Tombstone Tuesday: William Wallace Campbell

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

Another FindaGrave volunteer has come through and taken a photo of the grave of my 3rd great-grandfather, William Wallace Campbell (Gee, you think he might have been Scottish? Just a bit?). The stone is a little hard to read in places, but I’m fascinated by the imagery depicted:

The carving depicts a broken tree with what appears to be a wall leaning against it.

I’ve never seen this type of imagery before. The broken tree, to me, seems to signify a life ended too short (he was only 34 when he died). I don’t know for sure if that’s a wall leaning in from the right. What do you all think? Ever seen anything like this? I want to do some more digging and see if I can find out how he died.

Here is the image from the second stone that is at the base of the larger headstone. It is much clearer:

Note the masonic symbol, which is repeated in the larger headstone.

Obviously, this smaller stone was added later by one of his children. I wonder if it was because the larger stone was already starting to wear?

The larger stone is hard to read, but after cropping and enlarging it, I think I can make out what it says:

W. W. CAMPBELL
born in Va. June ? 1828
died in San Antonio
January ? 1862

The FindaGrave memorial has the exact dates listed. I assume it’s easier to read the stone in person than in the photo provided.

One interesting finding: William’s wife, Susan Elizabeth (Smith) Campbell died two years later, also at a very young age. After viewing her FindaGrave memorial again, it’s even more apparent why new stones were made for these graves.

I recall coming across the information that they had died young before because it made finding their children in ensuing censuses challenging.  I would love to know what happened to this couple…

Tombstone Tuesday: St. James Cemetery

A couple of weeks ago, I drove a friend visiting from out of town to Tilghman Island. As we were passing through Sherwood, my friend spotted a cemetery. On our way back home, I pulled off the road so we could check it out — it was St. James Cemetery*. I was shocked at what we found.

The cemetery was completely overgrown, which isn’t too terribly shocking. The reason why it troubled me is that many of the graves we did find were really recent. We saw several graves from the 1990s to as recent as 2008. It was really sad to see them in such a state.

Grave from 1999

Grave from 1992

At first, I thought this cemetery was one that I’d been unable to find before, while fulfilling FindaGrave requests in the area last fall. Turns out this is a completely different cemetery. None of its graves are listed on FindaGrave yet. I hope to return when the weather is colder and the greenery has died back a bit. We briefly skirted around the perimeter of the cemetery on this excursion and got bitten by who knows what in the process.

We couldn't get back to these graves without walking through knee-high weeds to get there and we weren't dressed for the occasion this outing.

* I found the St. James Church on the Maryland Register of Historic Places (link opens PDF). I don’t recall seeing the church, but we weren’t looking for it either. There appeared to be a private residence bordering the cemetery, not a church. There were several tumbling-down shacks in the vicinity. I didn’t find anything else about the congregation on the web — maybe it’s no longer active. This could explain the sad state of the cemetery…

The Friends Album Has Found a Home!

I just received a call from one of the descendants of the Young family from the Friends Album. This is the gentleman to whom I mailed a letter with a photo of Cornelia Morris (his 4G-grandmother) and a copy of the family tree that I put together.

He said he just returned from out of the country and my letter was waiting for him amidst a huge stack of mail. He called me as soon as he opened it. He confirmed that I had the right family.*

He said both of his parents are still alive and in their mid-80s. He confirmed the family has strong connections to Danbury, Conn., and Yonkers, N.Y. (where this gentleman was born).

They are thrilled to have the album coming their way — I hope to send it to them this weekend. I can’t even describe how elated I am to be reuniting these photos with the family!

* Updated 7/1/2011: I spoke with Stanley Young III again last night and he said he was mistaken and he actually hadn’t seen the photo of Cornelia Morris before. Nevertheless, he now has the Friends Album and couldn’t wait to show it to his parents over the 4th of July weekend.

Tuesday’s Tip: Local History News Alerts

This past weekend, there was a huge celebration in the town of Easton, Md., surrounding the placement of a sculpture of Frederick Douglass in front of the Talbot County Courthouse. Douglass once gave a very famous address on the steps of that courthouse.

The events this weekend got me thinking about the likelihood of similar events taking place in towns across the country. With all of the patriotic holidays during the summer, there are many celebrations of local and national history throughout the country during this season.

Local newspapers tend to preview such events with articles about area history. What a great way to learn about the hometowns of your ancestors! Might your ancestor get a mention? Here’s one way to find out: set up a Google News Alert for your ancestors’ hometowns and add keywords like ‘history’ to the search string.

