Monday, August 27, 2012

History in a series of cannons...

After posting the last photo of me with the cannon at the Palo Alto Battlefield in south Texas, I went looking at my battlefield photographs. For years my parents and I visited Civil War battlefields in multiple states during summer holidays.

Sara at Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield, Georgia, 2001

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Power of genealogy collaboration!!!

So in the past few months, I restarted my blog and began seriously trying to get in touch with other cousins working on my Richardson family. And already have hit pay dirt.

Cousin 1: descendant of Joseph Richardson through daughter Philinda (Richardson) Nash.

Cousin 2: descendant of Jonathan Richardson (II) through daughter Sarah (Richardson) Davis.

Cousin 3: descendant of Daniel Richardson through daughter Diadamia (Richardson) Payne Fellows, through a son I did not know existed.

Cousin 4: descendant of John Richardson through son William Richardson.

I'm a descendant of Joseph and John, as their children were first cousins and married each other.

I didn't realize until I just typed this out that I have recently met cousins of the four known branches of the sons of Jonathan Richardson (I).

Hopefully we will be able to break through the wall to find the origins of Jonathan Richardson (I), aka the progenitor. Through newspaper advertisements and a letter I have from the 1950s, we have realized that this problem has been extant for at least 60 years. I keep reminding myself that the people we are researching lived nearly 300 years ago, and we (as a society) are still learning new things about items such as Viet Nam and World War II.

I'm doing my genealogy happy dance though, to have found so many cousins. And all this just a week before my birthday, too!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

History-excitement but not genealogy

Sara at the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park
August 2012

So I had been wanting to visit some battlefields ever since I moved to Texas. I used to live on the East Coast, and there are TONS of battlefields there. Not so many in Texas, though.

A coworker and I were in the Rio Grande Valley for work and driving back to our hotel saw one of the brown historic signs. I was able to convince him to turn off, and we ended up at the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park, the site of the first battle of the US-Mexican War.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the viewpoint), it was so hot that we forwent hiking the trails and did not take a gander of the site from the overlook. Nor did we visit the sister site of Resaca de la Palma. This means that I will have to go back, right?

Palo Alto Battlefield
August 2012
Taken by Sara Gredler

By the Numbers

I've been seeing several posts of the last few days regarding the number of ancestors we potentially have up to the 10th generation, and how many we have actually uncovered.

Great grandparents88
2nd great grandparents1616
3rd great grandparents3229
4th great grandparents6453
5th great grandparents12867
6th great grandparents25670
7th great grandparents51283
Total1022322 (31.5%)

This uses my current genealogy database, but I am pretty sure that it is not ancestors that I am waiting to complete data entry on, but rather collateral relatives.  I am surprised at the percentage: quite a lot of Dad's family is "old New England" and those are the lines that can be traced the furthest. The greatest degree of ancestry that I can trace are seven individuals that are my 19th-great grandparents, born in the 14th century. I haven't looked at those lines in awhile, so I haven't studied them and sourced them to the same extent.

I have my "walls," of course. My MAHAN family in Pennsylvania immigrated in 1819 from northern Ireland. I'm working on figuring out if/how my RICHARDSON family in western New York is related to any of the other New England Richardson families. I've got some western Pennsylvania coal miners that left few records and are difficult line to trace.

Two of my 3rd-great grandparents I actually have some sort of name for, but no data on them. The death record of my 2nd-great grandfather Frank Xaver Gredler gives the names of his parents as Frank Gredler and [--?--] Prutoz. So those names are not included in the numbers. I have had little luck and even less experience trying to get records from Austria, where Frank Xaver Gredler was born.

At least I know how I will be keeping busy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

New cousin contact!

I got an email from a new cousin last week from a son of a couple that I did not know even existed! The family is part of my Richardson project, to document all the descendants of Jonathan Richardson (I) who moved to Livonia, NY between 1803-1805 (I think).

She is sending me a package! I am so excited! And of course, that means that I am out of town this week for work! ARG!

"DNA USA" - Book Review

I am thoroughly enjoying Bryan Sykes's new book "DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America."  I am only approximately four chapters into the book (I brought it with me on a work trip for when I have a free evening), but I am reading it at a fast clip.

I have enjoyed two of Sykes's previous books (I have "Adam's Curse" to read still, but I do own it) and even though I am only a few chapters in, I thoroughly recommend.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Harry Elmer Mahan

Tombstone of Harry Elmer Mahan
Born 15 Jan 1862, died 13 Feb 1871
Son of William & Sarah Mahan
Greenwood Cemetery, White Township, Indiana Co, Pennsylvania
Taken by Sara Gredler, 2004