Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - How Many Sarah's LNU are in Your Genealogy Database?

Randy has posted another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge. This week we are looking at Sarah's in our database with 'last names unknown' or LNU. I'm going to summarize the rules this time:

Basically, search your database and see how many females you have with the first name of "Sarah" where you don't know the last name. Then, do a little research and see if you can discover her maiden name. If you don't have any Sarah's, feel free to use a different first name. Then, post your findings!

So, here goes!

I have two Sarah's, but they are such distant relatives that I decided to chose a different name. So, I'm going with Ann. I found six Ann's and was able to discover the maiden name of one of these... which I'll share at the end.

1. Ann (abt 1762-aft 1809), who married Charles BOOKOUT, is my 5th great grandmother. The only record I have for her is her husband's will from 1809 in Wayne County, Kentucky that lists his wife, Ann, and four children: John, Mary, Benjamin and Joseph.

2. Ann, who married Jno. THOMPSON, is the mother-in-law of my 4th great grandfather, Joseph EASTWOOD (1773-1844), through his first wife. She lived in England in the 1700's.

3. Ann (?-1827), who married Nicholas QUIGLEY (abt 1740 in PA - abt 1810 in Clinton Co, PA) the son of Christian QUIGLEY (see #4), is the wife of my 5th great grand uncle. The only record I have for her is a SAR (Sons of American Revolution) application from 1945. Now that I look at it again, it says her father is Gayen MILLER. So, I need to see if I can verify that her last name is MILLER.

4. Ann, who married Christian QUIGLEY, is my 6th great grandmother.The only record I have for her is also the SAR application from 1945. It says that there were married about 1750. The application says he served directly under General Washington. (His son, Michael QUIGLEY (1748-1804) is the Patriot through which I joined DAR two years ago.)

5. Anna M (abt 1871-?), who married Charles M QUIGLEY, is my second cousin four times removed. I have her in the 1920 and 1930 censuses.

6. Anna/Annie M (1836-bef 1910), who married Adam Close McCLINTOCK, is the wife of my 3rd great grand uncle. I have her in the 1870, 1880 & 1900 censuses in Clinton County, Pennsylvania. Her husband is a widower in the 1910 census. 

Pennsylvania Death Certificate of Anna M (Bickle) McClintock

There are a total of 44 McClintick/McClintock/McClintic's listed on FindAGrave in that cemetery and I'm going to make sure I have them all accounted for! Also, I need to make sure I have all of their death certificates if they died between 1906-1944. "My" Ann is not currently listed, so I will add her.

The Ann I had the most success with was #6. Ancestry showed a hint listing a death record, and it was hers. The informant is her husband, A C McCLINTOCK. It lists her parents as John BICKLE (so, that's her maiden name!) and Catharine DUKES. I also got her birthdate (20 Feb 1838), date of death 07 May 1909), and burial place (Cedar Hill Cemetery, Mackeyville, Clinton County, PA). I then found her parents in the 1860 census when she would've been 22, but she's not with her family. I think it is likely this was a second marriage for her as she was about 30 years old when she married Adam. I couldn't find her parents in 1850.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Friday, August 29, 2014

The "Skeleton in the Closet" Doesn't Belong to Me! (Lessons to Learn!)

I recently wrote two posts about two men whom I thought were brothers of my great, great grandmother, Elizabeth Bennett (1849-1914). The first was titled "Doing Time in the Missouri State Penitentiary" and the second was "Skeletons in the Closet: Rapist & Murderer." I had uncovered some prison records which seemed to be her brothers.

I hired a researcher in Missouri and received a package from her last night. The man who was found guilty of 2nd degree murder is actually Elizabeth's brother. It's a fascinating story that I'm still researching. But, the man who committed "assault to rape" was NOT her brother. (Thankfully!) He was about 20 years too young!

Missouri State Archives; Missouri State Penitentiary Registers;
Vol. M; page 121; reel S-218
So, I've learned two lessons... just because someone has the right name and lives in the right place doesn't make it the same person! And, I need to be careful about sharing these discoveries until I'm certain they are the right person! Especially when it is something as serious as a prison sentence.

Missouri State Archives; Missouri State Penitentiary Registers;
Vol. M; page 121; reel S-218
Here's one more very strange point... this is the information I received via email from the Missouri State Archives:
     William H. BENNETT #5950
     Vol. M, pg. 121, S218
     Sentenced to 2 years for assault to rape in Perry County. Entered 10-19-1886 and was released under ¾            time law 5-15-1888

This is the same information I received on my copy: William H. Bennett #595, Vol. M, pg. 121, S218. But... there's a lot of information that doesn't match up! My copy shows his offense was "subornation of perjury", not "assault to rape." (Big difference!) Also, it shows he entered the prison on Oct 5, 1886, not October 19, 1886. And, he was released on January 5, 1889, not May 15, 1888. I think the archives might have sent me some wrong information, but their details don't match anyone else on the page, either.

So, here's another lesson learned... look at the original! Don't trust an abstract or something someone else has copied! You never know what mistakes might have been made! (Perjury is a lot different than assault to rape!)

I'm using my blog to share my discoveries almost day by day as they happen. And, I love this format and getting to share the joy and excitement of a new discovery. But, I definitely need to be more careful about what I post! I do apologize for posting something as 'fact' without waiting for more proof!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Following a Confederate Soldier Through the Civil War: Battle #2 The Battle of Shiloh

William Porter Dickson enlisted in September of 1861 to fight as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. In the supplement to his 1911 Civil War Questionnaire he listed eight battles in which his company, Company D of the 12th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, took place. I am going to learn more about his company's role in the Civil War by researching these eight battles.

from William Porter Dickson's 1911 Questionnaire

The second battle listed on William Porter Dickson's 1911 Questionnaire is the Battle of Shiloh. Approximately 100,000 soldiers met in Shiloh, Tennessee as they fought over the train depot at Corinth, Mississippi. This station had tracks leading north, south, east and west, so it was an important piece of land. The two-day battle, on April 6th & 7th 1862, would see almost 24,000 casualties. These casualties amounted to more men than had been lost in all wars since the United States became a nation! It was a startling battle to both the North and the South.

Map from Wikipedia

This map helps me to visualize where the brother of my great, great grandfather was during the early part of the Civil War. On November 7th, 1861, he had fought in Belmont which you see in Missouri along the Mississippi River. Then, you can follow the red arrow down to Corinth, the site of the railroad depot. I wonder if this is where they spent the winter. On April 6th and 7th, he fought in Shiloh, Tennessee, which is just a short (red arrow) up into Tennessee.

Battle of Shiloh by Thure de Thulstrup
public domain image from Wikipedia
I watched a wonderful documentary about the battle on the PBS site. It's called "Shiloh: The Devil's Own Day and it shows what the fighting was like at this bloody battle. William remained a soldier throughout the war and I can't even imagine the horrors he saw.

This hauntingly beautiful version of "Shiloh Hill" was played during the PBS movie listed above

I will finish with a contemporary newspaper account from a North Carolina newspaper. In it, the author writes that the projected number of Confederates killed will be about 1,017. According to this Thomas' Legion site, the actual number of deaths was 1,728. Also, over 8,000 were wounded and 959 missing or captured for a total of 10,699 casualties.

Confederate Loss at Shiloh, The Milton Chronicle, Milton, North Carolina, 16 May 1862, page 1, column 2;
digital image, ( accessed 28 Aug 2014)
Confederate Loss at Shiloh - The Memphis Argus of Thursday, April 24th, gives the following concerning the loses at Shiloh.

Our table, giving a list as far as possible of the casualties sustained by the Confederates at Shiloh, to-day takes in 38 regiments of infantry and one cavalry, in which the killed, wounded and missing amounts to 5,759. A sufficient number of regiments yet remain unreturned which will probably swell the list to 7,000. We do not think the full official reports will show a greater list of casualties. Already we have killed outright 927, and wounded 4,471. Of the latter perhaps one fiftieth have died since the publication of the lists, or will die which will increase the number of killed thus far to about 1,017. Of missing there is a list of 361, of whom, of course, the greater portion are either prisoners, wounded, or will return unhurt. Probably very few of them have fallen.

Considering the immense number of wounded, the proportion receiving mortal injuries, is much smaller than usual, and assuming the entire list of casualties to be 7,000, as above mentioned, we do not think that the number of soldiers killed or permanently disabled from Shiloh will much exceed 1,300. Our force upon engaging the enemy on Sunday could not have exceeded thirty thousand, and it fought fresh troops each day. When it is remembered that, after participating in a general engagement from daylight until dark on Sunday, and, without reinforcement or food, our forces held the field another day against a superior body of fresh troops, and that nearly one-forth of the entire number of Confederates engaged were either killed or wounded, a spectacle of heroism and valor is presented which would do credit to any age and people. Should we meet with nothing but reverses in future, the stern heroism displayed on the bloody field of Shiloh would be enough to establish Southern prowess forever.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Following a Confederate Soldier through the Civil War: Battle #1 The Battle of Belmont

William Porter Dickson enlisted in September of 1861 to fight as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. In the supplement to his 1911 Civil War Questionnaire he listed eight battles in which his company, Company D of the 12th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, took place. I am going to learn more about his company's role in the Civil War by researching these eight battles.

from William Porter Dickson's 1911 Questionnaire

Battle #1: The Battle of Belmont, November 7, 1861

Map of the Battle of Belomt
Image from Wikipedia - public domain
This battle is important as it was the first conflict for Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant who would later become the General of the Union army. He brought about 3,000 troops down the Mississippi to attack the Confederate fortress at Columbus, Kentucky which was across the river from Belmont, Missouri. After learning that Confederate troops had crossed over to Belmont, Grant followed and surprised the Confederate army and destroyed their camp. They were quickly reinforced by troops still in Columbus and Grant took his men and left. (Information from Wikipedia.)

I'm sharing articles from two newspapers which wrote about this battle in 1861. The first is a series of articles from a newspaper in Tennessee, the state where William's family lived, to show how the battle was reported in the South. The second is from the North in Cleveland, an article that includes a portion of a letter written by Grant to his father the day after this battle.

Official Report of General Grant, Clarksville Weekly Chronicle; Clarksville, 
Tennesse, 22 Nov 1861, page 2, column 3; digital image,
 ( accessed 27 Aug 2014) 

Gen. Grant, the Hessian commander at Cairo, in his official report of the battle of Belmont, near Columbus, with all the cool assurance of a practiced liar, says he met the enemy and drove them, step by step, across the river, burnt all their tents, and started back with all their artillery four pieces of which they had to leave behind for want of transportation --- and that the rebels recrossed the river and followed in his rear to the boats. Such a slurring over a most disastrous defeat never disgraced any commander in Christendom, and yet the poor fools whom he intends to bull, will swallow the falsehood with unquestioning credulity.

Belmont Fight, Clarksville Weekly Chronicle; Clarksville, Tennesse, 22 Nov 1861,
page 2, column 3; digital image, (
 accessed 27 Aug 2014) 
In the late fight at Belmont, the Shawneetown Regiment, alone, lost four hundred in killed, wounded and missing, and yet the lieing [sic] miscreant, Grant, speaks of the battle as a mere skirmish.

Battle of Belmont List of Casualties, Clarksville Weekly Chronicle; Clarksville, 
Tennessee,  22 Nov 1861, page 2, column 3; digital image, 
( accessed 27 Aug 2014) 

Battle of Belmont --- Official List of Casualties. 

The following is the official recapitulation of the casualties in killed, wounded and missing of the battle of Belmont...  [Hopefully, you can read the clipping. I will point out the William's regiment, the 12th, is not listed. However, the TNGenWeb site I mentioned yesterday about this regiment says that the 12th, 13th & 21st Tennessee were together with the 13th Arkansas Infantry.]

Official Dispatch of the Federal Commander at Belmont, Clarksville Weekly Chronicle;Clarksville, Tennessee, 22 Nov 1861, page 2, column 5; digital image, ( accessed 27 Aug 2014) 

Official Dispatch of the Federal Commander at Belmont.

The St. Louis Republican gives the following as the official report of General Grant, announcing the result of the fight at Belmont:
CAIRO, Nov. 7,
To Capt. C. McKeever, St. Louis:
     We met the rebels about 9 o'clock this morning, two and a half miles from Belmont. We drove them step by step into their camp and across the river.
     We burnt their tents and started on our return with all their artillery; for want of transportation had to leave four pieces in the woods.
     The rebels re-crossed the river and followed in our rear to our place of debarkation.
     The loss is heavy on both sides.
                                                              U. S. GRANT, Brig. Gen.

And now for news from the North printed in the "Cleveland Daily Leader"... this one is large so I'll just share a few pieces. Again, this is actually from a letter written by Grant to his father the day after the battle.

General Grant's Account of the Battle of Belmont, Cleveland Daily Leader; 
Cleveland,  Ohio, 14 Nov 1861, page 1, column 1;digital image, ( accessed 27 Aug 2014) 

From here we fought our way from tree to tree through the woods to Belmont, about two and a half miles, the enemy contesting every foot of ground. Here the enemy had strengthened their position by felling the trees for two or three hundred yards, and sharpening their limbs, forming a sort of abatis [?]. Our men charged through, making the victory complete, giving us possession of their camp and garrison equipage, artillery and everything else.

We got a great many prisoners. The majority, however, succeeded in getting on board their steamers and pushing across the river. We burned everything possible and started back, having accomplished all that we went for, and even more. Belmont is entirely covered by the batteries from Columbus, and is worth nothing as a military position --- cannot be held without Columbus.

Besides being fortified at Columbus, their number far exceeded ours, and it would have been folly to have attacked them. We found the Confederates well-armed and brave. On our return, stragglers that had been left in our rear (now front) fired into us, and more recrossed the river and gave us battle for a full mile, and afterwards at the boats when we were embarking.

There was no hasty retreating or running away. Taking into account the object of the expedition, the victory was most complete. It has given us confidence in the officers and men of this command, that will enable us to lead them in any future engagement without fear of the result. Gen. McClernand (who by the way acted with great coolness and courage throughout, and proved that he is a soldier as well as statesman,) and myself each had our horses shot under us. Most of the field officers met with the same loss, beside nearly one-third of them begin themselves killed or wounded. As near as I can ascertain, our loss was about 250 killed, wounded and missing.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Do you know the difference between a company and a regiment?

I didn't enjoy history class when I was growing up and have only grown to appreciate it in the past decade or so. Now, I love watching war movies and visiting war sites. But, I was really confused as I read over a 1911 Civil War Questionnaire today. This one is for a brother of my great, great grandfather, James B Dickson (1840-1902). James didn't live long enough to participate in some questionnaires that went out for the 50th anniversary of the start of the war, but two of his brothers did.

Photo of Pointe du Hoc from our visit to the beaches of Normandy, France
Yesterday, I received the questionnaire for his brother, William Porter Dickson (1842-1926). I was disappointed that the biographical memoranda was almost empty. The military supplement, however, had a lot of information. But, as I read it, I was confused!

William Porter Dickson's 1911 Confederate Military Service Memoranda Supplement Form

Above you'll find the first page of this military supplement. So, he signed up in Kentucky and evidently fought with people from Tennessee. And he says at one point he's part of "Company D" under Jno. Hill and in another that he's a part of the 12th Tennessee Infantry. I was confused. Who did he fight with? And, where can I find more information about them? 

Then I understood.... this document was saying that he was a part of company D and that he was part of the 12th regiment. So, what's a company? And what's a regiment? (Maybe I haven't watched enough war movies!) For me, the next step was to Google the answers.

I found a page called "Army Organization" at Shotgun's Home of the Civil War page. Basically, the company is the smallest unit with the head of the company being a captain. William P Dickson reported that there were 108 men in his company, which is within the normal size.

A regiment is usually comprised of ten companies, though some have twelve. The head of a regiment is a colonel. There are also lieutenant colonels and majors. 

The regiments join together to form brigades, and the brigades join together to form divisions. According to the site: "Theoretically, company strength was 100; regiment, 1,000; brigade, 4,000; and division, 12,000." Of course, these numbers were just 'in theory', but it gives you a framework for how they fit together and an idea of how many men were in each organization.

After figuring out that I needed to look for the 12th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, I was able to find a webpage which gave me more information. It lists the ten companies that form his regiment, including company D from Gibson County. It lists each company's captain along with the colonel in charge of the regiment. The information lined up fairly well with the information William had given nearly fifty years later.

To me, the most interesting part of this questionnaire was second page which lists the battles in which his company was engaged. He listed eight battles and my next step is to learn more about each of these!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Children/Grandchildren in your Matrilineal Line?

Carrie, over at "Under the Nut Tree Genealogy" participated in an older Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge today. This post, from January 18th of this year, is titled "How Many Children/Grandchildren in Your Matrilineal Line?" I thought I'd participate as I didn't have a blog in January. Here's the challenge:
  1. Consider your Matrilineal Line (mother's mothers mother's, etc.) families - the ones from your mother back through her mother all the way back to the first of that matrilineal line in your family group sheets or genealogy database. List the names of these mothers, and their lifespan years.
  2. Use your paper charts or genealogy software program to create a Descendants chart (dropline or graphical) that provide the children and their children (i.e., up to the grandchildren of each mother in the surname list).
  3. Count how many children they had (with all spouses), and the children of those children in your records and/or database. Add those numbers to the list. See my example below! [Note: Do not count the spouses of the children]
  4. What does this list of children and grandchildren tell you about these persons in your matrilineal line? Does this task indicate areas that you need to do more research to fill out families and find potential cousins?
  5. Tell us about it in your own blog post, or in a comment to this post, or in a comment on Facebook or Google+.
So, here goes!
Headstone of Lenora Dickson & her husband, Matthew
Posted by Wilda Graves Patterson at FindAGrave
My matrilineal line is (note: I'm not including spouses)
  • My mom (still living): 3 children, 2 grandchildren
  • My grandmother, Ethel Evelyn (Dickson) Kaechle (1915-2004): 7 children, 13 grandchildren
  • Martha Lenora "Nora" (Ward) Dickson (1885-1916): 5 children, 15 grandchildren
  • Sallie Harriett (Dickson) Ward (1860-1960): 9 children, 41 grandchildren
  • Lenora "Nora" J (Mays) Dickson (1823-1909): 9 children, 30 grandchildren
I decided to skip the spouses & just do the direct line. So, the direct descendants of Lenora (Mays) Dickson in my line are: 111 people! (I hope I counted this right...)

My grandmother was born near Perry County, Tennessee and grew up there. She moved away when she married my grandfather. Her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother were all born and are buried in Perry County.

"Does this indicate any area I need to work on?" Yes! I need to work on the children of Lenora (Mays) Dickson. I have yet to identify her parents, though I've narrowed it down to a few probabilities from the Mays families in the 1830 & 1840 censuses. I see some of these children have hints, so I'm off to explore!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Two Degrees of Separation

Randy has posted his latest Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge on GeneaMusings. This week's challenge is titled "Two Degrees of Separation." Here's the assignment:
  1. Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with two degrees of separation? That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor." When was that second ancestor born?
  2. Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a status line on Facebook or a stream post on Google Plus.
Randy broke his down by line, so I thought I would, too.
  1. My STEWART line: I met my grandfather, James Edward STEWART (1910-1972). He would've known his grandparents Augustus L MERRILL (1848-1920) & Sarah Jane (EASTWOOD) MERRILL (1848-1923) as they all lived in Pennsylvania.
  2. My PETERS line: I knew my grandmother, Hazel Lucille (PETERS) STEWART (1910-1975). She lived in the same small town as her grandfather, Josiah Randolph COPPENBARGER (1844-1934).
  3. My KAECHLE line: I knew my grandfather, Sherman Joseph KAECHLE (1907-1987). His great grandmother, Marya "Mary Ann" (REUTER) KARBACK (1825-1914) lived until he was about 7 years old. He lived in Detroit, Michigan while she lived in Huron, Ohio. They are only 120 miles apart so I am pretty sure they would have met.
  4. My DICKSON line: I knew my grandmother, Ethel Evelyn (DICKSON) KAECHLE (1915-2004). She was raised by her grandmother, Sallie Harriet (DICKSON) WARD (1860-1960) who lived to be 99 years old. 
Mary Ann (Reuter) Koerbach/Karbach's death certificate from FamilySearch

So, my 'oldest' family member that I can connect to by two degrees of separation is: Marya "Mary Ann" (Reuter) Karback/Koerback who was born on the 4th of May 4th 1825 in Germany in about 1850. I wrote about Mary Ann in a post titled "Aged Woman Answers Summons."

What I find most interesting about this challenge is this: my grandmother only died in 2004 and probably at least knew about her great grandmother if she didn't actually know her. What could she have told me that I didn't know to ask? It's a great reminder to talk to the oldest living members of our families!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Man Vomits Up Snakes!!! ("Not My Family" Friday)

As genealogists, we come across some really interesting items that don't directly relate to our family tree. I decided to start a series called "Not My Family" Friday where I can share some of these amazing finds. If you'd like to join along, please post a link to your post! I'd love to see what you've found!

Here's a really disgusting series of articles about a man who repeatedly threw up snakes! (I found this while looking for my Longwell family in Pennsylvania, though I don't see a connection for this man to my tree.)

"Two Snakes in His Stomach", Reading Times; Reading, Pennsylvania, 03 Oct 1885, page 3, column 1;
digital image, ( accessed 14 Aug 2014) 
John Longwell, of Charleston, a few miles from here, has for two years past been subject to fits, being attacked suddenly and lying unconscious for hours. Within the past few months he has experienced a cold sensation in his throat occasionally, as though something was rising into his mouth. This, attended with the strange feeling in his stomach, convinced him that there was some living thing inside of him. His physician thought it would do no harm to give him an emetic, and accordingly gave his patient a large dose. The result was that Mr. Longwell threw up two snakes, one about fourteen inches long and the other a foot in length, brown in color, and both alive, and they are alive yet. Mr. Longwell was so overjoyed at this deliverance that he brought the reptiles to town and exhibited them to a few of his friends. Mr. Longwell thinks that he swallowed the eggs which produced the snakes while carelessly drinking water from a spring.

Not My Family - Man Throws Up Snakes Part 2
"John Longwell throws up another snake"; The Wellsboro Gazette, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, 21 Sep 1886,;page 3, column 4; digital image, ( accessed 14 Aug 2014)
It is stated that Mr. John Longwell of Charleston, recently threw up another eighteen inch snake, which it is believed had been an inhabitant of his stomach for about three years. It will be remembered that Mr. Longwell created a sensation about a year ago by asserting that he had vomited up two small snakes. His opinion is that he swallowed the eggs some three years ago while stopping to drink from a spring. Mrs Longwell alleges that her husband s suffering was terrible to be hold, and she thought he would chock to death before the snake was ejected from his throat. Mr Longwell is somewhat exercised in mind as to whether this is the last of the reptiles or not. He fears that there may be other strange dwellers in his stomach and that he will have to suffer again from the emetics and the terrible convulsions in getting rid of them.

Isn't this a crazy story? I'm wondering if he really had some kind of parasite like a tape worm? Strange!!!

Again, please leave a comment if you decide to share your own "not my family" Friday story!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Discovering Civil War Questionnaires & Reunions

I mentioned on my "inmates" post that I had an ancestors who was an inmate in an "old soldier's home" but I couldn't remember which ancestors. So, to find out more about these types of homes, I randomly looked at the Arkansas "Confederate Home Records" site. They have a search engine where you can look for ancestors who might have lived here. And, if you find a match, you can fill out a form and send off for their records!

Pretty neat, right? Except I don't have confederate soldiers from Arkansas. However, I was playing around and typed in three family names I did have who served as Confederate soldiers from Perry County, Tennessee. I didn't find any names I recognized.

But, then I noticed some of the other military records. One is titled "1911 Confederate Veterans Questionnaires." Well, that sounds interesting! (I now realize these questionnaires were just for Arkansas, but I thought they were for all Confederates at first.) I tried the same three surnames: Whitwell, Ward & Dickson.

public domain - image from wikipedia
When I typed in Dickson, I got a match! William Porter DICKSON who served in Company D of the 12th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. He's a brother to my James B DICKSON who served in the same company. Wow! I went to my family tree and saw that he did live in Arkansas later in his life. Wonderful!

I clicked on his name and got additional information which I can use to send off for his file. His file is marked "average" rather than "poor" or "excellent" which means that "most of the information requested was provided". Great!

So, what might I expect in this file? There is a Biographical Memoranda Form which asks for full name, mailing address, date and place of birth, and family information. And, there is a Confederate Military Service Memoranda. I'm particularly interested in the Biographical Form as I don't know the maiden name of William P (& James B) Dickson's mother, Sarah!

image from Wikipedia
I thought I'd look at more military records on this site, Arkansas History Commission. The other place I found William Porter Dickson was on the 1911 Confederate Veterans Reunion Registration Forms! (By the way, when you click on these military links it takes you to another site: Arkansas Civil War.)

What was this reunion and what might I find in these records? This was the 21st annual Civil War union which was held in Little Rock, Arkansas, fifty years after the start of the Civil War. Approximately 15,000 veterans attended! Most of the veterans filled out the questionnaires; but other people filled them out, too! Who knows who you might find in these forms?

I'm excited to learn more about my Dickson family & their Civil War service. But, this also opens up another research possibility for other Civil War veterans. I need to look for both questionnaires & reunions in whatever state they lived in! And also check out the national reunions!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Monday, August 11, 2014

When is an Inmate Not a Prisoner?

1900 census listing Ephraim Bennettt as an "prisoner" of a state prison
Cole County, Missouri
In my genealogy research, I have now come across the word "inmate" listed under "occupation" on a census twice. Neither person was a prisoner. The only time I had an actual prisoner on a census record, he was listed as a "prisoner." (See image above.)


The first time I came across an "inmate" on a census, I was pretty surprised. But, as I read the census better, I realized that this individual was actually living in an "Old Soldier's Home." I'd never heard of this term, so I did a little research. One resource I found was the "Civil War Blog." It explains that President Lincoln initiated these homes for veterans of the civil war who had served honorably and were disabled from their service. Ancestry has a searchable database called U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938. It was years ago, but I need to find this census record again and see what other records I can uncover for this relative.

1940 census listing Jack Bennett as "inmate" of Poor Farm
Newton County, Missouri

As I mentioned in the post about the Missouri State Penitentiary, I found two brothers who had served time there. Well, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a third brother listed as an inmate! My first thought was, "another prisoner!" But, I found his burial record on FindAGrave showing he was buried in the "County Poor Farm Cemetery" in the same city (& same year!) as the census record. So, he wasn't an inmate of a prison; he was an inmate of a poor farm!

So, if you come across the term "inmate", you might need to look a little further to figure out what they are an 'inmate' of! Who knows what you'll uncover? And, all of these institutions (prisons, old soldiers' homes, & poor farms) can lead to more records! Happy hunting!

P.S. The Legal Genealogist has now written a post about 'inmates' and the instructions which were given to the census takers!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Share Some Elementary School Memories

It's that time of year again - kids are going back to school. In honor of that, Randy's weekly Saturday Night Fun Challenge is to share some elementary school memories. So, here goes!

My official kindergarten photo
I started school very close to home. In fact, Lincoln Elementary was just across the alley from our backyard! I could be in my classroom just minutes after leaving my backyard. I remember my best friend, Misty, having to tie my shoes for me at recess during kindergarten. And I remember hearing the bell one day and heading home... and my mom told me I had to go back to school... it was recess; the day wasn't over yet! I was really embarrassed.

I took speech therapy in kindergarten because I had trouble saying the "r" sound. Me and another classmate got out of class a couple of times a week to work with the therapist. I got to do lots of fun games and crow like a rooster to try to say my "r's"!

We played a game that would probably get kids in trouble now. There was a row of bushes on one side of the school. The girls would gang up and chase a boy and catch him and one of the girls would give him a kiss. Yes, this was kindergarten! Anyway, I would help, but I never kissed the boys. I thought that sounded pretty yucky!

In 2nd grade, my older sister & I went to a new Christian school. It was a very small school with only two rooms. One was for K-2nd and the other was for 3rd-12th. They tested me and ended up skipping me up a grade to 3rd grade. We sat in these cubicles and basically taught ourselves out of these short PACE booklets. We had a flag we'd raise if we needed help & we set weekly goals as to how many pages we'd finish in each subject. When you were done with a section, you went up to this big stand and used a red pen to grade yourself. If you got enough correct, you went on to the next booklet. I loved it! We also got to do speed reading on some kind of computer which was really fun. I don't think this is a great environment for everyone, but I flourished! 

One of the boys who sat next to me, Mitch, was in high school and we would thumb wrestle under our partition. We also had Bible sword drills where a verse reference is said aloud and then we'd race to see who can find it the fastest. I was the youngest, but I won the contest! My prize was a new Bible.

We went back to public school for my next year. I'd finished 3rd grade, but I wanted to be back with my friends. So, I did 3rd grade 'again'. I was really confused with the schwa in reading; I'd never heard of it! But, I read well and ended up having a reading group by myself. This was also the year, I believe, where I got knocked out doing a failed penny drop - where you hang upside down on a bar and someone pulls your arms & you're supposed to flip over and land on your feet. It's not good if you land on your head.

The next year, 4th grade, we went back to a Christian school. It was actually a different school but had many of the same people. My best friend that year was a girl named Julie. One night I spent the night at her house and was in awe at her huge house, her horses, & her basement - it had a cement floor and we were allowed to roller skate on it! I was never much of an athlete, but that year Julie and I competed for 1st & 2nd prize in all of the events at the annual Play Day. A few other highlights were: playing tetherball at recess each day, finding pottery shards in the pile of dirt behind the school from the new building; and the giant snow cave some of the older boys made and we were allowed to crawl through.

For 5th grade, I was back at the school behind our house. This year, my classroom window looked into our backyard. The whole classroom would say 'hi' to my mom when she came outside. On nice days, the windows would be open. This year, my best friend was Shona who had moved next door to me. She would later move away and died our senior year. I wrote about her in a previous post

Then there was 6th grade. This was our first big move: from Kansas to Oklahoma. I made a new best friend, Pam, and we spent many hours together between school and church. Our class was out in a prefab, which I felt made us special. Our main teacher , Mr. Irvin, read Michael Crichton's "Congo" aloud to us. It was terrifying! But wonderful! He had a huge dictionary where we'd look up words; he called it "Big Bertha." And, he drove a yellow sports car that seemed so flashy. Sadly, he died several years ago. 

At recess, we'd play a new game to me: four square. If I wasn't playing four square I was hanging out on the monkey bars. I was horrible at P.E., but the teacher was a lot of fun. He had a prosthetic leg and sometimes he'd take it off. One time, some of the kids 'stole' it and he hopped around laughing as he chased them.

This was also the year of my first boyfriend. We 'went together' for a while, and then I found out he was in a basement with another girl and KISSED HER! That was the end of that relationship! Later that year, the girl got attacked by a dog while walking home from school and the tip of her nose was bitten off. Sadly, I've heard she has now passed away, too.

Randy mentioned Safety Patrol. I did that, too! Our job was to help kids cross the streets safely and we got to wear two bright orange straps: one went around our waste and the other across our chest. Between the badges and the responsibility, I felt so important! My friend, Steven, and I were the head guards and worked most days.

I pretty much loved school. I was kind of nerdy and often a teacher's pet. Later on, I'd come to love science. But, in elementary school I think I just enjoyed it all! Well, except for P.E.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Friday, August 8, 2014

Skeletons in the Closet: Rapist & Murderer

NOTE: I spoke too soon! I just received paperwork on these two men. The one who committed murder is actually a brother of my ancestor. But, the one who committed "assault to rape" is NOT her brother. He is about 20 years too young. I guess I should have waited until I had all the facts, but it seemed to fit! It's a good lesson for me.... just because someone has the right name and lives in the right state does NOT mean they are the same person!!!

Two days ago I wrote about my great, great grandmother's brothers who both appear to have served time in the Missouri State Penitentiary in the late 1800's. That evening, I wrote to the Missouri State Archives to see if they had information about one of the brother's pardon. I heard back from them the following morning... incredible! And, the information they sent was incredible, too. But, it is also disturbing information. I've uncovered two of those 'skeletons in the closet' that genealogist sometimes unearth.

free image from
One of Elizabeth Bennett's brothers was pardoned in 1892. (I've decided to withhold the name, but if this is your family please contact me.) I'm still not sure why he was incarcerated at that time. But, it looks like this was his second time in prison. The first time he was sentenced for two years on October 19, 1886 for "assault to rape" in Perry County. Wow. He was released under 3/4 time law on May 15th, 1888. I'm sending away for these records. (Note: This is the man who I discovered is about 20 years too young & so he is NOT the brother of my ancestor.)

Another of her brothers entered the Missouri State Penitentiary on October 20th, 1894 for a ten year sentence, but was released under 3/4 time law on April 15th, 1902. His crime: murder in the 2nd degree in Dallas County. Another 'wow'. I'm also sending away for his records. (I'll be writing more about him as this is a really interesting case. I'll provide a link when it's posted.)

It is disappointing to find these two men committing such horrible crimes. I'm wondering what led them to this type of life? I don't know that I'll ever find the answers, but I'll keep digging.

(Note: It appears that these two men are the brothers of my great, great grandmother (Elizabeth Bennett: 1849-1914), but I do need to do some more research before I can be sure.)

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Doing Time in the Missouri State Penitentiary

I've been working on the family of my great, great grandmother, Elizabeth Bennett (1849-1914), who married Josiah Randolph Coppenbarger (1844-1934). I had previously found her brother, Ephraim P Bennett (abt 1841-?), listed as a prisoner in the 1900 census. I looked at the record more closely and realized it was the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri. Online, I found that their records are located at the Missouri State Archives.

1900 Census - Missouri State Penitentiary
Ephraim Bennett is last in image
Last night I watched this season's first episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" with Cynthia Nixon via DVR. She traces her female ancestor to the Missouri State Penitentiary! (It's an amazing episode!) I was thrilled to see not only the penitentiary, but also the Missouri State Archives! There is now a wonderful feature about the episode and the findings on the Missouri State Archives site which takes you step by step through some of their discoveries.

From that page, there's a link that says: "Are you looking for a pardon record? If so, the Archives has a name index available here. Submit a research request if you find a record you are interested in." So, I searched for Bennett & didn't find Ephraim... but I DID find his brother, William H Bennett (abt 1840-1897) which shows him being pardoned in 1892! I didn't even know he was incarcerated! I've already sent off my 'research request'. I'm eager to learn more about why these two brothers were locked up & why one was then pardoned.

(NOTE: I have now received the records and, while Ephraim Bennett is the brother of my ancestor, William H Bennett is NOT. He is about 20 years too young! I messed up & jumped to a conclusion. Just because a name matches doesn't mean it's the same person!!!)

I told my brother about this and he mentioned he'd watched a show about the Missouri State Penitentiary. It is now a museum you can tour! There's a great website here which describes it as "the bloodiest 47 acres in America." I'm off to read all about it!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Notorious Brawdy Family, Part 4 (Robbed & Beaten)

This is a series of posts about the startling discoveries we made at GRIP (July 2014) in the Intermediate Genealogy class. Our head instructor, Paula Stuart-Warren, chose a random Pittsburgh will for us to research and see what we could uncover about the family. She had no idea of the amazing stories we would find..

Here's another newspaper clipping about the 'notorious Brawdy family' from the Penn State University Libraries online collection.

"Pittsburgh Daily Gazette and Advertiser", March 2, 1868.

Another Brawdy [?ease] Case - A Man Robbed of $200 and Severely Beaten

We have but little sympathy for the man who, in consequence of frequenting any of the vile dens of prostitution with which our city is so well supplied, is robbed of his money, or even if he receives a sound "body beating," yet this does not prevent us from protesting against the tolerance of these places by the city authorities. It is for the purpose of calling attention to the matter only that we give publicity to such cause as the following: James Hallman, yesterday made information before Alderman McMasters charging Martin Brawdy with felonious assault and battery, in which he stated that on Friday night he visited a den of infamy on Pennsylvania avenue, kept by John Langdon, and that during his stay he was drugged and robbed of two hundred dollars. He left the premises the next morning in a semi-drunken state, and consequently did not discover his loss until he arrived at his hotel. He immediately returned to the house and demanded his money, when he was set upon by Martin Brawdy, who beat him with an iron poker, inflicting seven cuts on his head and face. He then returned and made the information as above, and also against John Langdon, Carry Fisher, Mary Acr[e], a girl named Alice, and Martin and Thomas Brawdy, charging them with keeping a disorderly house. The mother of two of these defendants is now in jail serving out a sentence for the same offence, and if the facts in this case be as stated her sons should keep her company.

Divorce & Death (Learning about Lena, Part 2)

As I discussed in Part 1 about Lena, I found that the land being sold and partitioned between 32 members of my family originally belonged to Lena R. Tremlett. But, I've never heard of Lena. I decided to search for her on Ancestry and see what I could find.

When I searched for Lena R. Tremlett in Missouri, I came up with 4 good hits - 3 death records and an 1880 census.

1880 Census - St Louis - John Tremlett is 3rd person - Lena Randolph Tremlett is 4th
people below John & Lena are boarders
The 1880 census is for John Tremlett, who appears to be running a hotel & whose occupation is listed as rooms provider (unsure of second word), and Lena Randolph Tremlett! Randolph is the last name of the parents/grandparents (William & Matilda) of those 32 family members! This Lena was born about 1832 in Virginia. This fits with one of the children of William & Matilda - Selina "Lena" Randolph! But, I had her married to a Noah Herman Smith, though I have no documentation. Perhaps this is a second marriage? Or perhaps she was never married to Noah Herman Smith.

Next, I looked at the three death records for Lena each showing she died in May of 1887. The records show she died of nephritis and was born in DeWitt County, Illinois. I think she was actually born in Virginia, but she grew up in DeWitt County.

Next, I Googled "Lena R Tremlett" and was surprised to uncover another article about her on Newspaper Abstracts. This was published in March of 1887 and it was for the filing of a divorce! It sounds like a pretty nasty divorce, too.

The last thing I uncovered was through Mocavo. It is a judicial index from 1887 in St. Louis so it is probably the divorce case file. (The case number is 16305; microfilm reel C38388.) She died only two months after filing for divorce, so I'm really interested in that case file. I'm going to hire someone in St. Louis to look up that file for me.

Here's the article about Lena filing for divorce which was in the "St Louis Dispatch Post" on March 31, 1887. The transcript was contributed by Gigimo.

A divorce suit was filed late last evening in the Circuit Court by Mrs. Lena R TREMLETT against John TREMLETT of the Hotel Belvedere, Washington Ave. They were married in May, 1879, and lived together until last October. Mrs. TREMLETT makes serious allegations against her husband, charging him with conduct rendering her position intolerable. She accuses him of heaping shocking indignities upon her at various times, making false accusations against her and acting in the most violent manner. She alleges that her husband was unduly intimate with a female servant and that he caressed another woman in her presence. He also took the part of a young woman who had assaulted his wife. Mrs. TREMLETT further charges that her husband transferred his affections to another woman and that he tried to get rid of his wife by filing a suit for a divorce which he subsequently withdrew being unable to furnish proof of the allegations contained in the petition. When the separation took place he said that he was going to Florida. Mrs. TREMLETT asks for alimony, alleging that her husband is possessed of $30,000 worth of property.

I actually found an image of the Belvedere Hotel; it was pretty amazing looking! But, did Lena's husband keep the hotel because she died before the divorce was finalized? And, did he actually own this hotel? In the 1900 census, I found a John Tremlett who was born in England the right year and is running a hotel, but other details don't make sense. What happened to Lena's husband, John? And did the divorce actually happen? Are there records from when John filed for divorce? Did he remarry? And, was Lena married to Noah Herman Smith?

Another big question now that I see Lena was married in 1879 is: why did she get 5 pieces of land conveyed to her in 1879 from the Queen's and the Hammett's, people I've never heard of?

1883 City Directory for St. Louis found on Fold3
Update: On Fold3, I found an 1883 city directory for St. Louis showing John Tremlett was proprietor of the beautiful Hotel Belvedere at 1230 Washington Av.

Source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Saint Louis (independent city), Missouri, Enumeration District #12, printed page #224A, dwelling 159, John Tremlett household, online images, <>, accessed 20 Jul 2014, citing Family History Film #1254717.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Survey of Genealogical Activities

It's Saturday night and time for Randy's weekly challenge at Genea-Musings. This week's challenge is to discuss some of your genealogical activities. So let's get started!

  1. Which genealogy software programs for your computer do you use (e.g., Family Tree Maker, Reunion, GRAMPS, etc.)? I use RootsMagic, though I used Family Tree when I started years ago.
  2. Which online family trees have information submitted by you - in either a separate online tree (e.g., Ancestry Member Tree) or a universal (collaborative) online tree (e.g., WikiTree)? I've only submitted to Ancestry.
  3. For which subscription genealogy record providers (e.g., Ancestry) do you have a subscription? AncestryMocavoNewspapers.comGenealogy BankHistoryGeoFindMyPast (bought credits, not an actual subscription), Fold3
  4. Which FREE genealogy record providers (e.g., FamilySearch) do you use regularly? Family Search, FindAGrave, Google
  5. How much time do you spend each week doing actual genealogy research online? [Note: not reading, or social networking, but actual searching in a record provider]. Estimate an average number of hours per week. 14 hours per week
  6. How much time do you spend each week doing actual genealogy research in a repository (e.g., library, archive, courthouse, etc.)? Estimate an average number of hours per month over, say, a one year period. 4 hours per week
  7. How much time do you spend each week adding information to your genealogy software program (either on your computer or online)? Estimate an average number of hours per week over, say, a one month period. 4 hours per week
  8. How much time do you spend each month at a genealogical society meeting, program or event (not a seminar or conference)? Estimate an average number of hours per month over, say, a one year period. 1 hour per month
  9. How much time do you spend each month on genealogy education (e.g., reading books and periodicals, attending seminars, conferences, workshops, webinars, etc.)? Estimate an average number of hours per month over, say, a one year period. 3-4 hours per month
  10. How much time do you spend each week reading, writing and commenting on genealogy blogs, websites, and social media? Estimate an average number of hours per week over, say, a one month period. 4 hours per week
Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Friday, August 1, 2014

Newspaper Article Lists 32 Family Members! (Learning about Lena, Part 1)

In my GRIP Intermediate Genealogy course last week, Debbie Mieszala discussed Chronicling America in her class about newspaper research. I decided to do a search for one of my more unusual surnames, Coppenbarger, and I got an interesting hit. I found an article that listed not only my Coppenbarger's, but also some Randolph's and other names I recognized. I still haven't tracked down all of the names, but I have done enough to realize that they are children and grandchildren of my fourth great grandparents, William Randolph (1792 in VA - 1867 in IL) & Matilda Kearns/Keeran (1796 in NC - 1863 in IL).

Weekly Graphic, 14 Dec 1888
The article was a "Sheriff's Sale in Partition" as a result of an Adair County, Missouri court case. It described the land that was to be sold and then stated the proceeds would be divided among the parties. But, whose land was this? The parents/grandparents, William & Matilda Randolph, had died over 20 years before this. And, why are four of their children plaintiffs against the rest of the family?

Weekly Graphic, 09 Mar 1888
I was able to answer these questions when I looked at a second article I found on Chronicling America. This article was an "Order of Publication" and it states that it is being published to notify the defendants, a long list of whom live out of state, that the "Plaintiffs have commenced a suit against them and others in this court, the object and general nature of which is to obtain a decree to partition in the following described real estate situated in the city of St. Louis, state of Missouri, and the county of Adair, state of Missouri to wit..." So, some of the family members wanted to sale the land and divide the profits.

As to the question of whose land was being sold, the property had belonged to Lena R. Tremlett. There are four pieces of land which were "the same land conveyed to said Lena R. Tremlett (alias Line R. Tremlett) by Agnes P. Queen and Benj. F. Queen July 28th 1879." And, there's a fifth piece of land which was "the same land conveyed to Lena R. Tremlett, alias Lina R. Tremlett, by Benjamin Hammett and wife, June 14th, 1879..."

I've never heard of Lena R. Tremlett; Benj. F & Agnes P. Queen; and Benjamin Hammett & his wife. Who are these people? And, why are the proceeds of this land going to my family members? I begin to find some answers in "Lena, Part 2."

  • "Sheriff's Sale in Partition," Weekly Graphic, Kirksville, Missouri, 14 December 1888, page 2, column 5. Chronicling America. <>, accessed 30 July 2014.
  • "Order of Publication," Weekly Graphic, Kirksville, Missouri, 09 March 1888, page 1, column 6. Chronicling America. <>, accessed 30 July 2014.
Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

The 1828 Will of Peter Close's Relict: Catharine Elizabeth Close

Yesterday, I shared the 1810 will of my 5th great grandfather , Peter Close of Armagh, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Peter's wife, Catha...