Monday, September 28, 2009

Madness Monday: Heman Doyle

Heman Doyle has been one of my greatest mysteries since day one. Of all the brick wall ancestors I've encountered over the years, Heman Doyle is the thickest wall. In the decade that I've been doing genealogy research, he is about the only ancestor that I haven't found anything on. What is known:

* From a family history that I have, it says that he was born in Vermont on 31 Dec 1809. However, his tombstone says that he was born in 1811. On the 1880 census he says that his father was from Ireland and his mother was from Connecticut.

* He shows up in the Rochester, New York area in the late 1830s. Although, his wife, Alzina Jackman was from nearby Livonia, New York and their first child was born in New York in 1832 which leads me to believe that he was in the Rochester area by the early 1830s. I can't find him on the 1840 census, but he appears in a newspaper article from 1 July 1839 where it states he is living in Pittsford (an area of Rochester). For some reason he shows up in the 1850 census in Rochester, although he was already in California by then.

* He came to California in 1849 during the Gold Rush. He settled in the Placerville area but also lived in San Joaquin Co. and Douglas Co., Nevada. He was the first DA of Douglas Co. and also served as a justice of the peace, probate judge, court recorder and a court justice in Nevada as well as California.

*He died on 11 Sep 1881 in San Joaquin Co. from typhoid. His wife Alzina survived him as well as their eldest daughter (my ancestor), Mariah Adelaide Doyle Shinn. They also had daughter Rhoda Melissa in 1834 but I think she died young (is not with the family in the 1850 census) and daughter Frances P. who was born in 1837. Frances married and had a son, Frank Doyle Smith in 1857 before Frances died in 1869. After her death, Heman and Alzina raised little Frank.

*I don't think Alzina and Heman got along. In a few census records the two are in separate households and state that they are widowed even though that obviously wasn't the case. Alzina also stayed in New York after her husband went to California for four years. She made the trip to California in 1853 with her daughter, Mariah and grandson, Heman Doyle Shinn. In the Rochester city directories that she appears in during the period between Heman's departure and hers for California, she says that she is a widow.

I don't know anything about Heman's early life, like where he was born, who his parents were, why he came to New York or what year he was exactly born. Since his second daughter, Rhoda Melissa was at least partly named after Alzina's mother Rhoda, I think maybe the names Melissa, Mariah, Adelaide, Frances or Frances' middle initial P. might be named for a relative of Heman's but I've had no luck proving it so far.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

SNGF-Favorite Song

My apologies to Randy, but I'm not going to play by the rules this time.  It would just be too difficult to try and come up with a favorite song.  To put this into perspective, I have over a thousand songs in my iTunes and just about all of them are favorites.  Name a genre, a decade, an era, and so on, and I'll name a favorite song.  In fact, it would be much easier if the challenge were to name your LEAST favorite song.

But what I can do is name the songs or groups that I have associated with different family members.

My grandmother is a classical pianist and organist and former singer (she even sang at the Geary) and choir director so obviously music is a huge part of her life.  The song I always associate with her would be Rhapsody on a Theme on Paganini (18th variation to be precise) by Rachmaninoff:

I remember hearing her play it vividly, though my mother has no recollection of listening to her ever play that.  Whenever I hear organ music it also makes me think of her, if only because she was an organist and it is one of her favorite instruments. 

For my great-grandmother, it isn't so much a song that I associate with her as a bandleader, John Philip Sousa.  In one of the only interviews anyone ever did of her when asked what he favorite music was, she said "Sousa's band" and I never forgot that. 

For my other grandmother (this time paternal) bluegrass always makes me think of her.  For a tiny Italian woman from Michigan, she LOVED bluegrass and country music.  Since she was the only one in the family who was really a fan of that type of music, I don't think anyone really paid attention to what her favorite musicians or songs were. She went to the Grand Ole Opry at least once that I remember though I honestly couldn't say what her favorite songs were. 

