Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Quick note: Bridget Farrell from Cumberland

Will the person who visits this blog by searching on Bridget Farrell from Cumberland please email me. I think we're looking for the same Bridget Farrell!

Here's my email: dianew858@hotmail.com

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2014/09/quick-note-bridget-farrell-from.html

This is this the 501st post for this blog

Sure, Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings (my favorite blog!) has me beat and left me in the dust with his recent announcement of  8000 incredible posts, but this is a big deal for me. This is the 501st blog post!

When I started this blog two and a half years ago I really didn't know what was going to happen and if I'd keep with it or whether it was going to be too much work and not enough return so I'd toss it in the untended blog scrapheap. But it turned out to be way more rewarding than I ever expected!

My original thought was to blog in an effort to keep what best might be described as a hunting journal. I figured that if I set out my plans in writing as a blog post I'd have a better chance of keeping on track. Then if I reported back I'd have a place, public as it might be, to see what happened. Sounds now like I'm describing a research journal, and I do think in retrospect that a research journal was what I wanted... I just didn't know about research journals because I was a real newbie then.

As I learned things I figured that I'd post them in an effort to examine new concepts or resources. I was learning stuff right and left so there was always plenty to post!

I also posted about my ancestors and stories I heard about them and what the research and records told me about them. I've always been a total fool for a good story, even if they prove unfounded. And along the way I saw that at the core of most of these old stories handed down is a solid gold nugget of truth. I'm not talking about the Indian princess thing or descending from royalty stuff but stories with amazing specificity. I love stumbling into the detailed stories! I also love seeing how the same story can change along different branches descending from a common ancestor. Now that's pure fun!

But the very best feature of having a blog is one that I didn't anticipate. I truly thought that no one would read it except for Mom and a cousin or two. Mom did, of course, because she's Mom. But cousins pop in now and again but certainly don't visit on a daily basis. No, the very bestest thing that happens here is catching new-to-me cousins. I just love that! "Cousin bait", they call it.

I have to tell you, sometimes I go off searching about an ancestor on Google and if I've written about them here, this blog usually comes up in the first couple of Google results. How cool is that?! Right now I'm enjoying a new cousin contact about every other week.

I've never had a problem coming up with something to write about. Guess I'm just like that: if I'm excited about something I'll think to blog about it. In the past I've used GenaeBloggers's daily blogging prompts just because they are so nifty. And if I feel ill or tired I just don't blog for a while because my heart isn't in it.

There are so many good resources for bloggers now that I'd almost like to start over, but no. I like where I am now that I've done 500 posts. Here's looking forward to the next 500!

Mom. She's the one who got me interested in this genealogy thing.

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2014/09/this-is-this-501st-post-for-this-blog.html

Monday, September 1, 2014

Did you enjoy the Revolutionary War, Peter Troutman?

Back in May I made a list of potential ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War for a blog post around the theme Military Memories which you can find here. You know how it is, we make lists of ancestors who did certain stuff like the most recent to immigrate, all who came from Ireland, all who were blacksmiths. And we mean to take time to learn more about them and the common denominator but other stuff gets in the way. I really wanted to work on this list and see what's what, but there was always something else to do. That said, my recent interest in the DAR motivated me to get on that task and find out which ancestors did what.

Long story short, I've been working on what's called a Supplemental Application for the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution for two of my ancestors. They are Peter Troutman and Isaac Workman. Isaac Workman signed the Loyalty Oath of 1778 in Maryland so that qualifies him for inclusion in the list of DAR patriots. He didn't actually fight and I don't know why that would be but perhaps I can eventually find a clue about what he was doing then. I'll get to him later in another post. My main focus in this post is the other guy, Peter Troutman.

When preparing a Supplemental Application there are two main types of information needed: information proving relationships and connections between generations, and then information about the ancestor's service. My job is to start with myself and prove each relationship to each sequential ancestor going back to the Patriot ancestor. Then, when I've got that going, to document my Patriot ancestor's service. That's quite a challenge, but it is the way genealogy should be done!

Let me tell you about Peter Troutman, or at least what I know about him. He was born 18 December of 1754 in Greenwich Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. His father, Wilhelm Troutman or Trautman, came from Germany on the ship "Neptune" and debarked October 4, 1752. Wilhelm is listed as a carpenter in the tax rolls of 1767-8 and had 60 to 70 acres of land. Peter and William, his brother, both served in the Revolution. In 1780 he was taxed as a weaver and owned a cow.

