Category Archives: Family History

10 More Facts About Cemeteries

whisperingMy husband and I had dinner with some good friends the other night. They know about my obsession with all things Genealogy so the talk quickly turned to their search for ancestors. During the conversation, I whispered to my friend “I love visiting cemeteries, especially old ones”. I wasn’t sure how she would respond as most people think it is creepy to do this. Her face lit up and said, “Me too!”. The next hour was devoted to “Cemetery” talk. Ancestor Hunters have no problem discussing this topic so in honor of that, here are 10 interesting facts about cemeteries.

♦ Located on Route 80, near Tombstone, Arizona, the Boot Hill Graveyard became the Tombstone-Boot_Hill_Graveyard-Graves_of_Billy_Clanton,_and_Frank_and_Tom_McLaury_2final resting place to over 250 gunslingers, miners, and other fearless wild west pioneers. Humorous headstones are scattered over the hill. Those like “Here lies George Johnson, hanged by mistake 1882. He was right we were wrong. But we strung him up and now he’s gone.” and “Here lies Lester Moore, Four slugs from a .44, No Les No more.”

♦ What is the difference between a cemetery & a graveyard? Graveyards are in the “yards” of churches and is always adjacent to and part of a church.

♦ Arlington is the only national cemetery to hold servicemen from every war in U.S. history. Although the first military burial at Arlington National Cemetery didn’t occur until 1864, the burial ground holds the remains of those who fought in every war since the Revolution. In 1892, soldiers killed in the Revolutionary War were re-interred from a Georgetown cemetery, and casualties from the War of 1812 have been reburied at Arlington as well.

♦ In 1876 a handful of mobsters botched a morbid plan to kidnap the body of Abraham Lincoln and hold it ransom. The hapless grave robbers were arrested just a few days later. Fearing another attempt, the government secretly hid the body of the sixteenth president in an unmarked grave for 25 years. Then in 1901, under the urging of Robert Lincoln, the president’s only surviving child, Lincoln’s body was dug up and placed inside a steel cage, lowered into a 10-foot-deep vault, and buried under tons of concrete. He’s still there today, in his tomb, on the grounds of Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Hollywood forever cemetery♦ Cemetery tours are now big business. One such cemetery, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood California has maps to the Star’s graves available for tourists. This is also an old cemetery – established in 1899, and filled with tall, old-fashioned headstones and towering monuments, including a few unusual ones shaped like obelisks and a rocket ship. Many tour companies in Los Angeles offer tours of the many “celebrity” graveyards in the area.

♦ Family (or private) cemeteries were a matter of practicality during the settlement of America. If a town or religious cemetery had not been established, settlers would seek out a small plot of land, usually in wooded areas bordering their fields, to begin a family plot. Sometimes, several families would arrange to bury their dead together. While some of these sites later grew into true cemeteries, many were forgotten after a family moved away or died out. Therefore, some of our ancestors’ graves from the 1600’s may never be found.

♦ Visitors to loved ones interred in Jewish cemeteries often leave a small stone on the top of the headstone. There are prayers said at the grave site, and the stone is left on the visitor’s departure. It is done as a show of respect; as a rule, flowers are not placed at Jewish graves. Flowers are fleeting; the symbol inherent in the use of a stone is to show that the love, honor, memories, and soul of the loved one are eternal.

♦ Columbarian walls are a common feature of many cemeteries, reflecting the increasingColumbarium walls use of cremation rather than burial. While cremated remains can be kept at home by families in urns or scattered in some significant or attractive place, neither of these approaches allows for a long-lasting commemorative plaque to honor the dead nor provide a place for the wider circle of friends and family to come to  mourn or visit. Many cemeteries now provide walls (typically of  brick or rendered brick construction) with a rectangular array of niches, with each niche being big enough to accommodate a person’s cremated remains. Columbarium walls are a very space-efficient use of land in a cemetery compared with burials and a niche in a columbarium wall is a much cheaper alternative to a burial plot. A small plaque) can be affixed across the front of each niche and is generally included as part of the price of a niche.

