29 May 2009

School of Hard Knocks

Admit it we've all done it. We do the genealogy dance only to find out, some times after much to do sharing with others and posting online, that we were dancing off in left field because the family we thought we had found turns out to the wrong family.

I decided to participate in this weeks Genealogy prompt brought to us by Amy of We Tree. 21. Lessons learned. Fess up to your research mistakes so others can learn from them.

My latest mistake I had documented and wrote about recently in my post about William Henry Manion. I didn't just make one mistake and link him to a William H Manion in a different county once, but I did it a second time when I thought it was possible that the William H Manion in the other county was the father of the William Henry Manion I was looking for. You can read more about this on going mystery of William Henry Manion in my previous post Paupers Cemetery, Post Falls, ID. I at least now know who he was and where he lived prior to his death. This is why it is so important to not rely on census records. They are a piece of the puzzle, but never use them as a sole source of proof. You always need more evidence to back up a census record.

Of course this was not my first nor will it be my last I'm sure. I remember my first though. I had only been doing family history research for maybe six months. I had stacks of paper piled everywhere. I certainly was not organized with it yet. I had known an approximate year and state where my great grandmother Mary Joann Williamson was born, whom she married and when she died. I was ready to begin finding her family. So being a real rooky I started looking for a Mary Joann (last name unknown) born 1890 in KY. I didn't find very many matches to that, but one. I was certain this had to be her, Mary Joann Wycoff. Don't ask me how I found it. For the life of me I can't even find how I linked her up now. I've since thrown away all of that when I realized I was on the wrong path. But for a while I thought that my dad's grandmother descended from the Wycoff's of NY. Finally one day when discussing this with my Aunt, she said "oh no! She wasn't a Wycoff. Her maiden name was Williamson. She lived next door to Ewing Woolsey and his family before she married him. Sure enough I went back to the census record that I had already found for Ewing Woolsey and his parents and there she was living next door. Her father was Henry King Williamson and appears her mother was dead at this point. This was when I learned that first lesson ALWAYS LOOK AT AND CONSIDER THE NEIGHBORS!

Another path I got off on was Mary's own father-in-law William Grant "Billy" Woolsey. He is still a mystery to me and it's almost as if he was hiding his past. But at one point I did find a William G Woolsey born the same year and also in Iowa as my William. I knew the story he told of having an abusive Irish step mother after his mother died. This other William born around 1865 in Iowa I found in one census record living in the Dakota Territory with his mother Armille and father William Woolsey. In the following census he has a step mother who is Irish. Oh it was too good not to be true. I was certain I had finally found the family, and for some time I was convinced of it. But I kept digging deeper and that same young William who was born in Iowa about 1865 ends up in Montana in 1900 when I knew for a fact that my William was in Oklahoma. Now we are talking before the age of easy travel. If I had seen that in today's time I might have questioned if my ancestor had two families and was a traveling man. But in 1900 that just doesn't make sense. These men were thousands of miles away from each other, the same age, born in the same state and having a very similar story of an Irish step mother. There is still a part of me that thinks there is something there that I will find links these two families together. In the 1880 census the young William is listed with his family in the Dakota Territory in the same county is listed another William Woolsey, same age and same place of birth living and working as a hand on a farm. I often still go back to that and wonder if these were the same boys or if in fact one of them (most likely the farm hand) is my great great grandfather and is it possible he was taking on this other boys identity to hide from the law. Anyway I did finally trace the other William through Montana and on in to Spokane, WA about thirty minutes from where I live is where he is buried. I've also talked to his descendants, so I know they are two different men. Just how do they relate, if at all, is still unknown. This is just another case of the puzzle pieces fit the census until you dig deeper and turn over every rock.

You can read more about how I became organized in my three part series, The Organized Genealogist, Getting Started I, The Organized Genealogist II, and The Organized Genealogist III. Getting organized and later learning to use more precise forms to guide my research helped. I also did a post on the forms that have helped me a great deal In Wordless Wednesday - Family History Made Easy.

28 May 2009

New Gadget

I'm just trying out my new set up gadget using my cell phone to add posts to my blogg.

Cool it worked. Now I have a new avenue for posting to my blog. This means I can take photos with my cell phone and post it right to my blogg!!! I love it!!!

27 May 2009

A Little of This and a Little of That

I guess this will be a not so Wordless Wednesday. I know I haven't been doing all of my regular posts lately. As usual it's called life, but I'm still having fun some where in there.

This weekend we went out to my parents house (only about fifteen minutes from home :-) ) to camp. They live just a tad closer to the hills then we do and have five acres of which a couple of those acres are heavily treed. It still felt like camping, especially when the temperatures dipped low enough for us to still freeze our butts off that night. My brother and his two children were there so we had lots of fun. The kids really enjoyed a whole two days playing with their cousins. Of course the best part is always when Grandma brings out the Reese's Peanut Butter cups, marshmallows and Graham crackers to make her version of smores over the big camp fire!

Unfortunately I don't have pictures to share since my camera decided to take a dirt nap. It's been going out for the last couple months, but it finally gave up. I need to buy another camera, but I can't afford it right now. So it's just another thing on my list of wants that will have to wait for a while.

Then before we left for the weekend I got started on my annual photo restoration. I learned from a good friend that I worked with at a photography studio how to do really good photo restoration using Adobe Photoshop. Well every year I down load there newest and latest version to use to retouch my photos. Photoshop is just one more thing on my list of wants. I just can't afford $300 for a software program. So I've been looking for a while on ebay to see if I can get my hands on an old version that would cost a lot less, but you know how that goes. First it starts out around $20 and before it's over the bid is well over $100 and I'm out of the game. Oh well. I'm sure I'll be able to get one some day. In the mean time I keep using their free 30 trials to do what I need to do to the few photos I need to fix. So I've been spending time on that.

I've also been working a lot of overtime and I've been so exhausted that my mind just isn't in gear the last couple weeks. So the photo retouching is something I can do that doesn't take a lot of thought process. It's amazing. They've laid off so many people at work that those of us still there are killing ourselves with lots of overtime just to try and get everything out on time. Arggggg!

Well here are some samples of the retouching I've been having fun with. The first photo is of my Great Grandmother Lillie Lutitia Hoard Hayes on the right and a friend of hers Maydian Balentine. I don't know anything about Maydian. Her name was just on the back of the photo.

This photo is of my mother and her twin sister with their dog Cocoa. As you can see from the photo this was taken in Apr 1960.

Then when me brain is fully fried and I can't think for nothing there is always a good game to play. Which I think I will now do for the rest of the morning until enough of the coffee kicks in for me to do my house cleaning.

26 May 2009

Genealogy Bumper sticker

I just now read some of Randy Seaver's post on Genealogy bumper stickers. I didn't get around to reading all of them because I have to get ready for work in just a few minutes. But I'm glad I took time to read it. I got a few laughs and some of them were very cute.

I just happened to think of one for my bumper.

If you don't like me, it's not my fault. It's my ancestor's genes. If you do, give them the credit.
Well it's off to another day, another dollar.

19 May 2009

Wordless Wednesday

This was a post card my grandmother, Mary Ellen Hayes bought while her and my grandfather, Von Joseph Roe were on their honeymoon in San Fransisco.

I would have posted the back, but the words are almost unreadable. It's so faded. On the back is reads
Love Mary & Rusty Dear Folks, A few lines this morning. We went to Oakland Friday night and stayed till Sat night. We went under the bridge on the ferry. I bought some of these cards. I'm ???ing grandma on this morning???? Did Aunt Celestia & all get started ? Charley called us Friday night and wanted us to come up. I didn't want to but I did on account of Rusty. They have a new T.V. set. Ans soon.
I'm a bit confused though since the post office stamp is dated Nov 1950. The only thing I can think of is this was their second honeymoon. They were married in 1947, but because grandpa couldn't find his first wife it wasn't a legitimate marriage. When his first wife showed up a few years later they divorced and Grandma and Grandpa was married legally. This has to be a second honeymoon.

The photo on the front of the card is of the San Fransisco Bay Bridge at sunset. The card is about 8x10. Which is probably why it's seen better days. Someone finally put it in the family album. But I'm sure it spent time floating around in drawer having the corners bent before it was finally put in an album page to protect it.

18 May 2009

Madness Monday, George Scott

This is one of those ancestor's whose file I pull out from time to time, only to put it back in the cabinet still scratching my head.

Here is what I do know. George M Scott was born about 1828-29 in Indian. This is based on 1850 and 1880 Federal Census records. Of course 1880 is the first census where we get a glimpse at his parents. He states both parents were born in KY. Again he is one of my male ancestors whose life seems to only begin when he married. Prior to that I can find nothing on him. He married Aner Sackett 9 Oct 1847 in Franklin Co., IN. Now this I have not found a record on. It has only been passed through family. However it does seem to fit just fine. Their first child that I know of and can find was born 1 Sept 1848, Emily Lutitia Scott, in Metamora, Franklin Co., IN. The following is a list of the census records that I find the family in.
  • 1850 Center Twnp, Marion Co., IN. Scott, Geo M, 22, M, Farmer, Ind, Aner, 20, F, Oho, Emilia, 17, F, Ind, Nancy Sackett, 42?, VA (I'm not sure how see relates, but she must relate to Aner since Aner's maiden name was Sackett, and I'm not sure if the age is 42 or 62). Now interestingly living next door is a Henry Scott at 21, F, (no profession listed), NC. I'm sure he is related to George some how, but I have yet to connect him. The other family members are Charlotte, Mary, Levena, Elizabeth, and Henry.
  • Iowa State Census 1856, Lucas, IA. George M Scott- Ind, Aner - Oho, Emily - Ind, A. V. - Ind, M.C. - Iowa?
  • 1880 Plum Creek, Panoma? Nebraska, Scott, Geo M, W M 51, Farmer, Ind, KY, KY, Ann W F 49, wife Keeping house, Ohio, Ohio, VA, Alexander W M 29, Son, Farmer, Ind, Ind, Ohio, John W M W 18, Son, Farming, Iowa, Ind, Ohio, James N W M 9, Son, at-home, MO, Ind, Ohio.
  • Nebraska State Census, 1885 pg 9, Island Grove Precinct, Gage, Nebraska, George Scott age 56, Aner Scott age 54, Alexander Scott age 34, John Scott age 20 and James Scott (says 34 in transcription but should be 14) Original record unavailable. This information is from the transcription.
Now their daughter, my ggg grandmother Emily Lititia Scott married James Wesley Hoard in Platte City, Platte Co., MO 12 July 1866. This again is passed down from family. I'm still looking for this record as well. But if this is the case then possibly George and Aner were in MO during this time. Their youngest child James was born in MO about 1871. So I would say from the late 60's until at least the early 70's they were in MO before they moved to Nebraska where we can find them in the 1880 and 1885 census records.

Family tradition has said the George died in Liberty, MO and in Cherokee County, KS though I wouldn't rule out the possibility that he may have died in Nebraska either. I've never found a death record or burial for either George or Aner. We don't know when or where each of them died.

13 May 2009

Wordless Wednesday

My Dear Aunt Dawna surprised me this weekend with a package of family photos that she thought were best left in my care as I have the most interest in family history. She had scanned some things for me and was now giving me all of it. The best part though was to sit and listen to her and my mom tell stories of the different family members. If only I could figure out how to work the recorder option on my cell phone I could have recorded it. But instead I'll rely on memory.

The most intriguing picture out of the whole package, though, was the one above of the old cabin. According to my aunt this cabin is where my great grandfather Martin Hayes/Hays was born in OK. Now according to my other Aunt, Mary, Martin's birth certificate states that he was born in Hominy, OK 4 April 1907. Martin's mother is the same woman I wrote about recently whose brick wall I crashed through, Mary Jane Vest Hays.

In the image below is the back of the photo. It is a message from her to Martin "To Martin a Reminder Mother." This is so special. I have so few things of my ancestors. Now not only have I broken down the brick wall and know so much more about my gg grandmother, Mary Hayes, but here I have something in her own writing.One can only speculate about the meaning behind her message to her son. Was she telling him to never forget the humble roots he came from? Was she telling him to not forgot Oklahoma where she and his sibling still lived? A little behind that is that Martin and his father James Martin Hays picked up and moved out to CA. James divorced Mary. Supposedly he went back to OK at some point, but she wouldn't take him back as he was an unfaithful man. This is of course passed to me by other family members that knew Mary better than we did. Our family knew James better as we are all from CA. Or was she reminding him that he would inherit property of the family upon her passing? Who knows I can only speculate as to what the message meant.

09 May 2009

Just some of my favorite blogs

As the title say the following are just some of my favorite blogs. I don't have the time to write about all the wonderful genealogy bloggers there are out there.

  • AnceStories: Rightfully so this lovely lady has recieved several blogger awards. She does a wonderful job on her blog. Along with sharing stories of her research on her family, she also shares helpful hints and tips. I have had the priveledge of meeting Miriam Midkiff. She does live near me and has done a great deal to expand my knowledge in genealogy and introduce me to others who have done the same.
  • Genea-Musings: It is beyond me where this man find the time and the material for his blog. He is like a little energizer bunny in the genealogy blogging world. Everytime I click on his blog I am sure to find another helpful new tid bit.
  • Creative Gene: Repeatidly brings all all together as we post on a particular topic in the Carnival of Genealogy. Sometime the Carnival is hosted on other sites, but this is the home of the COG. Always wonderful stories to read.
  • footnoteMaven: No list would be complete if I didn't mention footnoteMaven.She is also the author of Shades of the Depart also a wonderful blog to read.
  • Genealogy Traces: Judith Shubert is a wonderful story teller. Most of what she writes about is her ancestors, their stories and sharing their photos. It's just a lovely blog to relaxe to with a cup of coffee in the mornings and read. Of course she just is overflowing with stories and couldn't just stop at one, so you will also find her other blog Tennessee Memories just as wonderful to read.
Like I said this is just a small list of some of my favorites. There are many more that I read as well. There are too many talented genealogy bloggers out there to write about and many that I don't even know about I'm sure. But to those on my lists, thank you for sharing such wonderful stories, pictures and genealogy tidbits and tips.

07 May 2009

100 Plus Years of Automobiles

As I was running about like a chicken with my head cut off yesterday doing some errands, I wondered.......Are we really better off in America do to the invention of the Automobile? That is a very complicated question. I would say the answer is both yes and no.

We are better off because with the invention of the automobile. It allowed those in the crowded cities to move further out, thus the building of suburbs, and yet still work in the city. Travel by horse meant that if you were more than 15 miles from a major city, railroad or waterway that business was difficult to do. You were isolated from the rest of the world. Before the car you either lived and worked in the not so pleasant conditions of crowded cities or you were isolated on the farm where you lived and worked. Cars bridged the gap and allowed for a happy medium. Families could now live in homes that gave them a little yard for the kids to play while the parent(s) worked in the city, and the farmer could then easily move his goods by truck and errands were more convenient.

But I realized yesterday as I'm driving around that all of this comes with a down side. Crowded freeways, pollution, greater demands, drunk drivers, greater risk to life and limb, road rage and more. I've had the privilege to be with out a vehicle for months now. My husband drives the one vehicle we have running and I go to work with my parents. But this week I had a lot to take care of and borrowed my parents spare vehicle. It was when running those errands the last two days that I realized I had enjoyed not having a vehicle. It was much easier to say "No I can't. I have no wheels." On the other hand though I'd be lying if I said I don't enjoy driving. I'm one of those car gals. I like a big pick up truck. I like power. I like driving a standard even. There is nothing like the open road and a good car stereo to make me smile. But I don't enjoy the errands and demands put on me when I do have a car. Looking back that's something our ancestors didn't have to worry about. They didn't have the convenience of a car so they most likely grouped their errands into one day a week that they went into town. The rest of the time they had all their chores on the farm to tend to, but at least they didn't have the interruptions of jumping in the car to run a quick errand.

A hundred years ago when cars were being invented I'm sure they had no clue as to the long term effect of the waist product engine put in the air. It was an era of invention and they weren't concerned about the environment then. But we are living with it today. Many of us deal with asthma as a result of an environment where the air is no longer clean like it was one hundred years ago. Only time will tell if the environment will continue to deteriorate or if we will some day get a handle on it and come up with alternative fuels that are cleaner to use.

Then don't get me started on the frustrations of driving with idiots on the road. You've got the ultimate idiots who think it's okay to drink and drive, or the young teenagers who are having fun and don't really have the maturity to realize the risks they take to themselves and to others when they drive stupidly. There are also those who are always in a hurry, weaving in and out of traffic and asking for trouble. Of course I'm the kind of gal who likes to have fun with people like that. I don't drive slow on the freeway. I'm usually in the fast lane, but I don't weave in and out to get one more car ahead. I go with the flow and I follow safely, unless I'm not paying attention. But when I see an idiot like that in my rear view mirror I like to get beside another car and stay with them so the idiot behind us can't get around.

Of course we have one of America's favorite sports as a result of the invention of the car, NASCAR! Now I don't watch NASCAR. I just don't have the time. But I do like a little speed safely on the open road. You just can't have that kind of fun in a horse and buggy.

So I'll ask you do you think the invention of the automobile improved America for the better or worse?

Note: Click on photos for website of history behind each.