Sunday, July 30, 2017



First of all, I want to say that I’ve missed writing my blog posts.  Since we returned from our vacation in June I have been completely focused on DNA results.  I am trying to assist our daughter-in-law with finding her biological family.  I have been trying to learn how to use each of the DNA sites and all the resources they offer.  And, how to interpret results.  This is no small task.

I originally wrote about this subject last November.  But, I’ve changed my method since then.  Always a work in progress, as you know.  Here’s the earlier post:

Now that I am the administrator for other family member’s tests, and I am dealing with multiple sites, it’s necessary to be sure I have a good tracking method.

So, you contact someone who is a match on FtDNA, Ancestry or GedMatch. If your lucky enough that the connection responds, what then? 
  • How do you keep track of the initial contact?
  • How do you record their response?
  • How do you keep track of which side of the family they may be connected to?
Those are the questions many people have asked.  Everyone has their own method.  Some may go old school and print everything and keep it in a binder.  Some might use a spreadsheet or a Word document.  Others might just keep a special folder in their email account.  Maybe a combination of all that?


I have been using Evernote for several years.  I find it very useful for all areas of my life.  But, especially for genealogy.  Why?
  • Because you can create up to 250 Notebooks
  • Because you can create as many notes as you want to
  • BUT, especially because you can tag each of those notes with specific tags (you can use up to 100,000 tags in your Evernote account)
  • Because I can sort by date created, title or date updated
  • Because you can add text, images, and links to websites
  • Because you can annotate your notes with arrows and boxes
  • Because you can add highlights, tables, check boxes or audio
You get the idea.  There’s a LOT you can do.  AND, it syncs from your desktop to any other device on which you’ve downloaded the app.

Back to my original topic.  How I have been keeping track of DNA correspondence.
I have a notebook titled “DNA Correspondence.”  For tags I use “DNA matches” and whatever surnames are connected, if I have that information, and/or places.

Here’s what I record in a note in Evernote.  I use copy and paste.
I have redacted personal information for this match.

I begin with the date of the correspondence, who I contacted and how we match.

5/30/2017 Email from Audie
I contacted her from a match on GedMatch
Comparing Kit A918842 (*DGouldHall) and M897041 (Audie Hartson)
Largest segment = 28.3 cM
Total of segments > 7 cM = 67.8 cM
4 matching segments

Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 3.9
We match on segments 3, 11, 12 and 14

Next I take a screenshot or copy and paste the graph of the chromosome match or matches.

Audie screenshot 1
Audie screenshot 2

I then copy and paste our correspondence in date order.

I sent out my first contact email (I have a standard email that I send, which I modify as needed) and she responded.

NOTE:  Every DNA class or seminar I have attended has stressed that those first contact emails be friendly, short and to the point.
Here is my initial contact email.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 11:12 AM, Diane Hall wrote:
Hi Audie,
My name is Diane Gould Hall. You have come up as a match to both my brother and
myself on GedMatch.

We have been searching for nearly 15 yrs. to try and find out who the parents of
our 2nd great grandfather might be. I am an experienced genealogist and have
hired 3 professionals, who have never found a link to his parents.
I figured DNA was the best bet.

So, according to GedMatch you are matching us at 63 cm (my brother) and 67 cm
(me) and about 4 generations.
This means that we probably have 2nd great grandparents in common.

Would you be interested in exchanging information with me? I have a tree on
Ancestry. Do you? I will gladly share my research with you.

Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon.
Best regards,
Diane Gould Hall

I received a response back the following day.  I was on vacation at the time, but was checking my email while we were gone.  

Here is what I wrote back to her.  She had mentioned that she was going to be on vacation.

May 24 2017 20:18:13
Hi Audie,
  Thanks for getting back to me.  I know you are still on vacation.  I was gone when your email came in and I'm home now.
  Well, you nailed it when you listed the names and now I know how we are connected.  It's through the Surdam name.  Here's how it goes:
Edith Eliza Thorp (1843-1915) married George Beech Surdam - they are my 2nd great grandaunt and uncle
Their daughter, Ida F. Surdam married Augustine A. Lighthouse, just like you stated.  The only child I had thus far for Ida & Augustine was Grace B. Lighthouse born about 1889.  I probably haven't done a lot on this link yet.
However, I have LOTS of info on the Thorp line and pretty good info on all the children of George B. Surdam and Edith Eliza Thorp.
  I am very happy to share any of my information with you.  This is very exciting.  It's the first time I've contacted a possible DNA match and have actually received information back that I can connect to.  I'm also a rookie at all this and hoping to continue to learn more.  This should help both of us.
Look forward to hearing back from you.

She responded back to me with the following email.

From: Audie Hartson []
Sent: 5/30/2017 4:24:19 PM
Subject: Re:  GEDMatch  - we are connected, but how?

Hi Diane,
I am not good at figuring out GedMatch, or 23andMe-ancestry as yet.  I do have
some information on my Mother's side going back to my grandfather's and
grandmother's parents.  My Dad's side I have very little information.

My Grandmother's name is Audria Glenn Gerkin (Riggs).  Her parents were Alfred
Gerkin and Lizzie Whittington married Nov. 3, 1878
My Grandfather's name is Ollie Marshall Riggs.  His parents were Henry Harvey
Riggs (born 12-8-1849) and Mary Catherine Stechman (Born 4-29-1855).

My Father is James Earl Lund.  His parents are Otto Gerhard Lund and Lillian
Lighthouse (Lund).  I believe Lillian's parents were August Lighthouse and Ida
Surdam.  I also have the names of George Surdam and Edith Thorp who may be her
parents.  Otto Gerhard Lund's parents are Ole Gerhardt Lund and Jermine
Thompson.    That is about it.

I do have information on the Riggs dating back to 1632
If you have any of those names on your side, I would be very interested.  

I do not have a tree on ancestry.  I went through 23andme for DNA.
I am going on a trip this Friday for 3 weeks, so if you write back I will not be
able to answer you until the end of June.  It is so exciting hearing from
relatives that you did not know you have.

Best of luck..  If you need more on the Riggs side, I can help.  If you have
information on any of the names above, I would be very interested.  I hope we can
find the link.


There has been no further correspondence between us.  Knowing she would be gone for 3 weeks, I left her alone.  Since then, I’ve been sidetracked on other DNA items.  What this is reminding me, is that I need to send another email.

So far, this method is working well for me in regards to keeping track of correspondence.  There may be a time in the not to distant future where I will add a spreadsheet to my toolbox to also keep track of correspondence.  Perhaps just names, email addresses, how we connect and the dates back & forth.  Then I can come into my Evernote account and see the correspondence.

I would love to hear how all of you are keeping track of this incredible, but sometimes overwhelming tool, called DNA.  Please share with me in a comment or on your own blog, with a link to the post.


Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2017   Diane Gould Hall

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


My husband, Ron and I on the train from Fairbanks to Talkeetna
Me getting ready to head out on our ATV adventure

My husband and I just returned from a two week vacation.  What with the preparation prior to the trip and being sick since we’ve returned home, I’ve been away from my research now for about 4 weeks.

That’s a long time for me.  Since I’m retired, I have the luxury of being able to set my own schedule (in other words, I can research pretty much as often as I want to).  Isn’t that what we all hope for?  Of course I still have other interests and activities, but I generally have time to sit down each day and do some sort of research.  Sometimes that’s just cleaning up images or reviewing what I’ve recently located.

Today’s question is, where do I begin?  Which line of the family do I want to focus on right now?  I keep copious research notes in my Legacy database. I enter the date I’ve done something and what that something was, what I located, where it was located etc.  This allows me to return to a particular ancestor and see exactly what I’ve done and when.

Legacy keeps track of the last 200 people I’ve viewed.  That will give me some idea of where I’ve been recently.

To view your History list in Legacy go to the View tab and select “History List.”  Because I use this list all the time, I have included it in My Toolbar, where it is readily available.

Here is where you will find the History List in your Legacy program.


As I viewed my History List today, I was able to go back to some of the people I was working on prior to vacation.  This helps bring back my train of thought at the time (well, at least I hope it does).

Another way I will decide who I might want to work on, is to go to my Ancestry tree and see what hints have popped up.  You know, the little shaky leaf.  When I first went onto Ancestry after my return there were 64 new hints.  As we know, new hints tend to generate as you work on people in your tree.  When I see a red number above the leaf I always check to see who the hints are for.  Is it someone I want to look at or a distant family connection or possibly someone I don’t want to work on right now?

