Monday, October 5, 2015

MILITARY MONDAY–Killed in Action–A Tribute to George Briggs Fitzcharles 1886-1918

FITZCHARLES_Private George_photo_Roll of Honour book

George Briggs Fitzcharles is my 1st cousin twice removed.  That makes him a nephew to my great grandmother, Elizabeth “Bessie” Fitzcharles.

First let me tell you how excited I am to be able to write anything about the Fitzcharles family.  My great grandmother’s parents remained a mystery aka brick wall to me, until 3 years ago.  Now I take the time to learn everything I can about this Scottish family.

George was the son of Michael Fitzcharles and Euphemia Anderson who were married on 14 Feb 1879 in St. Clement, Dundee, Angus, Scotland.  To this couple were born the following children:
John born 9 Sep 1879
Robert Nicholas born 1 May 1881
William born 1 Dec 1883
George Briggs born 26 Apr 1886
Ernest born 24 Oct 1888
Maggie or Margaret (the only girl) born 1 Jun 1891
David born 6 Jun 1896

George married Isabella Jane Hutton on 2 Aug 1909 in Dundee, Angus, Scotland.

FITZCHARLES_George B marriage to Isabella Jane HUTTON_2 Aug 1909_DundeeScotland_annot

They had their first child, a daughter, Euphemia, born 12 Feb 1910. 

George was working as a Brakeman for the railroad in the 1911 census, living in Grangemouth, Stirling, Scotland.

1911_Scotland_FITZCHARLES_George & wife Bella w-daughter_Grangemouth_Scotland_enh

A son, George, was born to this couple on 5 Jan 1913.

Historical events effect our lives today as they did back then.  In 1914 the “Great War” or World War I began.  You can watch a short video about it here 
In 1915 George was working as a furniture salesman in his father’s business.  On 4 Jun 1915 he enlisted in the 1st Royal Scots.  Here are his attestation and descriptive papers upon enlistment
FITZCHARLES_George_Attestation of Service_WW I_1st Royal Scots_Jun 1915 FITZCHARLES_George_Descriptive report upon enlistment_WW I_1st Royal Scots
FITZCHARLES_George_Medical history_WW I_stay at hospital Jul-Aug 1915Just a little over a month after his enlistment, George was admitted to the hospital for “Intesinal disorder” and what I read to be ptomaine ? (could it be ptomaine poisoning?)  He appears to have been admitted on July 7, 1915 and discharged on August 7, 1915.  And then transferred to Cramour House Convalescent Hospital from August 7, 1915 to August 28, 1915.

On September 13, 1915,  George was admitted to the hospital a second time for a concussion of his spine.  He stayed in the Kitchener Hospital in Brighton for 5 days.  Upon which he was transferred to a military convalescent hospital.

FITZCHARLES_George_hospital admission for concussion of spine_Sep 1916

According to the book Roll of Honour, Arbroath and District 1914-1919, page 167, printed and published by T. Buncle & Co, Market Place, Arbroath, Scotland in 1921.

 Private George Fitzcharles was killed in action on March 27, 1918.  He was 31 years old.

“Private George Fitzcharles, 3rd Royal Scots, 33 Park Street, Arbroath, was the son of Michael Fitzcharles, Guthrie Port. He was thirty-two years of age, had married Isabella Hutton and left a son and a daughter. He was a furniture dealer with his father when he joined the army in July 1915. He went to France in October, and was invalided home the following year suffering from shell shock and wounds. In 1917 he returned to France, was slightly wounded several times, and was killed in action on the 27th of March 1918. His platoon officer wrote of him : - ' ' He was a good soldier.  We feel his loss very much."
FITZCHARLES_Private George_bio sketch_Roll of Honour book_enlarged

I have located several references to George having been killed in action during his service, including pension papers, references in books and on war memorials and correspondence with his widow, Isabella.

He is honored on the Grangemouth War Memorial in Zetland Park, situated in the center of Grangemouth.  Here is George’s name on the memorial:

FITZCHARLES_George_name on Grangemouth memorial_annotated

He is also honored on the Pozieres Memorial in France.  Here is an index page for that memorial, showing his name.

