Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Runyan

Buried at the Morris Hill Cemetery in Boise, Idaho, are my husband's 2nd great-grandparents Charles F. and Margaret E. (Brannan) Runyan.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Backward Glance - Abigail C. Martin

Abigail C. Martin was born on November 25, 1854, in Muscatine, Iowa. Her parents were Elijah Cody and Elizabeth (Tingley) Martin. Her name is recorded a few different ways on various records throughout the years. They include Abbie, Abbey and Abba. She was the youngest of 11 children, and the only one born in Muscatine.

In 1870, Elijah and his family were living in Moscow Township, Muscatine County, Iowa. Along with their parents, Abbie, Rebecca, Samuel and Lucy were also enumerated. Elijah died on April 9, 1874.

Abbie married Joseph Pettus Ament on March 24, 1875, in Muscatine. They had five children: Grace A., Mabel Elizabeth, William Dudley, Bessie, Helen and Vernon J. In 1894, Abbie filed for divorce. By 1900, she was living in Chicago with her daughter, Mabel, and her son, Vernon.

In 1911, she purchased land in the Black Hills Meridian, located on the South Dakota - Wyoming border. According to her granddaughter, Helen (Marguerat) Rich (b. 1905), she operated a bakery in Froid, Montana, at a time when Helen was a child. Helen remember her mother, Mabel, and her sister, Claire (b. 1903), working with Abbie in the bakery.

She went to live in Denver, Colorado, sometime before 1930. Her son, William D., lived there. Abbie died on July 1, 1933, in Denver. She was buried on July 5th in the Crown Hill Cemetery.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Topping/Morgan

Tombstone of Virginia Caroline (Topping) Morgan, my 2nd great-grandmother. She is buried at Morris Hill Cemetery in Boise, Idaho.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Backward Glance - Austin Sawyer Avery

picture of Austin taken in 1916
The son of James Christopher and Ruth (Coleman) Avery, Austin Sawyer Avery was born in Ohio on November 11, 1841, the third of four sons born to the couple. James' death date is uncertain, but in 1850, the family was living in Bath Township, Summit County, Ohio. 

In 1860, Austin and his brother Edwin were enumerated with their uncle, Joseph Coleman, in Nemaha County, Kansas. This particular census has obvious mistakes, so it is difficult to tell who is really who, but it looks like their mother and a man named Rust Willis were also enumerated with this family. Rust would be Austin's stepfather; but by 1865, Austin's mother was a widow living in Nemaha with Edwin's family.

On May 25, 1869, Austin married his first cousin, Esther Luella Coleman, in Rochester, New York. They moved to Kansas. They had two children, Judson  A. and Ethel. Austin and Esther were divorced on May 22, 1876. The children stayed with Austin.

Austin married Julia Jeannett "Nettie" Osborn in about 1879 in Kansas. They lived at the homestead pictured here, near Woodston, Kansas. They had four children: Emma Ruth, Russell Hugh, Byron Humphrey and Iva May. Nettie died from tuberculosis on January 1, 1905. 

On November 30, 1925, Austin died in Woodston, Rooks County, Kansas. He and Nettie are both buried at the Woodston Cemetery.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Genealogy Search Site

I've just been visiting Mocavo, the newly launched search site specific to genealogy and family history. What a great idea!

Mocavo's opening statement claims:
"The world’s largest free genealogy search engine, Mocavo.com, provides genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web including billions of names, dates and places worldwide. Mocavo.com seeks to index and make searchable all of the world’s free genealogy information."
The site claims they will discover new genealogy-related sites every day for searching, but already have a respectable list of existing sites.

Having read great reviews, I did some sample searches to see what kinds of results I would get. I purposely chose searches that usually yield few results to make it manageable. I didn't find anything new, and I know some of the results I've found through other searches (google, yahoo, etc.) were not included. In more than one instance, there were multiple results from one source; often on the same page. Still, it was encouraging.

It was also very refreshing not to have to wade through scores of sites that have little or nothing to do with genealogy. I didn't have to dodge advertisements or links to subscription sites.

Mocavo seems to be a great place to start an internet search for your ancestry, especially for the beginner. The results list is uncluttered and easy to read. Clicking on a link opens the resulting site within the Mocavo window, where they've provided an arrow to take the researcher back to the search results. Very convenient.

They have a facebook page and a blog. I found the information on the blog helpful. This is a very new site, just launched on March 16th. The founder, Cliff Shaw, has many successes in the genealogy world. This looks like another great innovation from him. Give it a try!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Wynne

Burial place of Mark Patrick Wynne, full-blooded Irish, at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Bremerton, Washington. Also pictured are Joshua Wynne Aitchison and his son, Wynne Patrick; both namesakes of Mark, who is Joshua's great-grandfather.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Backward Glance - Margaret Jane Orr

Margaret (Orr) Topping with two of her sisters

Our main Irish connection is through Margaret Jane Orr. She was born in Ontario, Canada on December 26, 1833. Her parents were Edward Orr and Margaret Frazier. Edward was born in Belfast, Ireland. Margaret was born in Sligo, Ireland. They were married near Montreal, Quebec, Canada, about 1828. So, you see, Margaret was 100% Irish by blood, but Canadian by birth! Apparently, her pride in her Irish heritage was very strong, as it carried down through the generations, each claiming to be Irish.

In Canada, Margaret married a Wallace. They had a son, Wilford Lincoln, in  1857. However, Wilford seems to have used the surname Orr all of his life. The whole family emigrated from Canada sometime between 1851 and 1859.

The family seems to have gone first to Wisconsin, where Margaret married John Topping on November 13, 1859, in Plover, Portage County.  Her surname on the marriage record is Wallace. Both of John and Margaret's daughters, Ella and Virginia, were born in Portage County. John Topping served during the Civil War in the Union Army from Wisconsin. He was killed in 1862 at the Battle of Antietam.

In 1870, Margaret and her children were living at Des Moines, Jackson County, Minnesota, next door to her parents. On the 1880 census, she is recorded as living in Colfax Township, Page County, Iowa.

Both of Margaret's parents died in Jackson Township, Jackson County, Minnesota; Edward in 1884 and Margaret in 1885.

Margaret died on June 22, 1893, in Blanchard, Page County, Iowa. She is buried in the Blanchard Cemetery.

'Tis Irish I am...

'Tis Irish I am, and proud am I of it..."
My grandma used to sing this song. I've realized I can't really, in kindness, share the rest of it. 

However, there were other songs.
"Me mother and father were Irish,
Me mother and father were Irish,
Me mother and father were Irish,
And I am Irish, too." (pronounced Irish stew)
"We kept two pigs in the parlor,
We kept two pigs in the parlor,
We kept two pigs in the parlor,
And they were Irish, too."
(We thought it was hysterical as kids. I love to share this with my grandchildren.)

Or, how about
"An Irish Lullaby" (Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra).
This was a regular in our family. I learned some years ago that it was written in 1914, so it can't really be from the 'homeland,' but is still dear to us. I always sang this one to my babies.

The list goes on for us, too.

There were probably others that I don't recall, but my grandma was very proud of her Irish heritage. She was Irish through her Grandmother Morgan whose grandparents, Edward and Margaret (Frazier) Orr were born in Ireland. Somehow, even with a very long and strong English heritage, Grandma Epps  and her siblings always considered themselves Irish. So does my mom.

Having recently viewed a couple of programs dealing with Irish heritage, I have a newly deepened appreciation and respect for that hardy people. (Links to those programs are here and here.) It seems that no matter the difficulty or devastation, they carried on. They seem to have been able to find joy in living while carrying a deep-seated sorrow. An amazing people! I count myself blessed to have their blood streaming through my veins.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Epps

This headstone is in the Oakley Cemetery in Oakley, Logan County, Kansas. James R. and Sallie B. Epps were from Iowa and Missouri, respectively. They were the parents of Howard Epps, my grandpa.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Backward Glance - John Topping

The Battle of Antietam is considered the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with more than 23,000 casualties. On September 17, 1862, alone, over 3,600 men died, more than on any other day in the nation's military history. Included among those valiant dead was John Topping, my ancestor. He was just 32 years old and had two very young daughters and a step-son at home in Almond, Portage County, Wisconsin. John was a Private in Company G of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry. He is buried in the Antietam National Cemetery.
John was born on May 30, 1830, in Wells, Hamilton County, New York. His parents were James Richard and Hannah (Schufeldt) Topping. I do not know what took John to Wisconsin; but, on November 13, 1859, he married Margaret Jane (Orr) Wallace in Plover, Portage County, Wisconsin. Margaret had a son by her previous marriage, Wilford Lincoln Wallace. He used the last name Orr throughout his life. 

John and Margaret lived in Grand Rapids, Wood County, Wisconsin, when the U.S. Federal Census was taken in 1860. The couple had two children of their own, Ella Calista (1860) and Virginia Caroline. Virginia, or Ginny, was born in April 1862, just five months before her father's death.

Margaret Topping never remarried. She moved to Blanchard, Page County, Iowa, where she died and is buried in the Blanchard Cemetery.