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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Charles Greely to Maude Crabb 1903

Letter from Charles Greely, Sr to his daughter
Frances Maude Greely Crabb
Pioneer Washinton
Owned by my mother-in-law

Mar 16, 1903

My Dear Daughter

So you think you are feeling lazy.  Well if you feel that way, you had better be that for a while and let the work go.  If you take life easy now for a while it may make lots of difference as to your health in the future.  You are like the rest of the Greelys too much on the work to last long.

I ordered the harrow(?) and it went along from Wade and leo last Friday 3/13.  Let me know if you get it all right.

We had unusually fine weather in Feb. and lots of seed was put in the ground but since then we have been having rain with snow in the foot hills and some here last night the ground froze some and everyone is afraid their seed will rot in the ground.  We got 30 acres seeded.  It will be a long time coming up but I think it will be all right.  This morning Charley boy has gone to Farris Mill for a load of lumber.  When he gets back we are going to put a ton of loose hay down to Jon Eastman.

Charley boy has a bad cold and it has been hanging onto him for a month or more.  Carl is well only he is having a time with his teeth.  I have been trying for a year or more to get him to have them filled and fixed up but he is not like you and Charley boy he does not seem to care much about doing as I would like him to.  Gramma and Jossie(?) are at the washing today.

I think John has done well in taking Chester for a partner.

The mail is here and I will have to quit.

Your affectionate

Friday, April 27, 2012

FTF Post on Cousins is up

We all have them.  Some we like.  Some we haven't seen in years.  Some we have never even meet until we started doing family history.  Cousins, they are all around us.  My latest post at Family Tree Firsts is up and it is all about discovering these wonderful, and mysterious, people.

The picture included for this piece is one I found several years ago.  It was in a box of stuff belonging to my Grandma Arvin.  Attached to it was a hand written legend labeling who in it my mother knew at that time.  Her handwriting was that of her high school days: curly, loopy, and very much like a teenage girl's script.  I kept expecting to see the heart over the i's, but they never appeared.  Not my mother's style.

Many of these people are no longer with us today.  The last of my grandfather's brothers died last fall and my grandmother's last sibling died over a decade ago.  Those little kids you see?  Yeah, they are all older than me!  My mom is so young, and her brother very much the long haired college hippie (Love you Uncle J!) that he was at that time.

Thinking about this picture, and the post I wrote, really had me delving into what does the word cousin really mean? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary cousin means:

1 a: a child of one's uncle or aunt b: a relative descended from one's grandparent or more remote ancestor by two or more steps and in a different line c: kinsman, relative <a distant cousin>
2: one associated with or related to another : counterpart
3: used as a title by a sovereign in addressing a nobleman
4: a person of a race or people ethnically or culturally related <our English cousins>

I like number 4.  Do you think genealogists could be considered culturally related?  Why or why not?  Food for thought... cousin.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Week 17 of abundant genealogy

Front CoverWeek 17: How-To Book: For which genealogy how-to book are you most thankful? Who wrote the book and why does it stand out in your eyes? Is the book currently available? How can other genealogists benefit from its content?

One of the very first books I picked up when I started delving into family history was How to do Everything: Genealogy Second Edition by George G. Morgan.  It became my personal manual into how to navigate the new waters of the genealogical community.  The book beings simple and builds on each chapter as you work your way into more complicated and intricate areas of research.  As a new person to this field it was extremely helpful, but I am sure even a seasoned pro could learn a trick or two from this book.  If not, having one on hand to show a newbie could be a good thing.  It is available from all major booksellers as far as I can tell.

The Elusive Sarah, Who Was She and How Did She Become a Freeman

Last night I had few minutes of free time and decided to randomly work on a line that was a dead-end.  Once again, you never know when the stars will align for you and the genealogy Gods will smile down.  This was one of those nights.

A few weeks ago I made some progress on a maternal line in my father’s family.  It had been giving me some trouble for a while.  I had traced the family line back to my 4th great-grandmother Sarah.  The line is: me, my father, Paul Combs, Sylvia Freeman, John Freeman, Willis Freeman, and Sarah Unknown.  Having unknown’s really bother me, even though I know that they will happen and are inevitable given women changing their names with marriage. 

Looking at the information and census records I had for her I noticed (how did I miss this before) that there were three children under the age of 18 living with her and her family in the 1850 Census.  All with the last name of Quakenbush.  Now this name is not uncommon in the area of Indiana they were living, Martin County.  Could it be a clue to her past?  Were these cousins, nieces, nephews, or maybe a previous marriage?  I found in an index to Indiana Marriages an entry for the marriage of John Freeman and Sarah Quakenbush.  Right time frame, right places, right ages… good possibility there!  However, if these were her kids he was the second marriage and this was not her maiden name.  There was still the possibility that they were relatives working on their farm, but not for certain.

From the 1850 Census I know her youngest Freeman child was eight, and I had deduced that they had married in at least 1842. I was close with a marriage of 21 June 1839.***  Taking her estimated birth date, and the estimated date of birth for the oldest child, I went back into the marriage indexes.  The eldest Quakenbush child was 18 which meant an estimated birth year of 1832.  If these were her children, there could have been more.  However, her age listed in the census was 42 so I could guess she was born around 1808 +/- 5 years.  If she got married after she turned 18, then I am looking for a marriage between the years of about 1826 (+/- 5 years) up to 1832.  It took a while, but I found a record for a John Quakenbush marrying a Sally Foote 22 May 1822 in the county she was living in at the time, Lawrence County, Indiana.  I was still not confident, but it was a lead I could follow and see what panned out.

