George Washington

Archeologists have long tried to find George Washington's boyhood home at Ferry Farm. They believe they have finally been successful.

Indiana Probate Find

Last Thursday-Sunday, the girls and I went up to Indiana to visit Ben and one family we've known through the internet for many years and to do some genealogy research. It all was quite fun.

I was very successful in my genealogy quest and found a probate packet that had its earliest receipt contained therein from 1835. A probate packet contains all the papers that were collected during the administration of someone's estate when he dies. So people will submit bills owed by that person that need to be paid. There can be bills for expenses related to the illness just before death or burial expenses themselves. There can be outstanding bills from the store which will say "shoes for James", etc.. Then there's an inventory of all the property owned by the person (even if the wife is still alive!). The property is sold and a listing of the sale price and who bought what appears. Then the expenses are totaled and the assets are totaled and the remainder divided among the heirs which are all usually named. This can be an incredible goldmine of genealogical information besides the common everyday stuff one learns about the ancestor. (I debated about putting "ancestor" in quotation marks because I mentally went in the Bertie Wooster way of referring to his Aunt Agatha.) One reason the naming of the heirs is particularly valuable is because names of wives will be given with their married names. Often it can be difficult to track female lines because of the name change upon marriage.

Probate records may be the ONLY proof of the parentage of a woman. Then if the son or daughter of the deceased has died, grandchildren will be named. Back then this happened a LOT.

Fires and Bibles

I wonder how many old family Bibles were destroyed by fires. Supposedly one of my ancestors Clement Nance had a whole trunkfull of family papers that were destroyed by a house fire in the New Albany, Indiana area. I recently received my first-ever-ordered pension packet on my Civil War ancestor Albertus Van Hoesen. With the price of copying the file, you get only the first 100 pages and you have to pay extra to get any beyond that. So Albertus's was beyond that by 43 pages, and so I'm awaiting the rest. I'm planning on transcribing some of the letters contained therein. But one thing that's interesting and why I think context is so important it that Albertus tells how he doesn't have any proof of his birth because the family Bible was burned in 1878. That would have just been some little factoid in my brain without any kind of depth of understanding of the reality of it if I hadn't read before that from the Clarksville Star newspaper about the house of R.C. Van Hoesen (who was Albertus's father) burning down. (see post farther down). Even the little, common place things are interesting.

Genealogy and Vacations

I'm a member of New England Historic Genealogical Society and today received an issue of the publication sent to members. In one article one of the directors in NEHGS tells how she enjoys hearing how people get into genealogy. She tells one man's story of the influence his father had been in sparking his interest. His father lost many family members and subsequently this caused the desire to learn more about his family. The son remembers his father working at the kitchen table at night typing notes onto three-ring sheets. But this is the fun part (My Children, take note.)
"My father planned so many family trips around his research," Bob recalled, that "until I was a teenager, I assumed everyone's vacation included a visit to a cemetery."
Don't they??? Too funny! And I do think it's interesting--and I tell this to people who wonder if my kids are interested in genealogy, too--that when we went to Harper's Ferry for its historical interest, my kids asked if we were going to go to the cemetery there. Harper's Ferry is a town built into a rocky hillside and the cemetery is at the top! I told the kids, "Well we don't have anyone buried here." And they wanted to go anyway. They did think it fun to find Mr. Harper buried there, although my recollection is that he either died soon after arriving there. Even though we visited purely for historical reasons (although certainly the case could easily be made that genealogy would also be "historical reasons"), there is a place in the town section that is marked as being the location of the store where Meriwether Lewis purchased some items for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We are related to Meriwether Lewis, although I don't know exactly what cousin and how many times removed we are because I don't have him entered into my genealogy program.

Newspaper Finds of the Day




My latest request for microfilm for the Clarksville Star from Clarksville, Iowa came in today. June 6 1878: Married, by Elder J. W. Moore, at the residence of H.F.L. Burton, n this place, June 3, 1878, Mr. A. L. Van Hoesen and Miss Carrie, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Burton. Like all young people, who start out right in life, they kindly remembered the printer. May their ways be ways of pleasantness and all their paths be peace. (A.L. (Albertus Louis Van Hoesen and Carrie Burton are my great-great grandparents and the one mentioned below regarding finding his Civil War records)






October 3, 1878: HOUSE BURNED.--On Thursday evening last, just about dusk, the house of R.C. Van Hoesen, about 3 1/2 miles northwest of town, was discovered to be on fire. The fire was first seen issuing from the gable by Wells, who was a few rods distant. He at once rushed to the rescue, and with the aid of his parents and wife succeeded in saving most or the contents below, but a greater portion of the waring apparel and bedding was up stairs and went with the house, which was totally destroyed. The fire is supposed to have caught from some flaw in the Chimney between the ceiling and roof. There was a small insurance. (R.C. Van Hoesen was Albertus's father and therefore my great-great-great grandfather)








April 10, 1879: Burt Van Hoesen is the happy pa of a boy. (Burt is Albertus and the "boy" is my great-grandfather Robert Lucky Van Hoesen)

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