Monday, February 18, 2019

California Newspaper Site Reveals Disturbing Treasure

Are your ancestors hiding behind an alias or a pseudonym? Do you have an ancestor with a shady past?

My second great grandmother may have perpetrated a fraud in Sonoma County, California between 1900 and 1902.  This wayward ancestor has been revealed thanks to the  California Digital Newspaper Collection

Annie Moss was the name that we had for our second great grandmother. As I had written in a previous blog, we suspected that she had been married to John Lauenstein. She was described on his tombstone as Virginia Lauenstein but there were no records to confirm that Virginia Lauenstein and Annie Moss were the same person, until now.

The California Newspaper site revealed that she had several aliases including Annie Moss, Virginia D. Hutchings and  Virginia Lauenstein. She claimed to be the daughter of a man named Albert Tanzer who died possessed of a considerable estate.  Tanzer was a resident of Rincon Valley near Santa Rosa and had 20 acres of vineyards and was making wine. He had amassed his fortune working as a machinist and a locksmith but was apparently in ill health. He sold his vineyard before moving to San Francisco where he died in 1900.

The last newspaper article about this case infers that my 2nd great grandmother may have conspired with a man named J.M. Moffitt to pose as the sole heir of Albert Tanzer. These two conspirators may have been indicted and tried in Sonoma County.  I am currently in pursuit of further records about this matter. I am hoping for new discoveries in the original probate file and any criminal court documents that might exist.  There are many genealogical clues in this probate case but it is difficult to sort fact from fiction. But I can see through the cracks in my brick wall.

Here is the text of the last newspaper article which sums it up pretty well:

Santa Rosa Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, California), Volume XXVIII, Number 113, 22 February 1902

END NOT IN SIGHT - Conspiracy in Tanzer Estate Will be Investigated - “No Tombstones In This Family”— Sensational Developments Expected When Law Probes
The Press Democrat on Thursday morning, in its account of the settlement of the estate left by Albert Tanzer, outlined what was undoubtedly a deliberate attempt on the part of a woman, alleging herself to be a daughter of the deceased, to rob his lawful heirs of the $30,000 estate he left. As was stated, Mrs. Lauenstein of San Francisco, who sought to prove herself Tanzer’s daughter, was not allowed a cent by the Court who said to her from the bench with some force: “I am perfectly satisfied you are not Tanzer’s daughter and that you never saw Tanzer.” While the final account of the administrator has been settled and the property distributed to the heirs, the last chapter of this sensational story has yet to be written. 
Criminal proceedings will be brought against certain San Franciscans, one of whom J. M. Moffitt, formerly managed a restaurant here. It is hinted that Moffitt suggested to the woman the fact that “an old man, Tanzer by name, an old miser, had died leaving a large estate and no heirs in this country.” Attorney Humphrey of the law firm of Dent & Humphrey of San Francisco, became so certain the alleged daughter was an impostor that a detective was employed and it is said that as a result of the rigid investigation made, criminal proceedings will he brought against those who are believed to have hatched a conspiracy to rob a dead man's heirs of what is theirs by decree of court and the rights of relationship.
When this woman first appeared, she was Mrs. Virginia Hutchings. A little later on in the litigation papers on file in court, will show she changed to Mrs. Virginia Lauenstein, having in the interval become the wife of a saloon man by that name. It Is said there are sensational details in connection with how this marriage was brought about which will be produced later. 
Mrs. Lauenstein’s story in support of her claimed relationship to Tanzer was a diversified one and did not stand when certain parts of it were investigated. For instance, she came to California, she said once on the witness stand, by a certain route, while in reality the railroad specified was not built for several years afterward.
The church in Brooklyn in which she was baptized had been burned, she said, and the records of baptisms, etc., had gone up in smoke, so she could not produce her birth certificate. Upon investigation this story likewise faded away when a deposition was produced signed by a reverend father of the Catholic church in Brooklyn stating no such edifice had been consumed by fire. 
The family Bible produced by the woman would not pass muster under the scrutiny of counsel for the heirs, who were wont to say after Mrs. Lauenstein had testified several of her relatives had been suddenly called hence by mere explosions and the like — “here is a case in which there is not even a tombstone." It is hinted that several people in San Francisco, known in Santa Rosa, will be implicated in the investigation which will follow. Attorney Humphrey was not slow in telling a reporter it was one of the worst cases of conspiracy of which he had ever heard.

The connection between Annie Moss and Virginia Lauenstein was made through the testimony of a former employer:

Santa Rosa Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, California), Volume XLIII, Number 93, 25 August 1900

The Albert Tanzer Estate
In Judge Burnett’s department on Thursday the contest over the petition of Mrs. Virginia Hutchings for letters of administration on the estate of Albert Tanzer. was resumed. Among the witnesses called was Mrs. J. J. Whitney of Stockton street, San Francisco, who employed the petitioner, then known as Annie Moss.  Mrs. Whitney did not remember the occasions when Albert Tanzer visited his alleged daughter while she was in her house. 
This was perhaps the most valuable nugget that was found in the many newspaper articles about this sensational probate case.  Annie AKA Virginia claimed that her mother's name was Lucy Johnson and that she married a Mr. Hanks prior to her death.  She also claimed to have an aunt and an uncle in California. No records have been found which substantiate her story but the search continues!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Search the Hometown Paper Too!

