<![CDATA[Find My Ancestor - Blog]]>Sun, 07 Feb 2016 20:40:36 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[My Recent Trip to England]]>Mon, 08 Feb 2016 03:02:13 GMThttp://www.findmyancestor.com/blog/my-recent-trip-to-englandAt the beginning of January I went to Dublin and England for about three weeks. Although it would have been amazing to spend the entire time traveling to ancestral hometowns and sight-seeing, most of the trip was for work. I did make and effort to take a couple of days for myself and see a few town some of my ancestors lived.

Denby, Derbyshire, England

My Hunt and Bardill/Bardel families were from a tiny little village called Denby. The village is only a few minutes north-east of Derby, Derbyshire, England. I have put together a little map of some of the places I visited while I was there as well as the location of where my Hunt ancestors lived.
Mercie Collard (1863-1941)Mercie Hunt (1863-1941)
My great great-grandmother, Mercie Hunt, was born ​3 April 1863 in Denby. She was the daughter of Hannah Hunt, who was the daughter of John Hunt and Sarah Bardell. In 1864 Mercie, Hannah and Sarah made their way to the United States and arrived in New York City on 23 June 1864. Mercie was just over a year old.

​John Hunt was a coal miner during part of his life. In both the 1851 and 1861 UK census he was living at the Smithy Houses with his wife and children. When I visited Denby, there was one of the original Smith Houses still standing, and someone even lives in it. I am not sure how many houses there originally were - there may have even just been the one that was there when I visited. When I searched online to find out more about the Smithy Houses, I found several websites proving more information about the houses, but nothing I found said how many houses there originally were. Below are some photos of the Smithy Houses as well as the local church where my ancestors were married, baptized and buried. I will write more about Denby in future posts.


Crewkerne, Somerset, England

The second place I had the opportunity to visit while I was in England was a small town called Crewkerne. Crewkerne is located in Somerset, almost on the border of Dorset.

My Rowsell family came from this little town. Douglas Rowsell and his wife, Ann Cleal, were married 29 June 1828 in Crewkerne. Together they had at least six children, including my 3rd great-grandfather, William Douglas Rowsell, who was born 1 November 1843 in Crewkerne.
Below are some photos of Crewkerne, including the home Douglas Rowsell and his family lived in 1851 when the census was conducted. I will post more in the future of the Rowsell family and Crewkerne.
<![CDATA[Restoring Photos of Mary Erma Nielsen]]>Sun, 22 Mar 2015 02:11:05 GMThttp://www.findmyancestor.com/blog/restoring-photos-of-mary-erma-nielsenToday I have been working on restoring some of the old photographs of my great-grandmother, Mary Erma Nielsen. My great-grandmother, Erma, married Ellis Clark Ivory on 23 February 1926 in Nephi, Juab County, Utah.