Use the AROUND operator to make results more relevant. When I did a search for “San Antonio” and “history,” the results weren’t what I’d hoped for. I changed the search string to ‘”san antonio” AROUND(5) history’ (meaning where ‘history’ appears within five words of ‘San Antonio’) and got much better results.

You can add other keywords to the search string too. Were your ancestors farmers? Miners? Play around with other keywords to narrow your results.

I had trouble getting relevant results from one of my searches. You can click on Advanced Search to narrow the results by source location OR by coverage of a certain location.

I tried out a Google News search for one of my ancestral hometowns, Elizabethton, Tenn. I typed ‘Elizabethton Tennessee history’ into the search bar. The results varied from calendar items for workshops at local history landmarks to an article on local sports history. I set up a news alert so that future articles about the area come to my attention.

When you set up the news alert, you are presented with a number of options that will affect the results you receive. You can have the alert cover everything from blogs to video. I usually select “Everything” from the Type drop-down menu. Likewise, I also select “All Results” under Volume.

I have dozens of news alerts set up for my day job, and I find it can be overwhelming to receive all of those emails. Since I already have Google Reader set up for keeping track of genealogy blogs, I elected to receive these local history updates in my feed there, rather than receiving still more email.

Don’t forget to navigate around the Google News results using the menu on the left. I hit Archives and found articles about presidential candidate Herbert Hoover visiting Elizabethton in 1928. Another article, from 1957, detailed the homecoming of conjoined twins (joined at the head, no less), who had been successfully separated just in time to return home for Christmas that year. Note that some of the archive hits may require payment to view the full article, depending on the publication.

None of these stories involve my ancestors, but what great snapshots of local happenings over the years.

It also pays to search for county names and not just town names. I found this article on a flood that swept through Elizabethton (spelled ‘Elizabethtown’ in this article, which is why it didn’t show up in my previous search) in 1901 by searching for “Carter County.” Surely my ancestors were affected by this flood.

Another interesting find was this reprint of a letter by Abraham Lincoln.

Another bonus to performing these searches is you may discover newspapers you didn’t know existed. This could lead to more fruitful searching later on.

Dear Mr. Lincoln, I Think We May Be Related…

In preparing a blog post involving Carter County, Tenn., I found this fascinating reprint of a letter by Abraham Lincoln, to a relative who had written him inquiring as to whether they may be related. The article, which originally appeared in The New York Times, can be downloaded as a PDF at no charge.

Stay tuned on Tuesday to see how I found this little treasure!

Treasure Chest Thursday: My House is on Fire

Some of the family items I would be tempted to grab in a fire: the flag presented to our family at my dad's funeral; photos of my parents; silly as it is, the horn my dad would try and play every New Year's Eve.

This week, Kerry Scott over at Clue Wagon asked what would you grab to save if your house were on fire (assuming your loved ones, pets, etc. were already safe and sound).

This reminded me that back when I was in high school, Oprah actually had a show on this topic. She encouraged everyone to have a firebox that contained everything they would want to salvage (within reason), so they could grab it in just such a situation.

I didn’t have anything of great monetary value to my name at the time, but I put together a shoebox and I remember dropping in a coin purse that I picked up in Ireland when I was 3 years old, a tiny photo album containing mostly school portraits of my friends with their notes on the back, and assorted other trinkets that meant a lot to me.

That box moved with me several times over the years. I believe I finally disassembled it within the past few years as I’ve started a massive scrapbooking project documenting my school years (so I needed that tiny photo album, to include the school portraits, for instance).

Now that I’m a bit older, I have quite a bit I wish I could save. I doubt I would try to grab only one thing. One of my friends, who is also a scrapbooker, mentioned that all of her scrapbooks sit under a window in her scrapbooking room. If her house ever were on fire, she’d throw all of them out the window, if she had the chance. I think I’d do the same thing. I’d pitch as many of my scrapbooks (especially the ones I did about my mom and dad) and other family photos out the window.

Almost everything else in my home can be replaced, and though I’ve scanned most everything in those scrapbooks and picture frames, there’s just something about holding the original, with an ancestor’s handwriting on the back, that’s irreplacable.

Tombstone Tuesday: Ernest HAWLEY Sr. and Cornelia YOUNG (Friends Album)

I previously posted an obituary for Ernest Hawley Sr. He was married to Cornelia Young, daughter of one of the subjects of the Friend’s Album, Frederick A. Young.

