Tuesday, November 30, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #48 - Personal Genealogy Library

Personal Genealogy Library
While I have participated in some of the past genealogy challenges presented by GeneaBlogger's  52 Weeks To Better Genealogy even before I started blogging, this is the first prompt I have participated in that got me excited enough to actually write about. The challenge this week was perfect for those of us well-intentioned organized folks who have accumulated so much stuff that it seems nearly impossible to get it all together, but here it goes . . .

The challenge was to examine three online tools for cataloging our personal genealogy library -- LibraryThingGood Reads and Shelfari -- "and see how genealogists use them". 

I started out by taking the tour on LibraryThing. I liked the way books were presented as covers on a shelf; but I was impressed even more as I discovered its versatility in customizable lists. The site boasts that it "helps create a library-quality catalog of books." Many times when I am writing source data I have thought it might be so helpful to just look in one spot and find it all there, ready and waiting, in the format I need. The search engine accesses titles from 690 sources, and allows you to manually add titles not found. That was particularly good for me since I use many antiquarian texts, many of which I have only been able to find on WorldCat.org. But I was pleasantly surprised that many of the titles I had were already in the system because of the added feature of linking you to all the people who have also read the same sources. 

Next I tried Shelfari. I immediately noticed that the graphics were more color-blocked and fresh looking, but could it stand up to to the test? The tour is more visual than Library Thing, and it seemed more in line with searching out popular titles that others are reading. I typed in "genealogy" in the title search and got a listing of popular how-to books. Nothing I was interested in. Then I browsed the groups and could not find a category for genealogy or family history. Doing a group search left me with four groups with a total of 22 members and 9 discussion posts. This may look like a flashy site, but unless I'm totally missing something here, it just doesn't make the cut.

The last site I tried I have been a member of since 2009. I started my GoodReads account because a librarian friend of mine on Facebook had posted what he was reading, and I kind of liked the idea. So I joined.For this challenge, however, I decided to go back to square one and go through the tour, just so I had a fair means of comparison. 

What you get is a boring list with subtitles. I just wanted to scroll down to the bottom and skim the page . . . if I had to do it again, I don't think I would've ever signed up . . . at least not from their tour page. I updated my list by adding what I am currently reading, but noticed that I had not added a book since June 13, 2010. In searching for groups, there were no genealogy nor family history categories in the browse list. A search for a genealogy group led me to 6 groups with a total of 199 members. A little better than Shelfari, but it seems that LibraryThing is definitely the way to go.

I'm not usually a joiner, but a group search on Library Thing led me to thirteen active and eight dormant groups. From the list there were two groups I checked out and joined: Genealogy@LT with 336 members and Antiquarian Books with 118 members. The Discussion Boards are varied in topic, and again, there is something there that should grab your attention.

In all, I think this was a good challenge. It's certainly getting me on the path to catalog those obscure titles in PDF format on CD-ROM. Perhaps now I won't purchase any more duplicates, as I did with The Ancient History of North Yarmouth and Yarmouth, Maine, 1635-1936, by William Hutchinson Rowe.

Happy cataloging! 

                     And come see me on LibraryThing. 

                                                    My handle is debraNC.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Preserving Family Legacies, No. 1, Part 6

Letters from Aunt Helen, Part 6

O P Q contained the PARKER family letters. Alright, now we've departed from tracing the Gertrude Ellen (WALTER) lineage and have gone back to her husband's NEWTON ancestors. Let's take a look at the NEWTON generations to see where Aunt Helen may have been going with this:

George Ulysses (8) Newton md. Gertrude Ellen WALTER, 1 July 1895 in Binghamton, NY
Francis Louis (7) Newton md. Elizabeth Mary RILEY, 5 Nov. 1854 in Maine, NY
Nahum (6) Newton md. Thankful PARKER, 22 Oct 1818 in poss. Worcester County, MA
Nahum (5) Newton Jr. md. Damaris BRIGHAM, 6 May 1778 in Marlborogh, Middlesex, MA
Nahum (4) Newton Sr. md. Tabitha SANDERSON, 30 Feb 1741 in Leicester, Worcester, MA
Joseph (3) Newton Jr. md. Abigail ----
Deacon Joseph (2) Newton md. Katharin WOODS, abt. 1670 in Marlborough, Middlesex, MA
Richard (1) Newton md. Amy LOKER, 9 Aug 1636 in Bures, Essex, England

