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
Category Archives: My Family Lines
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.
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
Webster’s dictionary defines “father” as “a man that has begotten a child.” I disagree.
A father is a man who has loved, raised and cared for a child. A man who has cared for and raised a child he has not “begotten” is even more to be cherished, and is even more of a father. That certainly describes my own father, my Daddy.
My Dad married my mom when I was only 2 ½ (almost three) years old. One of my earliest memories was before their marriage. Daddy and I were on our front porch when he presented me with a Jane West doll. She was green and plastic, and if I recall correctly, had painted yellow hair. Even though I hadn’t yet developed into the country girl I would eventually become, I loved the Jane West doll and had her for many, many years. That was the first of many early memories of my Dad during my childhood.
Dad was a big kid at heart. Continue reading
In my last post I discussed how the use of the internet has expedited some of my research. However, I’ve also learned that sometimes we can become too reliant on databases, web searches and other online tools. Sometimes we just need to go back to basics.
Such is the case in my search for a photo of Flora (Stanwood) Simpson. Aunt Flora was one of those people that stayed put. Since she was found year after year, census after census, in the same place, I got to “know” Aunt Flora better than many of the other Aunts and Uncles in my family tree. Flora was married three times. She was widowed at the age of 25 when her first husband, Morton Howe, died, leaving her with four small children. Next she married John Miller. This marriage was brief, as in 1900 she married her third and final husband, Oliver Fred Simpson.
My grandmother, Goldie Simpson, recalled seeing Aunt Flora when she herself was very young. She remember this “very old woman with wrinkled socks.” Since my grandmother was only 3 years old at the time, she couldn’t offer many other details. :-) However, she did remember many of Flora’s step chlidren, who were my grandmother’s first-cousins. The relationship is a bit complicated, but the short story is that there were two Stanwood women who married two Simpson brothers. Continue reading
I’ve been researching the Stanwood family close to twenty years now. (Well, actually, maybe a bit longer than that, but I’ve been serious about it for about that time.) The “finds” are fewer and far between now, and I still have a few mysteries plaguing me. Most of those involve missing deaths/burials of my Stanwood ancestors. Thanks to the internet, information is a bit easier to access, and Google has netted enormous results in my searches. Take, for example, my search for Grandma Betsy Wasgatt Stanwood (my 4th Great Grandmother, wife of Benjamin Stanwood, and his first cousin). The Stanwood clan had moved from Eden (now Bar Harbor), Maine to Woodville, Maine (they are reported to have named the town!), and then headed west in the late 1860s to Minnesota. I’d spent years browsing Minnesota microfilms, searching for clues to Betsy’s death place, always unsuccessful. Then about five years ago I hit the lotto with Google – a simple search brought up a listing of deaths announced in the Ellsworth Herald. There was Betsy who had apparently traveled back to her beautiful home town in Eden, Maine, where she died in January 1874.
I’m hopeful that one day I will also locate the death place of Caroline White Stanwood, wife of Betsy’s son David W. Stanwood. Since the internet solved Betsy’s mystery, hopefully it too can help me find Grandma Caroline! Perhaps YOU have the answer to my mystery?
The following repositories/indexes have been searched to locate her place/date of death:
Hopefully in years to come new online resources will be available to answer the question – Where is Grandma Caroline White Stanwood? Until then, the mystery continues…unless YOU have the answer to my question!
Growing up, my grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Edwards, played a pivotal role in my life. Living next door to her, I spent much of my time at her home. Later, when she moved across town, Mom would drop me off at “Grammer’s” house before school, and the bus would take me there after school. Grammer was the kind of grandmother most kids would want – prepared with cookies and milk when I’d get off the school bus, and always ready to help with home work. At Christmas time she could never keep a secret from me. I don’t recall a year she didn’t tell me what gift she’d have for me under the tree (and sometimes she’d even let me see it!), but always warned me to “pretend to be really surprised!” As a grew up, I began paying closer attention to when she’d tell stories about how family. She always spoke with great pride when she’d talk about her mother being a Stanwood. She’d saved old letters and photographs that would later provide my first clues when I began researching our family history.
Like most genealogists, my first efforts began at the National Archives. I’d spend hours scanning the censuses, and would come home and look for more clues, searching for something I’d missed. Eventually I was able to locate cousins who were also tracing our heritage, and through them obtained more hints to solve family puzzles. After my grandmother died, my mother took a keen interest in genealogy; one of my best memories of my mother was our 2004 research trip to Bar Harbor, Maine, where we visited home of many Maine Stanwoods, descendants of our ancestor Job Stanwood. My mom passed away just two years later, and I will forever be grateful for the hobby we shared together in her last years.
With the passage of time genealogy has certainly evolved; so much information is now available online. Even without a subscription to genealogy databases, one can find clues by “Googling” their surname. While I’ve had many web sites through the years, this is my first effort at posting my family history online. Extending it through a blog to reach out to other cousins is also new – time to catch up with the 21st century!