16 February 2015

#RootsTech 2015

Wow! An amazing conference with so much to see and do and be a part of!

I hadn't planned on attending or checking out any of the Innovator's Showdown sessions as I had already ear-marked some of that time for other sessions. But, after the opening keynote session with Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager - which was really awesome - my genealogy buddy and roommate said, let's hang out and see what the final four have done.

So, we did!

And I'm glad we did. All of the four finalists were really innovative and right on the edge of what is currently happening in the genealogy community. You can see their presentations here:  Innovator Showdown

Story Worth, the one that took home the big prize, has a great concept and one that is ready to go right now. I can see that one taking off in a big way, if it already hasn't. Great idea to help those of us who have not interviewed or recorded our older generation as of yet. And wonderful way to set up prompts to get the responses/stories that you want. I don't know if that will work with my family yet as I no longer have many older relatives... but I'll think about it!

However, the second place group, ArgusSearch? That's the one I want to see developed. I tend to approach my family history more from a research point of view that the story point of view. And this product/application is just the thing! I really hope they get this off the ground and others jump on board.  

Here's the scoop: their product can 'read' script... you know... handwriting... and search it! And then present it to you in results! Without a middle party doing the indexing! I mean, how awesome is that? Haven't we all been struggling with trying to find our ancestor's records in handwritten documents??? How many times have you enlarged or changed the color or turned it around to see if you can read it any better? How many mistakes have you found in indexed records of some of the very same documents? THIS is ground-breaking!

I really think the only reason they did not win first prize is because their presentation was not very polished. English is not their first language and it showed. BUT their product is brilliant!

Here is the URL for their website:  ArgusSearch

Overall, the conference was incredible.  I'm glad I got to be a part of it this year!

I missed meeting many of my online genealogy friends... so until next time, happy researching!

#RootsTech #InnovatorShowdown #genealogy #familyhistory 

12 February 2014

Lost Family Treasure

Folded and kept tucked away in the family prayer book, not bigger than the size of his pockets, his marriage certificate was a precious document that reminded him of his commitment to his wife, his family and his community. In 1838, Francis Cohoe was a member of the Society of Friends in Norwich, Ontario, Canada. They were a tight-knit community and members married during their Monthly Meetings after two months of announcing their intentions. 

From the history of the area, we learn that in 1809 Peter Lossing, a member of the Society of Friends from Dutchess County, New York, visited Norwich Township, Canada. In June, 1810, Lossing, with his brother-in-law, Peter DeLong, purchased 15,000 acres of land in this area. That autumn, Lossing brought his family to Upper Canada and early in 1811 settled in Norwich Township. The DeLong family and nine others, principally from Dutchess County, joined Lossing the same year and by 1820, an additional group of about 50 had settled with the tract. Many were Quakers and a frame meeting house, planned in 1812, was erected in 1817. These resourceful pioneers founded one of the most successful Quaker communities in Upper Canada.

The marriage certificate itself is a carefully handwritten document typical of the Society of Friends. It states their names, places of residence, date of their marriage and their wedding vows.

It is a large document, measuring about 14 by 20 inches, parchment, and written in brown ink.. possibly black in 1838. One can see the marks of the folds quite easily.

However, the most amazing thing about this certificate is that both Francis Cohoe and Elizabeth Willson, his wife... signed it... in 1838.

Among the witness signatures were members of the above mentioned Peter Lossing's family and other prominent pioneers of the Norwich Community.

From earlier research, the date was known and documented in the records of the Society of Friends. These very detailed records of their monthly meetings have been indexed and are available in various repositories. Finding or even looking for this document never crossed my mind.

Having been discovered behind some yarn art in 2002 by a distant relative in Canada, it came into my possession in 2009 during a trip to Canada for research. A long and serendipitous route for a piece of Family History to survive, yet alone be in good condition. Francis Cohoe evidently treasured this document and I am lucky that it is now on my wall, carefully preserved for generations to come.

--written originally in the class exercise at SLIG 2014--

13 September 2013

Some Thoughts about Who Do You Think You Are?

I like these shows. I really do. And here's why. They are entertaining yet informative, and creates some (maybe a lot of) interest in our field.