Don't be satisfied with just one obituary for your ancestor. Many of our ancestors moved away from their hometowns and settled elsewhere.  In our case, our family left the Missouri Valley and settled in the Sacramento Valley.  But your ancestors are often not forgotten in their hometown, especially if they have family that remained. Case in point is this obituary for Mary Iza McCrory, my grandmother that I never met. She died in Sacramento, California but she grew up in Sioux City, Iowa.  She had two sisters that remained in Sioux City.  Most likely it was one of her sisters that gave this report to the Sioux City Journal:

Sioux City Journal (Sioux City, Iowa) 08 Aug 1952, Friday, Page 14

I already had an obituary from the Sacramento Bee but it did not mention several key facts. See if you can find these important additions to my grandma’s story.

OBITUARY: Sacto. Bee, Wednesday, 6 Aug 1952, pg. 31CIMINO--In this city. August 5, 1952. Mary I. Cimino, dearly beloved wife of Richard Cimino, beloved mother of Tony, Richard James and Bettyann Cimino, all of this city, loving daughter of Alfred and Annie Hansen, sister of Austin McCrory of Omaha, Mrs. Rachael Burris and Mrs. Zola Needles of Iowa; a native of Iowa, aged 44 years.
Friends are invited to attend the funeral Friday morning at 8:30 o'clock from the George L. Klumpp Chapel of Flowers, 808 O Street, thence to Holy Spirit Church, Land Park Drive and Cordano Way, where a requiem mass will be offered at 9 o'clock for the repose of her soul. Interment St. Mary's Lawn. Recitation of the Rosary tomorrow (Thursday) evening at 8 o'clock. 


The obituary in the Sioux City paper mentioned that my grandmother died "after an operation." I do not recall hearing that before. This version also indicated that my grandmother was a former resident of Sioux City and South Sioux City, which I knew but it is an additional fact about her prior residences.

The Sioux City obituary also states her sisters were residents of Sioux City rather than Iowa as stated in the Sacramento obituary.  The tone is also much more familiar in Sioux City as my grandfather is named as Dick and my dad is named as Dicky rather than the more formal Richard and Richard James in the Sacramento version.

The Sacramento obituary has details about the funeral, requiem mass and burial that Sioux City did not have. Between the two obituaries we have a much richer picture of the life and death of my grandmother. So search for those newspaper articles from the hometowns.  You might be surprised at what you find.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Get Job for Father

While searching for my surname on, I came across this fascinating article about my grandfather, Dick Cimino, his older sister, Camilla and their father, Tony Cimino. I have heard several stories about Tony sending his children and grandchildren out to speak for him.

This article provides evidence to support our oral history. It also gives us a glimpse into the life of an immigrant family in Sioux City, Iowa in 1915.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

1893 A Pleasant Surprise Party for Alfred Coffman- Elk Grove, California

While researching one of my favorite ancestral uncles, I came across a newspaper article that celebrates his tireless zeal in founding the Union High School in Elk Grove, California.  I am hoping that the local history folks in Elk Grove will recognize his efforts in some way.

Here is a transcript of the article, followed by the Optical Character Recognition and finally a copy of the newspaper article from  The collection of the Sacramento newspapers has been very helpful to me in both the 19th and 20th centuries.

A pleasant surprise party was tendered Alfred Coffman at his residence last Thursday evening by the patrons. pupils and teachers of the Elk Grove School. Mr. Coffman for many years has acted as School Trustee. He has filled the position admirably, thereby winning for himself the esteem of all. He has been largely instrumental in securing to Elk Grove the Union High School, and wishing to show their sense of his ability and untiring zeal, the friends of Mr. Coffman presented him with a handsome chair. The presentation was accompanied by a few well-chosen remarks by Delos Gage, expressive of the sterling worth of the recipient. A sumptuous repast was partaken of by the guests, who agreed that this was a memorable event in the annals of Elk Grove history. Among those present were: Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Coffman, Mr. and Mrs. Delos Gage, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Kerby, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Duffy, Mr. and Mrs. Woody, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart, Mr. and Mrs. Loll, Mr. and Mrs. D. Sherwood. Mr. and Mrs. Dixon. Mrs. Trueblood, Mrs. Butler, Misses Lena Smith, Mattie Malcolm, Howard, Mabel Leimbach. Lena Loll, Ada Gage, Ella Trueblood, Hortense Woody, Jennie Stewart and Laura Keemy, Messrs. Trueblood, Stewart, A. Gage, S. Gage, John Piekett, Joe Pickett, Loll, Cowart, Kerby, H. Kerby, C. Oltman, G. Oltman, Costella, Howard, Volney, Smith, Trueblood, Leimbach, Dixon, J. Stewart, N. Stewart and A. Gray. 

