I love statistics and all the fun charts and graphs you can make. I also love TED Talks. You can imagine my delight when watching Hans Rosling's New Insights on Poverty, when he inserts his grandparents into the data set while comparing past and present economic situations around the world. Genealogy adding context to economic data? Yes please!
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who has had their DNA tested for health or genealogy?
I had been wanting to get tested from 23andMe for YEARS but it was always outrageously expensive. Luckily, in past year or so the price has leveled out around $99 across the board. The bigger the sample size, the better the results, so these services should be affordable!
Here’s what I’ve done.
They offer health and ancestry information. The health results are endless and are updated every month as their scientists have new findings. Your health overview includes health risks, inherited conditions, traits, and drug response.
The health risks includes the average risk vs. your risk and also tells you what percentage is attributable to genetics. Alzheimer’s is included in the health risks, which 60-80% attributable to genetics, but the results are hidden in case you don’t want to know.
The drug response information is very useful. To me, this is absolutely fascinating. Instead of trying various medicines and worrying about side effects, your DNA can indicate how you will respond to certain drugs.
The inherited conditions can be helpful if you are planning to have a baby and want to know if you are a carrier for anything. The traits section is mostly fun stuff.
The genealogy section may be disappointing if you’re trying to connect with others. The majority of users are only interested in health results and it seems like there are a lot of people who were adopted trying to find more about their birth family. But, if you get your family tested, there are all kinds of fun statistics. For instance, you can select another person and it will tell you the likelihood your children would have certain traits.
The breakdown of ancestry composition is pretty detailed compared to other DNA tests.
So 23andMe gives you a lot of information! Some info you may not want to know. I personally wanted to know everything and I’m glad I did!
A lot of genies swear by this service and use it as their preferred DNA site. I can’t figure it out.
Uncle Rusty did the basic Y-DNA test, to learn more about the Updegraff line. The results are very technical and somewhat cryptic (in my opinion). I’ve been in contact with someone testing various Updegraff lines, connecting them to the original Op den Graeff family of Germantown, PA so he was able to use the results in his study.
Uncle Rusty’s closest match was a 9th cousin, also with the same surname Updegraff. Not sure what I can gather from that, other than an adoption in my Updegraff line is unlikely.
This is what I would recommend for all the genies, especially if you have a tree there. I’m going to try to get a 2nd cousin from each line tested. The genetic ethnicity summary is pretty dull, but I already knew this so it didn’t matter to me. I was automatically connected with five 4th cousins and a lot of 5th cousins or greater. I immediately confirmed one 4th cousin and one 6th cousin.
But what is most useful are the one’s you aren’t sure about. For instance, I’m connected to someone who has a “Rebecca Duncan” from Tyronne, Ireland who is the same age as James Duncan, my 5th great grandfather who is also from Tyronne, Ireland. Rebecca moved to Canada and James ended up in Erie, Pennsylvania.
I also have a lot of connections with people who have Millers around Hagerstown, MD and Somerset, PA. I’m hoping this will help me find more about my 3rd great grandmother, Margaret Miller and her father George Miller from the same areas.
Which do you prefer?
Two things I can tell you about my ancestors: there are a lot of Margarets and a lot of accidental deaths.
Harman Alexander Updegraff was born 28 August 1821* in Somerset County, Pennsylvania to Harmon Updegraff and Rachel Howard. He was a farmer in his early years and later became a conductor of a freight train of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Harman’s wife, Margaret Miller, was born 15 February 1820 in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The two were married in March of 1845* and had eight children. They lived in downtown Johnstown near the Baltimore & Ohio station, on Washington Street.
On November 29, 1860 while working somewhere between Derry and Latrobe, Harman fell from his train onto the tracks and was killed. He was only 39 years old and left his five young children and newly pregnant wife (two of their children had passed years earlier). Harman was buried at the Levergood Cemetery but was later exhumed and interred in Grand View Cemetery.
As Margaret’s children grew up and got married, she permanently moved in with her daughter Margaret Angelina Williams. Her son William had moved to Harrisburg, George to Chicago, and Henry to New Castle, but James and Margaret Angelina stayed in Johnstown. She was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church and survived the Great Johnstown Flood in 1889.
On March 11, 1898 Margaret set off to walk from her daughter’s house to her son’s a short distance away. Her daughter was concerned about her walking by herself, but she insisted that she did not need help as she had just walked from the train station the day before by herself. Just minutes after leaving the house, Margaret was struck by a Pacific Express Train, 37 years after her husband’s tragic death. She was buried with her husband in Grandview Cemetery.
“Aged Lady Killed by a Train.” Undated clipping, ca. 1898, from unidentified newspaper.
“Killed on the Railroad.” The Adams Sentinel and General Advertiser, 5 December 1860. Digital images, http://newspaperarchive.com/adams-sentinel : 2012.
“Updegraff.” The Johnstown Daily Tribune, 11 March 1898.
Grandview Cemetery. Internment file, database. http://grandviewjohnstownpa.com/interment-search.php : 2012.
Pennsylvania. Cambria County. 1850 – 1880 U.S. census, population schedules. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2012.
Pennsylvania. Cambria County. Death Certificate. Clerk of Orphans Court, Johnstown.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [LDS]. ”Pedigree Resource File,” database. FamilySearch. http://www.familysearch.org : 2012.
*Note: Harman’s exact birth and marriage date came from the Pedigree Resource File.
Facts and evidence are a fundamental part of genealogy. Without these, genealogy would be nothing more than folklore (and Ancestry member tree hints).
Unfortunately, facts and evidence are not always as important in politics. What happens when politics and genealogy collide?
A couple months ago there was some attention on Senator Marco Rubio’s family history. The Huffington Post reports:
In a campaign ad last year, he said: “As the son of exiles, I understand what it means to lose the gift of freedom.” Rubio’s biography on his Senate website previously said he was “born in Miami to Cuban-born parents who come to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.” It has been changed to say Rubio “was born in Miami in 1971 to Cuban exiles who first arrived in the United States in 1956.”
We now know that Rubio’s family left Cuba three years before Fidel Castro took over; technically his parents were not exiles, they were immigrants.
Rubio was born 15 years after his family immigrated to America. I can easily imagine the stories told to a young Rubio; parents unable to live in their home country, came to America for a better life, still maintaining their Cuban culture. How many of us were raised with certain assumptions about who we are only to find in our research varying info? In addition, the Cuban-exile community in Florida didn’t see anything wrong with Rubio’s statements.
So, Rubio gets a pass. What about Elizabeth Warren, claiming to be of Native American heritage? Her opponent, Senator Scott Brown has accused Warren of lying about her heritage and receiving an unfair advantage in her hiring at The University of Pennsylvania and at Harvard. Both schools have said it was not a factor in her hiring and the Native American heritage was only revealed afterwards. I believe the schools, why not? But Brown has been very persistant in his attacks on Warren’s heritage claims.
Here’s what Warren had to say:
“When I was a little girl, I learned about my family’s heritage the same way everyone else does — from my parents and grandparents.
My mother, grandmother, and aunts were open about my family’s Native American heritage, and I never had any reason to doubt them. What kid asks their grandparents for legal documentation to go along with their family stories? What kid asks their mother for proof in how she describes herself?”
I can relate to that (except I am that kid that asks their mother for proof!). Warren is obviously not an official member of any tribe and she is strictly relying on family lore and secondary sources. Quite a few tribes have come forward, each with different takes on Warren’s claims, positive and negative. I’ve watched enough of Henry Louis Gates’ PBS specials to know that one’s self identity can vary greatly with actual heritage and DNA. Who am I to judge?
I will say that it is a bit alarming when politicians come forth with their family heritages with little to no actual evidence (or care of finding any such evidence), and they use it in a way that is supposed to make them more qualified for the position. No one’s heritage makes them more or less qualified for public office. Maybe all this attention will create some jobs for genealogists (a campaign genealogist!). Genealogists are extremely detail and fact oriented, people that politicians (and journalists) could use more often.
What do you think? Should politicians refrain from retelling their embellished family lore? Should they be more diligent about digging up their own history? I’m trying to think of how I would weave my own family history into a stump speech.
I love statistics and all the fun charts and graphs you can make. I also love TED Talks. You can imagine my delight when watching Hans Rosling’s New Insights on Poverty, when he inserts his grandparents into the data set while comparing past and present economic situations around the world. Genealogy adding context to economic data? Yes please!
Here’s how it works. Gapminder has compiled an incredible amount of historical data from around the world on various topics such as life expectancy, education, energy consumption, GDP, population growth, etc. Click here to view a chart of life expectancy and income per person (inflation-adjusted). On this particular chart, the data goes back to the year 1800 and if you click “play,” you’ll see some incredible patterns unfold. Not much happens in the 1800′s, but around 1910 things start to really take off. On the right bar, you can click on a particular country to see their journey to increased life expectancy and income.
Inspired by Mr. Rosling’s example, I thought I would give some context to the world my ancestors were born into.
My Great Grandfather, John William Updegraff, who was born in 1889 in the United States, was born into similar conditions (life expectancy/income) as present day Swaziland.
Using the same reasoning, my Grandfather, Robert Lee Updegraff was born in South Africa and my Mother in Trinidad and Tobago. Myself, born in 1983, similar to present day United Arab Emirates.
I would have gone back to my 2nd Great Grandfather Henry Updegraff, who was born in 1855, but there are no present day countries represented in the data with similar life expectancy and income.
It’s interesting to note the consistent and significant increase of life expectancy among each generation in the United States.
Looking at my Dad’s family, all born in Austria, I ran into a couple issues. In comparing child mortality with income per person (inflation-adjusted), I couldn’t find a similar present day equivalent to the world that my Great Grandfather Kilian Pirolt (1874 Austria) was born into. Furthermore, my Grandfather Johann Pirolt (1906 Austria) and my Father (1944 Austria), were both born into similar conditions; thanks to WW2 there was little improvement among the two generations. In fact, in 1945, Austria reverted back to the 1860 income rate and 1914 child mortality rate. It took nearly 5 years for them to get back on a consistent track of improvement.
I encourage everyone to check out the gapminder website and enter in the countries and dates your ancestors were born. The data will give you a better understanding of the conditions of and improvements made from one generation to the next.
1. I was a little disappointed when my DNA results said this. No Asian, no African.*
2. I’ve never identified with the Irish culture, gasp.*
3. I’m so bored hearing about famous people’s colonial roots. Megan Smolenyak has a whole chapter on this in her new book Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing.
4. Since doing genealogy I’ve realized that my own K-12 history education was appalling. To think of all those wasted hours learning of half-truths and sugar coated nonsense and all the great things we did not learn about…
5. I have an indian princess in my family. Her name was Rebecca and she was of the Seneca tribe. Unfortunately, she died in childbirth and her husband remarried an evil woman who treated the step-child horribly. It’s highly unlikely, actually 100% unlikely, but I’d love to find out how the story started in the first place.
6. I haven’t found a single family member in the 1940 census.
*A 5% African and/or Asian would have been quite the mystery and pretty fun to solve. There was a brief “oh shucks” moment seeing there wouldn’t be any scandals in our DNA. Plus it squashed my indian princess rumor. Regarding Irish culture, what can I say, I feel more American, Austrian, English, Welsh, Dutch, and German than I feel Irish, *shrugs*.
How else would I know that my 4th great grandfather died at at 90 with all his teeth?
The Library of Congress Chronicling America is a great starting point for old newspapers. Not all newspapers are digitized, but keep checking as more are added everyday. You can search for an ancestor’s name or event; I got lucky a couple times with digitized copies of the Pittsburgh Dispatch.
If you are interested in a newspaper that has not been digitized, the database gives a list of possible locations to search in person. Click on the link for US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present and make your selections based on city, county, state and you will get a list of all the newspapers from that location. Click on any of them for more information and then at the bottom of the page click on “view complete holdings information.” You may find the newspaper in a more convenient location if you’re unable to make a long-distance research trip. For example, I’m interested in looking through the Advance Argus of Greenville, PA 1887-1917 which happens to also be located in Harrisburg, PA (for me, four hours less of a drive).
Always check with the local library directly to see if they have indexed any local papers. One of my favorite resources for old news articles and obituaries is the Butler County (PA) Public Library. They have an excellent online index and the staff responds pretty quickly to paper copy requests. Other great indexes I often use are the New Castle Public Library’s Marriage/Obituary Database and the Rutherford B Hayes Library Obituary Index. If the local library does not have an index (most do not) you may try to find a librarian or local genealogist that doesn’t mind looking up a specific date for you.
I also use newspaperarchive.com, which is a paid service for access to an unbelievable amount of digitized newspapers. When I first started using it, it was pretty costly, but since then the price has gone down. It has definitely paid for itself many times over in saving me request/research fees and travel costs.
You don’t get any vital details out of an old photo, but they certainly provide some great context to your relatives and the time period. This photo is of my grandfather in the late 1930′s. I can make certain assumptions (and generate more questions) based on the instruments, clothing, and facial expressions.
I’ve created family photo albums on flickr so that everyone can view and comment. Old family photos are great conversation starters, especially to those relatives that “aren’t into genealogy.”
“Just like watching the detectives…” If you haven’t seen the show History Detectives on PBS, you are really missing out. Each episode starts off with an artifact, story, or photo that very little is known about. The History Detectives then investigate to find the real story behind the object. Oftentimes, they will incorporate genealogy in their investigation. From their website “History Detectives is devoted to exploring the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out the facts, myths and conundrums that connect local folklore, family legends and interesting objects.” Every episode is fascinating and I always think “wow, I wish I had learned this in history class.”
Family History Books & Google Books
This is my favorite thing to just mess around with. Just go to Google Books and type in a name or event you’re researching. I’m currently doing research on my Updegraff lineage and by typing in Updegraff (or Op den Graeff) and then filtering for the 19th century, I get a list of interesting books that range from religion to historical accounts and biographies. What is great, is that most of these books have been out of print for decades and the information and context you get is pretty unique.
Many Universities also contain old digitized books and lineages, including The University of Michigan Making of America Digital Library. Each archive contains different books, so you should browse through various search engines. FamilySearch.org has made it easy to sort through some of the collections here, which includes databases from Brigham Young University and the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research. The lineage books contain lots of great clues and while it’s not recommended to copy other people’s trees, they may direct you to to the actual source.
Margaret H. Davis was born 19 January 1861 in Johnstown,1 Pennsylvania to David H Davis and Catherine Annie Harris, both immigrants from Wales. She was the 5th child of 13 born to David and Catherine.
Margaret Davis married Henry Herman Updegraff in 1881. Her siblings considered her “marrying well.” The young couple moved to New Castle between 1885 and 18892 (just before the horrendous Johnstown Flood of 1889). Margaret and Henry raised four children: Clarence David, Royer Howard, John William, and Alma Catherine. Margaret’s younger sister, Rachel Davis also lived with Margaret and Henry until she was married to William G. Fischer in 1901.
Margaret hosted many social events for her children, especially her daughter Alma.3 They had a cottage at Brady’s Lake in Ohio and in one instance in 1904, Margaret and her sister Rachel Fischer took the two oldest children (Clarence and Royer) and their girlfriends (to whom they were later engaged) on a vacation there. The family appeared in the “Society Section” of the New Castle News over 20 times between the year 1900 and 1920.
Margaret was certainly the matriarch of the Davis and Updegraff family. Not only did she host many family and social gatherings but she also cared for many. In addition to caring for her younger sister Rachel, she also took in her niece, after her sister-in-law (widow of Margaret’s brother Luther John Davis) passed away unexpectedly. When her niece, Irene married, the couple continued to live with the Updegraffs until they could afford a place of their own.
In 1923, Margaret’s husband, Henry Herman Updegraff passed away. She moved to Youngstown, Ohio to live with her son John William and became the primary caregiver for her two grandsons Robert Lee (my grandfather) and John Leroy. Margaret was a very important person in my grandfather’s life and according to my mother “she could do no wrong in his eyes.”
Margaret passed away on 26 September 1945 of heart failure. She is buried with her husbad in Graceland Cemetery in New Castle, Pennsylvania.
1 The obituaries posted in the Youngstown Vindicator and New Castle News have conflicting birth dates: 23 January 1861 and 19 January 1861, respectively. Margaret’s death certificate lists the birth date as 19 January 1861.
2 Royer Howard was born in 1885 in Johnstown and the next child, John William, was born March 1889 in New Castle, indicating the family moved sometime between 1885 and March 1889.
3 To read more about the events and gatherings Margaret hosted with her daughter Alma, click here.
Click here for a list of sources used.
I had the pleasure of attending a class yesterday at the National Archives in Washington, DC titled: Beyond the Basics: Census, 1790–1840. The Archives offers various genealogy classes each week and I thought this would be a great topic. I hadn’t given the 1790-1840 Censuses much attention before now.
Well, I learned a lot!
1840 Census School Data
At the end (or sometimes beginning) of each township census, there is a page that lists data on schools in the area. Data includes how many universities or colleges, number of students, academies and grammar schools, number of scholars, primary and common schools, number of scholars at public charge, and number of white persons over 20 years of age to each family who cannot read and write. Was there someone in the family household that was attending school? Compare them with the total students in that township. Did your ancestors grow up in a town with many schools, but did not attend themselves, or vise versa?
1820 Census Age Overlap
The 1820 Census lists males that are ages 16-18 and also 16-25. If you have 2 males ages 16-18 and 4 males 16-25, then you probably have 2 males ages 19-25. The government wanted a category that listed the total number of males of “military age.” I had completely overlooked this before.
Helpful Tip - List the names associated with each age group
For example, the 1820 Census has Fergus Hutchinson (4th great grandfather) listed as the head of the household in Donegal Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania. He was 21 years old, not yet married, but many people living in the house. I didn’t take the time to investigate this until yesterday. An easy way to sort through these earlier records is write out the names of each number. I realized that both parents had passed away already, so Fergus being the oldest was the head of the household with his 8 younger siblings.
Males < 10 years old (1) = William Moorhead
Males 16-18 years old (2) = George and John
Males 16-25 years old (4) = Fergus (head of the household) and an unknown male – remember the overlap with the 16-18 year category.
Females < 10 years old (2) = Matilda and Ann
Females 10-15 years old (2) = Maria and Euphemia
Females 16-25 years old (1) = Sarah Jane
Number of Persons Engaged in Agriculture (6)
After mapping it out, I’m pretty confident that this is “my” Fergus Hutchinson. Everyone is accounted for except that unknown male, and no one is missing. I actually didn’t know Euphemia’s birthday, but through process of elimination, I now know it’s between 1810 and 1815.
Writing out the names for each is very helpful, especially if you have a common first and last name that shows up multiple times in one county.
Records of the 1820 Census of Manufacturers
The 1820 Census asks how many people in the household engaged in either agriculture, commerce, or manufacturing. A separate census was taken if someone was engaged in manufacturing. The information gathered was the name of the manufacturer, the type of manufacturing, location of manufacturer, and information on the kind of raw materials, persons employed, machinery, expenditures, and production.
The idea of collecting data from manufacturers had actually started with the 1810 census, but because enumerators were not given any guidelines, the amount of information and quality was very inconsistent.
The Records of the 1820 Census of Manufacturing cannot be found on Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.com. As far as I know, you must go to the National Archives in DC or order the microfilm. Do you have any ancestors that were manufacturers? I’m interested to see what the records actually look like!
Use HeritageQuest to Find Census Records
“If you rely on one source, you will not find everything you need” said the NARA instructor. According to her, Ancestry.com outsourced their earlier indexing to people that did not speak English very well. Those that indexed at HeritageQuest were genealogists and English speakers. I have no proof of this and can’t find any data online, but through her many years of experience, she has found less transcription errors on HeritageQuest. We should use both and form our own opinion. I see pros and cons to both: HeritageQuest groups your search results in a less cluttered manner while Ancestry.com accounts for name misspellings giving you a larger search results range. I’ll definitely start using them simultaneously. Examples of HeritageQuest:
Keywords: Updegraff, 1790 Census, Pennsylvania
Results: There were 11 households with the name Updegraff in Pennsylvania in 1790, all in York County (There are probably more if you take into account spelling variations- you can use Ancestry.com to cross reference).
Foreigners Not Naturalized
The 1820 and 1830 Censuses reported the number of people in the household that were not naturalized. This may give some direction in looking for naturalization records. In 1802, the residency requirement for naturalization was changed from 14 to 5 years. The 14 year rule was part of John Adam’s Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. An alien was required to file a declaration of intent (usually the first 3 years of residency) and then may petition the court for admission to citizenship (2-7 years after declaration) a total of 5 years after being a resident. If your ancestor was an alien in 1820, you may want to search for naturalization records for 1821-1826. These documents could be filed at any court office – local, state, or federal, wherever it was convenient. Unfortunately, many of these courts did not hold on to the records, but it’s worth making a couple calls to these various locations to check if they have them still.
Sources for Census Records
- Microfilm and book indexes at the National Archives
- Microfilm at your local library
- Fold3.com (very limited)
I will definitely be attending more classes at the National Archives! It’s just amazing how many resources are out there.