Like the Kelly Clarkson episode. A lot of criticism was tossed about on how could she NOT know about Andersonville. Well, I vaguely remember a little bit of it from my history books, but not really anything substantive. 

And it didn't hit home until I found an ancestor who died there. See my blog post on that below.

And until Kelly Clarkson actually went there and the history of the place was explained in vivid detail... I was still somewhat in the dark. I guess I'm more of a visual learner than I thought! NOW, I know. And it makes my own history come alive.  

Chris O'Donnell's episode was amazing. How we ALL wish we had that kind of paper trail and historical memorabilia to enhance our stories. And to know that his ancestor was there in 1812 for that particular battle. Wow. 

Again, visual learning at work. I can see a couple of more field trips in my plans.

Trisha Yearwood's episode got me thinking about where my ancestors may have come from as well as explained a little bit of the transportation/deportation of convicts. I *think* I have one of those. I haven't been able to confirm more than finding a name on a list on a ship. But, now I may have a better way to look for that information.

These are only some of my observations. I did notice more white glove usage this season, plus the fact that some repositories don't seem to be as concerned about some of that as others. Every place has their own rules and regulations.  

And another thing. The show may make it look easy, but in every instance, a plan was in place. Some called ahead, some wrote, lots of research was done in preparation prior to filming. 

IF these episodes had been done the way we all do it.... NO ONE would watch them!  

It's a lot of prep work to find that diamond in the rough! And it can be tedious, monotonous, and time-consuming to go through rolls and rolls of film, books, indexes and databases to check off each and every personal event as one goes through their search.  

One last observation that many may have missed.  

Not all of the research was done ONLINE. These people went to the various locations and walked where their ancestors walked. While not many of us can afford that as spread out as we all seem to be... the value of going to where your ancestor lived cannot be overlooked.

Your own family history brought to life.  

That what makes these shows invaluable to me.

01 May 2013

Third American Civil War Challenge - I Found Him! The Elusive Ralph Fielding!

My Fielding/Feilding Family has been giving me fits ever since I started working on my family history.  I can only go so far and then the trail goes cold, really cold.

Patrick Fielding marries Ann Croisin (that’s how my mother pronounces it) or Crawson which is on a marriage record in Cuyahoga County, OH for 1837.  Or it could be Crossin, too. They are both born in Ireland, from Census records.

I have not been able to locate the family in 1850, though City Directories show Patrick to be in Columbus, Ohio at the time.

The first time I can find them in Census records is 1860, in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. 

Patrick Fielding 49, M, Stone Mason, $50, Ireland 3rd great grandfather.
Ann Fielding 45, F, Ireland
Ralph Fielding, 23, M, Laborer, Ohio
Eliza Fielding, 21, F, Domestic, Ohio
Mary A. Fielding, 14, F, Ohio
James Fielding, 19, M, Broom Maker, Ohio  2nd great grandfather
Wm Fielding, 12, M, Ohio, attended school
Patrick H. Fielding, 8, M, Ohio, attended school

I’ve dutifully followed as many of the children as possible.  I know James’ line as that is my line.  By 1870, only the youngest two boys are at home and Patrick is still listed as a Stone Mason, in Columbus, Ohio.

I found records of Ann and Patrick's deaths, plus the two boys, William and Patrick Henry in Delaware, Delaware County, OH, where they were last living. Only Patrick Henry has a headstone, though the parents are listed in the same cemetery.

Where is Ralph? I couldn’t find a record of Ralph anywhere.  He has only shown up the one time in the Census. 

A couple of years ago, Ancestry began adding Civil War records…  I figured out the dates and Ralph would have been the right age. So I plug in Ralph and his approximate birth year and that he’s from Ohio.  I’m pretty sure he had to have been born in Cuyahoga County as he is the first child after the wedding date.   What the heck, right? 

Up pops Alfred Fielding, same year, same location… I get a little excited, but there is nothing more to go on except that he died of disease while a POW at Andersonville, GA.  Wow.  He was a private, Company E, 17th Infantry, US.   

I asked a volunteer to check the files and see if there was anything to tell me who this soldier might belong to, family-wise.  She came back and asked if his mother was Ann, father Patrick.  I said YES!!!!

A couple of weeks later, and a small fee, and I received his file.  Alfred is Ralph! There are letters from him in the file that the family used to prove their claim for his pension.  And he asks about his sisters and brothers as well.   Here is the first one, dated 23 Nov 1862.

There are 3 more letters, but they are faded and will need some enhancement before I can put them up in a Blog or elsewhere.  They are are mostly on the same lines, about being in Murfreesboro and camp life.  This is the only one that describes a battle.

From the War Department record, I learned that he was captured during the Battle at Chickamauga on 21 September 1863.  He was confined at Richmond, Virginia on 29 September 1863.   From there, he was sent to Danville, Virginia on 12 December 1863.  He was admitted to the Hospital at Andersonville, Georgia on 16 Jun 1864, and died 18 July 1864 from disease/diarrhea… a common occurrence at the time. 

From Find-A-Grave:
Andersonville National Cemetery
DATE OF DEATH: 07/18/1864

From the pension papers and affidavits included in the file, his father, Patrick, suffered a broken ankle in 1861, which was apparently bad enough that he was unable to continue in his profession as a Stone Mason.  Alfred, being the oldest, was supporting the family as best he could and I’m sure he joined the service in an attempt to increase their income level.

The rest of the file is hard to read through, along with the bad hand-writing, the story that comes out of the pages is devastating.  This family lost both of its main wage-earners during the 1860’s.  The middle brother, James, was also in the Civil War and was injured, drawing a pension as well.  They all moved to Delaware, Delaware County, Ohio in 1876 most likely due to better living conditions on a smaller scale and stayed there until the parents died.  The younger boys stayed in Delaware, one dying in the big flood in 1913 and the other in 1918 during the flu epidemic, never marrying.  James and his family moved back to Columbus, Ohio. I have been unable to locate the girls.

When I started researching my family about 14 years ago, I had no idea I would be able to find information like this, let alone personal letters written by an ancestor!  We are a mobile family and have lost many photographs, letters, diaries, ephemera, etc over the years. Now I have a piece of history back in our family.

08 June 2012


So, for the past few days, I have been tracking a group of Crossens in Perry County, Ohio, to see if they connect with my Ann Crossen.  As you can tell from my title, this surname seems to have many spellings, even in the same family group.  Here's a couple more alternatives: Crawson, Croisin, Croyson...  My mom says that her mom always pronounced and spelled it Croisin.  However, in all the searches I have done, I have yet to see that name in print anywhere.
A little background on Ann.  First record I can find that lists her is the marriage record of Ann Crawson and Patrick Fielding in Cuyahoga County, Ohio Marriages 1789-1994.  An image is listed at Familysearch.org. The only other information in this record is the date, 7th of January 1837 and the name of the Justice of the Peace who solemnized the marriage contract. No ages, no parents, no place of birth or where they currently live... nada....
Census information shows them as living in Columbus, Ohio in 1860 and 1870.  In 1880, they have moved to Delaware County, Ohio, living next to their son, James Fielding, my great great grandfather.  Their children are born starting 1838 through 1855.  Patrick and Ann die in Delaware County, Ohio. She was living in the Infirmary/Old Age/County home at the time of her death.  She is listed in the old part of Oak Grove Cemetery, but there is no marker for her or Patrick.
So, how did I think to start searching Perry County, Ohio, when I really had no clue?  Lately, I've been trying to go back through my family tree program and re-visit brick walls.  I changed the year of her birth and voila! a new little shaky leaf popped up.  So, I thought, okay, let's go see what that's all about.  Well, it took me to an 1850 census record for an Ann Crossin, living at home, with several siblings.  She's 31.  Okay, well, the age is close. And this family is from Ireland.  In fact, there's a bunch of Crossens on this census and the older ones are all from Ireland....   So, I thought, what if she went home to have a baby?  And they counted her that way?  Only problem with that is... where are the other kids that she already had?
One other reason is, the first two children were born in Cleveland, the third, James, my great great grandfather, was born in Logan, Ohio... now there's a couple of Logans in Ohio.. but one is actually close to Somerset, Perry County, Ohio.
The thing is that this was an Irish Crossen family.  So, I played with it a couple of days because you just never know.  And more of them seemed to line up than anything else I had found previously.   Like I never found any Crossens in Cleveland in 1840 or 1850.
Alas... I still can't attach her to these Crossens.  There just isn't enough information. I did make a tree and I uploaded it to Ancestry to see if it gets any attention. Maybe someone else is looking for Ann...

