother's childhood really shaped who she was and one thing she was determined about was her children. I think she really lived in fear that something would happen to her and dad while we were young and she wanted to be as sure as possible that we would not be split up like she and her siblings.

So of this other grandmother, all I have are a couple of small grainy photographs of a tallish woman who vaguely resembles my late aunt Margie, but nothing that tells me what she was like.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Putting History in My Family History

Wow! I am sitting here going cross-eyed from working on census. I've been at it for a few days and already looking for something to give me a little break. I've culled just about everything I can from the Old Fulton Postcards site in the way of obituaries, wills, marriage notices, and crime reports. I've searched with some success for birth, marriage, death and burial records. I couldn't avoid the census any longer, but four days of working on it is enough for a while.

While searching for county histories for some of the people I found on census, I came across The Hamlin Family: A Genealogy of James Hamlin of Barnstable Massachusetts. Since my Percival family established itself on Cape Cod about 1670-ish, I knew this would be worth a peek.  This is not the first time I've seen the book, having seen a hard copy years ago, but I now know so much more about the family, a second look was called for.

The couple I was interested in was Jabez Howland and Elizabeth Percival - Elizabeth was a granddaughter of James Percival and Mary Rainsford, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents. Yeah, that is eight greats there! I had birth years for the children of Jabez & Elizabeth Percival Howland, but this book actually had birthdates. And some spouses. And mentioned that their son Jabez Howland was killed in the French war.

I had a vague idea the reference was to the French and Indian War which was not fought between the indians and the French but pitted the French and Indians against the English. Like in the movie The Last of  the Mohicans. A visit to Wikipedia told me this war was fought between 1754 and 1763, I have a nine year time frame for someone's death. That's almost as bad as finding out someone died between the 1880 and 1900 census!

I keep plugging, (literally searching while I write this) doing Google searches and find this: Rolls of Connecticut men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762, Volume 2 by the Connecticut Historical Society. Listed is Lieutenant Jabez Howland, who enlisted March 27, 1758 and was killed near Lake Champlain on July 6th. Unfortunately it doesn't tell me which state or country he was killed. I think this is probably him, will have to see if I can find any siblings in Connecticut. While I find it interesting, that is as far as I will pursue this. I want the history, which I accomplished and which will add some color.

Years ago, I discovered some Graves relatives who fought in the War of 1812, one of whom was killed outright at the Battle of the River Raisin (Frenchtown) and the other who was captured by the indians and never seen alive again. Does that mean his body was found later? This was interesting to me because I was born and raised about an hour from there. My dad and I had talked about going there for years to see what there was to see at Frenchtown, now known as Monroe, but we never did. I think I was the only one of my dad's kids who really liked going to battlefields and cemeteries with him. Finally hubby and I made the trip there. It was interesting, yet really disappointing as most of the battlefield has disappeared into the surrounding landscape and neighborhoods. But it put that particular battle into perspective for me.

Some years ago, I found a reference to my ancestor John Stearns Percival, a book called The Division. Defending Little Rock Aug. 25-Sept. 10 1863 by Timothy Wayne Burford & Stephanie Gail McBride. John Percival led two companies into a hollow near a bridge at Bayou Meto to lay down sniper fire. He was killed by the blast of a shell.

In emails exchanged with the author, trying in vain to find a burial place for him, I was told that most of the Confederate dead were left where they fell and never buried. I sure hope his wife never learned this. It certainly disturbed me. Again, it added history to the bare fact that he did not return from war to his wife and two children.

Don't be afraid to do a little research on the side when you find an interesting tidbit. It can add some interest to your family narrative and educate you at the same time!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Random Thoughts of a Genealogical Nature

I was working on a blog for Surname Saturday and came across a printout from St. Joseph Cemetery in East Tawas, Michigan, where most of my Zimmeths are buried. Lot 120 appears to have two different family names on it. One is Zimmeth. The other is Fournier, which is my youngest sister's married name. It creeped her out, not because of the names, the cemetery part.

Where do people go from one census to another. I have obituaries stating so and so was born in Annsville in Oneida County, New York prior to the 1850 census and was a lifelong resident. Yet they are nowhere to be found in 1850. Anywhere? Darn Percival line anyway.

