Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I love making connections when I lose myself in genealogy. Those little "Aha!" moments that connect me/my family with the distant past and brings it to a reality with us here and now. For me, it was discovering ol' Moses Hulbert living not so far from where I live now. I made another connection a few nights ago.

Not having a specific plan in mind, I decided to research for more records on my grandmother. In the last census available, she would've been nearly 5 years old, so I started there...living in Indiana. A sad note, my grandmother's father was killed in a work related injury just before this time, leaving great-grandma a widow at only 23 years old with 3 small children. I wanted to know what made great-grandma decide to move to Indiana after the death of her husband.

I'd seen the 1930 census before, but had only looked at the name listing that interested me...BINGLE. This time as I looked it over, another name, right above great-granny Bingle, hit me like a 2x4 right between the eyes. LANE. Specifically, Roy Lane.

It was such an "Aha" moment, that I literally did exclaim "Aha!" outloud, prompting my hubby to even look my way. But I was already scurrying to find the next piece of this puzzle. You see, Roy Lane, was a brother to Vaughn Lane - The man who would eventually marry great-granny Bingle and become her 2nd husband. But where was Vaughn? Not seeing him, I started looking for THEIR parents. Maybe he was still living at home with mom & dad?

This search led me to a draft registration card from 1918 for Norman Lane. To keep it simple - we'll call him my great-great grandfather. The address listed on the card was a street in Kokomo, Indiana. Right about then a little grin formed, and another "Aha!" was itchin' to come out...but I kept quiet, and kept looking for clues.

I mapquested. I google earthed. I made a quick phone call....and there it was. The Aha! moment.

Norman Lane, our great-great grandfather (in theory), lived 6 blocks away from the house where my brother had lived in Kokomo.

Kokomo - a place we had no connections to. It was simply where my brother had found a job after he had finished college. He & his wife had lived there, worked there, brought 2 children into the world there...it was their home for a number of years. And we never knew that just 6 blocks away - 2 streets over - was where great great grandpa & grandma Lane had once lived, where our great grandpa had probably visited at one time 80 years prior to my brother ever stepping foot in the city.

So I never did uncover what made great-granny Bingle move to Indiana, and I haven't yet found where great-grandpa Vaughn was in 1930. But it's the little connections like this that remind me why I do this. These were all real people. Even if I never knew them - they did exist...sometimes in our very own backyards.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sorry Grandma...but you're wrong!

I really don't like proving anyone wrong. Especially Grandma. But sometimes....SOMETIMES that woman can frustrate me, even more than my own children!

For example, when I began my genealogy, grandma - who was the family historian up to that point - told me that my great-grandpa had been born in Gallia Co., Ohio. Seeing that grandma had been doing this for decades, via "old-school" method (travelling and documenting on-site), I took her word on that little fact. Two years later, I found an actual vital record, his birth record, from the state of West Virginia showing where my great-grandfather was born in Huntington. I showed it to her, even made her a copy. Her comment? "Well I have record that says he was born in Ohio." {sigh} She's never shown me this record.

Last year at Christmastime, Grandma and I were comparing notes. Looking at my record for my 4th great-grandmother, so promptly exclaimed, "That wasn't her name! Her maiden name was 'HOUCK', and not 'KERNS'. {sigh} Are you sure Grandma? Because everything I've found points in the direction that she was the daughter of so-and-so Kerns, and I have this marriage record, and this resource, and...

"No. Her maiden name was 'HOUCK'".

Now, here I am...getting ready for our annual winter's journey to Ohio to visit the family. And I'm going through some files, trying to find some last minute "goodies" to share with grandma. Last night, I found this record...

Bedford County, Virginia, Deed Book 21, Page 452-
13 August 1829 – Indenture in which Andrew Kerr and Susannah, his wife, late Susanna Houck of GALUR COUNTY, STATE OF OHIO of one part sell to Simon Sharpe of Bedford County, Virginia, of the other part – for $120.00 a tract of land in Bedford County on Roaring Run containing 66 acres, being the same land allotted to the said Susan by the name of Susan Houcke as part of her portion of the real estate of the late George Kerns, dec’d, and designated in the division of said Kerns land as lot #8, etc. Recorded August 14, 1929. (NOTE BY CHH – 11 August, 1829 - same parties of 1st part sell Parham Arrington of Bedford County, Virginia another portion of Susanna’s land (Lot #3) bequeathed to her by George Kerns, dec’d (ibid page 451) containing 33 acres, etc.)

What does this record tell me (or more importantly - what will it tell Grandma?)

1. The record states the name of my 4th great-grandparents, Andrew & Susannah Kerr.
2. It says her name prior to her marriage to Andrew, was {gasp} HOUCK.
3. It states that she was given land by George KERNS...most likely an inheritance at the time of his death, allowing me to believe she was his daughter since women were not commonly allotted land "back in the day" unless it was given from a direct family member.

Grandma...I hate to say it, but I firmly believe now more than ever that Susannah was Susannah Kerns (Karnes), married to Mr. Houck, and married 2nd to Andrew Kerr, our ancestor. Will she believe me and accept this as proof our ancestress' name? I'll let you know after our visit next weekend. But don't hold your breath. She's a stubborn gal.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

SNGF: Ancestor Name List Roulette

SNGF = Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

I don't usually participate in this one - but I'm here, it's Saturday night, and why not have a little fun? Randy Seaver and his Genea-Musings blog has posted his weekly SNGF mission...The Ancestor Name List Roulette.

1) How old is one of your grandfathers now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."
My only grandfather who is still alive is currently 84 years old. Dividing his age by 4, my "magic" roulette number is 21.

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person?
#21 in my family tree is my Great-Great Grandmother, Mary Ann Abdon.

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."
Since I don't have a lot of information on Mary Ann, I will simply give you every piece that I do have -
Mary Ann Abdon was born 30 Jan 1876 in Indiana. I'm guessing probably in Dearborn County, but that's purely speculation on my part. Right around 1892, she married Harrison Bingle and together they had 7 children. They spent their life together in Hamilton County, Ohio where she died on 12 Jul 1945. She and Harrison are both buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery near Cleves, Ohio.