Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Search For My Irish Roots, Part 1

The Beginning

My personal search for my Irish ancestors has taken over 30 years of digging, scrounging, reading, learning, traveling, and taking wild leaps of faith. I have talked to dozens or relatives, hundreds of people, and traveled from one coast to the other. I have spent hundreds of hours in little dark rooms with my head buried in microfilm machines. I have seen more libraries than I can remember, and have looked through (and yes in some cases read) so many books that I could not begin to count them. I have spent hundreds of hours online and hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars in my never-ending quest. And best of all, I even managed to find a wife along the way. But that is another story.

My search started as a young boy listening to stories about the family told by my grandparents. They were not stories of brave deeds or fantastic exploits. They were just what I call the stories of life. I will not bore you with the details of my family stories, suffice it to say that if you changed the names and dates they could be any family's stories.

Now the stories told by my grandparents may not have been worthy of a Hollywood Blockbuster but as a child I was hooked. I could not get enough. I always wanted more. So being the strange kid that I was, I set off for the local museum.

I was fortunate as a budding genealogist that my family had lived in the same small town of St Marys Ontario, since about 1859. This made the search a little easer for a beginner as the museum had lots of newspapers and cemetery records to keep me happy, at least for a while. It was at the local Museum that I received my first of what would be many genealogical surprises. There in the 1861 census was my GGG Grandfather William Massey, a native of Ireland. Ireland? My family was Irish?

To be continued.........

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wisconsin Divorce Index, 1965-1984 now online

Wisconsin Divorce Index, 1965-1984 is now online and can be searched at Ancestry.com

This database contains an index to divorces granted in Wisconsin between 1965 and 1984. Information listed includes names of husband and wife, ages of husband and wife, divorce date, and divorce county

Monday, December 22, 2008

Florida State Census, 1867-1945

Florida State Census, 1867-1945 Florida State Censuses are available for 1867, 1875, 1885, 1935, and 1945. Information listed may include: name, age, gender, race, relationship to head of household, birthplace, birth date, marital status, and parents' birthplaces.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Delaware Marriage Records, 1744-1912 online

Delaware Marriage Records, 1744-1912 are online. Ancestry.com has this new database for genealogists.

Information listed may include: names of bride and groom, ages of bride and groom, marriage date, and marriage place.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Could Be Your Ancestor

In what one expert called "a real freak of preservation." British archaeologists have unearthed an 2,000 year old skull carrying a surprise — an unusually well-preserved brain. The skull was found in a muddy pit during a dig at the University of York in northern England this fall.

Archaeologists do not know if they will be able to extract DNA from the brain. If they do, someone may find they have a very interesting story for their family tree.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cabinet of Curiousities: A Bowl Full Of Goodies

This bowl is very special to me as it was a present to my great grandparents William Elgie and Mary Louise Facey on their Wedding Day in 1904. The poor old thing may not look like much, the flowers are faded and worn, the rim has a large chunk that was broken and then glued back (with not too much success) by my Great-Grandfather. It has no monetary value whatsoever. But to me it is priceless.

Each year just before Christmas, I dig it out of the back of the china cabinet, (I keep it at the back so you can't see the repair) and fill it with Christmas goodies. Some years I put nuts in it but this year I went for something a little sweeter. You can see what is in it this year.

I am sure that whoever gave the bowl to my ancestors William & Mary Elgie would never have imagined that it would still be in use by their descendants over 100 years later.

Tombstone Tales: Gravestone Motifs Part 6


Cross - there are many different types of crosses. It is an Emblem of faith.

The crucifix, a Christian symbol, is a Latin cross with an image of Christ nailed to it and depicts the sacrifice Jesus made for human salvation

The shepherd's cross has a crooked apex and represents both the Christian faith and Jesus' role in guiding people through life and saving lost souls.

Also see Graven Images: Gravestone Motifs & Their Meanings

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Xmas in World War 2

I do not have a lot of family Xmas photos from days gone by but this one has to be my favorite. It is a photo of my grandfather Art Conn at a Xmas party during World War 2. I do not know the year of the photo, my best guess is 1943~44 but I do know it was taken in England.

Art was an aircraft mechanic working on the big bombers. I have other photos of him with smashed up and damaged aircraft but this one has to be my favorite. The Santa is a real work of art and I can only imagine what kind of drunken Xmas hijinks's they most likely got up to that night.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tombstone Tales: Gravestone Motifs Part 5


The Lamb indicates Purity, Innocence, Gentleness, Sacrifice. In Christianity it represents the sacrificial crucifixion of Christ for the sins of the world.

Also see Graven Images: Gravestone Motifs & Their Meanings

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Frederick, Miami County, Ohio, Blacksmiths Ledger

I have added a few more pages from the Frederick, Miami County, Ohio, Blacksmiths Ledger. This is a great old ledger from the 1860s that I think people with ancestors in the Frederick, Miami County, Ohio area may find interesting. I now have pages 1 to 25 online as graphics so you can see the original pages. I have also transcribed the pages so you do not have to go through all the images.

if you want to have a look for one of your ancestors go to Ohio, Blacksmiths Ledger.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Tombstone Tales: Gravestone Motifs Part 3

Hand with pointing finger

Hand with Finger Pointing represents Gone Home, Look to God, Direction. The pointing finger represents direction, whether physical, spiritual or psychological.

Also see Graven Images: Gravestone Motifs & Their Meanings

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Carnival of Genealogy: My Famous Canadian Ancestor, the first Canadian astronaut to walk in space

Well he is not a ancestor but my most famous Canadian relative is astronaut Chris Austin Hadfield (born August 29, 1959) who was the first Canadian to walk in space. I have never met Chris and I dont expect I ever will, but he is my fourth cousin. We share 3rd great-grandparents Edmund Facey (1813-1899) and his wife Mary Little (1814-1883)

Chris was born in Sarnia Ontario, was a Wolf Cub and later joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets' 820 Blue Thunder Squadron. In 2005, the squadron was renamed 820 Chris Hadfield Squadron in his honour.

Chris trained as a pilot in the Canadian Forces and was top graduate in his jet training class in 1983. He flew CF-18 fighter jets on NORAD missions for three years.

In 1992, he successfully competed with more than 5300 applicants to join Canada's space program, and was assigned to NASA's Johnson Space Center

For his first shuttle mission in 1995, Hadfield was Mission Specialist #1 on Atlantis, operating the Canadarm for NASA's second space shuttle mission to rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir. On his next mission, as Mission Specialist on Endeavour in 2001, Hadfield spent 14 hours, 54 minutes outside the craft on two spacewalks, including the first by a Canadian.

Read more about Chris on Wikipedia or in "A History of the Facey Family of St. Winnow Parish, Cornwall" compiled by Jean Spearin. 1995

Interactive WW2 Records online at Footnote.com

Footnote.com and NARA held a press conference on on Friday, Dec. 5 to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day with the launch of a new interactive online collection of World War II records from the holdings of the National Archives.

The WW2 records include the first-ever interactive version of the USS Arizona Memorial, WWII Hero Pages, and millions of WWII photos and documents previously unavailable on the internet.

Search the WW2 Records

You can Upload photos, view timelines and maps, add your stories to the HERO pages. You can search the Arizona Memorial Wall for names you know. Leave a tribute, a story or photo for any USS Arizona casualty.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tombstone Tales: Gravestone Motifs Part 2

Hand Holding an Anchor

The Anchor was used in the 18th and 19th centuries to represent hope or the deceased's seafaring profession. The hand, with its five fingers, takes on the meaning of the number five - love, health and humanity.

Also see Graven Images: Gravestone Motifs & Their Meanings

Friday, December 05, 2008

U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 Now Online

The U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 ore now on line on Ancestry.com

In the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 census, names were recorded for individuals who died that year. These mortality death records usually have the name of the person who died, their age, sex, race, occupation, month of death, cause of death and often other details.

U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tombstone Tales: Gravestone Motifs Part 1

There are many motifs found on Tombstones. Here are some gravestone images that might help you in your search for ancestors

Two hands joined typically signify union.

Also see Graven Images: Gravestone Motifs & Their Meanings

Monday, December 01, 2008

Harrison Eaton, Gracie A Gould and Charles G Torri

Coffin plates for Harrison Eaton, Gracie A Gould and Charles G Torri are now online on Ancestorsatrest.com

Coffin plates are decorative adornments attached to the coffin that contain free genealogical information like the name and death date of the deceased.

If you would like to have a look at the coffin plate index go to
Coffin Plates