Here is the OCR version:

A pleasant surprise party WIlS tendered
AU'red Coffman at his resideuce last
Thursday e\'euin~ by the patrons. pupils
and tsachel'll of the Elk Grove School.
Mr. Colfman Cor many yeai'll has acted as
School Trustee. He has filled the posi"
on admirably, tbereby winninJ[ lor himself
the esteelD of all. Ho has been
largely instrumental in secnrinJ[ to Elk
(irove the linion High School, and wishinl[
to ebow their aellse of his ability snd
untirinl[ zeal, the friends of Mr. Cotfman
presented him witb a handsome chair.
The presentation was accompanied by a
few well-cbosen remarks by Delos Galeo,
expre.sive of the sterlinJ[ worth .of the
recipient. A sumptuous reput was partaken
of by the KlieBts, who agreed tbat
tbis WILl a memorable ev.ent in tbe annals
of Elk Grove history. Amon~ those
present were: Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Colfmlln,
Mr. and Mrs. Delos GSEe, Mr. and
Mrs. Clinton Kerby, Mr. and Mrs. Tom
Dull'y, lb. and Mrs. Woody. Mr. and
Mrs. titewart, Mr. and ~1ra. Loll. Mr. and
Mrs. ». Sherwood. lir. and Mrs. Dixon.
)f rs. Trueblood, lire. 8utler. Misses
Lena Smith, Mattie Malcolm, Howard.
Mabel Leiru bach. Lflna Loll. Ada Gage,
Ella Trueblood, Hortense WOO<1Y. Jennie
S~war~ aud Laura Keemy, lle881'8.
Trueblood, Stewart, A. Gage, S. Gage,
John Piekett, Joe Pickett, Loll. Cowart,
Kerby. H. Kerby, C. Oltman, G. Oltman,
Costella. Howard, Volney, tlmitb, Trueblood,
Leimoacb, DixoD, J. Stewart, N.
Stew an and A. Gray.
It was interesting to note that both "Alfred" and "Coffman" were garbled at various points in the article but fortunately both names were recognized properly in a couple of different places which led to my discovery of this article.  I'm just lucky, I guess!

Here is the original image:

Date: 1893-08-22 Paper: Sacramento Daily Union Volume: 86 Page: 6
For more historical background on Alfred Coffman, check out this article:

Monday, September 24, 2018

Using Griffiths Valuation to Locate Property in Ireland

James Bamford. 1796–1882 My 4th great uncle
BIRTH ABT 1796 •
DEATH OCT/DEC 1882 • Lisnaskea Reg Dist, Fermanagh, Ireland
!BIRTH: about 1796; Estimated birth year from death record below.  He resided in Creagh, Agahavea Parish, County Fermanagh, Ireland in 1834 but his birthplace is unknown.  James Banford/Bamford was probably not the son of Samuel Bamford of Derryheely. The Brooke Estate Deed for Samuel Bamford describes his oldest son as John Bamford aged 10 in 1807.  It is of course possible that John Bamford was older than 10 but the deed also describes William Bamford age eight as the second son so James would have to have been born after 1809 to be the son of Samuel Bamford of Derryheely unless both John and William were actually older than ten and eight in 1809.
!BIOGRAPHY: To Essie  Bamford O'Neill from Della Cooke Crawford        Dated 1-8-1962 Your great grandfather’s name was James. He had a large family. His wife’s name was Margaret Emerson. His daughter's name was Jane who married Galbraith Moffatt. Mary who became Mrs. James Crawford lived on the homestead in Crieve, raised her family there and I think there was a Margaret who was drowned coming out here. Her son’s names were William, James, Robert, and Edward. William, Robert and Edward married three sisters named Murphy (Not RC`s). Your great grandmother lived with your great aunt Mary Crawford and died with her at the old home stead in Crieve, your great grand father also and were all buried in Colebrook churchyard. 

Arrows point to the houses of a-James Banford and b-Margaret Orr

!RESIDENCE: 1864;  Per Griffiths Valuation his residence was Crievehill, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland. He also leased land in two other townlands: Cavanaleck and Tattynuckle in 1864. His landlord in Creevehill was the Earl of Ranfurley.
Griffith's Valuation for 1864 includes a valuation of tenements in the Parishes of Enniskillen and Aghalurcher broken down by Townland and including a reference number to the accompanying valuation maps. See for original documents and maps.
The following lands are found under the name of James Banford:
Ref. # 1a, Townland: Creevehill; Parish: Enniskillen; Occupier: James Banford; Immediate Lessor: Earl of Ranfurly ; Description of Tenement: House, Offices and Land; Area: 110 Acres, 0 Roods, 20 Perches; Rateable Annual Valuation- Land: 34 Lbs. 5 Shillings, Buildings: 1 Lb. and 15 Shillings ; Total Annual Valuation of Rateable Property: 36 Lbs. This parcel is by far the largest in the townland.
Ref. # 1b, Townland: Creevehill is a sub lease; Occupier: Margaret Orr; Immediate Lessor: James Banford; Description of Tenement: House; Area: blank; Rateable Annual Valuation- Land: blank, Buildings: 5 Shillings; Total Annual Valuation of Rateable Property: 5 Shillings. 
Also carved out of parcel #1 is a two acre parcel #35 which is subleased by James Banford to James Simonton which includes a house and land.
The valuation map of Creevehill Townland shows parcel #1 in the northern portion of the townland just south of Drumcor Lough which is in the vicinity of the town of Clabby.  I have created an image based on the maps available at which shows arrows pointing to house #a and house #b.
Ref. # 13a, Townland: Cavanaleck; Parish: Aghalurcher; Occupier: James Banford; Immediate Lessor: Sir Victor A. Brooke, Bt.; Description of Tenement: House, Offices and Land; Area: 35 Acres and 1 Rood;  Rateable Annual Valuation- Land: 27 Lbs. 15 Shillings, Buildings: 5 Lbs.; Total Annual Valuation of Rateable Property: 32 Lbs. 15 Shillings. 
James Banford was subleasing a house to John Gawley on this parcel shown as 13b.
Ref. # 5, Townland: Tattynuckle; Parish: Aghalurcher; Occupier: James Banford; Immediate Lessor: Sir Victor A. Brooke, Bt.; Description of Tenement: Land; Area: 15 Acres 0 Roods 5 Perches; Rateable Annual Valuation- Land: 9 Lbs., Buildings: --; Total Annual Valuation of Rateable Property: 9 Lbs.
The following estate records at PRONI should be examined:
Surname Location Document Date Reference
RANFURLEY Earl Estate Dungannon / Tyr Rentals, maps etc. c1909 D 2138
RANFURLY Earl Estate Dungannon / Tyr Maps 1770 - 1838 D 1932 RANFURLY Earl Estate Dungannon / Tyr Rent accts. 1857 - 1925 D 1932 RANFURLY Earl Estate Dungannon / Tyr Sale particulars c1909 D 804 RANFURLY Earl Estate Dungannon / Tyr Title dees etc. from 17c D 1932 RANFURLY family Dungannon / Tyr Title deeds, leases 18c - 19c D 847 RANFURLY family Northland Ho. D'gannon Photo. c1920 T 3707 
RANFURLY Lord Dungannon / Tyr Sale papers 1909 D 1217
I have attached the 2006 Philips Street Atlas of County Tyrone and Fermanagh p. 90. Creevehill township extends through sections D and E and numbers 1 and 2 in the southeast corner of the map. The James Banford parcel was south of Drumcor Lough which is in D2.
 2006 Philips Street Atlas of County Tyrone and Fermanagh p. 90.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Sampson Looney- with yDNA He Is Fatherless No More

One of my recent projects was to flesh out the family tree for my friends, Jan and Ron Looney of Walnut Creek, California. Jan created a tree on called the Janet Combes Family Tree and shared the tree with me making me an editor.  I was able to find ancestors for both Ron and Jan out at least five generations on most lines.

The Looney line is shown in the pedigree chart below beginning with Ron's father:

Edward Francis Looney
BIRTH 4 DEC 1918 • Lynchburg, Laclede, Missouri, USA
DEATH 31 MAR 2011 • Union City, Alameda County, California, USA

Ron had his y-DNA tested through Family Tree DNA which enabled the administrator of the Looney DNA project to add three more generations to Ron's pedigree.  His end of line prior to the DNA test was Sampson Looney:

Sampson B Looney
BIRTH 18 DEC 1806 • Tennessee, USA
DEATH 12 JUL 1864 • Pierce City, Lawrence, Missouri, USA

As you can see in the above image from, the gravestone is the primary source for the birth and death dates. Note that there is an alternate spelling on this gravestone.  There are many variations in the records:

ALTERNATE NAMES: Looney, Loomey (notice its m, instead of n), Loney, Lonne, Loony, Lunn, Lunna, Lunny, Luny, Lone, Loo, Loony, Louin, Louine, Luening, Luhan, Luin, Luna, Lunage, Luneau

I found an Message Board on the Looney family with a posting by one of the Administrators of the Looney Family DNA Project:

As one of the Admin for the Looney DNA Project I have been asked for assistance in trying to figure out who Sampson Looney's parents were. Based on a single Y-DNA test of one descendant of Sampson Looney, we discovered that his Y-DNA match most closely matches the Y-DNA of several descendants of the John 2 Looney family line.
There is one DNA marker in particular that points in this direction. So far only the John 2 Looney descendants possess this one marker at the value of 11. From what we know of the John 2 Looney family line, it seems that John's son, David Luney/Looney is the most probable ancestor who could be the father for Sampson Looney. David Looney was granted land by his father in Botetourt County, VA about 1808 but by 1810 David Looney is gone from the Botetourt County, VA records. 
On 6 Jan 1806 David Looney married Margaret "Peggy"Farrier in Botetourt Co, VA. Sampson is said to have been born that same year which makes sense. David Looney is said to have left the state prior to the 1810 census. 
Based on this Y-DNA testing I am pretty confident that Sampson Looney was the son of David 3 Looney, son of John 2 Looney. Records show that David 3 Looney married Margaret "Peggy" Ferrier in Virginia. Through this marriage we know that David 3 Looney was deceased prior to 4 January 1820 when Margaret (Ferrier) Looney's father, Robert Ferrier, who's will is recorded in Giles Co, VA. Robert Ferrier's first bequest was $250 to "heirs of David Luny, Decd". From the way the will is written it appears there was more than one heir of David 3 Looney, deceased, his son-in-law. 
I have added Sampson 4 and David 3 Looney, son of John 2 Looney to my family tree on Ancestry and you can locate them here:

I contacted the person who posted this message through his user name: LooneyMcBride.  He replied the same day with some background and sources for his research.

