Monday, April 21, 2014

Revisiting Pennsylvania Death Certificates

Although most of my Pennsylvania connections had long ended by 1906, I've been eager to check out the death certificates recently uploaded by Ancestry.  The one certificate I did order from the Dept. of Health a few years ago was of horrible quality.  I was expecting more of the same, but lo and behold:

The above is the same certificate I had previously ordered, though this time I can actually read it!
(The certificate has several errors: Joseph wasn't born in Niles, Trumbull, Ohio but Lawrence Co., Pennsylvania.  His mother's name was Elizabeth Clemen(t)s and the Margaret Murray listed was actually Joseph's late wife.  Joseph had lived in Ohio most of his life but died in Sharon while visiting his daughter.)

My skepticism has been banished!  If you also ordered through the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health and were disappointed, give Ancestry's new collection a try - you might be pleasantly surprised.

Note: I have no affiliation whatsoever with or any other persons, websites or companies under the umbrella.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Rebecca Chappel

(My current entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Rebecca Chappel's last name might have Chaple or Chapple, or maybe Chappelle, or it could be Chapele or it might be Chapell...  and on it goes.  I've also seen Rebecca spelled Rebekah.  Point is, I know next to nothing about Rebecca.

Rebecca was probably born in Virginia, either present-day Virginia or present-day Kentucky.  The first record of Rebecca is her marriage record to Henry Wellons (spelled 'Willons') on December 8, 1801 in Pulaski County, Kentucky.

I don't know exactly how many children Henry and Rebecca had.  A Henry 'Weldon' was enumerated in Somerset, Pulaski, Kentucky in 1810.  There was one man and one woman between the ages of 26 and 44 (presumably Henry and Rebecca) and five people (two boys and three girls) under the age of sixteen.

The only other census Rebecca was alive for was the 1820.  The Henry 'Willings' household in Somerset, consisted of eight white people.  There were four girls under twenty-five and two boys under fifteen.  There was also one man and one woman over the age of forty-five (Henry and Rebecca).

Rebecca was dead by 1826 (the year Henry remarried).  Interestingly Henry and his new wife named their daughter Rebecca.

There are candidates for Rebecca's family.  A James Chapple appears on an 1800 Pulaski Co. tax list (and was still there in 1810).  There were also some marriages of note in Pulaski Co.: Nancy Chappel to John Emerson in 1805, Kizah Chapel to John Wood in 1806, and Elizabeth Chapell to William Wood in 1805.  I believe all these people are in some way connected to Rebecca but proof is still elusive.

Rebecca's son, John Chappel Wellons, was my third great-grandfather.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Engeline Christine Petersen

(This week's entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Engeline was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany on 9 March 1855.  The next nineteen years of Engeline's life are a complete mystery to me.  On 30 May, 1874 Engeline married Niels Christian Nielsen by Rev. Julius Bauch at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oak Harbor, Ottawa, Ohio.

Very soon after their marriage Engeline and Niels moved west.  Their daughter, Katherine, was born in Mt. Eden, Alameda, California in November of 1875.  Another daughter, Caroline, was born in 1879.

At the time of the 1880 US Census, the family was still in Mt. Eden where Niels worked as a laborer.  The following year Caroline died.  Two months after Caroline's death, Engeline had another daughter, also named Caroline or Carolyn.  Four years later, daughter Lillian completed the family.

29 February 1932, Oakland Tribune
At the time of the 1900 US Census, the family is still in Eden with Niels farming.  It is the first time where Engeline mentions her year of arrival in the US, 1871 (the is also the year she gives in the 1910 US Census).

By 1910 the family had left Eden for the city of Alameda, where they lived at 2702 Central Ave.  Niels is no longer in farming, instead he is a foreman for the salt works.  In 1918, Engeline's daughter Katherine, died.

The family is still in Alameda for the 1920 US Census, living at 1508 Alameda Ave.  Niels is a laborer for the city by now.

The 1930 US Census would be Engeline's last.  They were living at 1626 Versailles Ave. in Alameda.  Engeline died two years later.

I've actually done a good amount of research on Engeline but don't have much to show for it.  I'd love to know who her parents were, where she was from, when exactly she did come to the US, why she went to Ohio, why she went to California, and any other piece of information I can gather.  It isn't as if Engeline's paper trail didn't leave me a lot of clues.  I just haven't been able to do much with those clues, which are:
  • Engeline's obituary mentions two sister, Celia Catharina Petersen Claussen and Christina Patrina Petersen Strauss.  I have researched them in depth.  They also went to Ottawa County, Ohio before moving to Alameda Co., California.  However, they arrived at later times than Engeline.
  • When Celia and her family arrived their last residence is given as Dageb├╝ll.
  • Both Oak Harbor/Benton Twp. and Mt. Eden had thriving Danish communities at the time.  It is likely that Engeline and Niels had relatives in both place.  However, I have researched some of the Petersen families in Ottawa Co., Ohio and found no connection to Engeline or her sisters.
  • The cemeteries for the various family members seem to have been popular with the Scandinavian community but I haven't been able to connect any of them to Engeline or her family.
Engeline was my third great-grandmother through her daughter, Katherine.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Elizabeth Asay Shinn

Another Elizabeth I know very little about is Elizabeth Asay Shinn.  Her parents were reportedly John Asay and Jane Shreve.  I've also seen the name spelled Easy or Esay.

Elizabeth was born around 1785 in New Jersey.  I've seen her birth location given as Springfield Twp. or Mansfield Twp., in any case she was probably born in Burlington County.

Elizabeth and John Shinn married on 1 November 1809 in Monmouth Co.  The following year their first child, John Irick, was born.  Elizabeth and John would go on to have nine known children in all: John Irick, Mary Anne, Charlotte, Jane, Sarah, Hannah, John R., Edith and Jacob Asay.

In 1840, Elizabeth's husband died.  Elizabeth, who seems to have spent her married life (at least) in Mansfield Twp., was enumerated in the household of her daughter Hannah in Chesterfield in the 1850 US Census.  By the 1860 US Census, Elizabeth was back in Mansfield living with daughter Sarah (daughter Edith lived next door).  She died there in July of 1863.

Elizabeth is buried in the Upper Springfield Friends Burying Ground in Wrightstown, Burlington, New Jersey.

There is a lot about Elizabeth I don't know (obviously) but I'd love to learn more.  One thing in particular I've always wondered about is whether she kept in touch with her son, John R., after he went to California during the Gold Rush.  It seems likely that they didn't because the only mention of John R. in the book The History of the Shinn Family in Europe and America is that he "moved to California."

Elizabeth was my 4th great-grandmother through her son, John R. Shinn.