Sunday, October 3, 2010

Agricultural Schedules

During my recent trip to the Family History library in Salt Lake City, I had the opportunity to look for my ancestors in the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 census agricultural schedules.  The agricultural schedules were among the non-population schedules taken in conjunction with the population schedules. 

Before reviewing the agricultural schedules, I was well aware that most of my ancestors were farmers.  However, being a city person, I had no idea exactly what these farmers actually raised. 

Very small farms weren't included in the agricultural schedules, which may be why I was unable to find some of my ancestors, such as the Dudley family.  On my maternal side, I was able to locate my 3rd great-grandmother, Mary E. Shaper, in Hamer Township, Highland County, Ohio on the 1850 schedule.  She owned 75 acres, 20 of which were improved.  She had two horses, two cows, eight sheep, and eight pigs and grew crorn.

I had more success on my paternal side.  The largest farm among my ancestors belonged to my 3rd great-grandfather Alfred Ogden, who owned 850 acres in Clark Township, Brown County Ohio.  Alfred owned horses, cattle, sheep, and 100 pigs.  He grew wheat, rye, corn, oats, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.  He also kept bees, producing 50 pounds of honey and/or beeswax in 1850.  He had apparently given that up by 1860, since no bee products are listed for him in the 1860 agricultural schedule.  I don't blame him!

Clarkson Dunn

The data on the more modest farms are what really made me think about the hard work involved.  Alfred could probably afford to hire regular help with his farm, but the smaller farms probably couldn't.  The names of my other ancestors who appeared on the agricultural schedules are Levi Wardlaw, Clarkson Dunn, William Coulter, Robert Dunn, Isaac Davis, Sylvester Shaw, Francis Steward, Santford Ogden, and Peter Ballein.  In addition to the products listed above, they also produced apples, peas, beans, hay, maple sugar, and molasses.

Robert Dunn
I guess my idea of farm life was formed by watching Little House on the Prairie when I was growing up.  I believe the Ingalls family had horses and cows, but I don't recall sheep and pigs.  Ignorant city dweller that I am, I never considered that my ancestors raised sheep and pigs.  The beekeeping was a surprise also, as were the apple orchards.  I can only imagine my ancestors' hard work, not to mention the extreme heat, freezing cold, insect bites, and physical exhaustion they must have endured day after day.  I struggled this summer with only two tomato plants! 

Reviewing the agricultural schedules helped me recall the day several years ago when it dawned on me that much of the farm land we pass when we ride through the country was cleared not by farm machinery and power tools, but by human hands and real horsepower.  I believe that few of us today have any idea of what hard work really is.  I believe my most of  my ancestors were hard workers, regardless of the size of their property, and that's why it doesn't matter to me whether or not I'm descended from royalty or someone famous.  I'm proud to be descended from these hard-working farmers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Getting Sidetracked

I have been pouring all of my genealogical efforts into preparing for my upcoming trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and I am getting sick of it!  I am going to force myself to have a totally genealogy-free week before my trip to refresh myself.  I had a nice break on Sunday, though, when I spent a little while researching another family.

It started when I heard my mom and sister discussing "Frieda's cookies."  Frieda and Joe Greenstein were my babysitters and Frieda made the most delicious butter cookies known to humankind.  Rectangular shaped with a fork mark across the top, crisp, sweet, and buttery, these cookies are the stuff of legend.  We have tried a number of butter cookie recipes, but have never found the right one.

Frieda was much more than a wonderful baker.  She and Joe were wonderful people.  I never remember them raising their voices to me.  I remember one time that I did something I shouldn't have and hid under their big bed.  I heard Joe telling Frieda that he couldn't find me.  He finally did, of course, and got down on his hands and knees, telling me that everything was all right and convincing me that I should come out.   I have so many memories - the cherry tree and wishing well in their backyard, the scent of bleach from the wringer washing machine, the way Joe slurped coffee from his cup, watching the Paul Dixon Show and "stories" with Frieda.  I remember them buying Necco candy for me from the Jewel Tea truck.   I also recall walking home from Frieda and Joe's house one time and Joe waving as we walked away.  Each time I turned around to look at him, Joe was still standing there waving.

