Betsey’s five patriotic grandsons and the Civil War

Headstone of Thomas H. Stanwood

Headstone of Thomas H. Stanwood, civil war veteran

Last Sunday was quite momentous.  I actually went to the movie theater.  This was only the third time in the last eight years I was willing to give up 3 hours of my time and fork over $15 to see a film, but Lincoln was sooooo worth it!  The civil war era is absolutely my favorite period in history, so that was an added bonus.

Leaving the theater, instead of thinking about the war as a historical event, I began to ponder how it affected my ancestors, their towns and communities, and their daily lives.  Mostly, how did it affect their families?

At the start of the Civil War in 1861, both the Union and Confederate sides began mobilizing troops.   Continue reading

Determining the parentage of Jacob Meiselman

Back Row (L-R) - Herman Benjamin "Ben" Meiselman, Isador "Isaac" Miselman, Solomon Augenlicht, Louis Meiselman, Jacob "Jack" Meiselman; Front Row (L-R); Clara (Kahn) Meiselman, wife of Ben; Rosa Brown, wife of Isaac; Lottie (Meiselman) Augenlicht; Michael Meiselman (son of Jacob and Pauline); Chajcie (AKA "Ida" or "Clara" [Hackmeyer/Hackmayer]) Meiselman, mother of Meisleman brothers in back row, and Pauline (Sternburg) Meiselman, wife of Jacob and mother of Michael.

Back Row (L-R) – Herman Benjamin “Ben” Meiselman, Isador “Isaac” Miselman, Solomon Augenlicht, Louis Meiselman, Jacob “Jack” Meiselman;Front Row (L-R); Clara (Kahn) Meiselman, wife of Ben; Rosa Brown, wife of Isaac; Lottie (Meiselman) Augenlicht; Michael Meiselman (son of Jacob and Pauline); Chajcie (AKA “Ida” or “Clara” [Hackmeyer/Hackmayer]) Meiselman, mother of Meisleman brothers in back row, and Pauline (Sternburg) Meiselman, wife of Jacob and mother of Michael.

I was recently asked to research the parentage of Jacob Meiselman, and have summarized the steps in this research below.  If you have additional information on the Meiselman family, or are also researching these lines, I hope to hear from you!

In order to identify our subject’s parents, we first start with known facts, working from the most present information to the past.  Family sources stated Jacob (also known as “John” or “Jack”) Meiselman had the following siblings:

  • Izzie of Boston, Massachusetts
  • Ben, who resided in North Carolina, and who had a son named Michael, who also resided in North Carolina.  Ben owned movie theaters.
  • Herman  (research showed that Herman Benjamin [who sometimes used the middle name Bernard] is the same person as Ben above)
  • Lottie Continue reading

Tech Tuesday: The Next Generation v9.0 upgrade review

The Stanwood Family site at

I really have enjoyed The Next Generation (TNG) – is a great way to share your research with others online.  My dilemma in the past has been trying to keep TNG updated with the data I have in my primary desktop software, Roots Magic (which I LOVE!).  Recently I learned that you can simply overwrite your TNG data by uploading a new Gedcom, so I thought I’d give that a whirl.  First, though, I decided to upgrade TNG from version 8.0 to 9.0.

The upgrade went without a hitch.  TNG has an excellent forum and a Wiki which answers most questions.  However, when I’ve had additional questions that I can’t solve with the online helps, Darrin Lythgoe has been WONDERFUL about providing support for his product.  When I first installed TNG a couple of years ago, he guided me through the process when I had issues.  (Discovered it runs best on Linux, and my host was Windows-based.  A change to Linux solved those problems.)

While my upgrade was smooth, updating my database was a little more challenging.   Continue reading

Are you have problems with’s DNA portal?

Error message I receive when trying to access my new matches on

Are you having issues with Ancestry’s DNA portal?  About a week ago I received an email with a notice stating that I have three new matches.  However, when I try to access them, I keep getting the above message.  Hmmm….sure hoping it resolves soon.  I’m trying to be patient!

Home is where my clock is! (and the crazy things we do for genealogy!)

I’m home wherever my grandmother’s clock and pictures are!  They were one of the very first items to be unpacked when we arrived at our new house in Delaware.

I’m home.  I’m finally home.  Not just home in a house, but home on the East Coast.  I’m finally where I belong, in the midst of my ancestors, many of whom died centuries ago.

At the end of March, my husband announced he’d applied for a job in Maryland.  By May he’d moved into an apartment, and I was furiously house-hunting for our new, permanent residence online.  By July I’d finished preparing our five-acre ranch home in California for market, and on August 13th the day it closed escrow, my son and I loaded up all of my family heirlooms and my genealogical records into a uHaul (would never consider sending such items with the moving company who took the rest of our household belongings!), buckled up the menagerie of dogs, and began our 2,800 mile trip to the Mid-Atlantic!  I’m not looking back! Continue reading

The 21st Century Pioneer Woman

A few months ago I purchased “Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier,” a wonderful book by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith.  It described the tremendous hardships 19th century women encountered when relocating to the American West.

Of particular note was Pamelia Fergus of Little Falls, Minnesota, who “had been on her own for nearly four years by the time her husband finally sent word that he was ready for the family to join him in the West.  Faced with the task of readying herself and her four children for the trip to the Montana territory, Pamelia followed a three-page memorandum from James in gathering the items she was to take on her journey…”

I cannot even begin to fathom traveling alone in 1864 via covered wagon to an unknown territory with four young children in my care.   To think Pamelia did so gives me courage in my own journey.

My husband and I are relocating to the Mid-Atlantic region.  (Hence the scarce blog posts the last couple months!)  Actually, Ed is already there, having started a new job.  My son and I are still at home in California, having prepared our home for sale and are now about ready to load up the dogs into the SUV and make the 2600 mile drive east.

Some days are quite overwhelming, thinking of all that is involved in such a transition.  It is on those days I remind myself how “easy” I have it in comparison to Pamelia Fergus, or my own 4th great grandmother, Betsy Wasgatt Stanwood, who traveled from Maine to Minnesota between 1865 to 1870, and then back to Maine where she died in 1874.

How did Pamelia manage four years without James?  How did she make it all those miles to Montana with kids in tow?  These are questions I asked myself as I struggled with some of the day-to-day responsibilities my husband would usually handle.  (Emptying heavy trash cans into the trash dumpster, maintaining the chemical balance of our swimming pool, finding time in my schedule to take my car to the mechanic for an oil change, and finding reputable home repairmen were some of my challenges!)

Yes, there is a lot modern women take for granted.  However, when I’m lamenting life without my husband nearby, I have determined to think of Pamelia and Betsy and how “easy” I have it in comparison to their trials as 19th century pioneer women!

My AncestryDNA match

When I took the autosomal DNA test, I was mostly interested in confirming my genetic ethnicity.  An added bonus was my recent connection to a distant cousin – my first definite DNA match.

While I didn’t learn anything new from my newly found cousin (I was able to fill in quite a few holes in her family tree), I did learn a bit more about DNA testing.  Ancestry had stated with 95% assumed accuracy that we are 4th-6th cousins.  However, after comparing notes, we learned my 9th great grandfather, Philip Stanwood, was our common ancestor.  To put this in perspective, Philip was likely born in the first half of the 17th century, having been a fence-viewer in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1648, and was deceased 7 August 1672.

Given the science of inheritance, it is really quite fascinating that I was matched to my 10th cousin!


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