Checking In

Photo by SzaboViktor on Unsplah

Hello Followers. I wanted to check in with you since I have not written a blog in quite some time. The last real blog was March 19, so almost a month now. Like you, my family has been self-isolating. Not only from the virus but the crazier people who do not think it is a serious threat.


My son and I are both essential works so we have been working except for my Easter vacation. I am working four hours in the office and four hours at home. My son works all day in the warehouse. Neither of our companies allows outside visitors. We are both very careful as my mother, who is in her late 70s, lives with us.


Since I am working from home I have not had a lot of the extra family history time I see a lot of people talking about. But, I have tried to take advantage of the free sites and free records that have become available. It’s funny, some of the records I have run across have names that I could have used a couple of years ago. But, now I at least know I am on the right track.

I did have success with my 80 year old uncle’s tree. Back on Thanksgiving he was telling me about his brick wall with his grandparents on his mother’s side. Her father seems to have disappeared after deserting her and her brothers. The name he always went by with this family seems to actually be a nickname. In tracing the date of birth and his birthplace, we tracked down what we think is his real name.

With the help of the West Virginia Archives and History Library, we followed these coincidences and found all kinds of information on his family. But, until we find a document where he uses his nickname along with his real name, we cannot be 100% sure it is him. Or, until we can find some DNA matches. Once we entered his real name into our database, a whole slew of information and family members popped up. Including others on their public trees who seemed to have come to the same conclusion. And, here’s the kicker, it seems there is another family who this man deserted…under his real name. We hope to connect to this family to find some answers.


I’ve also been doing a lot of gardening, my other great passion. We had some umbrella palms start to take over so we had them pulled out, by the root balls. Little did I know a few years after I planted them, they would become evasive! They loved the wet clay soil, too much! I’ve since been filling the spaces in with some organic matter from my compost pile. I’ve also added a few pieces of cardboard and will mulch and soil over that. It’s like having a blank canvas to start planting in.

And, my flowers are blooming. Always a welcome sight and lifts the spirits. My garden is defintely a great boost for my mental health.


I cannot seem to concentrate enough to pull an ancestor story together for a blog, but I did want to check-in. I hope that you and your family are safe and well. As our ancestors did from their pandemics, this too shall pass.

My Little Protégé

The last couple of weeks have been busy! Sure, I am busy working my full-time job, but my dabblings with my family history, as well as other’s family history, have kept me hopping.

However, this makes it all worthwhile.

This young girl is my true young protégé! She is so very excited, as are her mother and grandparents. Showing her documents and how to read them has been amazing. It helps that she is smart as a whip.

We use Zoom, video conferencing, where I can annotate, share our screens, and make notes on a whiteboard. She has genuinely picked up on chasing the leads and picking apart the information in the records.

I enjoy teaching family history research. Let me know if I can pique your interest. Visit https://loganalogy.com/genealogy-classes/ today.

Henrich “Henry” Heilig- Clockmaker Family (Logan)

Johann Henrich Heilig is my 6th great grandfather. He was born in in 1700 and married Susanna De Wees Rittenhausen in 1729. I wrote about the Rittenhouse family and their papermills here. Also, join the Rittenhouse Family Descendants and Friends Facebook page and learn about all the wonderful things they are doing to preserve the Rittenhouse legacy. There is a Rittenhouse Town Board of Directors. They also manage the Homestead House (1707) and the other houses in the village, as well as a Barn that was built during WPA and the grounds.

Some historians place Henrich’s birthplace as Hannover, German. But, other more recent historians say it is Baden-Wuerttenburg, Germany. Johann arrived in Philadelphia in 1720 on the ship “Polly.” Ships were not required to furnish a list of passenger names until 1727. Since their names are not shown on any lists after 1727, they must have arrived prior. Most information I have found says 1720.

Records state his Naturalization was on 11 Apr 1747. According to the Pennsylvania Archives. The requirements at the time were that they had to be a resident of the colonies for 7 years.


Henry, as he was now called, was by trade a clockmaker. It was a skilled and respected profession. At that time, clocks were for navigation and surveying, as well as time keeping.


Henry and Susanna lived first in Cheltenham. And, bought parcels of land in 1749 and 1750. It was on the boarders of Pennsburg and Upper Hanover Townships in Montgomery County. This land was from William Parsons who was a surveyor for the Penns. The homestead passed from Henrich to his son George. George passed it on to his son George Jr. and finally passed to the Hoch family in the 1860s. The house remains in the Hoch family today.


From the https://www.pennsburg.us/borough-history website:

Prior to 1684, the Lenape Indians roamed the hills and fished the streams of the land on either side of the Perkiomen Creek. In 1684, the Indians lost this land when  William Penn purchased it for reportedly “two watch coats, four pairs of stockings and four bottles of cider”.  In time, Pennsylvania Germans settled in the area. Around 1840, the area now know as Pennsburg began to take on the appearance of a village.  The hub consisted of a general store, a carpenter and blacksmith shop and several houses.

Most of the land was owned by the Heilig Brothers.  They owned and  resided in the oldest house in Pennsburg located at Seminary and Fourth Streets. The Heilig Brothers took it upon themselves to refer to this village as “Heiligsville”. Residents had their own ideas, and out of loyalty to the then Pennsylvania Senator, James Buchanan, wanted to name the area Buchanansville.


As the village grew in size, a meeting was held in 1843 at the Hilleg’s family store to decide on a permanent name and lay out boundary lines.  After a week long bitterly contested battle, it was finally decided to name the village “Pennsburg” after William Penn.


Henrich and Susannah had five children:

i. Heinrich Heilig, b. 1722 , ii. Jurg George Heilig, b. 1720; d. 1796, Upper Hanover Township., iii. Johannes Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.).
iv. Anna Maria Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.), m. Michael Slonaker., v. Susanna Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.), b. 1726; m. Henry Deany.


Johannes or John changed the surname to Highley. The other children kept the German spelling of Heilig.

This notation appears on a locally sold post card by Len Hillegass of the Heilig House: “The Heilig House at 313 W. 4th Street is considered to be the oldest house in Pennsburg. Wounded and ill Colonial Soldiers were cared for there by the very compassionate Heilig family during the Colonies’ fight for independence from British rule during the American Revolution.” Album by Reid Heilig
You can see other pictures of the house at https://imageevent.com/heilig/heiligheritage/heilighousepennsburgpa?n=1&z=2&c=4&x=0&m=24&w=0&p=0

Henry was a clockmaker. He passed down the art of his clockmaking skills to his children and nephews. One of the most famous being David Rittenhouse, who was an avid astronomer, he built complicated astronomical clocks and orreries, or planetary models, that not only kept time but predicted celestial events.

David Rittenhouse tall case clock. 1984.0416.007.

Henry is even listed in the U.S., Craftperson Files, 1600-1995.

With hand made brass works in the German style, it consists of 19 bells, a wooden cylinder with pins that activate 19 hammers to play tunes, a bone wave to switch tunes. Iron frame is dovetailed together. You can read more about each piece on Reid Helig’s site at https://imageevent.com/heilig/hheiligclock/themusicmechanism

Henry was buried along with this wife in the mostly Rittenhouse family cemetery, Methacton Mennonite Cemetery. Click here for a partial list of burials with links to tombstone photographs. Henrich’s and Susannah’s are below. This cemetery is located in Worcester Township, Montgomery County, PA.

There is a wonderfully thorough history written by Linton E. Love, a descendant of the Rittenhouse family. In it are the descendancts of Henry and Susannah. Linton has created a database extending from the 17th century up to
the 21st century from Claus to his 12,810 descendants as of March 2005!

Do you have a Heilig clock? You might!

Finding Abigail… Part 2 (Logan Family)

Photo by Harold Wijnholds on Unsplash

Finding Abigail has proven to be a significant challenge. As I wrote in Finding Abigail… Part 1, her last name has been elusive. I have been tracking my research about her through the research logs, and here is what I have.

Date Contacted-Who Contacted-Why Contacted- Response

  • 12/2/2019 City of Danbury, CT Abigail Soper They wrote back and said, “Certifiable records began in 1840.”

  • 12/26/2019 Dorset Historical Society Proof of Abigail’s assumed last name of Soper My email:  I was hoping you could please do a preliminary search and let me know if you have any information on the Soper family. My main search is for an Abigail Soper who married Daniel Logan, about 1780, my 4th great grandparents. It is stated, but not sourced that Abigail’s father was Samuel Soper. Supposedly a Hugh Logan married Abigail’s sister, Jemima, about 1784. And, Lucy Logan (Hugh’s sister) married their brother, William, about 1797. I have contacted a few county clerks, but they do not have these earlier records. Any help or direction is much appreciated.

  • 12/27/2019 Dorset Historical Society His response:   I checked through our archives, and could not find any information to tie Samuel Soper to Abigail Soper Logan. I did find some tidbits which may be of use.

          According to the History of Danby, Joseph Soper was the first settler of Danby, in 1765, and two of his (unnamed) brothers settled in Dorset. They came from Nine Partners, New York.

         According to a genealogy of the Allen family, “Seth Allen was born 16 Jan 1733/34 in Dartmouth, Bristol, Mass., and died Aft. 1801. He married Anna Soper Abt. 1752 in Dutchess County, N.Y., daughter of Peletiah Soper and Martha Soper. She was born 06 Feb 1734/35 in Windsor, Hartford, Ct. and died after 1801.” Seth and Anna bought land in Danby in 1769, which they sold in 1770, when they were in Manchester. They bought land in Manchester in 1773 from Peletiah Soper. After that, things get murkier, but they probably lived in East Dorset around 1800, and in Bromley, Vt. after 1800 (Bromley later changed its’ name to Peru).

          “The Marriage Records of John Strong” records the wedding on September 5, 1782 of Robert Allen and Patty Soper of Dorset.

         Several records say that the Soper Tavern was in South Dorset, at the intersection of modern-day Route 30 and Cross Road. None of the records give the first names of people who operated the tavern.

          The Dorset Church records record the baptism of “Mrs. Samuel Soper 1803-04.”

          Last, Rev. Parsons Pratt, in his genealogical records, noted that other Soper family members settled in “Brandon and other northern [Vermont] towns.

          Like I said, nothing specific to your request, but I hope some of this scattershot information proves useful in your quest.

                        Sincerely yours,

                        Jon Mathewson

                        Curator

  • 12/25/2019 Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness https://raogk.org/ Any Soper info Raymond Toolan from raogk emailed me back (his words)    

                        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 and 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 regarding 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.

  • 12/24/2019       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. I will see if I can find any sort of documentation for you, but, honestly, the odds are very slim.

        FYI, the clerks of the courts cannot really assist you as other than records of divorces or other court-related issues they have no records. Births, deaths, and marriages are all with the town clerks and at the archive in Middlesex. There are 254 towns, cities, gores, and grants in Vermont, each with its own clerk.

  • 12/26/2019 Manchester Historical Society Vermont Soper Emailed them, have not received a response as of 1/4/2020

  • 1/18/20 Marlin Logan Emailed Marlin and asked if he had sources on his information for Soper.  

  • 1/19/20 Manchester Historical Society Vermont Soper and Logan Emailed them again

  • 1/19/20 Dorset Historical Society Soper and Logan Emailed them on information for Soper
  • 1/22/20 Email from Marlin Logan

Hi Marlee

Went back to all my old records and so sorry I don’t have anymore information than is on my Family Tree.

Tried unsuccessfully to check other resources also and I come up with a blank.

You have sparked my interest again so will keep your request as I update and find new information.  Hopefully we can find a little more data than we have.

Good hunting.

Marlin

As you can see, I do not know much more than I did when I started. But, tracking my inquiries on this log will keep me from repeating quests.  

I may look into the other Soper’s mentioned and see if I can find any Abigail’s in their lines.                 

As you can see, we all have brick walls in our family history. I may be able to help with yours. Contact me for your some virtual family history tutoring.

What is Virtual tutoring?
* Individual screen shares- a virtual whiteboard to work on:
* Family tree creation.
* Records search for documenting your family history.
* Get help to break down brick walls on a particular ancestor.
https://loganalogy.com/genealogy-classes/

One-On-One Virtual Classes

One-on-One Virtual Exchange

Introducing affordable one-hour genealogical sessions!

  • 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.

Benefits:

  • 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.

Learn more at https://loganalogy.com/genealogy-classes/ 

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.

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

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