Timeline for Ann Crossen:
1837 - marriage to Patrick Fielding
     Feb 1838 - Alfred/Ralph Fielding born in Cleveland (died Jul 1864 Andersonville Prison)
    1839 - Eliza Lizzy Fielding born in Cleveland
1840 - unable to locate family in 1840 census
    1840 - James Fielding born in Logan, Ohio ( from Civil War records) (died 10 Jan 1916 - Columbus)
    1846 - Mary Ann Fielding - Ohio
1850 - unable to locate the family in 1850 census
    1850 - William Fielding - Ohio (died 1919 in Delaware County Home, possible flu victim)
    1852 - Patrick Fielding - Ohio (died 1913 in Delaware County flood)
1860 - Columbus, Ohio Census
1870 - Columbus, Ohio Census
1880 - Delaware County, Ohio Census
1894 - Died in County Home, Delaware County, Ohio (from cemetery records at Oak Grove)

Here is a link to the tree I put together from my research: http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/42638253/family

02 December 2011


I have moved again!  This may be the last time... I hope it is, but I can't say anymore that I'm not moving again.  Last time I said it, it bit me in the ...  well, you know where.
So, since I haven't written in a while, and I told you that this would be hit or miss, I figured I better write something!
I have now moved 29 times in my life time.  My youngest sister says I have a PhD in moving!  I believe it.  This last move was to North Little Rock, Arkansas. Why North Little Rock?  We'll get there; it is sort of a long story. And it does need to be written down as I know it.  I may not have all the facts and figures, but here goes...
My parents met in high school, but didn't actually get together until after high school. Both families were in the same social circles in Memphis, Tennessee and my maternal grandmother knew my paternal grandfather from school.  So the summer after high school, my dad had mononucleosis and my mother would go over to his house and keep him company.  They got married that December.  
My dad's college plans fell through and he joined the Army.  I was born a year and a half later at Millington. I am the oldest of four. We then moved to North Carolina. My dad wound up as a navigator in helicopters and went to Korea. My sister was born in Memphis.  Dad would be home for a little while and then go back.  My brother was born in Georgia. My dad again went overseas, to Germany.  Mom and he were not getting along and she went to serve him papers in Germany.  She came back pregnant with my youngest sister.  She was born in Memphis. My dad got out and my parents divorced.  He went to college in California, but not before he was given full custody of the three of us.  This was back in 1961-62.  It was unheard of for men to get full custody at that time, unless something else was going on.  We'll never know for sure, but most likely my grandmother had a lot to do with how that was played.
So, what happened to the youngest one?  She was adopted by some cousins that couldn’t have children of their own…
So we were whisked off to California with my grandmother and my dad caring for us.  That was interesting.  Shortly after President Kennedy was assassinated, we children were shipped off to live with an aunt and uncle in Indiana.  They had 2 boys, our cousins, and we lived with them for about a year.  Then my uncle went to Vietnam, my mom got re-married and our lives once again changed.  We went to live with my mom and step-father, Gerry in Mississippi.  Greatest man ever.  He raised us from that point on, as if we were his own kids.  We did ask about our youngest sibling over the years, but were given the information that she was okay and no, we couldn’t go see her.
So, you would think our moving might have settled down then, but no, it did not.  Gerry was an aeronautical engineer, same as our dad, and he started off with GE, then was hired by Boeing. So, we moved again, 2 more times.  The last move was to Seattle.  We had been living in the Southwest, which I dearly loved, beautiful weather all the time.  Then moving to Seattle, where the skies are GRAY and it misted/rained all the time.  I, by now, was a teenager.  I hated it… oh, man, did I hate it.  And of course, we know how teenagers over dramatize everything and feel like they know everything.  My dad got remarried that year and I left one home for another.  One more move!  And the grass was greener for a long time, I thought.  We did move from Colorado back to California for my last year of high school.  I vowed I would NOT do that to my kids! 
I stayed in California the longest… about 8 years.  However, I did have several addresses while there.  There was always someplace cheaper to live!  A better bargain, lower rent, lower utilities.  Sometimes roommates, sometimes not.  
But Los Angeles, I felt, was not a great place to raise kids, so I moved away… back to Seattle.
Met my hubbie, moved to Portland.  He got transferred to Seattle.  We bought a business in North Central Washington and moved.  Business went belly up, we moved to Portland.  Found a better job in Seattle, moved again. 
All this time, hubby was in the Army reserves.  He finally took a class to update some of his electronic skills and was hired as a contractor working with the Army.  We moved to Korea.  Desert Storm happened, we moved back to the Southwest.
He sold Real Estate for awhile, then got back into the Contracting business.  We went to Virginia.  He went to Korea again.  We went back to the Southwest.  My oldest graduated from high school, three years at same school, with one in the middle in Virgina. His contract was bid on by another company and we went to Panama.   Panama Canal treaty was over in 1999, we moved back to the Southwest.  My youngest graduated from high school after 3 years in same school.  Kept that promise!
Another contract, another move to Korea, this time for 3 years.
Home again to the Southwest.  My stepfather passed away early in 2010.  My brother passed away this last summer.
For the last seven years (maybe more?), we had been in touch with my youngest sister.  Our husbands liked each other.  An opportunity arose and we grabbed it!  So, I am now actually living across the street from my youngest sister.  A new adventure begins!  And it only took me 29 moves to get here!

So, here are a few more facts:  I have lived in 15 states, and 2 countries!

17 January 2011

'69...'71... Well, I do know that it was a Chevy Nova!!!

My first car was a Chevy Nova, gold, 4 door.  I bought it in College... I think my parents actually paid for it, though.  I never worked in high school, and really didn't that much at first in College, either.

So, I do know that we spent $500 on it.  And that it was a 'company car' before I had it.  I think it probably had a lot of miles on it, due to that designation.  And it was a bench seat in the front and had 4 doors.  The gold was probably the ugliest gold out there, even when clean! 

But, hey, it was transportation and I could fit all my friends in it, pretty easy.  It did have seat belts.  Whether we used them or not, I don't recall.  I'm pretty sure I used mine.  I'm very good that way. Of course, back then, you weren't pulled over for NOT wearing them, either.

I had it through at least 2 apartments... the roommates and I were always finding someplace cheaper to live, in order to stretch our dollars out as far as possible.  It went through many parties and trips to the beach as I lived in Southern California at the time.  Beach time was very important.  And you still could find a parking space on the street by the beach!  Now, those spaces are at a premium, I understand.

I remember driving it, a friend, and a six-pack up to Big Sur for one of the infamous camping trips planned by the frat.  I think that was the first time I really cranked it up and drove faster than the speed limit.  What a hoot!   I wasn't drinking, my friend was!!  I was still a little nervous and kept checking the rear view mirror for flashing lights!!  We arrived well after dark and had to turn off the lights to find the camp site.  That was fun.

It also carried a bunch of us up to Big Bear for the annual Snow Trips in December.  Living in Southern California meant that you had to drive somewhere to play in the snow.  The frat had planned these parties forever in December after the semester was over. It was a great way to blow off steam after finals and get ready for the holidays.  Snow Trip punch and the Pajama party.  Don't need to say much else about that!

In fact, that car got me home many a time after a party. I think it had a homing device, I swear.  I've told my girls this, too.  I have no idea, how in those days, any of us ever got home without an accident.  We all left parties after having had too much to drink.  And yet, none of the group that I hung out with, and it was a large group, ever had anything go wrong... We must have had guardian angels, every one of us.  I shudder at the thought now.

The demise of the Chevy came when I lent it to my then-current boyfriend, who didn't really care about other people's possessions, and he rear-ended someone.  The insurance company declared it totaled and that was that.  I was so mad at him.  Going through all of that taught me a big lesson on loaning things out, financial responsibility and made me grow up a little more.  I also realized that having insurance on your car was the most valuable thing ever.  The people he hit ended up suing me (as the owner) for some huge amount, and the insurance company handled the whole thing.  I never went to court.  Whew!

Fortunately, I did have a job at that time that paid well and after a month or two, was able to purchase my favorite car of all time.  It was a bright red, one-owner, '74 VW superBeetle.  And I just loved that car!