Thursday, June 28, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday - From the newspaper archives

"VERDICT IN THE HEWITT CASE. -- The jury in the case of Dr. Thomas Hewitt charged with procuring an abortion upon the person of Mrs. Isabella Wemer, returned a verdict of guilt on the third and fourth counts, and not gilt not he first second, fifth and sixth counts. The third and fourth counts simply charged an attempt to procure an abortion, and the verdict only convicts of the attempt.  The penalty of the offense is three years imprisonment in the penitentiary. The testimony in this case was about the same as that taken before an alderman last Spring, and published in the Progress at the time."[1]

[1] "Verdict in the Hewitt Case," Indiana (Pennsylvania) Progress, Thursday, 15 September 1870, page 2, column 2, digital image,

Mrs. Isabella Wemer is Isabella (Mahan) Weamer, widow of Andrew Weamer, who died in May 1870, after the abortion described above.  She was the daughter of Patrick Mahan and Nancy Laughlin, and she left four young children to survive her: Ida May, Winfield Scott, John Edward, and Andrew G C, aka "Bird" Weamer.

Never know what you are going to discover in local, small town papers.  More to come about Isabella (Mahan) Weamer!

Analysis of a late 19th century mug book entry - Part 1

In 1880, a county history was published for Indiana County, Pennsylvania.  The title was History of Indiana County, PA, and the author was J.A. Caldwell.  There is an entry for William L Mahan[1], included below.

WM. L. MAHAN was born in 1829, on the McCune farm, and was a son of Patrick and Nancy Mahan 
nee Laughlin.  The former was born in 1792, in county Donegal, and the latter in 1797, in county Tyrone.  
They located on and opened up what is known as the McCune farm in 1819.  Three of Patrick’s brothers 
came to America.  John settled near what is now Newville, in 1814, and was married to Margaret Hunter.  
Robert was never heard of after his arrival in America.  William died near the homestead of Patrick, and 
was married to Isabella Ross.  Patrick’s children were:  Eliza, d., b. in 1817, m. to Moses Miller; Rebecca, 
d., b. in 1819, m. to Andrew McFeeters; Lillie, b. in 1821, m. to Samuel Stuchell, d.; Nancy, b. in 1823, m. 
to Christopher Stuchel, d.; Margaret, b. in 1824, m. to A. A. Lydick; Jane, b. in 1826, m. to John R. 
Carnahan; William L., b. in 1829, m. to Mrs. Sarah Duncan nee Walker; John, b. in 1831; Angeline, b. in 
1834, m. to John S. Flemming; Isabella, d., b. in 1836, m. to Andrew Weamer, d.; and Martha, d., b. in 
1839.  Our subject’s children were:  Harry Elmer, d.; William Meade; Clara May; and Minnie Laura.  He 
served three years in company K, 67th Pennsylvania volunteers.

In researching this family, I used this county history entry (or "mug book" entry) as a basis to begin my research.  Some was able to be confirmed, and some not.

Extrapolating from the entry, we get the following data.

