Sunday, July 29, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 31

Week 31: Cousins. One of the best experiences in family history is meeting with new cousins found through your research. Tell us about your favorite cousin meet-up. How did you discover each other? Where did you meet? What type of information was exchanged and how did it benefit your research?

In the early 1990's when I really had begun to research in depth, I found a second cousin via the Internet that I had never met:  Lucy Jane Hays. [I won't identify her married name here for the sake of privacy]  We share great-grandparents, John Jefferson Hays and Philena Josephine "Josie" Allen.  Her family had remained in Arkansas for much longer than mine had so I had so we had never crossed paths.  I had posted queries about the Hays family, particularly John Jefferson's parents, in several places, and Jane, as she preferred to be called, emailed me.  

The Internet was a new place in those days and we both had quirky dial-up connections.  But with persistence we were able to start a correspondence and combine our efforts in trying to unlock the mysteries of the parentage of John Jefferson's parents.  His father was Elias B. Hays [born in four different states according to various documents] and his mother Martha Frances Crutcher.  Elias's mother was the widowed Delitha Hays when we find the earliest records of the family and that's as far back as the story goes.  We believe Delitha was born in North Carolina and her son Elias most likely born in Tennessee, but they were in Tippah County, Mississippi by 1840. Twenty years later we still don't know anymore about Delitha's husband or Martha Frances's parents beyond the fact that her father might have been a Martin/Mastin Crutcher living in Tippah County at the same time..

I had lots of information about the Allen side of the family and Jane had all the data on her aunts and uncles and many cousins, as her Hays father had been one of a family of fifteen children.  We had great fun with the exchange of material as well as proceeding with the Hays family quest. Jane and her husband traveled to some of the locations involved as they lived nearer than I did; I was better at finding and dealing with the microfilmed records. We managed to uncover lots of data about the descendants of Elias and Martha Hays.  Jane's paternal grandmother's West family had come from Logan County, Kentucky where my husband's Hadens had lived and I was able to help Jane with that research some, too. I can remember when we could hardly wait to open each other's email to see what had been found.  We did get to meet in person, but only once.

Unfortunately Jane now suffers from Alzheimer's.  Her husband and loving caretaker, who has also been an avid researcher has attempted to continue the quest, but there have been no new leads for several years now.  The county in Mississippi where the Hays family was living by 1840, has had a major loss of records due to the Civil War and we just seem to be stuck there.  We did have a near Y-DNA match, but unfortunately that gentleman cannot go back in research as far as we can and we have been unable to get the respective families in the same state - so even technology isn't helping yet.

If you look at the labels on this Blog, you will seen the Hays Family link. You are welcome to read more about our Hays research there.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 30

Week 30: Genealogy Serendipity. Every genealogist has tales of surprise findings or coincidences when climbing the family tree. What is your most memorable serendipitous discovery? Did it involve ancestors in your tree, living folks or both? How did this surprise affect your research and does it still impact you today?

I already had a lot of information on my family tree when I began researching seriously and in depth, but almost nothing on my husband's family.  Helping to clean out his parents' home after they died and discovering some many interesting letters and documents, led me to really begin the journey.  Our families had arrived in Arkansas by very divergent paths.

As I delved deeper into the past, I discovered that our families had lived near each other in Missouri before the Civil War and that both had arrived there from Kentucky.  The trail led eventually led back to the same county - Goochland - in Virginia and the families had some of the same neighbors.  I often teased my husband that we were cousins.

His 4th great grandmother was Ann "Nancy" Johnson who married William Haden, 1775, Goochland, and recorded by the local Anglican minister, Rev. William Douglas - now transcribed in the book known as The Douglas Register.  She was baptized same place, so I also knew her parents names, Joseph Johnson and Sarah Harris.  In the baptism record she was listed as Ann - the marriage record had Nancy.  I had Haden family information showing either name.   A third party put me in touch with a longtime Johnson researcher who had considered the infant Ann to be a mystery - he wasn't sure she had lived to grow up.  I assured him she was the bride "Nancy" - he was little embarrassed to have missed that as he had noted the marriage record early in his research, likely before he knew Nancy was the common nickname for Ann.  He was thrilled to have this little problem solved.

However, the researcher also knew and shared the name of Ann Johnson's paternal grandmother - and had the paper trail - and she was Mary Pledge, wife of John Johnson.  As soon as I saw the Pledge surname I knew.  I was going to discover that I had married my distant cousin.  And I found it - Mary Pledge was a sister to my 7th great grandfather, William Pledge.

It's probably been 15 years since I made this connection.  My husband, my best friend, and my cousin and I were married 45 years before he passed away in 2004.  Sometimes I think this one find was worth every hour and every penny pored into genealogical research over the past 20 years!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 29

Week 29: Organizational Tools. Which organizational tool or tip is your favorite? How did you find it? How does this tool or tip assist in your family history research?

Sigh, I wish I had one.  Other than the organization found within my genealogy program - RootsMagic5 organization is sadly deficient.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 28

Week 28: Mistakes. Genealogy research mistakes are wonderful learning experiences. They can be blessings when they show you how to improve your genealogy research. Which genealogy research mistake in your past has provided the most benefit to your present? How did you discover the mistake and what steps did you take to correct it? Sharing about these experiences will help others who are figuring out their own ancestral paths.

There were two articles printed in a local newspaper that suggested my great-grandmother's brother Nat had stated his grandfather had been in the Revolution - and was Ethan Allen.  Nat Allen was a very old man and the time lapse didn't add up.  Allen is a very common name.  

I also had copies of an application for DAR that had never been mailed on this same line that indicated the Revolutionary ancestor was named Moses Allen of Dutchess County, New York - a place Ethan Allen had likely never been or certainly had never lived.  Using the old application, I obtained the proof documents on the generations of this family and discovered that the application was very correct.  

I also discovered that the genealogical society in the county where the newspaper articles had appeared had been mailing out to various persons who had inquired, that Ethan Allen was Nat Allen's ancestor and including copies of these newspaper articles.  So I sent them an article for their newsletter and copies of my research for their local files. 

I have blogged about this before and that blog can be read here:
Not Descended From Ethan Allen!

Monday, July 2, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 27

Week 27: Genealogy Publications. Genealogy publications are great for education and entertainment. Which one is your favorite? Who is the publisher? Why do you like this publication? How has it enhanced your own family history experience? Share any details you want potential readers to know about including features, articles, style, etc.

There are so many and I enjoy reading them all.  My very favorite is a family surname newsletter - one that is no longer being published.  Don Collins started a newsletter on the Mabry/Maybury/Mayberry [and other spellings!] family in 1995, published quarterly.  It was first titled The Mabry Family but was changed to the spelling The Maybury Family in 2005 after more about our English ancestors became evident.  Through the years Mr. Collins always printed interesting family stories and the progress of the Y-DNA study, keeping all of us up to date on new discoveries.  He has also published two books on the family.  Mr. Collins ceased publication of the newsletter with the Fall 2011 issue.  I miss it!   Some back issues can still be obtained by writing to Mr. Collins and he still maintains a webpage with Maybury family information:  The Maybury Family