Monday, January 16, 2017

Using DNA to Trace 18th Century German Immigrants

Are you struggling to identify the origins of your eighteenth century immigrant ancestors? DNA may prove to be a useful tool in supplementing genealogical records for these early immigrants.  Last week I wrote about my maternal grandmother, Elaine Coffman and her baby book from her first few years in New York City.

I was well acquainted with my grandmother and her sister, Vivian Coffman McGrath.  I also know their half brother, Ernest Ellsworth Coffman, Jr. who we call "Uncle Ernie".  We have a wealth of knowledge about the Coffman line but it starts to get a little shadowy when we start to trace back to the original German immigrant in the early days of Kentucky.

I feel very fortunate that Uncle Ernie  was agreeable to taking a y-DNA test to trace the Coffman line further back.  I got to know Uncle Ernie as a young lad.  Occasionally I would see him when he would visit "Gram Elaine" in Lake Tahoe.  We started to correspond and then email each other after I began the Coffman genealogy research.  I love his writing style and am fortunate to have several of his stories that I have added to the family history archive.   I ordered a y-DNA test for Uncle Ernie before Christmas and we are anxiously awaiting the results of the test from Family Tree DNA.

There is a pretty well developed database for the Coffman family at the following webpage sponsored by Family Tree DNA: Kauffman/Coffman/Kaufman Project - Y-DNA Classic Chart.

There is an ancestor on the list who has some history which seems to fit with some of the stories that have been passed down in our Coffman line.  Here are the specifications for the test of interest: 

Kit Number: 316309; Paternal Ancestor Name: Jacob Coffman, death 1792, KY; Country of Origin: Germany; Haplogroup: I-YP1084

Starting with Uncle Ernie, here is the path to that German immigrant:  Ernest Ellsworth Coffman Jr. 1932 CA> Ernest Ellsworth Coffman Sr. 1879 IL-1934 CA>Archibald Wilson Coffman 1850 IL-1935 CA> William Fowler Coffman 1815 KY-1905 IL > Jacob Coffman 1780 Germany or KY- 1855 IL > Jacob Coffman, the original immigrant from Germany.

We are fortunate to have several oral histories that were preserved about the early origin of our Coffman line.

"The father Jacob, a native of Germany, came to this country when four years old and settled in Kentucky, where they subsisted by digging the ginseng and selling it, and hunting deer and dressing their skins.  He was well acquainted with Daniel Boone.  He moved to Illinois, and was there during the Black Hawk war [1832], in which he took part.  He was the first man to settle in Burlington, Iowa, which place he found while swimming the Mississippi River after Indians for whom he had a deadly hatred. When sixty-two years of age he moved to Missouri, to a town called Jamestown, five miles from St. Joseph [Buchanan County].   He became so fond of frontier life that he followed it until his death, which occurred in Illinois, at the age of seventy-two years. He shot his last deer in Illinois, while on horseback, shortly before his death. His son Alfred has the old rifle with which he killed the deer.  Seven of the children of Jacob Coffman are living, the youngest being sixty six years of age."
SOURCE: History of Sacramento County, 1890, by Winfield J. Davis, CA State Library #qc979.453 D2; mfm#C115 #13 Book 2382; p. 479 From the sketch of Alfred Coffman, son of Jacob Coffman 1780-1855

I never ceased to be amazed that our Coffman family was written up in an early history of Sacramento County.  I was born in Sacramento in 1954 and I did not realize that Alfred Coffman had come to California in 1875 and that his nephew, Archibald Coffman, followed his uncle to California prior to 1880.  I was practically dumbfounded when I learned that Alfred Coffman was one of the founders of Elk Grove High School where my wife, Robin Harrington, graduated about one hundred years later.

I have found no record to substantiate the claim that Jacob Coffman 1780-1855 was the first man to settle in Burlington, Iowa, however Isaac Crenshaw, a neighbor of Jacob's, did lead a party of Illinois settlers to the Burlington area.  I have not yet checked early land claims but the histories of the area do not mention Jacob Coffman.  There are several other statements that I have been attempting to prove over the years.  The service in the Black Hawk War was has been substantiated by a bounty land claim. The relationship with Daniel Boone is  little more difficult to prove.

The most interesting aspect of this oral history is the deadly hatred of Indians.  This attitude toward Indians might be explained by the following story by another descendant of Jacob Coffman 1780-1855.

"...The grandparents of Mrs. [Aaron] DeWitt, Jacob and Ezra (Fowler) Coffman, were born in Kentucky, and he was a son of Jacob Coffman, a native of Germany.  When Jacob Coffman, Mrs. DeWitt's grandfather was three years old the family started for Illinois, and when they reached the Illinois side of the Ohio River they were attacked by the Indians and old grandfather was killed.  His wife, two sons and a negro servant escaped, fled to the woods and kept on traveling until the crow of a rooster told them they had reached a white settlement.  They finally made their way to McDonough County, where they entered land from the government, but none of the survivors ever forgot their terrible experience with the hostile Red Men."    
SOURCE: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois & History of Hancock Co. Scofield Vol. 11; Chicago, Illinois : Munsell Pub. Co., 1921; Salt Lake City, Utah : Digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2009; page 1186 in the sketch of Aaron DeWitt.

The wife of Aaron DeWitt was Sarah Coffman, daughter of William Fowler Coffman and Elizabeth Wilson.  Sarah was a sister of my second great grandfather, Archibald Coffman 1850-1935.  She may have garbled the story a bit.  The three year old that was traveling to Illinois was probably her father, William Fowler Coffman.  The obituary of William F. Coffman tells the following version of the story:

"William F. Coffman was born in Kentucky, July 30, 1815.  When he was three years of age the family removed to Jefferson county, Illinois where they remained twelve years, when in 1830 they came to this vicinity where he has since resided." SOURCE: LaHarper, LaHarpe, Illinois, 15 Sep 1905

There are elements of these stories which bear some similarity to the following story about a Jacob Coffman who was an early settler in what is now Anderson County, Kentucky.

"Jacob Coffman was one of the first, it not the first, to build his cabin or fort, in what is now Anderson county. His fort, or strong cabin (It was not one of the large stations or forts), stood on the corner lot made by what is now Woodford and Main streets, the lot now (1928) occupied by the Presbyterian church. This cabin was put up between February 3, 1780 and June 23, 1780, the time he made his 1,000 acre entry, the second entry using the term, "adjoining his settlement and around the same." Here Coffman lived from 1780 until his death by Indians in 1792.
"As to where he came from, the records of Anderson and Franklin counties are silent. Quite a number of Dutch settlers came to Kentucky at a very early date, and he may have been one of these..."
"Jacob Coffman, Sr., was killed in 1792, and there were several versions of his death, how it occurred and where. Mr. W. S. McBrayer gave the writer the version that many old people thought the Indians did not kill him, but that Samuel Arbuckle killed him in order to get his land, and that he was killed near the brick residence of John C. McBrayer on the Clifton pike. Samuel Arbuckle did finally get the title to the lots of Jacob, Jr., and Hannah, and the greater part of Nellie's, but the records show that he got it many years after the death of Jacob, Sr., and that he paid prices for it that compared with prices paid for other similar land in the community."
"The most reasonable version of Jacob, Sr.'s, death heard by the writer, and it was heard many times years ago, was that he and his wife were walking not far from Coffman's Station one Sunday afternoon when they discovered two Indians not far away and apparently approaching them. Coffman sent his wife to the station to bar the doors, as he thought the Indians did not intend harm and he could get rid of them. He walked to where they were and some talk occurred, but suddenly the Indians clubbed him to death and scalped him. The alarm was given and a number of people got together under the command of Major Herman Bowmar living in Woodford county, and a deputy sheriff living in that county, came and tried to track the Indians. but could find no trace of them. (Collin's History, Vol. 2.)"
"The summer and fall of 1792 saw the last incursion into any part of central Kentucky, and the killing of Coffman here, and of a Mr. Todd in South Frankfort, were the last killings by Indians."
SOURCE: A history of Anderson County [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: McKee, Lewis W.. A history of Anderson County. Baltimore: Regional Pub. Co., 1975. The 1975 version was a reprint of A History of Anderson County Begun in 1884 By Major Lewis W. McKee, and concluded in 1936 By Mrs. Lydia K. Bond; Published by Roberts Printing Co., Frankfort, 1936.
One of the facts that Lewis McKee added to his narrative was that the widow of Jacob Coffman and her daughter, Nellie [AKA Eleanor] moved to Clay County, Missouri, where they were living on June 2, 1830, when Nellie sold the residue of her land to Samuel Arbuckle for $1,200.  Jacob Coffman 1780-1855 was known to have been in Buchanan County Missouri with some of his sons for a short time in the 1830's.  Several of his descendants are known to have been born in Buchanan County and the 1830 census shows a Jacob Coffman.

