Thursday, May 30, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Shiloh Welsh Congregational Church, 140th Anniversary Keepsake Book

When I was a kid and after the family moved from the little mountain town of Frostburg in Western Maryland to Ohio, we often returned there for a visit to family. Like many others, after the Second World War, Dad took advantage of the booming economy and lost no time bettering our opportunities and fortunes by moving to a more industrial area where the new technology of plastics promised a better tomorrow, for us personally and the world in general.

Mom and Dad's entire family on both sides resided in and around Frostburg and there were plenty of relatives to see and visit. Come here for lunch, go there for dinner, drop in over there too. One of the ways we covered all the bases was for Mom and I to go to church with Grandmother Williams, Mom's mother, Emma.

So here's the situation: by weekday I was a student at the very Roman Catholic St. Wenceslaus school in Maple Heights, Ohio, (a gigantic monstrous brick building attached to the elementary school) but by occasional weekend Sundays I went with Mom and Grandmother Williams to the little white clapboard church with clean lines and just down the street from Grandmother's house. It's the Shiloh Welsh Congregational Church of Frostburg, Maryland.

Let me contrast these two churches for you. The big brick Catholic church was full of large stained glass, plenty of statues of saints, incense enough to choke a tiny first grader, crowded mass full of kids from the first wave of the Baby Boomer generation packing every pew. On the other hand, the Congregational Church was small, quiet, simple, and a place where every one knew everyone else. Everyone. Grandmother liked to show me off, I could tell, and was outfitted by Mom in my best dresses. Oh, did I mention I was the only girl grandchild?

I have warm memories of that little white wooden church on Bowery Street. But it's not there anymore. As I understand, and Aunt Betty would be the one to give you the whole story, it came to the point where it was all but falling apart. The big question was should it be repaired or should a new one be built that would better suit? They built a new one, a nice brick building.

By the time I put two and two together - hey, where did the church go? - the new brick building had been there quite a while. That ever happen to you? A whole entire building goes missing on you?

Last time I went back east to see family I stopped by to visit Aunt Betty as I always do. We have such fun talking about stuff! She gave me this excellent keepsake from the Shiloh Welsh Congregational Church's 140th Anniversary! So on this Treasure Chest Thursday I want to share this book with you. There are a lot of old photos in it, along with photos of the new families who carry on the traditions.

In these pages I find many of the people on our family tree: the Williamses, the Prichards, the Prices, the Harrises, the McCollouhs are all there. Aunt Betty's family back four generation to the very start of the church, and my grandparents, Mom in the choir and her brother my Uncle Camey too who served well as a Trustee.

Cover of the commemorative book.

Historical document with the original cost of the first church building in 1873.

My Grandfather and Grandmother Williams.

The history of the Prichard family in the church from Enoch Prichard who hosted the first meeting of the church in 1869 in his home on Bowery Street, down to Aunt Betty on the right.

The Ladies Aid Society, a big factor in the church and community.

Mom as a young girl in the choir, front row, third from left.

Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: One Little Keystroke

Oh, gosh. Here it is Wednesday all over again. My stupid cold is almost gone and my brain is sort of working, so let's do a thing with the GeneaBlogger's blogging prompt called Wisdom Wednesdays. This week it's all about how one little click of the mouse can make a difference.

Poof! Gone: last week's Wisdom Wednesday post! So I was on my Blogger post listing page and noticed a draft of a post that didn't look like it was going to amount to much so I thought to delete it. Thing is, I sometimes begin a post and then look at it later and see that what I thought was just this side of brilliant now looks pretty unworthy. So I decided to delete it. (Can you see this coming?) I deleted last week's Wisdom Wednesday post by mistake and I really can't even tell you how that happened, except to say: did I mention I had a cold? and cousins. I really like finding new-to-me cousins because you never know what treasures they hold. The odd photo, the name or date of birth for the woman Uncle George married, maybe an old diary or family bible. You never know until you find a cousin and ask. And that cousin might be waiting for me, one click away. This past week received an old wedding photo from a Thomas cousin. We have a nice little group of six who all descended from Benjamin Thomas (1793 - 1846) and Hannah Evans (1798 - 1868) who came to America with their 10 children on the Barque Tiberius in 1883. All from one click on a shaking leaf on to send a message and connect!
White hair shock at temple = Waardenburg Syndrome. Who knew? Grandma Kelly had a big shock of white hair at her right temple. When I think about her in my mind's eye, it's always there. Was thinking about it the other day and musing over how unusual that is to have a big clump of white hair and wondering if it was a vitamin deficiency or some other medical symptom cluster. So I googled it... one little click... and had my answer. It's Waardenburg Syndrome! Mom said that Grandma used to get real mad at people who asked her why she'd dyed her hair white. Grandma likely never new that Waardenburg Syndrome was responsible for her fashion statement. Mom and I don't think that she had the other symptoms of this genetic disorder such as hearing impairment, and unusual eye pigmentation. Just the distinctive patch of white hair.

Grandma Kelly with her shock of white hair. That's my baby brother and GrandPop Kelly.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

DNA Monday: 23andMe and GEDmatch, an Update

23andMe and GEDmatch are now like my left and right hand: I have the data from 23andMe and the power of the match from GEDmatch. So here's what's happened lately and all I can say is that it's been lots of fun!

Are you my cousin?
That seems to be the question that's in the subject line of a lot of emails going back and forth. The best one, or at least my favorite so far, is from GEDmatch user who just went and email as a bulk mailing all the people whose kit numbers matched each other in a specific way. He listed everyones kit number and email and it looked to be about 30 people. Quite a flurry of conversations started over it mostly based on British Isles ancestors, especially those from Ireland.
I didn't find a cousin match but had a lovely email exchange with a woman who is engaged to an Irish guy and he answered some general questions and provided feedback on a few points. Then amazingly she took a look at Mom's Big Tree on Ancestry and spotted one Honora O'Flynn and William Logston, who are my 8th great grandparents! Honora was quite the woman, her father an Irish king of the O'Flynn Clan, and her story very dramatic! Here's two links to their story: Jessa's blog at Gracefully Landing reports on her love of Ireland and the romantic notion of having an actual Irish Princess as an ancestor in the brave Honora O'Flynn, and a RootsWeb mash-up of all the random versions of this story/legend of Honora O'Flynn and her husband William Logsdon.
Wow! That was fun:) Hey, I am descended from an Irish princess! Do I get a tiara or something? A nice slice of Irish soda bread, maybe?

You are my cousin!
Meanwhile over in 23andMe land, things are perking up. One thing I really must remember in using these services is to check back often for new "players" who might match. Last Friday I looked once again at my 23andMe matches and noticed a new match that predicted to be a 3rd or 4th cousin. I immediately sent a message through their message system and he replied right away with saying that he'd looked at my profile and locations/names and thought he saw something worth looking at. He gave some names and sent an obituary link that solved the puzzle in one mouse click! His grandfather married Mom's first cousin!! Lois was Uncle Tom William's daughter and my GGF's granddaughter.
Wow! When this DNA stuff works, it really works!

These photos are from Aunt Betty's Archive. Can't wait to see if my new-to-me Cousin Andrew has them!!

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Surname Saturday: Amelia Combs and Friends and Neighbors

Well, it's Surname Saturday once again! Surname Saturday is the blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers that I love most because every week I get to revisit another of the ancestors and their line back as far as I can go. Mom built out this tree which you can find on Ancestry as Virginia Williams Kelly's Big Tree. So my job as a second generation genealogist is to get the word out and make connections with others working on this row in the garden. Cousin bait: that's the name of the game!

My bonus is that every week when I go over a particular family line I get to a deeper understanding of who they were and what's known and not known about each family group. I like that! This week we'll look at the life and times of Amelia Combs whose family and husband's family were amongst the pioneers who settled the Western Maryland area in and around the little Western Maryland mountain town of Frostburg. I tell ya', looking at this section of the tree is a nasty ball of yarn gotten into by the house cat! The Trimbles, Arnolds, Workman, and Combs (not to mention the Porters) were all families started by Revolutionary War vets who took possession of their bounty land on one particular slope of Big Savage Mountain. They lived near each other, farmed together, married into each others families, left and sold land to each other. It's confusing!

But never mind, because here we go. And as usual it's a work in progress. When I was back east on my recent visit to Mom (who is 94, in case you don't know) we agreed that we'd have this all nailed down if we just had another 100 years to work on it!

By the way, we're up to the 3rd great grandmothers now because the great grandfathers and previous great grandmother have already been done and the box checked.

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

44. John Workman 1779 - 1859
45. Amelia or (Abigail) 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.
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.

90. John Combs (1765 - 1854)
91. Margaret Trimble (1780 - 1859)
Combs family history has it that John Combs was born in Virginia and married Margaret Tremble in 1794, presumably in Allegany County, Maryland, where they had their family. Mom thinks he was from the part of Virginia that became West Virginia, and perhaps as far west as Hampshire or Morgan counties, or maybe even old Virginia Frederick County. If he was, then it wasn't so far to go to get to Western Maryland where he ended up.
It's been thought that this John Combs served in the Revolutionary War but he would only have been 11 years old when it began. His birth year could easily be incorrect, as records from this time and place are sketchy at best. But if you look you'll find an approved SAR application from about 1940 on but I have my doubts. It is true that Military Lot #3352 was assigned to a Jacob Corns, and that could be a transcription error of some sort, but I haven't seen the original and can't really comment.
The connection that's real solid is to his brother, Cuthbert Combs/Coombs who married Margaret Trimble's sister Abigale. Cuthbert took Military Lots numbered 3408 and 3407.
This John Combs remains a mystery to me and is on the list for a full investigation because we need details, don't we? First place I'll look is Fold3.
They had these known children:
45. Amelia Combs about 1789 - ????
William Combs 1799 - 1878. He married first Marie Arnold and then Sarah Wheeler.
Mary Margaret Combs 1803 - before 1839. She married Josiah Porter and you'll find this couple on the Porter Surname Saturday post.
We know much less about these children:
Martha Combs
John Combs, who married Bathsheba Drake.
Althea Combs

The parents of John Combs might be this couple but it's not been fully checked out, so let me pencil them in for you now. As per our working method, Mom and I don't give these guys numbers in the line-up until they have been vetted by us. We hate to have to take people out later, don't you?

Jonathon Combs 1740 - ????
Nancy Harding
Jonathon was born in Virginia and he might be easier to track down, but we'll see about that later.

We're fascinated by the families that inhabited the area around Mt. Savage and Zihlman in Allegany County, also known as Federal Hill, Workman's Desire, and other lovely and romantic old names. The Military Lot assignments by Francis Deakins in 1787 and the combined map done recently in conjunction with Frostburg State University, is a treasure!

You know that FAN principle? Friends, Associates, and Neighbors? These families of the Federal Hill area (now the area surrounding Evergreen Heritage Center) are the embodiment of it. I truly feel that I could spend the rest of my life working on this ball of tangled yarn!

The Frostburg State University Map (section) showing Military Lot assignments in Allegany County, as per Deakins in 1787, with present landmarks and roads.
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: A Miner's Christmas

While back east visiting Mom I took some time to go visit Aunt Betty. Aunt Betty is really my Mom's cousin but somehow all who know her have come to call her Aunt Betty. I just love my time with her and we do go on about family and local history in Western Maryland around the little town of Frostburg.

This time I asked her when she thought Welsh stopped being spoken locally in the churches and at home. We have no real data but figure that most likely by 1900 no Welsh families in Western Maryland were speaking Welsh anymore. By then, in the coal mining families around Frostburg who came from Wales, everyone had learned English and was speaking it. Our guess is that the original immigrants from Wales didn't teach it to their kids, as immigrants often didn't in that time. It was all part of the assimilation process.

Aunt Betty chatted about how it was growing up in a coal mining community where just about everyone worked for the mines. Her best friend was from what we might now consider a "poor" family. The daughter, then maybe 9 years old as I remember Aunt Betty saying, had it as her summer chore to pick coal from the slag heaps (waste coal) and bring it back home for storage until it was used for the fires of winter. Aunt Betty went along and helped her friend just for fun.

While in Main Street Books, the Frostburg bookstore and one of my favorite haunts when visiting Mom, I noticed a book by James Rada, Saving Shallmar. Here's the Amazon write up, below.

In fall turned to winter in 1949, the residents of Shallmar, Maryland, were starving. The town's only business, the Wolf Den Coal Corp. had closed down, unemployment benefits had ended and few coal miners had cars to drive to other jobs. When children started fainting in school, Principal J. Paul Andrick realized the dire situation the town was in and set out to help. He worked to get the story of the town's troubles out and get help for the town's residents and succeeded beyond his wildest dreams just in time for Christmas.

As I read the book, based on fact and using real names, on the flight back to San Diego, I picked up a bunch of information about life in a typical coal town in Western Maryland. I found that picking coal for heat in the winter, as Aunt Betty had done with her friend, was entirely common. There are plenty of details of everyday life to keep the casual reader happily turning pages!

The thing that stayed with me and was found throughout the book is how the coal mining companies entrapped the miners and their families. Shallmar, an actual coal town in Garrett County, Maryland, was pretty much typical of what was going on elsewhere. The coal companies, or operators as they are sometimes called, would offer high paying jobs to lure the best miners with their families. Miners with families were hard-working and stable and wouldn't move when they were needed during boom years.

The coal company often provided small houses and a company store close by for convenient shopping. They paid miners in script that could only be used to pay rent or buy goods from the company store. It became a trap when the script was only good to buy high-priced items at the store or exchangeable at a great discount for real currency. Shallmar was too far away from any real town where a miner might shop without driving a car to it, and besides, very few of the miners here had cars.

Shallmar at the start was a bit different in that the homes were quite lovely by comparison to other such homes offered by coal companies. They were wood frame and two story by contrast to the typical and tiny stone one-story miner's homes in Eckhart Mines, Maryland, where I have other ancestors. Shallmar in the beginning was pretty and roses grew over a trellis at many doors, a real model community. The power plant for the mine also supplied free electricity for homes. Sure residents only had power during the day, but at least they had it.

But as the time passed, the mine got played out with the best and easiest coal taken. Then after WWII, the price of coal dropped so miners got laid off and those left were paid less. Some lucky few did move out of Shallmar and on to other opportunities. But about 600 individuals remained at Shallmar even after the mine closed and there was no more work to be had and unemployment benefits and union payments ran out. Without a car to take them elsewhere, they were pretty much stuck in Shallmar.

I've driven all over this territory in Western Maryland, and seen the old coal shacks still in use. It's sad and desolate. I'll confess to naively thinking, "Why don't they just move?" Reading about Shallmar I got an education in the social and economic dynamics of coal country poverty.

But wait! Don't pass up this book because you think you'll be too sad when reading it. Nope, there are good people around and they do make a difference, and it's worth reading about. And yes, it's a Christmas story! So if you have any coal miners on your tree and you want a book that gives a lot in the telling, get this one.

Eckhart Mines coal camp houses.
(Photos below courtesy of and Chris DellaMea. Thanks you Chris for the wonderful web site on coal mining communities, especially those in Western Maryland where my peeps worked.)

Shallmar coal miners houses.
(Also from the same source as above... thank you Chris!)

Two story version of the miner's houses.

Smaller one story version at Shallmar.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Surname Saturday: Newins or Newans... It Really Doesn't Matter to Me:)

How the time files, and I say that because here I am posting another Surname Saturday post, the blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, when just last week I was posting my Surname Saturday sitting next to Mom during our visit! I dearly love doing my Surname Saturday exercise because of all the posts, this one tests and taxes my genealogy skills to the limit. I love that!!

This week we're following on of my Revolutionary War ancestors and the very one that got me into the DAR! He was a special challenge for me that I'll always remember because I researched his life in depth back when I had very few skills, so you might say that my 5th great grandfather taught me a lot;)

His saga came to the family because of a little book his grandson, Thomas F. Myers, had printed. If not for that book we might know little or nothing. As it is, the book provided only clues to his life and the rest was left to us to discover. His early life in England and his family there remaind a mystery. But then you have to leave some mysterys around to be solved later, don't you?

So here we go, looking at the life and times of Nehemiah Newins/Newans/Newin/ (you make up the rest) and his descendants! I'll be using that surname in the form it appears most often in records for the person under discussion.

By the way, we're into the 3rd great grandmothers here with the grandfathers and earlier grandmothers covered in earlier posts. To see those, just find the search box there on the right and type in "Surname Saturday" and the name you want.

1. Diane Kelly Weintraub

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

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

8. Francis Patrick Kelly (1854 - 1923)
9. Christiana Eckhart (1861 - 1932)

18. John Eckhart (1831 - 1917)
19. Mary Myers  (1837 - 1909)

38. Jacob Myers (1789 - 1852)
39. Christiana Newans (1811 - 1865)
They had these children:
Margaret Myers (1835 - ????)
19. Mary Myers Eckhart (1837 - 1909)
Chrissie Myers ( about 1840 - ????)
Thomas F. Myers (1841 - before 1920)
Laura Myers (1845 - ????)
Thomas F. Myers most likely wrote himself and had published a small book, The Ancestral History of Thomas F. Myers, which you can see by clicking on the tab above. (Thomas was the younger brother of Mary Myers Eckhart.) This little book has been proven to have errors but those mistakes were not known to Thomas F. Myers at the time he had it printed, and that said, it's been a valuable starting point in researching his great grandfather, Nehemuiah Newins.

78. Thomas Newins (1780 - 1825)
79. Mary Knauff (1780 - 1841)
Thomas and Mary died before the juicy census were taken. Bummer.
They had the following children:
39. Christiana Newans (1811 - 1865)
John Thomas Newins (1808 - ????)

156. Nehemiah Newins (about 1840 - 1820)
157. Catherine Kepplinger (dates unknown)
The Thomas F. Myers book says that Nehemiah was born in Darbyshire, England to a father, Thomas, and two brothers, Thomas and James. We've looked but not found this family group. The book also says that Nehemiah wanted to be a "stone cutter" but his parents thought it "beneath the dignity of the family" and bought him a commission in the army. His father was a surgeon in the army, his brother also a surgeon, and other brother a "lawyer", whatever that meant to the writer.
As the story in the book goes, Nehemiah served with General Braddock. Then afterward was in York, Pennsylvania, and married Catherine Kepplinger. I must say that the dates and years don't quite work out for that tale, the Braddock campaign being too early in the timeline.
Anyhoo, he did serve in the Revolutionary War, which was verified from his service record and Bounty Land Grant, and pension application. I'll not dig real deep here abpout his life and if you're curious just click on the tab at the top of this page for Nehemiah Newins to find a fairly comprehensive timeline. And, yes I do know that the source citings are a real newbie mess and it's on my list of stuff to do, so plesae keep the grief to yourself:) Thank you very much.
After the war Nehemiah Newins vanished. He married in York, PA, and had a son. Then he disappeared... for a while, and until I found him in records. Here's the short version of the story. He went to Northumberland County, PA, and started, it seems, a new life where he did become a stone mason. He got his land grant which was way at the other end of the state on the frontier and most likely sold it to speculators, but we have no solid proof of that sale thought it might be had if we looked hard enough. From there he moves north to the Finger Lakes area of New York state and establishes a business as stone mason, hiring workers, and getting a new wife. The locals call him Major.
He had only the one son that we know of, although his will mentions a Elijah Thompson as a son. Go figgure.
78. Thomas Newins (1780 - 1825)

Friends, that's all for now. I have a nasty cold and my internet Time-Warner cable connection is wacky, and to top it off the Blogger spell check isn't working. Maybe I'll come back and add more later. I find Nehemiah Newins to be an interesting guy.

Pension application letter for Nehemiah Newins, dated 7 April, 1818.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Look at That Chart!

So, I went back East to see Mom for Mother's Day and of course I had to come with gifts. She's hard to buy gifts for because she has about everything. And at almost 95 she has years of presents accumulated all around. Decided on two items I thought she would enjoy. The first was a gift card to the restaurant they go to every Sunday where Mom treats and grabs the check faster than a sparrow scared by a cat. But I wanted something more, something personal, and if it could be figured out, something "genealogy."

A couple of weeks ago I was digging for ancestors on and looked at the tab at the top that said, "Publish". Found Family Tree Poster in the list of offerings on the left and thought to give it a try. I fiddled with it for far too long, thinking that I'd never have a shot at getting that tree poster delivered by Mother's Day, but I plugged on with the project kind of enjoying the doing of it.

I took one last check of my work, added a couple of more photos, thought it looked pretty good, and ordered the really big one, 24 by 36 inches. Well, it's the thought that counts, I said to myself. And really, it could turn out to be cheap and cheesy, but for $39.95 it was worth a shot. At times I felt like I was making "Mommy" one of those hand print candy dishes you do in scouts;)

By golly, it arrived on Saturday!! The day before Mother's Day!! My sis-in-law retrieved it from the US Postal Service and whipped the intriguing tube mailer open before anyone else had a chance. (She loves to open gifts;) She showed Mom and then came and told me that the poster had arrived. I couldn't think what she was talking about because I had already told Mom that it was on the way and I didn't know when it was going to get there, but it should be before her birthday in July, or maybe by Christmas!

Then downstairs I flew to re-open the mailing tube so Mom and I could look at it together. It was truly wonderful: on good quality heavy, coated paper, nice photo reproduction, clear as a bell text. For $39.99 it was worth it! All we needed was a frame because by the time I got downstairs Mom had already picked out a spot on the stairway wall to hang it: a place of honor. We found a lightweight frame at Michael's. Perfect, because there's old plaster under Mom's patriotic wallpaper.

So here it is below and then I'll tell you what I'd do differently if doing it over.  Sorry about any glare because I honestly didn't think about taking a photo in the rush to frame it.

Full view. The poster is 24 inches by 36 inches.
Sorry that the photo leans, my bad:)


So, what would I do differently? I'd take all the images into a photo editor and adjust them so that they all had the same contrast. That way they would look like a "set". Some were just a bit too dark for my taste. No big deal.

Next, I would have proofread to make sure that the latest version of Mom's Big Tree was being used. Some of the most recent changes and edits were lost because I worked on my project too long -- and updated the member tree along the way but forgot to make the same changes to the project tree. Editing the text is super easy and I did some of that, when a woman had two husbands that I wanted to include. Again, no big deal.

I never thought about the issue of framing because I was all about the tree poster project itself. Luckily, we happened to be near a Michael's and got the good super lightweight frame. We were able to frame it before it got too many wrinkles in it. Handling the poster will put wrinkles in it, believe me!

This poster is a very cool way to display the ancestral connections while spicing up the deal with family photos. Mo' photos, mo' betta! Looking at it now, there were some smaller spaces where more family photos could have been tucked in.

I chose to do this project for Mom's ancestors and will do another for Dad's people. Dad's gone now but would have loved to see his family up on the wall. He would have enjoyed that a lot.

I can see making a poster for a family reunion and not caring a fig about wrinkling it. The more handling the better, I'd say!

Did I get my money's worth? Oh, baby, and then some!! This was easy and fun. I already had the tree on, had the photos both on the tree and more in my photo file. Go ahead, give it a try:) It's a blast!

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Happy Blogiversary to The Nut Tree!!

Nuts From The Family Tree is two years old today!!

Wow, this has been fun! And educational. I think that in the last two years I've learned much more than I would have without this blog. I've met new friends, picked up some new-to-me cousins, deepened my skills as a researcher, and maybe even am a better blog writer. Would I do it again? You bet!!

Here's a big e-hug to all who left comments, even the spammers. Any comment lets me know that the blog lives! And the "real" comments are the best and I thank you who took a moment to write something. Just an "atta girl" makes me smile and puts some icing on the cake of my day. But looking at the comments list now, I can see that so many of them taught me something valuable or started me down a road that paid off. How great is that? Readers who commented, have a slick of cake! Look, it's chocolate:)

My blog gives me gifts almost every day. With every post and thinking about what I'm going to write, I have a chance to slow down and sort out the ancestors, pondering their lives and their world one more time. When I do, I ask myself what more could be found about them and where might I look for that.

Recently while visiting Mom, I surprised myself with some dexterity searching for a record as I approached the search a couple of different ways. I would never have been able to do that a year ago and have other bloggers to thank for showing me how to do better searches. Fellow bloggers, have a slice of cake!

And I'll take a slice of cake because posting here lights my own desire to work on problems. Must be the candles lighting my way!

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Back From A Mother's Day Visit to Mom!

Wow! Just back in sunny San Diego from a trip to beautiful Western Maryland, and the little town of Frostburg, to see Mom. She's well and happy and going full ahead, if for a nap now and then... and at just shy of 95 that's quite an accomplishment! And who doesn't love a good nap?

We had such a good time in her files and photos, checking on court records for Cousin Rich, sorting through records and finding the odd and remote bit of info, discovering forgotten books in her collection, and looking at special family documents like letters from WWII.

I'm unpacking and pooped, but there's a lot to report on, as soon as the laundry gets done. Be back soon:)

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Surname Saturday: Plenty of Porters!

I get a headache whenever I think about the Porters of Allegany County, Maryland. There were a lot of them and they passed a bunch of names down through the generations just to make my life miserable... or at least that's how it feels. I generally love doing these Surname Saturday posts, the popular and useful blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers because I learn a lot about what's known and what's not known about each branch on the old family tree. But the Porters, oh, no! Not them!

Here's the deal. The Porters are one of the oldest families in Allegany County and got their land as part of the military lot grants after the Revolutionary War. Plus, some of the written histories about the Porters indicate that Porters in the area predate those lot assignments. They're all over the place in Allegany County! Never mind. Our connection is one female, Delilah Porter, whose presence escaped all of the published material on the Porter line. But I'm getting ahead of myself, as usual. So let's do this chapter and verse.

Recent DNA evidence and further analysis points to Delilah being the daughter of Samuel Porter, son of John Porter the immigrant and patriot soldier. As soon as more information is collected a now Porter post will appear here.
This lineage is not correct!!

1. Diane Kelly Weintraub

2. Francis Patrick " Pat" Kelly
1916 - 2007
3. Virginia Williams, that's Mom, living and loving it!

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

8. Francis Patrick Kelly 1854 - 1923
9. Christiana Eckhart 1861 - 1932
18. John Eckhart 1831 - 1917
19. Mary Myers Eckhart 1837 - 1909
36. Jacob Eckhart 1801 - 1835/6
37. Delilah Porter 1812 - 1881
This couple were both born and died in Eckhart, Allegany, Maryland.
After Jacob's death Delilah married James Anderson (1818 - after 1860) who came from Grays landing, Pennsylvania, but was in the area after 1845. You'll notice that Delilah and Jacob Eckhart's daughter, Rachael, married Basil Anderson, but we're not certain exactly how all of these Anderson people fit in.
They had the following children:
18. John Eckhart 1831 - 1917, who married first Mary Myers, and when she died, married Rebecca O'Brien.
Rachael Eckhart 1829 - 1895. She married Basil Anderson.

OK, sports fans, here's where we take a leap of faith. Mom and I have worked long and hard on the problem of Delilah Porter's parents and I did a blog post about how we both reached the same conclusion. We did it using a published genealogy by Samuel Doak Porter, "A genealogy of the Porter family of Maryland, West Virginia, Michigan." He cites his sources and they include three known books about this line and other lesser know sources, many of them are old bibles held by descendants as well as personal family records. He did a fine job but as you'll notice we're back in the earliest years of the 1800s and before. Memories fade, records of births were kept at home, if they were kept at all, and primary source documentation... well, good luck with that! There are big holes in the Porter family tree as you can see by the chart below.


The hand drawn chart of the Porters from Samuel Doak Porter's book with all of the Josiah's highlight. The Andersons came in on one line and that helped solidify the connection from Delilah to her probable brother Josiah, and then back in through the generations.
So here's what we have penciled in for Delilah Porter. We're basing this on the premise that the Josiah Porter named in Jacob Eckhart's will as guardian for their children was the much respected Josiah Porter and Delilah's brother, as would have been the custom. You might notice that there are no numbers with these names and that's because they are "penciled in" pending further proof. They get a number when we're sure they belong to us:)

Gabriel McKenzie Porter (1776 - 1842)
Rebecca Frost (1174 - 1813)
Gabriel's second wife was Sarah Jane Anderson (1771 - 1863). See there's another Anderson connection right there! It looks like she might have first been married to Samuel Porter, and I'm not sure which Samuel Porter that was but it looks like it was Gabriel's brother, see below.
Gabriel was born in Carrollton, Baltimore, Maryland as were so many other Porters from this era. But then they moved to the western part of the state. Rebecca Frost comes from the family for whom Frostburg is named.
Gabriel and Rebecca had a bunch of kids and I have to tell you right here that Delilah is not named as one of them. So let's skip naming them, shall we?

John Anderson Porter Sr. (1737 - 1810)
Nancy Ann McKenzie (1741 -1786)
It's this John Porter who served in the Revolutionary War and is buried at Rose Meadow Cemetery, also called the Old Porter Cemetery, photo below. John and Nancy had about eight children: Mary (1765 - 1765), Michael (1768 - 1826), Samuel (1770 - 1828),  Thomas (1772 - 1854), Gabriel McKenzie Porter (1776 - 1842), Moses (1780 - 1861), John M. "Squire Jack" Porter (1783 - 1863), see painting below, and Elizabeth Eleanor (1785 - 1855).

Below are the maps of the Allegany County Military lots (in sections, as screen shots)
in which you can see those assigned to men named Porter.
(Map courtesy Evergreen Heritage Center.)

Grave of John Anderson Porter Sr. (1737 - 1810)
Old Porter Cemetery

John Porter Sr. (1694 - 1776)
Elinor Durier (1692 - 1778)
Both of these people were born in Gloucester, England. It is commonly said that John Sr. was a Jaccobite, and "made himself obnoxious" to the King George I. He landed on these shores in Carrollton, Maryland where his children were born and raised. Not much is known about the children, except for John Jr. who took land in the western part of the state. They also might have had children named Samuel, Henry, Josiah, and Michal plus two girls who are unnamed... but take that with a grain of salt.

The Old Porter Cemetery on Rose Meadow, Allegany County, Maryland.
View from the Porter land at Rose Meadow.
John M. "Squire Jack" Porter, as painted by Frank Maxwell Mayer,
on the porch of his house at Rose Meadow.
Squire Jack served in the War of 1812.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Concerning the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic

I love books in my library that deal with the history of the little Western Maryland town where my ancestors came from, Frostburg, Allegany County, and the area nearby. Most recently I stumbled onto a writer that I enjoy a lot because he's written extensively about the events that formed the area as well as other historical books. His name is James Rada Jr.

Right now on his web site he's featuring a new work about the 50th reunion of soldiers who fought at Gettysburg. Although it looks pretty cool, I'll not stop now to read it because I'm reading a whole other stack of his books about Cumberland, the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918, and the Irish immigrants who worked on the C&O Canal. He has two books of short essays, a form of writing I dearly love, all about Western Maryland, called Looking Back and Looking Back II. I plan to get those next!

Mom is now reading The Rain Man, about the 1936 flood of the Potomac River in Cumberland, also called the St. Patricks Day Flood. She remembers that day because she made a new green dress to wear to a St. Paddy's Day dance which was cancelled. Instead she boarded the bus to Cumberland and took in the awful sights of the flood's destruction.

The focus of our energies today is a book entitled, October Mourning. OK, so maybe you're thinking, what? A book about the flu?! Yikes! But this historical novel had me going from the second page. And I say second page because it takes my brain that long to grab a writer's style such that I can "hear" his words in my head. Does that make sense? (Mom does that too.)

In this book, we follow a doctor through the panic of the flu epidemic as it sweeps through Cumberland, during WWI. People have their concerns and worries about the war, some have lost sons and husbands. But when the German doctor tries to do what he can, and admittedly it's not much in the face of the flu, but he's trying with all his might, some of the citizens turn their anger towards him. There's a crazy street preacher, locals of all stripes, a cop named Cow, and a woman who has just lost her soldier fiance to, not the war, but the flu. She's an interesting character as we follow her journey to real redemption and healing.

It's an easy read but don't get your "literary" meat hooks and red pencil ready. And yes, you'll find some typos but that simply indicates that someone somewhere was rushing. Give a guy a break. What this book does provide is a window for me to look through and observe the world my ancestors inhabited. I'm wondering if my ancestors purposely avoided nearby Cumberland during this time? Did they take shelter in the location of Frostburg that was just far enough away? Now I keep thinking, which of my ancestors died in October 1918?

Rada lets the story unwind and tucks in what you need to know in a gentle way, like the description of what happened physically to flu victims that caused death. A historical synopsis is at the very end under the title "Afterword: Spanish Flu in Allegany County," and that felt like the perfect place. I was surprised to understand that the flu hit remote Cumberland in one disastrous month, from September to October. By the end of that time cases were dwindling. It's unnerving to think that people were dying so fast burials couldn't keep up. And besides, no public gatherings of the population were allowed so funerals, if they could be scheduled, were immediate family only, and outdoors. It's a mind-blower!

So thank you, James Rada! Keep writing, please:)

Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

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Wisdom Wednesday: Let's Go!

Here we are and it's time to use the GeneaBlogger's blogging prompt called Wisdom Wednesdays. Doing this post keeps me moving through the work while taking a moment to take stock and evaluate. This week I do need to get my stuff in a bag because I'm going to see Mom back east real soon. We'll have some time to compare notes and dig deep into her files and copy everything except the two cats! Our kinda' fun, and I bet yours too:)

Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland... where Mom lives.

Visit Mom: organization!! Oh, gosh. I do need to be organized and have a list ready when I go visit Mom or I just know Mom and I can gobble up time enamored with one little doo-dad or other. We're like that. It's an advantage when we slow down and stop to analyze records or objects and photos, but it can stand in the way of getting her files copied, which I must do on this visit. And we want to go see a library and a museum and a historical site plus of course, cemeteries! So I've got a list, and here it is.

1. Copy as many files as possible. I could use Mom's pocket scanner but it moves too slowly for me. I'll photograph the files with my trusty camera, transfer the images as a group to a file folder on Mom's computer and copy that file over to my external hard drive that I'm taking with. I'll also be testing out DropBox capabilities as I send each folder into the cloud for safety. Feeling good about this plan... even though I'll probably be working day and night!

2. See Mom's paper doll collection from the 1920s. Why would you not want to see that!?

3. Find the House Heirs Association papers from that meeting in 190? in Hamilton, Ohio. I'll photograph those papers and maybe bring them back to San Diego. (If you don't remember recent posts about the HHA, use the search box to the right. It's complicated.)

4. See the love letters my 2nd GGF wrote to my 2nd GGM while he was traveling away from the family and working over in West Virginia as a stone mason. Can not believe that I haven't copied these before!

5. Go to Allegany College's Appalachian Collection and Genealogy Resources at the Library for a visit. Mom used to practically live here but now they just give out her name and phone number to anyone working on our family surnames. That's how we found Cousin Karen.

6. Go to the Frostburg Museum to pick up a couple of books and say Hi.

7. Go to the Evergreen Heritage Center to see what resources they hold and meet Janice who has been a wonderful help. Here's what their web site has to say about it:
The Evergreen Heritage Center (EHC), located on approximately 130 acres of “Federal Hill” in the heart of Allegany County, is an historic Maryland estate that pre-dates the Revolutionary War. The EHC includes the Evergreen mansion (now a museum), beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens, trails, streams, and forest, all in a picturesque setting adjacent to the Great Allegheny Passage and Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
And the Center isn't just about history, no, it's all about the environment and education too. See a recent article here in Allegany Magazine. Hope it doesn't rain too much because we want to explore!

8. Visit Percy Cemetery in Frostburg. It sits right behind Grandma Kelly's house so we sure know where it is. Mom wants to show me all of the graves of the ancestors who are buried there.

Oh, there's more but you're probably tired of reading this mess. It's not your trip and if you're still reading, I thank you for your attention:) I'm thrilled to be able to think about the upcoming trip and plan it out! Watch out Mom, here I come!

Late breaking weather report: rain, rain, and mo' rain. Good for brother's tomatoes but not for slogging around in cemeteries!

The Percy Cemetery behind Mom and Dad.
Photo taken about 1942.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thoughtful Tuesday: Grandmother Williams

This week we'll continue to use a blogging theme I made up while attending a concert and then later browsing the photo file. The core of the concept is to use contrasting images of ancestors as they were when they were young with images of them in their maturity. I realized last week, as cool as this is to do, there are a limited number of ancestor subjects because there are a limited number of photos. Figured it could be done with the grand parents, and that will likely end the project. Too bad because this is fun.

This week it's Grandmother Williams... Emma. Sweet, delicate, warm. I see her in my mind's eye in the kitchen working attentively on a peach pie, or in the dining room crocheting near a window, or reading while resting on a day bed there, perhaps a magazine from the stack next to her, while listening to the radio playing in the background.

Here are three photos of her that I especially love. The first is of her as a young woman, and the last as the wife in an older couple, both members of the couple sporting white hair, and comfortable. The middle image is of her with my Mom - who will be 95 in July - as an infant. Right now as I type this, I'm feeling the passage of time as a heavy weight.

Young, dreamy, pretty, Emma Susan (Whetstone) Williams (1897 - 1956)
poses in a local photographer's studio.

A few years later and she's married Cambria "Camey" Williams (1897 - 1960),
and now with her baby, Virginia, poses for a candid photo.

Here they are as I remember them best. Older, easy to smile and laugh,
the rolling hills of Western Maryland in the background.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

DNA Monday: Neanderthal on My Mind

OK, to recap, I took my DNA test with I was after the medical information equally as much as the genealogy results. The medical stuff was informative: I read it, thought about it, made a couple of changes to diet, remembered how important exercise is, and so on... then moved on with my life. The genealogy matches are an ongoing process and I'll wind up this post with some more surnames to add to the Surname List, hoping to catch a "cousin". But I keep on finding that my thoughts wander back to one issue: I'm 3.1% Neanderthal. Imagine! How? Why?

I guess of all the results from DNA testing, after delving into the percents of me that come from various European populations, the most surprising element is that small part (less that .1%) that's Sub-Saharan African and a bright happy red chunk on chromosome 10. I can not for the life of me figure out where that fits! I like and enjoy a bit of diversity in my mix, and maybe disappointed that it's such a small part. I'm also interested in that less than .1% that's Askanazi on chromosome 2. L'Chiam! But nothing gets my imagination going like that 3.1% that belongs to the deep past that's been identified as Neanderthal.

The big brewing pot of my imagination has been helped along recently by two programs on the Smithsoniam Channel, both about the Neanderthals and their legacy to those of us who are non African and inherited some of their DNA. (And double-check everything I write about DNA because, try as I might, I am just another fan trying to stumble their way into some pretty deep waters here.)

The first program was, predictably, about physical relations. But a couple of minutes into it and I could tell that it was really about how I got that 3.1% neanderthal DNA... well, not me exactly, but you know what I mean;) The second program was mostly about the Denisova Hominins and all about that discovery, which is a continuing saga.

Now, and knowing that my DNA is 3.1% Neanderthal, when I watch programs like these I pay more attention because I suddenly feel that I have a vested interest. Hey, they're talkin' about me!

My personal take-away so far is that this DNA thing is right there on the cutting edge of science and I'm happy to watch from a front row seat, so to speak, provided by my DNA test as a ticket to that grandstand. I find this exciting!

To read other posts on this subject on this blog, just find the search box near the top right and put in "DNA".

Here's the next installment of my Surname list so we can keep finding out if we're related!

Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland (before 1768 - present)
Franconia Township, Montgomery, Pennsylvania (before 1755 to before 1768)
Germany, Bavaria (before 1755 to about 1750)

Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland, general area including Zihlman, Mt. Savage, etc. (before 1767 - present)
Somerset County, New Jersey (about 1742 - before 1767)
The area now known as Brooklyn, New York (about 1647 - about 1742) As you can see I really don't know how to term this location in this time period. So don't yell at me and I'll go find out and correct it later.
Other locations associated with this family:
Danville and Union Township, Knox County, OH (before 1835 - ????)

Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland (before 1852 - present)
Possibly England (before 1852)
Other locations associated with this family:
Aux Sable Township, Grundy County, Illinois.

Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland (after 1900 - present)
Hampshire County, Virginia then West Virginia (before 1782 - after 1910)

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Surname Saturday: Browne? From Ireland?

It's Surname Saturday, and time to use the blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers! What we do for this exercise if follow the generations back taking each surname in rotation, moving back throuigh the generations. This week we launch into the 5th generation back and the 3rd great grandmothers, because the 5th great grandfathers and their surname heritage has already been covered.

This week it's Bridget Browne's turn. She married John Kelly, father of John Kelly who was the first of our Kelly line to land in America and you can read about the Kellys in my first ever Surname Saturday post here. Honestly, I don't have too much to add to that post because any records about John Kelly and Bridget Browne are long gone. But let me tell you what we now know, and then list the things we'd like to know.

1. Diane K. Weintraub

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

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

8. Francis Patrick Kelly (1854 - 1923)
9. Christiana Eckhart (1861 - 1932)

16. John Kelly (1829 - 1891)
17. Bridget Corcoran (1830 - after 1910)

32. John Kelly (about 1800 - ????)
33. Bridget Browne (about 1800 - ????)
Mom had done her homework before she and Dad and I went to Ireland back in 1987, and you can read about that trip here. (It's one of my most popular posts!)
Mom already knew from the tombstone for John Kelly (Jr.) where he was born and on what dates. It was super hard to read on that old tombstone but Mom waited for just the right hour and time of year to read it more clearly. See that photo below.
We tracked down the parish records for this family in Ireland in the Clonmacnoise Parish, County Offlay (Kings), which included the little town of Shannonbridge. We first had to go to the parrish house and get permission from the parish priest, and that allowed us to see the original records. Then we went over to the building on the corner and climbed the long set of creaking wooden stair to the big room where people were entering the records in a database. Mom copied all that was available, chatted with the workers and found out that the oldest parish records were burned in a parish house fire, and those were the books containing the records for John Kelly and Bridget Browne. More's the pity. We still hold out hope that other records besides those of the church will eventually become known to us.
So, we don't know too much about this couple, except that they probably saw their young son and perhaps his brothers, leave for American, and most likely, just as other Irishemn, never come home again. (Guess that's why we all shed a little tear when we hear an Irish voice sing "Danny Boy".)
They had this child, known to us, but we guess there are more. They were Irish and Catholic, after all:)
16. John Kelly (1829 - 1891)

Next Steps:
Wow, what to say? I want those old chared records from the parish in Ireland. Guess I'm probably not going to get them.
1. Check other Irish records to see if any small item might be hiding. Frankly, in order to do this I must eventually start my steep learning curve about Irish records. Now I have three families to investigate: Farrell from posibly County Clare, Corcoran from we don't know where, and these Kelly people. Maybe I'll start this summer?
2. Find out more about the history of the town of Shannonbridge. Can anything be learned?
3. Check the Catholic cemetery there. Tomstones or remnants? Other Kellys?
4. History. I need to know more about the history of Shannonbridge and Ireland in general from the 1830s to the time of the Irish Famine. All of my people were here before the famine. Interesting. And all landed in Western Maryland or northern Virginia/West Virginia within about 10 years of each other. Very Interesting.

The historical site of Clonmacnoise, County Offlay (Kings), Ireland.
Photo, 1987.

Tombstone of John Kelly (1829 - 1891),
taken by Mom one late afternoon when the light was just right.
He was born in Shannonbridge and died in Eckhart, Allegany, Maryland.

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Friday, May 3, 2013

House Heirs Association: Part III, Where Did They Get All That Land?

If you've been following along on this crazy journey to resurrect the collected facts, trivia, and stories about the House Heirs Association (HHA) you'll remember in Part I we checked out the basics of it all and in Part II we followed the money. In this post we'll try to figure out and untangle what's known about how the House men got possession of that land in the first place. But first the usual recap of the HHA.

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.

So where the heck did they get all that land? I'm still curious even though lately I've been suspicious that we're actually related to this House line! In an old document in Mom's possession our connection through Samuel Albert House, my 2nd great grandfather, is outlined. It was about 1900 and times were hard and people must have seen this as an opportunity to enjoy wealth, because the estimate was that everyone would get $2 million. Now, you need to know that Samuel Albert lived in a small rural village in the back woods of West Virginia and scraped by, as best we can tell. It amuses me to think what he might have done with a $2M pay day:)

Back to the main question of the day: where did they get that land? It was a gigantic parcel, some 64,000 acres. Where would they get that?! There are mentions about the original land grant in HHA documents but the attorney who represented the HHA states in a letter (with no date but presumably after the 1901 Kokomo Indiana meeting) that "much time and effort has been spent in writing to parties who were said to have papers and records but none have been found to throw any light on the matter." He goes on to say, "we have found nothing, except, perhaps family history".

That said, the next posting by Mr. Granger to the RootsWeb message board listed as House Heirs Association meeting Williamstown, KY, Jan 9th, 1899, concerns a letter dated December 18, 1899, reportedly coming from "a London Law Office" and here's what it said, in a nutshell. (I've underlined the descendancy stuff for easier reference.)

1.  The House records and estate of Andrew House by metes and bounds was first ceded to Count Frederick Edward Van Hautzen by Pudshers from the English Government, in the 16th Century.
2. It was attached as part of the Commonwealth of Maryland to the Calvert Government, which with the Estate of Lord Baltimore, it reverted back to the Crown, being regranted in the 17th Century to Andrew House, who was the Great Grandson of Count Frederick, from the latter Frederick County was named.
3. This land was given to Andrew House as a birthday present, if he would enter this grant: he was also given the coat of arms: signatures and seals (a different House Mediveael Coat of Arms), cord and dagger.
4. From Andrew House it descended to John Valentine House, the eldest child and his heirs.
5. Neither patent or grant was ever recorded in Maryland, but a search of the British Colonies Offices in the 17th and 18th Century will reveal the Grant and old will of those records.

The writer of this letter, who sounds awfully certain of it all, states,"The search for you will cost about ten pounds, or fifty dollars. But before coming to England, it might be well to satisfy that there was no assignment or quit-claim from John Valentine House, who was son of Count Frederick Edward Van Hautzen, who was a son of Andrew Van Hautzen, in times the last of the Counts of the Barony."

Confused? Yeah, me too. Next time, Dastardly Deeds!

(Insert Cheezy Coat of Arms Here;)

Update, 6/25/2013: Here's a link to the page on Len Granger's web site where he talks about the House Heirs Association. Thanks, Len!!

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Thank you, Betty VanNewkirk

Not much makes me happier than getting my hands on some real homey writing about the little mountain town of Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland. I love the stories of its history and people, some of whom I can count as my ancestors. To my mind, there's no one who is a better historian and story teller about Frostburg than Betty VanNewkirk. In a previous post from last fall I wrote this about Betty:

I picked up two books by Betty VanNewkirk about Frostburg: Windows to the Past, and Kalidascope. They are both collections of essays written for the Cumberland Times-News newspaper. Here's a link: . Betty taught at Frostburg State University for many years as did her husband, whom I think I had as a professor. I believe Mom told me that Betty just celebrated her 97th birthday!

Those two books have a special place in my Treasure Chest! Windows to the Past is falling apart at the binding, but never mind, and I love it and use it all the same! Click here to read about the Moonshining Miners and here to read a post entitled, He Died in the Outhouse. I can't even tell you which are my favorite stories because almost every one gives me a chuckle or brings a tear to the eye. Betty sure knows her history!

I got my copies of these two book at the Frostburg Museum and here's the link to their new spiffy web site.

I was thrilled to find my great great grandfather,  Charles William Zeller (1829 - 1901) mentioned on page 50 of Kaleidoscope,  in an article titled, "37 West Main Street," in which it says, "In the 1860s the tennant was a Mr. Zeller, who was a baker and confectioner."

On page 103 an article, "The Body in the Privy," contains reference to Charles William's son and my great grandfather, Gustav William Zeller and his barbershop that offered, "showers and tubs for the convenience of his customers."
Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt of GeneaBloggers.