Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thoughtful Tuesday: Young and Old Grandpop Kelly

Last Tuesday I started this new blogging prompt and I'll see how far it goes. Of course after a while there will be no more ancestor young and old photos to match up so it will come to an end. But for now, there's some fun to be had contrasting images of ancestors as they were when they were young and full of the world with images of them in their maturity. If you want to read the first post you can see it here.

It amuses me to think of how all of my grandparents had different names, like Grandma, Grandmother, Gram, and so on. Grandpop Kelly was always a "Pop" to me. He was kind of sassy, clever, sharp whited, and quick to laugh at a joke. My father called him Pop so I guess it was only natural that I follow along with Grandpop.

As mentioned above, this is my second try at a comparison of a couple of photos telling the story of the young version of a grandparent and an older version of that same person. I did it last week with my Grandma Kelly (Helen Zeller Kelly 1894-1985) so it's only natural that now I turn to her mate, John "Lee" Kelly (1892 - 1969). I don't have a photo of him as a boy but I have a picture of him as a young newlywed and then as a old guy, and that will do nicely.

Grandpop Kelly left school after the 4th grade to go to work mostly in the coal mines and earn for his family. Later in life he regretted not having a good education. After he left school he tried his hand as a railroad brakeman, which was a very dangerous job. His father, a railroad conductor, most likely got him that job as he did for all of his sons. We find Grandpop in the 1910 census at 18 years old working on the railroad. In the 1920 census he's married (which he and Grandma did in 1913) and working as an electrician in the coal mines.

In the 1930 census he's working as a motorman in the coal mines and all six children have appeared. It's the Great Depression and he's paying $15 a month rent to his mother-in-law. In the 1940 census he's worked about 33 hours a week for 33 weeks in the last year making $800 as a coal miner. Mining wasn't a full-time job and the miners worked when there was work and at the behest of the supervisors who could and did play favorites when doing hiring.

Mom says he eventually quit working in the 1940s when his sons went to work and could help support the family. Throughout WWII the boys sent money home and continued to send money for their support after. As I remember, he wasn't working by the 1950s due to the effects of black lung disease. His health was a mess by that time.

This photo of Grandma and Grandpop always strikes me as a wedding portrait. It hung in the front entry hall of their home on West Main Street in the little town of Frostburg, Maryland for many years.

Here he is probably in the late 1950s or early 1960s, sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch. His hair is gray and he sits in comfortable shirt and old pants. I know the shoes he has on without even being able to see them: old black house slippers. He'd rock gently, cough now and then, and enjoy the fresh clean mountain air.
The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/thoughtful-tuesday-young-and-old_30.html

Monday, April 29, 2013

DNA Monday: Starting the Surname List, Finally

This DNA adventure has been going on a while and it continues to amaze and amuse me. One of the matches and his father shared their GEDmatch kit number and I with them. I thought that there wasn't a match on the fathers but there was on the son's results. Sadly for me, the son emailed back that he read it that the best match was on chromosome 14 on his father's results and that his showed some sort of lesser match. I dunno. Got to go back and take another look. There are three people here so could I do some triangulation? Possibly.

I'm into this adventure since the middle of January when I received my kit from 23andMe. If you want to look back and see what's happened so far just put "DNA" in the search box to the right and you will be taken to a list of articles. Be sure to click on to the next page, because only four results are there at the top of each page. Seems strange to me, but there you have it.

Getting the results back from 23andMe took a bit of patience -- I want it now -- but really, they did fine. And the medical results were very informative showing me another reason or two to have a low fat diet. That was good to have reinforced. But here's where it all got complex: the relative match/finder, or family finder, or DNA match... whatever you want to call it. I'm depending on the knowledge of others about their family tree and their good nature and patience to care about it and look deeper.

In short, the matches I get with 23andMe have blocks as follows:

1. At 23andMe, the reports say the majority of users test for medical results.
2. My experience there might reflect this. I'm super happy I did the testing and the match contacts have been really lovely people, but as far as I can tell, very few are into genealogy. You can tell who is into genealogy because they provided a meaty surname list.
3. I've had real good experience finding matches at GEDmatch so far. Granted, my experience is super limited what with them being down so much recently. But every time I check back I see that I have more matches. The ball is rolling along as more people test and look to a common service to find their matches!

Randy Majors had a really enlightening post about triangulation over on his blog in which he outlines some of these issues and goes on to demonstrate a reasonable spreadsheet that will help us sort it all out. Thanks, Randy!!

OK, so that's the update. Now I'm going to start my list. "What's that?" you say? You really do need a list of surnames and locations that are associated with each surname to help people see how they might match with you.

Here's an example. What if, as actually happened, a match asks where my Price people came from? Without a list ready I have to drop everything and go check about those Price people and where they hail from and the time frame we're talking about. The name of the game is to see if their Price people and my Price people had an opportunity to mix DNA, so to speak. And not everyone has a tree online! (Yeah, that's shocking.)

Here's the plan. It's kind of like Surname Saturday in that every week for a little while I'll come back and report on any news in the DNA area with my matches or whatever and also list a couple of surnames following them back into the past with locations, as best I know it. I'll be working off that chart report that we all generate in our tree programs. Mom and I use Family Tree Maker.

Just discovered a blog post from Caroline M. Pointer's Blogging Genealogy, "I'm in a hurry. Are we related... maybe?" where the topic is a surname page. Cool! Never thought about having a surname page to attract possible cousins. This is a winner!! Then I'll copy these posts on the Surname List page with a tab at the top. Thanks Caroline for this timely and very useful posting! Here's an e-hug:) Meanwhile here's my list, or at least the start of it. Hey, as Caroline says, "Are we related?"

SURNAME, Location & dates.

     Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland (1900 - present)
     Eckhart, Allegany, Maryland (1860 - 1910)
     Cumberland, Allegany, Maryland (before 1848 - 1860)
     Shannonbridge, Clonmacnoise Parish, County Offley, Ireland (before 1848)

     Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland (1872 - present)
     Caron, Uwch, Cardiganshire, Wales (before 1872)
     Other locations:
          Upstate New York, specific location unknown. (probably after 1870)

     Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland (Before 1860 - present)
     Wurtemburg, Germany (before 1860)
     Other locations:
          Chicago, Cooks, Illinois (probably after 1884)

     Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland (1870 - present)
     Selbysport and Grantsville, Allegany then Garrett, Maryland (1840 - 1870)
     Berks County and Schuykill County, Pennsylvania (before 1738 - 1840)
     Badden-Wuerttemburg, Germany (before 1710 - before 1738)

Kelly family.

