Sunday, December 31, 2017

Review of 2017 and Goals for 2018

2017 turned out to be an amazing year for my genealogy pursuits.  I have been working (usually daily in some capacity) on my genealogy since about 1995.  I am constantly amazed at the new findings out there, especially as access to old records open up.

I felt like I did a good job keeping up with the Ancestry hints.  They can get very overwhelming if one isn't vigilant on that.

I had two very major breakthroughs this year.  As stated, I have been working on genealogy for over twenty years.  And one of the very most elusive challenges has been trying to locate my great-uncle's children.  The family lived about four hours away from us. Oddly, the children are younger than I am (my mother's uncle was only seven years older than her).  The children's father died in 1963 and there was only sporadic contact with them over the next few years.  Once I started working on genealogy, my mother continued to ask if I could find them.  I never could.

Then in the middle of last March, out of the blue, I received an Ancestry message from the oldest daughter, my first cousin one time removed.  She had been on Ancestry and found my family tree. It has been wonderful catching up with her and sharing with her over the past few months.  I've been able to share pictures with her, and even some of her father's letters from WWII.  I hope to be able to visit with her in 2018.

The other breakthrough was finding the will of Luke Tippitt as I have written about on this blog.  It took some tenacious work, but I did it!  And it has opened up some other clues for the Tippitt family, although so far, I haven't been able to successfully follow up on them.  But the discovery was from a hint on Ancestry, where old records were open for access.

My goals for 2018?  I am going to participate in the #52Ancestor Challenge again this year.  I did it a couple of years ago and it was very helpful in getting me to dig deeper for records and information, so I am hoping that I can stick with it!  It is a lot of work.  I have begun a genealogy bullet journal to help me with my genealogy pursuits.  It will be interesting to see if I find it helpful or burdensome!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Benjamin Tippitt

Benjamin Tippitt was the son of Luke Tippitt and Nancy Adamson.  His name was the one that I had not known and found in the will of Luke Tippitt.  I have not been able to learn anything more about him.  I don't know or even have a good estimate of when he was born. The 1825 Edwards County Illinois Census shows three sons in the family, which fits with Benjamin being there.  The only "clue" about Benjamin that I have is from Luke's will where it states:

"Will of Luke Tippett
 Luke Tippett during his last sickness declared the following to be his last will and Testament.
 To my son William Tippett I give and bequeath my sorrel mare. To my son Matthew I leave my sorrel horse.  At the same time he requested that his son-in- law James Sawyers take the boys and learn them a trade and that Sawyer take the horses and dispose of them or keep them and at the time the boys attain the age of twenty one he Sawyers deliver them horses equal in value or their worth in _______ at the time he received them-he Luke Tippett stated that he gave to his wife the old sorrel mare and the remainder of his property for her support and to raise the children to wit Milly and Benjamin Tippet." 
So I'm not sure if by the "boys" he meant William and Matthew, and was leaving the remainder of his property to his wife to care for their daughter and Benjamin? So does that mean that Benjamin was the youngest of the children? I know that Milly was born in 1812, William in about 1815, and Matthew was born in 1817. So William and Matthew were only about 11 and 9 years old when Luke died.

I have searched census records but have been unable to locate Benjamin Tippitt.  I have not found his mother Nancy Tippitt after Luke's death in the 1830 or any other census.  I don't know if she remarried or died early.  In a biography of Matthew Tippitt, it states that:

 "A short time afterward (after Luke's death) our subject, accompanied by his mother, removed to what is now the city of Olney, then in Lawrence County, and settled upon a farm." 
So what happened to Benjamin Tippitt?  Or to his mother, for that matter!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Update on Luke Tippett

As I wrote a few days ago, I was frustrated with being unable to locate the will or probate for Luke Tippett after I had found his name on an index for Wills and Probates for Edwards County, Illinois.  I wrote to the County Clerk and to the Illinois Regional Archives Depository for Edwards County and neither found any records of Wills or Probates for Luke Tippett.

Today, I decided to take another look at the Index that I had found on  I started looking at the actual records there and after awhile I realized that the stated page on the index did not match with the page of the microfilm that is on  So I began a list of matching  names and numbers of the index compared to the microfilm records.  And, after about an hour of work, guess what I found!  Yep, the will for Luke Tippett!

The will gave me the name of a son that I didn't have before and the name of a son-in-law that I did not have.

A will from 1826=happiness for me!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Two new records on Luke Tippett found

July is leaving us.  I had a couple of good finds this month, but now remain a bit discouraged with the questions that the finds left me.  I wrote about Luke Tippitt in November of 2015.  He was married to my great-great-great grandfather's sister, Nancy Adamson.  I have never learned what became of Nancy after Luke died (around 1826). Here is the link to the earlier blog about the family:

While searching, I came across a listing for Luke Tippett in the Tennessee, Early Land Registers, 1778-1927.  Here Luke was listed with a Register Date of 13 May 1814 in Warren, Tennessee.  Grant or Warrant Number was 966.

A copy of the land record shows:

"I have surveyed for Luke Tippett apiece of Thomas Jones fifty acres of lands in Warren County on the Dry forks of Barren Brook, Beginning at a white oak on the North side of said Creek, running north one hundred and twenty six poles to a hickory, thence East Sixty three poles to a White oak, then South one hundred and twenty six poles to a red oak then West Sixty three poles to the beginning including the improvement where Stephen Pentfrow (sp?) did live.
                      Surveyed 26th February 1814
                      John B. Parkins (sp?), DS
                      Filed May 13th 1814
Witnessed by Archibald Barre (sp?)
                       Elijah Tippett"

What this piece of paper does show is that this is "founded on Certificate Warrant no 966 issued by the Register of West Tennessee to Thomas Jones for three hundred and twenty acres."  I don't think that the Certificate would show anything for Luke Tippett since it states that it was issued to Thomas Jones.

The only Elijah Tippett that I have in my database is the son of Luke Tippett and his first wife, Mary Vincent.  This Elijah was born about 1794, so he would have been around twenty years old when he witnessed this transaction.

The most frustrating thing that I found in July was also on was a listing in the Illinois, Wills and Probate Records, 1772-1999.  The listing shows very clearly (it is typed):

" 'T'
Tippett, Luke-19"

The source shows that this listing is for Edwards County, Illinois, which is where Luke died.  I wrote to Edwards County County Clerk enclosing a copy of what I have and requested any records.  None were found.  I sent a request to the Illinois Regional Archives for Edwards County and have not yet heard back from them.

The source page shows a Citation for "Will records, 1815-1922; Author: Illinois County Court (Edwards County); Probate Place: Edwards, Illinois.

Source Information shows: Illinois, Wills and Probate Records, 1772-1999. Original data: Illinois County, District and Probate Courts.

I'm not sure where that leaves me.  This information must be somewhere! I will keep pursuing this.

Monday, July 3, 2017

June 2017

It's been a slow month (in June) for genealogy for me.  Not for any lack of trying, but just nothing really coming up.  I have been keeping up with the hints.  I have been trying again to find some information on my husband's grandfather's first wife, and thought I had a lead, but it didn't pan out.  I'm feeling pretty stuck with trying to find what became of this woman. I need to go over what few pieces of information that I have and see what is missing.

Estella Mabel Colwell was born around 1905 in Illinois to Charles Reuben  and Rhoda Rose Patterson Colwell.  Her brother Charles Edward Colwell was born in 1907 in Wyoming, Stark County, Illinois.  (She also had a sister Jennie who was born in August of 1902 in Illinois.  According to Find A Grave, Jennie died in December of 1905. However, she is listed in the 1910 Census as age 7, living with her parents and siblings.  But, the census also shows that her mother had 3 children with 2 living)

In 1910, Estella Mabel Colwell was listed in the Steuben, Marshall County, Illinois Census as "Mabel", age 5. She was listed as living with her parents, her sister Jennie and her brother Edward.  Her father was listed as a coal miner.

Mabel's parents divorced sometime before 1917, when her mother was listed as being married to Raymond Angelo Bice and living in Elmira, New York.  Mabel was twelve years old in 1917.  In the following year, Mabel's father died in Sparland, Marshall County, Illinois in October (1918). Mabel married George Leo Moreland in April 1919 in Lacon, Marshall County, Illinois.  She was fourteen years old when she married, and George was twenty-two years old.  Mabel's mother consented to the marriage.  George was in the service at the time of the marriage.

Mabel is listed in the 1920 Lacon, Marshall County, Illinois Census, with George, listed as age 22 and Mabel listed as age 15.  George worked as a Teamster and his father William lived next door to them.  Mabel's mother and brother Charles are listed as living in New York in 1920.

And there the records I have found pretty much end.  George Moreland married again in 1925 in Granville, Putnam County, Illinois.  So he and Mabel divorced between 1920 and 1925. I did find a record of Mabel's grand-uncle's probate from 1932 and it stated that the court had been unable to locate Mabel.

Both Mabel's brother and her mother's obituaries do not list her.  Her mother died in 1960 in New York and her brother Charles died in New York in 1976.

The only other clue that I have is that my husband's mother remembered her mother and father sometimes arguing over someone named "Mabel". Since my mother-in-law was not born until 1929, she would have had to have been old enough to remember their arguments about Mabel.

I think that I will retry my efforts over finding a copy of George and Mabel's divorce, but other than that, I don't have many ideas for searching.  I will try again and see if that results in anything.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Will of James A. Ferrel 1794-1864

I transcribed the will of James A. Ferrel (my 3rd great grandfather) born in 1795. His will was written in Vigo County, Indiana on the 7th day of January in 1864.  He died three days later on the 10th of January.  I found several things interesting in his will and perhaps they were the norm back then, but I have never come across this before.  Instead of the first item being to leave his bequest to his wife, the will started with his bequest to his youngest daughter, Lourena. The next bequest was to his youngest son William.  And the third to his granddaughter Ellen. Then he finally got to his wife.  Why would this be?

Will of James A. Ferrel
(Transcription done 5/24/2017 by Sue Adamson Fritz)

In the name of the Benevolent Father of all:
The last will and Testament of James Ferrel of Vigo County Indiana.
I, James Ferrel considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound mind and memory, do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following.

Item 1st   I give and bequeath to my daughter Lourena of my personal property, one horse, one cow, also bed and bedding to make her equal to my other daughters who have already received these Bequests.

Item 2nd   I give and bequeath to my son William H. one horse, one cow and fifty acres of Real Estate, to make him equal to my other sons who have already received a like bequest.  The said Real Estate subject to the designations and regulations hereafter provided.

Item 3rd   I give and bequeath to my grand daughter, Ellen Sanders, one horse, one cow, bed and bedding provided she continues to live with my family until she is eighteen years old; that is if any should not be dissolved by providential dispensation before she arrives at that age.

Item 4th   I give and bequeath to my beloved wife in lieu of her dower, the farm on which we now reside containing about ninety six acres, to have and to hold the same for sole use and benefit during her natural life subject to all the provisions of this my last Will. I also give and bequeath to her all my personal property of every description excepting only so much as are included in the bequests above and what may be necessary to pay my just debts.

At the death of my said Wife the Real Estate aforesaid and such part of my said personal property as may remain unconsumed I give and bequeath as follows.

I give and bequeath to my daughter Lourina five acres off the South West  corner of said Real Estate.  The same to include the [unreadable word] and to be so sit off as not to include the buildings where I am now living.

The real estate above bequeathed to my son William H. is to be set off as follows. Forty acres off of the South end of my farm and ten acres adjoining on the north of the said forty.  The said ten acres to extend to the north side of my said Real Estate, and to be taken out of the East side of the said farm and north of the said forty acres above dis__________[unreadable]. 

I give and bequest the remainder of my said farm equally to my sons, James and Walter D.  The said to be divided or dispersed of as they may determine.  The said bequest is on consideration [unreadable] my sons James and Walter [unreadable] my daughters [unreadable] Sarah Ann and Rosanna [the rest unreadable]

...year after they come in possession of the said property.  Each of my said sons to pay fifty dollars apiece to each of the said daughters.

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this 7th day of January 1861.

[signed] James Ferrel

{Signed in presence of Moody Chamberlain, Jr., Jno. L. Dickerson, John W. Wilson}

Friday, May 5, 2017

April Genealogy Pursuits

This has been a good month, although a very busy month.  We were gone for about 10 days, so my genealogy searches slowed down somewhat.  However, by keeping up with my hints, I came across a whole new line to pursue!

Here's what I had known: my great-great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Swain, had been born in 1838 in Ohio to parents John Louman Swain and Nancy Waters.

I had never researched Elizabeth's mother, Nancy Waters, so when I saw a hint for her, I was thrilled. That hint led me to her parents, James Waters and Mary Lanier. I learned that they had married in Pendleton County, Kentucky in 1810.  I then found James Waters listed in the 1850 census of Preble County, Ohio where he was listed as age 73 living with his son James Waters.

However, this is where my research veered off.  I found that Mary Lanier's parents were Isham Lanier and Catherine "Caty" Underwood.  Isham was born in 1765 in Virginia.  His parents were James Henry Lanier and Mary Cooke.  James was born in 1724 in Virginia. And James' parents were Thomas Sampson Lanier and Elizabeth Washington (Thomas born in 1682 in Virginia).  And lastly, Thomas's parents were John Lanier and Sarah Edmonds (John born in 1656 in England).

So to sum up, this has taken me from my 3rd grandparent to my 9th grandparents! All of this information will now lead to further research to successfully verify for myself that it is all accurate.  It is so thrilling to find new information! As for now, I'm off to do more research!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Review of March Genealogical Pursuits

Well, it's been an interesting month for my genealogy pursuits.

I have kept up with the hints for the past month, which have led me to some further research on family.  One hint was about the Bergan family.  As I researched, I learned that Paul Misner (his mother was a Bergan) had become a priest, then a bishop.  Apparently he had become lost in our family stories as his first cousin had become a quite well-known bishop, then archbishop (Gerald Thomas Bergan). Anyway, it ended up being quite an interesting story that I never knew. So that story was told on my blog.

I have also kept up with the 52 Questions that I committed myself to doing at the first of the year. March's theme was Goals and Achievements.

But the best thing of all for the month of March was being found and then contacted by a long-lost cousin who found me on  We have not had contact with her or her siblings for about 35 years! It has been such a blessing to share information and pictures.  We are hoping for a reunion in person soon!

And I have been helping my son-in-law with some of his genealogy, which has been interesting.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bishop Paul Bergan Misner 1891-1938

While going through some of the hints on, I came upon some for the Misner family.  Katie Bergan, daughter of Nicholas Bergan, had married Frank Misner in 1888.  One of their children was Paul B. Misner, born in 1891 in Peoria, Illinois.  As I looked at hints for Paul, I began to wonder if he had married.  It appeared that he had traveled a great deal, so I decided to look into him more.

I found Paul Misner in the 1930 Census living in Los Angeles.  He was listed as a priest teaching at a college there.  Well, that answered my question about a wife or children.  I looked more and found that he had attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Perryville, Missouri In 1917.  As I continued searching, I learned that he had studied in Rome, Italy from November 1920 until June 1922.  He arrived in Shanghai, China for missionary work in February of 1923.

The Rev. Paul Bergan Misner of the Vincentian Fathers was appointed bishop of the province of Kiangsi, China in 1934.  He had served in China since 1923.

Bishop Misner died at the age of 47 on the 1st of November in 1938 in a small village Chin-Kao-i near Yushan, Kiangsi, China. The cause of death was listed as “Probably apoplexy”.  He was buried within the mission compound at Yushan.

The reason why I found this story so fascinating is that Paul Misner was a first cousin to Gerald Thomas Bergan.  Gerald was born in Peoria in 1892.  He and Paul attended and graduated from Spalding Institute in Peoria.  Gerald was ordained in Rome in 1915, and became a bishop in 1934 in Des Moines, Iowa, the same year that his cousin Paul became a bishop in China!

Bishop Gerald Bergan was one of my great-grandfather’s best friends, so I grew up hearing about him frequently.  I never heard of his first cousin, Bishop Paul Misner.  My family has a very, very distant relationship (going way back in Ireland)  to Nicholas Bergan, grandfather to both Gerald and Paul.

Genealogy in February

I don't feel like I have done well with my research this past month.  We were away from home for 2 1/2 weeks, and the pool and beach and company and just enjoying the warm weather drew me away!

I did get more research done for friends before we left on our trip.  There is more to be done, so I hope to get to that soon.

I also kept up with the Hints, which can be a bit of a chore.
However, I usually find something of interest and this month was no exception.  I   often find that I miss the days of when I was just beginning this journey and each new find was SO exciting!  And I still miss not having anyone to share my finds with that would also be excited with me!

And, finally, I have kept up with the 52 Question Challenge.  The February topic was "Love and Friendship".  One of the questions was "Do you know the story of how your grandparents met and fell in love?". I was sad to realize that I don't know the story of my maternal grandparents.  But I do know that my paternal grandparents met and fell in love with each other at Westfield College in about 1905.  They graduated and then married.  I always think it so impressive that they both went to and completed college way back then!

So now March has arrived and I hope to step up my game with my research! Unless the beach should call again!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January review of my genealogical work this month

It's been a busy month here genealogically-speaking!

This month I have been working on purging my paper files, which I have been using/keeping since I began my genealogy in about 1994.  I have periodically purged them, but when I was unable to close the file cabinet, I knew it was time to go at it again.   I finished up the work today and am proud to say that the file cabinet door is closing easily once again! It's an important thing to do for a couple or reasons: 1) in almost all cases, it is no longer necessary to have paper copies of census readings, or multiple copies of obituaries, etc., as long as they have been incorporated into your database, and 2) each time I go through paperwork, I find some new clues or things to check out.  It's a good feeling to have it completed! I also have gone through the few records that were not in my database and have updated the database with those records. I have two letters to be written for additional information found in the records.

This past month I did some research for two other people.  I always find that very rewarding...I love helping others learn about their history! And, hopefully, they find it helpful and interesting.

I have done some more research on the Kennison/Kinnison family and have put my notes in Evernote.  I find Evernote a great place for my working notes.  Now if I could just find the connections I am looking for!

And I have done well keeping up with the hints for my tree this month.  Today, the end of the month, I was going through what hints were there and while looking at the husband (John Reece) of my great-great grandfather's sister, Nancy Ferrel, I found that she had two sons born to her before she died in 1851. She and John had married in 1845, and I have not found the family in the 1850 census.  But while looking at the 1860 census for John and his new wife Elizabeth, I realized that there were two sons there who were born before Nancy died.  This was exciting for me, and, hopefully, I will be able to find out more about the sons!

I am also doing the FamilySearch #52 Stories Project where a question a week is asked and you write about it.  I'm using a journal and I have gotten through the first five weeks, so that's a start. The questions for January were about Goals and Achievements.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

52 Question Project from FamilySearch

I came across a project for this year that I thought I would share if others had not seen it.  It is the FamilySearch 52 Questions Project to assist in writing your story for others.

The Project is broken down into one question for each week of each month.  They are seemingly simple questions to answer, but I am pondering the individual question through-out the week before I answer it.  I am already stumped on a specific question for next week: how did my grandparents meet?  Ugh...I don't know!  I do know that they eloped, but meet?  I have one chance in finding out, but it's probably not going to pan out.  My mother's closest cousin who spent a great deal of time living with my grandparents may know.  She's 85 years old, so she's my only hope!

Each month is broken down into a specific topic.  January was Goals and Achievements.

So if you are interested, here's the link for the information:

Monday, January 23, 2017

2017-what will it bring with my genealogy?

Looking over my genealogy goals for 2016, I did somewhat well. I did some challenges, but did not reach either of the specific goals that I set. 

 I am no closer to finding the father of William Adamson (b. 1790) than I was a year ago. And I have not located any pictures of my great-great grandfather, William H. Murphy.  I had added another goal of finding out more about my husband's grandfather and who he knew when he came to the US at the age of 16.  I did find some possibilities there, but nothing proven.  

I guess the best part of the year genealogy-wise was that I did some rather extensive research for another person that turned out to be quite revealing for them.

So what will 2017 bring?  I am always excited to learn what new records might open up, or what person will contact me out of the blue with some information! specific goals?  A new challenge is beginning on Pinterest that I am planning to do in February.  Otherwise, I can't think of any specific research goals, other than to continue searching! Perhaps do more to help others with their genealogy quests. And do more blogging!

One of my goals for 2016

One of my goals for 2016 was to try to find connections to Henry Fritz here in the United States.  Heinrich “Henry” Fritz came to the US in 1913 from Alsace-Lorraine.  The family story is that he came here by himself, knowing no one.  Henry was born in 1896, so he was sixteen years old when he arrived.  His papers indicate that he was coming to Peoria, Illinois to his friend Albert Schretz.

The next time I can find Henry is in 1917.  Both his Draft Registration and his Declaration of Intention (to become a citizen) are from 1917 and he reported that he lived in Alta, Illinois and his employer was “Chas Gratz”.

I have searched for any “Fritz” in the area during the time that Henry arrived and have not been successful.    I have located a Grau family (Henry’s mother was Karoline Grau).  It seems likely that there must have been some reason that Henry traveled to Illinois upon his arrival to the US.  It is probable that he had some family here.  I have not located any Fritz family, so I started looking for his mother's family, the Grau family, in Illinois. Karoline’s parents were Conrad Grau (born in 1804) and Katherine Ruch (born in 1821).

I found a record for a Konrad Grau, born in Germany, who was naturalized in Lacon, Marshall County, Illinois on the 8th of January in 1883. It doesn't seem likely that this would be the Conrad Grau that was born in 1804, as he would be about 80 years old at the time, but it is a possibility. If his wife had died and he had sons here, he may have come to the US.

I also found a burial record for a Conrad Grau born on the 12th of June in 1845 and died on the 20th of August in 1866 and is buried in the Martin Cemetery in Marshall County, Illinois.

Konrad Grau (Conrad Graw) served in the 64th IL Regiment during the Civil War.

35 miles away in Long Point, Livingston County, Illinois I found the family of a Henry Grau, born about 1848. I suspect that Henry and Conrad (b. 1845) were brothers, and possibly brothers to Karoline Grau Fritz (born 1860).  They would have had a different mother than Karoline as her parents, Conrad and Catherine, didn't marry until 1852.  But Conrad was 17 years older than Catherine, so it could be that he had been married before.)

I have found no records to indicate that Henry had any connection with the Grau family.  My next clue and search was based on his Passenger Records.  From that I learned the following:i

from Passenger Records at Ellis Island-arrived Feb. 3, 1913 on ship Rochambeau:
name: Fritz Heinrich
age: 16
occupation: laborer
nationality: German
Race: German
last permanent address: Bischweiber, Germany

nearest relative: mother-Karolina in Bischweiber, Germany
final destination: Peoria, IL
person going to: friend-Albert Schretz at Edelstein by Peoria, IL
place of birth: Bischweiber, Germany
hair: chestnut
height: 5'8"

So who is Albert Schretz? I found that he was Peter Albert Schertz, born in 1887 in Nebraska.  He was the son of Peter W. Schertz, born in Illinois. Peter W.’s parents were John Schertz, born in Alsace, and Magdalena Engel, also born in Alsace. So there’s the possible Alsace connection. Now John and Magdalena had been in the US since at least 1848 (when son John Schertz was born).  So Henry could not have known “Albert Schretz” as a friend! Perhaps his grandparents were friends or relatives to Henry’s grandparents?

What I learned is that John Schertz and his wife Magdalena had three sons:  John,  Peter W. and Joseph F.

Peter W. Schertz had the following children (mother unknown at this time):
Clara, Roy, Gertie, Albert, Carl, and Earl.

All this is to say that I really didn’t meet my goal of learning who Henry Fritz knew when he came to the United States.  I still only have some clues.