Tuesday, December 31, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! May all your genealogy wishes come true and may those brick walls tumble down


happy-new-year-wallpaper-2014

Here’s some new year wishes from days past.

Happy new year horses & car              


happy new year jan 1
happy new year birds                     

Have a GREAT 2014!

Michigan Girl

Copyright © 2014 Diane Gould Hall

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY DAD–He would have been 101 years old today


My Dad was the son of Harry W. Gould & Marie Lindsay.  He was born on New Year’s Eve 1912 in Detroit, Michigan.  He died on 3 Feb 1991 in Trenton, Wayne, Michigan.

Throughout my life it was always a double celebration on New Year’s Eve.  

My Dad loved to laugh and he was a great story teller.  He could remember so many jokes and I never knew how he did it.  

I’m thankful that I went through old family photos with him in the years before he died.  There are many we still hadn’t gotten to and I would give anything to ask him a few questions.

ALWAYS ask your parents & grandparents questions about their families.   Use your smart phone or your tablet and record your conversation or write things down.  You will never regret it.

Here are some pictures from the past.  My grandmother, my Dad’s mother, had an old photo album.  You know, the kind with the black pages.  She and my grandpa took quite a few pictures.  Hard to believe those pictures are 100 years old.

Dad at 3 months_circa March 1913
MY DAD AT 3 MONTHS OLD.  THAT'S MY GRANDMA'S HANDWRITING - Detroit, Michigan
Dad in several pictures when he was 5 months old May 1913
MY DAD AT 5 MONTHS WITH HIS MOM & HIS DAD - Detroit, Michigan

Dad on the running board of his Wm Goulds car_1918
MY DAD AT ABOUT 6 YRS. OLD ON THE RUNNING BOARD OF HIS GRANDFATHER'S CAR

Dad sitting on Uncle Fords lap with his Grandma & parents & aunts & uncles all around_Christmas 1918
MY DAD SITTING ON HIS UNCLE FORD'S LAP WITH HIS PARENTS & AUNT & UNCLES BEHIND HIM - DETROIT, MICHIGAN
GOULD_Diane with her Dad Harry Norman Gould on her birthday in 1981
ME & MY DAD IN 1981, CELEBRATING MY BIRTHDAY - SAN DIEGO, CA.

I miss you Dad.  But, I have many happy memories.

Bye for now,

Michigan Girl aka Norm’s daughter


Copyright © 2013 Diane Gould Hall

Sunday, December 29, 2013

MICHIGAN DEATH RECORDS ONLINE–Where can you find them?


collage for mich death records post

This post was prompted by a private message sent to me today on Facebook.  The inquiry concerned where to find Michigan death in the 1900’s.  

I answered the inquiry and that resulted in a couple of more questions about death records in Michigan.  

So, here is a quick reference on what records you can find and where you can find them.

Michigan began keeping death records, by law, in 1867.  Registration of these records was not enforced until a 1905 law made the filing of records much more effective.

WHERE TO FIND RECORDS ONLINE

1867-1897

You can find an index for these records on the website
Genealogical Death Indexing System (commonly referred to as GENDIS) http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/gendisx/search.htm

(See the update below regarding viewing images of these records)

GENDIS home page

-- REMEMBER CLICKING ANY IMAGE ON THIS PAGE WILL ENLARGE IT--

Once on this page you can enter the descendant's name, father’s last name, county of death, and a range of years from 1867-1897.  You can sort by any of those criteria using the drop down list in the lower right hand corner.

NOTE:  My experience in using this database is that you can usually just enter a last name and click on search.  Unless, of course, your searching for Smith or Williams or another fairly common name.  There are few enough records on this site that entering just a last name will give you the biggest result.  If you find there are too many records (or the site tells you there are too many), then narrow your search by entering more information, such as a first name.  As with any search, less is usually better, so that you don’t miss anything.  I throw a big net and then narrow.  Some people like to throw a narrow net and then enlarge it.  Whatever you are comfortable with will work.  

When I entered the last name HART, I got a page full of hits.  And, the site told me the query was too broad to show all matching records.  In that case you’d want to enter more criteria.

Here is a sample from that page.

gendis results of hart search

Let’s click on the first name on the list, Abigail Hart.

