Monday, May 31, 2010

Decoration Day can be dangerous

This item appeared in the Waterloo, Iowa Daily Courier 118 years ago today.

Apparently, I have inherited my great-great grandmother's proclivity for falling down.

Find Your Family History on . . . eBay?

Family history information truly can be discovered just about anywhere. Have you considered looking on the internet auction site eBay? It's definitely worth a try. Remember the old adage - one man's junk is another man's treasure.

Today, just typing in the word genealogy on eBay resulted in more than 24,000 items for sale! Of course, you need to narrow down your search if it's going to be fruitful. For example, use the place names of where your ancestor lived. For example, a search on Limerick, Ireland gave me 180 items to review. There are old postcards, a book on the families of Limerick and vintage photographs.

You can even try searching on your ancestor's name. eBay sellers have a lot of vintage portraits for sale. Here's one I came across in a search on Waterloo, Iowa: a studio portrait of a man named William Brennan. What a find if you happen to be researching him!

Other potential resources you might find on eBay are high school yearbooks, community cookbooks (did your ancestor contribute a recipe?), plat maps, family histories, histories of locations - any kind of memorabilia and documents you can imagine are likely to be found on eBay.

If you don't want to search eBay every day, once you have a search that meets your criteria, you can click on the link that reads save this search and alert me later. eBay will sent you email alerts as new items are posted meeting that criteria.

Give it a try - you never know what you might find!

Memorial Day 2010 - Honoring Those Who Served

On this Memorial Day, 2010, I pay tribute to Jess Carl Petersen, my father's uncle, who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II.

Uncle Jess is buried at Soldier's Circle at Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Jess was born in Hardy, Nebraska on November 14, 1915 and died much too soon at age 45 on September 12, 1961.

 Jess Carl Petersen
1915 - 1961

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Paul Kelly

Paul Daniel Kelly
26 June 1897 - 30 May 1946

This Memorial Day weekend, I pay tribute to Paul Daniel "D.R." Kelly, who was my grandfather's brother.

He died 64 years ago today in Portland, Oregon. He was crossing a street shortly before midnight when struck by a car. The accident was front page news in Portland the next day. Until a few weeks ago, all I knew was that he had been killed in a car accident in Oregon in the 1940s.

Just this week, I finally found a funeral notice in the Oregonian newspaper which indicated he was buried at Mount Calvary cemetery in Portland.

Two weeks ago, my sentimental Sunday tribute was to Paul's wife, Elsie Stambaugh Kelly, who returned to Nebraska some time after Paul's death.

Paul Daniel Kelly and his brother (my grandfather), William Leroy Kelly.

How can you not love those ties!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Surname Saturday - Welch

The Welch Family of Waterbury, Connecticut

Mark Welch and Sarah Conneally of Waterbury, Connecticut were my great-great grandparents. I am descended from their daughter, Mary Janice "Minnie" Welch, who married Daniel Kelly.

Details about this family still remain a bit elusive for me, although a few more details continue to surface from time to time.

It was only this past January that a "cousin" discovered a photograph of Mark and Sarah's grave site at St. Anthony's Cemetery in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Most of the family information that I've been able to put together came from the autograph books of Minnie Welch and her sister, Nellie.

Mark Welch was born in Ireland in 1826. His first wife was named Bridget and they had three daughters: Sarah, Catharine and Jane. After Bridget's death, he married Sarah Conneally and their children were Edward T, Mark Jr, Nellie, Annie, Mary Janice, Marcella, Agnes and William.

Besides my great grandmother, the only other member of the Welch family who I've been able to trace forward was Agnes Welch, who married Clarence Garrigus. My discoveries about this family are included in earlier blog posts. indicates the name Welch is an ethnic name for someone of Welsh origin. It also states that the usual spelling used in Ireland is Walsh. Top places of origin of Welch immigrants is Ireland, followed by England, Scotland and Germany.

I suppose that the families I have the most interest in are those who are the most elusive. I am hopeful that one day I'll have a much more comprehensive family biography of my Welch-Conneally ancestors.

Featured Kansas County - Republic County

Many of my ancestors moved back and forth between Nuckolls county, Nebraska and Republic county, Kansas, so I find myself jumping back and forth between these two counties that are next door neighbors. Here are some resources that may be of assistance to researchers in Republic county, Kansas.

