Finding Lillie in the 1930 census

My great-grandmother Lillie CHAMBERS became a widow when her husband John Leland “Lee” MILLER died in 1916 in Paulina, Crook County, Oregon. Her oldest son was 20 and took over running the general store in the tiny town of Paulina.

Her two other sons were 16 and 8 in 1916. She came to Oregon in the 1890’s to teach school and that’s what she did until she married my great-grandfather. After his death she started teaching again and taught in various schools throughout Crook County.

I found Lillie and her two younger sons in the 1920 census still living in Paulina (listed as the Beaver Precinct in the Census¹):

1920 Census
Lillie Miller and her two sons–Eugene and Joe–listed at the bottom. She’s 48 years old, widowed and teaching public school

If you look at the top of the census form Lyle & May Miller are listed. Arthur Lyle MILLER was Lillie’s oldest son. Lyle and May were my grandparents. His occupation is “Retail Merchant–Groceries” and May’s occupation is “Postmistress–Government.” Lyle and May got married in 1918.

I searched for Lillie MILLER in the 1930 census records, but she wasn’t living in Paulina. I knew she didn’t die until the 1950’s and that she stayed in Crook County, Oregon and taught in various schools, but I was unable to find her.

However, one day when I was searching for my grandmother’s brothers and sisters to add to my family tree I found one of my grandmother’s brothers in the 1930 census² (see below) and when I looked down the page there was Lillie! She was boarding in someone’s home and still teaching school. She was still in Crook County, but was living in the Maury area of Crook County.

1930 Census, Maury, Crook, Oregon
Lillie Miller is near the bottom of this page. Listed as a boarder with the Morris family, 59 years old, widowed, teaching public school

The household above the Morris family shows James and Viola McCULLOUGH and their daughter Maxine. James was my Grandma May’s brother.

Finding Lillie in this census record was just chance on my part, but it did remind me to check the rest of the census page to see if there are other people I recognize on the page. And I have found other census records which show two or more families which are ancestors. For example, I found a census record in the 1800’s  which showed two families living next door to each other and I realized that a son and daughter from each family married a few years later. That’s always nice to find…and a good reminder to keep my eyes open!

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Source Info:

¹Year: 1920; Census Place: Beaver, Crook, Oregon; Roll: T625_1491; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 28; Image: 475.

²Year: 1930; Census Place: Maury, Crook, Oregon; Roll: 1939; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0015; Image: 465.0; FHL microfilm: 2341673.

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Following Enos and Ellis through the years

We all have names of family which repeat over and over again through the years. I have lots of those names in my different family lines. And they can make figuring out who is who a nightmare. In my MILLER family, for example, the furthest I have traced is to a John MILLER, born in 1753 and his daughter Catherine MILLER (who married a man apparently unrelated named John MILLER)! There are lots of John MILLERs in this family line, but I don’t really know if the names are from earlier family members or just because John is a familiar and popular name.

However, I have traced one line back to Thomas ELLIS, born 1683 in Wales who had a son named Enos Ellis. After that I’ve found the names Enos and Ellis given to many family members for almost 200 years. These names are not the usual names given to sons so I think I can say that these names were passed down through the generations–even if they didn’t know exactly where the names came from.

Enos Ellis–6th great-grandfather, born 1725; died 1783

Ellis Ellis–6th great-uncle, born 1760; died 1808

Ellis Pickering–1st cousin 6x removed, born 1780

Enos Pickering–1st cousin 6x removed, born 1783

Enos Ellis Pickering–4th great-grandfather, born 1779; died 1851

Enos Ellis Williams–3rd great-uncle, born 1833; died 1915

Eugene Ellis Williams–1st cousin 3x removed, born 1871; died 1946

Thomas Enos McCullough–great-uncle, born 1907; died 1984

Do you have any unusual recurring names in your families? Do you think I can plausibly say that these names were passed through my family?

Accidental poisoning

Transcribed from The Fremont Weekly Journal (Fremont, Ohio), Friday, January 7, 1870, page 3:

Poisoned.–A young man in Port Clinton, named August Harms, son of John F. Harms, of that place, picked what he supposed to be a piece of candy, from the sidewalk, on Monday the 27th and ate it. Soon after he reached home, he complained of feeling sick. Physicians were sent for, who pronounced it to be a case of poisoning, and what he had supposed to be candy was strychnine.–All efforts to save him were of no avail and he died in about four hours.

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A sad story. I think John F. Harms and his son August are part of my family, but I’m not totally sure. My 2nd great-grandmother was Anna Sophia HARMS. She married Harmon (Herman) WINTERS in 1854. They had both emigrated from Germany to Ottawa County, Ohio. Anna Sophia was born in 1838 and died in 1881 in Ohio so I imagine Anna and John F. and August were related. I will keep searching for a connection.

I thought I remembered a solar eclipse

I thought I remembered a solar eclipse from when I was a child. Of course, I thought it was a total eclipse, but there were no total eclipses in Bend, Oregon when I was a child! When I look at a site which shows all the solar eclipses in the twentieth century there were two that might have been the one I remember–in 1959 and 1963. Probably the 1963 one is what I remember. I remember we used a pinhole projection into a box, I think, to see a projection of the eclipse. Bend probably only had 50% of the sun eclipsed that year. So my memory of that past eclipse is not very accurate.

Thanks to the NASA.gov website for providing this map

My husband and I have decided to drive to Kansas City to see the total eclipse. However the forecast is for clouds and there even thunderstorms, but we’ll see what we see! We have two pair of solar eclipse glasses so we are prepared. (Plus there is a genealogy library I’ve wanted to visit in Independence, Missouri so I’ll have a chance to do a little bit of research while we’re there! Just a coincidence, of course!)

Since I didn’t remember too much about the eclipse from my childhood I decided to search for solar eclipse information from my hometown newspaper–The Bend Bulletin. I found a few very funny stories.

For example, there was a partial solar eclipse in Bend in 1923. The newspaper apparently announced that the eclipse would be the day before the actual event so the next day they published an amusing article stating that since it was Sunday and so many people were in church the eclipse was postponed a day!

So many people were engaged in church services and so many others out of town that Monday seemed a better time for the eclipse. Arrangements were made accordingly, although it was not possible to give notice to all, and the eclipse was held this noon with a high degree of success. (The Bend Bulletin, Monday, Sep 10, 1923, page 4)

Another funny article in 1959 talked about a television show on CBS which decided to follow a group of scientists who traveled to the Pacific island Puka Puka to film a solar eclipse. The CBS camera crew filmed the scientists. However, the scientists weren’t very entertaining.

Among the show’s duller pieces of padding, I would include an irrelevant trip to a Honolulu nightclub, a peek at the initiation ceremonies aboard a ship when it crossed the Equator, a group of speeches by natives in Puka Puka and a group of speeches by scientists in semi-scientistese. (The Bend Bulletin, Tuesday, Jan 20, 1959, page 8)

Parts of Oregon are on the total eclipse path for this eclipse and officials in Oregon expect up to a million people to travel to the path of the eclipse! There has already been bumper-to-bumper traffic in parts of Oregon. I’m glad I’m not in Oregon fighting that traffic.

My brother still lives in Oregon and he is in the path of the eclipse so I think I will probably have to depend on him for eclipse stories since the weather in Iowa and Missouri doesn’t look very good.

Ready for the family reunion

I’ve been getting ready for a family reunion for the past week or so. My husband’s BARR family gets together twice a year–in August and at Thanksgiving. We are leaving this afternoon for our eight-hour car trip!

My three kids are coming so I’m excited about that. I don’t get to see my son too often since he lives in New York City. Lots of my husband’s family lives in the Midwest–mostly Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Iowa so lots of people come each year.

Photos from past years:

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The August family reunion is in northern Wisconsin where a cousin and her family have a house on a lake. It’s a fun weekend and 50 to 100 relatives show up. There are lots of activities, boat rides, swimming, food, conversations and laughter with family members we don’t see too often.

We usually have a new tee-shirt designed for that year and annual events such as “Swim the Lake.” This is the 25th year for the lake swim. Several boats go with the swimmers and everyone wears life preservers. It’s an event kids and adults look forward to each year! Some years we have themes–last year was a 90th birthday party for our oldest family member and we had dance lessons for the Charleston and other dances–and some years there are games like a watermelon seed spitting contest or relay races.

Families sign up to make a meal, bring supplies or do clean up. Our family is making Sunday morning breakfast–waffles and overnight oatmeal with fresh fruit, syrup and whipped cream among the toppings. I’ve spent time figuring out a waffle recipe for 75 people! I’ve put together double batches of the dry ingredients in ziplock bags so we can make a smaller batch of waffle batter as we need it. My two daughters, son and husband are all helping with the breakfast and bringing supplies, waffle irons and crockpots.

I will post some photos from this year’s reunion next week.

Family DNA results, part 3

DNA Circles

A DNA Circle will form around an ancestor in your family tree if your tree is public and linked to your DNA test, and if two or more of your DNA matches…

 

–are DNA matches to you and to each other at a 2nd cousin level or further out

–have public family trees attached to their DNA tests; and

–share a common ancestor (according to their trees).

I have six DNA circles–all from my maternal grandmother’s family. I need to study my circles a little more. All the “common ancestors” are in my family tree and I want to look more closely at the other people in the circles and see if I can add to my family tree or at least get some clues.

I need to remember that even though the DNA matches in these circles are related to me, but that doesn’t mean that their family trees are correct especially if they have no source records. I need to research to see if I can add new people.

My brother doesn’t have a family tree on Ancestry so he doesn’t have any DNA Circles. That’s also an important thing to remember–without a family tree and without a common ancestor in the family tree you won’t have a DNA Circle.

Ancestry has various levels of confidence for me in my DNA Circles–from Good confidence to Emerging confidence. I can also see the confidence level Ancestry has for the other people in my circles. I’m not sure why some of the people show higher levels of confidence according to Ancestry.

My takeaway and what I need to do
  • Look at each of my circles and see if I can figure out more ancestors to add to my family tree.
  • Try to contact each of these people and see what more they can tell me about their genealogy.
  • Remember that just because we’re DNA matches their trees might not be correct. (And maybe my tree has some mistakes so admit that if necessary!)

Do you have DNA Circles on your AncestryDNA? Have they helped your genealogy? Have you discovered new ancestors for your family tree from the DNA Circles? Have you found new cousins?

Family DNA results, part 2–Genetic Communities

Genetic Communities™

Genetic Communities show where your family probably lived in the past few hundred years. We create these by identifying groups of AncestryDNA members who are genetically connected to each other.

As science improves and our DNA database grows, the communities you’re connected to might change. (quote from Ancestry.com)

I have a (possible–40% confidence) Genetic Community–“Norwegians in Sørlandet.”  Sørlandet literally means Southland. This is a geographical area on the southern coast of Norway not a governmental region. It roughly corresponds to two present-day counties (formed around 1900) in Norway–Vest-Augder and Aust-Augder.

My brother’s DNA shows two Genetic Communities–“Western Norwegians” (Likely–60% confidence) and “Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa” (Possible–20% confidence).

The “Western Norwegians” and “Norwegians in Sørlandet” overlap in the map shown on Ancestry. When I look more at these Ancestry Genetic Communities I think that “Norwegians in Sørlandet” are a subregion of
“Western Norwegians.” At this point I’m not sure exactly what that means.

When I read about genetic communities on Ancestry it is clear that they are changing as more and more people test their DNA on Ancestry. Right now there are 300 genetic communities in Asia, Europe, North America and South and Central America.

Within North America, for example, there are three regions and then within those three regions are United States (four regions), Canada (four regions) and Mexico (three regions). Drilling down into the United States shows there are four regions–Northeastern, Southern, Midwestern and Western–which also show more regions! This is all rather confusing though interesting.

My brother shows a possible genetic community within the Midwestern United States–“Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa.” Within that genetic community there are 5 more genetic communities! When I look at the map for this genetic community I can hover over circles see “Settlers of Central Ohio and the Potomac River Valley,” “Settlers of the Potomac River Valley,” “Settlers of West Virginia,” “Setters of the Upper Ohio River Valley,” another circle which shows “Settlers of Central Ohio and the Potomac River Valley” further west, and “Settlers of Western Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Southern Iowa.” Within these large circles are lots and lots of little circles, but I don’t see anything which tells me about those little circles.

I think these genetic communities can be valuable and certainly give hints about our genetic genealogy. My brother and I already know we have Norwegian ancestry, but don’t know for sure where they came from so the genetic communities shown give us places to start. We also know that some of our ancestors came from northern Ohio along Lake Erie. This isn’t a genetic community yet. However, I think we probably had various ancestors who came west into Ohio possibly along the Ohio River Valley.

I do like that Ancestry provides a historical perspective about the areas as well as where the people migrated from. It also shows our matches for each of our genetic communities.

  • My “Norwegians in Sørlandet” genetic community shows I have 33 DNA matches.
  • My brother’s “Western Norwegians” shows 15 DNA matches.
  • And my brother’s “Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa” shows 96 DNA matches.

The overview for “Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa” talks about the Ohio River Valley opening up after the Revolutionary War and that English, German, Scots and Scots-Irish moved to the frontier.

Ancestry’s overview of “Western Norwegians” says they were usually farmers or fishermen. They managed to live through wars, winters and economic depressions, but the cheap land in the United States encouraged many of them to move to the Midwestern United States where they often became farmers. Others became fishermen in the Northeast and Northwest.

My takeaway
  • Genetic Communities™ are going to grow and change as more people test their DNA and as science improves.
  • They give us hints about our DNA and genealogy. I think I can look at the Norwegian genetic communities and the matches my brother and I have and tag those matches as belonging on our paternal grandfather’s line since his parents both came from Norway.
  • The U.S. genetic community my brother shows is a little more difficult to figure out. For one thing Ancestry has only a 20% confidence this is correct for my brother. I can take a look at the matches shown though and maybe say they all come from the maternal side of our DNA since our paternal is all Scandinavian and those ancestors came to the U.S. in the 1870’s and 1880’s.
  • Genetic Communities™ can also show us an overview of migration patterns for a group of people and history of the areas.

Have you tested your DNA with Ancestry? Do you belong to any Genetic Communities™? What was your takeaway after reading about your community? Have you tested with other DNA companies? Do they have anything like Ancestry Genetic Communities™?