thegenealogygirl


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DNA Happy Dance & A New-To-Me Resource

dna-3d-2146389_1920

Guys!

 

This DNA stuff is awesome.  And I still don’t really know what I’m doing.

When I set out to test myself and several family members, my main goal was to find something, anything, about John Costello’s family.  That has not happened.  Yet.

But my second goal was to solve my next closest brick wall.  My third great grandfather.  He was born in France and came to the US as a child.  Until last week, everything we knew about his life was post marriage.  My sister started working on this portion of our tree about 15 years ago.  We have records, photos, and some anecdotal evidence from family members.  But all of it is post marriage.

Children didn’t just immigrate from France in the 1850s alone, but we couldn’t find any travel records.  We couldn’t find him on the census.  He seemed to have just beamed himself over from France, Star Trek style.

To complicate things, the only people in the entire US with his same surname, spelled the same way, are all his descendants.  So… made up last name?  Did his parents die when he was young, after immigrating, leaving him an orphan?  What was going on?

I hoped DNA would help with this brick wall.

And oh boy, did it ever deliver!

 

Last week I was combing through my matches that are in this general area of my tree.  I remembered something Diahan Southard said in a recent webinar.  She said that your best matches are the ones that you have no surnames in common with.  Those trees just might point you to the surname you are missing.

Well, I have two matches in this general area of my tree that have no surnames in common with me.  They are fairly close cousin matches.  I looked at their trees and while we didn’t share any surnames, those two trees did have one surname in common with each other.  It looked like their end of line people with this name were one generation apart.  I did a little digging and figured out how their two end of line folks connected to each other.

That still didn’t tell me how that surname connected to me though.  So I did some more digging.  I pushed their trees back another generation and I’ll be darned if I didn’t just find the sister of my brick wall!

I kept going.

Using the information about my 3rd great grandpa and his sister, I FINALLY found a ship manifest for the whole family coming over from France.  That led me to the state and federal census records that followed their arrival.

No wonder I couldn’t find them!

The spelling of their surname makes phonetic sense, but it is a variant I’ve never seen before and one I hadn’t thought to try.  Add to that that my 3rd gg’s first name is wrong on one record and recorded as simply an initial on the other, and it makes total sense that he seemed to be hiding.  He kinda was.

I found several more records – a second marriage for my 4th great grandpa (which lists his parents names! squeal of delight here), a land record for that same 4th great grandfather, records about both sisters of my previous brick wall 3rd great grandpa.  It was exciting!

I couldn’t find some important records I was hoping would help me jump the pond, so I dove deep into the FamilySearch catalog and exhausted everything I could find there.  Luckily for me, most of the relevant microfilm are already digitized and available to view from home.

I have more to do.  Lots more to do.  Which is why I intentionally left out names, and other specifics here.  For now.

All of this exciting searching led me to a brand-new-to-me website and a whole different set of discoveries.  This part of my tree is in Illinois.  My sister has done most of this research.  I’ve only helped with the pre-Illinois part in Québec.  This means I really haven’t spent much time with Illinois records or Illinois research in general.  All of my exciting, new discoveries sent me searching for Illinois newspapers.  I tried all of my usual stuff.  One of the “list” websites pointed me to the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.  What an awesome, free resource!

While I didn’t find what I was hoping to find, I did find a whole bunch of goodies about other members of my family in this general branch of my tree.  In fact, I found so much that I had a genealogy first.  I actually got bored processing all of my newspaper finds and had to take a break.  The searching and finding wasn’t boring, but the downloading, saving, and cropping got boring after dozens of cool articles.  😉  Here are two articles that were particularly interesting.

MAFFIT, Orrin, 1906 burial article - crop

This article comes from the St. Anne Record, 30 March 1906.  Mr. and Mrs. Seth Moffit are my 2nd great grandparents.  This article details their travel from Chicago to Saint Anne, and the funeral and burial of their son, Orrin Seth Maffit.

BROUILLETTE, Nelson, 1919 Car accident article - crop

This article also comes from the St. Anne Record, 10 July 1919.  It describes a minor car accident involving Nelson Brouillette, my 3rd great granduncle.  What I love is all of the other names and connections this article describes.  One that isn’t obvious is that Dr. Benjamin is Nelson’s son-in-law.

 

So.  What is the point here?

 

First, DNA results are amazingly helpful to genealogy research.  I LOVE genetic genealogy!  If you haven’t dipped your toe in yet, join us.  The water is fine.  Mighty fine.

 

Second, if you have any Illinois ancestors, check out the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.  A fabulous – and FREE – resource.

 

 

Happy Tuesday, I hope you make a fantastic brick wall breakthrough very soon!  It feels awesome.

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: From an Oval Frame

DUVAL, Deane and Estelle, 2 Sep 1944

Deane & Hope Estelle Maffit Duval, 1944

MAFFIT, Estelle, 1941

Hope Estelle Maffit Duval, 1941

I found these two photos in an old oval frame at my mom’s house.  I rescued them and the frame.  My mom wants the top photo back, I think I’ll hand deliver it rather than mail it.  But that bottom photo – I think I am going to repair the oval frame and display this photo in it.  Estelle is my great grandmother.  She was likely the person who hand painted these with oil paints.  She left a wonderful legacy of photos.  I am so grateful.


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New United States Marriages Collection

MAFFIT, Seth & Esther Brouillette, 1858 Marriage Register - zoom

Clinton County, Iowa, Marriages, 1840-1933; index 1880-1930: volume 1, page 78, Seth Moffitt and Ester Brouillette marriage entry; GS microfilm 1005210 (accessed 12 February 2016 by Amberly Beck).

During Roots Tech there was a lot of buzz about FindMyPast’s new United States Marriages Collection.  This collection currently contains 33 million records and will continue to grow.

When I got home I decided to peruse this new collection.  You see, there is this elusive marriage record that my sister and I have been trying to find for years – 8? 10?  The problem was we didn’t know where to look.

Well, guess what?

It had an index to that elusive marriage record.  Seth Moffitt and Ester Brouillette.  My third great grandparents.

Hot dog!  It had a GS microfilm number and that film was already at BYU.  So a few days later I went to the Family History Library at BYU and gave that microfilm a look.  That pretty image up there is what I found.

I now know that they were married in Clinton, Iowa on 27 November 1858.  I know who married them.  I know when they got their marriage license.

Hopefully I can use those details to track down some more information.

Have you tried the new US Marriages Collection on FindMyPast?  Give it a try for free through Valentines Day.


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My Great Grandmother the Genealogist

Estelle Maffit Duval

Estelle Duval, my great grandmother

I was born 14 months before my great grandmother lost her battle with cancer.  At the time of her death, I was her only great grandchild.  I have no memory her, and yet her impact on my life has been significant.  Among other things, she was a genealogist.

Long before the days of personal computers, genealogy programs, and the internet, my Grandma Duval worked to preserve her family history through her amazing photography and through several different typed records.

Grandma Duval had two children, my grandmother and a son.  For each of her children she created a lovely little book about their family history.  I say lovely, but the reality is that they are just a handful of typed sheets taped together at the top.  Each book is about 12 pages and includes information for just a few generations.  What makes them lovely is the information she included and the handwritten notes in various colors that she added over the years.

I ended up with both books in the collection of items my grandmother gave me.  The last few weeks I have been corresponding with my cousin, a child of my grandmother’s brother, and am about to mail her the book created for her dad.  Before sending it, I scanned each page.

As I scanned this sweet little book, I was once again overcome with emotion.  I felt so much gratitude and love for my Grandma Duval.  I am particularly grateful for her genealogical work.  It’s from her records that I have found so many clues that have helped me understand the additional records I find.  It’s from her notes and photos that I find that extra special something that helps me know my ancestors more personally.  It’s because of the records she left that I knew where to look at all when I got started.  I can’t wait to give her a big hug one day and say thank you for the treasures she left for me to find!