Here is our result.

gendis abigail hart info

As you can see this is some really good genealogical information.  Everything from the date of her death to her cause of death to her father’s name and much more.  

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Deidre who reminded me that the images to these records from 1867-1897 are now available on familysearch.org.  This link will take you directly to the death records search page https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1452402

Once you have entered the search criteria for the person you are looking for you will see a screen like this.

 

As indicated above, click on "View Document" to bring up the image.

NOTE:  Be sure to go to the next page in the record in order to view all the data available.  Many times the first page you see will not contain everything.


1897-1920

These records came online slowly, but steadily, until they were finished a couple of years ago.  We waited with great anticipation, knowing that they were loading images as well as the data. 

These records can be located on the website

seekingmichigan.org

 Here is what you’ll see when you open the site.

seekingmichiganhome

See the search bar at the top of the page?
Click on the “Advanced Search” on the right hand side.

This opens a screen that looks like this:

seekingmichigan search page

Now it’s up to you to enter the criteria for the search.  Here are the steps to follow in order to have a more successful result:
  • Be sure that the only box on the far right that is checked is “Death Records.”
  • In the box directly under “Find results with:” you should use the drop down arrow and change the selection to “any of the words.”
  • Now enter something in the next box.  I usually enter the last name.
  • Go to the next box that has a drop down arrow and choose the appropriate item, in this case “last name.”
  • Leave the box that says "and” alone right now.  You can change it to “or” if you need to at a later time.
  • In the next box be sure you use the drop down arrow and change the choice from “all of the words” to “any of the words.” Why is this important? Because it will give you a broader search.  You can play around with the choices once you’re more familiar with how the site works.
  • Now enter a first name, or any number of other choices.  Use the drop down arrow next to “all fields” to see what your choices are.  You could even enter a year of death or the county of death if you wanted. 
  • Again, play around with your choices.
  • If you think it’s necessary there is an option to “add another field.”
  • Now click on SEARCH and see what you get.
Here is my result when I put ONLY the last name Hart in the search field and left all other boxes blank.  You can see there are 697 results (circled in red).   This page is showing you the first 20 results.  In this case you may want to narrow your search.

seeking mich hart results

But, for our purposes, let’s take a look at the very first entry for Luther W. Hart who died in 1913 in Oceana.  

When I click on the thumbnail of the certificate here is what comes up first.  This is a transcription of some items on the death certificate, which may help you decide if this is the correct person.  

seeking mich hart results tex of

WAIT!  I thought we could see the actual image of the death certificate.

You can.  At the top of the page above are options to “download” or “print.”

Note:  You will also see, in the upper right, the word “results” and two arrows.  This allows you to scroll through the data one by one, looking at each entry, if you choose to do that.

seeking mich top of text page for hart

I will select the download option.  I can save the image to my computer once I’ve looked at it.

Here it is.

seeking mich hart image result

Isn’t it wonderful to see an actual image, online?  Now you can use your own skills to determine what each entry says.  Transcribers don’t always get it right, do they?

NOTE:  Before I would save this image to my computer and add it to my database, I would want to get rid of that awful black border, maybe darken the image a bit and possibly straighten it just a tad.  I do this ALL the time with images from Ancestry, familysearch or other sites where I find images.  

Here is my blog post about the method I use for making the images look great: 
EASY DOCUMENT EDITING    http://www.michiganfamilytrails.com/2013/11/easy-document-editing.html

Here is the image after I cleaned it up.

seeking mich hart image result_after cropping


1921-1952

The index for these records is available on familysearch.org.  There are 1,681,256 as of 29 Apr 2013.  No images have been added yet, but at least there are transcriptions of a portion of the death certificate.  

NOTE:  Thanks to reader, Sonja, for letting me know that the images for this group of records will be gradually added to the seekingmichigan.org site.  Due to restrictions on the release of death information, they will only show those that are over 75 yrs. ago.  So, as of 2013 they would be able to post images back to 1938.  Looking forward to seeing them.

Go to familysearch.org, Search, then click on United States, then on Michigan and you will get all the Michigan selections.

familysearch mich selections

You can see the fourth selection from the top is Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952.

