I’ve Been Referenced!

After my previous post on the maps from HistoricMapWorks, Mr. Hillenbrand of the Upstate NY Genealogy Blog, he wrote me and said he’d blogged about me! How cool. Thanks much!

Actually, using the blog as my research log was the primary reason that I started it. I do enjoy the advantage of having everything online and searcheable, and some of what I’ve posted has led distant relatives to find me. I also make use of the blog for writing brief sketches, stories, etc. from time to time about family members and find it a much more digestable way of publishing than thinking about the seemingly insurmountable task of writing a formal book. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Alice has two birthdays

   My maternal grandmother, Alice Elizabeth McNair Robinson (the one perched on the car) has two birthdays. Officially, we celebrate it today, October 22nd.  However, her mother always told her she was born October 16th.  I obtained a copy of her birth certificate last year and guess what? It has October 16th too! I’m not sure how the family came to celebrate her birthday on the 22nd, but we always knew that she has two birthdays.  A similar situation also exists for her brother Fred – his birth certificate says one day, but the family celebrates it a different day. What was going on :-)

Today, my grandmother is  83 years old.  She is the only girl surviving to adulthood of Abraham Lincoln McNair Sr. and Martha Jane “Mattie” Walker. Alice was born in Tarboro, Edgecombe County, North Carolina, but grew up in neighboring Plymouth, Washington County.  Apparently, the family was temporarily living in Tarboro when she was born, then afterwards, they moved back to Plymouth.  Alice had four children, and married Herman Robinson on September 22, 1950 in New York, NY.   The story of how they met is a fun one, but I’ll reserve that for a later post :-)

My grandmother Alice is the reason I am as interested in my family history as much as I am. One day about 10 years ago, I interviewed her and over the course of several hours she gave me so many details about the family tree that I still find myself trying to document some of the things she told me about and I often refer to those notes. What I need to do however is type them all up so I have them electronically too, just in case something happens to them.  But, Alice knows her family. My mother says they could go anywhere and she would know family there.  It was always important to Alice for her to know the goings on of the family. It is my goal to be like her in that respect.

Now, my grandmother has Alzheimers , so the memories she’s able to share come and go, but I am so glad I did have that opportunity years ago.  This picture was taken in the mid 1950′s in New York.  The little boy is my uncle Stanley and we are not sure who the other woman is. That is a mystery for another day….

Map of Sangamon County, Illinois

While catching up on some of my blog reading this afternoon, I came across a post on the Upstate NY Genealogy Blog where Mr. Hillenbrand explains that maps from HistoricMapWorks.com are now part of Ancestry as long as you have a subscription. Well, I do, so I decided to take a look. I’ve only glanced at this site prior to now and because I’ve been working on MC’s genealogy, I decided to see what was available for Illinois, and I found something of interest!

Click here to see it larger. But, this is an excerpt from a 1914 map of Sangamon County. This particular section is the southern part of the county. There in the middle, near the line that is the border between Section 28 and 27 are MC’s family.

In Section 28 is B. Galligan is Bartholomew “Bart” Galligan, her 3rd great-grandfather (he also had some land in Section 29, but that is not shown in my excerpt). In Section 27, very near to him are Joseph Faith and Mary A. Faith – her 2nd great-grandparents. Mary A. Faith (nee Galligan) is Bart’s daughter, and Joseph is her husband. On the other side of the Faith’s is an area called Andrew. In his notes of family history, MC’s grandfather noted that his father and uncle, Clancys, operated a grocery store in Andrew. While I knew they operated a grocery store from their census records, I had not yet looked up where Andrew was – well, now I know! Joseph & Mary’s daughter, Anna Marie, would marry Patrick Clancy Sr. Since I don’t see any Clancy names on the map, my guess is that they lived on the Faith property. This is quite interesting.

Union City High School – 1972 Yearbook

One day while in a goodwill store last year, I came across a 1972 yearbook from Union City High School in Union City, Obion County, Tennessee. This yearbook belonged to one of the students as it has all kinds of signatures, etc. So, I bought it because the genealogist in me wanted to submit the information from it somewhere some day. However, I’d done nothing with it. So, last month, Randy had a post where he put up some information from a yearbook that had been given to him and it inspired me.

So, I will begin a series of articles posting content from the yearbook and I’ll be submitting the URLs to the Obion County, TN USGENWEB pages so others can find it too hopefully.

1972 Senior Class (click on last name to see picture)

Next post — Senior class officers….

Looking for John & Delia Clancy

Another entry on behalf of my friend MC for her family genealogy. Until yesterday, I had not been able to locate her 2nd great grandparents, John & Delia Clancy in any census records. Her grandfather’s written account that she gave me yesterday, provided me with the clues that I needed to find them. First of all, I had John’s name as Patrick (which may have been another one of his names), but using John would turn out to be productive.

The clue her grandfather mentioned that helped was that his father, Patrick Clancy born abt. 1869 had played sandlot baseball with Honus Wagner and that the family lived in Pittsburgh during this time. Though I had searched Pittsburgh a little, I still hadn’t located them, so I turned to look at Honus. Who is this Honus Wagner? Some searching revealed that Honus “Hans” Wagner was the son of Pete and Katheryn Wagner and grew up in the Chartiers neighborhood of Pittsburgh. He was born around 1874, so was the perfect age to be playmates with Patrick.

So, I begin to search for Honus and I find him. Pete & Kathryn Wagner are living in Chartiers with their children, Peter, Louis, Bertha, Elizabeth and Henry. Hmm.. no Honus – but a little more searching revealed that he was born John Peter Wagner. So, the Peter is him (right age – although, since he is listed as being 12 years old in 1880, this would make him several years older than his official information.

Now, I search Chartiers for the Clancys and find John & Bridget Clancy (Delia is a nickname for Bridget) are living in Chartiers with their family – inlcuding MC’s grandfather’s father, Patrick. I’m then able to further track the family through two more census given some additional information her grandfather provided – including that the family moved to TN, where I’ve located them in 1900. In 1910, she still has relatives in TN, but I’ve not yet found John & Delia in 1910 or later. Will have to get her to go back to her grandfather :-)

But,  in doing this, I’ve learned quite a bit about Honus; apparently he is considered one of the best, if not the best, all around players in the  history of the sport, and one of the first five players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His trading card is the most valuable card ever, having recently been sold for more than $2million dollars by Wayne Gretzky.

History in context, this is why I love  doing genealogical research. I could have cared less about history while I was in school, but through genealogy it becomes much more real.

Patrick Golden’s Congressional Medal of Honor

My next few posts are likely to be posts about genealogy searching I am doing for friends of mine. My obsession lies not only in my family tree, but in others as well!

One family I am working on is that of Clancy family. This family is of Irish descent and from the early 1900′s to present has lived in and around the Springfield, Illinois area. I first started working on this tree (on behalf of friend MC) late spring, and in the past week or so, have come back to it. It is actually quite interesting what some time away from a genealogy can do for you. Since I last worked on her tree, I have been learning even more about doing better searches, different types of sources, etc., and I have found that some of what I’ve learned these past few months have helped me this second time around.

So, I’d been sharing what I’d found with her, and she in turn shared it with her father. Well, today, she brought me a photocopy of some family history she’d asked her grandfather to write down this summer and it is absolutely fascinating! There is some great oral history in her family, so I am on a hunt to confirm as much as I can.

One such tidbit was that her grandfather had a great-uncle who fought during the Indian Wars in Arizona after the Civil War and for his service won the Congressional Medal of Honor. Her grandfather even has a picture of him wearing it. This is Patrick Golden, brother to MC’s grandfather’s grandmother, Delia Golden Clancy.

So, I searched to find any verification of this and found it! The US Army has a website that lists all recipients of this medal. It is divided into sections, so given that her grandfather indicated when Patrick Golden received the medal, it was easy enough to go directly to the list of recipients during the Indian War Campaigns. And, a quick Find-In-Page command later, there is Patrick Golden. —- “Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: Arizona, August to October 1868. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 24 July 1869. Citation: Bravery in scouts and actions against Indians.”

This could possibly lead to a whole slew of research into his military background, that I can’t even begin to think about yet. But, I thought it is cool that I found this – I hope her family finds it of interest.

The Christopher Columbus In My Family

Growing up, my mother would always tell me – “you have a great-grandfather named Louis Christopher Columbus Robinson.”  As I delved into my genealogy more in-depth, I learned more about him.  Given the current timing with Columbus Day approaching, I thought this would be a good time to post about him and his middle name.

My mother’s father was Herman Robinson, and Lewis was his father. I have previously posted about Lewis’ occupation as a longshoreman, but for awhile now, I’ve wanted to write about his middle name.  When I started with my genealogy “obsessively” a couple of years ago, one of the first places I started was with Lewis. I was able to locate Lewis in the 1920 census, but that was pretty much it. It was only with the help of a distant cousin of mine whom I “met” through a message board,  that I found him any earlier – this time in 1900 living a few doors away from his future wife, Lucinda.  It took me a little while longer, but thanks to the efforts of the New York Italian Genealogy Group that has provided an online index of deaths in NY, it was through their index that I located his death certificate.  I have so far however, found no documentation of his middle name being “Christopher Columbus.”

If his middle name really was Christopher Columbus, I certainly know why. His birthday is either October 11 or 12- he was born about 1886.  His WWI Draft Registration card has  his birthday as October 11. This was recorded in 1917.  His death certificate does not have a birth date. His 1900 census record says he was born in October 1886.  Lewis died in 1928, 9 years before Columbus Day was made a national holiday.

However, October 11, 1886 was the second Monday of that month. This is the day when we now celebrate Columbus Day.  And, even though it was not a national holiday until 1937, it was celebrated in New York for years prior, since the mid-to-late 1800′s. Lewis and family lived in New York for many years (I think I found him in the 1910 census as a boarder in NY, but I can’t be for sure it’s him, so that record is not part of my official file).  So, I would not be surprised if realizing that he was born on “Columbus Day” for the time, he was thus called Lewis “Christopher Columbus” Robinson.  Or maybe because his birthday was “close enough” that became his nickname.  It would be so cool to find his middle name somewhere recorded, but somehow I doubt that I will.

Another Christopher Columbus

There is another Christopher Columbus in my tree – Christopher Columbus Cherry. He was born April 9, 1934 in Washington County, NC and is on my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. He passed January 8, 2004.  I don’t know him or his family, but his great-grandfather, Christopher D. McNair, and my great-great grandfather, Andrew D. McNair, were brothers – making me his  3rd cousin once removed.  I hope in time through more research and contacting more family members on that side, to one day learn the story behind his name too.

Kentucky Death Records, 1852-1953

I learned in an email I received today that Ancestry has added a new database that is of particular interest to me. The Kentucky Death Records, 1852-1953 database includes digitized images of the actual certificates! This is great news! So far, I’ve been able to get copies of the death certificates I needed from this time period for just $1 from a woman I’ve made contact with in Kentucky, but this is even better!

Kalonji, my stepmother’s sister-in-law, and Kalonji’s brother all have ancestry in KY, so I should be able to make great use of this. My friend RW also has some ancestry in parts of Kentucky so I should be able to use it for her as well. This is absolutely great!

William “Bill” Hew Lawhorn 1910-1981

This is a day late, but I want to still post it anyway.

Yesterday was anniversary of the death of my great-grandfather, William Lawhorn. He was born August 12, 1910, one of five children of Samuel Becton Lawhorn and Cora Cox Lawhorn in Craven County, North Carolina. He married my great-grandmother, Pearlie Mae Kilpatrick in 1931 and they had eight children – my grandmother Cora was their second child and eldest daughter. He was a deacon in the church and a member of the local Masonic Lodge.

From what my father and grandmother have told me, I know that he was a very tough-mannered man. My father described him as downright mean. My grandmother told me that he was indeed very strict and she felt quite restricted growing up and not given much freedom. However, to hear Kalonji tell it, he’s going to be just as tough with Kaleya! I also understand though that in his later years he did mellow out and was kind. My mother in fact remembers him as being quite kind.  At my grandmother’s funeral, I learned even more about him and how he interacted with his family. Apparently, he liked to be the man in the area with the “first” of everything – for example, he had the first black man to own a television in their community.

I do not have but a few pictures of him, but this one is how I remember him in my one memory of him. I was only six years old when he died, but I have one memory of going to visit and he took me to the store and bought me one of those really big Peppermint Patties. As I was talking to my grandmother’s brother the day of her funeral, I told him that story and he smiled – he said his father used to do that with all the kids. I am glad I learned that because it provides me another glimpse into his character.

William died from injuries sustained after he fell off of a ladder while at work. I understand that it was a very trying time for the family, as they sued his job because he had no business being on a ladder at his age (71). I actually have some of the court documents that my grandmother gave to me about 10 years ago.

Since sharing some of the family history online, I have come in contact with descendants of his sister Ida, so I hope to be able to in time, learn even more about his family and theirs. This is what is so nice about the internet, those connections to extended family members that are made possible!

Donate to a genealogy cause

Over on the Official Google Blog the other day, they wrote about a website called DonorsChoose that allows teachers to submit ideas that they have for their students, but require funding. People wishing to donate, can then go to the site and choose from the database and contribute to a specific project.

I decided to take a quick look and upon doing a search for genealogy, found this proposal of a teacher in California who wants to encourage her kids to do their family tree and would like each student to have their own copy of Roots. That is really cool! So, I’m sharing it here if anyone is interested and I have donated some myself. Very cool.