  • Patrick Mahan, b. 1792 in County Donegal, Ireland, married Nancy Laughlin, b. 1797 in County Tyrone, Ireland.
  • They came to the United States by 1819 and settled on the McCune farm.
  • Patrick had three brothers that also came to America, though not necessarily at the same time as Patrick:
    • John came to America by 1814, settled in Newville [also part of Indiana County] and married Margaret Hunter.
    • Robert - no record, unknown when he came to America.
    • William, unknown when he came to America, died in Indiana County [no date], and married Isabella Ross. [presumably all before 1880]
  • Patrick and Nancy had the following children:
    • Eliza, b. 1817, d. bef 1880, m. Moses Miller
    • Rebecca, b. 1819, d. bef 1880, m. Andrew McFeeters [these are my ancestors]
    • Lillie, b. 1821 [Indiana County, PA implied], still living in 1880, m. Samuel Stuchell, who d. bef 1880
    • Nancy, b. 1823 [Indiana County, PA implied], still living in 1880, m. Christopher Stuchel, who d. bef 1880
    • Margaret, b. 1824 [Indiana County, PA implied], still living in 1880, m. A. A. Lydick
    • Jane, b. 1826 [Indiana County, PA implied], still living in 1880, m. John R. Carnahan
    • William L., b. 1829 [Indiana County, PA implied], still living in 1880, m. Sarah (Walker) Duncan
    • John, b. 1831 [Indiana County, PA implied], still living in 1880
    • Angeline, b. 1834 [Indiana County, PA implied], still living in 1880, m. John S. Flemming
    • Isabella, b. 1836 [Indiana County, PA implied], d. bef 1880, m. Andrew Weamer, who d. bef 1880
    • Martha, b. 1839 [Indiana County, PA implied], d. bef 1880
  • William L. Mahan had four children born bef 1880.
    • Harry Elmer, d. bef 1880
    • William Meade
    • Clara May
    • Minnie Laura
  • William L. Mahan served in the Civil War in the 67th Pennsylvania Volunteers [Infantry], Company K.
[1] J.A. Caldwell, J. A.,  1745-1880, History of Indiana County, Pennsylvania, Newark, Ohio: 1880, transcription online, Treasures of the Past,

The next post will discuss the "low hanging fruit" used to document this family: census records.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday

The memorial for Indiana (Fletcher) Williams, founder of Sweet Briar Institute (now Sweet Briar College), Virginia.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Williamson County Genealogical Society - June Meeting Review

On Thursday, Williamson County Genealogical Society had a presentation on DNA by Debbie Parker Wayne (  It was super-well attended, with (I think) 56 people attending, 46 members and 10 visitors.  I had expected less due to summertime.  We ran out of subject handouts as well as "current local events" handouts.  I can't remember the last time that happened.

Debbie was a great presenter and very knowledgable about her topic.  If you get a chance to see her presentation on DNA, take advantage.  Her gingerbread men and gingerbread women showing the mixing of genes were a big hit.

I was the last person out of the library and didn't end up getting home until nearly 10pm.  We've had a number of months with great speakers and attendance.  Next month is on probate records, and the speaker is Teri Flack, treasurer of the Austin Genealogical Society.  Visitors are always welcome!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday - Automobile List for the Funeral of Hannah Catherine Rodgers

A repost from 2008, but I love this document

A unique document – “Automobile List for the Funeral of Hannah Catherine Rodgers”
This document was found mixed in with photos and papers of my maternal grandmother, who is still living.  It names my great-great-grandmother, Hannah Catherine Rodgers, the date of the funeral (9 May 1953), the time of the funeral (10 am), the name of the cemetery, and the clergy that officiated. 

In addition, the document lists the honorary bearers:
            John Williams  --  grandson
            William Williams -- grandson
            Willie Rodgers  -- [possibly grandson, not fully identified]
            Harry Usher -- [nephew or grandson, probably grandson]
            LeRoy Usher -- grandson
            Bill McFeaters – husband of granddaughter

The document then goes on to identify the make of car for each family.  It is unknown who created this document.  
Identifications have been made by my grandmother, as well as by previous research.

Source: Automobile List for the Funeral of Hannah C. Rodgers (9 May 1953), privately held by Sara Gredler, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Austin, Texas, 2012.
Hannah Catherine RODGERS funeral car list

Richardson conundrum

So I ordered (via fax) copies of the documentation for Jonathan Richardson Sr (the progenitor in Livonia, New York) from the DAR last week and they came on Monday.

I was excited to see that they had included documentation of later generations that I didn't expect.  Also, copies of four deeds from Franklin Co, Massachusetts (at the time of their creation, the land was in Hampshire County).  These four deeds appear to fit with the fact that a Jonathan Richardson (occasionally identified as a "Jr") sold land in Leyden, Massachusetts, around the time that the Jonathan Richardson family appears to move from Massachusetts/New Hampshire/Vermont/eastern New York, and appear in Livonia.

However, it also brought up more issues.  The documentation include a circa birth date (c.1742) and a place (Brattleboro, Windham Co, Vermont, which I *guess* could be correct, considering that Brattleboro was the first Vermont settlement [1]), as well as a wife's name: "Hannah Warren."