For my father, I always associated The Who and The Animals with him, though he was and is a fan of a lot of genres of music, like my mother.  This song in particular reminds me of him and I know it was one of his favorites from his youth:

My mother is little harder to pin down and I frankly can't think of any songs I associated strictly with her.  But both of my parents are HUGE fans of Puccini and I grew up listening to a lot of his work (which I think is why I have such a love/hate relationship with opera...) so I always associate him with my parents and childhood:

Since there are a lot of servicemen in my family (past and present), I always associate Taps with a lot of the men in my tree, especially my grandfathers who were both veterans.

Oh, and since it is Saturday, I just had to include a favorite of my father's which now is also a favorite of mine:

Thanks for the Saturday night fun, Randy (even if I didn't follow the challenge exactly this week)!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Little Something For A Family Reunion

In a little over a week a branch of my family will be having a gathering, sort of a mini-family reunion. While it will be a small affair, it is still going to be pretty significant because many of the "elder statesmen" (or states-ladies in this case) of this branch will be there. I'd like to put together a little something but with such little time and other responsibilities I don't really know what I can pull out of my hat for this. Here are some thoughts (suggestions welcome):
* I'm bringing the dessert and thought it would be fun to bring dishes which were special to the person we'll be celebrating (my great-grandmother). My great-grandmother always served Cottage Bakery coffee cakes at every event I can remember, so of course that'll be there (as an aside, if you are ever in the Lodi area, you HAVE to go there, they've got everything and the food is so good). She was from San Francisco before her marriage so of course there'll be Ghirardelli chocolates there and my mother and I are working to come up with other special goodies. Since I have some of my great-grandmother's most well known recipes, I was thinking of putting together a little booklet of them to pass out. I'll be making a prototype in the next couple of days to see if it'll be a viable option so we'll see.
* A picture book? Since just about everyone loves picture books, I was thinking of doing something along those lines. The only problem is that I don't have many family pictures of this branch (although the host of the event does). The pictures that I do have of my great-grandmother almost always have me in them, which, let's admit it, isn't going to be that desirable to relatives outside my immediate family. I'm hopeful that there will be pictures laid out at the event (if not, you can bet I'll ask!) so that I can take pictures of them and have copies. Maybe then I can put together a picture book and hand it out at a later time.
* A compilation of family documents. What I lack in pictures, I can make up for in documents (by that I mean stories, biographies, letters, etc.). This would probably be the easiest option for me because all it would involve doing is making copies of the documents and binding them in some way. The only problem is that I would have to include a little family tree, otherwise no one but me would know who half the people in the documents are. This leads me to...
* If I'm really lazy, I can just do the little family tree. With my great-grandmother as the starting point, I can do a family tree back to be great-grandparents and include some facts (like in the last SNGF- Ahnentafel Roulette).
Since I'm the only one in my tree interested in this stuff, with the exception of a cousin (who works full time, travels full time and has a young family- so genealogy research is out of the question for him obviously), I don't usually pull out the genealogy for relatives (although they know I am interested in it and ready to share). But I figure I should at least give them a little nugget and see what happens. If they get a kick out of it and want more then that is great and if they look it over half-heartedly and file it away and forget about it, then that is fine too- at least I've made the effort. One thing I have learned NOT to do at a family reunion is to bring original materials. The one year that I did that the few people that did notice wanted to keep the stuff I had brought and things ended up damaged, taken or in disarray. I think the only way that would work is if I were to spend the whole time "guarding" the stuff and who wants to do that at a family reunion?!
Anyway, I've got a little over a week and maybe a day's worth of time to spend on this project so any suggestions are welcome.  

Saturday, September 19, 2009

SNGF- Ahnentafel Roulette!

This week's SNGF certainly is timely considering my father will be turning 60 on Thursday. The rules are:

"1) How old is your father now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."
2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ahnentafel. Who is that person?
3) Tell us three facts about that person with the "roulette number."
4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.
5) If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick your mother, or yourself, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!"
I get 15 as my roulette number regardless of whether I go by how old he is or how old he'll be in a few days and 15 in my ahnentafel is my maternal grandmother's mother, Georgiana Wellons Berger. Georgia was born on 29 April of 1891 to George Washington Wellons and Mary Anna Webb. She married Rev. Gideon G. Berger on 28 Sep 1919. They had three children, including my grandmother before her husband died in 1965. Georgia died on 26 Sep 1985 in Lodi, California. Three facts about her:

1) She was born in a lumber town on the California/Oregon border, Klamathon, which burnt down in 1903. This means that there are no early records for her, including a birth certificate. This proved a challenge when she wanted to get a passport and visit he son, who was stationed in Japan, in the 1950s. She eventually did get her passport and many of the souvenirs she brought back from Japan now decorate my grandmother's home.

2) Apparently she had webbed toes which she got from her mother (Mary Anna Webb). My grandmother (Georgia's daughter) also has this though it didn't pass on beyond that. Due to the fashions at the time, Georgia also developed some foot deformities due to the shoes which were worn in her youth.

3) She was a voracious reader and I inherited some of her books. The only reason I read Pride and Prejudice the first time was because it was her copy and she had signed the inside of it. I've since read the book at least a dozen times and had to get a new copy before I wore out her copy. Her favorite book was How Green Was My Valley because it supposedly reminded her of her Welsh heritage (Wellons was originally Llewelyn), though her family was mostly English and the Wellons had been in the US (Virginia) since the early 1700s.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What's In A Name And Why It Matters

I've got at least two dozen direct ancestors that have alternate names and spellings. Sometimes it is only a matter of a letter, like Susanna/Susannah and sometimes it is meant to represent a post-immigration surname change like my vonAllmens who became Allmens when they came to the US from Switzerland. But mostly, all these alternate names and spelling represent plain old confusion. On one record the name is this on another record it is that, this time it was spelling this way, that time it was spelling that, etc. Didemia Beam is a good example. Note, Didemia is just the spelling I've adopted for her, there are about a dozen other variations out there. Her marriage record, death record, birth records for her children and census records all offer a different name for her: Didan, Dedamia, Didima, Didi, Diadame, Anna, Anni, Danni, Didaine, Didame, etc. Point is, the list of alternate names I have for her is longer than all the biographical information I've got on her.

Where do all these misspellings come from? Well, in the case of some ancestors, ones who had just immigrated to the US, I imagine it stems from the fact that they had a tenuous at best grasp of the English language. But in the case of Didemia this doesn't apply. She was Canadian, a native English speaker and came from a large and well known family in the (small) community where she lived in Ontario. I am more inclined to trust the spellings of her name on records from her girlhood there than after she got married and went to Michigan, yet the misspellings and alternate names are present even on her hometown records. I think it just breaks down to the fact that she had a unique name that could probably be easily mispronounced and misspelled. Something else to look for is the background of the spouse or head of household in which they lived. In Didemia's case, her husband was from Ireland and probably pronounced her name with a strong Irish accent which could account for some of the misspellings on records.
In any case, it has always been important to me to get an ancestor's name right and it drives me crazy when there are tons of alternate spellings because it really means no one knows what their actual name was. I think the reason why this is a big deal to me is because I have one of those names that can be easily mispronounced and misspelled. No one ever spells it right and hardly anyone pronounces it right (thanks a lot, Star Wars!). Adding to all this is the fact that there are two correct pronunciations, Lay-uh in the Jewish tradition and Lee-ah to gentiles like myself. I was recently invited to a family event by a relative who has known me her entire life and yet managed to misspell my name. It wouldn't be a big deal except that this is written on the type of document meant for scrapbooks and as a keepsake (it is an invitation to an event for every female in my mother's family and lists all of us, our connection to the common ancestor we are honoring, etc.). If anyone besides me where to get into genealogy this card would be a gold mine of information. Too bad there are errors on it (my name isn't the only one misspelled) which could easily be propagated and passed down.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trading Card

As usual, I'm late to the party:
What a fun idea!  Although, I would like to revise my card when I get a chance.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Siblings of Andrew Webb: William Martin Webb

(NOTE: I recently started back to school and therefore don't have much time at the moment to write new blog posts so I'm cleaning up some of the drafts I have built up and posting them.  This post was originally written in May of 2009)

A lot is already known about brother William, he even has some trees up on Ancestry. He was born Dec 17 1822, Orange Co., IN; d. Aug 15 1899, Martin Co., IN. He married Elizabeth Drusilla/Drucilla Nuckolls on March 14 1844 in Martin Co. Drucilla was born Nov 10 1822 in Kentucky and died April 8 1883 in Martin Co., IN. They had:

1. William Martin Webb, b. June 14 1845, IN; d. Nov 3 1876, Lawrence Co., IN.

2. John Richison/Richardson Webb, b. Aug 15 1847, IN. John married a Nancy Ann Schwaly May 14 1868, probably Baker Twp., Martin, IN. They had James (b. circa 1869, IN), Thomas (b. Dec 1872, IN), Joseph (b. circa 1875, IN), Excy (b. circa 1877, IN), Drucilla (b. Dec 1878, IN- d. 28 Mar 1903, Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana), David H. (b. June 1885, IN). The family moved from Baker Twp. to Indian Creek, Lawrence Co. in the 1870s and were in Indianapolis, Marion, IN by 1900.  I don't know what became of Excy though I suspect that 'Excy' wasn't her actual name but a transcription error.  Drucilla married Francis M. Hager on 25 Nov 1896 in Indianapolis.

3. Nancy Jane Webb, b. Oct 1849, Lawrence Co.; d. May 16 1895, Lawrence Co. Married Elkhana(h) Inman (b. Oct 4 1844, Lawrence Co.; d. Feb 8 1927, Lawrence Co.). They had: Mary F. Inman, (b. Oct 1 1869; d. Nov 5 1903, Lawrence Co.), Joseph (b. Apr 1870, Lawrence Co.) and Amanda Flora Inman (b. Oct 1 1875; d. Jan 29 1961, Lawrence Co.). Mary married John E. Hackler on Sept 14 1899 and Mary is buried at Indian Creek Primitive Baptist Cemetery, Spice Valley Twp, Lawrence Co. Amanda married James Lowry Inman on Feb 24 1892 in Lawrence Co.

4. Emily Luticia Webb, b. Nov 19 1850; d. 1907, Martin Co. Married first Zachariah Shoemaker, 21 Mar 1869, Martin Co.; second, John Wesley Sipes, 29 Jun 1890, Martin Co, IN. Emily and Zachariah had Mary Matilda (b. 21 Feb 1872, Martin Co.; d. 1 Aug 1929, Beardsley, Minnesota), William Henry (b. 22 June 1874, Martin Co.; d. 21 Oct 1876, Martin Co.), Eliza Adeline (b. 1 Jan 1878, Martin Co.; d. 5 July 1963, Indian Springs, Martin, Indiana), Louella Alice (b. 18 May 1880, Martin Co.; d. 27 May 1888, Martin Co.), Della (b. 15 Mar 1884, Martin Co.; d. 20 Mar 1972, Greenfield, Hancock, Indiana), Delmar (b. 15 Mar 1884, Martin Co.; d. 19 Aug 1884, Martin Co.)

5. Thomas Andrew Webb, b. 22 Aug 1853, Martin Co.; d. bet. 1930 and 1940, Los Angeles, CA.  Married Mahala Lewis (b. 5 Feb 1858/59, Martin Co.) on 3 Aug 1876, Martin Co.  They had: Willard (b. circa 1878, IN), Amanda Etta (17 Sep 1888, Martin Co.), David Gilbert (b. 7 Oct 1893, Martin Co.; d. 3 July 1983, Los Angeles, CA).

6. James Henry Webb, b. 20 May 1855, Baker, Martin, Indiana.  Married Caroline Martin.  I can't find him after the 1880 census.

7. David Boland Webb, b. 13 Jan 1857, Martin Co.; d. Los Angeles, CA.  Married Minerva J. Umphress on 23 May 1880.  They had Lloyd (b. Apr 1887, Indiana), Noble (b. 1 June 1890, Indiana; d. 20 May 1965, Yolo Co., CA), Mabel (29 Nov 1892, IN; d. 10 May 1953, Losa Angeles, CA).  Mabel (also spelled Mable) married Freeman H. Wever.

8. Charles Horace Webb, b. 8 Jul 1861, Martin Co.; d. 7 Oct 1931, Los Angeles, CA. Married Mary Etta Umphress on 10 July 1881, Martin Co.  The had: Ezra (b. March 1883, IN), Berrie (b. May 1884, IN), Carrie (b. June 1885, IN), Ralph (b. Jan 1889, IN), Osa (b. Dec 1892, IN), Stanley (b. Apr 1897, IN), Hobart (b. Sep 1899, IN), Myrtle (b. circa 1902, IN), Arthur (b. circa 1906, IN), Claud(e) (b. circa 1908, IN), Hobert/Hobart (b. circa 1909, IN).

9. Julius Grant Webb, b. May 1864, IN; d. 2 July 1888, Shoals, Martin, IN

There was also Elizabeth Drucilla Webb (b. 14 June 1845, IN- d. 12 Aug 1845, IN) who died at around two months of age.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Colonial Connections: New York

(Note: I am busy with school at the moment so I don't have time to write new blog posts.  Instead, I'm cleaning up some drafts and posting them.  This was originally written in June 2009)

After the Revolutionary War, a fairly large branch of my tree came to upper, western New York (Monroe and Livingston Co. to be exact).  But, since this is about my "colonial connections," I'm not counting the branches that came after the Revolutionary War.  Most of my pre-war bunch lived in and around New York City, primarily Queens and Orange Co.

Surnames Include:
(on Long Island) Mott, Williams, Pankhurst, Smith, Gildersleeve, Jackson, Washburn, Seaman, Strickland, Coles, Wright, Gorton, Weeks/Weekes, Dickerson, Reddocke, Carpenter

(in NYC and Staten Island) Rose, Egbert/Egbertse/Egburson,  Harmens, Cresson, Letelier/Tillier

(in Goshen, Orange Co.) Smith, Green

I also have one MAYBE New York branch.  An ancestor, Edmund Horton, served in Butler's Rangers during the Revolutionary War.  I know very little about Edmund but I suspect that he was from New York since Butler's Rangers was a primarily New York regiment.

Favorite website:
Long Island Genealogy

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Frank Benson

Picture taken circa 1914 in the Yreka area of Siskiyou Co., CA. Written on the back: "Frank Leroy Benson. He was about ready to cry here." Frank was the nephew of my great-grandmother. Not long after this picture was taken his mother (my great-grandmother's sister) would die and he, his sister and father relocated to San Francisco to live with Frank's paternal grandmother. Frank died in Siskiyou Co. in 1989.

Photo privately held by Leah (address for private use), CA; August 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hudsons of Fannin Co., TX

(NOTE: I am now back at school and currently don't have much time to write new posts so I'm cleaning up some of the drafts I've built up over the months and posting them now.  This post was originally written in April of 2009)

One of my favorite branches of my family to research are the Hudsons. They came to Virginia in the 17th Century and relocated to Pulaski Co., KY not long after the Revolutionary War. My last Hudson was Sarah Elizabeth who married John Chapple Wellons and left for the west in 1850 (they eventually settled in Iowa). Most of Sarah's family remained in the South though, especially Kentucky. One of her 1st cousins, however, ended up in Oklahoma and then Fannin Co., Texas.  Patrick Henry Hudson was the son of Vincent Jackson Hudson and Pamela (or Permela) Vaughn, one of nine children.  Patrick's siblings are a bit of a mystery, though I think most of them died young.  So far, Patrick has been the only one of Vincent Jackson Hudson and Permela Vaughn's children that I've been able to conclusively track.  I'm hoping that by posting this someone connected with this branch will find this post and be able to supply me with some info on Patrick's family and possible siblings.

Patrick, nicknamed "Dobe," was born on 19 Feb 1840 in Somerset, Pulaski, Kentucky.  He was married twice, first to Elizabeth J. Senter around 1867 in Flora, Clay, Illinois (where Patrick had moved to with, I believe, at least one of his brothers).  Patrick and Elizabeth had two children, George M. Hudson (b. circa 1870 in Illinois) and William Hudson (b. 7 May 1872 in Wayne Co., Illinois- d. 18 Nov 1873 in Wayne Co., Illinois).  Elizabeth died not long after William's birth on 12 Nov 1872 in Wayne Co., Illinois.  She and William are buried in Rinard, Illinois in Bunker Cemetery.

Patrick married secondly Elizabeth's cousin, Julia Adeline Senter in April of 1875 in Flora, Clay, Illinois.  He and Julia had Charles Wayne Hudson (b. 19 Sep 1877, Flora, Clay, Illinois- d. 12 Mar 1957 in Dallas, Dallas, Texas), David Frederick Hudson (b. 23 Dec 1880, Clay Co., Illinois- d. 11 Apr 1948, Bonham, Fannin, Texas) and Bertha Ellen Hudson Saunders (b. Oct 1885, Texas- d. 15 May 1973, Bonham, Fannin, Texas).  Patrick and family moved first to Oklahoma and then crossed the border into Fannin Co., Texas around 1885.  He died in Bonham on 11 April 1911 and is buried in Hampton Cemetery in Edhube.  Julia died in 1934 and is also buried in Hampton Cemetery.

Thanks to FamilySearch I've been able to find death certificates for several members of the family.  In my experience, Texas has a lot of great online resources, I only wish I had more branches from there so that I could take advantage of the online offerings for the state more!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Colonial Connections: Massachusetts

(NOTE: I recently started back to school and don't have much time to write new posts at the moment, so I'm cleaning up the multitude of drafts I've built up and posting them.  This post was originally written in March of 2009).

Many Americans have colonial connections and I am no exception. In fact, on my mother's side, most of my lines were in America before 1700 (which is in stark contrast with my father's side of the family who have only been here for one hundred years or so). Most of my colonial roots are in Massachusetts and I was looking to learn more about two places in particular, Newbury and Newburyport (where my Jackman line came).

My colonial Essex Co. surnames:

Barker, Bartlett, Bitfield, Brown/Browne, Call (Caul), Chase, Clough, Cox, Follansbee, Hilton, Jackman, James, Lee, Longhorne, Major (LeMessurier), Merrill, Moores, Morse/Moss, Parsons, Perry (Pary or Paré), Plumer/Plummer, Sanders, Savery/Severy, Sawyer, Stevens, Stilson, Trussell, Vinson, Wolterton, Woodhead.

Essex Co. isn't the only place in Massachusetts where I have colonial connections. Middlesex, Bristol, Barnstable, Berkshire, Suffolk, Hampden, Norfolk and Plymouth Counties are other important spots in my family tree. Here are my surnames in those counties (hopefully another researcher will come across these and want to swap info!):

Appleton, Badcock, Bond, Buck, Bullen, Brewster, Bryant, Chipman, Clark/Clarke, Cobb, Collins, Daniel, Dillingham, Doane, Ellis, Fairbanks/Fairebanks, Freeman, Greenaway, Haley/Healy, Hicks, Hinckley, Hopkins, Howland, Jones, Lathrop, Lee, Miller, Neale, Ring, Russell, Scott, Shaw, Silvester/Sylvester, Smith, Stephenson, Swift, Thomas, Thwing, Turner, Underwood, Warren, Watson.

All those surnames can be tied to two distant grandparents of mine, Alzina Jackman Doyle (1810-1890) and Comfort G. Haley (1838-1910). It seems like around the time of the Revolutionary War all my Massachusetts kin left the state for either New Hampshire (Jackman) or Nova Scotia (Haley). 

I am still collecting resources along the way but here are a few I quite like for Massachusetts genealogy:

I also have found that not all USGenWeb sites are created equal, but the Essax Co., MA site (which is where Newbury/Newburyport is) is one of the best and I use it quite a bit for 17th and 18th century research.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Long Beach Pier

I believe this was taken around 1910. It was in a box of pictures belonging to my great-grandfather, Rev. Gideon Berger, though I doubt he took this picture.
Photo privately held by Leah (address for private use), CA; August 2009