The quest to clear an AIR!

What is an AIR? An air is this pesky thing in the DAR. It stands for Additional Information Requested and right now it is the bane of my existence and I am thinking a couple of research trips may be what I need to do.

Here is the situation. I am working on proving my lineage back to Benjamin Knowlton, who was a member of the Committee of Safety and Correspondence in New Ipswich, Hillsborough, New Hampshire. Benjamin was married to Phebe Wright.

Benjamin was born in 1728 in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts. He died somewhere in Oneida County, NY as he is buried in Sangerfield, NY.

Photos courtesy of Find A Grave.

My lineage goes through his daughter Sarah. Sarah was born in New Hampshire and I found a birth record for that. Sarah was married to Obadiah Coolidge in either Vermont or New Hampshire. (This is one of the things I am looking for.)

Sarah Knowlton and Obadiah Coolidge lived in Vermont and then settled in Jay, Essex County, New York. Essex County is my black hole for genealogy research. I lose several members of my family there.

Sarah Knowlton Coolidge died in 1832 in Essex County and is buried there. Her tombstone was erected by her son Benjamin Knowlton Coolidge.

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Photo Courtesy of Find A Grave.

My additional information request comes from the birth date on the tombstone does not correspond with the birth date in New Hampshire which I submitted as proof to the DAR.  So the requested I find the marriage record of Sarah Knowlton and Obadiah Coolidge or the will of Benjamin Knowlton naming Sarah as his daughter.

The Daughters of the American Revolution are sticklers for the documentation to prove the lineage. Benjamin Knowlton has several members under him but they all come through one child of his. He had several children who reached adulthood so this would open a new line to him. I am beginning to research sideways on this branch of the tree.

So I am thinking a research trip to Oneida County to see if I can find a will for Benjamin Knowlton or Phebe Knowlton may be necessary and then there is always a trip to Essex County, NY as there are almost no records on Family Search for them and there doesn’t seem to be many wills or deeds for the County anywhere before 1860 or so. I have 18 months to get my AIR resolved so if you have an idea or are researching these families, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave me a comment.

Have a great day.

Linking them all together

So I have been working on my Grandma’s family. I have several patriots in my Grandpa’s line. I joined the DAR through his lines and all my supplemental patriots come through my grandpa. My Mom would love to have a supplemental patriot through her mom’s family.

Most of our Stewart lines are dead ends or we lose them in Canada. Since our families were early settlers of Northern New York records at times are hard to come by. I seriously need a boots on the ground trip to the Essex and Clinton County New York County Seats. ( Road trip once G retires anyone want to come.)

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Anyway we have one line through my Grandma’s Grandmother the Preston’s which seem to have several patriots but it is a matter of dotting all the i’s and crossing all of those t’s.

The past 2 days of the 30 x 30 challenge has been spent reading old published genealogies and town histories. You have to love Google Books and Internet Archive.

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I am trying to find all the documentation to prove our connection to Hannah Bartlett Kelly (a female patriot). In doing the research I am finding the Hannah Bartlett Kelly seems like a pistol. She loaned money to the town after her husband, Richard death.

Screen Shot 2018-11-06 at 5.40.39 PMActually I am trying to piece together their lives as they seem to have been well documented and Richard had personal papers that are quoted.

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I came across this gem about Judith and Joseph Sawyer (who I believe was a Selectman in New Hampshire, trying to make my way through town minutes is tedious). I am grateful to whoever documented Richard Kelly’s writings but would love to make my own way through the originals. I bet they would be full of wonderful nuggets. Hopefully I will stumble upon a collection with these writings in them.

I was able to also find Richard Kelly’s Will with his daughter Judith listed along with her spouse, a rarity in the 1700s.

I am finding 30 minutes goes very quickly but is super productive. Tomorrow I am going to work on the actual DAR supplemental application and see what actual proofs are needed. I would love to get this mailed before Thanksgiving.



Day 1 of the 30 x 30 challenge

Today starts the day of my 30 x 30 genealogy challenge of researching 30 minutes a day for 30 days. This concept belongs to Jane Adams of Organize Your Family History.

For my 30 x 30 challenge to be successful, I had to come up with some goals and ideas of lines I wanted to research.

Here are a couple of my goals:

  • submit my application to the Daughters of Union Veterans.
  • submit my application to National Society Daughters of the Union.
  • gather the proof for my Associated Daughters of Early American Witches
  • Work on my additional information required request for a supplemental patriot.

Some of my research questions I would like to answer:

  1. When and where did Benjamin Nurse (father of Elizabeth Nurse who was married to Joseph Da(r)by) die?
  2. When did Neils Osborne arrive in the United States? Where in Norway was he from?
  3. When did the wife of Neils Osborne, Bergetti Netland arrive in the United States? Where in Norway was she from?
  4. When and where did Sarah Knowlton marry Obadiah Coolidge?
  5. Where might I find the will for Benjamin Knowlton who died in 1808 be?

So there is just the tip of the iceberg. It ought to be an interesting month. Working on lineage applications gives me a tangible goal and I feel like I should know how to fill out each one out there.

I am going to try to report in on progress as I make some. These are all pressing questions and involve different lines for me and they may even involve me taking this tree sideways in some points.

Here is to a profitable November in finding information.

Happy Birthday Grandpa!


Today is your birthday and I miss you. I miss you a lot. Your smile, your stories, your love for neapolitan ice cream.

You were born July 10, 1910. The youngest child of Benjamin Franklin Witherwax and Minerva Ruth Beardsley in Peru, Clinton County, NY.  Your married Frances Mary Stewart in 1940 and raised 7 children.

I have wonderful memories of you and think of you often, seriously daily, you and Grandma had such a profound impact on the person I am. I also tell my own dad often that just because you bought me a horse doesn’t mean he should by my child a horse. I wish you could of known all your great grandchildren. You and grandma have left us a wonderful legacy of love and the importance of helping those in need. I always recall you taking in strays. I miss the days of the adults playing poker in the farm dining room or traipsing through a cemetery with you and grandma or the day we drove to Valley Falls looking for information about Sarah Beardsley and met that man who remembered her sister Lucy and was the paper boy.

Anyway. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and I am grateful for having you in my life for my first 29 years. I love you and Miss you. Give Grandma, Uncle Leslie & Uncle Marc a hug from me.





52 Ancestors – The Old Homestead

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I am way behind on this project but hope to get moving on it again. This is Week 13. The prompt was the old homestead. My grandparents bought this farm in the early 1960s. It is not the house my Mom was raised in. They owned a farm in Harkness before this. This is the house I spent many summers at.

When I think of my grandparents I think of this house or their house in Florida that originally belonged to my Uncle Les. The Weatherwax family owned a much larger spread in Peru but my Great Grandfather Benjamin sold the spread originally settled by David Weatherwax in 1790.

This summer there will be a family reunion and I am sure lots of stories will be told and memories shared. As I get older I realize that the house is not what holds the family together. It is the bond and the love.

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52 Ancestors – The Old Homestead

There are families who stay in their homes for generations upon generations, but not mine.

Growing up my grandparents had a farm in Peru, NY but they were the first family to live there. My grandfather’s family had a farm that their family was on for over 100 years and then his family decided to go to Vermont and sold it but they never went. There is a tragic tale of the cows being sick and put down. My grandparents bought a farm in Harkness, NY where they raised my mom and her siblings and then they moved in I believe 1963 or 1964 to a farm on Barker Road in Peru, NY. They had a dairy farm but their taste for farming died after my Uncle Leslie died in a tragic accident.

The then became snow birds and spent their time between Upstate New York and St. Petersburgh, Florida. Maybe that is why I love Florida so much.

My Dad’s parents lived in Long Island City, Astoria most of their lives. My Grandpa Tony came to this country in 1920 and made his way to NY after 1936. They settled into a 6 family house in 1938 until they passed. No one lives in Long Island City any longer.

As I get older I truly believe the Homestead is the people. I would one day love to live on a big piece of property with a front porch and rocking chairs with loved ones all around. Though not anywhere where it snows.



Never stop searching…

In 2017, I started listening to genealogy podcasts. Two of my favorites are Genealogy Guys and Extreme Genes, each one provides me with new things I may not of thought of or gives me an a-ha moment. This past week I listened to both and can’t remember which one said to look into the neighboring towns and counties to look for your ancestors in their newspapers.

My Beardsley line lived in an area of Clinton County, NY that borders Essex County. They are from the area of Clintonville. I had stumbled upon the obituary of Sarah A. Beardsley in the Plattsburgh Sentinel. She was a Larkin and they were in the Plattsburgh/Beekmantown area. She married Leslie W. Beardsley. Anyway back to the point of my post. Today I was researching on the NYS Historic Newspapers site. I came across this beauty of an obituary.


It really details her life. You can view it here. This obituary names her 15 year old daughter. It lists her sister Mrs. Thompson. It is genealogy gold to me. I knew a lot of these things from different pieces but it validates the research. I am in the process of transcribing the obituary for my tree and records. The obituary helps make Sarah a living breathing person.  The only thing that is missing from this obituary is the name of her Mother Ruth, oh and where Benjamin is but that is another story for another day.

Dr. Sarah larkin Beardsley

This is my 2nd great grandma Sarah A. Larkin Beardsley. She was a wonderful strong woman who went to medical school and blazed a trail for the women who came after her.

Never stop searching for stories of those who went before us because every now and then you will find answers to questions you never knew you might of had and you may find validation in research you have done before.



52 Ancestors – Lucky or Not….

I wasn’t originally going to use this post as a 52 Ancestors post. Then today I was sitting here going through the Deed books for Clinton and Essex Counties in New York State. To me this is the black hole of genealogy research.

When I go through these books I look for family names. I have been working on my Beardsley/Curtis line. I am trying to find out what happened to Ada Curtis after her husband Beverly died in 1815.

So going through the books I said let me look up Beardsley, Shaver (one of of my brick walls) and Weatherwax. Even though I know a lot about my Weatherwax lines I am looking to always strengthen the connection between Jacob and his father David who I intend to file a DAR supplemental application and prove a new patriot.

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 8.37.53 PMSo you will see this sad little branch of my tree, with George and his wife Hannah and then possibly Jacob as a father.  These blank spaces bug me, immensely.

I have very little on George except he was one of the earliest settlers of Clinton County. I got his wife’s name from the Weatherwax Genealogy book.


Then I know Jacob and Mary are the parents of my George Weatherwax as I have a copy of his death certificate listing them. I also have a copy of William Weatherwax naming them also.


Not knowing more about Mary’s family has bothered me for a while. It is sad how much women got lost into their husband’s identities when the got married. Recently, I discovered George in the 1850 census with a wife Hannah and daughter Elizabeth, their ages and place of residence fit into the Clintonville history I had read.

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Then I found the 1860 census with only Hannah and now Betsey aged by 10 years. I can not find Elizabeth/Betsey in the 1870 census yet. So she may have died by then or possibly married or who knows, it will be an ongoing quest. I have not been able to find a will for George. Essex and Clinton counties again have that black hole effect for research.

Today I feel that the luck of the Irish struck me as I found several deeds with George Shaver/Shaffer buying and selling land. Some of it with a John Shaver and his wife and some with his wife Hannah. The next few weeks will be sent transcribing these deeds to see if I can discern the family relationship a bit more. I would love to expand this tree and give George and Hannah some more family.

Wish me luck since I am going to need it. Here is one of the deeds I found in the Deed books, which I will say are becoming a huge reference for me. IMG_0969

52 Ancestors – Strong Women

There are so many Strong Women in my family. They tended to not sit on the sidelines but to dive right into the fray. From my Dr. Sarah Larkin Beardsley who went to medical school in 1880 and became a practicing doctor in Jonesville, Michigan before her untimely death in 1886.

To Hannah Bartlett Kelly who gave money to help fund the American Revolution after her husband died to my immigrant ancestors who left Italy to come to New York and left there families behind. Strong Women run in my family.13179014_586372354857763_4566421874198837288_n

To me the strongest woman I know was my grandma Frances Mary Stewart Witherwax. She was born on Lyon Mountain in 1922. Married my Grandpa (Earl Elmer Witherwax) in 1940 at Schuyler Falls at the age of 18 and he was 30. Had my mom at almost 20 and then 6 more kiddos followed. She buried 2 children, raised her family and ran the farm while my Grandpa, who was an operating engineer helped build the Northway. She then also buried 2 sons and she kept moving forward. She never gave up and never quit. She had a stroke when I turned 14 and she still kept moving forward and overcame it. She was not a quitter and I will be honest it has been almost 14 years since she passed and I still miss her daily. I hate not seeing her and sharing the expanded knowledge of our family. She is the one who started me on this crazy journey. She would be so happy with all we have found and what we continue to find.

Love you Grandma and you are in my heart and big part of who I am.

52 Ancestors – In the Census

Week 5 of the challenge was In the Census. Census are one of the main records, I use when I look into the family history. Every now and then I will revisit a census record to see what other clues can be found.

I also now go and read the enumerators instructions to better understand what was being asked. Census records have all kinds of bread crumbs in them.

Let’s start with the 1880 US Census for Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Here we find Leslie Beardsley and his wife Sarah Beardsley. They were both born in New York State. In 1870 they were in NYS. When I found this record I could not fathom why they were in Michigan. If you look at the occupation of Sarah it says student but student of what. Sarah was a student at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor studying to be a doctor.

Next lets take a look at the 1910 US Census for Astoria, NY, where we find my paternal great grandparents and 2 of their children.

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 3.18.04 PMHEre we find Dominic Moro, wife Teresa, and sons Michael and Berlindo. Living with them is a boarder Paul Rizzo. The thing I find most interesting is the 1879 arrival of Dominic Moro. We were always told he came to the United States in 1900. This means he arrived with his parents, 20 years earlier, I have never found him earlier but truth be told I did not really look very hard as I struggle with Italian and Irish Research due to naming patterns. New project in  my future.

Don’t forget that State Census are also great for finding our families. Here in the 1915 New York State Census is the first appearance of my grandpa Earl Witherwax.

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Census records have a wealth of knowledge and are the backbone of my research. I think I need to go look at the various census records in my tree. I am also looking for a few elusive family members who seemed to elude the census takers.