"Shirttail Kin" discovered in papers of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sometimes while researching my family history, I get this sense that some of the family members I am researching are a bit "Forrest Gumpish" - meaning they were ordinary people who did extraordinary things - or whose lives crossed paths with people whose names we recognize. There's one who flew with Wiley Post; another who hung out with presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan.

Yesterday, an online search yielded what I found to be an extraordinary connection to 20th century American history. It is a letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dated 5 August 1958, Montgomery, Alabama to Dwight E Loder, a "shirttail" kin member of the family who was president of Garrett Biblical Institute located on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Loder had offered Dr. King a faculty position at the Institute and the letter from Dr. King is declining the offer.

The following are excerpts I found most interesting and with historical significance. The document is from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project.

". . .I feel a moral obligation to share with you the decision that I have presently made. As you know, I am deeply entrenched in the rising tide of racial conflict here in the deep South. My congregation and members of the community are also involved. And they look to me to guide them spiritually and otherwise, as they move with uncertainty through this maze of racial tension."

"I have a deep sense of responsibility at this point and feel, for the next few years at least, that my place is here in the deep South doing all in my power to alleviate the tensions that exist between Negro and white citizens. I have started on this challenging venture of love and non-violence, and I am all too aware of the fact that this philosophy has not been spread enough throughout the deep South. I am hoping by the Grace of God to be able to carry this approach far beyond the bounds of Montgomery, and this will take both time and hard work."

" Please give my best regards to Mrs. Loder. I certainly hope our paths will cross again in the not-too-distant future. Since meeting you and your charming wife I have come to admire you greatly. I hope this is the beginning of a friendship that will last over the years. Coretta sends her warm regards to both of you."

Source: the Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume IV January 1957 - December 1958

Putting this letter in historical perspective:

Letter was written in August, 1958

Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington was August 28, 1963.

Dr. King's was assassinated April 4, 1968.

Listen to Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech.

Friday, May 28, 2010 provides free membership to NGS members

News Release: Provides Complimentary Memberships To All National Genealogical Society Members

Archives gives back to the genealogy community with donation of $175,000 of genealogical resources (, a website devoted to making family history simple and affordable, announced today that they have donated complimentary three month memberships to all 9,000 members of the National Genealogical Society (NGS). These complimentary memberships give NGS members unlimited access to over 1.2 billion records on, as well as online family tree software, Expert Series articles, hours of professional tutorial videos, and other exclusive benefits.

“Working in cooperation with non-profit organizations like the National Genealogical Society is a great way to provide family history resources to the people that value them most,” says Joe Godfrey, Product Manager for Added Jan Alpert, President of NGS; “Archives' mission is to make family history records more accessible and affordable, and NGS is excited to work with them towards this shared goal.”

Archives is proud to make such a significant donation to NGS members, and will continue to explore ways to give back to the genealogy community. As part of this partnership, will also donate complimentary memberships to anyone who joins NGS during the following 6 months. To learn more about NGS and the additional benefits of membership, visit the NGS website (

ABOUT ARCHIVES.COM ( is a leading family history website that makes discovering family history simple and affordable. The company has assembled more than 1.2 billion historical records – birth, death, marriage, divorce, census, obituary, immigration, military and more – all in a single location, and makes them available at a price that’s up to 80 percent less than the leading competitor. Archives also partners with other leading family history websites to provide integrated record collections, discounted memberships, official certificates and other special promotions – providing a comprehensive resource for researching your family history. is free to try for seven days, allowing anyone to explore the benefits of membership without risk or obligation. For more information and to start discovering your family history, please visit (


Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society ( is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, VA-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists. Please visit the NGS Pressroom ( for further information.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Madness Monday - Mary Lillian Geraldine Fitzgerald Abbott death by suicide

The story of Mary Lillian Geraldine Fitzgerald Abbott has always saddened me.

Known as Lillian, she was the youngest child and only daughter born to John Fitzgerald and his wife, Mary Kelly Fitzgerald. Lillian was born to the couple on April 30, 1885. She was born into wealth, her father having amassed a fortune in the railroad contracting business and later in banking. The emigrant Irishman built his wealth from nothing and left an estate valued at more than $1.5 million at the time of his death in 1894.

The Fitzgeralds lived in what could truly be described as a mansion, known as Mount Emerald, close to the Nebraska state capitol building in Lincoln. Mount Emerald was Lillian's home.

When Lillian was born in 1885, a houseful of relatives were living at Mount Emerald. In addition to her parents and brothers, Edward (13), John (10) and Paul (4), the household included cousins Edward Cagney (25), James Toomey (17), Mary Toomey (18) and Mary Blake (22), children of John's married sisters.

John's brother, David, age 33, was living in the house, as were Mary Casey Kelly (my great great grandmother and mother-in-law of John Fitzgerald) and Nellie Kelly, sister of Mary Kelly Fitzgerald. Four servants also lived at Mount Emerald. By the looks of the house, they certainly seemed to have plenty of room!

After her father's death, Lillian's life as a young lady involved a lot of social activities and parties. In 1909, age the age of 24, she married Chauncy Abbott of Schuyler, Nebraska, an up and coming businessman in his own right. The wedding was attended by 250 guests at St. Theresa's pro-cathedral in Lincoln.

The child's first son, Chauncy, was born in 1912, followed by a second son, John Fitzgerald Abbott, in 1914. The baby lived only two weeks.

The news of Lillian's death at age 35 in 1920 was tragic, and it was reported in the press that she died in Omaha after suffering for two years from a nervous breakdown.

The events surrounding Lillian's death became known and the newspapers reported her death as a suicide. The press stated that she was found by her husband in the bathroom of the couple's Omaha home. He had climbed a ladder and broke in the bathroom window. When found, a revolver was still clutched in her hand.

Lillian is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska, next to her infant son, John Fitzgerald Abbott and her parents, John and Mary.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Save every scrap, every clue, every article

Several months ago I came across a lengthy obituary of a man with the surname of one of my relatives who was from the same county as the relatives. His name wasn't familiar, nor did any of the people in the obituary match any of the names I was researching.

Last weekend, I visited the cemetery in the town where this family had lived and photographed the tombstones of everyone with that surname. The man in the obituary turned out to be buried in this cemetery. I wasn't sure how any of these people were connected.

As I started to review the information from the tombstones, I discovered that the man in the obituary was the grandson of one of the people I had been researching. After making that discovery, all sorts of family connections began to appear and I was able to add more members to that branch of the family tree.

Tucking away these bits and pieces of information is something that took me a while to realize was an essential part of genealogical research. Last year, I discovered some newspaper articles about a California judge with the same surname as one I'm researching. Unfortunately for me, I tossed it off thinking, "no one in my family ever became a Judge!" Wrong! Several months later, I made the connection of this individual to my family. I definitely could have saved a lot of time back-tracking to locate all of the newspaper articles I had seen about the Judge.

Tip - make a file folder (paper or electronic) with the surname of the potential relative. Save all of those scraps, clues, articles and other documents you discover. Make sure your source citations are there. And just tuck it away for the future. You just never know when a connection will lead you back to this person.

It was a lesson well worth learning for me!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Telling it like it is . . .

Approaching age 84, my Dad is still sharp of mind and opinionated as ever. His letter to the editor of the Lincoln Journal Star expressing his dissatisfaction over the recent election on the proposed city arena in Lincoln's Haymarket district appeared in today's newspaper.

Surname Saturday - Loder

Rosehill Cemetery in Waverly, Nebraska was where I was taking headstone photographs last weekend, focusing on members of the Loder family. At the time, I wasn't sure how they all fit into my tree, but this morning's research on resulted in quite a few connections. I am not a direct descendant of the Loder family, as I am related primarily via Henrietta Loder Beale, who was first cousin of my grandmother, Sina Harriet Bellinger Kelly. Since Sina's children did not have an aunt, Henrietta said, "Well, then, I'll be your Aunt Etty." And so she was to so many of us - a dear and beloved family member.

I had previously written about the Loder family of Waverly, Nebraska on this blog back in December, 2009. My cemetery outing and today's online research has added even more members to this family.

The family of William Loder and Margaret Maston Loder of Waverly, Nebraska

According to, the Loder name comes from the English lode, meaning to load, or a derivative meaning path or road. In German, the meaning is either a weaver of woolen cloth or a nickname for a good-for-nothing. Take your pick! Many of the Loders in my research were pioneers and the most common word in their obituaries is "prominent," so I'd say that the good-for-nothing definition doesn't apply here, at least for now.

