Friday, September 18, 2015

Library Treasure - Forgotten Ancestors - Forgotten Research

A cousin walked through the basement level of an obscure library in London a few years ago randomly looking for titles that were of interest.banffshire_field_club_journal

An old black tome with the word Banffshire visible on the spine caught her eye.  Opening the book, the pages spilled out across the table.  The binding had failed due to age and the readily apparent years of hard use.

Picking up the page bundles, the name Gordon stood out on one of them.  A quick scan of the page resulted in a shout of joy.  The article covered our Gordon ancestry.  The information in the article came from private genealogical study paid for by our 5th great granduncle, Cosmo Gordon.

Although his name was Cosmo, like the famous Cosmo Gordon's of Scotland, he wasn't famous.  He did work for the British Government in relatively high level positions and was paid enough money to satisfy his desire to know his Gordon lineage.

A copy of the genealogy research report ended up in the possession of a family who allowed an author to copy it and include the data in an article he wrote for the Banffshire Field Club Journal.

Another genealogy legend was created.

Due to the condition of the book, my cousin wasn't allowed to copy it.  She quickly jotted down the facts in the article and sent them to me.

I looked for a copy of the article in the library catalogs across the States but found nothing.  I needed to see that article to completely mine all of the genealogy data and hints in it.

Eventually I found a listing for the Field Club online.  The didn't have a web presence as that time so the contact information came from one of the hundreds of search queries I sent out using every term I could think of that might result in a 'hit'.

After a few tries, I found a telephone number that rang in the Field Club offices when the historian was present.

I asked her if she knew of any publications in the States that may include the article I wanted to see.  Of course the answer was negative but just before we were going to ring off, she remembered that there may be a copy of the article on a shelf in the basement where the few extra copies were stored.

A week later, I received an email from her saying that she'd found one surviving copy of the 100 year old article and there were a few other articles that might mention the Gordon family.   I found a way to transfer funds to purchase the articles and send them to me.

When they arrived, they were just what you'd expect to see in a bundle that had set in the humid conditions of a basement by the ocean for a century.  The old metal staples in the fold were rust covered.  The paper was yellowed and stiff.  The contents of the article were pure gold.

Cosmo's report gave me clues that I never would have found here in my area 5,000 miles away from where they happened hundreds of years ago.

Anyone who has engaged in genealogy research in Scotland that involves members of clans knows that surnames often changed from the birth surname to the name of the clan.  Members of these families often did not baptize their children in the Church or England or in the more prominent Protestant churches, thus birth, marriage and death records aren't easy to find.   Cosmo's report included the names that have proven to be difficult to prove with sources.  I probably wouldn't have found them without the content in the report.

My Gordon ancestors were brewers and property owners.  Some of them didn't have sterling characters as witnessed in the actions of great uncle Alexander Duff, but most were honest people living their lives for their families and country.

The old Field Club Journal articles continue to yield clues as time goes on.  My research uncovers topics and snippets of information that resonate in my mind because of the information I've read in the articles.  The collective information frequently gels into clues that result in more proven ancestors and facts that support their existence.

The success in this story all derive from browsing through the aisles of an obscure library and the faded letters in the title of an old worn book catching the eye of my cousin.  She wasn't looking for nor expected to find information about our ancestors, but like all good genealogy stores, this story follows their common theme.....  Being in the right place at the right time and taking a few minutes to let the genealogy 'magic' happen.

Posted 18 September 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Memorial Day Thoughts ~ May 2012

Visiting cemeteries on Memorial Day are typically celebrations of the lives of our deceased ancestors.Grave_of_young_husband_2012

The fragrances of many flowers fill our vehicle as we travel from cemetery to cemetery and grave to grave as we decorate family graves.  Their scent evokes dozens of long-term memories of similar pilgrimages on other Memorial Days.

The Memorial Day experience in 2012 was different.  After visiting several cemeteries, we concluded our pilgrimage with a stop at a cemetery with many ancestral graves.  Just across from them, a young widow sat on a large rock in deep despair next to the week-old grave of her husband.

My mood changed immediately from celebration of my ancestors lives to deep concern.  Fathers and grandfathers will do about anything to protect their wives, daughters and granddaughters from pain.  The body language of despair coupled with gulps of air told her story.  Her beloved was gone.

As much as I wanted to comfort her, I could not intrude on her privacy.  I was an unknown.  A well-meaning unknown but whose intrusion was undoubtedly not wanted or sought.

I grieved over her pain and over my lack of the ability to assuage it in any way.

Within a few minutes, she recognized that she was no longer alone in her cone of grief.  With a final gesture of her hand toward her husbands grave, she entered her vehicle and drove away.

Deep in thought, I stood watching her vehicle disappear into the distance.

Had any of my ancestors felt pain like hers over an untimely death?  I only had to look up to see the headstones of two sets of my 2nd great grandparents to get the answer.

Yes.  They had.

One of the couples, James and Emily Blacknall Hoggard, lost a baby daughter without her father ever seeing or holding her.  He left England to come to America to establish a new life for his family.  I don’t think he even knew his wife was pregnant when he left.

He worked hard, saved every penny possible and was finally able to send for his sweetheart and their seven children.  Partway through the voyage, the new baby, Emma Dorothy Hoggard died and was buried at sea.

Yes, they knew the pain of an untimely death.

Turning a few degrees, I gazed upon the headstone of another set of great grandparents, Charles Joseph Gordon and Rosa Clara Friedlander Logie.  Had they experienced similar pain?

Unfortunately, yes, they had.

Their third child was born small in size.  Silas was called a midget by society of that day.  A group of seemingly good men from the area had approached the family.  They asked if it would be possible for young Silas to join them for the summer as they toured their little circus from town to town.

Silas would be the main attraction in the center ring.  His joyful personality and laughter would bring cheers from the audience.

“We’ll take good care of him.”  “We promise.”  “He’ll earn more money than his father over the summer months.”

Things went well until 3 September 1869 when the troop was returning back to their homes.  One of the rough circus crew had become increasingly jealous of little Silas during the summer.  His popularity far exceeded the attention created by the clown paint on the face of the ruffian in their circus performances.

Seeing his opportunity to destroy his supposed enemy on the narrow cliff-side road ahead, he maneuvered his horse between Silas and the high side of the road.  A simple jab in the ribs of his horse caused it so shy into the horse carrying Silas.

Both Silas and his horse went over the cliff and were killed.

Nothing could be proven to bring justice to Silas’ murderer.  He claimed the incident was an accident,yet almost everyone in the circus company knew of his hatred of the diminutive youngster.

Pain.  There was deep pain in the hearts of his parents.  The guaranteed safety and good treatment of their son was invalid.

He was dead.

His father acted as the town undertaker in addition to his carpentering jobs.

