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, 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.

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.

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.