Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Making the Most of Your Research Trip - Part 7

I was on the way to visit the home of a minister who had old cemetery records from a previous church that was no longer in existence.  I'm a farmer's daughter so driving down country roads and acclimating myself to finding directions isn't that big of a deal to me.  I was pushing the speed limit, though, as the Reverend had not wanted to meet with me today as he had other plans and I didn't want to hold him up.  In about 20 minutes I whizzed past the turnoff.  I call it a turnoff because it wasn't a named street.  It was a gravel drive that appeared to belong to one family but after making a 3 point turn I realized that several families lived on this lane.  An elderly gentleman flagged me and I rolled down the passenger side window and asked him if he was the Reverend.  He asked why I wanted to know (so clearly, he wasn't or if he was, he had a serious case of forgetfullness.)  I told the man I had an appointment with the Reverend.  He looked skeptical and pointed down the road, informing me that the Reverend lived behind the barn.  I drove off and was soon flagged down by an older woman who looked like she stepped out of the 1800's.  I again rolled the passenger side window down and told her I was meeting with the Reverend.  She shook her head like she didn't believe me and pointed behind her.  The lane curved slightly between her home and the large barn.  I came to the end of the lane and parked; I knew this was the Reverend's place as I recognized the truck from that morning when I had been in the cemetery.
There was no doorbell so I knocked firmly on the door.  No answer.  I knocked again.  No answer.  It dawned on me I should go to the back door and not the front door.  I walked around the house and the Reverend was coming in from the field.  I gave him a perky hello but he was not too keen to see me.  He immediately said, "My wife looked and didn't find the people you wrote in your note.  They aren't buried there."  I told him I believed his wife had done a great job but I wanted to see who was buried next to the Pentz's as I had found the people I was looking for in the cemetery that morning.  He looked surprised.  I whipped out my phone and showed him the tombstones.  He shook his head and invited me in.
The Mrs. Reverend and daughter were baking and it smelled wonderful!  I said hello and mentioned how good it smelled.  Neither responded.
I followed the Reverend through the dining room and into the living room.  He told me to sit at a table and he would bring the maps and book.  We looked through the book and found no one named Pentz.  He asked me if I was sure that I had been in his cemetery and not some other cemetery.  I was not only sure, I produced the Find-a-Grave page for the people I was looking for.  I pointed out the background that clearly showed the other church so it had to be his cemetery.
He was quietly pondering how this could be when he asked me to point on the map he produced where I had found the graves.  He asked me if the plots were near the apple trees.  I hadn't noticed apple trees.  I told him it was close to the smaller, fenced cemetery, three rows in from there.  He replied, "Well, that explains it.  I don't have records for that part of the cemetery.  That's the old cemetery.  My records start in 1897."  The tombstones I had photographed were from prior to that.
I asked where I could find the older records.  He said there weren't any.  Huh?  Evidently Price's Church kept no records or if they ever did, they were long gone.  He said they all knew where everyone was buried or married to so they didn't need records.  Great!  So I would not be finding a marriage record for my Ancestor 1's sister, either.
The Reverend could see I was deeply disappointed and asked me why it was so important that I find this information.  I told him I was a teacher and was going to be retiring soon and was planning a second career as a genealogist.  I needed the records for a paper I was writing to become certified.  He informed me his daughter was also a teacher.  He thought for a moment and said he had been told by elders that there were no burial spaces remaining in that older section.  It was possible that the stones for the people I were seeking were sunken, which would have explained why the area looked depressed to me.  He said there had been several problems with sunken stones in that area.  He suggested I go back and look carefully at the ground to see if any remaining part of a monument might be visible.  I mentioned that the stones had deteriorated a great deal since the picture had been taken and placed on Find-a-Grave.  He suggested I spray the stones with bleach water and lightly brush the lichen off.  I thanked him for his time, said good-bye to the family, and was on my way.
I stopped back at the cemetery and kicked with my foot into the ground to see if I could feel a stone.  Nothing but the area was clearly sunken.
I examined a tombstone closer and could see that it had sunk:
When I had visited in the morning I thought that the stone was on a pedestal but that's not the case.  Upon closer inspection, and moving the dead grass off the base, I discovered that the death date is below the ground level.  I would return with bleach and a brush first thing the next morning!
On my way back to town I stopped at a third cemetery - Burn's Hill - hoping to check records in the office as I have never been able to reach anyone by phone.  When I arrived I realized why - there is no office.  I drove through and found lots of Harbaugh's but the stones were all newer than what I was looking for.  On to the library...
I made one last walk through of the stacks to make sure I hadn't missed anything from the visit yesterday.  The volunteer genealogist still hadn't come in and there was no telling when he would. There were different librarians on duty so I asked them where I could find the Union Cemetery records.  Checking the database I wasn't surprised to get the same response as yesterday - we don't have them.  I signed on to a computer and finished searching the newspaper archives that had been digitally uploaded.  Nothing discovered.  I asked where I could find the newspaper that had been mentioned on the pedigree chart in the museum.  They had no idea.  I was calling it a night.  Hopefully, I'd find something tomorrow.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Making the Most of Your Research Trip - Part 6

Please check out my earlier blogs about my recent adventures researching in Pennsylvania.  At this point in my travels, I had one afternoon and one morning left in the area and hadn't really found much.  To recap:
  1. No will at the courthouse - only the index of the will; the county archivist will be notified to be on the look out but I did search the entire box and it wasn't misfiled there.
  2. No voter's records maintained after 10 years (and I was searching mid- 1800's)
  3. No city directory's for the years the family resided there
  4. No road work orders
  5. No education records - they were burned during the Civil War
  6. Found several deeds and one mortgage - not all were for my family but the ones that were I found helpful.
  7. Found one tombstone but still needed to know where several other family members were buried.
  8. If time permitted, wanted to find church records for an unknown church once located between Waynesboro and Gettysburg.  Nothing like being precise!
  9. Still needed to finish going through local newspapers for any reference to the family - like an obit which would have really made my day
I drove back from Chambersburg to Waynesboro and parked in front of the Historical Museum.  It's located on Main Street in an old house.  I almost had a heart attack though; it was 12:50 and the sign said it closed at 1.  Omg!  10 minutes!?  That's not what the closing time said online.  Maybe it was summer hours and the website hadn't been updated.  I quickly went inside.  
No one was on the first floor.  I called out "Hello," and heard a response from somewhere upstairs so I walked up.  A kind older gentleman was in the library.  It was about the same size as the Franklin County Historical Society - two rooms floor to ceiling books.  I told the gentleman how glad I was that I had made it before he closed.  He said he had plenty of time so not to worry about the sign. Thank goodness for passionate historians!
I told him what I was looking for - I had listed the information on Evernote on my Kindle during my lunch break.  The Society's collection contained mostly genealogies so we began looking for the surnames of those I was interested in.  We found two - they weren't the direct lines I was interested in but they were cousins.  I knew this because I always research extended family members; I can't tell you how many times I've found valuable information that way!  I am definitely a FAN Club member.
At the bottom of a Family Group Sheet was a note that an obit for a family member had been found in a newspaper I had never heard of and the date was given.  This was the family that I had found in the second cemetery that morning.  Oh happy days!  Maybe it would lead me to where their father was buried and a firm death date.  The gentlemen told me, though, that he doubted any copies of that newspaper, which had been a county newspaper, still existed.  Of course there wasn't a clipping of the obit in the Society's file.  I could still check with the two libraries to see if they had digitized records so at least it was a lead.
At this point my cell rang - it was the Reverend who I had left a note for earlier in the day regarding seeing the cemetery records of his church's cemetery.  He told me that he had gone home, which is where the records are kept, and his wife had not found the individuals I had listed.  I asked him if I could look myself.  In hindsight, I realize this came across as crass but that wasn't my intention.  I wanted to look at who else may have been buried in proximity to the family I had found; I was not doubting that his wife had missed the names I sought.  I could tell from his tone of voice he was not pleased.  He said he had other plans for the day.  I asked if he was available the following morning, my last available time I would be in the area.  There was a long pause.  I pressed on that I was a genealogist from Florida and that I would be willing to meet him anywhere and any time to see the records. He asked where I was and I told him.  He said it would take me about a half hour to get to his home.  I wrote down his address and told him I'd be there as soon as possible.
Now I realize in hindsight this was really stupid on my part.  I was going to someone's home I didn't know, alone, in a rural area I wasn't familiar with and to people who didn't want me there in the first place.  At the time, though, it seemed like a great idea.
I thanked the volunteer at the historical society and he asked where I was headed off to.  I told him I was going to see the cemetery records.  He had a hunch that my elusive parents may have been buried in Price's Cemetery as many Church of the Brethren were buried there.  I asked where it was located.  Lo and behold - Price's had changed names and is now called Antietam and surprise, surprise  -  it was the same cemetery where I had found the son buried in the Pentz family lot.  I asked, by chance, did the gentleman know of the name of a Church of the Brethren denomination that once was between Waynesboro and Gettysburg.  Sure, he did - it was Price's Church.  Bingo!  Did he happen to know where the records were kept for Price's Church?  He suggested I ask the reverend I was going to visit as he was the minister of the church that had taken over when Price's disbanded.  Now I was on to something!
Next time - I'll talk about my unusual visit with the Reverend.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Making the Most of Your Research Trip - Part 5

I've been blogging about my recent research trip to Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  My last post told about a cemetery where reinternments of the family I was researching were placed.  I had discovered that the cemetery did not have original records from the first burial site - only derivatives - and that the records that that were available most likely were not accurate as one individual was mentioned in church records but not in the cemetery records.  I was hoping to find the original cemetery records for Union Cemetery so I decided I would drive back to Chambersburg and check out the Franklin County Historical Museum and Library to see what information I could find.
I had tried to make contact via email and phone several times in the past few months with this archive but no one ever returned my query regarding whether or not they had City Directories for Waynesboro from the mid to late 1800's.
On the way, I passed another cemetery and I recalled that the brother of the family I was researching was buried there.  Hmmm, could this be the final resting place of the parents I was looking for?  I pulled in and made a plan.  The cemetery was small.  Actually, there were two cemeteries adjacent to each other.  The first was very tiny and had a chain link fence around it.  It was close to a brick building that had no name but was too big to be an office.  It was locked.  The second cemetery started on the other side of the chain link and was being mowed by a woman on a riding lawn mower.  She had on head phones so she couldn't hear me.  There was a second brick building that I assumed was a church.  It, too, was locked.  I could hear someone inside vacuuming.  Besides me, there were only 2 vehicles in the parking lot - a truck with a window open and a car.
I had a copy of the Find-A-Grave page for the family interred so I knew what I was looking for but it didn't have coordinates.  The family was not on Billion Graves.  I walked to the woman mowing and she stopped to chat.  She told me that the Reverend was in the church and I needed to speak with him for records.  She informed me that she was responsible for mowing the larger cemetery and that the smaller, enclosed one was owned by a different church.  She was not familiar with the markers as she was just hired to cut the grass.  Looking at my Find-A-Grave picture, however, she pointed out that the stones I was looking for most likely were towards the road I had pulled off of as she could see the enclosed cemetery and the building in the background.  Good point!
I went back to the church and knocked again and again but the Reverend could not hear me.  I decided to find the stones and using the hint in the background, quickly gained perspective and found the family.  Some of the stones were unreadable.  My goodness, have stones in this area deteriorated since the memorials were placed online!  I took a lot of pictures.
What I found most interesting were 2 things.  First, the end stone had a family name of Pentz on a large marker.  I have no idea how that family is related to the people buried there.  There were no other Pentz's in the row, either.  Very weird!  Next odd thing was the empty space that looked like it could hold 3 graves between the Pentz marker and the start of the family I was seeking.  The area looked depressed - no stones - but sunken somewhat.  Hmm.
I went back to the car and took out a notebook. I wrote a brief note to the Reverend, including my name and cell number and requested he contact me about cemetery records for the family.  I had included the couple's name and dates.  I left the note on the seat of his car because he left the window open!).  On to Chambersburg...
Well, not exactly.  On the way I found another Church of the Brethren and decided to make a detour to ask the office staff if they knew the name of the German Baptist Church that had once been between Waynesboro and Gettysburg.  I wanted this information as the sister of my Generation 1 wife had supposedly been married at that church.  I was hoping to see if I could find a marriage certificate that may firm up where the sister had been born in Maryland as I was stuck on going backwards with that line for my own personal interest.  The office staff had no idea and couldn't direct me to anyone that might know.  Oh, well. (I have the sister's death certificate, cemetery record and diary - they all say she was born in Maryland but not specifically where.  No obit or will, either.)
Made it to the museum about 11 AM and got a wonderful parking space outside:
This was the former jail so the door is extremely heavy.  No one around but I saw a sign that showed the library was upstairs.  I was met by a wonderfully kind volunteer who had lived in the area her whole life.  I love finding people like this!  The library was very small - 2 rooms.  She didn't charge me for research, either, which I greatly appreciate.  She suggested we look in a book of Franklin County Cemetery inscriptions that was written in the 1970's.  The people I was seeking weren't listed. I wasn't surprised, my people are always elusive.  The volunteer was certain that the compiler had done a marvelous job and included everything she had seen.  Perhaps, but it's the unseen I needed. Like the unreadable grave stone in Green Hill or the possible sunken stones in the second cemetery where I had stopped.
There was no voting records, city directories, educational records, or road orders.  I guess no one had ever asked about road orders - the family had been wagon makers so I thought maybe they also were in charge of the roads.  I have had that happen with another line on Long Island about the same time and thought I'd give it a shot.
We looked at the donated genealogies and although there was some information on related lines, it was nothing new. Actually, it had been lifted from the text that had given me the missing sibling name I was trying to find at the cemetery.  I was going in circles!
She suggested I contact a volunteer librarian at the Chambersburg library who had once worked at the Alexander Hamilton Library for information about the possibility of Union Cemetery records being housed there but not noted in the holdings.  She pointed out the window to the library next door.
Awesome, wouldn't have to move the car!  Except, the library is closed for renovation and somehow the volunteer didn't know that.  Walked around the barricades (on the wrong side, of course) and saw the new temporary location address.  Back to the car and gps!
A few minutes later I arrived at the library.  The lady I needed to see wasn't there.  Big shock, there!  She wouldn't be back for several days.  I left her a note with my email address.  I also asked for hers and emailed her when I returned home. She never responded.
No one else there had any knowledge of the area's history.  Time for lunch!
I had 2 half days left in the area and wanted to make the best use of what little there was left to see.  Over lunch, I decided I would go back to Waynesboro and stop at their historical museum, visit any antique stores I might find open and go back to the library to see if the volunteer genealogist had shown up.  I could accomplish all that in the afternoon and would just leave earlier than I had anticipated the following day.  Little did I know what was about to happen!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Making the Most of Your Research Trip - Cemeteries - Part 4

Last time I wrote about my meeting with the Cemetery Director on a recent research trip I took.  His records did not direct me to the grave stone I was seeking but gave me an area in which to look.  That was due to the re-internments of the stones from an older cemetery, Union, that had been exhumed when the land was sold.
I drove by the building that housed the re-internments.  I thought it was a large shed to contain the tools to maintain the cemetery.  Hmm.  Nothing noted it to be a mass grave.
When the road started turning I knew I had somehow passed where I needed to be so I turned around and looked again.  I parked and decided I might do better on foot.  Very quickly I saw the older stones laying flat on the ground.
The grass had recently been cut and the stones were covered with debris.  Having flown and then taken a rental car, I did not have my cemetery tools with me.  It was about 8:45 AM and already starting to get hot.  I hated to get all dirty and then have to be in that condition the rest of the day as I had two historical museums and a return trip to the library.  It looked like rain so I decided to go for it.
Let's give a cheer for fast food!  I returned to the car and grabbed a knapkin I had from the Dunkin Donut stop earlier that morning.  This is what I was dealing with:
Underneath all that brown stuff in the picture was tombstones.  One lone Dunkin Donut knapkin and a bunch of dirty tombstones from the early to mid 1800's.  Oh, joy!
After taking the pic, I started at the bottom right hand corner and walked hunched over using the knapkin as a fan to blow the grass and dirt off the flat stones.  It didn't work very well but I kept at it.
By the time I got to the 3rd row (that's the one the tall stone is in) and the 6th from the right (not visible above), I had found my man!  There was Bart Bear's stone (not his real name) in far worse condition than when it was first photographed for Find-A-Grave.  To the immediate right was a smaller marble stone that was completely unreadable.  It sort of looked like there had been a lamb shape in the center at one point but maybe it was just my mind trying to make sense of the senseless.  I had assumed that per the cemetery and church records, that this stone listed as "Unknown" would have been Bart's maternal grandfather's marker as the church records stated they were buried next to each other.  These were the only two stones that were made of the same marble but why the grandfather's stone would have been so small didn't make sense to me.  Perhaps this was the marker for Bart's missing sister, Barbara, who had not been recorded in church or cemetery records.  She had also been missed in census records having died between census years.  The only reason I knew of her was that one of her siblings had given her name to a family member who had written a genealogy of the family years later.
I cleaned the two stones the best I could and verified that the stone to the left was not a family member.  It, too, was difficult to read and I wasn't sure at first.  After taking pictures, I then walked quickly through the remaining stones using the same fanning technique but with the knapkin a mess at this point.  I found nothing else.
I stopped back at the cemetery office to let the Director know I much I appreciated his help.  I guess I looked disarrayed as he asked if the stones were clean.  I told him they were not and had tried to blow off the grass and dirt with a knapkin.  He shook his head and told me the people who maintained the cemetery were not responsible workers and he would report them to their parole officer.  Yikes!  Wish he had warned me before I was out there alone wandering around. Would I have done something differently?  Probably would have kept my phone in my hand and not in my pocket.  Please keep this in mind when you're out stone hunting.  I'll soon write about some other unsafe really dumb things I did on this trip that I would not do again (well, I probably would but I shouldn't)- stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Making the Most of Your Research Trip - Cemeteries - Part 3

Today's blog is all about cemeteries!   Actually, I'll have to split the blog as I have too much info!
I like to get an early start when I visit cemeteries in the summer as it gets HOT during the day.
My first stop of my recent research trip was Green Hill Cemetery in Waynesboro, PA.  Opened in the late 1800's, by 1923 it had accepted re-internments from Union Cemetery when the church who owned Union sold the property and the new owners didn't want the bodies.
What saddens me about that decision is the property was sold from one church to another.  Union meant what it said - it was the "Union" of all of the burials of the 3 churches in the town - at that time it was Evangelical Lutheran, German Baptist and Presbyterian.  From histories of the area I read on GoogleBooks, I learned that in the mid 1800's there was only one church in town and that all 3 denominations used it on a rotating basis.  Due to structural problems and it needing repairs, one of the churches decided to rebuild on their own.  The other two continued together.  By the 1920's, the two combined churches had split and the property was sold to the church who had first separated. How weird is that?!  That church's former parishioners had been buried in that space for years but the church didn't want the bodies of the other denominations so part of the real estate deal was to have the seller get all the bodies moved.  (I've seen this happen so many times - I'm glad I selected a City Cemetery for my own final resting place.  I want a public referendum for a change!)
The selling church tried, but as was the case with the families I was researching, no local family members would have seen the newspaper notice that they needed to claim the bodies.  Any body not claimed was dug up and re-interred at Green Hill in a combined location.  The stones were placed on a hill, laying flat, supposedly in the same order in which they were originally placed.  They are in horrible condition!
I met with the Cemetery Director and he provided me a map of the location where the old stones were kept.  My dilemma was twofold.  I had the names from church records that two family members were buried at Union but on Find-A-Grave, Billion Graves and the cemetery itself (I had called twice before) only one of the family members names were recorded as re-interred there.
Since I was using these people in my Kinship Determination Paper for my Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), I'm hesitant to use the real names I was researching so I'll be using some assumed names to make this understandable.
Adam Apple was in the church records as buried next to his grandson, Bart Bear.  Find-A-Grave has a photo on the memorial for Bart Bear but no mention of Adam Apple.  Neither are on Billion Graves.  The cemetery records have only Bart Bear listed.  I was told twice by cemetery personnel that they believe their database is complete as it was based on the original Union Cemetery records they had received from the church.  Those records were supposedly housed in the Alexander Hamilton Free Library and the cemetery had a copy of those records since 1923.
To complicate the story, Bart Bear had a sister, Barbara Bear.  The only way I knew about Barbara was from a family genealogy text that had gotten the info from a sibling of Bart and Barbara. Barbara supposedly had died as an infant, in between census years.  The text has no year of birth or death.  The church has no record of her.  Neither does the online resources or the cemetery.  Where was she buried and when?
Bart and Barbara's paternal grandfather - I'm calling him Alex Bear, and his wife Amanda Bear, are also missing from every source I've consulted.  Alex's will was indexed but is missing so all I know is that it was probated in 1874 in Franklin County.  I suspect he died towards the end of 1874 as the probate was in late November but I don't know that for sure.  He may have been buried in Union as they still accepted internments at that time.
My mission was to answer the following:
  1. Why was Adam Apple not listed in the cemetery records but was in the church records?
  2. Why was Barbara Bear not listed in the cemetery records or church records?
  3. Was Alex and Amanda Bear buried in Union or Green Hill?
  4. BONUS QUESTION:  Was Adam Apple's wife (name unknown) buried next to Adam?
I also wanted to see Bart Bear's tombstone.
When I met with the Cemetery Director I explained why this information was important to me.  I also explained that I had visited the Alexander Hamilton Free Public Library the evening before and they couldn't find any records for Union Cemetery.  Of course, the Cemetery Director was basing his information on what he had been told as he wasn't even born when the reinternments occurred.  He did admit that he had original records from Union Cemetery but due to their delicate nature, they were not be copied.  I understand and asked if I could simply view them.  This took quite some negotiation. I was given all the standard reasons I could not see them - the transcriptions that were placed on the cemetery database were complete, the paper the original was on was so thin it was too delicate to handle, the writing was very difficult to read and I wouldn't be able to read it, and he wasn't supposed to share the information as it contained family information for others that had not given permission to view the records.  
Of course, I had an answer for each point.  I acknowledged that whoever transcribed from the original most likely did their best but that it was always advisable to have someone check your work as humans inadvertently make mistakes.  I would not handle the paper - he could and it could be placed on the desk with the minimum amount of handling.  I have taken classes in reading old handwriting and told him one of my most recent client transcriptions was extremely difficult as the writer had turned the paper 90 degrees and written in cursive from the middle of the 1800's, on a boat, during the Civil War, over what had previously been written.  Not only had I transcribed it successfully the article was published in the Florida Genealogist in June and I could show him a sample of that work. 
The sticking point became the appropriateness of my viewing the records of other internments.  My rebuttal was that the gravestones had been photographed and were online.  I brought up Find-A-Grave on my phone and showed him Bart Bear's information. I reminded him that the Union reintenrments consisted of families that had NO KNOWN LIVING RELATIVES in 1923 and that HIPPA and confidentiality were not the law at the time the bodies were moved.  He reluctantly agreed.
Bringing back a small business envelope he removed several folded pages.  I was so disappointed.  All were written in the same handwriting - this was not original records.  This was a derivative from another source, uncited.  Geez.  Now I understood why  Adam Apple wasn't in the cemetery records. Whoever copied the current cemetery record from the original most likely had overlooked him and who knows how many others, probably Barbara Bear, too.  I explained that to the Director.  He had no idea where the original records were housed.  He assumed, if the library did not have them, that the church did.  REMEMBER:  When researching, staff you will meet with may not have the knowledge of records that genealogists do.  They don't understand the difference between original and derivative.  Educate briefly while you're there - it'll save time for another researcher who comes along later.
Personally, I believe that the church has the originals somewhere in their archives and that the current office staff has no knowledge of that.  If the cemetery book was donated to the Alexander Hamilton Library it most likely would have been listed as one of their holdings, which it is not.  Now that library was not organized so the possibility remains that they do have holdings that aren't catalogued.  I know they don't know the valuable resources that they have as I had planned to see at the Library of Congress a rare book written by one of the individuals I was researching and it was just sitting in the stacks - same edition - like it was just a regular old book for check out.  I didn't say anything as I figured it's safer on the shelf than letting the staff know and having someone pilfer it and sell it on Ebay.  (I'm not saying the library staff has no scruples, I just don't want that scenario to occur. Someone had already ripped out indexes of several books that were in the stacks so I think it's better to keep my lips sealed).  But, back to the cemetery...
Interestingly, next to Bart Bear on the "original" derivative cemetery records it was clearly written as "unknown."  I first suspected that the unknown individual may have been Adam Apple as that would confirm the church records that stated Adam was buried next to Bart.  I gave the Cemetery Director a copy of the church records I had received (which he didn't have - go figure!) and wrote a note on it that I believed that space had been Adam's.  
The records did not list the other individuals I was seeking.  They could have been accidentally omitted or they may never have been buried there.  Who knows?!  I was on to visiting the gravesite.

Next time, I'll blog more about being in the cemetery.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I’m officially OFF the Clock

I just submitted electronically my portfolio to the Board for Certification of Genealogists so I’m no longer considered “On the Clock.”  My husband had made me this cute magnet when I first submitted my application:

I’m going to miss it! 
Although, at times, the workload was challenging it was do-able. The Google group for On the Clockers was helpful in clarifying requirements, offering suggestions and providing general support during a stressful time.
I’m most fortunate that my family was very understanding and supportive.  They were facing their own challenges over the past year – daughter relocated back to our area and became board certified in two areas – pediatrics and internal medicine.  She just finished an acupuncture course and should be certified in that by the end of the year.  Son graduated with another degree and is now working as a chemical engineer.  Hubby is writing a book besides his full time job as a counselor.  I’m proud of their accomplishments and their ability to overcome the obstacles that life threw in their paths. 
I also am thankful for the clients - their ancestors and mine - that I researched.  The lives of those individuals was inspiring!  Whenever I got stuck, be it writer's block or due to an inaccessible record, I only needed to re-examine their documents for a gentle reminder that my situation was minor.  The past certainly put the present in perspective! 
I began this blog to follow my journey through the certification process.  I’ll continue until I hear – yay or nay – that I’m certified.  I’m not quite sure how long that will be.  Like the song says, “The waiting is the hardest part…” 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Making the Most of Your Research Trip Part 2

By the second day of my research trip in Pennsylvania I was much more familiar with the area and had a better sense of how long it would take me to get from point A to point B, thus I could organize my day efficiently.
Before any trip I plan extensively from home so I don't waste time and miss resources while I'm on the road.  Sometime I get lucky and connect with "boots on the ground" folks who are willing to provide me needed information immediately.  In those situations, I like to take a minute to visit in person when I arrive to personally thank them for their help.  That was on top of my agenda for the day.
I rose early and didn't want to wait around for repositories to open so I drove to nearby Greencastle where a Dunkin Donuts had just opened.  I bought a box of donut holes with the intention of bringing them back to Waynesboro and giving them to the office staff of a church who had so graciously emailed me copies of original records.  Those records took me back a generation and I was very greatful!
Not a lot of traffic so I arrived back in Waynesboro 30 minutes before the church office opened.  That was fine, though, as I had previously identified on a map the location of where 3 of the people I was researching owned a business in the mid 1800's on Main Street.  I had a copy of the map in my phone download so I could bring it up and orient myself to what the present area looks like.  Since the business day hadn't begun I was able to park easily and snap photos of the lots.  All of these lots had been verified by deeds (remember, I had first gone to the Court House and had from home, rented Family History Library films).

I also like to take photos of the view from the lot.  Why?  This gives me a sense of what the ancestor may have seen from their land.

Of the 3 lots, one still viewed mountains off in the distance.  I could imagine the Rebel Army swarming down on the night of 3 July 1863.  How did I know that had happened?  Before the trip I had read several histories of the area available on GoogleBooks.  I also had the Civil War claim of one of the individuals and two newspaper articles by eyewitnesses of the events of that evening.  The day I visited, thank goodness, the view was not threatening!

I still had time before the church opened so I drove by two other churches .  I took pictures of those places, along with closeups of the visible cornerstone.  This told me that one of the churches was indeed built at the time the ancestor lived in the area.  The other church cornerstone clearly showed a later date.  This was important because it confirmed that the church bought the lot from another church that had previously used the space for a cemetery.  The bodies had been removed to another cemetery in the 1920's.  Two known people I was researching had been reinterred due to that real estate sale.
Stopped by the church office, dropped off the donuts conveyed my appreciation and was off to visit cemeteries.  Check back for more!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Making the Most of Your Research Trip Part 1

I've been blogging about my recent genealogical hunt in Pennsylvania.  After packing essential research tools and visiting the County Courthouse I was off to the Franklin County Historical Museum.  Problem was, due to my rental car delay, I arrived later than I anticipated and with only a half hour until closing, I didn't want to spend the $5.00 research fee and have to return the following day and pay again.  I opted instead to drive about 20 minutes to nearby Waynesboro where the Alexander Hamilton Free Library was open until 7 p.m.
Lucky for me, there was a parking space right in front of the library and I had coins for the meter in my research bag.  Whenever I enter a new library I always ask where the genealogy section is housed if there was no map online.  The sweet librarian pointed to stairs and told me there were "a few rooms."  More than one, seriously?!  I like that!  The room at the foot of the stairs was awesome, too:

After climbing the stairs I discovered the Civil War room was to the left and the church/cemetery/county histories and genealogies were to the right.  A third, smaller room held file cabinets of clippings and donated genealogy records.
What I found strange was that there was NO staff member or computer to access the holdings upstairs.  It was also extremely HOT.  If there was air conditioning it wasn't working. (And I'm from Florida so when I say it was hot, it was really hot!)
I quickly walked through the Civil War room.  Although the family I was researching lived in the town during that time and had been affected by the War, the materials were not specific to the area. Several series of volumes were placed on the shelf in mixed up order and my OCD tendencies kicked in - I just wanted to put them in sequence.  Time was a wasting so I moved on to the next room.
I would love to tell you that this room was in better shape but it wasn't:
Messy libraries make me nuts!  I decided I would just start at the northwest corner of the room and read the shelves.  By reading, I mean I don't just read the books that have their names on the spine.  I pull out books that don't and sure enough, within minutes I found the following:
It's hard to see in the pic due to the small size but the book was once owned and signed by Clarence Harbaugh.  I was researching the Harbaugh family.  Although I wasn't focused on Clarence I did have him in my tree so I took the book to a nearby table and took a picture with my phone.  Now I had Clarence's signature so I could add it to media in my tree.  If I ever extend the project I'm working on then I have a good start for another generation!
I had a list of areas I wanted to check - city directories, town records, historical maps and the cemetery and church records I was told were housed there.  I was disappointed to find the oldest City Directory was only from 1905, much too late for my family.  The church records were missing the index.  It was a derivative and I already had the original from the church emailed to me earlier so no loss for me but sad for anyone else who needed that. Since I couldn't find a burial location for the father of my Generation 1 individual, I really was hoping to locate a cemetery record from a cemetery that no longer exists.  I had been told on the phone twice that the library had the Union Cemetery records but I couldn't find them.  I did find an 1843 tax list and the folks I was researching were listed so that was a happy dance.
I moved on to the file cabinet room but there was nothing on the family I was researching.  I still had an hour before closing so I went downstairs and asked the librarian where I could find the Union Cemetery records.  She looked on the library holding database but couldn't find it.  There is a volunteer genealogist but he wasn't available and staff didn't know his schedule.  I decided I'd try again the following day as I had emailed twice and left two voice messages but had never gotten in contact with him.  The librarian signed me on to a public computer as a guest since I didn't have a library card and I happily spent the next hour checking out the remaining newspapers that had been digitized.  Due to the fragile nature of the originals I was only able to view the digitized copies.  Better than nothing!  They aren't available at, Chronicling America or Genealogy Bank so it was very important for me to see.  I did find two references to the family I was interested in - jury duty and an advertisement for a sale.  Very nice finds!
The library was supposed to close at 7 but the computers shut down at 6:45.  I was almost done with the newspapers but would have to finish the next day.
Soon after I had eaten dinner and checked into my hotel I checked my laptop to see if my phone's pictures had synched.  I don't carry the clunky laptop when I research anymore but I do take it with me on extended trips as it's easier to manipulate the photos on the laptop then my Kindle, especially when my old eyes are tired after a long day researching.
I save the photos of places to a Word document and place a caption under each so I don't forget why I took the picture.  I also save pictures of book pages and place the individual pictures in a created folder.  For example, I usually take a picture of 1) the index which I then flag with a stickee, 2) the pages that the index pointed me to and 3) the title page.  Using the stickee helps me flip back and forth from index to the page I'm directed to quickly.  To create the folder to save the pic, I use last name, first name of the individual found and what was the find.  In this case, Weaver.Christin.1843TaxList.  In the folder I place the picture of the index, the title and 2 pages where I found info.  All of the finds are then slipped into another folder labeled with the repository name and date of visit (This would be HamiltonPublicLibrary.WaynesboroPA.14Jul16..  That way, when I get home and merge the pages together to pdf, I can add to media on my tree and note where and when I found the source.  I'm old school and like to cite the location of the find in my notes.
Stay tuned for more hints in Part 2.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Researching at the Courthouse

Last blog I mentioned two rules I use to make a research trip rewarding - KNOW BEFORE YOU GO and PACK EFFICIENTLY.  Just back from researching in several states and in various libraries and archives so I'm going to share what worked for me at the different locations I visited.
My first stop in Pennsylvania was the Chambersburg (Franklin County seat) Courthouse.  I had called ahead to verify the times the facility was open and that the old deeds and wills I needed were available.  I knew the cost of the copies and how they accepted payment (cash/credit/debit).  I knew which building (there's an old and new courthouse) and what department and the floor I needed to go to.  I also asked where I should park.  This allowed me to save time and money when I arrived.
I had also previously identified what the deed dates I was interested in finding by using an index on  I had ordered the film for the actual deeds but when it arrived in June, it didn't contain them.  Sometimes the films are mislabeled and you don't get what you expect.  One of the films did have a deed but it was of such poor quality I couldn't read most of the page no matter how I tried to play with it.  I was hoping for a better copy.  I also knew exactly what Will Book and page I needed based on an index I found on
Since the area was just north of the Mason-Dixon line I wondered what the family I was researching's views were during the Civil War when they lived in the area.  I had a hunch but hunches are useless without a document to back it up so I also wanted to check out if any voter's records survived.
So, in this complex of one stop, I had 3 missions - a will, deeds and voter's records.
My necklace did set off security which was odd since it didn't at the airport.  Next time, no jewelry! When I entered the Recorder's Office I introduced myself to the clerical worker and ask for directions to secure what I need.
Directed to a computer I was able to pull 5 deeds in 5 minutes.  The printer was a little slow so while it was still printing, I asked about finding the will.
This is not the first time I tried to find the will - I've been to the site before and I hired a researcher to also try to find it.  Again, I was told it was lost.  This time, I whipped out my business card and asked to speak with the head of the facility.  I explained to this gracious woman why it was so critical that I find this document and asked if I could go into the basement where the originals were stored as I believed that the will had been misfiled.  She informed me policy prohibited anyone but employees from going into the basement.  I showed her an email I had received from the state archivist that showed, according to their records, the will was located in the basement.  I suggested that the box of wills be brought upstairs and I would go through them to make sure that it wasn't misfiled.  She agreed and sent an employee to bring up the box.  All 3 of us went through the box and sadly, it was not there.
Had I been allowed in the basement, I would have gone through every box but that wasn't going to happen as I had pushed it to just have one box brought upstairs.  There is still some hope as the missing document was placed on the "missing list" that a county archivist maintains and if it is discovered, I will be contacted.
The deeds also turned out to not be for the person that I was researching but that's okay, I have additional information on a related line and the one poor copy I had from the Family History Library microfilm was readable and what I needed.  Two down, one to go!
It was a short walk from one building to the next (and through security again - this time my jewelry didn't set off the alarm!) to the voter's registration office.  The clerk told me that by law, only 10 years of records needed to be maintained so none were available for the years I wanted.  She suggested that I go to the historical society as she wasn't sure when the law was passsed and perhaps, they had older records.  That was my next stop and just around the corner!  Stay tuned...