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,

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

Frequently you search for years and years putting together information on the members of a particular ancestral line.  You work hard and spend hours researching, writing letters, visiting research facilities and doing more research only to find a rather extensive family history right there in a local newspaper!  You just have to laugh. 

This time when I was searching in I was looking for my maternal 3rd great-grandfather Marvin Milton Coolbaugh (1821-1879).  I started by searching from 'M Coolbaugh' and found one article about his wedding anniversary.  Then I decided to search by the years '1820-1900' hoping maybe I’d find something on Marvin or his wife Betsey who lived until 1912.  Next,'I searched by 'Newspapers in Bradford County, PA'.  I selected The Bradford Star and just put in the family name ‘Coolbaugh’.  I decided not to limit myself by years.  This is what I found from The Bradford Star newspaper 9 July 1903:

 (click on image to enlarge)


After I realized the find I had, I wondered how closely this matches what I have already found?  Here is what I have:

  • My information about #1 William and his wife Sarah Johnson matches and it gives me some additional information about them and where they came from.
  • For #2 I have William Jr. as being married to Susannah Shoonmaker but I have also seen her name as Shoemaker.  This tells me where William and family moved to but does not mention my #3 Peter.
  • This account has Benjamin’s son Moses marrying Louisa Alden.  I have #4 Benjamin marrying Louisa Alden the daughter of Timothy Alden.  Hmmm…My research doesn’t match this and it’s through Louisa that I was able to prove my ancestral line to John and Priscilla Alden.  (See post General Society of Mayflower Descendants' Success!) I wonder where the information for the Newspaper article came from?  Who gave the information and what research was done to verify the information?  This article was published in 1903.  UGH!  Frustrating when the information doesn’t match.

So, I got lost for awhile in some more general ‘Coolbaugh’ searching while I thougth about what I should do about the inconsistency.  I then found in The Bradford Star on 23 July 1903:

YEA!! now I feel much better.  My research is still valid.  This ‘correction’ verifies what I have in that Benjamin Coolbaugh married Louisa Alden.  This correction also has my # 3 Peter along with #4 Benjamin.  My #5 Marvin is also in this correction, and the reason I started this search.
This ‘correction’ answers my question of where some of the information came from.  Thank-you to J. R. Coolbaugh!  I guess I need to determine how J.R. fits in to the family one day also.

As a result of this newspaper clipping I now have additional information (hints until proven) on members of additional lines of this large family and more research to do.  What a find this article is to my research!  How exciting to know that this family line was important enough in the history of the area that the family was mentioned in The History of Wysox Pioneer Families section of the County newspaper.  I think I need to look for some of my other 'pioneer families' in this column as well.  It definitely paid off for me not to limit my search to specific years and to keep searching and see what else might be out there in a ‘general’ search. 

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

Sunday, September 8, 2019

How Close Did my Ancestors Live to Each Other

Have you ever wondered how close your ancestors may have lived to each other? I found a land document that answered that question for me about the Benjamin and Warner lines.

When I am back East visiting family I always want to spend some time at the Suffolk County Land Records Department in Riverhead, New York. I am constantly amazed at some of the things I am finding in a location that many choose not to explore. A while back I discovered the Archives room in the Land Records office. The ledgers here are the fist record books dating back to the early 1700s, I believe. These ledgers and are not out on public display in the regular land deed section, I am guessing, due to their age. Ledgers from this time period need to be specifically requested and if the pages are not in sleeve protectors then you must use gloves to touch and turn the pages. When I was there in May I was waiting for the Archivist, Sharon Pullen, and stopped to look at several of the display cases that were there. I am usually in such a hurry to get copies of the records I am looking for and get on with my day that I rarely take the time to look at what is on display figuring it doesn’t relate to me anyway. This time was different…

The display case had to do with Unacknowledged Deeds.

(photo unacknowledged deeds)

Unacknowledged Deeds as stated in the display case are deeds that do “not contain a notary’s acknowledgement of the signature”. That’s interesting and I had never thought to verify that there was a notary’s signature on the documents I have found. Good information to have as a genealogist. I continued to look at the documents in the case and found the following:

(click on image to enlarge)


Know all men by these presents that I Nathan Benjamin of the Town of Riverhead in the County of Suffolk and state of New York for and in Consideration of the sum of twelve hundred and fifty dollars to me in hand paid by John Benjamin of the town County of Suffolk and state aforesaid John Benjamin and I for my self and heirs executors and administrators do bargain and sell unto John Benj his heirs executors administrations and assigns for ever a sertain tract or parcel of land situate and lying in the town of riverhead County of Suffolk and state of New York and bounded as follows _ beginning at the North East corner of the land Called listcums place thence running westerly by the land of James Warner unto the land of Benjamin Edwards thence running easterly through the middle of the pond by that land of Benjamin Edwards until it strikes into the middle road thence Easterly by the middle road unto the highway that leads from Richard Albertsons mill to the north road thence northerly by said highway as far a the north end of James Hullses land lying the west side of the highway thence running easterly by the land of James Hulls twenty five rods thence running southerly by the land of James hulls unto the land of James Terry or middle of the pond thence easterly by the land of James terry unto the land of William Horton thence running northerly by the land of William Horton as far as a hedge fence North end of the first cleared lot Northward of the uncleared land thence westerly by the said hedge fence the north end the said cleared lot unto the North west corner thence westerly from the Corner a strait corse to the northeast Corner of theaforesaid listum place or place of beginning which closes the farm which is by Estimation one hundred and thirty acres be the same more of less To have and to hold the above written premises with all the privileges and appertainances there unto belonging on in any wise appertaining and I the said Nathan Benjamin for myself my heirs executors and administrators do warrant and defend the above written premaces to be clean and free from all lawful claim or Claims whatever from all person or persons whomsoever Unto the said John Benjamin his heirs executors administrators and assigns forever in witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal this first day of April in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and seventeen Signed Sealed and delivered in presents of
Nathan Benjamin                                                                                 Nathan Benjamin
Daniel Benjamin

Some background on my paternal ancestors and some interesting connections that I was able to draw: 

  • There were at least 3-4 generations of men named ‘Nathan’ Benjamin.
  • Nathan Benjamin I married Deborah Clark, my 6th great-grandparents.
  • Nathan Benjamin II (1733-1805) married Jemima Aldrich, my 5th great grandparents.
  • Nathan Benjamin III (1760-1838) married Joanna Swezey, my 4th great-grandparents and parents of Jemima Benjamin who is my 3rd great-grandmother.
  • The ‘Nathan Benjamin’ must be referring to my 4th great-grandfather Nathan Benjamin III who is the only one that was living at the time this document was written.
  • Were the Nathan and Daniel Benjamin that signed as witnesses the sons of Nathan Benjamin III? I believe so.
  • James Warner (1762-1803) is my 4th great grandfather. In 1817 James had passed away but his wife Anna/Glorianna Edwards was still living.
  • James and Ana’s son Daniel Warner (my 3rd great-grandfather) had been married about 5 years at the time this document was written to Jemima Benjamin. (They married about 1812). 
  • Daniel had a brother named James Warner, Jr. (1786-1853) who married Huldah Wells in 1817. This must be the James Warner owner of the property referenced in the above document.
  • I have yet to find any documents showing James Warner Sr’s original purchase of land in the Baiting Hollow area, so, I do not know the exact location of his land. Land deeds such as this one confirm the general area the family lived and the fact that land was owned. Perhaps some of the land referenced was land James Jr. received or purchased from his father James Warner Sr?

This would mean that my 3rd great aunt and uncle, James Jr and Huldah Warner and my 4th great-grandparents Nathan & Joanna Benjamin owned adjoining property in 1817.

The ‘Terry’ and ‘Edwards’ names are also ancestral Surnames from this area. I’ll need to do additional research to see if Benjamin Edwards and James Terry who are property owners referenced are also ‘family’.

It’s amazing how one document can locate several ancestral lines in the same location at a particular point in time. One of the many reasons I enjoying looking for property deeds, acknowledged or unacknowledged. Remember to also take the time to look at display cases that are right in front of you. You’ll never know what treasures you might find and the translation was already done for me!

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

Monday, September 2, 2019

Daniel Horowitz Presents for the San Diego Genealogical Society Fall Seminar

The first genealogy program I ever used was MyHeritage. Once a Family Tree is created in MyHeritage you are able to share your tree with family members and the program is free to download. Fast forward about 12 years and many, many hours of genealogy later.

Saturday, Daniel Horowitz, the Chief Genealogist for My Heritage, was the speaker at a full day seminar hosted by the San Diego Genealogical Society at Marina Village in San Diego, California. I found Daniel to be a very entertaining and knowledgeable presenter.

Daniel’s first presentation was entitled Discovering Family History with MyHeritage Unique Technologies. In this session Daniel provided us with an overview and walked us through some of the main features of the MyHeritage including Smart Matching (a unique technology that allows you to review information on people in your tree with others who have the same people in their trees), Record Matching (technology that finds matching historical records for people in your tree), Record Detective (technology that generates new leads by summarizing additional records and individuals in family trees that relate to someone in your tree), Instant Discoveries (a package of family history information that you can apply in one click to your tree that was found in someone else’s tree), Global Name Translation (a user interface for names in 42 languages that aides in searching for information), Search Connect (this allows you to find other people that are searching for the people you are looking for), Book Matching (searches for information in books that relate to someone in your tree), Pedigree Map (a visual display of all the events in your tree on an interactive map for reference), and DNA Matching (displays possible matches between you and another tested person at My Heritage).

The second presentation was entitled Getting the most out of MyHeritage – Advanced Features. In this session Daniel took us through specifically how to use several of the features mentioned in the first session: Discoveries pages (Matches by People, Matches by Source), Smart Matching, Record Matching, The Record Detective, Photo Discoveries (finding Smart Matches that may contain photos you have never seen), Pedigree Map, Consistency Checker (a feature that identifies potential mistakes and inconsistencies in your data so that you can correct possible mistakes) and Statistics (analyzing data in your family tree using a variety of categories), and AutoClusters (organizes your DNA matches).

I clicked-Discoveries, Matches by Source-Record Matches, sort by-#of Matches-Compilation of Published Sources and this is one of the 139 matches I found-

  • On the left side is the information I have put in my Tree. On the right is the new is the Discovery that was found for Israel Alden. Now, in my researching, I never would have thought to look in a book entitled One Moral Standard For All Extracts From The Lives of Victoria Claflin Woodhull and Tennesee Cliflin, 1661-1898 for this information. Thank-you MyHeritage!

Next I selected Discoveries, Matches by People-Smart Matches-Sort by Last Name-Terry, Eliza:

  • Eliza has been a continuous, frustrating search for me to find information about her birth, parents, etc. Finally, I have been able to find someone on MyHeritage with additional information on her. I have always had ‘Tooker’ as her maiden name but this presents the possibility that is was her first married name instead? Perhaps her Maiden name was ‘Miller’. Wow! Another lead to search.

The third presentation was entitled How You Can Find Your Relative with a DNA Test. In this session Daniel explained several of the specific DNA features available in My Heritage and how to use them including Accessing your DNA Matches, Possible Relationships, DNA Match Quality, Contacting Other Users, Theory of Relativity, Smart Matches, Shared Ancestral Surnames, Shared Ancestral Places, Shared DNA Matches, Pedigree Charts, Viewing Family Tree Details, Shared Ethnicities, Chomosome Browser, and AutoClusters.

I decided to try out the AutoCluster feature.  To do this I selected DNA Matches-Tools-AutoClusters and this is what I came up with:

  • According to MyHeritage this tool “organizes your DNA Matches into shared match clusters, that likely descended from common ancestors. Each of the colored cells in the chart represents an intersection between two of your matches, meaning that both individuals match each other (in addition to matching you).” This is calculated with a minimum threshold of 30cM shared.  So, if I am interpreting this correctly and look at the light blue cluster I see a Surname I recognize in one of the members I match-‘Bentz’. I have maternal great grandmother from Iowa who’s father John was born in Luxembourg named Bentz. There are 6 of us who have matching DNA and are probably descended from the same common family member. Unfortunately, either their trees are private or have very few people. One person did have a full tree that I was able to access, however, I am not seeing any common Surnames. So, I have written to each to see if we can share information and see if my ‘guess’ is correct that we are all Bentz descendants. I will let you know what happens. I can see the value of using this when I have a brick wall.

The fourth presentation was entitled Research Jewish Genealogy Resources on the Internet. In this presentation Daniel spoke of many Websites and Groups along with their websites for doing Jewish research, major internet sites/companies for locating information on Jewish ancestors, and websites that have translation tools that will aide in research of Jewish ancestry.

Reviewing of features I have previously not used or are new features to MyHeritage shows why MyHeritage is a leader in genealogical research and worth trying.  I am happy for the opportunity to see how MyHeritage can help in my search for learning more about my ancestors.

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

Be sure to follow Daniel at, on Twitter @MyHChiefGen and on Instagram at horowiz_daniel.