Search This Blog


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fearless Females: Brick walls

Brick walls go hand in hand with female ancestors and I am sure many of you can relate. There are many little stubby branches off of my main tree trunk because I have the name of a woman and as of yet no clue to her identity before marriage. These lost heritages, sometimes due to the lack of importance placed on woman at those times, make my mind go numb on occasion. 

photo credit: Malenkov in Exile
photopin cc
I have written on this blog repeatedly about the walls I have encounter through my scant three years of research.  I have even celebrated with you as I have watched a wall crumble down and I was able to watch new branches develop on my tree.  Those celebrations are fewer now, but I am still determined to make them happen.  Even if it takes my whole life.

But that is just it, isn't it? This is now my life’s endeavor. I am also sure it is yours as well.

I want to know more about the people who came before me.  I want to pass that knowledge on.  Not just to my descendants, but to the world. There are stories to be told, lives to be shared, and walls to be scaled. I know that some may never be breached, but that is no reason not to try.  Right?

Below are my most frustrating female brick walls, on my and my husband’s lines.  The ones that, well, let’s just say bug me the most.  They needle me when I try to sleep. I hear them whispering to me from my computer. Come find me… you know you want to… Maybe, just maybe someone out there has the key to unlocking their secrets.

While a person is more than just facts and figures, I didn't want this post to go on for pages and pages so stuck to the basics.  Yes, I only listed a few tid-bits but you and I both know there is more to these women.  If I am lucky there will be follow up posts with stories of discovery and stories of them in the future.

Philena L. Brown
She is my husband's 4th great-grandmother.  Born abt 1810 in Maine and died bef 1880 in Swanville, Waldo County, Maine.  She married twice: James Cunningham and Joshiah Emmerson.  Her sister Mary married James's brother William, also in the Swanville / Belfast, Maine area.  There are family rumors are that the Brown sisters were of Scottish decent after a stop over for a couple generations in Northern Ireland, eventually making their way to New England.

Margaret Ann Brundage
She is my husband's 2nd great-grandmother.  Born 25 Dec 1851 in Illinois, died 15 March 1930 in Portland, Washington, and is buried in Pioneer Cemetery.  She married Stephen Crabb 8 feb 1872 in Putnam, Missouri.  They traveled west to the Washington Territory and were among the first settlers in their area of the future Washington State.

Jane DeVault
She is my 3rd great-grandmother, and most of the following information was given to me (with documents and sources!) by a recently found cousin.  Thank you Sue!  Born 7 May 1830 in Harrison County, Ohio and died 5 Jan 1910 in Lost River Township, Martin County, Indiana.  From her death certificate I know her father's name was Strausbaugh and she was buried in Waggoner Cemetery.  She married Andrew Jackson Davisson in Ohio about 1853.

Mary Amelia Dishinger
She is my 3rd great-grandmother.  Born 11 December 1835 in Baden-Wurttemburg and died 21 November 1921 in Washington, Daviess County, Indiana.  She arrived in this country with her parents, who are unknown to me, and settled in Dubois County, Indiana about 1847.  Mary, or Amelia as she went by both names, married another German immigrant, John Miller, in 1855 at Jasper, Dubois County, Indiana. 

Dorothy Ann Jent
She is my 5th great-grandmother.  Born 1742 at St. Mary's, Maryland and died in 1812 at Nelson County, Kentucky.  She married Rodolphus Norris in 1765 at St. Mary's, Maryland.

Eliza Johnson
She is my 3rd great-grandmother.  Born in Indiana abt 1842 and died before 1900, perhaps all in Orange County.  She married Willis Mayfield Freeman 7 Feb 1861 in Orange County, Indiana.

Maria or Mary Meier/Meyer
She is my husband's 3rd great grandmother.  Born 1853 in Germany and died 30 April 1900 in New York, New York.  She married twice: Augustus Heinritz and Emil Jahnke.  You can read a post about her and my discoveries here.  

Sally Padgett
She is my 5th great-grandmother.  Born abt 1757 in Maryland and died 1817 in Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland.  She married Edward Arvin (Harvin/Harbin/Harben) abt 1785.

Agatha Reichter
She is my 3rd great-grandmother.  Born about 1822 in Baden-Wurttemburg and died before 1900 in Indiana (most likely Dubois or Daviess County).  She married Hubert Negle (Nagley/Nagali/Naigly) 19 May 1855 at St. Celestine Church in Dubois County, Indiana. 

Mary Rice
She is my 5th great-grandmother.  Born abt 1770 on a plantation in Tennessee and died in Harrison County, Indiana 24 June 1835.  She married 5 times: Job Poteet (a Frenchman), Mr. Whitaker, Eliasen Goodwin, and Mr. McCaslin (I list them as Mr. because I don't have a first name for them).  You can read a letter written about her at this post.

Isabella "Bella" Ruddy
She is my husband's 3rd great-grandmother.  Born abt 1838 in Ireland and died between 1920 and 1930 most likely in Hartford, Connecticut or Westchester, New York.  She married James Bennett either in Ireland or in New York City.  

Ann Tachell
She is my husband's 2nd great-grandmother.  Born 1846 in Coates, Sommerset, England and died before 1874 in Wales (most likely in Llwynypia, Glamorgan, Wales).  She married Thomas Pittard before 1869 most likely in Somerset.  Thomas went on to marry her younger sister Jane Tachell after Ann's death.  Thomas and Jane immigrated to the United States with their and Ann's children through New York in 1883.


  1. So many lives, so many mysteries! It is so tantalizing, isn't it, to know these lives and personalities and adventures in a sense "belong" to us, as our ancestors, but we can recover only some of them. And only to some extent.

    You have for example a pioneer going West (how exciting!), two immigrants from Germany, sisters from Scotland, a woman who spent her life in England and Wales. So much history there to be recovered and each life unique.

    Your great list makes me think of my own -- I guess we all have comparable lists. I'd like to learn about my female ancestor who bore all her children in Barbados in the 1600s, or the South Carolinian with a French middle name, descended from French traders in Quebec.

    Will there be a point when we have found out all that is humanly possible about these people? The speed at which they are recovering documents these days, probably not.

    1. I hope I don't ever learn all my ancestors secrets... what would I research then?! However, I agree, there is a lot of history there to uncover.