I then turned to the public trees for hints as to where I should look next.  Really, as a place to get leads and possibilities, it is not such a bad place to look.  I was very surprised to see that with this new information on the possible two marriages there were hits for the first time.  Consistently I was getting information on her (with correct husbands and even children from the census) as well as the names of her parents.  Fantastic!

All the trees I found consistently had her parents listed as John Foote and Mary Smith.  They also listed an alternate name for her, Sally.  Some even had her as Sarah Sally Foote.  Now, being the skeptic that I can be, I took this with a grain of salt. It could just be a perpetuated mistake that has taken off over time.  In any case I decided to see if the Google-fu was with me last night and hunt for link bewteen the prospective parents and her.   
I did a simple search for “John Foote Indiana” and held my breath.  It is not a rare name, but I had to start looking somewhere.  Low and behold I got a hit.  That hit  was a descrption of a book about the Foote family and simply stated: “Others receiving mention in the book are: Thomas Foote of Adams County, Ohio; John Foote of Montgomery County, Indiana; Simeon Foote, of Lenox County, Penn., and Richard Foote of Virginia.”  Holy moly, that could be my John.  Even better, Google has this as a free eBook.  Score!

On page 296 of The Foote Family: or the Descendants of Nathaniel Foote, one of the First Settlers of Wetherfield, Conn., With Genealogical Notes of Pasco Foote, Who Settled in Salem Mass., and John Foote and Others of the Name, Who Settled More Recently in New York by Nathaniel Goodwin there is an entry about my potential ancestor.  It states:

Did you read to the bottom? Make sure you read child number 7, as that is my 4th great-grandmother! Now, just so you know, we are NOT related to Nathaniel Foote (that I know of). My ancestor just happens to be in the book because the author made a compiled genealogy of all the Foote’s he could find at that time living in the United States.  I need to read more in the book to see if I can find out how this information was given to him.

Reading the description of this man left me scratching my head.  What a life.  What an adventure! At this point I still wasn’t sure I could trust information written in a book from 1849.  I was going to do some more research… specifically because I thought press gangs were only used in the British Navy.

I just love a good mystery, don’t you?  Yes, that means another post will be coming...

***I realized as I went back over this that I originaly used the oldest child from the marriage, not the youngest.  Jeesh... that would make a lot more sense huh?  The oldest child has an estimated birth year of 1840.  That makes the 1839 marriage year a lot more likely.

Main Image: shiny red type via photo pin cc
Census Record:  Year: 1850; Census Place: Columbia, Martin, Indiana; Roll: M432_160; Page: 70A; Image: 273.
Book Record: Goodwin, Nathaniel.  The Foote Family: or the Descendants of Nathaniel Foote, one of the First Settlers of Wetherfield, Conn., With Genealogical Notes of Pasco Foote, Who Settled in Salem Mass., and John Foote and Others of the Name, Who Settled More Recently in New York.  Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Tiffany and Company, 1849.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My day at the fair

Last Wednesday and Thursday I attended NARA’s 8th Annual Genealogical Fair and I had a great time!  Everyone was very helpful, patient, and eager to share; perfect for a genealogical conference I would think.  As this was my first outing anywhere near a conference, on this subject, I was over the moon with it.

Wednesday was grey, drizzly, and cold which for an outdoor venue was not necessarily the best weather you could hope for.  Big name vendors and local area societies were present.  My friends and I walked past Ancestry, Fold3, and FamilySearch.  There was a large bank of terminals next to Ancestry and FamilySearch so that you could go out and start searching right then.

Down another aisle I stopped and talked to several of the local societies, the APG representative, and NGS.  The Loudon County Virginia Historical Society even took a note for me to give to the county archivist to help me find the documents I wanted on my 4th great-grandfather Edward Arvin.  (They are on their way to me now by the way!)  I enjoyed talking to the woman from the local APG chapter and I think it may be something I look into more in the future. 

We all stopped briefly to peruse the books section at the Foundation for the National Archives.  I left that day with three books:

·         Evidence! Citation and Analysis for theFamily Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills

·         The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebookfor Women’s Genealogy by Christina Kassabian Schaeffer

·         The Genealogy Tool Kit: Getting Started on Your Family History at the National Archives by John P. Deeban

The last book has been talked about recently on several blogs and in a press release from the Foundation for the National Archives.  It is a basic book, but there were step-by-step worksheets to take you through the records at the archives as well as how to research with original documents.  I am sure I will find it useful and a good book for the future.  Plus, I am a sucker for an autographed book.  The author was there and he signed my copy happily.

In the afternoon I introduced my friends to the reading room where the original documents are viewed at the archives.  I requested two more Civil War Pension Files and they had just as much, if not more, fun than I did looking through and analyzing the information.  We thought we had a good lead on a Civil war Ancestor for one of them, but when we started to read the file it was not her ancestor.  Bummer, but still fascinating as the widow had included newspaper clippings about her husband with her pension request. 

