Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lightning's Freaks in New Jersey ~ 52 Ancestors #16

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Storms.

This prompt just begs for newspaper research. I subscribe to Newspapers.com and GenealogyBank, both of which have a variety of old newspapers. The Library of Congress's Chronicling America is a free newspaper resource, as is Old Fulton Postcards.

I searched for different surnames and the word "storm" to see what results I got. One story I found in the New York Tribune at GenealogyBank (entitled "Lightning's Freaks in Jersey") and then found in The Madison Eagle at Newspapers.com was from July 1897 when there had been a series of fierce thunderstorms to hit northern New Jersey. (While searching for the word "storm," I found several other mentions of storms during that week.)

The Madison [NJ] Eagle, 23 July 1897, page 5, column 2; online image,
Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 April 2018).

A heavy electrical storm did much havoc at Morristown on Wednesday. Three houses in various parts of the city were struck and considerably damaged. The grandstand at the Driving Park was struck by a bolt and a large portion of it shattered. The large barns of David H. McAlpin, about two miles from the city, were set on fire by the lightning and totally consumed, together with about twenty tons of hay. The loss is about $7,500.

David Hunter McAlpin was my second great-grandfather. His property, Glen Alpin, was the subject of one of my first blog posts at Glen Alpin, Harding Township, New Jersey. Although he was wealthy, I'm sure he was not pleased at losing his barns and that much hay.

More than thirty years later, another lightning storm in that same neighborhood burned down a barn with my dad's pet goat in it. I shared that story at My Dad's Pet Goat.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wheeler County Texas Tax Rolls ~ 52 Ancestors #15

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Taxes.

I have never really explored tax records, which are a great resource for placing a person (or people) in a particular location at a particular time.

I decided to explore FamilySearch.org at its collection list (https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/list) where I simply entered tax in the "filter by collection name" box. (These are not all of the records that might be available at FamilySearch, just what are available in the collection list.)

Very early on in my blog, I shared information (at Texas Stock Farmer) about a third great aunt of mine, Florence (Gorin) Lee, who was born in Kentucky in 1851 and died in Texas in 1925. In 1880, she married John Atkin Lee (1844-1925) in Louisville, Kentucky.

I found them in Wheeler County, Texas, in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, but I don't know when they moved there and purchased land. Now, I think I do - at least I know when they were first taxed on land purchased there. The tax records at Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1837-1910, at FamilySearch show that Mrs. F. G. Lee was paying taxes in Wheeler County by 1896 and Mrs. Florence G. Lee and John A. Lee were both on the rolls in 1897.

Mrs. F.G. Lee tax entry, Wheeler County Land District, 1896, page 4, Wheeler County, Texas; County Tax Rolls, 1937-1910, citing Comptroller's Office, State Archives, Austin; digital images, FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org : accessed 13 April 2018).

Monday, April 9, 2018

Great Aunt Margie: Maiden Aunt ~ 52 Ancestors #14

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is The Maiden Aunt. As Amy notes, even though aunts and uncles are not technically ancestors, they play an important role in our families.

My great aunt Margaret Lysle Hunter was known as Aunt Margie or Aunt Marg (with a hard 'g'). She was the fourth of five daughters born to my great-grandparents, Percy Earle Hunter and Marguerite Lysle: Marion, Caroline, Mary, Margaret, and Helen. In addition to some factual information and my memories of Aunt Margie, I reached out to several relatives to collect stories about her which I am sharing here and there are some good ones!

She was born on April 28, 1905, less than nine months before the state of Pennsylvania required birth certificates, so I don't have an official birth certificate for her. However, I do have a variety of paperwork that was saved in her process to obtain a Social Security Number, including an affidavit of birth from her Uncle Jack (I recently wrote about my Great Great Uncle Jack who lived to 102). All applicants for federal benefits (Social Security or Medicare) were required to have their own Social Security Numbers by 1972.

My grandmother and her family saved photographs and negatives (as I have previously noted). I have shared photographs of the sisters in several blog posts (because I have so many of them):
My Grandmother and Her Sisters
Early 20th Century Hunter Sisters Stories
Early 20th Century Hunter Sisters Update which includes links to other posts. In many of these group photos, I recognize the twinkle in Aunt Margie's eyes.

This photograph of Aunt Margie and Grandmother was hanging in the house I grew up in for years. When I went through the collection of negatives and found that I had the negative for it, I was thrilled. Aunt Margie is on the left, Grandmother (Helen) is on the right. (Marks in the sky are due to defects in the negative.)


Friday, March 30, 2018

The Old Homestead in Old Allegheny ~ 52 Ancestors #13

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is The Old Homestead.

I thought I only had one image of this house on Perrysville Avenue in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, which I originally shared at Hunter Family Home and I share again here:


This home was built by my third great-grandfather, James Hunter, whose wonderfully-detailed obituary I previously shared.

After my second great-grandparents (James Hunter and Mary Freeland Hunter) both died in 1902, it appeared that the Hunter family continued to live there, as they are found at 3623 Perrysville Avenue in the 1910 U.S. Census. This means that my grandmother and her sisters lived in this home with many of their Hunter aunts and uncles before moving to Berkeley, California in about 1911.

However, I recently digitized a bunch of very old negatives mostly from my maternal grandmother's side of the family and found many treasures!

Check out these additional images of the house taken from the street.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Nathaniel Copeland: The Misfortune of Dying Young ~ 52 Ancestors #12

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Misfortune.

Since I wrote about my 4th great-grandmother, Mary (Page) Copeland last week, I thought I'd share the little bit I know about her husband, Nathaniel Copeland.

Although some secondary sources suggest that he was born in Boston, Massachusetts, according to the Vital Records of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, he was born 28 December 1765, in Liverpool, to Abraham and Elizabeth Copeland. His older sister, Mary and next younger brother, Abraham, were also born there.

According to the Copeland genealogy (The Copeland Family by Warren Turner Copeland, 1937), his father, Abraham, was a sea captain, which helps to explain why there are records for him in Nova Scotia and Boston. (In fact, it's unclear as to whether he died in Maine or at sea.)

Nathaniel apparently settled in Boston and by the age of 24 in early 1790, he was working as a shoemaker in his own shop "in Fish Street, nearly opposite Proctor's Corner." I found several newspaper advertisements between 1790 and 1799 at GenealogyBank that indicate that he was a boot and shoe maker and moved his shop several times during the 1790s.