Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Dinner Remembered

Christmas dinner in 1952 as photographed by my mother. I don't remember what we usually ate for Christmas dinner though the incredible Swiss steak for New Year's sticks in my mind. That was unlike anything I've ever seen since. Mother always saw to a beautiful Christmas for me, but she hated the stress it created, especially after she went back to work when I was seven. This was only a little over a year later. My brother was back from Korea where he had served as a young Marine in the war. We were certainly grateful for his return. I think I see the magic still reflected in my youthful eyes.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Blog Caroling: Favorite Christmas Carol

I don't think any one carol is my favorite. I know as a teen I went out caroling with a group but a little later the Kingston Trio recorded an album titled "Last Month of the Year." The songs were folk and gospel songs and that record has ever since been my favorite Christmas music. This year Dick's Hum & Strum group at the senior center did one of the songs in their annual holiday concert. Dick didn't know why he knew the song, but it was "Children Go Where I Send Thee," a song on that album. It is a lively, but beautiful song of African-American origin. I couldn't find an online recording of the Kingston Trio version, but there is a very old one with Gordon Lightfoot.

The words to it (from Wikipedia) are:

Children, go where I send thee
How shall I send thee?
I'm gonna send thee one-by-one
One for the little bitty baby
Wrapped in swaddling clothing
Lying in the manger
Born, born oh, born in Bethlehem.

Children, go where I send thee
How shall I send thee?
I'm gonna send thee two-by-two
Two for Paul and Silas
One for the little bitty baby
Wrapped in swaddling clothing
Lying in the manger
Born, born oh, born in Bethlehem.

Three for the three men riding (or: the Hebrew children)
Four for the four that stood at the door (or: were knocking at the door)
Five for the gospel preachers (or: the five that came back alive)
Six for the six that never got fixed (or: picked)
Seven for the seven that never got to Heaven (originally "the seven that all went to Heaven", probably alluding to Luke 20:27-33)
Eight for the eight that waited (or: stood) at the gate
Nine for the nine all dressed so fine (or: the nine that stood in the line)
Ten for the Ten Commandments
Eleven for the eleven deriders
Twelve for the twelve Apostles

I fond recordings of many variations of these lyrics, but that is the beauty of music of the people.

And here is a view of Dick and the guitar and ukulele group on December 1st.
Designer Credits:
-template: Dec. Copycat Challenge by Elisa (EHStudios) based on "Crush" by Kym 
-background: Oscraps Collab Family
-paper for frame: Photographed in Black & White by Sue Cummings
-overlay (blended): Snowy Overlays No. 1 by Anna Aspnes
-brad: ArtPlay Palette Santa Nicholas Add-On No. 1 by Anna Aspnes
fonts: Hurry Up, Pea Anderson, Corbel

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Stockings Remembered

Grocery shopping with my sister today I was reminded of the oranges and/or tangerines (the latter preferred as easy to peel) and assorted nuts that were such a treat in our Christmas stockings. She remembered them just as I do. My husband says his family had the same goodies in their stockings.We are remembering from the 1930s into the 1950s. I think my brother's children got them too. I can't imagine children today thinking those were special enough for a Christmas stocking. Looks like times just keep changing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Historical County Boundaries - Cynthiana, Kentucky

This week Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings blog challenge of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) is one I find very important and well constructed. The topic is Historical County Boundaries. Randy referred us to the Historical U.S. County Maps page on Randy Majors website ( ) I highly recommend you take a look at this interactive site.

First we needed to read the whole page about the mapping, then choose a location and document its historical jurisdiction each 10 years from 1790 to 1900. Then we needed to post about what we found and how it did or might effect our research.

I chose the location of the ancestors of my paternal grandfather. They had farms outside Cynthiana, Kentucky. I have varied the instructions a bit as the history of the county prior to 1790 is also of interest. Here is what I found.

Cynthiana, Kentucky

1772, Dec. 1 in Fincastle (created from Botetourt) County, Virginia
1780, Nov. 1 in Fayette (created from Kentucky), Virginia
1789, May  1 in Bourbon County, Kentucky portion of Virginia
1792 Kentucky became a state
1800 in Harrison County, Kentucky (created in 1795)
Subsequent changes to Harrison County did not change the location of Cynthiana, the county seat.

Prior to statehood in 1792, some records are in Virginia. None of my Harrison County family was likely in the area to create county records prior to the establishment of Fayette County in 1780, so that is where records might begin. Between 1789 and 1795 county records should be in Bourbon County, but some are still recorded there later in the 1790s (will of Edward McShane in 1796, marriage bond of his daughter Mary to John Waits in 1798.) Everything since then should be in Harrison County. Were any of them there early enough to have records in Fayette County?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eason Heirs of Alexander Adams (ca. 1719 – 1805)

Alexander Adams, an early settler in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, died there on 12 January 1805 at the age of 85.[1] His will, written 23 December 1799, was proven in the Fayette County Court in the May 1805 session and ordered to be recorded.[2] Later the will could not be found, but its terms are summarized in an 1829 deed from his daughter, Agnes Eckles.

Alexander’s widow Ann Adams was left a life interest in the estate which was to be equally divided after her death among three daughters, Mary Milligan, Jane Eason, and Eleanor Steele and his grandson, Alexander Eckles, son of his daughter Agnes Eckles.[3]

Alexander Eckles sold his future share of the estate to Fulton Thompson on 18 June 1812.[4] When the will could not later be found, Agnes Eckles executed another deed to Thompson on 5 March 1829 relinquishing any claim to the estate that would have been hers without the will.

In 1831 the shares of Mary Milligan and the heirs of Jane Eason were sold to Charlton Hunt and Richard A. Curd. One deed sold the share of Alexander “Eson” and his wife Jane of Owen County, Indiana, on 13 August 1831. It specified that he was one of the children and heirs of Jane “Eson,” deceased and her husband Robert “Eson,” also deceased. The deed was recorded in Fayette County, Kentucky, on 30 December 1831.[5]

A single deed, dated 10 June 1831, sold the shares of John Milligan and Mary his wife, daughter of Alexander Adams and additional heirs of Jane “Eson,” daughter of Alexander Adams, all of the State of Pennsylvania. Their names and locations were:
  • John Milligan, Esquire, and wife Mary of Westmoreland County
  • John Eason and wife Elizabeth of Indiana County
  • John Patton and wife Jane of Centre County
  • Nancy Eason of Centre County
  • Henry Hughes and wife Margaret of Lycoming County
  • Samuel Shaffer and wife Elizabeth of Lycoming County
This sale was also to Hunt and Curd of Lexington, Kentucky.[6]

The share of Eleanor Steele was not accounted for in these deeds. Robert Eason and his wife Jane (nee Adams) were both deceased by 1831 when the deeds were executed. All of their surviving children may be included in these two deeds. All of them lived in Pennsylvania except Alexander Eason who lived in Owen County, Indiana.

[1] Died (Alexander Adams), Kentucky Gazette, Lexington, Kentucky, 15 January 1805, p. 3.
[2] Order Book 1: 274, probate of will of Alexander Adams, Fayette County Clerk, Lexington, KY.
[3] Deed Book 5: 112, Agnes Eckles to Fulton Thompson, Fayette County Clerk, Lexington, KY.
[4] Deed Book G: 62, Alexander Eckles to Fulton Thompson, 1812, Fayette County Clerk, Lexington, KY.
[5] Deed Book 7: 435-36, Alexander & Jane Eason, heirs of Alexander Adams to Hunt & Curd, Fayette County Clerk, Lexington, KY.
[6] Deed Book 7: 436-48, Eason & Milligan heirs of Alexander Adams to Hunt & Curd, Fayette County Clerk, Lexington, KY.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Nichols in Georgetown

I've written about my Eckles and Nichols family in Kentucky. I have yet to learn of the location in which the family in Georgetown (Scott County, Kentucky) were buried into the 1860s. The earliest family recorded on a tombstone in the Georgetown Cemetery is undoubtedly of later origin. One side commemorates Charles Nichols (1817-1862), his wife Nancy Boyd (Eckles) Nichols (1819-1888) and their daughter Mary Ann Nichols (1843 - 1864). The reverse of the stone is for their son Charles Boyd Nichols, a prominent Kentuckian. He lived from 1848 to 1920. Also on the stone are his wife Ella Tarlton Nichols (1848 - 1930, also my relative) and their infant daughter Mary Ann (22 Jan 1872 - Feb 1872). I believe it is likely that son Charles Boyd Nichols had the stone carved for his parents as well as his own family. Its style is more in keeping with the 1920s than 1888 let alone the 1860s.

photographed in Georgetown Cemetery 1 September 2011
Close by are the stones for the eldest in this Nichols family and his wife. Moses Eckles Nichols (1841 - 1908) has a stone inscribed "Father" beside one inscribed "Mother" for his wife Martha "Mattie" Coleman (Lightburne) Nichols (1845 - 1911.)

Georgetown Cemetery records are posted online and may be searched HERE.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thriller Thursday: William Ackles Murdered 1789

This is as much mystery as thriller as I do NOT know who William Ackles was. Using abstracts to the Kentucky Gazette and the online index to it at the Kentuckiana Digital Library I have searched for everything on the surname Eckles and its spelling variations. I find no news article on this murder, but it made the paper when the court issued an alert that the perpetrator had fled with a directive to apprehend him. The Kentucky frontier of 1789 was an outpost of Virginia and could be quite dangerous in many ways. Without details of William Ackles being stabbed to death by Thomas McMillin we are left to imagine the location and circumstances.
Kentucky Gazette, 2 January 1790, Lexington, Kentucky, p.2
My ancestor, Robert Eckles first has records appearing in Fayette County, Kentucky, in 1788. The surname often is spelled with an "A" or Ackles and many other variation with either initial. While others of the surname were in neighboring counties, all records in Fayette and its seat of Lexington, seem to be of Robert's family. Except for the stabbing death of William. It is an event I need to research, if possible, to see if William is also related. The County Clerk had records in his home when it burned in 1803, but I have to learn whether that included criminal proceedings.

Robert's youngest son, born 1800 or later, was named William. As William is a common name, it is too early to believe this naming supports a connection to the murdered man.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mystery Monday: Everyone Knew Her As Nancy – but her name was AGNES!

While I think I've solved part of this mystery, some is unresolved and now there are new mysteries. Last year I created a scrapbook page about three generations in my family all named Nancy. It makes for some interesting problems in identification.

An example of the identity problem begins with a book transcribing funeral invitations including one for a Mrs. Nancy Eckles in 1839. The transcriber attributed it to the first wife of Charles Eckles of Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky. (Marie Dickore, compiler, Copies of Names on Invitations to Funerals and Burials In Scott County and Fayette County, Kentucky, 1821 - 1898 (Cincinnati, Ohio:, 1942), 8.) Based on other evidence I came to believe his wife had died earlier and that the 1839 death was really his mother. On a recent trip to Kentucky I found an item seeming to confirm that Charles' wife died earlier (see below.)

