Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - My own Find A Grave volunteer

I love Findagrave.com. I try to volunteer here locally when I can because I use the site so much for finding distant relatives. During a recent trip back home to visit family I had an opportunity to visit a cemetery and fill my own photo request. When I have a little extra time during visits home I open Findagrave.com and look for my photo requests. On this particular visit I saw that I had two requests for a cemetery near Millville, Missouri in Ray County. I had not been there before so decided to take my little ones on an adventure.

I had not looked to see the other ancestors buried here so it was nice to stumble across the headstone of my great-great grandparents: Minnie Dudgeon White and Hugh C. White. I already had a photo of their headstone, but it was nice to actually see it. I also taught my little dude the ritual of placing a pebble on the stone to let them know you had made a visit.
And here are the headstones I had traveled to find. We nearly left without finding them, but I made one last effort.

These are the headstones for Louvicy (yet another way to spell it) Pritchard Wall and Wade Wall, my fourth great-grandparents. I love cemetery adventures!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Military Monday - Philip Kuhn's Ohio Civil War records

It was my participation in the Family History Writing Challenge that led me to note that I did not have Philip Kuhn's civil war records. I had so much information on his time in the Civil War, because he was a prisoner of war, but I had never received his actual service record. I realized after a quick search that service records from the state of Ohio are not available on Fold3. (They have since posted an index of Ohio service records, a little late for my research, but helpful to someone else.) I decided to order the records for $25 from the NARA eServices webpage. I ordered the Compiled Military Service File (NATF 86).

I ordered it on January 30, 2012 and it arrived February 24, 2012. I already knew Philip Kuhn was in the 120th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and that he was a musician and later promoted to primary musician. I also knew that he was captured near the Red River in Louisiana and spent the last year of the war in the Camp Ford prisoner of war camp near Tyler, Texas. If I was hoping to learn more about Philip's service through his service records, I was going to be disappointed. There were only 22 pages of information and I learned that:
Philip was present and then he was absent. That was about the extent of the record keeping on poor Philip. He was made Chief Musician and was listed on the Field and Staff returns on March 1, 1863. Sadly, when he was captured he was reduced from Primary Musician to a private. I can understand that the slot needed to be filled, but reduction in rank also means reduction in pay. A fine tribute to a prisoner of war.
Remarks: "Transferred and reduced from Musician 120th OVI to private Co. G 114th OVI per SFO No. 27 19 AC Nov 27 '64."

Nevertheless, I am glad to have the records. Ordering records is always a gamble, as you'll never know how robust the file is. Now I'm a little leery to order his pension records...maybe I'll wait until those are available on Fold3!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Mark all as read" - Cleaning out my Google Reader

I follow my fellow bloggers through Google Reader. I recently left town for a while and came back to find nearly 300 unread blog posts in my Reader. At first I thought, "Awesome, cool stuff to read!" Then I realized that I deleted a lot of posts without reading them. It was time to clean out my reader. The following is a list of how I cleaned out my inbox:

1. I unsubscribed to all the blogs that were constantly "plugging" something. It's nice that you have speaking engagements or that you'll be at this or that conference, but I don't care. I am interested in your family and your genealogy discoveries so if all you ever talk about is your next big gig, I'll have to delete you.

2. I unsubscribed to any blog that took forever to load or was slow to scroll. I'm not sure what design element is causing a "slow scroll" on your blog, but it drives me nuts. (Mental note, ensure my blog is not a slow roller.)

3. If I noticed that I deleted blog posts in my reader for months without actually reading one, I unsubscribed to that blog. I suppose our tastes are different from what they were when I first subscribed to you. We're different people now. Let's not make it any more difficult and just make a clean break.

I enjoy reading interestingly crafted posts written by people I don't know with relatives I have no connection to. I know this is because we share a common love of an uncommon hobby. They are not "my" people but I've learned researching tips and felt the joy of their successes and the frustration with their brick walls. This is my new high water mark for following blogs: talk about your people, give suggestions, share your stories and you'll have a pleasant place in my Reader.

So now my blog reading is lighter and I'm able to focus on the posts I enjoy, rather than all that annoying "mark all as read" work I was doing before.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Surname Saturday - Bodine III

The above image is of Eliza Bodine Cutler and James Cutler, my fourth great-grandparents. I received this gem through two fellow researchers, Mark and Robert, who found me through my blog (see, it does work!). Robert is related to Maude Scholfield, the woman that I have mentioned many times as the author of a history of our Bodine line. In reviewing the information they have shared I returned to this photo and the information written on the back.

