Monday, December 31, 2012

Genealogy New Year Resolutions ~ Update

Last New Year's Day, I posted some New Year's Resolutions. Just for fun, let's see how I did. My comments are in red.
  1. Post to this blog at least twice a week (and to my other blog, A Jewish Genealogy Journey, at least once a week).  With 80 posts for the 2012 year, I didn't quite make it on this resolution for this blog. I like to spend a good bit of time thinking through my posts, and some weeks, I just don't have the time to be as thoughtful about my posts as I would like, so I don't post. However, I did better on A Jewish Genealogy Journey with 48 posts during 2012.
  2. Continue to organize (and scan) my old photographs and family memorabilia, of which I seem to have quite a bit. In addition to organizing the old photographs, I need to consult with my mother about identifying people in some of these photos.  I didn't do a good job on this resolution [Mother - we need to schedule a time to do this!], but I did scan quite a few photos at my parents-in-law's home while visiting, which was a good thing, as they were affected by Hurricane Sandy in October, and I'm not sure if the physical photos I scanned survived the storm, but I have digital copies!
  3. Work on finding the parents of Susan Rood (Chapin). Her daughter's sampler and a couple of Chapin genealogies are my only sources of her maiden name of Rood.  I did write a blog post summarizing what I know about her, but other than that have not worked on this. I am in contact with a Rood descendant who believes she has found the names of her parents, but is looking for primary source confirmation.
  4. Choose one or two other lines to focus my research on, rather than jumping from one line to another, as I usually do. (This may be my most challenging resolution.)  Yes, this is the most challenging resolution; there are so many interesting things to find online that I am easily distracted from researching one or two lines at a time. I also have distant cousins and other researchers who contact me about lines I'm not currently working on, and then I start looking at those lines again.
  5. Visit the New England Historic Genealogical Society more often, since I can easily take the train into Boston to do so!  I did get to NEHGS twice this year, but I certainly should try to get in more often!
  6. I have been an NEHGS online volunteer for several years, and I didn't get as many hours in during 2011 as I did during 2010 or 2009, so my goal is to transcribe / proofread at least 7-8 hours every month.  Success on a resolution! I have averaged 7 1/2 hours a month transcribing and indexing for NEHGS this year.
  7. Add more to Find A Grave, both memorials for my ancestors, as well as uploading photographs of gravestones for others who request them.  I continue to enjoy adding to Find A Grave and linking my ancestors and my husband's ancestors. I manage 208 memorials and I occasionally spend an afternoon exploring different local cemeteries taking photographs requested by others. See a post about family members I have linked at this Tuesday's Tip blog post.
  8. Continue on updating sources in Family Tree Maker, my genealogy software program. [An additional resolution I added in a comment.]  I have slowly worked on this, but have not kept track of exactly which sources I have updated, so I am unable to quantify how well I have done here. I also added quite a few citations for family members I found in the 1940 US Census, released in April 2012.
Additional things I had fun doing this year included:
Obtaining 20th century death certificates for quite a few Pennsylvania ancestors. (See an example here of the death certificate for my great grandfather, Percy E. Hunter.)
Indexing the 1940 US Census. (I posted about both my indexing and my finds!)
Exploring DNA testing with AncestryDNA for myself and my husband.

These are pretty much my same goals for 2013, though I may aim for a more manageable 6-8 posts per month rather than 2 per week.

I thank you all for reading and wish you a Happy 2013!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Matrilineal Monday ~ Fanny Davenport (1785-1871)

Frances (known as Fanny) Davenport is my third great-grandmother.

A couple of years after the death of her first husband, Leonard Adsit, Fanny (with five surviving children) married Orlando Davis and subsequently had three children with him. I have not done much research on Orlando, as he is not a direct ancestor. However, with a relatively unusual name, I am able to use it to find his wife, my third great-grandmother.

In the 1840 Federal Census, I find Orlando Davis in Sherburne, Chenango County, New York.

Year: 1840; Sherburne, Chenango, New York; Roll: 273; Page: 224;
Line 24; Record for Orlando Davis
The numbers indicate that the household included one young man between the ages of 10-15 and one young man between the ages of 15-20 (likely two of their three sons). There is a man between the ages of 40-50 (Orlando Davis) and a woman between the ages of 40-50 (Fanny (Davenport) (Adsit) Davis).


