Arches at Glendalough 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2015

When the genealogy bites-HARD!

My sisters were never really interested in genealogy. My youngest sister would drive around with me and send me things as she found them, she didn't have the time to look for me. Our middle sister could care even less... until last summer. What a gem to have her help! She has even taken pictures of cows for me!

So what does a cow have to with genealogy? She spent an entire day driving around looking for a small cemetery on a back road. She went by the same area three times before the said cow, mooed, and ran towards the cemetery she was looking for. It gives a new meaning to cow tipping.

Then she has made friends at the local historical societies that I have been trying to get to visit. The result? Two books on the local history and a stack of records.

Have faith that one your siblings/cousins/relatives get bitten by the genealogy bug. And let's hope they get it bitten hard. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Browns of eastern Connecticut

I am inspired! Every time I attend the NERGC conference (This year it was Providence, RI!) I come back home ready to sort through my dropped keys aka brick walls.

And of course the biggest "dropped key" are my Browns. It wouldn't be bad if there was one Brown or two, but the last count I had was five-three direct line; two relatives of the other three who married Browns. I have been focusing my research to see if the five are connected.  Separating them has helped too. But they keep returning to the same families.

I am getting closer to my answers. I just need to go back to the local location or to the Connecticut State Library to research.

The biggest clue is the Baptist church connection. I separated all the Browns married by Simeon and Ebenezer Brown including my Sabra/Sabrina and have been focusing on the families. Most of them are showing up in the Chad Brown Genealogy except for my Sabrina. By creating a chart showing which Brown was married by Ebenezer and Simeon I have been able to place everyone but my Sabrina and another person, Lucy Brown. (I have my fingers crossed that the two may be related!)

I am also focusing on Amos Brown who married Eunice Turner. They had a daughter Sabra who married and moved to upstate NY. the reason why I am focusing on them is that their naming patterns of children matches my Sabrina's children. Even the use of Sabra and Sabrina in their family records makes my genealogy antennae stand straight up. My theory is to focus Amos's brothers and see if my Sabrina pops in their records.

Of course I need to look at the church records too! (Fortunately they are on microfilm at the Connecticut State Library!)

My second line of Browns is my Zeruiah/Zerviah Buttolph who married Squire Richard Brown. The family Bible states his father is Silvanus/Sylvanus. I do find a Squire Richard Brown in the Brown genealogy with no other information. And remarkably these two do show up in -of all genealogies-the Cleveland Genealogy.

Bug eyed? Yes! But I have a feeling that the more I sort the Browns, the closer I am to getting an answer.

(BTW-next NERGC conference is in Springfield MA in 2017.)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Little star

A quick tip of the day: Use the * when conducting a search on any database or search engine.

I couldn't find a family member in NJ -even though I knew he was living in Paterson. (The city directories showed him there!) By using the first three letters of his name followed by an asterisk, I found him!

Amazing what a cute little star can do for a genealogist!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The genealogy future

I may have posted something similar a few years ago. But since then some things have happened to make me rethink my genealogical research. Between 1860 (give or take a few years) and 2000 we have had the luxury of looking for our ancestors in traditional resources-census records, church records, obituaries, and city directories-just to name a few. But think for a second. How will the future genealogists find us?

Would they look for us in the city directory or phone book? Think about it...when was the last time you saw a phone book let alone find yourself in it?

Ok, you are thinking perhaps in a newspaper or obituary. True. But think about how many people are bypassing newspapers and going for online newspapers. Perhaps if future genealogists are very lucky, they may find an online article about you. But I know quite a few people-including family members- who have chosen not to have an obituary published. (The good news is that funeral homes have been publishing them online. There is that one constant source still available!)

Church records? More and more people are not following the traditional routes of church memberships. Churches are not seeing the memberships they had in the 1960s and 1970s.

Social security records? You have to wait 3 years before you can see someone who passed in 2015. Could a future Congress close all of these records?

School records? My district keeps those private.

Census records? I am wondering what we will see when the 1950 and 1960 census are released.. And the last census form I filled out in 2010 had very little of information for the genealogist.

Land records are still a good source-if you purchased property. And of course tax records will be available. I wonder if  the IRS records would one day place these records in the National Archives?

It is very hopeful that the future genealogists will be able to type a name and find something online. But what if the unthinkable happens? How will the future genealogist find you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Genealogy Roadshow on PBS is back. I watched the first episode on demand and still have that the feeling that I had when I first saw it last year. "More, please!" I loved the first episode of the year and can't wait until Tuesday night to see "more" of the show.

The stories from the first show were fabulous. I enjoyed each and everyone of them. My favorite was the Mardi Gras queen seeking out her family history and her involvement with the Mardi Gras parade. I felt and understood her anger and wanted to hug and cry with her. But I also want her to know that her ancestor would be proud of the fact that she would remember and honor him and was loved by her family today. I hope they will do a "follow-up" showing her costume honoring his life.

 I loved the story of the couple with the Italian ancestors from the same town. When host Mary Tedesco told the couple that their families probably knew each, the ornery side of me shouted, "More!" I know that with just a little more research they probably would be related to each other. And after having the pleasure to hearing Mary speak last March, I'm certain she knew that too.

I am looking forward to seeing the Philadelphia show. I am certain that I will be shouting, "More, please!" before this episode is over.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Buttolphs of New England

Happy 2015! 2014 slipped by me too quickly. A wedding and many talks later I finally have had a few minutes to blog.

My genealogy focus of 2014 was to further and enrich my research. Years ago I had a cousin send me notes from her grandmother's Bible. The best part was that my second and third great-grandmothers were included in these notes. They showed information about our common ancestors including our other third great-grandmother and her parents' names: Richard Brown and Zeruiah Buttolph. I attempted a search for Richard Brown...especially in New England. And the genealogy goddess was hysterical.

For years I cringed whenever I thought about trying to search the Brown name and will gladly admit that I was a genealogy ostrich-I put my head in the sand and pushed it off.

In my mind I  could hear my second  great-grandmother answering my question: What was your mother's mother's maiden name? Brown.
What was your father's mother's maiden name? Brown

Where they related? No answer because I couldn't find a connection. And that was the reason I put my head in the sand.

In some ways it was probably better that I waited. I gained knowledge and skills for my genealogy repertoire and finally felt I was genealogically strong to attempt to find my Browns. It wasn't easy because we have three Browns married into our Caswells/Wilkinsons families- two at the same generation.

But I did have a juicy, awesome clue on the one line...Richard Brown married Zeruiah Buttolph. Buttolph-now that was a name to sink my genealogy choppers into. And it wasn't long before I was yearning to stick my head in the sand again.

Through research done by previous generations I was able to trace the name from John Buttolph of Boston through Wethersfield and down into eastern CT. But added to the confusion was that there was a string of George Buttolphs. And misinformation galore.

First, the name had numerous spellings-Buttolph, Buttolf, Buttles, Bertles to name a few. Then there were all those Georges. Someone had connected them but with no source documents. The knot  seemed to become tighter with George, the Revolutionary soldier. Unless there was a father and son who served, the George I found died and was buried in Preston, CT. Even his pension records show his residence in eastern CT. But some sources have Chester, MA. I looked and didn't find him there.

A check of genealogies and histories found Revolutionary George listed in the Ancient Families of Wethersfield and in the Cleveland Genealogy. But no references to actual sources...very frustrating! I looked at NEHGS and CT State Library and found Revolutionary George's burial in Preston church records. Finally- a real source!

What perplexes me is why would people continue mistakes when there are great articles in TAG that have addressed mistakes others have made. Even the late Dr. George McCracken attempted to sort the Buttolphs and used the Cleveland  Genealogy and  Ancient Families of Wethersfield as sources.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Internal/External traits

Last week I taught my third graders the importance of character traits. By the time the lesson was over, I was humbled by my little folks' minds and comments. It made realize that genealogy ideas for research and writing can come from any location, place, or setting. Children have the most erratic but flexible minds...that is way I love working with them.

It began with my story of my sea captain, James Peters. I told the class of the time period after the American Revolution when the French began to suspect their new American allies were still friendly to the English and were likely to act like them. Both the English and French navies were impressing American sailors into service and the results leading to the French Spoliation. Fascinated by James Peters' story of hiding his ship logs so that the French Navy couldn't confiscate his cargo, my class assisted me in creating a character traits for him. Here is a snippet of the conversation that day...

"He had to be strong to sail the ship."
"He had to brave to fight off pirates or to sail to places he never had been before."
"What color was his hair?" Which I responded that I didn't know. "It could be possible that it was black and curly like yours."  Hmm... I never thought about that.
"Did he have a beard? That would make a good disguise to hide him from the pirates."
"He could have had blue eyes like you!"
"He had to be smart to hide the his papers."
"Or clever."
"He had to be friendly so he could meet and make new friends." I didn't think of that possibility!
"He had to know how to read maps so he wouldn't get lost."
"He had to know how to read ." I had told him how  1001 Arabian Nights  was in his book collection from his will.
"And he knew how to write ." This was after I told them how one of his letters is recorded in the Congressional Records.
"He could speak French!" piped one little boy. Oui! I didn't think about that!
"He was lonely." When asked to explain, the student said, "He sailed away from his family to help them have a better life. He must have missed them very much."

When we were through I stepped back and examined at the traits. Whether or not these traits were right, it gave me a moment to reflect on what I learned. Thanks to my students I was able to understand my ancestor a little better.