A big surprise about her name awaited in the County Clerk's office in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. A series of wills appears to show that Nancy (Boyd) Eckles was named Agnes but mostly called Nancy. Look at the names of daughters and sons in the wills of John Boyd (who seemed NOT to be her father with no child Nancy), John's widow Martha and their unmarried daughter Mary. John's will was written before Nancy Boyd married Charles Eckles in 1816 in Fayette County with bondsman James McIsaac. James McIsaac was married to John Boyd's daughter Martha and thus was Nancy's brother-in-law.
John and Martha both signed with their mark. John Boyd had been the most likely candidate for her father, so it is especially rewarding to find that he apparently was the one. Information on nicknames (History and Genealogy Unit, “A Listing Of Some 18th and 19th Century American Nicknames,” Connecticut State Library ( accessed 31 August 2011).) claims that Nancy could be a nickname for Agnes. The consistent list of names over the three wills seems to agree with that. The mother's will uses a number of nicknames for her other children as well. Another document tying Nancy to John Boyd is a guardian report by Charles Eckles in Scott County, KY. (Charles Eckles guardian report (recorded 17 January 1831), Scott County Will Book E, Part 2: 161, Scott County Clerk's Office, Georgetown, KY.) He received payment from the estate of John Boyd on 27 January 1830 as guardian of Mary and Nancy Eckles. They were his daughters. This seems to imply that their mother, the named heir of John Boyd, was probably deceased by this time and her daughters were receiving her inheritance.

Next question: was her mother-in-law really Agnes too?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Help Through I Ching?

Randy Seaver's SNGF (at Genea-Musings) is really off the wall this week looking for genealogy research help by throwing the I Ching. His directions read:
1)  The writer of the Nuts from the Family Tree blog wrote about her question for the I Ching ( Book of Changes) guru in Cluless No More.  I thoguht that this might be a fun thing to do on Saturday night. 
2)  Go to and ask a question relating to your genealogy research.  You can "throw the coins virtually" or "throw the coins by hand."  You have to click the "throw" button six times, then click on "Read." 
3)  Report the question you asked and the answer you received, in the form of the Cast Hexagram (which explains the situation you are now in, or what has gone before), to your readers.    
4)  Does the answer make any sense to you?  How do you interpret the answer? 
5)  Write your own blog post about this, or post a comment on Facebook or Google Plus, or write a comment on this blog post.
I followed the directions and it was very interesting, maybe even hopeful.

My Question: Will I unravel the Eckles family in Fayette County, Kentucky? (see post here)

My Cast Hexagram:
The Cast Hexagram reading is for  45 - Gathering.

The first part of it reads:

The Lake rises by welcoming and receiving Earth's waters:
The King approaches his temple.
It is wise to seek audience with him there.

Success follows this course.
Making an offering will seal your good fortune.
A goal will be realized now.

That is followed by this Situational Analysis:
This is an important Convergence, and you must be part of it.
Look for the Center of this convergence.
Like waters running to the sea, like an astronomical convergence of planets revolving around the sun, you should let the gravity of this Center draw you near.
Others are also drawn to this Center, and among them you will find shared bonds and kindred spirits.
This tribal convergence will give you a clarity of purpose.
You will no longer be alone.

This sounds very encouraging to me, especially as I plan to go to Kentucky the end of the month and especially do research in Fayette and Scott counties. I've made contact with and hope to see relatives there I've not seen in about forty years, so the gathering might be very literal.

I tried the Custom Search at the Trigram Symbol tab, but of three "hits" and another using "Eccles" nothing was remotely connected. My question is very meaningful to me, but not an easy Internet search.

Thanks to Randy for a really different adventure on Saturday Night.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Will of Charles Williamson

Deborah (Williamson) Bell was my great-great grandmother. I wrote about difficulties learning the identity of her father. A very strong candidate was a Charles Williamson who died in Wood County, (West) Virginia in 1858. See my earlier post: HERE. He was included in a book by Raymond Martin Bell and Edna Marian Miller with just eight children. They did not include Deborah. I hoped they had missed some esoteric document, but a very basic document reveals the truth.

FamilySearch has browsable images of "West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971" for all 55 counties of West Virginia. In Wood County's Will Book 5 I found three entries for Charles Williamson in the index: his will on p. 127-8 and two settlements on pp. 180-81 and 266-68. The image below is a little too small to read and not in the best of shape to begin with, but it is a treasure!
The will names eleven children. Based on the census records for Charles Williamson, I believe there were twelve, the additional one a daughter, Judith, who died in 1847 and is buried in Compton Cemetery in Wood County as are Charles, his wife Martha and other of their children. I created a table based on his census returns of who was represented assuming all the children were his children. The will now gives names to "my daughter Deborah Bell" but also daughter Sarah Williamson and son Samuel M. Williamson. The will named executors but Charles added a codicil naming his wife and Joseph Bell as executors. The settlements are done by executor Joseph Bell. He was Deborah's husband.
The Williamson book gives the maiden name of Charles's wife as Martha Martin. Learning her family will be added to my queries now. I will also have to verify the Williamson descent from Moses Sr. and his son John, both having served in the American Revolution, down to Charles.

I just found the will last night and when I saw those magic words "my daughter Deborah Bell" there was cheering in my house!

  • 1820 U.S. census, Tyler County, Virginia, p. 86; NARA M33, roll 140, digital images,
  • 1830 U.S. Census, Tyler County, Virginia, p. 187; NARA M19, roll 200, imaged from FHL microfilm 0,029,679.
  • 1840 U.S. census, Washington County, Ohio, Marietta Township, p. 299; NARA M704, roll 433, imaged from FHL microfilm 0,020,179.
  • 1850 U.S. census, Wood County, Virginia, District 65, p. 110A; NARA M432, roll 981, digital images,

(all Virginia locations now in West Virginia)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

SNGF - a little late, but looking at family houses

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) really appealed to me this week, but I was distracted, especially by the late-running (but WINning) Indians game. I'm going to post even though Saturday has ended. The challenge was:

1)  Review Denise Levenick’s (The Family Curator) three blog posts on the Present Photo Challenge. World Photography Day is coming up Aug 19, and this seemed like a fun thing to do something genealogy-wise.

 2)  Identify one or more photographs from your own photograph collection that you could use for the Present Photo Challenge.
3)  Show us the photographs that you could use on your blog, a Facebook status or a Google Plus Stream.
I  did something slightly similar to Denise's trip in 2005. My parents lived in a number of homes until they were able to buy a house in December 1939. We lived in that one when I was born. My mother left a box of old photo divided into envelopes with an address on each. From them I could find the places they'd lived and photos of many of the houses. The Cuyahoga County Archives houses a large set of property assessment cards with photos of the buildings attached, probably taken in the 1950s. I got copies of those for my family's addresses and mapped out a route to visit them. Amazingly they all still were standing, the first in which they'd lived now looking quite good. I took photos of them and began a book of the old photos and the new and in between. I redid a page for the house in which they roomed just after marriage in 1930 HERE. I've just spruced up a page I did on the first house my sister remembers. I think she started school there.

So, I don't have photos superimposed of old and new, but these pages are my attempt to capture the times together.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Military Monday: Morgan's Raid, Ohio Claims

The 1863 raid of George Hunt Morgan’s cavalry into Ohio was a frightening episode of the Civil War for rural Ohioans. Some of my ancestors lived in northern Gallia and southern Meigs counties near each of the two routes his troops took between Vinton and Buffington Island. Years ago I saw a copy of a report of claims of losses by residents of the area but none of my relatives were on the list. I believe I saw it at the Meigs County Historical Society in Pomeroy.

Today the question arose on the Meigs County mailing list of where to find the names of those with claims and what they lost. Not remembering the title of what I’d seen off hand, I searched various terms in the catalog of WorldCat ( There I found two different digital copies online through Hathi Trust Digital Library. ( I looked at the version from the Library of Congress (digitized by Internet Archive) titled: Report of the Commissioners of Morgan Raid claims : to the Governor of the state of Ohio, December 15th, 1864; published in 1865. It contains introductory material, a table by county of losses and itemized lists by county. The names within each county are alphabetically arranged giving location and on the facing page the losses, claimed value, awarded value and the names of all who provided affidavits. Gallia County begins on page 76 and Meigs on 176 through 213.

There were also claims recorded in Indiana but I only looked into the Ohio records. The next step would be to find where (and if) the original documents are now.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - My "American Pie" Chart

Tonight Randy Seaver has posed a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) challenge to post data on our 16 great-great grandparents, their places of birth and death. As an added feature he's giving a link to a website to create a chart of their birthplaces.

Chris Staats accepted the challenge but claimed they were born in a small area of Ohio and Pennsylvania and that he was a "Mutt". He even went to his 32 third great grandparents to get a slightly more diverse chart.

I don't have much more variety. Half of my 16 lived at least part of their lives in Ohio and the other half in Kentucky. The label I claim though is that I am an all around American. Thus my pie chart is my "American Pie." I was raised to be proud of the fact that many of my ancestors were Scots-Irish and many really were. Others came from England, German states and a few other parts of Europe. They apparently arrived in America between 1620 and 1807, so they were at least a bit diverse. Here are the names of my Great-greats:

16. Samuel McClintock was probably born in Virginia, but possibly in Kentucky, about 1794. He died in Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky, 14 July 1827. He married Elizabeth Waits 19 August 1825 in Harrison County, Kentucky.

17. Elizabeth Waits was born 16 October 1802 in Harrison County, Kentucky. She died 19 June 1887 in Kentucky, possibly in Woodford County. She married second Edmund Martin 13 December 1833 in Harrison County, Kentucky.

18. Thomas Scott was born 22 December 1810 in Kentucky. He died 19 June 1844 in Harrison County, Kentucky. He married Elizabeth McShane 22 December 1840 in Harrison County.

19. Elizabeth McShane was born in Harrison County, Kentucky, 2 October 1823. She died there 16 October 1907. She married second Caleb Whaley 5 February 1846.

20. Charles Nichols was born 3 April 1817 in New Windsor, Orange County, New York. He died in Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky, 2 November 1862. He married Nancy Boyd Eckles in Scott County 12 March 1840.

21. Nancy Boyd Eckles was born in Scott or Fayette county, Kentucky, in 1819. She died in Scott County, Kentucky, buried 2 May 1888 in the Georgetown Cemetery.

22. William Loftus Lightburne, Sr. was born 4 June 1820 in Scott County, Kentucky. He died there 5 March 1890. He married first Eliza Jane Tarlton 12 October 1843 in Scott County. He married second Mrs. Mattie (Triplett) Smith in 1866.

23. Eliza Jane Tarlton was born 18 January 1828 in Scott County, Kentucky and died there 20 August 1864.

24. Isaac Lyle was born 10 April 1830 in Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He died near Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California 29 September 1911. He married first Elizabeth Jane Reynolds in Gallia County, Ohio, 26 January 1857. He married second Susan Harrod 7 October 1874 in Jennings County, Indiana.

25. Elizabeth Jane Reynolds was born in Cheshire Township, Gallia County, Ohio, 2 August 1835. She died there 19 February 1921.

26. David Coughenour was born 6 August 1820 in Augusta County, Virginia. He died in Cheshire Township, Gallia County, Ohio, 14 April 1900. He married Rachel McCarty in Cheshire Township 20 October 1843.

27. Rachel McCarty was born in Cheshire Township, Gallia County, Ohio, 4 February 1822 and died there 5 August 1896.

28. Joseph Bell was born about 31 December 1808 in Washington County, Ohio. He died in Clay Township, Gallia County, Ohio, 8 February 1886. He married Deborah Williamson in Marietta, Washington County, Ohio, 1 September 1839.

29. Deborah Williamson was born in what is now West Virginia on 15 July 1818. She died in Clay Township, Gallia County, Ohio, 28 April 1865.

30. John T. Irion was born 10 April 1836 in Clay Township, Gallia County, Ohio, and died in Gallipolis 10 March 1896. He married Mariah Louisa Poole 23 November 1857 in Gallia County.

31. Mariah Louisa Poole was born in Delaware County, Ohio, 24 June 1839. She died in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio, 7 August 1924.