Williams family.

Zellers men.

Whetstone, right.

The URL for this post is:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: Ohio, Different But Somehow The Same

This post will feel a bit self-indulgent to me but I want to do it nonetheless. I'm going to tell you about a trip Mom, my brother and sis-in-law and I took to Cleveland in 2007. I'm so very glad we went then. The next year I was in an auto accident and it took about two years to completely recover, except for the bad left knee that still troubles. And Mom is older now, but shh, don't tell her. Heck, we're all older and happy we took the trip when we did! So this will be a photo essay showing and telling about out time out of time in and around Cleveland. Think I'll do this in three parts so as not to overwhelm.

Some background first. Dad and Mom lived in the small mountain town of Frostburg in Western Maryland. They were both born and raised there and lived there during WWII. After the war, Dad took a job in management at a plastics plant near Cleveland and you can read about it here.

From about 1952 to 1964 we lived in three towns in Ohio: Chagrin Falls, Maple Heights, and then Hudson. Our adventure in 2007 retraced those steps. So here it is, my travel log back in time. First stop, Hudson, Ohio, a little village founded in 1799, and plenty of history under its belt. The underground railroad ran through here and this is the birthplace of John Brown. A large area of central Hudson is listed on the National Register of Historic Places... and I think I remember that the building code was pretty strict. Everything just looks colonial! Hudson still has plenty of those elements that make it so darn charming: a very colonial flavor to the homes and commercial buildings, a big town square, clock tower to chime the hours, tree lined streets, good schools, and a church of most varieties! Picture perfect!

My time in Hudson was during those high school years. As a new kid into the high school mix, it was pretty rough going. Trying to fit in was a full time job. Luckily, it was a small school and eventually a couple of the girls and I made friends. The in crowd were a group of girls who all went to grade school together and were real closed to newcomers. (Did they make a movie about this? Feels like it!) Now, all these years later some of us are in email contact, and it was interesting to discover high school wasn't a bowl of cherries for anyone, even that close knit group! High school... how was yours?

The town square where the annual Ice Cream Social was held every summer.

A typical Hudson street with colorful fall trees.

Our old soda fountain haunt. Look, that's the same counter and stools!

The Clock Tower on the square.
The Catholic Church in Hudson. Still the same after all this time.

The house where we lived in the 1960s. Funny, it seemed so much larger then.

My old high school, Hudson High. 
Our class will be having our 50th reunion next year! Say it can't be so!!

The walk up to the big front entrance of ol' Hudson High.
Yeah, I lost it right here and started tearing up.

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/sentimental-sunday-ohio-different-but.html

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Surname Saturday: O'Farrell, then Farrell

Here's the next installment of Surname Saturday, the blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers! We're into the 2nd great grandmothers now and looking at the O'Farrell clan from Ireland who tossed off the "O" and became the Farrells in America, mostly.

The Farrells came to America between 1839 and 1840 but we've not found solid evidence of the ship or exact date of their arrival. Mom observed that Thomas Farrell and his wife Judah (last name unknown) were married when they arrived here and traveling with two small children to a very wild area of what would later become West Virginia, near the small town of Magnolia, and that most likely Thomas had a brother or uncle already here because there was one other Farrell/O'Farrell male nearby. It's disconnected info such as this, requiring more substantiation, that wants and begs to be woven together. Some days Mom and I feel as though the work has just begun!

1. Diane Kelly Weintraub

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

6. Cambria Williams (1897 - 1960)
7. Emma Susan Whetstone (1897 - 1956)

14. Joseph Hampton Whetstone (1858 - 1938)
15. Catherine Elizabeth House ( 1865 - 1947)

30. Samuel Albert House (1832 - 1917)
31. Mary Elizabeth Farrell (1835 - 1919)
I wrote a longish blog post about Samuel Albert House this week and his strange life which you can find here. It tells the story of various jobs and moving and finally settling in Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland. But this Surname Saturday we're interested in the grandmothers four generations back, so it's Mary Elizabeth we're wanting. She was born in Ireland in 1835, most likely in County Claire, and came over with her parents, Thomas and Judah Farrell about 1839 to 1840, more or less. More about this below.
She married Samuel Albert House 20 Aug, 1855 and they had a big bunch of kids. There's also an amusing post about two of them, the Counterfeiting Twins here, who were Rev. Edward Francis and Joseph Martin.
They had these 16 children:
James I. House 1844 - ????. He married Sara C. Wilson
John T. House 1855 - 1954. He married Sarah Dennison.
William H. House 1858 - 1907. He married Ada Elizabeth Garlitz.
Mary Amelia "Molly" House 1861 - 1949. She married John R. Davis.
Samuel T. House about 1862 - ????. He married Emma Siebert.
Garnet Soloman House 1864 - ????. He married Rhoda ?.
15. Catherine Elizabeth House 1865 - 1947
Rev. Edward Francis House 1868 - 1926. He married Martha Edith Dennison.
Joseph Martin House 1868 - 1950. He married Rose Praut and upon her death married Madge Cook.
George House 1870 - 1871.
Sarah Ellen "Sadie" House 1870 - ????. She married William Harvey Reckley.
Margaret Anna "Nan" House 1872 - 1968. She married Philip Long.
Sadie F. House 1873 - ????.
Charles Harley House 1875 - 1945. He married Blanch Perdue.
Michael A. House 1878 - ????. He married Lillian Meade.
Nora House 1879 - 1964. She married Denton R. Kaseycamp.

62. Thomas Farrell, formerly O'Farrell (1795 - 1851)
63. Judah LNU (last name unknown) (1815 - 1859)
Most likely born and married in County Clare, Ireland but the actually parish or town remains unknown to us at present. Pity, that.
Mom has searched for them for years because it was the Farrell line that originally got her started and interested in family history. All she really knew was she had been told as a child: that her great grandmother came from Ireland, from "where St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland." Hmmm. Not a lot to go on. Her foundational work and networking with other genealogists lead Mom to the County Clare clue, but it's still not proven absolutely. Quite a while back Mom corresponded with a researcher in Ireland and they ruled out County Longford... close but no cigar. So here we are at one of our fascinating brick walls! Do you know how many Farrells and O'Farrels there were in Ireland in the 1830s?! Too many!
Thomas and Judah, sometimes called Judy, immigrated between 1839 and 1840. Their son James was born in Maryland in 1841, so it seems that the couple landed there before coming on to Magnolia.
Why they immigrated is a curious thing because it was before the Irish Famine years. Perhaps it was that brother or uncle, the other Farrell/O'Farrell male in the area of Magnolia, who might have lured them here. In those years, work could be had on the railroad which ran right through where they settled. But it appears that Thomas was a farmer because of an indenture for the rental of land (a copy is in Mom's possession) and his occupation listed as farmer in the 1850 US census.
Interestingly, a couple of his sons fought in the Civil War on the Union side and remained O'Farrells throughout their lives. Remember, this is the part of Virginia that became West Virginia where neighbor's sons fought on opposite sides! Brothers, too. But the O'Farrell boys stuck together in war and by name.
Thomas and Judah had the following children, some of whom went to live with friends or relatives after the couple died, Thomas in 1851 and Judah in 1859.
31. Mary Elizabeth Farrell (1835 - 1919)
Catherine Farrell (about 1835 - before 1910), born in County Clare, Ireland and immigrated with her parents and sister, Mary Elizabeth and my 2nd GGM, she died in Magnolia, Morgan County, Virginia, (now West Virginia). She married James Edward Boxwell.
James O'Farrell (1842 - 1914). James was born in Maryland, and is age 9 in the 1850 census. He married Henrietta Michael in Morgan County, but they both died Mora, Pettis, MO. His son's kept the O'. James served in the Civil War on the Union side.
Thomas O'Fallell ( 1842 - ????) Thomas also kept the O'Farrell, and as did his brother James, enlisted in the Union Army to fight in the Civil War.
Ann Farrell (1845 - ????)
Ellen Farrell (1846 - ????)
Bridget Farrell (1849 - ????)
Sarah Farrell (1851 - ????)

Next Steps
I long to know more of this family. Their saga has enough elements that make for good story telling and that keeps me fascinated. Here's what I want to know:
1. Where did they come from in Ireland and what is the name of the town or parish?
2. Why did they come?
3. Did they land in Cumberland? Was Judy pregnant with James when they arrived in America? I'll look for them in St Patrick's Catholic Church records, Cumberland, Allegany, Maryland, and for James baptismal record. They have to be Catholic, right?
4. Why did they die? Guess I'll not find that out.
5. Where are they buried? There are only a couple of cemeteries in the area, that being Horn and Cherry Orchard. You'd think a person could find them, but the land is rough and the cemeteries overgrown. Some graves are no longer marked.

Three Women with the Same Face, Almost
Wanna see something cool? This photo right below was sent to me by Cousin Rich who visited Mom this week! We were marveling at the family resemblance of these related women!
Hey, Cousin Rich, do you have a photo of Katie Boxwell Kessler's mother, Catherine Farrell Boxwell? Now, wouldn't that be fun?

Catherine "Katie" Boxwell Kessler (1871 - 1953).
She was daughter of Catherine Farrell Boxwell (1838 - 1910),
who was sister to my 2nd GGM, Mary Elizabeth Farrell House.
Here's a photo of Catherine Elizabeth House Whetstone (1865 - 1947),
cousin to Katie Boxwell Kessler, above. Could be the same person!!

Here is a photo of Mary Elizabeth Farrell House (1835 - 1919), Catherine Elizabeth's mother. 
See a family resemblance? Mom and I do!
The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/surname-saturday-ofarrell-then-farrell.html

Friday, April 26, 2013

House Heirs Association: Part II: Follow the Money

If you missed the first installment of this new series you can find it here. I promise, this is interesting to more people than just Mom and me!

Here's a recap of what the House Heirs Association is all about. In a nutshell, the descendants of one Andrew V. House (1700 - 1797) believed that he and his son, John Valentine House (1739 - 1843), had supposedly been swindled out of payment from the US Government for a 99 year land lease on an immense tract of land they owned, reported to be as large as 64,000 acres. At the end of the lease the government and people living on that land in about 1884 or 85, located roughly in Frederick County, Maryland, all forgot that the House family were the rightful owners.

In this installment we'll follow the money and watch the numbers in an attempt to uncover some of the tangled plot. So here it is, by the numbers.

1. The value of the land, if one can believe its size, is estimated at 64,000 acres, was claimed to be $6 billion in 1899 by the National Secretary of the House Heirs Association (HHA).

2. The US Government offered the House heirs a deal of $30 million sometime before the first large general meeting of the HHA in 1899. If accepted, this deal would have resulted in approximately $2 million for each of the House heirs, and ... a $2.5 million dollar pay day for the attorney. (Too bad they didn't take it!)

3. The attorneys. By the meeting of the HHA in1900 in Chicago, funds had been collected from the 300 members (or continued to be collected) for paying an attorney. It seems that Messrs. Marchant & Clay (perhaps the guys who had negotiated the deal mentioned in #2 above) were no longer involved. A Mr. Hutson, who was put forth as the man to do the job, stated through his representative at the meeting, that he "gained a great deal of valuable information through his recent investigating" and that he was "confident" that a "settlement could be reached in 18 months time".

4. Where is Mr. Huton? At the meeting of 1901 in Kokoma, Indiana, Mr. Huton was a no-show. He said that he "found it impossible to be present", but felt that a meeting with himself and the House heirs was still necessary. He also reported by letter that a settlement was possible "but it would take time and a considerable amount of patience." (He was no longer talking about that 18 month time table!)

5. Dissatisfaction with the representation? The HHA notes from the 1901 meeting indicate members discussed that Mr. Huton should be "investigated." A committee was formed to take a closer look at the contract with Mr. Huton.

6. Mo' money needed. A collection was taken at that 1901 meeting for "current expenses".

7. Circular letter, date unknown. Throughout this whole HHA saga, letters were circulated informing members of what was going on. The problem expressed in one letter is that Mr. Huton is slow in gathering supporting documentation. By the time of this particular letter it is reported that the attorney has found "no important records."

8. Time and trouble. In a letter dated 26 Sept, 1906 from the HHA Secretary, it's stated that there are now over 450 House heirs. The letter goes on to say that, "We have never been able to raise sufficient money to carry it through," referring to documentation that was already in hand and important documents that needed to be found. It's at the point, I think from reading this, that the attorney (not mentioned by name and likely not Mr. Huton) consulting with the HHA Secretary believes that an deal could still be reached.

Yikes! Looks like no one got anything out of this House Heirs Association, except the lawyers! I'd guess that Messrs. Marchant & Clay worked on contingency. When they saw the House heirs not jumping at the $30 million settlement, they bailed. Looks to me like Mr. Huton milked them for what he could doing as little work as possible himself and letting members bring him documentation. I surmise this because it was about that time that the House heirs started submitting whatever they had about the matter of the land as well as their ancestral history tracing back to John V. House. Just my guess.

I feel especially bad for the writer of that 1906 letter who had worked tirelessly on this for four years investigating what she could. By that time people might have gotten weary of contributing to a case that went no where. By 1923 the HHA is disbanded when someone absconds with whatever funds are left... but I'm getting ahead of myself!

Next time, more about how the property came to Andrew V. House. That's really interesting!

Marriage record for Samuel Albert House (1832 - 1917) and Mary Elizabeth Farrell (1835 - 1919), dated 20 Aug 1855.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: "Magnolia's Historical Past"

When I first got interested in genealogy a couple of years ago, Mom told me about the now vanished town along the Potomac River over in West Virginia called Magnolia. Pretty name, I thought. It had its best days just after 1900 on to 1910 when the population swelled to around 2,000. As the work on the C&O canal and the B&O railroad vanished, this little community did too when residents sought employment elsewhere. The final blow was a flood of the Potomac River in 1936 that wiped out much of the town.

Then after telling me a couple of stories about the ancestors who lived in Magnolia, Mom sent me a book about it called, "Magnolia's Historical Past", by Leonard H. Davis and printed in 1999. I can't tell who the publisher of this book was but by the look of things, Leonard Davis himself might have gotten all of the pages together and put it out as a collection in book form. Mom got the book from the Morgan Coubty Historical Society. I've posted about out trip to Magnolia and you can read about it here, and what Wikipedia has to say about Magnolia here.

The book has no index, and usually I'd be grousing about that, but in this case it slows me down to "Magnolia pace" and I just relax and enjoy the slow read. I'll let the book speak for itself and show you the images of cover and various pages. I hope that all of us who search in pursuit of family history find such treasures as this one! Thank you very much, Mr. Davis.

Cover (with my ubiquitous post notes.)

One of the most charming parts of the book are personal recollections of past residents. One I'm particularly fond of includes this recipe. Do you remember the jelly roll cake too?
There is quite a lot of information to be gleaned from the transcription of old newspaper reports about Magnolia and her residents. Here's the earliest from 1883.

Aren't these a treasure?
By the way, Cumberland is mentioned so often because it was a short train ride away and the closest city for a day tripping adventure.

The inclusion of the 1910 US Census for the area is brilliant and very useful for the family historian  because the geography of the area is difficult to discern to the untrained eye, if all you have to go on is the enumerator notes.

A sampling of the old photos reproduced in the book. Try as I might I can't find the picture collection mentioned as a credit! Too bad.

The above are from the Magnolia Reunions. Sad that Mom and I missed them because they are no more.

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/treasure-chest-thursday-magnolias.html

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: Where did they put that?

Oh gosh! Either I'm getting old and the mind is going or stuff is changing too fast! Maybe a bit of both:) Because it's Wednesday, I'll try to keep track of it all and use the GeneaBlogger's blogging prompt called Wisdom Wednesdays.

FamilySearch: Oh no you didn't! Just when I thought that I was finally getting the hang of finding my way into the FamilySearch site in an orderly and useful manner, they went and moved it all around again! Much blogging has been done about what it all means and how to now make your way in to find what you're looking for. Here's what Randy Seaver wrote on Genea-Musings, and you might want to bookmark this as a guide. He quoted Dear Myrtle on the subject: "In this day and age, bookmarks on a specific computer should not be the mainstay for Internet researchers." I missed that post from Ol' Myrt but as usual she hits it on the head!
I understand from fellow bloggers more in the know that I that FamilySearch feels that just 11% of their users are dedicated genealogy and family history buffs. The rest are casual visitors. Really? I do find that difficult to comprehend. Do they mean the population of unique visitors? Maybe I could understand that and they are thinking in terms of being similar to Ancestry.com with lots of people who come and go, but mostly eventually go. But what about page loads and time spent on that site? (I could possibly account for a tenth of all their measured user time on that site because some days I feel like I'm just "parked" there all day long.) Really, FamilySearch? Really?
Keep Randy's Genea-Musings on your favorites. I know that he'll lead us through.

New-To-Me Cousin, Rich, who knows what he's doing! I just love meeting new cousins on the ol' internet thingy! Well, Mom met him first way back when, because they both have been doing this for years, or should that be decades? I like Rich because he's easy to communicate with and is willing to share. Cousin Rich is going to visit Mom this week. As you might remember, Mom is 94 and still working on her Big Tree. Rich and she have been emailing for about 10 years and they've never met, as happens in this crazy game.
Do you also run into new-to-you cousins who just want a copy of a document or to pick your brain and then disappear in the night? Hello, you there cousin? No reply or just a short email back saying they aren't working on that anymore. (Yeah, but I am!)
Must say that I've run into a couple of really lovely cousins lately and that feels super good! I just love "community"! Guys like Cousin Rich make it all worth it:)

GEDmatch! Where art thou? Just when I started loving the heck out of GEDmatch, they crashed and burned. But late yesterday they got back up. I was sitting here with two ID numbers in hand that I needed to compare chromosomes with and a juicy GEDCOM waiting to be uploaded and no way to get to the goodies. But now it sure looks like they are making a come back, and with a newly designed layout and sign-in feature too. It took me a moment to realize the GEDCOM upload feature wasn't yet functional, and another little minute to locate the old features I had been using. Never mind, they'll get there.

Haplogroup H: New Info! Where did we come from, ask the folks on the Haplogroup H3 message board where so many have Irish ancestors! A new article which you can find here reveals a lot about we Hap H people.
"Says Dr Brotherton, "This is a very interesting group as they have been linked to the expansion of Celtic languages along the Atlantic coast and into central Europe."
So Ireland it is:)

This has been such a crazy busy week... and it's only Wednesday!

Wills Creek Bridge near Cumberland, MD.
Photo by Curtis, about 1910.
(See tab at top, Nat'l Highway, to view full album.)

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/wisdom-wednesday-where-did-they-put-that.html

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thoughtful Tuesday: Young and Old, Grandma Kelly

I love the Geneablogger's wonderful Daily Blogging Prompts because they lend structure to my blog posts and keep me moving through the week. They inspired me to make up a couple of themes on my own: DNA Monday, and The Creative Process on occasional Fridays. I had the idea for another theme while at an Eric Burdon concert on Sunday evening. Hey, ideas come at all times and places:)

Here's the concept: contrast what is known about an ancestor in their youth with the way they were in their maturity or old age. You see, there was Eric Burdon giving a knock-out performance and yet I could see in my mind's eye his young face super-imposed over the old rocker before me belting out "We Gotta Get Outta This Place." His age hadn't taken a thing away from his talents but rather added a new and deeper dimension to his performance. So I wondered if that was also true of ancestors? Let's try one and see, shall we?

Here are two photos of my paternal grandmother, Helen Zeller Kelly (1894 - 1985). The first one was taken when she was just a girl and the apple of her father's eye. Her father, Gustav "Gus" Zeller (1858 - 1925) was a very successful barber with a large barber shop with bathtubs and all, right on Main Street in Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland. The large and prosperous coal mining community insured that there was a constant steady stream of men who needed a bath, hair cut and shave. Gus invested his earnings in property which were mostly rentals. And nothing was too good for his only daughter.

Look at her outfit! And that big grin on her face! Her hat, her stance, and that fur muff all of it tells of a well-off life and its enjoyment. I love this picture of her because she looks so young and carefree. And, I think, lovely and very sweet. Was she a tad spoiled? Oh, perhaps:) She always got her way!

Below is Grandma Kelly, as I always called her, in the 1940s. She'd raised six kids during the Great Depression and now three of her four boys were going off to war. She's standing in the back yard on a cold winter day, perhaps late fall or before the mercies of spring arrived, with someone else's jacket that doesn't quite fit, on her shoulders. She's wearing her usual house dress and apron and there's a cold wind blowing her skirt. But to my eye she stands solid as a rock in sensible shoes and hands folded across her middle. She stands on her own land, in her own yard on the property her father left her.

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/thoughtful-tuesday-young-and-old.html

Monday, April 22, 2013

DNA Monday: 3.1% Neanderthal, What Does It Mean, Really?

Well poor ol' GEDmatch is out so there's no chance of playing around there. The main page now explains that the servers are out and a message that says this:
17 April 2013 - There have been recent unrelated malfunctions impacting the operation of 2 servers. One will likely result in the loss of recently uploaded genealogical (GEDCOM) and triangulation ('match' files) data. The other server is being repaired. No time estimate yet, but it will probably take at least a week to resume limited operation.
Below that is a plea for donations to purchase additional back-up equipment. Yikes! Are they underfunded? Hope not. Maybe some large deep-pocketed group could buy or invest in them. They seem to have a very workable business concept.

I could continue to refine my list of surnames and locations associated so that I have something at hand to give potential DNA matches, but frankly I don't feel like it right today. My sinuses are all clogged and I'm working in slow motion so working on a list that needs to be perfect doesn't appeal. Instead, let's have some fun with the Neanderthal results from my 23andMe test.

Must confess to liking the idea of being 3.1% Neanderthal and in the 99th percentile of those who tested with 23andMe! At least I'm naturally in the 99th percentile at something, if an extreme outlier with no practical application. Here's a screen shot of the Neanderthal results page.

I think I'm more European in appearance than Neanderthal, for which I'm thankful;)
I scroll on down the page to find a link to a white paper on the Neanderthal issue and testing. The first thing it mentions is whether humans and Neanderthals interbred. I've been on a DNA message board for a bit now and this Neanderthal/human interbreeding topic comes up often. Guess people are thinking about this a lot. Here's what the white paper says, by Eric Y. Durand:

As a member of the Neanderthal Genome Analysis Consortium, I participated in the analysis of the first draft of the Neanderthal genome that was published in 2010.
More specifically, I was involved in the analysis that led to the discovery that Neanderthals did indeed interbreed with modern humans. We found that 1-4% of the genomes of all modern humans outside of Africa is of Neanderthal ancestry.
OK, so yes, they had real physical contact. Big deal, now let's move on. What does having Neanderthal DNA mean? I have no answer here, sorry, and it seems by the scant information on their web site (nifty t-shirt aside) neither does 23andMe.
I Googled around and so can you. Here are some interesting, at least to me, locations on the web.
From the Smithsonian Institution: Ancient DNA and Neanderthals
From National Geographics: Neanderthals... They're Just Like Us
You can find a lot more on this fascinating topic by just searching on Neanderthal and DNA.
I confess to finding this particular topic interesting because in a way it does connect us to our deep roots and paths of human migration, with mental images of very deep ancestors trying to survive climate, food opportunities or lack thereof, pest and pestilence alike, and yes, maybe interbreeding. It does make me thing in terms of deep time and about the possibilities of survival in the long haul. It takes me out of the mundane (and my sinus headache) and puts me in a really big picture. I like that!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Surname Saturday: That's Waggoner with Two Gs

Off we go on an adventure for Surname Saturday, the blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers! I just love writing up these posts because it's another occassion to review what's known and what is yet to be discovered! We're in the 2nd great grandmothers and this time we'll be checking out the Waggoner line. Recently, while on a message board for Allegany County, MD., I happened across someone who is also researching some Waggoners from there. We haven't found a match yet and her people are from a more easterly location in the county, but there just aren't very many Waggoners so we're suspicious!

Diane Kelly Weintraub

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

6. Cambria Williams (1897 - 1960)
7. Emma Susan Whetstone (1897 - 1956)

14. Joseph Hampton Whetstone (1858 - 1938)
15. Catherine Elizabeth House (1865 - 1947)

28. Joseph Edward Whetstone (1816 - 1897)
29. Sarah Waggoner (1825 - 1880)
Joseph Edward and wife Sarah Waggoner were born and died in Garrett County, Maryland in and around the tiny community of Grantsville. He was a stonemason but for a time around 1840 - 45 took care of the inn and roadhouse his father-in-law's managed on the way west, The National Pike. In the 1850 US census Joseph E. Whetstone reports that he's a blacksmith and he and Sarah are living in close proximity to the Inn.
The winters are harsh here and my guess is that daily life then was not easy. I blogged not too long ago about a letter Sarah received from her mother, also named Sarah, just before she died and you can read it here to get a feel for the times.
Sarah is the start of the Waggoner line for Mom and me.
They had these 13 children:
Elizabeth Jane Whetstone 1842 - 1896
Susan Emily Whetstone 1844 - 1877
Peter Yeast Whetstone 1847 - 1918
William Whetstone 1850 - ?
Charles Whetstone 1851 - 1880
Charlotte "Lottie" Whetstone 1852 - 1872
Mary Alice Whetstone 1856 - 1862
14. Joseph Hampton Whetstone 1858 - 1938
G. O. Theodore Whetstone 1860 - 1861
John Edward Whetstone 1862 - 1896
Bradford Whetstone ?
Zoe Violet Whetstone 1864 - 1948
Frank Whetstone 1869 - 1959

58. FNU (first name unknown) Waggoner (dates unknown)
59. Sarah Wooden, then Waggoner, then Yeast, and finally Durst (1810 - 1870)
Sarah was born Sarah Wooden. She had my 2nd great grandmother by a Mr. Waggoner, and we frankly do not know if they were married or not because Mom has found no record. Next she married Peter Yeast (1808 - 1851) and had seven children with him. When he died she married Phillip "Major" Durst (1817 - 1888) presumably after 1851. Major Durst had  two adult children at that time.
She had just one child with the elusive Mr. Waggoner:
29. Sarah Waggoner (1825 - 1880)

It's funny how information comes to you. When I write these posts I invariably recheck Mom's Big Tree on Ancestry.com to see what's what and look at member trees too. This time I reached out to two people who looked like they knew what they were doing and one replied back with information that might be promising. From looking at her tree she has plenty of folks on it from the geographical area most of my peeps come from... so who knows, maybe we're cousins!

Looking towards Grantsville, about 1910.

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/surname-saturday-thats-waggoner-with.html

Thursday, April 18, 2013

House Heirs Association: Part I, The Basics of the Case

This is a case that has some real juicy bits: land swindles, embezzlement, fraud, malfeasance, and a whole lot more including a group that tried to do legal battle with the US Government. It starts almost 200 years ago and even today some riddles still are not solved! But let's begin at the beginning, and I'll tell you how it all started, at least as I see it.

One day not too long ago Mom said to me, very casually, "Oh, those are the papers from the House Heirs Association meeting held about 1900 or so." And I nearly flipped my wig. What?!! What's the House Heirs Association, I bleated over the phone?! Poor Mom. I've always been the kid asking all the questions.

In a nutshell, the descendants of one Andrew V. House believed that he and his son, John Valentine House, had been swindled out of payment from the US Government for a 99 year land lease on an immense tract of land they owned reported to be as large as 64,000 acres. At the end of the lease the government and people living on that land in about 1884 or 85, located roughly in Frederick County, Maryland, all forgot that the House family were the rightful owners.

Around 1887 a bunch of descendants of those two House men got together, thinking, "It ain't right", and decided to sue the government. (Good luck with that.) They called themselves the House Heirs Association. At the first there were about 30 or so individuals who claimed to be House Heirs and chipped in to pay for the services of a lawyer. By 1900 there were 300 to 400 individuals involved, and from all reports, even more money for more lawyers.

The really cool thing for researchers is that in order to make claim to being a House Heir people had to provide their ancestral history tracing back to John V. House as well as report on all that they knew about the land lease. You can still find some of the correspondences online on a RootsWeb message board listed as House Heirs Association meeting Williamstown, KY, Jan 9th, 1899. The author of the bulk of these post is Leonard Granger who began the lengthy and laborious task of transcribing the minutes of the meetings as well as the letters and posting them to the RootsWeb board. He started posting on 25 March, 2002 and got most of it posted by 19 May of that year. Looks like he went back and updated and edited the posts around 17 November of 2003. I sent him a message through Ancestry.com messages system and hope to hear back... please let me hear back. I thanked him for transcribing and posting all he did, without which we'd surely be losing another piece of our shared history. Bless him.

I also stumbled over a RootsWeb orphan page about the House Heirs Association that looked promising but goes no where. No name or contact info is available and I can't tell when it was set up so that's a dead end. One more dead end is the link on the House Heirs message board about a GeoCities web page on this topic. That page is long gone.

My thought is to post here for a while and see if anyone else is interested in this aspect of the history of our House ancestors. If this topic interests you or you are a House descendant, please email me at dianew858@hotmail.com . And let me be clear: I have no intention of reviving that suit! Makes me laugh to think about it:) Mom has some papers that are relevant and Cousin Karen does too, so maybe we can share what's known with our House cousins thereby keeping this story alive and moving it down the road a bit. Imagine: 400 of them intended to sue the US Government... for $300 billion dollars!

The best short overview available online comes from that old and now orphaned and archived RootsWeb page mentioned above, with no date or name attributed. As you can see, for a very long time these descendants hoped to get payment from the government. They were from "the middle walk of life" and saw this as a way to improve their lives and provide a better life for their families. Here's the text:

Welcome to a website I created to provided information on the House Heirs Association of years 1889 to 1923. The House Heirs at that time felt a real injustice had occurred on their ancestors, Andrew V House and his son John Valentine House, when the United States Government failed to make payment on a 99 year lease for a large estate located in State of Maryland. The organization held several meetings around the eastern and mid-west states, appointed several investigation committees and asked all House Heirs to submit their family ancestry lists, if they felt they were related to John Valentine House. Many House families of the time submitted letters, some up to six pages in length, when making their claim. The letters will be listed as found in the files, and I hope no one is upset if a House relative talks about their family. They all meant good and saw a real opportunity to have a better life, as most had experienced a difficult time around the turn of the century.

I have no idea who the "I" is in the first line and would love to know, as well as when he or she created it. Too bad it all got lost to the vagaries of time on the internet.

Just the facts
Here's a short list in no particular order of the facts gleaned from the copious material Leonard Granger posted to the House Heirs Association message board on RootsWeb. Without his posts, there would be close to nothing on the web about the House Heirs Association.

Timeline (short) of the House Heirs Association (HHA):
1896: A few (estimated at 30 people) House Heirs "instituted proceedings" against the government.
Jan 9, 1899: First meeting in Williamstown KY. About 300 to 400 in attendance.
1900: Meeting of HHA in Chicago
1901: Meeting of the HHA in Kokoma Indiana
1902: Meeitng of HHA in Ohio (?)
1923: HHA, one family accused of embezzling money collected to fund the suit. HHA disbanded.

About the land:
64,000 acres
Value in 1785 was about $6 billion.
Origins of House ownership: 1715, attributed to inheritance from a member of the English Royal Family.

Began in 1785 just about the time iron mines discovered on the property.
Lease length: 99 years
Terms: 14 cents per acre per year
Lease would have expired in 1884.
Terms at end of lease: ownership to revert to House heirs.

There's more, way more! Next time let's have some fun and follow the money:)

My 2nd great grandfather, Samuel Albert House (1832 - 1917).
Wonder how much he knew about the House Heirs Association?

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/house-heirs-association-part-i-basics.html

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: Wow! This is Strange

It's Wednesday again and time to take stock and visit the GeneaBlogger's blogging prompt called Wisdom Wednesdays. It keeps me grounded yet moving forward to make a tally each week of what progress I've made learning about the wild wacky world of genealogy. This week I seem to be noticing a lot of things that maybe I should have noticed before and used or taken advantage of. This has been a week where I feel like I've been missing some great stuff and need to pay more attention to what's going on around me. But then maybe I need to cut myself some slack. There is so much to learn and we are all doing a lot of learning all the time, aren't we?

New Favorite Thing Person: Ancestry Anne and her blog! Message to Anne Gillespie Mitchell of Ancestry Reference Desk, and that's the official blog of the Ancestry.com Library Edition: here's a big e-hug for you, Anne, and how you deliver such good stuff in such a neat, clean package. I can hardly wait for my email syndication of her blog posts to arrive! I'm not a library at all but I surely do like her posts.
I dunno, Anne popped up on my radar all at once just about the time of RootsTech. Then Randy Seaver mentioned her and her presentations - especially the one about searching which is pure gold - on his wonderful blog, Genea-Musings. So poof! There she was seemingly out of no where, at least to me. Strange how someone with such valuable info can be around and you don't know a thing about it until she pops up a couple of time in a short period! Don't ya love it when that happens?

YouTube! Do you know how many great genealogy videos are on YouTube? I don't either but it's a lot! FamilySearch has a channel there as does Lisa Louise Cook as Genealogy Gems. Or Dear Myrtle! There are so many but I'll stop now so that you can have the fun of discovering more yourself! Just plug "genealogy" in the search box and see what you get. If you don't use YouTube for anything but Psy's latest video you're missing a sure bet. This week I watched a couple of videos and vowed to watch more on a regular basis because it's fun and just takes five to ten minutes, except for Ol' Myrt and the Hang Outs. I even found some interesting videos of the B&O Railroad in Western Maryland, which is where I do a lot of my research. Strange, YouTube was there all the time and underutilized by me.

This is not strange: Armchair Gelealogist on Citing Sources! Here's a different slant on citing sources from one of my fav bloggers, Lynn Palermo over at The Armchair Genealogist. It's a post and chart about how to use a workflow strategy for citing your sources so that it's not a great big hairy deal but something you do automatically as you work, or at least that's what I was reading into her post. I like it because it gives a way to refine and develop all of your sources for one ancestor and just tuck it into your overall workflow. Had not thought about it that way before and was thinking that citing a source is a single stand-alone function. Lynn shows us how it's not some isolated strange event that hangs off the side. Bigger picture, and very cool! Thanks, Lynn!

Strange Visitors to the Blog! For about a month now I've noticed that all of a sudden between 1 and 2AM there will be 200 to 300 visitors to this blog, all to the same obscure post! I have no idea what the heck that's about but it was freaking me out so I took down the post. I checked the post for anything that might be taken another way or the unfortunate misspelling of a word or turn of a phrase to make it X-rated, but I got nothing. Too strange for my tastes so I took the post down. What was that about, I don't know?!

"National Pike Through the Cumberland Narrows"
By E. Irwin Gilbert, 1906.
(For more National Pike photos from this historic album, click on the tab at the top.)

The URL for this post is:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Tips: Time with Thomas MacEntee

Well, wasn't I a lucky girl to spend Saturday last at a workshop with Thomas MacEntee in Carlsbad, CA, hosted by the North San Diego County Genealogical Society? Yes! Got to chat with Thomas a moment before the presentation - and that's always nice - as we compared notes on Palm Springs. But the big guns started firing in the meeting room just after as Thomas proved his rep as a wonderful speaker.

I could post about 20 tips a day from his four topic presentation and not be done in a month or two, it was that packed with information! But the thing of it that I appreciated most is the way he organized everything into a handout with web sites and resources such that you only needed to take a note or two if you had a thought about your own research. He's one of the best, and this coming from a woman who made a living as a corporate trainer for the Fortune 50 and later a college prof. Smooth and graceful is he.

OK, so here goes with a couple of small items that blew me away, in no particular order. And sorry, Thomas, if I'm putting my words in your mouth... yuck.

1. No guilt, no scolding. So we all didn't start citing our sources from day one, and we didn't keep a research log. Who did? Just start as soon as you can and do it in a way that makes you happy and is useful to you ... so that you don't find yourself looking it up again. And if you do have to look it up again, no guilt, no worries, and especially no scolding!

2. Search collateral lines. Collateral lines are those folks not in your direct line of ancestry. We hunt for stuff about them so we can, selfishly, know more about our direct ancestors. Hadn't thought of it that way, but now that I have, can't wait to go back and look some more. This could be very interesting.

3. Privacy: no body had any, ever. Hadn't thought about this either and maybe you'll have to wait to hear Thomas when he comes to your town to really understand what he said, but here's my version. Today we think we're losing privacy. In reality, I can see now that I have way more privacy than my folks did in little Frostburg in Western Maryland, a town in which everyone did really know everyone's business, and couldn't wait to tell everyone else! There are connections there with church, work, and social groups, all with records of some sort. And local newspapers too! Gotta love those:)

4. Timelines. I love timelines. Always have. Did not know there were web sites to do all the heavy lifting for me. That's nice.

5. Chicago! Because Thomas lives in Chicago he knows a ton about the resources there and was super generous in sharing them as his presentation went on, a smattering here and a dollop there. I especially enjoy that because I have direct line people who lived there I want to track down. As he went along I could see how rich the online resources are for the Windy City and could imagine that there would be equally rich resources for other cities of any size. Framing my ancestors in even more of the history of the time and place enriches their story... and keeps me interested.

And those juicy morsels are just from the first topic! See what I mean about not enough time here for all he shared! So "thank you" Thomas for a truly entertaining and professional day.

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/tuesday-tips-time-with-thomas-macentee.html

Monday, April 15, 2013

DNA Monday: GEDmatch and 23andMe

Found a really cool cousin through 23andMe and he and I have been working together to find our shared ancestor. Cousin Mark has been down this road before so he's leading the way, and directed me to GEDmatch. GedMatch is where you can take your DNA downloaded files and GEDCOM and see if anyone in their database is a match with you.

GEDmatch has been down a lot lately - first one feature, then another, and now the whole site - and I hear that they have been swamped with new users so there will be growing pains. That's OK with me because when they get it all worked out, this site will be a powerhouse for DNA testers across testing companies. The beauty part of their service is that it accepts raw data files from the big three and then they do the matching. Now, no worries that you tested with 23andMe and they tested with FTDNA, it all gets dumped into GEDmatch and they come up with the report. Cool.

Had to wait a day to upload my genome file for the 23andMe upload feature to be available, and another day for it to be processed. The upload feature was not available when I first tried but a day later it was back up again. Right today which is Sunday as I write, the entire site is down for maintenance... but the kind that sound ominous: We have been unable to answer all the emails, so please be understanding. We will post information as soon as we know more and have a time estimate. Uh-oh. Hope they get it worked out because I'm getting excited to do some analysis.

The site is straight-forward and if you just take a couple of minutes to read the entire first page, you'll know what to do. Hey, if I can do it so can you:) I did the DNA test with 23andMe so I clicked on the upload your 23andMe genome file and it outlined exactly what I needed to do and guided me through the steps. Be sure to read all the steps first. I didn't pay close enough attention to what I was doing and uploaded the unzipped file when what they want is the zipped, so got an error message pointing out the silliness of my ways. Went back and did it right the second time. Easy-peasy.

TIP: make a note in a safe place of your ID number. You'll need it later because everything here works off that ID number. So right here I'd like to show you that main page but the site is down. Maybe later. What I can show you is how my DNA matches looked. So here we go.

Here's how you get the party started. Just enter your ID number and leave the rest of the fields as they are... unless you know what you're doing, and that's not me!

Here are my two matches. I was disappointed that there were only two, but I'll keep checking back because I've got to believe that with all the new users (crashing the site) there will be more matches later:) I did click on one of my matched people to see who they matched with, and the list was extensive!

Here's the info on where we match. I don't know what I'm looking at but it appears that KMurray is a closer match to me and I'll try to contact that person first.

This is a matrix showing how many generations back KMurray and I can start to look for a shared ancestor, and it's way back there in the 7th to 8th generation.
I didn't get a chance to upload my GEDCOM yet (site down) but that will be the first thing I'll do when it's back online. And now I have the ID numbers for cousin Mark and his father so I can start to look at that too.
My To Do List:
1. Contact KMurray.
2. Upload GEDCOM.
3. Look at cousin Mark and his father's chromosomes. Can I tell: is it on the Thomas side or the Price side? Cousin Mark has a hunch, I think!
Yup, this is still fun! GEDmatch is out, 23andMe is running slow but I'm happy as a clam in mud. My kinda mud:)

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/dna-monday-gedmatch-and-23andme.html

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Surname Saturday: The Thomas Family From Wales

It's off to Wales once again for Surname Saturday, the blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers. We've been to Wales a couple of times before as we explored the roots of the Williams, Price, and James clans before these Thomas folks. Unfortunately for Mom and I the records only go back too short a ways for us, in spite of the old saying that a proper Welshman could recite his ancestry back nine generations. Imagine: if all of our Welshmen could have done so how happy Mom and I would now be!

We're here in the 5th generation back sitting amongst the 2nd great grandmothers.

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
They had these children:
William Henry Price 1852 - 1910.
Benjamin Price 1854 - 1906.
Diane Price 1856 - ????.
13. Jane Price 1862 - 1939.
Ellen Nellie Price 1864 - ????.
James H. Price 1856 - 1933.
Mary Price 1869 - ????
Victoria Price 1871 - ????

54. Benjamin Thomas (1793 - 1846)
55. Hannah Evans (1798- 1868)
Too little is known about this family for our liking. Benjamin Thomas is the founding member of this family and I previously blogged about them all here.
Benjamin and Hannah were born in Wales but we don't know where. They made their way to America in 1838 with the intention that the males work for the George's Creek Coal company. They landed in Baltimore on 11 Sept, 1838 after a voyage of 46 days. Here's the list of their children followed by an image of the  manifest. As you can see there are five able-bodied men willing to go to work as coal miners, or "colliers".
The children are:
John W. Thomas (1817 - ????) Born in South Wales, John married Lucinda Rice on 29 Aug 1846 in Allegany County, Maryland.
Benjamin L. Thomas (1818 - ????) Also born in Wales, Benjamin L. married Catherine Jones on 20 Feb 1840. She also was born in Wales. They both died in Mt. Savage, Allegany, MD.
James Benjamin Thomas (1822 - 1884) Born in Wales. He married Margaret Lewis on 17 June 1840 in Allegany County, MD.
William Benjamin Thomas (1823 - 1885) Born in Wales, he married Elizabeth Lewis, also born in Wales.
27. Diane Thomas (about 1832 - 1871)
Joseph Thomas ( 1835 - 1915) Born in Wales and died in Eckhart, Allegany, MD, he had three wives: Martha Davis, Rebecca Mosser, and Jane Watkins.
Philip Thomas (1836 - 1885) Also born in Wales, he married Ann Davis.
Jane Thomas (1837 b- 1917) Born in Wales, she married Joseph Scott Robertson.
Ann Eliz Thomas (abt. 1839 - ????) Born in Ocean Mines, MD, she married John Howells.
Maria Ellen Thomas (1841 - 1908) Born in Lonaconing, she married John James Anthony.

Well, there you have it. Obviously, Mom and I are not done here! And a new-to-me cousin, Robert, contacted me through Ancestry.com messages and we chatted so now we'll be working on this line together. So much to do, so little time!

Manifest from the Barque Tiberius, landing in Baltimore 11 Sept 1838.
(Photo by me taken in the Frostburg Museum, Frostburg, Allegany, MD, October, 2012.)