R held the RILEY family history letters.
W provided letters relating to WALTER/DUDLEY/FIELD/SCRANTON/HOWARD, all of Guilford and Norfolk, CT. An interesting letter from the War Department, dated July 13, 1931, states:
There are no military records in this Department of a date prior to the War of the Revolution. Such Colonial War records are in existence, except those in the possession of the British Government, are most likely to be found in the custody of the various states that sent troops to those wars or, in some instances, of historical societies. . . . Signed, C. H. Bridges, Major General, The Adjutant General.
 Aunt Helen generally did not preserve copies of her outgoing correspondence, except in this case, where the War Dept. stamped it and returned it to her.
X & Z preserved a variety of documents. First is a blank fan chart from the Media Research Bureau, 1110 F. Street, Washington, DC, measuring 22" x 15". Following is an advertisement brochure for The Story of Connecticut, published by The Hartford Times. . . . "Every Home Should Have a Set" it boasts. "Original Price $3.00 for 3 Volumes. Now On Sale: $1.50. As you can see, a used copy now costs $30.00...ten times the original price!

American Library Services , 117 W 48th St., NY, NY
Much of the rest of my aunt's correspondence seems to be with a company where she was seeking to purchase genealogical volumes: The History of Chenango and Madison Counties, NY, by James H. Smith; The British Invasion of New Haven, Connecticut, by Charles Henry Townsend; The Morse Genealogy; The Newton Genealogy; History of Enfield; History of Madison County, NY, by Mrs. L. M. Hammond; History of the Colony of New Haven, by Edward E. Atwater; various other histories of Ridgefield, Wallingford, Simsbury, New Haven, Putnum, Connecticut, and various published genealogies on family surnames already mentioned. 

Tucked away in the very back of the file, however, was a real treasure: 
Letters from Mrs. Bertha Davey of Binghamton, NY.
She was my aunt's first cousin, the daughter of Charles Philetus WALTER and Ellen Adell DARLING, the sister of my great grandmother Gertrude Ellen (WALTER) NEWTON. Pages and pages of typewritten transcriptions from the CURTIS, SCRANTON, DUDLEY, MINOR, DARLING, and HOWARD genealogies, were held together by paperclips, and loosely rolled up at the bottom, revealing a multitude of abstracted family history.

It could take months and months just to process this information into my genealogical database, but this is nothing compared to the years of research and correspondence that went into this small letters file. 

Many thanks to all our family historians before us 
who left us a well-worn path through prior generations!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Revolutionary Song, by Capt. Asaph Morse

Little did I know that I would find my 5th great grandfather, Col. Asaph Morse's Revolutionary Song lyrics in time for submission to: 
While it is not a mid to late 19th Century poem, it fits every outlined requirement. Here is a transcription of the original posted in Letters From Aunt Helen, Part 5.

Revolutionary Song.
Composed by Capt. Asaph Morse, an old Veteran of
the Revolution, who was at the capture of Burgoine,
battle of Monmouth, and with Sullivan at the siege of
New Port in Rhode Island. Age 92 years. Groton, 
April, 1852. This is a copy from the original print, by
his great grandson, B.S. French, of Susquehanna, 
Pa.  February, 1896.
Washington the father of our Country,
Quelled the British riots in this North America.
By the help of his Aids, Greene, Schuyler, Hamilton,
La Fayette, Gates and Putnam too,
Sullivan and Wayne gained the Victory,
At the battle of Brandywine.
John Burgoyne came down across the northern lakes
With 10,000 men to dissolate our happy States,
The 17, of Oct. at Saratoga he was fast in chains,
There he had to remain till the capitulation was made
to ground arms & march to england & there stay,
'Till peace was made with Yankees in N. America.
With brass Canon we have got all,
Fifty six both Great and small,
Covered waggons in great plenty,
Proper harnesses no ways scanty,
Ten thousand stands of Arms, 
To prevent all future harms. 
Let Brunswick and let Clinton tell,
What noble deeds they have done,
In '78 June the 19, day
On sunday the battle is begun;
Continued until dark expecting to come to it the next day,
But in the night was put to flight,
Left hundreds dead upon the ground for us to enter
And thousands ran away

We had a bold commander he feared not sword or gun
A second Alexander his name was Washington,
He had his troops all formed in martial array
To maintain our charter right in North America,
Go tell the savage nations you'r crueler than they
You fight your own relation in this North America

Throughout our latest struggles boys we still victorious were,
Jackson's deeds at New Orleans bright they appear
His bravery & his virtues every feeling must revere
For its great delight to march & fight as a yankee volunteer.
We trust in Heaven's protection nor fear to win the day,
For we will maintain our charter right in this North America.

The 4, of July on Independence day,
Will crown our deeds with many a loud huzza!
The names of these Veterans are wrote in CAPITALS
     which never will decay,
As long as the sun and moon doth shine in this North America.

B. S. French, Printer, Susquehanna, Pa.

Preserving Family Legacies, No. 1, Part 5

Letters from Aunt Helen, Part 5

Attempting to reconstruct a genealogist ancestor's research path can be quite a challenge, but the more time I spend with Aunt Helen's letter file, the more I am beginning to see the course she had chosen.

Tracing allied ancestral families
The next file, H I J, revealed the HOWARD family ancestry, tracing back to Thomas HOWARD of Lynn, MA. A pattern began to emerge. Looking at a fan chart of my great grandmother's family, I realized that this is my aunt's research on her grandmother's family and collateral lines.
Ancestors of Gertrude Ellen (WALTER) NEWTON
 If this theory is correct, then I should also be able to find the surnames KINGSLEY, MORSE, WARD and CHAPMAN. 

The K  L file revealed responses to KINGSLEY queries for Sarah KINGSLEY in CT; Nathan and Warren KINGSLEY in Franklinville, Machias, Rushford and Ellicottville, NY; and, a letter from Mrs. M.L. Palmerlee of Detroit, MI, the granddaughter of Warren KINGSLEY, daughter of Avery KINGSLEY. Electa Ann KINGSLEY, the wife of Smyrna DARLING, was Mrs. Palmerlee's aunt.

M certainly held the letters pertaining to the MORSE family. On my fan chart you can see that Phebe Morse married my 4th great grandfather, Horace Walter. In an unclaimed, returned letter, Aunt Helen asked of J. Howard Morse, who evidently wrote the Morse Genealogy, for she states, 
I recently acquired a copy of the Morse Genealogy and found a note asking that corrections and additional records be sent to you. Would say that I have found four cases in which your book does not agree with family records I have. . . . Have considerable data of this Walter family and a small amount on other daughters of Asaph Morse should you care to have them.
Revolutionary War Song by Capt. Asaph Morse
 I will certainly keep her corrections in mind when consulting the Morse Genealogy in the future. The only other envelope in this file contained letters from War Department: The Adjutant General's Office, Veterans Administration Bureau of Pensions, and The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of the Secretary (Archives Division). It appears that she was looking for the Revolutionary War record of Asaph Morse, a certificate of his service was available from the latter office for payment of $1.80 on April 22, 1931. I'm sure the cost has changed since then. But one other piece, tucked into this letter was of great interest, and shown to the right.

N held the NEWTON family letters . . . but what will I find in O through Z?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Preserving Family Legacies, No. 1, Part 4

Letters from Aunt Helen, Part 4

An update on the West Clasp Letter Filing System
The next section of the file provided the answer I needed. Instead of each tab being a divider followed by that letter's surnames, the previous section was actually the "D" section with the letters lying on top of the the dividers. 

Therefore, the previous section represented the DARLING Family. . . .

. . . . and now, on to the next section in use: "F" for FIELD.

All roads lead to Northampton, MA
The first letter came from a Mrs. Hugh Victor Mercer from Minneapolis, Minnesota, dated October 23rd, 1940. 
My dear Mrs. Beers: Your letter via the Times has reached me and since I visited our Historical Library last Wednesday, I looked for the Field-Stanley reference about which you inquired. The Field Genealogy does not give Mary Stanley as the wife of Zachariah Field, but I found other references which do name her as his wife viz; Daughters of the American Colonists National Number I899 and 2089; "300 Colonial Ancestors" by Rixford and The Compendium references which you mention. . . .
With the exception of the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists, all the other resources are available on Ancestry.com. I started digging into the Field Genealogy and discovered that my ancestry paths are crossed once again . . . . and I am beginning to wonder if all roads lead to Northampton, MA. 

