52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – #15 DNA

There are a lot of commercials right now offering a reduced cost for DNA testing. The Christmas offer was the enticement for my husband to buy a kit for me. I had never been very interested in DNA testing, after 20 years of research I pretty much know where all my ancestors came from.

If you have a tree established in Ancestry then the DNA kit offers more information for them to track the migration of your ancestors. I knew my ancestors had settled in New York and Massachusetts and Kentucky between 1600 and 1700 then migrated west to Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas and Colorado in the 1800’s. Ancestry confirmed this migration by illustrating the pathways from the European continent to the American continent and across the plains to the Midwest. It makes a pretty picture.

The most interesting part of the DNA test results is the revelation of more than 1000 names within Ancestry of people I share DNA characteristics with. For example, the closest match for me is my first cousin Roxanne Hancock Dye. Roxanne’s father and my mother were brother and sister. Roxanne took an Ancestry DNA test and has established a tree in Ancestry. The match shows we share 1083 cM across 44 segments. A centimorgan (cM) tells you how much DNA is shared. A segment represents the sections of DNA that are identical between two individuals.

Roxanne, her mother, and daughter Emily.

My other closest connections within Ancestry are Kori Bitterlich, my sister’s grand-daughter, with 998 cM over 41 segments. Gary Langdon, my first cousin, 851 cM across 41 segments. James G. Fields, who is my first half-cousin, 350 cM over 17 segments. James’ mother June is my father’s half-sister. After these matches the numbers drop pretty fast to about 99 cM and 10 segments for my third, fourth and fifth cousins.

The real catch with this is you must have an Ancestry DNA test in order to provide the information to know our connections. Because my siblings and most of the cousins I know do not have this connection to Ancestry I don’t have any other DNA information. However, I do have a fairly large tree built with documentation for proof and that makes me happy. But if you are curious, take advantage of the Ancestry DNA test holiday sales.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #14 – Brick Wall

A ‘brick wall’ is that point during research that you are unable to find any information, hints or clues in the billions of records available online or at the library, courthouse or archives. If you are persistent and follow a typical genealogical method of searching you will find something some day. My research follows more of a hit and miss style with the hope of getting lucky.

My hit and miss method also includes being bold enough to contact total strangers and ask if they are related to the ancestor I am researching. I have met a lot of really nice people using this method with only a few who never responded to my plea. I have discovered that people are curious and people like to talk about themselves.

Most recently I have been working with a gentleman from West Virginia who is an author and skilled at restoring old photographs. He very generously sent me his book which tells the stories of the Jewish people who settled in Morgantown, West Virginia. A very poignant, and emotional entry into his world. We are jointly searching for information on his grandfather to find a connection to my husband’s ancestors. I thought by learning as much as I could about early settlement of Jewish families I might be able to get a hint as to where to look for records.

Another lady who retired recently and moved to Fort Collins wrote to ask me if the name mentioned in a letter written more than 100 years ago from Nathan Brink Hancock to his young bride (my great grandmother Lulu Brace Hancock Baber) was also a cousin to our joint ancestor. We are still working on that.

Most recently I received a request from a lady who recognized a name in my Norwegian ancestor tree and was eager to learn if it was the same person in her tree. Anderson is a popular Norwegian name after all. It was the same ancestor, and we were able to share information, stories and photos.

Great Uncle Jureen ‘Jack’ Anderson, daughter Jeanine and wife Vyvyan.

Some of my brick walls have shrunk quite a bit since I took the DNA test and received notifications from Ancestry. But, alas the biggest brick wall I face has not even been chipped in the twenty years I have been searching. That would be for Hyman Singer and his wife Rebecca Silverblatt.

If only I could see an 1890 census (which burned in 1921), or find immigration records or applications for naturalization. I am obsessed with finding out where they came from. Some of the United States Federal census records say Russia or Emperor of Russia, which is now Belarus. Some census records indicate Leeds, England. I must find their entry to the United States. It is out there. . . somewhere!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #13 – In The News

Twenty five years ago the front page story on the Sun’Sailor newspaper covering St. Louis Park, Minnesota reads Minnetonka Woman Unveils Mystery. The date was March 2, 1994 and Jeanine Shesterkin nee Anderson was pictured holding photos of her mother and four half-siblings who she discovered in 1993. My father’s sister, June, mailed the newspaper copy to me recently after visiting with their cousin Jeanine whom she had not seen in many, many years.

Vyvyan Anderson abandoned Jack Anderson and Jeanine when Jeanine was about 2 years old. The only memento Jeanine had of her mother, Vyvyan, was a piece of paper with her handwriting on it. For more than 50 years, that piece of paper was the most tangible evidence Jeanine had of her mother.

Vyvyan Anderson

Jack was 22 years older than Vyvyan when they married in 1937 or 1938, and he was a successful businessman who owned a soda shop and car dealership. He never drank or smoked. Jack had two brothers who were pastors and their Norwegian mother, my great grandmother, Signe Anderson was a devoted Christian.

Jack, Jeanine, Vyvyan Anderson

In 1942 a business opportunity enticed Jack and Vyvyan to move to New York City. Vyvyan apparently became bored with the life of a homemaker and had an affair with a high-ranking Marine. She became pregnant and the two of them left New York City for Florida. The Marine had been stationed at NAS Pensacola. Jack divorced Vyvyan and she married her Marine in 1942.

What always touched Jeanine was her dad never married again. He never even dated. He went to his grave loving Vyvyan. He never said one bad word about her.

Jack and Jeanine moved to Southern California to build a new life. Jack worked as an engineer with Lockheed Corporation. When she was 10, they returned to Minneapolis where Jack took a job with Honeywell.

Jeanine’s memories of her childhood were warm and positive. She said he taught her to ride horses, to shoot, cook and wash clothes. As she grew older Jeanine said she started to inquire more about her mother and encouraged her father to see other women. He told her one heartache like that was enough for a lifetime. In her late teens they moved back to the Enchanted Lake area of Lake Minnetonka where her father retired and died in 1982.

Unfortunately Jeanine learned her new found siblings were not so lucky. Their father suffered from mental illness, abusing both physically and mentally his wife and children. In 1994 at the siblings family reunion her half sister Jacquelyn was unable to attend and Jeanine met her later in Georgia. The Douglas County Sentinel in Douglasville, Georgia reported on February 26, 1994, the story of Jacqueline meeting with Jeanine and the joy she felt at finding her long lost sister.

Jacqueline Irvin Sliter with photographs of her siblings.

Vyvyan died in 1988, five years before Jeanine started her search.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #12 – ’12’

Week 12 the prompt is ’12’ so I have chosen to write about a couple of ancestors that are 12 generations up the ladder from me. These two ancestors are the very first immigrant ancestors I studied. They were part of the Great Migration from England to what became America. Their descendants join six generations later to become my 4x great grandparents Reverend Joel Charles Goodell and Elmina Brigham.

Thomas Brigham was born in Holme-on-Spalding-Moor in Yorkshire, England in 1603. In 1635 he sailed on the ‘Elizabeth and Ellen’ to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and settled in what became Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1638 he married Mercy Hurd. They had five children.

Robert Goodale/Goodell born in 1601 in Dennington, Suffolk, England, sailed on the ‘Elizabeth’ to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and settled in Salem in 1634 with his wife Kathryn and 3 children. Four more children were born in Salem. No record of any witches for this family.

Both men were planters. Thomas Brigham “made his mark” on the documents granting him land and Robert Goodell signed his name on the documents granting him land. Robert concentrated his efforts on obtaining land as a legacy for his children, gifting then large acreages upon marriage. Although educated Robert was not involved in any part of the governance or development of the communities and towns where he owned land. Thomas Brigham on the other hand settled in at Cambridge where he and his sons and grandsons amassed well over 1000 acres. Thomas served as a ‘selectman,’ and ‘constable’ in Cambridge. Much of the land both Robert and Thomas owned became the home of Harvard University.

The Brigham’s and the Goodell’s become joined 6 generations later when Reverend Joel Charles Goodell and Elmina Brigham marry in 1833 in Cambria, Niagara County, New York. Elmina’s father, Lieut Joel Brigham who served in the War of 1812 when he was 27 years old and his wife, Polly, move with Rev. Joel Goodell and Elmina to Lodi, Ohio about 1834 and Lieut. Joel and Polly Brigham died a few years later. Elmina Brigham Goodell had four children including Lois Emerette Goodell in 1842 before she died in 1843.

Lieut. Joel Brigham Elmina’s father.

Reverand Joel Goodell promptly marries Clarissa Platt and Lois Emerette is sent to Lockport, New York to be raised by relatives because Clarissa, the new wife, apparently did not want the responsibility to raise another woman’s child.

Lois Emerette Goodell about 10 years old in Cambria, New York.

The 1860 census shows Lois Emerette Goodell in Cambria, New York and in 1861 she marries William Totten of Lockport, Niagara County, New York. William and Lois Emerette move to Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, where her brothers live and near her father in Graham, Johnson County, Iowa.

William Franklin Totten and Lois Emerette Goodell about 1861.

Williams parents James Totten and Mary Adair were immigrants from Ireland and had settled in Cambria, New York. James joined the Union Army in 1862 and dies of disease a few days after the Battle of Bull Run in 1862. He was 44 years old and is buried in the Virginia National Cemetery. In 1861 Milton Totten, Lois Emerette’s brother had joined the Union army and was killed in 1864 at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. One of the “unknown dead” Union soldiers of that fierce battle.

James Totten, Civil War, Virginia National Cemetery

Descendants – Rev. Joel Goodell and Elmina Brigham > Lois Emerette Goodell Totten > Mary Phoebe Totten Brace > Lulu Pearl Brace Hancock Baber > Bernard Hancock

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #11 – Large Family

My husband has defined my ancestors as ‘farm’ families and his ancestors as ‘city’ families. The difference being in the number of offspring. It was not unusual to have 7 to 15 children for my ancestors while his, being from the city numbered 2 to 4 except for a few generations of the Irish Catholic McMahon, McNamee and Godfrey’s of St. Louis.

William Totten and Lois Emerett Goodell my 3rd Great Grandparents had 11 children. Their eldest daughter was Mary Phoebe Totten who married John C . Brace (9 children), and pictured below is a family picnic on the Brace property just west of Elbert, Colorado around 1916/1917. Note Elwin Brace in his WWI uniform seated at the table 3rd from the right.

Brace Family picnic in Elbert, Colorado. The young boy standing at the end of the table on the right I believe is my grandfather Bernard Hancock

Mary Phoebe (Birdie) Brace’s eldest daughter was Lulu Pearl Brace who married Nathan Brink Hancock and they had one child, my grandfather Bernard Hancock. In 1909 she divorced Brink Hancock and married John Thomas Baber and had eight more children.

Lulu Hancock Baber with 8 of her 9 children. Lloyd Baber, who is missing from this photo, was in the Army and stationed abroad. Photo 1943.

In the Foreman family, Robert Sidney ‘Sid’ Foreman was one of 8 children. His father, Jacob Foreman was the 3rd of 11 children and his mother Sarah Watt was one of 9 children.

Jacob and Sarah Watt Foreman seated, missing from this photo is Sid Foreman and Martha Jane Foreman who died when she was 2 years old. Left to right – Arte Mesa Foreman Confer, William Foreman, Mary Belle Foreman Callaway, John Foreman, Nora Kate Foreman York and George Foreman. Photo about 1920.

Sid Foreman’s daughter Mary Francis Foreman married Bernard Hancock and they had 7 children, my mother being the oldest of their children.

Seated is Mary Francis Foreman Hancock. Left to right – Dorothy with husband Mel Perkins, Shirley, Robert Hancock with wife Josephine, Evelyn with husband Art Mann, Pearl with husband Gene Lomas and Charlotte with husband Bob Lucero. Missing from this photo is Charlotte’s twin sister Charlene. Photo was taken in 1991.

During my research I have found many families with upwards of 15 children. This usually involved more than one marriage. When a man became a widower he remarried, usually a younger woman and the cycle started all over again. My 3rd great grandfather Jacob Foreman, not to be confused with 2nd great grandfather Jacob Foreman had a brother who married 3 times and had 25 children.

At this time I am working on the Scofield ancestors only to find out that my 5th great grandparents are first cousins. That really screws up the family tree. The Scofield’s settled in Stamford, Connecticut in 1640 and all of the Scofield descendants had large families. Fortunately the family history is well documented and is fairly easy to track with unusual names like Neazer and Thankful who were the cousins mentioned above who married.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #10 – Bachelor Uncle

Bachelor Uncle in my mother and grandmother’s family is Jessie Eugene Squires. Born in 1877 in Porter, Rock County, Wisconsin and died in Colorado Springs, Colorado 1960.

Jesse Eugene Squires 1877-1960

Jessie was the fifth of six children born to Edwin R. Squires and Mary Salina Kenyon. The family left Wisconsin and settled in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1888. Jessie was about 11 years old.

The 1900 census shows Jessie, age 22, living at 529 E. Costilla in Colorado Springs and his occupation is a barber. By 1910 the census shows Jessie, age 32, as a farmer in Elbert, Colorado. In 1920 at age 41, he is an Engineer (steam engine) for the Colorado and Southern Railroad which in 1908 became the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, later to become the Burlington Northern Railroad. Both of Jessie’s brothers, Harvey and Clarence also worked for the Colorado and Southern for a time, and they all lived in Cripple Creek for a while.

On the left is Harvey Squires brother of Jesse Squires.

The 1930 census shows Jesse as a watchman for the railroad and he is 52 years old. His address on this census is shown in the Falcon Precinct of El Paso County, Colorado. 1935 and 1940 census records place Harvey, age 69; Clarence age 65, both widowers, and Jessie age 62 living together in a house in Elbert, Colorado.

Harvey Squires, Clarence Squires and Jesse Squires

Jesse Eugene Squires

I remember Jesse visited our home many times and he was a close friend to my great grandfather and his brother-in-law Sid Foreman. Jesse and Sid always wore suites. And they were always good for a walk up to Brownie’s for penny candy.

Jesse Squires, Sid Foreman and baby Irene Foreman

1925 – Jesse with baby Grace Evelyn Hancock, my mother, in his 1925 Ford Model T.

Jesse Eugene Squires died in Colorado Springs in 1960 and is buried in the family plot at the Elbert Cemetery in Elbert, Elbert County, Colorado. Research at the Denver library indicates Jesse Squires purchased the family plot.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2019 – #9 – At the court house

Dower and curtesy are the rights of a surviving spouse in the late spouse’s real property. Those rights – dower and curtesy (English spelling) – have a long history in English common law and were firmly entrenched by the time the American colonies were settled. Under the common law husbands and wives were not heirs of one another.  The real estate property of both spouses passed to their own blood heirs at their death.  A husband could name in his will, land to someone other than his heir.

During the nineteenth century, and as early as 1809, states began enacting common law principles affecting the property rights of married women. Married Women’s Property Acts differ in language, and their dates of passage span many years. Ohio did not have such an Act in place until after 1839. For Elizabeth (Eli) Horine Foreman who became a widow in 1811 this meant several long court challenges.

A Little Background:

Elizabeth Horine, my 4th Great Grandmother was born 30 November 1763 in Germany and left her home with her three brothers, George, Michael and Jacob and sister Barbara, at the time of their father Frederick de la Horine’s death in the early 1770’s. He was a French Huguenot and had left France and moved to Germany where he married. Their German mother had died previously.

Early records indicate the Horine children came to America through Philadelphia and settled in Frederick County Maryland. Revolutionary War records also indicate Michael served in the Company of Troutman’s Military in 1775 on the Committee of Observation and Safety for the county. Jacob served as a private and is listed in the roll of the “Flying Camp”, a regiment made up for the most part of volunteers from Frederick County Maryland under the command of Colonel Griffin.

Elizabeth’s third brother George Horine is said to have been a physician. He married Nancy Higgens in 1796 in Mercer County Kentucky. Nancy’s grandfather who lived in Ohio, sold to George Horine 300 acres of land in Highland County, Ohio in 1808. George Horine died intestate in Mercer County Kentucky in 1815. No legal conveyance for the 300 acres was filed in the Ohio courts.

Prior to his death in Kentucky, George Horine sold those 300 acres plus another 50 acres to Elizabeth Horine Foreman, his sister and widow to David Foreman who had died in 1811.

The Challenge Begins

Elizabeth Foreman, age 48, now a widow sells her Kentucky farm and moves to Highland County, Ohio in 1815 with 7 (all sons) of her 13 children.

In March of 1819, widow Nancy Higgens Horine and her heirs all residents of Kentucky sue for order to convey land. ‘Plaintiffs Elizabeth Foreman, widow of David Foreman, and adult sons, George, David and Jacob Foreman heirs of David Foreman, all residents of Ohio allege that in 1814 they purchased of George Horine 300 acres on waters of White Oak Creek in Robert Higgins Survey, the said Horine having purchased the land from Robert Higgins. Higgins had never conveyed said land to Horine, and Horine died before he could convey the land to plaintiffs.’

Highland County Courthouse

The court (Common Pleas Court of Highland County Ohio) “finds the defendants Nancy Horine and heirs to be non-residents of Ohio, and orders the sheriff of Brown County, Ohio to serve Robert Higgins with summons.”

Robert Higgins was too old at this time to make an appearance (he died when he was 110) but provided a letter which reads “The outside of this letter is addressed to Mrs. Elizabeth Foreman. On the left side is stated ‘By Mr. Foreman’, and then is written ‘State of Ohio’. To all whom these presents may concern Know that I Robert Higgins of Clermont County, State of Ohio, do give unto George Horine, husband of my daughter Nancy, three hundred acres of land out of a tract lying and being in said County on the little North Fork of White Oak Creek and joins lands of Co. Abraham Buford it being his legacy of my lands as husband to my said daughter Nancy. He is to take it out of any corner of said Survey and run it as convenient as it can be done with Justice to the other part of said Tract of land, and this said instrument of writing I shall site in my Will. As Witness my hand and Seal this 29th day of October 1808. Fifty acres of the above mentioned land said Horine has paid me for Mrs. Foreman. The above is a copy of the instrument of Writing now in my possession as Executor of the late George Horine, deceased. Dated November 29th, 1819. “

So Nancy and her heirs lose their challenge because they are not residents of Ohio and George Horine being deceased and having no will, by Ohio law the 350 acres is conveyed to Elizabeth Foreman and her three adult sons, George, Jacob and David.

In a court document filed in 1820 Robert Higgins vs. George Foreman, et al. (Elizabeth, David and Jacob) Ejectment. Plaintiff Higgins alleges that he had leased land in Concord Township in December, 1817, and that the defendants George, David and Elizabeth Foreman, now in possession, ejected him from land.”

Kind of tells the story about how these in-laws got along. The job isn’t finished until the paperwork is done. Remember to make a will!