Showing posts with label Denning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Denning. Show all posts

Monday, May 25, 2020

Ancestors Who Served in the Military, Honored on This Memorial Day 2020

Capt. John Daniel Slatter
World War I, Camp Borden
In my husband's family tree, many ancestors served in the military during wartime.

Searching for clues to their service, I've checked enlistment records, pension files, 1910 Census (which asked about Civil War participation), 1930 Census (which asked which war served in), Fold3, obituaries, death certs, newspaper articles, and beyond.

On this Memorial Day 2020, I'm honoring these military veterans and continuing to look for additional clues to other ancestors who served. I'll add names as I locate more veterans in hubby's family tree.

War of 1812
* Isaac M. Larimer - hubby's 4th g-grandfather
* Robert Larimer - hubby's 4th great-uncle
* John Larimer - hubby's 3d g-grandfather
* Daniel Denning - hubby's 3d great-uncle
* Elihu Wood Jr. - hubby's 3d great-uncle

Union Army, Civil War
* James Elmer Larimer - hubby's 1c4r
* Isaac Larimer Work - hubby's 1c4r
* John Wright Work - hubby's 1c4r
* Train Caldwell McClure - hubby's 2d great uncle
* Benjamin Franklin Steiner - hubby's 2d great uncle
* Samuel D. Steiner - hubby's 2d great uncle
* Hugh Rinehart - hubby's 2d great uncle
* Ira Caldwell - hubby's 1c3x
* John N. McClure - hubby's 2d great uncle
* George H. Handy - hubby's 1c2r
* Lemuel C. Wood - hubby's 3d great uncle

World War I
* John Daniel Slatter - hubby's great uncle
* Albert William Slatter - hubby's great uncle
* Arthur Albert Slatter - hubby's 1c1r
* Albert James Slatter - hubby's 1c1r
* Ernest Slatter - hubby's 1c1r
* Albert Matthew Slatter - hubby's 1c1r
* Frederick William Slatter - hubby's 1c1r

World War II
* John Hutson Slatter - hubby's 2d cousin
* John Albert Slatter - hubby's 2d cousin
* Albert Henry Harvey - hubby's 2d cousin
* Harold McClure Forde - hubby's 2c1r
* Albert Lloyd Forde - hubby's 2c1r
* Joseph Miles Bradford - hubby's 2c1r

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sepia Saturday and Saturday Night Genea-Fun

James Edgar Wood in his 1917 Ford, Summer of 1917
This week's Sepia Saturday ties in well with my response to Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge! So I combined the two.

Sepia Saturday: Posing with the Car

Above, a photo taken of my husband's grandfather, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) by hubby's father, Edgar James Wood, (1903-1986). Ed was only 14 when he took this photo of his father during a road trip from their home in Cleveland, OH to downtown Chicago, visiting Wood family members along the way. Ed had gotten a camera for his birthday and began a lifelong hobby of chronicling family activities.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Top 20 Surnames in Family Tree

Using RootsMagic7, and following Randy's instructions, I went to Reports, then Lists, scrolled down to "Surname Statistics List," and selected "Frequency of Surnames" from the list.

With 3,128 people in my husband's Wood family tree, I could have printed 17 pages for the "Frequency of Surnames" report. Instead, I printed only the first two pages. After that, the frequency of surnames dropped off sharply.

And the winner is . . . WOOD, which appears a total of 204 times (125 males, 78 females). The oldest date of a Wood ancestor record is 1551, the most recent date is 2019.

The top 20 are: Wood, Larimer, McClure, Work, Steiner, Slatter, McKibbin, Hilborn, Denning, Smith, Cushman, Brown, Taber, Nelson, Johnson, Bradford, Short, Caldwell, Rinehart, and Miller

By the time I got to Miller, there were only 17 appearances in the Wood family tree (11 males, 6 females), with the oldest date of 1803 and the most recent date of 2006. A Miller married a Work (the granddaughter of a Work-Larimer marriage) and that's how the Miller surname connects to my husband's Wood family tree.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

From Blog Posts to Ancestor Booklet

Sample page from "Three Ancestors Who Caught Ohio Fever"
Will the younger generation think the #FamilyHistory booklet I wrote this week is a trick or a treat?

Just in time to mail this for Halloween, I combined and edited three recent blog posts into a colorful seven-page booklet about my husband's pioneer ancestors in Ohio. One of these ancestors was born in the American Colonies, the year before the Revolution began; the other two were born in the newly-independent United States. All caught "Ohio fever" and went west for fresh, fertile farm land. That's my theme for the booklet.

The Pioneer Lives of Denning, McClure, and Larimer

To introduce the booklet, I created a cover page with a large, colorful map of the United States in 1785. It shows descendants where their ancestors Job Denning, John Larimer, and John McClure lived in the East before they moved.

The map also shows their wilderness destination in the Northwest Territory, then the western frontier of the fledgling country. Land beyond that belonged to Spain. Ohio statehood was years in the future when these ancestors began to clear trees for farming. All this is historical context that helps descendants understand and appreciate what their ancestors faced as pioneers.

Two Pages Per Ancestor

After the cover page, each of the ancestors has a two-page spread, including a full-color regional map (where he lived, where he moved). This is followed by a brief biographical sketch, written simply but in vivid terms, tracing each man's life from birth to marriage to children to final resting place.

The women in their lives figure prominently in my narrative because they, too, were pioneers--wives for all but also daughters, in some cases.

Where I had enough details, I mentioned specific pioneering activities, such as helping to found a church or serving in the local militia.

The excerpt at top shows the second page of Job Denning's ancestor sketch. I tried to succinctly sum up his life in context (above, I called Job Denning a "pioneer turned civic leader").

Descendants Want to Know: How Are They Related to ME?

These ancestors lived, like, a l-o-n-g time ago, right? I want my grandkids to see at a glance how, exactly, they're related to each of these ole-timey ancestors. 

So at the end of each sketch, I included a quick pedigree of the ancestor couple and the descendants in the direct line to my grandkids.

This will, I hope, give the youngest a very concrete idea of the family connections between them and their pioneering great-great-great-great-great grandparents!

Maybe the booklet will "trick" them into understanding that their ancestors weren't just old-fashioned characters from family history--they were true pioneers who actually made American history.

It was a treat for me to put this together.

This week's #52Ancestors prompt is "trick or treat" - thanks to Amy Johnson Crow.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Pioneer Ancestor Job Denning Had "Ohio Fever"

Reading David McCullough's latest book, The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West, I was struck by his description of "Ohio fever."

Several of my husband's ancestral families pioneered in Ohio around the time covered by McCollough's history--after the Revolutionary War, through the War of 1812, and into the 1840s/50s.

Hubby's ancestors weren't famous or well-known, just farmers and families who felt compelled to go West as a result of Ohio fever. Some received bounty land on the frontier as a result of military service to the new nation and eagerly arrived to clear away timber so they could plant crops.

Here's a bit of what McCollough says about the background of this historic movement in which my husband's ancestors participated.

Seeking Fertile Farmland Out West*

As the Revolutionary War ended, financial panic set in and farmers in the fledgling United States were hit hard, sometimes imprisoned due to debts they had no way to repay.

Farmers from New England (and other areas) were increasingly looking west for what they heard was an almost too-good-to-be true area for farming along the Ohio River. Pamphlets and newspapers highly touted Ohio as a place so heavily wooded that the land was obviously very fertile. Many accounts spoke of the great abundance of turkey, deer, bison, and fish.

McCollough shows us how the early settlers left New England late in 1787 and, near Pittsburgh, boarded the galley Mayflower (yes, renamed in homage to the Pilgrims) to float through the Ohio River to a likely landing place. Slowly but steadily, these and later pioneers with Ohio fever cleared woodlands, planted crops, built homes, and founded towns.

McCollough vividly describes their hopes and fears, confrontations with Native American tribes, death from smallpox and other diseases, and the struggle of trying to live through the harsh winters--no doubt what my husband's ancestors experienced in Ohio more than 200 years ago.

Denning Caught Ohio Fever

Job Denning Sr, hubby's 3d great-grandpa, was one of the early "Ohio fever" settlers in what became Adams county, Ohio. He was probably born about 1775, possibly in Massachusetts, and he died in 1836 in Adams county. (His birth year is based on the age transcribed from his gravestone, which is barely legible today.)

"A History of Adams County" - excerpt from page 437, with Job Denning highlighted
as one of the first to build a cabin outside the stockade.
Job Denning's name appears multiple times in A History of Adams County, Ohio by Evans and Stivers (a 1900 publication searchable by name, thanks to the Internet Archive and digitization by Google). It also appears in the Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Ohio, vols. 26 and 29. From these historical sources, I learned:
  • Denning was among the first settlers to build a cabin outside the stockade in Manchester, circa 1795-6. (Excerpt from the book, above, is my source.)
  • When the court met on September 12, 1797, for its first-ever session in Manchester, Denning was named "court cryer."
  • Denning was soon named one of two constables for Manchester.
  • He also applied for and was granted a tavern license by the court. (I don't know whether he actually operated the tavern.)
  • On May 17, 1804, Denning purchased lots in West Union township, Adams County, for $9.
  • Denning was appointed a county commissioner on November 17, 1806, a post he held until he resigned in March, 1814.
  • In 1810, he received the contract to haul stone from the quarry for the building of the new Presbyterian Church in West Union.
  • Denning served as an associate judge for Adams county, with a term expiring in January, 1828.
  • In 1831, he was named a commissioner on road works in Adams county.
Job Denning and his wife Mary had seven sons and three daughters. His oldest son (Daniel Denning) and his youngest (William Henry Harrison Denning) served as executors when their father Job died in 1836, to be remembered as a pioneer settler in what was once a wilderness close by the Ohio River.
Many thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's #52Ancestors prompt.

*At the time, Ohio really was the Western frontier. These days, most people would consider it the midwest. Except my husband, who insists that his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, is an Eastern city. Sorry, honey, Ohio is not in the East! ;)

Friday, May 24, 2019

"Old Settlers" Benjamin McClure and Sarah Denning McClure

Hubby's great-great-grandparents, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896) and Sarah Denning McClure (1811-1888), moved to Wabash, Indiana, in September, 1844.

By the time they arrived, settlers had been clearing thick forests of sturdy timber to make way for family farms for nearly two decades, according to History of Wabash County, Indiana by C.W. Weesner (published in 1914). Swaths of walnut, hickory, oak, and ash trees were steadily being replaced by fields of corn, wheat, and oats.

Pioneer Farmers and Leaders

Like their pioneering neighbors, the McClure family owned a farm. And like their neighbors, they got involved in the community. As shown above, Benjamin was one of the organizers of the "old settlers" organization that recognized and documented the names (and dates) of early Wabash pioneers.

The book actually includes lists of names, birth dates, and settlement dates. That's how I can pinpoint the month and year when Benjamin, Sarah, and their oldest son Theodore Wilson McClure (1834-1927) came to Wabash.

Benjamin also served as master at arms for the Knights of Pythias lodge organized in 1886, according to the book.

By the time Benjamin passed away in 1896, the natural landscape of Wabash had been significantly transformed, with electricity in evidence and other modern conveniences. He was considered one of the last great "old settlers" from pioneer days.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the #52Ancestors prompt of "nature."

Monday, March 11, 2019

Ancestors Had Large Families, Descendants Had Small Families

My pre-1900 ancestors and those of my husband usually had large families. Their late 19th/early 20th century descendants had markedly smaller families. It's a familiar pattern, repeated over and over again, with fewer children in each succeeding generation.

Wood Family: 17 Kids

Hubby's paternal great-grandfather Thomas Haskell Wood (1809-1890) and great-grandmother Mary Amanda Demarest (1831-1897) had 17 children together.

Unfortunately, 7 of the children didn't survive to adulthood. Of their grown children, one had 10 children but most had only a handful of kids. Rachel "Nellie" Wood had 2 children with her first husband, Walter A. Lewis, for instance. Families were smaller still in the following generation.

Descendants tell me that when the oldest of Thomas's and Mary Amanda's children were grown, married, and raising families, their much younger siblings were still in school.

McClure Family: 10 Kids

Hubby's maternal great-great-grandfather Benjamin McClure (1812-1896) and his wife Sarah Denning (1811-1888) had 10 children together. Two didn't survive to adulthood (still checking on the fate of one of them).

None of their grown children had as many children. One married but had no children. By the next generation, the largest number of kids was six; one in this next generation married but had no children.

Mahler Family: 8 Kids

On my father's side of the family, great-grandfather Meyer Mahler (1861-1910) and great-grandma Tillie Rose Jacobs (185?-1952) had 8 children together. All but one survived to adulthood.

Three of the adults had no children, the rest had 5 or fewer children, the usual pattern. By the time Meyer & Tillie's grandchildren were marrying, the families were even smaller.

Farkas Family: 11 Kids

On my mother's side of the family, great-grandpa Moritz Farkas (1857-1936) and great-grandma Leni Kunstler (1865-1938) had 11 children together. Two of the sons never married (and were "bachelor brothers"), one son married but had no children, and the other 8 married and had either 2 or 3 children apiece.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this #52Ancestors prompt.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Historical Fiction Reveals Real Conflict in Ancestral Town

If you haven't checked out both fiction and nonfiction to understand the lives of your ancestors, give historical fiction a try. Historical fiction is often (but not always) based on historical fact. The characters aren't real, but in many cases, the daily lives and family ups/downs described in a period novel or short story will provide a compelling sense of time and place.

Five years ago, while I was attending FGS 2013, my husband spent time in Wabash, Indiana, where some of his mother's ancestors were pioneering farmers. The local historian recommended we read a young adult book loosely based on a real family that lived in the area at the same time as Benjamin McClure and Sarah Denning McClure, hubby's 2d great-grandparents.

The book is The Wild Donahues by Elisabeth Hamilton Friermood. In an author's note, Friermood says "Years ago my father told me about a house he lived in as a boy, and about the rascally family that had built it long before his time, in pre-Civil War days."

Rascally is an understatement. Friermood read through actual news clippings from the time and learned a lot about the family's "dishonest dealings." She transformed the real family into the "wild Donahues" and wrote about the many conflicts caused by this family in rural Indiana in 1860. The human story (of a young orphaned girl coming of age) plays out against the backdrop of slavery, hostility toward Native Americans, and the rise of Abraham Lincoln. Not to mention the villainy of the Donahue family (murder is just the start).

Author Elisabeth Hamilton Friermood was born in Marion, Indiana, and grew up to be a librarian in the Marion Public Library and, later, in the Dayton, Ohio library. She heard stories from her parents and grandparents about the Indiana of their childhoods--and, with additional research, turned those stories into YA books that bring Indiana's past to life in a dramatic way.

So if you're interested, ask a historian or librarian to recommend historical fiction of the time and place where your ancestors lived. My brother-in-law read and enjoyed The Wild Donahues for the setting and atmosphere of the period as much as (or more than) the twists and turns in the heroine's life. The cover art, at top, suggests the bit of light romance that runs through the book, rather than the day-to-day realities and dastardly deeds depicted in the chapters.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow's #52 Ancestors for this prompt.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Father and Son Share a Birthday

My Facebook genealogy persona, Benjamin McClure, is my husband's great-great-grandfather.

Benjamin was born on April 30, 1812, only 6 weeks before the start of the War of 1812. He died on February 21, 1896.

Benjamin married Sarah Denning (1811-1888) on July 30, 1831. Both were 19 years old.

Who else in this family tree was born or married in April? Getting an answer was a cinch, using my RootsMagic 7 software.

On the "reports" part of the menu, I selected "calendar" and entered April, as shown in the screen shot at top. I requested both birthdays and anniversaries.

Turns out that Sarah and Benjamin's son, Theodore Wilson McClure (1834-1927) was born on his father's 22nd birthday, which was April 30, 1834.

Theodore was baptized in June of 1835, in West Union, Ohio, I learned from the Presbyterian Church records on Ancestry (snippet above).

And, thanks to the calendar function on my RM7 software, I could see at a glance that Theodore Wilson McClure got married on April 15, 1858, to Louisa Jane Austin (1837-1924). He was 23, she was 21. I imagine his parents both attended the ceremony, which was in Wabash, Indiana, where Benjamin was a well-respected landowner, farmer, and civic leader.

Following the prompts for Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors series has encouraged me to use more functions of my software and to consider so many different aspects of my ancestors' lives. Thank you!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

How Many Generations Did My Ancestors Know?

This week, Randy Seavers' Saturday Night Gen Fun challenge is to count how many generations our parents or grandparents knew. I'm focusing on my great-
grandparents, who were fortunate enough to know more generations.

At top, the 25th anniversary photo of the Farkas Family tree at The Pines, a now-defunct Catskills resort. I'm one of the twins at bottom right. This family tree association was founded by the children of my maternal great-grandparents:
Moritz Farkas (1857-1936) and Leni Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938), who knew 4 generations that I can be sure of:
  • Their parents and siblings. His were Ferencz Farkas and Hermina Gross, hers were Shmuel Zanvil Kunstler and Toby Roth. Plus their siblings equals two generations. Not sure whether they ever knew their grandparents, not sure of any birth-marriage-death dates for their parents or grandparents.
  • Their 11 children: Alex, Hermina (hi Grandma!), Albert, Julius, Peter, Irene, Ella, Freda, Rose, Fred, Regina. Another generation, with full BMD info.
  • 16 of their 17 grandchildren. Yet another generation.
My paternal great-grandma probably knew 6 generations, more than anyone else on either side of the family, because she lived to be nearly 100.
Tillie Jacobs (185_-1952) married Meyer Elias Mahler (1861-1910). Meyer died young, but Tillie's long life allowed her to be at the weddings of her grandchildren and to meet her great-grandchildren, as indicated in her obit above:
  • Her grandparents, parents, and siblings. She was the daughter of Rachel Shuham Jacobs (184_-1915) and Jonah (Julius) Jacobs. Did she meet Rachel or Jonah's parents (whose dates I don't know)? Very likely, because both Rachel and Tillie married quite young. Counting her generation and her parents and grandparents, that's 3 generations.
  • Her 8 children: Henrietta (hi Grandma!), David, Morris, Sarah, Wolf (who died very young), Ida, Dora, Mary. Full BMD info on all, another generation.
  • Her grandchildren and great-grandkids. Two more generations. Lucky Tillie to be surrounded by her family.
My husband's maternal grandfather lived into his 90s and met many of his ancestors and descendants.
Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970) was married to Floyda Mabel Steiner (1878-1948). Brice knew 6 generations:
  • His grandparents, parents, and siblings. Brice's paternal grandparents were Benjamin McClure (1812-1896) and Sarah Denning (1811-1888). Brice's maternal grandparents were Brice S. Larimer (1819-1906) and Lucy E. Bentley (1826-1900). He knew both sides. His parents were William Madison McClure (1849-1887) and Margaret Jane Larimer (1859-1913). Counting Brice's siblings, this makes 3 generations.
  • His daughter. Brice and Floyda had one child, Marian Jane McClure (1909-1983). One generation.
  • His grandchildren and grandchildren. Brice and Floyda had three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren (all still living). Brice met all the grands and three of these great-grands. Two more generations counted.

Monday, February 5, 2018

52 Ancestors #6: Train Was the Name--But Why?

This week's #52Ancestors challenge (thank you, Amy Johnson Crow), is "favorite name." My pick is Train. Actually, I'm interested in TWO men named Train. The original Train who caught my eye is Train C. McClure (1843-1934), the third son of Benjamin McClure and Sarah Denning (hubby's 2d great-grandparents). Born in Wabash county, Indiana, Train was my husband's 2d great uncle. Why, I wondered for a long time, was his name "Train," and what did the middle initial stand for?

Train C. McClure served nearly three years in the Civil War. As a teen, he enlisted in Company A, Indiana 89th Infantry Regiment on August 3, 1862 and was mustered out at age 21 on July 19, 1865 at Mobile, Alabama, far from his Indiana home. Two years after his military service, he married Gulia Swain and started a family. They had four children together. After Gulia died, Train remarried to Rebecca Abbott. He outlived all of his siblings and died at the age of 90.

After puzzling over Train's first name and middle initial for a while, I went over the McClure family tree with a finer-tooth comb. Then I discovered that Train's father Benjamin had a younger sister named Jane McClure, who married Train Caldwell on April 5, 1831.

Doesn't it seem reasonable to think that Benjamin named his son Train Caldwell McClure after his brother-in-law, Train Caldwell? In fact, as the 1850 Census at top indicates, the McClure and Caldwell families had a close enough relationship that a Mary A. McClure was living in Posey township, Indiana, with Train, Jane (nee McClure), and their children. Presumably this is one of Jane's relatives. To avoid getting derailed from the Train kinfolk, I haven't yet focused on little Mary McClure, but I will.
In tracking Jane's Train Caldwell, I learned more about his background, as you can see from the excerpt here, part of volume 3 of a book titled History of Northwest Missouri, edited by Walter Williams (1915).

Unfortunately, I don't agree with the book's assertion that Jane McClure, Train's wife, was the daughter of Samuel McClure, who lived in Indiana but was originally from Adams County. I've run into Samuel and the McClure confusion often during my Indiana research, because the Benjamin McClure in hubby's family tree was also from Adams County and later pioneered in Indiana. No connection with Samuel that I can find (yet), and I've actually discussed the possibility with Wabash history experts in the past.

The two Train men have provided endless hours of research and interest. Interestingly, Train was not an uncommon name in Indiana at that time. More research is clearly in my future as I stay on track with my McClure and Caldwell investigations.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Planning My FHL Visit During RootsTech

Salt Lake City, here I come for RootsTech 2018. Even though the conference is more than two months away, I have to start planning right now for my visit to the Family History Center.
I remember scrambling to prepare for my visit to the Allen County Public Library during FGS in the summer of 2013. Thanks to a bit of advance planning, sketching out priorities, and defining specific questions to research, I was able to find new info about my husband's McClure family, in particular.

So my first step is to research how to research in the FHL of SLC. Cyndi's List has some links I'm going to explore. Janine Adams recently mentioned a post from early 2017 about preparing for her visit, and the reader comments were really helpful too. Thanks so much, Linda Stufflebean, for reminding me that you wrote a useful post about the library, which is here.

One of the key things I need to do is determine what I can research online from home or a nearby FHL and what can be done in SLC most efficiently and effectively.

Also, I'm going to formulate specific questions to research and summarize what I already know in research notes, to avoid reinventing the wheel. Two questions I'm prepping right now are about my husband's family tree:

  • His 2d great-grandfather was Jacob S. Steiner (1802?-1860?). I found him in the 1850 Census in Tod, Crawford county, Ohio, but not in the 1860 Census. He's also named as an ancestor on a precious scrap of paper written by my husband's grandfather, and on documents pertaining to his children. But finding the right Jacob S. Steiner born somewhere in PA, somewhere around 1802, has been a big challenge. Ultimately, I really want to know whether the Steiner family was from Switzerland (as family lore suggests--but it could have been Germany or Alsace-Lorraine or Austria). And of course, I'd dearly love to identify his wife's maiden name and trace her family!
  • Hubby's 3d great-grandfather was Job Denning (1775?-1836). He died in Adams County, OH. Where was he born and who were his parents? Possibly he was born in Massachusetts, but I need actual evidence to make the leap one generation back. Thanks to Adams County records, I have background about his activities there. But where did he come from before arriving in Ohio?
Oh, I can't wait to be dazzled by the FHL's treasure trove. But there's more homework first: I have to formulate specific questions concerning my own family tree. So many ancestors, so little time in the library, meaning I have to set priorities and goals...with a few minutes to spare in case of BSOs, right?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Family History Month: Search Google Books for Places, Not Just Names

What was it like living in Wabash, Indiana, as a 19th century pioneer?

I want my grandchildren to know that their ancestors, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896) and Sarah Denning McClure (1811-1888), experienced the challenges and rewards of Indiana's frontier life--and lived long enough to see the city and county thrive.

That's why I looked for history books about Wabash county in Google Books. Up popped a book titled History of Wabash County, Indiana, published in 1914. Full text is available for free, and I read through it.

In addition to recounting the history, this book also names settlers, civic leaders, educators, military leaders, and more. There are also photos and drawings of other well-known buildings, plus descriptions of land, agriculture, school life, and lot of other details that bring Wabash's history alive, allowing me to imagine something of the daily life of my hubby's ancestors.

At top is a page featuring a photo of the new city hall, built in Wabash in 1883. Because Benjamin was involved in the county and the town government for many years, I feel sure he and his wife Sarah would have attended the dedication with great pride.

Have you searched Google Books yet?

*Note: Dana Leeds recently posted a tip about searching newspapers for a specific address. That's a great idea that might also work for searching old books.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Family History Month: Top 10 Surnames on the Family Tree

Picking up a great idea from Colleen G. Brown Pasquale at her Leaves & Branches blog, I learned how to use the "surname statistics list" report function on my Roots Magic 7 software. No surprise that for my husband's family tree, Wood was the top surname by frequency, followed by Larimer.

But I also realized, with a pang, how many people appear without surnames in that tree. Uh oh. These are mainly missing maiden names, stretching back to the 1500s. This means I'll have to intensify my Genealogy Go-Over to see how many missing surnames I can identify. Perhaps new information has become available since I added some people to the tree? Turns out that these statistics can also reveal gaps in research...

The top 10 surnames that appear most frequently on the Wood tree are:
  1. Wood (earliest instance: 1551)
  2. Larimer (earliest instance: 1719)
  3. McClure (earliest instance: 1660)
  4. Steiner (earliest instance: 1802)
  5. Slatter (earliest instance: 1811)
  6. McKibbin (earliest instance: 1766)
  7. Hilborn (earliest instance: 1794)
  8. Denning (earliest instance: 1775)
  9. Smith (earliest instance: 1724)
  10. Cushman (earliest instance: 1578)
PS: Randy Seaver made this "top 10 surnames" theme the subject of his Oct. 21 Saturday Night Genea-Fun.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Surname Saturday: Researching Sarah Denning's Origins

It was 173 years ago this month that hubby's 2d great-grandmother, Sarah Denning (1811-1888), settled in Wabash county, Indiana, with her husband, Benjamin McClure (1811-1896). This is according to the History of Wabash County, which also notes that the county wasn't formally formed until 1835. Other McClures had arrived in the Wabash area years earlier, including Samuel McClure, Sr. (apparently not a relative or at least, not a close relative).

Sarah's parents were Job Denning and Mary E. [maiden name unknown]. Proving Job's birth place and date is another challenge. His gravestone only says he died in 1836, aged 61, which implies a birth year of 1775. It's probable that Job Denning was from way back east--possibly Massachusetts--but so far, I have no hard evidence.

Sarah had at least 7 older siblings but just 1 younger brother. She told the US Census (in 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880) that she was born in Ohio. Possibly she was born in Adams County, Ohio, where her younger brother William Henry Harrison* Denning was born. Records are scarce for the early 1800s, haven't found her yet.

Sarah and her husband Benjamin were married in Ohio, according to their obits, and their two elder children were born in Ohio. Their other children were born in Indiana (according to Census data), beginning with third child Martha Jane McClure (1841-1916).

In the 1840 Census, Sarah and Benjamin were living in Harrison township, Fayette county, Indiana, with a total of "3 white persons under 20" years old. Most intriguing, they were living on a land division "allotted to Benjamin Caldwell." In other words, land allotted to Benjamin's brother-in-law's family, since his sister Jane McClure married Train Caldwell. Within four years, they were living about 100 miles northwest, in Noble township, Wabash county, Indiana.

Sarah, I'm on the lookout for more info about your origins!

*Yes, the family seems to taken inspiration for some given names from U.S. presidents. Benjamin McClure and his wife Sarah named one of their sons William Madison McClure, possibly honoring James Madison.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Matrilineal Monday: Where Train Got His Name

Ever wonder about some of those given names in your family tree?

I puzzled over Train C. McClure for a long time. He was the third son of Benjamin McClure and Sarah Denning, and he was born in 1843 in Wabash county, Indiana. Train was my hubby's first great-grand uncle on his mother's McClure side.

Train McClure served nearly three years in the Civil War, enlisting in Company A, Indiana 89th Infantry Regiment on Aug 3, 1862 and being mustered out on Jul 19, 1865 at Mobile, Alabama.

Two years after his military service, he married Gulia Swain and started a family. Train C. McClure died in 1934.

But why did Benjamin and Sarah name this son Train? And what does his middle initial C stand for?

Now I believe I know.

Benjamin had a younger sister named Jane McClure, who married Train Caldwell on April 5, 1831 (above is their marriage document, thanks to Family Search).

So it seems reasonable to think that Benjamin named his third son Train Caldwell McClure after his brother-in-law Train Caldwell.

Just to make it interesting, notice that the clerk of the court on Train's marriage document is William Caldwell and the justice of the peace is (I'm not making this up) Manlove Caldwell.

And even more interesting, Jane McClure's husband Train Caldwell isn't the only man with that name in Indiana during the time period. I'm currently trying to sort out which Train is which without derailing my research :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday's Tip: Local Genealogy via Long Distance

In my recent presentation to the Genealogy Club of Newtown, I highlighted ways to do local genealogy research from far away. The key is to think local--about where documents might be stored or who might know something about your ancestors and their lives.

NOTE that you may not find the actual documents with a click, but you just might connect with a person who can help you put your hands on the documents.

Here are five ideas for finding local genealogy resources and links without leaving your keyboard:
  1. Use the Family Search wiki to locate local genealogy resources by country/state/county. This link leads to research and info about family history research in localities around the United States, for example. I can't say enough good things about this comprehensive source of info and links, organized by location.
  2. Linkpendium is nothing but millions of links to pages organized by country (mainly the US) and state. The site also has links to surname pages worldwide. Often the locality links take you to official government sites (for vital records, as an example) or to unofficial sites loaded with volunteer-provided genealogy info. Unofficial sites can be excellent sources of details not available in the official records, so go ahead and click to see what you can find. Worth a look!
  3. Message boards that relate to specific countries, states or regions, counties, and cities are tremendously valuable. Don't just search for your name, also post if you have a specific question. The photo shows a message I posted several years ago, and within days, the wonderful historian in Wabash responded with clues about where to find the obituaries of Benjamin and Sarah McClure. That broke down a long-standing brick wall, all because I posted on a local message board. Try it on Rootsweb, Ancestry, GenForum, and other sites.
  4. Genealogy/historical clubs and societies have documents and books that may mention your ancestors. Some will even, for a small fee, go out and photograph local graves for you. Well worth it, and you'll often learn some details that aren't in the official records. Try doing an online search for "genealogical society" or "historical society" and the name of the county where ancestors lived. (Tip: Be sure to click on the correct state!) The Genealogical Club of Newtown CT, for instance, has several databases that substitute for the missing 1890 Census. What will you find in a local club's records elsewhere?
  5. Local historians know a lot about their towns or counties and can answer questions, sometimes by e-mail, sometimes by phone. Do an online search for "historian" and the name of the town or county. One historian kindly sent me three pages of surname info that another researcher had submitted to her--along with the researcher's name and e-mail for me to follow up. I left this historian my contact info just in case someone else comes looking for the same surname. Ask nicely, be polite, and respect the historian's time.
Remember, double-check and verify anything you find online. Unverified information is just gossip, not gospel.

Good luck and happy ancestor hunting!

Friday, January 31, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #5: Where Was Job Denning Sr. Born and Married?

This week's ancestor in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge is: Job Denning Sr. (1775?-1836), hubby's 3rd great-grandfather.

He's at Find A Grave Memorial # 51417836. His wife was Mary E. [maiden name unknown, suspected to be Burras or Boroughs].

Job Denning's daughter, Sarah Denning, married Benjamin McClure in 1831, which is why I want to follow Job's trail backward in time. But Job Sr. has been a mystery because he shows up in Adams County, OH, in the late 1790s and stays put, an early settler without a past. Where was he born? Where was he married?

Job Denning Sr. had a LOT of descendants. And there are MANY ways to spell this ancestor's name: Deming, Dunning, Dinning, you name it.

Job's son, Stephen B. Denning (1801-1887), was one of several descendants who joined the Elliott Wagon Train of 1853, bound for Oregon. Stephen and his wife, Sarah "Sally" Donalson, were married in 1824ish and joined the wagon train, probably with several of their children (including a son named, of course, Job Denning, whose long obit is on Find-a-Grave).

The 215 Elliott wagons, loaded with 1,000 pioneers, turned off the Oregon Trail due to Cutoff Fever. They searched for a shortcut to the Willamette Valley but instead became lost and had to be rescued

Stephen Denning finally arrived in Oregon on November 1, 1853. He is listed as being among the first in the Oregon colony, having come from Wabash, Indiana (where his sister Sarah and bro-in-law Benjamin McClure lived).

Back to Job Denning Sr., who shows up in at least 26 family trees posted on Ancestry, and on other trees and sites as well. He's the subject of dozens of posts on Genforum, but none has conclusive documentation of his origins. One researcher thinks he was born in Pennsylvania or Kentucky, others think he was from Massachusetts. These possibilities are traced to what Job told the Census in different years and to other trees.

What's the truth of Job Denning's past?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: Always Check Local Genealogical Societies

When I attended the FGS 2013 conference in Ft. Wayne, I picked up business cards and bookmarks from many local genealogical societies as I walked through the exhibit hall. Now, five months later, I'm still following up.

Today I unearthed the bookmark from the Emmet County Genealogical Society from Michigan. I clicked on its site to see what resources might help me figure out why a branch of the McClure family transplanted themselves there. The surname search on this society's home page turned up nothing related to McClure.

However, the society's link to the Greenwood Cemetery in Petoskey, Michigan led me to a small gold mine.

For example, here's the death cert of Mary Ann McClure Cook, daughter of Benjamin McClure and Sarah Denning McClure. It was available--for free--by searching for all "McClure" burials in this cemetery and then clicking on Mary Ann Cook's name. What a find!

I found the death cert for her husband, Reverend John Cook, in the same way. Now I know his parents' names and exact death date. Many other names on the cemetery's list include obits or death certs or both, all for free.

So always check local genealogical societies to see what links they suggest! They know the local resources better than out-of-staters. Thank you, Emmet County Genealogical Society, for pointing me in the right direction.

PS: Brenda of Journey to the Past asked about Reverend Cook's denomination and suggested some sources for me to check. Thanks to her idea, I learned that Reverend John J. Cook was Presbyterian, and served several churches, according to this excerpt from a history of the First Presbyterian Church of Petoskey:

In view of the departure of their pastor, the church now invited Rev. John J. Cook, then pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Little Traverse, and now of the Presbyterian Church of Crooked Lake, to serve them as temporary supply. Though zealous and faithful, the duties of his own field and the distance between the two churches he was serving, rendered Mr. Cook's labors very arduous and difficult. From a letter which I [Reverend Potter] received before coming to Michigan, I learned that he longed for the coming of a pastor to the Petoskey church, who should relieve him of a part of his responsibilities. Mr. Cook supplied the pulpit about nine months, closing his labors here on the arrival of the present pastor, June 14, 1878.

Furthermore, Rev. Cook was a pensioner in 1881. How he injured his left hand and throat, I don't know, but he received $10 per month starting in March, 1881.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Surname Saturday and Getting Down to the DNA

The newly enhanced Ancestry DNA results are a much closer match for hubby's family tree origins than the old version. Above, the new map of his origins. Below, the summary of his origins, which make sense in the context of the updated Heritage Pie I created for him earlier this year.

Great Britain (England, No. Ireland, Scotland) was the original home of these families from hubby's tree:
  • Bentley 
  • Denning 
  • Larimer
  • McClure
  • Shehen 
  • Slatter 
  • Taber 
  • Wood
Western Europe was the original home of these families from hubby's tree:
  • Demarest
  • Nitchie
  • Shank
  • Steiner

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Genealogy Tip Jar: Gen Societies and Historical Societies on Facebook

Today's Geneabloggers Genealogy Tip Jar topic is: Genealogical and Historical Societies (#gentipjar). So here's a 21st century twist: Finding those resources on Facebook. Often it's as easy as searching in Facebook using the location and adding the word "genealogy" or "historical society." But there's an easier way, as I'll mention below.

My Facebook genealogy alter ego, Benjamin McClure, uses the family tree shown above as his cover photo. Benji has "liked" or joined the pages of a number of local genealogical societies on FB, including:
  • Adams County, Ohio Genealogy Researchers
  • Crawford County Ohio History & Genealogy 
  • British Isles Genealogy
  • Ohio Historical Society
  • Genealogical Society of Ireland
  • Indiana Genealogical Society
  • Elkhart Genealogical Society
  • Genealogy Club of Newtown, CT
Why Facebook? Because the people who post on these pages are very knowledgeable about their areas and willing to help each other with ideas, local info, even photos. In some cases, you have to request an invite; in others, you simply "like."

On the Adams County FB page, I requested an invite, and once approved, I posted a query about Benji's in-laws. Another participant on that site soon sent me a file listing early marriages in that county--including several members of the McClure family and the Denning family. What a find!

NOW for the biggest tip of all: Thanks to my Facebook participation, I learned of a fabulous resource assembled by researcher extraordinaire Katherine R. Willson, whose site is Social Media Genealogy. She has developed an extensive listing of links to genealogical and historical societies' Facebook pages for all 50 states--and she's willing to share! This valuable list is downloadable as a free pdf from her special page here

I found 4 pages of Ohio societies to explore on Facebook, and 3 pages of Connecticut societies on Facebook. Thank you, Katherine!