Posts Tagged ‘Lewis’

When I started working on my family history, information on the web was lacking. In fact, aside from the beginnings of Ancestry.com, Rootsweb, and the old LDS FamilySearch.org, the main website was Cyndi’s List. Cyndi Ingle was a one woman show back in 2001, and she still is. Except today, Cyndi’s List is much bigger.

Fortunately, back then a good friend let me borrow her family tree software in order to begin. All the beginning genealogy articles I found online or in a few magazines suggested to start with yourself. That is exactly what I did. Now, almost twenty years later, I am using the latest version of Family Tree Maker (FTM). The database assigns a reference number to each person, and my number is 1. Number 2 is my dad. I really have no idea what the computations are for numbers in FTM. My mother shows up as Reference number 7359!

My descendants include four children and eight grandchildren! My ancestors include my two parents and four grandparents.

• Paternal: Lloyd William Amore and Ella Maria House
• Maternal: Glen Roy Johnson and Vesta Christena Wilt

As I go further back into my family history, not only do the generations become compounded but I am at brick walls on others. I have listed the number of known and documented ancestors after the relationship.

Great-Grandparents – 8

• Paternal: William Henry Amore and Mary Angeline Werts; James Emory House and Frances Virginia Ogan
• Maternal: John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J Blazer; Joseph Napolean Wilt and Martha Jane Stern

Great-Great-Grandparents (AKA 2x great-grandparents) – 14 out of 16

• Paternal: William Amore and Charlotte Reed; William Washington Werts and Louisa Bookless; Florus Allen House and Julia Ann Lewis; BRICKWALL on Frances Ogan’s biological parents.
• Maternal: James Wilson Johnson and Amanda Eveline Mullis; Franklin Blazer and Melissa Goul; Isreal Isaac Wilt and Christena Nash; Emanuel Bushong Stern and Nancy Caylor.

3x Great-Grandparents – 25 out of 32

• Paternal: BRICKWALL on William Amore’s parents; Zachariah Reed and BRICKWALL on Charlotte Reed’s mother; George Peter Werts and Margaret Catherine Maple; David Bookless and Mary Cartmell; Allen House and Editha Bigelow; Abel Lewis Jr and Nancy (Ann) Johnston.
• Maternal: Jacob Johnson and Ann Shields; John Mullis and Darlett Stanley; John Blazer and Mary Ann Nelson; John Goul and Martha McManaway (or alternate spellings); John Wilt and Phebe Hottinger; Alexander Nash and Elsy Minesinger; Peter Stern and Margaret Bushong; Abraham Caylor and Susannah Miller.

4x Great-Grandparents – 42 out of 64

• Paternal: BRICKWALL on Zachariah Reed’s parents; George Peter Werts and Susanna Huff; William B Maple and Mary Fuller; (thought to be but not proven) William Bookless and Ann Pearson; John Cartmell and mother of Mary Cartmell NOT PROVEN; Lazarus House and Rebecca Risley; Eli Bigelow and Anna Freeman; Abel Lewis and Elizabeth Jones; James Johnston and Catherine See.
• Maternal: BRICKWALL on Jacob Johnson’s parents; William Shields and Mary (maiden name is unknown); George Mullis (Sr) and Margaret “Polly” Owens; Thomas Stanley Sr and Sarah Mason; Philip Blazer and Elizabeth Kingsley; John Griffith Nelson and Mary Dickenson Arbuckle; Adam Goul and Elizabeth Lutz; BRICKWALL for parents of Martha McManaway; Peter Wilt and BRICKWALL for John Wilt’s mother; John Hottinger and Mary Orebaugh; Joshua Nash and Abigail (maiden name is unknown); Joseph Minesinger and Christeana (maiden name is unknown); Christian Stern and Susanna Roudebush; John Bushong and Anna Stover; Johannes Caylor (Kohler) and Sarah Salome Kinsey; Joseph H Miller and Catherine Botafield.

Now, 17 years after I began this family history journey, where do I start in order to break down those brick walls? I start with myself once again and go through each person’s documentation, ephemera, and stories in order to pick out as much information as I can. I also check into each person’s FAN club (family, associates and neighbors) – cluster research – for even more evidence.

(Photos above (left to right top to bottom) – First collage: Glen & Vesta (Wilt) Johnson; Lloyd & Ella (House) Amore; William Henry & Mary (Werts) Amore; John & Katie (Blazer) Johnson. Second collage: Peter & Margaret (Bushong) Stern; Joseph & Martha (Stern) Wilt and family; Emanuel & Nancy (Caylor) Stern; George Peter & Margaret Catherine (Maple) Werts. Third collage: James Wilson Johnson; William Amore; Melissa (Goul) Blazer; Isreal Wilt.)

This is the first post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for Week 1. For more information or to sign up to participate (all free!!), check out Amy Johnson Crow’s post: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


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Amy Johnson Crow is hosting an online learning experience called “31 Days to Better Genealogy.” If you haven’t signed up for this, you can do so here. There is also a closed Facebook group that you can request to join after you sign up for the daily newsletter. You will receive a daily email and during the day, Amy posts a live video on the Facebook group. All members of the group are encouraged to work on the tip of the day, report their results, help and encourage each other.

Today’s tip was to explore the Digital Public Library of America website. Amy said that searches on it are a bit like Google. The DPLA has a bit of everything and some items do not even pop up from a regular search engine. So I thought I would give it a whirl to see what else I could find concerning my ancestors in Coshocton county, Ohio. Here is where Bright Shiny Objects happen so I knew I would need to be focused on what I was searching for (Day 1’s tip was to be more specific and asking the right questions).

As the search results for “Coshocton county Ohio” appeared, I noticed off to the side was “History of Muskingum County, Ohio.” Hmm, I thought. New focus and new question. Would that digital book have any new information concerning my 3rd great-grandfather, Abel Lewis? So I clicked on that topic, the digital book appeared, and in the “search this text” box I entered Lewis.

Sure enough, one of the first items that appeared concerned Abel Lewis and the Masons in Muskingum county. This was new information for me. The text mentioned that “On Saturday, the 25th day of May, 1805, William Raynolds, William Smyth, Levi Whipple, Daniel Converse, Abel Lewis and Lewis Cass, held a meeting in Zanesville, and, ‘after becoming known to each other as- Master Masons, in the manner prescribed by the rules of the craft, entered into conversation respecting the practicability and propriety of procuring a charter, authorizing them to hold a Lodge in this place…'” (Source: Everhart, J.F. 1794. History of Muskingum County, Ohio, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Pioneers. F.J. Everhart and Company. 1882. Hathitrust. Electronic material. Digital image. p187. Digital Public Library of America. http://dp.la : accessed 4 October 2016.)

Another entry mentioned exactly where Abel Lewis lived after he had completed his term as Postmaster (he also had been an Ohio Supreme Court Clerk and surveyor) in 1812.

In the past, I have just glossed over items at the DPLA because I wasn’t thinking about searching for things. I was searching for names. The tip for today has really opened my eyes. I see many hours of more research in the DPLA ahead for me!


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As broadcast legend Walter Cronkite would say: “You are there.” Perhaps, you aren’t or weren’t there, but were any of your ancestors?

In 1787, delegates from seven of the newly created states traveled to Philadelphia to begin deliberation for revising the Articles of Confederation. The result was historic – The Constitution of the United States.

Were any of my known ancestors living in the area in 1787? My four times great-grandfather, Adam Goul (1761-1845), had arrived in Pennsylvania around 1773 and in the first census of the United States, 1790, he was living in a small area called Kingsessing in Philadelphia. It is quite possible that he witnessed some of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention out and about in the Philadelphia area during the four months they were hashing out our government structure. Adam may have spoken with some of the men there and saw General George Washington from a distance. My newly found Lewis ancestors were living in Delaware county, Pennsylvania putting them right next door to Philadelphia. Perhaps at some point, one of them came across one or more delegates.

What would have been the feeling of the residents of Philadelphia besides being war weary from the Revolutionary War? Were they aware something so important was taking place just down the street? What were the newspapers reporting? And given what our country has seen at many political conventions, were there protesters outside the building that would come to be known as Independence Hall? And just what would today’s media sound like if all the technology of today was around back then?


Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA

I’ve had the opportunity to visit Philadelphia twice – once when I was a child and another the summer before my senior year of high school. At each visit, I stood in Independence Hall gazing at the area where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. That whole city is full of history and through my ancestors, a bit of mystery as I wonder if Adam realized that he was in the middle of the most important events in our country’s narrative.

Top Image: Wikimedia commons – public domain.
Two bottom images: Original and digital images in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use.


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Wedding Wednesday

“Abel Lewis taking the said Elizabeth Jones by the hand did in a solemn manner openly declare that he took the said Elizabeth Jones to be his wife.”

Those written words could belong to any number of couples who are marrying, but Abel Lewis and Elizabeth Jones aren’t just any couple. They are my four times great-grandparents. The words above explain in detail the union of this couple who would go on to produce several children – one being my ancestor, Abel Lewis Jr. I’ve often come across marriage records for ancestors that just give their names and the date of marriage. Not very many record what transpired at the wedding.

I have to admit that as I read the rest of the marriage record, I was overcome with emotion. It was only recently that I learned their names. They aren’t as familiar to me as some of my ancestors. Yet, reading about the union of Abel and Elizabeth caused me to be very thankful that they were married – or I wouldn’t be here. It’s sort of silly getting a little misty over a wedding that took place on October 10, 1759.

Except . . . the groom would only live seven more years and die six months after his youngest child – my ancestor, Abel Lewis Jr, was born. Abel Sr wouldn’t see his children grow up or know his grandchildren. He wouldn’t live to a ripe old age with his bride, Elizabeth.

“Promising with the Lord’s assistance to be unto her a loving and faithful husband until death should separate them.”

Source: U.S., Quaker Meeting Records. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; Ancestry.com. Citing Abel Lewis and Elizabeth Jones. Accessed 23 May 2016.

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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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Clara Jennings obit - Democratic Standard Coshocton Ohio Sep 15 1893 pg 6

Clara Jennings, my second cousin twice removed, was the youngest daughter of Mary E Lewis (daughter of George J Lewis and Eliza McVey) and Alexander Jennings. (If you remember my Saturday Surname post from yesterday, then you know that George J Lewis was the brother of my great-great-grandmother Julia Ann Lewis House.)

Clara was born on June 8, 1877 in the township of Tuscarawas in Coshocton county, Ohio. Her mother Mary was about 36 year old at her birth. Alexander was about eight years older than Mary. The couple already had six children. When Clara was six years old, her father died. Seven and a half years later, Clara’s mother died.

On September 7, 1893 as seventeen year old Clara was visiting her older brother, Leander James Lewis’ home in the Flint Hill area of Coshocton county, she died of typhoid fever. Two days later after her funeral at Mt. Zion church, she was laid to rest in the cemetery. A cemetery where some of my Amore ancestors are also buried.

For me, it is a shame that a young girl died without her mother being there to wipe her brow or tell her good-bye. But perhaps, it was her mother who said “hello” as Clara departed one life and in to an everlasting life.

As an interesting aside, I am related to Clara in two different ways. First, is via her mother, Mary E. Lewis, my great-great-grandmother’s niece (the House side). Second, is mainly through half-sibling and in-law relationship via my great-grandmother on the Amore side. My great-grandmother, Mary A. (Werts) Amore’s half-sister, Sarah Ellen Simon, married another Alexander Jenning (they dropped the “s” from the end of Jennings). Ellen’s husband, Alexander, was the nephew of Mary E. Lewis’s husband’s father – making him the husband of my first cousin three times removed!

Obituary: The Democratic Standard (Coshocton, Ohio), 15 Sep 1893, pg 6, Ancestry.com, digital images, accessed 12 Mar 2016.


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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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