Monday, August 14, 2017

Best Laid Cemetery Plans

It looks like I accidentally deleted my pre-reunion post detailing my plans for visiting cemeteries in Quebec and the contents of my new cemetery kit, so I'll review it a bit here.

Before heading home from last week's reunion, Mum and I had hoped to visit six cemeteries to pay our respects to our ancestors and photograph their headstones. Our previous attempt three years ago had to be called for weather when the area was hit with six inches of snow the night before our arrival.


Well, you know about best laid plans, right? I still think we could have completed our mission, but we chose to spend some extra time with our cousins instead. There was also one cemetery we decided to skip on this trip because the cemetery didn't respond to my inquiries for plot numbers before we left, and it is a big cemetery.

As I packed my clothes and other necessities, I also assembled a cemetery kit in a large knapsack on wheels. Inside were:

First aid kit that included a whistle and compass
Bug spray (containing Deet due to a bad tick season in the area)
Lint rollers (to check ourselves for ticks, they can be very small)
Long dishwashing gloves (again, tick protection)
Gardening gloves
Exam gloves just because I had some
Pruning shears
Cardboard wrapped in foil for directing sunlight on hard to read stones (a large mirror would also work but I was trying to reduce weight)
Soft paint brush for removing dirt from lettering
Spray bottle filled with plain water which I had heard can sometimes enhance the lettering on stone if it is difficult to read/photograph.
Old throw pillow covered in plastic tarp for kneeling on while trimming any overgrowth around flat stones or foot stones.
Crate for sitting on to take photos at the level of the stone.
Extra memory card for camera.
Extra/rechargeable batteries for camera.
Directions because I didn't have cell service in Canada, printed lists of stones, extra paper and pen all on a clipboard.

I also had soft cleaning brushes with me from cleaning Donald's grandmother's headstone, something his parents wanted us to do. We hadn't planned to use them, but we did decide to remove some of the lichen from my great-grandparent's stone. It is a thick, sturdy stone and was practically illegible when we got there. I know that scrubbing stones is controversial and there are plenty of stones we saw and visited that we would not have touched, but this one in particular we thought would be okay. If both of us hadn't had sore backs that day, we probably would have gotten a better result.

George R. Smith M.L.C./Feb 17 1860-Feb 20,1922
Isabella F. Smith/Aug 12 1868-Feb 20 1940

I still had to spray the stone with plain water to get it this legible. I'm not sure if we're going to leave it at this point, or try again with the soft brushes and water on our next visit. I'm sure the stone can take it, but I don't want to damage the raised lettering.

Even though this plot is in the same cemetery as my grandparents, I only remember visiting my great-grandparents once before and had forgotten that George's foot stone included the Masonic symbol, or that he was even a Mason.

All three of these stones must have been something to see when they were new. I hope we can figure out a way to keep them legible and looking as my great-grandparents wanted without harming them.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Bean Burying Ground of North Hatley, Quebec

When I first saw "Bean Burying Ground" in one of my ancestors burial records, I thought I might have to make my my way there through a stand of maple trees or find it inaccessible due to growing crops. Thankfully though, the Bean Burying Ground is now Lakeview Cemetery and is accessible to anyone.

As its former name implies, Lakeview Cemetery started as a burial ground for the Bean family on the farm of Moses Quimby Bean, my 4th great-grandfather, an early settler in North Hatley, Quebec, who was born in New Hampshire. It was quite something to stand on this hallowed ground, taking in the beautiful scenery and the surrounding farmland and know that it was originally cleared and farmed by my ancestors.

Although it isn't quite the quiet spot it once was due to the fact that it now lies on a busy route through this countryside, it is still a beautiful place to farm or to spend one's eternal rest.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Funeral Card Friday - John Dean

Well, if you read my last blog post about my then upcoming trip to Quebec for a family reunion, I'll end the suspense for you now and let you know we did not make it to six cemeteries while we were there.

We did have a wonderful time, I did meet cousins I'd never met before and see others I hadn't seen in decades. I did get to share my research and photos to much appreciation and I don't regret a moment of how we spent our time, only that we couldn't have stayed longer.

And I wasn't the only one to bring goodies. One of my cousins made a foam board display covered in photos and ephemera that was absolutely wonderful! It included the funeral card (1) of my 2nd great-grandfather, John Dean, who died of pneumonia in February of 1888.

I cannot even describe my reaction to this piece of family history. I just about fell over when I saw it. I had no idea that Susan had such treasures. I am able to share this scan with you thanks to the treat that I bought myself a the week before we left, a Flip-Pal mobile scanner. It paid for itself the moment I was able to bring home all of Susan's treasures in digital form.

You may notice that the scan is cut off at the top. That is not the fault of the scanner. The Flip-Pal comes with instructions and software for stitching scans together when you scan something larger than the glass, but I didn't have time to learn that trick before I left. I have this image for now, though, and I can always ask Susan to take this out for me the next time we visit.

I still haven't found the burial record for John Dean, but I do have two newspaper notices with conflicting dates of death, so this is a nice addition to my documentation about his death.

(1) Funeral card for John Dean, Dean Family Collection, privately owned by Susan Dean [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], 2017. Inherited from Kenneth E. Dean, grandson of John Dean.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Lt. Frank McConnell Park - Richmond Hill, Queens, NY

On Thursday morning, Donald and I found ourselves sitting in a park on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in Queens while waiting for a diagnosis on our car from a new mechanic. While we were waiting I realized that there was a memorial of some kind at one end of the park and Donald went over to investigate.

He discovered that this park was dedicated to the memory Lt. Frank McConnell, the first Richmond Hill resident killed in World War I who gave his life, according to a city parks website, on July 26, 1918 in the second battle of the Marne.

Although the monument is dedicated to all of the Morris Park (neighborhood boundaries in Queens are very fluid) residents killed in the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean Campaign and the Viet-Nam Campaign, only those killed in WWI are listed.

Last year I shared the WWI memorials in Rockville Centre, NY where I live. Rockville Centre is a village in Nassau County, about a half hour drive from this park. RVC is just a village and Queens is a city county, but I am struck by the difference in the number of casualties between Rockville Centre and just one Queens neighborhood, even 100 years ago.

Anyway, I hope that this post may enable another genealogist to find their relative on this memorial. As listed on the plaque, those killed in action are:

Charles F. Albrecht
Louis E. Ammarell
Edward M. Anderson
Charles G. Baird
Mortimer Benjamin
George B. Burling, Jr.
Robert J. Burtis
Edward Cater
Frederick A. Clark
Harold J. Cokeley
George M. Coleman
Charles. F. Cook
Albert M. Dow
Charles F. Gans
David E. Gladd
Robert Gray, Jr.
Eugene A. Griffith
George B. Hall
Joesph Hartel, Jr.
William F. Hausman
Herome Heime
Charles M. Hoerning
William B. Holler
Andrew J. Hummer
Johannes A. Jensen
Albert A. Justis
Henry Lerch, Jr.
Lewis Lichtenstein
Frederick Lippert
John W. Mark
Daniel C. McCauley
Frank W. McConnell, Jr.
Frank J. Menninger
John J. Mertz
Frank A. Meyer
Finlay W. Millar
Cuthbert C. Murphy
Frederick W. Neumeyer
George R. Nicholson
Bertram S. Noble
George F. Pettit
Louis Pine
Andrew J. Provost, Jr.
Frederick H. Reif
William A. Reihl
Bernard Ripoll
Archibald E. Robbins
Thomas R. Roberts
Paul E. Sallah
Arthur A. Schnorr
Frank L. Schweithelm
Joseph Sheridan
Frederick H. Shirs
John A. Smith
Arthur J. Struck
Stephen T. Sullivan
Adam H. Suttmeier
Frederick W. Sundermier
John Tallario
Dominick Trapasso
Charles L. Trinkard
John T. Vermaelen
George A. Weber
Lawrence Whalen
Harry J. Whitman
William A. Williams
Charles Worth
James P. Young
Peter A. Zeis
Alfred N. Dow

I will be adding this post to the Honor Roll Project.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Planting a Seed - Sharing Family Photos

For the past two months, I have been spending a good deal of my free time preparing for the Dean reunion which is now less than a month away.