Sep 02, 2018 
Hi Nick, My name is Larry W Johnson and I live in Grapevine, TX half way between Dallas and Fort Worth. I have been researching the Looney family for a lot of years and a lot of my research is built on prior research done by Leroy W Tilton and the lady who coordinated and typed the Looney Family Manuscripts, ca 1963, Miss Elizabeth Looney of Washington, D.C. Of course there were a multitude of early Looney family researchers who coordinated their research with Mr. Tilton and Miss Looney. Tilton stopped his research about 1963 because of age and Miss Looney continued hers until her death in August 2001.
I also found an excellent summary of the life of Sampson Looney posted by an user.  I took the liberty of reorganizing the information in chronological order:

Sampson Looney AKA Luney Chronology based on an Message Board post by Karen Gierman <>
Sampson B. Looney/Luny username: hgierman   
Posted:24 Mar 2010 06:06PM
Classification: Query

Surnames: Looney, Luny, Stewart
1806- Sampson B. (Sam) LOONEY was born on December 18, 1806 in Grainger County, Tennessee. But, NO ONE has cracked the puzzle! Who were Sampson's parents? [UNTIL NOW!] Tradition has it that Sampson's father died young and the mother married 2) Standifer and 3) Stewart. {That theory doesn't work since Laban Stewart was born 1803 and Sampson Looney was born 1806 so marriage order would be Stewart, Looney then Standifer} [MR. JOHNSON QUESTIONS THE SOURCE FOR THE BIRTHPLACE OF SAMPSON.]Is Labon,Laban Stewart half brother of Sampson Looney? Laban Stewart's grand daughter Mary Etta Nelson married Thomas Looney, youngest son of Sampson and Sarah. Sampson's parents would have been born about 1785 +or- 5. 
1812- Sarah Brown HUNT was born on April 11, 1812 in Claiborne County, Tennessee. Listed as Feb 9 in Sampson's Bible.  
1830- Sampson Looney was married to Sarah Brown HUNT (daughter of John T. HUNT) on August 30, 1830 in Morgan County, Illinois. Illinois Marriages, 1790-1860, online has the date as 31 Aug. 1830, but the actual certificate states the date as 30 August 1830. I have a copy. The application is made by William Rogers. John Hunt made a statement to the county clerk: 'Sir this is to inform you that you may consider yourself safe in issuing license to Samson Looney to marry my daughter. Signed by John (x) Hunt. This statement was witnessed by John Profe or Grofe.I have a copy of a note from John Hunt giving Sarah permission to marry. There are many Hunts in Clairborne Tennessee, for example Thompson Hunt in Claiborne County, Tennessee in 1850. 
1832-1833- He was in 1832 in Barry County, Missouri. By 1832, Sampson and Sarah and first child, Caroline, settled in the section of Crawford County which would become Greene County Missouri in 1833. He appeared on the census in 1833 in Greene County, Missouri. No Township Listed.The couple settled in the Mount Pleasant, Barry County, Missouri area in 1832. Their second child was the first white baby born in Barry County. Later, The census of 1840, 1850 and 1860 show Sarah with her husband Sampson.There is a paragraph about E. M. Looney on page 206 from History of Lawrence County, Missouri which includes: "His grandfather was a native of Tennessee but came to Missouri in 1833 and settled on what is now known as the "Baumgartner Farm." He was an Indian trader and had many dealing with the various tribes with all of whom, by reason of his fair dealing, he was on friendly terms. He has long since crossed over the great divide." {Do not know publish date of book.The date is after 1930}.Sampson was enumerated on the 1833 Greene County Tax list: 2 horses value 60, 2 cattle value 20, one pole 37 1/2, Total value $80, Total Tax 71 2/8. 
1832-1845-Sampson preempted land near Prewett's Creek, later known as Clear Creek, in section 30, Twp. 26, Range 28. Section 30 was also the home of William Capps, whose home was the place of the first meeting of the officers of Barry County when it was established in 1835. The new county seat was known as Mount Pleasant. 
1840-He appeared on the census in 1840 in Mount Pleasant Township, Barry County, Missouri. 
1845- the area where they lived became Lawrence County.  
1850- Census 1850: Lawrence County. Sampson has 10 Children. Annie is not named and is 5 months old. 
1860- census Lawrence County: Sampson has 5 children at home. real estate value $3,000, personal value $1200. Next door is son Frances Looney. Two doors away is son Joseph Looney. 
1864- DEATH OF SAMPSON LOONEY- Sampson died on July 12, 1864 in Pierce City, Lawrence County, Missouri. 
There is a STORY that Walter L. Looney told her that Sampson was killed by his son James Washington Looney. J W Looney lived next door to Sampson. Sampson was a blacksmith. He was sitting in a rocker with his Bible in his lap when he was shot by his son. Apparently Sampson did not agree with the war.Another STORY states Sampson died at the hands of bushwhackers, land rich, without a will. According to the Probate Court of Lawrence County the final settlement was 4 Feb 1870.  
1864- Sampson Looney was buried in City Cemetery, Pierce City, Newton County, Missouri. On the tombstone name is spelled Luny. 
1866-Will probated in 1866 in Lawrence County, Missouri. Daniel Biddlecome (Box15, File 405) was pubic administrator. Letters were granted 10 May 1866. Receipts were signed by Sary (x) B. Looney, widow, Jane Looney on judgement against the estate and James and William Looney (by mark) on demand. He owned much land in Lawrence County and land west of Pierce City where the old town of Mt Pleasant was located. Sampson was on rooster of Confederate & Union soldiers as S. B. Looney. in Lawrence County, Missouri.  
1870- Sarah Looney appeared on the census in 1870 in Mount Pleasant Township, Lawrence County, Missouri. 1870 census: Sarah Luny and children Annie and Thomas. 
1880Sarah Looney appeared on the census in 1880 in Pierce City, Lawrence County, Missouri. 1880 Census: Sarah is living with daughter Annie and her husband Rubin Chapell and their 4 children. Sarah Looney is a widow. Next door is son James Looney. The following door is son Thomas Looney.  
1886Sarah died on February 8, 1886 in Pierce City, Lawrence County, Missouri. She was buried in Pierce City, Lawrence County, Missouri. 
Mr. Johnson closed his reply to me with the following invitation:
If any of your readers with Looney ancestry who would like to contact me with questions, comments or feedback they can do so at: I have also set up a "Looney Family Group" on Facebook for Looney descendants who would like to meet and communicate with their long lost Looney cousins. 
Larry W Johnson

To view the pedigree of Sampson Looney in the Ron and Jan Looney Family Tree AKA Janet Combes Family Tree use the following link:

Also check out the gallery as there are about a dozen documents and images attached.