Thursday was a much nicer, and sunnier, day.  I took two classes.  In the morning I listened to a lecture on “Using the Congressional Serial Set for Genealogical Research” by Jeffery Hartley.  I had heard of the serial set but was not entirely sure as what it was.  Wow is all I have to say. That afternoon I attended “Treating the Sick and Wounded: Civil War Medical Records” by Nancy Wing.  My mother’s a doctor, I toyed with being a doctor, and I have a biology degree… do you think I could have passed this up?  It was fascinating and even got me thinking about how I need to have my mom write a guest post here.

The highlight of Thursday was meeting the author of Annie’sGhosts, Steve Luxenburg.  Of course I don’t have a paper copy of the book, it is on my iPad, but he kindly took a picture with me so I would have a remembrance of the day.  He chatted with me and my friends for a little bit and I have to say he was extreamly pleasant, very personable, and very tall.  You can listen to an interview with him  about this book from Lisa Louise Cooke at the Genealogy Gems Podcast.

The last part of the day was exploring the stacks at the research library.  I had not been in there before and I was not disappointed.  In the library are reference books, biographies, indexes, maps, and so much more.  All the books relate in some way to holding at the archives.  I just wandered the aisles reading titles, flipping through maps, and getting acquainted with everything.  It is a place that I will be going back to when I have a specific research plan.  That day, since the Revolutionary War was on my mind for some reason, I looked through indexes of soldiers for my ancestors.  Found most of them, and not  just names.  Most of the books had a description of the person, ranks, and short bio from the war.  Yes, I made copies.

Overall it was a very satisfying experience… and I have a lot of fling to do!

*Thanks to Barb for helping take pictures!

From Niece to Uncle Swanville Maine 1936

Letter from Margaret (?)  to Phillip Greeley
Owned by my mother-in-law

Swanville Maine,
Oct 23, 1936

Dear Uncle Philip,

I have been intending to let you know for the last two weeks that Goose R cranberries simply are not this year.  No one along the river has had more than half a bushel and someone stole most of them at that. (this pen is simply devilish, of course, I would forget and leave mine at the school house with a weeks vacation ahead).

State Teachers Convention is in Lewiston next week and some good fairy among the “powers that be” instigated the bright idea of giving us the whole week.  Since I am not planning to attend I really feel quite lucky.  Clyde and I had planned to drive over for a day but he suddenly changed his plans and went back to school!  Finished his Blister-Rust job Sept. 30th, and entered U of M Oct 1st as a Senior in the College of Education – Majoring in Math and Science as I heard him telling Don.  I was never more surprised in my life as I had no idea he would think of such a thing.

Don is working in Burlington Maine.  We have no notion what he is doing.  He simply had a card one day, a telephone call the next, and started the next, without waiting to find out anything further.  That is so near his old stomping ground that he will enjoy himself anyway.

We had a nice visit from Aunt Carrie but were much surprised to hear that you were not coming to Maine this year.  Somehow we had come to consider it an annual event.  Of course, it is nice to be busy but don’t you suppose you will find a little gap in the business somewhere?

Mother is flying about the smartest one of the family as always.  I felt amused the day after Aunt Carrie left.  Mother burst out all at once “that must be an awful life with no one to wait on.” And she was just as earnest about it as could be.  Aunt Carrie said it seemed as tho she was smarter than she was last year.

Lou is wrestling with field corn.  He had two acres and a splendid crop but it rains so much that he’s having a hard time to get it undercover any way but sopping wet.

My disposition (what little I have) will be everlastingly ruined if I write more with this pen.

Love to all
Niece Margaret

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting Your Name in Print is Better Than in Lights

I knew well over a month ago that there would be a segment about me in the upcoming Family Tree Magazine, but seeing it in print... that was way too cool.  In the May/June issue of Family Tree Magazine I am in a feature called "5 Questions With..."  This is a column by the Genealogy Insider, Diane Haddad, where each issue they feature a member of the genealogy community.  Last months genealogy mover and shaker was Dick Eastman.  They featured me as the Family Tree Firsts Blogger.

To top it off, I have told as many people as possible in the past 10 minutes since rushing home from the mail box.  Sad, but true.  You only get so many chances in this short life to make your mark and get noticed.  I will be relishing in this one for some time to come.  Oh, and also saving it for future family historians.  One day someone may want to follow in my footsteps after all.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cousins to the Rescue!

A cousin of my mother-in-law contacted me this morning and filled me in on some information that I did not know. In the letters I published from Carrie to Maude last Friday 4/20/2012 I did not list her married name. To be honest, I didn't know it. Now I do!
Here is what was sent to me this morning:

"Just checked to see the latest on your genealogy blog and read the letters from Carrie to Maude. Carrie's married name was Bradford. She married Horace Bradford, born in 1841 (and so quite a bit older than she). He was supposedly a descendant of William Bradford of Plymouth Colony. His parents were Alexander and Charlotte Bradford. Carrie's middle name was Philena (after her grandmother, I suppose) and she was a chiropractor in the Concord, New Hampshire, area."

Carrie's maternal grandparents were Philena Brown and James Cunningham from Waldo County, Maine.  He was a ship captain who was given his first schooner by his uncle (a Nickerson from Chatham, Mass) and was sailing around the world by the time he was 18.

*Image: Linda Cronin via photo pin cc

Friday, April 20, 2012

Post at Family Tree Firsts

Study of a mule team and wagon, with driverMy next post for Family Tree Firsts is up over at Family Tree University.  It is a follow up on Harry/Henry and what he did after the war.  As always I hope you enjoy it.

Many of you may be curious about how his wife finally find out that her husband was living under an assumed name.  Especially since I wrote that she did not find out for well over two decades.  I always find reading statements very interesting, and thought you might too as fellow researchers.  Below are a few excerpts from depositions that tell the story of how the truth was finally known.

Before we begin, there are two societies mentioned in the depositions that I had never heard of.  They are the Epworth League and Young Peoples Society of Christian Endeavor.  Doing a quick search on it I discovered that they were both groups for young Christians to help them with ministries and service through their faith to the community.  The Epworth League, through the Methodist Church, is still active today.

Beginning with the testimony of his wife, Nancy, the story unfolds on how she discovered the truth.  On June 24, 1918 she told the special examiner:

I never knew that Harry M. Coad was not his correct name until we had been married 26 years, I think about 26 years.  There was an Epworth League convention at Marshall, this Co. and I saw in the program the name of Edward Altemus as a delegate.  I had heard my husband mention that he had a sister who had married a man named Altemus.  I thought this Edward Altemus might be related to my husband so I wrote to him and through that correspondence learned that Edward Altemus’s mother was in fact the sister of my husband and also that my husband was not named Harry M. Coad, but Henry Clay Thompson.  At first my husband denied that his correct name was Henry Clay Thompson, then a nephew named Frank Maple wrote he was coming to visit us and then my husband confessed he had deceived me as to his name; that his correct name was Henry Clay Thompson.

Lucky for me, and my husband’s family, they were able to collect depositions from his two nephews, Frank and Edward.  Edward’s testimony dated May 31, 1918 was a genealogical treasure trove.  It listed married names of his aunts as well as names of all the cousins he knew, and last known residences around the country of the family.  Until he had correspondence from Nancy, Edward had not seen or heard from his uncle since he was a small child.  Edward stated in his deposition:

I was State Secretary of the Young Peoples Society of Christian Endeavor and was living in St. Louis.  I received a letter, in which inquiries were made about my family, this letter came from either the daughter or wife of my uncle Henry Clay Thompson.  She had seen my name in a paper and saw my photograph in a paper and that was why she wrote me.  This letter said uncle Henry Clay was living.  I was then living in St. Louis.  I answered the letter and uncle Henry’s daughter, don’t recall her name, came to St. Louis to see us and later on uncle Henry came.  That was somewhere around twenty years ago. 

Frank Maple, whom I also quoted in the Family Tree article, has a very animated and descriptive telling of the discovery in his deposition taken on February 13, 1918.  He tells the special examiner:

About 26 years ago a convention of the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor was held at Marshall, Saline County, MO., and Mr. Edward Altemus of St. Louis, MO., my first cousin, was the States Secretary.  A short time later a letter was received to Altemus from a Mrs. H. M. Coad, of Saline Co., MO.  In a writeup of the Convention in a Marshall paper she had noted the name of Edward Altemus, Secretary, and she then recalled that her husband had once upon a time told her he had a sister, Harriet Frances, who married a man by the name of Altemus and naturally her curiosity was aroused and she ventured a letter of inquiry.  Several letters passed back and forth until it finally became a matter of conviction with Mrs. H. M. Coad that the wife of Mr. Altemus, Sr., was her husband’s own sister.  Harriet Frances Altemus, my mother’s sister, finally wrote Mrs. Coad as follows in substance – I remember this as the final message that settled the matter – “Your husband is my brother and his name is not Coad, but Henry Clay Thompson.”  … I know Mrs. Coad told me that the night before my arrival on the visit to their Home that she and the rest of the family has confronted the husband and father again with these evidence and implored him to make a full breast before his young nephew arrived and this save all of them an embarrassment.  This he did.  She his wife, said that he covered up his eyes and said that he had married her under his brother-in-law’s name, Coad, and not under his right name, and that his correct name was Henry Clay Thompson, that he assumed the name Coad sometime after the close of the Civil war.

Call it genealogical serendipity if you will, but if it was not for curiosity, tenacity, and a little luck on the part of Nancy we may never have known the whole story of Harry/Henry.  Thanks to her efforts in connecting him his family it made it a little easier for him to prove who he was later when applying for pension.  As well as letting his mother see him one last time before her death.

*Image Library of Congress: Study of a mule team and wagon, with driver
*Images of Depositions loacted in pension file of Harry M Coad / Henry C Thompson, NARA

Week 16 of Abundant Genealogy

Week 16: Tech Toys: Genealogists love their technology toys! Which tech gadget do you appreciate the most? How has this tool enhanced your family history experience? Would you recommend it to others?

Hands down my favorite tech gadget is my iPad.  I love it!   It has made research, learning, writing, and keeping up with everything in the field so much easier.  Yes, my laptop can do the same thing, however the iPad is lighter and more compact for quick trips.  My laptop stays at home for my "serious" work and writing endeavors now. 

The apps that I use for family history make it so easy to sit and work anywhere (that I have a connection as I don't have built in wi-fi) on all sorts of family history projects.  I can read class notes, read/write blogs, take notes at the library, look at my family tree on Ancestry... you name it so far I can do it!

