Category Archives: My Family Lines

Technology and Tracing Thomas

Hannah (Higgins) Higgins

Hannah (Higgins) Higgins, niece of my 4th Great Grandmother, Betsy (Wasgatt) Stanwood. Photo courtesy of Holly Green.

My favorite ancestor is Betsy (Wasgatt) Stanwood.  She was one tough lady.   She was five months pregnant when she married my 4th great grandfather, Benjamin Stanwood, in 1808.  Not exactly politically correct in the early 19th century.  When Benjamin died, she managed the family farm, and was listed as head of house on nearly all subsequent censuses.  When her grown children and spouses moved to Minnesota, she went along for the ride, but came back to her home – Eden (now Bar Harbor), Maine.   She apparently made this trip alone, although she was nearly 80 years old at the time.  I love Bar Harbor – I understand why she came home.

I’ve dabbled in my Wasgatt genealogy throughout the years, but was again inspired to pick  it back up when I saw the Wasgatt family Bible in Bar Harbor last summer.  Armed with this info, and starting from scratch, I’ve been going through generation after generation, adding appropriate sources that I either lacked in my beginning days, or were dropped when moving from one genealogy program to the next.

One really cool thing about retracing your steps after so many years is that there are a lot more resources available online to assist.   Continue reading


Chronicling America – and Stanwoods too!

Melvin S. Stanwood and the Tri State Telephone Company

Melvin S. Stanwood and the Tri State Telephone Company

This photo has always intrigued me.  Knowing my grandmother’s uncle, Melvin Stanwood, made his way from city to city, town to town, bringing telephone lines to local citizens, it seemed highly probable this picture was somehow related to him.   Thanks to the Library of Congress and the Chronicling America project, I now know for sure.   This evening I downloaded the following article (Princeton Union [Princeton, MN] 12 Oct 1905) from http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov:

Princeton Union - Melvin Stanwood takes charge of Tri City Telephone

Princeton Union - Melvin Stanwood takes charge of Tri City Telephone

Most cool, is after scanning the photo in on my Flip Pal scanner and blowing it up, I now see that the gentleman in the center in the suit is Uncle Melvin himself!  How did I miss that before?  Moral of the story – keep revisiting web sites, keep searching – you never know what’s gonna turn up!


Maine’s move to digitize deeds – oh yeah!

Hancock Co, ME deed, 22:422: Thomas Wasgatt, Jr. deeds 1/4 share of mills to son Thomas Wasgatt, 3rd

Researching deeds has always felt cumbersome to me.   Unless you live in the area where your ancestors resided (not me), or visit the courthouse in the county where they lived (not feasible to do routinely, if, like me, you live on the opposite coast from your forebears), the easiest way to research deeds is to first order the microfilmed index from the Family History Center, determine the book and page where your ancestor’s deeds are recorded (if any), and then order the corresponding films.

Hancock County Maine Registry of Deeds

Official Website of Hancock County, Maine (with portal to Registry of Deeds)

Well, the State of Maine has made the job of locating your ancestor’s probate records and deeds MUCH easier!  Continue reading


Grandparents make the world a better place – a tribute to my Grandmother, Goldie Simpson Edwards

My grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse Edwards

My grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse Edwards, about 1974

In the era when families are spread through the U.S., I suppose my family was quite an anomaly. So much so that in later years my grandmother would often remark, “I must have done something wrong – I just can’t rid of you kids!” Of course, all of us “kids,” now well into adulthood with families of our own, knew she was fiercely proud of her loyal brood of children and grandchildren. Her life had been spent raising her three daughters, and then, spending her mid-life and senior years doting on her six grandkids.

Reflecting back, I now realize I took my childhood for granted, and assumed that all kids had wonderful grandparents and extended families. Continue reading


Why Genealogy? And the pictures that started it all!

Last night I went to the Family History Center just long enough to order the microfilms I needed for Somerset County, PA – taxes, naturalization records, church records, etc. Yup, just a brief stop and then I’d head home and start my after-work chores. Well, lucky for me, two of the eight films I’d planned to request were there! I didn’t get any new info, but I was able to confirm info I’d found online at PA-Roots.org. (Needless to say, it is always exhilarating to see the original document, even though it wasn’t “new” information!) While wrapping up for the night, I was chatting with the volunteer who was manning the library. “So what go you interested in genealogy?” he asked.

Who is this handsome man?

Page 22 of Lavina Bursley Stanwood

The thrill of solving these puzzles is what has me hooked and keeps me feverishly seeking answers to my family mysteries. Continue reading


The Gene Bug that keeps biting!

It’s hard to believe that last year this time I was just putting together a sketch of my Uphouse family in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Using the censuses, I came up with some hypotheses on relationships – and most have proved correct! When Henry Uphouse died, his kids seemed to be spread abroad throughout Somerset and Westmoreland counties, and while I was reasonably certain these kids were my aunts and uncles, I had no initial proof. One invaluable web site to assist in my endeavor is www.pa-roots.com. Last night I found a newly-posted, extracted obituary for William H. Uphouse on there. Actually, they had two of them. A quick email and by mid-morning today I had scanned copies of both! Continue reading


Pennsylvania research – oh the value of research trips!

My husband and I just returned from a five-day research trip in Pennsylvania.  It was a whirlwind trip, and as I had limited time, I had to focus my priorities and not allow myself to get distracted.  What wonderful results!  I could easily have spent the entire time at the wonderful Somerset County Historical Society!  What an awesome place!

What made this trip especially thrilling was being able to verify theories, positively identifying my third-great grandfather’s gravestone, clarifying misinformation found online, and getting to actually touch and handle 170 year old documents listing my family in 1840.  What exhilaration!  What joy!  For all these reasons, whenever possible, an on-site research trip is really the best way to work on a family history.

Gravestone for Henry Uphouse, Barron Cemetery, Middlecreek, Somerset, PA

Worn and degraded headstone of Henry Uphouse

One of my first objectives was to solve the mystery of Henry Uphouse, my third great grandfather, whom I believed to be buried at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Cemetery, also known as Barron Cemetery, in Middlecreek, PA.  Having done extensive research in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, I knew he was the only Henry Uphouse listed in the 1840 and 1850 censuses in the entire county.  I had viewed his probate records, scanned decades worth of microfilmed tax records for the county, and was confident my assumption was correct – Henry Uphouse died in sometime in April, 1857.  My dilemma?  Pennsylvania’s tombstone project listed his date of death as April 14, 1852.  Recognizing the possibility of a transcription error, I was anxious to visit the cemetery myself to visualize the gravestone.  My husband and I searched the entire site, and could not locate the headstone.  A second search through and I began scrutinizing dates, looking for one that stated 1852 or 1857, and finally found the stone shown the right.  Since the stone was so worn, the name was simply unreadable.  However, the year was clearly 1857, not 1852.  I took several photos of it, sat that evening, wishing the name to somehow magically appear.  Then I remembered an old trick I’d read about to obtain information from worn headstones, and knew I couldn’t rest until I’d tried everything to positively identify this as Henry’s headstone.

The next morning we set off to Walmart for the requisite supplies – charcoal, large paper, and at my husband’s suggestion, tissue paper.  Continue reading


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers