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.