Friday, June 30, 2017

Animal Encounters: Pigs!

The notes for this undated snapshot state that this is "Opal* posing w/pigs Severy." 

[Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

Opal appeared in the 1910 U.S. Census as a resident of Kansas and in 1911 she was listed in the Boulder, Colorado, city directory living with her mother Rufina which gives us a cut-off date for the photo.

*Opal May Slater (1890-1973) is my grandfather Harry Alan Slater's sister and therefore my great-aunt.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

"Oh, l'amour, l'amour"

"On the train for Reno..."  Classic scene from Cukor's The Women (1939).  Longer, better version of the scene here.

Yesterday I came across a Porter/Biddle 1st cousin 3x's removed, Alma Belle (Porter) Keating Lorenzen Pipher (1890-1953) and the information I got from a newspaper concerning her final divorce:
Getting a divorce in Reno produced a memory trace--oh yes, that scene from The Women!
I assume Alma's divorce was not likely to be as glamorous or funny an experience as the movie's characters, but I can wish it was.  I wonder if she knew or thought about this movie, as it was a big deal at the time and was only released 5 years before her divorce.

I don't know if she drove there or took the train.  She was living in Downey (Los Angeles), California at the time.

I highly recommend this movie if you like that fashion period, and if you like funny women.  It's melodramatic, sexist, and racist (all the black women are maids) but it was a product of its time.  I rented it at Amazon for about $3 (unfortunately it doesn't come with Prime membership).

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gone for Soldiers: Samuel Avery (1790 - 1853), Soldier

Although it's clear that this paternal 3X great grandfather served in the South Carolina Militia during the War of 1812 (along with his brothers William and Thomas), I'm not sure what that service entailed.

[Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812;
The National Archives. Source: Fold3]

[Muster rolls of the soldiers of the War of 1812 : detached from the Militia of North Carolina in 1812 and 1814.]

It's getting late here in France and we're about to start dinner so I'm going to postpone further research into what Samuel did in the war until a later date.

By the way, the Charleston County Public Library's blog The Charleston Time Machine has a useful post about finding veterans of the War of 1812 in South Carolina.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"On September 1, 2017, FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services."

But they estimate the time when all of these microfilms "should be digitized by the end of  2020", which will be great if true! (This particular item, "Old and New Westmoreland," actually already is digitized and available online).

Noooo!  I just found out yesterday that Family Search is phasing out its microfilm distribution services:
The change is the result of significant progress made in FamilySearch’s microfilm digitization efforts and the obsolescence of microfilm technology.
• Online access to digital images of records allows FamilySearch to reach many more people, faster and more efficiently.
• FamilySearch is a global leader in historic records preservation and access, with billions of the world’s genealogical records in its collections.
• Over 1.5 million microfilms (ca. 1.5 billion images) have been digitized by FamilySearch, including the most requested collections based on microfilm loan records worldwide.
• The remaining microfilms should be digitized by the end of 2020, and all new records from its ongoing global efforts are already using digital camera equipment.
• Family history centers will continue to provide access to relevant technology, premium subscription services, and digital records, including restricted content not available at home.

I just ordered a few microfilms last week.  I guess it will be my last order.  I'm going to try not to get upset, and instead focus on what I already have (which is a lot), and spend time cleaning up my tree and working on research plans for the people I have on my tree.

"Old and New Westmoreland" digitized copies.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday Is for Mothers: Mary A. Grant (1881 - 1948)

In my biographical stories about Bernice Evangeline Grenfell I've touched on the estrangement between her and her mother.* Yesterday's post featuring the Grenfells on horseback--with Mary Grant Grenfell riding sidesaddle--reminded me that there's more about her to be shared.

[Mary A. Grant and William R. Grenfell, undated photo from my personal collection]

Among Mother's papers I found a letter from the father written two days before Mary's death from breast cancer which enclosed an obituary from the local paper.

[From my personal collection]

                                           Whitewood, So. Dak.
                                                       Jan. 15 - 1948
Dear Bernice and family: _ I rec'd your very
nice letter, and I guess it is just as well
you do not come, as it has turned cold to-day
and the weather man says a cold wave is
in prospect. Well, Mamma is still at
the hospital and has been in an ha oxygen
tent for a week. They have sent for
me twice, but she rallied each time.
It would be a blessing for her if she
would pass on and get out of her misery.
I don't understand why we have to
undergo so much pain but I guess
it is God's way of doing things. Well, all
is well between her and me. I freely
forgive and wrong she may have done
to me, said or anything she may have
aid, and will do my utmost to forget
any unpleasant incidents in our
married life and I believe that is
what the Saviour taught, to be kind,
forgiving and forbearing towards one
another. I bear no hard feelings
or ill will against her, for after all
she was my partner in life for
nearly half a century. Now, we must
part and I will be alone. I will never
be the same, and I fear it will be hard
for me to adjust myself to the new 
conditions. This little incident has
surely taken the money. It cost me
$2900 before I took her to Belle Fourche and
now it is costing me $35 per day, you
see, the oxygen costs me $1 per hour, and
she is getting it 24 hours per day.
Well, I am going to Deadwood in a
few minutes to meet Richard. I am
sure glad he is coming for he will
be a great comfort to me. I will let
you know by air mail if anything
happens. Good bye and God Bless you.
P.S. Was so sorry to hear about Junior. He was a
nice little boy when I saw him and
it surely was a great loss to us all I
know you feel the loss only as a parents
can. I do hope that Patricia will at least
partly fill the gap made by the loss.

From the letter it's clear that he was responding to a message from his daughter giving an excuse** for not returning to South Dakota to attend the death bed of a mother whose continuous mistreatment of her had been evident to the local doctor. It's also obvious that this is the first communication he's had with his daughter since long before her only child was killed in the final months of World War II.

[From my personal collection]

*Which you can read about in the footnotes to posts here and here.
**It sounds as if the reason may have been that she didn't want to leave me--I was about 8 months old at the time.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Celebrations: My Wedding Anniversary

A few minutes ago I happened to look at today's date and realized that it's the 51st anniversary of my marriage to Christine's father.

[From my personal collection]

From left to right, the parents who raised me: Harold D. Currey and Bernice E. Grenfell, me, George G. Hartley, and his parents Margaret A. Fister and George Hartley, Jr.

How time flies when you're having fun!

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Drive: Mr. & Mrs. Grenfell on Horseback

The couple in this photo dating from the early 20th century are the parents of Bernice E. Grenfell Currey (the mother who raised me): William Richard Grenfell (1879-1956) and Mary A. Grant (1881-1948).

[From my personal collection]

It was taken on the Centennial Valley (Lawrence County, South Dakota) property bought by his parents after they moved their family to the U.S. from Cornwall, England. The building in the background is indicated by the orange arrow in the 1951 photo below.

[From my personal collection]

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Free Saturday Night Legacy Family Tree Webinar: Dear MYRTLE and Russ Worthington present "Virtual Family Reunions: Super Easy, Super Fun"

Some great ideas if you can't travel to a family reunion in real life.  Have a virtual family reunion!

Dear MYRTLE and Russ Worthington presented "Virtual Family Reunions: Super Easy, Super Fun" on June 21, 2017:
DearMYRTLE & Cousin Russ demo how to set up a Google Hangout in 10 minutes and answer the following questions: 1. Must we use Google accounts? 2. What about advanced advertising? 3. Where to post the link to join the panel? 4. Where to embed the video before the event starts? 5. What if some members are in the same room, and provide remote access to the rest of the family? 6. What if our guest speaker is not in the same room as our family? 7. What equipment is required? 8. Where is the video archived? 9. Can we make the video private, unlisted or public?

1 hour 28 minutes.  Free to non-subscribers of Legacy Family Tree Webinars through June 28, 2017.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Helpful DNA Relationship Chart (Especially for AncestryDNA Users) - Shared cM Project Chart

Blaine Bettinger's shared cM chart available at the Autosomal DNA Statistics page of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki.  I use this all the time when I am analyzing my AncestryDNA matches.

Although AncestryDNA refuses to offer a chromosome browser, they do offer some helpful bits of information.  You can't see where you share DNA with any given cousin match, but you can see the total cM shared and how many segments shared.

A typical scenario: no tree, no chromosome browser, but at least I can see that Ancestry is confident of this match and it tells me how much DNA is estimated to be shared.  AncestryDNA estimated 4th cousin (avg 31 cM shared according to chart above), but it could be anything from a 1st cousin 2x's removed to a 4th cousin 1x's removed, but too much for a 5th cousin (unless there are other people you share that you don't know about).

This chart is very helpful to immediately determine a likely set of possible relationships.  I like that it includes both the average amount shared as well as includes the range of possible shared cM.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Night Free Webinar: Elissa Scalise Powell presents "Beating the Bushes: Using the GPS to Find Jacob Bush's Father"

One of my former teachers at the Boston University Online Genealogical Program, Elissa Scalise Powell, presents a another great webinar, "Beating the Bushes: Using the GPS to Find Jacob Bush's Father."
Eli Bush's grandfather was reported to be Daniel Bush, but was his father Jacob? Witness the research process unfold as land, probate, census, tax lists, and church records are correlated. Watch out for pitfalls such as different men with the same name and other red herrings.

Runs 1 hour 24 minutes.  Recorded June 20, 2017, and is free to non-subscribers through June 27, 2017.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"Mapsatilla" Was Probably "Mapsey Lilla"

Mapsatilla?  I don't even know where to begin with that.  No one by that name (beside this Mapsatilla) comes up on a search on Google or Bing search engines.  Maybe it is Massatilla?  1850 U.S. census, Madison County, Mississippi, population schedule, p. 143), dwelling 188, family 190, Mapsatilla Herrod; digital image, ( accessed 20 Jun 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 376.

My 3rd great grandmother Celestine Letiticia Herrod had a sister who was born about 1840 in (likely) Madison County, Mississippi, and her name has been very difficult to figure out.

M. L. Herrod married S. B. Barnes in Madison County, Mississippi.

She is found in the 1860 Census living with S. B. Barnes:

Mapsey L.  Those initials match the marriage index record.  1860 U.S. census, Madison County, Mississippi, population schedule, p. 895, dwelling 797, family 795, Mapsey L. Barnes; digital image, ( accessed 20 Jun 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 586.

And in 1870 she was living with Silas B. Barnes and 5 year old Narcissa (Bonus: Mom has a DNA cousin match at Ancestry to a descendant of this Narcissa, which was a very cool discovery the past week!):

Clearly says Mapsy.  A nickname, or her actual name?  1870 U.S. census, Madison County, Mississippi, population schedule, Police District No. 4, p. 73, dwelling 572, family 572, Mapsy Barnes; digital image, ( accessed 20 Jun 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 739.

She likely died sometime about 1877.

I have cast about looking for the origin of Mapsatilla or anyone else on the planet whose name is Mapsatilla, with no success.  So concentrating on the Mapsey name, I did a search for it in the US Censuses 1850-1880, and in general in that era using Ancestry.  I made an interesting discovery.

According to various census records and family trees there was a Mapsy/Mapsey Lillia/Lilla (Wethersbee or Witherspoon) Cotten (born abt 1804 in probably Barnwell County, South Carolina), married to Haley Cotten, living in Franklin County, Mississippi in 1830 (when my "Mapsatilla's parents--Barney Herrod and Susan Wells-- were living there), and by 1850 this Mapsy Lilla was living in Leake County, Mississippi (neighboring county to Madison County, and where some of the the Herrod and Wells people ended up.

Is this a relative?  A family friend?  What kind of name is this?  I need more research, but I think this is possibly the same name of my aunt "Mapsatilla."

Mapsy Cotton in Leake County, Mississippi in 1850.  1850 U.S. census, Leake County, Mississippi, population schedule, Beat 5, p. 80, dwelling 528, family 587, Mapsy Cotton; digital image, ( accessed 20 Jun 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 376.

Madison and Leake counties have been next to each other since their creation.
Image from the FamilySearch wiki on Mississippi.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Celebrations: Juneteenth

Earlier this year, thanks to information shared by her descendant Marco, I learned more about Mary Warren to whom Juneteenth was truly a day for her and her family to celebrate.

