Saturday, November 8, 2014

Surname Saturday: McFadden

I'm not related to the McFaddens but their close relationship with my Wood family makes think there is a deeper family connection, namely that they originated in the same location in Scotland or Ireland before both families came to Canada in the mid-1850s.

I do know that before the Wood family came to Canada, they were in County Cavan, Ireland.  For how many generations and from which town specifically, I do not know.

James McFadden was born around 1825 in Ireland.  He married Margaret Ragan, who was born around 1823 in Ireland.  James and Margaret had three known children:
  • Margaret, born ca. 1858.  "Maggie" married Alexander Wood in Wolverton, Blenheim, Oxford, Ontario, Canada on 5 January 1876.  The family was in Medina, Orleans, New York at the time of the 1880 US Census.  However, they returned to Canada and Margaret died in Chinquacoury, Peel, Ontario on 2 September 1886.  Margaret and Alexander had three known children: Helen Beatrice Wood (Cawston), Arthur William Wood and James Alexander Wood (who was born and died in 1886).
  • Mary Ellen, born 10 December 1859 in Blenheim.  Mary Ellen married John Morton in Blenheim on 28 May 1884.  The family resided in the Ayr Twp. area of Waterloo, Ontario.  They had the following: Norman Wood, Margaret Smith Wood (Stonehouse), and Elizabeth Annabella Morton (Babcock).  Following John Morton's death, Mary Ellen married secondly William Wood.  This second marriage was brief as William died in 1926.  Mary Ellen returned to Ayr and died there on 4 November 1936.
  • Dorinda, born April 1865.  Dorinda is living with her future brother-in-law, William Wood's family in Lockport, Niagara, New York at the time of the 1900 US Census.  Dorinda would marry Stephen Loads and live in Medina until her death on 30 October 1937.
Perhaps I'm grasping at straws, but I do feel like learning where the McFadden and Ragan families originated from will help me in my Wood family research.  In any event, if anyone knows anything about the origins of any of these families, I'd love to know.

Friday, November 7, 2014


I've seen many spellings for her name: Didame, Dedamia, Diadimia, etc.  But, she seems to have been known as 'Damie' to her friends and family.  Though, to my second-great-grandmother, she would have been known simply as 'mother.'

Recently, I was lucky enough to find an obituary for Damie.  I say lucky because I really wasn't expecting to find anything at all.  Damie died in 1895, when obituaries offering any biographical information weren't usually given for a farmer's wife in rural Michigan.

"Mrs. Chas. S. Wood of Rolland, died on Tuesday, May 7, 1895, after a very [s]evere illness from cancer of seven months duration.  Damie Beam was born in Oxford county, Ontario, September 10, 1851, and was married to Mr. Wood March 3, 1870, and with him came to Oakland county fourteen years ago, and four years later they moved to Rolland, this county.  She leaves a devoted husband, two daughters, four sons and three grand-children to mourn her untimely death.  Mr. Wood wishes to return thanks to his neighbors and [f]riends for their many kindnesses dur[i]ng his great trial." From the Isabella County Enterprise, 17 May 1895, page 5.

Damie also had a father, Josiah, who survived her as well as numerous siblings - most all of whom still lived in Canada.  Among those three grandchildren who survived her was my great-grandfather, Joseph J. Allen.

For anyone wondering where I found this, it is thanks to Central Michigan University's CONDOR, which has issues of the Isabella County Enterprise up to 1927 online and freely searchable.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I'm actually pretty impressed that this blog has been around six years - eons in internet time.  As the years go by, I seem to have less and less time for posting and never enough time for genealogy research - but I still love both, even more so than I did six years ago.

This space doesn't really reflect all the research I've done over the past year, and it has been plentiful.  One project in particular, which is still ongoing, has been quite the journey.  I'm not at the end of the road yet, but when I'm done I look forward to writing about it here.  No matter the outcome, I am grateful for the experience because I've been forced to look in some really unconventional places for records, break out of my research comfort zone (on numerous occasions), and order records I really wasn't sure I wanted (because of what I knew would be in them).  In short, I really feel like I've faced my "genealogy fears" this year.

Some other pretty excellent things have happened this year, including: finding a newspaper clipping which mentions where my great-great-grandparents honeymooned; getting my great-grandfather's military record from Italy; the Pennsylvania death certificates being added to Ancestry; uploading my father's 23andMe results to FamilyTreeDNA; and more than anything else, learning the names of my great-grandmother's parents,  Matteo D'Accia and Maria Mattia Di Milo (I just love being able to write that).

I could set goals and plans and say I'll post here more, but I really can't promise that.  Instead it is enough, for now, to know this space is here.  In the meantime I still love reading all the other genealogy blogs out there, gaining inspiration and insights I wouldn't have without them.  To anyone still reading here, thank you, and if you have a genealogy blog of your own, chances are I'm happily following.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

128 Greats

I've lately refocused some more attention on the genetic aspect of genealogy.  It is just as fascinating, impressive, frustrating and confusing as ever.  Since most of my matches are around the 5th cousin mark, I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of my 128 4th great-grandparents and where they lived in terms of current geography (these are mostly my ancestors alive in the 18th Century):

Allan/Allen (Scotland or Ireland)
Beam (New Jersey, USA; Ontario, Canada after Revolutionary War)
Bell (New Jersey, USA; Ontario, Canada after Revolutionary War)
Boon (Somerset, England)
Clements (Ireland)
Croad (Dorset, England)
D'Accia (likely Puglia, Italy)
Di Milo (likely Puglia, Italy)
Gibbons (Dorset, England)
Horton (Ontario, Canada; likely New York, USA pre-Revolutionary War)
Lapiccirella (likely Puglia, Italy)
Montgomery (N. Ireland)
Old (Dorset, England)
Rendle (Dorset or Somerset, England)
Rogers (Dorset, England)
Scarano (likely Puglia, Italy)
Shepstone/Shipton/Shipston (Somerset, England)
Shoe/Shew (Somerset, England)
Stokes (Somerset, England)
Tizzard/Tyzzard/Tissard (Dorset, England)
Williamson (N. Ireland)
Wood (Ireland, N. Ireland)

That is 22 names out of a possible 64.  Of those 42 unknowns, 28 are from my Italian grandmother's side.

Asay (New Jersey, USA)
Barger/Berger (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)
Brunner (Canton Bern, Switzerland)
Buhler (Canton Bern, Switzerland)
Chapple/Chaple/Chappel (likely Virginia, USA)
Collins (Rhode Island to Massachusetts to Vermont to New York, USA)
Doyle (unknown, Vermont, USA as of 1810)
Ellis (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Gibson (Lincolnshire, England)
Haley/Healy/Healey (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Harris (Virginia, USA)
Herbert (New Jersey, USA)
Hilton (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Hudson (Virginia, USA)
Jackman (New Hampshire, USA)
Leet/Leete (unknown, Indiana, USA by 1820)
Lester/Luster/Laster/Louster (likely Virginia, USA)
Kupper/Kupher (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)
Mason (unknown, likely North Carolina, USA)
Matz (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)
Mott (New York, USA)
Nielsen (unknown, Denmark or Germany)
Petersen (unknown, Denmark or Germany)
Rose (New York, USA)
Schmoker (Canton Bern, Switzerland)
Scott (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Shinn (New Jersey, USA)
Smith x2 (New York, USA)
Swena/Swaney/Sweeney (Connecticut, USA)
Tock (Lincolnshire, England)
vonAllmen (Canton Bern, Switzerland)
Wadd (Lincolnshire, England)
Webb (unknown, Indiana, USA by 1820)
Wellons/Wellens (Virginia, USA)

That is 35 out of a possible 64.  In all, 57 of a total 128 surnames are thought to be known.  I'm hoping to update this as I make breakthroughs.

One thing that has become clear is that I made a huge false assumption with many of my matches.  Oddly, the majority of my matches have always been centered in the southern portion of the US.  Since I only have, on paper, one maternal great-grandparent with southern roots, I always thought these matches were through her line.  However, when I recently uploaded my father's 23andMe results to FamilyTreeDNA, I was surprised to see that many of those matches were actually also matches of his.  I certainly have my work cut out for me - good thing it is such fun "work!"