Monday, November 28, 2011

Some Awsome New (to me) Cousins!!

Was out on the google-thing giving Nehemiah Newans one more shot. My thinking at the moment is to wrap up what I know (or think I know) about his life now and write it up while it's fresher in my mind. Don't want to get down the road a ways, pick up the project again and think, now where was I on this?

So I go google and what pops up is something I've seen a number of times before and that's an entry to a massive project with Nehemiah Newan as one of the named individuals. It transcribes a portion of the Thomas F. Myers book (see tab above). So what the heck, no stone left unturned, right? I email the contact person and whamo! I get an email back and we're off to the races. It's John on the other end of the email and he provides a connection to a Myers line cousin, Molly! Two new, to me, cousins!!

Cousin John has this truly awsome web site and here's a link.
There's so much rich information there, I'm just getting going on it! WOW!

My absolutely favorite "toy" of the day is this family finder. Really, you have to click on this link and then click on one of those blue dots... I promise you will be impressed!

Did you click on one of the blue dots with photos? I love that!! Way ta go, cousin John!

Anyways, I don't know much more about Nehemiah Newans now that I did before contact with Cousin John but the journey sure is fun!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday... it's the everybody holiday for those of us who live in the good ol' US of A. Not religious, not political. No downside. And who doesn't feel better after giving thanks?

Close to the top of my list is giving thanks for Mom getting me interested in this genealogy stuff! Took dyslexic me a couple of weeks to remember how to spell it. Why do I want to leave out that "a"?

Genealogy is so much fun it's had to imagine why someone wouldn't be interested in it. It's got history and geography in it. And it really tests your powers of reason and logic... as well as your patience;) Plus, there's always something else to learn. I can not ever imagine being bored by this!

And, it's brought far-flung relatives back in touch through our family newsletter. That's real nice too.

So this Thanksgiving Day I'll be giving thanks for genealogy. See you next week. Now where did I leave that turkey? Oh right, I made reservations instead;) HA!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

More Info is Always Good!

See post below:) Cousin Debby filled in a few more names from the Uncle Gene and Aunt Nellie fete, but between us we're still missing names matched to faces. She says that her parents were at this event but they don't appear in the photo.

Don't you get all fussy when a beautiful group photo like the one below has no markings on the back? Think I've labeled my photos but my New Year's resolution is to go through every family photo I have and make sure it's properly labeled. Seriously!
Franks' Daughter, and blogger buddy, helpfully posted a comment about Aunt Betty's table. Here it is:

Aunt Betty's Table, search for "Victorian Eastlake Marble Top Side Table." It looks a lot like that style. Incised carvings and design typical of the Eastlake era of the late 19th century. Check out some history of Eastlake at and follow some of the links there for similar tables.

Thanks, Frank's Daughter!! I had no idea where to start:) But your sharing of the Eastlake thing got me rolling and that web site is a find. Plus, Aunt Betty has side chairs from the same era and they look something like this one below copied from that web site.


I've learned a lot about the Victorian Eastlake style and the why of it, which is fascinating, I must say. Charles Eastlake was an English architect who wrote a vastly popular book that hit the USA in 1872. He made no furniture himself but directed cabinet makers. He proposed a rather clean design but mass-market furniture manufacturers got a bit carried away and added ornamentation of all types. Most was around the geometric theme but you can find sprigs of leaves and other designs from nature too.
Eastlake furniture was also known as Cottage Furniture. It reached its heights of popularity from about 1876 to 1890, and that pretty much fits in with what history we know about Aunt Betty's beautiful table... see post below for picture.
Here's a quote from the web site Frank's Daughter gave me that describes Eastlake's feelings about how US manufactures used his book to come up with designs:

Eastlake himself commenting on his influence in the United States, said, "I find American tradesmen continually advertising what they are pleased to call Eastlake furniture, the production of which I have had nothing whatever to do, and for the taste of which I should be very sorry to be considered responsible."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Picture This

It's Friday and Mom and I have been having some genealogy fun. Aunt Betty too! And Cousin Debby has sent a "mystery photo" of a family gathering and I'm hanging in the air waiting to find out who's who! So here's my picture album for this week and a little story about each:)

Above you see my Grandfather Kelly's family. That's him in the top row: John Lee Kelly. No one called him John. He was Lee to one and all. Peg, Frank, and Gene were known as such by the family. I never heard of Dad's Uncle Eugene, it was always Uncle Gene. Funny, that. Where's the line on the family tree programs where we put our commonly used names? I guess we can stick it in somewhere. But in looking at this photo, probably taken about 1913, I thought it a good idea for myself to put names and commonly used names with the usual dates near the image. Yup, there's my GGF and GGM in the center of the front row. It's really sweet that I can look at this picture, close to 100 years old, and see Grandpop Kelly's family! Don't you think he was good looking?!

Next up are the photos of Aunt Betty's table, which is a whole story unto itself, which I'll save for a later time. But look at this beauty! I know next to nothing about antiques but I'd really like to find out where it was made and maybe that will give us a clue as to its origins. So there's some sleuthing to do about this beautiful table:) If you have any tips that will point me in the right direction, please share! Or will Aunt Betty and I have to end up on Antiques Roadshow in order to find out? Does anyone know how to get to those Keno brothers??

Now here's Cousin Debby's photo. She's asked if Mom and I can recognize anyone. Not off hand, we can't. But Mom and I looked real hard at it yesterday during our marathon morning phone calls and here's what we noticed... which I'll list under the photo.

OK, so here's what Mom and I came up with.
See in the front row? The woman with the corsage and the man standing to her left and behind. Mom thinks thats Mary Helen Gormer, or Nellie as Mom knew her and Uncle Gene. Mom looked at the photo and immediately guessed that it was Uncle Gene in that bow tie!

So we went on to guess what kind of occasion this was. Our bet is that it was a milestone wedding anniversary. Gene and Nellie were married 3 Jan 1910. This looks like a photo taken in the late 1950s... look at those fancy clothes! Don't they just scream late 1950s?! We think so. If this was taken about January 3rd 1960, it would have been their 50th wedding anniversary! And look in the upper right corner: you can see a stair rail with, what, Christmas cards?! Could be.
Mom thinks that's Nellie's sister seated to her left. Mom said "That looks like Nellie's sister." And I trust Mom on this unless we get facts otherwise;)

So who are the rest? Mom and I can't identify them. None of my aunts and uncles on the Kelly side, because we'd recognize them. So we're guessing that the people are mostly on the Gormer side and friends of the happy couple.
Cousin Debby? Do you have any more information for us? We're about to bust to know!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Really Making Me Nuts Today!

Mama warned me that in life, some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you. Bear got me.

I am looking hard as I can for the arrival of my 5th GGF in the Colonies and no luck. Have checked British Army Officer listings... nothing. Have checked ships lists... nada. Have checked indentured servants lists... zip. Did this man simply telaport to the Colonies around 1750 - 1760?

Maybe I'll never find him. That's a dismal thought but I guess it's time to set this mystery aside and move down the road a bit. Am now trying to find any trace of him in York, Pennsylvania.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Was That A Tornado That Hit Us?

Aunt Betty and I enjoy local Frostburg, Maryland history. The last time I was in to visit we had a good chat about the Underground Railroad that ran through Frostburg. I always had a feeling that the Underground Railroad did run some branches through there up to Pennsylvania or west to Ohio. But you know how it is with the Underground Railroad: it was a pretty secret business and I mean seriously secret because lives depended on it.

Here's a really nice web site about the Underground Railroad, "Pathways to Freedom":
There's an interactive at where you can mouse over and see the number of slaves held in each county. Start with Allegheny County, the western most county, and move east. You'll see that the numbers of slaves increases dramatically as you move right on the map.

Anyhoo, that's not what I set out to share with you. I wanted to mention a wonderful web site and one of my all-time favs about good ol' Allegheny County and Western Maryland, a very special part of the world for me and a lot of other people! Allegheny County has Mom, Aunt Betty, the Princess Restaurant, and Frostburg State University. Here's the web site:

Aunt Betty sent an email with a link to a page about the Frostburg Tornado of 1891. I saved looking at it until I had a chunk of time to really enjoy it! Glad I did. Go see for yourself! There are photos and everything. You can read a very detailed article lovingly transcribed by Mary Jo Price from the Frostburg Mining Journal (housed at the Ort Library on FSU's campus, microfilm available and a real treasure.) Shout out to Mary Jo... thanks so very much!!!

Here's a link for you... and I really think you'll enjoy this one a whole bunch. So go grab a cuppa whatever and sit for a spell, and read all about the Frostburg Tornado of 1891!

The Thomas Building - Water St.
Here's one of the photos from that link above...seriously, go see!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Puzzle Pieces all Asunder

OK, so here's information pertinent to filling in puzzle pieces of the life of my 5th GGF, Nehemiah Newans, as concerns his first wife Miss Kepplinger, that I've gleaned from the Myers book (see tab at top for full contents.)

Thomas F. Myers was the great grandson of Nehemiah Newans. Newans married Miss Kepplinger. (Her given name, as per her widows pension application, was Catharine.) Her mother was sister to Colonel Corry of the French and Indian War. (Therefore might we consider that Catharine Kepplinger's mother's maiden name was Corry?)

Catharine was sister to Mrs. Macelvaine. No given name.

Catharine's uncle was Mr. Koontz who owned the Colonial Hotel of York PA. The Myers book reports that the Continental Congress assembled there while it was vacated from Philladelphia. Can we assume that Catherine had then two sisters, a Mrs. Koontz and a Mrs. Macelvaine... therefore can we assume that there were at least three sisters in the family?

Miss Kepplinger's father ground wheat for the soldiers at Valley Forge. He had seven indentured service and paid for their work for seven years. He was partners in a salt works on the Patapsco River where Baltimore is now located, called Beason, Kepplinger and Magoun. This firm conveyed salt to Beasontown, now Uniontown, PA.

The best I can think to do now is to Google all this mess and see if I can make the puzzle pieces grow a bit... maybe grow enough so that they fit together.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Riddle Me This

So yesterday was working on defining the next step in tracking down more about Nehemiah Newans, my 5th GGF. (See many posts below... am kinda obsessed with this guy's life;)

Something was needling me, like a lot. Something in the back of my mind was really bothersome but for the longest time I couldn't exactly put my finger on it. Then it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks!

In the first section of the book, "The Ancestral History of Thomas F. Myers," it is established that Thomas F Myers' great grandfather is Nehemiah Newans and that Newans married a "Miss Kepplinger." Why would Myers, who presumably contracted for the book's writing, have her addressed as "Miss Kepplinger"? Sounds like he didn't know her first name! Strange, that.

Her given name was Catharine, which is proven by her pension claim for her presumed deceased husband Nehemiah Newans, of which I have a copy. So why doesn't the book use her full maiden name? I'm at a complete loss here. If you have any clues for me, I'd so very much appreciate knowing what they are. This one even stumped Mom, and that's saying a whole lot as she's been doing genealogy since 1970!!

Here's a comment:
Jenny Lanctot said...

Two questions: (1) When was the book written? It may have been customary at that time to refer to a woman as "Miss" to indicate that she was not a widow or divorcee.

(2) Was she ever referred to by her full name or by Catharine Newans in the book? The author may not have been told her given name, or it may be that Myers did not descend from that particular marriage, but a different marriage for Newans, and did not feel it was necessary to provide her full name.

Not sure this answers any questions, but maybe it's food for thought. Good luck!

My reply:
Hi Jenny!
Think you're on to something:) The book was written in the late 1800s  so it's entirely possible that using Miss would have been totally formal and appropriate way to indicate that she was not widowed or divorced and that she was from a proper family with stature in the community.
Her full name was never used in the book.
Thomas F. Myers, her great grandson who had the book published, lived from 1841 to about 1920.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Fog of Battle

Today I'm feeling lost in the fog of battle: my battle as a newbie to genealogy, and trying to piece together the threads of the life of Nehemiah Newans. Luckily for me Mom, our family's first generation digital genealogist, has built out our tree nicely with over 60,000 ancestors. (Go, Mom!)

My job, as I see it, is to carry this tree and the stories that come with it forward. To that end I'm digging deeper into the life of my fifth GGF, Nehemiah Newans. Have just been up a big ol' blind alley (see below) and am feeling all foggy-headed about the direction of my research. Am I missing something important? Yeah, probably... that's my newbie lack of knowledge at work! But Mom with all her years of experience is my wingman and double-checks all my work. How lucky am I?

If I feel lost, am wondering how many of you also feel lost in the fog of missing data, web sites with bad information posted, bogus trees, misinformation, dead ends, and unsourced data?

But that's not all of the cause of my battle-weary fog. My research plan had a clear path and now it doesn't. Am thinking I need to step back, get the situation at arms length and regroup. Take a break, and start with a fresh eye. Can't help but feel that I'm missing something in plain sight but am too close to see it. I trust my gut on stuff like this.