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Indiana_Flag_(1903)

Thanks to a Facebook post on the Indiana Genealogy page yesterday, I learned that three new databases were added to Ancestry.com – Indiana Birth Certificates (1907-1940), Indiana Marriage Certificates (1958-2005), and Indiana Death Certificates (1899-2011). At first, I figured it was just transcriptions of these documents (and we all know that there can be errors in transcribing documents!). Imagine how thrilled I was to find out that these three databases all included scanned images of the records!

After spending almost an hour going through some of the records pertaining to my family and ancestors, I realized that if I didn’t set a time limit for myself, I would be up all night! I found the birth certificates for my mom, aunt and uncle! I found death certificates for some of my extended Wilt relatives. And even though I had said that I had found the last piece of the Johnson/Kirkpatrick puzzle, I was wrong! On Ellen Ora Johnson Moffitt’s death certificate, her mother’s name was listed . . . (drum roll please) . . . Nancy J Kirkpatrick!!! Oh, happy, happy dance!!!

I’m sure I will find even more details that I’ve missed when I go through these documents and some are even sad. I decided to look for the death certificate for Albert Wilt. He was my maternal grandmother’s younger half-brother, son of Joseph Napolean Wilt and Anna Park. Albert’s gravestone bears the years 1917-1933. I did find his death certificate and the cause of death listed was horrible: head crushed by railway tram as he walked along the tracks. His death was ruled an accident. My great-grandfather Joe was the informant but he listed his birth date as August 1, 1914. So was Joe correct and the incorrect birth year was put on the head stone? Whatever the case, Albert was too young and his death was tragic.

So if you have family and ancestors from Indiana, please go check out these three new databases. Perhaps you’ll find some information that can help break down some brick walls.

(Image: Indiana Flag 1903 from Wikimedia Commons; public domain)

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Ben_Jigsaw_Puzzle_Puzzle_Puzzle

In the past, I have written several articles about Ellen Ora Johnson, her family with Christopher Columbus Moffitt, and how I believed she was the daughter of Jacob M Johnson and Nancy Kirkpatrick. Those articles can be found here: Moffitt Mystery, Moffitt Mystery Part 2, Moffitt Mystery Part 3, Update on Part 3 – Moffitt Mystery, and Mystery Monday – Jacob M Johnson and Nancy Kirkpatrick.

Several months ago, I ran across a news article on Newspapers.com from The Daily Republican (Rushville, Indiana) on page 3 of the January 25, 1908 edition. It read: “Mrs. Nancy Cook of Knightstown visited Earl Atkins and family part of last week.” That one sentence was exciting because it showed a connection between Nancy Kirkpatrick Johnson Cook and the daughter of Ellen Ora Johnson Moffitt. Mrs. Earl Atkins was Lena Moffitt, the second oldest daughter of C.C. Moffitt and Ellen Ora Johnson.

I also located a memorial on Find a Grave for Elva Moffitt Griffith (third oldest daughter of C.C. and Ellen) that included her obituary which referenced Elva as the daughter of “Christopher Columbus and Ellen Cook Moffitt.” There’s that “Cook” name again. I returned once more to what I had found about Nancy Kirkpatrick.

Nancy was reportedly born on July 10, 1844 in Indiana. That birth date is listed on her gravestone located in Center Church Cemetery in Mays, Rush county, Indiana. The marriage record for her and Jacob M Johnson gives a marriage date of January 21, 1858. If both of those dates are correct, Nancy was 13 1/2 years old when she married. That wasn’t unheard of during that era, but it does create reasonable doubt. I believe Nancy was at least 2 years older when she married. People did lie about their ages – or not really know what year they were born so it is possible. In the 1860 US Census of Union twp in Howard county, Indiana, the household included: Jacob Johnson age 26 (putting his birth year at 1833-1834), Nancy Johnson age 23 (putting her birth year at 1836-1837), and Mary age 1 (birth year of 1858-1859). My belief is the name “Mary” was verbalized as “Orey” but the enumerator heard “Mary” or the girl did not have a real name yet so she was listed as Mary. (Many times children of a year or younger may not have been given their life-long name just in case they didn’t survive infancy.)

I couldn’t locate either Jacob or Nancy in the 1870 census but by 1880, Nancy is married to Allison Cook (married in 1865) and living in Center twp of Rush county, Indiana. Nancy’s age is listed as 36 (putting birth year as 1843-1844). There are two daughters and one son in the household: daughter Ollie B Cook is age 13 (birth year about 1867); daughter Martha A Cook is 11 (birth year about 1868-1869), and son Joseph R Cook is 8 (birth year 1871-1872).

By March 1, 1885 the family had moved to Osage county, Kansas and are shown on the Kansas State Census. Nancy is age 40, Allie (Ollie?) B Cook is 18, Martha A Cook is 15, and Joseph R Cook is 12.

In the 1900 US Census of Wayne twp, Henry county, Indiana, the household only includes Allison and Nancy, ages 66 and 46 respectively. It looks like Nancy has not aged very much since the 1885 Kansas census! The information shows that the couple have been married 35 years and that Nancy had 5 children but only 3 were living.

In the 1910 US Census, Nancy is living with her son, Joseph R Cook, and his family on Jefferson Street in Knightstown, Indiana. She is listed as widowed, mother of 4 children but only 3 living. Somehow one child was forgotten in ten years.

Nancy Jane Kirkpatrick Johnson Cook died in Knightstown on September 23, 1914. The death record in the Henry county Health office in New Castle records her as 71 years old.

As for her first husband, and brother to my second great-grandfather, Jacob M Johnson, he disappears after the 1860 census. I did locate his death date as May 26, 1864. So Nancy was a widow when she married Allison Cook – as opposed to a dissolution of marriage.

That is quite a bit of information but there is still nothing that ties Ellen Ora as the daughter of Nancy and Jacob. Luckily, I came across someone who had posted that she was their daughter so I contacted them. I wanted to know if they assumed the relationship based on circumstantial evidence just as I did.

Recently, this person contacted me and said they did have the evidence and would snail mail it to me. Monday, it arrived and was a type written sheet of genealogy information. The person who it originated from was none other than Ellen Ora’s daughter, Bessie Pearl Moffitt Lukens Tanner. The same daughter who had corresponded with my grandparents!

Jacob Marion Johnson has a birth date of May 20, 1833 and a death date of May 25, 1864. Nancy Jane Kirkpatrick was born July 10, 1843 (again, I think Nancy’s birth date is a bit off) and died the day that I have listed. They married on January 21, 1858 and two daughters were born to them: Ellen Ory Johnson and Lucretia Ann Johnson. Lucretia was born December 27, 1861 and died May 8, 1863. She was named after Nancy’s mother, Lucretia Zion.

Nancy married Allison Cook on November 16, 1865 and had three children: Ollie Bell (born November 3, 1866 and died March 22, 1952), Martha Ann (born July 24, 1871 and died August 3, 1887 after marrying William Moffitt in July 1887), and Joseph Rankin Cook – named after Nancy’s father, Joseph Kirkpatrick (born August 24, 1871 and died March 17, 1957).

Publicly, I want to thank Virginia Moffitt for providing the much needed last piece of the puzzle!

(Image: Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons)

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Scandinavia

A few weeks ago, I received the results of my AncestryDNA test. Some of the information was just as I expected – more than 50% Great Britain and quite a bit from Western Europe. Knowing the amount of ancestors that came from England as well as Germany led me to realize that the test was pretty accurate. Then there was that 12% Scandinavian. Scandi-what? I couldn’t quite figure where that DNA came from unless it was so far back in history when the tribes from that part of the world went out to the area of Great Britain and Germany. The other explanation was that it came from those few brick wall ancestors that I had yet to go further back in time past the early to mid-1800s.

Comparing my tree with those people who were a DNA match resulted in quite a bit of Scandinavian surnames. Who are these people and how did we match? I was at a complete loss. Until Saturday. Yes, that explosion you heard coming from Mid-Missouri was a brick wall that imploded, tumbled down, and shook the earth with a magnitude large enough that it would have finally shaken California from its roots.

My brick wall ancestors include my 2nd great-grandfather’s (William Amore) parents. I have no names for them except that William had listed on the 1880 census that his father was born in England and his mother in New York. Then there is my great-grandmother, Frances V. Ogan (or Foster – depending on which census is used) who was married to James Emory House (parents of my paternal grandmother). Reports are that Frances was left on a doorstep. She was raised by Evan and Susannah (Fritter) Ogan who were old enough to be her grandparents. Then there is Abel Lewis (who I learned is a Jr) and his wife, Nancy (or Ann) Johnson (or Johnston).

Within the last six months, I have found enough documentation that Abel and Nancy Lewis were my 2nd great-grandparents. Their daughter, Julia Ann Lewis, was married to Florus Allen House and became parents to my great-grandfather, James Emory House. However, information for Abel Lewis was sketchy at best. Luckily, I found someone else who had been researching this particular Lewis family and contacted him. Not only has he provided more information and documentation but as soon as he did that, other doors opened.

Nancy Johns(t)on, Abel Lewis Jr’s wife, was the daughter of James Johns(t)on and Catherine See. I had come across the See surname in several of the trees of people who were a DNA match. It was beginning to make sense. Catherine See, my 4th great-grandmother, was the daughter of Johann Frederick Michael See (or Zeh) and Catherine Margaret Vanderpool. Going back one more generation, Catherine was the daughter of Wynant Malgertsel Vanderpool (or Van der Poel) and Catherine de Hooges – both born in New York in the 1650s. But in the 1600s, the area was New Netherland – a Dutch colony.

New Netherland map

Wait a minute, Dutch? As in Holland? Amsterdam? The Netherlands? Okay, that is Western Europe. Still not finding any Scandinavian ancestors. So let’s just keep moving back further. Catherine de Hooges was the daughter of Johannes de Hooges and Margarita Post. Johannes was the son of Anthony de Hooges and Eva Albertse Bradt – both born in North Holland and both died in New Netherland. Eva was the daughter of Albert Andriessen Bradt and Annetje Barents Von Rottmer. Annetje was born in Germany but Albert was born in – wait a minute – Fredrikstad, Norway! He was also an early settler of New Netherland; arriving with his wife and two children (one was my ancestor, Eva) at New Amsterdam (now tip of Manhattan) on March 4, 1637.

Albert’s parents, Andries Arentse Bradt and Eva Kinetis, were also born in Norway (and for those following along, Andries and Eva are my 10th great-grandparents!). I believe this is only the tip of the iceberg for me. The door has now been opened to my Scandinavian ancestors. So much has been written about some of these men who sailed from the Old World to the unknown of the New World in the 1600s. They were men who helped shaped what would become New York City, Albany, and the state of New York. They were businessmen and farmers. Their friends were the Van Rensselaers and other prominent Dutch upper middle class to upper class settlers.

For further reading, I urge you to plug in some of these names into Google and see what fascinating people they were!

(Images: both images from Wikimedia Commons; public domain)

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Classic_baby_shoes

The story picks up at the end of Common Sense Prevails for Estella Blazer to find that following Albert Hercules’ brutal attack on Stella and his indictment for attempted murder, the story goes cold. I presume that I would need to wade through files and records in person at the court house in Anderson, Indiana to sort out the aftermath. I don’t have any idea how long the man was in jail nor if he saw a trial.

What I do know is that Estella Blazer gave birth to a boy on June 8, 1884 in Madison county and named him William . . . Blazer (not Hercules)! I had to wonder why I missed that fact. Scanning through the censuses, I had found a family consisting of George and Amanda along with a grandson, Willie in 1900 – except the record is transcribed as Blayer – not Blazer (those pesky cursive z’s!). I had cast that census aside because even though the names of the adults fit, I couldn’t place Willie into the family. Now I can. In 1990, Willie was recorded as age 15. The family resided at 610 12th Street in Anderson (today, that is an empty yard).

George W Blazer 1900 snip2

In the snippet of the 1900 US Census1, Willie’s parents are both listed as born in Indiana. Amanda reports that she is the mother of 4 children but only one is living. George indicates that both of his parents were born in Virginia.

I had already located Estella – she was lying in repose in Grove Lawn Cemetery in Pendleton. Her headstone reads

Estella
Wife of J T Dilts
Died
Oct 9 1886
Age

 

Her age is obscured by the ground. Her headstone is close to her two brothers who died as small children.

However the situation with Albert Hercules concluded, Stella went on to marry John Thomas Dilts born in November 1847 in Indiana. A marriage record shows that the couple married on Oct 16, 1885 in Anderson, Indiana. They weren’t even married for one year before she died. It is obvious that her parents, George and Amanda, took in their grandson and raised him after their daughter’s death. J T Dilts went on to marry again less than three years later to Martha Cox. He died on Aug 15, 1905 in Summitville, Indiana.

But what about William? Three years after the 1900 census was taken, George died from ingesting carbolic acid (see The Deaths of Blazers”) and three years after that, Amanda died. With tragedy swirling around William from the time of his conception, would he have a “happily ever after”?

Stay tuned . . .

(Image of Baby Shoes: “Classic Baby Shoes” from Wikimedia Commons, JD Hancock, Austin, Texas)

Source: 1.  (1900 U.S. Census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Anderson Township, Anderson City, Ward 3 (pt), enumeration district 87, sheet 22-B, dwelling 480, family 491, Willie Blazer; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 14 March 2016); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 386.)

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surname cloud

In a previous article – Tracking Julia – I lamented that I could not be sure that my great-great-grandmother, Julia Ann Lewis House, was the daughter of Abel Lewis. That changed about a month ago when I found a news article that reported:

Mr. Geo. J. Lewis, daughter Julia, son and family, of Zanesville, were visiting his daughters, Mrs. Alex Jennings, Mrs. John Wagoner, and sister, Mrs. F. A. House, and other relatives.

BOOM! Happy dance! George Lewis was the son of Abel Lewis and Nancy Johnson Robinson. If his sister was Mrs. F. A. House (Florus Allen House), then that would mean that my 2nd great-grandmother was George’s sister.

Two things that I found very serendipitous about that small news clipping from the November 2, 1886 edition of The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio):

  1. It lists George’s daughter, Julia but doesn’t list the name of his son.
  2. It mentions that they will visit Mrs. F. A. House but the “other relatives” are not named.(1)

Today, I located a Quaker meeting record from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that mentions that Abel Lewis left that location many years previous to the date of record – 1808 – living in Zanesville, Muskingum county, Ohio and had married. (U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935, Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014, Provo, UT, USA, Haverford College; Haverford, Pennsylvania; Minutes, 1803-1812; Collection: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes; Call Number: JK2.6 : accessed 12 Mar 2012.)

In the Muskingum Marriage Records (database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18858-10888-51?cc=1614804 : accessed 12 March 2016), Muskingum > Marriage records 1804-1818 > image 59 of 135; county courthouses, Ohio.), Abel Lewis married Nancy Robinson were married on May 26, 1805 by William Newel, Justice of the Peace.

Now, if I can just figure out who Abel Lewis’ and Nancy Johnson Robinson’s parents are!

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There_was_no_bridegroom_there_(NYPL_Hades-463957-1255500)

Estella (“Stella”) Blazer was born to George W. Blazer and Amanda (maiden name unknown) in 1864 in Indiana – probably Madison county. The beautiful dark-haired girl left her parents’ Anderson, Indiana home at the age of 18 for the big city of Indianapolis. There she found employment in the home of Judge Foutz as a domestic.

Close to the Union Depot located on South Illinois street, Albert Hercules ran a restaurant on West Louisiana street. From all appearances, he was of good character and very attractive. Stella became enamored of the man who in turn, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer (13 Dec 1883), “on the 20th of August, under the promise of marriage, succeeded in her ruin.” It was quite probable that at the time, Stella did not feel “ruined” since she was to be married, and the couple continued to be together when they could. The news continues on that Albert “continued his attentions till she was in a delicate condition” and then took her back to her parents’ home. He told Stella to begin planning for their Christmas wedding. Four months would be a very long time for Stella to wait to be married – especially when there was a child on the way. The earliest date agreed upon was December 2nd.

Albert Hercules left Anderson and went back to his home in Indianapolis. As the wedding date drew near, he went back to Stella’s hometown and obtained a marriage license. However, she became ill, so he left. She was to send a letter to him when she felt well enough to marry which she did soon after.

Following Albert’s instructions, Stella’s father, George, invited a large number of guests and had a large wedding feast ready on December 12th – the new date for the nuptials. The groom failed to show nor did he miss his train as Stella had feared. He had left Indianapolis but was not coming to be wed. Fearing for her child’s future as well as her own, the young woman went directly to the prosecutor and filed two affidavits. One was for bastardy and the other for criminal seduction. A warrant for Hercules’ arrest was issued. The Chief of Police of Indianapolis was telegraphed to arrest the man and hold him until the Marshal could pick him up. Unfortunately, by all appearances, Albert Hercules had flown the coop. Not only was there to be no wedding but Stella was looking at a future filled with disgrace and hardship.

 

What would happen to Stella? Would Albert Hercules be found and brought to justice? And what about the unborn child?

Stay tuned . . .

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; image in public domain)

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Orphan_Train

In January 2012, I wrote an article about Orphan Train Riders in my family. Over the last month, I have learned that there was more to that story. To summarize, my great-grandmother’s brother, James William Goul, took in two young brothers, Clarence and Matthew Brown, who had ridden the Orphan Train from New York to Kansas.

One year after the last census James W. Goul appeared on (as he died a few years later), the Columbus Weekly Advocate located in Columbus, Kansas, reported on page 5 of the April 27, 1911 edition that a sister of the brothers had searched to find them. Her name was Anna and she lived in Elmire, New York. The boys (reported in the paper as Clarence and John Brown) were not orphans, and they had been”kidnapped from their home.” The newspaper also said that the brothers were inseparable and neither knew that they had an older sister who had been searching for them. I never found a follow up to find out if the brothers met their sister after being separated since before 1893, but if they did, I wonder what happened after that.

Historically, children who were transported on the trains from the east coast to the heartland, were true orphans or those who had been given up so they could have a better life and those children who were children of the street. Families who took in these children either did so because they really did want a child or because they needed labor for their farms. In the news article I referenced above, it is reported that J. W. Goul first picked the youngest of the two boys, Clarence. That leads me to believe that even though the farmer and his wife had a daughter and son, that they did want to provide a home for a new child. It was only after the young boy cried that he didn’t want his brother “taken away” that Mr. Goul took the older boy as well.

For more information about the Orphan Train: Washington Post article; PBS: American Experience; as well as a number of books written on the subject.

 

Orphan Train Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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