Showing posts with label Larimer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Larimer. Show all posts

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Larimer and McClure Ancestors Worked on the Railroad

Hubby's Great-Great-Grandpa Brice Larimer was a "RR agent" in 1860
As readers know, I married my husband for his ancestors. There is so much to say about them! I wrote last year about my husband's long line of farmers going back many generations, and the year before I wrote about his long line of Wood ancestors stretching back to England in the 1500s (carefully researched by two genealogist cousins).

For 2020, I wanted a fresh take on "long line." As usual, hubby's family tree has a wealth of stories waiting to be told. I remembered that a number of his ancestors worked for railroads over the years. Here I look briefly at four of those ancestors, two in the Larimer family and two in the McClure family.

Larimer on the Railroad

Brice S. Larimer (1819-1906), my husband's 2d great-granddaddy, was a farmer in Elkhart county, Indiana, in 1850. He was appointed an agent for the Lake Shore Railroad in 1859, and reported that as his occupation in the 1860 Census (see excerpt above). He continued working as railroad agent for decades. He faithfully attended Larimer family reunions and was often mentioned in news stories as being the eldest there--by far. His grandson was named Brice in his memory (see below).

Brice's son, William Tyler Bentley Larimer (1849-1921) worked at the railroad depot in 1870, according to that census. After he married Elizabeth Stauffer in 1872, however, he settled down to farming in Millersburg, Elkhart cty, Indiana. William was my husband's 2d great uncle. He was named for William Tyler Bentley, an ancestor who went west during the gold rush era.

McClure on the Railroad

My husband's great-granddaddy William Madison McClure (1849-1887) reported working on the railroad in the 1880 Census, when he was 31 years old. Unfortunately, he fell ill with typhoid fever and died when only 37 years old. Thanks to a news report, I know he had arranged for life insurance, much needed by his widow who had young children to care for.

William's son, Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), was a machinist working for the "Big Four" railroads in Wabash, Indiana, when he married Floyda Mabel Steiner in 1903. His skill as a machinist meant he was never out of work, working for railroads and later for war industries during WWII. Brice, named for Brice S. Larimer, was my husband's grandfather. Hubby has fond memories of learning to fish while visiting his cabin in the country during summers off from school.

"Long line" is #52Ancestors prompt #3 for 2020.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Family Recipes: Grandma McClure's Butterscotch Brownies

Recipe from Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure

With the winter holidays fast approaching, I wanted to share my husband's family recipe for butterscotch brownies. They bake up light and dry, taste best with a scoop of ice cream on top and a drizzle of caramel or fudge syrup.

Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure
circa 1903

These brownies were made by his maternal Grandma Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure (1878-1948).

She was married to hubby's maternal Grandpa Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970) for 45 years, before she passed away at the age of 70.

Grandpa McClure outlived his loving wife by 22 years, continuing to be active until his late 80s, taking his grandchildren (including my husband) fishing and boating on lakes in Ohio.

Now this recipe is part of #FamilyHistory!


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Hugh Benjamin McClure, Inventor and Entrepreneur


Folder patent received by hubby's great uncle H.B. McClure
My husband's great uncle, Hugh Benjamin McClure (1882-1960) was a successful inventor and entrepreneur who ran a thriving manufacturing firm and received patents on industrial devices. Above, one of his patents from 1954. Don't ask me what it is, but it apparently was a plus for the manufacturing side of the business. (I found it by doing a general online search for his name.)

Ben's Early Life

Hugh Benjamin--called "Benjamin" or simply "Ben"--was born on February 3, 1882, in Wabash, Indiana, the youngest child of William Madison McClure and Margaret Jane Larimer. He married Olivette Georgia Van Roe in 1902, at the age of 20, and their only child was born the following year.

Sorry to say, Olivette died of TB in 1905. In the 1910 Census, Ben was living in Wabash with his daughter and his Van Roe brother- and sister-in-law. Ben's occupation was listed as "shipping clerk, cabinet factory."

In 1913, Ben completed a legal transfer of some real estate lots in Wabash to his then 10-year-old daughter. The paperwork adds "love and affection" along with the transfer. He sounds, to me, like a warm-hearted Dad.

Ben, Rebekah, Family, and Factory

It was 101 years ago this month that Ben remarried, to Rebekah Venice Wilt (1896-1975). He was already working for a Fort Wayne, Indiana, company. The family moved to Fort Wayne by 1920, where he told the Census he was based as a "commercial traveler, cabinet." But then they moved to Peoria soon afterward, so Ben could get into the manufacturing business.

In 1930, the Census shows Ben, wife Rebekah, and three daughters in a home they owned in Peoria. The home's value was $6,500 at that time (about $95,000 today). It wasn't the most expensive home on the block, but many others were renting, so clearly Ben was well off enough to be an owner. His occupation in 1930 was "manufacturer, filing equipment."

By 1940, Ben and Rebekah had four daughters and he was listed as the president of his office equipment firm. His WWII draft registration card shows him as 60 years old in 1942, self-employed, living in Peoria--but, curiously, he listed one sister, Lola McClure Lower, as a "person who will always know your address."


During the 1950s, Ben received patents like the one at top, and he continued to expand his manufacturing firm. The company was now a family operation, with Hugh as president, his wife Rebekah as vice-president, and his sister-in-law as secretary. H.B. McClure Manufacturing provided employment for many people in Peoria over the years.

Families Stayed in Touch

Ben died in August, 1960, at the age of 78, leaving his wife and five daughters, 10 grandchildren, two great-grandkids, and a successful family business that his wife Rebekah and several in-laws continued to operate for years.

By reading my late father-in-law's diary, I learned that the McClure family stayed in touch with Rebekah for some time after Ben died. Ben's brother, Brice Larimer McClure, visited with Rebekah and family in 1964, an occasion for McClure relatives to gather together.

When Rebekah's sister and family came east in 1965, they visited with Ben's brother Brice, Brice's daughter, and my late father-in-law (whose diary entries reflect pleasure at this surprise visit).
--
Hugh Benjamin is my focus ancestor for this week's #52Ancestors prompt of "rich."

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.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Larimer Ancestors: Patriots and Pioneers with Ohio Fever

Western migration of pioneer ancestor John Larimer (1794-1843)
Yet another ancestor of my husband's caught "Ohio fever." He was Isaac M. Larimer. His son, John Larimer, continued the Western migration and pioneered in Elkhart county, Indiana, as shown above on the map.

Isaac Larimer, Son of Immigrants, Patriot and Ohio Pioneer

Isaac Larimer (1771-1823) was born in the south-central Pennsylvania county of Cumberland. He was the son of the original journey-takers in my husband's Larimer family, who left Northern Ireland and crossed the Atlantic to start a new life in what was then the American colonies.

Isaac married Elizabeth Wood (or Woods, 1773-1851), in Pennsylvania. Caught up in Ohio fever, they migrated West to Fairfield county, OH, where they brought up their 10 children.

Isaac fought in the 1812 War and lived to see tremendous growth in Ohio as settlers streamed in from the East decade after decade. Two of his sons, John and Robert, decided to move further West when they grew up, perhaps hankering for wide open spaces and additional farmland.

John Larimer, Patriot and Indiana Pioneer

John Larimer, my husband's 3d great-grandfather, was born in Pennsylvania (see #1 on map above). By the time he was a teenager, he was living in Fairfield county, Ohio (#2 on the map above). During the 1812 War, John fought as a 90-day enlistee alongside other Larimer relatives.

In 1818, he married Rachel Smith (1799-1838) in Lancaster, Fairfield county, Ohio. About 1835, John and Rachel left Ohio and moved their growing family to what was then the wilderness of Elkhart county, Indiana (#3 on map). At this point, Indiana had far fewer residents than Ohio, which was increasingly crowded.

Sadly, Rachel took ill and died during what locals called the "sickly season" of 1838. Left with youngsters to care for, John remarried in 1840 to Nancy Orr Smith (1799-1853).

Unfortunately, John Larimer died just three years later, reportedly from an infection in his throat caused by a deer bone splinter, and was buried in Elkhart. His second wife, Nancy, died ten years later, and was buried in Ohio, where her first husband was buried.

Saluting these patriots and pioneers in my husband's family tree!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Cousin Bait Leads to Discovery of Another Family History Book

My husband's Larimer family intermarried with members of the Work, Short, and McKibbin families in America.

One reason we know this is from the detailed Larimer family history book researched by John Clarence Work (1875-1962) and his father, Aaron Work (1837-1924). The book suggests that there were ties among the families back in the original home towns, before these ancestors crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

Believing that researching siblings, cousins, and in-laws can lead to more genealogical breakthroughs, I've been looking at the Work family connections with the Larimer family. And, of course, I've been blogging about the Work family.

My cousin bait blog posts have attracted a couple of inquiries--including one distant Work cousin who knew something I didn't about John Clarence Work.

Larimer Family History

A photocopy of the Larimer family history survived in my husband's family, along with my in-laws' hand-written corrections of spelling and dates for some of the people mentioned in the book. I've used the book and the corrections as a starting point for researching my husband's family, grateful for the clues and comments.

John Clarence Work and his father not only traced the Larimer family tree, they also compiled the names and brief bios of descendants of the original Larimer immigrant who left Northern Ireland about 1740 to make a new life in America. Happily for any Larimer descendant, the Larimer Family History is available for free, in its entirety, on FamilySearch (follow this direct link to the book).

As it happens, John Clarence Work was in touch with my late mother- and father-in-law during the 1950s, asking about their lives and the names/dates of their children (including my hubby). So I know how much effort they put into this family history. What I didn't know is that this was not the only family history done by John Clarence Work.

Work Family History

The Work cousin who contacted me via my blog said he was in touch with the Fairfield District Library in Lancaster, Ohio, near where the Work family once lived. The librarian kindly scanned and sent to him several pages from a book about Work family history, cowritten by John Clarence Work with his niece, Rhoda Fisher Work. That gave me an idea...

I searched the Family Search catalog for books by John Clarence Work. And I discovered that the Work Family History, like the Larimer Family History, is also available for free, in its entirety, on FamilySearch (follow this direct link to the book). What a treasure trove of genealogical clues!

One lesson learned from this experience is: If someone in the family wrote a family history, check to see whether that person wrote a second or third family history. Check the local library and historical/genealogical society in the area where these ancestors lived, and check Family Search as well.

Thank you to the Work cousin who contacted me and shared what he'd learned about the Work family history book!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Short Family Reunion in 1900 in LaGrange Cty, Indiana


In my husband's family tree, the Short and Larimer families reportedly had a cousin relationship in Northern Ireland, along with the Work family. Some of their descendants settled in Pennsylvania, and then went west toward Ohio and Indiana. The American-born descendants and cousins continued to feel close kinship, evidenced by the reunions they held for more than 20 years.

Thomas Short, LaGrange County Pioneer

Thomas Short (1820-188?) married my husband's great-great-great aunt Margaret Larimer (1826-1877) in January, 1842 in Middlebury, Elkhart, Indiana, where her family lived. The newlyweds soon settled in LaGrange county, where he cleared land, built a house, and farmed.

From 1843-1866, they had 10 children, including 4 who became physicians. There were physicians in the next generation of the Short family, as well.

A Short Family Reunion

Having found news reports of many reunions held by the Larimer and Work families, I was delighted to find this news item in the Elkhart Weekly Review of July 11, 1900. The descendants of Thomas Short were getting together on their own for a reunion, 119 years ago this month:
A reunion of the Short family was held last week on the old Short homestead in LaGrange county, where Thomas Short settled 58 years ago, clearing the timber off the land on which he built. Those present were Dr. W.H. Short & family, and Dr. J.L. Short, of LaGrange. Dr. I.W. Short & family and Dr. S.B. Short & family, from Elkhart, and J.E. Short & family, of Goshen.
As shown in the map at top and mentioned in the news snippet, some of the Short descendants had to travel about 20 miles from Elkhart county to arrive in LaGrange county for the reunion. Notice that the only person without a "Dr." in front of his name is J.E. (James Edson) Short, a farmer like his father, the LaGrange pioneer.

Thank you to Amy Johnson Crow for the prompt of "reunion" for this week in the #52Ancestors series.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Long Tradition of Independent Family Farming

For this week's "Independent" prompt from Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors series, I wanted to look at the long tradition of independent family farming in my husband's Larimer and McClure families.

Larimer Family Farmers

Several Larimer ancestors fought in the War of 1812 and received land grants in later years, based on their military service. One was hubby's 4th great-granddaddy, Isaac M. Larimer (1771-1823), who was born on the family farm in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and died on his farm in Fairfield county, Ohio.

Isaac was the son of immigrant ancestor Robert Larimer (1719?-1803), the 5th great-granddaddy who came from Northern Ireland in the 1740s who began the family's farming tradition in America. Isaac's mother was Mary O'Gallagher (or Gallagher, 1721-1803).

Isaac and Mary's son Robert Larimer (my hubby's 4th great uncle) also fought in 1812 and earned the land grant shown in the document at top.

Isaac and his wife Elizabeth Wood Larimer's son John (1794-1843) was my hubby's 3rd great-granddaddy and a 90-day enlistee in the War of 1812. Like so many others in the Larimer family, John Larimer eventually moved from Ohio to Elkhart county, Indiana, to obtain more land for farming.

My husband's 2d great-granddaddy, Brice S. Larimer (1819-1906) continued the tradition of family farming in Elkhart county, Indiana. By 1853, he had been appointed postmaster. Brice later served as a railroad agent, and his son William Tyler Bentley Larimer (1849-1921) also worked at the railroad depot. Later in life, William T.B. Larimer returned to farming, but none of his children or grandchildren were family farmers.

McClure Family Farmers

The McClure family tradition of farming in America began with my husband's earliest McClure immigrant ancestors. Hubby's 5th great-granddaddy Halbert McClure (1684-1754) and his wife Agnes (?-1750) led a large group of McClure family members from County Donegal across the Atlantic to Philadelphia, where they walked all the way to Virginia to buy farmland.

Halbert's son Alexander McClure (1717-1790) bought land in Mill Creek, Augusta, Virginia in 1751. Alexander was hubby's 4th great-granddaddy. His son John McClure (1781?-1834), hubby's 3d great-granddaddy, was most likely a farmer after moving to Adams county, Ohio.

John and his wife, Ann McFall (1780-1823) had one son, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896) who most definitely a farmer in Noble township, Elkhart, Indiana. Benjamin was my husband's 2d great-granddaddy.

In the generation after Benjamin McClure, not everyone was a full-time farmer. Oldest son Theodore Wilson McClure told the Census in 1880 that his occupation was "farming and storekeeping." Second son John McClure was a farmer, first in Indiana and then as a tenant farmer in Little Traverse, Michigan. Third son Train Caldwell McClure operated an oil mill in Wabash county, Indiana.

Benjamin McClure's youngest son was William Madison McClure (1849-1887), my husband's great-granddaddy. He grew up on the family farm in Indiana but after marrying Margaret Jane Larimer (1859-1913), William worked on the railroad. That was the end of family farming in this line of the McClure family: None of Margaret and William's three children married a farmer or worked in farming.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Family Tree Fourth of July


HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

This vintage Independence Day greeting card was sent to my husband's uncle Wallis Walter Wood in Cleveland more than a century ago. The Fourth of July has significance for our family trees in two instances.

Larimer Elopement


George Ainsworth Larimer (1873-1922), hubby's 1st cousin 2x removed, married Cora Lutz (1875-1945) in a Gretna Green elopement on July 4, 1899. They didn't announce the marriage until November, as shown in this news snippet.

Over the years, St. Joseph was a Gretna Green for several of my husband's family members who eloped. On that particular July 4th in 1899, St. Joseph recorded 21 marriages, including that of George and Cora!

George retired early from a career in civil engineering and bridge construction, due to a heart condition. His death cert mentions the contributing factor of "dropsy" (related to his heart problem). He died in Memphis, TN, on Halloween of 1922 at the age of only 49.

Schwartz Birth

My great uncle Samuel Schwartz (1883-1954) was born on July 4, 1883, in Ungvar, Hungary. He was an older brother of my immigrant grandfather Theodore "Teddy" Schwartz.

Teddy came to America in 1902, followed by brother Sam two years later. According to the 1904 passenger manifest, his given name was Simon but somehow once he arrived in America, he became Samuel. Sam and Teddy teamed up to pool their hard-earned money and bring their younger sister Mary to America in 1906.

Like his brother Teddy, Sam married only days after he attained U.S. citizenship. Sam settled down and raised a family in New York City, where--like his brother Teddy--he ran a small dairy store. Sam died on a hot June afternoon, just weeks before his 71st birthday.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Earliest and Latest Larimer-Work-Short Reunions

Earliest reunion of three families united by marriage
and cousinship over more than a century
In researching the reunions of the Larimer-Work-Short families--related to my husband on his mother's side of the family tree--I discovered that the reunions continued much longer than I knew!

Earliest Reunion Was a Picnic (Literally)

The earliest reunion I could find was called a "joint picnic," held by the three families in August of 1900. They formed a family association and named the following as officers:

  • Dr. James Anderson Work (1845-1928), hubby's 1st cousin, 4x removed (I just recently wrote about his two brothers who died while in the Union Army during the Civil War)
  • Dr. Isaac Wright Short (1863-1938), hubby's 1st cousin, 3x removed (I wrote about the Short family's doctors and dentists a few years ago)
  • Edson Franklin Larimer (1862-1933), hubby's 1st cousin, 3x removed, whose occupation was "clerk" in the Elkhart city directory of 1903.
  • Mrs. W. H. Barger, maiden name Luetta Millicent Work (1868-1927), hubby's 2nd cousin, 3x removed.
The next few reunions were held closer to the home of patriarch Brice S. Larimer (1819-1906) in deference to his age. Brice was my husband's great-great-grandfather, and lived nearly to 87. Two members of the Larimer family were elected as officers within a few years, with Short and Work family members also represented on the executive board.

Later Reunions Continued to the 1920s
1922 reunion of Larimer-Work-Short-McKibbin-Elliott families
The 1922 reunion was held in Goshen, Indiana, 97 years ago this month, as the above news snippet reports. One big mistake: Other evidence shows that the Larimer ancestor who first arrived in America was actually Robert Larimer, not Isaac Larimer. Isaac wasn't even born until 1771, and he was Robert's son. But anyway...

At this point, the reunion had expanded to include McKibbin family members, who often intermarried with the Larimer family and with the Elliott family. 

The earliest instance of Elliott-McKibbin marriage I've found is John White Elliott (1829-1914) marrying Jane McKibbin (1828-1879). John and Jane's son Howard Elliott married Margaret Short, a daughter of Margaret Larimer and Thomas Short. 

It's wonderful to see that these cousins in my husband's family tree cared enough to hold reunions for more than two decades.

Thank you to Amy Johnson Crow for the #52Ancestors prompt of "earliest."

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Work Brothers in the "War of Rebellion"

Elkhart, Indiana family reunion 1903

The Work family was so-called "Scots-Irish" (or "Scotch-Irish") from County Antrim, Ireland, cousins of and intermarried with the Larimer family. The Larimers are my husband's direct ancestors.

The newspaper snippet at left also mentions the Short family, which intermarried with the Work and Larimer families. The Short and Work families have been mentioned as cousins to the Larimers when all lived in the old country.

Over time, by researching members of the Work and Short families, I may find clues that will lead me to the hometown of the Larimer family.

From Ohio to Indiana

I've been taking a closer look at two brothers from the Work family who served on the Union side during the Civil War. These brothers were hubby's 1st cousins 4x removed, and both enlisted at the same time in 1862.

Isaac Larimer Work (b. 1838) and John Wright Work (b. 1841) were the second and third sons of Abel Everitt Work (1815-1898) and Cynthia Hanley Larimer (1814-1882). Born near Bremen, Fairfield county, Ohio, the boys were still young when their parents moved the family to Middlebury, Elkhart county, Indiana.

In their early 20s, the brothers studied at Hillsdale College in 1861, as the page here shows. The following year, the Work brothers were among the roughly 400 students of this famously anti-slavery college who enlisted to fight for the Union in the Civil War.
Hillsdale College 1861

Company I, 74th Regiment, Indiana Infantry

Back in Elkhart county, Indiana, Isaac and John joined Company I, 74th Regiment, Indiana Infantry, in August of 1862.

Within months, Isaac became a corporal, John was a private. Both found themselves in battle as their regiment saw action very quickly.

Alas, Isaac died at the age of 23 in a hospital in Gallatin, Tennessee. Whether the death date in the military record was correct or the newspaper account below from the Goshen Times (Indiana) was correct, I don't know.

In fact, I've seen several different death dates for Isaac L. Work. The news article agrees with the death date recorded on Isaac's gravestone and transcribed in the U.S. Civil War Roll of Honor (which indicated either Dec. 29th, 1862 OR January, 1863). His cause of death was shown as "diarrhea." In the Indiana digital archives, his death date is shown as November 23, 1862.

Sadly, Isaac's brother John died in Gallatin, Tennessee, from a case of "chronic diarrhea," at age 24. His name and cause of death appears in the handwritten list of Indiana volunteers who died in the Civil War.

There, his death is shown as January 15, 1863. On the Roll of Honor, his death date is transcribed from his gravestone as January 5, 1863.

When their father Abel Everett Work died in 1898, his obituary said that sons John and Isaac had "lost their lives in the war of rebellion." The boys didn't live to see slaves freed and the Union reunited, but their parents and all their brothers did.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Dear Diary: Clues to Truth of Family Stories

Excerpt from diary of Edgar James Wood
Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), my late father-in-law, wrote every day in his diary. As an insurance adjustor, he had to be able to say where he was and what he was doing if called by the court to testify in a case involving an auto or truck that his company insured. Knowing the care he took to record his activities day by day, I've come to trust his diary as a valuable resource for family history research.

Index Those Diary Entries for Clues

Most of his diary entries are fairly brief (how much can you say in in a three-inch space?). He was meticulous about listing who, what, where, and when. His diary entries about non-work activities have helped me understand more about family relationships and dynamics.

To make sense of the 30 years of diaries I'm lucky enough to have in my possession, I had to index the people and places and dates, which I did a few years ago. Now I can look at the index, pick a person or place or date, and go directly to the part of the diaries where Ed wrote about what I'm researching. Lately, I've been examining family stories and trying to figure out how much (if any) is true, and whether there are nuances I can better understand by digging deeper.

Visiting John Andrew Wood

Case in point: One family story about the four Wood brothers. I'd heard from Ed's children that their father was not at all close to a younger brother, John Andrew Wood (1908-1908). It's true that Ed, married and living in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, rarely saw John, who lived in Indiana for most of his adult life.

However, Ed's diary entry from August 19, 1964, provides subtle insight into this family story. That week, Ed was on vacation from his job. He was driving his wife (Marian McClure Wood) and father-in-law (Brice Larimer McClure) to see family members in other states. He took his diary with him and jotted notes every evening, as was his habit.

They had just finished an overnight visit with McClure relatives in Peoria and arrived in Michigan City, Indiana, for an overnight stay with "John." According to the diary, as shown above, they enjoyed an "evening of visiting & a late supper." Next day, they had breakfast and Ed drove on to their next stop, a visit with a cousin on the Larimer side of the family.

Reading the August 19th entry, I recognized Michigan City as the home of Ed's brother John. John's wife was Rita Goodin Wood (1918-1988). This entry suggests that the brothers did stay connected through the years, even if the relationship might not have been as close as Ed's relationship with his two other brothers.

Clues Hidden in Plain Sight

Again and again, I found little clues like this, hidden in plain sight within my father-in-law's diaries. The diary entries hinted at how close Ed was to certain family members and how often he spoke or visited with brothers, sisters-in-law, and cousins, not to mention his grown children and, later, his grandchildren. Also I learned to read between the lines and see who was NOT mentioned in the diary.

Most of the time, Ed didn't explicitly spell out family relationships in his diary entry, because he obviously knew these people well. But when a relationship was also an affectionate honorific (as in the beginning of the diary entry at top, where "Aunt Becky" is mentioned), it was especially easy to connect the dots and confirm which family member he was writing about.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the #52Ancestors prompt of "Dear Diary" this week.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Unique Ancestor Images on Public Trees Are Cousin Bait

83 people have saved Brice Larimer McClure's
note about his ancestry, which I originally posted.
Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), hubby's long-lived granddaddy, wrote a few notes about his ancestry on tiny slips of paper. Years ago, I scanned those notes and uploaded them to my public Ancestry tree, along with a full transcription. You can see the beginning of the transcription above ("I am Brice McClure a Son of Margaret Larimer McCure and Wm. McClure...").

Every year or so, I return to images I originally posted, and check to see who has saved each one. By now, more than 80 people have saved this unique, one-of-a-kind note, which I attached to 8 people in my husband's public family tree.

Clicking on the tree of each person who saved one of my unique images shows me where Brice or Brice's ancestors might fit into that tree.

It doesn't matter whether I believe the other person's tree to be accurate or not. My objective is to see who's on the tree and how these people might be related to my husband. Potential clues, in other words, to possible cousins.

Occasionally, I'm able to identify a solid cousin possibility. I double-check what's on the other person's tree and reexamine my tree's connection to that ancestor. Then I send a message about this possible cousin connection and offer to exchange additional genealogical info. And, thankfully, a few people have responded and continued to correspond about mutual research interests!

I know there are more cousins out there to be found via family trees and paper trails (DNA is not my primary focus at this point). If someone has saved a unique image or note that I originally uploaded, it's worth a few minutes of my time to check that person's tree.

Those unique images are cousin bait!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Asenath Larimer and Worship on the Wagon Train

Cover of transcribed journal kept by Asenath Cornwell Larimer 
Asenath Cornwell Larimer (1808-1897) was born 211 years ago today.

She was the widow of my husband's 4th great-uncle James Larimer (1806-1847), who sadly died at age 40, thrown from a horse while riding near their farm in Elkhart county, Indiana.

When James died, Asenath was left with five children under the age of 10. Her brothers helped her through this difficult time, but ultimately, Asenath made a bold decision she hoped would secure her children a better life.

Westward Ho

Five years after her husband's untimely death, Asenath sold the farm she had been bequeathed and used the money to join her brother, John Cornwell, in taking two steamboats en route to joining a wagon train at Lexington, Missouri.

Their destination: the Gold Rush country of California.

Asenath wrote in a journal from March 1852-March 1853 about the daily thoughts and events of that time. She notes that her oldest son was against her going west. Despite his opposition, she wrote that "...looking forward to the dangers and trails of the way, I feel very gloomy, but in the Lord put I my trust."

Faith Guides Asenath

Asenath was sustained by her strong Presbyterian faith during the arduous journey west. When possible, she and others on the wagon train would worship together on the Sabbath. In one journal entry, she wrote [sic]:
"...we felt that the Lord was as truly with us here sitting round on the grass, as if we had worshiped in a church, and likely we felt as much love and gratitude even at home." 
Most of the time, however, the wagon train leaders pushed ahead without stopping on the Sabbath, which distressed Asenath, even as she acknowledged the necessity of maintaining a good travel pace.

Asenath recorded not just the details of daily life on the wagon train (births, sickness, deaths, cooking, laundry) but also the natural wonders they viewed, for which she praised the Lord.

Journey's End

After arriving in the mining town of Clinton, California (now a ghost town outside Sacramento), Asenath scraped by on odd jobs such as washing clothes while her brother prospected for gold.

Then she moved to San Francisco, where she launched a bakery and was joined by one of her sons. Later, she moved south to Santa Monica, where she helped found the public library. She died in Santa Monica only a few weeks before her 89th birthday.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the #52Ancestors prompt of "At Worship."
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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Ancestor Landing Pages: Summaries and Cousin Bait

As shown above, my genealogy blog includes tabs for a series of "landing pages," mostly devoted to summarizing what I know about key ancestors in my family tree and hubby's family tree.

I established the first of these ancestor landing pages more than 6 years ago, and expanded until now I have 14 such landing pages. Each tells the story, in brief, of an ancestral couple or family. When I blog about one of those ancestors or families, I update the landing page with a link to the newest post. This enables anyone who searches for that surname to see, at a glance, what I've learned about that family and what I'm still learning or wondering about.

In addition, I have a landing page devoted to hubby's Mayflower ancestors. The remaining 3 landing pages include links to free genealogy resources, sample templates for family history, and my genealogy presentations.

McClure, Larimer, and Schwartz

By page views, the three most popular ancestor landing pages are:

  • Halbert McClure and family from Donegal. This is the Scots-Irish ancestor of my husband who had enough money to sail, with many members of his family, from the north of Ireland to Philadelphia. The family then walked to Virginia to buy farm land. 
  • Robert & Mary Larimer. According to my husband's grandfather, family lore has it that Robert Larimer was sent from the North of Ireland to America to make his way in the world. Alas, he was shipwrecked en route and forced to work off the cost of his rescue. 
  • Schwartz family from Ungvar. This is my maternal grandfather's family. Born and raised in what is now Uzhorod, Ukraine, Grandpa Teddy was the first in his family to leave for America. Soon he sent for an older brother and together, they saved their nickels and sent for a baby sister.
Cousin Bait

My landing pages are attracting thousands of views, so I know people are finding them via online search. Sometimes people even leave me a comment or write me c/o my blog to discuss possible family connections.

More than once, a cousin I didn't know I had (or couldn't find) has landed on my blog and gotten in touch with me. Genealogy blogs are excellent cousin bait, and ancestor landing pages increase the odds of being found via online searches.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

James Elmer Larimer's Civil War Telescope

Civil War telescope of James E. Larimer

James Elmer Larimer (b. 1840 in Pennsylvania, d. 1923 in Elkhart, Indiana) was my husband's first cousin, 4x removed.

James's father died at age 40, having been accidentally thrown from a horse.

His mother later left Indiana to go with her brother to gold-rush California, and never returned east. She fretted about leaving her children behind, but was determined to pioneer in California with her family.

James was a child at the time, and he didn't join his mother. His siblings went west to California after they were grown, but not James. Just months after the start of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army.

James E. Larimer in the Civil War 

Thanks to documents such as his pension record, I can see James enlisted in Company A, Ohio 17th Infantry Regiment, on 13 Aug 1861. He was 21 years of age, and had no way of knowing that he would remain in the Union Army (with different units and at different ranks) until just after the war ended, in the spring of 1865.

Civil War Pension record for James E. Larimer and his widow, Rhoda Amelia Ward Larimer
The Larimer Telescope

Not long ago, I heard from a collector who was researching the name engraved on a Civil War-era telescope: J.E. Larimer.

From the engraving, it appears to be the telescope used by my hubby's cousin, James E. Larimer!

At top, a view of the telescope when extended for use. Below, the telescope retracted. At right, part of the engraving, which also mentions the 17th Regiment, Larimer's unit.



Thanks to Justin McLarty for these photos of the telescope, which is now more than 150 years old.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Trying ThruLines and MyTreeTags

The new Ancestry ThruLines feature is a step forward in understanding how DNA matches *might* fit on a family tree. This feature also suggests "potential ancestors" to add to a tree.

The key is to understand that names, dates, relationships all depend on the accuracy of other people's trees. As with any info found online or provided by someone else, it's up to me to investigate and verify or disprove each potential ancestor and possible DNA match.

Pick Your Ancestor 

ThruLines is arranged by most recent ancestor and stretches back to most distant ancestor. Above, a snippet of the 100 ancestors/"potential ancestors" on my husband's ThruLines page. That makes it easy to investigate links to specific ancestors of interest. I can be as systematic as I like in drilling down into my husband's father's side or mother's side, in a particular generation.

As shown, one of these "potential ancestors" is not marked as male or female, and is actually "private" because he or she is listed on a family tree not made public by the owner.

How Private?

Well, not that private. I blocked out the info, but it was easy to figure out exactly who this "potential ancestor" was and the gender, too, without contacting the owner of the private tree. It was listed in the "private tree" notification above.

To check, I returned to my tree and looked at the outstanding hints for this branch. One second later, I had the details from sources other than the private tree, sources more objective and verifiable. So it actually helped me get a generation back. Unfortunately, there were NO DNA matches associated with this ancestor (nor for the spouse).

And in case I wasn't sure, right next to this "private" "potential ancestor" was listed his wife, Hannah O'Killey. Just in time for St. Paddy's Day, a possible new Irish ancestor to research and confirm.

Interestingly, the person who posted Hannah O'Killey's info on a public tree is NOT a DNA match for my husband, which is a disappointment and raises the question of whether this is an actual ancestor for one or both of us. My husband has no DNA matches through Hannah, according to Ancestry. Hmm.

Finding a Match

To find an actual DNA match in ThruLines, I started at the most recent ancestor and worked my way backward to hubby's great-granddaddy, Thomas Haskell Wood. That's where I finally found two cousins previously unknown to me, each of whom had more than 20 centimorgans in common with my husband.

Although neither of these cousins had anything new on their trees, at least I now know who they are and can be in touch to share info.

For the vast majority of the 100 ancestors on hubby's ThruLines page, Ancestry shows NO DNA matches.

Check Those TreeTags

Working through the ancestors on my own ThruLines page, it quickly became clear that my "potential ancestors" were highly speculative. I noticed suggested ancestors plucked from trees I already knew were not supported by good sources.

Here's where Ancestry's other new feature, MyTreeTags, would be very, very useful.

The idea is to be able to indicate the research status of a particular person on a tree. For instance, I could note that someone is a "hypothesis" (meaning I'm testing whether someone fits, based on DNA or other evidence).

Or I could note someone is "unverified" (meaning I got the info from somewhere but have done nothing to check its accuracy).

After looking, I can see that some of the trees that appear in hints or "potential ancestor" suggestions have inaccurate info and few if any sources other than other trees.

To be helpful, I've contacted tree owners in the past to say, for example, that although my grandma is shown on their tree, it's highly unlikely that she is actually related to the people on their tree. Dates, places, names don't add up, I point out tactfully. I invite them to please look at my tree and the documented evidence that proves who she is. Of course, I can't rule out that maybe there's something I don't know about my grandma?!

Usually I hear nothing, or I get a note saying their tree is a work in progress, with hypotheticals. Or the note says the tree is being built for a friend who had a couple of clues, and my info will be passed along to the friend for consideration. Those trees are often left as is, unfortunately.

As I work on my public trees, I'm going to try to use MyTreeTags to alert others when someone is a hypothesis or unverified, in particular, as a red flag to verify before accepting anything as a fact!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Winter Weddings in the Wood Family

The list of December weddings in my husband's Wood family tree is quite long. Here are just a few of the marriages in the calendar report generated by my RootsMagic software. Marriages from later in December will be shown in another post soon!

  • December 5: William Steiner and Catherine Evans Coder. Steiner (1827-1899) was my husband's 2d great uncle, born on the eve of Christmas Eve and married just weeks before his 22nd birthday. He was one of 6 boys and 3 girls, and worked as a plasterer in Tod, Crawford county, Ohio. The Steiner-Coder wedding took place 168 years ago today. In June of 1863, William registered for the Civil War Draft (see excerpt from ledger above) but did not serve, so far as I can determine.
  • December 11: Edson Larimer Everitt and Maggie Derr. Everitt (1862-1927) was hubby's 2d cousin, 3x removed. He was a farmer and married in Hocking, Ohio, at age 40, 116 years ago. His middle name, Larimer, comes from his great-grandfather, Isaac M. Larimer, a son of the original Larimer immigrant ancestor who was shipwrecked after leaving Northern Ireland.
  • December 18: Isaac Larimer Everitt and Ellen Smith. Isaac Everitt (1827-1892) was my husband's 1st cousin, 4x removed. He was also Edson's father...and he got married in December, as did his son 51 years later. Isaac registered for the Civil War Draft in 1863, listing his occupation as farmer.
  • December 12: Jessie Steiner and John R. Rummel. Jessie Steiner (1880-1947) was my husband's 1st cousin, 1x removed. Her marriage took place 117 years ago today, exactly one week and one day after her 21st birthday. She was a magazine agent, married to a druggist. She died one day after her 67th birthday. 
  • December 16: Emma O. Larimer and James Freeland. Emma (1848-1923) was hubby's 2d great aunt, the oldest daughter of Brice S. Larimer and Lucy E. Bentley. Emma was brought up in the rural town of Goshen, Indiana, married at the age of 21 and later, the family moved to New York City. Their wedding was 149 years ago.
Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's #52Ancestors prompt of "winter."

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Questions About the Family Story of Robert Larimer

Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), my husband's maternal grandfather, left a number of handwritten notes about his ancestry. Above, the note he wrote about being descended from a long line of Larimer ancestors.

My husband's 5th great-grandfather was Robert Larimer.  As shown above, he was supposedly "born in the North of Ireland" in 1719, and "came to U.S. in 1740." [I know there was no U.S. at that time, and so did Brice, who was just jotting notes onto a scrap of paper to record family history as he remembered it.]

Here's more of the family story, as further memorialized in "Our Larimer Family" by cousin John Clarence Work. Robert Larimer's father gave him some Irish linen and money, and sent him from the North of Ireland to seek his fortune in the colonies in 1740. Unfortunately, the ship was wrecked and he had to be rescued by a passing ship. Robert was brought to the colonies, then sold into indentured servitude to pay for his rescue.

The master overworked Robert for years until finally, Robert ran away to the Kishacoquillas Valley in Pennsylvania, where he married Mary Gallagher (or O'Gallagher), originally from the North of Ireland. They had four children that I know of: Phoebe, Isaac (hubby's 4th great-grandpa), Ebenezer, and Guzilla/Grizell. According to the Larimer book, Robert Larimer moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio with his son Isaac, circa 1801-2.

I have 5 specific questions about the family story. 

(1) Is Robert's birth date of 1719 correct? No clues at all. It would help to know where he was born.

(2) Was he born in Northern Ireland (and if so, where exactly)? No clues at all.

(3) Who were his parents? I know it's not easy to obtain info about ordinary (non-nobility, non-wealthy) folks born early in the 18th century, but it sure would be nice to know. Not a clue at this point.

(4) When did Robert die? Note above says 1805, Find A Grave says 1803, and Larimer book says he died "soon" after moving to Ohio, which means after 1802. Mind you, Robert would have been about 80 when he moved to Ohio. That's positively ancient for a man at that time, and for an elderly pioneer, it would not be an easy life.

Meanwhile, the Larimer book also says (and I confirmed) that a taxpayers' list dated 1806 and transcribed in Scott, A Complete History of Fairfield County, Ohio, includes Robert, Isaac, and Ebenezer "Laremore."

Hmmm. Maybe Robert's estate was paying the tax? Seems odd for an estate to not be settled and property not retitled with a new owner by that time. And although Isaac had a son named Robert, presumably to honor Isaac's father, that child was born in 1792 and surely wouldn't have been listed as a taxpayer in 1806. But surely the elder Robert was buried by 1806, given his advanced age.

(5) What was his wife's actual surname, and was she dropped from Mars or hatched from an egg?

There is one source I haven't yet consulted to answer my questions about this family story. It's the Kishocoquillas Valley Historical Society. Maybe they can help?! I'll find out soon.

As always, my thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the weekly #52Ancestors prompt.

PS I haven't even listed my questions about Mary's birth/marriage dates. Would Mary really have been giving birth (twice!) in her 50s? Not likely...

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.