Saturday, October 11, 2008

And More On the I'm Stumped Post ...

Earlier today, I posted on a research dilemma that I have with the family of Benjamin Oswalt. After Cathy left a comment, I realized that I had left out an important piece of information in my post. I forgot to mention that I had taken a look at the Wills and administrations records for Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, and the image above is what is listed for Benjamin Oswalt. He was listed in will book 6 on page 142. Outside of that record and the orphan court record, I do not have any other information on his estate. I am unsure if he owned land because I have noticed in some secondary sources that suggest he was a tenant. It is an avenue that I'll have to take a look at, but outside of that, I am unsure as to where else I should look. Again any suggestions are welcome. Thanks. (Also, thank you, Cathy for your suggestion!)

My Mystery Ancestor: Irene Havens - Part 3

In my previous post on my mysterious ancestor, Irene Havens, I wrote about discovering a possible sister (or half-sister or step-sister). In this post, I want to continue writing about this sibling, and my continued research into my ancestor, Irene. Plus, I want to make other beginning genealogists aware of some of the mistakes one can make when one makes assumptions without looking at records that might give an answer.

After discovering that Philip Lang was Mary (Stout) Albright's uncle and was married to a Rhoda Havens, I decided to look for Rhoda (Havens) Lang in the censuses. Of course, from the existing 1870 to 1900 censuses I was able to find her living with her husband in Saint Joseph County, Michigan. One of things that I did not due at that time (and should have) was to try to view Rhoda's death registration. If I had, I probably would not have wasted the time I did digging into another Havens family. (A family, of which I will mention later.)

So after finding Rhoda listed in the surviving censuses from 1870 to 1900 under her married name, I decided to look for her in the censuses prior to 1870. Of course, when I did an online search for a Rhoda Havens in the 1860 census, I came across a listing for a Rhoda Havens listed in the household of Guerdon Havens in Plattsburgh, New York. My first mistake was to assume that I had found the right Rhoda Havens. My ancestor, Irene Havens, was not listed in this household, but since I had already found her in Michigan, I figured that was why. So, to try to confirm my assumption, I tried to look for Guerdon's family in the 1850 census, but I was unable to find him. (This should have been my first clue that I might have the wrong family.) Even though, I could not find a Rhoda Havens of the right age living in Plattsburgh, I did find a Rhoda Havens living with a Clarissa Havens and Hirena Haves in Rochester, New York; however, I disregarded this census as I thought I had found the right family. (That was my second mistake.)

So, to find out as much as I could about Guerdon Havens and his wife Salinda, whom I believed might be my ancestor and step-mother (I'll explain in a moment), I started to follow them forward in the censuses. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses, I found them living in Shelburne, Vermont, and I began tracing their sons forward in the censuses as well. I also began looking for a possible marriage record for Guerdon and Salinda, and on the familySearch website, I found some information that suggested that they were married about 1844. Since I knew my ancestor, Irene, had been between 1840 and 1842, I assumed that Salinda must have been Gurdon's second wife. (Again, I was making a big mistake.) So, I tried to look and see if I could find a possible first marriage for Gurdon, but I was unsuccessful. (Of course, looking back now, I realize that what I was doing at the time was trying to make my hypothesis work. Instead of waiting until I had viewed Rhoda's death registration before I tried to move backwards, I made an assumption that I could try and find Rhoda's family in the censuses without that vital record. Unfortunately, I probably made more of a mess by just jumping to a conclusion without some solid information.)

As I stated before, I made several mistakes up above, and although I was trying to make my assumption work, I was still trying to find out as much information as I could about Guerdon and Celinda Havens and their family. In short, I was still trying to figure out if my assumption was workable since I knew I still needed to look at that death registration before I could confirm my hunch. I figured that Rhoda's death record would confirm my beliefs. (I did not know it then, but I was in for a big surprise.)

In my next post, I will continue on with my research into Rhoda and conclude with my who I think are actually Irene and Rhoda's family. I will also include my list of my sources. (Also, as a note: I had used different spelling variations of Guerdona and Salinda Havens' names in this post since I found their names spelled in multiple ways. The two I used just happen to be the ones I can recall off the top of my head at the moment.) Stay tuned ...

Now What? I'm Stumped ...

I've wanted to write this post for a while, but I haven't had much of a chance until now because I'm in school. With that said, I'll continue onto my post ..

So, what is my problem, and how am I stumped? Well, back in late August, the last microfilm I ordered finally came in, but by that time, I was unable to view the microfilm because I was up at school. The microfilm I ordered was of book I of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania's Orphan court records, and I ordered that microfilm because I was hoping I would find some more records related to the estate of my ancestor, Benjamin Oswalt. I thought that he might have had a child who was still considered a minor at that time, so I was hoping there might be a list of his heirs. So, since I could not look at the microfilm myself, I asked my grandpa if he could look up the microfilm which he gladly did for me. Unfortunately, when I talked to my grandpa after he took a look at the microfilm, I learned that the only information on my ancestor in the orphan court's record was limited to three lines or so. There was no list of heirs or a list of what Benjamin Oswalt owned.

So, now, here is my problem: I feel a bit stuck. I do not know where else I should look for death information since I don't have an exact death date for him. I just know he died before 28 September 1861. Does anyone have any advice as to where I could look for more records on Benjamin and his family? What should I do? Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.

Dogs Rule Day? Don't Tell Them That ...

Since today is supposed to be Dogs Rule Day, I've decided to post a couple pictures of my dogs, Ben and Casey. Other than posting these pictures, I won't be celebrating the day with my dogs since I'm away at college. Enjoy!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another Poll Created!

I've created another poll again. This time, the poll is on what you think about the stories in my submission for the upcoming edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. I think the choices listed are pretty self explanatory, so I won't be redundant in repeating them in this post. The poll will be open until October 22nd, when I will post the results of this poll with the correct answers on these two stories. Enjoy!

I'm So Excited! I'm Doing the Happy Dance ...

Earlier today, I received an e-mail from a woman in Germany who had helped me before on my of the branches of my German ancestors (She's not related to me), and she included some more information that she had found on my ancestors and on one of their residences. I really haven't had a chance to process the information yet (and I probably will not get a chance until Christmas time), but I'm really excited. I did not expect her to do any research for me, and so, I'm especially grateful for her help. Anyhow, once I get a chance to look over the information, I'll probably include it in one of my posts on my German ancestors series. Stay tuned ...

25th Shades Of The Departed Guest Column Posted!

The 25th Shades of the Departed guest column has been posted. The author of this week's column is Sheri Bush, and you can read the article here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Irish Ghost Tales: A Book ...

Although I now know that I have some Irish or Scot-Irish ancestors, I cannot report about any family traditions or superstitions from those ancestors since very little was passed in my family. So, in lieu of not having any family tales to share, I'll just write about a book I read several years ago instead.

Several years ago (when I was probably in Middle school), I visited a used bookstore, and bought a book that had caught my eye. The book I bought was True Irish Ghost Stories by St. John D. Seymour, and it was a thick paperback. (I forget what year my version was printed, but it was probably of a reprint of the second edition, since the book included the first ans second edition prefaces in it.) Obviously, one can tell from the title, the book is about Irish ghost stories, and the stories come from different areas of Ireland. As I think about this book, I'm starting to realize that is a really strange book. In the first preface, the author, who turns out to be a Catholic priest, writes that he wrote the book primarily because he could not find any books on Irish ghost stories while he could find books on English ghost stories. I find it highly unusual that a priest would have written this book, let alone have an interest in this subject, and because of that fact, I find the book to be very odd.

As I haven't read this book in several years (probably since I was a freshman in high school), I don't recall all of the stories in this book, but I can still recall some details of some stories. Of course, I really do not like thinking about this book or the stories in it due to the fact that the stories will bother me for some time after I've read them. I do not know what it is, but every time I read this book, I have this creepy feeling that I'm being watched by something, and I don't like the feeling. Since I become frightened every single time that I read the book, I have stopped reading it. (Yes, this type of stuff never fails to scare me.) When I told my dad about how the book scarred me, he mentioned that the Irish were known to be heavy drinkers and that I should keep that in mind when I read the stories. Even though I tried to keep that in mind, I still could not, and can't, keep the book from giving me the creeps. So, as you can imagine, I do not recommend this book for children as it could give children nightmares, and I do not read the book anymore. (I'm not kidding.) So, that's my caveat about this book.

Since I do not have any family tales of Irish ghost stories to tell, this is the best I could do for this topic.

Michigan History: Fires ...

I just happened to notice Jasia's post about fires that occurred in Michigan during the late-1800s. If anyone wants to know more, I could certainly do research on this topic, and post an article next year on this topic. If you're interested in this topic, please let me know. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Close Encounter With the Supernatural? ...

Since the topic of this upcoming edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is on stories of supernatural encounters (either fact or fiction), I thought I would share a couple of stories. Of course, I'll have to let you guess if they are true or false.

So, here is the first story:

Way before I was born, when my mom was in high school, my grandma had a dream about her father-in-law, my great-grandfather. A few days later, my mom and her friend were walking through a cemetery, and she happened to be thinking about her grandfather. (He had been ill for awhile.) Later on that day, my mom went back home, and found out that relatives had called to let her family know that her grandpa had passed away. He had died three days earlier, on the day my grandma dreamed about him.

And now, here is the second story:

A few years ago in late July, I went down to an ancestral home with my grandparents to do some research on my family. While we were down in that area, we decided to visit some of the graves of our ancestors. After we found out where our ancestors were buried in one of the cemeteries, we decided to go over there and take some pictures of the graves. After wandering around the cemetery, trying to locate the section that the graves were in, my grandfather finally found the graves. I wrote down the information on the tombstones, and I took pictures of the graves. After we were done, we got back into the car, and started to leave the cemetery. As we were leaving the cemetery, I started to shiver, and I still do not know why as it late July at the time. (It was pretty warm that day.) So, exactly what it was, the air conditioning or something else, I do not know.

So, those are my two stories, and I hoped you enjoyed them. Now my dear readers, it is your turn to figure out whether or not these stories are true or false. I will not post the answers until a week after October 15, so I'll be giving you plenty of time to make your decisions. You can leave your guesses as comments, and if you have any other thoughts, you are more than welcome to post those as well. Have a hauntingly enjoyable time reading!

More Records Added To FamilySearch Lab's Record Search

I just happened to notice today that a couple more records were added to the FamilySearch Lab's Record Search site. The records added are:
  • Northern Moravia Archives, Czech Republic
  • Russian Lutheran Church Book duplicates - I don't know how complete this database is. If not, there may be a chance that not all of the records have been posted yet. Either way, I still have to figure out where my ancestors were from in the Russian Empire before I can go digging through this database.

Also, the Record Search site is supposed to be unavailable later on today and tomorrow because the site is being expanded.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Looking For My German Ancestors - Part 5

Since today is German-American Day, I thought I would honor my German ancestors by posting another article on my continuing research into my German ancestors.

In my previous post, I mentioned the research on what I had been able to find on Fred, Carl's relative and possible brother. I also stated that I wanted to focus on another branch of German ancestors, and for this post, I'll be focusing on Carl's wife's family.

In the early 1880s, Carl married Anna in what was then East Saginaw, Michigan. Anna, like Carl, had been born in Germany, but unlike Carl, Anna had spent most of her life in the United States. She immigrated to the U. S. in the mid-1860s as a young child with her parents, Frederick and Emilia, and her siblings. Although I do not know exactly where Anna's family lived for the first six years (they might have lived in New Jersey), I do know that by the time of the 1870 U. S. census, the family was living in Cleveland, Ohio. Within ten years, the family had moved to the Saginaw, Michigan area where they were living in the 1880 U. S. census. Although I still do not know when they moved to Saginaw, I do know that it had to be after 1876 and before 1880. (In 1876, Frederick and Emilia were last mentioned in a deed, and this is the latest that I have them living in Cleveland at the moment. Of course, I might be able to narrow it down even more, if I am able to look at Cleveland city directories for that time period. At the moment, I have not had a chance to look at those city directories.)

Frederick, like Carl, worked as a baker, and he is lasted listed in the Saginaw city directories in the 1883 edition. By 1887, he is not listed, so I have assumed that he had passed away, as his wife is living with her oldest daughter in that directory. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a death record or probate file for Frederick, so I do not know when he died exactly, and in addition, the 1884 Michigan state census for Saginaw county does not appear to have survived. Thus, I am unable to check to see if he was still alive in 1884 or not. What I do know is that Emilia died in Saginaw in the early-1890s, and it is possible they are buried near each other. Of course, I won't know for sure until I can locate Emilia's grave. I still do not know where she is buried, and I have not yet had a chance to take a look at Saginaw's cemetery records. Hopefully, I'll be able to do so sometime in the future.

Of course, there are also a couple of other records that I have not checked that might help me narrow down my timeline: land records and tax records for Saginaw county. I have not yet check for those records. In my next post, I will explore the connections Anna's family had to Cleveland, Ohio, since many of Anna's siblings and a few of her relatives chose to reside in Cleveland, Ohio. Stay tuned ...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Update to Getting To Know You Roundup Posted!

An update to the Getting to Know You roundup has been posted! You can read it here! Enjoy!

I Just Noticed This!

I just happened to take a look on Ancestry's genealogy blog, and I noticed that they are planning to post the Michigan death records from 1897 to 1920 soon. Of course, I am also curious if they will be charging people to access these records, since these records are supposed to be available on the Library of Michigan's website as well except that death records can be viewed for free on the library's website. I can't wait for these Michigan death records to go online as I have some ancestors and relatives who died in that time period.