Virtual Family History Classes through Zoom (Video Conferencing much like Skype or Google Hangouts).
Virtual tutoring individual screen shares a virtual whiteboard to work on:
Family tree creation.
Records search for documenting your family history.
Break down brick walls on a particular ancestor.
30 minutes of free consultation to discuss your needs, prior to the paid session.
Schedule your session today by selecting the appropriate picture below.
FAMILY HISTORY DETECTIVES
VIRTUAL BASIC FAMILY HISTORY CLASS
Basic Family History Class covers how to research your family tree, step-by-step. Please note, after the second Basic Family History Class — you will be sent access to the materials to review and refer back to, at your leisure. The class was designed with children in mind, but anyone is welcome to take the class.
The class is divided into five sessions and teaches how to start to trace an ancestor.
How to start a family tree and where to look for clues for who your ancestors were, leading to who you are.
How different people in your family are related, and how to make a pedigree chart.
Using Zoom, I will guide you along the way and help you to organize your findings, locate different sources, and learn how to cite your research.
There are many genealogy activities on the internet, but this class will allow you to ask questions in a virtual classroom.
We use Google Classroom for this class. Be sure to add the extension DocHub (free) to your Google Chrome in order to open and edit certain assignments.
In this 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, Close to Home, I decided to write about Mary Yeula Wescott, my 2nd great-aunt. She was born 27 December 1889 at Poyner’s Hill in Currituck, North Carolina, where her father, John Thomas Wescott, was the keeper of the Poyner’s Hill Life-Saving station. She was the third of six children born to John and a year younger than my great-grandfather, Albert.
At a very young age, Mary loved to read and write. She was first published at the age of 12 when she decided to enter a writing contest for the St. Nicholas Magazine: An Illustrated Book For Young Folks by Mary Mapes Dodge. The following was published in January of 1903:
Poplar Branch, N.C.
Dear St. Nicholas: I am a little girl twelve years old, and I live on one of the sand-bars of North Carolina, five miles from the mainland. The nearest store and post-office is five miles away. My papa is the captain of the Poyners Hill Life-saving Station. We are bounded on the north and south by sand-hills, on the east by the ocean, and on the west by the Currituck Sound. The land near and on which the station is situated belongs to the Currituck Shooting Club, the club-house is the nearest one to us except the station. The club does not allow any of the station men except papa to build on the beach. We live only a few steps from the station and a little further from the sea, while the club-house is on the other side of the beach. So you see, we have it lonely here sometimes. Inclosed [sic] find my contribution which I hope is worthy of a prize.
Mary Yeula Wescott
The poem she enclosed won her a silver badge.
BY MARY YEULA WESCOTT
My little friend Annie
Came over to play.
We stayed in the house,
As ‘t was stormy that day.
She had her doll, Susan,
And mine was named Jane ;
We dressed and undressed them
Again and again.
We made them fine bonnets
For each little head.
They wore them to parties,
Then came home to bed.
Ann stepped on my finger,
And said she was glad.
I got up and slapped her,
She ‘d made me so mad.
Then I knocked Susan’s head off,
And Annie broke Jane.
We cried, and we quarreled
Again and again.
Then I said I was sorry,
As much as could be;
So I forgave Annie,
And she forgave me.
Mary continued to send in poems and articles as did her brother, Albert, and her sister, Laura. However, it was Mary who continued to write to them until at least the age of 17.
My Dear St. Nicholas League: I am sending to you today my verses for the September competition and I am so sorry to remember that I have but three more. Does everyone get old so dreadfully fast?
Your subject appealed to me this month, for I have several relatives including my father, who are members of the Life Saving Service to which I have a reference in the poem. This small band extends along the coast of the United States and guards its coast from the ravages of the storm. They maintain a constant watch along the shore and at the appearance of a distressed vessel launch their frail boats and, pitting their strength against the force of the waves, give aid to the distressed seamen. When the sea is so high that launching a boat from the shore is impossible, the beach apparatus is used and the sailors are brought from the vessel by means of a ” breeches-buoy,” which is drawn shoreward over a cable that has been shot across the vessel from the shore and fastened to the mast of the distressed vessel.
On our part of the coast, storms are numerous, and a rescue of this kind is a frequent occurrence.
I thank you so much for the encouragement you have given me in my endeavors to win that coveted cash prize.
But whether I succeed or not, I shall ever remember with gratitude the pleasure and benefit I have derived from your interesting work. Long life to you, my dear St. Nicholas League, and best wishes from your devoted League member, Mary Yeula Wescott (age 17).
It must have been this magazine that sparked her love of books.
Mary went to school in Durham and graduated from Trinity College (now Duke University) in 1914 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Magna cum laude. She taught Latin in local schools and went back to Trinity. In 1920, she took a leave of absence to attend and then graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree from the Simmons College of Library Science in Boston, Massachusetts in 1924, where she also worked in a government position while attending school. Mary returned to Trinity College, her alma mater, to work at Trinity College Library (now Duke University Library).
About 1932, Professor William K. Boyd organized the work of the Newspaper Department and placed Miss Allene Ramage in charge of it. Miss Ramage, aided by Miss Mary Wescott and Miss Eva E. Malone, prepared a checklist of these papers under the title Bibliographical Contributions of the Duke University Libraries: a Checklist of United States Newspapers. This publication has been of value to many librarians and scholars throughout the United States.
Part I: Alabama––Georgia
Part II: Idaho––Massachusetts
Part III: Michigan––New York
Part IV: North Carolina
Part V: North Dakota––Vermont
Part VI: Virginia––Wyoming
~LIBRARY NOTES -A BULLETIN ISSUED FOR
The Friends of Duke University Library April 1953; Number 27
She worked there until she retired in December of 1954 as Head of the Catalogue Department. A dinner was given in her honor on 14 December 1954. Among the special guests was Lawrence Quincy Mumford, Librarian of Congress. Mr. Mumford, who had known Miss Wescott since his student days, summarized well her contribution to both college and university when he spoke of her retirement as the termination of “a valuable career in librarianship.”
~LIBRARY NOTES -A BULLETIN ISSUED FOR
The Friends of Duke University Library April 1953; Number 27
“Pride in her profession, friendliness, compassion, and a delightful sense of humor — these were the characteristics that made Mary Wescott deeply loved as well as highly respected. Exactly what her personal philosophy was, one would not presume to say. One feels though that possibly she expressed it in the last stanza of a poem she wrote long ago — “The Dream of the Sea.”
O my Heart keep young, we would cross that main
With its raging tide;
We would enter those fields of glad abode
On the other side —
And we, how we long for the mighty strife
And the waves’ wild sweep —
To battle our way to the rich reward
And then to sleep! “
Seven months after Mary retired, she died in her sleep. She never married.
By the way, I have never been able to determine where the name Yeula came from. The closest I found was that it could be an Indian word meaning Upward slope. Fitting for a woman who never stopped climbing.
Thomas is my 4th great grandfather, father of Lovie Davis Tillett and Josiah Holly Tillett. He was born about 1745 in Nags Head, North Carolina. Not much is known about him other than he was married to Mary Polly Johnson and died at sea. His Mother’s Bible states “Thomas R. Tillett left home Jan 20th, 1832 was lost at sea soon afterward”.
Josiah Holly Tillett, Sr. was born on April 18, 1829. He married Levina A. Baum/Harris on January 13, 1858, in Currituck County. Levina, born May 15, 1846, and died Dec. 8, 1880. She often went by the surname of Harris. Her father has been speculated as a Baum (possibly Jacob) and her mother was a Harris.
Levina generally went by Harris. By the time Josiah had married Levina in 1858 he already had two children by a previous relationship with Sarah Cooper. These two children were: Lucinda Jackson (who took her surname from her step-father, Pete Jackson) who was born April 8, 1852, and died May 1, 1900; and Thomas T. Tillett who was born June 23, 1857, and died April 27, 1893. It is believed that neither Lucinda nor Thomas T. ever married.
Josiah Holly Tillett, Sr. and Levina Baum/Harris had a dozen children.
The 12 children were:
1) Mary Etta Tillett
2) Esther Holly Tillett – b. Aug. 20, 1859 d. Apr. 20, 1899; married 1st John Willis Tillett, Sr.; married 2nd Jesse James Twiford, Sr.
3) Tilmon L. Tillett – b. Sept. 14, 1862 d. Apr. 10, 1920; married Harriet Anne Baum
4) Lovey Tillett – b. Nov. 25, 1864 d. Dec. 24, 1931; never married.
5) Ella May Tillett – [see her photo & information here]
6) Timothy O. Tillett – [see his photo & information here]
7) Tedrick Tillett – b. June 2, 1870 d. Oct. 10, 1873
8) Titus S. Tillett – b. Nov. 8, 1872 d. Mar. 8, 1931; married Laura A. Davis & Mary David Payne
9) Theocanus Tillett -[see his photo & information here]
10) Almeda Tillett – [see her photo & information here]
11) Josiah Holly Tillett, Jr. – b. Dec. 10, 1879 d. Nov. 29, 1936; married 1st Mattie King in 1899, 2nd Nettie Virginia Fusedly (sp?) in 1904, 3rd Cottie Poole (Culpepper) Peterson between 1923-1930, and 4th Robanna (Fulcher) Beasley in 1935.
12) Arthur Perry Tillett (listed in census & other records as “Othuel” – b. Dec. 8, 1880 d. June 7, 1957; married Nellie White.
They lived in Nags Head Woods where their family lived for generations in and where their heritage traces back to the early 1700s. His grandfather received all of Nags Head Woods from sound to sea by a land grant from the Lord’s Proprietors of North Carolina. (from https://timothyotillett.com/history.html)
There are four Tillett Family Cemeteries in Nags Head Woods that bear the family names and dates.
Joe Holly was appointed assistant keeper of the Bodie Island Lighthouse in Nags Head from l859 to l860; Joe Holly resigned to take care of the family and the homeplace in Nags Head Woods. He died 15 September 1881.
Many people are taking DNA tests to try to figure out their heritage. When the traditional research methods are not working, a DNA test can help break through a brick wall by working alongside the “tried and true” family history research methods. A DNA test on its own is not going to solve the puzzle. I cannot stress this enough.
If your research hits a brick wall due to immigration or migration, name changes, or missing records, DNA may suggest clues that can lead you to new relatives, surnames, or locations. First, identify other descendants of your brick-wall ancestor who have also taken a DNA test (or ask other descendants to take a DNA test). Use the shared or “in common with” feature provided by your DNA testing company to identify other DNA matches connected to the same brick-wall ancestor. Review those matches and their trees. Look for people, surnames, or locations that match the information you already know about your brick-wall ancestor.
When I assist clients with their research, I mainly focus on the “tried and true” method I mentioned above. Starting with the client, gathering their vital records, birth certificate, baptismal certificate, marriage certificate, divorce information, etc. etc. Then their parents and grandparents, collecting the same information, including death certificates, naturalization records, land records, wills, newspaper articles, house history, etc.
Even if you know all this and have done your research, sometimes you just hit that proverbial “brick wall,” and it seems you can’t get any farther. In this case, you have to find other avenues. More and more archives are digitizing their records. And, if you read my post on my Facebook page, Loganalogy, then you know I have hit a couple of gold mines with the genealogical societies.
Please do not get scared off by their pricing on their pages. This week I will have received about eighteen pages, one family tree, and a source record from four different societies and was charged only $10 for the whole lot. Because I know how hard they work and the passion they have to help others, I paid a bit more as donations.
Some people may have the desire to know about their ancestry, but they do not have the time or resources to pursue it. That is where people like me come in handy. I am not a certified genealogist (it is on my retirement list); however, I am a Family History Research Specialist.
Let me customize a package that works for you, whether you need a whole family researched, one line, one person, or you need advice on where to go next with your research. I can help.
Visit www.loganalogy.com today, read my blogs, my finds on my ancestors, and let me help you find yours.
If you have read my other blogs, specifically “My Journey of Journeys,” you’ll remember I started researching my father’s side in the 1990s. I had started with the direct male line and then a few years later started with the wives, my grandmothers.
In 2010, I met up with a couple of others who were researching the Logans. One, in particular, was a retired Air Force Colonel living in Texas. He had an extensive tree on the Logans, and we emailed back and forth for at least three years. He is my 4th cousin, 1x removed.
Because I was still a rookie, I took what information he had on blind faith and plugged all the information into my tree. Not that his information was wrong, but I failed to verify for myself. Furthermore, I failed to get his sources. So, I have these people in my tree that I do not have verified documentation for.
One such person is Abigail Soper. Oh, I know her name is Abigail, as documentation from her children’s records lists their mother. What I do not have is her maiden name. I decided to try to verify her family once and for all, nine years later. With all the digitizing and new genealogical information, I thought for sure it would be an easier task now. I was wrong.
In November, I started writing historical societies and county clerks in the vicinity of Connecticut and Vermont. The information from my 4th cousin had Abigail being born in Connecticut but marrying Daniel Logan in Vermont around 1780. No cities mentioned. They could find no mention of Sopers or even Logans for that matter.
The town historian for Bennington, Vermont, however, was very helpful. She went over and beyond in trying to help me. She explained that the Logan name was not common in Bennington, but offered other historians who may assist me. One is in the town listed on an ancestor’s death certificate, Middlebury. Another is in the border town where my ancestor was married, Warsaw, New York.
The other Logans in this family were just as confusing as some documentation showed their sons born in New York, and some showed Vermont. I was perplexed. On a website called Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, I contacted a gentleman who specialized in that area. He wrote me back immediately! And he had some excellent information.
I did not follow my own advice in studying the area of the time. This gentleman gave me the history of my ancestors’ time, and it makes perfect sense on how and why the documentation seems to be conflicting. Here is what he said, in his own words:
The period in history that is involved here is a tough one for research in Vermont. Initially, the area, including Vermont, was under French control. After the battle on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec [ending the French and Indian wars], the area became part of the English holdings. Both the colonies of New York and New Hampshire claimed all or part of the land between them.
While they were still arguing, the War of Independence broke out in 1776. In 1777, the residents of the land area between Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River declared themselves an independent republic. This lasted until 1791 when Vermont was admitted as the 14th state. All record-keeping was done at the office of the town clerk. It still is. The recording of births, marriages, and deaths varied from town to town and really was not codified until around 1865. Copies of the various records were not collected at a central archive until around 1911.
He later wrote: I have done some looking and have found at least one extended family of Sopers from the mid-18th century in the towns of Dorset and Manchester in Bennington County. Your Abigail creates a bit of a problem. Remember the brief history lesson I gave you?
In 1765 the French and Indian Wars had only ended two years previous. This means that England had new land it needed to quantify. The colonies of New York and New Hampshire felt that each of their grants gave them most or all of this former French territory as part of their landholdings. Each colony sent surveyors in to lay out grants. An early Vermont land speculator, Ethan Allen and his brother Ira preferred to deal with the governor of New Hampshire. So they formed The Green Mountain Boys, an ad hoc group of vigilantes whose mission was to force the New York surveyors and tax collectors out in favor of New Hampshire.
There is some argument as to how successful they may have been. History remembers this group in regard to their taking over Ft Ticonderoga in NY. The point in this is that in 1765 those towns were most likely considered part of NY as Vermont, per se, did not exist at that time.
Middlebury, Vermont, is a bit north in Addison County, also on the west side of the Green Mountains, and also was most likely considered part of NY before 1777. I will see if I can find anything that connects Abigail to this family in Dorset and Manchester. You might see if you can get the contact information for the town’s historical society in Dorset and Manchester, Vermont. Every town has a historical society, and some are more active than others.
If you’re reading this in hopes of getting great clues on finding your brick walls, do not get too excited. I do have a few for you, though.
Today I searched more of my dead ends using some techniques given to me on my Twitter page where I follow fellow family historians and professional genealogists. They provide some great tips and websites for research.
One such tip is getting the best out of Google™ searches called “Boolean Operators.” Here are some examples.
Some others are:
Acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phrase.
Group multiple terms or search operators to control how the search is executed.
Example: (christmas OR trees) decorations
Search for prices. Also works for Euro (€), but not GBP (£) 🙁
Example: Samsung $329
A dictionary built into Google.
Returns the most recent cached version of a web page (old version of a web page) (providing the page is indexed, of course).
Limit results to those from a specific website.
Find sites linked to a given domain.
Find pages with a specific word (or words) in the title. In our example, any results containing the word “samsung” in the title tag will be returned.
Similar to “intitle,” but only results containing all of the specified words in the title tag will be returned.
Example: allintitle:samsung android
Another excellent search tool in my research has been Google Books.
Go to Google search
Type a surname or subject and hit enter
Click on the “More” menu
Click on “Books”
You can leave the search as is or click on “Any Books”
Then click on “Google EBooks” to search for books online.
Again, you can use the above Boolean Operators here.
I used these techniques today, searching for brick walls of mine and some of my clients, family, and friends. I was able to find some information that may help, but I have many names which have me stumped at the moment. Here is just a sample of my particular toughies:
Abigail Soper (cannot find proof of last name)
Daniel Logan’s marriage record to the above Abigail
Margaret Johnson Carr
Letitia Porterfield and John Rowan
John McMahan and Margaret Hargrove
Horace Case (could be John Horace Case)
Himan Chapman and his wife, Ann
Kezia(h) who married Isaac Burns
Williams Morrison and Christina Spiker
Charles William Davis and Eliza Wake’s parents
Franz Sierotzki’s family
Jesse Decatur Simmons (researching for my uncle) 😉
There are many more, but these are more of my frustrating names at this point. I hope those searching these same names will find this blog, and we can collaborate.
I have many, many emails to different historical societies, churches, and county clerks trying to gather information or possible avenues for me to search.
For instance, go to that website and type in the search engine, “Wood County, Ohio.” You get 1,147 results! Once you click a book or similar, you can then search inside the book itself.
And, always, always work sideways! Research the siblings, the aunts, the uncles, and cousins. You will be amazed at what you can find. You can even find others who are researching the same family.
So, do not give up, keep trying and dig, dig, dig. I have broken many brick walls, it has taken years sometimes, but it happened.
To all those that are reading, have a very Merry Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Ōmisoka, or other holiday you celebrate, or not. Make beautiful memories together and while you’re at it, write them down for your descendants!
Lately, I have been helping several people with their family history. One thing that they have all in common is the same issue I ran into when I first started. They did not take full advantage of the document hint that was given to them when they were researching.
For instance, a man and I had both located a census on his relative. He took it at face value, only looking at the page that, in this instance, Ancestry® had provided. It showed the page of his ancestor and their children. However, when I looked at the same document, I was able to find the wife’s family in the same census record. How? By using the back and forward arrows to look at the other pages in the census.
Most families tended to stay in the same neighborhood if not living together. In this case, they were neighbors. I’ve found where both sides of the family were neighbors up and down the street. Of course, with the inventions of cars, airplanes, and other transports, this won’t be the case for our generations and those that come after us; we move around more often.
Another common mistake is to look at the index only for information rather than looking at the whole record. For instance, take this death record of my great grandmother, Caroline Stitt Logan. The index shows her relevant details, such as her date of birth, date of death, etc.
But, if you click on the document, it shows her cause of death, the informant for the certificate (my great grandfather signed it), where they lived, where her parents were from, and where her burial was.
Another example is of this obituary that came up under Caroline’s name. If you only go by this index, then you would think that it is the obituary for Caroline, but it is not. It is for her father, William.
Click on the obit and look at all the information we have. It lists William’s father’s name and William’s children, with their married names.
The most fascinating records to do this with are passenger lists and immigration paperwork. Not only can the passenger list tell you where your ancestor is going, but it can tell you where they are from and whom they are visiting. Some immigration paperwork will list family names, birth dates, etc. You may even get a picture of the immigrant, depending on the time frame.
Dissect every document you can get your hands on. You never know what you may discover.
But, what if there is no image to click on when you find an index? Look at the film number or the “source information” at the bottom of the index. For instance, here is the index for Elizabeth Hennig.
There is no document to click on and dissect. But, there is “Source Information.”
The source information tells me that the original data can be found in FamilySearch. After pulling up FamilySearch.org, click on “Search” and then “Records.” Then “Restrict Records By” “Film Number.” Enter the film number found on the Ancestry index. In this case, it is film number 527772. Once there, you click on the link it provides and then the film number from the index.
Click on the magnifying glass next to the record your researching, in this case, the 527772.
It would help if you remembered that humans indexed and scanned these records. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to how they scanned in the images. If you are lucky, they are by date, but sometimes they are scanned in randomly. It would serve you well if you were patient.
Then go back, as have been doing, and look at older records that you may have placed an index hint to and see if you can get more information out of that source. You may be surprised!