Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Friday, May 26, 2017

#107--Memorial Day and the McKees, Richards, and Hannahs

When I think about Memorial Day, I think about all my grandfathers who fought in various wars.  Andrew McKee, Abiathar Richards, Sr., Abiathar Richards, Jr. fought in the Revolutionary War, James Hannah in the War of 1812, and John M. Hannah and John Wesley Hannah in the Civil War.   Memorial Day honors those soldiers who died in war.  None of my grandfathers died in the war they fought in.  However, John M. Hannah, after he was discharged,  died of an illness contracted while he served with the Illinois 79th Regiment.

There are several traditions associated with Memorial Day.  Various groups place flags on the graves of veterans.  I appreciated that the Boy Scouts of Armstrong County Pennsylvania do that for Andrew McKee.

Communities have parades. I went to one several years ago where veterans marched, tanks were driven down the street, and many community groups paraded with their floats decorated in red, white, and blue.







 Since Memorial Day is considered to begin the summer season, many people celebrate with a picnic. I do not picnic, but I do like to go to Greenfield Village, where they have the Civil War Remembrance.  Reenactor soldiers camp out during the weekend, platoons march, and the calvary rides their horses.  Historians present information on topics from armaments, to clothings to medicine.












Monday, May 22, 2017

#106--The Richards and the Pins




While casting around for a topic for this blog, I decided that I wanted to see if Pinterest might be useful for my genealogy.  Pinterest describes itself as a “catalog of ideas”.  It works like this.  You set up a  bulletin board for something you are interested in and on it you pin images of those things .  You can search the internet for items or you can search Pinterest and re-pin items from other people’s boards. If you click on an image you can go back to the original web page.  I have several  Pinterest Boards—one for vintage shoes, a number for old postcards, and another for recipes.  I do have a board for Places in my Genealogy  It contains images related to the cities and states where my ancestors have lived.  

To get started with Pinterest, the first thing I did was to search it using the term Genealogy.  A variety of images came up.  More interesting, however, were the more specific search terms that appeared across the top—research,free, organizations, humor, etc.

I have an account with Ancestry.com and since I am a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the New York Bibliographic and Genealogical Society, I also use those sites.  I have used several sites that are free, e.g. Family Search.org, Find a Grave, etc.  So I decided to look at the pins that fell into the category of free sites.  Some provided free forms or templates, other free courses, and still others, free research trackers.  I decided that I would concentrate on those that allow you to search. I was particularly interested in pins that contained a listing of free research sites.  Here are the two lists that I found the most useful:




















From them, I selected three sites that I was not familiar with.  To see how well they worked, I decided that I would use the surname Richards and the location, Dedham, which is where they lived. Richards is one of my longest lines and one that I know a great deal about.

The first site I tried was Dead Fred.  It is a site that contains photographs of people and places.  You can post photos of your ancestors or you can post photos of people that you do not know in the hope that someone can identify them.  More importantly, you can search for your ancestors by surname.When I search for Richards, pictures did come up, just not any that were in my line. Nothing, however, came up for Dedham, Massachusetts where they lived.

I love libraries and books, so Open Library was the next site I explored.  Its goal is have "one web page for every book ever published".  When I search the genealogy section for the surname Richards, it returned the major book about the family, Morse’s The Descendants of Several Ancient Puritans, but not much else.  More successful was the search for books about Dedham.  .  When I searched for Dedham, there were 143 hits, ranging from town records, cemetery inscriptions, to books about families who lived in Dedham.  Some were available on line and others were not.

The third site I tried was Family Tree Magazine.  Like any magazine, it has a variety of different topics, e.g. blog, research tips, website of the day, etc.  There were indeed some free articles about  the Richards, just not any of mine, and several about Dedham. Some of the articles are free, and others require that you have a subscription.

I was pleased to see that Pinterest was indeed useful for my genealogy.  I plan on going back and looking at some of the other genealogy areas.  I will go back to the three free sites I visited.

