Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A HEADSTONE LOST FOR 256 YEARS – Now Found ~ The story of 9 year old Betty Clark (1752-1761)

Photo used with permission of "Cheshire."

This is such a wonderful story and so unexpected.  That this little girl is a member of our family tree makes it all the more heartfelt.

Her headstone was located underneath a Keene resident’s front steps.  He was replacing a loose step and found this headstone.  Can you imagine his surprise?

How does Betty fit into our family?

Betty Clark is my husband’s 1st cousin 5 times removed.  That makes her the great granddaughter of my husband’s 6th great grandparents.  Make sense?  If not, here’s how Betty Clark fits into our family.

Betty Clark – 1st cousin 5 times removed, daughter of
Deacon Simeon Clark & Betsey “Betty” Hall who was the son of
Benjamin Hall & Betty Blake – husband’s 5th great granduncle & aunt, son of
Benjamin Hall, Sr. & Sarah Fisher – my husband’s 6th great grandparents

Yesterday on a Facebook page that I follow, I saw a story about Betty Clark’s headstone, which made the local Keene, New Hampshire news, and some of the more distant national news outlets.

Due to copyright laws I cannot copy and paste the news articles here.  However, I will give you the following links so that you may watch the video and read the stories for yourself.

Here is the link to the Keene Sentinel newspaper article.
Here is a link to the video from the news station – you do have to sit through a 30 second ad to watch it WMUR video

What did I know about Betty Clark prior to this story?

I knew she was the daughter of Deacon Simeon Clark (1723-1793) & Betsey Hall (1731-1817). I had her listed as the oldest child of 7 known children born to this couple.  I knew that her sister Unity Clark had died at the young age of 19 (probably in child birth) and was buried at Ash Swamp Cemetery.  I also knew that Betty’s father Deacon Simeon Clark was buried at Ash Swamp Cemetery.  

Ron and I took these photos in 2009 when we visited Keene for the specific purpose of finding out more about Ron’s family.

Ron standing at the Ash Swamp sign.  You have to climb the stairs to get to the cemetery
Ron standing inside the small cemetery
Headstone of Deacon Simeon Clark - Betty Clark's father
Headstone of Unity Clark Durant - Betty's sister

I had also located the birth record (in a book) and the death record for little Betty Clark.  I had no idea how she died or where she was buried.  The newspaper articles related to the finding of her headstone have given reference that she may have died in a small pox epidemic that occurred in 1761.  You may visit her findagrave memorial here #185054804

CLARK_Betty_birth record_7 Aug 1752_WrenthamMassachusetts
Birth record of Betty Clark
CLARK_Betty_death record_9 Mar 1761_KeeneCheshireNewHampshire
Death record for Betty Clark

I’ve often wondered what life was like back in those days of early Colonial America.  Of course there are many books, movies and historical documents that give us a window into their lives.  Five of Betty’s siblings lived to adulthood.  It appears that in 1774 her parents had a daughter and named her Betty as well.  I have not been able to determine if she lived to adulthood.  It was very common practice to name a subsequent child after a child who had died.
Here is my Family View from Legacy for this family.  If you are related to, descended from or otherwise connected to them, I’d love to hear from you.
CLARK family view

OTHER POSTS THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST (all related to Keene, New Hampshire)

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

MILITARY MONDAY ~ Sgt. Presley Lunsford - Killed in Action during the Civil War - 1864

Who was Presley Lunsford, this young man who gave his life in service to his country for a cause he believed in?

He was the second child of eight, born to Andrew Lunsford and Jane Gillialan/Gilliland.  An exact date for his birth cannot be determined, but it was about 1841 in Ohio. Presley Lunsford is my 1st cousin 4 times removed.

We first find Presley in the 1850 census living with his parents four siblings in Elizabeth, Lawrence Co., Ohio.  The surname Lunsford is often spelled Lunceford and varies from family to family and document to document.  Presley’s father is working as a Laborer.

Elizabeth Township is a small rural community.  In the 2000 census there were only 2,914 people living in Elizabeth.  I suspect it was much smaller back in the 1860’s.

In 1860, just a year prior to the beginning of the Civil War, Presley is single, 19 years old and living with his parents and all 7 of his siblings, still in Elizabeth, Lawrence Co., Ohio.  Both Presley and his father are working as Farm Hands.

On 12 Apr 1861 the War of the Rebellion as it was called then, the Civil War, as we call it now began.
Presley enlisted at Ironton, Ohio as a private on 28 Aug 1861, just four months after the war began.  Term of enlistment was 3 years.  He was in Company G, 2nd Regiment West Virginia Cavalry.  His description is given on this page in his muster roll.  He was 20 yrs. old, 5’ 7 1/2” tall, light complected, brown eyes, dark hair, born in Lawrence County, Ohio and his occupation was Farmer.  This same muster roll page states he was promoted to Sergeant on 31 Dec. 1862.  He just have been doing a good job for him to be promoted.

Here’s the image of that page along with the battles & commanders of the unit Presley Lunsford belonged to.  You may read more about this unit here 2nd West Virginia Volunteer Cavalry 

Click on any image in this post to enlarge it.

Presley got married during his time of service for the Union army.  On 12 Mar 1863 he married Martha Campbell at Kanawha, Cabell, West Virginia.  I wonder if they knew one another from his childhood or did they meet during his service?  There were no children born to this couple.  From statements in the file it appears that Martha was 18 years old when they married.

Here is a copy of a certified statement of the marriage, found inside the pension file.  This is just the kind of record you hope to find when you order pension files.  It may be the only evidence you find for marriages, especially during the turbulent times of the Civil War.

Sgt.Presley Lunsford was Killed in Action at Winchester, Virginia on 24 Jul 1864.  He was about 23 years old at the time of his death.  Here is the Casualty Sheet from his pension file.

Martha applied for and received a monthly pension of $8, in his name.  I expect it was difficult for a young woman to support herself in those days and even if she lived with family, every little bit would help.

Martha remarried to Thomas Saunders on 20 Oct 1865 and the pension payments were terminated.

Here are the notes I recorded as I read and re read this pension file.

                                CIVIL WAR PENSION FILE REVIEW
                                                   Presley Lunsford

Page                              Item of interest
3Claim filed 10 Dec 1864 at Ironton, Lawrence, Ohio
4Shows that Martha Lunsford is now Martha Saunders
6Surgeon general’s report dated Jan 1868 verifying death of soldier
7Widow’s Pension stating Presley Lunsford was a Private in Co G, 2nd W.VA Cavalry. Rate of pension is $8 a month commencing 25 Jul 1864, the date after the soldier’s death. List all dates pertinent such as enlistment, marriage and date of his death
8Summary of Proof – states he was killed in action at Winchester, VA on 24 Jul 1864
11Gives the date and place the soldier mustered into service – 28 Aug 1861 at Ironton, OH for a period of 3 years or during the war
14Statement by Kanawha County Recorder in the state of West Virginia on 25 Nov 1864. States that he certifies to the marriage of Presley Lunsford and Martha Campbell on 12 Mar 1863 in said county by James Atkinson . License for the marriage was issued by said office on 9 Mar 1863.
15Widow’s Claim for Pension – Martha Lunsford appeared before Court of Common Pleas and states she is 18 yrs. old and a resident of Aid Township in Lawrence County, Ohio. She is the widow of Presley Lunsford who was a Sergeant in Company G, commanded by Capt. Ankram in the 2nd Regiment of West Virginia Voluntary Cavalry commanded by Col. William Powell. That Presley Lunsford was killed near Winchester in the State of Virginia on 24 Jul 1864 in a fight with the Rebels. She also claims that she married Presley Lunsford in Kanawha Co, W. VA and that her name before marriage was Martha Campbell. And that no children were born to this couple. Her post office address is Ironton, Lawrence Co., Ohio.
16Witnesses to Martha Lunsford’s statement were John McMahan and Henry Lunsford residents of Lawrence Co., Ohio. State that since the death of her husband Martha Lunsford has not remarried as of 17 Sep 1864.
18Letter dated 14 Jun 1876 in Ironton, OH to Honorable J.A. ______, Commissioner of Pensions. This letter states that Martha Lunsford married Thomas Saunders 20 Oct 1865 and that her attorney Stephen P. Calvin died some six or seven years ago.
21Letter from probate Judge Geo. W. Thompson of Lawrence Co., Ohio, dated 14 Jun 1876 stating that Martha Lunsford and Thomas Saunders were issued a marriage license on 19 Oct 1865 in said county. And, that they were united in marriage on 20 Oct 1865 by Jeptha Clark, Justice of the Peace.
25Claimant’s answer to letter asking why she long neglected to prosecute her claim. States she lives far from town at Vernon Furnace in Lawrence Co., OH and has been married a second time for ten years and her name is now Sanders (note difference spelling here).

NOTE:  My system for reviewing these files has always been to record each page number and what I found on that page. I also extract that particular page from the PDF pension file and save it separately.

Some of these files can be over 200 pages long.  To think I will remember which page number contains which piece of information would be pointless.

I don’t have any idea where Presley’s final resting place is.  However, I have created a memorial for him on FindAGrave so that he is never forgotten. You may visit his memorial here.

