Genealogy on a Road Trip
I had the opportunity to travel west by car with my Aunt Jean in October. As soon as I consulted the map and realized we would be going through Salina, Kansas, I determined to visit my friends in Concordia, Cloud County. I spent a week there about five years ago when I was doing research for my book, Only a Week Away, and had kept up correspondence with several kinfolk that I met when I was there.
It was a great time for me. I arranged with Marilyn Jackson, genealogy researcher who had started me on my search for the descendants of Lydia Douglass Sibbald in Kansas, to speak to the Genealogical Society since they were to meet while I was in town. I revisited the cemetery, toured the local history museum, and visited friends. Marilyn treated my aunt and I to a thoroughly enjoyable lunch at the Huckleberry Tea Room. Concordia will always have a fond place in my heart, not the least because some of my kin have roots there.
Our next stop, Denver, allowed me the opportunity to meet face-to-face Teresa Creech, a long time fellow researcher of the Alexander branch of the family. She showed me one of those old ornately-carved Bibles, in which on the Family Record sheet was recorded, “Leander D. Hulsaver died October 30, 1890.” I had wanted documentation of the date hoping that I could find a clue to other information about his short life. Leander was the youngest of the four Hulsaver children who lived on the Erie Canal barge until their parents died.
At the time that his mother died he would have been only 7 years old and perhaps went to live with his maternal grandparents, Leander and Ann Douglass in Chaumont, Jefferson County, NY. By the time he was 12 he was working for Albert Sargent in the Chaumont area. He died at age 22.
The Bible itself was a clue. It was inscribed to Mr. and Mrs. Eben Fisher from Mr. and Mrs. Frank Adams. The Eben Fishers were Frank Adams’ mother and stepfather. They married in 1878. Frank and Kate Hulsaver married in 1883, and Leander died in 1890. Since his death is inscribed in ink in the same flowing penmanship as other names and dates in the Bible, one can surmise that his death was known to the family at the time. That does not necessarily mean it happened in the Chaumont area, though, as I have found no death or cemetery record in Jefferson County for him. He could have gone to visit his paternal relatives near Canajoharie. Or even worked on the Erie Canal on one of their barges. Because of the itinerant nature of their life style it is difficult to find information about the Erie Canal workers and families.
(In Only a Week Away, in the chapter about the Erie Canal, Leander is the young child referred to as Lee, whom Kate watches for her mother.)
In Phoenix, I took the opportunity to look up the gravesites of the Catharine Douglass Harrison descendants who gradually migrated south from Hamilton, Ontario to Illinois to Arizona. Finding the Double Butte cemetery was not difficult at all compared to trying to find the cemetery office (not on site) for directions to the gravesites. Finally I appealed for help at the Phoenix library and a woman looked up the cemetery website and copied off the plot info for me.
Then it was back again to the cemetery, find the map located on a pole that showed the sections and fairly quickly I found the large monument for Kirkby Townsend and his wife Ida Ethalon Townsend. The year of her death had not been carved on the monument and the middle name was interesting. I have seen it spelled several other ways but since she obviously bought the monument one would hope she spelled it the way she chose. Since their only son was adopted and lived in California, he may not have even thought about updating the monument.
Then I started canvassing the section that had the Roseveare graves. When I found their plot I was happily surprised to find the gravestone for Elizabeth Harrison included, along with stones for Joseph and Olivia Roseveare and George and Burl Roseveare (March 2007 issue). Elizabeth, Olivia’s mother, died in 1914 and Joseph died in 1913, shortly after the families moved to Phoenix. I might have guessed she would be buried in their plot since the Townsend plot may not have been purchased until much later. (Olivia Roseveare and Ida Townsend were sisters.)
So even though we were on a trip to visit friends and relatives, I managed to get in some genealogy research along the way.
On the way home we stopped near Sanger, Texas, specifically so I could visit Peg Peyton in the Care Inn where she lives. Her daughter, Bev, was nice enough to “talk me in” to the location (on my cell phone) as it was after dark when I went there. Peg was one of my most valuable informants when I started researching the Robert branch and it was a distinct pleasure to meet her finally.
I have been studying how to get my family information up onto the Rootsweb website. They have provisions for putting up only the information you want to put up and you can tailor it according to your preferences. Their program automatically deletes all information about persons who are living. You can take a look at rootsweb.com if you are interested to see what my information might look like there. Click on Family Trees (ignore the Footnote search engine) and then go down to “over 480 million names” and type in any (deceased) family member you wish, just to see how the names come up and what info is there for them. Let me know what you think of the site. As I write this I do not have our family on “rootsweb” yet but will soon. The site meets my criteria for sharing information about ancestors and yet protects privacy of individuals.
This is the last Digest for 2008. The pace and scope of my genealogy research has dropped off significantly. I will never completely lose interest – there will always be those “hard nuts” to crack – but I do not expect to have the quantity of information to share with you going forward as I have had in the past. Nonetheless I will still share interesting stories as they come up and you can use the Search in the menu bar on my website to look up articles of interest. Or simply type in a person’s name in Google. The search engines are doing a great job of bringing people to my website when they are searching on name only or name and location.
I am thinking about compiling all of my past Digests into book format for those who want a copy. Let me know if you would be interested in something of that nature.