Saturday, September 27, 2008

Getting to Know Me, Getting to Know AnceStories

With the advent of so many new genealogy blogs online, Terry Thornton of Hill Country of Monroe County has challenged all genea-bloggers (newbies and old hands) to introduce themselves and their blogs. Two months ago, I wrote a similar post, "What This Blog is All About," here.

My name is Miriam Robbins Midkiff, and I live in Spokane, Washington, USA, about 15 miles west of the Idaho border, the largest urban area between Seattle and Minneapolis. I've been married for 21 years, and we have two good-looking, intelligent, and compassionate high-school-age teens (one of each). By turns we are adored or ignored by our frisky middle-aged tabby, Tessa. I've been a special education paraeducator with my local school district for nine years, where I work with developmentally impaired teens at the middle-school level. I also teach online genealogy classes (basic and intermediate) through the local community college district and the county library district. I'm a member of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, am active on several committees--including co-authoring their blog--and teach and speak at both EWGS and other societies in the Inland Northwest. I'm a co-administrator at Facebook's Genea-Bloggers Group, and have several other blogs I (try to) maintain!

As you can see, genealogy is a huge part of my life. I began this blog as an outlet for the need to write about something--anything--on a regular basis. I can't not write! "AnceStories" was a word I coined when I created a website years ago to write the stories of my ancestors. I discovered blogging was a lot quicker and easier than creating web pages. Series are especially interesting for me to write, but I admit that I'm not always good at wrapping them up! Lately, I've been posting photos for Wordless Wednesday, a follow-up on the photo on Thursday, and then blogging about recent research on Friday Findings. The first day of every month, I post a Calendar of Events. I also will post press releases for genealogy-related companies, but rarely do reviews of products (non-fiction books seem to be my main exception to that rule). It's through this blog that I explain, announce, and invite others to participate with me in Scanfest.

My brightest article was originally submitted for a military-themed genealogy writing contest and was a first-prize winner: A Polar Bear in North Russia. It's about my great-grandfather's service in the U.S. Army in Russia, of all places. It's a little-known fact in American history that we sent troops there to fight against communist forces.

My breeziest ones were about Alice Teddy, the Rollerskating Bear. I got some surprising media attention for these!

Not all my articles are about bears! My most beautiful article was "One Woman: Barbara Dorothy Valk, Missionary to Central Africa, which I wrote for the 20th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy and Women's History Month 2007. In researching and interviewing relatives for background for this mini-biography, I was rewarded by discovering she was so much more than the elderly spinster aunt of my mother that I recalled meeting only twice.

I enjoy receiving comments from my readers, and try to follow up on them regularly. Lately, now that school has started, and being hampered by a shoulder injury, I'm neither blogging nor following up on comments as much as I would like. Please know that I read all comments before publishing them, as well as any e-mails I receive; I appreciate your patience as it takes longer to respond these days. The best way to get to know me within the framework of this blog is to become a regular reader by bookmarking this blog or subscribing via e-mail or a feed reader (see upper right-hand margin to enable any of those features). Visiting my profile will also tell you a bit about what motivates me to write. While I mainly write for my own pleasure and to record my family's history, it always encourages me when I receive "fan e-mail," too! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to get to know me and AnceStories a little better!

Join Us for Scanfest Tomorrow!

The September 2008 Scanfest will be held tomorrow, Sunday, September 28th from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time. Thomas MacEntee and I have agreed to change things up a bit, but don't worry: whether you're a die-hard Scanfester OR new to Scanfest, we are offering several options for you to enjoy your scanning and connecting experience!

Here are the choices we are offering:

A. You can chat using Windows Live Messenger. I'll be coordinating this side of the event.

B. You can voice chat using Skype. Please see the post Thomas wrote entitled "Scanfest Speaks - Scanfest and Skype" at Destination: Austin Family.

C. You can conference call with your telephone. Again, see Thomas' post. Thomas will host the Skype/conference calling side of Scanfest.

D. You can choose to do both chatting and calling (using either Skype or your telephone).

Following are basic steps to prepare for the regular Scanfest, using Windows Live Messenger for chatting. Steps Four and Five are important, no matter which media you choose to use to connect.

Please follow these steps for a smooth start-up and an enjoyable time getting to know others. You will want to do this BEFORE tomorrow's session to make your experience go more smoothly, and so that I will not be spending the first hour or so getting everyone set up, and can do some scanning myself!

1. You need to have Windows Live Messenger downloaded to your computer. Mac users, use this link.

2. Windows Live Messenger works best with Hotmail or Gmail accounts. I don't know why, it just does. I recommend Gmail, because it has such good spam filters.

3. Send me an e-mail to let me know you've gotten all set up with Windows Live Messenger, so I can add you to my list of contacts. Check your e-mail account (the one that you will be using as a sign-in for Windows Live Messenger) to see if I have verified you and invited you to Scanfest. PLEASE NOTE: I'll be away from my computer a lot this coming week as my husband is taking some time off from work and we have a couple of houseguests. Please be patient if I do not respond to your e-mails for a few days.

4. Go to Sally Jacob's website here to sign up for her free newsletter. It will enable you to download her helpful information called 8 Blunders People Make When They Scan Photographs...and How You Can Avoid Them All. You do not want to be scanning photos as .jpg files or at 150 dpi (dots per inch)! Sally's pamphlet will explain all!

5. Take some time to figure out what you want to scan before Sunday. Otherwise, you'll spend all your time sorting and not scanning.

6. On Sunday at 11 AM, PDT, or whenever you plan to join the chat (you don't have to be present the entire three hours), sign in to Windows Live Messenger, and if you've done Step 3, you'll see my icon lit up on your list of contacts. Click on my icon and send me a message. I'll add you to our group conversation.

No matter which option you choose, I'm sure you'll enjoy getting to know other family historians and archivists, as well as getting your precious family photos and documents scanned and preserved for future generations!

Carnivals Galore!

It's that time of year! The nights are cooling off, and the days are mild and pleasant. Leaves are beginning to turn, and mums are blooming in gardens. It's the perfect time to take a break from raking leaves and pine cones or cleaning gutters and enjoy a favorite virtual magazine or two. In the past few days, three carnivals have been posted, providing us with a plethora of enjoyable and pleasant reading for the weekend!

poster courtesy of footnoteMaven

The 1st Edition of the Canadian Genealogy Carnival was published on Wednesday at Kathryn Lake Hogan's Looking4Ancestors. "My Ancestor Was Canadian, Eh!" was the topic, and nine ladies submitted eleven posts describing their Canadian ancestors. Mine was a mini-series, with two posts describing my own Canadian heritage, and one describing my husband's. I know I'm repeating myself here, but I'm so excited to see the genesis of this carnival, because my focus this past year has been to learn more about and break down walls of my Canadian ancestors! This carnival will allow me to network with and learn from my fellow researchers from the land up north.

The topic for the next edition of the Canadian Genealogy Carnival is "My Famous Canadian Ancestor". Was your ancestor a famous Canadian hockey player, actor or politician? Tell us about famous Canadians in your family. Don't have a famous Canadian ancestor in your family tree? Not to worry; choose a famous Canadian you admire and share why you would like to have this person as your ancestor. Deadline for submissions is December 7, 2008. Submit your blog article using the carnival submission form.

Steve Danko hosted the 11th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy at his blog, Steve's Genealogy Blog, also published on Wednesday. Eight participants wrote about the given names of their ancestors: naming patterns, nicknames, saint names, and name changes. I've always been fascinated by the way Eastern European names variate, with one name having the possibility of a dozen (or more) nicknames! Even if you're like myself, without much or any heritage from this corner of Europe, you'll enjoy the interesting articles submitted to this carnival.

Jessica Oswalt of Jessica's Genejournal will host the 12th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern Genealogy, and has put out the call for submissions. The topic will be folklore, myths, legends and ghost stories, traditions or festivals of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The submissions do not necessarily have to be a part of your family tradition; it could be a submission on a historical event or it could just have been a part of the culture of your ancestor. The deadline for submissions is October 29. You can submit your articles here.

On Thursday, Lisa of Small-Leaved Shamrock posted the 8th Edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. It was the "Back to School" edition, with nine bloggers submitting their Irish genealogy research goals and cultural and heritage education plans for the coming school year. Three additional submissions on Irish heritage were also included. Celtic roots or not, you'll be inspired by the ideas submitted here; perhaps you'll read something that will help you in your own research goals.

The 9th Edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture will be hosted by Bill West of West in New England:
Halloween (or Samhain as it was known among the ancient Celts) is approaching and what better time to tell us about your family’s Irish superstitions? Perhaps you have stories about strange coincidences and events that might have been passed down by your Irish relatives, or even know of some favorite legend or haunted place in Ireland. Share them with us in the next edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture.

Deadline for submissions for the Irish Superstitions edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture is October 25th.

Aren't these great? I hope that you'll take the time this weekend to browse through these virtual publications and consider submitting a post to at least one of these fascinating genealogical writing challenges! I'm sure that, like myself, you'll discover a blog or two that's new to you and add it to your favorites or your feed reader. Congratulations to submitters and hosts alike for providing a wealth of information, heritage, and quality writing for so many to enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Scanfest is Coming...

...this Sunday, September 28th from 11 AM to 2 PM, PDT. Stay tuned for more info and details.

Thomas and I are cranking it up to a new level!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Norm's Got Canadians

My kids' dad has a couple of ancestral lines on his mother's side that came through Canada. Just as in Part One and Part Two of my Miriam's Got Canadians posts that I've been writing for the first edition of the Canadian Genealogy Carnival, I thought I would list his ancestors by their ahnentafel number and provide a map showing their families' locations.

26. George TURK, a.k.a. Henry LYTON was born in 1836 in Ontario, probably in Ottawa, Carelton County. He was the 3rd of eleven children born to Samuel TURK and Lydia GILLETT. I wrote a biographical sketch of George/Henry for my Civil War Soldiers and Sailor Series here. I have not pursued this line as I had hoped, but with the many Canadian resources available online, I hope to remedy this soon.

29. Rachel HUBBY was born in 1832 in Canada, probably in Kent Co., Ontario. She was the oldest of 14 children born to John HUBBY, Sr. and Hannah JONES. Rachel and her younger six siblings were born in Ontario; by 1844, the family was in Shirland, Winnebago Co., Illinois. Rachel married Francois Joseph MARTIN, a French immigrant, by 1848. They lived in Lind, Jones, and Boone Counties in Iowa, then removed to Avon, Bon Homme Co., Dakota Territory (now South Dakota). Francois died there in 1887; Rachel in 1892.

58 and 59. John HUBBY was born in 1797 in either Scotland or Ontario. He married Hannah JONES, born 1812 in New York, by 1832. Their first seven children were born in Ontario; one is known to have been born in Kent County. They removed to Illinois by 1844. They immigrated to Lind Co., Iowa by 1852; Jones Co., Iowa by 1854; and Boone Co., Iowa by 1880. Hannah died there in 1879, and John in 1880.


In these three posts you have the Canadian ancestors of our children. I do know that we have SAYERS and WILKINSON descendants still living in Canada. I have met several of my SAYERS' cousins and we collaborate on our research. I am most actively pursuing my WILKINSON ancestry at this time, and I would like to pursue my kids' paternal TURK ancestry as well.

Miriam's Got Canadians - Part II

In Part One, I listed the Canadian ancestors of my Dad's father's family. Part Two will list his mother's Canadian ancestry. I have prefaced each paragraph with the ahnentafel number of my ancestor, and have included a map for easy reference. While I understand that the information here is probably not going to be very interesting to anyone other than myself, I do hope that by posting it, I may be able to connect with other descendants of these ancestors!

22. My paternal grandmother's maternal grandfather was Orlando BARBER, born 1868 in Ontario, very likely in or around Owen Sound, Grey County (where his younger sister Caroline was said to have been born two years later). Unfortunately, the birth records for that location begin in 1869! I ordered them on microfilm through my local Family History Center, just in case his birth was recorded, but alas! I could not find his birth, nor even that of Caroline. It's possible they were instead born in Amabel, Bruce County, because their father, James BARBER, appears on the 1871 Canadian Census Index, there. Orlando was the second of 10 children born to James and his wife, Elizabeth COLE. We can determine that the BARBER family immigrated to Lapeer, Lapeer Co., Michigan around 1876, because on the 1880 Federal Census, the five oldest children are listed as being born in Ontario, with five-year-old Anna being the last of that bunch, and the next two children having Michigan has a birth place, with 3-year-old John being the oldest of that pair. Two more children were born in Michigan after the 1880 Census. Orlando died young from smallpox at the age of 42 and was buried in a pauper's grave. His wife, Mary Jane FREDENBURG, remarried several more times, and thus it has been difficult tracing the BARBER side of my ancestry.

42. On my grandmother's father's side, she had a great-grandfather of Scots ancestry that immigrated from Canada to Michigan in 1846. His name was Daniel J. MacARTHUR and he was born in 1827 in Glengarry County, Ontario, now the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, in the eastern-most tip of Ontario. I wrote a biographical sketch on him for my Civil War Soldiers and Sailors series, as well as a Wordless Wednesday follow up. You can read more about him here and here.

44. Orlando BARBER's father was James W. BARBER, born 1839 in England. He emigrated about 1855 to Canada, and married Elizabeth COLE around 1864. As mentioned above, he appears to be in Amabel, Bruce County in 1871, and I found him in the following U.S. Federal Censuses: 1880 - Elba, Lapeer Co., Michigan; 1900 - Orion Village (now Lake Orion), Oakland Co., Michigan; 1910 - Montrose Twp., Genesee Co., Michigan. In 1912, he had a fall, badly injuring his spine. Complications of this injury led to his death in Mt. Morris, Genesee County, where he was buried. Unfortunately, his death record does not provide his parents' names or a specific place of birth, other than "England."

45. Elizabeth A. "Betsey" COLE, born 1846 in South Dorchester, Elgin Co., Ontario, was the second of seven known children of James COLE and Lavin(i)a WILLIS, who both were descended from American families who probably immigrated to Ontario for the promise of cheap land. How and where she met James is a mystery to me! As mentioned above, Elizabeth and her husband and their six children immigrated to Eastern Michigan around 1875. Elizabeth lived seven years longer than James, and is buried with him in the Mt. Morris Cemetery.

80. Jeremiah F. YORK was born in 1791 in Saratoga Co., New York. He is believed to be the son of Stephen YORK and Amy FRANKLIN. His family removed to near what is now Niagara Falls, Welland Co., Ontario where his mother witnessed the Battle of Lundy's Lane during the War of 1812. Jeremiah and a man I am 99% certain is his brother, Stephen Van Rennselaer YORK, were both pressed (forcibly drafted) into the 3rd Regiment of the Lincoln Militia of the British army. They were able to escape into New York State, where they both signed up with Captain Spencer's Company of the New York Militia for the duration of the war. You can read more about Jeremiah here.

81. Rhoda SWEERS was Jeremiah YORK's wife, marrying him in 1815 in the Town of Gorham, Ontario Co., New York after his service in the War of 1812. It is likely the YORK and SWEERS families knew each other, as they both lived in Welland Co., Ontario as American expatriates seeking the great land bargains the governor of Ontario was offering as motivation to for settlers to move into the province. Rhoda was born in 1797 in Vermont, probably in Dummerston Township, Windham County. She was the oldest known child of Daniel SWEARS and Mary [--?--]'s four known children. The family emigrated to Ontario in 1809, and removed to New York State during the War of 1812. You can read more about Rhoda in Jeremiah's biography on my website.

84. and 85. Little is known about Daniel MacARTHUR's parents, Donald MacARTHUR and Catherine Anne "Nancy" Munro. They both apparently were born in Canada, and Donald died by 1842.

90. James COLE was born in 1821 in Ontario, the fifth of nine children of Daniel Dodge COLE and Rogena "Roxanna" COLE, who were also first cousins of each other. At least three of James's four older siblings were born in Ohio, so the family was not in Ontario until sometime between 1818 and 1820. They seem to have been firmly established in Elgin County; James married his wife Lavin(i)a WILLIS there in Springfield in 1843. Although his daughter Elizabeth and her husband James BARBER did not immigrate to Lapeer County, Michigan until 1875, some of her siblings were there as early as 1865. James and Lavinia were there as early as 1870. James died in Mayfield Township, Lapeer County in 1872.

91. Lavina or Lavinia WILLIS was born in 1827 in Darien Center, Genesee Co., New York, the oldest of seven children of Benjamin WILLIS, Jr. and Anna KING. In late 1831 or early 1832, with her parents and two younger siblings, they moved to South Dorchester, Elgin Co., Ontario. From that area, Lavina immigrated by 1870 with her husband, James COLE, and their children to Michigan. Her sister Isabella also immigrated to Lapeer County, and three of their siblings immigrated to Sanilac County. Several siblings remained in Ontario, one in the Dorchester area, another in Belmont, Middlesex County. Lavinia died in Lapeer in 1898.

160 and 161. Stephen YORK and Amy FRANKLIN: Not much is known about this couple. I'm still seeking evidence that they are my ancestors. They moved to near what is now Niagara Falls, Welland Co., Ontario from New York State. I do know that after the War of 1812, they removed to what is now the Town of Clarence, Erie Co., New York, where they died before 1850.

162 and 163. Daniel SWEARS, III and Mary [--?--]: You can click on the link to read Daniel's extensive biography on my website. While I know a good deal about Daniel and his life, I know very little about his wife. In fact, I don't even know Mary's surname! Of their four known children, one died before vital records were kept in Michigan, and the other three's death records do not list their parents' names!

168 and 169. Duncan MacARTHUR and Janet HAGGERT both appear to have been born in Kenmore, Perthshire, Scotland; Duncan in 1758 and Janet in 1770. They had at least seven children, and it is not known if they married in Scotland or Ontario, or whether any of their children were born in Scotland. We do believe that their son, Donald, my ancestor, was born in Ontario, but there is little to go on. Using Scottish church records, we've been able to determine more information about Duncan and Janet's parents and siblings, but less is known about them after they immigrated to Canada.

180. Daniel Dodge COLE was born in 1787 in Londonderry, Windham Co., Vermont, the second of 10 children born to Salmon COLE of New Hampshire and Bathsheba DODGE of Wales. He married his first cousin, Rogena "Roxanna" COLE, and it appears they lived in Ohio for a few years before settling in Elgin County, Ontario. Daniel died there in 1869 in South Dorchester.

181. Rogena "Roxanna" COLE was one of eleven children born to John COLE and Hannah [--?--], both originally from New Hampshire. Like her husband and first cousin, she was born in 1792 in Londonderry, Windham Co., Vermont. By 1796, the family had moved to London, Middlesex Co., Ontario. After marrying Daniel, it appears the couple lived in Ohio for a time, then returned to Ontario, settling in Elgin County. Rogena died in South Dorchester in 1872.

182. Benjamin WILLIS, Jr. was born in 1800 in either Schoharie or Schuyler County, New York to Benjamin, Sr. (a Revolution War veteran) and Bridget COLE. (This COLE family was not related to the COLE family Benjamin Jr.'s daughter Lavinia married into. ) For several years, Benjamin Jr. and his wife, Anna KING, lived in Darien Center, Genesee Co., New York, moving to South Dorchester, Elgin Co., Ontario in late 1831 or early 1832. Their last four children were born there. After Anna's death in 1843, Benjamin married Anna McGILLIS. He died (date unknown) in Belmont, Middlesex Co., Ontario, probably near or at the home of his son Amasa.

183. Bridget COLE was born in 1766 in Clarkstown, Rockland Co., New York to Isaac KOOL and Catherine SERVEN. She married Benjamin WILLIS, Jr. in 1786 in New York City, and they settled in Darien Center, Genesee Co., New York, immigrating to Ontario in late 1831 or early 1832. She died, probably in South Dorchester, Elgin County in 1843.

Miriam's Got Canadians - Part I

I was so excited to hear that Kathryn Lake Hogan of Looking4Ancestors has begun a Canadian Genealogy Carnival for those of us with Canadian roots! As I started to look through my RootsMagic program to find all my Canadian ancestors for a post for the 1st Edition of this carnival, I realized that I have a LOT of Canadians in my family tree! Wow! I should have started writing quite a while ago!

I don't have to look far to find my first Canadian-born ancestor: it's my Dad. He was born at the U.S. Army Air Force Base hospital in Edmonton, Alberta when his father was stationed there during World War II. With all the fuss about Barack Obama and John McCain's places of birth, I asked Dad why he had to get naturalized as a U.S. citizen at age 16. His response was that since his birth record was certified by the province of Alberta, rather than by the U.S. military, he was considered a Canadian citizen. Reading through the arguments regarding McCain's status, I'm still not convinced that Dad was required to go through the naturalization process. But that's all history, now. Speaking of history, I find it relevant that it's in Dad's family lines that I find all my Canadian ancestors. I divided this post into two parts: his father's Canadian ancestors, and his mother's. I have prefaced each paragraph with the ahnentafel number of my ancestor, and have included a map for easy reference.

19. Dad's father's maternal grandmother was Mary J. (WILKINSON) LEWIS, and she was born in 1872 in Port Hope, Northumberland (now Durham) Co., Ontario, the eldest of eight known children of John WILKINSON and Mahala SAYERS. In late 1880 or early 1881--just in time to miss both the 1880 U.S. Federal Census and the 1881 Canadian Census!--the WILKINSONs probably emigrated from South Monaghan, Northumberland Co., Ontario to Montague Twp., Muskegon Co., Michigan, along with several of Mahala's siblings and their families. In 1882, they relocated to nearby Whitehall Township. I'm not sure why the families immigrated to America, unless they found land to be cheaper and more abundant work opportunities there (John WILKINSON was a carpenter).

38. Mary's father, John WILKINSON, had been born in 1845 in Woodstock, Oxford Co., Ontario. He was the second of five known children of Richard WILKINSON and Mary LAMOREAUX (or TERRY). I have had great difficulty tracing this family around Ontario. They seem to have moved east and away from Woodstock and settled in York County by 1856 or earlier. This date was the year John's youngest sibling William was born, in Aurora. I currently have no other specific birth locations for any of the other siblings of John and William, and I can't find the family on any census prior to 1871, when they appear in Whitchurch Township (now Whitchurch-Stouffville). Although his parents and siblings were in Whitchurch Township in 1871, John was living about 108 km (67 m) south and east in Port Hope, Northumberland County where he married Mahala SAYERS, and where at least two of his five Canadian-born children were born. Another child was born in Cavan Township in Dunham County (where Mahala's parents were living), and the last child born before they immigrated apparently had a birthplace in South Monaghan, Northumberland County. What complicates locating this family is the fact that both municipal and county names and borders changed or were merged several times between then and the present!

39. John's wife, Mahala SAYERS, was born in 1847 in Prince Edward County (not Island), Ontario, most likely in Athol Township, where her father is known to have owned land from as early as 1837. She was the eighth of apparently 12 children of John Henry SAYERS and Mary CAHOON, both Ulster Scot immigrants from Ireland. Between 1861 and 1871, most of the SAYERS family moved to Cavan Township, Durham County, although it seems that some of Mahala's older married siblings settled in Hastings County. Cavan was only 39 km (24 m) north of Port Hope, so although I don't know how John and Mahala met, it's easy to see why they were living in that community at the time of their marriage. As mentioned above, their first five children were married in at least three Ontario communities relatively close to one another; the last three children were born in Muskegon County, Michigan.

76. Richard John WILKINSON, John's father, was born c. 1815 in Yorkshire, England, according to family records. Although family records state his second child, John, was born in 1845 in Woodstock, Oxford County and death records state his youngest son William was born in 1856 in Aurora, York County, I cannot find Richard himself on any type of record until the 1871 Canadian Census, where he and his wife and four of their five known children were living in Whitchurch Township, York County. I find them there again in 1881, but in 1891, wife Mary is listed as a widow. I have been unable to locate a death record for Richard in the Ontario death records available at Ancestry, even using a variety of names, spellings, Soundex searches, and nameless searches using his birth year (+/- 10 years) and/or birth location.

77. In our family records, my 4th-great-grandmother is listed as both Mary TERRY and Mary LAMOREAUX. In all official records, her maiden name is listed as LAMOREAUX. Our family records state she was born in New Brunswick, but official records say Ontario. Her death record does say both her parents were born in New Brunswick, however. She was born around 1818. Searching the Internet on both surnames, I found information on a James LAMOREAUX born in Markham in 1825, whose surname was changed to TERRY after his mother, Rhoda [--?--] LAMOREAUX re-married to a man by that name. I have tried unsuccessfully several times to contact the author of this information, a man who lived on the other side of this state. I'm not sure if he is no longer living, or has moved, but I would surely love to find out why my ancestor has two surnames! I have sometimes wondered, LAMOREAUX being of obvious French ancestry, if TERRY was a dit name, but it doesn't seem too likely. In researching the TERRY surname, I've determined there were some prominent Loyalists by that name.

After her husband Richard died, Mary lived in the Village of Markham, where she died of pneumonia in 1901. I would love to be able to discover the burial place(s) of Richard and Mary. They are my brick walls and I have been working hard to discover more about them.

78. Mahala SAYERS' father was John Henry SAYERS, born 1811 in Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland; he was an Ulster Scot who immigrated with his widowed father William and four siblings to Prince Edward County, Ontario in the 1830s (the family apparently immigrated in several trips). After his marriage to Mary CAHOON in Picton in 1831, we find him owning land in Athol Township from 1837 to at least 1861. By 1871, they had moved to Cavan Township, Dunham County, as stated above. I cannot find him or Mary in the 1881 Canadian Census, so I assume they may have died by then. However, I cannot find either in death records.

79. Mary CAHOON was born about 1816 in Ireland; her father was Preston CAHOON. I do not know where in Ireland she was born, although it wouldn't surprise me if she also came from County Donegal, as her husband did. I also don't know if her father immigrated to Canada. CAHOON can be an alternate spelling of CALHOUN, and I've looked through some extensive family histories of the CALHOUN and CAHOON families (and other spellings), unsuccessfully. I've only seen Mary's marriage record and found her on the 1861 and 1871 Censuses. She's another brick wall.

156. William SAYERS was born in 1758 in Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland. His wife's surname was probably GILLESPIE, since that is the name of one of their sons. In the 1830s, when he was 80, he immigrated with family members and neighbors to the Bay of Quinte, Prince Edward County, Ontario. I found extensive information on the family of one of his sons-in-law, Stephen MARTIN, in a history of the Bay of Quinte. The SAYERS family lived all over in both Prince Edward and Hastings Counties. William died at the age of 102 in Hungerford Township, Hastings County. There has been a great deal of research done by various Sayers cousins and myself on the descendants of William. Someday, I hope we can find out more about his ancestry!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Homestead Records Available at Footnote


Original Records Documenting the Lives of Early Settlers Offer a Unique View Into 19th Century America

Lindon, UT -- September 18, 2008 – In an event held today at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, along with several partners announced a project to make available hundreds of thousands of original Homestead Records on the Internet for the first time. This project involved the efforts of organizations including The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the National Parks Service, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and FamilySearch.

“It’s exciting to see various organizations with different strengths and capabilities come together to make this information widely available,” says Russ Wilding, CEO of “This record collection is just one example how individuals on can connect their own family history to the big picture of American History.”

The Homestead Act of 1862 was a landmark event at a time when the American Nation was being torn apart by the Civil War. These records, most of which have never been microfilmed, contain more than simply the names of those who petitioned the U.S. Government for land. They tell the rich story of a fast-growing country and those men and women eager to live the American dream by becoming land owners. has already digitized and indexed the Homestead Records from Broken Bow, Nebraska featuring almost 40,000 records. To view samples of these records and see what Footnote users have discovered, click here. Working together with its’ partners, will continue to release more records on the site. has focused on making real history accessible to everyone and providing tools that enable people to connect with history and with each other. recently released Footnote Pages, which allows users to create interactive pages for an individual, group, place or event. These pages bring history to life by allowing users to create:
• Interactive timelines and maps
• Photo galleries
• Stories
• Links to other related Footnote Pages and Footnote Members
“We encourage everyone with an interest in these Homestead Records to come and enrich this content with your contributions,” says Wilding. “When people come together and share their insights, a new and exciting side of history is revealed.”

Learn more by visiting

About is a history website where real history might just surprise you. features millions of searchable original documents, providing users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The 56th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy (Parts I and II) Has Been Posted

Poster courtesy footnoteMaven

Lori Thornton of Smoky Mountain Family Historian has just posted Part I and Part II of the 56th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. Lori is a librarian, so it comes as no surprise that the topic of this edition was "Ten Essential Books in My Genealogy Library." She's divided up the carnival into two parts; the first gives the links to the 33 participants' submissions. The second part is "a compilation of the results of those submissions. Which titles are valued most by geneabloggers?" My own submission is "Miriam's Ten Essential Genealogy Books." I have read most of the submissions this past week, as I believe many of their submitters are already on my Google Reader feed list, and I was excited to see some interesting titles that I may just have to purchase for my own library!
The topic for the next edition of the COG will be: I read it in the news! Newspapers can be a wonderful source of family history information. Share some aspect about your family history that you learned about in a newspaper. Articles, advertisements, obituaries, classified ads, photos... all are fair game if they appeared in a newspaper. What did you learn about your family from this information? Was the information accurate? How did you learn about this information... online search? Perusing old newspapers? A clipping saved by a relative? Fill us in on your family scoops... who in your family was in the news? The deadline for submissions is October 1st. The next edition will be hosted at the Creative Gene blog.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Miriam's Ten Essential Genealogy Books

For the 56th Carnival of Genealogy, we have been asked to name the top ten books in our personal genealogy libraries. My list includes those I use on a regular basis either for personal research or for my teachings and presentations, but does not include those I consider essential yet are merely on my wish list. Some of these titles are older editions, and of these, I was lucky enough to win them in one package at one of our society's book auctions several years ago. They may be older tomes, but they serve me well:
  1. 1. Ancestry's Red Book: American State, County & Town Sources edited by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., C.G.
  2. 2. The Everything Family Tree Book (2nd Edition) by Kimberly Powell
  3. 3. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills
  4. 4. A History of US (10-volume series) by Joy Hakim
  5. 5. Michigan Genealogy: Sources & Resources (2nd Edition) by Carol McGinnis
  6. 6. New York State Censuses & Substitutes by William Dollarhide
  7. 7. Organizing Your Family History Search: Efficient & Effective Ways to Gather and Protect Your Genealogical Research by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack
  8. 8. Searching American Probate Records by Fran Carter
  9. 9. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy edited by Arlene Eakle & Johni Cerny
  10. 10. Your Guide to the Federal Census for genealogists, researchers, and family historians by Kathleen W. Hinckley

Cabinet of Curiosities #9 has Been Posted

Tim Abbot of Walking the Berkshires has just posted Cabinet of Curiosities #9. The "I Know What You Did Last Summer" Edition has eleven submitters and probes the weird, bizarre, and merely odd. Not necessarily a genealogy-related carnival, many genea-bloggers post their entries nonetheless, for who more than genealogists and family historians have numerous collections of curiosities? I always enjoy a walk on the edge whenever I read this carnival!

Tim informs us:
Next month, Cabinet of Curiosities will be hosted by Thomas MacEntee at Destination: Austin Family, and then in November he will pass the baton to M. Diane Rogers of CanadaGeneaology. Submissions for these carnivals can be made to the hosts directly, or via the carnival submission form.

The 5th Edition of the "I Smile for the Camera" Carnival is Posted!

The 5th Edition of the "I Smile For the Camera Carnival" has been posted by the Shady Maven at Shades of the Departed. The theme was "Crowning Glory" and there were a record-setting 54 articles by 52 participants writing about hair (or the lack thereof) or headgear of some sort. My entry was Trijntje Gerrits (DOLSTRA) VALK (1826 - 1912), where you can view a photograph of my 4th-great-grandmother in traditional Dutch clothing, complete with a cap!

Becky Wiseman of kinnexxions will be our host for the 6th Edition, whose topic is "Funny Bone."
Show us that picture that never fails to bring a smile to your face! An amusing incident, a funny face, an unusual situation. Share!

Choose a photograph of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph that tickles your Funny Bone and bring it to the carnival. Admission is free with every photograph!

Your submission may include as many or as few words as you feel are necessary to describe your treasured photograph. Those words may be in the form of an expressive comment, a quote, a journal entry, a poem (your own or a favorite), a scrapbook page, or a heartfelt article. The choice is yours!

The deadline is midnight, Pacific Daylight Time, October 10th. Submission options include:

1. Send an email to the host, Becky Wiseman. Include the title and permalink URL of the post you are submitting, and the name of your blog. Put "Smile For The Camera" clearly in the title of your email!

2. Use the handy submission form provided by Blog Carnival, or select the Bumper Sticker in the upper right hand corner.

Now, I'm off to do some reading...!

The Family Heirloom Meme is Posted

Julie Cahill Tarr of GenBlog created a Family Heirloom meme. She wanted to know which family heirlooms people would save in the event of a disaster. Eleven genea-bloggers participated (including Julie herself), and she has posted the results here. Even if you weren't able to participate, given the many natural disasters we've seen lately, it is a good thing to do some planning and set those plans into motion.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

SSDI - Free on GenealogyBank

Tom Kemp just announced today that the Social Security Death Index database will now be free to access at his website, GenealogyBank.

"So what?" you may be thinking. "I can access the SSDI in several places online for free already."

BUT, the SSDI database at GenealogyBank is the most comprehensive one on the Internet.

It has expanded & enhanced the data – adding the day of the week when the person’s birth or death occurred and the GPS coordinates that many genealogists like to have for their records.

Also, no other site updates the SSDI weekly. Most update every month or longer.

Check out Tom's announcement here.

Family Trees Grow Virally on

Site Traffic Tops 1 Million Unique Visitors in August.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) September 4, 2008 -- Genealogy and family social networking website,, announced today that its traffic in August exceeded 1 million unique visitors for the first time and continues to grow rapidly.

Since Geni spends nothing on marketing, its growth is entirely organic and driven by the virality of its family tree application, which asks users to invite a relative when they add him or her to the tree. That relative can then invite other relatives.

The largest tree on Geni now contains profiles of over 600,000 people and was built by over 40,000 users. No other genealogy site can boast of so many users simultaneously participating in a single tree. As a free, easy-to-use web application, Geni is able to mobilize the efforts of anyone interested in their family, in addition to genealogy enthusiasts.

Geni's goal is to build a family tree of the entire world, enabling families to connect, preserve, and share their lives. Geni's features include but are not limited to photo and video sharing, a timeline to preserve family history, and a family calendar for birthday and anniversaries.

Geni has also invested heavily in privacy features based on relatedness, so user information is shared only with close relatives. This automatically protects privacy-minded users who happen to find themselves in a fast-growing tree.

Recently, Geni released a tree-merging feature, which enables two trees to merge when a common relative is invited to both. This process can be repeated many times over, leading to the discovery of new family relationships and strengthening Geni's network effects compared to other genealogy sites.

David Kaleita, a Geni user, stated, "As recently as six weeks ago, I was connected to approximately 3,000 profiles (2/3 of which were manually entered by me and the rest manually entered by other family members) before merging with anyone. Now, several tree merges later, the stats report that I am now connected to 263,288 profiles! More than half of that growth came within the last two days."

Geni spent a year preparing for tree merging. "Prior to developing the intricate tree-merging feature in itself, we needed to develop an extra layer of privacy features that would maintain the safe family environment necessary for sustainable and continuous growth," said David Sacks, CEO of Geni.

By default, user profiles can be seen only by those in their own blood tree or in directly-connected inlaw trees. Inlaws of inlaws are limited to seeing search results only.

Geni is like a time capsule for your family that you can open anytime. With some family participation in Geni, descendants will no longer have to wonder what their ancestors were really like.

Geni, Inc. was founded in 2006 by former executives and early employees of PayPal, Yahoo! Groups, Ebay, and Tribe. It is backed by venture capital firms Founders Fund and Charles River Ventures.

Geni launched in 2007 and has won numerous accolades. The 2007 Webware 100 Awards named it one of the top 100 sites on the internet and one of the top 10 reference sites. Geni was named again in 2008 in the social networking category. In March 2008 PC Magazine named Geni a top free software application. In May 2008 Time™ Magazine named one of the top 50 Websites in 2008. Last month Family Tree Magazine named Geni to its list of 101 Best Websites.

New URL for JLog

I'm always amazed at the diversity of blogs that come under the heading "genealogy." There are genealogy blogs that focus on family histories, others on local histories, still others on photography as it relates to genealogy, and those highlighting technology as a genealogy tool. One of the "tech-genie" blogs that I follow is JLB's JLog. I received an e-mail today informing me that there's been a server change for the website, which means the blog URL has changed as well. If you haven't visited JLog, be sure to visit; if this is already a favorite, be sure to change your feed settings.

Press Release from Footnote!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Takes Social Networking into the Past launches Footnote Pages at TechCrunch50

San Francisco -- September 10, 2008 Losing a loved one can result in a range of emotions, from the grief and sorrow to comfort, which often comes from reminiscing stories and memories with family and friends. The challenge arises when there is no single place where all of these stories can easily come together to be shared, enriched and preserved.

Now at, anyone can find or create Footnote Pages where users connect and share stories, photos, and information about the people important to them.

To kick-off the new Footnote Pages, today released over 80 million of these pages created from data from the Social Security Death Index. Most visitors will find existing pages about several deceased friends and family members already on the site. was selected from over 1,000 applicants to launch Footnote Pages at this year’s TechCrunch50 held in San Francisco. Russ Wilding, CEO of Footnote, demonstrated Footnote Pages to an audience of over 1,500 investors, bloggers, and major media outlets.

“We encourage people to upload their personal shoeboxes of photos and documents to,” explains Wilding. “Now with Footnote Pages, friends and family can come together to share stories and memories about the people they care about.”

Described as Facebook for the Deceased, these pages feature a photo gallery, an interactive timeline and map, and other tools that bring people together to create a more colorful and rich picture of the past. “Social networking is not only for the younger generations any more,” explains Wilding. “We are seeing Baby Boomers contribute and connect online in increasing numbers. Footnote Pages are an easy way for this audience to interact with each other and learn things they would not otherwise know about deceased friends and family.”

Beyond profiling people, Footnote pages can also be used to document and discuss historical events or places including: the Vietnam War, the Assassination of JFK and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.

Unlike other social networking sites, provides content that enables users to tell and share stories from the past. Through its partnership with the National Archives, has digitized over 43 million documents including historical newspapers, military records, photos and more. adds about 2 million new records to the site every month.

Visit to learn more about Footnote Pages and get a new perspective on the lives of your own friends and family who have passed away.

About is a history website where real history might just surprise you. features millions of searchable original documents, providing users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

About TechCrunch50
Founded in 2007 by leading technology blog TechCrunch and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, the TechCrunch50 conference provides a platform for early-stage, and frequently unfunded, companies to launch for the first time to the technology industry’s most influential venture capitalists, corporations, angel investors, fellow entrepreneurs, and the international media. Companies are selected to participate exclusively on merit. TechCrunch50 is supported by corporate sponsors Google, Microsoft, MySpace, and Yahoo!, as well as venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital, Mayfield Fund, Clearstone Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, Founders Fund and Fenwick & West.

Wordless Wednesday: George and Josephine (BUSH) DeVRIES

Source: DeVries, Jarig Egbert Binnes "George" and Johanna "Josephine" (Bos/Bush). Undated second-hand digital copy of original photograph. Privately held by Brian DeVries, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Belmont, Michigan. 2007.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

This and That

This past week I took a break from blogging, and simply enjoyed being a reader instead. One of the things I like about Google Reader is that, unlike a lot of my Google applications, I can access it at work during my break or lunchtime (the public school's browser filters are naturally very strong, since we're really only supposed to be accessing the Internet for educational purposes). For those of you whose blog feed is set to display only the title or the first paragraph of your post, it can be a bit frustrating not to be able to read the whole thing. If the title or first paragraph truly piques my interest, then I star it and try to remember to come back to them later when I'm at home. Otherwise, they never get read. Hmm...something to consider when you set up your RSS feeds.

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COG poster courtesy of the footnoteMaven

One of the things I enjoyed as a blog reader instead of a blog writer this week was perusing the 55th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy published by Jasia at Creative Gene on Thursday. The theme was "Show and Tell" and 49 bloggers posted 50 articles about their favorite heirlooms, documents, photos, or significant ancestors in this most-participated edition ever! My submission was about my 4th-great-grandmother's cross stitch sampler. Kudos once again to Jasia for an interesting and pleasurable COG, especially as she labored over it while mourning the recent loss of her dear canine friend, Caesar. Jasia is considering some changes to the COG, as it is experiencing some explosive growth in popularity. The 56th Edition's topic will be: 10 essential books in my genealogy library. It will be hosted by Lori Thorton at Smoky Mountain Family Historian. The deadline for submissions will be September 15th, and you can submit your blog article using this carnival submission form.

Speaking of carnivals, I've updated my "September Is..." post with not only carnival deadlines, but deadlines for other genea-blogging events this month. Check it out.

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The Grand Rapids [Michigan] Historical Commission contacted me after coming across my mother's guest post about her school years at Hall Street Elementary. They sought permission to publish my mother's photograph of the school, as they did not have any of the entire front of the structure that they could use on their website (permission has been granted).

And speaking of mom's guests posts, you may recall her mentioning her best friend Beth, with whom she ended up drifting away during their high school years since they had no classes together. Earlier this summer, Beth came across mom's posts and contacted me. When my parents visited Michigan in July, Mom and Beth had a reunion! You never know what will happen when you start a family history and genealogy blog!

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Jessica Oswalt from Jessica's Genejournal awarded me the "I Love Your Blog" Award. Thanks, Jessica! UPDATE: Thank you also to Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist and Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family for also awarding me this honor! UPDATES #2 and 3: I'm honored that two three more bloggers also picked me for this award: A. Spence of Spence-Lowry Family History, Travis LeMaster of TJL Genes: Preserving Our Family History and Jeanna of The rules are to give this award to seven other blogs (with links) and let them know that you have picked them. Also, link back to the person who gave you this award. I am picking seven new-to-me blogs that I have enjoyed recently and hope you will add them to your list of great reads as well:

These are just 7 of the currently-214 genealogy-related blogs on my Google Reader list!

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Speaking of great reads, fellow Michigan ancestry blogger and shirt-tail relative Cheryl (her cousin TK is a distant cousin of mine!) has a new URL for her Two Sides of the Ocean blog here after Blogger ate her old one. :-( Be sure to update your feeds or bookmarks, or if this is a new blog to you, check it out!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Taking Time Off This Week

Source: The Midkiff Teens, First Day of School. Digital photograph. 2 September 2008. Privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] 2008.

Today was the first day of school for the 2008 - 2009 school year for both myself as a staff member of our local school district, and for my two teens. My mind is swimming with thoughts of all I did with my students today, the news from my teens on their great first day back, and the responsibilities I have as a parent, homemaker, and employee that will fill my hours for the rest of the week. In addition, there are many duties I need to fulfill for my local genealogical society this month, which begins its genealogical year this Saturday.

For these reasons, I will be taking a break this week from writing my weekly Wordless Wednesday column and its corresponding follow-up normally published on Thursday, as well as Friday Findings. The latter I've actually not published for the past few weeks, as I have been so busy, I just haven't had much time for research. The only thing I plan to publish are any pre-written press releases that I may receive via e-mail.

Because it's my daughter's senior year, and because admittedly I let many things slide as a parent last year, I have made a personal commitment to allow myself to let other things go--like blogging--when life gets a bit overwhelming, and just focus on my teenagers. I had a sentimental thought or two this morning as I took my kids' annual "First Day of School" photos and realized that this was many lasts: the last "first day" of public school for my daughter; the last time I would take a photo of the two of them on their shared "first day"; the last time they would have a first day of school when they were both in high school. This time will never be captured again, and I want to be able to savor it. I know my readers will understand.

Monday, September 01, 2008

September Is...

...Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)

September 1: Labor Day (United States)
Labour Day (Canada)
("Labor Day and Ancestral Occupations" by Carolyn L. Barkley)

September 1: Ramadan begins

September 7: National Grandparents' Day (U.S. and Canada)
Father's Day (Australia and New Zealand)

September 11: Patriot Day (United States)

September 15: Independence Day
(Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua)

September 16: Independence Day (Mexico)

September 19: Independence Day (Saint Kitts and Nevis)

September 22: Autumnal Equinox (Northern Hemisphere)
Vernal Equinox (Southern Hemisphere)

September 29, sunset: Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)

Do any of the above events feature in or affect your heritage, culture, or family history?

September Carnivals and Events:

September 1 - Data Backup Day

It's Data Backup Day
by Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family

Don't Be Blogged Gone: Tips for Keeping Your Blog Backed Up and Secure
by Elizabeth O'Neal of Little Bytes of Life

Scanfest: Sunday, September 28th, 11 AM - 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time

Go here to learn how to join Scanfest and our group of chatting, scanning family archivists, historians, and bloggers!

Go here to add the above deadlines and dates to your Google Calendar,
courtesy of Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family.