Sunday, December 9, 2012

James Adsit's Parents in New York State

There is a biographical sketch written about my second great-grandfather, James Monroe Adsit in Album of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois: with portraits (1899). You can tell from this biographical sketch that this is a family that knew about its roots!

In this sketch, James' parents are mentioned as Leonard Adsit and Frances Davenport. The last U.S. Federal Census that Leonard Adsit appears in is in 1810. Back then, the federal government was really just counting people and only listed the names of the head of household. (It wasn't until 1850 that we get to see the names of everyone in the household.) The remaining household members are indicated by numbers in the columns to the right. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out who is represented by the numbers in the columns of these pre-1850 censuses.

1810 U.S. Federal Census. Hillsdale, Columbia, New York; Roll: 31; Page: 666; Line: 20.

The headings for the columns that follow the head of household's name are as follows:

The three Free White Males Under 10 are likely Leonard's three oldest sons: Albert, age 2; Arunah, age 2; and James, age 1.
The fourth column, the Male 26-44 is Leonard.
The last number is in the column for Free White Females 26-44 and is his wife, Frances (Davenport) Adsit, also known as Fanny.

I found the following image at

"Abstracts of Wills, Administrations and Guardianships in NY State, 1787 - 1835",, New England Historic Genealogical Society, p 1985. Administration of Estate of Leonard Adsit.
Page 109
Adm of the Estate of Leonard Adsit
late of Sherburne, Chenango Co, died
intestate. Granted to Fanny Adsit,
widow of Leonard Adsit, Dec'd, as
Seal third Feb 1817.

His FindAGrave memorial indicates that he died September 10, 1816. He is buried at the Sherburne East Hill Cemetery, in Sherburne, Chenango County, New York.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ James Monroe Adsit

My grandmother's grandfather, who died a few years before she was born.

James Monroe Adsit
Born February 5, 1809, Spencertown, Columbia County, New York
Died September 4, 1894, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois

I wrote about him last year, but never shared his photo.

See a photo of his wife, Susan Arville Chapin Adsit.
See a photo of his son Charles Chapin Adsit.

I am descended from James M. Adsit as follows:

James Monroe Adsit
Charles Chapin Adsit
Elizabeth Adsit
Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Amanuensis Monday ~ Death Certificate for James M. Adsit

An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin – some we never met – others we see a time in their life before we knew them.

Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922 (index and images, FamilySearch,, from Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois, accessed May 2011),, James M. Adsit, died 4 Sep 1894. Citing Death Records, FHL microfilm 1,030,999.

The handwritten entries are in blue; my comments are [bracketed]:
Physician's Certificate of Death-Issued by State Board of Health
State of Illinois, Cook County
The Physician who attended any person in a last illness should immediately return this Certificate, accurately filled out, to the County Clerk, if the party deceased died outside the limits of the City of Chicago; all deaths inside the city limits should be returned on these blanks to the
City Board of Health

  1. Name: James M. Adsit
  2. Sex: M    Color: W
  3. Age: 85 years 6 months 30 days  [Calculated birth date is February 5, 1809]
  4. Occupation: Banker
  5. Date of Death: Sept. 4th 2:30 AM 94  [1894]
  6. Married
  7. Nationality and place where born: Spencertown, N.Y.  American  [In Columbia County, N.Y.]
  8. How long resident in this State: 56 years
  9. Place of Death: 400 Dearborn Ave St.  24 Ward
  10. Cause of death: Cerebral Hemorrhage  [no entry under Complications]
  11. Duration of disease: About 8 days
  12. Place of Burial: Graceland
  13. Name of Undertaker: C. H. Jordan + Co.
  14. Dated at Chicago Sept 4th 1894.  (Signature:) Frank Billings M.D.
                                                               Residence:  45-22nd St.

1894 Chicago Directory, p. 228;

I like to confirm the signature by looking up the physician's name in the city directory.

See his wife's death certificate here.

See a brief biography of James M. Adsit, First Chicago Banker, published in 1899 here.

I am descended from James M. Adsit as follows:

James Monroe Adsit
Charles Chapin Adsit
Elizabeth Adsit
Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr.