Sunday, September 30, 2012


Today this little blog turns four.  Who would have thought?  Certainly not I.

But you know what?  I still enjoy writing posts here just as much as I did on day one, maybe even more so because I'm not as unsure of myself as I was then.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by, whether for a moment or ten, and to those who have left comments, or left quietly.  Reading the genealogy blogs of others have inspired and educated me more than I can say, so the fact that anyone bothers to stop here humbles and amazes me.

Genealogy research is still my favorite thing in the world to do, and documenting that research here is a close second.  It has been a fun four years, now let's see what the next four bring!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

SNGF - Paternal Maternal Line

This week's challenge is one I did before (my mtDNA haplogroup is K1a4a1), so I'm doing my father's maternal lines instead.  This will, unfortunately, be short and sweet:

1. My Dad
2. My Paternal Grandmother
3. (Maria) Nicoletta UNKNOWN (likely either Riccia or Daccia), born 25 February 1891/1892 in Peschici, Foggia, Italy; died 10 February 1987 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio

Their mtDNA haplogroup is N1a, a rare one - especially in Europe.  The only place it shows up in any noticeable percentages today is in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

For a bonus here are my grandfather's maternal lines as well:

1. My Maternal Grandfather
2. Gladys Viola Healey (1898-1998)
3. Katherine Nielsen (1875-1918)
4. Engeline Christine Petersen (1855-1932)

Engeline was Danish, from the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.  I do not know what their mtDNA haplogroup is, though I have several testing options.

1. My Paternal Grandfather
2. Daisy May/Mae/Marie Croad (1896-1990)
3. Mary Stokes (1867-1923)
4. Charlotte Shepstone/Shipton (1827-1896)
5. Sarah Shoe (1806-1832)
6. Mary UNKNOWN (ca. 1776-aft. 1841)

Mary lived in Somerset, England and at the time of the 1841 England Census, she was living in the village of Churchill (where her granddaughter Charlotte was born).  There are a few testing options that I know of, but I have not been in contact with any of them.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Pastoral Record

I've used the Methodist Church's wonderful and extensive archives in researching my mother's family over the years, but was quite surprised to learn someone on my father's side was also in there.

Andrew Wood was the brother of my third great-grandfather.  He was the son of Irish or Scotch-Irish immigrants to Canada and like at least two of his brothers, came to Michigan when a young man.  Andrew became a Methodist minister, something I learned when I discovered he had been the officiant at his brother's funeral.  I located him in the Annual Conference Journal Memoirs Index and sent away for the record (cost was $5).  This is what I received:


    Rev. Andrew Wood, retired minister of the Detroit Conference and resident of Imlay City some twenty years, died at his home, Sept. 10, aged 85 years.  He had been in failing health for some years.

    Andrew Wood was born in Waterloo County, Ont., Feb. 27, 1857.  He entered the ministry of the Methodist Church after attending Colburg College and served two charges before coming to Michigan about 60 years ago.  He joined the Conference in 1884 and was married to Laura Banks at Sault Ste. Marie, Feb. 25, 1885.

    He is survived by his widow and a brother, George Wood of Kansas City, Mo.  He had two sons.  George Wood, who died at Imlay City in 1934, and Major Charles Wesley Wood, U.S. Army, who died suddenly while on duty in Washington, D.C., June 2, this year.

    Brother Wood was widely known because of his effective work on many pastorates in this Conference and his work in the cause of temperance in both Michigan and South Dakota.

    Twenty-two ministers attended the funeral service in the Imlay City church on Monday, the fourteenth.  The pastor, H. A. Hudgins, opened the service while the attending ministers stood in silent reverence, the District Superintendent, Gordon Philips, brought the sympathetic expression on behalf of the conference and the district.  Neighboring pastors who spoke were Frank Hemingway of Lapeer and David Grasman of the local Christian Reform Church for the community.  The other ministers present sang two hymns and served as pallbearers.  Burial was in the Imlay City cemetery."

From the 1943 minutes of the Detroit Conference.  Also included was a list with dates of all the places where he officiated.

I think the "Colburg College" mentioned is actually Victoria College which was in Cobourg, Ontario and was an "unofficial Methodist seminary."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Deceased Physician File

While I don't have many physicians in my family tree, there are a few which is why my curiosity was piqued when I saw FamilySearch had added United States, Deceased Physician File (AMA), 1864-1968.

The first physician I looked for was the one I knew the least about, my great-grandfather's brother, Albert Berger.  From letters and records, I know Albert was often on the move through the military or his medical work.

Albert J. Berger Deceased Physician File, Page 1

Albert J. Berger Deceased Physician File, Page 2
I wasn't expecting to learn as much as I did about Albert.  His middle name, education and cause of death were all new to me.  Thanks, FamilySearch!

Disclosure:  I have no affiliation whatsoever with either FamilySearch or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I received no remuneration of any kind by anyone for writing this post.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: No Cause of Action

"Artist Wood Discharged.
    "William Wood, the Lockport artist who was arrested by Agnes Bridges of the Falls and taken before Justice Piper for assault, was last Saturday honorably discharged on the grounds of no cause of action.
    "Mr. Wood desires to make the following statement:
    "He says he is engaged in making crayon portraits, soliciting throughout the State personally sometimes.  Last November he called on Mrs. Agnes Bridges, who gave him an order for a portrait to be delivered May 1st, terms cash if the work proved satisfactory.  He took the portrait to her and the work was satisfactory, he claims, but she could only pay one dollar then.  Mr. Wood said he told her he could not leave the picture, but would leave it at his hotel until the balance was paid.  She said it should not go out of the house and took it into another room.  He then came home and brought suit and got a judgment two weeks after the transaction.
    "Mrs. Bridges returned to the Falls the same day and had him arrested for assault, with the result noted above."

Lockport Daily Journal (Lockport, Niagara, New York), 28 May 1894, page 5.

William Wood was the brother of my third great-grandfather.  Do you have any crayon portraits of your ancestors from the Niagara County, New York area?  Maybe William drew it!  He was in business there from the mid-1880s until the mid-1920s.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

AncestryDNA Results!

Imagine my surprise when I checked my e-mail this evening and saw that my AncestryDNA results were up!  I thought I had at least another two weeks to wait but am happy that it didn't take as long as I thought it would.  My pie was surprisingly colorful:

I was expecting a higher percentage of British Isles and not as much Scandinavian as I was assigned.  While I have a Danish great-great-grandmother, I imagine some of my English ancestors (especially those from Lincolnshire) have been classified as Scandinavian.

The Middle Eastern result surprised me until I read that is included the Eastern Mediterranean Coast - which is where my Italian ancestors were from.  I think my Southern European and the Uncertain portions also come from my Italian grandmother.

My matches were pretty much what I was expecting: not too many and most of those that I did get were thanks to my Colonial New England lines.

There was one interesting match which warrants more research.  My Masons are a big mystery and one of my closest matches also had a mystery Mason... a few counties west of where my Masons were in Indiana.  Hmmm...

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with either or AncestryDNA.  I bought an AncestryDNA test and received no remuneration of any kind by anyone for taking the test and writing this post.

Monday, September 3, 2012


This is part three in a series of posts on what happened to the Wood brothers after they left Canada.  My ancestor was Charles S. Wood who ended up in Michigan along with his brother, John.  They had a sister, Jane, who married Edward Maycock and went to British Columbia.  Their mysterious brothers were: Alexander, William, James A., George D., and Andrew.

When last we left off, there was a William Wood family discovered in the same Lockport area as George D. Wood.  Reading newspaper articles soon clenched that this was indeed, my ancestor's brother, William.  His obituary sealed the deal by both mentioning George in Missouri, and also Jane (aka "Jennie") Maycock in British Columbia.  It also gave me a location for brother Andrew, who was living in Imlay City, Lapeer, Michigan, at the time.

I soon located Andrew in census records and learned he had been a Methodist minister (Google his name and the various locations he ministered and you'll get quite a few hits).  This was wonderful news because it meant the Methodist Church might have some biographical information on him. A quick search of their Annual Conference Journal Memoirs index revealed an entry for, I believe, my Andrew Wood.:

I have written for a copy of this memoir and am anxious to read it.  I do know that my other ancestors who members of the Methodist Church clergy had wonderfully detailed memoirs published about them when they died and I am hopeful that Andrew's will prove equally illuminating.

There was still one brother left to locate after all this, Alexander.  Where to start?  How about here:

William had many out of town guests at his funeral, most either relatives of his or his wife.  One person in particular stuck out: "Arthur W. Wood of Syracuse."  It seemed pretty likely that Arthur was a relative of William's but how did he fit in?  Neither William nor any of his known siblings had a child named Arthur.  Could he be related to the mysterious Alexander?

I began investigating Arthur by looking in city directories of the time and then census records.  Interestingly enough, Arthur was also an artist like William.  I was able to establish that he was born in New York around 1880.  Then I found this from the 1892 New York Census:

This Arthur was living in Buffalo, Erie County.  It looks like he was living with a sister, Nellie and parents Alexander and Hattie.  Hmmm...  If this is my Alexander Wood, then Hattie is a remarriage because the only spouse of his I knew of was a Margaret McFadden who had died in Canada in 1886.

Since it seemed possible that Arthur would be in the 1880 US Census, I went looking.  An Arthur Wood, six months of age, appears in Medina, Orleans, New York:

Also in the household is Nellie, again, as well as Alex(ander) and... Margaret.  This really seems like my Alexander Wood, and I believe it is.  Of note is the fact that also living in Medina in 1880 was William Wood and his family.

While looking for Alexander in later records I stumbled upon an online tree which gives him a death date in 1893.  But, since I can't find any proof to confirm or deny this, I simply have him listed as dying after 1892.  Since he doesn't appear in either the 1900 US or 1901 Canadian Census, it seems probable that he died before then.  

Now, back to where I started: John's obituary.  It states that at the time of his death in 1918, he was survived by five brothers and one sister.  Assuming the obituary is correct and taking into account this new research, the five surviving brothers were: James A., William, Andrew, George D. and... Charles S. 

One of the reasons I wanted to research Charles' siblings was to maybe learn when he died.  I knew it was between 1910 and 1920, but if John's obituary is correct (as well as this new research), then Charles was one of the surviving five in 1918. 

Much research still needs to be done on these people, but I feel like I have many more avenues to go down now - and I can't hardly wait to get going!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


This is part two in a series of posts on what happened to the Wood brothers after they left Canada.  My ancestor was Charles S. Wood who ended up in Michigan along with his brother, John.  They had a sister, Jane, who married Edward Maycock and went to British Columbia.  Their mysterious brothers were: Alexander, William, James A., George D., and Andrew.

We last left off with the discovery of a Wood family in Missouri which seemed to match the family of James A. Wood, brother of my ancestor, Charles.  Was this the right family though?  Dates and places seemed to match but I was still uneasy.  Since information on Find-A-Grave isn't typically sourced, I needed to find out if this woman really was Anna Brodhagen Wood, wife of James A. Wood.

A search of Missouri Digital Heritage revealed a death certificate which correlates with the information on the headstone, and also does indeed give her maiden name as Brodhagen.  This would seem to "seal the deal" but I wanted more, so went looking for an obituary which would hopefully name some surviving relatives back in Canada.

Lo and behold, I found an obituary for James A. Wood and it was a dilly.  From the 19 Oct 1918 issue of the Kansas City Star, I learned that he died in Denver in a mining accident.  I also learned that at the time of his death he had three surviving children and: "...a sister, Mrs. Ed Maycock, Kerrisdale, British Columbia, and a brother, George D. Wood, Merwin, Mo."

With the mention of Mrs. Maycock in British Columbia, I was certain this was the right James A. Wood.  And, best of all, the obituary gave me my next clue: brother George D. Wood of Merwin, Missouri.

Information on George was surprisingly easy to find.  Census records, a picture of his headstone, even his death certificate.  Like James, George seems to have spent most of his life in Missouri, especially the Kansas City area.  However, it was his time out of state that is the most interesting.

At first I didn't pay much attention to the fact that his two eldest children had been born in New York.  Then, as I was reading the death certificate for George's son, George Albert, I noticed that his birth place in New York was Lockport.  Bells started going off in my mind as I remembered that Lockport was quite close to the Canadian border.  And remember, I still hadn't located all of the Wood siblings yet, there was still brothers William, Alexander and Andrew unaccounted for.

George Albert had been born in New York in early 1892 and his sister, Grace, there a year later.  Since I know the family likely hadn't left the state the whole year, it was a pretty safe bet they were enumerated in the 1892 New York Census.  They were:

The family was in Lockport at the time.  I was curious to know if any other Woods were also there in 1892 so went looking.  Interestingly enough, this family showed up a couple pages before George:

While 'William Wood' is a common name, I chose to again focus on the uncommon: Dora McFadden.  Brother Alexander married a Margaret McFadden who had a sister named Dora.  Could there be a connection?  Is this my William Wood?

Luckily, many New York newspapers are online and one such newspaper proved quite helpful.  Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"...He Leaves Five Brothers, One Sister..."

This is part one in a series of posts on what happened to the Wood brothers after they left Canada.  My ancestor was Charles S. Wood who ended up in Michigan along with his brother, John.  They had a sister, Jane, who married Edward Maycock and went to British Columbia.  Their mysterious brothers were: Alexander, William, James A., George D., and Andrew.

I love it when the stars align and I'm able to devote a whole day to genealogy.  Those days are rare, but I got one this past week and what a special day it was!  I'm still a little dumbfounded with how it all unfolded and am continuing to process all my discoveries.  But, it was one of those genealogy research days everyone dreams of and one I think I'll always look back on fondly.  In short, one clue led to dozens of new people, facts and resources.

I began the day with no plan or direction beyond the fact that I knew I wanted to work on my oft neglected paternal side.  I also wanted to get some organizing done as well.  I decided to start there and began where I last left off, with the Woods.  As I was tidying up the digital files, I noticed that I had two copies of what I thought was the same obituary so I began re-reading them to see what, if any, differences there were between the two (there weren't any, I just somehow ended up with two of the same).  It was then that I was struck by a line in the obituary: "...besides the immediate family he leaves five brothers, one sister..."  That one line motivated me to re-examine a long stranding mystery - and actually solve it.

My ancestor was Charles S. Wood, one of eight children.  His family had come from Northern Ireland or Scotland to Ontario when he was a boy and he had lived there until shortly after his marriage when he went to Michigan (he would return to Ontario after a few years before coming back to Michigan permanently a few years after that).  For all of Charles' many siblings, most of their movements after reaching adulthood had been impossible to track.

From census records I knew who the siblings were: there was Charles S., then William, Alexander, John, James A., Andrew, George D. and Jane "Jennie," the only daughter.  Some while ago I had a little luck tracking Jane and John.  Jane had married a Maycock and moved to British Columbia.  John had also gone to Michigan, and it was his obituary from 1918 which mentioned five surviving brothers and one sister.  The sister was obvious since there was only one, but who were those surviving five brothers and was my Charles one of them?

This is a question I've tackled before but I could never get far.  After marrying, they all seem to disappear - at least from Canadian records.  Since two of the siblings (Charles and John) ended up in the US, it was a fair bet that that is where the mystery ones ended up as well.  But where?  Wood is a common surname, as were all their given names, and there were many Scotch-Irish and Canadian immigrants in the US throughout the years.

This time I took another approach: look for the uncommon within the common.  One of the mystery brothers, James, married a woman whose maiden name was rarer than the others, Brodhagen.  So what was my next move?  I typed "Brodhagen Wood" into Google and hit search.

It was here that I noticed a Find-A-Grave entry for a woman matching the wife of the mystery brother.  And what is more, she was buried with a James Wood and a woman matching the information I had for a daughter of theirs, born while they were still in Ontario.

Could these be my Woods... all the way in Missouri?!  Stay tuned...