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.

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.

Monday, February 13, 2017

#100--Will You Be My Valentine?

While I was thinking about a Valentine Day blog, I thought I would do one on my postcards.  Then I remembered that I did that last year.  However, and fortunately for me, I had some vintage Valentine Day cards.  So that is the focus of this blog entry.

I had some idea that Valentine postcards evolved into cards and that is indeed true. In 1913, Hallmark sold its first Valentine card.  We do not know how many were sent then, but today about 150 million Valentine Day cards are sent—only at Christmas are more cards exchanged. Who gets the most?—teachers, then children, mothers, wives, sweethearts, and then pets. (I loved my dogs dearly, but it never occurred to me to send them a card!).

So here are a couple of the cards that I have.

  This one was sent to me by my father.  Given the hairstyle on the girl, I think it was sent in the 1960's. In line with the jewelry theme, inside it says: " In words of one syllable, you are a pearl."

 I am no exception to teachers getting Valentine cards, here is one that I got from one of my Sunday School students.  Its small size with the message on the front makes it look like the ones we see today.

Now I have always been a big fan of the Peanuts cartoons so
it should be no surprise that I would have a Peanuts Valentine card.  When it is opened, you find out that Lucy is making that Valentine out of Linus's beloved blanket!


I do not have a Pinterest Board of vintage card, but I do have one on Valentine postcards.  If you are interested, you can find it here:  Valentine Postcards.  Also on the right side of this blog, you can find my blog from last year on Valentine Postcards.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

#99 Organizing the Minarciks, Eitelbachs, Hannah, and Richards—A Follow-Up

It has been an incredibly busy January and somehow this blog was put on the back burner. I did, however, think about my genealogy goals for last year. One of those goals was to organize all the documents that I have for my various lines. As I previously blogged, I decided that the best way for me to do that was to use the loose leaf notebook method. Each line has its own color-coded notebook, which is divided into sections for each person. The first document in each notebook is a chart that contains the ancestors who are in the notebook. After some experimentation, I decided to start with the most recent ancestor and work my way back.

So how did I do?  Pretty well.  My four main direct lines—Minarcik, Eitelbach, Hannah, and Richards were completed.  I now have birth, marriage and death information for each person along with other information that is unique to that person, e.g. pension records, land records, etc. A great deal of what I had was online so I did a lot of printing.  I also had to do some searching as I discovered that I was missing some of the information I wanted for some people.  Each document is in its own clear plastic holder.

Having gotten those lines done, I then turned to the collateral lines:  I completed the Cochrane line and most of the Mears.  I am now working the Newells.

This procedure was not with some problems.  One of the problems that I ran into while looking for a particular record was getting distracted and going off in another direction.  I found some interesting information while doing that, but it certainly did slow the process down.  Another problem was ending up reading all the information I had.  That was a plus and a minus.  I learned more, but got slowed down.

So what is up for this year?  I want to get the rest of the lines organized.  I also have a very, very large number of pictures.  I want to go through them and decide which ones to keep, which ones to scan, and which to discard. Tune in next year and see how I did.