I have not seen "Hannah Warren" on any document; I have not seen the name Hannah; I have not even seen a name for a wife of Jonathan Richardson Sr.  I know he had one - men obviously can't give birth - but her identity is a mystery to me.

Of the aforementioned Hampshire County deeds (now Franklin), there are two where Jonathan buys land, one in 1794 and one in 1796, and two where he sells the land - both in 1804.  (I plan to fully transcribe and post these later.)  The two where he sells land do not include a wife renouncing her right to dower (for a great post on dower, see The Legal Genealogist for an example in Michigan; the comments discuss Massachusetts not having repealed the right of dower until 2008, to take effect in 2011[2]).  So now I am really at a conundrum.  Is this "my" Jonathan?  Is it his son, Jonathan Jr?  Where is the wife that should be there, if, as I hypothesize, this is "my" Jonathan Sr?  Jonathan Jr was already married in 1804 so if it was him, his wife Rhoda should have signed away her right to dower.  I was under the impression via the 1810 census that she had moved to Livonia with the family, but maybe I am operating under a false assumption.  That could be a sister or sister-in-law rather than a wife.

The other choice is that the researcher did not think those pages important, and so did not copy them and include them in the DAR application!  But now at least I know that there is something there.

But I am still at an impasse as to connecting these two men as one person, and if either of them are really the man that supposedly served in the Revolutionary War.

*spin, spin, spin* These guys give me hurt-y brain.  On the plus side, at least I know that I am not the only one - I just got an email from a distant cousin that explained that she stopped work on this line because they made her crazy.

(I am tempted to put a LOLcat here, but I will deny myself the pleasure of silly cat photos.)

[1] Wikipedia (, "Brattleboro, Vermont," rev. 17 June 2012.

[2] Judy Russell (The Legal Genealogist,, "Reversion of Dower," 17 April 2012.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Williamson County (Texas) Genealogical Society - Monthly Meeting

So excited tomorrow for Debbie Parker Wayne to talk about DNA!

We meet on the 3rd Thursday of the month at the Round Rock Public Library at 7:30pm.

Debbie's blog:

I will have to get permission to repost some great flyers that our previous Publicity chair made for us before she moved!

Tombstone Tuesday (belated)

Photographs of the memorials at Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA for Daisy Williams, daughter of James Henry Williams and Indiana (Fletcher) Williams. Indiana (Fletcher) Williams founded Sweet Briar in memory of her daughter, Daisy.

If you happen to like watching the SyFy network, tonight they will be airing "School Spirits" ( a show about haunted schools, and Sweet Briar features in at least two episodes, I think.

Wordless Wednesday (almost)

Something a little different....

Terrible photo of me, taken by my mom, at Stonehenge in November, 2003.

Usually I am the one taking the photos - I don't like to be in front of the camera.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How Popular was your Name? SNGF - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

On challenge from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings, tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is to use the Popular Baby Names section of the Find the Best website to discover the popularity of your first name.

Though I spell my name without the 'h,' I always use both Sara and Sarah for searching.

For Sara:
1880s: Rank-121, percent with name-0.152%, Number-2,127
1890s: Rank-140, percent with name-0.1325%, Number-3,119
1900s: Rank-143, percent with name-0.1355%, Number-4,210
1910s: Rank-115, percent with name-0.1811%, Number-15,405
1920s: Rank-128, percent with name-0.1702%, Number-21,098
1930s: Rank-130, percent with name-0.1653%, Number-18,252
1940s: Rank-134, percent with name-0.1361%, Number-20,270
1950s: Rank-171, percent with name-0.1038%, Number-20,477
1960s: Rank-163, percent with name-0.1219%, Number-23,041
1970s: Rank-50, percent with name-0.346%, Number-56,927
1980s: Rank-30, percent with name-0.5672%, Number-104,000
1990s: Rank-43, percent with name-0.3672%, Number-72,076
2000s: Rank-69, percent with name-0.2239%, Number-40,809

For Sarah:
1880s: Rank-16, percent with name-1.0513%, Number-14,715
1890s: Rank-31, percent with name-0.7289%, Number-17,154
1900s: Rank-44, percent with name-0.5583%, Number-17,342
1910s: Rank-50, percent with name-0.4479%, Number-38,107
1920s: Rank-58, percent with name-0.3772%, Number-46,764
1930s: Rank-60, percent with name-0.3305%, Number-36,493
1940s: Rank-76, percent with name-0.2683%, Number-39,945
1950s: Rank-107, percent with name-0.2026%, Number-39,957
1960s: Rank-90, percent with name-0.2323%, Number-43,900
1970s: Rank-19, percent with name-0.7218%, Number-118,000
1980s: Rank-5, percent with name-1.4771%, Number-272,000
1990s: Rank-4, percent with name-1.1413%, Number-224,000
2000s: Rank-12, percent with name-0.6371%, Number-116,000

The 1980s were the most popular decade for 'Sara' and the second most popular for 'Sarah.'  No wonder that every time I hear the name "Sara" my head turns to see if someone is talking to me or not. :-)

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun at GeneaMusings.

Friday, June 15, 2012

DNA Tests - Y-DNA from Dad and DNA summary

Well, the Y-DNA results are in for my dad.  We tested through FamilyTreeDNA; around 2007 I had tested with FamilyTreeDNA for my mtDNA as a birthday present.  Previously, on a lark, both Dad and myself had done the genetic testing through 23andme.

FamilyTreeDNA's result for my mtDNA haplogroup in 2007 was U2.  The new testing (autosomal) via 23andme (and subsequently transferred to my account at FamilyTreeDNA) gives a mtDNA haplogroup result as U2e1a.  23andme gives matches for me in their Global Similarity section in Northern Europe.  For RelativeFinder matches, the closest I have are two 3rd-5th/ cousins.

The transferred data to FamilyTreeDna gives a 94.16% population matches in Western Europe (Basque, French, Orcadian, and Spanish populations) and 5.84% population matches in Europe (Tuscan, Romanian, and Sardinian populations).  The margin of error is 6.29%.  For FamilyFinder matches, I have two close matches of 2nd-4th cousins.

I transferred Dad's 23andme autosomal tests to FamilyTreeDNA as well.  From 23andme he got mtDNA results of haplogroup H and Y-DNA results of R1b1b2a1a.  His results in the Global Similarity section are matches in Northern Europe.  For RelativeFinder matches, the closest Dad has are two 3rd-5th/ cousins.

The transferred data to FamilyTreeDNA gives a 93.90% population match in Western Europe (Orcadian population only) and 6.10% population match in the Middle East (Palestinian, Adygei, Bedouin South, Druze, Iranian, and Jewish populations). The margin of error is 1.93%.  For FamilyFinder matches, the closest Dad has is one person who is a 2nd-4th cousin, though we can't figure out how we are related.

Dad's Y-DNA matches are pretty much a bust.  We ordered a 67-marker test, and have no matches until the 25-marker test, and none of those are exact matches. 

Earliest known Y-DNA ancestor is Frank Xaver/Xavier Gredler (b. 11 Nov 1858, Stumm, Tirol, Austria[1], d. 24 June 1914, Barre, Washington Co, Vermont).[2]  His death certificate gives his parents names as Frank Gredler and [--?--] Prutoz.  He emigrated from Bremen, Germany on 11 Jan 1888, traveled on the ship Ems, and landed at Castle Garden in New York City on 23 Jan 1888.[3]

Dad's Middle East population matches almost certainly stem from Frank Xaver's wife Elizabeth Brunck.  She was born 29 Feb 1872 in Oberotterbach, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany[4] and died 7 Mar 1954 in Norwich, New London Co, Connecticut.[5]  She emigrated from Antwerp, Belgium in Dec 1893 on the ship Westernland, and landed at Ellis Island on 3 Jan 1894.[6]  She traveled with her sister Rosina Brunck.  Their parents were George Jakob Brunck and Margaretha Brunck;[7] I haven't yet figured out how the two Brunck families are related.  The Lutheran church records for Oberotterbach are on microfilm and I have used some of those, but they do not go back quite far enough.

