Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mott Memoir, Part 15

So, I guess I took a nearly year long little break!  I hadn't planned to go so long between installments but I do really want to finish up transcribing the memoir.  The last entry concerned Essie leaving Hawaii, this one will pick up where we left off, with Essie on her way to Mazatlan (for anyone following at home with a hard copy of the memoir, this is page 24 of 48):

"The Whaler and Mazatlan

There was quite a nice little cabin in the stern below the main deck upon which three state-rooms opened, one quite large, with two wide berths where our mother, Evy and the little ones could sleep, and two small staterooms with one berth each that would do for Fanny and me.  Mrs. Cook and her maid had a room opening on the deck with two berths.  The Mexican girl was to have a pillow and blankets on the cabin floor.  We thought that we should be very comfortable with the cabin all to ourselves.  We made up our berths and arranged everything as well as we could.  There was but little wind and the sea was smooth, but after we had gone to bed the weather became rough and the ship began to roll.  We were all sick and after awhile we noticed a dreadful odor like spoiled water which grew worse and worse and as we were ill already it added greatly to our woes.  That was a dreadful night, no one could sleep, even the baby and Matilda were sick.  We were miserable.  In the morning the ship was more steady and we went on deck as soon as we could to breath some fresh air.  When our mother complained to the Captain of the disagreeable smell, he said it was bilge water that had settled in the hold of the ship and remained there so long it was spoiled.  I did not understand how it leaked in.  I suppose a sailor would.  Of course he must have known about it and I wonder how he supposed we could stand it.  Our mother was very angry, she would not have come on this ship if she had had any idea of this trouble, but it was too late to go back now.  The Captain said he would arrange for us to sleep in the cabin on deck and in the meanwhile as it was a warm pleasant day he had an awning put up over the quarter deck and blankets and pillows brought and we lay down on the deck for we were still ill though better in the outside air.  That night we slept in the upper cabin which was a very primitive kind of an apartment.  There were no staterooms, only berths down each side and a table in the middle which was for meals, but we could not smell the bad water we preferred it to the lower cabin.  The Captain and mates had to sleep there.

Captain Winslow was an elderly man with grey hair.  He was really quite handsome with pleasant blue eyes and a gentle kindly expression.  He was so good natured we could not help liking him even though he had not told about the bilge water.  He was very plain and simple but not rough.

We had recovered from the sea sickness and were beginning to feel a little more comfortable when the children were taken ill with the measles.  Fanny and Salome, the Mexican girl were all sick at once.  Fortunately, Evy and I had it already but poor Evy was so ill now it was as much as she could do to take care of herself, so I was the only one able to help my mother.  It was extremely unpleasant place for sick people.  The Captain and Mate had to come for their meals as the dining table was there.  Fanny was obliged to stay in her berth but she pulled the bed clothes over her head when they came.  Matilda cried and I had to wrap her in a blanket and hold her on my lap in a little passage way by the cabin door until the men were gone.  The first mate took the measles also.  I suppose the Captain had to attend to him.  It seems almost funny to think of these events now but they were not amusing at the time.  Fortunately, no one was very sick and they all recovered without any mishap which is very strange as we had no Doctor and no conveniences of any kind.  Our mother had some simple medicines and we did the best we could.  Matilda had learned to understand and speak English so we had become great friends and I took most of the care of her.  Our poor mother must have been dreadfully worried remembering how she had lost one child at sea.

After the invalids had recovered and Fanny was able to come on deck, we found various ways of amusing ourselves and I think we unintentionally amused the Captain and the crew also.  There was not such strict formality between Captain and crew as on the Samoset.  Captain Hollis was a stern dignified man, but the good natured old Captain of the Whaler seemed to be on very friendly terms with his crew.

One day when the sea was quiet and the ship steady Fanny and I climbed into one of the boats which were lashed to the outside of the bulwarks near the stern, suddenly the boat began to tip, we were dreadfully frightened and scrambled back to the deck as fast as we could.  The second mate was standing there quietly, apparently paying no attention but we noticed his hand was on one of the ropes, so we understood why the boat had tipped.  We never dared get in again.  One time the Captain pointed to a rope that was hanging loose, a little way from the deck and told me to pull it, I did so thinking he was going to play a trick on the men as Mr. Foote had done, I took hold with both hands and pulled hard.  I found myself going up off the deck and dangling in the air.  I was afraid to let go though the rope hurt my hands.  I was let down in a minute and I could not see anyone pulling but I knew the Captain had played a trick on me.  I think he considered us, Fanny and I, a private circus.  It was really rather unusual for a whaler to carry a cargo of girls.

Evy was too ill to find much amusement in anything.  She could sit out on the deck in pleasant weather but though fortunately there was no storms, some times the wind blew hard and it was quite cold.  Poor girl there was no comfortable place for her to stay and no privacy.  We kept the cabin open during the day.  The cabin was small and close and the Captain had to come in to write in the log book.  She grew pale and thin, sometimes she had chills and there were none of the comforts her condition required.  People say now that cold weather and open air are cures for consumption, but I believe that unpleasant voyage shortened her life.  I suppose she could never have recovered but probably if she could have remained in Honolulu she would have lived much longer.

Fortunately this was a short voyage.  I do not remember exactly how long it was.  I think four or five weeks.  We left Honolulu sometime in November and arrived in Mazatlan before Christmas.  Evy passed her eighteenth birthday at sea.

As we approached Mazatlan the weather became warmer.  One pleasant evening Evy and I were sitting in the little passage way between the cabin and the deck when we were surprised to see several of the men come on the quarter deck carrying some kind of a bench.  They put it down in front of us, but some way off, and seated themselves.  It was so dark we could hardly distinguish the faces and we wondered what they were going to do.  Presently they began to sing and we understood it was intended as a compliment to us.  They sang several songs, some of them had good voices, but the songs were very odd.  After they had finished one of them had the audacity to say now we'll have a song from the Miss' Motts.  We did not comply with this request and they departed.  We had other serenades at different times afterwards but this was the most original.  They were a nice looking set of men.  The ship probably sailed sailed for some port in Maine as the whalers generally did and I suppose most of the crew were American.

A day or two before we arrived the Captain began giving mysterious hints about something dreadful he was going to do.  When we asked him what it was he would shake his head and say (Oh you will see).  When all the packing was done and we were dressed in our shore clothes Fanny and I stood on deck watching the land as the ship entered the harbor, the Captain came up and catching us both in his arms kissed us before we knew what he was going to do.  There he said I told you I'd do it.  Then we understood the dreadful mystery.  We were astonished but we did not really mind, we were very young and he seemed to us like an old man.  Needless to say our mother was not in sight.

Our ship anchored a little way from the shore and I was deeply interested in my first view of this place which was to be my home for awhile at least.  An immense rock, called El Creston, shaped like a pyramid rose high above the sea near the entrance to the harbor.  The shore curved like a half moon was low and sandy.  We were near enough to distinguish a carriage and horses on the beach and a boat leaving the shore.  As it came near us Fanny exclaimed, there is PaPa.  When he came on deck for the second time I met an unknown father.  I was so young when he left New York I had only a vague remembrance of him.  He was very kind and pleasant.  It must have been a relief to his mind to have us arrive safely.  He invited the Captain to dinner but I wonder what he would have said if he had witnessed the mysterious secret.

Poor Mrs. Cook had kept quietly in her room most of the time during the voyage.  As we were getting ready to leave the ship I saw her sitting inside her door with tears running down her face while Mary her maid was trying to console her.  The return to Mazatlan must have been most distressing under the circumstances.  Mr. Kelly a merchant in the town came on board with our father and kindly invited her to remain with his wife for awhile.

At last we were all safely lowered into the boat and rowed to the shore and another chapter of my life commenced.
So ends this chapter, the next section will be: Mazatlan, December 1848.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beloved Lady In Long Sleep

The lesson here is that sometimes you need to ignore what technology is telling you and go with what you know.  I knew when my great-great-great-grandmother died and where, I even had an excerpt (the beginning) of her obituary so I knew what I was looking for and the newspaper it was in.  Luckily, the newspaper is online, unluckily Google doesn't seem to have done a very good job reading early editions of it and making them searchable (if the images were of poor quality I could understand this, but many, like the one below, are just fine).  In the end, I found the obituary the old-fashioned way, by scanning page after page:

Mrs. Marie Adelaide Shinn, one of the oldest and most respected residents of this section, passed away at her home in Woodbridge Tuesday morning after a short illness.

"Grandma" Shinn, as she was affectionately known throughout the country, was a cheerful soul and was loved by all who knew her.

She was 84 years, 9 months and 7 days of age at the time of death. For the past 35 years she resided in Woodbridge, and had been in California for the past 64 years.

She came of a splendid family and was closely related to the family of Henry Ward Beecher.

She was the wife of the late J. R. Shinn and mother of Heman D. Shinn of Woodbridge, and Denver J. Shinn of El Dorado county.

The funeral will be held tomorrow morning at 9:30 from the chapel of Hale & Bawden.  Rev. Keast will officiate and interment will be made in Woodbridge cemetery."

From The Lodi Sentinel, 19 July 1917, page 5.  Obituary of Mariah Adelaide Doyle (Shinn), 1832-1917.
The obituary omits her daughter, Ida May Shinn Snediger/Snedigar, who had died about sixteen years earlier.  The connection to Henry Ward Beecher mentioned is kind of an odd one since she wasn't related to the family by blood at all and her connection to the family, by way of marriage, itself really wasn't that close.  Her maternal grandfather, Moses Jackman, remarried Betsey Beecher after the death of his first wife, who Mariah was descended from.  Betsey Beecher was a first cousin once removed to Henry Ward Beecher.

For any relatives reading this:  Mariah>Heman>Elmer>my grandfather>my mother>me

UPDATE: I should clarify how I got a copy of the obit image above.  I did a screen capture (Alt+Prt Scr on the keyboard) and then pasted and cropped the obituary in Paint.  There are programs you can use to do a screen capture and I'm sure some of them are quite good but I'm lazy so I just do it the old-fashioned way.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Unique to Each One

Recently I was thinking about the immense variety I'm lucky to have in my family tree and realized that each of my eight great-grandparents came from very different backgrounds.  While I'm interested in all parts of my family tree, just for fun I wanted to figure out what each one added to my tree that none of the other "greats" did.

Joseph James Allen:  My Ontarians, United Empire Loyalists and known Ulster Scots and actual Scots come from this line, I've also got the founder of a town (Beamsville, Ontario) and my Pennsylvania roots through this line.  On the collateral side of things, I've got a "roundhead" (PA 100, Co. K of the Union Army) to research and places like British Columbia and many of the other Western Canadian provinces.  This line also gives me (or more appropriately, my father) the Y-DNA that he has.

Daisy May/Mae Croad:  My most recent British ancestors (from Dorset and Somerset by way of Wales; arrived in the US in 1892) and the source of some of the most unique, and my favorite, surnames in my tree (Croad, Tizzard, Shoe, Shepstone).  This line also gives me some "redcoats," Boer and Crimean Wars veterans.  On the collateral side of things, this line has British WWI and WWII veterans and a breed of chicken named after one of them and places to research like Australia and in the US, Utah.

Giuseppe Lapiccirella:  My only WWI veteran that served on the Italian side, his brother enlisted for the Americans.  Although he was from Foggia, his mother and/or her family might have originated in Molise (her last name is twice as common there as it is in Foggia).

Maria Nicoletta SOMETHING:  My mystery lady.  She was from Italy though I don't know which village (but I assume it was near where her husband was from) and I don't know who her parents were... and I'm not really sure what her maiden name was (Riccia was given at Ellis Island but she told her children it was something close to Ducci/Daccia/Dacci).  Although both she and her husband are from Italy, Nicoletta is unique in that she is the source of my father's mtDNA which is a mystery in itself: it is one of the rarest in the world and only shows up in any moderately high levels in Yemen.

Elmer John Shinn:  My naughty New Jersey Quakers (they weren't very good Quakers), my Lincolnshire roots, my Maine and New Brunswick connection, my (possible) one and only Connecticut link and the only actually Irish line that I have (that I know of).  My first ancestors in California and my only ties to Vermont, Rhode Island and Nevada come through this line as well.  Collaterally, I get to research Yorkshire and the US states Wisconsin and North Dakota thanks to this great-grandparent.

Gladys Viola Healey: My Mayflower ancestors, Nova Scotia ties (New England Planters), Danish roots and the little bit of Dutch (New Netherlands) and French ancestry I have come from this line.  This line also gives me Hawaii and Mexico to research and collaterally people like Harold von Schmidt and the Benet brothers (who were 2nd and 3rd cousins respectively to my great-grandmother) among others (for some reason most of the famous relatives are through this line).

Gideon Gottlieb Berger:  My Swiss roots come from this line, as does my lone Civil War veteran direct ancestor (he served in the Union for Indiana).

Georgiana Wellons:  My one and only ancestor with Southern roots (Kentucky, Virginia and possibly Tennessee and North Carolina), I also get my Colorado, Oregon, Iowa and Kansas roots from this line.  This is also the line that my possible Native American lines come through and my only known Welsh line.  Collaterally, I get Confederate soldiers to research and states like Texas, Washington and Missouri from this great-grandparent.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Genealogy Atlas

When I was little one of my favorite things was maps (remember the ones that came in National Geographic issues?  Those were my favorites) and that love of maps is something from childhood that I still carry with me.  For a long time I've wanted to combine my interest in maps and genealogy in the form of a "genealogy atlas" and while I'm still trying to perfect both the idea and look, I've found a website that has proved helpful.  The website, which is very easy to use, was developed through Texas A&M University and is here (note: only US states and counties within states can be color-coded).

The first map I wanted to make was one showing where my (known) direct ancestors lived, and thus the states that I research the most.  And here is a screenshot:

States marked in dark blue are where my known direct ancestors lived, either briefly or for generations.  States in medium blue (CT, TN, NC) are ones that brick wall ancestors of mine said their parents were from in the 1880 census, but I do not conclusively know how accurate that information is at present. 

The next map I did was the same as above except that I included states (in yellow) where collateral lines went that I also research (this doesn't include states where recent collateral lines, like my parents' and grandparents' siblings, live or lived).  Screenshot:

Next, I started making them for specific states starting with California:

In Sea Green are counties where ancestors of mine were known to have lived, either briefly or for generations.  Next I did another map including collateral lines (in yellow):

My ultimate goal is to one day have an heirloom quality genealogy atlas in book form but this (and Google Maps) are good practice.  I especially like the maps above because, even though they aren't very detailed, they are color coded and I think easier for a non-family history buff to use and appreciate.  I know RootsMagic produces a program similar (and I think better) than a lot of the free mapping options out there like GoogleMaps.  In case you're wondering, the program is called Family Atlas and yes, it is at the top of my wishlist.

Disclosure: I am in no way affiliated with RootsMagic nor did I receive any remuneration or was prompted to write this post by any outside party.  I use RootsMagic Essentials, the free and striped down version of RootsMagic and plan to one day upgrade.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March To-Dos

February started off so well and then I got the flu and spent the second half of the month mostly unconscious.  Oh well...

Research:  I did tons for a project I'm starting but none on my own family, with the exception of what I found and posted in the Robert Courtney Green article.  For March, I want to try and focus more on researching my own lines and going through all the February research I did.

Writing, Transcription and Education:  watched some of the RootsTech webinars and some of the new lessons over at FamilySearch.  I also indexed about 150 names for FamilySearch.  Unfortunately, I didn't meet my minimum of six blog posts for February.  For March, my goals are to index at least 200 names, write 7 blog posts and re-watch the Curt Wicher RootsTech presentation (I was multitasking the first time of watched and ended up missing a lot).

Organization:  Continue purging papers I don't need any more.  This is is my year-long organizational goal (see January To-Dos) and I'm making some good headway.  My ultimate goal is to fit all my genealogy papers (excluding books and other educational materials) on one bookshelf (when I started this project I had papers filling up two large drawers, a paper bag, two piles, on my dresser, a box in my closet and one bookshelf so I've got my work cut out for me!).

Since the end of March will mark the end of the first quarter of 2011, here's a look at my 2011 goals and where I'm at:

Research:  Haven't even started this one.  My goal is to find information on my great-grandmother, including what her maiden name was, who her parents were and where in Italy she was actually from.

Writing:  My goal was to begin and maintain a family record (like ones in a Bible).  I've got my "record book" and I've started adding older events to it but since there haven't been any family events to record thus far (that I've been told of) its been pretty slow going.  But hey, at least I haven't completely forgotten about the project so that's something.

Organization:  My goal was to purge which is what I've been doing so I get a gold star (or at least a quarter of one) for this goal thus far.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Robert Courtney Green

A few weeks ago I realized I had some pretty glaring holes in one branch of my great-grandmother's family tree.  The lack of research I had done on this family was especially apparent when I looked at her mother's family.  I hadn't really traced her collateral line, sister Elizabeth Tizzard's family, either.  So, I spent an afternoon researching what I could.  The same old brick-walls came up but I had better luck researching Elizabeth and her family.  I was especially amazed at what I found when researching Elizabeth's grandson, Robert Courtney Green. 

The Battle of Fromelles has been called one of the darkest events in Australian history.  In July of 1916, German forces (reportedly including a young Adolf Hitler) met British and Australian troops in Fromelles, a community in northern France near the Belgium border.  The Allies suffered heavy losses, especially the Australians who lost over 5,500 men.  Most of the dead ended up in mass, unmarked graves.

In 2009, over ninety years later, 250 British and Australian soldiers were found in one of the largest war graves discovered in recent years.  Among those discovered were the remains of Robert Courtney Green, who was British born but had moved to Australia and was in Fromelles as part of the AIF (Australian Imperial Force).  He was identified thanks to DNA testing and put to rest in a new Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in July of last year. 

Robert Courtney Green had left England to find a life free from the British class system in Australia and settled near Perth.  He enlisted in the 32nd Battalion and went to Egypt to train.  Not long after arriving in France, he was killed after being shot in battle and died a few days before his thirty-first birthday.  His identity tags were sent back to his family, confirming his death.

Among the pieces of information I found on Robert Courtney Green is this video, produced by St. Mary's Cathedral College: 

Robert Courtney Green from St Mary's Cathedral College on Vimeo.

Partial Family Tree:

1. William Tizzard and Harriet Gibbons
2. Susanna Tizzard (Croad)  2. Elizabeth Tizzard (Courtney) --- sisters
3. Frederick Rendle Croad   3. Jane Courtney (Green)    ------  first cousins
4. Daisy Mae Croad (Allen) 4. Robert Courtney Green   ------  second cousins

(Daisy Mae Croad was my great-grandmother)