FITZCHARLES_George_Index to Pozieres Memorial honoring UK soldiers WW I_annot
George was a young man with his whole life ahead of him.  He left behind a wife and two young children.
I located a death certificate for his widow, Isabella, and it appears she never remarried.  She is still using the surname Fitzcharles and is listed as the “widow of Private George Fitzcharles.”  She died on February 14, 1955, age 68.

Here is the post I wrote about breaking down the Fitzcharles brick wall.  Click here

PLEASE contact me if you think you might be related, even remotely, to anyone mentioned in this blog.


Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall

Thursday, October 1, 2015

OCTOBER IS FAMILY HISTORY MONTH–What do you know about your ancestors?

clip_image002                                clip_image004                                 clip_image005  
What a great month to begin or continue your own family history.

  • Who were they?
  • Where did they come from?
  • What did they do for a living?
  • How many children did each family have?
  • How many times did they move?
  • Did they come from another country?
  • What were the historical events that shaped their lives?
  • What were some of the happy moments?
  • What were the saddest moments?
  • Did any of them go to college?
  • Did any of them leave you photos or letters or other heirlooms?
Have you asked yourself these questions?
Do you know where to look to find the answers?
Do you know where to begin?

Learning about your family can be exciting, heart warming, sometimes frustrating or sad, many times revealing.
There are SO many resources out there for family researchers that I couldn’t possibly list them all here.

TIP: My suggestion to new genealogists (and a reminder to those more experienced researchers) is to interview your living family members NOW.  We really cannot wait on this because we know that age isn’t the determining factor as to whether we lose a family member now or in the coming years.  They are all important and they all have memories to share.

Here are some steps to take to begin your research
1.  Google “How to begin genealogy research.”  I did this and had 881,000 results!  WOW!  Some of those ought to give you a good start.

2.  Talk to other family members who are either currently or have in the past, done research on your family.  Find out what they already know, what they’ve already done.  TIP:  Don’t take their word for anything unless they have well documented sources for the information (and I’m not talking about other online trees).  Use their information as a lead for your own research.

3.  Read some of the incredibly well written blogs that you can find online.  Many of the bloggers (and there are over 3,000 of us) offer tips and research strategies on a regular basis.  Most bloggers will give you a list of other bloggers they follow.  One blog will lead to another.  PLEASE SEE THE TAB AT THE TOP OF MY PAGE FOR THE BLOGS I FOLLOW.

4.  Join a local genealogical society and start attending meetings.  Whether it’s a very small group or a large one, you will find other like minded people who love nothing better than to talk about family research.  You’ll hear lots of ideas.  Take the best ones or the ones that fit you best and work from those.
Here’s are two posts I wrote about societies and why they will assist you in your research - SEMINARS, WEBINARS, SOCIETIES - Will they help your research?

HISTORICAL & FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETIES - Great Resources for Your Research

5.  Read some books.  I learned an incredible amount from the books I bought and read when I began this journey over 12 years ago.  You can either buy paper copies, download books to your e-reader, check them out from your local library or borrow them from other genealogists.  NOTE:  Our local society the San Diego Genealogical Society, has monthly meetings.  At each of those meetings there are used books for sale.
Please see the tab at the top of my blog for Books I Own.  Maybe some of them would be helpful to you?

6.  Join Facebook Groups.  There are a LOT of Facebook groups devoted to genealogy.  Whether it’s research tips, organizing tips, technology tips, location specific groups or whatever you might be looking for, you can probably find it on Facebook.  Here is a list (Click here) with over 5,500 links to Facebook groups from all over the world.  Thanks to Katherine R. Willson who created and updates this list.  
Here’s a post I wrote about how useful Facebook can be FACEBOOK - How it can be very useful in your research

I hope some of these suggestions have given you an idea where to begin your research.  Or maybe given you some new ideas to think about and explore.

I know I haven’t even begun to cover everything.

I’d love to hear about your successes and any other ideas you may have.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall

Monday, September 28, 2015

AMANUENSIS MONDAY–Eberhard Martin– died 1784 - Last Will & Testament

What does Amanuensis mean anyway?

