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,

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.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Revolutionary War Pension of John Jacobs

John Jacobs is my maternal 6th great-grandfather from Pennsylvania. John was a Revolutionary War soldier who served in the battle of Sullivan’s Island (see blog post Revolutionary War Soldier John Jacobs). Beyond that battle there wasn’t a lot known about his service. After learning of the Wyoming Massacre (see post 3 July 1778 The Wyoming Massacre) and learning of John’s wife Eliza’s escape down a corn path I wondered where John had been during this battle?

After locating John’s pension # W2805 I was able to locate his Revolutionary War Pension Record. Now I could, hopefully, learn more about John’s military service.

First, I needed to learn more about Pensions for the Revolutionary War. Who was eligible and when where soldiers able to collect?

According to the National Archives;
  • Not every Revolutionary War soldier received a pension.
  • Pension and bounty-land warrant application files contain mainly the records of enlisted men, not officers.
  • On 15 May 1778 the Continental Congress passed a resolution allowing half-pay for officers and $80 for all enlisted men who remained in service to the end of the war.
  • 24 August 1780 the Continental Congress passed the first act offering pensions to widows and orphans of Revolutionary War soldiers.
  • Pensions were offered to encourage enlistment, prevent desertion and resignation.
  • In 1818 Congress passed a pension law granting pensions to Revolutionary War Veterans who had not been disabled. Based on financial need these were granted for life.
  • This was amended in 1820 (due to the large number of soldiers that had filed), 1822 and again in 1832 when full pay was given to officers and enlisted men who had served for two or more years and partial pay for six months to two years of service.

One of the first documents I found in John’s Pension File was an affidavit from John’s son, John Jacobs, Jr. dated 1842 to help his mother, Eliza Pensel Jacobs, obtain a pension for John’s service. John died in 1831 in Exeter, Pennsylvania.

(click on images to enlarge)



In order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress of the 7th July 1838, entitled “An Act granting half pay & pensions to certain widows”

State of Pennsylvania

Luzerne County Pa

On this twenty ninth day of June AD 1842, personally appeared in open Court John Jacobs, a resident of Exeter Township, Luzerne County, & state aforesaid, aged Sixty Eight years or there abouts, & who was appointed by this Court among others to make a Declaration for Mrs Eliza P. Jacobs, who being f ? ? , according to Law, with, on his oath makes the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the Act of Congress, passed July 7, entitled “An Act granting of half pay & pensions to certain widows for his Mother Mrs. Eliza Jacobs-That she is the widow of John Jacobs declarants Father and that he has heard his father say that he was in the Revolutionary Army during the whole war as a Malitia Man, but does not know what State line he served in, that he was drafted-That he served in the Army & was in the battle of Sullivans island, that Genl Lee, Genl Moultrie & Rutledge Commanded, that he has very often heard his deceased father Speak of his being in this engagement: that he has no recollections of hearing his father speak particularly of any other engagement but he has heard him say that he was in many Skirmishes with the Enemy.

That he does not remember the names of the officers under whom his Father served, nor the time of his entering the Service-but he uniformly Stated the tour of his Service, to have been during the whole war_That he was in the Massacre of Wyoming, & that? his Mother escaped to Fort Allese, where his Father joined them after the battle, and this declarant who was then about four years old well remembers to have Seen a ball extracted from his fathers breast by a Surgeon, & which his father kept for many years; his father stated to him that he received it in the battle, that it struck his musket which he was in the act of priming it & shirred the musket & glancing lodged in his breast; that he was with Sullivan when he marched into the valley of Wyoming with his Army- That he remembers that many years since his father prepared & took evidence of his Services for the purpose of getting a pension, & that Solomon Dotter_ was one of this witnesses; but that his father gave it up as he understood because of his hearing some property which would deter him; that he was searched his fathers papers but cannot find them; that he has c? with Said Dotter Since that time, who told him that in the Said application he had proved his Service in the Revolutionary Army of this declarants Father, and that the said Dotter he thinks died before his Mother made application to the Pennsylvania Legislature for his pension- That he remembers to have heard his Father say that he performed services in the Army, in New Jersey, on the Delaware river & on the Minisinks, and that he was on the lines during the whole war and that this dependent does not know of every documentary evidence in the possession of his Mother or the family in Support of the claim, That his Father died on the 15 of March 1831-leaving no property, real or personal after the payments of his funerals expenses-And that his Mother has never been married to any person since-That his father has told him often he was a private soldier-That the said Eliza Jacobs his Mother now resides in Newport, in Said County, that previous thereto she resided in Hanover in Said County.

That he has known his Mothers age for a long number of years, and that as near as he can ascertain the day of Month it was the 15th of June, and that on the 15 of this present Month She was one hundred and four years old- and that she is unable to make the Declaration required, owing to Deafness and an ? ? of her mental faculties, and loss of memory-

That declarants father & Solemon Dotier have both told him that at one time they were in the Same Camp together when in the Revolutionary Army-

Sworn & Subscribed in Open Court 29 June 1842
__                                                                                     John Jacobs
(additional names are illegible)

Thank-you to Kathy and Allen Hughes who were able to provide me with a visual and help me in understanding how John was injured during the battle.
It appears that John was injured while loading his musket. Loading was a 2-part process done by taking some powder from a paper cartridge and pouring it into the pan by the Frizzen then putting the rest of the powder and ball down the barrel.  Before putting powder and ball down the barrel John’s musket must have been struck by enemy fire which deflected the round into his chest.

This Pension file was found on Fold3 and difficult to read due to age. Please excuse any transcription errors. If you are able to identify any of the missing words I would appreciate knowing them. Once again using Vivid-Pix Restore enabled me to have a higher quality version to transcribe. The handwriting in the document was not easy to read either. I needed to do additional research about the Revolutionary War and the Battle of Sullivan’s Island to know the proper spellings of several of the names mentioned in this document. I also did further investigation on Fold3 to find the name of the fellow soldier mentioned in this document who’s name was difficult to read. I was able to locate a pension record (#22735) for a soldier named ‘Samuel Solomon Dotter’ also from Luzerne County, PA for the correct spelling of his name.

Now I know that John fought in the Wyoming Massacre and was fortunate to be one of the survivors when so many others perished. There are other documents in John’s Pension file and more to be discovered.

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