Gene Notes

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

RIP Jan Steven Zaleski

I received sad news today of the passing of a friend and fellow volunteer at The Westland, Michigan Family History Center, Jan Zaleski.

When I was actively and aggressively researching my husband's Polish ancestors I tried to learn everything I could from Jan. He had a lot to teach.

He asked me once if I had any brick walls in my research that might have appeared on the Hamburg (Germany) Passenger lists. I gave him a name - we weren't even sure of the spelling - and he found the family on the passenger lists. It gave a prior residence which led us to figuring out who the ancestor's parents were, where my ancestor was actually born and about 5 different spelling of the last name.

After I retired from the Family History Center and from my paying job, my husband and I moved down to Tennessee. But Jan would keep in touch, sometimes by Christmas card, sometimes by email, keeping me apprised of what was going on in the research world.

He had a great sense of humor, always telling me I was pronouncing Polish names wrong - he was right - and making jokes. I'll miss him.

Copyright 2010-2020, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, January 10, 2020

My Awesome Find Follow-up

I posted about finding an obit/death notice that had eluded me for thirty plus years. The subject, Dr. John Stearns Percival was my great-great-great grandfather. Obviously, finding this death notice was the cause of a very long, intense happy dance.

Over the years, I have looked for clues about his death. I have an abstract of his probate record, because he died intestate. I can tell you, that just about everyone I have researched over the years has died without a will.

One of the researchers actually has his death place as 10 Jan 1841, Missouri City, Fort Bend, Texas. I have messaged this person on Ancestry a few times, asking for proof. Today, I looked at their citation for his death. They cited a descendants Sons of the American Revolution application. Well, I have looked at that application and no such information as to death date or place exists on said application.  If you have to ask me how I feel about that citation, you don't know me very well.

His actual place of death was Dover, Lafayette county, Missouri. Indeed, he was enumerated in Dover Township, Lafayette county, Missouri in 1840.

The death notice reads as follows: "In Dover, on Sunday the 10th inst., after a severe affliction of several weeks, Dr. John S. Percival, aged about 50 years, and formerly of Lawrenceburg, Ia."

His age? About 50 years. Well, he had just celebrated his 48th birthday in November of 1840. He wouldn't be 50 until November 14, 1842. He was from Lawrenceburg, Indiana where he practiced medicine. He married both his wives in Burlington, Boone county, Kentucky. His first wife was Matilda Fleet Hinton Goodridge, whom he married in 1817. He married his second wife on April 5, 1822.

Unfortunately, the death notice doesn't mention any family. In the same issue of the Lexington Weekly Express, Eliza Ann Percival has a letter waiting for her. That would probably be his daughter, born in March 1823 and she would have been about 17 when her father died. She was a child of his second wife. He also may have been survived by another daughter, Elizabeth from his first wife, who never married. Nor can I find any record of her anywhere. He had a son Egbert Davis Percival,  also from his first wife, who would make the long trip to California via New Orleans, across Panama, I think, and up the coast to San Francisco in 1852.

His other children, William, John Stearns, Jr., and Jabez were all children of his second wife. Nothing is really known of what became of William. John, Jr. went on to fight and die for the confederacy. Jabez (named for his paternal grandfather) also went to California, but much later than his elder half brother leaving Covington, Kentucky in 1883.

The reason for today's post besides the follow-up? Dr. John Stearns Percival died 179 years ago today.

Copyright 2010-2020, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Celebrating the New Year with a FIND!

Every month, almost like clockwork, Genealogy Bank adds their new content to their site, and I always check for those areas where I am lacking information. I just found this gem on the site:

From the Lexington (Missouri) Weekly Express, Saturday, January 16, 1841, page 3 column 5:

In Dover, on Sunday the 10th inst, after a severe affliction of several weeks, Dr. JOHN S. PERCIVAL, aged about 50 years, and formerly of Lawrenceburg, Ia.

It's Dover, Missouri and he was from Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Apparently they abbreviated oddly back in 1841.

I have been looking for this - or any mention of him at all - in Missouri newspapers for years, since I first started working on my family history, over 33 years.

Happy New Year to me!

Copyright 2010-2020, ACK for Gene Notes