Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Mystery Guardianship

I visited the Midwest Genealogy Library in Independence, MO in early September. I was  looking for more information on my husband's grandfather, Leonard L. Gregory.  Leonard was  born in Bates County, MO.  I don't know if the family was staying with relatives at this time or if they resided there.  In 1884 his father, Lewis L. Gregory, was residing at 1729 Grand in Kansas City, MO. This was the same year he met and married Mary Belle Havens in Kansas City.

Leonard, b. 1896, was separated from his family following his mother's death in Kansas City, MO in 1904. He lived with his maternal aunt and uncle in Maine. He returned to Kansas City, but no one seemed to know exactly when. His father and eldest brother had left Kansas City; I found them in the census records living in Topeka, KS.  I haven't been able to determine who took the sisters, Pansy b. 1888 and Ida b. 1894. in to their home following the death of their mother. 

One item I really wanted to find was his probate.  Leonard died in 1965 having out lived his wife, Ethel, by four years. In the index was a probate case for Leonard L. Gregory but not in 1965 or any where near that year. It was filed in 1913 in Jackson County, MO. This was the first time I found evidence of his return to Kansas City prior to his first marriage in 1916. This "probate" turned out to be a guardianship.

Card file
We knew Leonard was in the Army prior to WWI and served in the Cavalry guarding the border with Mexico, according to family tradition.  No records are available to corroborate. See previous post on his military service.

I learned three things: he was back in KC by 1913, he found his sister Pansy (now Branscum) and he was under age when he joined the Army and needed parental permission.  We also now know that he did not reunite with his father until perhaps after his service.  

I was able to track Leonard and his family through the City Directories housed by the Midwest Genealogy Library following his military career. Beginning in 1915 he resided at 923 E. 9th in Kansas City, MO.  Living with him is his father, Lewis L. Gregory.  Leonard was a cook and Lewis a plasterer.  Lewis was always a plasterer from what I have found in the census records and city directories. Leonard wasn't married at this time, no female is listed in the directory. He married Ethel in 1916. Leonard stayed in Kansas City, MO the rest of his life. I have tracked his siblings through the Jackson County Marriage records and the Federal Census records. 

If you have family from the KC area, I recommend stopping in to do some research at the Midwest Genealogy Library.  You never know what surprises you might find!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

There Are Holes

I have been researching my husband's mother's line ever since I learned they settled in Cole County, Missouri. No one knew and I accidentally discovered this fact one day while researching on line. Her family lived in Anderson County, Kansas for over 100 years and she wasn't aware they first settled in Missouri. Her family came over on the Ship Rebecca coming into port at New Orleans in 1846. I have visited the community in which they settled along with many other families from the same area in Germany.  Taos is a small community that has a wonderful museum dedicated to Father Helias. The museum has photos of the ship and all the families who came over together including the Rackers, Rockers, Schnieders, Moellers, Walken, Talken, etc. The cemetery is full of these surnames. There is the original cemetery with its stones stacked under a tree. St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church museum committee is still researching the burials here. My mother-in-law was a Rockers and we visited with a member of the Rackers family. Interesting that there well may be a connection.
My original research online led me to discover the Emslanders website. Wow, this was quite a find. One day my husband and I visited the Anderson County Courthouse whose records are microfilmed and available in the lobby to peruse on a computer.  When you find the record of interest you are able to print it, for a fee. We found the guardianship of his great grandfather which mentioned he inherited from John G Moller. This is where the gaping hole is found.
A subsequent visit to the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City, led me to the estate settlement.  John didn't leave a will, a man was appointed to administer the estate.  The heirs are listed but gives no indication as to their relationship to John G. Moller.  The marriage record of Herman Henry Rockers to Anna Margaret Mueller found at the aforementioned Catholic church lists the witnesses as Gerard Mueller and Maria Sandt/Landt. It could be Gerard and John G. are the same person. I have never found him in any census record.  His estate was completely settled by 1869.
My plan to fill in the holes is reading the microfilmed newspapers of Cole County for this time period. I am going to start with the Missouri River Regional Library in Jefferson City in hopes that they have older newspapers in-house.  Otherwise, I will need to travel to the library on the campus of the University of Missouri which hosts the Historical Society of Missouri's collections.  Since class is about to begin on campus, I am not reluctant to visit at this time.  Parking is limited and I am unfamiliar with the campus and the city of Columbia.
I know I will find my answer in the microfilms either in the newspaper or in more documents at the archives. On my last visit they were rearranging the microfilm room so I wasn't able to pull them to do my research. They do have quite a few published works so I spent my time looking through them and jotting notes to follow up on. Other peoples' works are appreciated but I like to find the original documents when ever possible. Missouri does quite a wonderful job in granting access to some digital records on line as well as a catalog of microfilm to make research planning much easier. I have visited the Midwest Genealogy Library in Independence but without much success do to poor pre-planning.  I have a trip coming up and will be more prepared and hopefully find more answers. They charge for a library card so I cannot look up anything prior to my arrival. I will need to use my research log to assist me when I arrive to know which type of records I want to access. Unfamiliarity is a big hindrance in a successful outcome. Nothing to me is worse than being unprepared. I have a lot to do before my research trips!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

American Revolutionary War - Henry Hatevil Fall

I was asked to give a brief on my original patriot for my local NSDAR chapter.  I am not a public speaker by any stretch of the imagination but I needed to make it interesting by finding some facts about Mr. Fall. I used Google to search by his name and discovered he was known by his middle name, Hatevil.  Which leads me to believe his father may have been Henry also.

My initial search brought up this SAR web page "Graves Registry of the Empire State." This is the first time a burial location has been recorded anywhere for Hatevil. While it states "Norris Track Cemetery" no such place exists. I did find Morris Tract Cemetery, AKA Freeman Cemetery, on highway 125 between Brownsville and Chaumont.  Hatevil is not listed in this cemetery, perhaps his stone was never erected. In his pension file, found on Fold3, it states that his widow is destitute. His widow, Sarah Durham Fall, is buried in Giddingsville Cemetery.

Hatevil served in Massachusetts and I found an e-book, Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War: A Compilation from the Archives, Volume 2, Massachusetts Office of the Secretary of State, - January 1, 1896 by Wright and Potter Printing Company, State Printers, free online at Google Books. All other hits I found in my search contain the information found in this publication.

I downloaded the pension file and began reading the pages. It clearly states his wife was Sarah Durham brother of Stephen Durham who also served in the American Revolution. I have seen reference in an NSDAR database that her name was Sarah Brace Durham; I have a transcription of an article for the newspaper that was published where she is referred to as Sarah Bruce Durham but not documentation to back it up.  In the pension file is a letter from her brother, Stephen, stating that Sarah lived with her father prior to her marriage to Hatevil. The United States Congress revised the acts related to Revolutionary Pensions several times and Sarah was allowed a widow's pension.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cemetery Caretaker

I read with interest an article in The Catholic Missourian a week ago regarding the mass burial of cholera victims in a cemetery.  The mass grave was unmarked until a monument was erected after funds were raised. The cholera outbreak in question was 1853-1855 and they were Irish railroad workers.  The story about cholera is heartbreaking and scary, you can find more on this by searching on Google, etc. The awesome part of this article was the caretaker had written down the names of all 112 victims! The memorial was installed in 1988 and reads: 
"In memory of 112 Irish workers who died 1853 to 1855 in the cholera epidemic while building the Missouri Pacific Railroad thru Osage County and are buried in this plot of Immaculate Conception Cemetery. Rest in peace."
It makes me feel good to know they were not forgotten.

I haven't found any photos online of the memorial, but rootsweb has some transcriptions of the other burials there.  The article didn't say if they names of the cholera victims are listed on the stone or recorded anywhere other than on that piece of paper. 


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Research Methodology From My Perspective

I became interested in genealogy back in 1983 following an article in Farm Woman magazine. Yes, I still have this issue tucked away in my research files.  Back then I wrote letters sent via the US Postal Service and requested research outlines for the areas where I needed to research.  Now, I use Google to find leads for published county histories in the area of my research.  County histories offer clues that lead to more research.  I never trust one of these completely, since it is written by a family member from their point of view and on what has been passed down from one generation to another. My family has a lot of story tellers.

I used The History of Meigs County by Larkin as a starting point when I was adding the Higley supplemental to my DAR membership.  The book stated that Electa Higley married Benjamin Williams and their daughter was Sophia Stearns who married James G. Mitchell.

Step one: Census records.  I start with 1850, since it is the first one that lists everyone in the household on the day the enumerator came to visit.  I knew my line came from Meigs County, OH so that is the location I started with.  I needed to find the Williams family as mentioned in the history book I found. This would confirm that Sophia Stearns was in that household.  I followed this family and its members forward as far as I could.  Not that I needed every census to prove my line, I just need to know. I use because their search engine understands me.  The results are linked to and for images that are not on the familysearch site.  I have tried the search engine on Ancestry and Fold3 but they frustrate me, so I stick to familysearch.  

The family history on Joel Higley also mentioned his daughter Sophia Higley who married Asa Stearns. Do you see where this is going? That's right, when I sent in my application I received back a letter asking for Sophia Mitchell's first marriage record. Of course, I knew there wasn't one but I had to prove it.  Going back to the 1850 census I search for Asa Stearns in Meigs county.  He was not there, so I expanded the search parameters to the whole state of Ohio.  I found them and then followed up with the 1860 census; they were still together.  These two census records helped to prove there were two women name Sophia Stearns, but my Sophia was Sophia Stearns Williams Mitchell.  She was named after her aunt Sophia Higley Stearns.  

Step Two: Marriage records.  Once I know the time and location for the person I am researching then I look for a marriage record.  These are easier to find than birth records for those who lived before 1900.  I was able to find Sophia Higley and Asa Stearns marriage record.  So now I had the proof DAR was needing to approve my supplemental application.  I already had the marriage record for Sophia and James G Mitchell from my original DAR application.

Step Three: Cemetery records. These can be easy or difficult to find, it just depends on if someone has walked the cemetery and created an index online.  Otherwise, you do the legwork yourself by contacting the sexton of the cemetery for a look at the plot map. I really like these maps as they hold clues to possible family connections to those buried nearby.  The one difficulty I have is searching for pre-1900 non-Catholic burials when the spouse was Catholic. There is no funeral Mass so therefore no church record exists.  I wonder, is there is a section in a Catholic cemetery for non-Catholics? One case in point, a man married three times and his first wife was Catholic and had a funeral mass in the 1860s.  He remarried to a Protestant girl who died in 1878.  No funeral Mass was said and the location of her grave in unknown.  He married a third time and the funeral Mass for he and this wife was in his original parish but their final resting place was in a neighboring parish in another county.  Sometimes you get lucky and some kind soul has transcribed these records and posted them to their county's page on USGenWeb. These folks are truly a blessing!

Step Four: Newspapers.  I like to know everything about the families I research.  Newspapers are awesome! If I cannot find BMD records, I turn to microfilmed newspapers.  I have borrowed them from other state libraries and historical societies through my local library and I have sat and browsed them at the local historical society library. Those old newspapers printed everything and it was never politically correct!  They all seem to follow the same style so you can find the local columns easily. The first page is always national news and stories. I have learned a lot about my ancestors and their collateral lines by reading these newspapers.  Some are online and those are my favorites.

Step Five: State Archives.  Some states have published indexes online and some don't. Illinois is a favorite one of mine since they have indexes by surname. If you are fortunate enough to live within driving distance of your local state archives, this is another of my favorite places. Just plan enough time because it always takes longer than you think to find the court record you are looking for.  One record always leads to another so don't stop when you find that one in probate.  I like to save them to my flash drive so I can upload them and have a digital image that I can zoom in the adjust the focus on. I usually just skim through them at the archives and then really dig in once I have the image uploaded to my computer.

How do you conduct your research?  Post your suggestions!

I love genealogy and genealogy research!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

52 Ancestors - Fresh Start

Immigrating to America is the biggest fresh start I am aware of for my Ormiston ancestors. Originating from the area of  Carnwath in South Lanarkshire. They came from Scotland aboard the Brig Prince Kutusoff, here is the passenger list, and landed in Philadelphia on May 12, 1828. On, I found images of the index cards for David age 28, Jane age 28, James age 4 years 6 months, John age 1 year 1 month, and Wm Ormiston age 2 years 4 months. Source:  I wasn't able to find an image of the ship for that time period. If you find one, post a link in the comments. 

They didn't stay long and moved on to Washington County, Ohio.  They had many more fresh starts as the Ormiston descendents moved from Ohio into Missouri following the Civil War.  Later, at the turn of the 20th century, they moved on into Kansas and some into Colorado. 

A New Year 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

2014 started off well and I was committed to doing the blog challenge.  Somewhere along the way, just as with most New Year's Resolutions I make, well, I got side tracked.  The new challenge lists themes for each weekly post along with hints for what to write.  I am going to try this and see how it goes for me.

I hope my followers have a wonderful 2015!