 

I have included just a few pages of the book my Grandma Duval made for her son.  I blurred or removed the personal details about my great uncle to protect his privacy as he is still living.

Francis Duane Duval Book Cover018

Francis Duane Duval Book, page one019 copy

Francis Duane Duval Book, page two020

Francis Duane Duval Book, page four022

 


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Disappointing Death Record

MAFFIT, Seth Potter, 1904 Death Record

I recently wrote about the unusual death of my 3rd great grandfather.  I had hoped the death record might add some helpful information.  I was able to find it on microfilm at the BYU Family History Library last week.  Unfortunately, it was a bit of a let down.  I suppose this record confirms that his cause of death was a skull fracture, that he died in the hospital and that he was buried in Momence.  But, I already knew those details.  I wonder if a record of ANY kind exists that might shed some light on the unusual circumstances surrounding Seth’s death?  It looks like I have more stones to turn over!


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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’?  😉


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DIGGING IN in 2015

gg, DIG IN!

Happy New Year!

I learned a long time ago that I am much more likely to achieve my New Year’s Resolution if I only choose one.  I think it through and carefully select one DO-able goal that I think will have an impact on other areas of my life.  They are usually simple goals like floss every day, write in my journal every day, take a shower and get ready for the day before my husband leaves (that goal was set after my youngest was born).

This year is no exception.  I have chosen one loose resolution – I’m still working on defining it exactly.

Aside from my one New Year’s Resolution, I usually choose a few shorter term goals – goals in areas of my life that just need a bit of re-focus.

This year, one of those goals is about Family History.

In 2015 I have set the goal to post at least once each week on my blog.  Because, posting about my genealogy experiences definitely improves them.  I think things through more carefully if I write about them.  I make connections with people.  I learn from my readers.  I attract distant cousins who always enrich what I know.  I read what other people write about genealogy.  Blogging about genealogy has been good and I want a little more good in my genealogy life.

So that is my genealogy goal for 2015 – at least one blog post on here each week.

I have a Genealogy Wish List for 2015 as well:

  • Order the homestead papers for Henry and Alice Hyde.
  • Order the homestead application for Frank and Alice Duval.
  • Acquire the Estate record for Alice Hyde.
  • Order the Civil War Records for Landrie Brouillette & Seth Potter Maffit.
  • Make ANY kind of progress on John Costello – my great grandfather and SERIOUS brick wall.
  • Make a decision on a DNA test/company and have John Costello’s two living sons (in their 80s) take the test.
  • Buy a higher quality scanner.
  • Finish scanning the many photos Grandma gave me.
  • Clean out my hard drive.
  • Buy Dragon Naturally Speaking (is that what it’s called?) and use it to transcribe the interviews I have recorded.
  • Find someone to rescue the old cassette recordings my mom gave me to care for.
  • Order a handful of the long list of English records I want.  (Pricey)
  • Resolve the conflict in Family Tree on familysearch regarding my James Young, my 4th great grandfather.  This requires a surname study for the parish.  Two James Youngs married two Janet Robertsons two years apart and each had a son James Young.  Oy!
  • Prove or disprove that Landrie Brouillette and Emilie Fortin are the parents of Esther Brouillette.
  • Organize my family photos, documents, videos.  Make backups.
  • Participate in the 52 Ancestors challenge again.  (No pressure, just when it fits in.)
  • Join Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
  • Attend RootsTech.
  • Learn more about the Alaskan adventures of my family members.
  • Visit BYU and the FHL in SLC more often.

I could keep going and going.  But I know that setting ONE goal – writing one blog post each week – is DO-able and it will help me chip away at that big old list there.

So, how about it?

What is your ONE Genealogy goal for 2015?

I challenge you to set ONE goal and DIG IN!

PS – that super cool photo up there is my Great Grandpa Frank Duval.  Here it is with the back of the photo too.

Frank Duval, August 1938

Frank Duval,

Frank Duval, A-6- International Truck, Douglas’es Shovel a North West.  On Overpass at Shelby, Mont.  August 1938 [handwriting belongs to Frank’s wife Estelle Maffit Duval.]