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Tell me that if you didn’t see that in a newspaper that you wouldn’t immediately go “ick” and then read it. I was not looking for this article*** but it jumped out at me while I was reading something else about someone who is a collateral ancestor. The article is from The Call-Leader (Elwood, Indiana) printed on Thursday, June 29, 1916 on page 8. I found the newspaper on Newspapers.com https://www.newspapers.com/image/87580544 and saved it as a pdf on February 2, 2016.

The article mentions that 54-year-old, D W Hunt, married Lillian Lyda Young in Charleston, West Virginia. Hunt was a neighbor of the Young family, knew his intended since birth, and vowed that he would marry her some day. Have I said “ick” yet?

Don’t you wonder what was going through the minds of her parents – especially since it was “understood almost since her birth that Hunt was to have her for his bride”? Perhaps they were happy that their young daughter was so well loved (I hope that’s the right word!) and knew she would be well taken care of.

I sought out records to see what transpired after Hunt and his wife were married. First, I found the marriage record – yes, there it was in black and white – on FamilySearch.org (Citation: “West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NMGL-44T : accessed 3 February 2016), D W Hunt and Lillian Lyda Young, 1916; citing Kanawha, , county clerks, West Virginia; FHL microfilm 521,721.). Clicking to the wvculture.org site, I found the digital image of the record. Sure enough, a D W Hunt married Lillian Lyda Young on May 14, 1916 in Villa, Kanawha, West Virginia with her mother’s consent. (On a side note: I also saw another marriage recorded for a 70-year-old groom and a 30-year-old bride.) It lists Hunt as a widower (so I guess he really didn’t wait, did he?).

In the 1920 US Census records (“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNLQ-WG8 : accessed 3 February 2016), Daniel D Hunt, Aarons Fork, Kanawha, West Virginia, United States; citing sheet 6A, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,821,957.), Daniel D Hunt is 58 years old (birth about 1862 in West Virginia) and Lillian L is 20 years old (birth about 1900 in West Virginia). Included in the household are Daniel’s two sons from his first marriage – Emmit age 16 and David age 14 – as well as the couple’s two children – Ruth age 2 1/2 and Hallie age 3 months.

I went back to the 1900 US Census to see if Lillian had already been born, and there she was living in Malden in Kanawha county at age 9 months. Besides her parents, David and Ellen, there were four other siblings (Pearl, Charles, Nellie and Alfred) all older than Lillian. Ellen died within the next year or so because in the 1910 US Census, Lillian is living with her father and her stepmother, Mary. David and Mary had been married for six years.

Daniel Webster Hunt is found in the 1900 Census with his first wife, Fanny, and four children: Mary, Daniel, Alice, and Jarrett. In the 1910 Census, besides he and his wife are the following children: Jarrett, Emmit, and David. So Daniel had children much older than Lillian – not unheard of – but makes one wonder what his oldest children, Mary, Daniel, Alice and Jarrett, thought when their father married a sixteen year old girl.

In 1930, Daniel and Lillian have added a son to their family – William. He was six years old. By 1940, their daughter Hallie Helen Hunt had married Woodrow Chandler and had a son, Jackie Lee, aged 1 (all living with the couple). Their son, William, was still residing with them. Interesting tidbit: the date of the enumeration was April 29, 1940. On another date – April 9, 1940, Daniel is enumerated at his oldest daughter’s home (Mary Coleman) as widowed. Yes, this is the same person via further research of records. Then the absolute kicker is that looking at Daniel’s headstone on Find a Grave (Memorial #51249810), his death date is April 9, 1940. Head scratching records – those are! And there is Lillian buried next to him – she died in 1962 (Find a Grave Memorial #51258652). In order to make sense of the two 1940 census sheets and the death date, my conclusion is that they really did follow the instructions which was to list who was living in the household on April 1, 1940 (not on the date of enumeration). Lillian is the person who answered the questions as indicated by the X marked next to her name. She listed herself as a widow but crossed it out and changed it to married – because she was married on April 1. In Mary’s household, there isn’t an X to indicate who answered the questions. Since her mother – Daniel’s first wife – was dead, that leaves me to believe that is the reason Daniel was listed as a widower – perhaps a Freudian slip, and they didn’t recognize Lillian as the current Mrs. Hunt?

Daniel’s will was probated on April 22, 1940 in which he named his fifth child, Emmitt Hunt, as executor. Within the contents of the will, Hunt made sure that his wife and their son, William, were well taken care of through land and mineral rights of several tracts of land. His other sons were given surface rights to land and all of the children – except for one – and a grandson were named as beneficiaries for objects, books, etc. His and Lillian’s daughter, Hallie Helen, was given only $1. Makes a person wonder what she did to irritate her father enough to basically cut her out of anything except by giving her the dollar, he knew that it wouldn’t be easy to contest because he didn’t “forget” about her.

On July 1, 1940 the appraisal of Daniel Hunt’s property was recorded in court with real estate at $2260; personal property at $65; totaling $2325.

That is the extent of information that I located on the couple. I didn’t delve into his children’s or their children’s lives. So, even though the newspaper article made everything seem pretty “icky,” it appeared that Daniel Hunt and Lillian Young remained together until his death, and he loved her enough to make sure that she had a comfortable life after he had passed.

 

***Disclaimer: Those mentioned in this blog post are not related to me.

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Two years ago, I posted an article about my my great-grandfather’s brother, Jacob Marion Wilt. If you haven’t read it or need a refresher, please go here.

In summary, I have not been able to locate any further information on Jacob nor on his wife, Sena Gibson, for the last two years. I located their son, Russell, and his wife, Ferna Potter (I learned her maiden name!), along with their daughter, Thelma. Or is she (more on that below)?

Yesterday, after checking Find a Grave one more time, lo and behold! There was the headstone for Jacob. Checking in the same cemetery, I located Sena, Russell, and Ferna! Yes, I did a happy dance – not so much of a dance rather than some arm and fist pumps in my chair!

Now, I have a more detailed picture of Jacob’s life and death than I had two years ago. It turns out that Sena Gibson was born Marsena Gibson to Wilson Gibson and Cynthia Ann Maddy about 1856 in Indiana. Sena’s mother, Cynthia, is found at the age of 12, living in the household of Andrew and Marcena Maddy in the 1850 US Census in Henry county, Indiana. Cynthia’s siblings included James, Isaac, Elizabeth, George, Rhoda, Philena, and Sarah Jane.

Cynthia and Wilson married in Henry county about Feb 1855. Besides Marsena, they had two more children – Rhoda and George (which coincidentally, are the names of two of Cynthia’s siblings). The family is found in the 1860 US Census in Jefferson, Henry county, Indiana – along with a girl named Amanda, age 9. Amanda is possibly the daughter of Wilson Gibson from a previous marriage. By the 1870 US Census, Wilson has died (about 1864) and Cynthia has remarried Thomas Ray on March 7, 1866 in Henry county. Son, George, is not in the household giving the impression that he died between 1860-1870. Included in the household is “Sena” Gibson, age 14; Rhoda Gibson, age 12; Sarah Ray, age 4; and James Ray, age 1. In the 1880 US Census, Cynthia and Thomas with children: Sarah, James, Albert, Josie, and Alta are still living in Henry county. Marsena (“Sena”) is found living in the Anderson Sherman household in Henry county as a servant.

The following year on August 5, 1881, Sena Gibson and Jacob Wilt marry in Henry county. About nine years later, their son, Russell Ray Wilt, was born in the same county. Due to the amount of time between their marriage and the birth of Russell, it seems likely that other children may have been born – and died (as a result of stillbirth or miscarriage). However, no records have been found. Sena does report on the 1900 US Census that she is the mother of only one child and that child is living. It wouldn’t have been the first time that a woman did not list stillbirths. It is also possible that couple may have had fertility issues, and Russell was their “miracle” child.

Jacob and Sena are found – still residing in Henry county – in both the 1900 US and 1910 US census records. Jacob does not list an occupation in 1900 but in 1910, he says that he is a “railroad worker.” At that time, the family owned their home “free and clear.” By June 1917, their son, Russell, is a resident of California as shown on his draft registration for WWI and is self-employed. Was that the reason Jacob and Sena moved to California from their native Indiana? To be closer to their only son? Jacob’s father, (my 2nd great-grandfather) Israel Wilt, was still living. Was it difficult for Jacob to move clear across the country from his then 80-90 year old widowed father – knowing that he would probably never see him again? Sena’s mother, Cynthia, had died in August 1911, so she wouldn’t have been leaving her parents.

The couple has been very hard to find in the 1920 US Census. Up until today, I wasn’t sure if they were in Indiana during the enumeration or on their way to California. Jacob Wilt has been found in the 1920 US Census! He is a renter living at 439 King Street in San Bernardino and listed his age as 57 (several years were shaved off his age!), born in Indiana with father born in Virginia (yes) and mother born in Pennsylvania (yes). Jacob is a laborer on the railroad. And for the kicker – his marital status shows he is divorced. What? Divorced? So where is Sena? Has she died?

Yes, Marsena Gibson Wilt died on December 26, 1913 at the age of 57 years in San Bernardino. She is listed as Mrs. J Wilt. So does that imply that prior to Russell moving to California by 1917, the entire family moved? Did Jacob and Sena divorce prior to her death or did Jacob marry someone else between the end of 1913 and the census in 1920? But what happened to Jacob Wilt? In 1930, he is renting 1745 W. King Street in San Bernardino next to the rail yard. He lists his age as 69, working for the railroad “at home” and is widowed. By the 1940 US Census, Jacob had already died. His death record shows that he died at the age of 70 on September 26, 1931 in Los Angeles county.

