RSS Feed

Organizing Genealogical Records: the HOW and the WHAT

 

gold fields

And when you notice that men have disappeared in the 1850 census—right after the California ‘49er Gold Rush? They just might be there! In 1850 I missed David Markley and Samuel Croy. Samuel deserted his wife, Catherine Pugh Croy. David returned. Could be they headed to the goldfields like David’s brother, John. From Coshocton Tribune, Nov. 1924

Time to clean house—my genealogical house, that is. My goal:

 

  • Research brick walls
  • Review and update family sheets
  • Organize related files, both computer and paper

NO SMALL TASK! So I decided to take one grouping at a time.

First ones to tackle: the Ohio clan. Why? They had not been updated since 2015!

Also, the fourth of my historical fiction series, The Maggie Chronicles, delves deep into their nineteenth-century Ohio lives. The book deviates significantly from the Andrew Croy family’s real life, but my research of them revealed so much that was new or corrected that I thought I should take a closer look.

Deep in the weeds, a genealogist’s disease, I discovered much and, boy, did I organize!

Here is how:

  1. I printed out the family tree and sheets from my genealogy program to work from, numbering each of the children in birth order.
  2. All information on the children used that numbering system. i.e. In my paper files, I numbered each page of info. and paper clipped it together by date. In my computer files, I numbered each item followed by year for each item in the parent folder. Here is an example of what that looked like. (Yes, I know they aren’t dated yet, but my paper files are…sheepish grin.)Screen Shot 2019-09-21 at 1.41.26 PM
  3. Then I set to work filling in blanks. Mind you, I’ve worked on this for ten years now and applied to a number of societies requiring detailed support so I have bunches of data. Nuts, I know.

Just in case you want to get right to the chase, I’ve updated all my Ohio records. You can find them here. Ohio family sheets 9-15-2019

What I discovered—and didn’t.

  1. Two brick walls for these families are still unclimbed. HELP ANYONE?
  • HENRY SMITH: I think he is probably the brother of EVERHART SMITH (who married Selena Payne, sister of Henry’s wife Sephronia Payne…so you’d figure) BUT I can’t find a direct link yet.
  • MARGARET PUGH: wife of Jacob Croy. I made up a family in my next book, just ‘cause, but I cannot verify my guess that she is the daughter of John Pugh, likely son of Aaron.
  1. The MARKLEY family (David, Selena, and Catherine) that married into the ZERAH PAYNE family (Selena, Samuel, and Michael), always fascinated me. Another disease of a genealogist is digging deep where you don’t belong. But, hey, if you are a Markley descendent you might be interested. So I wondered:
  • Who was/were their ancestors, and—Jackpot! I found an article on an ADAM MARKLEY who had a very large family and settled in Bethlehem Township, Coshocton County, Ohio. After some digging, I found the probate records (both available on Ancestry) of Adam and his son, father of those children, FREDRICK MARKLEY.
  • Also, the aftermath of the Knox County, Indiana tragedy where I estimate at least seven Markley/Payne children died in a ten-year period after their arrival. The children of SAMUEL AND SELENA MARKLEY PAYNE were distributed: CATHERINE MARKLEY PAYNE, whose husband Michael also died, took in Amy. Daughter Rachel, then nineteen, returned to Coshocton County with Eliza and Burd. Their eldest James was already married and established in Knox County.
  1. Again digging way too deep, I clarified (or complicated) the lives of the children of Calvin and Sarah Angeline (Payne) Smith Croy.
  • A correction for CHARLES HENRY CROY that eliminated a wife (Watch out! There are more souls out there with the same name and similar birthdates that you might think!)
  • The addition of a second wife for WILLIAM DUNCAN CROY (DELLA SLAUGHTER) She eventually married William’s mother Sarah’s sister Selena’s son, EARLE UFFNER.
  • A little more information on DAVID HARRISON CROY and his complicated marriage history, including a new birth certificate for his son Daniel, which gives his father as an Everett McCoy. David always claimed this boy as his and Louise Marie, aka Billie Lou Moody (among other names) gave a lot of different/questionable versions of information on her documents.

Check out this post for more of the convoluted.

So, I’m brain dead, cross-eyed, and exhausted. Tomorrow—I return an Ohio in the 1800s and the imaginary world of my making.

Cover Reveal: The Legacy of Payne—Publication? A Long Way Off

 

Legacy of Payne Front Cover_

Check out the cover for The Legacy of Payne, the third book of The Maggie Chronicles. Pretty darn exciting!

One week and two hundred forty-two years ago, Gen. John Stark and Col. Seth Warner thwarted Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum‘s attempt, under orders of Gen. John Burgoyne, to abscond with supplies housed in Bennington, Vermont. The Battle of Bennington, fought just inside New York’s borders, was a pivotal moment in the American Revolution AND my upcoming book.

Fittingly, my fantastic cover designer, Pam Mullins, and I finalized the cover within days (and 242 years) of that momentous date in history. I’ve gone into great depth on this battle, my trip to Vermont for research, and the book’s featured Payne family heroes and heroines on my blog. Just go to the search square in the upper right corner and type in Vermont to learn more.

Here is the back cover featuring a painting called The Old Mill by George Inness, 1849. The blurb tells you more about the story. Back CoverNeither the date of the work nor the setting, likely upstate New York, match the time frame or the exact setting of The Legacy of Payne, but it certainly evokes the feel of a Vermont country mill in the 1780s.

But hold your horses, so to speak. In the hopes of avoiding some of the pitfalls of a rush to publication (slowly learning), I’m taking my time bringing this book to publication. Anticipated Amazon debut: April 2020!

Ugh! What?

Until, if you haven’t yet, there are always books one and two.

Find them here and here.

I’m My Own Grandpa

Posted on

marriage of E Croy and J HustonA helpful reminder right up front: When researching women who seem to fall off the edge of the world, always check for marriages using their married name. Most often subsequent marriages after a spouse’s death are recorded under the woman’s married name, not her maiden name.

Because my fiction series, The Maggie Chronicles, is lifted, much altered, from my genealogy research, I find I often dig deep and discover details that help break down a brick wall or two. Such was the case as I research the fourth of my Maggie Chronicles (number three—The Legacy of Payne—comes out next year).

The ancestor in question is Duncan Croy, first-born son of Andrew Croy and Susannah Oswalt Croy—birth year approximately 1804.[i] He is brother to Jacob Croy, my great-great-grandfather. Until recently, I knew only that he married in 1827[ii]to Sally Morrison, had a boy and girl under five by 1830,[iii] was living in 1840 with Andrew Croy in White Eyes Township, Coshocton County, Ohio.[iv] From this information, I reasoned that Sally Morrison had died. The fact that he remarried in 1840 to Elizabeth Chipliver[v] confirmed this assumption.

But by 1850, Duncan Croy had disappeared, as had Elizabeth. Andrew and Susannah had two young children living with them, Susannah, age 11, and Margaret, age 5. David Croy, Duncan’s brother, had a boy named Andrew residing with him, age 19, too old to be one of David’s children. It seemed likely Duncan had died. Yet, looking back on the 1830 and 1840 census, these records account for only some of his children. What happened to the rest? And what happened to Elizabeth, his second wife.

Remember the hint at the beginning of the blog? I applied it and looked for Elizabeth CROY. Sure enough, a marriage record showed up. And what a surprise! Hence, the title of this blog: I’m My Own Grandpa. It was one of my father’s favorite songs. After a convoluted and humorous explanation, it concludes: “It seems funny I know, but it really is so, I’m my own Grandpa.”

So follow along—and I won’t try to confuse this with references, all of which can be found on Ancestry. Duncan’s mother was Susannah OSWALT before marrying Andrew Croy; Susannah’s mother was Sarah HUSTON who had a brother David HUSTON who married Susannah’s sister Rebecca OSWALT; David and Rebecca had, among other children, a son named John HUSTON. Elizabeth Chipliver Croy married him after Duncan died. The 1850 census for Elizabeth and John lists more of Duncan’s children by her and Sally. Look below for an accounting.[vi] I’ll update the family sheet later.

Hang in there—because I’m not done yet. Elizabeth died before 1860 and who should John marry?[vii] Susannah Croy, Duncan’s child by Sally Morrison, who cared for the children John had with Elizabeth, along with four more of her own. In other words, John married his nephew’s daughter, taking after his father, who had married his niece.

I’ve often mentioned the close connections between the Croy, Oswalt, and Huston families. They were very close! As an aside, I discovered the name of another of Duncan’s children by Sally: the older boy, Samuel. And he married David Huston’s daughter Margaret.

I will confuse no further. I’ve delved deeper into each of Duncan’s children and those of John Huston. If you are interested, I’d love to hear from you.

A graphic for your pleasure:Alexander Huston Mary Ann Johnson

[i]based on the Federal Census for 1830, Rose Township, Carroll County, Ohio, marriage certificate, Carroll County, and Federal Census for 1840, White Eyes, Coshocton County, Ohio including that of mother, Susannah’s birth date
[ii]14 September 1827 based on Carroll County, Ohio marriage records, FamilySearch.com
[iii]Federal Census 1830, Rose Township, Stark County, Ohio for Duncan Croy
[iv]Federal Census 1840, White Eyes Township, Coshocton, Ohio—also, through deduction, I determined a boy, born 1830-1835, and two girls, born 1835-1840.
[v]18 October 1840, based on Coshocton County, Ohio marriage records, FamilySearch.com
[vi]Children of Duncan (about 1804-1845) and Sally Morrison(about 1807-1839): Unknown female, Samuel, Andrew, Susannah
Children of Duncan and Elizabeth Chipliver (about 1812-1857): Eliza, Catherine, Margaret.
[vii]17 June 1858 based on Coshocton County, Ohio marriage records, Ancestry.com

In Transition

Posted on

 

open door

Transitions: An open door

Recently, the leader of my writing group, Pam Smedley, gave us an interesting assignment. She put slips of paper with writing topics written on them and asked us to draw one and reflect on it for the month. I drew the word: transitions.

 

I’m going through numerous personal life transitions—the self-publishing gauntlet scaled and two books[i]completed; the first draft of my third book in the beta-reader/editing stage; the angst-driven analysis of my accomplishments and mistakes; and coming to terms with aging, time, and…well, you get it.

I’m also beginning to write the fourth book in The Maggie Chronicles. If you are familiar with my books, you know they hop from present to past, requiring reader and writer to transition often. Well, my fourth book transitions between two pasts and one present. Ambitious? Nuts? Who knows? Clearly, TRANSITIONS was an apt and serendipitous pick.

Here’s what I’ve gleaned in a month.

Transition defined:

  • the process of change (noun) like[ii]between passages, musical keys, phases, focus
  • cause to change (transitive verb) as in position, perspective, orientation, viewpoint

You just can’t avoid transitions—or transitioning. Noun or verb, the word implies change. Some changes are easy; the leap isn’t far, or critical, or traumatic; it requires little adjustment—for example, between corn and bran flakes, or sentences. Then again, some changes are hard; they require a huge leap—between established home and homeless, between life and death, or between scenes. (So, okay, taking the leap from one scene to the next isn’t as harrowing as the chasm between life and death, but, if not done well, both can be painful.)

In any case, by addressing all the complexities of change, so as to ground yourself (or the reader) in new territory, you might avoid the stumbles and falls (to stick with the metaphor) or confusions change presents(metaphorical stretch…mid-air collision?).

With this in mind, consider the following as you soar, or flail:

  • Where are you? Have you been here before? Then you likely don’t need an in-depth tour. If the place is new, if you’re out of your comfort zone, then a quick orientation is in order. Is the weather different? The same? Is it safer or less so? Who populates this place…assuming they matter? Get settled, or help the reader do so.
  • When are you? Two days later, a week? Life, and story, does that sometimes; time flies without you paying attention. Jumps like that are easy. Just state the fact and move on. “My writing group meets in an hour. Better hustle.” But…did you time hop from D. 2020 to 500 B.C.? Some head-spinning explanation is required. Were you eighteen and suddenly eighty? Perspectives and concerns differ significantly with age. Don’t ignore it.
  • Who are you? Very important. Hopefully, there’s some consistency. Too much head hopping and you come off as schizophrenic. Sure, you may feel unbalanced but keep moving—forward—as you. Take it all in, from your (or your character’s) perspective. And accept that you (and your character’s) viewpoints aren’t perfect…or necessarily grounded. It’s normal and makes for an interesting story, or life.
  • What are you? Is a label important? Add it. (But it makes me nervous.)
  • And, finally, why? Why are you where, when, who, and what you are? Why do you feel, need, want, care? Why are you afraid, excited, wary, overjoyed? Why don’t you think you’re good enough, smart enough, whatever enough—or why do you?

Put it all down; ground your reader—or yourself—into the next step, next scene, or next stage of your story.  It might be exhilarating or frightening or incongruous, but nothing stays the same and everything’s connected. That’s the point of transitions: somehow, via miniature steppingstones or huge leaps of faith, they move you forward. How exciting and scary is that?

Photo credit: Franzfoto: wikimedia.org
[i]Find links to them here: Book 1 The Scattering of Stones and Book 2 The Forging of Frost
[ii]I’ve bolded a few transition words between sentences in black as examples.

“One Stick at a Time” A Family Fable

one stick

Work to come

I sat in the driver’s seat of the car parked in our garage. A piece of a story unfolded—a movie—but one not in my head. It danced in that in-between place where the mind’s eye plays. As it receded, my shoulders relaxed; my knotted gut began to untie. The story was not lost; it was there.

The launch of both Scattering and Forging were successful. Not like rock star successful but respectable and, well, at least accomplished. The draft of my third book is ready for beta-readers—almost. I still need to give it one last edit.

But the next book lingered in a twist of apprehension, a sensation I suppressed. Vulnerability was not, I thought, a desirable attribute. When in doubt, pretend strength.

But lately I’ve been thinking of a family fable. We call it “One Stick at a Time. The story goes like this.

In the long ago time, when a man and woman first came to this land, an enormous mound of dirt and tree limbs and trunks and bramble, all in a muddle, loomed over them. The pile rose taller than one person standing on the shoulders of the other. It stretched wider than three cars, bumper to bumper…well, maybe two trucks. Say it however you will, it was a mountain; it was big. And overwhelming.

Then a Wise One visited the woman, this time in the visage of an old man. Grey of hair and beard, he hovered before the mound, balanced on a crooked cane. His eyes scanned the mass, his mind considered. He turned to the woman and smiled. “There is nothing,” he said, “that cannot be tackled one stick at a time.”

The woman told her partner what the Wise One had said, and he nodded. They stepped to the mound and each picked up a stick, then a shovel. Sometimes they worked together, sometimes alone.

At night the woman determined her next step. She imagined the new stick or limb she would lift.  When dawn came, her imagination moved her, so she pulled and she dragged, until what she had imagined in the night stood before her, as real as light of day.

Then, one night at a time, the pile diminished and the greater vision unfolded: of a land cleared of debris, flourishing where confusion and doubt once reigned. And, while the work took place, birds flit through the bramble, the man and woman’s bodies grew strong, and they discovered how to clear a space where ideas could grow.

So it is with any story. At first, it seems a jumble, disconnected and unclear. No matter how much you plan its structure or talk through your ideas, you must step forward. You must pick up the first stick.

Every story I’ve written began with doubt. Then the story blew in, one scene at a time, its Wise-One presence appearing sometimes in a car, sometimes before an impossible obstacle, and always just in time. So I will trust that place where my mind’s eye plays, and I will carry on, as I hope you will—one stick at a time.

at a time

It does get done—one stick at a time.

 

All Those Early Croys

 

jacob croy brother in law inventory

A blast from the past in which a Jacob Croy is a executor of the estate.

A FRIENDLY DISCLAIMER: This post is for those with an interest in the Croy surname only…real “in the weeds” research. It happens sometimes (smile).

 

A follower asked for some help with a Croy family line centered in Montgomery, Virginia and, boy, was that a loaded request. He had traced (or was considering) an early Lawrence Croy as one of his ancestors. I’ve been searching early records for a link to my Jacob Croy, so have delved deep into early Croy surnames. It is a potpourri, promoting more questions than answers.

So far, it seems, the early Croys settled in three distinct locals: Pennsylvania, Vermont/NY, and Virginia, as well as a random record or two.There is little definite early verification of the familial relationship of all those recorded Croys. Still, in the interest of helping others, and maybe get some feedback to further my own research, I thought I’d list what I know so far, along with a brief explanation of where to find the records. (Unless noted the records can be located on Ancestry.com)

Reading the information below generates questions, none likely answerable:

  1. Is the Lorenz Croy who arrives in PA in 1753, the same one who appears in Rensselaer, NY in 1785, and, subsequently, Highgate, VT in 1799.
  2. Are the Bedford, PA or Dauphin County, PA Croys related in any way to Lawrence? He may have come to PA with young children?? Or had them soon after, and they headed out on their own?
  3. Is the Jacob of VT who disappears from Highgate records after 1804, the same Jacob who appears in Montgomery (Giles) County, VA in 1810?
  4. Why was Jacob such a popular chosen name? Three Jacobs exist at the same time in the late 1700’s: one in Bedford County, PA; one in Dauphin County, PA; one in Highgate, VT.

Here we go! Ordered by date:

Pennsylvania

1753-First recorded Croy: Lorenz Friedrich Croy arrives in Philadelphia, PA and signs the oath of allegiance

1765-Hannis Croy and wife Marya baptize daughter Annate at the Dutch Reformed Church in Milston, Somerset, New Jersey on Oct. 21st

1768-Michael Croy and Anna Maria, his wife sponsor a baptism at David’s/Sherman’s Lutheran Church in York County, PA

1776 to1790-Appearance on tax roll for Cumberland Valley/Londonderry Township, Bedford County, PA: Richard (beginning 1776), Jacob (beginning 1778), and Mathias (beginning 1787; Micael on 1790 Federal census) There is plenty regarding this line on my blog so I will not repeat it here.

1780-A Jacob Croy is named executor of the will of Adam Rambarger of Anville Township, Dauphin County, PA (brother-in-law; his sister Esther, Adam’s wife; Adam’s children listed George, Jacob, and daughters unnamed. (This is a wonderful insight into the times, particularly the inventory of possessions.)

1780-A Jacob Croy (same as above?) appears on the Lebanon Borough Taxable Returns as a freeman. From  History of the counties of Dauphin and Lebanon: Everts & Peck, 1883. (Note: Annville and Lebanon are right next door.)

Vermont/NY

1781- John G. Croy appears on payroll signed in Bennington, VT for August under Captain Odell in Colonel John Abbet’s Regiment

1785-Lowrence Croy and John G. Croy appear on roster of Henry K. Van Rensselaer’s Regiment (Albany County), Militia. (John G., we will discover, is Lawrence’s son.)

1790-Christian Cray is listed on 1790 Federal census for Rensselaerwick, Albany, New York. Pension records indicate he served with Rensselaer’s Regiment as well. Fold3 has his application for a pension, which indicated he came from Germany. (Christian, we will discover, is Lawrence’s son.)

1790-John Croy appears on 1790 Federal census for Fredrick, Maryland. (Random or John of Lawrence venturing, briefly out.???)

1799- Lawrence Croy files a will on May 3rdin Highgate, Franklin, Vermont. In the will he lists Rachel as his wife and Christian and Jacob as his sons…a later will, named below gives more information. At this time, he willed Jacob 100 acres and Christian 2 pence. The town of Highgate was not really viable until 1791 and the records start at 1794, so it makes sense that this is the Rensseler County, NY family from above. As you will see, John G. and Christian stayed in NY and Jacob, John (yes, there were two Johns) moved to VT with their father. This comes from the Vermont Town Records for Highgate found at Familysearch.org (search Franklin County, then Highgate image #36). I love these records! Only problem—they are not indexed. You have to search them a page at a time. Lucky for you, I am giving you the image numbers. 

1800-Jacob Croy (Lawrence’s son) appears as a selectman and renter of property at Hog Island (now West Swanton, VT) part of Highgate Township in Franklin County Familysearch.org above, image #75

1800-Lawrence Croy’s second will names Rachel, his wife, and Christian, John G., John, and Jacob as his sons. No land is mentioned. He wills John G. and Christian $1.50, John a cow and white horse, and Jacob the balance of his estate. It is recorded August 24, 1800. Familysearch.org as above, image #77

1800- John Croy sold land April 29, 1800 on Hog Island. (Familysearch.org. Sorry, no image #)

1800- Jacob (age 26-44) and Lawrence Croy (age+45) appear on the Highgate, Franklin County, VT Federal Census.

1799 to 1802-residence list names John Croy and Jacob Croy (Familysearch.org images 93, 114…sorry, no image # for 1799 and 1800)

1803- John Croy appears on the residence list. I find no further record for Croys in Highgate…but perusing these records is a challenge. I may have missed something. As it is, I did not list numerous records of John and Jacob’s positions on the town council in positions varying from selectmen to sheriff.

An aside on this family: Christian Croy’s 1842 will in Brunswick, Rensselaer, NY, image 552-555 in Ancestry “Wills and Probate Records of New York” shows no male heirs; nor does John G.’s 1837 will in Petersburg, Rensselaer, NY, images 85-90.

 1810-an illegible ____b(?) Croy (age 26-44, which Ancestry labels as John Cray, appears on the Highgate, Franklin County, VT federal census.

Virginia

1810-Adam (age 26-44); Henry (26-44); and Jacob Croy (+45) appears on the Federal Census. This family is easily traced on the census from this point forward. I doubt it is the same Jacob as in Vermont as he had only one female child under 10 listed on the 1800 VT census. In this census he has (among others) 3 females and 2 males between 16 and 25. I checked Library of Virginia Chancery Records and found no Croys mentioned before 1824. The 1790 and 1800 Federal Censuses do not exist, likely lost in the fires in Washington, DC in The War of 1812.

Can you add anything? Any thoughts? Some mysteries may never be solved—but I’d sure love to unlock this one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Second Edition and a Plea for Help

 

Scattering

Purchase or write a review HERE.

It’s up! The second edition of The Scattering of Stones is now available on Amazon. I am very proud of it. (I don’t easily admit such things.) It corrects a few minor errors, has a clean, very readable interior, and sports a fabulous new cover created by Pam Mullins. The cover design visually links the upcoming books in the series, which I have dubbed THE MAGGIE CHRONICLES.

When I first wrote The Scattering of Stones, I had no idea that Maggie Smith, the “present day” researcher in my historical novel, would decide that she was not done! Her fictional research (combined with my real research) unearthed more stories, and she insisted I tell them. Maggie is a very persistent woman.

To those who read Scattering when it first came out, enjoyed it, and then wrote great reviews and sent heartwarming notes, I thank you.

Now I need your help!

If you read my first book and enjoyed it, please write a review for the version showing the cover above. Just click here, scroll down to where it says, “Write a customer review,” click again, and write away. Or you could just cut and paste your old review to the page—or simply give the book a star rating with no comment. I would appreciate it so much.

Here is why!

My previous publisher and I are having trouble pulling the old version of Scattering from Amazon’s on-line sales. Because that edition has more reviews attached to it, and because Amazon does not transfer reviews to second editions, the old version comes up first in a search.  That version is no longer under my copyright, so until it is pulled (except, of course, for used versions), I’d like to bury it under my new, fabulous, edition.

OH—and if you haven’t read Scattering, it has been very well received. If you like historical fiction, in particular American historical fiction, I’d love for you to give it a read. Find a blurb, along with a colored map and short story to compliment the book, on the Moonset Books page above.

THE MAGGIE CHRONICLES, Book Two, The Forging of Frost, set in 17thcentury New Haven Colony, comes out in early January. Book Three, The Legacy of Payne,which takes place in Bennington County, Vermont at the time of the Revolutionary War, is in draft stage, and Maggie’s been whispering two more stories to me, as well. Okay, I wouldn’t call it whispering, but she’ll have to wait.