Several of my Coffman kinfolk have already latched onto this Jacob Coffman from the Anderson County, Kentucky history.  I will be contacting them for an explanation of their rationale. Perhaps the DNA results will help us solve this mystery.  We can only hope!

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Baby Book from 1910

Three generations of baby books
The pink one is mine born 1954, the white one is my mom's, Jill Mayne born 1935 and the blue one belonged to my grandmother, Elaine Coffman.
Do you have a baby book?  How about your parents or grandparents?  I am fortunate to have in my possession, three generations of baby books.  The oldest one belonged to my grandmother, Elaine Blanche Coffman, 1910-2010.  This book is over 100 years old and is a treasure.  My grandmother was born in New York City on August 29, 1910.  Here are a few of the images from the 1910 book.

Elaine Coffman's Baby Book, 1910, Cover image

List of gifts received for Elaine Coffman in August and September of 1910 in New York City. 
I guess you could call the people on this list of gifts, my grandmother's "FAN" club.  Genealogists use the acronym FAN for family/friends, associates and neighbors.  I recognize a few of the names in the "FAN" club. The list was written by Elaine's mother, Mae Blanche Moss 1882-1963. Elaine's father was Ernest Ellsworth Coffman 1879-1934. Ernest and Mae were married in Oakland, California in 1907 and they moved to New York in 1908. My great-grandmother and my grandmother have similar handwriting.   Aunt Grace would be Grace May King 1885-1968, the wife of Otis Coffman.  Otis was Ernest's brother.  "Grand Ma Coffman" is Harriet Ketcham, wife of Archibald Coffman. Viola N. Hughes is Ernest's sister and aunt of Elaine.

The friends bear further scrutiny.  No surname is given for Paul and Helen so they are difficult to trace.  George Larkin and Miss J. McAllister are perhaps a couple.  There are several men named George Larkin in the 1910 census so it is hard to determine which one would match.

Thomas W. Gleason gave a pair of pink booties.  There was a Thomas W. Gleason, age 34 who would have been about the same age as my great grandfather, Ernest Coffman in the 1910 census of Manhattan.. Mr. Gleason immigrated from Ireland in 1886.  He was living at 325 Spring Street in Ward 8 of Manhattan at the time of my grandmother's birth.  He was a supervisor of stevedores on the New York dock based on the 1910 and 1920 census records.

Ernest E. Coffman, wife Mae and mother Harriet residing on West 138th Street, New York
The 1910 census shows eighteen families residing at 108 West 138th Street, Manhattan where Ernest, Mae and Harriet Coffman are residing on 16 April 1910.  Grandma Mae wrote 110 West 138 Street, New York as the place of birth for Elaine.  It is possible that the census taker neglected to write the the address when he arrived at that address so some of those eighteen families were probably at 110. When the census was taken in April 1910, Mae was pregnant and Harriet, Ernest's mother, was presumably there to help with the housekeeping when the baby came.  The building number was cut off in the photograph below but it does not appear to be 108 or 110. My guess would be 141.  None of the residents on West 138th appear to be on the list of gift givers.

In the 1911-12 New York City Directory, Ernest E. Coffman had an office address of 17 E 125th. That building number also does not seem to be a match with this photograph.  But I must say that it is an interesting looking building wherever it is.  And that hat that Grandma Mae is wearing is quite distinctive.

Mae Moss Coffman about 1910 in New York City with daughter, Elaine in baby carriage.
There is a little dog at her feet which does not appear to be on a leash.

Elaine's first outing appears to have been September 13, 1910.  Then on December 4, 1910, "Elaine had her first ride in the subway and street cars to Brooklyn and enjoyed her outing very much." Perhaps the photograph was taken in Brooklyn. She was three months and five days old on December 4, 1910.  Would Grandma Mae have taken the baby carriage on the subway and street cars?

Then on Wednesday, December 7, 1910, "Elaine had her first ride in the snow down to 125th Street." Perhaps that ride in the snow was to visit daddy at his office at 17 West 125th Street.  Ernest Coffman was working as a manager for the Gas Governor Company.

Google Street view of the building at 17 West 125th Street, New York

Wikipedia offers the following historical perspective on West 125 Street:
"125th Street is a two-way street that runs east–west in the New York City borough of Manhattan, from First Avenue on the east to Marginal Street, ... along the Hudson River in the west. It is often considered to be the "Main Street" of Harlem, and is co-named Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
Notable buildings along 125th Street include the Apollo Theater, the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, the Hotel Theresa, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Mount Morris Bank Building, the Harlem Children's Zone, the Church of St. Joseph of the Holy Family, and the former West End Theatre, now home to the La Gree Baptist Church."
These pictures from Elaine's baby book probably show the house where the Coffmans resided in Edgewater, New Jersey.
Elaine is being held by her father, Ernest Coffman.
The little dog is in the previous picture too.
The New York City Directory of 1913 shows Ernest Coffman residing in Edgewater, New Jersey but the address is not given.  Elaine's sister, Vivian was born in Edgewater on January 24, 1916.  There used to be a ferry that ran across the Hudson River from Edgewater to the foot of West 125th Street.  Wikipedia has the following image of the ferry which has Edgewater inscribed on it.

Edgewater-125th Street ferryboat that crossed the Hudson River. SOURCE: Wikipedia.

The playmate, Ward Gleason, may have been the son of Thomas W. Gleason on the list of gifts.

First words "Da Da" were spoken on the first of March 1911.

This looks like a Fourth of July picture with Elaine Coffman on the pony.
This baby book is now over one hundred years old.  Future blog posts will cover the next two generations.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Free Webinar Saturday on Ulster Ancestors

Have you signed up for my free webinar on tracing Ulster ancestry this Saturday?  I am pleased to be offering the first session in the Southern California Genealogical Society 2017 series of monthly webinars. My session entitled "Chain Migration from Ulster and One Name Studies," will be presented live this Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 10 AM Pacific Time.  Members of SCGS can also view the session at anytime after the live presentation through their webinar archive.  The hyperlinks above can be used to view the program overview and the registration page for the Ulster Webinar.

Due to the scarcity of Irish records an excellent genealogical approach is to widen the focus from a particular pedigree to all occurrences of a surname in your Irish locality whether it be a townland, a county or a region like Ulster.  Unfortunately, due to fires and government record destruction, you will never have all of the pieces of your Ulster "Ancestor Puzzles." By systematically gathering all records relating to your subject surnames you can piece together you Ulster ancestry like a jigsaw puzzle.  

If you would like to prepare for Saturday's session, I recommend that you spend some time with the following sites:

  1. For historical context visit the Collections page of the Ulster American Folk Park.  The Folk Park tells the story of hundreds of thousands of emigrants who left Ulster to emigrate to America in the 1700s and 1800s.  The Park was opened in 1976 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
  2. For primers on Ulster genealogy and history,visit the "Leaflets" page of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. The ‘Your Family Tree’ and ‘Local History’ series’ are designed to assist both the beginner and the more experienced researcher.  They cover the most popularly consulted archives, indicating their range and content and how they can be accessed. Other series’ relate to emigration, historical topics and more general information.
  3. For an overview of Irish genealogy research visit the Introduction to Genealogy Page of the National Archives of Ireland.  The links to the genealogy page include the Irish census records of 1901 and 1911 and many other resources.
  4. Last but not least is the free genealogy service of the Irish government called This page includes an every increasing collection of both indexes and original images for Irish Civil and Church Records. 
I hope you will join me live for the webinar on Saturday or join SCGS to view the webinar in their archive.

All the best in your genealogy pursuits in the New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Correspondence for Family History- An Essential Art

Family history correspondence has been one of the most useful things that I have done in my genealogical journey.  If you can find family members that have an interest in family history, it really pays to write them a query.  I wrote last week of my correspondence with my cousin, Margaret Arthur of Ocala, Florida and the discoveries related to photos in my family albums.

Aline Cavanagh Mayne 1902-1995, the saint of my family history.
My correspondence with my maternal grandfather's sister, Aline Mayne Cavanagh in the early 1990's is what made those discoveries possible.  I kept copies of the letters between Aline and myself and digitized them last week.  I am attempting to get rid of some of the paper I have accumulated but I have to admit to being a bit sentimental about these letters and may hang on to the originals a while longer.  My letters included accounts of some interesting events in my life that I had forgotten about.  For example here is a summary of my trip to Ottawa, Canada:

August 4, 1990
Dear Aline, 
This summer has been very busy for us. I went to Ottawa, Canada in the first part of July and was there for the Canada Day celebrations. The Queen was there and I watched her from less than ten feet away as she reviewed the troops in front of the Parliament Buildings. It was an emotional time because the Canadians are experiencing such strife due to the Quebec separatist movement. The Queen put out a plea for unity but I think it fell on deaf ears in Quebec.
Ottawa was a beautiful city. I rented a bicycle and explored the landmarks and the bike paths along the many waterways . While I was there I did some research on my wife's side of the family, the Fitzpatricks.
Turns out that they were American loyalists who emigrated to Canada after the Revolutionary war. They settled along the St. Lawrence River near a town called Cornwall. Her great grandfather moved to Colorado and homesteaded some land on the western slope of the Rockies and founded the town of Collbran, Colorado.
A useful tool that I used in my letter to Aline was the following survey form:
March 16, 1990
Please fill out as much as you can recall. Don't worry if you don't have answers. I would prefer that you just say that you don't know and return this sheet as soon as possible.
1. What were the names of your father's brothers and sisters?
2. What were the names of your mother's siblings?
3. Do you recall the names of your great grandparents?
4. Did your grandfather have a brother named Daniel?
5. If so was he married to a woman named Alice?
6. Please write down the names of any of your cousins?
7. How were these cousins related?
8. Please write down addresses for any living relatives.
9. Do you know where any of the relatives above are buried?
Her return letter which was dated one week after the date on my survey provided me with some very interesting family details:

Dear Nicholas,
It was good to hear from you.  I was so sorry to have lost contact with your mother [Jill Mayne 1935-2005] for so long.  I will be glad to help you find information on the Mayne family.  I can recall many things that might be helpful.
I never saw my grandparents Mayne who lived in Frederick, Maryland but I do remember when my father [Rev. Joseph Hanson Mayne 1849-1938] went to the funeral of his father [David Mayne 1921-1910].  I must have been 8 or 10 at the time [Aline was born in 1902].
However, we did visit my Uncle Frank and Aunt Fanny in Frederick after we came to Wilmington. [Aline and her husband, Elvin Cavanagh arrived in Wilmington, Delaware about 1931. Uncle Frank was also known as David Francis Mayne 1852-1941.  Aunt Fannie was also known as Fannie May Bopst 1859-1950.]
Frank had raised fruit and vegetables for the Baltimore market.  Had no children- collected rocking chairs, left most of his considerable fortune to the United Brethren church in Frederick.
Uncle Frank and Aunt Fannie Mayne on the porch of their house at 237 Dill Avenue, in Frederick, Maryland.  This picture was probably taken by Aline Mayne Cavanagh or her husband, Elvin Cavanagh in the 1930s.  They appear to be using part of their rocking chair collection.

