Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Way Better Idea!

I live in San Diego... think I'll take my questions about Nehemiah Newans to the local Family History Center. Here's the link below. See, they even state they can help with ancestors in the UK! Maybe I can find out about his military record with General Braddock and maybe even his birth or whatever. Cool.


See right here's why I love genealogy so much!
This old polaroid (in bad shape) of aunts and uncles having a
great time at Grandma Kelly's house
one Christmas long ago.
A real treasure of the heart!

Thanks, Randy of Gena-Musings for the comment and hints, especially the UK SIG at SDGS, of which I am a member but did not remember about:) Randy, you are so knowledgeable!!!

What Next?

Have been working on Nehemiah Newan(s) or Newin(s). See recent postings for the full story. Feel like I'm at a brick wall. I want to know more about his life. The big questions remaining for me are these.
Was he born in Darbyshire, UK?
Is there record of his family there?
Did he serve with General Braddock and was he part of the two regiments that came to the colonies with Braddock?
What happened to him between the years 1783 and 1796? Where was he and what was he doing?
Where exactly is the land in Canandaigue, Ontario County, New York that he was granted after the Revolutionary War?
Did he have a second family there?

I love blogging about these and other issues because the process sharpens my thinking. If I can organize my thoughts such that you might understand then maybe I'll reread it and have a better understanding as well.

So thanks for listening, I mean reading! And if you have any ideas on where I should look for answers please let me know. This newbie will really appreciate it!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Next: The Making of Nehemiah Newan(s) or Maybe Newin(s)

Oh, my aching back. When I sit here at the computer too long I get stiff... ever happen to you? I'm a newbie at this so I need to remember to move around more and not keep glued to the next record coming up on my computer screen!

Had the thought to make a timeline of my ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War so that I could get a feel for the trajectory of his life. Here's what I have so far.

1740-50: Born possibly in Darbyshire UK.

1755: Came to America with General Braddock as a field officer.

1764: Braddock killed.

After Braddock's Defeat: resigns commission and settles in York, PA.

1775: Revolutionary War: serves as captain in the Pennsylvania Line for 4 years, 5 months, 25 days:
General Wayne's Brigade
Captain Finly's Company
Colonel Hartly's Regiment
First regiment commanded by Colonel Butler

1779: Marries Catherine Kepplinger in York PA. Perhaps he got hitched while on recruiting duty in York? Miss K. must have been quite a catch because her father was partners in a good business;)

1780: Son Thomas born.

1781: July. Wounded left knee at battle of Green Springs near the James River VA under General Wayne
Recovered at two hospitals one of which was at Williamsburgh

After recovery from wound ordered to a recruiting post in York PA
After that ordered to rejoin his company then in Lancaster PA.

1783: Discharged September. Received an Honorable Discharge.
After war, receives a Land grant. (Remember that Catherine, his wife, stated that he did not return from the war and was presumed to have been killed at the Battle of Yorktown at the close of the war.)

1796: "removes" to upstate New York at Canandaigue, Ontario County, New York.

1810: in census at Canandaigue.

1818: Applies for pension, papers filed on his behalf by Moses Atwater Esq. in Canandaigue, Ontario County, New York.

1820: in census at Canandaigue.

OK, so my main observation here, based on the face value of the information above, is that this guy is a professional soldier. He's a soldier for Braddock and then Washington. He joins the Revolutionary War at the get-go, seldom returns home, slips the wife and kid after the war and settles far, far away in a territory on the frontier amongst other veterans.

Did he marry again? Did he have another family? How much of the book "Ancestors of Thomas F. Myers" is true? How much of the above is fact and how much is fiction? Perhaps I'll never know. But it sure has been a blast and a half  trying to find out:)

Meanwhile if I have a moment I could check military records in the UK for a list of General Braddocks men. Could also find out more about the war history of the units Nehemiah Newan(s) served in. If you have any other ideas, please help this newbie out and leave a comment! I'd love it if you did:)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Part Four: He Is Alive in Upstate New York!

So I'm on Footnote trying to sort this all out ... and if you're lost and haven't read this saga from the get-go, maybe slide on down to Part One:) It'll just be a tad easier on your own self.

So what the heck happened to Nehemiah Newan(s) after the Revolutionary War? Looks like he slipped the wife and kid and just high tailed it out of Pennsylvania to claim his land grant up in New York state.

I read just yesterday on Ancestry that some of the land grants for Pennsylvania were mistakenly for lands that turned out to be in New York and when they got it all sorted out they offered the veterans a swap of sorts. Some took other land also in New York.

The records (and which records I'd have to go dig out of the file but you can find them on the DAR web site and I think I remember that it's from the Pennsylvania Archive) show that he was awarded 250 acres for service. That jives with the table I just found on Ancestry that says a sergeant was given 250 acres. Note that it does not line up with the claim made in the "Ancestors of Thomas F. Myer" book that claims "previous to his death he was promoted to major." Majors were a bigger deal and got 600 acres. Sweet.

Now I don't know if Nehemiah Newan(s) was one of the men who traded land in New York but bottom line is that he ended up in Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York. From the descriptions of the place circa 1796 when he arrived, it sure sounds nice. Hard and frontier-like but nice and peaceful. I wish to believe that he was happy there:) But that's just me. Here's a link to the old town history:

He appears there on the 1810 and 1820 census then falls off the radar screen.

His main appearance in records between 1810 and 1820 is a pension request filed on his behalf by Moses Atwater Esq. in 1818. Found it in Mom's files and also on Footnote. It's lengthy and difficult to read but worth the effort of transcription to get his history.

Next episode: the history of Nehemiah Newan(s) as best I can fit it all together. Remember I'm a newbie at this genealogy stuff so take that into consideration of all that I write:) I'm trying... but.

Part 3: He Had a Wife and Son

If you haven't been following along you might want to pop on down below and pick up this tale from the get-go. I'm trying to follow the life and times of a Revolutionary War ancestor, Nehemiah Newan(s).

OK, let's leave the book aside except that it mention that Nehemiah married: " During the War in 1779 he married Miss Kepplinger and had one son Thomas." It goes on to say that her family were Lutherns and amongst the first settlers of New York having come from Amsterdam. I have yet to chase that rabbit and will save it till a later time cause I'm about all tuckered out on this trail.

So what we have so far is that Nehemiah Newan died in the Battle of Yorktown. and that battle happened September 28 – October 19, 1781. His son Thomas was born in 1780. His wife, Catharine, if you believe the little book, says that he went off to fight and she never saw him again.

What we find is that Catharine Newan of York County, PA is granted a widow's pension as the widdow of Nehemiah Newan of $80 per year paid out as $40 every six months in 1828, effective 1 Jan 1829.

Additionally no Catharine Newan(s) appears on either the 1810 or 1820 census (unless I'm mistaken and that's always possible because I'm new to all of this.) However a Catharine Keplinger does appear on the 1810 census for Newbury Township in York County, PA. Is it possible that she went back to her maiden name? Why would she do that? Maybe she wouldn't. Maybe that's not her at all.

Let's sum up. He went off to war. She says he never came back. She collects a widows pension and raises their son. OK so far, right?

So if he's dead why does a Nehemiah Newan claim a land grant in upstate New York and is living there in 1810 and 1820? Hmmmm?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Part Two: The Little Book

See Part One below to get up to speed on this matter that's occupying so much of my time and making me chase my tail.

Physically, the small book aunt Edith entrusted to Mom was bound in soft tan colored calfskin. Printed by letterpress without illustrations. It fits in the hand nicely and has a warm intimate feeling about it. The binding was a simple sewn style with three holes to hold the papers in place by threads. I saw no evidence of the thread in place but there were acid marks at the punched holes where threads made contact with paper for many years. Most likely they were not of fine linen which would leave no trace of acid. The paper on the other hand appeared to be acid free but had some foxing here and there. Minimal, really. My best guess is that it was published sometime in the 1800s, perhaps the later part when newer non-linen threads, the product of the Industrial Revolution, were sometimes used.

The book is missing the title page and title and author are not on the cover or small spine. The inditia states: The Hambright Printery, Cumberkand, MD. The first text page bears the title, "Ancestral History of Thomas F, Myers."

Here's some of the text:

His Great-Great Grandfather Thomas Newan was a surgeon in the British army in Darbyshire England. He had three sons viz James, Thomas and Nehemiah, one a lawyer one a Doctor and Nehemiah, whose ambition was to become a stone cutter but his parents thought it beneath the dignity of a member of the family to learn a trade compromised the matter and bought him a commission in the British Army. In 1755 Nehemiah Newan came to America with General Braddock as a Field Officer landing at Bell Haven now Alexandria, VA. and served through the French and Indian War.

After Braddock's defeat he resigned his commission in the British Army and settled in York PA.

In the beginning of the Revolution he enlisted as a private soldier, as he was afraid the people would not think him a patriot or friend if he enlisted as an officer for he was a British subject. During the War he volunteered to capture the British at Morristown, N. J. but was cautioned by Washington that if captured he would be executed as a spy. He with forty men dressed as British soldiers and himself as a British officer decoyed the British and captured them at Princeton N. J. While the Army was enroute through York Pa. he had been granted a furlough to visit home, of which he was within two miles, but in order to encourage the men who were very much disheartened he continued on to Yorktown Va. and was killed in the last struggle for America's Independence.

"Having gone from Bunker Hill to Yorktown and was one of the twenty-three killed October 19th 1781, previous to his death he was promoted to major of the 1st Pa. Infantry.

Really? That's a whole lot of Hero for one guy who starts out as the runt of the litter, don't you think?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Woah! What Was Going On? Part One

Sit a spell, because this is going to take a while explaining and I'm going to need a couple of swipes at it. I'm working on the fall issue of our family history newsletter and thought to tell the story of our ancestor, Nehemiah Newan(s) who was born in England and fought in the Revolutionary War.

Mom received a small book from Dad's Aunt Edith many years ago telling the life story of Nehemiah Newan and other ancestors. Aunt Edith, dear sweet lady that she was, entrusted the small volume to Mom saying that it "was the story of her (meaning Mom's) family" because Aunt Edith always considered Mom as good as any blood relative. Mom has kept that treasure now almost 50 years.

I copied the little book when I was recently in to see Mom and read it for the first time just last weekend. It tells a cinematic tale of the adventures and nobility of our ancestor. It's a really good story... maybe too good, I thought. Mom agreed. Was it the florid verbiage of the era in which it was written or was it more fabrication than fact? I'm hooked on the trail!

The book states that he died in the Revolutionary War. However, Mom had evidence that Nehemiah Newan removed to upstate New York and settled there on land granted to him for war service. I needed to go on Footnote.com and verify what I could.

After an hour or so I smelled something rotten. The book was dead wrong about his death in the war. What else was it wrong about?

So here's our mystery: the sweet little book says he died at York in the war. The NARA documents show him in upstate New York appearing before proper authorities at 70 years of age applying for a pension in 1818. Witnesses swear that he was known to them. Doesn't sound at all dead to me.

Where's the truth of the matter? And what about the book? More later... I need to go back on Footnote and double check a thing or two.

Aunt Edith Condry and her son Father John Condry, 1958

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Brooklyn Gumbo

My husband's ancestors are Eartern European Jewish and I'm mostly Irish Catholic... a Briget loves Bernie thing, if you remember that old TV show. Because Mom has been digging deep into my side of the family tree, when I got interested in genealogy just last year the idea popped into my head that I'd work first on his side of the family.

Mostly, his ancestors came to the US in the last decades of the 1800s whereas a number of my ancestors had been here since before the American Revolution. I thought I'd tackle his clan first. Hey, how hard could that be?

I found out that Jewish genealogy can be most perplexing, even to the experienced researcher who was raised in the tradition. It taught me infinite patience, focus, thoroughness and how to ask for help and from who. In short, I followed his paternal GGF back to the Baltic states but lost the trail in a remote villige in Lithuania. Perhaps some day I'll pick up that thread again.

The truly amazing thing is that he and I have a sort of cross-over in our family history... in Brooklyn! Who'da thunk it: Brooklyn of all places! Brooklyn in da house!

His grandfather immigrated before 1888 to the lower East Side of Manhattan. After 1920 he moved to Brooklyn where he resided the rest of his upwardly-mobile life. His children were doctors, lawyers, and businessmen. He'd be so very proud of his legacy today.

My 5th GGF came to Brooklyn a bit earlier, in the first part of the 1700s, when it was still owned by the Dutch and called New Netherlands. Dirck Jans Woertman immigrated about 1647. It has been written that he "owned property in Brooklyn and operated the Brooklyn Ferry." So our Brooklyn heritage crosses, sort of.

As the commercial says: you just never know if you don't look. Oh, I have to look!

Samuel and Emma celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 1949.

Funny story about this photo. When I began my search for my husband's ancestors I emailed two of his cousins who were very helpful. Cousin Leon gave me the text of Samuel and Emma's wedding invitation. I Googled the address where Emma resided when she got married and was delighted to find that it is now the Tentament Museum. I emaild Leon right away. He contacted them and now their wedding invitation and this photo are in the permanent collection!

See more info on Samuel and Emma at the Tentament Museum's web site:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gotta Love the Tidbits

As a newbie to all this family history stuff I'm like a kid in a candy store. (Now who remembers the penny candy stores that dotted almost every block back in the day?) I do learn something new each and every day. Here are just two examples.

I have a big project going sorting the photos old and new into family groupings. I have our own family photos, of which there are tons - see post below about Mom finding four more boxes in the basement. Cousins Steve and JC sent me photos too. Cousins Linda and JoAnn sent a wonderful and much treasured picture of Grandma Kelly as a young girl too. My cache of pictures is getting large by the week.

Cousin Steve just showed me how to add a notation in PhotoShop! Drop down the menu under File to find File Info. The pop-up box gives plenty of elbow room to add such items as title, dates, and super long identification text. I love that! Musta skipped that day in PhotoShop school;)

Cousin Steve, 1947

Then, this morning I was reading one of the three State Research Guides downloaded from Family Tree Magazine's web site. Just $3 each and so well worth it to this newbie! Was looking at the Pennsylvania Guide and found out that Penn and his heirs bought the land that is now Pennsylvania by the Walking Purchase. The deal struck with the Indians said that the price paid was for all land "according to the distance a man could walk in a day and a half. The Indians, the Guide said, expected "a leisurely stroll" but what they got were runners! Who knew?!
My own self and cousin Mickey,
or Mike as he now likes to be known, about 1949.
Mike lives in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No He Didn't!

I love talking to Mom every morning except Fridays when she has her standing appointment to get her hair done. We chat about the news, food, what's for lunch, and then I usually ask her which ancestors she's researching today. It's often one I'm not familiar with so the I open FTM on my laptop and take a look. Sometimes I even get a good story from her.

Talking to Mom this morning she told me a story of GGM Zeller, or Ma as one and all called her. Seems that my father, who always had a wickedly Irish sense of humor, once played a joke on Ma, his maternal grandmother.

Dad and his parents lived in Ma's house and Ma would call over to the neighborhood store where you could get a smattering of most everything, and placed an order by phone. The store owner would send a kid over with her order or just walk it over himself.

So one day my dad told Ma that she could call on the radio and not have to go to the phone to place her order. Ma must have loved convenience because she fell for it and told the radio what she wanted. Dad then proceeded to call the store, let the owner in on the joke, and arranged to have the goods sent on over by delivery boy.

Grandma told her mother, Ma, that it just wasn't possible to call the store on the radio. But low and behold the delivery boy appeared in due time with the groceries thus proving that Ma was right!

Am guessing that Grandma must have found her mother near impossible to live with from then on;)

Dad the Jokester, 1924.
Dad as VP of Operations about 1950s.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Never Fast Enough

I get my need for speed from Mom, don't I Mom? When I'm lucky enough to be with her and she's waiting for a download on that DSL line, then watch out cats, cause there's hell to pay for all the slowness!

It all can't happen fast enough for me either. Not so much the downloads because I'm surfing around on this super speedy cable connection. Still, have to confess that I often feel I'm in a race against demon time... and time is kicking my butt. Know what I mean?

The list of my complaints about time beating the heck out of me is long, but start it with complaint number one: there aren't enough hours in the day. As a newbie I can clearly see that this work demands specific goals. It's so easy for me to start on one task and find myself off in the bushes along the side of the road to the ancestors picking berries of history and geography.

Second complaint: time is running out! I am not immortal. Bummer. This is frustrating.

Complaint number three: it's difficult to set priorities when I can see that so much more needs to be done especially because we find ourselves in the pioneer days of the digital/internet era. I've worked in the computer industry in a previous (career) life so I know how this goes: faster and more. Enough said... and govern yourself accordingly, especially with organization because later you'll have more, way more. Yikes! Have you even see that stack of papers sitting by my computer?!

I could go on but you probably have your own list of pressing issues. But seriously, I need a new, fast laptop, preferably with unlimited storage;)

Mom and Dad looking sharp about 1940,
in the Frostburg snow by the side of Grandma Kelly's house.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ireland By Proxy

Cousin Cynthia is still in Ireland and sending delicious emails to taunt me with her adventures... wish my own self was there!

She was at Clonmacnois (see post below). Here's a picture I took and it says 1986 on the back so that must have been when I was there.

That's the River Shannon you see in the mid distance.
Our GGGF was born in Shannonbridge not too far from here.

Yesterday she wrote:
We went to Temple Kelly and I got an inscription of a Patrick Kelly and his wife Winefred. He died in 1870 and his daughter Kate Kelly died at age 13. His son William was also buried with him with his wife Anna. That cemetery has become very famous and had 5 tour buses from Germany there when we were there. I could not find a Catholic cemetery in Shannonbridge. Having a blast and now in Galway at the G hotel. Will let you know if I find anything and let me know if you want me to look into anything further.

Then I wrote back:
Please tell me you took pix of those stones!!! Bet they are somehow related;) Have fun!!!

Then later she wrote:
Oh yeah, I took pics of the stones. Were you there? You know I have always loved poppies and rolling land with sparse trees. As we rolled into Shannonbridge, there were TONS of poppies lining the streets and a lot of rolling knolls. It was so strange; like I have been here before. As we walked to the cemetery, I just couldn't stop the tears from rolling; it was like I was back after a super long journey. Can't figure out what that means. Oh, well, having a great time discovering.

What it means is that, as two rank newbies, she is way smarter than I at this genealogy game and had her wits about her enough to take pictures! When I was there in the 1980s I was all about the tourist snapshots. Bummer. I sure am glad that if I can't be there my own silly self at least Cousin Cythia is there putting her camera to good use!

Grandfather John Lee Kelly and his Mother,
Christiana Eckhart Kelly, date unknown.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Like Trying to Find a Kelly in Ireland

My cousin Cynthia is in Ireland with her husband. Before she left she called Mom and asked for some information on ancestors so she might personalize her trip. Mom told he what she knew and what we'd found out so far.

Once o'r the pond, Cynthia email me for more information. I got out one of my spiral notebooks that are always handy when Mom and I have our morning phone chat. Sure enough, one morning we started remembering that trip we all took to Ireland and there  in my notebook was recorded our memories. From then on it was easy to direct cousin Cynthia.

Here's what happened in Ireland in about 1981 when Mom, Dad and I went. What we knew was from GGGF F. John Kelly's tombstone. It said that he was born in Shannonbridge in the parish of Clonmacnois on 22 June 1829. We found our way to the historical site of Clonmacnois and chatted up the lovely ladies who worked there. We also found that a feature of Clonmacnois is Temple Kelly.

We were directed to the Historical Society of Tullamore. I vaguely remember that it was housed on the second floor of a building in town... and the pub lunch was spectacular;)

We were told that what we sought were church records and that we'd need a note from the priest. We found the priest and asked if we could see the records and he chuckled and said, "Ya could now but they are not here." After a good laugh, he gave us the permission note which Mom still has.

The next morning we went back to the Historical Society and as the luck of the Irish would have it, the people working there to automate the records were just then working on the Kellys! Amazing.

They printed out a sheet with GGGF's birth record and marriage record as well. Older records were likely burned in a church fire. But maybe not.

At Clonmacnois there were graves of Kellys as well but we were not sharp enough to take photos or at least record any information for later use. If we only knew then what we know now....

Am anxious to see if Cousin Cynthia comes back with new information about our shared Kelly family history.

Grandfather John Lee Kelly in Hollywood Florida in 1944.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

After the Athey's (or Is That Athy?)

Mom is busy consolidating the binders in her cabinet. They are organized by family surname and some binders are thick and some meager. So she's combining the thin ones together as it makes sense alphabetically. Guess you have to know Mom;)

She mentioned the Atheys. Who are they, I wondered? I'm a newbie at this family history stuff and trying hard to learn all the surnames that belong to us.

I launched my Family Tree Maker and opened Mom's latest GEDCOM to find that the closest Athey/Athy is my mother's father's mother's sister's husband. That makes him her great great uncle and a non-blood relative. Again I used the Steve Morse One-Step web site at http://www.stevemorse.org/ . Go to the menu in the upper left and look under Vital Records. That gives you a drop down and Relationship Calculator at the top of the last section.

I just love all the work Steve Morse has done and offers free to anyone who can use it. I saw him lecture and met him afterward, thanking him for all the good he has done. Think he's gets a little shy about gushing comments and I was kinda gushing.

But back to the Atheys. Mom had mentioned a book written by Larry Athy and off I go on a hunt for said book and Athy family history. Four hours later, I realize that this is a very fascinating story. Check it out at:

I do love a good story! Then, while I'm driving on an errand, I think wait, he's not a blood relative, is he? I call Mom - hands free on my cell phone - and she thinks maybe he is, but she's got her head in multiple binders, reorganizing. When I get home I check the relationship calculator and sure enough, not a blood relative. (BTW, could have done the same thing in FTM, right?)

So here's my question: am I interested in him at all because he's not a blood relative? Should I keep my story-gathering limited to blood family only? How far should I cast my net? Or not worry too much about that relationship issue and just go gather up good stories wherever they are? Any thoughts?

Enoch Clise 1843 - 1896, also not a blood relative,
but another good story for another day,
In his Civil War uniform. Also married to two
of our Whetstone sisters and mayor of Frostburg, MD, twice.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cousin Steve's Conrad Family Confusion

Cousin Steve is working on his Conrad family line from Frostburg, Maryland. His Dad is still with us but his Grandfather Charles "Pete" Conrad is gone along with his Grandmother Elsie. Steve is a good and thorough researcher and detailed by nature so he likes to see citations.

We're both newbies to this genealogy business so we stumble around... likely me more than he. He's hit his first brick wall and it's a doozie.

Charles William "Pete" Conrad and family.

The Conrads came to Frostburg before 1818 and stayed there, so that makes things nice and neat. A good examination the census and tombstones are in order. But now Steve is stuck making logic out of evidence for the William Conrad who came to Frostburg.

I'll let Steve explain in this section of an article he wrote for our family history newsletter. See what you make of it.

For more than 193 years, the Conrad family has been part of the Frostburg community. William Conrad moved to Frostburg on or before 1818. It was there he married Elizabeth Fraley and started the "Frostburg Conrad Family". It was recorded in his obituary that William came from Pennsylvania where he was born "near Williamsburg, Huntingdon Pennsylvania".

With this little bit of information I began the hunt for William’s father. At first it looked pretty simple as a number of people had his ancestor’s listed. However, when I checked further into the information I found none of it was sourced and many people had "MY" William mixed up with "Elder" William Conrad who moved from Huntingdon, Pa. to Harrison, Kentucky and became a church elder. It appears they were both born in the mid to late 1790’s and in the same county in Pennsylvania.

So throughout family trees in Ancestory.com there are many people that have merged the two William Conrad’s adding to the confusion. "Elder" William Conrad has a grave stone in the Conrad Cemetery, Grant Co., Kentucky that lists his birth (Dec. 6th 1797) and death (March 13th 1882). A web search of Ancestry.Com on William Conrad from Family Tree will bring up a picture of this grave stone.

Not much else is known. The 1800 census for Huntingdon, PA contains a Jacob Conrad, who is listed as over 45 with 4 male children in the household under the age of 10. The only female listed in the household is a between the ages of 26 and 45. The question becomes is he the father of one of the two William Conrad’s. If so, then which one. After all, the census doesn’t say they are his children living in the household. Since the lady of the house is younger, somewhere between 26 and 45, does that mean that Jacob Conrad had a second family?

Next, I tried using the Huntingdon Historical Society for possible leads. I was told for $40 they would research William’s father.

What did he get back from The Huntington Historical Society? Not too much. Here's what Steve wrote about that.

My first glance through the material looked as if it was already completed research from past years basically looking for other Conrad’s or just Conrad’s in general. Of the 14 pages of reprinted material, none was from the timeframe I had requested, mid 1790’s to 1815 when William could have been living in Huntingdon. So I put down the material with a sense of frustration and disappointment.

Yeah, who wouldn't be disappointed with that? Anyone have any ideas about this brick wall of Steve's? Email me at dianew858@hotmail.com

Butch, Steve and me, about 1947.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Surprise From Cousin Linda

Cousin Linda and I haven't seen each other in years. Mom fills me in on her side of the family whenever there's news. She and I played together when we were kids and remember good times had in her family's yard and house. Funny what you remember and I remember just about every tree in that yard!

Just last week she emailed to ask for my snail-mail address. Said that she was sending a surprise and to email back when I got it. Goodie! I love surprises!

Yesterday the package came and it was a photo of our Grandmother, Heller Gertrude Zeller Kelly (1894 - 1985). She's what, ten to twelve years old in this photo below and she's just the little princess! I recognized her face right away.

We don't know the exact date of the picture so it's off to the usual online sources to see if we can narrow the gap. But look at those details in the clothing. Those should give some idea about the time period. Meanwhile my Mom is busy trying to figure out her age here. Mom is really good at this game and can make an estimate and then tell you exactly why she thinks it's a sound guess. She's good.

And a great big "Thank You" to cousin Linda!!!

My Grandmother, Helen Gertrude Zeller Kelly
in her youth, looking super cute!

Friday, June 3, 2011

UH-OH! Mom's Been to the Basement!

Mom emailed me yesterday that she and my brother had been down in the basement and she just "found" four more boxes of family photos! WOW!!

Now you need to understand a couple of things here. First I just last week got back from seeing her and copying over what I thought was the last of the family photos... but now here are four other boxes.

I'm real happy that there are even more pictures and treasures to have and hold, don't get me wrong. But you have to know Mom. I'm starting to wonder if it's not some scheme to get me to come back even sooner than planned. She knows how much I do love those old pictures. Hmm. Are they bait? And if so are there even more boxes in the basement? Guess I'll just have to make a trip back east to find out!

Mom, your scheme worked:)

Oh and did I mention that she's also found a box from the back of the closet containing old letters? She's so cute - she's got treasures stashed all over the place!!

Mom... is this your high school picture?

Genealogy as a Group Sport: Thanks Aunt Betty!

Another shout out this morning to Aunt Betty! She's a gem and so willing to share her personal treasure trove of family information and photos.

I'm working on the Summer issue of our family history newsletter and Aunt Betty's contribution is way cool! See what you think.

She's written an article about James H. Williams who was a pro baseball player. He's my grandfather's brother. He started his professional baseball career in the opening years of the 1900s playing with the San Francisco Seals. Check this out.

A promotional piece for the SF Seals
with Jim third from left on the top row.
Note the check mark over his head.

In 1905 he moved on to the Texas league where he achieved some notoriety for being "a burly slugging and dangerous hitter of the dead ball era." He played professionally until about 1913 when time and weight gain caught up with him - some things about sports never change.

After his pro ball career he was a cotton merchant in Waco, Texas for the rest of his working life.

Now isn't that worth knowing?!

Up at Bat!

James H. Williams, 1879 to 1936.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Just In It For The Stories

I've asked myself how come I love this genealogy thing so much. Why do I sit here at this blasted computer for hours on end trying to fit pieces of some long ago puzzle of a life together?

Most of the people I run into who are passionate about family history tell me they do it as a legacy for their kids and grand kids. I have neither. So why do I do it?

My best guess is that I'm in it for the stories. Just this morning spent four whole hours searching on Footnote for the Civil War records of my Mom's first cousin 3 times removed. Does that sound like the actions of a sane person?! This guys is barely a relative, he's hanging on to the family tree by a thread. Yet I kept digging deeper and deeper.

OK, so his story is kinda interesting. He mustered in the Second Potomac Brigade of the Union Army at Cumberland, Maryland in late August, 1861. He signed up to serve three years but only made it to New Years Eve of that same year before getting shot. He died the next day.

Does this sound like a story to you? Cause it sure did to me! My story-sniffer-outer read HOT on the meter! So off to Footnote I went. Love Footnote... worth every penny.

Seems that the Company got drunk (cause that's sort of what people do on New Years Eve, especially if your are with a bunch of guys and not at home.) One of the guys in his company, Rudolph Luteman, took his rifle and shot and killed my ancestor, James Snider.

The really cool part is that Footnote let me see the letter Leutman wrote to the commanding officer from the holding cell pleading for mercy seven months after the shooting! He escaped a month later. Guess he was tired of being imprisoned.

Funny thing is I see records for a guy with the same name mustering in again in Cumberland, 28 Sept, 1864. Wonder if it's the same guy?

And I wonder if they were neighbors back home? Oh, nuts! Now I have to go look at that 1860 census, and maybe the 1850 and 1840 too. There goes a couple more hours! Will someone please stop me... on second thought, never mind. I do love this stuff.

A View of the beautiful rolling Western Maryland hills.
Eat your heart out, Ireland!