Archive for the ‘Research Help’ Category

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Murphy & Aspery

I feel pretty confident on what I’ve found so far with the Murphy and Asperys, so I’ve created a public Ancestry.com tree and have attached most of my sources. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll email you the link. This includes the surnames: Murphy, Quinn, Aspery, and Perchase.  The Murphys moved out of Ireland in the early 1800’s and were always on the go throughout Wales, England, and then finally ended up in Pennsylvania.  Their movements seemed to be guided by the rise and fall of various ironworks around the UK.

Richards & Williams

Margaret Ann Richards (Murphy Patterson) had a sister named Bessie and parents John Richards and Ann Williams. Family lore is that Ann died when the girls were young and John moved them with their step-mother to Pennsylvania from Yorkshire, England in 1882.  I’ve found a potential 1881 census record of a Margaret, Bessie and parents John and Ann in Yorkshire.  But, it also includes other siblings Polly, Joseph, and Elizabeth.  As far as I know, Margaret never mentioned having any other siblings, other than Bessie.  I’m still trying to figure all this out.

Duncan & Rostron

This line includes surnames: Duncan, Glass, Ford, Rostron, Barwell, Kane, and Sullivan.  I’m looking for a descendant of either James Duncan (1769-1861) or Hugh Duncan (1799-1870) to compare DNA with. Also looking for an obituary for Jennie Salina (Ford) Duncan who died in 1936 in Effingham, Illinois.

Zillifro

Definitely need to find a descendant of Samuel Willis (abt 1823-?) or Sarah Jane Hilliard (abt 1818-?) to compare DNA with because I have NO IDEA if these are the correct grandparents of Loretta Alice (Zillifro) Hutchinson. She claimed that her “real” mother was a native american that died during childbirth – which, I know, is very unlikely, but I think it’s still possible that her real mother did die during childbirth and her father, Egbert Zillifro, remarried very quickly after. I’d really like to connect with someone from the supposed step-mother’s line to get to the bottom of it.

Hutchinson

I spent so much time on this line, almost an entire year exclusively, that I barely look at it anymore. It includes the surnames: Hutchison, Moorhead, Campbell, Patton, Jamison, Shryock, Anderson, and Blackstone.  They are Irish and Scottish immigrants from the late 1700’s and ended up in the area of Indiana, PA and Butler, PA. This is the line that connects to Fergus Moorhead, our Revolutionary War ancestor and would qualify the women in my family to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. Unfortunately, the application rules are so stringent that I completely lost interest.

Updegraff

The Updegraffs are well documented back to the late 1500’s.  It’s my oldest line and they have interesting connections to the creation of the Mennonite church, William Penn, and early Philadelphia. But, I have little to no information on any of the women that married into the Updegraff family (it’s a very lopsided tree!). I’m particularly interested in the Millers of Hagerstown, MD and Somerset, PA.

Pirolt & Rauscher

Oh, my Austrian ancestors!  I feel like I will never know their story. I have a couple leads. One is that my grandfather’s brother supposedly died in WW2 at the Battle of Monte Cassino. If I could be on the show “Who Do You Think You Are,” I would definitely want to do this family line.

Cursive Handwriting Mysteries

I’m terrible with cursive writing.  We only spent a couple weeks on it in elementary school, then moved on. My 8 year old self thought it was a complete waste of time.

My least favorite part of genealogy is deciphering handwriting.  For goodness sakes, why weren’t most vital records printed, neatly?

Here are my current hang-ups.

Slave, Kane, Cain

Margaret A Rostron was born September 1879 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  She’s my 2nd great-grandmother, grandmother to Charles Duncan.

Margaret A Rostron’s parents were Annie Nora and James Rostron.  Margaret’s marriage certificate from 9 August 1901 gives both her parent’s names and her mother’s maiden name.  But, her mother’s maiden is not so clear (to me at least).

Margaret Rostron Marriage

Margaret Rostron Marriage Clip
For the longest time, I thought her mother’s maiden was Slave, but it’s not very common and didn’t lead to anything.

Then I found James Rostron’s death certificate (Annie Nora’s husband) from 1925 which listed his wife: Nora Cain. Instead of “Slave” is the first record actually “Kane?”

Nora_Cain_Clip-2

Her death certificate also lists her father as a Cain, but it’s the same informant on both certificates.

SONY DSC

Hannon in Chester

My next mystery is from the death certificate of my 3rd Great Grandfather, William Murphy.  Thanks to the Pennsylvania State Archives opening up death certificates to the public, I’ve had a ton of great breakthroughs.

Everything on the death certificate matches up, his address, occupation, age (range).  But I can’t figure out who the informant is.

WMurphyInformantHe passed away at the home of his daughter, Sarah Davis.  He had two other daughters that I don’t know what happened to, so I’m curious if this is one of them.  I’m also curious because Chester is on the other side of the state so this couldn’t be just a neighbor.

It’s something like Mrs. Nod Hannon? I have no clue.

Genealogical Research Exchange

Library of Congress - Washington, DC

I often find that if I step away from a brick wall or mystery for a couple days or weeks, and approach with a fresh mind later, things start to fall into place.  In addition, nearly all of my former brick walls were solved with the assistance of fellow genealogy hobbyists.

With that in mind, I’d like to propose a little genealogical research exchange.  Send me one of your mysteries, problems, or outstanding to-dos, and I will send you one of mine.  Let’s work on it, as time permits, for the next month or two and then return back our conclusions.

Living in the metro DC area, I have access to many genealogical resources. Some of the things I can help with are:

  • Pull records at the National Archives
  • Newspaper search at the Library of Congress
  • Obituary search in local newspapers
  • Headstone photographs
  • Research at the Daughters of American Revolution Library
  • Help preparing for a research trip to DC (most of the work should done before you even get here)
  • Check over your current theories and conclusions

Some examples of my research problems and to-do’s include (but are not limited to): handwriting analysis, newspaper & directory research at local library, missing census records from 1900-1930, and help navigating Civil War records.

My goals are to help out a fellow hobbyist and to learn something new.  Send me an email if you’re interested!

The White House Library contains over 2700 books relating to American life. The Federal furnishings were made in New York, 1800-1820. The room is used for teas, meetings, and press interviews.

District of Columbia Genealogy Research

Do you have ancestors that lived in the District of Columbia?  Here are some suggestions on getting started with local DC records.

Newspapers
Birth, Marriage, and Death Announcements

DC Public Library:
Baltimore Sun 1837-1985
The Washington Post 1877-1994
Washington Times 1990-Present

You may search in any of the 25 DC Library Branches or online at home, but you must have a DC Library card.

NewspaperARCHIVE.com:
Washington Daily Globe 1837-1855
The Washington Post 1904-1924

Requires paid subscription.

Birth and Death 

District of Columbia Department of Health Vital Records Division:
Birth and Death Certificates August 1874 to Present
Birth certificate is public 100+ years after birth: application $23
Death certificate is public 50+ years after death: application $18

You must have an exact date, they do not do searches and do not allow researchers access to the records. Use the Family Search index (below) to find your ancestors before you order.  DC Department of Heath Vital Records does not do online requests, but you can order DC birth and death records (if they are public) through www.vitalchek.com.  Here are the FAQ & Guidelines.

Family Search:
Deaths and Burials 1840-1964 (index)
Deaths 1874-1959 (images available)
Births and Christenings 1830-1955 (index)

Marriage and Divorce

Family Search:
Marriages 1811-1950 (images available)
Marriages 1830-1921

DC Superior Court Marriage Bureau
Marriage Records 1811-1980
Divorce Records September 16, 1956-Present

You may request by mail or in person with a money order $10 made out to “Clerk, D.C. Superior Court.” Include full names, maiden names, and the date of marriage/divorce and mail to:

DC Superior Court Marriage Bureau
H. Carl Moultrie I. Courthouse
Room #4485
500 Indiana Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

I highly recommend calling the court first before mailing in your request: (202) 879-4840

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia:
Divorce Records prior to September 16, 1956
Call first!  (202) 354-3050

They may ask you send over a fax with all the known details and they will email you a response, either a copy of the divorce record or the location it is held in the National Archives.

Cemeteries

Congressional Cemetery 
Founded in 1807 and contains many famous Washingtonians, including J. Edgar Hoover, John Philip Sousa, and Elbridge Gerry.  Walking tour guides and an internment index are available on their website. More information available at the National Park Service.

Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown

Oak Hill Cemetery
One of DC’s best kept secrets and by far the most beautiful cemetery I have ever been too.  Local Georgetown residents often take walks through the gardens.  Founded in 1849, the cemetery’s history is mostly of the 19th century with an emphasis on the Civil War.  Take a walk through and do a quick google search of any of the headstone names, like Paul J. Pelz or Philip Barton Key and you’ll find some wonderful historical gems! An index of internments is available on their website.

Holy Rood Cemetery (no official website)
Established in 1832 and contains about 7,000 graves, including 1,000 free and enslaved African Americans.  This historical cemetery has been neglected for years by it’s current owner, Georgetown University and very few headstones remain.  A list of interments can be found at the Georgetown University Special Collections Research Center, open M-F 9am-5pm.

Mount Olivet Cemetery

Rock Creek Cemetery

For a full list of cemeteries located in DC, try using the findagrave.com directory here.

Other

There are tons of other resources for researching ancestors in DC.  Ancestry.com has a list of DC specific sources and the Family Search library has lots of interesting books and microfilm available for ordering, such as District of Columbia free Negro registers, 1821-1861 and Who’s who in the nation’s capital.

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