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

Sunday, October 7, 2018

10 Generations Back: Last Wood Generation Born in England

This week's #52Ancestors challenge is 10 and there is no way I can go back that
far in my mother's or father's family trees.

However, my husband is a Mayflower descendant four times over and we can go back beyond 10 generations on his father's side. The Wood family intermarried with the Cushman family (Cushman of the Fortune married Mary Allerton and that's the basic Mayflower connection). Thank you to cousin Larry for uncovering new details as he traces the Wood tree year after year after year...

The tenth generation back is John Wood Jr. (1620-1704). This was the last Wood generation of my husband's family to be born in England. John Jr. was christened in St. George the Martyr Church, Surrey, England, on March 10, 1621, as shown at top. I was amazed to discover that this church was built in the 12th century.

John Jr.'s exact birth date is a mystery. His cemetery stone, not legible, only indicates 1620 as the birth year. We do know he married (for the third time) to Mary Peabody (1639-41?-1719) around 1656 in what is now Newport county, Rhode Island. John Jr. died in the same part of Rhode Island, as did his wife. Both are buried in the John Wood cemetery plot.

On my husband's mother's side, we can go back 9 generations to James Andrew McClure (1660?-?). In checking for anything new on this ancestor, I came across a fairly new (June, 2018) memorial on Find-a-Grave, saying that James died "at sea, on trip to America" in 1732, age 71-2.

Of course I wrote the originator of this memorial to ask about the source and any details. We already knew the McClure family left Donegal and sailed together to Philadelphia, Halbert with his wife Agnes and numerous children. I didn't realize Halbert's father James was with them. Maybe this will open up more research possibilities.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Couldn't Keep 'Em Down on the Farm

My husband's maternal McClure family came to America specifically to buy land and farm during the 1730s. Until they couldn't keep 'em down on the farm any longer, about 150 years later.

The patriarch, Halbert McClure (1684-1764) led a group of his sons, a daughter, and several brothers making the journey from Donegal to Philadelphia in the 1730s. Originally from the Isle of Skye before being forced to relocate to Donegal, the McClures had enough money to pay for their Atlantic voyage. After landing in Philadelphia, the family walked to the colony of Virginia and plunked down cash for hundreds of acres of fertile farmland.

In hubby's direct line, Halbert's son Alexander McClure (1717-1790) and grandson John McClure (1781-1834?) both were farmers. John, however, ventured from Virginia into Ohio to be a pioneer farmer. John's son, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896) was born in Adams County, Ohio and he became a pioneer farmer in Wabash county, Indiana. Benjamin was my husband's 2d great-grandpa.

At top is a land ownership map showing where Benjamin's 80 acres were located in Paw Paw township in 1875. Benjamin was a civic leader as well as a farmer, and served as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church in Wabash county. Benjamin was the end of the line as far as career farmers in his branch of the McClure family.

Benjamin's son (hubby's great-grandpa) William Madison McClure (1849-1887) worked for "the railway" (according to 1880 census). Another of Benjamin's sons, John N. McClure, was a farmer and then later went to work for the railroad. A third son, Train Caldwell McClure, was an oil mill operator (1880 census). The oldest son, Theodore Wilson McClure, was a farmer and storekeeper in 1880 but became a day laborer by 1900, according to Census records.

William Madison McClure had four children and none of them had anything to do with farming. In fact, all moved to more urban settings. The oldest daughter, Lola (1877-1948), became a teacher and married a civil engineer.

The oldest son grew up to be hubby's Grandpa Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970). He was a master mechanic, first with the railroad and then with industrial firms in Cleveland, Ohio.

The younger daughter, Lucille Ethel McClure (1880-1926) moved to Chicago and married a farmer turned plumber, who worked on new construction in the booming economy of the Windy City.

The younger son, Hugh Benjamin McClure (1882-1960), began as a shipping clerk and then worked as a salesman before owning his own successful manufacturing firm in Peoria, Illinois.

The next generations had nothing to do with farming, either. Just couldn't keep this McClure family down on the farm after 150 years.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the #52Ancestors prompt about "on the farm" (or, in this case, "not on the farm").

Sunday, September 23, 2018

"Gershwin Winner Plays for Meals"

My late father-in-law, Edgar James Wood, died 32 years ago today. He was born on August 13, 1903, and died on September 23, 1986. I remember him with fondness, although I knew him for too short a time.

Ed's day job was as insurance adjuster for an Ohio insurance firm. His real passion, for many decades, was playing piano as a professional musician.

Just a few days ago, the gentleman behind the blog Gershwin 100 found me by doing a search for a song he knew by name: Love Is a Boundless Ocean.

My father-in-law Ed had copyrighted that song in October, 1932. He wrote the music and his friend, George W. Teare, wrote the lyrics. The song was good enough to win Ed the opportunity to play in a Cleveland concert with the famous composer George Gershwin. The family was aware Ed had won a Gershwin contest. But we never saw the newspaper article with the full story until this blogger kindly sent it along.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer of January 21, 1934, Gershwin judged dozens of songs submitted to a contest sponsored by the newspaper. The contestants played their songs, one by one, as Gershwin listened and offered encouraging suggestions. He then announced that one would be played in his concert that evening. "We've chosen 'Love Is a Boundless Ocean' as the one best suited for our purpose," Gershwin explained.

The newspaper article actually adds a lot of color to my husband's family history. The reporter writes that Ed first paled and then flushed when announced as the winner. His comment was: "I'm stunned." Yet he immediately agreed when Gershwin asked him to play the winning song himself that evening at the concert.

Ed later told the reporter that he used to work in insurance, but was unemployed at that moment. He said, and I quote, that he now "plays to eat." Thus, the headline of the newspaper article:

"Gershwin Winner Plays for Meals"


Remember, this was deep in the Depression. Ed had a lot of experience playing piano to make his way through life, having played at Tufts to pay for college expenses and on ocean liners crossing the Atlantic during the Roaring Twenties.

According to the 1930 Census, Ed had worked as an insurance adjuster, and was living at the same Cleveland address (as a boarder) noted in the newspaper article of 1934. Even though he had been born in Cleveland and lived with his parents until going to college, his father had remarried (twice) after his mother died. His father moved to Jackson, Michigan, so Ed was a boarder in Cleveland for a number of years.

Now fast-forward a few weeks later in 1934, when Ed was working and met his future wife (Marian Jane McClure, 1909-1983) in that insurance office. On their first date, he took her to a party where he played piano for the guests. One thing led to another, and Ed and Marian married in 1935. In later years, they celebrated Valentine's Day as the anniversary of their "first date."

Ed never lost his job again, and he never stopped playing piano. He played on the morning of the day he died, we know from reading his diary. Thinking of my father-in-law with great affection on this day. And happy that my genealogy blog attracted the eye of the Gershwin blogger!

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!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Case of the Missing Mortality Schedule

Interrupting my ongoing series on the Kossuth Society (starring my side of the family), today's #52Ancestors post is about hubby's great-grandpa, Edward George Steiner (1830-1880).

A carpenter born in Ohio, Steiner died in March, 1880, a few months before his 50th birthday and shortly before the US Census was taken in Nevada township, Wyandot county, OH. His widow, Elizabeth Rinehart Steiner (1834-1905), was listed as a widow in the Census, enumerated in June of 1880, as shown above. Living with her were her five youngest daughters, including hubby's future grandma, "Mabel" (Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure, 1878-1948).

Theoretically, Edward George Steiner should have been in the mortality schedule for 1880. If I could find him, I'd have lots of info, including his birth place, parents' birthplaces, cause of death, and so on (see an actual excerpt from a mortality schedule in Ohio, below).



I began by looking for Steiner using the indexed mortality schedule records on FamilySearch and Ancestry. No luck. Next, I decided to browse the 1880 mortality schedules for Wyandot county, Ohio, where his widow was living. I tried both Ancestry and HeritageQuest (which now uses Ancestry's images and search engine for censuses). Alas, no luck.

By choosing "Browse this collection" of mortality schedules for Ohio in 1880, I learned that no images are available in the alphabetical listing of counties beyond Geauga (as shown at right). I double-checked, and FamilySearch says these records don't exist. No Wyandot county mortality schedule to browse, in other words.

But since the family had also lived in Crawford county, Ohio, not long before, I selected Crawford and began to browse the 20 pages. Doesn't take too long to read the names on 20 pages. No Edward George Steiner or any name resembling his. Dead end.

Next, I searched all mortality schedules (1850-1885) for any Steiner (or Stiner, creative spelling). Out of the three dozen results, none was even a possible match. Dead end. Multiple requests to various Ohio repositories has turned up no death certificate on record.

Luckily, I have the above handwritten note from grandma Floyda, giving me the birth/death dates of her parents and some siblings. Her dates have proven to be correct nearly 100% of the time, and Edward George Steiner's headstone agrees. There are no Bible pages to check, no church records to search. No obit found (on various newspaper sites, including Chronicling America and Elephind, and in FamilySearch database; the one newspaper that might have published an obit in 1880 isn't held by any library collection).

Therefore, I'm going to accept the death date of March 13, 1880 and close the case of the missing mortality schedule.

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, June 18, 2018

Jane: The Name in the Middle

Margaret Jane Larimer McClure at right, with daughter Lucille Ethel McClure
and son-in-law Edward DeVeld
My sis-in-law has always told me that Jane is the traditional middle name for females in her family.

Not in the family tree of my late father-in-law, Edgar James Wood (1903-1986). One of Edgar's aunts was Jane Ann Wood Black (1846-1936), the eldest child of my husband's great-grandparents (Thomas Haskell Wood and Mary Amanda Demarest). None of the earlier Wood family females carry this middle name, so far as I can discover.

We learned that Jane is the most popular middle name in both sides of the family of the mother-in-law I unfortunately never met, Marian Jane McClure (1909-1983). She gave her daughter that middle name, and in turn my sis-in-law gave her daughter that middle name.

Marian's mother Margaret Jane Larimer (1859-1913) and grandmother Elizabeth Jane Rinehart (1834-1905) both had Jane as their middle name. Larimer and McClure ancestors often gave Jane as the middle name of one girl in each generation.

The McKibbin family, which intermarried with Larimer ancestors, included a number of women with Jane as their middle name. Same tradition in the Hilborn family, which intermarried with the Rinehart family.

By the way, I identified all the ancestors with "Jane" as a first or middle name by doing a search with my RootsMagic7 software. Very convenient way to prep for this #52Ancestors post.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Going to the Chapel - His Side of the Family

So many ancestors were married in June, in my husband's family tree and in my tree! I used RootsMagic7's calendar report to see who was married, when, and how long ago, tree by tree. This is a good opportunity to revisit my research, summarize what I know, see what's missing, and take the next step. Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this #52 Ancestors prompt.

Here are some of the early June marriages in my husband's tree:


  • June 3, 1903: Hubby's great-aunt Mary Amanda Wood married August Jacob Carsten 115 years ago in Toledo, Ohio. Sadly, Mary Amanda died at age 32, just months after giving birth to their fourth child. Mary Amanda was named for her mother, Mary Amanda Demarest Wood.
  • June 10, 1903: At top, the license application for hubby's Grandma Floyda Mabel Steiner and Grandpa Brice Larimer McClure, who married 115 years ago in Wyandot county, Ohio. Only through this record did I discover that Floyda had been married before. She was brave enough to divorce the first husband, who called her vile names and threatened her. Plus she won an alimony settlement!
  • June 12, 1856: My husband's 2d great-uncle Samuel D. Steiner married Maria L. Forrest 162 years ago in Crawford county, Ohio. While researching the Steiner family in Wyandot county a few years ago, I discovered that Samuel had been arrested for aiding/abetting burglary and not showing up in court. What happened? Don't know yet, but I did find Samuel at home in the 1880 census. 
  • June 13, 1847: My husband's 3d great-aunt, Elizabeth E. Bentley, married Emanuel Light 171 years ago in Elkhart, Indiana, as shown on the marriage license below. During the 1850s, Elizabeth and Emanuel left their home and traveled west, as her father had done in 1848 early in the Gold Rush. The Light family farmed in California. Despite years of research, the Bentley family's ancestors are still a bit of a mystery, one of my genealogical works in progress.


  • Wednesday, May 30, 2018

    Diary Entries Describe Decoration Day Traditions

    Today is the 150th anniversary of Decoration Day. The original purpose was to honor those who died serving in the Civil War by putting flowers on their graves. After World War I, the concept of Decoration Day expanded to decorating the graves of all U.S. military men and women who had died in wars.

    For decades, my late father-in-law, Edgar J. Wood (1903-1986) would drive his wife, Marian J. McClure Wood (1909-1983), from their home in Cleveland to Upper Sandusky, Ohio, for Decoration Day. In his diaries, he wrote "Decoration Day" on the space for May 30th and jotted notes about laying flowers on her relatives' graves. Interestingly, only one diary entry ever mentioned decorating his parents' graves in Highland Park Cemetery, Cleveland, and that took place on the day before Decoration Day.

    At top is a partial listing of Marian's relatives buried in Upper Sandusky's historic Old Mission Cemetery, including her mother, Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure (1878-1948). Also buried there are her aunts, uncles, and grandparents. None of these folks had fought or died in war; it seems it was family tradition to honor the memories of much-loved relatives by laying flowers on their graves every Decoration Day.

    According to the diaries, Edgar and Marian would pick up her father, Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), for the drive to Old Mission Cemetery, where they laid flowers and had a picnic nearby. If it was raining, they ate in the car. Then they visited relatives in the area, such as Marian's Aunt Carrie Steiner Traxler (1870-1963), before driving home.

    For this generation of my husband's family, Decoration Day was a day of remembering those who had passed away and spending time with family members they rarely saw.

    Wednesday, May 23, 2018

    So Many Ancestors, So Many Languages

    For #52Ancestors #20, I'm trying to identify the different languages spoken by key ancestors in my family tree and my husband's tree.

    My paternal grandparents (above) probably spoke three languages apiece. Grandma Henrietta Mahler Burk (1881-1954) was born in Latvia, and surely spoke Latvian as well as English and, I'm guessing, Yiddish. Possibly she spoke Russian too, although I don't know for sure.

    Her husband, Isaac Burk (1882-1943) was born in Lithuania, and spoke that language plus Russian and maybe even Yiddish in addition. Isaac certainly picked up some English when he stopped in Manchester, England, to stay with family in 1901, en route from Lithuania to North America.
    My maternal grandparents also spoke multiple languages. Grandpa Theodore Schwartz (1887-1965), shown above escorting my mother down the aisle at her wedding, had a way with languages. His native Hungarian tripped off his tongue, but he could also speak several other languages, including English--which is why the steamship lines employed him in NYC as a runner around Ellis Island in the 1910s.

    His wife, Hermina Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964), was fluent in Hungarian, having been born there, and learned Yiddish in the Lower East Side of NYC as an immigrant. Also she learned English in NYC night school.

    In my husband's Wood family tree, there are three adult Mayflower ancestors (Degory Priest, Isaac Allerton, Mary Norris Allerton). Therefore, in addition to English, they may have learned some Dutch when the Pilgrims fled to the Netherlands prior to sailing to the New World. Once in Plymouth, perhaps they learned a few words to talk with Native American tribes? Photo above shows my late father-in-law (Edgar James Wood, 1903-1986) at left with two of his Wood brothers.

    Also in my husband's McClure line, his ancestor Halbert McClure (1684-1754) was born in County Donegal, and sailed to Philadelphia with his family in the 1740s. Because the McClures were originally from Isle of Skye, hubby's ancestor may have spoken Scottish Gaelic or Gaelic (or both). On arrival in the American colonies, however, the McClures would most likely have learned English, because they walked from Philadelphia to Virginia. They would probably need to speak English to buy provisions along the way. Once in Virginia, they bought land--again, a transaction that probably required English.

    Sunday, April 15, 2018

    One Memorable Tax Day in Family History

    April 15th was a special day for Theodore Wilson McClure (1834-1927), the eldest son of hubby's great-great-grandpa, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896).

    On April 15, 1858, Theodore was married to Louisa Jane Austin (1837-1924), in Wabash county, Indiana. Actually, this was Louisa's second marriage. (What happened to her first husband, John Donalson/Donaldson? They were married on May 17, 1855, but I haven't yet found his death record and of course no divorce record. Maybe a newspaper search will give me clues...)

    One hundred years ago today, on April 15, 1918, the Wabash Plan Dealer published a front-page account of Louisa and Theodore's 60th wedding anniversary. The newspaper wrote about the original 1858 ceremony:
    "The Rev. Cooper of the M.E. [Methodist] Church was the officiating minister, and conducted the service at 5 o'clock. The wedding feast was one of the bountiful ones, read about more often than seen in present times, and included venison, wild turkeys, and ducks."
    By 1918, Theodore and Louisa might well have been paying federal income tax...his occupation was "justice of the peace" according to the Wabash, Indiana city directory. Earlier in his career, he had been a farmer and storekeeper. His 1927 death cert says he was a miller.

    Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow's #52 Ancestors challenge, I looked up when Tax Day first took place (March 1, 1914)--and noted two other years when new tax deadlines took effect (March 15, 1918 and April 15, 1955). Family history brings American history alive!

    Tuesday, April 3, 2018

    Doing the "Write" Thing for Family History

    In my first post about writing family history, I suggested picking one ancestor/surname, one occasion, or one photo as the focus for writing something.

    When possible, try to turn any family history writing project into a family-wide activity. Use materials from your genealogy collection to get relatives excited about documenting that person or occasion and to stimulate their memories. The more stories they hear, the more stories they can recall, the better!

    Here's the special occasion I'm using as the focus of my next family history writing project: a 1972 Venice trip taken by all the adult children, spouses, and young grandchildren of Marian McClure Wood (1909-1983) & Edgar James Wood (1903-1986).

    The family trip was intended as a reunion for the entire family, then scattered across the country. Marian paid for everyone's travel, hotel, and meals, using the modest inheritance she received when her father (Brice Larimer McClure, 1878-1970) died.

    My first step was to photocopy Edgar Wood's diary entries from that period in 1972 and send to my husband's siblings and the grown children. These day-by-day notes helped spark memories as they thought back to the reunion 46 years in the past.

    Next, my hubby sorted through several binders and a file box to select several dozen 35mm slides to transfer into digital images as possible illustrations for this booklet. Naturally, he concentrated on finding slides featuring family members, with just one or two famous landmarks to set the scene.

    Before doing any writing, we'll print the images four or six to a page and send to the family for more comments and memories. Then we'll organize the booklet itself, devoting the majority of pages to the weeklong reunion.

    Each of Marian & Edgar's adult children went on to other European cities after the family reunion in Venice. So I'm going to devote a page or two to each of those post-reunion adventures, to personalize the booklet even further and encourage story-telling within the family.

    Stay tuned for more about doing the "write" thing for family history!

    NOTE: For ideas about preserving family stories and planning for the future of your genealogical collection, please see my book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past, available from Amazon and from the bookstore at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    Sunday, March 25, 2018

    Easter Greetings in Family History

    By following the addresses and dates on holiday postcards sent to young Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957) in Cleveland, Ohio, I can see where the family was living and when, and who was staying in touch. Above, a beautiful penny postcard sent to Wallis by his aunt Nellie (Rachel Ellen Wood Kirby) and uncle Arthur Kirby in Chicago for Easter in 1914. Wallis was my husband's uncle.
    "Aunt Nellie" was, it seems, the favorite sister of Wallis's father, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939). They remained close as adults and his children received many postcards from this beloved aunt.

    James Edgar Wood's oldest son, Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), grew up and married Marian Jane McClure (1909-1983) in Cleveland in 1935. Above, an Easter-time photo of Marian at age 4 (as inscribed on the back--let me thank the ancestors for captioning!).

    As an only child, she was cherished by her parents, Floyda Steiner McClure (1878-1948) and Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970). After Marian married Ed, he became close to her parents and they had a good relationship all of their lives.

    Honoring the memory of my husband's ancestors as Easter approaches and writing down their family history for future generations to know and enjoy!

    Friday, March 16, 2018

    Lucky Me, I Married Him For His Ancestors!

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I married my wonderful husband for his ancestors! Lucky me.

    Actually, for the first decade of our marriage, I paid absolutely no attention to our families' roots. But once I caught the genealogy bug, it was full speed ahead, starting with the bits and pieces in the family's possession.

    As shown in the handwritten note passed down from his Granddaddy Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), there were clear clues to Irish ancestry on hubby's mother's side of the family. Following up on these and other clues, here's what I learned about his Irish ancestors:

    John Shehen and his wife, Mary, from somewhere in Ireland (possibly south) - Hubby's 2d great-grandparents. They were born around 1800 in Ireland but were in London by the 1830s. John and Mary’s daughter, Mary Shehen, married John Slatter in England. Their youngest daughter Mary Slatter grew up, married James Edgar Wood, and became hubby's grandma. [Too many Marys and Johns, don't ya think?]

    William Smith and his wife, Jean, were from Limerick – His 5th great-grandparents. Their son Brice Smith was the first Brice in the family and was the first son born to these ancestors in America. There have been several other men named Brice since then, including hubby's Granddaddy.

    Robert Larimer and his wife, Mary O’Gallagher, both from the North of Ireland - Hubby's 5th great-grandparents. Robert was shipwrecked while sailing from No. Ireland to America and then served as an indentured servant to work off the cost of his rescue. He finally ran away, married Mary, and settled down to farming. McKibbin and Short cousins from the North of Ireland were known to intermarry with the Larimer branch in America.

    Halbert McClure and his wife, Agnes, were born in County Donegal, in the North of Ireland (although the McClure family is originally from Isle of Skye in Scotland) - Hubby’s 5th great-grandparents. This family sailed to Philadelphia as a group and then walked 200 miles to Virginia to buy land for farming in the 1730s.

    Every year, I write my grandchildren to share the latest info about their Irish roots. There's always something new to investigate, someone new to discover among these branches of the tree. Lucky me, I married him for his ancestors.

    Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the "lucky" prompt in Week 11 of her #52Ancestors series.

    Friday, March 9, 2018

    Where There's a Will, There's a Family Reunion (in Venice)

    Last week's #52Ancestors challenge (#9 in the series by Amy Johnson Crow) was "Where there's a will..." Since I was at RootsTech then, I'm catching up on my regular genealogy blogging now. My husband suggested today's post, about the wonderful way that a will turned into a family reunion.

    Hubby's granddaddy, Brice Larimer McCLURE, was born on Dec. 29, 1878 (in Little Traverse, Michigan) and died on Dec. 15, 1970 (in Cleveland, Ohio). He passed away just shy of his 92nd birthday.

    Brice's will left his only child, my late mother-in-law, Marian McClure WOOD (1909-1983), a bank account with a modest four-digit balance.

    Marian decided to take that money and treat her three children (and spouses) and three grandchildren to a trip to Venice. Her favorite city in the world!

    Since the three children were scattered across the country, this trip was both a family reunion and an opportunity to experience Venice together, paid for by Brice's legacy.

    Marian and her husband, Edgar James WOOD (1903-1986) were also big fans of trans-Atlantic cruises. The photo above is one of many cruise photos that Marian and Ed took during their yearly travels to Europe after he retired.

    For the reunion trip, they booked passage on the S.S. France, Cabin P252, from New York to Southampton. (Ed was a prodigious diarist, writing a few lines every day for more than 30 years--that's how I know who/what/when/where.)

    Ed and Marian and their children arrived in Venice starting on September 6, 1972, and did some sightseeing together for a week. Afterward, everyone scattered to visit other European destinations on their own, their flights home also paid for by Brice's legacy.

    This year, I'm creating a family memory booklet with photos from that delightful Venice trip and comments from hubby, his siblings, and the youngsters who played with pigeons in Saint Marks Square (now grown with children of their own). That's one of the many ways* I'm helping to keep the family's history alive for future generations to enjoy!

    --

    *For more ideas, please check out my genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past, available in paperback or Kindle.

    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.

    Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    52 Ancestors #3: Which Grandparents Lived to Meet Their Grandchildren?

    For week 3 of Amy Johnson Crow's latest #52Ancestors challenge, titled "Longevity," I'm looking at which grandparents outlived the other, and who in each couple got to meet their grandchildren.

    At right, my maternal grandparents in 1911, the year they married: Hermina Farkas (1886-1964) and Theodore Schwartz (1887-1965). Although Grandma Minnie and Grandpa Teddy both died at the age of 77, Grandpa Teddy had longevity on his side: He passed away just a few days short of his 78th birthday. Minnie and Teddy got to meet all five of their grandchildren.


    At left, my paternal grandparents in 1937, at the wedding of their younger daughter. They were Henrietta Mahler (1881-1954) and Isaac Burk (1882-1943). Grandma Yetta died at 72, while Grandpa Isaac died at 61 (well before my time). Isaac never met any of his five grandchildren; the first grandchild was born the year after his death, and named in his honor. Yetta knew all but one of their grandchildren, missing the youngest (named in her honor) by only a year.

    At right, my husband's maternal grandparents:
    Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970) and Floyda Mabel Steiner (1878-1948). Granddaddy Brice died just shy of his 92nd birthday, while Grandma Floyda died at 70. Brice's longevity meant that he got to meet all three of his grandchildren but not all of his great-grandchildren.
    At left, my husband's paternal grandparents: James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) and Mary Slatter (1869-1925). Sadly, Grandma Mary was only 55 when she passed away, and none of her children had yet married. Grandpa James died at 67, having met two of his three grandchildren--who were then tiny tykes.

    Wednesday, December 27, 2017

    Most Popular Genealogy Blog Pages in 2017

    In 2017, the most popular page on my blog was the "ancestor landing page" devoted to hubby's 5th great-grandfather, Halbert McClure from Donegal. Also popular were the landing pages about the Larimer family, Schwartz family, Birk family, Bentley family, and Wood family of Ohio.

    These landing pages summarize what I know about each main surname or family on my tree and my husband's tree, including links to my blog posts about those names/families written in more than 9 years of blogging. And yes, these pages are cousin bait that have brought me new connections over the years!

    One other popular page was my Genealogy--Free or Fee page, with links to 17 posts I wrote about frugal research strategies and when it pays to pay for a document.

    The other popular page features Sample Templates (for inventory, indexing, cousin connections, and genealogy sources) I invite you to try or adapt for your own genealogy purposes.

    Happy ancestor hunting in 2018! More to come.

    Saturday, December 23, 2017

    It Was a Busy Genealogy Year in 2017

    This has been an incredibly productive and rewarding year for genealogy--and it's not over. A recap of the year to date:
    • Thanks to newly-discovered ephemera, I smashed a long-standing brick wall on my paternal Burk tree, identified my great-aunts and great-uncles, and met lovely new cousins, who were kind enough to share photos and memories.
    • With the in-person help of one of my UK cousins, I learned the sad truth about hubby's ancestor, Mary Shehen Slatter, who died in a notorious insane asylum in 1889.
    • Cousins I found through genealogy have been taking DNA tests to help in the search for more connections with outlying branches of our mutual trees. At the very least, we've proven our family ties and, sometimes, pinpointed the common ancestor.
    • I've made a lot of progress on writing family history. I updated one family history booklet for my side of the family, based on the new Burk information. I wrote two brand new booklets for hubby's side, one based on his Slatter-Wood roots and one based on his McClure-Larimer roots.
    • I'm about to complete a booklet about my husband's Wood family during World War II, based on interviews with relatives, documents and photos saved by the family, and genealogical research to fill in the gaps.
    • Also, I've written detailed captions for key photos, so future generations will know who's who, when, where, and why.
    • I was a speaker at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference and the International Jewish Genealogy Conference. So many wonderful sessions to attend, excellent speakers, friendly audiences, and a chance to meet blogging buddies in person.
    Already this year, I've written more posts than at any other time in my 9 1/2 years as a genealogy blogger. At top are the stats showing my most popular posts of 2017. If you missed them, here are the links. Thank you for reading--and stay tuned for more posts before the end of the year.
    • Beyond Google Your Family Tree (practical tips for online genealogy searches using five specific search operators)
    • Tuesday's Tip, Genealogy, Free or Fee (try free sources first, but don't hesitate to pay for a Social Security Application if it will show a maiden name you don't have or otherwise move your research forward a leap)
    • Junk or Joy? Think of Future Generations (downsizing or just simplifying your life, consider the significance of family artifacts before deciding to donate, give away, or keep)
    • The Case Against Paperless Genealogy (Why I print everything, file everything. Technology changes rapidly but paper, stored properly, will live on for future generations)
    • Tuesday's Tip, Free or Free Genealogy (Learn to record strip: check every detail on every document or photo, analyze it in the context of what else you know, wring everything you can from the research you have and what you acquire)

    Wednesday, December 20, 2017

    Writing About the Wood Family in WWII

    A page from my new family history booklet, showing some printed items saved by the WOOD family



    This holiday season, I'm giving yet another gift of family history to hubby's siblings and to our grandchildren.

    This time, it's a booklet about the WOOD family in World War II, focusing on Edgar James Wood, his wife Marian Jane McClure Wood, and their three children. For this booklet, I collected memories from hubby and his siblings, reread interviews with my late father-in-law, and picked through the boxes of artifacts, photos, and documents retained in the Wood family.

    One goal is to show the younger generation how family history was actually affected by world history. Above, a page from my booklet, showing some ephemera saved by my late father-in-law. These everyday items (gas ration coupons, a gas ration identification folder, and a thank-you postcard from the Stage Door Canteen) add color and visual interest to the booklet. These items were kept by the family for more than 70 years, and will remain intact for future generations.*

    How often do youngsters see gas ration coupons? Never. And did they know their ancestor entertained servicemen and servicewomen at the Stage Door Canteen on Playhouse Square in Cleveland? Nope.

    Now, when grandkids leaf through this booklet, the colorful ephemera will hopefully grab their attention and draw them into the story. If they read a few paragraphs, they'll suddenly understand that during wartime, the Wood family's life changed in lots of ways.


    *Looking for ways to safeguard family documents/photos and share family history with younger relatives? Please take a look at my affordable book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past, available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. Thanks!