Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Sarah Lowell Copeland and her cat

My mother in the study, in
the old Main St house at
Calais, Me. with "Finn" her cat.
Mother between 75 + 80 years old.

3/27/30                Lowell Copeland

Wordless Wednesday is a daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to Search the 1940 US Census before there's an Index

the1940census.comWhen the 1940 Census is released on April 2, 2012, by NARA (National Archives and Records Administration), at first only the digital images will be made publicly available (free) at the official

The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project, a joint initiative between,,, is coordinating efforts to provide access to these digital images and start indexing them to make the ability to search online.  If you are interested in volunteering to help index the images, visit The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project to sign up.

Last summer, I wrote about how to search for individuals in the 1940 census before indexes are available. See Tuesday's Tip ~ Getting Ready for the 1940 Census for details on how I did this to find out the enumeration districts I will browse through to find my parents.

The key websites you'll want to use to find your family members' enumeration districts (E.D.'s) are:
How to Access the 1940 Census "Quiz" at Steve Morse's One-Step website, where you'll have to know the street address your family member lived at.
Archival Research Catalog of the National Archives, where you'll want to search on "1940 Census Map [city] [state]" and look for the "digital copy available" icon at the left.

If you can't wait for the index to be completed, which could take six months, you'll want to do some preparation using these tools to narrow down where to look for your family members. Of course, this assumes you know the address where your family members are living. Good luck!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Matrilineal Monday ~ Sarah Lowell

I am continuing my series on my long-lived maternal ancestors.

My great great grandmother Sarah Lowell was born in Calais, Maine, on December 30, 1833, the youngest of eight children to Reuben Lowell and Sarah Smith. Her father died in May 1837. I have not been able to find her widowed mother, Sarah (Smith) Lowell in the 1840 Federal Census, though I just found her in the 1850 Federal Census, mis-indexed as Sarah Lowde.

Detail from 1850 U.S. Federal Census,
Sarah Lowell in Calais, Washington County, Maine
This is the earliest record I have found for my great great grandmother, 16-year-old Sarah Lowell, as Sarah (Smith) Lowell's youngest child. 22-year-old Frederick A. Lowell is a third great uncle.

On December 15, 1858, Sarah Lowell married Henry Clay Copeland (1832 - 1912) in Calais. [Calais, Maine Vital Records.]

They had three children:
  1. Charles Townsend Copeland (April 27, 1860 - July 24, 1952) - longtime Harvard English professor, never married.
  2. Lowell Copeland (October 5, 1862 - December 24, 1935) - my great grandfather.
  3. Sarah Katherine Copeland (October 15, 1874 - September 13, 1924) - married William Harrison Dunbar in 1898.
Every Federal census record from 1860 to 1910 finds Sarah with her husband, Henry, in Calais, Washington County, Maine. See Workday Wednesday ~ Henry Copeland, Lumberman.

Sarah's husband Henry died in 1912 in Calais.

Boston Journal, January 11, 1916,

Sarah died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 9, 1916, at the age of 82. See a photo of Sarah Lowell.

My descent from Sarah Lowell > Lowell Copeland > Lowell Townsend Copeland > my mother > me.

Matrilineal Monday is a daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

1940 Census ~ What You Will Find

Although the basic reason for a census is to count the number of residents of a community, a state, or a country, each census asks for different information. The 1930 US Census had a column that asked if the household owned a radio.

the1940census.comThe 1940 US Census asked 34 questions of all residents. Some of the interesting things that the 1940 census will reveal about a household include:

What is the highest grade of school completed for this person?

In what place did this person live on April 1, 1935?

How much income did this person earn during 1939?

Did this person receive income of $50 or more from sources other than money wages or salary? (Yes or No)

The census sheet will look similar to that of the 1920 or 1930 census, with 40 names on a sheet. For those "lucky" enough to be on lines 14 or 29 (about 5% of the population), there are an additional 16 questions asking about where that person's parents were born, language spoken in home in earliest childhood, and for all women who are or have been married, has she been married more than once, age at first marriage, and number of children ever born (excluding stillbirths).

If you want to read about all of the questions that were asked of our family members in the 1940 census, visit the 1940 census enumerator instructions.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The 1940 Census is Coming...

I have signed up to be a 1940 Census Ambassador. In the next 37 days, I hope to share some information about the release of the 1940 US Census with my readers.

United States Federal Census records become available 72 years after the date they were taken. I remember in April 2002, visiting the National Archives in Waltham, MA to look at the 1930 census on microfilm for family members. (I still didn't find my five-year-old dad until these records were digitized.) January 1992 would have been when the 1920 census was released because the 1920 census was taken as of January 1, 1920. I had only just started researching census records at that time (on microfilm, at the National Archives.)

April 2, 2012 is the magic date for the 1940 US Census to become public!

Just think of all the people you know who you'll be able to find!

I'll be looking for my five-year-old mother and her family, my fifteen-year-old dad and his family, as well as my parents-in-law and their families!

Guess what I'll be doing on the morning of April 2 ... visiting the official site of the 1940 US Census!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Workday Wednesday ~ Henry Copeland, Lumberman

The "Maine" reference in the title of my blog comes from Copeland and allied families.

A: Norridgewock --> B. Calais
Great great grandfather, Henry Clay Copeland was born January 7, 1832, in Norridgewock, Somerset County, Maine, to Thomas Jefferson Copeland and Julia Elvira Townsend, the oldest of their four children. In 1843, the family moved about 155 miles east to Calais, Washington County, Maine. [note 1] (This Calais is pronounced to rhyme with palace.)

In the 1850 Federal Census, Henry C. is listed with his parents and siblings with that catch-all occupation of "Clerk."

He married Sarah Lowell on December 15, 1858. [note 2]

In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Henry and Sarah were living with her 65-year-old widowed mother Sarah (Smith) Lowell as Head of Household., database online. Year: 1860; Census Place: Calais Ward 4, Washington, Maine; Roll: M653_454; Page 17B; Record for Sarah Lowell [and Henry C. Copeland]
Reuben B. Lowell, 32, a Livery Stable Keeper, is Sarah (Lowell) Copeland's brother; Elizabeth is his wife and Minerva is their daughter. Henry C. Copeland, 26, is listed with another one of those catch-all occupations, Merchant, as he is in his Civil War Draft Record. Although in this census record,  their son is listed as Henry Copeland (age 6/12), his name in all other records that I have found is Charles Townsend Copeland. 19-year-old Jane McDougall is possibly a household servant. Although not displayed above, they were all born in Maine.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Military Monday ~ Henry Clay Copeland

Several weeks ago, I posted information about a second great grandfather found in the Civil War Draft Registration Records. Another second great grandfather found in's Civil War Draft Registrations, 1863-1865, is Henry Clay Copeland, in Calais, Washington County, Maine. Below is the top and very bottom of the page that shows Henry C. Copeland, age 31, Merchant, married. He was born in Norridgewock and lived in Calais on June 23, 1863, the date of this record., U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2010),, Database online. Fifth Congressional District of Maine; line 18, record for Henry C. Copeland.
In this case, I did find another list that included Henry C. Copeland. The following is a screen shot of two pages. The source information from is the same as that of the previous record, but this one notes a date of July 1, 1863, and includes some additional information.

These are all residents of Calais. The third line down indicates that Henry C. Copeland, is 31 years old, a merchant, and born in Maine. On the right hand page, under Remarks, is written "Disability" and the number "2." It looks like this second great grandfather didn't serve in the Civil War due to a claim of a disability, but I'm not sure what his disability was.

Military Monday is a daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun ~ Ancestral Name Roulette

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun project for us. Details are as follows:

1. What year was your paternal grandfather born? Divide this number by 100 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."
2. Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person?
3. Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

1. My paternal grandfather, Charles McAlpin Pyle, was born in 1893. Dividing by 100 and rounding gives me 19 as a roulette number.
2. Number 19 in my ancestral list is Frances Adelaide Rose, born August 23, 1829, died November 28, 1870, at age 41.
3. Three facts about Frances Adelaide Rose:

*  She is descended from Mayflower passengers, John Howland (1592-1672/3) and Elizabeth Tilley (1607-1687).
*  Married to David Hunter McAlpin (1816-1901), she gave birth to nine sons:
         Douglas P. McAlpin (1846-1847)
         Edwin Augustus McAlpin (1848-1917)
         David Hunter McAlpin, Jr. (1851-1853)
         Joseph Rose McAlpin (1853-1888)
         George Lodowick McAlpin (1856-1922)
         William Willet McAlpin (1858-1925)
         David Hunter McAlpin, Jr. (1862-1934)
         Charles Williston McAlpin (1865-1942)
         John Randolph McAlpin (1870-1893)
         and one daughter: Frances Adelaide McAlpin (1860-1937), my great grandmother.
*  The death notice in the New York Times indicates that she died suddenly on the morning of Monday, November 28, 1870. (I need to look for a death certificate, as I don't know what she died of, though giving birth to ten children in 24 years would certainly qualify as exhaustion!)

New York Times, November 29, 1870
She is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. See my recent Tombstone Tuesday post about the family gravestones there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ 4 Generation Snapshot

Great grandmother Marguerite (Lysle) Hunter (1876-1967), my mother, grandmother Helen (Hunter) Copeland (1907-1990), and me at about nine months old.

Wordless Wednesday is a daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday ~ McAlpin and Pyle Children

Find A Grave is an incredible resource! Thank you to Bob Collins, who took photographs of the Pyle Monument and the McAlpin Monument at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York in response to a recent request of mine. He also very kindly transcribed the engravings on the respective bases.

It is helpful to provide a potential Find A Grave volunteer with plot information, and Green-Wood Cemetery has much of its burial database online. When I searched on "Pyle" I found Charles (d. 1873), Esther (d. 1921) and James (d. 1900) at Lot 19670, Section 149.

Detail from Pyle Monument
Credit: Bob Collins
From the Pyle Monument and closeup here, we learn that in addition to great great grandfather James Pyle (1823 - 1900), other family members buried in this lot include his wife's sister, Harriet (Whitman) Bliss, one son who predeceased him, Charles Sumner (died at age 16 in 1873), and three young daughters who have never been mentioned in any materials that I've previous read:

Anna Elizabeth Pyle (May 29, 1859 - September 12, 1859)
Maria Louisa Pyle (July 16, 1861 - August 26, 1861)
Mary Isabel Pyle (August 21, 1864 - May 27, 1865)

And although James' wife Esther Abigail (Whitman) Pyle is buried here according to the Green-Wood Cemetery burial records, an inscription was never made on the stone, though there is space saved for it.


When I searched the Green-Wood Cemetery's burial database for "McAlpin" I found David H. (d. 1901), John R. (d. 1893), Frances A. (d. 1870), and Joseph R. (d. 1888) at Lot 18024, Section 157.

Detail from
McAlpin Monument
Credit: Bob Collins
From the McAlpin Monument, we learn that in addition to great great grandfather David H. McAlpin (1816-1901), other family members buried in this lot include his first wife, Frances Adelaide McAlpin (d. 1870), his second wife, Adelia (Gardiner) McAlpin (d. 1891), his mother, Jane Hunter McAlpin (d. 1875), and four sons who predeceased him, only two of which I previously knew about:

Joseph Rose McAlpin (1853 - 1888)
John Randolph McAlpin (1870 - 1893)

The two who died young have sometimes been "combined" by previous researchers (see McAlpin(e) Genealogies 1730-1990: Alexander McAlpin of South Carolina and Georgia and His Descendants plus other McAlpin(e) Families of North America, by Doris McAlpin Russell, published by Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, in 1990, as well as in online trees). In fact there were two sons who died young:

Douglas P. McAlpin (died September 4, 1847, age 1 year 3 months)
David H. McAlpin (died July 25, 1853, age 2 years 5 months)

This satisfies my curiosity about why there is only one son (Edwin A.) listed with David and Frances A. McAlpin in the 1850 U.S. Census.

Interestingly, David H. McAlpin's mother, Jane is buried here, yet his father is buried in Dutchess County, which I blogged about last fall. His third wife, Cordelia (Rose) (Shackelton) McAlpin died in August 1927 and is buried with her first husband, Judson Shackelton, who died in 1883, in the Rose family plot in Rose Hill Cemetery, in Matawan, New Jersey.

My descent from James Pyle and David Hunter McAlpin is through Pyle's son and McAlpin's daughter: James Tolman Pyle and Frances Adelaide McAlpin > Charles McAlpin Pyle > Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr. > me.

Tombstone Tuesday is a daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun ~ Two Degrees of Separation

Thank you to Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings for this blog post idea. Details can be found at Genea-Musings: Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with two degrees of separation? That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor." When was that second ancestor born?

I "met" my great-grandmother, Marguerite Lysle Hunter (1876-1967) when I was about 9 months old (in 1965, around the time of her 89th birthday). When Marguerite was born, her grandfather, George Lysle (1800-1877) was still living and I'm sure was thrilled to meet his granddaughter, as this family lived near each other for many decades in Allegheny, now the North Side of Pittsburgh. Marguerite was born in August 1876 and George Lysle died in January 1877 in a train accident.

That means that I can connect, with two degrees of separation, to my third great grandfather, George Lysle, born in 1800.

My descent from George Lysle (1800-1877) > George Lysle, Jr. (1843-1900) > Marguerite Lysle (1876-1967) > Helen Lysle Hunter (1907-1990) > my mother > me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Matrilineal Monday ~ Esther Abigail Whitman

Esther Abigail Whitman was the wife of James Pyle, the founder of James Pyle & Sons. I have previously shared James Pyle's obituary, which mentions that he is survived by a widow, but doesn't name her.

Much of my information about my Pyle ancestors comes from a privately published book, Pyle, Smith and Allied Family Histories, privately published in 1951. Unfortunately, the primary source information is lacking, so I have to use this as a resource to point myself in the direction of primary sources.

Great great grandmother Esther was the oldest of nine children, born on February 2, 1828, in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia to Thomas Cutler Whitman and Diana Morgan. I believe that the following passenger list record for Esther Whitman from Nova Scotia to Boston could be my great great grandmother.

Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943. From Pictou, Nova Scotia to Boston, Massachusetts, on the Schooner Chedebuck, arriving Boston June 28, 1849. Record for Esther Whitman.

Esther Whitman is 21, making her birthdate in 1828. Her occupation is Dressmaker. She is a native of N[ova] Scotia, and intends to become an inhabitant of the U[nited] States. None of the others listed on this passenger list are Whitmans, so I can only surmise that this is her.  (Much of the rest of her family immigrated to New York in 1857.)