♦ Stamps Cemetery (Witches Cemetery), Tennessee. This cemetery is old, unconventional, creepy, located around backwoods and less popular. The tombstones are lined in Zig-zag pattern and some of those stones are marked with pentagrams. It is believed that that cemetery belongs to dark witches. There are lots of eyewitness who saw strange appearance around the area

♦ Meaning of symbols on Headstones:

  • Arch: Rejoined with partner in Heaven
  • Book: Faith, wisdom
  • Peacock: Eternal life
  • Tree trunk: The beauty of life
  • Crossed swords: Life lost in battle
  • Garland: Victory over death
  • Anchor: Steadfast hope

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Cemetery, Death, Family History, Family Search, Famous, Funerals, Genealogy, Graves, History, Research, Uncategorized

Hugh Alley Sr 1608-1673 Essex Co. MA

NahantHugh Alley Sr, my 9th Great Grandfather, was born in Stepney Parish England in 1608. At the age of 27 he was sponsored by Henry Collin to come to America as a non-subsidy (servant) man. He was to work off his passage for 6 years. They came aboard the ship “Abigail” and arrived in Massachusetts in 1635. After working off his debt he moved to Nahant Massachusetts and he was the second homesteader in this area, the first being Thomas Graves, Hugh’s’ future father-in-law. His homestead was a most desirable dwelling place, with the bounty of land and sea at its very doors. He was one of the earliest and most prominent settlers in Nahant. He served in the Pequot war, Pequot_waras by deposition of Benjamin Collins and others, “the land now in controversy, called the Hope Well, was given to Hugh Alley for his services in the Pequot war”. The Pequot War was an armed conflict that took place between 1636 and 1638 in New England between the Pequot tribe and an alliance of the English colonists of the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Saybrook colonies and their Native American allies (the Narragansett and Mohegan tribes). The war concluded with the decisive defeat of the Pequot

In 1641, he married Mary Graves who came to Salem Massachusetts in 1635 aboard the ship “Hopewell” and settled in Nahant with her father and her sister Joanna. Hugh was a farmer, and lived at the south end of Market Street at Front Street. He grew 2 kinds of corn both Indian and English and he raised pigs, cows, goats and sheep. As for his education level, he made his mark on his will, but this might have been due to infirmity. His estate included books, a rare commodity and expense for someone who did not read. Thus, it is assumed that Hugh could read and write. He and Mary had 8 children.

salem witch trials signThe first born, Solomon, at the age of nineteen, was killed at Bloody Brook in 1675 having been one of the ” Massacre of the Flower of Essex,” under Captain Thomas Lathrop. Another son, Hugh Alley Jr moved to Lynn and married Rebecca Hood whose sister Sarah Hood Bassett was accused of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trails.

On 31 March 1657, Hugh Alley was presented to the court in Lynn for being drunk. James Axey, commissioner of Lynn, and Bray Wilkins, constable of Lynn, testified that Hugh was taken by said Wilkins about a fortnight before and brought before the commissioners for being drunk at John Hawthorn’s and said Alley acknowledged his offence before said Axey On 1 July 1657, he was fined 10s. for being drunk. This is indeed the same offense — he was presented in March and fined in June. The proprietor in question is the same John Hawthorn who was the subject of a petition to the court signed by William Bassett and 12 others for his habit of serving overly-strong liquor. A later relative of this John Hawthorn served as one of the judges at the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. Interestingly, the Bassett family and others who ran afoul of this Lynn John Hawthorn found themselves particularly brought before the bar in 1692.

Hugh Sr died 25 January 1673 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Hugh Alley, Massachuettes, Massacre of the Flower of Essex, Pequot War, Uncategorized

A Man of Great Character

Dad 1955I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. The only stability in that home was my Dad. He was the person who influenced my life the most while growing up. He showed me unconditional love, even through all the craziness of my teen years. I never really appreciated him until after he was gone. In honor of this remarkable man, this blog is to celebrate his life on what would be his 102nd Birthday.

Benjamin Douglas “Doug” Hughes was born in Pettis County, Missouri, August 18, 1915. The day he was born his Uncle who, was blind, died. His parents named him after this uncle. He was the 8th of 11 children born to Charley and Virginia Bell (Hayes) Hughes. They lived on a farm in rural Lexington, Missouri, raising all their food, and raising cows and award-winning horses. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s they were fortunate enough to not suffer as others did because they were self-sustaining. They shared what they had with others in the community and I believe this is where my Dad developed his giving spirit!

My Dad worked his entire life. He worked on the farm, planting and caring for the vegetables and fruit trees. He tended and milked the cows and he helped his Dad train

Dad and his horse

their horses. In 1934-35 my Dad participated in the Civilian Conservation Corp implemented by President Roosevelt. He served in Lake Tahoe, California. Here he learned to work with wood and stone masonry. These skills helped him the rest of his life. After the CCC he worked as a coal miner, worked on the railroads, he was a butcher and for the last 19 years of his life he worked in the construction field.

He was married 3 times; the first was when he was 22 years old in 1937. He married Mildred Shockley and they had a son Benjamin Benjamin died at 2 months old from Typhoid. Mildred was placed in a sanitarium and died 3 weeks later from the same thing. My Dad wasdad, mildred, lola devastated. He married a second time in 1944 to Mildred McQuillen. She had a daughter name Loretta whom my Dad accepted as his own. They never had children and I don’t know what happened but they divorced sometime before 1948. The third time was my Mother, Emmajane Smith in 1948. My Mother had a son, Gordon and once again my Dad took him as his own. My Dad and Mother had known each other for over 10 years because my Dad’s youngest sister Margaret and my Mother were best friends! My sister Mary Leella was born in 1951 and I was born four years later.

We left Missouri when I was 11 months old and moved to Southern Arizona. My parents bought a house on a corner lot in a new subdivision just outside the Tucson City limits. My Dad took pride in the yard. He taught me all I know about plants and landscaping. I loved spending time doing yard work and helping him build things. He laid bricks for planters, he built a large trellis for the patio. He poured the cement for the patio, he even made the lawn furniture and picnic table. I just loved being with him. He was always ready and willing to help any of our neighbors with whatever they needed. Everyone liked and respected him.  When I was 12 years old my Mother had a mental breakdown and the next 7 years were pure hell! My Dad refused to have her committed and he took care of her even through our moves back to Missouri for 2 years then out to California for 5 years. He showed me that you don’t give up on people because the situation is not ideal. He showed strength of character and resolve that I have always admired.

In the Fall of 1973 my Dad went to the doctor for a cough that wouldn’t go away. After many tests and x-rays we were told he had lung cancer. He had surgery to remove his right lung then endured several rounds of chemo and radiation therapy. He lived for 9 months and he passed away at home on June 24, 1974. He was 58 years old. This was 43 years ago and I still think about him every day. I still strive to be the kind of woman, wife, mother and Grandmother that would make him proud. I know that I am proud to be his daughter!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Arizona, Birthday, Charley Hughes, Dreams, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Hughes, Marriage, Memories, Peter Rucker, Uncategorized

Revolutionary War Bateau Boats Made By The Rucker’s

Anthony and Benjamin Rucker where the sons of John and Susannah (Phillips) Rucker of Rucker CrestOrange County Virginia. Benjamin born in 1726 became a lawyer, justice of the peace, a vestryman at St. Matthews Church, trustee of Warminster Academy, a member of the Amherst County Committee of Safety, and a Captain in the Revolutionary War. Anthony born in 1728 was also a Revolutionary War Captain, as well as Amherst’s Commissioner of Provision Law in 1781 and Tobacco Inspector in 1792. 

The fact that the Rucker’s were tobacco farmers prompted Benjamin and Anthony to try Batteau boatto figure an easier way to move the harvested tobacco down the James River to Richmond.  Sometime in 1774 the Rucker Brothers invented a flat-bottomed boat called a Bateau. It has not been proved as to whether it was just Anthony or if the two brothers worked together. The first Bateau was launched in April 1775. The earliest known reference to the Bateau comes from Thomas Jefferson’s account book, dated April 19, 1775. Jefferson made notes in his account book describing this new river boat in 1775: “Rucker’s bateau is 50 f. long 4 f. wide in the bottom & 6 f. wide at the top. she carries ll.hhds. & draws 13 ½ water.”

James River RuckersThe Bateaus where used by the Continental Army. Bateaus were used to move troops, munitions and supplies on the shallow inland rivers during the Revolutionary War. They were carefully built craft as they were often mentioned as being built by a boat builder or “ship’s carpenter.” This evidence infers that the crafts known as “James River Bateaus” were strong, shallow-drafted vessels. They were a valuable military asset and were considered a major loss if captured by the enemy. These boats were used until around 1850.

There is a James River Bateau Festival held every year in Lynchburg VA. They celebrate the Rucker’s and their contribution to the early Transport for the tobacco industry and the Revolutionary War. They launch replica Bateaus and travel down the James River to Maiden’s Landing.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Bateau Boats, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Revolutionary War, Rucker's, Uncategorized, Virginia

Now That Was Embarrassing!

thankfulSometimes I am thankful that most of my “Genealogy Finds” are ones that no one else will find out about. At least not until I am gone and they inherit all my research. Today I found a mistake in my paternal family tree. You could say it was an honest mistake on my part, but it was a mistake nevertheless.

I must admit that lately I have been too busy to spend quality time working on busyGenealogy. I have written a third book that has nothing to do with Family History. It has taken up almost all my normal research time. As a result, I have divided my trees into groups of ancestors so I can work on them more efficiently. So, with my “spare” time this morning I decided to work on my Strother line.

Beverley Strother Randolph is my 4th cousin 4 times removed. Born July 17, 1851 and died February 5, 1929 I didn’t have much more information other than that about her! Image my surprise when I found her marriage information. According to their marriage license Beverley married Mary Strother Jewett on April 20, 1882! I was so confused. After all this was the 19th Century, this was not done.

shockedUpon further research, I discovered that Beverley was not a female as I had assumed. Just because he had a feminine sounding name I had entered his gender wrong. I have heard of other males with this name but it never struck me that this may be his case when I added him to the tree. After correcting his gender and finishing my other updates I began to wonder what other mistakes like this one have I made.

There are a lot of names that could be used for either gender. Take my name for instance. Here in the States, Valerie is a feminine name, but in Russia it is a male name. My youngest son’s name is Starr which can be used for either gender. Names like Chris, Angel, Terry or Kelly can also be for either one.

I guess now I should find the time to take a second look through my trees to make sure that I haven’t made this mistake anywhere else!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Corrections, Documentation, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, How-to, Mistakes, Names, Oddities, Personal Stories, Research, Uncategorized

Look What I Found Cleaning Up My Trees!

I have a tendency of working mainly on my Dad’s side of the family. I had a horrible relationship with my Mother due to her mental problems. I believe this is the reason I dosmith not feel compelled to really dig deep into my “Smith/McGowan” side. When I first started using Ancestry.com for my main Family Trees site I was still new in the Genealogy world. I was one of those people who thought the information I found in an ancestors file was correct, so I spent months adding any and all data I found to my trees. I added thousands of names all the way back to 500’s.

When I became a Professional Genealogist, I learned about documentation and citing source information and I realized the mistake I made by doing that. I have literally spent the last several years cleaning up my trees in between jobs. I felt pretty confident that I had done a great job. That is until yesterday.

-Citation_needed-I got one of those “shaky leaf’s” attached to an ancestor on my Mothers’ side. It led to another one, then another one and soon I was making an unsettling discovery. Apparently, I had grossly neglected cleaning up this side of the family! I spent many hours deleting name after name! As I was doing this I found that not only had I added unsubstantiated ancestors but also people who were not even related to me. I have read lots of posts about these but I had never seen any before. Here are 4 that I found.

James Everett Shoaf

1882–1948

husband of 2nd cousin of wife of 3rd cousin 2x removed

 

William B Howard

–1934

husband of aunt of wife of 3rd cousin 2x removed

 

Raymond Wallendorff

1930–2000

husband of 1st cousin 1x removed of wife of 3rd cousin 2x removed

 

Lula Reimers

1885–1940

wife of nephew of wife of brother-in-law of 2nd cousin 3x removed

 

I must admit, I had a good laugh when I read these. Although I enjoyed the humor in thislaughing girl I really wish I would have known about not adding information that have no proof or sources cited to my trees. It was a good lesson to learn  and I gladly pass it on to anyone who will listen.

Have you ever added someone to your tree with making sure they belonged?

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Corrections, Documentation, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, How-to, Research, Shaky Leaf, Source Citations, Uncategorized

Lineage Societies or Family Groups – A Great Resource

our family historyAnyone who has been researching their Family History for many years knows and understands the importance of Lineage Societies or Family Groups. However, I have come across many Genealogists who never heard of them. To be honest, I just discovered them about 8 years ago when I made a research trip to Missouri. I met a cousin I had just contacted while planning my trip. She had tons of information on a line I hadn’t done much research on. She also introduced me to the concept of Lineage Societies and Family Groups.

My 6 times Great Grandfather Edward Coffey came over from Ireland in 1690. His line here is long and expansive. As a result, the family put together the “Coffey Cousins Clearinghouse” Group started by Leonard Coffey in 1981. Over the years, Coffey Cousins from all over the globe have joined this Clearinghouse and shared their research, stories and photos. Now because of their efforts if you find the name Coffey/Coffee in your line you may be able to discover new information about your ancestor and meet some cousins!

One of my 7 times Great Grandfathers is Peter Rucker. He came over from Bavaria we are familyGermany in 1661. He became a naturalized citizen in the State of Virginia on April 24, 1704.  The Rucker Family has participated in every war since the Revolutionary War. Since the early 90’s this society has been having reunions every two years, publishing their newsletter and sharing information and photos! What a resource for anyone who has a Rucker in their family line.

Some Societies or Family Groups have dues but they are usually minimal. They help you to find distant relatives and connect us to information we may never have any other way of finding. Spend some time Googling Societies or Groups associated with your Ancestors names and see what you may discover.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Brick Walls, Cousins, Edward Coffey, Family Groups, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, History, Lineage Societies, Personal Stories, Peter Rucker, Research, Uncategorized