Saturday, August 31, 2013

Acknowledging Marion

Two posts in less than a six-month time frame!

One of my genealogical forays this summer was into DNA testing.  (I'm not sure I'll post about this - I'm still trying to wrap my hear around the science of it all.)  But anyway, while filling out my profile on one of the testing sites, I flipped back to check a "fact" in the Greenleaf genealogy (1896)

Regular readers will know that one of my favorite ancestors to write about is Marion Constance Greenleaf, my great-great aunt who died of typhoid in 1900.

While flipping through the preface, I found this little acknowledgment:

I like this.  For several reasons.  I like knowing that Marion took the time to contribute to this publication - that it meant something to her in some way.  I am comforted somehow knowing that she had ready access to the family portraits, too, and was somehow able to obtain photographs of them.*

All of this was only a few years before her death, as the genealogy was published in 1896, and I like knowing that too.

* I note that the portraits don't seem to be reproduced in the version on the Internet Archive.  Either they're missing from the book or weren't included for some reason.  At least the first few portrait pages I looked for had only a caption - no illustration.  Disappointing.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Bloggers GeneaMeme

Believe me, the irony is not lost on me that the first post from me in some months is about blogging.  But I saw this on Jill's blog the other day and was tempted to post it on my blog then, but when Randy pegged the meme for tonight's SGNF, I had no choice but to follow through!

1.  What are the titles and URLs of your genealogy blog/s?   
My Mouse is Broken - (watch the typing - a simple transposition error in a particular part of the URL takes one to a Bible studies site) 

2.  Do you have a wonderful "Cousin Bait" blog story? A link to a previous blog post might answer this question.
I've got two - (1) my cousin Sylvia reached out to me after reading a post and we developed a correspondence that got me hooked on researching my Bridge family ancestors, kept in touch to solve some puzzles with this family, and have continued to stay in touch and share information; (2) my friend Jim emailed me after reading this post (I think) and whose story is told in part here.

3.  Why did you start blogging? Is there someone who inspired you to start blogging?  
No one person inspired me to start blogging.  I'd reached a point in my research where writing was an outlet for both frustrations and successes.

4.  How did you decide on your blog/s title/s?  
I actually created the blog for work-related purposes, to post handouts for a workshop I was teaching, and every title I tried was already taken (usually by someone who abandoned the blog after snagging the title).  It was after midnight when my mouse froze, so I picked that as my title.  Over time, I've morphed that into my genealogy presence.

5.  Do you ever blog from mobile devices? What are they?  
I sometimes compose posts on my iPad, but don't think I've ever posted from it.

6.  How do you let others know when you have published a new post?  The blog's RSS feed, comments on other blogs (usually for SNGF), and I usually tweet new posts.

7.  How long have you been blogging?  
Almost four years (wow!)

8.  What widgets or elements do you consider essential on a genealogy blog?   
Archives, search tool, something about the author, permalinks, RSS feeds, and a copyright statement.

9.  What is the purpose of your blog/s? Who is your intended audience?  
I really started this for myself - to get stories, problems, and the like out of my head.  I'm consistently amazed by the people who I discover are readers, take the time to reach out, and who give me encouragement - thank you!

10.  Which of your posts are you particularly proud of?  
So many, as so many of these have their own stories which have lead me to cousins, new friends, and other connections that it's hard to choose, but I particularly like the Washington Roebling Titanic series (starts here).

11.  How do you keep up with your blog reading?  
Currently Feedly for traditional reading and Flipboard on my iPad for Twitter.

12.  What platform do you use for publishing your blog/s?  
Blogger.  I keep thinking I might give WordPress a whirl, but Blogger gets the job done.

13.  What new features would you like to see in your blogging software?  
Not sure - I'm generally satisfied, though any aggravation usually comes from posting, resizing, and captioning images.  And I find the font formatting a little frustrating.

