Archive for the ‘Websites’ Category

This past weekend as I perused newspaper articles in Ancestry, I ran across a boatload of information concerning some distant cousins and an in-law of one of my great uncles.

Susan Peterson posted on her blog, Long Lost Relatives, an article, What To Do With Skeletons in the Closet” on February 26, 2011. She asked some pertinent questions (I urge you to go and read what she posted).  When I ran across all the information that made it abundantly clear that not only does our family have skeletons in the closet, but some scandals, and then those who are just plain screwed up, I realized that I would have to answer those questions.  My belief is that if the involved individuals are deceased – and more importantly – that the next generation is also deceased, and if the information is a matter of public record – especially when it was in the newspaper or on a document that anyone could obtain, then I will tell the story.  If there are truly sensitive aspects, I won’t lay them out in such detail, but respect the fact that there are possible descendents who either don’t know or have chosen not to acknowledge such behavior. 

A little over a year ago, I wrote Georgia On My Mind about my great-grandfather’s niece, Georgia Amore. This weekend I’ve learned some new information in addition to bits and pieces I’ve discovered since I wrote that. Soon, you’ll see that post again – with all the newest items added!

Many years ago when I first started my genealogical journey, a cousin mailed me some information – before either of us were proficient at scanning – and my email system back then wouldn’t even allow attachments. If it had, I’m sure it would have taken a very long time to download as I was still on dial up. One of the news clippings he mailed to me concerned someone who died in prison fairly recently in genealogy time (the 1970s). The man had the same last name as my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Neither of us had heard of him or even if he was part of “our” House family. Fast forward ten years and I’ve made a connection – and a pretty sad one at that. Some of you might remember the series I wrote about my grandmother’s brother, Alva Lester House, – Lester’s Despair – Part One and More Tragedy for Lester House, concerning several losses that he experienced during his life.  The news clipping concerns Lester’s son and his grandsons.  After I assemble all of the new items, I will write a post about what I’ve learned.

Another news item that caught my eye, was about my great-uncle’s sister-in-law.  I found it only because I’d put my maiden name as a keyword to search Coshocton newspapers.  I saw the name “Mayme Amore” (first name spelled incorrectly) and wondered what it was about.  She was married to my grandfather’s brother, Roy. (Yes, a real consanquity chart would say that Roy is my grand-uncle, but as I’ve mentioned before, I grew up having him referred to as my great uncle.)  I clicked on the news article and it was about Mamie testifying at her sister’s trial.  Whoa!  What? A trial?  What sort of trial?  And that my dear readers, is something you’ll have to ponder for awhile – but I will give you the answer and all the particulars soon!

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My fellow geneablogger, Randy Seaver, of Genea-Musings has written several wonderful articles on Sources in Family Tree Maker 2011. The information has been very informative and has helped me immensely! Thanks, Randy!

I’m hoping that he or someone else can help me with a few other tidbits related to FTM 2011:

  1. In previous versions I could filter the individual list by women’s married name.  This really helps when I’m on Find a Grave and come across a transcription.  Sometimes it doesn’t list the maiden name of the woman, so in FTM 2011, I’m left to scan through several of the males to see if the wife has the same name as the person I found.  The previous way, I could find the woman more easily.  So my question – how do I filter by married name? Or is this even possible in FTM 2011?
  2. Okay – maybe that’s the extent of my observations right now!  I had wondered about the medical information and cause of death that I had entered in a previous version, but I’ve located that information as it shows up under the individual facts.

If anyone can help answer question #1  (Randy?!), I’d appreciate it!

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In my post a year ago, My Nash Connections, I mentioned my 3rd great-grandparents – Alexander and Elsy Nash. Elsy’s maiden name has been reported to be Winninger or Winger – and several variations of those names. With my Ancestry subscription that came with my new Family Tree Maker software, I thought I’d do some more digging.

Clicking the “leaf” next to Alexander’s name brought up seven different records.  The very first one was the Pennsylvania (PA) Minesinger Family Tree.  It listed Alexander’s wife as Elsie Minesinger.  Well, it was a start.  I had to start checking that information out and see what documentation I could find before believing that Minesinger was the maiden name I’d been looking for.

There were no source citations listed for their marriage and the citations listed for Elsie’s birth and residence came from a census after her marriage to Alexander.  Still nothing that answered any questions.  Elsie’s parents were listed as Joseph Minesinger and Christina.  Since Christina had been Alexander and Elsie’s daughter’s name, and the reason my grandmother’s middle name was Christena, I thought it was a clue.  However, I also knew that whoever put together that information, could have just deduced the woman’s name was Christina.

Since most of Alexander and Elsy’s children were born in Henry County, Indiana, I knew that the couple had moved there from Pennsylvania.  Looking to see if there were any other Minesinger families in the Henry County area – perhaps a purported sibling of Elsy, I found John Minesinger living two doors away from Alexander and Elsy in the 1850 US Census for Henry County.  In the 1860 Census, they are shown right next to each other and again 2 doors away in the 1870 Census.  There is also a “Christean Minesinger” buried in Lebanon Baptist Cemetery – which is where Alexander, Elsy and three of their children are buried. 

It’s not enough information for documentation that Minesinger is the Elsy’s maiden name – but it’s more than I had a year ago.  I will continue to search for other records – church, christening, etc. until I am satisfied that I am on the right track.

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Genea-Santa (otherwise known as my darling husband) brought me the brand new Family Tree Maker 2011 Platinum edition software for Christmas.  I was thrilled and excited to use it.  The first order of business was to check my computer’s memory and space against the software requirements. I had enough space but not enough RAM.  After the holidays my husband went to Fry’s and bought more memory.  After installing that (so lucky I have a techie husband and don’t have to pay to have this done), I installed my new FTM software.  And I get 6 months of Ancestry.com! I’ve only used the “free” aspects of this site as the full subscription fee is not in the budget.

Okay – software installed, registered, and now for the task of importing an existing tree.  I have a very large file – since I combined two trees (one for my paternal side and one for my maternal side) into one single family tree.  At one point the downloading progress box showed 57% but wasn’t moving anymore and the Individuals or Family numbers weren’t changing. I waited about 5 minutes and figured it got stuck so I closed it all out and tried again.  I’m not sure if it got hung up because I was watching videos in another window or not.  I thought I’d not do any computer work until my tree imported completely – just in case. 

Finally it was done and opened up with the Home Person – in this case, me!  My first impression with the screen was that it was very different from my previous version of FTM (v. 16).  There were 4 distinct sections: Index of persons on the left, the individual’s pertinent information and marriage information on the right, a 4-generation tree of ancestors of an individual in the top center and their spouse and children information at the bottom center.  Below is a screenshot with my 4th gr-grandmother, Rebecca Risley, as the selected individual. (I blanked out my full name for privacy reasons.)

(Fig. 1)

From there I could double-click on Rebecca (information in center with black box) to get the Individual (Person) view.  This screen had three distinct parts.  At the top was the “Individual and Shared Facts” – listing Personal Information, Individual Facts, and Shared Facts with the spouse.

(Fig. 2)

I can go to the + (Plus) sign on the upper right of the highlighted area to add a new fact.  The only facts that pop up at first are birth, death and marriage.  In order to add a new fact – such as christening, also known as, etc. – I need to click on EDIT > MANAGE FACTS.  A window opens listing all the facts currently available.  If a fact I want is not listed in that window, I click on NEW on the right hand side and fill out the boxes in the new window.

On the right hand side is information about the individual tied to whatever is highlighted under the Individual and Shared Facts with Source and Notes tabs under that. 

(Fig. 3)

In the lower half of the screen is the tab area.  Here is where Notes, Media or Tasks are displayed for the individual.

(Fig. 4)

Back at the Family view (Fig. 1), I could see little leaves on several of the boxes.  This was an indication of a hint found on Ancestry.com.  For Rebecca Risley, it pulled up 9 different hints – 8 of them were for other trees uploaded to Ancestry and one was a vital records index.  The problem I have with this part is that when I click on one of the databases, I have no way of checking facts with my tree because I can’t navigate (or haven’t discovered how to do so) to a spouse or child in my tree and keep the ancestry database open.  Most of the time, I have Ancestry running in another window so I can click back and forth to compare facts, documentation and sources.

One other area of a learning curve for me occurred when I wanted to generate a report – it didn’t matter what type (registry, chart, custom) – was how to do that.  I went to the very top of the screen and clicked on PUBLISH to bring up the types of publications I can generate.  For me, it just seems to take awhile to generate some of these reports or charts. 

(Fig. 5)

I also had to learn how to find specific information.  In my new “On This Day” column, I wanted to highlight individuals in my tree that were born, married, or died on a certain day.  It took awhile, but I realized I could use the “Find Individual” under the Edit menu and then filter it by birth, death or marriage date (and more) and enter the terms I wanted.  Today it will be 08 Jan.  For some reason I kept trying to find someone using the Find and Replace menu – which only finds the search terms in the notes. 

I am still learning this new software but enjoying it immensely although I’m not sure what will happen when my 6 months free trial is over and my Ancestry subscription expires.

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Roma Goul – that is!  I wrote this post on December 8, 2008 about my search for her. She was a cousin of my maternal grandfather. My information about her was very limited – approximate birth year and place, siblings and parents. After the 1910 census, when she was 6 years old, I couldn’t locate her.

Thanks to new records added to the Family Search Labs, I found her in the Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947.  Roma Dell Goul was listed as having died in Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois on December 7, 1938 as the wife of Raymond Herman.  Her residence was listed as Jackson County, Michigan so she must have been in Illinois for some reason – perhaps visiting someone.  Her birthdate is listed as January 15, 1904. 

From that record I searched for Raymond Herman in any of the other databases and found their marriage record in Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925.  They were married on September 4, 1920 in Jackson County, Michigan.  Roma’s birthdate is listed as 1900 and her age as 20, however the 1910 Census and her death record is in disagreement with this.  I believe Roma’s birthdate and age were “fudged” so that she could marry 25 year old Raymond.  She would only have been 16 years old on her wedding day.

I have yet to discover if there were any children born to the couple or why Roma went to Michigan from Ohio.  I do know her older sister, Geraldine, lived in Jackson, Michigan at one time.

I will keep searching for more information on Roma and Raymond!

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Last fall while I was looking at and for headstone photos and entries on Find A Grave, I decided to put in a request for photos of my great-grandparents’ graves in Pendleton, Indiana. A very kind lady answered my request immediately. Not only did she take photos of the graves of Melissa (Goul) and Frank Blazer but several of Melissa Goul’s family members. She also went to the library and dug up some information to send to me.

A Pendleton newspaper account from October 1873 mentioned that my 2nd g-grandfather, John Blazer (father of the Franklin Blazer from above), died on August 27, 1873 being between 69 and 70 years old. Remarks by family members that were overheard by John’s brother, Samuel Blazer, caused him to approach the coroner, G.W. Maynard, with his suspicions that John was poisoned. The newspaper did not reveal the first name of the Blazer who Samuel accused. That accusation led the coroner to request an exhumation of John’s remains. After which the contents of the stomach were sent away for testing. At some point later, another Pendleton newspaper account mentioned that no poison had been found. The officials did have a problem though – who was going to pay the $350 for the doctor’s bill?

Analysis: The information giving the name of Samuel as the brother of John Blazer was one more piece of corroboration that I had been researching the “correct” Blazer family.

Another Pendleton newspaper article dated September 25, 1903 reported that Franklin’s brother, George Blazer, committed suicide by ingesting poison.  (Note: the article has misspelled the surname as “Blazier” – however, even my maternal grandfather, whose mother’s maiden name was Blazer, often spelled her relatives’ names with an “i”.)  This article gave several pertinent pieces of information:

  • George’s residence: 610 West 12th Street in Pendleton, Indiana.
  • Past occupation: Drayman.
  • Character: he had taken to drinking “hard” and become despondent.
  • He was married and had “several” children.

Apparently, as reported, George had purchased 10 cents’ worth of carbolic acid from a drug store after he had gone to the meat market for steaks.  It was also mentioned that he had threatened suicide a number of times due to his despondency.  On the day of the suicide, he and his son had an argument while his wife went to cook the steaks.  It was during the disagreement that he took out the bottle and “threw the acid down his throat before he could be prevented.”  The dr. was called right away but George could not be saved.

Documented information about George:

  • George is 5 years old, living in his parents’ household (John and Mary Ann Blazer) in the 1850 US Census.  They are residing in Fall Creek, Madison County, Indiana.  The record shows that George attended school within the year.
  • In the 1860 US Census he is found at age 14 living in his parents’ household (John and Mary A. Blazer) in Fall Creek Twp, Madison County, Indiana and had been in school within the past year.
  • The 1870 US Census shows G.W. Blazer living in Anderson Twp, Madison County, Indiana.  He is age 26, a Farmer, lists a value of real estate as $1200 but nothing for personal estate, born in Indiana, and a male citizen age 21 years or over.  Living in the household are wife Amanda, daughters E.J. and M.M., son J.W., and three other people (M. Judd, A.M. Judd, and Jas Webb).
  • Two headstones in Grovelawn Cemetery in Madison County, Indiana list sons of G.W. and Amanda Blazer.  One is for John W. Blazer who died on December 24, 1874 age 4 years, 10 months, 6 days.  The other is for James Albert Blazer who died on June 3, 1876.
  • The family is still residing in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana for the 1880 US Census.  George W. Blazer is 35 and married.  His listed occupation is Teamster.  Also in the household is wife, Amanda, daughters Estella and Margaret, and a boarder, William Caton. 
  • In the 1900 US Census, George Blazer continues to reside in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  He is 55 years old and lists his birth as Sep 1844 in Indiana.  He has been married 37 years.  His occupation is Day Laborer but he has been unemployed for 2 months.  His wife Amanda lists her birth as March 1845, age 55, mother of 4 with only one surviving.  Also in their household is their grandson, Willie, age 15 born June 1884 in Indiana.  He is also a day laborer but had been unemployed for 3 months.
  • His headstone is located in Grovelawn Cemetery in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana.

A Pendleton newspaper (handwritten on the copy was 7-30-97) lists the account of the suicide of John Blazer.  He was the oldest son of Franklin and Melissa, born on September 17, 1859.  He married Sarah Manis on January 2, 1897 in Madison County, Indiana.  The newspaper account states that his wife sent a telegram from Knighstown, Indiana – where they resided – to a family named “Lawson” that “Johnny shot and killed himself” that morning.  The short article concludes with the information that he was “well known.  He was an erratic fellow” and had “considerable trouble in court.”

Documented evidence for John Blazer:

  • He was listed in the 1870 US Census living in his mother’s household (who was a widow by then), in Fall Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana at age 11.  He was listed as born in Indiana.
  • At age 21 he is still living in Melissa’s household in the 1880 US Census in Stony Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana with his birth listed as Indiana.  His occupation is a farmer.
  • The index to the Marriage Record of Madison County for the years 1880-1920 lists the marriage of John F. Blazier (notice the “i” in the surname again) to Sarah E. Manis as January 2, 1897 on page 352 of book 6.
  • His headstone is located in Grovelawn Cemetery in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana.

Observation: John and Sarah were married not quite 7 months when he committed suicide.  No children were born of this union.

It is very sad that two members of this family chose to end their lives rather than face whatever caused them such turmoil and despair and a third member was thought to have been poisoned by another family member.  I often wonder what circumstances surrounded this branch of the Blazer family that created such suspicions and desperation.

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Recently our family took our annual vacation to visit relatives in the midwest.  During the trip, I gave my first cousin’s granddaughter a gift for her baby that is due this fall.  When I was thanked for it, it was mentioned that she and I were third cousins.  That’s not exactly true but that is how my family calculates.

Mom was never a fan of the “first cousin removed” type of saying – probably because it was never explained how one can be “removed” as a cousin.  I finally “got it” after seeing a consanguinty chart.  The key to any calculation is the closest ancestor to both.

There are several sites to determine how you are related to someone else.  I like to use the relationship tool in my Family Tree Maker (v. 16) software.  At It’s All Relative, there is an actual chart you can print to take to family reunions and gatherings to show relationships. Another site to check out is Cyndi’s List – Cousins & Kinship.

In order for me to show my relationship with the above mentioned cousin, I have included my chart below.

Despite the “distance” of our relationships within our family as well as the miles between us, I’d like to think that we are “close” – in heart, in common heritage, and in communication.  Thanks to Facebook, we are able to keep in touch weekly or even daily if we choose – and more times than not, we find out interesting tidbits about each other and our families that we might not have even thought to relate in a phone call or a visit.

Have you calculated your consanquinity?

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