52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 39 Recap

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52ancestors-week39Week 39. Let that number sink in for a moment. Its meaning might not be as obvious as “26″ was, but Week 39 is a milestone. We have now completed 3/4 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge!

Whether you’ve been doing it since the beginning or just started…  Whether you’ve done 39 posts or have missed a few weeks…  Give yourself a hand! No matter where you are in the Challenge, here’s what I have to say:

Anything you’ve written is more than what you had before you started!

My contribution this past week was my troublemaker great-great-grandmother Ann Stephens Johnson.

Leave a link to your post in the comments below. (Reminder: leave a link to that post, not your blog in general.) Also, there was lots of good reading from Week 38 – make sure you check that out!

Happy blogging!

We are 3/4 of the way there!

We are 3/4 of the way there!

That Little Troublemaker: Ann Stephens Johnson (52 Ancestors #28)

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I wrote recently about the wedding of my 3rd-great-grandparents David Stephens (Stevens) and Rebecca Dickinson in Robeson Monthly Meeting. They were married 22 May 1829. Just a few weeks later on 10 July, David and Rebecca requested a certificate of removal to Short Creek Monthly Meeting in Ohio. They eventually ended up in Deerfield Monthly Meeting in Morgan County, Ohio.

Here is where some of my notions that I formed as a young genealogist (way back in the day) had to be challenged. For some reason, I never considered David and Rebecca following their Quaker faith in Ohio. Perhaps it was because at least one of their children (my great-great-grandmother Ann) had married a non-Quaker. I just never followed up on it. (Remember, I was a young genealogist when I originally discovered they were even Quakers.)

So off I went to one of the mainstays of Quaker research, William Wade Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. As I (now) expected, I found David and Rebecca’s admittance to the Deerfield Monthly Meeting on 13 January 1831. It also lists the family register in Deerfield MM for David, Rebecca, and their six children.

Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia is great in that it covers not only the vital records, but also indexes the monthly meeting minutes, which is where you find the requests for certificates of removal and various disciplinary actions. That’s when I noticed it…

Ancestry.com. U.S., Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol I–VI, 1607–1943 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Hinshaw, William Wade, et al., compilers. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. 6 vols. 1936–1950. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991–1994.

Ancestry.com. U.S., Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol I–VI, 1607–1943 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Hinshaw, William Wade, et al., compilers. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. 6 vols. 1936–1950. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991–1994. Citing vol. IV, p. 1078.

 1850, 3, 14. [14 March 1850] Ann dis disunity

My great-great-grandmother had been kicked out of the Quakers.

“Dis disunity” is Hinshaw’s way of saying that she was disowned (kicked out) for disunity. Unfortunately, Hinshaw didn’t bother to say what the disunity was. Was 17-year-old Ann speaking out of turn after the meeting had reached a consensus? Had she run afoul of some of the mores of the group and refused to acknowledge her wrongdoing?

In fairness, her brother Elwood and sister Elizabeth were also kicked out of the Quakers, though both of them were for “marrying contrary to discipline.” (In other words, they married non-Quakers.) This wasn’t Ann’s offense. Hers was “disunity,” plus this was a full three years before she married Eber Johnson.

I won’t know what Ann’s offense was until I can track down the Deercreek Monthly Meeting minutes. All I know right now is that whatever it was, it was enough to get Ann kicked out of the Quakers. That little troublemaker…

Ann Stephens/Stevens Johnson was born in Morgan County, Ohio 15 March 1833 and died in Lawrence County, Ohio 9 June 1923.

52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 38 Recap

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52ancestors-week38Wasn’t the Week 37 recap just yesterday? I really think the year speeds up the closer we get to the end. Someone told me today that there are only 14 Saturdays until Christmas. Turns out it’s only 13. (Not to brag, but I have started my Christmas shopping already.)

This week, I posted the story of Robert Andrew Young — Great-grandpa got inked!

Looking forward to the new 52 Ancestors posts that everyone leaves in the comments. Don’t forget to take a look at the posts from Week 37!

Happy reading :)

Great-Grandpa Was Inked! (Robert Young – 52 Ancestors #27)

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Clara (Mason) and Robert Andrew Young. We believe this photo was taken around the time of their wedding in 1903.

Clara (Mason) and Robert Andrew Young. We believe this photo was taken around the time of their wedding in 1903.

My great-grandfather Robert Andrew Young was a hard-working, responsible man. He was the only surviving child of Thomas and Ella (Steele) Young; his two younger sisters died in childhood.

You get a sense of his nature when you read Ella’s Civil War widow’s pension. Robert and his wife Clara took care of Ella in her final days. Robert wrote this letter to his congressman on 18 Apr 1940:

My mother was a soldiers widow… She kept her own house until two years before her death. Doctor’s bills, fuel bills and necessaries of life soon eats up 40 dollars [Ella's monthly pension], so when she died there was $116 doctor’s bill. The last 14 months she lived she was helpless and had to be cared for like a baby. My wife took the best of care of her… I am a poor man, have raised a big family and trying to pay for a little farm. I am not able to meet these bills but I am the only child and am responsible for all mother’s debts. The New Deal might be O.K. but I prefer a square deal…

My dad remembers his Grandpa Young as hard-working and fairly no-nonsense. Once when Dad and his siblings were visiting their Grandpa and Grandma Young in rural Ross County, they came across a big Mason jar filled with some clear liquid tucked in a tree in the woods. This seemed pretty strange to the kids, so they took it back to their Grandpa.

“Where did you find this?”

“Tucked in a tree in the woods.”

“Which tree?”

As Dad said, there were miles and miles of trees surrounding their house and they had explored all day. How were they to know which tree it was?! Grandpa Young was concerned that the moonshiner would find that his stash was gone and come looking for whoever took it. Since they couldn’t return it, Grandpa Young went out back and without saying a word, poured the whole jar of moonshine on the ground.

Recently, Ancestry updated its collection of World War II Draft Registration Cards. (They added Ohio! Yay!) What is online is the 1942 Fourth Registration, often called “The Old Man Registration,” as it included men born on or between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897. Robert fits in this category.

It’s tempting to skip a record like this when you know so much about the person already, but I’m a firm believer that you never know what you might find. Yes, I found Robert’s draft registration right where I expected it: Granville, Licking County, Ohio. What I didn’t expect was on the back of the card:

Page 2 of Robert A. Young's draft registration card. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, Ancestry.com.

Page 2 of Robert A. Young’s draft registration card. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, Ancestry.com.

Tattoo on left forearm?! Sure, today everyone and their brother (and sister) have ink, but back in the day, that was pretty much reserved to soldiers and sailors. Robert was neither.

I called Dad and asked him about his Grandpa Young’s tattoo. Did he remember it? What was it?

“I didn’t know he had one. Being a farmer, he kept his sleeves rolled down all the time.”

Robert Young, ever the responsible one. Did he keep his sleeves rolled down to avoid sunburn? Did he keep them rolled down to hide his tattoo from his neighbors and friends (and maybe his wife)? I don’t know. I do know this:

  1. Never skip a record just because you think you know what it’s going to say.
  2. Always go to the next image when you’re looking at digital images. This wonderful little gem of information was on the back of the card.

Robert Andrew Young died 8 July 1953 in Newark, Licking County, Ohio. He is buried next to his wife Clara in Wilson Cemetery.

Robert and Clara Young's grave, Wilson Cemetery, Licking County, Ohio. Photo by Amy Crow, 13 September 2014.

Robert and Clara Young’s grave, Wilson Cemetery, Licking County, Ohio. Photo by Amy Crow, 13 September 2014.

52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 37 Recap

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52ancestors-week37The air is definitely cooler and the days are noticeably shorter. But that hasn’t stopped people from continuing the 52 Ancestors Challenge!

And… brace yourself…  I actually blogged about two of my ancestors last week. Read about my third-great-grandparents David Stephen(s) and Rebecca Dickinson and how I attended their wedding.

Add a link to your 52 Ancestors post from last week in the comments below. And be sure to check out the wonderful posts from Week 36!

Below Ground for the Battle of Britain

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September 15 is Battle of Britain Day, commemorating the day in September 1940 when it became clear that England would be victorious against Germany in the skies over London. In June, I had the opportunity to go to the bunker where the Royal Air Force command directed the battle and Winston Churchill chewed his cigar for several hours, watching…  waiting…

I think America, as a whole, doesn’t quite appreciate all that England went through in the early days of World War II. By the time the United States entered the war in December 1941, England had already been at war with Germany for almost a year and a half. In May and June 1940, Germany had taken Belgium, Holland, and France — and then turned its sights on England.

After weeks of nighttime bombing, it became clear on 15 September that Germany was launching an all-out attack on England. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that England would win. Germany had more planes (though fewer pilots) and their planes were technologically more advanced the British fleet. And Germany was on a roll…

Churchill joined his commanders in a bunker outside of London. (The bunker is now surrounded by a middle-class subdivision.) Smoking wasn’t allowed. An officer told Churchill that he would not be able to light his iconic cigar. Higher-ranking officers were astounded that he said this. Churchill took it in stride. For the next several hours, he chewed — but did not light — his cigar.

Entrance to the Battle of Britain bunker. Photo by Amy Crow, 10 June 2014.

Entrance to the Battle of Britain bunker. Photo by Amy Crow, 10 June 2014.

Status board in the command center. This portion shows the Biggin Hill airfield. Photo by Amy Crow, 10 June 2014.

Status board in the command center. This portion shows the Biggin Hill airfield. Photo by Amy Crow, 10 June 2014.

Going down the stairs, you get a sense of claustrophobia. Everything is very close. From the command center, Churchill and his commanders could see the status of every squadron. The status board listed each unit in the airfields under this command; the lights indicated the units status — out of commission, preparing, scrambling, or in the air.

This portion of the status board shows the Biggin Hill air field and the status of each of its 4 squadrons.

Notice the clock in the lower left of the photo. The color coding of each 5 minute increment was a way that they could relay how current the information on the positions of the aircraft was. How did they track the plane while they were in the air? Radar and several skilled radar operators and map technicians.

You know that scene in numerous WWII movies where the women wearing headsets push model planes around on a table-top map? That’s what they did in the bunker. Radar operators would track the position of each plane — and try to filter out for things like flocks of geese — and relay the position to the map women. The women, in turn would then use the color code system so the commanders could see how current the position was. For example, if the time right now was in the blue, the commanders knew that anything with yellow was 5 minutes old and anything red was 10 minutes old. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a rather ingenious system.

Close-up of the planes used on the map in the plotting room. Photo by Amy Crow, 10 June 2014.

Close-up of the planes used on the map in the plotting room. Photo by Amy Crow, 10 June 2014.

After the battle was over on 15 September, Churchill emerged from the bunker. They were exhausted, but relieved that they were victorious. It was here that Churchill first said the famous quote that he’d re-use the next day in his speech to the British people:

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Standing in the Battle of Britain bunker was quite an experience. You could almost hear the voices of the commanders and the servicemen and women. You could almost feel the tension. To visit, you need to make arrangements ahead of time, but it is well worth the visit.

I got to hold one of the plane pushers. It was pretty cool! Photo by Rachel Crow, 10 June 2014.

I got to hold one of the plane pushers. It was pretty cool! Photo by Rachel Crow, 10 June 2014.

View from the command center. Photo by Amy Crow, 10 June 2014.

View from the command center. Photo by Amy Crow, 10 June 2014.

Hurricane outside the Battle of Britain bunker. This is the kind of plane that won the battle. Photo by Amy Crow, 10 June 2014.

Hurricane outside the Battle of Britain bunker. This is the kind of plane that won the battle. Photo by Amy Crow, 10 June 2014.

How I Attended My 3rd-Great-Grandparents’ Wedding: (Stevens/Dickinson 52 Ancestors #25-26)

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They say that genealogy connects us with the past, and I firmly believe that to be true. There are ancestors to whom I feel especially connected. But when I found the marriage record of my third-great-grandparents David Steven(s) and Rebecca S. Dickinson, I felt like I had stepped into a time machine and was at their wedding.

David and Rebecca were both Quakers. I had seen references to their marriage in the Robeson Monthly Meeting in Berks County, Pennsylvania before, but had never seen the record until recently. Many of my other ancestors’ Quaker marriages have been documented in in the certificates of removal, such as when Rebecca’s father, Nathaniel Dickinson, left the Exeter Monthly Meeting to marry Rachel Moore of the Sadsbury Monthly Meeting. But the marriage record itself is truly incredible. I’ll let David and Rebecca’s marriage record speak for itself:

Whereas David Stephen of Robeson Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, son of Samuel Stephen, late of the same place, deceased, and Elizabeth his wife, and Rebecca S. Dickinson daughter of Nathaniel Dickinson of the aforesaid place, and Rachel his wife, deceased, having declared their intentions of marriage with each other, before a Monthly Meeting of the religious society of Friends, held at Robeson aforesaid, and having consent of surviving parents their said proposal of marriage was allowed of by the said meeting.

Now these are to certify, that for the full accomplishment of their said intentions, this twenty-second day of the fifth month in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty nine, they, the said David Stephen and Rebecca S. Dickinson appeared in a public meeting of the said people held at Robeson aforesaid; and they the said David Stephen taking the said Rebecca S. Dickinson by the hand, did, on this solemn occasion openly declare, that he took her the said Rebecca S. Dickinson to be his wife, promising with divine asistance [sic] to be unto her a loving and faithful Husband until death should seperate [sic] them; and then, in the same assembly, the said Rebecca S. Dickinson, did in the like manner declare, that she took him the said David Stephen to be her husband, promising with divine assistance to be unto him a loving and faithful Wife until death should separate them.

And Moreover, they, the said David Stephen and Rebecca S. Dickinson (she according to the custom of marriage assuming the name of her husband) did as a further confirmation thereof, then and there to these presents set their hands.

/ss David Stephen
Rebecca S. Stephen

David Steven and Rebecca S. Dickinson marriage record (page 1). From Marriages, 1791-1864, Robeson Monthly Meeting, Berks County, Pennsylvania. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1944, Ancestry.com.

David Steven and Rebecca S. Dickinson marriage record (page 1). From Marriages, 1791-1864, Robeson Monthly Meeting, Berks County, Pennsylvania. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1944, Ancestry.com.

Following that are the names of the 61 people who were in attendance at David and Rebecca’s wedding.

David Steven and Rebecca S. Dickinson marriage record (page 2). From Marriages, 1791-1864, Robeson Monthly Meeting, Berks County, Pennsylvania. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1944, Ancestry.com.

David Steven and Rebecca S. Dickinson marriage record (page 2). From Marriages, 1791-1864, Robeson Monthly Meeting, Berks County, Pennsylvania. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1944, Ancestry.com.

I’m happy whenever I can find the marriage record of any of my ancestors. But this particular marriage record makes me feel like I was actually at the wedding.

David and Rebecca eventually moved from Berks County, Pennsylvania to Morgan County, Ohio. Their children include: William, my great-great grandmother Ann (wife of Eber Johnson), Elizabeth, Elwood, Lydia, Rachel, and Deborah. David Stephen(s) died 15 March 1865; Rebecca died 27 June 1874.

52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 36 Recap

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52ancestors-week36Finally starting to feel a bit of relief from the summer heat and humidity. There’s also the slightest hint of fall colors in leaves. Have you thought about who you’ll feature in your 52 Ancestors posts this fall?

A lot of people played “catch up” last week. Be sure to check out the Week 35 recap for all of those great posts.

Now, let the Week 36 recap begin!

52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 35 Recap

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52ancestors-week35Last week, I attended the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in San Antonio. It’s always good to see old friends, make some new ones, and talk genealogy. If you’ve never been to a genealogy conference, I urge you to go to one. They are invigorating! Can’t make it to one of the national ones, like FGS, NGS, or RootsTech? Check out the conference held by your state genealogical society. Even if you don’t have ancestors in the state where you live, you’ll learn all sorts of things that will help you with your research. Plus, you’ll get to spend time talking with people who understand the Genealogy Happy Dance.

Now it’s time for Week 35 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Leave the link to your latest post in the comments below. (Be sure to include your ancestor’s name so others can find you!)

While you’re here, check out the great posts from Week 34!

52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 34 Recap

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52ancestors-week34Howdy from Texas! I’m at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in San Antonio. I hope to see a lot of you here this week!

Before you head out to the wonderful sessions (and food!) in San Antonio, do two things:

  1. Leave a comment below with the link to the 52 Ancestors post you did this week
  2. Check out the great posts that were done last week

Happy reading!