Sunday, July 6, 2014

52 Ancestors - Eckart

I'm quickly realizing that even though I try and have good intentions with this blog and the challenge overall, I am having a hard time keeping up.  So for now, I will just do what I can when I can.

This next entry is on the Eckart Family, specifically Frederick and his wife Myrta (Moore).  Myrta is my very distant cousin and Frederick her husband.  I am romantic at heart and this might be a case of dying of a true broken heart, or perhaps I watch to many romantic movies!

Frederick Eckart was born in Germany in 1867 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1885.  Some years later he would meet the love of his life, Myrta Moore in 1896.  Myrta was born to a large family in California in 1873.  I was fortunate enough to see all of the censuses of this couple so I was able to see their lives together starting in 1900.  Just married 4 years, they already had 4 children born in rapid succession (all girls). The 1910 census shows 3 more children, with one dying between the 1900 and the 1910 census. I have yet to find the name of that child.  The next 2 decades finds Frederick and Myrta raising their 6 children - 5 girls and 1 boy - and the children moving out and getting married.  The last census is from 1940 and the couple are empty nesters with all of their children grown and moved out.

Myrta and Frederick both died in 1947.  Myrta on July 16th and Frederick on August 3rd.  This is where my romanticized ideas come into play thinking that perhaps Frederick died of a broken heart.  I could be completely wrong and there could be a logical explanation to their deaths being so close together.

Perhaps someone has some information that I have yet to find?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

52 Ancestors - Theresa Vlack

It's been a little while since I've worked on my family tree much less posted on my blog.  I just haven't found anyone that I wanted to write about until this little mystery appeared on my tree.

Theresa Vlack was the wife of my 1st cousin 4x removed.  I usually don't do much research into the wives or husbands of non direct relatives, but I was curious with this one.

Theresa was born in Austria in 1885 and arrived in the United States in the year 1900.  4 years later she would marry Frank Engerman. I next find her in the Massachusetts 1910 census, but then I cannot find Frank or Theresa anywhere else. Their youngest son Anthony was born in 1914, so they at least lived until that year.  In the 1920 census their 3 living children, Jacob, Alice and Anthony are all living with aunts and uncles.  Jacob and Alice with one family and Anthony with the other.  The only conclusion I can come up with is that Frank and Theresa passed away, but I'm surprised I can't find anything about it. Also, I can't imagine the children being separated... how devastating for them it must have been.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

52 Ancestors - Richard Lyman - One of the founders of Hartford, CT

I am extremely fortunate to have long family lines in New England.  Because of this I have found many ancestors that were founders of cities and towns and my 11x great grandfather, Richard Lyman, is no different.

Richard Lyman was born in 1580 is Essex, England to Henry and Elizabeth (Rande) Lyman. Richard married Sarah Osborne and they, along with their 5 living children made the voyage over to America in 1631.  They traveled on a ship called the "lion" along with 60 other people.  It appears that they landed in Roxbury, MA, but I'm not certain of that and settled in Charlestown, MA.  In 1635 they family left Massachusetts with Reverend Thomas Hooker to be able to practice their Puritan beliefs.  They landed in Connecticut and was one of the founders of Hartford, CT.  He would die 5 years later in 1640.

Richard's daughter, Phillis (my 10x great grandmother) married William Hills Sr. who was also one of the founders of Hartford.  A few generations down the line, William Hills great grandson, Pelatiah Loveland married Mollie Sparks who is the great, great granddaughter of John Skinner who is another founder of Hartford.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

52 Ancestors - Camilla Gaye Beard

While going through the records of the thousands of relatives I have discovered, nothing breaks my heart more than seeing the death certificate of a child.

Camilla Gaye Beard was born in September of 1939 to Jimmy Beard and Mildred Beard (Bearden). She died on October 27th 1944 due to "Fall from moving automobile" according to the death certificate.  She had just turned 5 years old.  It breaks my heart what this family had to go through and I'm curious the situation surrounding the accident.  Was it very easy for a child in the backseat to open the car door?  Were there convertibles around back then and maybe that's how she fell out?  Either way, my heart breaks for my 4th cousin 2x removed.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

52 Ancestors - Nancy Crisp

I found a wealth of information for my 4x great grandparents Nancy Crisp and James Monroe Bailey, but I'm having a hard time going back further.

