Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Joy and Blessings of Meeting Cousins

When I was growing up I was very close to my 3 paternal first cousins.  We frequently spent time together for the Holidays and Summers.  Their mother and my father were siblings.  While they didn’t live in the same town they frequently came to visit my Grandparents and we lived only a field away which was very convenient.  Over the years we stayed fairly close despite our adult lives and living in different parts of the country at times.  Weddings, births and now graduations were always great times to get together and fun times to look forward to.  This was a great experience to build on as my genealogical research continues and I find new cousins.

While visiting family in the town I grew up in over the Holidays I was so pleased to be able to reconnect with one 2nd cousin, say a quick hello to another 2nd cousin and meet two 3rd cousins that I don’t think I’ve ever met.

It’s hard to explain the feeling of meeting new cousins.  It’s strange the bonds we share from our common ancestors.  The stories passed down in a family, the pictures saved, the Bible notations that connect us.

I was amazed to see that one of my new 3rd cousins brought some of the same pictures I brought to our get together.  Unlike mine though…..hers actually had names and the reason the picture had been taken-a family wedding.  In another photo she was able to identify who the ‘city slicker’ was in the fancy car.  (details to follow in future blog posts)
Warner siblings Warner Franklin photo in car
                            Eleanor Warner’s wedding                                                              Franklin Warner

I think it was Maureen Taylor (see post Photo Friday-Mystery Man) in a talk that said if you don’t have names on pictures check with other family members to see if they have the same photos but perhaps with names.  Good lesson and it proved true in this case!

The 2nd cousin I was able to reconnect with was able to share a book of local interviews that I had not seen before.  One of the people interviewed was our Great Uncle who talked a lot about his growing up which gave me a lot more info about my grandfather’s adolescence.  Stories I had never heard.  What a great find!

Then there was my Exciting News to follow-up on.  (See blog post Exciting News-Carrie’s Letters) I had finally found and talked to my great-grandmother Carrie’s sister Ella’s great-granddaughter.  We had agreed to meet and had a wonderful day! We talked for hours.  We discovered so many similarities in our lives; same undergraduate degrees, she worked at facility that I had also applied to, we had the same summer jobs in college for several years,  (Also found out that one of my 2nd cousins did the same thing too-small world), etc. Then she had pulled down a box from her attic of ‘stuff’ from her ancestors.  The box turned out to be a treasure trove of info!  While we were looking for pictures of her great-grandmother we found several photos with this being my favorite.
Billard Ella Terry photo in buggy

We found a variety of photos, newspaper clippings, address books, notes on envelopes, etc. in the box which took us several hours to go through.   I took lots of pictures of things we found.  While I was hoping for a picture of Ella and Carrie together my cousin reminded me not to give up because….”we still have more boxes to go through next time”.  Wow!  What a find!  While I am so grateful for the information I think the best part was getting to know my cousin, her husband and father!

I have to admit that with the information I gathered from cousins and a trip to the County Probate office as well as the County Historical Society I am feeling a little overwhelmed with information and need some time to process it all.  Definitely a lot more information for future blog posts.  I like to continually look locally for information while I am there and not just use records found on-line so I try to gather as much as possible while I am there. 

We cousins had such a good time that we all want to make this a regular get together when I am back East.  I hope next time when I can visit family I can also talk more to the 2nd cousin I was only able to briefly meet.  Oh and my new 3rd cousin needs to meet my 2nd cousins which are also her family! 

Remember: You never know what little piece of information someone has that will help you put together the bigger picture or break through a brick wall.

While our lives get so busy with our daily routines it’s a good time to remember the blessings of cousins and the ancestors we share.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Exciting News-Carrie’s Letters

If you have been following my posts that have to do with Carrie’s Letters (see posts Carrie’s Letters) you may be interested in hearing my exciting news.

About 7 years ago I had an amazing find - over a hundred letters that my paternal Great-Grandmother Carrie Terry Warner wrote.  Carrie wrote these letters from 1880-1910.  They were mainly written to her sister Ella Terry Billard who was 11 years younger.  As I have scanned, transcribed, edited and researched the letters these last 7 years I have often wondered about Ella.  I have a photo of Carrie but always wondered what Ella looked like.  Ella died in 1966 and I may have met her growing up as she only lived about 15 miles away from where I grew up but if I did, I don’t remember.

I have put the letters into a book format so they would be easier to read.  I have researched people and events that Carrie talked about in order to help bring the letters to life and make them much easier to read and understand.  They tell quite a story of everyday life in rural Long Island during this time period.  As I complete some editing and an Index of people mentioned in the book I have always felt the book wouldn’t be complete without a photo of Ella but how to find one…..

First, I began to research Ella’s life after marriage. 
  • I knew Ella had married from reading Carrie’s letters and her husband was George Billard. 
  • I learned that after Ella married George Billard she had 3 sons; Russell, Irving and Ellis Billard. 
  • As I continued my search I found out that Irving never married and died in 1989. 
  • I found out that Russell married but had no children and died in 1979. 
  • Ellis I found out married Natalie and they had one daughter Eleanor.  Ellis passed away in 1982 and Natalie died in
So, I had one possible lead left-Eleanor.  How do I find out if Eleanor married and if so, who?  Did she have children?  Is she still alive?

I decided to start with County Probate records and looked for a Will for Ella’s.  Success!  I found a will for Ella and in it she mentions her Granddaughter Eleanor, her husband and 2 children.  YEA, now I have a married name for Eleanor and I know she had 2 children.  I also know where they were living at the time of the will which is about 10 miles from where I grew up.

Next,  I decided to start searching the local phone book.  I was not able to find a listing for Eleanor but maybe found her husband.  I tried calling with no luck.  I tried looking for the daughter with no luck.  I also tried looking for the male son.  I found one possibility and tried calling.  I had to leave a message and thought how crazy I must have sounded, “Hi, you don’t know me but…..if your great grand-mother was Ella Terry Billard we’re related and I’d like to ask you some questions.”  No response.  I tried mailing a letter to the address listed but the letter was returned because in that town mail is delivered to a PO Box and I didn’t know that…..ugh….dead end.

Then, I decided to try the Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library.  A woman, over many years, had collected newspaper clippings and glued them on copy paper by family surname.  Most were marriage, obituary, death notices, birth notices.  Maybe I would find an obituary for Ella and there would be a picture???? No such luck. Ugh…

Then I decided to look on Ancestry Public Member Trees for a tree that might have Ella listed…..and…..I found one!  I sent an email to the owner of the tree and got a response!!  I found out that the owner of the tree was a cousin of Ella’s great granddaughter on her father’s side.  YEA, a mini celebration!  I told her who I was and why I was looking for her cousin and asked if she cold pass my information along.  Through several email messages she let her cousin know and let me know that her cousin was very busy but had some photos and would get back to me when she could.  I sent a follow-up to her letting her know I would be in the area for the Holidays and would love to even just talk to her cousin if she had time.
download surprise

Monday night, a week ago, I received a phone call from Ella’s great-granddaughter totally out of the blue.  We talked for about 45 minutes and made plans to meet next week.  Big celebration time!  She grew up so close to me in distance, is a year older, our High School teams played each other and for several summers in college we worked at the same job (Summer work in the Tax Office at the County Treasurer’s Office) and probably even met each other.  We are sure our paths have crossed before this.  She told me Ella was doing genealogy way back when and yes, she has pictures!!  How exciting and oh, did I say… she has ‘boxes of stuff’ for us to look at.  How unbelievably exciting to be able to meet her-my third cousin!  I just kept saying that I felt like the circle is complete-we were meant to know each other!  Our great-grandmother’s were sisters and now we will have the opportunity to get to know each other.

This journey has taken about 2 years of my searching but just under 140 years from Carrie’s first letter, while at college, to her sister Ella.  I am so VERY grateful to Ella for saving Carrie’s letters and for her great-granddaughter’s willingness to pick up the phone and agree to meet and share information.  What an amazing gift I have been given and continue to receive as a result of Carrie’s letters.  Now I feel that I can complete the book of Carrie’s Letters complete with a picture of Ella for the book.

I will be sure to let you know what we find in those ‘boxes’ and about our meeting.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday-Jacob Grantier

Granteer Jacob tombstone
Jacob Granteer
Griffin Cemetery, Canton, Bradford County, Pennsylvania
Maternal 5th great-grandfather

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday Serendipity-Jacob Grantier

When I am thinking about my blog post for the next week I try to pick someone that I haven’t researched.  I try to spread out my research to different branches of my family tree.  I may pick someone, look at the information I already have and try to add to it.  Sometimes I am amazed at how I may be looking for information on, as happened this week, Silas Bailey (my maternal 3rd great grandfather) when I instead of finding something directly on him…….another name comes up in my research, such as Jacob Grantier.  So, I guess this week it’s Jacob’s story I am supposed to tell.  In genealogy circles we call this ‘Serendipity’.  A term used to explain the unexpected turn of events that help us in our search for information about our ancestors.

I found Civil War pension information I forgot I had on Silas K. Bailey my maternal 2nd great grand uncle who I believed only lived in upstate NY.  In the paperwork it made a reference to Bradford County, PA where I knew my Alden-Coolbaugh connection came from (See post Using County Histories to Find Information-Timothy Alden).  Hmm….that’s interesting.  Perhaps the Bailey Family also started out in Bradford County as well before moving to upstate NY (basically across the border)….hmmm.  So, in my hunt for Silas Bailey I went back to a great website I’d found online entitled Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice.  It’s an amazing collection of information for Bradford & Tioga Counties in Pennsylvania and Chemung County across the border in New York.  Definitely a find worth bookmarking!
I knew there was a Jacob Grantier who had a son named David that I was descended from but that was all I had.

This is what I found on the Tri-Counties Genealogy and History website that began my search;
Jacob Grantier (Granteer, Granadier), a native of the province of Lorraine, Germany, came to America about two years before the Revolutionary War, locating in Schoharie county, N.Y. Here he joined Morgan's famous riflemen and served until the close of the struggle for Independence. Immediately preceding or during the war he married a Miss Tabor, a German lady. Having sold his property in Schoharie, in 1784-'85, he floated down the Susquehanna to Towanda. He selected a farm, 300 acres, on the South side of Towanda Creek, which he occupied and improved until 1801, when he sold to Reuben Hale and moved up Towanda Creek, purchasing the land on the present site of Canton village. He built a log house, where the Baptist church now stands, and constructed a saw mill on Mill Creek. He afterwards, about 1805, fell through this mill and was killed. His wife survived him some years. Both lie in the old Canton burial grounds. Their children were: John, David, Jacob, Betsy, Lena and Hannah.
  • John married Catharine, daughter of Daniel Heverly, the Overton pioneer.
  • David married first Elizabeth Warren, second Rhoda Killburn.
  • Jacob married Hannah Heverly, sister of his brother John's wife. Betsy married Samuel Rockwell of Canton.
  • Mary ("Polly") married Elias, brother of Samuel Rockwell.
  • Lena married a Mr. Blackwell of Jersey Shore.
  • Hannah married Iram Wilson of Canton.
This information was taken from a book titled:
Pioneer and Patriot Families of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, 1770-1800: Including History (1615-1800), Marriages (1776-1850), Soldiers of the Revolution, Ministers, Justices, Original Officers and All Matters Relating to Early Times. By Clement F. Heverly ...Volume 1 of Pioneer and Patriot Families of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, 1770-1800: Including History (1615-1800), Marriages (1776-1850), Soldiers of the Revolution, Ministers, Justices, Original Officers and All Matters Relating to Early Times. By Clement F. Heverly, Clement Ferdinand Heverly

I was also able to find the following:

1790 US Federal Census – Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
  • Names of Heads of Families –Granatier, Jacob

  • Free white Males of sixteen years & upward including heads of Families-2
  • Free white Males under sixteen years – 2
  • Free white Females including heads of Families – 2


U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798  (In July 1798, Congress authorized the first direct tax by the United States government. The records were used to levy taxes on owners of land, dwellings, and slaves in Pennsylvania.)

Name of Owner or Occupant- Granadier, Jacob     Name of Owner Situation- Wysocken       Valuation- 573         Assessment – 150
List of the Taxable inhabitants of Luzerne County, PA.  7th day of March, 1800 Wysox Township,  -(PA did not do a Federal census but did make enumerations of inhabitants every seven years for tax purposes and to determine representation in state government. These counts are called the Septennial Censuses.)
Granidier Jacob 
  • Name of Occupants, or –Jacob Granatier
  • Name of reputed Owner- Jacob Granatier
  • In what County, Township, Parish, Town or City in the Assessment District situated.- Wysocken Township
  • Dwelling-Houses and Out-Houses of a Value not exceeding One Hundred Dollars
  •     Number of Dwelling-Houses- 1
  •     Value, Dollars- 60
  • Quantities of Land, Lots, &c. subject to and included in the Valuation- 150 Acres
  • Valuations as determined by the Principal Assessors,  including Dwelling Houses
    &c., not exceeding One Hundred Dollars in Value- 573
What I’ve learned;
  • A new Surname for my list.
  • I see that the first son of Jacob’s was John and I’m noticing that his wife Catherine was a Heverly-perhaps related to the author Clement Heverly of the above mentioned book about Pioneer and Patriot Families?
  • I would like to find out more about Morgan’s Famous Riflemen unit during the Revolutionary War
  • Perhaps through this connection I can now join the DAR (Daughter’s of the American Revolution)
  • Jacob was a prosperous man based on the above Tax lists and owned a good amount of property.
I wonder if Jacob received a Land Grant after his service in the Revolutionary War in PA?  Is that why he moved from NY to PA?

I am anxious to see what else I can find on Jacob and his family.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, December 4, 2016

US Federal Non-Population Census-Agricultural

I wanted to take a look this week at my great great-great-grandfather Stephen Robinson.
When I started this is all I knew about Stephen:
  • Stephen was born 14 February 1805 in Southold, Suffolk County, New York
  • Stephen’s parents were Moses Robinson (age 30) and Susan Gould Robinson (28).
  • Stephen (age 19) was married to Caroline F. Overton (age 14?) on 24 January 1825.
  • Stephen and Caroline had 10 children-Barnabas Osborne, George W., Perry Stephen, Almeda Vincent, Dolisea, William Smith, Arthur M., Alonzo Martin, Huldah J., Carrie E.  Almeda is my great-great grandmother and the mother of Carrie Terry Warner.  (See Carrie’s letters)
  • Stephen died on 11 June 1871 at the age of 66 and is buried in Brookfield, Manorville, Suffolk County, NY.
This is what I learned about Stephen:
According to the 1865 NY census Stephen was a farmer.

While searching on-line I stumbled across the US Federal Non-Population Census for 1850 and 1860 for Stephen.  The US had Agricultural Schedules every 10 years from 1850-1900.  The census according to the US Federal Government “was a convenient form and had the advantage of showing the general condition of each farm on one compact sheet.”  I started reviewing what Stephen had recorded in 1850.

1850 US Non-Population NY Agricultural Census, NY-
Stephen had 40 acres of land improved, 260 acres of land undeveloped, the cash value of the land was $3,000, Value of Farming Implements and Machinery $50, 2 Horses, 4 Mileh Cows (milking cow), 2 Working Oxen, 6 Other Cattle, 30 Sheep. 6 swine, $300 Value of Livestock, 60 Bushels of Wheat, 60 Bushels of Rye, 150 Bushels of Indian Corn, 70 lbs. of wool, 100 bushels of Irish Potatoes, 30 bushels of Buckwheat, 200 lbs. of Butter, 10 Tons of Hay, $80 Value of Homemade Manufactures.
1860 US Non-Population NY Agricultural Census, NY-
Stephen had 75 acres of land improved, 100 acres of land undeveloped, the cash value of the land was $2,000, Value of Farming Implements and Machinery $100, 3 Horses, 3 Mileh Cows (milking cow),  2 swine, $450 Value of Livestock, 75 Bushels of Wheat, 40 Bushels of Rye, 200 Bushels of Indian Corn, 200 Bushels of Oats, 100 bushels of Irish Potatoes, 40 bushels of Buckwheat, 200 lbs. of Butter, 3 Tons of Hay,$150 Value of Homemade Manufactures.

I thought if I put the results of the 2 Agricultural census in a spread sheet it would help me see what changes there were over the 10 year period.  The additional information for items listed below is from the information given to complete the census.
Remember to always read about the record (census) before you look at the information.
AG census

WOW…what a different type of information this is!  It was very interesting to see what in June of a growing year my ancestor had. 
Some thoughts:
  • I was surprised by the amount of butter that was held by the family.
  • I’m interested in the change of acreage.  Stephen had 10 children so I wonder if he sold or gave the land to some of his children?
  • In the 1860 census, Stephen and Caroline still had 6 children at home with them.
  • I know that in 1850 and 1860 Stephen was living in Riverhead instead of Southold where he was born and not yet in Manorville which is where he is buried.  Did he move to Manorville or was he just buried there?
  • I wonder if they did sell any of the goods they made themselves or if it was just clothing, etc, for their family?
  • I found it interesting that many, my ancestor included, owned sheep.  I wouldn’t have expected anyone to have them since I haven’t seen them on Long Island in my lifetime.
  • Why can’t I find him in the US Federal Census for 1870?
There should be an Agriculture census for 1870 unless Stephen had given up farming at that time?  He would die a year later.
Now, I wonder if I can find a will for Stephen………….

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,