Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Life of Merritt Howell, Jr.

I thought I’d take a look this week at my paternal 4th great grandfather, Merritt Howell Jr. What could I find out about his life?

When Merritt was born on 10 November 1783 in Southold, Suffolk County, New York to Merritt Howell Sr. (1750-1818) and Sarah Luce Howell (1755-1824) America was just seven years old. Merritt was the third of four children and the oldest son.

At the age of nine Merritt, his parents, sisters Patience and Sally as well as brother Benjamin must have been living in the newly formed (13 March 1792) town of Riverhead which broke off from the town of Southold. Merritt’s father, Merritt Sr. was named as one of the Overseers of the Poor in the new town at the first town meeting held on 3 April 1792.

1800 US Federal Census Merrit (age 17) appears to be living in Riverhead with his parents, brother Benjamin (12) and sister Sally (19). Patience (23) was married.

Merritt, at the age of 20, married 17 year old Eleanor Luce in 1803. They would have 12 (?) children: Buel, Jemima (my 3rd great grandmother), Eleanor, Fanny, Hampton, Betsey, Sarah, Henrietta, Merritt, Frances, Eleanor and Daniel. Four of their children would die at a young age Buel (2 years old), Eleanor (1st) (15 years old), Merritt (1 year old), and Eleanor (2nd) (1 year old).

1810 U.S. Federal Census finds Merritt (27) and his wife Eleanor (24) living in Riverhead with children Sally (6), Jemima (4) and Eleanor (2).

12 November 1819 Merrit Howell purchased a tract of land in Halseys Manor in the town of Brookhaven from Abraham Luce, John P. Luce and David Hulse.

1820 U.S. Federal Census finds Merritt (37) engaged in Agriculture and living in Riverhead with his wife Eleanor (34) and children Sally (16), Jemima (14), Eleanor (12), Fanny (10), Hampton (8), Betsey (6), Henrietta (1).

1830 U.S. Federal Census finds Merritt (47), wife Eleanor (44) and children Hampton (18), Betsey (16), Sarah (14), Henrietta (11), Frances (4), Daniel (?), Eleanor L. (1) still living in Riverhead, New York. Living with them were also a free Colored male (age 10-23) and a free Colored female (age 10-23).

1840 U.S. Federal Census finds Merritt ((57) living with his wife Eleanor (54) and children Hampton (28), Betsey (26), Daniel (15-19), Frances (15), Eleanor L. (11). Also living in the home is a free Colored female (age 10-23). Three people in the household were employed in Agriculture.

  • *Up until 1850 in the US Federal Census records children are just listed by age. I am guessing at which children are still living with them during these census years based on their ages and the dates I have for their marriages and probably moving out of the home. If you know of any errors in my estimations above, please let me know so I may correct these errors.

1850 U.S. Federal Census reported on 5 September shows Merritt (66) still living in Riverhead with his wife Eleanor (63) along with Elbert Howell (6) and Priscilla White (12). I wonder if Elbert and Priscilla are grandchildren?? Merritt has listed his occupation as a Farmer and the value of Real Estate owned is listed as 20,000.

1850 September 5th U.S. Census Non-Population Schedules, Agriculture


  • Acres of Land-150 Improved, 850 Unimproved. Cash value of farm 20,000.
  • Value of farming Implements and Machinery-100.
  • Livestock-Horses-2, Milch [cow kept for milking] cows-4, Other cattle-15. Swine-9. Value of Live Stock (1 June 1850)-300.
  • Produce during the year ending 1 June 1850: Wheat, bushels of-50. Rye, bushels of-30. Indian corn, bushels of-250. Oats, bushels of-80. Irish Potatoes, bushel of-100. Butter, lbs. of-200. Hay, tons of-40.
  • Value of Animals slaughtered-60.

Merritt’s wife of 51 years Eleanor would die on 31 October 1854 just three years before he did.

Merritt died 4 December 1857 at the age of 74 in Riverhead, Suffolk County, New York.

I started with the basic of facts about Merritt and was still able by transcribing the information to determine a lot about his life. I have more research to do but this is a good start. Looking at the Census records from 1850 and the neighboring farmers leads me to believe that he had one of the most prosperous farms in the area. Now I would like to find out more about where his farm was and his land purchases that brought him up to 1,000 acres of land with a value of $20,000.

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

Saturday, November 30, 2019

4th Blogiversary of Debby’s Family Genealogy Blog

It's hard to believe that I have been doing this already for four years!  A look back at the last year:

Over the past year I have created and published 49 blog posts.  

Some of my Favorite Posts this year:
The series of posts I did on MM Coolbaugh; including MM Coolbaugh, Tombstone Tuesday with a Twist, Death and Obituary for MM Coolbaugh, Wedding and Anniversary of Betsey Granteer and MM Coolbaugh, Election Day-Ever Wonder if Your Ancestors Were Involved in Politics, etc. I seemed to just keep uncovering information.

A fun post was about discovering a hidden little cemetery I never knew about- How Many People Does it Take to Locate a Cemetery?

All time History Page Views- this year went from 54, 464 to 96, 989

Followers – this year went from 12 to 22

In Case You Missed Them, My Top Five Most Viewed Blog Posts Were:

What I’ve learned:

  • I appreciate finding out how my ancestors participated in the happenings of their times. How they became a part of history with the lives they lived whether it was being a soldier in the Revolutionary War, taking a ship across the Atlantic to start a new life, being involved in the politics that lead up to the Civil War, etc. Researching the time period they lived in adds to much to my ancestors’ stories and gives me a better sense of them. These also seem to be my most viewed posts as well.

My Frustration continues to be that there never seems to be enough time and money to do as much research as I want.

My goals for this next year:

  • Complete my edit of my great grandmother Carrie’s Letters in a digital format so that my cousins and others can easily access them.
  • To once again attempt to publish at least 50 posts while continuing to work full time.
  • Make the stories of my ancestors lives be more than just dry facts. Help the readers understand the time period better.


  • Three published years of my blog stories. How exciting to see all the research for a year published in to one place in a book format.
  • Write reviews of the Speakers who present for the San Diego Genealogical Society. I have enjoyed doing this and am able to ‘try out’ suggestions from the speakers and blog about it.

A VERY SPECIAL THANK-YOU TO ALL MY READERS!  I enjoy sharing what I have learned and appreciate the comments you make and/or questions you ask.  I’m always looking for new directions to search or information that is questionable and needs verification.

My updated Surname word cloud:

It has been another great year for me as a blogger.  On to new discoveries and new cousin connections.

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

Enjoy the journey,

Thursday, November 28, 2019

San Diego Colony November Compact Day

On Saturday the San Diego Colony of the Mayflower Society held their annual November Compact Day meeting and luncheon at the Green Dragon Tavern in Carlsbad, California in the:

This is the second time I have had the privilege of attending, this time as a verified Mayflower descendant. This was my first time wearing the ‘costume’, or period dress, of my ancestors. (See post What Would Priscilla Mullins Alden Think?)

Following an Invocation and The Pilgrim Pledge:

In the name of God Amen.
I pledge myself to help hold aloft the lamps of civil and religious liberty lighted by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock; to recall and cherish the sacrifices and struggles made by them for the common good; to study their lives, deeds, faith, courage and character, and to draw inspiration therefrom; to emulate their spirit; to be loyal to the flag and institutions of the country whose founding was so greatly aided by their work and wisdom; to do everything within my power to deserve and preserve the heritage, and at all times and in all ways to profit by the Pilgrim example.

State Officials from the California Mayflower Society in attendance were introduced and new members were presented and welcomed in to the San Diego Colony.

Next was the exciting Pilgrim Roll Call. Each of the Mayflower passengers are called by name and the number of descendants in attendance are counted and recorded. Passenger John Howland had the largest number of descendants present at 24. My ancestor John Alden had 21 descendants in attendance this time. For a complete list of passengers and information about the passengers visit Passenger Lists Mayflower 1620 on Caleb’s website.

The guest speaker for this luncheon was Caleb Johnson.  Caleb is an author and historian with over 25 years of researching the Mayflower passengers and their voyage. His most popular book is Here Shall I Die Ashore about the life of Stephen Hopkins. Caleb’s website,  “ the Internet's most complete and accurate website dealing with the Mayflower passengers and the history of the Pilgrims and early Plymouth Colony can be found at

Caleb Johnson with Kathleen Loftman, San Diego Colony Deputy Governor, and William “Bud” Leef, San Diego Colony Governor

Caleb’s talk was entitled “Recent Discoveries in English Records concerning the Mayflower Passengers”. Caleb told us about some of his current research and discoveries on ancestors of several of the Pilgrim passengers. I always find it amazing to learn about documents that are still being discovered, almost 400 years later, that relate to the Mayflower Passengers and their ancestors. Some of the examples of the documents in old English handwriting were amazing to see. I wondered how long it took them to transcribe some of the documents due to the handwriting. What interesting information they have been able to uncover!  Caleb was a very interesting speaker with great examples of documents for us to get a feel for the work he has done.  Research that many of us would never be able to do on our own.

At the end of the luncheon they asked all of us in costume to stand up 

and later we had a picture taken of all of us that were in ‘costume’ together.
(click on pictures to enlarge)

I have Kathy to thank for making my 'costume'.

How amazing to see the variety of ‘costumes’ and colors. Everyone had a wonderful time and the food, as usual, was delicious. What a wonderful way for all of us ‘descendants’ to honor our ancestors and appreciate what they went through as they survived that first winter and embarked on a new life in this ‘new world’. I am very thankful for their perseverance in making their new life here in America.
What a great way to start the Thanksgiving Holiday!

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

Special thanks to friend and fellow Blogger Diane Gould Hall for many of the photos.  Hopefully, next time, it will be Diane's turn to be accepted into the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

Be sure to mark your calendar for 8 November 2020 and set aside some time to visit the San Diego Colony Mayflower presentation in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA marking the 400th celebration for the landing of the Mayflower.

Monday, November 11, 2019

San Diego Genealogical Society Presents Lisa Alzo

On Saturday Lisa Alzo presented for the San Diego Genealogical Society. Lisa is writer, lecturer and genealogist. She is the author of 10 books, numerous articles and a blog entitled The Accidental Genealogist. Lisa is well known for her Eastern European Genealogy Research. I found Lisa to be a very informative, engaging speaker with great examples that shared her personal experiences. While I have no Eastern European heritage, to my knowledge, I was interested to see if there was a technique or a tool that Lisa talked about that might help me in my research and her presentations did indeed have some ideas for me to try out.

Lisa’s first presentation was entitled Ten Ways to Jumpstart Your Eastern European Research. In this presentation Lisa discussed her list of 10 ways to get started on your research. These 10 ways not only applied to Eastern European research but any research you are embarking on and included; talk to your family, plant your family tree online, map out your ancestral towns/villages, document your work, utilize Family Search, watch videos, try a new database or search technique, share your brick wall, attend a conference/workshop or seminar, and hire a pro.

  • Lisa talked about Videos available on Family Search under the Learning Center and I tried the following 15 minute video about Irish Research.

Whatever you are researching, no matter how experienced or inexperienced you are, these are both great ways to help you with your research and try out some new ideas. And the best part is these videos are available for free.

  • Lisa discussed the importance of keeping a Research Log. I like to try out different Research Logs recommended by speakers and from my own personal experience use different research logs for different purposes. I tried Lisa’s research log for an ancestor I have yet to really research or write about to see what I have already found, where my gaps are and what else I still what to search for:

(Click on images to enlarge)

Lisa reminded us to also attend ethnic conferences. I have attended two and learned a great deal about specific ethnic research and made some great connections with others researching the same ethnic groups.

Lisa also discussed the great advantage to Immersion Genealogy where you can bring your research full circle when you can visit an “ancestral homeland to walk in your ancestors’ footsteps, and perhaps meet up with long-lost cousins” as she has been able to do.

Lisa’s second presentation was entitled Crossing the Pond: Successful Strategies for Researching Eastern European Ancestors. Lisa discussed the importance of identifying your ancestor’s ‘original’ surname as it was before they immigrated, locating the ancestral village, information on researching in Eastern Europe, where to go to get help with reading and interpreting church and civil records in languages we are not familiar with, lists of websites as part of an Eastern European Genealogy Research Toolkit, and select websites for countries in Eastern Europe. Lisa also discussed the importance of making connections in various FaceBook groups related to genealogy in the areas you may be researching and for meeting cousins.

Lisa talked about the importance of learning the headings on documents in countries where you may not know the language. Family Search has Word Lists to help with this. I not to start researching my German ancestors in Germany and have hesitated because of the language barrier. I decided to start by looking for a word list and found the following Genealogical Word Lists at FamilySearch under the Help Center:

Lisa also informed us that Family Search and YouTube have language tutorial videos and that Family Search has Community Groups that will help with translations. I have been fortunate in the past to also find people willing to help with a translation in FaceBook groups. Read about my experience in my post Amanuensis Monday-A Will but…Whose Signature is That?.

What a great presentation and so many new tips that I can apply to my own research despite the fact that I have no Eastern European ancestors. Thank-you Lisa!

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Election Day-Ever Wonder if Your Ancestors Were Involved in Politics

Recently, while doing some research on my maternal 3x great grandfather Marvin Milton Coolbaugh, I found the following information in that added yet more richness to MM’s life story and answered the question about an ancestor being involved in local politics.

On 30 July 1857 the Bradford Reporter reported the following:

(click on image to enlarge)

“It was Resolved, that a Republican County Convention to be composed of two delegates from each election district, to be held at the Court House, in the Borough of Towanda, on MONDAY evening, September 7th, 1857, for the purpose of placing in nomination a County Ticket to be supported by the Republican electors of Bradford County. They have appointed a Vigilance Committee in each election district, a list of whom is hereunto annexed, whose duty it will be to call primary meetings of the Republican electors in each election district, for the purpose of electing delegates to said Convention.”

The duties and specifics are called out in the article so it is clear what the delegates are required to do and when. And there it is, my ancestor was a delegate for Monroe Township.

On 11 October 1860 in the Bradford Reporter MM Coolbaugh was once again in the news:

(click on image to enlarge)

This time “I, THOMAS M. WOODRUFF, High Sheriff of the County of Bradford, do hereby make known and give notice to the electors of said county that a general election will be held in said county, on TUESDAY, the 6th of November, in the several districts in said county, to wit:”

(In Monroe boro', at the house of MM Coolbaugh)

Historical perspective: Abraham Lincoln won the election against Stephen Douglas on 6 November, 1860 and was inaugurated as the 16th President, and the first Republican president, on 4 March 1861.  Wow!  People voted for the President of the United States in my ancestor's house.  

  • 6 Weeks later on 20 December, South Carolina leaders declared that "the United States of America is hereby dissolved."

On 12 September 1861 the Bradford Reporter MM Coolbaugh is once again in the news:

(click on image to enlarge)

“Pursuant to the call of the Republican County Committee, a Convention of Delegates from various election district, of Bradford County, met a the court House, in the Boro. Of Towanda, on Monday evening Sept. 2, 1861.”

“The list of election districts being called, the following delegates appeared and offered their credentials:”

(Monroe boro'  M.M. Coolbaugh, S. S. Hinman)

From an article published in the Bradford Star on 23 January 1902 I know that MM Coolbaugh was a Constable in Monroe, Bradford County, PA in 1849. I wonder if being a Constable contributed to his becoming involved in local politics? Did he hold strong beliefs about slavery and state’s rights?

(click on image to enlarge)

Regardless of your political affiliations or beliefs, it’s always exciting to find out that your ancestors were part of history by taking part, even in a small way, in the shaping of our countries’ history.

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


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Wedding and Anniversary of MM and Betsey Granteer Coolbaugh

One Hundred and Seventy Eight years ago today, in 1841, my maternal 3x great grandparents Marvin Milton Coolbaugh, aged 20 years, and Abigail Betsey Granteer, aged 18 years, were married in Canton, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  (clink on links to read more about their lives from previous posts)

Betsey was born and raised in Canton.  She was the oldest of 4 daughters born to David and Rhonda Kilborn Granteer.  Marvin was born and raised about 20 miles away in Monroeton, Pennsylvania.  I wonder how the couple met?  What were the hopes and dreams in 1841 for a young couple as they were starting a new life together?

Their wedding announcement was listed in the Bradford Porter newspaper on Wednesday, November 3, 1841:

Also published in a column entitled ‘They Were Sweethearts Long Ago’ in The Bradford Star newspaper on Thursday, May 31, 1900:

The Rev. S. W. Alden was Marvin’s maternal uncle Severellon Wells Alden, minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church (descendant of John and Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower).

Thirty-Five years later the couple celebrated their Anniversary with the following account recorded in The Canton Independent-Sentinel on 12 October 1876, page 3:
(click on image to enlarge)
A Fine Time of a ‘Lunch.”
The Thirty-Fifth Anniversary of the Connubial Pilgrimage of Mr. & Mrs. Marvin Coolbaugh of Monreoton.
Several Cantonians Present At The Feast.
A Fine Time Well Enjoyed.

Editor Sentinel:  Marvin Coolbaugh and wife, having enjoyed matrimonial felicity for just thirty-five years, on the 27th ult, concluded to make a mark by a good, strong tally, at the Thirty-fifth Anniversary of their connubial pilgrimage, by enjoying what “Marv” was pleased to call a “lunch.”  Consequently a few of heir friends had due notice served upon them, “To lay aside all excuses whatsoever, and to be, and appear, at Mr. & Mrs. Coolbaugh’s, on the said 27th day of October, in their proper sersons, under a penalty better imagined then defined; and to govern themselves accordingly.”  As there are few persons who can well afford to disregard “Marv’s” constabulary authority, so prodigious in its momentum, and for various other reasons needless to mention, most of those summonded entered an appearance promptly at the time.
     Your correspondent, of course, was there, and concluded to make a note of all that was passing.  Among the parties present from Canton, (Mrs. Coolbaugh’s native city,) we noticed Mr. Jay Whitehead, Mr. Ezekiel Newman, and Mr. E. L. Manley; each bringing his wife, and each having married a sister of Mrs. Coolbaugh.  Last but not least, from Canton, was their daughter, Bertha Cranmer, at home to see “Ma” and enjoy the festivities of the occasion.  Her eyes as dark and as sharp as ever; healthful and blooming countenance, all sprightliness and vivacity, she appeared to be regarded by her aunts and all as the life and animus of the party.
     Their sons were at home with their wives, for a flying call, making of the family record B.F. Coolbaugh and wife from Sayre, and P. M. Coolbaugh and lady (my 2x great grandparents), from Towanda.  I noticed, also, Mrs. E.B. Coolbaugh, of Towanda.  Then turning to the representatives from Monroe, I found Mrs. Judge Tracy, Mrs. L. G. Hollon, Miss Mary Arnot, Mr. and Mrs. Jared F. Woodruff, and Rev. S. W. Alden, who officiated at the interesting occasion thirty-five years ago, and now, accompanied by his lady, the old “Elder,” by mistake, left his aches and pains at home, and really appeared rejuvinated again.
     In the midst of the finest flow of convivial chat, Marvin appeared, and called their attention to that part of the bill of fare which he had denominated as a “lunch.”  Well, if that was a lunch, I wonder how and where even Solomon found room for dinner.  We all enjoyed it in the largest style possible, and in fact, devoured it until I was ashamed to look a live turkey in the face.  You may thus form an estimate of how it was gotten up.
     Marvin Strictly objected to any presents for the occasion, but childish dodges finely evaded his serious mandate.  Four of their children were present, and five grandchildren.
     Among other presents and valuable keepsakes, I noticed a paper of pins to Grandma, that she might “keep her ears pinned on.”  Looking further, a comb was inscribed to Grandpa, that “the animals might not get the mastery over him.”  O, these mischievous little grandbabies, they annoy as well as please.  “Marv.” laughed at their jokes in spite of his natural seriousness.
     All wiped their mouths and went away “Resolved to meet some other day.”

What a joyous occasion that Anniversary celebration sounds like it must have been!  I so appreciate all the detail LC added to my family story.  What insight into the personalities of Marv and Betsey. 

Happy Anniversary Marv and Betsey!!

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


Sunday, October 13, 2019

SDGS presents Julianne DeWalt Adamik

Yesterday, at the monthly meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society the guest speaker was Julianne DeWalt Adamik. Julianne is a genealogy addict, like many of us, President of the North San Diego County Genealogical Society and a member of several genealogical societies. I found Julianne to be a humorous presenter who was able to provide easy definitions for beginnings in the field to DNA. Her use of simple visuals and several charts helped provide new researchers with a good base knowledge in order to proceed with DNA research.

Julianne’s first presentation was entitled Starting at the VERY Beginning -Genetic Genealogy for the Beginner. Genetic genealogy, she defined as a means of combing DNA (your genetic tree) along with your traditional genealogy family tree and research. Genetic genealogy being another ‘tool’ to help with your research and not a solution. DNA and our traditional genealogy will enable us to locate our MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor) when we have DNA ‘matches’. She described the types of DNA; autosomal, yDNA and mitochondrial or mtDNA.

  • In my own research I had found a DNA ‘match’ (4th to 6th cousins) to a woman who now lives in PA but grew up in the general area where I grew up. Our families had lived in the area for many generations. We surmised we were related on the surname ‘Terry’ line but thought maybe there were other possibilities as well. We shared trees and did a quick look at our lines but still nothing was popping out as an exact connection. Recently, Ancestry added a new feature that, if you have a tree that goes back enough generations, will help you figure out your MRCA. For us these ancestors are Jemima and Daniel Howell my 3x great-grandparents which will make us 4th cousins on this line. There are at least 2 other Surnames we share, so, we are probably related through those other lines as well. Success! Using genetic genealogy and traditional genealogy we now know at least one way we are related.

Julianne’s second presentation was entitled Using DNA as a Supplement to Traditional Genealogy Research. In this session Julianne covered basic DNA matching and GEDmatch Genesis, a DNA research tool. Julianne provided us with several great charts to help with understanding of the statistics involved with DNA matches. Understanding the statistics helps us determine possible relationship connections and she highly recommended Blaine Bettinger’s book The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy as a must read. Blaine’s book is a wonderful reference to help you further your knowledge base when using DNA in your research. She also pointed out the many Facebook groups available to help you answer questions and advance your knowledge. There are also specific ethnic group sites such as Irish DNA register that you can upload your DNA to in order to further your research.

  • I would personally recommend the Facebook groups Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques and The Genealogy Squad to get started.

Cyndi’s List is another great place to look for additional information in whatever area you want to learn more about. There are a variety of on-line sources to find clues when looking for relatives including, but not limited to, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc.
Julianne walked us through one of her ‘brick walls’ using GEDmatch Genesis (also known as GEDMatch) which is a 3rd party tool where you can upload your DNA data to compare with DNA from other testing companies. There are also useful videos to help take advantage of all the information available.

  • When looking at my DNA matches on GEDmatch Genesis I found a new match that I was unfamiliar with. I noticed the DNA had been uploaded from Ancestry. I then went to my Ancestry DNA matches and found the person among my matches there as well. When I clicked on shared matches with this person I was able to determine which side of my family she was related to by the people we both match. Then I was able to find her on Facebook and realize who she is. Success! Another verified relationship. Now to try this with some additional matches.

Julianne reminded us to identify a ‘Genealogy Heir’. A person that will carry on our research when we are no longer able to research so our valuable information and research are not ‘lost’.

Thank-you Julianne for giving us a good foundation to work with.

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

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Death and Obituary for MM Coolbaugh

My maternal 3x great-grandfather, MM Coolbaugh died on the 13th of September 1879 at the age of 58.  His death is noted on the US Federal Census Mortality Schedules for 1880.  Schedule 5, lists “Persons who died during the year ending May 31, 1880, enumerated by me in the Monroe Township, in the County of Bradford, State of Pennsylvania, U M Pratt, Enumerator.”

(click on image to enlarge) 

This schedule states: 
Marvin Coolbaugh, Male, White, Married, Estimated Year of Birth-abt 1821, Birth Place-Pennsylvania, Age-58, Occupation-Constable, Death Date-Sep 1879, Cause of Death-Brain Disease of Abscess of Brain.

MM’s obituary was listed in the Bradford Reporter on Thursday, Sept. 18, 1879:

Marvin M. Coolbaugh, an old and respected citizen of Monroeton, died at his residence in that village on Saturday last, aged 58 years.  He was buried on Monday.  The burial services were conducted by the Order of Odd-Fellows.

For more information on the life of Marvin M. Coolbaugh see posts MM Coolbaugh and Tombstone Tuesday with a Twist

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

Enjoy the journey,


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Tombstone Tuesday with a Twist

For this Tombstone Tuesday I would like to remember the life of my maternal 3x great-grandfather MM Coolbaugh.  For information on the life of Marvin Milton Coolbaugh see the previous post entitled MM Coolbaugh.

M. M. Coolbaugh
Died Sept. 13, 1879
AE 58 yrs
MM is buried in Monroeton Cemetery, Monroeton, Bradford, PA

I started out thinking this would be just a tombstone picture and learned something very interesting about my ancestor when I noticed the following at the top of the tombstone and wondered what it meant:

Does the chain with the letters F, L and T mean something?  It certainly does!

This insignia represents the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.), also known as “The Three Link Fraternity” which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth.
The Oddfellows were established in 1819 as a non-political and non-sectarian international fraternal order of Odd Fellowship.  

They became the first national fraternity to: 

  • include men and women
  • establish homes for their senior members and for orphaned children

Click on the picture below to see a short video I found on YouTube about the Oddfellows:

So, MM was a member of the Oddfellows.  The first ancestor I have found who belonged to this fraternal organization.  I wonder if I can locate the local Oddfellows Lodge where MM might have been a member and learn more about him?

Sometimes a tombstone has valuable information just waiting there for you to find it.

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

Sunday, September 29, 2019

MM Coolbaugh

Marvin Milton Coolbaugh is my maternal 3rd great-grandfather. I started out researching his life a few weeks ago (see post Sometimes You Just Get Lucky) and am finally getting back to him. When I start out researching one of my ancestors I may have a birth and death date and perhaps a marriage date. But that is never enough for me. I want to know about their lives; what did they care about, what were they involved with what was happening around them while they lived. Sometimes, I am able to find out a lot about them and other times information may be scarce. What can I learn about Marvin?

According to the 1820 US Federal Census, the year before Marvin’s birth, his parents Benjamin and Louisa were in the township of Towanda, Bradford County, PA. The population was about 1,342 people. It appears that Benjamin’s brother William and several other Coolbaughs were also living in that area.

Marvin was born 2 July 1821 in Monroe, Bradford County, Pennsylvania to Benjamin and Louisa Alden Coolbaugh.

On 27 November 1841 in Canton, Bradford, PA Marvin (age 20) and Abigail Betsey Grantier (age 18) were married. They would have 4 children: Portis (my 2x great-grandfather), Bertha, Frank and Arthur.

In the 1850 US Federal Census in Monroe, Bradford County, on 31 July, MM Coolbaugh was 29 years old. His occupation was listed as Farmer. Betsey, his wife and children Francis, Portis and B.L. are also listed. MM’s maternal grandparents, Timothy and Lois Alden are listed as living in the same dwelling. Timothy is also listed as being a Farmer. Lois would die in 1851 and Timothy would die in 1859.

In 1858 on the County Tax Roll I find MM owing some money on taxes. Were these taxes perhaps for farm land that Timothy owned (when moving to the area he purchased 800 acres) that Marvin was helping him run and maybe taking over? 

(click on images to enlarge)

  • I need to locate a Will and Land Deeds for Timothy Alden and Land Deeds for Marvin.

In the 1860 US Federal Census in Monroe Borough, Bradford County, on 13 August, MM was 39 years old. His occupation is listed as Hotel Keeper. AB, his wife and children BF, PM, BS, AE and J Crous, Day Laborer, are also listed.

In 1860 and 1861 MM seemed to be involved, according to the local newspaper, in politics and elections that were occurring. More to follow on this.

On 11 April 1861 MM applied for the first 'Hotel Keeper' license I was able to locate:

LICENSES-Notice is hereby given that the following named persons have filed in the office of the Clerk of the Court of Quarter Sessions, their petitions for license under the existing laws of this Commonworth, and their several applications will be heard before the Judges of the Court of Quarter Sessions, on Monday, the 6th day of May next, at 2 o’clock, p.m. of said day:
M.M. Coolbaugh……..Monroe boro

  • He is listed as a 'Hotel Keeper' on the 1860 census.  When did he begin as a 'Hotel Keeper'?

On 1 September 1862 on a tax list for District #13 in Pennsylvania for Monroe Borough I find Marvin M Coolbaugh paying for a Class B License for Hotel Keeper with a tax of $10.00. I see him also listed on the next line as paying a tax for a Class B License for Retail Dealer in Liquor with a tax of $20.00.

In 1863 on a tax list for District #13 in Pennsylvania for Monroe Borough I again find M M Coolbaugh paying for a Class B License for Hotel Keeper with a tax of now $6.67 and paying a tax for a Class B License for Retail Dealer in Liquor with a tax of now $13.33.

On an “Alphabetical List of Persons in Division No. 15th, of Collection District No. 13th, of the State of Penn, liable to a tax under the Excise laws of the United States, and the amount therof, as assessed by A Mullan, Assistant Assessor, and by I S Monroe, Assessor, returned to the Collector of said District, for the month of May, 1865. Annual” I find:
Coolbaugh MM Monroe Boro, Monroeton 1 Gold Watch Number in Abstract-272 Quantity or Valuation $75 Rate of Tax 1 Total $1.00

  • Was the watch something MM purchased or was it perhaps a family heirloom? I wonder what ever happened to that gold watch that I knew he had in 1865? I wonder if a family member still has it? What a treasure that would be today. Oh, to be able to see or hold that today and know that he carried that watch 154 years ago.

In the 1870 US Federal Census in Monroe Borough, Bradford County, on 5 August, MM was 49 years old. His occupation is listed as Constable. Listed as living in the house with him are his wife BA and son Arthur.

On 13 September 1879 at the age of 58 Marvin died in Monroe, Bradford, PA. His occupation was listed as Constable at the time of his death.

I have a better understanding of the life MM lived but have some lingering questions:

  • I see in the information that I kept finding Marvin listed as “MM Coolbaugh”. I wonder if he preferred being called MM over Milton? Was this a nickname or just a preference on his part?
  • Wish I could find out the name of the Hotel that MM was ‘Hotel Keeper’ for. On a map of Bradford County for 1869 I found the Eagle Hotel located on the corner of Main and Church Street and the Greenwood Hotel. Could either of them be the one he was involved with?
  • Marvin had at least 3 different professions: Farmer, Hotel Keeper, and Constable.  I wonder if he had a favorite of these?

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