To put it simply, it means a “person employed to write what another dictates or copy what has been written by another.”
I’m particularly excited to present this transcription today.  It is the recently obtained probate record of my 6th great grandfather, Johann Eberhard Martin, born Jan 1718 in Willington, Notzingen Donau, Wurttemberg, Germany, died  February 1784 in Derry, Cumberland, Pennsylvania.
Johann apparently went by the name Everhard or Eberhard in most records and documents once he came to the United States.  However, his baptismal record from Germany does give his first name as Johann.
Johann Eberhard Martin married Jacobina Elizabeth Wunderlich on 16 Feb 1745 in Notzingen, Teck Donau, Wurttemberg, Germany.  They had 5 known children: Mary, Rachel, Christopher, Anna Barbara and Elizabeth.
Yesterday while looking at Pennsylvania probate records on I located Eberhard’s probate record.  I was very excited to find this document.  This record gives proof of relationships and further documents this family.
Here is the actual document:
MARTIN_Eberhard_last will & testament_1784_Pennsylvania_pg 1 of 2

MARTIN_Eberhard_last will & testament_1784_Pennsylvania_pg 2 of 2

Here is my transcription of this probate record.  Where a word or words were not readable I inserted an underline.

Eberhard Martin Last   }              
  Will & Testament      }
      No. 132                  }
In the name of God Amen. 
I Everhard Martin of Derry Township Cumberland County and the State of Pennsylvania, being very sick and weak in Body But of perfect mind and memory, thank be given unto God calling unto mind the Mortality of my Body donate and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in the manner following:  I recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty God, that gave it and my Body I recommend to the Earth to be Buried in decent Christian Burial at the Discretion of my Executors, And as touching such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this Life, I give divise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.  First I give and bequeath to Jacobina Elizabeth my dearly beloved Wife, all my Household Furniture Belonging to the house and five Pounds in Good a Lawful Money of Pennsylvania, and Thirty Bushel of wheat a fat Hog yearly and every year during her natural life and to have the third of the money made out of the __ables after the debt is paid and the keeping of one Cow and two Sheep during her Life.  Also I give and bequeath to my well Beloved Son Christopher all my land in the __ survey to him his heirs and assigns forever.  Also said Christopher is to find his mother a Bed Room and Stove in it, the stove is to be Bought out the money arising from the Effects.  The Plantation which my son Christopher now lives on adjoining William Frampton and William Corbes is to be sold to pay the debts, and to deed the other Land with.  Also to my Daughter Barbara Fifty Acres of land during her life and to her Husband if he become Baptized and after her Decease to go to heirs.   To my Daughter Mary Fifty Acres of Land where she now lives on, To my Daughter Elizabeth Fifty Acres of Land one Cow one Sheep one Chest a Spinning Wheel a Bed and Bedding.  The Land left to the Girls is to be taken out of the new Survey where Gilbert now lives on and is to them and their heirs forever  Also I give to my Daughter Rachel Twenty five pounds Lawfull money of Pennsylvania to be Raised and Levied out of my Estate, Likewise I Constitute make and ordain my son Christopher the sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament And I do hereby wholy disallow and Revoke all former Testaments, Wills, Legacies and Executors, Ratifying and Conforming this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament In ____ whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal the Thirteenth day of January in the year of our Lord one Thousand Seven hundred and Eighty four

Signed Sealed published pronounced
And declared by the said Everhard Martin
As his Last Will and Testament in the presence
of us John Pomber John Vought _______
Be it Remembered that on the Twentyeth Day of February A.D. 1784 the last Will and Testament of Eberhard Martin Deceased was Leagly proved of which the foregoing Record is a true copy and Letters Testamentary issued in Common form to Christopher Martin Executor therein named on the said Twentyeth Day of February A.D. 1784  Inventory and ____ to be Exhibted into the Registers Office the time appointed by Law
       Witness my hand William Lyon Reg

PLEASE contact me if you think you might be related, even remotely, to anyone mentioned in this blog.
 I cannot wait to share other probate records with you.  Stay tuned.
Happy hunting,
michigan girl signature
Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall

Friday, September 25, 2015

FRIDAY FINDS–Death certificates for my husband’s grandparents

FINK_Henry & Freada_2-13-1944_enhanced
Henry & Freada Fink in the early 1950's

I have been going through my own “Do Over” and trying to make sure I have as many vital records as possible for each person in my tree.  No easy task to be sure.  But, slow and steady is the key and a little work each day will get the job done.

I was working on my husband’s side of the family and noticed that I didn’t have death certificates for his grandparents.  They both died right here in San Diego, where I live.  Several cousins also live here in the area.  Maybe one of them have the death certificates?

NOTE:  Sometimes it is the family closest to us for whom we don’t have complete records.  Like my siblings marriage records (still need to obtain those), these death records for Ron’s grandparents etc.  How about our own birth certificate or school records?  Have you recorded and scanned those?

I did contact the cousin who has provided me with all of the records I have for Ron’s family and she directed me to her daughter.  I made the request yesterday and this morning there they were, in my email.

girl with red top jumping for joy

Genie happy dance for sure.  Now I have a cause of death, more evidence of parent’s names etc.

Now instead of a blank space under “death cause” on my family view in Legacy, I have this:

Fink_henry & freada

Another find today was a probate record for Ron’s great grandfather.  More on that in another post.

Suffice to say, it’s been a great morning here in the genealogy cave.



MICHIGAN DEATH RECORDS ONLINE - Where can you find them?

Happy hunting,
Michigan girl sticker_lightened up
Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WEDDING WEDNESDAY–What is the earliest recorded marriage in my tree?

wedding bells
I decided that today I would look in my Legacy database for the earliest recorded marriage.
Using the “Search” feature in Legacy I found the following:

Marriages before 1800 = 197

Since that list was so large I narrowed it down.

Marriages before 1750 = 84

Let’s narrow that down even more.

Marriages before 1700 = 47

I’m a little surprised to find so many before 1700.  There are only small portions of mine and my husband’s family that I’ve traced back to the 1600’s.
Narrowing it down a bit more.

Marriages before 1650 = 10

Let’s take a look at those 10 individuals (5 couples)

about 1588 – Francis HALL to Elizabeth LNU – My husband’s 9th great grandparents. 
Source: None
3 Feb 1606 – Francis HALL to Margaret LEWIS – My husband’s 8th great grandparents.
Source: (I last modified this couple on 20 Apr 2009)  This means I need to go back and find that source and properly record it.

Before 1611 – Samuel MORSE to Elizabeth JASPER – My husband’s 9th great grandparents.
Source: None
1638 in Dedham, Massachusetts – Joseph MORSE to Hannah “Anne” PHILLIPS – My husband’s 8th great grandparents.
Source: Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700, page 1063
1641 in England – Joseph CLARK to Alice PEPPER – My husband’s 8th great grandparents.
Source: U.S. & International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 and Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700, page 324

UPDATE:  Thank you to Michele Simmons Lewis (who is tech support for Legacy) for pointing out another very quick way to find the earliest marriage in your database.

In your Legacy 8 file to go the Tools tab, then select Statistics.

This will bring up a list of everything in your family, from who lived the longest, births by era, how many males & females and MANY more interesting items.  Among them are the Marriage Statistics shown here:

As you can see this shows me 1 marriage between 1500 & 1599.  

Next, on the right hand side of the screen select "Create Search List."  This will take you directly to a screen like this:

There you have the exact marriage that occurred between those dates.

That's much easier than the method I originally used.  Thank you Michele for reminding how much information is at our fingertips via the Statistics List.

As you can see, these couples are all from my husband’s line.  I’ve had a lot more luck tracing his family back before 1700, than my own.  Looks like I need to go and hunt down the sources for the two I have “none” for and verify the one I found on

What is the earliest marriage you have recorded?  How are they related to you?  Please let me know in a comment or on your own blog post.

PLEASE contact me if you think you might be related, even remotely, to anyone mentioned in this blog.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

TOMBSTONE TUESDAY–Civil War Soldier Headstones

In keeping with last week’s post about finding our ancestors who served during military conflicts, I am posting some headstones of Civil War veterans from our family.

In total, at this point, I have 34 men who served during the Civil War.  I expect to have quite a few more once I am finished going through the lists I created in my post titled TUESDAY’S TIP – How to Determine Which War Your Ancestor May Have Participated In

Here are 6 headstones indicating their military service during the Civil War.
SURDAM_George B_headstone_1898_LakeviewCemSkaneatelesOnondagaNewYork_cropped
George B. SURDAM - Private, Co. H,  29th NY Infantry
GILLEN_Elijah F_1821-1896_original headstone_RomeProctorCemOH
Elijah F. GILLEN - Lieutenant, Co. S, 2nd Cavalry, West VA
GILLEN_Isaac_headstone_born about 1843_Mt HopeCem_UrbanaChampaignIllinois
Isaac GILLEN - Sergeant, Co. B, 135th Illinois Infantry

FLOWER_Rodney G_Cressey Praire Home Cemetery
Rodney G. FLOWER - Private, Co. L, 4th Regiment, Michigan Cavalry
FRAMPTON_William W_headstone with Wife Ella_DeSotoCem_JohnsonCo_Kansas
William W. FRAMPTON - Private, Co. I, 12th Kansas Volunteer Infantry
THOMPSON_William D_headstone_1906_GreenwoodCem_PA
William D. THOMPSON - Private, Co. B, 63rd PA Volunteer Infantry
Thank you to all of my ancestors who fought during this very horrible time in our nation’s history.  I sometimes try to think what it must have been like to live in the northern, midwest and southern states during this war.  I know it even affected those out west.

THE CIVIL WAR - How Our Country Dealt With The Aftermath
MYSTERY MONDAY - Where is the Wreck of this Civil War Era Paddle Steamer?

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

TUESDAY’S TIP–How to Determine Which War Your Ancestor May Have Participated In

Military records can be one of the best resources we find for our ancestors.  Whether it’s a draft registration, a pension file or a service record, they can tell us a lot about that ancestor.

Here are some of the things you may find in a military record:
  • Date of birth
  • Names of parents
  • Date of marriage, name of spouse & marital status
  • Names and ages and/or date of births of children
  • Places of residence
  • Occupation
  • Physical characteristics
  • Names of other relations or acquaintances may be found in pension files
  • Date & place of death
  • Place of burial
That is only a partial list.  But, you can certainly see how important these records can be.


I use Legacy 8 as my software database and this is the method I used.  I’m sure other software programs have similar finding aids.

The first thing I referred to was a list that I located on last year.  Here is a link to the post:

Birth years for veterans of various wars

My next step was to use the “Search” capabilities of Legacy 8 by beginning here: 

Search & find in Legacy 8

For a detailed, step by step lesson on how to create your search criteria, please see my post here - Legacy 8 - The Search Function - What Can You Find?

In this case I used the following criteria for possible World War I veterans:

Search screen_military service_annotated

NOTE: Of course there were women who served during the wars.  Especially the later wars.  However, for now I wanted to concentrate on the primary possibilities, which are the men.

Now I actually have a list I can use for each of the wars.  I can check the list one by one and look for military records.  Rather than my usual method of remembering to do that as I’m researching a particular person.
I can indicate in my To-Do list in Legacy that I have completed this task.  Or, I could make a notation in the ancestor’s “research notes.”  Or you could keep track some other way.  Because some of the lists are multiple pages, I would not personally print them out.  You might choose to.  I did create a PDF version of each list, which you can do directly from the “Print” option at the bottom of the page of names.

Here is a sample of the first page of a list I converted to PDF format:

Men Who Could Have Served in the War of 1812 1

Here is a compilation of how many names appear on each list that I created.

WAR OF 1812 = 118

That’s a grand total of 2570 men who could possibly have military records.  I will be able to quickly eliminate from each list, those who died at birth, died as infants or before they were military age.  There could be several who overlap and could have served in more than one war.  My database contains 4719 individuals.

Now to determine where to start and how to proceed.  Do you think this is a valuable list?  Is it something you could use?  Please share your results with me if you choose to create such lists.


Legacy 8 - CENSUS LIST - How Will I Use It To Search for My Family?

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall