Tag Archives: 52ancestors

Isaac and Margaret (Morrison) McKitrick: 52 Ancestors #23 and 24

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I had originally set this to be two separate posts that would publish while I was gone. But since I forgot to actually schedule them, I’ve opted to combine these into one post. (I hate it when computers do what I tell them to rather that what I want them to do.) Without further ado, let me introduce you to one set of my 3rd-great-grandparents.

Isaac McKitrick was born in 1838, likely in Belmont County, Ohio, and was the son of John and Mary (Vaughn) McKitrick. Isaac was of the right age to be in the Civil War, but I have yet to find any service for him. (Still looking!)

On 21 October 1860, he married Margaret Morrison, daughter of John Morrison. Together, Isaac and Margaret had 10 children: Elmer, John, Lavada Jane (my 2nd-great-grandmother), Charles, William, Henry, Jacob, Margaret, Susan (“Susie”), and Mary.

Isaac died 26 March 1920 in Elyria, Ohio. Margaret died  14 April 1924 in Detroit, Michigan. Both are buried in Ridgelawn Cemetery in Elyria.

Isaac and Margaret (Morrison) McKitrick with their daughter Susie.

Isaac and Margaret (Morrison) McKitrick with their daughter Susie.

Abisha Danison: I Just Love the Name (52 Ancestors #22)

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“A is for Abisha.” Not something you typically read in children’s alphabet books.

Sometimes, you come across an ancestor whose name just seems neat. Abisha Danison, my 3rd-great-grandfather, is one of those ancestors for me.

There are a few records that possibly shed light on the rather unusual name. He is occasionally listed as “Abijah.” (If you say it out loud, you can hear how Abijah and Abisha could be interchanged, especially if you use a softer “J.”) There are several Abijahs in the Old Testament. I’m going to go out on a limb and say my Abisha was more likely named for the king of Judah than for the wife of King Ahaz. (Then again, maybe my ancestors were progressive and didn’t buy into gender-specific names.)

Abisha (my ancestor, not the king of Judah) was born in Maryland 14 November 1791. In 1816, he married Mary “Polly” Deffenbaugh. By 1820, they were living in Hopewell Township, Perry County, Ohio, where he and Mary lived for the rest of their lives.

Abisha and Mary had nine children:

  • Upton
  • Ellen
  • Matilda
  • David
  • Leonhard
  • Charlotte (my great-great-grandmother)
  • Harriett
  • Abisha, Jr.
  • Mary Ann

Abisha Danison died 16 May 1868 and is buried in the Danison Cemetery in Hopewell Township.


  • Abisha Dannison household, 1820 U.S. census, Hopewell Township, Perry County, Ohio, page 8.
  • Dodd, Jordan, Liahona Research, comp.. Maryland Marriages, 1655-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
  • Perry County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society, Perry County, Ohio Hopewell and Madison Township Cemeteries (by the Chapter, Junction City, O H, 1989), 9.
  • Wikipedia, “Abijah,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abijah, accessed 3 June 2014.

Margaret Priscilla Kingery: A Lesson in Names (52 Ancestors #21)

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Last week, I talked about my great-grandfather Linton Alfred Johnson. This week, I’d like to introduce you to his wife, my great-grandmother Margaret Priscilla Kingery.

There’s a lot I could say about Margaret (or Maggie, as she was called). But because it’s late on Tuesday night and I don’t want to break my streak of posting to the 52 Ancestors challenge in a somewhat timely manner, I’ll share just the basics.

Maggie was born 19 December 1871 in Lawrence County, Ohio to John Peter and Elizabeth Jane (Murnahan) Kingery. She and Linton married 11 June 1893, also in Lawrence County.

The 1940 census shows her living in Ross County, Ohio with her daughter and son-in-law, Rufus and Orpha Turner. (Warning: Genealogy tip coming up!) When you’re working with a common name — like “Margaret Johnson” — you need to be careful that you’re not combining two people of the same name. You do this by (1) connecting your person with others and (2) looking at all of the records you can.

Let’s say that when I found this Margaret Johnson in the 1940 census, I didn’t know she had a daughter named Orpha. How could I be sure that this Margaret was my Margaret? I could look for her with Linton and see who their children are. For example, the 1920 census lists Margaret with husband Linton and daughter Orpha. Looking at other records, I find Margaret listed in the 1940 Chillicothe, Ohio directory. (Chillicothe is in Ross County, which is where she was in the 1940 census.) This record leaves no doubt that this is the right one:

1940 Chillicothe, Ohio City Directory.

1940 Chillicothe, Ohio City Directory.

Translating from “directory-ese”: Margaret P. Johnson, widow of Linton A., residing with Rufus M. Turner.

Maggie died 6 December 1948 in Columbus, Ohio and is buried in Locust Grove Cemetery in Lawrence County.

Linton and Margaret Priscilla (Kingery) Johnson.

Linton and Margaret Priscilla (Kingery) Johnson.

52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 16 Recap

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52ancestors-week16Ok, now that you’ve had a chance to come down from the sugar rush from all of those Peeps and chocolate bunnies, take some time to read some great genealogy.