There was a large distribution of Loders in England and Wales in the 19th century. Top place of origin for Loder immigrants was Germany and England, with a few from Sweden, Bavaria, Switzerland and France.

This Loder family has pioneer roots in Lancaster county, Nebraska and many of the descendants remain in the area today.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Follow Friday: Dae Powell's ShoeString Genealogy

Today, I'd like to share a great site that is managed by Dae Powell, known to many on the Genealogywise site and chat forum:

The site's mission statement:

ShoeString Genealogy
 provides Family Historians with information about how to research their ancestors both on the Internet and in libraries and other repositories. Besides how, we will show you where—locations for information and the relative value of each.
Here you will find useful, 
free Genealogy Charts and some free Genealogy Forms. And there are free Presentations on Genealogy Topics; Tips and Techniques; new Developments and Resources; and diversions such as Trivia Quizzes and Crossword Puzzles.
ShoeString Genealogy
 focuses on lowering the costs of research whilst raising the quality of information obtained. Although not all online resources are free, many are. Same for many repositories. We'll show you an abundance of excellent resources that are quite inexpensive, too.

Be sure to check out - you'll be glad you did!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Minnie Welch Kelly's autograph book

I've been quite fortunate to have several autograph books from the females in my family be passed along to me. I have the autograph book that belonged to my mother when she was a teenager; the autograph book that belonged to my father's mother; and autograph books that belonged to my great grandmother, Minnie Welch Kelly, and her sister, Nellie Kelly.

Minnie and Nellie's books are probably the ones I treasure the most because of the links they gave me to adding to the family tree. With inscriptions such as "Your Uncle Luke Conneally" or "Your brother, Mark Welch, Jr" and "Aunt Winnie" I was able to begin documenting family group sheets on the Welch family of Waterbury, Connecticut.

Minnie's autograph book begins in Connecticut and ends in Nebraska shortly before she married Daniel Kelly.

I've scanned the pages of Minnie's book and attempted to transcribe the entries the best I could. This is still a work in progress, as I am also attempting to trace some of the non-family members who wrote in Minnie's book.

View Minnie's autograph book here. Please note - this is a large Adobe pdf file and may take some time to complete the download.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Mary Kelly Fitzgerald

Mary Kelly Fitzgerald, wife of John Fitzgerald

From reading newspaper articles about the wedding of the couple's daughter, Lillian Fitzgerald, to Chauncy Abbott, this photo probably shows the dress that Mary wore to her daughter's wedding. 1900.

Progenealogists announce 50 Most Popular Genealogy Web Sites for 2010

The following is a press release from ProGenealogists, Inc.

ProGenealogists, Inc., announced today that it has again identified the 50 most popular genealogy websites, updating an important and useful tool for the world’s family history searchers. This year’s list shows some significant changes from 2009, reflecting shifts in the importance and popularity of some websites. While many well-known sites remain on the list, seven sites moved into the top 50 from lower positions; while one site did not even exist for the last list.

Salt Lake City, Utah - May 19, 2010 -- ProGenealogists, Inc., announced today that it has again identified the 50 most popular genealogy websites, updating an important and useful tool for the world’s family history searchers. Kory Meyerink, Vice-President at ProGenealogists, explained that today’s online genealogists face thousands of websites and millions of web pages that might contain information about their ancestors. “They can’t search them all, so for the past three years, we have been tracking the most visited sites. Simply put, if thousands of other family researchers found a site to be useful, all researchers should know about such sites and check them out,” said Meyerink.

The study was designed in a manner similar to the popular “places rated” lists that appear regularly in the media. By ranking the websites on different criteria, and then averaging those rankings, a consensus list of the most popular sites emerges. In addition to popular and well-known, the other companies, whose rankings are all based on different web traffic criteria, used in this study were, and

This year’s list shows some significant changes from the 2009 list, reflecting shifts in the importance and popularity of some websites. While many well-known sites remain on the list, seven sites moved into the top 50 from lower positions; while one site did not even exist for the last list. Two websites jumped all the way into the top ten, with moving from number 80 up to second place. At number eight is, which was not previously ranked. A new subscription site,, was just launched in July of 2009 and debuts in this list at number 41. According to Meyerink, “They are aggressively advertising on other websites, which has garnered them a lot of traffic. They’ll almost certainly be in the top ten next year.”

Other interesting changes include growing popularity for relative newcomers, the subscription site (19) and the free data site, (25), each of which has jumped at least 10 spots in each of the past two years. Another free search site, moved up over 100 places into the 27 slot from 134 last year.

“It goes to show that the genealogy space on the web remains fluid and that people continue to look for data about their families,” said Natalie Cottrill, President and CEO of ProGenealogists. “The presence of six data-rich sites among the first eight is expected. The changing popularity of social networking sites is interesting, too, because it reflects current Internet trends. While jumped up 78 positions, remained steady in the number three slot. Meanwhile, two other similar sites, and dropped from the top ten into the 30s.” The largest data site,, is a subscription based site and remains number one. With nine subscription sites in the top 50, it’s clear that people are willing to invest in their heritage. Several special focus sites are also popular, including several devoted to cemetery and census information. To see the complete list of 2010’s 50 most popular genealogy sites, go to

Wedding Wednesday: Eunice Derieg and John Kelly

I've come across quite a few old newspaper articles about wedding ceremonies, so I thought I would begin a new feature on the blog called Wedding Wednesday.

The marriage of Miss Eunice Derrige (sic - correct spelling is Derieg) and Mr. John Kelly was celebrated yesterday morning at 8:30 at St. Theresa's pro-cathedral. The ceremony was followed by an elaborate wedding breakfast at the home of the groom's sister, Mrs. Ode Rector. The tables were decorated with white roses and chrysanthemums. Covers were laid for twenty-two. The bride wore a handsome white satin gown and a white picture hat with drooping plumes. Mrs. Rector was assisted by Mrs. Langdon of Omaha, Mrs. John Fitzgerald and Mrs. James Manahan.

Lincoln Evening News
Lincoln, Nebraska
November 20, 1900

I selected this wedding article because this is one of my brick wall families. Eunice Derieg and John Kelly were married in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1900. The 1910 census shows the family had moved to Caddo county, Oklahoma. Several other members of the Derieg family that came from Nebraska also show up in this vicinity. The 1920 census shows the Kellys living in Colorado. By 1930, Eunice Derieg Kelly is back in Oklahoma, a widow, and the couple's two sons are living with their mother and farming. I've not been able to track the family since the 1930 census, nor have I located any documentation of John's death.

John Kelly was a brother of my great-grandfather, Daniel Kelly, and a son of William D. Kelly and Mary Casey. He was born in Nebraska about 1865.

The other people referenced in the wedding article are Mrs. Ode Rector, the former Nelly Kelly; Mrs. Langdon is Margaret Kelly Langdon, wife of Michael Langdon; and Mrs. John Fitzgerald is Mary Kelly Fitzgerald. All three women were sisters of John Kelly. Mrs. James Manahan is Mary "Minnie" Zieta Kelly Manahan, a first cousin. Minnie Kelly Manahan's parents were Daniel Kelly and Mary Collins of St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. Her husband was attorney James Manahan, who became a congressman from Minnesota.

As always, if you are connected to the Derieg or Kelly families, I'd love to connect with you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Ode Rector and Nellie Kelly Rector

This is the tombstone of Ode E Rector (Odin Ellis Rector), a long time pharmacist in Lincoln, Nebraska and his wife, Nellie Kelly Rector. They are buried at Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.

On the other side of this marker are the inscriptions for Ode Rector's parents, Henry Clay Rector and Martha Hurst Rector. Each of their graves are marked by stones inscribed "Father" and "Mother."

I've never found any evidence that Ode and Nellie had any children, which is why I was really taken with the additional stones marking their individual graves.

O.E.R. - Ode E Rector

N. K. R. - Nellie Kelly Rector

Nellie Kelly was a sister of my great grandfather, Daniel Kelly. Daniel, his wife Mary, his parents and other members of the Kelly family are buried at the Catholic cemetery across the street from Wyuka, Calvary Cemetery.

Thank you!

Thank you to Paula Stuart-Warren for the link back to this blog. You are an amazing teacher, Paula!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Google Books - an amazing resource

There's no doubt that anyone who has been doing any online genealogy research has at one time or another  done a search on Google Books. If not, this is a rich resource that no family history researcher can ignore.

First, access the site at From here, it works just like searching Google. Once you locate a resource you want to "bookmark" - you just add the book to your online library. You can also identify bookshelves by topic so you can locate your books faster.

