52 Ancestors – Week 1 – Foundations

From Merriam-Webster

When I saw the topic of foundations for the week, my Grandma immediately came to mind. I have many a memory of cemetery trips with my Grandma and Grandpa.

Who is my Grandma? Frances Mary Stewart was born 30 July 1922 in Clinton County, New York. The daughter of Charles Stewart and Mildred Shumway. Frances married Earl Elmer Witherwax 6 October 1940 in Schuyler Falls, Clinton County, New York. Grandma and Grandpa had 7 children and did many different jobs. She developed an interest in genealogy and she spent a huge amount of time researching my Grandpa’s family. She left me so much information and I have loved following through with her work. Sadly my Grandma passed away in 2004 in Washington County Arkansas and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her .

Coming from a family who are contractors, you know the foundation needs to be the strongest to hold up the rest of the building. So when I think of a genealogy foundation I think of my grandma. She was the heart of my family and the glue that held us all together.

I am excited to be starting the 52 Ancestors Challenge again and can’t wait to dive back into my family history after a crazy insane 2021.

I’m just shrubbing along….

So the past 2 days I have been answering some emails and working with DNA, if you know me I prefer digging through the records or traipsing through a cemetery than doing anything sciencey. Yes I made up a word. Anyway DNA requires sciencey work and while doing this I have uncovered a mess of what I call double cousins.

I am sure there is some correct term but my mind after very little sleep is not working at 100 percent capacity. Anyway my Daby and Coolidge lines are merging in more than one way. A DNA cousin messaged me and that lead me to Benjamin Coolidge and Olive Daby (Darby), who are my 3rd great-grandparents through my maternal grandfather. It also lead me to John Daby and Olive Bolton, who are the parents of Olive Daby making them my 4th great-grandparents.

This DNA cousin and I, along with the accounts I manage share several matches through these 2 couples. After getting some information I decided I should finish shrubbing out these 2 lines and maybe I would find what I was looking for.

Well I started with Miss Destina Coolidge who is the daughter of Benjamin and Olive. Destina married Thomas Bailey. Thomas Bailey had a wonderful obituary.

Part 1 of the Obituary that appeared in the Elizabethtown Post. Courtesy of New York Historical Newspapers.
Part 2 of Thomas Bailey Obituary – Courtesy of New York Historical Newspapers.
Part 3 of Thomas Bailey Obituary – Courtesy of New York Historical Newspapers

This obituary was too good to pass up and I put a link in my Ancestry Tree. You can view the Obituary Here: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn92061913/1902-05-22/ed-1/seq-4/

Sadly both Destina and Thomas died in 1902 only a few months apart. So in my shrubbing I learned that Lydia Bailey married a Hiram Daby. Hiram is somehow related to Olive Daby Coolidge Some ancestry trees have him as the son of John Lloyd Daby who is Olive Daby’s Brother but I haven’t verified it. I would venture a guess to say he is a cousin of some sort. Unfortunately his obituary gave very little family information.

Hiram Daby Obituary appeared in The Adirondack Record – January 25 1923 courtesy of New York Historical Newspapers.

Hiram and Lydia Daby had 2 children Maria who died in 1898 at the age of 21 and Warren. Warren’s Obituary was a beauty. It alludes to all kinds of family lore that I would love to prove. (Those documents are proving to be elusive. I have not shrubbed Warren’s children yet but at least I have the info to move forward.

Warren Daby obituary appeared in the Adirondack Record – Elizabethtown Post – March 29, 1956 courtesy of New York Historical Newspapers.

Shrubbing these lines is going to take a while, I need to bring them forward from the 1840s through the present day and you have heard me all talk about the black hole that is Jay, New York. This will be a fun journey and hopefully I will discover some useful bits as I try to figure these things out.

52 Ancestors – Week 12 – Popular

Popular what does that mean? According to the dictionary Popular is an adjective. It means liked, admired or enjoyed by many people or by a particular person or group. This prompt is going to be tough. I am not big into popularity, I tend to root for the underdog and when it comes to family history I find the scoundrels a bit more interesting.

So I decided to look at the family tree and decided to see from my grandparents which lines went back the furthest. I kind of knew it would be my maternal grandpa’s side. These are the lines my grandma spent the most time on and which I have been slowly going through and confirming the data she had or in some cases I have been fleshing out the trees and looking at siblings to ensure I have the correct family units.

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I have been concentrating on the Knowlton line a lot. I am trying to connect that pesky Sarah to her father Benjamin Knowlton. There are a couple of genealogies with no sources that state they are father and daughter. If I could confirm that Sarah Knowlton who married Obadiah Coolidge was the daughter of Benjamin Knowlton it would clear up an AIR (additional information requested) for the DAR. I am in the midst of reading town records isn’t that fun.

The other line I have been playing with is The Joseph Daby and Elizabeth Nurse line as that should take me back to Rebecca Nurse of the Salem witch trials. I really need to finish that application for the ADEAW. I think I may pull out what I have for that this weekend.

I can generally get these lines of my grandpa’s back to about 1630, my eventual goal is to hopefully find that elusive Mayflower ancestor.

So I would say this is my popular line of genealogy research probably because I am most comfortable with researching it.

52 Ancestors – Week 11 – Luck

Luck is a fun topic. I always feel super lucky when I discover something new about an ancestor. My favorite way to learn things is by reading newspapers.

I have been working on building out my trees and newspapers have been a great way to do this, especially in less populated areas because everything is found in newspapers. From obituaries to information on people who are feeling poorly.

These two obituaries are about 2 of the children of Peter Shumway and Arvilla Preston Shumway. The obituary of Mrs. Mary I. Preston was also a clue that she married a cousin of hers, George R. Preston, I haven’t pieced it all together but the clues are there.

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This is an article about my grandpa’s brother. He died before I was born but I did not know that he was the Fire Chief in Schroon Lake. Tidbits like this are what brings family members alive to me and I always consider myself extremely lucky to find things like this.

52 Ancestors – Week 5 – So Far Away

The prompt for Week 5 of 52 Ancestors is So Far Away. This was a difficult prompt for me because I thought of the journey’s traveled by my family to come to America, whether it was my recent immigrant ancestors on my Dad’s side who came from Italy or the members of my maternal side who came over to America before it was a country.

One thing that sticks in my mind is they all came for the same reason a better life than the one they left in Europe.

I want to talk about my great-aunt Olive Witherwax Rogers though. Aunt Olive is the daughter of my Great Grandparents, Benjamin and Minerva Beardsley Witherwax. She was born in Peru, New York on 19 February 1895.

Aunt Olive  married Henry Rogers 9 August 1916 in Schenectady, New York. She was 21 years old.

Olive Witherwax Marriage

 

Aunt Olive lived in Plattsburgh and in 1919 she applied for a passport to travel to France and then on to Germany where her husband Henry was living.

Aunt Olive did take her trip to see Henry but sadly she died while in Germany on 20 October 1920 at the age of 25. She and Henry had no children and had such a short time together. To be sick in a foreign country so far away from home must of been so hard on Aunt Olive. She must of felt so alone.

germanytoperu

It is over 3600 miles from Peru, New York to Coblenz, Germany. I am always a bit sad when I think of Henry and Aunt Olive. I always hope they had a great love story.

52 Ancestors – Week 3 – Long Line

I really had to think about the direction I wanted to go with this one but I decided to tell you about one of the lines I am working on. I really would like a Mayflower ancestor but can’t find one. I did find what I believe is an accused witch.

You have heard me talk about working on an application for the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches. I am working on finding the documents to prove I am descended from Rebecca Towne Nurse.

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Rebecca Nurse was highlighted in The Crucible (I have actually never read or seen it). Rebecca if I have the connections right is my 9th Great-Grandmother.  My line goes through my Grandfather’s line. Thankfully I have proven through my 4th Great Grandfather Joseph Daby and Olive Bolton.

So here is how I believe my line goes:

          • ME
          • Mom
          • Grandpa
          • Benjamin Witherwax
          • George Witherwax and Dorcas Coolidge
          • Benjamin Knowlton and Olive Daby
          • John Daby and Olive Bolton (have proof through here)
          • Joseph Daby and Abigal Bennet
          • Joseph Daby and Elizabeth Nurse
          • Benjamin Nurse and Elizabeth Roberts
          • Francis Nurse and Sarah Craggen
          • Francis Nurse and Rebecca Towne (1621-1692)

I also have tentative proof of Joseph Daby and Abigail Bennet and Joseph Daby and Elizabeth Nurse as there are a couple of DAR applications with them and they need new service for both of the Joseph’s so that is a project I occasionally work on as the lineage is there.

I work super well with deadlines as I tend to procrastinate and I must have this done by May 1, 2020.

Funny story back in around the 6th grade I did a whole report on the Salem Witch Trials. I was fascinated by them and my mom had an old book about them in the basement on 74th Street. Little did I know that there was a possible personal connection.

Rebecca Nurse Homestead

Rebecca Nurse Homestead

Another Rabbit Hole

This week I have been going down a lot of rabbit holes. Currently I am in the beginning stages of my final ProGen Assignment. I have to write a narrative about an ancestral couple and their children. I have decided I seriously do not want to write about my Stewart Lines as there are just to many children. Seriously the Stewart Line had 8 or 9 and those Shumway’s with 11 seriously not happening.

So I was going to work on my Witherwax line but I may want to use them for certification. So then I was leaning towards G’s Scoundrel of a Great-Grandfather Henry Bass. (I love Henry, plus he has great material, Possible bigamest).

I finally yesterday had a calling. A certain ancestor was calling me and it is requiring me to flesh a tree out slightly and I want some insight into the Characters and I stumbled across in the papers. You know I love my papers. Thank heavens for the NYS Historic Newspapers.

I found this gem, when searching Maria Weston. I had to use her husband’s name Sylvester Weston but look what I found.BenjaminWeatherwa and MinervaBeardsleyThe Plattsburgh Sentinel, courtesy of NYS Historic Newspapers

In Chesterfield, May 10, 1890, at the residence of Mr. Sylvester Weston, by Rev. J.H. Bond, Benj. F. Weatherwax, of Valcour and Miss Minnie Beardsley, of Clintonville.

So how about those apples. Benjamin Weatherwax and Minnie Beardsley are my great-grandparents. I knew they were married in Chesterfield (I have their marriage license) but I figured they were married in the Methodist Church. Things like this put things together for me.

So as a hint to the relatives that spoke to me it was Mr. Beverly Beardsley. I figured he had something he wanted me to look for and I should listen.

It has been a somewhat productive week for rabbit holes.

52 Ancestors – Week 49 – Craft

This is a topic that is near and dear to me. Back in 2010, I taught myself to sew. My grandma was a master seamstress. She could also crochet and knit, but I never took her up on her offers to learn and it makes me sad.

mickeyminnietree

This is a dress I made a couple of years ago that made me super proud and I wish I could show my grandmother.

52 Ancestors- Week 42 – Adventure

When I think of Adventure, I think of my Grandpa’s sister Olive. Olive Witherwax was born 19 February 1895 in Peru, Clinton County, New York. She was older than my Grandpa by 15 years. Sadly I don’t think my Grandpa new his sister Olive very well as she died when he was 10 years old.

Olive married Henry Rogers in Saratoga Springs in August 1916, she was 21 and he was 29. He was a Railroad Conductor. Olive Witherwax Marriage

Henry Rogers enlisted in the Army during World War I and was sent overseas.’Henry Rogers Transport

In 1919 Olive applied for a passport application to visit Henry in Germany. For a girl originally from rural New York and then a suburb of Schenectady, New York this must of been a grand adventure. I love old passport applications, especially when there is a picture.

Olive Witherwax Rogers made it to Germany to see Henry but sadly passed away on 20 October 1920 in Cobelenz, Germany. Her obituary appeared in The United States Army and Navy Journal and Gazette of the Regular and Volunteer Forces, Volume 58, Part 1.

She is buried in the family plot in the Niskayuna Reformed Church Cemetery in Niskayuna, NY. ANR - 588

Olive and Henry Rogers had no children and it strikes me as tragic that her grand adventure wasn’t really very grand.

52 Ancestors – Week 40 – Harvest

This was a rough topic as it reminds me how much of our history has been lost. My Weatherwax family were farmers. My grandparents were dairy farmers and lived in Clinton County, the stopped farming full time around the time I was born.

My great-grandfather, Benjamin sold the family farm that had been in the family for about 150 years in the early 20th century but I do not have the whole story and the parts I have heard read like a Greek tragedy so I have yet to research to find the validity of the story. It is on the list of items for another day.

Recently I joined the National Society of American Farmers, this society spoke to me as it is honoring those who have come before us and were the backbone of America. It was the need for fertile land and opportunities that drove so many to cross the ocean to America. Our history is not without tragedies for how we treated those who were here before us but I truly believe we should learn from the past no matter how ugly it can get.

One little memory about my grandparents farm. There was a garden next to the house and it was huge. It had corn, cucumbers, sunflowers and the biggest pumpkins ever. I would say in was in the early 1980s because I remember my uncle still being alive but I just recall walking up and down the rows of the garden and this pumpkin that had to be 50-100 pounds it was like a boulder.