Showing posts with label Benjamin McClure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Benjamin McClure. Show all posts

Friday, August 25, 2017

Blogiversary #9: Fewer Brickwalls, More DNA and Facebook Connections

What a year 2017 has been (and it's not over)! Nine years ago, when I first began blogging about my genealogy adventures, I knew the names of only four of the eleven people in this photo from my parents' wedding album. Earlier this year, thanks to Mom's address book and Cousin Ira's cache of letters, I smashed a brickwall blocking me from researching Grandpa Isaac Burk. Now I have a new set of friendly cousins and the names of all the people in this photo. And more info about my father's father's father, Elias Solomon Birk

This was DNA year for me. Thanks to "known" cousins on both sides of the family who kindly agreed to test, I have a lot more "probable" cousins (we're still investigating our connections). It was especially helpful and motivating to meet DNA experts at the IAJGS, where I gave my talk on Planning a Future for Your Family's Past. I also attended DNA sessions at NERGC, where I spoke on the same "planning a future" topic. (For a calendar of my upcoming presentations, please see the masthead tab above.)
Future genealogy: Using a pinhole viewer on Eclipse Day

This year will go down in American history for the unique solar eclipse that swept the nation . . . for my genealogical journey, it will be remembered as the year I created detailed family memory booklets for my husband's Wood-Slatter tree and his McClure-Steiner tree. (For sample pages, see my blog post here.)

My Facebook genealogy persona Benjamin McClure (memorialized on family T-shirts) has had a wonderful time making new genealogy friends and both posting questions and answering queries. Benji is also active on Pinterest. I really appreciate how many people are very generous with their knowledge and take the time to help solve family history mysteries via social media!

Plus I got to meet many genealogy bloggers in person at conferences this year. It was wonderful to say hello and get acquainted without a keyboard for a change.

Thank you to my relatives and readers for checking out my posts, leaving comments, and sharing ideas. Looking forward to Blogiversary #10 next year!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sorting Saturday: Benjamin's Woodcut Portrait Lives On

Always looking for ways to keep ancestors alive for future generations, I consulted with my sis-in-law, a savvy sewer. We wanted to put the 1890s woodcut portrait of her 2d great-grandpa, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896), onto a T-shirt for the youngest relatives.

Her solution was to use iron-on fabric transfer paper. The process is fairly easy, and you'll find many types of iron-on transfer papers in craft stores.

At right, two types of transfers I've used (among many other good brands). Some transfers are actually fabric with a paper backing to go through the printer, be cut to size, and then be stitched onto a T-shirt or other fabric item. Others are paper with special coating that adheres to fabric when ironed on.

Before you buy, read the package to decide which transfer paper is right for the fabric or T-shirt you'll be using. Check whether the transfer requires a laser copier/printer or inkjet printer. And find out whether the final product can be washed.

The directions vary slightly from brand to brand. Some transfers require you to create a mirror image of your image (via software, printer, or copier) if text is involved or you want the fabric version to look exactly as the original. This is important! Unless you begin with a mirror image, any text on the image will be reversed and unreadable (see photo above for "mirror image" version of Benjamin McClure and his name/dates, before he was ironed onto the T-shirt shown at top).

I'm sorting other portraits to see which we want to put on T-shirts, aprons, or other fabric items as holiday gifts for the family--keeping the memory of our ancestors alive into the next generation and beyond.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Genealogy Resolutions and Results, 2016-2017

Looking back on 2016, I accomplished a lot. At right is a snapshot from my Find A Grave contributor tools page, in which I more than doubled my statistics from this time last year. Every trip I take to a cemetery, I take a hundred or more photos of surrounding graves and add them to the memorials, helping others find their ancestors' final resting places.

Of course, these numbers don't reflect the dozens and dozens of edits I've made or requested to link and correct ancestors' memorials from my tree and my husband's tree. This was my #1 resolution from last year and I feel good about my progress (even if it much of the work was crammed into the past week).

My favorite accomplishment of this year (and every year) has been meeting cousins in person after finding them through genealogical research. In fact, it was quite a year for cousin connections. In January, after I met a Farkas cousin of mine in NYC, Sis and I took a fun field trip to meet more Farkas cousins and reunite with our Burk/Mahler first cousins. Later in the year, I met several more Farkas cousins (including one across the pond). And I spent five days with a handful of Chazan cousins in Manchester, England. More cousin connections are in the works for 2017.

In 2016, I wanted to submit testimony to Yad Vashem about my great aunt, Etel Schwartz (a sister to my maternal grandfather, Tivador Schwartz). She's one of the two ladies in the big-brimmed hats in the photos above, along the banner of my blog. My cousins and I are having trouble determining who's who in the few photos we have of the Schwartz siblings, and we don't know Etel's married name. But I will submit what I know in 2017, even without a photo, to keep Etel's memory alive for future generations.

An ongoing resolution is to "tell the stories" and I'm continuing to do that, formally and informally, during meetings with cousins and at other opportunities. At top is a photo of me all dressed up in a bow tie and shirt with the stern face of Benjamin McClure, my husband's 2d great-granddaddy (he's also my FB genealogy persona).

I wore this shirt on Halloween when making genealogy presentations, and my family got a kick out of it. It's a different way to spread the word about an ancestor's life and times. Also I told some stories and featured ancestor photos in my genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past. More stories and T-shirts are in the works for 2017, maybe even a new book.

Carried over from 2016, I'm still trying to pierce brick walls about my father's Birk and Mitav ancestors in Lithuania and continue looking for the origins of my husband's Larimer-Short-Work families, originally from somewhere in Ireland (north, most likely). So 2017 will be another busy and productive and exciting year!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Uncle Benny McClure Saves a Coon

Benjamin McClure (1812-1896), hubby's great-great-grandpa, was a pioneer settler in Wabash, Indiana, but what was he really like?

The woodcut at left is from The Wabash Times, 21 December 1893, which ran a story on p. 3 titled "A Biographical Sketch: One of the Sturdy Old Settlers--Uncle Benjamin McClure, a Man Well Known to All the Older Inhabitants of Wabash County--an Octogenarian." The same newspaper used this woodcut when it ran McClure's obit in 1896. And I'm using this woodcut as the profile photo for my Benjamin McClure Facebook page, my social media experiment in genealogy.

(Mrs. Sarah Denning McClure, hubby's great-great-grandma, died in 1888. Widower Benjamin soon sold the family farm and lived with his children for the next 8 years.)

Hubby used the microfilm reader in the Wabash Carnegie Public Library (which has lots of useful genealogical resources) last month to look for McClure's name in local newspapers. He found a story in the Wabash Plain Dealer one week after McClure's death that gave us new insight into this pioneer man's strong religious feelings. Here's the story in its entirety:
Uncle Benny and the Coon

How the Late Mr. McClure Balked a Party of Hunters
Jehu Straughn, the genial pioneer resident of this county, tells an anecdote of the late Benjamin McClure, which shows how thoroughly loyal Mr. McClure was to his Christian faith.
Many years ago when the country was new and Mr. McClure lived on the farm just west of the city, an industrious, contented husbandman, rugged in constitution and strong in religious convictions, there was a coon hunt by persons living in the vicinity of Mr. McClure's farm.
The coon was started, and ran toward the home of Mr. McClure, ascending a tree in the door-yard of that gentleman. It wanted only a few minutes to midnight when the animal ran up the tree and it was after twelve when the hungers located him. It would have been an easy matter to shoot the creature, and some members of the party were determined to do so, but Mr. McClure, who regarded the Sabbath day as sacred, lifted his hand warningly and said: "Boys, you can't shoot that coon until Monday. This is Sunday and the day shall be kept holy. If the coon is in the tree tomorrow night at this time, get him if you can, but he shall not be killed before that."
The hunters expostulated, but to no purpose, and the dawn found the coon still in the tree. During the day the hunters dropped in and begged to be allowed to fire at the coon, but Uncle Benny turned them all away with the remark: "No man shall ever say that he heard the crack of a rifle on my farm on the Sabbath day, if I can prevent it. Come tomorrow and if the coon is there, he's yours."
But Sunday evening the coon ran down the tree and escaped and Mr. McClure was roundly censured, but he was true to his convictions and not an iota did the lavish criticisms cause him to yield from the position he had taken.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Genealogy by the States: McClures, Steiners, and Rineharts in the Buckeye State

Benjamin McClure (1812-1896)
Hubby has many ancestors in the Buckeye State of Ohio! I've been researching his 2d great-grandpa, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896), who is also the subject of my Facebook genealogy experiment. Benjamin was born in Adams County, Ohio, and although he later moved to Indiana, some of his descendants returned to Ohio for farming, carpentry, and other pursuits.

Other key ancestors in Ohio are the Steiners (Jacob S. Steiner, one of hubby's 2d great-granddads, was a long-time resident of Tod, Crawford county, Ohio) and the Rineharts (Joseph W. Rinehart was another of hubby's 2d great-grandpas, also a long-time resident of Tod). More about the Steiners and Rineharts can be found in the ancestor landing page on the tabs below my blog's title.

My next genealogical step on some of these ancestors is to check local courthouses for probate and deed records. This week I contacted the Wabash County Clerk's Office in Indiana to find out whether Benjamin McClure left a will. Guess what? There are 8 pages of estate info in the clerk's office! And for one buck a page, I can have photocopies sent by mail. By this time next week, I hope to know what Benji left and who his heirs were.

* Genealogy by the States is a weekly prompt started by Jim Sanders. Thanks, Jim!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tech Tuesday: Experimenting with Facebook for Genealogy

Can Facebook help me research the Benjamin McClure family?

I've been tracing the McClure family tree, and I know that Benjamin is hubby's g-g-grandpa on his father's side. Earlier this year, I finally located this ancestor's obituary (complete with woodcut portrait, above).

Erin, the program chair and a recent speaker at my local genealogy club, suggested creating a "public figure" page on Facebook to try to attract other researchers and distant relatives who are interested in a certain family or ancestor.

I'm trying a variation of that idea. I created a FB account as Benji, uploaded this woodcut as his profile photo, and have been posting a little about his life to fill out his Facebook page. I've also friended him from my real FB account and explained to my fam and friends that Benji's account is an experiment.

His account is Benjamin.McClure.35 (so if you search for him, you'll probably have to use this "name" because there are too many guys of this name on FB).*

Since Benji's birthday is April 30, 1812, I couldn't enter that info into FB. Instead, I gave him a bday that's exactly one century later. I showed his "location" as Wabash, Indiana, where he lived for most of his life. His profession is "genealogy researcher." LOL! (In reality, he was a farmer.)

What I REALLY want to find out is whether Benji's parents and grandparents were from Donegal. His parents are John McClure and Ann McFall McClure.

And of course, if any cousins are out there, I do hope they'll send a friend request.

* For followup, please see my post here

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Obits vs Death Certs (Dig Deeper!)

Sometimes a death record is more informative than an obituary...and then there are other times when the opposite is true. Here's a case where digging deeper to get the obit was a phenomenal help and broke down a long-standing brick wall.

I've been looking for Benjamin McClure's ancestors. He's my hubby's great-great-grandfather and for years I've actively sought his parents' names.

The very nice folks in Friends of Falls Cemetery in Wabash, Indiana, have photographed his grave for Find a Grave and "calculated" relationships with other relatives buried there (correctly). They (and I) had no way of knowing that Benjamin didn't die in Wabash--he died in Conway, Michigan.

Finally, I got a clue and checked Family Search's Michigan Deaths/Burial Index, finding this:

Just to be sure, I ordered the microfilm and checked it and this is a mostly accurate transcription, from a ledger book that summarizes all deaths in Michigan, by county, during that year. I just didn't believe everything it says. The birth year is right, but the death date is one day off. And it's VERY unlikely that Benjamin and his parents were from New York, and the name "Enos" appears nowhere else in the family. What I really needed was to see his obit.

The kind librarian in Petoskey, Michigan (near Little Traverse) sent me Benjamin's obit from the Petoskey Record of February 26, 1896. It told me that Benjamin, the father-in-law of locally-known Reverend John J. Cook and father of Mrs. John J. Cook, had died at Conway after a short illness. His body was brought back to Wabash, Indiana, where he had resided for nearly 52 years, but no mention was made of McClure's birthplace or other survivors.

Posting a query on a Wabash genealogy message board, I got a note from a historian who told me that Benjamin's obit had appeared in two local Wabash papers, and he gave me the dates, suggesting I send for these. I tried a few different ways to get the obits from libraries, but no luck.

Then I joined the Indiana genealogy Facebook group and, from one of their posts, got the idea to contact the Indiana State Library.

Bingo! They quickly sent me the obit (excerpted at left) for Benjamin -- which includes his likeness. It includes a very complete family history. Benjamin, as I strongly suspected, wasn't born in NY, he was born in Ohio. His parents were John McClure and Ann McFall McClure. What a gold mine!

Thank you, wonderful librarians of Indiana State Library! Now I have literally dozens of leads to follow, including exact counties where the McClures lived and the dates. Digging deeper made the difference.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Go After the Obits

Benjamin McClure, my hubby's great-great-granddad, died in Little Traverse/Conway, Michigan, as noted in my previous post. Wanting to know more--such as, why he was in that area despite having relatives and roots in Wabash--I tried e-mailing the librarians in nearby towns, asking for McClure's obit (he died Feb 21, 1896).

Thanks to the efficient and responsive reference librarian in Petoskey, I now have his obit from the Petoskey Record of Wednesday, Feb. 26, 1896. It's short on relatives but long on background info:

Mr. Benjamin McClure, Mrs. Rev. John J. Cook's father, who has been visiting his daughter since last June [1895], died after a short sickness at Conway, on Friday morning, shortly after one o'clock. Mr. McClure was a resident of Wabash, Ind., for nearly 52 years. He is a member of the first Presbyterian church of Wabash, and has been a ruling elder for over 40 years.

His daughter and her husband accompany the remains to wabash, leaving Conway Monday morning, Feb. 24th, 1896. Mr. McClure was a devout christian, a good man, and will be missed by his children and a large circle of friends. He trusted the Lord Jesus Christ and was prepared to die. During the last week of his life he had intervals of intense suffering, but when the last moment came he passed away as one going to sleep.
Learning that John J. Cook was Benjamin's son-in-law, I found marriage info showing that John married Mary Ann McClure on 19 Oct 1871 in Wabash, service performed by Min. Gos. Archibald S. Reid. (Future census records indicate that John and Mary Ann had no children, so there are no cousins to track down from that branch.)

Benjamin's grandson, Brice Larimer McClure, was born in Little Traverse in 1878 but his parents (William Madison McClure and Margaret Jane Larimer McClure) moved away the following year. They must have been visiting John and Mary Ann.

I'm continuing to try to track down obits for other McClures. Maybe there will be survivors listed, parents listed, some occupational history, birthplace, who knows what? But this is where patience is a real virtue: Librarians are swamped with requests and I'm just plain lucky that Petoskey got to my request so quickly (2 days!). Thank you, Petoskey!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Surname Saturday: McClure in Little Traverse, MI

Emmet Cty, MI death register from 1896

Second page of Emmet Cty, MI death register
Today I've returned to the puzzle of tracing my hubby's great-great-grandfather (Benjamin McClure), trying to learn who his parents were and where they came from.

Both Benjamin and his wife, Sarah McClure, are buried in Wabash Falls Memorial Gardens in Wabash, IN. But that's nowhere near where he, at least, died!

Acting on info received from a knowledgeable Wabash genealogist/historian, I learned that Benjamin actually died in 1896 in Little Traverse, MI, as shown on the second entry of the two pages above (downloaded from Family Search).

This is almost certainly the correct Benjamin, because his grandson, Brice Larimer McClure, was born in Little Traverse, MI, in Dec, 1878. I'd wondered why Brice's son, William Madison McClure and the son's wife, Margaret Jane Larimer, were in Little Traverse at all. Now it seems that family brought them there, although they quickly moved away.

However, the genealogist mentioned that Benjamin's parents were John & Ann McClure, according to the Wabash obit. Above, however, the death register says that his parents were Enos  & Elizabeth McClure. Somebody has the wrong info.

To find out, I've written to librarians in Wabash and Petoskey, MI, asking for Benjamin McClure's obits. Those should help me determine who's who in Benjamin's family line. I see more research in my future!