Some of the books that are indexed on the site have no preview or limited preview due to copyright restrictions. However, there are links to assist users in locating the book for sale or in a library.

Here are just a few of the gems that have assisted my research:

Ancestry magazine - back issues are available to read online

Men of Minnesota - I found biographies and photos of a related Kelly family here

History of Ramsey County and St Paul, Minnesota - since several of my Kelly family lived in St Paul for a while, this was a great view of the city and Ramsey county

History of Waterbury, Connecticut - my Welch family lived here, so I wanted to learn more about this community.

A Lost Lady by Willa Cather - Who would think that a novel would aid in family history research? Well, the notes to this scholarly edition of the book has a reference to my great-great grandfather, although not by name. He is referred to as the father-in-law of John Fitzgerald and it tells me that he hauled freight from Omaha to Denver. This is certainly a resource that I doubt I would have found if not for Google books.

Illustrated History of the State of Nebraska - By far, my best "hit" so far - this gives a fairly detailed biography the great-great grandfather referenced in A Lost Lady - William D. Kelly. This is the book where I first learned the name of his father and that the family came from Kilkenny, Ireland.

This is just a sampling of the dozens of books I've located with family history information. If you haven't done so already, search for your own family members on Google books.

Sentimental Sunday - Elsie Stambaugh Kelly and her twin daughters

Elsie Stambaugh Kelly of Greenwood, Nebraska was the daughter of John and Belle Stambaugh. She was married to Paul Daniel "D.R." Kelly, who was a brother of my grandfather, William L. Kelly, Sr. I never knew Elsie or "Uncle Paul" Kelly, but the box of family photos has a lot of pictures of their twin daughters, Lucille Kelly and Irene Kelly.

Paul Kelly was killed when he was struck by a car in Portland, Oregon in 1946.

The twins are two of the brick walls in my search for members of my Kelly family. The girls were born in Nebraska circa 1918. Irene was married to Raymond Johnson and Lucille was married to Edward Butler of Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

My leads for the twins run dry about 1940. If you're related to this family, I would love to hear from you.

Funeral card for Elsie Kelly, 1964

Saturday, May 15, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge 20

I was definitely up for the challenge this week to locate some Bureau of Land Management Records. In less than three minutes, I had three hits on members of my Pecht family.

First up was a land record for Albert B. Pecht in Sundance, Wyoming. He had made full payment for the north half of the northeast quarter and the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section nineteen and the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section eighteen in township fifty-three north of range sixty-five west of the sixth principal meridian, containing one hundred sixty acres.  This was dated October 15, 1919.

What was that again??

Albert's brother, Sherman Pecht, paid for Section five in Township twenty-one north of Range thirty-two west of the Sixth Principal Meridian, Nebraska, containing six hundred forty and eighty-hundreds acres. This was dated August 21, 1919.

Sherman's son, Clarence Pecht, claimed Section nine in Township twenty-one north of Range thirty-two west of the Sixth Principal Meridian, Nebraska, containing six hundred forty acres. This was dated October 15, 1919.

Now that I have this information, I need to figure out what to do with it!

Motivated to record history

"Holdrege - Genealogist Ken Mosman is a detective who tracks families through the centuries. His tools include several laptops, a trusty pen and paper, databases, and court records. He has traced families' lineages back to the 1600s, cleared up mysteries of conflicting dates and sifted fact from myth."

Read the complete article on the Kearney Hub web site.

Nebraska State Genealogical Society now on Facebook

NSGS at Facebook

Welcome to Facebook, NSGS!

Surname Saturday - Landon

I have to go back to my great grandmother for my connection to the Landon family. She was known in our family as Emma Harriet Landon Bellinger, wife of John William Bellinger. Other sources have shown her name as Harriet Emma. Either way, she is the starting point of my Landon roots.

Emma Harriet Landon Bellinger
1862 - 1915

Wife of John William Bellinger

Emma was born in Boone county, Illinois, one of ten children born to Daniel Landon and his wife, Anne Jane McVoy.

It is through the Landon family that my roots go back to Francis Cooke and Stephen Hopkins, passengers on the Mayflower.

There is very little that I know about Emma. She came to Cass county, Nebraska with her parents at a young age. At 17, she married John William Bellinger. Census records show them moving between Lincoln, Nebraska and Greenwood, Nebraska. They also lived in Fremont, Nebraska for a short time.

Emma and John had three children: Clifford Bellinger, Sina Bellinger (my grandmother) and Harry Bellinger. She died at age 53.

What I do know of Emma is in the pages of the scrapbook she started and that was continued by her daughter, Sina, after Emma's death. The scrapbook was an old catalog of supplies used to build houses. The scrapbook was full of articles she had clipped out of newspapers and pasted onto the catalog pages. The articles chronicled the lives and deaths of many of the Landon and Bellinger family and friends. This scrapbook gave me my first real taste of reading newspaper articles about my ancestors. Sources of the articles were never cited, but the date the article appeared in the newspaper was nearly always written down. She also saved poems and essays that appeared in the newspapers of her day.

It is through this Landon line that our family is related to former Kansas governor and presidential candidate, Alf Landon. Our common ancestors are Daniel Landon and Dorothy Holdrege. Our Landon family was detailed quite thoroughly by Joy Deal Lehmann in her Landon Family History (1988).

Our Landons came from England. Some sources suggest that the name was shortened from Langdon. In 1840, the highest concentration of Landons in the United States was in New York and Ohio. The predominant occupation of Landons was farming, followed by laborers.

As a youngster, I thought that I might have been related to actor Michael Landon, who was known for portraying Little Joe Cartwright on the Bonanza television show. Then I read in a fan magazine that his real name was Eugene Orowitz, so that was the end of that fantasy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Armed Forces Day events at Strategic Air and Space Museum

On Saturday, May 15, a special Armed Forces Day will be featured at the Strategic Air and Space Museum (SASM). The Armed Forces Day program will feature 20 minute talks throughout the day on several military topics.

Veterans will discuss their experiences as prisoners of war, serving in a bomber, surviving Pearl Harbor, serving in the Korean War and much more.

There will be free admission for retired and active duty members.

SASM says: "Join us in this day-long celebration of our nation’s military. We will have representatives from each of the five branches of service. There will be speakers throughout the day, in addition to the other activities indoors and outdoors, including military canine demonstrations.

"Speakers include: George Jarrett – Korea; Ev Webster – B-24 Pilot; Don Chase – B-52 Pilot, Vietnam; Ken Hurt – Team Chief of the Looking Glass; Bill Moses – B-36 & B-25 Pilot; Jim Beveridge – Searchlight Company, Normandy; Rob Hoover – RB-47; Charlie Daubs and Harlon Hain – SR-71; and more with opportunities to tour the aircraft."

Strategic Air and Space Museum

Map and Driving Directions

Featured Nebraska county: Sarpy County

Sarpy county is located in eastern Nebraska, just south of the Omaha metro area (Douglas county). It is also adjacent to Pottawatomie county, Iowa where Council Bluffs is located. The county is named after Peter Sarpy, an early fur trader in the area. The county seat is located in Papillion. Other cities in the county are Bellevue, Gretna,  LaVista and Springfield. Also located in Sarpy county is Offutt Air Force BaseSarpy county was organized in 1857. Bellevue was the original county seat, Papillion has been the county seat since 1875.

Nebraska genealogy events in the coming week

Omaha - The Greater Omaha Genealogical Society will feature a class on courthouse research and clues to help finding names you are looking for. This will be held at 9:15 a.m., Saturday, May 15, 2010 at the Mormon Trail Center, 3215 State Street, Omaha.

Lincoln - On Sunday, May 16, 2010, Ed Zimmer, historic preservation planner for the city of Lincoln, will lead a stroll through beautiful Wyuka cemetery. The tour begins at 2:00 p.m. at the Rudge Chapel near the main gate. The cemetery is located at 3600 O St in Lincoln.

Omaha - The Greater Omaha Genealogical Society will have its monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Crown Point Retirement Center, 2820 S. 80th St., Omaha.

Lincoln - Thursday's (May 20, 2010) Brown Bag Lecture at the Nebraska History Museum, 131 Centennial Mall North, in Lincoln, will be on Taking Care of Your Family's Heirloom Photographs.

For more upcoming Nebraska genealogy events, check out the calendar of events.

If you have an event to add to the calendar, email the details to me:

Follow Friday: A Day in the Life of Downtown Omaha

This week, I have not one, but two, recommendations for Follow Friday:

The Nebraska State Historical Society's blog is one that I enjoy following. A recent post, A Day in the Life of Downtown Omaha, features a typical street scene of historic Omaha. Even before I read the caption, I recognized the Brandeis building.

What I really enjoy about the post is how they have cropped some elements from the main photograph to isolate some images of every day life in 1934. People are motoring about, interacting with one another - all these vignettes that one might not see just by glancing at the original photograph. It's given me a new perspective on viewing those historic photographs.

Follow Friday: The Graveyards of Omaha

I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend a very interesting and comprehensive web site, The Graveyards of Omaha, which is the creation of Marta Dawes. Marta's dedication to documenting Omaha's first cemetery is evidenced by more than 5,800 photos she has taken at Prospect Hill Cemetery. Prospect Hill allows no new burials.

Marta's husband, Steve Dawes, and I became online buddies several years ago as part of a discussion forum. I felt I got acquainted with the couple just by browsing through Marta's graveyard site and the television and movie section of their site About five years ago, I was in Omaha for the Paul McCartney concert and about to have dinner at one of the downtown hotels near the arena. I'd just been seated and in walked Steve and Marta! We had never met in person, but I recognized them from the photos on their web site. "Hey Steve!" I said, and he immediately knew who I was, too. They were also going to the concert. We shared a nice conversation over dinner and it was as though I'd known them all along.

I hope you'll find Marta's Graveyards of Omaha as fascinating as I do.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Did our ancestors twitter?

Those community columns in the old newspapers that told of the day-to-day events in our ancestor's lives really weren't that much different from today's twitter and facebook pages. As I was researching some newspapers this morning, I came across several items that started to read like a twitter feed, so I thought I would share.

Lottie Stover

Programme for Teachers’ Association in Belleville, KS
Method of teaching spelling; paper – G. M. Culver. Discussion led by Miss Lottie Stover
January 27, 1887

Republic - Miss Lottie Stover spent Sunday with her parents in this city.
March 7, 1890

Republic City - Miss Lottie Stover of the Hardy schools spent Sunday with her parents here.
April 11, 1890

Miss Lottie Stover is visiting with the family of her uncle, S. G. Stover
June 27, 1890

Miss Lottie Stover and Miss Barter, of Republic City, visited with Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Stover Tuesday
July 3, 1891

Miss Lottie Stover was over from Republic City Thursday last. Mamie Stover and Nettie Stout went home with her to spend a few days.
July 24, 1891

Republic - Miss Lottie Stover came home last Saturday.
May 7, 1897

Miss Lottie Stover has returned from St. Joseph.
September 17, 1897

And the last item:
The news was received here Wednesday of the death of Miss Lottie Stover of Republic, which occurred Tuesday at the hospital in Hot Springs where she had gone for treatment. She was a most estimable young lady and the news of her death will be a great blow to her relatives and friends.
May 31, 1907

Think outside the box

One of my favorite research resources are small town (and a few larger city) newspapers to find news of my ancestors and long lost family members. Something that I've learned is to NOT restrict my search for information to a specific year. A lot of these old newspapers have "10 years ago this week," "25 years ago today," or "100 years ago today" features. I've discovered tidbits about family members in these more recent newspapers.

So, if you get stuck or can't find a newspaper for the date you are seeking, try the newspapers on that date at 10, 20, 25, 50 and 100 years in the future. You might get lucky!

Related reading:

Surname Saturday - Jeremiasen

My brick wall discovery of the immigration of the Jeremiasen family this week made it an easy decision to select this family for my Surname Saturday post.

I haven’t jumped into the deep end of the pool on my Danish ancestors before was because of the confusion in Danish naming traditions. If you find it difficult to trace female ancestors without a surname, try doing research on a family whose surname changed every generation!

Instead of maintaining surnames through each generation, the Danes instead used patronyms.

I’ll use my family to illustrate – my great great grandfather was Peter Jeremiasen. His children took the surname Petersen (Peter’s son). My great grandfather was named Jens Petersen. Had the naming tradition continued in this country, Jens’ children’s last names would have been Jensen (Jens’ son). On the female side, Peter’s wife’s name was Polsdatter – this means that she was Paul’s daughter.

It’s a challenging aspect to seeking my Danish roots – which is probably why I’ve focused on the family after they stopped the traditional naming and stuck with Petersen once they arrived in America.

For further reading, here’s an excellent explanation culled from several authors on the subject:

A Crash Course in Danish Naming Traditions

Related reading: