Is this the blog post I’ve been trying to put out for weeks? Of course not!

But these are appearing in my Facebook feed and looked fun–Thank you Kris R., Cousin Marcia and Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. They also played into a thought I had the other day listening to an article about the the Lansing State Journal’sMichigan Best Small Town” competition currently in the Final Four round.  Though I don’t quite know how I got around to it, it occurred to me that I am part of a 7th generation of children born and (mostly) raised in Michigan. Smith Lapham and his Gilbert in-laws were here in the Washtenaw County area in the late 1820s… which, mind you, I found fairly boring when I first started out, but it made for a great learning experience when I was starting in my research.

So, here’s my 5-Generation Birth Location Chart. Looks pretty good up to this point. It starts going nuts in the next generation with question marks, more immigrants, and, of course, more Michiganders.

Happy hunting,

Jess

5GenLocChart

CADLFamilyHistoryOpenHouseOkay… a lot of my time has been taken up by planning (all sorts of things) but this event is near and dear to my heart and I want to thank everyone who’s signed up to help ahead of time—especially my co-workers and fellow presenters Anne, Jeff, and Cassie!

My library will be hosting a Family History Open House on March 12th in celebration of National Genealogy Day. CADL’s blog has a post with even more details but suffice to say it’s free and open to the public, there’s a lot going on, and I believe a good time will be had by all!

Happy hunting and if you’re in the area come hang out with us!

Jess

20151227_165455The holidays are a (mostly lovely) distraction from my research, writing, etc. but they also lead to so many questions. Are you still doing genealogy? How far back have you gone? Are we really Irish?

Yes, I’m still doing genealogy.  Yes, I’m still working on your part of the family. If I could work on all of them at once I probably would, but I do tend to jump around in the branches. How far back depends on the line. And, yes, the Packers and Sheas are definitely part Irish but with a healthy dose of English and Scottish… you know those Packers came straight from Kent, people—you can’t be all Irish.

But as the dust settles, I find myself reviewing the years’ work and, yes, trying to formulate goals for the new year.  Here on the blog I was relatively quiet but it was a good research year for me. My only real research trip ended up being a big one—my first trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah where I happily immersed myself in British records to deepen my understanding of my Alison family and slave and Reconstruction era Arkansas in hopes of breaking down a few more brick walls surrounding my Bradley County families.  But the release of large digital collections at places like SeekingMichigan.org and Ancestry.com  gave me more than enough to do from home.

Throughout the year I connected with fellow researchers and distant family. I took a number of great classes, and taught a few too. I donated research time for a local Family Center’s annual auction and had a blast working with the winner. I continued to work as a volunteer indexer for one of my societies and “consulting librarian” for another. And I took a little time for crafting to share some of my findings with the family. All and all 2015 was a good year.

So, what will this year bring? Hopefully more of the same with a little more travel. New York and Arkansas are on my radar, though the latter might have to coincide with the next reunions in 2017. Salt Lake is a definite possibility.  We’ll have to see. Regardless, I’m starting the year right with a lot of ideas, leads, and friends and family.

Happy New Year and happy hunting!

Jess

JuneRuss1975There’s nothing quite so moving as the slow salute of an honor guard to a fallen comrade or that final verse of Taps… November has been a month of ups and downs culminating in my Uncle Russ‘s funeral this morning. He was a gifted mechanic, veteran, father, uncle, friend and, from my perspective, utterly devoted to my Aunt June. So, perhaps it’s no surprise…

We’ll miss them both.

 

Happy hunting,

Jess

O0019I forget how interesting it is to look through a newspaper like The Chicago Defender, a current and historic African American newspaper, because it’s not something I have normal access to. I spent most of the first day of a recent WMGS bus trip to Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center, searching Proquest’s African American Historical Newspapers (available for on-site use) for news of Bradley County, Arkansas. The Chicago Defender had fairly regular columns sharing news from Arkansas including a column specifically on Warren. It featured the comings and goings of many of my collateral and direct line families, society news, the occasional obituary, etc. My favorite finds include those related to my Great Aunt Rachel C. (York) Elliott. A few examples include:

Mar 30, 1957

Mrs. Henrietta Moman and Mrs. R. C. [Elliott] motored to Little Rock to visit Mrs. Elliot’s brother, Fred York, who is ill in the University hospital. We hope he gets well soon.

Immediately followed by…

The Usher board sponsored a tea in the home of R. C. Elliott. Union Hill Baptist Church usher board was co-sponsor. It was a great success.

Sep 27, 1958

Mrs. T. R. Alexander and Mrs. R. C. Eliott motored to Little Rock on business last week and reported that the trip was very successful.

Fellow Bradley county researchers, if you’re looking for a little more color to your family stories and haven’t dived into this resource there are entries on Mount Olive and Union Hill families in particular with heavy coverage of the Feaster, Wilfong, Webb, Steppes, Terry, Phillips and related families and I definitely didn’t go through everything available–mostly focusing on Mrs. Mattie M. Burnett’s run as columnist (very) roughly from 1952-1962. There’s definitely earlier runs with different columnists as well.

Happy hunting,

Jess

SheaPatrickNatStLawNY1850p1

New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980, FamilySearch.org

It was a nice moment of synchronicity to go from services for Aunt June into the Michigan Genealogical Council’s Fall Seminar this past weekend featuring Paul Milner who spoke on British Isles Research. Inspired by Uncle Bob’s question, “Am I an O’Shea?” (Short answer: Yes), I spent the Friday night Lock-in at the Archives of Michigan focusing on Michael and Patrick O’Shea (probably related, but definitely brother-in-laws by way of sisters, Amy Alvina Conchessa McUmber and Melissa Teresa McUmber). I didn’t find a lot of new information but I do have a line on naturalization records in Jefferson County, New York that might shed more light on their move to the United States. Many thanks to the Archives staff for hosting us all!

Saturday’s seminar was great as well. I would highly suggest Paul Milner as a speaker. I spent my day in the Michigan Historical Center’s Forum for his presentations: Finding Your English Ancestors, A New Location, Finding your Scottish Ancestors, and Irish Immigrants to North America. The talks were chalk full of information to apply to our Packer, Massy, Alison, and Shea lines. It was a particular treat to realize most of his Scottish examples were from Perthshire, Scotland in the same parishes that the Alison, Inglis, and Maxton families called home.

So, I’ve added to my (never-ending) to do list:

  • Making sure I’ve gone through the available BMD indexes
  • Start using Scotlands People
  • Try to figure out where in Ireland Patrick & Michael O’Shea came from in Ireland
  • Confirm where the Byrnes and Cunninghams came from in Ireland
  • Explore more information about the parts of Limerick, Ireland that the Massy family hails from.

So much searching to do and so little time!

Happy hunting,

Jess

June06When I talk about Henry Massy, it always starts with a request made by my Grandmother and Great Aunt to find his story. And all along the way they were fabulous cheerleaders, attentive in hearing what I uncovered and appreciative of the time and efforts and I was honored to be able to give them back some of the story lost to them. My Great Aunt died this past weekend. She was one of the nicest people you could meet, stubbornly independent, and a beautiful soul.

Jess

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