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.
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
…… 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!
… Is really up in the air! Genealogically speaking, I’m a mutt (and chances are you are too!)
One of the biggest reasons people, lots of people, do any DNA tests is to see where their family came from. Unlike myself, they really don’t care to find some long lost family member, or try to prove they’re related to some royal family, now long forgotten (as in the family tree I found that links my Campbell line back to King Arthur!!).
But just how accurate are those ethnicity results? Well even according to the companies providing them, not really all that accurate. Well, that’s not an accurate statement either. It’s not that the estimates aren’t accurate, it’s that one, they are exactly what they say – estimates – and two the results can change. Your DNA doesn’t change, but as more people test, your estimate can change greatly. Here are my results from Ancestry.
The first thing that jumps out is the change in the UK results. I can document my family back to Scotland, so why did the numbers change? One reason is that more folks from the south end of the island (England & Wales) along with more people from the continent have tested. Thus skewing the results that way since there are more matches. Also, Ancestry has broken up the results to be a bit more specific. So the high number in 2018 for Ireland/Scotland/Wales will be diluted as those results are moved to a different locality, and the Scandinavian numbers have been combined with Northwestern Europe.
What about estimates from different companies? Well fear not faithful reader, I have tested at more than one place. My first test, way back in 2008, was strictly on the “Y-DNA” (male) line. As I am one of those guys looking from those long lost ancestors (but not mythical kings).
I should stop real quick and give a very brief overview of the 3 main DNA tests.
Y-DNA (yDNA) – This is a male only test. It follows the male sex chromosome from father to father. Remember your high school biology, males have both Y and X chromosomes, and females two X chromosomes.
Autosomal DNA (atDNA) – Everyone can do this test. This test looks at the first 22 pairs of chromosomes. These are passed down from both biological parents to the child, regardless of gender. This is test that Ancestry and My Heritage offer, at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) they call it the “Family Finder” test. 23andMe also now offers this type of test, but remember that 23andMe started out doing DNA for health screening, so their genealogy offerings are still being developed.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) – Everyone can do this test as well, and it is highly recommended if your goal is to find your mother’s line. mtDNA is passed on to all children, regardless of gender, by the mother only. So this test will follow your mother, to her mother, to her mother and so on.
So, let’s look at the estimates of my atDNA from two other companies, FTDNA and My Heritage.
Well, that’s certainly more detailed, yet still has larger groups (i.e. “British Isles”) than the latest estimate from Ancestry.
I have to disclose that the My Heritage results are from the same data file as FTDNA. I did not test with MH, just uploaded my raw data from FTDNA. And this shows the difference in the databases that each company has.
FTDNA is an American company, and MH is located in Israel. This is why I have higher percentages of Ashkenazi Jewish, African, and Middle Eastern that doesn’t show up elsewhere.
I readily admit that I am not an expert on DNA (nor anything else for that matter). I try and read about the process and how best to interpret the raw data. But, like most folks, my eyes glaze over and I’m reduced to a puddle of goo after about two chapters. Even with my years of medical training, I get confused with all the terms and diagrams. So, let me give you some resources for both testing and education.
Ancestry – has the biggest database if you also want to do genealogy, also now has health tests.
Family Tree DNA – offers the most separate tests (including several yDNA tests).
My Heritage – best for European genealogy – also now has health tests.
23 and Me – best for health tests – just starting to offer genealogy.
FaceBook – as much as I hate to use FB as a source for anything (other than frustration), there are many DNA and genealogy groups that can help.
DNAeXplained – A great blog with so much data my eyes started to glaze over while typing this!
Roots Tech – while primarily a genealogy site, they have lots of DNA help as well.
Cyndi’s List – Cyndi’s list has been around from decades! She has lists for anything family history related. The link goes to the DNA page, but have a look around, you’ll find something to help your family search.
Obviously, this is not a very comprehensive list. I find new websites and books almost every day. Remember, “Google is your friend”. OK, not really, Google keeps way too much data on everyone, but it is helpful. If you’re a book person, Amazon is very helpful.
As much as I would like to think that I maybe answered a question or two, I know that all this did was give you more questions. And that is the way of genealogy. You find one “answer” only to realize that it creates more questions! Feel free to ask your questions in a comment below. I’ll do my best to answer or at least point you to a good resource.
I will leave you with this tidbit; almost all of the DNA testing companies are running “Thanksgiving/Black Friday” sales now. It’s a good time to buy that test if you’re interested. I can’t give a blanket recommendation as to which company to test with, that will depend on what your goal is. Ask me!
Now that I’m “retired” I have time to get back into my genealogy. My loyal readers (I do have loyal readers, right?) know the problems I’ve encountered researching my Campbell line. I have spent untold dollars on DNA tests for all three aspects for using DNA with genealogy (as in not for medical reasons). While I have found many cousins on my mother’s side, and on my paternal grandmother’s side, not many Campbell’s. My joke is that my male Campbell cousins won’t do a DNA test for fear of being tied to a cattle raid in the 1500’s! Not true of course, but I find it funny.
So let’s take a look at the typical naming conventions used in Scotland over time.
According to “The Scottish Onomastic Child-naming Pattern,” by John
Barrett Robb, another naming system called the “ancestral pattern,”
generally went as follows:
The first son was named for his father’s father.
The second son was named for his mother’s father.
The third son was named for his father’s father’s father.
The fourth son was named for his mother’s mother’s father.
The fifth son was named for his father’s mother’s father.
The sixth son was named for his mother’s father’s father.
The seventh through tenth sons were named for their father’s four great-grandfathers.
The eleventh through fourteenth sons were named for their mother’s four great-grandfathers.
The first daughter was named for her mother’s mother.
The second daughter was named for her father’s mother.
The third daughter was named for her mother’s father’s mother.
The fourth daughter was named for her father’s father’s mother.
The fifth daughter was named for her mother’s mother’s mother.
The sixth daughter was named for her father’s mother’s mother.
The seventh through tenth daughters were named for their mother’s four great-grandmothers.
The eleventh through fourteenth daughters were named for their father’s four great-grandmothers.
First, we’ll generally ignore the “eleventh though fourteenth” parts. Not only is that way too many children, I don’t have any families on the Campbell side with more than 9 offspring. Still, 12 kids running around the house? No thanks! Of course that does mean more farm hands are available.
A simpler version is like this.
The Scottish, for the most part, had a naming pattern which can be seen in many families. The pattern generally went as follows:
The first son was named after the father’s father.
My one and only male Campbell DNA match is with my my 3rd great grandfather’s generation, James Richard Campbell Jr. My cousin’s line stems from James Jr’s. brother Richard Campbell. I was very lucky finding my cousin as he had paperwork from the area of Pennsylvania that our family lived in the 1790’s or so. With paperwork to back up the DNA match I knew that I had a very reliable match.
But the names I have are not following the pattern I mentioned earlier. Since I had a Junior, it is reasonable to assume that his father would be a Senior. Good to go there?
Let’s follow the naming pattern starting with my grandfather, Herbert. As the first male child, he should have been named for his paternal grandfather. But he wasn’t. I can find no other Herbert’s in earlier generations.
Next we have Herbert’s father (my great grandfather), Samuel. Following tradition, my father should have been named Samuel. He wasn’t (Donald). And Samuel, being the third male child should have been named for his father’s father’s father (his great grandfather). Nope, he was James Sr. Again, the James Sr. is somewhat speculative. I can only assume that I have the “Senior” correct since, I know that his son was a “Junior”.
The pattern isn’t holding here. Is it due to becoming “Americanized” and the traditions have faded or am I missing children of my earliest ancestors that have come to America? James Jr. is actually the fifth son born to James Sr. That would mean he would have been named for his father’s mother’s father. And that information I do not possess.
James Sr. is where I am currently brick walled. I have a lead for his parents, John Campbell, Jr., and Jean Ralston. Here we go with the Junior again! I have this John Jr. born in Scotland and dying in Pennsylvania. If the naming convention holds true that would make him the third son of a John Sr. Alas, according to what I have found he is the eldest son. I will readily admit that the two Johns are best guesses. Even James Sr. is unverified.
To further ignore the naming, my eldest sister should have been named Dora (mother’s mother), my brother Herbert (father’s father), my elder sister Josephine (father’s mother), and me Talmadge (mother’s father). Not a single one. I cannot find any ancestors with our given names at all!
I didn’t know of this pattern when my sons were born. But in a way we followed it. Son-the-eldest is not named the same as my father but they have the same initials (DSC). Son-the-younger is named for his mother’s father, we just switched the first and middle names.
Faithful readers of this blog (both of you) probably have noticed my love-hate relationship with genealogy. But after almost 20 years and way too much money, I think I’m calling it quits.
I am still stuck in Pennsylvania in the early to mid-1800’s. Every lead I get on that ever elusive “immigrant ancestor” just seems to fall away after more digging. Even more importantly, no one in my family has any desire to keep the research going.
But I did have some wonderful finds along the way. The time I found my oldest sister’s baby book in a box in our mother’s shed. It gave me the name (which I later confirmed via census records) of our paternal great grandfather, Samuel W. Campbell. The one and only Campbell DNA match, that gave me the next male Campbell in that line, James Campbell. Do you have any idea just how many James Campbell’s there are in that time and place? It’s maddening!
My favorite find was identifying my father’s first wife, Gertrude Mary (Trudie) Lyman. That was just some good detective work and lots of help from the wonderful folks on the Blair County (Pennsylvania) Genealogical Society.
So, for now, I have suspended my various genealogy and DNA service accounts. I have not removed my data from any of the services (Ancestry, My Heritage, GEDMatch, Family Tree DNA, etc.. etc..), but I am no longer paying for the services. Since my data (DNA and Family Trees) are still fully searchable there is a hope that down the road, someone, somewhere will make that connection that I can’t find. And maybe, just maybe, when I do finally retire, I will head up to Pennsylvania and do some hands-on research. You never know. But for now, I’m tired. And broke.
For anyone that would like to see my various family trees, compare YDna, mtDNA or atDNA, leave a comment and a way to connect with you and I’ll answer. You will also find my various social media links at the bottom of this and every post, as well as in the side bar. Twitter is best contact method after email.
I’ll leave you with End Of The Line by The Traveling Wilburys. And that’s what we want to become, The Traveling Campbells. In fact, the First Annual Campbell Christmas Vacation is in high planning mode as I type this. Well, not as I really type this, everyone else is still asleep. But you get the picture.
I’ve mentioned my father’s first wife, Trudie, before. It’s taken close to eight months of research and hard work but I am ready to close this door. (You can read the other posts here and here.)
As a quick recap, dad didn’t speak much about Trudie. In fact all I knew of her was her name. Even then, was Trudie her given name or a nickname? Doing searches in every genealogy database I had access to for both Trudie and Gertrude (hoping that was a good guess for a given name), and in all the pre World War II locations that I knew dad lived in, turned up next to nothing. The first link above gives more detail, but it wasn’t until I found the 1940 census records that things started to fall into place.
With a little luck, and some help from the Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, I found the marriage license (that’s the second post above). All that was left, as far as unanswered questions, was what was the cause of death?
One of the resources I have used for many years is VitalChek. This organization has found birth and death certificates for many of my ancestors over the years. I hoped they could help me again.
I won’t go into all the problems that occured with this request. Just know that it took about two and a half months to get my request filled. It wasn’t VitalChek’s fault. They were helping me the entire time. The Vital Records folks in D.C. were the problem. But in the end, I got what I needed.
The cause of death is listed as Uremia, secondary to Nephritis. Basically, she died of kidney failure. Now I can close this line of inquiry and go back to my “regular” genealogy quests.
Several folks on other social media have questioned why I have spent the time and energy on researching someone that I’m not related to. In my mind it wasn’t about adding another branch to the family tree. Dad would not let my mother buy him a wedding ring. He wore Trudie’s ring until the day he lost it doing yard work. He and I (and I think my brother) spent hours going blade by blade of grass looking for that ring. We never found it. He never wore another ring either. If she meant that much to him, it was worth my meager time, energy and money.
I find it amusing at how many of my family birthdays seem to come in groups. I understand that there are only so many days in a year, so it’s probable that some birthdays will fall near each other. But as I posted before when my father and both of his parents birthdays fall within 3 days of each other. So here is the next “installment”.
First, is my maternal grandmother;
I spent many summer vacations at either her house, or a nearby aunt’s house, but I barely remember her. I was too busy playing with my cousins I guess.
Switching “families”, the next two are wifey’s parents.
My in-laws were every bit of parents to me as my parents were. They supported wifey and I every step of the way.
We are at T minus 30 days for our long overdue trip to Scotland! I say it’s overdue because we’ve been trying to get there for about five years. Well, it’s finally happening.
That’s all for the travel plans, I’ll have more, hopefully when we’re there. The two issues that will make it difficult will be lack of internet connection and that I’m only bringing my tablet, not my laptop, so I may need Wifey’s help in transcribing stuff. You think my regular typing is bad, wait until you see if from a virtual keyboard!
Genealogy – specifically DNA. (Disclaimer: I am very new to this whole DNA stuff. My conclusions may be way off. Please correct anything in the comments.) I have posted about genealogy and DNA before, but this time I have some specifics.
Most of my testing has been done through Family Tree DNA (FTDNA from here on out). The main reason I used them instead of Ancestry (which I have also used), is that FTDNA does Y – DNA testing. For those that don’t know the difference, Y-DNA is a male only test. The Y (and X) chromosome are sex chromosomes. Men have one Y chromosome and one X chromosome, women have two X chromosomes. Each father passes an almost exact copy of his Y-DNA to his sons.
The other types of DNA testing that are common are Mitochondrial (mtDNA) and Autosomal (atDNA). I won’t go into specifics of each test, but everyone can do these types of tests. Ancestry does atDNA, and FTDNA calls their atDNA “Family Finder”. These kinds of tests look at genetically stored data that give you a greater sense of where your origins are. They can help you find cousins, half siblings (that maybe you didn’t about), and also help adoptees find birth parents. But are accurate to only five to seven generations back. Y-DNA and mtDNA can go back (generally) thousands of years.
But I’m interested in finding where my male line comes from. I have several goals in this endeavor;
Find the “Immigrant Ancestor”. Who, and maybe why, did they leave wherever they called home? And when?
Where did the ancestor come from? Family stories indicated Scotland. According to my dad, specifically Argyll. Of course, Argyll is a large area in the southeast part of Scotland. Not exactly a simple place.
Do we have any connection to older peoples living in whatever area I find?
Can we go beyond that time? Was it even possible since there wouldn’t be any written records.
I did my first Y-DNA test with FTDNA way back in 2008. More than 11 years ago now. The first test gave me a very generic Y-DNA Haplogroup of R-M269. Think of a haplogroup as a branch on a tree.
The R-M269 haplogroup is the most common group in Europe for males. It is estimated to have arisen about 11,000 BCE. And makes up a large part of the R1b main branch of the haplotree. The image below may help.
Starting near the top of the image, you’ll see the M269 subclade, just left of center in the red. Follow that straight down and near the bottom of the red go left to the big P312 in dark green with yellow letters. From there continue left to the light green with yellow letters L21. Now it gets a little harder. From L21, you go down and slightly right to DF13, then a little more right you’ll find Z39589. Almost there, don’t give up, as we zig just a tad right to Z251 and stop there, for now. My line continues down from here, but this tree doesn’t go that far.
About eight branches further down the tree you will, hopefully, find BY69143, just not on that image above. That’s as far as my DNA can be traced at the moment. It’s referred to a “Terminal SNP”. But it’s anything but terminal. In the less than 6 weeks since my last test has been completed, I have moved “downstream” two branches. It’s a constantly changing environment.
So, lets jump back up to my lists of goals. How does this DNA test help me? I was hoping to find a cousin with the Campbell surname that had some more of a paper trail than I have. The biggest problem that I have encountered in this genealogy quest, which I started back in 1999 before DNA tests were commercially available, is the fact that my father was an only child. That means I had no Campbell uncles. I knew his father’s name, but that was about all.
I was lucky that my dad’s mother had many pictures and notes from her late husband. And then just by chance I found my oldest sister’s baby book in a long-forgotten box at our mom’s house. In those pages I found my great-grandfather’s name. That allowed me to find him, and my grandfather and his siblings in census records in the correct area of Pennsylvania. But not the next generation. I had several leads on that generation, but I couldn’t nail it down. Basically, I was looking at two men, a James R. Campbell and a Richard Campbell. Each of those men had different fathers.
Enter DNA. My hope was that one of my grandfather’s siblings’ son’s (my great uncle’s) had done a DNA test, AND that we would match enough to be sure of our findings. That cousin hopefully also had a good paper trail to help me along. Yeah, it was pretty one sided at this point.
However, I do believe that any one named “Campbell” is deathly afraid of taking a DNA test! I had absolutely no matches with a Campbell surname. Nothing, not even a fourth or fifth cousin. I guess they were afraid of being charged with cattle theft or some such thing from medieval Scotland. Only thing left for me to do was to order a more advance test. And wait… Lots of waiting with this DNA stuff.
Out of nowhere I received an email one day. I did have a Campbell cousin that had completed a Y-DNA test. Not from a sibling of my grandfather not even my great-grandfather. But from a sibling of my great-great-grandfather. Just like that the problem of which man was my 2x great-grandfather was solved. James Richard Campbell was my line, and a different Richard Campbell (not the one I was also researching) was this cousin’s line.
This cousin had records too! He had lived in Pennsylvania before retiring here to Florida. He could back everything up with history! Needless to say, I commenced to doing the genealogy happy-dance (you don’t want to see that). Oh, this newly discovered 2x great was a junior. At least that takes some of the guess work out of his father’s name. But my cousin also had his information as well. James Richard Campbell, Sr. was quickly entered as 3x great-grandfather. Now, how to get that next generation?
Another great DNA site is GEDMatch. They don’t offer any DNA testing, you just upload your DNA data to the site. They have so many free and paid tools that will allow you to search their database of uploads for matches. You can do a wide one-to-many search or even compare two kits on a one-to-one basis. GEDMatch takes uploads of DNA data from several different DNA testing companies. You’re still limited by only being able to compare kits from folks that uploaded, and agreed to allow their kits to be searched, you can match folks that have tested at different companies. Ancestry and 23 and Me, do not allow the uploading of DNA to their databases. GEDMatch takes both of those company’s results and several others. By using my DNA, my older brother’s DNA, and this cousin’s DNA, we were able to find another cousin. This time way down in South Africa.
This cousin had the next generation. Once again, the unusual name and the senior/junior come into play. John Campbell. Really? Now there are two John Campbell’s to look for. A father and son. Out of what, maybe 10,000,000 listed in archives strewn all over the internet? Most old records don’t list things such as a senior or junior. Just the names. This new cousin claims to have a passenger list of when this Campbell family came over, but looking at the reference, I’m not positive about this claim. But that’s another job, and another post.
This gave me a partial answer to the first question. I now have two possibilities of the “Immigrant Ancestor”. It was either my newly discovered 3x great, or his father. The “two John’s”. If this is making your head spin, you can imagine how I was feeling. I put all this away for a bit to just look at DNA to see if I could get any answers to my goals.
All these Campbell’s do come from Scotland. The lead we have on John Sr., states he was born in 1745 in Perth, Scotland. Well, that’s not in Argyll on any map, in any time frame. Not a big deal, as the Campbell Clan is quite large, and has several branches. Maybe I am a descendant from one of the cadet branches.
Going back to FTDNA and the Campbell discussion group, I ask if there is a way via DNA to see if one belongs to the right haplogoup that indicates which, if any, Campbell one can trace back to. Sadly, it appears that I do not belong to the Argyll subclade (R-FGC10125), my path branches off right after the Z39589 subclade a couple of thousand years ago. Hey – not a problem. This just means that some ancestor in the way back past either swore an oath of loyalty to the clan chief, was absorbed into the clan (either peacefully or…), or maybe married into the clan and took the name. If I can go back to the mid 1700’s and still find Campbell in my direct line. I’m good with that.
So, if not Argyll, where does my line come from? I do have a DNA marker, S145/M529/L21. This marker, usually just listed as L21, is highly correlated with the geography of ancient Celts. In the words of Bill Murray “I’ve got that going for me.” Just where is the L21 most prevalent? Seems to be in area of Stirling and Falkirk, Scotland. Which is just southwest of Perth! Hey! I may be on to something here. It would appear to my untrained eye that my line stayed in the lowlands area and those with the Argyll marker continued westward across the island. But I’m just guessing here. Could be the other way around for all I know.
All in all, it means my Y-DNA Haplogroup is R1b1a1a2a1a2. At least that’s the last one I can find. I believe that stops at subclade R-P312, and there are 13 further mutations I have listed to get me to the R-BY69143 SNP.
It does appear that I am a Scot, as the top image says. I don’t have to go back 100 generations to find Scots roots. But I can, my DNA points to a Copper or Iron Age Scots ancestry. Wifey too has Scots heritage. Of course, I can’t test her Y-DNA (she doesn’t have any). Her brother has done the Ancestry test, but Ancestry doesn’t give raw data, only their visuals and estimates. Which leaves me unsure of their Y-DNA Haplogroup. Maybe one day I can afford to have him to the Big Y-700 at FTDNA. We’ll probably find out our tribes fought each other all the time!
In a way, this trip to Scotland will be a homecoming.
If you are using any of the DNA resources I’ve mentioned and wish to contact me about those sites, please use the links below to contact me on social media (Twitter works best), or leave a comment. I would be very happy to see if there is anything we can do to help each other!
I’m guessing that this was quite the week back in the day.
Yesterday would have been my paternal grandmother’s 134th birthday. Josephine “Nanny” Bodle was born 27 March 1885. Nanny lived with us for most of my childhood. She is where I get my love of cooking. She ran her own BBQ resturant in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
Today is my father’s birthday, Donald Campbell would have been 107. Dad was born 28 March 1912. He was a pretty remarkable guy. We had our differences, but then what kid doesn’t have issues with their parents at some point?
And then to complete the trifecta, my paternal grandfather’s 135th birthday would have been on Sunday. Herbert J. Campbell born 31 March 1884, and died 5 February 1919, a victim of the flu pandemic.
I can only imagine how this week was celebrated in my Campbell ancestor’s house. I love the convergence of my father and his parents birthdays all together in one week.
And a Happy Birthday to anyone that has a birthday this week! You’re in good company.
I have been working very hard on my genealogy again. While I do have a very good lead on that ever elusive “immigrant ancestor”, I have still been looking for more information on my father’s first wife.
I have now proven that the lovely lady I mentioned in this post, is in fact Trudie. I used Facebook, of all things to get the needed info.
Using the Blair County, Pennsylvania, Genealogy Society Facebook page, I found the email for their research assistant, Patti. She was ever so helpful. For a small donation to the society, she found Don & Trudie’s marriage documents.
Not only did she find the certificate, she found the application as well.
Now being the nosey guy that I am, I couldn’t help but wonder where did the ceremony take place? Was it in a church, the city office, where? The first step was to figure out who the Thos. W. Kelley was that performed the actual ceremony was. My oldest sister remembers dad saying that Trudie was Catholic. My new friend Patti was able to locate a Father Thomas W. Kelley that was listed in several other marriages at St. Therese’s Catholic church in Altoona. And on the scan of the city record book, it lists Fr. Kelley as “Priest”.
Now that I knew they were married in the Catholic tradition, if not in a Catholic church building, a big question popped into my pointy head. Did my dad have to convert or at least sign a statement of some kind that he would convert to Catholisim? This is a very common thing with many of the world’s religions.
So, with the help of my other friend, Google, I was able to locate St. Therese’s church in Altoona. They don’t have a website, but they do have an email. After much pondering, moreover what to ask, than if I should even send an email, I sent an email asking if they had any records of the marriage and if my dad had to make any kind of conversion promise.
Lo and behold, this was the answer I received;
Dear Mr. Campbell, The marriage of Donald Sherwood Campbell and Mary Gertrude Lyman took place at St. Therese Parish, whether in the Church or at the Rectory is unknown. Mary was a member of St. Leo’s Parish, and received the permission from Fr. O’Connell for the marriage to take place at St. Therese. The records shows that the couple received a dispensation for Mixed Religion. And that indicates that Donald was still a Protestant at the time of the wedding. Mary would have signed a document promising to raise any children Catholic to the best of their ability and that this marriage would not endanger her faith. Father Kelley would have informed Donald that Mary made these promises. During the day of Bishop Guilfoyle, he was strict about non-Catholics marrying Catholics wanting the non-Catholics to convert. However the Bishop seems to have signed the dispensation. Documents are sparse. We have only the granted dispensations and the record in the registry. I hope this helps. If Donald became Catholic it was after his marriage.
Sincerely, Fr. D. Timothy Grimme Pastor
Pretty cool. I could cross this off my genealogical to-do list. The next step in my search on Trudie is to find a cause of death. I have requested a death certificate from the folks in Washington, D.C. but have not received anything back.
It is interesting that her name is listed as Mary Gertrude. I understand the use of Mary, as it is normal, if not required, to use a saint’s name in the Catholic tradition. The odd thing is that every other record I have of her lists her as Gertrude M., the names are reversed. Even in early records such as the 1920 census when she’s still with her parents, she’s listed as Gertrude. Oh well. I’ve seen odder things.
I really do wish I had a date for that picture. Love the pencil thin mustache my dad’s sporting!
If you’ve been following along with my genealogy posts ( here’s one, and another), you know that I’m not having the best of luck running down my Campbell name. So this week I took a break from looking for that elusive “immigrant ancestor” and tried my hand at a different brick wall.
My dad had a first wife. All I ever heard about her was the name “Trudie”. No last name, not even if Trudie was a nickname or not, but I have always gone on the notion that her name was Gertrude. But since I am the baby of my family, my older siblings had a little more knowledge than I. I did some searching via Ancestry, Fold3, Archives, and Newspapers. All of those sites have different aspects that making internet search a bit easier.
I do remember finding a newspaper clipping of my father when he worked for Fairchild Airmotive during WWII era. The article was just a profile of him and his job, but it closed with a tantalizing clue. As best I can recall it said: “he and his wife live in Graham.” I asked my mom if she had ever lived in a town called Graham and she said no. I’m not positive, but I believe Graham is near Burlington, NC. I did find two clippings from The Daily Times which was Burlington’s newspaper of the era, that mention a Don and Gertrude Campbell. Both of these clippings are from the 1943/1944 years, which is exactly the correct time frame for dad to be there.
I also found a Donald and Gertrude Campbell in the 1940 census living in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Now dad is a native of Pennsylvania, and my oldest sister was born in Altoona, so this was a promising find. On the 1940 census, one of the questions asked was where the person lived in 1935. Both Don and Gertrude answered “same place”. So I looked up city directories for Altoona in 1935. For those that have never heard of a “city
directory” basically it’s the forerunner of a telephone book. I could not find Don listed in the 1935 directory, but I do find him, with his mother, in the 1930 census in Antis
Township, Pennsylvania, which is in the same county as Altoona. I do find Don in the 1936 census in Tipton (maybe a suburb of Altoona?). I’m positive this is the correct Don as it has him listed as working in his mother’s restaurant.
Then I found a WWII draft card for Don. I know dad was “4-F” (medically unfit for service), so I was interested in this record. Ancestry only gave his name and a few other tidbits of information. Just enough that I could say it was his record, but nothing more. The Fold3 site has lots and lots of military records. There I could see the entire card. And it was golden. It gives the same address as the 1940 census! So that was the correct couple. Sadly, they used the standard naming conventions of the times. For the emergency contact person, all it has is Mrs Don S. Campbell. Arrgghhh!!! Why didn’t they use their own names? I see so many old records like this. It is so frustrating.
Check out all the addresses crossed out. I’m not sure how to interpret that.
Family history says that Trudie died early in the marriage, for unknown to us reasons, and that dad married our mom very quickly after her passing. By pure luck, I came across an obituary from the Altoona Mirror, dated 10 July 1945 for a Gertrude Campbell, with a spouse Donald Campbell. But it’s for Gertrude’s death in Washington D.C. Wait, what?? In DC? But then I remembered that mom and dad did meet in DC. And the death date is only seven months prior to mom and dad getting married. Which fits the family stories perfectly.
From the 10 July 1945 Altoona Mirror
One stumbling block I still have is I cannot find any marriage records for Don and Gertrude, nor a death certificate for Gertrude. Since her death was in 1945, she should be listed in the Social Security Death Index as the event occurred about ten years after Social Security was started. But she may not have had a social security number. I have no idea as to how long it took for social numbers to become “standard”.
So, yes, genealogy still sucks. But I have, finally, partially knocked down one brick wall. I wonder which will be next!