history

Who Are You? (A New Family Question)

Not too long ago, I posted about folks with bad family trees on the interwebs.  Seems that I’m one of those people.  No surprise there.  The one name that I called out explicitly, my 2x great-uncle Lloyd Campbell as having a different set of parents, was wrong.  I’m not sure at all at where I had any parents for him at all.  I think I was mixing him up with Sara Catherine Campbell, his sister.

Here’s my (new and improved) reasoning.  Not long after writing that post I had two new DNA matches.  One was a Y-DNA match, so that meant he had to be related on my paternal side.  It’s also nice that we have the same surname.  But he doesn’t answer my emails, so I guess we’ll never figure it out.

The other match is an atDNA match at Ancestry.   This is with a woman, and only a possible connection with the Campbell line.  However, she does share matches with folks that I know have to be on my Campbell side, so that’s good.  She believes that her great grandmother was a Campbell.  A Catherine Campbell to be exact.  And what was the other name in my tree I was complaining about? Why Sara Catherine Campbell of course. 

Now here’s where I make my confession. It seems that the early census records I have for this lady have her as Catherine.  No Sarah anywhere.  Why did I change her name?  Because I was following a marriage for a Sarah Catherine Campbell, despite the fact that I had a death certificate for this lady with different parents.  I will allow myself a bit of a way out as the listed father’s name was James R. Campbell, the same as my 2x great-grandfather.  Plus, her mother’s name was Ann Story, which is very close to my 2x great-grandmother Ann McCauley.  I know I’ve had this record for quite some time, so I’m thinking that I held on to it hoping it was just an honest mistake.

Then that second DNA match, with the Catherine Campbell name made me go back and look again.  With a bit more research knowledge now, I found the correct family for this Sara Catherine Campbell.  Hint: Not my family. Her parents were James Ray Campbell and Anne Story.  So, I have removed the married family from my tree and returned her to her original name of Catherine Campbell (without the Sarah), under her parents, James Richard Campbell and Anna McCauley.

Obviously, this DNA match answered my email, otherwise how was I to find the Catherine Campbell match?  Funny thing is my previously mis-named Catherine Campbell is a close match to the age and location for Catherine Campbell from my match.  For once, I get to research a family that’s not my own!

It’s been about a week since I’ve started this hunt.  And while it’s been a lot of fun running searches on websites I’ve not used before; it’s also been quite frustrating.  I have not been able to match up anybody in either of our trees yet.  One of the problems is, again the name Catherine and its various spellings.  In this search I find that this couple (Catherine Campbell and her husband, a direct male ancestor of my DNA match) have her name is three different ways.  Catherine, Catharine, and Kate.  There is even a possible Katie involved, but I think I can rule that one out. 

Here’s the deal; The first mention I can find of them together is the 6 January 1893 issue of the Democratic Watchman (Bellefonte, Center County, Pennsylvania newspaper) that lists them as having been issued a marriage license.  Her name there is Kate.  In the 1900 census (the husband died in 1898), she is Catherine living with her two daughters in her mother-in-law’s house, who was also a widow. I have not found her after the 1900 census.  At least not in Pennsylvania.  She is also listed as Kate in one daughters’ birth record (my DNA matches grandmother) and her other daughters’ death certificate.

Needless to say, searching for any marriage records for her under the known names and her husband only finds the newspaper article mentioned above.  So, I can’t link these two fine people together. 

As I’ve mentioned before, the 1890 census was lost in a fire.  However, Centre County used this data to compile a directory of businesses and its citizens.  I can find the husband with his parents not all that far from most of my family, including my Catherine and her family in Milesburg.  But having found that connection be yet another brick wall, I kept looking and found another Campbell family a little east in Millheim and there is a Kate listed!  Could this be the one?  Nope.  As far as I can tell, Kate is the wife of a married son living with his parents.  Kate and her husband (yet another Samuel) do not appear to have any children.  Another dead end.

The funny thing (funny as in strange, not ha-ha funny) is that Catherine/Kate’s husband was adopted.  This was well known by the family, and I can find all kinds of records on his adopted family.  I’m hoping that we match through this Catherine/Kate and not through the husband’s biological family.  I have never done any adoption family tree work.  And quite honestly, I’m a bit a’scared to even start.

I’m not giving up, just calling it a day.  The single malt is calling my name.

Here’s a somewhat related video – because I feel very lost and can’t find my way home.

Enjoy!

Remember, genealogy isn’t rocket science. It’s much more difficult than that!

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

Who Are You?

Let’s take a break from the music posts for today and take a look at my genealogy again.  Yes, I did say some time ago that I was not going to pursue this much longer, but my subscriptions haven’t expired yet – so I’m still at it.  It may also be due to that fact that I’ve been reading a series of novels about a forensic genealogist that has kept me interested.

The novels by Nathan Dylan Goodwin take place in England mostly.  The main character, Morton Ferrier, has more interesting cases than I expect any real genealogist would have.  His house is blown up, he’s kidnapped (more than once) for example. If you like mysteries and want to read about specific events in British history, then I recommend these books. There are a total of 10 stories, but they do not have to be read in any order. I’m currently about a third of the way through the 10th in the series.

But here’s the thing.  His cases all seem to take place within a few hours drive from his home in the southeast of England.  I don’t have that luxury.  Morton can visit local libraries, the national archives, and even churches to find records that are not online.  Me?  I’m still stuck in Pennsylvania.  That’s more than a few hours away even if travel wasn’t impacted by this virus. As I have more than one “high risk” category staring me in the face, I don’t even like going to grocery store – much less getting on a packed airplane with folks like Ted Cruz not wearing a mask. 

I did have a genealogist in Pennsylvania do some research for me.  Sadly, she couldn’t give me much that I didn’t already know.  Between her recommendations and, surprisingly, some tips I picked up from the novels, I’m carrying on with some new searches.

Let’s recap, shall we?  I’m looking for my 2x great grandparents, James Campbell and his wife Ann Elizabeth McCauley.   Here’s my tree back to the individuals in question;

The Family Tree, such as it is..

Looking at this image you would think that it looks rather complete.  Sadly, it isn’t.  There are many blanks in the next generations that aren’t in that image. I have many matches on my paternal grandmother’s side (Josephine Melinda Bodle or “Nanny”) and quite a few on my maternal grandfather’s side (Talmadge Whitaker Hicks).  I haven’t really started into my maternal grandmother’s (Dora Calder) side all the much, yet.  It’s that damnable Campbell line that’s killing me.

Check here for information on James’ middle name, the junior and possibile parents. I won’t repeat it all here.

My great grandfather, Samuel W. Campbell, had as far as I know, only three children.  His eldest was my grandfather, Herbert J. Campbell (I still don’t know what the “J” is for, nor Samuel’s middle initial “W”). Next was a daughter, Florence I., then another son Lester Lyman Campbell (Oh look!  A middle name!). 

Most of my genealogy is on Ancestry.  I do also have trees and DNA at other places around the web, but Ancestry is my main holding place.  I had an account there for over 20 years now, and it’s too much trouble to move to a new web server. 

Ancestry has a service called ThruLines.  It can be helpful, or it can be trouble.  What is does is take your DNA results (you must have an Ancestry DNA test – they do not allow uploads of DNA results from other companies), and your family tree and tries to match you with other folks that may have common ancestors.  My Heritage has a similar service called “Theory of Relativity”.

The problem with any online tree is that not everyone takes the time to verify the names that are added to their respective trees.  Some folks refuse to believe any findings that don’t match family stories.  So that child born out of wedlock, or that family member that went to jail are either completely left out or added even if the data doesn’t match the story simply because “it can’t be true – (insert family member that’s telling the story) said that wasn’t how it happened.”  I really enjoy seeing trees that link back to “royalty” from folks primarily here in the USA.  It seems that while our country’s founding fathers wanted nothing to do with the British aristocracy, now everyone want’s to be related to some prince or princess.  I even saw one tree go back to King Arthur! Sigh..  And I have gone off on another tangent, haven’t I?

Let’s get back to Samuel for a moment. Using the ThruLines I mentioned above, the only DNA matches I have from Sam ,ueland his wife, are my siblings and a niece and nephew.  I knew that we would be the only matches from Herbert and Josephine, as our dad was an only child.  But this lack of first cousins severely hampers my search. 