Another place to check for vital records is at the county level.  Many counties throughout the U.S. have websites.  Some, like West Virginia and Missouri have indexes and images.  

That’s it.  Those are the available online death records for Michigan.  I hope you’ll have great success in using these resources.  I know I have.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright © 2013  Diane Gould Hall

Friday, December 27, 2013

FOLLOWING LEADS ON ANCESTRY– One thing leads to another


Ancestry shaky leaf with circle

How many of us have those shaky leaves on Ancestry.com?  Sometimes there are 2 on mine and sometimes there are 32.  I think it all depends on how much I’ve worked on the site in recent days.  

Today I thought I’d check a couple of leads that had popped up on a particular branch of the family. 
The first thing I do is click on the shaky leaf and see what kinds of records they are referring me to.  Then I go to my Legacy database and see what information I have on that person.  

NOTE:  I use the Ancestry tree for the purpose of connecting with cousins and others who might be researching my line.  And, for the shaky leaves that refer me to records that I can follow up on.  My primary family tree is on my personal database on Legacy.  ALL my research notes are on Legacy, as are most of my sources and the majority of my images.  I absolutely DO NOT rely on the family trees on Ancestry as sources.  They are merely possible leads.  That’s a whole other blog post.  But, trust me when I say that there are more errors on those trees than you and I can even count.

What I found today was a shaky leaf for Elliott H. BOGGS.  He is a 3rd Great Granduncle and I’m very interested in knowing more about him.   All I had in my database was his approximate date of birth & place and his wife, their marriage date and 6 children. 

Here is a screenshot of what I have in my Legacy database for Elliott & his wife & children.

Boggs_Elliott_screen shot before I found info on Ancestry

As you can see, there is a LOT of missing information.

Here is one of the leads that showed up in Ancestry.  I have him as having died in Iowa in Sep 1882, which is very close to the death date listed here.  

BOGGS_Elliott_cemetery lead on Ancestry

When I clicked on that lead, here is what came up.

BOGGS_Elliott_Ancestry Cem record screen shot

I didn’t know where he was buried.  Is this really him?  What should I do next?

I decided that my next move would be to go on FindAGrave.com and search for Oliver Cemetery in Monroe, Ringgold, Iowa.

Here is the result of my search:

Oliver cemetery on FAG

I clicked on the cemetery.  It shows the 392 interments and that it is 94% photographed.  I entered Boggs in search  box for last name and clicked on “search.” 

NOTE:  I rarely, if ever, enter a first and last name when I am searching for someone on findagrave.  The site has a very narrow margin in it’s search engine.  In this case less is always better.  I’d rather see 100 Boggs come up and pick the one I want, than have none come up because I entered Elliott and the memorial spells the name Eliott.

In this case I got the dreaded “Sorry, there are no records.”

WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?
  • Give up?
  • Assume that the record on Ancestry is incorrect and he isn’t really buried here?
  • Look for other places that might have records for this cemetery?
YUP!  That last option sounds good to me.

I conducted a search on Google for “Oliver Cemetery in Iowa” and got the following results:

Oliver cemetery on Google

Are we having fun yet?  I know I am.

I reviewed these entries before clicking on any of them. 
- The first one looks promising. 
- The second one is Mount Olivet in Dubuque County, Iowa, so I don’t think that’s a hit. 
- Nor is the next entry from wikipedia.  

Let’s click on that first entry and see what we find.

Oliver cemetery listings without Boggs

OH NO!  There are no Boggs listed here at all. 

SHOULD I GIVE UP NOW?

Heck no!  Let’s scroll further down the list from Google and see what else is there.

Oliver cemetery on Google with genweb list

I like the looks of that second entry with a reference to the GenWeb Project.  In my 10+ years of experience I have found that GenWeb projects can contain a lot of good information.   Based on my experience I will click on that one.

NOTE:  If you don’t have years of experience, you would probably have to click on each of the results found on Google to see what they contain.  We learn as we go.

Once I clicked on that second entry here is what I saw:


 --------- You can always click on any image on this blog to enlarge it ---------


 A close up shows that they have Oliver Cemetery Transcriptions – with links to gravestone photographs, biographies, obituaries and family pages. 

What?  WOW!  I sure hope they have a listing for Elliott Boggs.