Would I recommend this to my friends?  Sure would!  If you can budget a tablet you should try to get one.  It will make your family history research experience a pleasant, and lighter, one.

*Image:  Mike Licht,'s photostream

Letter from Maine to Washington 1928

Maude and John about 1923
Letter from Carrie Greeley Bradford to Frances Maude Greeley Crabb
Letter owned by my mother-in-law

Waterloo, NH
Aug. 2, 1928

Dear Maude,

It has been quite some time since I got your letter with the enclosed “snaps” both of which are good to look at.  Jasper was such a little shauer(?) when I saw him that I can hardly believe he is the dignaified looking student in the picture.  Where did your “Buddy” get that hat?  He and his dog and hat make an attractive picture and I know you have a lovely yard from what the picture shows.

Your Uncle Horace is very feeble this summer and it takes about all the vein I possess to wait on him and do the work in the house and out.  Have a fairly good vegetable garden, but not many flowers.

Your Uncle Philip, Aunt Nina and Henry were here for a few hours on Sunday recently.  Philip took you address and said he was going to write you, so you may have heard from his before you get this.

Your Aunt Ada thinks of you as a baby sitting in your Grandmother Bartlett’s lap and says it is hard to think that you have six children and are now a grandmother.  We are all delighted that we have a great great niece. (Perhaps that is not just the way to say it, but I surely feel important being a great great aunt.)

Expect you have not kept track of your mother’s relatives.  Your Uncle Rufus’s second wife died about a year ago and now keeps house alone.  Have lost track of his sons, but they were smart and quite musical.  Wonder if you would care to come to Maine, think it would be nice if you and John and Charley and Letty would come east and make us all a visit.  Better start some plans that way.

It is now 9:30 and Horace says he is tired, so I must get him undressed and in bed.  I am nurse, valet and house maid.

Love to you all
Aunt Carrie

Letter from Carrie Greeley to Maude Crabb May 1928

Letter from Carrie Greeley Bradford to Frances Maude Greeley Crabb
Letter in the possession of my mother-in-law

Waterloo, NH
May 3, 1928

Dear Maude,

Must write you a line and tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed you good letter.  Parents who raise a family of six children and get them educated (an education that they can earn a living with) have, in my intimation, done something to be proud of, and of course the children had to do their part in order to arrive.  Am wondering if you have a large farm or a small one, and specialize on some crop.   Am sure you have chicken, for I remember that you had a nice flock when you lived in Pioneer. 

If you father could have lived to see his grandchildren grow up he would have been happy and proud of them.  Your Aunt Ada has helped to raise her two grandsons and I know she enjoys them.  They are smart boys too.  Since we have been living here have has a good vegetable garden and a few flowers each year.  Horace has always helped some until last year, and this spring he is more feebleand I shall not try to do very much gardening.  The season is too short to be real satisfactory.  Last month we had 3 snow storms the last one on the 28th.  The mercury is up to 66 this PM and it looks now more encouraging.

I should love to see your flowers as well as farm and your family, and am hoping to get those promised “snaps” in the near future.  To me it seems ages and ages since I saw you in Pioneer, although I am sure I do not feel any older.

Thought you might enjoy some NH maple sugar, and hope you recived it in good condition.  Do write again when you can all about yourself and family.  What you are all doing and etc.

Aunt Carrie

PS – How about Perry and Ruth – both married? Is Ruth teaching near where you live?  Is John Jr. as happy as ever?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hary Coad to the Commissoner of Pensions 1916

Letter from Harry Coad to the Commissioner of Pensions
Located at the National Archives, Washington, DC
Harry Coad / Henry Thompson Pension File
Grand Pass MO
June 26, 1916

Comissioner of Pensions.
Dear Sirs:

You request of 19 inst, at hand, in reply to your request.  My comrads and officers were: Capt W.S. Boyd, 1st Leiu Orbriek, 2nd Lieu Davidson, Orderly Sargt Claghorn, 1st duty Sargt Balenger, Private Soldier’s Geo Frisby, Sam Gaty, Al Olinger Hunter, W Chamberlain, Batss, and Pete Edwards, Shultz.  I am sorry but I do not know the address of any of  my old comrads.  I went to Kansas in 1866, and settled down, and never have seen one of the old boys since I was mustered out.  I was in the battle of Springfield MO when gen Lyons was killed in 61.  Next was Battle at Fort Henry.  Then Pittsburge Landing, then Shilo next Corinth, Kenesaw Mountian, Snake Creek Gap, Dalton Peach Tree, Sand Town, where gen McPherson was killed, Lays Ferry, Mary Etta, Siege of Atlanta, skirmished all the way from Atlanta to Savanah.  Then fought the siege of Savanah.  Golds Burroh NC in Shermans March to NC and in the grand review.  Hoping to get the pension soon.  Respectfully.

H.M. Coad

Links to the places mentioned in letter:
The First Battle of Springfield (or Wilson's Creek)
Battle of Fort Henry
Battle of Pittsburgh Landing, Shiloh
Siege of Corinth
Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
Atlanta Campaign
Savannah Campaign
Carolina Campaign
Grand Review

My first genealogy "conference"

Today and tomorrow I will be attending the National Archives 8th Annual Genealogy Fair.  I got up at o-dark-thirty to commute into DC with my husband.  Makes me appreciate him even more, as he gets home after 8pm every night and is up at 4am every morning to make the 60 mile trek into the DC metro area for work.  This morning we get to experience the commute that many married couples make together in the morning... hope I don't screw up!