 Their birthplaces look like this:

Kentucky                 6
Ohio                        5
Virginia                    2
Pennsylvania            1
New York                1
(West) Virginia         1

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Four Generations of a Lyle Family

I've scrapped photos of maternal 4 generations with my mother, sister and niece as the baby, but don't think I've even done this one of my mother with her father's family. Probably because her face is blurred.
Designer Credits:
-template: Copycat Challenge by Clara (clarabear) based on "cora: life.unscripted" by Sally (cellomom)
-background, 2 pale papers, circle frame from Oscraps Collab: Life
-dark brown and right 2 papers from Not So Basic Browns by Maya de Groot
-2nd brown paper from Rachel by LydiaK Designs
-overlay from Inscribed by Fei-fei's Stuff
-butterfly from Sketchbook Artistry No. 1 by Sue Cummings
fonts: Cardinal, Corbel, Courier New

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mystery Monday: Still No Mr. Wright

If a Mr. Wright is the father of Mary, wife of Moses Nichols of New Windsor, Orange County, New York, he has yet to step up and be recognized. I wrote about my search for her father recently in Finding Mr. Wright. There I detailed my research to date ending with the possibility that her father could be David Wright of New Windsor listed as a patriot by the DAR. According to the online index to DAR ancestors, David Wright died in New Windsor in 1833. He was one of four David Wrights heading households in Orange County, New York, in the 1830 U.S. census, but no probate records have been located for him in that county. The deed indexes for the county yielded nothing overly promising, but there were a few possibilities.

Two deeds from the 1830s were different. One listed David Wright as a grantor with no wife named (51: 566.) It was the David Wright of Newburgh, a different person. John Wright as executor was grantor of another deed, but he was executor for James McLaughlin late of Wallkill (52: 182.)

The four sons of Moses and Mary Nichols were minors when their parents died. After they reached twenty-one there were at least two deeds each as a grantor. The two deeds for third son, Charles, were both for land previously owned by Moses Nichols (64: 329; 66: 219.) The hope they would be selling land inherited from their maternal grandfather was not fulfilled. Charles Nichols is of New Windsor in his deeds, apparently predating his move with brother Robert J. Nichols to Georgetown, Kentucky.

The transcription of the cemetery where Moses Nichols and his first wife Jane were buried does not include his second wife or David Wright. (Inscriptions on Gravestones in New Windsor Cemetery) New Windsor Town records, transcribed online, include a reference to the demise of Moses Nichols, but have no such information on David Wright. I do not know of a marriage record for Moses and Mary Nichols. While he served in the American Revolution, there is apparently no pension record.

I see no obvious resource at present for information on David Wright. Could he have moved between the 1830 census and his death? Did he not own property? His son Benjamin predeceased him according to the DAR index, but what about his son John? Were there other children? Newspapers and court records could be the next best places to look.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Those Places Thursday: Newlyweds' Home

My parents lived in a number of places before they bought the house we lived in when I was born. My mother left little envelopes with snapshots from each of the locations except the very first. We followed along their path photographing each of the buildings in 2005. All still stand, some in good condition. Here is their newlyweds' home. (Click on the image to get a larger version.) If you can read the newspaper clipping, you'll find the end of the first paragraph makes no sense. What else is new?
Designer Credits:
-papers from Shimmer by Kitty Designs
-stitching from All Stitched by Kitty Designs
-heart doodle from Let Love Be Your Energy by ZuzanaH Designs
fonts: Pea Anderson, Celtic Hand, Corbel

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday’s Tip: Deeds Can Yield Genealogy Gold

Harold Henderson recently advised all genealogists to use deeds in their research (Midwestern Microhistory). His advice is excellent! Here are two of my favorite examples.

An 1840 deed to land in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, sold two of seven shares of a parcel that had belonged to the late James Lyle. It states [James Lyle] “died intestate leaving issue Seven Children, to wit: - John, James, Charles, William, Samuel, and Francis W. Lyle, sons of the said James Lyle deceased, and Elizabeth the wife of John Hall above named, daughter of the said James Lyle, to whom the same by the Laws of Pennsylvania, relating to intestate Estates did descend and come.” It couldn’t be more explicit or complete. (see my transcription)

Deeds in Beaver County, Oklahoma, were extremely helpful in tracing the ex-wife of a family member. She and her sister were sold land by their mother who retained a life interest. When the sister sold the land she had to provide proof of their mother’s death, her sister’s death, and her inheritance of her late sister’s share. All the documentation was referenced in the deed book. Using that data I found the ex-wife’s obituary and the location back in Missouri where she was buried in newspaper microfilm at the library in nearby Liberal, Kansas.

Tomorrow I will see microfilm of Orange County, New York, deeds that I hope will shed light on my Nichols family. All deeds don’t reveal what you hope, but you can see why it pays to look.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Surname Saturday: Williamson

Williamson is a common surname in the United States, usually of English, Scottish or Northern Irish origin. It began as a patronymic for the son of William.

My great grandfather, Will Bell, died in 1913 when my mother was only three. Not a lot of information was passed down in the family about him. His Ohio death certificate revealed that his full name was William Williamson Bell and his mother's maiden name was Deborah Williamson. He was born in Washington County, Ohio, the family moving to Clay Township, Gallia County, Ohio, in the 1860s.

Will's parents Deborah Williamson and Joseph Bell were married in Marietta on 1 September 1839. She was a resident of Marietta Township and he of Newport Township. The marriage was reported in the newspaper but is not recorded in the civil records. Deborah died in Gallia County on 28 April 1865. She was buried in the Clay Chapel Cemetery which was associated with a Methodist Espiscopal church. The age on her gravestone places her birth about 15 July 1818. Census records show her birthplace as Virginia, specifically in that part now West Virginia.

Finding Deborah's father requires looking for a man with a common surname. In the 1840 census, less than a year after her marriage there are a few Williamson households in Washington County, one of them in Marietta Township. The head of that household was a Charles Williamson.

Raymond Martin Bell, a well-known genealogist in southwest Pennsylvania, wrote a book on The Williamson Family of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Washington County, Pennsylvania, Ohio County, West Virginia. It was published in 1986, co-authored by Edna Marian Miller. Among the members of this family were two who served in the American Revolution, Moses and his son John. John and wife Judith Dodd were the parents of Charles Williamson who was born 3 July 1792 and died 5 October 1858 in Wood County, (West) Virginia. He would be the Charles in Marietta in 1840.

The book lists a set of children for Charles and wife Martha Martin. No daughters are listed as born prior to 1820 but the 1820 census for Charles in Tyler County, Virginia, shows two females under the age of ten. It is possible that the list of children is incomplete and that Deborah should be there.

Another daughter of Charles Williamson was Mary Jane who was born 25 March 1833. She married Walter S. Thorniley 21 October 1853. He was from Washington County, Ohio, but they lived in Clay Township, Gallia County, Ohio. When Joseph and Deborah Bell moved there, they lived on a neighboring piece of land. The couples are buried in adjacent plots in the Clay Chapel Cemetery. It seems likely that the two Williamson women were related, possibly both daughters of Charles and Martha (Martin) Williamson. Hopefully Raymond Bell simply did not locate documents that will show the relationship.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Ohio Land Purchase

Samuel Lyle of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, together with James Linch purchased two hundred acres in Meigs County, Ohio, from the Government Land Office in Marietta. The land record available from the BLM site shows the 1844 completion of the transaction, but the National Archives provided a copy of the original 1839 application the two men made. Later land ownership maps show the Lyle and Linch properties continuing in their hands. That they made the purchase from Pennsylvania provided a link for their identities in both places. I especially like that this document shows James Linch signing with his mark and the name of the Pittsburgh bank on which they drew $50 as part of the $250 purchase price. Though this is much later than some other parts of the family came to Ohio, still this copy seems a family treasure to me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This Is the Face of Genealogy

For the inspiration for this post, read “The Face of Genealogy” at Thomas MacEntee’s Geneabloggers blog.

Oliver Guy Lyle, back; from left: Pansy Grace, Virginia Bell, and Bessie Grace (Bell) Lyle about 1918 in Gallipolis, Ohio. My mother is the one with the giant bow, such a popular item at that time. I have always loved this family picture.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Military Monday/Memorial Day: Lyle Family in the Civil War

My great great grandfather, Isaac Lyle (1830-1911) served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He and his younger brothers, Oliver and Boyd, were all in Company I, 53rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Another brother, Samuel, did 100-day National Guard service in Company D, 140th OVI from May 1864. Their brothers James and Biddle paid $4 to the Meigs County, Ohio, treasury rather than enlist in the military in accordance with an act requiring all white male citizens, residents of Ohio, between the ages of 18 and 45 years, be enrolled in the militia. Their father, Samuel Lyle, was well over 45 and not required to register. I’ve written about the experiences of this family, particularly the resulting ill health of Isaac and Boyd, in an article that appeared in the Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journal.

The Lyle family cousins and spouses of cousins also served in the Civil War. All were privates in Union service. Like the Ohio Lyle family, all were quite tall though otherwise of varying descriptions. All appear in my Lyle family website (see sidebar.)

David Lyle, one of the three sons of their uncle James Lyle of Jefferson County, Indiana, served in Company I, 145th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The regiment mustered in at Indianapolis on 16 February 1865, each company recruited from a different county. They were shipped to Georgia where their primary tasks were guarding rail lines and bridges, also escorting wagons of provisions. Fortunately David was not one of the seventy enlisted men this regiment lost to disease. He was mustered out a little short of his year’s enlistment on 21 January 1866 at Cuthbert, Georgia.

Two sons of their uncle Charles Lyle of Wapello County, Iowa, enlisted in the Union Army. Joseph R. Lyle first served in Company F, 7th Iowa Volunteer Infantry and enlisted a second time 26 November 1862 in Company B, 14th Iowa. In January 1864 they were sent to Vicksburg and in February took part in the Meridian raid under Gen. Sherman. Upon their return to Vicksburg, the 14th Iowa was ordered to assist in the Red River expedition under Gen. Banks. That campaign led to the disastrous Battle of Pleasant Hill in Louisiana in which Joseph lost his life at age 21 or 22 on 9 April 1864. His younger brother, Benjamin F. Lyle, had previously enlisted in Company I, 14th Iowa and was mustered in on 5 November 1861. The regiment took ship to St. Louis to train at Benton Barracks. Benjamin was one of the many stricken in December with measles. He was later said to be suffering from “long continuous bronchorrhoea and tuberculosis,” also referred to as consumption, in the Fourth Street U.S.A. General Hospital in St. Louis in January 1862. He received a disability discharge, his company commander, Capt. Warren C. Jones, writing that Benjamin was in failing health. W. T. Sherman signed the order on 8 February 1862. Benjamin’s gravestone does not give a date of death, but he apparently died very soon after discharge, an unofficial victim of his service. Perhaps his death spurred Joseph to enlist in the same company. The husband of their sister Hannah, Samuel Milton Wright, has markers at his gravestone indicating service, but no records have yet come to light.

Uncle William Lyle of Schuyler County, Illinois, and Sullivan County, Missouri, had sons and sons-in-law in service. Wilmer Magarvy Lyle saw Union service enlisting in the 11th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry, mustered in on 27 March 1862. They were reorganized into the 2nd Missouri State Militia Cavalry. Wilmer was in Company G using his own horse and equipment from 30 April to 31 August 1863. From that time the army provided his horse and gear. His unit remained in Missouri, a divided state. He was shot 4 July 1864 while on guard duty at Cape Girardeau and died two days later. Though buried there, in 1869 he was reinterred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. His marker bears the name W. L. Lyle with the same incorrect middle initial as some of his service records. Less than three months later brother Jugurtha Lamar Lyle (his name recorded as Gugurtha) enlisted in Company E, 42nd Missouri Volunteer Infantry. He was ill and hospitalized in December 1864 at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. He mustered out on 28 June 1864 at Nashville. Jasper P. Farrar, husband of their sister Hannah, served in Company H, 115th Illinois from 22 July 1862 to 11 June 1865. Isaac Warden Carden, the husband of sister Martha Ann, enlisted in Company I, 16th Illinois on 24 May 1861. He received a disability discharge on 17 October 1862 and died 30 September 1864. Martha then married ailing veteran John N. Wheeler on 7 December 1870. John entered Company E, 16th Illinois at the same time as Carden in another company. John also became ill and was given a disability discharge 6 April 1862. Martha married a third and final time to veteran Daniel Seem on 5 March 1874. Daniel served in Company K, 119th Illinois from 14 April 1862 to 25 August 1865 when mustered out in Mobile, Alabama.

Aunt Elizabeth (Lyle) Hall of Jefferson County, Indiana, apparently had no sons or sons-in-law with records of service though most were of an appropriate age. Uncle Francis Wayne Lyle apparently died before 1850 and what appears to be his family remained in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Son Thomas McCune Lyle/Lysle may have been too young to serve but Robert S. Figley, later husband of Martha Lyle, was one of many who answered the call to all able-bodied men to serve as militia to repel Lee's invasion of Maryland. He was recorded as one of the thousands reporting in a company of 82 from Monongahela City, Washington County, Pennsylvania, who left "by boat on the morning of September 16th, arrived in Harrisburg on the morning of the 17th, were armed, equipped, assigned to the 18th Regiment [Militia Infantry], commanded by Colonel L. McClay, marched to the front" where they overlooked the battle of Antietam at Sharpsburg, Maryland. Though they did not participate in the battle, they were considered a moral support. The men of Company G turned in their arms and equipment and returned after twelve days. This was much like the “Squirrel Hunters” of Ohio who went to support the city of Cincinnati when it was feared there would be a Confederate invasion.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Finding Mr. Wright?

Charles Nichols was born 3 April 1817 in New Windsor, Orange County, New York. His parents were Moses Nichols and his second wife, Mary. Moses died intestate in 1822. Estate administrators were Mary Nichols, his widow; Samuel Nichols, a brother; and Daniel Moores, a friend; all of the town of New Windsor.1 Moses and his brother Samuel were originally from Newark, New Jersey, sons of Robert and Elizabeth (Johnson) Nichols. They were the only members of the family to relocate to New Windsor, specifically to the portion called Little Britain. Widow Mary Nichols died in 1827 leaving a will. She named her oldest son, Aaron, and mentioned three more sons. The executors were: Robert Fulton, Samuel B. Moores, and Daniel Moores; witnesses: Samuel Nichols, Jabish Atwood, and Alexander McC. Nichols.2 In 1829 or at the time each of the sons reached the age of fourteen, he was appointed a guardian. Daniel Moores was appointed guardian of Aaron W. Nichols.3 Samuel Nichols was appointed for the other three: Robert J., Charles and Moses H. Nichols.4 Samuel is referred to as an uncle in the paperwork for Charles.

Robert J. Nichols and Moses Higby Nichols appear in census records with their father’s birthplace in New Jersey and their mother’s in New York.5 As their father moved to New York with his first wife, Jane, and is buried with her in New Windsor,6 it is likely that his second wife was local. There are a few suggestions for the maiden name of Mary Nichols.

  1. A genealogy of Humphrey Nichols, grandfather of Moses, says perhaps it was McDowell. Of three, not four, sons named, only one is correct leaving significant doubt as to the accuracy of its information.7
  2. Daniel Moores as an administrator of the estate of Moses Nichols, an executor of the will of Mary Nichols, and guardian to their oldest son appears to be an important person to the family, possibly a member of her family.
  3. An unsourced online family tree with some very accurate data gives her maiden name as Mary Ann Wright and her oldest son’s middle name as Wright. Many documents list him as Aaron W. Nichols, so it is possible that it is Wright.8
If Mary Nichols was born Mary Ann Wright, likely in New Windsor, who might be her father? She and Moses were married about 1812 as his first wife died in 1811 and their first son, Aaron, was born in 1813. U.S. census records for 1790 – 18109 along with New Windsor town records10 reveal two good candidates: David Wright and John Wright.
Thomas does not appear after 1790. Note this was Ulster County in 1790. Mary should appear in the free white female column in 1790, probably in her birth household.
New Windsor seems to have been enumerated under Newburgh in the 1800 census.
John Wright
A John Wright and his wife were buried in the same New Windsor cemetery as Moses Nichols.6 John died in 1838 leaving a will.11 His will names a daughter Mary who predeceased her father. She left five children of the surname Preston. No heirs were named Nichols. This eliminates John Wright as a father to Mary, wife of Moses Nichols. The will was written in 1813 witnessed by David Wright, Thomas Fulton and Daniel Moores. Only Daniel was still living when the will was presented for probate in 1838. In addition to Daniel, John’s sons and executors, John Junr. and William J. Wright, testified, as did Samuel Nichols. The presence of the same names as in the Nichols’ probates may simply reflect the makeup of a small community, but might indicate closer association.

David Wright
The DAR ancestor index contains one Wright in Orange County, New York, David of New Windsor.12 The applications are with wife Margaret Woodhull through a son Benjamin. Service was in Col. James McClaughrey’s company of Ulster County militia, 2nd regiment. David’s death is listed in 1833. A son John is documented by a descendant in Nebraska.13 There is no will or other probate record for a David Wright of New Windsor in Orange County. The 1830 census shows four heads of household by that name in Orange County.14 One lived in New Windsor and one lived in Newburgh. The latter died in 1835 and does have probate records. The county deed index appears to show his executors as his widow Temperance and son William. David of Newburgh is a different person from David of New Windsor.

With no probate records for the New Windsor David Wright, deeds are a possible source of information. The grantor and grantee indexes of deeds for Orange County were consulted for the surnames Nichols and Wright.15 Each of the sons of Moses and Mary Nichols sold land on at least two occasions. The microfilm containing deeds for Charles Nichols have been requested. Also requested is the film containing a deed with a David Wright as the sole grantor listed for the period about 1835 and for one of "John Wright Ex. etc." John Wright had an executor of John Junr., but this appears to be before he died and David reportedly also had a son John. Hopefully the Wright deeds will have heirs of David and/or the Nichols deeds will be for land inherited from both father Moses Nichols and the maternal grandfather.
1. Orange County, New York, Letters of Administration, E: 212, Moses Nichols entry, (1822), Surrogate Court Clerk's Office, Goshen.
2. Orange County, New York, Wills, H: 302-04, Mary Nichols will, (1827), Surrogate Court Clerk's Office, Goshen.
3. Orange County, New York, Letters of Guardianship, B: 99, Aaron W. Nichols entry, (1829), Surrogate Court Clerk's Office, Goshen.
4. Orange County, New York, Letters of Guardianship, B: 100, Robert J. Nichols entry, (1829); and B: 197, Charles Nichols entry, (1831); and C: 335, Moses H. Nichols entry, (1834.)
5. 1880 U.S. census, Delaware County, New York, population schedule, Town of Hancock, ED 2, sheet 212A, dwelling 86, family 92, Moses H. Nichols household; ( accessed 17 May 2010); imaged from FHL microfilm 1,254,823; also 1880 U.S. Census, Hillsdale County, Michigan, population schedule, Robert J. Nickols household, Jefferson Township, ED 87, page 170D, dwelling 301, family 322; ( accessed 22 August 2009); from roll 581; both digital images,, from National Archives microfilm T9.
6. Albert Gedney Barratt, Inscriptions on Gravestones in New Windsor Cemetery (Newburgh, NY:, 1902), digital images Internet Archive ( : accessed 29 August 2009.)
7. Frederic C. Torrey The Ancestors and Descendants of Humphrey Nichols of Newark, New Jersey, and of his Brothers and Sisters (Lakehurst, NJ: author, 1917), Google Books digital images ( : accessed 18 August 2009), 20.
8. Robert, "Soher Iversen Gammon Beal Carson Spalding Bevan" Database RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project ( : accessed 25 August 2009.
9. U.S. census search at for the surname Wright in Orange County, NY, for the years 1790, 1800, and 1810.
10. “Town of New Windsor, Historic records on line,” transcriptions by Glenn T. Marshall, Town Historian ( : accessed 29 August 2009.)
11. Orange County, New York, Wills, K: 231-33, John Wright will, (1838), Surrogate Court Clerk's Office, Goshen.
12. DAR Genealogical Research Databases, Wright of Orange County, New York Ancestor Search, database, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution ( : accessed 28 May 2010); and Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, David Wright entries, McClaughrey's Regiment of (Ulster County) Militia, digital images, ( : accessed 22 May 2010); from NARA RG 93, microfilm M246, ID 602384; and no record of pension paid to David Wright of New Windsor found at
13. Maude Egbert White Cleghorn, "Ancestry and Posterity of Abner White of Dutchess County, N. Y.," The Nebraska and Midwest Genealogical Record Vol. IV (1926): 301, transcribed online Nebraska GenWeb Project ( : accessed 22 May 2010).
14. 1830 census search for David Wright in Orange County, NY, at
15. Orange County, NY, deed indexes, 1703-1869, FHL microfilm 0,826,918, grantor K-Z, and 0,826,950, grantee I-Z.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Tribute

If my mother, Virginia, were living she would be 100 years old. I created a tribute to what would have been that birthday last year. It features a photograph of her as a small child with her parents Oliver Guy and Bessie Grace (Bell) Lyle. She only lived to the age of 82, but her three children all think of her at times like today. I was happy to document the three of them as of 2010 for Century Families of Ohio, a new lineage society of the Ohio Genealogical Society.
Designer Credits:
-papers, green flower, ribbon: Fanette - Funny Summer
-sun, yellow flower: Loloden - Funny Summer
-frame, elements in clock cluster: Celine Designs - Flowers Time
-heart with ribbon: Bellisae Designs - Blossoms of Ice, Part 3
-rope ribbon: Deb Ammerman - Totally Grungy
-alpha (recolored): New Lifes Dream - Moon is a Star
fonts: baby dont worry bout it, Adorable

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Judith E. (Bell) Davis

Judith E. Bell was born 8 December 1849 in Newport Township, Washington County, Ohio, to Joseph and Deborah (Williamson) Bell. She was an older sister of my great grandfather William Williamson Bell. The family moved to Clay Township in Gallia County, Ohio, in the 1860s. There Judith married Quincy A. Davis on 15 July 1872. They were members of the Clay Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church. The Davis family moved into town in Gallipolis before 1900 then north to a farm in Medina County by 1910. Judith died on 21 April 1914 at age 64 at the home of her oldest daughter, Mabel Cottrell, at 2324 E. 87th Street in Cleveland, Ohio, where she had been for forty-seven days, probably cared for by Mabel and attended by a doctor for chronic nephritis and chronic endocarditis. She was buried in the historic East Cleveland Cemetery. Her husband lived on in Medina County. He died 5 January 1941 in Lafayette Township, Medina County, Ohio, at age 91. He was buried with his wife though the gravestone was never updated for him.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Oliver G. Lyle, 1957

Oliver Guy Lyle was a special grandparent who had a strong interest in family history in addition to his many other interests that are mentioned in his obituary. It appeared in the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Gallipolis, Ohio, Thursday, July 25, 1957, in the center of page one. His death was a shock as we had visited him in the VA hospital in Huntington, West Virginia, on the way home from Kentucky. We had attended the funeral of my great uncle Sam (yes, I had a real Uncle Sam!) My grandfather was doing well and a day was soon scheduled for him to go home. That was the day his heart gave out. Since I've turned to genealogy myself, I miss him even more, even after all these years.

Click on the image to see it large enough to read.