Hubby and I finished watching the reincarnation of the 1970's Battlestar Galactica series of the same name. My question is, do all these DNA test results show that we are part Cylon?

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Know Spelling Doesn't Count ... Revisited

I am still working on the Percival families who lived in "upstate" New York. Specifically, those Percivals who lived in Herkimer, Oneida, Madison and Livingston Counties. There are others in Cattaraugaus county, but I've worked on them and linked them to the Percivals who lived in Ionia County, Michigan. Sometimes it really is a small world.

Getting back to these Percivals and the spelling issue. Sometimes it isn't just a spelling issue, such as Percivil or Prcvel for Percival. This time I am taking issue with the first names.

One is John Whitmore Percival. Usually referred to as Whitmore, Whetmore, and Wetmore Percival. I can deal with those. It is the 1860 census that gives me pause when he is referred to as Whitmoremore Percival. Maybe the census taker went to sleep? And it isn't just him. In 1850 he is enumerated with his wife, Charity and daughter Mary I. That's fine. When I went looking for him in 1860, and saw the "Whitmoremore" and the age, I figured it was him, but who the heck were Gertrude and Isabella. Gertrude seemed familiar, but Isabella?

Flash back to the Seeking Michigan site and finding this death certificate for one Mary Lester whose father was Whitmore Percival and mother Gertrude Hess.  Ok. It sure looks like her.  Now for the 1870 census. What do we find here in Herkimer County?  Charity Percivill and daughter Bella.  Ok, Bella for Isabella, Charity, not Gertrude.  In 1880, we have Thomas and Mary Lester with Gertrude Percival living with them and she is Thomas' mother-in-law and they are all living in Michigan, all natives of New York. In the 1900 census, Thomas & Mary Lester have a servant AND Mary's mother, Charity Percival. Come on people! Give me a break. I cannot even begin to fathom why someone would rotate names every 10 years.

I probably would have dismissed this entire family because of the Charity/Gertrude thing, but Whitmore and yes, even Whitmoremore so intrigued me, I couldn't let it go.

My reaction of laughing at people who say, "The name has always been spelled blah-blah," is due to evidence such as the above.

Happy Hunting!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, February 1, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Things in Common & Diverse Results

The other day, Cousins Carol and Karen and I were chatting via email about slaves. They can put names to some of their slaves, I can't. After our emails slowed down, I went back and checked everything I had on my ancestor and came to the conclusion that I just had no luck. Here's why.

One ancestor, J. P. Bowman of Lafayette County, Missouri owned slaves in 1850. By 1860, according to newspaper accounts, they had mostly flown the coop. You see, Missouri was a border state, involved with fighting with Kansans over the slave issue and it seems that the Missouri river acted as a means of escape.  J. P. Bowman, of the Missouri State Guards (Confederate) died of exposure after the battle of Pea Ridge. Of course he died in intestate, so there were no probate records from which to cull slaves' names.

Those slaves were gone by the time of the1860 census. He inherited some in November of 1860, but no other record of them has been found.
Another ancestor, Garland Webb, also owned quite a few slaves. I can't find any mention of any names for his slaves, either. Garland also was Confederate, but died in 1895. 

There are a couple slaves named way back in the will of Francis Kirtley who died in 1762 in Culpeper county, Virginia. They were left to his descendants.

But something was poking me in my memory bank. I thought I did remember a letter received by my great-great grandfather, John P. Bowman from his brother Robert T. I did some digging and ...

There was a slave mentioned and by name.  Old Aggy is mentioned by name in a letter dated Nov 19 1860 between R T Bowman and J P Bowman, brothers who were the heirs of William Bowman. The slaves were to be drawn by lots, but R T knew that since he was living in Covington, Kentucky they could escape north easily. But the concern was for the old Negro woman who could no longer fend for herself.

Did I find this in our family papers? Wills? Census? No, I found it on a film at the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne labeled "Lafayette County Miscellaneous Materials, folder 4: Correspondence (to Sheriff John Bowman). Interestingly enough, most of the correspondence is personal, not business.

So even though, cousins Carol, Karen and I have common roots and similar research methodology our research results are often diverse.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes