Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

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!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

More Arms Confusion Abounds

I discovered two books published by members of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Vital Records of Deerfield, Massachusetts to 1850 and Vital Records of Conway, Massachusetts to 1850. The first published by Thomas W. Baldwin in 1920 and the second in 1943. The Conway book has a † note next to the marriage of Thomas Arms and Hannah Boyden that states "Marriages marked with a † are recorded in the "Town Copy," pages 391-392, under the caption, "A Record of Marriages supposed to have been performed by Rev. John Emerson at the dates indicated in the margin." The marginal dates are the same as the first dates of corresponding intentions which appear as follows: "June 29th 1792 Marriage is intended . . . 20th July 1792 the above has been Published". The marriage is recorded "Thomas Jr. of Deerfield and Hannah Boyden of C, Oct. 3[sic, int. ent. Oct. 3 and pub. Oct. 18], I795†." in the book on page 121.  I have also found an entry for Mehitabel Arms' birth on 22 October 1786 and the parents are listed as Thomas and Hannah. I also found an index entry that states Thomas Jr. is the son of Thomas and Polly Coolidge.  If you look back at one of my previous posts, Find-A-Grave has a memorial that has Polly as the first wife of the Thomas who married Hannah Boyden.
I found images on
"Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1627-2001," images, FamilySearch (,353367901,353367902 : accessed 12 Oct 2014), Franklin > Deerfield > Births, marriages, deaths 1675-1844 vol 1.

The interesting thing about this book, is the index. 

Notice the column heading above the first set of numbers. Noted as O.B. in the left column and Old Book in the right column. This book is a transcription of the old book. Sigh.

I just hope the clerk who copied the books was careful to double and triple check her work. The images I found back up what is in the books I found. I still have a mystery to solve.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Arms are up, well, maybe not.

My previous post is a perfect example of not checking all possible sources before coming to a conclusion on the evidence.  A cousin sent me some links to online books written about the Arms and Alvord families. They all read pretty much the same and most likely came from the same source.

To prove the accuracy of any research requires some leg work.  First of all, how are the graves laid out in the cemetery?  Those buried next to one another could be a clue to their relationship. Finding a map of the cemetery plots would be most desirable.  Then there is the ever re-use of given names. For the Arms family, William and Thomas are repeated through the generations. These families were from Massachusetts and much research has been done on those who lived in the counties of this state. I ordered a roll of microfilm that has arrived at the local FHC that I will be viewing this next week, it is only open on Wednesday evening. 

The Arms were a side trip on my route to prove the line from myself back to Paul Hazelton. I will be exploring the Arms line more in the near future.

Thank you to my cousin for disagreeing with my conclusion and pointing me in another direction.

Stay tuned for more!