In 1917, on a rainy night in Lakefield, Minnesota, my great grandfather, Ernest “Bob” Simpson, penned the poem below:
My great grandparents, Charles Madison Uphouse and Julia Christine Veland, have always been somewhat of a mystery. So few stories have been passed down about them, and so little is known of their lives. Here are some photos and documents recently sent to me by my wonderful aunt.
Charlie was born 4 March 1889 in Davenport, Thayer County, Nebraska. The couple had one child, Charles W. Uphouse, who was killed in an automobile accident on his way to California in 1949. Sometime after his marriage to Mary Belle, Charlie enlisted in Company H, 5th Nebraska Infantry:
Additional statement of service below:
About 1918 or 1919, probably in Minnesota, Charlie married Julia C. Veland.
Below is Julia’s wedding ring, which my mother gave to me. I had it resized and wear often:
The details of Julia and Charlie’s marriage were lost with those who have passed; however, we do know that while they separated, they never legally divorced. According to Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse, wife of Julia and Charlie’s son, Harold, Charlie was a sweet, kind man of whom she was quite fond.
I received a box of pictures of and documents from my aunt on Thursday. It was like winning the lotto, but 1000% better. My grandmother had given to me all of her family pictures and documents before she died, so I didn’t think there was much else left to find. WRONG! My aunt sent me photos of my grandfather, Harold T. Uphouse, as a child that I’d never seen. There were photos of my grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse Edwards as a toddler. Pictures of Harold’s mother, Julia (Veland) Uphouse as a child and young woman. And pictures of Julia’s parents, grandparents, and one of her great grandparent. There were letters written in Norwegian that I need to have translated. I am beyond thrilled.
I’m a homebody who prefers the company of my dogs and computer to travel. However, there is one thing that is sure to motivate me to hop on a plane, and that’s GENEALOGY! A week ago Thursday I flew to Maine to do some research on my Day family, and then met up with my husband in Boston the following Saturday. I had two goals for this trip:
1) Find any additional documents that may list relationships for Cynthia Day’s parents, siblings, aunts and uncles; and
2) Find the original church records that were used as the source of information for Aaron Day’s baptism, which was listed in the Vital Records of Ipswich, Massachusetts to the end of the Year 1849.
While I did find some early deeds, maps and other cool stuff, I bombed on goal #1. (I think I’ve pretty much gleaned all relevant records pertinent to Cynthia Day’s family and it’s time to start my proof argument for her parentage.)
All was not lost, however. I struck pay dirt big time on goal #2! Buried for several hours in the Ipswich, Massachusetts Archives, I was able to view the microfilmed church records for the First Church and the South Church. While not an original, these transcribed, hand-copied records are nearer to the original than the published vital records, which I highly suspected to be in error.
Below is the entry for Aaron Day’s baptism in the published Ipswich Vital Records. As you can see, it states he was the son of John and Eunice Day.
This seemed highly unlikely. John Day and Eunice Burnum published marriage intentions on 5 May, 1722, more than 60 years before Aaron’s birth. The only John Day with a wife of childbearing age in Ipswich in 1793 when Aaron was baptized was married to his cousin, Sarah (Day) Day. Numerous other documents pointed to Sarah (Day) Day as Aaron’s mother, not Eunice. The transcribed, microfilmed church record is consistent with this – no mother was listed:
Where did the published Vital Records obtain the name of Eunice as Aaron’s mother? We will probably never know, but it seems likely that a tired transcriber simply added the mother’s name, having completed data entry for other children of the earlier couple. Unfortunately, as can be expected, multiple family trees published online and on paper erroneously list Aaron’s mother as the mysterious Eunice, wife of John Day. This exercise, however, underscores the importance of using original records, whenever possible.
After visiting the archives, my husband joined me in the hunt for Aaron’s maternal grandparents – Aaron Day and Sarah (Goodhue) Day. It was an overcast, rainy day, and the pictures turned out lovely. Cemeteries – some of my favorite places. Even more special when they contain an ancestor. :-)
My husband and I arrived in Richmond yesterday. While he was out perusing the old homestead of Thomas Jefferson today, I was like a kid in a candy store, indulging in one of the greatest genealogical conferences of all – NGS. Wow!
This morning’s opening session began with a keynote address from Sandra Gioia Treadway of the Library of Virgina. She described how libraries and archives must prepare to change with the times, and how the Library of Virginia plans to do just that. If Treadway has her way, in a mere seven years’ time patrons will have a substantially different experience when visiting the library. They will find themselves met by staff assisted by iPads and other technological devices, better able to help patrons find the materials they are searching for. It is an exciting era, that’s for sure.
The exhibit hall was quite packed with the usual vendors and service providers – FamilySearch, Ancestry, NEHGS, Find My Past, My Heritage and many more. Lisa Louise Cooke, Maurine Taylor (aka the Photo Detective) and Janet Hvorka with Family Chart Masters shared a booth and provided “out of the box” educational sessions.
Lectures I attended today included:
- Problems and Pitfalls in a Reasonably Shallow Search, by Elissa Powell, CG, CGL
- New Standards of Old: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories, by Thomas Jones, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS
- The Sociology of Cemeteries, by Helen Shaw, CG
Looking forward to another jam-packed day tomorrow, learning from the experts and the best in the field of genealogy!
New genealogists often overlook the unmarried folks in their family trees. After all, there are no offspring to track or trace. However, these unmarried aunts and uncles, cousins and kinfolk, can have stories just as interesting as those of our ancestors, and just as deserving of being told and preserved for generations to come. Just as important – often these unmarried relatives hold pieces to our genealogical puzzles, or have interesting information that make our own ancestors come alive.
Cordelia J. Stanwood is my third cousin, four times removed. (It is her great grandfather’s headstone I’m posed next to in the post, Twenty Tips for Living with the Obsessed Genealogist.) I never met Cordelia – she was born in Ellsworth, Maine on 1 August 1865, and died in 1958, several years before my own birth. However I would have enjoyed meeting her. One of the first female ornithologists in the U.S., she was also an author, a photographer, and….drum roll please…a genealogist. Continue reading
Good stuff starts with Find-A-Grave. Okay, certainly not all good stuff, but lately it seems like LOTS of good stuff has made it’s way to me, complements of the wonderful people who post on Find-A-Grave. Take, for example, the photo shown above, which awaited me in my email upon arising this morning. Find-A-Grave volunteer Jaci happened to be at the Crystal Lake Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota, fulfilling a photo request for someone, when she took this picture of the headstone of my great-great grand parents, Albert and Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood. She had no way of knowing that my yucky photo posted there was taken over twenty years ago, at sunset with a flash, later scanned with a low-res machine, and the original photo lost so I didn’t have any decent version of the precious gravestone.
What blows my mind even more is Crystal Lake Cemetery is HUGE, HUGE, HUGE! What a kind person to be combing that large cemetery for someone, and then on top of it, to serendipitously stumble upon MY family’s gravestone that needed to be updated online. Totally cool.
My Find-A-Grave stories don’t end there. I have found the site to be one of the best for making cousin connections. If it wasn’t for Find-A-Grave, and contacting the individual managing several Bursley memorials, I never would have met my fourth-cousin-once-removed, John. It was largely John’s research that proved our family’s connection to Benjamin Bursley, a Revolutionary War patriot and a descendant of John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley, two of my Mayflower ancestors.
Most recently my Find-A-Grave connections put flesh on the bones of my Day ancestors. It was another sort of serendipitous contact – Merrylyn had posted information on my Day family, and when I contacted her, I learned her great-great-great aunt’s sister, Elizabeth Skillings, married John Day, brother of my fourth great grandfather, Aaron Day. We are both using the FAN principle, researching friends, associates and neighbors of our ancestors, and have had fun collaborating on the John Day/Elizabeth Skillings connection. Merrylyn had previously obtained copies of some genealogical data on the Day family that had been submitted to the Starks (Maine) Historical Society where John and Elizabeth had lived. The writer had spent time interviewing old relatives, and stories had passed on through the generations, with the following tidbit revealing the character and personality of John Day, Sr., father of John and Aaron:
“When the children were young they had two Grammy Days. John said his father told him to call his mother’s mother ‘Poverty Hill Grammy.’ He did and his mother spanked him! Other family notes refer to his other Day grandmother as Pine Woods Grammy. Aaron Day from Waters History lived on what used to be Poverty Hill. Jeremiah lived in the area today known as Pine Swamp. Hence the name Pine Woods Grammy.”
This simple little paragraph contains several bits of information:
- Another confirmation that John Day married his cousin, Sarah Day, daughter of Aaron Day and Sarah Goodhue.
- Aaron Day lived at Poverty Hill in Ipswich.
- John Day was a character. I can imagine similar banter in my own household – my husband would make similar jokes and find it hysterical. Me, not so much. I can relate to my fifth great grandmother’s dismay at having her mama called Poverty Hill Grammy. :-)
- John’s father Jeremiah Day lived at Pine Swamp, just outside Ipswich, Massachusetts, where he was born.
After learning about these Day family documents, I was able to obtain my own copy from the Starks Historical Society, but never would have known about them (or who to contact) if it wasn’t for my Find-A-Grave connection. Yup, Find-A-Grave rocks.