Thursday, October 10, 2019

Saturday Fun Challenge- 20 Questions Part 4

 From Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings: 

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1)  Ellen Thompson-Jennings posted 20 questions on her Hound on the Hunt blog three weeks ago - see Even More Questions About Your Ancestors and Maybe A Few About You (posted 27 June).

2)  We will do these five at a time - Questions 16 to 20 tonight (we did 1 through 5 three weeks ago, questions 6 through 10 two weeks ago, and questions 11 through 15 last week)

3)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook post.

16)  If you’re into DNA which would you say you work on more? Genealogy or DNA? Or about the same?

I do more genealogy. At some point I need to learn to do more than scratch the surface on DNA. So many directions and so little time it seems.

17)  Do you think that your genealogy is ever really done?

Umm, every time you push back, there are two parents to research, so twice as many new people added. Also, I tend to want to pursue the siblings and their children down to the present time to find where they are. It’s impossible to get that all done!

18)  Did you ever search an ancestor’s name on the internet and you were surprised at what you found?

Most definitely! People lead/led interesting lives and you never know where this pursuit might lead.

19)   Do you ever feel like your ancestors are nudging you in the right direction in your research?

I have joked about pulling into one cemetery and a collateral relative was sitting on his tombstone waving to me to get my attention. In reality, as I pulled in that day, I spotted the surname in large letters on a stone not far from the main driveway. His in-laws that I was especially looking for were right beside him. At various times I have had these very easy discoveries that I can’t help but wonder if I was guided to somehow.

20)  If you could give one piece of advice to someone new to genealogy, what would you tell them? 

Have fun and cite your sources! Seriously, even if they are not totally in a proper format, get something down to tell where you found the information. Not only does it give creditability to your research, but it helps you if at some point you need to go back and reexamine that record. And you will need to. I’ve created simple templates for common record groups that I keep in a file so I can copy, paste and then fill in the information. They may not be perfect, but I have the basic information down.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Saturday Fun Challenge- 20 Questions Part 3

From Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings: 
Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1)  Ellen Thompson-Jennings posted 20 questions on her Hound on the Hunt blog two weeks ago - see Even More Questions About Your Ancestors and Maybe A Few About You (posted 27 June).

2)  We will do these five at a time - Questions 11 to 15 tonight (we did 1 through 5 two weeks ago and questions 6 through 10 last week)

3)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook post.

11)  If money wasn’t an issue; where would you go to do genealogy research?

I’d probably travel all over the country and do research. I have ancestors in various counties of Iowa that I would like to go there and research. Others in Minnesota.

Additionally, some collateral relatives lived in various places across the north of the country from Wisconsin to Washington state. I could have fun chasing all of these down in the places they lived if money and also time weren’t an issue.

One place I have no real desire to go is Europe. Although I’d like to see where my ancestors lived in England, Ireland, France, Netherlands, etc. and would love to do research in person in these places. However, I can’t see myself taking a flight there. It is just too far for me to be cooped up in an airplane.

12)  Do you ever feel like you’re the only person researching your family?

Well, there must be others because I see them appearing in trees and pictures and such coming up on Ancestry hints. However, I never seem to be able to make contact with anybody actively searching lines.

13)  Why do you think you’re interested in your family history and other family members might not be?

I have a deep interest in history, which probably started me out on this obsession. Being the youngest child by a number of years, I never felt I quite fit into the family. I’m way younger than my brothers, barely older than some of my nieces and nephews. Add in the fact that I married late and never had children myself. Sub-consciously, I’m looking for a connection.

14)  Do you intend to write about your genealogy/family history findings?

I try to keep writing about them. There are several sketches about various groups that are half-way complete. I have also been writing down the stories of my family. Stories told by my parents, or that happened in my time. Again, I have trouble with actually finishing one before jumping to the next.

15) Did you ever make a genealogy mistake that caused you to have to prune your family tree?

I’ve done some minor pruning here and there. However, never a complete line of people, only a few here and there. Mostly the mistakes have been brick walls that I didn’t get too far on before I discovered there was a mistake.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Saturday Fun Challenge- 20 Questions Part 2

From Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings:
1)  Ellen Thompson-Jennings posted 20 questions on her blog last week - see Even More Questions About Your Ancestors and Maybe A Few About You (posted 27 June).

2)  We will do these five at a time - Questions 6 to 10 tonight (we did 1 through 5 last week)

6)  How many DNA companies have you tested with or transferred to? Have you tested at all the 5 major companies?

Two. I have tested with AncestryDNA and transferred to MyHeritage. I really haven’t explored this aspect much.

7)  Do you have an ancestor that had a successful business? Is it still in business? 

Where do I start? Over the years many of my ancestors were farmers with various businesses on the side. They were what today might have been known as a side-hustle.

Two that come to mind belonged to a first cousin twice removed and his son. For many years around the Auburn area, if people bought a Chrysler automobile, it would have been from George H. Ward & Son. Later, when George sold and retired, his son, Barry Ward started a company: Ward’s Wrecker Service.

Of course, the one I immediately thought of was the one my Uncle Alden Ward started in 1929. He was a distributor of oil products for Sinclair Refinery. You know those local service stations? He made sure the oil and gasoline among other products were there for them to sell. His company, A.D. Ward & Son operated in Auburn and Cortland, NY. In later years, it was known as Ward Oil, and officially as Gordon J. Ward Oil Company, Inc. The business evolved over the years, having a retail office, a convenience store for a time, and finally selling tires under the name of Ward Tire and Wheel. As the names and the nature of it changed, it also changed hands. My father was the Gordon in the incorporated name. My brother, David, was the last to operate it and he closed the doors and retired this past May.

8)  How long ago was your last “genealogy/DNA happy dance?”

Was it a dance? Not exactly, especially since I was in a cemetery. However, my last celebration was last weekend in two cemeteries in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. My 3-great grandmother, Bridget (Bailey) Tifft Coon settled near North Towanda in Bradford County, Pennsylvania with her second husband. I still cannot find where she is buried, however I did visit the graves of her daughter, Elizabeth (Tifft) Bennet and son, Nathan Coon. I believe she is likely in one of their plots without a stone. Nathan’s was indeed a victory as it took a couple mis-turns on winding back roads to find the cemetery.

9)  Did you ever discover that a friend was also a distant cousin?

Since starting my research, I don’t think I have ever discovered a current friend was related to me. However, I had a best friend in kindergarten that I lost track of after her parents divorced. Her grandfather always said he was related to our family. A few years ago, I made the connection of how we are.

There are people in the genealogy community that I am acquainted with as well that are distantly related. Many of us descend from the same early settlers of this county including our lines to George Soule and John & Elizabeth Howland of the Mayflower.

10)  Do you have a genealogy brick wall? Do you think you will be able to use DNA to work past it?

Is this seriously a question? Too many to count. I keep chipping away at them until I can finally break through to the next brick.

One that has plagued us for years is that of the Wooster line. My uncle and I know that we are directly related to some of the first settlers of Derby and New Milford, Connecticut. However, there is a gap in the line at my 3-great grandfathers parentage. I am still working on writing the indirect evidence case to prove who his parents were as any direct evidence drops off between these 2 generations. Even the best evidence of his parents’ marriage consists of a church entry of "[not given] [not given] & [not given] Munson m. Mar 1786; Notes: A stranger & ------ Munson”. This found in the Stratford, CT Episcopal church records.  That period at the end of the Revolutionary War when actual records can be scarce, especially in Upstate New York that the two generations settled in. DNA has, so far, proven that there is a connection between these families.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Saturday Fun Challenge- 20 Questions Part 1

From Randy Seaver and GeneaMusings: Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1)  Ellen Thompson-Jennings posted 20 questions on her blog this week - see Even More Questions About Your Ancestors and Maybe A Few About You (posted 27 June).

2)  We will do these five at a time - Questions 1 to 5 tonight.

1.  Which ancestor had the most children? It can be a couple or a single person.

I’m not sure, but I know my great-grandparents William and Sarah (Damery) Jennings had a dozen children. This is after William’s first wife, Margaret (Wilson) Jennings died the same year as her sixth child, son, William was born, perhaps dying from childbirth. I would say that 18 total children would have to be close to the record.

Another possibility is that of Bridget (Bailey) Tifft Coon. This 4-great grandmother had four known children by first husband, Robert Tifft and four known children by her second husband, Nathan Coon. However, in many write-ups found about her youngest son, Adelbert “Amos” Coon, it states that he was the youngest and 21st child of his mother! I’m not sure I believe this, especially since I haven’t found any evidence of children beyond the eight, but it’s possible I haven’t found the rest yet.

2.  How many years have you been working on your genealogy/family history?

Many would say too many! I remember an assignment in high school that involved creating a family tree. That was 10th grade when I would have been 15. The following summer, my Mom took me to a couple bookstores looking for books about genealogy. My parents weren’t interested, but did share stories and help me find local cemeteries, thus adding to the genealogy while I was still in high school. Thus, I have been working on it for the last 38 years.

3.  Do you collaborate with other genealogists on your family history?

I try to when I can. Most of the family isn’t interested. I have worked with cousins over the years putting information together, but the others lose interest and drift away. I also work with others in a more general fashion to find information, such as repositories and new records to search. I’m always happy to help others and perhaps find a “partner in crime” for some of the family history!

4.  Have you hired a professional genealogist to work on your family history? Even if it was just a small branch of the family.

Many years ago, I paid a researcher in England to look for information on my Ward family. Unfortunately, it is a common name and I only had a general sense of locale, so that didn’t yield much information. In recent times, I haven’t, but have paid for others to retrieve distant records for me.

5.  If you have family heirlooms what’s your plan for their future?

I am still hoping to find that younger family member that is interested in the family heirlooms— or at least some of them. Failing that, I intend to donate them to a historical society that would be interested.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Welcome Noah Joseph Riester!

In the twists and turns of life we may never know the crazy connections. Last night a family I grew up camping and playing with became a grandma, great-aunt and great uncles to a little one at the same instant I became a great-great aunt. Welcome little Noah.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Saturday Fun Challenge- Youth Organizations

 From an older Saturday Fun Challenge on Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings:

Did you join a youth organization such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire, Job's Daughters, for example?

I belonged to the Happy-Go-Lucky Teens. It was a progression from an informal group of pre-teens that camped and played together. However, the start of the belonging to the group really began with my parents.

Back when I was about 3 or 4 years old we went camping one weekend. It was probably in the first year or so that my parents owned a travel trailer. We camped that weekend at River Forest Campground in Weedsport. Setting up the site, Mom kept glancing up the hill to another site about two away. She asked Dad if he thought she was right about the people there.

We sat down to eat our supper and about when we were finishing, the man from that campsite walked down the hill and peered at our campsite looking at my parents and also at the name plaque hung on the front of the camper.

Smiling, he hollered up the hill. “It is them! C’mon down Barb!”

Soon all four adults were talking a mile a minute. Mom had been right. She had recognized an old classmate of hers from Skaneateles and her husband who was a year ahead of them. That night Mom put me to bed, but her and Dad sat up talking around the campfire with Barb and Bill Harper. The conversations lasted until about two in the morning from what Mom told me years later, not only Friday night, but Saturday night as well. Amongst the topics was this club that Harpers’ belonged to and were Field Directors for- NCHA— National Campers and Hikers Association. Mom and Dad’s membership application went in the mail the following week.

Thus I was a child camping with NCHA and specifically, the area club, North Central District. I had many friends that I camped and played with and we all looked forward to turning 13 and joining the “big kids” in the Happy-Go-Luckys group.

What was the Happy-Go-Lucky teens? It was a group open to any teens in the district. We camped and played together as well as worked. At state campouts we would field a softball and volleyball team to compete against other districts. We had dances and went out for ice cream or pizza, especially after the winter meetings that were held upstairs from the adults’ district meeting. We also helped the adults with campouts and held some of our own. We did fund raisers and helped out with various charities. Some of the ones that stand out were making favors and distributing them to nursing homes at holidays and cleaning up a stream in the spring. The stream was a public waterway, but we camped on the private property of some adult club members and had a grand time. While the adults sat around a campfire Saturday night, the teens along with a few pre-teen siblings, played hide and seek in an almost pitch-dark field darting here and there.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Geneva Historical Society

Name: Geneva Historical Society
Address: 543 S Main St, Geneva, NY 14456
Phone: (315) 789-5151

On Route 14 at the edge of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, you must find a place to park along the street in Geneva. Fortunately, spaces seem to be fairly open during the weekday afternoon that we visited. The houses along this street speak to being built and owned by Victorians of some means. The backyards of the houses on one side of the street overlook Seneca Lake and most properties probably extend to the shoreline.
The historical society is housed in a substantial brick house. The main floor and some of the basement has exhibits of the local area that are free to browse and the staff are very welcoming. Tucked into a corner of the basement is the brightly lit room with a simple sign over the entranceway “Archives.”

The research room is open Tuesday- Friday from 1:30- 4:30 pm. Photocopies are 25 cents each and there is a daily research fee of $5.00 for non-members.

The archives while having some material on Ontario County, is concentrated mostly on the city of Geneva. There are indexes that list the people mentioned in old newspapers and records of the cemeteries. Looking in one of these books, I was able to see where the unmarked graves of some distant relatives are located in the Washington Street Cemetery.

Among the records are some information about the old Geneva College that was once there as well as their most famous student. In a time when it was thought that the medical field was most unsuitable for women, Geneva College admitted a woman student and on January 11, 1849 she graduated at the top of her class. The woman? Elizabeth Blackwell, MD, the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States.