Marian Burk Wood tells about her ancestor Minnie Farkas tossing her engagement ring. Lizf shares a story of her great-aunt, a college student and money manager! Jenna shares stories of her bachelor uncle Paul and why she thinks it’s important to remember the relatives who never had children.

I have to bring to your attention “Remembering Grandpa” by Brian Zalewski. It’s not a 52 Ancestors post, but it beautifully describes why so many of us do what we do.

My contribution this week was about my 4th-great-grandfather John Hibbs of present-day Monongalia County, West Virginia — an ancestor I don’t know as well as I thought I did.

I Don’t Really Know You: John Hibbs of West Virginia (52 Ancestors #16)

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question-markGenealogy is journey and an evolution. The further we go along the path of discovering our ancestors, the better our skills become. (Hopefully!) We learn about more types of sources and we evaluate better. Unfortunately, it seems that we apply our new-found skills to the ancestors we are currently working on. How often do we go back and look at the ancestors we researched in the “early days” of climbing the family tree?

That’s what I just did with my 4th-great-grandfather John Hibbs. Ouch. Turns out that most of the facts I “know” about him come from a county history biography of his son Elmus, a handful of handwritten census abstracts, and a photocopy of a marriage record. Not exactly the stuff of thorough research.

What I Think I Know About John Hibbs (Subject to Revision)

  • Born 17 Aug 1805
  • Married Jane Amos, daughter of Stephen Amos, deceased, 31 March 1825 in Monongalia County, Virginia
  • Married Mrs. Rebecca (Brumage) Ice
  • Married Margaret, daughter of Oliver Nay
  • Lived in Marion County, West Virginia in 1870 and 1880
  • Died 5 June 1886
  • Was the father of Martha, wife of Philip Mason


  • Photocopy of the marriage bond of John Hibbs and Jacob Hibbs, Jr. for John’s marriage to Jane Amos, 25 March 1825. Source unknown. (Judging from the way it was folded, I think I got this in the mail. Yeah, that’s a great source.)
  • Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Monongalia, Marion and Taylor Counties, West Virginia (Philadelphia: Rush, West, & Co., 1895), p. 204.
  • Handwritten abstract of 1870 census for John Hibbs household, Paw Paw District, Marion County, West Virginia, dwelling 212, family 213.
  • Printed abstract of 1880 census for E. H. Hibbs household, Pawpaw, Marion County, West Virginia. John Hibbs listed as “other” relation. [For you old-timers out there, this was a printout from the old FamilySearch 1880 CDs. Remember those?!]
  • Random family group sheets from Thomas Hess, dated 1993.


I really need to revisit John Hibbs.

John Johnson. Yes, really. (52 Ancestors #14)

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canada-flagJohn Johnson. Yes, my 3rd-great grandfather’s name was John Johnson.

A few facts about John:

  • Born circa 1794 in Upper Canada
  • Arrived in Buffalo, New York in 1817
  • Declared his declaration to be naturalized in Morgan County, Ohio in June 1837
  • Naturalized in Morgan County, Ohio in October 1840
  • Lived in Bloom Township, Morgan County, Ohio in 1850
  • Died 16 February 1851 and is buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Bristol Township, Morgan County

I wonder if John appreciated how common his name was. His children were Juliett, Uthama, Enoch, Elizabeth, Ezra, Eber, Eliza, John, Margaret, Jeremiah, and Sarah Ann. (Frankly, I’m thankful that I descend from Eber. It’s easier to research Eber Johnson than John or Sarah!)


  • Genealogical Extracts from Naturalization Records of Morgan County, Ohio, (n.p.: Morgan County Genealogical Society, 1981), p. 23.
  • John Johnson household, 1850 federal census (population), Bloom Township, Morgan County, Ohio, page 102B.
  • John Johnson tombstone, Mt. Zion Cemetery, Bristol Township, Morgan County, Ohio.

A Quick Look at Mary Deffenbaugh Danison (1796-1888), 52 Ancestors #10

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I’m going to admit up front that this is a very quick look at my 3rd-great-grandmother Mary Deffenbaugh Danison. But I thought it might be bad form to miss a week in my own challenge…

Mary Deffenbaugh was born 6 May 1796 in Maryland. She married Abisha Danison (don’t you love that name?!) on 8 February 1816 in Allegany County, Maryland. By 1820, Mary and Abisha were living in Hopewell Township, Perry County, Ohio.

Mary died 20 July 1888 and is buried in the Danison Family Cemetery in Hopewell Township.

Clearly, I need to do more research on Mary.


  • Abisha Danison household, 1820 Federal census (population schedule), Hopewell Township, Perry County, Ohio, unpaginated (page 3 of the Hopewell Township section).
  • Dodd, Jordan, Liahona Research, comp.. Maryland Marriages, 1667-1899 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.
  • Perry County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society, Perry County, Ohio, Hopewell and Madison Township Cemeteries (Junction City, OH: by the Chapter, 1989), p. 9.

The Family Scattered, But He Stayed Still: George Skinner, 1841-1920 (52 Ancestors #8)

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If you were expecting the tale of my second ancestor who died a fiery death, you might be disappointed. (How’s that for an intro?!) I was sick most of last week and couldn’t complete the research that I wanted to devote to it. So instead, I present to you my great-great-grandfather, George Austin Skinner.

George was born in Perry County, Ohio in 1841, one of nine children born to William Harrison and Matilda (Debolt) Skinner. What has fascinated me about George is that he never moved away from Perry County. That by itself isn’t extraordinary, until you put into context with the rest of his family.

His father William died in 1850, which left Matilda to raise the youngest seven children. (George’s brother Marian was just 11 months old at the time of William’s death.) By the 1860 census, the family had scattered. Matilda (twice-remarried) was living with her daughter Amaretta and her husband in Jay County, Indiana. George’s brothers Robert, William, and possibly John Rezin were also in Jay County. His brother Stephen was in Porter County, Indiana. Brother Marian is unaccounted for (so far).

Why did only George stay behind in Perry County? Even his grandfather George Debolt had moved on to Jay County.

For reasons yet unknown, George did stay behind. His descendants are grateful he did, because it was in Perry County that he met and married Susan Orr. They had 11 children, including my great-grandmother Clara (Skinner) Starkey.

George died in Thorn Township, Perry County, Ohio on 28 March 1920. He is buried in Zion Ridge Cemetery.

Came to a Fiery End: John Ramsey, 1860-1941 (52 Ancestors #7)

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John Ramsey (1860-1941), undated photo.

John Ramsey (1860-1941), undated photo.

John Ramsey, my great-grandfather, was a farmer all his life. It was working the land that eventually claimed his life.

John was born in Perry County, Ohio in 1860, the son of Samuel and Charlotte (Danison) Ramsey. In 1887, he married Melzena Kelly. John and Melzena had a tough life. They lost at least four children before their daughter Carrie was born in 1895; they would lose six children in all before 1900.

When Melzena died at the age of 49, John was left to care for four children, ranging in age from 6 to 16. (Ralph, my grandfather, was the 6-year-old.) Surprisingly, John never remarried.

John’s son Luke never married; he lived at home until John’s death. My mom remembers the front room at her Grandpa Ramsey’s house. It had a wood stove and a chair on either side — one for her grandpa and one for Uncle Luke. She also remembers her grandpa chewing tobacco and spitting into the fire. (Eww.)

The Somerset (Ohio) Press, Thursday, 10 April 1941, page 1.

The Somerset (Ohio) Press, Thursday, 10 April 1941, page 1.

Tuesday morning, 8 April 1941, John went to one of his fields to burn off some brush. It isn’t known if he had a heart attack and collapsed or if the fire turned on him and he was overcome by smoke. In either case, he collapsed and was burned “beyond recognition.” He was discovered later that afternoon by one of mom’s classmates.

He and Melzena are buried in Highland Cemetery in Glenford.

NOTE: John Ramsey isn’t my only ancestor to meet with a fiery end. Next week, I’ll discuss my ancestor John McClelland, who participated in the ill-fated Crawford Campaign.


Ella (Steele) Young, The Original Groupie? (52 Ancestors #5)

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Ella (Steele) and Thomas Andrew Young, Washington County, Ohio, circa 1910.

Ella (Steele) and Thomas Andrew Young, Washington County, Ohio, circa 1910.

You might remember the man in the photo from a previous 52 Ancestors post. I suspect that Thomas Andrew Young, my great-great grandfather, was an original member of ZZ Top. If he was, does that make the woman in the photo — his wife, Ella Steele Young — the original groupie? (Maybe I shouldn’t continue this analogy much further!)

Ella, the daughter of James and Mary (Belt) Steele, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1855. The Steeles moved to Washington County, Ohio sometime before 1880. (More likely before 1879, as Ella and Thomas were married there 10 August 1879.)

If you look at just the 1910 census for Ella, you would get an incomplete (and inaccurate) picture of her life. According to it, she was the mother of 0 children, 0 of whom were living. In reality, she was the mother of 3, only 1 of whom was still living in 1910:

  • Robert Andrew, born 1880, died 1953. (I’m quite thankful he lived; he’s my great-grandfather!)
  • Mary Elizabeth, born and died 1885
  • Clara Adah, born 1893, died 1894

Ella M. (Steele) Young died in Licking County, Ohio (where her son Robert lived) 5 November 1937. She is buried in Lynch Cemetery in Washington County with her husband Thomas.


  • Washington County, Ohio birth and death records.
  • Young, Ella M. death certificate, certificate 70109 (Ohio, 1937), Licking County, Ohio, downloaded from FamilySearch.org.
  • Young, Thomas, 1910 U.S. census, Fearing Twp, Washington Co, Ohio, page 5A.
  • Young, Thomas A. Civil War pension file application 1122569, certificate 1000598.
  • Young, Thomas A. and Ella M. Steele marriage record, vol. 6, entry #5819, Washington County, Ohio marriage records.