Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone got lots of genealogy goodies for Christmas. And hopefully everyone has been couponing and stocking up on supplies for the long winter ahead of us. January is a good month to hunker down inside your home with a cup of hot chocolate and get started on the new year's genealogy research. New  year, fresh start. There are a whole new bunch of ancestors out there waiting to be found. So get those pantries stocked so you don't have to stop your research to run to the store for dinner.

OGS 6th Annual Writing Contest. Do you have an interesting ancestor in your family tree? Do you have a story about a specific place in Ohio? Did you break through an impossible brick wall this past year? Here is your chance to put it in words and submit it to OGS for possible publication in one of their journals. The deadline for entries is 28 Feb 2013. For more information go to:

I am not big on New Year's resolutions, but every year I promise myself that I will faithfully document all my research.  It has worked because over the years I have become much better at doing this. It is so easy to convince yourself that you will remember where you got "this tidbit of information". I know it is time consuming and annoying when you have a whole book full of information sitting in front of you that could solve that one mystery that has been bugging you for years. If nothing else, note where you found the information plus title and author/publisher. In most cases you can go back later and find an online catalog for the facility you visited.

This is a good time of the year to clean out your closet and declutter your house. Put these items up for sale on Craig's List or Ebay and use the extra money for society memberships or conference trips. All my funds for genealogy trips during the year come from ebay sales. Yes you can do it! If you can do research online you can learn how to sell on Ebay. Just remember the most important rule -- just because something didn't sell the first time doesn't mean it won't sell. It will, eventually!! Note. Ebay gives its sellers 50 free listings every month. That means no listing fee, just a final value fee.

This new year is also a good time to get involved with your local genealogy society. Benefits: meet other family researchers, find new cousins, learn new skills, exchange ideas, informative lectures and local trips. With all the research that is available online now, it is easy to just stay home and stare at  your computer. You really do need the interaction with other genealogists. Note. This year at the OGS Conference there will be a Social Media Gathering on Thursday April 25 at 6:15pm.

Welcome in the New Year tonight!
Relax and watch football tomorrow!
Find a new ancestor on Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Brand New Christmas

I sincerely hope that this Christmas season finds all of you together with your family and friends. As the years go by we lose touch with so many of our dear friends and family members.

I am getting ready for  Christmas all by myself this year. It has turned out to be the ultimate mufti-tasking situation. Somehow I managed to get all of my many outside Christmas lights up with the help of my many grandkids!! It looks great even though there are a few hiccups! Shopping is almost done: thank goodness for gift cards. May have to cut the cookie recipes in half this year or else live on Christmas cookies through February. That's  a money saving thought!

And this year I gave my kids the ultimate Christmas gift -- one less house to visit on Christmas Eve. I have decided to forget the traditional Christmas Eve dinner with all the trimmings and family members this year. Instead Winston (my Maltese) and I will have pizza and curl up on the couch to watch old Christmas movies -- just because we can! My kids are really happy because for the first time in many years they can all go where they want to on Christmas Eve. And they can get home in time for Santa. 

Of course we are all going to get together in the early evening on Christmas Day to just kick back and relax. I am really looking forward to this.

Sometimes Christmas needs to be changed.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hey, Pilgrim!!

Here it is November again. And that means that families all over America are gathering to feast on turkey, mashed potatoes and gray, dressing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Oh, forgive me, I forgot the Green Bean Casserole!

But some of us are looking beyond Turkeyfest. We are searching for Pilgrim ancestors. Once again it is the same thing as the Salem Witches. You will be doing backwards genealogy. Fortunately, when you want to find ancestors who came over on the Mayflower, your odds are a lot better -- just because there are more resources. Let's face it, the Pilgrims were a little bit more popular that the Salem Witches.

So where do you go?  This is your initial source and also your best source. This website will give you the surnames of all the Mayflower Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Even though I probably don't have any ancestors who arrived on this particular ship, I am so impressed by this website. It is a wealth of information, full of history and interesting facts -- including many celebrities who are descended from the Pilgrims.

FYI: George Washington declared a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789.
President Lincoln proclaimed an annual Thanksgiving Day in 1863 during the Civil War. President Franklin Roosevelt established our present day Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Who Do I Thnk I Am

I have been working on my lineage papers for Century Families of Ohio. Just a little labor intensive! In my mind, I know who everyone is and I know  how I am related to all of these people whose names I am entering on all of these forms. So, not a problem -- right? I am beginning to realize that sometimes it is easier to prove ancestors in your family who existed 100 years ago than it is to prove a relative who was in your life 50 years ago. 

I read somewhere that Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is a primary source. Everything after that is hearsay and therefore, a secondary source. I always keep this in mind when looking at the records I am using for lineage papers. How far back does this record go. Can I go back any further to prove this date. If you can't, you have a primary source.
You have to put yourself in the place of the person who is reviewing your application And that is difficult. You have to become someone who never heard of you or your family. Then you prove to yourself that you are who you think you are. Yes! Who do you think you are!!

My papers are ready to be mailed. I will let you know what mistakes I made. I don't know anyone who got it right the first time.  Next in line before the New Year will be Settlers and Builders of Ohio. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Which witch is which!

Associated Daughters of Early American Witches. Membership is by invitation only. You must be at least sixteen years of age and be able to prove your descent from an ancestor who was accused, tried and/or executed for the practice of witchcraft before the end of December 1699.

I know many people who want to trace their ancestors back to the Mayflower. But I know even more who want to trace their family back to the Salem witch trials. I have no explanation for this except that it will add a little bit of spice to your family history. We are not talking about Halloween witches here. Instead we are talking about those people who were "different" and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you do your research, you will find that social conditions, climate, geography all played a role in this dark period in New England history. The first women to be accused of witchcraft were poor or homeless and there was a huge division between the social classes in the area. Eventually scientific research discovered that there was a problem with the grains that were grown in Salem, which was by nature warm and swampy. And history shows us that all of this led to mass hysteria.

There are many online sources of lineage information for those of you who want to trace your ancestry to the Salem Witch Trials. The website for the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches has a list of approved ancestors. I would suggest that you check the surnames and go from there.

Let me say something here: This is one of those situations where you are doing backwards genealogy and it does not always work. In other words you are trying to connect your family to a group of famous or notorious people and you have no idea whether or not you are related. Life is too short to base all of your research on this technique. However, have fun with it for a short period of time and then go back to the real research that is going to give you an accurate picture of your family history. 

In most cases, if you have done your homework, acceptance into a lineage society is not that difficult. Most of the time the drawbacks and hesitations are all in our minds. If you remember this one simple fact, your chances of acceptance will be good. *Don"t enter any information that you cannot verify.

If you don't have proof for a date of birth, marriage or death - don't enter the information. It is that simple and yet so many of us just don't get it. I don't know why we don't get it. And I am as guilty as anybody else. You know what I am talking about. "Great-grandma Bessie always said that her mother was born in Virginia and came to Kentucky with Daniel Boone in 1770."  Sounds good, but is it true? Prove it! That's all you need to do.

One thing that I have recently discovered that might possibly help you with your Salem research: Massachusetts eventually decided to make things right with the families of the people involved in the Salem Witch Trials.This means that since the government was involved, there are probably tons of records with lots of names and dates. I have found this to be true with my own research.

For more information about the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches go to


Thursday, October 25, 2012

That Big Box of Family Pictures

Ah. . . .this is the time of year that we genealogists start planning ahead for next year. This is when we put our genealogy wish lists together. Wouldn't it be fun for your family to all get together and send you away to a conference for a few days! Instead of a gift card to your local box store, how about a membership to Let's get creative -- gas gift cards, motel gift cards, a gift card to Or maybe a membership to your local genealogical society. A subscription to your favorite genealogy magazine. There are so many options.

At the same time, you can give something to your family. Remember all those times when you thought -- if only I had asked Grandma about what her life was like when she was growing up. Or "who are all those people in all those pictures"? How about rather than camping out in front of the store with the best bargain this year, you take that time to identify the people you know in all those boxes of pictures in your closet. And on Christmas Eve instead of watching the same holiday movies you have been watching since November 1, get those boxes of pictures out of the closet and show the youngest members of the family the pictures from the past. Lets them see what their moms, grandmothers, and sisters or brothers looked like before they were born.

I am one of the fortunate ones who knew what family holiday parties were like before television. We all got together at the home of the family that was next in line to have the Christmas Party. (See, we all took turns. And when someone got to old to have the party, it passed to the next person in line.) And after dinner, we didn't watch tv. Instead we got out that big box of family pictures and the aunts and uncles told us who everyone was and then they told us all the crazy stories about growing up in our family.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Land Of Cotton

We have arrived at the last episode of Who Do You Think You Are for 2012. Although it looks like NBC will not renew WDYTYA  for another season, there have been rumors that another network might pick up the popular series. Of course those of us who do family history know very well that the concept will not die. We all will continue to do our own individual Who Do You Think You Are stories.

Paula Deen was the last celebrity this year to venture into the past. That past was a Georgia plantation around the time of the Civil War. John Batts, Paula's 3x great-grandfather, was listed in the 1870 census as a planter meaning he owned a plantation which today would have been worth a million dollars.  Also, records show that Batts owned 35 slaves in 1860.

Further research shows that John's oldest son, William, fought and died in the Civil War. After the war, John Batts' life changed drastically eventually leading to his suicide sometime before 1879. I think it is safe to assume that  his financial situation contributed to his death and, of course, no one knows whether or not things would have been different had William Batts survived the war. 

Are you thinking Gone With The Wind right now?  Scarlet O'Hara? Rhett Butler? Before I-75, the route to Florida took travelers through the back roads of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. I remember sitting in the back seat of my parents' car in the late 1940's, early 1950's --looking out the window, hoping to get a glimpse  of an old plantation manor house. And they were there -- although mostly in disrepair and abandoned. I am sure at that time in my life I didn't realize what i was seeing.  Instead I visualized the Hollywood version of the Old South. Grand plantations that survived long after the war between the states and eventually just deteriorated due to age. What I didn't see was the devistation caused by the effects of the Civil War. 

It is easy to see from the tax records of John Batts that his lifestyle changed drastically after the Civil War until he finally committed suicide sometime before 1879. It is easy to romanticize the Old South but it takes a family history like that of Paula Deen's to bring us back to reality.

And nothing can bring us back to reality like the letter that Jordan Anderson, a former slave,  wrote to his former owner, Colonel Patrick Henry Anderson in 1865.  Jordan Anderson was a slave who was freed from a Tennessee plantation in 1864 by Union soldiers. He eventually came to live in Dayton, Ohio, where he dictated the letter to an abolistionist named Valentine Winters. Winters published the letter in a Cincinnati newspaper in 1865.  (This area of southern Ohio was very much a part of the Underground Railroad. If you attended the NGS Conference in Cincinnati this year, you may have had an opportunity to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center just a short walk from the conference center.) The letter itself has been sliced and diced by many and it surfaces every few years. Many compare the letter to the writing style of Mark Twain. The letter swings back and forth between dry satirical humor and the violence that characterized slavery.

Jordan gives Col. Anderson the opportunity to prove his sincerity by requesting that his long overdue wages be sent to him by Adam's Express.  (  The amount would be $11,680 plus interest for 32 years of faithful service. At the same time he expressed his concern for the safety of his wife and family. The letter gives us a snapshot of Jordan's life in 1865. He made $25 a month, had a home, attended chuch, and his children were doing well in school.

Jordan Anderson was an actual person who was born around 1825 and eventually was sold to the Anderson family when he was around the age of 7. He was freed in 1864. He died in 1905 at the age of 80. He wrote the letter in reply to a letter sent to him by Col Anderson.

Colonel Anderson was born in 1823. He sent a letter to Jordan in a last chance effort to save his plantation. He felt that Jordan could help him return the property to its pre-Civil War condition. The colonel lost his plantation in 1865 and died in 1867 at the age of 44. You have to wonder if Col. Anderson took his own life like Paula Deen's 3x great-grandfather. After all their circumstances were similar and, no doubt, not unlike that of many other southern plantation owners.

But Jordan's main concern in 1865 was the safety, education, and future of his family. It appears he succeeded. The full text of the letter can be easily found on line.

Note: For the next few weeks I will be working on my own Ohio Genealogical Society lineage papers and I will be posting about my experiences with this project. I am also planning a trip down the new Route 24 to the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Coming in October: Which Witch is Which. The Associated Daughters of Early American Witches.

Coming in November: How many people can you squeeze on a tiny boat. The Mayflower Society.

Friday, September 14, 2012

For Every Action There Is A Reaction!

In the eleventh episode of Who Do You Think You Are,  Jason Sudeikis, of Saturday Night Live fame, focused on his father's family since he already knew much of his mom's family history.  Jason really started from scratch with his dad's genealogy. Jason's father, Dan, never knew his father. He had heard stories from his mom about the death of his father, but that was the end of it. 

Through research in Chicago, Jason learned that his grandfather, Stanley Sudeikis, Jr., died homeless with no money or family. Stanley and Jason's grandmother were married but apparently it was only a formality. This led Jason to want to know more about Stanley, Jr.'s relationship with his father, Stanley, Sr. 

Once again,  Jason discovers another member of his family who grew up without a father. It seems Stanley Sr. had two families. He was a bigamist! So, both Jason's father and grandfather grew up without a father in the home. 

With further research Jason soon learns that Stanley, Sr. suffered the same fate, only this time due to a mining accident rather than the irresponsibility of another family member. Joseph Sudeikis came to America alone to find work and eventually be able to bring his family to his new homeland. Unfortunately he died in a mining accident before he could realize this dream. So, as it turned out, Jason is the first son in several generations to know and grow up with his dad.

This is a very sad story leaving Jason with several skeletons in the family closet. But, it gives us an opportunity to learn how to deal with this situation.

Some genealogists absolutely love their unruly ancestors and cannot wait to tell everyone about those rascals. Others are extremely  embarrassed and cannot wait to sweep the evidence under the rug.  Regardless of which category you fall into there are some very important guidelines you will need to follow.  Remember: you are part of a family and you better make sure your facts are correct. 

I confess, I am one of those family detectives that loves the scondrels in my family. For one thing, they are easier to find - they leave more records! And they make my family history more interesting.  One side of my family is spring-loaded with skeletons! But it is going to be a while before they are exposed because I am not the last living survivor in my family and others could be hurt.

You need to consider the feeling of others. Will someone be hurt, shocked, embarrassed. Will someone's life be completely turned upside down. Will it start a feud within a family. Will it ruin someone's life.  No one lives in a vacuum.

But more importantly -- Verify your facts! Document your sources. You should always do this anyways, but it is especially important when you are dealing with damaging information. Beware of rumors. Consider the source. Did something happen that was beyond anyone's control. And remember for every action there is a reaction.

So it doesn't matter how you personally view your family scoundrels. What really matters is the effect the information will have on someone else - be it a relative or a non-relative. But above all make sure the information is accurate.

Next: The final episode of Who Do You Think You Are with Paula Deen. I am very excited about this episode because genealogy can sometimes teach you so much more than you will ever learn from a history book.

Monday, August 27, 2012

As If Genealogy Isn't Hard Enough!

I finally had a chance to look at the last three episodes of Who Do You Think You Are. They all have unique genealogical problems that need to be addressed. Rashida Jones is lucky to be here; Jason Sedeikis has skeletons in the family closet; and Paula Deen has to deal with the unexpected guilt that comes with finding the ancestor who owned slaves.

Rashida Jones' heritage is centered around African-American and Jewish research, being the daughter of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton. Rashida's grandmother, Rita, came to America from Ireland in the 1930's and changed her name from Rosenberg to Benson. Many immigrants changed both their given names and surnames in an effort to sound more American and in some cases to hide their nationality.This despite the fact that America welcomed all immigrants to her shores. 

However, as Rashida eventually discovers, Benson was the original name given to Rashida Jones mother's family many years ago in Russia and that the family immigrated to Ireland from Latvia. And this brings us to the problems of Jewish research in Eastern European countries. Hopefully you paid attention in your high school history class. Otherwise you are going to have to borrow a textbook from your own kids or your grandkids. Also, you could pick up a copy of The Family Tree Guide to Europe at Amazon. It's a very informative book with a section at the end of the book about Jewish Genealogy.

Since I remember my mother telling me that her mom's ancestors were Russian Jews, I am going to be looking into this possibility next year. The problem with that is there are a lot of family researchers out there that have been told the same thing! But you should never overlook a clue or discard it just because you think it isn't true. Family folklore nearly always has a bit of truth in it. But, anyway, I have a small amount of knowledge concerning what I am going to be dealing with in the near future.

When you are researching ancestors from Eastern Europe, it is a good idea to begin with immigration records. You will be looking for a community rather than a country because of the the history of the region. Due to many wars, there were numerous border changes down thru the years. Many of today's locations did not exist until after World War I.

Another problem is the persecution of the Jewish community. Millions of Jews were murdered during the Holocaust which of course resulted in an abrupt end to many family trees. There are no graves or tombstones to search for dates. In Rashida's case she is definitely lucky to be here and owes that to Benjamin Benson who left Latvia for reasons unknown and inadvertently saved his family since the Nazies eliminated their entire community in Latvia.

The Holocaust created a brick wall in Jewish research, but there is one more. Jewish people did not begin to have surnames until after 1800!  Isn't that just wonderful?! I believe that this is going to be an extremely challenging research project, as if genealogy isn't already hard enough! 

When I was at the NGS conference in Cincinnati, I picked up a brochure from You have to register in order to search the site, but it is free. Jewishgen offers educational resources, a Holocaust database, and like Family Search, depends on volunteers to help build the site. I haven't been able to spend a lot of time on the website, but I do believe it is worth joining. 

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies with many chapters throughout the world is another great resource. Make sure to visit this website whether  you are just getting started or are experienced in this area of research.

Since most Jewish people came to America after the late 1800's, most of your research is going to be international. This could take a lot of us out of our comfort zones. This is not a bad thing. Most genealogy beginners don't realize that one of the perks of family research is making history come alive. All of a sudden you have actual people that you are related to living during the colonial times or the Civil War or the Depression. Now you are going to have a chance to cross the pond and find out what really made them come to America. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

1940 Census Complete!

The entire US 1940 Census is now completely indexed on Family Search. What a tribute to the volunteers who made this possible. My one regret is that I never got to show my husband his family in the census  records before he passed away in May. We tried, but we just couldn't find the right address for his mom and dad. I have found the records now and, of course I can pass this information on to our grandchildren. Thinking back now on our last few days together, I realize that Chuck had finally come to appreciate the value of family history. I really believe that he was at that point where he wanted to know - not just the birth, marriage, and death information about his ancestors. He was at that point where a true genealogist is born. That point where you want to know what made your ancestors "tick". The 1940 census is a great way to connect our grandchildren to the past. Every ten years we have the opportunity to plant the seeds of family history in our grandchildren. Take advantage of this opportunity.

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's that time of the year again!

Don't you just love it when the kids get ready to go back to school? I know I do and I don't even have school age kids in my home. So what is it that makes this the "most wonderful time of the year"? School supplies! Well, actually, more like genealogy supplies.

This week's Office Max weekly ad is only the beginning of things to come.This week's ad has free pencils with a $5 purchase. I just love to cruise Office Max this time of the year.

Last week my Kroger Store started displaying their school supplies. And if you buy your supplies there, you will add to your fuel points. Speaking of fuel points, now that my grocery bill has been cut by more than 50 per cent, I have been buying gift cards for places I normally shop such as Barnes & Noble and Subway. This way I get twice the fuel points. 

Don't forget to check out Target and Walmart and take your time -- prices are reduced the closer you get to the first day of school!

Now is a good time to begin thinking about your holiday gift list for yourself. Make it out ahead of time and suggest that your kids all go together this year and send you to a conference or buy you a membership to 

Keep your fingers crossed everybody. This Thursday I find out if my arm has healed and I can get rid of the splint on my right arm. Then I can get back to faster typing and more posts!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Shortly after my husband passed away, I fell and broke my wrist! Yes, you're right, things couldn't get any worse. Paper work to be filled out, errands to run, a house to take care of (alone), food to prepare. flowers waiting to be planted and unbelievable heat in the triple digits. So I decided it was time to give up and wallow in self-pity. I couldn't type, couldn't write -- broke right wrist/am right handed!

Fortunately I had two wonderful daughters and a bunch of grandkids to help me out. That is until their own households started falling apart and they had to get back to their own lives. So there I was, all alone -- just me and Mac (my husband's Lab), and Winston (my Maltese) -- and a whole house full of modern conveniences! Oh, dear, how would I ever survive!

I suppose people who aren't interested in their family heritage only live in today's world. Yes, they might visit a restored historical site or a 19th century re-created pioneer community, but when they leave and head for home it was just an educational outing for the whole family. And, hopefully, one of the kids will write an essay on the trip next year in school and get an A. Mission accomplished!

But for those of us who crave our ancestral roots, it is an obsession to know who we are and why we are here. It is a need to know. Nothing brought this home to me more than my circumstances during the last two months. I am not the first women in my family to lose her husband. And probably not the only one to have suffered an injury shortly afterwards. But I am one of that select group that can look back and see what my maternal ancestors went through and it makes me realize how lucky I am and how incredibly strong they were. It also makes realize that I am descended from this stock and I will also survive.

As I sat here for the past week, unable to write or type, I couldn't help but think of the pioneer women in my family who followed their husbands into the wilderness of Ohio and Kentucky following the Revolutionary War. Two of them lost their husbands and were left with young children. Somehow they survived and lived to a ripe old age. Without running water, indoor plumbing, a refrigerator, microwave, fast food, local drug store, emergency room, and, best of all, air-conditioning. In other words, without all of my modern conveniences!

And those widows couldn't fax all of the required documents to the necessary government offices, pension funds, medicare, and attorneys. No, it required an enormous amount of written communication just to get a small Revolutionary War pension from the government. And as far as I know that was all that was available to them back then. Other than that they were on their own.

But when the temperature here in Northwest Ohio hit 101 degrees this past week, and I threw on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, I felt so incredibly sorry for my female ancestors. I could envision my grandmother many times removed as a widow with young children, living in a cabin in sparsely settled Clermont County, Ohio. Working from sunup til sundown in a dress that came down to her ankles. Anybody out there want to try that?

So I guess when you take all of this into consideration, it isn't difficult to understand the lifestyle that evolved from these situations. And at this point, we have to include widowers. It is safe to assume that pioneers migrated and settled in groups. The reason: survival. 

My great grandfather is buried with all of his wives. The group has a huge monument in the middle of the cemetery. Like they have their own subdivision!! Some of his wives were sisters. My grandfather married my grandmother's sister. And this was ok. What happened? When the wife died, usually due to complications from childbirth, her sister would move into the home to take care of the children. I suppose a relationship developed and before you knew it your aunt was your mom. The reason: survival.

Today these circumstances may seem strange, because a family can pick up and move to another town or country and continue on with their lives without taking the entire neighborhood with them. On the other hand I cannot think of anyone I know who would ever consider marrying their brother-in-law!! 

You might say I have made a case for cluster genealogy and in a way you're right. But I prefer to think that if you want to find your female ancestors, you have to walk a mile in their shoes. Or perhaps several hundred miles. And you really have to take a good look at how they survived. Because, let's face it you wouldn't be here if they had not survived. Never assume that just because their husbands died that they disappeared into the woodwork. These were strong women and they had to have left records.

Note: These are just my thoughts based on my experiences over the last few months since my husband passed away. They might be a little bit random, but somehow they make sense to me. I hope you can gain some insight from them and incorporate them into your research methods.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sounds of the Revolution, Part 2

When I was at the NGS conference in Cincinnati in May, I was browsing thru some books for sale in the Exhibit Hall. I came across a book about soldiers in the Revolutionary War, so I checked the index for Philip Rice and there he was -- in his own little paragraph! All the information agreed with what I already knew, but there was something new. He had a boat!

I knew from Philip's pension papers that he had been involved in transporting a cannon from Cumberland to Taylor's Ferry during the war, but I always assumed that it was part of his duties as a soldier in the war. When I got home from the conference, I searched Google for Philip Rice boat cannon Revolutionary War and Taylor's Ferry. Google books responded with the 33rd Congress, 2nd session, Report No. 42 - Philip R. Rice - Heirs of, to accompany bill H.R, No. 696, January 30, 1855 from the Committee on Revolutionary War Claims. What a fabulous find! The following is some of the information I learned about my ancestor.

In 1781 while a resident of King William County, Virginia, he owned a small trading vessel. He and his crew (also identified as his slaves) were trading in the York, Potomac, James, and Pamunkey Rivers. He was pressed into service of the United States by press-masters Robert Radford and Micajah Crews for the purpose of transporting supplies for the revolutionary army. After transporting munitions of war, military and quartermasters stores from Cumberland to Taylors Ferry, they went to Newcastle where they obtained flour from Colonel Simm's mill and other supplies which they were to take to Yorktown. Before they reached Goodman's Island, they were attacked by the British who had just taken possession of Yorktown. Rice and his crew scuttled the vessel to prevent the British from getting any of the cargo. They were able to escape in a skiff.

Several depositions were taken in regard to this bill with the following information:
John Butler - met Philip when they were young boys and were friends until Rice left for Kentucky in 1797. He said Rice was a young, enterprising, active Whig.
Samuel Rice - was an early childhood friend (possibly a relative). He was on board the vessel when the cannon was being transported. Also, a resident of King William County, Virginia.
John Young - of Bracken County, Kentucky knew Rice from 1776 til the end of the war.
Major Hudson - of Pendleton County, Kentucky.
Jim Top and Abraham - names of the crew aboard the vessel when it was attacked.

These are all pieces of a puzzle that has yet to be put back together. At one time they all fit together to present a picture of a person's life, but over the years they became scrambled. This is what genealogists do -- they put the pieces back where they belong.

At the end of Philip Rice's pension papers, I found the papers for his widow's pension. Seems she had a rather difficult time convincing the government that she was legally married. After much correspondence, I found a letter that just said it all. She "bothered me so much" and "she became so anxious" that I "just want to get rid of her" plus "she threatened to write the President of the United States". Needless to say, Granny got her pension!! 

Another thing that I found to be rather interesting in Philip Rice's pension papers was a letter from my great-great grandfather in 1885 requesting copies of these papers "in order to complete our family history". This could mean that we have over 125 years of genealogists in my dad's family. That, to me, is amazingly wonderful.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Sounds of the Revolution!

Back on the last Friday in April, the 27th to be exact, Rob Lowe was featured on Who Do You Think You Are. I had jotted down some thoughts about the show and set them aside because I knew during the following week I would be busy getting ready for the NGS Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, and some research in nearby Clermont County. That all seems so long ago now as I sit down at my computer and get ready to take up where I left off almost three weeks ago when my world came to a complete standstill.

Rob Lowe's adventure into his mother's family history took an interesting turn when it came to finding a Revolutionary War soldier he had only a few clues about. He found the name John Christopher East in his mother's scrapbook. In true WDYTYA fashion, he headed to Washington D. C. and the headquarters of the Daughters of The Revolution. Don't worry though, you won't have to make a trip to the nation's capitol to research your patriot! (More about that later.)

Rob's Revolutionary soldier turned out to be a German Hessian soldier. I have some ancestors yet to be seriously researched who were in this country at the time of the Revolution. For some reason they just don't seem to want to make themselves known in any Revolutionary War indexes or county histories so far. Maybe I am missing something here. Maybe it is time to go hunting for a Hessian or two!

However, I do have a Revolutionary War soldier in my family tree. His name is Philip Rice and I found an amazing amount of information about him from his pension records. Pension records are not that difficult to find, but they can be hard to read. Just have patience because you may have to read them several times before you start to recognize the words. Don't let that scare you though, eventually you will begin to see the story unfold before your very eyes.

From the pension papers: Philip Rice was born in 1760 in Virginia. He first served as a fifer with the Militia of King William Co, Virginia. Actually Philip served 6 different times during the war. He volunteered twice, was drafted twice, was a substitue for William Hancock, and a substitute for James Rice. At one point he served under Col. Robert Radford carrying a cannon and supplies on a vessel from Cumberland to Taylor's Ferry, Hancock Co., Virginia. He was 73 years old when he applied for his pension and had been living in Bracken Co. Kentucky since 1774 or 1775. I found the names of several of his neighbors and a clergyman named Robert Elrod. Philip married Martha Vaughn in Goochland Co. Virginia on January 28,1791.(to be continued)

Next: I discovered a bit of information about Philip Rice at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Cincinnati which let to a huge surprise about my patriot ancestor.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Things change ever so suddenly.

A week ago I was working on a post about Mothers Day. I wanted to include the fact that we should not only honor our mothers, but also all our grandmothers who survived childbirth so we could all be here today. I wanted to say something about our pioneer women ancestors who crossed the oceans, the mountains, the deserts, and wilderness in order to make new homes and better lives for their families. And then I remembered that my own mother passed away on Mothers Day. So I got up and walked outside. At that point in my day last Sunday my husband had a heart attack and later passed away in the emergency room.

Now my focus is on all those death certificates we collect. The cause of death of our ancestors is an important fact that many genealogists ignore because it doesn't give us a date or a name. But, it could save your life. It could give you a head start, a head's up, on a medical condition that runs in your family. So I am encouraging you to set aside a period of time this week, get out all those death certificates you have, and see what runs in you family. Then pass this information on to the younger members of your family.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Special Notice.

We have had a death in the family which is going to take me away from my computer for a few days. I should be back to posting by this weekend. Til then -- don't forget to watch Who Do You Think You Are on Friday.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What's left to do?

Watch the next episode of Who Do You Think You Are. 8pm, Friday night.

Saturday morning: Exhibit Hall closes at 3pm

Visit the FamilySearch booth. Get your Fun Pass stamped for a chance to win an Apple iPad. Drawing at 1pm.

Visit the NGS booth #231. Purchase a conference pin and a membership pin. $5 each. How-to Sessions: 12pm - Family Tree Maker;  1:30pm - Stump the Genealogist; Raffle Drawing and Winner Announced.

Youth Kamp. 8:30am - 12noon. Say hello to our future genealogists.

Visit the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives booth#533. Great handouts for those researching Kentucky ancestors.

Visit the NGS booth #231 - Extra copies of the  print syllabus for sale $25 for members; $30 for non-members.

UPS will be available in the Exhibit Hall to ship your packages.

NGS Annual Meeting. 5:15pm

Enjoy the rest of the conference.

Conference + meals + hotel + gas = $$

Tomorrow is the last conference day and, if you are like me, you are starting to tally up your conference expenses. I bought only one book this year. I picked up a membership pin and a conference pin for $5 each at the NGS booth. And, I splurged on a hot pretzel! So overall I was only a few dollars over budget. However, this was not my first conference and I have learned over the years that I don't need everything in the Exhibit Hall! (Actually I already have most of that stuff from my first few conferences.) Oh, yes, I also came home with two free grocery bags compliments of NGS and the Bureau of Land Management - Eastern States!

My next conference will be the 2013 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference at the Millennium Hotel in beautiful downtown Cincinnati. This is a must for me since I hope to have my research approved for First Families of Ohio and the Cincinnati area is where it all began. In order to afford this, next week I will begin visiting garage sales and thrift stores. I have one very popular item that I sell on eBay during the holiday season and I make more than enough $$$ to cover my genealogy expenses for the year. That includes one conference, all of my society dues and my membership. 

If this conference was your first, you now have a really good idea of the expense and you also have a pretty good idea about what not to do next year! Now you have a year to find a way to come up with the extra $$$ for next year's conference. Good luck to all.

As for me I intend to include dinner at the Banks: and a Riverboat Cruise: in next year's conference budget.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Some sights worth seeing in the Cincinnati area.

When I first arrived in Cincinnati on Monday, I sent my husband out in search of parking and restaurant information while I was at a meeting for NGS Conference volunteers. After he finished his assignment, he took off for Covington, Kentucky to find the Kenton Library. Instead he found MainStrasse Village and Drees Pavilon. 

If you are looking for a place to take a break from genealogy after the conference activities on Friday or Saturday, I recommend that you head across the Ohio River to Covington for a trip back into the mid nineteenth century. The MainStrasse Village is a mixture of shopping, sidewalk cafes, pubs, and sightseeing. There are some beautiful homes on Riverside Dr. which runs along the Ohio River. To be on the safe side so that you don't get lost in Kentucky, I suggest you ask someone at the Information Booth in the conference center for a map and directions. For the walking tour:

Drees Pavilon is at the top of the hill we always see on the right as we cross the Ohio River on I-75 headed for Florida. There is an overlook with a breathtaking view of Cincinnati and a golf course that defies the imagination. The Pavilon is a wedding venue, but its website is the best place to go for information and directions to the top of the hill. Click on About Us for directions.

Rise and shine! It's Friday!

Only two days of conference left! It seems like only yesterday that I was packing the car for the trip. I actually walked the soles off of a pair of shoes this year. Yes, I had to throw them away! The good news is that, due to the size of the Duke Energy Center, I have inadvertently started a walking program which I plan to continue at home.

I know from experience that some of you are starting to slow down a bit, but don't worry. Saturday will bring a new burst of energy! In the mean time, allow me to offer some assistance in the decision-making department. For what it is worth, here are my personal favorites for the Friday lectures: 

8:00 am. F302: Printed Legends and Missing Footnotes: Dissecting 19th and 20th Century Compiled Genealogies,  D. Joshua Taylor. If you are a fan of Who Do You Think You Are, you may recognize this speaker as the genealogist who helped Sarah Jessica Parker, Ashley Judd, Reba McEntire, and Rob Lowe. Don't hesitate to ask him about some behind the scenes stories. Also the topic is a must if you have relatives who show up in these local "history" books.

9:30am. F315: Pursuing your Genealogical Research in the Library of Congress without traveling to Washington, DC, James Sweany. Anything that saves a road trip is a good thing!

11:00am. F324:  In Search of your Civil War Ancestry, Stephen J. Buffat. Good subject since we are observing the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.

2:30pm. F348: Topographic and Other Maps for Genealogists, Rick Sayre. Important subject and a great speaker. Be prepared though to absorb a lot of information. 

4:00am. F355: The Ohio Genealogical Society: Your Best Ohio Genealogical Resource, William J. Priest. OGS is the largest state genealogical society in the United States. The reason: Ohio is the cross roads of America and chances are good that your ancestors left some records here. Bill is a great speaker and an OGS trustee.

*Tip: Remember, the morning expressway travel in Cincinnati is brutal, so allow at least an extra half hour driving time. Also, the parking lots around the conference center fill up in a hurry.

Cincinnati is the place to be this week!

Rumor has it that there were over two thousand people at the opening day of the NGS conference. Actual numbers won't be released until later this week. All I know is there were a lot of people walking around with green tote bags both on the streets of Cincinnati and inside the conference center. 

If you visited the Bureau of Land Management -- Eastern States booth (#637 on the Exhibit Hall map), you also have a red tote bag. If you haven't made it there yet, make it a priority. They have a bunch of really nice handouts and  someone mentioned they are also printing land records.

Tonight the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is extending its hours for those attending the conference. You will need to show your conference badge in order to enter the library. There is no need to register and the event runs from 6:30pm til 11:30pm. The library is within walking distance from the conference center hotels. *Tip: Just remember that what seemed like a relaxing walk through downtown Cincinnati at 6:30 might not seem like such a good idea at 11:30 after a whole day of conference activites.

For those of you who missed the memo about Cincinnati traffic jams and missed the opening conference session yesterday, you can visit the Virtual Library at and explore the Cincinnati Panorama of 1848. If you enter downtown Cinci from the south across the I-471 bridge you will recognize the hill to the right in the photograph when you cross the Ohio River. 

*Tip: I found several good books about teaching genealogy to children at the Family Roots Publishing booth (#203, 205, 302, 304). Also, for you grandparents, there is a really cute baby at this booth.

*Tip: Bring your own water! Unless you want to pay $3 for a bottle at the conference center. You can refill your bottle at the water stations on the second floor.

Also scheduled for tonight is the Evening at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. (see earlier post about this event)

Hope everyone is having fun and meeting new cousins. It has been a great conference so far.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Good Morning Cincinnati!

I spent the day researching my family in Batavia in nearby Clermont County. The clerks at the Probate Court are very friendly and helpful. Record books are located on shelves in 2 rooms with plenty of work space. Microfilm and index books are also easily accessible. Over all it is extremely user friendly. I found more than I was looking for. The clerks said they have had a lot of traffic recently, but were not aware of the NGS Conference in Cincinnati. I gave them a heads up and they took it in stride!

Tomorrow the conference begins with the opening session in the ball room on the third floor at 8am. The Exhibit Hall on the first floor opens at 9:30am and there are ten morning sessions scheduled for 11am. These rooms are located on the second floor. 

Luncheons are scheduled on the third floor at 12:15pm. If you are not attending a luncheon, there will be lunch buffets at the three conference hotels. These are designed to get you in and out quickly. Also there is a small coffee shop on the first floor by the entrance and concessions in the Exhibit Hall

The afternoon sessions are scheduled at 2:30pm and 4pm. The Exhibit Hall will close at 5:30pm. You will need your badge to enter the lecture rooms, but the Exhibit Hall is free and open to the public. 

*Tip: The area behind the last row of seats in each lecture room is reserved for scooters and wheelchairs. If you want to sit up front, please arrive 30 minutes early so the room monitor can arrange a place for you.

*Tip: Morning expressway traffic in the Cincinnati area (includes northern Kentucky) can be crazy, so allow yourself some extra driving time.

See you there!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Live From Downtown Cincinnati!!

Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk! The Duke Energy Convention Center is huge. The NGS Conference volunteers met this morning at the Center for a tour and some last minute instructions before the conference begins tomorrow with Librarians' Day. The main entrance to the building is on the corner of Fifth and Elm Streets. As soon as you enter you will see an Information Booth and the Check In Booths for those who have preregistered. The layout for the Conference is simple: Exhibit hall, Check-in, and Syllabus Print-out Stations on the first floor. Conference sessions on the second floor, luncheons and dinners on the third floor.

Tip: Check the room number of the lecture you want to attend. Room numbers 201, 204, 207 and 211 are small rooms and you might want to get there early in order to find a seat. No one will be allowed to stand or sit on the floor in a lecture room. Rooms 205, 230, 232, 233 are medium sized rooms and rooms 206 and 200 are the largest.

The Convention Center is very easy to find -- only a few short blocks off of I-71 and I-75. I sent my husband out in search of parking info. He found a couple of lots that are only $4. One is on the northwest corner of Eighth & Elm; the other on the northwest corner of Seventh & Plum. The lot at Elm & Eighth has an Early Bird special: Parking is $5 if you arrive before 9am and leave between 2-6pm. Also, many of the streets in downtown Cincinnati are one way.

Coming Soon: Went sightseeing and found some sights worth seeing in Covington, Kentucky.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Genealogy Youth Camp at the NGS Conference

On Saturday, May 12, 2012, the National Genealogical Society Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio will be offering a Youth Kamp for 8-16 year old future genealogists. This is a great opportunity for parents and grandparents to "back up their research" by bringing their future family historians to a quality program designed to get youngsters interested in genealogy. My aunt made sure that I was aware of the personal rewards and benefits associated with knowing my family history. I have passed this on to my children and grandchildren. It is a great feeling to know that you will be able to pass on your research to family members who will appreciate all your hard work. This event is free and runs from 9am-12pm. You will need to register at

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Indexing The US 1940 Census

Family Search has reported that the US 1940 Census is a little over 25% complete. Colordao and Delaware are complete and available for searching.The following states are 100% complete and should be available for searching shortly: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming. Over 91,000 indexers are currently working on the census. If you have not yet volunteered, give it a try. It is not that difficult. 

The most interesting thing that I have noticed in the census is the number of multiple families living together. That is one thing that I remember from the 1940's -- there were a lot of young couples living in their parents basement. 

Ohio is only about 9% complete. So if you are from Ohio, let's get going! We are way behind the other states. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

NGS Conference

I am going to be an Official Blogger at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio
next week. I will be there on Monday for a meeting and tour of the Conference Center. I will begin  posting that afternoon.