Improvements in transcriptions…

Ancestry.com has a database on their site of Hamburg passenger lists. That would be those people leaving Germany from the port of Hamburg. Recently there has been an update to the database which includes an index of the records from 1850 to about 1890, I think, anyway is covers the dates I need. The great thing about this index is that it is the Archives in Germany that is doing it. Which means that the information from the transcription will be more accurate.

In my case, I was hoping to see a refinement of the entry for  Frederick William John and Henrietta Volk in the records. Which I did. The transcription confirmed that which I believed to be true, but wasn’t quite sure of, F W John and his wife Henrietta both indicated that they were born in Altraden, Posen, Prussia.

It’s not ground breaking news, but it makes me feel better about including the information in my own records. FW’s brother August did not have to give the same information when he emigrated in 1855, he only had to say where he was from, that could just mean where he last lived. We have that information.

At this time there are very few accessible records for Altraden for me to look at. I do keep checking up on Posen websites as there are a few indexing projects going on from church records, but it might be a while before we find anything, if ever.

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What’s in a date?

Elza Shepard
Elza Shepard

Elza Shepard celebrated his 93rd birthday with big fanfare surrounded by friends and family. There was even a write up in the local paper about it.

The only problem is Elza was never 93 years old. He was born anywhere from 1845-1847 according to census records from 1860-1930. The most accurate census would be the 1860 one where his is living with his parents Hartley and Susannah Shepard and he is 13 years old. Most of the census records agree with the 1846-1847 time period.

His death record indicates he was born in 1841. Death records are notorious for having this kind of information wrong, especially the early ones where birth records don’t exist. I can say with great confidence that it is incorrect. Elza probably forgot when he was born and over time the date changed and was mis-remembered.

So in actual fact when Elza died he was no more than 88 years old. A great age to celebrate anyway.

More union soldiers, a wedding and a death…

I am back from my trip to Salt Lake City. Who would think that a weeks vacation could be that exhausting.

I spent many an hour looking bleary eyed at microfilm. All in an effort to find something new about our  ancestors. I am happy to say that I did find a tidbit or two.

Firstly, until just this last week I had no idea when Jennie/Jannett Smith Rosa Lavelley died. I did know it was after 1870 and before 1898 (according to her ex-husband, Abram Rosa’s, pension). But this week I found a quit claim deed filed in Berrien County, Michigan labeled ‘Jannett Rosa, by heirs’ to Michael Smith [her brother]. The incriminating bit of information in that index entry was the ‘by heirs’ part. The deed was filed in 1877. Okay, it didn’t give me the exact date of death, but now I know that Jennie died between 1870 and 1877, a much shorter date range. Who knows, maybe a bit of digging in my own backyard will turn up more on that issue, after all she lived in Oconto.

Secondly, the Buchanan family has been researched by others, but some of what they have put out there is wrong. I now know that Margaret and William Buchanan died in Jackson County, West Virginia. Margaret in 1883 and William in 1891. I found their death records online. Easy peasy. Well, after Margaret died, William must have been feeling a bit lonely because he married again in 1884 to an Emily Duke. How do I know this, land records. William and Emily are selling land together to family, etc. in Jackson County in the 1880s. It took me a while to realize that the name of his wife was Emily in the deeds as I am mostly just photographing records and looking at them later. I am glad I did though. Now I can add Emily to the records. I even confirmed the marriage by finding their certificate online.

Thirdly, After learning about Emily, I dug around on Ancestry to see if there was something I missed about William Buchanan in their online records. William is the first Shepard side ancestor I have found to have been an actual soldier in the Civil War. He joined the Union’s 17th Regiment, Company D, Infantry. He was only in the war for about a year, the same as F. W. John. He appears to have survived the war without any incidents. But, he didn’t live long enough to file a pension having died in 1891. Emily his wife died by 1900, as we know from the land records. When she died the land she inherited from William, had to pass on to his children: Jane, Ebenezer, Rebecca and Sarah.

All in all I have had affirmed in my mind the importance of land records in doing one’s research. It can lead you to finding all kinds of little gems.

This is the page from the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule showing William Buchanan.

Who knew…a johnny reb wanna-be

Well it finally happened, something so unexpected I almost hate to share. It looks like we have ourselves a little confederate wanna-be in our family tree.

Fold3 is a great website for researching military history, and like other sites of the same nature they are always adding new content. So I was checking into a lesser researched ancestor by the name of Dallas Lemasters. This gentleman is of French Huguenot descent and married Mary Headlee in 1834, in West Virginia. Their daughter Lydia married Thomas R. Stackpole.

When the Civil War started in 1861 Dallas was in his 50s, so a little too old to be joining the ranks of soldiers to fight for his cause. Instead he and his brother Septimus along with Septimus’ son Jasper decided to join a party of civilian guerillas, whose intent was to fight the enemy, that being the Union Army, on their own. Unfortunately, for them, they were captured by the Union and imprisoned at Camp Chase in Ohio. At the time of their parole hearing, several citizens in the area Jasper was from recommended that Jasper stay imprisoned as they considered him a very dangerous man. Dallas and Septimus were released on their own recognizance in November 21, 1862 after signing an oath to protect and preserve the Union.

So far I haven’t been able to find out anything more about this turn of events, but I will keep on working at it.

Camp Chase in Ohio, Civil War prison camp for Confederates.

Heading to Salt Lake City, Utah again…

The first week of June I will be heading my way southwest to Salt Lake City, Utah for another bout of mainlined research. I have been spending most of my weekends making my lists and checking them twice. The research this time will focus on two families, mainly the Brooks of Albany, New York and the Shepard lines of Westfield, Massachusetts. I am more interested in the Brooks, but I also don’t want to neglect those lines related to the Shepards in Westfield. There are quite a few, Dewey being one of the big ones.

I don’t know if we are related to Melvil Dewey the guy who invented the Dewey Decimal System, but we are related to the guy to created the Webster Dictionary, he is a distant cousin, our common ancestor being Governor John Webster of Connecticut.

Lots of interesting tidbits have been popping up in my research lately. Especially when checking into those old New England surnames on the Shaw side of the family.

Of special note are three surnames in our ancestry who were somehow involved in witch trials in Long Island and Connecticut in the 1600s. In one case our ancestral husband and wife were witnesses, the accused was found not guilty. In another case two of our ancestors were jurors in the same trial, they found the accused husband and wife guilty; they were sentenced to death. So we have a couple more ancestors who can be called murderers, all in a good cause of course.

Postmaster in the house…

The JOHN family has a few postmasters in its background. This position was due to two of our ancestors working with the rail system, Frederick William in Gillett and Victor Hugo in Wabeno and the surrounding area. Victor was in fact station agent in Wabeno for many years.

Ancestry.com just this week uploaded their postmaster appointment database with image and I decided to look for both of the above named gentlemen. The top image is FW John’s appointment and the bottom image is Victor Hugo’s (just click on the images to see a larger version). Here is a description of the collection from Ancestry:

This is a database of post office appointments stretching from 1832 until 1971. The records are mostly a register of people appointed to run post offices, but opening and closing of post offices, as well as Presidential appointments and Senate confirmations are included. The records primarily include name, appointment date, vacancy cause, vacancy date, post office location, state, county, and volume.

I looked for William A. Shepard in the database, but did not find him.

Society of the Cincinnati…

I have been doing a little reading about Shay’s Rebellion. Why you ask? Well as my ancestor General William Shepard was one of the major players in this incident, I thought it might be relevant to my research.

I won’t be going into the rebellion as this time, but in my reading of the incident I ran across an interesting tidbit about William. He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati.

The Anderson House where the Society’s archives and main branch resides.

According to Wikipedia and the Society’s own website this organization was created in 1783  at the Continental Army encampment at Newburgh, New York. The concept was started by Henry Knox and would consist of only those officers who has served 3 years and were above a certain rank. It is the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, founded by officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts who served together in the American Revolution. Its mission was to promote knowledge and appreciation of the achievement of American independence and to foster fellowship among its members.

William joined the Massachusetts group.

There was some controversy when the organization first started as many Americans were fearful that the group was trying to create an hereditary aristocracy. The group was a bit shocked by the accusations, and decided to change a few of it’s policy’s and rules to alleviate some of the fears of the American citizens, the main one being it’s restriction of hereditary membership to the eldest son.

The group continues to this day. If you want to read more about them check out wiki or go to their web site: http://societyofthecincinnati.org/.

A little cemetery visit…

Seeing as it is close to Halloween, (my favorite holiday), I thought this bit of news was very appropriate to share.

I have been going over Shaw research the last week or so as you can tell from my previous post where I found Montral and Charlotte’s marriage record. So here is a little cemetery visit without having to leave the comfort of home.

Below is a link to the Shaw Cemetery on Jett Hill in Clemont County, Ohio. The local genealogical society has taken pics of all the headstones found in the cemetery along with a few landscape shots. This is where John and Idea (Webb) Shaw are buried, along with other related family members.

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohclecgs/cemeteries/shaw/index.html

Courtesy of the Clermont County Genealogical Society

Back in the saddle again…

Well I took off a whole summer to rejuvenate and renew. That will be why you saw very few posts for the last few months.

But here I am back with a little tidbit. I have been doing a little housekeeping of my genealogy software starting with me and going back each generation. I am making sure that I actually have documents to back up my findings for me, my parents, my grandparents, etc. It’s easy to know the dates and places from such recent events, but in the process one has to still back all the information up with actual documents.

So here my first effort, a marriage record for Montral Goble Shaw and Charlotte Hatch, from Cayuhoga County, Ohio found online at Ancestry.com:

Montral G. Shaw and Charlotte Hatch marriage license

It is surprising how many documents one thinks one has when they are working with their more recent family history. Now is the time to rectify that situation.

Great expectations…

Well it finally arrived. The 1940 census, 72 years after the fact.

Day one of research – total server meltdown. After a few hours I just said fugetaboudit. Day two – better luck, I managed to acquire a couple of records. Day three – much better access, found a few more records and only a few more to go. By Friday I had pretty much found all the records I will be able to. The only missing one is of course, Fred Hamm, my wandering vagabond.

So for your viewing pleasure the 1940 census for Clarence and Mytle John:

This census shows Clarence, Myrtle, Claire, Victor and Carol all living in Laona, Wisconsin. My one hope for this record was to see if Clarence was listed as having worked for one of the Government programs like the WPA or CCC, unfortunately there is just a dash in the box. Clarence was also one of the two people on a page that were asked extra questions in this particular census. The only item of interest to me was his occupation was listed as forestry and government work. So maybe because he wasn’t one of the unemployed men working for the WPA or CCC, he isn’t listed as working for either program, even though he was but in a different capacity.

Next is William and Lois Shepard:

In this census you can see that Lois and William are living with William’s parent’s William and Rachel in Genoa Township, Delaware County, Ohio. This is just north of the Westerville area. None of the Shepard children are born yet, looks like we will have to wait another 10 years for the next census.

So I am pretty much done looking for relatives in this census. Carrie Cain is still around as is Eliza Hays. I even found Emil Hamm in Duluth, while looking for Carrie/Kari Amundson. Fred Hamm is my only fly in the ointment. I checked the complete census for Shawano County,Wisconsin as that was his last place of residence in the 1930 census, but that was a bust. No surprise there. Looks like I will have to wait for the indexing to be done.