Roadtrips


Working out of order… June included a day trip to ACPL’s Genealogy Center with the Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society. It was a different perspective. I was attending more as a consultant to help the group if they needed than to focus on my own research, so I spent a bit more time keeping an eye out for my fellow researchers then I tend to. Even still it was my first experience of trying to do that trip and get anything done in what amounted to an afternoon. It will never be my first choice! But if you have to, plan ahead.

Clip from LAAGS Homework SheetI gave the group homework when they decided to make this their summer trip—links to The Genealogy Center’s website and catalog, instructions to use PERSI, and the basics I pass on in any of my talks that include planning for roadtrips.

That last on has bitten me more times than I care to admit (example)… but I am infinitely better than I was.

I went in to the day with the idea that I would track down a number of articles on the Hampton’s and their Allied families that traveled together from North Carolina to Arkansas in the early 1800s. I am more and more convinced that the answer to some of my slave brick walls will be found in researching these slave-owning families. Nothing definite as yet but I have a lot of leads to rundown that might help me connect to a few DNA matches.

Happy hunting,

Jess

So, I spent the majority of the night of day #6 searching Google Books, the Archive.org, the website of the University of Glasgow and what felt like a billion other possibilities. I came away with a tremendous amount of information about the Inglis family including Rev. Hary Inglis’ marriage to Mary Bryce and the transcription and film numbers for their children’s baptisms. But I didn’t find the connection. And so armed with every ecclesiastical biography I could find I started day #7 chasing Inglis’ and the hint of an Alison connection.

FastiEcclesiaeScoticanaep212It took me all morning and the rediscovering of a brief biography that had actually been among the first I’d found. [Note to self (YET AGAIN) and all interested… make sure you go line by line through a document.  Skimming might mean you miss the clue you’re looking for.] In the Fasti ecclesiae scoticanae, in a successional list of Forteviot ministers I found Hary and a brief summary of his life including notes on both of his wives the widow of Mr. Maxton and Mary Bryce the widow of Alison of Tofthill.

A quick spin in FamilySearch.org offered indexed listings for the marriage of Charles Alison and Mary Bryce on 05 Oct 1747 as well as the birth of their son, Charles in Nov of 1750. Dates are lining up neatly! I also have already noted that Hary’s son John (my Harry Alison’s uncle) started his career in the church at Tibbermore and his bio appears later in the Fasti ecclesiae—followed immediately by his successor, Thomas Taylor whom married Harry’s sister, Mary Alison. Everyone’s in the right place at the right time.

AlisonBryceMg

InglisBryceMg

I spent the rest of the day pulling together the original baptismal and marriage records and building a better picture of the families. And as always it leads to more questions about the Bryces, Alisons, and the other connections listed in Harry’s memorials–like Lord Melville and Baron Montcreiff who appear to have been instrumental in Harry’s joining the British Army.

All in all it was a very successful day and a fabulous way to close my Salt Lake trip! I can’t wait to go back again!

Happy hunting!

Jess

I went into my second to last day with a long list of things to hunt down and copy. But I was very prepared—mostly I’d been through indexes so I had mapped out where in the original documents I needed to go. It worked so well that the list I thought would take me through the rest of my stay was done by lunch—even with the wonky print server. So the rest of the afternoon was spent working on a nagging idea.

Many of Captain Harry Alison’s memorials (such as these ones here and here) detail the sponsorship of his relatives, Dr. Inglis of Greyfriars (sometimes called his uncle) and Baron Moncrief, in helping him get started in his military career. So, I spent a bit of time noodling out just who these men were. Dr. Inglis was my primary target as more than one source explicitly describes him as an uncle. So I spent the afternoon looking into the Inglis family.

GlencorseResearching the Rev. Dr. Inglis, in full, the Reverend Doctor John Inglis was very interesting as he is from a very large and prominent family of overachievers. John served as a Minister of Greyfriars, in Edinburgh, Scotland from 1799 until his death in 1832. He was a mix of politician and clergyman also serving a Dean of Chapel Royal appointed by George III until his death. In Edinburgh he married Maria Moxham Passmore and they had four sons and a daughter. One of the sons, John Inglis, later Lord Glencorse, served as the Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh and Lord-Justice General of Scotland appointed by Queen Victoria. Lofty friends for Harry! But following out this line was wandering a bit far of field considering I had no solid connection to them.

But reaching back farther into his career, I found that Dr. Inglis was first ordained in Tibbermore Parish in Perthshire and that’s where his story starts to cross the Alisons. This was the parish in which Harry’s mother, Jean Maxton, was baptized. Better yet, Inglis was the youngest son of a Hary Inglis, minister of Forteviot, Perthshire—where Harry was baptized.

And the closing messages started up. So I gathered my stuff and headed out with questions buzzing around in my head.

To be continued…

Happy hunting,

Jess

Image from The Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage, of Great Britain and Ireland for 1863.

I would strongly encourage anyone taking a trip to the Family History Library to travel midweek to midweek through the weekend so that you can use Sunday—when the Library is closed—to reassess and plan for whatever remaining days you have. That’s one of many things that I think that the Oakland County Group does well. They even get a large room in the hotel with tables, power strips, and snacks for the whole day, allowing everyone the opportunity to spread out and work.

For me that meant taking as much time as possible filling in the gaps on the materials I’d found and making a long list of items I wanted to go through in the remaining two days of the trip. I took some time transcribing some of the Bradley County deeds and thinking about other angles in researching those families. And I recognized a large oversight in copying the Canadian “C” Series index and forgetting to go back and copy the original documents—top of my list for Monday morning.

Mormon Tabernacle Apr 2015I would also encourage everyone to take the time regardless of their religious bent to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the Tabernacle on Temple Square. I went and it was a fabulous experience including with lovely moving music and a thoughtful message about decluttering one’s life based in the ideas Mari Kondō presents in her NYT Bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up—I can’t escape libraryland.

To round out the day a large group got together for dinner at Red Rock Brewing Co. for Chicken Schnitzel and Oatmeal Stout. It was a fine way to end the day!

Happy hunting,

Jess

On Saturday, when the library is only open 9-5, I continued working my way through the Bradley County microfilm—mostly tax records.  What the FHL holds is primarily tax book indexes though a few of the actual books were filmed including 1890 so while the indexes indicate that relatives owned enough to be taxed the 1890 book tells you what they owned and owed as well as gives you a fair idea of their neighbors. I managed to get through all of the indexes and the relevant portions of the 1890 Tax Book—largely Palestine Township. In retrospect what I didn’t get to were the early tax books they did have filmed. They’re on my list for next time or my list to order into the Lansing Family History Center—whichever comes first.

The two sections from page 47 of the 1890 tax book below shows one of the entries for my 3rd Great Grandfather Stephen Martin (father of Mattie Martin and grandfather of Rhodie Rogers Trotter) followed by his son-in-law, Austin York.

1890TaxBookp47a 1890TaxBookp47

This day’s research was also an example of technology not always being fast. Running down the time stamps for all the things I scanned… it took hours to get everything I wanted just out of the 1890 Book. I was the last person on the scanners on the 2nd floor that afternoon just trying to cram in my last two copies as the closing announcements ran. Some days you’re on a roll and on others things just take forever.

Happy hunting,

Jess

So it is possible to research from 8 am to 9 pm Tuesday through Friday at the Family History Library. I didn’t manage that any of the days for a variety of reasons (including Red Wings hockey) but I did manage a marathon session from 8 am to 7:30 pm on Day #3 of my Salt Lake City Trip… all focused on my father’s families in Bradley County, Arkansas.

In many ways I’m at a bit of a brick wall with my father’s lines. I have a potential slave owning family (or more accurately, allied families) but no clear cut line to trace. So, my goal was really to look hard at whatever records I could get my hands on in the hopes that along the way a story might emerge. What that translates too is that I went through the majority of the available rolls of microfilm in the FHL from the county—court records, deed books (lots of deed books), tax indexes, tax books. And I have to confess microfilm makes me vaguely motion sick. But it was worth it.

I didn’t come out that day with a new set of names but it did give me solid supporting documents about where my families were, their living situations, and their relationships. For example, the deed books included land transactions, but you could also find contracts ranging from the purchase of “a certain Roan mare colt,” to (in the earliest books) the sale of 8 slaves from son to mother for $1. It’s breath-taking and troubling at the same time.

Finding real documents implying the relative wealth of my 2nd Great Grandfather Sandy York (born in slavery) was fascinating. He was making deals for that roan mare in 1871 and buying land out right by 1885.

YorkforMare

And when going through the earliest records whenever I found anything indicating a slave transaction I copied the related documents. I’m still sifting through those and transcribing in the hope that the information will help someone in their research even it if it isn’t me. These include slaves held by the Ganaway, Ederington, Hampton, Newton, McCammon, and Williamson families so far.

But my find of the day has to be the deed of gift for an undescribed tract of land belonging to the Pagan family to Trustees Monroe Wilfong (the 1st father-in-law of Sandy’s son, my Great Grandfather Phillip Henry York), Andy Wilfong (a relative by marriage), and Mars Ingraham to establish an African Methodist Church—given the families’ early involvement and staunch support I would guess this was a tract meant to house Mt. Olive Church.

MtOliveChurch

 

Happy hunting!

Jess

I knew I wouldn’t keep this up while I was in Salt Lake but the next blogs will continue to offer highlights from my recent trip to the Family History Library…

Day 2 was spent mostly on B2, the British Research Floor, further exploring my military ancestors and their relations. Among others, I searched for information on Major Wade Rothwell whose sons, Thomas and Frederick, settled in Warwick, Ontario and married Harry Alison’s daughter, Frances, and her niece (and my 3rd great aunt), Mary Anne Massy.

Interestingly, I couldn’t find him anywhere in the records. And I spent a good chunk of the morning trying to search the internet for any additional information I could find beyond one appearance as a Lieutenant in A List of Officers of the Army and of the Corps of Royal Marines in Google Books. But, through a combination of general searching on the internet and in findmypast.com, I was able to uncover a bit more of his story including his brevet promotion to Major while serving as a Captain in the 6th Garrison Battalion on 4 June 1814. The article below is from 1809 when he first transferred to the Garrison.

RothwellCaptain1809

Probably the most intriguing find was this one on Black Kalendar, a website dedicated to cataloguing cases of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, etc. in Britain from 1254-2015. This was a fabulous fluke find while googling “Lieutenant Wade Rothwell.” It notes his fine and six month sentence for participating in a duel that left a fellow Lieutenant dead… One more scoundrel on the family tree. The reference is a minimal article from the Hampshire Chronicle available through The British Newspaper Archive but it confirms that Rothwell was in the 9th Regiment. (Search on “Obrie” or “Roth Well”—with a space. The indexing is wonky.)

My fail of the day was finding a the reference down to the bundle number in the British National Archives site of a pension for an Owen Byrne (possibly my 5th great grandfather), only to find that the relevant microfilm roll ended exactly before his entry AND is wasn’t on the next roll. A Specialist did his best to assist me but he was stymied as well. My options are to have someone look it up for me at Kew or order it direct from them. And, no, for some reason it’s not in findmypast.com either though theoretically it should be.

Happy hunting!

Jess

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