Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Samuel William Hott

My 2nd Great Grandfather
Samuel William Hott
b. Sept 30, 1847 Hampshire County WV
d. July 5, 1899
buried at Cedar Run Cemetery, Quantico VA

This Samuel is one of the two that I wrote a post about at the end of last month. Finding this headstone on Find-A-Grave was a great help to me in proving where the family was at the time of his death, and provided further clues in my quest to prove that this is the correct Samuel Hott.

A special "Thanks!" to Marie, a volunteer from Find-A-Grave who shared this and other photos of the cemetery with me!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Adams News Clip - Sgt. Bellew Receives Award and Loses Left Eye

Yet another glorious find today - about my Grandmother's notification of her husband being wounded. The story isn't complete, not mentioning that prior to receiving word that he was wounded she actually received word that he was MIA. After further investigation, I found that he was more likely on a plane that did not return to base the evening of his last mission, being so damaged that it was forced to land at another base.

This article is again from the North Adams Transcript, dated August 16, 1944. Found on the NewspaperArchive website

I am sure that this article is too small and not clear enough to read so I've transcribed it here:

William P Bellew Receives Award
"Exceptionally Meritorious Achievement"
Waist Gunner on Flying Fortress Injured While Over Germany - Wife Receives Messages

"Wounds that he suffered while on a bombing mission over Germany have been followed by the award of a second Oak Leaf Cluster for Staff Sgt. William P. Bellew, according to information received by the Transcript today from an eighth AAF Bomber station in England.

A letter received by his wife, Mrs. Dorothy Bellew of 11 Temple street last Friday from Sgt. Bellew said that he had lost his left eye but did not mention any other injuries. After the letter arrived Mrs. Bellew received a telegram from the War department stating that her husband was seriously wounded while over Germany on July 29.

The announcement from the Bombing station in England states that Sgt. Bellew, who is 26 years of age and the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Bellew of 19 Temple Street was a waist gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress and that he was awarded a second Oak Leaf Cluster for "exceptionally meritorious achievements" during bombing attacks on Nazi military and industrial targets.

Sgt. Bellew was employed at the British embassy in Washington D. C., when he entered service in the Air corps Oct. 1, 1942. He received training at Chicago Ill., Salt Lake City, Utah and Ardmore Okla. His younger brother, John Bellew, Jr. was killed in action while serving with British forces at Dunkirk in 1940."

In case you missed it, I received replacements of all my Grandfather's medals from the Air Force back in February of this year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - St. Ignatius RC Church, Preston England

One of the churches that my ancestors were members of in Preston Lancashire England.

Special thanks to Tony Worall who gave permission to use this photo. You can see Tony's great shots of Preston (and many other areas) on his flikr site.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

74th Ed. of the Carnival of Genealogy... Swimsuit Edition!

Why should Sports Illustrated have all the fun? This is your chance to show off the bathing beauties in your family. Pull out the old photos of Grandma Moses in her seaside bloomers, Auntie Mae in her pin-up girl suit from the 1940s or 50s, cousin Paula in her psychedelic bikini from the 1970s, or even yourself in your Speedo! Let's have some fun here! Memorial Weekend is behind us and that means the start of the summer sun, sand, and lakeside season so let's get in the mood with summer fun photos. What? You don't have any swimsuit photos you dare to share? No problem! Tell us your best family beach stories instead! The deadline for submissions is June 15th. This edition of the COG will be hosted at Creative Gene.

William Patrick Bellew
Bathing Hunk

Several things I always wondered about this photo...
Would I ever have occasion to post it? - Yes!
Where and when was the photo taken? - I really need to ask Grandma
Did they really wear belts with their bathing suits? Hmmm

Here's another (but much cuter photo) of my Mom, her sister Carole and her brother Jack.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Walter Leeming - Death Notice Found

Another fab find at the NewspaperArchives today!

Walter Leeming, my 2nd Great Grandfather who came to the US via Canada in the late 1890s has always been on my 'to do' list for finding a date of death. I knew he was still living in 1920 but found his wife as a widow in 1930, and honestly I hadn't investigated much further to find it. Today the newspapers came through for me again when I found this small write up:

So, if this was in the paper dated Tuesday Sept. 22, 1925 that would make his supposed date of death Saturday Sept. 19th, 1925.

Even if you can only subscribe for one month (which is what I've done) I suggest that anyone who has even small success in the 'free' areas of NewspaperArchives try it out for a month. I had a few successes in the free area, and I could see that there were clearly other articles that contained my family info which were not part of the free subscription - shameless they are in hooking you! But, for me it's been well worth the one month fee and I will get everything I can during the next 3 weeks!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Janice Brown Puckerbrush Blog Award for Excellence

I'm honored, shocked and humbled that someone thought of my blog for this award. A very big "Thank You!" goes out to GrannyPam at Granny's Genealogy who did just that.

This award was started by Terry Thornton at the Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi blog. In his post about the award he writes:

"In honor of our absent friend, Janice Brown, whose delightful blog Cow Hampshire continues to inspire through all her archived articles, is my attempt to recognize a few writers and their blogs ---those I consider the best in the blogging world and whose work has influenced me the most. Janice told us all about the word "puckerbrush" in an article she posted August 27, 2007, at Cow Hampshire Blog. "

Janice's definition of the puckerbrush is as follows: "On any land allowed to go fallow and left untended, a wild assortment of wild plants grow – in some areas, this wild growth results in such a thicket of plants that it is almost impossible to push your way through the growth."

Terry stated further: "So it is with the growth of blogs --- so many that it is impossible to read them all. But in the puckerbrush eventually a few plants/trees become dominant and influence all who view them through the thick surrounding puckerbrush.And it is those outstanding blogs whose influence spreads beyond just the surrounding rabble of puckerbrush that I'm honoring."

Terry's challenge: "Henceforth these awards will be called the Janice Brown Puckerbrush Blog Award for Excellence. All blog authors are hereby challenged to name the ten blogs which have influenced their writing the most and list them as a tribute to Janice --- the Janice Brown Puckerbrush Blog Awards for Excellence.

I have chosen the blogs below because they have inspired me, influenced me, or helped me along the way during my "newbie blogger" time. Others shine through because they're entire purpose is to help others in learning, and still others work at bringing us all together. Most certainly many have been recognized already, but in the true spirit of the award, I choose the following:

Randy at Genea-Musings
Greta at Greta's Genealogy Bog
Lisa at Small-Leaved Shamrock
Elyse at Elyse's Genealogy Blog
Caroline at Family Stories
Michael at Genealogy Tip of the Day
Kevin Lett - Virginia Family Tree Genealogy
Les at Bits and Pieces
Lorine at Ask Olive Tree Genealogy
Ruby Coleman and Cheri Hopkins at The You Go Genealogy Girls

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ready to Avenge Death of Brother!

Another glorious find in NewspaperArchive today.... This one is also from the North Adams Transcript newspaper, dated Dec 12, 1942.

This story is about my Grandfather - see prior post about his brother John's (Jack) death in WWII.

READY TO AVENGE DEATH OF BROTHER - William Bellew Now Gunner Seargent - Sends Message to Parents

"Now I will have the chance to avenge your son and my brother" Is the message written by Gunner Sgt William Bellew on the inscription page of a souvenir program he sent to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Bellew of 4 Allen street, upon his graduation this week from the U. S. Army Air Force gunnery school at Tyndnll field. Fla. Sgt. Bellew is one of two Adams boys to graduate from the Tyndall field gunnery school this year.

Sgt. Bellew was formerly employed in the British embassy in Washington and from there went to the British purchasing board in this country and was serving with that group up to his induction into the Army service Sept. 30th of this year. He has a brother, Hugh Bellew, who is now employed at the British embassy in Washington. Another brother, Jack Bellew was killed
in action in France while serving with British troops in May of 1940 and it is his death that Sgt. Bellew is now anxious to avenge.

Just gives me the chills everytime I read it. Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I have written several times about my Uncle John Bellew. His story was a sad one for me and I've put it in great detail in the following posts:

A Christmas Greeting From the Son Left Behind
My Heart Just Broke
Margaret's Journey and Her Heartbreak

If you've not read these posts, the post you're currently reading won't mean as much. Short version - John's mother left him in England when his family came to the US during the 1920s. He later fought in WWII and was killed - really go back and read those other posts, it's a great story.

Anyway I've been exploring Newspaper Archive recently and came across a couple of articles on my Bellew family in the North Adams Transcript Newspaper that I didn't have - so of course I had to investigate further. Upon pulling up one of them I had that excited butterfly stomach thing going on... right there on the screen was a photograph of Uncle John. A young man that no one still living in my family had ever seen - he'd never made the journey to the US in his lifetime.
Here's the photo from the site and I've copied the write up from the adobe file as the text didn't come through clearly.

Adams Parents Informed Of Soldier Son's Death
Mr. and Mrs. John Bellew of 4 Allen Street Notified by War Office at Warwick, England, That Pvt. John Bellew of British Expeditionary Force Died in France on May 20 and is Buried in Military Cemetery at Lille—Was Previously Reported Missing—Believed Victim of Flanders Disaster.

Pvt. John Bellew of the 4th battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry, British Expeditionary Forces, is officially reported to have died "somewhere In France" on May 20 of (his year, in a letter received yesterday by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Bellew of 4 Allen street, from the British war office at Warwick, England. This is the first war death report received in Adams from the British war office, so far as is known. The report terminates a period of suspense that Mr. and Mrs. Bellew have experienced since July 8 last when they received an official letter from the war office at Warwick stating that their son was listed as "missing, date not known." This letter was dated June 18 and contained a reminder that In reporting Pvt. Bellew as "missing" this did not necessarily mean that the young man was dead as he might have been taken prisoner by the German forces.

Fear that instead of being a prisoner and alive their son was dead deepened as week followed week after the report he was "missing" and no word was heard from him or of him. These fears were confirmed with the receipt yesterday of the latest report from the Warwick war office. Tills report was dated Nov. 28 and read Us follows: "It is my painful duty to inform... you that a report has been received from the War Office notifying of the death of Pvt. John Bellew, 4th Bn Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry, which occurred In France on the 20th of May, 1940. "The report is to the effect that he is buried in the Military Cemetery St. Andre, Lille. France, Grave No. B.' "I am to express the sympathy and regret of the Army Council at the soldier's death in his country’s service, "I am, Madam, your obedient servant. Lieut. G. Harly, Officer In Charge of Records.

Although the official report from the war office carries no information other than that above it is believed by members of his family that Pvt Bellew was one of the victims of the Flanders disaster of lust spring when the French army and its assisting British Expeditionary Force were routed by the Germans. Pvt. Bellew had never visited In Adams but was in frequent communication with his parents here. The last word I hey received from him was just before the German army invaded the low countries. Al that time he was "somewhere in France" and In his letter to "is parents slated that he was well that the troops were well fed, and that the general opinion was that the war would soon be over. Pvt. Bellew was one of the young men called up for military service in the spring of 1930 and was on active service after the start of the war In September of that year. His letters to his parents were cheerful and expressed the hope that all would soon be right with the world once more.

While grief stricken over news of their son's death. Mr. and Mrs. Bellew today expressed the hope that the sacrifice of his life was not in vain but that England would triumph over the forces against which she is now battling. Pvt. Bellew was 22 years of age. Survivors besides his parents include three brothers, William Bellew of the British embassy staff at Washington, D. C., and Hugh and Alfred Bellew of Adams.

As you can well imagine, this was quite a find for our family. I can't wait to share it with my Grandmother - John's sister-in-law. What I wouldn't give to have laid eyes on some of the letters to his mother that are mentioned in the article. No one has any clue what may have happened to them. Being the keeper of his mother's things, I would love to have seen just one of them in her items.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Frustration Abounds!

I promised myself that I wouldn't rant.... don't rant, don't rant!

Do you ever use the message boards at Ancestry? It's a wonderful way to connect with others who might be researching your same family lines. It's also a great place to get help if you're stuck. They have boards for surnames and boards for localities. I've had much luck making connections with others there.... I've also had the misfortune of being contacted by someone who thinks they've got all the facts on a family.

How about the trees on Ancestry? Ever consult those to see what others have done on your family? Ever check their sources - when they're listed? Ever simply download a huge gedcom file and call it your own? Hmmmm?

Just a word of caution to all who are venturing into research for the first time - the Ancestry user-submitted trees and information are great, even the One World Tree is great, but you cannot take that information for the "gospel truth" on your family. Yes, there's a wealth of info there and many people who have worked very hard to share their research with the world. But, do you know their research habits? Did they make any assumptions? How much of the information was just passed along from someone who "knew the family"? Lots of people assume that because this information is on the internet, it must be correct - NOT SO!

When you reach out to others and get info, check the sources (which often are not provided), and VERIFY VERIFY VERIFY every fact that you can. This is no small task when you may receive a file containing 10s of thousands of people. But your file is nothing without sources and verification of facts. Don't simply make it your file - pull information from it, enter what you can prove and use what you can. We would all love a huge wealth of family info to land in our laps - although for many of us, it's the thrill of the find that really keeps us going, searching, digging for more info and trying to break down those "brick walls".

My frustration comes from these "researchers" - I recently rec'd a VERY LARGE file from someone who said they had "a lot" of info on a family. Over a thousand sources are listed - over 80% of them reference the One World Tree.

Maybe I'm a stickler, but that's not "research" is it? Am I being too nit-picky?

breathe.... breathe..... breathe.....

Wordless Wednesday

Edna Keener b. 1917 d.1995
Photo taken on the porch of her Grandparents' home - Silas & Bertie Kidwell

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

This is the tombstone of my Great Grandfather George Keener
Son of Samuel B. Keener and Mary Johnston.
Father of 14 children

There is some confusion about this headstone - it appears that Lettie is buried there also or possibly her name is listed simply because she was his wife.... curiously enough, Lettie died long before him (by 1892) and he was actually married to another woman at the time of his death.