SNGF: Matrilineal Line

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Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings asks us to list our matrilineal line in this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun task.

Here is mine:

Me
My Mom*
Grandma Wild*
Della (Crow) Hayes (1898-1985)
Mary (Gourley) Crow (1858-?)
Mary Ann (Barry) Gourley (?-?)
????????????????

Randy asks if we’ve had our mitochondrial DNA tested — I haven’t ventured down that path yet.

* I’ve read that in this age of rampant identity theft we’re discouraged from naming our parents/grandparents online, so I’m choosing not to identify my mom or grandmother here either fully by name or by vital dates. Am I being paranoid? I’d be curious to hear what other folks think about this.

Surname Saturday: CROW/CROWE (Tennessee)

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My great-grandmother Della HAYES’ maiden name was CROW (I’ve found alternative spellings of Crowe and Craw in various records so far). Her parents were:

30. Daniel B. Crow (1854-?)
31. Mary L. GOURLEY (1855-?)

Daniel’s parents are as yet unknown to me. He raised his family of seven kids in Carter County, Tennessee. That is where Della stayed to raise her fam as well — in Elizabethon/Elizabethtown, specifically. In the 1880 U.S. census, young Daniel and Mary, with their first child, Elizabeth (Bessie) H. Crow, can be found living with Mary’s mother and a few of her siblings.

Surname Saturday: CAMPBELL (Virginia, Texas)

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My Texas roots include Campbells from San Antonio:

27. Josephine Susan Campbell (b. 1859  in San Antonio – d. 1922 in San Antonio)
54. William Wallace Campbell (b. 1828 in Virginia – d. 1862 in San Antonio)

William is listed as a master mason in the 1860 U.S. census, which I found on Ancestry.com.

William and his wife, Susan Elizabeth Smith (1830-1864), passed away while their children were still young. I found two of Josephine’s siblings living with relatives in the 1870 census, but haven’t tracked down Josephine’s location in that particular year.

The siblings were reunited and living together when they were in their 20s, according to the 1880 census.

William earned a mention in Daughters of the Republic of Texas because his wife, Susan, was the daughter of William John Smith (aka John William Smith, a prominent figure in the battle for the Alamo and the first mayor of San Antonio).

As of yet, I have not been able to discover the names of William’s parents, nor the area of Virginia from whence he came. There are a lot of William Campbells in Virginia around the time he resided there for me to sort through.

Josephine married Anson G. Bennett in 1881 and they had 8 children, including my great-grandmother, Susan Campbell Bennett (1884-1966).

Obituaries: Researchers Beware

This blog post is in response to the blog prompt for Week #46 as provided by Amy Coffin at We Tree (via GeneaBloggers): “Comment on obituaries in your collection. Obits come in all shapes and sizes. Share some of the stand-outs with readers.”

My lessons learned after writing, reading and relying on the information made available in obituaries includes that they can be chock full of useful information: next of kin, parents, burial information and of course, major life events, but they are not the most reliable sources.

I am a reporter by training and have written several obituaries, both for relatives and for complete strangers*. Not all obituaries are written by professional journalists, however (and much to my chagrin, even when they are, errors can be edited in later). Many obituaries are written by relatives of the deceased — they may or may not have gone through the rigors of checking original sources of the information listed in the obit. In fact, it’s not impossible to imagine that many may gloss over some facts in remembering the life of their loved one and they may, inadvertently or not, introduce errors into the listing.

Before she passed away, my mother requested that I be the one to write her obituary. This I did, including the names and places of residence for her surviving family members, including her three younger sisters, all in the state of Virginia. Even though I typed the information for the obit and emailed it (in copyable/paste-able form) to the newspaper for inclusion, the state of residence for my youngest aunt was printed as California and not Virginia. Sigh.

Another obituary in my collection is for my great-grandmother, Della Hayes. I had always assumed that her maiden name (Crow) was spelled with an ‘e’ on the end because that is how it was listed in her obituary. All records I have found since then point to a spelling without an ‘e.’ Similarly, her mother’s maiden name also appears to have been misspelled in the obituary (Gorley instead of Gourley, as I have found in other records). Whether these spellings were provided by the family incorrectly or were printed incorrectly for some other reason, I do not know.

Of course, not all obituaries are so error-ridden and they are good starting points for finding facts that should be confirmed through further research.

*Obituaries are often the first things that budding reporters learn to write. Therefore, I found everything had come full circle during my final stint as a reporter (I decided not to pursue a career in journalism shortly after graduating from college). My final article as a general assignment reporting intern at the Viriginian-Pilot‘s Virginia Beach bureau was  the obituary for G. Dewey Simmons, a minister who hailed from that area. He had gained notoriety by performing wedding rituals in unusual places, including one ceremony underwater. On my last day in the bureau–the day the obituary appeared in the paper–I had a voicemail on my phone. It was his daughter, in tears, calling to thank me. She said it captured his life perfectly. I can’t think of a better way to end my reporting career.

Interesting side note: the major news services pre-write obituaries for major public figures so that when these individuals do meet their demise, it is simply a matter of adding the details of death before posting on the wire.  I learned of this practical, if morbid, procedure while touring the Knight-Ridder library at the National Press Building during another reporting internship in college. It’s often the newsroom librarians who compile the facts for these canned pieces, before they are polished up by the reporters.

Surname Saturday: I’m a real WILD child (Virginia, Texas, Germany)

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My mother’s maiden name was Wild, and I’m sure you can only imagine the jokes made about her and her three sisters as they grew up.

This particular name has German roots. I’ve traced back the line to Aibling, Germany, so far. Rumor has it that we’re somehow related to the original brewer’s of Becker Bier in St. Ingbert, Germany (now a Karlsberg brewery).

My mom and her sisters were Army brats and moved all over the world, but they spent a lot of time stateside in Northern Virginia, where my aunts still live, and in Texas, which is where our ancestors originally settled after leaving Bavaria.

Here are my Wild roots, in all their Ahnentafel glory:

2. Marcia Lea Wild (1949-2003)
6. Col. Herman Bennett Wild (1913-1978; Army accountant — he and my grandma met on the job at the Pentagon)
12. Herman Wild (1876-1928; lived in San Antonio Texas all his life, near as I can tell)
24. Fridolin Wild (1844-?: the German immigrant, from Aibling)

I found Fridolin and the elder Herman in San Antonio directories in the late 19th century, both working as salesmen.

My goal is to trace Fridolin’s family as far back as I can. In my research today, I discovered that his wife’s surname was HOYER and that her parents immigrated from Germany as well.

SNGF: Surname Distribution

Here’s our mission from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings:

1) Find out the geographical distribution of your surname – in the world, in your state or province, in your county or parish. I suggest that you use the Public Profiler site at http://www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames/, which seems to work quickly and easily. However, you cannot capture the image as a photo file – you have to capture the screen shot, save it and edit it.

2) Tell us about your surname distribution in a blog post of your own (with a screen shot if possible), in comments to this post, or in comments on a social networking site like Facebook and Twitter.

What a great site/blog idea! Everyone’s going to want to see their how their surname is distributed, genealogist or not. Here’s the screen cap for mine (click on it for a larger version).

worldnames-sm

CORLEY Distribution

No surprise that Ireland has such a high distribution (78.86 FPM — frequency per million). You can zoom in on particular areas of the map to see what the distribution looks like in individual countries and states. In the United States, the highest distribution for Corleys is in South Carolina (541.86 FPM). According to my research, I have to delve waaaaayyy back in my line before I see links to those Corleys. In Ireland, Corleys are concentrated in the western counties of Clare, Galway and Mayo. The FPM for Corley in West Ireland is 424.84.

Thanks, Randy! That was fun!

Surname Saturday: HILL (Pennsylvania, Ireland)

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Brown. Smith. Johnson. Somewhere along the way, almost all of us have an ancestor(s) with a name so common, the task of finding just the right people seems next to impossible. In my case, it’s my HILL line.

idaperhaps-sm

My Grandmother, Ida

My father’s mother, Ida, was the daughter of Irish-American grocer William B. Hill (~1841-?) and his wife, Martha (aka Mattie; ~1847-?), who raised their family in Philadelphia. According to census records, William was born in Ireland, and Martha’s parents were born there as well. I have not found Martha’s maiden name yet.

annahill-sm

Anna S. Hill

William and Martha had seven children total, five of whom were still living by 1910, when Martha was listed in the U.S. census of that year as 62 and widowed (still in Philly). Her daughters Anna (1872-?) and Elizabeth (1874-?), both public school teachers, were still living with her, as was her son, Joseph (an inspector at a glass factory). These three siblings were in their 30s at that time. Interesting side note: on the back of Anna’s photo, her name is written along with a street address that now appears to be part of the campus of Temple University — I will need to investigate if she was a student there or if perhaps the university has acquired the property since.

I have not been able to trace William B. Hill back any further from his time in Philadelphia with his wife and children. I don’t know when or where he arrived from Ireland. I have not found his exact death date yet. I haven’t figured out who the fifth surviving Hill sibling was or when the other two siblings passed away and why. It’s not that I’ve tried and failed to find this information. Since Hill is such a common name though, I’ve been putting off delving into this line. It just seems so daunting to me. Writing today’s post, however, caused me to jump on in and I hope to report back that I’ve found some good leads in the coming weeks.