According to The Field Genealogy, by Frederick Clifton Pierce (1901), 
112. ZECHARIAH FIELD (John, John, Richard, William....), b. East Ardsley, Yorkshire, England, in 1596; md. about 1641, Mary ----. She d. about 1670. He d. June 30, 1666. Res. Dorchester, Mass, in 1629; Hartford, Conn., in 1636; Northampton, in 1659, and Hatfield, Mass., in 1663 (p. 97).
 After several pages of narrative, the genealogy continues:
155. i. MARY, b. about 1643; m. Oct. 6, 1663, Joshua Carter, Jr. of Northampton. He was b. in 1638; was son of Joshua, of Dorchester, Windsor and Hartford. Was in Northampton in 1660, and was one of the first settlers of Deerfield . . . .
156. ii. ZECHARIAH, b. about 1645; m. Sarah Webb.
157. iii. JOHN, b. about 1648; m. Mary Edwards.
158. iv. SAMUEL, b. about 1651; m. Sarah Gilbert.
159. v. JOSEPH, b. about 1658; m. Joanna Wyatt and Mary Belding(pp. 100-101).
The second letter was from Mrs. G. Roy Phelps in Albany, Wisconsin, dated November 13, 1940. 
Dear Mrs. Beers: . . . . I think the other correspondent is correct in thinking there were two Mary Stanleys. It looks so from the references given. I have also seen the History of Hadley. There are several histories in that vicinity which give the Field family, one being the History of Hatfield. The following I am quoting from David Dudley Field book, in case you have not seen it: "Zechariah Field, eldest son, m. Sarah Webb, of Northampton, moved to Deerfield. Had three sons, Zechariah b. Sept. 12, 1669, Ebenezer b. Oct. 31, 1671, John b. Dec. 8, 1673 . . .
So now my searches return to my old stomping grounds, thus rounding out the KING family history. . . .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Veteran's Day Tribute

George Dewey, Francis Allyn, Richard Allen, David Francis NEWTON.
Chester Jr. and Harrison David CARTER
Thank you to all our family Veterans! Your service to our country is deeply appreciated.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Preserving Family Legacies, No. 1, Part 3

Letters from Aunt Helen, Part 3

The first section of the LETTERS file to hold genealogical correspondence was the "C" section. As I read through the letters found there, I began to wonder about my aunt's filing system. I had expected each letter found there to focus on surnames beginning with "C", or at least from correspondents whose surnames began with the letter "C." But it appears that was not the case.

The surnames found there were BLISS, ENGLISH or ENGLIS, and DARLING. The only "C" connection I found was a series of letters from Carlos Darling.

One researcher from New Lebanon Center, NY wrote on August 28, 1930 that John Darling's name appears in their charter. "The Columbia County history states that John Darling owned mill property on the stream in West Lebanon but doesn't mention store or Hotel. States that first place of meeting of No 9 was held at the home of Casporus Hewson and John Darling was S.W."  Morris G. Bowman reports that the minute books from 1788-1800 "were stolen some years ago in a post office burglary," but not knowing what "No. 9" refers to makes it difficult to reconstruct what my aunt was researching.

At that point I thought I could do a search for Casporus Hewson and try to establish what he and John Darling shared in common. At the end of the letter was the note "Unity No. 9 F&AM." A quick reference from Google shows that F. & A. M. stands for "Free and Accepted Masons." The Manual of Freemasonry states that the abbreviation "S.W." stands for Senior Warden (p. 190). 

On November 6, 1940, Carlos Parsons Darling of Lawrenceville, Tioga County, PA, stated in a letter to my aunt that he has been "interested in compiling records of the various branches of the Darling family for the past thirty or more years, and have accumulated some ten thousand pages of manuscripts on the subject. . . . If the work is ever published, it would have to be under different heads, as it wouldn't be possible to put it all into one book."

I found a reference to him in The Darling family in America: Early Settlers Prior to 1800 (1913, p. 5), where "he asks that all members of the family shall send him their family history and record. He also asks for newspaper clippings referring to births, deaths and family gatherings . . . ."

For further information, I plan on contacting The Darling Family Association (USA).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Preserving Family Legacies, No. 1, Part 2

Letters from Aunt Helen, Part 2

Genealogical research was a whole different world in the 1930s and 40s. Behind my aunt's baptismal record was this letter dated March 12, 1941, addressed to the Hartford Times:
Whenever correspondence was communicated through the genealogical section of a newspaper, each researcher was identified by an assigned number and their initials. In this case, Dorothy A. Y_____ requested to communicate with my uncle, R. L. B. [Ralph Loren Beers], who had answered Query 8010 on the Howard family on March 8, 1941.  A portion of my Aunt Helen's legacy was a binder with the original genealogical newspaper clippings attached to paper with cellophane tape, which had yellowed and become brittle. The pages smelled musty, so I photocopied them to acid-free paper and placed them in archival presentation sleeves in a new binder. 
As I paged through the HOWARD section of the clippings, I found the original query dated 12-21-1940 and it's reply, dated 3-8-1941. As you can see, it took nearly three months to get a response. I don't know if I could wait that long! The age of email has certainly benefited genealogists tremendously!

My HOWARD connection looks like this:
Debra Ann (10), Richard Allen (9), Francis Allyn (8) NEWTON; Gertrude Ellen (7), Charles Philetus (6) WALTER; Betsey Elizabeth (5), Amos (4), Nathan(3), Nathan (2), Thomas (1) HOWARD, emigrant.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Preserving Family Legacies, No. 1, Part 1

Letters from Aunt Helen, Part 1

On 17 November 1990 my grand aunt, Helen Gertrude (NEWTON) BEERS, daughter of George Ulysses and Gertrude Ellen (WALTER) NEWTON, and the widow of Ralph Loren BEERS, died in Garden Grove, California at the age of 89. She had been the NEWTON family historian since about 1930. Before she died she had her family history archive divided between my Dad, her oldest brother's oldest son, and my Dad's cousin Doris, the oldest child of Aunt Helen's only surviving sister. 

Dad had no interest in family history, so he passed the information on to his younger brother, David. Eighteen years later, on March 1, 2008, Uncle David and Aunt Sue stopped by our apartment in Asheville, NC to hand-deliver to me the legacy my Dad had forsaken.

Among the file boxes of handwritten and typed family group sheets and notes was a West Easy Clasp File marked, LETTERS. The spine of the file is imprinted:
Frank A. West Co., Inc.
Office Equipment and Supplies
130 State Street
Binghamton, N. Y.

Unlatching the metal clasp, the front opens to reveal a typed carbon copy of the first three pages of the NEWTON genealogy, followed by twenty pages of originals, beginning with "Nahum Newton, born Oct. 25, 1795 . . . " The next  item was a cream colored booklet entitled "Church Membership," which is displayed here.

The poem following a photograph of First Baptist Church in Johnson City, NY, and entitled, "The Church," by Timothy Dwight holds great interest for me. 

The Rev. Timothy Dwight (14 May 1752 - 11 Jan 1817) was the son of Timothy and Mary (EDWARDS) DWIGHT, the grandson of the Rev. Jonathan EDWARDS; the grandson of Col. Timothy and Experience (KING) DWIGHT. He was a Congregational minister, born in Northampton, MA. He led a very distinguished career, his credits including an appointment by the U. S. Congress to the chaplaincy of the Connecticut Continental Brigade, and president of Yale. 
It was believed by some that he was an ancestor of mine . . . a cousin through the KING family tree. However, a family legend yet unproved may show that we may not be linked to this distinguished Northampton family. I had spent the better of three years documenting the KING family history, and one day hope to complete the volume from Capt. John King down through this past generation. 

In any event, it seems remarkable that my Northern Baptist grand aunt's baptismal record of 24 March 1918 includes Dwight's poem, with the exclusion of two stanzas:
             *  *  *  *  
If e'er to bless thy sons
My voice or hands deny,
These hands let useful skill forsake,
This voice in silence die.
             *  *  *  * 

Jesus, thou friend divine,
Our Saviour and our King,
Thy hand from every snare and foe
Shall great deliverance bring.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Hyphen Between the Dates

My 4th Great Grandparents

A grave marker doesn't leave much space to tell about a person's life. While there may be an engraved picture or memorialized photograph on the stone, most grave markers leave only enough room for two dates and a hyphen. 

And while the hyphen takes up the least amount of space on the marker,
it comprises a whole lifetime.

One day my daughter asked, 
"Mom, why are you so interested in people who are dead?"  

"It's not that I'm interested in the dead," I replied. "I'm interested in how people lived."

About five years ago I came upon a title in the Bargain Books section of Barnes and Noble that caught my attention. By that time I had already been researching our family history for three years. I walked away from the book and continued browsing, but then found myself returning to it. 

It's title, Leaving a Trace: The Art of Transforming Life into Stories, reminded me of that hyphen. I had journaled in college, not because I wanted to, but because it was required of all writing majors. More times than none I would wait until a day or two before the due date and fictionalize the week's entries as fast as I could write . . . missing the whole purpose of daily writing exercises. The end result: a badly cramped hand and a fist-full of scrawled, meaningless pages.  

This book, however, completely transformed my perception of journaling. 

I began to realize that one day, people might wonder about the hyphen between my dates. Being an average American woman, daughter, wife, mother and grandmother, what collection of documents would I leave behind to characterize my lifetime . . . birth, marriage, baptismal and death certificates . . . a few photos . . . a Bible . . . but how would people know my true nature?  likes?  dislikes?  What do I desire my children and grandchildren to know about me?

Since that time I have formed the belief that the role of a genealogist is not confined to preserving the past, but includes recording the present for future generations.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Plight of The Intuitive Genealogist

As I sit here at my computer, I am surrounded by piles of FAMILY BINDERS (about 38, to be exact), filled with family group sheets, Census, birth, marriage and death records, land deeds and court documents, photographs, family letters, email correspondence, printouts of digitized historical books . . .

 . . . BOXES of family archival materials, 
including five binders of 35mm slides 
which need to be converted to DVD . . .

 . . . BOXES of loose papers collected in rapid-fire printing sessions when on Family Reunion Committee assignments, which still need to be filed in FAMILY  BINDERS
many of which still need to have the gaps filled in to see where they fit into the family history puzzle . . .

 . . . not to mention the two filing cabinets and 
twelve plastic file boxes . . .

<< Sigh! >>

A good friend of mine, Julie Bartlett, Archivist of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum , recently sent me a copy of Wide Open Spaces (Rick Crume, Family Tree Magazine, November 2010, pp. 16-21). Rick shares “10 space-saving ways to get organized.” I came away with a few new ideas, but it all takes T-I-M-E no matter what you decide to do. I decided I was on the right path, just needed to keep at it and eventually I’ll be done . . .
. . .well, you’re NEVER done, but at least organized.

Yesterday I was reading through some of the blogs I follow and came across a topic that peeked my curiosity. Tonia Kendrick, of Tonia’s Roots, wrote: “Starting the NGS Home Study Course.  One of my unwritten genealogy goals has been to enroll in a formal course of study. . . .” 

. . . and that got me thinking.

Several times over the past few years I had contemplated certification through the Board for Certification for Genealogists. In the past, I had completed the Test Your Skills and Skillbuilding sections of the website, looked at the Work Samples and Educational Preparation sections. . . . For the most part, I was ready then, but the cost was prohibitive considering how “ready” I was to make a career shift of that nature. That’s a big step. I went back to those pages yesterday after reading Tonia’s blog post and downloaded BCG’s new Certification Seminar Video from the Become Certified page. That gave me something to think on overnight.

When I awoke this morning, I began thinking about certification once more, just as Tonia says she had looked at the educational programs several times before making a decision.

As I checked my emails, I noticed a message from Legacy News--Tips & Tricks, stating that Evidence Analysis with Karen Clifford was now available at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. 

I viewed the webinar and made the not so startling discovery of what kind of genealogist I am. Let's call it "The Intuitive Genealogist." For years now I have known about ranking evidence and the status of records, but have glossed over research calendars, timelines, drafting tables, creating To Do Lists, and keeping updated research journals recording the process and evaluating as I worked. It just seemed too time consuming.

Instead, I worked intuitively, keeping either mental notes or scribblings on emailed research requests, easily forgotten or mislaid months or years later, and which now require precious time trying to recapture those thought processes to make any sense of them.

Yes, now I could kick myself. . .

. . . but as my grandfather, Mark Silverman used to say,
"Better late than never, but better never late."

I guess that could be applied here as well. All I can do is laugh, shake my head, and determine to move on in the RIGHT direction from here on out.

I did learn one other thing from the webinar, though. BCG is not the only genealogist credentialing body out there. The other one is The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, internationally recognized as ICAPGen.

Well, I guess that just gives me 
one more thought to chew on. . .

. . . until then, I guess I'll work on getting ORGANIZED!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Research Barrier Breakthroughs, No. 1, Part 3

The Case of Too Many Isaacs

Now that our Isaac Carter has been correctly identified as not being a Revolutionary War pensioner, does that mean that he never served?


“State troops and militia were not regarded as Continental service, even if the unit served as a part of a larger entity, such as the Southern army under Lincoln, Gates, or Green. . . . The official table of organization for a military force. . . made clear distinctions between Continental, state troops, and militia, even if they were serving together in a common cause.” (Preface)

With that knowledge, I turned to COLONIAL SOLDIERS OF THE SOUTH, 1732-1774, by Murtie June Clark (1983). This book contains a listing of all the states militias. I began looking for the muster roll for companies out of Craven County, NC. All together there were  thirteen (13) Field Officers and Captains of the Craven County, North Carolina Regiment:

1. Colonel Edward Griffith
2. Lieut. Colonel Daniel Shine
3. Major Hardy Bryan
4. Captain Lewis Bryan
5. Captain Thomas Graves
6. Captain Joseph Bryan
7. Captain John Shine
8. Captain Solomon Kew
9. Captain Abner Neal
10. Arthur Johnston
11. John Curruther
12. John Islar
13. Cassin Brinson

Within the Muster Roll of Captain Lewis Bryan’s Company, [Craven County, North Carolina,] October 25, 1754, I found Private Isaac Carter, Number 61. I thought it was strange, though, that none of the other names on the muster roll were associated with people living along the South Side of the Neuse River. And then I found a notation, stating: “[District: James MacKilwain’s to Marils Run and upwards to ye county line between Craven and Johnson Counties]” (p. 704). This was not the area where our Isaac Carter lived.

I kept on looking through the lists, trying to find perhaps another Isaac Carter who was listed with others of his neighborhood. In the Muster Roll of Captain Abner Neale’s Company, Craven County, North Carolina, October 4, 1754, I found some familiar names associated with our Isaac Carter:

96. Private Abel Carter
97. Private Jacob Copes
98. Private Peter George
99. Private John Carter

A notation states: [District: between the head of Slocomb’s Creek to the head of Turnagain Bay].

Abel Carter was our Isaac’s father, and John was Isaac’s oldest brother, and the George and Copes families intermarried with the Carters. This was the correct family group. While it appears that our Isaac did not serve in the militia, his father and brother did.

Even though the original information I had read in both Free African Americans of North Carolina and Virginia and The Black Experience in Revolutionary North Carolina proved to be incorrect, I came away from the investigation with four connections to the North Carolina State Militia, serving in the Revolutionary War. 

That brought great satisfaction 
to the amount of digging required 
to uncover the mystery in 
The Case of Too Many Isaacs.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Research Barrier Breakthroughs, No. 1, Part 2

The Case of Too Many Isaacs

Regimental Histories

Starting out with the reference in Jeffrey Crow’s The Black Experience in Revolutionary North Carolina that Isaac Carter of Craven County enlisted in 1777, was taken prisoner, and was discharged in 1780, I began looking for information on the 8th North Carolina Regiment. 

In all there were three regiments which had enlisted men from New Bern:

No. Companies
Districts Enlisted
2nd North Carolina
Fall 1775
Salisbury, Edenton,
New Bern
November 15, 1783
5th North Carolina
Spring 1776
New Bern, Edenton, Hillsborough
January 1, 1781
8th North Carolina
Spring 1776, Halifax
New Bern, Wilmington
June 1, 1779, Valley Forge, PA

The 7th, 8th and 9th Regiments were authorized on September 16, 1776,  assigned to the Southern Department of the Continental Army, and joined the Main Army during the spring of 1777. . . just in time for the march north to embark on the Philadelphia Campaign. 

Revolutionary War Pension 
and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files
The next place I looked was the Index of Revolutionary War Pension Applications, published by the National Genealogical Society, 1966. Three Isaac Carters were listed:

Isaac Carter, Mass., Priscilla, W1023
Isaac Carter, N.C. S8147
Isaac Carter, N.C., Charity, W4912
In order for a Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant to be granted, the applicant had to give an oral account of their residence and a recollection of their military service. The questions their testimony was required to satisfy were:

1. where they were born,
2. record of age,
3. where they were living when called into service,
4. how they were called into service: drafted, a substitute, and if a substitute for whom.

Then a witness gave a sworn statement, verifying that this was indeed the man.

The first Isaac Carter, Mass. W1023, was immediately eliminated because his residence at the time of enlistment was in Massachusetts.
The second Isaac Carter, N.C. S8147 was not our Isaac either. The following was taken from his original testimony:
"I was living in Cumberland County, North Carolina and remained there nearly three years after the Close of the War, then moved to South Carolina, Orangeburgh District and lived there until the spring of 1810, then moved to the State of Mississippi (then a territory), Pike county where I now live."

This Isaac Carter never lived in Craven County, North Carolina, so he was eliminated as being our Isaac.

The third Isaac Carter was deceased in 1843 when his widow, Charity Carter, appeared before Justice Jas Bridgus. In her testimony she states that she is the widow of. . .
". . . Isaac Carter who was a private soldier in Captain Welshes company of the 8th regiment of the continental line in the Revolutionary War and enlisted on the 1st of September 1777 for the term of three years, that he was taken prisoner on the 1st of June 1779 and discharged the 14th of February 1780. The said Isaac Carter being a citizen of the county of Gates and aforesaid state during his service in the revolutionary war. She further states that she was married to the said Isaac Carter in the county of Gates in the year 1781 in which county they continued to line until the year 1803 when they moved to the county of Edgecomb where they resided together as man and wife up to the time of the death of Isaac Carter which occurred the 26th of August 1829..."
This is what the actual document looks like:
HeritageQuest Online - Revolutionary War Print

This third Isaac Carter was the one whom both Heinegg and Crow identified as 
being of a Craven County household of 5 in 1790. 
Looking at the 1790 Census Index I found four (4) Isaac Carters:
1. Isaac Carter, Craven County, 5 Free Persons of Color
2. Isaac Carter, Gates County, white with 2 slaves
3. Isaac Carter, Hertford County, white without slaves
4. Isaac Carter, Hertford County, white with 23 slaves.

The first Isaac Carter is ours, but none of the military records for men serving in the North Carolina Continental Line were for our Isaac.

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census
The 1840 Census was the first to record whether the enumerated person was a Pensioner for Revolutionary or Military Services. 

There were 49 Isaac Carters enumerated in the United States in that year, and 7 of them resided in North Carolina.

Of the Isaac Carters recorded in the 1790 Census, only one Isaac from Hertford County and our Isaac enumerated on the South Side of the Neuse River in Craven County are recorded among the 49 in 1840. 
You will see that the person who transcribed the enumeration made an error by recording his name as "Isaac Castin." Transcription errors are common, especially when dealing with  penmanship which is difficult to read. But this is the a copy of the 1840 enumeration of the 4th Isaac Carter listed above for the 1790 Census. I can identify him as the second Isaac from Hertford County because he was a white slave holder.

This Isaac Carter, although his name is transcribed as "Isaac Castin," is our Isaac. There are 6 Free Colored Persons living in the household along the South Side of the Neuse River, Craven County, NC; however, this Isaac is not recorded as a pensioner.

At this point I felt that perhaps our Isaac Carter never served in the Revolutionary War. . . or did he?

Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900, available at both HeritageQuest Online and Ancestry.com.