Friday, May 12, 2017

#105--Happy Mother's Day


I wanted to do a blog on Mother's Day, but was not sure exactly what I wanted to do.  Rather than blog about one of the mother's in my family tree, I decided to post some pictures of some of my mothers.

This picture is part of my gallery wall.  It was taken by my grandfather.  From left to right is me, sitting on my mother's lap, then my grandmother and then my great grandmother.



This is my grandmother, also known as Nana



And my other grandmother, who I called Granny


Last is my great grandmother, Oma.

What a wonderful group of Mothers.  I miss them all every day.


Monday, May 8, 2017

#104--James Hannah and John M. Hannah--You Owe Me







My last blog was about what James Hannah had done for his son, William Hannah, and vice versa. When all was said and done, William was owed $23.93.  However, James Hannah had another son, John M. Hannah, my great great grandfather, who also did some things for his father.  Among the estate papers, is a single half sheet signed by John Hannah.  It is an accounting of what John claims he was owed by his father.  As luck would have it, it is rather dark, and somewhat difficult to read.  However, with the help of a magnifying glass, I was able to figure it out.

This is what it read:  For clearing 10 acres of land at $4.00 per acre--$40.00; For clearing 1 acres of land at $3.00 per acres--$3.00; For making 1400 nails at $.50 per 100--$7.00; For 3 bushels of wheat at $.50 per bushel--1.50.  For a of Total  $51.50.

I knew that the land in Brown County was very fertile.  It has not only underbrush, but also a significant number of trees.  I was interested in the different prices for clearing land, and got some insight from the History of Brown County.

 Depending on the size, trees were removed in two ways.  Trees less than 18 inches in diameter were cut down and the stumps removed. Large trees were left, but cut around the trunk with an axe.  That would kill the tree and when the tree died, it would fall and be removed.  Of course, the farmer had to plow around the standing trees.  The cost of removing the small trees were generally $10 per acre.  So I suspect that is what John did for his father.

The 1400 nails are interesting, especially when you consider that son, William, sold his father, three hundred and ninety feel of weather boarding plank.  Taken together, it makes one wonder if James Hannah with the assistance of his sons, was building a house.

So, I would like to ask James why he needed the nails.  What was he building?  I also would like to know when John M. cleared the land and why.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

#103—James Hannah—Debits and Credits to William Hannah





I have been analyzing and blogging about the estate papers of James Hannah. Most of the papers seemed pretty routine to me.  Bills from various people; for example, $10 from the attorney.   However, there were two that caught my attention.  They were from his sons, William and John and each was an accounting of the value of what each had done for his father and what he had done for them.  This week I am blogging about William, and next week will cover John.

William and his father had a long history of mutual assistance.  In 1819, James lent William $11.33 ¾.  That same year, James sold William six bushels and a half of corn at 40 cents a bushel for $2.60 and later that year did the same thing for $3.60.  On William’s behalf, it appears that he paid Jonathan Moore $6.00 for two days of hauling.  Two years later, in 1821, he sold him one and a half bushels of
corn for $.37 ½ and a year later, a half bushel for $.12 ½.  The total due James from William was $23.93.  I was interested to know who Jonathan Moore was so I check the History of Brown County, Ohio.  Jonathan Moore was an early settler in Brown County and the first to possess a team.  I cannot determine how he was related to Rachel Moore, William’s wife, but I suspect they were related.

William also provided some assistance to his father.  In 1818 and 1819, he sold his father the following items of clothing.  3 pairs of pantaloons, 2 regular shirts, 1 fine shirt, and a pair of socks for a total of $4.75.  I was interested to see that a regular shirt cost $.75, a fine one cost $.50.  In 1820 he sold him three hundred and ninety feel of weather boarding plank while in 1821, he worked 4 days cutting briars and 3 ½ days cutting honey.  The total for his work was $8.8125.

The balance due William was $10.57 ½.                                                                                    

If I could talk to both of them, I certainly would have some questions.   I am not sure what the assistance from James to William is all about, but I would guess that it was to help William get started in life.  William was about 22 at the time of the first assistance, recently married and with his first child.  From what I have read, corn was one of the primary crops in Brown County at that time.  However, to grow the corn, the land would need to be cleared.  So I would ask about that.  I am more
puzzled about the clothing that William supplied to his father.  James’s wife was still alive, and I would presume that she was able to make clothes.  I would like to know who made them and why.  The cutting of the briars and honey makes sense to me.  James was getting older, and that is hard work.  So I would ask if that is correct.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#102--James Hannah--What Did You Own?




Last week I blogged about how I found James Hannah’s estate papers in Brown County, Ohio.  In those papers are an inventory of his possessions along with the accounting of the auctions where they were sold.  Very often what a person owns will tell you about the person.  That was true of James.

I was pretty sure that like most people living in Brown County in the early 1800’s, James farmed.  That proved to be true.  According to his inventory, he owned both farm animals and equipment.  Listed were 1 mare, 1 colt, 2 cows, 2 calves, 1 heifer, and 11 sheep.  Equipment included 1 hoe, 1 scythe, 1 mattock, 1 axe handle, 1 hay fork, 2 ploughs, 1 shovel, 1 log chain, 2 augers, 1 saddle and 2 sets of horse gear, and 1 tree and cloves.  Not being familiar with farm equipment, I learned that a mattock is a combination of an axe and adz and a tree and cloves is used to hitch horses to a plough or wagon.

Not surprisingly, James owned household goods.  Included in the inventory were a chest, looking glass, ten gallon kettle with a handle, andirons, bedstead, stew pot, satchel, barrels and 5 chairs.  Also listed were a loom, 4 reeds and spools.

According to the appraisers, his goods were worth $137.42, however at auction they sold for $124.50.  The most valuable item was the mare, which sold for $34.50.

His widow, Nancy McKee Hannah, kept a colt, table, wheel, quilt wheel, small pot, bake oven, churn and real.  These were valued at $9.50.

 I was surprised by the loom, reeds and spools.  They are used for weaving and it makes me wonder if James in addition to farming did some weaving. I think if his wife was the weaver, they would not have been sold.  It is indeed possible that James was a weaver.  A letter I have (and I have learned not to trust the information too much) says that James’s family in Ireland were weavers and ran Hannah’s Bleaching Green.   Another mystery to be solved.

If I were able to talk to James, I would certainly ask him about the looms, etc. and if he used them.  I would also like to know what crops he grew.

Monday, April 3, 2017

#101--James Hannah—Looking for James in All the Wrong Places



            James Hannah is my 4th great grandfather.  For all my direct line ancestors, I like to have documentation of their births, marriages, and deaths.  While I have been pretty successful in doing that, I have not been able to find any documentation about James’s death.  I did, however, have a clue—a letter written in 1929 describing how when James Hannah came down the Ohio River from western Pennsylvania, he settled in Cincinnati.  Then when he died, the writer’s grandfather went to Cincinnati and brought James’s wife Nancy back to their home in Brown County, Ohio.  So when I was looking for documentation, I looked at death and cemetery records for Hamilton County and Cincinnati with no success.

           Last year I found a book entitled Brown County Court Records, 1818-1850 by Patricia Donaldson.  Most of the book listed those who died with a will, but in the back there was a listing of those who died intestate.  As I checked to see if there were any Hannahs listed, I was both surprised and delighted to find James Hannah.  The date of his death fit and the administrator, Joseph Mckee, made sense as Joseph was his son-in-law.

Last month I contacted the Probate Court in Brown County and was able to get all the documents in James’s file.  Once I looked at them, I knew that I had the correct James Hannah.  I learned a couple of lessons from this.  One is that no matter how convincing a memory of event is, the event may not be true.  In this case, I suspect the writer was thinking of another grandparent.  Second, when you cannot find a record, look in nearby counties.  Had I done that, I would have found those estate documents much sooner.


           Right now I am trying to make sense of about 50 pages of bills, receipts, inventories, etc.  Stay tuned for an analysis.