While researching this family, I learned that Presley’s older brother, William H. Lunsford also served in the Union Army and survived the war.  I obtained an image of William from some of his descendants and use it here with their permission.  He too had dark hair and I wonder how much Presley may have looked like his older brother.
Photo of William H. Lunsford

If you have any additional information regarding this post, or are related to this family, please contact me.



My source for obtaining Civil War Pension Files is Twisted Twigs Genealogy.  There is a link to their home page in the right column of this blog.
Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2017 Diane Gould Hall

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOROTHY FINK HALL ~ My husband’s mother–born this day in 1913

Birthday Balloons with happy birthday
HALL_Dorothy_headshot when she was young_enh_B&W

Dorothy Beatrice Fink was born on this day in 1913 in Buffalo, Erie, New York.  She was the second child born to Heinrich “Henry” August Fink and Freada Emma Meta Doller.  Dorothy had an older brother, Elwood and two younger siblings, Willard & Delphine “Honey.”

She and her family moved to San Diego, California in 1935.  At age 23 she met and married Floyd O. “Ted” Brown in 1937.  There were no children born to that marriage and they divorced in 1944.

On 22 Jul 1945 Dorothy was 31 years old and she enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  This was just months prior to the end of World War II.  She was honorably discharged from military service 5 Apr 1946. 

On 22 Aug 1948 at age 34, Dorothy married Gordon Charles Hall in Lynwood, Los Angeles, California with her sister Honey and brother-in-law Marion Nelson Long as witnesses.

Gordon and Dorothy had one child, a son, Ronald. 

Dorothy and Gordon enjoyed a comfortable life with their young son, until Gordon’s sudden death of a heart attack, on 12 Jan 1966.  He was only 48 years old.

Dorothy provided a loving and stable home to her son.  She eventually became the grandmother to two young boys.
I knew Dorothy for only four short years prior to her death in 1993.  She is remembered by her family as a loving mother and grandmother.

Happy birthday Dorothy.  We all still miss you, especially your son.


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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

TREASURE CHEST THURSDAY ~ BIRTH RECORDS (twins) and others on one register page

What is one thing we always tell others and remind ourselves?  Be sure to look at other entries on any record you find.  Whether it’s a birth, death or marriage register or census records.  You never know what else you will find.

Today I was working on my Lunsford line.  It’s an extensive line on my maternal side with LOTS of children born to many of the couples.

I noted that I had found a birth record for a set of twins born to Basil Lunsford and Mahala Taylor Lunsford.  In fact, these twin girls appear to be the first of 11 children born to this couple.  In 2011 I have recorded the index record of the birth, but no image.  I wondered if that image had since been put online. I returned to to look for it.

Sure enough, it had.  And not only are the twins on this page, but another Lunsford cousin is listed as well.

I’ve marked Ada & Ida in red and circled the word “twins.”  And, marked Charles in green.

LUNSFORD_twins Ada & Ida & Chrls_birth record_1874_MasonOH

For any of my fellow genealogist in Lawrence County, Ohio, there are quite a few Massie & Vermillion births on this register as well.  None of those particular Massie or Vermillion’s link to my family, but they may link to yours.

Here is the family of Basil & Mahala Lunsford as they appear in my Legacy database.

(You can click on the image to enlarge it)

Lunsford Basil & Mahaly family view

This is what I like to see when I look at a family view in my database.  A robust family with lots of names and dates and other critical information like causes of death.

I know that Ida Lunsford went on to marry Dr. Charles E. Stewart and have four known children; Hobart (murdered in 1936-see link below), Charles, Mark & Thelma. She died on 15 Nov 1958.  I am not able to ascertain yet, if Ada married and to whom.  The names Ada & Ida are mixed up and cross referenced on many of the records.  I’m still working on Ada.

Do you know of any twins in you family?  If so, did they live to adulthood?  I’d love to hear about them.

If you think you have additional information about the ancestors mentioned in this post, please contact me.


THRILLER THURSDAY - Hobart Stewart Murdered in 1936


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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

SEPIA SATURDAY ~ My maternal grandparents, Joseph & Florence Milne and my Uncle Robert Milne–circa 1950

MILNE_Joseph-Robert & Florence_circa1950
Joseph A. Milne (1883-1957), Robert A. Milne (1909-1969) and Florence Bowden Milne (1888-1986)

This is a picture of my grandparents and their son (my Uncle Bob).  The photo was taken in the basement of their home in Detroit, Michigan.

I haven’t enhanced or made changes to the photo, because sometimes I like to see them in their original condition.  A little yellowed and a bit frayed at the corners.

