Sunday, December 28, 2014

Charles' Last Chapter

When I found my third great-grandfather's death record, I expected it to close the book on his story.  I never thought it would be the gateway to an entire last chapter of his life.

In looking for the death record, I searched British Columbia records.  I know I did.  Why I didn't come across this when I originally looked, I don't know.  I suspect what happened is that, at the time, I still hadn't given up my belief that he had died in Michigan.  So, anything less than an exact match anywhere else, was likely disregarded by me.

In any case, Charles Wood died in Burnaby on 9 April 1918.



Everything on the record either matches or logically meshes with what I already have on Charles.  Everything except one thing: Charles' mother is listed as Jane Galagher.  Jane's maiden name is always listed as Montgomery on every other record I have for the Wood children, except one.  That one being Jane's daughter's (Charles' sister who also lived in British Columbia) death record.  That record also lists her maiden name as Gal(l)agher.  In any case, the Gallagher/Montgomery mystery is something to explore.

The informant on Charles' death record was his wife.  His new, third wife, who was completely unknown to me before this record.  "Mrs. L. Wood" was formerly Letitia Lowes from Emily, Victoria, Ontario.  Letitia married Joseph Mills and they had several children.  By 1891, the family had left Emily and were living in Broadview in what is now Saskatchewan.  In 1901, Letitia is widowed and living with her married daughter in Winnipeg.  In 1906, Letitia is back in Saskatchewan, Moosomin, with two of her children.

Marriage Notice from The Winnipeg Tribune
22 March, 1911, page 5
Letitia went back to Winnipeg when she married Charles Stewart Wood there on 17 March 1911.  Apparently the man who married them was a famous author and Church leader.  A C. S. Wood had arrived in Emerson, Manitoba from Michigan the day before.  I'm inclined to believe this is Charles, but there aren't enough details to know for sure.

They left Winnipeg very soon after the marriage and they were enumerated in British Columbia on June 7 or 8, 1911.  They would move again, but not far, and Charles eventually retired from farming.  Charles was a Mason and was buried in the Masonic section of Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver.  I wonder if any of his children back in Michigan made it to his funeral...

Funeral Notice from the Vancouver Daily World,
11 April, 1918, page 12

Letitia was still at their Imperial St. home in 1921 where she was living with her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter.  She died in Vancouver in 1944.

In my mind, I had created a picture of Charles quietly spending his last days in rural Michigan, where he had lived more than a quarter of a century.  However, in hindsight, Charles' early life might be a clue as to his apparent lifelong restlessness.  After leaving Ireland for Ontario as a youth, he continually moved between Canada and Michigan before finally putting down roots in Isabella Co. in the mid-1880s, that is until 1911.

Something else I've noticed is I don't think Charles enjoyed being unmarried.  He waited less than a year between the death of his first wife and his marriage to his second.  He waited even less time between the death of the second and his marriage to the third five months later.  I do wonder how he and his last two wives met.  Neither appear to have any pre-existing familial, religious or geographic connection to Charles.

If there is one ancestor I never get tired of researching, it is Charles.  He turns left when I expect him to turn right, and has a track record of making bold choices.  I've reached a point where nothing concerning Charles would surprise me.  For all I know, there could be an entirely new chapter of Charles' life out there waiting for me to find.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Still Henrich

I was excited to recently learn from this post that Stark Co., Ohio land records are online and freely available.  I was quickly able to find my third great-grandfather, Henry Michael Berger and some other possible relations.

The Bergers followed the German tradition of going by their middle names, though Michael never fully dropped his first name, which was originally Henrich.  When the family arrived in the US in 1832, they all also Americanized their names.  I never thought much more about it until I saw Michael's signature when he sold his land in 1838:

Although the quality isn't great, it is pretty clear that Michael didn't alter his signature from Henrich to Henry - and he signed it in German script no less!  Michael was nearly forty when he arrived here, so it makes sense that he wouldn't update his signature.  I do wonder, though, if it changed much in the nearly forty years that he did live in the US.

This record also answers a question I had about Michael's wife, Fredericka.  In the 1860 US Census, she is marked as being unable to read or write.  I've wondered how illiterate she really was (Did it just extend to the English language?  Could she read and write German?  Could she sign her name?) and her mark here appears to clear that up.


Monday, November 24, 2014

10 Genealogical Mysteries

These are the mysteries in my family tree that I think are the most readily solvable.  These mysteries aren't all that big, but sometimes it is the smaller, seemingly solvable "?" which yield the biggest returns.  (This post was inspired by this one at One Rhode Island Family.)

1.  Charles S. Wood (1842 - ?)
When and where did Charles die?  This question bugs me to no end.  I can "guestimate" that he died between 1910 and 1920.  When his wife died in October of 1910, he was the informant.  I have not been able to find him in the 1920 US Census and indeed, his son had taken over the family farm by 1915.  He apparently did not die in Michigan, where he lived for over thirty years, or in Missouri where two of his brothers lived.  He also does not appear to have died in Ontario, where he had family, or British Columbia, where his sister lived.  Charles had family in New York, but so far I haven't been able to find a death record or obituary for him there either.

So where do I look from here?  I still want to explore New York some more as well as Kansas (his family lived on the Missouri side of Kansas City) and Iowa, where his son briefly lived in the 1910s.  For a long shot, he also had a brother and nephews who had mining interests in Colorado and New Mexico and a niece who lived in Alberta. I also want to know if Charles left a probate file in Michigan (I haven't been able to find one yet) which should give a notation of when and where he died.

2.  and 3. Niels Christian Nielsen (1850 - 1940) & Engeline Christine Petersen (1855-1932)
I'd like US arrival records for these two.  I believe Niels arrived between 1872 - 1874 and Engeline around 1871.  They were married in Oak Harbor, Ottawa, Ohio in 1874 and moved to Mt. Eden, Alameda, California not long after.

I plan on getting Niels' naturalization record (he naturalized on 15 July 1881 in Alameda Superior Court) but I don't expect much information.  Beyond that, I really don't know what to do.  I have done broad name and date searches and found nothing.  I feel like these records ought to exist, but maybe they just don't...

4. Martha Wadd (Tock) (1823 - 1861)
I'd really like a death date and location for Martha.  Family story says that Martha died when her daughter, Emma, was two.  Emma was born in January of 1859, which makes a calculated date of 1861 for Martha.

Exploring cemetery records for Calais, Washington, Maine/St, Stephen, Charlotte, New Brunswick is my first order of business.  After that, all I can think of would be church records.

5.  Aaron and Mary Paulina Doyle (? - ?)
When Peter Doyle died during the Siege of Fort Erie his children: Heman, Aaron and Mary Paulina, became eligible for, and received, a pension.  I know nothing about what happened to Aaron and Mary Paulina after this.  Aaron might have been adopted by a family in the neighborhood, the Nobles, but I'm not sure.  The children's mother remarried a few years after Peter's death and left Vermont not long after that, eventually settling in Wisconsin.  Heman doesn't appear to have traveled with the family further west than New York so I wonder if his brother and sister also stayed behind.

I just need to explore New York records, particularly in the Buffalo and Rochester areas.  I also need to explore a candidate Aaron Doyle who lived in Bristol, New York.

6.  John W. Wyman (ca. 1775 - 1843)
John Wyman was the attorney who handled my 5th great-grandmother's (Charlotte Clara Smith) messy divorce.  Not long after it was final, the two married.  They seem to have been very happy together and Charlotte's children and grandchildren appear to have thought very highly and lovingly of him.  Although I'm not related to John, I'd really like to learn more about him.  What adds to my interest is that John's nephew, Capt. John W. Patterson, married a niece of Charlotte's (Charlotte Smith Mott).

A John William Patterson was born in 1806 in Northborough, Massachusetts to James Patterson and Louisa Wyman.  Louisa's parents were John and Hazadiah Bowker Wyman.  I'd love to find a link connecting these folks with my John Wyman.  I have several avenues, but I'm most excited to explore the Worcester Co. probate files coming online (ever so slowly).

7.  Josiah Beam ( 1811 - aft. 1901)
Add this to the list of ancestors I can't find death information for.  Online family trees have him dying in 1905, but I can find nothing to corroborate this.  What is odd is that I can't find a death or cemetery record for him in Ontario and I've never found even hint of him leaving Canada.

Josiah had family in Ohio and Michigan in addition to Canada.  I need to do a broader search for him in those places.  His name is also easily misspelled, which is something else I need to be aware of.  I also need to contact the cemetery in Ontario where his family is interred to see if they have any records pertaining to him.

8.  Joseph Allen (ca. 1824 - aft. 1880)
Joseph lived in little Weathersfield Twp. in Trumbull County, Ohio for many years.  As far as I knew, he was always a farm hand and never farm owner.  That is until I found a list of persons losing their land due to delinquent taxes in The Western Reserve Chronicle from 1872.  The only Joseph Allens in Weathersfield in the 1870 US Census are my Joseph and his eighteen-year-old son, Joseph T.

I think it likely one these Joseph Allens was the person on that list, and more probably the older of the two.  I'm planning on exploring land records some more in the hopes of learning more.

9.  The Tock Sisters
I know very little about the early years for Mary Elizabeth (1849 - 1935), Martha Ann (1854 - 1875), Sarah Jane (1857 - 1898), and Emma Sophia (1859 - 1928).  I think after their mother's death (see #4 above) they went into different households.  The four girls never appear in a census all together, with Emma missing from both the 1860/1861 and 1870/1871 Census enumerations.

The girls that do appear in these census years are living with some member of the Harris family in Calais, Maine/St. Stephen, New Brunswick.  I'd really like to know what the connection was between these two families.  Family story goes that Emma was born while her mother was visiting family in New Brunswick - would this be the Harris family?

I need to explore the Harris/Barnes/Temple family some more, especially in British records.

10.  Orange County, North Carolina
One thing has become abundantly clear in looking at my DNA results: I have some sort of connection with many of the Quaker families who were located in the Orange Co. area of North Carolina.  Some of those families also relocated to the Orange Co. area of Indiana, where my mysterious Masons and Webbs were.

Finding the connection(s) involves a lot of early 19th Century and earlier research, which isn't the easiest but still doable.  I think probate files and land records in North Carolina and Indiana should be my first look.  I already have taken the FAN approach and have some candidate people/families in particular I'm going to look at first.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Surname Saturday: McFadden

I'm not related to the McFaddens but their close relationship with my Wood family makes think there is a deeper family connection, namely that they originated in the same location in Scotland or Ireland before both families came to Canada in the mid-1850s.

I do know that before the Wood family came to Canada, they were in County Cavan, Ireland.  For how many generations and from which town specifically, I do not know.

James McFadden was born around 1825 in Ireland.  He married Margaret Ragan, who was born around 1823 in Ireland.  James and Margaret had three known children:
  • Margaret, born ca. 1858.  "Maggie" married Alexander Wood in Wolverton, Blenheim, Oxford, Ontario, Canada on 5 January 1876.  The family was in Medina, Orleans, New York at the time of the 1880 US Census.  However, they returned to Canada and Margaret died in Chinquacoury, Peel, Ontario on 2 September 1886.  Margaret and Alexander had three known children: Helen Beatrice Wood (Cawston), Arthur William Wood and James Alexander Wood (who was born and died in 1886).
  • Mary Ellen, born 10 December 1859 in Blenheim.  Mary Ellen married John Morton in Blenheim on 28 May 1884.  The family resided in the Ayr Twp. area of Waterloo, Ontario.  They had the following: Norman Wood, Margaret Smith Wood (Stonehouse), and Elizabeth Annabella Morton (Babcock).  Following John Morton's death, Mary Ellen married secondly William Wood.  This second marriage was brief as William died in 1926.  Mary Ellen returned to Ayr and died there on 4 November 1936.
  • Dorinda, born April 1865.  Dorinda is living with her future brother-in-law, William Wood's family in Lockport, Niagara, New York at the time of the 1900 US Census.  Dorinda would marry Stephen Loads and live in Medina until her death on 30 October 1937.
Perhaps I'm grasping at straws, but I do feel like learning where the McFadden and Ragan families originated from will help me in my Wood family research.  In any event, if anyone knows anything about the origins of any of these families, I'd love to know.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Damie

I've seen many spellings for her name: Didame, Dedamia, Diadimia, etc.  But, she seems to have been known as 'Damie' to her friends and family.  Though, to my second-great-grandmother, she would have been known simply as 'mother.'

Recently, I was lucky enough to find an obituary for Damie.  I say lucky because I really wasn't expecting to find anything at all.  Damie died in 1895, when obituaries offering any biographical information weren't usually given for a farmer's wife in rural Michigan.

"Mrs. Chas. S. Wood of Rolland, died on Tuesday, May 7, 1895, after a very [s]evere illness from cancer of seven months duration.  Damie Beam was born in Oxford county, Ontario, September 10, 1851, and was married to Mr. Wood March 3, 1870, and with him came to Oakland county fourteen years ago, and four years later they moved to Rolland, this county.  She leaves a devoted husband, two daughters, four sons and three grand-children to mourn her untimely death.  Mr. Wood wishes to return thanks to his neighbors and [f]riends for their many kindnesses dur[i]ng his great trial." From the Isabella County Enterprise, 17 May 1895, page 5.

Damie also had a father, Josiah, who survived her as well as numerous siblings - most all of whom still lived in Canada.  Among those three grandchildren who survived her was my great-grandfather, Joseph J. Allen.

For anyone wondering where I found this, it is thanks to Central Michigan University's CONDOR, which has issues of the Isabella County Enterprise up to 1927 online and freely searchable.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Six

I'm actually pretty impressed that this blog has been around six years - eons in internet time.  As the years go by, I seem to have less and less time for posting and never enough time for genealogy research - but I still love both, even more so than I did six years ago.

This space doesn't really reflect all the research I've done over the past year, and it has been plentiful.  One project in particular, which is still ongoing, has been quite the journey.  I'm not at the end of the road yet, but when I'm done I look forward to writing about it here.  No matter the outcome, I am grateful for the experience because I've been forced to look in some really unconventional places for records, break out of my research comfort zone (on numerous occasions), and order records I really wasn't sure I wanted (because of what I knew would be in them).  In short, I really feel like I've faced my "genealogy fears" this year.

Some other pretty excellent things have happened this year, including: finding a newspaper clipping which mentions where my great-great-grandparents honeymooned; getting my great-grandfather's military record from Italy; the Pennsylvania death certificates being added to Ancestry; uploading my father's 23andMe results to FamilyTreeDNA; and more than anything else, learning the names of my great-grandmother's parents,  Matteo D'Accia and Maria Mattia Di Milo (I just love being able to write that).

I could set goals and plans and say I'll post here more, but I really can't promise that.  Instead it is enough, for now, to know this space is here.  In the meantime I still love reading all the other genealogy blogs out there, gaining inspiration and insights I wouldn't have without them.  To anyone still reading here, thank you, and if you have a genealogy blog of your own, chances are I'm happily following.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

128 Greats

I've lately refocused some more attention on the genetic aspect of genealogy.  It is just as fascinating, impressive, frustrating and confusing as ever.  Since most of my matches are around the 5th cousin mark, I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of my 128 4th great-grandparents and where they lived in terms of current geography (these are mostly my ancestors alive in the 18th Century):

Paternal:
Allan/Allen (Scotland or Ireland)
Beam (New Jersey, USA; Ontario, Canada after Revolutionary War)
Bell (New Jersey, USA; Ontario, Canada after Revolutionary War)
Boon (Somerset, England)
Clements (Ireland)
Croad (Dorset, England)
D'Accia (likely Puglia, Italy)
Di Milo (likely Puglia, Italy)
Gibbons (Dorset, England)
Horton (Ontario, Canada; likely New York, USA pre-Revolutionary War)
Lapiccirella (likely Puglia, Italy)
Montgomery (N. Ireland)
Old (Dorset, England)
Rendle (Dorset or Somerset, England)
Rogers (Dorset, England)
Scarano (likely Puglia, Italy)
Shepstone/Shipton/Shipston (Somerset, England)
Shoe/Shew (Somerset, England)
Stokes (Somerset, England)
Tizzard/Tyzzard/Tissard (Dorset, England)
Williamson (N. Ireland)
Wood (Ireland, N. Ireland)

That is 22 names out of a possible 64.  Of those 42 unknowns, 28 are from my Italian grandmother's side.

Maternal:
Asay (New Jersey, USA)
Barger/Berger (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)
Brunner (Canton Bern, Switzerland)
Buhler (Canton Bern, Switzerland)
Chapple/Chaple/Chappel (likely Virginia, USA)
Collins (Rhode Island to Massachusetts to Vermont to New York, USA)
Doyle (unknown, Vermont, USA as of 1810)
Ellis (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Gibson (Lincolnshire, England)
Haley/Healy/Healey (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Harris (Virginia, USA)
Herbert (New Jersey, USA)
Hilton (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Hudson (Virginia, USA)
Jackman (New Hampshire, USA)
Leet/Leete (unknown, Indiana, USA by 1820)
Lester/Luster/Laster/Louster (likely Virginia, USA)
Kupper/Kupher (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)
Mason (unknown, likely North Carolina, USA)
Matz (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)
Mott (New York, USA)
Nielsen (unknown, Denmark or Germany)
Petersen (unknown, Denmark or Germany)
Rose (New York, USA)
Schmoker (Canton Bern, Switzerland)
Scott (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Shinn (New Jersey, USA)
Smith x2 (New York, USA)
Swena/Swaney/Sweeney (Connecticut, USA)
Tock (Lincolnshire, England)
vonAllmen (Canton Bern, Switzerland)
Wadd (Lincolnshire, England)
Webb (unknown, Indiana, USA by 1820)
Wellons/Wellens (Virginia, USA)

That is 35 out of a possible 64.  In all, 57 of a total 128 surnames are thought to be known.  I'm hoping to update this as I make breakthroughs.

One thing that has become clear is that I made a huge false assumption with many of my matches.  Oddly, the majority of my matches have always been centered in the southern portion of the US.  Since I only have, on paper, one maternal great-grandparent with southern roots, I always thought these matches were through her line.  However, when I recently uploaded my father's 23andMe results to FamilyTreeDNA, I was surprised to see that many of those matches were actually also matches of his.  I certainly have my work cut out for me - good thing it is such fun "work!"

Friday, July 11, 2014

52 Ancestors: Dr. Albert J. Berger (#15)

If you look at my family tree you'll see mostly farmers and field hands, some factory workers, miners, and a couple ministers.  But, as far as I have yet found, only one medical doctor - and that would be Albert Jacob Berger.  Albert, in addition to his interesting career, also led an interesting life - beginning with his birth.

Early Life
Albert was born near Essen, Germany on 4 December, 1877.  His parents, Americans by birth, were there doing missionary work for the German Evangelical Association (related to the Methodist Church).  Albert was the fourth of John W. and Susanna vonAllmen Berger's ten known children.

When he was about a year old, the family returned to their native Indiana and settled in South Bend in time for the 1880 US Census.  Three years later the family again moved, this time to Wabash.

When Albert was about ten the family left Indiana.  Albert's father's health was failing so they relocated to Los Angeles, California.  For whatever reason, Los Angeles proved to be unsuitable and the family again moved after two years.  Arriving in Oakland around 1890, the family finally found a place to put down roots.  However, one important member of the family would not be around to see the Bergers prosper in their new home.  Albert's father died a few days after Albert's fourteenth birthday.

The next record I have for Albert is the 1895 Oakland city directory, in which he still living at the family home and is a student.  Two years later, Albert is at the same address but working as a clerk for H. D. Kellogg & Co. (a drug store).

On 17 June, 1898, President McKinley signed into law a bill establishing a US Navy Hospital Corps.  That same day, Albert enlisted to serve in the Spanish-American War.  I know from a newspaper article that he was sent to the Philippines but I know nothing beyond that.  He left the Hospital Corps a year later, in 1899.  In 1925 Albert applied for, and received, a pension for this service.

Albert continues to appear in Oakland city directories (and the 1900 US Census) at the same address.  By the time of the 1902 directory, Albert is again listed as a student and this time I know what he was studying.

In 1904 Albert graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of San Francisco.  Around 1907, Albert became the proprietor of Hornung's Pharmacy (later it became just his office) in San Francisco.

Later Life
The later years of Albert's life are less known to me and information is rather spotty to find.  In 1910, Albert is enumerated in San Francisco along with a wife, Minnie, who he had married in 1905.  I have no other information on Minnie, or this marriage.

The next decade or so Albert spent as the ship surgeon for various steamships travelling the Pacific.  What time he spent in the US, seems to have been back in Oakland.  I find no other mention of Minnie and by 1925, Albert is married to Alma.  Also around this time, Albert and Alma relocated back to San Francisco.  Albert would spend the last years of his life there, dying from chronic bronchitis on 10 February, 1934.  His obituary mentions that he was a member of the Nelson A. Miles Camp No. 10, U.S.W.V. (United Spanish War Veterans) of San Francisco.

To Find
There are some records and information related to Albert I'd like to find:

  • His marriage records to both Minnie and Alma
  • A record of him in both the 1920 and 1930 US Census
  • His pension application (NARA doesn't have it so I'll have to do a FOIA request to the VA)
  • Information on the Nelson A. Miles Camp No. 10
  • His death record
  • Burial location (I want to know if he is with his parents in the Berger plot at Mountain View Cemetery)
(This is an entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge hosted by No Story Too Small)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

52 Ancestors: Florence P. Berger (#14)

L-R: Susanna vonAllmen Berger, Gideon G. Berger
and Florence P. Berger.  Circa 1917, Oakland, CA.
When I first began researching my family tree I asked my grandmother for information on her branches.  Among the things she told me was that her father's sister, Florence, had been dropped as an infant and was mentally handicapped because of it.

 Whether this is true or not, I do not know.  I do think Florence did have some sort of handicap however.  Family members always mentioned Florence in letters.  The tone paints a picture of Florence as a kind, thoughtful and well loved family member, albeit one who seems to be treated/referred to in a very childlike manner.

BIRTH
Florence was born in Los Angeles, California on 11 June, 1890.  She was the youngest of John W. and Susanna vonAllmen Berger's ten known children.  Her family had come to the area a few years earlier due to John's poor health.  Not long after Florence's birth, the family moved north, to Oakland, Alameda, California where they remained.  Florence's father died there when Florence was a year and a half old.

CENSUS
When Florence was nine, she was enumerated in the 1900 US Census.  She was living in Oakland with her mother and siblings and was attending school.

Ten years later, in the 1910 US Census, Florence is still living with her mother, as well as her brother Jesse, and sister, Madeline, in Oakland.  Florence is enumerated as being able to read and write.

Still in Oakland in 1920, Florence's brother Jesse, has become the head of the household.  Their mother, Susanna, is also still living with them.  The household is the same in 1930 as well.

In 1940, Florence has moved to nearby Berkeley and is living with her sister, Madeline, and nephew. The box for highest education level is left blank for Florence.

LIFE EVENTS
Florence's 41st birthday was a memorable one, though for a sad reason.  Her mother, Susanna, died on that day in 1932.

Unlike Florence's siblings and mother, she never seems to have registered to vote.  She also never seems to have had an occupation, and appears sporadically through city directories.  She also appears to have not lived on her own.

Florence died in Alameda County, California on 11 August 1962.  Where specifically and from what, I do not know.

There are many things about Florence I would like to know.  Ordering her death certificate would probably answer some of these questions, but I am waiting to see if Alameda Co. death records get released online first (Alameda Co. vital records are very expensive).

Also on my list is calling Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland to see if she is buried in the Berger family plot there.

(This is an entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge hosted by No Story Too Small)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nineteen Years in Probate Court

"NINETEEN YEARS IN COURT TOO LONG, SAYS JUDGE

"OAKLAND, April 12. -- Nineteen years in the Probate Court is too long, declared Judge Ogden to-day, as he mildly censured Mrs. Susanna Berger, widow of John Berger, and administratix of his estate, because the matter had not been closed up more quickly.

"'I am not satisfied with your administration of this estate,' said Judge Ogden, 'I am not going to criticise you for I have not heard enough about the matter.  The children, heirs in the estate, may have consented to these delays."

"Judge Ogden, however, refused to confirm one sale in the estate, continuing the matter a week for investigation."

The woman Judge Ogden "mildly censured" was my great-great-grandmother, Susanna vonAllmen Berger.  I'd love to know why the estate spent as long as it did in probate, but I'm a little scared of what I'll find: a mammoth sized file which will cost a small fortune to get.  I guess I should start saving my pennies...

The above article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on 13 April 1908 on page 8.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Discoveries Yet to Make

In terms of genealogical breakthroughs, this past year or so has been by far the best.  In particular, I've broken through my two most nagging "brick walls," by learning the parents of Heman Doyle and (most satisfying of all) my great-grandmother, Maria Nicola "Nicoletta" D'Accia.  All of these wonderful developments have made me re-evaluate what mysteries I am still wanting to solve:

Paternal
Allen, Joseph.  There is so much I want to learn - his birthplace and parents names in particular.
Clemen(t)s, Elizabeth.  Unlike her husband above, I know the names of Elizabeth's parents.  However, that is about all I know.
Wood, Charles S.  I know a lot about Charles and his family - I just can't find a date and place of death for him.  I'm thinking he died sometime between 1910 and 1915.  However, I have yet to find a death or cemetery record for him in Michigan.  I'm planning on expanding my search to Ontario and British Columbia, Canada and the US states of New York and Missouri - all places where Charles had family members.

Maternal
Berger.  I came across a newspaper articles wherein a Judge admonished my great-great-grandmother for allowing her husband's probate case to remain open for over nineteen years.  I've been itching for a copy of that record ever since (although I know it will be huge and likely very expensive).
Mason, Priscilla.  So many leads, so many random possible clues, so much I don't know...  Everything about Priscilla from before her marriage is unknown to me.  Priscilla is where my direct maternal line (mother's mother's mother's, etc.) ends, making it especially important to me to solve this mystery.
Mott, Jacob Coles.  I know there was a probate file for him.  Unfortunately, it was misplaced at some point and never found - and that is incredibly irritating to me.
Nielsen, Niels Christian.  His parents and birthplace as well as year of arrival in the US, are completely unknown to me.  I'd also like to have a copy of his naturalization record.
Petersen, Engeline Christine.  Same as her husband Niels above.
Wadd, Martha.  When Martha's youngest daughter was "about two," Martha died.  I want some more concrete information than that.
Webb, Martin.  What I do know about Martin is thanks to census records and his will.  Where did Martin come from before showing up in Indiana in 1820?  Who were his parents?  When was he born, married and died - and where?  Was his wife's maiden name really Leet(s)?

This list is by no means complete.  The above are merely the mysteries bugging me the most.  Now to pick a starting point...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Comfort G. Healey (#13)

(My entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

I have hesitated to do challenge entries on ancestors I know quite a bit about because I simply have not had the time to write long biographies (or do the research and pulling of files that go along with it).  Case in point, my Haley/Healey/Healys.  There is a lot out there on this family, as well as a wonderful book.  But, I think this not writing about them has been a disservice to these lines.  The point of this exercise to get information of any quantity out there.  I'd also love to be contacted concerning my Healeys, Healys, or Haleys (just as much as any of my brick wall people), and that won't happen if I don't write about them and put information out there to be found by others!

So, even though you don't have to hunt far to find a lot on Comfort, I want to write about him.  However, because basic biographical information is plentiful, I'm writing about other (not so well known) things concerning him:

  • If you search for information on him, be sure to search for him as Comfort, Comfort G. or C. G. with the last names of Haley, Healy or Healey.  That is nine different name combinations in case you were wondering.  Oh, and sometimes the G. is erroneously written or transcribed as a C. 
  • The initial G. seems to be a Harry S. Truman situation.  I have no idea why he adopted that particular letter.
  • Before his marriage to Mary G. S. Mott, he was briefly married to a Mary Ann Williams in Alameda Co., California in 1864.  I wish I knew more about Mary Ann, like whatever happened to her after her marriage.
  • Comfort briefly lived in Monterey Co., California.  A Comfort Healey was in Alisal (now Salinas) at the time of the 1860 US Census.
  • Comfort was enumerated in the 1910 US Census, even though he had actually died six days before the enumerator came to his house.  The reason for this is that he was still alive on April 15, the cut off date (he died five days later).
  • He was close to 6 ft. tall, with a fair complexion and blue eyes.
  • Comfort died five months after the death of his daughter, Stella Therese.  Her death was a hard blow to the family and probably hastened his death from cancer of the face and head.
  • Comfort became a citizen of the United States on October 18, 1864.  His place of naturalization is given as either "San Leandro" or "Alameda Co.," or "Alameda, 3rd Judicial District."  His father and brothers naturalized at around the same time.
  • Many of Comfort's neighbors in Alameda Co. were neighbors and relatives from back in Nova Scotia.  His property was also near the local school, whose teacher, Miss Mott, he would go on to marry.
  • After many years of living in what is now the Fremont area of Alameda County, Comfort moved to San Francisco around 1904.  His addresses in the city were: 608 Shotwell (until about 1906), 3322 20th (until about 1909) and finally 2436 Folsom.  All three residences are a brief walk from one another and in what is known as the Mission District (one of the few neighborhoods that did not burn down during the 1906 earthquake).
  • Comfort was cremated and interred in the Odd Fellow's Cemetery in San Francisco.  He was eventually moved to Greenlawn Memorial Park in Colma, San Mateo, California and is buried in the family plot there.
  • The only time I've ever gotten a postal money order was so that I could order Comfort's death certificate from San Francisco.  Like everything else concerning San Francisco, it was very expensive.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Revisiting Pennsylvania Death Certificates

Although most of my Pennsylvania connections had long ended by 1906, I've been eager to check out the death certificates recently uploaded by Ancestry.  The one certificate I did order from the Dept. of Health a few years ago was of horrible quality.  I was expecting more of the same, but lo and behold:


The above is the same certificate I had previously ordered, though this time I can actually read it!
(The certificate has several errors: Joseph wasn't born in Niles, Trumbull, Ohio but Lawrence Co., Pennsylvania.  His mother's name was Elizabeth Clemen(t)s and the Margaret Murray listed was actually Joseph's late wife.  Joseph had lived in Ohio most of his life but died in Sharon while visiting his daughter.)

My skepticism has been banished!  If you also ordered through the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health and were disappointed, give Ancestry's new collection a try - you might be pleasantly surprised.

Note: I have no affiliation whatsoever with Ancestry.com or any other persons, websites or companies under the Ancestry.com umbrella.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Rebecca Chappel

(My current entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Rebecca Chappel's last name might have Chaple or Chapple, or maybe Chappelle, or it could be Chapele or it might be Chapell...  and on it goes.  I've also seen Rebecca spelled Rebekah.  Point is, I know next to nothing about Rebecca.

Rebecca was probably born in Virginia, either present-day Virginia or present-day Kentucky.  The first record of Rebecca is her marriage record to Henry Wellons (spelled 'Willons') on December 8, 1801 in Pulaski County, Kentucky.

I don't know exactly how many children Henry and Rebecca had.  A Henry 'Weldon' was enumerated in Somerset, Pulaski, Kentucky in 1810.  There was one man and one woman between the ages of 26 and 44 (presumably Henry and Rebecca) and five people (two boys and three girls) under the age of sixteen.

The only other census Rebecca was alive for was the 1820.  The Henry 'Willings' household in Somerset, consisted of eight white people.  There were four girls under twenty-five and two boys under fifteen.  There was also one man and one woman over the age of forty-five (Henry and Rebecca).

Rebecca was dead by 1826 (the year Henry remarried).  Interestingly Henry and his new wife named their daughter Rebecca.

There are candidates for Rebecca's family.  A James Chapple appears on an 1800 Pulaski Co. tax list (and was still there in 1810).  There were also some marriages of note in Pulaski Co.: Nancy Chappel to John Emerson in 1805, Kizah Chapel to John Wood in 1806, and Elizabeth Chapell to William Wood in 1805.  I believe all these people are in some way connected to Rebecca but proof is still elusive.

Rebecca's son, John Chappel Wellons, was my third great-grandfather.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Engeline Christine Petersen

(This week's entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Engeline was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany on 9 March 1855.  The next nineteen years of Engeline's life are a complete mystery to me.  On 30 May, 1874 Engeline married Niels Christian Nielsen by Rev. Julius Bauch at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oak Harbor, Ottawa, Ohio.

Very soon after their marriage Engeline and Niels moved west.  Their daughter, Katherine, was born in Mt. Eden, Alameda, California in November of 1875.  Another daughter, Caroline, was born in 1879.

At the time of the 1880 US Census, the family was still in Mt. Eden where Niels worked as a laborer.  The following year Caroline died.  Two months after Caroline's death, Engeline had another daughter, also named Caroline or Carolyn.  Four years later, daughter Lillian completed the family.

29 February 1932, Oakland Tribune
At the time of the 1900 US Census, the family is still in Eden with Niels farming.  It is the first time where Engeline mentions her year of arrival in the US, 1871 (the is also the year she gives in the 1910 US Census).

By 1910 the family had left Eden for the city of Alameda, where they lived at 2702 Central Ave.  Niels is no longer in farming, instead he is a foreman for the salt works.  In 1918, Engeline's daughter Katherine, died.

The family is still in Alameda for the 1920 US Census, living at 1508 Alameda Ave.  Niels is a laborer for the city by now.

The 1930 US Census would be Engeline's last.  They were living at 1626 Versailles Ave. in Alameda.  Engeline died two years later.

I've actually done a good amount of research on Engeline but don't have much to show for it.  I'd love to know who her parents were, where she was from, when exactly she did come to the US, why she went to Ohio, why she went to California, and any other piece of information I can gather.  It isn't as if Engeline's paper trail didn't leave me a lot of clues.  I just haven't been able to do much with those clues, which are:
  • Engeline's obituary mentions two sister, Celia Catharina Petersen Claussen and Christina Patrina Petersen Strauss.  I have researched them in depth.  They also went to Ottawa County, Ohio before moving to Alameda Co., California.  However, they arrived at later times than Engeline.
  • When Celia and her family arrived their last residence is given as Dageb├╝ll.
  • Both Oak Harbor/Benton Twp. and Mt. Eden had thriving Danish communities at the time.  It is likely that Engeline and Niels had relatives in both place.  However, I have researched some of the Petersen families in Ottawa Co., Ohio and found no connection to Engeline or her sisters.
  • The cemeteries for the various family members seem to have been popular with the Scandinavian community but I haven't been able to connect any of them to Engeline or her family.
Engeline was my third great-grandmother through her daughter, Katherine.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Elizabeth Asay Shinn

Another Elizabeth I know very little about is Elizabeth Asay Shinn.  Her parents were reportedly John Asay and Jane Shreve.  I've also seen the name spelled Easy or Esay.

Elizabeth was born around 1785 in New Jersey.  I've seen her birth location given as Springfield Twp. or Mansfield Twp., in any case she was probably born in Burlington County.

Elizabeth and John Shinn married on 1 November 1809 in Monmouth Co.  The following year their first child, John Irick, was born.  Elizabeth and John would go on to have nine known children in all: John Irick, Mary Anne, Charlotte, Jane, Sarah, Hannah, John R., Edith and Jacob Asay.

In 1840, Elizabeth's husband died.  Elizabeth, who seems to have spent her married life (at least) in Mansfield Twp., was enumerated in the household of her daughter Hannah in Chesterfield in the 1850 US Census.  By the 1860 US Census, Elizabeth was back in Mansfield living with daughter Sarah (daughter Edith lived next door).  She died there in July of 1863.

Elizabeth is buried in the Upper Springfield Friends Burying Ground in Wrightstown, Burlington, New Jersey.

There is a lot about Elizabeth I don't know (obviously) but I'd love to learn more.  One thing in particular I've always wondered about is whether she kept in touch with her son, John R., after he went to California during the Gold Rush.  It seems likely that they didn't because the only mention of John R. in the book The History of the Shinn Family in Europe and America is that he "moved to California."

Elizabeth was my 4th great-grandmother through her son, John R. Shinn.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Elizabeth Clemens Allen

(My entry in this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

This sketch will be short indeed because I know so little about the subject.  What I do know is that Elizabeth was born in Ireland (probably Northern Ireland) some time between 1827 and 1832.  Her parents were James and Mary and she had at least two siblings, Jane and John, and likely a third, Mary.

The ship Pioneer arrived in Philadelphia from Londonderry, Ireland in May of 1847.  On board, I believe, were Elizabeth's family, minus her and James.  In any case, the family was in the US by 1850 and Elizabeth was married to Joseph Allen.

The Clemens/Allen family in the
1850 US Census
They resided in the Shenango Twp. area of Lawrence Co., Pennsylvania where Elizabeth's father was a "watchman" and her husband a teamster.

Also in 1850, Elizabeth and Joseph had their first known child, James.  Two year later they had another son, Joseph T.

In 1855, daughter Mary C. was born.  Mary gave Pittsburgh as her birth place.  I do not know if the family did indeed relocate to Pittsburgh or if this is an error and she was born in Lawrence Co. like the her older siblings.  I tend to think this is wrong as Mary's brother, Robert, was born in New Castle, Lawrence, Pennsylvania in 1857.

By 1860, the family had moved to Weathersfield, Trumbull, Ohio.  Joseph worked as a farm laborer and might also have owned land (albeit briefly) in Weathersfield.  Daughter Catherine was born that same year, followed by daughter Elizabeth five years later.

In 1866, Catherine died and son John Grant Allen was born three years later.  The 1870 US Census is the last record Elizabeth appears in, still in Weathersfield with her family.


When Elizabeth died I do not know.  Her family was still in Weathersfield by 1880, so it is likely she died there some time before then.  He daughter, Elizabeth, died in 1877.

Elizabeth was my third great-grandmother through her son, John Grant Allen.

(Elizabeth's maiden name was also spelled Clements, Cleymonds, and Clemmens.)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: James Tock

James Tock was born in Alkborough, Lincolnshire, England on 12 July, 1818 to William and Elizabeth Tock.  He was the third of their six children and the only one of their three sons to reach adulthood.  James would grow up in Alkborough, where his family farmed.

On 14 June 1848 in nearby Burton-Upon-Stather, James married Martha Wadd.  The following year their first child, Mary Elizabeth Tock, was born, also in Burton-Upon-Stather.

On 2 June 1853, James, Martha and Mary arrived in Portland, Maine on the ship Gypsey.  They settled in Calais, Washington, Maine but also spent a lot of time across the river in St. Stephen, New Brunswick where they supposedly had family (a legend I have yet to confirm or debunk).  Daughters Martha Anne (1854), Sarah Jane "Sally" (1857) and Emma Sophia (1859) completed James and Martha's family.

When Emma was about two, her mother Martha died.  This left James to raise his four daughters alone.  Martha and Sarah were sent to live with a family in St. Stephen.  I do not yet know what happened with Mary and Emma during this time.

James remarried to Margaret Mowatt around 1865.  Two years later their son James Samuel Tock was born.  James and Margaret seem to have been separated by the 1871 Census of Canada, with Margaret and little James Samuel enumerated with Margaret's family and James no where to be found.  In any case, James and his daughters left Maine for California the following year.  He supposedly asked Margaret to come also but she refused so he left without her and their son.  Margaret and James Samuel would stay in the Calais/St. Stephen area but changed their name to Tuck.

James and his girls settled in San Joaquin Co., California.  Each of James' daughters married in the first few years of their arrival.  Daughter Martha Anne died in 1875 following the birth of her only child.

On 20 May, 1891 in San Joaquin Co., James died.  James' daughter, Emma Sophia, was my great-great-grandmother.


Monday, February 24, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Alzina Jackman Doyle

Alzina Jackman was born on 27 March, 1810 in New York (the family was enumerated in Lima, Ontario, New York in the 1810 US Census, which is likely where Alzina was born).  Alzina was the youngest of Moses and Rhoda Collins Jackman's four children and the only one not born in Vermont.

When Alzina was about a year old, the family moved to Mendon, Monroe, New York.  Not long after this, Alzina's mother, Rhoda died at the age of thirty.  A little over a year later, Alzina's father, Moses, remarried to Betsey Beecher (a distant relative of the Lyman Beecher family).  Alzina would gain eight half-siblings through this union.

In 1828, Alzina's family moved to Livonia, Livingston, New York.  By 1832, Alzina had married Heman H. Doyle and their first child, Maria Adelaide, was born in October of that year.  They would have three known daughters in all (though one appears to have died young).  In 1833, Alzina's mother's father, John Collins, died and mentions in his will Alzina and Heman being residents of Pittsford, Monroe, New York.

Alzina and her family moved west in the spring of 1839.  They settled somewhere along the banks of the Mississippi before being forced to return to New York due to illness.  They eventually relocated to Rochester.

A decade later, when gold was discovered in California, Alzina's husband decided to go west again, leaving her and their daughters behind.  I wonder how much Alzina and her husband communicated after he left because she is listed as a widow in the 1851 Rochester city directory.  Alzina last appears in Rochester in the 1853 directory, she was working as a seamstress at the time.  Heman was working as a lawyer in private practice in Placerville (then called Hangtown) at this time.

Alzina and her daughters eventually did make it out west and joined Heman.  At the time of the 1860 US Census, Alzina was in Placerville residing with her daughter, Frances, and Frances' husband and son.  Heman is enumerated in San Joaquin Co.  A year later Alzina's father, Moses, died in Livonia.

Alzina's daughter, Frances, died in 1864 in Nevada, where the Doyles had relocated.  The Doyles would at least partially raise Frances' young son, Frank Doyle Smith.  Heman was appointed Probate Judge in Douglas Co. in 1865 and District Attorney for Carson Valley in 1866.  The family was residing in Genoa, Douglas, Nevada.

By the 1870 US Census, Heman was enumerated in both Genoa and with Alzina in Elkhorn, San Joaquin, California.  Heman and Alzina are again enumerated separately in the 1880 US Census.  At the time Alzina is living on her own in Elkhorn and Heman is residing with their daughter, Maria, and her family nearby.

Although Heman and Alzina seem to have led separate lives later in their marriage, she was with him when he died in 1881 from typhoid.  Alzina died nine years later on 4 February, 1890 - a few weeks shy of her eightieth birthday.  They are buried in Woodbridge Masonic Cemetery in Woodbridge, San Joaquin, California.

Alzina's daughter, Maria Adelaide Doyle Shinn, was my third great-grandmother.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Robert Rendle Croad

(Another entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Robert Rendle Croad was baptized on 17 March 1832 in Sydling St. Nicholas, Dorset, England.  His parents were Robert Croad and Elizabeth Rendle and he was the second of their ten known children.

On 12 December 1852, Robert married Susannah Tizzard in Sydling St. Nicholas.  They would go on to have thirteen children (nine would live to adulthood), as well as raise a granddaughter of theirs.

One of the most interesting things about these Croads are their place in history and the changing landscape.  Robert, like previous generations did farm work in a small agrarian town where his family had been for years.  His children, however, took vastly different paths.  Son William went to London and was a boot maker; daughter Agnes was a domestic servant who also ended up in London; sons George, Alfred, Frederick and Albert went to Wales to work in the coal mines, as did daughter Caroline whose husband also worked in the mines; son Charles was a grocer and merchant who also left Sydling St. Nicholas; and son Herbert left his hometown, but did not move far, to work as a railroad platelayer.  Two of Robert's children would even eventually emigrate to the US, Frederick to Michigan and Albert to Utah.

Robert never seems to have left Sydling St. Nicholas, dying there in February of 1903.  Robert's wife, Susannah died there four years later.

Robert and Susannah's son, Frederick Rendle Croad, was my great-great-grandfather.

Monday, February 17, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Jane Montgomery Wood

(Another entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

I almost made this entry about Jane's son, Charles, who I know a fair bit about.  But, then I realized that I never have really written much about Charles' mother.

I actually don't know much about Jane, but I'd love to change that.  She was born around 6 August, 1816 (this is a calculated date based on her death record) in County Cavan, Ireland.  I believe Jane's parents were John M. Montgomery and Ann Williamson.

Jane and Charles Wood had their first known child in 1842.  About ten years later the family relocated to Canada to join relatives.  The family settled in the Ayr area of North Dumfries, Waterloo, Ontario.  Sometime before 1871, the family moved a few miles south to South Dumfries.

Sometime before 1881, Jane moved to Blenheim, Oxford, Ontario.  At the time of the 1891 Census of Canada, Jane was living with her daughter in Fort Erie, Welland, Ontario.  However, Jane was in Blenheim again when she died two years later, on 18 February 1893.

Jane was buried at St. George United Church Cemetery in South Dumfries along with her husband, Charles, who had died in 1863.  Jane and Charles had eight known children in all: William, Charles S., Alexander, John, James, Andrew, George D. and Jane.

In the 1861 Census of Canada, the family gives their religion as Church of England.  In all subsequent census records, however, Jane gives a variation on Methodist.

Jane's son, Charles S. Wood, was my third great-grandfather.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Mary Stokes Croad

(My third entry in the 52 Weeks Challenge)

Mary Stokes was born on 16 April, 1867 in Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales.  Her parents, George Stokes and Charlottle Shepstone were natives of Somerset, England.  They had relocated to Wales a few years before Mary's birth so that George could work in the coal mines.  Mary was the youngest of George and Charlotte's nine children.

Mary married Frederick Rendle Croad in 1885.  He was a native of Dorset, England who had come to Wales to also work in the mines.  The following year they had their first child, Frank and not long after left Wales to go to Canada.  Their second child, John, was born in 1888 in Bruce, Ontario.  Not long after that, the family moved again, this time southward.  By 1890 the family was in Lilly, Cambria, Pennsylvania, not far from Johnstown which had flooded in 1889.  Whether the family was in the area at the time of flood or not, I do not know.  Regardless, the Croads left very soon after their daughter, Florence, had been born in Lilly in April of 1890.

The Croads were living with Mary's parents back in Pontypridd at the time of the 1891 Wales Census.  Their fourth child, Anna, was born there in May of 1892.  A month later, they arrived at the Port of Philadelphia.  Their destination was Michigan.

The family settled in the Millbrook, Mecosta, Michigan area from then on.  They farmed and Fred also did some work for the railroad.  Mary and Fred were also actively involved with the Salvation Army.  Mary had been raised in the Primitive Methodist Church before joining the Church of God in 1914.

Mary had seven more children in Michigan.  All but one of her eleven children reached adulthood.  Mary died on 28 June 1923 in Millbrook, possibly due to epilepsy.  Fred died in 1932.  Their daughter, Daisy, was my great-grandmother.

Monday, February 10, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Henrich Michael Berger

(Another entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Henrich Michael Berger was born 15 May 1788 in present-day Rinnthal, Sudliche Weinstrasse, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany and was baptized three days later in Annweiler.  "Michael's" parents were Karl/Carl Jakob Berger and Catharina/Katharina Kupper(in).

Michael and Elisabetha Fredricka Matz had their first child in 1808.  Over the next thirty-three years, they would go on to have eleven known children, seven of whom lived to adulthood.

The obituary of Michael's son, Henry, states that the family came to America in 1832.  In April of 1833, Michael appeared before the Stark County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas and declared his intent to become a US citizen.  The family left Ohio a few years later and owned land in Marshall County, Indiana by August of 1838.  He would farm in the German Township area for the rest of his life.

The family, who had been members of the Lutheran Church, were converted in 1848 when German Evangelical Association missionaries came to their area.

Michael's wife, Fredricka, died in 1868 and Michael three years later in September of 1871.

The family was often enumerated as 'Barger' in the US.  Whether they purposefully changed their name to this or it was an oft repeated error (probably do to the way the family pronounced their name) I do not know.

I have many records relating to the Bergers, which are available upon request.  Michael and Fredricka's youngest, John William Berger, was my great-great-grandfather.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Peter Doyle

(This is my first foray into the 52 Weeks Challenge.  Hopefully I can keep it going throughout the year...)

I know very little about Peter Doyle.  His son, Heman, said Peter was born in Ireland, but Peter's US Army enlistment record lists Plymouth, England as his birthplace.

I don't know who Peter's parents were either, or when he arrived in the US.  He was born around 1770 and married Rebecca Swena/Sweeney sometime before 1810.  Their son, Heman, was born on 31 Dec 1809 in Arlington, Bennington, Vermont.  Peter also had at least two other children, Aaron and Mary Paulina.

On 2 March 1814 in Bennington, Vermont, Peter enlisted as a Musician in Capt. William S. Foster's Co. of the 11th US Infantry.  During the Siege of Fort Erie, Peter was wounded by a cannon ball and subsequently died from his injuries on 14 September, 1814.  Due to Peter's service and death in action, his three children received a pension between 1821 and 1826.

Peter's widow, Rebecca, remarried in 1819 to Joseph S. Bacon.  They had several children and eventually settled in Sauk Co., Wisconsin.

I do not know what happened to either Aaron or Mary Paulina.  Peter's son, Heman, eventually came west to California with some of his Bacon relatives.  Rebecca died in 1867; Heman died in 1881.  Heman was my 4th great-grandfather.

I've seen several alternative spellings for Doyle, including: Dail, Doil, Dale and Doyel.  Heman always went by Doyle, whether that was the actual original spelling/pronounciation I do not know.

I have tried to order Peter's pension records from NARA but they could find nothing.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to get these records, I'd love to hear them.