14.  Which of your posts has been the most popular with readers?  
My top five as of today are:

15.  Are you a sole blogger or do you contribute to a shared blog?  
Sole blogger.  

16.  How do you compose your blog posts?  
In Evernote, and then I copy them to Blogger.  This way I have a log of posts that doesn't reside solely on the blog - though I only started doing this last year with the Titanic series.

17.  Do you have any blogs that are not genealogy related? If you wish please share their titles and URLs. 
Not at this time, no, though I've dabbled with blogging in the past.

18.  Have you listed your blog/s at Geneabloggers?  
My blog is listed at Geneabloggers, and I'm extremely flattered that someone other than me (no idea who) suggested it for listing.

19.  Which resources have helped you with your blogging?  
Geneabloggers daily themes, Randy Seaver's SGNF, and Lisa Alzo's Fearless Females prompts all got me started and gave me great ideas when first starting out

20.  What advice would you give to a new Geneablogger?  
Stick with it and don't stress over it.  I post when my research inspires me to do so.  I feel guilty when I go for a long time without posting, but I also know myself well enough to know that unless I'm really inspired, I won't turn out as decent a post.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Emily Meigs Biddle obituary error

A few weeks ago I was playing around in GenealogyBank, looking for articles on my Biddle relations - specifically my 3rd-great grandmother, Emily Meigs Biddle (1824-1905) and her daughter, my 3rd-great aunt, Emily Williams Biddle (1855-1931).

I found a nice obituary for Emily Meigs Biddle (Mrs. J. Williams Biddle) in the Springfield Republican, dated 23 Nov 1905.  I always like finding obituaries.  I use them quite a bit in my research and particularly like seeing what clues to other relatives are noted.  Emily M. Biddle's obituary finishes by listing her children:

"She is survived by a son, Dr. Thomas Biddle, two daughters, Mrs. Richard Caldwalter and Miss Emily Biddle of Philadelphia." [1]

The interesting thing here (aside from the misspelling of "Cadwalader") is that her oldest daughter, Christine, Mrs. Richard Cadwalader, died 23 Mar 1900 and did not, in fact, survive her.

Death date on Christine Biddle Cadwalader's death certificate [2]

Emily Meigs Biddle died in Lenox, Massachusetts on 22 Nov 1905.  The informant listed on her death certificate is listed as Thomas Biddle. I presume this is Thomas Biddle, her son, but don't know that for a fact.  There are, however, no other immediate relatives I'm aware of with the name Thomas Biddle who would be living in 1905.

Death date on Emily Meigs Biddle's death certificate [3]

Informant on death certificate of Emily Meigs Biddle [3]
So if I assume the informant on Emily Meigs Biddle's death certificate is her son, that certainly doesn't imply he would have had anything do with her obituary.  But I find it odd that such an error would be made given that Christine pre-deceased her mother by a full 5 years.  

If nothing else, this reminds me to be careful about information gleaned from obituaries and what clues I take away. 

[1]  "Death of Philadelphia Summer Resident," Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 23 Nov 1905, p. 10, col. 3; digital images, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 27 April 2013).
[2]  "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," index and image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 Apr 2013), Christine B. Cadwalader, 1900.
[3]  "Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 Apr 2013), Emily M. Biddle, 1905.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Ann Wishart Senior

Ann Wishart (ca.1720 - 1770) was my 7th great-grandmother.  Her line of descent is one I've worked on in recent years, and I'm long overdue recounting an interesting (I think) story from over a year ago.  

In November 2011, I spent a week at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City as part of the NEHGS annual tour.  One of my self-appointed tasks for the week was to get additional details and records on the line going back to Ann Wishart.  I spent the bulk of the week on the 2nd floor, in semi-darkness, delighting in the reels of microfilm records at my fingertips.  When not using the microfilm, I'd emerge briefly onto the fully lit 3rd floor for print item (book) use before heading back to the microfilm.  I saved most online lookups for my hotel room in the evenings.  So it was in my hotel, doing some semi-random Googling after a long day, that I first turned up the following reference to Ann's will.

Wulf, Karin A.  Not All Wives: Women of Colonial Philadelphia.  Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000, p. 149.

I'd known I was descended from Ann, and knew approximately when she lived, but had no idea or inkling that she was a tradeswoman.  Through Wulf's footnote [95] I was easily able to find Wishart's will at the library the next day.  The full transcription follows:

[start page 1]
Be it remembered that I Ann Wishart Sen. of the City of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsylvania Tallow Chandler being in good Bodily Health and of sound an well Disposing Mind and Memory, Blessed be God for the same and all other his Mercies and Favours, But calling to Mind the uncertainty of this present Life.  Do therefore think fitt to make this my last Will and Testament in manner and Form following, that is to say, First I give and devise unto my Loving Daughter Jemima Edwards of the City of Philadelphia Widow, the Sum of Five Shillings and also to my loving Son William Wishart of the said City, the sum of Five Shillings, and thirdly I do give & deviss
[end page 1]

[start page 2]
unto my Loving Daughter Ann Wishart Junr of said City, the sum of Five Shillings, and also I do devise unto said Daughter Ann Right and previlage in this my Mesuage or Tenement in which I now dwell, the largest Frunt Shop, the Frunt Chamber up one pair of Staires and the Frunt Garrot, with the use and previlage of the Kitchen to have and to hold to my said Daughter Ann for and during the Term of her Natural Life and no longer.  And from and Immediately after the decease of my said Daughter Ann I do give and devise all her Rights and previlage in my said Mesuage or Tenement, to my son Thomas Wishart of the
said City Tallow Chandler, and I Do give and divise unto my said son Thomas all this my Mesuage or Tenement, exclusive of that part I have devised to my Daughter Ann: wherein I now Dwell, situated lying and being in frunt Street at the corner of Jones's Alley, commonly called Pewter Plater Alley in said City together with the Mesuages, Tenements, Edifices, Buildings and improvements Erected standing, being or made, and their and every of their Rights, Members and Appurtenances as also my Negro man called Ceasar, and a Quart Silver Tankard with all my Household Goods, Househould and Kitchen Furniture, with all the Implements for carrying on the Chandling Business.  To hold to him my said son Thomas his Heirs and Assigns forever.  And I nominate and appoint my said son Thomas and my said Daughter Ann to be the Executors of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills and Testaments by me made, and do declare this only to be my last Will and Testament.  In Witness whereof I the said Ann Wishart Senr have hereunto set my hand and seal the fifth day of July in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty nine.  Ann Wishart [seal]
Signed Sealed Published and declared by the said Ann Wishart Senr for and as her last Will and Testament in the presence of us, who have hereunto subscribed our Names as Witnesses of the same in her presence and at her request.  NB I do further give and devise unto my Daughter Ann use of the Yard Pump Garding
Witness Thos Wharton Jur Caleb Jones. ----------
Philad: February 12, 1770 Personally appeared Thomas Wharton Ju and Caleb Jones, the two witnesses to the foregoing Will, and on their solemn Affirmation according to Law did declare that they saw and heard Ann Wishart the Testatrix therein Named Sign Seal Publish and Declare, the same Will for and as her last Will and Testament and that at the doing thereof she was of sound disposing Mind Memory and Understanding to the best of their knowledge & Belief
                                                           Coram Benjamin Chew Reg GenS
Be it remembered that on the 12th day of February 1770 the last Will and Testament of Ann Wishart deceased in due form of Law was proved and probate and Letters Testamentary thereof were granted to Thomas Wishart and Ann Wishart Executor in the said Will Named being first solemnly Affirmed well and truly to administer the said Deceaseds Estate and being an Inventory thereof into the Register Generals Office at Philadelphia on or before the 12th day of March next and render a true and just account of the of the said Administration on or before the 12th day of February 1771 or when thereto Legally required given under the seal of the said Office.  Benjamin Chew Reg Genl.
[end page 2]

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, Will Book No. O, Years Covered 1766-1771: no. 342, will of Ann Wishart Senior, 1770; FHL microfilm 21,726.