Oliver cem transcription reference

I clicked on the link shown in blue “Oliver Cemetery Transcriptions.”  They had all the letters of the alphabet, so I clicked on “B” with my fingers crossed.  Here goes……..

I scroll down the page of B surnames.

THERE HE IS!!!!!

Boggs_Elliott & Elnora listing

Am I excited?  You bet I am.  As I quickly review what is listed here I realize this is, more than likely, the correct person and matches my entry in Legacy.  Not only does this give Elliott’s name and his location in the cemetery, but there is his wife, listed right next to him.  And THERE’S MORE.

This listing contains:
  • Both Elliott H. Boggs and his wife Elnora H. McCoy Boggs.
  • Their location in plot 62 in the cemetery.
  • A full date of birth for Elliott and a place.  And a year and place for Elnora.
  • The full date of death, place of death & age for Elliott and the full date for Elnora.
  • In the comments area we have the name of the parents of both Elliott & Elnora, but also their marriage date & place.
This is quite a bit more than what you will find on most of the cemetery listings that I have seen.  The bonus is the names of parents and the date & place of the marriage.

WHAT WILL I DO NEXT?

Once I’ve gotten over the excitement of my find, I will begin looking for other records to confirm what is here.  

How does it compare to what I already know?

If there are conflicts, are they small ones or major?

What other records can I locate that will help me confirm this information?  Maybe a death certificate, marriage record, probate record.  

Is the cemetery still in operation?  I’ve made many a phone call to cemeteries all over the country and had some wonderful results.

I’m pretty convinced that this is “my” Elliott Boggs.  Small discrepancies like years of birth being off, Eleanor McCoy being listed as Elnora, his death year listed as 1893 and not 1892 as in my database, the marriage being listed as 18 Apr 1849 and not 18 Apr 1839 are not reason enough for me to believe this isn’t “my” Elliott.  

That being said, I have a LOT of proving to do.  So, off I go to find more records. This has been a good day of research and very rewarding.  

LESSON: NEVER give up.  Keep on looking and keep on clicking until you’ve exhausted all possibilities.  

What if I would have given up after that first search on FindAGrave or Google that turned up nothing?

Happy Hunting

Michigan Girl


Copyright © 2013  Diane Gould Hall

Thursday, December 26, 2013

SIGNATURES and HANDWRITING–What they tell us

  
WHO DOESN’T RECOGNIZE THIS SIGNATURE? 

In fact, John Hancock’s signature was so famous that we still use it as an acronym for signing our name.  “Please put your John Hancock here.” 

As genealogists we process, review, copy, scan, download and analyze many documents.  These can date back to several centuries ago, or be as current as last year.  

What can signatures mean to us as researchers?
  • It certainly personalizes your connection with that particular ancestor.  You are looking at a document that was probably handled by your ancestor. 
  • It can tell you if your ancestor was actually able to sign his or her name, or did they have to leave a mark?
  • It can be an indicator whether you ancestor was left handed.  Left handed people often times write back handed.  However, this is not a “set in stone” rule.  There are right handed people who will also write and sign in a back handed slant.
  • If you have more than one sample of the signature, depending on how many years apart they are, you might be able to tell if the ancestor has a shaky hand or has perhaps become ill.   Has the signature changed?  If so, how?  Did the ancestor sign his or her name before and now can only leave a mark?  Or just the opposite.  Did they leave a mark in an earlier document and later signed their name?
We certainly aren’t (at least most of us), hand writing experts.  Nor, will we become experts by examining our ancestors signatures. 

It is possible, however, to do a brief study on handwriting and perhaps learn a little more about our ancestor.  The study of handwriting is call Graphology.

I did a search in Google “the study of signatures.”  Here are some sites that came up that may help us learn a little more.  These are certainly not all-inclusive, but can still give us some good information.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphology
http://atozhandwriting.com/signature-analysis/
http://www.ehow.com/how_2302506_study-signature-using-graphology.html

Maybe you are fortunate enough to have a larger exemplar of your ancestor’s handwriting.  Perhaps letters, land documents or hand-written wills.  These items are certainly treasures.  But, the truth is that for most of us, we are lucky if we have a signature.

WHERE DO WE FIND SIGNATURES?
Here are a few ideas

Marriage records
Land records
Birth records
Baptism & Christening records
Probate records
Draft registration records
Social security application (SS-5) records
Social security cards
Affidavits of various sorts
Driver’s licenses
Cemetery or funeral home records

There are more places to find signatures and I’m sure you can add to this list. 

Now, what do we do when we do find one a signature?

Once the document has been scanned or saved to your computer, you can use your favorite photo editing software to crop and capture the signature.  I use Microsoft Office 2010 Photo Editor, for it’s ease of use.  But any editor will work.  Here is an article I posted not long ago about using Microsoft Office Photo Editor for EASY DOCUMENT EDITING.

Now, go and look at all those documents you have and find those signatures. 
I have posted a few of my family’s signatures in a “signature” tab at the top of this blog.

Thanks for stopping by today.
Happy hunting,






Tuesday, December 24, 2013

SEASONS GREETINGS TO ALL MY READERS


IMG_3906

I want to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers a very wonderful holiday season. 

In my family we celebrate Christmas, remembering the words of many of our favorite Christmas carols as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  If you celebrate Hanukkah or some other holiday at this time of year, then I wish you the very best.

This time of year can be lonely for those who’ve lost loved ones or those far away from home.  Let’s remember them in our prayers.

US FlagA very special and heartfelt thanks to our military service men & women and their families.  
Thank you for your sacrifice for us.




HERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT I HOLD DEAR AT CHRISTMAS & ALWAYS
100_2577
100_2579 IMG_1617
 
IMG_1620
Christmas 2008 104


May God bless you all this coming year.

See you soon,

Michigan Girl

Copyright © 2013 Diane Gould Hall

Saturday, December 21, 2013

SATURDAY NIGHT FUN–SURNAME CHRISTMAS TREE


Randy at Genea-Musings http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/12/saturday-night-genealogy-fun-make.html has suggested another good, fun idea for Saturday Night Fun.  

He suggested that we create a Surname Christmas tree.  Great idea!  

Here’s mine.
Surname Christmas tree

I don’t think this is as clever as Randy’s, but it was fun to create.

I used Tagxedo http://www.tagxedo.com/app.html  This is a site that you can use to create all sorts of cloud type designs.

Show me what you created.  

Thanks Randy for the great idea.  And thanks Leslie Ann for giving Randy the idea.

Copyright © 2013    Diane Gould Hall

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIGITAL FOLDER ORGANIZING & NAMING MADE EASY



WHO DOESN’T WANT TO BE ABLE TO LOCATE THAT BIRTH, DEATH, MARRIAGE, PROBATE, LAND RECORD OR PHOTO WITH A CLICK OR TWO OF YOUR MOUSE?
 
No one wants to have to search and search to try to find a document or image that you KNOW you saved to your computer. Whether it was last week or last year, you should be able to locate anything you want, easily, with a click or two of your mouse.
 
Here is how I do it:
  1. Decide where on your computer you want your genealogy information to be located. Such as in your C drive under DOCUMENTS, GENEALOGY, IMAGES. You decide where that “Master” location will be. From that point on, ALL of your images will be located in that folder and in the subsequent sub-folders you will create. 
  2. Once you’ve decided on the MASTER folder, it’s time to create sub-folders for your surnames. This can be done several ways. If you have a small database, just individual surnames. If you have a large database with several thousand people you might want to first create a folder or folders that encompass letters of the alphabet. Such as A-K and L-Z or even smaller groups. Or you can have 26 folders, one for each letter of the alphabet. Whatever style works for you.
  3. Here’s what I’m talking about. I use Windows 7 so items are located in the folder:
C: GENEALOGY/HART (or whatever surname you want)
 
Under each surname I want sub-folders to identify the documents/images I have saved. I want them to be very clear and very easy to identify. Birth, death, marriage, cemetery info, immigration, probate, everything.
 
HERE IS A SAMPLE OF THE FOLDERS I HAVE UNDER EACH SURNAME:
 
Exhibit A
clip_image001

You can add different folders if you need something else. I have found over the years that these folders cover most everything. I rarely use the Misc. folder, but it’s there in case I run across the odd item that won’t fit elsewhere.
 

