Saturday, September 24, 2011

My first Brick Wall

I am going to try to post 1 family info and 1 genealogy info post each time I post.  My first brick wall took me 30 years to solve.  Yep, sometimes it takes awhile to figure things out.  Most of my experience with genealogy happened before the internet.  It was not so easy to find things before the internet happened.  The name of the rascal that gave me the first brick wall was a man named Julius Mason.  He was born in CT, went to NY then went to WI.  I couldn't find him to save my soul.  Back in the had to wait 100 years after a persons death to get a birth or death certificate.  I knew that he had lived in WI because his son William Henry Mason came from there.  A little over 10 years ago I was messin' on the internet and started typing in his name Julius Mason.  I came up with nothing on RootsWeb and Yahoo Search (Google was not around then).  Then I typed in his wife's name and came up with something on RootsWeb.  A daughter or granddaughter had written up a story about them and left it on her webpage.  It was awesome!  I found out that he had lived to be 97 years old, died in WI!!!!  I looked around and wanted to tell my grandmother but then it dawned on me that since she passed away in 1978, that she probably already knew.  She had told me at the time that the family was upset that after William Henry Mason had passed away that his wife married into a polygamous LDS family and wouldn't give us any information.  Times have definitely changed!
This ancestor of mine caused me great heartache or frustration rather that I couldn't go further on that family line than him.  I have since gone quite a ways back on his family line!
Don't give up, it might take awhile to find or solve your brick wall person.  Go on to other family lines but remember to go back and search your problem family line.  You will find something eventually, never doubt that.  Sometimes what I do is when I find that I am stressing, I stop and go on to another family line.  Then I go back and it somehow comes together but the old saying "Patience is a Virtue" is true in this case.  Patience is not my strong suit but it has to be in cases such as this.

My Elliot Family

This family you would think would be easy to find but it's not.  There are 4 or 5 Elliot/Elliott families that I have found in New England.  They all come from different countries in the world and settled here in the United States at different areas or close by areas to each other.  One is Andrew Elliott, he settled in Beverly, MA.  Another is  my family Edmund Elliot who settled in the Amesbury/Salisbury, MA area.  Another that is very confusing is is John Elliott who came from Durham, MA to Boscawen, NH.  This one gets confused a lot with my ancestor John Elliot who settled in the Penacook/Concord, NH area.  My John Elliot had a brother Thomas Elliot who also settled in Boscawen, NH.  They apparently spent a lot of time together because I have found my John Elliot signed up for the American Revolutionary war in Boscawen, NH along with his brother Thomas.  Separating the 2 families has been very difficult at times but it can and has been done.  There is a book called "John Elliott of Boscawen, NH" and that has helped.  History of Concord by Rev. Nathaniel Boulton has also been a BIG help.  My John Elliot moved to Concord, NH from Newton, NH and so did a 2nd cousin of his named Joseph Elliott who was married to Lydia Goodwin and in fact, John Elliot moved across the street from them purchasing a house from Joseph's brother Benjamin Elliott.
My John Elliot was a fascinating person, was in the American Revolutionary war, served at Bunker Hill along with his son John Elliot who served with the Massachusetts Militia.  My John Elliot served with New Hampshire Militia.  He raised his boys to be tough and his daughters to be strong, John Elliot and Hannah Jones Elliot were obviously very good parents!
Another good book to read about the Elliot family is the Amesden Manuscript.  Fascinating HUGE book full of information about life and times of the 1700's - 1900's in Concord, New Hampshire.  Large part of the book is about the Penacook area which is where my family settled and lived.  Oliver Hoit who was my GGGG Uncle (brother to Jedidiah Hoit) founded and settled the area of Horse Hill which they now call Riverhill.
Another Elliot family is the "Apostle to the Indians" John Elliot.  You will find him in history books in Massachusetts and CT.  He came to America with my other ancestor Richard Lyman and you will find the 2 were acquaintances throughout their lives.
But although there are all these Elliot families, I have found no links to each other except for John Elliot of Penacook/Concord, NH and Joseph Elliott of Penacook/Concord, NH.  History books say that they are not related but they are, 2nd cousins.

Friday, September 2, 2011

43 years of family history

I have 60,000 + people on my family tree. Lots of cousins, Lots of information that I have obtained throughout the years. I have thought often of what I have learned about them and about myself.
I have learned about myself through my ancestors is how strong I am. Not just physically but mentally & emotionally too. I read about what my ancestors had gone through and I think of how I have that in my DNA, therefore, I must be strong to. I wish I had known years ago what my ancestors were like and what they went through. I think my schooling would of been more interesting to me and I would of learned more, been a better student. When I have made mistakes, I would of known by their experiences that I would survive these mistakes and learn from them so they are not repeated. Or maybe they would not of happened at all.
My ancestors amaze me, I am a big fan of each and every one of them. To learn about their experiences as pioneers and the struggles and hardships they endured and survived. Wars, famine, weather related hardships, diseases, loss of loved ones and each one of them survived to pursue their happy lives.
When I first started working on family history, my grandfather had just died in 1967. My grandmother had not really been alone before in her life, so first my brother stayed with her, then that summer I stayed with her. I learned a lot from this lady, she was an amazing person! Many of the things that she taught me, I still do to this day and it's been 43 years. But she kept talking about her family and there were so many. She came from a polygamist family and there were so many of them, I couldn't figure out how a woman of her age could remember SO many people! So I started looking at her family group sheets and the information that she had and asking her questions. She found out that I had taken a typing class and put me to work typing up family group sheets for her. LOTS of people!! But ever since I have worked on my family group sheets. When I find out something new I feel sad that she is not here now for me to tell about them, but in many ways, I think she's here with me and she knows! Throughout the years I have gone to family history centers and worked on my families genealogy. Shaking family trees to see how many nuts I can get out of it is a challenge, it's like putting a jigsaw puzzle together and no, you can't cut the corners to make it fit! Just doesn't work that way.
The best friend to genealogy has been the internet in so many ways. But you have to be careful, some family stories on websites are not thoroughly searched out. I have found a lot of things wrong.
Use common sense, logic when you work on a family and/or individual. Women did not give birth after death, many times I find a name and the birth and death date do not correspond with the individual's parents or children. Needs more research and hopefully you will find the correct records. Check census reports but don't take everything you find there at face value. Sometimes the birth date is "approximate" so you are probably working within a 5/10 year timespan. Many births are also actually the blessing/baptism/christening dates. Sometimes births were not recorded at that time but you can find the christening dates, so within 5/10 years is when that person could of been born. It's time consuming but it is so worth it.
I like doing cluster searches especially when a person you are researching lived 150 - 200 years ago. You can sometimes find information about your family from a cousin's family. Also check the diaries of Clergymen of that area. You can find dates of when they dealt with your family in church functions. Same goes for Physician's diaries. Sometimes you are blessed with finding a Physician's diary or work journal and you can find out what diseases they were dealing with in that area during your ancestors life time. So then you can figure out the medical history and if it affects you or your descendants in the future.

Historical Societies

I must admit, I'm all for Historical Societies. I am delighted when people bring in pictures, old family heirlooms for all to see. To me it means that future generations will get to see the pictures or family heirlooms and they won't be locked up, forgotten in someone's attic for no one for the mice to see.
It is very sad for me to see historical societies disappear due to lack of interest, funds, etc. These historical societies are there for US. We need to find a way to keep them. Lots of times it's the locals who have been there for generations that know the history of the town and the people that have lived for generations in that town. I love the big state or regional historical societies, don't get me wrong on that account. But the small, individual town historical societies are the heartbeat of genealogy work. Someone who lives and works in the state capital that has the state historical society doesn't know what a town historical society knows about the area. They know what they are given, whereas, locals know what they have experienced and heard about all of their lives.