Archive for the ‘Geneablogging Memes’ Category

Tombstone Tuesday: Walter F. Knapp and Rosamond F. Guilford

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010


Walter Ferdinand Knapp was born on 16 October 1872 in Easton, Aroostook County, Maine. He was the son of Hiram Loring Preston Knapp and Mary E. Gilbert.

Walter married Rosamond Fannie Guilford on 24 April 1897 in Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts.

Rosamond was born in June of 1874 in Williamsburg, Hampshire County, Massachusetts to Andrew Guilford and Harriet Amanda Fisk(e).

Walter died of typhoid fever on 4 December 1906 in Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Rosamond died in 1942 in Westfield, Union County, New Jersey. They are both buried in the Spring Grove Cemetery in Florence, Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

The image shown here was added to Find A Grave by P.K. Magruder on 21 January 2010. It is listed there under Memorial #46943655.

Surname Saturday: Trafford

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

benjamin_l_trafford_ny_times_24december1883Here’s what I think I’ve learned so far about my TRAFFORD ancestors.

1. Dean Richardson

2. Roberta Matthews Knapp

3. Roberta Trafford Matthews born 05 July 1907 in Leonia, Bergen, NJ; died 19 September 1987 in Emmaus, Lehigh, PA

4. Sarah Caroline Trafford born 21 April 1868 in Manhattan, NY; died 27 March 1933 in Springfield, Hampton, MA

5. Benjamin Trafford born 5 August 1835 in NY; died 23 December 1883 in Little Silver, Monmouth, NJ

6. Abraham Trafford born 31 December 1804 in NJ; died 27 August 1871 in NJ

7. Samuel Trafford born 1750 in Shrewbury, Monmouth, NJ; died 22 June 1806 in Shrewsbury, Monmouth, NJ

8. Samuel Trafford born 1725 in Monmouth county, NJ

Some of the later data we have is from Historical and genealogical miscellany: data relating to the settlement and settlers of New York and New Jersey, Volume 4 by John Edwin Stillwell.

The Benjamin Trafford obituary shown here was published in the New York Times on 24 December 1883. It’s the first genealogy document I encountered relating to my ancestors. My wife found it on microfilm at the BYU Genealogy Library shortly after our marriage. It’s fair to say that my interest in genealogy and family history dates back to that experience.

I’m particularly fond of this sentence from the obituary:

He amassed a fortune, but through his generous habits and high living, coupled with disastrous speculation, he lost his property and had recourse to journalism as a means of gaining a livelihood.

We were later blessed to gain access to a marvelous collection of correspondence between Benjamin and his wife Cecelia during Benjamin’s various Civil War enlistment periods. My mother has in her possession a trunk that Benjamin supposedly carried with him during the war.

Family lore indicates that the Trafford name was originally de Trafford on the other side of the Atlantic. I’ve yet to uncover any evidence documenting this speculation, though it certainly seems plausible and I haven’t tried particularly hard.

I’d love to hear from any one with Traffords among their ancestors who could help me make the de Trafford connection. I’d also be interested in receiving help locating the “work on military tactics” mentioned in the obituary that Benjamin is supposed to have authored.

Follow Friday: Taneya’s Genealogy Blog

Friday, February 19th, 2010

taneya_facemangaIt’s high time I offered my Follow Friday endorsement of Taneya’s Genealogy Blog. Taneya Koonce is an absolute dynamo when it comes to online genealogy content. She maintains six separate blogs covering newspaper research and specific county resources for numerous localities in North Carolina. She runs her own TNG-powered personal genealogy site. She’s the webmaster for seven different USGenWeb sites, including the main one for North Carolina. All of these sites display a professionalism in content, design, and functionality that is sorely lacking in many Geocities-era pages out there on the web.

Her main blog covers pretty much every topic you’d expect from a top-tier member of the geneablogging community: her own surnames and favorite research localities; reviews of books, genealogy gadgets and web resources; geneablogging memes like Tombstone Tuesday and loads of personal research stories. Her stellar NCGebWeb work gets frequent mention too.

In a recent post, she riffed on Amy Coffin’s “52 Weeks to Better Genealogy“ challenge and talked about how she’d reached out to the WorldCat folks and even snagged a guest blogging stint as a result.

Of course, I’m a little biased, since Taneya is one of our providers and offers genealogy lookups for Tennessee. But if you don’t already have Taneya’s Genealogy Blog bookmarked or subscribed in your feed reader, I heartily recommend that you do.

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy Challenge #7: Google Maps

Friday, February 19th, 2010

worcester_ma_google_maps1Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog invites us to explore Google Maps as a genealogy tool this week.

After searching in vain for my grandparents’ old house in Erie, Pennsylvania, and staring for a while at the office building that now stands where I lived as a kindergartner in Menlo Park, California, I ended up focusing on Worcester, Massachusetts, where Walter F. Knapp and his eventual widow Rosamond Guilford lived for decades.

Following the Knapp Family Through the Census

On June 5th of 1900, Walter and Rosamond Knapp were enumerated with their daughter Gladys at 32 1/2 John Street, shown on the map with the red push-pin.

On 23 April 1910, four years after Walter’s death, Rosamond and her two children Gladys and Kenneth were shown in the census living at 2 Ashton Street, tagged with a green thumbtack.

On 3 January 1920, Rosamond, Gladys, Kenneth and two boarders appear in the census living on 88 Florence Street, a ways south of their previous two homes, shown with the yellow thumbtack on the map.

By the 1930 census, Rosamond was living with Gladys and her husband Joseph W. Dennis on 12 Belvidere Avenue near Burncoat Park.

Thirty years in the same city. Amazing. The longest I’ve lived anywhere is ten years.

Lessons Learned

I really enjoyed this exercise. This is the first time I’d paid much serious attention to the street addresses in the first column of the various census records. Seeing Rosamond and her children move back and forth across Worcester added to my understanding of their experiences, but it also opened several new potential avenues of research:

  • Walter’s death certificate says he died at 4 Holt Avenue in Worcester. Was that yet another Knapp family residence, or a hospital?
  • Rosamond died in 1942 in Westfield, New Jersey. What brought her there? Did Gladys and her husband move to New Jersey and take Rosamond with them?

Amy’s challenge has definitely motivated me to make better use of Google Maps, to pay attention to street address info in records I uncover, and to do a better job of tying key events in my ancestors’ lives to the places where they lived. Thanks Amy!

Surname Saturday: Kissel/Kissell

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

peter_kissell_obitHere’s what I’ve been able to learn so far about my KISSEL/KISSELL ancestors.

1. Dean Richardson

2. David Richardson, born 17 Nov 1935 in Erie, Erie County, PA; died 16 Oct 1998 in Stanford, Santa Clara County, CA.

3. Margaret Jourdan / Jordan, born 01 June 1903 in Erie, Erie County, PA; died 25 January 1982 in Erie, Erie County, PA.

4. Amelia Kissel / Kissell, born 28 Aug 1867 in Theresa, Jefferson County, NY; died 09 Sep 1929 in Erie, Erie, PA.

5. Johann Peter Kissel, born 24 Mar 1832 in Gross Umstadt, Hessen, Germany; died 02 Apr 1911 in Theresa, Jefferson County, NY.

6. Johann Peter Kissel

The obituary shown to the right is from the Watertown Daily Times and was retrieved from the marvelous site. Unfortunately, no publication date was legible on the image.

It’s a little troubling that Amelia Kissel is mentioned in the obituary as having “married a Kissel.” Our best information points to Amelia having only married once, and to Friedrich Jourdan, not to a Mr. Kissel.

Note that the surname shows up in both the KISSEL and KISSELL forms in the same obituary.

If you have any Kissel or Kissell relatives and you think you may be connected to mine in some fashion, please let me know. Thank you!

Tombstone Tuesday: Jennie Salisbury

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

jennieesalisburyLooking back through our cemetery photos, this one from a trip to the Woodlawn Cemetery in McHenry County, Illinois caught my eye.

Jennie E. Salisbury. Her name barely fits the width of the stone and the dates, just years, seem to tell her story in the barest sort of way. We took this photo in the fall, but even in the summer it seems as though the concrete base would keep the grass from softening the marker’s edges. And yet, there’s something strong, solid, and appealing about this marker.

Jennie was the daughter of Julius Munson and his wife, Antoinette Maria Smith, a sister of Dean’s ancestor, James Ayer Smith. My notes suggest that she was married to an Edward P. Salisbury and that he died about 8 Feb 1868. Jennie Salisbury was enumerated with her parents in 1870 and with her sister in 1880 but in 1900, she was a patient at the state hospital in Elgin Kane, Illinois.

As I worked on this post, I found myself wanting to know more about Jennie. I logged into my Genlighten account (of course!) and requested her death certificate from Molly Kennedy, a friend and fellow lookup provider  from Springfield, Illinois. It turns out that Jennie died from lobar pneumonia and pyelonephritis at the state hospital. The death certificate doesn’t say much of anything else about her except that her occupation at one time might have been “canvasser.”

The curious thing is that Jennie, who would have been about 12 or 13 at the time,  doesn’t seem to have been enumerated with her family in the 1850 census unless . . .. Is it possible that the Jane E. Munson I see in both the 1850 and the 1860 census records is actually Jennie? I love a good mystery!

If you’re connected to the Munson family from Oneida County, New York, I’d love to exchange notes.

Surname Saturday: Smith

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

louise_grant_smith_richardsonHere’s what I know (or hope I do) about my SMITH line.

1. Dean Richardson

2. David Richardson, born 17 Nov 1935 in Erie, Erie County, PA; died 16 Oct 1998 in Stanford, Santa Clara County, CA

3. Owen Richardson, born 02 Dec 1899 in Baltimore, Baltimore County, MD; died 05 Dec 1993 in Edinboro, Erie County, PA

4. Louise Grant Smith, born 01 Apr 1861 in Detroit, Wayne County, MI; died 01 May 1941 in Saybrook, Ashtabula County, OH

5. James Thomas Smith, born 1834 in Waterville, Oneida County, NY; died 18 Feb 1863 in Detroit, Wayne County, MI

6. James Ayer Smith, born 24 Jun 1807 in Paris, Oneida County, NY; died 22 Jul 1875 in Chicago, Cook County, IL

7. Charles Smith, born 1781 in Pownalboro, Lincoln County, ME; died 19 Dec 1871 in Kane County, IL

8. Cheney (“China”) Smith, died 17 Dec 1831 in Oneida County, NY

Most of the early data here is from “Memories”, a typescript authored by Louise Grant Smith (pictured.) She made several copies for her children; we have the copy given to her son Owen in our possession. A microfilm copy is available as FHL Film 1035971 Item 1.

Follow Friday: Lessons From My Ancestors — Sara Beth Davis

Friday, February 5th, 2010

When my wife and I were first thinking about creating Genlighten, we tried to imagine who should make up our initial target audience. We actually found it easier to decide who it wouldn’t be:

  • Complete beginners, we thought, would be too focused on tapping all the online resources, both free and fee-based. They wouldn’t be ready to look for offline records and thus wouldn’t have a need for Genlighten yet.
  • Certified professional genealogists might eventually make use of us once we’d earned a solid positive reputation, but we didn’t expect many of them to be among Genlighten’s “early adopters.”

We finally settled on two categories of genealogy enthusiasts who we hoped would become, respectively, Genlighten’s first buyers and sellers:

  • Advanced beginner/intermediate genealogists — those just starting to explore offline records by visiting archives or ordering records from remote repositories — would be our initial clients
  • Transitional” genealogists — those contemplating the leap into the ranks of professional genealogy but not quite there yet — would be our initial providers.

It hasn’t worked out as we expected (almost nothing about this adventure has!) but I can still say that it really warms my heart when I meet someone on Twitter or at a genealogy conference who I find fits one of those two profiles.

Which brings me (finally!) to my Follow Friday recommendation for this week: Sarah Beth Davis, author of the Lessons From My Ancestors blog.


In the “About Me” section of her blog, Sara says:

I never really explored anything other than what my family had already and what I could find free online.  For the past two years I have been becoming what I like to call a “recreational genealogist”.  I research when I have time (usually a few hours every weekend) and am using online resources that are available.  In the future I would like to take my research offline by ordering vital records certificates and visiting archives.

That’s exactly what we’re hoping to help all sorts of people do: begin to document their genealogy research using offline records.

Sara writes in a warm and open personal style, mostly about her key surnames, brickwall people, and research discoveries. She’s also a strong presence among the genealogy community on Twitter (one of the most prolific among those I follow) and I love her Twitter “handle”: @InnerCompass.

She’s had some marvelous experiences discovering the diary of her ancestor Sylvia Lewis. It’s her “Sylvia’s Diary” posts that first caught my attention on Twitter. Sara says:

Sylvia is my maternal 5th great-grandmother and her diaries have opened by eyes to a world of struggles, migration, and joy.

The title of her blog says it well: “Lessons From My Ancestors”. I encourage you to subscribe to Sara’s blog… and learn those lessons right along with her.

Wordless Wednesday: Grandma Matthews

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Grandma MatthewsGrandma Matthews (reverse side)

The back of the photo reads

Grandma Matthews
(Pa’s mother)
When she came from England (or
Ireland) to visit son
Thomas T. Matthews
She was English

Thomas Taylor Mathews was Dean’s great-grandfather.

Surname Saturday: Mathews/Matthews

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

matthews_family_thomas_sarah_kids_uncle_auntHere’s what I know (or think I do!) about my direct MATHEWS/MATTHEWS ancestors:

1. Dean Richardson

2. Roberta Matthews Knapp

3. Roberta Trafford Matthews born 05 July 1907 in Leonia, Bergen, New Jersey; died 19 September 1987 in Emmaus, Lehigh, Pennsylvania

4. Thomas Taylor Mathews born 31 August 1868 in Cookstown, Tyrone, Ireland; died 01 August 1954 in Emmaus, Lehigh, Pennsylvania

5. William Mathews lived in Grange, at the time of Thomas’ birth

As you can probably tell, the Mathews line is one of the ones I know the least about and for which I have the least solid sourcing.

Thomas’ birthdate comes from FHL film 0101170: Quarterly returns of births in Ireland, 1864-1955, with index to births, 1864-1921. Though the details given in the birth return match family remembrances and later US Census data, the evidence is far from conclusive.

In the photo, Thomas Taylor is seated on the right (per the identification is pen on the reverse) and his wife Sarah Caroline Trafford is seated in the center. Their children are identified as (left-to-right) Robert, baby Evie, and Celia. The other two in the picture are “Uncle Sam and Aunt Anna”.

I’d be grateful for any information any Mathews cousins might have regarding Thomas Taylor Mathews and his immediate family in Ireland.