I am meeting two friends there today, both bitten by the genealogy bug like me.  Last night I printed off the schedule and map for the two days, starred the classes I want to attend (only 2 spots with conflicts), and packed my bag. 

Wish me luck, this should be a great adventure and a lot of fun!

**This was supposed to have gone out on Wednesday.   Lesson:  Need more Coffee when I write at 4:30am as  I never pushed publish...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Harry Coad to John McElroy, Editor National Tribune 1916

Letter from Harry Coad to John McElroy
Located at the National Archives, Washington, DC
Harry Coad / Henry Thompson Pension File
Grand Pass MO
6 / 6 / 1916

Mr. John McElroy
Editor Natunal Tribune
Washington, DC

My Dear Sir.

Will you try to assist an old soldier, who is in great need of help. 

I am sevety six years old, and not able to work anymore.  My wife is an invalid and can’t work, and we are in destitute circumstances, and now appeal to you for our much needed help.

I served in the rebelun from beginning to the end of that great strife, and now I am asking you to assit me to get a pension, which I am in great need.

Last Aug I sent for application blanks, got them, and fill them out and returned them, and in Sept I rec, a registered card and a note saying every thing is OK, and I really thought I would rec my first pension about now, but the rest of the old comrads have all received their payment and I have not.  Will you ples lend me a much needed helping hand and see if you can get my claims in order for me.

This is the numbers on my card Co B, 5 Reg, MO inf
GM Saltzgerber, Com.

Keeping and praying that you will do all you can for me, and that I will very soon, get the pension that I so much need, I will thank you in advance and aniously wait.

I served as a soldier
H.C. Thompson
Please address me,
H.M. Coad
Box 21 Grand Pass, MO

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Harry Coad Pension Letter May 1916

Letter to the Bureau of Pensions from Harry Coad
Located at the National Archives, Washington, DC
Harry Coad / Henry Thompson Pension File

Grand Pass MO
May 31, 1916
Bureau of Pensions.
Washington DC


Yours of May 25 at hand and I will say, I lost my discharge, and do not know where any of my comrades are, but can give you names of half the company I was in if that will do any good.  Was born August 31, 1840, Springfield, Sangamon Co., Ill but I know of no way to prove it as my father, mother, sisters, and brothers are all dead except my youngest brother, and first now I don’t know if address, but will make an effort to get it if it is necessary.

Lived in St. Louis, during the summers of 1850-1868.  My father’s name was Geo. Washington Thompson.  My mother’s name was, Sarah D. Thomspon, (nee McChesney).  My Sisters, Margaret, Harriett, and Elisabeth were alive in June 1850 1860.

Harry M Coad alias
Henry Clay Thompson

*Note: in his later depositions he states he can no longer write, nor sign is name.  It is my feeling (as the handwritting does not change in all the letters) that this is his daughter Ida, whom lived close by, writing his letter for him.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Civil War Letter home from Lemuel Kelley June 14, 1862

Letter from Lemuel Kelley  to his father Lemuel Kelley
Located at the National Archives, Washington DC
Lemuel Kelley Father’s Civil War Pension File
Transcribed by me

June the 14th 1862
Camp (word crossed out) Near Front Royal VA

Dear father I seat my self this evening to rite you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I hope thes few lines may finde you all enjoying the same blessing.  Father I will send you 25 dollars and James sends you 15 dollars we send it to Washington City by the Chaplin and he will express it from ther if you get it want you to write and tell me or if you don’t get it want you to rite eney.  How for bidley sent twenty dollars and hav not heard from it yet if you got it.  I wish you would rite and tell me all a bout it father I have not resieved a letter from you sence I have ben in the servies.  I think you would rite if you would just neglect it.  Father it does me just as much good for me to get a letter from home as it (word crossed out) does you and mor to when I draw a game.  I will send you you some more but a man has (word crossed out) to have some here but I will send you every sent I can.  Shar if you answer this but if you don’t I will not.  Well I have nothing of importnact to rite this time only I expect to leave here before long where we will go next I cant tell but the talk is that we will go to richmon but I cant tell but if eney of the the troops has to go it will be us for we have to march more then eney troops in the field.  Well father I will close O yes I will tell you that I paid billy for the saddle the gun is mien now I only drowed 2(?)2 and 5 cents and paid him five and sent 25 hom and have five left.  So I will leave thes few remarks to you

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Civil War letter from the Kelley Boys home

Letter from Lemuel Kelly to his father Lemuel Kelley
Located at the National Archives, Washington, DC
Lemuel Kelley Father’s Civil War Pension File

Date and Place missing from top of letter

Dear father (rest of line missing)
10 dollars by expres and James sends you 20 dollars.  I borrowed five before when I sent and I said it and I did not Draw but 17 and 15 cence.  I will send you all the money I can spar you must write as soon as it comes to hand.  I want you to pay the the Mortgage as fast as you can and I will help you all I can nothing more only I am well and all the rest of the boys.  Yours truly

Lemuel A Kelley
You must write and tell me wheather you got it or not give my love to all

Friday, April 13, 2012

Letter From Philip Greeley 1941

Letter from Phillip Greeley MD
to Frances Maude Greeley Crabb
Photocopy kept by my mother-in-law

Jan 19, 1941
517 Columbia Drive
Davis Island
Tampa Florida

Dear Niece,

I was very much please to get letter in spite of the fact that traveled a lot it did not seem to detract from its value.  We were at Ocean Grove a few week and decided to go to Ocean City about ten miles below Atlantic City.  I went to P.O. before left my forwarding address and for a few weeks we got our mail all right and then the little mail that came by way of Ocean City began to get into the dead letter office.  Naturally I have a lot of mail from Portsmouth N.H. and always keep that office informed of my whereabouts and they never have failed to do their duty by me yet so if anyone is not sure of my location I usually tell them to address me at Portsmouth N.H.

I guess I feel about the same [unknown word] be the new deal as you do.  I hard know what I am.  If I can find the name of an intelligent man on the ticket he might get my vote whether he belongs to a party or not. There are some good men in office I am thankful to [unknown] and plenty that are too cheap to mention.

Maine and Vermont are the only States that are still on the gold standard.  You might mention to your children that their Grand-father was born in Maine.

I met a man who had been to Wash. and western Canada.  I said I had relatives in Wash.  He learned what place and at once was enthusiastic.  “I went there to an apple festival once” said he “and it is the great apple county in the world”.  I think your father made no mistake when he picked out that county in which to settle.  There seems to be no ideal place in the U.S.A. to live the whole but I have often wondered if in Wash., Oregon, and Vancouver Canada did not come the nearest to it.  Fruit and vegetables are fast coming to the front as food and people are just beginning to find out there value as life savers and health promoters.  Improvement in the process of canning had helped as you know. 

I think I shall have to confine my writing to your fathers ancestors until I get more data on the Bartlett and Walls .On mother’s side the Cunninghams, Browns, and Nickersons are in the picture.  Sometime the latter part of the 18th century John Cunningham went from Edgartown Martha’s Vinyard to Cape Cod and married the daughter of Slathiel Nickerson.

Two sons were all that resulted from this marriage.  William who lived in Belfast Maine.  The two brothers married sisters.  I think they were Scotch and belonged to that gang that England induced to go to Northern Ireland and made great promises for their prosperity and never kept them.  It is said that they stayed in Ireland long enough to learn the art of making corn liquer otherwise known  as moonshine or kill me quick.  It was very populare during prohibition days.  They settled in the Appalation system which extends from Canada to Fla.

In northern states a law was passed fifty years ago more or less obliging them to send their children to school.  Consequently the mountains are about uninhabited except for people who go there to visit during the summer.  This applies to Maine, NH, Vermont, Mass, Conn, NY, NJ, and part of Penn. I think they have no such law (if they do they don’t enforce) in Maryland, Vir, W. Vir., the Carolinas, Knetucky, Tennessee, and Georgia.  There is a school in Berea Kentucky for Mountaineers.  Supported by northern Money.  The president is brohter to the president of Chicago University who a few years ago was in the lime light.

The other son of John Cunningham was James who was you great grandfather. His home was in Belfast Maine.  [unknown] he reached the age of 10 yr when he went to sea with his mother’s brother, a Nickerson of course.  I have been told that it is an abbreviation for son of old nick. Nixon is an abbreviation for Nickerson.

Aforesaid James went around the world twice before he was 12 and continued to sail the seven seas till his death aged 40.  When he was 18 an uncle fitted out a schooner for him after which time he was Capt. Cunningham.  When about 40 he made a trip to Havana Cuba where he contracted yellow fever recovered started for N.Y. had a relapse died buried at sea.

This was near 1840.  As near as can size him up he was very decent man.  No he was “hard boiled” but if he was a pirate or shipped slaves or shanghaied his crew if he had done these things is come afters would have had happy time bragging about him.  As it was all they could say was that any man who had ever sailed with him once was delighted to go again if they got the chance.  We have no record that he was ever wrecked.

I am sure this will be all you will care translate for a while.  The psot office in Ocean Grove Is think was a little careless.  The above address will be my abode for the next three months.

Your Uncle Phillip

Image: mikebaird via photopin cc

Week 15 of Abundant Genealogy

Week 15 – Volunteers: Tell us about a volunteer you appreciate. What does this person do for the genealogical community? How has he or she touched your heart? This is your chance to show some love for those who selflessly give their time to family history.

The only volunteers that I have come into contact with were the volunteers at NARA.  Kind, patient, understanding, helpful... everything I could possibly want in a person to help me navigate those archives.  One in particular wouldn't give up until he had the answer on where my ancestors pension file went.  He hated enigma's too.

*Image from the Library of Congress: DETAIL, SOUTH FRONT, PORTICO - National Archives, Constitution Avenue, between Seventh & Ninth Streets Northwest, Washington, District of Columbia, DC

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Next post at FTF is up

My next post at Family Tree Firsts is up.  It is all about the 1940 US Census... in case you haven't heard enough already.

When the 1940 US Census was finally released I nearly died from anticipation.  To say I was  giddy would put it mildly.  However, I had already absolved myself to the fact that it would be weeks, if not months, before I would be able to carve out the time to really go through an un-indexed image file.  Yes, there is an indexing project going on, but unfortunately I am unable to participate in it.  Too much is going on right now for me to take the time that I feel I should dedicate to the process.

If you can't tell I have a special kind of drive in me. Long ago I would willy-nilly volunteer to do many different tasks and kill myself trying to make them all a success. Until I was in my early 30's; then I realized that I needed to learn to say no, and to choose what tasks/projects I can take on and finish with pride. This project fell in the middle of an already booked schedule, which is why I signed up to help promote the indexing. At least I could spread the word

However, I digress... back to the census.  I was over the moon when I learned Indiana was up on day one.  The towns that I was going to look through were small, and I already had a good idea of where to look and in what Enumeration District.  Dad was happy to talk about all the people I found, who the neighbors where, and the area in general.  Every time I find a new piece of information to add to the family tree puzzle he has always been happy to give me background information.  Sometimes it will even spark memories, which are always lively and entertaining. 

After I spoke with a couple other family members about locating other relatives on the 1940 US Census, and idea came to me.  This would be a fantastic thing to pull up and my mother's family reunion next September.  I can just image going page by page thought the home towns with them discovering everyone on the pages.  What stories could that lead to?  Imagine the possibilities!

Currently I am waiting for my mom's cousin to write me back with the address of where their parents lived in Wayne, Michigan.  My mother's father and two of his brothers moved there in the late 1930's and all settled within two blocks of each other.  It would be fascinating to see them, their kids, and learn what the Census can tell me.  Then I will tackle my husband's side of the family who will range across the country from Washington State to New York and down to Missouri.

* Image from the Library of Congress: Hand punching machine, Census

Letter from Philip H. Greeley 1937

Maude about 18 years old
Letter from Philip H. Greeley MD
to Frances Maude Greeley Crabb
Owned by my mother-in-law

December 13, 1937

Dear Niece,

A little late to be thanking you for the picture you sent me of yourself nearly a year ago.  The fact is it came while I was in Florida and did not happen to be forwarded.  I have just gotten my eye on it.  Your Aunt Nina wrote me about it and that you were very fine looking and that she had send the picture to me.  Your smile is like you mother’s.   I think you must a much lighter complexion than she had.  She was quite dark with large features and as you may realize from her picture was a beautiful woman.  I was about seven years old when she came into our family.  She always had interesting gifts for my sister and I when she came to the house and knew how to interest children.  I expect you may know all this but I am just going on as I have started for a bit.  She was a graduate of Farmington (ME) Normal School, Teachers College you call it in the west I expect, and was a very successful teacher.  Farmington ME is a small town in the western far of ME in the foot hills of the white mountains of NH.  I have often thought how much your mother must have enjoyed the beautiful scenery in and around this old ME town.  I was through there about four years ago in October, had supper there a little before dark.  All the buildings looked clean and well cared for with certain dignity is apt to go well with a NE college town. Building mostly white if not brick well kept lawns and scrubbery.  When I was between the ages of 6 and 10 I used to go to your grandfather Bartlett’s and have a first rate time on the farm with him.  He was always very kind to me and if I annoyed him he not let on to me but what I was a great help.  He had a big newfound dog that I was very found of playing in his company in the fields.  Your grandfather has a wide orchard too that attracted my attention.  He had a great variety of apples that I have never seen elsewhere.  The Bartlett family were a strong NE race that were English stock and among the early settlers.  One was once governor of NH many of the them have information [unknown] like chaplain Bartlett of the Pearry polar expedition.  I have in my pocket a snap shot of son Henry a boy who was working for me and myself taken on the sidewalk in Hot Springs Ark. Two years ago.  I hope you will not feel offended to receive shuch a picture of two, hatless and discheveld relatives.  The only neat looking one being the cork.  With best wishes to you and your family for a metty xmas and happy new year.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Letter From Charles Greeley 1915

Letter from Charles "Chas" H. Greely
to Frances Maude Greeley Crabb
Owned by my mother-in-law

May 17, 1915
Ridgefield, Washington

Dear Maude

I am enclosing check for five hundred dollars and I will try and give you another five hundred next year I trust you will give mother the credit for this as she intended to leave you that amount and I am following out her wishes.
I am selling ford autos this year I have sold twenty so far and think I will sell at least ten more this summer.
Our crops look good I have planted 30 acres of potatoes and will plant ten more.
Tell john I took his dad for his first auto ride the other day and he seemed to enjoy himself.
We cleared up about nine acres down below this spring we are going to plow it year and put it in peas.
Krieger sold his place to another Dutchman, and has gone to Portland to live.
Walter Moffett is working for me now I use him a lot to teach people run their autos.
Sam Zim had bought a strip of land from McDonalds and built a bridge across the creek and has a road out to the church now.
Lettie and the kids are all well.  Dorothy will go to school next year. They put me in for School director this year, so I guess my troubles have begun.
Ask John if he will ask Begue what he intends to do about the mortgage Mary holds against his property at Raymond We have written him several times but he never answered our letter.
They are spending $15000 between Crabs corner and Ridgefield this year, putting the road on grade and crushing it and rolling it with a steam roller.
They are about to let the contract for the grading and Macadamising(?) the road from Salmon Creek to Crabbs Corner which will cost about $60000.
I trust you crops will be big and you health good and all the rest of the good thing in the world may come your way.

Your brother.