[“General Orders, No. 3,” Galveston Tri-Weekly News, June 20, 1865.
Texas Newspaper Collection, Briscoe Center for American History, UT Austin.]

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Celebrations: Father's Day - Harold D. Currey (1902 - 1981)

This picture of the father who raised was taken at my sister-in-law's house in La Jolla a few months before his murder in May of 1981. His wife of 58 years had died the previous October and he's wearing her favorite Navajo silver and turquoise pin in the form of a bug and has tucked the gros point glasses' case I made for her into his pocket.

[From my personal collection]

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Celebrations: Bernice Evangeline Grenfell's Birthday (1902 - 1980)

Today, June 17th, is the 115th anniversary of the birth of Bernice Evangeline Grenfell Currey, the mother who raised me. This photo from the Currey family album was taken in 1928.

[From my personal collection]

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 16, 2017

From the Probate Files: Feriby/Pheraby Sowell - Bertie County, North Carolina, 1814

Last week we looked at the administrator's bond and inventory of Feraby's estate but I postponed examination of the final settlement because the document is large and isn't available online as a single image.*

Affixed to the top of the page is this order from the court:

State of North Carolina}
Bertie County Court   } May Term 1814
                                   Ordered that Hardy
Freeman, Timothy Walton, William Jones and
Mills Jornagan or any three of them
audit & Settle the Accounts of James Ward
admn of Fereby Ward dec'd and that
they make return to next Court
           Test. Jas[?] Blunt[?]

[ North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts.]

The Estate of Pheriby Ward dec'd in account with James Ward administrator
1814                                                                                    1814
Feb.          To cash paid Clerk fees           £     18     0         Mar       By account Sale   £181 19   2½
                 To cash paid for keeping old}                                         By bal. due adm.      62 [damage]
                      Negro                               }     4    0    0         _________________________________
                 To my account against said  }
                 dec'd estate rendered            }   135   4    7
                 Comm allowed admn                 4                                                                                         
                                                                  £144  9    7                                                          £144  9    7

                 To bal. due admin.                £ 62   10   4½
State of North Carolina}
       Bertie County     } In Pursuant to the annexed order from the Worshipful the County Court of Bertie to us directed We the undersigned have audited and Stated the accounts of James Ward admn. of Pheraby Ward dec'd and find a balance due the administrator of Sixty two pounds ten shillings and four pence half penny as above stated which is respectfully Submitted to your Worships approbation Given under our honor
                                                                                  Hardy Freeman
                                                                                  Timo. Walton
                                                                                  Wm. Jones
                                                                                   Mills Jernigan

You may be wondering why the amounts are mentioned denoted in pounds/shillings/pence but apparently the reference isn't to the British pound sterling but a carryover of the North Carolina pound. Here's the best explanation I've found.

*Here's a scan of the reverse of the entire document.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Limited Time Free Webinar: "How Harry Potter Can Teach You About DNA" by Blaine Bettinger

Another great DNA webinar from Blaine Bettinger, "How Harry Potter Can Teach You About DNA," is available at Legacy Family Tree Webinars (free to non-subscribers through June 21, 2017):
Pop culture contains well-known family trees that genealogists can utilize to get younger generations interested in genealogy.  These family trees also contain relationships that can be utilized  to teach genealogists of all ages about genetic genealogy.  For example, the family tree in Harry Potter - one of the most widely recognized pop culture family trees - can be used to educate genealogists about Y-DNA, mtDNA, and atDNA.

Runs 1 hour 31 minutes.

Marc back in the his Harry Potter days.  This was likely taken when we saw "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007), although "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004) is the best one.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Finding a Hole in One of Bonnie's Brick Walls

Information Mary Agnes Lynch, one of Bonnie's maternal great great grandmothers, has been in short supply. The family story is that she was born in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland, but nothing further was known about her parents.

Fortunately her obituary confirmed the date and place of her death but her name didn't appear on the death index or a death certificate. State-level registration began in 1900, six years before her death so where could the records be?

[The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, 1 July 1906, page 6. Source:]

Using her date of death I was able to locate her death certificate indexed as Mrs. Mary E. O. Conner.
Now that we know her parents' names maybe we can find out more about her heritage.

[ Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: Indiana State Board of Health. Death Certificates, 1900–2011.
Microfilm. Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.]

This branch of Bonnie's family was Protestant which may make it harder to find out more about them.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tip: Go Back and Check Any Locations You Added to People on Ancestry

Great to always take a gander at what is new and exciting over at Ancestry.

Ancestry has a Recently Added and Updated Collections section.

Occasionally they'll post one of the US Federal Censuses as being new or updated, and now that I'm combing through my tree I'm seeing that they do indeed correct previous indexing.

Ancestry has had the 1840 Census scanned and indexed for many years now, but I think they are continually improving the indexing.

For example, I added a location in Illinois for a likely cousin, Catherine (Patterson) Bushart, in the 1900 Census:
I think I added this location a few years ago.  The location was generated by the indexing at Ancestry, and apparently I didn't actually look at the census itself.  Bad genealogist, bad, because look at the next picture...

Look at what the actual image of the census says:
Yeah, that says Marrowbone Township in Moultrie County, Illinois.  Not Bethany village (although the enumeration district description is 0103: "Marrowbone Township, including Bethany Village"). ETA And look, there is Bethany Village written clearly below, showing yet another error on my part.  Sometimes I really get in my own way.

And even still, the index has now been updated to reflect the place "Marrowbone, Moultrie, Illinois", not even Marrowbone Township.

Thankfully Google still maps this accurately, but if there is a township AND town/village with the same name (but not in the same county) then the mapping functions for Google and Legacy can get confused.

The lesson I take from this is to look at what the census image says, not what the indexed entry says (that can change).

The 1900 Census seems especially prone to this kind of data entry error.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wedding Day: Jane J. O'Brien (1876 - 1974) and Roy O'Connor Trainer (1873 - 1948)

While I'm visiting her here in France I've been looking at what can be learned about my best friend Bonnie's ancestors using Since several generations of her mother's lineage lived in Fort Worth, Indiana, there's quite a bit, starting with this report of the marriage of her grandparents which took place on August 19, 1902.

[20 Aug 1902, Page 5 - Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel at]

Although her mother's family passed down lots of photos, stories, mementos and even a genealogical scrapbook created by her Aunt Janette, this clipping had quite a few details about that long-ago day that were new to Bonnie

Here's a photo of Fort Wayne's Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception where the ceremony took place. The priest who married the couple was Father William D. Sullivan who had just been ordained the previous May.

[Fort Wayne Indiana~Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception~Catholic Church~1907.

There must have been pictures of the wedding party in the family's collection, but none seem to have made their way to France. In their place here's a portrait of Jennie taken about 1900 followed by the 1902 city directory entry for the law firm she had worked for.

[Courtesy of Bonnie Groves Poppy]

[Fort Wayne, Indiana, city directory by R.L. Polk & Co.1902. Source:]

There doesn't appear to be an available picture of Roy as a young man however I did find an earlier photo of the factory where he worked.

[From c.1890 Fort Wayne (Packard) Organ Factory catalog.

From the description of her attire as "a costume of tan silk mull, over turquoise silk taffeta" it's clear that Jennie didn't wear a typical white wedding dress. And the description of her hat as "a large white beaver, with ostrich plumes and turquoise velvet trimmings" makes me hope that a wedding photo is forthcoming!

I imagine Jennie's dress would have had the same general lines as this 1902 wedding dress worn by a bride in Montana.

[The Montana Historical Society Collection Wedding Dresses Pinterest Board]

As for the fashionable hat shapes in 1902 here are some Easter bonnets.

[The Delineator "Pretty Hats for Easter" 1902 from Pinterest]

However we should keep in mind that Jennie's large hat was described as white beaver which means it was furry (whether real or artificial material is unclear) This black beaver hat (from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and described as early 20th century and probably later than 1902) shows the texture of the fur contrasted with ostrich feathers.

[Woman's Hat, Label Strawbridge & Clothier, Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Emily W. Cunningham]

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.