NOTE:  I have turned off Member Tree hints.  This way, I am only seeing hints for record collections or media.  I can turn those Member Tree hints back on any time.

Another thing I did during our vacation, was to keep up with genealogy Facebook groups I belong to.  I learn a lot from those groups.  However, I don’t want to spend a lot of time online while on vacation.  When I came across something of interest I used the “save link” option in Facebook, which allows me to come back to that item.  Once I returned home I spent some time reviewing articles and tutorial videos.  One of the videos was a tutorial for using the Chronicling America newspaper site.  The tips I learned helped me to immediately find a death notice from 1838.  Definitely worthwhile.
With this said, now it’s time to decide where my next research adventure will begin.

I’d like to know what method you use to pick up your research when you’ve been away.  Maybe it was only a few weeks, perhaps months or even years.  Where do you begin?

Stay tuned for more posts about our family.  Hopefully I can connect with some new cousins or help others researching their own families.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2017  Diane Gould Hall

Sunday, June 4, 2017

SUNDAY’S OBITUARY ~ ELMER E. BRIGHT and his wife MALISSA HUNT–1889 & 1892 - Week #4

BRIGHT_Elmer E_Obit CloseUp_from Pittsburgh Gazette_1889 BRIGHT_Mrs Melissa_obit_PittsburghDispatch_18 Feb 1892_pg 5

Elmer/Elmer E. Bright and his wife, Malissa Hunt are my husband’s great grandparents on his paternal side.  They are two of the first people I researched when I began this ancestor hunt nearly 15 years ago.  They were the parents of 3 children, one was a twin who died at birth, another was a little girl who lived to 10 months and the third was the other twin, Daisy Bright, who thankfully grew to adulthood and became my husband’s grandmother.  I’ve written Daisy’s story and you can read it here Surname Saturday – Who Was Daisy Bright?

Elmer E. Bright did at age 29 of Consumption (Tuberculosis).  Malissa, his wife, died a little over 3 years later of “possible heart failure.”  These events and the death of those two siblings left Daisy an orphan at the age of 9.

Here are the transcriptions of the obituaries:

DIED – BRIGHT – On Wednesday, April 24 at 6:40 a.m., Elmer E. Bright, aged 29 years and 5 months.
Funeral from his late residence, Breckenridge Ave., Tarentum, Pa., TO-DAY at 2 p.m.  Friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend.

DIED – BRIGHT – On Tuesday, February 16, 1892, at 8:30 p.m., Mrs. Melissa, relic of the late Elmer Bright, aged 30 years, suddenly of heart disease.
Funeral from her late residence, Brackenridge Avenue, Tarentum, Friday, February 19, at 10 a.m.

It doesn’t say much in the obituaries, but Elmer was survived by his parents and several siblings.  Malissa was survived by 3 siblings.

I plan to visit their graves and many other locations around Allegheny County, PA this fall.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2017   Diane Gould Hall

Sunday, May 28, 2017

SUNDAY’S OBITUARY ~ Basil Boyle Auten–1891-1966–Week #3


Basil Doyle Auten is my 1st cousin once removed, husband’s father.  That’s a mouthful isn’t it?
Basil Doyle Auten is the father of Robert Basil Auten
Robert Basil Auten married Betty Jane Roe
Betty Jane Roe was the daughter of Irene M. Milne
Irene M. Milne was my grandfather’s sister

Transcription of his obituary ~~

AUTEN - Basil, D. May 21.  Beloved husband of Gertrude B., dear father of Robert B., Mrs. Doris L. Evers, and William D.; brother of Bert O.; grandfather of five grandchildren.  Services Tuesday 10 a.m. from the Hunter-Callender Funeral Home, 13903 Terry corner Schoolcraft.  Graveside committal service Ortonville, Michigan, 1 p.m. Mr. Auten was a life member of the Ortonville Masonic Lodge and the American Legion Post.

My Mom and her cousin, Betty Jane Roe knew each other as they were growing up.  I’ve met Betty Jane and her daughter, Susan.
Basil Doyle Auten and his wife, Gertrude are buried at Ortonville Cemetery in Brandon Gardens, Oakland, Michigan.  You can visit his memorial here #99151363.

If you think you may be related to this family, please contact me.  I’d love to hear from you.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2017   Diane Gould Hall

Friday, May 19, 2017

HIRAM FRAMPTON ~ abt 1834-1864–Did he die in prison, in battle, or some other way?

Hiram Frampton is the son of my 4th great granduncle Isaac Frampton and his wife Jane Mann.

In trying to learn more about Hiram, I now have more questions.  Here’s what I know.

Hiram was born about 1834-1836 in Ohio (based on the 1850 and 1860 census records).  In the referenced 1860 census I find Hiram living in Ceredo, Wayne, Virginia.  He is 24 years old and the other person in the household is Clarissa Frampton, age 20 (his wife).  He is a farmer with real estate worth $21,000 and personal estate worth $970.  Those are large figures for back then.  In today’s money is equates to $572,807 for the real estate and $26,458 for the personal property.

Enumerated in the property next to Hiram and Clarissa are George W. Beams, his wife Marinda and children.  They are Clarissa’s parents & siblings.


1860_FRAMPTON_Hiram & Clarissa_Wayne Co VA

I located the following information about Hiram inheriting real estate from his father, Isaac Frampton, who died in 1859.  Could this be that property?
"The brick mansion, which is a land mark in Wayne county was erected in 1847 by the late Isaac Frampton, who was one of the earliest settlers in this section. Some stones composing the foundation are seventy feet long and the rock for the foundation was quarried on Gimlet Creek, named for its course, winding toward the Ohio just south of the estate.
The estate passed to Hiram Frampton, a son of Isaac, whose family was reared there, after the death of his father. Many years later, the estate was sold to a land company, which passed it to the late owner, Col. Vinson."

So, as a very young man, Hiram inherits this land and home from his father. According to some sources I have, Hiram’s brother, David Frampton, also inherited the land.
NOTE:  I need to get my hands/eyes on the probate record for Isaac Frampton (father of Hiram) and see who got what.

Hiram married Marinda Clarissa Beams prior to 1860.  They had two children, George, born in 1860 and Ora, born in 1864.
I located a headstone for Hiram Frampton at Burlington Greenlawn Cemetery, in Fayette, Lawrence, Ohio, when I was there in 2012.

The date of death on the headstone is Jul 1864 and his age is 31.  Buried close by, with a matching headstone is his brother, David Frampton.

Here are their headstones.

FRAMPTON_David_headstone_son of Isaac & Jane_1832-1861_BurlingtonGreenlawnCem_BurlingtonLawrenceOH

Close ups of the headstones.  I wish I’d known about LED flashlights to read headstones back when I was there.  Now, I’ll never travel to a cemetery without one.

FRAMPTON_David_headstone_son of Isaac & Jane_1832-1861_BurlingtonGreenCem_BurlingtonOH_crop

Here is where the questions begin to arise. 
  • Hiram registers for the Civil War draft in 1863. (see image 1)
  • I find an H. Frampton in U.S. Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865-Confederate. (see image 2)
  • Is listed as a prisoner of war with the crime of “letting the next sentry climb fence.”  No date is given on this page. (see image 3)
  • Signed an oath of allegiance to the United States in September 1863, including payment of a $1,000 bond. (see image) Question:  Why did he have to pay a bond of loyalty?  (see image 4) Was this after he was in prison as a Confederate?
  • Where did Hiram die?
  • Why can’t I find a probate record for him if he did indeed own or partially own all the land his father left him?
  • Is there no Civil War pension record because Marinda remarried and never needed the money?
Frampton Hiram CW reg
IMAGE #1 - Civil War Draft Registration - Hiram Frampton
FRAMPTON_Hiram_prisoner of war record_Confederate

FRAMPTON_Hiram_prisoner of war record & crime listed_cropped
IMAGE #3 - Hiram Frampton on another undated military record showing his crime

FRAMPTON_Hiram_Union_ProvostMarshallFile for citizens_pg 3
IMAGE #4 - This image and the next one are pages showing that Hiram signed an oath of allegiance and paid $1,000 bond
FRAMPTON_Hiram_Union_ProvostMarshallFile for citizens_pg 4

Those are some of the questions I’m asking right now.

I do know that his wife, Marinda Clarissa, married again on 13 Jun 1866 in Wayne Co., West Virginia, to Levi M. Handley.  More on Marinda at another time.

I would welcome any ideas you might have about this.  I will continue to research this family and hopefully come across something that will finish Hiram’s story.

Oh, and one more thing.  I have checked on Chronicling America, and Genealogy Bank for any obituaries or death notices for Hiram.  Nothing found.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2017   Diane Gould Hall

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

TOMBSTONE TUESDAY ~ Hannah Wright Hodgman Durant–1750-1797

DURANT_Hannah_wife of Joshua_headstone_1750-1798_WestCem_KeeneNH
Consort of Mr. Joshua Durant
died 10 Oct 1798
aged 48
Hannah was the second wife of my husband’s 1st cousin 5 times removed.  She first married Stephen Hodgman on 27 Nov 1776 in Chemsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts.  Stephen died in 1783 and she then married Joshua Durant (himself a widower), about 1783.

Hannah is buried at the West Cemetery in Keene, New Hampshire.  Many members of Ron’s family are buried in this cemetery.  You may visit her memorial here #50059868.

I don’t have a cause of death for Hannah.  I do have the following records of her death.  These records list her year of death as 1797 and the headstone is engraved as 1798.

New Hampshire, Death and Burial Records Index, 1654-1949 Name:Hannah Durant
Gender:    Female
Birth Date:abt 1749
Death Date:10 Oct 1797
Death Place:Keene, New Hampshire
Death Age:48
Marital Status:Married
Clerk Locality:Keene, New Hampshire
Event Type:Death
FHL Film Number:1001073

New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947
Name:    Hannah Durant
Gender:    Female
Birth Date:    abt 1749
Death Date:    10 Oct 1797
Death Place:    Keene, New Hampshire, USA
Age at Death:    48

If you are related to Hannah or her second husband, Joshua Durant, I’d love to hear from you.
Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2017   Diane Gould Hall

Sunday, May 14, 2017

SUNDAY’S OBITUARY ~ Amanda D. Adams Gillen–(1873-1937) Week #2

GILLEN_Amanda nee Adams_obituary_1937_Ironton Evening Tribue_Ohio_cropped
Amanda D. Adams was the wife of my 1st cousin, 4 times removed.  She is related to me via my maternal line.
Here’s how we are connected.

Amanda D. Adams married Martin Hunter Gillen (my 1st cousin 4x removed)
Martin was the grandson of my 4th great grandparents William Gillen & Rachel Frampton

Here is a transcription of the obituary.

Mrs. Amanda D. Gillen, widow of the late Hunter Gillen and mother of Hugh Gillen of the Ford Motor Sales Company of Chesapeake, died this morning at 11:30 o’clock at her home in Chesapeake.

Mrs. Gillen had been in failing health for several years but her condition did not become critical until a few days ago.  During her illness the members of her family were constantly at her bedside and she received every attention that her loved ones could give but from the first it was apparent that she was making no progress against her illness and the end came this morning.

Mrs. Gillen was born and spent her entire life in Chesapeake and was widely known through that section of the county. She was a kindly and charitable woman whose principal interests in life were centered in her family and friends and to them she was devotedly faithful.  She was a zealous member of the Christian church of Chesapeake.

Mrs. Gillen was preceded in death by one son, Garland, in 1932 and her husband died in 1935. She is survived by one son, Hugh Gillen and the following brothers and sisters: Mart Adams, Chesapeake, Elizabeth Adams who resided with her, Mrs. Sarah Lake of Huntington and Mrs. Laura Brammer of Bradrick. Four grandchildren also survive: Bobbie, Jerry Taylor, Dilly and Patty Gillen all of Chesapeake.

The funeral arrangement had not been completed today and will be announced later.  Burial will be in Rome Cemetery.  Mrs. Gillen’s body will remain at her home and the services will be held there.

According to her death certificate, Amanda died of cardiac asthma, which she had suffered from for years.

If you think you are related to anyone mentioned in this post, please contact me.  I’d love to here from you.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2017   Diane Gould Hall