Friday, August 30, 2013

Surname Saturday: Denning (Lesson: Rule Names OUT)

One goal of the recent Midwest/FGS trip was to trace the family of Benjamin McClure's wife, Sarah D. McClure. Was her maiden name Deming or Denning? I've seen it both ways in various places.
Sitting in the ACPL and reading histories of Adams County, OH, where they met and married, I saw NO mention of any Deming family. But there was one prominent Denning family, that of Job Denning. So now I ruled Deming out and concentrated on Denning, at least for investigative purposes.

The first thing I did was plug "Job Denning" into Ancestry as Sarah's father. That turned up a green hint leaf with family trees to check out. It also led me to a Find-a-grave site, right place and right time. Now I had a death year (1836) and an approximate birth year (1775) to check, as well.

Also, I used my trusty search engine to find hits for "Job Denning" "Adams County Ohio" and found more than one solid reference to Job and Sarah. Above, the clipping of Job Denning listed as an associate judge in Adams county, OH, in 1820 (thank you, Google Books). Earlier, he was a court "cryer" [sic] and a constable. He successfully applied for a tavern license in 1797. On and on, his story unfolded from a bit of Internet searching. Quite a busy man, was this pioneer ancestor Job Denning.

Now comes the hard part: Checking everything and connecting Sarah Denning McClure to Job Denning through some real evidence. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thriller Thursday: Researching Sideways Reveals "Burglariously" Charge

A few days after attending Debbie Parker Wayne's FGS talk about tax and land laws, I had a chance to apply her ideas while researching the Steiner family in Upper Sandusky, the county seat of Wynadot County, Ohio.

Visiting the Heritage Room of the Upper Sandusky library, I systematically checked each genealogy book on the shelf for any mention of a Steiner. One book listed names mentioned in early probate entries and court of common pleas law cases. There, to my surprise, I found hubby's great-grand uncle (the brother of his great-grandpa Edward G. Steiner) in an 1870 entry titled: "State of Ohio vs. Samuel D. Steiner."

Hubby scrambled off to the elegant Wyandot County Courthouse a few blocks away and came back with photos of this case's paperwork. It turns out that hubby's great-grandpa Edward G. Steiner was mentioned in the case after all! Most mysterious of all, this was a breaking and entering case, as you can see:
The State of Ohio, Wyandot County

To the keeper of the jail of the county aforesaid, greeting:
  Whereas Samuel D. Steiner late of said county has been arrested on a complaint signed and sworn to by John Price, that Elisha Holmes on the 30th day of October in the year of our Lord 1870, in the night season of the same day, to wit:

  About the hour of 8 o’clock p.m. in the county of Wyandot aforesaid, into a certain store-house of one Matthew Mitchell, is there situate and being, did willfully, maliciously, burglariously, feloniously, break and enter with intent then and there and thereby, feloniously, burglariously, to steal, take, and carry away the personal goods, chattels, and property of value of Matthew Mitchell and John B. Mitchell in the said store-house then and there being.

  And the deponent aforesaid being sworn as aforesaid further says that Samuel D. Steiner, Edward G. Steiner, and John Sheehy, before said felony was committed as aforesaid by the said Elisha Holmes, to wit:   On the 30th day of October in the year of our Lord 1870, in the county of Wyandot aforesaid, did unlawfully, feloniously, purposely, and of deliberate and premeditated purpose aid and abet and procure the aforesaid Elisha Holmes the said felony in manner and form aforesaid to commit.

  And whereas the said Samuel D. Steiner has been brought before me, to answer to said charge, and has by me required to give bail in the sum of $1,000, for his appearance before the court of common pleas in said county of Wyandot on the first day of the next term thereof, which requirement he has failed to comply with.

  I command you to receive the said Samuel D. Steiner into your custody in the jail of the county aforesaid, there to remain until he shall be discharge by due course of law.

  Given under my hand and seal this 9th day of November 1870. – M.W. Welsh, J.P.  
This is still a thriller because I don't yet know what happened--no other paperwork was in the folder or mentioned in the transcribed listing of names in lawsuits. But you know I will be digging deeper to find out. If I hadn't followed up on Samuel's name in the records, I wouldn't have known about Edward's involvement at all.

$1,000 bail was a ginormous amount in 1870. What could great-grand uncle Samuel and great-grandpa Edward have done to be accused of aiding and abetting so feloniously and burglariously a theft??

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Motivation Monday: FGS + ACPL = New Ideas and Info

Wrapping up the FGS experience, the various tracks really offered something for everyone: Records; Methodologies; Tech; Brit Isles; Writing/speaking/publishing; Military; Midwest Religious Communities; Online resources; Midwest; Migration; African-American; German; European; Transportation; Genetics; Ethnic origins; NARA.

Given my focus on hubby's midwest ancestors, I stuck to the Midwest track for most of my sessions, enjoying talks by Melissa Shimkus, Elizabeth Plummer, Kris Rzepczynski, Harold Henderson, and Amy Johnson Crow. Two great lunch speakers: Josh Taylor on Saturday and Audrey Collins on Thursday, both motivational and entertaining.

As tempting as it was to go to sessions all the time, I devoted two afternoons and one evening to the Allen County Public Library. (No, no costume for the dance, just research.)

Who said libraries are going away? Not anyone who's ever been to ACPL. Its printed materials are genealogy gems, its librarians and volunteers are experts and friendly to boot. In one place I could consult books about Indiana and Ohio, the two main areas where Steiners, Rineharts, McClures, and other ancestors of hubby lived. I'm coming home with about 300 photos (not photocopies) of pages from history books, genealogies, old directories, cemetery listings, etc. That's enough raw material to keep me busy for many weeks. Some bull's eyes, some clues, lots to evaluate and check.

Also I networked with FGS attendees as well as with people in other areas (Wabash, Upper Sandusky, Wyandot) to further the research effort. More about this in future posts. So many ancestors, so little time!

Blogoversary #5 and Going Strong!

Thank you, dear relatives and readers, for following along on the genealogical journey I've been documenting here for the past five years. And thank you to the many dozens of Geneabloggers whose posts and comments have encouraged and inspired me to try new things, like the ancestor landing pages just below my masthead and using Facebook for genealogy.

Some of the high points since Blogoversary #4: 
  • Being "found" by Philly Cuz, a second cousin from my Schwartz side. She's been kind enough to share photos and stories. Quite a trip down memory lane on both sides, and of course, an in-person visit is in our future. Thank you!
  • Finally seeing the all-important McClure book to confirm the Scots-Irish connection. And while at Allen County Public Library, locating more records of the McClure fam in Adams County books on the open shelves. Thank you to ACPL staff and volunteers! 
  • Teaming up with a long-time Bentley researcher to try to fill in the blanks on William Tyler Bentley's life and family. We have a ways to go but have been making progress together. And it's wonderful to have connected with an actual Bentley cousin (hi Elizabeth) who's tracing her tree also. Thank you all!
  • Being "found" by the son of a woman who sailed across the Atlantic with my Auntie Dorothy Schwartz, the WAC, on the oceanliner that defied the German subs. I never would have known about the magazine article describing that tense ocean crossing if not for him. Thank you!
  • Scanning and indexing 31 years of notes and historians' reports from meetings of the Farkas Family Tree, my maternal grandma's family. One fabulous cousin retyped many barely readable documents for this project, and a number of cousins very patiently answered questions about who's who, so we can get this book into shape for the next generation to browse and keep (I hope!). Thank you!
Now for some of the big questions I'm still trying to answer:
  • Are any descendants of Paula Schwartz and her daughter, Viola Weinberger, still alive? And do they want to be in touch with their US cousins?
  • Where oh where in Ireland do hubby's ancestors hail from? Yes, I'm talking about you, SmithShehen, and Larimer ancestors. Stop hiding in plain sight!
  • Where did the Steiners and Rineharts come from in the Old World? Thanks to the kindness of FindaGrave volunteers who've photographed graves and clarified family connections on our behalf, we expect to make progress. 
  • Where in Lithuania did Isaac Burk/Birk come from and who else was in his family (parents and siblings)? Hello, are there any Birk cousins out there?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday FGS and ACPL Discoveries: The McClures of Donegal

After a morning with the Ohio Historical Society and then a tutorial on the Allen County Public Library, today was RESEARCH day.

And a gen book I've tried to get my hands on for a year is here in the ACPL's collection..."Following the McClures, Donegal to Botetourt." Second edition, the latest and greatest.

It confirms that Alexander McClure is almost certainly hubby's 4th great-granddad (Alex's dad, Halbert, the patriarch, is hubby's 5th g-great).

The McClures were originally from Scotland but (the book explains) they left for Ireland to exercise religious freedom. Halbert McClure was born in Parish Raphoe in County Donegal in 1684, according to LDS records cited in the book. Halbert married Agnes (probably a Scots woman) and they had 6 kids, including our ancestor Alex, b. 1717. One of Alex's sons, John, married Ann McFall and their son Benjamin became a pioneer and civic leader in Wabash, IN.

Oh, the book has lots of detail about the McClure fam's situation in Donegal, then their voyage to the new world. They landed in PA and then walked, yes walked through Maryland and down to Virginia. What a saga, well worth the wait.

After hours FGS dance party at ACPL

Thursday, August 22, 2013

FGS Fun and Wabash Adventures

Today was my day to learn about Wolverine State research (with Kris Rzepczynski), Brit ancestors on the move (Audrey Collins), Swiss research (Michael Lacopo), Buckeye State gen (Amy Crow), and Hoosier gen (Harold Henderson).

All well-attended, engaging and informative sessions. Lots of good ideas for finding elusive ancestors and tapping new sources. Plus between-session conversations about surnames, techniques, and more.

Meanwhile hubby had Wabash on his mind. The town historian agreed that Wally's 3d great-grandpa Benjamin McClure and family would have watched as the new-fangled electric arch lamps were turned on in the city in the 1800s, or at least could see the incredibly bright lamps from his farm 3 miles out of town.

And hubby located an oral history given by his cousin (Benjamin's great-grandson) about growing up in Wabash at the turn of the 20th century. If he's lucky, he'll also see (and photograph) his great-great uncle's Civil War bible too. Stay tuned.*

*Bible wasn't where it should have been. Disappointing! Oh, well...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Hubby Meets MLK

While bearded hubby Wally Wood was editor of the Columbia Owl at New York's Columbia University, the newspaper worked with other college newspapers and civil rights groups to organize an appearance by Martin Luther King Jr. (circa 1962).

Student leaders from area colleges were represented on stage as Wally introduced the vice-president of Columbia, who then introduced Dr. King.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Matrilineal Monday: Saluting Marian McClure Wood

Marian McClure, age 4
My late mom-in-law, Marian Jane McClure Wood, was the only child of Brice Larimer McClure and Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure.
Marian McClure, age 14

These are some photos of Marian as a youngster, a young lady, and finally a Mom.

Wood family

At left, in Cleveland Heights, Marian McClure Wood, her father Brice Larimer McClure, and her husband Edgar James Wood. The kids are my hubby and his siblings.

Jane is the traditional middle name passed down through many generations (on both sides of the family).

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Society Saturday: The Kossuth Society's Cemetery Plot

My Farkas family in New York City was deeply involved in the Kossuth Ferencz Hungarian Literary Sick and Benevolent Society . . . serving as founders, officers, and committee heads over the years.

The "literary" part of the title was represented by a lending library. The "sick and benevolent" part of the title included the group purchase of plots at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Flushing, NY.

When I visited Mt. Hebron, I took a close look at the society's pillars and gates. The left gate reads: "Kossuth Ferencz" and the right gate reads: "H.L.S. & B. Ass'n."

See the small plaque in the center of the right gate? It's dedicated to my great-uncle Alex Farkas, Chairman of the Cemetery committee, August 1929. He was one of the society's organizers in 1904.

One more thing I learned from visiting the Kossuth plot: My great-aunt Jennie Katz Farkas, who met her husband Alex Farkas through Kossuth, was enough of a mover and shaker to get her name listed on the pillars of the plot gate--separate from her husband. Way to go, Aunt Jennie! She also thought up the idea of the Farkas Family Tree--thank you, Aunt Jennie.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Mary and Edward in Coney Island

My pretty great-aunt Mary Schwartz eloped in New York City on Christmas Eve, 1913 with Edward Wirtschafter, a dapper furrier who reportedly swept her off her feet.

This photo is obviously from a different season--a season for going to the boardwalk.

Great-aunt Mary is shown at left in the front row. (Years ago, my mother identified Mary and my sis wrote a note below the photo.) Philly Cuz has positively identified Edward as the lucky man with the two gals. Alas, we don't know the other lady.

Because Philly Cuz wondered where and when the photo was taken, I dug it out and turned it over. And guess what?

It was taken at the Elite Studio in Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, NY. (Click on the link to read about the park's fascinating past.) Judging by what people are wearing, we suspect this was taken before 1920.

In searching for Mr. Goldberg, who owned the Elite Studio, I stumbled upon a post from a gentleman whose father owned the first studio on the Coney Island boardwalk. We've had an e-mail conversation and he says his dad's studio was not in Steeplechase. I'll keep looking!