06 December 2007

Right Under My Nose

My article "Right Under My Nose" was published last week on Ancestry.com's blog. It discusses my search for an 19th century Ohio resident who seemingly "disappears."

Sometimes those disappearing ancestors did not disappear the way we thought they did. Rather they are right there in front of us waiting to be found. This week we look at such a situation. Our search reminds us of several research techniques that any family historian needs to have in their repertoire when the ancestor seems to vanish without a trace.
Sarah Wickiser Calvert’s only known record of existence was an 1862 Delaware County, Ohio, deed

The rest of the article can be viewed here....

And anyone researching Sarah Calvert can email me mjnrootdig@gmail.com. She is an aunt of my wife--her sister Lucinda Wickiser Kile is my wife's ancestor.

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18 August 2007

Virgil White's Revolutionary Abstracts versus Footnote.com

Virgil White published a wonderful collection Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files in 1990 (the National Historical Publishing Company, Waynesboro, Tennessee). However, even if you have used these abstracts, you still need to search the Revolutionary War pension images that are being added to the database at Footnote.com.
I reviewed White's abstract for the pension of Elam/Alam Blain. The abstract mentions widow Catharine and daughter Polly, but does not mention the individuals who provided affidavits or the fact that one of the affidavits was given by a son-in-law. I originally thought I had never looked in White for the "correct" spelling of Wickiser, but now realize that I had not overlooked it. White's compilation is wonderful, but users should be aware that due to limitations of time, he was unable to include every reference in his work. Had I only used White's Abstracts, I would have not located the Wickiser reference and not learned the maiden name of Catherine Wickiser.

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05 July 2007

Pension files contain more than just information on the claimant

I've been working on the information contained in the Revolutionary Pension of Elam Blain/Blaim/Blair, newfound ancestor of my wife.

This pension file contains information on unrelated familes who apparently followed a similar migration path to Elam and his family.

The image on this blog entry is just part of one page of testimony from Elam's pension file. Several individuals testified about Elam's residences, his marriage, and the ages of his children. Two of these individuals are known to be relatives. It is not yet known if the others providing testimony are related or not.
This testimony, from a (?Prulip?) Adams indicates that Adams attended school with Elam's sons and lived near them during various times during his life. Is it possible that your ancestor testified in the pension claim of someone else? Even if your ancestor never served?
This image was taken from the images of these pension files at Footnote.com.
This pension file was what provided me with the maiden name of Katharine Wickiser, who is clearly identified as Elam's daughter in the pension testimony.

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03 July 2007

Katharine Wickiser was a Blaim

A little searching on Footnote.com located a Revolutionary War Pension affidavit signed by Katharine Wickiser, probably the same Katharine Wickiser as my wife's ancestor. Her testimony indicated how long she had known Katharine Blaim, widow of Elam Blaim. Apparently she had known Blaim for most of her life, but the testimony does not indicate that point blank.

A continued search of the file indicated testimony from Abraham Wickiser where he indicates he married a daughter of Katharine Blaim (my wife's Katharine Wickiser was married to an Abraham Wickiser). The pension file (which can be viewed in its entirety on Footnote.com) is over fifty images and I have not yet had time to go through the entire set of documents. We'll be posting additional information here as I am able to analyze it.
Suffice it to say that if not for the ability to search annotations on Footnote.com I would never have found this information. Katharine's maiden name is something we have been working towards for a long time with nary a clue. The documents indicate that there were several families from Huntingdon County, New Jersey who made their way to Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and eventually into Delaware County, Ohio. A migration chain of which I was unaware.
Additional posts will include our analysis of why the Katharine in the pension is the same one as my wife's ancestor. One never wants to immediately conclude that individuals with the same name are the same person.
Footnote.com is adding more pensions as time goes on. Maybe I'll break down a few other of my brick walls when those are added. And as we'll see in future posts, some of the testimony is from non-family members who give clues about their own families in their testimony in the Blain file.

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