Overly Ambitious

One of the wonderful things about living in northern Michigan is the cool summer and the great outdoors, even in the midst of a pandemic. We've been camping and kayaking, all the while observing social distancing. But that means I'm not spending a lot of time on genealogy. However, today is a rainy day, and while I should be cleaning house, this is just too tempting a time not to do at least a little genealogy. 

Yes, I had such great ambitions for 2019. I've actually started several of the projects and made some progress; others, not so much. And I haven't finished a single project that I can think of. It's a journey, right? And I keep adding to the list. While organization and DNA are at the top of the list, so is documenting some of my research. In addition to the tasks I listed in my 2019 Genealogical Resolutions, I'd also like to prove one set of ancestors into the Prairie Pioneers as early (1836) settlers of Illinois. As part of that, I have a task related to an 1838 letter from my g-g-g-uncle, Joseph Gay, and his wife, Maria A. (Rhodes) Gay, to her brother, Anthony Rhodes, back in Vermont. The original letter is stored at the Knox College County Archives in Galesburg, Illinois, and is accompanied by a transcription of the letter and some genealogical information. Unfortunately, the genealogical info conflates two women with nearly the same name. I'd like to send them updated information on that as well as some improvements to the transcription itself. Since I got this back in 2016, I'd better hop on that. 

An additional line of inquiry would be into my ancestors who were enslavers. I have found various pre-Civil War censuses that list the number and ages of slaves, but not the names. I've joined a couple of Facebook groups that have suggestions on how to research this and where to share the information I find.

So many ancestors, so little time, so many BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects)!

A Virtual Reunion of a Separated Family Artifact

My father's paternal grandparents and great-grandparents (so my g-grandparents and 2g-grandparents) came from Scotland to the United States in 1851. They left their home in Paisley (near Glasgow) and sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans before making their way up the Mississippi River to settle in Illinois. My great-great-grandparents (Thomas White and Esther (Watson) White settled in Pike County, Illinois, where he became a farmer; he'd been involved in the weaving industry back in Scotland. Their third son and my great-grandfather, also named Thomas, initially settled in Pike County (according to his Declaration of Intention), but by the 1855 Illinois State census was living in Quincy. The successive censuses provide an idea of his achievements. In 1860, his occupation is shown as "Moulder." In 1870, he is a "Stove Manufacturer" with a personal estate value of $6,000 and real estate of $15,000; in 1880, his occupation is listed as "Stove Foundry".

From a photocopy from a book on Quincy (ca 1888; I need to find the exact title):

Thomas White was born in Scotland; came to Quincy in 1852, and when first arrived was engaged in making flasks and patterns. When Mr. White first came to this city he possessed but little of this world's goods, but he did possess that which always insures the success of men. He was honest and ambitious and industrious, and with these, as his only capital, he has advanced step by step; higher and higher, until he is now at the summit of a successful life. He possessed the spirit of the Pilgrim Fathers and thus made this western country his home, and we have all been blessed and benefited by his coming.

In 1863 Mr. White, Mr. Bonnet and Mr. Duffy commenced the manufacture of stoves and hollow-ware, under the firm name of White, Bonnet & Co., possessing a total capital of about three thousand dollars. In 1866 Mr. White bought out the interests of his partners and conducted the business, which had grown very large, alone, until 1887, when the present firm of The Thomas White Stove Company was incorporated as a stock concern, with a paid up capital of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Their foundry, warerooms and offices occupy nearly a half block, in the heart of our city, and is, as may be imagined, very valuable property. We believe that Mr. White was, about 1860, foreman of the Phoenix Stove Works, and so it may again be seen how energy and enterprise, honesty and industry, will win in the city of Quincy, if practiced as Mr. White has practiced it--faithfully and persistently; a successful life is that of the subject of our sketch.

Some genealogical background: Thomas White, the younger, was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, 8 Jan 1825. On 1 Jun 1849, he married Mary Bowman (b 10 Apr 1828 in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland) in the Paisley Abbey. Their first child, Marion Wallace (White) McAfee, was born in Mary Hill, Scotland, 16 Oct 1850, and their second child, Esther Watson (White) Newby, was born in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, 16 Feb 1852.  As noted earlier, Thomas migrated to Illinois in 1851, and Mary sometime later. Their third child, Mary Bowman (White) Wilson, was born 10 Oct 1853 in Quincy. They had two more children (Thomas J. White & Elizabeth F. White), both of whom died in infancy before the birth of my paternal grandfather, Robert Bowman White on 27 Dec 1860 in Quincy. There were four children born thereafter: Thomas Collins White, Jane Bowman White, an unnamed infant boy, and Laurina Jane (White) Hunt.

Thomas White was an active member of a number of groups in Quincy, including the Bodley Masonic lodge, and he and wife, Mary, were members of the First Union Congregational Church, the first church in Quincy. In honor of their parents, Robert (my grandfather), Thomas C., and Mary (White) Wilson, children of Thomas & Mary, donated a Tiffany window to the church when its new building was dedicated in October, 1874.

The first time I saw the Tiffany window was in 1965, when my parents and I visited Quincy to attend the funeral of one of my father's cousins. The complete window was in a prominent place in the sanctuary. In 1968, the Gothic Revival building "which had served for nearly a century" was razed, and the new church building opened in March 1970. "In keeping with the colonial tradition, the windows are plain glass. However, the church retained two very fine stained glass windows. A portion of one is located behind the chancel in the Moorman chapel and a portion of the other graces the South side of the Heritage room." (https://firstunionquincy.org/about/history/) When my husband and I attended the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in Springfield, Illinois, in August 2016, we spent time both in Galesburg (another side of the family) and in Quincy researching my family history. I visited the First Union Congregational Church and the Moorman Chapel and was able to see the main part of the window displayed there. 

By now, I'm sure you've guessed that the virtual reunion of the title refers to the window, or specifically, two separate portions of the original window. The window as displayed in the Gothic Revival church building was separated into two pieces. The largest piece of the two is the window now in the Moorman chapel behind the chancel.

White Tiffany Window Chapel Back





















White Tiffany Window CloseUp

White Tiffany Window Jesus

The remaining part of the window, which is the dedication, is now displayed at the History Museum on the Square at 332 Maine Street in Quincy. I don't think the pastor at the church had any idea that there was another piece until I mentioned it to him.

White Tiffany Window Dedication Full

White_Tiffany_Window_DedicationClose (1 of 1).jpg

So, while the two pieces of the window are physically separated, I've now reunited them virtually as they should be.

Map of Quincy, Illinois Family History Sites

Quincy, IL is a river town in Illinois that was a manufacturing hub during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Genealogy Research in San Augustine, Texas

For early Texas research, the San Augustine, Texas–both city and county–are probably important stops for many genealogists. Depending upon who you talk to, it is the oldest or second oldest European settlement in Texas, and is rich in early Texas history. It sits on the the El Camino Real trail near Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacagdoches, Texas–which is also either the first or second oldest European settlement in Texas. From a historical, but not genealogical perspective, the Caddo Mounds State Historical Site and Mission Tejas State Park are both nearby and provide important historical understanding for early Texas family history research.

For research in this area, plan on at least four stops:

San Augustine, Texas

The County Clerk’s Office is located in an annex about 1/4 mile north of the County Courthouse, which is the center of a beautiful historic square. The Annex is one of the easiest-to-use clerk’s offices I have seen, with lots of spece and tables. I was able to walk in, find a probate index, find the probate record I was after, take the book to the clerk’s desk for copies and leave in under 20 minutes. The documents in this clerk’s offices, like most if not all in Texas, houses copies of early deeds and land records. I have been told that the originals are housed in the archives at Stephen F. Austin State University, but have not verified this yet.

The San Augustine Library is about 1/4 mile east of the County Courthouse and has a dedicated genealogy section of about 1,000 square feet. The most useful section are vertical files of research done by a local genealogist and donated to the library. While not a primary record, these files can point you to a host of primary records to help you in your research. If you are working in this area, make sure to ask about the vertical files. The library also has film of local newspapers that can be quite helpful.

Nacogdoches, Texas

The main stop in Nacogdoches is the archive at Stephen F. Austin State University. It houses many early Texas documents.

Caddo Mounds State Historical Site

The Caddo Mounds are three pre-Columbian ceremonial mounds from a settlement of several hundred inhabitants that dates from 800 to 1300. It is on the trail that was later named the El Camino Royale and clearly traded with other settlements hundreds of miles away, probably including Cahokia in Illinois. If in the area, you should plan to stop at the site for one to two hours.

Mission Tejas State Park

If you are camping, the Mission Tejas State Park is about an hour’s drive from San Augustine and is has very small and heavily forested campground with access to a segment of the El Camino Real trail. It also houses a historic cabin that gives one a good view of early Texas life.

Map of San Augustine County Family History Sites

San Augustine, Texas is the county seat of San Augustine County. The library and County Clerk's office are the primary family history research locations in the town.

Map of Nacogdoches County Family History Sites

Nacogdoches, Texas is the county seat of Nacogdoches County. The city is either the oldest or second oldest in Texas--a title that is disputed with San Augustine, Texas in the adjacent San Augustine County.

Map of El Camino Royale Sites

The El Camino Royale trail in Texas was originally used by the peoples of the First Nations, and later by the Spanish Colonial and Republic of Texas settlers.

Kristin's 2019 Genealogical Resolutions (or perhaps Aspirations?)

After a hectic 2018 that involved moving from Texas to Michigan, I *will* spend more time on genealogy in 2019. In fact, I already have been!

One of my bad habits is that I research at repositories or online, but then I don't do anything with that information except store it. There are several resolutions related to this:

  • Finish unpacking the box farm in the basement and strive to organize physical papers, letters, and photos related to family history (including scanning to digital)
  • Organize digital files and photographs into a single location with naming conventions, tags, and metadata
  • Transcribe data from both paper copies and digital images (both scanned and photographed)
  • Unpack and organize my books

Each of those bullets is a huge project in and of itself, and it will be a process. A long process...

My next resolution is to *use* the research I've done and make it accessible to others who may be researching the same lines or who are just interested in history. Since we have no children who would be interested in this information, I need to do something with it so it isn't lost.

  • Write an article or post on my paternal great-grandfather, William H. Gay. I also want to register him or, more likely, his father, Lusher Gay, as an Illinois Prairie Pioneer. I mentioned this in an earlier post from June 2018. I made a fair amount of progress last year, but need to finish and submit the paperwork.
  • Complete my application for the Early Texans DNA Project, which "is a geographically-oriented project focused on analyzing the DNA of those with ancestors who settled in Texas before 31 December 1900." Since my maternal great-great-grandmother, Harriet Ellen (Trotti) CADE was born in east Texas in 1848, this is an easy application. I just need to get it done. In fact, her paternal grandfather, James Francis TROTTI, was in Texas by 1844, and I proved into the Daughters of the Republic of Texas through him.
  • Edit my mother's autobiography and share it with relatives. Mom wrote her story out in longhand on a yellow pad when she was about 90 years old. The flow needs some work, and I'd love to add photos as well as some citations and other information. Every time I work on it, I find more questions I wish I could ask her!

Another set of resolutions has to do with tools and applications. Some I need to learn how to use better, some I've bought and never used at all. I do know that I can be more efficient and/or effective once I learn to use them.

  • Legacy Family Tree: I know the basics of the software, but need to learn more tricks, especially the process of citing sources. I've also got a long list of their webinars that I want to watch.
  • Clooz: I still need to find the moving box with the CD so I can install and begin to learn Clooz. I don't think I'll use it for every source, but that's to be determined. I will start by entering census records for a family through the years and see how that works. 
  • Evidentia: I will be learning this from scratch as well, but I expect I will use it primarily for analysis of evidence, resolving conflicts and even creating citations that can transfer into Legacy. I also need to understand when to use Clooz and when to use Evidentia.
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking: I plan to use this for transcription of documents, particularly if I'm unable to scan and OCR them.
  • Scrivener: I've found this very useful in writing my mother's autobiography, but need to review the tutorial and practice.
  • AniMap: County boundaries change, and this software will help track those changes.
  • Charting Companion: I've just bought this primarly to take advantage of their charts for DNA, which takes me to my next set of resolutions...

DNA -- I will admit to being quite overwhelmed. I'm a pretty smart person, but it's going to take me some time and dedicated study to get up to speed on DNA. I won't go into a lot of detail here, but I've tested with several companies and have uploaded to GEDmatch. I've used the data from GEDmatch to join a couple of DNA Matchbox sites on Facebook for Scottish and Irish DNA, and I've made some connections that I need to get back in touch with. I've got so much more to learn, and I need to unpack and study those books on DNA that I've bought and moved to Michigan. 

And finally (OK, probably not *finally*), I have some interrupted conversations with cousins through Ancestry.com messaging that I need to get back to. Boy, they may be surprised to hear from me after so long!

My plate is full for 2019 and beyond.


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