Gene Notes

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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sympathy Saturday - Victoria Synos

Not the DH's grandmother, no. Actually this Victoria Synos was the aunt of my husband's grandmother. She, too, was born in Borek Nowy, Poland, but was born on April 29, 1849 and died on May 1, 1849. It is so sad to suffer the loss of a child, which I think in this time frame, and among the poor, was not uncommon. So on this day, Victoria Synos, daughter of Michael Synos and Catherine Paluch is remembered.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 29, 2011

Two New Databases

In my ongoing love/hate relationship with Ancestry, I've found a couple recent databases that have piqued my interest*.

The first is:  Returns from Regular Army Infantry Regiments, June 1821–December 1916. NARA microfilm publication M665, rolls 1–244, 297–300 of 300 . Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's–1917, Record Group 94, and Records of United States Regular Army Mobile Units, 1821–1942, Record Group 391. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

This database primarily contains monthly returns from U.S. Regular Army infantry regiments received by the Adjutant General’s Office from June 1821 to December 1916. It also includes other forms and correspondence filed with these returns.

The Regular Army monthly returns reported on the strength of each regiment, including total numbers of men present, absent, sick, or on extra daily duty, as well as giving a report of officers and some categories of enlisted men by name. Later returns included an accounting of strength in terms of horses and artillery.

The type of information generally found on the returns includes
  • names of regimental commanders
  • names of all officers and reasons for the unit’s loss or gain of officers, if applicable
  • names of company commanders
  • stations of the regiment and companies
  • names of absent enlisted men, 1857–1904, and reason for absence
  • names of enlisted men the unit lost and gained, 1821–1914, and reasons
  • names of enlisted men on extra or daily duty, 1857–1873, and nature of duty
  • record of events, 1832–1916
  • total strength of both officers and enlisted men by rank, 1819–1857
  • total strength of horses by company, 1846–1916
  • total strength of artillery pieces by company, 1857–1912
Other record types filed with the returns include
  • “Historical Data” files (miscellaneous correspondence and records)
  • annual and quarterly returns of alterations and casualties
  • monthly returns of battalions, companies, and detachments
  • special field returns and field returns
  • returns of casualties
  • tri-monthly field returns
Some of the above information was taken from the Descriptive Pamphlet of National Archives Microfilm Publications M665, National Archives, Washington, D.C. Please consult this pamphlet for a more detailed description and history of these records.

The second database is: California State Library - Sacramento Co, Sacramento, California, Pioneer Index File (1906–1934); A–Z. Sacramento, California: California State Library.

10,000 records are contained in this database with biographical information about pioneers who arrived in California prior to 1860. The information is recorded on a series of index cards which were collected into the California Information File beginning in the early 1900s. Many of the facts were contributed by the pioneers themselves, their descendents, or other resources some of which are noted in the records. Available facts about individuals includes name, birth date and location, parents’ names, spouse’s name, marriage date and location, death date and location, and can include extensive personal details like profession or occupation, residence before California, residence in California, political offices held, education, politics, participation in principle events of California history, and lists of descendants.
One can not only gain an extensive amount of biographical information from these records, but also piece together California’s history during the mid to late 1800s. European pioneers and settlers from the states alike traveled to California overland or by sea around South America’s Cape Horn from an array of backgrounds. Individual occupations listed in these records cover a vast range of livelihoods such as a hotel clerk and saloon keeper, gold miners, grocers, livestock owners and farmers, cabinetry makers, newspaper men, streetcar conductors, cabinet makers, professional soldiers, and even an artist turned photographer. California pioneers fought in Indian wars, discovered gold mines, survived expeditions like the ill-fated Donner party, cast votes for Abraham Lincoln, traveled across the country to fight in the Civil War alongside General William Sherman, and encouraged the women of California to support the suffragette movement. This collection is clearly a valuable resource for any one researching their Californian ancestry or history.
With all the information available it is advisable to view the actual records attached to a name in the collection in order to obtain all the biographical facts, descendant names, and supplemental sources mentioned which can add to research. Some newspaper clippings about events and individuals as well as letters accompany the cards in the collection.

Information in this database:
  • Surname
  • Birth date and location
  • Parents’ names
  • Spouse’s name
  • Marriage date and location
  • Death date and location
  • Date of arrival in California
  • Residence previous to California
  • Last California residence
For copies of the original file, write to:
California State Library, California History Section
900 "N" Street, Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 94237-0001
Phone: (916) 654-0176
Fax: (916) 654-8777
Website: California State Library, History Section:

Two great databases and I found no direct ancestors in either of them. Nor collateral relatives that I can pick out by glancing through the names. Even though I had a Percival in California before 1850, they are not listed. That could be due to the lack of descendants on the part of Egbert Percival. Although he did have a son, I never found a marriage or children for him. Egbert was my g-g-grandfather's half brother.

As for the Returns from Regular Army Infantry Regiments, well, apparently no direct line relatives were in the Regular Army Infantry during those dates. What a pity!

It would be nice if Ancestry could fix some of their existing databases in the meantime. The ones I have been waiting half a year for.

*Information from, NARA and California State Library via I don't usually grab stuff like this, but there was so much good information in this, I thought it might stir interest for those of you who do not have an subscription. I know I have a love/hate relationship with them, but I couldn't find half of what I find with them as cheaply elsewhere or by ordering each film (if available) through the LDS.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thriller Thursday - Suicide or Dosage Error? Mary Woodson Cade

 In this day and age most people know that you shouldn't overdose oneself with cold medication. I'm not sure Mary Lynn Woodson Cade knew this in 1960.

Mary Woodson was born January 26, 1919 in Temple, Texas to James Woodson and Mary E. Watkins. Her maternal grandparents were E. T. Watkins and Mattie Maitland, daughter of Alexander Maitland and Mary Oliphant, my great-great grandparents. She died June 13, 1960 in Houston, Texas of antihistamine poisoning at the age of 41.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Maitland & Deweese

On April 28, 1920 Gladys R. Maitland the eldest daughter of Alexander Maitland and Desdemona Henderson was married to Dr. Everett R. Deweese. Gladys' father Alexander was my great grandmother Helen Maitland Percival's brother.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Odds & Ends

Have you ever looked at a record that you found somewhere online and knew that the information was familiar and you had seen similar information but never pursued it? That is what I was working on in the week before Easter and younger daughter's visit. I got tangled up in the Percival/Woodworth line in Ashtabula county, Ohio. I've searched the indices online at Family Search, done a search at Find-A-Grave, checked out and googled the families. Yes, I let the OCFRD demon loose and now have another pile of paper to evaluate, transcribe and research more.

Research is good.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Moaning ...*

 Wow! What a great Easter holiday. Our younger daughter drove down from Michigan for the weekend and we had great family time with her and our older daughter. Younger daughter is considering a move down here in the fall and we certainly wish her well in a search for a job. Her current employment is with a market research company and we hope that she will be able to relocate easily. Her actual destination is about an hour and a half west of us - Nashville. Sure would make holidays a lot easier on all of us!

I am happy to report I got accomplished nothing in a genealogical nature this weekend, except for sharing the weekend with those with whom I share my genes and my DH, of course.

*BTW, the title is reminiscent of the late great Bob Talbert a columnist for the Detroit Free Press. My high school English teacher got me hooked on his column in 11th grade.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sympathy Saturday - Isabella Bowman Mountjoy

Isabella Bowman Mountjoy died on April 23, 1912, in St. Louis, Missouri. She was my great grandaunt. Born in 1838 in Bourbon County, Kentucky, the oldest child and only daughter of John Parker Bowman and Mary Elizabeth Chinn.

From Unknown source:


Body is Sent to Lexington, Mo., for Burial in Family Plot.

The body of Mrs. Isabella Bowman Mountjoy, who died Tuesday at 3545 Cabanne avenue, yesterday was sent to Lexington, Mo., her former home, where the burial will be to-day.  Mrs. Mountjoy was 74 years old and the widow of the late George Mountjoy, for twelve years sheriff of Lafayette County, Mo.  He died in 1904.  Mrs. Mountjoy was a native of Lexington, Ky., but spent the greater part of her life in Lexington, Mo., where she lived until her husband's death.  She since has made her home with a daughter, Mrs. B. M. DeMoss, where she died. In addition to Mrs. DeMoss, the following children survive: Mrs. W. T. Snyder, Lexington, Mo., Misses Annie and Bettie and John and Frank Mountjoy of St. Louis.  She also leaves two brothers, E. and F. Bowman of Kansas City, Mo.

photo courtesy of Debbie Waynick Perry

 * Errata - Frank and Edwin Bowman did not at any time that this researcher can ascertain live in Kansas City, Missouri. By this time Edwin was in St. Louis. Frank still lived in Lexington, Missouri.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 22, 2011

Serendipitous Cemetery Searches

Ever walk into a cemetery and walk right to the grave site you were looking for? Or walk past a headstone and do a double take because there was a stone you didn't expect to find? Or look through a cemetery fence to see the family stones you are looking for heaving up around the trunk of a tree and have a burning desire to blog about it?

Actually all of these have happened to me, and the other night I dreamed about just the above scenarios. Including the blogging part. In my dream all of these scenarios happened in the same cemetery, one that I never visited before. The next morning when I was sipping that second cup of coffee, I surfed on over to Find A Grave and took a peak. Imagine my surprise when NONE of the people I was looking for were in the index.

But others were. I'll take 'em!

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thriller Thursday - The Mysterious Homicide of Lura Funk Davis

I came across this death certificate when trolling the Missouri Death Records Database.  She had been married to Thomas Warfield Davis, a Kirtley descendant. By the time of her death, Lura was about 40 years old and divorced form Thomas Davis. Unfortunately, I've not been able to find a newspaper report of her death. She was shot in the head in St. Louis, Missouri on June 10, 1929.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Percival & Ford

Click to enlarge
On April 18, 1831 Chauncey Percival, father of Olney Percival appeared to obtain a marriage license for his son to marry Lavina/Lavinia Ford. They were married on April 20, 1831.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Uh-Oh - OCFRD Relapse

Click to enlarge
A while back, I discovered that I needed to make sure I had entered the section and plot numbers into the place details list for the burial fact/event in RootsMagic 4. I had decided I would use it, because it put the information right up front for me to see without digging into the source for it. The cemetery I am most concerned with is the Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky. I research there a lot. Not only do I keep that information in RootsMagic, but I have a list by section in an Excel file of headstones I haven't attempted to find there yet. So I printed out a list of all burials I have in Lexington Cemetery. It's sixteen - yes that is 16 - pages long. Nine pages do not have the section and plots recorded in the place details. The first page was no problem. Starting on page two, I discovered a lot of these I had never posted on Find-A-Grave. Looks like that is going to be a simultaneous work in progress. Adding them is no problem, but then I like to link them to spouses, parents and add the headstone photos I took. Yeah. So not as quick as I thought. You can see my odd little notations (if you click to enlarge the image) in my weirdly upward slanting notes. Its a good thing they mean something to me. I might have to re-evaluate how I am going to handle this.

On the other hand my layers of paper on my desk have shrunk.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 18, 2011

Looking For My Desk - OCFRD Strikes Again!

Oh dear, it's happened again. Over the last few weeks I've been caught in a severe bout of Obsessive Compulsive Family Research disease and now I can't see the top of my desk, the top of my shredder, and the tops of my file cabinets. Even the top of my printer/scanner/copier is loaded with paper I've only printed on one side (I flip it and feed it through the rear feeder) which is good enough for stuff I'm going to recycle anyway. I'm wondering if I will ever see them because it seems the more information I enter into RootsMagic, the more stuff I look for and print out and the more densely populated with paper my desk becomes.

During my fugue state the other day - I still don't remember what I was doing when I got distracted - I found a photo I had been looking for that supposedly was of the Pfeiffer family including Rose Zimmeth who married Joe Pfeiffer. I sent a copy off to a newly found Pfeiffer connection and got a photo of her ancestor back.

Having breakfast while blogging

One of my file cabinets

The other cabinets

 Hopefully by the time you read this, I'll have everything completed data entry of all that paper that is on my desk, filed, recycled and organized! ROTFL! Or at least I would be if there was room!

This doesn't even include the mess I made in the store room crafting cards for Easter and someone's birthday.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Someone's Having a Birthday!!!

You can see she ate her first birthday cake with gusto!

Being the "mean" mom that I am, I am tempted to make this post at 11:27 p.m., the time of her birth.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sympathy Saturday - Magdalena Zimmeth Kibler

Magdalena Zimmeth was born in Roeschwoog, Alsace, France July 27, 1823. She was the third child, third daughter born to Josef Zimmeth and Catherine Boegler.  Her family emigrated to America prior to May 29, 1839, which is the date the Zimmeth family's youngest child was born. She married Michael Kibler (or Kubler or Kibbeler) February 11, 1844, after her first child was born. Magdalena died on August 16, 1901, probably in Erie county, New York.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sidetracked Again!

I have no idea how I got sidetracked today, but somehow I got started on looking up a marriage record for my mom's cousin Leo Zimmeth. Leo was born January 31 1907 in East Tawas, Michigan, the oldest child and only surviving son of George Zimmeth and Julia Blust. George died in 1918 during the Spanish Influenza epidemic, and Julia died in 1925 four months after her second marriage. These tragedies left three orphan children: Leo, age 18; Rose, age 15; and Mary age 12. I don't know what became of Leo at this time, but I suspect he was left to fend for himself, being 18 and all. Rose and Mary were sent to live with their Mother's family.
Click to enlarge

When I was researching at the church that the Zimmeth family attended up in Iosco county, I noticed a marriage annotation on his baptismal record that stated he married Adele P. Kasten in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on October 11, 1930. Two things bother me, though. The first is that I can't find a marriage record in Missouri for the couple and the second is that they appear to be married a year already on the 1930 census.

There is a third thing that bothers me. The family consensus is that Leo's wife's name was 'Babe.' And that she was of American Indian descent. And that she probably was his common-law wife. This certainly does not jive with the German Kasten family. Probably Leo and Adele divorced. Maybe that was due to his four-year stint in Jackson (Michigan) Prison for armed robbery. And maybe it was also due to the fact that when he was paroled, he was taken to Covington, Kentucky to face charges there. Then there was the fact that he was also wanted in Cincinnati, Ohio for armed robbery.

Leo and Babe would visit with my grandparents in Pinconning periodically. He died in 1989. I certainly don't recall meeting him.

Now if I could just remember what I was doing before I got sidetracked.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thriller Thursday - Shot By His Own Gun!

Dallas Morning News, August 18, 1934, Section I, p 3:


ABILENE, Texas. Aug. 17 (AP) - Struck in the heart by a charge from a shotgun which went off accidentally as he removed it from the back of an automobile, W. S. Chinn, 78, of Merkel, pioneer of Taylor county, fell dead in the drive at a son's home in Abilene Friday afternoon.

The accident occurred as Mrs. M. V. Chinn, daughter-in-law of Chinn, stood waiting in the doorway of the residence. Chinn had brought the shotgun to Abilene to complete a trade. As he removed it from the back of his roadster, the turtle cover fell against the hammer. The charge hit him full in chest, resulting in instantaneous death.

[W. S. Chinn was Walter Scott Chinn, a son of Cabell Breckenridge Chinn, Sr and Jane McCausland. He was born in Louisiana April 13, 1858 and died August 17, 1934 in Abilene, Texas.]

His memorial on Find-A-Grave can be found here.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Rose & Weaver

Sometimes when I am searching for subject matter for the blog, I get totally distracted. Such was the case in researching today's marriage. Mary Eliza Rose was the daughter of Horace Boardman Rose and Elvira Percival. Elvira was one of my great-great-great grandfather's sisters. Mary Eliza rose married Samuel Montgomery Weaver on April 13, 1836 in Roseville, Arkansas. It is said that Roseville was named for Horace Rose. Sam Weaver was born in 1803 in Kentucky and Mary Eliza was born in 1813 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sam died in April 1864 in Little Rock at the age of 60 and Mary Eliza died December 3, 1904 in Little Rock. Sam was Arkansas Secretary of state in 1860.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Love Those Tools

I've been trolling the site over the last few days for Ohio marriage records in their Ohio, County Marriage Records database. To do this I used the "find" function to search for marriages that contained ", Ohio" but did not contain "Ohio, Kentucky" or "Ohio, Indiana." My prize was 183 marriage records. Not bad for a few days work.

Also in the works, those letters on loan from my cousin. And then Missouri 1912 Death Certificate retake at the Missouri State Archives.

I Like to keep busy!

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 11, 2011

Of Frustration and Hardware

Sometimes I get so frustrated by what I find on the internet, I want to scream. Other times I can't believe my good luck. But the past few weeks have been a constant struggle with the router. So on Sunday, I bought a new one, installed it and so far, no disconnects.

Frustrated? Yeah, a lot because FamilySearch has posted Ohio, County marriages 1790-1950. Well, don't get too excited because I haven't found any near 1940 or later, but I've found bunches of marriage records that I didn't have images for. At least when my internet wasn't cutting out on me.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sympathy Saturday - Matilda "Tenie" Bush

Photo courtesy of Julia Percival Deimler
Matilda "Tenie" Bush was the daughter of Philip Bush & Vicey Tousey (Vicey was a daughter of Thomas Tousey & Lydia Percival) and was born August 7, 1834 in Kentucky and died in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 1914.

She is buried with the Percivals on their lot in Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 8, 2011

Civil War Days

Ancestry has released some great databases recently pertinent to the Civil War - I will note here that this year is the 150th anniversary of that conflict - and one of the databases is that of New York Town Clerk Records of Men Who Served in the Civil War.

Here is one of the records I found and I was not aware of this son of Cotton & Martha (Davis) Percival. Actually, I didn't have Martha's maiden name before either.

Click for larger image* New York, Town Clerks' Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War, ca 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thriller Thursday - The Accidental Shooting of Everett K Stephens

Here is another I wish I had a newspaper article for this because sometimes you wonder how "accidental" a shooting is, especially if no one is involved but the victim.  Today's victim is Everett K Stephens, born in 1866 and died in 1930, the son of Columbus Stephens and Hattie Percival.  Certainly the 1930 time frame after the "Crash" in 1929, saw a lot of "accidental" shootings. Everett's death certificate shows his occupation as a merchant.

Whether or not it was truly accidental, it surely was tragic.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Percival & Stannard

Since I don't have the actual notice of their marriage, this anniversary article will have to do:

SPRINGFIELD CENTER, MARCH 6. - Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Stannard celebrated their golden wedding anniversary Wednesday. Mrs. Stannard was attired in the gown she wore at her wedding 50 years ago. There was a large number of friends present and a number of beautiful presents were received. An elegant supper was served and the time was spent in social enjoyment. Mr. and Mrs. Stannard have resided in this town all their lives and are estimable people and have a great many friends in the community. All join in wishing them many more years of wedded happiness. (Utica Herald-Dispatch. Utica, New York, 50th Anniversary, 6 March 1903.)

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Archives Follow-up

Last week I blogged about our local archives preserving family photos (over 100 years old) with the catch that they remain in the archives. As I explained last week, my family grew up without pictures of our own parents as children, let alone ancestral pictures, so I strongly object to this proposition.

But what do you do if you have no descendants or your descendants have no interest? You bequeath them to the local archives of course.

When DH and I first moved here and I attended a meeting of the local genealogical society, one of the members had been keeping a scrapbook of obituaries and other family stuff, not just for her family but for the "locals." What a great idea. And she made sure the archives would be the recipient of her hard work. Well, this wonderful genealogist has been gone two years now. Does anyone have access to this wonderful life work? No. Because the archives needs funds? Because they moved recently? Because they haven't a clue? So this great resource goes unavailable and out of reach.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 4, 2011

Moaning Monday - Guess Who?

When Ancestry does something right, they do it great. However, how would you know? Half the time I get screens like this:

Click for larger image
But how would you know? I've gotten this screen every day this week. That and the problems I've reported over the last six MONTHS that still have not been corrected.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sympathy Saturday - Michael Kibler

On April 2, 1880, Michael Kibler died in Gardenville, New York. He was born May 9, 1820 in Riedseltz, Alsace, France. He married Magdalena Zimmeth February 11, 1844 in Lancaster, New York and their marriage was duly recorded in the parish book of Sts. Peter & Paul in Williamsville, New York, that church in existence before St. Mary's in Lancaster. He was buried in Fourteen Holy Helpers Cemetery in West Seneca.

Magadelena Zimmeth Kibler was my great grand aunt.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 1, 2011

Do You Keep Your Family in the Archives?

In reading our local paper today, I saw that our County Archives and Veterans Hall is collecting and preserving family photos that are over a hundred years old. Sounds good doesn't it? There is even a citizen of our little 'ville pictured with framed photos of her great-grandparents which are at the Archives.Yeah. Not in her home, but in the Archives. And as far as I can tell there is not even a plate on the pictures to say who these people are. What's the point of preserving them if no one knows who they are?

I grew up never seeing a picture of my mom taken before she met my dad. Seriously. My dad had a picture or two of himself taken when he was a kid. They were taken after his mother's death in 1938. It turns out my mom's brother had some pictures. Another of mom's relatives took off with my mom's Aunt Rose's photos and then tried to pass them off as his own. In that group of pictures were photos of my mom with her Aunt Rose (who raised her) circa 1925-1926 when mom was a toddler. I knew both of my grandfathers, they having died in 1965 (paternal) and 1979 (maternal.) But my grandmothers were a mystery to me. Sure, I knew my step-grandmas and was about ten before it sunk in that neither of my parents referred to my grandmas as mom.

I do have some photos now. A lot of them are really poor copies, but they are all I have. I've been attempting to label and copy them. I can't tell you how precious are the photos of my maternal grandparents on their wedding day, and you can't even really see my grandma's face. Or the professional photos of my grandmother, perhaps for her engagement? I will pass these down to my children, but no way will I give them to an archive. Ever.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes