Genealogy is like a jigsaw puzzle, but you don't have the box top, so you don't know what the picture is supposed to look like. As you start putting the puzzle together, you realize some pieces are missing, and eventually you figure out that some of the pieces you started with don't actually belong to this puzzle. I'll help you discover the right pieces for your puzzle and assemble them into a picture of your family.
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Saturday, August 6, 2022
Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Who Is a Mysterious Person in Your Family Tree?
Time for this week's Saturday Night Geneaogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver!
1. Who is a mysterious person in the family tree you'd like to learn more about? [Thank you to Linda Stufflebean for suggesting topics!]
2. Write your own blog post, or add your response as a comment to this blog post, in a Facebook Status post or note.
The most mysterious person in my family tree is still my paternal grandfather's biological father, about whom I know nothing, although I suspect his given name was Bertram.
My grandfather's birth was registered under his mother's maiden name of Armstrong because she was not married at the time he was born. When he was 7 months old his mother married Cornelius Elmer Sellers, and from that point on he apparently used the last name of Sellers. When he was 37 years old his mother filed an amended birth record for him, changing his name legally from Armstrong to Sellers and stating that his father was Elmer Sellers.
I proved through Y-DNA that he was not biologically a Sellers. My cousin, the grandson of my grandfather's brother through a straight male line, and my father had totally different Y-DNA results, indicating they did not descend from the same man (certainly not within a genealogically relevant period of time). (And there is no question that my father was my grandfather's son; they looked too much alike.) My cousin matched several other Sellers men whose ancestor was the same German man, Hans Georg Soller. My father has no matches to anyone with the last name of Sellers.
I was fortunate to meet my grandaunt, my grandfather's youngest sister, before she passed away. She provided quite a bit of information about the family, including that my grandfather, whose given names were Bertram Lynn, was supposed to have been named after a close family friend.
Three years after Elmer Sellers died, my great-grandmother had another child (with no husband), whom she named Bertolet. This is a little too much of a coincidence for me, particularly because the name Bertolet is pretty unusual (I'm not sure if it's unique). Whether the same man was the father of my grandfather and of Bertolet is a separate question (my great-grandmother did not list Bertolet's father's name on the child's birth or death certificate), but I'm pretty sure that Grampa's father was named Bertram or something similar, because the name "Bert" certainly seemed to be meaningful to my great-grandmother.
My father has two Y-DNA matches at 111 markers (the most available for commercial consumer testing), both of whom have the last name of Mundy. So my theory (still) is that my biological great-grandfather was probably a Mundy with the given name of Bertram or something similar.
With the help of one of my readers, I have a really good candidate, a Bertram Mundy who lived in northern New Jersey but who was some sort of traveling salesman. It is quite plausible (to me, at least) that he might have traveled to the Philadelphia area, somehow met my great-grandmother (who lived in nearby Burlington County, New Jersey), and had a tryst of some type with her. I'm still working on researching that theory and trying to prove or disprove it.
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Best or Important Image or Document Recently Found Online
And I'm still falling behind and trying to catch up. So it's Wednedsay; who says I can't post my Saturday Night Genealogy Fun tonight? At least I have a document to share!
1. What is the best or important image or document that you have recently found online? [Thank you to Linda Stufflebean for suggesting topics!]
2. Write your own blog post, or add your response as a comment to this blog post or in a Facebook Status post or note.
I'm still noodling around with the 1950 census and finding stuff. One page that I found has my father's two older paternal half-sisters:
They were living in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey. The census shows my aunt Dottie (Dorothy M.) married to Clarence N. Lore, with three children: Albert L., Clarence G., and Joan. Living with them is my aunt Mil (Mildred A.) Sellers.
This is an important find for a few reasons. First is that my aunts, along with my father and his parents, were not enumerated in the 1940 census. I have looked up, down, and sideways for them, and they're simply not there. According to a list of addresses my grandfather compiled (possibly for a security clearance for work), they lived in three different places that year, so it's easy to understand how they could have been missed.
Second, the youngest child in the household, Joan (whom I was told was named JoAnn), did not live long past the 1950 census. I don't have an exact date of death, but she died sometime around 1951–1952. So I am thrilled to have her appear in a census.
Third, not only was my aunt Dottie one of the people who was "sampled" to give additional information (six people on every page), she was the one of the six who was asked even more questions! She did not work during the year previous to the census; the last work she had was as a restaurant waitress; she had been married more than once; and she had borne three children.
And fourth, this is another example of how you need to verify all that information that shows up on the census. My aunt Dottie told two different stories about her marriage to Zeke (Clarence; no, I have no idea how the nickname Zeke came out of Clarence), and I have not yet been able to check on whether they were actually legally married (because if the person you are marrying hasn't gotten divorced, yours doesn't count as a legal marriage). So the fact that the census says they were married might or might not be true.
Um, married more than once? I've never heard that, either from my aunt or my cousins. I don't know what she had in mind, but now I need to check around and see if she was married to someone before Zeke.
And three children? Nope, she had borne four children by this time. The one not accounted for was Raymond Lawrence Sellers, born September 23, 1945. Dottie gave him up for adoption, I believe that same year. I am still trying to find him.
So don't believe everything you read in the census.
Something else important about this discovery is that my cousin Albert is still alive. I get to show him himself and his family in the 1950 census!
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Plans to Travel for On-site Genealogy Research
I keep falling behind on my genealogy posts! I have all these great plans, and they somehow don't materialize. But I can always start again at catching up, as I am doing tonight with Randy Seaver's post for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.
1. Do you have plans to travel to do on-site genealogy research? [Thank you to Linda Stufflebean for suggesting topics!]2. Write your own blog post, or add your response as a comment to this blog post or in a Facebook Status post or note.
Here are my thoughts.
Let me start off by saying that I definitely don't believe I can do all my research online. That means I have to look at doing on-site research myself or hiring someone else to do it. And I really like doing my own research.
I have so much New Jersey research where I am sure that the archives will have information that is helpful; not everything has been filmed by the LDS Church. So many of my family lines (my paternal grandmother's side of the family) were in New Jersey for centuries. I still have to find my great-grandmother Amelia Gibson's parents and family, and my 4x-great-grandfather Joel Armstrong's parents (is he my connection to practicing Quakers?). And I want to see the farm schedules from the census to learn more details about what my farming ancestors were doing. It wouldn't be practical to hire someone for this research because there's so much to do, with one piece of information leading to another and another. I need to find some time to go back east, stay at my sister's, and make daily trips to the state archives.
Notwithstanding how many records and indices Reclaim the Records has managed to get from New York City, there's still a lot more to see, and my mother's side of the family lived there for more than a century. In some ways it might be more practical to hire someone who is more experienced with the repositories to do that research, but it would be far more enjoyable to do it myself. I think I still have cousins in NYC; maybe I can sleep on a couch and make that my base of operations.
Those are my big chunks of research where there's a lot to be done. I could do research in just about every state in this country because I have cousins everywhere, but most states have only a few relatives to research.
Do I have actual plans for any of this research? No, not currently, but I could and I probably should.
Now, the Ukrainian research I would like to conduct on my mother's side, maybe that I don't want to do on site myself. I think that's a good candidate for hiring a researcher to do it for me, at least for the immediate future. The research in Moldova and Belarus also might be served better by hiring someone, rather than going in person.
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Sunday, June 12, 2022
June 12 is called Loving Day in commemoration of the day in 1967 that the United States Supreme Court struck down the heinous laws against miscegenation that were in effect in yet sixteen of the states of this country, preventing people who loved each other from marrying strictly on the basis of the color of their skin not being the same.
The judge who ruled against the Lovings when they were living as a married couple in Virginia in 1958, causing them to take their case all the way to the Supreme Court, stated, "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay, and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
Today for Loving Day I want to honor Yang Xianyi and Gladys Margaret Taylor, who married in 1941 in China but who might not have been able to marry in some of those sixteen U.S. states. They remained married until Gladys died in 1999.
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Genealogy Search/Research Did You Do Last Week?
I'm very happy that Randy is now feeling healthy enough to resume posting on his blog, but I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't catch up with any additional old posts yet. I'll just keep trying! Here is this week's challenge:
1. What genealogy search/research did you do last week? Did you have a research goal or plan? Tell us about one or more search/research session.2. Write your own blog post or add your response as a comment to this blog post or in a Facebook Status post or note.
Aw, man! Well, I didn't do much this week, but I did do a little research.
I worked some more on finding people in the 1950 census, not for my own family, but for that of a friend. He had remembered that a cousin had put together a short family history and finally dug it out. Based on the mostly accurate information in it, I was able to find my friend's great-grandmother and her second husband in the 1930 and 1940 censuses and then the second husband as a widower in the 1950 census. I discovered they were Germans from Russia, which I actually have a fair amount of experience researching. Now I'm hunting for them in Canada in earlier records.
The other research I did was trying to figure out how a DNA cousin who showed up on Ancestry is connected to me. I have a total failure there so far. The surname doesn't appear anywhere in my family tree, and I can't find any connections yet.
Obviously I am far behind Randy in my accomplishments this week!