Sunday, January 18, 2015


I've been concentrating on my possible x-matches a lot lately.  After filling out a chart (I used the ones here) to see what my inheritance pattern was, I've started whittling down the unlikely lines.  By unlikely lines I mean those that haven't been in the US all that long, originated in small, rural localities in Europe, and/or were small families that didn't, to my knowledge, leave many descendants alive today.  I'll revisit these lines somewhere in the future, but for now they are on the back burner.

After all this, I am left with the lines that are likely candidates for an x-match.  Since all these lines are through my mother, these percentages are based on her relatedness and not mine:

  • EGBERTSE.  Barbara or Barbary's son, William Lucius Rose, was married to the Charlotte Clara Smith below.  I haven't don much research on this family, but I believe they were Dutch in origin, maybe with some French in there also.  Barbara died in New York City in 1806.  My mother's approximate percentage of inherited x chromosome DNA is 6.25%.
  • HUDSON.  Daniel's mother was supposedly Nancy Harris.  I have yet to do the research to confirm or discredit this.  In any case, Daniel's daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Hudson, was my third great-grandmother.  Daniel's family was originally from Virginia and came to Pulaski Co., Kentucky.  Approximately 6.25% of my mother's x chromosome DNA is from Daniel and by extension, his mother.
  • LESTER.  Mary (aka "Polly"), married to Daniel Hudson above, was born around 1787 in what is now Kentucky.  I believe she was related to the Vincent Lester/Laster/Louster/Lister who came to the area from Virginia around the time Polly was born.  Polly contributed around 6.25% of my mother's x chromosome DNA.
  • MASON.  Priscilla, married to Andrew Webb below, was born around 1822 in Indiana.  I believe Priscilla's parents were Samuel Mason and Nancy Moore who married in Wayne Co., Kentucky in 1806.  My mother received approximately 6.25% of her x chromosome DNA from Priscilla.
  • SMITH.  Sisters Mary Green and Charlotte Clara Smith each married and had children.  Mary's son, Isaac Thomas Mott, married Charlotte's daughter, Mary Johanna Rose.  Isaac and Mary had a daughter, Mary Gertrude Smith Mott, my third great-grandmother.  Since I am doubly related my mother's approximate combined percentage inherited x chromosome DNA is 18.5% (12.5 from Mary, 6.25 from Charlotte).  I don't know a lot about the origins of the Smith family.  Mary and Charlotte's father, Thomas, was supposedly from Ireland and there is a rumor he changed his name, possibly from Douglas to Smith, when coming to North America.  He lived in New York City and died there in 1791.  Thomas' wife, Mary, might have been a Green before marriage.  She was supposedly a Tory during the war (unlike her husband), which could mean English in origin.  Mary re-married a William Fosbrook and died in New York City in 1820.
  • WEBB.  Andrew's daughter, Mary Anna, was my mother's mother's mother's mother.  I believe Andrew's mother was Martha Leet.  Martha might have been related to the Joseph Leet who lived in the Warren Co. area of Kentucky.  Andrew was born in 1820 in Orange Co., Indiana.  Andrew and his mother contributed 6.25% to my mother's x chromosome DNA.
Not surprisingly most of my x-matches have roots in colonial Virginia and the Carolinas.  So far I haven't been able to fit them in my tree, but I am seeing several surnames over and over again.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Charles' Last Chapter

When I found my third great-grandfather's death record, I expected it to close the book on his story.  I never thought it would be the gateway to an entire last chapter of his life.

In looking for the death record, I searched British Columbia records.  I know I did.  Why I didn't come across this when I originally looked, I don't know.  I suspect what happened is that, at the time, I still hadn't given up my belief that he had died in Michigan.  So, anything less than an exact match anywhere else, was likely disregarded by me.

In any case, Charles Wood died in Burnaby on 9 April 1918.

Everything on the record either matches or logically meshes with what I already have on Charles.  Everything except one thing: Charles' mother is listed as Jane Galagher.  Jane's maiden name is always listed as Montgomery on every other record I have for the Wood children, except one.  That one being Jane's daughter's (Charles' sister who also lived in British Columbia) death record.  That record also lists her maiden name as Gal(l)agher.  In any case, the Gallagher/Montgomery mystery is something to explore.

The informant on Charles' death record was his wife.  His new, third wife, who was completely unknown to me before this record.  "Mrs. L. Wood" was formerly Letitia Lowes from Emily, Victoria, Ontario.  Letitia married Joseph Mills and they had several children.  By 1891, the family had left Emily and were living in Broadview in what is now Saskatchewan.  In 1901, Letitia is widowed and living with her married daughter in Winnipeg.  In 1906, Letitia is back in Saskatchewan, Moosomin, with two of her children.

Marriage Notice from The Winnipeg Tribune
22 March, 1911, page 5
Letitia went back to Winnipeg when she married Charles Stewart Wood there on 17 March 1911.  Apparently the man who married them was a famous author and Church leader.  A C. S. Wood had arrived in Emerson, Manitoba from Michigan the day before.  I'm inclined to believe this is Charles, but there aren't enough details to know for sure.

They left Winnipeg very soon after the marriage and they were enumerated in British Columbia on June 7 or 8, 1911.  They would move again, but not far, and Charles eventually retired from farming.  Charles was a Mason and was buried in the Masonic section of Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver.  I wonder if any of his children back in Michigan made it to his funeral...

Funeral Notice from the Vancouver Daily World,
11 April, 1918, page 12

Letitia was still at their Imperial St. home in 1921 where she was living with her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter.  She died in Vancouver in 1944.

In my mind, I had created a picture of Charles quietly spending his last days in rural Michigan, where he had lived more than a quarter of a century.  However, in hindsight, Charles' early life might be a clue as to his apparent lifelong restlessness.  After leaving Ireland for Ontario as a youth, he continually moved between Canada and Michigan before finally putting down roots in Isabella Co. in the mid-1880s, that is until 1911.

Something else I've noticed is I don't think Charles enjoyed being unmarried.  He waited less than a year between the death of his first wife and his marriage to his second.  He waited even less time between the death of the second and his marriage to the third five months later.  I do wonder how he and his last two wives met.  Neither appear to have any pre-existing familial, religious or geographic connection to Charles.

If there is one ancestor I never get tired of researching, it is Charles.  He turns left when I expect him to turn right, and has a track record of making bold choices.  I've reached a point where nothing concerning Charles would surprise me.  For all I know, there could be an entirely new chapter of Charles' life out there waiting for me to find.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Still Henrich

I was excited to recently learn from this post that Stark Co., Ohio land records are online and freely available.  I was quickly able to find my third great-grandfather, Henry Michael Berger and some other possible relations.

The Bergers followed the German tradition of going by their middle names, though Michael never fully dropped his first name, which was originally Henrich.  When the family arrived in the US in 1832, they all also Americanized their names.  I never thought much more about it until I saw Michael's signature when he sold his land in 1838:

Although the quality isn't great, it is pretty clear that Michael didn't alter his signature from Henrich to Henry - and he signed it in German script no less!  Michael was nearly forty when he arrived here, so it makes sense that he wouldn't update his signature.  I do wonder, though, if it changed much in the nearly forty years that he did live in the US.

This record also answers a question I had about Michael's wife, Fredericka.  In the 1860 US Census, she is marked as being unable to read or write.  I've wondered how illiterate she really was (Did it just extend to the English language?  Could she read and write German?  Could she sign her name?) and her mark here appears to clear that up.

Monday, November 24, 2014

10 Genealogical Mysteries

These are the mysteries in my family tree that I think are the most readily solvable.  These mysteries aren't all that big, but sometimes it is the smaller, seemingly solvable "?" which yield the biggest returns.  (This post was inspired by this one at One Rhode Island Family.)

1.  Charles S. Wood (1842 - ?)
When and where did Charles die?  This question bugs me to no end.  I can "guestimate" that he died between 1910 and 1920.  When his wife died in October of 1910, he was the informant.  I have not been able to find him in the 1920 US Census and indeed, his son had taken over the family farm by 1915.  He apparently did not die in Michigan, where he lived for over thirty years, or in Missouri where two of his brothers lived.  He also does not appear to have died in Ontario, where he had family, or British Columbia, where his sister lived.  Charles had family in New York, but so far I haven't been able to find a death record or obituary for him there either.

So where do I look from here?  I still want to explore New York some more as well as Kansas (his family lived on the Missouri side of Kansas City) and Iowa, where his son briefly lived in the 1910s.  For a long shot, he also had a brother and nephews who had mining interests in Colorado and New Mexico and a niece who lived in Alberta. I also want to know if Charles left a probate file in Michigan (I haven't been able to find one yet) which should give a notation of when and where he died.

2.  and 3. Niels Christian Nielsen (1850 - 1940) & Engeline Christine Petersen (1855-1932)
I'd like US arrival records for these two.  I believe Niels arrived between 1872 - 1874 and Engeline around 1871.  They were married in Oak Harbor, Ottawa, Ohio in 1874 and moved to Mt. Eden, Alameda, California not long after.

I plan on getting Niels' naturalization record (he naturalized on 15 July 1881 in Alameda Superior Court) but I don't expect much information.  Beyond that, I really don't know what to do.  I have done broad name and date searches and found nothing.  I feel like these records ought to exist, but maybe they just don't...

4. Martha Wadd (Tock) (1823 - 1861)
I'd really like a death date and location for Martha.  Family story says that Martha died when her daughter, Emma, was two.  Emma was born in January of 1859, which makes a calculated date of 1861 for Martha.

Exploring cemetery records for Calais, Washington, Maine/St, Stephen, Charlotte, New Brunswick is my first order of business.  After that, all I can think of would be church records.

5.  Aaron and Mary Paulina Doyle (? - ?)
When Peter Doyle died during the Siege of Fort Erie his children: Heman, Aaron and Mary Paulina, became eligible for, and received, a pension.  I know nothing about what happened to Aaron and Mary Paulina after this.  Aaron might have been adopted by a family in the neighborhood, the Nobles, but I'm not sure.  The children's mother remarried a few years after Peter's death and left Vermont not long after that, eventually settling in Wisconsin.  Heman doesn't appear to have traveled with the family further west than New York so I wonder if his brother and sister also stayed behind.

I just need to explore New York records, particularly in the Buffalo and Rochester areas.  I also need to explore a candidate Aaron Doyle who lived in Bristol, New York.

6.  John W. Wyman (ca. 1775 - 1843)
John Wyman was the attorney who handled my 5th great-grandmother's (Charlotte Clara Smith) messy divorce.  Not long after it was final, the two married.  They seem to have been very happy together and Charlotte's children and grandchildren appear to have thought very highly and lovingly of him.  Although I'm not related to John, I'd really like to learn more about him.  What adds to my interest is that John's nephew, Capt. John W. Patterson, married a niece of Charlotte's (Charlotte Smith Mott).

A John William Patterson was born in 1806 in Northborough, Massachusetts to James Patterson and Louisa Wyman.  Louisa's parents were John and Hazadiah Bowker Wyman.  I'd love to find a link connecting these folks with my John Wyman.  I have several avenues, but I'm most excited to explore the Worcester Co. probate files coming online (ever so slowly).

7.  Josiah Beam ( 1811 - aft. 1901)
Add this to the list of ancestors I can't find death information for.  Online family trees have him dying in 1905, but I can find nothing to corroborate this.  What is odd is that I can't find a death or cemetery record for him in Ontario and I've never found even hint of him leaving Canada.

Josiah had family in Ohio and Michigan in addition to Canada.  I need to do a broader search for him in those places.  His name is also easily misspelled, which is something else I need to be aware of.  I also need to contact the cemetery in Ontario where his family is interred to see if they have any records pertaining to him.

8.  Joseph Allen (ca. 1824 - aft. 1880)
Joseph lived in little Weathersfield Twp. in Trumbull County, Ohio for many years.  As far as I knew, he was always a farm hand and never farm owner.  That is until I found a list of persons losing their land due to delinquent taxes in The Western Reserve Chronicle from 1872.  The only Joseph Allens in Weathersfield in the 1870 US Census are my Joseph and his eighteen-year-old son, Joseph T.

I think it likely one these Joseph Allens was the person on that list, and more probably the older of the two.  I'm planning on exploring land records some more in the hopes of learning more.

9.  The Tock Sisters
I know very little about the early years for Mary Elizabeth (1849 - 1935), Martha Ann (1854 - 1875), Sarah Jane (1857 - 1898), and Emma Sophia (1859 - 1928).  I think after their mother's death (see #4 above) they went into different households.  The four girls never appear in a census all together, with Emma missing from both the 1860/1861 and 1870/1871 Census enumerations.

The girls that do appear in these census years are living with some member of the Harris family in Calais, Maine/St. Stephen, New Brunswick.  I'd really like to know what the connection was between these two families.  Family story goes that Emma was born while her mother was visiting family in New Brunswick - would this be the Harris family?

I need to explore the Harris/Barnes/Temple family some more, especially in British records.

10.  Orange County, North Carolina
One thing has become abundantly clear in looking at my DNA results: I have some sort of connection with many of the Quaker families who were located in the Orange Co. area of North Carolina.  Some of those families also relocated to the Orange Co. area of Indiana, where my mysterious Masons and Webbs were.

Finding the connection(s) involves a lot of early 19th Century and earlier research, which isn't the easiest but still doable.  I think probate files and land records in North Carolina and Indiana should be my first look.  I already have taken the FAN approach and have some candidate people/families in particular I'm going to look at first.