Friday, March 30, 2012

Murder? Theft? Bribery?

Yesterday I posted that it finally struck me like a bolt of lightning how facebook can be used for genealogy when I joined the group, "Descendants of George Adam Eckhart of Eckhart, MD". Rich, bless him, created the group March 22, just eight days ago and already the group has almost 20 cousins.

But the most extraordinary thing is that we're sharing family history. And photos too... you know me, I love the photos... but this story takes the cake!!!

There's always been an oral history story in my Eckhart line about how the Consolidation Coal Company, the Consol, "stole" the Eckhart land from the family. Their man, "Jenkins", supposedly went to the county court house and paid a clerk to make one (or more) of the parcel deeds "disappear". It's hard, I would imagine, to get evidence to substantiate that claim now. I think at one point Mom did try to go and look to no avail. So I doubted the story or at least just chalked it up to family legend and lore. But here's a twist!

Here's what Rich posted to the Eckhart facebook group and it's very interesting indeed! And sorry about the font size craziness... I just copied and pasted and it went berserk:)

I was just reading some of the "history" of the Eckharts on the Genealogy web site. Here is an excerpt: "The original Eckhart farm was 600+ acres extending into what is now Frostburg. The Eckhart mansion stood close to where the McDonald's and Food Lion are in Frostburg now. There is actually a saw mill there now.

Nearby there are some small cottages built on rock foundations; those were the slave quarters. Everything was left to John, & he became quite a wealthy man. Harry said Matthew St. Claire Clark bought the Eckhart land. John Edwin Eckhart said a man by the name of Jenkins ended up with Consolidation Coal Co., and they bought out the Eckhart Farm".
Interesting reading, but I think a few facts were left out.

From research that I did, the Eckhart farm was indeed sold to Matthew St. Claire Clark, in 1835. The land was purchased from Mary Eckhart. The excerpt does not include the fact that her "wealthy" husband and her oldest son, had both died within 5 days of the sale.

It seems Mr St. Claire Clark, who was the Washington D.C. based attorney for The Consolidated Coal Co. of New York, was also privy to the fact that the land contained the largest vein of coal ever found in Maryland. Mr St. Claire Clark had authorized the production and publication of a book which described in detail the minerals located within "our new land purchase in Eckhart, Maryland". The book was published shortly after the purchase of the land. So shortly after, that it seems Mr. St Claire Clark had to have his geologists working on the land before they even owned it.

Finding the mother lode of coal in 1835 was like finding the mother lode of gold in 1849. Who knows how many people lost their lives in the name of greed? I believe John and his son did.
Today's photo from my archive, the town of Eckhart Maryland taken about 1909:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Worth At Least Two Posts!

Today's news is worth at least two separate posts but I'll combine into one.

Working on Capt. Jacob

I continue to search for information about my ancestor, Capt. Jacob Whetstone (1738 - 1833). Holy-Toledo! These papers are still piling up! I needed one of those big blue binders and some diver tabs so it was off to Staples.

Recently, was on Fold3 and had intended to return there (see post below) on the hunt for his Revolutionary War records. Instead, I spent the day sitting on the looking at and printing out census pages.

If you'll remember, there is some confusion about multiple Jacob Whetstones with ours having a son, Jacob Jr. (1776 - 1889). I wanted to see where they were living with proximity to each other because I remember Mom saying that you can track them pretty well on the US Census. I can use her records but where's the fun in that? Plus, I think it gives me better comprehension of the line of time marching through their lives.

I also made a spread sheet of sorts for each of the UN Census listing all the relevant Whetstones (and close name variations) with Capt. Jacob's brothers, Abraham and Henry as well as son's Jacob Jr., Solomon, Isaac, and John... if I spotted them on the census search. I also noted any Whetstones (or variations) living nearby. I only checked the page before and after the listing page and I hope that's enough, but am still pretty new at this so don't know for sure.

Good practice dictates working backward but this time I began at a starting point of which I was certain: the census closest in time to his war service and geographically to his place of birth.

