Thursday, January 31, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: A Book About Frostburg, Maryland

The last time I was back East to visit Mom and the rest of the crew, Mom gave me this treasure of a book from her archive of stuff. Mom has the very best stuff, if you're me and researching the ancestors! She saves everything!

I've been working on a chapter for a book project and it's about the little Western Maryland town of Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland. I was sort of stuck because there isn't a lot in print about little Frostburg, except a couple of history books that focus in a more general way about the area and Wikipedia, and you can see that here. So I was moaning the blues about not having enough enriching source material. This treasure of a book I got from Mom, published about 1912 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the town which was founded in 1812, is the very best source for information about Frostburg I've ever had the absolute delight to see! I'm thrilled to have it!! So thanks, Mom:)

This is a replica copy of the original 1912 edition, we believe. Mom and I both think that it was printed in 1962 to celebrate the 150th anniversary. This presumed replica contains no publishers information, not even a printers stamp. Unusual, as printers I've known are proud to show their civic participation and hide a mark somewhere ususally in the back binding area. So it bears more research to dig up its actual origins. Luckily, it also contains no copyright renewal or appropriation so I think I'm safe quoting and perhaps, as here, using images of pages, but I'm not a copyright attorney. Think I'll check over at the Frostburg Museum and see if they know anything about it. They know a lot over there. (The original 1912 book makes note of the publisher who was one and the same as the publisher of the Frostburg Mining Journal.)

The information that this book offers is amazing. It starts with a thorough history of Frostburg and some stuff I've seen elsewhere but also much more detailed information that goes well beyond the basics. At the close of the book is a list, quite extensive, of "home commers" who made the journey back for the festivities. The names include the place where the returnee lived in 1912, and get this, even in some cases a street address. Whoop! I found the street addresses in Chicago of two of the Zeller brothers, siblings of my great grandfather Gustav Zeller, the subject of recent posts here.

Below are just a few of the rich pages in the treasured book, Frostburg Maryland, 1812 - 1912.

Cover, displayed over family photos in my possession.

Street scenes, left, and the day the street car came to town on the left side of the right page.
If you look super close you can see GGF Gus Zeller in his white barber's coat
just below the front entrance to the car! How cool is that?

The right hand page touts the Frostburg volunteer Fire Department and
members in 1912.

Noted citizenry have their photos and a biography.

Programme for the Week opposite local photos.

This is a great treasure, right? And now... drum roll, please... just looked at a 1938 film (converted to video) all about Frostburg! Maybe next week on Thursday I'll share:) I'm stoked!! Here I was two weeks ago without enough source material and now, oh the bounty!!

Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt of GeneaBloggers. Find out more here.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: Stuff I Learned This Week

Here I am on Wednesday again, considering how very much I don't yet know, but am working on it. So it's time to take up the GeneaBlogger's Blogging Prompt called Wisdom Wednesdays, and see if I've learned anything this week.

First and because I blogged about it last week, I've graduated from newbie to almost intermediate. In a comment for last week's Wisdom Wednesday post, Doug tipped me off to the IGHR Course 2 listed as Intermediate and with a great definition of just what that means, and pointed out that it could be time to stop calling myself a newbie. So thank you, Doug Williams!! I can check off most items on the list which you can find here. The two areas where I'm as lost as a babe in the woods are source citations and court house research. Mom did all the court house stuff but she's told me about her adventures. Hearing about a thing is not the same as doing a thing your very own self, so I'll keep it in mind should the need arise.

I need source citation help! There's a lot of info out there on source citation, and I have read Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I bought it because her landmark book scared the daylights out me... and that's some real honesty right there, folks. Here's a blog post by James Tanner at Genealogy's Star blog that sets the lay of the land for me, which you can find here. Yes, I do believe what he's saying and I see the need to site sources properly, if for no other reason than to be able to find my own silly way back to that source with a juicy bit of data.
Reading that Mills book as I did I came to see that not too much of it rubbed off. I guess my next step is to assemble a list of learning experiences that fit into my learning style, which is experiential. It helps to know what learning style you are. A learning plan is needed. Once I have a list of resources I'll be able to try out a couple and then settle in to learn something that does stick. But what I'd really like to have is a workbook or online experience of typical citations that I can do and learn that way. Anyone know where to find that?

Wow! I really appreciate the Family History Writing Challenge! The resources and blog posts and forum are fantastic and well beyond my wildest dreams. Have always thought that writing is like physical conditioning in that the more you do it, the easier it comes, and the more you want to do it. With a little encouragement we who want to write some family history can get stuff done. So thanks to all participants over at the FHWC!! I'm learning a lot! Drop by and see what's going on and be sure to click on the Forum tab at the top. It's not too late to join us:)

DNA... they received my sample at 23andMe! I know because I got an email from them, and have also received email newsletters. I can and do click through to read more and learn as I go. Cool. Here's a link to their blog.

And last but not at all least, a big rousing Thanks to Jana over in the blog neighborhood at Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog who does a thing on Friday for Fabulous Finds. Here's a link to the last one here. Last week's post let me know about something I really needed to know about and that's how to download your Blogger and WordPress blog posts! Isn't that wonderful?! Click here to go and find out about downloading your Blogger or WordPress posts.

Photos of the day from the Archive:

From a photo album of the National Pike by E. Gilbert Erwin.
Click on tab above to view the album in its entirety.
The old Castleman Bridge is still there and was recently refurbished.

Below, Dad and Mom, Easter Sunday 1941,
On the Castleman Bridge.

Nice shoes and hat!!
Isn't she cute?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Talented Tuesday: Musicians on Mom's Side

Here goes with a try at a different (for me) blogging prompt from the wonderful folks at GeneaBloggers, and this one is Talented Tuesday! As a new-to-me prompt, it gets me thinking along a different track and that's good.

I am drawn to the visual arts and often forget about the substantial musical talent in the family on both sides. I recently blogged about the Zeller Ensemble on Dad's side which you can see here. But Mom has some musicians on her side so let me tell you about them. She played the organ for many years and both of us confess to a liking for the Hammond b: her liking leans to standards and liturgical and mine to Booker T and the MGs.

The first professional musician is Mom's Uncle Joe Williams (1895 - 1948). Uncle Joe, and I've come to think about him this way even though he's my grand uncle, was a musical guy. He studied at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. I can not imaging the hoops a miner and his son would have had to jump to get him situated in such a prestigious place in the very early 1900s.

Upon graduation he performed professionally in Cumberland and Frostburg, Maryland.  At some point he married Bessie Carwell (1895 - 1918). They were both born and raised in the same community, Ocean Mines, Allegany, Maryland. They had one daughter, Hilda, born 1915. Little Hilda was only 3 years of age when her mother Bessie died. Uncle Joe and Hilda were living with his parents at that point and so Hilda was pretty much raised by her Grandma Williams.

Mom remembers that Hilda had a piano in the home and Mom was a tad jealous at the extravagance and easy access to such an instrument because Mom always wanted to play. Eventually, in the mid 1960s Mom got an organ and studied. She became quite good. Not too long ago that old organ was donated to a local small church and refurbished by them. (A 50 inch TV now occupies the space where the old organ sat in Mom's house.)

Mom also remembers that all of Uncle Joe's brothers went to work in the coal mine where their father, Daniel, was a supervisor. My grand father, Cambria Williams, hated being underground and he especially disliked the cramped quarters and admitted to being a tad claustrophobic. He always loved the great outdoors. Uncle Joe didn't work in the mines because his pursuit was music. The boys always kidded him, "Joe can't do real work because he has to save his hands." In a house with all boys, one can only imagine the ways the boys "tortured" Uncle Joe:)

Uncle Joe played the organ in movie theatres of the day showing silent films. Try a sample here on Amazon. Saw a documentary about the large and complex organs made just for movie theatres and they looked hard to play. Here's a photo of the console of one from Wikimedia Commons, below. I imagine Uncle Joe was respected and admired in a small town environment, and being the man behind the music in the darkness of romance and adventure at the "movin' pitures", a bit envied! After all he got to see every movie for free!


When talkies came out, as Mom says, Uncle Joe taught music where he could and took any work available. He married again to Helen Gillette (1900 - 1989) and had two children, Marshal and Josephine.

Unfortunately, Uncle Joe Williams died in a car crash in 1948, in Mt. Savage, Maryland, coming home from a music lesson.

Mom's Uncle Joe Williams (1895 - 1948)

OK, here's a photo I had to include when talking about the musical people in the family: Buford Alley (1854 - ?). Buford married Ellen Nellie Price Alley (1864 - ?), the daughter of my 2nd great grandfather, William Price (1829 - 1872) and 2nd great grandmother, Diane Thomas Price (1832 - 1871). Have to confess that we don't know too much about this couple and the only reason the photos are here is that they're kinda cool:)

Buford Alley (1854 - ?)

His wife, Ellen Nellie Price Alley (1864 - ?)

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Revolutionary War Pension Petition Pages, Part One

Amanuensis Monday

What's an Amanuensis, you say? It's a copyist: someone who sits like a crazy person squinting their eyes and probably ruining eyesight to read that old document hand-written so very long ago and type it out. We do because we love:)
Nehemiah Newans (1740 - 1820) is one of four Revolutionary War ancestors, and right now the most interesting for me. You can see more about him using the page tab above where you'll find a rough timeline of his life.

Quite a while back I got on Fold3 and downloaded his service and pension papers. I tried to transcribe what I could but wasn't ready and up to the task. Not that I am now, but I've made some progress in the transcribing department due to indexing for FamilySearch and 1940 US Census, and now want to take another stab at it. Indexing sharpened my skills because I could check after the file was arbitrated to better understand my skill and learn.

Am thinking so as not to get burned out, I'll do this a page at a time and see how it goes. Unfortunately the writing in the first bit is monstrous, slants vertical, and is scrunched. Drat! The pages written by Moses Atwater, Esq., Nehemiah Newans' regular attorney, are clearer and you'll see those later. I think I can do those without busting a pair of glasses. But these first pages... UGH! Can't quite figure out who this first writing comes from but maybe that will be revealed as I go.

If I can transcribe all of these documents for us for us, I think you'll find it interesting because it does outline Nehemiah Newans service and track where he went, even his leg wound from a musket ball and hospitalization in Williamsburg. Or maybe it's just Mom and me who go head over heels looking at this stuff...?

So off we go!

Canandaigua July 29, 1818

George G (?) Boyd Esq –
I endure you a new declaration and testimony in the case of Nehemiah Newens, which has been once returned. And I send the old (?) in hopes that if a pension is granted him, it (folded paper obscures some of this line) ….. from the time the original (?) was closed.
I assure you from my personal knowledge of Mr. Newans that his is a case that comes fully within the law, both as to service and poverty, and hope you will not hesitate to place him on the Pension list. (Have no idea what this says! Sorry.)
Very Respectfully
John C. Spencer

Moving right past the two spellings of the last name as Newans and Newens, used in this sample, I have other questions.

So here's what I want to know. Who was this George Boyd Esq. that the letter is addressed to? Was he with the pension review board or some such? And who is John C. Spencer? I find a John C. Spencer on Fold3 in the service records for the Revolutionary War. Is it one and the same? I notice that he's not signing this document as Esq.
Additionally, why is Spencer, the author, saying that Nehemiah Newnas is poor? He was at this time the proud owner of at least three prime parcels of land in the up and coming town of Canandaigua, New York in the finger lakes area of upstate. And he had a thriving stone mason business and even employed a couple of stone masons and brick layers. Was poverty a condition of being awarded a pension at this time??

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: When We Moved To Ohio

In the early months of 1952 Mom and Dad were living in their hometown of Frostburg, Maryland. They were both born and raised there, all their family was there, and all of their friends were there. When Mom didn't know why she felt so icky, she talked to her sister, Dot, who guessed correctly that she was pregnant, with me.

Frostburg was the kind of place the boys gladly returned to after World War II, married their high school sweetheart, bought a house, and started a family. Mom often talks of the decline of the Road Houses where the Big Bands of the war years and before played because people just wanted nothing more than to be home with family and friends. It was, after all, what the boys had fought for.

Their Friends
Mom and Dad at a gathering of friends during the War years.
Mom is seated and leaning in on the right and 
Dad is the guy with the big smile and striped tie.
Looks like fun!
Their Families
The Kelly side.
That's Dad on the very left, about 1942

A Kelly back yard picnic in the 1950s.

Mom's side with Mom left,
her Mother next and then her sister and brother.
Circa late 1930s.

Dad had a nice job as a boss at a munitions factory during the war. While he was there and nearing the end or after the close of fighting, a man from a plastics plant in Ohio came to visit and he and Dad hit it off. They stayed in touch and eventually Dad was offered a really excellent job in Ohio. Dad took it in October of 1952.

Mom wasn't thrilled. I know she wasn't thrilled because I found these photos of them having dinner with the next door neighbors, the Mendelsons, the evening before they left. That's the top photo. She's the only one not smiling. Then look at the one below that. It's Mom, Dad and me leaving the next morning to drive all the way to the village of Chagrin Falls, Ohio and start our new life. I'm oblivious but Mom is still not working up a smile... and she always smiles for the camera.

There's another photo of Mom and me in Chagrin Falls just after we moved. Darn it, I can't find it right now when I want it and that tells me I need to go back to my photo file and do more organization! It's always something.

Mom and Dad and the Mendelsons the evening before the trip to Ohio.
Mom is in the light color dress and Dad is to her left.

Here we are leaving little Frostburg for the mysteries of
Ohio and Chagrin Falls in October of 1952.

Sentimental Sunday is a blogging prompt of Geneabloggers:)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Surname Saturday: The Zellers from Germany

Off we go on another Surname Saturday, a dandy blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers! I blogged a bit this week on Treasure Chest Thursday about some of this family's members, Grandma Kelly's brother's family, and the Zeller Family Ensemble. That was fun! So here comes the line-up for Grandma Kelly and her ancestors, the Zellers from Germany.

It's sort of unusual that we have a lot of information about the known members in this line but it just doesn't go back too far as compared with other lines on Mom's Big Tree. And the other interesting thing, and a project for a day in the future, is that the other children of great great grandfather Charles William Zeller (1829 - 1901) and his wife, Anna Mary (1834 - 1906) are yet to be discovered by us. They disappear in the Chicago area. Mom has some skimpy information but more must be out there and sitting pretty, ready for us to get to.

So here we go: the Zeller family.

1. Diane Kelly Weintraub

2. Francis Patrick " Pat" Kelly
(1916 - 2007)
3. Virginia Williams, living and loving it

4. John Lee "Lee" Kelly (1892 - 1969)
5. Helen Gertrude Zeller Kelly ( 1894 - 1985)

10. Gustav William "Gus" Zeller (1858 - 1927)
11. Moretta Workman Zeller (1859 - 1946), everyone called her "Ma"
Gus and Ma, were both born and died in the Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland area. See below for the good stuff:)
They had these 5 children:
Charles Sample Zeller ( 1880- 1966)
Adelbert  "Burt" Zeller ( 1883 - 1947)
Gustav William "Gus Jr." Zeller Jr. (1884 - 1964)
5. Helen Gertrude Zeller Kelly ( 1894 - 1985), that's Grandma Kelly there:)
Anna M. Zeller ( 1882 - 1882)

20. Charles William Zeller ( 1829 - 1901)
21 Anna Mary (possibly Bruning) Zeller (1834 - 1906)
This couple were both born in Werttemburg, Germany. They immigrated and settled in the little town of Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland. Mom believes there were relatives in the area and a search of local records turns up a number of other Zeller families, although their exact connection mystifies us.
After 1878 when the last of the children was born in Frostburg, and before 1886 when Henry died in Chicago, the family moved to Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. All the children except Gustav are buried in the Chicago area. The local Cumberland, MD newspaper mentions Anna Mary's death in the issue printed on 17 Sept 1906 and says she and her husband were residents of Frostburg 22 years ago, making their moving date about 1884. Good tip from a local newspaper!
Charles was a confectioner and his wife, Anna Mary, was a diabetic. Go figgure! Charles ran a very popular sweets store in Frostburg until he moved to Chicago. I wonder if he realized the wider potential of his success in Frostburg and decided to move to the larger market Chicago would promise?
In checking the 1870 US Census Mary Ann is listed as being a milliner. Seems to me I remember Grandma Kelly telling a story about a milliner. Maybe Mom remembers better that I do.
They had these 11 children:
Charles Zeller (1855 - ?)
10. Gustav William Zeller (1858 - 1927)
Gotlieb Zeller (1861 - 1889)
George Zeller (1862 - 1931)
Delbert Zeller (1865 - after 1910)
Frederick Zeller (1869 - 1932), he and John are twins
John Zeller (1869 - 1945), he and Frederick are twins
Henry Zeller (1870 - 1886)
William Zeller (1872 - 1906)
Daniel Zeller (1875 - ?)
Annie Mary Zeller (1878 - ?)

Boom! Done. That was short, too short. Maybe after a while Mom and I will dig into those Chicago records and track down this family. Wouldn't it be fun if we could locate living Zeller people... and they had more family photos and stories? And, we'd like to get more knowledgeable about German records so that we might pursue the Zeller family there.

Something I've noticed because of this family is that if the ancestors were in retail, especially in a small town with a local newspaper with booster tendencies, it's possible to find them mentioned. In a previous post this week which you can see here on Treasure Chest Thursday, I talked about Uncle Delbert's researcher, Sharon. Well Sharon dug into the pages of the wonderful Frostburg Mining Journal, published from 1871 - 1913, and a treasure trove for anyone who has ancestors from the area, to find mentions of GGF Gus Zeller and his barber shop, or as it's often described, "tonsorial emporium". There was giant 6 foot barber pole out front, in case anyone had doubts about his business;) He also had a very large and colorful goldfish tank in the window. It was at 14 East Main Street, but burned in a building fire on 14 Dec 1917. He moved his business to 35 East Main Street after the fire. His new location was also a full-service affair with showers and baths.

Guss, my GGF, had a reputation as quite the drinking man. At the end of this paragraph I'll place links to some of the stories about him I've posted to this blog before. Family lore has it that whenever he'd get drinking such that it hampered family life, Ma would insist that they leave town on a "vacation" with the intention of "drying him out." One mention in the Frostburg Mining Journal of 7 Oct 1899 talks of Gus Wm. Zeller, wife, and little daughter (that's Grandma) having gone on an extended tour, eastward, northward and westward to Boston, Montreal, Chicago, and other cities. Getting GGF Gus to Chicago to visit the family there was a strategic mistake on Ma's part as his father Charles was also a drinking man. Poor Ma!

Here are some other stories about GGF Gus Zeller and his barber shop:

Dad and Mom, Grandpop Kelly and Grandma Kelly:
2. Francis Patrick " Pat" Kelly (1916 - 2007)
3. Virginia Williams, living and loving it
4. John Lee "Lee" Kelly (1892 - 1969)
5. Helen Gertrude Zeller Kelly ( 1894 - 1985)

The next generation back,
10. Gustav William "Gus" Zeller (1858 - 1927), above
11. Moretta Workman Zeller (1859 - 1946), below 

20. Charles William Zeller ( 1829 - 1901), father of Gustav and confectioner.
Sadly, we do not have a photo of his wife Anna Mary Zeller.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

The Creative Process: The Perfecting Spiral

OK, so let me say at the get go, one sure way to kill creativity is to embrace "perfection." Perfection is an intellectual construct designed to drive us mere mortals nuts. So forget about perfection. I'm using the concept of perfecting in the global sense of improving your craft, whatever that craft might be. Have a hunch that if you think about "perfect" when doing genealogy, you'll be miserable! Or am I just speaking for myself?

When I was teaching art classes at the local college I noticed that there was a general pattern to achieving excellence. I really wish that I could have spared beginning drawing students the pain and agony of those first weeks' learning, which was doing the very hardest work first. After a short while they had the basics under their belts (or if not they had dropped the class) and were on the way to enjoying what they were doing. Do we all remember the joy and misery of our early genealogy efforts? I sure do.

Semester after semester, through Drawing 2, 3, and 4, they spiraled through a pursuit of excellence. Small imperfections in their methods were identified and fixed. Little by little they got better and most got really, seriously good. There was never any shame or derision attached to finding those techniques that didn't work, and no labeling them as "mistakes". We simply spotted some task that wasn't working and happily replaced it with a technique that would work better.

And this process of perfecting was self motivated and driven by the goal of the "personal best". Who cares how Michelangelo or da Vinci drew! This is here and now and this is you! So by focusing the pursuit of perfecting inward, and not out to some outer goal, there was no drive to imitate in a hollow fashion. It all felt very much like an inward spiral of improving, getting closer to excellence with every loop of the circle, the spiral getting smaller and tighter too. For those who had worked at it a long while only smaller adjustments were needed... but those changes were also harder to spot. Very few made it to the deepest levels.

I try to remember this as I navigate the standards in the sphere of genealogy. Everyday I'm learning and trying to do better. It's not easy: do I go back and fix all the "mistakes" I've made or push forward... or a little of both? Which efforts are going to be important when I get down the road later? Do I pay attention to what I read in blogs or is there a higher standard? It's hard to say. I go and do and I learn. Every day.

I think it does help to think of this process of perfecting as a spiral. Once around the circle, and at this point it's a large circle, and one has a rough feel for the territory. Twice around, covering some of the same territory, leads to a deeper understanding of what's needed. A third time around and we often more easily see the errors of our ways and make some decisions about how the work can be improved. As the circles in the spiral get smaller the work gets more fine-pointed, room for improvements more difficult to see. Finding those small refinements moving toward excellence is for very few, and only the very persistent make it. And so it goes, around and around.

We live, we learn, we improve... hopefully. No "mistakes", no harsh judgements. Only ways to make the work better.

Cousins J. C. and brother Mike, the Williams boys,
on the occasion of the Frostburg, Maryland 150th year anniversary in 1962
of the town's founding in 1812. All the men in town grew beards and got a pin,
proclaiming them "Brothers of the Brush".
Small town fun if ever there was!

Mike Williams (1949 - 2000)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Zeller Ensemble

My Uncle Delbert is Dad's youngest brother. Dad and he weren't as close as Dad was to his other brother, Uncle Bernie. There is a two year difference between Dad and Uncle Bernie and a four year difference between Dad and Uncle Delbert, and just enough to likely make Delbert that pesky younger brother, but I'm only guessing about that.

Uncle Delbert is in his 90s now and has a bit of a memory impairment but can remember the good old days real well. I call him every once in a while and chat but always have to remind him who I am: Pat and Virginia's oldest kid. Last year I made up a big package of Mom's Big Tree on the Kelly side and all the family photos I could muster and thought he might like to see. Took it to the local copy center and had it all bound together. If I do say so, it came out quite impressively. Most important is that Uncle Delbert had a great time with it!

Back in 2006 a woman I only know as Sharon did some genealogy work on the Zeller line for Uncle Delbert. I have a copy of that packet and look at it every once in a while. Sharon did some nice work there and I appreciate having it very much and thank Cousin Cynthia, Uncle Bernie's daughter, for passing it along to me.

The packet included two photos that interest me - as if there's a family photo that doesn't interest me! Here they are below. I'm sad that the quality is what I'd call poor but they have been copied and faxed and emailed ... so I'm just happy to have them at all. Happy wins out.


Here is my GGF and GGM,
Gustav Zeller 1858 - 1927 and Moretta Workman Zeller 1859- 1946,
with three of their five children.
Left to right they are:
Adelbert "Bert" Zeller 1883 - 1947,
Gustav WM Zeller 1884 - 1964, Charles S Zeller 1880 - 1966.
Grandma is not there and she was born in 1894.
Might be a clue to dating this picture.

Here is a close up of just the family group.
Here's a fun find in the packet!
This is a photo of the family of Gus Jr.'s family band, the Zeller Ensemble:
Nellie, Gus Jr.'s wife Nellie Maud Broadwater Zeller 1896 - 1961, their children,
Darrell Zeller, William "Bud" Zeller, and Violet Zeller.
Darrell would be my first cousin once removed, or so Family Tree Maker tells me:)
Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt of GeneaBloggers. Find out more here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: Stuff I've Figured Out Lately

I want to try something today and that's to take the GeneaBlogger's Blogging Prompt for Wednesday, called Wisdom Wednesdays, adding a twist, as a list of things I've just recently figured out. I'm a rank and file newbie and if I can stop every now and again and comment on stuff I've figured out, then maybe I'm not doomed to repeat it. Lately, I've figured out the four listed below, some hard come-by personal wisdom that's probably pretty obvious to everyone else:)

Look closely, then look again, then think about what I see, then take another look to see what's hidden in that record or story. The message is: take time and go deeper. This works in all kinds of ways, like even asking myself what's missing from that record, photo or story. Slowing down and going deeper has been the theme of a couple of blog posts recently and it was also my own personal take-away from a seminar Saturday before last. In this rush, rush world, moving too quickly is a habit I can do without.

I can't spell no matter how hard I try, and it's Dad's fault. There are typos and write-ohs everywhere and I'm thankful for spell check. I never met a word I couldn't misspell and dates I couldn't mash up. Again, I have to slow down and check and re-check. Mom said it was Dad's little genetic gift to me as he was always asking her, hey, how do you spell that? Thanks, Dad.

Consistency! As a relative newbie I need to work on being consistent. What are the conventions I'll adopt for maiden and married names so as to be perfectly clear? I've noticed that people do it variously. How should birth and death dates be treated after a name... in parenthesis or not? I see really skilled people handle it differently, and noticed that it's been a shifting target over time.  Remember typed documents with maiden names in all caps because there was no other option? I need to think it through for me and to internalize it so that use is automatic. I observed the variations when I looked at blogger's Surname Saturday posts.

Taming Terrier Mind. Every once in a while I'll wake up with a good night's sleep under my belt, a couple of cups of go-juice, a happy mind, and hit the internet with all the gusto of a terrier pup in a room full of red balls. Off to read the email subscriptions for the blogs I follow, clicking through merrily to informative links, email Mom, clear out junk mail, and so on. Sometimes the click-throughs get a tad out of hand. I need to keep that terrier pup in check because it can waste plenty of time. Ever do that?

As you can see, I'm really a rank beginner with tons to learn:) But then it's not a good day unless I've learned something new. So if you have any thoughts or suggestions, Dear  Reader, please help put me out of my mystery and move me along the learning curve by commenting:)

Photo of the day from the Archive:

This old photo from Mom's files remains unidentified.
Mom thinks they are from the Zeller side.
Sad, no notation on the back.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Christiana and Frank P. Kelly

Was looking through Mom's tombstone photo file and ran into these two that I hadn't noticed before. They belong to my great grand parents and Dad's father's parents: Christiana Kelly (1861 - 1932) and Frank P. Kelly (1854 - 1923). Frank's full name was Francis Patrick Kelly but everyone called him Frank. He is just one of seven or eight Francis Patrick Kellys, including my Dad who everyone called Pat, on Mom's Big Tree. This couple rests in St. Michael's Catholic Cemetery in Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland and here's a link to this cemetery on FindAGrave.

His wife was Christiana Eckhart Kelly, but here on the tombstone, as you can see, her name was spelled with two "n"s. Additionally, we have records with the surnames spelled both as Kelly and Kelley. Sounds about right, doesn't it? Just enough to drive our search a tad crazy:)

This couple holds a bit of special interest for me because they were the first big inter-religious marriage in this line: a Catholic groom and a Lutheran bride. And they had to work at it to get the blessing of the bride's family. Their strategy, and one taken by many a couple, was to have kids so as to put the pressure on. Here's a link to a recent post about it, "Treasure Chest Thursday: Secrets", and you can find it here.

Christiana Eckhart Kelly came from an old family in the area of Western Maryland and Eckhart (or Eckhart Mines as it's now named) going back to the Revolutionary War. Her great great grandfather was George Adam Eckhart who purchased military lots and combined them with the lots of Jacob Loar to form the large parcel he owned. Eventually his son's wife sold the most valuable parcels to a mining company. This bituminous coal-rich land came to be known as The Big Vein and made the coal barrons rediculously wealthy. And that, my friends is a whole other story for another day!

Uncle Delbert still tells of being a boy and visiting his grandmother Christiana on Sundays, walking down the hills to the old Kelly house, across from Kelly's pump, and having to sit at attention on the big leather chair and mind his manners. One gets the impression that he was on very best behavior, and totally out of character for one of the Kelly boys.

Dad as a school boy,
Francis Patrick Kelly (1916 - 2007)

Frank and Christiana's family, about 1913.
Please click on the image to read names and dates.
And yes, there's another Frank Kelly Jr. in this picture.

John Lee Kelly (1892 - 1969), Dad's Dad, and his mother,
Christiana Eckhart Kelly (1861 - 1932)

Christiana Eckhart Kelly's parents:
John Eckhart (1831 - 1917) and
 Mary Catherine Myers Eckhart (1837 - 1909)

Tombstone Tuesday is a weekly blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers. You can find the whole week's list of prompts here. Thanks, GeneaBloggers for inspiring genea bloggers!!

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Will of Nehemiah Newans

Amanuensis Monday

What's an Amanuensis, you say? It's a copyist: someone who sits like a crazy person squinting their eyes and probably ruining eyesight to read that old document hand-written so very long ago and type it out. We do because we love:) 
One of my very favorite ancestors to write about is Nehemiah Newans (1740 - 1820), and you can see more about him using the page tab above where you'll find a rough time line of his life. (And don't even look at the nasty source citations: I need to fix that and can do better. It's on the list.)

He's one of my Revolutionary War ancestors and there was a little book his great grandson, Thomas F. Myers (1841 - 1920), had printed that's fascinated me for quite a while. You can see that book by clicking the tab above. The family has looked to it as gospel but in digging around I found that Nehemiah Newans did not die in the last battle of the Revolutionary War but instead never returned to his wife, Catherine Kepplinger Newans and small son, Thomas Newans, in York, Pennsylvania. Instead he made a life for himself as a stone mason in upstate New York... and with a new wife, Mary Newans! And in the will he mentions a second son, Elias Thompson. What's up with that and a different last name of Thompson?! Hey, it's not for me to pass judgement... I just hope to get to the bottom of some of it as I go along:)

Today, I want to take another look at his will. Here it is, below and my shot at a transcription, below that.

I Nehemiah Newans of the town of Canandaigue in the County of Ontario and State of New York do make and ordain this my last will and testament in a manner and form following - (vis) I direct that all of my just debts should be paid out of my potential (?) estate if it should be sufficient thereof and if not that such part of my real estate be sold as will be sufficient there for at the election of my executors___________
All the rest and residue of my estate both real and personal as shall remain after my debts are paid I give and bequeath unto my well behaved wife Mary Newans to have and to hold the same to all and enjoy during her natural life and the remainder of all such estate after her decease shall invest in the heirs of my sons Elias Thompson and Thomas Newans  And I do hereby constitute (?) and appoint Moses Atwater Esq of Canandaigue afore said my sole executor of this my last will and testament. Hereby (?) all other and former wills by me made _____________
In witness thereof I have here unto set my hand and seal this twenty third of March in the year of Lord one Thousand eight Hundred and twenty. _________
Nehemiah Newans (seal)
Signed sealed published and declared in the presence of us by the said Testator Nehemiah Newans as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who subscribe our names as witnesses thereto in the presence of the said testator
Canandaigue 23 March 1820  _______________
Thomas Beals
Chester Loomis
E. S. Cobb

When I check online trees, Nehemiah Newans' wife's name is all over the place. I use that as a bellwether to decide how well the researcher has done their homework.

I'm still practicing my transcribing skills and it's a work in progress, but it's improving. The first time around this project was really hard for me, but this time around it was easier and that allowed me to focus on acuracy.

Ananuesis Monday is a weekly blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers. You can find the whole week's list of prompts here. Thanks, GeneaBloggers for being you!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Libster Blog Award Coming My Way!

I checked out a comment to one of my posts here at Nuts to find that Jenny Lanctot at the blog, Are My Roots Showing? nominated me for an award, the Libster Blog Award. You can see her post and her own acceptance of the Award here.  Jenny gave me the award for my post, Cousin Bait Strategy Needed.

Here's what Jenny wrote about the award when she won it:
I've been awarded the Liebster Blog Award! (Liebster means "favorite" or "dearest" in German, apparently) The premise behind this award is that when you are nominated, you are supposed to answer 11 questions about yourself (chosen by the person who nominated you), and then nominate 5 bloggers with less than 200 readers and provide 11 questions for them to answer.

I'm honored, and thanks Jenny! Who doesn't like an award? She commented that at the very first she felt like she got a spam when she got the award, and I did feel a tad silly like I was participating in a chain letter, but what the heck, that can be fun! Then I started answering the questions and thought how cool it will be to pass on the award and find out more about other bloggers.

I know some folks out there looked on these awards in the past as a way to drive traffic to a blog, but I see it differently. I like knowing about other genealogy bloggers - we are a community - and since we're always blogging about our ancestors, here's a time to share something about ourselves... and have some fun.

Here are Jenny's questions for me. Let the Silly begin!!

1. What is your favorite time of day and why?
Morning. I'm a morning person. Now, where the heck is my coffee??

2. How and when did you first discover your passion, whatever that passion is?
Art was my first passion to appear on the scene, then a couple of years ago Mom hooked me on genealogy. Discovered art on a Friday afternoon in 3rd grade. Discovered the ancestors when Mom told me a story about the counter fitting twins.

3. Hopefully, you’re familiar with The Breakfast Club for this question. When you were in high school, in which social group did you best fit?
Oh, I'm gonna cry: am too old for Breakfast Club! But I'll go ahead and answer about the high school social groups: my high school graduating class was 124 so everyone was always in every one's business. I longed for the protection of a group. High school was so painful! UGH!

4. Where do you write your posts and why did you choose that place?
In my pajamas;) It's comfy! Actually my desktop is in the corner of the art studio. I badly need a new laptop!

5. What always makes you laugh and why?

My dog. He's 16 and still acts like a pup. Mixed breed vigor, or so the vet says and my dog's got it.

6. If you could appear on a televised talent show, what would your talent be?

Ha! Bob Ross! Love it when he paints those "happy trees"!

7. Which flower reminds you of happiness?
All of them even the "ugly ones". But I'm a sucker for orchids. Grew them when we lived in Florida and grow them here in SoCal. My house isn't complete without an orchid in bloom.

8. What is your favorite book and why?
I hardly ever met a book I didn't like. Ask my loaded bookshelves, and the stacks next to the bed! I love historical novels especially about areas and time where my ancestors were participants. I've learned a lot from them. Most recently enjoyed, How Green Was My Valley, a 1939 novel by Richard Llewellyn about a family in the coal fields of Wales. I learned a lot by reading that one, and I could see my ancestors on every page.

9. It’s important to eat your vegetables, but which vegetable do you always resist/avoid eating?

Wow, that's a difficult one. We love veggies in this house. From beets to leeks, on to kale and Brussels sprouts, whatever is in season at the local farmer's market... I'll take it! PS: I love to cook too.

10. What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

Either watch an old movie or do genealogy. Toss up!

11. Who is the one celebrity, past or present, you would like to meet — and what would you ask that person?
Andy Warhol! Met him once and this next time I'd like to ask him all the questions I should have asked the first time.

OK, the drill is that after answering these question I can nominate five blogs and ask my own questions, and that's the main reason I'm doing this: I'm curious and this seems like a way to get interesting people to answer stuff;)

Here are the five blogs I nominate:

Family History Fun by Sue Scott. I love the way she uses photos and the stories that they tell. Thanks so much, Sue! Maybe my Welsh coal miner ancestors worked for her Oldham coal merchants:) Maybe.

Ancestors Live Here by Leslie Ann. I really enjoy Leslie Ann's down home and personal tone. There one today that talks about sewing kits here. I clearly remember Grandma Kelly's tin box of buttons and the magic it held for me! Thanks Leslie Ann.

Countryfolk by Rhonda. Love reading about Rhonda's problem solving and thinking. Gives me ideas about how to go from one thing out to find solutions... or more questions!

Forgotten Faces and Long Ago Places by Teresa Wilson Rogers. Details in photos: what's not to love about this blog! Get a look at this wedding dress right here!! Thanks Teresa!

Trails Into The Past by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell. I get a real feeling for her family from Lisa's posts and I appreciate the way she gives her posts texture drawing me in. And, she also participating in the Family History Writing Challenge!

And here are my 11 questions for these nominees if they so choose to participate, and I really hope they do:

Credit for Questions 1 - 5: Tell us five important things about how you get interested in genealogy and why you blog? (Please make it juicy cause it's credit for five big questions!)

Question 6: Do you watch TV and if so what are your favorite shows/ types of shows?

Question 7: Please tell us about your journey of genealogy education? I'm self-taught and that can be dangerous. I'm curious, how did you learn what you know, and do you have recommendations (or cautionary tales) for the newbie?

Question 8: When you're not doing genealogy, what's your fav thing to do?

Question 9: Please share your pain: tell us about one of your brick walls and how long you've been working on it. (I need to feel better about my own brick walls;)

Question 10: Has there been one person, web site, or class that was the most beneficial to you?

Question 11: What's the funniest story you can tell us about your interest in genealogy?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge!

Well I've been working on this book project for a short while and have reached the first sag. It happens often within the life of a project, I've found, but the whole ball game rides on figuring a way out of the sagging patches. Along comes the Family History Writing Challenge! Beautiful! Just what I need. Click through to find out all about it.

I'm to commit to a certain amount of words a day: 250 to 1,000. I've never done that before. I write when the muse is in town and if you don't know about her, click here. She's here now and will be for a while so I'm good to go... if she stays in town. Even so, I think this is the time to chain the little scamp to the desk;) I really want to feel what 250 words a day for the entire month of February feels like. That's 7,000 words. Cool. Think I'll chart it and see what my output is on days when I'm good to go as well as days when it's pick and shovel work... and feels like work.

One thing I really like from the get-go is that there's a forum for this project. It feels like group therapy, but in my pajamas. And they did this last year so you can go back and read the comments from that first Challenge and see what's what. Reading them made me feel like this was a do-able and beneficial thing for me to join.

I've set my goals and am ready! Off to the forum to see what's happening today.

If you join you even get a pretty badge, if that's your thing:)

Surname Saturday: Williams from Wales

Well here's my second go at Surname Saturday, a blogging prompt brought to us by GeneaBloggers and their Daily Blogging Prompts. This week I'm jumping into Mom's father's folks, the Williams family from Wales and one of our really really big brick walls: they disappear once they get to America! I'd give just about anything in fair trade to find GGF Daniel William's siblings after they presumably immigrated. It's a mystery that's stumped my betters, and that's Mom and Aunt Betty.

So here we go on a surname romp back along the line that is all Wales! I'll share what we know and what we'd love to find out.

1. Diane Kelly Weintraub

2. Francis Patrick Kelly (1916 - 2007)
3. Virginia Williams, living and loving it!

6. Cambria Williams (1897 - 1960)
7. Emma Susan Whetstone (1897 - 1956)
They had 5 children in all:
Virginia, that's Mom
Dorothy Williams Conrad (1920 - 2007)
Evelyn Williams (1921 - 1924)
Margaret Williams (1926 - 1926)
Cambria Williams Jr. (1925 - 1997)

12. Daniel Williams (1852 - 1920)
13. Jane Price (1862 - 1939)
Daniel was born in Strata Florida, Cardigsnshire, Wales. He worked as a collier or coal miner, as his father had, in Wales, immigrated, then moved to the George's Creek Coal Mine Field in Western Maryland, one of the richest veins of coal at the time. Jane was born in Mount Savage, Allegany County, Maryland, just over the hill from where Daniel worked, but her family came from Wales as well.
Neither Mom nor Aunt Betty, both grandchildren of this pair, remember Welsh being spoken at home or at church.
Daniel was a supervisor at the mines and well respected and elected to the school board.
They had 8 children:
James Henry Williams 1882 - 1936)
William Williams (1884 - 1964)
Benjamin Williams (1896 - 1896)
Thomas Williams (1890 - 1951)
Dianna Williams (1892 - 1893)
Joseph Williams (1895 - 1948)
Cambria Williams (1897 - 1960), that's Mom's Dad
Charles Williams (1899 - 1979), that's Aunt Betty's Dad

24. Thomas Williams (about 1815 - 1868?)
25. Jane James (about 1815 - ?)
Both Thomas and Jane were born in Strata Florida, Cardigsnshire, Wales. Thomas was a collier or coal miner as were a number of his sons. It is presumed that Thomas died about 1868, possibly in Lampiter, Cardiganshire, Wales. The death record is inconclusive as to confirming identity.
Jane is found in the 1870 Wales Census in Llangattock, Breckenshire, Wales. Interestingly, she's living next to a woman, a widow, by the name of Dianah James, a green grocer.
We have that mystery photo of Jane James Williams with her adult children taken by a photographer in Troy, New York... however, neither Mom nor Aunt Betty or silly me have been able to find a lick of a track of them in New York state! That's our brick wall.
They had 7 children:
Elizabeth Williams (24 Oct 1841-?)
David Williams (22 May 1844-?)
Jane Williams (4 Oct 1846-?)
Thomas Williams (25 Mar 1851-?)
Daniel Williams (1852 - 1920)
John Williams (Nov 1853-?)
William Williams (23 Jan 1865-?)

48. David Williams (?- 1838)
49. Rachel Edwards (dates not known to us)
Again, this family was born and died in Strata Florida, Cardigsnshire, Wales.
They had 6 children:
Thomas Williams (about 1815 - 1868?)
David Williams (1811 - ?)
Edward Williams (1814 - ?)
Elizabeth Williams (1816 - ?)
Catherine Williams (1819 - 1823)
Catherine Williams (1824 - ?)

Mom visited Wales and the Archive at the National Library of Wales in the 1980s but unfortunatly ran out of time. So this is the end of the line for this branch of the tree, and there's no more to tell right now. Perhaps later.

Here are some photos for your amusement, and especially because this Surname Saturday is short.

This is that Mystery Photo taken by Towne Studio, Troy NY, 37 Fourth St.
There's Daniel Williams seated on the right next to his mother Jane James Williams, also seated.
Here are GGF Daniel's siblings and their birth dates as follows,
The Girls:
Elizabeth (24 Oct 1841-?) she's the oldest girl so is that her on the right?
Jane (4 Oct 1846-?) is that her on the left in the fancy dress?
The Boys:
David (22 May 1844-?)
Thomas (25 MAR 1851-?)
John (Nov 1853-?)
William (23 Jan 1865-?)

Daniel Williams eventually purchased two mines: a coal mine in Mt. Savage, Allegany County, Maryland, and a tin mine in West Virginia. His plan was to work the mines with his sons. The tin mine was lost for back taxes in the 1930s. The land and farm from the Mt. Savage property is still in the family and owned by a Williams descendant.

Mom with her parents,
Cambria Williams and Emma Susan Whetstone, about 1920.
Cute, huh?!

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Friday, January 18, 2013

DNA Me: A Good Spit Is Hard to Find

Well I'm off on my DNA adventure! Before the holidays I selected 23andMe to do my DNA test and just after New Year ordered the kit. It came in less than a week and it had been sitting on the table waiting for me to do something with it. Finally the little box was opened and I got on with it.

The first step, as instructed by the lid of the little plastic box in a box - and must comment that the packaging is well designed - is to register the test kit as yours. So off to my browser and input the unique code for my kit. I made note of the code in a safe place in case it's needed later.

After registration, there is the terms of agreement to read, and check off as read and agreed to before completion of registration. After reading recent comments about terms and how one should read them to be sure you are not really buying a timeshare or committing to monthly billing, these terms got a special going over. And it was attention grabbing because it concerned the possible sharing of my survey data, if I decided to participate in their surveys, which I have not done.

The one survey I looked at was all about medical information and I'm not sure quite yet that I want that floating about in a data base. Must confess that I'm not usually one to read terms of use but I will from here on out. Plus, it was encouraging that it gave the choice to opt out. I opted in, just in case I change my mind and do want to share medical data for their research later. Honestly, if I answered the medical survey questions first before getting the test results I might not feel that the results were entirely honest... but that's just me.

Next, spit! Some kits want a cheek swab, but 23andMe wants plenty of spit, or saliva. You can not have had anything to eat or drink in the 30 minutes prior to spitting in the tube. Sounds easy, right? Then why, oh why, is it that if you tell me I can't have anything to drink that is the very moment I'm as parched and dry as desert? But I waited like a good girl and then started to spit.

Now here is the really hard part: you have to spit enough to fill the tube up to the line. Oh, golly! It must have taken me five full minutes to fill it up, but fill it to the line on the tube I finally did. I do envy people who spit copiously. It wasn't until well after I mailed the package back that I noticed on the email confirmation at time of purchase the suggestion that you rub your cheek a couple of minutes to increase saliva. Would have been a helpful addition to the package, and a good tip for anytime you want to drum extra spit;)

The lid comes down on the tube proper and that releases the liquid in the lid. Then take that lid off and screw on a cap, shake for five seconds, and put the tube in a plastic peel-and-seal bag. Back in the box it goes. Done! It really was easy.

The box has an address in Los Angeles on it but the 23andMe web site says that it could take up to two weeks for the lab to receive the sample. Because LA is just north of San Diego where I live, it will be interesting to see how long it does take to get first word back.

As I wait I'll keep on reading and looking at information about DNA for genealogy. I have so much to learn. But I've learned this already... it's really hard to spit that much!

Photo of the day from Aunt Betty's Archive:

Wouldn't they marvel at the wonders of DNA testing?
That's my GGF, Daniel Williams and his family.
Pictured are:
Daniel Williams, 1852 - 1920
Charles Williams, 1899 - 1979
William Williams, 1884 - 1964
Jane Williams, Daniel's wife, 1862 - 1939
Grands, Dan, Lillie, Hilda, and Bessie

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