Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Pictured are Brian Gary Mull (baby), Jane Fountain Roe (seated), Edith Leeming Jones (left), Marjorie Jones Mull (center standing), Sarah Roe Leeming (right).
Image: Ancestry.com. North Adams Transcript (North Adams, Massachusetts) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Original data: North Adams Transcript. North Adams, MA, USA. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
In Memory of Private JOHN BELLEW
# 5387456, 4th Bn., Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Died age 21 on 20 May 1940
Son of John and Margaret Bellew, of Adams, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Remembered with honour
ST. ANDRE COMMUNAL CEMETERY
Row AA, Grave 9
Today's Military post is in remembrance of my Great Uncle John - An uncle the family never knew (see more info on John Bellew's life in a previous post here).
The above information was obtained at Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I've found a death certificate for Nelson and posted it here as well. Vital records for many counties in WV are available on line and are in a searchable database here. Nelson is not part of my family and I see no further Edwards family headstones in the cemetery.
Enjoy this exerpt of Cemetery Saturday.
Friday, December 26, 2008
The grownups returned home later, Grandma sat in our living room crying, weeping. I was very young, only 7 years, (almost 8). My little mind couldn't wrap itself around what was happening.. If he's gone, what will we do with his presents that he just opened yesterday? On some level, I'm glad I was young, knowing someone as an adult is much different, the attachment is different. I'm sure it's very painful still today - My Grandmother is still living, she turned 91 last month. All these years alone, can you imagine?
I don't have many memories of him. I know he had a dog named Bullet - but I don't know if that is an actual memory or just something I know from photos. I do remember clearly asking him about his hat - "What does NAPA mean?" He said with a chuckle - "North Adams Police Association." I was impressed and I remember believing this for a long time - until I was old enough to actually know what a NAPA store is - long after he was gone. Most of what I know is from my Grandmother and my Mom. No real memories of my own. One story that comes to mind - Grandma tells me that when he returned from WWII, having lost his left eye, he had a glass one. They visited a lake with some friends one afternoon and Granddad, forgetting about his eye jumped right into the water - they searched for his eye for a long time before finally deciding that they weren't ever going to find it. He had to go get a replacement.
This post is in memory of my Grandfather, William Patrick Bellew, who was born on November 26, 1917 in Preston, Lancs, England and died December 26, 1975 in Gaithersburg, Maryland, at the young age of 58. He was a WWII vet, part of the 94th Bomb Group in the Army Air Force, stationed in England. He worked a myriad of jobs in his lifetime, including work in the Cotton Mills in Adams Mass., and a job in security for Pinkerton in DC.
I didn't really know him, but as I write I feel pain for my Grandmother and my Mom. I've got a photo here of me and him, I appear to be about 3 years old. The photo had paper stuck to the front of it and is a bit damaged but it's the only one I've got of both of us. It is a treasure.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Shelly, I am so appreciative of your acknowledgement of my blog! Congrats on your award as well. Shelly is a wonderful mixed media artist - you can see her creations here.
This is the Proximidade blog award. The details of the award are as follows:
"These blogs invest and believe in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers, who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."
The blogs that I choose are listed below. One thing I have certainly found is that genealogy and art blogging are "communities" and being a newbie in these communities, I can honestly say that people are very accepting of me. Some of these bloggers will have never heard of me, but I visit their sites often and see their work - they're all very knowledgeable and friendly - some hold "community" activities to get us all together, others give free tips for artists and still others are just plain friendly folks - for these things I thank you and feel that you deserve this award.
Visit these sites, and "find and be friends!"
Gen Blog - Julie
Creative Gene - Jasia
Find Your Folks - Professor Dru
Genealogy Traces - Judy
Crooked Heart Art - Tabby
Elyse's Genealogy - Elyse
Genea-Musings - Randy
June's Crafty Tips - June
Thanks again Shelly - look forward to sharing more art and strange family stories in the new year!
Image: Ancestry.com. U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. National Archives and Records Administration Branch locations: National Archives and Records Administration Region Branches.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
1. What day of the week were you born? Monday
2. What has happened in history on your birth date (day and month)?
03/11/1702 - 1st English daily newspaper "Daily Courant," publishes
03/11/1823 - 1st normal school in US opens, Concord Academy, Concord, Vt
03/11/1892 - 1st public basketball game (Springfield, Mass)
03/11/1942 - 1st deportation train leaves Paris for Auschewitz Concentration Camp
03/11/1974 - Mount Etna in Sicily erupted
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Last fall, my family visited a pumpkin patch. On the way, at one street corner there was a small field, very overgrown with weeds and such but specked with headstones. My husband asked on the way out of the place - "You wanna stop at that cemetery?" Do you really have to ask????
I was amazed at the overgrowth in the place, there were vine plants that trip you as you walk and I was planning to call the people who carefully placed a sign on the street claiming to care for this location. Turns out I didn't need to, just two days later someone came and cleared it.
There are none of my family members in this cemetery but I took photos anyway, and posted them on Find A Grave where you can look through thousands of cemetery burials and many photos of headstones. I've been back to the cemetery one time since that last visit and took more photos. Every Saturday I will post a headstone from a cemetery that I've visited, calling this post Cemetery Saturday. If I have info about the burial, I'll post that as well.
Today, I'm posting the headstone of Mary Thornhill who died Feb 18, 1896. The stone is in amazing condition for it's age. Because of the weeds I cannot make out what the lower portion of her stone says - must go back and check that out! I don't know anything about Mary Thornhill, only finding one Thornhill family in the county in the 1880 Census - she was not listed in that family. But she could have been in another area in 1880. There are two Thornhill burials in this cemetery, and 39 total burials recorded at this cemetery on Find A Grave - Uvilla Cemetery in Jefferson County WV.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
This news clipping is about a woman, apparently on her way home from a local "restaurant" and she takes a fall in the street and breaks her ankle. The date is December 8th, 1952.
I can't believe I found this tidbit about my Great-Grandmother and immediately call my mother:
"Mom, I found this news clipping about Grandma Leeming, when she was knocked down and broke her ankle."
"Yeah, it says that Sarah Leeming was walking home when two large boys came into the street and knocked her down, breaking her ankle." "It says she was walking home from the Greylock Restaurant."
..... Long Pause from Mom ........
"She was probably drunk." "The Greylock also was a bar that she went to, when I was a kid we used to have to go over there and get her sometimes."
Okay, so this conversation wasn't going where I wanted it to go, but my Mom has a great sense of humor and was already laughing at this point so we shared a good laughter moment and talked more about the article. I later talked to my Grandmother - Sarah's daughter and she said the same thing! "Yeah, she liked to have her drinks" she said.
I can tell you from this experience - be careful what you mention when you find it. What if Great-Grandma's drunkenness was a big family sore spot or secret that wasn't discussed? Many older generations simply didn't discuss such behavior (and lots of other stuff). I would've opened the genealogists can of worms and possibly upset my Mom and my Grandmother in the process! Keep in mind when you do find something that's possibly controversial, approach it gently, there could be reason why you haven't already been told about it.
In this case, I had no idea that the lady liked to drink so I kinda had an excuse :-)
Watch my blog for more interesting "Social News" from Adams!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I know, I know, it's not the end of world - I'm thankful that I can get some info in other places BUT to have the gems of info that are contained within the pages of a family bible - that would be the icing on the cake! And I would venture to guess, which is always the case - the one thing that I cannot get my hands on will tear down my Genealogy "Brick Wall". I have an old bible - as a matter of fact, it's very old. But alas, the family pages are empty, yes, completely devoid of Marriages, Births & Deaths. Every time I pull that old book out, like something magical is going to happen and the names will have appeared since the last time I looked, I feel the great frustration that many genealogists face - WHO HAS THE FAMILY BIBLE??? If it's not in the right hands, it will disappear never to be seen by the one who really wants to see it.
With today's technology, there's no reason that everyone in the family can't have a copy of the all important pages of this book. My ancestors couldn't run over to Staples or Kinko's and make copies or even better, warm up their scanner and make sure that the pages of our family bible would be around for the rest of us.
So, if anyone out there knows where my Anderson/Holt family bible is, please get in touch with me! If you're just beginning to do your research, find out if your family had a bible that held this information. Lastly, if you have possession of your family bible from generations gone by, make sure that the genealogist in your family and any one else who wants them, gets copies of those pages!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
John Bellew, Sr. arrived in the US in September of 1923 with one of his sons - William - my Grandfather. His wife Margaret and sons Hugh & John Jr. remained in England while he obtained a job and a place to live. In May of 1926 (almost 3 years later!) Margaret arrived in the US with her son Hugh. While John's name is on the passenger list, it is crossed off - we're assuming that his ticket was purchased - but he wasn't on board. The family "story" is, that at the time of the ship's departure John was too sick to travel and was left in England. Can you imagine?
In the 1910 Census of Providence Rhode Island I find the family and John Jr. is actually listed in the household - we know for certain that he NEVER came to the US. My Grandmother knew the family well and knows this without doubt.
At this point I have lost track of him, because the census records in England only have been released up to 1901, I will not find him in any census records for Preston. I'm still looking as there were many family members in the area. I have not yet exhausted all my avenues of research on his childhood - although there are very few clues.
My Grandmother (William's wife) has in her possession a prayer book belonging to Margaret and inside was a treasure of information. Prayer cards from a young boy's First Holy Communion, and this Christmas card which John sent to his mother in 1934 and there is a similar card sent to his father. Christmas greetings from a child who was left behind.
John was killed in Dunkirk in May 1940 - He was part of the 4th Battalion of the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, his infantry found themselves surrounded and overrun by Germans.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Today, while visiting a site that I visit every week (sometimes several times a week) I found that they actually have a list of Union Soldiers who never claimed their medals awarded during the war. I cannot believe I had never visited this area before and was just amazed at the size of the list and my ignorance! I understand from reading up on this that these medals are still in their original packaging AND can be claimed by someone proving their relationship to the person. Note: According to the information below, it does not have to be a Direct relationship. I have seen comments from others stating that they claimed a Great-Great Uncle's medal.
Here's some info directly from the site:
If you know of a Civil War Union Soldier in your family's past, it's worth checking the site just to check the list. I've been busily checking mine this morning and comparing surnames with those on the list. It helps that a lot of my family comes from Virginia/West Virginia. I find it heartbreaking that these medals were never retrieved by the soldiers to pass down to us...."Many heirs of West Virginia Union veterans of the Civil War may be eligible to claim medals struck to honor their ancestors years ago. Most of the medals were claimed by the veterans themselves, their immediate families, or their descendants, but several thousand medals remain unclaimed. A list of the unclaimed medals is available in the Archives and History Library and on its website.
To claim an ancestor's medal, a claimant must submit his or her line of descent from the veteran along with documentation to support this line of descent. To establish line of descent, claimants must include copies of primary sources, including birth, death, marriage, will, deed, military,census, Bible records, etc. Old letters, diaries, marriage announcements, or obituaries may also prove helpful in supporting a descendant's claim. Please note that a family chart submitted without primary source documentation is not sufficient.
The claimant who establishes the most direct relationship to the veteran will be awarded the ancestor's medal six months from the date the fully documented claim is received by Archives and History. The purpose of the six-month waiting period is to allow for sufficient verification of the descendant's claim and for submission of counterclaim(s) by other potential descendant(s). In the case of equal claims, the descendant whose claim was received first will be awarded the medal."
Heres the website link: http://www.wvculture.org/history/medals.html
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Then, Ancestry released the Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection) and seeing the location, I decided to give the database a try. Well, what do you know? He WAS born in Canada! Not only that, but he also had another brother and a sister born, baptised and buried there as well. The really neat thing about the collection, (don't we all love to see the images of original documents?) is that they're hand written by the record keeper and signed by my ancestors!
Now I had records of Joseph's birth and baptism, his sister Sarah & brother Walter's births, and deaths/burials.
I then had the pleasure of informing my Grandmother that her father was indeed born in Canada and I had found "proof".
These records gave a seemingly tiny tidbit that had driven my grandmother and her sister to arguments all those years. I wonder if Aunt Edie is watching us talk about it now and saying "See! I told you he was born in Canada!" ? Just goes to show you - sometimes those little family bits turn out to be true - no matter how much the point is argued or may seem incorrect. It also pays to go looking for a record again on your subscription sites - they're updated constantly and you never know when a new gem will appear!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Now, to find their daughter May/Maybelle/Mable... I looked and looked, couldn't see her stone anywhere. After wandering around a bit, I finally sat down in the shade of a nearby tree and had a drink of water, frustrated that I couldn't find her stone. I then thought maybe she didn't have one. Certainly she would be in the general area of her parents right?
It was at this point that I took note of the very large bush next to Silas & Bertie's headstone. I had already looked at the area from front and back... but... could it actually be in that bush?... YES! Her stone was completely engulfed in that bush! A bush that was no doubt planted by my Grandfather who LOVED flowering bushes. I was elated and amazed that I found her stone and returned in the fall to take a shot without wrestling with the bush.
As I wandered the Flint Hill cemetery, I photographed every Kidwell stone that I came across. Regardless of whether or not I had ever heard of the person. Come to find out, this was a very good idea, as most of those people were eventually connected into my line in some manner. With the use of digital cameras now, it's easier than ever to share what you've found with others and there's a great website called Find A Grave where people do just that. If you're no where near your ancestors home and would like a photo of their stone, go to the site and check to see if it's there. There are thousands and thousands of headstone photos there already. Everytime I visit an old cemetery I take as many as I can and upload them all to Find A Grave.
When you do visit the cemetery - take a camera, take some water and remember your bush trimmers (no don't do that - you're not allowed to do that!) but do remember to take notes of other family members in the area of your ancestors. Obviously family members are often buried in the same area of the cemetery (many plots are purchased together) and even if the names aren't the same, that guy buried next to great great grandpa might just be related by marriage or such. Also, if available you should attempt to get a copy of the records for the cemetery on your person of interest. The records will indicate if there are several plots together and who's buried in each.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Later census records list the birthplace of each person AND their parents - so maybe you know that Great Granddad lived in Virginia, do you know if he was born there? Do you know where his parents were born? Many census records can answer this, or at least give you a lead to follow. Of course there are always possibilities of error - maybe Great Granddad didn't know where his parents were born so he guessed. Yes, this did happen so be careful - checking his parents records for earlier years will give way to more clues and more answers!
Working backward from 1930 (the latest census made public) you can trace a family in an area and get detailed information on them every ten years back, allowing you to then follow Great Great Grandad to the home of his parents - where you might just get the info on where THEIR parents were born and so on. So, check out some census records for your family - you might be surprised what you find!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
What about the story that you're related to someone famous, someone royal, someone who EVERYONE has heard of? Got one of those stories? Well, any genealogist will tell you.... "Prove it!" go find DOCUMENTED proof of that ancestor AND your connection to them. Just the same last name isn't enough, as I can tell you from first hand experience, names changed many times through the years and for varying reasons. If you're ancestors were Irish, they may have changed their names to get jobs. Maybe they just didn't like the spelling or maybe they came from a "less than prominent" family. Stay on your toes when researching family names, often they were written down incorrectly by someone else along the way and voila!, a new name is born!
You may have the belief that your family is English or French or Irish. Unless both of your parents and grandparents on both sides and so on are from that same country, you're probably like the rest of us here in the States - part of the Great American Melting Pot - a mix of lines from different countries and heritages. That being said, there's also nothing wrong with saying "My family is French", but often the question remains - "how much?" I was told that I was English, Irish, German & Dutch.... I've found the English, Irish and German connections with many others mixed in. If the ancestor was in the US during early times, they obviously would have met people from other areas of the world and their spouses weren't always of one single heritage either. So I claim to be part Irish -but how much really???
One line I was researching was a family that just knew they were Irish AND in fact related to a prominent government official "way way back". I couldn't prove the connection to that famous ancestor - although they still want to argue that point and probably always will. When researching the line, I found that only one generation back there was a pure Greek woman in the line and another generation back was a Polish woman... just goes to show you that you can't always judge by the name or the story that's been passed down for generations. I say, "Prove It!"
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Visit her blog at: http://chrysti.wordpress.com
Have a great day!
Monday, December 1, 2008
When I first started, my paternal grandma had just passed away and unfortunately took the family secrets or "skeletons" with her. Her husband, who passed two days later wouldn't have been much help as he was a second marriage. Funny how my interest peaked when she died - prior to that I hadn't thought much about it. One day while on a mini road trip with my parents, we began talking about Grandma and her parents and that's the day it all started.. "Who was her Mom?" Kidwell? Never heard that name before! Suddenly I realized that there was an entire world of people out there and many of them could be related to us. And how intrigued I was to know that they didn't know her father's name! And so, my search began. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing so I quickly dove into several books and every one of them tells you the same thing...
START WITH WHAT YOU ALREADY KNOW.
Get out a notebook or whatever (or one of those pedigree charts I linked to in my post of 11/25) and start with yourself, record your name (maiden name for women, always), birth date & location, marriage date & location; move on to your parents, same info on them. Now, your Grandparents and so on.
CHECK FOR INFO IN DOCUMENTS IN YOUR POSSESSION
Got an old box of papers from someone in the family? This is a genealogist's dream come true - go through them, piece by piece and absorb what you can from them. Keep filling in the info for people in your tree. Make copies of those papers and put them away in a safe place, keep the copies out for future reference.
INTERVIEW / CONTACT LIVING RELATIVES
Now get in touch with others in your family who may have information - grandparents, uncles, aunts, anyone who may have more information and names to fill in this basic chart. Be very specific with what you want, "I want to know when your father died", "where he was buried", "Do you remember the full names of your grandparents?" etc. You can of course get more details during these conversations, make sure you've got a notebook handy to jot down other info that they may mention. I often get clues from talking to my maternal Grandmother when I ask her about a date and she'll say "I know it was after so-and-so passed away" Now I've got at least a window of time to work around, rather than an open blank and nothing to go on.
You can also write to family members asking for information and copies of any documents they may hold (many won't part with original documents and who can blame them?) If a family bible exists, find out who has it and ask them to check the family record pages for entries. If there are some, ask for the information contained and also arrange copies/photos to be made or taken, or visit the relative to view it.
TRY TO STAY ORGANIZED
One thing I quickly found when I started researching is that the paperwork (charts, documents, census records, military documents, birth certs. etc) and info can pile up very fast and it becomes difficult to keep it organized - it's best to try to stay ahead of it.
A folder worked fine in the beginning but several months later I was constantly digging through it looking for a note or scrap that had some gem of info. I suggest that you take baby steps in the very beginning, researching one side of the family first for a bit and then delve into the other side. Have a folder for each side of the family.
I also used a 5-subject spiral notebook with the dividers for note taking on different lines and my to-do list. I always dated my notes and they were all there in that one book, no matter which side of the family we were discussing, I had all my info. This can also serve as another very important item, your research log. It is recommended that you document where info comes from, who gave it to you, where it is stored, etc. If you ever need that info again you'll want to be sure to remember where you got it - also, just as importantly, you want to make note of when no record was found - this will keep you from repeat searches of the same info later.
Very Importantly, this notebook can serve as your Source reference when building your tree into a software program or book. A good genealogist ALWAYS cites their sources of each bit of info. For instance, if you order great-granddad's birth certificate and from it you get the names of both his parents, this would be your source for those two pieces of information. It's best to start this habit now, I've seen very large family files on the Internet with no sources and I've received info that was totally bogus (and of course not sourced). I can't trust the research because it can't answer my "show me" or "prove it". I then have to attempt to track the fact myself to confirm it or bag it altogether and keep searching.
I'm at the point now that I've got a manila folder for each COUPLE in my family line. I also have folders full of literally hundreds of sheets of paper with details on people that don't yet fit in my file. Remember, 15 years ago the PCs weren't like today's, large files weren't as easy to save and to keep - I had no choice but to print it out. At one point I remember that my family file was holding about 1/2 the space of my hard drive. Thank goodness technology has advanced!
So, these are my suggestions (and every book I've read) on where to start... with what you know; review records you may already have; interviewing family members; and staying organized. Most of all, do what works for you and enjoy climbing your family tree!