Good luck piecing together your Ancestor Puzzles!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Newman and Nelson- Alphabetical and Descendant Ties

When you are researching ancestors that died before the 1850 census, you are presented with an ancestor puzzle with many missing pieces.  Prior to 1850, our puzzle pieces include census, tax lists, land, probate and host of other records that often get ignored.  Such is the case with two of my ancestors, William Newman and Moses Nelson:

William Newman
BIRTH BEF. 1763 • St Marys Church, Burlington, New Jersey, United States
DEATH 1840 • Nicholas County, Kentucky, USA
5th great-grandfather

Moses Nelson
BIRTH 10 MAR 1758 • Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA
DEATH 12 JUN 1833 • Bath County, Kentucky, USA
5th great-grandfather

My intent was to research William Newman but I kept finding Moses Nelson in the same records.  Their names are both found in the "Ne" portion of the indexes.  They appear to be contemporaries but not necessarily associates.  Their descendants were joined together by the marriage of William Thomas Newman and Louisa Joyce Fowler, three generations later as shown in the pedigree for their daughter and my great grandmother, Julia Ann Newman:

I was interested in finding information about William Newman because I was intrigued by the fact that he freed his slaves in his will.  Here is what I found:

William Newman Research Log- July 2018 by Nick Cimino

William Newman was born in 1763 by some accounts in Burlington, New Jersey. He married Cassandra Tippet in 1780 in Charles, Maryland. They had five children in 11 years. He died in 1840 in Nicholas, Kentucky.

The 1780 marriage of William Newman to Cassandra Tippet is supported by the biography of their son-in-law, David Wilson:
David Wilson ... married, in Bourbon County, in 1815, Sarah, daughter of William and Cassander (Tippet) Newman
SOURCE: History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, ed. by William Henry Perrin, O. L. Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1882. p. 800.

The 1790 census shows a William Newman in Charles County, Maryland:
Name: William Newman
Home in 1790 (City, County, State): Charles, Maryland
Number of All Other Free Persons: 4
Number of Household Members: 4

This census would indicate that William and Cassandra had two children prior to 1790.  This is slightly inconsistent with the known family information which shows three children born prior to 1790:

  • Birth of Daughter Eleanor Newman Bond Fugate (1783–1875) 6 Aug 1783 • Maryland
  • Birth of Daughter Sophia Newman Harden (1787–1857) Abt. 1787 • Maryland, USA
  • Birth of Son Thomas David Newman(1788–1848) 22 Feb 1788 • Charles County, Maryland, USA
By 1800 the William Newman Household had grown considerably. We appear to be missing one child in our records as there are only two children shown as born between 1790 and 1800:

  • Birth of Son Augusta Newman (1794–1861) ABT 1794 • Maryland
  • Birth of Daughter Sarah Newman Wilson (1795–1872) 4 Feb 1795 • Maryland
We have knowledge of three daughters and two sons but as shown below there was another boy under 10 recorded in the 1800 census. In addition there is a white male 45 and over that is a subject of speculation.  There are two females 10 through  15 shown in the 1800 census but Eleanor Newman would have been about 17 and Sophia Newman would have been about 13 which is a slight mismatch.
Name: William Newman
Home in 1800 (City, County, State): Port Tobacco Parish, Charles, Maryland
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10: 2   (Augusta Newman, age 6 and ??)
Free White Persons - Males -10 thru 15: 1   (Thomas David Newman, age 12)
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44: 1   (William Newman, age 37)
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over: 1   (unknown older male)
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10: 1   (Sarah Newman, age 5)
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15: 2   (Eleanor, age 17 and Sophia age 13)
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44: 1   (Cassandra about 35)
Number of Slaves: 1 (Perhaps there is a deed or a will which shows this name.)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 6
Number of Household Members Over 25: 3
Number of Household Members: 10
The 1810 census shows the following: 

Name: William Newman
Home in 1810 (City, County, State): Charles, Maryland
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over : 1
Number of All Other Free Persons: 1
Numbers of Slaves: 4
Number of Household Members Under 16: 1
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 9
The earliest event that I have found so far involving the Newmans in Kentucky was 7 Aug 1813 in Bourbon County, Kentucky, Thomas David Newman was married to Nancy Johnson.

In 1814 the marriage of Sarah Newman to David Wilson occurred on 16 Jun 1814 in Bourbon County, Kentucky, USA.

Shortly thereafter, Agusta Newman, son of William Newman and Cassandra Tippet enlisted for War of 1812 service on 10 September 1814.

Agusta Newman and Melinda Sledd were married in Bourbon County on the 3rd of November of 1815.

In 1819 Agusta Newman was a Grantor to Benjamin Boardman, Grantee, Book E, Page 367 and in - 1827 Agusta Newman was Grantor to William Sledd, Grantee, Book G, Page 560 both deeds in Bourbon County.

The 1820 Census shows William Newman as follows:
 Name:  William Newman
Home in 1820 (City, County, State):         Nicholas, Kentucky
Enumeration Date:          August 7, 1820 
 Free White Persons - Males - Under 10:  1
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over:            1
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over :       1
Slaves - Males - 14 thru 25:           1
Slaves - Females - 26 thru 44:      1
Number of Persons - Engaged in Agriculture:       1
Free White Persons - Under 16:  1
Free White Persons - Over 25:     2
Total Free White Persons:            3
Total Slaves:       2
Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other:               5

William Newman (1765 – 1840 • Family Search ID# LX7G-9WB) in Nicholas County, Kentucky Tax books 1800-1841 (Missing 1828, 1832, 1837); Family History Library United States & Canada Film # 8185, DGS # 7834493
·         Total Images: 1430; Years are shown with large block numbers; Used 1820 as a starting point which begins on Image #571 and ends on Image #611. 611-571=40 images
·         Names are alphabetical.  In 1820, William Newman is on image 598 of 1430. The following shows the column headings and the entries for William Newman:
o   Person’s name chargeable with Tax: William Newman
o   No. of Acres of Land and land rating 1st, 2nd or 3rd:  None
o   District and Regiment in which the person resides: 4th Dist.
o   County in which the land resides: Nicholas
o   Water Course on which the land lies: None
o   In whose named entered: None
o   In whose named surveyed: None
o   In whose named patented: None
o   White males over 21: 1
o   Blacks over 16: 1 (Note that the 1820 census says two blacks and tax records show two blacks beginning in 1822)
o   Total blacks: 1
o   Horses, mares etc: 1
o   Steed horses: None
o   Rates pr. Season (sp?): None
o   Tavern license: None
o   Retail stores: None
o   Wheel carriages: None
o   Billiard Tables: None
o   Value of Land per Acre:
o   Total Value Except Steed Horses: $789
·         1819 William Newman was not listed
·         1821 (Image 639) William Newman is in 4th district of Nicholas County. Again, there is one male over 21, 1 black over 16 and 1 total black with one horse. Total value is $530.
·         1822 (Image 684) William Newman listed on Image 684.  He had no land. It appears that he is in the 4th district of Nicholas County. He is still the only white male over 21. There are now two total blacks both over age 16 and two horses with total value of $710.
·         1823 (Image 727) William Newman is in 4th District of Nicholas County. There is one voter, one white male over 21, two blacks over 16, two total blacks, and two horses. Total value is $780.
·         1824 (Image 767) William Newman is in 4th District of Nicholas County. There is one white male over 21, two blacks over 16, two total blacks, and two horses. Total value is $710.
·         1825 (Image 816) William Newman is in 4th District of Nicholas County. There is one white male over 21, three blacks over 16, three total blacks, and two horses. Total value is $1600.
o   On the next page is Moses Nelson with 66 acres of 2nd class land in Shelby Company, original entry by Abercromby (sic), one male over 21, one total slave and three horses
·         1827 (Image 891) William Newman is in Nicholas County. There is one voter, one white male over 21, three blacks over 16, three total blacks, and two horses. Total value is $950.
·         1828 is missing
·         1829 (Image 939) William Newman is in Nicholas County. There is one white male over 21, three blacks over 16, three total blacks, and three horses. Total value is $940. Also notable are the other Newmans including:
o   John with 93 acres in 2nd District on the Licking with original entry by Fowler with one male over 21 and two horses
o   Thomas no land in 3rd District, one male over 21, one slave over 16, one total slave and one horse
o   Augusta no land in 3rd District, one male over 21 and three horses.
o   Also, of note in 1829 is Moses Nelson whose family in later generations intermarries with Newman with 80 acres in 2nd District of Bath and Nicholas County, watercourse L. Flatt, original entry by Smith.
·        • 1830 census of Bourbon County, Kentucky shows William Newman as follows:
 Name: William Newman Home in 1830 (City, County, State): Bourbon, Kentucky Free White Persons - Males - 60 thru 69: 1 Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19: 1 Free White Persons - Females - 60 thru 69: 1 Slaves - Males - 10 thru 23: 1 Slaves - Females - 10 thru 23: 1 Slaves - Females - 55 thru 99: 1 Free White Persons - Under 20: 1 Total Free White Persons: 3 Total Slaves: 3 Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 6 The white female 60 thru 69 is presumably the wife of William Newman, Cassandra Tippett. The birth of William and his wife Cassandra would have occurred between 1761 and 1770. • 1831 (Image 1025) William Newman is in Nicholas County. There is one voter, one tithe-able white male over 21, four blacks over 16, five total blacks, and two horses. Total value is $1400. o Also, in 1831 is John Newman with 92 ¾ acres, 3rd rate, on the Licking, entered etc. by Fowler, one voter, one tithe-able white male over 21, no blacks, and four horses. Total value is $500. o Also, in 1831 is Moses Nelson with 142 ¾ acres, 2nd rate, on the Little Flatt, entered etc. by Fowler, one voter, one tithe-able white male over 21, one black over 16, one total black, and seven horses. Total value is $2100. • 1832 is missing. • 1833 (Image 1069) William Newman is in Nicholas County. There is one tithe-able white male over 21, three blacks over 16, four total blacks, and two horses. Total value is $1000. o Also, in 1833 is Thomas Newman one tithe-able white male over 21, one black over 16, one total black, and four horses. Total value is $550. o Moses Nelson and Thomas Nelson are next to each other without land. Moses has 1,1,1,6 valued at $650 and Thomas has no personal property. • 1834 (Image 1116) William Newman is in Nicholas County. There is one tithe-able white male over 21, three blacks over 16, five total blacks, and two horses. Total value is $1080. o On the line above William there is Thomas Newman with one tithe-able white male over 21, one black over 16, one total black, and six horses. Total value is $700. • 1835 (Image 1168) William Newman is in Nicholas County. There is one voter, one tithe-able white male over 21, three blacks over 16, six total blacks, and four horses. Total value is $1050. William Newman is the only Newman family member on this tax list. • 1836 (Image 1219 and 1220) No Newmans appear on the Nicholas County tax list. • 1837 is missing • 1838 (Image 1270) No Newmans appear on the Nicholas County tax list. These records provide evidence of the residence of William Newman in Nicholas County, Kentucky from 1820 to 1835. and a description of his property and its value. • 1840 Wm Newman in the 1840 United States Federal Census Name: Wm Newman Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Bath, Kentucky Free White Persons - Males - 70 thru 79: 1 Slaves - Males - Under 10: 2 Slaves - Females - Under 10: 3 Slaves - Females - 36 thru 54: 1 Slaves - Females - 55 thru 99: 1 Total Free White Persons: 1 Total Slaves: 7 Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8 Source Citation Year: 1840; Census Place: Bath, Kentucky; Page: 196 Since there is no white female in this household, we can presume that Cassandra Newman died after 1830 and before 1840. She is also not mentioned in the 1836 will so that puts the range for her death date as 1830-1836. • 1840 Will Recorded in Bath County, Kentucky William NEWMAN signed a will in October 30, 1836 in Nicholas County, Kentucky. BATH County Kentucky Wills page 116 Recorded in Bath County, on Dec. 14, 1840. In the name of God Amen October twentieth in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred thirty six, I William Newman of Nicholas county and state of Kentucky being ill of body but of sound mind and memory and calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say principally and first of all I recommend my soul into the hands of God who gave it and as for my body I recommend it to the earth to be buried in a Christian and decent manner ------discretion of my executor and as for property that it has pleased God to bless me with in this life I leave as follows.: My Negro man Sam I give him his freedom and and as my negro woman Hannah I give her her freedom, one ten gallon kettle a large oven a pair of smoothing irons and a tea kettle and a sifter and a table . My negro woman Mary I give her her freedom and ten gallon kettle one small kettle and a linnen wheel. I give also Mary's children their freedom Martha, Sam, Milly and Hannah with all her increase forever. I also will Thomas Newman my son one dollar. My daughter Eleanor Fergate one dollar my daughter Sophia Hardin one dollar my son Augusta Newman one dollar the balance of my property I will to my daughter Sarah Wilson after my just debts are paid. I constitute and appoint David Wilson my son in law My Executor of this my last will and testament utterly revoking any other will made rattifing and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament in witness where of I have here affirmed and afixed my seal the day and date above named David Wilson Executor Signed Sealed and pronounced in the presence of Witnesses   
             his William x Newman Seal   
           mark Witness Hezekiah B Hon John Beck   
               her Mary ann x Beck   
             Mark Bath County December Court 18th DECEMBER 1840 This Instrument of writing purporting to be the last will and Testament of William Newman Deceased was produced and proven in open court by the oaths of John Beck and affionation of Hezekiah B. Hon witnessess thereto subscribed and ordered to be recorded whereupon the same hath been duly admited to . The will of William Newman dated 1836 Nicholas Co. Ky. He lists the following heirs: Thomas, Eleanor Fugate, Sophia Harden, Augusta (son), Sarah Willson, Sarah's husband David as executor.

Research at and at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City has failed to reveal any further references to William Newman in Bourbon, Nicholas or Bath counties.  

I composed emails to my colleagues in the Association of Professional Genealogists and I was especially pleased to receive the following response:

from:Cynthia Maharrey 
to:Nick Cimino
date:Aug 5, 2018, 4:50 PM
subject:RE: William Newman Freed His Slaves in 1840
As a rule in the state of Kentucky, manumissions were recorded in deed books or in county court orders books. That should be where you would find Sam, Hannah, Mary and her children’s manumissions.

Bath County had a courthouse disaster in 1864. Union troops were occupying it when a Confederate attack was waged on Owingsville. They abandoned it leaving a stove burning which caught the building on fire. While not everything was lost, some months later during another raid, some of the remaining  records were pulled into the street and burned. So, although deeds and court order books for Bath County exist from 1811, the legibility and availability of the records contained therein may be hit-or-miss.

Nicholas County suffered no such disasters and those manumissions, if William Newman’s wishes were carried out, should be in the deed or court orders books.

Many of the early Kentucky courthouse records are now housed in the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort. Many of those records are available online through If you can’t find what you seek through them, I’d be happy to work up a proposal for you.

One more thing, Kentucky also recorded free blacks on the tax lists, so they might appear there as well!



Cynthia Maharrey has provided me with some good suggestions which might help me find what happened to the slaves that were freed by William Newman. Wish me luck!

Here is the profile for Cynthia Maharrey at the the Association of Professional Genealogists:

Here is mine: