Thursday, February 28, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge – Is the End Here?

For the second year I joined many other genealogists and accepted the Family History Writing Challenge to write my family’s history every day in the month of February.  Now the month is ending and it is time to evaluate what I have accomplished.

Who to write about and how to write were early decisions. I could have selected my father’s family. I have already written a book on my father’s mother’s family, ‘The Mark Family Story’, set in Pennsylvania, Ohio & New York with a cast of wonderful characters like William Mark who liked to shoot off his Civil War rifle each year on the 4th of July and Rephenia (Gruissy) Nichols who moved away to Michigan where she and her husband collected shells to be made into buttons.

My father’s father’s family story is yet to be told. I have been gathering facts for several years. It is relatively easy to research because they have been in the USA for several generations so I can learn a lot without leaving home. I have tons of relatives who I can harass for stories & photographs. I also have cousins who are anxious to read what I will write.

However, I decided to focus on my mother’s family. She was half Irish Catholic and half Austrian Jew. Irish records are sparse and I have not yet learned how to research in Austria. There is no family clan to share stories with me. My mother was an only child. She had only two first cousins and their descendants are elusive.

Why did I want to focus on my mother’s roots when my father’s family would be much easier? Why do I want to write a history that will have only a handful of readers?  Because I am the only one who can tell this story. I was very close to my mother, Alberta Joy (Gardner) Brown, and her mother, Helen F. (Coyle) Gardner. They were strong women who enjoyed life and loved their family. I want future generations to know them.

This month I pulled out the folders for the Brady, Coyle, Mullane & Gartner/Gardner families and dusted off my binders for research in Ireland. Because I had not worked on these people in some time the writing was slow going. I had to stop to find a death certificate or a page from a city directory.

What did I accomplish? I updated the organization of my resources; made an outline for the book; assembled a detailed time line for each family; and I wrote four strong chapters, complete with accurate footnotes, one chapter each for Brady, Coyle, Mullane and Gartner/Gardner. I feel good about accomplishing this much.

The month and the challenge are ending but I am not done with my mother’s story. The next part of my book, ‘Remembrances’, is telling the tale of how these families came together; how they met, married and moved into present day. I am not sliding the binders back on the shelf or snapping closed the top of my laptop. I know I have a long way to go but I will tell this story.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013


My father’s forest of family names includes Dillon.

Richard Dillon served in the Revolutionary War. According to Luke Ward Conerly:
Richard Dillon “…saw service as an enlistee on the vessel 'Greyhound,' a privateersman commanded by Samuel Butler.  With the capture of that vessel, he was made a prisoner on the English frigate 'Baloosa' which carried 36 guns and was commanded by a Captain Kennedy, a Scotsman.  After a nine-month imprisonment, he again returned to Bertie County." About 1810-He move to Pike County.  He lived there till his death "which supposedly occurred on his 89th birthdate in 1833."  Eight known children are listed.

Brothers Theophilous, Willis & Clarkston Dillon served in the War of 1812. Clarkston was involved in the Battle of New Orleans. Willis was a trumpeter for the 13th Mississippi Regiment. Theophilous was in a regiment of mounted riflemen.

Dillon names in My Direct Line:
  • JamesTheopilous Dillon bc 1719 in Ireland; married Mary
  •    Richard Dillon 1745 VA – 1833 MS; married Anne Lawrence; 8 children
  •    Joanna Dillon 1778 NC – aft 1821 MS; married Jeremiah Smith; 13 children

A few Dillon Resources:

  •    Luke Ward Conerly, SOURCE RECORDS FROM PIKE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI 1798-1910; 1798-1910; South Carolina, Southern Historical Press, 1989.
  •    DAR website, ancestor Richard Dillon #A03615
  • Compiled Service records of Volunteer Soldiers who Served During the War of 1812 in Organizations from the Territory of Mississippi, NARA film #M678, roll 6, 13 th Regiment, Nixon's, 1815,  Clarkson Dillon. from fold
  • The Jeremiah Smith, Sr. Bible, c. 1800 - 1917, Bible in possession of Mrs. W. C. Uhlman, Tylertown, Mississippi. Copy given to me by Pat (Brock) Smith.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vintage Photograph: Borden Hamilton Brown

Borden Hamilton Brown

23 January 1921 MS – 27 February 1995 MS
son of Hubert A Brown & Freddie Smith
My first father’s first cousin
World War II Navy Veteran & Farmer

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Genealogy Fun

RandySeaver at Gena-Musings inspired this post. He challenges us to post signs that we have Genealogy OCD. He wrote:

1) Read Michael John Neill's post 10 Signs YouHave Genealogy OCD (come on, give Michael some link love) and the comments too (I know it's an old post, we did this in 2011 too!).

2) Make up any number of sentences that will add to his list of signs that you have Genealogy OCD. From one to many, no limit! Be creative!!

3) Share your ingenuity and humor with us in your own blog post, in Comments to this post, in comments to Michael's post, or in a comment on Google Plus or Facebook.

Here are my contributions:

When you hear about a big storm coming your way, you back up all your computers; move your documents to water proof boxes and load your family memorabilia [rather than first aid supplies and bottled water] into your car in case you have to flee.

Your exercise routine includes walking cemeteries and you can’t understand why there isn’t an app to tell you how many calories that burns.

You have more binders, folders, index cards, highlighters, and other office supplies than an office supply store.

The photos in your wallet are not your children, but your dead ancestors.

You have your local archives, library and court house on speed dial.

Your Christmas newsletter is filled with the doings of family members, long gone.

Relax, write your own & add them to Randy’s site.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Alphabetical Ancestors - D

Take a moment to look over these surnames. I post them in hopes of discovering new contacts to expand my knowledge of these names. Some of these surnames are more twigs than branches on my tree. It is time to let them out to get some sunshine & some attention.
If you see some leaves & branches from your trees, let’s share & compare.

D is for these Surnames…

The D’Ambrosio family came from Italy. They are in my husband’s family. Samuel D’Ambrosio married Sentina Palilla [b c 1901 in Sicily]. They had five children, born in Connecticut and New York State.
I connections to more than one Davis family. Archie Davis b 1914 & d 1971 married Rava Nell Ball, b 1923 in LA. Dirvin Davis married Anna Ritter, b 1889. They had five children. William L Davis [1838 – 1913] married Narcissa A Fortenberry [1848 SC – c 1909]. As far as I know these three Davis men are unrelated.
Jimmie Dean Denison [1897 – 1979] married Jessie Ola Hall [1897 MS – 1987 MS]. They had three children.
Bradford Dennison married Susan Weisberg [b in Buffalo NY]. I would like to be able to contact these cousins.
My sixth great grandfather was Johan Adam Dick [b 1709 in Germany – 1785 in Pennsylvania] who married Anna Ottilla Knack [b 17ii Germany – 1782 in Pennsylvania]. They had seven children, born in Germany, at Sea & in Pennsylvania.
James Theopilous Dillon [b c 1719 Ireland] was my sixth great grandfather. His son was Richard Dillon [1745 VA – 1833 MS] who married Anne Lawrence [b c 1762 NC – d c 1830 MS]. They had nine children, born in North and South Carolina.
          Herbert Dunsmore married Vera May Hurd [1912 CT – 1987 MI]. They had two sons.
Herman Claude Dykes [1900 LA – 1983 LA] married Velma Amanda Blades [1907 LA – 1980 LA]. They had three children.
Other ‘D’ surnames: Darensod, Derhammer, Derr, Dew, Dickens, Dilley, Duncan, Dupuy & Durham

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Too Many Toms

Thomas Brady

In many families sons are named after their father or grandfather. Carrying a family name into the future is a wonderful tradition. However, it can cause much confusion when there are multiple relatives with the same name. In my Brady family there are seven men named Thomas Brady that I know of.

I recently found a World War I Draft Registration form for Thomas Brady.  He was born in County Cavan, Ireland in December 1887. In June 1917 he lived on Amherst Street in East Orange, New Jersey. This is where our family settled when they came over from County Cavan, Ireland. This Thomas Brady was also a police officer, an occupation held by others in the family. This just has to be one of our family, but which one?

I decided to make an excel spreadsheet of my known Thomas Bradys in order to get them straight in my mind and to help me link this registration form with one of these men.
The spreadsheet helped me to clearly see the following:

ü  Thomas Brady #1 & #2 lived their lives in Ireland, not coming to the USA.
ü  Thomas Brady # 6 & 7 were born after the registration form was filled out.
ü  Thomas Brady #5 would have been too young to be drafted.
ü  Thomas Brady #4 did serve in World War I. However, there is a nine year differences in the birth dates of this man & the man in the military record.
ü  Thomas Brady #3 was in New Jersey at the time. He was a police officer. In 1917 he had a wife and two children. In 1920 he lived on Amherst Street. The difference is the date of birth, about two years.

I believe Thomas Brady #3 is the winner but more work is needed to uncover his correct birth date before I can say it with 100% certainty. The spreadsheet was a useful tool for me but my work is not done yet. I need to go back and check my original source for his birth. Hopefully I will discover if this is the right Thomas and which date of birth is correct.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I am connected to the Cutrer family through Sarah Jane Fortenberry [1846 – 1890] daughter of Gasua Chapman & Sarah (Brown) Fortenberry. Sarah was my first cousin, 3 times removed. She married Hiram Cutrer [1843 – 1929]. They had five children.

1 Isaac Omer Cutrer b: 1871 Pike Co., Mississippi, d: 31 Jan 1941
... + Fannie Rebecca Smith b: 1881, m: 2 Feb 1898, d: 21 Jan 1923
......2 George Washington Cutrer b: 24 Oct 1899, d: Nov 1977
...... + Josephine Fanara
......2 Fleet Rankin Cutrer b: 8 May 1902, d: Jan 1978
...... + Mildred Maeola Bauds m: 24 Mar 1929
......2 Ollie Lee Cutrer b: 11 Oct 1903, d: Oct 1996
...... + Laura Lee m: 25 Nov 1930
......2 Onice Odwell Cutrer b: 10 Aug 1911 in Osyka, Pike, MS
...... + Malinda McBrayer b Cullman, AL, m 1931, d 14 Nov 1967 Palatka, Putnam, FL
.........3 Onice Levaughn Cutrer b: 12 Mar 1933 in Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
......... + Sophie Ann Cubbage b: 7 May 1936, m:1955 in Palatka, Putnam, FL
............4 Infant Cutrer
............4 Gregory Levaughn Cutrer
............ + Sherril Stanley b: Palatka, Putnam, FL
............4 Roberta Malinda Cutrer
............4 Rollind Allen Cutrer
............4 Naomi Diane Cutrer
............ + Dan Piper
............4 Bonnie Ann Cutrer
............ + Jim Huddleston
............4 Connie Lee Cutrer
.........3 Billie Eugene Cutrer b: 06 Aug 1934
.........3 William Green Cutrer b: 26 Jun 1937
.........3 Jimmie Alton Cutrer
.........3 Mary Linda Cutrer
......... + Jerry Hilton Hall
............4 Jerry Hilton Hall
............ + Connie Annette Myers
...............5 Cheryl Ann Hall
............4 Richard Lonnie Hall
............ + Michelle Renee Myers
...............5 Richard Lonnie Hall Jr.
...............5 Karyn Renea Hall
............4 Kimberly Ann Hall
............ + Richard Larue Pendley
...............5 Kelsey Nicole Pendley
...............5 Cassandra Lee Pendley b
...... + Fernanda Osma Gregg
......2 Isaac Omer Cutrer b: 15 Nov 1913, d: 21 Mar 1995 Foley, Baldwin, AL
...... + Dorothy m: 27 Dec 1933
......2 Nellie Louise Cutrer b: 1917, d: 06 Mar 1989
...... + J. D. Miller m: 04 Jul 1936, d: 1973 in Mt. Hermon, LA
... + Serena Olivia Lee
......2 Luther Felder Cutrer b: 20 Feb 1924
...... + Ollie Lee Miller
......2 Elenora Cutrer b: 25 Apr 1925
...... + James Sheppard Jr.
......2 Eddie Joe Cutrer b: 13 Sep 1926
...... + Mary Mae Cantenbury

A few Cutrer Resources:
·         1880 US Census, LA, Washington, Edward Dykes; Harison Cutrer family
·         Adrianne Fortenberry Criminger, THE FORTENBERRY FAMILIES OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI; 1677-1984; South Carolina, Southern Historical Press, Inc. 1984
·         G. K. Fortinberry, ABSTRACT HISTORY OF THE FORTINBERRY FAMILY; 1795-1940's; Family History Center Microfilm #1036152

Friday, February 8, 2013

State by State Genealogy

I recently made my first visit to GenealogyBlog & Hidden Genealogy Nuggets website by Jim Sanders. Jim is an amateur genealogist and an Information Technology professional. I found more than just nuggets of information. He shares many Connecticut resources but he does not limit himself to that one state.

On January 1 Jim posted this:

This year I thought I’d offer my readers a weekly blogging prompt. Each week the blog post will focus on a particular state. The post can be about a particular individual or family who lived in or was connected in some way to that state. Sometimes there will not be a personal connection to the state. In this case find a genealogy resource for that state to talk about and highlight instead. Follow along with this series and post to your own site. If you choose to follow along, please link to ( or mention the Hidden Genealogy Nuggets website.

I have followed along blogs that posted alphabetical prompts; seasonal prompts; etc. but never saw one that was focusing on location. This is a super idea. We may be looking for different people but our locations might be the same. I am always looking for new resources for the states, counties & towns where my families lived.

Visit ‘Genealogy by the States’. Learn more & share your location links. The more we pool our information and ‘genealogy nuggets’ the more we all benefit. Thanks, Jim, for this suggestion!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Alphabetical Ancestors - C

Take a moment to look over these surnames. I post them in hopes of discovering new contacts to expand my knowledge of these names. Some of these surnames are more twigs than branches on my tree. It is time to let them out to get some sunshine & some attention.

C is for these Surnames…

My information on the Campbells in my family is limited. Howard Campbell married Rowena Arbuckle. Verna Dale Campbell married Gary Lee Zemrock who was b in Ohio. As far as I know they are unrelated Campbells.
James Carberry b c 1908 in New Jersey married Margaret Mary Brady, b 1910 in New Jersey. They had three children, b in NJ and CT.
Effie Margaret Carter [b 1904 Ohio - d 1966] married James Everett Mark [b 1896  Ohio - d 1868 Ohio]. Effie’s parents were Frank and Sadie’s (Mapes) Carter.
This is a name from my husband’s family. Joe Corisitto married Carmella Palilla, b 1918. They had two sons.
My Coyles came from County Cavan, Ireland. My maternal grandmother was Helen F (Coyle) Gardner. I can trace her line back to Michael Coyle & Mary Cunningham [b c 1810 - d 1848]. Their son, Patrick Coyle [b 1841 in Ireland - d 1925 CT], married Margaret Brady. They had 11 children, born in Ireland and Conecticut.
Some members of my Gruissy family Americanized their name to Creasy. The Gruissy family came from Switzerland to Pennsylvania to Ohio. Philip M Creasy [b 1867 Ohio - d 1934 Ohio], married Mary E Wasem. Their son was Harry Lewis Creasy, 1891 – 1950.
This is an Irish surname. Mary Cunningham, daughter of James, was b c 1810 & d 1848. She married Michael Coyle. They had four children.
Hiram Cutrer [1843 – 1929] married Sarah Jane Fortenberry, b 1846 in Mississippi. They had five children. The names expand from there.

Other ‘C’ surnames in my trees: Card, Carter, Cass, Chiles, Christmeyer, Clason, Comeaux, Conerly, Coney, Cousins, Cowling, Cox & Crenshaw.