A while ago I scanned a bunch of family photos I obtained from my grandfather's collection. I am just now getting to some of those photos to organize, name, restore, etc. Below are some of the photos I have been working on of Erma.
Original photo I scanned.
Restored photo 1.
Restored photo 2.
Original photo I scanned.
Restored photo 3.
Restored photo 4.
I do not know who took these photos. They were likely taken around 1920-1925. Although I do not own the copyright to the photos below, if you download these photos for your own use please attribute me indicating that I restored the photos. Please also let me know if you choose to use these photos in a blog post, website, online family tree, etc. I would like to see where they are being used.
<![CDATA[Thieves in the Family]]>Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:54:53 GMThttp://www.findmyancestor.com/blog/thieves-in-the-familySome of the best family history stories I have heard come directly from my grandparents. This morning I was talking to my grandparents about the APG PMC conference I have been attending in Salt Lake City. This sparked a bunch of other topics about our family history. We began talking about the "skeletons in the closet" and other fun and interesting stories in our history. My grandma said that her dad would always says there was no point in looking into their history because they were all horse thieves...
Well, at this point I haven't found any stories about my grandmother's family being horse thieves. However, the next thing my grandma started talking about was how she stole a rhinestone necklace when she was a young girl. I thought she was just joking, but she wasn't. She continued to tell me how she and her best friend, Sandra, went into a department store when they were young girls and stole a necklace. After a short time one of the rhinestones fell out of the necklace, so my grandma went back to the store to steal another. She said she failed to steal another because the store clerk followed her around the entire store, so she eventually gave up and just left the broken necklace on a table and left the store.
I feel like I am very fortunate to still have three of my four grandparents still alive. I think it is so much fun to listen to stories about my grandparents and their lives. I know I say this all the time, but you never know what you're going to find when you start asking your family questions about your family history!
<![CDATA[High School Diploma of Ruth Kynaston]]>Sun, 28 Dec 2014 00:03:28 GMThttp://www.findmyancestor.com/blog/high-school-diploma-of-ruth-kynastonSometimes all you have to do is start talking about your genealogy in order to discover records. Family members inherit family bibles, vital records and various certificates that you never knew they had.
A while ago I was talking with my mother about her grandmother, Ruth Kynaston. As we began to talk my mom said she had all sorts of records pertaining to Ruth. One of those documents is her high school diploma.
Ruth Kynaston High School Diploma
North Gem High School, Bancroft, Idaho, Diploma Certificate for Ruth Kynaston, 14 May 1937; copy of original certificate in possession of A.C. Ivory.
Back in that time period many people did not finish high school. In fact, many people only made it to the 8th grade and then dropped out of school because they needed to help on the farm or with other family matters. In 1940 only 28.1% of 19 year old young adults had finished all four years of high school. (1) If I remember right, Ruth was the only one of twelve children who completed high school.        
Below is a copy of Ruth's high school graduation program. She was only one of 16 graduates in 1937 from North Gem High School in Bancroft, Idaho.
North Gem High School, Bancroft, Idaho, Graduation Program for Ruth Kynaston, graduated 14 May 1937; copy of original program in possession of A.C. Ivory.
Ruth is on the second row, first person on the left. Photo in possession of A.C. Ivory.
I never would have known about Ruth's diploma or graduation program had I never started talking with my mom about her. You never know what treasures your family members may have in their possession, so you better start those conversations about your genealogy before it may be too late.

1. United States, Census Bureau, Population 5 to 24 years old attending school, by years of school completed, single years of age, and sex, for the United States: 1940; digital image, “Educational Characteristics of the Population of the United States, By Age: 1940 - Detailed Tables,” Education, United States Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/data/cps/1946/p19-4/tab-02.pdf), accessed December 2014. 
<![CDATA[1860 Census - Image Problems]]>Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:55:03 GMThttp://www.findmyancestor.com/blog/1860-census-image-problemsI have noticed several times, as I am sure you may have as well, that the images for the 1860 U.S. Federal Census on Ancestry and Fold3 sometimes have very poor quality. It is amazing to me that information can even be extracted from these images because they are so faded or just terrible. I came across this yesterday while doing some research on one of my ancestors.
One of my fourth great-grandfathers, Shadrack Chitwood, was living in Sugar Creek Township, Randolph County, Missouri, in 1860. This was actually just one year before he died. He and his wife, Jane, were living next door to their son, Francis M. Chitwood, and his family.
I first found the census on Ancestry because of a shaky leaf hint from other records I had found for him. However, when I looked at the image to see what other information was on the census, I couldn't read a single entry on the page, except for maybe their last name.
1860 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Sugar Creek Township, Randolph County, Missouri, p. 962, Dwelling 1075, Family 1070, S. Chitwood household; digital image, “1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com), accessed October 2014.
This is the same census page above, just zoomed in to show where Shadrack (recorded as S. Chitwood) and his son, Francis (recorded as F. M. Chitwood).
Sometimes when I find a poor quality image on one of the genealogy websites I will go to another website to see if they have a better image. FamilySearch has index entries for the 1860 census, but the website links over to Fold3 for the actual image. When I went to Fold3 for the image, the quality wasn't that much better.
1860 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Sugar Creek Township, Randolph County, Missouri, p. 962, Dwelling 1075, Family 1070, S. Chitwood household; digital image, “Census – US Federal 1860,” Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com), accessed October 2014.
One trick I have found is if images on both of these websites for the 1860 census (or other census years) are poor quality, look for them on Heritage Quest. Unfortunately this website is not like Ancestry or Fold3 where you can purchase a subscription. Heritage Quest is usually available through your local or county libraries. I don't know why, but Heritage Quest has so much better quality images for the 1860 census than the other websites. Why is that?
1860 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Sugar Creek Township, Randolph County, Missouri, p. 962, Dwelling 1075, Family 1070, S. Chitwood household; digital image, “1860 United States Federal Census,” Heritage Quest Online (http://www.heritagequestonline.com), accessed October 2014.
I find that the images may be more "grainy" and have other particles of dust or something on the images, but at least you can read the names on their records compared to the other two sites. I would be really interested in knowing why Ancestry and Fold3 have such poor quality images and what Heritage Quest did to make their images so much more readable. I would really like to see both Ancestry and Fold3 obtain new images of the 1860 census for those areas like Randolph County, Missouri, that are not legible. I know that is a lot of work and would cost the companies money, but I find it would be a valuable effort for their customers.
<![CDATA[Mysterious Vital Records of Newport News, Virginia]]>Thu, 27 Mar 2014 00:15:31 GMThttp://www.findmyancestor.com/blog/mysterious-vital-records-of-newport-news-virginiaLately I have been doing research in Virginia for one of our clients at work. I have come across a very interesting situation with some vital records. I decided to write a blog post about it, anticipating that someone may read it, know what I am talking about and possibly be able to help me. I have made it a personal goal of mine to figure out what has happened to these vital records because no one seems to know where they are.

Virginia Vital Records

PictureImage Credit: NationalAtlas.gov
Virginia is one of the rare states that started keeping birth and death records in the mid-1800s. In 1853 each county and independent city in Virginia was required to keep birth and death records. During the Civil War many counties and independent cities did not keep these records, so that should be kept in mind when researching during the Civil War. Registration of birth and death records continued until 1896. On 14 June 1912 statewide registration of vital records began.

During the time between 1896 and 14 June 1912 some independent cities still kept birth and death records, independently of the state laws. According to Kimberly Powell, of the About.com genealogy blog, the only cities that kept birth and death records between 1896 and 14 June 1912 were Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Richmond.

Newport News, Virginia

PictureImage Credit: Wikipedia
Newport News was once part of Warwick County. In 1896 Newport became incorporated as an independent city. In 1952 the county of Warwick was incorporated as the City of Warwick. In 1958 the cities of Warwick and Newport News voted to consolidate the two cities and take upon the more well-known name of Newport News.

Vital Records in Newport News

One of the client's ancestors died in 1902 in Newport News, Virginia. The client provided a transcript of his obituary, but since this case is for a lineage society, I wanted to do my best to obtain any and all vital records possible - especially since I know the lineage society would require the records, if available. I also wanted to obtain a copy of the newspaper obituary, not just a transcription of the record.

I went online to find the Newport News Public Library website. Unless the newspaper has been digitized and put online, I have found that going to the city/county public library is the next best thing when looking for newspaper articles/obituaries. As I was looking for information regarding the library's newspaper holdings, and if I could obtain a copy of his obituary from the library, I found some information about vital records in Newport News.

This website is actually where I first learned that Newport News kept vital records between 1896 and 1912, independently of state laws. The page states that if you want records from Warwick County and Newport News between that time period to contact the Newport News Health Department. The address and phone number was provided.

I called the health department and asked the lady how I could obtain this record. She told me that they do not have those records between that time period. After talking with her for several minutes and being transferred to another lady, I was told that those records do exist, however, the health department in Newport News only holds records for five years and then they are transferred to the State Department of Health in Richmond, Virginia.

Next, I called the State Department of Health. The customer service representative told me that the health department does not have any records between 1896 and 1912. I told her that the Newport News Department of Health told me that they transferred those records to the state. I was assured by the employee at the state that they do not have those records.

I called Newport News again. I talked again with the same lady as before. I told her what the state health department told me. She reassured me that Newport News does not have those records anymore. She told me that she worked at the Newport News Department of Health when those records were requested by the state and transferred about 15 years ago.

I ended up going back and forth between each agency and they each told me opposing things. After all of this I am beginning to wonder about these records. Do they exist? If they exist, where are they? Why does no one know where these records are?