(Some of these sources need to be rewritten.)

[1] Frank X Gredler, death certificate, Deaths 1912-1916, roll number 4, number 85, Barre City, Washington Co, Vermont, microfilm, Aldrich Library, 6 Washington St, Barre, Washington Co, Vermont; Frank Xavier Gredler, petition for naturalization, 5 August 1909, Barre, Washington Co, Vermont.

[2] Frank X Gredler death certificate.

[3] Frank X Gredler petition for naturalization.

[4] Frank X Gredler petition for naturalization; Elisabetha Brunk, baptism record, 3 March 1872, recorded 14 March 1872, Oberotterbach, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, unpaginated, 1872 records, no. 4, Evangelische Kirche Oberotterbach (BA. Bergzabern), “Taufen 1839-1877,” Kirchenbuch, 1671-1916, FHL INTL microfilm 193102, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Elizabeth (Brunk) Gredler, death certificate, Norwich, New London, Connecticut, no file number listed on certificate, 7 March 1954; filed 8 March 1854.

[5] Elizabeth (Brunk) Gredler death certificate.

[6] Passenger List Manifest for ship “Westernland”, landed at Ellis Island, New York City, New York, 3 January 1894, M237, Roll 622, Vol 14, frame 107-111,

[7] Elisabetha Brunk baptism record.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Writing up your genealogical argument...and the Jamboree

At this point, all I am doing to prep for the next Richardson post on the blog is setting up all the documentation that I have pulled together.  Some analysis is included, and some of the documents are rather straightforward.  Right now I am just working on, essentially, bullet points.

BUT! It certainly makes you get all your ducks in a row.  Some of my citations I have had in my genealogical software forever, which makes it really easy to drag them into the word processing document I am writing up.  Some documentation has been in my possession since I started my genealogical journey, and I have never written the source citation for them, and the data they contain has never been entered into my database.  With some data I assumed things that I then needed to double-check, and I learned something new.  (For example, a Leyden, New York comes up in Wikipedia search, but does not come up using Rootsweb's Town and County database.)

I have spent today working on these posts and watching live web casts of sessions at the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree.  I am so lucky that I got to view some of these programs, and for those that were not live streamed, I can view some of the syllabi via the Jamboree iPhone app.  I wish more had been streamed, but I will take what I can get.  Though apparently an 8:30 am session is early no matter the timezone: I was super mad at myself for missing Mr. Bittner's Complex Evidence talk this morning!

< smacks hand >

Though I will say that the soundtrack for Snow White and the Huntsman composed by James Newton Howard has been great blog-post writing music.

(c) Sara Gredler, 2012

Richardson - problem ancestors (DAR Application)

Sigh. I don't know what to do with these guys. They aren't rascals, like The Legal Genealogist's George Washington Cottrell. They are a simple, post-American Revolutionary family that lived in western New York and didn't leave a lot of records but left A TON of descendants. And give me a headache.

I have been working on gathering the descendants of man known as Jonathan Richardson. According to a DAR application (and a second one recently accepted under the same documentation), this Jonathan Richardson (b. abt 1743 (possibly Massachusetts), d. bef 1829 (probably Livingston Co, New York)) married a woman named Hannah Warren.  He and his family moved to Livonia, Ontario Co, New York (now Livingston County) around 1804-1806, probably from Leyden, Hampshire Co, Massachusetts (now Franklin County).  It appears that they had at least three sons (Jonathan, Joseph, and Daniel); I posit a 4th (John) based on family histories stating that my 4th great-grandparents were first cousins, but there were almost certainly other children.

This Jonathan Richardson supposedly served in the Revolutionary War.  The DAR application gives his service in the following detail:

  • In Quebec, 1776, and at Ticonderoga with New Hampshire Forces (typed)
  • Served with the Green Mountain Boys - Maj. Brown's Detachment (handwritten)
  • Served with General Arnold - Col. Ethan Allen - Seth Warner @ 4 July 1775 [sic] (handwritten)
  • Pay roll on Captain John Parker's Comp [sic] (handwritten)
Sources cited for this military service:
  1. Pension Records
  2. History of the Revolutionary War, New Hampshire Sate Papers, Vol. I, Vol. IV, pp. 172, 176, 177.
  3. Misc. Revolutionary Documents of New Hampshire, Vol. 30
  4. NH State Papers by Batchellor, pp. 435 439 [sic]
  5. New York in the Revolution by Roberts pages 61 and 62
I won't argue this point currently - but I am unclear as to how the same name/different person scenario is resolved here.  Jonathan Richardson is not the most uncommon of names, and I have been unable to find a pension record for him specifically that may answer some of these questions.

Thanks to a wonderful online cousin, I now have all of the documentation used for the last two generations of the DAR application (i.e. Jonathan Richardson and one of his sons, in this case, Jonathan Jr).  A section of the application is for a list of the "Children of the Revolutionary Ancestor" besides the one through which the applicant descends.

This application gives the names of six children: Jonathan, Lemuel, Daniel, Francis, Joseph, and Elijah, and states that they are proven through the "Co Hist."

Looking through all the sources given on the application for those generations, including the three county histories - I find nothing on the wife or the children of Jonathan Richardson. *SIGH*

I am not trying to fault anyone's research or take anything away from my wonderful cousin that just got her DAR application approved, but I am somewhat irked.  Where did this information come from, and why can't I find it anywhere?  Who are these three other sons Lemuel, Francis, and Elijah?  They don't appear to be in any records in Ontario or Livingston counties with their Richardson relatives.  There are no Richardson families in Leyden, Massachusetts in 1810, approximately five years after I posit that the entire family moved.

A forthcoming post will establish all the evidence that I currently have on the Jonathan Richardson that lived in Livonia, New York in the last years of his life.  As for the DAR application, my next step is to make a request from the DAR for the supporting documentation for Jonathan Richardson.  Hopefully they will have something in their files to help me.

(c) 2012, Sara Gredler

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nancy Mahan's Farm - the 1850 Agricultural Schedule

In 1850, Nancy (Laughlin) Mahan appeared on the 1850 US Census Agricultural schedule in White Township, Indiana Co, Pennsylvania.[1]

The farm is described as follows:

She owned 40 acres of improved land and 40 acres unimproved land, worth $400. The value of the farming implements and machinery added up to $10.

As of June 1, 1850, the farm had:

2 horses
4 milch cows
8 “other cattle” (not milch cows or working oxen)
30 sheep
4 swine                                              livestock total worth $230

Produce during the year ending 1 June, 1850, included:

52 bushels of wheat
30 bushels of rye
50 bushels of Indian corn
88 bushels of oats
80 pounds of wool
10 bushels of Irish potatoes
10 bushels of buckwheat
200 pounds of butter
3 tons of hay
50 pounds of flax
3 bushels of flaxseed
36 pounds of beeswax and honey
$32 worth of home-made manufactures
$23 worth of animals slaughtered

Nancy Mahan's household in 1850 consisted of herself (aged 56 years, born in Ireland, farmer) and four unmarried children: Jane (aged 23, born in Pennsylvania), William (aged 21, born in Pennsylvania, farmer), Angeline (aged 15 years, born in Pennsylvania), and Isabella (aged 14 years, born in Pennsylvania).[2]

[1]1850 US Agricultural Census, farm of Nancy Mahan, 3 August 1850, White Township, Indiana Co, Pennsylvania, page 59-60 (199), line 17, digital image, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, : accessed 16 October 2008, citing National Archives, Washington Record Group 029.

[2]1850 US Census, household of Nancy Mahan, 5 August 1850, White Township, Indiana Co, Pennsylvania, page 27 (53 stamped), lines 10-14, dwelling number 366, family number 369, digital image,, : accessed 6 June 2012, citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 785.

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, Virginia

This is the view from Monument Hill at Sweet Briar, where the founder of the school, Indiana (Fletcher) Williams, and other members of her family are buried.  While I was there I found out that I am related to her!