Monday, November 21, 2011

Artifacts: Flow Ware Tea Set

Last Tuesday, during the Book Club at Second Life, we all began to mention items we had inherited. It was suggested that we post a picture and a story about these special items from our family history. This is the first such post from my household.

This is the remains of a tea set in a pattern which is called "Flow Ware;" a mistake in an early firing lead to a blurring of the pattern. You can see this on the side of the sugar bowl and the open bowl next to in in the back row.

This tea set belonged to Mary Seitner Lautzenheiser who was aunt-by-marriage to my paternal grandmother on her mother's side and also her second cousin on her father's side. Whenever I visited North Manchester her granddaughters and also my Grandmother referred to Mary as "Grandma Seitner." I am curious about this naming pattern. I do understand why "Grandma" would become the family name, even among relatives who were in reality nieces or cousins; I believe that such use names are still common in the United States in our century.

It is the use of Mary Seitner's maiden name that interests me. My best guess it that there were several "Grandma Lautzenheisers" around town; and that "Grandma Seither" was a way of distinguishing between them. Alas, I shall probably never know why because I didn't think to ask when I was young.

My grandmother inherited these dishes from her aunt and in turn designated that they were to become mine. (She left a piece of paper in one of the teacups that read "for Sue.") They remained in North Manchester until after my aunt died; then Mary Seitner's granddaughters gathered up the tea set and saved it for me.

They told me that my grandmother had inherited the set because she had saved them from a fire. She was visiting the Elias Lautzenheiser farm when a fire broke out. Grandma placed the tea set in a pillow case, then lowered them through a first floor window to the ground. I wasn't told when this happened or how old my grandmother was at the time. Mary Seitner and Elias Lautzenheiser were married in 1852; my grandmother was born in 1858. My guess is that the fire took place after the Civil War, but that is just a guess.

None of the dishes were broken at the time of the rescue, but the set was not complete by the time it came to me. Some of the pieces are chipped and some of the glaze is crazed and discolored. I do not use these dishes; they are on display in a glass fronted case in my dining room. My family and I cherish these artifacts from my "forerunners."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Poem for Bill West's poetry "collection"

This is my entry into Bill West’s contest. Whenever I think about Lide’s childhood after her mother’s death, I think of this poem. Lide DID have family when she and her siblings returned to Wabash County, but she and her siblings moved from house to house (often separately); they seemed to feel a need to contribute to the family work while living with each family. (I believe that in the 1860s and 1870s children on farms and in the homes in farm support towns like North Manchester all did chores, but I sense that “earning her place” was important to Lide.)

So here is a poem from the appropriately named “Hoosier Poet” James Whitcomb Riley


Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was 'company,' an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Search Log

Chapter 7 in The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy is about record keeping. Among other topics it discusses the Research Log or Research Calendar.

I have been attempting to keep a Research Log since before I knew they existed.  I started my serious attempts at genealogy four years ago, when I got my genealogy software as an early Christmas present. As I entered  family data from a text-based descendant chart sent to me by a distant cousin, I began to have many questions about the information. This was the cousin's research. I realized that I would need to check at least some of it, both for verification and in order to answer the questions. But how was I going to be able to remember those questions?

I am a database thinker (as opposed to a spreadsheet thinker) so I quickly prepared a simple database: five identifying fields plus four expanding fields where I could store my questions and my comments. As the number of entries in my software program grew, the number of records in the database kept pace.

During my studies about genealogy, I learned about the research log. My computer holds various attempts to build a log (including the log that my software provides). None of these forms have felt comfortable to me; the attempts sit in the nooks and crannies of my computer, holding information about where and when I searched for or entered data, what questions I had (and roughly when in the search process those questions occurred) and what answers I may have found. But this is not a log. The information remains scattered and would be meaningless to anyone but myself. My instincts had been on track, but my techniques were lamentable.

Greenwood states that there are two purposes for a Search Log* a) to keep yourself in touch with your progress at all times and b) to aid people who might follow you to understand and to verify what you have done. I believe that the information that fulfills these purposes is hidden in my computer: hidden, but not available to me or to anyone who follows me in this project. (* Since the log contains records of Preliminary Survey work as well as true research, I choose to call this a "Search" Log.)

My next step should be to provide me with a log form I am comfortable with; and then to go back over my work for the past four years and see if I can create a Search Log for every person and every supporting document in my software program.

Luckily for me this isn't as large a task as it may appear to be. Although I have 3377 entries in my database, the names were supplied by some half-dozen cousins and those initial suppliers are noted in those scattered early documents. My active work has been concentrated on about 300 names and I have about 100 source citations (or 100 documents) to incorporate into this rebuilt log.

The first sets of entries into my software were the descendants chart I mentioned above and another descendant chart printed in a 1942 book, The Stricklers of Pennsylvania. Since the descendant chart which came from the cousin also involves correspondence, I decided to do my first work with the entries from the book. This resulted in 27 logs, one for each surname which has a family group sheet showing children.

The elements of this log came from those on the Greenwood sample; from elements found on similar published logs, and from some sample logs GeneJ shared with me in 2009. The log is in database format, which means that the field spaces are rigidly defined. If I need more space, I must add another record to this log.

This is a screen shot of part of one of these 27 logs. It shows record 1 and part of record 2 with the "constant" portion of the log showing on both records. The comments show some references to additional logs which grew out of this one.

Please help me. Take on the guise of a genealogist who is following my work. Study this sample. Can you follow my trail? Where do I need to improve this model? Please leave a comment for me with any suggestions you might have about the format for my Search Log.

There is another important "to-be-developed" record discussed in Chapter 7: the research report. But that is another blog.

Here's to facing our frustrations and to learning to conquer them.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Halloween Came Early This Year

Yesterday, as I was working my way through three days of accumulated blog posts, I came across a very funny short piece about what truly scares that blogger. She said (I think it was a she) that if she met a zombie or a vampire, she would simply request genealogical knowledge and move on. What truly scares her is something like opening her genealogy files and finding that all her citations have vanished. I laughed, agreed with her, and read the next blog.

And I humbly apologize to my fellow blogger that I cannot provide a link to that blog. If any of my readers recognizes this blog, please post the link in the comments section.

Well, Halloween came early this year and I have had a scare that will do — thank you — for the rest of my life! I was running the program that scans my hard disk for potential problems and got a message about duplicates of my genealogy software file, followed immediately by a message that the software had unexpectedly quit. Since I was shutting things down, I brushed this off and continued with the weekly maintenance.

Everything checked out OK, and I began to reopen programs in order to get back to work. The file was GONE from my desktop Dropbox folder. Worse, opening Dropbox online I found a statement that the file was DELETED! No problem — I'll just go to Time Machine and restore it from there. It wasn't there either! I went into complete panic mode; 3377 names and accompanying data had vanished into thin air. Gone — completely gone!

I must have yelled or moaned or … because my husband hurried in — to find me staring wildly at my computer screen. I showed him the "non-existence" of both backups and than stared at the appearance of doom again.

Now my husband and I have somehow developed a mood balancing act; the deeper one of us sinks into panic, the calmer and more constructive the other becomes. He thought a bit and began to suggest things to try. Fearing that my entire hard disk was contaminated, I wouldn't let him do anything.

He moved to his computer, opened Dropbox, and sure enough, it reported that the file had been deleted. But he also found that Dropbox offered "restore file." Which he did. Back to my machine. Dropbox showed the recovered file in the cloud AND it also showed the file safely returned to my desktop dropbox folder. I opened the file, which then followed to usual procedures to return me to my last working location. I did the next job of data entry, and everything stayed normal. Dropbox and cloud storage had saved my files just as they were supposed to do.

But what about the failure of Time Machine to make a backup? Well, as it turns out, I was wrong about that; Time Machine has been backing up these vital files just as I had instructed it to do. In my panic, I had looked for the backups in the wrong folder. When I did look in the correct location, everything was in place.

And the moral of this story is "you can't have too many backups" OR "Dropbox works." I hope you never have a scare like mine; but if you do, I hope your files have been backed up on your computer by your equivalent of my Time Machine backup program and that you also have a backup in Dropbox or an equivalent cloud storage site.

Here's to facing our Frustrations and enjoying our successes.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lide's Blog – Part 4

This is the final installment of “Lide’s papers.” The continuity of these posts was broken because I had two items of more immediacy to blog about. For other aspects concerning the delay of this fourth post, see my notes at the end of this blog.

March 22, 1938.
    Our Great Grandfather Schaeffer was a Hessian soldier, hired by the English King George the third to help the English Army put down the Revolution in the United States or rather the New America. (Cousin Claron Shafer says he was not a Hessian soldier.C.E.S.) In this way he did cross the ocean three times. (I had it from my father that his grandfather Shafer crossed the ocean three times. It is to this that she refers. C.E.S.) These soldiers were brought over and then the survivors were returned to their native land and it is supposed he returned to the U.S. of his own accord. Grandma Shafer, my mother’s stepmother told me that this grandfather Shaeffer performed a feat during the Revolutionary war equal to Putnam’s famous ride down the stone stairway and told me to try to remember it. She lived in the same neighborhood as our grandfather Henry Shafer.
    Aunt Sarah’s maiden name is Rummel. When we lived for a year or two in Auburn Indiana and went from there to Montana Aunt Sarah told me to go out to visit her brother living out of that town. He was then County Commissioner of that County. So you see he was our mother’s and your father’s cousin and too Uncle Christ is a cousin to Aunt Sarah. Aunt Sarah was married before she married Uncle Christ. Aunt Sarah’s married name first time was Fornay. One daughter to this marriage who died in early womanhood. AMary Laautzenhiser’s mother was a Rummel And yes I meant to tell you one time in the early sixties Aunt Catherine and Hannah and I went with Grandpa Shafer to visit his brother Jake Shafer in Fulton County. (This brother died in 1854 but his descendants still lives there and in Marshall county and hold a reunion annually at or near Argos. C.E.S.) He had several boys, one I remember was named Philetus. We staid several days. This was in the early sixties. I may have been eleven years old, maybe twelve. Please excuse my repeating. I am also very forgetful too.
    One thing in your writing and publishing your book the name Shafer is not correct. Scheaffer.
    I told Emma Kate there was one brother of yours named Shirley, an infant maybe a year or more old. (His name was Grant and called Bubby. C.E.S) I lived with your parents and washed his didies and loved him, the baby, very much. I was not there at his birth nor when he died. At that time your mother looked so much like you did in 1920. And was Lulu your sister or Emma Kate’s child? She certainly was a lovely child. I had a picture of her but that and many others burned in the house in 1926. During the life of little (Shirley) Uncle John lived in Laketon. My brother Joseph no doubt lived there at the same time. I went to school to Uncle John there too. One winter he taught at a country school called Center school. Five miles from Laketon west. That year I went to your Uncle Darius Lautzenhiser in Laketon. My sister Bi lived with Darius’ and went to school. It was Ida (Lautzenhiser) who called her Bi instead of Abi so she kept the nickname. One year 1861 or 1862 Uncle John taught at “Sherman’s College” in the Butterbaugh neighborhood cross roads one mile from grandpa’s house were Bi and I lived. Uncle John taught singing too. Those days they were called singing masters and school masters. He always corrected us in our English and did much for our welfare as well as your washing and ironing and cooking for us. We helped with the children and dishes and errands. When Uncle John was away Bie carried water a quarter of a mile at their farm that Emma later owned. And I was there the day that your father and mother and Emma and Elva moved on this place. Your Grandfather Lautzenhiser was along and as they were out of matches he, Grandfather Lautzenhiser, took off his spectacles, gathered up a small bit of paper and a little shavings and made a fire in the yard to cook the coffee for our lunch. Grandfather held his spectacles in the sun and started the fire. Old folks knew a few things young folks learned from them. That was a long time ago. My room was up in the attic of that one or two room log house. Yes I must tell you too that your mother had twins. I do not remember what sex. They died almost immediately. (Edna and Edgar. C.E.S)
    The Shafers are or were all great riders and dared many things: for instance our grandfather volunteered to carry a rope across a stream no younger man would do. It was to carry a rope across the stream walking a pole laid across the stream. Then larger timber could be taken across to build a bridge. This was in the neighborhood of his farm between North Manchester and Laketon. His farm was one mile off the Laketon and Manchester road and one mile from Laketon. We could hear the church bells from both places. I love the bells. Now here in Okanagan they have gongs and how we miss the school bell. We live on Rose Street two blocks long and a High School and a Jr.High School building face down this street. So we have a drove of students coming and going in front of our house. Our daughter Katherine is building the house as we live in it. Just now we have a new permanent floor and kitchen cupboard and sink all built in. Will soon send the data you wish.
    Lide Wantz

        Correction to the above record.
    Since Lide went in the early sixties with our grandfather to Fulton County it could not have been to visit his brother Jake for Jake died in 1854 when Lide was only four years old. She speaks of his having several boys; one of them Phyletus. Now Phyletus was a grandson of Jakes, a son of Jake’s oldest son John. So it is evident that she with our grandfather at that time visited with John instead of his father Jake.

    Mary Lautzenhizer told me the German Bible she had was her mother’s and of course it is then the sister of our Grandmother Susan Rummel, and Sarah (we called her Sally) Harmon’s mother was a sister too. Her name was Catherine, my mother’s Aunt Catherine. Mary Eli told me my mother took Hannah and visited their Aunt Catherine Seitner, and Hannah cried and my mother cried. I visited them too at about the age of seventeen with Elis’ on their visits to Miami county visiting Mary’s sisters and brothers. Laura may have this bible. I am going to tell you how I came to live at Eli’s. I had been at George Stevensons of Wabash a second time and told Mrs.Stevenson I would like to go over to Manchester and try to teach school some time, so when I came to Aunt Mary’s, your mother, (some of the time we said Uncle John) but as I told your sister when we visited in 1920 she long mothered and advised us. As we grew on older we went to her with our troubles and especially on questions of etiquette. She would get out her book on such articles and soon settled all questions. My, she often got tired of taking care of us, wetting the bed and making her use her pretty quilts,and, well everything, but I was so disappointed not to see her at her big living room. Of course I knew they were both gone. I guess the girls thought it strange I thought only of Aunt Mary but your father did much for us; saw to our going to school, all he as able to do for us. He even let Joseph stay with them and go to summer school six weeks when he was about 16 or 17 years old, and Emma, sister Emma, was there often too. Joe had been to live at Ridgley’s at the age of 12 years to about 16 or 17. Well I would write more but want to tell you of Aunt Mary and when I came from Wabash always coming directly to Uncle John’s. Aunt Mary told me she just could not take me. I had not arrived at womanhood so of course there was a question and might be lots of trouble and I not knowing the why of all this question until later. Mary Eli said she would take me. I was going on seventeen and I staid there and went to school until I was nineteen and what they then called “Quituated” school.
    No one was ever treated better than I was there and made welcome always. Uncle John and Aunt Mary fixed up their house, the old one, and papered and calcimined so as to have that house nice as I had asked to be married there, but they and Eli’s were not on good terms on account of his brother Joe Lautzenhiser and I wanted Eli to be there and then after all he went to Miami and was not there.

NOTES from Frustrated Sue
    Although the family relationships that are continued in this final blog are a treasure trove of research leads for a family genealogist, I fear they will not be very meaningful to the casual reader. It took me a bit of thought before I decided to go ahead and post this final part.

    Two factors brought me to the decision to do so. The first is the integrity of the papers. Lide’s character shows in these passages as well as in the narratives that have been previously posted. Lide deserves to have her complete work shared.

[A reminder that I did some slight editing for the purpose of these blogs. I rearranged some of the materials so that the narrative would flow more smoothly. Also, I “corrected spelling” as far a possible in connection with the smudged typewritten words. All other spelling and grammar is as Lide and Charley wrote these papers.]

The second reason for posting these last entries is that ALL the genealogy clues have now been placed into the blog. A total of 72 individuals of possible genealogical interest to me have been named in these papers. (I am excluding names such as Frank Stockton and Gene Stratton Porter and her brother; they are of historical interest, but they do not enter into my genealogy researches even as connections of in-laws.) 5 of these 72 people are listed with the “surname” UNKNOWN; the remaining 67 people have 14 surnames between them; and one of these “Schaeffer” is a spelling variation of another “Shafer.” So I have from 13 to 18 surnames to be looked into as I work to chart my family and my family’s relations and to write their stories in the context of history.

I can foresee many blogs about these people sometime in the future. As for today, Lide’s papers have been placed “in the cloud” where other researchers may find her if they are interested. And I need to return to my 21st century genealogy concerns — which may be the subject of one or more future blogs.

Here’s to facing the frustrations and celebrating the joys of genealogy,
Frustrated Sue

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Just Genealogy Book Club and “Real Genealogy”

Those of us who gather on Sundays and Tuesdays at the Family History Center and the Just Genealogy Fire Pit at Second Life decided to have a book club. We also decided to study and discuss Val Greenwood’s The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy. Last Tuesday (August 23, 2011) we met to discuss Chapters 1 and 2 of the book. (At our next meeting, on Tuesday September 20, we will discuss Chapters 3 and 4.)

I own the Greenwood book. When I first bought it, I pretty much read it from cover to cover. Since then, I have used it to look up specific topics, such as land records or military records. And, indeed, this is a valid use of the book. But as I study it in preparation for the book club meetings, I am discovering that I have been fairly casual in applying some aspects of genealogical practice as described by Val Greenwood.

In Chapter 1 the author makes a comparison of the research techniques employed by a research chemist with those to be employed by a genealogist. He describes five stages (or steps) of the research process and shows a chart of this research cycle. At MoSGA, early in August, Patricia Walls Stamm showed this cycle and discussed it. And I smugly thought that I agree with the concept and all was well.

Reading Chapter 1 pulled me up short. Yes, I agree with this idea, but I have not been carefully following these stages. It is true that I had already stared my research when I first read the book, so (perhaps) I can be excused that I had ommitted the first stage, the “preliminary survey;” after all, I didn’t KNOW I should have done this, so that’s OK, isn’t it?

Well, NO. Once I became aware of this step, I should have made a preliminary survey before I continued any research. What is out there about me, about my father, and about my mother? A Google search, a Mocavo search, and a search of public trees on Ancestry and on RootsWeb doesn’t take a lot of time. Searching WikiTree and might also yield other research.

So I did this for any mention of research about me and any research about my father (other people on my tree are still lacking a preliminary survey, but it will come). I was lucky, the sources that I found in this search were already known to me. Most were unsourced; most with sources get their sources from me. So on the date of this blog, the preliminary survey shows me that I am breaking new ground.

But this does not ensure that this particular preliminary survey will remain true as I continue to locate family members and to document their lives. When I plan additional research on anyone in my database, I will remember to repeat the preliminary survey. Otherwise, how will I know that a cousin or cousin-in-law has begun research on this line and has brought to light new information on the subject of my research?

Stage 2 is to evaluate any research that I found. You probably noticed that I had taken this step. The research that I located in the preliminary survey step was already known to me and I was aware of the amount of source references suppled in each instance. I do not count unsourced data as reliable data. It is useful in pointing the way to research but it doesn’t provide answers. So these found instances of research did not provide me with reliable data which could be used in connection with or instead of my own research.

Stage 3: Yes, I can be excused for not having done this step as yet. Stage 3 is the stage where you plan your research. I have spent as much time during the past three years in learning how to plan research and to record my research as I have spent in actual research. I consider this as an affirmative situation. I have been learning instead of rushing ahead toward a huge list of unsourced names.

The class at Second Life which studied Dr. Jones’ course on Inferential Genealogy was the final instruction necessary in order for my to learn how to create a focused goal. Other lessons have begun to help me create records of my research that will be meaningful to me today and will remain meaningful in the future. I took the time to to print out and examine a set of more than 30 forms which I have gathered from four different sources over these past years. After examining these forms, I have selected a dozen which I hope will enable me to keep meaningful logs.

So far my problem with logs is that I haven’t found a way to keep records that are instinctive to me. A week later my records don’t mean much to me, so I forget to review them, and then I forget to create them. There is overlap among these twelve forms. Like Goldilocks, I’ll try they all. Perhaps one form will be “just right.” If not, I hope these forms lead me to the creation of my own instinctive research log formats.

Wednesday at supper I was lamenting  to my husband that I hadn’t done any “real genealogy” this past week. The words echoed from my initial blog and I realized that I was wrong. True, I had not carried out any new research; no data, evidence, or proof had been created for anyone in any of my lines. But I HAD been doing “real genealogy;” I had been learning how to do effective research, and I had been learning to apply it to an individual record already in my database. Perhaps when I have reviewed my focused goal, I will find I have met Genealogical Proof Standards for one entry for one person in my database. And if I don’t meet G. P. S., I will know where my next research step should lead.

Now that’s “real genealogy.”

I hope we all learn by facing our frustrations and moving forward.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Genealogy Conferences

Lide’s story is complete, although the final materials have not yet been posted. I am interrupting the flow of that series to discuss my recent experiences with attending genealogy conferences.

On July 29 and 30 we were in Overland Park, Kansas (part of the greater Kansas City area) to attend the MidWest Family History Expo, a seven-track two-day conference with three all-conference meetings.

The following weekend, on August 5 and 6 we stayed home and attended the MoSGA conference, a two-track two-day event with four all-conference meetings.

We had never attended a genealogy conference before, so this was a very intense first exposure. I do not recommend scheduling conferences this closely together. We should have allowed ourselves time to unwind, to allow our learning to become assimilated, and to resume our “regular” existence for a bit before we attended a second conference. Our impressions are somewhat jumbled and our minds and bodies are a bit overtired.

Both conferences were exhilarating. Being together with fellow genealogists, catching their enthusiasms, learning from experts has sent me home planning to try harder to follow my ancestors’ trails and to follow those trails using careful scholarship techniques.

Holly Hanson of Family History Expos put together an outstanding event with presentations to stimulate the experienced researcher and with information to help the beginner. and NARA were there to introduce their new online faces. We were taught how to take advantage of the “new look” at both these sites.

Other presentations were “how-tos” for specific programs such as, RootsMagic, and Ages Online. Still other classes involved techniques such as creating and using captions, using photographs, and preserving the same. The “star” of this conference was Lisa Louise Cooke, who led several classes exploring her knowledge of Google and GoogleEarth. She was so popular that it was necessary to move all her presentations to the largest meeting room.

There were vendors there: book sellers, software vendors, people offering products not specific to genealogy. I learned from talking to the vendors as well as from attending classes. I was befriended by the lady who organized the “ask the pros” booth. She gave me some good advice as to “where-to-go next” after I finish my line-by-line study of the military records for William T. Dorrance. Unfortunately, I cannot thank her by name because I lost that note (her name, not the advice). I only hope she finds this blog and learns how grateful I am.

The conference held the next weekend by the Missouri State Genealogical Association was much smaller in scale; the presentations were just as knowledgeable and the vendors just as exciting. And the interchange with fellow genealogists was as refreshing and renewing. A complete stranger gave me a suggestion which will simplify how I frame a request for baptismal records. A lecturer from Jefferson County took home a brief family outline about my elusive William T. Dorrance. The following Tuesday and Wednesday brought me information from her co-worker that has opened up new records for my use!

The “star” of this conference was Hank Jones, who gave four talks at all-conference meetings. When the fun of these presentations focusing on his “poor Palatine” studies “wears away,” you find that Hank has given you advice on sound research principles.

So I am overtired, “over-educated,” and probably over-stimulated; but I am also very excited and very happy. When and WHERE is the next conference?

Back home, I was so tired from the Kansas City trip that I slept through a Webinar that I had wished to attend. I did attend a meeting in Second Life where we marked out several weeks worth of community discussion and learning plans. After the local conference I attended a Webinar on NARA’s online presence and then hurried off to attend a meeting in Second Life where newbies are learning to handle our avatars.

As we left Kansas City, I asked my husband if the conference was worth the physical expense and budget expense as compared to what I experience in Webinars, Scanfest, BlogTalk radio, Second Life, and the entire internet genealogical experience. Now that I have completed my two weekends of conferences, I have come up with the answer that fits me.

YES, I need to attend conferences. There is a connection at conferences that I do not find at other genealogical meetings. I find that I enjoyed the smaller meeting slightly better. I believe that I will go to one or two smaller meetings each year. But the larger meeting was so very exciting that I look forward to attending more. Probably not as often as the smaller meetings, but often enough.

And YES, in many ways the online meetings teach me more. In the online environment, I learn about a specific topic, then take time to assimilate this knowledge before I tackle another subject. The various activities in Second Life combine some of the give-and-take of a conference with the slower pace I appreciate with online studies.

So my personal learning plan will be based upon online studies enriched by at least 1 regional conference each year and further spiced by the occasional larger conference.

Here’s to facing our frustrations while embracing our opportunities to learn.
Frustrated Sue

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lide's Blog – Part 3

This blog completes Lide’s story. We begin with school stories, as pupil and as teacher):

Teacher about 30. Children of all ages. Unpainted desks. Teacher brought her sewing along with her, a wool and silk log cabin quilt. During study and recitations she worked on quilt blocks. Little girls brought boquets of Poppies. Sometimes one immense red Poppy and pretty soon would be be asleep. No offense. Between times we, with a little rag and a bottle of water, washed our desks during study hour which was always when not reciting. One boy of 14 or 15 was a naturalist who brought frogs, bugs, butterflies and snakes and was making a real show which needed only 8 pins for admittance, and maybe later, silver. Finally he brought a copper head snake and soon the question was “Were she a southern sympathizer, out she would go.” The idea of any one allowing a copperhead snake to be on display in any northern school. I think by abolishing the naturalist show she was suffered to teach her term out.
    One girl 14 years old in this school wore a long dark brown calico apron buttoned down the back with white buttons, and hair long Dutch bob which was the style and read, like Pomona of the Range to Catherine only. One time while reading Pamona of the Range by Stockton I said to my brother Joe, ”Listen here Joe” and I mimicked this girl as well as Pomona. The teacher was usually too busy with her sewing to notice her pupils’ mistakes. Not all teachers were like her of course.
        (Here a sheet seems to be missing as it seems disconnected. note from C.E.S.)

(as teacher):
Frank, Ed,and Joe Jr. and the late Joe Penrod of Wenatchee, In this school were the grown up girls about sixteen and eighteen who always told me what I left undone. One was, why I swept the house after school instead of letting or allowing the boys and girls to. Let the sausages and pie, mostly apple, fall on the floor, etc. etc. etc. I always staid after school to review the lessons for the next day. One day during history class I mis-pronounced a  word in Spanish and they meekly told me that two winters ago they had a teacher who was fine in history and could pronounce all the foreign words, so after that they corrected all the mistakes. Along after the fall crops were in and wood cut about five of six young men came to school and asked me if I would let them come in and cipher through the arithmetic, and read history and spell, and they they would not ask any assistance in the book of numbers. But one day one of them came to me with an example he could not do; so [he] asked me to do it for him. The angels certainly were taking care of me as I performed the difficult task without any trouble, not knowing any rule or reading any note. Just did and thanked my stars I could. My ability with numbers: Were Jean Stratton Porter’s brother here today he could tell you what poor certificates I always had although I was always considered one of the best in any school I ever attended. But I had the tact to teach, which too many [trained] and learned teachers do not have,and as my Ben said about a very bright teacher sent out to teach our country school of about two in the winters, ”she knows much but is too lazy to impart it to her pupils.

Lide’s Final Years:
Clipping from Okanagan Wash, newspaper, May 30, 1939.

Local couple married 65 years ago in Indiana; Golden wedding Club meet

    Sixty fifth anniversary of the wedding of Mr.and Mrs. J. P. Wantz was observed by the Golden Wedding club and a host of other friends at the Wantz home here Sunday. The local pair were married in North Manchester, Indiana.
    Mr. and Mrs. Wantz are both 89 years of age. Mr. Wantz was born at Lewisburg in Ohio June 13,1850. And Mrs. Wantz was born at Laketon, Indiana July 7 of the same year. They were married May 26, 1874. They are both in good health and are active and alert, mentally and physically.
    They came to Montana in 1882, arriving in Helena just as the Vigilantes had finished hanging the last horse thief who fell a victim to their law enforcement. Mr. Wantz ran a photograph gallery in Helena for a number of years and then they moved to a ranch which he operated until 1905.
    Montana was a mighty rough country when we first pioneered there, Mrs Wantz recalls.
    In 1905 they moved further west, settling at Cashmere where they lived until 1918 when they came to an orchard on Pogue’s Flat. For several years they have lived in Okanagan.
    Mr. Wantz has been a member of the Odd Fellows lodge for 69 years and Mrs. Wantz has been a member of the Rebekhas for 65 years. Mr. Wantz is a past grand patriarch of the former order.
    They had eight children, of whom three survive. They are Mrs. W. F. Kester of Great Falls, Montana, Mrs. Fred Young of Leavenworth (later of Wanatchee) and Katherine of Okanogan. They have two grand children and two great grandchildren.
    At dinner at the Wantz home were members of the Golden Wedding Club as follows: Mr.and Mrs. Jack Thorp of Okanagan, Dr. and Mrs. J. L. Pogue of Pogue Flat, Mrs. Wilson, president of Omak, Mr.and Mrs. Wootring, E. T. Dodd and Mrs. Emily Chedzey of Okanagan, and Mr.and Mrs.Wantz. Also present at the dinner were Mrs. Ella Watkins of Omak, Emma Proctor of Okanogan, and Katherine Wantz. Mr.and Mrs. Frank Butterbaugh of Manson, old Indiana friends , also were visiters.

    In honor of the occasion Mrs. Jack Thorp wrote the following poem:

We are growing old, dear friends, Our career is nearly done.
We gaze from life’s west windows  To the setting of the sun.

And away beyond the sunsets  We see a golden glow
As radiant from the Throne of God  Criter on waters flow.

We penetrate fair Beulah land  Where dwell the loved and blest,
We hear our Savior’s gentle words  “All come to me and rest”.

May we all trust our Pilot dear  Nor fear the surges dark.
He will lead and guide us homeward;  He will steer our fragile bark.

On Sept. 7, 1941 Lide suffered a heart attack in the presence of her family and passed in a few minutes.

On July 19, 1943  James suffered a heart attack and had already passed when Katherine came in.

Both are buried in the cemetery at Cashmere Washington.

Source: Eliza “Lide” (Hoover) Wantz (1850 -1941), (Okanagan, Washington), Charles E. Shafer (1867 - 1961), (Benton Harbor, Michigan), Lide’s ca 1938 Family History and Reminiscences, focusing on the 1860s and 1870s, Annotated transcription by Shafer ca 1943., Photocopies, supplied by Rae (Strickler) Underwood, (private address), to Sue W. McCormick, {August 2008}, Prime source(s); sometimes hard to read., My transcription is stored in the computer, the original and a printout are in the paper files.

The remaining information in these papers consists of family relationships as Lide recalls them. I plan to publish these in a fourth blog about Lide. I don’t believe that many of you are interested in who “Aunt Mary Eli” is; I am publishing this because these papers are a treasure trove of family history (and of how recollections illustrate history-book history). But the papers are also genealogical facts in full measure, pressed to the brim and flowing over.  Many of these genealogical hints have appeared in these first three blogs. The information at the beginning of the fourth blog based on Lide’s papers will present the rest of that information.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lide's Blog – Part 2

This is the second part of Lide’s memoirs. Lide wrote these reminiscences in two letters (one never mailed) and several sheets of paper between 1938 and 1941, when she was between 88 and 91 years of age. Uncle Charlie had not edited these into any specific order. I have done a very small amount of ordering of these papers by putting the trip narratives into the first blog, the remaining Mankato story and the story of an earlier  pioneering migration into this one. I plan to transcribe the rest of Lide’s personal story in a following blog. The flavor of these entries reflect the minimal editing which has been done. These are Lide’s own words.

Life in Mankato and the Return to Wabash County

They brought one ladderback split bottom chair for grandfather who was born in 1800, so was not so old. My father worked in town at his trade of blacksmithing and we staid alone. One night about 11 o’clock my mother said “A tree painter.” Hoosiers call panthers, painters. No more sleep for her. Next morning we found a man of fine qualities, excepting his fondness for liquor, had been to town and could go no further on his way home than near a tree where he and his wife slept and of course carried on for awhile. Surely the cry of a panther is like the human voice.
    In time they built our house and the neighbors came to “raise the house.” Logs were rather large and at noon all hands were at the long table made by taking the side boards off the wagon. The Indians let my father use their Birch bark canoe. He took me with him to fish one day and I always felt worried for fear they would come and tell us to give it up.
    The wild rice grew fine on the edge of the lake. I saw little hammocks or swinging cradles high in trees where, earlier, Indian women buried their babes. The Indians did not bother people it seems. There were quail all summer and squirrels, and the Passenger Pigeons, and truly they sat so thick on the tree limbs, that they said, they broke them down. My grandfather trapped them and quail and we were supplied with meat while we were there. There were wild plums and berries. We soon moved to town as the required time was out on the pre-empted land. We were put to school and had to pass my father’s shop. We would go in and he would stop his work, pick us up, kiss us and put us on the forge and where we were warmed. Minnesota is a cold country. He would lift us down, kiss us, and send us on our way. Later he sent us to a private school nearer home. This I think a New York Yankee woman who had the school, taught the three R’s, music, dancing, fancy work, etiquette, everything a girl should know. She had exhibitions,and one number was from biggest to littlest child dressed in white, carrying a small flag, sitting in a semi-circle and singing “Columbia the Gem of the Ocean,” all waving our flags at singing of the chorus.   *I think this might not be a bad idea to have this song sung in school occasionally these days accompanied by flags waving.
    One day my sister and I had been away on a visit. When we came home my mother was in bed ill, and in looking around we saw in a new cradle in which there were two black haired babes, Emma and Ella. We were so surprised and wondered where they got them. They said “Off the steamboat.” Every day I would stand and look at them. My mother said ”Liza why do you look at the babes so much?” I said “Are you sure you got them off the boat? If you didn’t you made a mistake and they are Indian babies.”
During the day my Aunt Catherine, who was with my mother, sent me to an old Indiana friend to borrow a cup of salt and said “Don’t tell them about the twins.” (They never borrowed nor lent.” They had twins too. They were lying on the bed and she asked me how my mother was and I said “She is sick.” “What” the lady said.” Yes she is and we have the same as you have there on the bed.” But did not mention the word twins because I told them I wouldn’t. Mother passed on Feb 11,1859 and in March the same year Ella followed her. In June Father went back to Indiana to settle up his father’s estate as he was executer of same.
    The next year the Pike’s Peak excitement was on and the men gathered at a neighbor’s house to talk about finding gold at Pike’s Peak, Colorado and after many talks and planning my father began to get ready for this venture. When he made a promise he laid his hand on the bible and this to him was in the old days the same as an oath. So after deeding his home to my Aunt he promised her to send money to her for our keep or rather clothes as we were to stay at our Grandparents. Soon after he left we went back to Indiana. We were on our way by stage to St.Paul. There was no railway nearer than LaCross, Wis. so we had to go by boat. Here we took the boat down the Mississipi to --------- where we took the train and arrived at Wabash. Some old friends were at the depot to meet us. But the conductor got in a hurry to start the train and threw my Aunt and myself under the depot platform. We were not critically hurt but had to lay over a week with some old friends. In those days women were supposed to not travel alone and she met some critics who snubbed her on this account. She had her fifteen year old sister, Hannah. Myself aged near ten, sister Abi, eight, my brother Joseph of five, and the one twin, Emma, aged two. When we arrived in St. Paul the stage driver (it was a conveyance for our baggage and the family hired from the livery stable to convey all of us to St. Paul) the driver told my aunt the charges would be forty dollars. What could my aunt do but pay it to the scoundrel. Made our spending money short, though all had been paid in advance. But than as now such things prevailed. This man had the use of our six legged maple dining table to use while we were away. The drop leaves were as wide as the top. That was the end of that piece of our household goods as you will see later.

The Arrival of Lide’s Father’s Family into Wabash County.

Solomon Hoover moved from Stark Co., Ohio to Indiana in 1836 or 1837. They came over the mail Trace (Trail) , Camped at Pleasant Springs at the foot of a hill. He said to his family sitting down at their evening meal, “Where I camp tomorrow evening there will be our home. We have passed too many good, desirable places now to go farther.” They found a spring near which they eventually built a Dutch, colonial house. The inside doors were thick heavy oak and the wide hall doors were of black walnut; colored glass, single pane windows on each side of hall doors. Wide slabs of lime rock steps at front door. This house fronted on a field but later a county road was built as the Pioneers had no time to build through swamps so made a road around head of swamp. I taught my first school at this place called “Bear School House.” And native children and young ladies especially were called “Swamp Angels.” This last day’s journey took them nine miles north of the town of Wabash and there on a rise from the spring they built a story and a half house of hewed logs in which they lived a few years before building permanently near the spring. This log building was later used as a barn. My sister Abi and I used to play here and watch the birds nest although we were terribly afraid of the green lizards. We played in Grandma’s new yard where the “La lock” swayed and Bleeding Heart was in bloom and red peonies at their best. The natives called the new house “The White House” because it was larger than any for some distance around the neighborhood and was painted white. This same swamp was one of a chain of swamps from Kankakee on down across most of the state and was in the vicinity of the swamp Gene Stratton Porter speaks of in her books, one of them “Laddie.” She did not live far from Wabash. Her brother Eugene, one of the lawyer brothers she speaks of in “Laddie” was County Superintendent when I taught in North Manchester in grade school.

Additional Information about David Hoover, Lide’s Father
    David (Big Dave) Hoover was born in Stark Co., Ohio, in the year 1826, August 14. In 1836 or 1837 he with his father and family moved to Wabash Co. Indiana. There Jun 10, 1849 he married Barbara Shafer. To them were born three children, Eliza, Abi Catherine, and Joseph. In 1856 he with the family moved to Mankato, Minnesota. Emma and Ella were born there in 1857. His wife Barbara passed in February 11,1859 followed by the twin Ella in March of the same year. In March 1860 he started to seek gold in Pike’s Peak and California. He traveled with a wagon train drawn by horses. Spent two months waiting for the outfitting of the train. This was at Council Bluffs. He said that often had no water except that in the horse hoof tracks. Said he travelled on foot thirty and forty miles a day hunting game and water. He arrived at Taylorsville, Plumas County California late in the fall of the same year. Later he travelled and prospected by steamship, boat, and stage coach and on horse back, burros carrying his anvil, picks and shovels, tools for sharpening pick and shovels for miners; visited and worked in Sacremento, Virginia City, Nevada, Carson City. Worked at his trade at the Comstock mine and in it. Was in San Francisco some time and said the city was mostly built on sand dunes. Said Denver was mostly shacks. He circled most of Pike’s Peak always about forty miles from it. Suppose he tethered the horses in Buffalo Corrals built the year before. Was told the mines were worked out so passed on to California. His little daughter Abi asked how long he would be gone. He said if he went only to Pike’s Peak it would be for three months and if he went to California he would be gone three years. After ten times three years--30 years--she came from her home in Chicago to visit him at his home at Centerville, Montana and his daughter Eliza and her husband, James P. Wantz and family. Eliza with her husband and four children arrived at Dillon Montana on May 26, 1882.  twenty two years  after his departure for Pike’s Peak. Recognizing one another and walking into each others arms. The R.R. platform was lined with Bullion, slabs of bacon cordwood style, and other commodities. In 1907 he came to the state of Washington at or near Cashmere. He devoted his time to caring for his invalid wife. They built a room for themselves on his daughter Eliza’s home where after his passing in 1912 she cared for his wife Amanda three years. They are buried in the Cashmere cemetery. He said in (1836 or 1837) ? (1876 or 1877) (1866 or 1867)? he with George Norton, Lee Sterling, Barr Smith and wife Mary and child, came to Centerville Montana from Baker City Oregon working at his trade and the others farming. In 1872 he married Helen Amanda Thayer of Grafton, West Virginia. To them was born one child, Harry in 1874. Passed on in 1875.

Source: Eliza “Lide” (Hoover) Wantz (1850 -1941), (Okanagan, Washington), Charles E. Shafer (1867 - 1961), (Benton Harbor, Michigan), Lide’s ca 1938 Family History and Reminiscences, focusing on the 1860s and 1870s, Annotated transcription by Shafer ca 1943., Photocopies, supplied by Rae (Strickler) Underwood, (private address), to Sue W. McCormick, {August 2008}, Prime source(s); sometimes hard to read., My transcription is stored in the computer, the original and a printout are in the paper files.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lide's Blog – Part 1

At the Second Life gathering on Sunday evening, I mentioned that I had some memoirs from the 19th century and asked the gathering how I could share them. It was suggested that I place these transcriptions into my blog. This will appear in more than one Blog.

How I Acquired the Papers
(Note: on September 9, 1943, [my 16th birthday] I came home to find that my father’s Uncle Charlie had stopped by to spend the night. He was on his way back to Benton Harbor, after visiting family out west. Uncle Charlie’s grandson was going to be stationed at Washington University as part of the army training program, and Uncle Charlie solicited family attention for Joseph Scott — who was rather shy.
Then, during the meal Uncle Charlie told us some of what he had learned about the family on that visit. My younger sister was more vocal in her fascination with his stories; Charlie told her that he would send her his transcription of these papers plus some that he already had at home in Benton Harbor.
This letter together with the accompanying papers is a follow up of that visit.)

    251 Lake Ave., Benton Harbor, Mich.
    Oct . 4, 1943.

Dear Rae:-
        Enclosed you will find a copy of the history that you wished. I have added to it a couple of chapters that I did not have with me at your house. I hope it will give you as much pleasure to have and to read as it has been to me to help prepare it. I hope also that it maybe an incentive to you to investigate and record the history and accomplishments of your family and your relatives, both near and distant, of whom there are many. I am sure it will give you much pleasure to do so and you can have a part of making a permanent record.
    Please tell your parents and your sister that I enjoyed my short visit at your home. Your Uncle Joe and Aunt Ida came over and spent a half day here while we went out and got for them peaches and other fruit.
            Your Uncle

[Initial Note by Uncle Charlie:]
In the spring of 1938 realizing that Eliza Wantz or Lide as she was called was the oldest of grandfather Shafer’s living descendants I wrote her asking for whatever early history she might be able to give concerning the family. She replied with the following letter which she closes by saying she will send data I wish. She did prepare the data and it was awaiting me five years later but after her death when I was privileged to visit her home. The data mentioned follows this letter from her.

Beyond The Mississippi
By Eliza Hoover Wantz

    In 1856 my father with his wife Barbara, my mother, and three children, Eliza, nearing the age of six, Abi Catherine, aged four, and Joseph aged six months, moved from Wabash County, Indiana, from the town of Laketon where I was born, to Mankato, Minnesota.
    In the party were my father’s older brother, George and family of wife, Eliza Ann (Bear) and a little son Lundy still in long clothes. (My Aunt always boasted she usually used three yards of goods in her baby dresses.) Also Thomas Jefferson aged 15, son of his first wife, and Aunt’s father Ephraim Bear. My mother’s father, Henry Shafer, and my mother’s eldest sister Catherine, (born Jan, 22,1829) and her youngest sister, Hannah, aged ten years.
    Grandfather took his own team and wagon and my aunts both rode with him. And Mr.Bear had his team and wagon and Aunt Eliza rode with him; and Uncle George had his team and wagon and his son Tom rode with him and they carried the provisions and horse feed. They left in April. I well remember the day. I wanted my mother to take her wash bowl and pitcher with the pretty flowers on it. The said “no-no.” I said “Why ma,what will you bathe the baby in?” and how the trees and shrubs looked, especially the hazel bushes and wild flowers under them as we rounded the first corner out of town.
    We were not bothered much by Indians, only once when one of the wagon wheels got fast in between two planks in a little bridge over a soft, muddy place. All the men put their strength to turn the wheel when some friendly Indians came up from seemingly nowhere and offered to help, but the men said “They never pulled nor lifted a pound,” but they spied a jug hanging on the wagon and took a swig but soon put it down and made a wry face,and I remember the folks laughed as of course they thought it would be whiskey. I later asked my father what was in it. He said, “Not whiskey anyway”. Though those old timers were not a stranger to its taste, most of them had it on their tables; but I have never known any of my people to over indulge.
    The most terrifying incident on the way was not Indians but my little four year old sister Abi screaming, crying, and begging her father and mother to not ford the rivers. Such anguish. I thought my parents cruel to not give a thought. They only begged her to keep still as it was spring time and all streams were full by May. They were all intent on getting safely across. Those old Conestoga1 wagon beds were made boat shape to better ford the streams.
    The only time I remember of seeing Indians on the whole trip was one day on the prairie. One wagon, I think it was the one my father was driving one wheel of the wagon stuck between two timbers. May have been a small corduroy bridge across a small stream. Any way all men came running to help and soon some Indians came “out of nowhere” and put their hands to help. The men said “the Indians did not pull nor lift a pound.” I remember going into one cemetery to sit and rest with my aunt and her little sister--was a peaceful and quiet place with trees and shrubs. Most people did this instead of a park--did not have many parks at this time.
    Every night Ephraim Bear sang his little grandchild to sleep with Swanee River and other darkie tunes. He was a Kentuckian.
    One night when all were in their first sleep some bandits or horse thieves were routed by the men just in time to save their horses as they already had them rounded up and were making away with them. They were saved only by the dogs barking. Aunt Eliza had a lap dog she brought with her and as soon as he barked it awakened the big dog who was always tired at night after travelling all day after the teams or wagons.
    It was after this that we had the hail storm between Winona and Mankato.. A severe hail storm came up between Winona and Mankato. They unhitched the horses. My mother wanted my father to bring the horses heads into the wagon cover but he said it was not necessary as they knew how to protect themselves. That fall father was travelling down to ------------- by coach (stage) and one man said, “I wonder what made those big holes in the clay” and father said “I know. Last spring when we were coming out here from Indiana a terrible hail storm--balls as big as goose eggs fell and of course left these holes.”
    Uncle George and his son Thomas or Tom went around by Chicago to see if they might like to settle in that vicinity, but came along with the rest in a day or two. Later they went on and had everything ready near Mankato, just on out of the town a little farther on through the town. We staid there until late fall and then moved into town. My father soon got work at his trade while we staid out on the land we pre-empted.
    Suppose we drove on through Mankato to the timber where my father took up a pre-emption. On arriving we lived in a cabin, no windows, a large door fastened at opposite corners with large pegs in auger holes. Enough floor for the beds, and the stove and table in daytime, and at night the beds were put on the floor.

NOTES (from SWM):
The transcription was made on a typewriter; Rae was sent the bottom (second or third) carbon copy from this typing. The typewriter keys were not clean, so some of this original transcription is very hard to read. My sister made a copy of these typescript carbons at Kinkos. It is the Kinko’s copy that I have in my possession. The original carbon copies and the Kinko copies are both very difficult to read, so I made an electronic transcription on my computer. What appears in the blog comes from that transcription.
For the purpose of these blogs, I have decided to rearrange Lide’s memoirs into a more connected narrative. The transcription in our archives (as well as the Kinko copies) remain in the original order as closely as Rae and I could determine that order back in 1943.
In the next post, we will read Lide’s descriptions of her short time in Mankato.

Source: Eliza “Lide” (Hoover) Wantz (1850 -1941), (Okanagan, Washington), Charles E. Shafer (1867 - 1961), (Benton Harbor, Michigan), Lide’s ca 1938 Family History and Reminiscenses, focusing on the 1860s and 1870s, Annotated transcription by Shafer ca 1943., Photocopies, supplied by Rae (Strickler) Underwood, (private address), to Sue W. McCormick, {August 2008}, Prime source(s); sometimes hard to read., My transcription is stored in the computer, the original and a printout are in the paper files.

Here's to facing our frustrations and sharing our successes,

Monday, July 4, 2011

William T. Dorrance Has a Document!

Inspired by the things I've been learning from Michael John Neill's "CaseFile Clues," from Lisa Louise Cooke's "Google Earth for Genealogy" CDs, and from some of the ideas we have discussed during the gatherings about Inferential Genealogy, I changed my approach to this problem.

I have downloaded from the General Land Office portion of the Bureau of Land Management internet site copies of all the information pertaining to my great grandfather's land in Jefferson County, Missouri.

I first mentioned this great grandfather in my blog of March 8* of this year. He existed only as a character in family stories. As a beginning genealogist, I could find no records for him anywhere. The family stories said he was a soldier. Efforts to verify that found me one or two soldiers by that name, but no clear way to identify "my" William T. Dorrance.

The G.L.O. records include the image  of the scripwarrant issued under the act of 1850 "to William T. Dorrence Private in Lieutenant Scott's company Fourth Regiment United States Infantry Florida War." On Oct 1, 1852 my great grandfather received a land patent for 160 acres in Jefferson County, Missouri. Now I have two time periods and a verified place of service on which to base further research.

The only "new" technique involved came from Lisa Cooke's approach to the G.L.O. From the "Historical Atlas Map of Jefferson County, Missouri, 1876" I located the land owned by William Dorrance (spelled Dorrence as in the G.L.O. papers). I then used the land description from the map in this atlas to get the land patent details from the G.L.O.

I know that I'm still very far from having made connections between me and my great grandfather that meet Genealogical Proof Standards. And I still have no clues to his childhood. I need to do more research in Jefferson county; such as "What happened to half the land?" "What happened to his sons after he and his wife died?" I need to follow up on the military information. And so on, … and so on.

LOTS of work ahead. But it looks easier now. William T. Dorrance has a document!

Here's to facing our frustrations,
(not so)FrustratedSue

*Sorry. I haven't learned how to turn this reference into a hyperlink.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inferential Genealogy Wind-Up — Almost!

At the first meeting of the people who gathered at Second Life for a group study of this course, DearMYRTLE asked those of us who blog to blog about our experiences. So far I have managed about 1-1/2 blogs on the subject.

I'm not sure that I have ever studied so hard and been so overwhelmed by the lessons — it was GREAT! Not just the material in the course itself, but all the things I have learned from my fellows in the study group — the attitudes, the research techniques, the various approaches to the problems differed from person to person (as you would expect). All these differences illuminated for me some shadowy portions of my learning process.

If one desires to do more with genealogy than to collect a whole lot of names, the beginner has a stiff learning curve ahead. In the 3-1/2 years since my Christmas pesent was my genealogy software program, I have spent more time learning than I have spent doing. And even then much of my "doing" has been "re-doing."

Since 30 years of my professional life involved keeping track of the photographs, drawings, manuscripts, and various typeset pages which produce a textbook, I knew from the beginning that I would need a storage sstem. For the entire 3-1/2 years I have been refining the computer portion of my storage system. This year a webinar from Elyse of Elyse's Genealogy Blog began to solve my paper storage. (Sorry, Elyse — I couldn't locate how to spell your last name.) Another webinar from Thomas MacEntee and some blogs from Dick Eastman improved my backup systems for my Genealogy data.

The webinar from DearMYRTLE not only inspired me to start this blog; it also inspired me to pay attention to other blogs. During most of these 3-1/2 years I have been following the Monday evening GENTREK presentations at the chat room of GenealogyWise. Dae Powell and Jayne McCormick's presentations have directed me to source books, to research areas, and to research techniques. The chats before and after the presentations often add more information. The discussion board sponsored by my software company has been another source of information. Somewhere along the way I learned of John Michael Neill's CaseFile Clues and have been following the weekly newsletters as well as his three daily tip offerings. Lessons (lectures) from the genealogical societies of my home towns of St. Louis and Columbia Missouri have given me another avenue to learning.

I think that all this has allowed me to reach a level of knowledge equivalent to upper elementary school. I'm beginning to believe that if I ever get a firm grasp of the lessons learned this month, I will jump right over middle school into junior high.

In each of the 3 cases presented in this course, Dr. Jones directed us to extend our research in time, in documents, and in people (associates of the subject of the research). I had begun to think this way about research; his examples expanded my understanding of this extension of research areas and helped clarify the process.

But the best learning came from watching the work of my fellow students. One of them went to Find-a-Grave to see if she could locate the grave of our case-study's subject. I know about Find-a-Grave (and had used it during this time period to locate the graves of my husband's great grandparents) but I haven't truly grasped it as a valuable tool. Her creative use of this site helped strengthen that idea. Two of my fellow students had tried to resolve some evidence through the use of a spread sheet. This led to a final assignment for all of us to try resolving case 3 by using this technique. The various approaches to organizing information in this way was another eye opener.

I don't know ho long it will be before these tools become part of my "standard equipment;" tax records, Find-a-Grave, spread-sheets, probate court, occupations, deaths and marriages … too much information, too rich a broth right now!

Thank you DearMYRTLE for organizing and leading this group. And thank you fellow students for giving me such a big boost in my education.

Here's to facing our frustrations!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This Is the Face of Genealogy

In answer to the call: My paternal grandparents, Jacob Paulus and Emma Catherine Strickler.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Inferential Genealogy Process — Step 1

As I mentioned in my post of June 2, I have started taking this course along with other genealogists at Second Life.  While I studied the handout and Dr. Jones' presentation of Case 1, I kept thinking about my unknown great grandfather, William T(ully?) Dorrance. Can I apply this process to the task of finding out about William T.?

I am going to try to do this. Case 1 is described as being "moderately difficult" while Case 3 is "fairly difficult." I suspect that resolving the problems presented by William T. may be "very difficult." I also suspect that this process may eventually help me connect with this ancestor.

In his handout and in the video, Dr. Jones refers to 5 steps in the Inferential Genealogy Process. Step 1 is "Start with a Focused Goal." This blog is about what I think I understand about Step 1 and how I believe it applies to my problems with William T.

Case 1 starts with some interesting "non-facts" about his specific individual, Maxfield Whiting; (Dr. Jones politely calls this "fiction").

Dr. Jones then tells us we need to
a) Identify a specific individual using known information.
b) Pose a research question specific to that individual.
He states that in genealogy, there are two main categories of questions: Identity and Relationship.

Before Dr. Jones goes on to discuss Steps 2 and 3, he enters the Focused Goal Statement into the Journal.

The above defines the procedures for Step One, "Start with a Focused Goal." The remainder of this blog attempts to relate this process to the problems of William T.

a) I am having problems with an individual named William T(ully?) Dorrance who was the father of James Henry Dorrance.
That identifies the individual; it also uses up almost all my "known information."

James Henry Dorrance was born 11 Jan 1856. This is before mandatory birth records were kept and birth certificates were issued in Jefferson County, Missouri. James Henry was orphaned in the early 1860s. The family always referred to the fostering family as being his "godparents." Our first attempt to locate baptismal records failed; we have new leads. (I'm jumping ahead — what I want to say here is —) we don't have much evidence for William T. or of the birth of his sons. What we do have is hearsay (and in at least one case the "fact" is false).

b) Pose a research question: I believe that this question must be Establish the identity of the William T. Dorrance who is the father of James Henry Dorrance.

c) Enter the Focused Goal Statement into the Journal. "Enter the Focused Goal Statement" is now clear enough. The statement has been formulated in b) above. My problem lies in "into the Journal." I'm pretty sure that Dr. Jones is referring to what I think of as a "Research Log."* I don't truly have a Research Log. I understand the purpose of such a log and I am absolutely sure that I need one. But I do not have a firm enough idea of this process to create a log or journal that is clear to me when I go back to it.
* When I went back to the video to study the next steps, I noticed that the video included a Journal. This is "after the blog" information. I'll continue to report my first thinking here.

In the meantime, what I DO have is a FileMakerPro database which is tied to my primary genealogy program by a strict correspondence of person ids as issued by the program and file record position in the unsorted database. I have created a new layout in this database and will populate it with the fields Dr. Jones demonstrates in the video. The first field is "Focused Goal;" in it I have written "Establish the identity of the William T. Dorrance who is the father of James Henry Dorrance" in the record that relates directly to William T.

I am aware that negative answers are valuable. It is useful to know that a William T. Dorrance you have located is the wrong William T. I'm not afraid of finding negative results. I AM afraid of following paths which are useless. (As a silly example, I have no reason to believe that William T. was in the navy, so searching Naval records would be following a useless path.)

I know I'm learning something here, What I fear is that I'm heading off into ineffective approaches, or that my goal is wrongly focused (too narrow? too broad?). If anyone who reads this blog is willing to critique my methods, I would welcome that input.

Here's to facing our frustrations,
Frustrated Sue

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Generous Community

To begin: the problem at WikiTree mentioned in my post of April 14 has been fixed because I followed the advice of Heather Kuhn Roelker and Cheryl Cayemberg. Chris Whitten of WikiTree was very helpful; I now have a smaller , reasonably accurate family tree. AND the placement of the tree on a public site has led to correspondence between me and a cousin-in-law. She has sent me information that has added about 80 people to my father's family; she has also sent me a picture of my great grandmother and has shown me an interesting site which includes a set of writings of my aunt's (my father's sister) about our "founding" ancestor. This is a rich reward. Thank you, Heather, Cheryl, Chris, and Becky (the cousin).

I have a bunch of sensitivities to airborne substances that is usually not a problem. But at times I get an overdose and have an allergy attack. These attacks can sap my energy to the point that making the bed or loading the washing machine is almost too much work. Most days, I manage to make myself do the usual household tasks and also to accomplish something in genealogy (or in cross-stitch, another of my 3 obsessions). But when your energy is that low you make mistakes so I usually do only easy project.

For me learning has always been fun and fairly easy. So during this unusually long and difficult allergy season, I've been learning. I've been following several new-to-me blogs (and adding blogs to that list), I've been attending webinars (I think I'm a webinar junkie), and I've bought webinar CDs for restudy, or to compensate for missing a webinar when an allergy attack caused me to sleep through the session instead of attending it.

So now I have a better organization plan for storing my paper files (better because I find it easier to keep working at it) and I'm using Dropbox, and I've been to ScanFest, and … (you understand). And then came this invitation to take a course on SecondLife! So I got an avatar, and I went to the Fire Pit on Monday and learned from Genie Weezles how to navigate, I studied the handout and the Introduction part of the video, and I went back to the Fire Pit on Tuesday for the discussion. I think I'm such a newbie at Genealogy that others will learn more than I will, but I already know that I will extend my basic understanding. So thank you, DearMYRTLE for pointing me here.

I cannot describe in detail what I learned on Tuesday night, and this gives me confidence. I expressed a thought about the Inferential Genealogy Process and how it fits into meeting Genealogical Proof Standards and someone agreed with me. I queried the relative importance of two types of information and Clarise Beaumont emphasized that I needed both. And so on. In my case, what I learned Tuesday night slid seamless into what I have been trying to format about "doing" Genealogy, giving me confidence that I am on the correct path.

Then Clarise gave us an assignment! Besides studying Case1 before the Sunday meeting, those of us who Blog are to write a blog about our experience. Now, I'm not quite sure if my Blog will be what Clarise meant (no this one isn't it, this is merely my intro), but the blog is already half outlined and that process has helped me learn something.

So thanks again to all the experienced Genealogists out there who offer such generous help to the rest of us. I don't know where you find the time, but I'm very glad that you do. I'll be back soon with an account of my first experiences with the Inferential Genealogy Process.

[And by the way: someone at the Fire Pit mentioned Ben Sayer's Lineascope. I didn't respond at the time because it wasn't appropriate. But if that person reads this and has the time, could we talk about Lineascope? You can tell me when and where.]

Here's to facing our frustrations,
Frustrated Sue

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Newest (BIG) Mistake

When I said that this would be and "occasional" blog, I didn't expect that spring pollen plus 2 infections would keep me away from writing for a month!

When I'm under the weather like that, I try to keep going with activities which won't lead me to make mistakes. I'd heard about WikiTree, so I decided to give it a try. This was just transferring my information and offering it to the public, wasn't it? I wouldn't make any real mistakes here.

Boy, was I wrong! WikiTree advises that a new member should start small, so I "trimmed" my GEDCOM and uploaded it. Somehow I managed to upload 3027 individuals — NOT a small amount. (This is only the second GEDCOM I've requested from my software and the first one where I saw the results of the upload.) Data went into the wrong fields!

OK, I could have anticipated this, and it's no big deal. But it does mean that every entry should be edited. If I edit 10 individuals a day, it will take a year to fix this. (Well, 10 entries from the Watchlist will actually be more than 10 individuals since I'm doing husband and wife pairs at the same time; but even if I cut this down to 6 months, that's LOTS of work.)

So, this is all part of the learning process — and I love to learn; so what is my problem? I made what I consider to be a truly BIG mistake, one that goes against my personal principles. In the past, I have never posted public information about family members unless I had AT LEAST supported the information with a census entry or two. You KNOW that in only 2-years of research, I do not begin to have documentation on 3000 names.

This makes editing my WikiTree entries imperative. I must do it as fast as I can. I must find ways to show which data is sustained by research and which is (mostly) hearsay. I must remove some very odd dates I had used in my software as codes to me. (I had forgotten that these codes would become part of the GEDCOM and therefore be thrust upon an uncomprehending world.)

I have put BAD data out for public view! (And I dislike it when folk do that.) I must find ways to warn other users of WikiTree that much of this data is unsupported.

Luckily, WikiTree (as its name proclaims) is a wiki area. People are invited to offer corrections, and I believe most users expect some errors in wiki-data. Still, I have given me a LARGE HEADACHE to contend with.

PS: While I was looking at my WikiTree entries in order to be correct in my reporting, I noticed that each entry is accompanied by a public bulletin board area. So I stopped blogging long enough to add a caution to each individual I have edited today, as well as to my personal entry. I find that I will have completed 30 individuals today. At this rate, I'll catch up in 100 days (3 months).

Here's to facing our frustrations.
Frustrated Sue

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WHO Is He and Where Is He?

I have a great grandfather (well I have four, just like everyone else); but this one is a mystery to me!

His name probably is William T. Dorrance; the T. may stand for Tully. He may have been born in Connecticut and may have served in the regular army. He is said to have married Mary Murphy in New Orleans before they moved to Missouri. Mary Murphy (she's a mystery also) is said to have come to the U. S. from County Cork, Ireland. She is supposed to have entered the country through New Orleans. The foster mother of her younger son may have arrived in the U. S. on the same boat.

As you can tell, what I have to work with is family stories; there is not one single proven fact in the above paragraph. The probable cause of this collection of non-facts lies in the words "foster mother." My grandfather was young when his parents died (although probably not as young as family stories say — again, I don't know). I DO HAVE a copy (positive form) of a microfilm of the will of my grandfather's foster father. These papers include the bonds for guardianship from the guardians of Henry Dorrance, my grandfather, and Wm Dorrance, his (older?) brother. I remember my mother and her sisters talking of "Uncle Will" and I also remember meeting "Mr. Lloyd, my foster brother" one day at my Grandfather's house.

These bonds for guardianship were filed Oct. 5, 1863 (when James Henry Dorrance was 9 years old). I know that this date is a clue to the deaths of "William T." and his wife, "Mary;" but I DO NOT know where to go next! How much time elapsed between the death of the parents and the authorization of the guardianships. I know that this procedure varies from state to state. Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy says that in Missouri these records are under the jurisdiction of the County Probate Court; Genealogist's Companion and Sourcebook has less than that on the subject (unless, of course, I have misused the index). Where do I look next?

I suspect that I should be looking at probate records and land ownerships in order to establish the Dorrance family in Jefferson County in Missouri. How do I do that? (Well, I DO have some ideas on this one. I'm learning from the online sites of the Jefferson County Historical Society and the Jefferson County Genealogy Society and I have locations I can travel to where I can examine the society holdings for each group. I have joined the MOJEFFER group at RootsWeb. Also, I have met a librarian in Jefferson County, who has charge of one of these collections, and who can probably direct me to the best local places for my research in that area. I can reach her quickly via Facebook, which should save valuable time ffor the people who may be dealing with my searches — as well as for me,)

In the meantime, being poorly organized, I forgot to begin at the end of Mr. Dorrance's life. Instead, I began by looking into the military service. And I DID find some records which may belong to my William T. Dorrance.

These records confused me. Today we spent about an hour at our local family history center getting help with these records (which appear to be in Salt Lake City, among other places). I learned several things. 1) Although the clue to these records came to me through those "leaves" at, Footnote is a better place to search for military records. I have a Footnote subscription, I just didn't think to go there. 2) Be more flexible! I love my laptop, which is "my" primary computer, but the screen on my "husband's" desktop is much larger. If I sign off access to my accounts on my machine, I can go to his larger screen in order to read those two-page wide records that are too difficult to follow on my smaller screen. (Now WHY didn't I think of that!). 3) There is a button pointing to additional information on some of these screens that just didn't make an impression on me. Be more thorough!

Concerning these military records: since I HAVE gotten to them, I should record the information (with sources), save it to my records as TENTATIVE information, and then put this line of research on hold while I return to my great grandfather's death and trace him backwards in time.

I have had lots of help this week and I have learned a lesson or two (which is indeed valuable and much of the fun of genealogy for me), BUT William T. Dorrance (or whoever) is as enigmatic as he was last week.

Here's to facing our frustrations,
Frustrated Sue

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A "Real Genealogist"

This will be an occasional blog, charting my way through the land of genealogy.

Someday I want to be a "real genealogist." (No, I don't mean a professional genealogist.)

According to my personal definition:
1. A real genealogist is organized. In contrast, my papers, my searches, and my thoughts wander all over the place.
2. A real genealogist is disciplined. In contrast, I jump from goal to goal, leaving other searches up in the air. (Sometimes the jump is because you get a new, hot clue and you pursue it at least long enough to be sure that you can get back to the lead. I believe that "real genealogists" act this way. But the "real genealogist" has a plan and gets back to it. I have a plan, but I don't stick to it for one whole day.)
3. A real genealogist cites sources, and doesn't post without sources. OK, I'm almost a "real genealogist" here. I do make note of my sources; I am even organizing my citation styles so that they will be consistent with each other (all census citations are similar, all birth certificates are similar, and so on). And my public postings have at least one source to verify the listing. The trouble is that the one source may be only a census or a statement on a death certificate.
4. A real genealogist evaluates evidence, adhering to Genealogical Proof Standards before posting information. In contrast, I don't even understand the path to this goal. Some things are clear: a death certificate has some "good" evidence (such as the physician's statement) and some "hearsay" evidence (such as place of birth of the deceased). Or the fact that census information is mainly hearsay. Please notice that I'm avoiding the terms "Direct and Indirect" evidence, "Original and Derivative" source, "Primary and Secondary" information; when I have these terms in front of me, I have a fair idea of the meaning. But we're at a recognition stage of knowledge, not at recall, let alone at an ability to have these decisions as part of my working tools. (I had to go to my copy of Genealogical Proof Standard by Christine Rose to be sure that I had the correct terms.) What is more, even if I were skilled with these steps, I'm currently completely unsure as to how to used them in evaluating the validity of my data.
5. A real genealogist gets results. In contrast, — well examine the "in contrasts" in points 1 to 4 above.

I am comparatively new to genealogy. I find it both fascinating and frustrating. (I've been heard to declare that genealogy was invented in order to ensure that we would never run out of being frustrated.) The comparative newness explains some of the "in contrasts" mentioned above. But I'm afraid that I have a grasshopper brain. Also, my pattern appears to be periods of intense concentration followed by "burnout" which causes me to embrace another activity with equal intensity for a while. These personal traits will probably be with me for the rest of my life; I just need learn to work effectively within this pattern.

What should I do about the comparative newness? Well, learn. I have taken several steps in this direction; I belong to my local genealogical society (Genealogical Society of Central Missouri or gscm), to the St. Louis Genealogical Society, and to the Wabash Genealogical Society  (my father's Indiana roots). I attend the meetings of the two Missouri groups, and learn many things from these meetings. I have "met" Dae Powell and Jayne McCormick through their GENTREK presentations at GenealogyWise. Through these presentations I have learned of books, of other Genealogists, and of specific techniques. Genealogy Wise has special groups where I can ask questions, and an active chat room where more experienced genealogists can give me research points. I subscribe to and to; I also do online searches through I have begun to read Blogs (a suggestion from Jayne and Dae), and I've begun to attend Webinars more systematically. I believe that all these activities will help me grow in my ability to become a real genealogist.

This blog will be another approach to growth. (Thanks to "Dear Myrtle," whose blog today, led me to her first blog on this subject, and therefore to this first posting. Thank you, Myrt!)

My father used to drive me wild, by saying "Unexpressed is half thought!" (When I got older, I used to retaliate with "…thoughts that lie too deep for words …). But my father had a point. If I discuss specific frustrations in this blog, I may begin to solve them, simply by clarifying the problem. I hope that the blog will catch the attention of others, who may then add comments that can help me get closer to becoming a "real genealogist."

If you like this idea, keep up with me — and tell any friend who likes genealogy. One thing I HAVE learned in the past two to three years, is that Genealogists love to help each other.

Here's to facing our frustrations,
Frustrated Sue