Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Most Difficult Brick Wall: Part 1

This brick wall is from my research on my dad's paternal side of the family. The family has been heavily researched to about 1850 but any further history get very sketchy. The first and only record I have of my 3 great grandfather is a marriage record in the Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 database on The record states he married Aretta Burr and the marriage took place on 28 Jan 1839 in Huron county Ohio. Aretta and her five children can be found in the 1850 census in Greenwich, Huron, Ohio. Aretta's mother Nancy Beardsley and Aretta's step father Nathan Bouton are also living with her. It appears that Joseph died before the 1850 census. By the time of the 1860 census Aretta is still living in Huron County, Ohio and is remarried to a man name John Beckman and they have a blended family of children from his previous marriage and her children she had with Joseph as well as children of their own. Interestingly, in the census record Aretta is listed with her husband and the Beckman children in one household and living next door are her Hobby children with Nancy being head of household. By the time of the 1870 census Aretta is living in Oceana county Michigan and many of her children are living here as well. Aretta died on 16 June 1908 at age of 87 years old. Her death certificate is available on the Seeking Michigan site and reveals her mother and father's information. With this information I was able to locate the family the book, A General History of The Burr Family by Charles Burr Todd. This book is excellent resource and I have been able to take the research way back on the Burr side. But Joseph still remains very much a mystery. I have yet to discover who his parents are and go back further. I tried all the free online resources and techniques that I found useful for finding other people such as Google Books, Find-A-Grave, and Family Search but to no avail. When I started this research I had my great uncle's research to start with and I started locating census records for Aretta and her children. The biggest clue I had at this time was in later census records of the Joseph and Arretta's children that the father's birth place was consistently Connecticut. With this information I searched Find-A-Grave and found many entries for Connecticut especially in Fairfield County, Connecticut. So my first questions were:

  • Why did Joesph migrate from Connecticut to Huron County, Ohio?
  • Did his father and mother also migrate?
  • Was Aretta related to the famous Aaron Burr? (This was primary my dad's question because he had always heard that from other family members)
I think I  have been able to answer some of these questions but I now have more questions that are left unanswered. So my hope is by my documenting my finds and questions I will break down this brick wall! More to come.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Finds

When Apple announced the new app for iTunesU I had to check it out. I found an awesome open course from Yale University called The American Revolution (iTunesU link).  You can also check the course out on YouTube. Professor Freeman does a great job discussing about how people felt and what they did in the time before and during the American Revolution. I am currently trying to break down a brick wall and this has been very helpful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Paid Online Genealogy Tools

So many tools ... so little time! Which to choose? That is the question of me now. I have been using Ancestry for little over a year now and it is time to widen out in my research to some of the other subscription sites. Here are a few on my list to consider.

Ancestry - Love the site. It has helped me greatly

Billion Graves - smartphone app for collecting and marking gravestones quickly with GPS coordinates. I do love this app and love the potential it represents. The app is free but costs to enable the search function from your phone.

Fold3 - This one is top on list for consideration. I love the search function on Fold3 and really wish Ancestry would incorporate its search function into the Ancestry site. For records and since I am smack in the middle of researching the revolutionary war this site seems to be the best match of what I am researching right now.

Connecticut Society of Genealogists - My research is focused on this state right now so this seems a good choice and is inexpensive.

Western Reserve Historical Society - Just found this one and it looks interesting