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 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 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, ( : 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 at its 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, ( : 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.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lucky to Connect with a Page Researcher ~ 52 Ancestors #11

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 Lucky.

Lucky can be connecting with another genealogist who has already done extensive research on a brick wall ancestor.

I have volunteered for the NEHGS for many years and for over ten years as an online volunteer, indexing and transcribing for their online databases. For many years, until his death in January 2012, Robert J. (Bob) Dunkle was the volunteer coordinator of the NEHGS online volunteers.

In May 2010, we were having an email conversation where I shared that I was reviewing my Page family line and found a Dunkle mentioned in a 1991 published genealogy about the Page family, and was looking to confirm my connection.

He replied to my comment with an attachment: The Descendants of Edward Page of Boston, an unpublished manuscript that he had just completed the year before.

Wow - thank you, Bob!

My Ancestor:
Mary Page, my 4th great-grandmother, was born in Boston 5 November 1771. She married Nathaniel Copeland on 13 November 1790 in Boston, as Polly Page. (Polly was a nickname for Mary during this time period.)

This is the record of the marriage intention. At the top is "Anno 1790 Septem[ber]." You can see Copeland at the bottom and to the right: Nathaniel Copeland and under it, Polly Page. To the right of their names is "Boston 8" (i.e. the 8th of September).

Boston, Massachusetts, Marriage Publications, 1782-1798, Vol. 6, p. 187, Nathaniel Copeland-Polly Page, 8 September 1790; image, "Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988," ( : accessed 18 March 2018).

They married on 13 November 1790 in Boston and that record indicates that Rev. John Lothrop married them.

Boston Marriages 1761-1807, Vol 12A, p. 40, Nathaniel Copeland-Polly Page, 13 November 1790;
image, "Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988," ( : accessed 18 March 2018).

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Grandmother Elected to School Board ~ 52 Ancestors #10

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 Strong Woman.

My grandmother, Helen Hunter Copeland, was on the school board in Hampton Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Family lore is that she was the first woman to be elected to this board (but I haven't yet confirmed this).

Tuesday, November 2, 1943, was a rainy day, which reduced voter turnout in the greater-Pittsburgh elections. I have not been able to determine if there was a contested race for school director in Hampton Township, but according to the list of candidates (for Pittsburgh, not in the surrounding boroughs or townships) found in The Pittsburgh Press on the day before the election, there were many other contested races on this election day in Pittsburgh.

"GOP Victorious in Party Fights in Townships: Contests Center in Races for School Posts And Council,"
  The Pittsburgh Press, 3 November 1943, digital images
( : accessed 8 March 2018), p. 22, col. 6.

Republicans took all local offices
in Hampton Twp.
Hugh R. Brankstone and Helen
H. Copeland won six-year terms as
school directors.

Grandmother was 36 years old when elected, and had three young daughters at home (ages 8 1/2, 7 1/2, and 5). I haven't found any other mention of her as a school director, so I'm not sure if she served the full six year term.

Interestingly, when I searched Pittsburgh newspapers at the subscription website,, for Helen Copeland, I don't find other mentions of her. However, I found several mentions of her as Mrs. Lowell T. Copeland or Mrs. L.T. Copeland. (She was active in the local garden club and her high school's alumnae association.) This is yet another example of why it's hard to research our female ancestors: when they're listed as Mrs. "husband's name."

Grandmother's maternal grandfather, George Lysle, Jr., also served on the school board in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, in 1889. (See George Lysle ~ School Board Member.)

Now I know where the interest in participating in politics comes from!

Monday, March 5, 2018

DNA Resources at DNA Painter Website

DNA Painter is a very cool website with a couple of different tools that can be used by people who have tested their DNA. Thank you to Jonny Perl who has put together these wonderful tools! In fact, he just won the RootsTech DNA Innovation Contest. See fellow geneablogger, Jill Ball, interview him at her YouTube channel.

To use the DNA Painter feature, testers have to have results from a company that provides a chromosome browser (FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage) or have uploaded their AncestryDNA results to the free The goal of using DNA Painter is to know from which ancestor a particular segment came from. Then, when an unknown DNA match approaches me wondering how we are related, I can look at the chromosome(s) where we match and narrow down which ancestral line I should be looking at to find our common ancestor.

Having known second and third cousins in your match lists at these DNA websites is very helpful for this project.

This is the home page of DNA Painter, showing an example of seven (of 23) chromosomes and how the user "mapped" his chromosomes to different ancestors, using the tools at the website and data from one of the above-mentioned websites. Look at all those names and colors!

The following screenshot shows 19 of my 23 chromosomes. Sadly, I have many fewer names and colors. The key in the lower right hand corner is hard to read:
Pale blue: Frances Adelaide McAlpin (my paternal great-grandmother)
Blue: Charles McAlpin Pyle, Sr. (my paternal grandfather, and son of Frances Adelaide)
Green: Lowell Townsend Copeland (my maternal grandfather)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Descendants of my Great-Grandparents

Because I am interested in figuring out how my DNA matches (at FamilyTreeDNA and at AncestryDNA) are related to me, I decided that I had better know all my collateral relatives who descend from my four pairs of great-grandparents.

My great-grandparents, James Tolman Pyle (1855-1912) and Frances Adelaide McAlpin (1860-1937) had six children: James, David, Adelia (Mary), Sara, Charles, and Gordon. Five of these six children had children.

Of these nine grandchildren (four granddaughters and five grandsons), I have discovered that there are 35 great-grandchildren of James and Adelaide (I am one of them) and that more than half of these great-grandchildren had children. I'm still trying to confirm all of these (I have at least 41) and I know that many have children and some have grandchildren.

The graphical representation below shows my great-grandparents at the top, with their children below and grandchildren below that. The relatives who have done DNA testing at one or another of the DNA testing companies are shaded yellow and green represents the second and third great-grandchildren for whom I do not yet have names.


My second great-grandparents, Charles Chapin Adsit (1853-1931) and Mary Bowman Ashby (1863-1956) had two children: Charles Chapin Adsit, Jr. and Elizabeth (Libby) Adsit. Only Libby married and she gave her parents one grandchild, my father. Charles and Mary had five great-grandchildren and six second-great-grandchildren.

I have no first, second, or third cousins on this branch of my family, but I believe I have fourth cousins.

This graphical representation is very different from my other branches.


My second great-grandparents, Lowell Copeland (1862-1935) and Ethel May Greeley (1875-1931) had three children: Lowell (Toby), Elizabeth (Betty), and Ruth. All three married and had children.

Lowell and Ethel had seven grandchildren. All seven married and had children. They had 20 great-grandchildren and at least 27 second great-grandchildren; I am still researching.

I would love to get more family information from the yellow DNA tester in the middle (in fact, I'm not sure which brother it is who has tested), but he has not yet responded to my AncestryDNA messages. Again, the green shaded sections indicate second great-grandchildren who I do not know.


My second great-grandparents, Percy Earle Hunter (1873-1937) and Marguerite Lysle (1876-1967) had five daughters: Marion, Caroline, Mary, Margaret, and Helen. Three of the five married and two of the five had children, all girls.

Percy and Marguerite had five granddaughters, all of whom married and had children. They had 16 great-grandchildren and 32 second great-grandchildren.

This graphical representation shows that three of the five sisters in the first generation below Percy and Marguerite didn't have children. I believe that I have confirmed the names of all the 32 second great-grandchildren.

In my next post, I will show why I love finding second and third cousins who have tested at one of the companies with a chromosome browser (FamilyTreeDNA or MyHeritage) or have transferred their raw data to

And of course, the next step is to find all descendants of my second great-grandparents, and then third great-grandparents!

Friday, March 2, 2018

George Lysle's Will Mentions Both Wives ~ 52 Ancestors #9

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 Where There's A Will.

Following is a transcription of the will of my second great-grandfather, George Lysle, Jr.

I George Lysle Jr of the city of Pittsburgh and state of Pa being of sound mind and disposing memory and in good Health do make and publish and declare this my last will and testament and give Bequeath and devise my estate in manner following. First I will that all my just debts and Funeral Expenses be by my Executors hereinafter mentioned fully met and paid as soon after my decease as may be convenient to them. 2nd I give and Bequeath to my Son George B. Lysle the sum of Ten Thousand (#10,000 xx) Dollars for and on account of the assistance and comfort that He has given me in my Buisness [sic] in the past three years. 3rd I direct that the balance and residue of my Estate be divided into Four (4) equal parts one part to my wife Edith O Lysle one part to my Daughter Marguerite L. Hunter one part to my Son George B. Lysle and one part to my son Chas H. Lysle share and share alike. should my wife bare [sic] me other children one or more then the balance and residue of the Estate shall be divided into five (5) parts and so on according to the number of children 4th I direct that the Union Trust Co of the City of Pittsburgh take charge of my son Chas H. Lysles part and hold it in trust for Him until He is 25 years of age should my son Charles die before He comes

of age or any other children I may have die before coming of age I direct that their share or shares be divided among the surviving children share and share alike 5th I direct that my Executors shall have full Power to dispose of any real Estate I may be possessed of or Bonds or stocks also to carry out to the full any option or options that I may have given either as an Individual or as a Member of any of the Firms I am connected with for the sale or consolidation in any way of my Coal Interests 6th I direct that my Executors shall not be required to give any security or Bond 7th It is my Express wish and desire that my body be Cremated and the ashes placed alonside [sic] of my wife Marion Alston and desire that my Executors see that my wishes in this matter are carried out to the letter and charge them not to be turned from it by the opposition of any member of my family and lastly I hereby nominate and appoint my son Geo B. Lysle and my soninlaw [sic] Percy E. Hunter to be the executors of this my last will and testament [I] have subscribed my name and affixed my seal this fourth (4th) Day of October one thousand Eight Hundred and Ninety Nine (1899).
Witness: Addison Lysle [George's brother]
Signed: George Lysle Jr.

This will can be found at [, Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2015),, Will Packets Or Files, 1789-1917; Author: Allegheny County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Probate Place: Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Will Packets, Vol. 62; Case Number: 207. Record for George Lysle Jr.; Probate Date: 26 May 1900.] 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Heirloom from my Grandfather ~ 52 Ancestors #8

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 Heirloom.

My maternal grandfather, Lowell Townsend Copeland, lived from 1900 to 1974. I wrote about him several years ago at My Grandfather, Toby Copeland.

He loved to travel and when he was a teenager, he spent several weeks traveling in Wyoming and Montana. I shared a series of photographs from these travels at the following posts:

Grandfather Out West
Grandfather Out West - Photos #2
Grandfather Out West - Photos #3

Sometime in the 1970s, my widowed grandmother sent some items to my mother to give to my brothers as a Christmas present.

Three very small porcelain dishes, a knife, stirrups, and a beaded case. The card with my grandmother's unique handwriting says:
To Margot
A few momentoes [sic]
of your Fathers I
thought your boys
might like - Love, Mother
Although my mother can't remember exactly when she received this, my brothers were likely not much older than ten-and-a-half, nine and seven-and-a-half. She wasn't about to give them a six inch knife!

However, she held on to these and passed them along to me several years ago when she moved out of the house I grew up in. Instead of becoming playthings, they are heirlooms from my grandfather's childhood and young adulthood.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine from Marguerite to Percy ~ 52 Ancestors #7

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 Valentine.

My great grandparents, Percy Earle Hunter and Marguerite Lysle, were very happily married. This is the couple whose photograph I shared at 52 Ancestors #2: Favorite Photo.

In my collection of family memorabilia, I have the following valentine, sent from Marguerite to Percy for Valentine's Day, 1923.

The envelope was addressed to Mr. P. E. Hunter, 836 North Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, which was where the family lived during the 1920s and 1930s.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Bezaleel (Favorite Name) ~ 52 Ancestors #6

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 Favorite Name.

As I have shared before, my interest in genealogy started with my Chapin ancestry. The name of my 4th great-grandfather, Bezaleel Chapin always fascinated me, as it's an unusual name.

A quick search of the given name Bezaleel [exact spelling] in federal census records at produces fewer than 30 in any given year and even fewer by the 20th century. Too bad my ancestor didn't live long enough to appear in more records.

Bezaleel Chapin was the son of Ephraim Chapin and Jemima Chapin (who were second cousins 1x removed). He was the seventh of eight children of his parents. In fact, two of his older siblings were twin boys, born in August 1764: Benjamin and Bezaleel. Benjamin survived, but the first Bezaleel died at about six weeks of age. It was common at this time for parents to name a later child after an earlier one that died.

He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts:

Springfield Births, p. 246, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988,

Bezaleel Chapin Son of Ephraim Chapin
& Jemima Chapin of Springfield was born
March 21st anno Dom. 1769

Friday, February 2, 2018

Different Names and Ages In the Census ~ 52 Ancestors #5

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 In the Census.

I have several great great grand-aunts who didn't age ten years between the ten years of federal census records.

I also have one whose name is different in every census record I can find her in!

Second great grand-aunt, Isabelle Lysle, was born 7 March 1840, in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, according to an 1889 passport application, but she had to have been born before 1840 based on census records. She married James S. Whigham sometime in the 1860s and he died in 1886. They had no children and she is later found living with and traveling with her unmarried sisters. She died in May 1924 in Manhattan, New York.

1 June 1850 U.S. Census record: Isabella Lysle, age 13 (born 1836-1837)
1 June 1860 U.S. Census record: Bell Lysle, age 22 (born 1837-1838)
1 June 1870 U.S. Census record: Isabelle Whigham, age 30 (born 1839-1840)
1 June 1880 U.S. Census record: Bella Whigham, age 38 (born 1841-1842)
1 June 1900 U.S. Census record: Isabella Wigham, age 48 (specifically reported born March 1851)

Although I have found her sisters, Eliza and Caroline, in Washington, D.C. in 1910, I have not been able to find Isabelle in the 1910 or 1920 federal censuses, or the New York 1905 or 1915 censuses, but I did find a death notice telling me that Isabel Lysle Whigham died in May 1924 in Manhattan (which is why I looked at the state censuses). (Her sister Caroline died in Washington, D.C., in 1914, and sister Eliza died in Pittsburgh in 1928.)

In October 1889, when she applied for a passport, she signed her application as Isabella Whigham and reported her birth date as 7th day of March 1840.

From U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925,
Roll#341: 16 Oct 1889-30 Nov 1889 at

Isabella / Isabelle / Belle is described in her passport application as follows:
Age: 49 years
Stature: 5 feet, 3 1/2 inches
Forehead: oval
Eyes: gray
Nose: straight
Mouth: medium
Chin: pointed (I think)
Hair: brown
Complexion: medium
Face: square

She applied for the passport in the fall of 1889 along with her two sisters, Eliza and Caroline. According to their passport applications, they were planning to travel for about a year. The identification section which is an affidavit that the person applying for the passport is who she says she is, is signed by her brother, George Lysle, Jr.

This application has the signature of my second great-grandfather and his sister, my second great grand-aunt, Isabella. (Same on the applications for Eliza's and Caroline's passports.)

Her gravestone in Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was engraved with yet another name: Isabel L. Whigham and dates of 1836 - 1924.

Union Dale Cemetery (Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania), Isabel L. Whigham marker,
Lot 32; Range 1; Section A; Division 3; personally read, 29 August 2017.
(Photograph taken by the author.)
A cautionary tale about not trusting any one source for a person's name or age.


Census sources:
1850 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Allegheny City, p. 192 (stamped), dwelling 335, family 367, Isabella Lysle in George Lysle household; image, ( : accessed 24 January 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 744.

1860 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, McKeesport, p. 413 (stamped), dwelling 756, family 775, Bell Lysle in George Lysle household; image, ( accessed 2 January 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 1063.

1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Mifflin Township, p. 15 (penned), dwelling 107, family 118, Isabelle Whigham in James Whigham household; image, ( accessed 27 December 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1294.

1880 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, [City/Town], enumeration district (ED) 69, p. 420A (stamped), dwelling 29, family 36, Bella Whigham in James Whigham household; image, ( accessed 27 December 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 1090.

1900 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Pittsburgh, enumeration district (ED) 232, p. 14 (penned), dwelling 231, family 249, Isabella Wigham in Caroline Lysle household; image, ( accessed 4 October 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1362.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Invite to Dinner: Questions For My Grandmother ~ 52 Ancestors #4

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 Invite to Dinner.

Although inviting a long-ago ancestor to dinner to ask probing questions is always a wish of genealogists (who were your parents, Susan Rood Chapin?), thinking of questions that we want to ask of a grandparent who died almost 30 years ago happens all the time.

I am going through a stack of old negatives of different sizes from the 1910s through the 1950s (maybe 500 of them?) in order to determine which ones I will pay a local company to scan for me. Due to the large size of many of them (3.5" x 5"), as well as the curling that happens with these older negatives, it could be extremely expensive for me to have them all scanned. Hence, I am trying to narrow down what I truly want scanned.

However, I just figured out what setting needed to be adjusted in order for my flatbed scanner to scan many of them (as long as one side is shorter than 2.5") so I only have to pay for the larger ones to be professionally scanned.

I inherited these from my mother and her sister. Their mother was Helen Lysle Hunter (1907-1990), and although she was not a genealogist, she was a collector of family memorabilia and much of it has come to me as the family historian, including all these negatives, almost all of which are from her family, both as a girl and young woman, and of her daughters.

While going through these, I am thinking about the questions I would love to ask my grandmother over a long, leisurely dinner:

I recognize you in this photo (at right) and your sister Caroline in a few other photos, but who are all those people you are on the beach with? How old were you in this photo? is this in the mid-1920s? Tell me your stories about vacationing in North East, Pennsylvania. (I know that the Hunter family of Pittsburgh spent their vacations in North East, and I have photos of my mother and her sisters there in the late 1930s. That is Lake Erie in the background.)

How did you end up with the stack of negatives from Goldfield, Nevada? Did you get most of Uncle Jack's negatives at his death in 1984? (See 52Ancestors #3 about Uncle Jack.) Did he share more stories about his time in Goldfield?

Did your father, Percy, travel to Goldfield too? It appears that there are some additional, different-sized negatives of buildings in that town.

Is that Uncle Jack in the apron preparing dinner? And who are the women in the blurry photos? Is it true that he placed a $100 bill under everyone's plate at his 100th birthday party?

What can you tell me about your family's short time living in California in 1912? It appears that I have a few negatives from that period of time.

These are among the many, many questions I would love to ask my grandmother if I could invite her to dinner. Looking at photographs is a great way to trigger memories and get people to tell stories about those memories.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Great Uncle Jack Lived to 102 ~ 52 Ancestors #3

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 Longevity.

In the early 1990s, when I was just starting out in researching my family history, I learned that my mother's great uncle Jack Hunter died in 1984 at 102 years old. He was the sixth of ten children of James Hunter and Mary Freeland Hunter, both of whom died in 1902.

He was written up in the Pittsburgh Press for his 100th birthday.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Surname Saturday ~ Tuttle of England, Ipswich and New Haven Colony

Northamptonshire (in red);
image courtesy Wikipedia

Early Tuttles (also spelled Totehyll and Tootill) are found in Northamptonshire, England. Simon Tuttle (born about 1560 and buried 15 June 1630 in Ringstead, Northamptonshire, England) was the father of three Great Migration immigrants: Richard, William, and John. I descend from William and John. In fact, these lines show that my paternal grandparents were 8th cousins and both of them were 9th cousins to my maternal grandfather making my parents 10th cousins, as descended from Simon Tuttle (abt. 1560-1630).

I descend four ways from Simon Tuttle (which I only recently discovered). I consider both John and William as immigrant ancestors and therefore label them both as Generation 1.

Generation 1: John Tuttle (1596-1656) married Joan Antrobus (1592-after 1660) in about 1627 and had five known children. John and his family arrived in Boston on the Planter in 1635 and settled in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts, where many of their descendants are found.

As a Great Migration immigrant, John Tuttle has an extensive entry in Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635 by Robert Charles Anderson, where it is noted that in February 1649/50, he entered into an unwise business deal which led to legal problems which seems to be why he moved to Carrickfergus, Ireland, in 1651, about five years before his death there on 30 December 1656.

I descend from their son Simon.

Ipswich within Essex County, Massachusetts;
image courtesy Wikipedia
Generation 2: Simon Tuttle (about 1630-1691/92) married Sarah Cogswell (about 1645-1731/32) in about 1663 and had twelve children. They lived in Ipswich. I descend from their sixth child (and fourth daughter) Abigail.

Generation 3: Abigail Tuttle (1673-1756) married Philemon Warner (1675-1741). They had nine children. I descend from their third youngest child, Nathaniel.

Generation 4: Nathaniel Warner (1707-1746) married Hannah Mountfort (1710-????) in Boston in 1732 (see below for her line). They had four children and I descend from their third child, Abigail.

Generation 5: Abigail Warner (1737-1821), who was a longtime brick wall for me, married Benjamin Page (1730-1812) in Boston in 1757. They had nine children and I descend from their middle child, Mary.

Generation 6: Mary Page (1771-1847) married Nathaniel Copeland (1765-1803)
Generation 7: Thomas Jefferson Copeland (1801-1877) married Julia Elvira Townsend
Generation 8: Henry Clay Copeland (1832-1912) married Sarah Lowell
Generation 9: Lowell Copeland (1862-1935) married Ethel May Greeley
Generation 10: Lowell Townsend Copeland (1900-1974) married Helen Lysle Hunter
Generation 11: My mother
Generation 12: Me

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Favorite Photo of Percy and Marguerite ~ 52 Ancestors #2

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 Favorite Photo.

I have shared many favorite photos on this blog (the tag Wordless Wednesday brings up those posts). Today's photo is of my great-grandparents, Percy Earle Hunter and his wife Marguerite Lysle.

Ya gotta love that hat! I wonder how heavy it was.

This was taken while they were vacationing in Atlantic City. (They lived in Pittsburgh with five daughters who were born between 1899 and 1907.)

The photographer was Myers-Cope Co., 1635 & 1521 Boardwalk, Atlantic City. By exploring the Atlantic City directories at, I can narrow down the dates that this photograph was taken to between 1909 and 1913. (In 1908 and in 1914, Myers-Cope Co. was at only 1635 Boardwalk.)

However, since I know that they were in California in 1912, when they were listed in the California Voter Registrations for that year, why they were in California, and also that they were back in Pittsburgh by the fall of 1913, I believe this photo was taken between 1909 and 1911.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tuesday's Tip ~ Family Tree Maker Color-Coding

I'm late to the game in blogging about this feature of the new Family Tree Maker (which came out in the early summer for the Mac). I've been meaning to share the following find for several months.

As soon as I got my file opened in the new version of Family Tree Maker, I wanted to try out the new color coding feature, which I had read about from other bloggers.

At the Tree tab on the People workspace, select the person whose ancestors you want to highlight.

Click the color coding button above the editing panel. Click a single color (or a color group) for the type of individuals you want to apply color coding.

I selected each of my grandparents in order, and selected All Ancestors (1 color) and applied the one color that I have used for years for each of my grandparents' lines:
Pyle - blue
Adsit - pink
Copeland - green
Hunter - orange

When I scrolled through my index of names and got to the Tuttle surname, I was surprised to find the colors for three of my four grandparents appear. I already knew that my paternal grandparents, Charles Pyle and Elizabeth Adsit were related in several ways, including through the Tuttle surname. However, Abigail Tuttle, whose parents I hadn't found yet, had a green circle, indicating that she was an ancestor of my maternal grandfather. This 7th great-grandmother of mine was married to Philemon Warner, and I had only recently found her while researching the Warner line.

Following shows my direct-line Tuttle ancestors. (If I hadn't used the Filter feature to narrow down the indexed names to my direct ancestors, there would have been too many to capture in a screenshot.) I have since determined Abigail's parents and how she is related to the immigrant Tuttle ancestor.

Thomas Tuttle of Woodford, Northamptonshire, England, was the father of Richard Tuttle, who died in 1589. Richard was father of Simon Tuttle (1560-1630), ancestor to three of my grandparents, and whose sons, John (1596-1656) and William (1607-1673) emigrated to the colonies. They are both my 9th great-grandfathers. See the Surname Saturday post for the details of my ancestral lines.

Friday, January 5, 2018

How My Interest in Genealogy Got Started ~ 52 Ancestors #1

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. (I also participated in 2015.) Each week has an optional writing prompt and I may not necessarily write about a direct ancestor, as there are so many interesting people in my extended family tree!

This week's writing prompt is "Start," and as some readers may know, my interest in genealogy started with finding the copy of Orange Chapin's The Chapin Genealogy: Containing a Very Large Proportion of the Descendants of Dea. Samuel Chapin (Northampton, Massachusetts: Metcalf & Company, 1862) in my parents' library. My father was an only child and inherited lots of great family history material from his mother.

Now this is an 1862 genealogy - a secondary source (with many errors). However, there are several "Family Record" pages at the end and they include birth, marriage, and death dates for my grandmother's family.

This is one of those end pages:

The left-hand page includes births for the following:
James M. Adsit
Spencertown, Columbia Co.
New York, Feb. 5, 1809
  [my second great-grandfather]

Arville S. Chapin
Ludlow, Massachusetts,
June 9, 1820
  [my second great-grandmother]

Florence Wheeler 1878-1883
  [my grandmother's cousin]

Charles Chapin Adsit Jr.
Chicago July 3rd, 1892
  [my great-uncle]

Elizabeth Adsit
Chicago, June 18th, 1897
  [my grandmother]

Charles McAlpin Pyle Jr.
New York, June 16, 1924
  [my father in my grandmother's handwriting]

The right-hand page includes marriages for the following:
James M. Adsit
Arville S. Chapin
Chicago, Ill. Jan 21,
  [my second great-grandparents]

Ezra I. Wheeler
Belle F. Adsit
Chicago Jan 7, 1868
  [she is a second great-aunt of mine]

Charles C. Adsit
Mary B. Ashby
Louisville. Married Oct 30, 1890
  [my great-grandparents]

Charles McAlpin Pyle
Elizabeth Adsit
Chicago, March 1, 1919
  [my paternal grandparents in my grandmother's handwriting]

I have written a Surname Saturday post showing my four lines of descent from Deacon Samuel Chapin.