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.]