2021 Conferences to Attend

Hopefully, by 2022, we’ll resume traveling to in-person conferences.  In the interim, genealogy education continues to be offered online.  Here are some coming up soon that may be of interest to you:

National Genealogical Society (NGS) Annual Family History Conference that was to be held in Virginia takes place online May 18-20 and with the package you select, on demand lectures begin on June 15th.  Register at NGS soon to take advantage of the Early Bird special.

The International German Genealogy Conference will be held July 17-24.  Early Bird specials have ended but you can still attend virtually by registering here.

The Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research has a few open seats left for their online conference to be held July 25-30.  Check out what’s available on their site.

Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) Virtual Professional Management Conference is for those interested in a career as a professional genealogist.  There are 3 sessions over 3 months:  August 24-25, September 21-22 and October 19-20.  Sign up for those most interesting or attend all sessions offered by taking advantage of their Early Bird offerings.  Register at APG.

According to FamilySearch, there are over 9,000 historical and genealogical organizations so the few I highlighted are just a sampling.  Google conferences near you so that you can begin to make new connections.  I’m looking forward to meeting my new “cuz” I discovered at RootsTech soon who is working on the same Morrison line that I am.  It’s a small world after all! By attending a conference from your home you may also discover family you never knew who just may hold the key you are looking for to unlock your family mystery.  That’s definitely worth the price of the conference.

Remembering the Forgotten Ones – A New Project

The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (DUVCW) have embarked on a new project, The Forgotten Soldiers and Sailors.  This legacy organization will be accepting documentation through the end of 2021 about those that left NO DESCENDANTS due to their death in battle or from injury/disease due to their war service for the Union.  

This project is dear to my heart because I try to honor my ancestors by selecting a different individual for each lineage society that I join.  I’m sure you have in your tree many people that died childless and had you not recorded them, would have been forgotten.  I see this endeavor as a way to remember true patriots who would not likely have their stories told.

When I first learned of the project I looked through my tree, which combines both my husband and my sides, to list all those that would qualify.  I identified 15 people.

I then looked at the records that I had already found to see if any met the criteria.  For example, I have an Adam Kuhn who died during Reconstruction purportedly from wounds sustained in battle, however, he would not qualify as he left 5 surviving children. Since the descendants could join DUVCW based on Adam’s wartime service he would not be eligible for this project. If his children had died childless then Adam would meet qualify to be listed in this project.  

I never took the time to deeply research the children of my several time great grandparents or thought much about the impact their deaths had on the family until I was heavily investigating my John Duer line in the past few months. That family lost a son to the Civil War – Prosser.  That was the first form I submitted.  

Next, I went up a generation and looked at the siblings of  John and his first wife, Jane, to see if those siblings had also lost a child due to involvement in the Civil War.  Sadly, I identified another Duer who qualified, Isaac.  Isaac’s story was interesting as his father, Mark, likely whom one of John’s son was named after, left home when Isaac was 6 to serve in the Mexican American War where he was killed in service in Onischalala, Mexico in 1848.  In researching Isaac, I learned that his widowed mother, Jane Skelly Duer, fell upon hard times when Isaac went off to war and had to rely on community charity from her Holmes County, Ohio neighbors to survive.  

Another Mark Duer, son of John’s brother, Thomas, had been killed in battle, too.  Thomas, like his brother, Mark, served in the Mexican American War but returned to settle in Missouri where he was discharged.  Father Thomas and son Mark signed up together to serve in the Civil War.  Neither survived the war.  My heart goes out to Frances Bonhanan Duer, wife and mother of those killed as her second son, Thomas decided to enlist after his brother’s death.  He was not killed and returned home after the war ended.

I then looked for other individuals in a different line, the Landfairs.  I quickly found Davidson who died while serving in Hampton, Virginia.  Davidson was the first cousin of Jacob Wilson Parrot, the first Congressional Medal of Honor recipient awarded for his bravery and I would add, audacious behavior, during those difficult times.  Remember that old movie, The Great Train Robbery?  That was about Jacob.  

I have 11 more individuals who served for the Union I will be submitting documentation for so that they may be remembered. These lives, cut short too young, should not be forgotten.  If you are not a member of DUVCW but would like to submit a Union soldier or sailor to be remembered, please email me at genealogyatheart@gmail.com and I will be happy to help you.  

Hmm, What to Do When You Can’t Find The Record You Seek

It’s been a slow genealogy week for me.  One of our computers is down and another is acting wonky – freezes and shuts itself off.  Since I’m still holed up at home this greatly impacts my genealogical research.

Last week I blogged about my 3rd great grandmother Jane Morrison Duer who was mostly forgotten by her children and I was seeking to discover why.  I suspected that discovering the divorce documents may shed light on this mystery.

Jane married John Duer in Trumbull County, Ohio on 29 Jul 1827.  The couple had 11 children together and relocated to Holmes County and later, Mercer County, Ohio.  They are last found together in the 1860 US Federal census with their youngest children residing in a residence two units away from their oldest surviving married daughter, Maria Duer Kuhn.  

John remarried widow Margaret Martz Searight in Mercer County on 11 December 1864.  John was raised a Presbyterian so there most likely is a divorce document somewhere. In other words, I doubt he was a polygamist.

I suspect he asked for the divorce because Jane’s tombstone in Kessler Cemetery records her as “wife of John Duer.”  But she wasn’t that at the time of her death, 10 July 1866.  

When the second wife died, her tombstone, also in Kessler Cemetery, records her as the “wife of John Duer.”  She actually was the widow of by the time of her death but she was also the widow of her first husband.  I suspect that her children purposely engraved the stone to reflect what was on Jane’s.

No tombstone has been found for John.  Family legend says he’s buried next to Jane, which is possible but unconfirmed because Kessler’s records are incomplete.  There is a sunken space next to Jane that likely is a burial but who is in that space is unknown.  Second wife is buried in another section of the cemetery and there are marked stones on both side of her so that is not where John lies.  

I was hoping to find the divorce document to get a better understanding of the circumstances.  I guessed that John asked for divorce; I reasoned Jane would not have wanted all eternity to be known as his wife if she had wanted out of the relationship.  She did not remarry so likely was not involved in another relationship.  

I did not think finding the divorce document would be difficult but is has proven to be.  In Mercer County, the Common Plea Court holds divorce records and they are not available online.  I wrote to the Clerk and was informed that a search was made between 1860-1866 and no divorce record was found.

I then thought that perhaps the divorce was granted in Adams County, Indiana where John had purchased property in June 1860 when he was still married to Jane and where he eventually resided.  He was shown with his second wife, their children, a child from her first marriage and two children from his first marriage in Adams in the 1870 census.  

In  March and May1863, John sued in Common Plea Court in Mercer for money owed him in the sale of property he had made in November 1862.  Jane was not mentioned in the court document so it’s likely that she was not on the deed.  

Why he remarried in Mercer and not Adams is another mystery.  

I reached out to Adams County this week and was informed yesterday they have no divorce record.

So, do I give up.  NOPE!  I did ask both Mercer and Adams County Clerks where I might look and neither answered that question.  My next step was to email a genealogist who lives in the Mercer area for recommendations.  

I’m looking forward to the reply.  

Forgotten Jane Morrison Duer

Courtesy of Cousin Becky on Find-a-Grave. Burial in Kessler Cemetery
Courtesy of Cousin Becky on Find-a-Grave. Burial also in Kessler Cemetery. John Duer was married to Margaret at the time of his first wife, Jane’s burial, in 1866.

Why was Jane Morrison Duer divorced from her husband John after about 37 years of marriage and eleven children together? Jane followed John from her native Trumbull County, Ohio to Killbuck Township, Holmes, Ohio and on to Mercer County, Ohio over their long years together. What would cause the relationship to end? I have a working hypothesis but no proof. This was a family most likely stressed by societal and personal crises.

Of the 11 children, 5 predeceased Jane. The couple’s first child, a female, died between 1830-1840. We only know of her existence from the 1830 census record’s tick mark that she was in the age group as being “under 5.” No grave has been discovered for her so she remains nameless.

The next child, William, was certified as insane at age 23 in Holmes County and sent to the Ohio Lunatic Asylum. There are only two other records found for William. In the first, he was listed in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census as an insane laborer, age 30, residing in the asylum in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. That is correct but his birth in Germany is not. That’s interesting to note as his sister and several siblings did marry into the Kuhn family that were immigrants from Germany. Maria, William’s oldest surviving sister, had her birth place listed in error as Germany on her death record provided by her son. William and Maria most likely were born in Trumbull County, Ohio before the family relocated to Holmes County in the late 1930’s.

The second document is a notice in the newspaper, the Holmes County Farmer, on 14 March 1861 recommending that community members write to him and the 7 other “inmates.” I infer he must have been the longest committed as his name appears first. Although alphabetically his surname would be recorded first the others listed are not in alpha order. The article states that “some of these poor unfortunates are supposed to be incurable.” Most of his family had moved on to Mercer County, Ohio by the time the clip was published. No death date has ever been found for William so I suspect he died at the asylum. I am waiting for the organization that holds the records to reopen as they are closed due to the pandemic.

Next oldest son, Thomas Ayers, relocated to Winterset, Madison, Iowa by 1860, enlisted in the Civil War and died unmarried and likely childless of Febris Typhoides on 5 May 1862 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Daughter Maria wed Henry Kuhn and the couple lived two residences away from Jane and John in 1860. Henry enlisted in the Civil war, leaving Maria to raise their young children. During this time period, John and Jane divorced. Although no record has been found, John remarried in 1864, two years prior to Jane’s death. John relocated with his second wife to Adams County, Indiana where he had two deeds for land. Neither deed had then wife Jane’s name on them. When John died, Maria is not named in his will. Maria’s death certificate names both of her parents.

Son John B. had married first in 1860 but his wife Keziah died a few months after the marriage. He then married Carolina, one of the sibling of Maria’s husband, in 1863 and moved across the state line to farm in Adams County, Indiana. He seems to have had a falling out with his father as like Maria, he is not named in John’s will, even though he was residing in the same county as his father. Marriage records found do not name John B.’s parents. No death certificate for him as been located.

Mary Ann was found living with John and his second wife in 1870, however, she also was not named in his will. She may have had a falling out with her sister Maria as shortly after mother Jane’s death in July 1866, Mary Ann took Adam Kuhn, Maria’s brother-in-law, to court in Mercer County. Pregnant with Adam’s child, the unmarried couple could not agree on a financial settlement. Adam, in December 1866, was jailed by Jacob Baker, who married my 3rd great aunt, Caroline Bollenbacher, as Adam refused surety.

Sister Maria and her husband Henry was close to Adam as evidenced by their naming their son, born in February 1866, after him.

Mary Ann and Adam’s child must not have survived as there is no further court records of payment. He married an Elizabeth or Catharin Harper in Van Wert, Ohio 16 January 1868 and went on to have 5 daughters before dying at age 44, possibly due to injuries sustained during the Civil War when he fought in Union Company F, 99th Ohio Infantry.

Mary Ann married first, James Furman in 1875 who must have died shortly after the marriage as she married second John L. Ceraldo in 1879. John’s first wife had probably died as the child, Daniel, shown living with Mary Ann and John in 1880 would have been too old to have been theirs together. No record is ever found again of the boy who is presumed to have died. Mary died in 1909 in Michigan; her husband named John Duer as her father but her mother’s name was unknown. Although she had married after Jane’s death, why would she have not informed her husband in their 30 years of marriage what her mother’s name had been? Like Maria and John B., Mary Ann was not named in her father’s will.

Son Prosser remained in Holmes County, Ohio after the rest of the family relocated to Mercer County. He enlisted in the Civil War and died at Stones River, Tennessee on 2 January 1863. He did not marry or have any known children.

Daughter Sarah Jane married another sibling of Maria’s husband, Phillip, in 1870, four years after Jane had died. Sarah was also not named in her father’s will. Although she died in 1920, no death certificate or obituary has been found for her.

Son Mark Duer disappears from records after being found in 1850 with the family in Holmes, Ohio. He likely died there but no burial location has been found.

Son James William was found living with John and his second wife in Adams, Indiana in 1870 yet he, too, was not named in John’s will. When James wed in 1887 he named his mother as Sarah J. Marisum sic Morrison. James would have been 18 years old when his mother Mary J[ane] died. How did he not remember her name? Perhaps because she was called by her middle name and he thought of his sister Sarah and not Mary as having the first name as his mother. He spent the rest of his life living in Adams County where he was killed in a bike accident. He death certificate names his father as John but the mother was listed as unknown. It was completed by his son, Elra Leroy. Elra was born 6 years after his grandfather John had died. How did he remember John’s name but not the name of his grandmother Jane?

Youngest child, Angeline, was named in her father’s will. She is the only child of John and Jane’s to be named. She was living with him and his second wife in 1870. She married in 1874 and remained in Adams, Indiana until her death in 1933. Like her siblings, her father John is named on her death certificate. Her mother is recorded as Catharine, born in Ohio. The information was provided by Angeline’s daughter, Effie. Effie probably remembered her grandfather as she would have been 9 years old and living in the same area as him when he died. Where Effie came up with her grandmother’s name as Catherine is unknown as there is no Catherines in the family; her paternal grandmother’s name was Nancy.

Jane is buried in Kessler Cemetery and according to the trustees, the records are incomplete. They do not show who purchased the plot or if her husband John is buried next to her as family lore claims. There is a sunken area that appears to be burial next to Jane but records do not exist to state who is interred there. There is no tombstone. John’s second wife was buried in Kessler but in a different location. John is not buried on either side of his second wife. What is obvious is Jane’s tombstone that is boldly engraved “wife of John Duer” even though she wasn’t at the time of her death.

I suspect daughter Maria purchased the headstone as she was the only child still residing in Mercer County at the time of Jane’s death that had the means to afford it. Maria’s husband was a prosperous farmer and active in the community. In my opinion, Maria wanted the legitimacy of the first marriage noted for eternity.

It’s likely that Margaret’s children paid for her tombstone and wanted to show the world they, too, were legitimate so also engraved their mother as the wife of John.

The year 1866 must have been a tremendously difficult time for Maria. She had 5 children age 7 and under, her parents had recently divorced, her father remarried, her husband was away fighting for the Union in the Civil War, she has a brother that was committed to an insane asylum, 5 deceased siblings and her sister files a bastardly charge against her brother-in-law. What a mess!

But my underlying question is why did Jane and John’s children not hand down their mother’s name to their spouses/children?

Perhaps the state of the union, along with the loss of so many children caused Jane to suffer from the same melancholy as her son, William. John may have abandoned Jane for a new relationship with the widow who owned property close to his newly purchased land across the state lines in Indiana.

I believe Jane was forgotten by her adult children because it was too painful to remember those difficult times. They did not want to inform their children of their mother’s and brother’s mental state. No family member I have reached out to was aware of Williams insanity commitment. The family just didn’t speak about painful situations.

Last week I received a call from a clerk with the Mercer Ohio Common Plea Court. She had searched for a divorce record for John and Jane between 1860 and 1866. None was found. Perhaps John abandoned Jane and the paperwork was filed in Adams County, Indiana where I’ll be searching next. It’s possible that single document may help me better understand the straw that was the backbreaker of the relationship. The search continues!

Genealogy Lemonade – a Reflection on the Year

You might be thinking I’m being a prolific blogger this morning as this is my 5th post but the truth is I only planned to write about the one year anniversary of changing practices due to the pandemic.

I started the morning on routine maintenance to my website – genealogyatheart.com and in the process, somehow noticed that 4 older posts, 3 since June, had never posted. I don’t know how that happened so I hit the “publish” button and see that 3 of the 4 are live. Going to figure out when I’m done with this blog what’s up with the last one! Three were on strange events and one was on volunteering to identify WW2 vets. Since the past year has definitely been strange and there has been so many unnecessary deaths it seemed fitting I discovered the drafts this morning.

Was it the technology or the person (me) that was responsible? Don’t know! I usually like to find out the reason for mistakes to prevent them from reoccurring but on this beautiful almost spring morning where I’ll be losing an hour this weekend anyway, I’m choosing to focus instead on the future.

It was 1 year ago today, Friday the 13th, that I spent my last day in person at my education job. I was supposed to meet a genealogy client and do volunteer work on the 14th at a local library but that was cancelled due to the unexpected covid-19 closures. Like most of the rest of the world, I had spent March 11th bringing home items from work that I thought would be essential to use to continue doing my job from home and on the 12th, discovered there was NO hams, turkeys or toilet paper left in the first 4 grocery stores I stopped in on my way home from work.

A year ago, my guess was the pandemic would last about 6 weeks. Yeah, don’t ask me to make any forecasts! I based that assumption on the amount of time since I had first heard about Wuhong’s cases – towards the end of January – and watched with amazement how quickly they were building hospitals. By March, they had stopped so I guessed wrongly that it would just take a short time to get up to speed in providing medical assistance and our lives would be back to “normal”.

That gets me to the ham and turkey on my shopping list – I thought I’d hunker down at home and my meal planning to get through lockdown was influenced by my childhood upbringing. The grandchild of immigrants and the child of a Great Depression parent, we always had a large pantry in the basement known as the fruit cellar. I’ve blogged before how it got it’s name – that’s where my grandparents kept the illegal vino they were producing during prohibition. By the time I came along it held canned goods, soda “pop” bottles in case company came and spices. An extra chest freezer was housed on our enclosed front porch with a doily over it so it didn’t stand out. It was always filled. This was all beneficial to avoid panic buying before a snowstorm hit. Cooking a huge meal mid day Sundays resulted in having food for the rest of the week. I figured we’d have a ham with the fixings and then Monday, use leftovers for sandwiches, Tuesday would be omelets, soup from the hambone on Wednesday and Thursday, any remains mixed with macaroni and cheese on Friday and the week was almost through! I would do something similar with the turkey and chicken to get through 6 weeks of lockdown. Except, I couldn’t find turkey and ham.

I do have a large pantry and an extra fridge in the garage but I never kept them as well stocked as my grandparents did theirs. My shopping foray last March changed that practice and I scrounged for whatever I found left in the store – 3 corned beefs, 2 whole chickens, some ground beef and hot dogs. I found the ham and turkey at the 5th store I went to which was the one closest to my home. The toilet paper was discovered by a suggestion from another shopper at Big Lots. My bookkeeper at work had found hers at Staples. This was clearly a tipoff that that world was changing in a strange way.

I pivoted my education job by working through what was supposed to have been my week off for spring break. I was up and running with that quickly and easily with a plan to keep the students engaged the week we were transitioning to online learning to give the teachers time to get their lessons prepared. My genealogy business was placed on hiatus but I decided to keep writing the blog.

Reflecting on the past year, my biggest surprise is that I’m really okay with working from home. This has been the longest time since adulthood that I haven’t been on a trip or to a visit to a library. I’ve got several ideas of where I’ll do research once the world reopens fully. I’m okay with being patient for when that happens. In the meantime, I’ve created a list of where I need to research, what I need to find and some of the archives I’ll be visiting.

Thinking back, I now have no idea how I endured for years the long commute I made 5 days a week. I’ve only topped off my car with gas 4 times since last March 13th. Sometimes I would have to stop for gas more than once per week. I have spent the over 2 hours per day that I had lost driving on other tasks. Initially, I spent a lot more time on my education job but now that I’m in the groove, that has lessened. I’m now using the extra time to listen to podcasts and do my own personal genealogy research. I updated my family’s cookbook and included a section on Pandemic cooking for future generations. It’s got a great substitution chart – can’t find cake flour, here’s what you do! We also switched our hydroponics to aquaponics, took in 2 hens that were hatched 2 weeks before the pandemic at my school and froze the loquats and lemon juice from our neighbors tree for use the rest of the year.

I am amazed at how much genealogy research I have been able to do by being housebound. Granted, much has been because of the dedication of staff at archives who have done look ups for me over the past year. Due to the special offers that were available last spring, I took advantage of mining through online resources I hadn’t explored before. That was an awesome use of my time and money.

I donated some of my time by volunteering and I’ll blog more about that soon. I also donated some cash to organizations who were extremely helpful and are now in desperate need of funds. I plan to do more of this in the future.

By working fully from home I was thankful that hubby and I had renovated our home in the past few years, especially our office. We had to make some adjustments but that was mostly due to our primary jobs. I use a whole lot less paper (and printer ink!) then when I was working outside of the home. I’ve cleaned all of our closets and reorganized the kitchen and bath cabinets for efficiency. Those tasks I always put in “some day” category as in “after I retire.” Now they’re done and that will give me more time later.

I also now understand why my grandmother always washed her hands when she came in from leaving the house and why she changed her clothes after attending a funeral. The lessons she learned from the 1918 flu epidemic stayed with her 40 years later. I wonder if I’ll be doing the same.

Take this week and think about how you and your family have changed routines and practices. It is amazing how flexible and versatile we all are. No matter what the future holds we will be taking these characteristics with us. That gives me hope.

Turning lemons into lemonade takes some amount of work but it’s worth the refreshing result. As my grandparents would say, Zdravlje – To Health!

Reuniting the Lost and Found

Somehow – this was not published when originally written so it’s made available today.

Last blog I wrote about the very worthy Fields of Honor database project in the Netherlands that memorializes fallen World War 2 soldiers. Strangely, as I was writing that article, I was contacted by an Ancestry.com member who I first connected with last spring about her DNA. One of her parents was adopted and she was trying to see if we were related as I had placed information from the same geographical area she was researching on my Ancestry.com tree for the same surnamed individual. There were other coincidences – they had the same occupation, religion, place where they immigrated from and where they immigrated to about the same time (early 1900’s). We were thinking they were related but after comparing our DNA results, they weren’t blood relations.

The Ancestry member had received an email from another member who was contacted by someone in the Netherlands who found World War 2 dog tags using a metal detector and wanted to send them to family. I was contacted since we had the same surname – Koss – as the found tags who once belonged to Joseph E. Koss who died in 1944 in Holland.

I reached out to the memorial owner at Findagrave.com. If you are a family member please email me (see contact me page) and I will happily connect you so you can get the tags.

I’ve blogged in the past about scammers and dog tags – you can view that here. This does not smell like a scam to me but to keep my readers safe – I’ll play middleman for you. Using a metal detector and finding a lost object is typical in my world as that’s one of my husband’s hobbies and he has found lost articles for people for years.

Funny how I’ve been contacted by folks living in the Netherlands twice in the past few weeks – maybe that’s where I should go visit next!

The Caribbean Connection…An Update

Pirates of the Caribbean

This was supposed to have been published in June 2020 but somehow was not.

Last week I blogged about my strange experience looking for my Hollingshead family going from England to Barbados to Pennsylvania/New Jersey.  I was desperately searching for a document to show proof that my ancestor, Daniel, was the individual in all of those locations.  
Some odd happening occurred – a dream, an undelivered email, an internet site popping up after the electricity had been turned off  – put me back on track.  Here’s what happened this week…
Although the member of my local genealogy association that I had reached out to for help in connecting with a presenter’s email was returned as undeliverable, I used the same email address and reached the person I was seeking a few minutes later.  She responded she was unavailable but when get back with me soon.
I’ve signed up for a British seminar online that I found by “looking small” as instructed in my dream. It’s scheduled for Friday and I’m eagerly awaiting it.
Being impatient, I had a hunch that the dream meant more than just the upcoming lecture.  I don’t know why I did the following, but I did and I’m glad of that.  I decided to check Ancestry.com hints for Daniel.  I don’t use the hint option very often.  I do sometimes if I’m starting a new search for a client but for my own tree, not so much.  In case you aren’t aware, your Ancestry hints never really leave you.  If you click “Ignore” that isn’t the same as delete – which isn’t an option.  When you Ignore, it simply goes to the Hint section and is placed under that heading.  The other categories are Undecided and Accepted.  Accepted hints are all those that are showing in your Facts section, Undecided are those you can’t make up your mind about after you’ve reviewed it.  
In my Undecided section, I had about 15 hints and most were completely wrong – wrong locations (like Ohio and I was searching before there was even an Ohio territory), wrong time period (like the 1900’s and I needed 1600-1700’s), or wrong names (like Hollins).  There were 2 interesting hints, however, that I clicked on and both were from a DNA relative I’ve corresponded with in the past.  I trust her work and she always uses citations!  The hints were notes she had taken from old texts she had found in her local library.  Lucky lady, she lives close to an awesome research library.. I wanted to find the original books to check her notes so I did a Google book search (on Google, click the “Other” box and then click “Books” is the easiest to find and lo and behold, this is what I discovered:

Alfred Mathews. History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia:  R. T. Peck & Co,1886, p. 1156.

Even though this is exactly what I’m looking for regarding the route of immigration, there is no proof, other than that Stroud J. Hollinshead, a likely descendant, shared the info for his personal biographical sketch.  Sigh!  He even got some of the facts wrong.  The second paragraph is a hot mess; How could Daniel, the first ancestor, be killed at the Battle of Blenheim and then hold public office in Sussex County, New Jersey?  Quite a feat, I say.  The date of birth is off by a few years.  Didn’t mention the first wife, Ann Alexander, from whom I’m descended but does mention their child, Mary, as the daughter of the second wife, Thomasin.  Mary married a Duer; according to this bio, so did Mary’s stepmom after the death of Daniel.  Hmm, but something isn’t quite correct there, either.  Thomasin was a female and the information states she married a Jane Deuer.  I suspect they meant John as this would have been the early 1700’s.  
Then I found the following interesting story:

Rev. John C. Rankin, DD.  The Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge, NJ. Jersey City:  John H. Lyon, 1872., p.7.

I knew Daniel was flipping property but I didn’t know that he had sold to a James Alexander of New York.  That peaked my interest as his first wife was an Alexander and I’ve not been successful in locating her family.  So I read up on James Alexander and Lord Stirling.  The family liked to hide among other Alexander families in Ireland and France where they fled after picking the wrong political side in Scotland.  Scholars haven’t been able to sort through all the stories the family told in the documentation they left behind of who was related to whom as the same individual’s tales changed from time to time.  Then, there’s the whole timely topic of race relationships.  Lord Stirling made his money partially from the slave trade while father James was alive and didn’t object.  My Daniel, however, appeared to have not been in favor of slavery.  He brought a slave family with him to New Jersey but it appears there was manumision.  I told myself (no proof here!) that Daniel was empathetic as he was purportedly an indentured servant, though others felt this showed he was of the Quaker faith.  Yet, as I learned more about James Alexander, I discovered that Daniel’s second wife Thomasin left several slaves to her children when she died so the couple may not have the same shared beliefs or, I’m completely wrong about Daniel. More research definitely needed.
The Presbyterian Church reference provides another important clue.  Some believe that Daniel was Quaker but I’ve found nothing to support that.  He and his children were baptized in the Church of England in England and Barbados,  Some of the Alexander land was later donated to the Presbyterian Church.  That’s not surprising since James was a Scott and probably of that faith.  Further reading informed me there were no Quakers in the the area when Daniel relocated there.  If he had been a devout Quaker, he would have likely settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania as the Duer’s initially did.  This would explain why I’ve never found a Quaker record for Daniel.
Although all of this is interesting to my research, the last weird occurrence happened while I was reading online.  My husband and I share an office and he decided he was going to clean his workspace.  He is a piler and I’m a filer – he has piles everywhere and I have everything sorted in a variety of devices (handing file folders, in/out baskets, file cabinets, tubs in folders, etc.).  As I was deeply involved in an old text my husband said, “Is this yours?”  He was holding a CD.  I haven’t used CD’s in I don’t know how long so I shook my head no.  “Should I toss it?”  he asked.  “What’s on it?” I replied.  “The theme song of Pirates of the Caribbean.”  I thought he was kidding me.  “Yeah, right.” I said.  “Seriously,” he replied.  He thought I had recorded it to help me with my search.  (Photo above – you can see it’s scratched so it’s not new.) Nope, wasn’t I but somewhere in the great beyond there’s a tech savvy spirit with a sense of humor who is helping me along.  Keep it coming!

Halloween Hope

This was supposed to have been published October 2020 but I just discovered that didn’t occur. Those darn gremlins!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN – the gremlins were in my computer this morning so I wasn’t able to post.

Just hit me that I have not been in a library – archive – on a research trip – in 7 1/2 months.  I’m ready for a reset and suspect you are, too! 

What’s Up with Ancestry.com?

My clip – look at the 3rd image from the left side to see the red dot

Are you noticing some subtle changes on your Ancestry.com home page? I’m referring to the red dots on the right side of header above the leaf and sometimes the envelope.

What’s up with that? Clicking on the leaf I see that I have some Hints. Scrolling down the drop down Hint menu and clicking on “See all recent hints in” I still have the red dot. I also have a counter that is still not working:

All Hints= 1 & Photos=1 but I’m on the photo page and there are no hints!


Sometimes the red dot is showing above the envelope but it seems to clear away when I get a legitimate message from another member. I had a “1” showing for three weeks, even though I had read the message. I discovered that you must click in the “respond” box, even if you aren’t really responding, to make the counter reduce. That doesn’t work for Hints, however.

The dot seemed to appear about the same time that Ancestry changed the viewing of Hints but I’m not sure they are related. Seeing the information on the right screen side will take getting used to. I’m not complaining about it, just don’t see the need for that change when there are others that could be addressed.

I realize I am perseverating on a dot which is a picayune detail but as it’s time for me to renew, I am looking at the program with the price of an annual subscription in the back of my mind. How they can’t get it right after all these years is beyond me.

I blogged about the Newspaper.com free access a few weeks ago. I have Ancestry All Access Membership, however, over the last year, I’ve often clicked on Newspapers.com and received the message that the image isn’t accessible because I don’t have their premium subscription.

Here’s a little math since I love saving money! The Ancestry.com All Access membership for a year is $389.00 which includes Ancestry, Basic Newspapers.com and Fold3. Newspapers.com Access Everything membership is $74.90/6 months or $149.80/year. Their Basic membership is $44.95/6 months ($89.90/year).

If I select Ancesty.com World Explore membership for $149.00/6 months ($298.00/year) and purchase Newspapers.com separately ($149.80) and Fold3.com separately ($79.95/year) the total cost would be $527.75 annually. So, yes, I am saving money by going through Ancestry.com in order to access Newspapers.com and Fold3, however, I’m not getting full access to Newspapers.com which I sometimes need.

My local library has the full Newspaper.com subscription but it is only available at the library so that hasn’t been helpful. Here’s my work around – as I work on my personal genealogy, I’m making a list of any item I can’t readily access and then, will either check it out at the library someday or wait until the site has another free weekend. In a pinch, I’d use the Ask a Librarian option for a look up. For my research areas, Newspapers.com does not have the info that would be worth it for me to buy the Everything access. Your needs, however, might differ.

RootsTech is REMARKABLE!

My RootsTech Relatives

If you aren’t on rootsTech today you are missing some awesome genealogy stuff. I don’t think it’s too late to participate – it’s free – just go here to register.

This is what has impressed me the most so far and it only just began:

FAMILYSEARCH.ORG – my thanks for pulling this off virtually without a hitch. Maybe there was a hitch on your end but it was seamless on ours. I absolutely LOVE the interactive RootsTech relatives feature and found a 4th cousin once removed living very close to me. Didn’t know she even existed! Using the Send a Message feature I made an attempt at connecting. Maybe if I ever get the covid vaccine we can meet. The map feature of where my people are is shown above and I think it’s just wonderful. Proves I’m a mutt without research, doesn’t it?! Actually looks very similar to my ethnicity results from Ancestry/MyHeritage/23andMe.

My FAVORITE research session so far has been from Goldie May’s Richard K. Miller on How to create Google Chrome shortcuts for Faster Genealogy Research. More info is available on their website so check this out here.

My FAVORITE AH HA session has been How to Make Rooibos Tea by Sarah Wing from South Africa. Funny but I brewed a cup right before the Expo Hall opened last evening so I thought I would enjoy the video but I was shocked to learn that a small strainer I inherited from my grandmother is a tea strainer. Duh, she used it to drain liquid from kidney beans so that’s how I’ve used it for over 50 years. I got so excited to learn what the kitchen device is really supposed to be used for I sent out an email to my family who would remember how it was used. Nothing like making connections over the simplicity of everyday living!

Which gets me to the next part of RootsTech I find interesting – I signed up for the 21 day Family Connections Experiment. What a brilliant idea, especially now with our world turned upside down for so many reasons. Learn more about it here.

The CREEPY BUT COOL tech toy is from MyHeritage – Deep Nostalgia. I can’t wait to try it! Take a photo and it animates it. You have got to check into this.

Another CREEPY BUT COOL tech device is from Audiobiography which has designed a product that can be placed on a tombstone or family heirloom and using an ap on your phone, the bar code will be read and you can learn more about the person/item via audio or text. Pricing was reasonable, too. Learn more about it here.

There’s much much more but those were the items that were most interesting to me so far. Two more days to go so don’t miss out – check it out now.