Nancy Elizabeth Crisp was born November of 1830 in Kentucky. She married James Bailey in 1846 in Texas and had 9 children together.  Since she was only 16 at the time, I'm unsure as to how or why she moved from Kentucky to Texas, as I'm unsure of any brothers or sisters.  The earliest census I can find is from 1850 and she is already married at that time.

Her parents might be William Walter Crisp and Elizabeth Matthews and I also believe that she had a brother, John Crisp who was hanged, in Gainesville, Texas after being accused of being a Union sympathizer during the Civil War.  Just reading some of the names of his relatives leads me to believe I am on the correct family line.  Some of the names were carried down throughout my family and they are not common names.

I know what my next genealogical project will be!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

52 Ancestors - Lola Fae Wales

While discovering another surname, I came across the Wales family.

Lola was born in February of 1902 in Texas.  She was the youngest of 4 siblings. What struck me most about Lola was the fact that she had rented her own home in 1930 with 3 other ladies.  All were public school teachers.  The 1940 census shows her renting a room from another family.  This census also showed education and Lola is listed her education as C-5.  That could mean that she was in school to get her Master's degree or perhaps already obtained it.  She is the first family member of either gender, that I know of, that has obtained such a high degree.  I feel this sense of awe of Lola because during that time, I believe, that women were expected to stay home and be wives and mothers instead of getting an education.  I can't find any records of her being married and her gravestone has her maiden name.

Friday, March 7, 2014

52 Ancestors - Bolivar Ralph Muniz

For this week's post I wanted to do something a little different.  This post is about my best friend's search to find her paternal side of the family.  I'm hoping that by putting it out into the universe maybe someone has the answers she has been seeking for a number of years.

Most of this information came from public addresses and from familia rumors since my best friend has never known her father.

What I have found for her so far is that Bolivar Ralph Muniz was born in New York in January 1952, but not sure to who.  He lived throughout Western Massachusetts until 1995 where he moved to Florida.  He was arrested in Florida during the same time and unfortunately passed away in September of 1997.  She has no idea who his parents or relatives were.

Monday, March 3, 2014

52 Ancestors - Matthew Thornton

Let me first say that what I found this morning makes genealogy so much fun!  You never know where it's going to bring you.  I discovered, this morning, that my 8th great grand uncle was a signer of the Declaration of Independence for the state of New Hampshire!  This is the second relative I have found that has shaped New Hampshire in a significant way, which is funny since this is where I have been living for the past 10 years. It's amazing to be able to take a short drive to see these landmarks dedicated to them and know that I come from their blood.

I discovered this connection when trying to find out more about my 8th grandmother, Matthew's sister Elizabeth.  Interestingly enough, she married into a family line that the next generation that would also make an impact in history.  That I will write more about in another post.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 ancestors - Who was Dorothy Colt's mother?

I happened to stumble across a goldmine of information related to my maternal grandmother's side of the family and very happily added at least 50 new names to my tree.  I previously wrote about Dorothy's son John and this post is highlighting Dorothy Colt herself, my 8th great grandmother. I believe that Dorothy was born in the mid 1600s, but I do not have an exact date. I know her father's name was John Colt, and I believe he might have been a Captain, but this has not yet been confirmed.  I hit a snag when it comes to her mother, however.  In some records I show that Ann Skinner is her mother, in other records I found it appears that John Colt married Mary Skinner at one point (I believe he had 3 wives total) but no mention of Ann, unless Mary went by a different name.  Yet other records show that Dorothy's mother was Hester Edwards, who was John's second wife.  Perhaps, Ann was Dorothy's biological mother and Hester was her stepmother?

The other mystery surrounding Dorothy is that she married my 8th great grandfather, John Sparks.  He died in 1710 and in May of 1712 she married John Parsons.  Dorothy died in October of 1712.  Was she only married to the second John for a few months?  The children she and my 8th great grandfather had together were wards under the second John when the first John died.  If they were only married a few months, then the children became wards rather quickly.  That could have normal back then, I'm unsure.

I have a lot more research on the questions I have above, perhaps someone out there can help me figure out the mystery.  I also believe that this family lines leads me to early settlers, but more investigation is certainly needed.

52 Ancestors. John C. Colt: murder, mystery and a body switch?

I just discovered my Colt line.  My 8th great grandmother was Dorothy Colt.  My distant cousins are absolutely fascinating with intrigue in several of the family members.  I found John C. Colt and thought his story was so intriguing that I had to share the information.

My 4th cousin, 6x removed was John C. Colt.  John was born in 1810 to Christopher Colt and Sarah Caldwell in Hartford CT.  He had a well known older brother whom I will write about at another time. John was a rambunctious child and it seemed like his parents could not contain him.  There were tales of him almost dying on 3 separate occasions due to his mischievousness. Sarah Caldwell came from a very well to do family and Christopher worked very hard for his father in law, which afforded the family a very nice upbringing.  Several things led to an upheaval in the Colt household.  In 1819, the family lost their fortune due to the economy and in 1821 Sarah died of tuberculosis.  Christopher remarried in 1823 to Olivia.  Olivia was more of a realist than the children were used to.  The children were still used to the wealth they had in the early 1800s, but the money was gone.  Olivia insisted that the children work instead of going to school in order to keep the family afloat.  In 1829 John dealt with another blow when his beloved older sister, Sarah Ann, committed suicide.  Rumors swirled about the exact reason, but some believed it was because of her step-mother Olivia.  After this John floated around and ended up as a bookkeeper.  He even wrote a textbook that was used in schools around the country!

Samuel Adams went to see John about some textbooks that Samuel made for John and there was a disagreement about money, or so the story goes.  Samuel wound up dead and John was tried for his murder.  He was found guilty and sentenced to death.  On the day of what was supposed to be his execution, he committed suicide.  There are conspiracy theories that suggest John Colt did not actually die that day.  John's body was discovered after a fire had broken out in the prison. The theories are that he killed another prisoner, put their body in his cell and escaped during the fire, but none of this was ever proven.

It is also stated that Herman Melville and Edgar Allen Poe both made references to John in their stories Bartleby, the Scrivener and The Oblong Box respectively.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

52 Ancestors week 4 - Albert Fisher

I'm a bit behind on the blog posts.  School is killing me this semester.  I keep telling myself that I have this semester to go and then I'm done, but still.  Whew!

My mother always told me that our nationality was "Heinz 57" since it was made up so many different nationalities.  I never really believed it until I started working my family tree. I'm always surprised when a new relative pops up from somewhere that I never realized that I had ancestors from. Maybe some day I will discover I have ancestors from every country in the world, now wouldn't that be fun!

For this entry I'm going to write about my 3rd great grand uncle - Albert E. Fisher. Albert was born in 1852 in Baden, Germany.  He arrived in the United States in 1869 at the age of 16.  I don't have the record of him actually coming over, so I'm not sure who he travelled with, if anyone at all.  In 1880,he married Alma Amanda Youngberg.  The first census I can find him is in 1900 where he is living in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife, 5 children and 2 servants.  The fact that he had servants intrigued me the most.  What type of person had servants in the 1900s?  His occupation listed him as a manufacturer. I believe it was at this time that I decided to Google him to see what I could find.  Surprised is an understatement!

It turns out that Albert owned a brewery in Utah.  I was able to find out that Albert built the brewery, Fisher Brewery Company, in around 1884 when he purchased 15 acres of land.  In 1893, he built his mansion on the same parcel of land.  An interstate was eventually put through the land and all of the other houses around the mansion were torn down, except for the Fisher mansion which still stands today as a historic site.  See the link below if you would like to read the entire story or see pictures of the mansion.

The brewery lasted until 1916 when Prohibition was just starting to hit Salt Lake City.  Instead of taking the loss and not selling alcohol, Albert boarded up the windows and closed the doors of the brewery.  He died 1 year later in 1917.  I included an article about the brewery below also.

Quist, R. (2010) From Brewer's home to? Retrieved from

Markosian, R (2013) Fisher Brewing Company.  Retrieved from

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

52 Ancestor's week 3 - Martha Elizabeth King

I wasn't going to post week 3 so quickly after I posted week 2, but then I got to Martha Elizabeth King and knew I wanted to post about her next.  Martha is my 2nd great grandmother on my father's side.  On my father's side I'm very fortunate as the family line travels far back in the United States and some of my family were the first settlers in Austin!  More about them in another post.

Martha Elizabeth King was born on March 24th 1876 in Austin, Texas to James Lowery King and Mary Jane Gillman.  Martha married George Washington Williams in 1895 at the age of 19.  George was considerably older than her and was 35 when they married.  Together they had 5 children.  George passed away in 1921.  Martha passed away in 1935, at the age of 58, but the cause of her death is what prompted me to find out more information and thus write about her.  The death certificate stated that she died due to drinking carbolic acid (suicide).  This news really devastated me.  I first went to the internet to see what carbolic acid is and found that apparently it's used in making plastics.  This lead to two questions, one where on earth does one get carbolic acid, was it sold at the corner drug store in 1935?  The second, why would she want to kill herself.  The latter question I am having a hard time coming up with answers.  I can't find any type of documentation to suggest that perhaps she was ill and wanted to decide when she would die or perhaps she was depressed or perhaps it was an accident.  I just can't figure it out.  I hope that someone out there has more information on Martha Elizabeth King and would be able to help me solve the mystery.

I did find out what carbolic acid would have been used for in the 1930s.  It would have been used for swollen throat glands.  So perhaps Martha accidentally took to much and it killed her?  This is the first mystery I have encountered in really researching my family tree.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

52 Ancestors - Bigger Head

For my next installment of profiling an ancestor I chose the one with the funniest name.  Bigger Head.  That was  his name on every deed or census I have found.  I'm not quite sure who the prankster was in the family and decided on that name, but for the chuckle it has brought me everytime I see it, I am grateful!

Bigger Head is my 6x great grandfather and was born in Prince George's, Maryland in 1754 to William Head and Lucy Beckwith. Unfortunately I do not have much information about him.  I do know that he appears in deed documents in 1800 in Washington, Kentucky. He did in 1823 in Owensboro, Kentucky.  His wife, Lucy Sarah Livers preceded his death by 23 years, which is the time he moved to Kentucky.  That could have been the reason he left Maryland in the first place since Lucy died in Maryland.  I have a hard time deciphering the censuses from that far back and do not like that there are no names listed.  I know Bigger and Lucy had at least 1 son, my 5th great grandfather Richard G. Head, who was only 2 years old when his mother died. In the Maryland 1790 census there are 3 males under 16 and 3 females listed which means there are 2 more brothers and 2 sisters that I have yet to find, but perhaps someone out there has that missing piece of information?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Week 1 of 52 weeks Ancestor Challenge

This is my very first blog post and I'm a bit nervous about it.  I've never had a blog before, nor had I any reason to create one.  I saw this challenge on my Facebook page, from, and since I'm having so much fun figuring out my ancestors I wanted to share it with others and hopefully I can get some help along the way or meet some family members.

The first ancestor I am going to highlight is the one that is giving me the most trouble.  This would be my great-grandfather (gg for short) on my mother's side. The reason why I have so much trouble is that the rumor in the family is that the father of my gg, might actually be his grandfather making my gg illegitimate.

Samuel Robert Oates was born in 1903 in Penzance, Cornwall, England. He migrated to the Massachusetts in 1913 with who my family believes is his grandfather and grandmother.  The records of his travel state that he traveled with his father, mother and possibly either a sister or a servant. The part that makes me believe that the rumors are true is that before 1903, his "father", James Oates, was living in Massachusetts, right up until at least 1900 with his wife Honor Chellew. Watching a previous episode of "Who do you think you are" it was mentioned that it was not uncommon for foreigners to travel back home for a few years at a time to fight in wars or take care of families, so I'm not sure if this happened and during that time James and Honor had a child?

I will put more effort into this, including signing up for international to see if I can get birth records or perhaps more information as to why James and Honor would go back to England.  But that will have to wait until March when I'm done with my last semester at school and can devote more time to it.