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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: The Examiner of the Past

Learning about the genealogy of the family and then learning what some of the old folks accomplished during their time has resulted in me learning much more about our country and its early politics.

We all studied the basics in school about bank failures, who was President and what their main accomplishments were, the wars, states rights and so much more we have forgotten.  For me, seeing the early history of our land in context with my family has me digging for more knowledge.

So, on this very cold Wednesday which is also the birth date of President Andrew JACKSON, allow me to sit and read how cousin Condy RAGUET connected with him in the politics of the past.

It gets quite wordy in The Examiner, and Journal of Political Economy; Devoted to the Advancement of the Cause of State Rights and Free Trade edited by RAGUET.  Some of the issues can be read online.  So enjoy!

President Andrew Jackson declares war against South Carolina in 1834

Ah, genealogy. States rights, bank failures and free trade disagreements.  Still in heated discussions after over two hundred years of American history.

©2017  AS Eldredge


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Keziah and her Beau Go West to Look for Gold

It's another cold, blustery day outside, which makes it perfect to stroll through some old cemeteries.

Today, I found the tombstone of Daniel Howe SIMMONS (1829-1922) in River View Cemetery in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon.  This confused me for a moment as his death certificate indicates burial at the IOOF Greenwood Cemetery.  First question is:  what is IOOF?  The IOOF is the Odd Fellows Organization that was founded with the thought of giving aid to those who need it without needing recognition, in addition to other beliefs.

Apparently, they had quite the following out west and had burial spots for their members.  Both Daniel, and his wife, Keziah KLINGENSMITH (1823-1907), are buried in their cemeteries--  and in two different states.  Daniel resides in Oregon while Keziah passed away while the couple lived in San Diego, CA in 1907.  Keziah was also buried in an IOOF cemetery, although a headstone for her has not yet appeared for me to find.

Daniel H Simmons
Daniel Howe Simmons

Daniel was an active member of the Sons of the American Revolution and his bio at Findagrave indicates he was the only (I'm guessing first) member to be buried in Oregon.  I found it interesting that his stone includes the information that his dad, my grandpa, served in the American Revolution.  Well, yeppers, he did.  Daniel was a young teenager when his dad passed in 1843 in Wheeling, WV.

I don't why, but Daniel, along with his mother and siblings, move to Cincinnati, Hamilton, OH, before the 1850 census.  Daniel's bride was from western PA, and attempts to find her in the 1850 census in either locale have not been fruitful.  Sigh.  Their marriage is recorded in 1852 in Hamilton Co, OH.

Daniel and his new bride, Keziah, went to the Pacific Coast in 1852 to search for gold.  Alas, while he never struck it rich, his family ties to the American Revolution and to the growth of early America are pure gold.

Rest sweetly, Uncle Daniel.

Ahh, genealogy.  Just gotta wonder how Daniel got the middle name of HOWE?  Did his dad know him?

©2017  AS Eldredge

Findagrave:  River View Cemetery, Portland, Multnomah, OR
Photo credit:  FriendsofRiverView
Death Certificate for Daniel H Simmons
Obituary of Keziah Simmons

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Three Doors and Five Windows Found in Digitized Homestead Records

It's always a great day when old records are finally available online and at several onsite locations such as the National Archives and the FamilySearch Family History Centers.  Today, one of my trusty genealogy buffs sent a notice that the Homestead Final Certificates for the following states have been digitized and available to search:

David P Simmons Homestead

It's time to have some fun now to sort through these records to see if any stories are unearthed!

So far, I've enjoyed seeing the statements given.  For example:

1)  Head of Family
2) United States Citizen
3) Never borne any arms against the government
4)Never given aid to America's enemies

William Henry Simmons, 1837 land

Ahh, genealogy. No sympathy this Saturday, just a day of wondering about the house with 3 doors and 5 windows built around 1865 in Nebraska.

©2017  AS Eldredge

Sources: U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008.
Original data: United States. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007. U.S., Homestead Records, 1861-1908 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Land Entry Case Files: Homestead Final Certificates. Record Group 49: Records of the Bureau of Land Management. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Fun: Finding New Magazines of Old To Follow the Past

Ever wonder what the next step is in the quest for finding the family lore, er, history?  Sitting and scratching the head while trying to make sense of some newly uncovered finds can certainly be one of them.  Then again, finding something to new to look at can just provide the proper incentive to put off that head scratching just one more day.

I literally stumbled on to an announcement that the magazine Western Pennsylvania History has recently updated the issues which are online to read...  for free!  My little fin fans flew to the site which is on the Penn State Library site to see if there was anything of interest.  I just clicked on a random issue from the Spring of 2011 which had the picture of Benjamin FRANKLIN on the cover.  After a quick download of the PDF, I sat mesmerized by the article on old Ben gathering wagons to assist in the fight against BRADDOCK.

Deciding to see if there are any issues with any of my kin is an easy leap now.  Clicking on Oliver MILLER of the Whiskey Rebellion fame was a success.  So now I have to spend some serious hours just reading and absorbing the information.

Table of Contents, Winter 1992-1993,  Showing Article on Oliver Miller

This may take some time as the issues go back to 1918.  As a side note, looking back at one of the 1918 issues, I found a short article on the last public execution in Allegheny Co.  The event took place in 1818.  To provide a quick summary, John TIERNAN murdered Pat. (Patrick?) CAMPBELL.  Not surprising is the acknowledgement of alleged excessive drinking by TIERNAN.  Why did I find this of interest?

I, too, am acutely aware of a last hanging--  although the one I am familiar with was in Michigan, involved a man who was known to have been an unpleasant drunk, and was in 1830.  Guess we'll talk about that particular story later after I piece together some more details on the chap's young adult life.

Ahh, genealogy.  Another Friday to follow the past with the help of friends.  Awesome.

©2017  AS Eldredge


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: The Road to the White House

It's just one of those days.  Sunny with a mild breeze blowing!  It's a great day to sit and reflect on my family's journey for the White House. Yes, the White House.

Over the years, digging up the treasures of the family tales has been fascinating.  Of course, finding the legal evidence to support the tales is even better.  Sometimes, fun facts emerge from the research.

Take, for instance, my dad's bloodline.  Take the history of this great land and look at the government.  Locate the names of my blood who have served this land, either in the White House or as employees who directly served our nation's presidents.  Just last week, it dawned on me that I can document personal connections to 10 United States presidents.  TEN!

Some of these connections can be read about by looking back at old blog entries of mine.  Some of them have yet to be discussed.  Some of these connections were found in the letters of the Presidents, or in the latter four, their website with pictures!

Founders Early Access

Here is just a quick summary of the Presidents we have personally known and served:

George Washington
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Buchanan
Abraham Lincoln
Franklin Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight Eisenhower
John Kennedy

And for fun, my parents had dinner with Miss Lillian, Jimmy Carter's mom, when he was running for the office.

As expected, this short list doesn't include any of the public offices my kin have held over the years.  What is probably most interesting is that no one holds any office now.  Gotta think about that one.

Want to relive some of these connections?

Perhaps, it's time to revisit some of these connections and see what more is popping up!  I expect to jot down some thoughts about John Adams and our connection there soon.

Ahh, genealogy.  One little, two little, ten big Presidents! Sit back, and just enjoy the words of the past.

Update:  Now evidence has upped the number.  Add the following personal connections to:
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Ronald Reagan

©2017  AS Eldredge


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Transcription Tuesday

It's Tuesday and a great day to volunteer to preserve the past!  For my part today, instead of Tombstone Tuesday, I will start my Transcription Tuesday!  Many, many history groups and genealogy societies are always on the prowl of new transcribers.  You may remember the Old Pittsburgh Newspaper Project I ran starting back in 2010.  If not, that's ok, because there are still plenty of opportunities to join right in on other ongoing projects.

The group I joined today as a community transcriber is Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800.  The group has had volunteer transcribers for 70 months---   so a little less than 6 years.

Why am I interested in helping this group?  They have letters.  They have letters written to my uncle. They have letters about my uncle.  They have scraps of information which may lead me on another quest!

Why is this so important?  There was a fire in the office where a majority of these letters were in November 1800.  Early American history..poof!  Gone in a flash!  As the War Department was a major consumer of the government funding in its day, it is appropriate for us all to see how we can help preserve the past today.

If you have a name of interest, or an interest in Indians, American Troops, Court Martials, etc, just log on in and see what is available to see.  Or better yet--volunteer!

Papers of the War Department Search

Or in my case, just enter in two of my uncles' names, sit back and enjoy.

Ahh, genealogy.  Reliving the past one letter at a time on that road to the White House.

©2017  AS Eldredge


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: Found the Land Again! And Lost It! Again!

Looking for lost land can be frustrating.  Did it exist?  Was it lost due to no taxes paid?  Was it demolished?  No, wait.  Obviously, the land itself existed and still does.  Who owns it now?

For years, I have been trying to determine what happened to the land in Hanover Row, Portsea, England.  This land that was mentioned in my immigrant's 1795 will.  This land, that was also mentioned in an 1842 will of John SYMMONS in Portsea.

I've seen maps and determined from kind helpmates over the pond that Hanover Row was demolished in 1874.  Now, that is an interesting date.  Why?

Just in the last week or so, I found yet another will from a grandson of the 1795 will of John SIMMONS.  This grandson, Charles William SIMMONS (1801-1874), will is written in 1871 and it specifically mentions the land in Portsea that he had inherited from his father.  By the way, his father was William SIMMONS (d. 1825), appointed by the President, yes, President George WASHINGTON as the accountant for the War Department.

Charles W Simmons, Probated Will in CA

But back to Charles---  his will is written in 1871 while he is still living in Boone Co, Iowa.  It is not probated until 1874, when he dies in Lower Lake, Lake, CA.

Close up of will documenting the land in question

For whatever reason, Charles thinks he has a share of the land in Portsea and another treasure trove in San Domingo, where his maternal grandfather, Jean Baptiste BERTRAND de LaSTRANGE de LaPOINTE was supposedly given something by the French government after some Revolution?  Boy, do I have homework to do!

I still can't find out what happened to the land in Portsea!  I guess I need to feel the dirt to finally find it!  Who authorized demolishing of Hanover Row?  Who agreed?  Or was it just done?

Ahh, genealogy.  Guess I need to sift that dirt through my fingers before I can really believe I found it.  But, wait....  does that mean my share of it is... lying in the grave?

©2017  AS Eldredge

Probate Records; Author:  California Superior Court (Lake County); Probate Place; Lake, California