Tuesday, May 14, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 20: Nature: The Gorrells Go Camping

This is my second year working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I have enjoyed writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

One way to get out into nature is to go camping. My in-laws, George and Thelma Gorrell, were enthusiastic campers. They had five children, so camping was probably an economic way to take a vacation. But they also enjoyed being in the out of doors. A few of their sons enjoyed fishing with their dad, and two of them still fish and hunt these many years later.

Camping involved the whole family. They cooked their meals on camp stoves but also had fires going all day to keep water heated for drinks or showers or washing of dishes. They played games in the evening such as cards, spoons, or other family-fun games. Thelma like to put together jigsaw puzzles and George made a board with edges to keep the pieces from falling off.

My husband was not a huge fan of camping but we did go on a few trips after we were married in October, to celebrate George and Thelma’s anniversaries. The first two years it rained the whole weekend, but I have fond memories of the card games we played to keep occupied.

For their 40th anniversary, the whole family, including the grandchildren, took a week-long camping trip to Mount Lassen. I purchased nice air mattresses so my husband could be more comfortable. We were at a group site and we all brought our bikes. Our children became pretty proficient in riding that year. The girls also found wood and built a fort.

My favorite activity while camping is reading and taking a nap—it’s the best way to really relax. Other fun activities are taking hikes, bird watching, photographing wildflowers, and stargazing at night. Camping is most fun when there are few mosquitoes.

George and Thelma camped in tents for years but in the late 1980s, they finally purchased a motor home, which made everything easier for them.

Motor home in the woods
Tent camping

Picnicking

Putting puzzles together



Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Monday Genea-pourri, Weeks of April 22-May 12, 2019

Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week. This idea came from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing, who started this meme.

Travels
I spent two weeks in New York City visiting my daughter, Margaret. We attended her play, “Meg Jo Beth Amy & Louisa” twice, as well as seeing the Broadway play “Come From Away.” Historical sights we visited were Dyckman House; the old Custom House which now houses the Smithsonian Native American Museum, as well as the New York National Archives; Fraunces Tavern where George Washington gave his farewell to the troops; the old Cunard Building where passenger ships docked back in the day; and rode a train up to Poughkeepsie to visit the Roosevelt home at Hyde Park.

I also got in some bird watching on three separate days. First at Central Park with an Audubon guide. Saw a blue-winged warbler, which was a first, and again on my own, where I saw a red-bellied woodpecker. I was looking for the indigo bunting but didn’t see it. Lastly, I rode the train to New Jersey, and was met by Judy Russell. She took me to two sites where we at last spotted a palm warbler. My photos of the birds were so-so, I think because of the wind, it was difficult to focus the camera.

Genealogy
Blog Writing: During the two weeks I did post the two posts for 52 Ancestors:
  • For week 17, I wrote about my family and their First Communion.
  • 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks For week 18, was “road trip” and I wrote about Amos Gorrell’s move from Ohio to Missouri.
Webinars/Study Groups Attended:
  • This past week was the National Genealogical Society’s conference and I viewed the five presentations that were livestreamed on Friday, which were the BCG presentations. I really enjoyed both Elizabeth Shown Mills’ and Rebecca Whitman Koford’s presentations. I plan to watch them again.


Volunteer Work:
  • I worked the desk at the California Genealogical Society and had some customers that I helped.


Own Work: I did not do any genealogical research or writing during my trip or the week following. 
  • I am working on a column for the California Genealogical Society’s Nugget
  • I am working on a proposal to teach genealogy at the Acalanes Adult School. 
  • Spoke with Kim during the Cert discussion group on Thursday evening and we spoke about client work.

Other Activities:
  • Got a tour of the new remodeled LDS temple in Oakland on Wednesday. The director of the Family Search Center gave the tour.
  • Had a German class dinner at a new restaurant in Oakland. It was nice, but no German-speaking waiters. Still we did manage to speak some German.
  • Attended two San Francisco Giants vs. the Cincinnati Reds baseball games with my friend, Beth. They split the two games that I saw.




Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 10, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 19: Nurture: Thelma Gorrell Loved Everyone

This is my second year working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I have enjoyed writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

This week before Mother’s Day is appropriate for talking about my second mother, Thelma Marie Nilsen Gorrell, my mother-in-law.

She was the oldest daughter of Arthur Nathaniel Nilsen and Agnes Hilma Carolina Lundquist. Four brothers were born before her, one brother after her, and then three sisters, one who died as an infant.

So being the oldest daughter, a lot of responsibility fell on her that did not fall to her older brothers. Inside work was “women’s” work. Her mother was weak and bedridden. Because of her  mother’s sickness, Thelma took care of many household chores.

At the age of ten, it was Thelma who found her mother had passed away. She had to go to the neighbor’s home to get help.

When her father remarried, the step mother expected a lot from Thelma as well. She had to come home straight from school to do chores and couldn’t join Girl Scouts or be in the chorus or on a sports team.

Still, even though her childhood was hard, she had a loving soul. She saw the positive in everyone. She gave freely of her money and helped whenever she could.

I felt this, the first time my future husband brought me home to meet his family. Thelma was so welcoming. I knew we’d be kinship souls when I saw the kinds of books she read. She loved mysteries and the westerns written by Louis L’Amour, as do I. At the first Christmas together, she had presents (yes plural) for me so I felt like part of the family.

Over the years she was very active with her church, singing in the choir and working as their bookkeeper. She put in a lot of hours but it was clearly her calling.

She also loved and adored all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Whether they were biological or step, it didn’t matter. She loved spending time with them and also buying them Christmas presents. Every child had a subscription to Highlights or another magazine. She thought it was very important that a special magazine was addressed specifically to each child.

Four of her granddaughters lived nearby and she would buy or make matching dresses. She adorned having them stay with her. They went to the State Fair or county or city parks. Often they went camping. She played games with them or cooked or baked in the kitchen. A favorite among the girls were Swedish Pancakes.






Thelma passed away in 2018 at the age of 92. She lived a very long, loving life, and is greatly missed.

Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 29, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 18: Road Trip: Amos Gorrell’s Move From Ohio to Missouri

This is my second year working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I have enjoyed writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

His parents did not approve of the marriage.

Amos Gorrell, Jr. married the former Catherine Elizabeth (Shotts) Sayre on 6 February 1866.[1] They secretly traveled into Chillicothe (Ross County, Ohio), were married by the Methodist-Episcopal minister, Rev. Mr. Creighton, and then returned to their respective homes without telling anyone.[2]

The reason is unknown. Perhaps it was because she was a Civil War widow with a six-year-old boy. The Shotts family lived in the same vicinity. Amos’ brother, Joseph married Catherine’s sister, Eliza Shotts two months later.[3] So the reason was unlikely that the Gorrell family did not care for the Shotts family.

Anyway, by the end of the month, they decided to go to Missouri.[4]

In his diary, he gave details about their journey. They left their homes in Huntington Township of Ross County south toward Waverly by wagon. There they got a boat to Portsmouth by going down the Ohio & Erie Canal. This canal was very important as it connected the Ohio River to Lake Erie at Cleveland.

typical canal boat
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historic_Ohio_Canals

Beginning of the trip to Portsmouth, then on to Cincinnati
http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~lstevens/canal/canalmap.html

Once in Portsmouth, they traveled on the Ohio River to Cincinnati, however, they could not get another boat to St. Louis as planned. Instead, they took a train on the Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad to East St. Louis and then traveled across the Mississippi River to St. Louis.

Cincinnati to St. Louis on the Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh,_Cincinnati,_Chicago_and_St._Louis_Railroad
After spending the night in St. Louis, they took a Pacific Railroad train to California, Missouri. From there they continued to Tipton, where it took a couple of weeks to find a place to live.

St. Louis to Tipton, Missouri via California, Missouri
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/Atlantic_%26_Pacific_Railroad_Map.jpg

Amos and Catherine had a long life together, raising six children plus her son from the previous marriage. They are both buried in Old Lamine Cemetery in Blackwater, Cooper County, Missouri.



[1] Ross County, Ohio, Marriages, v. I, p. 63, Amos Gorrell to Catherine E Sayer, 1866, FHL film 281641.
[2] Amos Gorrell, “Diary of Amos Gorrell, Jr, January 1, 1866-August 23, 1866,” entry Feb 6th 1866.
[3] Ross County, Ohio, Marriages, v. I, p. 77, Joseph W Gorrell to Eliza Alice Shotts, 1866, FHL film 281641.
[4] Amos Gorrell, “Diary of Amos Gorrell, Jr, January 1, 1866-August 23, 1866,” entry Feb 26th 1866.

Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 22, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 17: At Worship: First Communion Through Time

This is my second year working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I have enjoyed writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

My father’s side of the family were Irish and German immigrants who were all Roman Catholics. We were all baptized as infants and when we were in the 2nd grade, we took our First Communion. I was attending Catholic school, so it was all part of the curriculum. My siblings, however, attended CCD and completed their First Communion classes either after school or on Saturdays.

I have the photo collection of my family, so have quite a few First Communion photos, taken on the same day (none are actually taken in the church).

The first photo is of my two aunts, Lorene and Virginia Hork, and their cousin, Mary Patterson. Their First Communion was held in 1931 at St. George’s Catholic Church in Ontario, California. Now, I have no idea why the two aunts had it in the same year. Perhaps the church did the event every other year. Lorene was born in August 1923, Virginia in January 1925, and Mary in December 1923. None of them would have been in the same grade at school.

Lorene, June, Mary
In 1937, my dad had his First Communion. He is the boy to the right of the middle girl. There are definitely older children in this photo, so it was possible to have multiple-aged children having this sacrament.


My First Communion happened in 1962 at St. Peter Martyr Church in Pittsburg, California. It must have happened sometime in March because many of the girls who came to my birthday party wore their white dresses.



I have a few shots of my siblings in their First Communion clothes. Their First Communion was at St. Mary's Church in Walnut Creek, California:






 Lastly, my daughters’ First Communion  at St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Martinez, California:




Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday Genea-pourri, Week of April 15-21, 2019

Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week. This idea came from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing, who started this meme.

Genealogy
Blog Writing: I wrote the following blog post this week:
  • 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks For week 16, our theme was “out of place.” I wrote about how another researcher helped me find out what happened to my 2x great grandmother, Martha Jane (Polly) Lancaster.
  • For Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, I wrote about the day my paternal grandfather, William Cyril Hork, was born, by looking at newspapers and online sites about events on 10 July.

 Webinars/Study Groups Attended: 
  • "Transcribing Documents" by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, CG
  • "Tracing Female Ancestors in WWI Military and Non-Combatant Records" by Debra M Dudek, MSc
  • “Boost Your Germanic Research: Understand Historical Jurisdictions” byTeresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG
  • “Scrivener for Easier Family History Writing Projects” by Lisa Alzo
  • In Thursday’s cert study group, we discussed client reports. Everyone shared samples and it was great looking at the large variety of work everyone does for clients. It was decided it was best to find a pro-bone client where the researcher has total control on the output.
  • In Friday’s certification study group, we spoke a bit about our own work and then about the chapter in the ProGen book on editing genealogical work.

I volunteered at the Contra Costa County Historical Society’s History Center on Tuesday. I worked on some queries and then unloaded boxes of books from the old location for our bookstore and put them onto shelves in the new location. I also attended the Board of Director’s meeting and took minutes as secretary.

Own Work.
I continued scanning and gathering items for the personal archives. I found old stamp envelopes to put the photos with the black back into and then I can number and label the photo on the envelopes. This is very time-consuming work. I will write up the procedures and perhaps either write an article or create a presentation to share what I did.

I also got the homework done for the next two DearMyrtle study group sessions, as I will be in NYC without a computer. The first was on women and property rights, and the second on church records. I found several documents to share for both assignments.

Other Activities
I worked the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plants booth in the afternoon at the John Muir Earth Day Birthday at the John Muir National Historic Park in Martinez. It was mostly nice weather, but the wind kicked up a bit in the afternoon, blowing our things off the table. It was fun talking with people, trying to convince them to plant native flowers and grasses.

I also went on a wildflower searching trip with friends to Mines Road in Livermore. We hit the jackpot finding fields of gold, yellow and purple flowers. I got some good close-up shots, too!



Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Date Your Grandfather Was Born

It's Saturday Night,
time for more Genealogy Fun!!

For this week's mission from Randy Seaver, is to answer the question:

1)  What day of the week was your Grandfather born (either one)? Tell us how you found out.

2) What has happened in recorded history on your Grandfather's birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.

3)  What famous people have been born on your Grandfather's birth date?  Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.

4)  Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

We did a similar exercise on 11 Oct 2014 and I covered my maternal grandfather. This time I will use my paternal grandfather, William Cyril Hork, who was born 10 July 1899 in Hamilton, Ravalli County, Montana.[1]

1) July 10th was a Monday. I found out the day of the week by typing in “1899 Calendar” into Google and many images of calendars come up. I use this trick all of the time to figure out the date when an obituary only states “Tuesday.”

2) I tried to find an issue of his hometown paper for the day of his birth on Newspapers.com, but the Ravalli Republic was only issued once a week and the next issue was Friday, 14 July 1899. In that issue on the front page was an article about the Fourth at Santiago and Theodore Roosevelt was mentioned.


On page 3 of the issue, a notice that a nice daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Hork. Somehow my grandfather was mistaken as a girl?


The Helena Independent was published daily. Headlines included:
  • “Campaigning in Mud and Water” about the Thirteenth infantry in the Philippines.
  • “Six of One Family Are Killed By a Train” about the family of William Reinhard of Columbus, Ohio. They were out for a ride in their surrey when the Big Four train hit them at the crossing.
  • “Thousands Hungry” about suffering from the Brazos floods in Texas.
  • “Want the Country” about the British who invaded the Boer Republic.

Checking websites that feature events in different years, I did not find anything on onthisday.com or Wikipedia for 10 July 1899.  However when ignoring the year, several interesting events happened on July 10, according to onthisday.com for July 10:
  • In 1778, Louis XVI of France declared war on the Kingdom of Great Britain, which helped aid in the American Revolution.
  • In 1940, the Battle of Britain began
  • In  1991, Boris Yeltsin was sworn in as the first elected President of the Russian Federation

 3) Famous people born on July 10 were (also found on onthisday.com):
  • John Calvin, 1509
  • Camille Pissarro, 1830
  • James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1834
  • Adolphus Busch, 1839
  • Nikola Tesla, 1856
  • Arthur Ashe, 1943
  • In 1899, John Gilbert, who was an American actor, screenwriter and director; and Heiri Suter, a Swiss cyclist.


[1] State of Montana, Birth Certificate, William Cyril Hork, No. 1266, birth 1899, filed 1941.


Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Monday Genea-pourri, Week of April 8-14, 2019

Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week. This idea came from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing, who started this meme.

Genealogy
Blog Writing: I wrote the following blog post this week:

 Webinars/Study Groups Attended: 
  • I attended the Monday Morning Genealogy Group of the Contra Costa County Genealogical Society and we had nice discussion about lots of topics. We viewed a video of a new Italian LDS temple, spoke about searching in Ancestry and FamilySearch, as well as lots of other topics. Most everyone went to lunch together afterwards.
  • I participated in the DearMyrtle “AmericanGen” Study Group. This week we covered court records and I spoke about finding evidence of a suit against my husband’s grandfather in the newspaper. I have made a request for the court records from the Jasper County (Missouri) Archives.
  • In Friday’s certification study group, we spoke a bit about genealogy review writing from chapter 21 in the new ProGen book.

I volunteered at the Contra Costa County Historical Society’s History Center on Tuesday. I spent most of the day culling out-of-county news from one of the Contra Costa Times clipping files drawers.

Own Work.
I continued scanning and gathering items for the personal archives. The boxes have arrived and I’m sorting the photos into appropriate sized boxes. I started by putting archive numbers on the back of the photo and record information about the photo into a spreadsheet. I wasn’t sure how to tie the new number to the already-scanned photo on my computer, but I have decided to record the current name on the spreadsheet along with the folder in which it resides. I am finding photos that hadn’t been previously scanned, so I’m scanning, too. What I should really do is re-scan all of the photos using a higher resolution and save in TIFF format.


Other Activities
The main activity this week was attending two San Francisco Giants baseball games at the newly renamed ballpark, Oracle Park. The Giants had not been winning much, but to my pleasure, they won both games on Thursday and Saturday, as well as the game in-between, for their first multiple-game winning streak. I also got to eat my first garlic fries of the season!



Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Tell Us About One of Your Grandparents

It's Saturday Night,
time for more Genealogy Fun!!

For this week's mission from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing, is to answer the question:

1)  Memories of the ancestors we knew and loved need to be told to the younger generations. 

2)  Tell us about your memories of a grandparent that you knew and loved.  If they all died before you knew them, tell us about a parent or a favorite aunt or uncle.

3)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a post on Facebook.

My Nana

My grandmother, Anna Marie Sullivan Hork, was born 15 October 1892 and died on Valentine’s day in 1979. I remember because my parents had a party for the immediate family and Dad got the call from one of his sisters telling him Nana had died.

The funeral was a few days later at St. Matthews Catholic Church in San Mateo, California. Afterwards, we went to my Aunt Virginia’s house where the after gathering could have been called an Irish wake. We all spoke of the great memories we had with our Nana.

Here are some of my random (or not so random) memories of Nana:

For us Hork kids, we were lucky when we were very young. She lived across the street on East Ninth Street in Pittsburg, California. I’m not sure how my mother felt about her mother-in-law being so close, but I’m sure that Nana was probably a big help by the time there were four of us, all born within two years of each other. I’m the oldest, so my memory is probably the best about the times with Nana in Pittsburg.

She might have come to our house in the evening to babysit us while our parents went out to dinner. I remember her getting us ready for bed: the ritual of using the bathroom and brushing our teeth. She loved to read to us and I have fond memories of that.

Sometimes we went over to her house—probably not all of us at once, but perhaps just my brother and me. She had the left hand side of a duplex. It was a one bedroom house but in the living room was a murphy bed. She might have cooked for us there but what I remember most about treats there was her putting sugar on lettuce leaves and rolling them up.

Nana holding Lisa, along with the rest of the grandchildren

Across the street from St. Peter Martyr Church was a donut shop and I remember Nana taking me there after Mass. she loved chocolate old fashioned and I did, too. I think I started going to church with her once I started school, at St. Peter Martyr School.

Later, in 1963, we moved to Walnut Creek, and she moved to San Mateo, probably to be closer to her daughters. But she came often to visit us in her 1956 Volkswagen Beetle with the oval back window. We loved that car and would fight over riding in the cubby in the way back.

She came to stay with us a few times a year, especially those occasions when my mother gave birth to my two youngest sisters. When she was there, we watched the TV shows she liked, like Lawrence Welk. But she also helped us with the dishes and taught us fun little songs she used to teach her elementary school pupils when she was a teacher. She also taught me some songs on the piano, even though we didn’t have one. I had a paper keyboard to practice on, and then would play the on the grand piano at my aunt’s house in Menlo Park when we visited.

One day, when she was driving us around somewhere, she made a left turn onto Mt. Diablo Blvd in Walnut Creek and was on the wrong side of the road. We all screamed at her to move to the right, which she did. We probably told our parents about it. Later, there was a story that she tried to drive up the off ramp of a freeway. That’s when the little black VW came to our house to live. My dad drove it to work for several years, which gave my mom a car during the day.

So our visits after that were in San Mateo. She lived next to a park that had nice picnic area and a small train that could be ridden. It was a great place to meet up with Nana and the aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her apartment was very small, but close enough to town to walk to shops or to church.

I got to spend time with Nana. In 1969, she took me to visit with her sister, Loretta, in Pomona for two weeks and then one week in San Diego to visit her daughter, Lorene. It was a fun summer, where I met a whole bunch of second cousins, some even close to my age. Another time I spent a week with her in her little apartment in San Mateo. I slept on the couch, I think, though I think it might have been a studio apartment with no bedroom. I don’t remember.
 
At the airport for our trip to Pomona

Nana loved several things: going to Mass, saying the Rosary, making orange marmalade, having canaries, and growing African violets. She always had a jar of sour ball candies on the table, and she always brought presents to us when she visited, usually bought at the 5 & 10 store. Her Christmas presents to us each year were pajamas and nightgowns, and we always got to open them on Christmas Eve so we could wear them to bed.

I think of her often and wished I had asked her more about her life before us.

Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 15: DNA—What I’m Doing To Learn DNA

This is my second year working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I have enjoyed writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

I have been a bit behind in studying DNA for genealogy. I have done some self-studying but have not taken a DNA class yet.

Education
The books I’ve read include:
The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T. Bettinger. This book gave me a basic understanding of the different types of DNA (Y-DNA, autosomal DNA, X-DNA, and mtDNA) and how they are used to solve genetic problems.

Genetic Genealogy in Practice by Blaine T. Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne. This workbook allowed me to work through exercises in the use of DNA in genetic problem solving.

I have also viewed several webinars on DNA. Especially helpful were these webinars from Legacy Family Tree Webinars that I’ve viewed. There are many more to choose from.
  • “Reconstructing Your Genetic Family Tree” by Blaine Bettinger
  • “DNA Rights and Wrongs: The Ethical Side of Testing” by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG
  • “A Guide to Third Party Tools for DNA Testing” by Michelle Leonard

This past fall, I attended the SLIG Practicum course and one of our case studies dealt with DNA, where we had to solve an adoption problem using DNA and genealogy resources. It was both challenging and rewarding to solve the problem.

DNA Testing
I have also tested at several of the DNA companies. First, because it’s best to test the oldest members of the family, I had my maternal grandmother test at Family Tree DNA. We started with mtDNA because that was the only test available at the time. I later upgraded to the autosomal test when it became available. Next I tested my paternal aunt also at FTDNA. I did a test at Ancestry DNA and uploaded the sample to FTDNA. Now when I find a match, I can tell if the match is on mother’s side or father’s side by whether they also match my aunt or my grandmother.

I have also tested at 23andMe and LivingDNA. I uploaded my DNA sample from Ancestry to MyHeritage and to GEDMatch. I match different people at the different sites, as most people only test at one place.



My husband has tested at FamilyTreeDNA, the autosomal and Y-DNA. He tested at Ancestry and 23andMe as well. His mother tested at Ancestry.

This summer I plan to take “Practical Genetic Genealogy” institute course from Blaine Bettinger at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in July. To prepare for the course, I will review both books above and begin to read the newest DNA book in my library: Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies, edited by Debbie Parker Wayne. Many genetic genealogists wrote the various chapters. I am very excited to finally spend dedicated time to learn more about DNA and how to use it in genealogy.

Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Monday Genea-pourri, Week of April 1-7, 2019

Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week. This idea came from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing, who started this meme.

Genealogy
Blog Writing: I wrote the following blog post this week:
  • 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks For week 14, our theme was Brick Wall. I wrote about trying to find the father of David Shotts, my husband’s third great-grandfather.

 Webinars/Study Groups Attended: 
  • “One Touch Genealogy” given by Thomas MacEntee at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. He had great pointers about culling all of the information you can from a document and to place “to do” items that you think of onto a separate sheet so you don’t get distracted until you are done.
  • In my Thursday evening certification study group, we spoke about transcriptions to abstracts. It was a good discussion and I shared my homework from Chapter 21 of the AmericanGen study group. Next week we will discuss client reports.
  • In Friday’s group we spoke a bit about genealogy lecturing again and started the conversation about teaching genealogy in a classroom setting. Dennis and I have both done that many times.

I volunteered at the Contra Costa County Historical Society’s History Center on Tuesday. I worked on the spreadsheet recording the research activities for the month of March and completed a couple of queries. I culled out-of-county news from one of the Contra Costa Times clipping files drawers.

This was my last night volunteering at the Oakland FamilySearch Library until the center is open again after remodeling. By then the remodeled Temple will also be open and we’re likely to get extra visitors to the research center who come to tour the Temple. It’ll be nice to have customers to help.

Own Work.
I met with Linda to see about reviving the NorCal chapter of the APG, but we didn’t come up with any solutions at this time. Our participation in the Thursday Cert Study Group might fulfill the desire of working with other serious genealogists.

I continued to transcribe deeds on Nathan H.O. Polly. He might be a good project to write the next case study on. How to tie the Kentucky Polly with the Texas Polly.

I also continued scanning and gathering items for the personal archives. The boxes should arrive soon! Once everything is archived, I’ll have to make room for the boxes. Then on to start writing the Hork family history book.

I did some client work this week getting a death certificate from the recorder’s office and going to the Antioch Historical Society’s museum for an obituary. I was also able to check out the rest of the museum and take photos for the next installment of the archives in the county series for the Contra Costa County Genealogical Society’s newsletter and website.

Other Activities
My activities were outdoors this week. Monday, I worked at the John Muir NHP native garden, clearing out grass and weeds. The flowers were blooming on several of the plants.


 On Wednesday, I participated in a Mt. Diablo Audubon bird walk at the Orinda Connector Trail which is on East Bay Municipal Utility District land. We saw or heard between 35 and 45 birds. It was overcast and a little drizzly so some of the birds weren’t too active. Besides usual birds, we saw wood ducks, white-breasted nuthatch, brown creeper, a bright Wilson’s warbler, four different swallow species, a Bewick’s wren, and orange-crowned warbler. The trillium was blooming nicely.


Thursday, Elaine and I led a walking group from Benicia on a four-mile hike from the Amtrak station to the John Muir house stopping at all of the small native gardens. It took three hours! Unfortunately I lost a part from  my binoculars somewhere along the way. The group seemed to enjoy the walk very much.


Friday, I attended the Ukulele Jam session for the first time in ages. I had lots of fun and need to buy the new blue book, as they were using that more now.

Saturday, I was a part of a three-sister birthday party celebration at my sister, Renee’s house.  My birthday was in March, Danna's in early April, and Sabrina's will be later in April. We sisters, along with our nieces and daughters celebrate each other's birthdays three times a year. We had h'orderves and cocktails, though I brought some champagne from Korbel. My contribution to the food was sushi. The gluten-free chocolate brownies my sister made for me was so delicious.


What a wonderful week of genealogy, hiking, birding, and celebrating!

Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall – The father of David Shotts (1760-1825)

This is my second year working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I have enjoyed writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

I smiled when I saw "brick walls" as the theme for this week. This is going to be a difficult topic because I have many brick walls (as many of us do). I can just open up my RootsMagic database program and check out any line, and there will be a missing parent at the end.

Some of my lines, I’d like to keep my research close to hand and not spill it out just yet, in case I wish to write articles about my findings, especially those that were difficult to solve with indirect or negative evidence. However there  are other lines that I can probably share and perhaps this blog post will help. Someone out there might have a clue to help me, or actually have the answer.

The third great-grandfather of my husband was David Shotts. According to what I have recorded in my database, David Shotts was born 1 March 1760. The only source I have about his birth, however, is an image of his tombstone in the Shotts Farm Cemetery in Denver, Ross County, Ohio, which only gives the year of his birth and death: 1760 – 1825. The Findagrave memorial gives the exact birthdate.[1]

Many books about the history of Ross County have a paragraph or two about David Shotts. These history books were very popular in the late 19th century, but the information in them must be considered secondary, even if the stories were written by descendants. Stories could be elaborated.

In Pioneer Record of Ross County, Ohio, this was written about David:
"David Shotts, father of Mrs. Margaret Bishop, emigrated to Ohio from Virginia in the year 1810; was in the Revolutionary war, and stood guard at Frederick city; was also in the Whisky insurrection. He died, in the year 1825, in the following manner: He had been away from home and was returning, when he was overtaken, hear his own home, by a severe thunder storm, and took shelter under a large oak tree, which was struck by lightning; he was there found dead; there were seven other trees struck near the spot, from appearances, at the same time. Mr. Shotts was quite a hunter, and in early days killed several bears, some two or three on his own farm. His family consisted of ten children, to-wit: Catherine, Jacob, Elizabeth, Margaret, Hannah, Mary, Daniel, Sophia, Susan, and Jonas, all living except Catherine.”[2]

Another book gave similar information:
“David Shotts entered Huntington [township] in 1809. He was a native of Virginia, and was in the Revolutionary war. He also assisted General Washington in the suppression of the whiskey rebellion. He died 1825. He had been away from home, and on his return was overtaken by a severe thunder storm He took shelter under a large oak tree which was struck by lightning. He was found there dead. His family consisted of seven girls and three boys, viz: Catherine, Jacob, Elizabeth, Margaret, Hannah, Mary, Daniel, Sophia, Jonas, and Susan. Catharine and Daniel are dead. The others, eight in number, are remarkable for their longevity, the youngest being over sixty years of age, and the oldest eighty-five. Margaret (or Peggy) married Jacob Bishop, a cousin of Robert Bishop, Sr.”[3]

So my assumption that he was born in Pennsylvania might be false. These two accounts, give the birthplace as Virginia, though it was quite possible that he passed through Pennsylvania on his way to Ohio.

A later book, published in 1902, had more information. Under his grandson, David C. Shotts’ biography, additional information is revealed, however, David never knew his grandfather.
“David C. Shotts, a civil war veteran and substantial farmer of Huntington township, belongs to a family which has had representatives in Ross county since the first decade of the nineteenth century.  David and Mary Shotts were Germans who became immigrants to Virginia in or about the year 1800, and nine years later joined the army of movers westward bound, finishing their journey on the banks of the Scioto. Shortly after arriving in Ross county, the head of the house bought 290 acres of land in Huntington township, on which he lived until his death and which has ever since been in the possession of his descendants. David Shotts was killed by a stroke of lightning in 1825, but his widow long survived him and lived to be ninety-six years old. They had ten children: Cathrine, Elizabeth, Hannah, Mary, Sophia, Margaret, Susan, Jacob, Daniel and Jonas.”[4]

David C. Shotts was the son of Daniel Shotts and Mary A. Bishop. Though he never knew his grandfather, he did know his grandmother, who may have told him the story of their life.

In the biography of James C. Gragg, a few sentences where written about Margaret (Shoults) Gragg, granddaughter of David and Mary Shotts. Along with that a few sentences about David:
“David Shotts was a scout under “Mad Anthony” Wayne, was the first settler of the family in Ross County, and met his death during a thunder storm, in 1825, while seeking shelter under a tree. His wife was Mary Wagner, who, as a small girl, gave Gen. George Washington a drink of water on one of his surveying tours in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.”[5]

None of these tales give the parents of David Shotts. They are all consistent about how he died, that he served in the Revolutionary War, and arrived in Ross County, Ohio in the early 19th century.

I have done some research on David. I searched some in the Scioto Gazette looking for an article about his death by lightning, but didn’t find anything about it. I do have his probate record.[6] I have not yet found the deed for his purchase of the property. Deeds for Shotts purchases in the indexes are for a much later time period. He appeared in the 1820 census, so was in the county at least by then.[7]

1820 U.S. census, Ross Co, Ohio, Huntington twp, p 307

To do list:
1. Find out if the index is modern and what happened to an earlier one.
2. Check tax records of Ross County. This might give a clue as to when he arrived in the county.
3. Review the records gathered in 2016 at the genealogical society in Chillicothe, Ohio. There might be clues there.

This is research I had done a long time ago, when I didn’t keep very good records. I do have written notes in spiral bound notebooks. These need to be checked as well and then recorded or scanned for future needs.



[1] Find A Grave, database with images (http://www.findagrave.com), Memorial# 15626499, David Shotts, Shotts Farm Cemetery, Denver, Ross County, Ohio.
[2] Isaac J. Finley and Rufus Putnam, Pioneer Record and Reminiscences of the Early Settlers and Settlement of Ross County, Ohio, (Cincinnati: Self-published, 1871), 25-26.
[3] History of Ross and Highland Counties, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches, (Cleveland: W.W. Williams, 1880), 288.
[4] Henry Holcomb Bennett, ed, The County of Ross: A History of Ross County, Ohio, from the Earliest Days, with Special Chapters on the Bench and Bar, Medical Profession Educational Development, Industry and Agriculture and Biographical Sketches, (Madison, Wisconsin: Selwyn A. Brant, 1902), 686.
[5] Lyle S. Evans, ed, A Standard History of Ross County, Ohio: An Authentic Narrative of the Past, with Particular Attention to the Modern Era in the Commercial, Industrial, Civic and Social Development, V. II, (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co, 1917), 841.
[6] “Probate case files, ca. 1796-1910,” Probate Court, Ross County,  “Probate case files, no. 7758-7864, ca. 1830-1886,” Case no. 7863 (images 1795-1803), David Shotts, Daniel Shotts, administrator, digital images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org), citing film 2203706.
[7] 1820 U.S. census, Ross Co, Ohio, pop. sched., Huntington twp, p 307, David Shotts, digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 13 Jan 2017), NARA M33, roll 92.

Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.