So what did I find so far? That sure as Mom said, the 1790 census shows Capt. Jacob and his son Jacob Jr. living close by. I have more work to do on this track checking all the other census years... which I'll do as soon as I get all these papers organized in the new big blue binder, with tabs.

Social Media

I like and use facebook mostly to keep up with friends and the art world. (You might remember that when I'm not doing genealogy I'm a landscape painter.) I never really used it much for genealogy but have "liked" pages about it. Today... WOAH!

Mom who is 93 years old and on facebook alerted me to the fact that Cousin Cynthia posted a comment to a photo of our great great grandparents, John Eckhart and Mary Myers Eckhart!! There's a fracebook group page, Descendants of George Adam Eckhart of Eckhart, MD., with this picture on it.

How cool is this?? It's the first time I'm looking at the faces of these great great grandparents!! I am so grateful to Rich who put the page together and posted this picture:) Thanks cousin!

And now I know how to use facebook to connecting with living descendants of my ancestors;) NICE.

John Eckhart (1831 - 1917) and
Mary Catherine Myers Eckhart (1837 - 1909)
Posted by Rich!

The URL for this post is:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

Remember that call from Hide and Seek? I do and today I feel like I should be calling that to my ancestor, Capt. Jacob Whetstone (1738 - 1833). Have been parked on Fold3 all day digging into the Revolutionary War records to see what I can find.

Strangely, he's there in everyone elses pension files, mentioned in numerous letters of request, but there isn't one record indicating that he claimed a pension for himself! One would think that he would have.

And then I was having trouble finding service records for him too on Fold3. Oh, he's mentioned enough in the Pennsylvania "Blue Book of the War of the Revolution", so I know he was there. But am I not looking under the right heading or searching properly in order to find him?

Am thinking that I need to question his regimental assignment because I don't find Berks' County as a regiment or battalion... nor do I understand the difference. Much to learn here! I know that he was captain of the First Company and that he mustered under Colonel Daniel Hunter of Oley and "Colonel Undree (Utterly)". And that's the way it's stated in the Blue Book: Undree (Utterly)... and I don't know why.

Next I'll take another swat at Fold3 and after that I'll be on the Pennsylvania Archive's web site looking for him, especially in bounty land grant records.

As you can see the questions are popping up like little gremlins all around me at an alarming rate, and that's kinda scary! Wish me luck. And I'd love to hear from any of you who are enthusiasts about the formation of regiments and battalions and the like in the Revolution. Gosh, there's so very much I don't know. Well, that's the fun in this stuff.

Today's photo from Mom's Archive:

Joseph E. Whetstone (1816 - 1897), 1910
Grandson of Capt. Jacob Whetstone
and my GGF.

The URL for this post is:

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Project: Capt. Jacob Whetstone (1738 - 1833)

Oh, this is going to be a can of worms! In brief, the issue as Mom and I see it is: were there two Jacob Whetstone Jrs.? We think so. Actually, Mom's gena-hunch has always pointed to the two Jacob Jrs. but, well, you know how it goes... you think to get back to it later but you have other things on the front burner. And you don't particularly care about the other Jacob much and re-focus on your own ancestor.

But now the time has come to look at both of the Jacobs and try to sort it out as best we can. There are DAR bragging rights resting on this one.

In short, we do not think that the Jacob Whetstone (1776 - 1889) who was married to Elizabeth Studebaker (1771- 1861) was the son of Captain Jacob Whetstone who served in the Revolutionary War. A number of DAR applications have this Jacob as Capt. Jacob's son.

Instead, we believe that Jacob Jr. who married Christina Frantz (1774 - ?) was the son of Capt. Jacob. We have some good documentation and of course the inevitable gaps.

Do you see the worms crawling out of the can?

Photo of the day from Cousin Steve's Archive:
Uncle Harold Conrad (Steve's Dad), 1925.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Heirloom... Or Not?

I have an old bowl. As I remember, Mom gave it to me once upon a time, maybe in the 1970s, and I think she said it came from ancestors from Ireland. She doesn't remember this at all. One Thanksgiving I used it to serve up mashed potatoes and someone loaded it in the dishwasher. Big mistake: the gold trim took a major hit from that experience. But I love it just the same!

I don't know a thing about it and don't know how to look. I'm no good at antiques and such. So if anyone of you clever people can tip me off about where to look next, I'd really appreciate it!

Here are photos from the top and bottom. Does that look like "BMF, 1910" and two shamrocks with "J & C" on the bottom? That's pretty specific but where do I look to find out about that?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

And Then There's This...

Reading the blogs I subscribe to in Google Reader and came across this, at bottom, apropos the "why do genealogy" posts here, below. It's from Ancestry Insider, a really cool blog if interests you. It's Part 4 of an interview with the new and outgoing CEOs of

Every day we have 100,000 indexers doing a million indexes a day. That's a strength. When it comes time to do the 1940 census, we can turn 100,000 indexers on that task. Why? Because they like doing it.

WOW!!! Yeah, so many of just like doing it!

Find the full post at:

Why Do Genealogy? Really? You Have To Ask?

My last post concerned the Boomer folks and their work ethic... and their approach to doing genealogy, as a passion. (See below and Mr. Tanner's post on this subject.) One more thought: for many Boomers, work was mostly fun, if they did it right. There was a philosophy of work (and remember here that I worked in high-tech industries) that posed that if you didn't look forward to Monday morning, you really needed to look for a new job. Or start your own business.

I look at folks like Joel Weintraub (no relation that we know of) and Steve Morse who had passionate careers and then applied what they knew and loved to genealogy and are still hotly pursuing it. It's not that they were full time professional genealogists all their working lives. So there you have my thoughts to round out the previous post.

And here's a final thought on my own reasons for hotly pursuing genealogy. It's fascinating!! I can't wait to get back to my computer or open the mail or go to the Center and see what other information is out there waiting for me to find! My ancestors were all kinds of interesting!! And I bet yours were too:)

I don't have kids or grands so I'm not doing it for them. I'm doing it for me. But if I find out something that fills out the picture and story of my ancestor's lives, I can't wait to share it with others. But it's mostly for me:) So if it's for me why wouldn't I work as hard and as well as I possibly can at it?

It's funny, but after you retire people see you as this retired person and that's all. Very few think to inquire what kind of work you did. That's especially true for women. And that's enough about that.

Picture of the day from my Archive:

Clonmacnoise Ireland, a monastic site since 548,
on the Shannon River.
My Kelly ancestors came from
near here at Shannonbridge.
Photo taken on our trip in 1986.
Want to know more about this Irish Historic Site? Go to: 

The URL for this post is:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Don't Bother Me... and Happy Birthday Aunty Betty!!

First things first: Happy Birthday to my dear and wonderfully generous Aunt Betty. Actually, Aunt Betty is Mom's cousin but everyone, and I do mean everyone, calls her Aunt Betty. She's the one who generously shared her entire photo archive, beautifully organized, of our Williams ancestors. So, Aunt Betty, if you're reading this on your special day please do have a wonderful birthday!!!

Now on to the "Don't Bother Me" part of this post. Do you find that there comes a time each spring when all you can think about is your garden... even if that "garden" is two pots of herbs in a window or 40 acres? That's where I am, servant of the earth.

We live in Southern California where houses sit on postage stamp lots. The closer to the coast the smaller the lot, unless you're a billionaire. Even Mitt Romney's new house on the ocean in this place has only slightly more land surrounding it than the average;) But a garden is a garden no matter the size and if you love a SoCal garden, now is the time that the launch sequence begins!

I have heard the clarion call of the earth and am off to the garden center instead of the Family History Center, remembering my grandmother's gardens and Mom's gardens and her gigantic beefsteak tomatoes. For lunch I'd take the salt and pepper out to Mom's garden and feast on those big red beauties. My tomatoes are never as tasty.

Photo of the day from Aunt Betty's Archive:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Index THAT!

I've been doing some indexing to get ready for the 1940 US Census. I'm jazzed about indexing the 1940 census... well who knows what can happen in 10 years time when the 1950 census comes around!

These "practice" indexing jobs are small and fun. And I know that if I can't finish in what I consider a timely manner I can return it. Which I did to one this morning. There's a lot on my plate this week and I didn't feel comfortable holding on to the batch all week. Like to get them and return them in 24 to 48 hours. It's fill-in for me so I enter a file every now and then during the day and before I know it the job is done and returned.

I had a run at indexing a sample page of the 1940 census and messed it up. Got confused about "same house" and how to go back to the previous page... well if you've done the practice page you know what I'm talking about. And if not, never mind, just know that I messed up. But I also learned and that's what matters:)

I like indexing death records. Have had a bunch of batches for Texas. 1912, 1921, and 1953. The handwritten ones were extremely difficult for me to read but in the end I managed.

While watching Who Do You Think You Are last Friday, noticed the mention of historical record keeping when it came to African Americans. The researcher indicated that white recorders often didn't take the detailed approach with black citizens that they did with white ones. I could see that played out in the death certificates I indexed, especially the ones from the first two decades of the last century.

On a lighter note, I got one batch of death certificates from 1912 and found two individuals who died from a gunshot wound to the heart... and the notation of "family argument" ... and the notation "suicide"! (Maybe that's not a lighter note.)

Picture of the day from my archive:

The five of the six daughters of Samuel Albert House and Mary Elizabeth Farrell.
Sadie Reckley, Nan Long, Molly Davis, Nora Kaseycamp, and Kate Whetstone (front).
Year unknown.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lightbulb: Proof and Citation

And suddenly a light bulb went off in my head and I said Eureka! What's this about? Well, my genealogy pal, it's about my coming to a fuller understanding of this business of proof and citation.

Oh, I understand it OK. It's not about simple comprehension as much as coming to a deeper understanding of the problem of researching my ancestors, keeping track of where I find stuff, being sure I've done all I can to look under every rock, and then putting it all together in a way that's useful to others.

But just now, while reading a very cogent blog post by James Tanner at Genealogy's Star, I "got it". Find the post at

So this is what I got and let me state it as bullet points so that I can clarify my own thinking... cause for this newbie, that's one of the reasons that I blog:)

In a nut shell, it boils down to two take-away items for me. First I need to record where I found that info, and most call it "citing sources". Then, second, I do need a logical methodology for finding out stuff. Otherwise I'll back-track and stumble all over the place (often, as I've found, falling on my face.)

Here are my take-aways about citing sources:

* Pick a way to record where I find this stuff. Pick a style, any ol' style at all. And then be consistent. What I learned in school long ago was: author's name, title, publisher, date. Kinda like that. If it's an electronic source, check resources for help on modifying that basic style to fit the source cited.

* Did I say I need to be consistent? Oh right I did. But I needed to hear it again.

* The important part is to do it in such a way, including all the parts and pieces, such that I or anyone else, can find their way back to it. Like breadcrumbs.

* Then with a consistent way to cite sources that is useful to me and others, and that can be adapted to fit new media, don't sweat it. Get busy working, Diane!

On to working method

What James Tanner pointed out to me about proof standard was the following:

"Yes, you do have follow something that at least approximates the Genealogical Proof Standard in order to have any confidence at all that what you are writing is correct, but on the other hand, you do have to move along down the road and should obsess with details that have no probative value."

Yeah, see I run into that all the time and I bet I'm not alone here. So I have to give it my best and most logical thought and working method and then, as he says, move on down the road.

Here's my take-away about a working methodology:

* Look everywhere I can think to look. Ask Mom and Aunt Betty too for advice on where to look. I'm still wet behind the ears so I can and do miss sources.

* Identify conflicting data as soon as possible and dig down deeper to test each.

* Compare and contrast all the data surrounding a presumed fact and try to resolve this conflict.

* State clearly and logically what I've found.

Yup, I can do this.

I printed out this page covering the Genealical Proof Standard:

Photo of the day from my archive:

Enoch Clise (1843 - 1896),
married two Whetstone sisters, namely Susan Emily and then Elizabeth Jane,
 and served in the Civil War.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grandma Kelly's Parlor

Grandma had a parlor. Actually, both Grandma Kelly and Grandma Williams had parlor rooms, or front rooms as they were sometimes called. It was the "best room" for visitors or important famly visits.

I had the occasion to remember the parlor because of this article posted to Lynn Coleman's blog, "19th Century Historical Tidbits":

Grandma Kelly's parlor was different than Grandma Williams' parlor. Grandma Kelly's parlor, which was also called the front room, had two windows in which sat "snake plants" in big Victorian pots. It's also been called mother-in-law's tongue but it's proper name is Sansevieria trifasciata. Here's a picture, below, from Tropical Interiors. It's a tropical plant and you see them growing in the ground here in San Diego... so how those two plants came to love grandma's front window in cold Frostburg Maryland with the long winters, I don't know!

There was also a piano in the front room and Grandma played very well. It was out of tune by the time I was old enough to recognize such things, but Grandma made it work when she played ragtime. It sounded very honkey-tonk! There was sheet music in the piano bench, lovely folders with pretty illustrations on the covers.

Fancy lamps and ceramics brightened the room too. Pattern on pattern was the decorating style. Big cabbage rose prints on the wallpaper and floral prints on the upholstered pieces too. Grandma never met a floral print she didn't like... or at least that's how it seemed to me.

As little kids we were not encouraged to inhabit the parlor. But as we became little ladies and gentlemen, Grandma could be talked into taking us into the parlor and playing something on the "pie-an-ee" as she would kiddingly call it.

Next time, more about Grandma Williams' parlor.

Picture of the day from my photo file:

Frostburg, Maryland, about 1912.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Death In Texas

OK, so here's the situation: I'm busy indexing in hopes of being helpful indexing the 1940 US Census when it comes out April 2nd. Every genealogist on planet Earth is excited to have a look and a good ol' search of that record... but... searching can't happen until and unless many volunteers work at indexing the massive project. (See posts below about indexing.)

I indexed some birth records and some other stuff and was looking for a small bundle of items to index, about 10 to 20 records, to keep practicing on. All that I could find for beginners that had handwriting that didn't freak me out were Texas death records. Well, kinda creepy, I thought, but I took a look and ended up indexing a couple of them. Actually really interesting.

These records were for 1954 in San Antonio. Babies to old folks (whatever that was in the mid 1950s). And I just had to read why they died... I love the story stuff. Were they married, where were they born? Were they a "Jr." or was the mother or father's name known or unknown? It all started to come a bit together to frame a tiny picture of them. Fascinating, really, how much you can get from one death certificate.

So that's why we index: to fill in missing bits for those descendants out there looking for more information to better complete the picture of their ancestor. Yeah, I like indexing.

Photo of the day from my Archive:

My Aunt Dot, Dorothy Williams Conrad,
ready for her prom, 1938.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


1.) It's the first of the month and it's Back-up My Files Day! Back-up of files is automatically done by Carbonite so I don't have to think about it. It costs about $60 a year or $5 a month if I did the math correctly... and that can be a problem for me;) Well worth it. Had a total system crash early this year and was sure happy that Carbonite was at work. Recovered everything!

2.) I'm indexing! Wooo for me! By yesterday afternoon was so into it that I started feeling like I had a job;) Time to take a break. And that's the beauty part: you can just stop in the middle of a line and walk away. When you come back it remembers where you were and has backed up all your work. It's a beautifully written program.

Wish I has as little trouble making my way around the FamilySearch site. Maybe I need to drive on over to the Center and get someone to give me another tour. I'm missing something, for sure.

Picture of the day from my file:

Mom, 1919.