I am on a quest. This is so much more than just client research. I am intrigued as to the existence of these records. I have contacted a few people and I will not stop until I can find a solid answer.
<![CDATA[My Mother's DNA REsults Are In!]]>Sat, 18 Jan 2014 23:32:40 GMThttp://www.findmyancestor.com/blog/my-mothers-dna-results-are-inBack in early November I received an email from a lady who stated that she believed we were distant cousins on my mom's paternal family. She had taken an AncestryDNA test and I was apparently a really good match to her.

As we corresponded back and forth, and as I conducted my own research, I discovered that we indeed are second cousins. This was really exciting to my family and me because the relation to this lady is on my mother's paternal side of the family, which has been quite the mystery. My mother did not find out who her biological father was until the mid to late 90s, and come to find out, he died in 1972 when my mother was only 10 years old.

When my mother was told by her grandmother who real father was, that was indeed a shock and surprise. My mother does not have any legal documentation such as a birth certificate, court record, etc. that states who her biological father was. All we had is my grandmother's and great-grandmother's word that he was the father - until now.

When I was contacted back in November about the possible DNA match, and then confirming the match through research, it was a very exciting breakthrough. My brother and I bought a DNA test for my mother so see what her ethnicity results would be, but also to see what DNA matches would show up for her. Last night I received an email stating that her DNA results are in!

Below is a screenshot showing the top results from my mother's DNA test. As you can see, in the Parent/Child relationship section there are two results. The first result is my mother's mother. I had her take a DNA test last summer when her health was failing. I wanted to make sure she took a test before she is gone. The second result is my own DNA test.

The third result is the lady who contacted me back in November. Even though AncestryDNA is suggesting that her and my mother are second cousins, the lady and I are actually second cousins and the lady and my mother are first cousins once removed.
<![CDATA[Mathew Ivory b1809 in the 1870 Census]]>Sun, 22 Dec 2013 18:54:55 GMThttp://www.findmyancestor.com/blog/mathew-ivory-b1809-in-the-1870-censusThe other day when I was doing some research and making sure my family tree was updated with all of the documents pertaining to some of my Ivory family members. As I was reviewing my research journal and tree I decided that I would try again to find Mathew Ivory and his children in the 1870 census.

Mathew's wife, Mary Elizabeth, died in January of 1870. Family "story" has been that she got sick and left her home in Beaver, Beaver County, Utah, and went to go stay with her parents in Moroni, Sanpete County, Utah. I have always been told that she died in Moroni while staying at her parent's house.

The other night I found the 1870 Mortality Schedule where Mary was recorded. Although I had always been told she died in Moroni, I actually found her in the Mortality Schedule in Beaver, Beaver County, Utah.
1870 U.S. Federal Census (Mortality Schedule), Beaver County, Utah Territory, Page 1, Family 115 on Schedule 1 (actually 107), Mary E. Ivory, .jpeg image (Online: Ancestry.com, 2013) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, D.C.], subscription database, (http://www.ancestry.com), accessed December 2013.
After I found Mary in the 1870 Mortality Schedule, I decided I would search again for Mathew and his children in the 1870 census. Since I couldn't find them searching the index on both Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org I figured I would manually search the census page-by-page.

I eventually found Mathew and his children, living in Beaver, Beaver County, Utah. It is understandable why they could not be found on either website's census databases using the index. Both of the images are horrible quality and you can barely read the names. 
1870 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Beaver, Beaver County, Utah Territory, Page 13 (11 stamped), Dwelling 107, Family 97, Matthew Ivory household, .jpeg image (Online: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 2013) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, D.C.], subscription database, (http://www.familysearch.org), accessed December 2013.
Mathew and his children were recorded at Dwelling 107, Family 97. Below is an abstract of the family on the census:
  • Matthew Ivory, [69], male, [occupation unreadable], $100 personal property, $150 real estate value, born in [Pennsylvania]
  • George W. Ivory, 12, male, at home, born in Illinois
  • Reuben Ivory, 10, male, at home, born in Illinois
  • Linus B. Ivory, [age unreadable], male, at home, born in Utah
  • Isaac E. Ivory, [age unreadable], male, born in Utah
  • Martha Ivory, [age unreadable], female, born in Utah
  • Mary A. Ivory, 6, female, born in Utah
  • Frederick Ivory, 2, male, born in Utah