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Family File Hijinks

County Records on Family Search

It’s finally happened. I’m finally out of the Kentucky section of the family file cleanup. Not that I don’t love the Kentucky section. It just has a way of going on and on without end. I did make some decisions to not follow some leads on the siblings of my ancestors. I’ll get back around to them. I just needed to take a break. I’m now onto the Clermont County, Ohio section of my family tree. The main surname there is the Moyer surname. I’m in much more comfortable territory on this section because I’m very familiar with Clermont County and two of my Aunts still live there. It’s so easy to call Aunt Molly and ask her any questions about the area or even some of the family history.

The one thing I find difficult in my long distance research is trying to see the records myself. I love nothing more then to scan down the pages of a birth or marriage register. I find it a lot of fun. The only problem is I don’t have any of those records for my family in the immediate area. Even worse, the Family History Center by me is within a half hour drive, and I still haven’t been able to find the time when it’s open twice a week. So I make to do lists, and hope that one day I’ll be able to visit these repositories in an area my family once lived.

Back when I first found FamilySearch.org, they didn’t even have an Ohio Birth Index. Now they have a huge one. As I switched over to my Moyer ancestors, I went back to Family Search to see if there had been any new entries I could add to my family tree. Boy did I get a pleasant surprise!

The very first record for “Ina Bell Moyer” is from the old index. The bottom record was a big surprise for me! I know I had seen some marriage register images had been added, but I had no idea there were birth registers! I think that there were Clermont County registers was a surprise too. I don’t know why, I guess I’m just used to not having anything come up online that I was expecting more of the same!

Now all I have to do is find Great Grandma Iva‘s siblings!

My Most Interesting Finds

I recently updated my “About Kathleen” page here on the blog. Reading my previous page got me thinking a lot about my views on genealogy. While writing the new page, I was trying to think of what I’m usually asked the first time I tell someone I research my family history. Which I never refer to as genealogy, because then that leads to the blank stare most times.

If you’ve ever had a genealogy discussion with the non-initiated, or even the initiated, the first question always seems to be: “Oh, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve found?”

That question makes me chuckle a little bit. It’s kind of like my sister coming home from a day at the bank and me asking her, “Who was your most interesting customer? No, I don’t want to hear about your day or the mechanics of it. Just your most interesting part.”

Am I dissing someone who asks that question? Of course not! I would never do that. Any reason to talk genealogy is a good enough reason to me. I’m definitely not saying that I want to go on a 45 minute discussion on how I dissect which records are important and which ones aren’t.

I guess my point is, that question is impossible for me to answer.  I was born, raised, and still live in Southern Maryland. In this tri-county area, I’ve had zero extended family most of my life. Most of my relatives are a half day drive away. So when I started to research my genealogy, everything I found was just so fascinating. I couldn’t believe that this five person family I grew up with could branch out so far. I knew I had cousins on each side of my family, and I knew that I had two sets of grandparents. I think I saw my maternal grandma once every five years until we were old enough to travel better. Not to mention the cost of traveling for a young family who didn’t have a lot to spare.

My Grandma Emogene, her siblings and cousin

For someone who had her siblings, their friends, her own friends and that was it; Family is something that it took me awhile to grasp. I’ve read a lot of articles where people don’t understand why people research their family history. It’s in the past they say. It has no bearing on who you are. I don’t need to know about them to live a perfectly normal life.

I can say most of that is true. Except for saying it has no bearing on who you are. I am by no means a psychologist. However, I am a people watcher. I love to observe and analyze. It’s why I enjoyed jury duty so much. I actually think I have a very good perspective on how learning your family history can change your views of the world. Not having any idea where I came from, not having close relationships with my extended family until we were grown, all those factors help me to differentiate how I felt before and after genealogy.

I’ve never walked my ancestral grounds, I’ve never gone farther then the distance it takes to visit family, and I’ve never spent more money on genealogy in a year then I wouldn’t have spent on quilting fabric at the store. What I can say about learning my family history can’t really be put into words, but that’s what I’m going to try to do anyway.

I could have gone through my life never knowing anything about my family history. What you learn in your family history isn’t something thats measurable in money or fame. A lot of people think everyone who researches their family history is in it for some kind of fame seeking reasons. That isn’t so. You actually learn compassion for how hard it was to get to the point where you are today. A lot of people take for granted that the majority of Americans are educated from the kindergarten level, all the way up to high school. As early as the 1930 census, it was common for people not to be able to sign their own name. In fact, there are still people out there not able to read or write. When you think back on ancestors, who left Ireland with nothing but the clothes on their back and a skill they’d learned, you can’t help but feel proud of them. They conquered life when the odds were against them. Their only hope was in themselves and their faith. Yet these people in the past, who you’ll never know but through genealogy put you where you are today. If they had gone left instead of right, would you be the same person you are today? If they hadn’t come to America, would they or their children have survived for you to even be born?

My great grandmother Llewellyn, her brother George, and an unknown friend

So when I’m asked what my most interesting find is, I say “All of them”. I find William H Moore’s immigration interesting. I find the vast numbers of Mays ancestors interesting. I come from a world of living in the same place for all my life, so I find the Redford family’s migration to Los Angeles, CA interesting. I find the farmers just as interesting as the plumbers. The plumbers are just as interesting as the tailors. The tailors are just as interesting as the people who ended up signing their WWI Draft Card from the county jail.

The fascination isn’t in the notoriety or out of the ordinary for me. It’s the family unit and how it survives over time. I know because of my relatives that rough patches iron out. You lose your loved ones, but you can in fact carry on and survive. I know that those friends I made during school and am still friends with are as much a part of my family history as my cousin Patty is. They all make up my story.

The facts about my ancestors may not be Hollywood worthy and they may not have done super extraordinary things that made them rich or famous. What they did do was give me inspiration to do what I love and keep living my life for today and not yesterday. Yesterday is already written. It’s my decision on how to write today and tomorrow. I only hope that I’m half as much inspiration to my descendants as my ancestors are to me.

Making some Observations

I worked quite a bit yesterday on my maternal lines. The only drawback is it burned me out a little bit on researching. So I decided to switch to my paternal line, and just kind of observe it in pedigree format in FTM2012.

click for full size

Here are some things I’ve noticed:

  1. Josephine Doremus is the only one of my 3rd great grandparents that wasn’t an immigrant.  All others that are listed were born in other countries
  2. The missing spots in my 3rd great grandparents aren’t immigrants… at least I don’t think. I have possible parents for both Jennie Featherson and Sarah/Sadie Sutcliffe, just no paper trail yet.
  3. My Moore line is completely Irish.
  4. My Thorward line is a quarter German, a quarter ?, and half Scottish.
  5. My Redford line  is half English and half ?.
  6. My Parkin line is half English and half ?.
  7. All the known immigrant ancestors on my paternal line were all here before 1875.
  8. This entry has been sitting idle for 45 minutes because I’m watching Ugly Betty on Netflix Streaming.
  9. I probably shouldn’t “work” in a room with a TV, much less one with Instant Streaming capabilities.
  10. Featherson and Sutcliffe don’t sound like normal names. They’re not exactly Thorward, if you get my drift, but they aren’t Moore or Johnson either.

What I Learned Today

Okay it’s time for another lesson learned by me! Actually I think it’s two lessons learned in the grand scheme of learning.

I started off on The Evergreens Cemetery website. I wanted to see if their database was updated enough to include some of my Moores.

I’m using the information that was handwritten on the back of this cemetery deed. I actually have two deeds to this cemetery lot. One is the original from 1896 when William H Moore‘s wife passed away. The next is when ownership of the deed transferred to Mary J Moore, William’s daughter in 1928. The handwritten notes are on Mary’s copy of the deed.

It was when I finally found Mary’s record, that I came to my first lesson learned. I had assumed that whoever wrote the notes on the back of the deed, had written the dates down as death dates. That was where I went wrong. What I think is that whoever wrote the notes (my great grandparents most likely), went to the cemetery, and got the information from them. Now I know, that the cemetery lists Mary Jane Moore‘s (first mention of her middle name too!) burial date as May 21, 1940. This happens to be the same date written on the back of the deed.

Lesson 1: Don’t assume anything about dates written down by another person.

Lesson 2: Cemeteries are in the market of knowing BURIAL dates, not death dates.

Okay, so I learned three lessons. After realizing my mistake today, I had an epiphany. I was always blessed when other localities would look for my records in the whole month. Obviously, they knew subconsciously that I’m not good with dates.

Lesson 3: Repositories are not required (rightly so), to do your research for you. Therefore, if you give them an exact date. They’re only going to look for that exact date. If they are nice enough to search the whole month, then you’re very lucky. If you’re not sure about the date your are requesting for your record and you’re not doing the searching yourself; then I would say it’s okay to go ahead and be vague about the date of the record. Not every place requires an exact date. Most just require a month and year.

If I had learned these lessons when sending away to New Jersey for my vital records, I might have actually gotten records in return for my money. Instead, my William H Moore request came back to me, unfound, because unbeknownst to me, I sent away for the date of his burial, and not his death. Oops!

Evidence Explained!

Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills

I bought myself a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills shortly after Christmas. I had wanted a copy for a long time, but finally made the leap and purchased it with my genealogy funds. I haven’t been able to dig in as much as I’d like, but I’ve been able to use it to source a blog post and to help with my genealogy file cleanup. I’ve been using my own method for recording census citations in my FTM2012 file since I began the new file, now I’m going back and adding structure to those citations.

Before cleaning it up:

Citation Detail:

Post Office: Caldwell, Essex, New Jersey
Roll: M653_690
Page: 89
Image: 8
FHL Film: 803690
Dwelling: 60
Family: 60
Line: 22

Citation Text:

John Doremus, 31
Sarah Doremus, 26
Josephine Doremus, 5
Adaline Doremus, 3
Mariann Bush, 22
George H Vanness, 5/12

After cleaning it up:

Citation Detail:

roll 690. Essex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Caldwell township, p. 8 (penned), dwelling 60, family 60, John Doremus

Citation Text:

line 22, John Doremus, 31, male, blank, tailor, blank, blank, New York, blank, blank, blank, blank
line 23, Sarah Doremus, 26, female, blank, blank, blank, blank, New Jersey, blank, blank, over age 20 who can’t read or write, blank
line 24, Josephine Doremus, 5, female, blank, blank, blank, blank, New Jersey, blank, attended school, blank, blank
line 25, Adaline Doremus, 3, female, blank, blank, blank, blank, New Jersey, blank, blank, blank, blank
line 26, MariAnn Bush, 22, female, blank, seamstress, blank, blank, New Jersey, blank, blank, blank, blank
line 27, George H Vanness, 5/12, male, blank, blank, blank, blank, New Jersey, blank, blank, blank, blank

Using the cleaned up citation detail makes my reference note turn into this:

1860 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 690. Essex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Caldwell township, p. 8 (penned), dwelling 60, family 60, John Doremus; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).

So that’s the new standard for me. The detail will be a little more report printing friendly, and the text has all the information I might need later without having to open the image again.

Disclaimer: I’m not an expert at citations. This could be a completely horrible way to document the census records. I just wanted something that would look better on reports. I also have no affiliation with the above book or websites. I don’t know Elizabeth Shown Mills or anybody at Ancestry. Nobody profits from this website, not even me. I am completely aware I’m almost done adding everyone back into a clean family file, only to change the way I record census citations. Don’t blame me, I am a cheapskate who hadn’t purchased this book until a few weeks ago.

Did I find Andrew Love’s birth record?

Okay, I’m so behind this week, but I’m rolling with the punches. In my previous Love family posts, I talked about Martha’s birth record leading me to James. Then I talked about James’s birth record adding weight to a document I was hoping was Andrew Love’s birth record.

Above, you see the three children that I found birth records for in parish records. If you have your eagle eyes on, you’ll also notice that in all three records, they show “Andrew Love of Hoodsyard”. I took that and added in an estimated birth date from various records.

I had to scale the image town but this is the record I found for Andrew Love. There were two records in this parish for my time frame. Both Andrew Love, but one in 1805 and one in 1806. The one you see above is the one I think is the one I’m looking for. I’ll tell you the reasons why.

  1. Hoodsyard is mentioned as the birthplace.
  2. Robert and Jean are the parents. Andrew used both those names with his children.
  3. The other record used the names Hugh and Janet. I have none of those names throughout my Love family tree.
  4. The other record didn’t mention Hoodsyard.

So while, neither of the last two reasons are concrete reasons to dismiss the 1805 record, the first two outweigh the last two in my mind.

Looking at the Original Pays Off

Have you ever made tons of progress in the indexed database from Ancestry.com or FamilySearch? I have! It always makes me feel so accomplished.

One of the things you have to remember about these indexes is this. It’s not the original. I’m no expert but I have learned this. Nothing is like seeing the original document. The best of circumstances would be in person but because of logistics, this is not always possible.

With the advances in technology, we’re definitely making progress though! I decided to go ahead and purchase some credits from Scotlands People the other day. I bought enough to really have some fun. I ended up getting the images for almost all of the children of Andrew Love and Agnes Hamilton, some of the Menzies family. I even ordered a copy of John Menzies and Jane Ferris‘ marriage record before I realized I could just use a credit and print out the record. Oh well!

In the index on FamilySearch, I would have been lucky to have had the parents names indexed. Then I would have been even luckier if both the birth and baptismal dates were recorded. If only one was recorded I would have been left wondering which date it was, baptismal or birth.

Love > Martha, Eldest Daughter and Third Child of Andrew Love, Hoodsyard and of Agnes Hamilton, his spouse. Born 29 July. Baptized 28th August.1

I learned a lot just from that simple little blurb written in an old parish book. First of all… I thought Martha was Andrew and Agnes‘ second child. Oops. Luckily, I fixed that lickity split while I was already on Scotlands People. Second, there was another Love birth recorded a few records up the page. However, it wasn’t Andrew and Agnes‘ child. So now I can try and see if that was a family connection to Andrew.

There’s only one problem after all this wonderful progress. I used all my viewing credits in one day. Oops! That’s alright, that gives me time to analyze what I’ve recently learned!

  1. Beith Parish (Ayrshire, Scotland). Old Parish Registers, OPR 581/3, Martha Love birth (1831); New Register House, Edinburgh. []

How I found William Moore in 1875

After looking over my timeline of William H Moore, I became determined to check Brooklyn in the 1875 New York State Census. For me, finding William in 1875 would be a big help. This way I would be able to tell whether he had made it back from Chicago yet. I didn’t like having that huge gap between 1871 and 1880.

The first thing I did was check the Brooklyn city directory for 1875. I figured if I could find William at one of his usual addresses, then my job would be that much easier!

Analysis:

  1. There are two William H Moores in the directory. One is a basketmaker and the other a carpenter. The carpenter makes me happy, but I don’t recognize the address, so it’s going down as my first possibility.
  2. There are 3 other carpenters that are just listed as William Moore. I’ve added them to the list under the other William H Moores. If I find the other two, and still haven’t found my William, then I’ll check them.

My next step was to plot the first William H Moore into Google Earth to see where exactly he was located in 1875. From there I can see how far he was from the later addresses I’ve documented for William’s family.

It might be a little hard to tell in the scaled down version, but Stockton Street is not far at all from William H Moore‘s 1880-1886 address.

My next step was to find out where to start. FamilySearch has the 1875 New York State Census, but not an index. There is a website that has a great list of the 1876 Election Districts of Brooklyn.

Now the hard part comes. I have a little clue in the fact that I have never found William H Moore in a Ward under 20. So I decided to start at the highest ward numbers and work my way backwards.

Ward 25, District 4, doesn’t exactly work. I used the polygon tool in Google Earth to see the area covered by each district. The red thumb tack is where the William H Moore in the city directory is located. With this, I know I can probably jump to another ward, and check to see if that’s a little closer to where I need to be.

So I looked around where I want to find William in the census, and tried to find a boundary street in the district listings that matched. I hit pay dirt in the 21st ward. All the districts in the 21st ward have boundary street combinations of Lafayette Avenue, Nostrand Ave, and Myrtle Avenue.

Jackpot! This is the 21st Ward, District 6. While it took a little while to plot the different districts. I was able to keep them plotted and turned off in Google Earth in case I needed to check them for the other William Moores.

As it turns out, I won’t need to because this is in fact my William on Stockton Street. So I’m now able to confirm another address for William between 1870 and 1880. I also know that his family made the trek between Chicago and Brooklyn sometime between 1871 and 1875. Despite what it says on the census, the three boys were all born in Illinois.

So this is how I found my William H Moore in 1875 without an index to search!

When do you stop?

I have a situation that has recently come up. You see, when I was rebuilding my father’s side of the family tree, I didn’t have the problem I’m about to explain.

I’ve finally made my way past the Mays line of my family tree, and now I’m onto the Slusher line. Funny thing is that 3 Slusher siblings married into the Mays family, so technically I’m still researching Mays’. Of the 10 Slusher children you see above, I’ve already researched 3 of them. Well technically two, because I couldn’t find the paper trail for the third. I’ve probably spent the past month going on down the Quesinberry line of the Slusher family. Technically I’m not related to the Quesinberrys. Oliver Quesinberry married Mahala Slusher, but I’m not descended through Mahala. I am descended through her sister Celia.

For some all this work on the Quesinberrys could be a waste of valuable research time. However, in rural Kentucky, it’s actually not. A lot of the times families in rural Kentucky had 10-15+ children. However, this is rural territory. A lot of times you have siblings of your ancestors marrying the siblings of their in-laws. I hope that made sense. It’s why I have 3 Slushers marrying 3 Mays‘. For me, anytime I run across Slusher, Mays, Click, Adkins, Whitt, or Crisp, I just go ahead and document everything I can about the siblings. Sometimes, when you’re in the midst of all these people, it’s hard to resist just adding everyone.

In my original family file, which was a combination of my Grandma’s copy of the family tree and online trees, I made the mistake of getting TOO carried away when it came to documenting the in-laws of my family tree. I haven’t done that this time yet. So far, I document the parent names of the person marrying into the family and most times I will also go ahead and add their siblings into the tree, it depends on how I’m feeling. I however, do not research the siblings in that case. I’m only researching the siblings of my blood relations. This rule gets thrown out for me if I run across a lot of people with the same surname marrying in. Then that surname gets bumped up on my priority list.

Of course, sometimes this gets me into trouble. Like today. I’ll admit to getting a little bored with the Quesinberry family. Not because they weren’t interesting, just that there were so many of them! Lawson Quesinberry‘s first wife gave birth to 16 children! Oy!

However, searching through newspapers has been an eye opener. A lot of the Quesinberry’s were LDS Church members. So when they were in the paper, they were IN the paper with full histories. It was glorious! Today I ran across the above article about Alfred Quesinberry. At first I wasn’t sure if it was Alfred, but after putting a few different clues together, I’m pretty sure it is. Most especially the Hunnewell, Greenup County, Kentucky reference. Alfred’s brother, Farris, spent a lot of years in that area at the same time. Farris‘s first marriage didn’t work out as well either.

After trying to find out the outcome of the bigamy debacle, I decided to do something a little more productive for the moment. I looked up the young son that is mentioned in the article. I found him in the Kentucky Birth Index and then was able to find another interesting bit on him.

 Despite all the other wonderful information, I notice that it mention his parents Mr. and Mrs. Frank Newman. Yes, Pearl Griffith Quesinberry Sharp decided to give marriage another go, this time with Frank Newman. I found the couple in the 1930 census in Ashland, Kentucky. I even found another marriage record for Alfred Quesinberry in West Virginia.

What I did not find however, is Charles or Alfred in 1930! Where on earth are they? Do you see the wonderful mysteries and adventures you can find when you go on down the side branches of your family tree?

Working Hard, or Hardly Working?

Screen shot of my double monitor multi-tasking

It’s rare when I’m only doing one thing while on the computer. It’s impossible for me to sit still and just do one thing. I’ve been a little tired of following some of my collateral lines on down the tree, so I decided to start working on getting my files synced again. I was supposed to do this as I went, but eventually it proved to be too much for me. So I just concentrated on my FTM file since that’s what I’m most comfortable with.

The good news is that I’m making progress while I watch the UK version of Who Do You Think You Are? from the beginning… again.

The bad news, I think I’m going to change the way I enter my census citations in FTM. It was a question of when and not if I’d change something in the new, improved file. As I looked through some printed source reports, I didn’t like how the census sources were showing up. So I’m going to change it up a bit as I “sync” my files. As I go through this, I sometimes wonder why I don’t just fix the Original family file I had instead of continuously changing the new one. However, I’m getting so close to being done with the new file, so I’m just forging ahead and not letting myself think that way. It’s hard to stay with it when the Mays/Slusher/Click/Whitt families had 10-15 children and then those children had 10-15 children. It ends up being a very long, tedious process. I keep telling myself it’ll be worth it in the end though!

It’ll be nice to have a file that is correct, and that I know where the information came from. Once that’s done it’ll be time to start planning research trips! If only I lived closer to where my ancestors lived it would be day trips and not hoping for time during the summer!

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