Friday, September 30, 2011


Well, has it really been three years? I'm always surprised when I make it to another blogiversary and it is especially true this year.

2011 has been a tough a year, a REALLY tough year.  I could list everything, but the main thing is that my mother was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer this past spring and all the surgeries and treatments that have ensued since then.

All of this has made genealogy and this blog an afterthought at times.  In fact, there were times when I just had to walk away from it for awhile because the idea of researching deceased relatives was just too overwhelming.  But, I would always come back to it and I truly think (after this year especially) I always will, I just enjoy it too much.

Believe it or not, but this year has been a pretty good one genealogically.  I've actually accomplished a lot though there is still quite a bit left to tackle and get better at.  And, although my output has been way down (for obvious reasons), this has been a good year for this blog - the best so far in my personal opinion.  First and foremost, I finally changed the name of this blog and now cannot, for the life of me, fathom why I waited so long.  I had hated "The Internet Genealogist" since day one - it was an impulsive choice that haunted me.  But oddly enough, "Leah's Family Tree" was just as impulsive a choice but I love it, I think because it fits so well where the old one fit so badly.  Honestly, now that I have a title that works, I have so much more love for this blog and get so much more joy out of writing posts - who would of thunk it?!!

There are so many excellent genealogy blogs out there, I cannot tell you how touched (and amazed) I am that anyone ever bothers to stop here.  A heartfelt thank you to you all.

And, I especially want to say how grateful and appreciative I am to anyone and everyone who has stopped to follow, leave a comment or send me an e-mail.  I'd also like to apologize for the lack of acknowledgement at times on my end.  I've always had a difficult time staying on top of all my correspondence and it has really spiraled out of control this year.  Improving in this area is number one on my blogging priority list!

I'm always excited to see what the new year holds, whether it be calendar or in blog time, and this one is no different.  Onward to four!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Makes A Great GenWeb Site?

My introduction to genealogy came in the form of an article about the USGenWeb project my aunt gave me in the late 1990s.  It was one of the first genealogy websites I ever visited and it is one I continue to come back to often.

There are some county websites that consistently blow me away.  I really can't even begin to imagine where my level of information for some families would be without some of those amazing volunteers and all their hard work.

Then there are the other county websites.  The ones that I rarely visit and when I do I inevitably see little to nothing has changed or been added in the year+ since I last visited.  The ones that are a nightmare to try and read or navigate.  And, most frustrating of all, the ones that apparently don't want anyone to volunteer anything to the project (this is what I'm left to assume when I don't hear back from the County Coordinator).

One thing has been constant even if my love for different county sites can vary wildly: I never wanted to be a County Coordinator.  I was happy to donate records I had and volunteer to help with other projects as time permitted but that was all.  Me, be responsible for a website?  Me, be the point of contact for anything?  Me, as a project leader?  No, thank you.

But guess what happened?  Siskiyou County became available for adoption.  Siskiyou County, where my great-grandmother was raised.  Siskiyou County, the place my great-grandmother loved like no other (a love she passed on to later generations by the way).  Siskiyou County, where I had one of the most enjoyable research trips and vacations of my life.  I long knew that if Siskiyou County became available I'd jump at the chance in a heartbeat.  And, that is exactly what I did.

Yes, I am officially the County Coordinator for the Siskiyou County, California USGenWeb project.

What is more, I want it to be the best possible site it can be.  I've already updated the look and added more links but I know I have a ways to go.  Which is where I need a little help.  What, in your opinion makes a great county site?  Why do you go back to some more than others?  Content over style?  What are some features you have found that you think should be on every county website?  Which county websites do you think are exemplary?  I'd love to know what you think.

I can tell you what two of my favorites are:  Assumption Parish, LA and Isabella Co., MI.  I love the amount and diversity of content, and the fact that they are pretty easy to navigate.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Census Sunday: Great-Greats, Part 5

My great-great-grandparents in the 1860 US Census.  Of the sixteen, only five were known to be alive (not counting the four who were still in Italy):

Heman Doyle Shinn
John R. Shinn Family
1860 US Census
Elkhorn, San Joaquin, California
Heman was six and with his family on their farm in San Joaquin Co., California.

1860 US Census, San Joaquin County, California, population schedule, Elkhorn, p. 979, dwelling 788, family 801, John R. Shinn (Head); digital images, ( : accessed 9 August 2011); NARA microfilm publication M652, roll 64.

Emma Sophia Tock
I cannot find Emma in either the 1860 US or 1861 Canadian census records.  She would have been a year old in either Calais, Washington, Maine or St. Stephen, Charlotte, New Brunswick.

John William Berger
Michael Henry Barger Family
1860 US Census
German Twp., Marshall, Indiana
John was eighteen and the only child still at home with his parents.  He was working on the family farm in Marshall Co., Indiana.

1860 US Census, Marshall County, Indiana, population schedule, German Township, p. 514, dwelling 548, family 570, Michael Barger (head); digital images, ( : accessed 6 September 2011); NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 278.

Susanna vonAllmen
Christian vonAllmen Family
1860 US Census
Evansville, Vanderburgh, Indiana
Susanna was eleven (but enumerated as ten) and with her family in Pigeon Township, an area of Evansville, Vanderburgh, Indiana.  Susanna and her younger brother had attended school within the year but her brother Isaac (age nine) was working in the cigar industry and her sisters, Mary (eighteen) and Margaret (fourteen) were seamstresses.  Her father was working in the shoe industry.

1860 US Census, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, population schedule, Evansville, p. 632, dwelling 1756, family 1852, Christ Ollman (head); digital images, ( : accessed 6 September 2011); NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 302.

George Washington Wellons
John Wellons Family
1860 US Census
Richland, Warren, Iowa
George was eleven and with his (very large) family on their farm in Warren County, Iowa.  While George and his two older brothers are marked as attending school within the year, his two younger brothers (ages nine and seven) are not.

1860 US Census, Warren County, Iowa, population schedule, Richland, p. 757, dwelling 677, family 633, John Wellons (head); digital images, ( : accessed 6 September 2011); NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 341.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tech Savvy Genealogist Meme

I still haven't found the time to do the original '99 Genealogy Things' meme, but this meme was too interesting to pass up (and a lot less time consuming, which is a plus for me right now):

The Tech Savvy Genealogists' Meme

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
Feel free to add extra comments in brackets after each item

Which of these apply to you?

  1. Own an Android or Windows tablet or an iPad
  2. Use a tablet or iPad for genealogy related purposes
  3. Have used Skype to for genealogy purposes - (I've used Skype but not for genealogical purposes)
  4. Have used a camera to capture images in a library/archives/ancestor's home
  5. Use a genealogy software program on your computer to manage your family tree - (right now RootsMagic 4 and Family Atlas; used to use Family Tree Builder and way back when, circa 1999, Family Tree Maker)
  6. Have a Twitter account - (I joined about five years ago.  Still have the account but never use it)
  7. Tweet daily - (See above.  Twitter and I just never clicked but if you like it, good for you)
  8. Have a genealogy blog
  9. Have more then one genealogy blog
  10. Have lectured/presented to a genealogy group on a technology topic
  11. Currently an active member of Genealogy Wise - (What do you mean by 'active?'  I try to go on about once a month)
  12. Have a Facebook Account - (again, I joined Facebook way back when and loved it.  Hardly ever on there though in the last two years or so, it is just way too cluttered for my tastes)
  13. Have connected with genealogists via Facebook 
  14. Maintain a genealogy related Facebook Page 
  15. Maintain a blog or website for a genealogy society 
  16. Have submitted text corrections online to Ancestry, Trove or a similar site - (Thus far, the only corrections I've submitted are for people I'm related to)
  17. Have registered a domain name - (I manage a registered domain name, actually three, does that count?)
  18. Post regularly to Google+ (not very regularly but I love Google+ - it is like Facebook in the early days, only better)
  19. Have a blog listed on Geneabloggers
  20. Have transcribed/indexed records for FamilySearch or a similar project (Yes, and I've got an accuracy of 98% at FamilySearch Indexing, something I'm irrationally proud of)
  21. Own a Flip-Pal or hand-held scanner (Maybe some day, right now I'm happy using my camera and iPod Touch)
  22. Can code a webpage in .html - (Yes, and I can make CSS style sheets as well)
  23. Own a smartphone - (I've got an iPod Touch, that has to count for something, right?)
  24. Have a personal subscription to one or more paid genealogy databases - (Yes: Fold3, GenealogyBank and Ancestry.  Luckily, they were all gifts, otherwise I'd have to get another job just to pay for them all...)
  25. Use a digital voice recorder to record genealogy lectures (I did once, but either never remember or always get denied permission)
  26. Have contributed to a genealogy blog carnival
  27. Use Chrome as a Browser
  28. Have participated in a genealogy webinar
  29. Have taken a DNA test for genealogy purposes - (Yes.  My parents through 23andMe, myself through FamilyTreeDNA)
  30. Have a personal genealogy website 
  31. Have found mention of an ancestor in an online newspaper archive 
  32. Have tweeted during a genealogy lecture 
  33. Have scanned your hard copy genealogy files 
  34. Use an RSS Reader to follow genealogy news and blogs - (GoogleReader)
  35. Have uploaded a gedcom file to a site like Geni, MyHeritage or Ancestry (Yes, and I since regret doing it.  I've since taken down what I had at Geni and made my Ancestry trees private )
  36. Own a netbook - (Use to want one, now I've got my eye on an iPad)
  37. Use a computer/tablet/smartphone to take genealogy lecture notes (I've used my iPod Touch and laptop, but prefer regular old pen and paper.  However, I am a huge fan of the Dragon program and have it on all my devices - makes note taking much easier)
  38. Have a profile on LinkedIn that mentions your genealogy habit
  39. Have developed a genealogy software program, app or widget 
  40. Have listened to a genealogy podcast online
  41. Have downloaded genealogy podcasts for later listening
  42. Backup your files to a portable hard drive
  43. Have a copy of your genealogy files stored offsite - (My parents have copies on flash drives, but I haven't updated those in quite awhile)
  44. Know about Rootstech
  45. Have listened to a Blogtalk radio session about genealogy
  46. Use Dropbox, SugarSync or other service to save documents in the cloud 
  47. Schedule regular email backups - (Not as often as I'd like)
  48. Have contriibuted to the FamilySearch Wiki
  49. Have scanned and tagged your genealogy photographs - (Many I have, still have a ways to go though)
  50. Have published a genealogy book in an online/digital format - (It is a goal for 2012)
Clearly the social networking aspect is not my strong suit, mainly because I just don't have the time or desire to have a presence on all the sites.  If I ever become a professional or speaker, I'd invest more into it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Census Sunday: Great-Greats, Part 4

My great-great-grandparents in either the 1870 or 1871 census.  Three were not alive for this census and four were in Italy.  The remaining nine were:

John Grant Allen
Joseph Allen Family
1870 US Census
Weathersfield, Trumbull, Ohio
He was a year old and living with his family in Weathersfield, Trumbull, Ohio.  John's father, Joseph, is listed as a 'laborer' as are his brothers, including thirteen year old Robert.  None of the school-age children are listed as attending school within the year though they could apparently read and write.  Joseph is listed as a US citizen.

1870 US Census, Trumbull County, population schedule, Weathersfield, p. 494B, dwelling 807, family 808, Joseph Allen (head); digital images, ( : accessed 13 June 2011); NARA microfilms publication M593, roll 1272.

Frederick Rendle Croad
Robert Rendle Croad Family
1871 England Census
Sydling St. Nicholas, Dorset
Fred was five and with his family in Sydling St. Nicholas, Dorset, England on West St.  He and several of his siblings are listed as 'scholars' but his father and fourteen year old brother, George, are 'agricultural laborers.'

1871 England Census, Dorset, Sydling St. Nicholas, District 7, RG 10, Piece 2016, Folio 4, p. 4, household 22, Robert Croad (head); digital images, ( : accessed 4 August 2011); The National Archives of the UK, GSU roll 831756.

Mary Stokes
George Stokes Family
1871 Wales Census
Llanwonno (Pontypridd), Glamorgan
Mary was four and with her family in Pontypridd, Wales (enumerated as Llanwonno).  Her sisters, Kate and Ellen, were listed as 'scholars' but her brothers, Joseph (fifteen) and Benjamin (twelve) were working in the mines with their father.

1871 Wales Census, Glamorgan, Llanwonno, District 18, RG 10, Piece 5378, Folio 80, p. 41, household 200, George Stokes (head); digital images, ( : accessed 4 August 2011); The National Archives of the UK, GSU roll 849477.

Heman Doyle Shinn
Heman doesn't appear to have been enumerated in the 1870 US Census (I've looked long and hard and never been able to find him or his family enumerated).  He would have been about seventeen and living in San Joaquin Co., California - probably with his mother and younger siblings and working on the family farm.

Emma Sophia Tock
Another ancestor I can't find in 1870/1871.  Emma would have been eleven or twelve and with her family in either Calais, Washington, Maine or St. Stephen, Charlotte, New Brunswick.

John W. Berger and Susanna vonAllmen
John W. Berger Family
1870 US Census
Prairie Twp., Shelby, Illinois
John and Susanna were in Prairie Twp., Shelby, Illinois where John was a minister for the German Evangelical Association.  Also with John and Susanna was their one year old son, Samuel.  Samuel died sometime before the 1880 census, probably while John was doing missionary work in Germany in the mid to late 1870s.

1870 US Census, Shelby County, Illinois, population schedule, Prairie Township, p. 196B, dwelling 120, family 124, John Berger (head); digital images, ( : accessed 1 September 2011); NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 277

George W. Wellons
Yet another ancestor I can't find in 1870.  George would have been twenty-one and I have no idea where he might have been living.  He was born in Kentucky, raised in Indiana and Iowa, and married in Colorado in 1878.  He ran away from home around the time of the Civil War and what became of him between circa 1865 and 1878 is a mystery to me.

Mary Anna Webb
Andrew Webb Family
1870 US Census
Sheridan, Crawford, Kansas
Mary was eight and with her father, siblings and half-brother in Sheridan, Crawford, Kansas.  They had moved to Kansas at the end of the Civil War but left for Colorado not long after this census.

1870 US Census, Crawford County, Kansas, population schedule, Sheridan, p. 411B, dwelling 29, family 29, Andrew J. Webb (head); digital images, ( : accessed 5 September 2011); NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 431.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Slaves in Henry Wellin's Estate: Friend of Friends Friday

(This post is an update from a previous post I did on Henry Wellons/Wellins' slaves)

FamilySearch recently released a collection of Kentucky probate records.  I was very excited because it meant I might FINALLY get somewhere with my Kentucky ancestors.  One of the first finds in the collection was the inventory of the estate of my 4th great-grandfather, Henry Wellins, and the dower of his widow, Thirzah Sayers Wellins.  I was especially curious to learn what happened to Henry's slaves after his death.  His son (my ancestor and an administrator of Henry's estate) didn't inherit them, so where did they go?

The first mention of slaves is in the inventory of Henry's estate:

Between fifteen bushels of wheat and one hatchet is "Negro woman Sary" and underneath her another slave, this time a boy, with a name that begins with 'Q' but the rest is pretty illegible.  Sary is valued at $450.00 and the second at $650.00.

It bothered me that I couldn't make out the second name until I found Thirzah's dower.  None of the slaves had been mentioned in the estate sale so the dower document would be the best bet to find another mention of them.

"... after Examining the slaves we believe the old woman [???] not worth any-thing we believe the boy Quales worth 650 dollars the girl Sary worth 450 dollars..."

I now knew what the second name was: Qua(r)les.  I also learned that there was actually another slave not even mentioned in the inventory.

(For historical context, all of the above occurred in 1840, over twenty years before the Civil War began.)

The 1840 Census offered some clues as to what happened to Quales and Sary or the "old woman."

In Pulaski Co., in the household of "Thursey Welling" are two "Free Colored Persons."  One is a male, likely Qua(r)les, between the ages of 24 and 35 and the other is a female between the ages of 36 and 55.  Could Sary or the "old woman" be Qua(r)les' mother?  The age gap between the two certainly makes it seem possible.

Henry also owned at least two other slaves that he freed before his death.  In 1835 (Pulaski Deeds, v. 8:93), he freed "Isom aged about thirty years of dark complexion" and "Joe aged about twenty six years of black complexion."  I believe his son, John (my third great-grandfather) was a witness.  An "Isam Wellens" and "Joseph Wellens" appear in the same household in Pulaski Co., Kentucky in the 1850 Census.

'Quales' was a unique name so I went back to his original mention in the inventory just to make sure.  In looking at the inventory now, I believe it says 'Quarles'.  I wanted to see if there was a Quarles family in Pulaski Co. and sure enough, there was a slave owning Quarles family there.  In fact, Tunstal Quarles, the head of the family, has his own Wikipedia page.  I originally thought Quarles had some sort of association with the Quarles family (like perhaps they had owned him at some point) but the name appears as a given name for both whites and African-Americans in Pulaski Co. due to Tunstal's notoriety (he was an early pioneer in the area among other claims to fame).

Thirzah died in January of 1870 in Pulaski Co., Kentucky so any slaves she owned would have been emancipated before her death.  Thirzah appears in the 1850 Census but not as a slaveholder.  I haven't been able to find Thirzah anywhere in the 1860 Census.

I have been unable, thus far, to learn more about Sary, "the old woman," Quarles, Isom/Isam and Joseph.