Eva Maud Bean and James Louden Dean

I know that at least one cousin who is "into" genealogy will be there, but I am hoping, of course, that many more will be interested in hearing about the family history that my mother's generation remembers, the added details that Sherril and I have uncovered and in seeing the old photos that bring it to life.

But what is the best way to share the photos? I thought about a book, but I just wasn't feeling it, the time and expense are just not happening right now. And I know that when I do eventually start to write, I want to know more than I do now about our immigrant ancestors.

I would love to bring the originals; there's just something about holding that original in my hand, even in a protective sleeve, that really gets me and I'd love to share that feeling. But a 400-mile drive each way, two nights in a hotel and the fact that we would be gathering around food in a large group, no, I had to admit that sharing the originals would not be possible. And digital sharing isn't an option because I don't have a laptop and the farm is very rural and not internet friendly.

So, I have had prints made of all those cabinet cards, cartes de visite and tintypes, but there were 20th century photos that I wanted to share also and didn't want to have too many more individual prints made. Finally, while I was uploading the older photos to Snapfish (with whom I have no affiliation) I was reminded that they make collage prints in 4x4, 4x6, 5x7, 8x8 and 8x10. After experimenting a bit, I decided that this was the best way to share a lot of photos. I made a total of ten collages and I'm so happy with them that I am sure that I will be framing a few of them if they make it back from the reunion in good condition.

This one contains photos from my grandparent's wedding.

I love how this turned out so much that I ordered two so that I can frame one for myself and one for my mother. And it was easy to make. I just uploaded the .jpg files that I wanted to use, and let Snapfish format the photos for me. If I didn't like the auto arrangement it was fairly easy to swap photos within the collage or remove photos, although once or twice in the process of making all ten collages, I did just start over with fewer photos. You also have the option of choosing from their templates.

One word of caution about Snapfish. I'm not sure that I will use them again. I didn't like the fact that you can only use the coupon codes if you want to have the photos shipped to you and then you have to pay for shipping. So, depending on the size of your order, the coupon codes may not save you much money. The package arrived yesterday, two days earlier than their estimate. It was on my door  mat when I got home. The package (a standard shipping envelope) was not in good shape and there was a footprint on one side. That is the fault of the shipping company. But, the 8x10s and the envelopes of smaller prints were just thrown into the envelope with no stiff cardboard or anything inside to protect them. If you look carefully at the above photo you can see that two of the corners are bent. Four of these 8x10s arrived this way. That is Snapfish's responsibility. It has been about twenty hours since I contacted them as I write this and I haven't heard back yet.

Overall, though, I was pleased with the order. I have put the prints in protective sleeves and will start labeling them soon. I even decided to print a few backs to give everyone the feel of the old photos.

At least a couple of my grandmother's siblings were interested in family history and my mother and at least another cousin of her generation are also. I know that a cousin from my generation has a tree on Ancestry, but it seems to be in need of some attention. I'm hoping that we can snag someone from the next generation at this reunion. Or at least plant a seed.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Canada 150 Genealogy Challenge

As you probably already know, Canada celebrated the 150th anniversary of Confederation on Saturday, the day that the colonies were united under the Constitution Act.

I'm a bit late, but I am taking up Patricia Greber's challenge to list my Canadian ancestors living in Canada in 1867 when Confederation was accomplished. The challenge is to list their names, the year they arrived in Canada (can be approximate) and where they originally settled.

John Dean
Elizabeth Nimmo
Denison Minser Bean
Isabella Frances Parker (Center)

James Dean - 3rd great grandfather                               by 1837                 Harrington Twnshp, Quebec
Jane Irwin - 3rd great grandmother                                by 1837                 Montreal, Quebec

John Dean - 2nd great grandfather                                  b. 1839                 St. Patrick, Quebec

Elizabeth Louden - 3rd great grandmother                          1851-1856       Montreal, Quebec

Elizabeth Nimmo - 2nd great grandmother                          1851-1856      Montreal, Quebec

Mark Bean - 3rd great grandfather                                   b. 1806                Hatley Township, Quebec

Denison Minser Bean - 2nd great grandfather                 b. 1848                Hatley Township, Quebec

John Emery - 3rd great grandfather                                      1805-1829     Hatley Township, Quebec

Jane Louisa Emery - 2nd great grandmother                    b. 1850               Hatley Township, Quebec

George Lakin Parker - 2nd great grandmother                     1840               St. Angelique, Quebec
Lucy A. B. Hamilton - 2nd great grandmother                b. 1828                Montreal, Quebec

Isabella Francis Parker - great grandmother                     b. 1867               Manotick, Ontario

James Dean and Jane Irwin both came from Ireland, according to census records, and were married Montreal, Quebec in 1837 at a Scotch Presbyterian Church.

Oral family history says that Elizabeth Louden and her children, including Elizabeth Nimmo, came from Scotland. Census records say Ireland right up to Elizabeth Nimmo's last census, 1921, which says Scotland. I also may have found the family in the Scottish census in 1851 but that is to be determined. Elizabeth Louden first appears in a Montreal directory in 1856.

John Emery appears to have been born in Newbury, New Hampshire in 1805. He may have come as a child, but his first record in Canada, so far, is his marriage to my 3rd great-grandmother, Fanny Chamberlin, in 1829.

George Lakin Parker came to Canada as a child from Barton, Vermont so his parents may also have been alive and in Canada for Confederation, but that is yet to be determined, as is the status of Lucy Hamilton's parents in 1867.

I've made so many fascinating discoveries about my direct and collateral Canadian ancestors preparing for the Dean reunion next month, but putting this list together emphasizes how much I don't know. So much family, only 24 hours in a day!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Explaining Likely, Probable and Possible Identifications to my Cousins

This week I have been getting scans of some mid-1800s family photos ready for upload to Snapfish (I have no affiliation) so that I can have copies made to take with me to the Dean reunion in August. In doing so I was reminded that there are a number photos that have no identification and also some that are labeled with names that mean nothing to me.

Identified as
Mary McCullough
Mrs. Oliver Emerson
Mrs. Oliver Emerson
Identified as Oliver Emerson

When I took these photos out of their original album, which is preserved separately, put them in protective  sleeves and labeled them, I omitted Mary McCullough's name from her label and identified her only as Mrs. Oliver Emerson, so that is where my search began.

Even though it seemed to me like a common name, I searched All Collections on Ancestry for an Oliver Emerson in Quebec, Canada. That was it, no other information. I was rewarded with a top result that was a marriage record for an Oliver Emerson and a Mary Ann McCullough at the same church in Waterville, Quebec where my great-grandfather Dean and his siblings were baptized and he was married. Again, as I was looking at this record, I had no idea that the woman in my photo was Mary McCullough but my interest was piqued anyway because I have another photo in my Dean box that is labeled Alex McCullough.

Reading the marriage record brought me another clue, the bride's mother was named Martha Irwin (God bless pastors who included maiden names). Irwin is a known name in my family. My third great-grandmother, grandmother of the same Dean generation baptized in this church, was Jane Irwin. So who is Martha?

Well, I was already in Ancestry, so I decided to take a look at some member trees. Not the best research method, I know, but I was just trying to ID some photos. One of the first trees that contained Martha Irwin showed that one of her siblings was a Jane with a date of birth consistent with my Jane. The tree was not documented but contained dates and other facts consistent with my research. It showed that this Martha had married Thomas McCullough, that they had ten children including Mary Ann and a son named Alex. Following Mary Ann, this tree showed that she had married Oliver Emerson with whom she moved to Manitoba and had three children. A quick check of census records show an Emerson family in Manitoba with a family of three children and a Martha McCullough.

If I were thoroughly researching this collateral line, these searches would be just the beginning. But I am satisfied, for now, that I have identified the reason that these photos were in a family album. I mean, what are the chances that this is another Oliver and Mary Emerson?

Last night I was kind of picturing myself explaining these relationships to my cousins, telling them that Mary McCullough was likely the daughter of Jane Irwin's sister, making her the first cousin of John Dean. I was wondering if the words like likely, possibly or probably would even make an impression as they take in all this family history. These words are so meaningful to genealogists and family historians, be they hobbyist or professional. But will the mean anything to my cousins, or will they just take my searches at face value?

Maybe I should have time for a genealogy class added to the itinerary.
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