I had looked up Ernest on FindaGrave previously, when I was investigating him. No pictures of his tombstone were available, so I requested one. On Sunday, a kind volunteer ventured out to take a photo for me at Land’s End Cemetery (on Hawleyville Road!) in Newtown, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

One interesting date discrepancy — this tombstone says that he died on February 20. His obituary, however, ran on February 19 and indicated that he had died the day before (February 18).

As you can see, the same marker also contains information for Cornelia. She lived until 1975, so perhaps this stone wasn’t carved until that time. Whoever ordered the stone probably wasn’t around in 1905 when Ernest died. I’m guessing they had the wrong information regarding the date of his death.

As I reported a few days ago, I’m still trying to find more information on their son, Ernest G. Hawley.

Friends Album: On the Trail of Stanley A. YOUNG, Jr.

Oh, I was so sure I had him. A refresher as to how he is related to the Friends Album:

Cornelia Morris + Henry B. Young
||
Stanley M. Young + Mary L. Morrill
||
Calvert H. Young + Helen M. ????
||
Stanley A. Young + Mary Kerr
||
Stanley A. Young Jr.

First, I found a SSDI record for a Stanley A. Young, Jr. Ancestry.com led me to corresponding United States Obituary Collection records. While not the obituaries themselves, the abstracts for these records do include the names of individuals mentioned in the obituary, where the obituary was published and when. There are several records for this Stanley, as it appears his obit was printed in both Florida and New York newspapers. Here’s one record from the RootsWeb Obituary Daily Times:

YOUNG, Stanley A; 79; Painted Post NY>Dade City FL;
Tampa Trib; 2004-5-25; evallie

I should have done a quick look-up of Painted Post at this point, but instead I went to the Tribune web site and there I did luck out. I found the obit. And then my heart sank. It listed a sibling I hadn’t found yet. That finally prompted me to look up Painted Post, N.Y. It’s more than four hours away from Yonkers, where it appears the family of our Stanley hailed from. Darn! Not our guy. I was back to square one, at least with Stanley.

Then I found an intriguing Public Records Index record for a Stanley A. Young in Chappaqua, N.Y. Chappaqua isn’t that far away from Yonkers. I started investigating this Stanley Young using resources that are more fit for living subjects — pipl.com and PeopleFinders.com. These sites can bring up very interesting things, including street addresses, the names of relatives and associates, public records like court cases, social media profiles, etc. (They also can bring up a lot of junk and sponsored links. Be careful what you click on. I usually only stick to the sites with free information.)

When I looked up this Stanley Young, Yonkers came up as a former place of residence. I found the names of his wife and children. I found the street address and phone number for his son.

The problem with sites like pipl.com, especially when searching for people who are advanced in years, is that they don’t always capture the fact that the person you are looking for may actually be deceased. The Stanley Young I’m searching for would be around 85 years old. There’s a very good chance he is alive, but there’s also a chance he isn’t.

I’m going to start with his son. I’m a bit too chicken to call him up, so I’m contemplating writing a letter. I haven’t managed to find his email address yet, which would be ideal.

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RootsWeb Obituary Daily Times record, Stanley A. Young; RootsWeb (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~obituary/ : accessed 27 May 2011).

Social Security Death Index record, Stanley A. Young (Florida); Ancestry. com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 May 2011).

Friends Album: Investigating the YOUNGs

In this stage of research for the Friends Album, I find myself hampered by my physical location. For the most part, I’m restricted to using online records. I’ve almost come to the point where I’ll need to try and locate a co-conspirator in at least Connecticut to help me finish this project.

In the meantime, I decided to try and trace as many of the Young descendants as I could over the past week, and started by investigating the descendants of Cornelia Morris and Henry B. Young. The list below gets confusing, but bear with me. I created this post mostly to get my notes down as I researched. I know folks are interested in my progress, so here we go:

I found Cornelia and Henry along with their children, including a son Calvert, in the 1860 census. Calvert is about the age of 9, but there’s no trace of him in later years. Perhaps he died young.

I couldn’t find anything beyond census records up to 1880 for their daughter, Martha.

Mary L. Morrill also married into the Young family. She and her husband, Stanley, Cornelia’s and Henry’s other son, had several children. Among them was Calvert H. Young. I found him in the 1920 census in Yonkers, N. Y., which incidentally was the setting for several of the photos from the Friends Album (see Photos 3 & 4, Photo 14, Photos 30 & 31).

Calvert and his wife, Clara, had a son, Harold, who was 4 years old at the time of the 1920 census. But Harold wasn’t Calvert’s only child. I also found him in the 1910 census with two nearly grown children — daughter Nathley (age 21; apparently her name actually was Nellie/Natalie, as evidenced by other records I found) and son Stanley (age 17). I’m finding that there were a ton of Harold Youngs, many originating in New York, and so it’s difficult to find military, death or other records that are definitely his.

I moved on to Stanley and this is where reviewing another Ancestry member’s work paid off. I found a 1930 census record for Stanley’s family, including his three children. One of them was still another Stanley A. Young.

I’m getting close! More on Stanley A. Young, Jr., in an upcoming post. I think he’s going to be the key.

I also looked at another sibling of Calvert’s — George E. Young. I think I found him in the 1910 census in Danbury. He and his wife Katherine/Catherine had several children, including a son named Egbert.

I figured the name Egbert would be easy to find. I found him in Danbury city directories for 1921 and 1922, but he’s not to be found in 1924. I haven’t found an SSDI record for him. Perhaps he died in the 1920s?

I moved on to Egbert’s brother Richard, who was born in 1903 and I think I found him with wife Hazel and son Richard in the 1930 census. I think I found evidence of his death in 1999 on RootsWeb:

YOUNG, Richard S; 71; Danbury CT;
News-Times; 1999-1-21; sherik

The obit isn’t available online so I’ll either need to travel to the Library of Congress to view the record or find someone in Danbury who can look it up for me.

Moving on to George Young, Richard’s and Egbert’s younger brother. I found a casualty report on him from WWII, but not much else.

Going back to the sisters in this family, Antoinette M. Young married Norris Ballard according to another Ancestry member’s family tree. There’s no source for the marriage, but there are death records to use, if needed. The tree lists the names of their children, but I hesitate to follow this line any further without more evidence.

Going all the way back to Stanley and Mary Young’s children, William H. Young is the next subject to be investigated. Apparently, he died in 1910 (according to FindaGrave). There is no evidence that he ever married — he was still living with parents in his 30s in the 1900 census.

Charles Young is the last of the male siblings in this generation. I haven’t found much on him past 1900.

Edith M. Young married Emerson Ballard (related to the other Ballard above?) and they had a daughter, Alpha Margaret. Another Ancestry member found her death index record and her married name was Claus. She died in 1997. No record that she had children.

In re-examining descendants of Frederick A. Young:

Henry F. Young (one of Frederick’s grandsons via son Henry Samuel Young) — never married? Found birth and death dates… Haven’t found much on his sisters yet either.

George R. Young (Henry F.’s brother) — died in 2003 in Connecticut according to the SSDI; need to follow up and see if I can find an obituary for him.

Ernest G. Hawley (the younger, son of Frederick’s daughter, Cornelia): one member tree says (unsourced) he died in 1969; married Dorothy Mae Levine 24 Nov 1938 (not well documented).

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1860 U.S. Census, Litchfield County, Connecticut, population schedule, page 15, dwelling 125, family 125, Henry Young and family; Ancestry.com : accessed 27 May 2011. Roll: M653_82; Page: 601; Image: 16; Family History Library Film: 803082.

1905 New York census, Westchester County, New York, population schedule, Yonkers, page 18, family 42, FamilySearch.org : accessed 20 May 2011. FHL film number: 589664.

1910 U.S. Census, Westchester County, New York, population schedule, Yonkers, page 18, dwelling 34, family 333, Calvert H. Young and family. Ancestry.com : accessed 20 May 2011. Roll:  T624_1093; Page:  18A; Enumeration District:  0179; Image:  956; FHL Number:  1375106.

1920 U.S. Census, Westchester County, New York, population schedule, Yonkers, page 15, dwelling 79, family 370, Calvert H. Young and family; Ancestry. com : accessed 20 May 2011. Roll:  T625_1280; Page:  15B; Enumeration District:  230; Image:  649.

1930 U.S. Census, Fairfield County, Connecticut, population schedule, Ridgefield, page 7, dwelling 121, family 123, Richard M. Young and family; Ancestry.com : accessed 22 May 2011. Roll:  259; Page:  7B; Enumeration District:  173; Image:  51.0.

1930 U.S. Census, Westchester County, New York, population schedule, Yonkers, page 15, dwelling 180, family 222, Stanley A. Young and family; Ancestry.com : accessed 20 May 2011. Roll:  1668; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 63; Image: 949.0.

FindaGrave Memorial 49155167, William H. Young; FindaGrave.com (www.findagrave.com : accessed 24 May 2011).

RootsWeb Obituary Daily Times record, Richard S. Young; RootsWeb (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~obituary/ : accessed 22 May 2011).

Social Security Death Index record, George R. Young (Connecticut); Ancestry. com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 May 2011).