Showing posts from August, 2011

Happy Sylvester Shaw

From the November 28, 1875 Cincinnati Daily Enquirer:

HAPPY SYLVESTER SHAW, of Russellville, Brown County, Ohio! On Tuesday he celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday in company with his twenty-one children. After dinner he took them out to the mud road in front of the house, and the old man left them all in a scrub race of a hundred yards. The ole man then showed his wondering offspring what boys could do when he was young. He jumped a nine-rail fence without touching his hands, climbed a branch of the apple tree nineteen times, climbed to the top of the well-pole hand over hand, threw a bull calf over the house, and ripped the back seam of his pants in the effort, and told the old woman "if she didn't fix 'em afore mornin' he'd knock the socks off of her!" Hale old SYLVESTER SHAW! Long live the oldest inhabitant!
What a man!  This incredible specimen of manhood was my fourth great-grandfather.  Sylvester Shaw was born November 19, 1800 in Rensellaer County, Ne…

Clearing the Air

I’ll always remember the day I stood in the Wardlow Cemetery, looking at my great-grandfather Hite Ballein’s grave and telling my parents that if I would ever do any family history research, I would like to research the Ballein family.At that time, I was most interested in the Ballein family for a couple of reasons.First, I bear a resemblance to my grandmother, Jennie Esther Ballein, who died when I was a toddler and whom I don’t remember.Second, I was intrigued with the unusual Ballein surname, as well as the name Hite. Of course, I did begin researching my family history, starting with my paternal grandmother’s branch of the family, which includes the Balleins.I then branched out to the other side of my dad’s family and later to my mom’s family also.Along the way I have met a lot of distant relatives with whom I have shared information and am always excited when I meet a “new” relative.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much success with the family that inspired me to start this journey, t…

What's in a Name?

My recent posts have been a little depressing with tales of hardship and tragic death. This week, I would like to take on a lighter subject – the interesting names of some of the people in my family tree.Now, I realize that some of these names weren’t too unusual in the era in which they were bestowed upon my family members, but they sound a little strange now. ·ELIHU EMBREEElihu Embree was the grandson of my fifth great-grandfather Moses Embree and nephew of my fourth great-grandmother Rebekah Embree Hockett (Rebekah – Prudence Hockett Lamb – Nathan Lamb – Mary Lamb Donaldson – Eddie Earl Donaldson – my mom – me).Elihu was born into the Quaker Embree family on November 8, 1782, the son of Thomas and Esther Coulson Embree.If you wish to research Elihu, you will have little trouble finding information, since he holds the distinction of publishing the first abolitionist newspaper in the United States, the Manumission Intelligencer.Elihu died at the age of 38 on December 4, 1820.

Donaldsons on the Frontier

I have to admit that it wasn’t easy for me to become excited about researching the Donaldson family, my maternal grandfather’s family.Maybe it was because until my grandfather, Eddie Earl Donaldson, moved here in the 1910s, none of my direct Donaldson ancestors lived in southwestern Ohio.So, information on the Donaldson family wasn’t as easy for me to come by as it was for other branches of my family.

For quite a while, I wasn’t able to trace any further back than my fourth great-grandfather, Ebenezer Donaldson and his wife, Rebecca Hillis Donaldson.Then one day I came across A History of the Donaldson Family and Its Connections by Alexander Donaldson on Google Books.The story told in this book of Ebenezer’s parents and grandparents, if accurate, is quite incredible.  Personally, I am a bit of a skeptic about some of this story, since much of it was passed on through family tradition.I have found additional information from other sources, some that corroborates the information in the D…