Sunday, March 31, 2013

Genealogy 101 in Fredericksburg, VA

We were so excited to welcome participants to the second session of Introductory Genealogy and Beyond on Saturday, March 30, 2013 at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in Fredericksburg, VA. The library’s largest meeting room was filled with beginning genealogists eager to learn how to trace their ancestors.  At yesterday’s session they learned from Charles “Chuck” Mason, Jr. CG the many reasons it is critical to cite sources, and to: “Cite Your Sources as You Find Them!Mr. Mason repeated, “ Do not think you will do it later. You never will!”

Mr. Mason shared examples of source citations, stating many scholarly works use the Chicago Manual of Style. Other sources were books by Richard S. Lackey, the PAF Documentation Guidelines, and Evidence! Citations & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

I wish he had mentioned Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This book is important as it shows how to cite online source materials. 

The second session was lead by Tish Como, librarian at the Bull Run Regional Library, Manassas, Virginia.  Mrs. Como’s talk covered Genealogy 201: Beyond the Basics.  As a genealogy reference librarian, she had many research stories to share with wonderful examples in her PowerPoint presentation. Her handouts provided information and sources for genealogists of all levels.

Although she admits she is not one to read directions, as her husband frequently reminds her, she did encourage her audience to read the research tips when entering a new online database. What is the source of the records contained therein? Record what you find and what you don’t find. Evaluate carefully; be flexible and persistent.

Stay organized, another quality she has trouble with, but at lunch we discussed the fact that each person has to develop an organizational process that best suits their lifestyle. Some of us use Pendaflex family folders with individual family manila (or individual) folders within; some use the three-ring binder method for each family line. Whatever works for you is the right way.

Following the session, participants were given a tour of the library’s Virginiana Room. Besides having all sorts of information on Virginia, the room has a ScanPro, state of the art microfilm reader that allows patrons to print, email or download images.  If you have Virginia ancestors, the Virginiana Room is a must.

The next session of Introductory Genealogy and Beyond will be Saturday, April 13, 2013, 9:00 – 12:00 p.m. at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 1201 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg, VA.  The sessions will feature Phyllis Marilyn (Jule) Legare who will cover Timelines; how our ancestors fit into the broad picture of life, and how events shaped their choices and lives.  The second presentation will cover Military Research, how to use military service and pension records in tracing your ancestors.

Creating and Using Blogs: Don’t forget our regular meeting to be held Wednesday, April 10, 7:00 p.m. at the Salem Church Branch Library.  Shannon Bennett, club member and contributing writer to Family Tree Magazine and other genealogical publications, will discuss how blogs can be created and why they are useful in genealogical research.  See you then!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Newfield, New York Postcard

Postcard sent to Private Ray Brink 
Camp Upton, New York
6 November 1918

The postcard reads:
Hello Ray - glad to hear (sic) you are not under quarantine now. Hope you are well. Did you get your journals all right. You was hear (sic) working a year ago now wish you was hear (sic) now as we are going to press hay next week. Do you expect to stay at Upton all winter.  They sent Rob McGivins back home. He did not pass. Write often, Minnie E. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Lewis Halsey Wortman

Last Will and Testament of Lewis Halsey Wortman
25 November 1880

I, Lewis H. Wortman of the Town of Ulysses, in the county of Tompkins and State of New York, aged sixty three years and upwards and being of sound and disposing mind and memory do herby make publish and declare this my last will and testament as follows.

That is to say:

First I give and bequeath to my wife Phebe A. Wortman the use of all my property including my farm in Ulysses during her natural lifetime. She to have control and charge of the same.

Second after the death of my wife, I give and bequeath to my two sons, William Wortman and Menzo Wortman my farm of about fifty acres upon condition hereinafter named and to be divided as hereinafter stated with whatever personal may be left after the death of my wife Phebe A.

Third I give and bequeath to my daughter Alice Pearsall after the death of my wife Phebe A. four hundred dollars to be paid to her as hereinafter stated by my two sons equally each paying one half or two hundred dollars of said sum in the following manner to wit one year after the death of my wife my sons aforesaid are each to pay to my daughter Alice, fifty dollars or twenty five dollars each and annually thereafter a like sum until the four hundred dollars is paid without interest until each payment become due the last payment becoming due eight years after the death of my wife.

Fourth In dividing my farm between my two sons it is my will that William shall have the west half and Menzo the east half where the homestead buildings now stand and that Menzo shall pay to William twenty five dollars a year for eight years after the death of my wife making two hundred dollars in all without interest until due for excess of value of east part on account of buildings.

Fifth I hereby nominate and appoint my wife Phebe A. Wortman of Ulysses aforesaid and her son-in-law Madison Covet of Troy, N.Y. as executors of this my last will and testament. In witness whereas I have hereunto subscribed my name this twenty fifth day of November in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty.

                        Signed: L.H. Wortman

The above instrument consisting of on half sheet was subscribed by the above named Lewis H. Wortman in our presence and in the presence of each of us and he at the same time declared it to be his last will and testament and requested us to sign the same as subscribing witnesses.

James Milne of Ulysses Tompkins Co. NY
A V. VanLiew of Ulysses Tompkins Co NY 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mystery Monday – Message in a Bottle – Was it Suicide?

Since we arrived in Florida two weeks ago the Gulf has been angry.  After a mild two months, the weather has turned cold and windy – March came in like a lion.  When the Gulf is angry it doesn’t give up many seashells, so I have not been successful in finding many sand dollars this year. 

But early one morning last week the water was calm and shells were plentiful. As I strolled along keeping an eagle eye out for those elusive sand dollars I came upon a small bottle that held a blue note. I picked up the bottle and noticed the wax seal had two small holes that had allowed water to leak through making the printing difficult to read. I brought the bottle home and we tried our best to carefully wedge the cork out, preserving it intact, but it was just too tight. My husband finally got the corkscrew and we pulled it out that way.  We let the paper dry and was then able to read the message. 

The next question is what do you do with it? There are no last names, dates, geographic locations mentioned. It is a real note or a hoax?  Maybe we will never know.  I decided to put it on my blog on the off chance someone, somewhere might recognize the names and/or situation.  Was it illness? Was it suicide?  Again, a mystery.  Here is what the message in the bottle said:

“Jano – My hero, my sailor, my husband, my daddy to our kids.
Today would have been 22 years marriage; 27 years together. You were my best friend and I can hardly breathe without you. The kids have grown so much in the past two years.  We lost everything when we lost you. I couldn’t save you; I was too late this time.  I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. I’m doing my best to raise them without you. I’m so afraid. I miss my gentle giant, my body guard, and my lover, best friend. Lisa wanted you to walk her down the aisle. T.J. was wanting you to be there when he graduated – you promised the kids. Believe God musta really loved their Daddy to take him home on Christmas. No more pain for you. I love you forever and I will do my best for all your kids. I love you 4 ever, Lulu.”

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wedding Wednesday – Lida A. Tucker

Lida A. Tucker (1883) was the first born of Fred and Josephine (Dickens) Tucker.  In 1906 she married Ervin Griffen (Griffin) (1881-1936).  Their wedding announcement appeared in the 7 March 1906 Ithaca (NY) Daily News.

“One of Enfield’s most popular young women, Miss Lida Tucker, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Tucker was married to Ervin Griffen, son of Alice Griffen, of New York City, at the Baptist parsonage, Enfield Center, Sunday.  The young couple were attended by Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Hausner of Mecklenburg.  After a wedding supper at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Tucker, the young couple left for a short wedding tour, after which they will reside in Mecklenburg.”[1]

Lida and Ervin had four children: Alice J. b: 1910; Florence b: 1915; Alfred b: 1918, and Richard b: 1929.

Lida and Ervin are buried in the Trumbulls Corners (NY) Cemetery.

[1] “Fred Tucker,” society note, Ithaca N.Y. Daily News, 7 March 1906, p. n/a, col 5. [ – 18 September 2012. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Black Sheep Sunday – Hosner vs Kelsey

The trouble began when Thomas Kelsey’s horses broke loose and killed a young horse owed by Isaac and Adaline (Cleveland) Hosner.  The year was 1857; the place was their farm in Jacksonville, Tompkins County, New York.

According to Adaline her husband could not reason with Mr. Kelsey in getting payment for the dead horse.  Isaac was forced to sue. The case was brought before Esquire Ralph, who told Mr. Kelsey to pay $100, which was said to be the value of the horse.  Mr. Kelsey refused to pay.  The suit carried on.  Then on New Year’s Day, the Hosner boys started for the local mill. When they had gone only a short distance, one of the horses fell ill. The boys ran back to get Isaac and when they returned the horse was dead.  The Hosners suspected the horse was poisoned.  The horse was taken to Ithaca where more experienced vets could do an autopsy.  Veterinarian Doctor Parker examined the horse and found poison. 

The Hosners brought another suit against Mr. Kelsey, but this trial was held in Ithaca before Esquire Drake.  During the trial Mr. Purdy testified seeing Mr. Kelsey come into Monell’s drug store and ask for arsenic and wanted it put into a bottle.  Dr. Parker then testified the last days of December he was in Monell’s Drug Store and saw a man who resembled Mr. Kelsey, more than anyone in the room, come into the store and ask for poison.

Alas, everyone expected the verdict would be against Mr. Kelsey, but it seems it did not.

It appears we have several candidates as the “Black Sheep.”

Friday, March 1, 2013

Society Saturday - Fredericksburg, VA 2013 Genealogy Program Schedule

The Fredericksburg Regional Genealogical Society                                                         

2013 Tentative Program Schedule

March 13th – Using FindAGrave and BillionGraves websites
Dave Dorsey and other club members will demonstrate how these websites can assist in your research and documentation for your ancestors’ gravesites.

April 10th – Creating and Using Blogs
Shannon Bennett, club member and contributing writer to Family Tree Magazine and other genealogical publications, will discuss how blogs can be created and why they are useful in genealogical research.

May 8th – Making Sense of the Census
Ray Maki, club member, will present information on the various methods available to access the census and detailed information on what each year’s form contains.

June 12th – DAR Overview
Pat Milnes, Registrar for the Washington-Lewis Chapter of the DAR will discuss current procedures and requirements for submission of applications and the research material available at the DAR Library in DC.

No formal meetings are scheduled for July and August

September 11th – Virginia Roots
Barbara Vines Little, certified genealogist and noted national speaker, will have a presentation on methods for researching Virginia records and repositories.

October 9th – DNA
Shannon Bennett, club member and contributing writer to Family Tree Magazine and other genealogical publications, will discuss DNA testing and how results may be useful in researching your family.

November 13th – Using Family Search
Ray Maki, club member, will present information on this website, demonstrate how to access it and show examples of using their Family Tree software.

No formal meeting is scheduled for December