Thursday, August 1, 2019

Book arrived

Jacksonville Church History through 1946. Binding by Bridgeport National Bindery
 The Jacksonville (NY) United Methodist Church history is done and delivered. I think Great-grandmother Jessie (Tucker) Agard would approve. Below is the acknowledgement page, because every work is a team effort.

Acknowledgement and Notes

Putting this manuscript together was a team effort. I thank Nan (Agard) Colvin and Joyce (Vann) Basilius for supplying photos, Judy Barkee, Beth Hickman, Nancy Dean, Pastor Geri Judd and the church trustees for their help and support of the project.

Indexing this manuscript was a challenge. That is especially true when figuring out women’s names. Sometimes listed as “Mrs. [husband’s name], other times with their given name, or just initial, and figuring out which wife goes with which man. Men were listed with first name, just initials, and sometimes just last name. That’s when the U.S Federal Census was helpful.

I took license with the indexing. There are several church members who served as trustees in a variety of capacities for many years. For those folks, in the interest of space, I put the page range instead of listing every page in which they appear. For instance, Philo B. Smith served in some capacity or other for years so his index entry reads: p. 40-89. Arthur Agard’s entry is p. 56-113. These men don’t appear on every single page of the range, but close.

What I learned from this project is that the Jacksonville Community United Methodist Church has survived because of the community’s faith and perseverance. The church faced many tough financial times, but over and over they figured out how to survive, overcame the odds, and today is a thriving and growing community of faith.

Truly, “. . . it is claimed to be the handsomest church in Central New York.”   The Free Press and Sentinel, 10 December 1898

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Jacksonville (NY) Community United Methodist Church history

Introduction page

An exciting and stressful day. Exciting because I finished transcribing and indexing my great-grandmother’s handwritten history of the Jacksonville, New York M.E. Church. Readers should note that the name of the church changed over time, and as I was finishing the project, I asked: What do I call this? I decided on the name the community is using now.

Next page with quote from an 1898 newspaper

While transcribing her diaries I learned in 1946 Jessie (Tucker) Agard was asked to write the history of the community church. In January 1947 she purchased a manuscript book for $10.00 at Miller’s Paper Store in Ithaca, New York. Every day that winter she noted, “worked on church history.” I was curious to see this book, but no one seemed to know where it was. Thanks to my cousin and former Jacksonville Town Historian, Nancy Dean, a copy of the handwritten pages were found.

Jessie’s history of the church starts in 1790 and continues with board of trustee minutes through 1946. I learned this spring that she was asked to continue, which she did until 1957 when Florence Graham took over. During our visit to Jacksonville this May I was able to hold the manuscript book that Jessie purchased and copied the history into.

The morning was stressful because I took five copies of the completed history to the UPS store to ship to the Bridgeport National Bindery in Agawam, MA—a good thing, but always wondering, did I get everything right? Are all the pages in order (even though I checked each one)? Murphy's Law?

Five copies prepped and ready to ship to Bridgeport National Bindery
 I look forward to holding the bound books in my hand, and then distributing them to the proper repositories.

This project is for you great-grandma Jessie Agard. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Mysterious Harriett N. (Wortman) Crippen

A Wortman family researcher contacted me recently about Harriett N. (Wortman) Crippen. This “cousin” has worked hard, for years, trying to learn more about Harriett who was born abt 1833-1836, presumably to Jeremiah Clark Wortman and Phebe Brundage. That couple had four children (assuming Harriet is their first). The others are: Marilda J. (Wortman) Mitchell, Frances (Wortman) Covert, and Mary (Wortman) Thorpe.

Jeremiah Clark Wortman died in 1845, the same year Mary was born. Harriett married Jackson H. Crippen in September 1850. That same year widow Phebe (Brundage) Wortman married Lewis Halsey Wortman (not a brother; cousin?).

The Crippens had a daughter, Flora who died in 1892. Flora married Herman Cornell and had three children.

My “cousin” wants to confirm that Harriett N. Wortman is the daughter of Jeremiah Clark and Phebe (Brundage) Wortman.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Family of Margaret Conlon

From left, Maggie (Conlon) Doyle, Patrick Doyle and ?
Margaret (Maggie) (Conlon) Doyle is my paternal great grandmother. She is someone whom I know little about. I am now revisiting this family and hope I can find the link between Edward Conlon and Maggie.

Edward’s daughter, Mary (Mae) b: abt 1902 was always introduced as my grandmother’s cousin. Mae spent her two week summer vacations with us in Upstate New York while visiting my grandmother Mary Agnes (Doyle) Nunn. I’d also met Mae’s brother Lawrence, and knew about George and Edward Conlon.

From left, Mary (Doyle) Nunn and Mae (Conlon) Harrington
 Yesterday I searched the 1905 New York State census and was surprised to find another child in the family—Anna b: abt 1903. Their parents, Edward Conlon b: abt 1873 and Mary (O’Donnell) Conlon b: abt 1873 and family lived in Manhattan.

Edward reports in the 1910 Federal Census that he is a widower working as an oiler in a powerhouse. A brother named Lawrence, age 31, is living with him.

During previous research I’d found the sons Edward and George Conlon living at the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum for Boys in the Bronx District #35 in 1910. The orphan asylum was located on Sedgewick Avenue and Kingsbridge Road.

Where are Lawrence, Mae and Anna? What happened to the mother and where is she buried. These questions remain to be answered.

In 1915 Edward, George, Lawrence and Mae are boarding with the John and Bridget Conlon family on Wallace Street, Bronx, New York, and then by 1917 the Conlon children still minus Anna are living with Patrick and Maggie (Conlon) Doyle at 164 East 97th Street in Manhattan.

I’ve come up blank on finding information on Mae’s marriage to John Harrington, his death, and burial. I have Mae’s funeral card with the date of 11 September 1983, but no indication of church or funeral home. I know Mae Conlon and John Harrington were married between the time the census was taken in 1930 and 1935. I’ve looked through the Reclaim the Records index of New York marriages for the Bronx, but now wonder if they went to Manhattan to get married in the same church as my grandparents, St. Lucy’s. That’s my next step.

My challenge is to connect Maggie b: abt 1865 and Edward b: abt 1873 so I can add this branch to my family tree.

And then there is Thomas Conlon living with the Doyles in 1910. Ah, the Irish cousins.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Jacksonville Community United Methodist Church history – an update

Jacksonville Church sanctuary, May 8, 2019
We made a trip to Upstate New York in early May to review the manuscript books and other church history items my friend Beth found and spent the winter organizing.

We met at her house where she put before me the manuscript book my great-grandmother Jessie (Tucker) Agard worked on from the handwritten notes that I have been transcribing. Through Beth’s research we learned that Jessie finished the first set of minutes dated 1842 through 1946 to the church and then took the book back to continue with the project. Jessie transcribed the minutes through 1957 when Florence Graham took over the task. Mrs. Graham transcribed the minutes from 1957 through 1979.

We then went to the church where Beth showed off its soon-to-be-open-for-the season thrift shop – beautifully arranged, and then we walked across the road to the church. After admiring the quilts on the wall, the sanctuary, and the Rose Window, we went downstairs into a back hallway where the infamous previously locked file cabinet resides. Beth showed us the files she had organized neatly into Pendaflex and manila folders. She then pulled out the drawers of the other file cabinets. So much history; so little time.

The question was: how did I want to proceed with my part of the project knowing there is all this information yet to be digitized? The answer was easy. I’m transcribing what my great-grandmother did and that will be one project done. When that is bound and distributed, we can talk about what else should be tackled and maybe someone in the community will come forward and volunteer for the job.

My dining room table is covered with the handwritten minutes, my typed copy, and ten pages of two columns of index terms that I am working through putting in page numbers. Not as easy as it sounds. The issue comes when there are two persons with the same name or just an initial, and when women in the earlier years were listed as Mrs. and in later years with their first name. I had to consult the U.S. Federal Census to determine who was the wife of Frank Mattison. Caroline is the answer, though the census listed her as “Cardine.” That census also told me that Monroe was their son. I suspect I will be spending a fair amount of time on census research before the index project is complete.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Great Grandparent Book

A photo book with text to introduce our six and seven year old grandsons to our parents

“Do I have any great grandparents living?” was a question my then six-year-old grandson asked when we were coloring together after Christmas. The answer was no. Not on his mother’s or father’s side. I explained that Papa and I had great grandparents as part of our lives when we were growing up.

His question prompted me to introduce our grand boys to our parents. It took a few months, but I finally put my shoulder to the wheel and got it done. It was one of the most difficult projects I’d taken on in a while.

I planned to do a Snapfish photo book, like the ones I do of them every six months. As I pulled photos from our photo archive located in our lower level hobby room, I realized how difficult this was going to be—finding just the right photo of my parents to tell their story. And so many photos I wanted to share.

I decided an 8-1/2 x 11 format would be better, spiral bound. So I started with that, laying in numerous photos, adding many of the boys in Florida. Hubby was doing the same for his parents.

But it didn’t seem right, so I went back to my original idea. This book is for a six and seven year old. They’ll want pictures and little text. I went back to my Snapfish idea and started the book, and then realized some of my photos were “low resolution.” Although these have worked in the past, I wanted these photos to be the best they could be. I spent the afternoon running downstairs and back upstairs looking for the photos I had scanned years ago to rescan at 600 dpi.

Five hours later I was almost done. We wanted to end the book with a picture my husband had taken in March of our son, daughter-in-law and the two boys on the Anna Maria Island beach at sunset. He sent it over to me from his iPhone, and although we were only inches apart, it took hours for the photo to arrive. Consequently, it was Monday morning before I finished the book and sent it off to be printed.

On the last page I wanted a photo of our son’s family and I added the caption that we are so happy the boys are the fifth generation of our family to vacation on Anna Maria Island. They visit us there every year and since it coincides with my older grandson’s birthday, we host a mini family reunion. Many relatives are in Florida in March, so we consistently have twenty-five to thirty people showing up for his birthday/family potluck gathering. I’m so thankful we rent a large house with a large deck, and the dolphins are willing to entertain our guests.

The book has a block on the very back cover for a photo, but instead I put a quote by Janet Hvorka:

“When people are grounded in where they have come from … it strengthens them and empowers them.”

In the corner of the back over is the embellishment: Grandparents fill the world with love.

Next project is to get our daughter-in-law’s parents to do their side of the family.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Robina (Donaldson) Carson - In the Paper - #52 Ancestors

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to perform a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness from a phone call I took while on docent duty at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum.

A woman needed information on her aunt Robina Carson. She wanted verification of Robina's maiden name, husband's name, and where they lived. The family had done some research and thought Robina was from Scotland and she married someone named Carson.

I took the request home with me and hubby and I had a great time learning about Robina. Between the two of us the information was coming so fast I decided to do a timeline to keep it all straight as well as be able to share it with the woman who called.

This past weekend we attended a day long seminar by Dr. Thomas W. Jones. One of his presentations was titled: "Can a Complex Research Problem Be Solved Solely Online?" He did a great job of presenting a case study using online sources, but every so often he would point out that to verify or obtain certain information, a trip to a repository would be necessary. At the end, he answered the question - "Yes, but ... "

In doing research on Robina, we found most of the information online, but . . . to verify her place of birth, find her siblings' names, and residence, we had to reach out to the Manatee public library where microfilm of the local newspapers are held. We needed obituaries on Robina and her husband Ernest.

Hubby and I LOVE librarians. I called the library to ask if they had the microfilm, and yes, they did. If I gave them name and date of death, they would do the research and email the obit to me. Wow - this saved me a trip into town. 

In less than 24 hours, I had the obits for Robina and Ernest, in docx and pdf forms. Those obits provided the information we needed to complete our research on Robina. 

Below is the timeline I developed for Robina M. (Donaldson) Carson

Timeline for: Robina Mosley (Donaldson) Carson

[Middle initial from Findagrave gravestone transcription; full middle name from]

1891, November 25 -  Robina M. Donaldson, Born St Nicholas, Aberdeen, Scotland  [1940 U.S. Federal Census and]
Parents: George and Mary Jane (Mosley) Donaldson (
Brothers: William and George Donaldson of Scotland (Obit)
Sisters: Mrs. William Cheyne and Mrs. John Garden of Scotland (Obit)
Religion: Presbyterian (Obit)

1927 – Immigrated to America (1930 Census, listed as alien); waitress in Pontiac, MI.

1897, August 16  - Ernest J. Carson [Husband] born Yale, Michigan (Obit)

1916, March 4, Ernest J. Carson married Lucie Hess. [] (Parents: Charles and Mary J. (Spring) Carson

1924 – July 16 – Ernest married Gladys Louise Marsh. [Michigan County Marriages []

1935 – Pontiac City Directory not listed; Neva (Ernest’s daughter b: 1916 listed as student living at 77 Wisner)

1937 – Pontiac City Directory – Neva working as clerk at M.D. Hubbard Spring Company. Resident: 153 S. Edith.

1937 – Pontiac City Directory – Ernest J. Carson working as Auto Mechanic. Residence: 156 Palmer.

1938 – Pontiac City Directory – Ernest J. Carson working as mechanic Pontiac Motor Company Retail Store. Residence: 156 Palmer

1938-39Robina M. Donaldson and Ernest J. Carson married.

1939 – Pontiac City Director – Ernest J. Carson mechanic Pontiac Motor Div. Retail Store; Residence 157 Palmer. Robina M. listed

1939 – 1945 – Pontiac, Michigan City Directories – Robina and Ernest listed. Residence: 56 Palmer Street and 73 Augusta Ave.

1940, Census, Robina (Roline) M. and Ernest J. Carson living in Pontiac, Oakland, Michigan; 2 years high school education; Lived same place in 1935, 73 Augusta Avenue, Pontiac, Michigan

1961 – Moved to Bradenton, Florida (Ernest obit)

1967, March 11 – Discharged from hospital [Library of Virginia Newspaper Archives]

1967, April 10  - Robina died, buried in Manasota Memorial Park, Bradenton, Florida

1967, April – Buried Manasota Memorial Memorial Park

1985, February 4 – Ernest J. Carson died. Buried with Robina at Manasota Memorial Park.  [Findagrave]

Research done March 2019 by:

M. E. Maki, author (Docent Anna Maria Historical Society)
Fatal Dose; A Caitlyn Jamison Mystery
An Unexpected Death; A Caitlyn Jamison Mystery
Harry Nunn and His Family
The Hardenbrook Family: Honoring Ancestors in Upstate New York