Thursday, February 28, 2019

Celebrating the Life of Asahel Johnson

Asahel Johnson, my maternal 5x great-grandfather, was born 251 years ago today.   

  • While doing research about a year ago on I was able to get my female direct maternal line back to Amanda Johnson and I was stuck.  A brick wall.  Hmm… What to do next?  I tried a new technique for me, by developing a research plan for Amanda and in the course of following my plan discovered some valuable sources of information. (click on titles to read previous posts Trying Out a New Research Technique: Finding Ancestors in the Early 1800s, Follow Up Friday-Trying a New Research Technique and My Maternal Line and Mitochondrial DNA to learn more) When I was looking at family trees on Family Search I found Amanda Johnson Browning and about another 6 generations beyond Amanda!  Wow!  I emailed Steve, the owner of the Tree, to say thank-you and ask about his sources.  I was delighted to find someone who shared the passion I have for family history and the dedication to verifying information.  Then my search was on for information about Amanda’s grandfather-Asahel Johnson.

What can I learn about Asahel?

Asahel was born 28 February 1768 at Woodbury, Connecticut.  Asahel is believed to be the 2nd of nine children born to Artemas and Mary Barns Johnson.
  • Woodbury, founded in 1673 is currently in Litchfield County, CT
  • As reported in the London Magazine in July 1753 America-Connecticut“Several hundred people of this Colony [Connecticut] have agreed to purchase a large tract of Land of the Six Nations of Indians of the Susquehanna River, about 300 leagues to the Westward, lying within the bounds of their Charter, to settle upon it.  Expecting that it will be in a short time a distinct Government.”  The land was in what is now Pennsylvania. 

I believe Asahel arrived in Pennsylvania, first locating in Shesequinn and later settling in Orwell, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  Asahel purchased land from the Connecticut Delaware Company on Towner Hill.  The title supposedly proved worthless but he decided to stay and reportedly took 3000 acres.

Asahel would marry Beulah Hitchcock on 3 March 1782 in Orwell, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  They would have 12 children: Lydia, Artemus, Simeon, Amanday, Charlotte, Joel (my 4x great-grandfather), Welthy, Julia, Clarissa, Lydia, Nelson, and Mary.

In 1797 it is reported that Asahel moved into the wilderness with his family.  “His first years were a severe struggle, and he was compelled to work at  Sheshequin to produce grain for family supplies, during which time Mrs. Johnson remained alone with her small children [possibly 5], caring for them and the cow, their only stock.”  (from the Files of the Bradford County Historical Society in family history titled Twiggs from Family Trees Hoagland)

Asahel died 25 November 1857 in Orwell and is buried in the Darling Cemetery.

  • Oh, how I wish Asahel had kept a diary of that journey back in the 1780s from Woodbury, CT to the Susquehanna Valley, PA area, a distance of about 200 miles in a westward direction.  I wonder what he went through to get there and to settle in the then ‘wilderness’.  Looking at the map I guess I can see why the Connecticut Colony contained the land westward in to what is now Pennsylvania.  I just wonder about that strip of land above New York City?

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

*I always try to remember to thank those who have done a lot of research and graciously shared their trees to give me the bread crumbs I love to follow that help me kick down my brick walls!  Thank-you Steve!!  Steve also shared a link to a website for the Spencer-Benham Reunion Association.  The reunion has been held in Illinois for 122 consecutive years and Steve remembered that Amanda Johnson Browning was mentioned in the minutes. Steve and Judy Witt transcribed most of the minutes and posted to the Genealogy Trails History Group, Carroll County, Illinois website.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Tombstone Tuesday - Jemima Benjamin Warner

Jemima Benjamin Warner is my paternal 3x great-grandmother. 

Jemima is buried next to her husband Daniel Warner at the Baiting Hollow Cemetery in Baiting Hollow, Suffolk County, New York.

Wife of
Daniel Warner
Nov. 9 1870
AE 79 ys 9 mo
& 2 ds
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord

(Click on titles of previous posts to read more: Jemima Benjamin Warner and A Land Record With a Twist-Daniel and Jemima Benjamin Warner.)

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

Sunday, February 17, 2019

San Diego Colony of Mayflower Descendants

Yesterday, I had the honor of being accepted as a member of the San Diego Colony of Mayflower Descendants at their luncheon. 

First, I had to become a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. In order to do that I submitted to the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California in the Fall of 2016 a list (Mayflower Lineage Match form) of who I believed my ancestors were back to John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden.  After a review of my submission, I was informed in October 2016 that I  was a likely descendant and would need to provide the appropriate documentation for proof of lineage from myself back 7 generations on my maternal side to Timothy Alden, son of Israel and Lucy (Markham) Alden.  The Society had previously proven documentation for Timothy Alden back another 5 generations (Israel & Lucy Markham Alden, Noah & Joanna Vaughn Alden, John & Hannah White Alden, Joseph & Mary Simmons Alden) to John and Priscilla Alden. 

About 2 years later after gathering the remainder of the documentation needed I submitted my paperwork last Summer to the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California.  After several requests for additional information and some clarification the paperwork was deemed acceptable and sent to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.  On 8 December 2018 my request for membership was approved (see post ‘General Society of Mayflower Descendants’ Success). 

Saturday’s luncheon was a formality but an exciting one!  While I stood, I thought of Priscilla Mullins Alden and all she went through to make a life in this new world.  

12 generations of Alden descendants had to have the lives they lived for me to be here and taking part in this ceremony…almost 400 years after John and Priscilla arrived in this new world.  Pretty awesome when you stop and think about it!  I also felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment in my research skills to be able to prove my lineage to John & Priscilla.  No matter how frustrated you may get on your journey to find the information you are searching for it is well worth it when you finally reach a destination such as this one.

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

I was very happy to have good friend & fellow blogger Diane Gould Hall and fellow ‘Alden’ cousin Darlene Conner Sampley  there to share in this momentous occasion! 

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

Note: Before joining the General Society of Mayflower Descendants I was accepted as a member of the Alden Kindred of America.  (See post It’s Official! I Proved it!)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

What Were Your Ancestors Reading in School in 1844

Did you ever stop to think about what your ancestors were reading 100 or 150 years ago? Did you ever wonder what books were available from their school library?  I found the following list for School District #3 Baiting Hollow, New York for 1844 at the Riverhead Town Historian’s Office thanks to Georgette Case, the Riverhead Town Historian.

Transcription and information about titles: 

To the School Superintendent of the Town of Riverhead.  A catalogue of the library of the 3rd school district of the said town made January 1 AD 1842 by Joseph Lhommedieu, Abel Corwin Jr and James H. Skidmore trustee of the said district.
No. 1    1-30 inclusive Harpers School District Library
  • Mass market publishing of books began in the 1830s when J. & J. Harper of New York began publishing collections of books.  One of their most popular collections from 1838 to 1846  was the School District Library.  The volumes were originally priced at thirty eight cents each.  This collection grew eventually to 210 volumes.  About half of the titles were duplicated on the both the Harper’s Family Library and the Harper’s School District Library.  I wonder which of the 210 volumes where part of this collection that the school had in it’s Library?  Perhaps actual volumes 1-30?
No 31 Philosophy of the Moral Feelings    
  • by John Abercrombie, published in New York in 1833 by Harper
32 & 33    Female Sovereigns
34  History of Virginia                                
35  Ornaments Discovered                       
  • probably The Ornaments Discovered by Mary Hughes, published in New York 1833 Harpers. From the “Prospectus.  The publishers of the “Boy’s and Girl’s Library” propose, under this title, to issue a series of cheap but attractive volumes, designed especially for the young.”
36  Uncle Philip on Teach U Trade
  • There were a series of Uncle Phillip books published by Harpers.  Not sure what this one might have been.
37, 38  Whale Fishery
39 Lives & Voyages of Drake &
40, 41 History of New York
42  Natural History of Birds
43  Parley’s Common History
  • possibly Parley’s Common School History by Parley, published 1843 in Philadelphia.  “Advertisement.  The design of this work is to furnish A CLEAR OUTLINE of UNIVERSAL HISTORY, suited to Common Schools.  It is intended for beginners, and is therefore written in a simple style, and. to render it convenient both for the pupil and teacher, it is divided into brief paragraphs and short chapters.”
44  Farmer’s Companion
45  Farmer’s Own Book
46  Alexander the Great
47  George the 4th
  • Croly’s Life of George IV  published by Harper
48  History of Italy
  • possibly Sforzosi’s History of Italy published by Harper or Spalding’s History of Italy published by Harper
49  Barbary States
  • possibly Russell’s History of Barbary States by Russel, published by Harper
50  Conversations of Com. Things
  • possibly Conversations on Common Things; or Guide to Knowledge with Questions by A Teacher, by published Boston 1828.  “Dedication.  To you, my young pupils, I dedicate this little volume, with the fervent wish that it may fulfil the purpose for which it is designed, that of informing your minds, and exciting you to seek after knowledge which will be useful to you through life, and fit you to lay up, by good and virtuous habits here, those treasures which will not, like the riches of this world, take to themselves wings, nor yet by moth or rust be corrupted.”
51 to 129  inclusive Harper’s School District Library
  • possibly actual titles for volumes 51-129 of ‘Harper’s School District Library’
130  Goldsmith’s History of Greece
131  History of Poland
  • perhaps Fletcher’s History of Poland (Harper)
132  Lives of Drake & Cavendish
133  Popular Guide
134  The School and the School Master
135  Pathology of –?

