Friday Findings: VALK, LEWIS, McCLELLAN, Markham Twp Ancestry

I haven’t done a Friday Findings post in a while, and as I’m slowly returning to posting more of my regular “columns”, I thought I’d start here. Friday Findings is a feature I started last summer to record my weekly research finds and cousin connections. I hope to do a better job of keeping up with this. This post covers the past two weeks.

Last week, I had two cousins leave comments on the guestbook at my family history website, also named AnceStories. I’m delighted to hear from them, and need to take the time to compose thoughtful, comprehensive e-mails as responses.

I have spent a lot of my online research time during the past two weeks trying to find as much as possible about one of my brick wall ancestors, Levi E. McCLELLAN (or McLELLAN). The Michigan vital records at FamilySearch Record Search helped me to determine that he was indeed married twice, and not just once. Confusion came about because both wives had similar names. His first wife, my ancestor Clarissa Mary (or Mary Clarissa) CLEVELAND, was born c. 1832 in New York state. She last appears on the 1870 Federal Census with him and the children, William, Cornelia (my 3rd-great-grandmother), and Edwin in New Haven Village, Macomb Co., Michigan. In 1880, Levi is living with wife Mary C. FORD, along with a 10-year-old son Ira, and two step-children in Detroit. Finding son Ira’s marriage record, also at FamilySearch Record Search proved that he was Clarissa’s son and not Mary’s. Mary appears in the 1890 Veteran’s Census as a widow of two veterans, Levi being one of them. So Levi died sometime between 1880 (when he appears in both the Federal Census in Detroit and the 1880 Detroit City Directory) and 1890. The 1850 Federal Census gives me a possible mother, brother, and niece for Levi. I’ve decided to spend my Christmas money on obtaining Levi’s Civil War Veteran’s pension record from the National Archives to see what genealogical gems I can glean from it.

Markham Twp., York Co., Ontario Ancestry
Janet Iles was kind enough to let me consult her regarding what Markham Township records are available so that I can try to knock down some other brick wall lines, my WILKINSON and either TERRY or LAMONEAUX lines. I’m hoping to find the marriage record of Richard WILKINSON and his wife Mary, who seems to have two surnames (TERRY and LAMONEAUX).


Friday Findings: Canadian Online Records and a McARTHUR Obituary

I didn’t have as many “finds” this past week. I spent quite a bit of time inputting data from a Descendancy Report shared with me by the wife of a distant WILKINSON cousin. Her information appears to be mostly oral family history, and as this family lived in Canada for many generations, I decided to see what I could find online. I used the vital records indexes for both Manitoba and British Columbia to verify or correct information in the report. The report listed William WILKINSON (the person from whom the descendants were listed, and brother of my 3rd-great-grandfather John) with a death date of 25 September 1934, but no death location. His wife’s death information stated she died 26 February 1947 in Victoria, British Columbia, so I checked the BC vital records index using William’s name only, and found a listing for a William WILKINSON who died 25 September 1939 in Victoria. This is very likely the same William, and to confirm, I wrote a RAOGK volunteer to request obituaries for both William and his wife Mary Magdaline (THOMPSON) WILKINSON.

I’m just amazed and thrilled with the amount of Canadian information available online these days, from the provincial vital records indexes to the census records indexes and images that are being provided by a variety of websites! It’s getting easier and less expensive to trace my Canadian ancestors and relatives these days.

I also used information found at FamilySearch’s Record Search pilot website in Michigan vital records and found marriage records for two of William’s sons. Speaking of Michigan vital records, stay tuned to this blog next week for a series on these records.

click on image to enlarge and view citation

Another Canada – Michigan link in my family tree is my M(a)cARTHUR family. A cousin sent me a photocopy of the obituary of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Daniel J. MacARTHUR. He was born in Canada and immigrated to the United States, as his obituary confirms. It also confirms he was buried in the Hill/Danley/Phillips Cemetery in Fulton Twp., Gratiot Co., Michigan. The obituary gives his death date (March 10; and other records state the year was 1919), then says “Funeral services were held at the house Thursday and the remains brought to St. Johns [Clinton Co.] and laid to rest Friday in the Danley cemetery on the Gratiot county line.” I used the calendar tool in my RootsMagic program and entered “1919” to view that year. I determined that Daniel died on a Monday; the funeral was March 13th, and the burial was the 14th. If you do not have access to a program like this, you can find calendar calculators online.

As I always am, I was intrigued by the listing of the number of descendants in his obituary: “seven children, four boys and three girls, 22 grand children, and 7 great grand children…” Have you ever looked an obituary and then tried to figure out to whom exactly these numbers refer? You may discover additional descendants! Be aware, however, that these numbers can be incorrect. When my paternal grandfather died, the wrong numbers of grandchildren and great-grandchildren were listed in his obit; no matter how I rearranged the possibilities with adoptive and step-descendants, it didn’t work out. Somebody simply goofed, and that’s often what happens when people’s minds are filled with grief and/or the overwhelming duties of filling out paperwork for death certificates, obituaries, probate proceedings, etc.

Although not a “find,” I decided to see if I could find cotton gloves for sale here in town, instead of having to purchase a large box of them online through an archival supplier. I’ve been needing to get some to use while handling old family photos, documents, and heirlooms. At the last Scanfest, someone mentioned purchasing them at art supply stores. I called Spokane Art Supply; they were out of stock momentarily, but recommended Inland Photo up the street. The photo shop employee told me they had two pair of one-size-fits-all regular cotton gloves for $8.95 (not appealing, since I have very small hands), and one pair of anti-static ones in either small and large for $14.95. I’m going to check them out later today. I don’t need anti-static ones, because I’m not using them to work on electronics, but they may be the better choice for comfort and fit.

Friday Findings: Black Sheep Ancestors, McARTHUR Graves & Obit, WILKINSON Kin, ROBBINS Cousins and DeVRIES Info

Because of all the busy-ness relating to the Genea-Blogger Games, I’m not publishing any related images to this post at this time. Maybe I’ll add them later.

Black Sheep Ancestors
Found my black sheep 4th-great-grandfather Uzza ROB(B)INS (convicted and hung for murder in 1850) in a book I ordered through Inter-Library Loan after seeing a mention of him in snippet view on Google Book Search: Centennial History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania: Reprinted with an Added Foreword, Biography, and Index to Names by Rhamanthus Menville Stocker (published by Regional Pub. Co., 1974). He’s in a list of 1836 taxpayers for Liberty (formerly Lawsville) Township, along with an Isaiah Robins. This makes sense, since Uzza was enumerated in Lawsville in 1830. I photocopied all the pages recording the history of Liberty Township, and I figure I need to track Isaiah to see if he’s a relative. I also photocopied the map and pages of the index that had lists of surnames that connect to this family.

Hired a professional genealogist to obtain the entire military file (what may exist of it) for my WWI great-grandfather, Howard Merkle YORK, while she is in St. Louis, Missouri. He was living in the Disciplinary Barracks of Ft. Leavenworth during the 1918 WWI Draft Registration, served time in a Michigan prison for forgery, and was listed as a WWI Veteran on the 1930 Federal Census. While I know I can order his military record myself, I’m hoping that she can request some things onsite that I might not otherwise think of or have sent to me via a written request.

McARTHUR Graves & Obit
The McARTHUR cousin who contacted me last week made it to the cemetery where our mutual ancestors are buried (Daniel J. McARTHUR and Martha JOHNSON) and took photographs. She has also been in contact with another cousin (one I met when I visited Michigan last, in 2000), who mailed us both a copy of Daniel’s obituary. I’ll be adding the obit to my website, and the photos can be viewed here.

I heard from the wife of a descendant of William WILKINSON, brother to my 3rd-great-grandfather, John WILKINSON, Sr. She sent me a descendant report, and wouldn’t you know it, William’s descendants left Canada for Michigan, too (like John), but they settled in East Michigan, whereas John and his descendants were in West Michigan. I’m hoping to exchange copies of primary documents with this new cousin!

ROBBINS Cousins and DeVRIES Info
Looked for and found two first cousins on my ROBBINS side on Facebook, both much younger than me. Added them as friends, then asked each to verify and complete birth information I had for them. No responses yet.

Contacted my mom’s brother and asked him to complete some of the locations I was missing for his immediate family members. I can always count on his information as being complete and accurate!

This isn’t really a “find,” but I got a call from DialAmerica, which sells magazines at a discount from the newsstand price, giving 12% to charities. I’d ordered magazines for my daughter through them in the past, and this time, I asked if they had any genealogy magazines. To my surprise, they did: FamilyTreeMagazine. Their price was the same as what I can get online, but it makes me feel good that part of my cost will go to charity. Plus, this is a magazine I’ve had a subscription to in the past and always loved. I signed up for 10 issues (not quite two years).

Friday Findings: GenLine, CRAPSEY Burials, Cousins, and SNOOK Graves

Due to the Blogger debacle this week, I was not able to post my Friday Findings in a timely manner. Here’s a rundown of my research results for the week of July 26 – August 1, 2008:

More on Many Marriages
While entering the marriage records of my husband’s granduncle, Lee Joseph “Mick” MARTIN, I realized that the witnesses for his third marriage, to Martha Isabell (JONES) DVORAK, were his daughter from his first marriage and her husband. Hmm… It made me wonder if his first wife had died by then (I’m not sure how their marriage ended; by divorce or by her death?). I couldn’t find any death information for her, but I did find Isabell, as she was called, on the SSDI.

Swedish Parish Records
Also following up on last week’s findings, I went to my local Family History Center to use their free subscription to GenLine, the Swedish parish records database, to find and verify my great-great-grandmother’s birth (Ida Charlotte (GUSTAVSON) HOLST). I had never used it before, so it took some time. Fortunately, it has a nice tutorial, available both in English and Swedish. It is necessary to know the name of the parish to do a search. The records appear in digital image format, not unlike looking at a roll of microfilm. They are not indexed by name in any way, so it takes some searching. All I had for Ida’s birthplace was Hamnada, Sweden. I had no idea where this location was, and used both Wikipedia and the FamilySearch Library Catalog to find it, without any success. I had a feeling I was spelling it incorrectly. I then did a Google search and found a mention in someone’s online family tree of a “HamnadaSmåland, Krnberg“. I went back to Wikipedia to look at the political structure of Sweden. Småland is one of 25 provinces (landskapen) of Sweden and has no political structure as of 1634. It is a cultural, geographical and historical subdivision. Kronoberg is a county (län), a political subdivision, that lies in what is a part of Småland. I still could not find Hamnada or a a similiar name in any of the lists of municipalities (similar to American townships), villages, or cities of Sweden.

I went back to GenLine, and looking up Kronoberg County records, I noticed that Hamneda was one of the parishes. Bingo! They had birth and christening records up through 1861 (I don’t recall the beginning year), so I went to take a look. In 1861 alone, there were NINE Ida Charlottas (no Charlottes) born in Hamneda parish! Only one had a surname close to GUSTAVSON, and that was a Ida Charlotta GUSTAFSON born, it appears on 29 December 1861 and baptized 31 December 1861. I say “appears”, because I am not certain of what the dates stand for. There are three numbers and a month before each record. The first number is the record number, as they are all in sequence from 1 until the last record. Then comes the month abbreviation, which is very similar to our English month abbreviations. Then two numbers follow. The first number is always lower than the second number, and none of the numbers go beyond 31, so my assumption is that the first one is the birth date and the second one is the christening date. The words “Births and Baptisms” appear at the the top of each of these pages (in Swedish, of course), adding credence to my theory. I used FamilySearch’s online Swedish Genealogical Word List to figure out the words.

My Ida Charlotte GUSTAVSON was born 28 October 1861, but I need to find my source of information for that. Her 1900 U. S. Federal Census enumeration does have October 1861 as a birth date. I ran out of time to double check 1860 records, and there are none available at GenLine for 1862. I will need to search other nearby parish records, too, I think. I also did not have time to figure out how to save or print the image with the birth date of the Ida Charlotta GUSTAFSON I found. This was an interesting first foray into Swedish records, and I felt I learned quite a bit.

I’ve been trying to find a death date for my 4th-great-grandmother, Lura Ann (JACKSON) PECK CRAPSEY. I know she was deceased by 1900, when my step-ancestor, the Rev. John CRAPSEY, Jr. was listed as a widower in the Federal Census for that year. She was alive as late as 1891, when her husband filed an application for a pension based on his deceased son’s military service. They were living St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota. Attempts to have a volunteer at RAOGK look up her death records did not work out. I then came across John’s obituary stating he was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery. There is a Forest Lawn Memorial Parks and Mortuaries in Ramsey County, and I contacted them to see if I could find burial information (and thus a death date) for the Crapseys. I received an immediate response that there was no record of either one in their records. I need to follow up with wording from John’s obituary to make sure that the Forest Lawn Cemetery he was buried in is the same as what Park and Mortuaries company now manages, when their records begin, and if they have record of John and Lura’s children being buried there (it’s possible, if their children are buried there, that John and Lura are buried without markers).

A distant LEWIS cousin of mine, Bob Stefanich, contacted me to tell me about another cousin of ours (related more closely to me than Bob is) and that the LEWIS family reunion is occurring today in Fruitport, Muskegon Co., Michigan (wish I could be there)! I’ve contacted Jim with the hope that I can get more information on the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of my 2nd-great-grandparents, George Emmett LEWIS and Mary WILKINSON.

Also, a McARTHUR cousin contacted me. She lives in Michigan and is able to visit the ancestral cemeteries. She promised to take some tombstone photos of some of our mutual ancestors…so exciting!

SNOOK Graves
Speaking of ancestral graves, I heard from a Find A Grave photo volunteer–Catherine Bryon–who photographed the graves of my husband’s 3rd-great-grandfather, Reuben Wohlford SNOOK, and his second wife, Elizabeth NEARHOOD, at the Forsyth Cemetery in Rosebud Co., Montana. Click on the links to view the photographs. Thanks, Catherine!