Monday, January 30, 2012

Bucket List GeneaMeme

From Geniaus:

1. The genealogy conference I would most like to attend is... All the major ones at least once, NGS especially
2. The genealogy speaker I would most like to hear and see is... Elizabeth Shown Mills
3. The geneablogger I would most like to meet in person is... No idea, I'd be happy with any.
4. The genealogy writer I would most like to have dinner with is... Again, no idea.  There are so many great ones!
5. The genealogy lecture I would most like to present is.... Thanks, but no thanks!
6. I would like to go on a genealogy cruise vacation that visits.... Italy, the UK, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland 
7. The photo I would most like to find is... I'd be happy with anything from my paternal side.
8. The repository in a foreign land I would most like to visit is...Archivio di Stato in Bari
9. The place of worship I would most like to visit is... The Family History Library Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Vieste
10. The cemetery I would most like to visit is ...... All cemeteries in Peschici and Vieste
11. The ancestral town or village I would most like to visit is...... Peschici, Foggia, Apulia, Italy
12. The brick wall I most want to smash is... My great-grandmother, Nicoletta (1892-1987) - I don't even know her maiden name for sure!
13. The piece of software I most want to buy is.... Personal Historian 2
14. The tech toy I want to purchase next is ..... iPad 3 when available
15. The expensive book I would most like to buy is... America's Women in the Revolutionary Era 1760-1790:A History Through Bibliography ($195!)
16. The library I would most like to visit is..... The Family History Library
17. The genealogy related book I would most like to write is.... Mott, Smith, Rose and Assorted Other Families in Early New York
18. The genealogy blog I would most like to start would be about....  I'm spread too think as is, no more!
19. The journal article I would most like to write would be about... the Thomas Robert Smith family
20. The ancestor I most want to meet in the afterlife is.... Heman Doyle so I could ask him if he had parents or if he just magically appeared one day "somewhere" in Vermont.

... And a couple extra (hat tip to What's Past is Prologue for the additional items):
21. The genealogical research skill I would most like to have is… Fluent knowledge of Italian, German and Latin.
22. The genealogical records I would most like to see become available online are… 20th Century Michigan birth, marriage, death and divorce records (specifically between 1930 and 1960).  Also, Alameda Co., California 19th Century naturalization records.
23.  The family heirloom I would most like to own is… the "background pictures."  I have several old photos which have pictures in the background of the picture - I'd love to know who the people are in the pictures and who has them now!
My great-grandmother and her three sisters,
note the "background picture"  (I believe it is their brother, Ebben Boulder Wellons) in the upper right-hand corner
Disclosure: I am in no way affiliated with any of the people, companies or links mentioned in this post.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

John Collins of Mendon

While looking for something else, I found this:
"Doyle Heman of Pittsford, wf., Alzenia, dau. of Moses and Rhoda Jackman."
Which led me to this:
"Jackman, Moses, wf., Rhoda, dau. of John and Rebecca Collins of Mendon."
Which finally led me to this:

Heman Doyle and Alzina Jackman were my 4th great-grandparents.  It has long been rumored that Alzina's mother, Rhoda, was the daughter of John and Rebecca (Sherman) Collins but the proof for this, that I have found, has been scant to none thus far.  Until now it seems.  The above states:

Collins, John.  Mendon.      died Jan. 5, 1833 
Widow, Rebecca Collins, who died Mar. 31, 1833.  She was Adm. Apr. 1833.
John Collins appointed Adm. May 14, 1833.
Children, viz.  William and Nathan Collins of Barre, N.Y.  John Col-
lins of Sing Sing, N.Y. child of a deceased son, William Collins.  
Children of Rhoda (wife of Moses Jackman) deceased daughter, viz.  
Flora, wife of Holly Dagget of Henrietta.  Cyrus Jackman of Sardinia
Erie Co. N.Y.  Alzeria, wife of Heman Doyle of Pittsford.
Children of a deceased daughter, Rebecca, wife of Jonah D. Symonds,
viz. George and Joel Symonds of Sardinia, N.Y.  Huldah, wife of
Anson Lord of Royalton, N.Y.  Darwin and Laura Symonds and William
Symonds, of Rochester.  John Collins, a son, of Mendon, Thomas 
and George T. Collins of Sardinia, N.Y. both sons of the deceased.
Avis, wife of Samuel Potter of Vt. a daughter, Laura, wife of Oliver
Goodspeed, a daughter, of Genesee or Erie Co., N.Y.  Livonia, wife of
Ellery Stone of Warren, Pa. a daughter.  Children of Phebe, wife of
Thomas Leet, a deceased daughter, viz. Carolina, wife of --Lippett, of
Farmington, Ontario Co., N.Y.  Thomas Leet, residence unknown, both of
full age, and John Leet, ae. 19, of Henrietta, N.Y.

The first two entries above were found in the book Married Daughters, the third from the book Intestate Estates of Monroe County: 1821-1863

What makes this especially exciting is that John Collins was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.  When I have the time to pursue membership in the DAR, this is an avenue I could go down.

John Collins is buried in Graves Cemetery in Mendon, Monroe, New York.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Smiths in New York City

(This post was somewhat inspired by the current Abundant Genealogy series, although it doesn't have much to do with any of the prompts thus far)

What do you get when you mix an extremely common last name and the most populous city in the United States?  A rip-roaring good time, that's what!  That's right, I have Smiths in New York City and yes, to make matters even more fun, a lot of them are named the likes of John and Mary.  BUT, they also happen to be one of my favorite families to research - although, for some reason I rarely blog about them.  So why do I like researching my Smiths so much?
  • New York City.  The fact that they lived in New York City actually works in my favor because so many records exist, and many can be accessed through the click of a mouse.  The big three, Ancestry ($), FamilySearch and the New England Historic Genealogical Society ($) have good collections.  But the best kept secret has to be ItalianGen which has a lot of vital records - and not just for Italians.
  • The cemeteries.  Both Green-Wood in Brooklyn and Trinity Church Parish have websites and burial search engines.  Since I have so many relatives, Smiths or otherwise, buried in both locations this makes me very happy.  These sites came in especially handy the other day when I was looking for a Smith who seemed to fall off the face of the earth after reaching adulthood.  I looked up his family members and there he was, buried in the family plot along with his death date.  From there I found an obituary and a whole bunch of other Smiths.
  • The newspapers.  I use GenealogyBank ($) the most, but a free option I also love is Chronicling America.  In fact there are a lot of New York (City or otherwise) papers online, see here for some locations.  The New York Times Archives are a favorite of mine also, though I liked them a lot more before they imposed that 20 articles a month cap.
  • The directories.  Like newspapers, there are a lot of them online in different locations.  I use Fold3 ($) the most, but there are many other places (free or $) which have directories - see here.
  • The eBooks and texts.  I like the NYPL page at the Internet Archive the most, but GoogleBooks is a place I frequently turn to as well.
  • The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society ($).  I know they haven't made the news for the best reasons over the last few years, but I am a very happy member.  Their eLibrary has been especially helpful in researching my NYC families.
Other reasons:
  • The names.  Or more appropriately, the middle names.  Almost all of my Smiths had a middle name and they usually made a point of incorporating it to some degree in their records.  What is more is that a lot of the middle names are pretty unique family names (i.e. Bostwick, Holly, Floyd, Plaine, Cayuga, Westervelt, etc.).  When I first started researching them, I often left out the middle name with bad results.  I either was overwhelmed with Smiths, or I missed out on valuable hits which included the middle name.  
  • The other relatives.  I can't speak for everyone, but with my NYC ancestors, following their name in a record was usually a "son of" or "wife of" mention.  This likely speaks more to the size of New York City than to newspapers and record keepers wanting to please future generations.  But, I for one am thankful!  This is particularly nice when dealing with a surname like Smith and an equally common first name.
  • They kept their NYC ties.  I have ancestors, including my Smiths, who left the Big Apple for outposts, swamps, farms and general wilderness, yet their obituaries/death notices (as well as some other articles) usually appeared in NYC papers.  Again, I can't speak for everyone, but my NYC ancestors clearly kept in touch with family back home (I just wish my other ancestors who left home did the same) and for that I am so happy - and lucky!
If you also have Smiths in New York City, well, then we still probably aren't related, but the above resources might prove helpful in researching them (and non-Smiths too).

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with any of the websites or companies mentioned in this post.  Pay sites mentioned are ones I have personally subscribed to and their mention here is not to be taken as an endorsement of them or their parent companies.  I received no remuneration for this post by any entity.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

SNGF: Research Adventures

Courtesy of Genea-Musings:

1) Decide which of your (many?) genealogy research adventures in 2011 was your "very best" (your definition). 
 2) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a Status report or comment on Facebook, or in a Stream note on Google Plus.

I actually went on many genealogy adventures in 2011 even though circumstances kept me from doing much traveling or actual offline research.  I can't pick just one, so here are my three favorites:

1. Were They Related?  In which I examine a possible relationship between my Tock ancestors and a family they lived with in at least two censuses.
2. Case Study: Clements Family Arrivals. I looked at an arrival record for, I believe, some of my Clements ancestors and muse as to the possible reasons they seem to have traveled to America separately.
3. George S. Mott's Path to Florida and Early Death.  I examined the circumstances of the death of my 4th great-grandfather's brother and look for a reason as to why he was in Florida to begin with.

Interestingly enough, the three posts above were also my favorites of all the ones I wrote in 2011.  If I had to give an edge to any one of the three, I think it would have to be the George S. Mott article - probably because of the surprising wealth of information I got after just a little chipping.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Goals: Summary

Review time!  My 2011 goals were to 1) find my great-grandmother's parents, 2) start a family record book and 3) purge the papers I no longer needed.

So, how did I do?  Well, I managed to learn where in Italy my great-grandmother was born.  I also know her birthday.  If I can ever get my behind in gear and get over to my FHC (and order the films), I should have this mystery solved... emphasis on SHOULD.  I'm giving myself a B- on this one.

As for parts 2 and 3, I'm satisfied with what I've got and what I've done.  There is a little more to get rid of and I'm not totally happy with how the record book turned out.  But you know what?  It'll do and that is good enough for me right now.  A- for both.

My 2012 Goals largely fall into the same categories as last year: Research, WritingOrganization - plus a new one to the mix, Wild Card.  I'm most excited about my writing goal and have already started work on it.  The research goal looks the most daunting - but the things you have to work hardest for also seem to be the most rewarding so I am excited to start tackling it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Goals: Wild Card

Instead of just rattling off my goals for 2012 in one post, I'm going to do individual posts on each and then a summary post which includes how I did with my 2011 goals.  My goals fall into four categories: Research, Writing, Organization and Wild Card.

My Wild Card Goal(s):
Throughout the year I find myself making little genealogy goals.  In that same vein I'm making a "wild card" goal this year.  Below are smaller things I'd like to accomplish.  I don't plan on succeeding at everything, or even most things on the list, but I'd be happy with one or two items.
  • Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki.  I have already done a little editing there, but not much.
  • Learn German and Italian.  Not fluently, but I do want to know how to read a vital record.
  • Add images (aka "media") to my RootsMagic database.
  • Start arbitrating at FamilySearch Indexing.
  • Take more advantage of the research courses offered at FamilySearch more often.  Right now I just watch a video or two a month.
  • Go on a short, local research trip - Siskiyou County or Alameda County are at the top of the list.  There is also a death certificate in Stanislaus County I've been  hankering after for awhile.
  • Scan!  Scan!  Scan!
  • Be better about backing up my files (I'm pretty good but there is still room for improvement)
Of everything above, backing files up regularly and adding media to my RootsMagic database are the highest priorities.  Like I said, I'm not pushing myself to do everything above, but these are all things I want to be more mindful of in 2012 - and if I can truly master/accomplish one or two I'd be very happy.

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with any of the websites or companies mentioned in this post nor was I remunerated by anyone for writing this post.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Goals: Organization

Instead of just rattling off my goals for 2012 in one post, I'm going to do individual posts on each and then a summary post which includes how I did with my 2011 goals.  My goals fall into four categories: Research, Writing, Organization and Wild Card.  The inspiration for this, as was the case in 2011, was the We Tree blog.

My Organization Goal:
I spent 2011 purging papers I didn't need.  2012 will be the year of purging periodicals I no longer need.

I have tons of magazines and newsletters that I can part with.  However, I need to copy the articles I'm interested in keeping and go through certain periodicals from beginning to end to see if I want to save the whole issue or not.  Then I need to find someone to take what I'm willing to part with.  My local library and genealogical society are options I am going to look into.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Goals: Research

Instead of just rattling off my goals for 2012 in one post, I'm going to do individual posts on each and then a summary post which includes how I did with my 2011 goals.  My goals fall into four categories: Research, Writing, Organization and Wild Card.  The inspiration for this, as was the case in 2011, was the We Tree blog.

My Research Goal:
I know very little about my great-great-grandmother's family.  I do know the names of her parents (Niels Christian Nielsen and Engeline Christine Petersen), where they were married (Ottawa Co., Ohio - likely in Benton Twp.), and where they spent most of their lives and died (Alameda Co., California).  I even have death certificates and obituaries for various family members (including Engeline)

I don't, however, know the names of Niels and Engeline's parents, or where Niels and Engeline were born, or when they arrived in the US (every record gives a different year).  My goal is to find out this information.

There are several avenues I can take, the most obvious being: 1) Niels' naturalization record.  I know he naturalized on 15 July 1881 at the Alameda Co. Superior Court; 2) Niels and Engeline's marriage record.  They were married in Ottawa Co., Ohio on 30 May 1874 and there are films I can order which cover this timeframe; 3)  Engeline had two sisters, one of whom has a death certificate out there I can order and the other an obituary.  I'm hopeful that one of these gives me at least some of the information I'm looking for.