Back before the internet was useful for genealogy research, I was in college with friends who were largely uninterested in genealogy, though I was, and had been since I was a small child. Knowing my interest, one friend, N, mentioned that her grandfather had done a careful recreation of all his lines back to when they weren't in the U.S. anymore. He had printed it up in manuscript form and given a copy to all his grandchildren. She had hers in the back of a closet, and would I like to see it? Yes, of course I would! Read more... )
Last week I blogged about my Irish ancestor who survived the wreck of The Faithful Steward. That was lucky for him, but the 190 or so people who died in that wreck were all Irish -- not the lucky ones, apparently. In fact, when I look at history, "luck" of the Irish seems almost ironic.
Read more... )
My 5X great grandfather survived a shipwreck.

Read more... )
There may be good deeds in the lives of many of my distant ancestors, but I don't know about them. So I'm blogging about my grandmother.

Read more... )
My entry for "Love" crosses over nicely with last week's theme "So Far Away." I think, to be cautious, I will leave off the real names of my relatives, since this is a somewhat recent story and is about the parents and grandparents of living cousins.

She stowed away disguised as a sailor )
For this week's topic I'm just going to post my grandmother's poem. She wrote it from memories her own grandmother told her of emigrating from Holland as a little girl with her family. My grandmother's grandmother was Jennie Schreurs.

To Find A Home
By Mildred Bigsby

My grandmother's family
Left the dykes and sea of Holland.
They came by sailing ship to New Orleans
Then took the first riverboat north that spring
To find a new home and a better life.
Sailing up the Mississippi they stared, wide-eyed
At wild animals in the dense woods.
Indians watched the large craft
Steam up the river to Casey's Woodpile.
The far away flat lands looked like Holland
But the high river bluffs were new to them.
Four blocks from the river
They founded the "Young American Flour Mill"
Their son fought in Shiloh in the War Between the States.
When the fighting was done, he walked
Overland to the Mississippi and caught a steamboat north
Back home to his place along the river.

Jennie's brother in the Civil War was Gerrit Jan Schreurs. The night he arrived home to the farm, it was late and he was dirty from traveling, so he slept in the barn. That morning Jennie found him there and woke him with a kiss. He said it was the best wake-up he'd ever had.
There are several relatives I whose birthdays are to mine, but I share a birthday with Madill Hoover who was born 24 Sep 1899. Madill is a fifth cousin once removed. Madill and his family are from the western part of the province, and for years I've tried to find a connection between those Hoovers and my Hoovers. I thought there must be due to one of my dad's stories. In the eighties, he was in that area, sitting on a bench when a older man sat down beside him. After some chitchat, the man asked my dad which of the Wapole Hoovers he was related to. He was positive based on his appearance, that he must be related. I've exhanged letters and emails with a descendant of the original family. We were unable to make a connection.

Finally, I discovered my five times great grandfather Martin, whom I have written about before, was married twice and his oldest son's son David had moved to the Selkirk settlement sometime in the 1840s. I can't connect my Hoovers to the ones who originally settled there in 1800, but to have some connection at all is great. David had four sons and a daughter, all of whom married and raised families in the area. It's kind of cool to think their descendants were still in that area into my lifetime.
My "plowing through" ancestor actually has a bit of a mystery to him. He and his family seem to have changed their name when they emigrated from Wales. And they didn't tell anyone. In fact, of his descendants (and there are many) I and my mom are the only ones who know this, at the moment.

Gad James plowed through Iowa prairie )
Week two didn't happen. I have zero ancestors with any connections named King and none at all connected to royalty.So no week two.

Tough Women )
Blogging here as part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge:

This week's challenge didn't do much for me other than make me learn how to use Family Tree Maker's search function to sort by birth date. In a tree with thousands of people in it, only three shared my birthday. One was the sister of an ancestor so far back I know nothing about him let alone his siblings, the second was only related through marriage, and the third ...

... is my second cousin. Now that's kind of interesting. I was born smack-dab on my second cousin's second birthday. I don't know her, but that side of the family is planning a "cousins reunion" next summer. I hope she'll be there. I will definitely look her up.

So I decided to randomly blog about someone in my tree I've been interested in lately. There are some mysteries in her life, and I've gotten a good deal of help from the people at, but if anyone else wants to help with her, I'll be really grateful.

Juanita Grace Coffman b. 1901 d. 1995 and her daughter Margaret
That flu pandemic was a bitch )
Taking a cue from [personal profile] dragonfly and attempting to be a more active member, I'm going to do this challenge. Starting late, but starting and I think that is the main point. So , on with it.

Week One : Fresh Starts

Martin Hoover was my fourth great grand uncle, brother of John Graff Hoover my fourth great grandfather. He was born in Lancaster Pennsylvania in 1760. They were sons of Ludwig Huber who emigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania with his father and family in 1742. A little more than sixty years later, in 1804 Matin along with several other families emigrated to Canada West, settling into the area which would become known as Markham. He may have come at the age of 44 looking for cheap land for he had a large family, but he was also ordained in the Menonnite Church and a bishop. Martin was the second leader of the Wideman Mennonite Church in Markham, succeeding the founder Henry Wideman.

Martin was not satisfied with one fresh start. In 1837, at the age of 77, he picked up his belongings and moved back to the States this time settling in Medina County, Ohio. Again, aged 86 years, he moved, finally settling in 1846 in Yellow Creek, Elkhart, Indiana. Martin's son John and John's large family (eight of 12 children) moved with him each time. Martin died in 1849, just a few years after arriving in Yellow Creek.

I can't find anything to explain why a man of his advanced years would leave behind his church and his community of 33 years. Possibly he had a bad case of wanderlust. Or maybe he was following openings in new communities as a pastor. I may never know for sure, but it's going to be fun trying to track down some more detail to fill out Martin's story.
I'm taking this theme to be about ancestral connection to royalty. I haz one.

My grandmother had a little bit of the snob in her )
Like most Americans (and many others, I'm sure) "fresh start" defines a LOT of my ancestors.

Scotch Irish and potato famine )

I'm posting this as part of the 52 ancestors challenge. I'd love to hear about your "fresh start" ancestor! doesn't seem to have many associated apps, but I just got a promo in the mail for this free one, and I LOVE it. It's called shoebox, and you use it to link to your account with your phone, and then you take a picture of a picture, enter in which person in your tree it goes with, and you're done! It's perfect for cataloging family pictures your Mom won't let you take with you, or in my case, are too fragile to be taken out of their frames for scanning.

Here's the app:
The internet is just amazing. My grandmother was the one interested in genealogy, until I came along, and she worked for years to prove a connection between her Washburns and Francis Cooke, of the Mayflower. When she finally found the proof, and got a letter of congratulations from someone at the Mayflower society, she xeroxed the letter and sent it in triumph to the whole family. *g* It was a big deal because she'd been working on it for so long by snail mail. She cared a lot about connecting to the Mayflower. She could have connected to the Daughters of the American Revolution, she told me once, but she didn't give a hoot about them. I don't know why. I guess she admired settlers more than soldiers?

At any rate, my mother, when she was engaged to my dad, had a conversation with her future father-in-law (whom she always saw as rather pompous) where he informed her loftily that she was marrying a man descended from a Mayflower passenger. "Oh, that's interesting," she was able to say, because of her mother's research, "I'm descended from two." Hee. Not that Mom cared; but any ancestry has always been of interest to me, so I was grateful for my now deceased grandmother's work.

Decades ago, still before the internet (largely), I paid a visit to Plimouth Plantation or whatever they call that historical reinactment site. While there I bought an extrememly expensive book about the descendants of Francis Cooke, knowing I'd care about it when I had time to do genealogy research. I opened it for the first time last night, planning to check the info I had gotten at against what was in the book. In passing, the writer of the book mentioned that a woman one of the Washburns married was a descendant of another Mayflower passenger, William Brewster. What, what? How cool. So I settled in with the internet and last night, and within two hours I had her connection to William Brewster documented.

Two hours.

It took my grandma seven years.

So today, I have a feeling of accomplishment, but it's probably not quite like the jubilation she felt. *g* I wish she could have lived to do genealogy research on the internet.
I have just started using wikitree, which is just what it sounds like. A family tree that can be added to by anyone.

Well, they have instituted some policies and hoops to jump through, apparently to weed out some troll-like behavior they've had in the past. But it's not too hard to figure out, and it's a free way to be able to link in to other people's trees and knowledge.
Sometimes there are ancestors of mine who don't show up in the census or other records. My great-great grandmother had only one child, who had only one child who had only one child. I am one of the few people who know her name or story. She didn't live long and doesn't show up in the census, for whatever reason. No burial record, no marriage license. I have the odd feeling like if it wasn't for me no one would ever know she lived.

Agnes Eger 1838-1860, died in childbirth with her first child.
When I asked my grandfather about the origins of our German-ish surname, he said we were Scots-Irish and came from West Virginia. I was 13, and just made a note for future research.

I'm now a genealogy researcher, and have long since dismissed my grandfather's version of our family origins. It's a German name, so how is it Scots-Irish? The earliest (known, so far) progenitor of the name came from Pennsylvania and the family ended up in Illinois with a stop in Ohio. So how does West Virginia even get in there?

I figured some other line--female line--probably married in, and THEY were Scots-Irish and from West Virginia, but it never has shown up in my research. So, Grandpa had just heard something that was wrong, that's all.

Until I found where in Ohio the "stopover" was. I had assumed northern Ohio, since that's what's between Pennsylvania and Illinois. Uh, no. Apparently my family was working its way down the Ohio River. There's a whole nest of my ancestors in Gallia County, Ohio, and they were from Clay Township, which, as far as I can tell from a map, might be literally a stone's throw (across the river) from West Virginia.

Grandpa wasn't very wrong. (I still haven't found any Scots-Irish, though.)