Let’s look at census records for a moment, as these are a good way to follow the family over time.  Starting with Samuel, here’s what I can find;

  • 1870:  Snyder, Blair, PA
  • 1880:  Boggs, Centre, PA
  • 1890:  Boggs, Centre, PA (from Centre Lines – first record with wife and two oldest children)
  • 1900:  Boggs, Centre, PA
  • 1910:  Milesburg, Centre, PA
  • 1920:  Milesburg, Centre, PA

From Samuel’s death certificate (the ONLY documentation I can find for him), I find his father is James Campbell, no middle initial or “Junior” that seems to pop up on some trees.  His mother is listed as Ann Colley or Calley, it’s hard to read.  I have not found any birth or baptism records for Samuel.  I will have to go to Pennsylvania for research.  I have asked several of the regional libraries and genealogy societies for help, but they couldn’t find anything either.

Samuel Campbell’s Death Certificate

The 1870 and 1880 census show Samuel, at the approximately correct age with James as the father, and the mother is an Anna or Annie E.  However, the 1870 census is troublesome.  It has children that don’t seem to fit with the rest of the family.  Since the 1880 census is the first to list the relationship to the head of the household, I’m thinking that these names that are listed on the 1850 – 1870 censuses are not full brothers and sisters, but maybe cousins that are living with my 2x great grandparents.  This is quite possible as the death certificate for two of the problematic names lists parents as W.R. Campbell and Fleita Benjamin as parents, and their gravesite is not very far from Samuel’s.

However, on ThruLines I have a DNA match with someone claiming to be from one of the troublesome names.  This is where not doing good research comes in.  Whoever it was that started their family tree from this Lloyd Campbell and seeing him listed in the census records under James & Anna just assumed that they were his parents.  Hey – it’s a very common issue.  I’ve done it as well. 

Samuel’s obituary lists two siblings, same as I have them (Hiram J. and Florence) and my grandmother as surviving.  If this Lloyd was a brother (not likely) he would have already passed by the time Samuel died. The other male listed that I don’t believe is a brother, Martin, would have still been alive so he should have been listed in the obituary as well.  I believe that the reason that Samuel’s mother is listed as Ann Colley or Calley on his death certificate is due to fact that his wife, as the informant, had suffered a stroke some time prior to Samuel’s passing and either could not recall the full name of McCauley, or couldn’t pronounce it clearly.  Samuel’s brother, listed in his obituary and found on the census records, Hiram, lists Ann McCauley as his mother.  This is why I feel that the census records I have are the correct ones for this family. There is a Henry McCauley listed in 1850 and 1860 as living with them, which I believe is Ann Eliza’s father.

But James!  Just who the hell are you?  All I can tell is he worked in the various iron mills in central Pennsylvania.  I have possible records for service in the Civil War, but I can’t say for sure which one is his record.  You have to imagine just how many James Campbells were in Pennsylvania during the 1800’s.  If I run a search on Ancestry for James Campbell with a birth about 1827 in Pennsylvania, I get 192,101 records back.  Not helpful at all. 

The 1890 census was mostly destroyed in a fire, so I can’t search that time frame.  Fortunately, Centre County Pennsylvania used that census (before it was destroyed of course) and created a document called the “1890 Centre Co., PA. Business Directory”.  From that another document “Centre Lines” was created.  This lists a basic census of the county for 1890.  I can find my grandfather, Herbert, with his parents, Samuel and Ada and his sister Florence, in Boggs Township.  His mother, Anna E. with his brother Hiram and a Catherine S. (one of those troublesome names from the census records) in Milesburg.  But not James.  Was he dead, did he run away, was he working elsewhere in the state or out of state?  I have no idea.

I believe that this Catherine S. is who I have listed as Sara Catherine in my tree.  Her death certificate lists a James Campbell as father, but the mother is Ann Storey.  I can find a gravestone for this couple (he’s listed as James Ray Campbell).  So, is this another cousin that my ancestors took in? Maybe, maybe not.  In the 1880 census she is shown as a daughter.  She should have been alive when Samuel died but she is not mentioned in his obituary.  The informant on her death certificate is her son, so maybe he just got her mother’s name wrong? 

Interestingly, I find a James Campbell in the 1900 census in Allegheny County (near Pittsburgh) in the Western Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane.  Naturally, there is no other information on this record other than the name.  No place of birth, parental information, or occupation.  Only that he can speak English.  Is this him?  Could very well be.  See what I said above about things not being entered due to not fitting a family story.  But it could just as well not be him.  I have no clue.  See for yourself;

Hehehe… Did James lose it?

There are also many death records for James Campbell with dates between 1880 and 1890.  Most are in the Philadelphia area, and I have no reason to think that he would have been in that area, but I can’t discard it either.

I guess that once this virus stuff is beat down enough that travel can happen, I will need to make a trip to central Pennsylvania.  In the meantime, I will see if I can find out just those troublesome names in the census records belong to.

Remember, genealogy isn’t rocket science. It’s much more difficult than that!

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

Lest We Forget, 50 Years On

4 May 1970 members of the Ohio Army National Guard opened fire on unarmed student demonstrators at Kent State University, Ohio.

I am not going to lay the blame for this tragedy on any person or origination. Events like this are never simply the responsibility of a single entity. While there may be a single source for the idea, whether it be a book, a person, or an ideology, there were bad decisions on both sides.

I believe the students at Kent State, who had a history of protests (which was their right!), up against the National Guard troops who were mostly young guys as well. The 60’s and early 70’s were a very tough time for America. And I sadly see some of the same ideologies coming back.

I had a graphic arts teacher in 1971 that was a member of that class at Kent State. He brought in the year book from 1970. Where the pictures should have been for the four students that were killed, were just black boxes.

In total, four students were killed, and nine wounded. This image has been forever burned in my mind.

May it never happens again. Anywhere.

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

16 April 1746

Is that a date that brings up any images in your mind?  For fans of Outlander it should, as well as for the Scots and those (like me) of Scottish decent.

Well over two and a half centuries after the event, the Battle of Culloden, fought on 16 April 1746, still means many things to many people. To Scottish expatriates, no matter how many times removed, it is an emotional touchstone to their Scottish identity and commonly regarded as the opening act of the epic tragedy of the Highland Clearances; to those with nationalist inclinations it is held up as an example of England’s terrible maltreatment of its northern neighbour; to Unionists it is seen as the final gasp of a divisive movement hell-bent on returning Britain to monarchical despotism; to romantics it marks the end of one of those great lost causes, pitching the Highland underdog against the might of the Hanoverian war machine.

Culloden; The History and Archealogy of the Last Clan Battle – Tony Pollard 2009
Plaque on the cairn on the battlefield

Wifey and I were able to visit the battlefield in May of 2019.  Here are a few pictures we took while there.  For a battle of only 40 minutes or so, the effects were devastating on the Scots way of life.  I will not even attempt to write about the whys and wherefores of this event.  Many folks have studied and written about this battle with more knowledge than I; they can carry the day. 

Some sources for you;

Wikipedia (I use this resource simply because it is available in so many languages. Not for its accuracy.)

Culloden: why truth about battle for Britain lay hidden for three centuries

National Trust for Scotland

If you wish to read my posts from our trip to Scotland, start here. Or jump to our visit to the Culloden Battlefield. It was a very emotional day for me, epsecially as i poured out a dram of whisky at the Clan Campbell marker.

This lovely tune may (or may not) have been written about the battle, I’ll let you decide.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

Crazy Busy Birthday Week

Well, it’s not all that busy. We are still doing our voluntary self-isolation, and all these folks have long passed on.

I’ve posted about this grouping of birthdays before, however, I left one out.  It wasn’t until I made a “Family Birthday” calendar (using Google Calendar) that this terrible omission was discovered.  I had not added my paternal great grandfather to this group.  Here are they chronologically, by birth year:

All these folks are on my paternal (father’s) side.  Starting with Great Granddad (not to be confused with Old Granddad which is a whole different thing…)

Samuel W. Campbell, 26 March 1861 – 8 February 1924.  This is the 159th anniversary of his birth.  I have no idea what the “W” stands for.  I have not been able to find much documentation of this gentleman.  I do have two obituaries and his death certificate for him but that’s all.  Worst of all is no pictures.  My grandmother (just down this list) had pictures of her dad, and of Herbert, and even lots of my dad as a child, but none that I can say is Samuel. 

But I do have his death certificate which gave me his parent’s names.

Then we have his son, my Grandfather.

Herbert J. Campbell, 31 March 1884 – 5 February 1919.  So, 136th anniversary. As with his father, I have no idea what the middle initial “J” is for.  My best guess is James, as that was his grandfathers name. That would be close to a traditional Scottish naming convention.  Had Samuel followed that tradition then James would have been his given name, not his middle name. I can find other Herbert’s across several branches of this line, so maybe he was named for an uncle or such.

Guess he played trombone. I would imagine that Nanny told me who the little girl was, but I don’t remember.

Next, we have Herbert’s wife, my Grandmother (or Nanny as I knew her)

Josephine Melinda (nee Bodle) Campbell, 27 March 1885 – 21 July 1975.  Happy 135th Nanny!  I have posted about Nanny several times. As she lived with us for most of my childhood, she was very instrumental in my upbringing. 

Nanny in front of the “Friends Union” (a Quaker meetinghouse) in State College, PA. She ran the kitchen there. I just love the hat and corsage.

Finally, dear old dad.

Donald Sherwood Campbell, 28 March 1912 – 19 February 1985. Wow!  108th for pops! If you look up “character” in the dictionary, my dad’s picture will be there. He is the main reason, along with my brother, that I have a warped sense of humor. And I’m proud to say that I have passed that on to my two sons! Hey – a legacy is a legacy. Even if it’s silly.

Sadly, no place or date for this photo of dad.

I can only imagine how this week was celebrated during the short time (1912 – 1919) when all four of these people could be together.

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

Fun With Photos

Yes, I know just yesterday I said I was done with genealogy, I did say I would continue to post family stories. But, then one of the sites I use often added a new feature. Colorize any black and white photo. Normally I am not a fan of colorizing black and white photography or films. But I had to go play around with it just the same.

So I took some old photos from both my family and Wifey’s family and ran them through the process. Some worked better than others, not surprised there.

I will display them with the original on the left, and the “new colorized” version on the right. I’ll start with Wifey’s family, since I was taught ladies go first.

Now, for my family.

And for the last photo I give you my father doing his Clark Gable impersonation. The colors really look good in this one!

As I said, generally I am not a fan of colorizing black and whites, but this last one really came out nice.

These were done with the free tool at My Heritage (Click here). I don’t know if you need an account with My Heritage to use the tool, but it’s free to create an account.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

The Day The Music Died

61 years ago (3 February 1959) the plane carrying Buddy Holly, “The Big Bopper” (J.P. Richardson), and Ritchie Valens crashed killing all three along with the pilot.

The sad event was captured in Don McLean’s 1971 hit American Pie. That was where I first heard of the tragedy. I played that song a lot. I was about 10 weeks old when the accident occurred.

It’s interesting that Waylon Jennings, who became a country music star later, gave up his seat to Richardson and Valens had won a coin toss with band member Tommy Allsup and took his seat.

Here’s Buddy Holly doing Peggy Sue on the Ed Sullivan show. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

Another Anniversary

Last Thursday we celebrated not only Wifey and mine’s 38th wedding anniversary, we also celebrated Samuel & Eleanor Campbell’s (my great grand parents) 137th anniversary. Today we celebrate Samuel & Eleanor’s son.

Herbert J. Campbell & Josephine Melinda Bodle were married 20 January 1909, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This is the grand father I was happy not to follow in his footsteps, and “Nanny”, my grandmother who raised me as much as my parents did. Today marks 111 years.

Wedding register. The happy couple are listed on line 15.
Herbert’s WW1 draft registration dated 12 September 1918. It shows Josie as his wife and has the same address as his death certificate the next February.

Sadly, I have no pictures of them together.

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

How Did I Miss This?

I have been doing my family genealogy on and off since 1999 or so. That’s about 20 years of research. And just last week I realized that one set of my paternal great grandparents were married on the same date as Wifey and I were! Just many, many, years apart. Ninety nine years apart to be exact.

Church record showing Samuel W. Campbell and Ada E. Taylor marriage.
A blow up of the happy couple’s registration with the date.

I have no idea when I found that church record. It may have been tucked away in my software for years. I have asked the local genealogy society for help in determining the church, and if it’s still standing. My guess it would have been the Methodist church, as Samuel’s obituary mentions he was a member there.

I should also note that Miss Taylor’s legal name is most likely Eleanor Adaline. I have her in census records as Ada E. several times as well as Elner A. But the gravestone shows Eleanor.

In my defense, I originally had a different date for this marriage.

CENTRE DEMOCRAT – Thursday, January 25, 1883

Milesburg Items:

    ……  The day following (Jan. 17, 1883), Mr. Samuel Campbell and Miss Ada Taylor, both of this place were made one by Rev. Woodcock ……

This newspaper article seems to say the marriage took place on 17 January. But seeing as to how it wasn’t published until the 25th, I’m going with the church record. Besides, I think the church would have a better record of what when on in the church than some entry level copy editor that’s just reading a news ticker, or whatever served as a news ticker in 1883. Probably some even lower wage worker making a hand written list.

The newspaper, Centre Democrat, was published out of Bellefonte, PA. The wedding, as indeed most of what I’m finding on all my Campbell’s, is in the Milesburg, PA area. Both are in Center county, but back then Milesburg was a small area split into several townships. Bellefonte is the county seat.

I’m thinking that way back when, I entered the 17 January date first. Then when I found the better church record, I just changed the date not seeing the fact that it was my wedding anniversary as well. Could have been one of those 0400 insomnia mornings…

The weird thing to me is that this is the line I’m most actively researching. My family name – Campbell. Yet somehow this just slipped by, unnoticed.

Who else is working on family history? Let me know how it’s going!

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

Where Were You?

I’m sure there are many videos, articles, blog posts, and even conversations about the events of 22 November, 1963. All of them will be better than this one. I remember where I was on that day. When I heard that the 35th President of the United States had been assassinated.

I was sitting in my 1st grade classroom. Luckily back in those days, we didn’t have streaming news everywhere. My little school had maybe 5 black and white TVs on carts that they would move around the school (usually the upper grades used them more than the 1st or 2nd grades). So I’m not sure if any of the students were watching live. It would have been about 1:30PM when it went down (eastern time).

I do remember the announcement that was broadcast over the loud speaker about the assassination. It didn’t really mean that much to me at that point in time. I was 5. I knew what the president was, I knew his name, but that was it. I was not yet emotionally synced with the adult world. But the adults were in shock. There wasn’t much schooling accomplished that day.

The two things that captured my young mind were first; it was Friday, just like this year. And Friday meant grocery night. Even as a young kid, I have always enjoyed going to the grocery store. As the baby of the family my mom took me everywhere with her. When we went to the grocery, I felt like I had a hand in planning the meals for the week. I really didn’t, but it felt that way. Mom would ask me if I wanted a particular dish that week. No matter what I answered, mom bought what she wanted. Her queries were nothing more than to keep me occupied. But I still enjoy the event.

More importantly to my 5 year old brain was the fact that the next Monday would be my 6th birthday. That meant a party, and gifts, and food!!! Did I mention presents?!?!?!

But then came the funeral procession on that Monday. And it was on the TV in the family room. And that’s when it all hit me, and hard. I vividly remember lying on the living room sofa crying my eyes out. When my mom asked what I was crying about, all I could say was “They shot the president!”. She sat down with me and held me until it was over. And her mentioning the upcoming party made it that much quicker.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy may not have been the best president we’ve had, but he certainly isn’t the worst either. It may be the way his legacy has been passed down that I see him in such a favorable light. It is tough to disparage a leader when they’re cut down at the height of popularity. His involvement/build up in Vietnam polarized my generation and left great rifts between generations. But the social reforms he started, albeit way too slowly, are still encouraging democratic leaders today.

In some small way, I still miss him.

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook