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Archive for February, 2009

On February 20th, I wrote this post about my concerns over the new FamilySearch update and design. Apparently, I was not the only one who had problems and sent feedback.

On that same day, I received a total of 5 hits from these search terms: “familysearch problems”, “familysearch error 500″, “server error 500 on family search”, “familysearch”, and “familysearch server error”. For the same type of search terms on February 21st, I received 3 hits. On February 22nd, I received 2 hits from the search term “familysearch record search not working”. And in the last two days, I’ve received 3 hits on those search terms. The post referenced above has received a total of 37 hits.

So late on February 24th when I went to check the site again – just in case – I noticed that they had put a message stating that the site would be down during the day on February 25th while they were making updates. Yesterday when I checked it to see if it was back up again, I noticed that the message was expanded to say that the update would fix problems associated with the update. When the site came back up yesterday evening, the message explained that folks with IE6 could now use the site again!

I immediately sent feedback to say thank you! I’m sure I’m not the only one who is pleased that the problem is now resolved. I would hope that anyone else who had problems, will also thank them for fixing this. The administrators are obviously reading comments made and diligently working to improve searchability for all of us. Let’s show them our gratitude!

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One of the road blocks in locating your ancestor in the Census records occurs when we know where they are living – perhaps even have an address – but for some reason we can’t locate them. Stephen P. Morse web pages can help with many items. This site has links to Ellis Island forms, New York manifests, Castle Garden, other immigration ports, and Census information.

Under Census there are several items:

  1. Obtaining the Enumeration Districts for 1900-1940 Censuses
  2. Street Finder
  3. Enumeration District Definitions
  4. Census Codes
  5. Determining Counties
  6. Changed Street Names
  7. Soundex

These items might assist you in your census research.  Please note that some links send you to fee-based sites.

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Randy Seaver of, GeneaMusings, offers a bit of fun each Saturday night. Two days ago, he came asked “Who’s number 21 on your ahnentafel list?”

This is a list whereby one’s ancestors are in a particular order.  For example – I am number 1 on my list.  My father is number 2 and mother is number 3.  Paternal grandparents are next at number 4 and 5.  Maternal grandparents would be 6 and 7.  Get the picture?

Number 21 on my list would be my paternal 2nd great-grandmother, Julia Ann Lewis.  Up until last summer, I didn’t have a maiden name for her.  She was just “Julia A.” married to Florus Allen House.  Then I found several death certificates of their children listing her maiden name.

Julia was born the day before Christmas in 1815.  I have no documentation as to her place of birth except it is reported in the 1850-1880 censuses as Ohio.  In the 1880 census she listed her parents’ birthplace as Virginia but I don’t know if that was Virginia as it is known today or the part of Virginia that broke from the state to become West Virginia.

Julia and Florus A. House married probably before 1838.  Their oldest child, a daughter, Emily – age 12, is listed in the 1850 Census as being born in Michigan.  Florus had been living in Michigan prior to Ohio so that is possible.  She doesn’t appear on any other censuses of this household, and I haven’t been able to document her death or her marriage. 

Julia and Florus went on to have a total of 11 children.  One daughter, Teressa, died at 3 years and 3 months.  One son, John, died at age 6 and yet another, George, died at less than one day.  My great-grandfather, James Emory House, was the second son and third child of this couple.  The family lived in Coshocton County, Ohio most of their married life.

Julia died eight years after her husband, on October 6, 1899 in Coshocton and is reportedly buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Coshocton County.  Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of this couple or their children (not even my great-grandfather).  I’m hoping that another descendent and distant cousin may share some photos someday.

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As soon as FamilySearch came back online Thursday, I wanted to check out the tweeks they had implemented. Unfortunately every time I tried to do a search, I received a Server 500 error.  I sent feedback to their Support to find out why I was having a problem.  My response came yesterday and read,

Thank you for contacting FamilySearch Support about your 500 error. This means you are probably still using Internet Explorer version 6. If this is not the case, please indicate your browser and its version. Most of these problems are corrected by upgrading to IE7. I’ve attached below instructions on how to do this.

I’ve heard a lot of things about Internet Explorer 7 and have been sent warning messages from my internet provider that IE7 is not comparable to what I have.  I went online to see what other information I could get about problems people have had with this upgrade and found that IE7 had been used by hackers to gain access to certain information.  The website also mentioned patches that had been released to counteract this issue.  So now I’m left wondering – what has been the experience of others using IE7?  Is it worth my time and effort (and possible headaches) if I download IE7? Or should I just find a computer with this version already installed so I won’t compromise my system?

I’m looking for all the feedback I can get!  So please let me know!

I really would hate not to be able to access FamilySearch as it has provided much needed information on ancestors that I am researching.

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To go along with my earlier post, Cleaning Up the Family File, I’ve done some additional searches using a wonderful resource – Marriages, Coshocton County, Ohio, 1811-1930 : compiled from marriage records, Probate Court, Coshocton County, Ohio.  This book was put together by Miriam C. Hunter for the Coshocton Public Library in 1967.  She spent most of one year searching the records in Coshocton County in order to compile this book.  I was able to access it through HeritageQuest via my local library.

Since most of my paternal ancestors lived in or near Coshocton during the time period included in the book, I spent the better part of three days carefully combing through the names comparing them to the surnames in my family file.  The time spent searching paid off as I was able to enter dates or a location (Coshocton County) that I didn’t have.

The first part of the book – Volume I – is alphabetized by male surname, then giving the bride’s name and the date of marriage.  However, if the bride had been married before, sometimes she was listed as “Mrs.” and other times not.  Volume II is alphabetized by bride surname and only gives the groom’s first initials and surname.  No date of marriage.  To find that, I had to go back to Volume I and locate the information.  It was pretty time consuming going back and forth – especially when I located several marriages for the bride under previously married names.  I had to keep searching until I found her maiden name.

One example is my grandmother’s (Ella House Amore) half-sister’s, son, Guy Irvine Conger, was married to a woman whose name I’d found awhile back. It was Ethel Ford Maple.  I had located their marriage on Page 65 of Volume I.

pg65

She was listed as Mrs. Ethel Ford Mapel.  I also knew that some of the names have been misspelled so I kept searching.  The next time her name jumped out at me was on Page 262.

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So her marriage to Frank Murphy was 5 years prior to the marriage to Guy Conger – yet the entry in the book still reads Mrs. Ethel Ford Maple (this time with Maple spelled correctly).  Hmmm.  I had to go find a Maple who had married this woman in order to find out if her true maiden name really was Ford and not a previously marred name or a middle name.  So I went back to Page 220.

pg220

That’s when I located Ethel Ford who had married Samuel Maple on July 9, 1914.  If I hadn’t looked through this book carefully, I might not have discovered any of this information. 

That also solved a mystery for me as I have Maple ancestors and thought that perhaps Ethel was a Maple whose parents I hadn’t found.  Turns out she wasn’t born a Maple – she just married one!  And obviously she liked the name for she used it even after her second marriage to Frank Murphy was dissolved by divorce or his death.

Another mystery that I solved happened as I searched for the marriage of my first cousin once removed – Pauline House.  She was my grandmother’s niece (daughter of her brother).  I had many newspaper clippings that listed her as Mrs. Pauline Torjusen but I had never located her husband’s first name.  I couldn’t locate her husband’s family in any of the censuses in order to figure out who he might be.

In Volume II, page 82, I found the HOUSE entries.  There she was – Pauline Hazel House who married T.S. Torporsam. 

pg3_82

Talk about a misspelling!  In every other source (newspaper, family letters, etc.) it is spelled Torjusen.  That is why I didn’t see it in Volume I – because it was listed differently.  So then I had to flip back to Volume I in order to find out what this man’s name was!  On page 372 I found him – Tobias Suran.  The last name was still spelled incorrectly.

pg372

Information such as what I found by scanning this book has also helped me in locating Ohio Death Certificate information off of FamilySearch and in the censuses.  Sometimes all of that combined can lead to new names, correct ages, etc.

So I urge you to see if there is a resource such as this available in the areas you are researching – perhaps in the Genealogy area of your local library or nearest large city public library or even from the Genealogy Society.

Now – I’m off to continue my research on many of these names and family members I’ve recently discovered!

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kreativblogger

One of my new readers, Sheri, of Grandma’s Stitches awarded me with this KreativBlogger Award!  The rules are fairly simple:

1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those sites on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.

Since I haven’t seen this pop up on any other blogs yet, I’ll nominate my 7.  They are:

1. Jessica Oswalt of Jessica’s Genejournal. Jessica has tagged me and awarded me with many awards so I want to reciprocate!
2. Terri at The Ties That Bind. This is a new-to-me genealogy blog and I’ve enjoyed reading Terri’s posts!
3. Dorene at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay. Dorene and I are more than likely very distant cousins through our Connecticut House ancestors!
4. Becky Jamison at Grace and Glory – I enjoy her posts about her parents and her ancestral findings.
5. Ernie Margheim of Ernie’s Journey’s. Ernie is Becky Jamison’s father and has his own blog! Ernie reminds me of my grandfather with some of his stories and the way he writes! Right now Ernie is out of pocket for awhile so he can have surgery and recover. Good thoughts to you, Ernie! (Perhaps Becky can tell her Dad we are all thinking of him!)
6. Suzanne Coleman of Growing up Genealogy. I recently discovered this blog about growing up surrounded by genealogy.
7. Lee Drew of Lineage Keeper. Lee posts the contents of several letters on his blog that are very interesting! This is another blog that is new to me, and I hope will become new to you as well!

I want to thank Sheri for awarding this to me!  I hope you will go visit Sheri and the other nominees and show them some love!

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oscar
The following was written for the Carnival of Genealogy: 66th Edition with the theme, iGene Awards, The Best of the Best!  There are 5 categories and many entries so let’s get down to the nominees and the winners!

Best Picture – Best old family photo that appeared on this blog in 2008.  And the nominees are: 1. Paternal Grandparents, Lloyd & Ella Amore; 2. Maternal Grandparents, Glen & Vesta Johnson; 3. Maternal Great-Grandparents, John & Katie Johnson; 4. Maternal g-great-grandparents, Emanuel & Nancy Caylor.

bestpicture3

And the Winner is: Picture #2!  My maternal grandparents, Glen and Vesta Johnson.  This picture was taken while they were courting in 1916 and is considered to be the Winner for several reasons.  I never personally knew the other subjects except for stories, pictures and my research.  I also have tons of letters my grandparents wrote to each other while they were courting so I have somewhat of a story behind the winning photo.  Congratulations!

Glen & Vesta

Glen & Vesta

Best Screenplay - which family story would make the best movie?  Who would I cast?

And the nominees are: 1. What a Bunch of Hooey!; 2. At Least It Wasn’t Moonshine!; 3. Independent From Birth.

And the Winner is: Independent From Birth!  This screenplay about my maternal grandfather’s foster sister takes place between 1910 and 1991 in rural Madison County, Indiana.  The stage version stars Elle Fanning as the young Eva and as the teenage Eva – Elle’s sister, Dakota Fanning.  As an adult she is played by Drew Barrymore.  These actresses capture the loneliness that Eva had throughout her life.  For Eva’s foster brother, Glen (my grandfather), the role would go to Ewan McGregor and her foster parents (my great-grandparents) would be played by William Hurt and Meryl Streep.

Best Documentary - what was the best informational article about a thing, place or event involving my family?

The Nominees are: 1. Ministers, Lay Persons and Church Folk, Oh My!; 2. Those Who Served; 3. Disecting Obituaries.

And the Winner is: Disecting Obituaries.

Best Biography - The best biographical article of 2008?

And the Nominees are: 1. The Case of Chase; 2. James Emory House; 3. The 2 part series on Lester House – Lester’s Despair – Part One and More Tragedy for Lester House (Conclusion of Lester’s Despair).

And the Winner is: The Case of ChaseThis article won hands down because it provided some much sought after information to a distant cousin that I never knew I had!  She was deeply moved by this story, and I am so glad I was able to give her a story that she didn’t know very much about.

Best Comedy - the funny story, poem, joke, video, or photo that was shared?

And the Nominees are: 1. What a Bunch of Hooey! (competing in a 2nd category!); 2. Unusual Photos; 3. What Were We Thinking?

And the Winner is: What a Bunch of Hooey!  I chose this article as the winner because I look back with humor on a lot of those things my mother says!

And that does it for this year’s Genea-Oscar’s!  So before the music starts up and I get cut off on my thanks – here goes:

I want to thank Jasia at Creative Gene for inspiring me to start submitting entries for the Carnival of Genealogy; Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings for promoting some of my articles in his Best of the Genea-Blogs articles; to Jessica at Jessica’s Genejournal for giving me a shout out and tagging me in all things good; to footnoteMaven at Shades of the Departed and footnoteMaven for her inspiring prompts for Smile for the Camera; to Miriam at AnceStories and AnceStories2 for the great prompts and informative articles. To all those fellow genea-bloggers who have given me great inspiration and assistance when I needed it: Becky at kinexxions; Julie at GenBlog; Amy at Amy’s Genealogy (and a fellow Buckeye!); Terry Thornton (who inspired me to begin my other blog Graveyard Rabbit of South Denton County) of Hill Country of Monroe County; Elyse at Elyse’s Genealogy Blog; Thomas at Destination: Austin Family; Sheri at The Educated Genealogist; Donna at What’s Past is Prologue, whose articles have really helped me! And (cue music) and . . . but wait . . . I’m not done thanking everyone yet . . . Thank You All My Faithful Readers – Especially You!

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Though my posts have been a little sparse in the last month or so, I’ve still done quite a bit of research.  I’m attempting to clean up my family file – gather death and marriage dates and add source documentation to items I’ve found.

Luckily, I am able to access the Census records on Heritage Quest from home through my library’s database.  Between that and the databases on Family Search I’ve been able to gather many more bits of information and sources.

My steps include:

  1. Finding an ancestral family (let’s use my 2nd great-grandfather, Florus Allen House as an example).
  2. I check to see what census records I have for him and make sure all are sourced correctly which includes the date census was taken, series, roll, page, dwelling and family numbers, and all information pertaining to the household.
  3. Then I check surrounding households to see if any relatives are nearby.
  4. If I find that I’m missing a census record, I re-check the databases using wildcards, just the first name, different surname spellings, etc. to see if I can locate the record.
  5. I check to make sure that ages match up for children or if there is an in-law, grandchild or other relative also living in the household.
  6. From there I move on to the children in the household and begin looking for them in census records after they have moved out of the family home.  I use the same type of searches as I did above.

The information this yields has documented marriages, children of the marriage, birth months and years, approximate length of marriage and the number of marriages a person has had. 

For my ancestors living in Ohio, I’ve been able to look at the Ohio Deaths on Family Search and have been able to gather death dates, whether married, cause of death, location of death and usual residence, birth dates, parents’ names, and occupation.  Sometimes the informant has been a family member which helps document that.  All of that information combined with other sources has been able to provide better documentation.

I’ve also discovered while doing my clean up that information I found through other means or from another person, hasn’t been accurate.  For one child of my 2nd great-grandfather, I had found a record (not sourced) that gives a marriage date – 20 years after this person had allegedly died.  I’ve not found any documents to support the death or the marriage – so on the “notes” section of my family file I list what documents support that this person was a child in the family (census records), and where I found the other information but that it is not proven yet.  In other words a big question mark!

I’ve also found similarly named individuals in the census records that I’ve had to check different documents in order to offer proof it is the individual I’m researching or one who belongs to an entirely different family. 

This is a slow process but one that has yielded promising results.  For me it is akin to working a jigsaw puzzle and checking each piece to see where or if it fits at all.  Half the fun is getting there!

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Along with many others – and a nation – I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon the life and honor our 16th President – Abraham Lincoln.  We all (should) know the story of the child born into poverty in Kentucky and who lost his mother at a young age; that his family moved to Indiana and then to Illinois where the young man, who didn’t have much of an education, went on to become a successful lawyer and a Senator. 

