thegenealogygirl


18 Comments

My Maternal Ancestor Count

My Maternal Ancestor Count

Last week, my genealogy efforts felt aimless.

It’s understandable.  My Grandma just died.  She was a big part of my genealogy life.  She got me started.  She loved my updates.  She called me with questions.  I called her with discoveries and the resulting questions.  She was never far from my thoughts.

Last week I spent some time writing about her final two days of life.  I included every detail I could recall.  It is something that I hope will be important to my family now and in the future.

Pondering on those two days, on Grandma’s last 85 years, and on the questions I have asked her over the years, I was struck by one thought.

A good genealogist always runs out of time before they run out of questions.

Lest you worry, let me clarify.  I don’t have any genealogy regrets in regards to my Grandma.  I tested her DNA, she tested her DNA.  I interviewed her and recorded it.  I made lots of notes.  I asked her many, many questions over 20 years.  We hit the high points over and over again.  I even started keeping track of her verbiage on certain answers so that I could make a judgment call on how clear her memory of certain events was.  She was getting older after all.

Despite all of that time and all of that information, I still have questions.  Of course, I do.  Everything a genealogist does starts with a question.  If we run out of questions, we are doing it wrong.

So now that I can no longer ask my Grandma questions, a portion of my genealogy process is broken.

And that’s okay.

But I find myself feeling a bit aimless.

I need to get my feet solidly back under myself.

So in an effort to bring some more focus to my genealogy, I decided to create an ancestor count.  Except, I decided to leave my dad’s side of the tree out of it.  It’s not because I care about them less.  It’s simply because his side is a tangled mess of many LDS pioneers being worked on by many hundreds, dare I say thousands?, of descendants.  But on my mom’s side, that is all my Grandma, my sister, and me.  We did every bit of that work, the three of us, and only us.  There is still lots to do, and I will keep on doing it.  But looking at the numbers did something for my mental focus.

I think I am feeling my internal sense of direction coming back.

Here is my maternal ancestor count as of the 27th of September 2017:

Maternal Ancestor Count, 27 September 2017

 

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know that my great-grandfather John Costello is my biggest brick wall.  The missing 25% for my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th great grandparents is all because of that brick wall.  From there, I start to have missing pieces scattered throughout my tree.  To really help me track my progress, I added that last column so that I know which branches of my tree those ancestors come from.

Looking at the numbers this way has put an energy into my thoughts.  I know that goals will follow, but they aren’t solid yet.  For now, I’m just comforted by having a new yardstick to measure my progress.  My old yardstick was printing a new fanchart for Grandma every so often and seeing the differences.  And now?  Now, I will update my ancestor count every so often to measure my progress.  Maybe I can get my Mom excited about it.

Maybe.

 

Have you ever created an ancestor count?

 

 

 

I wish I could take credit for the idea of an ancestor count, but I can’t.  I have no idea who thought it up first.  But I first heard the idea from my friend Cathy at Opening Doors in Brick Walls, so I’ll send you her way.

 


37 Comments

Ancestor Story – An Unusal Death – 52 Ancestors

MAFFIT SETH KDR 6 AUG 1904 P1_cropSeveral years ago my sister mentioned that she had come across this newspaper article about our 3rd great grandfather Seth Potter Maffit.  I recently acquired a digital image of the article which reads:

“DIES AT HOSPITAL

Old Resident of County Dies of Injuries.

Seth Maffit died at Emergency hospital Friday morning from injuries received on the railroad last Tuesday.  Deceased was asleep on the C. & E. I. tracks from Papineau to St. Anne, when he was struck by a train which reported at St. Anne as having killed a man.  A party sent back found Mr. Maffit lying on the right of way with one foot cut off, his skull fractured and covered with cuts and bruises.  He was removed to Kankakee, but never regained consciousness.  Deceased leaves six grown children.  His sister, Mrs. John Plummer, resides on Maple street, this city, and a brother, Charles, is a farmer in Aroma township.  He was 69 years old and well known in the eastern end of the county, where he resided many years.  One of his sons is a physician, practicing in Chicago.  He came to Kankakee on notification of his father’s case and had charge of the injured man.”

Hmmmm…  Who sleeps on railroad tracks and why?

No matter the reason, what a terrible, painful way to die.

I am interested in the line that states he has six grown children.  I only know of five.  Newspaper mistake?  Another child?

So far, this is one of the more unusual deaths I have found in my research.  Anyone else have ‘death by train while sleeping on tracks’?  😉


8 Comments

Ancestor Story – Prudent Therien – 52 Ancestors

U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918 - Iroquois, Illinois 1884.  The two grey boxes on the right side of the map are for a P. Therien and P. Theren.

U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918 – Iroquois, Illinois 1884. The two grey boxes on the right side of the map are for a P. Therien and P. Theren.  Possibly my Prudent Therien?  Map accessed on ancestry.com.

Last week I sat down to my computer and felt like a change.  It’s not that I was bored.  I just wanted to tackle a genealogy task that was completely new and fresh for me.

So, I dove into a line that years ago my sister and I decided would be the line she would work on.  She worked on it extensively for a few years.  Over the last several years she has not had much time for family history.  In the spring she was laid up recovering from surgery.  During those weeks, she was able to dig back in to this line and research.  She told me she had made a few awesome discoveries here.  I decided to check it out.

I went to my current end of line individual – Prudent Therien.

Prudent is my 4th great grandfather.  We knew about the latter half of his life.  He settled in Illinois with his wife and children.  They had more children there.  He lived many years in Illinois.  From the census we knew he was born in Canada, as was his wife and oldest children.  One of my sister’s discoveries was his marriage record.

Prudent married Adeline Perrault in Lachenaie, L’Assomption, Québec, Canada on 11 August 1846.  I was really excited when I saw that she had found this certificate.  I am quite familiar with French, Catholic records from Québec.  I know that in this time period they list the names of the parents of the bride and groom.  I opened the document thinking I was a few keystrokes away from adding another generation to my tree.

Are you sensing a ‘but…’?  Because there is one.

That marriage record held a few surprises.  First of all, Prudent was listed as ‘Prudent’.  No last name.  What now?  I had never seen that before.  Second, he was listed as a ‘middling boy’.  It was explained to me that this likely means, “I think in this sense, he was average and was probably under the usual age of marriage.  It is unusual that the marriage did not name his parents, it may be possible he was abandoned as an infant and left as an orphan but sometimes, priests did omit parents.”  Third, no parents for Prudent.

Hmmm.  Head-scratcher.

I decided to look for a possible baptism record.  I began in the same parish in which the marriage occurred.  I used the birth information from the 1900 US Census as a guide – January 1820.  I began looking in 1819, nothing there.  Then I checked 1820, nothing there.  I was a bit worried.  I checked 1821 – finally some luck!

I found a baptism record for a child listed as ‘Prudent – Illegm’.  It follows what I know of Prudent.  No last name, born in January, one year different from the 1900 census.  Born in the same parish in which he was married.  There were no other Prudents born in the previous two years.  Unfortunately the record does not list parents.  It does list god-parents, godfather – Amable Dupont, godmother – Hypolite Garispy.

Now I was wondering where the last name Therien came from.  Out of the air?

I still don’t know the answer to that.  I know that Prudent and Adeline’s first child was a boy whom they named Prudent Terrien.  He was born and died in 1847.  His baptism and burial records list his parents as Prudent, again no last name, and Adeline Perrault.

Prudent and Adeline’s next child was Marie Anne Terrien.  She was born in 1848.  Her baptism record lists her parents just like her older brother’s, father Prudent, no last name, mother Adeline Perrault.

The third child was Louis Ludger Therrien, born and died in 1850.  Louis’ baptism record is the first record in which Prudent has a last name.  His name is listed as Prudent Therrien, a name he uses on the remaining documents of his life.

I am still working on this family.  I have so many questions.

  • Where did the last name Terrien/Therrien/Therien come from?
  • Who raised Prudent?
  • Who were his parents?
  • Are there any records that will help me solve the mystery of his parentage or is Prudent a true BRICK WALL?  That would be a serious bummer.
  • Nine children have been identified for Prudent and Adeline.  The 1900 and 1910 census list Adeline as the mother of 11 with 6 children living.  Who are the two missing children?
  • When exactly did Prudent immigrate to the US?
  • When and where did he die?
  • What is the history of illegitimacy in this area?  Was he abandoned?
  • How do I properly list Prudent in my tree?  With no last name?  With the last name of Therien with a note?  This is new territory for me.
  • Who are Prudent’s god-parents?  I know their names, but why were they chosen?  Who chose them?

My work with Prudent is far from over.  As always, one answer leads to SEVERAL more questions.  I’m glad I decided to wander over to this section of my tree.  I’m really enjoying my digging.