Peter's military service was choppy. Unlike other of my Revolutionary War ancestors who joined a particular militia company and served a chunk of time, Peter served now and again. I don't know how many served now and again versus those who just joined and served like my other Patriot ancestor Capt. Jacob Whetstone. It was interesting to me that both Peter and Jacob took leave when it was harvest time, as did many other soldiers. Peter served in 1776, 1777, 1778, and 1781. For a short time, some say, he was a captain. I'd like to see the records.

After the war both Peter and his brother William moved to Southampton Township in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It's said in the reference material and numerously quoted that he and William were awarded bounty land there. I haven't been able to find it yet but really haven't put much time into the task. Should be pretty easy to find. (Famous last words??) Various authors make reference to "a Bounty Warrant per N-11651 - Bounty Land Warrant 40921-160-55 in National Archives".

He applied for a pension May 19, 1833 and gave his age as 77 then. He lived until March 6, 1846 at the age of 91 years. That was a very long life back then!!

My connection to him is through his oldest son, Benjamin Franklin Troutman (1780 - 1856). Benjamin was born in Berks County and moved with his parents to Somerset County. He was a famous gunsmith of the time the few guns still around and of his making are some of the finest of the era. He was also a musician known in the area. Well, the gunsmith thing makes sense because his father was a carpenter. Seems that his friends called him Ben. I think he sounds like a fun guy.

Ben's estate settlement dated February 6, 1863 names his daughter Nancy Ann Troutman who married Elisha Workman, also named. It's this connection that has me down at the moment. I've sent off to the Somerset County Historical and Genealogical Society and requested a bit of research by them on this matter and especially estate papers of his in their files. And now I'm waiting... and trying to be patient. Mom has used them before with good results in fleshing out her file on Peter Troutman so I'm optimistic that it will be worth the wait.

Nancy Ann (Troutman) Workman (1826 - 1882) was born in Somerset Pennsylvania and lived about 12 miles away from the location of her husband, Elisha Workman's family near Mt. Savage, Maryland in Allegany County. Somehow they met and became my Grandma Kelly's grandparents. How I now wish that I had asked Grandma Kelly about her own grandparents!

But I do wonder how the Revolutionary War impacted Peter Troutman and his family. It gave them land in the western part of the state and an opportunity for Peter to ply his carpentry craft. I wonder if he worked to build the church he attended, Comp Church. He was buried in their churchyard.

Peter Troutman (1754 - 1846.)


His son, Benjamin Franklin Troutman (1780 - 1856).
His daughter, Nancy Ann (Troutman) Workman (1826 - 1882.)

Her daughter, Moretta (Workman) Zeller (1859 - 1946.)
Her daughter and my Grandma, Helen (Zeller) Kelly (1894 - 1984.)

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2014/09/did-you-enjoy-revolutionary-war-peter.html

Friday, August 29, 2014

Computer crashed. Need I say more?

Yeah, that's what happened. It was ugly and got even uglier before the dust cleared. Final score: lost no data, all files are recovered. Programs did have to be reloaded, no big deal really. Now I'm just rearranging the furniture and hanging a few pictures to make it feel like home again.

I want to thank my external hard drive and Carbonite who both made me feel more secure while the storm raged. Also need to thank the guys at the Geek Squad who really know what they're doing, even though at one point they might have been part of the problem. Maybe. But no finger pointing because it all worked out.

I missed the little guy, this laptop of mine, while it was gone. But we're back together again. I bask once more in the warm glow of my laptop screen. All is well:)

Have a very good Labor Day weekend!

An old grainy picture of my Mom on the left, her father, and her sister Dot.
Virginia (Williams) Kelly, Cambria "Camey" Williams (1897-1960), Dorothy "Dot" (Williams) Conrad (1920-2007).

Monday, August 25, 2014

The DAR Chapter Meet & Greet

I was kinda nervous. I was going to meet some of the local chapter DAR ladies to see about joining. (See previous posts here and here for the full background on how I got to this point.) The more I thought about joining, the more I liked the idea. I love genealogy and have a lot of warm feelings about my ancestors especially those who served in the Revolutionary War. I love finding out about them and was sort of looking for an excuse to dig deeper, as if I even need one. Back in May of this year I did a post for the theme "Military Memories" listing both my proven and suspected Revolutionary War ancestors, which you can see here. I decided then that I wanted the chance to figure out if they served and in what capacity. This DAR adventure could help me do that because it would give the task structure, another level of motivation, and some really great support in the form of DAR records and fellow Daughters who are much better than I at research in this area.

I checked out the activities of one of the local chapters online and liked what they were doing. They were a medium sized group and their projects were worthwhile. They even have a connection to a local military memorial and museum, the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier that's a very popular local attraction in San Diego Bay on the Embarcadero. Now it was time to take the first step and see where I might fit in. That's where the Meet & Greet comes in.

I thought about what to wear. A long time. Too long in fact. But that says more about me than them. I finally settled on an outfit that I can best describe as a selection from my summer wardrobe I call "clean casual". No spots? I'm good to go!

I walked into Mimi's Café in Mission Valley and saw three ladies in the waiting area who glanced in my direction and these were the ladies I had come to meet. What is it about walking into a place and meeting people you don't know? It can be off-putting and might take a small muster of courage, but good things often take that. I was feeling awkward for all of 20 seconds and then, poof, we had already met and it was OK. No, it was more than OK because I felt welcome.

Once we got going - there were four of us, we two prospective transfers plus the Regent and the Registrar - time flew and we had a great good time getting to know each other. The Regent is like the head of the group and the Registrar is a mystery to me because it seems she does just about everything from taking in new and prospective members to giving guidance to those navigating the waters of getting applications approved. (And remember here that I am beyond new and don't know much at all so that might be all wrong.) There had just been a change of the guard and they were the incoming officers. Still, they really knew what they were doing!

I could tell right away that I wanted to be part of the team these ladies were on. Even the other "new kid" who was transferring from a chapter in another state was super nice and knowledgeable. I felt right at home. Sign me up!

There were some take-away points that came up. It so happened that both myself and the other transfer are working on an additional ancestors and are researching, compiling materials, and readying ourselves for the official papers called a Supplemental Application. I picked up that the review process is now much more rigorous than in the past. Past applications were approved way back when, pretty much on the basis of "because my grandmother told me so." As time went by and the art and science of genealogy got spiffed up, the applications needed increasingly more rigorous back-up documentation. Now with so much available online the hunt is easier, but there are still elusive documents in out of the way archives. Aren't there always?! But the very best effort must be put forth and often explained with notes and proper source citations. I tell ya, it really makes you spiff up your game, and I do like that!

Another aspect of the rigor of the process is that you have to show real links between generations with supporting documents. The idea is to use the best direct evidence that you can and if that's not available it should be explained as to why only supporting evidence is being used. The first four generations (me plus three) need to be pretty much locked in with birth, marriage, and death certificates. Exceptions are made and substitutes accepted for cause.

This isn't as hard as it sounds, if it does sound that way. It's a bit laborious and time is required but that's true of all good genealogy. But if you ask what's required first and then take the time to find it, you'll probably be just fine. It's a process. It can be hard when documents aren't where they are supposed to be or not available for 100 years or whatever, but it's at those moments when you need to ask for help that help is there waiting for you. I have to remind myself to take time and enjoy the process. It feels great when you can finally prove a relationship that you once took for granted because grandma told you so!

I got a briefing on the committees looking for assistance. The other transfer was very experienced and had held committee positions at her old chapter in another state. I asked to exchange contact info with her because she obviously knows what's going on and I so do not!

I left the meet and greet feeling very good about this group:)

My Grandpop Kelly visiting his sister in sunny Florida from cold and snowy Maryland.
About 1950.
It was his mother's ancestor, Nehemiah Newan who was the Revolutionary War ancestor under whom I was accepted into the NSDAR.

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-dar-chapter-meet-greet.html

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Not my grandmother's DAR anymore!

The first post here under the Nut Tree about the DAR, which you can see here, was all about how I came to get interested in the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, or as everyone usually calls it, the DAR. I was going to now write about the Meet and Greet but first I want to give my impressions of the DAR today. I know that it's early on for me to even have an opinion but sometimes first impressions are more true than not. And I am first to admit that I, along with many others, might have a misconception about the group with out of date images of very proper ladies who always wear white gloves, even to the grocery store, sporting big blue sashes while decked out in, what, maybe hoop skirts. And they never laugh and are always reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. That sure isn't what I found! And I have to say, these ladies laugh. A lot!

Guess I should make it real clear here that I speak for myself alone. This stuff is not approved by anyone, let alone the NSDAR. I'm barely in the door there and my transfer from Member at Large to the local chapter is still working its way through the channels. This is my own deal here and I don't represent anyone or anything. I just think it might be interesting to someone or other what the DAR experience is about for one person. Or maybe not.

And speaking of grandmothers, if my Grandma Kelly would have known about the DAR she would have loved being a part of it. She had, after all, two for-sure Revolutionary War patriots on her own grandmother's side, and that's not counting two more on her grandfather's side that I still need to investigate because they are on the list of DAR's Patriots. So that's potentially four patriots for Grandma Kelly. She would have been so very proud of that. And she would have loved being part of a group of ladies who are interested in their ancestors and work on civic projects. And, she loved to have lunch and listen and talk about history and her community! Yes, she would have just adored the DAR. Sadly, Grandma Kelly didn't know about the DAR and about her ancestors' patriotic past until very late in life but when my Mom told her, she soaked it up!

The question begs asking: can an organization like this be relevant now? I'm thinking that we all believe in the power of people in the community pulling together to help others. We see that within the genealogy community all the time. Here in San Diego, in many ways a military town, there are numerous opportunities to help veterans and their families. But it's just harder to do something really worthwhile for them by yourself except the holiday food drive. And I'm not sure that I would know how to make a difference on my own. I can easily see the greater good in being part of something larger than ones self to help make your community a better place.

So let's float this: is patriotism relevant today? Maybe some people don't have time to even consider this question due to their busy lives. I get that too. But after September 11th, 2001 I never once went back to taking my country for granted. It means something to me. And to be honest, having ancestral lines that go back to the very beginning here feels great. (Not that I'm not equally proud of my recent immigrant ancestors too. They struggled and overcame as well.)

My impression is that things have changed at the DAR, changed with the times and probably for the better. I think I read somewhere that the NSDAR has recently enjoyed a mini boom in inquiries due to their online presence and the wonderful Ancestor Search portal to the patriot listings, which you can access here. You can use it to find out if your ancestor is already listed as one of their Patriots. Just pick an ancestor you think might have been alive during the Revolutionary War and plug in the surname to get instant gratification! And here's a look at the search page, below. It's super easy to use, as you can see.

Check it out. Go ahead, just plug in a surname and see what happens. Maybe you too have an ancestor who is listed? I run all of the ancestors through this search engine if they were born anywhere near 20 to 30 years before that 1776 date. And remember, some were older and served, some paid a tax in support, and some took a loyalty oath so be inclusive with your ancestor list. And don't forget the little drummer boys too! (Was that actually a thing? I think so.) The American Revolution took a lot of support from a lot of people. Don't forget the ladies because they served as well. Do remember that not all who might qualify are already listed so you could be the first to get your patriot approved. That would be exciting!

I simply can not imagine Grandma using a laptop, although once I did see her in a pants suit. I have to tell you, that was real shocking!

OK, I know that not all the DAR ladies are toting laptops and smart phones and multitasking. There are some who are maybe 30 or 40 years in and are proud that they don't use email. At all. Ever. I get that, and have to say I respect it too. It's real nice when people aren't "run" by their electronic devices. And what genealogical society doesn't have members of long standing that aren't on the email list? Yeah, I don't think my Grandma would have embraced the social network that drives portions of my life. She just loved sitting in her dining room in the corner at the telephone stand talking on the black rotary phone. If we don't respect those who have gone before us, what have we got? I just love the most senior of the DAR ladies for all that they have done. They paved the way.

Another thing that might be different about today's DAR, although I really don't know, is that everyone is so upbeat and kind and energetic. Maybe it was always like that but as I say, I really don't know because I'm new to all this. But I can't even imagine anyone being nicer and more accepting of newcomers. I have the feeling that the pace of the organization now is as swiftly moving as life today itself. I got a feel for just how lovely they are and how willing to help when I lurked on the "Daughters of the American Revolution" Facebook page. Go see for yourself. Here's a recent post there.

DAR Facebook page, recent post. Yeah, it's like that there:)
Find the DAR Facebook page here.

And it's all-inclusive: moms, working women, moms who are working outside the home. And retired ladies like myself too. One woman I got to know at the Meet and Greet worked full time and participated in DAR activities as best she could for a bunch of years before she was able to work full DAR chapter participation into her schedule.

And one last thing. Do you remember back when there were rumors and stories about the DAR being elitist? Very exclusive? No? I don't either but I think there might have been an issue back in the 1950s but there were a lot of issues about many aspects of life back in the 1950s and 1960s. Everyone learned and grew in spirit, and that's as it should be.

I have the feeling that it might be a changing world out there in DAR land where tradition is kept and honored while finding modern ways to "be" in the world. And if you think you might like to be a part of it, all you have to do is let them know and you'll get all the help you need.

OK, wanting to help everyone is very much like my Grandma!! Yup, she would have loved it.

Mom and Dad, Grandpop Kelly with Grandma Kelly on the right.
Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland, 1942.

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2014/08/not-my-grandmothers-dar-anymore.html

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mom and I have fun with the 1870 US Census

Mom, who was 96 years old just last month, has been doing genealogy since the early 1970s, only recently announced to me that she was retiring from it. She might have trouble seeing the computer screen due to eye issues, but you can't dampen her interest. We were talking about the copies of death certificates I'd received in the mail from my guy at Maryland State Archive that were for Mom's mother and father and Dad's birth certificate. We had such a good time exploring every line and wringing every last drop of meaning out of it! You get that, don't you? "He died of what???"

The only great grandparent I now don't have a death cert for is Dad's paternal grandfather, Gustav Zeller (1858-1927) and that request is in. He was born and died in Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland, a small mountain town in Western Maryland as so many other of my ancestors. In fact my parents, grandparents, and six of my eight great grands were all born and died there.  If I want to find out who was doing what about 1870 I check out the census for good old District 5 in Allegany County, that's Frostburg.

US Census 1870, District 5, Allegany, Maryland; Roll: M593-566; Page: 148A; Image: 299.
My Zeller family.

After Mom and I had some fun with death certificates we went on and chatted about how much we like just browsing census pages before and after the page on which our ancestor appears. We agreed that for us the most fun census to browse is the 1870. You see, Frostburg was on the upswing then. Coal mining, the railroad, ironworks, and brickworks all fed the main pipeline of prosperity. And merchants followed and built strong businesses. The region drew immigrants like a great big magnate from the British Isles and Germany especially. Hard work and great promise drew my own ancestors from Ireland, Germany and Wales about 1840. The head of household in the 1870 census was often listed as having a surprising amount of personal wealth.

The first thing that struck me was the uncommon names for the German states. My great great grandfather Charles Wm. Zeller (1829-1901) had immigrated from Wurtemburg in 1851. He returned a year later and married Anna Mary Bruening. They were back in Frostburg in time for the 1860 census and he was listed as a confectioner and she a milliner or hat maker. Doesn't that sound like a fun couple? His son and my direct ancestor and great grandfather was Gustav. But what of all these different German states? Look at part of the census page to see, below.

When I look at the 1870 census the families listed right before my Zeller family are from Hesse and  from Prussia. My Zellers are listed as born in Wurtemburg. Where was that? I had to know and German history is not my strength. So off to Wikipedia which you can see here. I won't take time to explore here what the unification was all about but you can go see for yourself. Here's a map from that page showing where everything was after unification. You might have to go to the Wikipedia page to see the full map. Look at the golden color area. That's where the Zellers came from and where Charles returned to marry Anna Mary Bruening.

Thanks, Wikipedia!

The neighbors listed past the Zeller family were also from the German states as well as Ireland, Wales and England. It seems to me that every-other head of household was not from Maryland or the adjoining states of Pennsylvania or even West Virginia but were immigrants. The churches in town served the diverse population and my own ancestors worshiped at St. Michael's Catholic Church (Irish), the Welsh Shiloh Congregational Church, and the Lutheran Church. My Zeller people, you might think, could have worshiped at the Lutheran Church but they were Catholic. It was the old-line Revolutionary War families who were Lutheran.

And what of local prosperity? There was plenty of work to go around and pay day brought locals and those living in adjacent town to Frostburg to shop. Saturday night downtown was a busy place!


Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland. Main Street, about 1900.

Charles Zeller's confectionery and sweets shop prospered and his family grew too. Here they are in the 1870 census and look, he owns $2000 in real estate.

Other families are doing well and buying up real estate too. George W. McCulloh living three residences away has $30,000 in real estate and his wife has $5000 in her own name. He's a banker. Edward Hoffman a brewer from Saxony had no real estate holdings but his neighbor Albert Holly from Hanover, also a brewer, is holding $9000 worth of real property. Their neighbor Thomas H. Paul from New York is a machinist and has $16,000 worth of real estate holdings and $7000 of personal property. Yes, it sure looks like a prosperous little mountain town. Opportunity abounded!
Mom and I had a real good time on the phone reviewing the Frostburg 1870 census. We just don't get people who don't get us;) Imagine, not enjoying looking at the census!
Gustav Zeller in the white barber's coat standing on the front steps of the first electric trolley that came to Frostburg. Notice his hand touching his hair... to signify that he was a barber? He was a super promoter!

Gustav Zeller again, this time close-up so we can see his grooming.

Gustav's father, Charles Wm. Zeller.