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biography word cloud
County histories that include biographical sketches can provide a wealth of information; however, caution must be taken. These biographies were generally provided by the subject so any information, especially about their parents or grandparents, may not be accurate especially if the person being interviewed didn’t know the facts. Generally, the location is listed as part of the book’s title. The date of first publication is also needed in order to put a biography in a historical context. Many of the biographical sketches in my files contain data about previous generations within the text of their own story. If I had not been meticulous in extracting data, I could have become quite confused. Below I have provided a biographical sketch and shown my steps for extracting the information.

John Goul Biography

At first glance, this entire piece seems to be related to the subject at the very beginning of the paragraph: John Goul. Let’s take this step by step.

John Goul Biography names highlighted

First, call out each person’s name. In my example above I made each name bold with a different font color. On paper or on in word processing software, you can do this by highlighting or underlining each name. The names within this biography are: John Goul, Christian Goul, Ruth (Lawson) Goul, J.R. Ware, Thomas Lawson, Adam Goul, Elizabeth Leetz, and Susan F. Coffenbarger – a total of eight!

John Goul Biography colored

Then, keeping the paragraph intact, I highlighted the part that pertained to each person. On a portion that was about a person listed before but did not include a name, I entered the name in red bold faced font enclosed in parenthesis.

john goul biography bulleted

Next, I took each highlighted section and made it into a bulleted list for each subject named within that paragraph.

john goul biography bulleted color

Now it’s time to combine each person’s facts together so they aren’t spread out over more than one bulleted list. I did this in the example above. I took all the facts relating to John Goul (subject of the sketch) and combined them into one bulleted list. In areas where the name of person wouldn’t be clear, I added that in red bold italics and underlined it.

Finally, it is time to create an easier to read biography from the facts culled out in the previous examples. The book’s name is The History of Champaign County, Ohio by W.H. Beers & Co.; Chicago; 1881. This is how a restructured biography about John Goul would read:

JOHN GOUL was born in Union Township, Champaign County, Ohio in 1832 the second child of Christian Goul and Ruth Lawson. At the age of two or three, he moved with his parents to Mechanicsburg. He has lived in this township most of the time since then. Mr. Goul was reared as a farmer and remained at his parents’ home assisting with the duties of the farm until adulthood. In 1854 he married Susan F. Coffenbarger. During the Civil War, he was a soldier serving with the 134th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, most of the time on picket duty at the siege of Petersburg, Virginia. His pursuits include farming and stock-dealing, and in politics he is a Republican. J. Goul is a member of the I.O.O.F. and for the last twenty years, a member of the M.E. Church. He has two farms under the best modern improvements. The farm that he lives on is of 150 acres and the other farm, located in Union Township, is 84 acres in size. John Goul’s wife, Susan, is a native of Maryland but has been a resident of Champaign County since she was nine years old. The couple had two sons and three daughters but two of the daughters have died.

Mr. Goul’s father, Christian Goul, was born on September 6, 1804 in Rockbridge County, Virginia to Adam Goul and Elizabeth Leetz. He moved from Virginia to Champaign County with his parents when he was thirteen years old. Christian Goul was a shoemaker by trade and a farmer by occupation and contributed his life’s labors to the development and improvement of Champaign County. C. Goul was married Ruth Lawson in March 1828 by J.R. Ware who officiated their wedding. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in March 1878. John Goul’s father, Christian, died on his 75th birthday, September 6, 1879. John had two brothers and four sisters, all off whom are still living.

Mr. Goul’s mother, Ruth Lawson, was the daughter of Thomas Lawson, who came from Pennsylvania to Ohio in an early day and two years following the move, became a pioneer of Champaign County. Mr. Lawson located on the same land where John Goul now lives.

Mr. Goul’s grandfather, Adam Goul, was a native of Germany and came to America in an early day. He and Elizabeth Leetz were married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the Revolutionary War, Adam Goul was a teamster. He was a shoemaker by trade and was careful to teach each of his four sons, including Mr. Goul’s father, Christian, the same trade.

Mr. Goul’s grandmother, Elizabeth Leetz, was a native of Germany, just as her husband.

In the next installment, I’ll pick this biography apart even more in order to determine the facts when it comes to research.

 

(In some of the examples, the date of Christian and Ruth Goul’s golden wedding anniversary is listed at 1879 – erroneously – instead of 1878 – that was an error on my part but after creating images, I wasn’t going to go back and fix all the images!)

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I am so thankful there is such an animal as Google Books! I’ve been able to find tons of information, published genealogies, and even see drawings or photos of ancestral locations and homes. These are books that have been digitized – books that I would have a difficult time finding unless I spent a lot of time and money.

Titles that I have in my “collection” include:

  • Savery and Severy Genealogy (Savory and Savary) by Alfred William Savary published by the Fort Hill Press (Boston), 1905, located at the Wisconsin Historical Society.
  • A Genealogy of the Savery Families (Savory and Savary) by A.W. Savary, assisted by Miss Linda A. Savary published by the Collins Press (Boston), 1893; located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • Genealogy of the Lyman Family in Britain and America by Lyman Coleman published in Albany, New York, 1872, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • Genealogical Records of Thomas Burnham, the Emigrant by Roderick H. Burnham published The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co. Print, 1884, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Volume LXVII published by the N.E. Historic Genealogical Society (Boston), 1913, located at the Stanford Library.
  • Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts by William Richard Cutter (Ed.), assisted by William Frederick Adams published by Lewis Historical Publishing Company (New York), 1910, located at Harvard College Library.
  • The Genealogy of the Bigelow Family of America by Gilman Bigelow Howe printed by Charles Hamilton (Massachusetts), 1890, located at Harvard College Library.
  • Genealogy of the Loveland Family in the United States of America by J.B. Loveland and George Loveland published by I.M. Keeler & Sons, Printer (Ohio), 1895, located at the Wisconsin Historical Society.
  • Genealogy of the First Seven Generations of the Bidwell Family in America by Edwin M. Bidwell published by Joel Munson’s Sons (New York), 1884, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • Glastenbury for Two Hundred Years: A Centennial Discourse by Rev. Alonzo B. Chapin published by Case, Tiffany and Company (Hartford), 1853, located at the Harvard College Library.
  • Historical Sketches and Reminisces of Madison County, Indiana by John L. Forkner and Byron H. Dyson published in Anderson, Ind., 1897, located at the Harvard College Library. (I also own this book.)
  • History of Idaho Vol. III published by the S. J. Clarke Publishing Company (Chicago), 1920, located at the Harvard College Library.
  • A Genealogy of the Appleton Family by W. S. Appleton published by T. R. Marvin & Son (Boston), 1874, located at the Boston Public Library.
  • New England Families Genealogical and Memorial by William Richard Cutter published by Lewis Historical Publishing Company (New York), 1914, located at the Harvard College Library.
  • The Goodrich Family in America by Lafayette Wallace Case published by Fergus Printing Company (Chicago), 1889, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • The Hollister Family of America; Lieut. John Hollister and His Descendants compiled by Lafayette Wallace Case published by Fergus Printing Company (Chicago), 1886, located at the Harvard College Library.
  • The Risley Family History by Edwin H. Risley published by the Grafton Press (New York), 1909, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer by Rev. A. J. Fretz published by The Evergreen News (New Jersey), 1903, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

If you haven’t searched Google Books yet for your ancestors or a history of the area where they lived, I urge you to do so. You’ll never know what you can uncover!

 

pitminster church

Richard Treat, who came from England, has many notable descendants including: both Presidents Bush, John P. Morgan, Treat Williams, Tennessee Williams, and Thomas Edison. Treat, born in 1584, immigrated to Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut with his wife, the former Alice Gaylard, and their ten children. There has been much written about the Treat family and one predominant book is The Treat Family: A Genealogy of Trott, Tratt, and Treat for Fifteen Generations, and Four Hundred and Fifty Years in England and America, Containing More Than Fifteen Hundred Families in America by John Harvey Treat and published by the Salem Press Publishing and Printing Company in 1893 which is found online through Google Books.

Although, some online genealogies mention that Richard Treat was married to someone named “Joanna” prior to his marriage to Alice Gaylord on April 27, 1615 in Pitminster, England, there has been no documentation to support that. My ancestor, daughter Joanna Treat, was born just a few years after the marriage of Richard and Alice. Alice was still living at the time Richard’s will was proved in March 1669.

Wife, Alice, was the daughter of Hugh. Her surname at baptism was spelled Gaylaud and her father’s name is reported as Gaylard according to John Harvey Treat’s book. It has also been reported as Gaylord over time. Find a Grave lists her burial location by Richard in the Wethersfield Village Cemetery although a stone has not been located.

The photo above (Attribution: Derek Harper [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons) is of the church in Pitminster, Somerset, England where all of the children of Richard and Alice, including my ancestor, Joanna, were baptized.

Descendants of my 9th great-grandparents, Richard Treat and Alice Gaylard:

  1. Honor Treat b. 1616
  2. Joanna Treat b. 1618
  3. Sarah Treat b. 1620
  4. Richard Treat b. 1622
  5. Robert Treat b. 1624
  6. Elizabeth Treat b. 1627
  7. Susanna Treat b. 1629
  8. Alice Treat b. 1631/32
  9. James Treat b. 1634
  10. Katherine Treat b. 1637

My ancestor, Joanna Treat, was married to John Hollister in Hartford, Connecticut and  had eight children who were all born in Wethersfield. Their oldest son, John Hollister Jr., was my ancestor. Joanna Treat Hollister died in Wethersfield in October 1694. Her grave just like her husband’s is unknown although I’m sure it is somewhere in the Wethersfield area.

I’m excited that the church where my eighth great-grandmother was baptized is still standing. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to travel to England to visit this building and walk among the stones in the graveyard and pay my respects to other ancestors who are buried there.

The Look of Love

glenvesta41jrgrad

A few days ago I posted a photo of my parents that was one of my favorites, but when it comes to my maternal grandparents – I have many that I adore! The reason I enjoy looking at them is because in photos of just the two of them, their love for each other just radiates off the photo. Take a peek!

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johnson_glen_vesta_young

 

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grandad_pershing

The Library of Congress’ Today in History page reports that on this day in 1918, the “American Expeditionary Forces…launched its first major offensive in Europe as an independent army” led by General John J. Pershing. My family has a connection to “Black Jack” Pershing in two different ways. As seen in the photo above, my grandfather met the General in the days of WWI when Pershing inspected my grandfather’s squadron. In a letter to my grandmother back home in Indiana, my grandfather mentions the inspection and meeting. Pershing is the first man in uniform from the right (not standing on the car) and my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, is the third from the left.

The second connection is through my husband. Pershing State Park in Linn county, Missouri lies across US 36 – 16 miles from my husband’s father’s farm. Each time we drive that road, we see the signs about Pershing and the Park.

A Special Photo

mom&dad2

The photo above is one of my favorite pictures of my parents. If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you probably have noticed that I don’t post many pictures of my parents together. I’ve done that because I wanted to respect both of them since they were divorced when I was twelve. My father is still living but isn’t connected to a computer or the internet. I post this here today because for me, this photo represents a time when they were in love with each other. They were young and looking toward a future filled with possibilities.

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Today, September 10, marks the 13th Anniversary since the last day the United States was “normal.” I am not really sure what I was doing on September 10, 2001 specifically. I dropped my son off at the high school – not sure if I took my daughter or if she caught a ride with her friends. I took my youngest to middle school. It was a Monday so I went to work at my church. And I was still fresh off my trip to my brother’s funeral in Alabama. There were still sad moments during the day. I worked my three hours and went home to grab lunch. More than likely, I turned the television on to watch the rest of the noon news before one of my daytime shows started. I’m sure I fixed dinner that evening after my husband and kids were home from work and school.

According to USA Today’s online article “The Day Before,” items that the American people were reading about or watching on the news concerned the trial of actor Robert Blake, suicide bombings in Istanbul, Michael Jackson’s first live concert in quite awhile at Madison Square Garden, and President Bush’s trip to Florida. It was by all accounts, a day just like thousands of days that had come before. But that would all soon change.

Just like those alive on December 7, 1941 or November 22, 1963, we all know where we were and what we were doing the morning of September 11. I’ve written before of my memories and thoughts. Before we realized it, whatever we considered “normal” was gone. For many days the airspace over my house – close to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport – was silent. Growing up near an air base in Ohio and living in my present home for so long, airplane noise had always been normal for me. The silence overhead was eerie. People walked around with a look on their face as if they didn’t know whether to be sad, confused, or angry. Everyone wanted to talk about it. Most of us were glued to our televisions as those horrific scenes were played over and over again and listened to the stories of those who had escaped from the towers, the Pentagon, or had heard their loved one’s last words via a cell phone high above a Pennsylvania field.

When the airlines began flying again, instead of the “normal” sounds above, I would look up and wonder if there would be another plane right on the heels of 9/11. What used to be normal for travelers had all changed. There was a list of banned items, new rules and restrictions in place for luggage, and no way to see your loved one’s off in the terminal just before boarding. When family would fly in to D/FW in order to catch another flight somewhere else, there wasn’t any way that I could go visit with them until they left; it just wasn’t allowed anymore.

Children grew frightened. The American people pulled together – at least for a short time – because it was OUR country that was attacked; OUR people were killed; OUR airlines were hijacked. Churches were packed with people looking for answers and praying for the nation.

And normal now? Homeland Security Agency – part of the government that didn’t exist 13 years ago today. Pat downs, luggage inspection, and getting body scans at airports. New vocabulary has entered our lexicon: Al-Queda, Taliban, “weapons of mass destruction,” ground zero (meaning where the twin towers once stood), and the war on terror. Children born after September 11, 2001 (and some that were young) will never know a world of “normal.”

This is a sad anniversary – the Last Day of Normal.

 

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