Gene Notes

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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Too-Too Thursday - No Wonder I Couldn't Find Them in 1930

I have collateral relatives who go by their middle names. Drives me crazy. It can be especially difficult when doing a census search.

With the release of the 1940 census, I've discovered that I'm missing a few 1930 census. One of the families is that of Abram Smith Bowman. I really had no problems finding him with his family in 1910 or 1920, but finding him in 1930 was difficult. So difficult that I didn't find him at all. Until now. Finally, I got smart and searched for Smith Bowman and there he was ... sort of. He was listed as H. Smith Bowman, as was his eldest son. It's not an indexing error for once. It was that danged census taker. And, yes, I am sure it is the correct family, because that is exactly where they were living in 1940.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Whitmore & Cornwell

On May 30, 1698 in Middletown, Connecticut, Francis Whitmore & Mary Cornwell were married. They were my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents. Their daughter Hannah married John Percival in East Haddam in 1731.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Home Improvements

My DH and I have been enjoying some relaxation on our deck recently. One of our recent purchases was an outdoor pedestal fan. While it doesn't reduce the humidity, it makes it somewhat more comfy. I can't even imagine how my ancestors fared during those summers in Missouri and Kentucky in the 1800s. Most certainly, they were not wealthy slave owners for the most part, and we know the women dressed a lot heavier than we do now. When it gets this hot, I recall the spring of 1982 in Michigan when we were expecting younger daughter, and we had extremely hot weather and no air conditioning. What must it have been like for my great-great grandmothers, who not only had to care for their children, but do laundry over a hot fire! I love modern conveniences.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day - 2012

 Honoring my late ancestors who fought.  From Center top clockwise: My great-great-grandfather, John Stearns Percival, Jr. He fought for the Confederacy and died outside Little Rock, Arkansas, 1832-1863; Frank B. Percival, my father, US Navy World War II, 1925-2003; Charles Zimmeth, my maternal grandfather, World War I, 1888-1979; Group picture with John Stearns Percival, my grandfather picture middle row left, World War I, 1892-1965; Bernard P. Kruszka, my father-in-law, Army Air Corps, World War II, 1919-2011.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sympathy Saturday - Mary Ann Chinn Gilbert

Mary Ann Chinn, daughter of Thomas Scott Chinn and Susan Smith and widow of Samuel Gilbert died on May 26, 1900 in Muscatine, Iowa. She was born March 5th, 1824.

Her Find-A-Grave Memorial can be seen here.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, May 25, 2012

Am I Part of an Ethnic Group?

Growing up in the 1960's I never felt I was part of any ethnic group. I was Roman Catholic, sure, but my parents didn't really stress that we belonged to any group. It wasn't until much later, later even than when I married my 100% Polish hubby and started working on my family history that I realized just how ethnic the family was.

The family joke, especially by my maternal grandfather was that his family was French. More correctly, his grandparents were Alsatian. However, if the family lived any further east than they were, they would have been in the Rhine River, which divides France and Germany in that area. Census records, however, show that the family spoke German. Further research shows that my great-great-grandmother was Prussian. To date, I've not proven this as I've never found the Zabracks or where the Kleesaat/Cleasott-Zabrack marriage took place, or even where their children were born. Most records just show Prussia or Germany. The Kleesaats were from Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and therefore, were German. My maternal grandmother's family were also German. They were Kettlers, Knosts and Meyers and Beckmeyers.

On my dad's side, his Bowmans weren't Bowmans, they were originally Baumanns and hailed from Germany, emigrated to Pennsylvania and settled finally in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia. The Percivals supposedly hail from Somersetshire in England. The Maitlands and Oliphants and Bohannons were Scots. Then there are the Kirtleys, Webbs, and Chinns - English all.

Many years ago, when I interviewed my mother to wrest what she knew of her family from her, she told me her aunt Rose Zimmeth Ochsenfeld taught her to cook German cuisine. I can attest to the fact that my mother NEVER EVER made any German meals that I can remember. She told me when she and dad were first married, he didn't care for German cooking so she didn't make it any more.

I still remember my dad telling me that his grandma Bowman always had sauerkraut going and he hated it.

So thus it was that I grew up not knowing or appreciating any ethnic cooking whatsoever. Mom made pot roast, ham, chicken, chicken and dumplings, meat loaf, etc. Must be why I really enjoy ethnic foods today!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Too-Too Thursday - 1940 Census Fun

Portions of the 1940 census are searchable on both Family Search and Ancestry. How are you going about searching the 1940 census? 

I have two methods, The "Who was There?" report on RootsMagic v 5 and GenSmarts v's 1940 census features. I simply put in the state and year, i.e. Delaware 1940 and I am given a list of people to search for.

RootsMagic v is a little more complicated, as it is inefficient if you haven't geocoded your entire database. It also gave me a lot of people to search that didn't make any sense. Both programs gave me something to work with, and that is what I needed.

Now to get the 92 census reports I found ready for extraction and linking!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Kibler and Schwartz

On May 23, 1876 in Gardenville, New York, Mary Josephine Kibler, daughter of Michael Kibler and Magdalena Zimmeth married August Schwartz, son of Mathias Schwartz and Mary Anna Dentinger were married. 

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


 I think transcription can be really interesting. Proof reading the results not so much.

You will recall that I transcribed World War II era letters written mostly by my grandfather to my uncle John. At the time I felt I needed a break from them, but now I am scrambling to proof them all and print them and save the letters to CD for my cousins and aunt.  Part of the difficulty is making sure I leave grandpa's wording and spelling intact. I have to say his spelling improved greatly between World War I and World War II.  There was also one letter from my dad to his brother. Spelling was always the bane of his existence. So you see, using spell checking on these letters is not really an option. Good old-fashioned proofing is what is needed!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Reading List - Common Courage

Common Courage: The Campaigns of a Revolutionary War Veteran by Daniel D. Kinley, is the story of Timothy Percival, my great-great-great-great-great grandfather.

Dan Kinley's grandparents were John Carey Percival and Rowena Hall. After John and Rowena divorced, John Percival had little to do with his sons, John and Daniel, and they ultimately took their step-father's surname.

Even though there are no primary sources, that is nothing in Timothy's own hand, for this book, it is very well researched and written so that a history buff like me to enjoy. Although I have rarely read anything other than fiction for this time period, I am finding it extremely interesting.

It is available at all major retailers, including

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sympathy Saturday - Elenor Hite Bowman

From the Winchester Evening Star, May 20, 1903.

Descendent of First Settler is Dead.

Mrs. Elenor Bowman, widow of Mr. Isaac Bowman, died yesterday morning at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Smith Davison, at Strasburg, Va., in the ninetieth year of her age.

At the time the history of the Northwest Territory was published she furnished a large amount of the data. She was a daughter of Col. James Hite, of Jefferson county, W. Va., and was a member of the family of the fourth generation of Joist Hite, one of the pioneers of the Valley. For seventy years she was a member of the Episcopal Church, and last held her membership at Middletown, this county. One brother, Joist Hite of Fairmont, W. Va.; two daughters, Mrs. Smith Davison and Mrs. Ezra Foltz of Strasburg, and one son, Mr. Isaac Bowman, of Baltimore, Md., survive her.

Elenor's Find-a-Grave memorial can be viewed here.

[Elenor Hite Bowman is another of those relatives who is related to me via two different ancestors, Joist Hite and George Bowman.]

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, May 18, 2012


I've been doing a bit of housekeeping on my old Gateway laptop in preparation for it going to hazardous waste disposal today. One of the chores was making sure all the extra photos on that laptop make its way into my hands via an 8 GB flash or jump drive. Thank goodness for those as I found some pictures I thought I'd lost.  It's always good to make sure you save those pictures you can't replace easily or at all!


Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Too-Too Thursday-Visitors

For the last 38 days,  we've been the host to Older Daughter's two cats, Tonks & Luna. Despite, Tonks' relentless attacks upon the couch, we have had a great visit with them. Older Daughter returned from her trip to Australia the 30th of April to find that in her absence her apartment has become infested with fleas. We were glad her cats were staying with us, and have treated them just in case. I'm really glad they are indoor cats only. Many, many treatments to her apartment later it looks like she may finally get back into her own place and take her cats with her.

Tonks, right at home on our bed.

Luna's favorite spot to chill out!
In the meantime, I think the cat hair is causing my allergies to kick in something fierce. It is so hard to refuse Luna's offer to sit on my lap while I am working on blog posts. She loves to leave tons of white cat hair everywhere! And when I am working in my office, that is when she wants to sit on my lap, or across the back of my chair. The smaller cat, Tonks is very kitten-like and has really attached herself to me. They're going to be missed very much.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Maitland & Goodale

On May 16, 1870 in Jackson county, Missouri, John Skirving Maitland and Laura Goodale were married. He was a son of Alexander Maitland and Helen Skirving and was my second great granduncle. 

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Apparently, has totally missed the 18-49 demographic it was aiming for and WDYTYA? was cancelled for 2013. Am I surprised? No. I spent part of this year trying to figure out who some of these most "beloved" celebrities were.

The main problem with WDYTYA? is that they made it look too easy. Genealogy, at least for those of us who started with a roll of microfilm combing census records, vital records and newspapers, or haunting county courthouses hoping for a glimpse of great-great-great grandma and grandpa's marriage record, is truly very hard work. Most of us do not have the luxury of having someone else research for us or hopping on a plane to find our roots in Europe, Asia, or Africa.

So, I will watch the Paula Deen episode, if for no other reason to sling insults at her for ignoring her diabetes and continuing her unhealthy way of cooking!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, May 14, 2012

You Know How It Is?

You get so caught up in your projects that you forget something key. Like a blog post.  Once again, I've cleared up all the death records, census records, birth and marriage records and have started transcribing obituaries and marriage notices and cleared up some find-a-grave stuff. In between I did some Family Search 1940 census indexing.

Mother's day was wet and quiet.  I'm hoping for a quiet and productive week!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sympathy Saturday - Rawleigh Chinn

I have a lot of Rawleigh Chinns in my database but only one who died on May 12, 1888. His death record shows that he died from being thrown from a wagon. He was 68 years old. He was a son of Samuel Chinn and Amelia "Millie" Meyers. He married Sallie Beatty. You can see his Find-A-Grave memorial here.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, May 11, 2012

What's Next?

I am all caught up on birth, marriage and death records and now working on census records again. Of course, most of these are pre-1940, and records I hadn't located prior to finding the marriage record for the couple. And there are only 40 of them instead of hundreds I did earlier this year! I also found a few 1940 in Family Search's online indexes. I hope to finish these this weekend and go back to indexing for Family Search for a while.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Too-Too Thursday - Way Behind

Sometimes I feel like I will never get some of these projects done. No sooner do I finish one that I had put off for sometime when I discover a new database. Orange County, Virginia Marriage Records 1757-1938, is one that caught my eye the other day. Fortunately, I only pulled a few records, so kept it within a reasonable amount of records to add. Unfortunately, Family Search also added Virginia to its list of searchable 1940 records leading to even more census records. Uh Oh!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Collins & Kirtly

I have no idea who this couple is, but ...

After finishing a couple of my extraction projects I noticed that Family Search had Orange county, Virginia Marriage records WITH IMAGES up, so of course I had to stop and look.

I found 16 records, and this one needs a little research because I have John Collins married to Frances Kirtley. This record however is for John Collins and Elizabeth Kirtly, who were married January 4th, 1803 in Orange county, Virginia.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes ...

This nasty summer cold -- yes, it is summer with temps up to about 90 recently -- is finally easing a bit. I felt well enough to do some shopping with my DH, have lunch out which included our older daughter and then resumed work on the birth records. Now I am happy to say they are complete. While I was at it I also added about 13 death records.  Looks like it could be time to catch up with the census records I found while entering marriage records. They range from 1850 to 1940. Yes, I snagged a few that were indexed on Family Search.

It's nice to feel productive again!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, May 7, 2012

Life Interrupts!

I hate when nasty life things interrupt my plans. For example, for the last few days, I've had the nastiest cold. It's bad enough having a cold when it is 20 degrees out, but when its 90 degrees? It really is awful.

Thus it was that I didn't accomplish a lot of what I wanted to accomplish this week, meaning once I completed the marriage records, I had a pile (about 75) birth records to deal with. Yesterday I finally got a chance to delve into them. So far I have extracted birth information from Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and now I am working on Texas. The biggest group is Vermont. After that? Maybe obituaries and marriage notices. Maybe!

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sympathy Saturday - Christine O'Henley - Sr. Mary DeSales

From Adrian Daily Telegram, Adrian, Michigan, obituary, 7 May 1966, p3 c4:

Sister M. De Sales O'Henley

In the 59th year of her religious profession as a member of the Adrian Dominican Congregation, Sister M. de Sales O'Henley died Thursday in Maria Hall.

Formerly known as Christine O'Henley, she entered the Sisters of St. Dominic from Sheridan in 1906.

Sister de Sales' teaching assignments brought her to St. Joseph, Wyandotte; St. Agatha, Gagetown, St. Alphonsus, Dearborn; Assumption, Swanton; St. Catherine, Cincinnati; Immaculate Conception, Braidwood; St. Mary, Elgin; St. James Maywood and Mt. St. Marys Academy, St. Charles, Illinois.  Sister was superior and principal of St. Mary School at Elgin and St. James school in Maywood, Illinois.

Surviving are six sisters:  Sister Rosella of the Adrian Dominican Congregation at Detroit, Mrs. Bernard Minnick of St. Clair Shores, Mrs. Augustine Allard of Detroit, Mrs. Victor Miller of Detroit, Mrs. Frank Minnick and Mrs. John Sullivan and a brother, Donald O'Henley, all of Bad Axe.  Sister had been residing at St. Clement Infirmary and Marial Hall since 1960.  A solemn Requiem Mass was offered in Holy Rosary Chapel today at 9 am.  The celebrant was the Rt. Rev. Monsignor Jerome V. Mac Eachin of St. Thomas Aquinas parish in East Lansing.

 And with the help of Carol Bowen Stevens, I found this picture of her headstone at the Dominican Sisters Mother house "Sienna Heights"  Cemetery in Adrian Michigan.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Pride - Project Completed

Hooray! The marriage project is completed with about 600 marriages recorded and images linked, parents added, etc. Next up: Birth records and then we start with the census records again. 

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Too-Too Thursday - Too Tired of Marriage Records

Another project is winding down. In fact, I hope that by the time you read tomorrow's blog the Great Marriage Record Project will be complete! For the past 48 hours I've spent getting the rest of the marriage records cropped, edited and printed and ready for adding the data, sourcing it and linking the image. I have lots of other projects to work on - some birth records, census, cemetery records and headstone photos, draft registrations and indexing, so it's not like this is really busy work, just stuff that needs to get done. In between times, I like to hole up in the storeroom and work on scrapbooking, card making and other paper-crafting stuff! Some times the crafting wins out!

I'm not sure what the total count will be of images linked in this marriage project but do know that I will have linked 1408 images since January first. Not too shabby.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Percival & Crocker

On May 2nd, 1787 in Barnstable, Massachusetts, Abigail Percival, age 2 daughter of John Percival & Mary Snow, married John Crocker, age 31.

Copyright 2010-2012, ACK for Gene Notes