Monday, December 31, 2018

‘General Society of Mayflower Descendants’ Success!!

Mayflower certificate 2018
Well, my research skills have paid off and I was able to prove my ancestry lineage for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants!  Last year I was able to prove the lineage to the Alden Kindred Society.  (See post It’s Official!!  I Proved it!)

I never knew anything growing up of my Mayflower heritage.  In the early 1990s while visiting my maternal Grandmother in upstate New York I asked about local cemeteries.  When she realized my interest in genealogy she told me about a Minister who had stopped by once a few years before to ask her questions about her parents, etc.  She showed me a large envelope that had arrived with information.  I asked to take it and look at that evening.  While reviewing the paperwork I realized a lineage back to John and Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower.  Imagine my excitement!  A determination began in me to either prove of disprove the information I had found.

In 1995 I took my son and friend’s two daughters to visit the replica of the Mayflower, Plimoth Plantation and the John Alden Historic Site in Duxbury.  How exciting to retrace my ancestors’ steps and know where they had lived.  It has taken me over 25 years to find the time to do the actual research but I have finally proven it for the Alden Kindred of America and now Mayflower Society.  At times it was very frustrating trying to find the records necessary as well as an exercise in patience, but I did it!!
Mayflower ship 1995 Mayflower 1995 kids
Plymouth Rock 1995 Plymouth plantation 1995
In the Plimoth Plantation picture on the lower right above the replica of the Alden home is the first house on the left.

Verifying this lineage, and in the process knowing more about my ancestors and how they lived, is a wonderful accomplishment and a great way to end the year!  A special thank-you to the Minister who spoke with my grandmother and that copies of the paperwork made it’s way into my hands to research.

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A Christmas Wedding

Old time Christmas bells
My paternal great-great grandparents
Louis King & Sarah Barry
were married on this date 148 years ago. 
Old time Christmas bells

King Louis Sarah marriage 1 (1)
Transcribed:  I hereby Certify, that Louis King and Sarah Maria Barry were joined in Marriage by me, in accordance with the Laws of the State of New York, in the City of Brooklyn on the 25th day of December 1870.
                                                                                                                Attest, Chas. H. Tucker
                                                                                                               Official Station, Pastor Christ Chapel
                                                                                                              Residence, 82 Woodhull St., Brooklyn
Witnesses to the Marriage,
William Healy
Caroline May Ann Henderson
King Louis Sarah marriage 1
Full Name of GroomLewis King                                                                        Full Name of Bride:   Sarah Maria Barry
Place of Residence:  4-5 Wolcott Street                                                              Place of Residence:   133 Djikemen
Age:   28                                                                                                               Age:  19
Occupation:  Engineer    
Place of Birth:  New York                                                                                    Place of Birth:  New York
Father’s Name:  Jacob King                                                                                Father’s Name:  Ebenezer Barry
Mother’s Maiden Name:  Mary __                                                                       Mother’s Maiden Name: Catherine Boline
No. of Groom’s marriage:  first                                                                           No. of Bride’s Marriage:  first
Dec. 25, 1870
Lewis King- Groom  (signed with his X)
Sarah Maria Barry –Bride (signed with her X)
Signed in Presence of Wm Healy
and Caroline Mary Ann Henderson

I was unable to locate any pictures of Christ Chapel, however, believe it was a Protestant Episcopal Church. I was able to find the following reference to Rev. Tucker in the Journal of the …Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Long Island Volumes 1-3, page 92:


I decided to plot their addresses on a map to see how closely they lived to each other:

When I look at the map and the thumbtack markers I can see that Louis and Sarah lived within 4 blocks of each other.  The church they were married in is about 10-12 blocks away.

Happy Anniversary to Sarah and Louis!  Oh, how I wish I had a picture of the two of you together.

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

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Jemima Benjamin Warner

Jemima Benjamin Warner is my paternal 3x great-grandmother.  What can I find out about her?
  • Suffolk County was created in 1683.  The Revolutionary War ended in 1783 and the first census of the United States was done in 1790 with Census day being 2 August 1790. 

When searching the census for Southold, Suffolk County, New York the following Heads of Households are listed;
  • Nathan Benjamin Junior  (father of Jemima)
  • James Warner (father of Daniel Warner)

Jemima was born 7 February 1791 in Baiting Hollow, Suffolk County, New York.  Her parents were Nathan Benjamin and Joanna Swezey Benjamin.

Jemima grew up as the 4th child of 8 children:  Joanna, Nathan, Polly, Jemima, John, Daniel Sarah and Goldsmith.
  • Riverhead was created from Southold in 1792.  According to the 1800 US Federal census Riverhead had a population of 1,498.

Jemima, aged 21, married Daniel Warner, aged 28, about 1812 in Baiting Hollow, New York.  They were both born and raised in the community of Baiting Hollow.  I find it interesting in the 1790 census that both families lived next to each other, farm family neighbors.
  • When Jemima and Daniel married in 1812 War was happening with Great Britain.  “The War of 1812 gave Suffolk County little trouble except for the worry of attack which threatened at all times from the sea.”  from LI Genealogy.  The family lived in Baiting Hollow close to the Long Island Sound.  Did they ever go to the Cliffs of the Sound and look for British war ships?

Jemima and Daniel had 6 children: Lewis, Goldsmith, Daniel (my 2x great-grandfather), Joanna, Jemima and Susan.

1850 US Federal Census taken on 12 September shows Jemima as 59 years old living with her husband Daniel (aged 65), her sons Lewis (aged 37) and Goldsmith (aged 34) and daughters Susan (aged 24) and Jemima (aged 15) in Riverhead, Suffolk County, New York.

1860 US Federal Census taken on 2 July shows Jemima as 69 years old, living only with husband Daniel (age 75) in Riverhead, Suffolk County, New York.

1865 New York State Census shows Jemima as 74 years old, living with husband Daniel (age 81), and sons Lewis (age 50) and Goldsmith (age 48) in District 2, Riverhead, Suffolk County, New York.

1870 US Federal Census taken on 15 July shows Jemima age 78 living with her sons Lewis (age 59) and Goldsmith (age 54) in Riverhead, Suffolk County, New York.  Her husband Daniel had died in March of that year.

Jemima was listed as a deceased member of the Baiting Hollow Congregational Church in their 1882 Manual of the Congregational Church in Baiting Hollow, L. I.  (See post Don’t Forget Church Records-The Warner Family)

Jemima died 8 months after her husband Daniel on 9 November 1870 at the age of 79 and is buried in the Baiting Hollow Congregational Cemetery.  The same area she lived her entire life.  I wonder how far she ever traveled from her home?

  • My great-grandfather was named John Benjamin Warner.  I wonder if the Benjamin as a middle name was to honor/remember his grandmother’s maiden name or was he named John Benjamin after his grandmother’s brother-John Benjamin?
  • In general it’s interesting to see names repeat in subsequent generations.
  • I wonder why Goldsmith (never married) and Lewis (who was separated from his wife) are not living with the parents in 1860 but are back with them in 1865 and 1870?  I wonder if they were just not recorded in 1860?

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Celebrating the Marriage of Sarah Rowan and George Washington King


My paternal Great-Grandparents were married on this date 121 years ago in 1897.  While not a wedding photo, this is the earliest photo I was able to find:

King George Sarah photo
King George Sarah marriage 1
Certificate of Marriage, Brooklyn,
I hereby Certify, that George Washington King and Sarah A. Rowan were joined in Marriage by me, in accordance with the Laws of the State of New York, in the City of Brooklyn, this twenty eighth day of November 1897.
                                                                                             Attest- W. N. Ackley, Rector, St. Andrew’s P. E. Church
                                                                                           Residence- 291-47th St
Witnesses: George Macbeth and Lillie Sullivan

King George Sarah Marriage 2
                               Of the Groom:                                                  Of the Bride:                   
                              George Washington King                                  Sarah A. Rowan
Residence:            32-1st Ave., Brooklyn                                        61-57th St.
Age-                      19                                                                      18    
Color-                    White                                                                 White
No. of Marriage-    first                                                                    first
Occupation-          Machinist
Place of birth-       Brooklyn, New York                                          New York City
Father’s Name-     Louis A. King                                                    John W. Rowan
Mother’s Maiden-   Sarah Barry                                                     Sarah A. Hughes
We, the Groom and Bride named in the above certificate, hereby certify that the information given is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief.

At the time of their marriage, George’s father and both of Sarah’s parents were no longer alive.  Sarah’s father had died just 9 months earlier.  George’s mother, Sarah Barry King, was the only parent alive.  Was she at the wedding of George and Sarah?  I looked at the names of the witnesses and don’t recognize the names as family members. I wonder if they were friends of the bride and groom or distant family members? 

When I reviewed the blog post What can you find in Grandma’s Scrapbook? about George & Sarah’s 50th wedding anniversary, I do see in one of the newspaper accounts, the name Mrs. Mamie MacBeth.  Is this the wife of witness George MacBeth? 

Searching and searching for information on St. Andrew’s yielded no results. I was only able to find several references to the Rector listed on the marriage license, in The Churchman, a Weekly News-Magazine in 1897:

In the article about George and Sarah’s 50th anniversary I can see that they were remarried by Rev. Robert B. Hall of St. Andrew’s Church. So, I know that the church was still around in 1947 when they celebrated their anniversary.  I decided to go to Google Maps to see if the church is currently there and found:

I wonder if the church was torn down to make way for Interstate 278- the Gowanus Expressway? The Gowanus was originally started in 1939 and widened from 4 to 6 lanes between 1958 and 1964. Unfortunately, there is no church for me to visit.  I wonder if I will one day be able to find a photo of the church?

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

Saturday, November 24, 2018

3rd Blogiversary-Debby’s Family Genealogy Blog

Saturday, November 24, 2018

A look back at the last year-
  • Over the past year I have created and published 50 blog posts.  This was one of my goals and I accomplished this despite working full time.  YEA!!
  • All time History Page Views- 79, 284  (about 25,000 more than last year)
  • Subscribed Followers – 17
A review of my posts for this past year shows:
Research Accomplishments:
  • One of my goals for last year was to publish a book of my blog posts and I was able to accomplish that. How exciting to see all the research for a year published in to one place in a book format I think my greatest research find this year was a series of posts I did about my paternal 2x great-grandfather John W. Rowan and locating his Civil War Records.  I started with a family story in Who Was the Civil War Veteran? then Is It the Right John W. Rowan, Civil War Veteran? and concluded with Civil War Records of John W. Rowan. To be able to start with a handed down story and find the truth in it was amazing!  More to come on this subject.
  • A major accomplishment for me this year was to be able to find the information and prove to the Society of Mayflower Descendants that I am indeed a descendant of John & Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower. My perseverance and research skills were validated!  I received word this week, a few days before Thanksgiving.  The official certificate hasn’t arrived yet.  This was one of my goals for the past year.

What I’ve learned:
  • Develop a research plan when you have a specific question you want an answer to.
  • Citing my sources definitely helps me remember how and where I learned information about an ancestor.
  • Look for county or town ‘Centennial Books’.  I keep finding interesting tidbits on my ancestors since many of my lines go back to the 1600 & 1700s in America.
My goals for this next year:
  • To publish at least 50 posts while continuing to work full time. 
  • Obtain a military headstone for my paternal 2x great-grandfather John W. Rowan.
  • Make the stories of my ancestors’ lives be more than just dry facts. Being able to research the time period or location where an ancestor lived helps me understand their lives.
  • My Dad continues to give me ideas for researching.  He is challenging me to see how far back I can go and determine the previous land owners for our family duck farm.   I think this research might make for an interesting presentation one day.
My frustration continues to be that there never seems to be enough time and money to do as much research as I want.

A VERY SPECIAL THANK-YOU TO ALL MY READERS!  I enjoy 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:
wordle 2018

Another great year for me as a blogger.  Looking back shows me I have accomplished more than I thought I did.  On to new discoveries and new cousin connections while also enjoying the great ones I have already made :)

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

Monday, November 12, 2018

Gena Philibert-Ortega Presents

Gena Philibert-Ortega presented 2 informative talks Saturday at the San Diego Genealogical Society.  Gena is an author of articles and books, speaker, blogger and genealogist with an emphasis on researching women’s history and lives.  Gena kept us engaged with examples of some of the interesting things she was able to find out about women.  Throughout both presentations Gena reminded us that researching our female ancestors is different then researching our male ancestors. 

Gena’s first presentation was entitled was entitled Wives, Girlfriends, Widows, Exes and Mistresses: Documenting Women.

Gena showed us some great examples of how events in our ancestor’s lives produce a variety of sources of information that we may not have thought of.  Gena talked about using genealogy databases, vital records, libraries/archives, digitized books/articles, using finding aids and relationships to locate information.  She also talked about not using the general ‘search’ options within databases but to search for a particular ‘type’ of record and then search within that record.
  • I wanted to use some of Gena’s suggestions to see what I could find on Hannah Petty Warner from my last blog post.  Searching in Ancestry using the Card Catalog and taking a chance, I searched Presbyterian Church records and was able to locate the baptismal records of 4 of Hannah and Daniel’s children including my direct line ancestor James:
  • I also now know that the family attended the local Presbyterian Church.
  • Searching in Google Books for “Hannah Warner” I stumbled upon a book entitled The Descendants of Andrew Warner published in 1919. While the ‘Hannah’ I was looking for is not the Hannah I found in the book, Andrew Warner IS my 8th great-grandfather and this is an amazing find! 


Gena’s second presentation was entitled Her Name Was Not Known: Researching Your Female Ancestor’s Life.

During Gena’s presentation she talked again about how elusive our female ancestors may seem but we can still find out so much about them if we know how to search.  She discussed the five aspects of a Woman’s life that need to be considered when you are researching to help develop a better understanding of your ancestor: the woman herself, her family, the locality where the woman lived, the time period she lived in and information about her neighbors and community (FAN club-friends and neighbors).  When searching have a list of Keywords to search, such as all the variations of a woman’s name, a location, etc. and search each one. 
  • If I go back to my post entitled Bible Records for Hannah Petty Warner and use some of Gena’s considerations for researching her what can I find to add to Hannah’s story?  I decided to look at the 1800 US Federal Census in a different way and I believe I find Hannah living with her son David Warner (her husband had died in 1787) based on her age at the time of the census.  If this is correct, I can tell by the census she was living in Riverhead, that her son Benjamin and family were living close by as where families named Woodhull, Corwin, Benjamin, Tuthill, Terry, Reeves, Youngs, Wells, etc.  These were her neighbors and coincidentally other family names I might be researching for other family lines.  This is good information to know.  Her son James, my direct ancestor, was living further away but in the same town.  I previously wouldn’t have looked at the Census since usually it’s hard to find women before the 1850 Census.
  • Riverhead, founded in 1792,  had a total of 1498 inhabitants in 1800.  This all adds some more information to Hannah’s life story.

Gena gave us some amazing suggestions for searching for women by the records that were created around their lives.  Already I am realizing first hand that women’s records and information about their lives are available just not in the same way we search for our male ancestors.  Gena reminded us that “Thinking outside the proverbial genealogy box will assist you in finding clues to those ancestresses lives.” 

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

Be sure to check out Gena’s website Gena-Philibert-Ortega and her blog Gena’s Genealogy.  Gena has authored the books From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes  and  Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Bible Records for Hannah Petty Warner

In the summer I was able to locate a Will for a Daniel Petty in Suffolk County, New York that while copying, thought was probably the correct one.  I was looking for Hannah Petty Warner’s father.  This is getting back to the late 1700s and records are scarce, to say the least.  Somehow, I knew that Hannah Petty Warner had a father named Daniel Petty.  Unfortunately, this was before my days of citing my sources.  I believe I found the information on a Family Search tree about 20 years ago. As I tried to figure out if the Will was for the correct ancestor, I decided I should take a step back and see what I could first find out about his daughter Hannah.

Hannah Petty Warner is my paternal 5th Great-Grandmother:


At the Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead, New York I was able to find copies of pages from the Cottage Bible that belonged to David Warner and then his son David T. Warner.  David Warner was one of the 10 children of Daniel & Hannah Warner and brother of my ancestor James Warner.

On the pages I find the following:


Hannah was born 16 April 1737, I believe to Daniel and Hannah Paine.  I have no other record of her birth other than this account written in the Family Bible by her son David.

Hannah and Daniel Warner were married 16 December 1756.

Hannah and Daniel had 10 children: Daniel, Nathaniel (died at age 15), James (my 4x great-grandfather), Deborah, John (died at age 9), David, Benjamin, Hannah (died at age 2), Hannah (died at age 2), and Mehitable.

Hannah, her husband Daniel, and her family lived through the Revolutionary War.  What must life have been like for them?  How did they survive?  From the book A History of Mattituck by Rev. Charles E. Craven, I learned:
  • British troops were encamped in Mattituck.  Many officers were quartered in houses of local people.  The farmers were required to give large portions of their grains, crops and all their hay and straw to the invading Army.  There were stories about the British soldiers committing outrages on defenseless local people.  Some families removed themselves to Connecticut during the War with some returning and others not.  Many of their farms will pillaged by the soldiers and many lost their land.  Young men left to fight in the War.  The families that remained were compelled to swear allegiance to King George.  Men were made to work for the army and if their loyalty was in question they were beaten and sometimes killed. There was a small pox epidemic during this time.  The British troops left Long Island in 1780.
Hannah died 19 July 1814 at the age of 77 years.  Hannah is buried in Jamesport, Suffolk County, New York. 


There were no newspapers at the time of Hannah’s death so there is no Obituary to further tell her story.  The Church records of the time reprinted in Craven’s book begin with Baptisms in 1751 (after Hannah’s birth) and the Death records end in 1809 (before Hannah’s death).  Thank goodness the family had a Bible to record the life events of the family for without this it would be difficult to know of this early family history.

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,
More about the Will I located for Daniel Petty next time.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday Obituary for Susan Bentz Hamman

My maternal great-grandmother Susan Bentz Hamman died in 1908 when my grandfather, James Jacob Hammond was just 5 years old.  (click on names to view their life stories) Both my maternal and paternal grandfathers lost their mothers at the very young age of 5. So young to suffer such loss.  (Additional information on Susan’s death can be found in the post entitled Which Information is Better?)

I found the following 2 obituaries in local newspapers:
From the Remsen Bell Enterprise newspaper, Friday, 29 May 1908, page 1

Susan Bentz Hamman
Mrs. Henry Hamman, nee Susan Bentz died at her home in Remsen after a long suffering from cancer, at 7 P.M. Thursday May 21.
Susan Bentz was born in Worthington Iowa on the 18th day of August 1878. In 1885 her parents moved to LeMars and a few years later to Remsen. Here Miss Bentz became the wife of Henry Hamman in the year 1898. Six children were born to them and they live with their father to mourn their irreparable loss. About two years ago Mrs. Hamman began to complain. She had treatment in hospitals in Sioux City and LeMars, but her case was a hopeless one from the start.

The second obituary is from The Remsen News, Remsen, Iowa, May 28, 1908 page 4
Mrs. Henry Hammond died at the family home here last Thursday evening at 8 o'clock. She had been ill for nearly a year from the dread disease, cancer. She had been at Sioux City and LeMars twice in the hopes of obtaining relief but all treatment was in vain. In her death she leaves motherless six children, all less than nine years of age.
Susan Bentz was born in Worthington, Iowa, August 20, 1878. When 8 years old her parents moved to LeMars and later, about 16 years ago, they moved to Remsen. In 1898 she was married to Henry Hammond and to them six children were born which are now left without a mother-the best friend and most loving adviser anyone ever had. She also leaves to mourn her death a sister and three brothers: Mrs. Clara Rieling, of Emery; Jake Bentz, of Emery, S. D.; Henry Bentz, of Granville and John Bentz, of this town, all of which were present at the funeral which was held from St. Mary's church Saturday forenoon at 10 o'clock. The bereaved and motherless children have the sympathy of the community.

I found the following note in a Remsen newspaper and wondered if this is when Susan was in the Hospital in Sioux City and Henry Hamman, Susan’s husband, had gone to visit her?

From The Remsen News newspaper, Remsen, Iowa Thursday 28 February 1907:


Also from The Remsen News newspaper, Remsen, Iowa Thursday, 14 May 1908:

Additional information about Susan’s brother and her funeral from the Alton Democrat, Alton, Iowa 30 May 1908, page 1:

I am always interested in the information I can find and the inconsistencies I see in obituaries.  By looking at other articles in the newspaper I was able to find more then just facts to add to the story of Susan’s life.

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

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Wedding of Henry Hamman and Susan Bentz

Henry and Susan
Today is the 121st Anniversary of the marriage of my maternal Great-Grandparents Susie Bentz and Henry Hamman

The following is an image (click on item to enlarge) from the

Iowa Department of Public Health; Des Moines, Iowa; Series Title: Iowa Marriage Records, 1880-1922
Return of Marriages in the County of Plymouth For the Year Ending January 1st, A. D. 1898
Date of License   3. Groom-Henry Hamman    6. Groom’s age next birthday –25    10.  Groom’s place of birth- Dubuque
   Sep 29/97         4. Residence-Remsen         7. Color-White                                   11.  Groom’s father- Jacob H.-
                            5. Occupation-Farmer          9. Groom’s 1st marriage                   12.  Groom’s mother- Cath. H.-
                           13. Bride- Susie Benz          14. Bride’s age next birthday-20        20. Bride’s place of birth- Worthington, IA
                                                                        15. Color-White                                  21. Bride’s father- John Benz
                                                                        16. Bride’s 1st marriage                     22. Bride’s mother- Maria B.-
23.  Where and When Married – Remsen Oct. 11, 1897
24.  Witnesses- Jacob Benz & Lena Braun
25.  By Whom Married, Name and Office- Rev. F. Schulte
Date of return – Oct. 19, 1897

This is the newspaper report of their wedding as found in The Remsen Weekly Bell on 14 October 1897 in the column Local Items:


  • The original wood structure for St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church was erected in 1884.  German, Luxembourg and Alsace immigrants made up the congregation.  The building was destroyed in June 1885 when tornadoes moved through Plymouth and Cherokee counties.  The second structure was completed late that same year when Father Frank Schulte arrived.  This second structure would be the structure Henry and Susie were married in by Father Schulte.

Some thoughts:
  • My great grandfather’s last name ‘Hamman’ was misspelled as ‘Hamong’ which is why I was unable to find this account when I was searching under Henry’s name but found it when I was searching under Susie’s name.
  • #24 above on the Iowa State marriage record shows one of the witnesses to be Jacob Bentz, Susie’s brother.  Last week when I wrote about Susie’s life I wondered how the couple met?  A fellow Iowa researcher on Facebook found a news item in a local newspaper from 2 years prior to the wedding that showed Henry and Jacob knew each other.  I am now not surprised that he was a Witness for the couple.  I wonder if Lena was a friend of Susie’s?
  • Both Susie and Henry’s families were part of the St. Mary’s family.  Susie’s parent had immigrated from Germany and Henry’s from Luxembourg.

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

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Kitty Munson Cooper - Using DNA to Aid your Research

Earlier today Kitty Munson Cooper presented 2 engaging and informative sessions at the monthly meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society.  Following Kitty’s presentations I thought I would go back and look at my DNA results and try out some of her many suggestions.

Kitty’s first presentation was entitled: I Tested My DNA How can it help my research?

Trying to understand all the information we are given when we do DNA testing can be daunting. Kitty discussed the ‘help’ out there for us from the testing companies we used as well as places like the ISOGG wiki or just ‘Googling’ our questions to find the places for answers.  After reminding us to download our DNA results from each company Kitty discussed uploading your results to several sites such as Promethease and GEDmatch. 
  • Pomethease is a fee site that will take your DNA results and provide health information based on your genetic profile. 
  • GEDmatch is a third party website for analysis and comparison of raw DNA data.  The advantage is that most of the DNA testing company results can be uploaded to GEDmatch for comparison.  Not everyone tests with the same company so this is a great place to do comparisons.
Comparing our DNA results with others frequently helps us break through our brick walls.  Kitty talked about first recording DNA matches in our family trees to help document connections.
a brief start of recording my DNA matches on my Legacy Tree
  • For Ancestry Kitty talked about using an Icon in the Suffix box to mark people who have done DNA testing.
I picked a star Emoji that was available
Kitty emphasized starting with the closest matches as you begin to break down those brick walls.

Kitty’s second presentation was entitled DNA Segment Triangulation

As Kitty stated “Segment Triangulation is the standard by which we infer that a specific DNA segment is from a common ancestor that we share with at least two other people.”  With closer generations we can use charts that give us information about relationships based on the amount of shared DNA.  Determining common ancestors as we get back to great-great-grandparents, etc. there are so many more possibilities that this method becomes more difficult and ‘triangulation’ becomes a more necessary method.  This method takes time and organization of your raw data on spreadsheets, etc. 

I still have so much to learn in the area of using DNA results to help me determine relationships of more distance matches.  I am by no means fluent in these areas and hope I have correctly documented some of what I learned today.

Be sure to check out Kitty’s blog at for detailed additional information.

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

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Life of Susan Bentz Hamman

Nothing was ever known about my maternal great-grandmother Susan Bentz Hamman.  My grandfather, living 1,200 miles away in upstate New York never really spoke about his family or growing up as my mother recalls.  

Susan was born to John and Mary Margaret (Robin) Bentz on 28 August 1878 in Worthington, Dubuque County, Iowa.  Susan’s parents and several of her siblings had been born in Luxembourg before the family immigrated and settled in Iowa in the early 1860s.  Susan is believed to be the 9th and last child born to John and Margaret Bentz.                   
  • Worthington was located in western Dubuque County, Iowa and was a station stop on the railroad. In 1880, according to the census, the population was 169.  The main businesses in the area were agriculture, for the production of food, and the rail lines to get those goods to the markets in the East and sometimes even on to Europe.
   (click on image to enlarge)
photo from the book The History of Dubuque County, Iowa, containing A History of the County, its Cities, Towns, etc. published 1880

In June of 1880, according to the US Federal Census, Suza (age 3), her parents and her brother Jacob (age 10) were still living in Dodge Township, Dubuque County, Iowa.  Worthington was part of Dodge Township.
1885 Iowa State Census - I am unable to locate Suza and her parents.
  • About 1886 Suza and her parents moved from one end of the state of Iowa to the other.  A distance of about 280 miles to settle in Le Mars, Iowa.  About 6 years later, in 1892, the family would move again.  This time they moved a distance of about 11 miles east to Remsen, Iowa.

In the Iowa, State Census of 1895 Susie was 17 years old and living in Remsen with her birthplace being listed as Dubuque County, Iowa.  Susie is living with her mother Mary (Widow) age 59, birthplace Luxembourg, who is Keeping House and her brother Jacob age 25, who was also born in Dubuque, and Plaster as his occupation.


  • I have been unable to locate a death certificate for Susan’s father.  Based on the census record he passed away before the date of the census of 1895 since Mary is listed as widowed.

Susie would meet and marry Henry Hamman on 11 October 1897

  • I wonder if they met at Church or did the families know each other before moving to Remsen?  Henry was born in Dyersville and Susan in Worthington.  Did they attend the same church in Eastern Iowa? Both families seem to have been affiliated with St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Remsen. 
Susie and Henry would live in Remsen and have 6 children who would all live to adulthood:
  • Mary Jeannette
  • Arthur John
  • Margaret
  • James Jacob (my grandfather)
  • Michael
  • Joseph
In the 1900 US Federal Census I am unable to find Henry, Susie and daughter Mary.
In the 1905 Iowa State Census Susan,  Henry and their children Mary, John, Maggie, Jacob, and Michael are living in Remsen, Iowa.
                                           from The Remsen News, Remsen, Iowa.  Thursday, 28 March 
1907 page 5
image(not sure who the family was?)
21 May 1908 Susie would die at age 29 leaving behind her husband Henry and 6 children.

I know a little more about Great-Grandma Susie’s life but still have so many unanswered questions.  I wonder what type of mother she was?  Did she like living in Remsen?  Does anyone have a picture of her?

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