Thursday, February 28, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Frostburg in the Movies 1938, Reel 2

Here's the posted for Reel 1 of "Frostburg in the Movies" and it still works as an introduction to Reel 2:
See the previous post a couple of weeks ago here for more screen shots from the first reel.

Mom got a DVD form Aunt Betty containing a movie in four reels about Frostburg, Maryland filmed in 1938 and she sent it on to me. Don't know where Aunt Betty got it, but I suspect her wonderful friend Shirley was the source. Shirley is related too but I can't quite think how at the moment.

In Frostburg, if two people both go back a couple of generations, there's a more than 50-50 chance that you're probably related. After a while, when you sit at the Princess Restaurant on Main Street, and you see a face, you just know if you are related or not. Really!

So here are some screen shots from the 1938 film. Unfortunately I can't find anything about how this film company, why the film was made, or for what purpose. The title page would lead one to thing that this was part of a larger series about various small towns. The only reference I see in the Google search is for an excerpt on
Project Muse about itinerant film productions which gives this:

Amateur Services Production: See Yourself and Your Town in the Movies Series (ca. 1930–1950)

And now, Ladies and gentlemen, for your amusement and entertainment, Reel 2!
Ttile page

The good old five and dime!

The Great Depression was coming to an end and the stores were full
and people were buying again.

Miner's Hospital., the place the community went when it was ill or injured.

The absolute center of all the action, as well as the traffic cop: Main Street.

Moms, dads, and kids feature prominently in these movies.

A couple having fun.

Shop keepers. Everyone knew them.

There is still an African-American community in Frostburg
as there has been for well more than 150 years.

Kids at a dance school.

Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt of GeneaBloggers. I thank them for it:)

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: Thoughts on Being a 2nd Generation Genealogist

I am liking GeneaBlogger's blogging prompt called Wisdom Wednesdays, because it gives me another chance to take stock. This week I've been thinking a lot about how genealogy for me is largely defined by the fact that Mom gave me a ton of information and her GEDCOM Big Tree containing now over 70,000 individuals. So let me kick back a bit and chew on some thoughts and see what's what. Here, in no particular order are my thoughts about being a 2nd generation genealogist... or 2GG. I think that's a thing:)

Help, I'm drowning under this pile of stuff!

Yeah, looking back, that was me! One can be overwhelmed at any point doing this work but when you're handed a gigantic tree and a ton of records it can weigh you down. Mom and I would talk and it seemed that as quick as I would commit a dozen or so people to memory, five of those would fall out of my left ear. A couple of years later, now I know which uncle she's talking about when she mentions Tuck or Tad and know who he's the son of and what his given name was. That said, here's what's been most helpful to me, just in case there is some other 2GGer out there who wants to compare notes. Hey, 2GGers, let's be in touch!

* Print out a chart and ancestor report and put both in a binder.  Luckily Mom had a GEDCOM going in Family Tree Maker so I wasn't starting with a box of paper scraps. Trouble was, how to look at that GEDCOM in a way I could learn from? After trying a couple of dead ends that mostly involved me sitting attentively in from of my computer screen, which lasted the better part of a year, I figured out enough about FTM to run an ancestor report and a chart. I realized that with those two reports in a binder that I could thumb through and make notes I could see relationships, and that was a big step forward. That binder was and continues to be my gold mine. Actually, I've had three updates of that binder because I write notes all over the pages when I think of something I want to check out, so the pages get pretty marked up over time.

* Working with the data and taking every opportunity to do so is the way to remember it.  Sounds logical, right? At the very first, I thought I was going to memorize everyone on the tree, and I sure was wrong about that! Silly, really. It's all about using the information!!
I love blogging about the ancestors because every time I revisit the compiled data and work with it I come to an even deeper understanding of something or someone. So blogging works for me, and using Geneablogger's blogging prompts are very important because they keep me moving through the week, especially Surname Saturday... that's a winner.
Now I can see that because I was not the person who researched all the names and dates, I have no reinforcement for remembering such. Mom on the other hand, at 94 years young, can pretty much remember all of the ancestors and their years. Amazing!

* Error: I think I'll only keep digital records.  When I first started working with Mom's records, I thought, my gosh, what a pile of papers... I'll just keep digital records. That's a cool concept and one that I do try to live by as much as possible. But what's with me and the deep-seeded desire to print out everything and put it in a binder?! Don't think I'm a silly girl who doesn't know how to go digital. I just like to be able to make notes all over stuff on paper.
Now that I'm aware of OneNote and EverNote, maybe I'll change my ways. But for a beginner, I'd have to recommend going with whatever feels right at the start, be it digital or paper, or preferably both.

* Back it up. Just because you were handed  a GEDCOM or pile of stuff doesn't mean that you are exempt from backing up everything and often. Mom and I are running dual operations but we both are fanatical about backing up all of it all the time. I was so relieved when my computer crashed knowing my backed up stuff was at the end of a keystroke and that I didn't have to go crying to Mom for a copy. Now how would that look?

* Don't try to swallow it all at once.  I wish I could have gotten over the desire to swallow it all, that I had at the beginning. I wish I had come sooner to relish the journey and not seek a destination so much, not try to hammer down every brick wall all at once.
There's no destination here. It's a wonderful continuing process and every day it brings new friends, new things to learn, and eventually new ancestors. What's not to like?!

Photo of the day from the Archive, courtesy of Aunt Betty:

My grandfather, Cambria Williams (1897 - 1960), 
standing in snow in Frostburg Maryland, beside his delivery truck
with Hill Street School in the background.
Just found out that "Cambria" is the Latin name for Wales.
His father was born in Wales.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Talented Tuesday: They Were Coal Miners

Well you might not ordinarily think of an occupation as being a talent but I'm willing to bend the definitions and I think that you too will go along with it and come to see my ancestors and their lives with coal as a sort of a talent. That's what we'll be doing today with the Geneabloggers prompt of Talented Tuesday.

Great grand father Daniel Williams (1852 - 1920) was born in Wales into a mining family, The area where he was born was a lead mining area, but the men there often went south for a period of months to work the coal mines as the tin mines were worked out by the mid-1800s.  On the Wales census of 1841 and 1851 the family men are listed simply as "collier", and everyone knew what that meant: they worked in a coal mine. So we might say that coal was in their blood.

We feel that he was superior at his work because when he came to America and worked in the Greorge's Creek coal fields, he was a boss at the mine. Aunt Betty emailed me a while back with these details:

As far as we know, Daniel lived in Midland and Ocean, MD after he arrived in the United States. He was Foreman of Mine No. 16, Consolidation Coal Company. He was a member of the George’s Creek Valley Lodge of Masons in Lonanconing, MD. He was selected to take a large lump of coal from Ocean Mines, Maryland to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. He was elected as a Trustee in the Ocean School District #18 on June 22, 1907.

Pretty heady stuff, being asked to accompany the record-breaking lump of coal to Chicago!

Aunt Betty also told me that he owned two mines, one was a coal mine in Mount Savage, Maryland and the other, possibly a tin and/or silver mine, in West Virginia. It was his intention to work these mines with his sons, and presumably, make a ton of money. Looks like he purchased the land during the boom-times of coal and coal mining. But after WWI the market for coal lagged seriously. Then Daniel died in 1920, leaving the mines to be worked by his sons. The land in Mount Savage, Maryland is still in the family, as per Aunt Betty who keeps up with these things. The land in West Virginia was lost in the 1930s to back taxes. It was the Great Depression and presumably Daniel's sons couldn't find a way to put food on the table and pay taxes for land over in West Virginia that might or might not have tin and silver in it.

There were other coal miners in Mom's line. Benjamin Thomas whom I wrote about here came to American in 1838 specifically to work for the George's Creek Coal Company in Ocean Maryland. It's my suspicion that the management of the George's Creek Coal Company, who had executives in London as well as Baltimore, knew of the difficulties of the Welsh coal miners and sought out families to have their passage subsidized in some way. At present I have no proof of this and imagine it will be difficult to connect the dots. That said, I look at the list and see that there are five strong healthy men to work their mines in Ocean Maryland. Sounds like a deal was made to me... but I have not proof as yet.

Manifest of the Barque Tiberius, left Wales on 31 June 1838

Then there was the Price family line and there was at least one, maybe more miners there, and you can read the recent post on this family here celebrating Surname Saturday so I won't spend too much time on them. Look for William Price 1829 - 1872.

The last on my list of coal mining men is my grandfather on my father's side, John Lee Kelly (1892 - 1969) who contracted black lung disease from working in the mines. You can read about him here. Taken from school in the sixth grade, this smart man with the inquiring mind was sent to work in the coal mines and earn what was called a "half turn" or half or quarter pay of an adult man. Times were very hard, the men were struggling with the thought of joining a union and the mining companies were cutting wages whenever they could.

Grandpop Kelly sitting on the front porch.

I first heard about the coal mines and mining from Grandpop Kelly. He described it in detail. But I couldn't wrap my mind around it, until I visited the Frostburg Museum last fall. There was a display there, as exact as possible, of a typical coal mine interior arranged with a number of tools of the trade, including a couple of lunch pails.

As I stood there I was dumbfounded at the closeness and darkness of it. And I am sure there was a smell because open earth always has a smell. It wouldn't be a pretty smell either: moist and dank. I thought of my grandfathers, all, working there, making a living there. Day after day, month after month, dealing with often stingy mine owners dictating wages. All they wanted in the world was a decent wage and a peaceful family life with a loving home to come to at the end of the day. Most of them got it, somehow.

Frostburg Museum: typical coal mine interior.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Mystery Monday: The Strange Life of Samuel Albert House

Samuel Albert House (1832 - 1917) had an strange life, at least to my prying eyes. As my second great grandfather, whom I share with plenty of other interested parties, he's the exception in the tree. By that I mean that there are numerous well-behaved ancestors, but Samuel Albert was something else. Oh, it's not just that he was, and Mom is real sure about this, illegitimate but it's that his life, at least from the comfort of my computer screen, appears to have been a tad of a mess. Let me tell you what we know about him and you can draw your own conclusions.

Samuel Albert House was born on 11 Feb 1832 in Hampshire County, West Virginia, in the vicinity of the small town of Magnolia. His mother was Rebecca House born 15 Feb 1808 in that same place, about that there's no discussion and here's what the Hampshire County, West Virginia /Virginia records say and the text of the listing for his birth:

HOUSE Samuel Albert                   Feb 11 ,1832           Isaac/Rebecca Biggerstaff

And here's the image:

And here's the URL of the index at "Hamshire County VA: Vitals: Births":

And the index is all we're likely to get because of fires and floods and whatnot at the courthouse. But as you can see it lists the parents of Samuel Albert House as Isaac and Rebecca Biggerstaff. Case closed, right? But why is the baby listed as having the last name of House? This makes me want to know more about this indexed record.

Back when Mom started this genealogy thing she went around asking her living relatives what they knew about the ancestors. Mom wanted to know more about her great grandfather, Samuel Albert House, so she went to ask Uncle Tuck. Uncle Tuck was Mom's absolute favorite uncle and he shared more than one bit of oral history with her and proved out to be a good solid source. Uncle Tuck gave her a few bits and pieces and then said cryptically, you shouldn't go nosing around because you never know what you'll find and you might not like it.

Now, you have to know Mom, because if you tell her she shouldn't know something, that's exactly what she's determined to find out! Off she went and found out something interesting about Samuel Albert right away. As you can see below, in the 1850 US Census he's 16 years old, living with his mother, Rebecca Caton, working as a laborer, and calling himself Samuel Biggerstaff. Rebecca House married Patrick Caton 13 April 1834, just after Isaac Biggerstaff, who had married Elizabeth Longstreth, died.  Here's the 1850 US Census.

And thus began Mom's journey to find out who Samuel Albert's birth father was, just who was this Isaac Biggerstaff, and piece together what might be known. You can check out a previous post to this blog here where you can see Mom's reasoning for arriving at this conclusion... and without much help from Uncle Tuck.

Quite a while back Mom received a write up of a House Family Reunion held in Ohio about 1910. In it attendees discussed how everyone in the community knew that Samuel Albert was illegitimate and that Isaac Biggerstaff was his father. OK, so Samuel Albert House was most likely illegitimate, big deal. If that's the worst thing that happens in a family it will be a miracle.

But as I'm piecing his life together, beyond the records, I start building an image of a troubled soul. Uncle Tuck is the source for a second story about SA House, and this one is not at all pleasant. But let's follow his life along using what's gleaned from records and the US Census returns. Here's his marriage record where he wed Mary Elizabeth Farrell on 20 Aug 1855 in Hampshire County VA.


In the 1860 US Census he's listed as living in the Piedmont area of Hampshire County, Virginia and working as a laborer and living with his wife and three children: John age 7, James age 4, and William age 2. So he'd gotten married, had a couple of kids, was working as a laborer (no skill mentioned, no employer mentioned specifically) going west from Magnolia, down the Potomac River to live and work near Piedmont.

Then there's the Civil War. Samuel Albert House joins up with the Confederate Army, even though all of his neighbors and relatives, especially his brother-in-laws, supported the Union. Family oral tradition (through Uncle Tuck) and Mom says that he got drunk, went "over the hill" into Virginia, and signed up with the Confederacy in August and was absent without leave by October of 1862. I found his war records on Fold3 and that's pretty much what happened.

It was difficult living in this part of Virginia that had just voted for secession from Virginia and become West Virginia on April 17, 1862. Skirmishes raged daily in the woods and streets. You could get killed hanging the clothes out to dry. A local story posted to the Hampshire County RootsWeb goes like this:
The Confederates built the cook fire one morning, the Yankees put the bacon on to fry, the Confederates ate it, and the Yankees put the fire out. The military would count this as one turn-over, but the beleaguered population considered it three turnovers.

By the time of the 1870 US Census, the Civil War has ended and he's moved his family again, this time to Springfield, West Virginia, and has a new profession working for the rail road. The railroad was the high-tech industry of the day and if you could land and keep a job there and could keep it, you were set for life. Springfield is about half way as the crow flies between Piedmont and PawPaw (near Magnolia or what's left of it, and read more about that here.)

In the 1880, 1900, and 1910 US Census he's living in Maryland but hopping around a bit. In both the 1880 and 1900 censuses he's a farmer.

And just why did he move from Virginia to Frostburg, showing up in the US Census there in 1910? Oral tradition has it that he was drinking a lot - too much - making a nuisance of himself and being abusive to his family. The adult male members of his family had what today we might call an intervention and moved him over to Frostburg where they could keep an eye on him. In that 1910 census he's in Frostburg and listed as doing odd jobs.

There was, as per Uncle Tuck, a particularly ugly scene in Frostburg, during which Samuel Albert threatened to kill his wife, Mary Elizabeth Farrell. Uncle Tuck's father walked in to find Mary Elizabeth kneeling on the floor saying prayers while Samuel Albert raised a hatchet over her head. Uncle Tuck's father put a stop to the madness by threatening in no uncertain terms to call the police if he ever raised a hand against her again. And he never did.

It seems to me to be a troubled life. I can't of course be certain of that but it would seem so from the details here and especially from the oral tradition handed down by Samuel Albert's grandson, Uncle Tuck, to Mom.

So what are the issues at play here and why am I posting this to the blog? First, they say it's difficult sometimes to set out what's known of a troubled ancestor's life. One needs to be objective and present factually accurate data about what's known and the source of that information, being respectful of lives I really know very little about.

And it's important to capture oral tradition too, which can be colored by personal leanings and the retelling of the story. Each person who retells it is a filter and can't help but change and modify the truth, whatever that was.

When looking at the gathering of research and stories I don't feel positively or negatively or judge; that's not for me to do. I can't know how his world saw him in the light of his well-known illegitimacy. Was it no big deal or a mark against him? It was remembered and talked about and recorded at the House Family Reunion in Ohio years later so it must have been something of note. But enlisting in the Confederacy when others in your family and community were fighting for the Union? And then going AWOL two months later? And the possibility that he was drunk when he enlisted and went AWOL is a tad unusual, don't you think?

The most difficult and egregious for me is his abusive of the family. The fact of it is not proven beyond a doubt nor documented in any manner except for oral history and I must remember that.

And then there's the need some of his other descendants feel to do what they can to cover-up his life. Changing names on a death certificate, looking and looking until they find an Isaac House, half-way across the state and presuming that he's the father, posting that to web sites near and far. Silly, really. Why not look at the man's life for what it was and lend some compassion to his presumed pain? And I do presume that he was is some sort of pain because drinking is mentioned in almost every story about him.

Samuel Albert House 1832 - 1917
Samuel Albert House 1832 - 1917 and Mary Elizabeth Farrell House 1835 - 1919

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: My Two Grandmothers, Part II

The following two paragraphs are repeated from last Sunday, in case you missed the introduction.

When I was a kid and walked into either grandmother’s kitchen there was always a deep feeling of home and comfort to be found there. The kitchen was the center of each family’s existence. There was of course a best room or front parlor, what we’d today call a living room. But the kitchen was where everyone went right away and where you’d find all the family. That’s where family stories got told over and over again. Maybe your grandmother’s home was like that?

As an adult I can now see that Grandma Kelly and Grandma Williams had very different kitchens, and that’s really an extension of the differences in the families as well as the differences in Mom and Dad. Without being too psychological about it I bet that you can easily describe the differences in your grandmothers and their kitchens, if you were lucky enough to get to know them.

And now a message to my dear cousins:
We shared a grandmother, you and I. I’ve been thinking about them lately and wanted to get down in writing how I remember them. And you might have remembered them entirely differently, or notice the details I get so very wrong. Can’t help it: that’s just the way the past is stuck in my head.
Mom and I had a discussion about this recently when I asked her how many mounted deer heads were in Grandpa Williams’ living room, because I remembered a lot of them and could picture a whole wall full of horns and glass eyes! She said it was just one.

So if you have a different past stuck in your head, please share it with us. The “truth” of it doesn’t matter so much now. What matters is the way we remember it and share it with family.
In the kitchen:
Grandma and Grandpop Kelly with Aunt Louise Kelly Cheney, their youngest.

Grandma Kelly’s kitchen was the hub of a busy, loud, and opinionated family. The front door was always open to the house on the busiest street in town, Main Street. Getting in the front door might be the easiest part of your visit if news of the neighbors, politics or religion were topics of discussion back in the kitchen. You might arrive to find no seats available because aunts and uncles had beaten you to its warmth. It was noisy, often combative one moment then filled with rolling laughter the next.

On other days I was lucky to find just Grandma in the kitchen while Grand Pop slept on the daybed in the dining room. Soft and cozily quiet was her kitchen then. You could sit at her table, eating a sweet treat, looking out the back window, over the back yard and down to the old Percy Cemetery, long out of use and in the 1950s very overgrown.

Were you ever sent out to burn the trash for your grand parents? I was and remember the exact spot and how you might find a chard of some long-ago piece of broken pottery or bit of “tin foil”.

There was usually something cooking. Grandma was a wonderful baker. Breads and dinner rolls I can still smell, and sweet treats she called (Pennsylvania, or German) Dutch Cakes that consisted of bread dough with wells of fruit or custard, my favorite. The last tiny bits of bread dough got pressed into a more or less round shape and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. They came out as tasty as any cookie and you could have one with a little glass of milk if you were good.

Opposite the table was the big stove ready at all times to produce a hearty meal for her big family of six offspring, their many grandchildren and anyone else who happened by. On the far wall, Grand Pop sat in his rocking chair. You see he acquired Black Lung disease in the coal mines where he worked from about the 6th grade until he was no longer able to breathe. It was all he could do to climb down the small ladder to the basement and stoke the coal fire to get the furnace ready to heat the house. And there was no way my ample Grandma was going to fit half of herself down that hatch door!

Behind Grand Pop in the corner was the pantry where an inquiring youngster could find all manner of stuff from staples like flour and sugar to canned items. Next to it and a tall metal cabinet held extra plates and everyday table wears. Finishing the far wall was an old kitchen cupboard, sometimes painted green or whatever color Grandma was fond of. She did love to brighten a room with a fresh coat of paint on the occasional piece of furniture.

Sitting on the outside wall next to the wooden cupboard was the refrigerator. Do you remember the ones with the coils sitting on top, becuase I sort of do. I don’t remember an ice box that used real ice and the ice man delivered it, but they tell me it was once there.

The table anchored the middle and in the corner the sink. On the right hand wall as you entered the kitchen was a hat stand with a mirror on top and a bench below. That was the seat of last resort if the kitchen was full! Come early, stay late!
Grandma Kelly in her back yard, the brick path following the clothes line,
with the Old Percy Cemetery off in the distance.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Surname Saturday: The Prices and Missing Pieces

Off we go on another Surname Saturday, a very useful  blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers! I really am loving this opportunity to work with Mom's Big Tree and delve into each line taking it back as far as we have gone, and then talking to Mom in depth about what's there and what's missing.

This week we're looking at the Price family and they are a puzzle to me. The records get very cloudy fast and the trail is murky as it get all mish-mash in Virginia, England and Wales from the 1730s forward. So let me share what we have and list what we don't have so that Mom and I can work on it.

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

12. Daniel Williams 1852 - 1920
13. Jane Price 1862 - 1939

26. William Price 1829 - 1872
27. Diane Thomas about 1832 - 1871
William Jr. was born in Bedfordshire, England, why we do not know. He died in Aux Sable Township, Grundy County, Illinois. Our working theory is that they went west, possibly mining, and to be with family. He's listed in the 1841 English Census living with his mother, Ann who is a lace maker. In both the 1850 and 1870 US Census he is listed as a miner and then more specifically, a coal miner.
Williams' wife Diane was born in Wales. She died in Mount Savage, Allegany County, Maryland. Mom believes that she traveled back to where family was to have her last child and died in childbirth or shortly thereafter.
They had these children:
William Henry Price 1852 - 1910. William was born in Frostburg, Allegany, MD and died there. He married Julia Elizabeth Koegel.
Benjamin Price 1854 - 1906. He died in Streator IL.He married Hanna "Annie" ?.
Diane Price 1856 - ????. She married Charles Busch and they lived in Brooklyn, Kings, NY, and presumably died there.
13. Jane Price 1862 - 1939. She was born in Mount Savage, Allegany, Maryland and died just up the hill in Frostburg.
Ellen Nellie Price 1864 - ????. She married the musician Buford Alley, born in Indiana.
James H. Price 1856 - 1933. He married Elizabeth Hiller and died in Streator IL.
Mary Price 1869 - ????
Victoria Price 1871 - ????

52. William Price ???? - before 1860
53. Ann ???? - ????
William was born in Wales and died before 1860 in Annapolis Maryland. We don't know a thing about Ann. Obviously we need to get going on this couple!
Some preliminary work looks like Ann went to Illinois and that's why her son William went there and died there... but is it the same Ann Price the lace maker, that's the question?
These are the children we've found so far:
26. William Price 1829 - 1872
John Price 1821 - ????

104. Arjlon Price 1738 - 1822
105. Catherine Katey Hill 1740 - 1824
Both Arjalon and Catherine were born in North Farham Parish, Richmond County, VA, and died in Allegany County, MD. What is believable is that this family migrated west to Ohio. But notice the strange Wales birth of William. And that the parents die in Allegany County in Western Maryland. Doesn't fit in. Am having trouble wrapping my head around it. Needs way more work to tie up these lose ends.
John Price 1762 - 1845. He was born in North Farham Parish, Richmond County, VA and died in Marshall County, WVa. He married Martha Ann.
Arjalon Garner Price 1764 - 1852. Born in Ohio County WVa and died in Marshall County WVa. He married Nancy Ann Thompson.
George Washington Price 1788 - 1820. George Washington was born in Ohio County, WV. He married Martha Patsy Ellis Burbridge. They both died in Moundsville Ohio.
52. William Price ???? - before 1860. Born in Wales. Doesn't fit in.

If you are a knitter, sometimes you get to a point and look at the work and have a sinking feeling that it's not right and you're going to have to take it apart and start over, or at least re-do a bunch of work. Yeah, that's how Mom and I are feeling about this line. Following in Mom's footsteps, I need to now do a "reasonably exhaustive search" with the resources available today and see where it goes. The Price Family goes on my ever-growing list of things to do.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

The Creative Process: Introspeciton

I really like being by myself, alone with my thoughts. Mom does too. Don't get me wrong, we like other people... well, most other people. But a real fun time for us, after being with family, is to be alone with books and thoughts figuring stuff out. I've noticed that this is a trait shared by many genealogists and that's good because if you don't like working on your own then I really don't know and can't guess how you'd do genealogy. As a team sport?

It wasn't until I read Eric Maisel's book A Life in the Arts, that I understood how the artist in me - I was a painter at the time - sought out alone time. He writes on page 31:

It's one thing to be intelligent and another thing to enjoy thinking, to relish time spent alone with one's thoughts, to happily muse, imagine, and analyse.

I get it, I do. I get it in my gut. Time left alone to think and look at the issues from all sides. Maisel goes on to point out that artists (and if I can suggest, genealogists as well) are not contemplative because they are at odds with the world. No, rather they are busy trying to figure it out. They like the intellectual pursuit of a stated goal, feeling like they're going somewhere with that thought. It just feels like you're at odds with the world if you can't carve out time to satisfy this urge.

And like artists, the proficient genealogist is better able to exercise their options with a fully developed set of skills. How often have you heard someone looking at an abstract painting say, Oh my kid could do that. Actually, no your kid couldn't do that because you're looking at something that's highly sophisticated and extremely difficult to do. (And yes, all the TV kids you see called Pint-Sized Picasso... all proven FAKE!) Now think of the commercials with the shaky leaves... looks easy, no?

Time alone with your thoughts. Golden. The skills to do what you see needs to be done? Diamonds, all.

Nutshell analysis and the obvious take-aways:
* You like alone time. It's cool.
* Protect that alone time, even demand it if you must.
* Maisel says that this thoughtful "dreaming" keeps us young. Feels that way. Aren't you just a kid in your heart?

Photo of the day from the Archive:

Aunt Christiana (Chris) Kelly Fraley riding a bike and feeling like a kid, about 1942.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Military Lot Map, Allegany County MD

Because I have so many ancestors in Allegany and Garrett Counties in Western Maryland, I'm always interested in new-to-me resources for that area. The Maryland State Archives is increasingly important as they add and refine the resources there.

The latest precious find goes right in my "Treasure Chest of wonderful things I can not now imagine living without." It's a map made in 1787 that identifies the Revolutionary War Military Lots for these two counties. I keep a list of ancestors given Military Lots by the Maryland Legislature and so far I've identified the lot numbers belonging to the Workman and Eckhart families. Although I need to back-track and see exactly how these folks came by the land assignments and follow the paper trail, it's helpful to have set in my mind where the lots are and compare that to what I know about where the families lived. So let's take a look at the lots and I'll tell you what I know right at the moment about each family and how they came by the lots... and what I don't yet know.

Isaac Workman

Which Isaac Workman? That's the big question. Father Isaac Workman 1710 - 1827, or son Isaac Workman 1742 - 1827? Just looking at the dates, it seems that the father, Isaac Sr., would have been too old to serve in the militia. That said, perhaps he served in some other role and that's why he was awarded lot # 3536. The most often used source for this line is Thelma Anderson's book  Workman Family History, which she put together in the 1950s. In it she identifies the father as the person awarded the lot. My genea-sense (newly blossoming) tells me there's got to be more to this story.

I find lot 3536 directly across from Indian Purchase and am really curious as to what that was. Indian Purchase was between Sugar Bottom and Rosse's Mistake. Need to ask around my local sources and find out if these are still landmarks. Walnut Bottom is located down river on the Potomac and it's still there and called by the same name. And I notice that the Potomac River is called by it's old name, "Potowmack." Also notice that the town of Frostburg, where Mom lives, is called Mount Pleasant in the old way, on this map. Am hoping that with a little luck the location of this Workman property won't be too hard to find now. And, I must add, this is not where the Workman Farm of old is located!

It is generally believed that George Adam Eckhart purchased his Military Lots # 3644, 3645, 3646 as well as lot # 3694. I find these lots just about where I thought they might be. There is one surprise: the location of lot # 3694. Looks like that one is not contiguous and might be now located across present Route 40 in the stretch near Eckhart Mines. Again, have to walk the land and see what's what.
George Adam Eckhart's son-in-law, Jacob Loar, also had something to do with this land and he reportedly was awarded a lot or lots for his service in the Revolutionary War. Could that be the explanation for the non-contiguous lot #3694?
As you can plainly see there are too many loose ends here. Those go on the list of stuff to find out about.

See, that's the thing with jumping into all the fine work Mom has done building the family tree since the 1970s: stuff is missing here and there and begs being expanded upon because it actually has half a chance to be found now. I'll find a new resource like this one, take a cursory glance, dig a bit deeper, make a to-do list for it, and try to get back to what I was doing before the beautiful distraction happened. I'm learning as I go and trying to keep the actual work orderly. Yeah, Diane, good luck with that!

You can see the map in its entity here.

Map of Military Lots, Tracts in Allegany and Garrett Counties, Maryland, Copy of 1787 map
Developer/Owner: Deakins, Francis. Accessed 19 FEB, 2013 at:

Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt of GeneaBloggers.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: Stuff I Needed to Know, Lately

Here it is Wednesday again, considering how very much I don't yet know, there's always something to say. So it's time to take up the GeneaBlogger's Blogging Prompt called Wisdom Wednesdays, and see if I've learned anything at all lately.

Citing Sources. After due consideration, ordered Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, in book form. My pal Kathy listened to me drone on and on making the argument for both the e-download and then the print book. She'd rather have the print book but confessed to loving a print book in the lap and making notes all over it. I use sticky post notes because I just can't bring myself to write in books. Crazy, huh? Luckily, I found a 30% off coupon and bought the real book. Maybe later I'll also get the e-book so that I can have access on the run.... whenever I get a new laptop.
Plus! Did not know about citation generating web sites. I imagine they have their difficulties but wonder if they might be OK for simple citations. And what about more complex ones? Any opinions?

FamilySearch. Have been reading blog posts and I see that I'm not the only one having trouble keeping up with changes over there. What a great site and resource they have. I just never feel very comfortable using it, not that that stops me at all from plunging in.
Seems to me that stuff isn't where I left it and I have trouble finding my way back again. It really does help to know that they do move and change a lot because now I know that it's not always me... although it might be:) Am now keeping all their web addresses labeled in a Favorites folder. Maybe that will help.
Am still striving to learn how to use FamilySearch by reading everything I can get my hands on and looking at the Wiki when I remember to. Told my pal Kathy about the Wiki and she's learned a lot there too... although she couldn't find her way to it until we googled "FamilySearch Wiki", and saw it here.
March is my month for focusing on education and especially webinars... and FamilySearch education is at the top of the list.
And what's with the two week limit on remembering your sign in? Couldn't it just renew that two weeks every time you go back?
Am I being picky?

Digging Deeper. This might be a theme going around lately, but every day I see how this work really does benefit from digging deeper. What that means for me is digging deeper into the records and taking time with them. And it also means looking more closely at all the media materials I already have.
I'm trying hard to take more time with my writing, not that you all can probably tell:) It's just a behind the scenes fine-tuning and tweaking that's going on. I understand that every post is another opportunity for me to work with the materials at hand and think about the implications in the lives of the ancestors.

Thanks for reading:)

Photos of the day from Cousin Steve's Archive:

Uncle Harold Conrad, about 1942.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: A Funny Thing in The File

If you've been reading for any time at all then you know that I'm following in Mom's footsteps here doing whatever I can to get her fine work out to the world. Her files are a treasure chest of cousin bait! All I have to do is bait the hook and find a good fishin' hole.
Recently as a small project to get the files in order I've been doing some photo editing and file naming on the photos Mom took over the years of tombstones. It's still a mess but getting better as time goes by.
Mom will admit that she's not the world's greatest photographer, but that never stops her from whipping out the camera and snapping a tombstone. And I'm super happy that she did back when Dad was alive and could drive her all over Western Maryland, northern West Virginia and south west Pennsylvania all along the border with Maryland.
She'd find out about another cemetery and off they'd go on an adventure. Dad would make groaning sounds when he had to drive his precious Cadillac down a dirt road to a long-ago closed family or small community cemetery. The best pay off was when Dad found an old farmer or caretaker around that he could chat up about history of the area. Dad loved history and he loved talking to old guys because they knew so much stuff!
Off Mom would go looking for tombstones with surnames that were on her Big Tree. When she got the film developed Mom put them into one of those photo albums with the sticky pages. (I can hear your groan way over here, but she likes them.) So last year when I was visiting Mom I took photos of all her photos. Yes, I can hear you groan again because it's a loss with each step, but hey, you gotta get what you can get while you can get it.
Here's one I found just recently of the tombstone for my cousin Crissy, who is gone now, and her son Sammy. It's a sad image to me because I knew them well, or at least it was sad until I looked again. See Mom??
Tombstone Tuesday is a weekly blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers. You can find the whole week's list of prompts here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Uncle Camey Writes Home

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:)

It's World War II and Grandma Kelly's boys are ready to go do their duty. They gather with the family before everyone goes off, and take photos so that they can all remember the last time they were together. Everyone puts on brave faces but you can tell, the women in the family look worried but mostly smile hard. So do the Old Folks.

On the Williams side, Mom's family, was doing much the same thing. Once the boys were off for training camps the letters started coming back home. Dad had some medical issues that kept him out of the draft. Later he had a war job in a munitions plant so he was really out of the action. But the brothers and brothers-in-law didn't yet know that so they wrote to the only man their age back home. Mom has a treasure trove of letters from this time.

Here's a letter from Mom's brother Camey who was training in Riverside County, California, at Camp Haan, and not too far from where I now live.

Camp Haan CA
Desert RAT (ME)
Friday Sept 3

Hi Folks,
Well I received your letter today and was glad to hear from you. Glad Ginny is getting along good. Not much news here. I leave for Camp again tomorrow for a period of two weeks and then come back out here again for anywhere from 8 weeks on up. This time has only been for 3 weeks, boy the next time it will drive me nuts I guess. I like it here though its hot. I want to hear about Pat soon as he gets examined and when he leaves for the Army.
If I was to have it over again I would take the Navy. I could make something. Lot more chances than the Army. I know you would make good anywhere though. I may as well have two Lieut.’s as brother in laws than only one. Petie’s Cousin is out here, he’s (???)in an office also and she wrote for me to come see thou I know him well. Well I must close now. I’m busy packing, I write late.
Lots of luck,

Uncle Camey in Uniform, location unknown.

A souvenir scarf sent to Mom by her brother, Camey Williams from Camp Haan, CA.
He made it home! 
Here's a video of a Jack Benny broadcast from Camp Haan in 1942! How cool is this?

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, February 17, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: My Two Grandmothers, Part I

When I was a kid and walked into either grandmother’s kitchen there was always a deep feeling of home and comfort to be found there. The kitchen was the center of each family’s existence. There was of course a best room or front parlor, what we’d today call a living room. But the kitchen was where everyone went right away and where you’d find all the family. That’s where family stories got told over and over again. Maybe your grandmother’s home was like that?

As an adult I can now see that Grandma Kelly and Grandma Williams had very different kitchens, and that’s really an extension of the differences in the families as well as the differences in Mom and Dad. Without being too psychological about it I bet that you can easily describe the differences in your grandmothers and their kitchens, if you were lucky enough to get to know them.
Grandma Williams, Emma Susan Whetstone Williams (1897 - 1956), Mom's mother, ran a relatively quiet home on Bowery Street in the small town of Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland. Bowery was lined with other homes and a smattering of tiny neighborhood stores. Do you remember those stores, the ones that might pop up on every couple of blocks turning the front room into the store?  
Grandma’s big kitchen occupied the width of the back of the house and was entered through a porch with a swing. The odd thing and what I could never figure out, is that the swing faced the house and not the yard. I always preferred the big expanse of the yard with its vegetable garden and flowers. The milk man left his wares there on the porch, so early in the morning the first thing you did when you got up was run out to get the goods. Whole milk in glass jars with cream on the top all yellow and rich, butter so creamy, and delicious and fresh cottage cheese too.

Grandma and Grandpa Williams,
snow on the roof and ground, in back of the house.

Through the back door and into the kitchen to the right on the outside wall abutting the porch was a tall hutch of dark oak with shelves lined with plates and glasses. Below were cabinets full of kitchen staples. The top had glass doors on both sides and open shelves in the middle.
When I sat at the table in front of the hutch inspecting  pies that occupied the big shelf, I liked to maneuver myself to the side so that I could view the tall hutch as well as look out the window on that side of the room. Sitting at Grandmother’s table and eating a piece of her delicious fruit pie was all I needed in the world.
On the left of the back door as you entered was the working part of the kitchen with stove, refrigerator and sink. On the far left wall was a door to the store room, which was up a couple of steps and into the most fascinating part of the house, at least for me.

The store room held a range of items that practically defined my Williams grandparents. For him, stacks of tobacco supplies in neat boxes that included cigarettes, cigars, and his personal favorite, chewing tobacco because he was a tobacco wholesale route man. You would also find all of his hunting and fishing gear there too. As he made his rounds to the retail stores that were his customers he’d sometimes stop and fish a stream bringing home trout for diner. I loved climbing those little stairs into the cool darkness of the store room and watching him as he sorted through his hand-tied flies for trout fishing. There was one fly for fish that hid in the shallow water under the shade of a tree and another type of fly for the fish that played in the deep water. How did he know all of the mysteries of the fish? Creels, rods, and waders of all kinds were joined by his hunting gear. That lot held no interest for me.
Grandpa Williams in his delivery truck.
The other side of the store room was the domain of the domestic queen that ran the home: Grandma. Long shelves lined the two inside walls and were heaped with all manner of preserved goods. From cabbage to jams and jellies, in colors that danced in the tiny sliver of sunlight that made its way in the window and past the curtain.

Adjacent to the kitchen was the dining room. There was always a beautiful hand crocheted table cloth made by Grandma on the big oak table. I have strong memories of sitting quietly watching Grandma crochet, marveling at the magic of simple thread being teased and tugged into such ornate beauty as was the doilies, runners, and table dressing she made.
A couple of parakeets lived next to the window over the telephone table with the party line phone. No dial or buttons: you just picked up the handset and told the operator who you wanted to talk to. On the other side of the room was a day bed where Grandma liked to take a nap or read. She loved to read, Mom loves to read, and I love to read.

Quiet was her home. Voices in conversation never rose too far and the radio softly played in the kitchen. The only disturbance was possibly Grandpa’s radio playing in the front room where his mounted trophy deer head hung or in the summer time out on the front porch when the baseball game was on. You see, his brother played pro ball so he was keen to listen to and enjoy games.
Sometimes, especially when the fruit is ripest and would make the best pies, I really miss that kitchen.

Yours truly and cousin JC with Grandma Williams.

Uncle Camey Williams as a young gentleman in his suit, 
at the side of the house leaning against the outer wall of the kitchen.

Cousin Steve plays in the yard in back of the kitchen whils Grandpa looks on. About 1949.
Grandpa's brother the baseball player, in uniform.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Surname Saturday: The Workman Family

Off we go on another Surname Saturday, a dandy blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers! This week we're looking back to follow the Workman family to when they spelled their name in the Dutch way, Woeterman. We'll see another of my four Revolutionary War ancestors and follow along as this line makes its way to Western Maryland and to Military lots, and plops down comfortably on the Workman Farm, as well as near and in the town of Frostburg, just as all my other ancestors did. So here we go!

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)

22. Elijah Workman 1816 - 1864
23. Nancy Ann Troutman 1826 - 1882
Elijah was born and died in Zihlman, Allegany County, MD, which is really hard to find on the map. The Workman Farm, mentioned below, is located near here. Zihlman is located near Mt. Savage and Frostburg, Maryland. You can just about see Zihlman from where Mom now lives, especially when the leaves are off the trees.
Nancy Ann Troutman was born in Wellersburg, Somerset County, PA.
Here are their children:
Amanda Workman 1848 - 1865
Caspar Workman 1849 - 1949. He married Margaret Holtzman Merrill. They both died in Frostburg.
Benjamin Workman 1851 - 1869
John Franklin Workman 1857 - 1930. He married Mary Anne Mealing. They both died in Frostburg.
11. Moretta Workman Zeller 1859 - 1946
Mary Ann Workman 1861 - 1939. She married Peter Pressman. They both died in Frostburg.
Joseph Workman 1863 - 1894. He died in Frostburg.

44. John Workman 1779 - 1859
45. Amelia Combs about 1789 - ????
John was also born in Zihlman but died just up the hill in Frostburg. Presumable, Amelia Combs was born close by Zihlman and also died in Frostburg, but proof remains elusive. Very recently - like yesterday - a Combs family history has come into my possession, so this might get updated real soon:)
John was a farmer and in the 1840 US Census owned one slave. This was the first record of him owning slaves.
They had these children:
Rebecca Workman 1809 - before 1908. She married Solomon Hansel. They both died in Frostburg.
Kate Workman 1810 - ????. She married Noah Trimble from Wellersburg PA.
Joseph Workman 1812 - 1879. He married Louisa Knabenshue from Keyser, Mineral County, WVa.
Isaac Workman 1814 - 1897
22. Elijah Workman 1816 - 1864
Margaret Workman 1819 - 1908. She married James P. Hannah and then Harry Stevens.
John L. Workman 1821 - 11873. He married Druzilla Workman.
Stephen Workman 1823 - ????.
Cuthbert Workman 1825 - 1882. He married Nancy Conkle. He died in Danville, Knox, County, OH.
Nimrod Workman 1828 - 1870.
William Combs Workman 1831 - 1894. He married Clara Sophia Winebrenner and then Rebecca Sheffiff.

88. Isaac Workman (Jr.) 1742 - 1827
First wife unknown, mother of John, above
Second wife, Lydia Merrill 1743 - ????
Isaac was born in Somerset County, NJ and after his second wife, Lydia Merrill died, and he moved to Danville, Knox County, OH to be with his sons and daughter. He died there.
It is generally believed that it is this Isaac Workman who on 28 Aug 1776, joined the Revolutionary War in the state of Maryland, Washington County, serving under Andrew Bruce and also from Washington County. Much needs to be done by me to investigate his service further.
And notice how many started moving to Knox County, Ohio! Need to investigate what was so enticing to attract them. They settled well there and there's even a Workman Cemetery, screen shot below.
These are their known children:
Stephen Workman 1767 - 1865. Born in Zihlman and died in Union Township, Knox County, OH. He married Jane Graham who was born in Ireland.
William Workman 1769 - ????
Rebecca Workman 1773 - 1835. Born in Zihlman and died in Union Township, Knox County, OH. Married Solomon Robinson.
44. John Workman 1779 - 1859
Lydia Workman 1782 - ????
Joseph C. Workman 1782 - 1852. He was born in Frostburg and died in Danville, Knox County, OH. He married Sarah Conner.

Screen Shot of FindAGrave for the Workman Cemetery in Danville, Knox County, Ohio.

176. Isaac Workman (Sr.) 1710 - 1827
177. Femmentie (Pheobe) Rangel 1712 - ????
Isaac (Sr.) was born in Brooklyn. The couple both moved together to Somerville, Somerset County, New Jersey. Isaac also might have served in the Revolutionary War because when Military Lots were apportioned he was given title to Lot # 3656. Later he transferred title to his son, Isaac (Jr.).
Their children were:
88. Isaac Workman (Jr.) 1742 - 1827
Fannie Workman ???? - ????
Sarah Workman 1734 - ????
Rebecca Workman ???? - ????

Click to enlarge and see the Military Lot Map for Allegany County, Maryland and find the Workman Lot #3536.
352. Peter Derick Woerterman christened 1688 - ????
Married: Unknown. ???? - sometime between 1727 to 1735.
It is thought that Peter was born in Brooklyn, as was his wife. It is believed that Peter's wife died before he moved to Allegany County, MD.
Their children, known, are:
176. Isaac Workman (Sr.) 1710 - 1827
Cornelius Workman (Woeterman) 1715 - ????. Most likely candidate for the the one who started the Workman Farm in Allegany County, MD.
Peter Workman 1720 - ????. Probably born in New Jersey.
Margaret Workman 1720 - ????. Also probably born in New Jersey.

705. Richard John (Dirk Jan) Woeterman about 1630 - after 1694
706. Marrietje Teunis Denyse ???? - before 1647
Richard was born in Holland and immigrated to America in 1647, unmarried at that time. The date is figured because in 1687 he took the oath of allegiance at Brooklyn stating he had been there for 40 years. On 10 April 1661 he and his wife Marrietje Teunis Denyse were admitted to the Brooklyn Dutch Church. At that time he owned property in Brooklyn and operated the Brooklyn Ferry. He was made town officer in 1673.
Their 17 children were:
Haramita Woeterman, Femmetje Woeterman, Jan Derick Woterman, Geertruy Woeterman, Teunis Derick Woeterman, Paulis Woeterman, Catrherine Woeterman, Dennis Woeterman, Lysbeth Woeterman, Annetje Woeterman, Marretje Woeterman, 352. Peter Derick Woerterman christened 1688 - ????, and Lorewyck Derick Woeterman.

1408. John William Workman (Jans William Woeterman) 1598 - before 1637
1409. Hanna (Harmetie) ???? - after 1685
It is generally believed that John William Workman came from England to Holland because of religious persecution at the time of the Putitan upheavals. In Holland he blended in to life and culture taking the Dutch version of his name: Jans William Woeterman.
They had these children and possibly more:
Elizabeth Jans Woeterman born by about 1630 - ????. She married Pieter Jansen Noorman, born in Norway. Pieter and Elizabeth were some of the first settlers of Bushwick and owned 130 acres there along the East River in what is now Brooklyn. When Pieter died she married Joost Jansen Cocquit.
705. Richard John (Dirk Jan) Woeterman about 1630 - after 1694
Annatje ????- ????

The line back beyond this point is unclear. Looking to my main resource for the Workman family, Workman Family History, by Thelma Chidister Workman, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Publishers Press, 1962) as well as the resources for the above line from Isaac Workman (Jr.) back, there is every indication that John William or his father came to Holland because of religious persecution. This theory has been part of the US Workman family lore, and is still spoken of even today. The natural conclusion, thought not proven in documentation as of my knowledge, is that they came from the Workman family in Gloucester, England.

WOW! This is a long one. Thanks for looking:)

Moretta Workman Zeller 1859 - 1964 my GGM.

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