Great grandpa, Charles Joseph Gordon Logie, had to build the casket for his little son, Silas – the son he had allowed to travel with ‘safe’ men for the summer.

He had to dress and clean his little body before putting in the coffin.

He had to dig the grave.

Pain.  Real pain in the hearts of my great grandparents.

Today, far removed from the immediacy of the incidents, view of ancestors lives in celebration when we visit their graves on Memorial Day, and rightly so.  Their lives should be celebrated.

Because of them, we are here, enjoying our lives and growth opportunities that sometimes include pain.  Without them we would not be here to gain those experiences.

I am grateful every day for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge and promises it brings to us.  You see, I now that families can be together forever.

Posted 17 September 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Accidental Shooting Death of Andrew Bennett

Andrew J. Bennett, seventeen-year-old son of the prominent Obadiah Miller and Hannah Margaret Graham Bennett was accidentally killed by his close friend Russell Igo at the Igo residence while looking at a new shotgun.

Russell said he accidentally pulled the trigger causing the shotgun to fire and strike Andrew in the neck.  Andrew was killed almost instantly.. 

Andrew’s death was a tragedy for his family and for Russell and the Igo family.  The shock of it almost killed Russell as he went into violent convulsions in his grief.

Andrew was born on 3 Feb 1888 in Fairfield, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.  He was the seventh of twelve children in Obadiah and Hannah’s family.  His father was a well-known cabinet maker, furniture store owner and undertaker. 


Andrew J. Bennett Death Articles


Posted 10 September 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Epitaphs from Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts

I’ve enjoyed many visits to Burial Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts seeking the burial locations of my ancestors.  The trips always leaves me wishing I couldepitaphs_from_burial_hill spend more time there taking photos and obtaining the exact latitude and longitude coordinates of my ancestors graves.

When I return home from these visits, I always spend time looking through my trip notes comparing them to the information in books like Bradford Kingman’s “Epitaphs from Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, from 1657 to 1892:, or Benjamin Drew’s “Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts: its Monuments and Gravestones Numbered and Briefly Described, and the Inscriptions and Epitaphs Thereon Carefully Copied” and my favorite, the more recently published work by the Robinson family, Barbara, Howard and Cynthia titled “Burial Hill in the 1990’s, Plymouth, Massachusetts": a six –year mapping project with descriptions, conditions and some photographs.”

The Robinson family did it right.  They spent summer after summer in the cemetery documenting its burials and tombstones.

I own copies of all of the books about burials in Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Sometimes I just need a quick reference lookup though and am too lazy to pull the books from the shelves of my library, so I launch Google Books and read Kingman’s tome online.

The book may be of equal use in your own laziness.   Thanks Google Books!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Power of Technology in Education Today

The world is filled with stories of terror, war and stupidity of mankind, yet there never has been a better time to be alive from the perspective of freely available knowledge and easy access to it.teacher_old

While researching the lives of several of my second and third great grandparents, I noted a common theme in their lives and the lives of their families.  A higher level education would have dramatically improved the living conditions of themselves and their families.  The records surrounding their lives shows neighbors who had received more education than the majority of the public and their homes and annual income reflected that fact.   That some of them added the title Dr. to their names did not mean that they attended advanced medical schools like we require today to acquire such monikers but it did indicate that they’d had some training in the fields said that they represented.   However, many of the neighbors were leaders in finance and some were doctors in well-known hospitals in large cities which indicates that they did indeed have specialized higher educational degrees.

My ancestors who really had to struggle to feed and house their families had little free time to attend any additional schooling and even if they had the time, they wouldn’t have had the money to pay for it nor the contiguous blocks of time required to travel to the location of the schools that offered the education they wanted.

Today, we see educational opportunities online everywhere.  College or specialized training courses are readily available online with just a few clicks of the mouse.  The courses are offered by entities ranging from the most prodigious colleges on the planet to small applied skills training companies.   A surprisingly large number of the courses are free if you don’t want to attached educational credits to the course.  I’ve taken many of the courses myself and never cease to be amazed at the knowledge I gain from them with little effort on my part other than sitting down and going to the lessons online.  Gaining education this way is certainly different than it was when I was in college early in my life.  I don’t have to stand in the long lines to get a card that will allow me to register for a class.  I don’t have to wait for my turn to be early in the process based on the first letter of my surname and where it is in rotation to the first of the list this year.   I don’t have to miss courses because the prerequisite class is filled because my surname letter had rotated to the end this year and all of the available seats were already taken.

Our children and grandchildren face a litany of problems that didn’t exist when we were their age but gaining an education, if they want it, isn’t one of them beyond the normal financial and available time considerations.

Like many of you, I sit in on free genealogy webinars that are sponsored or presented by FamilySearch, Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic and other companies that give me both new skills that I need to be a better researcher as well as new research ideas, methods and knowledge of venues of which I was totally unaware and probably wouldn’t have found left to my own devices.

Like some of you, I take specialized courses online of a technical nature that give me the tools and skills needed to write some programming code, tweak software skins and write little apps of my own that fit my particular needs on my handheld devices.  Many of these courses are free.  Folks who have mastered the skills in the lessons, happily present them for the consumption of folks who have similar interests in an almost pay-it-forward environment of sharing.

Today, many workers take short specialized training courses online to sharpen their job skills either in their current position or for a position they hope to secure.   Their bachelors and masters degrees often act as the requisite key that allows them open the job seeking door.  The specialized courses give them the code to the last tumbler in the lock to open the slot that will accept their application in that refined environment of qualified and highly skilled applicants.

Business Insider magazine recently published a list of what they consider to be the best 37 websites for learning new skills.  If you are reading this post, you’ll find one or more of these sites to have the exact training courses that you’d hoped to find one day.  We all wish we knew how to do something using skills that we don’t current posses.  If that skill requires reading, writing and using your mind, the training course you need is probably in this group of 37.  If not, it probably does exist online if you search for it. 

In September 2014, I wrote a post about the effectiveness of online courses and included a short list of links to online educational facilities that offer excellent educational courses.  My view of the value of online education has only increased in appreciation and perceived value since then.

I wish my parents were still alive so I could dazzle them with the educational opportunities online that we can access with such ease.  I probably don’t have a good enough imagination to appreciate how excited my 5th great grandparents would be to see the online courses.  They would probably appreciate them so much that they’d liken them to handouts of gold and silver.  Training and education that was simply impossible for them to obtain is ours for the taking, requiring little more effort on our part than doing a quick search, registering and clicking to start the course.

I marvel at the difference in perspective from which I see the world and how my grandchildren see it.   The recent article, “The Class of 2019 has never licked a postage stamp” brought that discussion into clear focus in my mind.  Their perception of the world around them is so wildly different than mine due to time and the environment surrounding their society and the one I’ve  known from my youth in a tiny western town, it is almost incomprehensible.  While I’m still the guy that teaches them how to use and tame technology, our societal reference points are radically different.  Hopefully, they’ll take advantage of skills based training for subjects that don’t exist entirely within the mind but have in fact a physical factor in survivability skills should the lights go out.

Our lives are extremely busy today.  Doing what meaningful activity, I’m not always sure, but we certainly are busy aren’t we?   Do you take advantage of a few hours of your time each week to improve your education and skills thanks to online education courses?  If you haven’t taken skills based training online yet, don’t hesitate to give it an honest try. 

If you are interested in genealogy and improving your research skills and successes thanks to it, be sure to visit the FamilySearch Learning Center and revel in the excellent selection of free courses found there.

We live in a magical time in the timeline of this world.  Take advantage of the educational opportunities it offers us.  None of us are too old or too ‘dumb’ to learn new skills to better ourselves and our interface with family, friends and even our hobbies.

Posted 23 August 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Monday, August 17, 2015

Find Unique Ancestral Records on FamilySearch

FamilySearch offers so many records on its site, it is easy for users to quickly35 develop a research ‘rut’ in their minds and never fully address the wealth of information it offers.

I hadn’t considered the fact that students in my classes and support groups were using all the search tools on FamilySearch until FamilySearch included a simple “Find” tab on their site.   The word “Find” in this case is deceptively simple when compared to the search power it brings into play.

The power of Find is so great is because FamilySearch applies the “Find” search on the “Find photos and stories” to all of the user submitted images, documents and stories in FamilySearch Tree.  

When I’ve explained this to people, they respond by saying, “So?”  “Why is that such a big deal?”    The answer is that it’s an immense “deal” because users of Tree are now submitting a significant number of these types of attachments to the records of their family in Tree and the level of participation is growing almost exponentially. 

When we make these attachments of our photos, stories and documents, we are almost exclusively adding information about the related person that we have personally vetted, meaning that no matter how good the search algorithm is written and used by any company, the human mind is still significantly better in identifying and validating the data in its relationship to a specific person.   

It doesn’t matter what the “Find” search results contain, because in almost every case the results belong to the person for whom you have searched or a person with the exact same name if you have wrapped your search terms in the Boolean operator of quote marks (“ “).

I won’t dwell on the “I wish great grandma had a more distinctive name than “Elizabeth Smith” argument because I’d get more refined search results, but at least we are getting results in this case from person records on Tree which have attachments that actually belong to an “Elizabeth Smith” and her record includes details that identify her specifically.   Users of Tree have already filtered the attachments to the correct Elizabeth Smith.  She may not be our Elizabeth but she is one of the significantly fewer Elizabeth Smiths in Tree because users have filtered the rest out of our results by not attaching anything to their respective records. 

That will change over time as more images, documents and stories are added to Tree by users but even then the results are linked to the “exact” person they claim to represent.

Let’s look at a search query on FamilySearch “Find photos and stories” for one of my ancestors without using the Boolean operators of quote marks.   Her name is Rosa Clara Friedlander Logie.  The unfiltered search term told the search engine to include each name as a unique term and to bring back the results for each of her names.   Thus, the results show 16,538 items in Tree that match at least one of those names.




Now, let’s add quotes around grandma’s name:  “Rosa Clara Friedlander Logie” and do the search again.   I’m lucky in that grandma’s name is quite unique, so all 6 of the results belong to her.  But even if there were dozens of Rosa Clara Friedlander Logie’s in Tree, it wouldn’t take me long to click on the results to determine which of them is my Rosa and once I have identified her record on Tree, I only have to click on the memories tab to see all of the other attachments.   Which as I noted earlier, have already been vetted by someone else (or maybe myself and I’ve forgotten about it) as being correct and attached to the correct person record in Tree.




I love this search tool because of the high value results it can contain.  It will also include any recordings that may be attached to our ancestors record as well.  If the recording includes the actual voice of an ancestor, few of us can be restrained from pumping our fist in the air and exclaiming, “Score!”

When we add these often very unique records to the huge number of church, government, website and other records that are found on FamilySearch, our chances of ancestral quest success is very high.

The main page of FamilySearch contains a tab called “Search”.  Mouse over it for a drop down list of the main types of collections on FamilySearch that are available from that position on the site.




While you are exploring, be sure to visit the FamilySearch Obituaries page.  The number of obituaries being added to the obituaries collection on FamilySearch is already immense and will continue to grow almost unabatedly for the foreseeable future.

We all know that obituaries often contain genealogy “gold” because of the amount of genealogy related data that are included in them.  Perhaps we’ll hear you exclaim “Score” too when you find the obituary of someone in your own extended family in the collection.

If you haven’t taken time to explore the depth of the FamilySearch and FamilySearch Tree sites in the past few months, do so now.   It’s already the most resource rich site in existence and its growth continues seemingly unabated thanks to resources dedicated to supporting it by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the hosts of volunteers who index, add their own records and generally support the subscription free FamilySearch site for the benefit of all users worldwide.

Posted 17 August 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Good Morning. Who Died?

I may be unique, but I doubt it.  Every morning I arise, mumble something like "goo morgan" to my wife and then stumble off to glance at the front page of the newspaper.  My real goal in reading the paper is to read the obituary page.  Have any of my extended cousins or their spouses died since yesterday?

Unfortunately, too many of them seem to by passing on now and equally sad are the obituaries I've read about many younger folks and acquaintances passing in the last few months.  Frequently, the names on the obituary page are familiar but I can't remember exactly how I know their name.  I dutifully read dozens of obituaries every month for people that I don't know.  Sometimes though, the listing is about a cousin that I've only met through the research of my lineage and related families.

Genealogy.  It's the reason I read so many obituaries every month.  I would read them to find information about friends and extended family anyway but not with such focused searches.  I work very hard to find the genealogy 'gold' hidden in the obits.

Obituaries are invaluable resources to genealogists.  The facts in them are often wrong or "off" a little because of the stress on the family at the time of the passing but the names and places in them are generally accurate.

Some obituaries are sparsely populated while others are rich with details about the person or their life.  Obituaries from the turn of the century are often lengthy stories about the deceased individual.

The obituary for one of my great grandmothers is almost a half page long, complete with her photo and comments by friends and religious leaders.  When I found it, I didn't even try to obey the "Silence" signs in the library.  "Hah!"  "Look at that!!"  My exclamations gained the attention of everyone on that floor.  I could only manage a grin and a finger point at the page before finally telling them that "I found my 2nd great grandmother!"   Shaking their heads at the eccentric behavior of one of "those genealogists", the other patrons went back to their studies and research.

The smile on my face stayed in place all day.  I greeted everyone with a little more cheer during the visit and had extreme patience with the young desk attendant who repeatedly tried and failed to restock copy machine with paper.

Frequently, I find obituaries or death articles in digital newspapers online.  Sometimes, I can't imagine why they are in a newspaper from a distant town, but am grateful because the local newspaper of the time was destroyed by uncaring corporations who purchased then name and subscriber list of the local publication, but had no interest in the years of published content.

Absent the indexing and hosting of online digital images of newspapers, I wouldn't have found the majority of the obituaries now safely stored in my sources folder and in the Memories section of their respective records on FamilySearch Tree.

Are you enjoying similar success with ancestral finds in your own research?  If you haven't, don your Sherlock cap and enter into the fray.  Today is a good day to put a smile on our face too.

When you have thoroughly mined the Internet and need to physically visit a library, take the stairs and not the elevator.  If you visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, expect to have a lot of fun and research success.

Obituary of Rosa Clara Friedlander Logie

American Fork Daily Citizen
Logie Rosa Clara Friedlander 2
21 Jun 1913

Death of Mrs. Rosa Logie.

She Passed Away Sunday Afternoon -- A Short Sketch of Her Life

Mrs. Rosa Clara Logie died on Sunday afternoon, June 15, at 3:40 p.m. after a lingering illness of nearly six months. The cause of her death was a general breakdown from old age. The last six weeks she suffered considerable, but the end was very peaceful.

The funeral services were held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Second Ward chapel. W.S. Chipman taking charge. The choir sane, "I Need Thee Every Hour." Opening prayer was by Bishop W. B. Smith and the song, "Resting Now From Care and Sorrow."

The speakers were William R. Webb, Bishop James Garner and President S. L. Chipman. An appropriate solo was rendered by Mrs. Clifford E. Young. The choir sang "Adieu, All Earthly Honors." James H. Clarke offered the closing prayer and Stephen D. Chipman dedicated the grave. The floral offerings were numerous and beautiful.

Mrs. Logie was thoroughly good Christian woman and one who had a kind word for all and harsh words for none. She was a devoted wife and mother, a loyal friend and a good neighbor.
The following short sketch of her life was read by Brother Joseph B. Forbes:

Sister Rosa Clara Friedlander - Logie was born on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel, June 16, 1837 of English-French and German parentage. He father died while she was but a child and her mother married again, living in London. At the age of 12 she embarked with her mother and stepfather for Australia.

Mrs. Logie in her youth was left alone in Sidney, New South Wales, in charge of Mission President Brother Farnham, her parents living in Melbourne. At this time, in company with Sister Mary Ann Evans who is now living here, they walked twelve miles every Sunday to the church branch of the L.D. S. in that far off country. sister Evans testifies to the faithfulness of that young maid to the principles of the Gospel. At the age of 16 this young maiden met and married Brother Charles J. Logie, about 1853.

They left Australia in 1854 for California, taking passage in the ship Julia Ann in company with the missionaries, John S. Eldridge, James Graham, Brother Farnham and twenty- three others with hopeful hearts they souls buoyed up with anticipation of arriving in Zion in a few short months. But God ordered it otherwise, and severe trials and disasters came upon them; their ship was wrecked upon a coral reef, which was part of the Scilly Islands, one of the Society group in the great Archipelago of the Pacific; a lonesome barren isle, where they were imprisoned for seven long months, living upon turtle meat and turtle eggs and water obtained from the rain, which they caught in shells. We cannot picture the dreary, disconsolate life they led. Five of the heroic band lost their lives by shipwreck; the balance apparently doomed to death by starvation and exposure. They were finally taken off the island by French fruiting vessels and conveyed to Tahiti, which is in the main course of vessels to the Sandwich Islands.

President S. S. Smith of Colorado, now dead, told me of the arrival of Brother Charles Logie and his wife at Honolulu and of their sad experiences on this voyage. In due time they arrived in San Francisco. Leaving San Francisco they arrived in Carson City, Nevada, living there a short time; from thence moving to Lehi, going from Lehi to Provo Valley, living a short time in Midway; thence to American Fork, where meeting their old friends, Brother and Sister Evans and Brother John S. Eldridge, they felt that they would settle down in peace and make their lifetime home in this city.

How much could be said of such lives, vicissitudes, trials, poverty, everything to endure to discourage and dishearten and through it all, her hope and courage predominated, and now they have both gone to their eternal rest and reward. such lives are but lessons, faithful lessons to those who remain giving strength to the weak vicissitudes encouragement to all.

Sister Logie was the mother of twelve children, and this alone it seems to me, entitles her to a crown of glory. There are nine living children as follows:

Sister Annie L. Clark, Charles J. Logie, Mrs. Rosa L. Bennett, Mrs. Eliz L. Bennett, Mrs. Elizabeth Atkins, Walter Logie, Mrs Elenore Gaisford and the Misses Georgina and Beatrice Logie.

She leaves twenty- nine grandchildren and twenty- two great grandchildren.

Posted 16 August 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Friday, August 14, 2015

Maggie Bennett Killed By A Train

My 4th cousin, young Maggie Bennett and her friend Miss C. Donnell were playing on the Rock Island Railroad Tracks when the Rock Island Denver Limited came streaming down the line.  Miss Donnell got off the tracks in time.  Maggie did not.  She was struck by the pilot crossbar throwing her over 100 feet through the air.

Maggie was born in July 1890 in Arkansas, the daughter and oldest child of James Thomas and Mary E. Barker Bennett.  Her fatal accident occurred on 23 August 1902 in Four Mile, near Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.

Bennett Maggie Accidental Death2



Maggie’s Death Record is found on FamilySearch in the Iowa, County Death Records, 1880-1992.

Source Citation:

"Iowa, County Death Records, 1880-1992," , FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 August 2015), Maggie Bennett, 23 Aug 1902; citing Death, United States, page , county archives, Iowa; FHL microfilm 1,749,701.

Maggie’s tombstone is shown on her memorial on Find-a-grave.  She was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Pleasant Hill, Polk County, Iowa, in plot 3-34-3

Maggie is shown in the 1900 Federal Census in Dallas, Dallas County, Iowa.

Loosing a child to an early death is a terrible experience for any parent.  Unfortunately, Maggie’s parents, James T. and Mary Bennett lost 4 children before their 10th birthdays.  Only five of their children survived to their 10th birthday.

Posted 14 August 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Sunday, August 2, 2015

All Of My Ancestors Have Been Found!

How many time shave you heard this or a similar comment from folks?  "All of1c2 my ancestors have been found."  "Aunt Julia or Uncle Tim have done our genealogy research for years."  "They said there is nothing left to find."

I hear this or similar comments constantly in my genealogy classes or from folks that write and ask me questions about genealogy.  Few things folks say to me elicit a faster response.  "Baloney!"  "I know they are your family member but do not believe their statement to be correct."  "Maybe you are just looking for an excuse to not enter into the wonderful world of genealogy yourself."

The research completed by your relative undoubtedly has one or more errors in it.  My own research does.  I find errors in it all of the time.  We all make mistakes in our research assumptions or place too much faith in the text written on Death, Birth or other Certificates.  Our "conclusive proof" from 1995 may not be so conclusive now in light of new records that have emerged in the ensuing years.

New records have undoubtedly exposed 'new' ancestors heretofore unknown in your family tree.  You get to engage in the very enjoyable ancestral quest of finding them.

Aunt Julia and Uncle Tim are probably great people, but they are just that.....people.  When you add your unique perspective to your family ancestral hunt, you'll search for information in ways and in places that they didn't as part of their quest.  You will find 'new' information.

How much information about your extended family is in their files?  I've found that even though I love my direct ancestors and their life stories, the stories and families of their siblings and the descendants of their siblings are often far more enjoyable and amazing than those of my direct ancestors.  Don't forget the perspective of your grandparents from the early 1700's.  If you were in their position, looking down through time at the generations of your descendants, you would love them all and have great pride in them.  Remember that just because a person is your 2nd cousins (maybe 2, 3 or 4 times removed), they are still family.

Have Julia and Tim added all of the current generations of your family to their records?  Yes, we have to be extremely careful with personal data today, but if you never publish or share information about living people and properly protect the data on your computer, adding the information about ALL of your current family should be in the family knowledgebase that you create.

How well sourced is the information collected by Julia and Tim?  I've had to dump very large sections of my ancestral tree over time as I continue to add and evaluate sources.  In all but one case, the information I thought was correct still appears to be correct to most people, but when I aggressively evaluated the source that proves the information of a key person that links a branch to me, I found errors in assumptions made by town clerks and even religious documentation centuries ago.  Saying goodbye to 10 to 20 generations of 'your' family because they really aren't yours is gut-wrenching but it has to be done.  When the dust settles, you have an accurate family record AND you also have the fun of filling the empty charts for that branch of your family once again.

Did Julia and Tim get copies of the sources they reference (if any) in their data?  If any of the source images are missing, go get them.  It is your family.  Without real sources all you really have is a good story.  With vetted sources, you'll be able to prove your lineage to anyone who questions its accuracy and you'll have the 'warm fuzzy' of knowing the data is correct in your heart of hearts. 

If you are new to genealogy, don't be surprised at the reaction you'll receive from a seasoned genealogist if you accidently make the "My work is all done" statement in their presence.  They know the statement isn't correct and will tell you the same thing I've mentioned above.

Isn't that great!  The wonderful world of genealogy is not closed to you and once you start in your genealogical quest, you'll know why that statement is so wonderful.

Posted 2 Aug 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Genealogy ~ How Many Certificates Do You Need?

My wife calls me a pack rat when it comes to my genealogy records.  I call myselfmarried_couple a well-sourced researcher.  Which of us is right?

This morning, I mentioned that I needed to pick up several more Wilson-Jones 367-49 heavy 3-ring binders and a couple thousand sheet protectors for my ever increasing collection of genealogy source documents.  That comment started a discussion about "how large of a collection do I intend to keep at our house."

My position was that you can't have too many source documents to support your research data, especially if a large percentage of them are Birth, Marriage and Death certificates along with a liberal smattering of wills, deeds, journals and photographs.

Of course, my position on this is correct, as I'm sure you defend your similar position to your own spouse and family.  Undoubtedly, their eyebrows raise when you say something similar to them too.

"I don't have THAT much."  "Why are you concerned about it?"  That is a reasonable statement, isn't it?

"Let's take an inventory of what you have and measure it against what is Too Much"  Hmmmm...  This argument may not go in my favor.

An hour later, I totaled the columns of tick marks just to be sure they were 'fairly' counted.  It does seem that I have a 'little' larger collection than I realized.

Four Drawer File Cabinets 4
Horizontal Four Drawer File Cabinets 1
Book Shelves (6 ft wide to ceiling) 4
Wall Cabinets 10
3” Wilson-Jones Hard Cover Binders 42
Terabytes of Disk Storage 14
Computers dedicated to Genealogy 6
Grab Bags for Interviews 2
Photography Bags and Equipment 3
Flat Bed Scanners 3
Printers 4
Desks or Built in Work Surfaces 4
Storage Closets 2
Rooms to Store all this stuff 3

As you can imagine, my argument was weakened "a bit" by this revealing list.  I'm still not moving away from my initial position but I'm sure the discussion will not 'go away' over time.

My wife also loves genealogy, so we both have that bias in common.  Nonetheless, she asks "How Much Is Enough?" and made sure that I clearly understand that my genealogy space 'creep' will not be allowed into her quilting room / domain.

Our Tech Manager son tells me to 'Digitize Everything', meaning that I should toss the hard copies.  Of course he knows that I've always created digital copies of my documents, notes, etc., and have them backed up in multiple locations, but "Toss the Hardcopies""  That isn't going to happen for a number of reasons, including document survivability in scenarios such as loosing my digital copies to a hi-elevation EMF Pulse or some other cataclysmic event.  The news on television tells me to expect about anything these days.

Yes, I understand the ramifications of such a devastating event would impact my life so greatly that I probably won't care about doing or proving genealogical research for a long time, but I want to give the records as many chances to survive as I can.

I've talked to our children about taking over my somewhat large genealogy collection after my wife and I pass from this life.  Who can house it?  Who wants it?  Who will continue in our ancestral quest?  There is a lot of interest among them but no takers so far.

The answers to the longtime disposition of my records and data isn't settled yet.  Donating the collection to a library hasn't been as good of an idea as I initially thought.  Most libraries don't want it or if they did accept it would 'toss' the majority of it to save space.  The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah doesn't' want it.  They'll accept it in published book form but not all of the binders, files and digital files that I have.  The very large family history library at Brigham Young University doesn't want it, again unless it is in bound books, etc.

The decision about how to pass my research and associated records that were accumulated over tens of thousands of hours with a huge financial investment during my lifetime has yet to be resolved.

I'm currently uploading ancestral photos, source documents, histories and other records to my ancestral records on FamilySearch Tree, but the going is slow.  I know that the images and files that I save there will survive about anything short of the earth being vaporized.

I'm still exploring other solutions that I'll rely on in parallel to the FamilySearch Tree.  I'm not sure that most of them are workable solutions but I'll choose one or two of them before long and run with them.   You are probably in the same position to one varying degree or another. 

Let me know your plan.  However, please don't comment on the size of my genealogy collection as a cc: to my sweetheart though.  OK?  We've already had that discussion.

Posted 26 Jul 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Collaborating With Cousins

It seems like any difficult genealogy research problem can be resolved by teamsgoogle_docs of cousins if they actively engage in research.

I've seen it happen time after time over the years as I've organized cousins teams.  We each bring our unique skills, perspectives and resources to the table.  The cumulative effect always exceeds the research ability of any single member of the team.

Our cousins teams communicate in a number of ways.  We obviously use email but it is a poor vehicle to carry attachments and collaborative information.  Email is best used for brief announcements, clarifications, etc.
Scanned and other images and photos are typically uploaded to Drop Box or a similar cloud storage location.  Links to them are shared to all the team when they are uploaded.

We use Google Docs constantly.  A document, spreadsheet or presentation is easy to access and work on by all of the team when they reside in the Google cloud.  It isn't unusual to see others editing a document that you are working on.  Their edits show up in real time and typically evoke a conversation or series of messages on Google+, Google Hangouts or Skype.

Google Hangouts or a Skype conference call are used for group wide meetings andgoogle_plus brain storming sessions.  I wear a ball cap on bad hair days.  Sometimes the ladies in the group decline to activate their video feed if they are enjoying a similar wild or wet hair day.  I don't know why, they have to look at the men in the group in our 'rugged' and often 'unkempt' state, but apparently the ladies are better trained in appearance than us guys.

We used to use Springpad to assemble some of our research results and planningevernote before it was closed.  Now, almost all of us use Evernote to collect images, quotes and links that apply to our research.

Our collected data is frequently posted on our TNG powered genealogy sites or other genealogy sites, including FamilySearch Tree so we can see our data in pedigree, family and other formats.
All of these resources combined with the skills and resources of the team bring an almost irresistible force to bear.  I love being alive now and having so many real-time powerful tools at my finger tips.  If you haven't created cousins teams before, give one a try.

It may take you a little time to work out the tools and format skypethat work best in your situation but it is time well spent.  The results of your first team project will surprise you.  The feeling won't be a singular event.  Plan on experiencing it over and over as you collaborate with your teams from now on.

Posted 19 Jul 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dinner At Haddo House

Working on my Gordon Ancestry is always enjoyable and frustrating at the same time.  Enjoyable because there is a lot of information written about the family in general.  Frustrating because the surname was frequently adopted by others thus making lineal research all the more difficult.

References to family living at Haddo or having titles and ownership with Haddo in the name string crops up with some frequency.  Although I have long been familiar with the title, I hadn't taken the time to search for the exact location of the home.

Google Maps made the search easy and fast.


Wikipedia offered further insight including a very nice painting by Alfred Edward Emslie of a dinner that was held there.  I don't think that I have never attended dinner with real class yet ... at least I've never chatted around the table with a good set of bagpipes playing in the background.


Posted 15 Jul 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When An Ancestor Changed Their Identity

Kris Williams of Ghost Hunters fame releases a genealogy related video about every month in partnership with  Like many of you, I was introduced to Kris on the SyFy Channel as part of a Ghost Hunter team in their quest to either find or disprove the existence of Spirits.

While Kris is a beautiful woman, her attraction to me was when I heard her say she has been interested in genealogy for many years.  I love hearing those words from young folks.

In her 26 March 2012 video, "Genealogy Graveyard Hunting", Kris talked about searching for the tombstones of her ancestors in a cemetery in New Hampshire.  While she didn't mention the name of her ancestor the video dwelled on the tombstone of James P. Osgood twice.  I assumed that he is indeed Kris' ancestor and after a quick check on, I found that to be the case.

The story she told caught my attention in two ways:  She distinctly heard the steps of an unseen person throughout the search for her ancestors tombstone as did her boyfriend who was in the opposite of the cemetery.

I've heard footsteps, felt touches and have heard words from unseen sources in my own forays in the United States.  Without exception, stopping and paying attention to them has resulted in finding the very tombstone(s) that I hoped to find but had all but written off as not being in the cemetery under my feet.
By coincidence, a number of those experiences were also in New Hampshire while on genealogy 'vacations' with big research agendas and very limited on-site time.

Most of these trips would have ended with total or substantial failure had the tombstones not been found.  They were the last clue available to me in that particular ancestral quest.

The second item that caught my attention was the name of her ancestor, James P.osgood_james Osgood.  I had been working on the extended family of my Burgess line in the weeks previous to Kris' video and James P. Osgood's name had been among the names I'd added to my database with one significant difference:  James P. Osgood was the AKA name for Robert Luce Robbins in my research.

Could my Robert Luce Robbins, AKA, James P. Osgood be the same person as the man in Kris' story?  it only took a few minutes searching to find another confirmation of that fact.

The memorial for James P. Osgood on Find-a-grave tells his story.  Robert Luce Robbins left Maine with my cousin, Mary B. (Luce) Spalding and her child along with two sons from his first / current marriage.  They eventually settled in Southern New Hampshire, where he was known as James P. Osgood.osgood_james_headstone
You and I can imagine any number of reasons why he changed his name and one of us may be right but I haven't found the truth of the story or at least the truth in a well-documented record.

It doesn't matter that much to me.  He was the second spouse of my 5th cousin  times removed, Mary Belinda Luce Spaulding.  It's not a close relationship.

His name change does matter to his descendants, like Kris Williams.  How were they to supposed to find him when he started life with a different name than the name known to his descendants as witnessed on his tombstone?

I've been fortunate in my own ancestry to not encounter ancestors who changed their names like this.  Or, have I encountered them and not realized it when I've hit my own ancestral 'brick walls'?  Probably not, but who knows?  I do have a few Black Sheep ancestors, (thank heaven in their case or I never would have found them without their law breaking records) and a few others that seemed timid in broadcasting their existence to anyone else.

What are the stories about your name changing ancestors?  How did you find them?  What was the process?  How long did it take?  Did you too hear footsteps or enjoy some other genealogy serendipity in resolving the puzzle?

If the stories I've heard from others telling how they found their name changing ancestors can be considered as the 'norm' then yes, you did enjoy similar nudges and shoves in a serendipitous way.

Here's to learning to listen and then acting on the prompts that we receive in our ancestral quest.

Posted 14 Jul 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Google Photos Is Great–Except When It Is Not

The recently released Google Photos with its unlimited storage is you allowgoogle_photos_albums Google to resize your images is Great!  Except when it is not.

At the end of May 2015, Google announced Google Photos Unlimited, a free service for Google users that allows unlimited photo storage for your Google account as long as you allow them to resize your images to no longer than 16 megapixels.  The company states that the resizing is “near identical” to the original image.  I’m not a photographer beyond my family and genealogy snaps and found the resized images were indeed “nearly identical” to my eye.   If you want to store your images in their original size on Google Photos, you can do so but you’ll have to pay for the storage space used that exceeds the free storage limit associated with your Google account that includes Gmail, Google Docs, Blogger posts, etc.

The new Google Photos storage is a steam roller in the cloud photo storage sector.  For example, Yahoo’s Flickr offers 1 terabyte of free storage (which is great but it isn’t unlimited), and Dropbox only offers 2 gigabytes of photo storage for free.

From a personal perspective as a genealogist, I was delighted with Google’s news.  I keep a full set of my genealogy related images in many locations, including Flickr and other cloud backup sites as well as on local storage drives both in my home and in proximity to my home.  If the “Big One” from the movies ever hits and my home is sucked down to the depths, the odds that at least one copy of my images surviving on an external backup site is still high.

I can’t stress enough how this knowledge comforts me.  I want my genealogy images to survive me to be used by my family and the public for a long time.  There is no need for them to spend the huge amount of time and money that I’ve expended to acquire them, and in many cases, I have the only surviving original copy of the hardcopy photo.

Using Google Photos

Adding photos to Google Photos is simple. Just click the up arrow at the top of your browser page in photos, or install the Google Photos App if you aren’t using an Android phone or tablet.  The Android OS has the photos app installed in it.

My genealogy person or homestead image collection is fairly large, but in terms of storage size, it isn’t very large.  That selection of my genealogy photos could reside on my free Google Drive account without the need to purchase additional storage memory.   However, I am a volunteer who takes thousands of headstone photos annually to post on sites like Find-a-grave.   Even though the cemeteries in my area are relatively small ranging from 1200 to 20,000 headstones, the corresponding number of images at even a 5 megapixel size adds up after season of 1000 photo image per day forays.   

When I first started adding the photos to Find-a-grave, I kept a copy of the images for my own local purposes because a large percentage of the names on the images were related to me.  As time when on, I continued to keep a copy of all of my images even after they were uploaded to Find-a-grave and started to wonder if it was necessary since my job was done.  Find-a-grave had a copy of the image, why waste storage space locally for the same image.

Then came a note from the husband of a young woman buried near me that I’d posted a photo of her headstone on Find-a-grave.  He thanked me profusely for posting the photo.  When she passed away, they were living here as students.   Like most students, they had little money and it was a few years before her husband could save enough money to purchase a headstone for her grave.   He finished school and went to his home country and later ordered her headstone from there.  The stone was beautiful but the company that placed the marker sent him a photo of the marker in the mail but it looked like one our grandmothers took forty years ago.  He hadn’t seen a good photo of the maker for his beloved wife and couldn’t find anyone who would take the photo for him.   

…..And then I posted my photo as one of the 1000 that I’d taken the weekendgoogle_photos earlier.   When I brought up her memorial on Find-a-grave and inspected the full size display of the image I’d uploaded, I noted that the image had be significantly resized by Find-a-grave.  The original image was dramatically better.   Which image should you want of your beloved’s marker?  The original hi-res image or the significantly resized image on Find-a-grave?   Of course, I found the original in my backup storage and sent a copy of it to him.   

That experience alone convinced me that I needed to keep a copy of my images in my off-site storage plan.

Since that time, I’ve received hundreds of requests for a copy of my original tombstone images.  The stories vary, but the are invariably consistent in one aspect.  Family members want a copy of the headstones of their family but live so far away from their burial location they can’t afford to make a trip here just to take a photo.

Problem with Google Photos

After the requests for images started to arrive, I created an account on Flickr and received a free 1 terabyte account for my images.   I installed the Flickr uploader program and uploaded all my genealogy photos.  The process was simple and fortunately, I created relevant albums for each category or cemetery.   Moving images from album to album through a browser was simple if I messed up.

The day that Google Photos Unlimited went hot, I started uploading the headstone photos there as well.  I had to use my browser because there isn’t a standalone program like Flickr Uploader but it isn’t an issue.   The problem I encountered is that as you know, sitting and uploading thousands of images over a long period of time turns you into a mindless zombie.  My mind degraded to that level around 1:00 a.m.   I have four monitors and so I kept working on genealogy research on three of them  while using the fourth as my window into Google Photos.  I’d glance at it, note the status of the current upload set and act if necessary.   Mindless, repetitive action for hours on end in that venue.  Sometime early in the 1:00 a.m. hour, the shutters on my uploading intelligence slammed shut.   I started uploading the first batch of images for a new cemetery without creating an album for it first.   My mind and memory motion was set and it was wrong.   After 20,000+ image uploads later, I tumbled the fact that I was just dumping the images into the Photos bucket, not in the right album.  They were now all floating there without a home.

Thinking that I could move them fairly easily, although with a fairly significant time impact, I selected 1000 images in the browser window, clicked on the plus (+) sign on the top right of the screen and clicked “Add to Album”.  No problem right?   Not so Joe Jitsu!!  You just discovered your mess up.   After waiting a few minutes an error message appeared saying that the move to the new album had failed.  Thinking that I’d taken too big of a bite at a time, I selected 200 images and tried again.   Once again, No Joy!   Hmmmmm…   I selected 100 images and the transfer took place.   OK, I had to keep the bites small.  I’d only have to do the same transfer movements 210 times!   Phew!   

…. And then…..  the next selection of 100 , no, rather 99 images failed.   50 failed.   20 failed.   9 worked.   

…. And then….. the next selection of 9 failed,  5 failed, 2 worked……… aaarrggghhhh

…..And then….. the next selection of 2 failed, 1 worked.   What the heck?    

It looks like there is a limiter built in Photos that will allow you to make one fairly large move of images to albums.  After that, the choker hits and hits hard.   

I’ve played with the transfers a number of times since and the initial group continues to get smaller every day that I try to make the transfers.   I hit 1 image at a time within a few transfers now.

The problem arose because I failed to create the cemetery album before I uploaded the first headstone image associated with it.   When you upload your images, think first, think second and don’t turn into a zombie hours into the process.

Create the album(s) first then upload your groups of photos to them accordingly.

I haven’t found a solution yet.  I haven’t found a way to grossly delete the images for that cemetery and starting over.  It may exist but my zombie mind his affixed itself to my conscience instead of my normally ‘brilliant’ self.  It was a very short trip.

Bottom line…. I highly recommend Google Photos but do as I say, not as I did.  Let me own the pain from messing up and just laugh at me at my expense.  You don’t want to find yourself in my particular pickle.   

Posted 9 June 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Why We Celebrate Memorial Day

Early spring is my favorite time of year.  Here in North America, the land comesMemorial Day Thank You back to life after a winter hiatus.  In our locale, we use the Memorial Day Holiday as a marker for the end of the school year, beginning of summer and as a safe date to plant your most delicate flowers and vegetables.

Memorial Day is much more than an excuse to have a BBQ and family fun day in our family however.  We remember our family members and others who served in the military in the protection of freedom and democracy.

Our children remember our family Memorial Day forays to numerous cemeteries in our area when we visited the graves of family members.  My wife and I used the cemetery visits to teach our children about their ancestral families.  We told them stories about each of their ancestors as we visited their respective graves.  We always had a basket of goodies with us during the visits.  If you ask our children about their memories of those visits, they’ll invariably include the memory of eating Hey Day and Fig Newton cookies and cans of their favorite sodas at the cemetery along with the ancestral stories.

To this day, their visits to each headstone immediately brings the stories about that ancestor to their minds, which is exactly what I had hoped would happen.   When I have the opportunity to visit cemeteries with our grandchildren, I repeat the snacks and stories activities with them.  It only took a couple of years before the young ones knew the stories as well as me.  They delight in telling the stories to their younger siblings when they visit the graves our our ancestors now..  They are doing exactly what I hoped would happen.  Fortunately, I’ve lived long enough to see it become a reality.

When I consider the changes in the world during the lifetime of my parents, I’m always astounded at the advancements of technology and the devolvement of society in general.  There have been similar changes during my lifetime.  What will our grandchildren experience during their lifetimes?  

Knowing that our grandchildren will experience tests that are very different than those that I’ve experienced in my life, our stories about our ancestors become even more important.  I’ve made sure to emphasize the difficulties and trials that our ancestors encountered and endured.  Their success in life will probably require them to remember the values and fortitude of their ancestors as they face their own unique conditions and trials in life.

The number of people who visit cemeteries has dropped a lot since my youth.  In that long ago day, the holiday was enjoyed as a major social event in addition to a day of remembrance.  As our family went from cemetery to cemetery, we encounter different groups of family members and friends that we didn’t see very regularly.  In fact, our only “in person” interaction with them was at the cemetery on Memorial Day.  The day was almost like a series of family reunions.

Facebook, Google+, Twitter and all of the other social sites didn’t exist in that day.  Memorial Day provided a venue for the social contacts.   Stories were told and photos were taken all under the cloud of the aroma of Iris’s, baby’s breath, peonies and the dozens of other varieties of flowers that covered the graves in the cemeteries.  The scents combined with the face to face interactions created lifelong memories.  To this day, I still picture the Memorial Day interactions in my mind when I smell iris’s.   

What are you doing on Memorial Day this year?  Will your activities involve family members living and dead?  Will you both celebrate and remember those people in your family and community who served our country so valiantly in the past, sometimes at the surrender of their own lives?   That’s what Memorial Day is all about.  It isn’t the excuse to party and purchase every sale item that stores flash before us in online ads and window covering banners.

If you haven’t created your own family Memorial Day traditions to celebrate the holiday as it was intended, it isn’t too late.  Do something that brings remembrance of your kindred dead and military brave to the mind of your families and yourselves.  

Memorial Day is a wonderful holiday, for all of the right reasons.  Let’s remember to both enjoy and celebrate it accordingly.

Posted 24 May 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Moose Dung and Ancestral Graves

When one of my ancestral walls tumbled after a long fought research battle, IMoose couldn’t wait to see  where that family walked and lived.  The wall fell on a Wednesday.  Three days later on a bright  Saturday morning, my wife and I stood in the Piper Hill Cemetery just a short distance south of West Stewartstown, New Hampshire ready to explore the tombstones looking for the Tirrill surname.  We were quickly rewarded with success.

When I called the airline to obtain tickets using points from my mileage account, I was sure that the rewards tickets wouldn’t be available for many weeks.  The representative asked when I wanted to schedule the non-stop flight to Boston and laughed when I said, ‘this Friday”.  Her first response was, “I don’t think that will be possible.”  “Are you going to a funeral or something?”   I responded, “Well no, but we are going to a cemetery.”  “I just knocked down an ancestral brick wall after 30 years of research!”  “Really?”  “I love genealogy too!”  “Let’s see what we can do.”

The odds of contacting a fellow genealogist who appreciated my excitement and consequently pulled a ‘few strings’ to book the flights on such short notice were high if not astronomical.  However, as often is the case in family history research, magic occurs, impossible becomes possible and sometimes events related to your family unfold immediately.  The airline tickets were secured.  Would my wife agree to drop everything and leave our brood of kids home and fly with me to the east coast with such short notice?  Of course she would and did.  She’s that kind of a lady.

By sunset on Friday we had checked in to our motel that was located just a few miles south of the Canadian border.  The winter snow was still evident in shady places, but the weather was beautiful on that spring day.  Early the next morning, I opened the motel room door and was greeted with the nose of a moose a foot in front of me as it stood under the canopy of the walkway and thus out of the misty morning drizzle.

Delighted to see him, we knew to take a "hello" photo from just inside our room rather that stepping out to let him help choose the camera settings.  After a few words of greeting and a quick snap or two, our visitor walked away.  I had no idea that West Stewartstown had such an interesting welcoming representative to greet travelers from across the country.

Our greeter or one of his family extended the welcome when we found the Piper Hill Cemetery.  Standing inside the fence, he looked at us, flicked his head toward the back fence and began walking that way.  Not wanting to be rude, we followed.   I called out to him that we were looking for Tirrill graves.  He responded with a quick glance back over his shoulder with a flick of his ears and a grunt that all but screamed, “Dumb Tourists!”  Within minutes our guide had directed us directly to the graves of my 4th great grandparents, Seth and Azuba Chandler Tirrill and many other family members.
Apparently our guide enjoyed communing with the Tirrills given the evidence of his previous visits in the form of moose dung on their graves.  I must say that the grass was greener there than anywhere else in the cemetery.  The spring runoff water must have hit hardpan soil a few feet under the sod because it felt like we were walking on marshmallows as we moved from stone to stone.

After an hour of transcribing tombstone inscriptions and taking photos of each marker, it was time to leave to go find folks in town that may be able to assist in my ancestral research.  Waving goodbye to our guide, he swished his tail, stepped over the back fence and walked down toward the Connecticut River.   Like I said, West Stewartstown, New Hampshire really treats its visitors well.

The remainder of our trip was equally magic.  We found records and homesteads, stories and more graves of my ancestors at every turn.  The moose magic continued with us south to Plymouth, Massachusetts when even more family records, graves and residences were in evidence at every turn of our head.

I’ve seen moose charge fools who stray too close to them or their calves in the woods, so I can’t recommend counting on a moose to act as the guide on your own ancestral quest, but in my case, the image of a dignified moose comes to mind any time I think of New Hampshire or my ancestral families who lived there.
Who knows what you’ll encounter in your own family history research?  If you don’t give up, eventually you too will have stories to tell about ‘genealogy magic’ that happened to you too.  It’s inevitable.  Maybe you’ll get a bird or a Chihuahua or a friendly two-year-old with sticky fingers that will point the way to your ancestral records.  Or maybe you’ll encounter a smiling gray-haired lady or gentleman in a library somewhere that knows the exact book you need or who knew your family when they were young.

Interesting stuff happens in genealogy research.  Count on it.

Posted 25 Apr 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog