Monday, March 31, 2014

Wow, it's been a while!

What have I been up to? Well, there's the whole do-over project. I'm embarrassed by the lack of sources in my genealogy software. Some people have a few sources attached to them and some have absolutely no sources attached. So I'm starting over.

I bought Legacy 8 and NO ONE gets in the door unless they come with sources for facts. Period. I started with my Russell name, and I'm still looking for an actual record that connects my Daniel Russell (1824-1902) to his father Benjamin (1780?-1840?). I have a Delaware County history that presumably Daniel wrote about his father - he should know who is father is, right? But that's not good enough. Not yet, anyway. I'm looking for a will or other document or record that shows the relationship. I haven't come close to a "reasonably exhaustive" search, so Ben is still waiting on the front porch. To Do: On FamilySearch, create a list of Stueben and Ontario County, New York, wills, probate records, letters of administration etc. and cross off as I browse all 14,000,000 of them! That's a little dramatic because there is some order to the records, some indexes in front of the registers. But I need to do this in an orderly manner or I will end up looking in the same record twice. Or three times.

What if I don't find a definitive record for each fact? Well, after doing all the searching I reasonably can, and if I'm reasonably sure, I will let them in but with notes all over the place that this is iffy and shouldn't be taken as absolute fact.

The other project is on the other side of the family tree, where I'm chasing Jones and Davis families. In Wales. Like a haystack made of needles, but which one is the right one? I am looking to prove or disprove that Alvina Davis was the daughter of Daniel and Jane (Williams) Davis who were married 26 Dec 1846 in Wales. Census records say she was born about 1845. Maybe her husband gave the information and didn't know when she was born, maybe the census enumerator jotted down the wrong year, maybe Jane was a single mother when she married Daniel. According to "Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry Into the State of Education in Wales," it wasn't that unusual in Wales in that era for a child to be born out of wedlock. So I'm open to anything. I just want to find a record of her connection to Jane and hopefully Daniel, or something that disproves this hypothesis. To Do: Wait for information from Jennifer who lives near the place Daniel and Jane were married.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Genealogy Roadshow

PBS series to test claims of famous roots

According to, "GENEALOGY ROADSHOW will air Mondays, September 23-October 14, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET." Hopefully our Nebraska pbs stations will carry it then. If so, I'll be catching it online the next day! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

YMCA Family History class

We are about to wrap up another great Family History Class here at the Y. This is the 5th year we have offered this class. Thank you, Mary, Barb, Karleen, Bev, Becky, and Roy!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

This evening I searched the new database on, "U.S. Headstone Applications, 1925-1963". I found the application for George C. Ferguson, who is the father of my six siblings.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

1940 Census Happy Dance!

I found dad in the 1940 census! I had a hunch he was working in Wyoming for the Elsom or Patch families. I looked at the 1930 census and found that the Elsom's lived in Election District 5, so I looked in that district in the 1940 census. They are on the first page with the Charles W. and Maude A. Patch family. Dad (Hugh B. Russell) is a hired hand, 27 and single. He completed the 8th grade and in 1935 was living in Sargent, Nebraska. He is listed as seeking for work in column 23 but is listed as a ranch laborer. Dad's brother Wayne R. Russell is listed after dad with the same details except his age, 25, and the number of weeks worked and income.

Dad liked to talk about his years in Wyoming. He helped the Patch family and the Elsoms do various ranch work, including herding sheep. I don't think he enjoyed that part too much doing it only one season. I remember him saying he thought a lot of the sheep dogs - border collies, I think - and how smart they were. He said in the hottest days of summer, the male sheep dogs would find the shade and the females would keep working. He also talked about mules skidding timber down the mountain.

I remember visiting the Elsom ranch in the late 60s, I suppose it was. Mrs. Elsom had a huge Christmas cactus in her living room, blooming, in an old wringer washer. They raised goats for milk and that was the first time I tasted goats milk. I liked it! Dad always thought a lot of the Elsoms and Patches. We visited a Patch family in Buffalo in the 1980s.

The Patches were relatives of dad's mom's first husband, Louis Patch.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

1940 Census

The 1940 census was released yesterday. I guess there was a computer glitch in the delivery or I guess I should say so many interested genealogists that the computers couldn't keep up. Anyway, I stayed away yesterday but thought I'd check this evening. I struck gold right away on

Nebraska, Custer County, Lillian Township. On the first page:

Irene Russell, line 10, a school teacher living with Charles and Margie Estes.
Ben T. Russell, line 17, age 61, renter operator of a farm
Predmore family, Rufus, Bula and kids, line 18; Rufus was the father of dad's first wife. She was grown and gone by 1940.
Anton Hansen and his wife Grace and kids, line 37; neighbors when we lived on the Lakeman place. I have a very faint memory of Anton and his wooden leg. Grace was the enumerator of this part of the census.

But where is dad? If he was renting the Lakeman place in 1940, he should have been listed between the Predmores and Hansens. Hmm. Was he working for someone elsewhere? I don't see him in Lillian, Milburn or Sargent townships. Maybe he was in Wyoming. Maybe he was working as a hired man in another part of the county. Maybe I'll have to wait for the 1940 census index to be completed before I find him.

Others I see:
On page 2 I see Barent and Annie Ottun and four children on lines 65 thru 70.
Page 3, my grandmother, Della Russell and son Glenn Patch who was dad's half-brother, lines 17 and 18
page 4, Earl Patch, another half-brother, line 75

Names like Greenstreet, Lacy, Jezbera, Willhoit bring back memories of all the conversations dad and I had about his past. I see Temp and Hazel Wykoff, neighbors my sister and I visited one time, on horseback. I see Andrew Miller and know he was living on what has been immortalized in our family as The Miller Place. We moved there in 1964 - a great place for a kid to grow up!

If I was better with images I would include them here. Instead, I would suggest anyone interested in seeing the images go to and see if the 1940 census is free. (I have a subscription so I don't know what it looks like if you don't have one.) Another location to check is the National Archives website. Keep in mind there is no index. All around the world, dedicated genealogists are working feverishly to get it indexed as quickly as possible. But it will probably be months before that happens. (If you are looking on the National Archives site, you need to look for Nebraska, Custer, then you need to look for Enumeration district 21-27, Lillian.)

This has been a long and rambley sort of post but it has been fun to travel down the river road again and over the hill to Round Valley and to see the names of loved ones and neighbors and to remember dad.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are? Season 3 has released information on the first two episodes of Who Do You Think You Are, Season 3. NBC, 7 Central; Probably available the next day on the Internet.

Episode 1: Martin Sheen learns how family members in Ireland and Spain stood up for their beliefs during times of war.
February 3rd, 8/7c

Episode 2: Marisa Tomei travels to Italy to discover the truth behind the rumor about her great-grandfather’s murder.
February 10th, 8/7c