The above 135 volumes are in good condition except the wear incident to them being read and grease spots on the 50 and 51 pages of No. 3 and a grease spot on 28 page of No. 6 and 2 grease spots on pages 176 and 177 of No. 28
Joseph Lhommedieu
Abel Corwin Jr 

Several of the books listed above I have guessed at, based on the dates published. Book #135 I am unable to determine the last word.  Any ideas?  I was unable to find a books matching the title for #36, 46 and 133.  I was able to verify the titles but not find any copies of digital versions of the books for  #47, 48, 49 and 131.  While looking at titles available on-line I found that the publisher Harpers in New York seemed to be a common publisher of books from that time.  Harpers had listings entitled “Harper’s Family Library”  books and “Harper’s School District Library” books which helped me figure out the titles when the spelling and age of the paper made it difficult to decipher.    Are these the same books held at the Library? I am not certain but they make for interesting reading of what our ancestors might have been reading at the time.  I have linked the books I was able to find on Google Books or

Sometimes in your search for knowledge on your ancestors you never know where that search will take you and the new knowledge you will acquire.  By profession, I am a teacher.  As a teacher I never thought about what books teachers like my great grandmother, Carrie Terry Warner who taught in Baiting Hollow (1884-85), were using with their pupils.   I find it fascinating that these collections of books were available as early as the 1830s.  I am proud of those involved with School District #3 for providing these books for their pupils and putting an emphasis on reading and knowledge of the world around them.  I challenge you to click on the links above and read some of the books your ancestors might have read.  You just never know sometimes where the research will take you.  Happy Reading!

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

A complete listing of the titles in Harper’s Family Library and Harper’s School District Library can be found in Appendix A page 36 of an article published by Purdue University 2003 entitled Harper & Brothers’ Family and School District Libraries, 1830-1846. The lists can also be found in the book Libraries to the People: Histories of Outreach page 42. 

For additional information about School District #3 in Baiting Hollow, New York see previous posts:  Searching Land Records for School District #3 in Baiting Hollow New York and 1827 Pupil List for School District #3 Baiting Hollow New York) .  Daniel and Jemima Benjamin Warner’s daughter’s Susan and Jemima may have been in school at this time based on their ages.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Immigration, Naturalization and Ship Travel Presentation

Hal Bookbinder presented two topics for the San Diego Genealogical Society monthly meeting today. Hal’s areas of interest include immigration, immigrant travel, citizenship, Jewish history, and safe computing.

Hal’s first presentation was entitled Ships of Our Ancestors. During Hal’s presentation he first took us through the methods of travel our ancestors used to get from their villages to railway stations. He showed us the railway maps throughout Europe in the 19th century. Once our ancestors got to the major ports of departure he then told us about the types of ships and the major Shipping Companies our ancestors would have traveled on, the lengths of the voyages based on the type of ship and what life would have been like as they sailed to America. Hal showed us many great pictures to help us follow the information he was presenting.

Hal’s second presentation was entitled U.S. Immigration and Naturalization. Hal talked about the Citizenship and Naturalization Process for our ancestors and how the requirements have changed over the years since the 1790s. Using some examples from his own family research Hal was able to demonstrate several examples of citizenship paperwork. Hal reminded us when we are obtaining copies of Naturalization records we should be sure to get the entire file and not just a copy of the Naturalization record. It was interesting to note that in 1907 if a woman had been born in the United States but married a man who was foreign born and not a citizen she lost her citizenship. Hal had a great slide of Customs Passenger Lists 1820-1891 and an Immigration Passenger List for 1891-1954. This was a compilation of the information that is available during these specific time periods, a valuable list to have when searching for information.

  • I have not been able to locate any of my ancestors on ship passenger lists but after Hal’s talk I decided to give it a try once again. I learned my German ancestors probably left Bremen (Bremerhaven) or Hamburg, Germany to come to America. I found the following listing and I believe I found my maternal 2x great grandfather’s name on a passenger list finally:

#119, Jacob Hamman, 25 years old, male, occupation-shoemaker, from Preussen (the German spelling for Prussia), destination New York, part of the vessel on the voyage-below deck
Jacob Hamman arrived in New York, New York on board the ship ‘Atlantic’ on 25 April 1859 from Bremerhaven, Germany. That fits! (See post My First Naturalization Papers-Jacob Hamman)

Another speaker presentation with valuable tips helps me find information I previously was unable to locate. 

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

Saturday, February 2, 2019

1827 Pupil List for School District #3 Baiting Hollow New York

Trying to add more to the stories of our ancestors’ lives comes from a variety of records, many that you may never have thought to look for.  While in New York at Christmas I found an interesting source of information at the Riverhead Historian’s Office.  Georgette Case, Riverhead’s Town Historian, was able to help me locate the following when I asked if she knew of any records related to School District #3 in Baiting Hollow, New York:

To the Commissioners of Common Schools in the Town of Riverhead-
We the Trustees of the third school district in the said Town do report that a school has been kept in our district ten months during the year ending with the date hereof by teachers duly qualified according to law. That the amount of money received from the Commissioner of Common Schools is 26, 12/100 dollars all of which has been paid to qualified teachers. That there have been 60 children taught in our district school during the past year and that there were 67 children between the ages of five and fifteen years inclusive residing in our district on the first day of January last with the following persons
                 John Corwin Jr – 1                                                                     Seth H. Wells - 2
                         Wd [Widow] Permelia Wells – 2                                                 Eleazer Dayton - 1
                        James Y. Wells – 3                                                                     Wd. [Widow] Harriet Youngs - 2
                        Jeffrey Hutchinson – 3                                                                David Howell - 4
                        Matthias Hutchinson – 4                                                             Jeremiah Youngs - 2
                        William Horton – 1                                                                      Daniel Warner - 3
                       Jacob Benjamin – 3                                                                     Abel Corwin - 4
                       Nathan Benjamin – 2                                                                   Silvanus Brown - 2
                       Silas Hulse – 3                                                                             Higby Raynor - 1
                       Richard Skidmore – 2                                                                   James Youngs - 4
                       Daniel Edwards – 2                                                                      Calvin Cook - 2
                       Jeremiah Terry – 2                                                                       Israel Wells - 2
                      Jonah Hulse – 4                                                                            Micah Howell - 1
                      Phineas T. Edwards – 5
Total 67 children
All which we certify to be true.
Dated at the third district in the town of Riverhead March 29 AD 1827
Trustees –Micah Howell and Abel Corwin

  • Daniel & Jemima Benjamin Warner, my paternal 2x great grandparents, had 4 children that would have been between the ages of 5 and 15: Lewis (age 14) and Goldsmith (age 11), my great grandfather Daniel Jr (age 9) and Joanna (about age 6) in 1827. Since Daniel is listed as having 3 children in school I wonder if Joanna was perhaps not yet sent to school in 1827 or was Joanna in school and Lewis already working on the family farm and not attending school?  My guess is Joanna wasn’t in school yet.
  • Amazing that the school received $26.12 to pay 2 teachers for a year of services.
  • This record helps me establish who the families were with children that my ancestors would have known and gone to school with.  Community connections.
  • Through marriages, I recognize other family Surnames that are part of my ancestral line: Benjamin, Howell, etc.  
The information I'm adding to the story of my ancestors’ lives this time comes from an unusual source of information-school records.  (Special thanks to Georgette Case for all her help.)  Be sure to remember to visit and research at local Town Historian’s offices.  It’s amazing the records that are out there waiting to be discovered!

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

Enjoy the journey,

I have been unable to locate photos of School District #3 in Baiting Hollow, New York. Any suggestions?