Just to be clear. Here are the steps: 
 
· Create your MASTER folder in you C drive – called Genealogy or My Surnames or whatever you want.
 
· Create sub-folders either by surname, letters of the alphabet, family groups or whatever suits you.
 
· Under each surname you have a list of sub-folders to easily identify your items. Create these sub folders just ONCE (see my instructions below) and keep them where you can find them. Then copy & paste them under each surname.
 
· Move each of the appropriate items to the folders you have created. Your genealogy program (at least with Legacy), will then search for the files in their new locations. In Legacy, once it’s located one or two, it will locate the others.
 
HOW TO AVOID HAVING TO REPRODUCE THOSE SUB-FOLDERS FOR
EVERY SINGLE SURNAME
 
Nobody wants to have to right click, then go to “new folder” and create each of those sub-folders for each surname, over & over, right? Here is how I avoided that problem. 
 
I created a folder under C:/GENEALOGY called “Gene-folders for each surname file.”
 
Then I created each of the folders that I wanted under each surname. See Exhibit A
I do this just ONE time and then I highlight the folders, copy & paste them into each of the surname folders. BINGO! You are done and ready to move on.
 
NOTE: Shortcuts that make it even easier.
Ctrl A to highlight the folders you want to place in the surname folder
Ctrl C to copy copies the highlighted folders. Now go to your surname folder &
Ctrl V to paste these sub folders in the surname folder.
 
The keyboard shortcuts above can be used for anything and will save you tons of time, no matter what you are copying & pasting.
 
Let’s say I’m looking for a birth or death record for someone with the surname HART.
 
Here are examples. I want to find a birth record for Henry G. Hart. You can see that I’ve clicked on birth under the Hart surname and there are all my records.  It's easy to find Henry G. Hart on the list.
clip_image003

Now I want to find a HART death record for Emma Hart.  I go to the HART surname folder, then click on "death-obits," then on the right hand side you see all the death records and can easily locate Emma's record.
 
clip_image005

How easy was that?

LET’S TALK ABOUT NAMING YOUR DOCUMENTS/IMAGES
We all or at least most of us started out with file names like, Grandma, Easter 1910, or my Mom in 1950.
 
We have learned that those file names don’t work. In fact, if that kind of identifier is written on the back of any photo we should “fix” it so that someone in the future knows who this person is. 
 
These rules apply to ALL photos and to documents.
 
Whether you are scanning & saving them, or you grab them from a website. Whether they are census records, birth records, probate records or family photos. 

There MUST be a file naming standard.
 
I use this rule for naming all of my files.
 
WHO, WHAT, WHEN AND WHERE

I begin with the LAST NAME IN CAPS, then proceed from there with the first name (if known), what the record is and then when & where. You may use underscores or space between the items. You might not always have all 4 pieces of information, but you record what you do have.
 
In viewing the sample above for the HART family, you can see how easy it is to locate a record using this method.

NOTE:  Use of the A-L, M-Z folders - I created these misc. folders for those surnames that I don't think I will do very much research on.  Like perhaps a 4th cousin twice removed, or grandfather of your great uncle's wife's father.  Maybe you were only looking at them to try and find more information on a particular person.  You might only want to save one or two documents.  To me this doesn't generate a whole new surname folder.  I still create the sub folders under the A-Z folder so I can locate items easily.  
If you should find that a particular surname that started in the A-Z folder has now become more of a focus and you are saving a lot of documents or images, then just create a surname folder and the sub folders and transfer the images to those files by using copy and paste.  
I have had to do this, but not very often.  I still find the A-Z folder useful for my purposes.  
 
Now multiply this by how many times you are searching for a record and you will find that having a system is worth its weight in gold. It may take you a little bit of time to create your system, but in the end you will be forever grateful for having done it. I know that back when I had to come up with something that would actually WORK, it made my life going forward a thousand times easier.
 
I certainly hope this has been helpful. If you have comments, please share them with me. I’d love to hear your success stories too. Did this system work for you once you implemented it? Have you come up with an even better system? I’m all ears.

 
COPYRIGHT © 2013 Diane Gould Hall   All rights reserved

Saturday, December 14, 2013

HOW I FOLLOW A TRAIL OF RECORDS & ANALYZE WHAT I FIND–HENRY HART FAMILY–PART 2


Hart collage

MY GOAL:  CAN I PROVE A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MY 2ND GREAT GRANDFATHER, HENRY HART & A REPORTED FIRST WIFE?  
 
HE IS REPORTED TO HAVE MARRIED & HAD 4 CHILDREN WITH THIS WIFE, PRIOR TO MARRYING MY 2ND GREAT GRANDMOTHER.
 
I WILL SHARE WITH YOU, IN THIS POST AND UPCOMING POSTS, HOW I FOLLOW THE LEADS AND WHAT I FIND.
 
THIS IS AN ONGOING SERIES.  PLEASE REFER TO PREVIOUS POSTS, IF NECESSARY. 
Here is a link to the first post: HOW I FOLLOW A TRAIL OF RECORDS & ANALYZE WHAT I FIND - HENRY HART FAMILY - PART 1

I HAVE RESTATED MY GOAL ABOVE AND WILL RE-STATE THAT GOAL AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH POST FOR THIS SERIES. 
 
According to the information from cousin Judy, Hiram Harper Hart was born on 11 Sep 1818. No place of birth is listed nor is there a death date or place.
 
Hart_Henry-typed Family Group Sheet from Judy in Texas_ENHANCED

There is some handwritten information on the sheet from cousin Judy (see above photo of same) that seems to contain specific information related to Hiram. I can read most of it, but what does it mean? 
 
Here is what I think it says, I am trying to interpret the printing to the best of my ability.
 
“1850 census list Hiram 32, Clorasis-younger, Curtiss
1859 – son Seth, d-Nancy, s-Elijah, d-Clarassia, son-Arthur
Believe there were 6 children (must be 3rd wifes 6 children)”
 
The first place I will look will be on the census reports. 
 
NOTE:  Before 1850, only the heads of household were listed on the U.S. population census reports.  This means that we can look at the census records from 1790-1840 and try to ascertain from the ages of those enumerated, who they might be.  However, since this family was living in Canada prior to about 1838, as far as I can tell, this makes finding them a little more challenging.  Here is the chronology report with the information I currently have on Henry HART & his first wife, Sarah SUMNER:
 
Hart_chornology report for first 4 children

Your looking at this for the first time and so am I.  What does that “verified” word at the top mean?  I haven’t verified any of this information yet.  I am using Legacy version 8, which just came out last week.  Is this an anomaly in the report?  For now we will ignore that word.
 
What I have found online on Ancestry.com as far as early census records, is NOTHING.  

There is a family tree on Ancestry that states that Henry was living in Cambria, Niagara Co., New York in 1840.  Would Hiram have been living with him then?  How about the other children?  I cannot locate that census record.
 
Let’s move on then.  Our focus is Hiram Harper HART.  It is very easy to get sidetracked when we are researching.  I can tell you that I am a HUGE offender.  FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS!  Those are words I repeat to myself often.
 
I’m going to go to familysearch.org and put in Hiram Harper Hart, with a wife named Clara (instead of Clarissa, I will enter Clara or even Clar* as it gives me a broader search).  Parents names Henry & Sally Sarah.  
 
NOTE:  I tend to put in minimal amounts of information to broaden the net of my search.  If you enter too much you will restrain the search and I’d rather scroll through some data and pick what is relevant, than have too little.
 
Here is what I entered for my search:
 
  Hart_Hiram_mysearch criteria-2

Notice I have not entered a last name or even a complete name for Clarissa, his wife.  Nor have I entered a last name for his father or mother, only first names.
 
Here are some of the results of this search:



As you can see we have plenty of results.  And what excites me is that the names are a match to what is on that family list from cousin Judy (see above).
 
Now to examine each and every one of these records.  Since several of them have images (as indicated by the camera next to the record source) we will be able to actually look at the record, rather than just an index/transcription of the record.  However, any record is better than no record.
 
NOTE: It is extremely easy to get sidetracked when doing any research.  I am a perfect example of that.  I had to stop writing the draft of this post due to other priorities (you know…regular life things, especially during the holidays).  
 
Before being able to examine the records I have posted above about Hiram Harper Hart, I found one of those “oh so tempting” shaky leaves on my Ancestry tree for Clarissa Curtis, Hiram’s wife.  I took the bait and clicked on the hints and have now gone down the road with Hiram’s wife, Clarissa.  This isn’t a bad thing to do because, after all, it’s still the same family and you don’t know what records you will find.
 
Here is what happened.
 
I followed one lead, which led to another and don’t you know I have FINALLY located her death certificate!  That’s a big find!!!  Up until now I had not located her death date or record.  WHY?  Because I would have been searching under the surname Hart.  
 
She must have remarried to someone named PARKS.  She was living with her son Arthur in the 1900 census listed as Clarise Parks, widowed mother of the head of household, her son, Arthur Hart.  Does this help me with Hiram.  YES.  Because if Clarissa remarried and I can locate the marriage record, then I may be able to determine if Hiram died or they divorced.  At least I will have a time frame.
 
The steps I followed to locate her death record were as follows:
  • Click on her name in the 1900 census and this is what comes up.
PARKS_Clarissa in 1900 census

Notice it states she is widowed.  Also over on the right hand side you will “other records that may be relevant to Clarrisa Parks.”  There is a listing for a Michigan death record.
 
I clicked on the link for the Michigan death record and found this:
 
PARKS_Clarissa_Mich death index in Ancestry

You can see that it gives the name of her father, Asa Curtis.  Based on the information from cousin Judy, I believe her maiden name to be Curtis.  And from a couple of Ancestry trees I have found her father listed as Asa Curtis.  Along with that is a year of birth 1829, which is in keeping with other records for her.
 
Notice over on the right hand side of this record there is listed an 1891 Canadian census.  

Let’s see what that contains.
 
PARKS_Clarissa in 1891 Canadian census

I reviewed this record and some of the other records listed on the right side of the page above. In evaluating those records I have concluded that there may be two Clarissa Parks. 
I won’t go into detail here as this post is already too long.  

However, let me share the marriage record I did find for Clarissa Curtis Hart to Edward Parks.
 
CURTIS_Clarissa marriage to Edward PARKS_1875_BathClintonMichigan

The entry for Clarissa Curtis Hart & Edward Parks is the second one from the bottom and here is a close up.  (Remember you can click on any of these image to make them larger)
 
CURTIS_Clarissa marriage to Edward PARKS_1875_BathClintonMichigan_CROPPED

As you can see this marriage record not only lists Clarissa’s last name as Hart at the time of the marriage, but it also gives her maiden name as Curtis.  Her place of birth is New York, which matches other records.  As far as her age, it’s within a year or two of other records. 
 
TIP: Always pay attention to the ages & year of birth, but be sure you don’t disregard a record because those figures don’t match exactly.  People didn’t always know their exact dates of birth, like we do now.  And, remember, those ladies and even the men, weren’t always truthful about their ages.
 
Now I am convinced that the Clarissa Parks listed in the Michigan Death record is our Clarissa.  I know that there are online images of Michigan Death Certificates from 1897-1920 at a site called seekingmichigan.org.  I have used this site MANY times.  I went to that site and that's where I located Clarissa's death certificate.
 
Here is Clarissa’s death certificate:
PARKS_Clarise nee CURTIS_death cert_28 Mar 1910_LansingInghamMichigan

You can see that her year & place of birth match other records we have for her.  That her father’s name is given as Asa Curtis and that the informant is her son, Elijah.  I am further convinced that this is the correct Clarissa Curtis, wife of Hiram Harper Hart.
 
I am going to close this post for now as it’s already too long.  This is a good research day as I have discovered that Hiram Harper Hart’s wife, Clarissa, married a second time and I’ve found her death certificate.
 
Next time, we will continue our search and see what we find.
 
REMEMBER:  When we have a plan for what we “think” we want to do, sometimes we need to be ready to go in another direction, at least temporarily.  
 
We are still trying to find proof of the marriage of Henry Hart to his “said to be” first wife, Sally Sumner.  It just may take us a while to get there. But, aren't we having fun in the meantime.  I know I am :)
 
I will continue with this search and share it with you. Stay tuned.
 
Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
 
Copyright © 2013   Diane Gould Hall