Sunday, February 27, 2011

Walking In Their Shoes

I am so pleased to see how much the show Who Do You Think You Are? has spurred interest in so many people to begin, or continue, their quest to find their roots. The show makes it look so simple doesn’t it? Just plug information into and magically YOUR family appears!  In reality it isn’t that easy.  There are many features about that I like but please, please, please ( I can not stress this enough) don’t believe everything you read on there or other sites, such as World ,,, or Family  and others, as being the gospel truth! Records on those sites are all listed by people just like you and me, amateurs putting together their family history. Those sites do not go through and check each and every piece of information that is submitted to them. We are all prone to making mistakes. Now am I saying not to use these resources?  No, by all means  use them as reference material , just like you would anything else that you might find elsewhere on the internet. But then research and document it with proof to be sure it is indeed correct material to go with your own family genealogy.
Be sure that you start with what you know about your own family and work backwards.  I so hope that people are taking time to truly document their findings and making sure that they are indeed finding their own family! Now with that being said, I am going to tell you that sometimes rules are meant to be broken. I know, big contradiction to what I just told you isn’t it? Perhaps you know that your great great great grandfather was someone famous…. lets say like Daniel Boone, Walt Disney or Frank Lloyd Wright, these are all hypothetical by the way, but what if you know there is a connection, your family has told you that you are related. You have several generations in-between where you have a big gap. Since they are famous, you could take their descendant chart and work from them back through to where it meets up with yours. Just be sure that you are indeed correct by getting supporting documentation! Maybe you are not a direct descendant but a cousin several times removed, or a cousin by marriage, etc.

Let me give an example by telling you about what has happened in some lines of searching for my own family history. I have come across mix-ups in posting entire generations as being part of a family group when they were not part of the family at all, but because so many of the “names matched up” someone along the way decided they were indeed all of the same family. If they had really and truly paid attention and done their research, they would have found yes, indeed members of the families all seemed to name their children identical, but they were from two separate areas of New Jersey and Connecticut! I have one ancestor where we truly are not 100% about his wife or wives, but now there are several listings for him on and World Connect with each wife entered separately as his spouse!

I have come across women married to a man who were listed as his child and not his wife! Because someone didn’t take time to truly research and document, now it is out there on the internet and others continue to copy this information as if it is true when in reality it is not.

Because a father and a son both have the same name, and there is no JR after the son’s name, someone took it upon themselves to enter a tree where they combined them as one person, where as if they had paid attention to where they lived, who their wives were and their dates of birth and death, the error would never have been made. Now those of us who are true direct descendants of these men, have to go in and try and straighten out this mess so that records at D.A.R., S.A.R. and other organizations  can be corrected and taken off of dispute! 

So in your zest to locate your family’s ancestors and truly enjoy the adventure of finding them, be sure to:

 1. Document your sources be it birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, copies of land documents or gravestones (by the way I’ve seen some of these be spelled wrong and have incorrect dates) or if you are using family owned documents. Leave a good paper trail so others can follow in your footsteps and carry on when you have passed away.

2. Take time to find some books about the era and area where your ancestors lived and read up on what was going on in that time frame. Pay attention to the nationalities of the people who lived in the area, their religious affiliations, were there epidemics of illness which would wipe out families or communities. Were there Indian disputes which would cause people to migrate out of the area. Was there major crop failures, or perhaps they were in the middle of a battlefield area and had to evacuate.

3. Find maps from that time period, boundaries of cities, counties, states, and even countries have not always been as they are today. How do I know? Well, I found out the hard way that there were parts of Switzerland that were actually part of Germany at one point in time!

4. I know that there were census reports back to the 1790 period but be careful trying to understand them. The handwriting is often horrible, there are various spellings of names and instead of listing all the members of a family by name they are recorded by an age bracket. Also remember back in that time, there was a different calendar, many still used the Julian calendar, compared to the Gregorian calendar that we use today, which is going to throw your dates off.

5.Collaborate with other family members to try and find your ancestors. Reach out in your attempts to locate other branches of your family because they might have information to share that you don’t have and between all your efforts you can put together the puzzle of your family. Look for the ancestors of siblings of your relatives. They may be looking for you as well. For instance, go post on message boards, join Surname or Ethnic groups over at Yahoo and get acquainted. There is also a group called Brickwall at Yahoo that has some wonderfully talented researchers who are willing to give you assistance. If you are of Native American Indian descent, join one of the tribal groups on yahoo. The Cherokee board is very helpful, even if you are not Cherokee.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I don’t care if it is from another researcher on a website, maybe they don’t even happen to have the same surnames in their family but would be able to give you some good tips and advice. Ask a librarian at your local library because many of them are knowledgeable. Go to the local genealogy library in your town because many of the people who work in there have been doing research for years and years. Also you are always welcome at the local LDS Church library in your city. They certainly are not as large as the facility in Salt Lake City, but they do have resources there as well as they are able to order films from other locations for you to view. Again, the people who work in this library are also very knowledgeable.

7. “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well” and doing it correctly. Even if you do publish information on any site or even on your own site and you have it open for public viewing, please be sure to let others know that “to the best of your ability you know this information is correct, but we are all open to human error, if you see something that you dispute, please contact me.”   Or write something to that effect. Also if you do not include information about where your sources of information have been gathered from, indicate you do have documents on file if they are interested or if you don’t have any, advise that also.

8. Now get started. Gather together some pedigree charts or get a genealogy program installed on your computer (there are some good ones that you pay for as well as some free ones), get a notebook or set up a section on your computer so that you can be ready to add some great stories about the different people in your family so that your ancestors come to life for others. There is nothing exciting about just seeing a family tree with lots of names and dates written down!

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Robert Todd Lincoln In His Father's Shadow

The minute you hear the name Lincoln you immediately think of Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd. You also usually think about his mother Nancy Hanks,  because of her elusive background and fewer people even remember his father, Thomas Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln and Mary Ann Todd were married 1842
They had four sons, but three of them died before reaching adulthood
Robert Todd Lincoln was the first born, in 1843 in Springfield Illinois
Edward Baker 1846 died Feb 1. 1850  in Springfield, ILL
William Wallace "Willie"  born Dec 21, 1851 died Feb 20, 1862 Washington DC
Thomas "Tad" born Apr 4, 1853 died at age 18 July 16, 1871 in Chicago, Ill

Their son Robert also had quite an impressive life, beginning by following in his father's footsteps by becoming a lawyer.

Robert Todd Lincoln, born in 1843, at Springfield Illinois  died on July 26, 1926 at his home in Vermont at the age of 82.  He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery along with his wife Mary and their son Jack. The three of them are buried together in one tomb.

Robert graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1860 and then studied at Harvard University from 1861 to 1864. He was a member of two fraternities, Delta Kappa Epsilon (Alpha Chapter) and the also Delta Chi. He was enrolled in the Law School at Harvard but he did not graduate.

After his father was assassinated, Robert moved back to Chicago with his mother  and his brother Tad. and it was there that he completed his law studies at the University of Chicago (present name) and was admitted to the bar on Feb 25, 1867.

His mother didn't want him joining the Civil War, but eventually he did over her objections, and with the blessings of his father. He was a Captain in the Union Army, serving in the last weeks of the Civil War, under  General Ulysses S. Grant, assigned to his immediate staff. He was present when Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

Robert was married,on Sept 24, 1868, to Mary Eunice Harlan (Sept 25, 1846-March 31, 1937) She was the daughter of Senator James Harlan and Ann Eliza Peck of Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

They had a son Jack (Abraham Lincoln II  who died at age 16 (March 5, 1890) in England.

A daughter, Jessie Harlan Lincoln  Nov 6, 1875 - Jan 4, 1948  Born in Chicago, Illinois died Jan a4, 1948 at Rutland Hospital in Rutland Vermont.  She married Warren Wallace Beckwith , eloping on Nov 10, 1897 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They  had two children, Mary Lincoln (Peggy)Beckwith born in 1898 in Des Moines Co, Iowa. She died in 1975 Rutland Vermont. And son, Robert (Bud) Todd Lincoln Beckwith on July 19, 1904  and died Dec 24, 1985 in Saluda, Middlesex Co. Virginia. He married Hazel Holland on March 14, 1927 and then Annemarie Hoffman on November 6, 1967 in Hartfield Virginia and then Margaret "Maggie" Fristoe in 1976. He had several step-children but no issue of his own.  He was the last Lincoln descendant. Jessie divorced Warren in 1907 and married  Frank Edward Johnson in 1915 and then Rober John Randolph in 1926.  There were no children born of the last two marriages.

Daughter Mary Todd Lincoln (Mamie) born Oct 15, 1869, Chicago, Illinois,  married Charles Bradley Isham on September 02, 1891 in Holy Trinity Church, Brompton Parish, near London, England.  They had a son, Lincoln Isham, born June 8, 1892 . Lincoln married Leahalma Correa in 1919 but died September 1 1971 at Putnam Memorial Hospital, Bennington  Vermont, without issue. Leahalma had a daughter,
Frances Mantley, whom Lincoln helped raise.

Robert turned down President Rutherford B Hayes' offer to appoint him Assistant Secretary of State, but later accepted President James Garfield's Secretary of War position,  serving from 1881-1885.

Robert assisted Oscar Dudley  in establishing the Illinois Industrial Training School for Boys in 1887 which was located in Norwood Park and In 1899 the school relocated to Glenwood, Illinois. Girls were not enrolled in the school until 1998. Under the name Glenwood School for Boys & Girls, the school continues to operate today as a haven for both boys and girls whose parents are unable to care for them.

Later, he served as the U.S. minister to the United Kingdom from 1889 to 1893 under President Benjamin Harrison, then returned to private business as a lawyer.

He was general counsel under George Pullman, and was named president after Pullman's death in 1897. In 1911, Robert Lincoln became chairman of the board, a position he held until his death in 1926.

The last public appearance of Robert Lincoln was at the dedication ceremony of his father's memorial on May 30, 1922, in Washington, D.C.


Robert was once saved from possible serious injury by Edwin Booth, the brother of John Wilkes Booth. They were on a train platform in Jersey City New Jersey. The incident occurred in late 1864 or early 1865, the exact date is not known,  shortly before President Lincoln was assassinated.

The train platform was crowded with people and it was late in the evening, people were securing sleeping car places from the conductor. Robert was pressed against the car body and the train began to move.  He lost his footing and ended up down into an open space when someone grabbed him by the coat collar and pulled him up onto the platform. That person was Edwin Booth, an actor, whom Robert knew and called by name, as he thanked him.

He was present at three assassinations, His father's, where he had turned down an invitation to go to the theater with them because he was not feeling well, President Garfield's in 1881, where he was actually an eye-witness, and President McKinley's in 1901 where he was there but not an eye-witness to the actual event.

Lincoln constructed an observatory at his home in Manchester, Vermont, because he was a serious amateur astronomer.
His telescope still exists; it was restored and supposedly is still being used by a local astronomy club.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Abraham Lincolon and President's Day

In honor of President's Day, I thought it only fitting to honor Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, was born February 12, 1809 near Hodgenville, Kentucky to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks. When Abe was only two years old, the family moved from Kentucky to Indiana .Nancy had two other children, Sarah and Thomas, although Thomas died in infancy. Nancy Hanks Lincoln died in 1818 when Abe was only about 9 years old. Soon after Nancy's death, his father then married Sarah Bush Johnston in 1819 and she brought three children with her into this marriage. Abraham got along very will with his step-mother and credited her with being a strong stable influence in his life. John Hanks visited the family in Indiana and helped clear their land and Thomas expressed to him that the soil wasn't that good for growing crops. When John got ready to leave, after being with them for about two years, he was going to Illinois to look at some land and Thomas told him to contact him about what he found.

Everyone knows that Abraham Lincoln was known as the Civil War President and that he was assassinated on April 15, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth, while attending a show at the Ford Theater in Washington, D. C.

Abraham married Mary Todd in 1842 and they had four sons, William Wallace "Willie, Thomas "Tad, Edward Baker and Robert Todd who was the only one to live to maturity, marry, have children and lead a very public and active life in Washington, which I don't think many people are aware of. I will save that for another article.

I personally am honored to at least be able to claim Abraham Lincoln as a shirt-tail relative although he is not of my own direct lineage. Elijah Loomis, the brother of my ancestor Mary Olivia Loomis, married Emily Hanks. Emily's father, John I. Hanks and his parents were William Hanks and Elizabeth Hall. John was a first cousin to Abe's mother, Nancy Hanks.Now you can understand why I told you about John Hanks and his being close to the family even after Nancy's death.

John Hanks married Susan Wilson in 1826 and in 1828 moved his family to Macon County, Illinois.  John had written to Thomas Lincoln about the wonderful farm land and how it was superior to that of the land in Indiana. It was in 1830 that Thomas then moved his family to Illinois and John Hanks and Abe hauled the logs together with a yoke of oxen, and a cabin was built near the Sangamon, in Harristown township, Illinois in which the Lincoln family lived while they resided in Macon county.

Abraham Lincoln and John Hanks both served in the Black Hawk War. John also served in Co. A, of the 21st Illinois regiment. This was the regiment that Gen. U.S. Grant entered the war as the Colonel in command.

In the 1880 Census for Hickory Point Township, Macon Co, Illinois, John I. Hanks, now 78 listed as father-in-law, is living with Elija (Eliza on the records) and his wife Emily and their children. There is also a little girl, 10 yrs old named Emma Hanks and she is listed as a daughter. Who's daughter is she? John's wife Susan died before this child would have been born. Did John remarry?

Some trivia facts about Abe Lincoln:
Did you know that he was the first President to wear a beard while serving as President in the White House?
One of the reasons he grew a beard was because he had a receding chin.

The only campaign stop that Abram Lincoln made in Michigan during his Presidential political campaign was in 1856 at Kalamazoo, Michigan. He spoke in Bronson Park. There is now a plaque there commemorating the event.Interest fact is that Silas Hubbard and Mary Olivia Loomis Hubbard, the sister to Elijah Loomis who was married to Emily Hanks, the daughter of John Hanks who was cousin to Abe's mother Nancy and who was close to Abe, were living in Kalamazoo at the time. Abraham spent the night in Kalamazoo before heading back to Illinois the next day.  I wonder if he stayed with Silas and Mary? 

Abraham Lincoln (Photograph, Standing) Art Poster Print - 13x19

Friday, February 11, 2011

Digging Up Moore and Moore Bones

I hope that I am not the only one who is intrigued by how different names can end up in different parts of the country and then wonder if they end up connecting somewhere along the way!

As I work on two separate families, both with Moore lineage, I have to ask myself will they meet somewhere along the way?  Is it possible that My MOORE family, originating in Canada and moving to Michigan, join up with my son-in-law’s MOORE family that so far I am finding in the southern part of the United States?

Coming from My Northern Moore family we have
Ebenezer Moore married to Elizabeth Wood  they are from Canada
Son Charles married Hannah Triey they are from Canada
Son Sylvester married Jane Andress (often a form of Andrews)
Son David Michael born 1864 in Michigan married Clara Belle Mac Donald
Son William Henry married Lua Louisa Ackerman in Mt Pleasant Michigan, who are my grandparents.

Now lets look at the Southern Moore Family

According to one researcher, William Moore was born in 1725 in King George Virginia to Francis Moore and Elizabeth Harbin.  Francis was born about 1706 and Elizabeth about 1704 in King George.

William and Mary French had Several Children:
Mary born about 1760 in Morgan, Lincoln Co, NC,
John born about 1762 in Morgan Lincoln Co NC
William birth date unknown but dying before Oct 1770 in Lincoln Co. NC. Who married Mary Steele.

William’s will dated Oct 1770 states Joseph as an heir. He was married to Rebecca Ballew around 1784 in Kentucky.  I have his full name as James Joseph and born between 1757 and 1759.

Joseph and Rebecca had two sons who carry the Greenberry name,
Burt Greenberry Moore, born 1796 (he married Mary French) and their son, Greenberry H. Moore was born Oct 31, 1815.
Delilah born abut 1785 who married William Robertson,
Edmund 1787 who married Nancy Asher,
Alexander  born about 1793.  who married Sarah French (be interesting to see if this ties into relatives of Mary French who married Burt)
Joab born abut 1792,
Willliam L born about 1792 who married Charity Carter,
Hester Ann born 1897 married Morgan Childs
Robert Wilson. born 1808 married Lydia Cabaney/Cabney/Caviness (no one can agree on the spelling of her last name)
Daniel Boone born 1895 married Emily Lincecum (Lincum)
Dr. John Major born 1805 married Martha Medley

Burt Greenberry Moore and Mary French had a son they named Albert Greenberry Moore born in July 1848 in Itawamba Co MS.   Albert in turn married Frances Truelove and they had a son that they named Albert Greenberry Jr born in Sept 1885.
They also had
Alexander Hamilton  married Susan Bullard
George Washington married Martha A. Medley (is this the same Martha that Dr. John Major Moore Married?)
Eliza Jane married John Nelson Maxcy
William Hugh married Elizabeth Ann Walker
James Madison married Mary H. Truelove (is she related to Frances that married  Albert Greenberry Jr?)
Mary Demaris Adeline
Sarah Ann
Joseph Birton
John Woffard

Robert Wilson Moore who married Lydia Cabaney/Cabney/Caviness
Had the following children:
Robert Calhoun married Nancy Ellen Collins
David H. C.
James married Serina Robertson

By 1880 Robert and Lydia moved their family to Parker County Texas, as they appear on the census there in that year.

Robert Calhoun and Nancy had the following children
Ruben Tyson married Oda Marie Price
Lydia Margaret married A Q Teague
Mary Elizabeth married George Riggs
Prudence Rachel
George William
James  married Edith Doner/Donner
William P

At some point, Robert “Cal” Moore moved his family out of Texas.
Several of the children ended up in Oklahoma, namely Ruben Tyson and his sister Lydia Margaret and brother James. I have not completed my investigation on the rest of the children from this marriage.

I guess my next step will be to see if any of My Northern Moore’s moved South down into the North Carolina area or into some of the other Southern states.  It doesn’t look like the Southern Moore’s moved North at all.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

New Website To Check Out

Have you ever felt like one or more of your ancestors just fell off the face of the earth without a trace? It might be a good idea to do a time-line of events that happened during the last years that you were able to locate them in a given area. Perhaps they lived in a state that had a tornado, floods or droughts. Back in the days of the settlers, maybe there were Indian wars, or skirmishes with the British!

I came across a new website that may be of interest to everyone. It is called are all types of disasters listed there, from natural to manmade events, where you can read about an event and in most cases names of victims lost in the tragic event are listed.  You can search by state, year, or types of events.

You may be able to locate one of your "brickwall" ancestors there!  I went and browsed through the site the other day and was very impressed with the number of articles that are already listed there and more are being added all the time.

So go check it out and let me know what you think about it