I don’t have any information about what the occasion for this dinner was.  I do know that I’ve seen other pictures of parties (such as their 50th anniversary in 1956) that were thrown in their basement.

Everyone is dressed up.  Of course, back then it was quite common for all the men to wear ties and the women to wear nice dresses and pearls even if they were just having someone over for a casual dinner.  It’s how it was back then.  We certainly don’t dress that way now.  I kind of wish we still did.

I’m not sure of the exact address my grandparents were living at this time.  I have their address in 1940, from the census, but I believe they moved to another home after that.

GOOD FIND - While I was writing this post and reviewing family photos I’ve scanned, I located another picture that would appear to be taken at the same time. My grandmother is wearing the same dress and her hair looks like it’s done the same way as the picture above.  My grandfather’s tie is tilted the same way as the photo above and he’s wearing a suit.

It looks like my grandmother is opening a card in this second photo.  Was it her birthday or perhaps their anniversary?

Copy of MILNE_Florence and Joseph_circa early 1950s

Here’s a question.  Why is there a Jewish Menorah on the mantle?  How interesting.  According to family lore and DNA, we don’t have any Jewish ancestry.  Mmmmm…could this be someone else’s home they were having dinner at?  Something to look further into.  Intriguing.

I’d welcome input from family members or others who may recognize this home.

To see other Sepia Saturday posts from my blog please click here.

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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

TREASURE CHEST THURSDAY ~ Transit Permit for the remains of Wm. A. Boggs (1815-1899) – My 3rd great grandfather

BOGGS_Wm A_burial transfer permit from KY to WVA_Dec 1899

I found this record several years ago, thanks to a friend from our San Diego Genealogical Society, who told me about the West Virginia Culture website.  The website contains birth, marriage and death records for thousands of people.  I’ve found a lot of my ancestor’s records there.

But a Transit Permit was something altogether new to me.  My first question was, is this the correct Wm. A. Boggs.  My 3rd great grandfather was William Allen Boggs born 28 Sep 1815 in Gallia County, Ohio.  He married on 11 Apr 1839 in Lawrence County, Ohio, Nancy Delilah Lunsford.  Nancy was born 8 Nov 1819 in Virginia and died 10 Apr 1895 in Huntington, Cabell, WV.
Four years later, had William moved to Kentucky?

Yes, it seems he had, according to the 1898 Lexington City Directory.  I notice that he and Nancy had also lived in Kentucky back in 1869.

1898_BOGGS_Wm A_39 Forrest_LexingtonKY_pg 335
1898 Lexington, KY city directory, page 335 - Wm. A. Boggs

The fact that the Transit Permit give the address as 34 Forest Ave. and the directory lists him living at 39 Forest Ave. doesn’t bother me.  We all know that mistakes are common on many of the documents we locate for our ancestors.  It’s the evidence taken together that bring us to a reasonable conclusion.

I have not located a death record for William, with my latest search having been conducted today.
William and his wife Nancy are buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington, Cabell, West Virginia.  There are no headstones for them.  The person who entered the dates on the memorial (Ernie Wright, RIP) entered William’s death year as 1899.  Further proof that the Transit Permit is for him.

You may visit William’s memorial here #58500265.

Would you have come to the same conclusion regarding that Transit Permit?

Here is the evidence that I used to come to my conclusion.
  • The Transit Permit has his name correct – Wm. A. Boggs
  • The place of interment is correct – Huntington, West Virginia
  • The place of death is at 34 Forest Ave. and in 1898 William was living at 39 Forest Ave.
  • His age at death is given as 84 years, which coincides with the year of birth I already had for him – 1815
  • I cannot locate William in the 1900 federal census
  • His findagrave memorial gives his year of death as 1899
If you have further information on William or his family, or are connected in any way, please contact me.


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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

WEDDING WEDNESDAY ~ The story of Susan Hunter and James W. Trail–1846, Franklin Co., Ohio

wedding bells_thumb[5]
Celebrating the marriage of
James W. Trail & Susan Hunter

Susan Hunter is my 2nd great grandaunt.  She is the daughter of Rev. Isaac C. Hunter and Emily Gillen.  Susan was born 8 Nov 1829 in Ohio.1   She was the first child of 5 (known) children born to the couple.

On 16 Apr 1846 she married James W. Trail in Franklin County, Ohio.  Franklin County is located just about in the middle of the state of Ohio.  Most of my ancestors on this side of the family are from Lawrence County, which is southeast Franklin County, just on the border of West Virginia.  When I looked at the map of Ohio, I found that Susan was living with her parents and three siblings in Pickaway County, Ohio in the 1840 census.  Pickaway is just neighboring county to Franklin.  Susan’s father, Isaac, was an itinerant preacher so the family may have had to move around.  I wonder how Susan met her future husband, James Trail?

Here is a close up of the record of their marriage record.2

HUNTER_Susan marriage to James W TRAIL_16 Apr 1846_Ohio

James was 25 at the time of the marriage, but Susan was only 16.  As I researched further, I found that Susan had to obtain permission from her mother in order to get married.  I was able to locate on, the record of permission which is signed by her mother, Emily.3  I was redirected to to view the image.

HUNTER_Susan marriage to James TRAIL_Apr 1946_OH

I wonder if the reason Emily granted permission to Susan had anything to do with Emily having been widowed 4 years earlier.  She had 5 children in the house at the time ranging in age from a few months to 16 years.  It certainly couldn’t have been easy for her.  What did she do for income?  Emily then remarried a few months after Susan’s marriage to James Trail and went on to have two more children.

In the 1850 census, four years after their marriage we find James & Susan living in Fayette, Lawrence, Ohio.  They have one infant daughter, Emily A. and Susan’s brother, Isaac is living with them.  James is working as a Millwright.4

Susan & James had two more daughters, Ida & Lavina and one son, Isaac.  (The name Isaac obviously run in this family as Susan’s father, her brother and now her son all bear the name)

I wonder if there were more children born to Susan and James?  The fact that the first child we have for them is Emily, born 3 years after the marriage makes me wonder if other children may have died prior to her birth.  The rest of the children were all born in the “usual” time frame of about two years between each child.

This story has a sad ending.  Susan Hunter Trail, wife of James W. Trail died on June 16, 1856 (according to her headstone).  She was only 26 years old.  I find no record of her after that date.  I have never located her death record and I don’t know what she died from.  She is mentioned in the Ironton Register obituary on 19 Jun 1856, page 3.  I have never seen a copy of that article. These obituaries were referenced on the Lawrence Register website, which is how I learned about them.  However, at the current time they are no longer on the website. 

James went on to marry after Susan’s death.  I have not located the marriage record, if there is one, but he appears in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 census records with a woman named Sarah and a young son, named William D. Trail.

I believe that James Trail died in Apr 1886 as there is an obituary reference in the Ironton Register on 22 Apr 1886.  This newspaper is not online.  Oh how I wish it was because of the many ancestors from the area.

I was able, in 2012, to visit the cemetery in Burlington, Lawrence Co., Ohio where Susan Hunter Trail is buried. 

Here I am next to her headstone.

HUNTER_Susan married name TRAIL_headstone_1829-1856_BurlingtonGreenlawnCem_FayetteLawrenceOH_Diane Gould Hall beside headstone

The headstone reads: Susan wife of J. W. Trail daughter of Rev. I.C. & E. Hunter born Nov 8, 1829 died June 16, 1856.

Don’t we wish all headstones had reference to the parents of our ancestor?

If you have any additional information on this couple or you are descended from them, I’d love to hear from you.

1.  Headstone from findagrave memorial #96395510
2.  Ohio County Marriages, 1789-1994, Index & images, Film No. 285143, image number 00180
3.  Ohio County Marriages, 1774-1993, film number 000285167
4.  Definition of Millwright – a person who designs or builds mills or who maintains mill machinery

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

TOMBSTONE TUESDAY ~ Isaac Hunter Trail and Emma Floyd Trail of Indiana

TRAIL_Isaac H_headstone_1900_HighlandLawnCem_TerreHauteVigoIndiana
Both of the photos seen here are used with permission of the Wabash Vly Genealogy Society Cemetery Committee
Isaac Hunter Trail is my 1st cousin 3 times removed, on my maternal side of the family.  Emma Floyd Trail is his wife. 
Isaac was the only son of James W. Trail and Susan Hunter (stay tuned for a blog post about them which will be published tomorrow)  Isaac Trail was a well known Detective and long member of the Terre Haute Police Force.  He went home after work, where he died so suddenly that a physician could not be summoned.  He was only 47 years old. 
Emma lived for 26 years after Isaac’s death.  She was a teacher. She died at age 66 of cerebral hemorrhage and pneumonia.  It doesn’t appear that she remarried after Isaac’s death.  They had one son, James F. Trail.
Both of them are buried at Highland Lawn Cemetery in Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana.  Isaac’s memorial can be found here #28222519.  And, Emma’s can be found here #28222518.
If you have additional information about this family or are descended from or connected to them, I’d love to hear from you.
Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2017 Diane Gould Hall

Saturday, October 21, 2017

SEPIA SATURDAY ~ The Doller Family of Buffalo, New York, early 1900’s

FINK-Irving-Bertha-Frieda in bar in BuffaoNY c1900

I’ve always loved this photo that was found among my mother-in-law, Dorothy’s many pictures.  According to a piece of paper attached to the back of the photo this is Dorothy Fink’s Uncle, mother and grandmother and two unidentified men.

Here is the actual note from the back of the photo.  I believe (cousin Tammy, correct me if I’m wrong), this is Dorothy’s writing.  I don’t think the writing belongs to Dorothy’s sister, Delphine.

Back of photo in bar identifying what it is

In this photo, left to right are: Irven Dollar, Sr., Bertha Keller Dollar, Freada Doller Fink and two unknowns

Irven J. Doller, Sr. born 2 Sep 1885 in Germany, died 22 Jan 1963 in Buffalo, Erie, New York.  Married Lena M. Boskat and had 6 sons, four of whom served in World War II. 

Bertha A. Keller, born 28 Jun 1865 in Berlin, Germany, died 6 Oct 1950 in Buffalo, Erie, New York.  Married John Doller about 1884 in Germany.  It’s believed the couple had four children born in Germany, but only Irven survived. Their daughter, Freada was born in Buffalo.

Freada Emma Meta Doller, born 24 Aug 1895 in Buffalo, Erie, New York, died 1 Mar 1981 in San Diego, San Diego Co., California.  She married Heinrich “Henry” August Fink  8 Oct 1911 in Fort Erie, Welland, Ontario, Canada.  They had two sons and two daughters.

The note says that this photo was taken in a bar on Genesee St., owned by “my grandparents.”  That would mean the bar was owned by John Doller and his wife, Bertha.  I’ve checked city directories to try and locate this bar and have not yet had any luck.  The directories I do find coincide with other records I have for John Doller, listing his occupation as Mason, or Stonemason. 

I do find references to John Doller and his wife living at 1728 Genesee Street in Buffalo in the 1920 federal census, the 1923 Buffalo city directory, 1925 New York state census, 1930 census and the 1933 Buffalo city directory. 

Here’s the photo in black & white, perhaps it’s more clear?

FINK-Irving-Bertha-Frieda in bar in BuffaoNY c1900_blk &wht

If you can provide any additional information about this photo, the bar on Genesee or the identification of the two unknown men, please contact me.

I’ve written other posts about the Doller family and you may access them with these links:

Analyzing Evidence - John Doller & Bertha Keller - Who Were They?

Amaneunsis Monday - Birth Records featuring Mita Freda Doller

Sunday's Obituary - Irven J. Doller, Sr. 1885-1963

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2017 Diane Gould Hall


SIBLING SATURDAY ~ Corp. John E. Hunter and his brother Isaac C. Hunter–Union and Confederate soldiers

Union vs confederate

I have come across the first instance in my family where brother opposed brother in the Civil War.  Much has been written in recent months about this subject.  But, I’ll stay out of the political debate and just report history as it related to my own family.

It all began when I requested and received the Civil War Pension File for my 2nd great granduncle John E. Hunter.  Until a few weeks ago I knew only an approximate birth year and place for John E. Hunter.  After contact with a cousin, via DNA, I have begun to fill out his life.  Please refer to my blog post here if you’d like to read about that cousin connection.

Another brother in that same family has been a mystery to me too.  All I had on Isaac C. Hunter was an approximate year of birth and place.

After receiving the pension file for Corp. John E. Hunter I learned the following.  That he had served with Company H, 6th Regiment, Ohio Cavalry from Oct 1861 until the end of his term of service in 1864.  During that time he had been taken prisoner of war for a short time and also sustained a gun shot wound to his left shoulder.

After his discharge from the service he married and had a son, but his shoulder continued to cause him pain and an inability to do any hard labor.  To try and improve his health he went to Shreveport, Louisiana where his brother Isaac C. Hunter was a River Boat Pilot.  John Hunter was, according to his brother’s deposition, able to work with him for a while on the river boat.  However, John became ill and ended up being treated by a physician while at Isaac’s home.
In reading Isaac’s deposition (see image below – click on it to enlarge it) I learned that they didn’t agree about the war and had “very little to say about it.”  That, of course, makes me want to know more.

HUNTER_John E_CivilWarPension File 58-annot

Here is a close up of the section of the page outlined in red above.

HUNTER_John E_CivilWarPension File 58-cropped

Transcription from excerpt above – “He told me he was wounded in the U.S. Army, but said very little about it, we did not agree about the war, and had very little to say about it, I don’t know on what part of his person the wound was."

As I was able to conduct further research (and thanks to my cousin Amy) Isaac C. Hunter’s FindAGrave memorial was located. Memorial #7425900.  On the memorial you will see that Isaac aka Ike was a Private in the 1st Btn Co E Trans-Mississippi Confederate Cavalry C.S.A.  Isaac Hunter was also a member of Benevolent Association of Confederate Veterans.

NOTE:  I have no experience in looking for or finding Confederate records.  Now I get to learn something new.

It was quite obvious that these two brothers fought on opposite sides during the war.  I am still trying to find military records that would tell me more about Isaac Hunter’s service for the Confederate Army.

This is the first time I have found a member of my family who served in the Confederate Army.  It seems the majority of both mine and my husband’s family came to and stayed in the northern states.  You always read about brothers fighting against brothers, but I’d never heard of my own family on opposite sides. 

I have more information to share about these Hunter brothers, but I’ll save that for another post.

If you believe you are connected to this family, I’d love to hear from you.  Please get in touch with me.

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017


4th cousin
Here’s how it happened a couple of weeks ago.  I received a message on my Ancestry account from a cousin, I’ll call “J.”  Here is her message to me:

“You came up as a DNA match for me . Would you be interested in linking family trees? I am related to Hunter & Frampton.”

I wrote back and said that I would be very interesting in exchanging information.  My Hunter and Frampton lines are direct ancestors, so a connection is always good news.

Next, I went to my DNA matches on Ancestry and immediately began looking for this match. 

Here is what I found.

I’m only showing a portion of the pedigree in order to protect privacy.
My match is on the left hand side and J’s match is on the right.  So, we are connected via my 3rd great grandparents Isaac C. Hunter and his wife Emily Gillen.  I have no contact with any of their descendants so this was BIG news!

Ancestry match to Janelle

You’ll notice the name John E. Hunter on the right hand side.  I have never been able to find out information about that descendant of Issac & Emily.  He was a brother to my 2nd great grandfather James Gillen Hunter. 

TIP: Whenever, I look at someone’s match on Ancestry, I make a note in the “Add Note” portion of the DNA page.  I note how many centimorgens and any other possible, such as what part of the family they may be from, maternal, paternal etc.  That way the next time you review this person you will already have some information.  I learned this tip from another researcher.  Thank you Carol.

Ancestry match to Janelle-1

Now, 22 cm’s is not a lot.  Considering the small amount of DNA passed between 4th to 6th cousins, it’s lucky there is any match.  Having said that, she did not match either my brother or my maternal half brother.  She does match my Mom at 25.4 cm's.  
J's connection to me is 4th cousin once removed.

We chatted back & forth and armed with new information, I was able to learn more about John E. Hunter.  I learned that he’d been married and had a son, from whom this cousin descended.  The bigger thing I learned was that he served during the Civil War and there was a pension file for him.

I requested a copy of the pension file the next day.  Having received four other pension files, I know the worth of the information contained in those files.  I use Twisted Twigs to order pension files.  It’s much faster than ordering directly from NARA and also less expensive.  (Disclaimer – I have no association with Twisted Twigs nor do I gain any remuneration from mentioning the service, nor can I guarantee your satisfaction) 

I received the 111 page pension file for Lottie R. Hunter, widow of John E. Hunter a few days later.  I am currently going through the pension file, page by page and making notes, as I usually do.
Corporal John E. Hunter was a prisoner of war for a short time and he also received a gunshot wound to his shoulder, during his service.  He didn’t live very long after the war, dying at age 28.


How important is all the DNA testing many of us are participating in?  VERY!!!

I’d like to hear your stories of connections made through DNA.  Share them with me in a comment or on your own blog and leave a link in the comments.
As always….Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2017 Diane Gould Hall

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

TOMBSTONE TUESDAY ~ James C. Morrison (about 1886-1958) –My Aunt Joan’s father-in-law

MORRISON_James_Grand Lawn
JAMES C. MORRISON HEADSTONE – Photo taken by Diane Gould Hall

James C. Morrison is the father-in-law of my maternal Aunt, Joan Esther Milne Morrison.  He was born in Canada about 1886 and immigrated to the United States, according to the 1930 federal census, in 1910.  He and his wife, Edna Amanda Gleason were married 14 Sep 1910 in St. Mary’s, Perth, Ontario, Canada.  Together they had only one child that I know of, Raymond Gleason Morrison born 25 May 1912 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.

This is a branch of the family that needs more of my attention.  I do have records indicating that James’ parents were William Morrison and Mary A. Beatty.

James C. Morrison is buried at Grand Lawn Cemetery in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.  Many of my ancestors are resting at Grand Lawn.  You may visit his FindAGrave memorial here #184363280.

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

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2017   Diane Gould Hall

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


I consider myself a novice when it comes to DNA.  Although I've taken many classes and seminars, I still have a lot to learn. I'm getting there......slowly.

One of the most Aha! moments I've had came when I was looking at my husband's DNA on GedMatch.   This was the number one match on his One to Many list.

This match has a total cM of 75.6 with a 3.8 MRCA (most recent common ancestor).  That would mean the match is at about the 3rd cousin level, sharing 2nd great grandparents.  Other possibilities are 3rd cousin once removed or even 3rd cousin twice removed.  For any of those it would mean sharing 2nd great grandparents.

The exciting thing was that I noticed there is a Gedcom associated with this match.  That means I can go into the Gedcom and try to find those 2nd great grandparents and see if I can locate the match.  

NOTE: When I click on the GED link a screen comes up with "Individual Detail Display"  This gives me some information on the specific match, but not what I'm looking for.  So, I always click on "Pedigree." 

This pedigree is pretty full, which is exciting.  I count back from the point person to the level of 2nd great grandparents.  I browse down that level in the pedigree chart to see if I recognize any names.  BINGO!  There is a surname I immediately recognize as being associated with my husband's line, CUPPS.  And the location in Pennsylvania also fits.

I immediately go to my Legacy database and find the only Cupps entry I have, which happens to be the first wife of my husband's 2nd GREAT GRANDFATHER.  Now that's exciting as it is in line with what the shared DNA indicated.  

I didn't even know that my husband's 2nd great grandfather, William W. Bright (1835-1916) had a first wife until I received his Civil War pension file.  I only knew about his second wife, Mary Jane Flynn, which is whom I thought my husband descended from, based on dates and other records.  
Mmmmm..........could I be wrong?  I'm certainly anxious to find out.  

Was my husband's great grandfather, Ellmer E. Bright the son of Mary Jane Flynn or Catherine Cupps?

I set out on a research mission to find out all I could about the CUPPS names listed in that Gedcom file that was a match to my husband's DNA. 

The first thing I did was try to find the 2nd great grandparents listed on that Gedcom in GedMatch, Henry Cupps and Catherine Strauss.   I went over to, where my husband's DNA is located.  I immediately found a public tree with the same pedigree as the one on GedMatch.

There are Henry Cupps and Catherine Strauss and two of their children, Sarah and Catherine.  

That, of course, isn't good enough for me, but it's surely a strong indication.  

I located Henry Cupps and his wife Catherine in the 1850 census and guess who two of the children were......that's right, Sarah and Catherine Cupps.  Further proof. 

Next, I began reviewing the dates of marriages for William W. Bright and his two wives and the dates of death of both women.

We all know that prior to about 1900 anything is possible.  You may or may not find records.  A strong indicator of when William's first wife Catherine Cupps died is in his Civil War pension file. In his deposition he states that she died "during the war."  That puts her death between 1861 and 1865.  Also in the pension file is the date of the marriage of William to Catherine Cupps, 1853 in Sharpsburg, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  Further reading in the pension file gives her death date of August 1862.  Also listed in that pension file are the names and years of birth of all of William's children from both marriages, including Ellmer E. Bright (my husband's direct line), who is said to have been born in 1861.  I had a year of birth for him of 1859.  Either way, he was born prior to Catherine Cupps death and prior to William marrying his second wife in Feb 1864.

I have more research to do to bring out all the details for this family.  

  • First of all, I didn't look closely enough at the Civil War pension file.  I read though it a couple of times and caught, what I thought, were most of the details. 
  • I didn't consider or look closely enough at the years of birth for all six children born to William W. Bright.   I don't have a death certificate or register of death, but I do have an obituary and a probate record for Ellmer.  The obituary gives his age at death of 29 years and 5 months.  Given his date of death that would indicate he was born in November 1859.
  • This family was one of the very first I worked on back in 2003-2004.  Not an excuse, but certainly a reason for all of us to review ALL of our work.
  • I have officially changed my husband's direct line and now have Catherine Cupps as his 2nd great grandmother instead of Mary Jane Flynn.  
This has been a LOT of fun and really points out the value of our DNA tests.  Not only that, but making sure your DNA is uploaded to every possible site.  
This match showed up as the first hit on GedMatch.
On Ancestry it is buried several pages down with the 4th - 6th cousin matches.

I have yet to check on MyHeritage and FtDNA where my husband's test is also uploaded.

Have you had similar experiences?  Are you using your DNA matches to verify or disprove your paper trail?  

AMANUENSIS MONDAY - The Last Will & Testament of Ellmer E. Bright

SURNAME SATURDAY - Who Was Daisy Bright? (my husband's grandmother) 

If you are connected with the families mentioned here, I would love to hear from you.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2017   Diane Gould Hall