My “Lincoln” path began when I was in adolescence and first read a book called “The Death of Lincoln” by Leroy Hayman, first published in 1968, which I purchased through the school’s Scholastic Book Fair after 1972.  In my 7th grade History class, the students were required to teach a subject for one week culminating in a test given to the class.  My friend and I chose this particular area of history as our subject.  We took pictures of the photos in the book and wrote our “curriculum” for the week.  The instructor returned a slide carousel filled with the pictures we had taken to be used as illustrations.  Our report received an “A” and the teacher sent a note to my mother praising our report. 

I would watch anything on television that had anything even remotely assosciated with Lincoln, his presidency, the Civil War, or his assassination.  I read articles about his life and studied some of his speeches.  In another History class in high school, I had to memorize and then give the Gettysburg Address. 

And I wondered – what would history have said about Abraham Lincoln had he not been killed soon after his second term began?  Would he still be remembered as the Great Emancipator?  The President who had saved the Union?  One of the greatest presidents our nation ever had?  What would his life had been like?  Would Mary Todd Lincoln had been able to maintain her sanity?  What would the reconstruction of our torn Union have been like had Lincoln been around to oversee it?  How would history have been changed?

Answers are speculatory and self-serving.  I would hope that everything would have been better had President Lincoln continued his service to our country.  Would he have remained as melancholy as the States formed one complete Union again as he had been through most of his life?  Would there have been another crisis he would have had to face immediately had he lived?  Would he have remained great in the eyes of a grateful nation?

It has been reported that my great-grandfather, James Emory House, shook hands with President Lincoln; however, I’ve yet to find any documentation that places my great-grandfather’s regiment and Lincoln in the same place. I’ve also heard that one of my great-grandfather’s (or perhaps a 2nd great-grandfather) watched his train go by. I’m unsure if this was the train he took to Washington D.C. to be inaugurated as the 16th President or if it was his funeral train. My maternal great-grandfather, John Lafayette Johnson, who lived in rural Rush County, Indiana near Knightstown, would have been a little over 4 years old as the funeral procession came through.  He would have been with his parents.  His father, James Wilson Johnson, who was an adult at the time Lincoln was elected President, could have seen the inaugural train carrying the President-Elect toward Washington in February 1861 as it made its way through Indiana.

This past summer as our family was on our annual vacation to Missouri and then Ohio, we stopped in Springfield, Illinois to visit the Lincoln home.  As I mentioned in this post we weren’t able to take the tour but I did get photos of the exterior.

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Happy Birthday, Mr. President!  And may you eternally rest in peace.

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The 10th Edition of Smile for the Camera is about Costumes! Not the type worn for Halloween but a distinctive dress for the period or class or what was worn in an era of time. I chose the photo below of my maternal grandfather’s first cousin, Ada Blazer.

blazer_ada

Ada Dell Blazer was born on July 2, 1890 in Champaign County, Ohio to Wesley Blazer and Binne McAdams.   She was the only daughter of the four children.  Ada married Frank Ogg about 1910.  After he died in October 1920, she married John Black.  One daughter was born to this union.  John died in December 1960.

I’m not sure how old Ada was when this photo was taken but my guess it would be prior to or soon after her first marriage.  (I know footnoteMaven will love this photo because she is wearing glasses!)  I chose this photo primarily because of her headdress.  According to Vintage Fashion Guild, by “1911 hats were at their largest, often with the brim extending beyond the breadth of the wearer’s shoulders. To secure these huge creations to the head, hat pins – sometimes as long as 18 inches – were skewered through the hair and hat. The hatpin had other advantages too. Any man who attempted an unwanted advance soon discovered that a hatpin was all a frail woman needed to defend herself.”

This also could be a pre-wedding photograph taken as it appears that the suit, the hat and the hand warmer are a matching set.  I do not know the significance of the one sided lace collar.  With her hands covered by the hand warmer, I can’t see if she is wearing any wedding jewelry although it appears she is wearing a necklace with a dainty chain with the charm at the “V” of her jacket and another necklace that appears to be possibly herringbone that fits closer to her neck.  There is a just a hint of a smile on her face.

Ada lived until the age of 86 and died February 22, 1977 in Champaign County, Ohio.

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