Joe died nearly 40 years ago, in September 1970.  I remember the night my parents went to the visitation.  I sat alone in the front yard at another babysitter's house and heard her comment that I didn't even know why I was crying.  That wasn't true, though.  I knew Joe was gone and that I would never see him again.  I remember going to visit Frieda after church one Sunday and how devastated she was.

Years later, we sent Frieda my high school graduation announcement.  I was understandably nervous on the morning of my graduation day.  Even though it was a Sunday and there was no mail delivery, in my anxious state I walked outside and looked in the mailbox.  Much to my surprise, I found a card addressed to me.  I opened it and it was a graduation card from Frieda.  In a weak hand she had written "God bless you.  Love, Frieda."  She had enclosed a pretty handkerchief.  Frieda died in 1986.

On Sunday, I learned that Frieda Stockman was from the west side of Cincinnati and, like many west siders, was a Catholic of German heritage.  Her mother, Anna, was born in Germany.  Both of her parent died when she was young and she lived with a sister and her family.   Joe was the son of Moses and Tillie Greenstein.  Moses was from Russia.  In 1920, Joe and his mother were boarders in someone else's home. 

Several months ago, I was looking for my Ballein family in the 1930 census. I hadn't had any luck (still haven't) and was trying to be creative. So, I tried to find my great-aunt Freda Ballein. Instead, I found Frieda and Joe and their daughter, Jeanette. We knew that Frieda and Joe had a daughter who died, but didn't know anything about her.   On Sunday, I located her death certificate and learned that Jeanette Marie Greenstein died in 1930 from acute gastroenteritis.  Frieda and Joe had no more children.

Over thirty years over Jeanette's death, Joe cleaned up Jeanette's little chair and allowed a certain little girl to use it.  The more I think about the fine people the Greensteins were, the more honored I am to have been that little girl.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A River View

My blog posts have been few and far between recently because I have been preparing for my trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in a few weeks.  However, each week as I travel on the bridge over the Little Miami River in Milford, Ohio, I get to view my favorite genealogical scene and feel like waxing poetic about it.

As I look north as we cross the bridge I see the river surrounded by thick shrubbery and trees.  If I can block out the cell tower, utility poles, cars, and modern buildings, I can envision how the area might have looked 200 years ago.    I especially like this view in the winter when steam or smoke is rising from distant houses. I can almost smell the 19th century wood smoke coming from the homes of my ancestors, the Price family, and their neighbors.  My fourth great-grandfather, Jeremiah Price, lived on the Milford side of the river and his brother, Nimrod, lived on the Camp Dennison side of the river.  Their father, Daniel, supposedly said something to the effect that the boys needed to be kept on opposite sides of the river because Nimrod was a Universalist and Jeremiah a Methodist.

That's it.  I just enjoy the view and like to imagine what it might have been like way back when.  Hopefully I will return from Salt Lake City with lots of new information and ideas for this blog.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Graveyard Getaway

Last week my mom, sister, niece, and I went on a two day trip we called the Graveyard Getaway or Cemetery Crawl or Dead Drive, depending on whom you ask.

Our trip began at the Waldschmidt Cemetery in Camp Dennison, Ohio, the final resting place of my fifth great-grandparents Daniel and Catherine Selllers Price and fourth great-grandparents Jeremiah and Elizabeth Wiggins Price.  Germany, as the settlement was originally called, was founded by German immigrant Christian Waldschmidt.  The Price (or Preisch) family were among the second wave of settlers in Germany.  Camp Dennison was built during the Civil War on the land of Nimrod Price, Daniel and Catherine's other son.

Our next stop was Troutwine Cemetery in Lynchburg, Ohio.  My great-grandparents, Jesse and Mary Shaper Dudley, great-uncles Lewis and Thomas Dudley, and uncles Everett and Mitchell Donaldson are buried there.  Jesse's sister, Jane Dudley Setty, is also buried nearby.  My second great-grandfather, John Shaper, is supposedly buried there as well, but his grave must be unmarked, since I have never been able to find it. 

From Troutwine, we headed to Lynchburg to try to locate the former home of Mary Shaper Dudley.  We checked out the address on Broadway where she lived at the time of the 1930 census.  My mom didn't think it was the right house, but then she hadn't yet been born in 1930.

Our next destination was the Masonic Cemetery in Lynchburg, where my great-uncle Absalom Dudley and his wife Christena Tomaske Dudley are buried. 

After a restroom break at the Lynchburg Public Library, we headed south to the Sardinia, Ohio Cemetery.  My second great-grandparents, Peter and Margaret Kincaid Ballein are buried here.  I took a closer look at their gravestone and noticed that there is a GAR symbol and an emblem of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  I'm ashamed I hadn't noticed this before!

I was excited to visit the old section of the cemetery, where I recognized the names of the brave people who operated the Underground Railroad in Sardinia, including Matthew and Paul Reed Kincaid, brothers of my third great-grandfather, Samuel Kincaid.

Next, we headed west toward Mt. Orab and then a little south.  Following directions provided by a distant cousin, we located a church which had once been the Shiloh Methodist Church, where my second great-grandmother, Sarah Steward Ogden, was a charter member.

We then travelled a little further to the Warner Cemetery.  Of course, my family doesn't recognize it by that name.  We call it "that cemetery where the car got stuck in the ditch when we were kids."  This old cemetery doesn't have a lane through it, so you park just off the road and keep your fingers crossed.  My second great-grandparents Santford and Sarah Steward Ogden, great-grandparents James and Rosa Ogden Davis and uncle Nelson Davis are buried there. 

After lunch, we headed southeast toward the Wardlow Cemetery.  Buried here are my fourth great-grandfather Samuel Wardlaw, my third great-grandparents Levi and Abby Hall Wardlow, my second great-grandparents John R. and Lulu Dunn Wardlow, my great-grandparents Hite and Elma Wardlow Ballein, and my grandparents James Quincy and Esther Ballein Davis.  I took pictures of all of the stones in this cemetery.  When my mom came up with the title of this blog, Leaves and Branches, I immediately thought of the big, old tree in this cemetery.  I took several pictures of it and will replace the picture of some random tree I have been using on the blog with our Wardlow "family tree."

After a sleepless night in a hotel bed, we continued our journey by heading to the Arnheim Cemetery.  According to some family trees on, my third great-grandfather, Robert Dunn is buried there.  Correction . . . according to some inaccurate family trees on, Robert Dunn is buried in Arnheim Cemetery.  No gravestone for Robert there, but we found the grave of John and Lulu Wardlow's daughter, Emma Wardlow Weis.

And on to Russellville, the town founded by my fifth great-grandfather, Russell Shaw.  We first stopped at the Shaw Cemetery and guess what we found?  The gravesites of Robert and Elmina Shaw Dunn!  So, if your records indicate that Robert and Elmina are buried in Arnheim, please be advised that they are actually buried in the Shaw Cemetery.   Of course, Russell Shaw and his wife, Johanna Reynolds Shaw, are also buried in the Shaw Cemetery.

Our last stop was the Russellville town square, where there is a monument to Russell Shaw.  This was a deeply emotional and moving experience for my delightful niece, who is pictured below.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Kincaid Family

I haven't posted recently because I have been hard at work filling in the many gaps in my family tree.  When I first started my research many years ago, I didn't understand why anyone other than the people from whom I was directly descended should be important to me.  By the time I realized that I had been, well, stupid, I had passed over a lot of important information.  I just finished filling in some gaps in the Kincaid family.

The Kincaids are on my paternal grandmother's side.  Margaret Kincaid was my great-great grandmother and the second wife of Peter Ballein.  Margaret was born in 1836, the daughter of Samuel and Jemima Coulter Kincaid.  Samuel was born in 1804 to Samuel and Sarah Reed Kincaid.  The first Samuel Kincaid died May 5, 1813 during the seize of Fort Meigs in the War 1812.  After the elder Samuel's death, the Kincaids settled in the area around Sardinia in Brown County, Ohio.

Had I only focused on Samuel Kincaid, son of Samuel and Sarah Kincaid, I would have missed an interesting story and one, unfortunately, I may never be able to totally piece together.  Historical Collections of Brown County, Ohio by Carl N. Thompson indicates that Matthew Kincaid, Samuel's and Sarah's eldest son, "was active as a participating agent in the 'Underground Railroad' movement."  Kincaid Genealogy by G. L. Kincaid states that Matthew was an agent on the Underground Railroad and also that the second son, Robert, was a "strong anti-slaveryman."

A 1932 PhD dissertation entitled "The Underground Railroad from Southwestern Ohio to Lake Erie" by Edward O'Conner Purtee used an 1892 letter from Dr. Isaac Beck as a reference.  Dr. Beck was a known Underground Railroad conductor in Sardinia and stated that "four Kincaids" were very active in the Underground Railroad.  There were four Kincaid brothers.  The 1860 census listed Samuel Kincaid and Isaac Beck as neighbors.  Other sources also indicate that the Kincaid brothers were participants in the Underground Railroad.

For the protection of the operatives, records of the Underground Railroad are scarce.  Everything points to my ancestor, Samuel Kincaid, being involved in the Underground Railroad.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someday, somewhere, I will find documentation that flat out states that Samuel was involved in the Underground Railroad.  And then I will be so excited I'll eat a pint of ice cream or something.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

His Irish Eyes Weren't Smiling

It's the time of the year when we celebrate our Irish heritage and I have plenty of it. 

My mom claimed Irish heritage through the Donaldsons.  My dad always made fun of her.  I think he bought into the stereotype that the Irish are drunks.  The rest of us didn't care, though.  We were proud to have Irish heritage.  My dad said that his father, James Quincy Davis, always told him the Davises were Welsh.

Very early in my research, I learned of Robert Hamilton, my fifth great-grandfather through my paternal grandmother, Jennie Esther Ballein.  Robert Hamilton was born in Ireland in 1760.  He came to America shortly before the Revolutionary War and served in that war.   I told my dad he had Irish blood and he promptly told me that only the male line (i.e., the Davises) counted when determining one's cultural heritage.

I will always remember the day that changed my dad's life.  I was sitting at a microfilm viewer looking for my great-great grandfather Isaac Davis in the 1880 census.  The entry under his father's birthplace was illegible, but it sure didn't look like Wales.  I examined it closely.  It appeared to begin with an I.   Could it be?  I printed the census record so I could present my dad with evidence that his great-great grandfather, Samuel Davis, was born in Ireland.  The 1850 census also indicates that Samuel was born in Ireland.

My dad still wasn't convinced.  My grandpa was still alive at that time and I overheard my dad on the phone telling him in a rather condescending manner that I told him the Davises were Irish.  This was followed by a long pause.  The next thing my dad said was "But you always said we were Welsh!"  So, grandpa verified my dad's Irish heritage.  I took every opportunity to bring up his previous comment that only the male line counted when determining one's heritage.

It took my dad a little time to accept his Irish roots.  It became a little more difficult when I told my mom that even though she has Irish roots, they weren't though the Scottish Donaldsons.  There's an irony!  She didn't make fun of him, though.  She was sort of bummed.

We were always sure to help him celebrate his Irish heritage.  We bought him buttons proclaiming his Irishness, Irish cupcakes, and a shamrock plant.  He resisted at first, but finally came to appreciate his Irish heritage.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My dad embracing his Irish heritage

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Name Game

Why did our ancestors have so many different variations on their names?  Since a very young age, I have known my full name and the correct spelling.  You probably have also.  But I see so many different names for the same people and families and, well, it's frustrating.

First, there is my great-great-grandmother, Lulu Dunn Wardlow.  I refer her to as Lulu, because that is the name on her gravestone.  However, I have seen her name spelled Eulala, Eulali, Ulalia, and Lula.  Someone told me I was wrong about her name but who's to say?

My great-grandmother, Rosa Ogden Davis, has been referred to as Thankful Rosa, Rozella, and Rosie. Again, she is referred to Rosa on her gravestone, so that is typically how I refer to her.

Ballein is problem name.  I have seen it written as Bowline and Bauline.  I can almost excuse this, though, since it is a somewhat unusual name.

Shaper is a problem for another reason.  It is pronounced the way it is written but, unfortunately, is similar to the more familiar name Shafer and the numerous variants of the same name (Schafer, Schaeffer, etc.) and, therefore, is easily misunderstood.  Same problem with Steward, which could be misinterpreted as Stewart.

When I was a kid and mispronounced my mom's maiden name, she always corrected me and told me the name was Donaldson, not Donalson.  Tell that to the census enumerators, who wrote it as Donaldson, Donalson, and Donelson!

Even common, simple names like Dudley (Dudly) and Davis (Davies) can be recorded incorrectly.

Then there are the name changes.  One family arrived in Ohio known as the Wardlaws and sometime in the early 19th century became known as the Wardlows.  Another family arrived in Camp Dennison, Ohio with the surname Preisch (sometimes written as Prisch to confuse matters), which was soon Anglicized to Price.

Don't even get me started on the issues with Ebenezer and Ulysses!  And I doubt I will ever know if my great-great grandmother's name was Lavinna or Lavina or Lavinia Patton (I call her Lavinna).

I suspect that this problem had a lot to do with illiteracy and semi-literacy among some of my ancestors.  On top of that, a lot of the census enumerators and recordkeepers of earlier eras were a little lacking when it came to spelling and penmanship.  Perhaps folks in the olden days just wanted to create a greater challenge for their descendants.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Family Medical History

I have recently been printing copies of Ohio death certificates from   I already have many death certificates, but this time I am focusing on relatives from whom I am not directly descended (and, quite honestly, for whose death certificates I wouldn't pay).  My primary medical concern has been stroke, since there is a strong family history on my dad's side of the family.  As I read the death certificates, though, I noticed another pattern - death by train.

I have known for some time that my great-uncle, Lewis Jefferson Dudley, died after being hit by a train.  Uncle Lew was the second child of Jesse and Mary Shaper Dudley and the brother of my grandmother, Mary Dudley Donaldson.  Other than the cause of his death, we don't know much about Lew.  From the newspaper account, he must have been walking along the railroad tracks on the night of November 11, 1906 when he was hit by a train.  He sustained a deep wound in the back of his head and a leg was amputated below the knee.  His death has puzzled me for years.  This was a 25-year-old man walking along railroad tracks he had probably walked along many times.  Had he been drinking?  Was he sick?  Did he have an enemy?  Was he depressed?  We may never know.

William Henry Ballein, the eldest son of my great-great grandfather Peter Ballein and his first wife, Margaret Yochum, was born January 7, 1858.  He was was killed on January 15, 1926 when he was struck by a train in Winchester, Adams County, Ohio.  His skull had been fractured.  I'll have to do a little more research on this some day.

And then there is Dwight Wardlow.  Dwight was the son of my great-great grandparents, John and Lulu Dunn Wardlow.  Dwight was born November 15, 1888 and died at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday July 29, 1945 when he was struck by a train in Washington Township, Brown County, Ohio.  He sustained multiple injuries and, according to his death certificate, his "body showed effect of having been drinking liquor."  

The irony, of course, is that my dad, Russell Lee Davis, was a brakeman on the railroad for 35 years.  He sustained injuries and had a lot of close calls, but survived it in one piece (after his finger tip was reattached).  I wonder if my grandmother, Esther Ballein Davis, who had two uncles killed by trains, was uneasy when the B & O Railroad hired him.  All I know is that when I take my brisk walks to try to ward off the threat of stroke, I won't be walking around any railroad tracks.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Two Cent Piece

This afternoon I was looking through a notebook with some of my research notes and stopped on the page containing information on my great-grandfather, James Ulysses Davis.  A note from my conversations years ago with my dad, Russell Lee Davis, caught my eye.  My dad told me that his grandfather gave him an 1868 two cent piece.

My dad always kept a little maroon velvet drawstring bag with his coin collection.  He was mostly interested in silver dollars, but also had other assorted U S coins and a few foreign coins saved from his Air Force days in Europe.  He would occasionally take the bag out and show us his coins.  I hadn't seen the little drawstring bag in years and asked my family where the coins were.  We searched and located the coins and found the 1868 two cent piece.  As I compose this post, that two cent piece is on the desk in front of me.  It isn't in mint condition.  It isn't worth a fortune.  But it's quite meaningful to have this memento which was passed from a grandfather to his grandson.

James Ulysses Davis was born March 15, 1858 in Clark Township, Brown County, Ohio to Isaac and Lavinna Patton Davis.  He married Rosa Ogden on May 14, 1892.  They had five children, Lucy, Lawrence, Elsie, James Quincy (my grandfather), and Nelson.  He worked as a farmer and lived most of his life in or near Mt. Orab, Ohio.

My dad remembered his grandfather as a small man with a full mustache.  He chewed tobacco and had a spitoon by his rocking chair.  He used a cane and kept it nearby in case he needed to tap the floor to get attention.  My dad remembered one visit to his grandparents especially well.  My grandma was speaking to Rosa, who tended to speak loudly and laugh a lot.  James Ulysses was trying to speak to my grandpa, but grandpa couldn't hear him because Rosa was so loud.  James yelled to Rosa, "Woman!  Keep the noise down, would you?"  Perhaps this was why he needed to keep the cane nearby for tapping the floor.  James and Rosa Davis at pictured at right.

James Ulysses Davis died October 18, 1942 in Mt. Orab from "mitral insufficiency."  He is buried in the Warner Cemetery in Clark Township, Brown County, Ohio.  My dad remembered walking to the cemetery with his grandmother, Rosa, accompanying her on her visits.

I'll sign off for now.  I need to find a nice box for this two cent piece.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dudley Family Records

This week I had the honor to receive an album of information, newspaper clippings, letters, and photographs related to the Dudley family.  This family documentation was apparently compiled by my great-grandfather, Jesse Dudley with the assistance of his eldest child, Charles.  After Charles' death, the information must have been passed on to his brother, Clarence.  One of Clarence's step-grandsons was kind enough to send the information to me.  One of the pages in the album reads as follows:
These records was set forth by the hand of Jessey Dudley in the year of our Lord Dec-9-1922 and to him goes the credit for their keeping to the best of his knowledge, his records were handed down to his first born son Charles Henry Dudley who has faithfully kept them to the best of his knowledge.  And they will be kept and handed down to all the Dudley progenitors to come.  In God we trust.  Amen.
This family record answers a lot of questions, but also raises a lot of new ones.  Some of the information probably doesn't pertain to my Dudleys at all.  Still, I have plenty of new clues to pursue.

This is truly a family treasure and I am honored to be the keeper of it, at least for my generation.  It really makes me feel a connection to the past.  It is clear that Jesse and Charlie intended for this information to be shared with their ancestors and I will be scanning the information to share with others.  I will also make sure that the information is properly preserved.

Front Row (L-R): Lewis Dudley, Mary E. Dudley, Mary J. Dudley, Jesse Dudley, Charles Dudley.
Back Row: Absalom Dudley, John F. Dudley, Thomas Dudley, Clarence Dudley