Category Archives: 52 Ancestors Challenge

Oldest Man in the County: Peter Kingery (52 Ancestors #16)

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There’s a cool thing about genealogy. Even when you have an ancestor who you discovered early on, you can still learn something new about them. Such is the case with Peter Kingery, my 4th-great-grandfather.

The theme for 52 Ancestors this week is “Live Long,” which made me curious about the oldest ancestor in my line, something I hadn’t explored before. Of those with birth and death dates that I’ve documented, it’s Peter Kingery. He died 16 May 1872 in Lawrence County, Ohio. So how old was ol’ Pete when he died?

Peter Kingery death record, Lawrence County, Ohio death record, volume 1.  Viewed on FamilySearch.org.

Peter Kingery death record, Lawrence County, Ohio death record, volume 1. Viewed on FamilySearch.org.

102 years, 2 months, 1 day.

Consider that for a moment. Peter Kingery was born before the American Revolution and died after the Civil War. Think of all of the history he saw, the history that he lived through.

His death notice in the Ironton Register described him as “…doubtless, the oldest person in the county.” And with that age came a lot of history.

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 15 Recap

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52ancestors-2015-15The optional theme this week was “How Do You Spell That?” There was no shortage of usual and hard-to-spell names!

Cheryl Biermann Hartley of My Search for the Past documented the numerous names assigned to her great-great-grandmother, all of which are hard to spell. Elizabeth Handler of From Maine to Kentucky raises a good point about variant spellings being a clue as to how the family pronounced the name.

I’ve long been a fan of Roberta Estes and her blog, DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy. Last week, Roberta wrote “Luremia Combs (c1740-c1820) and the Revolution on Her Doorstep (52 Ancestors #67).” I enjoyed reading not only about Luremia, but also Roberta’s research process. I think many of us will understand why Roberta said she was drawn like a moth to a flame to her ancestor’s land!

My 52 Ancestors post this week was about Laurestine U. Dinsmoor Debolt, sister-in-law to my 3rd-great-grandmother Matilda Debolt Skinner Crossen Brown McFillen. I’m guessing that Laurestine had to spell her name for people more than once in her life!

It’s Your Turn

Who did you write about last week? Leave a link to the post, along with the name and a little bit about the ancestor, in the comment below. While you’re here, take a look at the posts from Week 14. There are a lot of fun posts, including ones who followed the optional theme of “Favorite Photo.”

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Upcoming Optional Themes:

  • Week 16 (Apr 16 – 22) – Live Long
  • Week 17 (Apr 23 – 29) – Prosper
  • May themes

Remember, the optional weekly themes are just that — optional. Feel free to use them or not! The point of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks isn’t to follow the themes. The point is to write more about our ancestors. What you write about is up to you!

How Do You Spell That? Laurestine Dinsmoor Debolt (52 Ancestors #15)

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Hello-my-name-isNames go in and out of fashion. When I was in kindergarten, there were 3 Amys; we all sat together and drove the teacher crazy. But Amy isn’t a name you hear very often with children today. By the same token, I didn’t go to school with any Brittanys, Morgans, or Madisons.

Then there are names that have never been popular. Names like Calista and Esmerelda…. and this one from my family tree: Laurestine.

Laurestine U. Dinsmoor. (I don’t know what the U. stands for.) Seems like she got the short end of the stick when it came to names. Think of all of the possible ways to spell either name (and pronounce them, for that matter). Laurestine was born in Canada. Depending on the source, she was born in 1843, 1846, or 1853. (At least all of the records seem to agree that she was born in Canada.)

She became the second wife of Rezin (or Reason) Debolt on 12 October 1869 in Linn County, Missouri.1)Missouri, Marriages, 1750-1920,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V28G-KJ1 : accessed 15 April 2015), R. A. Debolt and Laurastine U. Dinsmoor, 12 Oct 1869; citing Linn, Missouri; FHL microfilm 1,009,871.

By 1870, Laurestine, Rezin, and Rezin’s children were living in Grundy County, Missouri.2)Rezin Debolt household, 1870 Federal census, Trenton Twp., Grundy Co., Missouri, p. 373, nos. 120/120.

Obituary of Laurestine Dinsmoor Debolt

San Bernardino County Sun, 7 January 1933, p. 12, Newspapers.com.

Despite what her Find A Grave memorial and several online trees say, she died in Los Angeles County, California on 31 December 1932.3)California, Death Index, 1905-1939, Ancestry.com. Digitized image of the California Death Index. (Find A Grave and the trees have her death date as 5 January 1933. My suspicion is the January date is her date of burial.)

Laurestine’s husband, Rezin/Reason Debolt, was the brother of my 3rd-great-grandmother Matilda Debolt Skinner Crossen Brown McFillen.

References   [ + ]

1. Missouri, Marriages, 1750-1920,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V28G-KJ1 : accessed 15 April 2015), R. A. Debolt and Laurastine U. Dinsmoor, 12 Oct 1869; citing Linn, Missouri; FHL microfilm 1,009,871.
2. Rezin Debolt household, 1870 Federal census, Trenton Twp., Grundy Co., Missouri, p. 373, nos. 120/120.
3. California, Death Index, 1905-1939, Ancestry.com. Digitized image of the California Death Index.

May 2015 Themes for 52 Ancestors

Posted in 52 Ancestors Challenge on by .

It’s hard to believe that in a few days we will begin the 5th month of the year. Is anyone else astonished how quickly this year is going?

For those of you who like to work ahead a little bit, here are the optional weekly themes for May 2015:

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Week 18 (April 30 – May 6) – Where There’s a Will: Do you have an ancestor who left an interesting will? Have you used a will to solve a problem? Or, what ancestor showed a lot of will in his or her actions?

Week 19 (May 7-13) – There’s a Way: What ancestor found a way out of a sticky situation? You might also think of this in terms of transportation or migration.

Week 20 (May 14-20) – Black Sheep: Each of us has an ancestor who was the troublemaker or the ne’er-do-well. This is their week.

Week 21 (May 21-27) – Military: This week, the United States will be observing Memorial Day. Do you have any military ancestors? Were any ancestors affected by the military or by war?

Week 22 (May 28 – June 3) – Commencement: Countless schools will be having their commencement ceremonies around this time. Think not only about school, but also about commencement meaning “a beginning.”

The weekly recaps will be posted on Thursdays; you can add your links to those posts when it’s time. I look forward to seeing your posts!

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 14 Recap

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52ancestors-2015-14Hard to believe we’re in Week 14 already!

With the week’s optional theme being “Favorite Photo,” I knew it would be an even more interesting week than usual. (And that’s saying something!)

Melody Lassalle of The Research Journal shared a photo of the 8 Pacheco brothers, taken circa 1905 in Kauai, Hawaii. (By the way, Melody, you weren’t the only one to ask how you were supposed to pick only one!) Amy Wood Kelly of Shaking My Family Tree showed Molsie Jane Talbert Litaker and gave a brief history of tintypes. Brenna G. of Green Family Archives posted a really cool photo of the Twin Doctors Green — neat photo from med school!

My contribution this week (also combining with Week 13, with a passing reference to her husband), was my great-grandmother Clara (Mason) Young: “Great-Grandma Young Wasn’t Always Old.” It’s one of my favorite photos, and it also got me to think about how our mind’s eye can warp our perceptions of people.

It’s Your Turn

Leave a comment with a link to your 52 Ancestors post from this week, along with the ancestor’s name and maybe a bit of context. Also take a look at the entries from Week 13. There are a lot of “different” posts there!

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Upcoming Themes:

  • Week 15 (Apr 9 – 15) – How Do You Spell That?
  • Week 16 (Apr 16 – 22) – Live Long
  • Week 17 (Apr 23 – 29) – Prosper

The April themes post has ideas for ways you might think about the optional weekly themes. The optional themes for May will be posted on April 15. (It’s definitely more fun than Tax Day!)

Great-Grandma Young Wasn’t Always Old (52 Ancestors 13 and 14)

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The mind’s eye can be like a funhouse mirror. You know that there’s a “normal” person standing there, but the reflection is twisted and turned into something not quite real. So it was in my mind’s eye with my great-grandmother Clara (Mason) Young.

Great-grandma Clara (Mason) Young and me. Photo taken in my grandparents' (Stanley and Adah Young Johnson) back yard.

Great-grandma Clara (Mason) Young and me. Photo taken in my grandparents’ (Stanley and Adah Young Johnson) back yard.

My family doesn’t have many ancestral photos. We’re pretty thin in that department until the 1960s when my dad started taking slides and Polaroids. Though I met Grandma Young, I don’t remember her; she died when I was 3. Growing up, there were lots of photos of her. In all of them, she was an old woman with thinning white hair who wore simple dresses. She was usually sitting and often surrounded by her great-grandchildren.

My young brain tried to fill in the gaps and used the information at hand. Great-grandmother + white hair + frail = OLD. When thinking of Grandma Young, my mind’s eye would fill her in as an old woman.

But there’s another photo of Grandma Young, one that sits on a shelf behind my desk. It’s from around 1903, when she married my great-grandfather Robert Young. In this photo, she is anything but old.

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.

Instead of a simple house dress, she’s wearing something stylish. She has a bow in her hair and a brooch on her blouse, Her eyes are big; her hair is thick. She looks determined, yet gentle.

She hadn’t yet experienced the birth of any of her 10 children… nor the loss of a 2-year-old son. She hadn’t yet seen her home swept away in the great flood of 1913. She hadn’t yet moved from town to town as her husband looked for work.

The mind’s eye can play tricks on us. It’s good to get a different view to get a clearer picture.

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 13 Recap

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52ancestors-2015-13Week 13! Thirteen isn’t usually seen as a lucky number, but I think there’s a lot to be said for Week 13. It marks the 1/4 mark in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge!

Eileen Souza of Old Bones Genealogy wrote about her black sheep relative William T. Meisberger, who gave a lesson on why you should look at out-of-town newspapers. Caroll Budny of Trace Your Genealogy wrote about “Frisky! Alex Rusenko and Nervous Nellie.” You’ll want to see what was written on Alex’s border crossing record. Elizabeth Handler of From Maine to Kentucky wrote about how differences between spouses might account for the many divorces of her grandfather Charles Pyle.

The optional theme in Week 13 was “Different.” You could say that I followed the theme by doing something different. I didn’t write about anyone in my family tree. I might “catch up” next week…  or I might not. Remember — this is supposed to be a “low stress” challenge :)

Your Turn

Who did you write about last week? Also, while you’re waiting for the Easter Bunny to show up, take a look at the great writing from Week 12.

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Upcoming Themes:

  • Week 14 (Apr 2 – 8) – Favorite Photo
  • Week 15 (Apr 9 – 15) – How Do You Spell That?
  • Week 16 (Apr 16 – 22) – Live Long
  • Week 17 (Apr 23 – 29) – Prosper

The April themes post has ideas for ways you might think about the optional weekly themes.

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 12 Recap

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52ancestors-2015-12March Madness is in full swing. If your bracket is like mine, let’s just say that there’s always next year. (I’ve long held a theory that genealogists like March Madness because the brackets look like ancestor charts.)

Hollie Ann Henke at Relativity wrote about Hugh Clark, her 4th-great-grandfather and fellow music lover. Andrea Kelleher of How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey told about her 3rd-great-grandfather Jacob Kerr and how she’s sorting out the wheres and whens of his life. (I love the use of Google Earth!) Colleen Greene of Colleen & Jeff’s Roots shared the reason why she’s beginning the search for her biological mother. (Colleen — we all wish you well as you start that journey.)

The optional theme this week was “Same.” I featured the only other Amy in my database: Amy Skinner, daughter of my 4th-great-grandparents Robert and Elizabeth (Spencer) Skinner. The post is almost more about her minister and how he provided insight into Amy’s life.

Your Turn

Who did you write about this past week? Leave a comment with a link to your post and the name and a bit about the ancestor. (Cousin bait!) Also, take a look at the posts from Week 11. Reading some of those might help you forget about how poorly your bracket is doing.

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Upcoming Themes:

  • Week 13 (Mar 26 – Apr 1) – Different
  • Week 14 (Apr 2 – 8) – Favorite Photo
  • Week 15 (Apr 9 – 15) – How Do You Spell That?
  • Week 16 (Apr 16 – 22) – Live Long
  • Week 17 (Apr 23 – 29) – Prosper

The April themes post has ideas for approaching the optional weekly themes.

How the Minister Gave Answers: Amy Skinner (52 Ancestors #12)

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It’s easy to focus solely on our relatives. After all, they’re the ones we’re trying to learn more about. However, sometimes we need to take a look at the others they associated with to get a better idea of their lives.

Amy Skinner was a daughter of my 4th-great-grandparents Robert and Elizabeth (Spencer) Skinner. She married William Yost in Perry County, Ohio on 18 January 1838.1)William Yost and Amy Skinner marriage, Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, FamilySearch.org; digitized image of Perry County, Ohio marriage volume 1, page 246. Amy died in Perry County on 29 December 18862)Perry County, Ohio Death Records, Volume 1 (Junction City, OH: Perry County Chapter, OGS, 1986), p. 423. Note: her FindAGrave memorial lists the year as 1888; I’m inclined to believe the death record. and is buried in the Lutheran Reformed Cemetery in Thornville.3)Amy Skinner Yost, memorial 127790110, FindAGrave.com.

Her burial in the Lutheran Reformed Cemetery caught my eye. The Skinners were from a long line of Baptists. Amy’s parents, Robert and Elizabeth, are both buried in the Hopewell Baptist Church Cemetery. Amy’s brother William married Matilda Debolt, the daughter of Baptist minister George Debolt. So where does this tie to the Lutheran Church come in?

I re-examined her marriage record. Amy and William were married by Charles Hinkel, Minister of the Gospel. Time to do a little digging on Charles.

William Yost and Amy Skinner marriage record, Perry County, Ohio marriage volume 1, page 246.

William Yost and Amy Skinner marriage record, Perry County, Ohio marriage volume 1, page 246.

History of Perry County, Ohio by Clement L. Martzolff states, “This church [the Lutheran Church at Somerset] and most of the other Lutheran Churches in the county was served by Rev. Chas. Hinkle who is buried in the old cemetery.”4)Clement L. Martzolff, History of Perry County, Ohio (by the author, 1902), p. 100. Available on Internet Archive. So Amy’s connection to the Lutheran Church goes back at least to her marriage to William Yost.

This split with her parents’ religion didn’t seem to alienate her from the family, at least not officially. Amy was mentioned in her father’s will with the bequest that the daughters “share and share alike.”5)FamilySearch.org, Ohio Probate Records, 1789-1996, Robert Skinner will, Perry County probate case 559; Perry County Probate Court, New Lexington, Ohio. We’ll likely never know if there was tension in the family because she married a Lutheran. But taking a look at the minister who married Amy and William gives a little bit of insight into Amy’s life.

References   [ + ]

1. William Yost and Amy Skinner marriage, Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, FamilySearch.org; digitized image of Perry County, Ohio marriage volume 1, page 246.
2. Perry County, Ohio Death Records, Volume 1 (Junction City, OH: Perry County Chapter, OGS, 1986), p. 423. Note: her FindAGrave memorial lists the year as 1888; I’m inclined to believe the death record.
3. Amy Skinner Yost, memorial 127790110, FindAGrave.com.
4. Clement L. Martzolff, History of Perry County, Ohio (by the author, 1902), p. 100. Available on Internet Archive.
5. FamilySearch.org, Ohio Probate Records, 1789-1996, Robert Skinner will, Perry County probate case 559; Perry County Probate Court, New Lexington, Ohio.

52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 11 Recap

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52ancestors-2015-11There was a lot of green in this week’s posts. That’s not surprising, considering the optional theme was “Luck of the Irish.”

Some of the many posts that stood out to me this week include: Cheryl Biermann Hartley of My Search for the Past wrote about the lucky McGaughey family Bible. Patricia Rohn of Shaking the Tree wrote about her great-grand uncle Amandus Logue who worked on construction of the Panama Canal. (Cool name and a cool photo!) Melissa Wiseheart of A Wise Heart’s Journey wrote about Zerilda Eleanora Rakestraw Springer, who she calls “almost a ghost.”

Another post that I’d like to highlight is by Roberta Estes of DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy. Roberta said that doing the 52 Ancestors challenge got her to thinking about how her research has progressed over the years… and how she has 11 things she’d do differently.

My contribution this week was James Orr, one of my many ancestors with rather fuzzy Irish origins. No Famine immigrants for me — my Irish were already in North America by 1800, which makes it a bit challenging. (As if Irish research weren’t already challenging enough!) Ironically, within just a few hours of posting that, Ann Lamb left a comment with clues on where I might be able to find him. Thank you, Ann! It goes to show that writing about your ancestors really can help your research.

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Upcoming Themes:

  • Week 12 (Mar 19 – 25) – Same
  • Week 13 (Mar 26 – Apr 1) – Different
  • April themes