Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Migration Trails of Our Ancestors

I LOVE traveling to the areas where my ancestors lived!

When I am preparing for a research trip, I bring along all of the necessities:  my laptop, my Flip-pal scanner, a magnifying glass, little colored Post-it flags, a change purse for copies, my digital camera, you know what you need to bring.  Oh!  And my glasses!  I forgot those one time and paid a dear price.

I also take along my 15-generation pedigree chart.  I still use a paper copy of a pedigree chart, for it serves as my road map for research.  Plus, if I happen to step away for a moment while in the library, I almost always come back to see other researchers looking at it!  They want to see if we connect.  I also take a few extra to give out, for people are always asking me where I get them.

But, I love looking around the areas where I research.  The hills and hollers of Kentucky with the fields of tobacco waiting to go into the tobacco barns.  I love looking at the rolling green hills of Virginia, with the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains and their beauty.  The grandeur of all of this wonderful land takes my breath away.

I have also visited and photographed a few of the homes of my ancestors.  One that stands out in my memory is that of Zachariah Johnston in Lexington, Virginia and has been on the market for awhile.  It was built in 1797.  
The price tag is $1,500.00.  I want it.

But, my people didn't stay in one place.  They moved on to other areas that were considered "the west".  That would have included Kentucky, and also the Northwest Territory, which included Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and a portion of Minnesota.  

People moved for many reasons:  in Virginia, it might have been because the land had been "burned" by raising tobacco year after year.  They may have received land for military service.  There may have been extreme climate conditions.  Do a google search on "the year without a summer 1816" and you will be astounded at the effects of volcanic ash from Mount Tamboro, which erupted in Indonesia.  It snowed through the summer, creating ice on ponds from New England to North Carolina.  Crops were destroyed and people didn't know how they would feed their families through the winter.

There was also the promise of bigger and better things.  Young people left New England to come to Ohio and they rarely went back.  After that devastating year without a summer, the word went out that in Ohio, you could raise 3 foot turnips and 14 foot tall cornstalks.  Let's go!

Perhaps there had been the death of the patriarch of the family.  The oldest son received the land, so as a younger son you knew that whatever you may have received was all that you were going to receive.  We'll just move on.  And, they did.

Most migrating New Englanders were to the Western Reserve.  Those in the mid-South went on to Kentucky, Tennesse, Southern Ohio.  I have seen entire neighborhoods in Virginia move to the area along the Ohio River.  What brought them there?  Industry.  Promise of a brighter future for their families.

All of the above reasons were take

Kerry Takes A Bath

Kerry Takes A Bath

This memory is not mine - it's Kerry's.  But every time he tells me about it, I can't help laughing.

When Kerry was somewhere between ten and twelve years old, he decided to take a bath while his mom was cooking in the kitchen close by.  He was #5 out of eleven children, so I'm sure her plate was pretty full most of the time.

Apparently the bathroom and the kitchen were fairly close in proximity, so she could hear when Kerry went in there to begin running the water.  She called back to him to ask him how full it was.

He answered, saying that it was halfway.  (In truth, it was halfway - but not halfway up - it was halfway to the back of the tub.)

She told him to immediately turn it off.  (She thought it was halfway up the side of the tub.)

He said, "But, mom..."

She replied, "Kerry, please just turn the water off!"

Being the ever obedient child, he did it without complaint.  This big ol' strapping boy took a bath in about two cups of water!!!  He got clean enough, and his mom just never knew...

I'll bet she does now.

Lauritzen - My Chapter Three Homework Assignment

Lauritzen - My Chapter Three Homework Assignment

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia) : National Genealogical Society, (2013), 6. Book available from Publisher at:
MGP Study Group
Chapter Three Homework


a.  Two independent evidence items:
  1. The 1783 court appearance, where he appears as a minor.
  2. His first appearance as a taxpayer - 1786.
b.  Sources competent genealogists would examine:
  1. The 1810 census
  2. The legislative petition
c.  Some primary information:
  1. The court record
  2. The tax list
  3. The petition
d.  Some original records:
  1. It seems like all of the sources included are originals.
e.  Derivative sources or secondary information replaced by originals and primary information:
  1. The 1787 tax list (derivative), replaced by looking at the original tax list on a microfilm reel.
f.  Findable sources suggested by relevant sources and indexes:
  1. The indexes and databases eventually led to the original image, or to court records.


a.  Two independent evidence items in agreement.
  1. His 1886 marriage to Emma, giving his age as 32.
  2. The 1894 Michigan census, giving his age as 40.
b.  Sources competent genealogists would examine.
  1. The censuses for 1860-1920 give his age.  He is not enumerated in 1850, so this implies he was not born until after the census taker came by.
  2. Marriage records give his age.
  3. His birthday is included in his obituary.
  4. His death record includes his age.
c.  Some primary information.
  1. He gives his age at his marriages.
d.  Some original records.
  1. The census records are the exceptions; all other sources are originals.
e.  Authored works, derivative records, secondary information replace by originals and primary information.
  1. There doesn't appear to be any original records.  He does give the information for his two marriages.
f.  All findable sources.
  1. Indexes and databases lead to images of the census.

3.  Searching for Mary L. Jones' parents in Hamilton County, IL:
  1. Probate records for father Silas may include the name of his wife and children.
  2. There doesn't appear to be a marriage database for this county; there only seems to be a book listing the records would be a derivative source. The original could be ordered from the courthouse.
  3. Check for Silas' marriage to Sarah.  This could be a clue as to whether Sarah is Mary's mother.
  4. Look for a death certificate for Mary, and also for Silas and Sarah.  There is an online database, but the original can also be viewed.
  5. Perhaps her father served during the Civil War.  Look for a pension file on Fold3.

Monday, July 8, 2013

All Wet! - The Value of Church Records

Today marks 50 years ago that I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
When are children are 8 years old, and beginning to know right from wrong, baptism becomes the first step on their journey.  The above photo is little Peggy standing in ice-cold rusty water.  My father, Chester Lee Clemens, and a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, had the authority to baptize me.

Now, did I know what I was doing.  I think I knew as much as an 8-year old can understand.  I knew that whatever little sins I had committed were now being washed away, and I was expected to try to be a good little girl.

That has followed me through my life.  I've done my best to try to live up to what God expects of me.
My dad was baptized the very same way I was, but he was 39 years old at the time.  He was baptized in the swimming pool at the YMCA, where our little branch was meeting.  Shortly afterward, they asked us not to come back, for they felt the lint from our clothing was clogging the pipes.  Not long after that, a gas leak blew the building apart.
Just about three years before that, my mom and three older sisters were baptized in the Guyan River in West Virginia.  I don't have a picture of their baptism, but this is the river.
Now, why do I bring this up?  Because I am a genealogist, and church records can be one of the most important records in locating our families.  They can hold a treasure trove full of vital information that may not have been around before states began keeping records.

And, as much as I enjoy searching for those records, I must also remember to record the milestones in my own family's lives.  Certificates of baptism, christening, ordinations, etc. may have been stuffed into a drawer or put into a notebook.  But, thanks to modern technology, those are all scannable items that can benefit those that will come after us.

So, as delightful as it is to trace our lineage backward in time, it is vital that we don't forget to come forward with our own information.  Be a good little girl or boy!