Category Archives: Life Writing Your Family History

A Fun Photo Discovery

A Fun Photo Discovery

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

I was able to date (my 2 x Great Grandmother’s) Lucy Adams Leighty’s dress from researching and presenting my program several times on “Contemporary Fashion through the Decades – How to Identify Our Ancestors’ Timelines  by What They Wore, When”.   I am learning the time periods of some of the historic styles by sight.

Here is Lucy Adams Leighty’s 1897 dress:

Lucy Adams dress 1Lucy Adams dress 2Lucy Adams dress 3Lucy Adams dress 4

My sisters and brother have been working on a 600+ pages family photograph book; Chris is creating the book, all of us donated photographs, two of us (Melodie and I)  are editing and doing genealogy research (as fast as we can) to fill in gaps, and I have been writing family stories about our ancestors based on research.  So much for waiting until I semi-retire someday and have more time to do all that!  🙂
Greg, our third cousin from Pennsylvania, has been invaluable in donating old family photographs and filling in family history.  We connected due to an Ancestry.com DNA test match.
If the “book” is ever published on paper, we would have to split it into 2 books.  The cost would be about $1 per page through the program that my sister is using.  We may just print one copy and give everyone else a DVD or electronic version.  What a great way to preserve family history.  The very last revision needed from me was to write a story to go with these photos.
My niece Andrea had done research on this dress for her college costuming history class.  She had surmised that Lucy made the special dress for her own wedding (in 1867).  This is not the correct style for that time period.  And Andrea had put in examples of 1890s dresses. 
Hint – don’t let preconceived notions of family stories detract you from the evidence, “i.e. “This must have been Gt Gt Grandma’s (1867) wedding dress.”  Keep your mind open to see the possibilities.  Look for clues and pieces of the puzzle that fit together.
While writing this history story last night, I discovered the fun photo discovery:
I was right – the dress is from 1897!  Lucy sewed the dress for her to wear as mother-of-the-bride at her daughter’s wedding!
Lucy Adams (probably) beautifully sewed this dress herself.  It’s style of fitted sleeves with a small puffed upper “leg of mutton” is from about 1897, when Lucy would have been age 60.  She married William Smith Leighty on March 29, 1867. They had five children in 20 years. Lucy and her husband were farmers in Morgan, Ohio.
Lucy may have worn a small bustle with the dress, as the back is longer by about an 1 1/2 inches.  It has a one-piece fitted bodice with hook and eye closure, and full skirt which was a little less full than the style (as a cost savings?)  The special fabric – a print of white flower sprigs on dark blue/black,  and the black lace collar, indicate that she made it for a special occasion, probably her daughter Annetta’s wedding.
One of Lucy’s children was our paternal Great Grandmother Annetta Leighty Jewison.  Annetta married Charles Oscar Jewison on February 17, 1897, in McDonough, Illinois. They had three children during their marriage, including our paternal grandmother Muriel Helen Jewison Ruthe.
Great Great Grandma Lucy would have used this as a Sunday dress afterward.
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Save Your Genealogy Research by Donating It

Save Your Genealogy Research by Donating It

Vicki’s note – a Family Tree Magazine article.  Their articles have lots of great resources for genealogists. 

I am including this posting as a reminder of an additional way to preserve your genealogy work.   Can’t get no respect or find a genealogy appreciator from your family to be an inheritor of your hard work?  Ask your local library.  Don’t forget about donating to Allen County Library of  Fort Wayne Indiana, (in previous posting.)  Or look on my Electronic Links and Genealogy Helps page/tab for the Genealogical Will for Preserving Family History form.

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Ask A Librarian: How to Donate Your Genealogy Research So It Doesn’t Get Thrown Out

Kids don’t want your genealogy research? Don’t let it get thrown away when you’re gone. Here’s how to donate your family history papers to a library.

 

Subscribe or to read the rest of this content.
Family Tree Magazine

Legacybox turns your outdated formats into digital

Vicki’s note – Maybe try this?

9-27-2017

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Legacybox turns your outdated formats into digital

Legacybox

“Getting the box back was such a delight! It felt like finding treasure.” -Blog: Design Mom

Legacybox

Legacybox turns your outdated formats into digital GOLD

Convert your home movies, videotapes, film reels, and pictures – including slides, negatives and prints – all to DVDs or thumb drive easily with Legacybox.

Legacybox was founded on the conviction to restore — to revalue what has been devalued. On the surface, we are about preserving outdated memories — tapes, film, photos, and audio — into digital keepsakes that are usable and safe for future generations. We are led by the desire to find simple, technology and design-driven ways to reconnect people with things that matter most, but are being lost or overlooked. Simply put, we help make memories matter.

Learn More

legacybox.com

 

Daily Life of Our Ancestors 150 Years Ago

Daily Life of Our Ancestors 150 Years Ago

Vicki’s note – a book that I ran across on Facebook – “The Lost Ways” by Claude Davis.  Even if you don’t appreciate the survivalist attitude, this quote from his Facebook ad is a good reminder of what our ancestors lived. This can help us to learn more about how they lived, and hopefully none of us will have to use their skills.

I learned a new term for survivalists – preppers.  It is always good to be prepared, and self-sufficient. There certainly have been enough natural and man-made disasters lately to be prepared to deal with.

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“The Crisis we should all prep for

is what folks 150 years ago called daily life:

…no electrical power, no refrigerators, no Internet, no computers, no TV, no hyperactive law enforcement, and no Safeway or Walmart.
They got things done or else we wouldn’t be here!

ribbon

Introducing ‘The Lost Ways’

Saving Our Forefathers’ Skills”

How to Search an Address in Ancestry.com

How to Search an Address in Ancestry.com

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

9-14-2017

The question was – how do I find more information about a house (in Beloit WI)?

I just now discovered how to do that searching in Ancestry.com (Library edition at the Library.)

Note that I did not put any names of people in, nor did I use ” quote” marks on the address.  I got thousands of results when putting the address in “Place your ancestor might have lived”.  It seems to bring up all of Beloit, even when putting in the house number  and street name.  So that does not work.

The same happens if you put the address in “Lived in” or “Any Event” and “Location”.

What does work is to click “Match all terms exactly” AND put the complete address in “Keyword” and click “Exact”.  I did not even capitalize the street correctly.  You can select the entire correct entry when the typing prompts auto fill choices.

Ancestry.com keyword

Here were the results I got, which were all from 1930 U S Federal Census, even though I chose “All categories”.  The fifth person’s name was a different house number on Highland Ave.  I’m not sure why it was included, or why I did not get more hits.  Probably not enough Beloit City Directories, etc. loaded onto Ancestry yet. But this gives you some more people’s names to trace back the history of a house in City Directories, etc.:

Results 1–5 of 5

Name:  Louisa Devine
Birth:  abt 1860 – Wisconsin
Residence:  1930 – Beloit, Beloit, Rock, Wisconsin, USA
Name:  Archie Devine
Birth:  abt 1896 – Wisconsin
Residence:  1930 – Beloit, Beloit, Rock, Wisconsin, USA
Name:  Archie Devine
Birth:  abt 1919 – Wisconsin
Residence:  1930 – Beloit, Beloit, Rock, Wisconsin, USA
Name:  Frank Devine
Birth:  abt 1921 – Wisconsin
Residence:  1930 – Beloit, Beloit, Rock, Wisconsin, USA
Name:  John L Briggs
Birth:  abt 1906 – Michigan
Residence:  1930 – Beloit, Beloit, Rock, Wisconsin, USA
Other places to look, and ask for the Librarians to help.  I keep getting to know our Beloit Local history better the more I help folks.:

Historic Wisconsin buildings : a survey in pioneer architecture, 1835-1870

Perrin, Richard W. E., 1909-
[Milwaukee, Wis.] : Milwaukee Public Museum, 1981. 1981

Location Call No. Status
 Beloit Adult Non-Fiction  720.9775 P428h  ON SHELF
 Beloit Adult Non-Fiction  720.9775 P428h  ON SHELF

BOOK1981.

Other relevant

Other relevant titles

entries 3-9

3

Architectural and historical intensive survey report : City of Beloit, Wisconsin

Sheboygan, Wis. : Legacy Architecure, Inc. ; 2016. 2016

Location Call No. Status
 Beloit Genealogy & Local History  GEN 720.9775 Architectural 2015-2016  REFERENCE
And
Beloit City Directories and old phone books at the Library
And
29 Early Beloit City Directories, Phone books, and history books that are digitized online at the Beloit Public Library Homepage: “Beloitlibrary.org”  > “Discover< investigate, Grow” > “Genealogy and Local History” >

Beloit Local History Digitization

And

In the indexes of the “Book of Beloit 1836 – 1936” and “Book of Beloit II 1936-1986”.

And

In the local history pamphlet file.

And

On the many Beloit area historic maps that are in our Library Local History/Genealogy collection.

 

Football and Family History

Football and Family History

Vicki’s note – Everything can be connected back to genealogy and researching your family’s history.  Anything that your ancestors experienced in their lives can help you to understand them.  History is always interesting.  The theories in this Family Tree magazine article seem plausible to me.  What do you think?

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The History of Tailgating

“September 2nd is National Tailgating Day. Tailgating is a widely loved pastime, but where exactly does the activity originate?

Even those that don’t love sports are often willing to take part in tailgating festivities. What’s not to love about sharing (lots of) food and fun with friends while enjoying a much larger sense of community? In fact, it’s actually reported that as many as 35% of tailgaters don’t attend the sporting event being held within the stadium. But where did this tradition of grilling out and celebrating in parking lots before the game get its start? Did our ancestors tailgate?

While investigating, we discovered that there are actually several theories. At its shortest, this activity goes back at least 100 years – while some suggest that the history is much deeper…”

Which of these theories seem the most plausible connection to tailgating?: 

“…has its roots in the bounty of falls harvest.”

It “…originated during the U.S.’s Civil War. …(at) …the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861, voyeurs… (went) …from DC to Manassas, Virginia. …with picnic baskets to watch and cheer on their “team”, Union or Confederate.”

“…a large number of fans…(went)…by train to a Yale football game in 1904. …they had made sure to bring food and beverages to the stadium prior to the start of the game.”

Do you have any favorite stories about your ancestors and sports?  What other autumn stories or Civil War stories have you found?

Where is the Book on My Family?

Where is the Book on My Family?

Find Your Family Online in Digital Books

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Find Your Family Online in Digital Books

 

… Here are the best places to look for digital books about genealogy.

Google Books

Launched in 2004 as “Google Print,” Google Books now contains over 25 million scanned book titles.

Internet Archive

The appropriately-named Internet Archive began in 1996 with the goal of archiving the Internet, but the project soon expanded into providing digital versions of other published works. … Most books are offered in several different formats, including DAISY files for the print-disabled.

HathiTrust Digital Library

HathiTrust (pronounced “haw tea”) is a partnership of several academic and research institutions offering a collection of over 15 million titles from libraries around the world. Books that are uncopyrightable (i.e., some government works) or in the public domain …

FamilySearch

The Family History Books collection at FamilySearch contains more than 325,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of family history libraries such as the Allen County Public Library and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. …

MyHeritage: Compilation of Published Sources

One of MyHeritage’s best-kept secrets is their repository of digitized books. All are free to access, and you don’t even need to log in with a free account! …  To learn more about the digital books at MyHeritage watch the free Legacy webinar – Book Matching Technology at MyHeritage.

…Genealogy Gophers

Despite the funny name, Genealogy Gophers offers access to more than 80,000 digitized “family histories, regional and local histories, genealogy magazines, how-to books, gazetteers, newsletters, and medieval histories.” … developed specifically for “identifying real people named in genealogy books.”…

 

Elizabeth O’Neal is a freelance writer, educator, and web developer. An avid genealogist for three decades, Elizabeth writes the blog My Descendant’s Ancestors, where she shares family stories, technology and methodology tips, and hosts the monthly “Genealogy Blog Party.”

On-line Name Indexes to County Histories And More

Vicki’s note – a very valuable resource that I just found on Facebook.com. Cathy L. O’Connor loves County History books as much as I do. Thank you Cathy.

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Cathy introduces her site –

“After discovering the value of every name indexes for, and being disappointed at the lack of free every name indexes available online, I began compiling and publishing my own.

This website was created to share my every name indexes with you so you can save valuable research time and easily locate your ancestors in those big old texts. I hope you find something here that helps you!

 

 

EveryNameIndex.com currently offers hundreds of free every name indexes covering 36 states.

To browse all the free indexes Click Here:

EveryNameIndex.com\

(Cathy also offers these multitude of other genealogy links:)

GENEALOGY Links

Here you will find lots of helpful genealogy links.  Many have assisted me in my personal genealogy research.  Some offer information, products, or services that may be of interest to you.  They are provided for your convenience.  I do not endorse or take responsiblity for the content, privacy practices, transactions, or other functions of these websites.

…..

Free Every Name Indexes for Old County Histories

 

Copyright 2007-2017. Cathy L. O’Connor. All rights reserved.

Website last updated on 01 May 2017.

Stateline Travelers Part 9 -A “Shack Beautiful” Cinderella Story and Me; The Very Modest Cottage

Stateline Travelers Part 9 –

A “Shack Beautiful” Cinderella Story and Me;

The Very Modest Cottage

July 9, 2017

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

Part of an On-going Series – Stateline Travelers

This Posting of the Stateline Travelers is the story that caused me to start this series about “people” moving across state lines, (and my series “Other Travelers”), in the first place.  Stateline Travelers Part 9 A “Shack Beautiful” Cinderella Story and Me; The Very Modest Cottage was only going to be one Post, but I realized it was linked to so much more.  The Posts in the Other Travelers Series are stories that are connected to me, but are other than stateline experiences.

If you remember, I have connections from south central Wisconsin (Walworth and Rock Counties) all the way down to central western Illinois (Winnebago, McHenry, and McDonough Counties).  The other Posts in the series have gotten us to the point where I can finally segue way into my connections to this little shack.  In this case, the “person” who moved across state lines is a building.  This particular building has a unique connection to me, and other people that I know.

Hint- studying a building’s history can tell you a lot about the people who are associated with the building. Did you know that you can do genealogy of a building, house, or place?

Patrons come to the Beloit Public Library all of the time to look up the history of their houses.  Sometimes it is to see who is haunting it!  Sometimes it is just to know more about the people who had resided in it before them, and to see how old it is.  We have some nice big maps and City Directories of Beloit throughout history.

Illinois Map of How to Get to Beardstown_thumb

 The Very Modest Cottage and Me

The cottage started its travels in Beardstown Illinois, which is along the Illinois River and about 38 miles north of my childhood Table Grove area farm home.  I grew up hearing “Beardstown”  in the local news and weather.  I will have to ask my Mom what events we attended there in my childhood.  I am remembering fish fry picnics there.  Even though we moved when I was 7, we visited my paternal grandmother many times per year in Table Grove.

In Sugar Creek Township, north of Elkhorn, there is a very modest cottage near where I live now .  The shack was moved from Beardstown (central) Illinois north across the stateline 200 miles to its new home and sixth life.

cottage

Tereasa had come across the shack while visiting her grandmother in Beardstown.  When Tereasa bought the shack, she did an extensive search for its history with countless interviews of locals, and the genealogy search of library and courthouse records to get accurate history.  She discovered 6 previous lives of her shack, and several previous moves!

“A Very Modest Cottage”, by Tereasa Surratt, is a beautiful book full of tales and photographs about the history, moving, remodeling, decorating, and transformation of a shack into a cozy, welcoming guest cottage in a new location.  It is inspiration for the methods, and a final keepsake, of how you can trace the history of your own house.  Her book tells the stories of two locations.

cottage book back

You can get a better feel for whom your ancestors were by discovering the places that they lived in and how local, national, and world events and history affected their life decisions and experiences.

I did that very thing, by reading the Morgan County, Ohio history “mug” book on our WHS Wisconsin Historical Society trip, to find out more about my elusive ancestor Thomas Campbell and his wife Mary Jane Adams.

On our WHS fieldtrip 2 years ago, I thought I had traced them back to Ireland.  The WHS librarian advised me to try a different family in the interest of time, as those names in Ireland would be too numerous to search effectively until I learned more.  He also knew that the Pennsylvania County that I was looking for had not been created yet.

Hint – ask the staff as you research at societies and libraries.

Of course the librarian was right. I have since found that it was a few more generations back to when that family had “crossed the pond” from Scotland to America.  I traced my relatives from Pennsylvania to Ohio where Thomas Campbell had a connection to the Underground Railroad.  (Read “Other Travelers Part 9 – The Underground Railroad and Me; My Ancestor Thomas Campbell was an Abolitionist!” posted on June 29, 2017).  Search “travelers“ to find the other Postings in my two series “Stateline Travelers”, and ”Other Travelers”.

As a librarian, reader, writer, photographer, and creative person, I just appreciate a beautiful book and Tereasa’s creativity and work.

cottage book front

The Beloit Public Library staff was so delighted with my copy of the book, that they purchased two copies – one for the Genealogy collection, and one to check out. It is a how to book on researching the genealogy of a building.

The modest 91/2″ X 7 1/2″ book of 175 pages reflects the 12ft x 12 ft 1920s shack, yet it is such a little gem of a book that you may want a copy for yourself.  $25 at:

www.averymodestcottage.com

or   www.sterlingpublishing.com

Yes, I do know Tereasa because she lives in the area near me – in the summer and weekends.  She and her husband David Hernandez are also stateline travelers – from their jobs at an Ad Agency in Chicago to their private “country resort”, Camp Wandawega.

cottage fabric

The Modest Cabin is one of their many resort residences that one can rent for a vacation get-away –   “private, vintage pair of cabins overlooks the lake and wetlands, nestled within the legendary Wandawega Lake Resort, aka Camp Wandawega.    Lake Wandawega  http://www.wandawega.com/

I am getting to know this whole area of Walworth County.  There are a lot of great historic stories that I will be posting here.  And it started with this gem.

 

Rural Cemetery Studies

Rural Cemetery Studies

7-3-2017

Vicki’s note – a quote I read from another on-line source that I found. I am including the entire addendum from the on-line book.  However, I could not find out who did the 2012 revision of this priceless 1970s publication.  My hat’s off to any and all (Find-a-grave, Boy Scout, etc.) volunteer photographers,  restorers, and researchers who find and preserve genealogical information for the rest of us.

I also love his quote about those ancestors, “…who dared to settle the prairie lands of western Illinois and raise their families.”

Read this just to know how lucky we are to have the Internet and computers to aid us in our research.

Hint – google on-line.  You may just find the very exact resource you need for the tiny area that you are researching.:

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RURAL CEMETERIES OF McDONOUGH COUNTY, ILLINOIS

VOLUME VII
NEW SALEM -ELDORADO
BY DUANE LESTER
GOOD HOPE, ILLINOIS
PRINTED BY
SCHUYLER –BROWN HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
AND
THE SCHUYLER JAIL MUSEUM

http://genmarker.com/McDonough/RuralCemVols/Vol07Rev.pdf :

” a monument is erected not because a person died, but because a person lived”

“ADDENDUM
Mr. Lester’s Magnum Opus is nothing short of monumental. It is not easy to gain access to many of these historic family burial sites. By the time of Mr. Lester’s survey (1970’s) numerous plots were long left abandoned, overgrown with trees and weeds and monuments under attack by weather, livestock, vandals, and property owners who did not care about the burial sites of McDonough County’s brave pioneers.
Thankfully, we now (2012) have laws to protect our county’s historical legacy and these final resting gardens.
I am in awe of Mr. Lester for his transcriptions of hard – to – read tombstones and his laborious typing of his 18 Volumes of the Rural Cemeteries of McDonough County. He did not have access to a computer. In addition to transcribing information from tombstones, he had to painstakingly access county records (e.g. 1840 county tax list), federal census records, and local newspapers requiring a great deal of time and effort.
As a genealogist in 2012, I have access to the internet with fast access to US Census
records, Family Search (records kept by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter – Day Saints) and numerous other legal documents, books, and family journals.
Mr. Lester used an old-fashioned key – strike, ribbon tape typewriter where mistakes
were hard to correct and appear as overstrikes. There are very few attesting to his skill as a typist.
What an US Census record will not contain are the names and dates of infants who died between census surveys. Mr. Lester’s tombstone records give names and dates of children, whose lives were brief, but would otherwise be lost to history without his efforts. Frequently, he provides names of brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers that allows for completion of family group sheets.
Another work of love for those who dared to settle the prairie lands of western Illinois and raise their families is being performed by Dr. A. Gil Belles. He has been able to install signs for each of these rural cemeteries and provide GPS (Global Positioning System) information making it easier for anyone wishing to visit a rural cemetery to help them actually find it.
Gil also works closely with Boy Scouts and other civic groups to help cleanup, clear brush and dead trees, locate buried tombstones, and restore stones. My revision of Mr. Lester’s document will provide information on all cemetery restoration projects.
Any changes made to Mr. Lester’s original work was done in blue color font. His maps were scanned and copied into the text and remain like his original work and are not subject to editing.
His text was transcribed using MS Word, enabling me to control font size and color. Retyping text also leaves room for typo errors. Mr. Lester’s rare typo errors are corrected but not displayed in blue. This MS Word document allows on -the – fly editing of any “Notes, Corrections, Additions, and Changes” found at the end of every cemetery. This was Mr. Lester’s intent to produce a working document and improve accuracy about the information on those buried.
I have retyped state abbreviations as they are now used (e.g. IL, instead of Ill.). On 1840 county tax lists I omitted cents (e.g. $140, instead of $140.00). The current MS Word font uses less space, thus, placing more text per line. This shrinks his documents and reduces pages. This , then, changes page numbering in each Table of Contents.
Cemetery locations are also found on the internet. See: McDonough County Illinois Cemeteries http://graveyards.com/graveyards/IL/McDonough