Jacob and Marsena are buried at Mountain View cemetery in San Bernardino. Thanks to Lynette (Find a Grave member: Gooffson), she not only uploaded the cemetery information to Find a Grave but also photos of their headstones. She has allowed me to use her photos in my family tree.

Jacob Wilt gravestone

Marsena Gibson Wilt headstone

(Headstone photos by Gooffston – AKA Lynette – used with her permission.)

Finding Jacob and Marsena’s headstones and where they are buried enabled me to find even more records and information for my great-grand-uncle and his wife!

Their son, Russell Ray Wilt, had moved – either with is parents or by himself – after 1910. On his WWI draft registration, he lists his birthday as September 6, 1890 and place of birth as Newcastle, Indiana (in Henry county). The address he resided at on June 5, 1917 was 1120 S. Madison in Stockton, California. Russell was a self-employed oilman with a wife who was dependent upon him for support. In 1920, Russell and his wife, Ferna, are roomers in the household of 64 year old Isora M. Oulland in the 7th Ward of Modesto living at 142 Rosemont avenue. Russell’s wife, Ferna, is listed as age 28 born in California with her father born in “English” Canada and her mother born in Illinois. Russell does not have an occupation listed.

In the 1930 San Diego, California City Directory, Russell and Ferna are living at 2351 Boundary street. If that address is still current today, the home is duplex. Russell’s occupation is salesman. By the 1930 US Census enumerated on April 11, 1930, the family is living at 1382 36th street in Oakland, California. They are renting for $30/month. Living with them is their “daughter” Thelma, age 12 born in California. So where was Thelma in the 1920 US census? She wasn’t shown to be living with them in Stockton – unless the landlord, Ms. Oulland, provided the information to the enumerator and failed to mention Thelma. Russell was 22 and Ferna was 21 at the age of their first marriage – putting their marriage as taking place in about 1912. That leaves the impression that Russell was in California by that time. His occupation in 1930 was a specialties salesman.

The 1940 US Census reports that Russell and Ferna were living in Chillum, Washington. By 1940 they are residing in Alderton, Washington. Once again, the couple are roomers in the household of a widow – 69 year old Charlotte Laidlaw, who was born in Canada. Russell lists that his occupation is a self-employed artist and had worked 30 weeks in 1939 and only 6 hours between March 1 and March 30, 1940.

On March 27, 1937 Thelma L. Wilt and James M. Norris were married in Kittitas county, Washington with the approval of Russell Wilt and John Norris Jr (fathers of the intended). Thelma would have been almost 19 years old. James McGovin Norris was born on October 29, 1906 in Roslyn, Washington. The couple are living on the United States Indian Service Government Camp located in Yakima county, Washington in the 1940 US Census – along with their year old son. Thelma reports that she has completed one year of college. Her husband is a surveyor for the government.

By November 30, 1951 Thelma and James had divorced. She then married William Christensen in King county, Washington.

By the time of the 1942 WWII Draft registration – to register older men – Russell and Ferna were back in California, living at 1700 “F” street in San Bernardino. Russell was unemployed at the age of 51 years. He had a scar under his right arm – no mention if it was a large scar or not.

Russell died on August 4, 1954 in Orange county, California. He was buried in Mountain View cemetery – the same as his parents. Ferna followed on August 1, 1963.

Now, back to Thelma and the answer to where she was in the 1920 US Census since she did not appear in Russell and Ferna’s household. I still haven’t located her but I have learned that Thelma was born Thelma Serrano to Lucille Rogers and Arthur Jesse Serrano in March 1918 in Alameda, California. Apparently, the child’s mother took off and left her with Arthur who in turn moved in with his parents. Soon, Thelma’s biological grandparents came down with tuberculosis. Arthur feared for his daughter’s health and put an ad in the paper asking for a couple to take his daughter. It is unknown if an adoption ever took place after Russell and Ferna took young Thelma into their home as their own daughter. Thelma tracked down her biological family in the late 1970s.  She passed away in Washington on February 21, 2000.

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franklin blazer grave

(Photo of gravestone by Gaye Dillon taken on 23 July 2009)

A year ago I wrote about my great-great-grandfather Franklin Blazer in Week 1 of the 2014 Edition of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Up until today, the cause of his death was a mystery. He died on August 25, 1869 so I thought he may have died due to injuries sustained in the Civil War or perhaps he was killed in a farming accident or died of some disease. I was so very wrong.

What could only be termed a tragedy is what befell poor Franklin. He and Malissa Goul had been married at least ten years and possibly upward to 14 years. Their children, two boys and three girls, ranged in age from 2 years to 9 years old. In fact the oldest son, John F., was a month from turning ten – not yet a teenager and definitely not ready to be the “man of the house” at such a young age. Malissa’s son from a previous relationship, James Oakland Goul, was about fourteen.

Thanks to a post on Genea-Musings by fellow geneablogger Randy Seaver, I learned about a new free search tool call Genealogy Gophers. It searches for names in texts of Google books. I plugged in the name of Franklin Blazer and the first result that popped up listed not only Franklin Blazer but Malissa Goul. I knew I had found the correct person. I clicked on the snippet and lo and behold it was an entire book that included tons of information on those with the surname of Blazer and everything within the soundex of B-426 written by John Allison Blazer from Hendersonville, Tennessee. There isn’t a date on it except for the filmed date of 2000.

The information concerning Franklin reports that he was married to Malissa Goul and listed her birth and death dates and they lived in Pendleton, Indiana. It listed their children – four correctly: John, Philip Wesley, Kate and Rachel but listed Martha Ann erroneously as Matthew. Of course when I saw that, I thought perhaps there was another son that I hadn’t heard of but then realized that Martha had been left out. (She is also listed further in the book – still as Matthew – with a child named Chase – so I knew that the name had been mangled). But then I saw something I didn’t know: Franklin died “when struck by lightning in his home.”

I can’t even imagine what the rest of the family went through after that. Did Malissa and any of the children witness this? Did they try to revive their husband and father after he had fallen dead? Was a physician summoned quickly? The weather must have been pretty fierce. It was still tornado season so I wondered if they were also terrified of what else Mother Nature had in store for them.

Franklin had just turned 33 years old. He would never be able to enjoy a life of watching his children grow up and get married. His wife, my second great-grandmother – would never celebrate another wedding anniversary. She remained a widow the rest of her life. Martha, Katie and Rachel all married without their father giving them away. John and Wesley grew into men quickly in order to take on what their father had once done. Twenty-six years after his father’s tragic death, John died of self-inflicted gunshot wound.

As I think about my great-grandmother, Katie, who lost her father when she was almost five years old, I wonder if she had been a “daddy’s girl” and missed him terribly the rest of her life. Or was she so young that she barely remembered him? Did losing Franklin at such a young age change Malissa – her outlook on life, personality, or how she handled sorrow from then on?

His tombstone stands in Grovelawn Cemetery in Pendleton, Indiana. It reads:

FRANKLIN
son of
J & M BLAZER
DIED
AUG 25 1869
AGED
33 Y. 2 M & 23 D.

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biography word cloud

In Extracting Data from a Biographical Sketch, I went through the steps I took in order to make the article found within a book easier to understand. In this post, I will focus on the data within the main paragraph of what I re-wrote complete with the sources of documentation.

 

Below is the paragraph to be analyzed:

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 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.

 

In the first sentence, several pieces of information are given – name, birth place, birth year, and parents’ names. His name (John Goul) is documented in several records. There is a John Gowl (surname misspelled – but spelled phonetically) found living in the home of Christian and Ruth Gowl in Goshen Township, Champaign County, Ohio in the 1850 census. (1) On the State of Ohio death certificate John Goul’s father is listed as Christian Goul and his mother is listed as Ruth Lawson with Mrs. John Goul as the informant. John Goul’s birthdate reads February 6, 1832 with a birth place of Champaign County, Ohio. (2) The photograph of the headstone for John Goul on Find a Grave shows his date of birth as February 6, 1832. (3)

 

The second sentence tells the reader John Goul’s age when he moved with his parents from one township in Champaign County to another (Mechanicsburg). There isn’t any documentation for this; however, the following sentence indicating he lived primarily in Mechanicsburg for the rest of his life can be seen via the 1860/1870/1880/1900 censuses. (4,5,6,7)

 

No proof exists that John Goul remained at his parents home until he was an adult – or as the original biographical sketch says “until maturity” other than he was still living in his parents’ home in 1850 at the age of eighteen as indicated by the 1850 census.(1)

 

The next part concerns the date of marriage of John Goul and Susan Coffenbarger. In the Champaign County (Ohio) Marriage Records, Vol. E there is an entry that shows the couple was married in the Probate Court on September 26, 1834 by William C. Keller, JP. (8)

 

John Goul’s military service in the Civil War is documented in the United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890 showing that he served in the 134th Regiment Co. E of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry (National Guard). The census lists his length of service as 3 months and 25 days in the summer of 1864. (9) Even though Goul was not in the military very long, he did serve the entire time that the Regiment was active as Wikipedia states that it was “mustered in May 5, 1864 for 100 days service under the command of Colonel James B. Armstrong” and “mustered out of service at Camp Chase on August 31, 1864.” Furthermore, this reference notes that besides building roads early in the summer, the Regiment had “picket duty” in parts of Virginia which documents what was listed in the biography. (10) In the digital book found on Google, History of Champaign County, Ohio: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume 1 page 746, there is a reference to the action which reads, “The detail of one hundred and fifty men under Lieutenant-Colonel Todd moved back to camp on the night of June 14th. On that day General Grant had ordered General Butler to move against the rebels in front of Petersburg, and on June 15th and 16th, the One Hundred and Thirty Fourth Regiment was placed on picket duty along the breastworks.” (11) This lends credence to what Goul’s biography claims.

 

The next section lists John Goul’s interests and associations. The only documentation concerning his interest in farming is through the 1860/1870/1880 (4,5,6) censuses and his death certificate (2) which indicate his occupation was “farmer.”

 

The digitized book History of Champaign County, Ohio: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume 1 on page 644 mentions that the Wildly Lodge No. 271 of the I.O.O.F. in Mechanicsburg began in 1855 and also had stockholders. (12) So it is quite possible that John Goul was a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows as well as dabbled in stock-dealing although documentation to support that claim has not been located.

 

John Goul’s voting record as a Republican can only be found within this biography. He did not run for public office at any time so his political affiliation is not documented.

 

That Goul was a farmer is known via the aforementioned censuses however it is unknown what – if any – modern improvements had been made. In 1874, a land survey map shows that John had 40 acres in Union Township. His father, Christian, owned 272 acres. In order to find out if Christian willed land to John after his death in September 1879, Christian’s will needs to be examined. The will states that John gets 40 of those acres making a total of 80 acres in Union Township, 4 acres less than what the biography states. (13,14) There isn’t any records found that details what type of modern conveniences or equipment John Goul employed on his land. Interestingly enough, on the 1860 Census, Goul lists his real estate value as $1500 and his personal estate value as $400. Today, those amounts would translate to almost $43,000 and $11,500. (15) By the 1870 Census those amounts had jumped to $6000 and $850 respectively – and this is prior to being willed land by his father, Christian. The 1880 and 1900 censuses did not require this information to be listed. Based on the real estate values given, John Goul was doing pretty well. (4,5)

 

The final section of the paragraph concerns John Goul’s wife, Susan, and their children. Mrs. Goul’s birth place is noted as Maryland and was listed in the 1880 and1900 censuses (16,17) as well as her death certificate (18)  that her son, Walter was the informant. In the 1840 census there is a female age 5 and under living in the Jacob Cofferberger household in Frederick, Dorchester county, Maryland (presumably this would be Susan but can not be verified). (19) On the 1850 census, she is found living with her widowed mother, Elizabeth, in Union twp, age 13 and her birth place is listed as Virginia; (20) just as it is in the 1860 and 1870 census. (21,22) However, on the 1910 census Susan is living with her son, Walter (the informant on her death certificate) and her place of birth is listed as Ohio. (23) Due to the close proximity of Virginia and Maryland, it is quite possible that the family was living in one state when she was born in the other or the confusion could be due to the boundary change over the years. As far as the inaccuracy of the 1910 census, Walter’s wife could have provided the information and not known Susan’s place of birth, the census taker got “Ohio” happy while marking it down, or Susan had been in Ohio for so long that she considered it her place of birth by that time.

 

The biography mentions that John and Susan Goul had five children – two sons and three daughters but that two of the daughters had died. Their children were Martha T. Goul, George Frederick “Fred” Goul, Isabelle Ruth Goul, Parthena Frances Goul, and Walter S. Goul. The only child not listed in any census records is Martha T. Goul as she was born on September 3, 1855 and died a month later on October 9, 1955. Her existence only came to light recently due to a memorial and photo of gravestone on Find a Grave. (24) The other daughter who had died prior to the completion of the book containing the biography was Parthena Frances born on November 7, 1861 and died on October 16, 1870. (25) Her gravestone found on Find a Grave reads “Parthena F. dau of J. & S.F. Goul died Oct. 16, 1870 aged 8 yrs 11 mos 9 ds.” (26) Parthena was only in the 1870 census before she died. (27) George Frederick (“Fred”) is found in his parents’ household in the 1860 census at age 3 years, the 1870 census age 13 years and 1880 census age 23 years. (28,29,30) Isabelle Ruth is found in living with her parents at age one year in the 1860 census, at 11 years in the 1870 census, and age 19 years in the 1880 census. (31,32,33) Isabelle died on August 21, 1881 in Goshen Township. (34,35) Youngest child, Walter, was born on February 18, 1868 in Goshen Township. (36) He is living in his parents’ household on the 1870 census at age 2 and the 1880 census at age 12. (37,38)

 

In conclusion, most of the information in the biographical sketch can be verified. A few items are still in question such as the place of Susan Coffenbarger’s birth and John Goul’s interests and type of equipment on his farm. Taken as a complete whole, the biography is a good source of information but only with the appropriate and correct sources for documentation.

Sources:

 

  1. “United States Census, 1850,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MX3J-YPC : accessed 15 Oct 2014), John Gowl in household of Christian Gowl, Goshen, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing family 223, NARA microfilm publication M432.
  2. “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X8ZZ-5ZG : accessed 19 Sep 2014), John Goul, 11 Feb 1909; citing Goshen Twp., Champaign, Ohio, reference fn 59187; FHL microfilm 1927275.
  3. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 19 September 2014), memorial created by Candy; 1 May 2012; memorial page for John Goul (1832-1909), Find A Grave Memorial no. 89393223, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Mechanicsburg, Champaign County, Ohio; the accompanying photograph by Candy provides a legible image of the transcribed data.
  4. 1860 U.S. census, Champaign, Ohio, Goshen, p. 180, dwelling 1181/family 1181, John Goul; digital image, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries: accessed 19 September 2014); citing National Archives Microfilm M653, roll 942.
  5. 1870 year U.S. census, Champaign, Ohio, Goshen, p. 239, dwelling 280/family 300, John Goul; digital image, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries: accessed 19 September 2014); citing National Archives Microfilm M593, roll 1179.
  6. 1880 year U.S. census, Champaign, Ohio, Goshen, enumeration district (ED) 19, p. 219, dwelling 89/family 95, John Gowl; digital image, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries: accessed 19 September 2014); citing National Archives Microfilm T9, roll 998.
  7. 1900 U.S. census, Champaign, Ohio, Goshen, enumeration district (ED) 3, p. 32, dwelling 139/family 140, John Goul; digital image, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries: accessed 19 September 2014); citing National Archives Microfilm T623, roll 1245.
  8. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1997,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XZK7-N7X : accessed 19 Sep 2014), John Goul and Susan F. Coffinbarger, 26 Sep 1854; citing Champaign, Ohio, United States, reference p 319 cn 6029; FHL microfilm 295229.
  9. “United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890”, index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K83V-9RQ : accessed 15 Oct 2014), John Goul, 1890.
  10. Wikipedia contributors. “134th Ohio Infantry.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 Jul. 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
  11. Evan P. Middleton, History of Champaign County, Ohio: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume 1 (1917); p. 176; digital, (http://books.google.com). 14 Oct 2014.
  12. Evan P. Middleton, History of Champaign County, Ohio: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume 1 (1917); p. 644; digital, (http://books.google.com). 14 Oct 2014
  13. Atlas of Champaign County 1874, Union Township, published by Starr & Headington, 1874. Digitized by Historic Map Works Genealogy, Item No. US21861. Accessed 17 Sep 2014.
  14. “Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-27593-4386-2?cc=1992421&wc=9GML-K6N:266279201,266876501 : accessed 17 Sep 2014), Champaign > Wills 1870-1882 vol D > image 2 of 340.
  15. Dave Manuel, “Inflation Calculator.” DaveManuel.com, 2014. Web. 15 Oct 2014.
  16. “United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZ1N-WHC : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susan F Gowl in household of John Gowl, Goshen, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 219A, NARA microfilm publication T9.
  17. “United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MMC6-1MB : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susan F Goul in household of John Goal, Goshen Township (excl. Mechanicburg), Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 7A, family 140, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241245.
  18. “United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MMC6-1MB : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Susan F Goul in household of John Goal, Goshen Township (excl. Mechanicburg), Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 7A, family 140, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241245.
  19. “United States Census, 1840,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XHYS-GYS : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Jacob Cofferberger, Frederick, Dorchester, Maryland; citing p. 132, NARA microfilm publication M704, roll 165, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.; FHL microfilm 0013185.
  20. “United States Census, 1850,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MX3V-3M3 : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susan F Ceffenburger in household of Elizabeth Ceffenburger, Union, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing family 60, NARA microfilm publication M432.
  21. “United States Census, 1860,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCGD-GLK : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susannah F Goul in household of John Goul, Goshen Township, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” Fold3.com; p. 171, household ID 1181, NARA microfilm publication M653; FHL microfilm 803942.
  22. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M6KD-MFH : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susan F Goul in household of John Goul, Ohio, United States; citing p. 34, family 300, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552678.
  23. “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X8VH-PPY : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susan Frances Goul, 27 Dec 1917; citing Springfield, Clark, Ohio, reference fn 75612; FHL microfilm 1984223.
  24. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 19 September 2014), memorial created by Candy; 1 May 2012; memorial page for Martha T Goul (1855-1855), Find A Grave Memorial no. 89394361, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Mechanicsburg, Champaign County, Ohio; the accompanying photograph by Candy provides a legible image of the transcribed data.
  25. “Ohio, Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F66Z-YPF : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Parthena Frances Goul, 16 Oct 1870; citing Goshen Tp, Champaign, Ohio, reference p 16 #84; FHL microfilm 295234.
  26. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 19 September 2014), memorial created by Candy; 1 May 2012; memorial page for Parthena F Goul (1861-1870), Find A Grave Memorial no. 89394278, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Mechanicsburg, Champaign County, Ohio; the accompanying photograph by Candy provides a legible image of the transcribed data.
  27. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M6KD-MF8 : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Parthena F Goul in household of John Goul, Ohio, United States; citing p. 34, family 300, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552678.
  28. “United States Census, 1860,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCGD-GL2 : accessed 20 Sep 2014), George F Goul in household of John Goul, Goshen Township, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” Fold3.com; p. 171, household ID 1181, NARA microfilm publication M653; FHL microfilm 803942.
  29. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M6KD-MFC : accessed 15 Oct 2014), George F Goul in household of John Goul, Ohio, United States; citing p. 34, family 300, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552678.
  30. “United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZ1N-WHZ : accessed 15 Oct 2014), George F Gowl in household of John Gowl, Goshen, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 219A, NARA microfilm publication T9.
  31. “United States Census, 1860,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCGD-GLL : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Isabel Goul in household of John Goul, Goshen Township, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” Fold3.com; p. 171, household ID 1181, NARA microfilm publication M653; FHL microfilm 803942.
  32. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M6KD-MFZ : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Isabelle R Goul in household of John Goul, Ohio, United States; citing p. 34, family 300, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552678.
  33. “United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZ1N-WH8 : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Isabel R Gowl in household of John Gowl, Goshen, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 219A, NARA microfilm publication T9.
  34. “Ohio, Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F66Z-KZC : accessed 22 Aug 2013), Isabelle R Goul, 21 Aug 1881.
  35. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 19 September 2014), memorial created by Candy; 1 May 2012; memorial page for Isabelle Ruth Goul (1859-1880), Find A Grave Memorial no. 89394102, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Mechanicsburg, Champaign County, Ohio; the accompanying photograph by Candy provides a legible image of the transcribed data.
  36. “Ohio, Births and Christenings, 1821-1962,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XX47-L52 : accessed 22 Aug 2013), Walter F. Goul, 18 Feb 1868.
  37. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M6KD-MFD : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Walter Goul in household of John Goul, Ohio, United States; citing p. 34, family 300, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552678.
  38. “United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZ1N-WHD : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Walter S Gowl in household of John Gowl, Goshen, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 219A, NARA microfilm publication T9.

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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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bookshelf-vector-illustration_18-12587

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!

 

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train

Not too long ago, I read a Facebook status (and I’m sorry but I don’t remember who it was) that mentioned their ancestors had traveled less than 50 miles over several generations. The revelation prompted me to think about how many miles my ancestors traveled before landing at the place they called home until they died.

Instead of going back many, many generations, I will begin with my maternal 2nd great-grandparents.

emanuelstern_nancy

Emanuel Bushong Stern b. 7 Oct 1834 in Montgomery county, Ohio. Nancy Caylor b. 10 May 1840 in Wayne county, Indiana.  Emanuel had traveled approximately 105 miles from his birthplace in Ohio. Nancy had traveled about 68 miles from her birthplace. The family remained in Hamilton county. After my 2nd great-grandparents divorced, Emanuel traveled to Yale, Nebraska to visit one of their children and was found living there in the 1910 census. He traveled (probably by train) about 787 miles.  Nancy died (21 Dec 1900) in the same county that she had lived with her husband. Emanuel was buried (after 10 Sep 1911)  in Hamilton county so he (or his remains) had to travel back from 787 miles to Hamilton county, Indiana.

isrealwilt

Israel Isaac Wilt b. 20 Jan 1823 in Rockingham county, Virginia was in Prairie township, Henry county, Indiana by the time of his marriage to Christena Nash on 2 Feb 1857. He had traveled about 503 miles traveling through Pennsylvania and Ohio. Christena was b. 1837 in (probably) Beaver county, Pennsylvania. She had traveled with her family 316 miles.  They lived in Henry county the rest of their lives. Israel died 11 Sep 1919 and Chrstena died 18 Aug 1876.

joewiltfamily

The Stern’s daughter, Martha Jane Stern, b. 9 Feb 1872 in Clarksville, Hamilton county, Indiana married Joseph Napolean Wilt (b. 21 Jan 1868) on 10 Sep 1890 in the same county both were born. By the 1910 census, Martha and Joseph were divorced and she was remarried and living in Anderson, Madison county, Indiana – 29 miles away. By 1923, Martha and her second husband, William Frank Clawson, moved 2,257 miles away to Lane county, Oregon. Both of them died in Oregon and were buried in Leaburg. Joseph Wilt. By 9 Jan 1944, when Joseph died, he was living near Nabb, Indiana – about 102 miles from his birthplace.

My other sets of great-great-grandparents (ancestors of my grandfather) were James Wilson Johnson b. 16 Aug 1829 and Amanda Evaline Mullis b. 1833 and Franklin Blazer b. 2 Jun 1836 and Malissa Goul b. 17 Oct 1832.

James Wilson Johnson, I think

 

James W. Johnson was born in Brown county, Ohio and by the 1850 census, he had moved to 137 miles away to Rush county, Indiana. Amanda was born in Wilkes county, North Carolina and had traveled with her parents and family to Rush county, Indiana – 519 miles. Amanda d. 21 Mar 1868 in Rush county. After her death, James moved around, reportedly through Howard county, Indiana and finally settling in Anderson, Indiana – a little over 40 miles away. 

malissa_blazer

Franklin Blazer was probably born in Madison county, Indiana and stayed in that county until he passed away on 27 Aug 1873. Malissa was born in Union, Champaign county, Ohio and by the time she married Franklin before 1859, she was living in Pendleton, Madison county, Indiana – a little over 125 miles away.

johnson_john_katie

The Johnson’s son, John Lafayette Johnson, and the Blazer’s daughter, Katie J. Blazer married on 4 Jul 1883. John was b. 2 Mar 1861 in Rush county, Indiana. Katie was b. 27 Sep 1864 in Stony Creek, Madison county, Indiana. By the time of their marriage, John was living close to her. They remained in Anderson, Indiana – 40 miles from John’s birth and 9 miles from Katie’s birth until 1930 when they moved to Greene county, Ohio to live with their son (my grandfather). That move took them 109 miles from their home. Following each of their deaths, they were buried back in Anderson, Indiana.

glen_vesta_friends

My grandparents, Glen Roy Johnson b. 21 Nov 1898 and Vesta Christena Wilt b. 7 May 1898, were both born in Indiana. He was born in Anderson, and she was born in Noblesville. When her mother and stepfather moved 29 miles away to Anderson, she was still young.  After they were married on 24 Dec 1916, the couple moved 109 miles away to Fairfield, Ohio (the town merged with Osborn and became Fairborn many years later). As my grandfather was in the military, he was at Ft. Omaha in Nebraska; Kelly Field in San Antonio, France during WWI; Wiesbaden, Germany during the early 1950s; and by the time they returned to the states and my grandfather retired from the US Air Force, they lived on Devonshire in Dayton, Ohio. So even though they had traveled over 4200 miles and then some, they moved 18 miles away from Fairborn. When I was a baby and small child, they had moved to a home on Rahn Road in Kettering – 14 miles away. Before my grandmother died 19 Jan 1984 they had spent many years living 9 miles away at the Park Layne Apartments at 531 Belmonte Park in Dayton. After my grandmother’s death, my grandfather moved almost 13 miles away to the Trinity Home on Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek, Ohio. He was there at the time of his death on 18 Jan 1985.

mom

My mom, Mary Helen Johnson, was born in Anderson, Indiana and moved with her parents 109 miles away to Fairfield, Ohio when she was very young. She remained there until she married my dad in 1943. They moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (close to 400 miles away) before moving to Great Falls, Montana – about 1300 miles away. My dad was in the military, and they moved to Japan and back twice – over 6500 miles from Columbus, Ohio. In fact my mom drove my brother and sister from Dayton to Washington to catch the ship for Japan the first time they moved to Japan – a trip of over 2300 miles – very lengthy for a young woman with two little kids in 1953. By the time they returned to the states for the final time, they moved to Panama City, Florida – about 780 miles from Dayton. In 1960, they moved back to Ohio and bought a house in Beavercreek. This was the same house my mom lived in until 1977 when she moved a little over 5 miles away to the town home she lived in for the remainder of her life. (My father is still living so I will not disclose all the places he has lived.)

Below is a list of how far my ancestors traveled in order from who lived (and/or) died at a location farthest from their birthplace to the shortest distance:

  • Martha Jane Stern – 2246 miles
  • Amanda Evaline Mullis – 519 miles
  • Israel Isaac Wilt – 503 miles
  • Christena Nash – 316 miles
  • James Wilson Johnson – 190 miles
  • Malissa Goul – 125 miles
  • Glen Roy Johnson – 115 miles
  • Mary Helen Johnson – 115 miles
  • Vesta Christena Wilt – 113 miles
  • Katie J Blazer – 113 miles
  • Emanuel Bushong Stern – about 105 miles
  • Joseph Napolean Wilt – 102 miles
  • John Lafayette Johnson – 95 miles
  • Nancy Caylor – 68 miles
  • Franklin Blazer – less than 5 miles

According to Wikipedia, History of Indiana, the “state’s population grew to exceed one million” by the 1850s, and several of my ancestors had either made their way to Indiana or were born there. My Wilt/Nash great-great-grandparents likely traveled over the National Road in their westward migration from Virginia and Pennsylvania to Indiana. The Mullis family would have likely traveled by wagon through the wilderness to either the Cumberland Gap/Wilderness Road or to the National Road to get to Indiana.

There were probably several reasons for my ancestors to move north and west – better economy, more fertile farming land, more opportunities, and different political and social climates.

Though my maternal roots run deep in Indiana, I am partial to the state of my birth – Ohio. Even then, I didn’t stay there to live, work, marry and raise a family. I moved over 1000 miles away! Just as my ancestors left the places of their birth in search of something better, that is what I did. I moved (and stayed) due to job opportunities and warmer climate.

Have you tracked your ancestors?

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