Note, yet again, that Eliza's birth date is listed as January 14, 1816. But what caught my attention was the list of children written on the back of James' photo: Bertha, Robert E., Sarah Ann, Mary Eliza and Martin R. Five children? News to me. I have not seen any reference to Sarah Ann Cutler in my research, but this does explain the seven year gap in between the births of Robert (1846) and Mary Eliza (1853). I had assumed that there was another child and this proves it. I'm not sure if I'll be able to find any documentation on Sarah, but it is worth a shot.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In honor of love day

Young love...me and my beau in 2003.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Surname Saturday - Bodine II

I shall now share my progress on my 2012 genealogy goal of tracking down my Bodine line. My most recent step in Bodine research was to contact the Cayuga County Historian's Office in Auburn, New York. There are some documents that indicate my ancestor, Eliza Bodine, was born in this county and the Cayuga County Historian's Office website indicated they had a Bodine family file. I sent a research request, but unfortunately I received it back without information. It seems that their family file did not contain information on Eliza Bodine or her potential parents, Peter Bodine and Susan Ervin.

But it was not a fruitless cause. By a strange coincidence, the research aide was also a Bodine descendant. She directed me to a website put together by Dave Bodine which is quickly becoming THE Bodine research database with more than 25,000 Bodine family members and descendants in his database.

The information on this website for my line mirrors that, for the most part, in the Maude Cutler Scholfield book, Genealogy and history of the Branch of the Bodine Family Founded by John Bodine, A Soldier of the Revolutionary War and a Pioneer of the State of New Jersey. One big discrepancy is the difference in Eliza Bodine's birth date. Scholfield's book lists her birth as January 14, 1815 and the website lists her birth as June 10, 1816 (and states this information comes from the LDS and has not been proven). I decided to return to Eliza's headstone.
It lists her death date as October 24, 1855 and that she died aged 39 years, 9 months and 10 days. I sure hate math, but my best guess indicates her birth as January 14, 1816. That is the date I'm sticking to. And, in an addendum to Scholfield's book written by her son, Arthur L. Myers, he discusses the death date listed by his mother and lists the proper date of January 14, 1816. He also mentions that this is the birth date listed in an obituary for Eliza. (I am happy to announce that I completed the above math BEFORE I found the addendum in the book. Yea for math success!)

I have yet to find a piece of documentation conclusively linking Eliza Bodine to her potential parents: Peter Bodine and Susan Ervin. I am prepared to accept her relationship to the Ervin family as she did name her first son Robert Ervin Cutler. I searched the records on FamilySearch.org for the state of New York, but could not locate a birth record for Eliza. I believe my next step is to try to locate her obituary. I'm also wondering if The New England Historic Genealogy Society might have some research that would be helpful. Membership in the society is $79 per year, so I will have to ensure it will be worth the cost.

Bodine To-Do list:
1. Locate Eliza Bodine Cutler's obituary

Friday, February 10, 2012

Family Recipe Friday - Buttermilk biscuits

My mother was a very good biscuit maker. She used to make biscuits for breakfast that we would spread with strawberry jelly and butter. I have her old recipe, but unfortunately, my efforts don't result in the same tasty biscuit. I decided to try to find another recipe that I could excel at and found this almost effortless recipe. The biscuits come out delicious and I frankly believe there is something mysterious in them that makes me crave them fortnightly. But I digress. These are really easy to make and the batch is small enough that you won't have leftovers. The only downside is that the recipe calls for buttermilk, not necessarily a refrigerator staple. I have found, though, that when I do buy the buttermilk for this recipe I make batch after batch just to use it up...happily!

Buttermilk biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup buttermilk
melted butter

Blend the flour and shortening together. Add the buttermilk and mix for one minute. Roll out and cut. Bake at 450 degrees F for 8 minutes then brush with butter. Yields 6-8 biscuits.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The joy of goals

One good thing about my 2012 genealogy goals to research more on specific family lines, is that it is forcing me to better review the information I already have on hand. As I have mentioned before one of my favorite aspects of this hobby is "The Hunt." I love diving into the databases, scouring archives and squinting at microfilm. My biggest fault is finding those genealogy gems and then promptly forgetting about them. To my credit, I apply a lot of effort to writing each of my blog posts. To do that, I check and double check my sources to ensure that each post is accurate. By establishing goals that force me to focus on research for a particular family line I am also forced to blog about said line and therefore create in-depth posts...leading to Eureka! The digging up of resources that were really awesome when I found them but were quickly forgotten once "The Next Hunt" began. I'm happy to say this is the case with the several lines I have chosen to focus on this year and I am now happily digging deeper in my own source collection.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Whites with a horse

Hugh C. White and Minnie (Dudgeon) White with horse. I believe the child is Houston Lee White, born in 1912. It almost appears that Minnie is pregnant in this photo. If so, it would be her second child, Clifton White, who was born in January 1914. I would date this photo to fall 1913.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Glenwood Theater, Overland Park, Kansas

I found this flyer in one of my mother's scrapbooks. It is from the 1967 re-release of "Gone With the Wind" in 70mm, played at the Glenwood Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas. The Glenwood Theater was a "new dimension in luxury theaters" and was located in a Kansas suburb of Kansas City. It's lobby featured a 15' x 15' crystal chandelier and hostesses escorted movie patrons to their seats in front of the 70' x 35' screen. When I asked my father if he remembered the Glenwood he said, "yeah, that was the really fancy theater."

My mother has always been a big fan of "Gone With the Wind," so it must have been extra special to see it as a 13-year-old at such a nice theater, especially since it would have been more than an hour's drive from her home.
The historic sign from the Glenwood Theater was salvaged by a local arts theater. Photo by Jim Good; used with permission.
Unfortunately, despite all of it's fanciness, The Glenwood Theater was razed to make way for other developments. It's historical sign was saved, however, and is used by The Glenwood Arts Theater at 9575 Metcalf, Overland Park, Kansas.
The historic sign from the Glenwood Theater illuminated. Photo by Jim Good; used with permission.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Butler family breakthrough...brick wall begets brick wall

I love when genealogy brick walls tumble down. But it seems that in my research once the wall falls another one is hiding just on the other side. This is the case with William Moulton Butler, Jr. and his parentage. I first delved in to this brick wall here. The gist is that William Moulton Butler, Jr. states in all documentation that his mother is Eliza Johnston Butler and that he was born in 1863. His father, William M. Butler, Sr., was married twice, the first time to Celia Temperance Bliss, the second time to Eliza. Yet, the dates that many books, and subsequent research, give for the birth dates William Sr.'s children do not jive with the story he and Eliza spun in later life. In fact, the last known child he had with Celia and the first "believed" child with Eliza are only three months apart in age. Fishy, to be sure.

I have been researching this line with my cousin Jeff this week after a brief hiatus. We knew that Celia had died young, and we thought that if we could locate her death date we could clear up any question in parentage. I did a Google search for her again and came across a link to The American Reports Containing All Decisions of General Interest Decided in The Courts of Last Resort of the Several States with Notes and References, Vol. 18 by Isaac Grant Thompson. (Whew!) This is a list of decisions from the Supreme Courts in various states to include some from the Illinois Supreme Court. On page 589 begins a discussion of Butler vs. Heustis.

The individuals involved are better known as William M. Butler, Sr. versus his sister, Altieri Huestis. I am not a lawyer, so the discussion of the actual case is a bit over my head, but the gist is that William had put some land in to a trust for Celia's use. She then died and funky phrasing in her will left her intentions for the land questionable. Why William is fighting with his sister over land is beyond me at this point. But this post isn't about William's legal issues. Further in the opinion I find:
Sah-weet, a year for Celia's death. Not only that, but she clearly had a will. Now I had a death year. So I strolled back over to my best friend Google and searched for "Celia T. Butler 1865." Lucky me, a hit comes up at Ancestry.com that leads me to Chicago Marriage and Death Index, compiled by Sam Fink. This is a database of marriage and death mentions in local Chicago newspapers, that was added to Ancestry.com in late 2011.
And there is Celia. The codes in the third column indicate which newspapers the announcement was listed in. Chicagogenealogy.com has a great post on this wonderful resource. Celia's death announcement was found in the Chicago Times and the Chicago Tribune. I was not able to find the Chicago Times version, but did locate her death announcement in Tribune on Fold3.com.
"In Morris, Ill., Nov. 13th, Mrs. CELIA T. BUTLER, wife of Wm. M. Butler, merchant, of this city."

After a year of looking, I finally found it. But what does this mean to my research? Celia Butler, William's first wife, was still alive when the first three children attributed to his second wife were born. So did they have some type of understanding? "I'll set you up with land if you'll move to the suburbs, live with your family and pretend like I'm not having babies with another woman?" This wouldn't really matter to me if my second great-grandfather were not one of the children in question. Like I said: Brick wall begets brick wall begets brick wall.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Surname Saturday - Reece

I am related to the Reece line through my paternal Great-grandmother, Gussie Creed Kuhn. Gussie was born in St. Joe, Texas, December 9, 1889 and her given name was Pearl Augusta Creed. Her parents were Joseph Micajah Creed and Mary Elizabeth Reece.
Gussie Creed Kuhn's parents as listed on her death certificate from April 15, 1975
Mary Elizabeth Reece, Gussie's mother, was born in Kingsville, Johnson County, Missouri on February 23, 1846. Her obituary from the March 24, 1927 Courier Dispatch and Times Democrat, Pawnee, Oklahoma, states that her father was Reverend William Reece, "pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Desota, Kansas." This find led me to an 1860 census for a Reece family in Johnson County, Missouri. The age of the Mary E. listed matches "my" Mary.
1860 census for the Reece family
I tentatively link this census to the Reece family...which I quickly realized is often spelled Reese. Following the individuals listed in the 1860 census leads me to an 1880 census for the same family. They now live in Johnson County, Kansas.
1880 census for the Reece family
Note a Nancy E. Creed living with William Reece. This child is Mary and Joseph Creed's first child, Nancy Estella Creed. The places of birth for herself and her parents matches the information that is certain for Mary and Joseph. Therefore, I'm accepting this William H. Reece and his wife, Elizabeth, as Mary Elizabeth Reece's parents. In a lucky genealogy tidbit, Elizabeth's brother is also living with the family...bingo for her maiden name: Alexander.

I am able to find William H. Reece's headstone in DeSoto Cemetery, DeSoto, Kansas, along with his wife, Elizabeth.
I am able to track William from his death in 1889 back to his marriage to Elizabeth in 1836.
This is where the documentation stops. I know that William Reece was born in Tennessee October 2, 1809, but I have found no information that links him to the next generation. If he had an obituary, I have not been able to find it. I have located two other men with the surname Reece in the same counties that William Reece lived in: Isham and Jesse. They are of the appropriate age to be his siblings and both are from Tennessee. Their migration patterns match those of William and he named two of his children Isham and Jesse. To date I have not found a conclusive link between them. There is a marriage record for Isham Reece from Rhea County, Tennessee. Perhaps a lead...

Reece To-Do List:
1. Contact Johnson County, Kansas to search for probate records for William Reece.
2. Trace the lives of Isham and Jesse Reece to learn their connection to Tennessee and see if it links them to William and his time in Tennessee.
3. Then what???

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kansas City Power and Light Building

Located at 14th and Baltimore Streets. This impressive structure rises to a height of 34 stories. The beacon tower, at night, is beautifully illuminated with changing colors and can be seen from a great distance when approaching the city.

The Kansas City Power and Light Building is my favorite building in the Kansas City skyline. I vividly remember hoping to drive past the building during family forays in the car just so I could watch the color of the top of the building change. The very top of the building houses a six-story lantern that changes color: green, red, orange and white.

Built in 1930-1931 the KCP&L building is a 30-story tribute to art deco style. For more than forty years it was the tallest building in Missouri. It now resides on the National Register of Historic Places.
The two-story entryway of the KCP&L building. By Charvex on Wikimedia Commons.

An air vent in the KCP&L building. By Charvex on Wikimedia Commons.
The original design for the building called for a second tower on the west side, but the Depression had more of an effect then expected and the plans were scrapped. For this reason, the building has no windows on the west side. The KCP&L building is taking center stage in part of a downtown revitalization, granting its name and image to an upscale shopping area called the Power and Light District.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Claude Oran McGuire home

The Claude Oran McGuire home in Morton, Ray County, Missouri.