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

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Remembering Moms on Mother's Day

Daisy Ruth Schwartz
It's been a very long time since I was able to say "Happy Mother's Day" to my mother, Daisy Ruth Schwartz Burk (1919-1981). She is still much beloved and much missed, not just on Mother's Day. Above, a formal portrait of Mom as a young lady.
Marian Jane McClure
Alas, I never had the opportunity to meet my husband's mother, Marian Jane McClure Wood (1909-1983). An only child lavished with love by doting parents, she's shown above in her 20s. How I wish I could have gotten to know her. She's remembered with great affection on this Mother's Day.

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.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Ancestors Had Large Families, Descendants Had Small Families

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

Wood Family: 17 Kids

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

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

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

McClure Family: 10 Kids

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

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

Mahler Family: 8 Kids

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

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

Farkas Family: 11 Kids

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

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

Friday, March 1, 2019

At the Wyandot County Courthouse

Many of my husband's ancestors are buried in the Old Mission Cemetery in Upper Sandusky, Wyandot County, Ohio (shown above). Yes, this is the cemetery with the famously incorrect gravestone for Christiana Haag, showing a death date of February 31, 1869.

Wyandot County Courthouse

We visited a few years ago and also went to the nearby Wyandot County Courthouse, which has a place in movie history: It was featured in  the 1993 feature film The Shawshank Redemption.

While at the courthouse, my hubby and I searched for records of the STEINER family. We quickly found records showing his great-great grandpa Edward George Steiner and great-grand uncle Samuel D. Steiner had been been charged with aiding and abetting the felony burglary of a store-house. We never found proof of conviction, or any other resolution. End of that story.

Probate at the Courthouse

Great-grandpa Edward George Steiner and his wife Elizabeth Jane Rinehart had eight children in all. The five siblings who survived to adulthood were close throughout their lives. All are, in fact, buried at Old Mission Cemetery, near their parents.

Using Family Search to browse the unindexed, image-only book of files at the Wyandot County Probate Court, we found hubby's grandpa Brice Larimer McClure and grandma Floyda Steiner McClure named as fiduciaries for the estate of Minnie Steiner Halbedel. (See image above.)

Floyda and Minnie were born 10 years apart but still maintained close bonds. I wasn't at all surprised that Minnie's estate records show so many family members in her bequests.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's #52Ancestors prompt of "At the Courthouse."

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Genealogy Blog as Cousin Bait

Hubby's ancestor Benjamin McClure was a 19th-century civic leader in Wabash, Indiana
Last Sunday, I watched a very interesting live webinar by Tammy Hepps, "Technology for Cousin Bait That Works." Tammy's main point: Cousins and genealogy researchers can't find us if our content (written and/or illustration) doesn't appear in the first page or two of search results.

And lucky for me, Elizabeth O'Neal's Genealogy Blog Party this month is all about tuning up our blogs. She has links to lots of ways to test blogs, analyze search rankings, and improve the look and content of our blogs.

Here's what I did to I tune up my blog as cousin bait.

Search Like a Cousin

What, exactly, will attract a cousin? One 2d cousin found my blog because I had written about a synagogue where our ancestors were married. When she did an online search to learn more about that synagogue, my blog post ranked high in the results. She clicked to read more...and, happily for me and my family, she contacted me! One of my friends occasionally receives inquiries from people who find her blog because she posted about an orphanage where her ancestors were placed.

To search like a cousin, think like a cousin. Try searches using key words that might attract our cousins, including surnames and related key words. So far, I have been pleased with the results rankings.

Blogger already allows me to assign "labels" (key words) for each blog entry (such as a surname or a topic). I also list key words in my blog's description, and have changed these over time. Since I can't always predict what a cousin will look for, I go beyond surnames to include religious institutions, places, and so forth.

Surnames and Easy Contact

You can see the main surnames I'm researching along the right side of my blog.  Plus along the top of my blog, I have a series of "landing pages" for main surnames and the stories of those ancestors or families. I want these to be visible and I want cousins to know I welcome contact, as Tammy suggested.

In the past couple of years, I added a contact gadget just above the surname listing. Currently, I receive 1-2 inquiries every month. Not everyone who uses the contact gadget turns out to be a cousin, but I still appreciate that they make the effort to get in touch.

Blog Tune Up: Subheads and Captions

Yet another place to insert key words, Tammy noted, is in subheads of blog posts. Who knew? So now I'm tuning up my blog to add subheads, an easy tweak that might boost a post's rankings in search results when cousins go looking for their FAN club. Also, I'm going back to writing captions that include surnames and other key words, such as shown at top.

Finally, blog content must look good on mobile devices, an important criterion used by search engines. Mine looks fine on a small screen, according to the preview in my Blogger dashboard.

If you're reading this on your phone or pad, doesn't Benjamin McClure (1812-1896) look like a determined pioneer farmer and respectable civic leader?!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Preview of My Year in Genealogy - 2019

2019

I'm looking forward to a busy and rewarding year of #genealogy challenges, fun, breakthroughs, and connections in 2019.

As mentioned in my previous post, I went happily down the rabbit hole of unexpected family history developments in 2018 (including the very welcome surprise of receiving Farkas Family Tree documents, related to my mother's family, to scan, index, and share with cousins).

That's why I didn't accomplish all I'd planned to do when I previewed my 2018 agenda at the end of last December, so these two items are carried over to 2019.
  • I have two new family memory booklets in the planning stages. One will be about my mother (Daisy Schwartz Burk, 1919-1981) and her twin sister (Dorothy Helen Schwartz, 1919-2001). The other will be about my husband's parents (Marian McClure Wood, 1909-1983 and Edgar James Wood, 1903-1986).
  • I was planning more intensive investigations of my DNA matches, beginning with color-coding matches to see who fits where in the family tree. Then I heard about DNA Painter at RootsTech2018. Still, this went to the back burner in 2018. Not sure whether DNA will be a front-burner activity in 2019, but I will follow up the most promising of my DNA matches.
Another "resolution" for 2019 is to continue my genealogy education through attendance at Family Tree Live (London) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference (Washington, D.C.). It will be wonderful to meet other genealogy buffs, chat with speakers, and connect with blogging/tweeting friends in person at these conferences. 

Most of all, I am excited about staying in touch with my cousins--perhaps even making contact with cousins I didn't know about. The family tree is alive with leaves representing cousins of all ages, all over the world, connected by our #familyhistory. I am so grateful for you, cousins, sharing what you know about our ancestors and forging new bonds that we hope will endure into the next generation.

--

This "resolutions" post is the final #52Ancestors challenge for 2018. As always, thank you to Amy Johnson Crow for a year of thought-provoking prompts. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Historical Fiction Reveals Real Conflict in Ancestral Town

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 cousins Larry and Mike for uncovering new details tracing the Wood tree year after year after year...

The tenth generation back is John Wood Jr. (1620?-1704). This was most likely the last Wood generation of my husband's family to be born in England. I hypothesize* that 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 is not legible, and 1620 is the "calculated" 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.

*Updated to reflect cousin Mike's comments about clearly noting hypotheses. Thank you! I don't want to perpetuate unproven info as "fact." And so far, no response from the Find-a-Grave contributor about James Andrew McClure.

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!