Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Drive: Trainer

My best friend's maternal grandfather Roy O'Connor Trainer (1873-1948) is the passenger in this undated photo, almost certainly taken in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He and the unidentified driver appear to be trapped in their vehicle by the two parlor organs strapped to its sides. 

[Courtesy of Bonnie Poppe]

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Night Show: FREE WEBINAR RECORDING – Migration Patterns East of the Mississippi Prior to 1860

These limited-time free webinars from the Legacy Family Tree Webinar website have just come on my radar in the past few weeks, and I like it!  Just up my ancestors' alleys.

Mary Hill presents "Migration Patterns East of the Mississippi Prior to 1860" (available for free until June 3, 2015).

Hat tip to Geneabloggers.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Family Friday: Currey

Taken in the back lot of their Encanto home, this snapshot shows the Currey family (Harold, Bernice and Junior) who look like they were having fun on that summer day!

Although they had chickens, ducks and a cow during the Depression, the donkey was borrowed from a neighbor.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

X-Chromosome Matches at Family Tree DNA (webinar)

From Blaine Bettinger's The Genetic Genealogist (great blog BTW)

I'm still confused by X-chromosome matches.  I feel that I should be using that information but I have yet to figure out how.  It is more complicated that the Y-DNA results.  Women really are more complicated than men!

Here is a 3-part webinar by Elise Friedman with some explanation (this is for those with accounts at FamilyTreeDNA):

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Working on Wednesday: Obediah Willcox (1724 - 1810), Town Clerk, Selectman, Justice of the Peace, Rebel

This paternal fifth great grandfather left his native Connecticut for Gilsum in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, in 1764,  fifteen years after his marriage to Sarah Talcott.* That same year he acted as clerk to the Proprietors and later supported the incorporation of the town of Surry**, signing his name to a petition for the creation of the new town to the west of Gilsum dated July 4, 1768. He was Surry's first town clerk, first town treasurer, served as a selectman for a number of years between 1769 and 1788. He was also a Justice of the Peace for Cheshire County in 1776.

Internet Archive, original source: University of New Hampshire Library]

In the Spring of 1776, 52-year old Obediah was one of the signers of the Association Test which called on all males over the age of 21 residing in New Hampshire to declare their willingness to take up arms against "the Hostile Attempts of the British Fleets and Armies." We don't know if he ever served in a military unit but his signature on that document alone is enough to qualify my daughter and me for membership in the Daughters of the Revolution, if we were so inclined.

Obediah continued to live in Surry--his name appears as head of household in the 1790 and 1800 U.S. Census records. He died there*** on February 20, 1810, and is buried in the Surry Village Cemetery next to his wife Sarah, who had died the year before.

The inventory of his estate is still in existence and among his possessions are listed a number of books, mostly medical tomes, and "one Set of Instruments to pull teeth." There is no evidence that Obediah ever formally trained as a doctor but it looks as if he may have practiced medicine and dentistry in Surry.
["New Hampshire, County Probate Estate Files, 1769-1936," images, FamilySearch (,384131401 : accessed 27 Apr 2014),
Cheshire > Case no W194-W264 1808-1814 > image 1010 of 1554.]

*Obediah and Sarah's daughter Lydia Willcox married Benjamin Porter whose great great granddaughter Letta Estella Porter Warren Williams is my paternal grandmother.
**The petition was granted and Surry was incorporated in 1769.
***Without having made a will.
© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On the Web and at Ancestry: New Bedford, Massachusetts, Whaling Crew Lists Index, 1809-1927

"The voyage of the Pequod" by Everett Henry (1893–1961) -
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
I'm gearing up to study Moby Dick (1851) with my 13-year-old, and what do you know, I just discovered that the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Ancestry have a database of New Bedford whaling crew lists that I can use as a tie-in (New Bedford is one of the locations in the book).

"History of New Bedford : and its vicinity, 1602-1892" is available at Ancestry as well as HathiTrust.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Fantastic Find: The Forgotten Plague

This recent American Experience documentary about tuberculosis, or consumption as it used to be called, gives the history of the disease and its treatment in the United States.

I hadn't realized that an estimated one in seven people who ever lived died of tuberculosis. While I'm not aware of any of my direct ancestors who died of it, I know that there were collateral relatives who succumbed to the disease.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Is for Mothers: Gold Star Lapel Pin

Now known collectively as Gold Star Survivors, the loss suffered by the mothers, wives and other family members of our fallen service members has been symbolized by a gold star since World War I.
"The Gold Star Lapel Pin was established by Act of Congress (Pub. L. 80-306) on August 1, 1947 to identify widows, parents and next of kin of service members killed in certain operations defined by the law. While enacted after WW II, the award authority is retroactive to WW I, and includes most subsequent conflicts."
I know Mother received one, though I don't ever remember seeing her wearing it. Her grief was private.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Memento Mori: Memorial Day

Harold "Hal" Delbert Currey, Jr. (1923-1945) Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps. The co-pilot of a B-29 Superfortress based at North Field on Guam that was downed by enemy antiaircraft fire during a firebombing raid over Tokyo, his body remained unidentified for years after the war. He is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii

[From my personal collection]

[Rainbow over the National Cemetery of the Pacific. Photo U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs]

John "Jack" William Slater (1923-1944) Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps. The co-pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress based at Great Ashfield in Suffolk, England, that was badly damaged during a bombing raid on the Luftwaffe at Merignac Airfield in Bordeaux, and forced to make an emergency landing in the Bay of Biscay. Jack survived the landing but became separated from the rest of the crew. His body was found later and he is buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupré, Liege, Belgium.
[Courtesy of Olive Kennedy]

[The entrance to Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium. Photo American Battle Monuments Commission]

I know that Harold and Bernice Currey, the parents who raised me, never visited their only son's grave.* And as far as I know, my maternal grandparents Harry and Anna Slater never went to Belgium to see Jack's grave either.

*When, after those years of uncertainty, the news arrived that Junior's body had been identified, Hawaii was chosen as his final resting place because Dad told Mother, "If you bring him here, you will have to bury me next to him."

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Drive: Currey

Eighty-nine years ago the extended Currey family went camping in Mexico with some friends.

[All from Currey photograph album in my private collection.]

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fantastic Find, Saturday Night Limited Time FREE Webinar Edition: Judy Russell presents "Martha Benshura – Enemy Alien"

Judy Russell demonstrates why knowing the law can lead to some really amazing genealogical finds at the National Archives and various state agencies.

Hat tip Geneabloggers

Note: The video is only free through May 27th (next Wednesday)

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Family Friday - Genea-Envy Edition: Fitzgerald/Leonard/O'Brien/O'Connor/Trainer

Not only does my best friend have some enviable records about several of her paternal ancestors, she also has the benefit of a family scrapbook lovingly created by her Aunt Janette* filled with genealogical treasures.

[Courtesy of Bonnie Poppe]

(I'm sure we all wish we could find something like this about our own families.)

*Her mother's sister, Josephine Janette Trainer (1904-1980)

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Speedy, the 150+ Year Old Galapagos Tortoise, and Some Perspective on Time

Speedy, the San Diego Zoo's oldest animal (about 150 years old in 2011)

A few years ago, while visiting the San Diego Zoo's galapagos tortoise exhibit, I read on the placard that Speedy was over 150 years old.  I had heard about tortoises living a very long time before, but for the first time I realized that Speedy was alive when the American Civil War was raging.  People who were born in the late 18th and 19th centuries could have seen him.

All of those ancestors of mine who were alive in that time period, a small sample including Eli Matthews, Susan Hanon, Mary Henderson, and Jesse Webb (see below), a time that might as well have been 1,000 years ago in my perspective, their lives overlapped this creature's lifespan.
Speedy's contemporary, my 2rd great grandfather Jesse David Webb (1860-1935), courtesy of Olive Kennedy.

Speedy has outlived every single person who was born before and during the Civil War.  The oldest Civil War veteran, Albert Woolson, died in 1956, at a mere 109 years.
Albert Woolson, from Wikipedia

As of now only about 3 people are verified to have even been born in the 1899.  Everyone else was born in the 1900s and after.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Working on Wednesday: James Rossell (About 1727 - After 1780), Wheelwright

As far as we know from the few existing records we have, this maternal sixth great grandfather lived his whole life in Northampton Township in Burlington County, West New Jersey.
[New England, New York, New Jersey and Pensilvania. By H. Moll, Geographer. (Printed and sold by Tho: Bowles next ye Chapter House in St. Pauls Church Yard, & Ino: Bowles at ye Black Horse in Cornhill, 1736?) Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

His occupation is listed on the marriage license granted on April 24, 1745, by Charles Read, secretary to Governor Lewis Morris which named "James Rosell of the Township of Northampton County of Burlington Wheelwright of the one part & Elizabeth Alcott of the same place Spinster of the other party."
[Original data: New Jersey State Archives.]

Now a casual glance at the record above might lead a modern person to see his occupation as Whoolwright. That's because it was written in the old fashioned Secretary's Hand in which the o's and e's look very alike when written in a word.

Here's a video of the wheelwright's shop in Colonial Williamsburg and to learn more about the craft the Colonial American Digressions blog has a very informative post about it here.

James and Elizabeth's daughter Hope Rossell married Caleb Gaskill whose granddaughter Catherine Gaskill married Jessie Tomlinson.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

School Days: Slater

In this early 20th century class photo taken in Greenwood County, Kansas, my maternal grandfather Harry Allen Slater is the guy with the pipe in the back row; his sister Opal May is the girl in the middle of the second row who's wearing a striped tie. 
[Courtesy of Olive Kennedy]

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Do You Have a Music Theme When You Are Doing Research?

Ace Ventura is looking for a championship ring with a missing stone in it.

I look for names (page by tedious page) in probate records on FamilySearch.  It seems more fun when I imagine the process as a montage in a wacky movie.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Fantastic Find: Using FamilySearch for Civil War Records

If you have American Civil War ancestors this blog post from FamilySearch should make your Bull Run.

The organization for this one page is amazing.  It's all in one place!

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday Is for Mothers: Anna Wildberger (About 1709 - After 1765)

At little Anna Wildberger's baptism on February 24, 1709, in Neunkirch, a medieval town in the Swiss Canton of Schaffhausen,* her godparents Philipp Waldvogel and Barbara Pfister probably never imagined that their godchild would end up in York County, Pennsylvania.
[Staatsarchiv Schaffhausen, added to an profile by Jeffrey Bernstein]

[Carte de Suisse ou sont les Cantons de Zurich, Berne, Lucerne, Uri, Schwitz, Underwald, Zug, Glaris, Basle, Fribourg, Soleurre, Schaffouse et Appenzel, les Alliez quisont la Ville de Bienne, l'Abbe de la Ville de S. Gal, Grise, de Cadee et des Dix Droitures, le Pays de Valais, l'Eveche de Basle, Mulhausen, Neuchatel et Geneve. Dressee sur les memoires de Mr. Merveilleux, Coner. Secr. Interprete de S.M.T.C. aux Grisons par Guillaume delIsle, Prem. Geographe du Roy de l'Academie Rle. des Sciences. A Paris, chez l'Auteur sur le Quay l'Horloge avec Privilege, Aout 1713. Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

But this maternal sixth great grandmother did just that, after marrying Hans Segrist (from Rafz**) in Neunkirch on June 2, 1731 and bearing him at least four children*** over the next dozen years.
[Staatsarchiv Schaffhausen, added to an profile by Jeffrey Bernstein]

The family's emigration record from Rafz dated March 21, 1744, gives us an insight into what led them to leave their homeland and seek a better life in the new world.
[Staatsarchiv Zurich, added to an profile by Jeffrey Bernstein]

A transcription of that document reads:
Hans Sigerest, son of Hans Jorlis, born 1705. Anna Wildberger, from Neunkirch, his wife, 1709. NB: This man has had respectable means, but has been a poor manager, and as a result could not for long have kept up. Therefore he was also ill-provided at his departure. Children: Hans Jacob, 1731. Franz, 1738. Anna, 1740. Susanna, 1742.
According to The Five Sisters: A Sechrist Heritage, Hans, his wife Anna and children: Hans Jacob, Franz, Anna, Susanna and Mary arrived in Philadelphia from Rotterdam via Cowes on the ship Brotherhood on November 3, 1750, confirmed by a passenger list with his name and mark. (Anna gave birth to their daughter Mary during the voyage.)

[Pennsylvania German pioneers; a publication of the original lists of arrivals in the port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808, By: Strassburger, Ralph Beaver, 1883-1959. Published: (1934) Source: Hathi Trust Digital Library, Original, University of Michigan]

[New York And Pennsylvania. (to accompany) Atlas Minimus or a New Set of Pocket Maps of the Several Empires, Kingdoms and States of the Known World, with Historical Extracts relative to each. Drawn and Engraved by J. Gibson from the Best Authorities, Revis'd, Corrected and Improv'd by Eman: Bowen Geographer to His Majesty. Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

Hans (John), Anna and their family settled in York County, Pennsylvania, where two more daughters were born and where, sometime before May 29, 1765, John died without leaving a will and Anna, as his widow and acting as administratrix, filled a petition regarding the division of the money remaining in the estate, naming his two sons and five daughters. Her daughter Anna is named together with her husband Francis Grof.

Apparently 50 acres of land in the estate was not considered not part of the marriage settlement and the oldest son Jacob filed a separate petition with the Court on behalf of himself and his siblings.
["Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994," images, FamilySearch (,268508701 : accessed 21 April 2015), York - Orphans' Court dockets 1749-1781 vol A-D - image 204 of 593; county courthouses, Pennsylvania.]

This document is the last record we have of Anna. So far no date of death or place of burial has surfaced for either Anna or her husband.

*Canton Schaffhausen is the northernmost part of Switzerland surrounded on three sides by Germany. Almost the entire canton is located on the north bank of the Rhine River
**Rafz is located in the northwest part of the Canton of Zurich.
***My descent is through their oldest surviving daughter, also named Anna who married Francis Grof/Groves.
****It's on the fifth line from the top on the last page above.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Drive: Thomas/Grenfell/Currey

The grandma being driven around in this awesome car was Grace Thomas Grenfell Stanton, the Welsh-born grandmother of Bernice Evangeline Grenfell Currey, the mother who raised me (and is the driver here). 
[From Currey photograph album in my private collection.]

Although the caption to this photo refers to the "new piercearrow" it actually looks like a 1927 Model 80 to me. Bought while Harold Currey was working at the plating shop, he was able to buy a second car (and other things too) because he stayed employed during the entire Great Depression.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

GEDmatch is Back Up!

After being down at least a week, GEDmatch is back up and running!  Yay!

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Family Friday: Slater

Although everyone in this happy foursome is named at the bottom, the only child I recognize is my birth mother, Alta Mae Slater, on the right. Most likely this was taken in Niwot, Colorado, in the early 1920s.

[Courtesy of Olive Kennedy]

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Peritoneal Dialysis

"Girl Lives 54 Days After Kidney Failure," Omaha World Herald, Friday, June 20, 1958, newspaper archives ( : accessed 14 May 2015), col 3, citing online p 49.
I am officially in kidney failure and am preparing for peritoneal dialysis (PD).  Hopefully I'll be up and running on it by the end of the month.

A common dialysis method (the other is hemodialysis), PD is only a relatively new way to prolong life after the kidneys have failed.  In 1958 it seems it was still cutting edge.

PD as it presented today:

Longer video here.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Working on Wednesday: Richard Raymond/Rayment (About 1602 - 1692), Mariner

In his entry in The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to N.E. 1620-1633, Vols. I-III* this paternal eighth great grandfather's occupation is described as "fisherman, coastal trader." Documents of the time refer to him as a mariner.

We don't know where he was born in England or what his history was before he arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631, settling in Salem,** but he was able to sign his name when he became of freeman of that place in 1634.***
[By John Smith of Jamestown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Perley, S. (1924-28). The history of Salem, Massachusetts. Salem, Mass.: S. Perley.]

In the Salem land grand of 1636 Richard received at least 60 acres of land (and perhaps as much as 180) and later in the year was one of eight men who received half an acre at Winter Harbor "for fishing trade, & to build upon." Eight years later in 1654 he was granted another 100 acres of upland and 10 acres of meadow, and in 1657 he had two cows in the town herd.

Richard sold a one-quarter interest in the ketch Hopewell of Salem for a year and a day to Walter Price on August 27, 1660. Two years later he and his wife Judith**** sold several acres of salt marsh to another Salem neighbor, followed by the sale of his dwelling house with some land on October 13, 1662, to Oliver Mannering***** who had married their daughter Hannah in about 1660 and the couple moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, buying a house and land there two weeks later.

However Richard and Judith didn't remain in Norwalk for long and soon moved to Saybrook where in 1668 when Richard deeded two more acres in Salem to his son-in-law, he was described as "Richard Rayment late of Salem now of Saybrooke at Coneticotts river's mouth."

Richard died in Saybrook on May 12, 1692, at 90 years of age. His place of burial is unknown.

Richard and Judith had nine children, six boys and three girls. I trace my descent from their daughter Hannah.

*Beginning on page 1563. Most of the information here comes from that source via ($)
**Originally founded as a fishing village in 1626.
***In various records he spelled his surname ending in a "d" or a "t".
****They were married in Salem in about 1635. Her surname is unknown.
*****Or Manwaring.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fantastic Find: Iowa Digital Library presents: Iowa Counties Historic Atlases

This is a rich collection of Iowa county atlases. Some types of information available in these little treasures are images of prominent citizens, land ownership maps, directories, and advertisements.

An example of some citizens of Black Hawk County, c. 1910.  Break out the 1910 US Census and you can match picture to name. Note that some of the portraits are of people who died decades before.
Citizens of Cedar Falls City and Township, p. 150, from Atlas of Black Hawk County, Iowa 

For anyone with ancestors in Iowa.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Book Shelf: The Development and Growth of City Directories

[Source: Google Books. Original from the New York Public Library]

The foreword of this 1913 publication shows us the scope of the author's ambitions--the whole world!

[Source: Google Books. Original from the New York Public Library]

Even though it's over a century old, I think this can be a useful guide to city directories up to that time. You can find the free Google book here.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.