Roots To Trees Classes- Family History Basics For Children

Mary Yeula Wescott

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.  

Laura Wescott, Martha Ann Chadwick Wescott, Mary Yeula Wescott

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.

Yours truly,

    Mary Yeula Wescott

               (age 12)

The poem she enclosed won her a silver badge.

FORGIVING

BY MARY YEULA WESCOTT  

(Silver Badge)

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.

Long Line Of…

I have taken the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge by Amy Johnson Crow. Amy is a certified genealogist that I follow and have learned a lot from her via her podcasts, webpage, and social media accounts. I started the challenge last year, but life got in the way and I never really got a good start. I am trying again, albeit a bit late. 

This week’s challenge is “Long Line.” That could be interpreted in many different ways, but what popped into my head was, “I come from a long line of water-loving ancestors.” After all, the Wescott’s, Chadwick’s, Midgett’s, and Tillet’s were all in the LifeSaving Service (now called the US Coast Guard).  

The Logan’s, Bean’s, Royce’s, and Root’s also grew up on the coast with a mix of Scotland to New Hampshire and England to Massachusetts. So did the Kunkle’s, Younkin’s, Hawk’s, Rittenhouse, Nice, and Morrison’s coming from Germany and the Netherlands to Pennsylvania.  

Then we have the Wescott’s, Chaddick’s, Midgett’s, Chadwick’s, Pugh’s, Woodhouse’s, and Jennett’s from up and down the East Coast coming from England and France. The Cofer’s, Moody’s, Ward’s, Barham’s, Argall’s, Davis’, Harrison’s, and many more came from England to Virginia.  

Even my trans-Appalachian pioneer trailblazed from Virginia to Tennessee only to find himself on Boone’s Creek and the Watauga River. My German, Slovenia, Croatian, and Polish ancestors also grew up on the coast. Even my connection to Jamestown is on the coast!   

The Logan’s of today are still in Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Wescott’s and Chadwick’s are in North Carolina, Jacksonville Beach, and the Gulf.  

I live in Florida. I love the water, the ocean, rivers, and lakes. Now I know why. Could we all have the gene for seafaringness? Researchers at Mystic University in Connecticut have identified a gene associated with the love of the sea, according to an article published in the journal Genetic Determinism Today.

My “Long Line” is the long line of the coast, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Josiah Holly Tillett (Wescott Family)

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.

From: http://www.ncgenweb.us/currituck/photosbios/murrellalbum.html

Pictures of his actual bible can be seen at http://www.ncgenweb.us/dare/bibles/tillettjosiahh.html

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)

Photo and information kindly submitted by Tammy Holton Jennings.

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.

An Unprecedented Boom; Family History Research

My son recently commented that family history or genealogy is more for “old people.” I do not think that is true. Of course, “old” to him could mean someone in their 30s.   

Researching family history may not be his scene, but more and more people of all ages are interested in their ancestry. Especially with shows like “Finding Your Roots,” “Genealogy Roadshow,” A New Leaf,” “Relative Race,” and “Who Do You Think You Are.”  

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.  

From familysearch.org:

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.  

Thanks for reading! 

Marlee L. Logan

Private message me at m.me/Loganealogy

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View my online class for children here.

Cleaning Up Is Hard To Do… But, Necessary

Well, I am still not closer to finding Abigail, although I do have a lot of feelers out. I am hoping I get a bite soon. Tracing Abigail has forced me to do something I kept reading about but didn’t think it applied to me. A research log. Yep, logging my research and tracking those I’ve contacted about an ancestor.

I didn’t think I needed it before; after all, isn’t that what my Ancestry database is there to do? Um, well, no. It sources and cites my findings once I actually find them. But, how do I keep from researching the same places maybe a year or so later? I log it!

There are many different kinds of research logs out there. Just Google, “Genealogy Research Logs,” and find one that is to your liking. I looked at a bunch and decided to make one on Google Sheets (Excel) that works for me. I named them by the person for easier access, as that is how I file other information; each person has their own electronic file.

Then I went through my emails and started logging. I know I have more and will add them as they come up. I try to use my outlook email for genealogy. But, my older contacts and older research was done through my yahoo account.

As I stated before, I’ve been cleaning up some older, researched ancestors. I feel pretty confident in at least my direct lines, that things are pretty clean, meaning the sources are there and facts are accounted for. I’ll need to do that with some of the non-direct ancestors as I come across them.

Another thing I have been working on as I clean up my sources is looking at older sources attached to my facts. I was able to locate some new (to me) information by looking over them again with more experienced eyes.

I also finished up my report for a client and sent her the latest descendant report. There is also another person who I help pro bono along the way. We private messenger each other now and then, and I give him pointers on where to look or how to navigate something. It is very satisfying being able people with their family history, whether it is to do the research for them or to tutor them on the way to experience their own journey.

Let me know how I can assist you. Message me now at m.me/Loganealogy

Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube!

Do You Know the AGBI?

It is the American Genealogical Biographical Index and one of the most essential printed genealogical sources in the United States. But, I did not always know that. It was a hint, a source in Ancestry.com that would come up periodically on my New England ancestors. I never really understood it except for it to confirm a birth or some other fact. Ah, the ignorance of the early days!  

Recently, I looked back at some older entries in my family tree to see if I could find new leads on some of my more elusive ancestors. One was Margaret Car(r), my 6th great grandmother. She married John Logan, the ancestor who came to Connecticut through Massachusetts. Although I know John came from Ireland, I do not know anything about Margaret before she came to Connecticut. Although I know they married in Massachusetts.  

One of the first clues I looked at again was the AGBI. In researching it, I came across a blog by Diane B. of OneRhodeIslandFamily.com. In it, she wrote, “The Boston Transcript was a Boston, Massachusetts newspaper that regularly carried a page of genealogical questions and answers. That feature ran for several decades in the late 1800s/early 1900s.” And, it is indexed in the AGBI!  

Even more exciting was learning that I can order them and over 800 printed genealogies and other compiled sources from the Godfrey Memorial Library. From their website, “Godfrey Memorial Library is the owner and publisher of the American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI) which contains more than four million names, statistics, and sources for research including local histories, church and vital records, military lists, and more. It also includes over two million records from the Boston Transcript. AGBI is the largest and most important genealogical reference set ever published and clearly the best starting point to find any early New England settlers. This is an index to the books and periodicals on our shelves.”

This is what it looks like in Ancestry.com.

Did I just stumble upon a gold mine? We’ll soon find out as I mailed out my request a couple of days ago. I printed out their order form, and for $10 each entry, I can soon find out what they know about my ancestor.  

You, too, can access this gold mine at https://www.godfrey.org/agbi.html. Print and fill out the order form, then use the information from the AGBI index for each ancestor requested. I limited myself to three ancestors, including Margaret.  

Another source attached to Margaret is regarding her marriage in Marshfield, Massachusetts to John, titled “Mayflower Source Records.” Upon closer inspection, it was from the New England Historical and Genealogical Register called the “Mayflower Source Records: Primary Data Concerning Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and the Islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard” by Gary Boyd Rogers. It’s a source of material where the majority of the descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims settled by the end of the 18th century. Am I, is Margaret, descended from a Mayflower passenger?  

Exciting stuff! New revelations to dig up for sure.  

Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and LinkedIn!

Finding Abigail… Part 1 (Logan Family)

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 KindnessI 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.

Ethan and Ira Allen had shaped history — and had almost shaped it differently. 

So, as you can see, it was very convoluted at the time my ancestors were in that area. Trying to find documents in the 1700s is hard enough, even harder when the borders and politics changed so much.  

1780 Map of New England-
Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 USA dcu

I now have three things on my to-do list concerning Abigail.

1) Contact the county historian in Middlebury, NY, to see if he has any information on this Logan family.  

2) Contact the historical societies in Dorset and Manchester, Vermont, to see if they have any information on the Soper family and, possibly, Logan.

3) See if I can get in touch with my Colonel cousin to find out his sources.

 Look at me, learning from my mistakes and continuing on. 😉

Wish me luck! I will keep you updated on my search for Abigail.