This letter went on to provide me biographical information on her siblings and names and contact information for her nieces and nephews. Aline provided me with so many notes, letters, newspaper clippings, photographs and memories that I considered her a saint of our family history.  This extract from one of my letters to her explains the depth of my feelings for her:

October 15, 1990
Dear Aline:
Thanks for your letter of 10 October. The U.S. Mail is a wonderful thing but letter writing seems to be a lost art. I love to write now but resisted for so long. My computer has been an aid in that regard. I hope you don't mind the typed format. My genealogy instructor suggests that we write all our letters to relatives by hand. My hand can't keep up with my mind though. Not that I am lightning fast at the key board but I it is still much faster than hand written. My letter writing style says a lot about me as a person. I like to do everything the fastest and easiest way possible.
As far as your hand writing is concerned, I think you are too modest. The arthritis is not apparent to me. You have lovely handwriting, very readable. Do you correspond with others? I am sure they will agree with me. If it is uncomfortable for you to write at times you might consider sending me a tape recording. Do you have a cassette tape recorder? I will send you some tapes if you would like.
I have enclosed a copy of your father's list of church appointments. I don't recognize the names of all the churches or charges so if you could give me the names of the towns it would help me in tracking any records in the individual church archives. I think your father was a fascinating fellow and I would like to write his biography. The civil war stories would be very compelling if you can remember any more details. Despite all the trappings of progress, the American people are still very much the way they were. Instead of soldiers foraging for food in the countryside, it is the homeless foraging for food in city alleys.
I have enclosed a guideline on how to record your personal history. It says "oral" history but that is strictly optional. If you prefer to write it down that would be just as good. There are lots of questions on these sheets, so don't get overwhelmed. The main reason for so many questions is to show you that there are many interesting things that have happened in your life. I think you are a very unique and talented woman. God has blessed you with many gifts in your life. I ask that you share those by writing or recording your personal history.
Our church is celebrating All Saints Day by placing pictures of the saints in our lives on the altar. Our pastor spoke about her father who was an excellent example of service and devotion in her life. She asked me to speak last Sunday about the research I have been doing on our family history and to discuss one of our family saints. I immediately thought of your father and had resolved to talk about his long years of service to the church.
When I started to organize my thoughts about him and about my love of genealogy, I realized that the person I most wanted to recognize was you. I began looking through the accumulation of letters, notes and pictures that you had saved, and realized what a tremendous service you had done for the family in preserving those mementos of the past. Your pictures are on the altar now. After my talk I had one of the parishioners come up and say "hi, cousin". His name is Jim Wolfenden and he is a descendant of the Mayne family too! He talked about his brother attending some of the Mayne Family reunions in Frederick.
Well anyway, I hope you will consider writing down some of your memories. Even just a few pages would be appreciated.

Aline responded with a nice long letter about growing up in the various parsonages where her father served as a United Brethren minister.  One of her most vivid memories was of the Dayton flood:

... We lived at Lockington [Ohio] at the time of the famous Dayton flood.  Fortunately we lived high above the river so we were not affected by it as we watched houses and trees etc. float down the river. David [her brother] was in Dayton working at National Cash Register Company earning money for college.  He found refuge on the top of the Railway Depot. Canned goods i.e. tomatoes, applesauce, etc. floated by so the folks grabbed them and lived on them until the water subsided.

I hope these little excerpts will inspire you to write down some of your own memories and share them with your family.  When your memory is exhausted, start writing letters or emails to your family members and genealogical cousins to explore their collection of family memories and heirlooms.  Scan your old letters and photos and attach them to ancestor profiles in your online family trees.

If you would like to read the entire series of letters between me and Aline, you can download a copy at this hyperlink.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Finding a Maiden Name: Clues in Family Archives

The clues that we find in oral histories, notes on pictures and family bible records are essential pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that we call family history. Your family members whether they are immediate family or distant cousins have been archiving bits of information such as papers, heirlooms and photographs for centuries.  You must do your best to find these clues.

Family historians must collect, archive and catalog all of these pieces of evidence and compare them with other genealogical records to piece together the puzzle.   Writing up the story at every phase of the process is essential for a genealogist whether they are a professional or a hobbyist.

Write down the stories that you heard about your ancestors.  Then interview or send a written query to everyone you can find that is related to that ancestor through kinship or association. Share the stories with your family and anyone else who is willing to preserve them whether it be an individual, a library, an archive or a website.

Aline Mayne Cavanagh 1902-1995
This picture was taken in front of the Methodist Country Home in Wilmington, Delaware in 1990.

My grandfather's sister, Aline Mayne Cavanagh, shared her family photo and letter collection with me in 1990.  She allowed me to take it home to Reno, Nevada, make copies and return it to her by mail.  

Ann Bamford Nevin 1804-1879 and her grand daughter, Anna Elizabeth Banford Mayne 1860-1938. The girl is Aline's mother and the old lady also known as "Grandma Nevin" is her great grandmother who apparently was visiting her daughter's family near Cincinnati from her home in Schuyler County, Missouri. Taken at J.P. Ball's Photographic Gallery, on 4th St. between Main & Walnut Streets, Cincinnati, Ohio about 1867. Date is estimated based on an estimate of Anna E. Banford's age at 7.  It would be interesting to see if Mr. Ball was listed in the Cincinnati City Directory around that time.
One of the pictures was labeled Aunt Margaret Bryant, Grandma Nevin's sister.   Another was labeled Will Banford, Billaire.  I was able to discover the maiden name of both Grandma Nevin and her sister, Aunt Margaret Bryant, by sharing these photos with a Bamford descendant who I discovered was a distant cousin, Margaret Arthur of Ocala, Florida.

Margaret Bamford Bryans 1817-1887
Taken by Brown, 1222 Market Street, Wheeling, West Virginia. Labeled as Aunt Margaret Bryant, Grandma Nevin's sister. This photo was in the collection of Aline Mayne Cavanagh, my grand aunt and was copied in 1990.

Ms. Arthur had the proof that her ancestor, Margaret Bryans (also known as Bryant and Bryan) was born a Bamford in the Ramult Townland of County Fermanagh.  Here is the story in her own words:

"Bless the gods of genealogy! I despaired of ever seeing a photo of my ggg-grandmother! She has the same jaw as that of her daughter, Mary. And Will! The resemblance is remarkable!
 I believe that the young man is William of Bohattan, b. 1840--he looks to be about 25 in the photo, doesn't he?--son of William of Ramult, b. 1805, Margaret's brother.
Bellaire is in Belmont County, Ohio, just across the river from Wheeling, where his father settled. William's brother, Charles Fitzgerald Bamford, also settled in Bellaire and had a huge family.
Yeah, searching my Irish roots, I started with my mom's memories of her gg-mother, Mary Bryans Wiedebusche She believed she came from Ireland about 1850. Well, my initial searches found her born in Canada, along with a slew of brothers and sisters. Then I went looking for information about Mary's parents, where they came from and how and when they got to Canada.
Turns out Mom had Mary Bryans's MOTHER's Bible! There wasn't much in there (turns out Margaret Bamford couldn't write), and it leaves me with an irritating mystery. But it gave me the townland where Margaret was born--Ramult. Census fragments from 1821 of Ramult, in Fermanagh, show the entire Bamford family.
The Bible gave only three birth and death dates, those of William I Bryans, Margret Bryans, and a daughter, Maggie Brynes.
When I found Joseph Bamford in Belmont County, Ohio, I also found his brother, William, across the river in Wheeling, WV. I realized then that this was why William Bryans uprooted his family from Canada in 1865 and relocated to Moundsville.  If you go to the 1850 census of Belmont County, you will find living with Joseph one Thomas Navin with his wife Ann and a 4-year-old Magdalina, born in Ireland."
The fact that a picture of Grandma Nevin's sister was passed down in our family labeled Aunt Margaret Bryant and the fact that Margaret Bryant's maiden name was Bamford, helps us to conclude that Grandma Nevin was the Ann Bamford who is enumerated in the 1821 census of the Townland of Ramult.  

1821 Census Record of Ramult Townland, County Fermanagh
Family of Alexander and Jane Bamford is listed.
Several of these children settled in Missouri, Ohio and West Virginia.

Margaret Arthur helped to establish that the picture of Will Bamford of Bellaire, Ohio was a nephew of Grandma Nevin or Niven as it is spelled on her gravestone.

Will Bamford, Bellaire, Ohio - Estimated Date 1865
This photo was in the collection of Aline Mayne Cavanagh, my grand aunt. She allowed me to borrow it and make a copy in 1990. The back was marked: "Will Banford, Billaire" [sic] She resided in Wilmington, Delaware until her death in 1995. The original is in the possession of one of her descendants, hopefully.

The other piece that helps to support the connection between the Bamfords and the Nevins is the 1850 census record which shows them living together in the household of Joseph Bamford in Belmont County, Ohio.  

1850 Census Pultney Township, Belmont County, Ohio showing the family of Thomas and Ann Nevin residing with Ann's brother, Joseph Bamford.  Joseph Bamford is listed on the bottom of the preceding page.

Margaret Arthur had questioned the connection because the September 1850 census record shows Magdalina as age 4 which conflicts with the May 1850 passenger list for the Wolfville which shows Magdalina as "inft" which is presumably an abbreviation for infant.  If you look at the 1860 census of the Nevins in Schuyler County, Missouri you will see that Magdalina is listed as 14 which would coincide with the age of 4 in the 1850 census.  So it appears that the age of Magdalina on the passenger list was inaccurate.  One mystery that remains is the location of the other daughters in the 1850 census.

Passenger List of the Ship Wolfville arriving in New York harbor 23 May 1850. Passengers include Thomas Nevin and his wife, "Annie" nee Ann Bamford and their daughters, Jane, Mary, Margaret and Magdaline.

The story that has emerged by assembling all of these puzzles pieces tells of the process of chain migration from Ulster.  A large extended family of Bamfords and Nevins all immigrated from County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.  Their descendants are now scattered across Ireland, the U.K.,  the U.S., Canada, Australia and South Africa.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Free Live SCGS Webinar Series Announced!

2017 SCGS Jamboree Extension Series Webinars Announced!

The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) proudly announced the 2017 schedule for their highly acclaimed Jamboree Extension Series Webinar program. I am pleased to be offering the second session on January 7, 2017, 10:00 AM PST entitled Chain Migration from Ulster and One Name Studies.

SCGS offers educational webinars twice a month to an international online audience of genealogists and family historians.

Whether you are a budding genealogist or a professional, the webinars offer a wide range of topics to build your skills. The Jamboree Extension Series has helped to fulfill the SCGS mission to “foster interest in family history and genealogy… and provide instruction in accepted and effective research techniques” since 2011.

Registration is Now Open!

Click here to view the schedule and register for as many FREE LIVE webinars as you’d like. Following your registration, a confirmation e-mail will provide you with the link to attend the webinar.

All live broadcasts of webinars are free to attend. Webinars are offered the first Saturday (10:00 am Pacific time) and third Wednesday (6:00 pm Pacific time) of each month. You can attend on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

SCGS members don’t have to worry about missing a webinar!  Members have 24/7 access to well over 140 archived webinars and selected Jamboree sessions to view at their convenience behind the member wall at Visit their membership page for more information on this and other membership benefits.

Download the 2017 Jamboree Extension Series Webinar flyer and share with family and genealogy friends.

Register Today!

Jamboree Extension Series Webinars| Southern California Genealogy Society
| 818-843-7247 | |

Monday, December 5, 2016

Texas Institute of Genealogical Research #TIGR2017

Texas State Genealogical Society (TxSGS) is thrilled to announce the launch of the first ever week-long genealogy institute focused solely on Texas records–TIGR, the Texas Institute of Genealogical Research!
This intensive educational experience focuses on Texas records and research spanning early Spanish exploration and colonization through the Texas Republic and beyond.

Program, Venue & Registration

Full program and registration details are coming soon.
To see the Institute web page and sign up for the TxSGS email list go to: