Friday, July 15, 2011

Another Shipwreck Found in Lake Ontario ...

I just happened to notice an article on Yahoo about another shipwreck found in Lake Ontario. You can read the article here. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Searching For Joseph Stout's Parents, Part One - What I Know So Far

Earlier this week I promised to write a post about my speculations on who were Joseph Stout's parents. At the moment, I do not have any documentation to link my ancestor to the couple, but I hope that by writing this post, I might receive some advice or help in linking my ancestor to the suspected couple. The best way to start this post is to list what I know about Joseph Stout. So, here is what I know about my ancestor:

  • Joseph Stout was born sometime between 1803 and 1806, most likely in 1805, in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. (Joseph's son Reuben stated, in his biography, that Joseph was born in 1800 in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, but census records suggest a later date. His death records states that he was about 70 years old at his age of death.)
  • Joseph Stout married Susan Kelley in Northampton County, Pennsylvania on 3 March 1829. (See here for my post on their marriage information.)
  • Joseph and Susan would have seven children. Six of their children would outlive them.
  • By 1850, Joseph Stout had moved his family to Saint Joseph County, Michigan. Reuben claims in his biography that the family moved to Michigan around 1846, but I have yet to confirm or disprove Reuben's claim. An examination of tax records for Saint Joseph County, Michigan should indicate when the Stouts moved to the county.
  • In 1858, Joseph Stout bought a farm in Florence Township, Saint Joseph County, Michigan. Two years later, in the 1860 census, Joseph Stout and his family are listed as living in Florence Township. (This census as puts a letter G in front of Joseph's name. This is the only time I have come across the G in primary sources so far in my research.)
  • In 1864, Joseph Stout sold the farm to his son, Peter.
  • In 1865, Joseph Stout was taxed by the federal government for the amount of peppermint oil he produced or sold. (The tax suggests he was still in charge of the farm even though he had sold it to his son.)
  • In the 1870 census, Joseph Stout is still living in Florence Township, but now, he is listed as a retired farmer. His household is directly below Peter's household on the census, and that suggests to me that he lived nearby Peter's family.)
  • Joseph Stout died on 11 February 1875 in Florence Township, and is buried in Calhoun Cemetery in Florence Township. Susan dies later that month, on the 25th, and is buried near him. (Reuben incorrectly states in his biography that they died in February of 1872, but contemporary records, such as their death records and Joseph's probate packet, give their death year as 1875. Joseph and Susan share a tombstone since they died the same month. The tombstone gives his death date as the 9th of February, but I eventually found his death record in the Saint Joseph County death records which listed the date as the 11th. I had difficulty finding his and Susan's deaths since they were incorrectly indexed in the county and state indexes. A look at the actual county death records clearly showed the last name to be Stout and not Stant or Stent as was listed in the indexes.)
As you can see, I do not know a lot about Joseph Stout. I know when he died, where he lived in Michigan, who he married, and that he came from Northampton County, Pennsylvania. I know that he was engaged in farming (at least in Michigan), but outside of these facts, I do not know much more about Joseph other than what is in Reuben's biography. Reuben claims that he father worked as a gunsmith in Northampton County, but I do not have any proof yet outside of Reuben's biography. Reuben also claims that Joseph and his family lived in Centre County, Pennsylvania, but I have not been able to confirm Reuben's statement. I have been unable to locate Joseph Stout and his family in the 1840 census. (I should also state that I am slightly wary of the information in Reuben's biography because Reuben was incorrect on some of the dates of deaths he gave for his parents and wife.)

So, who do I suspect are Joseph's parents? I believe his parents may be Peter Stout/Staut and Eva Hoch. Why? Well, besides knowing that my ancestor, Joseph Stout, came from Northampton County, Pennsylvania where Peter and Eva Stout resided in the earlier 1800s, a couple of published genealogies and online family trees list a Joseph Stout born in 1805 to Peter and Eva. (As I stated earlier, my ancestor was born close to that time period of Peter and Eva's son.) Unfortunately, none of the books or online trees actually provide any primary sources, so I am still speculating. According to these genealogies the Stout that lived in Northampton County originated from the Palatinate region of what is now Germany. Interestingly, oral traditions passed down in my family claim that my Stout ancestors were German, and although, an oral tradition is not enough proof to link my ancestor to Peter and Eva.

So, far I haven't been able to find any primary sources in Michigan to link my Joseph with the Joseph of Peter and Eva (Hoch) Stout. All I have to connect them are online family trees. As for sources in Pennsylvania, I haven't had very much time to order microfilms to further my research or find the original marriage record for Joseph and Susan (Kelley) Stout. Does anyone have an documentation linking my Joseph to Peter and Eva Stout, or any suggestions as to where I should direct my research? Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Does Anyone Study History Anymore? - Or, Why Studying History is Important ...

Well, the question is supposed to be rhetorical, but sometimes I just want to shake my head when I read articles on supposed shocking finds in history. Within the past couple of weeks, I just read an article online about an archaeological finding. (I realize the article is a couple of weeks old now, but I'm only commenting on it now since I finally have some time to write about it now.) I'm apologizing now, in advance, because my thoughts about this article will probably turn into a rant.

The blog posted a link to an article about DNA testing on the ancestry of the British peoples. (Well, to be more accurate, the findings really only pertain to those who have English ancestry.) The article, through the examination of DNA, concludes that about 50 percent of English people have Germanic (The article says German, but Germanic would be more correct as I'll explain in a moment.) ancestry, and that the finding was a surprise to the researchers. Shocking? Well, not quite, if one examines a history book on the United Kingdom, he or she would learn about invasions of the British Isles that occurred in the past. In the early Middle Ages, England was invaded by the Germanic tribes of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, and these tribes pushed the native Britons into what are now present-day Wales and Cornwall. A couple of centuries after the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons, as the Germanic tribes have become called in textbooks, the Vikings (who also came from Germanic tribes) raided and eventually settled in England and other places in the United Kingdom.

The information I presented in the above paragraph shows that the article's purported findings are not new. Any general history of the United Kingdom would mention the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings and describe effects of the invasions. The only thing that is remotely new in the article would be the use of DNA testing, and the testing only confirms what is already known. For someone to suggest or claim otherwise would be false.

So, why am I frustrated? Well, if someone is going to claim in an article that a historical discovery has been made, he or she should examine the historical literature first. The author of the article implies that this is a new discovery which is false. An examination of a general history of England or the United Kingdom would have noted the invasions. Sometimes I just wonder in frustration: Does anyone study or care about history?

So, what do you think? As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.