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.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

#98--Why Did You Send Me a Card with a Pig on It?

A new year will be here in a just a few days.  I looked to see if I had an old New Year’s post card that someone had sent to my father, and I was surprised to find that I did.  Here it is:

I also have a Pinterest Board devoted to vintage New Year’s cards.  Sometimes, I go online and find cards to add to my collection and at other times, I like to just look at them.  Today was a day to look and pick several to put in this blog.  I noticed that the cards fell in several categories.

First were those like this one that involved Father Time, and sometimes Baby New Year.

Partying to celebrate the New Year, often with champagne

Or the coming of the New Year

And one theme that I found rather unusual:  pigs.  As it turns out, pigs are a symbol for good luck.  Of all the pig cards, this is the one I liked the best.

I cannot decide which one I like the best, but that big pig makes me laugh.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

#97--Time to Trim the Tree

Today is it snowing here in Michigan.  It is the second time it has snowed this week and I think we have more snow now that we did all last winter.  So, it seemed like a wonderful time to put up the Christmas tree.  One of the things I love about doing that is the ornaments.  In a family that is pretty sentimental, I have lots of ornaments, many of which are very special.  Last year, I blogged about those that belonged to my parents (  On Christmas Ornaments and Christmas Trees  ).  But I have other ornaments, which have a story attached to them.
When I was growing up, we always had a big tree. One year, we had a tree that was bigger than usual; in fact, I believe the top of it hit the 12 foot high ceiling.   Because it was big, we needed more ornaments.  So my mother sent my father and me out to get a few more.  I remember that we drove down to Fifth Avenue, and went to a small variety store.  We picked out these two sets of ornaments.

The birds that clip onto a branch

And these trumpets.

I also like to decorate the bottom of the tree.  Some times I just use presents wrapped in brightly colored paper with big bows and other times, I use some old toys.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

#96--Moving with the Mears

My last blog was about the way my great-great grandmother, Charity Mears, named her children. While working on that line, I noticed another interesting things about Charity Mears and her sisters.  I had always heard that families moved from one place to another because they know someone there or believed it would be a better place. With the Mears sisters I could see it in action.

When the sisters married, they all lived in Brown County, Ohio.  Here is a list of the sisters and their husbands.
 Mary Mears ((1786-1873)—Lemuel Boyle Sayer
Elizabeth Mears (1796—1880)—Jonathan Shreve
Catherine Mears (1799-1888)—Robert Legate (1802—1822)  and  Israel Donnelson Sayre (1807-1849)
Nancy Mears (1801-1883)—George Newell (1798-1875)
Jane Mears (1803-1878)—Jesse Stephenson (1804—1828)and David Calvin (1800/1810—1845)
Charity Mears (1806—1842)—John M. Hannah (1799-1842)
Sarah Jane Mears (1808-1899) George Fisher (1807-1907).

As I looked at the census information for these families, I noticed that they began to leave Brown County for places that were further west.  The first couple to leave were Jonathan and Elizabeth Mears Shreve who by 1820 had moved to Ripley County, Indiana, where Jonathan’s father now lived.
I knew that by 1830, my great grandparents, John and Charity Mears Hannah were living in Edgar County.  However, according to the census for 1830 George and Sarah Jane Mears Fisher and Israel and Catherine Mears Sayre were also living there.  But that was not the only Mearses who were in
Edgar County.   I also knew from her will that Elizabeth Mears, the mother of all the Mears girls, was in Edgar County at the time of her death in 1842.   Further Jane Mears Stephenson, whose husband died in Brown County in 1828 also came to Edgar County as she married David Calvin there in 1833.
One couple did not go to Edgar County, even though they did leave.  George and Nancy Mears Newell stayed in Brown County until 1860 when they were in Deer Park, LaSalle, Illinois.  They remained there until their deaths.  While all her sisters left Brown County, Mary Mears with her husband Lemuel Sayre remained in Brown County.

So why might these families moved to Illinois?  I think the answer is land.   For each family I searched the Illinois Land Sales and found that each husband and Elizabeth Mears bought land.  Generally land was bought on a land warrant or for $1.25 per acre.  As I looked over the purchases they were all in the same area—Townships 15 and 16 in Ranges 11 and 12.  That would mean these families were living relatively close together in Ross, Prairie, Edgar or Brullet.  That area is the four townships in the upper right hand corner of the map.  Someday soon, I will take that township map and plot exactly where the land was purchased.

If I could talk to them, I would ask why they moved.  I would also like to know how they travelled from Brown County to Edgar County.  Did they go over land?  Did they go down the Ohio River and then up the Wabash River?  Or did go partly down the Ohio and then overland to Edgar County?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

#95--What Should We Name the Baby? The Mears Know

What to name a child is a decision that many parents agonize over.  The name is eagerly awaited by the parents’ relatives and friends.  Today, many parents seems to be picking unusual names.  That was not always the case.  In ages past, some families followed naming conventions; e.g., the first son was named for his father’s father, the second son, for his mother’s father, etc.  Alternatively, other families named their children to honor a relative or friend.  I have relatives that followed both of those conventions.

Several weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to learn more about my great, great grandmother, Charity Mears’s, family.  As I added her siblings to my tree, I noticed that I had seen many of those names before—not just one or two of them, but almost all of them. I then realized where I had seen them before.  They were the names of Charity Mears’s children.

Charity Mears and her husband, John M. Hannah had nine children—six girls and three boys.  Of the six girls, five have the same first names as her sisters:
            Sarah Jane Mears—Sarah Ann Hannah
            Nancy Mears—Nancy Hannah
            Elizabeth Mears—Elizabeth Hannah (also named for her
                    grandmother, Elizabeth Mears)
           Catherine Mears—Catherine Hannah
           Mary Mears—Mary Sayres Hannah

Mary Sayres’s name also honored a brother-in-law.  Catherine Mears’s second husband was Israel Donnelson Sayres. The Sayres lived in Edgar County, Illinois.  The same location as John Wesley and Charity (Mears) Hannah. So that is where that middle name came from.

The sixth girl was Albertine Hannah.  At first, I thought that perhaps Albertine was a popular girl’s name in 1834.  That turns out not to be true.  However, Charity did have an uncle, Albert Mears, so perhaps Albertine is named after him.

Interestingly, while Charity had a brother,  Samuel, his names was not used for her sons. Her oldest son was named for her brother-in-law, the husband of her sister, Nancy.

    George P. Newell—George Newell Hannah

The second son was named Oliver.  I have not a clue where the name for Oliver P. Hannah came
from. Nowhere in my genealogy can I find the name Oliver. Further, a search of the census records for Edgar County did not turn up any one named Oliver.  I think that fits so well—Oliver P. is a mystery. Other than the dates of his birth and death at the age of 20, I know nothing about him and have not been successful in my search for more information.

The youngest son was named for her husband.
John M. Hannah—John Wesley Hannah

I would guess that the children’s names were selected by Charity Mears Hannah.  Her husband, John M. had 10 brothers and sisters.  With the exception of the name, Nancy, none of Charity and John M.’s children had their names.  I would just love to talk to Charity so I could ask about the naming of her children.