Veterans Day 2017

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Many people in my family have been in the United States military. My husband and I met when we were on active duty. He retired from the military. I got out after we married and had since the Air Force wanted to send me to Korea. My daughter was only six months old.

That daughter went on to join the Army after 9/11 and was stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar as well as stateside. She now works in the private sector doing network security.

My father served in WWII in the Marine Corps in the South Pacific. He and my mother were engaged, but when e came home on a 30-day leave they felt they should get to know each other again! However, they ended up deciding to get married, planned the wedding and married before the end of his 30-day leave. There was even time for a honeymoon!

My husband’s father also was in the military (though I wasn’t able to find a military photo of him). He was stationed at the same base where my daughter was later stationed (Fort Bragg, NC) and was one of the first Army Airborne soldiers. He went on to use the GI Bill to go to college and became a Civil Engineer.

Two of my father’s four brothers also served in WWII. I couldn’t find photos of them in uniform either though I know I have them somewhere. 😦 Dad’s oldest brother was in the Marine Corps in the 1930’s.

My paternal grandfather was in the Spanish-American War in 1900 and stationed in the Philippines in the U.S. Army 5th Cavalry when the soldiers were still on horseback. We do have a photo of him with his unit all on horseback, but it’s not scanned yet.

Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day to honor the U.S. soldiers who died in WWI. Later it expanded to honor all military and also was renamed Veterans Day. I don’t think any of our direct ancestors served in WWI. We do have ancestors who served in other wars and conflicts–U.S. Civil War, War of 1812, possibly the Revolutionary War (on the U.S. side) and perhaps ancestors who served in the military before they came to the United States.

What about you? Does your family have a history of military service? Did any serve in WWI?

Whether or not you or your family ever served in the military remember to honor the military especially the people now serving or veterans still alive who served–especially since 9/11.

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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.

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?