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.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

#112--Abrahan Newell, Jr, Has a Lot of Candles on His Birthday Cake

I had never really thought about who was the oldest person in my genealogy, but the challenge for this week is longevity.  To do this I first had to figure out how old people were when they died.  Fortunately Family Tree Maker did that for me.  Out of the four people who reached the age of 100, I picked Abraham Newell, Jr, because he is most closely related to me.  He is my 7th great uncle. 

Abraham Newell was born in 1626 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England.  His parents were Abraham and Francis (Foote) Newell.  At the ae of 8, Abraham came to Massachusetts on the ship Lyon with his parents and five brothers and sisters.  They family settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
On February 18, 1651, Abraham Married Susanna Rand in Roxbury.  They had 12 children: Joseph Newell 1651–1651; Abraham Newell 1654–1726; Susanna Newell 1656–1729; Joseph Newell 1658–1718; Mary Newell1661–; Thomas Newell 1663–1674; Elizabeth Newell 1666–1683; Rebecca Newell 1667–;Ruth 1 Newell 669–; John Newell 1672–1673; Robert Newell 1674–1741; Thomas Newell 1675–1675.

Despite my best efforts I could not find much on Abraham at all.  He does not appear in the History of Roxbury or in the Church Records.  The only mention of him I could find was in his father’s will.  In that will, he states that he has given his son, Abraham several parcels of land and 20 pounds at his marriage and that that shall be considered his double portion of the land owned by his father.  Further, that his wife shall be able to live with any of her children that she wants to, but that Abraham should pay twice what his brothers pay for her support.  Also, once his wife dies, Abraham shall “enjoy the nowle” by the hill near his house, that he build where his father’s house was burnt. 

Abraham Newell, Jr. died on October 9, 1726, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, at the impressive age of 100.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

#111--Louis Eitelbach--I Think I Will Have a Beer

The 52 Ancestors challenge for this week is a favorite picture.  Now those of you who know me know that I love old pictures and that I have a lot of them.   In fact, I have blogged about several of them before and this is one of my favorites.  So my problem for this challenge was to pick just one picture. 

I went through a box of pictures that I inherited from my grandfather.  This picture of my great grandfather, Louis Eitelbach, was the one that I finally selected.  What a fun picture.  There he is, all dressed up and sitting on a keg of beer! I love that he wearing a bow tie, pocket watch with chain, and what looks like a flower in his label.

I have no idea where or why the picture was taken.  I do know, however, that there was a large number of Germans living in Brooklyn, where Louis and his family lived and that they had a variety of clubs and activities.  I assume that this picture was taken at one of them. For more information about Louis, see my previous blog post:    The Picture on My Wall.

If I could talk to Louis, I would want to know where the picture was taken and what was happening.  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

#110--James Hannah's New Start

The 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge by Amy Johnson Crow is back.  It helped me in the past organize and move my genealogy forward so I have taken on the challenge again.  The prompt for this week is “Start.”  I had difficulty figuring out how I was going to start.  I finally decided to blog about one of my ancestors, James Hannah, who came to the United States to “start” a new life.  Previously I have blogged about finding his will,  the contents of the will, and what he owed, but not what little I know of his life.

James Hannah, my 4th great grandfather, was born in 1772 in Northern Ireland, probably in County Down.  Family lore states that he was the younger son of a family that owned a bleaching green.
There is no record of how or when he came to the United States.  However, I assume like most of the Scotch-Irish, he landed in Philadelphia or Chester, Pennsylvania.  He married Nancy McKee in 1795.  Her father at that time was living in New Garden, Chester in Pennsylvania so I think they were probably married in that vicinity.  James and Nancy had 11 children.

By 1800, James Hannah had moved his family to Buffalo Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.  In the census for that year, James Hannah is listed as having 4 children.  By 1810, the family was living in Sugarcreek Township, again in Armstrong County.  The family had now grown to five boys and two girls.
James fought in the War of 1812.  In April 25, 1813, James enlisted for six months.  According to the Pennsylvania Archives, he served with Captain Scott's Company of the Fourth Battalion, Washington County, Pennsylvania.  I have a letter from one of my grandfather’s cousins, in which he states, that James always had trouble with his feet because they froze during this war.

I know that those who served in the War of 1812 were eligible for land grants in the Virginia Military District.  I cannot find whether or not James received or purchased one of those grants or bought land directly one from someone else, but by 1820, he was living in Pleasant Township, in Brown County, Ohio.  That letter I have also says that he brought his family from Sugarcreek to Brown County by coming down the Ohio River on a flat boat.

The duplicate tax records for Brown County are on line at FamilySearch.org.  While not searchable by name, it is possible to find your ancestor, as the records are alphabetical by year and sometimes by township.  James is in some of the tax records from 1820 to 1827.  He is not listed for 1823 and 1825.  I believe he was actually there, but since this is a hand-written copy of the actually records, he may be misidentified or skipped. His total taxes ranged from 13 cents to $1.10.  The record indicate that he owned 15 acres of land.

James died in1828 in Brown, Ohio, at the age of 56. There is no record of where he is buried.  I previously blogged about his will.  While the census at that time did not state an occupation, from his will, I think it is pretty clear that James farmed.

If I could talk to James, I would have several questions for him.  First, where was he born in Ireland and who were his parents?  Second, why did he immigrate to the United States? Third, why did he move to Ohio?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#109--Shopping for Jewelry with the Richards in Attleboro

I am always fascinated by the ways in which genealogy can lead you into an area that you did not expect.  Last week I blogged about Abel Richards and his service in the Revolutionary War.  While researching him, I noticed that two of this brothers, Edward and Nathan had moved from Dedham, Massachusetts to Attleboro, Massachusetts.  So I decided to find out a little about the Richards in Attleboro.

Sometimes, when I do not know much about an area, I start by reading about its history.  On Archive.org, I found Sketches of the History of Attleboro.  I was very surprised to read that Attleboro described itself as the center of jewelry manufacturing.  There were more different jewelry companies in Attleboro than I could keep track of.  Very often, a company dissolved and restructured with a new partner or combination of partners and a number of those companies involved one or more Richards.
I was curious to know whether or not there were any Richards involved in manufacturing jewelry now.  According to Google, the W. E. Richards Company is there and continues to make jewelry.  The site for Jackson Jewels  under Symmetalic described the company as follows:

 “The W.E. Richards Company was founded in North Attleboro, MA in 1902 producing wRe and Symmetalic costume jewelry of sterling silver with 10K and 14K gold overlay metal with jewelry consisting of Art Deco, Edwardian and Victorian designs using finer high quality materials, cultured pearls, Austrian rhinestones and aurora borealis rhinestone crystals, with some pieces produced containing semi precious stones. The costume jewelry included broaches, rings, scarf and hat pins, links, emblems, and pendants. Mark: "wRe". "Symmetalic" since 1936. The company is still in business today and the jewelry is highly sought after."

So my next step was to look see if I could find any of the jewelry for sale.  Both Ebay.com and Etsy.com had a number of pieces. many of which I would be more than happy to wear.  There were lots of pins,

some bracelets, especially scarab bracelets,

and necklaces or pendants.

I was curious to know what kind of jewelry W. E. Richards was making now, so I called their main office in Attleboro.  I discovered that the company sells midrange high quality women's jewelry, typically made with 14 carat gold and colored stones.  The jewelry is sold only through jewlery stores.

I think it may be time for me to shop.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

#108--Abel Richards's Secret Mission in the Revolutionary War

The Fourth of July always reminds me of the fight for independence and the Revolutionary War.  So for this week, I decided that I would blog about an ancestor who fought in that war and whom I did not know much about.  I have previously blogged about Abiathar Richards, Sr. and Abiathar Richards, Jr.—my grandfathers, who fought, so I needed to find someone else.  I did not take long for me to find Abel Richards, the younger brother of Abiathar, Sr.

Abel was listed in the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War on Ancestry and as a Daughters of the Revolutionary War patriot.  Those are very brief summaries of his service.  He served for nine days as a private in Captain Ellis Company on the Lexington Alarm on April 19, 1775 and served 2 more days at the same time with Captain David Fairbanks.  In addition, he served 4 days at Dorchester Heights, when the company marched to Roxbury in March of 1776.  In June 1776, he was commissioned a Captain of the 6th Company, 1st Suffolk Regiment; he served 1 month and 7 days on a “secret” expedition to Rhode Island.  Two years later, in March, 1778, he captained a company in Col McIntosh’s regiment, and served until April 19, 1778 at Roxbury and Boston.

I always find those summaries both helpful and frustrating.  Helpful because you get information and frustrating, because there is not much information.  So I was pleased to find out that Fold3.org had made its Revolutionary Wary files searchable for free from July 1 to the 15.  Looking for any information on Abel, I found that his wife, Mary, had applied for a widow’s pension and that in the pension file, were several affidavits about his service from men that had served with him.  The one I found most helpful was the one which shed some light on that secret mission.  Joshua Whiting stated “Captain Abel Richards raised or mustered a company of soldiers of nearly 100 men and marched from said Dedham by way of Taunton to Tiverton or Little Compton,in the State of Rhode Island, and and in this expedition did perform military service five or six weeks and were then discharged and returned to Dedham…”  From that description, I am not sure why it was described as "secret."

 Abel was born in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1738.  His parents were John and Abigail (Avery) Richards.  In 1764 Abel married Hannah Newell and with her had five children.  After her death in 1794, Abel married Mary White. Abel died on January 18, 1832 at the age of 94 and was buried Westwod Cemetery in Westwood.Massachusetts.

As always, I would have some questions for Abel Richards.  First, I would like to know about that “secret” mission, which when Joshua Whiting described it.  Just what did they do?  Why did Whiting think it was "secret"?  I also would like a first-hand account of his participation in the Lexington Alarm—how did he hear about the British coming?  How did he get there?  Who else went?

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.